Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

27 September 2011

Get to know a BC prospect: To Honor and Serve

The Breeders’ Cup is a double-edged sword, what it offers in deep fields with an inordinate amount of quality horse flesh also takes away from other tracks due to trainers meticulously planning their schedules around having their horses ready for the big day. That being said it does help to scout and assess the top prospects leading up to the two days. Much like what we did for the lead up to the Kentucky Derby, we will do a series on these runners in their march towards November. Time to better get to know a Breeder’s Cup prospect.

Likely race he will be entered in: Classic

What’s old is new, back in the spring this Mott runner was not up to the rigors of the Triple Crown series and much like fellow juvenile superstar Uncle Mo he missed the big dance completely. Whatever problems he had are behind him after two straight authoritative wins at two turns going nine furlongs. Stamina for the mile and a quarter journey that he will likely embark on should not be a problem with Bernardini as the sire and the dam's sire being Deputy Minister.

With three races from the span of August 1st to September 24th and two wins to show from it, one being a win in the Pennsylvania Derby it is hard not say he is in top physical shape right now. The Classic has had its share of three-year-old colts take down the big prize. Curlin, Tiznow, and Concern come to mind; what is a recurring trait among them is that they put in strong efforts in their races leading up to the big day.

In To Honor and Serve’s Saratoga romp, his early pace figures against the adjusted average calls were twelve and eleven lengths faster than par and his speed figure was eight lengths faster when he was clear and coasting home. His biggest advantage may not be on pace and speed figures either, he was sidelined during the big three races in the spring. Now he is back as a fresh runner while the rest of his class has been butting heads for the past couple of months. If he remains sound and sharp he will be a dangerous runner on the big day of racing.

03 September 2011

Grace Under Pressure

The last Saturday at Saratoga featured three grade one races, all with varying degrees of importance now that the calender has turned to September. The highlight of the day being Havre De Grace's attempt at beating the older colts.

The Personal Ensign was rescheduled from August 27th to this Saturday due to inclement weather. It didn't make a difference to Ask The Moon, who swept the distaff races at Saratoga with a wire to wire win. With the older filly division depleted beyond the top two (Blind Luck and Havre De Grace) and the three year old females yet to take on their elders, it should be an interesting set of fall races.

Jackson Bend spent last year chasing some of the better runners of his generation with nothing to show for it other than a few tough beats. What a difference a year makes, the sprint division is anyone's for the taking and his win in the Forego puts him squarely in the lead group of contenders for champion sprinter. The last few seasons the Forego has served as a highly important race earmarked by Midnight Lute and Big Drama winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint after a start in the Forego.

Rachel Alexandra used the Woodward as the end to a perfect season and Horse of the Year honors, this year Havre De Grace is trying the same path to the eclipse awards. Tracking Rule most of the way and being asked for run during the stretch when needed she was an authoritative winner. The race in all likelihood did not take as much energy out of the victor as it did Rachel Alexandra two years ago, Rachel was on the lead the whole way and had to fight off a few late challengers in order to stay perfect for the year. Havre De Grace avoided any dirt in the face and took a wide trip sweeping by Rule with ease, there is probably enough left in the proverbial tank for one more race before the end of the year. The prospectus of the colts and geldings aiming for the classic is not an imposing bunch, so it may be worth it for Havre De Grace to take another shot at the males in the Breeders' Cup Classic. She has already showed an ability to go the distance and that is half the battle in the Classic.

01 September 2011

Tale of the Tape, Uncle Mo vs. Stay Thirsty

After this past weekend where Mike Repole’s two stars represented his stable very well, it seems like all the talk is about Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty. Andy Beyer made it the subject of his Wednesday piece in the Daily Racing Form and Stay Thirsty was the cover story on the Saratoga Special on the same day. Pletcher mentioned in passing after the events of the weekend his intention of not having his two champions not being in the same race during the fall. It only seems fair to match these two up in the way boxers are sized up before a prizefight in the tale of the tape.

Major NY Stakes wins
Uncle Mo: Champagne Stakes
Stay Thirsty: Gotham, Jim Dandy, and Travers
Edge: Thirsty, he is truly NY’s horse. It should be noted due to my general laziness that I am shortening up the names to Mo and Thirsty from this point forward.

Eclipse Awards
Mo: King of the Juvenile colts
Thirsty: Zero
Edge: Mo, there is no such thing as a cheap shot in this venue.

Starts in the 2011 Triple Crown
Mo: Zero
Thirsty: Two
Edge: Thirsty, what goes around comes around.

Powercap Nickname
Mo: Mr. Softee
Thirsty: No nickname given
Edge: Mo, to jest is to care. In hindsight we should have given a nickname to every starter in the Triple Crown series this year. Live and learn.

Respective Performances on August 27th
Mo: Photo finish loss after a five-month layoff with noted medical issues
Thirsty: Won the Travers
Edge: Push, if Mo had the benefit of a race before the King’s Bishop and a bit more in the way of works before the month of July he may have won that race.

Going Forward
Mo: Pennsylvania Derby? Vosburgh? Jockey Club Gold Cup? Who knows?
Thirsty: The main goal in all likeliness in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Edge: Thirsty, a defined course is better than being adrift at sea with no direction.

Beyer Speed Figure
Mo: 106
Thirsty: 101
Edge: Mo, even in defeat he puts up a lot of heat. He probably is a better one-turn runner than a router as well.

This is getting tiresome, after seven rounds of conjecture it is all tied up at 3-3 with one push. Well, this didn’t solve anything at all. Might as well have them run against each other at some point in the near future.