Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

07 October 2009

The Interpatation Of Saturday's B.C. Preps

The day had a wet forecast looming over it like a terminal prognosis. It thinned out the crowd and dimmed the spirits of those in attendance. However the early part of the day was dry, and it looked like the meteorologists were going to be completely wrong about a wet day of persistent light rain. They only thing they were wrong about was the intensity of the rain. Instead of light rain Belmont was walloped with a biblical strength drenching monsoon that quickly turned the fast track into brackish stream. The rain was cold, it was intense and it dominated the races, effecting times and results. The big story to emerge from these races was not a breakthrough performance and brilliant equine form but the utter dominance of the heavens over the results on Saturday.

The first stakes race of the day proceeded without any weather related interference. The heavy favorite Music Note was able to break out of the Pletcher trap set for her on the rail and draw off to a facile win.

While the horses were in the paddock for the Vosburgh the heavens opened up. A few miles to the north a powerful burst lightning illuminated the sky and deep growling thunder shook the grandstand. Within a matter of minutes the fast track was inundated with water. However the results were fairly formful with GI winner Kodiac Kowboy catching Fabulous Strike late near the wire.

The Flower Bowl was the wettest of the days races. This race was run in the most intense portion of the storm. The rain was coming down as hard as rain can fall from the heavens. It surely dominated the results here. Very slow fractions and an undoubtedly slick grass effected the results. However reason still held sway here. The winner Pure Clan is a Grade I filly and was the second choice in the wagering. I can only imagine that one or more of her competitors did not take kindly to being pelted with rain or the slick conditions under hoof.

The Turf Classic was also run in a driving rainstorm. Rarely are turf races run in these conditions. Visibility was poor as we could barely make out the runners on the backstretch. If someone told me that Interpatation was going to win this race wire to wire I would thing that they were delusional or quite confused. Fortunately for Bobby Barbara they would have been right. In a result that defied all reason we witnessed a horse in the winners circle who had not won in over two years; his last score in a ungraded race at Philly. Somehow Interpataion outgamed the best American older horse in training.

You would need a super-duper ego or passion fueled desperation to arrive at this interpretation pre-race. This result was in the spirit of outlandish interpretations like Freud's proclamation that all men are driven by the want of sexual relations with their mama. This is the race where the heavens and the deluge of water had the greatest effect. This was a strange race, run under perilous conditions. It was like have a yacht race in a typhoon; the conditions had greater effect on the results than the competition.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup was run over an extremely sloppy track. The absurdity of the Turf Classic was followed by a reasonable result. Summer Bird who has confirmed his affinity for wet racing surfaces outgamed Quality Road late for the win. This was a slow and tiring wet surface so it makes sense that the only horses in the field confirmed to like 12 furlongs was best in the lane at 10 furlongs.

Once again this years Breeder's Cup betting will be complicated by more surface questions. Significant horses like Gio Ponti and Summer Bird will have big questions associated with their handling of the pro ride surface. Will there be a transition issue out of these very wet races. Sometimes reasons yields to the absurd in racing as the results of the Turf Classic illustrated. Take these results with a grain of salt and consider the challenge of going from a brackish river of extreme rain and mud, to the arid strip of polymer, rubber and sand at Santa Anita. Compared to Belmont last Saturday; Santa Anita might as well be a synthetic planet somewhere between the moon and Venus. These are two extreme surfaces where just about anything can and will happen.

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