I Happy Post-Thanksgiving to everyone out there; I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday weekend. Since I'm a little belated in my Thanksgiving Day post (there's still too much turkey to consume) I'll just quickly write a heart-felt "Thank You" to all of you that read, comment, and contribute to this site during the year. As always, it is much appreciated.
I spent most of the day Friday watching horse racing and college football, so I was able to catch the very nice win by Wise Dan in the Clark at Churchill Downs. I wrote about this briefly the other day, with a win over the Churchill dirt in the Clark, Wise Dan became a three-surface graded stakes winner, following wins over the Keeneland Polytrack (G2-Fayette; G3-Phoenix) and the Churchill turf (G2-Firecracker). He also is a perfect two-for-two in races over wet tracks (both at Churchill).
Below is a summary of the winners from all the graded stakes races this past holiday weekend:
|24-Nov||G2-Falls City||CD||9.0 (D)||Arena Elvira||90||109|
|24-Nov||G3-Fall Highweight||AQU||6.0 (D)||Sunrise Smarty||95||118|
|24-Nov||G3-Hollywood Prevue||HOL||7.0 (S)||So Brilliant||82||96|
|24-Nov||G3-My Charmer||CRC||9.0 (T)||Oregon Lady (IRE)||88||79|
|25-Nov||G1-Clark||CD||9.0 (D)||Wise Dan||105||117|
|25-Nov||G1-Matriarch||HOL||8.0 (T)||Star Billing||95||102|
|25-Nov||G2-Go for Wand||AQU||8.0 (D)||Lovely Lil||90||115|
|25-Nov||G3-All American||GG||9.0 (S)||Our Nautique (NZ)||88||100|
|25-Nov||G3-Miesque||HOL||8.0 (T)||More Than Love||76||94|
|26-Nov||G1-Cigar Mile||AQU||8.0 (D)||To Honor and Serve||104||112|
|26-Nov||G1-Gazelle||AQU||9.0 (D)||Aweseom Feather||99||101|
|26-Nov||G2-Golden Rod||CD||8.5 (D)||On Fire Baby||71||76|
|26-Nov||G2-Ky Jockey Club||CD||8.5 (D)||Gemologist||85||91|
|26-Nov||G2-Remsen||AQU||9.0 (D)||O'Prado Again||80||89|
|26-Nov||G2-WL McKnight||CRC||12.0 (T)||Muskitier (GER)||96||117|
|26-Nov||G3-Fred W. Hooper||CRC||9.0 (D)||Jimanator||96||107|
|26-Nov||G3-Underwood||HOL||6.0 (S)||Pacific Ocean||107||115|
|27-Nov||G1-Hollywood Derby||HOL||10.0 (T)||Ultimate Eagle||n/a||98|
|27-Nov||G3-Generous||HOL||8.0 (T)||Stoney Fleece||n/a||96|
Other thoughts on the Clark:
- Race favorite Flat Out was, well, "flat" once again at Churchill, finishing over five lengths back of the winner in 3rd place. He's now 4-0-0-1 at Churchill in his career.
- Ruler On Ice, trying to become one of the few three-year-old males to win multiple Grade 1s in 2011, also put in a lackluster effort, which only served to continue the 2011 trend of multiple inconsistent performances from 2011 Grade 1 winners.
- General Quarters, a horse that hasn't won a race since the Derby undercard in 2010, finished dead-last and was subsequently retired. He was sent to post at odds of 35/1.
- Prayer for Relief, one of the few three-year-olds to win multiple graded stakes during the year, tried to stalk the pace from the 12-hole but had little to offer by the time the field hit the top of the stretch, fading to a well-beaten 9th.
In other action this weekend:
- Awesome Feather continued her return to form with an easy win in the G1-Gazelle at Aqueduct. After stalking the early pace of Love and Pride, Awesome Feather easily moved to the lead at the top of the stretch and pulled away to win by over five lengths at the wire in a rock-solid performance.
- The top international race of the weekend took place in Japan where Buena Vista (JPN) crossed the finish line first in the Japan Cup for the second straight year. Last year, the mare was DQ'd in the 3rd richest horse race in the world.
Tosen Jordan (JPN) looked like he might be the winner in deep stretch, but couldn't hold on in the final yards.
Arc winner Danedream (JPN) finished 6th after battling through a tough draw in the 13-hole.
Below is the raw video from the Japan Cup,
without any commentary, just the Japanese crowd noise. It's pretty cool to watch a race video with that big of a crowd going that crazy about a race. The race begins at the six minute mark of the video.
- Looking at the winners this weekend, and the resulting speed figures from Beyer and Equibase (Bris will be along a little later this week), we get another batch of interesting comparisons. Under the Beyer system, when looking just at races on dirt, Wise Dan's Clark and To Honor and Serve's Cigar Mile were the top efforts. Under the Equibase system, the top performances on dirt were Sunrise Smarty (G3-Fall Highweight), Wise Dan and Lovely Lil (G2-Go For Wand).
There wasn't a ton of divergence between the two systems when looking just at the dirt figures, with a couple of exceptions:
Sunrise Smarty was the top Equibase dirt figure in a graded stakes race this weekend, but it was only the 5th best on Beyer.
Awesome Feather ranked 3rd on Beyer for dirt figures, 7th on Equibase.
Opening day is fast approaching at two Florida tracks as both : Gulfstream Park is this Saturday,