Apr 14, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard Dullahan (left) defeats Ramon Dominguez aboard Hansen (right) in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland Race Track. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
The implementation of the Trakus system at Keeneland when the Polytrack surface was installed has allowed horse players to view a race through a different and, in many ways, a more accurate lens with respect to time and trip. Instead of guessing at the fractions for individual horses based on the splits of the leader, as well as speculating on ground loss during an eventful trip, we can go right to Trakus to find out what the numbers actually are. In that vein, let's take a look at the race run by the top two finishers in today's Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes: Dullahan and Hansen.
Below are the Trakus fractions, internal splits and distance traveled data for both Dullahan and Hansen.
|Internal Trakus Splits|
I think there are a couple of excellent takeaways from this data concerning the winner, Dullahan. First, with the exception of the first quarter mile (and barely the 2nd), Dullahan ran faster than Hansen at every point of the race. He was a touch slower in the 2nd quarter and faster in the 3rd quarter, 4th quarter and final 1/8th of a mile. He finished up very strongly, running the final 3/8ths in 35.78, not bad at all.
Second, not only did Dullahan run faster than Hansen over the last seven furlongs, he also ran about twenty feet further than his rival. Dullahan's margin of victory was a long length. Had he been able to save a little more ground, he would have won by even more*.
Hansen, for his credit, ran a solid race but was placed in the difficult position of trying to take the field gate-to-wire, as opposed to his more successful stalking trip in the Gotham Stakes last time out at Aqueduct. Had the race been at a mile in a sixteenth, Hansen probably holds on for the front-running victory. But at nine furlongs, Hansen is going to have trouble leading a field every step of the way through honest fractions. If he's to have any shot at victory in the Kentucky Derby, Hansen will most likely need to revert back to a stalking trip.
The rest of the Blue Grass field put forth a fairly ho-hum effort. Gung Ho ran well to finished 3rd but horses like Howe Great (5th), Scatman (9th), and Louisiana Derby winner Hero of Order (13th; last) failed to mount much of a challenge at any point in the race. Scatman's post was pretty brutal, so we can probably forgive some of his performance. Hero of Order's last place finish, however, puts a painful end to what can only be described as a lackluster season of Derby preps and Derby contenders from the Fair Grounds.
*Dullahan traveled 25 feet further than the third place horse, Gung Ho, which he finished 3 1/4 lengths ahead of.
Just for fun, below are the Trakus splits for Dullahan and Hansen from the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile when Dullahan finished 4th, 5 3/4 lengths behind Hansen. Again, with the exception of the first quarter, Dullahan was pretty close to Hansen in terms of fractional times. He was a bit slower in the 4th quarter, but faster in the 2nd, 3rd and final 1/16th.
|Internal Trakus Splits|