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Things we learned on Saturday

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(Note: I added a widget from the NTRA to the left sidebar recently that contains the race replay for many of the top stakes each weekend.  If you click on the race name a pop-up video will appear on the site to view the race.)

-Lone speed, even at a mile and a quarter, is still the most dangerous horse in racing.  Haynesfield got everything his way early on and rolled home in the Jockey Club Gold Cup over Blame.  Haynesfield was allowed to run the first six furlongs in an easy 1:13.24 and came home to finish in 2:02.48 and earned a preliminary Beyer figure of 107 Beyer.

Haynesfield adds even more front-end speed to a Classic that is shaping up as a fantastic race.

-Blame, although he was an odds-on favorite at 3/5, really didn't run a bad race in the JCGC.  It's tough to catch a quality front-runner that gets away with soft splits on the lead and Blame probably ran as well as he could have considering the pace.

-Lookin At Lucky was much the best at Hoosier in the sloppy Indiana Derby.  Good ride once again by Martin Garcia as he rode Lucky like a jockey that knew he had much more horse that anyone else in the field. 

-Twirling Candy wants nothing to do with ten furlongs.  Dirt Mile or Mile would be the logical spot for this horse.

-If the Europeans send over their Group 2 and Group 1 caliber horses for the Breeders' Cup, they are going to dominate the Turf and the F&M Turf.  Hibaayeb (GB) schooled the Yellow Ribbon field and she was on awful form (to put it kindly) in her last three Group 1 races in Ireland, England and Germany. 

Goldikova (IRE) was already going to be a beast to defeat in the Mile, but you gotta think the Turf and the F&M Turf are also ripe for European picking.

-Paddy O'Prado sure looked a bit iffy at a mile and a half yesterday at Belmont but it could be that the going was just too soft for him.  I'm willing to give him a pass on that race but there's got to be a bit of doubt creeping in with regards to his ability to go 12 furlongs.

-Speaking of the turf races at Belmont yesterday, check out the fractional splits for the Hirsch and the Flower Bowl:

1/4

1/2

3/4

Mile

1 1/4

Final

Flower Bowl

Elapsed

26.06

53.54

79.19

104.17

128.54

Internal

26.06

27.48

25.65

24.98

24.37

Hirsch Turf

Elapsed

25.58

52.98

80.37

106.38

131.36

156.09

Internal

25.58

27.40

27.39

26.01

24.98

24.73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those are very European-esque; very slow in the early stages of the race and quick in the final quarter/half-mile. 

Whether or not the Flower Bowl or the Hirsch will be important preps for the Breeders' Cup will depend greatly on the condition of the Churchill Downs turf course.  A firm or even ‘good' course would, in my opinion, greatly devalue the importance of these two races.

-Based on some rudimentary calculations, Zenyatta ran the final 1/16th in the Lady's Secret in approximately 5.6 seconds. 

Once again, Zenyatta runs some funky fractions in a race.  According to the Formulator interactive charts, Zenyatta ran the slowest opening quarter mile of the field (25.69), but the fastest 2nd quarter (23.78), 3rd quarter (24.14) and final 3/16ths (29.37).  She ran the final 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.39.