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I suppose winter is really here

I woke up to a white carpet of snow at my house this morning, which required me to break out the snow shovel, broom, and de-icer for a bit of Monday manual labor.  When you look out your window and see snow it doesn't take long to pine for the coming of spring.  I guess winter is officially here.

The chart below summarizes the results of the juvenile races that I was paying attention to this weekend, before the snow rolled in, along with their preliminary Beyer numbers from DRF's Formulator Interactive Charts.  I won't re-cap all of the races because not all of them really had much of a story to tell, but here are a few races that I thought had some takeaways.

Day

Race

Track

Race

Dist.

Surf.

Winner

$2 Win

Time

BSF

20-Nov

4

AQU

MSW

8.5

Turf

Yankee Kitten

$7.00

1:47.65

58

20-Nov

9

AQU

MSW

8.5

Turf

Megalithic

$12.00

1:48.47

50

20-Nov

3

CD

30K MC

8.5

Dirt

Awesome Review

$13.20

1:48.13

51

20-Nov

10

CD

MSW (f)

6.0

Dirt

Angelica Zapata

$28.20

1:12.15

59

20-Nov

4

HOL

MSW

6.5

Poly

Thirtyfirststreet

$3.20

1:17.06

80

21-Nov

5

AQU

MSW

8.0

Turf

Tag V Eye

$51.00

1:39.09

68

21-Nov

4

CD

MSW (f)

8.0

Turf

Crown Princess

$36.40

1:41.36

64

21-Nov

7

CD

MSW

6.0

Dirt

Gonna Tell Mama

$6.20

1:11.45

71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/20: Aqueduct #4

1st: Yankee Kitten
2nd: Schoolyard Cat
3rd: Raffie's Choice

Saturday morning I wrote the following about the lone first time starter in this field, Yankee Kitten:

"The fourth at Aqueduct on Saturday is sort of a ho-hum Maiden Special for New York-breds on the turf with the exception of the lone first time starter, 6-Yankee Kitten, another Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred from Kitten's Joy.  This New York-bred is by a dam that has thrown three winners on the main track but nothing to speak of on the turf.  We'll see whether the Kitten's Joy influence makes the difference in this one."

Apparently, the Kitten's Joy influence was all Southern Broad needed to have her first winner; Yankee Kitten came home very nicely under David Cohen to win the fourth at the Big A on Saturday by a half a length under the wire.  The Ken and Sarah Ramsey colt clocked the final 3/16th of a mile in 29.48 after settling mid-pack through pedestrian early fractions and he really didn't hit his best stride until he was inside the final 1/16th.

The bettors weren't deceived in this race as Yankee Kitten went off at the 5/2 favorite.  Still, if you really liked Yankee Kitten and were able to pair him with the 4th choice and runner-up Schoolyard Cat, you were rewarded with a very nice $54.50 exacta.  Not bad value with the favorite on top.

11/20: Hollywood #4

1st: Thirtyfirststreet
2nd: Mint Humor
3rd: Husband's Folly

The top performance of these juvenile races, from a purely speed figure perspective, was that of Thirtyfirststreet at Hollywood Park on Saturday.  That doesn't come as a huge surprise as he was the 6/10 favorite in the betting and was coming off a runner-up performance in his debut effort during the Oak Tree meeting.

First-time starter Mint Humor put in a gallant effort to finish a length and a half behind the winner after doing all the dirty work on the front end.  Mint Humor was sent to post at 16/1 but likely won't see odds even close to that when he makes his second start.  The Carla Gaines trainee is a gelded son of Sharp Humor out of a Flag Down mare (Flag the Mint Down).

11/21: Churchill #7

1st: Gonna Tell Mama
2nd: Houston Harbor
3rd: Heiden

The wind at Churchill on Sunday was coming out of the South-South West at around 12mph, according to track reports.  That wind direction falls right in line with the backstretch at the track and provided a nice breeze right at the backs of the horses as they rolled down the backside.  A good wind at a horse's back creates an advantage to early speed and a distinct disadvantage to horses attempting to make their run from off that pace, and we saw that in the seventh race. 

Gonna Tell Mama took full advantage of the wind conditions in race seven, a six furlong Maiden Special Weight, as he weathered a four-horse battle for the lead in the early stages and then held on in deep stretch to score by a length and a half.  Of the four hoses that blistered the opening quarter in 21.29, Gonna Tell Mama was drawn to the outside of all of them and was able to use the good post and the stiff tail wind to push on to victory.

Given the conditions during the race, I think you have to give bonus points to first-time starter Heiden, who made up good ground in deep stretch despite closing into the wind.  He's one to watch next time out.

Here's a good data point as to how much the wind factored in to this race: according to the Formulator Interactive Charts, Heiden closed the best of any horse in the field over the final 1/8th of a mile but the split for that final 1/8th was a mere 13.17 seconds.  The opening quarter mile, with the tailwind, was quite fast, but once the field made their way onto the turn the times slowed dramatically.  Gonna Tell Mama ran the final quarter mile in a brutally slow 26.52 yet easily held off the rest of the field.