Here are a few observations I had while reviewing the results charts from the past weekend.
-Mine That Bird got off to his usual slow start in the Whitney (25.52 opening quarter, slowest of the field) and then ran straight :24 second clips for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters (23.99, 24.05, 23.92). When it came time to turn for home, he had zero left in the tank (13.55 for the final 1/8th).
I think it's about time Lukas tries to find a softer spot for this gelding instead of sticking him on the grass and/or throwing him to the wolves in Grade 1 competition. Right now, he seems like a horse that might be losing interest in the lane.
-Zenyatta ran the final 1/8th of a mile in the Hirsch in 29.39 seconds and the final five furlongs in 53.14. She went the first half mile in 51.89 seconds.
I hadn't looked at Zenyatta's Classic chart in a while but I was curious as to the internal fractions that she ran that day as compared to some of her more recent races. As usual, it's hard not to come away extremely impressed.
Zenyatta broke poorly from the gate in the Classic and ran the slowest initial quarter mile of the field at 26.74 seconds...even slower than Mine That Bird. Following the first quarter mile, Zenyatta ran the fastest 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th quarters of any horse in the field and in doing so ran the final mile of the 2009 Classic in 1:33.87. For comparative purposes, the one mile record on the Santa Anita main track since the conversion to synthetic is 1:33.37 by El Gato Malo in 2008. On the old dirt course, the one mile track record was 1:33 and 2/5th by Ruhlmann in 1989. Zenyatta's final mile was only a few tenths slower than the Santa Anita track record.
(UPDATE: By the way, how good is Goldikova? She won the Turf Mile in 1:32.26...um, yeah, that's pretty fast.)
-Majesticeperfection has been ultra-impressive in his last two starts, as well as incredibly consistent. Check out the internal clockings of his last two victories:
Vanderbilt: 22.80, 22.80, 11.29, 11.74
Iowa Sprint: 21.53, 21.95, 11.63, 12.13
The key for me isn't the final 1/8th of a mile fractions but the opening two quarters where he sets the blistering pace and then backs it ups with a sub twelve clocking in the fifth furlong. He's slows down in that final 1/8th of a mile, but he's able to carry his speed so well the over the opening five furlongs that is just doesn't matter.
-When I watched Champagne d'Oro win the Test Stakes on Saturday my first impression at the conclusion of the race was, "eh, that field didn't seem to finish up very well." Looking at the charts only solidified that thought.
Champagne d'Oro ran opening quarters of 22.43 and 22.16 before sliding to 24.88 and 13.25 for the final three furlongs (38.13). Those numbers are pretty iffy in terms of finishing times for those fillies.
In order to eliminate the track as the culprit for the slow come home time in the Test, I took a look at the other main track sprints races at Saratoga that day. The first two races were run at the same seven furlong distance, while the last was run at 6 ½.
Race 1: 3&up, N2X Allowance - Brother Bird (36.76)
Race 4: 3yo, MdSpWt - Craven Caden (36.50)
Race 6: 2yo, MdSpWt - Tiz Blessed (31.75 - final 3f of 6 ½ furlong race)
It's hard not to downgrade the Test when three year old maiden are coming home in better fashion than Grade 1 three year old fillies. The numbers are even a bit more troubling you take into consideration that the opening quarter mile set by the pacesetters in each race, including the Test, were very similar.
Opening quarter mile:
R9 - Test Stakes, 22.41
R1 - N2X, Alw, 22.43
R4 - 3yo, MSW, 22.44
R6 - 2yo, MSW, 22.16
We'll have to wait and see how these fillies perform in their next start to determine whether this race was actually a bit on the weak side but I know that I'm going to take many of the fillies in the Test field with a grain of salt.