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Weekend Stakes Review: Super Saturday Edition (UPDATED)

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Random thoughts on the results from Super Saturday, as well as a look at the Trakus splits from Saturday's Santa Anita stakes races.

Al Bello - Getty Images

UPDATE: Trakus has updated the splits for the Unzip on the downhill turf course.

Some thoughts on the results from Super Saturday:

  • After a lackluster performance at Saratoga in her last start, I thought Royal Delta seemed vulnerable in the Beldame. That "vulnerability" proved to be misplaced as she simply blew away a very good It's Tricky to win by 9 ½ lengths without being fully extended by jockey Mike Smith.
  • Going into Saturday's stakes race most handicappers were in agreement that the older fillies and mares on the East Coast were decidedly better than there West Coast counterparts. After Love and Pride wired the field in the Zenyatta at Santa Anita, easily defeating some of the better females from California, it's now crystal clear that the East Coast contingent is the better group.
  • The Ladies' Classic is, once again, turning into a simply fantastic race. Here are just a few of the names headlining that race with a little over a month to go before the Breeders' Cup: Royal Delta, Awesome Feather, My Miss Aurelia, Questing (GB), Grace Hall, Love and Pride, In Lingerie, and Include Me Out. Two of those fillies are undefeated (Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia), and another is arguably the best three-year-old filly on the continent (Questing). Much like the last few years, the Ladies' Classic is shaping up to be the deepest race on the Breeders' Cup card.
  • Kauai Katie dominated an over-matched field of juvenile fillies in the Grade 2 Matron Stakes at Belmont on Sunday afternoon. Kauai Katie is clearly the best juvenile filly on the East Coast and will be pointed to either the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies or the Juvenile Sprint by trainer Todd Pletcher.
  • In what appears to be a curious move, Michael Hushion, trainer of Vosburgh winner The Lumber Guy, is considering both the Breeders' Cup Sprint and the Dirt Mile as possible destinations for his horse.

    The Lumber Guy began his career sprinting and proved to be quite capable of running strong races at six furlongs. The connections stretched him out to two turns where he struggled to maintain his sprint form. He's got the talent to win a two-turn race but he appears to be better suited to six furlongs at this point in time.
  • A trio of European horses qualified for the Breeders' Cup with victories over the weekend (Certify, Steeler (IRE) and Battle of Marengo (IRE)) but is doubtful that any of them will make the trip to Santa Anita in November.

The 2012 Santa Anita Autumn meeting is the first to use the Trakus timing and data system and I've pulled the data from Saturday's stakes races below.

The first three graded stakes of the day were all carded for a mile and a sixteenth, making for some easy comparisons. As we would expect, the Zenyatta and the older fillies and mares, had a faster final time than either of the juvenile events. Something to consider, however, is the face that Executiveprivilege was geared down at the wire of the Chandelier. If she's asked to run the entire way her time is probably a bit closer to Power Broker's 1:44.51 in the FrontRunner (although she'd still be slower than Love and Pride in the Zenyatta).

I thought Game On Dude's performance in the Awesome Again was pretty good as he wasn't asked to do a whole lot in the final furlongs. The horse that makes me a bit curious about the Awesome Again is Nonios - a colt I liked to win the Travers only to watch him throw in a pretty big clunker. Perhaps Nonios just didn't care for Saratoga that day?

Race Fractions
Race Winner
1/4 1/2 3/4 Mile Finish 1/4 1/2 3/4 Mile Finish
Chandelier 24.06 48.59 73.46 98.57 105.06 24.06 48.59 73.46 98.57 105.06
FrontRunner 23.44 47.71 72.59 97.96 104.51 23.59 47.86 72.62 97.96 104.51
Zenyatta 24.32 48.79 72.75 96.99 103.37 24.32 48.79 72.75 96.99 103.37
Rodeo Drive 23.65 45.80 69.34 94.88 119.09 24.67 47.75 71.16 94.94 119.09
Awesome Again 23.48 48.21 72.10 96.64 109.20 23.69 48.33 72.14 96.64 109.20
Unzip Me 21.13 43.03 66.39
72.39 22.18 43.68 66.39
Race Internal Splits
Race Winner
1/4 1/2 3/4 Mile Finish 1/4 1/2 3/4 Mile Finish
Chandelier 24.06 24.53 24.87 25.11 6.49 24.06 24.53 24.87 25.11 6.49
FrontRunner 23.44 24.27 24.88 25.37 6.55 23.59 24.27 24.76 25.34 6.55
Zenyatta 24.32 24.47 23.96 24.24 6.38 24.32 24.47 23.96 24.24 6.38
Rodeo Drive 23.65 22.15 23.54 25.54 24.21 24.67 23.08 23.41 23.78 24.15
Awesome Again 23.48 24.73 23.89 24.54 12.56 23.69 24.64 23.81 24.50 12.56
Unzip Me 21.13 21.90 23.36
6.00 22.18 21.50 22.71