11/10/2009 7:12PM

Breeders' Cup by the pace figures

EmailA look at the Breeders’ Cup main-track races from a pace figure perspective. All figs below are on the Moss Pace Figure scale.  Included are pacefigs for this year’s running, par pacefigs associated with that final figure, plus the pacefig lines from last year’s running and the local prep race at Santa Anita, at the same distance when applicable.

The Juvenile Fillies came up a tad faster than par from start to finish, but slower-paced at the first call than the Oak Leaf Stakes (one reason Always a Princess was well-supported) and not as strongly run as last year.
  Juv Fillies ’09 (She B Wild):         58-72-83/88
  Par:                                              55-67-79/88
  Juv Fillies ’08 (Stardom Bound):  69-77-87/90
  Oak Leaf ’09 (Blind Luck):           70-69-79/88

Meanwhile, the Juvenile (Vale of York) had a slow-early, fast-late shape compared to par, compared to last year’s running and especially compared to the Norfolk Stakes. This makes runnerup Lookin At Lucky look even better in hindsight.
   Juvenile ’09 (Vale of York):       52-62-77/89  
   Par:                                           57-67-80/89
   Juvenile ’08 (Midshipman):       55-66-80/89  
   Norfolk ’09 (Lookin at Lucky):    67-70-82/89

Last year, the Filly & Mare Sprint had a swift pace that aided Ventura’s late kick.  Without Indian Blessing to push the pace this year, you could see the handwriting on the wall.  There wasn’t actually a seven-furlong prep at Oak Tree, so I went back to the Santa Monica Jan. 31 for another comparison.
   Filly & Mare Sprint ’09 (Informed Decision):  70-81-92/94 
   Par:                                                                76-84-93/94
   Filly & Mare Sprint ’08 (Ventura):                   79-89-94/95
   Santa Monica ’09 (Ventura):                          68-79-90/92

The 2008 Sprint, won by Midnight Lute, was also faster-paced - at least at the quarter-mile call - than this year’s running, which stayed close to par.
   Sprint ’09 (Dancing in Silks): 84-91/95
   Par:                                        84-89/95
   Sprint ’08 (Midnight Lute):     91-91-97
   Ancient Title ’09 (Gayego):    87-88/93

The Dirt Mile was slow-early, fast-late.  Albertus Maximus last year won a race that was fast-early, slow-late.
    Dirt Mile ’09 (Furthest Land):     56-72-86/95
    Par:                                             63-74-86/95
    Dirt Mile ’08 (Albertus Maximus): 75-82-90/93

Need any further evidence that Careless Jewel was a runaway train Saturday?  No wonder Life Is Sweet looked so strong with her 107 Beyer.  That race, plus Zenyatta’s victory in the Classic with a 112 Beyer, demonstrates just how much the crawling pace in recent filly-and-mare preps in Southern California was affecting the final figures.
   Ladies Classic ’09 (Life Is Sweet):             66-88-95-94/95
   Par:                                                            58-68-82-93/95
   Ladies Classic ’08 (Zenyatta):                    55-62-80-90/94
   Lady’s Secret ’09 (Zenyatta at 1 1/16m):   39-56-77-xx/92

 And Zenyatta’s mad dash through the stretch in the Classic came after a pace that was not substantially quicker than the 2008 running.
   Classic ’09 (Zenyatta):             52-63-77-89/97
   Par:                                          56-66-81-91/97
   Classic ’08 (Raven’s Pass):     53-61-73-87/96
   Santa Anita Hcp ’09 (Einstein): 46-61-72-86/94
Dennis More than 1 year ago
"The Chrome Collector" Greeting, I've been around Sunland Park for years, 3 horses have left Sunland bound for Gr 1 status (2 were second in gr 1's)...Mine That Bird, A To The Z (who I was the proud owner of), and Bold Ego, a 4th is around the corner.....The 2010 Sunland Derby thoughts...Well Conveyance didn't get the distance....he's a sprinter? Not so fast...in finishing second, he did "lay the wood" to Tempted To Tapit, And Nacho Friend (both true contenders from La, and Ny), he did run a 95 beyer today, he did run 4/5 of an ancient track record, but lets look at Endorsement, not what he may be, but what he is. As good as Conveyance is, he is tonight without his "chrome", Endorsement ran by him so fast he sucked the chrome right off him. Not just because he ran a 101 beyer, or finished 1/5 off the track record (after a :48 2/5) , but because he ran the last 5/8's of a mile in :59 2/5. After the first Saturday in May, this monster should be renamed "The Chrome Collector".............
Alfredo More than 1 year ago
Hello Randy, This is the first time I have looked in on your blog. I must admit that the pace figs I employ are "cave-manish." I simply look at the running positions and then try to come up with a guess about the true pace. Do you have a primer for your pace figures you can refer me too?
Mike More than 1 year ago
Randy, I was wondering if in a future post you could possibly go into some of the subtleties of making pace figures ie. if adjustments are made for various run up distances and for deceleration values around a turn. Or is that accounted for (built in) in the various par times you've come up with for each track? Also, with the new year right around the corner, maybe some pace figure "angles" that you find interesting. Improving pace figures while final time speed figures stay static, turnback figures ( I know you've talked somewhat about these in the past), etc. The one thing I've found is that pace figures combined with final time speed figures give a much better view of a particular horse's condition and form cycle pattern than final time speed figures alone. Happy Holidays!!!
GunBow More than 1 year ago
Very interesting. While many looked at the performances of Zenyatta and Life as Sweet prior to the BC and made comments along the lines of "they are facing the same, weak allowance fillies and mares, or they are facing small fields and against larger fields are not going to be able to lay back and swing wide". However, your pace analysis demonstrates that both Zenyatta and Life is Sweet had been severely affected by slow paces that strongly worked against their late running styles. The fact that Zenyatta was able to remain undefeated against such a strong pace bias was a reflection of her true quality, something which her skeptics finally realized after the Classic. When provided a strong early pace(Life is Sweet) and even a moderate pace(Zenyatta), the two Sheriffs trainees displayed their full abilities and received strong final Beyers.
Steve C More than 1 year ago
Randy, watching the races on ESPN was painful. The camera angles made it impossible to know where a horse was in relation to the rest of the field. Watching the Distaff live and then watching the replay was like watching two different races. Carless Jewel was 10 lenghts clear in the backstretch. On the ESPN feed, she looked like she was a length in front. I would think all the negative feedback would make ESPN think twice about showing the races with all of the foolish camera angles. 90% of the people I spoke to or who commented on other blogs felt the same way. Why can't ESPN show the live track feed? I look forward to reading your response.