02/21/2011 2:05PM

Fair Grounds: Belatedly, Bind


Try to believe that working in the Fair Grounds press box I'm unable to do any Inside Posting. Is this 2001? In any case, in the Fair Grounds press box I was all Saturday, after which I hit the road to start driving home to Chicago, where I arrived about 1:30 p.m. Sunday. I assume by now that many on-line words have been spent talking about Bind, the Adele Dilschneider homebred by Pulpit who made his career debut in Saturday's third race. But allow me to add my concisely formulated perspective on the Bind debut:


It was in November, before the FG meet started, that Bind's trainer, Al Stall, directed me from his barn office: "Go take a look in that first stall," he said. In it stood one of the more handsome t-breds I've laid eyes on. No separating partition on this guy's stall door, either. He put his head out quietly, curiously, and submitted to a gentle pat without so much as a nip. A gentleman, this beautiful unraced colt named Bind.

Back at Fair Grounds covering stakes races on Jan. 22, I had time before a flight home on Jan. 23 to stand in the empty morning FG stands as Bind went through a five-furlong gate workout. If anything, the horse looked better on the track than he did in the barn. Great way of going, went fast while appearing to be in a mild gallop.

So, yeah, I had expectations for Bind's first start Saturday. Horses are more likely to fall short of expectations than meet them, but Bind exceeded. He's big and strong and out of an Unbridled mare, seemingly a route horse, but Bind broke sharply and easily kept up with a scorching early pace, 21.39 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, to be exact. Bind was 3-4 lengths off that split and going so easily that his rider, Rosie Napravnik, had to nudge the colt at the three-furlong pole to remind him that he was actually in a race. The effect was something like, 'What's that? You want me to go faster? All right.' And Bind took flight. By the top of the stretch he had collared the pace-setter. "He's going to win by 20," someone in the press box said. Not quite - just 9.5 lengths, going away, never asked, seemingly without effort.  

After that 21.39 split, the fractions were 44.73 for the half, 56.40 for five furlongs, and a final 6fs times of 1:08.80. The Beyer calculator has assigned that time a figure of 105 - which I totally buy. The track record for 6fs at FG is 1:08.03, set by Mountain General in 2002. I can't find another sub-1:09 six furlongs at FG since Gold Storm went 1:08.99 back in 2005. The track on Saturday was quick, sure, but it wasn't even the fastest-playing surface of the meet. In other words, lets just hope Bind can stay healthy and happy. The Triple Crown apparently is out of play, but if things go well, Bind should be a stakes force at some point this year.