02/21/2011 6:11PM

FG Stakes, and a New Hound


The three graded stakes on the dirt at the Fair Grounds last Saturday all were run at a mile and a sixteenth, and the final times stacked up about the way you would have expected: The older males in the Mineshaft Handicap (1:43.45) ran faster than the 3-year-old males in the G2 Risen Star (1:43.98), who ran faster than the 3-year-old fillies in the G3 Rachel Alexandra (1:45.13).

These performances earned their respective winners Beyer Speed Figures of 99 (Demarcation) in the Mineshaft, 95 (Mucho Macho Man) in the Risen Star and 83 (Kathmanblu) in the RA. While these final times and figures were straightforward, there were sharply different pace scenarios in the three events that that should be taken into account in evaluating them.

While there was a final-time difference of more than 1.5 full seconds between the Mineshaft and the Rachel Alexandra, there was an even bigger gap in the six-furlong times for those races: the leaders went 1:11.76 in the Mineshaft and 1:14.30 in the RA. Look at it this way: Demarcation was dead last after six furlongs in the Mineshaft, and was hailed for a last-to-first winning move thereafter, but he actually would have been seven or eight lengths lengths in front of the entire Rachel Alexandra field at that point in the race:


The slow pace in the RA poses a handicapping dilemma in terms of how much credit to give Kathmanblu, who was being touted as staking a claim to leadership of the nation's 3-year-old fillies after the race. She's probably better than her 83 Beyer, and probably could have run a faster final time had she covered her first six furlongs in faster than 1:14.81. But how much faster? If she's going to be a serious contender in the division's top races on dirt, she's either going to have to run faster earlier or finish even more strongly than she did Saturday, when the promising Inglorious actually outfinished her after dawdling through a first 6f in 1:15.15.

While Demarcation got to the wire first in the Mineshaft, to me the moral victor of the race was Mission Impazible, who was just a length right off that (relatively) quick 1:11.76 early pace and still right there at the wire despite being clearly tired from his early exertions. I would take him over Demarcation in a rematch in a heartbeat.

The Risen Star fell between the other two races in terms of both pace and final time, and Mucho Macho Man and Santiva both ran well while clearly best. The disappointment of the race was Machen, who can certainly still improve off only three career starts but for now was exposed as being not ready for primetime. He had earned a lowly Beyer of 78 winning a slow-paced route in his previous start, but his wide margin of victory that day led bettors to ignore the fig and bet him down from 6-1 ML to the 2-1 co-favorite at post time. As Kathmanblu's fans may wish to note, while it's admirable to finish solidly against a slow pace, you still have to be able to get from point A to point B faster than the others.


---On Jan. 4, a 3-year-old greyhound named KT Red Rum made his 46th and final career start, finishing sixth in a Grade D race at the Sarasota Kennel Club. A week ago, he moved into the Crist household in Hempstead, N.Y., joining Dondo (nee M's Giterdone) for a greuling retirement regimen of eating biscuits, sleeping with all four legs in the air, and chasing squirrels through the snowy backyard.

KT Red Rum, renamed Junior during his brief stint in foster care, is the most nimble, agile and graceful of the four greyhounds we have adopted. He also was by far the worst racer. Go figure. His career record was 3 for 46, with those three victories all coming in Grade D races in West Virginia and Iowa.

He's a brindle, covered with tigery stripes and leopardy spots. I swear it's a coincidence that his coat is the same colors as the San Francisco Giants -- who, by the way, strike me as a big overlay at 15-1 to win the 2011 World Series.


Herbal More than 1 year ago
Fair post! i love it, please bookmark this page in digg or mixx so that everyone could find it easily. )) Thank you for sharing this information. You guys are doing a great job
Mary Ann More than 1 year ago
Congratulations on your new adoptee. We just lost our retired racer on February 21st due to cancer. There were no signs, no symptoms or clues prior to that morning. Surgery that afternoon showed massive intestinal cancer and it was hopeless. We are so grateful she didn't suffer but are so heartbroken to have lost our little girl who we adopted at 2 1/2 years old and lived to be 10 1/2. She was our fourth Greyhound, our first adopted in 1993. We've lived with Greyhounds for 18 years and they brought so much joy to our lives but the sorrow in losing them is so great. Junior is a beauty. The brindles are so gorgeous and really exotic looking. In looking at the photo, I've seen that look before, a little scared and a little apprehensive. I'm sure he's just learning about the wonderful family and life he will now have. Again, congratulations to all of you, Junior too.
Ray or sllibog More than 1 year ago
Steve, I hope you can advise me. I will be in N.O., La the weekend of the Derby. Jazz Fest, first time. Where can I go to make a bet. I will be staying in the French Quarter. Thanks, Ray
Bill Feingold More than 1 year ago
Before getting too high on Mission Impazible, remember he is by Unbridled's Song and as such is very gifted but prone to injury and other impediments to a long career.
RoMo More than 1 year ago
"Posted by marcus h. I agree with most of your analysis, having scribbled out all the FG Sat. splits on paper next to the laptop. Kathmanblu indeed failed to impress, but as far as staking a claim to being a top 3yo filly, who's above her? That's a division that's been light, light, light the last couple years, and the ranks look at least as thin in 2011." ....... you do realize that "RA" was in that "light, light, light" group ..?
jackman More than 1 year ago
Steve... Big fan. Love the blog. I am going to Gulfstream P ark tomorrow for the first time in 5-6 years. Get my weekend off to a good start....any live longshots or solid bets at decent odds you see on the card? Thanks...and congrats on the new member to the family.
Irv More than 1 year ago
You guys sticking with Junior? Doesn't sound quite right for the Crist household. How about Danny, the name of the child in "The Shining" whose alter-ego digit was fond of growling "Red rum, red rum"? Danny and Donnie.
Hammer More than 1 year ago
Steve, congrats with Junior. "Stripes and Spots" makes for one fine looking animal.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Steve, Do you know where I can get a copy of the place photo from Saturday's Fair Grounds handicap? I felt like DUBIOUS MISS got there first and the photo cost me somewhere in the vicinity of one million US Dollars. Thanks, JP
TripleCrownCoug More than 1 year ago
Steve, I have heard the Mission Impazible camp is now considering the Dubai World Cup(I don't know if he even has an invitation). What are your thoughts on that? In reviewing MI's races it appears his biggest weakness is he doesn't accelerate off of turns very well and often gets passed early in the stretch by other horses but then he seems to really improve through the stretch, the longer the better(see any of his races other than Ky Derby). I think the long Meydan stretch might just be right up his alley. He will have to improve but ran his best race 3rd time out last year. He won on Polytrack first time out so synthetics don't appear to be a negative with him. In looking at the Also Ran list the 2010 La Derby appears to be a major win.