03/16/2010 6:46AM

Pace: Gotham, TB Derby, Rebel, Felipe


Four recent Kentucky Derby prep races – all at 1 1/16 miles - had the following pace profiles:

Race Date Winner Moss Pace Figure line
Gotham Stakes March 6 Awesome Act 89-91-90 final 92
Tampa Bay Derby March 13 Odysseus 80-88-90 final 90
Rebel Stakes March 13 Lookin At Lucky 67-74-83 final 92
San Felipe March 13 Sidney's Candy 47-62-71 final 91

Now for interpretations/observations:

* Awesome Act was undoubtedly helped by the pace in front of him. The median Gotham pacefig line in its five years on the Aqueduct inner track is 76-82-88 final 92, so this year’s pace was decidedly faster. But visually, he looks like the real deal. The authority with which he rolled up to the leaders four-wide nearing the stretch and drew off was impressive.

* Odysseus is slightly subpar on final Beyer figures, especially when weight is factored into the equation. But on the pacefig scale, this Tampa Bay Derby was aggressively run compared to the 10-year paceline of 78-84-90 final 91, so he deserves extra credit for maintaining enough energy for that improbable comeback. Notice he was treading water until he belatedly switched to his right running lead in midstretch, and then launched his winning surge. Having said that, I’d rate the effort of Schoolyard Dreams as slightly better than Odysseus, but that is highly subjective. Schoolyard Dreams showed a nice turn of foot while making that premature move, and lost more ground on the turns. Also, don’t forget Super Saver carried six more pounds than either of those colts, but he looks too one-dimensional for me.

* Lookin At Lucky’s Rebel was a home run on multiple fronts. He showed he could ship effectively. He demonstrated that dirt will be no problem. He displayed toughness in overcoming the adversity of a rough trip. He again was determined in the stretch. He beat some nice horses. And notice how much slower the Rebel paceline was than the Gotham and Tampa Bay Derby (the 10-year Rebel norm is 72-82-89 final 92), yet Lookin At Lucky was still able to get up from five lengths back after a quarter-mile. Noble's Promise and Dublin are legitimate Top Ten prospects as well. Don’t give up on Dublin yet; he was four-wide around both turns in the Rebel.

* And upon further review, I’m not a big believer in Sidney’s Candy at this point. Yes, early speed is typically at a disadvantage on synthetics, but not when a talented horse goes as slowly as he did. His form reminds me a little of Bob Black Jack, whose 2008 San Felipe pace was almost as slow – but not quite – as Sidney’s Candy’s. Bob Black Jack finished a good third in that race behind Georgie Boy and Gayego in a 94 Beyer, was beaten only a half-length by Colonel John in the Santa Anita Derby, then set the pace and lost by 32 lengths at Churchill Downs. Interactif was arguably a better horse in the San Felipe, making up some ground to lose by just a half-length. American Lion is too headstrong for synthetics; much the same as Zardana, upsetter of Rachel Alexandra, he should be helped by faster-paced dirt racing that will enable him to settle more willingly without need of the riding restraint he clearly resents. After falling into a perfect pace trip in the San Rafael, Caracortado was exposed in the San Felipe; when faced with some pace adversity, he was outfinished. And the early stroll completely obliterated the chances of Dave in Dixie. He was supposed to make up 7 1/2 lengths on Sidney’s Candy? No shot.

pete hryb More than 1 year ago
i moved to where on cable tv(time warner)i don't get any horse racing on tv(tvg,hrtv,or otb)espn + the major networks don't show all the races on a big day.hard to stay involved in the sport as a fan + bettor if i can't watch all the big races.(kentucky derby day pick-3 comes to mind)at least the local harness track near me (which i attend)has free replays of all the races on there website,thorobred tracks you have to pay threw a betting service to watch most replays.i loved tvg +hrtv when i had dish network,but time warner has a better phone-internet-tv package.i wish the industry would address this problem.
Steve Goodwins More than 1 year ago
Randy, you can't handicap young lightly raced three year olds, the way you do older horses. Sidney's Candi's race was his first around two turns. He now has the benefit of that race, along with the fact; he was a happy horse winning that race. His heart is pumped! Interactif was no stranger to the distance and he ran his race and still didn't beat Sidney's Candi. Lookin At Lucky better bring his 'A' game to the Santa Anita Derby, or he is going to be 'Lookin At (UN)Lucky'. I don't care if Sidneys Candi got to be on the lead in a 1:13 and change three quarters. He ran the last five sixteenths averaging 11.6 seconds per eighth. That pony is a race horse, just like his daddy!
renaissance costume More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the wonderful post.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Randy why is Super Saver too one dementional but you speak well 0f the effort Rule made in the Sam Davis. I will take Super saver over Rule in the Deby fo any amount you want.
Gem33 More than 1 year ago
Hi, Can you maybe explain the logic in these statements? In the Rebel stakes, the pace was supposedly slower than the norm for that event, and Lookin At Lucky is given high praise for coming from behind (- 4 3/4 after 4 furlongs) to win. Yet, in the San Felipe, the pace is universally understood to be very slow, and yet "Caracortado was exposed" and he "faced pace adversity" despite his being 4 1/2 lengths back after 4 furlongs. You are offering vastly subjective interpretations and most handicappers cannot understand the logic you're using, particularly when it seems you pick and choose inconsistently what you infer to be logical interpretation. Others could easily say that Lookin At Lucky put forth another non-convincing performance for the fact that he merely chased and overcame another field of relatively slow horses. Lookin at Lucky's figures simply need to be better in order to win the Kentucky Derby, and that has been apparent for some time. To call that a "home run" (when once again he failed to separate himself from Noble's Promise) seems a bit biased. The general public can basically figure out the subjectivity to speed figures, particularly when there is some absolute logic tethered to them. Your pace figures are relatively vague and subject to interpretation, and yet nobody offers a proper tutorial on how to apply them in black-and-white fashion. Please do something about this, for the sake of the wagering public.
wilson More than 1 year ago
Was Caracortado really exposed? He didn't run a winning race but that pace was so ridiculous that I don't know what more to expect out of him. Obviously Interactif ran better than he did but he also saved more ground, so Caracortado deserves a mulligan I think. I don't think any important race he'll be in going forward will have such a slow pace up front.
RONALD DODGEN More than 1 year ago
Randy: The Tampa Bay Derby was a bad race period. 1.) 4 horses finished 1 length and a nose apart the 4th horse was 42-1 2.) Last 16th was close to 7 seconds. 3.) Schoolyard Dreams does have a turn of foot, but since when is moving at the 3/8th's pole an early move. He had a perfect trip in the clear in 4th and hung needs a shorter distance. 4.) Odysseus was pasted on the turn like he was tied to a post and then the field hung (7 seconds). He has some upside but i wouldn't hold my breath.
Charles Alsip More than 1 year ago
I think that Odysseus has a tremendous amount of upside. He is lightly raced and showed that in the Tampa Bay Derby. If he had changed leads on schedule he likely wins the race by at least two lengths. A little more seasoning and he's going to be a good one. The pace in the San Felipe was laughable. Most of these horses work 6f faster than Sidney's Candy went the first 6f in this race. With the slow pace no other horse in the field had a chance of winning. The fact that Interactif closed in the lane tells you that he was by far the superior horse. Caracortado did not run his race but I wouldn't throw him out yet. He was compromised by the pace and had to change his normal running style. Dave in Dixie was never able to get into the race because of the dawdling fractions. In light of the number of top notch speed horses in the running for the Derby this year Sydney's Candy has no shot at being a Kentucky Derby winner.