03/02/2009 2:55PM

Weekend recap, Beyers, questions, etc.


We've been fortunate enough to see some wonderful performances over the last few weeks.  Even though he isn't nominated to the race just yet, Quality Road is going to skyrocket to the top of Kentucky Derby lists after his eye-catching performance in the Fountain of Youth.  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the afternoon came at the start when the speedy Notonthesamepage showed no interest in going to the front.  Despite a pokey first quarter-mile run down the straight backstretch, Notonthesamepage ended up in midpack while This Ones for Phil cleared from his outside post to emerge as the unlikely pacesetter.  If you believe the fractional times, the leaders sped through their second-quarter in 21.72 with Quality Road perched just off This Ones for Phil's hip.  Despite the enervating middle split, Quality Road drew away from This Ones for Phil, opened up on the field, and had plenty left in holding off late-runners Theregoesjojo and Beethoven.  The Beyer came back huge, and Quality Road backed it up from a visual standpoint.  How good is he?  Let's not anoint him the Derby winner until we've seen him go two turns, but he is a very promising prospect.  Theregoesjojo is lightly-raced, and you can envision better from him in the coming weeks.  Beethoven looks like the kind of horse that would benefit from the usual frenzied pace that races like the Derby provides...In Southern California, The Pamplemousse delivered, and you have to think that Julio Canani hasn't squeezed The Grapefruit dry just yet.  True, there wasn't much in the Sham, and The Pamplemousse was the only speed, but he won in professional fashion.  An intriguing matchup of contrasting styles with Pioneerof the Nile looms on the horizon.  Mr. Hot Stuff made up some ground late, galloped out nicely, and seems on the improve...I know it was a couple of weeks ago, but I still can't get over Presious Passion's gutwrenching performance in the Mac Diarmida.  Sent on a kamikaze speed mission by Elvis Trujillo, Presious Passion set ridiculously fast fractions in the 11-furlong marathon, yet dug down gamely in the stretch to fight off any and all challengers.  If we haven't figured it out yet, he's a very good horse, and deserves more press.  


Let's take a look at the winning Beyer Speed Figures for the last two weeks of stakes action:

*Fountain of Youth (GP):  Quality Road (J. Jerkens/J. Velazquez) - 113

*Sabin (GP):  One Caroline (G. Arnold II/E. Prado) - 103
*Sham (SA):  The Pamplemousse (J. Canani/A. Solis) - 103
*Hollie Hughes (Aqu):  Mor Chances (R. Dutrow Jr./R. Migliore) - 102
*The Very One (GP):  Criticism - GB (T. Albertrani/E. Prado) - 101
*Mac Diarmida (GP):  Presious Passion (E. Trujillo/M. Hartmann) - 101
*Stymie (Aqu):  Barrier Reef (T. Albertrani/R. Dominguez) - 100
*San Luis Obsipo (SA):  Spring House (J. Canani/A. Solis) - 100

*San Carlos (SA):  Georgie Boy (K. Walsh/G. Gomez) - 99
*Crystal Water (SA):  Medzendeekron (B. Abrams/G. Gomez) - 99
*Canadian Turf (GP):  Twilight Meteor (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 98
*Davona Dale (GP):  Justwhistledixie (K. McLaughlin/A. Garcia) - 97
*Gulf Coast Classic (DeD):  Stonehouse (J. Broussard/C. Bourque) - 97
*Broadway (Aqu):  Lights Off Annie (B. Levine/R. Maragh) - 95
*Spring Fever (OP):  Palanka City (T. Gestes/E. Emigh) - 92
*Tampa Bay (Tam):  Victory Alleged (D. Manning/C. Marquez Jr.) - 92
*Feel the Beat (Aqu):  Awesome Ashley (T. Pletcher/A. Napravnik) - 91
*Bayou (FG):  Love to Tell (M. Burgess/J. Shepherd) - 91
*Baldwin (SA):  Battle of Hastings - GB (J. Mullins/T. Baze) - 90

*Rare Treat (Aqu):  Weathered (K. Grusmark/M. Luzzi) - 89
*Goddess (DeD):  Alina (S. Asmussen/G. Melancon) - 88
*Busher (Aqu):  What a Pear (J. Parker/C. Hill) - 88
*King Glorious (GG):  Charlie's Moment (W. Solis/D. Sorenson) - 87
*Wayward Lass (Tam):  Striking Tomisue (N. Zito/J. Bridgmohan) - 87
*Muir Beach (TuP):  Born With Eagles (M. Pearson/G. Corbett) - 85
*Arizona Oaks (TuP):  Carlsbad (K. Lewis/D. Vergara) - 85
*Mountain Valley (OP):  Citizen (B. Flint/J. Court) - 85
*New Mexico State University (Sun):  Daddy O. (J. Gonzalez Jr./A. Medellin) - 85
*Mardi Gras (FG):  Selva (D. Carroll/R. Albarado) _ 85
*Valentine Dancer (SA):  Bel Air Sizzle/Onebadkitty (B. Abrams/G. Gomez) (B. Koriner/A. Gryder) - 84 (DEAD-HEAT)
*Maryland Racing Media (Lrl):  Hello Poochie Pooh (J. Alecci/E. Rodriguez) - 84
*Miracle Wood (Lrl):  Rock On Justin (G. Capuano/T. Maragh) - 84
*Borderland Derby (Sun):  Scorewithcater (D. O'Neill/M. Baze) - 84
*Grasmick (Fon):  Tonight Rainbow (B. Caster/C. Kimes) - 81
*Sarah Lane's Oates (FG):  Wanna Cuddle (A. Ishaq/C. Lanerie) - 80

*Rillito Park Budweiser Mile (Ril):  Northern Blood (G. Barrow/T. Gard) - 77
*Island Fashion (Sun):  Oro Blanco (H. Dominguez/A. Medellin) - 77
*Gentilly (FG):  Milwaukee Miracle (B. Young/D. Meche) - 76
*Turf Paradise Derby (TuP):  Mayor Marv (B. Baffert/D. Flores) - 75
*Valdale (TP):  Walloon (K. Ball/H. Rosario Jr.) - 74
*John Battaglia Memorial (TP):  Proceed Bee (T. Gestes/R. Prescott) - 73
*Zip Pocket (TuP):  Radford (K. Lewis/D. Vergara) - 70

*Ogataul (Fon):  Skwhirl (B. Rising/J. Ponce) - 65
*Pete Selin Memorial (Ril):  Derby Cat (S. Davis/F. Gamez) - 62

*Invitational (PM):  Thunder Thorn (R. Harwood/T. Stillwell) - 58
*Invitational (PM):  De Cantina (C. Duby/M. Terleski) - 50

Here are the lifetime past performances of the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers over the past two weeks:

Download QualityCantina


Need some thoughts on Gomez's ride in the 5th. Do you believe a) The horse just ran off and he didn't want to stangle him to settle or b)Bad ride, trying to create distance on the field and play "come and catch me"? For me, I think he could've tried to get the horse to relax after he got clear but instead he kept the peddle to the floor. I'm leaning toward B.

For the past 5-10 years on TC Trail, I've noticed alot of people putting alot of emphasis on "gallop outs". My question is, does it really matter? I mean how many horses have we seen on the TC Trail that have had a great gallop out and have not followed that up with a win?


You're talking about the ride on Uncle Jeep in Friday's fifth race, and I think it was a combination of a) and b).  Uncle Jeep really was pulling Garrett hard entering the backstretch, and at that point, I think the thought process went something like this:

"I'm odds-on, I'm not gonna fight him.  Let 'em catch me if they can."

Unfortunately, they did get him late.

I think the gallop-out can be an important factor in handicapping for future performance although it may be more important when spotting negative gallop-outs than the positives.  Mr. Hot Stuff showed that he was still running hard at the end of the race, and he should have received a good "cool-down" from that effort.  Considering his stamina pedigree, looks, and the positive impression made after the race, long distance races should be right up his alley.  He's lightly-raced, and it's possible he's just figuring it out.  Should we bet the house on a good gallop-out horse?  Probably not, but it's worth looking at as a piece of the puzzle.


At GP does anyone know if Reata's Vixen was claimed on thurs.?

Reata's Vixen wasn't claimed, and will remain with Joe Orseno after her win on Thursday.


So, for all you experts at breaking down a race, what did you think of The Pamplemousse?  My first impression is he is one Pretty Gray Horse.  His stride looked nice and fluid with a decent lead change. The fractions looked decent but I don't know how they compared to others at SA yesterday.  I loved that he looked relaxed on the lead, but he didn't seem challenged.

I found things I liked, and things I wasn't so crazy about.  I love that he's speedy without being rank.  He has natural speed, and doesn't have to pull to get things his own way.  I like that he's professional.  He changes leads very nicely, and knows exactly what he's doing out there.  There's no doubt he's a good horse, but I'm not sure what more we learned out there on Saturday than we knew before the race.  We've said it many times before on the blog.  Give a good horse an easy lead, and the race is history.  The Pamplemousse won this race during the second quarter-mile when he was able to relax all by his lonesome.  I'm not sure I love his action.  If you watch the head-on, he has a pronounced paddling stride with his left front, and I wonder how that'll play on dirt.  All in all, I'm a fan of the horse.  Heck, I'm a fan of any horse that can spreadeagle a field on the front end on synthetics.  As we've seen, that just ain't an easy feat with winners usually seeming to come from the balcony.


I've been suprised that there hasn't been much interest in this topic but when you guys look at the data from Gulfstream Park, what do you think of my theory that there is a problem with the placement of the 6 furlong pole or at least the timing mechanism???
Blue Horseshoe

I think you're onto something.  Let's take a look at the Hal's Hope, a race on January 3 that featured a ton of speed-types on paper.  They went the first quarter in 23 4/5, and the half in 46 2/5.
One Caroline won the Sabin on February 20 after pressing a quarter in 24 1/5, and a half in 47 1/5.  It seems in almost every example of mile dirt races I've come across, the second quarter is run faster than the first. Strange considering the first quarter is run down the straight.  I'm thinking that CM is right concerning the runup placement.  I wish I had more evidence with which to base my opinion, but I just simply have trouble believing any times at GP over the last few years.  It doesn't matter whether it it's turf or dirt, they just don't add up.  Is it possible that they went 21 and change in the second quarter of the FOY?  I guess it's possible, but I'm not sure I believe.  Unfortunately, this is going to wreak havoc on pace and speed handicappers until the FOY performers run back next.


Let's give joecem until tomorrow at 5pm to post his HandiGambling selection.  If he hasn't done it by then, I'll ask the previous winner, Molesap, to pick the race.

Take care,