07/31/2013 12:46PM

Dick Jerardi: Verrazano, Palace Malice confirm Kentucky Derby pace play

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Mark Wyville/EQUI-PHOTO
Verrazano, who was part of a fast early pace in the Kentucky Derby, won last Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, earning a 116 Beyer Speed Figure.

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The horses who finished first through fifth in the Kentucky Derby have run a combined seven times since then. None of them has finished first or second in any of those races. Only once has one of those horses run anything like he did in the Derby.

The horses who were first through sixth after a quarter-mile in the Derby have run a combined 11 times since then. They have won the Preakness, the Belmont Stakes, the Pegasus, the Jim Dandy, the Haskell, and finished second in the Belmont and second in the Bing Crosby.

If they ever teach the effects of pace at Penn’s Wharton Business School, they will play the 2013 Derby video on a loop. And the brilliant students will devise optimum wagering strategies when a future group of pace-compromised Derby horses emerges.

The Derby top five were 16th, 15th, 17th, 12th, and 18th after a quarter-mile

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Orb got a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in the Derby and a pair of 94 Beyers when well back in the Preakness and Belmont. Golden Soul got a 100 in the Derby, an 85 in the Belmont, and a 68 in the Haskell. Revolutionary got a 99 in the Derby and a 90 in the Belmont. Normandy Invasion has not run since the Derby. Mylute got a 99 in the Derby, improved to a 103 when a terrific third in the Preakness and then regressed to a 74 when well beaten in the Jim Dandy.

Palace Malice got an 84 in the Derby after setting that crazy pace. The colt got a 98 when he won the Belmont and a 107 when winning the Jim Dandy. Goldencents chased Palace Malice and got a 32 in the Derby. He earned a 91 when fifth in the Preakness and a 98 when an excellent second in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar. Falling Sky chased the Derby pace, but has not run back. Verrazano, fourth early in the Derby, finished 14th and got an 81. He won the Pegasus with a 95 and ran one of the great races by a 3-year-old in years when he got a 116 in the Haskell. Vyjack got a 27 in the Derby after chasing from fifth. He came back with an 86 and an 84 in the Belmont and Haskell, but has not come close to recapturing his pre-Derby form. Oxbow, sixth after a quarter-mile at Churchill, got a 90 in the race before winning the Preakness with a 106, finishing second in the Belmont with a 94, and fourth (while sustaining an ankle injury) in the Haskell and earning a 90.

So, we know that pace affects outcomes and figures. We also know that track conditions affect times. And nowhere was that more evident than in the 24 hours between the Jim Dandy at Saratoga and the Haskell at Monmouth Park.

Palace Malice was exceptional in the Jim Dandy, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.37. Before seeing the time, I knew the horse had run a big one just by watching how locked in he was chasing the pace and how he strode out in the stretch. The 107 Beyer was no surprise.

Verrazano was simply awesome in the Haskell. Hardly anybody noticed that Power Broker made a giant move at the eventual winner on the far turn. In fact, it looked like a winning move. Only Verrazano ran away from Power Broker in the stretch and won by nearly 10 lengths, the biggest margin in the history of the race. Verrazano ran his 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.68, 3.31 seconds slower than Palace Malice. Verrazano’s 116 Beyer was no surprise, either, to those who had been monitoring times that day.

Simply put, the Saratoga surface yielded quite fast times on Saturday while the Monmouth surface was exceptionally slow on Sunday. Once the speed of the respective surfaces was accounted for (Saratoga was about four seconds faster at the distance of the two major stakes), the track variants revealed the actual nature of the performances.

By any accounting, Verrazano and Palace Malice were brilliant. So, not only are two of the top 3-year-olds of the winter and spring still running as the calendar turns to August, they are running better than ever. Can’t wait for the Travers and to see what these 3-year-olds might have for the older horses in the fall.

 

Jordan More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is probably the most talented 3 year old, up to 9 furlongs. And no one can truly say with complete certainty whether he will be as effective going 10 furlongs. But there certainly are reasons to reserve declarations proclaiming him a superstar until after the Travers, because there are concerns about his ability to get 10f. First there is breeding. Then there is the Kentucky Derby. True, as the article explored, Verrazano or anyone close to the pace had little chance to win the race. But did he have to run THAT bad, finishing behind both Oxbow and, more telling, pacesetter Palace Malice? Third, Verrazano got an ideal setup in the Haskell stalking the modest pace of a horse that came out of the race injured. Palace Malice will set a faster pace and has already proven he has phenomenal endurance. Getting by Palace Malice will test every bit of Verrazano's endurance. I'm not foreclosing the possibility that Verrazano is simply best and will prove capable at 10 furlongs, but we've seen TAP horses like this before in Quality Road, and I just happen to lean more towards Palace Malice, a horse with the breeding and proven endurance.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
Is it the V in his name or is it that Todd trains him or is it that he has won every race up to a one and an eighth miles and for some unknown reason he dwelt in the Kentucky Derby, that so many of you hate him. What will you say when he blows them away in the Travers, that he just got lucky. I hope I'm able to here the excuses than. I think he shows signs of greatness.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
This colt only wins when he has clear running. Yrs he has showed greatness. I just don't believe he can get 1 1/4...or run behind horses then continue his effort. I think he is one dimensional n needs others to falter or have bad breaks or traffic problems to win. Like the colt. Don't respect the trainer much. But my analysis is based upon breeding knowledge, hands on care n experience, and watching both V races n his competition. Maybe he is a freak. But Derby proved my theory before. Travers wont have much speed except 3rd place runner from Jim Dandy n Palace Malice. So maybe V has a shot with slow pace n less colts than Derby.
Mark More than 1 year ago
He will make amends for the derby fiasco . Fluke. Pace meltdown. He was not the ONLY pace player to finish up the track. And as article states they have all proven to be the real class of this crop. Verrazano TOYED with that GRADE 1 Haskell field. Derby is a toss. My years of handicapping tell anyone that.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Grade 1 by name not entrants. And Oxbow was lame. Let's keep it honest.
Mark More than 1 year ago
What place did golden soul run in the Derby ? Haskell?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I firmly believe that Shug sent Orb directly to Fair Hill after TC races to gear him for The Travers. With Vearrazano ABSOLUTELY NEEDING a clean trip and a slow pace to carry his MILER PEDIGREE....I toss him and his severely inflated Beyer. Palace Malice was almost caught by WTC in The Jim Dandy. Neither V or PM faced much in their last...Oxbow was sore then came out lame. While the 1 1/4 off a nearly 60 rest scares me, I think Shug is utilizing every benefit of Fair Hill's rehab n recovery tools at his whim. Watch out for ORB.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Nearly 90 days rest.....not 60
Mark More than 1 year ago
Majestic hussar coming back on the 10th. Maybe shug can get him to come right back in the Travers. Orbs only prayer was answered in derby. We saw his true colors in his subsequent two starts. No meltdown no win. He may be off board all together come travers.
Mark More than 1 year ago
And in FD imld the only other contender in the field with ANY ability at two turns was off a long layoff.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Shanghai Bobby? One of your hero's horses and two year old Champ was there also. Careful.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Yes but also sustained an injury in race and is without question a miler .
Mark More than 1 year ago
Going to be one of the best Travers in a while. Thomas. Very excited.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Verrazank faced the derby runner up. Funny. And a baffert runner who cleared thE 3rd place runner by 6 1/2. Verrazano is tremendous.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Time will tell. I think Pm has best shot to beat Orb. But V has to show me he has the stamina and ability the sit behind horses.
Mark More than 1 year ago
His tactical speed in an 8-10 horse field with limited speed allows Johnny to place him wherever he needs to be . Especially at the 1 1/4 at saratoga.
Mark More than 1 year ago
PM is also a nice colt I agree Thomas but Verrazano is freaky . Remember too the drrbyvwas Verrazano 5th lifetime start in only 4 months on top of the pace slop etc etc etc. Plethcher also knew what he was ding skipping Preakness and Belmont. Freshening up v while at same time spotting out a campaign that could earn 3 year old and or hoy by years end.
Leroy More than 1 year ago
don't know why everyone hates on Verrazano he is the best 3year old out there by far he races 6 of his 7 races and did it easy the only time he lost was in the MUD he don't like the and e will the travers too if the track is fast
Edward More than 1 year ago
No mention that most of those races were(outside the Preakness and Belmont which was a lousy race. PM is a nice 9f horse but that was 80 Beyer in the Belmont) shorter in distance then the Derby. You don't think that helped?
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is a fraud at any distance past 1 1/8th miles against grade 1 or 2 horses...and you can take that to the bank.....now as I have said before ...that does not mean he wont be a top sire...I fully expect that he will.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I didn't like Verrazano at all but you have to admit Haskell was impressive in the stretch he looked awesome galloping out. Maybe competition
Leroy More than 1 year ago
Verrazano is by far the best 3year old out there and u will see in a few weeks
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Not at 1 1/4.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
This confirms my theory of betting The Derby. Closers are best. Churchill is a deep, tiring track going a mile and a quarter. I'm disappointed that ORB has tailed off as badly as he did, but his big closing win in the Florida Derby pointed him out as the one to be my Derby pick...
Edward More than 1 year ago
The race has been won far more times by a horse with-in 3 lengths at 1st call then a closer. That is a fact. You might want to confirm your "theory".
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
There was no indication that PalMal was going to run off in the Derby or that others would be foolish enough to chase him at that pace. So just how are those future Wharton pace strategy students going to know when "next" time happens?
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
Verrazano was indeed brilliant. The way he spit out Oxbow and simply dismissed Baffert's horse was stunning. Quite a performance.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Oxbow was sore before the race...hence Lukas comments prior to The Haskell that he was in light training yet dead fit n happy! Read between the lines. Lukas NEVER lightly trains any horse. Verrazano is a miler who can win if not behind horses. Get him behind eating dirt he wont run...and can't carry his speed 1 1/4 against top colts.
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
I seriously doubt Lukas would have run a sore horse in a race of such magnitude. He's been a target for these types of allegations in the past which have never proven valid. He's got too much to lose to risk another tragic breakdown especially in a major race attracting a lot of media coverage.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Read articles prior n post Haskell. Especially Gary Stevens qoute after the race. And Lukas comments week before about him backing off Oxbow. Don't be naive.
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
I would love to know what the Monmouth track superintendent did to slow that track down that much. He must have poured a lot of sand into it and I guess it didn't get much water afterwards? Anybody know?
Allan Gauthier More than 1 year ago
You don't get a fast time when you pass a lame horse.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
The whole weekend before the Haskell par times were way off.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
allan let the naysayers lose there cash.
Bill Kaup More than 1 year ago
How about the others he passed? Were they lame as well?
Edward More than 1 year ago
Who knows but about 2 months ago 8.5f races at the Graded level went from the 1:40-1:42 range to now multiple Graded stakes races at the distance have been won by proven horses in times around 1:44. The track is playing a solid 2+ seconds slower. And I am not a believer in a daily track bias but this is an obvious change in track pars. You couldn't even compare races from May earlier or else horses looked like Super horses compared to what has been going on the last month or two.