11/16/2011 10:52AM

A Handicapper’s look back at Leg 1 of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series


Portland, OR— The two divisions of Leg 1 of the McFadden Memorial Sprint Claiming Series presented handicappers with some unique circumstances for wagering, and with Leg 2 coming up on Wednesday November 16th, we wanted to take a look at each race and some of the leading contenders and talk about the trips and circumstances that each runner had in Leg 1.  First of all, the track that day appeared to have been hindering to early speed as 8 of the 9 races on November 2nd were won from off the pace, with the lone wire-to-wire winner coming in race 1 as Mazama set a very unpressured pace to score.  It was certainly a day to be coming from off the pace and staying outside of the rail.  The times for the day were about average for Portland Meadows, however both divisions of the McFadden Series were run pretty quickly, with 58.91 the time for the first division and 59.21 for the second division.  Note that for a few decades before Salt Water went 57.13 on 3/23/09, the track record for five furlongs was :58. 

Division 1

This race set up with long shot Alybye on Fire going out the lead and being pressed by Smoken Sham.  Colonel Courtney came after the lead at the quarter pole and was followed up by Rallying Cry as they entered the lane, and those two inched away from Smoken Sham and a late closing Inhoc Signo Vinces late.

Rallying Cry—The winner came five wide and got a nice setup for the race under jockey Joe Crispin.  Had no traffic trouble other than a slightly wide trip, but wasn’t exactly drawing off late, as he held the winning margin but didn’t increase it at all.

Colonel Courtney---Got first run on Rallying Cry but couldn’t hold him off.  This horse is a warrior and will show up and run hard everytime.  He had a very clear trip and made his move pretty early on the turn. 

Inhoc Signo Vinces---Finished third but was disqualified for sawing off Alybye on Fire while weaving his way through traffic.  Might have deceptively run the best race as he broke well and dropped back early before re-rallying and having to make his way through traffic.  Needs a big finish in Leg 2 to get points, but is certainly live.

Smoken Sham—Was always close up and was down on the rail the whole time which wasn’t really the place to be that day.  Couldn’t quite stick with the winners but is a hard-trying sort that should have some presence in the lane in Leg 2.

Brainstorm---He should really benefit from the extra half a furlong in Leg 2 as he was far far back at the  top of the stretch and came running very well late to get up and finish fifth before the disqualification of Inhoc Signo Vinces put him up to fourth. 

Castle Pines---Definitely had a wide journey in Leg 1 and could benefit from a better post position in Leg 2.


Division 2

This race certainly had an interesting race shape as the two heavy favorites Getrdonegotrdid and Declan Downs went out and set a torrid pace of 21.96 second opening quarter and set it up for the closers as D Devil, Roaring To Go and Taking Liberties all swept by down the lane.

D. Devil---A veteran Oregon-bred who will be making career start number 100 in Leg 2, came from off the pace and really enjoyed an ideal set up as they absolutely dueled each other into submission in front of him.  Jockey Jose Zunino deserves credit for a good ride, but D. Devil certainly should appreciate the extra 1/16th of a mile.

Roaring To Go—Was ridden somewhat hard early on and couldn’t keep up with the two who went up front, but still managed to eventually pass them both and also was keeping pace with the winner and had to dive to the inside late while going around the erratic Declan Downs and might have lost some ground because of that, however the move was actually a smart one and a necessary one.  Might have sneakily ran the best race in this division.

Taking Liberties---Was a big long shot but certainly ran well from off the pace to go right with D. Devil and Roaring To Go, plus he was having to overcome the widest journey of any runners.  Be interesting to see if he gets a similar pace setup in Leg 2 as he did last time.

Declan Downs—Was claimed and was part of the duel on the front end, the only difference between this guy and the other front runner was that he was still around with atleast a fighting chance in the final 100 yards.  Wasn’t beaten by much, and on a day when hardly anyone was winning on the lead, he just may come back for his new barn firing in Leg 2.

Swiss Exploit---Came running from off the pace and was on the rail until being kicked outside at the top of the stretch.  The rail was not the place to be that day, and with a proper set up and an extra sixteenth of a mile, who is to say this runner couldn’t jump up and earn a few more points to get into the finals on December 7th.

Getrdonegotrdid—Was claimed after setting the blistering pace and faded down the stretch to finish last.  Is likely not to move onto Leg 2 after the dull performance, as he has been entered for a $2,000 claiming race on Tuesday 11/15.