12/19/2012 2:32PM

Jerardi: Lasix hard to figure regarding performance at Breeders' Cup

Email
Emily Shields
Executiveprivilege (2) got the best Beyer Speed Figure of her career, a 93, when she was second to Beholder in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, her first race without Lasix.

As I made my way through the past performances of the Eclipse Award candidates, I was searching for controversy. Where was Rachel Alexandra/Zenyatta or Zenyatta/Blame?

Really, is anybody passionate about Wise Dan/Royal Delta for Horse of the Year? Is anybody even thinking about it?

So, in the absence of controversy there (and I will get to my thoughts on Horse of the Year and a few other categories later), I went searching in other places. My eyes stopped on the 2-year-old categories. A few days after the Breeders’ Cup, I had taken a brief look at the form of the horses with and without Lasix. Now, I lingered.

Was there a pattern with these 2-year-olds who had been running with Lasix before having to do without it in the most important race of their lives? And equally as important to me, what did it mean for bettors who clearly had not been considered in this decision.

I just looked at the three BC dirt races for 2-year-olds. Grass, I thought, was just going to complicate an issue that was already complicated.

Beholder got a 108 Beyer Speed Figure in her race before the BC. She got a 95 while winning the Juvenile Fillies. I would have expected a drop from that amazing Beyer in the allowance race. Not sure if I was thinking 13 points, but that was the difference with Lasix and without it.

Executiveprivilege actually got the best Beyer of her career when she ran second in the BC, a 93. Her previous stakes wins had been with Beyers of 84, 85, 88, and 84. Back with Lasix in the Hollywood Starlet, she ran the worst race of her life, finishing fourth at 2-5, getting a 78 Beyer.

Dreaming of Julia, third in the BC, got an 86 that day. She earned a 78 in the Frizette when she was in that match race for a mile. She had previously gotten a 90 in the Meadow Star Stakes.

Coming into the BC, Kauai Kate’s numbers were 100 (in her first start), followed by an 84 and an 88. She got an 82 when fourth behind Beholder.

Verdict: confusing.

Shanghai Bobby’s numbers entering the Juvenile were 68, 93, 88, and 94 in the Champagne. He was life and death to win the race, getting an 82, his worst figure since he won his maiden in April.

Power Broker got a 90 when he won the FrontRunner on Sept. 29. He got a 73 when he was fifth in the Juvenile.

He’s Had Enough got a 74 in the race before the Juvenile, got an 82 when he was a strong second in the Juvenile and then got a 75 when no factor in the CashCall Futurity.

Verdict: Interesting in the cases of Shanghai Bobby and Power Broker, counterintuitive in the case of He’s Had Enough.

In the Juvenile Sprint, Hightail got a 78 on the Polytrack at Keeneland, a 90 in his upset win at Santa Anita, and 77 in the Delta Jackpot a few weeks later. Merit Man got a 92 before the BC and a 90 in losing a photo in the Juvenile Sprint. Sweet Shirley Mae got 75 at Saratoga in early September and an 84 when third in the Juvenile.

Verdict: Baffling.

Given the sample size and other vagaries of Thoroughbred form, my little review was an interesting exercise that proved or disproved nothing. Without getting into the Lasix or no-Lasix debate (I am not qualified to render an opinion), I do know that it makes an already difficult job for players even more difficult. And that can’t be a good thing for America’s two best days of racing where the players are so critical in determining the success of the event.

As for 2012, it was a year that had tremendous promise and went poof on the morning of June 8. If you have to ask what happened then, you are reading the wrong paper/website.

So, which horse was best in 2012? And should it be the most accomplished (the horse who won the most important races) or simply the best horse. I always go with the best horse. And, to me, that is Wise Dan.

I don’t particularly care that Wise Dan’s three Grade 1 wins were all at a mile on grass. I do care that he was a photo away from being unbeaten, and if he had won the Stephen Foster, he would have won graded stakes on dirt, turf, and synthetic. I also care that his 117 Beyer Figure when he won the Ben Ali is the highest synthetic figure in history. This was just a really good and really consistent racehorse, very deserving of Horse of the Year.

So how can I vote for Wise Dan as Horse of the Year, but Little Mike as champion grass horse. Well, nobody says I can’t, and any horse who wins the Turf Classic (at Churchill), the Arlington Million, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf deserves something.

Point of Entry deserves something too, but almost certainly won’t get anything. That is a shame for a horse who won three consecutive Grade 1 races and absolutely ran a winning race finishing second in the BC Turf.

Royal Delta can get her second consecutive divisional championship and go for Horse of the Year in 2013.

Trainer is close, but Dale Romans won nine Grade 1 stakes and his top horses won major races on grass, dirt and synthetic. That is enough for me.