11/07/2012 12:53PM

Jerardi: No superstars going into Breeders' Cup, but races produce some super performances

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Tom Keyser
Animal Kingdom looked good in defeat in the Breeders' Cup Mile and could be set for a big 2013 season.

Absent any superstar horses or compelling stories, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup was just about the racing. And it was terrific, if a bit hard to evaluate because of the speed-favoring nature of the main track.

When you have a Classic that gets a 117 Beyer Speed Figure and two major grass races that yield course records, you know it’s serious.

Some of the results made perfect sense. How good were Wise Dan and Groupie Doll?

Some of the results made no sense. Wayne Lukas had not won a Breeders’ Cup race in seven years. Hightail had never won a race or gotten a Beyer dirt figure better than 72. Naturally, Lukas’s colt ran down 1-2 Merit Man and got a 90 Beyer to win the Juvenile Sprint. Tough way to start a Friday pick six that – beyond that – was manageable.

Loved the end of the Marathon when every horse but one, the 9-year-old Argentinean-bred Calidoscopio, had strides as long as mine.

Was not happy that three of the 2-year-olds bled without Lasix and had their form compromised, something clearly unfair to bettors that have supported the Breeders’ Cup for years.

Loved watching Zagora dig into that firm turf in the Filly and Mare Turf. Wonder what might have gone down if The Fugue had gotten through the traffic sooner.

Is Bill Mott the best since Charlie Whittingham at targeting a specific race and winning it? Got to think so.

Never imagined Royal Delta in front of the Ladies’ Classic at the start, but, once she got there, I certainly never thought anything would pass her. Look forward to seeing her in the Classic next year to see if she can do a Zenyatta. Super impressed with My Miss Aurelia’s effort in Ladies’ Classic.

I thought Questing was going to love Santa Anita. Then, the track came up speed-favoring. The pick four I got with Royal Delta would have looked a lot better with Questing. Just wish she had the chance to clear the field, so we could have seen. Alas, the eye issue changed everything.

Nice to own a top-class racing filly these days – $10 million for Havre de Grace, $3.2 million for Grace Hall, and $8.5 million for Royal Delta last year.

Groupie Doll ran right through the bias in the Filly and Mare Sprint, earning the same Beyer (108) as Trinniberg in the Sprint.

Not quite sure what to think of Shanghai Bobby in the Juvenile. Just when it looked like he was going to win by 10, he stopped running and looked like he was going to finish last. Then, he re-broke and ran through the wire.

The time was so slow it translated to an 82 Beyer, far lower than in any of his three stakes wins. Need to see what goes down in 2013 before making any pronouncements, but, as Todd Pletcher said, staying unbeaten from February to November is impressive under any circumstance.

The best performances in defeat had to be Point of Entry (Turf), Animal Kingdom (Mile), and Mucho Macho Man (Classic).

You could tell from the start that John Velazquez was not happy to be so far back with Point of Entry, but traffic dictated that he really had no choice but to wait. When he finally got clear, the horse absolutely exploded. I got his final quarter-mile in a very unofficial 22.5 seconds.

The only reason Point of Entry did not win is because the amazing Little Mike ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:22.83. I thought all along Little Mike would have a much better chance in the Turf than the Mile because of the pace. Dale Romans obviously thought the same thing, but I still did not think Little Mike could win without the lead. Really like seeing that horse run, so I was hardly upset to be wrong.

If you go back to last November, Wise Dan has a Grade 1 win on dirt, the fastest Beyer in history on artificial (117), and three straight Grade 1 wins at a mile on the grass. He also was a photo in the Stephen Foster shy of a perfect season. We all know Wise Dan is the most versatile horse in training. Now, we also can say he is the best.

How good was Animal Kingdom in defeat? Graham Motion had the Kentucky Derby winner ready to run a big one, and he did. Who knows what happens without the traffic issues? Catching Wise Dan and running faster than 1:31.78 would not have been easy, but it would have been interesting to see if it was possible.

Got to think Animal Kingdom, health permitting, is sitting on a big 2013.

This time last year, Fort Larned was 2 for 10 and had just finished last in a Churchill Downs allowance race, beaten by 21 lengths. Outfitted with a set of blinkers, Fort Larned proceeded to win five stakes and run five Beyers of 108 or better in 2012, culminating with that amazing 117. By Pennsylvania sire E Dubai, who stands next to Smarty Jones, Fort Larned is no fluke. You can’t run that fast that often and be anything but a star.

If you had told the Mucho Macho Man people that their colt would get a 116 Beyer, they would have started celebrating. You can’t run much better and lose.

Sounds like many of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup winners and others who ran well will be back in 2013. By then, some of them may have morphed into superstars and perhaps all the big names will want to run in the Classic. That is a race I want to see.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
This universal support for race day medication by drf commentators is extremelly annoying.i can understand why the vets support this gravy train (up to $700 in vet bills per month in ny)and why trainers who are agressive medicators dont want to see their favorite masking agent be banned,but i can not understand why the drf commentators would go out of their way to undermine any effort to get rid of race day medication.2 year old horses should not be medicated in order to race period..just like it would be unacceptable for human elementary school kids to be given steroids to compete in sports.
Pierre Robin More than 1 year ago
I am more and more disapointed by the breeders cup this recent years, Europeans don't bring their best horses anymore because of the drugs and the thight track were you have to adapt well and be lucky, they prefer go to hong kong... I like american dirt racing a lot but unfortunately we don't see the best american horses of the year (especially the 3yo!) anymore in the breeders cup. It is no more a "finale" of the season, and that's sad.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Why would Europe care about the drugs? They don't use them. I don't understand that statement. Heck, if they wanted, they could juice their horse with Lasix and probably run better. No sense.........
Perl More than 1 year ago
the euros were confident that their second best horse on the continent would come over and cruise in the mile. They whacked him down to 7/4 odds and he got smoked by wise dan and animal kingdom.
O4theluvofgod More than 1 year ago
I do like how you say he got smoked by 2 whole lengths by the best horse in America.
Perl More than 1 year ago
It was decisive.
Clyde Veltmann More than 1 year ago
Forgive me if I seem confused. The California State Vet proclaimed he checked all 2 year olds after their respective races and found that none bled.....so who is telling it right?
PeterG More than 1 year ago
I'd believe the Vet before I believe these lying, cheating, corrupt trainers in this sport.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
The Vet "looks" at the horses and if there is no blood running out the nostrils, aka Cheating Aurthur, who would run through his lasix and still win, he would have no idea. The trainer has the horse scoped internally to see if bleeding into the lungs occured. Disregard the other guy who called everyone else cheating lying.....he is an uneducated dope.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
look race day lasix is a masking agent for other drugs.the bleeding can be controled with lasix treatment the week prior to the race removing enough liquid to relieve presure on the horses lungs.race day lasix is to hide or flush the remenants of any drug in the system.just read up on why its banned in other sports or at the olympics for instance.
Ben van den Brink More than 1 year ago
Times will be much lower next yr, when all the races in the BC are gooiing to be without lasix, so all the Beyer rating is gooiing to drop significally get used to it, but winners will remain.
Carson Horton More than 1 year ago
No superstars?...what about Wise Dan and Groupie Doll? Both are at least as good as anything we have seen run in North America for some time!
Perl More than 1 year ago
Yes I think wise dan is the best turf middle distance horse in this country since lure.
B More than 1 year ago
Oh, please. Wise Dan is a very good and more importantly, versatile horse, and Groupie Doll is a terrific sprinter who should have run against the boys, but neither of these are superstars. Superstars are Secretariat, Affirmed/Alydar/Spectacular Bid, Seattle Slew, Kelso, Forego, John Henry, Ruffian, Zenyatta, Cigar, etc. I hope Wise Dan runs for a long time and proves himself to be a superstar, but at the moment, he is an excellent horse who might be voted the best of this year. There have been more than a few horses who were the best in their year, but were not superstars and this is thus far one of them.
Terri Zeitz More than 1 year ago
Well, Mr. Jerardi, recent superstars like Zenyatta, Big Brown, I'll Have Another, and Smarty Jones (to name a few), don't come around that often. However, there were superstars after the Breeders Cup. And how about Wise Dan, isn't he a throwback to THE SUPERSTAR of racing, his great grandsire on both sides of his his pedigree: Surely, Bayacoa cellibrated in horsey heaven when her grandson, Fort Larned, won the Classic. And I'm sure that Brass Hat is boasting about Groupie Doll as well. Holy Bull must be bragging to everyone at Darley about his grandson, Mucho Macho Man. Even though Awesome Feather's engines didn't fire, she surely is a superstar and has many fans.; a record of 10-1 is no laughing matter. She's little and sweet but has the heart of a lioness and has the pedgiree to prove it; she has Pincequillo twice on her dam's side: once from Secretariat and another time from Quill. She loves the NY tracks and Florida tracks; her jockey said she didn't take to the track. Maybe, she felt uncomfortable on another queen's turf (Zenyatta)--LOL; royalty always give each other respect. Mucho Macho Man, Animal Kingdom, and Shackleford have many fans all over the country. Little Mike and Trinneberg are local South Florida beloved horses.
Jeffrey Mathews More than 1 year ago
big brown wasn't anywhere near a superstar or star 4 that matter
Jeffrey More than 1 year ago
I find it irksome that DRF commentators demonstrate seemingly universal support for game day medications (i.e. Lasix). They claim it's all about creating a level playing field and a benevolent concern for animal welfare. However, I would propose it doesn't help us determine the most talented horse. Rather, it tells us which horse performs the best with drug-assisted therapy. This is one reason why the rest of the world disparagingly refers to the Breeder's Cup as the Bleeder's Cup. The claim that three horses bled requires further investigation and more nuanced elaboration. Simply telling us that three horse bled doesn't mean much. Many horses who are adminsitered Lasix still bleed. I think it's more humane and wise to discourage or prohibit compromised horses from racing and passing their infirmities to future generations. Next, I think it's telling that DRF contributors, without fail, support game day medication.. There seems to be a disconnect between the industry and its fans. The majority of fans are traditionalists who support a zero tolerance approach that says no to Lasix and adjuncts, bute, and other game day drugs. I'm basing this on message board reactions as well as HANA polls. Finally, I find it revealing that DRF analysts are uniformly hostile to synthetic surfaces while supporting game day medications. If horse welfare is of paramount importance, one might expect more diversity in opinion. Multiple studies demonostrate that synthetic surfaces are associated with less fatal breakdowns. Curiously, I don't see DRF editorialists clamoring to do away with traditional dirt racing.
Ponies Payme More than 1 year ago
Synthetic racing is a farse. There is NO WAY of knowing if the breakdowns are more or less. How can you compare a weak track to a high level track where better races are run with better horses? Run 10,000 races at Keenland and 10,000 races at Saratoga and you will see no change.
edb More than 1 year ago
Hey Dick, It was a weak classic field as the talent watered down as the year went on. The ladies classic was my wow race and was awesome to watch. Questing, Amazombie and Game on Dude were my disappointments. All my single horses won, Delta, Wise Dan and Groupie Doll, but I couldn't hit a pick 3 or 4 with a 10 foot pole. I did hit the tri in the marathon with 3 buddies to fund my first day and cashed the tri in the classic to go home a winner. I knew turf races were a crap shoot and that race by Little Mike to go that distance that fast was the most impressive individual effort of both days. Always enjoy your advice and your tv show.
nick More than 1 year ago
Mr. Jerardi, I wish to differ with you on the race of Point Of Entry. While I am an admitted large Little Mike fan, I watched the replay of the Turf and it looked to me like POE had a clear path all the way down the homestretch, and he really didn't start closing on 'Mike until maybe the last 80-100 yds., when 'Mike justifiably started tiring at the end of a track record performance. While POE raced well to second, I thing 'Mike ran unbelievably well. Go Little Mike.
David More than 1 year ago
As a Beyer guy i wonder if you can tell something: The Damascus Stks and the F&M Sprint were run about an hour apart and had a difference in times of 0.14 secs but Groupie Doll gets a Beyer fig of 108 and the Damacus winner got a 99. How can that be?