12/03/2014 1:35PM

Road to the Derby analysis: Remsen Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
A strong speed bias aided Leave the Light On (right) when he won the Remsen.

Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen Stakes, 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct, Nov. 29, 2014

 (10 Derby qualifying points for a win, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth)

 Winner: Leave the Light On

 Trainer: Chad Brown

 Jockey: Jose Ortiz

 Owner: Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence

 Beyer Speed Figure: 90

 At 1 1/8 miles, the Remsen is the longest race in which a 2-year-old can earn points toward the Kentucky Derby. This year’s running was contested over a track that significantly favored inside lanes throughout the day.

 LEAVE THE LIGHT ON was the beneficiary of the pronounced track bias. He broke well from post 7 and was able to get to the rail by the first turn. He set moderate fractions of 24.51 seconds, 48.91, and 1:13.14 for the first six furlongs, disposed of pace rival Classy Class in upper stretch, and doggedly held off Frosted while racing on the best part of the track throughout.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

 It’s hard to know what to make of this race going forward, since the track played such a large part in the outcome. The first two finishers were eight lengths clear of everyone else, and the field was well strung out behind them. The Beyer Speed Figure of 90 was decent, but nothing spectacular.

 This was the first two-turn race for Leave the Light On. Of the three main-track races at 1 1/8 miles on this card, his final time of 1:51.06 was slower than that turned in by Condo Commando when she romped in the Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, but faster than that turned in by Snowbell when she won the Comely for 3-year-old fillies. Both those races were also won in front-running fashion, underscoring the impact the track surface made on the entire card, not just the Remsen.

 FROSTED, marooned in the outside post in the field of 13, raced three paths wide on both turns but kept to his task and narrowly lost while clearly racing in an inferior place on the track than the winner.

 It was a long ways back to the rest of the field.

 KEEN ICE, who finished third, was well back early but was able to come through on the advantageous rail on the final turn. He was a little late with his lead change, taking until midstretch to swap over.

 CLASSY CLASS tried to go with Leave the Light On during the first part of the race but could not keep up after seven furlongs and tired to finish fourth.

 BODHISATTVA, who was fifth, was on the rail the first seven furlongs while racing in midpack but never made up any ground on the leaders.

 THE TRUTH OR ELSE, who was sixth, raced wide throughout, which was not the place to be this day.

MARKET CONDUCT, who was seventh, was caught four paths wide on the first turn, was wide entering the final turn, moved nearer the rail toward the top of the stretch and briefly encountered some traffic there.

THIRTYSEVENLIVESON, who finished eighth, stumbled badly at the start, was well back early, came wide into the lane and was never a factor.

EH CUMPARI, who finished ninth, was wide throughout and never threatened.

COMBAT DIVER, who was 10th, stutter-stepped leaving the gate, and was far back the whole way.

MOONLIGHT BANDIT, who finished 11th, was put in an ideal spot, just behind the leaders while on the rail, but had nothing to give when asked at the three-eighth pole. He was on the best part of the track, so his effort is marked way down.

ROYAL BURGH, who was 12th, was rank around the first turn while appearing uncomfortable in traffic, dropped back, and stayed there.

OSTROLENKA, last of 13, was fanned quite wide around the first turn and into the backstretch while pressing the pace, stayed wide into the far turn, was asked to go with three furlongs remaining, and had nothing.