07/10/2016 11:07AM

Watchmaker: Catch a Glimpse was highlight of Stars and Stripes Festival

Barbara D. Livingston
Catch A Glimpse made the Belmont Oaks her eighth straight victory.

For my money, and I would guess I have a lot of company on this, the star of Saturday’s Stars & Stripes Festival program at Belmont Park was Catch a Glimpse. That says a lot about Catch a Glimpse, and her victory in the Belmont Oaks, because there were six graded stakes on this card for horses to shine.

Catch a Glimpse made the Belmont Oaks her eighth straight victory, all on turf after a loss in the slop in her debut, making all the running in her first attempt at 1 1/4 miles after previously never having raced beyond 1 1/16 miles. But the most impressive aspect to Catch a Glimpse’s win Saturday was how favorably it compared to performances from males earlier on the card.

Of course, overshadowing males is not new to Catch a Glimpse. Just last month, Catch a Glimpse led males a merry chase in the Penn Mile. Now, it must be said that Catch a Glimpse was handed an easy, uncontested early lead in the Penn Mile when other pace horses declined, for whatever reason, to go. And to the shock of no one, she made the Penn Mile field pay for such an egregious miscalculation.

But the Belmont Oaks was different. There was absolutely nothing cheap about Catch a Glimpse’s score.

[As an aside, I’m about to make a comparison of fractional and final times of some turf races at Belmont. I can already hear some of you laughing, and that is because there have been issues with times and fractions this meet at Belmont, sometimes on dirt, but primarily on turf. These timing issues, I should note, are apparently not just restricted to Belmont Park. In any event, you can’t entirely trust the times you see, an absurdity in 2016 in a sport that handles $10 billion annually. But I’m going to go with the times published in the official result charts in the examples presented below, because you have to lean on something, and these times did not seem out of line.]

There were three races on the inner turf course at Belmont on Saturday – the Belmont Oaks, the Belmont Derby, and a solid straight maiden event for males – and all were run at 1 1/4 miles, affording a rare opportunity to make direct apples-to-apples comparisons. Even better, weather was not a factor, and the paces in these three inner turf races were all comparable. Not one pace was so much slower than the others as to negatively impact the final time, making final time comparisons even more reliable. Here is what we got in these three races, in the order they were run:
- Revved Up, winner of that solid maiden race, went in 2:01.42 after early race fractions of 25.09, 50.08, and 1:14.54.
- Deauville, winner of the Belmont Derby, went in 2:00.51 after early splits of 24.41, 50.20, and 1:14.20.
- Catch a Glimpse went in 1:59.87 after early fractions of 24.28, 49.36, and 1:13.87.

This really helps to appreciate Catch a Glimpse’s performance. She ran slightly harder early than Deauville and Revved Up, both of whom had pace-pressing trips. Yet she still ran faster than those males to the finish, all while turning back another terrific filly in Time and Motion, who was on a win streak of her own.

I admit I had grown a bit skeptical of Catch a Glimpse. I loved her first race this year in the Herecomesthebride and said so here, comparing the turn of foot she showed that day to none other than her barnmate Tepin. I was less taken with her three subsequent victories. But Catch a Glimpse’s win on Saturday? Yeah. That was something.

Saturday notes:

* Deauville was dead game prevailing in the Belmont Derby over a fast closing Highland Sky, with Beach Patrol, victim of a ridiculously bad trip, a good third. Still, our 3-year-old turf males are not as inspiring as their female counterparts, at least at this point.

* The rail on Belmont’s main track Saturday was not the place to be, and it unfortunately affected some of the main track stakes.

In the Suburban, Mike Smith deftly steered Effinex to the outside very early, and that made a big difference as Effinex, who rarely wins by much, prevailed by just a neck. Runner-up Samraat wasn’t smack on the rail all the way, but he was closer to it for much of the mile and a quarter than anyone else in the Suburban. Third-place finisher Mubtaahij was making a threatening run into the stretch, then ducked to the inside and lost his momentum.

Economic Model finished second as the favorite in the Dwyer, beaten a little more than a length by Fish Trappe Road. But Fish Trappe Road was out in the track much of the way, while Economic Model drove up the rail into the stretch. Under the circumstances, it is to Economic Model’s credit he ran as well as he did.

* The only bias-buster all day was A. P. Indian in the Belmont Sprint Championship, and it actually would be a stretch to call him that. A. P. Indian was well off the rail down the backstretch, went nearer inside to the two path on the turn, and came off the rail again down the stretch. Even then, Marking, who was out in the best footing four to seven wide, almost came back on A. P. Indian.

* It happened on Friday, not Saturday, but Masochistic’s return from injury in an allowance race at Santa Anita absolutely merits a word. Masochistic was most impressive, and immediately becomes a major figure in a sprint division that seems rudderless in the absence of Runhappy.


Bill Duncliffe More than 1 year ago

Mike - One of my pet peeves about racing.   In the 21st century, even though we have technology that will tell us which horses traveled more or less feet than the winner during the course of the race, you can, for instance, still find in the Form a final time only for a turf sprint at Monmouth with no indication of what pace influenced that final time.    It's really a customer service issue for the industry.   Accuracy and integrity of the data on which the industry's customers base their decisions - it's elementary, right?   I would think it impacts handle and revenue.   How many bettors around the country are looking at a Monmouth turf sprint and pass on it because of a lack of data?

As far as the turf splits at Belmont, especially this weekend,  visually - not just on the clock - it did appear in some races as if the horses were being walked around the course.   I also felt like this was happening during the Saratoga meet last summer although empirical evidence may prove me wrong.

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RaceTote More than 1 year ago
What an exciting finish to this year's Stars and Stripes. Now that's a horse race. 
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
East Coast male older and younger horses, this year, as in the past several years, are lackluster. Their rankings are in part due to the local media, which over-hypes them continually. Effinex caught Smaraat. That was not the strongest Suburban gathering. The over the top ratings of Frosted most likely will come down to earth when he faces Grade I competitors at the longer distance.
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
Kona Gold, sorry. lol
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
It's been a weak era for older males, sprint or distance.  Compared to, let's say, the '90's, when horses routinely ran 110-120+ Beyers and there was a lot of fierce competition............ Criminal Type, Gentlemen, Best Pal, Cigar, Skip Away, Unbridled's Song, Devil His Due, Farma Way,  Marquetry, Twilight Agenda, Pleasant Tap, A.P. Indy, Strike the Gold, Behrens, Will's Way, Fly So Free, and I'm sure I've left out several others.  I won't even mention the sprinters ( too many ).  Kinda Gold would destroy anything running theses past many years. 
Robert Breth More than 1 year ago
Horses in the 90's were on steroids.  HUGE difference.
ProXstream Gaming More than 1 year ago
I'm a believer in Catch a Glimpse after Saturday, but, like Songbird,  I wonder how they'll handle heated pressure.  But hey, between them they've won like 15 in a row, so they are very deserving of any and all accolades.