Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Rule and the Cali-Bred Gelding

Posted by Brian Appleton on February 14, 2010

Caracortado

The Robert B. Lewis stakes was supposed to be a two horse race between two brilliant sons of Tiznow, American Lion and Tiz Chrome. Caracortado blew that scenario out of the water. The undefeated California-bred gelding has stormed his way into the Kentucky Derby picture in spectacular fashion by defeating two very highly-regarded colts, and in the process extending his unbeaten skein of races to five. I had never seen a picture or video of Caracortado before the Lewis, but after seeing him in the Lewis I was breathless. He is a striking, tall chestnut with a smooth extended stride. After Tiz Chrome and American Lion spent the better part of the Lewis fighting it out on the front end, Caracortado swept past coming into the stretch and went on to win as he pleased by 1 ¾ lengths, ears pricked, looking as comfortable as can be. Dave in Dixie closed from far back to steal the second spot from American Lion while Tiz Chrome finished a dull fourth. I was expecting a much better effort from American Lion here, his Hollywood Prevue win was so impressive. Sitting so close to the pace set by Tiz Chrome was probably not the best strategy for him and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back from this with a big effort. On the other hand, I wasn’t that surprised by Caracortado’s win. When I wrote my post about the Lewis field last week before it was postponed to this weekend, I actually pegged him as the “wild-card” in the race. Looks like he was better than almost everyone thought, including myself, he went to post as only the fourth favorite in the field of five. Next up could be a showdown with Lookin at Lucky in the San Felipe on March 13, the same day super-stars Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are due to make their 2010 debuts.

Rule

 Some horses just seem to be born into a name, they completely fulfill the description and meaning to the letter. Rule has definitely been breaking the rules and setting his own up to this point, not to mention ruling his fields. The Sam F. Davis was pretty much a party thrown for Rule, he took the field by the throat from the get-go, bursting to the lead going into the first turn and staying there the entire race. Crossing the wire he had his lead to a comfortable 3 lengths over closest rival Schoolyard Dreams, with previously undefeated Uptowncharlybrown a length back in third. The strapping son of Roman Ruler has now won 3 stakes in-a-row and 4 straight overall. This win will vault him much closer to the top of most Derby lists. You don’t usually want a Kentucky Derby prospect to race on the lead in a 1 ¼ mile race, but so far the strategy has worked just fine at the shorter distances for Rule. His final Derby prep could come in the Florida Derby on March 20th at Gulfstream Park. This looks like one rule that isn’t ready to be broken.

Blink Luck has succeeded where her Eclipse wining Breeders’ Cup champion rival She Be Wild failed; winning her three-year-old debut. Blind Luck racked up yet another grade 1 to her record when she got up late to nip Evening Jewel in the Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita as the heavy favorite Saturday. Her only career loss to date has come in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The next target in sight is most likely the Santa Anita Oaks according to her connections.

Life wasn’t quite as sweet as I was expecting for Life Is Sweet in the (gr.1) Santa Maria Handicap Saturday. The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic victor was upset by talented European runner St Trinians who was recording her fourth consecutive victory in the United States. According to trainer Mike Mitchell St Trinians could be facing Zenyatta next up in the March 13th Santa Margarita Invitational (gr.1) at Santa Anita and he likes his chances.

Munnings

Munnings has finally returned to the ranks of the winners. He came charging part pacesetter Biker Boy around the far turn in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes (gr2) to win by 1 length over Congressional page. It’s not often that you see a horse with 3 straight losses go to post in a graded stakes race as the favorite, but such is the caliber and reputation of the competition that Munnings consistently faced last year, that he went to post as the favorite in the Sprint Championship Stakes while making his 2010 debut. We can hereby add yet another talented 3-year-old from last year to the ranks of the ever-growing older crop of very talented horses for 2010.

Monday brings the Southwest Stakes with D. Wayne Lukas trainee Dublin making his highly-anticipated return to the races after disappointing in his last two efforts in 2009. It appears the breathing problems that at least aided his two previous poor showings are behind him and he is ready to return to good form.

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5 Responses to “The Rule and the Cali-Bred Gelding”

  1. Carla Ruth said

    I think Garrett Gomez blew it with Life Is Sweet, he took her way too wide and on top of that St Trinians went wide and took Life Is Sweet even wider. If Gomez had split horses, the outcome would have been entirely different (in my humble opinion).

    • True, she did fairly well to finish second though, but I think St Trinians is in the shape of her life right now and doubt if Life Is Sweet would have passed her. She has been away since the Breeders’ Cup and had that episode where she got slightly “twisted up” in January, so maybe she just wasn’t 100% yet.

    • Carla Ruth,

      LIFE IS SWEET was clearly not cranked for this race if you could have seen her live. As Brian pointed out, she tied up just a few weeks ago and this 2nd was on talent alone. Expect her to be much fitter coming out of this race. Gomez was not at fault, just victimized by a late-closing mare lacking conditioning.

  2. Good recap for a busy day Brian. Munnings is an absolute beast at 7 furlongs on a dry dirt track. I think his record is 3 wins in 6 starts at 7f. The other three tries resulted in a 2nd and two 3rds. And two of those were on off-tracks which he apparently doesn’t like. The other race he stumbled at the break in his 2nd start as a two-year old in the G1 Hopeful.

    • Thanks Steve, I started writing as soon as I got the Santa Anita results for the day.
      I agree, Munnings is terrific at 7 furlongs. If he sticks around this year in good form I would love to see him take a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He’s always been a personal favorite of mine ever since I pegged him as one to watch after he made his two year old debut in 2008. Whatever happened to Cribnote? That was another one I used to like.

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