Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Weekend Doings

Posted by Brian Appleton on July 29, 2010

Have you ever taken a bite from something that you were sure you wouldn’t like and then received one of the most pleasant surprises your taste buds had ever discovered? That’s what thoroughbred horse racing feels like when the summer racing season starts to get rolling. The drought brought about by the after effects of another Triple Crown run is now past and the racing stars are rolled out of their stables in glittering groups, ready to strut their best stuff once again.

This past weekend was a delicious sampling of what is in store for racing enthusiasts this summer and mind you, just a small one at that. Rachel Alexandra ran a small group of seriously over-matched rivals off their hooves in Monmouth Park’s Lady’s Secret Stakes on Saturday and now has long-overdue back-to-back victories in 2010.While the performance has been pulled every which way by analysts and fans alike, the bottom line is that no one is going to agree on exactly what the performance says about her current level of ability or if she is really as good as she was last year or not. With the heat index as high as it was at Monmouth I find it very impressive that she received a Beyer of 110. In all her previous 2010 outings Rachel Alexandra was able to post Beyers of 100 or more. In each progressive start her Beyers have improved, starting with an even 100 in the New Orleans Ladies, then a 103 in the La Troienne, a 109 in the Fluer de Lis and now a 110 in the Lady’s Secret. If those numbers mean anything then it’s a very good sign for her overall fitness and advancement this year. Each successive race this year has resulted in better figures. It appears the champion is headed next for Saratoga’s Personal Ensign which could be on the radar for Zenyatta.

Aside from Rachel Alexandra’s triumph, Devil May Care and Evening Jewel gave each of their respective fields on the East and West Coast a thorough thrashing to prove that they are the second and third best 3-year-old fillies in the nation behind only Blind Luck. On the West Coast Evening Jewel won the San Clemente Handicap (gr.2) under strong urging from jockey Victor Espinoza after sweeping into the homestretch three wide. At Saratoga Devil May Care provided the most impressive victory of the weekend with her easy Coaching Club American Oaks (gr.1) win over a respected field of sophomore fillies. It now appears Blind Luck and Devil May Care, the nation’s two leading 3-year-old fillies, may be headed for a thrilling matchup in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on August 21.

If this past weekend’s colorful collection of races wasn’t enough to satisfy your appetite fear not, the coming weekend

promises to surge by with even more excitement and thrills. The Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr.1) has blossomed into the premier race for 3-year-old colts in early summer and this year looks to give last year’s running, when Rachel Alexandra defeated the boys, a run for its money. Both Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky and Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver headline an extremely deep and competitive field.

Aside from the Haskell there are several key races to keep an eye on that could provide a major impact to the year-end championship honors. Richard’s Kid and Delightful Kiss headline the $125,000 Cougar II Handicap but trainer Bob Baffert has also entered Richard’s Kid in the San Diego Handicap (gr.2) where he would face Battle of Hastings, Tres Borrachos and Mythical Power. Fly Down returns from an impressive second place showing in the Belmont Stakes to top the Jim Dandy (gr.2) field which includes talented 3-year-olds Winslow Homer, Afleet Express, Aikenite, A Little Warm and Miner’s Reserve. Pleasant Prince runs as a solid favorite in the Ohio Derby (gr.3) while Unrivaled Belle and Malibu Prayer face off in Saratoga’s Ruffian Stakes (gr.1).

I will post more on the weekend’s races and especially the Haskell in the next couple of days. Before ending I wanted to also note that 2009’s Champion Female Sprinter Informed Decision made her first try at two turns a successful one when she took down the July 27th $100,000 Windward Stakes. That makes the 6-year-old mare’s second consecutive victory and with those two under her belt it appears she may be ready to defend her championship title in 2010. Once this mare gets rolling in her races she has proved very hard to stop.


4 Responses to “Weekend Doings”

  1. ZATT said

    Great post Brian, I just wonder about one statement, “Devil May Care and Evening Jewel gave each of their respective fields on the East and West Coast a thorough thrashing to prove that they are the second and third best 3-year-old fillies in the nation behind only Blind Luck.” I think you will have to ammend that statement on August 21, as I believe Devil May Care is simply better.

    • Thanks Brian! You could be right about Devil May Care, she is improving with every start but right now I’m in Blink Luck’s corner. I love everything about her and the last-to-first running style always has me on the edge of my seat wondering if she can get to the wire first. The fact that she is so small just makes it all the more impressive that she can muster all that power down the stretch like she does. It’s going to be great seeing them clash in the Alabama.
      By the way, I’ve been trying to post comments on Blogger powered blogs but haven’t been able to because of some kind of error which I can’t seem to figure out. Once I do I’ll be back to posting on everyone’s blogs though!

  2. LDP said

    Very nice Brian. I read a very intersting article by Gary West just yesterday, and for the most part I actually agree. The one thing I don’t is that she has lost her burst. She showed a nice little burst last out and in the FDL, it’s just that Calvin reeled her in much quicker than normal in the LS last out. Everything eles I agree on. Her bigger and stronger body and her even more poised and relaxed self this year seem to make her a prime candidate for 10 furlongs. She galloped out like a monster last out and her closing splits have been very strong this year.

    DMC does still have to dethrone BL, since BL is the champion, but IMO with her styl and raw talent she may just have a big enough advantaged to unseat BL. For the Haskell I’m hoping Lucky pulls it off. He deserved much better this spring and his trips, IMO not only cost him wins, but the engery needed to complete the TC. Hopefully he has gotten even better in the time he has had off and maybe he’s learned how to be a little more lucky.

    • I was going to mention her fabulous gallop out after winning the Lady’s Secret and completely forgot. She really did look like she wanted to keep going which is a great sign and I hope she gives a strong showing of herself if they head to the Personal Ensign.

      In complete agreement with you on Lookin At Lucky, he’s been my number one since last fall. His Triple Crown run was seriously hampered unfortunately but I think he’ll make up for it with some “luck” in the last half of this year. I hear he’s going to be campaigned as a four year old which just makes me love him more, I hate getting attached to a colt that is around for just a year and a half before getting whisked off to stud duty.

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