2011 BC Classic Selections: So You Think(NZ) and Flat Out Much the Best
Caution. I’m officially the world’s worst handicapper: I pick my personal favorites that support my biases on the concepts of conditioning. I also pick Louisville every year to reach the Final Four, much to my wife’s chagrin. Fair warning, here we go:
So You Think (NZ):
Aidan O’Brien is a personal favorite of mine because he routinely uses HR/GPS equipment at Ballydoyle, and the implementation of such technology is the entire focus of Thoroedge. A few months back I predicted that SYT would win the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and also set a track record:
Well, he ran fourth – but it took that track record to beat him by just 5 lengths, and his trip was less than stellar. Given the hard ground at Longchamp, the hope here is that he takes to the CD strip without too much difficulty. As I write this on Tuesday morning I don’t believe the Coolmore contingent has yet arrived on the grounds at Churchill. Without a strong gallop over the surface to gain some familiarity with the track, SYT will have to be much the best on Saturday in the Classic. Remember Zenyatta flew in at the last moment in 2010 and Mike Smith stated publicly that her first quarter on the dirt was less than ideal, possibly costing her the win. So if we see a 3F work posted SYT on Thursday or Friday – I become much more convinced of this selection.
Everyone touts the recent 4F/:46 and change move as reason to love this horse, and I agree – but it’s the mile in 1:43 charted last week that piques my interest. Elsewhere in this blog I detailed the work regimen of Triple Crown Winner Assault, and proclaimed weekly short, fast breezes coupled with weekly miles in 13 sec fractions as the best method to produce a classic winner’s stamina with a finishing kick. Well here comes Mr. Dickey following that precise method – bravo to this old timer. If SYT has even the slightest issue with the dirt, he comes in behind this one.
Game on Dude:
Again readers know I prefer the methods of Mr. Baffert to others: https://thoroedge.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/baffert-vs-pletcher-head-to-head/
With his works and races coming over the SA dirt strip, I can no longer discount a West Coast entry due to the presence of Cushion Track – therefore he fills out my trifecta.
Gio Ponti – twice beaten by recently retired Cape Blanco, a Coolmore 2nd stringer, over the turf.
Havre de Grace – subpar work over Keeneland Polytrack this week according to many observers, possibly overcooked like her nemesis Blind Luck?
Uncle Mo – certainly the most talented of the bunch, but while talent wins you the occasional G2 and definitely carries the day as a Juvenile, it’s likely not enough vs. this crowd. Readers of this blog are familiar with my criticisms of the ‘4F every 7 days’ method practiced by Todd Pletcher and the rest, yet to his credit Mo has been sent 5F a few times during his comeback from illness and even clocked a recent 6F work at Belmont – and anecdotally has lengthened his gallop outs to boot. Probably too little, too late, however. I’m not sure, but I think this is one of the first times that a Pletcher 3yo has recorded a 6F work? If so, does he think that Mo may be a bit short at 10F off of a less than taxing training/racing schedule over the summer?
Next post: An illuminating look at how the concepts of ‘Moneyball’ can apply to the sport of thoroughbred racing, specifically in the US.
So You Think, Flat Out, Game on Dude.
Good luck and safe travels to everyone!-