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HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

2012 Breeders Cup Classic: They are Talented, not Terrible

Every year is different. Some years we have one horse that simply stands above the rest. Sometimes due to others lacking in talent, or sometimes because that horse is truly a freak amongst the rest. Sometimes we have years where no horse stands out. It could be due to the fact that no horse is really that good, or the alternative that they all are that good. It is hard to differentiate between a weak crop and the cream of the crop, when there is a group that constantly takes turns beating one another, but it can be done.
 
Last year, most would argue, was a weak year for the older males, despite strong numbers put forth by Tizway and Flat Out. Most will point to the fact that a female, Havre de Grace was able to beat Flat Out, however, make no mistake, Havre de Grace was an outstanding filly in her own right. Yes, last year’s Classic was on the weaker side, but overall I would not have called last year weak, but more depleted by injuries and illnesses that took away horses that had shown great talent.
 
This year, I hear more of the same. “Oh this Classic is weak,” “This Breeders Cup Classic is the weakest in the history of the Breeders Cup,” “None of these horses are any good.” I personally disagree with those statements, or any statement describing this year’s Older Male contingent as weak, completely.
 
Look at their numbers. They are consistently high across the board. It has been years since we have seen numbers like this on a consistent basis. Look at the Beyer chart on DRF. When was the last time you saw its lowest Beyer for main track routes come to a 106?
 
I know that I, on occasion, have said that numbers are flawed and cannot be the sole reason for belief, so look at the times these horses have put forth. The 2012 Woodward was the second fastest running since 2004. The Whitney was run in 1.47 and change, the fastest since Lawyer Ron shattered the record in 2007. The Jockey Club Gold Cup was also run faster than anything other running since 2007. The Santa Anita Handicap was run in good time, competitive against previous years.
 
Mucho Macho Man, one of the top Eastern contenders, may not be a grade one winner yet, but he has earned respect because of his speed. Since the Suburban has been shortened to nine furlongs he holds the fastest time. In the Sunshine Millions Classic he ran two-fifths of a second off of Quality Road’s track record of 1.47.49. Fort Larned has put up some the fastest speed figures this year. It doesn’t matter what track, he has shown up with some of the best numbers and times of any horse this year. Game on Dude holds the second fastest BSF going over a distance, on the main course.
 
Across the board, this group has shown their speed and their talent to be equal to or possibly even greater than that of recent years. Yes, they take turns beating each other, however, not many of them have run bad races. When they have changes were made and they rose to the occasion or they had their excuses. Overall, however, they have been consistent.
 
This group of older males may not have a decisive leader, but that is due to the depth of talent within the group, not the lack of talent. Their numbers and times reflect that. Those who disagree may do so, but you are simply going against cold hard facts. This group is far from weak. They are all just that good, giving us one of the most competitive groups of older males we have seen in years.
 

 

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Older Comments about 2012 Breeders Cup Classic: They are Talented, not Terrible...

I believe alpha has been committed as well
Mary, I think I saw somewhere that Golden Ticket will be running. He's been working towards the race at Keeneland. I am not sure about Alpha.
It has just irked me how people, writers and fans alike have slammed our horses, especially the older division. It's amazing. Off the top of my head I can name 8 grade one winners that are most likely going to the Classic. EIGHT! Until Belmont RTG was never worse than second in a race and owns two grade ones. He, besides Wise Dan, was probably the most consistent horse in America. Fort Larned has one bad race at CD, then they added blinkers. He was not far behind in the Gold Cup. MMM, very quick and very game. Just ran into THAS on his on day and over his favorite track. The depth of this divison is why there is no standout. Amazing how some refuse to see that.
All of the "win and you're in" winners will be there, right? Plus BCC prep winners if those weren't win and you're in. Are either of the Travers winners running? Since the TC winners couldn't make the BC, besides Dullahan(and he should try the SA turf, imo)any other of the remaining grade 1 route winning 3yos in the BCC? Why ask? A three year old ran third last year. Overall, a good meeting of horses that have or should get the 10f, going by the expected entrants. Just the endearing old guys have to say how this race doesn't measure up. It makes them happy. They probably smoke cigars while reminiscing, and I do enjoy their history books.
The people that are saying this year's Handicap group is weak obviously need to do their research. I agree that this is a very strong group, and the Classic will not be easy to win; it could go to anyone.
Mike, I agree. This Breeders Cup is a very good one all around. Normally there is a couple races that seem to lack star power, or even a competitive and interesting field, but not this year.
This might be the most even field for a Classic in many years, I could see a lot of these horses winning. Like many in recent years the question is distance, I am not sure all of the contenders will like 10 furlongs, Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man for example. But it should be a great race, and with an excellent field for the Ladies Classic, strong American horses in the Mile and Turf, and good fields for the Dirt Mile and a possible star in Shanghai Bobby in the Juvenile, this is looking like an very good Breeders Cup.

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Meet Laura Pugh


Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.


Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 


In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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