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.