Optimizer 2.0

Optimizer 615 X 400
If you has asked me Friday what I thought about Optimizer’s chances in the G1 Manhattan Handicap, I would have completely written him off. In fact, I pretty much did. Aside from knowing that he appreciated a soft turf course, there was not much there that I liked going into a big Grade 1 race that featured Point of Entry, Real Solution, and Twilight Eclipse among others. Now it is Monday morning, and I am singing a different tune.
The four-year old regally bred son of turf standout English Channel began his career right where he belonged, namely on the grass. He got off to a quick start, putting together a respectable record of 3: 1-1-1 in his first three career starts. From there, things just went downhill. As the Road to the Kentucky Derby kicks off, any trainer or owner with a talented 2-year old wants to give their charge a shot at winning the roses, and in order to do so, they need to run on the dirt. That’s exactly what happened, and Optimizer’s dirt record speaks for itself. The bay colt wanted no part of the dirt, and in 11 starts on that surface, the only time he even hit the board was when he ran a surprising second to Secret Circle in the G2 Rebel as the second longest shot in the field.
Now in his third season of racing, Optimizer is back where he belongs and better than ever. In the first half of 2013, he has already almost doubled his career wins from 3 to 5. Put a line through the Mervin where the turf was firm and the Oaklawn Hcp over dirt and it’s hard to find a fault with Optimizer this year. He has faced the top 2 turf stars in America, Wise Dan and Point of Entry, and gave them both everything they could handle. A second place finish to either of those two is more than respectable, especially given the talent of the rest of the field the English Channel colt beat in each of those two outings.
Now with Point of Entry out of the picture for the foreseeable future, there is room for another to take their spot at the top tier of the turf division. Already we have seen breakout performances from Twilight Eclipse, Bright Thought, and Amira’s Prince, and with the way Optimizer has been running recently, it’s only a matter of time before he has a breakout performance of his own. In a division full of quality and talent, Optimizer is poised to throw his hat into the ring of foes that should be taken seriously. 


What the Nation is saying about Optimizer 2.0...

Good hard knocking horse, but I think POE's injury was why they finished 1.5 lengths from him.
an opinion shared by many a horseman
thats your opinion & mine was above
AND he has dozens of animals crippled to the point that they never ran again....Too high a cost
i love Lukas. my favorite trainer. some people can criticize him & say he "ruins" horses. he works them how they used to back in the day? when horses were super SUCCESSFUL. there is a reason why he has the record for most Triple Crown races ever won.
I've always liked Optimizer ... as a turf horse.
Lukas does only so much. You can blame Calumet Farm for it
So glad he survived the ordeal of a Triple Crown challenge on dirt last year. I have nothing but respect for this horse. Not so much for his trainer.
Optimizer should run next year too
I have followed Optimizer for quite some time, and am really proud of his effort against Point of Entry, who had to work every step of the way. Optimizer is a throwback to the days when horses were tougher and ran more often. He seems happy with the schedule Lukas has him on now, and running on the turf. Thanks for writing about this wonderful horse.
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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley lives in Central Georgia with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. When she is not covering the races, Ashley works with insurance claims, a job she is able to do from home in order to spend as much time as possible with her family. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is passionate about football, reading, and history and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.