As you watched
the earlier races on the Saturday Gulfstream Park card you knew that the 85+
degree temperature was aiding a sun-backed, tight surface which favored speed
all day long. In fact, if your
horse wasn’t within two lengths of the pace setter at the first call, you had
no chance at the win spot. Very
key bias to keep in mind as we look back at these preps two months from now.
the pace came up super hot in the Hutcheson
with Travelin Man doing all the
early running while Flashpoint and Royal Currier tracked his every
step. Despite the speed bias this
day, Flashpoint put on the most
impressive performance of the day.
After cutting hot fractions and then drawing away, it makes you wonder
if the Beyer Figure and the BRIS pace/speed rating earned in his Maiden victory
was a complete fluke. To check that possibility, I pulled up Simba’s Story’s BRIS speed ratings
(horse that finished second to Flashpoint in his debut maiden win) for his three
career races run at Aqueduct.
Here’s what I found:
12/11 -- 6
Furlongs 3rd Place
BRIS Speed Rating = 91
1/15 -- 6 Furlongs 2nd Place
Finish to Flashpoint – BRIS Speed Rating = 73
2/13 – 5.5
Furlongs 1st Place Finish BRIS
Speed Rating = 95
So, this tells
me something is definitely out of whack with the Jan. 15 figures. Wish I did this research before the
maiden win, all the connections were saying
Flashpoint is a sprinter through and through and would be pointed to sprint
stakes races all year and especially those run at Saratoga. After the impressive Hutcheson victory, however, the
connections have caught a little Derby fever so don’t be surprised to see this
one in the Florida Derby next.
Derby contender or Derby flash in the pan? You make the call. I say go for brilliant sprinter.
What a tale of
two paces when it came to the Hutcheson
and the Fountain of Youth. To no fault of his own, Soldat simply inherited the early lead
on a surface, oh, so kind to any horse that stepped out of the gate first. While this was a useful prep, it was a
walk in the park for Soldat. So, give him credit for showing he can
handle a fast track and with two 1 1/8 victories under his saddle strap, he’s building a nice
foundation going into the Florida Derby.
He’ll be rating behind speed in that one and we’ll see if he can muster
a stronger late kick than he did while holding off Gourmet Dinner in the final yards of the FOY.
Given the soft
pace and speed bias, I have to upgrade Gourmet
Dinner’s performance here. I
don’t see him as a Derby contender just yet, but he leads the class, in my
opinion, when it comes to the second tier competition and looks the type that
will always give you a gutsy performance.
Causeway clearly had the worst trip of any prep runner on this
day. (Look for a big move forward
in his next effort.) He got whacked hard at the start and then had to steady
off the heals of Shackleford coming
into the far turn losing some valuable momentum on a surface that clearly didn’t
favor his closing style. Clean
trip puts him past To Honor and Serve
at the wire. The latter really
disappointed and if To Honor and Serve truly has only one more prep on
his dance card, I would say some of the luster is off this gem. We knew he needed a race, but the soft pace
and bias should have yielded a better performance. With only six works leading up to this prep, you have to
wonder about his soundness.
Here’s our post-race evaluation for the
and Fountain of Youth Stakes
Gulfstream Park G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes 1 1/8 Dirt
Winner: Soldat (RANKED #2 – HRN DERBY CONTENDERS)
Beyer Speed Rating: 96
BRIS Pace/Final Pars: First Call
Second Call = 104; Final = 104
Pace/Final: First Call = 89;
Second Call = 99; Final = 104
Track Bias: Strong Speed Bias
Tough Trips: Bowman’s
Causeway hit hard at the start and steadied late
Impressive Effort: Gourmet Dinner gets a slight nod but
none really impressed
HRN Pre-Race Grade = B+
HRN Post-Race Grade = B
Notes: The early pace was very slow and
the speed bias was strong. Not a
great test for any of the horses entered and a big downgrade for To Honor and
Gulfstream Park G2 Hutcheson - 7f Dirt
Winner: Flashpoint (RANK #88 – HRN
Beyer Speed Rating: 102
BRIS Pace/Final Pars: First Call
Second Call = 108; Final = 104
Pace/Final: First Call = 96;
Second Call = 109; Final = 108
Track Bias: Strong Speed
Tough Trips: Black N Beauty not right from
the start and pulled up.
Impressive Effort: Flashpoint
overcame the hot pace and drew away impressively. Has the makings of a brilliant stakes sprinter. Florida Derby will tell if this one is
HRN Pre-Race Grade = C+
HRN Post-Race Grade = C
Notes: The impressive victory in
superior times by Flashpoint moves this prep up to a C grade but just don’t see
this one serving as an important prep to the Derby.
[Are you kidding, Flashpoint
is ranked only 88th and Soldat moves to all the way up to #2 in the HRN Derby rankings?
Check out the 2011 Kentucky
rankings and put in your vote today!]
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Check back on Friday when we’ll be previewing
the Gotham Stakes.
GO FAST AND WIN!