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Racing At The Jersey Shore

Here’s What People are Saying About Alpha’s Withers Win

In the second stop on the New York Derby Trail Alpha won the G3 Withers by three and a quarter lengths.  The Godolphin colt won handily as he was throttled down in the Aqueduct stretch.  The victory added another $120,000 of graded earnings to Alpha’s Kentucky Derby qualifying bankroll. 
 
The Bernardini colt covered the mile and a sixteeth in 1:44.23, which earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.  In his previous start in the Count Fleet, Alpha won with a BSF of 85.
 
Alpha’s third victory has earned mixed reviews in the Twitterverse. Here’s what some of our tweeps had to say.
 
@andyserling Alpha wins after being carried four wide on the first turn but count me as unimpressed. He was calm in the gate but just OK on the track.
 
@Zipseatthetrack Alpha looked strong today.
 
@SteveHaskin Alpha has easy time of it. Wins Withers going away.
 
@HR_Nation Withers' winner, Alpha, puts all four hooves on the Kentucky Derby trail!
 
@milkmaid58 Alpha easy winner. Soft fractions. Okay.. Don't know any more than I did before the race. #soconfused
 
@holybull71 Alpha looked good taking the Withers. Bring on the Gotham.
 
@JerseyTom Alpha looking better and better. Tried to beat him to no avail.
 
@TTimes VIDEO: Alpha posts professional effort in Withers S. (G3) win
 
@EJXD2 After watching the last 2 preps, Alpha starting to look better, no?
 
@AndyScoggin Alpha breaks well, gets bumped wide in the first turn, and wins handily to get $120,000 of graded stakes money!
 
In the more traditional post race interview Alpha’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was not limited to 140 characters. “I think he improved some [from the Count Fleet] because of how wide he was both trips, and he was better in the gate. He gets a better grade for this race – if it was a ‘B’ last time, he gets an ‘A’ this time.”
 
“The plans will be to talk to Simon Crisford from Godolphin to see which way to go. He’s here in New York right now, but he could relocate, or he could run back in the Gotham in a month. We’ll just have to talk about it. At least we got $120,000 in graded earnings [today] going forward to the first Saturday in May. That’s important.”
 
“There are some good 3-year-olds around the country and it’s hard to tell what he actually beat today. Union Rags is out there, Todd Pletcher has what looks like a shedrow full of them, Out of Bounds in California for Darley…whatever direction he goes, there’s some nice 3-year-olds out there. We hope we fit in there well with them all.”
 
The third stop on the New York Derby Trail is the $400,000 G3 Gotham at 1 1/16th miles on March 3. 

 

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Older Comments about Here’s What People are Saying About Alpha’s Withers Win...

Ditto Dude run for more green in the Wood and test the colt against grade 1 company instead of makin a bank deposit after the gotham then having a tougher race a month later and then 3 in 5 weeks if a tc run is in order.
next up $1,000,000 makes me think they believe in their horse in the wood and the derby why run in the Gotham and crush the field and make a bank deposit.Run in a better field in the Wood for a bigger bank deposit to simplify.
He sort of looks like a plodder to me, but since his competition hasn't been too tough he's getting stalking trips. When the competition is tougher & fields are bigger I think he's going to be much further back with too much left to do.
It's easy to look good when there is not any quality behind you. I want to see Alpha A. face stiffer competition again and B. win outside of New York. I am not convinced yet, though I do have to give the colt credit for making progress.
UPDATE: McLaughlin reports that Alpha came out of the Withers in good shape and that if they decide to skip the Gotham and aim for the Wood that they would probably ship Alpha to train in Florida.
Alpha is making nice, steady progress for quality connections. He should continue to improve as distances increase.
Agree completely with the way Alpha's coming along. Hope the development continues.
He's improving along the way....beautiful in the gate (although he wasn't in there long!). His last two races have to have given him confidence, which is no small thing. He's a maturing kid....have to remember many of Bernardini's kids are late bloomers...if Alpha is this good now, what will he be down the road!
I agree with Brian. He was impressive, because he was floated and bumped, overcame his gate troubles, etc. However there wasn't anyone in that race that could go with him. Hopefully the Gotham and Wood provide more answers
Interesting to see the varying responses. Let me expand upon mine ... I thought he looked strong in that he was carried a little wide on both turns on a racing strip that is not generally kind to that. Having said that, my enthusiasm is tempered a bit by the lack of quality in the horses behind him.

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.