Continued from Part 1...
A horse, any horse, runs on the right lead down the backstretch, switches to left lead on turns and then back to the right in the straightaways. Horses that run solely on their left either has an issue on the right or simply poorly broken and taught and can be never be anything more than a sprinter.
To get a feeling of what lead switches are you can play along at home here: Have you ever carried a heavy backpack on one shoulder, and halfway through your journey or destination you switch shoulders and its almost like a relief, a burst of energy. It seems lighter, well, the same for horses.
Left lead trough the turn, to cut through centrifugal force, as you do when you rode your bike through a turn and you lean in. When you straighten out , boom, switch and it's like ''swooosh”, renewed energy and strength on that right, same type of energy like when you switch shoulders with the backpack.
Some horses have equal ability in either, but I'll Have Another has exhibited signs of making his best runs and spurts in the stretch, on the right lead, not on the turn, on his left lead.
How many people recall the scintillating run Arazi made in the Breeders Cup Juvenile in 1991?
He took people's breath away with his eye catching run and disposal of Bertrando in the stretch. Arazi was a strong left handed horse. Or Mine That Bird's incredible rally on the turn in 2009 Kentucky Derby where he looked like he was moving three to their one.
Those are fine examples, of left handed horses that excel through the tight turns. Bullring specialists are left handed horses. European horses can be strong left handed horses.
I'll Have Another, showed a tremendous burst on his right lead in the Robert B Lewis at Santa Anita, and then looked dead in the water on the turn in the Santa Anita Derby, until the stretch run where he swallowed up Creative Cause when he switched to his right lead.
In Derby 138, Mario Gutierrez, knew he could count on that acceleration in the stretch and didn't use him hard to get in position. He was rewarded, and the same in the Preakness. He didn't panic when the colt seemed to be going evenly on the tight turns at Pimlico. In the stretch, he knew, his “right handed” horse would respond. He just kept getting stronger and stronger down the stretch.
At Belmont Park, the sweeping turns, gives the left handed horses, the turn horses, a false sense of assurance. They hit their best stride and seems like the turn goes on and on and on, by the time the stretch comes they have used their best weapon. They are done.
If all goes right, Mario Gutierrez, the colt's cinderella jockey story, will have I'll Have Another in striking position not more than four lengths off the pace, and when he hits the stretch he is fresh and on his best lead and asset, he, then, will prove to be tough as nails to pass.
The Belmont circumference and sweeping turns may play right into I'll Have Another's sweet spot. His trainer Doug O'Neill has all the confidence in the world in his colt. In fact, he was worried about the colt switching leads erratically at Churchill. Maybe the colt was just checking out his territory and figuring out what he needed to do on that surface, very much like a pro testing out the ground he will be competing on at game time.
I'll Have Another is a pro and like Mario Gutierrez told us at Derby 138 draw “the colt will help me when I need it''.
He sure did and thinking about it, who knew June 13, 1999, a little five furlong sprint at Hollywood Park would explain why I'll Have Another CAN win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park, on June 9, 2012.
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