The TimeformUS Pace Meltdown is projected to take place this week at Oaklawn Park. In Friday's 9th, a one mile, 12K maiden claiming affair, the predicted Fast Pace happily includes the morning line favorite, Blockout (#10, 5-2).
Adding blinkers in his last race, this horse went to the lead, but couldn't quite hold on at a mile and a sixteenth.
One would think that the shorter distance would be beneficial. Problem is that he figures to have to run faster early in order to be in the same position here; note the moderate pace that he was allowed to set.
The #4 horse, Kingofgoldstreet, projected to vie for the lead, had blinkers added himself last time out, and produced early pace figures that may make Blockout's head spin. And to make matters even worse for the morning line choice, blinkers were also added for the last effort of Efficient Market (#8, 7-2), producing an improved front-running effort (in his first try on dirt) that we can only hope he replicates in this spot! Amongst the candidates to pick up the pieces should this race fall apart is Giant Hook (#11, 10-1). This four-year old made a dismal debut early last year, but then put in a thoroughly respectable 4th place effort as a well-bet dropdown after a 245 day layoff for trainer Dale Romans. One of our newest features, the result 'continuum' in our result charts that allows you to scan through all of the prior and subsequent races for each horse, shows that the first two finishers of that race both came back with improved speed figures in their next starts.
Taking a look at the PPs for Giant Hook, we see that it's been 104 days since that start.
Yeah, that's not really good. Nor is Romans' rating for this type of spacing. But, on the other hand, this barn has some good numbers at Oaklawn and overall in maiden claimers. His workout pattern is strikingly similar to that which preceded his comeback race. And note the horse's pedigree rating, for dirt routes, as he gets set to try two turns for the first time. When you get down to this level, if the race falls apart as we suspect it might, you just about only need to be still standing at the end to have a shot.