HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

She's a Maneater!

It’s been a long, hard, and more than frustrating task to piece together the puzzle of Horse of the Year, but it seems that finally, at long last, the fog is clearing and leaders are emerging.

This past weekend Belmont hosted Super Saturday, which featured a host of stars. In every graded race there was at least one major horse if not more, and everybody was on the edge of their seats to see if those stars could do what no other horse has been able to do this season. Follow up one brilliant performance with another. With the fields being small and not much value to be found for the hard core bettors, each current leader was expected to win, they were expected to impress, and boy oh boy did they ever impress.

On a saturated turf course both Stacelita and Cape Blanco both gave fans something to scream about as the filly powered home winning decisively by two lengths, while Cape Blanco courageously fought off the late challenge of Deans Kitten. The times were nothing to rave about, but with the condition of the turf course, one can easily forgive the sloth like nature of the times.

On the dirt, match ups like Uncle Mo vs Jackson Bend, Royal Delta vs Havre de Grace, and Stay Thirsty vs Flat Out were waiting in the wings. In two out of three match ups, the elders took their younger foes and showed them how a top racehorse runs. The lone wolf three-year-old winner was Uncle Mo, who hopped out of the gate to wire the field, while repelling a strong bid from Forego winner Jackson Bend, and running the mile in an eye popping 1.33.84, in the mud. The effort earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 118, the highest of any three-year-old this year and only bettered by the likes of Champion Sprinter Big Drama.

Next up Havre de Grace made easy work of pace maker Life at Ten and Alabama queen, Royal Delta, winning the Beldame by eight and one quarter lengths. What was so amazing about the performance was the ease in which it was accomplished. Some were worried that the Woodward took too much out her, that maybe she wouldn’t be at her best. All the doubters got a big reality check, because not only did she roll home, she did it in little more than a canter, leaving plenty of gas in the tank for her assault on the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

After this weekend, there should be no doubt in any persons mind that the two leading horses, going into the Classic are Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace. Havre de Grace is your new leader in the race for Horse of the Year, and the only way for anyone to wrest that away from her grip is to take her down in the Classic. After yesterday’s performance, I’m not sure I would give any of the males a good shot. Game on Dude is game, but will he like Churchill Downs? The same goes for Flat Out, Stay Thirsty and Tizway. Tizway’s conditioning is also in question. Twirling Candy can run on anything, but will he be ready or will he even run in the Classic? Uncle Mo is more talented than any of these, but the question for him would be, is he a big enough freak to win the Classic off of two races that could be classified as sprints?

We won’t know the answer to any of those questions until the Breeders Cup. What we do know is the one horse that has answered all those questions and answered them emphatically. Havre de Grace is going to the Classic and she is not looking to take any prisoners.


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Older Comments about She's a Maneater!...

As much as I like Mo...I don't like his bloodline for the distance....
  • DeadHeat · Arch was the sire of Blame and Kris S. Grandsire of Zenyatta both are in the bottom side of Mo's pedigree. · 2238 days ago
  • GoTexas · Ditto, DeadHeat. Playa Maya contributes as much to Mo as Indian Charlie. · 2238 days ago
Mike I completely agree about the Classic. The fact that you have some definitive stars now makes the race come up much better. I mean with the list of horses i said in my blog, there are what 6 grade one winner heading for the race? Makes it look much more competitive.
I thought Havre de Grace's win was the most impressive of the weekend by far, and with Flat Out winning the Gold Cup, she has to be the favorite for the Classic. Actually a lot of the Breeders Cup races are starting to look pretty good. Havre de Grace, Uncle Mo and the rest in the Classic makes it look like a better race now than it did a few months ago and the Ladies Classic looks wide open now. If the Arc Winner comes over and So You Think runs in the Classic this could be a very good Breeders Cup.
While i think this filly will be hard to beat, do not discount Mo. I understand he only has two races a 7f and 8f as preps, but he is a freak of nature. Can lead or stalk and has a monster turn of foot. I don't see 10f being much of an issue for him if he is fit and ready to go. If he doesn't have the conditioning then you may see him struggling, but i don't think you will. He loves the track and his dam's side pedigree give him stamina. I think he'll be ready, my thing is it's going to be hard to be ready enough against HDG.
It's funny how all I heard the whole year was "she is no Blind Luck." Yeah, well, you get that right. This is an all time great horse. She beat Blind Luck by 4 earlier this year. She beat the boys, including JCGC winner Flat Out in the Woodward. She beat the best 3yo filly Royal Delta in a romp Saturday. Al that is left to do is to beat Uncle Mo, and that should not be much of an issue as Mo will not want to go 1m 1/4. She should be the 2-1 fav for the BC Classic, there is no horse even close to her in training in the US. HOY is a given, as is the result of the BC Classic.
She's the favorite, but I think the Classic is a wide open race ... should be fun!

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track,, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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