Risen Star and San Vicente - Who impressed the most?

February 22, 2011 12:56pm

The results, charts and pace/speed figures are in for what was an exciting weekend of Derby prep performances.  Fields were deep with talent for both the San Vincente and Risen Star.  However, it wasn’t the winners that necessarily impressed the most.  Read on to learn which Derby trail horses HRN tabs as horses to watch in the coming weeks.


2/19/11 to 2/21/11 President’s Day Weekend Derby Prep Evaluations


I had the opportunity to head out to the Arlington Park OTB on Saturday and join what turned out to be a big crowd as Derby fever begins to set in.  It had been sometime since I felt the electricity of the crowd at an OTB but the room erupted into an enthusiastic roar as Santiva and Mucho Macho Man engaged in battle down the long Fair Grounds stretch.  Great to see that much interest in an early Derby prep race.


Both the Risen Star and San Vincente lived up to their hype as exciting Derby preps to watch and bet.  After a thorough review of biases, trips, race shapes and pace/speed ratings, we are making no changes to our HRN Super Screener Quality Ratings. 


While The Factor dazzled us with his incredible, raw speed and Mucho Macho Man was redeemed in his RISEN STAR victory, it was other horses in these races that may get overlooked by these memorable performances.


On Sunday, when the SAN VICENTE was run, the Santa Anita track condition was listed as Wet-Fast.  If you look at the charts that day, nearly every race was won wire-to-wire, so speed dominated and even cheap horses were running sub 1:10 six furlong times.  The Factor certainly benefited from the bias but take nothing away from this horse.  The internal fractions he cut of 43.4 for the half and 107.3 for 6 furlongs is big time horse racing regardless of track conditions.  However, Sway Away and Premier Pegasus impressed me as well.  Was Sway Away aided by speed falling apart late or did he overcome a prevalent speed bias? His internal BRIS pace ratings were impressive as he posted BRIS second call rating of 94 and a powerful late pace figure of 107 on his way to a final speed rating of 103 so I would conclude it was a strong showing.  Premier Pegasus ran a deceivingly good race in that he was involved in the early fray, appeared finished but dug in gamely to hold third.  One to watch as they stretch out next out.


In the RISEN STAR, Mucho Macho Man benefited from his Holy Bull race and while a win is a win, he was worked hard for the victory and was all over the track late after being part of some soft early fractions.  Santiva and, even more so, Rogue Romance served notice that they are back and firmly on the trail.  Both were coming off long lay offs and I think they each ran terrific come back races here and can see each moving forward, big time, next out.


I didn’t cover the SOUTHWEST STAKES on Friday but it does deserve some mention.  Oaklawn Park routes that day were decidedly kind to off the pace and closer types and the Southwest was no exception.  JP’s Gusto looked like he should have won that race after getting involved in some traffic problems.  Elite Alex went 5 wide and then 6 wide so not the best trip on the day and Caleb’s Posse was hopelessly bottled up before finding room and ran well thereafter.  Two three year olds to tab in their next Derby prep.  The HRN Super Screener Quality Rating for the SOUTHWEST STAKES was a C.


Here’s our post-race evaluation for the RISEN STAR and SAN VICENTE

Fair Grounds G2 Risen Star Stakes 1 1/16 Dirt

Winner: Mucho Macho Man (RANKED #6 - DERBY)

Beyer Speed Rating: 94

BRIS Pace/Final Pars:  First Call = 94; Second Call = 104; Final = 104

Actual Pace/Final:         First Call = 74; Second Call =  84;  Final = 97

Track Bias: None

Tough Trips: Rogue Romance encountered some slight traffic problems

Impressive Effort:  Both Santiva and Rogue Romance looked strong first off the lay off and will move forward in their next starts.  Machen ran well but was compromised by the slow early pace

HRN Pre-Race Grade = B

HRN Post-Race Grade = B

Notes: The early pace was extremely slow.  This race didn’t get started until they entered the final turn and then it was a sprint from the top of the stretch.   Rogue Romance and Machen were most compromised by the soft early pace.


Santa Anita G2 San Vincente Stakes 7 Furlongs Dirt

Winner: The Factor (RANK #18 – DERBY)
Beyer Speed Rating: 102

BRIS Pace/Final Pars:  First Call = 98; Second Call = 108; Final = 104

Actual Pace/Final:         First Call = 91; Second Call = 109; Final = 104

Track Bias:  Speed favoring

Tough Trips: None

Impressive Effort:  The Factor and his amazing show of raw speed off the lay off.  Sway Away for his late run against the track bias and Premier Pegasus for participating in the hot pace but then resurging to secure third place.

HRN Pre-Race Grade = B+

HRN Post-Race Grade = B+

Notes: Will have to see how the Wet-Fast conditions aided The Factor.  Sway Away and Premier Pegasus deserve to move forward on the trail given their performances

[With a ranking of only 18 are the HRN fans wary of The Factor’s Kentucky Derby prospects?  Check out the 2011 Kentucky Derby contender rankings and put in your vote today!]


Check back on Friday as we’ll preview the Fountain of Youth and Hutcheson Kentucky Derby preps.




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Older Comments about Risen Star and San Vicente - Who impressed the most?...

The value of analyzing these prep races both before and after they are run can pay dividends. Here's the comment on Premier Pegasus after the San Vicente "Premier Pegasus ran a deceivingly good race in that he was involved in the early fray (hot early fractions), appeared finished but dug in gamely to hold third. One to watch as they stretch out next out (in the San Felipe)."
GOld write up I thought the fg track played a little tiring. No speed horses won all day. Grand lioness and d moment both stopped. Z humor completely stopped. The last race was won by a last to first move going awa by three lengts
Nice job with the Derby prep recaps Mike. You are right about some of the underneath finishers offering value in upcoming races. I am especially interested in playing back Santiva, SwayAway, and Elite Alex. Keep up the good work!
Definitely Loved Sway Away's performance,off the long lay off and lagging that far back going 7 furlongs, to close the way he did was definitely impressive to me.
Interesting Mike, looks like your pre-race grades were dead on. Note the poll currently on my blog page; Sway Away currently is the leader over The Factor and Mucho Macho Man.

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About Me

Mike has been a passionate horseracing fan for over 30 years. He received his “handicapping education” through countless hours of deciphering the mystery that is embedded in every race. It was the tough beats at the window, however, that propelled him to never make the same mistake twice (well, maybe three times).

As Managing Partner of Horse Racing Nation, Mike serves as investor, business advisor, staff handicapper and developer of handicapping content.

Handicapping the Derby has always been one of Mike's favorite endeavors.  He spends weeks compiling notes, speed figures and analysis in preparation for the big race.  In 2010, his HRN pals pushed him into packaging his time-tested methods into what became the 2010 Kentucky Derby Super Screener, an e-book that became extremely popular with HRN readers and was downloaded over 3,000 times.   

In preparation for the 2011 Derby, Mike will be "Rating the Preps" each weekend on the Derby trail.  The goal will be to build a good picture for which prep races are most likely to produce the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner.   

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