Analysis: Blamed's consistency stands out on Pegasus undercard

January 24, 2020 12:24pm
Analysis: Blamed's consistency stands out on Pegasus undercard
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park
Lost in the shuffle of some great turf races on the Pegasus World Cup (g1) undercard are some excellent dirt races instead as well, including the seven-furlong Inside Information Stakes (G2) with 12 entries going seven furlongs.

One of those contenders is the consistent 5-year-old mare Blamed, who goes for her eighth win in 11 starts for trainer Bill Mott. She only has missed the board once in 10 starts and leads off these five selections for Saturday's races.

Gulfstream Race 9: Inside Information Stakes (G2)

While Blamed loves to set the pace, that probably is not a hard rule. In the 2018 Sunland Oaks, for example,, she pressed the leader on her way to drawing clear.

The Sunland Oaks marked Blamed's last start for trainer Joel Marr. Since transferring to Bill Mott, she improved with wins in the Raven Run Stakes (G2) and Comely Stakes (G2), earning speed figures of 118 and 123 on TimeformUS' scale.

In Blamed's 2019 debut, she regressed by fading to fifth in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3). The flop is forgivable because she ran over a sloppy track, and the forecast is clear for Saturday. Afterward, Blamed rebounded with another pacesetting win in the Royal Delta Stakes (G3) while registering a 114 TimeformUS figure.

Blamed went on the shelf after that win and makes her return to racing here. Mott is showing confidence by starting the mare in a graded stakes race right away. The only question is whether the pace scenario is too fast, but as pointed out, she can press, too.

In this spot, Blamed is drawn in Post 5, giving Irad Ortiz Jr. a few options coming out of the gate.

Another question is whether the 6-1 morning line odds on Blamed are accurate. If that is correct, then Blamed is a great betting value in the Inside Information.

Gulfstream Race 2: Maiden

The Pegasus undercard features two high-level 3-year-old races on dirt with well-bred horses, which means Kentucky Derby prospects might emerge.

One well-bred colt in Race 2 is Elusive Ruler, who finished a closing third in his career debut at Churchill Downs and a mild fourth at Gulfstream in his next start. The Churchill Downs race came over six furlongs on slop, while he traveled over a one-turn mile in the recent local start.

As for his bloodlines, Elusive Ruler's third dam is Dear Birdie. Pedigree enthusiasts will recognize this family, as Dear Birdie produced the 2004 Belmont Stakes winner and Triple Crown spoiler Birdstone. Most racing fans remember how Birdstone plodded his way to win.

With that in mind, this is a pedigree geared toward longer distances, especially with 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker on top.

Elusive Ruler gets to stretch out slightly to 1 1/16 miles in this spot as well as travel two turns for the first time. The longer distance might help.

At 6-1, it is worth taking a shot on him.

Gulfstream Race 4: Maiden

Todd Pletcher is not as sharp these days as he once was with first-time starters, but take the time to watch Market Analysis' morning workouts on XBTV.

In the Dec. 29 breeze in company with stablemate Uncle Skeets, notice how Market Analysis went to the wire under a hold while Uncle Skeets floundered despite getting asked multiple times. The same scenario happens in Market Analysis' Dec. 22 work with Awesome Party. Market Analysis traveled outside and powered by his struggling stablemate.

Going back further, his Dec. 15 work also catches the eye. Market Analysis moved easily inside as his stablemate was hit six times on the second turn and still fell behind.

The lone concern is the seven-furlong distance. Market Analysis' third dam is Queen Randi, who produced the 2010 Belmont and Travers Stakes runner-up Fly Down, a long-winded grinder throughout his career.

Market Analysis may need a route distance. With that said, it is hard to watch those three workouts and not come away impressed with the 7-2 shot.

Aqueduct Race 8: Jazil Stakes

Considering a significant amount of money will go to last year's Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston, this is a good betting race.

One top contender is Stan the Man, who won the nine-furlong Queen's County Stakes by a neck. His effort is better than the margin indicates, as he survived a hot pace. TimeformUS marked three of the fractions in red.

Stan the Man is also surprisingly 2-for-2 at nine furlongs despite spending most of career at one mile or shorter. He does not need the lead either.

In this spot, Stan the Man can sit off the leaders again and get first run on the turn. He does need Leitone to soften up the pacesetter Mr. Buff, though.

At 3-1, Stan the Man is fair value to defeat Sir Winston.

Oaklawn Race 8: Fifth Season Stakes

Like in the Jazil, this division of the split Fifth Season contains an almost certain underlay in Bravazo. Most bettors remember Bravazo from the 2018 Triple Crown series and many other graded stakes races afterwards. D. Wayne Lukas runs his horses often.

Bravazo went on a long layoff and did not return well in the Clark Stakes (G1) last fall, fading to eighth by 12 lengths. The connections then decided to skip the Pegasus World Cup, as well as the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup, signaling a lack of confidence from his team. Otherwise, why not at least try the Pegasus There could be a lost step or two in Bravazo.

If Bravazo does not fire, that opens up the race for a horse such as Bankit, who finished a closing fifth in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) last September. He only missed by three lengths against a good horse in Owendale, with Mucho Gusto another notable in fourth. Bankit still earned a 121 from TimeformUS.

Bankit is capable of running at varying distances, which means the one-mile distance of the Fifth Season is fine for him. He won the Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-breds at one mile as a 2-year-old, and also finished second by a head in the one-mile 2018 Remington Springboard Mile to Long Range Toddy.

Also, Bankit will get some pace help with Sevier and Pioneer Spirit entered. Bravazo should eat money, and Bankit is fair value at 5-1 or higher.


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Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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