Analysis: 3-year-olds Shancelot, Endorsed deserve closer look

June 25, 2019 10:35am
Analysis: 3-year-olds Shancelot, Endorsed deserve closer look
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Two promising 3-year-olds, Shancelot and Endorsed, caught racing fans’ attention with their wins Sunday.

The former won a starter allowance at Monmouth Park, while the latter took an allowance race at Belmont. Both races were run at six furlongs. 

What I intend to provide is a closer look at those victories and prospects moving forward. In many cases, the horse winning at a higher-profile track is more trustworthy. But Shancelot gained higher respect given the sheer talent he displayed and a high speed figure to boot.

As with many of trainer Jorge Navarro's runners, Shancelot won gate to wire. He sped to the front with a quick burst and never let up. 
In fact, he opened up by six lengths on the far turn and retained the margin. 

The fractions were 22.16, 44.56 and 56.26. TimeformUS marked them in blue, indicating a tempo less than red-hot. But how much faster is he supposed to go? Consider that three races later, the pacesetter in a six-furlong maiden claimer opened 22.99 and 47.38.

I consider Shancelot's pace more moderate to fast. If he runs back in a graded stakes race, he will give other speed horses a hard time up front.

In fairness, Shancelot defeated little. Second-place finisher Clench finished third in an Aqueduct starter allowance in March, while the third-place First Deal won a Parx starter allowance by two lengths last month.   

But in his career debut at Gulfstream Park, Shancelot broke his maiden against Bodexpress, who went on to finish second to Maximum Security in the Florida Derby (G1). Bodexpress faded to be 14th across the wire in the Kentucky Derby, but for a horse without a lot of experience, he ran fine.

Often, horses who win a starter allowance at a second-tier track deserve scrutiny, but Shancelot gives the impression of one ready for more.

Even Navarro himself called Shancelot "the best horse I’ve ever trained" after Sunday's race. And consider that his recent charges have included the Grade/Group 1 winners Sharp Azteca and X Y Jet.

As for Shancelot's pedigree, the dam True Kiss made 21 career starts, and 19 of them came in sprints. Shancelot’s most successful sibling, One True Kiss, made 23 career starts, and 21 came in sprints.

But as long as Navarro keeps Shancelot sprinting and aims for races such as the Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) at Saratoga, the future is bright.

In contrast, Endorsed needs to run one more big race before coming to a similar conclusion.

From studying the replay of Endorsed's return win, it looks like he benefited from Bernin’ Thru Gold and Fortune’s Fool dueling each other up front. Admiral Lynch chased the pacesetters closely in third, and notice the gap from Admiral Lynch to Yamano Maker in fourth and Endorsed in last.

When the field separates into two separate groups, it usually indicates a fast pace where the closers cannot keep up in the initial stages. As an extreme example, think about the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic won by Blame. The speed horses noticeably separated by a lengthy margin to the second group.

Also notice the 21.99 and 44.55 fractions. Three races earlier on the same card, older maidens opened in 22.46 and 46.01 for the same distance.

While the leaders fought on after the turn, Admiral Lynch came up empty, which supports the idea of a fast pace as well.  

Any closer with mild talent would benefit from such a setup, and Endorsed took advantage around the turn and mowed them down.

Last summer, Endorsed broke his maiden at Saratoga for Kiaran McLaughlin with a mild 95 on TimeformUS. He then disappointed in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, finishing a distant sixth by 11 lengths.

He did make a mild bid on the turn, which means he at least got into the race.

Once Endorsed realized he could not catch Complexity, maybe he grew discouraged. Some horses do not try once they realize the race is lost.

The danger is that Endorsed will disappoint again once he steps back to that level. But perhaps the normal growth and maturity as a 3-year-old helped.

For what it is worth, the Beyer team gave Endorsed a 92 for the allowance win. As of this writing, TimeformUS had not registered a number for him.

As for Endorsed’s pedigree, even though he failed in the Champagne, it signals he belongs routing. Most pedigree analysts know Medaglia d’Oro as a route sire, while Endorsed’s dam, Dance Card, won the 2012 Gazelle Stakes (G1) at 1 1/8 miles. Damsire Tapit is the hottest sire in the Belmont Stakes.

Lots of horses do not follow their pedigree. However, the connections may want to give Endorsed another chance at a one-turn mile at some point.

In any case, right now Shancelot is the more promising talent. It is not hard to imagine him zipping to the front in the Allen Jerkens and never looking back. Even though Navarro dominates Monmouth, he wins elsewhere too.

Endorsed could continue to progress. But the gut feeling is that Shancelot will break out into a high-level star and become the next Private Zone for this barn, while Endorsed will only be another contender in Grade 1 races.

But given the up-and-down nature of this current sophomore class, anything can happen.


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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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