What we learned: Instilled Regard reminds us of his talents

December 15, 2019 01:07pm
What we learned: Instilled Regard reminds us of his talents
Photo: Ryan Thompson/Gulfstream Park
Aside from value, the other selling point for Instilled Regard in the Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream PArk was his ability to lay closer to the pace than race favorite Channel Cat. On paper, he simply possessed more speed.

While that value dissipated by post time -- he dipped from 8-1 on the morning line to 3-1 when the gates opened -- Instilled Regard did utilize his tactical speed to secure position and become a graded winner on multiple surfaces.

Watch how Instilled Regard breaks well and takes Channel Cat's path.

Then, Instilled Regard takes up the pocket position behind Cross Border and inside of Marzo and Up the Ante. The leading pack traveled in a lethargic 24.63, 49.22 and 1:12.60 as Channel Cat raced toward the back.

In most turf races, the pocket position is a blessing because it means the horse is saving crucial ground. Unlike in dirt races, there is less kickback. But the horse still needs to find an opening in order to take advantage.

Lucky for Instilled Regard, a seam appeared through the final turn when Up the Ante drifted out and faded. Under a vigorous hand ride, Instilled Regard went through the path and ground his way to the lead. He outkicked Flavius to his side in midstretch and reached the wire first before Admission Office.

In other words, Instilled Regard did take advantage of a few factors to win. But he is also a young 4-year-old horse and could improve.

This is the Instilled Regard that once stood on top of many Kentucky Derby lists, and later on finished fourth in that race once everyone wrote him off. With his royal blood and Chad Brown conditioning him, the potential is there for him to contend at higher levels in 2020.

From a handicapping standpoint, though, he received a perfect turf stalking trip yesterday and did not win by a significant margin.

As for the runner-up Admission Office, he ran great closing off a slow pace. At the same time, he is becoming a money burner with five straight losses.

War Story upsets Harlan's Holiday, Bodexpress disappoints

Everyone knows War Story by now. The 7-year-old gelding pops up with a big race once in a while, but also disappoints backers other times.

In the case of Saturday's Harlan's Holiday Stakes (G3), War Story turned in his “good” effort and won another stakes race. He also received a few breaks, including a brief duel between Bodexpress and Prince Lucky.

The opening duel was a gift to War Story, who lagged in sixth early.

Approaching the far turn, War Story began to move up as Bodexpress held a tenuous lead over Red Crescent and Eye of a Jedi. Bodexpress failed to create separation on the turn and looked in trouble.

With Bodexpress in deep waters, War Story began to range up and make a steady bid. He reached the front and held off Phat Man.

War Story won by 1 ½ lengths over Phat Man, with another 1 ½ lengths to a tired Bodexpress in third. Red Crescent hung for fourth a head behind.

At his age, War Story is likely not moving forward anymore. If the connections decide to attempt the Pegasus World Cup (G1), he is a play-against for me, given this might have been his best effort for a while.

As for Bodexpress, the jury is still out. While he did fade late, he also endured a tough opening quarter mile by meeting Prince Lucky eye-to-eye until that one pulled up due to injury. Later, Bodexpress endured a challenge from Red Crescent.

But it feels like a Grade 1 horse should handle that kind of adversity and win.

At least Bodexpress is only a 3-year-old colt, giving him the proper time to move forward. Remember, this colt once ran second to Maximum Security in the Florida Derby (G1) and Shancelot in a maiden race. He has talent.

Cookie Dough returns to form in Rampart Stakes

Also on the Gulfstream undercard, Cookie Dough made a nice return to the races in the Rampart Stakes (G3) at one mile, even though Pink Sands won.

Nevertheless, Cookie Dough made a good impression by breaking well and securing the lead over a slightly rank Baccarat Fashion.

From there, Cookie Dough clicked off fractions of 23.47, 45.72 and 1:10.27. Those are fast numbers for the one-mile distance, and she didn't fold.

Not only did Cookie Dough not pack it in, but she opened up and looked well on her way to victory. But Pink Sands ate up ground late to win.

Given the fast half-mile, Cookie Dough gets more credit. To make one note about Pink Sands, though, the one-turn mile is the perfect distance for her, as she tends to flatten out or not fire her best at longer distances.

Cookie Dough is the one to watch and could become a player in major races from seven furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. She is promising.


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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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