Race of the Week 2017

Clocker Analysis of Mentor Cane's Debut Race

The following is the second posting of a series in which Horse Racing Nation will follow an unraced, but promising youngster, from morning works through the hope of bigger and better things.

                                        by Donald Harris   


With entry of the big Shirreffs' gray, Mentor Cane, scheduled for tomorrow, I thought it might be useful to bring the reader a glimpse of how a clocker(s) break down a maiden race with a majority of first time starters. I work in tandem with Toby Turrell. Toby is at Santa Anita and I am at Hollywood. The most enjoyable part of our job is attempting to make sense of Race #7 at Hollywood Park tomorrow. Before I started clocking, I would approach a race like this in the customary fashion. Pedigree, trainer, workout pattern . .. etc. Now that I have a chance to see these athletes on the practice field before they ever run, I get to add an extra variable to the equation.The visual measure of how a horse looks in a workout versus just guessing based on workout times. Though my clocking does not guarantee success in every maiden race like this, over time it has decreased my risk in swinging and missing at the windows.  So here it goes, Clocker Breakdown in 3 . . 2 . . 1 . . 
ICE CREAM TRUCK:  Would surprise on win end. Feels like a horse that will need racing and two turns before running best.    

MENTOR CANE:  My boy!  My fragile ego has taken ownership in this gray colt.  I think he is a runner as I outlined in a previous blog.  In regards to my expectations on race day: I can't ignore he has not worked out since November 22. Shirreffs does not press like Baffert, so winning first time out is never the number one objective. Shirreffs approaches the debut more like an education then the actual exam.   

POWER PED:  A win would surprise.  His best chance at a competitive finish is if he can pop the gate. I don't know where the speed is going to come from in this race so he could possibly clear with aggressive tactics. His workout pattern has been up and down.   

APPEALING TALE:  Major player.  All you tape players will be all over this colt. Promising debut.  Broke slow.  Made a serious move once clear middle of the turn. Galloped out best of the field.   

KID DREAMS:  A win would not surprise.  Positive workout pattern for Drysdale. Consistently best in company.  Believe Drysdale has trained him to run a very good race first time out.  Do not ignore. 

BETWEENHEREANDCOOL:  Has shown enough to deserve respect. Major drawback is never working over the cushion. 

COASTAL BREEZE: Would surprise on win end.  There are five other horses in this field that I believe have more in the tank than this colt.  Never surprised when Baffert fires first time out but from what I have seen in the mornings I have to pass in this field. 

MODERN:  From his workouts I can't endorse. Would be a big surprise. 

FLASHBACK:  Major player.  Worked consistently best in company over the cushion before heading back to Santa Anita starting November 13. Toby has loved the way this gray colt has trained over the dirt. Logged a big time gate drill in that Nov 19 bullet. Should come out firing. 

SELECTIONS:  9 - 2 - 4 - 5
FLASHBACK:  Gets nod because Baffert simply trains his horses to fire first time out.  Deserving favorite.   

MENTOR CANE:  The horse that I believe has the most upside.  This race is more about education and foundation for Shirreffs than an intent to win.  But I have to say, if his odds happen to float higher as post time nears, it will be hard for me not to make a little wager. 

APPEALING TALE:  Can't ignore off his strong close in debut. 

KID DREAMS:  Main source of value if morning line holds up.  Believe Drysdale has him fit and ready. 

Directly below is an example of what our workout report looks like . . .  

Race #7:  Maiden Special Weight
Pace:  ??

11/5:  23.80, 49.00  - Not doing anything of note working in company with stable-mate Stormin City. Inclined to give this colt some racing.  HP {49.20}

10/18:  Given a couple of targets to run down when breaking around three lengths behind. Did his job in an even keel manner.   HP {1:03.00}

11/14:  25.60, 49.00 out 1:01.40 – Talented colt was dominant in team drill over stable-mate Far Rockaway. Believe barn has high hopes for this guy.  HP {1:00.20}

10/9:  Colt is sure giving the impression that he has a lot of upside.  Much the best in team drill over Odeon.  37.60, 1:02.40, out 1:14.60 –appearing to hit his most productive stride on the gallop out.  HP {1:01.40}

11/25:  Step back from previous when getting outworked by winner Spellbound.  Overall pattern has been inconsistent.  SA {1:14.60}

11/19:  Positive drill when able to get the best over winner Robie the Cat.  SA {1:00.20}

TRIP NOTE:  Nov 25 – Broke poorly.  Spent time at the back of the pack until mid-turn.  Once Gomez switched this guy to the outside he accelerated on cue.  Had to like his close in the stretch.  Ran right by field shortly after the wire.  Promising effort.

NOTE:  Prior to debut.
11/12:   Had this colt making up ground on a target and running clear late.  35.40, 1:00.20 – professional drill.  HP {1:00.20}

10/27:  Building confidence working much the best over a modest stable-mate.  HP {1:02.00}

11/26:  Deserves respect in debut.  36.00, 47.80 – working hard and succeeding in the lane when getting the best over Unusual Class by a length.  HP {47.60}

10/25:  Building key fitness wth a productive six panels in company – 38.00, 1:02.60, 1:15.20 – colt is progressing.  HP {1:15.80}
11/21:  There is definitely some talent here.  Worked best of a team over Ravens Honor.  Deserves respect.  SA {1:01.80}

11/17:  In usual blinkers – 23.80, 47.80, 1:00.60 – set down for best working in company.  Stiff drill but nothing over the top prior to debut.  HP {1:01.00}

11/9:  Worked in blinkers while in company from the blocks.  24.00, 36.60 for the final three furlongs.  Proved best by a length and galloped out clear.  HP {1:00.80}


11/26:  50.80 final half mile to significant pushing pressure.  Overall series has not been much. HP {1:15.00}

11/19:  36.00, 1:02.40 – Not turning heads working a forgettable six furlongs.  Has more work to do.  HP {1:15.60}
11/19:  Looks like Baffert has a runner in this son of Tapit.  Worked in company with another promising runner by the name of Battled.  23.80 early when two lengths behind.  46.00, 59.00, out 1:12.00 – making up the ground late to prove best.  Finishing under wraps and still earning the bullet.  Ready to go.  SA {1:11.60}


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Older Comments about Clocker Analysis of Mentor Cane's Debut Race...

He is a beautiful colt, look forward to seeing more of him
Nice call on the straight Tri, Donald! ... Nothing wrong with that debut for Mentor Cane, either.
THIS is more along the lines of the information of a work that is relevant, as far as exercise can be. A description of the fractions and, more importantly, HOW the animal ran!
Great information Don! Thank you for sharing the tools of your trade. After 40+ years of following this sport, it never ceases to amaze me that ther is always something NEW to learn.
Thanks Donald and Toby..great insight too what looks to be a great race to watch....

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