Monday, March 14, 2011

San Felipe / Tampa Bay Derby & Timely Writer Recap

San Felipe / Tampa Bay Derby & Timely Writer

Last week I was critical of the decision to run Uncle Mo, in what seemed to me, a race that offered very little challenge or upside for this up and coming racehorse.

However after reviewing all three races – I believe I now understand what the thinking was for running Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer.

Let me begin by writing that I suspect Mo’s management believed they had a race “to give”…..what I mean by that is – they don’t need the money (graded stakes) to get into the Kentucky Derby – the Breeder’s Cup victory assures them a spot.

Uncle Mo’s management isn’t necessarily concerned about stretching him out and testing his ability with distance. The Breeder’s Cup was a 1 1/16th race and they’ll make sure and enter him in another prep race in April (rumor has it the Wood Memorial) which will test him at 1 1/8 mile.

In fact, I believe Uncle Mo’s trainers aren’t worried that he’ll lose the Kentucky Derby or Preakness at the end of the race – I believe they’re confident that there’s not a three year old out there that’s going to catch Mo from behind in the final stretch.

I believe they’re concerned that if Mo is going to lose….he’ll lose at the beginning of the race and I’ll use the other two races to demonstrate my point.

San Felipe Stakes

Premier Pegasus
Bench Points

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Comma to the Top, Quail Hill, Awesome Patriot, Surrey Star, Jakesam, Albergatti, Runflatout.

Premier Pegasus blew past seven horses as they enter and exit the final turn – and then he pours on the speed with an electrifying victory….could this son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus (and also 2000 San Felipe winner) be a potential champion ????

Statue of Fusaichi Pegasus in Hokkaido Japan -

***Here's hoping that Japan can recover as quickly as possible.

Personally I’m not getting too excited just yet – he was less than premier in his previous race, the San Vicente – where The Factor and Sway Away finished well ahead of him – I think Premier Pegasus is simply the best horse still running in Southern California.

Jaycito (again) went off as the favorite in this race 8 – 5 odds – and again failed to live up to his hype. In my opinion, he’s beginning to look like a horse who will find his stride and his ability as he develops (if he ever finds it at all)….but I think that will be too late for the Triple Crown.

How this race relates to Uncle Mo – As you watch this race you’ll notice the first ¼ mile is covered in 21.75 seconds – which for a mile 1/16th race is a little hot. Three horses contend for the early lead, including Comma To The Top and Runflatout – two horses I believe are talented enough to win a race like this…..however both horses lacked the disciple to hold back and run at a more sensible early pace. In the end Comma to the Top fades to fourth – Albergatti and Runflatout finish in last.

See San Felipe –

I believe management for Uncle Mo were hoping that in a 1 mile race – a few early speed horses would jump at the chance for $100,000 purse – and set an early pace similar to the San Felipe – the reasoning may be that Uncle Mo hasn’t been apart of a race where he’s needed to remain patient and let early speed horses wear themselves out ahead of him – he’s usually been apart of the lead himself and perhaps management wanted to know how he’d react being several lengths back for the first time. I’m not so sure they didn’t hold Mo back – as his time in the Timely Writer was 25+ seconds in the first ¼ mile – compared to his 23.57 in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile….somebody take the lead…please!?!?!

I suspect that testing Uncle Mo’s early patience was an important part of training him for the Kentucky Derby (which may have several early speed horses) – the problem was…the right horses didn’t show up to the Timely Writer – Mo takes a slow early lead….and finishes as usual.

Tampa Bay Derby

Watch Me Go
Crimson Knight

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Beamer, Economic Summit, Free Entry, Too Experience, Striding Ahead, Moonhanger.

How do you turn $2 into $2,194?

Go back in time and bet an exacta with Watch Me Go (43-1 odds) & Crimson Knight (86-1 odds)!!!

Brethren seemed to run the race he wanted to run and was expected to run – he just got flat out beat. However this is a horse who has looked sharp coming out of the outside post in two consecutive races – I suspect he bounces back with a better post position.

Two long shots roll in and the announcer does it justice – even if I don’t have money on it (which I didn’t) I still enjoy watching a race like this one.

How this race relates to Uncle Mo – I had mentioned last week that if Striding Ahead (#1) could capture the rail in the first turn, he’d be a threat – instead Crimson Knight (#6) cuts him off, at around the 22 second mark on youtube, and you can see where Striding Ahead pulls his head to the left and seems to lose momentum as well. I suspect Uncle Mo’s management would have liked to have seen Uncle Mo deal with early adversity and see how he would react to it  – the kind of adversity that we watch Striding Ahead fail to deal with (he finished 8th). Again they needed some early speed horses to mix things up in the Timely Writer.

Now instead of criticizing the management for Uncle Mo – I find myself appreciating the fact that I believe they’re doing their best to improve his ability as a racehorse….and didn’t just run him in the Tampa Bay Derby for the money. Seems to me they had the right idea – things just didn’t pan out how they hoped.

If I'm correct - they've didn't care about the Timely Writer they've got Triple Crown in their sights!

Tampa Bay Derby:

Timely Writer:

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