COMMENTS: While I love the -2 LSR that Shanghai Bobby recorded in easily winning the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park Saturday, I don’t like the fact that the pace was so slow (-1 early speed ration) in that race, especially in light of the numbers that Power Broker earned in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at the BC host track (Santa Anita).
GRADE I JAMAICA HANDICAP
COMMENTS: As I noted on my Oct. 10 podcast, I think handicappers can draw a line through Dullahan’s race in the Grade I Jamaica, which was won by 28-1 longshot King David with 23-1 shot King Kreesa second (not surprisingly, the exacta paid a king’s ransom). Simply put, the pace in the Jamaica was sundial slow, resulting in an absurd +9 ESR. A late-running horse like Dullahan never had a chance.
GRADE II HAWTHORNE GOLD CUP
COMMENTS: Pool Play is winless in eight lifetime starts on turf; he has won five of 30 starts on all-weather surfaces, including a Grade III score in the Durham Cup three years ago. Yet he is a perfect 2-for-2 on the dirt, with a Grade II win and a Grade I score — both at monster odds. What’s more, his speed and pace figures were strong in each of those events. And what kind of surface will the BC Classic be run over this year? Yeah, I thought so.
GRADE 2 INDIANA OAKS
COMMENTS: There’s a lot to like about Grace Hall’s 5 ¾-length romp in the Grade II Indiana Oaks at Hoosier Park on Saturday. Not only did “Grace” run fast, but she also recorded a -1 LSR and a positive Pace Profile (59 degrees). She looks like a top contender to win the Ladies Classic, especially since Royal Delta’s pace numbers in the Beldame were only ho-hum.
GRADE 2 THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA STAKES
COMMENTS: Although I didn’t like her comeback race, there is little to knock about Groupie Doll’s effort in the TCA Stakes on Saturday. The -2 LSR she earned that afternoon says it all.
GRADE I SHADWELL TURF MILE
COMMENTS: The numbers tell the story — this is a very special horse. And it’s going to take a very good animal to beat him in the BC Mile.