Back after a holiday break…..hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year. And hope y’all had better luck traveling than I, still yet to make it home to New York, and not going today, either.
Trainer Leah Gyarmati got her first-ever graded stakes win at Saratoga this past summer (which seems so recent, yet so long ago); and she got her second one on Saturday at Aqueduct when Noble Moon ($3.60) took the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes. Nevermind that it was a dismal field for a race classified as such – not a stakes winner to be found, and a TFUS class rating of 87 (as opposed to, for example, the 99 for the Nashau Stakes that Noble Moon came out of). When Noble Moon someday takes his place in the breeding shed, the “Won the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes” bullet point will not contain that level of nuance. (Nor the fact that he “ran” a quarter of 27 1/5 seconds through the stretch.)
Let’s take a look at the TimeformUS PPs for Noble Moon going into Saturday’s race.
(The pace figure line underneath the running line is set for the leader of each race.) We see that Noble Moon was classified as ‘Midpack’ based on his first two races. Seems as if this was a case of splitting the difference between his two efforts, the front-running win in his debut, and the troubled come-from-behind third in the hot-paced Nashua. He was bumped at the start of the latter, but our automated system of generating running styles of course does not factor that in. As we’ve said before, as great as our tools are to help you understand races faster, one still needs to take a closer look, especially for this purpose when a horse has so few starts. With a clean break in the Jerome, Noble Moon stalked the leader for a quarter mile and was in front for good after a half. So I think it’s safe to assume for now that the Nashua was an anomaly, and that Noble Moon is a speed or stalk type.
For the winning effort, Noble Moon earned a TFUS speed figure of 99, in his first effort around two turns. He’s by Malibu Moon (AP Indy), out of a Kingmambo mare who is a half-sister to Musical Ghost, who won the Red Smith at 1 3/8 miles (on grass), and to Silver Music, who won the mile and a quarter Swaps in 1994 at some obsolete track called Hollywood Park. So, distance should surely not be a problem for this Virginia-bred colt. Note his pedigree rating of 90 for dirt routes, and he has an economical Dosage Index of 1.58. For some reason, and for those of you who pay attention to such stuff, Noble Moon gets ten points in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby points system, which maybe somebody can explain to me someday when I have absolutely nothing else to do (like when I’m sitting at an airport). The replay of the Jerome follows below: