Today in Racing, Jan 26, 2014

For a race that many of us thought was so “deep,” the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream turned out to be pretty shallow.  Cairo Prince ($6.20) more or less toyed with this field, in a win whose 5 3/4 length margin of victory only begins to tell the story.  It’s almost comical to see him still just cruising under a motionless Luis Saez turning for home as the rest of the field was well into ‘whipping and driving’ mode.  And that was after Cairo Prince effortlessly cruised past the leaders while three wide all the way around the turn. He traveled 18 feet more than runner-up Conquest Titan according to Trakus; and more ground than all but a couple of the stragglers.

Cairo Prince earned a TFUS speed figure of 104.  Taking a look at his running lines going into the race, we see how this colt has progressed in that department, with the extremely slow-paced Remsen as an apparent aberration.  Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 11.21.19 AM

This is a son of Pioneerofthenile, the Derby runner-up in 2009; out of Holy Bubbette, a stakes-winning daughter of Holy Bull.  That dam has produced some OK runners, including Holdin Bullets, third in the not-at-all-missed Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, though last seen running for a 20K tag at Gulfstream on Friday.  Other than that, not too much exciting on the catalog page for those of us who like to drill deeper into pedigrees. And he has an inflated Dosage Index of 7.00 which suggests that he’s more genetically inclined for speed rather than stamina.  Might not have looked that way on Saturday; but remember, this was just a mile and a sixteenth with a short stretch and a field whose quality can now be called into question.

As for the rest, Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday picked up the pieces for the minor awards after being last and second-to-last early, but I don’t know how much to put into their late rallies past a group of very tired horses.  Second choice Coup de Grace failed dismally in his first attempt around two turns.  Mr. Speaker, so impressive on the grass, and so promising pedigree-wise for dirt, was dead on the board at 8-1, and faded to 7th after being prominent early on.  Wicked Strong, our selection here (and mine too) was way overbet at 4-1 and showed absolutely nothing, zero, zilch.  Giving out selections can be a humbling endeavor, but sometimes I feel less silly when the horse shows absolutely nothing instead of it engaging and proving to be just not as good as those I’d rated him ahead of!  Perhaps he didn’t like the track.  Maybe we’ll read of some ailment or a palate flipped.

I think by far the second most impressive three-year old on the day there ran in the allowance race that was the 4th.  Top Billing ($4) circled the field four wide and powered by a nice Pletcher horse in Surfing U S A, defeating him by 2 3/4 lengths while covering 35 additional feet.  Final time of 1:42.66 compares favorably to the final Holy Bull time of 1:42.16.  While Cairo Prince covered 22 more feet, Top Billing closed with the kind of flourish we like to see.  And, by Curlin, out of an AP Indy half-sister to the dam of the Derby/Preakness runner-up Bodemeister, Top Billing would seem to have the pedigree credentials to move on from here from here.

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2 Responses to Today in Racing, Jan 26, 2014

  1. markg3901@gmail.com says:

    How does Timeform come up with the check marks. Race 5 at Santa Anita the first time starter Bert’s Melody is listed with 5 check marks????

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    • TimeformUS says:

      Hi Mark,

      Our checkmarks and power picks are chosen by a computer algorithm. The algorithm accounts for many factors including: previous speed figures,breeding rating and trainer records. Without a prior record, first time starters will be weighted more heavily using their breeding rating and trainer statistics. First time starters are also compared against the quality of the field based on how well other runners in the race have preformed. If runners in the field have preformed above par in previous races, we will give a first time starter a weaker chance. In races where the field has preformed below par for a class level the first timer starters will be given a stronger chance.

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