Looking at some of the top figures earned over the weekend……the best TFUS speed figure goes to Delaunay, the now seven-year old sprinter who was last seen disappointing as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga. Returning to more comfortable surroundings, the gelded son of Smoke Glacken made it four-for-four at Fair Grounds, earning a figure of 117 at 2-5 in a minor stakes. (For context, Secret Circle got a 112 for winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint…although Gentlmen’s Bet got the top figure of 115 for hanging on for third after setting absurdly fast fractions.)
Delaunay ($2.80) is trained by Tom Amoss and was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, and that’s quite a productive duo these days. They have a trainer/jockey combo rating of a perfect 100, winning at a rate of 34% over the last year!
This duo also teamed up to win at Sam Houston on Saturday night, with Sum of the Parts, who won a turf sprint stakes. This five-year old son of Speightstown was the early pacesetter in that BC Sprint before fading to last. This was his second straight turf sprint win since then, and he earned a speed figure of 106 for the effort. (Again, for context, Mizdirection got a figure of 113 for winning the BC Turf Sprint….though Reneesgotzip got the top figure of 116; again, for setting an aberrantly fast pace.)
L.A. Weekend got a figure of 111 for winning a stakes at Turf Paradise on Saturday, and this six-year old gelded son of Tribal Rule would much rather spend his weekends in Phoenix, where he is now a perfect five-for-five.
Not even the strong closers bias of Oct 23 could stop L.A. Weekend on this surface. And it seems as if his trainer, Robertino Diodoro, likes it pretty much there too; note his trainer rating of 98 for Turf Paradise.
Back east at Aqueduct, where it’s just slightly chillier than in Phoenix, Arizona, Teen Pauline earned a figure of 108 for winning the Ladies Handicap on Saturday.
Coming on the heels of a career high figure earned in her prior start, either this filly is blossoming early in her four-year old season for Pletcher, or she loves the inner track at the Big A. Or, maybe she’s just benefited from easy pace scenarios. Note the slow pace figures, denoted in blue, in her last race. On Saturday, she set easy splits of 24 1/5 and 48 2/5 before putting the field away with a 23 2/5 burst to the six furlong mark of the mile and an eighth race.
108 was also the speed figure earned by Ankeny Hill, in the Clocker’s Corner Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday…..though he only finished 4th. Not hard to explain that one; he set splits of 22 and 43 3/5 in the turf sprint on the downhill course, yet held on well to be beaten just a couple of lengths. The beneficiary of the hot pace turned out to be Lakerville ($19.60). This is a lightly raced six-year old who was making only his 7th start, and his first since August, 2012.
A pretty remarkable set of running lines given the gaps in activity, never having finished worse than second, off layoffs ranging from 7 to 529 days (we do that math for you). Lakerville is by Unusual Heat out of an Out of Place mare, and he’s a full brother to the fine turf miler Gervinho, last seen winning the Sir Beaufort, at that distance, on opening day of the meet.
Three more winners for the Toddster at Gulfstream over the weekend, giving him 35 winners from 115 starters there since Nov 30, today’s official “official” start of the meet according to the track’s website. Last time we looked, it was Jan 1, but I guess they changed their mind. Those winners included yet another first-time starter in Anchor Down ($4.60), a Tapit half-brother to Sweet Lulu, last year’s Test winner, who earned a figure of 91 for winning the six furlong affair. Pletcher also won the G2 Forward Gal with the now three-for-three Onlyforyou ($2.60), who earned a figure of 88.
And if you’re figuring that nobody got rich betting those two, consider his winner on Sunday. Edison ($18) is a 950K two-year old in training purchase by Coolmore, who surely didn’t plan on waiting until his three-year old season to accompany him to the winner’s circle. Dismissed at 18-1 in his debut, in which he ran an even 5th, this son of Bernardini qualified for “other Pletcher” status in this race with the returning Johnny V. on board first-time starter Hines (a mere 500K purchase – as a yearling – for the Coolmore gang). Edison earned a speed figure of 85, and I think it’s fair to say that he won’t be 8-1 next time out.
Remember, Aqueduct is open today. We have our horses in focus here, and you can purchase the card for just three bucks here. (Or, for you Beulah /Parx / Sam Houston / Turf Paradise fans, you can get all of the tracks for just $5.99.)