A few odds and ends from the racing action on Presidents Day:
Tapiture got a TFUS speed figure of 101 for his win in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn, easily a career high effort. A more perfect journey one could hardly ask for, as he sat the inside trip just behind the leaders as others around him were going insanely wide. That was particularly the case for third-place finisher Ride On Curlin, who rode on to the lead on the backstretch in what was an honest pace (early pace figures of 108-104-97) after going seven wide on the first turn. For that effort (specifically with respect to the pace), his raw final time figure of 88 was upgraded to 92. You can surely upgrade further for all the lost ground as well. Even money favorite Strong Mandate was also wide and settled for second, and the rest of the field floundered hopelessly behind. Only one winner of the Southwest – Smarty Jones – has ever gone on to win the Derby, and I don’t expect that to change this year.
Our play of the day at Aqueduct on Monday, Nuffsaid Nuffsaid ($7.20), made up what seemed like an impossible amount of ground in getting her nose in front at the wire, and the race is surely worth a look, here. While the winner received a TFUS speed figure of 94, runner up The Royal Boot got the highest figure (99) for her front-running effort.
Quite an impressive first-timer (with five checkmarks!) in Monday’s 7th at the Big A. Killaday ($9.70) earned an excellent debut figure of 104 in disposing of McLaughlin’s 3-5 Magdalena Bay and winning by some 8 3/4 lengths. The winner tracked the favorite early through a hot pace – early pace figures of 124-111 – and thereby had his raw final time figure of 99 upgraded by five points. This three-year old daughter of Indian Charlie earned her checkmarks on merit with her pedigree rating (for dirt sprints) and the first-time starter number for her trainer Dominick Schettino.
Best figure of the holiday weekend – as well as the top training job – goes to Bandbox ($28.20), who upset the Grade 3 General George Handicap at Laurel, and his trainer Rodney Jenkins. This six-year old son of Tapit was making his second start off a layoff of 518 days (and only his 14th career start), and earned a figure of 115 in winning his first race since March of 2011. Bandbox took advantage of a blazingly fast early pace – early pace figures of 140-119 – to launch his winning six wide rally. Considering how the pace aided his late-running performance, his raw final time figure was downgraded from 117. Smash and Grab, who set that pace before fading to 6th, actually received the second-best figure in the race (113).
Remember, we have free past performances for tomorrow morning’s races at Meydan, which you can access from here.