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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Not So Brilliant

- Back on January 6, Brilliant (War Chant) was favored over Well Said (Aptitude), but the latter got up for the win. The two met on Thursday at Oaklawn; Brilliant had graduated since then, and Well Said had been idle since. In this race, Brilliant was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in a competitive looking field, and Well Said was a whopping 11-1. And once again, it was Well Said prevailing in the stretch drive. This is the kind of race that when I was young and foolish and didn’t know that much, I would have had this on the nose, and would have said, incredulously, to my more knowledgeable friends, “C’mon, how can he be 11-1 when he beat this horse last time?” I didn’t know anything about hot trainers and ‘moving forward’ and ‘third race of the cycle,’ and ‘dead on the board,’ and at times like these, I was better off that way.

Still, I must still say that this one was a big overlay. It helped that John Servis’ Jolted and Jostled and Stalwartly were in the race to draw money; and actually, the former was a bit dead on the board himself as the 4-1 third choice. He was once again extremely wide both turns, but this time came up empty.

But the day wasn’t a total loss at all for Servis, as Round Pond made a smashing return in her first race since July. She won decisively and easily in 1:09.93 – WOW, the way this track has played, that is flying! How many times do you see the comment sharp effort in the race chart?

- Point of Impact finally got his maiden win; a pretty flashy performance I thought, though he was extremely green as Walter pointed out before. Victor Espinoza just bided his time, keeping him wide on both turns, and it seemed like a push-button move that he made on the turn to sweep to the lead. He lugged in, and was under some urging to win by a length. But it was nice progress from the fiasco in his last. He sure has a long way to go to be a Derby contender; wouldn’t some summer stakes be a more realistic target?

4 Comments:

suebroux said...

The 9th race at Oaklawn really caught my attention ... The Cole Norman trained True Tails is an exceptional filly as well. She won a 6f stakes race at Lone Star last spring in 1:08.+. I had been anxiously awaiting her return, as well as Round Pound. I should note that I know little about Miss Elsie, but the fact that she ended up between the Round Pond and True Tails, she could be a great value in the future.

Teaman said...

On Sirius radio Weds. Bob Baffert was a guest and mentioned he was going to try something new with Point of Impact but wasn't specific. Today the host (J J Gracie) said Baffert "Changed the bit in P O I's mouth" to make him more comfortable. Can anyone enlighten me on what a bit change could do for a horse?? Could it really make THAT much of difference in a horses performance?? How many different kinds of bits are there? Is a bit change really a viable training method to help a horse or was Baffert merely throwing that out there because he didn't want to reveal what he really did? If anyone might want to share some info. on this or any other equipment changes it would be much appreciated as I know very little about equipment changes and how it can impact a horse's performance. Thanks in advance!

Walter said...

...sure, i can tell you a story about bits!!!...it's a good one too, perhaps the only case of solid "inside information" i've ever come across at the racetrack...years ago, when i used to frequent Sam Houston, my mentor stopped by and told me about a horse that would be running at Sam Houston that night (i was there in the afternoon for simulcasting)...he had been helping a friend of his (who trained horses there) with an animal whose name i forget...anyway, he told me the horse was good for a half-mile or so, but then he would displace his soft palate...as this was explained to me, that's basically the roof of the horse's mouth, which somehow would drop down and block the horse's breathing passage, cutting off his air...so they had mail-ordered a special "ring bit" from Kentucky...it was shaped like a donut, and it kept the horse's palate from dropping down and allowed him to breath properly...so anyway, he told me that ever since they started using this ring bit, the horse had been outworking a STAKES horse that was trained by the same guy...keep in mind, this is Sam Houston we're talking about, so the stakes horse was still pretty bad, but he was less-bad than the majority of horses on the grounds (especially the type of horses Mr. Ring Bit would be facing that night, because he was a lowly $5000 claimer)...my mentor made me promise that if i was going to bet the horse, i had to wait until right before post-time, because the pools at Sam Houston were very small, and it wouldn't take too large a bet for the horse to open up @ even-money or something, and we certainly didn't want that...so i stayed at the track for like another 8 hours or so until the race FINALLY rolled around, and our hero headed to post at odds of 10/1...well, Mr. Ring Bit came running late, and got there by a dirty nose!!!...oh, what a feeling that was!!!...so anyway, to answer your question, ABSOLUTELY, an equipment change can make all the difference in the world...even something as simple as "Blinkers on" can have an extreme effect on a horse's performance...unfortunately, blinkers are pretty much the ONLY equipment change we're made aware of, unless you consider "first time gelding" an equipment change (sorry, Highland Cat)...i did notice Brad Free had mentioned the new bit for Point of Impact, and i have to assume it had more to do with steering than anything else, based on him blowing the turn last time out...maybe they found his old bit was causing some kind of discomfort, and would cause him pain when the jock moved the reins a certain way?...who knows...but yes, definitely, i'd pay special attention whenever you hear about any type of equipment change (or any type of surgical procedure), ESPECIALLY when it has something to do with a horse's breathing....incidentally, i heard that Royal Legacy had displaced his soft palate (while rank) in his two-turn debut vs. Point Determined...Royal Legacy took the blinkers off next time (obviously an attempt to ease his rankness), and he ran a much improved race, while second to Mister Triester...it's also possible that Baffert fitted him with a ring bit (or some other type of new equipment) to prevent the displacement...hard to say, since that information isn't made public...

Teaman said...

Thanks a ton for all that info. Walter!! Much appreciated for taking the time to answer my curiousity. Thanks for going into detail about a displaced pallet also. That term is used often on the Sirius show and I never knew what it really meant. Sure sounds awful painfull.
A lot of trainers do interviews on the show and most are pretty candid but cautious. They may mention trying a equipment change coming up but don't go into specifics. The host JJ Gracie (ex-trainer) sides with them and doesn't try to pry any "secrets" out of them.
I understand the professional courtesy. But next time I hear about any general mention of an equipment change...I'll be paying attention to the board when it's the horses turn to run. If I hear anything that might be helpfull to the readers here, and can post in a timely fashion, I'll gladly do so.
Oh yeah...GREAT story Walt about "Mr. Ring Bit" Congratulations on what I hope was a righteous score on that "inside" info.That had to be joyous, enlightening experience! Good going.