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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Work of the Day

- Sweetnorthernsaint seemed to be the consensus choice on The Works for the most impressive one of the day. He was positioned behind a workmate down the backstretch and pretty wide around the turn. He accelerated past the other horse smoothly, and Tom Amoss spoke about the way he “visibly quickened” in the stretch, as he seems to do in his races as well. He certainly looks like a horse that will get this distance, if the way he finishes is any indication. Since graduating in that 40K maiden claimer, he’s come home in 11:4/5 at six furlongs, and :24:3/5 in the slop at Laurel after a mile. Then he closed in the Gotham as they came home in :24 2/5 and :6 2/5. And then there was the :12 1/5 final furlong in the Illinois Derby.

Avalyn Hunter wrote about Sweetnorthernsaint’s pedigree here. Most noteworthy from a stamina standpoint is his broodmare sire Waquoit, who won the Brooklyn Handicap twice and Jockey Club Gold Cup once, both of those races run at a mile and a half at the time. He’s also inbred 4x5 to distance influence Herbager, and has an extremely low dosage number of 1.33.

Kent Desormeaux, who overslept and missed the workout today, had said that it was in the Gotham Stakes that Sweetnorthernsaint “became a man.” A review of that race on the Cal Racing site shows that he broke somewhat sluggishly from the ten post, was three wide around the first turn, relaxed off the slow pace, and was three wide again around the final turn. He was never really a threat in the stretch, and his non-threatening late rally looks less visually impressive on film than it does in the Racing Form. Nonetheless, he missed by less than a length in a race in which the pace scenario was against him; Like Now finished strongly in :30 4/5 for the last 2 ½ furlongs. In the Illinois Derby too, he sat off a slow pace until ready to take control; and he achieved a field-high two turn Beyer of 109.

For these reasons – his apparent ability to rate, his strong closes, and the fact that he’s experienced some adversity - I think that this horse may be the one out of the favorites that may be best able to adapt to the pace scenario, hanging back far enough from the lead to not be going too fast, yet able to put in a middle/late run when the leaders tire, as I have little doubt that they will. If I was handicapping this race without regard to how it was going to be run, I think this would be the one. Plus, he could be the 4th choice, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s third.

Lawyer Ron’s workout also looked really good, and he really accelerated through the stretch. More on him a bit later. Steppenwolfer drew the most criticism from Tom Amoss, who said that he was “very concerned” about the way the horse bore out wide turning into the stretch.

5 Comments:

Walter said...

...what did Amoss say about Cause to Believe?...i read that he was under the whip in his workout today, and didn't look too hot...Hollendorfer said it was "just what he expected", as Cause to Believe is "not a good workhorse"...i'm inclined to ignore this drill, as Cause to Believe is pretty damn consistent in the afternoons (his most recent start, the Illinois Derby, being a very notable exception)...i'd be real interested in what Amoss or any other experienced work-watcher thought of his drill this morning...i know that Mike Welsch in the Racing Form wasn't impressed...

Anonymous said...

While in a turn most of the weight is shifted to the right side of the horse.Horses that bear out in works are sore on the left side somewhere. When they straighten out coming out of the turn, the weight comes back to be evenly distributed again. Putting more weight on the left side. If Steppenwolfer ran out coming out of a turn in a work, he's probably got something going on behind on the left side. Stifle or hock or could be up in his back. Not a good sign. I like Cause to Believe, alot. I just dont know if he's good enough to win the Derby. He's a one run closer. We all know you need a lot of luck to win with those in a 20 horse field where Jocks have been known to do their worst "rough riding" of the year. Nick

alan said...

The exercise rider hit Cause to Believe with the whip right-handed after coming into the stretch, and the horse ducked in and switched to his left lead. Then he straightened out and changed leads again while ridden out to the finish. It was noted that he seemed to resent the whip. Amoss said that it wasn't visually impressive, but Lyons said that it was "not too bad," and as you pointed out, Hollendorfer said he doesn't work out well.

Walter said...

...thanks for the insight, Nick...definitely some food for thought regarding Steppenwolfer, especially when a guy like Amoss says he's "very concerned"...no doubt the guy is a total sharpie when it comes to stuff like that...btw, if you don't mind me asking, are you a trainer or a vet or something?...you appear to be an expert on this subject...

...ps...i do believe Cause to Believe is good enough to win, should the race break down in front of him...and that's entirely possible...i think he's probably the best of the closers (though A.P. Warrior will reportedly employ late-running tactics as well)...i'm concerned about his sub-par Illinois Derby run, but aside from that he seems capable of a big finish...if he can run his best race outside of California (my primary concern), i think he'll outrun the vast majority of the field...

Anonymous said...

Walter, I trained and drove harness horses for about 15 years. It was my sole source of income, not a hobby. I never trained runners, but in some things, horses are horses and things just apply in both cases. Horses run away from pain, when they bear out, its because something is hurting on the left side. When they bear in, its on the right side.