- Steve Crist, on his Cristblog, breaks down the Risen Star and shows just how slow it was in relation to the two other graded dirt stakes run at Fair Grounds on Saturday.
Indian Blessing's first six furlongs was a relatively quick 1:11.40, while Pyro was still last after the leader in the Risen Star was setting a tortoise pace of 1:14.62. Pyro himself ran his first six furlongs (using the approximation of 1 length=0.17 seconds) in something like 1:16.13.It's not too often that you have three graded stakes run at the same distance on the same surface on the same day; it's an unusual chance to match top quality horses up quarter by quarter and really put the races in perspective with each other. Crist's Google spreadsheets show the stark differences in pace between the Risen Star and the other two, particularly Indian Blessing's race. The filly got to the six furlongs in 1:11.40 and came home in 32.35; Pyro went 1:16.13 and came home in an electric 28.55! Crist estimates that he would have gained 20 lengths on Indian Blessing in the last 5/16ths, but adds: It's a lot easier to fire a brilliant final five-sixteenths in 28.80 when you've gone 1:16 than if you've gone 1:12.
Mike Brunker, on MSNBC.com, also sharpened his pencil, and he actually came up with an even faster closing fraction - 28 1/5 seconds. He compared it to some recent Risen Star winners, including our friend Scipion, who came home in a relatively pokey 30 3/5.
Meanwhile, I think you can forget about Wednesday being the last day of racing in New York; it may very well already have passed. It's been snowing and icing since early evening, and there's the promise of heavy downpours in the morning.