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Monday, March 16, 2009

Split Variants, Derby Outlooks

Handride notes the similar times earned by Friesan Fire and the filly Rachel Alexandra on Saturday. But it's not unusual for us to have this discussion this time of year, when, we're told, the fillies may be more physically mature than their male counterparts.

Besides, the Beyer boys have a handy explanation.

It may be worth remembering that both the Louisiana Derby and Rebel were run on drying-out tracks that may have been slowing down as the day went on. The Beyer figmakers split the variant at both tracks mid-day, moving up the later races a few points. That's why Rachel Alexandra received a 99 winning the Fair Ground Oaks three races before Friesan Fire got a 104 in the Louisiana Derby even though the filly ran only 0.09 seconds slower. [Cristblog]
Ah yes, the ol' split variant. All I'll say is that there is obviously a lot of subjectivity that goes into making the Beyer figs, for better or for worse. My feeling is that, though the Beyer figs have certainly proven to be an indispensable handicapping tool, one shouldn't really split hairs over a few points either way when it comes to making your decisions. Don't belittle your own intuition nor your opinion regarding factors such as class and conditioning.

Win Willy earned a 102 Beyer for his Rebel win; that according to Beyer Boy Dick Jerardi in the Philly Daily News. BRIS reports that his owner turned down a $3 million offer for the colt; probably Iavarone shopping around desperately after Patena flopped a bit earlier at the Fair Grounds.

Steve Crist also weighs in on Pioneerof the Nile's win in the San Felipe.
Pioneerof the Nile's fans will continue to believe he will prove faster than he looks when he heads east and hits dirt, but there's no way to make his San Felipe any better than the mediocre Beyer of 90 it received. Later on the card, Life is Sweet ran 9f in 1:48.71 winning the G1 Santa Margarita, 12 Beyer points higher than the San Felipe clocking of 1:43.35.
Well, I'll take a shot at making that fig look better. The race was merely a tune up for the SA Derby, and a training exercise in which he moved much earlier than usual. On the other hand, Life is Sweet is a blossoming four-year old filly making the third start of her form cycle, coming off consecutive career best numbers and primed for a Grade 1 stakes effort by a trainer who knows how to get them ready for a big race. Will Baffert's colt prove faster than he looks when he hits dirt? Who the hell knows? I just don't think his figures are the least bit relevant as far as his dirt chances go, as we saw with I Want Revenge last week.

Trainer Hal Wiggins now says that the Derby is a possibility for his filly Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia D'Oro). "We'll have to think about it." [DRF] You gotta love the way she's really dominated now in her three races around two turns, geared down and under wraps in her last two. That's not necessarily good preparation for the Derby however, unless you think she's going to speed pop 18 or 19 colts the way she did to the moderate, at best, field she did on Saturday. It might seem counter intuitive, but it seems to me that a more difficult effort such as the much-maligned one by Stardom Bound would leave that one better suited for a run for the roses. I think Rachel Alexandra needs a prep against colts now more than Stardom Bound does.


Handride said...

Thanks for the link. I think we'll see two fillies try the colts next out. I would only be afraid of Friesan Fire right now. All the others look beatable and have been beaten.

Glimmerglass said...

Rachel Alexandra is not taking on the boys in her next start or even at Churchill. Period.

Her owners - who named her after their granddaughter - are steadfastly clear in saying "no" to the Derby. They are happy to go to the Oaks and see no point in her coping with 19 colts/geldings.

Brisnet Mar 16

quote: "That (speculation) makes good talk," trainer Hal Wiggins said Sunday morning, "but it's pretty much all media hype. The Kentucky Oaks has been our goal from the beginning. It would be an honor to win a Kentucky Oaks and (Rachel Alexandra's) owners have been leaning that way all along. It's the height of a career for a three-year-old filly, and these owners are pretty sensible guys.

End of story. She'll knock the stuffing out of any other filly, including SB, and her connections will rightfully be pleased as punch doing so.

alan said...

Glimmer - Thanks for the update. That's all fine and dandy with me, but, addressing the trainer here, don't tell the Form "We'll have to think about it," and then say it's all media hype!!!

Agree that RA could knock the stuffing out of SB if SB doesn't get some PH (pace help); but I'm not ready to accept that RA is better than SB, NFW!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Rachel Alexandra is thankfully not owned by IEAH or trained by Dutrow. On those points alone she is better than Stardom Bound.

Richard R said...

The horses in the San Felipe were all slow. Top to bottom going in; and, top to bottom coming out. Not a Derby horse in the bunch.

Anonymous said...

The broken rule of allowing fillies to run in the Derby because of their graded earnings needs to be corrected. Their graded earnings are earned in restricted races and should not count as Derby qualifiers. If an owner wants to enter a filly in the Derby then go and get the graded earnings against the boys the way Winning Colors and Genuine Risk did.

Anonymous said...

Frisian Fire has good tactical speed, but it will be interesting to see if he can settle in the Derby, especially if the pace is hot. He was rank early in the Risen Star. Last race was a perfect setup, but two starts ago he pushed a hot pace and faded.