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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gorella 70/30 For Mile

- I loved Gorella's win in the First Lady at Keeneland on Saturday. For one thing, you just gotta love a horse that comes from last and fires every time. And I think that she won this race more easily than it might appear over a very, very good filly in Karen's Caper, who has been brought along expertly by Bobby Frankel in 2006. Gorella moved into contention all on her own, and Julien Leparoux barely moved until the final stages when she engaged Karen's Caper. The margin was a nose (a "long nose," according to Kurt Becker), but Gorella was not going to be denied on this day. Plus, I think she has a lot left in the tank for the Mile; this was just a prep for her. They came home in 23.13 seconds; final eighth 11.43; are you kidding me? And I'm telling you, she did this with relative ease.

Patrick Biancone told the Courier-Journal that it's 70-30 that she'll run in the Mile, and her owner Martin Schwartz sounded psyched. "Bring on Aragorn. Come on, George. We'll show you Mount Vernon. We have some unfinished business from last year."

[EDIT: Biancone told the NY Daily News that she's: "80% for the BC Mile and 20% for the BC Filly and Mare Turf."]


Anonymous said...

It's funny how two people watch a horse finish and come away with opposite opinions. I thought she looked a step slower in the stretch yesterday. Didn't seem to have that quick acceleration I've come accustomed to seeing. I'll agree the teletimer told me they were moving and maybe my eyes deceived me.

Anonymous said...

Everything is relative. The reason Gorella didn't appear to have that ferocious stretch move yesterday is simply because Karen's Caper was throwing down her own ferocious stretch move, and they were matching strides for the most part. Very similar to the last quarter of the Arlington Million, when Cacique ran a sparkling final quarter, but didn't appear to be moving all that quickly because The Tin Man was moving equally fast. What i think is most telling here is the difference in times between Gorella/Karen's Caper and the winner of the Queen Elizabeth (Vacare) a half-hour later over the same course. While the Queen Elizabeth was a furlong farther, it took Vacare an additional 14 seconds to complete that final furlong. When you consider that Gorella & Karen's Kaper got their final furlong in under 11 seconds and change, i think it's reasonable to assume they could've gotten another furlong in 12 seconds. So basically they beat Vacare by 2 full seconds, or approximately 10 lengths. But there are no doubt a lot of people out there who think Vacare ran better, because she won her particular race by a much wider margin. It just isn't so. It'll be interesting to compare the Beyers from those two races, btw.

Alan Mann said...

I also just got the impression that Gorella had more to offer if it had been necessary. Leparoux really seems to be able to measure her stretch runs (recall her win in the Just a Game at Belmont), and I think he effectively did so again in this race. The nose margin might as well have been a length; it was the proverbial "wouldn't have caught her if they went around again." In my opinion, of course.

Anonymous said...

That's the other thing. The First Lady was very obviously a prep, and while i'm sure Biancone/Leparoux were looking to win it, they weren't looking to empty the tank on her either. I think it's safe to say that Gorella wasn't nearly as wound up for this one as she will be next time. And she still ran pretty damn well.

This line of thinking brings me to Aragorn, who has been downright brilliant this year, and whom my clocker has been a big supporter of since Day One. He turned in a good-but-not-great effort in his recent prep race, the Oak Tree Mile. While i thought Gorella ran great on Saturday, i wasn't too impressed with Aragorn. And that's the first time this year i've been able to say that. While he won easily, he was being pushed along pretty good in the final stages by Nakatani, and still only got there by a length or two over some pretty modest company (unlike Karen's Caper). Both Drysdale and Nakatani appeared pleased afterwards, and said all the right things, but on the other hand, what are they GONNA say? That he under-performed, and they're a little worried about it? I'm certainly willing to give Drysdale (of all people) the benefit of the doubt, as the guy is a master horseman and has probably forgotten more about horseracing than i'll ever know. It's quite possible he backed off the horse fitness-wise and just let him get his excercise on the track. But to my eyes, Aragorn appears vulnerable against the likes of George Washington, Araafa, Librettist, and Gorella. I don't doubt that Drysdale wil have him ready, but the horse is gonna have to bring his A-game if he is to handle a field like that. It's hard to rank him too low on the pecking order, but suffice to say i think he'll be overbet on Breeders Cup Day. I prefer Gorella if she gets in, and that's not even counting the Europeans. George Washington would obviously rate a favorite's chance if he goes, his only real knocks being an unknown mental state on raceday, and/or the potential for a sluggish start. Librettist is coming off a complete flame-job, but reportedly he returned lame after the race. Before that he had reeled off 5 consecutive victories, including a couple of Group 1's in France, so if he turns up healthy (and he appears to be), he can make his presence felt. Ditto for Araafa, who came up lame two races back, but rebounded with an outstanding 2nd-place effort behind George Washington in the Queen Elizabeth. He's also a multiple Group 1 winner, and has beaten George Washington before (twice, i believe), so rates a strong chance as well. And i think the overall strength of this group was demonstrated by Aussie Rules a coupe of weeks ago, as he was running behind these horses overseas before shipping into Keeneland and winning the Shadwell very impressively. Pricewise, the two horses i'd be looking at on raceday are Araafa and Librettist, as GW/Aragorn/Gorella all figure to take substantial action on the toteboard. Aussie Rules might even take some money off his big American win. I suspect the value will be with those two.

Anonymous said...

Box the Euros in the turf races.