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Friday, November 03, 2006

Overlooking Invasor?

- Nick Mordin is a British handicapper and author, and he has a website in which he peddles his selections for a modest fee. I obtained a copy of his picks and commentary for the Breeders Cup, and it's quite fascinating and opinionated. It's paid content and I do respect that, so I'm just going to reprint a brief excerpt, but I thought you'd find this well worth the read, whether you agree or not.

[Bernardini's] going to have to withstand a challenge from a horse (Invasor) that can make two big moves in a race and then have enough left to run like crazy all the way through the final furlong, a horse that has the speed and stamina to post seriously fast times at every distance from five furlongs to a mile and a half.

Actually I think Invasor will annihilate the Classic field and that Bernardini won't even run second. These days thoroughbreds in general and American ones in particular are so speedily bred that long races really take it out of them, especially when they're only three years of age. It's asking an awful lot to expect one to produce peak performances both in May and then again right at the end of the year at such distances. Sure Sunday Silence, Unbridled and AP Indy all won U.S. classics in the same year that they took this race. But that was way back in 1989, 1990 and 1992 when the breed had far more stamina than it does now. Since then the twelve American Classic winners that have run in the..Classic as three year olds have all lost. The last eight didn't even reach the first three. I wouldn't want to bet on Bernardini ending that particular losing sequence.
Mordin feels that Invasor's Whitney was "one of the most impressive displays I've ever seen from a racehorse." He cites his recovery from the stumble at the start to grab the lead in the stretch, and his ability to, as he saw it, actually accelerate at the end in order to hold off Sun King; last eighth in 12 2/5.

Wow, that's a different opinion than we've been hearing around here for sure. I know that I and some others (but not reader throwaway) are standing against Invasor on the basis of his disrupted training schedule and unwanted layoff. If he had run creditably in Gold Cup, then I wouldn't be comfortable excluding him from my tickets. I watched the Whitney again, and I don't quite see what he did, but as we've recently discussed, different people see different things in the same race, and who's to say he's not right?


Superfecta said...

Very interesting (and I do like Invasor)...while Classic winners may not have done so well of late, Flower Alley was second last year as a 3-year-old, and I'd certainly think that Bernardini outclasses him -- but of course we won't know until tomorrow

Anonymous said...

From Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1. While the breed in North America may be tending more towards short distances and speed, Bernardini's sire, A.P. Indy, is never going to be confused with a sire like Memo or Swiss Yodeler (short distance, right-out-of-the-box performance).

2. While I don't agree with Mordin this time, I do agree that sometimes it pays handsomely to look around at the other choices when everyone and his or her cat, grandmother, postman, grocery bagger and real estate lawyer are betting on a horse whose name has appeared everywhere in the days leading up to the race (see "Jones, Smarty").

Anonymous said...

A couple of things, I have seen horses that look like they are in hand the entire trip, winning easily, under wraps. And when challenged, turned loose, scrubbed on, crosses thrown and finally struck with a whip, and they dont go a step faster. As a harness driver, I drove more than one of these types. I dont see that with Bernardini, he simply stretches out when his rider so much as chirps at him. Also, I have yet to see him pin his ears, a sure sign that a horse is straining.... On the sprint, the 6F at Churchill is actually 6 plus about 140 feet. It has to do with the positioning of the gate. Henny Hughes is not a bullet out of the gate, always leaves a step slow. That extra 140 feet down the backside will help him. His middle moves are awesome and his late pace is still in the high 90's when catching up to halves in 44 and change, they can beat him tomorrow, but if he gets any kind of a clean trip, he will win easily. Nick