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Monday, May 21, 2007

Sightseeing Takes Shorter Route

- Sightseeing won the Peter Pan at Belmont on Sunday for Shug McGaughey, and the patience of Edgar Prado was on full display. He was dead last down the backstretch in the field of six as Hal's My Hope and Pletcher's dead-on-the-board Soaring By battled it out up front. Johnny V bypassed the latter for 14-1 Prom Shoes, who tracked the pace along with Fearless Vision. Prado inched Sightseeing up a bit on the backstretch. But on the turn, as Velazqeuz went three wide with Prom Shoes, and Garrett Gomez four wide with Fearless Vision, Prado remained in the two path, even backing back to last momentarily.

Many times you'll see horses that are hung wide on that long turn emerge with the lead coming into the stretch, but more times than not they end up paying the piper for the lost ground in the end. Prom Shoes opened up a lead with Hal's My Hope in second, and Sightseeing looked like anything but the winner at the eighth pole. But horse and rider persisted, and managed to get his head in front in the final stride, very reminiscent of another close finish we saw this past weekend. It was a war of attrition at the end, and I don't think Sightseeing accelerated past his rivals as much as it was a case of those two tiring at the end. The Peter Pan is a traditional Belmont prep, but I don't see this son of Pulpit trying the mile and a half (as confirmed by Mr. Ed's account of Shug's post-race interview).

- Highland Cat is entered in the seventh on Thursday, another 35K event for non-winners of two. The partnership is mentioning a long vacation at Colonial Downs for the grey cutie if he proves unable to handle this kind of company here, so the pressure is on. Bill Mott is dropping Exton sharply in class from allowance company, and he would seem to be the main rival; I'll take a closer look at the race as the day approaches, and the weather outlook looks promising for turf racing this week.

- Jimmy Jerkens wins with an astounding 39% of his second time starters over the last two years - 18 for 46, with a median price of $8.20. Partida brought that payoff number down with his $2.90 payoff in the second at Belmont on Sunday. The daughter of Derby winner Monarchos is a half-sister to the upset Belmont winner Sarava.


Anonymous said...

The Shug interview was before the race, when asked directly after the victory he left the door open, as has Nafzger.

I doubt it, but we actually could see the top three face off at Belmont vs. R2R and Sightseeing and Tiago, suddenly a must see event.

I hope the sportsmen side of these guys prevails and they go for it, if for no other reason than I might be able to unload my extra seats.

Mr. Ed

Unknown said...

I apologize because this message is not about Sightseeing, but I would like to comment on the Preakness.

During the past couple of days, I have read criticisms of Borel that said he should not have looked back and he made the lead too soon. In my opinion, these criticisms do not make sense.

First, I don't really see how looking back cost Street Sense. If Borel wanted to see how far he was ahead, the only way to do so was by looking back. I understand why he would want to look back because he probably wanted to save the horse for the Belmont.

Second, I think it was logical for Borel to hit the front when he did. On a conventional oval, riders seem to try to explode off the turn into the stretch, which is exactly what Street Sense did. I've heard of horses losing interest when they get the lead (Perfect Drift comes to mind), but isn't it the trainer's job to teach a horse to run all the way to the wire?

Let me say that I'm not trying to be argumentative; I'm just looking for more opinions or explanations on the above two points. I enjoy the blog's material--both the posts and the comments.

Alan Mann said...

Rototheg - No reason to apologize, any comments are welcome and are never off-topic.

I totally agree that Borel did not move too soon. It was the same winning move he made in the Derby and the Juvenile. That's a non-issue IMHO.

As far as the peek back, I can't really say for sure, though I did speculate that it might have hurt. I'm just thinking along the lines of the rule that a baserunner should never look at the fielder or the throw coming in, as anything other than running full tilt could make the difference in a split second play. And during that brief instant, Borel stopped doing what he was doing to look back. Maybe a jockey could tell us if that has an effect or not for sure. On the other hand, perhaps knowing exactly where Curlin was allowed him to make necessary adjustments, such as turning the horse's head so that he could see the oncoming assault of the eventual winner, something Borel said he did. Maybe he would have lost by more otherwise.