RSS Feed for this Blog

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Different Perspective

An anonymous commenter notes, with appropriate sarcasm:

Mine That Bird is certainly no Giacomo. Giacomo had one win at 2, a MSW. Mine That Bird won 3 stakes as a 2-year old and was 2-year old champ in Canada.
Well, now that you put it that way! An excellent point indeed. I wonder what odds this horse would have been before Beyer figures were published in the Form.

Still, it's just hard to look past his last race; his first beyond a mile and a sixteenth, 4th place at Sunland; final three-eighths in 40 seconds flat, yuck.

As this reader noted, you can't say enough or marvel sufficiently over Calvin Borel's ride. I think it's certainly fair to speculate that Mine That Bird wouldn't have won the race with any other rider.

But imagine if Join In the Dance held the rail, and Borel didn't get through and had to check instead? I might hear it from some of you over this because yeah, I know, the fig is the fig. But I just find it extremely difficult to believe that, had Pioneerof the Nile won the race, in 2:03.81, faster than the 2:04 that Smarty Jones ran on a sloppy track to earn a 107, the Beyer boys would have given him the same 95 he got as the runner-up, thus making him, by a wide margin (five points), the slowest Derby in Beyer history.


Anonymous said...

Great point about the Beyer.

No way those three valiant horses that photo finished in the most exciting renewal of the Derby in years would get less than a 105. No way they could be that slow so the Beyer folks would need to use a split variant arguing that the track was drying out all day.

After all, it would be bad for the industry to admit this crop was this slow.

As for the track condition itself, did they harrow the thing at all during the day, or just continue to reseal it? If it was the latter, what were they saving the track for, the last two races?

Used to be the case they would only seal a track when they knew a storm was on the way, otherwise they ran in harrowed slop/mud. Most trainers hate running on a sealed track. So what was the point, with no additional rain forecast, in keeping the track sealed all day?

Off topic, some of the best jockeys in the world did some of the worst race riding I have ever seen. Never has a rail bias been so obvious after just a few morning races, yet race after race logical favorites were parked 4 and 5 wide around the turn (see ride on Kodiak Cowboy, but there were others).

In the Derby itself, there were at least two entrants that everyone knew were rabbits, they predicitably went to the front in very fast fractions, yet there was a very close second flight being ridden from the gate to keep up with them right from the get go (including PON and Desert Party, who was a lenght behind his rabbit, wtf??).

What in the world were these riders thinking? This is why the race collapsed, not just great riding by Borel, but horrible riding by the other top jocks plus some bad luck and injuries during the race to the others.

Anonymous said...

Who cares that Mine That Bird was named 2-year-old champion in Canada? It's amusing how many people are bandying that around as though it means anything and is possibly an indicator of serious quality, and not the equivalent of being named juvenile champion in a state like Washington or Oklahoma or Massachusetts. There's one track, a small horse population, few graded stakes opportunities. MTB raced in the Breeders' Cup -- a true championship making race -- and finished 12th. Take away the speed figures, and it doesn't matter -- MTB is still far outclassed, outpaced, and an improbable upset.

Anonymous said...

On a day like Saturday, speed figs are really suspect. The track was changing all day long. I believe the filly who ran the race after the derby recorded a faster final time than did Informed Decision in the Humana Distaff. So it's possible the track was getting faster. As for MTB, okay look, we all know Calvin outfoxed everyone and gave the horse a brilliant ride. Denis Of Cork last year closed like a freight train so it's clear Calvin's tactics will change the way future Derbies will be run, as we can safely conclude it makes sense to allow your longshot to walk the first half mile in this clusterf*ck of a horserace.

But let's not forget Mine That Bird absolutely exploded in this race. It's difficult for the horseplayer to make sense of this kind of improvement, other than to say it's pretty unusal. Can we agree on that? Hey, I'm not saying it never happens - I only hope and pray that this was done legally. -JP from SD.

SaratogaSpa said...

This is the type of outcome that is so easy to predict post race but impossible to predict pre race if you went strictly by Beyers and PP's on MTB.

I am told all the time by handicappers that the jockey does not mean all that much, but I don't know about that after watching Borel.

Like your reader said it was simply right track, right conditions, right Jockey.

Anonymous said...

Calvin Borel not get through? Watch his ride in Friday's 7th race. The gray Miss Isella almost ended up in the infield but he got her through. Calvin was also sitting on the rail in Friday's 4th and 5th races. The Derby was a cakewalk for him.

onecalicocat said...

Someone who knows more than me said Pimlico has tighter turns that would favor a smaller horse.
Maybe he wins again.

Anonymous said...

an astute commenter on crist's blog came up with the following:

wayne80 says:

Just for fun, check out these half mile and 6f splits from the 9f Derby preps;

BG 49.06,113.31
Ark 46.19,111.15
Wood 48.13, 112.32
SA 48.65, 112.32ok
Fla 46.83, 110.66
Ill 47.67, 112.30
Sun 45.32, 110.12

Despite breaking from the 9 hole and being four wide on tight turns, MTB led at top of lane but understandably weakened.

Just saying, he is not without talent and in a year when the top horses scratch and the remainder have questions coming in and/or troubled trips, there is no need for conspiracy talk. He got a major rider switch and freaked in the mud, it happens.

nice work.
cheers, chris

Anonymous said...

Quite agree with first Anon poster: No one thought to shut off the rail for just such an evenuality? Everybody knew the rail was the place to be, didn't they? I can't imagine a Cordero or Ycaza leaving the easy going rail open like that. Perhaps MTB would have gone wide and still prevailed but he would have earned it rather than having the easy trip on the rail./S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Re: 2yo Canadian Champs

Sky Classic, Northern Dancer, La Prevoyante, Deputy Minister, etc.

I don't recall anything of this quality ever coming out of Oklahoma, Mass or Washington.

Anonymous said...

Is it conceivable MTB simply does not like Sunland?

In any case, if Rachel Alexandra shows up at Pimlico it is a whole different story, MTB, a Derby winner, will almost be an after thought.

Erin said...

onecalico cat:

Debunking a MythThe so-called tighter turns of Pimlico also appear to be a myth. In 1981, John H. Clark, the racing historian, analyzed the geometry of the turns at Churchill Downs and Pimlico, both one-mile ovals. Clark found that the front and back straightaways at Churchill Downs are each longer than Pimlico's by 34 feet, so the Pimlico turns are actually longer. Diehards then insisted that the turns are banked more at Pimlico, but there is no evidence to support that.This myth somehow persists despite getting debunked seemingly during every Preakness telecast.