Question of the day…Are all streakers sprinters?… I think in some cases the answer is yes…depending of course on the type of streaker we are referencing.
In this particular piece, we are not talking about a pair of Woodstock or Bonaroo festival attendees or the summertime trench coat-wearing guy at the mall. This is all about a pair of four-legged phenoms that have enjoyed virtually unheard-of success in the Thoroughbred racing game. On July 29, both Saratoga and Del Mar saw miraculous streaks continue in grade 1 fashion.
We begin our saga in upstate New York in the grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Stakes for older males. A solid field of seven would travel six furlongs over the Saratoga dirt. Long known as the Graveyard of Champions, you had to wonder if this race would bury morning-line favorite Elite Power. Coming in with a seven-race win streak and being touted as the top older male in the country, this son of Curlin had his work cut out.
After a clean break, the race began developing very quickly. As highly regarded Gunite pressed the early pace (22.64 opening quarter), the Bill Mott-trained Elite Power settled in mid-pack. Turning for home, Gunite tried to slip away, but that is when the clothes came off. Swinging to the outside under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Elite Power exemplified his very existence. Refusing to be defeated, a perfectly timed stretch run saw him cross the finish line a head in front and his win streak was now at an incredible eight.
The Bing Crosby Stakes has long been a showcase for speed. Named for one of the founding fathers of the Seaside Oval, this grade 1 dash over the Del Mar dirt offered an opportunity for The Chosen Vron. Coming into the race off seven consecutive wins, this California-bred son of Vronsky had not enjoyed a graded stakes score among those trips to the winner’s circle. Put to the test against eleven others, this was absolutely a barometer for his talent.
Rolling in mid-pack as the front-runners threw down some swift opening fractions (21.92 quarter mile, 44.42 half mile) if he were to be Chosen this time, there would be no question about his ability. Navigating his course perfectly, jockey Hector Berrios dodged horses going backward and then surged through an opening and accelerated toward the front. Running eyeball to eyeball with three others inside the sixteenth pole, The Chosen Vron surged forward with a determined effort and won by a head.
We began with some questions and we will end with some questions. Can these two amazing sprinters continue to add to their streaks? And will we see them face off at any time?… The answers here are We hope so and the Breeders’ Cup.