SPRINT STAKES MAKES FOR A LITTLE CIPHERING
The Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, the Alfred G Vanderbilt at Saratoga, and the Amsterdam also at the Spa featured a trio of outstanding performances this past weekend. All were of the sprint variety and those runs down the dragstrip can be very exciting. Such was the case with these three, but it did cause a hillbilly to take off his shoes and do a little ciphering.
After taking in these dirt dashes, we had to wonder just who was the best? A brief capsule of each race perhaps will help us do the math.
The Vanderbilt at Saratoga kicked things off with a HUGE upset. Lexitonian, going off at odds of 34-1, showed more guts than a shotgun blasted possum in winning his first grade 1 race. This Calumet Farms owned son of Speightstown looked as if he was going to surrender the lead in deep stretch, but then a rally along the rail sent him to the winner’s circle for the fifth time in 19 career starts. Does his win here tell us the older sprint horses back East are not that good?…Or is it just that Lexitonian is better than lots of people thought? Hmmmmmmmm.
Later on July 31, Del Mar saw eight quick crooners careening at the Seaside Oval in the Bing Crosby. A six furlong song with a berth in the Breeders’ Cup on the line made for a highly competitive field. The speedy Brickyard Ride set a sizzling pace (21.83 opening quarter, 44.67 half mile) and things set up nicely for the closers. Under jockey Flavien Prat, the Mark Glatt trained DR. Schivel got the jump on the others and courageously took command in deep stretch. Running hard through the wire, this talented three year old held off late charges by the more experienced Eight Rings and CZ Rocket. In picking up his fourth consecutive win in six career starts and second grade 1 at this track we must wonder is this son of Violence a horse for this course? After all, the Breeders’ Cup is run at Del Mar this year.
August 1 saw the rains come down in New York and a sealed track confronting a field of six in the Amsterdam. Run at six and a half furlongs, this grade 2 race for three year olds has long been a showcase for speedy sophomores. Breaking very alertly, Jackie’s Warrior ran to a contested lead and threw down some slamming early numbers (21.46 opening quarter, 43.85 half mile). As the others melted in the mud, the Steve Asmussen trained Warrior kept fighting. Rolling home an incredible 7 ½ lengths better than everyone else Jackie’s Warrior picked up his sixth win in nine lifetime starts and third graded stakes win at the Spa. Can a horse that carries that kind of speed maintain a consistent form through the Breeder’s Cup? Or was he just one bad mudder on a rainy day in New York?
A lot of addition and not much subtraction allowed us to come up with this answer. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar in November will be a real headknocker!
Jackie’s Warrior wins the Amsterdam (photo by NYRA)