September 9, 2009

There Were Other Races Last Week

The focus last week was clearly on a beautiful young filly who competed in the Woodward Stakes. There were, however, many other important races outside of Saratoga, run with countless Breeders' Cup implications.

Sea the Stars is the only other horse with a claim to Horse-of-the-World and with his win on Saturday in the Irish Champion, he made a bold statement. It was a match-up of Derby winners as Sea the Stars took on Irish Derby winner Fame and Glory for the first time since he upset him in the Epsom Derby. The high quality Mastercraftsman, who had given Sea the Stars a bit of a scare in their last race, completed the trifecta of top 3-year-olds. Mastercraftsman and then Fame and Glory got first run ahead of Sea the Stars, but when the superstar son of the great mare Urban Sea got rolling the outcome was quickly decided. Bounding away to defeat his main rival, Fame and Glory by 2 ½ lengths, Sea the Stars has now proven he is the dominant horse in Europe. He has won all five of his starts this year and they have all been Group 1 contests. The Arc will be a big test as it often comes up rather wet in the Fall in Paris, in fact, if it is too wet Sea the Stars may not run. After that, America and the Breeder’s Cup hopefully will be calling.

Richard’s Kid won the million dollar Pacific Classic on Sunday, further blurring the handicap division in the U.S. At nearly 25-1, he was one of the rank outsiders going in, but proved to be a stretch running force as he got up to nip the admirable Einstein. The favorites Rail Trip and Colonel John ran 3rd and 5th respectively and neither bolstered nor diminished their BC Classic hopes. What this race means to the Classic, I frankly have no idea. The different synthetic surfaces in California leave me scratching my head and as stated before I believe it to be a travesty to hold the Breeder’s Cup on the Santa Anita surface two straight years.

I am not sure outside of Chicago how many people are talking about She Be Wild, but the 2-year-old daughter of Offlee Wild has now run three superior races over the Arlington synthetic surface and in my mind is a real threat to beat her more talked about foes on the East and West coasts come Breeder’s Cup. She has a relaxed stalking style and then effortlessly blows them away coming out of the turn. Do not be fooled by her Arlington-Washington Lassie winning time, as her mile in 1:38 3/5 looks great once compared to the day’s other stakes races, and it was easy.

I have been looking for Gone Astray to win something for some time now and Labor Day was the day. Was it ever. Gone Astray turned Philadelphia’s Park’s 30th renewal of the Pennsylvania Derby into little more than a laugher as he pounced on the turn and then just kept on going to an impressive 9 ¼ length score. Left in his wake were only Grade 3 types, but he looks like a horse who is finally putting it all together. Unlucky loser in his previous two races, he was considered for the Travers, but his connections found the easier spot in a million dollar race. I am interested to see if Shug McGaughey bites the bullet and tries Summer Bird and Quality Road next in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.


Ernie said...

He might've put it all together, but I'm not sold yet on Gone Astray. Has the scent of Atomic Rain (to me). But if judiciously spotted...

LDP said...

Sea the Stars is great over on turf in Europe, but i grow tired of others, not you, comparing him to RA. They are apples and oranges. RA is an american superstar filly that is a dirt sensation, and STS is the star of Europe who does turf. To sujest, that he could beat RA on dirt when he is not even proven on it is rediculous. Again i am not saying you do this.

Brian Zipse said...

You are right Ernie, Gone Astray has a lot to prove, but Monday was a step in the right direction. Maybe Shug still has a little magic.

LDP, Apples and Oranges, exactly! Sea the Stars is like an exotic orange and Rachel is like the fruit of do you like them apples???

Celeste said...

Rachel's Woodward did overshadow the rest of the races, but I did still enjoy the Pacific Classic and was totally surprised by Richard's Kid. It was good to see Einstein put in such a great race, but I had hoped for more from Colonel John who was one of my favorites last year. I got a kick out of the AQHA All American also - those horse really jump out of the gate!