February 14, 2010

Star Watch

I have always thought that one of the most enjoyable things about Thoroughbred horse racing is in the finding of new stars. Their potential is limitless. I daydream about future races and how good they may become. The anticipation of their next race is heightened by the newness of their fame. Horse racing parades an endless supply of future possible stars, but until you see them do something special, they are unproven. When some actually become good enough to take it to the for real level, you want to be among the first to appreciate their ability. I saw two such horses yesterday at Santa Anita Park, in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Santa Maria Handicap. Neither Caracortado nor St Trinians were well known outside of Southern California before yesterday, but after respective superlative performances, they can fly under the radar no longer.

Caracortado won his first time out in a maiden claimer at Fairplex Park. Far from a common place to begin for a horse poised to become a star. His most recent win had been in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes on December 26 at Santa Anita. In between he had won a pair of allowance races at Hollywood Park, meaning that when he entered the starting gate yesterday he was perfect in four tries. Despite this, Caracortado was the fourth choice in the five horse field. The lack of respect by bettors proved to be a major mistake as Caracortado blew away a pair of highly regarded opponents in Tiz Chrome and American Lion early in the stretch. He then had more than enough to stave off the late rush of closer Dave in Dixie. The final winning margin was a 1 ¾ and he stopped the teletimer in 1:41.75, which was the fastest time for the distance at the meet. Caracortado, a California bred gelding, has been ridden by Paul Atkinson in all of his starts and is trained by Mike Machowsky for a partnership headed by Don Blahut. The son of Cat Dreams will likely run next in either the San Felipe or Santa Anita Derby, on his way to Louisville and a run for the roses.

Just two races later in the sunny California afternoon came the five-year-old English import, St Trinians. Despite starting her career in Europe, the daughter of Piccolo is far more experienced on the synthetic surfaces than the turf that is so common across the Atlantic. St Trinians came into the Santa Maria undefeated in three start since arriving in the United States, but was clearly not the headliner going in. Standing in her path was the BC Ladies Classic winner Life Is Sweet, who had four major wins over this course last year. Despite the accomplishments of Life Is Sweet, St Trinians’ recent form could not be ignored and she actually went off a slight favorite. Much like Caracortado, she exploded past her rivals at the top of the stretch, and then was strong down the lane, easily holding of the fast finish of Life Is Sweet. Also like Caracortado, she won by 1 3/4 lengths, and completed 1 1/16 miles on the Pro-Ride in 1:41.73. The time was .02 faster than Caracortado, meaning St Trinians now has the fastest time at the distance for the meet. Ridden by Joel Rosario for the third consecutive race, St Trinians is trained by Mike Mitchell and now has won seven times in eleven starts and sports an impressive seven out of ten record on a synthetic surface. After yesterday, you have to believe she will be on the invitation list for the Apple Blossom and, if she accepts, she has a meeting with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in her near future.

Will either St Trinians or Caracortado become champions this year? Chances are not, but as of yesterday they have proven that they deserve great respect. I know I will be watching them closely from here on in…I love the new stars of racing.


LDP said...

If these two keep it up they will have a major impact on their divisions. Both ran spectacular races yesterday that were very impressive to say the least. I know I'll be keeping my eyes on these potential stars from now on.

Celeste said...

Brian, I could not agree with you more! Caracortado was awesome and so was St. Trinians. I do hope they will continue to move forward and keep the excitement going.

railrunner said...

I love Caracortado!
St. Trinians trainer is hoping to run against Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita next and thinks he has a pretty good shot at the "big mare".

C T Coleman said...

hey if you get an invite to the apple blossom your stupid not to go. who cares about the fact that you might not win If you do your career as a broodmare is set. perhaps we would breed the RA/Z Killer with birdstone to create the Ultimate Triple crown Killer.

Brian Zipse said...

C T Coleman, Are you predicting that someone will beat both Rachel and Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom?

C T Coleman said...

while im not predicting that both RA abd Big Z would Lose the Apple Blossom im just saying its not going to be a pushover field and what ever mare dose pull it off will surely make lots of money as a broodmare