Del Mar Online Racing Community
Chat about horses, racing, and the industry.
Garrett Gomez's primary objective was to win the recent CashCall. Secondarily, his job is to teach. He did not want to battle for the lead or even contest it.. Probably the biggest challenge in preparing a classicist is getting the youngster to turn off and co-operate. When LAL starts pulling at him coming out of the first turn, Garrett's trying to get the colt to shut down.. but the colt doesn't like that idea. They're going too dang slow and he is eager and fresh. So, they compromise. Garret fights him for a bit down the backside, then lets him creep up in there and the colt quits pulling so hard. Then he settles well until called upon. Therefore, the only relevant time in that race is from the 3/16ths pole home, as Garrett doesn't really ask the horse at all until they straighten away. Shortly after he asks him though, LAL is goofing off, so even his last quarter is not indicative of "his best." At this point, Garrett wants him comfortable sitting off the pace. The colt only gets a "C" rating for his cooperation in the matter..
All good handicappers will project and utilize sprint times and raw speed within their class assessments. This gives us an idea of the respective runners "turn of foot". Generally speaking, ON DIRT OR ANY FIRM-FAST SURFACE, a colt with a classic pedigree that can run 6 furlongs in 109.3, off a 46 half, can normally run a mile in the low 1:35's. If he really moves up at the distance, he might better a 1:35 clocking. It's a simple projection of momentum... with some adjustments for running at a slower route pace, and further adjustment for running on two turns versus one. As a comparison, a sprinter who doesn't want that last quarter might project out to the high 1:36's, or slower, off the same 3/4 time - depending on the pace of the route race before him and his ability to relax over the earlier furlongs.
Some things you won't know - some things you will. I do know this.. Lookin at Lucky is going to stay at least 9 furlongs. His recorded sprint speed in just his second race (109.3 - when still very green) is a gauge as to how fast he will cover the route.. He'll get the mile in the low 135's or better (ON ANY FIRM SURFACE) when he runs in faster paced races. I also know that when a classic horse is locked down to a 1:13 three-quarter time, when he can sprint in 1:09.3 or better, he has plenty in reserve and is not even close to his best cruising speed. By the way, the day LAL ran that 109.3, Zenyatta ran a dreadfully slow 8.5 furlongs in 143.2. No matter, each was up to their tasks and won their races. That is the object, right?
I'm sure as a handicapper you have encountered races where you thought your horse could get the lead in 1:12 or thereabouts, in a very slow field, but inexplicably, the rider hard-holds him 10 lengths back of a 1:14 pace. It happens.. And when it does, you will rightfully know that horse wasn't situated well or placed properly to run his best or "fastest" race. Same thing applies when a fast, classically oriented colt like LAL is throttled down to a 113. He can and will travel at a MUCH HIGHER cruising speed - if allowed. And when and if he is allowed, he will record a much faster final time. But at this stage, as far as Baffert and Gomez are concerned, it's not nearly as important as the winning - and teaching the young colt good habits..
Synthetics, dirt, grass.. surface has very little to do with it. Most horses will run pretty close to their natural ability no matter the surface. But certain surfaces may work in their favor or against them, depending on the properties of that surface. You ever bet a fast front runner on dirt moving over to the grass for the first time who didn't have any speed? Doesn't happen that way.. He may be confused, run off and tire, but the speed will still be there.. A fast dirt horse will usually handle very well a fast turf course. Because after all, he is a thoroughbred first - before he is a grass or dirt horse, and he DOES understand racing with others.. On the other hand, if the course favors runners that finish, he will likely suffer on it.. The same can be said for dirt versus synthetics. Fast, breakaway runners on dirt will usually suffer on synthetic.. But if he is one of the runners that can "come back to his rider" and relax when unchallenged, he should handle both well... And so on...
LAL will handle the dirt without any issue and he will run much faster races than he ran yesterday. How am I certain? It's that 1:09.3 with a 23.3 last quarter contested over the tough Poly at Del Mar in just his second race. If he can do that on Poly as a young immature horse, wait and see, when he matures further, gets a faster, more conducive surface (Dirt) and the furlongs he wants... he will fly..
Dirt will be as natural to him as if he were born to race on it - which he was.
Thanks for the great discourse. Very educational and I loved it.
So wait, let me get this straight...he'll have no problem going 10 furlongs because he went 1:09 and change for the 6 furlong split in his 2nd career start? Champagne d'Oro ran 5.5 furlongs in 1:03.50 that same day too, is she a candidate for the Oaks based on that effort? It doesn't matter that Lookin at Lucky had an absolutely perfect trip that day and in every race since then save one, the BC Juvenile, where he lost?
I think Lookin at Lucky will probably be a nice horse, I'm thrilled that he's going to prep on dirt as it will give us a better indication of his ability in Kentucky, but I'm positive anyone making a future wager on him now at 8-1 needs an evaluation of the psychological type.
No. One is a sprinter and the other is a champion of near-classic status. It seems you have a problem making that distinction... Obviously, you're not an advanced student of the game..
But if Champagne d'Oro were a horse of classic pretensions, the projections I gave - would apply.
Don't worry about who I am in the game. Do you think Champagne d'Oro was not purchased by her free-spending owner with the hopes of her having "classic pretensions"?
But, go ahead on pontificating by cherry-picking for your arguments. I'll go back with the other unadvanced students of the game and actually analyze a horse's entire set of past performances rather than grasping at straws and making wild suppositions about one mostly inconsequential race. It works well when you're attempting to justify how a horse who ran a slower race than older females earlier on the same card in his most recent start is of "near-classic status."
Your initial post indicates a lack of grasp of basic handicapping principles.
It is laced with inaccuracies and draws conclusions that are well off base.
Appreciate your effort but your game is primitive at best. BBB
You made your argument. It was poorly conceived. In the future, if you're going to enter into a learned discussion, it's a good idea to know well your subject.
Your post is noticeably lacking for substance and detail.
Based on the race splits LAL was staggering the last 1/16. With a faster pace he may have chased earlier and faster and been nowhere at the finish. So I wouldn't really have a guess as to what his best cruising speed is.
Sarcasm:the ability to insult idiots without them realizing it
Andyc... I'm not sure what you are referring to here.
6 and one-fifth seconds while twitching his ears back and forth (goofing) is not exactly staggering. His last 2.5 furlongs was in 30.1 - equivalent to a 24 second final quarter and a 6.1 final sixteenth.. Garret says the colt has yet to learn to sprint away from his competitors. When he hits the lead, he waits. He ran away briefly passing the eighth pole, but then his ears went up and he started waiting on them..
A runner who is comfortable with the classic distances will usually "cruise" at about 5 - 6 lengths slower than his sprinting speed. (Very high class, even faster, low class, slower) Thus, LAL should have no trouble attending or moving into paces at the 1:11 mark..
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