Can the Florida Derby winner bounce back in the Belmont?
This is one of the many questions that we must embrace in handicapping this edition of the Belmont. Known Agenda was clearly a competitive horse with Medina Spirit, Hot Rod Charlie and the other better California horses, Maybe a length slower, but he definitely showed some verve in the stretch when he fired his best effort in the Florida Derby. His effort in the Kentucky Derby was very flat, even though he has some excuse from his Post Position and getting shuffled back after the start. He basically ran evenly throughout, without ever threatening. Clearly we have to understand what may have cause the “anemic” effort in the KD – especially when we see he was about 12 lengths behind Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality. That’s a big margin to overcome.
As a for reader, in the case of both Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie, both made nice forward moves – as expected in the KD. While Known Agenda, “bounced” after his Naked TOP in the Florida Derby… also to be expected! Form suggests that Known Agenda should rebound at Belmont, especially after skipping the Preakness… with a full 34 days to recover and rebound. Meanwhile, Hot Rod Charlie and EQ both have the same time frame, but they both have hit a TOP, although it’s much more “IN-LINE” and not expecting a BIG BOUNCE from this line, but another forward move seems more difficult, but possible.
This leads to a little DISTANCE LOVING analysis. And Hot Rod Charlie is totally a sprint breed, he has already given his all to get 1 1/4 miles. To expect him to get 1 1/2 miles from a horse whose parents have an average distance winner from their “get” of 6.8 furlongs. So it’s really hard to like HRC with this element in his profile.
The discussion on Essential Quality is similar… although his sire is Tapit who is definitely a router influence, with a strong profile for distance racing by his progeny, it’s not so much from his Dam Sire, Essential Quality, who is more likely to produce sprinters and milers and grass types. But beyond that, we also can review his way of going, his “paddling” action is not very efficient and puts more stress on him, the longer he goes… and we saw that in the KD, in which he had the entire stretch to pass someone, but passed no other horses once all were straightened away. And to my eye, Hot Rod Charlie was going the better of the two in the last 50 yards… this points to ES’s weakeness in either his racing action or his scope for distance. But if the track is WET, this might move ES up…he did run decently in Oaklawn Park, but this is Belmont and it’s not the same!
One last comment on Rock Your World, who won the Santa Anita Derby by taking advantage of a ROCK SOLID INSIDE SPEED BIAS. When he came to meet his rivals on the dirt in Kentucky, he didn’t break well and didn’t race with any interest as far as I can see. Not breaking well for a high energy horse is a terrible sign in my opinion. We might see the rail supper fast at Belmont, so in that case his chances might improve…
Still I will be passing on Rock Your World entirely…
Belmont — Power Page Classic and THE PLUS!
Santa Anita — Power Page Classic and THE PLUS!
As my Mom would say, “there is nothing more exciting than watching my $2 bucks run!”