The Filly beats the Big Bad Boy in the Preakness…
For as long as I have followed racing, the inside trip is the preferred trip at Pimlico, especially going 2-turns! J.R. Velasquez, who I would call one of the 5 best jockey’s of my lifetime – ride Authentic to lose. He didn’t do that on purpose, and it might have been by the design of Bob Baffert, but whatever the reason… let’s even say overconfident… J. R. rode a terrible race.
The first mistake was gearing him down too much in the opening quarter mile, he should have run about 1 second faster, simply to make the race harder on everyone else. A 23.0 to 23.70 first quarter is easy stuff for this colt. And keep in mine, he only had to go 1 3/16 not a full 1 1/4. Had he done that simple thing, he would have had a clear lead and he would have had the RAIL! And then the filly who rode the rail the entire way, would have had to “GO AROUND” him. This would surely have been the difference between the Authentic and Swiss Skydiver. Maybe she could have given even more if that was the case… but she would have had to give much more.
Remember there are 2 aspects to this… Instead of Authentic running approximately 18 feet further for being on a wider running line than the filly and it would have caused the filly to run an additional 3 – 5 feet. So there it is… 21 additional feet would have been required of the filly to simply finish in a dead heat. That’s how important ground saving is on a track that favors ground saving such as Pimlico does.
I don’t think of horse racing in trip and feet, as a primary part of my handicapping, when working Belmont & Santa Anita. But at Pimlico, it’s a must and most good handicapper’s know this.
We all remember Kent Desormeaux explaining how he rode Exaggerator to win the Preakness a few years ago, and how his early experience at Pimlico influenced his absolute effort – literally at all costs… to ride the rails… and it paid off handsomely.
I am sorry to say, J. R. rode Authentic as if everyone would have to run around him… and ooooopppppssss he take advantage of the rail – a negative against his charge… and he allowed Swiss Skydiver to rally up the rail – another negative against his charge. That’s a DOUBLE NEGATIVE!
Swiss Skydiver is amazing. Her racing schedule has been demanding and yet she looked as fresh as can be and certainly ran a LBE – Lifetime Best Effort – in winning the Preakness. Which is another handicapping angle we should all be trying to discern… a horse going to an LBE. Both Swiss Skydiver and Authentic were many lengths, probably 7 or 8 ahead of the next set of horses, which included the surprisingly dull Art Collector.
I will produce the speed figs and get more in depth on this on Wednesday!
Belmont — Jerry J’s Power Page Classic & PLUS
Santa Anita — Jerry J’s Power Page Classic & PLUS
As my Mom would say, “There is nothing more exciting than watching your 2 bucks run!”