Untapable justifies Distaff favoritism - By Tom Krish
Posted on - 01 Nov 2014
Untapable justifies Distaff favoritism
By Tom Krish
There were 37,205 in attendance on Friday at Santa Anita. A sum of $45,815,112 was bet on the 10-race card of which the on-track amount was $6,970,456. One could not have asked for better weather. In the four Breeders’ Cup races, form horses did very well. Three favorites brought the bacon home.
Craig Farvel, Breeders’ Cup President, said, “the World Championships were off to a great start with dramatic performances including Golden Cents’ repeat in the Dirt Mile and Untapable’s tour de force in the Longines Distaff. We had a great crowd and look forward to another day of world class racing on Saturday."
Hootenanny, a 3/1 chance in the morning line, drifted to 6/1 as the horses were being stalled for the Juvenile Turf.War Envoy, Ryan Moore’s mount, was the 7/2 favorite. Imperia, a New York invader and a Group III winner, was at 9/2. Luck Of The Kitten, Mike Smith up, went into a long lead. Dettori had Hootenanny in third position but, at least, six lengths off the pacesetter. Charging three-wide in the last turn, the Wesley Ward charge ran on to collar Luck Of The Kitten in the closing yards. Imperia and War Envoy did have road trouble but I do not think that either could have troubled Hootenanny.
I asked Mr Michael Tabor, one of the owners, this question. “The farthest your colt had gone was six furlongs in the Prix Morny at Deauville I August. What gave you confidence about Hootenanny getting the mile trip and be so good on the world’s stage?”
“Wesley Ward was instrumental in the decision. He is a smart trainer,” Mr Tabor answered.
Hootenanny won by three parts of a length. The fractions were 22.3, 46.4, 1 11.1 and 1 34.79. It was a firm grass course. Hootenanny paid 6/1 in the tote. Quality Road is Hootenanny’s sire. The dam is More Hennessy out of Hennessy.
Golden Cents was bet to the exclusion of the others in the Dirt Mile. Rafael Bejarano shot to the front but he had company for the first half mile. Vicar’s In Trouble and John Velasquez kept breathing down on Golden Cents’ neck. Opening up, Golden Cents, at one point, perhaps led by eight lengths. Emerging from the pack, Tapiture, Rosie Napravnik up, came up with a rattle. With 200 metres to run, Tapiture came within one half length and seemed to have the measure of the favorite. Though veering to the right, Golden Cents kept finding more.
Leandro Mora was substituting for trainer Doug O’Neil who has been suspended for a medication violation. “When you do not want to be a trainer, you can turn to professional handicapping. When Golden Cents drew post one, you pretty much signed, sealed and delivered the deal,” I stated.
“Golden Cents has that speed and he has the heart. Post one kept things simple.”
The margin was a length and a quarter. The fractions were 22.06, 44.80, 1 09.27, 1 21.92 and 1 35.16. These are killer fractions and with the early pressure, Golden Cents, who will go to stud to begin a new career, had to pull out all the stops to keep Tapiture at bay. A $2 ticket returned $3.40. Into Mischief is the sire of Golden Cents. The dam is Golden Works by Banker’s Gold. Golden Cents won the Dirt Mile in 2013.
Lady Eli, hailing from Chad Brown’s barn, was the favorite at post time in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. In the hands of Ortiz Jr, Lady Eli was held up in fourth as Sunset Glow set a brisk pace. Staying glued to the rail, Lady Eli found an opening turning for home. The race was put to bed in the next few moments. Lady Eli raced past Sunset Glow.
My question was directed to trainer Chad Brown. “Your thinking, in terms of keeping a horse at your base as long as you can and ship to races like the BC, is that your general philosophy and are you willing to make exceptions?” I asked.
“That is a good question. That is what I generally do though I take into consideration the conditions at the track I will be racing at,” Chad answered.
Lady Eli is by Divine Park out of Sacre Coeur by Saint Ballado. The fractions were 22.3, 46.2, 1 10.2, 1 21.4 and 1 33.41. Lady Eli won by two and three quarter lengths.
Untapable left in the Distaff and came away fourth and fifth. However, Rosie Napravnik had to stay three and four wide. Don’t Tell Sophia set the pace. Close Hatches, prominent on the outside until 600 metres from home, fell back rapidly to finish last of 11 horses. Surging three-wide for the run to the box, Untapable covered ground steadily and edged ahead late in the stretch.
Jockey Napravnik announced that she in the early weeks of her pregnancy. She will ride on Saturday and takes off for as long as necessary to raise a family.
“You left well, you were wide all the way, Close Hatches went around you on the backside and you seemed to be pinched and was there a moment of concern,” I asked Rosie.
“I was confident. I had a lot of horse under me. Once I made my move, I had no doubt I’ll win,” she replied.
Untapable, a three year-old filly, is trained by Steve Asmussen. Tapit is Untapable’s sire. Fun House is the dam out of Prized. The fractions for the 1800-metre Distaff were 22.4, 46.3, 1 10:4, 1 35.3 and 1 48.3. Untapable was the 16/10 favorite.
On Saturday, the first BC race is at 11 25 AM Pacific time. It will be a long day at the track. Early Sunday morning, we fly to Chicago. I do not know when my next report will be written. We have two hectic days in Chicago and on November 5, we leave for India.
I wish to express my gratitude to Mr.Vivek Jain for letting me write for RWITC.