Scat Daddybaby Scoots

Did you notice the 6F split Scat Daddybaby put up yesterday in the Longacres Mile?  His 1:08.42 was nearly 2 seconds faster than any other 6F time of the route races & was nearly a second faster than the fastest 6F final time posted by Jack the Pirate in a 12.5-10k claiming race for older horses.

This explains why the first three finishers in The Mile were 2 closers & a mid-pack horse.  The other front running horses finished way behind Scat Daddybaby who managed to hang on for fourth, 4 lengths behind the winner, Stryker Phd.

Cudos to Stryker’s jockey, Leslie Mawing, who saved ground early then swung wide for an open lane down the stretch, allowing Stryker to quickly pass the field & hang on for a hard earned half-length win.  The winning time of 1:33.67 was just .67 off the track record.

Ron Classen,

Pace may help Stryker Phd win Longacres Mile

If Stryker Phd wins tomorrow’s (8/24) 79th running of The Longacres Mile, he’ll likely thank Scat Daddybaby.  Scat knows only one way to run – hell bent for leather – from the instant the gates open.  Blessed with blazing first quarter speed, he’s led 11 of his 12 lifetime races at the first call.  His last 2 first quarter splits were 21.4 & 21.8 respectively.  His speed ratings make him competitive here & his presence ensures an honest pace.

The race is loaded with front running horses and others who prefer to run close to the pace.  This figures to set the table for Stryker who is one of the 3 closers entered (the others being Shooting Jacket & Jebrica).  The scariest of the mid-pack/front running horses is Prohibition, who comes out of a good effort in a 200k stakes at Belmont this past May.  Prohibition has been working well for this & appears ready to go.  Flattering his 4th place (by 2 1/2 lengths) finish in that Belmont Stakes is that all of the three horses to finish ahead of him that day came back to win their next race.

Boyett, a turf runner in mostly claiming races in southern California, comes to this race following a 4th place finish in a minor stakes at DelMar July 23.  Boyett is a former Emerald Downs runner who seemed to turn over a new leaf when switched to the turf upon his arrival in the Golden State in October, 2013.  His speed figures were in the 50’s & 60’s when running on the dirt here but jumped to the 80’s when switched to the turf.  If he can keep the 80’s figures now, when switched back to the dirt, he’ll be dangerous.  Title Contender has been running very well in stakes races at Hastings this year & brings top jockey R W Walcott down here with him to ride. He is an obvious contender.

This year’s field is evenly matched & alot will depend upon the pace of this race.  If the field allows Scat Daddybaby to get a lone lead, with front end rating specialist Gaylyn Mitchell aboard, they may have a hard time catching him.  My guess is the field will stay in touch & the stretch drive will be very interesting indeed.  If Stryker wins this race, he will have earned it.  Both Stryker & top jock Leslie Mawing will need to be at the top of their games.  The race appears to set up for a good closer … and Stryker definately is that.

Good luck and have fun!

– Ron Classen,

Longacres Mile is What the Doctor (Phd) Ordered

What’s “Stryking” about yesterday’s Longacres Mile post-position draw was who was not there.

Accomplished, powerful California trainers like Bob Baffert & Jerry Hollendorfer et. al. declined to enter a horse.  The Mile’s 200k purse & Grade III ranking usually brings at least one or two noted stakes placed runners from the Golden State – but not this year.

My guess is these trainers do not want to tangle with Jim & Mona Hour’s 5 year old gelding, Stryker Phd.  Trained brilliantly by Larry & Sharon Ross, Stryker’s performance in the 1 1/8 mile Mt Rainier Hcp on July 20, in a track record 1.40.2 was nothing short of phenominal.  Making this feat still more impressive, Stryker ran against a powerful front end bias and was the only horse to win from off the pace that day.

You can certainly understand opposing trainers seeking alternate venues to win a Grade III race.  California trainers don’t take the time & expense to bring a top stakes horse to EmD to get 2nd or 3rd – especially when its a race where “the doctor is in”.

– Ron Classen –