Overview: It was a pretty quiet weekend. The Kentucky Cup series looked like it could have been a good preparation for Breeders' Cup hopefuls but as the synthetic cloud settled it was pretty clear that no potential Breeders' Cup winners were in action. Indescribable ran a decent race against poor competition but it was not a Ladies Classic caliber performance. Same with the Canadian colt El Brujo who took the KY Cup Sprint. Fatal Bullet was a Canadian based sprinter who followed the same path and was second in the Breeders' Cup but El Brujo seems about 7 lengths inferior to where Fatal Bullet was last year. Hold Me Back was all the rage in the Classic but he never lifted a hoof in 6th place. Furthest Land and Dubious Miss both ran excellent races but it's hard to see connections pushing onto the Classic with horses that had only previously attempted Graded Stakes company once. It was a good race but they'd both likely fit in better at the upcoming Keeneland meet. Maybe a race like the Fayette. It was Indian Blessing and Sara Louise who really put on a show. The Gallant Bloom was definitely the best race of the weekend.
Thoroughbred Championship Rankings: Virtually no changes to these rankings because there were really very few Graded Stakes run this weekend. The next two weeks are among the most pivotal of the entire racing season. The contenders should really start to pull away from the pack with big points on the line in multiple Grade 1 events.
Power Rankings: Indian Blessing was the only major mover in this quiet week. She moved into second in the Female Sprinter division behind Informed Decision. Remember though that Ventura is only not a part of this division officially because she's been more of a turf horse so far but a win at the Breeders' Cup on the main track will put her back in here and bump Indian Blessing down a bit. Informed Decision and Ventura have been the best Female Sprinters this year but the defending champion Indian Blessing has been the best of the rest and her campaign has been somewhat unlucky.
Performance of the Week/Race of the Week: I couldn't help but roll these two categories into one. The race of the week was obviously the Gallant Bloom Handicap. Indian Blessing's part in the race was also the best performance of the week. It seemed like a bit of an awkward trip for Indian Blessing as she didn't make the early pace and she had to make a somewhat premature move through a hole on the fence in order to avoid getting stuck down there. I thought she was beaten in the last 1/16th because she hadn't really opened up and Sara Louise looked to be finishing the stronger. But Indian Blessing had obviously had enough of losing. Three in a row is quite a losing streak for a horse of her quality. The youngster Sara Louise just could not match the tenacity of this two time champion. Indian Blessing has been a real treat to follow throughout her career. I hope we all realize how rare it is to have a juvenile champion still running so well and so consistently at 4 years of age.
Flop of the Week: Hold Me Back was a major disappointment in the Kentucky Cup Classic. He has often been a "nearly" type of horse and bettors made him the favorite here because of his second place finish in the Travers. The competition didn't look that great and he was the only horse with real Breeders' Cup aspirations. Those aspirations had to have been choked out by the recycled rubber and wax. He was supposed to like the surface so what went wrong? Maybe he's just not that good. Lucky Island and Songster also looked pretty bad in a minor stakes race at Belmont on Friday. At one time these were killers in the sprint division. Now they're cheap fodder in allowance and listed stakes company.
Tip O'the Cap: It was pretty neat to see Gomez sweep the Kentucky Cup Stakes races. When I first noted him riding in the Classic I looked through the card to find out which horse he had probably flown into town to ride. I guess the correct answer is all of them. Those were his only three rides of the day and all of them were well timed moves from off the pace. Furthest Land and El Brujo only just got there and Gomez certainly made a difference with them. $240,820 in purse money and a trio of Graded Stakes wins is a pretty good day at the office.
KC Handicapping: Dubious Miss suffered a narrow defeat to Furthest Land who was astutely selected by the commentor Eric. Apparently Furthest Land had the best breeding for this race. He also happened to be well respected in my own Speed Ratings. The KSR identified 4 horses that were fast enough to win the KY Cup Classic. They ran 1, 2, 3 and 6 sweeping a $557 trifecta and a $69 exacta. Unfortunately I only focused on Dubious Miss, who I considered to be the strongest of the alternatives to the favorite. But Furthest Land and Sligovitz would have been good to throw on the ticket as well.
Weekly Record: 1(1)-0-1-0 (-$2.00 -100.00% ROI)
Overall Record: 804(456)-138-127-102 (-$174.50 -10.85% ROI)