04 June 2007

Derby runner at Mountaineer

While the world seems full of commentary about a Kentucky Derby winner who's not running in the Belmont Stakes, last Monday the crowd at Mountaineer got to see a Derby winner make his turf debut in Mountaineer's Memorial Day Handicap.

OK, so it was the winner of the Tampa Derby. And the Ohio Derby. That's a G2 - bigger than anything run at Mountaineer; heck, even the wild and wonderful West Virginia Derby is only a G-3!

Of course the Quinella Castle contingent was on hand to cheer for the big-name horse, Deputy Glitters.

Deputy Glitters in the paddock at Mountaineer Memorial Day 2007
Deputy Glitters' connections tapped solid local jockey Scott Spieth for the 1-mile turf race. Even with my camera's snazzy telephoto lens, I couldn't make out what the trainer advised Spieth to do. (In fact, I couldn't even tell if this is Greg Fox, as the magnification seems to mainly magnify my unsteady hand on the shutter.)

Jockey Scott Spieth receives his instructions before riding Deputy Glitters at Mountaineer Memorial Day 2007
While I wouldn't say the fifty or so folks at the paddock seemed unimpressed by him, the crowd was more familiar with Cherokee Prince, winner of last year's Independence Day Stakes at Mountaineer, sending the Prince off as the 2-1 favorite.

I, of course, found this a perfect opportunity to pull out my copy of Pedigree Handicapping by Lauren Stich. Though I yearn to be a true pedigree handicapper, because it appeals to my sentimental, family saga-reading side, in reality, I just don't have a handle on how sires, dams, lineage, stamina, and class all add up.

And apparently even Stich, whose pedigree columns frequently grace the pages of the Daily Racing Form can't help me.

Perhaps it is the lack of an index that makes this book hard for me to use. The entire section devoted to handicapping for 2-year old speed is organized by lineage: Mr. Prospector line, In Reality line, and the Bold Ruler line. An index of horses would guide me to Glitterman in the Bold Ruler line a lot faster than scanning page after page of sires and their offspring. But I suppose these are the kind of things that horseplayers with a lot more experience than me would know.

I was hopeful, though, that Chapter 4, "The Hidden Turf Factor" would come into play in the Mountaineer turf stakes races. Stich writes: "Pedigree handicapping encompasses a wide array of betting angles, but the most lucrative -- by far -- is what I call the hidden turf factor." Basically, a hidden turf sire is one who never raced on turf but was bred to love the grass. As the list of hidden turf sires is organized by stallion, I had no trouble at all learning that both Deputy Glitters' sire, Deputy Commander, and his damsire, Glitterman, are "hidden turf sires." So, of course, I expected Deputy Glitters to do pretty well on the grass, especially at the $75,000 ungraded stakes level.

As the chart says: "Deputy Glitters stalked the pace evenly to the half, abruptly flattened out on the far turn." The race was won by 7-year old Puppeteer. Deputy Glitters finished 9th out of 10 horses in the field. Sigh. I suppose there's something about distance I should know.

And, I'll give Deputy Glitters credit: he ran in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes last year. Didn't do too well, but he did run, unlike some horses I could name.


Michael said...

Wow -- that is probably the ugliest paddock I have ever seen.

pvinhod@yahoo.com said...

This paddock is a real dump. It's a shame that the Mount doesn't step it up a notch, with all that revenue they've got from the "gaming resort" that they advertise on TVG, TV...unreal...makes Penn National look like paradise...

Rising Rainbow said...

Yes, the race world is a titter over who isn't running. But, heck, they have to have something to talk about. LOL

I'm more interested in hearing more about the horse being sold or so they said on the racing channel.