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What We Learned

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 2/28/2011 1:49:03 PM

Betting horses is all about projections and visualization so what did we learn about the two Triple Crown preps run at Gulfstream this past weekend?

First off we learned that Flashpoint could at least sit second and win as he took the $150,000 7-furlong Grade 2 Hutcheson tracking the leader and drawing away at the end. His trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had that déjà vu thing going on as he won last years Hutcheson with D’Funnybone.

Flashpoint’s final time of 1:22.03 was solid and good enough to record a 102 Beyer figure. D’Funnybone came into this race last year with much more experience having won his first 4 starts including a couple of Grade 2 stakes win. He had his record blemished in the juvenile debut in a pop and stop performance Breeders’ Cup day.

The fact that D’Funnybone only posted a 99 Beyer, speaks volumes for the potential of Flashpoint. Dutrow is on record as saying, “ he won like he wants to go long. Right now at least we can think and dream about the Kentucky Derby.”

As far as his pedigree is concerned, Flashpoint’s sire Pomeroy was a Grade 1 winner but was purely a sprinter that lost 4 times routing.

Flashpoint’s dam was also sprint only and out of the money in her only route attempt. The dam dropped 4 others that won, and 3 were just sprint only. The light at the end of the tunnel says that half brother Yuwa Hurricane did win at a mile and a quarter on grass in Japan.

As far as history is concerned, there is a precedent for a Hutcheson winner to earn glory in the Kentucky Derby but it came ages ago. Swale pulled off the double in 1984 and 5 years earlier, what some have called the greatest horse ever to look through a bridle, Spectacular Bid, also won both events.

Ponce de Leon is associated with the legend of the Fountain of Youth but the race of that name was captured Saturday by Soldat, who earned a 96 Beyer.

Soldat is a serious horse although he did get away controlling a moderate pace Saturday. He has never run a poor race, has handled all kinds of grass courses and proved he has an affinity for the main track with the FOY score at 9 furlongs.

His versatility was also there for all to see as he took them flag fall to that’s all but he has proven he can track the pace and still perform.

Soldat’s sire War Front is known as a sprinter but he did cash long. His dam was unraced and this is her first foal to race.

Soldat is on to the Florida Derby.

The history of the FOY is more potent as far as Derby success is concerned. Tim Tam did the FOY/Kentucky Derby double in 1958 and Kauai King also did 8 years later.

Spectacular Bid also used this race as a road map for Derby glory as did Thunder Gulch in 1995.

Interestingly last year, Eskendereya, who would have been a heavy Derby favorite if he had not gotten injured, posted a 106 Beyer in his Fountain of Youth success.

Wednesday we’ll run down this week’s Santa Anita Handicap before concentrating on the Triple Crown picture the rest of the spring.



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