BCBC: "Let's Go To The Videotape!"
Written By: Justin Nicholson
The first step I’m taking on the road to BCBC ’16 is to get acquainted with the projected contenders in each Breeders’ Cup race through the use of video replays. Many handicappers, including me, often get so caught up in figures and data that we lose sight of what we’re actually analyzing.
It’s cliché, I know, but horses are not just lines on a piece of paper or numbers on a saddle cloth. Horses are living, breathing animals that have their own personalities and tendencies, and sometimes replays can provide an angle that all the number-crunching in the world can’t. As Warner Wolf would say, “let’s go to the videotape!”
I’ve started out with the two-year-old divisions and one of the things I’m looking for most with young horses is their maturity level. The Breeders’ Cup is going to be a packed house with lots of new sights and sounds and it takes a composed individual to perform well on such a big day. The horse I’m very curious to see, in this respect, is Ticonderoga. He’s an immaculately-bred turf horse by leading sire Tapit, out of multiple graded stakes winner (and Breeders’ Cup placed) Keertana. He’s also trained by Chad Brown, generally considered one of the best trainers in the country and recent winner of the Saratoga training title. With all of the factors that Ticonderoga has going for him, the one nagging problem is that he seems to be as interested in what’s going on in the
grandstand as he does in finding the finish line first. In all three of his career races, he’s hung at some point in the stretch. In his debut, it likely cost him the win as by the time he made the front he got run down from behind. In his second start, he did level off and put his head down in the lane, digging for the wire and winning. In his third and most recent start, a second place finish in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, he once again turned himself almost completely sideways and stopped his own momentum several times before running out of real estate to catch Keep Quiet. Can this obviously talented and well-bred colt sort things out next week? We’ll find out very soon!
Well, it’s onward to the older horse divisions, and a lot more homework to do. At least this is the kind of homework I actually WANT to do.