TimeformUS Speed Figures of the Week by Craig Milkowski

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Each Monday, TimeformUS Chief Figure Maker Craig Milkowski will take a look back at the weekend performances that earned the top TimeformUS Speed Figures. Get TimeformUS PPs Free in the TVG Handicapping Store Get TimeformUS PPs from TimeformUS.com Learn More about TimeformUS Speed Figures There were eight graded stakes races run over the Presidents' Day weekend, though there were no Grade 1 races (G1).  Kentucky Derby points were on the line in a pair of G3 races, the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields and the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Golden Gate Fields The El Camino Real is run on a Tapeta synthetic surface at 1 1/8 miles.  TimeformUS Power Pick Tamarando proved to be the strongest in the field.  Dance With Fate put away favored Enterprising turning for home, but was quickly joined on the outside by the winner and could not hold him off.  While the final-time rating was only a 90, the ability to overcome the slow pace (83 after six furlongs) and pass several horses late on the way to victory resulted in Tamarando earning a 97 TimeformUS speed figure.  The runner-up was assigned a 93.  Tamarando has run well on dirt in the past, but appears best on synthetic surfaces.  All four wins have come on them, including three different ones. Oaklawn Park The Southwest S., at 1 1/16 miles, featured the return of the third-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Strong Mandate.  The bulky field of 12 also featured G3 Kentucky Jockey Club winner Tapiture.  Tapiture took full advantage of his inside post position, racing towards the inside and near the lead.  Meanwhile, his main competitors, Strong Mandate and Ride On Curlin, were compromised by wide trips.  Both lost significant ground around the turns.   Both also made early bids for the front through pretty quick fractions.  The ¼-mile pace figure was 108, the ½-mile 104.  Turning for home, Tapiture kicked clear and drew off handily from his tired rivals.  Strong Mandate easily held second with Ride On Curlin a distant third.  Tapiture was rated a 99 TimeformUS speed figure, Strong Mandate 93.  This should prove to be a strong race going forward. Santa Anita The G2 San Vicente S. was held on Sunday at Santa Anita Park.  There were no Kentucky Derby points on the line for the seven-furlong race, but a couple of interesting colts drew most of the attention from the public.  Kobe’s Back and Cherubim were both sent to the post at 8 to 5 odds.  Cherubim came in off an impressive maiden win with a 103 TFUS figure, but there was a warning flag.  The race rating that day is highlighted in pink, meaning the track was kind to speed types like Cherubim.   Kobe’s Back, on the other hand, entered off a nightmare trip in the G1 Hollywood Futurity.   On a track that was highly speed favoring (race rating coded in red), Kobe’s Back was wide, in traffic, and near the back early.  He had little chance from there, and when he clipped heels, all hope was lost.  Cherubim battled for the early lead, opened up by more than a length with a furlong to go, but was simply inhaled late by the winner.  Kobe’s Back drew off to win by five in his first dirt effort.   Distance could be a problem going forward, but this horse is exciting.  His winning speed figure of 100 was a career best.  Cherubim regressed to a 96. The G2 Santa Maria S. was the Saturday feature at Santa Anita.  In a race that looked devoid of early speed on paper, only Joe Talamo on Iotapa seemed to really want the lead.   The pace was very slow for the class, a 90 pace figure after two furlongs, and gradually increased throughout the race, all the way to a 110 final-time figure.   The slow pace resulted in Iotapa’s TFUS speed figure being only 107 despite the 110 final-time number, and runner-up Let Faith Arise checked in with a 105.  Third-place finisher Stanwyck’s 103 should improve with a livelier pace next time out. On Monday, the G2 Buena Vista was run, also at Santa Anita.  The one mile race is for fillies and mares and was headed by Pontchatrain and Egg Drop.  Pontchatrain tracked leader Miss Serendipity  and Egg Drop through a solid pace, 110 TimeformUS pace figure after two furlongs, joined those two turning for home, and inched away late to a solid win.  The winning speed figure was a 106.  While the top four early finished in the top four spots, this does not appear to be a case where pace dictated the race.  The pace was honest, and it just appears the best four horses in the race also had the best early speed. Laurel Park The G3 General George has long been the Presidents Day' feature at Laurel Park.  The seven furlong race for older males drew a field of eight, including six local horses and two New York shippers.  One of those, Palace, was the even-money favorite.  When the gates opened, the pace was hot, and it was contested.  Smash and Grab and Warrioroftheroses quickly put more than three lengths on the field, and they were flying.  Favored Palice was the nearest pursuer in third.  The first quarter mile was run in 22.97, and that translated to a 140 TimeformUS pace figure.  Smash and Grab led into the stretch, but was obviously done at that point.  The pace clearly took a toll on any horse in the front part of the field, and that included the favorite.  Tenango, the other New York shipper, briefly appeared to be the winner, but once Bandbox appeared on the scene, the race was over.  Bandbox inhaled the field from the outside and drew away to a decisive score.  Bandbox received a TimformUS speed figure of 114, best of the weekend.  Smash and Grab finished fifth, but only one and a half lengths from second, and his early efforts boosted his figure to the second- best in the field at 111.  Bandbox’s past performances are littered with layoff lines, but if he can keep it together, he is a solid older sprinter. Gulfstream Park The G2 Mac Diarmida S. was the highlight of the Saturday card at Gulfstream Park.   Run at 1 mile and three-eighths, the race was run as evenly as can be found, with every pace figure and the final-time figure being a 103 or 104.   Barring a bad trip, the best horse usually wins races run in this manner, and this one was no different.  Favored Twilight Eclipse tracked in good position from third, took over with a quarter mile to go, and gradually inched away to a length score.   Twilight Eclipse ran a 106 TimeformUS speed figure, with runner-up Amen Kitten getting a 104. On Sunday at Gulfstream, the G3 Sabin S. took center stage.  Devil’s Cave and Sweet N Discreet were hooking up for the third straight time, and for the third straight time they finished in the 1-2 positions while well clear of the others.  Devil’s Cave rebounded from a loss last out to take a two to one lead in this mini-rivalry and was rated 99 by TimeformUS. tfus-g1-chart


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