Turf writer Dick Jerardi, writing for the Daily Racing Form, has an interesting perspective on the Belmont's potential pace scenario. Jerardi doesn't agree with the assumption that Shackleford won the Preakness by slowing things down in the middle of the race. He says Shackleford won the race in the early stages. He believes horses like Shackleford should use their speed to “open up big leads and give the closers too much to do,” rather than slowing down the pace to conserve energy for late:
“Even though the 2011 Derby fractions were historically slow, it kept all the late-runners in the race. Check out the traffic jam on the far turn of the Derby… The closers stayed in the race and finished 1-2-3.
The very quick first fraction of the Preakness spread out the field. Even though the next six furlongs were moderate, that first fraction gave Shackleford an edge he never relinquished.
Shackleford is not likely to win the Belmont by slowing down the pace to a crawl. That could work, but I doubt it. If Animal Kingdom is within a few lengths at the quarter pole, I think he runs Shackleford down.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.