Polytrack certainly produces some of the strangest outcomes one can imagine. It can almost warp your point of view until conventional assumptions can be thrown out the window. I thought time warps were the fodder of science fiction not horse racing, or are they? Yesterday’s Blue Grass Stakes was one part major Derby prep and one part a science fiction time warp. A half run in just under 52 seconds, six furlongs in 1:16. Under normal conditions in a Grade 1, horses setting that kind of pace are going to be there at the end while the stalkers and closers struggle to overcome the time warped pace. Ah but not on polytrack, the pace setters hold on and the stalkers and closers manage to make up the ground to produce a thrilling yet head scratching result. I love it.
Edgar Prado bent and folded the pace to his design like a piece of origami, displaying his trademark riding mastery. Thanks to Prado, Teuflesberg and Zanjero were there to gut it out at the end while even more strangely Dominican and Street Sense managed to overcome the fractions that Prado put out there to make for one exciting finish. The stretch run was more like the Time Warp dance sequence from Rocky Horror Picture Show than anything else I can describe, you know that lyric.
It’s just a bit of a mind flip
You're there in the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same
Time meant nothing
Never would again
It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
Let’s do the Time Warp again
With the best three-year old colts battling it out; Zanjero bore out, Street Sense ducked in and Great Hunter took the worst of it. One can safely say Street Sense struggles with polytrack while Domincan relishes it as much as Riff Raff loves to dance the Time Warp
Unlike other observers Street Sense’s performance gives me great confidence as we head into the Derby. He’s a champion because he fights on regardless of the circumstances. He may not like polytrack (I think his stretch run proved that) but he will gut it out with anybody who can get to him and that mental attitude will serve him well in the Derby where I surmise they won't be dancing the time warp again.