The biggest score of the afternoon came from Goodnight Olive (F&M Sprint), who clinched post position 8 after the start of the half time break on the wood at the home of the Wildcats’ famed stomping ground.
She may not need the best - or at least the desired - draw with Irad Ortiz Jr.’s talents in the saddle, but she got the gate 8 that owners had wished for (and even predicted) when asked before the show commenced at Rupp Arena. Drawing the preferred gate wasn’t the only win for the filly with Obligatory - a closer - drawing the gate inside at 7 and a stalker/closer in Sterling Silver drawing the gate outside her, she should have a facile task in finding her rhythm in her preferred running style stalking a probably lead in Slammed drawn in 1.
It may have been in part due to good fortune fuelled by the First Row Partners standing and clapping the University Of Kentucky band blasting out the college’s fight song prior to the draw, but they got the right result in the end and the Ghostzapper filly sits in pole position to justify morning line favouritism in in the seven furlong Filly and Mare Sprint.
That said, the famed quote ‘everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth’ still applies here with front running favouring horses Echo Zulu, Hot Peppers, and Lady Rocket drawn outside in 13, 10, and 11 respectively. So if any of the three decide to mount a quest for the lead from out wide she may well fall foul of such a move.
With regards the bare analysis of any single race’s draw, the race in focus, however, has to be the Dirt Mile. On basic interpretation, it is the most affected by the draw because of the mile and a sixteenth track configuration on the Keeneland Dirt. The consequent alternate finishing line means the field of 11 will have a run of just over an eighth of a mile into the first turn and therefore far less time for the outside post positions to take up their desired role, unless they are keen on closing in the tougher than usual kickback at Lexington this year.
The draw, however, has been sympathetic to the run styles of the majority of the field and we shouldn’t see too many tough trips with closers such as Cyberknife, Informative, Senor Buscador, and Three Technique drawn in the outside four gates of 9, 8, 10, and 11 respectively. Inside them sit stalkers Cody’s Wish in 7 and Law Professor in 4, who have pace horses Gunite and Laurel River in 5 and 6 to follow.
The potential hard luck stories will come from the inside if Gunite and Laurel River are able to execute their desired trips; so stalkers Simplification (2) and Slow Down Andy (1), flanked by a wire horse Pipeline (3), will need to manufacture something to attain their desired position. That aside, a draw that could have been extremely problematic has been kind to the majority of the field and sets up for a cracking renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Finally, Jackie’s Warrior has been the talk of the town once again as he lines up as a Breeders’ Cup favourite for the third time in a row. To make it third time lucky, he will need to come from post position 9 - which as a wire horse would suggest he has some work to do. Trainer Steve Asmussen bucked any doubt straight after the draw when admitting he really liked the draw for the son of Maclean’s Music; it’s understandable given he is the outstanding pace in the race.
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