The key Gulfstream allowance raceAnimal Kingdom used a second-place finish in an entry-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park as a launching pad to superstardom. He went on to win the Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby en route to an Eclipse Award as champion three-year-old male.
Two years later, his stablemate Crop Report finished third in an entry-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park as a launching pad to... a win in an ungraded stakes race sponsored by his ownership syndicate.
It's not quite as glamorous, yet, but it could be. The winner of Crop Report's race--Black Onyx--went on to do what Animal Kingdom did--win the Spiral Stakes. Black Onyx is now spiraling toward the Derby pending a $6,000 late nomination fee, and Crop Report is more likely for later classic races.
I'm a speed figure guy, and as important as numbers can be to telling a story, they're not the whole story. Crop Report had all sorts of trouble in the aforementioned allowance race yet still posted a respectable 91 BRIS Speed Rating. Just looking at the 91 made me wonder why he was 3-to-5, but obviously he was likely capable of better. Still not sure 3-to-5 would have made sense against some similarly fast horses, but there was obviously more to Crop Report's ability than the number.
Black Onyx got a 93 for winning the allowance, which was his best number to date. His two losses were woefully slow, but the other win was an 89, and in both wins he was absolutely in control of the race in the stretch. In a race where I was so against the favorites, he needed to make more sense to me at 15-to-1.
I don't think I'd have either horse as a top pick under any circumstance, so that makes it tough to make money, anyway, but that doesn't mean there's not something to learn going forward.
As for Mac The Man, well... hopefully he's healthy. It's always a punch in the gut to see a horse eased--even more so when you're attached. I feel for the connections, but can't get too down. It's a drama that plays out in this game every race at tracks all over the world. You take the good, you take the bad, and all that.
Back to that key allowance race at Gulfstream: Redwood Kitten, who finished second betwixt Black Onyx & Crop Report, hasn't run back yet, but he did work on Thursday. To know when he runs next, sign up for Brisnet.com Stable Alert!