The Daily Racing Form’s David Grening, horse racing’s hardest working writer, wrote that Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Munnings, was disappointed when his colt drew the rail in Saturday’s 7-furlong King’s Bishop Stakes. As a result, The Saratogian’s perennial top handicapper, Bill Taylor, wants to set the record straight about the importance of post position in six and seven furlong sprints.
“There’s no doubt that it’s the worst position to start from, so hopefully he can overcome it,” Pletcher told Grening about Munnings. “What is said about the rail in these short races is just wrong,” countered Taylor. “The record over the last five seasons proves it.”
When racing seven furlongs, horses that broke from the one post finished first more often than horses from any other post. The second highest number of winners came out of the two. You could argue that most races don’t have more than eight runners, thus tilting the bias. But horses from the one and two posts have won thirty-three percent of the seven furlong races and horses breaking from one to three have won forty-six percent.
Taylor, a commodity trader in New York City, leads the pack of six public pickers in the paper. (Now say, “Pick a pack of public pickers in the paper,” six times fast.) Taylor’s finished among the leaders in the local competition among handicappers in races won and best percentage for the last 17 years.
Following a day on which he went zero for nine and his colleagues were two for 36, Taylor’s choice came in first in the second, the sixth ninth, and tenth. It wasn’t a day for great horses; that comes tomorrow. But in at least one race, any person would be proud to own any of the seven runners competing.
The fourth race, called the Funny Cide Stakes, was for horses bred in New York. Future Prospect pressed the fast pace set by R Clear Victory until there were three furlongs to go and then took the lead. Naughty New Yorker and Dr. D.F.C. made a last ditch effort but just missed catching him. Kudos to the state’s breeding program for producing this outstanding field of 3-year-olds.
In the featured Bernard Baruch Handicap, Darley’s Justenuffhumor, a dozen lengths off the leader at one point, caught Cowboy Cal in the last furlong and won by a head. The 4–year-old bay colt by Distorted Humor is six for six in 2009, two for two at Saratoga. Alan Garcia rode for Kiaran McLaughlin.
There was a “Battle of the Brews” to benefit Ronald McDonald House in the backyard. For a donation of $25, a fan could try as much as he liked of the area’s beers. Rain is forecasted for Shadwell Travers Stakes Day. The rain should wash away any remains of what was over-consumed from the premises.