by Jon White
October 12, 2017
Winx obviously takes the first three letters of her name very seriously.
In Australia last Saturday, Winx cruised to a facile 6 1/2-length triumph over a half-dozen overmatched opponents in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes. A crowd of 20,822 at Melbourne’s lovely Flemington Racecourse watched the 6-year-old wonder mare extend her winning streak to 21.
Winx is scheduled to make her next start in the Group I Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racecourse, also in Melbourne, on Oct. 28. If Winx gets the job done on Oct. 28, she will become only the second three-time Cox Plate winner. The legendary Kingston Town is the only horse to date who has won the Cox Plate three times.
Black Caviar is the only horse to have put together a longer winning streak in the history of Australian racing. Black Caviar, who retired undefeated, won 25 straight.
Though Winx does not sport a spotless record, having lost six times, it has been a very long time since she’s tasted defeat. Winx has not lost since she finished second, 2 1/2 lengths behind Gust Of Wind, in the Group I Australian Oaks at about 1 1/2 miles at Randwick on April 11, 2015.
Zenyatta, of course, won 19 straight races in this country before she finished second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2010, the lone loss in her illustrious 20-race career. Blame edged Zenyatta by a head in that 2010 BC Classic at Churchill Downs.
A long winning streak is not the only thing Winx and Zenyatta have in common. Street Cry sired both Winx and Zenyatta, a magnificent achievement by that stallion.
Winx has raced exclusively in Australia thus far. That was not the case with Black Caviar, who ventured to England to win the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012. Trainer Chris Waller has indicated a trip to England next year could be in the cards for Winx.
Not only is Winx slated to continue racing next year, so is Euro superstar Enable, winner of the Group I Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France on Oct. 1. The BloodHorse’s Julian Muscat put it well when he wrote that Juddmonte Farms’ Enable “crushed the best horses in Europe with breathtaking authority” in the Arc.
In a statement recently issued by Juddmonte: “Prince Khalid bin Abdullah is pleased to announce that Enable will stay in training for 2018. Her racing program will be decided in the new year, but defense of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will be high in consideration.”
Do we dare dream of seeing Enable and Winx clash in England sometime next year? Were that to occur, it would be super special, featuring a fantastic match within a race.
In terms of the Arc, trainer John Gosden is especially looking forward to the prospect of running Enable in it again next year because of its return to Longchamp. The prestigious event has been run at Chantilly in 2016 and 2017 due to Longchamp being renovated.
It will be interesting to see if Winx eventually can equal Black Caviar’s 25-race winning streak. There is no question that Black Caviar’s 25 victories in a row was a tremendous accomplishment, but bear in mind it does not come close to the longest winning streak in the history of Thoroughbred racing. This particular record is held by Camarero, who won 56 straight in Puerto Rico from April 1953 to August 1955.
Camarero, who became Puerto Rico’s first Triple Crown winner in 1954, was victorious in 73 of 76 career starts. He died on Aug. 27, 1956, from complications caused by peritonitis. Camarero’s popularity was such that an estimated 10,000 people attended his funeral.
In 1976, El Comandante racetrack in Puerto Rico was renamed El Nuevo Comandante. And then it became Hipodromo Camarero in 2007.
Speaking of Hipodromo Camarero, it recently sustained severe damage as a result of Hurricane Maria. That was the strongest hurricane (a Category 4) to make landfall in Puerto Rico since 1928. According to Jose A. Maymo Azize, a track administrator, the grandstand was destroyed. The barns also were badly damaged. Three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 86% of Puerto Rico still is without power.
At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke of what the people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are going through because of the devastation from Hurricane Maria.
“The road to recovery is long,” she said, “and there is so much to work left to do. But the resilience of the people of the Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands continues to inspire us all.”
Kincsem did not win as many races in a row as Camarero. But Kincsem did come close, reeling off 54 straight wins during a career in which she was never defeated. The extremely talented and quirky Hungarian-bred mare owns the record for the most consecutive victories by a female Thoroughbred.
Foaled in 1874, Kincsem (which means “My Treasure” in the Hungarian language) raced in eight different countries (Hungary, Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania).
On June 26, 1876, Kincsem made her career debut in Germany, winning a race in Berlin by 12 lengths. She posted 10 victories as a 2-year-old, 17 as a 3-year-old, 15 as a 4-year-old and 12 as a 5-year-old. Exhibiting incredible versatility, she won at distances ranging from a half-mile to 2 5/8 miles.
In Kincsem’s only start in England, she won the Goodwood Cup by three lengths. That is considered to be her most significant win.
Kincsem died on her 13th birthday, March 17, 1887.
Mary Simon, a multiple Eclipse Award-winning writer, wrote the following about Kincsem in The Thoroughbred Times in 1996:
“If even a fraction of the tales told of Kincsem were true, this Hungarian-bred mare would have been a most unique individual. Allegedly the product of a breeding error (her dam was wooed by the wrong stallion), she was such a homely yearling that her breeder was stuck with her -- at which point some local gypsies stole the filly and danced wildly about before she was recaptured. That part of the story may seem improbable, but it was too good to let go of, and has long since become part of the Kincsem legend.
“Other stories: The idiosyncratic mare had a passion for train travel, but refused to budge without her personal cat on her back. At post, she would graze on anything in sight, but at the barn she would eat only home-grown feed. After each race, she insisted that flowers be affixed to her bridle before she could be unsaddled.”
MORE ABOUT BOLT D’ORO’S BEYER FIGURE
It is interesting, I think, that Bolt d’Oro was assigned a TimeformUS Speed Figure of 125 for his win in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 30. According to TimeFormUS Speed Figures, Bolt d’Oro’s 125 was a bit higher than Paradise Woods’ 122 for her win that same day at Santa Anita in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes.
I believe those TimeformUS Speed Figures are more in line with what the Beyer Speed Figures should have been for Bolt d’Oro and Paradise Woods in those two races.
Bolt d’Oro was assigned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his FrontRunner victory. His final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.54. Many, including yours truly, felt his Beyer Speed Figure should have been higher than 100 because he had run faster than Paradise Woods at the same distance and on the same track during the same afternoon. Paradise Woods was assigned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
Andy Beyer is the father of the Beyer Speed Figures. He is the individual who makes the Beyer Speed Figures for races at Santa Anita. Two days after the FrontRunner on Steve Byk’s radio show “At the Races,” Beyer said “if we had taken the day’s data at face value, Bolt d’Oro would have run a figure of 113.” But Beyer arbitrarily lowered it to 100.
I made the case last week that I thought Beyer went too far by subjectively lowering Bolt d’Oro’s speed figure by so much. I thought a 107 or a 106 would have been better for Bolt d’Oro’s Front Runner. A 107 or 106 would give him a higher figure than Paradise Woods, which I think Bolt d’Oro deserves in light of his final time of 1:43.54, which was quite a bit faster than Paradise Woods’ 1:44.34 clocking.
A figure of 107 or 106 for Bolt d’Oro would seem reasonable to me in that it would be lower than the raw Beyer Speed Figure of 113, but higher than the figure of 100 that Beyer elected to give him. A 107 or 106 for Bolt d’Oro vis-a-vis the 105 for Paradise Woods would be quite similar to what TimeFormUS did in assigning Bolt d’Oro a 125 on their scale, a bit higher than Paradise Woods’ 122.
In case you missed it in my Xpressbet.com column last week, Beyer explained on Byk’s radio show why he lowered Bolt d’Oro’s figure from 113 to 100.
“When we look at a race and try to judge what figure a race should have earned, we’re not just looking at the winner or the par of the race,” Beyer said. “We’re looking at all of the horses and how they finished. And in the case of the Bolt d’Oro’s race, had we taken the day’s data at face value, he would have run a figure of 113, which would have equaled the best 2-year-old figure of the last 25 years (War Pass’ Beyer Speed Figure when he won the 2007 BC Juvenile on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park). Could he have done it? I guess so. I mean, he’s unbeaten, he’s well-bred -- we don’t know what his capabilities are.
“But there are other horses in the field, too. And if he ran a 113, the horses who were behind him by 7 1/2 or 10 lengths ran big numbers, too…If we give Bolt d’Oro the big number , Take the One O One, who had run two figures of 70 on the dirt, gets a figure of 96 and is the third-fastest 2-year-old in America. I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it for a minute that that could have happened. And you would have the second-place horse, Solomini, who’s a good young prospect, improving his best previous figure by 16 points, and the fourth horse, Ayacara, improving his best previous figure by 18 points.”
Beyer said in all the races he has watched in his lifetime, he can’t remember a case in which each horse in the field improves their best figure by 20 points or so.
“Somehow -- I don’t know what the cause was -- but this race, I believe, was an aberration,” Beyer said of the FrontRunner. “To give the race a 113 and to say suddenly Take the One O One is one of America’s best young racehorses, I can’t do it.”
UPDATED WYNN BC CLASSIC ODDS
Gun Runner remains a strong favorite in the latest odds at the Wynn Race Book to win the BC Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4. These are the Wynn odds of Oct. 9:
6-5 Gun Runner
7-1 West Coast
12-1 Keen Ice
25-1 Shaman Ghost
35-1 War Decree
45-1 Good Samaritan
60-1 Breaking Lucky
Gun Runner worked five furlongs Monday in 1:01.60 at Santa Anita for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Arrogate worked five furlongs Tuesday in 1:00.20 at Santa Anita for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reports that, according to Baffert, it will be Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith who rides Arrogate in the upcoming BC Classic. Arrogate and Smith collaborated to win the 2016 BC Classic at Santa Anita by a half-length over California Chrome.
The Wynn odds for Arrogate to win the 2017 BC Classic now are up to 3-1 after he was 5-2 last week.
Privman also reported that, according to Baffert, another Hall of Famer, Javier Castellano, will ride West Coast in the BC Classic. West Coast won this year’s Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga and Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
Baffert might have as many as four starters in this year’s BC Classic. In addition to Arrogate and West Coast, Baffert could be represented by Collected (winner of this year’s Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar by a half-length over Arrogate) and Mubtaahij (winner of the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 30). Baffert said Martin Garcia would ride Collected and Drayden Van Dyke would be on Mubtaahij in the BC Classic.
Gun Runner not only still is the BC Classic favorite at the Wynn, he retains the top position this week in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Here is this week’s ranking of America’s leading Thoroughbreds in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:
Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)
1. 324 Gun Runner (28)
2. 281 Arrogate (4)
3. 205 Collected
4. 179 Stellar Wind
5. 175 Lady Eli
6. 172 West Coast (1)
7. 85 Beach Patrol
8. 69 Drefong
9. 66 Mor Spirit
9. 50 World Approval
Also receiving votes: Forever Unbridled (48), Lady Aurelia (37), Elate (32), Songbird (28), Abel Tasman (19), Vale Dori (11), Practical Joke (9), Keen Ice (8), Sharp Azteca (7), Bolt d’Oro (6), Takaful (5), Mind Your Biscuits (4), Unique Bella (3), Shaman Ghost (3), Mubtaahij (2), Paradise Woods (2), Oscar Performance (2).