4 Horses I Am Excited to See in 2015

Here are four horses (two thoroughbreds and two harness) I am really excited to watch in 2015.

Tonalist - How many horses can win at 12 furlongs from behind and get in a duel to Bayern at 10 furlongs in fast splits the Travers and still almost win? How many 3YO's are seasoned enough to stick handle around a half dozen horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, just miss a spill, and win going away? How many horses look as sound as this one does approaching a four year old year? How many horses are trained by connections that can likely keep him that way by not overreaching? How many horses can fire home like he did, off a no-chance trip he had on the speed-favoring Santa Anita strip on Saturday against good horses like that? He's not a closer, or a speed horse or a stalker, he's not one paced or needs a specific distance between 9 and 12 furlongs. He seems like a horse who is getting better. I am excited to see how he develops in 2015.

Always B Miki - There have been a few three year old colt pacers that have made us say "wow" over the years, but not since 2008, when Somebeachsomewhere took the sport by storm, winning 20 of 21 races and setting four world records and a half a dozen track records in the process. But, boy, this guy makes you say wow. In the Meadowlands Pace he went one of the toughest trips in harness racing history - three high the whole way around, and four and five high at the top of the stretch and still fired home in 25.3, coming just a stupid-good second. He heads to the Red Mile, gets chirped at the head of the lane and opens six in literally three blinks of an eye. This guy is still green, still gets on a line, and is still learning what racing is all about, yet he is this good. I'm excited to see if he can put it all together, keep getting better, and finds his feet in 2015.

Bobby's Kitten - From his first couple of races as a two year old he made some noise. You knew he had wicked speed, but he was high-strung, could not settle, and didn't seem to know what he was out there to do. That, unfortunately carried on through most of his three year old season, but at Woodbine last month something appeared to click. He made the lead, didn't look too settled, but raced really well, never giving it up until late, and ran a really nice TimeformUS number. Tried as a sprinter last Saturday he made one of the most exciting moves we'll ever see a horse make in that race. He flew home in under 22 seconds, in a jaw dropping performance. Maybe he'll be a sprinter, maybe he will learn to race and settle, or maybe he won't. But I am excited to see him in 2015, because you can't teach that kind of athleticism; horses are only born with it.

JK Shesalady - This freshman pacing filly has done nothing wrong in 2014, and she has been handled with kid gloves. Always settling, coming from just off it, never speed compromised; she has been allowed to learn what being a racehorse is about. She has not been beaten, never really been too close to being beaten, and she looks far ahead of the current crop of fillies. Because she has not used her early foot you are left wondering what's in that tank. But since she looks so sound and happy, and handles whatever seems to be thrown at her, you can't help but be excited by her. It'll be fun to see what happens in 2015 if she comes back sound and is stretched out.

I guess the above list is different than a lot of people's. But for me, seeing horses realize their potential, or having them season to the point where they might do something special always catches my eye. Those are four horses that I really think are in a position to do something neat next year.


ron said...

Santa Anita always has some advantage to speed, but why was tonalist a million lengths back? Texas Red, and the horse who finished 2nd in filly and mare Sprint did come from last as did Don't Tell Sophia albeit another 2nd place finish.

Pull the Pocket said...

I wasn't surprised they did that Ron, since it worked last time. But it was the reason I threw him off the ticket.

He's so versatile, imo, he should not be put in that position. He can press and do well (again imo)


Anonymous said...

here are four things i wish were enacted in '15

1)have the passing lane on the backside of all 7/8 and mile tracks--and remove the passing lane in the stretch.

reason: todays' standardbred--especially those equipped with one of those super-trainers--if given any second quarter breather---simply can't be beaten 9 times out of 10

2)staggered starting gates on all 1/2 mile and 5/8 tracks

reason: all horses should have a reasonable chance of winning any race to which they have rightfully drawn into---regardless of their starting positions. The handle is tied to this principle.

3)8-12 horses for trotting races on smaller tracks
10-15 horse for trotting races on larger tracks

reason: simply too many trotting races being carded today. A real chance to address the 'big payoff' complaint heard in just about every tele-theatre. To encourage this I suggest reducing the rakes on the exotics to 15%---prediction-->pools in excess of 40K nightly

4)assigned drivers randomly after the draw. If TT is that good, he'll find a way to win.

reason: drivers--like most of us in the private sector--are opportunists. But that has to be squared with the inherent danger of fostering a 'boys club' at the local track. Look around and you can find one at just about every harness track.

regards, benny beam


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