The Hirsch Turf Classic (BC) (Grade 1)- $500.000 Purse
BEL- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
September 30, 2017
I may be in a strong minority here. After all, after the Hirsch Turf Classic was complete, there was some discussion in the forum about how the race was run. None of that had to do with our race winner, Sean Hannity. The Maxmillion Farm entry ran a tactically brilliant race and provided yet another reason why Maxmillion may be the top turf trainer in the game, at least right now. The criticism was pointed at another trainer, that being Mb Stables, for the way that Chrystal Pip, who won this race last year, jumped out to the huge lead. I loved it. The reason has nothing to do with the trainer, and everything to do with being able to enjoy a race that simply looked different. When you cover so many of these virtual races on the same virtual race engine, you can have the feeling of seeing the same thing, over and over. Not this race, and there was nothing unrealistic about it. The field was spread out (and I thought we wanted spread out fields here) as a trainer clearly sent out a rabbit to help another one of his entries win. The result of this race is why I don’t buy in to the “rabbits are bad” or “one trainer can manipulate a race with multiple entries” line of thought. Rabbits can stink when they throw your horse off, I get it, but rabbits are part of horse racing in my opinion. Mb Stables, after all, is not the one in the winners circle after this race. Therefore the rabbit “strategy” is not a foolproof strategy. Sean Hannity ran the race for Maxmillion the way the trainer wanted him too. Whether or not Maxmillion made any additional adjustment to his horse’s tactics is something only he needs to know, but this result proves that a strategy that might be employed for one stable’s horse may benefit another horse in the field a lot more. It’ll be a sad day if the game ever decides to limit stakes to “one entry per trainer”, because of the illusion that a trainer can manipulate results that end up in their victories.
That’s enough of the commentary. I apologize to those who didn’t want to read all of that, and perhaps it was inspired by seeing the name of the horse that did win this race. Rabbits or no rabbits, Sean Hannity was the best today. The win will send him to the BC Turf, should the trainer go that route (I always must add that disclaimer even if obvious). Congratulations to Maxmillion Farm who wins the race for the first time, as does jockey E Maldonado. The time of the victory was 2:24.46, the second fastest running of the stake in its history. Let’s take a look!
(½ Mile- :46.49)- Last year’s winner, Chrystal Pip, is shot of a cannon right from the get-go by Mb Stables. No, this isn’t how he won the race last year, and pretty much anyone who sees this knows why its happening. By the time he hits the start/finish line the first time, he has already jumped out to a three length lead. That would increase to five by the time they began running into the turn. The field was becoming spread out in a way that is quite rare our game now. Running second here is Clockwork Chai, from Mb Stables as well. And I wonder if this is really where the trainer wanted him right here. He was back by five, but still three and a half ahead of the next closest challenger. Perhaps it would have been better for him to have been back with the third place Mean Street (Nakamura Stables) instead of holding this gap. If you’re not concerned about the frontrunner, then The Force Awakens (Diablo Diablo) is a good spot early on in 4th, with Drabfantasy’s Romantic Pirate right there with them. Go back another length to see the two Maxmillion Farm entries, trailing by ten total. Speeding Zeus and Sean Hannity are side by side at this point. Playboy (D J C Racing Stables) is next along the rail. The final four were off the viewer, with Bring The Pain (Mb Stables) ahead of Sabre For Kathology (Oval Express Farms), Raj Action Packed (Night Rider Stables), and Taniwha (Yahudi Stables).
(Six Furlongs- 1:09.95)- Chrystal Pip is still pouring it on up in front, and Clockwork Chai maintains his five length gap to the leader, and running three lengths ahead of the new third place horse, The Force Awakens. Sean Hannity becomes a bit of a mover at this point, cutting about a length and a half from the lead, as E Maldonado is sure not to let the leader get too far away. If he was not concerned with Chrystal Pip, you still needed to be concerned with Clockwork Chai. Now, Sean Hannity would only be four lengths behind that one. Elsewhere, there was not much movement, but a new gap opened up between Playboy and Raj Action Packed.
(Top OF Stretch, 2F To Go)- Chrystal Pip is still out on the lead doing what he was sent out to do, but it was starting to tire him out. Over the course of the backstretch run, and at the top of the turn, there were a few that started showing their intentions to move forward soon then the others, and Sean Hannity was one of them. More importantly then catching Chrystal Pip was that he was gaining on Clockwork Chai, the one that E Maldonado knew would be the stronger rival. As they approached the top of the stretch, he was even with Clockwork Chai for second, and only about two and a half from the leg-weary Chrystal Pip. Clockwork Chai still was running well, but Sean Hannity had all the momentum. Mean Street was fourth, and coming on strong from way back was Bring The Pain, clearly as designed by the trainer. The Force Awakens and Romantic Pirate were coming up flat, and Speeding Zeus lacked run as both Playboy and Taniwha were coming on real strong. Taniwha, once 18 lengths back, has cut that in half to the leader, but still had seven lengths to make up on Sean Hannity. Others would be non factors.
(Finish- 2:24.46)- With a little more then a furlong to go, Sean Hannity took over the lead and never looked back. While we knew he would get by Chrystal Pip, it was impressive with the way that he easily put away Clockwork Chai. Coming on strong to be second was Bring The Pain, with Clockwork Chai being third. Playboy ran real well in the stretch to get up for fourth while Taniwha was full of run and rapidly cut into the lead, but only to finish with a frustrating fifth. Unfortunately for the trainer, he may have had to alter his path in the stretch somewhat to avoid Chrystal Pip falling into him. Romantic Pirate, who finished 8th, had to make a considerable lane alteration as well due to the rabbit dropping out of it. Mean Street and Speeding Zeus were 6th and 7th. Chrystal Pip didn’t fall all the way back, and is 9th, as Raj Action Packed and The Force Awakens were disappointments. Sabre For Kathology was astoundingly sluggish.
About The Winner: Sean Hannity, trained by Maxmillion Farm and ridden by E Maldonado, is a three year old colt by Bred For Success, and out of Cerena. He was bred in California by Kingelleinc as a first quarter two year old. He was acquired by Maxmillion Farm from the breeder in the December 2016 auction for $12.420. Congratulations to the connections! The win was his third in 12 starts, and his first stake win of any variety. His career earnings now sit at $565.460.
Time: :462 1:094 1:591 2:242
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 10 – 11 Paid 285.00
$1 Trifecta: 10 – 11 – 12 Paid 890.80
Scratched: Lets Do It Big Boy
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES