AP Million – Grade I [BC]
1 1/4 Mile Turf Stake Purse $1,000.000 Open 3 Year Olds And Up.
There seemed to be a trend to the racing at AP today and it followed through the day and into the AP Million. The wet track race engine seemed to bust a couple out of the gate for clear leads and then allow everything to catch up through the last half mile. So the key to winning was two fold, firstly not to set your horse on an instruction that the wet track race engine can’t work with and secondly to have a horse that needed a test of stamina. I may be wrong but i think the instructions that tend to fail on a wet track are pace instructions which don’t seem to recognize the conditions and try and run to the dry track pace and the wide gate speed push which of course is hard to control.
So the day went on with plenty of disappointments and success stories but come the AP Million the weather, the race engine and a strong turf bias from both horse and jockey conspired to bring about a result that was not only thrilling to watch but great for the game.
Here is how the race went, pretty much the same as the previous races with different names, but what we saw here was a resurgence of a hero ni matter what the reasons.
1st Dead Madness John Henry Tunon M
The last time this horse went back in a race was around this time last year when a rabbit made the JC Derby look ridiculous, that day he thundered home for third after being a half furlong behind in the first half mile. Today with rabbits removed it was left down to the race engine to set a fast pace in the wet and once again the horse that won the BC Turf by leading all the way last year turned into a closer putting doubt once more that a horse has a preferred running style as opposed to a preferred running pace.
So settling back he was one of the first to go forward and that was key to his success and he struck the front and then used his huge heart and all his class to hold of all the other closer’s. This was his first win of the year and his first since that marvelous BC win in 2019 and what a race to do it in.
This four year old gelding in repeating his success of last year moved past the 5K in winnings and writes his name among the greats of the game. The other wonderful story about this horse is where he came from. Bred by Mb Stables he was bought for just ten dollars at auction before he had run a race, sadly at that point he had already been gelded. After three races with the horse trader Tacaro Farm he was sold for just $40. His first public work saw a near 1.01H at the free track and his first win came in a LAD maiden giving us all hope that somewhere out there the next Dead Madness is lurking working average times and hanging out at the cheap tracks to be snapped up by a lucky owner.
Congrats to John Henry who has stuck with this horse through thick and thin and good luck to this four year old in the BC.
2nd Immoral Mb Stables Velazquez J R
With the three year old weight allowance it was going to take either a very special older horse to beat him or a range of circumstances. In the end i want to go with the great horse angle because this horse had a few things in his favor and still couldn’t beat the older champ.
In the BEL Derby which was very similar to this race for the same reasons the pace was fast for the wet track. Immoral went way back and flew home for a win which sent him off as favorite for this race. With the track wet again and the perfect draw it looked like it was going to be a repeat performance but whilst last time everything stopped in front of him from an even faster pace this time there was a BC winner in front of him that wasn’t stopping.
To his credit he tried very hard and kept taking inches off the winner but never quite looked like getting to him down the stretch.
One of the other factors to this defeat may be the defection of Tunon to Dead Madness. This jockey seems to be the new Turf king this year and was on board for this ones great BEL Derby win last time. This time ridden by Velazquez jnr who has a strong dirt preference maybe that could have been the difference and it is certainly something which Mb will have to look at because Tunon will probably opt for Dead Madness again in the BC.
It will be a great rematch in November.
3rd Workload Mb Stables Beschizza A
I didn’t see this one so close in the run up to the race but his speed figures suggested he was better than his form and he took up the right position in the race to give him a chance. Running on strongly for third he was just a length behind and if he hasn’t stopped his recent improvement may still be a threat come November.
4th Xmas Snow Maxmillion Farm Gutierrez Mario
This was probably a better run that it looked as i think this one was the only one in the top four that really hated the going. He was close enough as they entered the stretch but just ran on at the one pace in the final quarter and may have been struggling on the wet track. This run wont hurt his chance in a dry BC.