Kettle Corn (outside, purple and gold) overhauled Paynter (blue and yellow, middle) and Batti Man (inside) to win the San Diego Handicap on Saturday at Del Mar. (Image courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
There was plenty of discussion around the stakes return of Paynter, winner of last year’s Haskell Invitational, after a dazzling comebacker in an allowance race at Betfair Hollywood Park. In last Saturday’s San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, Paynter carried top weight and could only manage second to Kettle Corn. Racing two wide on both turns, the Awesome Again colt tracked longshot Batti Man throughout while Kettle Corn saved ground off the pace.
Paynter covered 27 feet more than Kettle Corn, which equates to roughly three lengths of extra ground.
Was Paynter three lengths better than Kettle Corn?
Paynter has a dedicated legion of fans after his monumental return from ill health, and while some might want to believe the extra ground covered was the cause for defeat, these types of questions are always impossible to answer with certainty. Kettle Corn carried 118 pounds compared with Paynter’s 122, a not insignificant spread given a half-length margin of defeat. Paynter ran in touch of the opening quarter that was officially clocked in 23.41 seconds, while Trakus recorded Kettle Corn’s opening split in 24.56 seconds, some nine lengths off the leader. Basically, Paynter just had to work harder than Kettle Corn throughout the race.
At the finish line, Paynter averaged 38.0 mph in running while Kettle Corn averaged 37.9 mph.
SAN DIEGO FINISH (Kettle Corn outside, Paynter middle in blue and yellow)
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Paynter likely used more energy throughout the race, requiring him to run slightly faster to maintain position, while Kettle Corn’s ground-saving and off-the-pace ride by Victor Espinoza became the winning form.
How fast is a horse who was “fastest in at least the last six seasons?”
Pontchatrain went to the front in Sunday’s seventh race at Del Mar (for 3-year-old fillies) and never looked back, winning by 3 ¼ lengths as the second betting choice in a field of ten going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Julien Leparoux set a fairly pedestrian pace for the firm going, getting the half-mile in 48.18 seconds and quickened away from rivals en route to the handsome score.
Favored in this allowance test was Class Racing Stable’s Blingismything, an Arch filly who was making her third lifetime start for trainer Eric Kruljac. Settled well off the pace under Rafael Bejarano, Blingismything was last with five-sixteenths of a mile to run and commenced a rally between horses. Almost nine lengths last at that point, Blingismything finished with aplomb, checking-in just more than three lengths behind Pontchatrain.
Trakus recorded Blingismything’s final two furlongs in 22.52 seconds, and final eighth in 11.13 seconds. Both splits were the fastest for the meet this year out of 110 horses to compete and finish in races at this distance. Intrigued by this display of speed from the progressive youngster, we looked a bit deeper at previous seasons and found that Blingismything’s last furlong and two-furlong splits were the quickest recorded since at least 2008. Roughly 1,300 horses have met the starter at the 1 1/16-mile distance on grass at Del Mar over that period, and this filly’s flight from last was the quickest our database located.
Coincidentally, this is the second consecutive week a horse owned by Class Racing Stable was featured in our blog.