Often, handicapping two-year-old races — even two-year-old stakes races — come down to esoteric factors like breeding, workouts and trainer stats. But every once in a while, the numbers — the speed and pace figures that I’ve come to rely on — bludgeon one over the head like a chair at a pro wrestling match.
Such was the case with Uncle Mo.
In his career debut, the son of Indian Charlie received a 102 Beyer speed figure and, more importantly, recorded a -3 late speed ration (LSR), which is ridiculously good for a juvenile — even more so considering that Mo earned it in a sprint race. Not surprisingly, at least to me, the Todd Pletcher trainee went straight from that race to the Grade I Champagne Stakes — and won that race convincingly as well.
(For an explanation of speed rations, please click HERE.)
He closed out 2010 with another victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and an Eclipse Award as American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse.
I was also drooling after the debut of Royal Delta.
Although her Beyer speed figure was nowhere near as good as Uncle Mo’s — just an 87 — her pace figures were outstanding. In a race that featured a decent pace, Royal Delta earned a +1 LSR in her lifetime bow. Once again, this is an outstanding number for a two-year-old.
As the chart below illustrates, the average winning LSR in juvenile routes on the dirt is a -7.7, meaning Royal Delta ran approximately nine lengths faster than average. By comparison, Uncle Mo earned an LSR about six lengths faster than average (-3 vs. -9.3).
After the worst finish in her career in the race that followed her debut (I won’t say how much money she cost me that day — it still hurts), Royal Delta went on to triumph in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and the Alabama Stakes (G1), before closing out her sophomore campaign with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (Distaff) and the title of American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
Royal Delta was also named Champion Older Dirt Female in 2012 and 2013.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Well, it’s because another two-year-old — one running on Friday in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) — recently wowed me.
On Sept. 16, in a six-furlong maiden race at Churchill Downs over the main track, Princess Warrior recorded an eye-opening -3 LSR, while drawing out to a 1 ½-length win over the 9-5 favorite Mia Mischief, who was 5 ½ lengths clear of the third-place finisher, Miss Katie Bug.
Her breeding is suspect — dam was winless and two siblings are a combined 1-for-16, according to DRF Formulator — but that speed ration… well, suffice it to say that if the Ken McPeek trainee is anywhere near her 4-1 morning line odds, I might make that Royal Delta bet look like chump change.
Note: Since 1997, the Alciabiades has produced FIVE Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winners from 55 entries. A $10 bet on all the entries would have returned a profit of $1,638.