Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bad - But Perhaps Less Than at First Blush

Tabby Lane (Even the Score-Keeley Chay-Rodeo) was a disappointing and frustrating eighth yesterday at Tampa Bay Downs in the rock bottom $5000 claiming level. While it all seems terrible on the surface there is actually a positive takeaway from it. We wanted Tabby to get involved early and she did, running fifth for a bit before fading. The downside to that? She was breaking from post position eleven.

We had two choices coming from the far outside in the one turn seven furlong race: fall back and try and close or break quickly and try to get to the rail. Tabby’s issue has been a lack of willingness to get into the mix early. If jockey Dean Butler took her back we’d only be reinforcing that negative behavior. Not something we wanted to do. There was a dearth of early speed in the race so there was the chance that if she broke well enough and got involved she could drop nearer the rail. Unfortunately, while she broke well and got involved early, several horses inside of her did the same thing. While Dean was able to angle her inside a little bit, there was no getting her any closer to than about 5 paths wide, which is as close as she got the entire way around.

I’m not thrilled with the result, but I’m happy that she got out better than she has in her other two starts since the layoff. Given the choice of dropping her back once Dean realized he couldn’t get closer to the rail or going on with her and getting what he could, I’m glad he went on with her. It was behavior we wanted to break her from but the draw did us no favors. Hopefully it will pay dividends next out.

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