The highlight of this past weekend’s virtual horse racing action from Equination.net was the Hershey Kiss Classic (G2), run over a mile and a quarter on the dirt for six year olds and over. A competitive looking field of seventeen went to post and although it was probably true to say that some of these veterans are on the downgrade, it was going to take a decent one to win here.
The fact that their best performances were already behind them was reflected in the ratings on display here. A number of these had posted some staggering ratings in the past but on the whole, more recent efforts had been some way below these. Still, even beyond their prime, these grand old servants were capable of high quality performances and nothing less than a top drawer effort would be sufficient to scoop this $500,000 purse.
The top HRR of all belonged to Shot A Lady. The Silver Platter Stakes winner had posted an awesome 131.8 in the past but a respectable 120.5 was the best shown in recent race history. A lacklustre recent workout also suggested he might have too much on his plate to go with the best of these. One who was still showing plenty of sparkle on the gallops of late was March Farm’s Mustard Is Golden. She posted a rating of 108 on her latest spin and this was the most encouraging recent workout of any of the competitors here.
With few of the runners producing their best level of form recently, it was the workout ratings which ultimately held the key to which of the participants retained the most ability in the twilight of their racing careers. Habitual, who had achieved an HRR of 127 as far back as February had been demonstrating his well-being on the farm lately and notched up a rating of 106.3 in a half mile breeze just a week previous. Another who had continued to set the gallops alight was Equination.net Derby third, Backtalk. He achieved a rating of 104.5, also over a half mile one week before the race.
Backtalk looked positively spring-heeled as he left the gates and was able to dominate this race from the off. In a well judged ride, he set a perfect pace bowling along in front as is his customary style. When most of the competition had been burned off he retained enough in the locker to enable the colt to quicken again and draw clear in the final furlong. Best of the remainder was Mustard Is Golden who followed him home at a respectful two and a half length margin. Habitual stayed on grimly but was denied second by a nose.
Image: Rogerbarker2 on Flickr.