Chad Brown dominated Keeneland, an Oklahoma legend retires, and we see a thrilling finish at Santa Anita. After an exciting weekend of racing from coast to coast, I take stock of what I got right, what I got wrong, and some lessons learned. The weekend produced a dominating performance from Chad Brown’s Shantisara at Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, but that wasn’t it for Brown who also claimed second in the same race with Technical Analysis (my pick to win). While the yielding turf surface at Keeneland played a roll, Shantisara proved to be much the best. Chad Brown’s barn, after a bumpy start at Saratoga a few months ago, is cruising along to its winning ways ahead of November’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.
Out in California, I got back on my winning ways as Warren’s Showtime put on a thrilling display at the California Distaff Handicap where she wove through horses and put an incredible final burst to beat out Sedamar and Anna Fantastic by a neck. The win continued to cement Warren Showtime’s legacy at Santa Anita and she’s now finished in the top 3 all 12 times she’s raced there and won 6 of her 12 career races on the Santa Anita turf. Anna Fantastic, who was my long-shot pick to hit the board, did just that as she took advantage of a lack of early speed and led most of the race before giving way at the end. However, her performance showed that she belongs among the favorites in this division on the west coast.
This weekend, a legend retired—Welder. Welder, the three-time Oklahoma Horse of the Year, finally ran his final race in the Oklahoma Classic Sprint and finished third to up-and-coming rival Shannon C. Welder was a great racehorse who collected over $1.2 million in winnings and was an icon at Remington Park where he once won 11 consecutive stakes races, including four in one meet alone. Most people don’t know the name Welder, but he’s a reminder of all of the local legends that exist in horse racings. Perhaps he was never good enough to compete at the highest level, but he dominated the division he was in within the state. Every track has a few horses like Welder, so when you head out to your local track, don’t just get focused on the big names shipping in from New York, California, or Kentucky, but the local horses who win the undercard races time and time again. Happy retirement to Welder. May your pastures be green and lush, and your hay and peppermints be never-ending.