Thursday, October 28, 2010

Banshee Indian, barely, is 35th winner

After running further than any other filly in the field, Banshee Indian won the first race at Woodbine on Thursday by the narrowest of reported margins, a nose.

Banshee Indian, sent off as the second-favorite at about 2/1, broke last of all in the group of $25,000 maiden-claimers. But she was fifth within four lengths of long-shot leader Break Every Rule (23/1) after the first quarter, run in 23.58. Emile Ramsammy and Banshee Indian eventually picked their way to the front and were briefly clear in the stretch, but had to dig down to repel a late challenge by Crown Land, prevailing by a nose at the wire.

Banshee Indian won the six-furlong race over Polytrack in 1:11.72, and from reading the Equibase chart, one would think she had a decent enough trip, whereas Crown Land might have lost ground going wide and still nearly got up for the victory. Banshee Indian's trip is described as a "middle move" that was only three-wide on the turn; a filly that was "clear, then full out to stave off outside foe." Meanwhile, Crown Land was "inside into the turn and in mid field, angled out to bid wide in the drive, came on strong but missed."

Which is probably an accurate picture to the human eye of how that race went down. But the Trakus chart at Woodbine's Web site tells us so very much more.

When all was said and done, the Trakus system -- which uses wireless technology to monitor the position of each horse during the race and record their path from gate to wire and is in use at some other tracks, including Keeneland -- reports that Banshee Indian ran more than three lengths further than did Crown Land, yet managed to win anyway.

Trakus calculates that Ramsammy and Banshee Indian covered 4,019 feet from start to finish as they moved through the field. Banshee Indian, breaking from the sixth gate, reached a peak speed of 43.6 mph during the race and hit the wire in 1:11.63. Crown Land broke from the 1-hole, and despite angling out under jockey Omar Moreno to make her move on the turn, ran 3,994 feet -- 25 fewer than Banshee Indian, or 3 1/4 lengths -- clocking a peak speed of 42.3 mph and hitting the wire in 1:11.65.

An intriguing picture of how two horses took very different paths from gate to wire, yet arrived only two-hundredths of a second apart.

The winner is campaigned by Kelynack Racing Stable Inc. and was trained for her win by Ricky Griffith. She paid $6.10, $3.20 and $2.70 by breaking her maiden in her fifth career start, after finishing second last-out at MCL $20K and being a beaten favorite going two turns a couple of starts back for a $32,000 tag. All of her races have been at Woodbine.

With the victory, Banshee Indian becomes the 35th maiden-breaker from my juvenile sales-tip Class of 2010 -- 187 horses catalogued in selected 2-year-old sales this year that I endorsed on this blog as racing prospects worth purchasing.

I recommended the daughter of Indian Ocean-Feature Film, by Forest Wildcat, when she was catalogued as Hip 1035 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training, where Griffith bought her for $37,000.

I cautioned that keeping this filly sound might be a challenge based on her parents' race-records, or lack thereof. Her sire raced only five times, though he won a G3 race in that short span. Her dam was unraced.

"But there are two things here that I like," I wrote in recommending her before she sold. "First, the breeze, in which she reminded me of a line from the movie 'Seabiscuit' -- she looked 'fast, in every direction,' going a bit wide on the turn and veering briefly toward the rail deep in the stretch, and still posted a scurrying 21.1. If you can get her under wraps, she has a lot of room to move forward.

"Second, her granddam Cinemine (by Mining) was reasonably sound (12 wins in 26 starts) and undeniably fast, G3 winner of $506K and two track records at Lone Star; 5.5f in 1:02 4/5 and 6f in 1:08 2/5."

Banshee Indian's dam is also half to a 32-race, thrice-stakes-placed Tiznow colt named Outrageous Limit. On the other hand, colts by Vindication and Mineshaft both raced only briefly, and poorly. So the family can be hit-and-miss.

Handsome sire Indian Ocean's first crop sent 50 percent of their number to the track before age 3, and 18 percent of all his first-crop foals were winners at 2 last year. Not bad; enough not to dismiss his daughter out of hand. This year, Indian Ocean has eight more 2-year-old winners out of 23 to start (and 71 total juveniles), a number that includes a very promising filly in G1-placed Indian Gracey.

Of note to pedigree nerds (like me), Indian Ocean's third dam, Oceana, was a full sister to his (and Feature Film's) tail-male great-grandsire, Storm Bird. The resulting inbreeding is extensive 3x3 to Storm Cat, effectively 4x4x4 to Storm Bird and his full sister, 5x5x5 Northern Dancer, 5x5x5 to South Ocean, and 5x4 to Mr. Prospector.

I wrote in recommending Banshee Indian: "I think this Florida-bred girl might be cheap despite her speedy breeze and we're gonna try and get her to run in a straight line (except on the turns) and take good care of her legs. Maybe the grass?"

She wasn't dirt-cheap. But getting a 21.1-breezer for $37,000 isn't exactly breaking the bank, either. And she's now a winner who has earned $23,496 toward paying-off her purchase and covering her ongoing costs.

Following Thursday's action, and Banshee Indian's win, as noted above the 187-member sales-tip Class of 2010 has 35 winners -- 18.7 percent of all selections and exactly 35 percent of the 100 now to race. They have won 47 of 293 starts (16 percent), placed 58 times (35.8 percent in the exacta) and finished third another 28 (45.4 percent on the board).

With Banshee Indian's $15,106 paycheck Wednesday, the class has crested $2 million in combined earnings. Their $2,007,625 amounts to $20,076 per runner and $6,852 per start.

Follow the class and its performance here.

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