for McKinzie, poetic justice

Sometimes, the only justice you find is poetic justice.

And, so it is with McKinzie.  He came into the San Felipe Stakes with an undefeated record, clouded by a great big asterisk.  After all, he didn’t cross the wire first in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) last year.  He ran on well enough inside in the stretch that day, but could not , but got bumped up after Solomini was taken down for interfering with third-place Instilled Regard.  Solomini wasn’t losing that race no matter what, and would Instilled Regard have been second and not third after Solomini bumped past?  Though he was no match for the first horse across the wire, McKinzie was going well enough that I’m not convinced he would have.  Caught in the middle of a dubious disqualification, McKinzie got lucky.

Three months and a day later, McKinzie got unlucky.

He turned for home inside Bolt d’Oro.  They bumped once.  Perhaps McKinzie went out a touch, but Bolt d’Oro perceptibly came in.  Their withers met, but it looked a product of racing in tight quarters, more than anything.  It diminished the fight of neither.  Bolt d’Oro forced his head in front; McKinzie came back.  As the field neared the wire, McKinzie did come out, pushing Bolt d’Oro out with him.  But — did it cost him a better placing?  Inconclusive, and judging from how McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro were each going late, unlikely.

A photo showed McKinzie’s nose across the wire first in the San Felipe, but the inquiry light blinked.  4-1 blinked.  And blinked, and blinked, and blinked.  Then, it became 1-4.  The blinking ceased.  McKinzie, so lucky three months back, ran out of luck this time around.

We can call Bolt d’Oro the big winner here, and Solomini the big loser.  But, as it shakes out, McKinzie is exactly where he should be: three-for-four lifetime.  Poetic justice.

Picks and Ponderings: 2015 Starlet Stakes Preview

This Saturday’s card features one of two Grade I races hosted during the December thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos: the Starlet Stakes (GI).  The race drew a contentious field of nine — and with Songbird on the shelf for a little while, there is no clear standout among the group.  The race has no shortage of live contenders, and whoever is right should get paid handsomely.

Head on over to Picks and Ponderings, and see who I like in Saturday’s Grade I Starlet Stakes!  As always, leave me a comment either there or here, and let me know what you think!

Picks and Ponderings: Starlet Stakes Preview

This Friday comes the Grade I Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos: the final top-rung race for the two-year-old fillies.  This week at Picks and Ponderings, I took a dive into the race.  The race drew a field of just seven, but a tough seven it is: it features a combination of familiar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runners, as well as other up-and-coming west coast runners.

My preview of the Starlet is not the only race Picks and Ponderings visits this week.  Paul Mazur visits Gulfstream for the Sugar Swirl Stakes (GIII), and also puts this week’s pair of juvenile stakes for Illinois-breds at Hawthorne under the microscope.  My own analysis of the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity and the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante will come later this week, as the subject of this weekend’s edition of Chicago Railbird.