Super Challenge: Nunes aims at DaCosta's $2.68m lead
SATURDAY's Pick 3 Super Challenge represents Anthony Nunes' last chance to overhaul champion trainer Wayne DaCosta ahead of next week when his arch-rival will come with SHE'S A MANEATER's guns blazing at $6m in the Diamond Mile.
CORAZON, by Nunes' admission, her performances and breeding, should stay the seven furlongs of the Pick-3 Super Challenge. Sheer class, shown in two starts, especially her last, makes the Blue Pepsi Lodge-My Heartbeat offspring the automatic choice to grab the $1.96m winner's purse.
Sitting $2.689m behind DaCosta, Nunes also has JUICE MAN, a cousin of CORAZON, who has excited at exercise, putting down a fast 1:06.1 to beat EXHILARATE at five and a half.
JUICE MAN is an improving colt, who showed his worth with the visor removed and lasix administered when impressively winning his second start, suggesting he is not to be taken lightly and could take home the runner-up purse, $655,200, closing the exacta and wiping out DaCosta's $2.6m advantage in one swoop.
Whether JUICE MAN rises to the occasion, CORAZON remains the horse to beat, having shown on her October 13 debut that she would have no problem with an additional furlong or two, chasing LADY BLUE on to the main track and pulling away for a controlled win at five furlongs straight.
Therefore, it was no surprise when she returned to literally romp the Juvenile Sprint at six and a half furlongs on Superstakes Day, again chasing LADY BLUE before going about her business to win in a decent 1:19.2.
Also declared to run on raceday-medication, lasix, which a 1990 University of Pennsylvania study has shown invariably improves horses by a little over a length, CORAZON's Juvenile stakes time can be marked up to around 1:18.2 then extrapolated to seven furlongs, resulting in a projected 1:25.2 for the Pick 3 Super Challenge.
Fancy math aside, races are decided on pace, which, on examination, again points to CORAZON, even with the addition of her speedy stablemate, JUICE MAN, along with PHENOM, who dug in determinedly to beat DUKE and EL GRINGO at five and a half on November 3.
The pace of CORAZON's Juvenile Stakes win was a cracking one, splits of 22.4 and 46.2 to the top of the lane from where she took over and went on to register 1:11.2, a final time of 1:19.2, for a four-and-a-half length win. Returning with lasix administered for insurance, CORAZON is the one.
Meanwhile, the jockeys' championship, decided on wins, not stakes, could also take a decisive turn with leader Anthony Thomas being aboard at least aboard four hot rides from his 10 mounts - RAMBUNCTIOUS LINKS, MINNIFFIA, MR UNIVERSE and DUNROBIN.
Cardenas, eight winners behind Thomas, has CORAZON and EXHILARATE as his surest shots but should not be discounted aboard down-in-class ASKABOUTME and back-to-form HELLO LADY.