If you don’t see yourself betting on an American in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but aren’t yet ready to hand the race to the sophomore filly Alpha Centauri, might I suggest spending a few moments and familiarizing yourself with a 7yo by the name of Lightning Spear?
Some background. He made one start at age 2. One start at age 3. And after his first two starts at age 4 had amassed an undefeated record. But since then, wins have been hard to come by. He tallied one win each year in 2016 and 2017 (ages 5 and 6), and both came at the Group 2 level at Goodwood. But just this month, again at Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes, he landed the Group 1 victory that had eluded him in his previous 15 (yes, 15) attempts. And in the process, he won himself a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and a possible date with the Niarchos family’s superfilly, Alpha Centauri.
One race does not a racehorse make. But a visual review of Lightning Spear’s races this year show he just may be hitting his best stride at a time when most horses are past their peak. And that can be said for not only his age, but his performance in races. His win in the Sussex came with a burst of speed that turned what looked like a potential photo finish into a runaway. And he did it by accelerating while between horses. It was extremely impressive. Before that, board finishes at Royal Ascot and Newbury showed he was on the improve. It’s been a really good year for Lightning Spear. And maybe this old man can show Little Miss Favorite a thing or two come November.