Full disclosure: I bet on Carrick in Saturday’s Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. But even if I had not, I would still be immensely confused as to why Kent Desormeaux made that bold, early move for the lead down the backstretch of a 9 furlong race on grass when his mount, Carrick, was sitting in an absolutely perfect spot all by himself. Let’s take closer look.
That’s Carrick third from the left just before they leave the chute and hit the main part of the turf course. As you can see, Kent has work to do if he wants to avoid ground loss around the clubhouse turn…
That’s Carrick right in the middle of the picture. #11, green and yellow silks. Nothing to his inside as they go under the wire the first time. Kent has Carrick in a great spot.
Here they are entering the backstretch. Same spot for Kent. At this point, I felt he was right where he wanted to be.
And then, less than an 1/8th mile later, Kent had Carrick on the lead. I had no idea what I was seeing. The picture above is mid-way down the backstretch. There is still a half-mile to go, and Kent has rushed Carrick up not just into contention, but on the lead.
The eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers were in 11th and 8th respectively when Carrick was sitting pretty back in 7th. So if you want to argue that the 23.70 opening quarter and 48.20 opening half were too slow and Kent had no choice but to force the issue, I’d respectfully disagree. Would Carrick have won? Maybe, maybe not. But the move Kent made essentially guaranteed Carrick would flatten out as they turned for home, and that’s exactly what happened.