In-depth analysis of the United Nations Handicap including Pace Figures and Form Cycle Pattern of each starter. Please refer to the Legend or Pattern Guide for back-up definitions and patterns.
While the Grade I United Nations is a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” qualifier (which means the winning horse gets to run in the Breeders' Cup Turf with his entry fee of $60K paid plus a travel allowance of $10K if US based and $40K if internationally stabled covered), the field has come up relatively light considering.
These ten runners are a combined two for 25 in Grade I stakes competition (over their last ten starts) which makes for an even playing field on the track. It makes sense that there is a field of ten (including two European runners), looking to steal a Grade I and get a free ride into the Breeders' Cup.
To view the Pace Figures for the United Nations Stakes from Monmouth Park, click here
The top trainer and owner in country (Todd Pletcher and Ken Ramsey respectively) send this gritty 4 year-old colt to the gate after winning the 16 furlong (two mile race) Belmont Gold Cup on Belmont Stakes day. He draws the rail and gets Joe Bravo aboard, two pluses in this three turn route race.
Looking at his Pace Figures three races back you'll notice a lifetime top of 81.4 (3/29/14) followed by a 72.6 on 4/24/14. This 8.8 point regression came with a cut back in distance from 12 to 8.5 furlongs. In his most recent effort at 16 furlongs, Charming Kitten ran a 78.6, a strong figure, especially considering the distance. In similar fashion from his 3/29/14 to 4/24/14 start, he cuts back in distance from 16 to 11 furlongs off a high final Pace Figure which could be telling.
The Play: Fringe contender – rail, top Monmouth jock off a 2 mile route, this one is hard to figure either way.
The most lightly raced runner in the field with only seven starts lifetime, this 4 year-old raced twice in 2012, three times in 2013 and makes his third start in 2014. One of the top trainers in the country and grass specialist Chad Brown combines with hall-of-fame jockey Gary Stevens combine for a formidable but unlikely pairing.
And while his two US starts have produced Final Pace Figures barely above 71, well less than others in here, he is currently on Turf Decline Line. TDL occurs when the 4f Pace Figure declines to the lowest point while the final Pace Figure remains consistent (71.6/41.9 most recent from a 70.7/51.2 on 5/3). His turf spread (final Pace Figure minus 4f figure) is almost 30 points, an indication of a runner who manages energy very well and should like added distance.
The Play: Contender – Trainer, jockey and TDL Form Cycle Pattern outweigh his slower final figures, the top pick at odds over his morning line of 3:1.
Another runner who last ran in the 16 furlong Belmont Gold Cup, this 5 year-old raced on the front for a good portion of the race before getting tired in the stretch. His final Pace Figure was 77.9, a strong figure for such a long race and a near lifetime top.
Looking at his Pace Figures you'll notice he has been successful at 11 furlongs with a record of (3-1-1) though his final Pace Figures from each race have been hovered around 74 (73.5, 73.9, 74.2 to be exact).
The Play: Regression – his last effort of 77.9 on the front end combined with an average final figure of 74 for the distance are not positive signs. As a morning-line 5:2 favorite there is no value.
This 6 year-old ships in from Baltimore having run only two Graded Stakes race lifetime, finishing sixth and eighth respectively. He makes his second start of the year and goes 2.5 furlong longer after running a lifetime top final Pace Figure of 77.0 his last start.
Do note his 4f figure of 70.2 that accompanied the 77.0 which indicates a runner who is pretty quick out of the gate. The increase in his 4f Pace Figure over the course of three races (from 56.7 to 59.2 to 70.2) also supports a horse who is getting faster in the middle of the race and someone you could expect to see close to the lead.
The Play: Fader – longer distance off a lifetime top Pace Figure indicate a runner who is likely to struggle at the distance.
One of two European runners, he is trained by Graham Motion, a respected trainer in the US. This 5 year-old makes his first start in 10 months having never raced on a fast (non-wet) grass surface. Motion wisely adds Lasix for the first time adding to his intrigue. Also note that he skipped the big purse money in Dubai in March opting for his US debut in this “Win and You're in” race.
He was a winner first time out as a Maiden at 2 years old and finished 1st
off six month layoffs at 3 and 4 years-old respectively. This pattern of success off a layoff indicates a runner who can compete after not having raced in months. His work out pattern is consistent, working almost weekly since mid April.
The Play: Price play – While no Pace Figures exist for Main Sequence, his work pattern and ability to fire fresh and consistent success on grass (in Europe) put him in the mix.
The only seven year-old in the field makes his second start of 2014 for trainer Jason Servis who is runs very well at Monmouth. He is one of two runners who has won at 11 furlongs and has been in the money three of five times at the distance. Also note that he is five for eight lifetime at Monmouth and has more career wins at this track then the field combined.
Turning to his final Pace Figures, his last three 11 furlong races are 68.6, 72.9 and 73.1 which is likely not enough in here.
The Play: Too Slow - while his last effort of 62.4/52.9 (final/4f Pace Figure) is excusable, his lifetime top of 74.6 is probably not competitive. Only support Exclusive Strike if you are a true believer in “horses for courses.”
This 4 year-old Canadian bred has raced better than the public has expected in three Grade I's in 2014 (while being sent off at an average of over 20:1)., finishing just a few lengths behind Wise Dan, the best male grass horse in the US (hands down) in two of those races.
His Final Pace Figures have been ultra-consistent as seen by the tight range of 75.5 to 77.2 over the last five starts. Also note his increasing turf spread from 13.4 (4/11/14) to 16.6 (5/3/14) to 23.5 (6/7/14) in his last three starts. On a PLOW Form Cycle Pattern (and similar to the TDL), the Pace Low (PLOW) is when a horse runs a slower 4f Pace Figure then the race prior on turf while maintaining a consistent Final figure. The only concern is the stretch out from 10 to 11 furlongs, the longest distance he will run in his career.
The Play: Contender – Consistent final figures combined simultaneously with increasing turf spread indicates a runner who is managing energy better each start.
Todd Pletcher's other starter, he's run ten times over the last year with only one win. He most recent start was on Monmouth on 6/8/14 where he ran an 80.3/67 (final/4f), the fastest Final Pace Figure of all ten starters. The 80.3 was also a lifetime top and a 7.6 point increase from his prior effort.
Looking over his previous big final figures of 79.9 (8/21/13) and 78.1 (10/26), significant regression followed each.
The Play: Regression – Lifetime top combined with added distance is a tough combination to overcome.
His rise from a $25k claimer to Grade I winner is an owner's dream. After winning the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap at almost 40:1 he went on to compete at the highest level in respective fashion. Sometimes, when a horse gets confidence, there is no telling how far they can go…until his debut on 6/8/14.
He ran 13th
as the 2:1 favorite while putting up a final Pace Figure of 74.2. Prior to that race his final Pace Figure was a 74.1, a near “paired up top.”
The Play: Regression - while not a formal Form Cycle Pattern, a horse who runs the same final Pace Figure back to back is likely to regress.
The second of the European runners, Side Glance is a 7 year-old has earned over $2.4 million in his racing career, three times more than his nearest competitor in the race. And while he has finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup ($10 million purse) in 2013 and 2014, his form, purely based off finishes looks to be off.
From a Pace Figure perspective, he's made two US starts: The 2013 Arlington Million running a 77.4/60 (final/4f) and the 2011 Woodbine Turf running a 76.4/65.1.
The Play: Off Form – while his two final figures would be competitive, he is more off form then on and draws an outside post in a three turn marathon.