JC / Railbird

Omnisurface Stars

Dan and the Man

With his win in the Woodbine Mile, Wise Dan has now won Grade 1 races on dirt and turf. If he can add a G1 win on synthetic (over which he’s already won a G2), he’ll join Lava Man as only the second horse to win Grade 1 races on all three surfaces. Getting the synthetic win might be tough — there aren’t many options on the calendar, and trainer Charles Lopresti plans to start his versatile gelding next in the Breeders’ Cup Mile — but maybe Wise Dan will find his way west for a synthetic surface G1 in 2013.

Superterrific and I have been talking about dusting off Omnisurface Stars — Wise Dan might be just the nudge to make that happen.

If you’re interested in more current stakes winners across surfaces, see Matt Gardner’s spreadsheet on SB Nation.

9/17/12 Addendum: “A versatile horse in today’s age.” Heck, yeah.


Dullahan has three wins in 12 starts, all in Grade 1 races, and all on Polytrack. It’s enough to conclude that the 2012 Pacific Classic winner is a Poly-monster. But, looking at recent photos of the burly Dale Romans trainee, I’m not so sure that Dullahan hasn’t just matured into an omni-monster, effective on any track surface. At this stage of his career, which includes in-the-money finishes in turf and dirt stakes, why pigeonhole him?

Addendum: Jennie Rees has a story up about Romans’ stellar year, in which she asks him whether Dullahan is a Poly-specialist: “Yeah … [b]ut that doesn’t mean he can’t do other things … his form definitely moves up on Polytrack. But he can compete on other surfaces. I still believe he can at a high level. How high, I’m not sure.” Very interesting. If Dullahan stays sound through his 4-year-old season, it should be fun to find out.

The Bottom Line

Steve Haskin responds to the retire-Rachel crowd:

Rachel’s defeat in the Personal Ensign, although extremely disappointing, should in the long run be looked upon as just that — a defeat, and not as an indication that she no longer should be competing. If she shows any physical or mental signs coming out of the Personal Ensign that she has had enough, then by all means retire her. But if she is sound and that passion is still evident, there is no reason not to put the sword in her hand again and see if she can recapture the glory of last year — at her distance.

Asked if retirement was a possibility, trainer Steve Asmussen replied:

“That question wasn’t brought up to me.”

So, onward. Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to return to the track on Wednesday. Plans for her will be made later. Persistently, winner of the Personal Ensign, is being pointed to the Beldame at Belmont, as is Life At Ten.

Informed Decision may try turf in her next start following her sixth-place finish as the favorite in the Ballerina Stakes on Saturday, said trainer Jonathan Sheppard. “I’ve always said to myself maybe sometime down the road, if she stubs her toe a little bit, that it might be time to try something different,” he told the Daily Racing Form. The 5-year-old mare is a winner over dirt and synthetics; adding a grass win would make her an Omnisurface Star.

Uncle Mo, buzz baby, gets a big 102 BSF for his debut.

Tough Luck

That really was a hard-luck half-length loss for Gio Ponti in the Million:

DRF Formulator fractions for the 2010 Arlington Million

Faster than the winner Debussy at the three latter points of call in the 10-furlong race, but it’s the final time (and the trip!) that matters …

Another for the so-close file: If not for Blind Luck’s nose in the Kentucky Oaks, Evening Jewel would be an all Grade 1 Omnisurface Star after taking the Del Mar Oaks by a half-length over American Oaks winner Harmonious. Instead, she dominates the 2+ITM chart. Not for long, I’d wager.

It seems like we have the best 3-year-old filly, right now,” said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after Blind Luck won the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. “[But] I hate to make those kinds of assessments.” There’s no reason for him to feel reluctant, not when his late-running filly overcame an absurdly slow pace (:49.45 for the half, 1:14.81 for three-quarters) to take her third Grade 1 stakes victory of the year. That’s the right kind of tough luck:

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