Jessica Chapel / Railbird

R Heat Lightning

R High Figure

As measured by the speed figure makers, the Kentucky Derby field may be “solid, competitive … and slow,” but there’s a dominant figure in the Oaks.

Speaking of figures …

Frankel’s performance can only be described as awesome,” said the official BHA handicapper for milers, apparently as awed as everyone else watching Frankel cheerfully gut the field running behind him from the start in the 2000 Guineas (replay). “He destroyed the others, not himself,” said trainer Henry Cecil. At the end what impressed almost as much as the ease with which the undefeated colt won was how hard his rivals had to run to even keep him in view. Timeform gave Frankel a provisional rating of 142, the third best ever; the Racing Post rated him 133, the highest ever on that scale.

Triple Digit Hit

A sophomore standout going nine furlongs impressed at Gulfstream over the weekend, and it wasn’t Dialed In running the final eighth in :13.09 to beat 68-1 Shackleford by a head in the Florida Derby on Sunday. “For a lightly raced horse to do what he did is amazing,” cried trainer Nick Zito to Mike Welsch. Amazing seems a better word for R Heat Lightning in the Gulfstream Oaks on Saturday. The Kentucky Oaks prospect finished in :12.77, winning by 8 1/4 lengths under a handride. Her final time of 1:49.27, “less than one-fifth of second off of the time clocked by 4-year-old Awesome Maria in the Rampart,” was eight-tenths of a second faster than the time of 1:50.07 in the Florida Derby. For her brilliant effort, R Heat Lightning was given a Beyer speed figure of 100. Dialed In received a 93 for his final Derby prep. “Disappointing, considering he got the perfect setup,” the man himself reportedly said.

3/5/11 Addendum: “To me, even though they ran on different days, usually it’s not a good sign for the colts when fillies run faster,” observes Pletcher.

Gulfstream Prep Figures

Beyer speed figures of 102 for Flashpoint in the Hutcheson Stakes and 96 for Soldat in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday; 98 for R Heat Lightning in the Davona Dale. The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks prep schedules have been updated with charts and replays.