Poor Life At Ten. After last year’s disastrous Breeders’ Cup, she gets off to a slow start with two lackluster performances and just when it looks like she’s ready to make some noise Cornelio Velasquez pulls a Garrett Gomez and strangles the daylights out of her down the backstretch.
In the replay you’ll see that she gets off to a great start and then at 29 seconds he gets her in a hammer lock until about 56 seconds. One has to wonder what the stretch would have looked like if she would have been allowed to run more freely.
You may remember about Life At Ten that she does her best running when not restrained. Say for example in last year’s Ogden Phipps.
I think Cornelio is an underrated rider in general but admittedly I haven’t been paying close attention recently. Even if he is off his usual good form (and I’m not saying he is, I’m saying I don’t know if he is or not), I’ve never noticed him to be one to fight a front-runner. This had to be instructions from the barn, right? Right.
Pletcher from the NYRA post-race quotes press release:
She didn’t break well but she was able to recover and find a spot there pretty quickly. After that, she was in pretty good shape. The strategy, on paper we felt that Absinthe Minded and Awesome Maria would be laying one-two and Life At Ten would assume the garden spot. The way it broke, Cornelio [Velasquez] had to grab her [Life At Ten] a little bit to get that spot, and in retrospect it would have been better to go on, but he tried to execute the original game plan.
Well, it’s somewhat reassuring that they’re aware the plan didn’t work, but it must speak to their lack in confidence in Life At Ten as she’s shown the ability to rate behind speed and still win, such as last year’s Beldame.
At least they’re committed to running the rest of the year but if I were Candy DeBartolo, I would have moved her to another barn right after the Breeders’ Cup. On the bright side, we may catch a good price on her if/when things fall into place!