Life At Ten Can’t Catch a Break

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!

6 thoughts on “Life At Ten Can’t Catch a Break

  1. Failed To Menace

    Could not agree more with your analysis/recommendation re LAT and her current, ahem, trainer. Pletcher has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about training/racing strategy, but it seems he just can’t do anything right with this mare since the BC. I would have been cursing Cornholio had I gotten burned by that ride (I stayed away from LAT this time) but, since it seems he was just following orders, clearly he’s off the hook. She may need a drop to an overnight or open allowance at someplace more speed favoring (Monmouth?) so she can get her confidence back before trying the top of the division again.

  2. dana

    thx Failed to Menace! I guess it’s good to know that Cornelio will follow instructions under any circumstances, LOL.

    I didn’t even play the race, I really like Awesome Maria and Payton d’Oro in addition to Life at Ten and couldn’t tell how it was gonna shake out. I thought maybe Awesome Maria was gonna regress as I thought she should have done a bit better against Absinthe Minded in the Shuvee. I also thought Super Espresso would do a little better too. Glad I took a pass!

    I hope they do give Life at Ten a confidence builder.

  3. dana

    IMO part of the reason she was outta gas is BECAUSE she was strangled and spent energy she needed in the stretch fighting Cornelio.

  4. Brian Russell

    You are correct in your analysis but your underlying premise is that she is capable of beating Awesome Maria if properly ridden which I think is more unlikely than likely. Life At Ten’s 2 most impressive wins came in last year’s Phipps when she benefitted from one of the strongest speed bias’ seen in NY in years and in her subsequent start at Delaware which was a totally paceless race.

  5. dana

    My only premise is that she probably could have done better if she wasn’t held so hard down the backstretch. I’m a fan of Awesome Maria’s and think she was the horse to beat in this year’s Phipps. Although I’m not sure how she stacks up to Blind Luck & Havre de Grace. I’d have to bgo back and look at her splits but I remember when a took a quick look after the race that they seemed a hair below those two, but not totally out of their league.

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