From where I stand it was not the males that took center stage at Gulfstream, when all was said and done, it was the fillies. R Heat Lighting did it again, dazzling her onlookers and crushing her foes, with an even more dominating victory than in her Davona Dale romp. Settling into a nice smooth rhythm, R Heat Lightning, sat third behind a solid pace of 23 flat, and 46.32. After three quarters in a snappy 1.10.97, the daughter of Trippi began to turn on the pressure. Advancing on the outside, R Heat Lightning entered the stretch with daylight between her and her opposition, under only a hand ride, before drawing away at will.
She stopped the clock in 1.49.27, which was a 4/5's of a second faster than Dialed In ran a day later. There is no doubt this filly will enter the Kentucky Oaks as a major favorite. If beaten foes return victorious elsewhere, it should only add to her reputation, before the Oaks.
In the Older Filly/Mare division a new name joins the ranks. Awesome Maria threw her hat into the arena when she stormed to a decisive victory in the Rampart. Among the fallen was Unrivaled Belle, who defeated Rachel Alexandra and won the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic in 2010.
Florida Derby Pros and Cons
After a surprising loss in allowance race, Dialed In put it all back together when he nipped a dead game Shackleford, in the shadow of the wire, to take the Florida Derby. The son of Mineshaft benefited from a solid pace set-up after Shackleford, To Honor and Serve, and Flashpoint all gunned for the lead. Dialed in dropped as many as 14 lengths off the leaders, biding his time.
After the field moved past the 3/8ths pole, Dialed In began to pick up the pace, picking off horses one by one. At the top of the stretch it was still Shackleford to catch, but Dialed In, five lengths out was charging hard. A resolute Shackleford did not make it easy, but in the end Dialed in would not be denied.
The final time was an average 1.50.07. The pros of Dialed In's race are that he is most certainly the real deal. The Flordia Derby showed his gameness and what he could do when he gets an honest pace, which is what he will get when he goes to the Kentucky Derby. However, the Florida Derby was a huge performance for this horse, and could set him up for a bounce come Derby day.
The cons, if you would call them that are, for one, Dialed In is not adjustable. He raced closer up two outings ago, and did not show the same punch he did in the Holly Bull or Florida Derby. Being this way puts him at a huge disadvantage in the Derby. He will risk either getting caught wide or running into traffic. Also note, that while it looked like Dialed In flew home, his final furlong was run in over 13 seconds. R Heat Lighting ran her final furlong in 12.77 under a mild hand ride. So while this race was impressive, and there is no doubt that Dialed In is a very talented colt, some of the cons I saw in this race would keep him out of my top three come Derby day.