Lane's End should allow Liam's Map to return in 2016
by Laura Pugh
Who thinks that Lanes End should reconsider the pending retirement of Liam’s Map?
The son of Unbridled’s Song just started to find his best stride this year, and then ran his best race to date, in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Typically a frontrunner, Liam’s Map was surprised to find himself behind a wall of horses going into the first turn of the Dirt Mile. Throughout the race he had to steady repeatedly while also taking a good amount of dirt – conditions that normally discourage confirmed speed horse. Despite the trouble, Liam’s Map surged to the lead and drew away to set a new track record.
The Dirt Mile was Liam’s Maps’ coming out party, and yet Lane’s End would like to see him retired. Sure he has brilliant speed, sure his pedigree is very fashionable, but just think of what he could do in 2016.
If allowed to return to training, in 2016, Liam’s Map would enter a division that has been greatly deflated. The East Coast Handicap division will lose Honor Code, its current leader. It will also lose Donn Handicap and Dirt Mile runner-up Lea. Donn Handicap winner Constitution has also been retired.
His strongest competition would likely be Tonalist and Frosted, unless the Zayat-owned El Kabier can come back in a big way. With so many defections, Liam’s Map could easily clean up on the East Coast in 2016.
Returning would also give the colt the opportunity to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, minus a Triple Crown winner. Barring injury, this would mean he would have another entire season of conditioning under his belt. Can you imagine that? A fit Liam’s Map, getting to run an entire season, uninterrupted, ending in the Breeders’ Cup Classic? He could very well end up running better than he did today.
The way I see it, there is very little downside to allowing Liam’s Map to return. He ran a top race this afternoon, indicating that he is far from ready to retire. If anything, he indicated that he is just now hitting his best stride. It would be a tragedy for him to be retired, without being given the chance to show just how good he can truly be.
Liam's Map photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography