Pavel soars in debut
Saturday played host to some fine racing action with big stakes races taking place across the country. But first-time starter PAVEL stood out most to me, posting a superb score in the 6TH Race at Santa Anita July 1.
A sophomore son of Creative Cause, Pavel broke well from the three post and was part of a three-horse duel, taking plenty of heat along the rail under Mario Gutierrez in the 6 ½-furlong maiden heat. The Reddam Racing color bearer took a narrow edge at the top of the lane and dominated to the wire as he defeated a fairly solid field, sending a warning that he is a horse to watch in the process. $90,000 weanling purchase had trained steadily but it would be hard for me to imagine anyone expecting such an impressive showing first-time out.
I liked so much about his race. It says a lot about this three-year-old to withstand early heat while inside and kick on like he did at first asking, a tall task for a horse with no prior racing experience. Pavel went fast early and finished up swiftly, registering a hefty 100 BRIS Late Pace figure while in hand through deep stretch. And he stopped the teletimer in a sturdy 1:15 2/5, good for a commendable 95 BRIS Speed number.
The Kentucky-bred is a half-brother to multiple Grade 2 hero Caracortado, who was a precocious one in his own right after bagging five races in succession to start his career. The gelding excelled at middle distances and was proven to be accomplished on both the main surface and the turf, banking more than $885,000.
I have no idea where Pavel will go next or what he ultimately will be best at, but I do know that he was among the sharpest first-time starters I have watched in a while. His pedigree hints he could excel going longer and on the turf, if his connections ever give the green a try.
While Pavel has a long way to go to make a name for himself after just a single run, I think he can have a bright future. And we witnessed a sophomore begin to emerge in a wide-open division at this time last year, with Arrogate registering 95 (Speed) and 110 (Late Pace) BRIS numbers for a June maiden score.
The 2017 three-year-old division is still up in the air and we could have another late bloomer climb the divisional ladder in rapid fashion.