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Pretenders Ran Rampant in Sham Stakes

Pretenders Ran Rampant in Sham Stakes by Laura Pugh: The first major Kentucky Derby Prep Race of 2016, the Sham Stakes, was a complete and total bust.

Collected Horse Sham Stakes

Speedway Stable’s Collected and jockey Martin Garcia win the Grade III $100,000 Sham Stakes Saturday, January 9, 2016 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA. Photo: Benoit

With most of the top Kentucky Derby prospects sitting on the sidelines, the Sham was left with a field of newcomers, void of any proven juveniles from 2015. This scenario can go one of two ways, the first being that the race serves a coming out party to a horse that was overlooked the previous year. Unfortunately, it is the second scenario we see most often, which is when the race produces a mediocre finish with a flat winner.

Such was the case when Collected won Saturday’s Sham Stakes in a slow final time of 1.38.00, for the mile. His final quarter also left a lot to be desired, stopping the clock in a snail-like 26.08. Yes, the track was on the slow side, and yes he endured a pace duel, but he was all out to stagger home just in front of Let’s Meet in Rio.

There are some who believe the second and third place finishers hold promise, but they could be in for a rude awakening. Lets Meet in Rio and Laoban did look as though they were flying through the stretch, but the ground they made up was merely an illusion caused by Collected stopping at such an alarming rate.

Let’s Meet in Rio made up 4 ¾ lengths in that final quarter, while Laoban actually lost ground. Their final quarter mile splits were little better, if not worse, than Collected’s, with Let’s Meet in Rio clocking in at 25.18, and Laoban stopping the clock at 26.33.

Looking at these numbers I can’t see any of the Sham runners coming back to have much success along the road to the Kentucky Derby. Let’s Meet in Rio looked the most impressive of the bunch, but with that 25.18 final quarter, it is hard to imagine him being any more than a plodder who clunks up for the minor awards.

If you are still waiting to find your Kentucky Derby horse, look elsewhere. The Sham won’t even provide you with a decent longshot, let alone your Kentucky Derby winner.

Related Links:
Collected Earns Ten Points on Kentucky Derby Trail with Sham Victory

Sham Stakes 2016 Replay: