Deep Ocean went to Longchamp yesterday with just about everything against him: He had picked up four kilos in the handicap, which meant he had to run against open company rather than in a limited handicap; the track was very heavy, and Deep also would have to negotiate the famous “descente”, the downhill slope into the “false” stretch before turning into the final stretch and galloping all the way to the second post – about 600 meters. It was the second division of the big “Tierce” handicap on a Sunday at France’s premiere racecourse. All the good horses were there. But good old Deep showed us that he is a serious racehorse. He was well back in the field coming into the straight, because his jockey had to steady him up and slow him down on the downhill part of the course. On top of that, he was blocked in traffic. He looked like he had a bit in the tank, but couldn’t get out. Until he could. And then he started to fly past horses and made up enough ground to finish fourth, just stealing it at the post. He was well-beaten for the first two places, but only two lengths off third and leaving everyone else behind. It was an amazing showing, considering how poorly placed he was in the handicap here and how heavy the ground rode. I realize fourth isn’t a win, but it showed me he can win off this mark, which is important. He’ll have to wait a bit for another chance, because there are no decent entries coming up for him. He came back in great form and the manger was licked clean not five minutes after I’d put the food down.
Next up, the race many of us have been awaiting for quite awhile: Hard Way at St. Cloud, on Saturday. I think we’ll have a pretty good crowd of supporters on hand to cheer him on – it’s been a long road back for him.