BC Challenge Series: The Clement L Hirsch Stakes

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, August 1, 2021

Yesterday, DR. SCHIVEL ran his way into the Breeders' Cup Sprint by winning the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar Racetrack. 

Today, a field of seven fillies and mares will try to capture the Grade I, Clement L. Hirsch Stakes crown and win their ticket to the Breeders' Cup Distaff. It's a top-heavy group with three favorites.

SHEDARESTHEDEVIL (PP: 7 ML 7/5) is the slight morning line favorite over AS TME GOES BY (PP: 3 ML 8/5) and VENETIAN HARBOR (PP: 6 ML 2-1). The trio will see if they can live up to their odds at the end of the 1 1/16 miles race on Del Mar's main track.

The Profile of a Clement L. Hirsch Stakes Winner

Early speed has been the way to the winners' circle in the last seven years. The last three to collect the Clement L. Hirsch hardware were on the lead at the quarter mile marker and never looked back. From 2014 to 2017, three of the four champions were second at the first call and the other was third. 

An inside draw seems to be key too as eight of the last 10 to come home first in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes drew posts one, two or three.

The recent profile of a Clement L. Hirsch Stakes Winner appears to be inside speed.

The Early Pace

Our analysis suggests VENETIAN HARBOR could be the pacesetter and could get a length or two ahead of SHEDARESTHEDEVIL, AS TIME GOES BY and PAIGE ANNE (PP: 4 ML 5-1). The latter trio should be no more than nose to tail apart. According to the profile of a winner, the 2021 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes titleholder is likely to be in that group. Not surprisingly, three of the four are the early favorites.

The Late Pace 

Along with some of the fastest early numbers, SHEDARESTHEDEVIL and AS TIME GOES BY also own the best last pace figures. That means, the two fillies should be close to the front from the start and be difficult to pass late, especially if they can get away with a first half-mile time around 47 seconds. It gets dicey for the leaders if the half-mile call is under 46.5 seconds.

If they frontrunners go to fast, then WARREN'S SHOWTIME (PP: 1 ML 8-1) and COVER VERSION (PP: 5 ML 30-1) could pick off tiring leaders late.

Predicted 2021 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes Winner

SHEDARESTHEDEVIL and AS TIME GOES BY could battle it out from gate-to-wire. Both have similar early fractions and the late legs to keep on all the way to the finish line. SHEDARESTHEDEVIL has a lot more experience at the distance but is travelling across the country. She's struggled in her two previous Del Mar races, finishing third and fourth.

Aside from a well beaten second to SWISS SKYDIVER in the Grade I, Beholder Mile Stakes at Santa Anita, AS TIME GOES BY hasn't faces this depth of quality in a race. She'll need to prove she can beat top-tier horses.

The Pick: SHEDARESTHEDEVIL gets to the line first, maybe a photo finish over upstart AS TIME GOES BY and a tiring VENETIAN HARBOR.


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