WITHOUT EXCEPTION will show his class in Lotto Classic
This afternoon's Lotto Classic Governor's Cup is no 'poor man's derby', a label that should now be abandoned with more owners deciding to have a go at rich the purse, $3m, despite winners of graded events being allotted topweight at 10 furlongs.
Apart from 2000 Guineas winner COMMANDER TWO and, as expected, FAYROUZ, who won the Oaks three weeks ago, this afternoon's race is almost a snapshot of what the Jamaica Derby field will be like on June 30.
Michael Marlowe and Wayne DaCosta, trainers of the top-weighted runners, MARQUESAS and WITHOUT EXCEPTION, carrying 57.0 and 56.0 kilos, respectively, both need their horses to prove their mettle with basically the same weight they will have going two furlongs longer in a month's time.
MARQUESAS closed out a hat-trick of wins by landing the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes at a mile but finished fifth in March's Prince Consort Stakes and fourth in the Guineas last month, failing to reproduce the turn of foot he had shown in three straight wins as a juvenile.
However, since twice galloping MARQUESAS in a visor at exercise, Marlowe has been convinced to go with the head gear for the Lotto Classic, hoping it will make his runner more attentive and not having to close from 10 lengths off the lead as he did in the Guineas.
Similarly, DaCosta needs convincing that he has found the reason behind three inexplicably poor runs from WITHOUT EXCEPTION after the colt started his career with a hat-trick of wins, even beating COMMANDER TWO on his two-year-old debut.
The answer appears to have been removal of the tongue tie and figure eight in which, strange enough, WITHOUT EXCEPTION had won three straight races.
The lighter horses will definitely have a say, especially the pacier ones such as LIGHTNING MCQUEEN and OUTRAGEOUS TAJ, who MARQUESAS rushed past close home to beat by about a length when finishing fourth in the Guineas.
OUTRAGEOUS TAJ was always ahead of MARQUESAS and was only a length behind after a mile, for which he now gets a 14lb weight swing going two furlongs longer.
The unknown in the event is Philip Feanny's LIGHTNING MCQUEEN, who, similar to OUTRAGEOUS TAJ, will carry 112lb, unbeaten in two six-furlong races in which he moved his time from 1:14.1 to 1:12.4, an improvement of 1.2 seconds, which was shown in the margin of victory dropping from 10 lengths among maidens to two and a quarter when facing non-winners-of-two races.
It appears, though, that despite getting loads of weight from WITHOUT EXCEPTION and MARQUESAS, LIGHTNING MCQUEEN and OUTRAGEOUS TAJ's stamina limitations might be exposed at 10 furlongs, especially with the pesky filly, MY SISTER, coming in at 110lb and knowing no other way to run but on the lead.
A length separated WITHOUT EXCEPTION and MARQUESAS for third and fourth, respectively, in the Guineas. However, WITHOUT EXCEPTION had disputed the lead with COMMANDER TWO to the half-mile in a 45.3 split, and was two lengths behind the speedster, in 1:11.0, turning for home. To have finished two lengths behind, rallying at the end, was a great run from WITHOUT EXCEPTION, coming from post-position one.
In addition, DaCosta, in trying to figure what was going on in WITHOUT EXCEPTION's head, ended up racing the colt three times in two weeks, 20 and a half furlongs, ending with the Guineas, not to mention the revving he got at exercise in preparation for each of those races.
Now fully rested, prepared and seemingly back to himself, minus tongue tie and figure eight, WITHOUT EXCEPTION having proven that he has the pace and stamina, should show his class.
Meanwhile, his big sister, SHE'S A MANEATER, though spotting decent sprinters a lot of weight at five and a half furlongs, including old rival MONEY MAGNET and SIEMPRE BUENO, has stablemate MR UNIVERSE to give them hell on the lead, after which her charge will be hard to stop in the Lotto Sprint.