Blatantly Good won the Open pace at Chester Downs handing Auckland Reactor his second straight North American start in 1:49.1. Western Shore was second, with Atochia third. Auckland Reactor finished fourth in the race.
Auckland Reactor gunned for the front right from the start and was pressed to a first quarter of :26.3 and then reached the half in :54.1. At the five-eighths, Blatantly Good hooked up with Auckland Reactor pushing the New Zealander to a 1:21.3 three quarters. In the stretch, Auckland Reactor was a beaten horse passed by the top three finishers.
Naysayers may say Auckland Reactor is a fraud, but this was a much different race than last week at the Meadowlands and quite honestly a race he needed. At the Meadowlands with the unreal fractions, Auckland Reactor was never a factor. This week he was given the opportunity to air it out. Against this caliber of horses, you can’t expect a horse to be at his peak form in just the second start of the year. This is not to take anything away from Blatantly Good; he ran a great race. However, if this race was to occur a few weeks from now, I suspect we may have seen a different ending. Trainer Kelvin Harrison and the Auckland Reactor team must be satisfied with this week’s effort. My suspicion is we will see Auckland Reactor at Tioga Downs for the Bettor’s Delight. Whether he is standing in the winner’s circle in his next start is not certain; as long as progress is made, that is what matters. In time, we will be seeing him in victory lane.
What about the hype Auckland Reactor came over with; is he the super horse he was made out to be? Probably not; much of the hype was national pride. Publicity is great but it is a double-edged sword; it sets up unrealistic expectations. If he came over with less fanfare, we would not be hearing from the naysayers. In the long run, everything will be all right.