June 26, 2019

Bright Thought recognized as world record-setter

Last updated: 3/17/13 8:36 PM

Bright Thought lowered Hawkster’s 23-year-old benchmark
(Benoit Photos)

Bright Thought, a scintillating 3 1/4-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 San
Luis Rey Stakes going 1 1/2 miles on turf, has established a new world record
time of 2:22.72, according to the American Racing Manual, official record
keeper for American racing. The time eclipsed Hawkster’s record of 2:22.80, also
established at Santa Anita, on October 14, 1989.

Originally recognized as a new stakes and track record on Saturday,
recognition of Bright Thought’s final time as a world record was delayed due to
the fact the initial three-eighths of a mile in the San Luis Rey are run

A review of previous record holders at the distance led to Sunday’s broader

Santa Anita’s keeper of all things statistical, Morning Line Maker Jon White,
weighed in thusly:

“The 2012 American Racing Manual, and every Racing Manual going
back for many years, has listed Hawkster as the world record holder for a mile
and one half,” White said.

“The difference between world records and American records, are that a world
record is the fastest time under any conditions, on any surface.”

Hawkster turned in his world record in the Grade 1 Oak Tree Invitational,
during the era of timing in fifths. With the advent of timing in hundredths, his
2:22 4/5 was credited as 2:22.80.

That discrepancy between timing in fifths and hundredths might have
disadvantaged Little Mike, who blazed the same distance in 2:22.83 in last
November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita. His time stacked up morally, if
not according to the record book, with Hawkster’s.

Alkaased had sizzled in 2:22.10 in the Grade 1 Japan Cup in 2005, but the
Tokyo feature is technically 2,400 meters. Although that distance is
colloquially referred to as 1 1/2 miles, it isn’t quite that on the dot, being
approximately 1.491 miles. According to an editor’s note in the American
Racing Manual
, all record times are for exact distances.

Bright Thought, who is trained by Jorge Gutierrez and was ridden by Victor
Espinoza, is a four-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by the Sunday Silence stallion
Hat Trick. He was bred in part by Alex Venneri and is owned by Venneri Racing,
Inc., and Gil and Marjorie Dye.

His next start will be on turf in either the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano
Handicap at about 1 3/4 miles on closing day, April 21, or the Grade 1 Woodford
Reserve Turf Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs May

Gutierrez sounded more inclined toward the Woodford Reserve.

“Bright Thought came out of the race in good shape, but for
now I think we’re going to back off and give him a breather,” Gutierrez noted.
“He’s had three tough races here (winning each by comfortable margins). Our goal
probably is the Woodford Reserve on Kentucky
Derby Day. We’re going to supplement to that.”

Gutierrez and Espinoza both enjoyed unexpected
success at Santa Anita on Saturday, as the trainer and jockey each won three

Gutierrez had his first three-win day since Fairplex Park,
where he was the meet’s leading trainer last year. The San Luis Rey was his
first graded stakes triumph in his 12 years as a trainer.

Espinoza’s three victories gave him 25 for the meet. His mounts have earned
$1,123,940 and he is winning at a highly respectable 21-percent clip.

“So far, so good,” said Espinoza, who is represented by agent Brian Beach.
“The meet started good for me, I’m winning good races and I’m trying to keep it
going all the way through. Yesterday was a really great day. Brian and I are
going to work hard the rest of the year.”

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