Earning a first graded stakes success in the Grade 3 Dowager Stakes at Keeneland, Temple City Terror (by Temple City) is no Silky Sullivan (more on him later). For one thing, she doesn’t drop far enough out of her races.

That’s not to say that Temple City Terror was near the pace. Nope. She was next-to-last as favored Beside Herself led the race through a half in :48.14 and three-quarters in 1:13.40. But that was a fairly quick tempo for a 12-furlong race, and the favorite paid the price for burning up so much energy. She finished eighth.

Temple City Terror, on the other hand, was ninth of 10 at the half and the mile, then put in huge move to be second by the 10-furlong point of call. She maintained her stride and momentum for the final quarter-mile, which she ran in :22.93.

As that final quarter and other points of call clearly show, Temple City Terror has speed. It is not gate speed, however. The mare takes a bit to get fully in motion, but Newton’s first law of motion asserts that a body in motion remains in motion, and that is how Temple City Terror turns on the speed in a race. She gets into stride, somewhat slowly out of the gate; she gains enough momentum early, then maintains through the middle part of the race; and when the crucial part of the race arrives, she is able to push her advantage in comparison to her competition.

It has worked well enough for her to win a half-dozen races and earn $696,218.

Bred in Kentucky by Upson Downs Farm, Temple City Terror is by the leading stallion son of top sire Dynaformer (Roberto), and this branch of the Nearco male line through leading juveniles Turn-to and his son Hail to Reason has been a source of exceptional performance for decades. This line is especially known for the occasional superstar performers who possess both a high cruising speed and classic stamina in the manner of Barbaro and others.

There is more than a hint of turf friendliness to this line, as well, and yet this does not make it more popular at the sales. Instead, this is often a spot where bargains are found, and Temple City Terror was one of those.

The dark bay filly sold for $22,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale as hip number 3654, which was way back in the sale. But the fact is that the September sale presents good athletes in every book throughout the sale.

Temple City Terror is one of those, and she was snapped up by Pocket Aces Racing, which races the mare in partnership with Somewhere Stable Kentucky LLC. They didn’t get quick rewards with this filly, however. That’s the reason she wasn’t in great demand; she required time and patience.

And even when they began racing her at age three, she required 10 starts to win a maiden special. The connections knew she was a good athlete, or they would have deposited her in a claiming race and let someone else reap the rewards.

Temple City Terror had a pair of seconds, a pair of thirds, and a trio of fourths from her nine starts before winning. Then she won a pair of allowances at four, won and placed in stakes at five, and just won her first graded stakes at six.

That is so contrary to the pattern of demand for American racing performance that it boggles the mind.

Just as Temple City Terror has turned the typical pattern of development and racing on its head, so Silky Sullivan (Sullivan) turned typical racing patterns upside down.

Orby won the Derby at Epsom and at the Curragh in 1907, then sired the 1919 Derby winner Grand Parade. A son of the top sire Orme and grandson of unbeaten Ormonde, Orby was out of Rhoda B., by the great American racehorse and sire Hanover. Orby is the male-line ancestor of Silky Sullivan, descending through The Boss, Sir Cosmo, and Panorama.

A racer of exceptional charisma in 1958 when he sometimes dropped 25 lengths or more behind the leaders, Silky Sullivan brought tens of thousands of racing fans to their feet, screaming wildly, when he would come thundering around the turn and gobbling up ground through the stretch.

The burly chestnut scored his greatest victory in the 1958 Santa Anita Derby, making a dramatic dash through the stretch to win the race and becoming one of the greatest fan favorites of racing.

Silky Sullivan came to Kentucky for the Derby, was followed by the press and video coverage every time he came out of his stall, started co-second favorite for the classic, and ran a dud of a race, finishing 12th of 14. After dropping back 30 lengths at a half-mile, Silky Sullivan was able to pick up a dozen lengths or so but nothing like his California stretch runs.

Calumet’s Tim Tam (Tom Fool) won the race by a half-length as the other co-second choice, and Elizabeth Arden’s favored juvenile champion Jewel’s Reward (Jet Jewel) was fourth, seven lengths behind the winner.

Silky Sullivan went back to California, where his popularity never really waned. In all, he won 12 of his 27 races. The fan favorite went to stud in California, and each St. Patrick’s Day made a special appearance at Golden Gate Fields.

So, with Temple City Terror and Silky Sullivan making a success of a back-to-front racing style, who’s to say that upside down is wrong?