- The entries are in for the Lane’s End at Turfway on Saturday, and Spanish Chestnut is the morning line fave at 5-2. I don’t know if any serious Derby contenders will emerge from this race, but it sure looks like a fun race to wager on. Magna Graduate is rated at 3-1, while Zito’s Andromeda’s Hero, who Lauren Stitch had me wanting to call Vegas and get down on him to win every race for the rest of his career (probably about 4 races the way things go these days), is the 5-1 third choice. As visually impressive as his last at Tampa may have been, it only earned a Beyer of 79. That must be a funny track, the Beyers seem to come in significantly lower than one might think, as it did with Sun King this past weekend. Nonetheless, the number doesn’t reflect all the trouble he had, and with Zito’s reputation, I’d wager that you won’t see 5-1 on him come post time. Rafael Bejarano will ride; he returns to the track where he won the riding title at Turfway last year with a record 150 wins. [Bloodhorse]
- Back in California, the rain continues to wreak havoc on workout schedules, so Scipion, extremely disappointing in the Louisiana Derby, worked 7f in 1:28.40 on the turf course, as he prepares for the SA Derby. Craig Dollase is still hoping to make the SA Derby with Wilko despite his quarter crack, according to today’s Thoroughbred Daily News. But Corey Nakatani is abandoning him for Sweet Catomine, no tough decision there.
- Speaking of the Thoroughbred Daily News, I’ve often sung its praises here, and lamented the fact that due to its subscription and PDF only format, I’m unable to share much of it with you here. I particularly look forward to the Wednesday issues, which generally feature columns by pedigree experts Alan Porter and Bill Oppenheimer. The latter is the creator of the APEX figures, in which he judges sires’ performances not on their progeny’s total earnings, but rather on the number of what he calls ‘A’ runners, which is the number of their offspring that have achieved a designated level of earnings. So whereas a horse that earned an oversized bonus like Smarty Jones distorts the rankings by giving a big boost to his sire, the APEX system gives a more accurate picture of just how many quality horses a stallion is producing over the course of his career. Oppenheimer’s columns are always a good read; yesterday he wrote about, and meticulously demonstrated with statistics and graphs, the fast growing percentage of ‘A’ runners that have what he calls “top and bottom” inbreeding to Northern Dancer; that is horses whose sire and broodmare sire are both out of that sire line.
I did want to relate one passage he wrote in that column that is not quite on that subject, but instead concerns the concept of ‘class.’
Of all the things that impact upon performance, this might be the one most important element. And it’s intangible. I’ve never yet met anyone who could measure it, much less bottle it. At best, we can maybe point to it, identify it: ‘there you are, that’s class.’ No wonder there’s no formula to manufacture top racehorses.Nor to handicap them. Especially when you’re trying to predict which one of 20 talented young racehorses possess the genetic background and the class to run that one eighth of a mile further than they ever have before.