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Thursday, April 07, 2005

11 in SA Derby

- Entries are in for the Santa Anita Derby, and 11 are scheduled to go (10 betting interests). The size of the field shouldn’t really be a surprise; with Declan’s Moon (remember him?) having left the scene, and with Lukas’ contenders off to the east, the field is full of horses that have shown more potential than wins on the racetrack this year. Except for Sweet Catomine that is, which is why she’s been established as the 7-5 morning line favorite. I’m pretty psyched about that; I’m taking a stand against her, and while this may set me up for ridicule and embarrassment, I’ll have some fun looking for value amongst her opponents.

At least one person agrees with me. Gary Stevens told the Racing Form:

"I think it's wide open," he said. "I haven't been that impressed with her..... I would have thought she would have run off and hid from some of those horses..” [Daily Racing Form]
Stevens won’t be around, as he’ll be at Keeneland to ride Summerly. Another skeptic, though a more biased one, is Ron Ellis, the trainer of Don’t Get Mad, the 7-2 morning line second choice.
"I'm not as impressed with her 3-year-old races as I was with her 2-year-old races. I'm not so sure that she's actually taken a step forward...”

"She's going to have to kick it up a couple notches numbers-wise and time-wise to get involved with the colts. There isn't a standout in here, and I don't think that she's scaring anybody away, that's for sure." [Bloodhorse]
Wilko has recovered from his latest quarter crack; his trainer Craig Dollase is optimistic.
"I'm pretty excited about his chances," he said. "He's a small, little bulldog type of horse with a heart the size of this racetrack. I'm not really happy about the post, but we'll have to overcome. He's overcome a lot before." [Bloodhorse]
Frankie Dettori, who rode him in the BC Juvenile, flies in for the ride, replacing Corey Nakatani, who rides the filly. Nakatani, of course, disagrees with her detractors.
"Wilko and Sweet Catomine are both very talented horses, but Sweet Catomine is one of the best fillies I've ever sat on....I'll ride her with a lot of confidence. I think she was about 80% going into her prep races. Now I think she's between 90 and 100%.

Julio knows he doesn't want to squeeze the lemon dry. He wants to save something for the big dance [the Kentucky Derby on May 7].” [LA Times]
Wayne Lukas has entered a maiden, A.P. Arrow (A.P. Indy); he’s run only once and finished second. Seems a stretch, though the colt is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner and millionaire Geri (Theatrical); this is also the family of champion filly Sacahuista.

- Rockport Harbor is still 50/50 for the Arkansas Derby, but is doing better in his latest comeback, and returned to the track for the first time, jogging a mile.
If Rockport Harbor continues to progress physically, Servis said he will try to work the colt seveneighths of a mile Sunday morning to get a better handle on the best route to make the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
In a sign that Servis will increase the intensity of Sunday’s tentative work, he said Rockport Harbor will breeze in company under a yet to be named jockey.
Rockport Harbor, who has been plagued with physical problems this year, hasn’t had what Servis considers an actual workout since March 4. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
That’s well over a month, and shows us just how far he has to go. At least his foot is apparently recovered. "As for the foot, that’s great. It’s ice cold," [Servis] said. [Thoroughbred Times]