- The CHRB is quite busy these days. They took time from the Sweet Catomine affair to accuse the Jockey Guild of not meeting its obligation regarding jockeys’ insurance claims.
In a letter to Albert Fiss, vice president of the Jockeys' Guild, CHRB commissioner Richard B. Shapiro wrote that he finds it "inexcusable for the Jockeys' Guild to have members who are being turned over to collection agencies."Whatsmore, jockey Ron Warren Jr has formed an alternate group to represent California riders called, originally enough, the California Jockey Guild, and claims that he has 65 members. He promises to produce more unpaid claims.
Shapiro continued, "We have been advised these claims have been unpaid and left unresolved. No matter what the reason, it is an obligation of the Jockeys' Guild to serve and assist its members in such a manner that no one is turned over to a collection agency, and to fully inform jockeys as to the proper procedures and health care providers for their medical needs." [Bloodhorse]
- How psyched are you for this weekend’s Derby preps? The Blue Grass has 7 entrants, and we’ll get to perhaps deduce the relative strengths of the California, Florida (GP), and Louisiana contingents, as well as Sun King with he, Consolidator, Bandini, and High Limit meeting. I think I’ve written every weekend that a race is the most interesting prep thus far, but this is the most interesting prep thus far. Frankel says we’ll quite possibly see how High Limit does sitting off the pace. "We're going to learn whether he can sit off other horses or not…….If they don't go, we'll go," said Frankel. "Being outside, we've got options. We can see what's going on." [Daily Racing Form] With Consolidator and Spanish Chestnut entered, it seems a good chance that we'll have a chance to see just how versatile High Limit can be.
Someone is going to be a good price here; though High Limit is the morning line choice, many feel that Sun King will go off as the favorite. It’s quite likely that Bandini will be the 4th choice; he’s been out since the Fountain of Youth, in which he made his impressive rally for second behind…..er….oh yeah, High Fly, remember him?
"[Bandini] had a temperament problem," said Tristan Barry, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "He was fighting other horses. That was kind of his downfall. We've corrected the problem." [Lexington Herald Ledger]Hmm, sounds like he was gelded! But given his breeding, he’ll sure be retired before that happens!
- Meanwhile, can you believe that Afleet Alex is the morning line choice in the Arkansas Derby?
"It was a tough call making Afleet Alex the favorite," Oaklawn oddsmaker Russ Ramstad said. "But he deserves to be on the basis of his entire race record. I have to throw out his last race in the Rebel because he had a legitimate excuse." [Louisville Courier-Journal]Greater Good drew the outside and is the 5-2 second choice; assuming we don’t see him rocket to the lead again like in the Rebel, the post shouldn’t hurt his chance too much. His trainer Bob Holthus is surprised about the line too.
"I’m a little surprised…..The other horse [Afleet Alex] has never won a race going two turns. How could you believe he’s going to be the favorite going a mile and a eighth?" [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]Agreed; I hope he really does go off the favorite. There are some interesting possibilities that could be decent prices in Andromeda’s Hero, Wild Desert, and Flower Alley.
- Paul Moran of Newsday on George Steinbrenner paying $87,000 for Bellamy Road: “This is the racing equivalent to signing Alex Rodriguez at John Flaherty's salary.” [Newsday]