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Monday, April 25, 2005

Notes - April 25

- The Gulfsream meet is finally over, and we look forward to the new building next year. Despite what one may think of the wisdom of even holding the meet there this year, there’s no arguing with track management over one thing – except for Afleet Alex, the top candidates for the Derby all came through Gulfstream Park – Bellamy Road, High Fly, Noble Causeway, and Bandini. We’ll withhold judgment, however, on the wisdom of moving the Florida Derby to five weeks before the big one. It did, in my opinion, dissuade more serious candidates from participating, and we’ll see how the two horses coming out of the race fare.

- Bobby Frankel has yet another potential star in his unbeaten (3 for 3, 2 stakes) 3 yo turf filly Melhor Ainda (Pulpit), who took the Appalachian on the turf at Keeneland yesterday. He says she wasn’t even that fit for this race, her first since last fall.

"The first time she ran, she finished the last eighth in :10 4/5 and you just don't see that with 2-year-old fillies….She wasn't totally fit for this race, but I thought she was so good, she would probably win it anyway." [Herald-Leader].
Though she’s out of a line of Argentine mares, she’s not the first member of her distaff family to win a U.S. stakes this year, as G1 San Juan Capistrano winner T.H. Approval (With Approval) descends from her second dam.

For Pulpit (A.P. Indy), who stands for $60,000 at Claiborne Farm, it’s his first stakes winner of the year. Pulpit was the morning line favorite in the 1997 Kentucky Derby, but went off as the 5-1 4th choice, perhaps because he had never raced as a 2 year-old, one of the cardinal sins for Derby candidates (no such horse has won since 1882), and something that we won’t be contending with this year amongst the main contenders, at least. He came into the Derby off of a win in the Blue Grass, which as we’ve noted, has not been a reliable prep as of late. He finished 4th behind winner Silver Charm, runner-up Captain Bodgit, the post-time favorite, and show horse Free House, and he was hurt during the race. Concerto, the sire of this year’s favorite Bellamy Road, finished 9th in a miniscule field of 13. Nick Zito had two runners, Jack Flash and Shammy Davis.

Another stallion son of A.P. Indy, Malibu Moon, was represented this weekend in his home state at Pimlico by Frederic Tesio winner Malibu Moonshine, who will now likely prepare for the Preakness. Malibu Moon, who stands for $30,000, never even made it to the track at 3, retiring after just 2 starts as a juvenile. His other stakes winner this year is Declan’s Moon, who we will hopefully be hearing from before too long. It was almost a Pimlico stakes double for the sire on Saturday, as his daughter Grant’s Moon finished second in a Maryland-bred stakes.