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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sweet Catomine's Problems

- Sweet Catomine’s owner Martin Wygod is on the defensive after revealing after the race that the filly had some problems. She bled after her :59 1/5 workout earlier in the week, and a foot problem on Wednesday, and he said he was 50/50 on scratching her.

"I was going to go public with this, but the whole campaign here has centered on that," Wygod said of publicity featuring Sweet Catomine. "… (Trainer) Julio (Canani) thought she was perfect (yesterday) morning, so we went with her."

When asked about Canani's comment on Friday that the filly was "super," Wygod said. "That's Julio Canani. That's not me. She bled in her last work. … If anybody had asked me the questions, I'd have answered. I was not feeling good about her. [Louisville Courier-Journal]

For Wygod to say that he didn’t tell the betting public because of PR considerations raises some questions. Bill Christine in the LA Times asks:
How much does an owner owe the public about the pre-race condition of a horse, and should a horse with multiple physical problems be allowed to run?

Ron Charles, executive director of Magna Entertainment's California tracks, said he and Wygod had discussed Sweet Catomine's problems Wednesday, shortly after entries were taken.

"I said then that it was their decision to make [about running]," Charles said after Saturday's race. "Julio is a very competent trainer, and as long as he was comfortable with running, there shouldn't have been a problem." [LA Times]

During the week, Wygod was indignant that so many horses, including two maidens, had entered the race against Sweet Catomine, complaining that she wasn’t getting any respect. And though he told the LA Times “In my [pre-race] interviews on NBC, I said the horse had problems. I was pretty explicit,” if he did tell NBC anything, it ended up on the cutting room floor. The only mention of problems in the pre-recorded piece on Sweet Catomine in which Wygod appeared was Canani saying “This mare got no problems. I got problems.”

- Nick Zito spoke about his “problems.”
"I don't know one parent who chooses any child over another," said Zito when asked about his five talented 3-year-olds... "I'm just glad this one is in the family." [LA Times]
On NBC after the race, Zito said that jockey Javier Castellano was “in a zone” right now, but chuckled and said “I didn’t like that too much,” when watching him pump his fist to the crowd; personally, I thought that was awesome. The trainer added that God has been “rocking him in His arms all winter.” Zito’s a humble guy that you just gotta like.

The commentators on NBC were all blown away by the performance; they all agreed that he seemed to be moving so easily and not all that fast; Battaglia said that his jaw dropped when he saw the times, and Neumieir said that the Boss had Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and Hideki Matsui all rolled into one, and predicted that he’ll end up being the Pool 3 favorite at 5 or 6-1; he was 39-1 earlier in the day.

- Jeff Mullins, saddled his third consecutive SA Derby winner in Buzzard’s Bay. It was a really tough performance, three wide both turns and refused to let Wilko and General John B get by in a 12 3/5 second final 8th. Mullins will go to the Derby for the fourth time, with his best finish being Buddy Gil’s 6th in 2003. He won’t be shipping the son of Marco Bay to Kentucky any time soon:
"You learn a little more every year, and what I've learned is that the track you train on before the Derby isn't the same one you run on the day of the race." [SignonSanDiego]
Charlsie Cantey and Tom Hammond on NBC did briefly mention Mullins’ problems with “certain additives” that his horses had tested positive for. According to the NY Times: was clear Mullins was still smarting from the drug test and from the uproar over his belittling of bettors. He said he hardly cared that the public ignored his horse before the race.

"I don't gamble and his price didn't affect me - we took home the money," Mullin said. "It gives me a lot of satisfaction. I'm going to still win races.” [NY Times]