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Friday, April 08, 2005

The Wood

- The Wood features two “legit” Derby candidates invading the turf of the locals who, with the exception of Survivalist, have for the most part spent the winter in New York. “Inner track” horses, usually deemed inferior, and I don’t generally disagree. But the running styles of the morning line choices Bellamy Road and Going Wild could help set things up for someone else. Bellamy Road(Concerto) is certainly not to be taken lightly; unlike Zito’s Noble Causeway, this horse does have stakes experience at 2, having won a Grade 3 at Riudoso Downs, beating Scipion and 6 others. But he then quit badly in a G1, the Breeders Futurity, won by Consolidator. His only race since that Oct 9 debacle was the easy allowance win at 1 turn at GP, and this will be a far tougher affair. I’ll pass if the oddsmaker that made him morning line favorite is right.

He figures to have company up front from Going Wild (Golden Missile). His win in the 9f Sham was a revelation, his first try beyond 7 furlongs; nevertheless he did crawl home the last quarter mile. He ran well in the Santa Catalina after having problems at the gate and not getting to the lead as usual. Some people point to this as evidence that he can rate, but he looks to me like a horse that wants the lead and who will be there if he can. Besides Bellamy Road, there should be pace pressure from Scrappy T and Galloping Grocer (A.P Jet). The latter did show an ability to sit just behind the early leaders in the Gotham, and it was on this course at this distance that he tracked Rockport Harbor and battled him home bravely. He’ll be right behind the leaders early but will certainly look to get involved before too long.

Survivalist came five wide to run down the leaders in the Gotham, a big trip that has been a bit overlooked given the problems suffered by others; he will certainly benefit should a fast pace unfold. He’s trying two turns for the first time. While his running style and pedigree (Danzig, out of a full sister to Seeking the Gold) suggest he should at least get this distance, he’s still trying it for the first time, so make sure the price is right.

We all know about the escapades of Pavo (Marquetry) in the Gotham, with the lost irons and stray whip. Jerry Bailey certainly enhances his chances, but I think he prefers one turn.

Naughty New Yorker (Quiet American) has been in training since last summer. It took him four tries against New York bred maiden company to get his first win. But since then, trainer Pat Kelly started spacing his races a month apart, and he’s fired every single time, especially in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway around 2 turns on the inner track, earning twin 96 figs that make him competitive here. The Gotham distance was not his best game, yet he still made his run until getting smaked by Alan Garcia’s whip, proving that he’s not just an horse for the inner course. He gets a fast pace here, two turns, some extra ground to make his run, and though I don’t think he’ll really be 10-1, he should still be a nice price in an extremely competitive race.

Great betting race. I like Naughty New Yorker, with Survivalist and Going Wild.