- Music School (A.P. Indy) will next race in the Rebel on March 18, according to Brisnet. Assuming that Neil Howard has Derby designs for him, and if he makes it to and runs well enough in the Rebel, he would presumably have one more prep; perhaps in the Arkansas Derby. If he then made it to Churchill, he’d be going into the Derby having raced just four times, which is pretty light in the way of experience.
There could be other lightly raced colts as well, such as Half Ours (Unbridled’s Song), Pletcher's “real horse,” according to Patrick, who on Thursday at Gulfstream will make his first start since winning the Juvenile on Derby Day last May. You figure three preps for this colt, and if he makes the grade, he will have raced five times, with an extremely long layoff along the way. Neil Drysdale denies that there’s any problem with Your Tent Or Mine (Forest Camp) despite his lack of workouts since the Hollywood Futurity. "No setbacks.....He's cantering, galloping on a daily basis." [DRF] He’ll start breezing soon for a March return, and figuring he races twice before the Derby, he would also go in with five starts, and just two this year (a no-no).
I dunno, this ain’t the way they used to do things, but take a look at the chart at the bottom of this article in the Form. It shows the Derby result of all the juvenile champions who haven’t won the race since Spectacular Bid in 1978; and it’s plain to see that the “jinx,” or whatever you want to call it, is getting worse and worse. Since Timber Country finished third in 1994, there have been six did-not-run’s (including Stevie Wonderboy), a 6th, two 8ths, a tenth and a thirteenth. Prior to ’94 (a very good year), you had Chief’s Crown run third, Easy Goer run second, and Forty Niner very nearly get the job done in 1988. There’s been nary a sniff in 12 years now, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see more and more connections go with the fresh approach. Stevie Wonderboy’s trainer Doug O’Neill left no doubt as to what he felt contributed to his horse’s injury:
“It just shows you how hard it is to go through a grueling 2-year-old campaign and then come back on the Derby trail. It's a lot of wear and tear on a horse.” [SignOnSanDiego.com]If all goes well, we’ll be having this discussion a lot in the next couple of months as horses with a little foundation like First Samurai and Lawyer Ron go up against what looks like could be a large contingent of more lightly raced colts.
- Our filly Christening (Vicar) worked five furlongs in an interminable 1:05.12 this morning, the slowest of 20 works. Hoping to get Bill Turner’s comment on that tomorrow.