- Sire Deputy Commander (Deputy Minister) had a productive day on Saturday; his Deputy Glitters took the Tampa Bay Derby, and Red Raymond was second to Lawyer Ron in the Rebel. This stallion was riding high in 2003, when his Ten Most Wanted was prominent in the three-year old picture, duplicating his sire’s feat of winning the Travers and Super Derby after his rousing second to Empire Maker in the Belmont. Accordingly, Deputy Commander’s stud fee peaked in 2004 at $30,000; but it’s been downhill from there. He’s available at Airdrie Stud for $10,000 these days. While Ten Most Wanted was one of nine stakes winner from that initial crop, each of his three subsequent crops to race through 2005 had produced only one stakes winner each; at least until Deputy Glitters became the second from the class of 2003. In fact, as far as I can tell, Deputy Glitters was the first graded stakes winner for Deputy Commander in North America since Ten Most Wanted.
Deputy Glitters is out of a mare by Glitterman, whose progeny have an average winning distance of 6.25 furlongs. He’s a total outcross through his first five generations, and there’s not much else in the pedigree that catches one’s attention. His owner, Joseph LaCombe, said that having a horse on the Triple Crown trail is "sort of a once-in-a-lifetime thing." [Bradenton Herald] Sort of. La Combe also owned Favorite Trick, the 1997 Horse of the Year who ran 7th in the Derby and now stands in New Mexico for $4000.
Deputy Glitters has certainly shown an affinity for Tampa Bay Downs; we hear about how some horses don't take to that surface and that can work both ways. Trainer Tom Albertrani mentioned the Wood and the Blue Grass as possible next starts.
As for Red Raymond, Deputy Commander’s first stakes winner from his 2003 crop (he won a stakes at Ellis Park last year), perhaps he does, as Scientific Sue suggested here the other day, deserve a closer look. He broke a bit awkwardly in the Rebel, and then, while already towards the back of the pack, got caught in a squeeze entering the backstretch and found himself dead last. He was still trailing as they approached the final turn, but Luis Quinonez swung him out six wide to circle the field; and this is the interesting part of the race to watch. He really just seemed to glide past horses on the turn, as Quinonez did not start his drive until he straightened for home; in fact, the race chart, which doesn't usually editorialize, called it a nice move. Bob Holthus now says that Red Raymond will stay at Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby rather than running in the Illinois Derby.
- Ten Most Wanted stands at Gainesway for $10,000. His first crop are weanlings this year, and they have a couple of foal pictures up on the Gainesway site. Check out this cutie.
He’s already my favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yahoo! The Stallion Register Online offers free hypo mating for Ten Most Wanted here.
- It looks like not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Keyed Entry’s effort in the Gotham. Watchmaker in the Form says of the Gotham :
..the reason why the Gotham is unlikely to be a serious factor come the Kentucky Derby is because none of the top three finishers looked like he could be effective, or improve, in a truly run race at a longer distance than the 1 1/16 miles they got on Saturday.Bill Finley, on ESPN.com, opines: No excuses when couldn’t run down sprinter in Gotham. Not a mile-and-a-quarter horse. Haskin is more favorable, pointing out that he rated and was striding out well in the final furlong but you have to run pretty bad to get onto his list of disappointments. I dunno, Watchmaker and Finley may be right about his distance limitations, but I personally didn’t see anything in his performance that would rule out his being able to go longer. (And we’ve already established that Like Now is not necessarily just a sprinter.)