- Mark Casse will make a decision on Seaside Retreat (#19 on the graded earnings list) after watching him work out on Thursday, as if a good workout would somehow make a horse with a lifetime best non-Polytrack Beyer of 79 worthy of competing in the Derby. He ran second in the Lane’s End to the late With A City, who was beaten by 50 in the Arkansas Derby. Seaside Retreat only lost by 32 1/2 in the Blue Grass. He’s owned by William Farish, who you’d think would have a little more respect for the game than to clutter the field with this horse.
The second most interested observer of the workout could be Todd Pletcher, whose Sunriver is still stuck at #21.
- Bloodhorse.com is, for some reason, prominently running a story entitled Odds-On Favorites Are Good Bet in Derby today, even though it’s certainly odds-on that there won’t be one in the Derby this year. Easy Goer was the last favorite to go off less than even money, and was beaten at 4-5 at 1989. I think it will be some time before we see another horse go off favored like that here in the post-Giacomo era of guaranteed 20 horse fields, unless a real freak emerges.
The one on the list that really stands out is Honest Pleasure, who went to the Derby post in 1976 at 2-5 when only NINE horses competed in the race! I think it’s fair to say that we’ll never see that again in our lifetime, don’t you? Honest Pleasure was the juvenile champ, and had won the Florida Derby, Blue Grass, and the Flamingo, which was Hialeah’s big Derby prep. But he couldn’t catch Bold Forbes and Angel Cordero, who held on despite setting fractions close to what we may see this year - :22 2/5, :45 4/5, and 1:10 2/5. He came home in 26 seconds for a final time of 2:01 3/5, as Cordero pulled out all of his tricks to get the speedster home, drifting out at the top of the stretch and carrying the favorite wide. The way that Cordero somehow got Bold Forbes home in the Belmont (after getting the half in 47 seconds) remains one of the greatest riding feats you’ll ever see. Check it out here, with Dave Johnson on the mike. Runner-up MacKenzie Bridge doesn’t even get a call until deep stretch; that’s how far he came to just miss.
- Bob Holthus told the Albany Times-Union that "There have been some people who have compared (Lawyer Ron's) stride to Secretariat." Whoa, boy! One trainer is apparently not one of those people whispering sweet nothings into Holthus' ear.
Tim Ritchey, who trained Afleet Alex, said he was not impressed with Lawyer Ron's 2 3/4 -length win in the Arkansas Derby. Even though he won, Ritchey said the horse did not relax and rushed up early to seize the lead.
He got away with it in Hot Springs. He might not be so fortunate in Kentucky.
"You can't do that when you are trying to win at 1 1/4 miles (Derby distance)," Ritchey said from Delaware Park on Tuesday. "He went very early and the track was slow and the time wasn't that fast. If he isn't relaxed, it will be hard to win the Derby. But it also wouldn't surprise me at all if he won the race. He has talent." [Albany Times-Union]