- Bob Baffert seems to have decided on the jockey assignments for his three Kentucky Derby starters.
"Sinister Minister is a horse whose speed can't be controlled....That's why Gomez is going with Bob and John (in the Derby), because there's so much speed. If he felt he could rate him, it might be different. But a lot could still happen. Victor Espinoza would ride Sinister Minister if Gomez rides Bob and John, and right now, Gomez is riding Bob and John because of the speed factor. If the Derby was a mile and an eighth, he probably would take Sinister Minister. But I'm going to get my positions, because I've got a speed horse, a horse that should be in the middle of the pack and one that comes from behind. I'm covered. I'm just going to have a good time." [NY Daily News]Sounds to me like Baffert is already having a good time! In fact, he sounds positively delirious, if not nearly incoherent!
- Angel Cordero denied reports that John Velazquez has a punctured lung, and didn’t even rule him out of the Derby.
"He has no punctured lung....He has a small crack in his shoulder blade. There's a lot of soreness and bruising, but that's a good hospital and they're not going to let him go (after an overnight stay) if they think something is wrong."- Nice five furlong work for Sweetnorthernsaint at Laurel yesterday; a bullet (out of 25) five furlongs in company in a minute flat. "We put that other horse out there as a target," [trainer Mike] Trombetta said. "(Sweetnorthernsaint) went in :25, :37, :49 and then he picked it up and came home in :11. It was a good work." [Thoroughbred Times] Sounds like a pretty great work if he came home in 11 seconds, and that half mile fraction was confirmed by a clocker in the local Baltimore Sun. Jockey Mario Pino was up for the ride, and he said that the colt made an "awesome move finishing up." [Bloodhorse]
As for riding in the Derby, Cordero said, "It doesn't look good, but we don't know for sure. It's too soon after the injury. [NY Post]
This is a serious contender, despite all my talk about an out-of-the-clouds closer. It’s always possible that one of the group considered the top contenders – Brother Derek, Lawyer Ron, Barbaro, and, to some, Sweetnorthernsaint – could just prove to be the best horse, and I’m starting to think more and more that if that’s going to be the case, it will be Sweetnorthernsaint. Perhaps at a nice price too; I'd think certainly more than 5-1, doncha think? I’ll have more to say about this horse but it will have to wait until after the Rangers game. Reader Throwaway, another horseplayer who will (hopefully) not be watching the Lexington Stakes live today, wrote about him in the comments section here.
Mario Pino lost the mount on Sweetnorthernsaint because of a hernia; what a tough break.
“I said to my doctor, 'I've got a nice mount, can we prolong this?' He said, 'I wouldn't prolong this.' I figured if I don't protect myself, I can't ride. In the long run, this is better for me." [Thoroughbred Times][UPDATED 2:46PM] Todd Pletcher just told Gary Stevens on TVG that Garrett Gomez will come from California to ride for him at Keeneland, Churchill, and then up in New York. He also said that Pat Valenzuela would ride Keyed Entry should that one go in the Derby.