- Todd Pletcher is now in an interesting position with his Sunriver, as far as the graded earnings race for the Derby goes. Like Now has been declared out of the Derby, and With A City, whose owner declared that his 50 length defeat in the Arkansas Derby was “not letting it deter us at all,” is now considered unlikely after being euthanized due to an unknown disease. So Sunriver stands at #21, which means that Pletcher has a chance to control his own fate (though it won’t be necessary if Mark Casse does the right thing and withdraws Lane’s End runner-up Seaside Retreat). The trainer has Bluegrass Cat and Keyed Entry safely in the Top 20, so if he really believes strongly in Sunriver, he can get him in by withdrawing one of the others, assuming that the owners go along with him, certainly not a sure bet. Personally, I think that both of those colts have disqualified themselves from serious contention.
But it sounds like Keyed Entry will be in after a workout at Churchill yesterday that Pletcher called “dynamite.”
Keyed Entry worked six furlongs alone in 1:13, according to Pletcher's stopwatch. The Churchill clockers caught the final five-eighths of a mile in a sparkling 1:004/5.With Patrick Valenzuela slated to ride, is there anyone who still thinks there won’t be a suicidal pace?
"He was pretty relaxed, finished well and galloped out great," he said. [Louisville Courier-Journal]
- Cause to Believe worked 6 furlongs in 1:12.55 at Golden Gate on Saturday, and finished strongly with a final eighth of a mile in 12.02 seconds. That’s the kind of closing kick that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer thinks can win the Derby. "It comes down to the way the race is shaping up…..Everybody does all the plotting and planning, and you're only making a guess, but you have to go on something. We're just saying there is a lot of speed in this rac.” [SF Chronicle]
- Derby workouts today: Bob and John went seven furlongs in 1:25 (3/6), Brother Derek the same distance in a pokey 1:28.40 (5/6), and Point Determined the quickest of all, getting the distance in 1:24.80; all at Santa Anita.
- No excuse I could see for Lost in the Fog. Sure, he got hooked up with a tough and fast sprinter, but he’s got to get used to that. There was the layoff, of course, but Greg Gilchrist didn’t use that as an excuse when he said "You have the Eclipse Award winner, you're supposed to overcome things….They both ran on the same racetrack. He wasn't the best horse today." [SF Chronicle]
- And sorry, didn’t mean to offend anyone by joking about With A City’s sudden passing, but his connections certainly didn’t seem to have the horse’s best interests in mind, which can make yours truly a little bitter. As Dan Illman said in the FormBlog today: Perhaps all he needed was a little break from the rigors of training, and a return against easier competition. This horse had been in training straight through since last May, and despite his win on Polytrack in the Lane’ End, had shown absolutely no indication that he belonged anywhere near this type of company. In looking for an explanation for his tragic death, I think the owner needs to at least take a quick peek in the mirror.