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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pletcher On the Fence, Behind in Earnings

- Haskin had reported the other day that Keyed Entry was a go for the Derby, but the Form reports today that though he’ll be flown to Kentucky, he will work twice - this Sunday and April 30 - before Pletcher makes a decision. One of owners told the Albany Times-Union: "Any talk about him running in the Derby is premature." His presence could rachet up the speed up even more; in fact, he’s one horse that perhaps could run with Sinister Minister if he wanted to. But he would probably fit better in a race like the Met Mile, mentioned as a possible next start if he skips the Derby.

Pletcher wouldn’t dismiss Bluegrass Cat, using the Keeneland excuse, and trying to suggest that he bounced. "If you look at any of the other figures, it [the Tampa Bay Derby] was his lifetime best. Ragozin-wise it was the top, Beyer-wise it was the top."

Pletcher would like to run Sunriver, but he’s sitting at number 25 in the upgraded earnings rankings (updated on The Downey Profile). I’d like to see that too. He’s improved nicely through a solid (these days) six races of experience. He’s never run badly around two turns on a fast track, and his Florida Derby effort, in which he was steadied early and was very wide throughout the turn, was pretty impressive I thought. He obviously has classic bloodlines, being a full brother to Ashado, and personally I think that Sunriver has a better chance to get a piece of the purse than either of Pletcher’s other two, and he'd be a longshot I'd use in my wagers. With horses in the top 20 unlikely to defect, he’ll have to earn his way in via the Lexington this weekend, and then run back two weeks later.

- Private Vow, third in the Ark Derby, and Storm Treasure, the 65-1 runnerup in the Blue Grass are both headed for the Derby for Steve Asmussen. Private Vow had picked up some support from handicappers prior to the weekend – I heard Frank Lyons on TVG say that he “loved” him in the race. He didn’t run too bad, and I suppose that those who liked him Saturday may like him again due to the third-race-off-the-layoff theory (which, of course, contradicts the three-preps-necessary-for-the-Derby theory). It seems to me that Asmussen was a bit overconfident, perhaps even arrogant with this colt. He was snitty with reporters who questioned him about the strategy, and will now press on despite being beaten soundly twice by both Lawyer Ron and Steppenwolfer, and despite the fact that the horse’s running style, being the same as at least half of the prospective field, doesn’t really fit. I always thought he was part of the second tier anyway. Still, expecting connections to give up their Derby quest, especially in the post-Giacomo era is, I suppose, like expecting Donald Rumsfeld to finally quit. Some people just can’t take a hint. (Though Frank Brothers is doing the right thing and will not run First Samurai in the Derby.)

- Here’s the latest on Highland Cat: Bill [Turner] said that he has worked on Highland Cat's hocks, and he expects HC to race very well in his next start because of that. Ah, the old hocks excuse. The trainer seems determined to try him on the dirt again, perhaps dropping him to 35K maiden claimers.

[UPDATE: Discreet Cat will not run in the Derby.]


t said...

Man, I just love Pinkerton. I'll take him over Friedman, even.

Discreet Cat out, eh? I love that I find this out from you instead of the msm.

Anonymous said...

...i just saw the Discreet Cat news on the Godolphin site...and then i let out another few choice words...uggghhhhhh...

...and isn't it ironic that he's declared out IMMEDIATELY after the Churchill racing secretary is quoted in the DRF saying that "they touched base with us and said he's coming"...kinda makes me wonder if he encountered some type of sickness/injury between then and now...