- The Form’s clocker Mike Welsch said that Alex Solis did not let Brother Derek do too much during his work .
This work did little to wipe out the memory of his work last Monday at Santa Anita, but it also didn't give anybody a reason to toss the Derby favorite. It was, simply put, a cautious final maintenance move performed under less-than-optimum conditions by a very talented horse.On The Works, Gary Stevens said that he liked the horse even more now after this work, and again got into it in fairly heated fashion with Amoss over the previous work at Santa Anita. Amoss again questioned whether the horse will be able to finish after rating, while Stevens related a phone call from Solis in which he insisted that he already knows that the horse can rate, and was trying to let him get hit in the face by dirt. Stevens said there was no reason that Brother Derek had to prove he could finish in a workout, while Amoss countered that you “practice what you play.” Lyons sided with Amoss.
- Walter reported on seeing an NBC promo that mentioned "unbeaten favorite Barbaro." I think anyone who’s following all this would be more than a little surprised if Barbaro ended up as the favorite. This race seems like a tough sell for the network; even the human interest stories of Dan Hendricks and Michael Matz have not caught on. There are no real charismatic horses here, no catchy names or celebrity chic, all of which would have been provided by Stevie Wonderboy. I, for one, trivialized the negative effect his departure from the Derby Trail would cause. If he had gone on, with the catchy name and his dynamic closes (and yeah, Merv too) he easily could have been the type to help the race transcend the racing press and gain more mainstream attention.
I think NBC could see really low ratings for this one. Nobody except us have ever even heard of Barbaro. I just asked the Head Chef what ‘Barbaro’ is, and she had no clue. When I told her that it’s something in the context of horse racing, she said “Oh yeah. Steve Barbaro.” Steve Barbaro? But at least Barbaro the horse is undefeated. What is NBC going to say in a short promo about Brother Derek? “Unbeaten in 2006 favorite Brother Derek? Or “unbeaten on non-Polytrack dirt tracks favorite Lawyer Ron?”
Bill Handleman in the Asbury Park Press touched on the subject today.
I don't see the public as mesmerized by this group. There is no Smarty Jones in here. Or if there is, he has been careful to keep it to himself.As for us racing fans, I suppose we’d be mesmerized by the race even if the real contenders went on strike and it was run with replacement horses. But personally, I’m annoyed about all the horses that are cluttering the field, and troubled by the feeling that the result is once again is going to be more a matter of circumstance than a gauge of the horses’ abilities. The most favorable scenario would be all the hopeless speedballs getting left at the gate, and letting the four best horses battle it out fair and square. And even though I’m going to bet on it happening, another pace collapse and unlikely winner from out of the clouds will only mean more of the same for years to come.
- And speaking of horse who shouldn’t be in the field, Flashy Bull is officially in as Mister Trieste is officially out. Kiaran McLaughlin said “I'm really excited for his connections, West Point Thoroughbreds. Win or lose, the Kentucky Derby is a fabulous event and it's great for these people to be involved." [Daily Racing Form] This 'win or lose' attitude is part of the problem. It’s such a great event for the owners, especially one like West Point, who can treat their partners to a big day and use the photos as promotional material, that people will run their horses win or lose. It would be better for the sport if they all just came to win, rather that just to run. In fact, maybe they should make it so that it sucks to lose. Perhaps make the connections of the last five finishers stay and clean up afterwards. That would make them think twice.