- Y’know how sometimes you look back at the pp’s after the race, and you lament “if I had only played the top Beyer horses...” Sometimes you can make things more complicated than they seem. I’m not saying that that's the case for this Derby, but if you do look at the race strictly from a Beyers standpoint, it’s an easy race to figure. Sinister Minister, Sweetnorthernsaint, and Brother Derek’s last race figs stand pretty much head and shoulders over the rest of the field, and what do you think that triple box would pay for a buck? Not bad, I would guess. You can be sure that Andy Beyer, who didn’t pick any of those in his top three picks, would be kicking himself over that one. Beyer picked AP Warrior (who is the top choice in the Form’s consensus box….he is going to be an underlay), Barbaro, and Point Determined, with Sweetnorthernsaint in 4th.
- Mike Trombetta has been writing a column in the NY Post this week, and he responds to the concerns we’ve been hearing about Sweetnorthernsaint this week.
When we sent him out around 7 o'clock [Wednesday], the track was very chopped up and it had rained. When that track is flipped over and it's wet and moist like that, it kicks up and doesn't smooth back down. It's a rough surface. Sweetnorthernsaint trained OK on it. I don't think he was particularly enthused by it, but he got around there, did his job and came back home uneventfully.So, there you go. That’s about as “from the horse’s mouth” on the subject as we’re going to get. My guess is that the horse is fine.
Then somebody on TVG, I don't even know who, in their eyes and wisdom over there, decided the horse wasn't doing well all of a sudden. So be it. Everybody's got an opinion.
The boss (Ted Theos, Sweetnorthernsaint's co-owner) happened to be watching TVG. He gave me a call; he was concerned, but we're not. Sweetnorthernsaint is doing good. My exercise rider (Ernesto Ferdinand) says he feels great. If he's happy, I'm happy. [NY Post]
- Barbaro gets the nod from Tom Amoss, Gary Stevens, and, for what it’s worth, Todd Schrrmmpff; while Frank Lyons sticks with Point Determined, who may be an underlay as well; more on that below. Barbaro, indeed, seemed like the most impressive to watch on the show during the week. Last year, that award went to Bandini, who finished 19th. I’m just pointing out the facts there, not trying to make a point about Barbaro, who I will be using for sure, just not on top. I still think he could be the favorite at post time. If he wins, he’ll change a lot of perceptions about how one must prepare a horse for the Kentucky Derby, that’s for sure; remember, he’s raced just once in the last 13 weeks, and just five times overall. We could have a lot of short fields for next year’s preps if he does indeed remain undefeated.
- Bluegrass Cat has looked really nice galloping the last two days, catching the attention of the boys on The Works. If you grant him the “lost shoe” excuse in the Tampa Bay Derby and the “Keeneland” excuse in the Blue Grass, he could be worth using at 30-1.
- Baffert seemed really upset that Keyed Entry landed inside of Sinister Minister, expecting Valenzuela to make life miserable for his speedball from the inside. Angel Cordero said of Keyed Entry: "Bold Forbes and Keyed Entry, they're the strongest two I've worked." [DRF, sub. only] He added, "In the afternoon, he's a little more relaxed than in the morning….But he wants to go." Yeah, I’m really in the minority on this one, I know, and perhaps I should downgrade him. But I just can’t help but recall his rating in the Gotham behind the slow pace set by Like Now. Yes, if Valenzuela doesn’t go with Sin Min, he’ll be buried on the inside. But so what? We’re not talking about a closer who would then have to find room. He’d be on the rail close behind two horses hell-bent for the lead as the rest jockey for position on the outside, and he'd be in the best position to sneak through when the leaders tire. And while there’s little to indicate he’d be able to hold off the closers, having the lead turning for home isn’t a bad position to be in given what can transpire in a 20-horse field. So I’m leaving him in there, what the hell. The worst I can be is wrong.
- Patrick at Pulling Hair and Betting Horses lays out the whole scenario for the mile and a quarter, and while I don’t go along with all of his picks, I will agree with his prediction that Tom Durkin has 3 veins popping out of his head as they come through the stretch. Cause to Believe is finding a lot of support in our little blogosphere, between Patrick, John at The Race Is Not Always to the Swift.., and, of course, Walter. Not so in the Form, where he hits just one of the selection boxes, and where Jay Privman notes: This is my 25th straight Derby. Thought his last work was one of the worst Derby works I have seen. Five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 (18/49) breezing doesn’t look so bad on paper anyway, does it? But how can the work be labeled “breezing” if the rider was pushing and whipping him? Still, if he’s anywhere near 50-1, I agree he has to be on the tickets.
- Point Determined is another who may be an underlay at post time; he’s picking up a lot of support besides Patrick. On ESPN.com, Bill Finley and Ed McNamara have him right on top, while Jay Cronley picks him second behind Barbaro. Haskin has him amongst his top four (with SNS, AP Warrior, and Bob and John), at least during his chat session yesterday. Someone named Saratoga Slim likes him too. And this guy.
- Jay Cronley’s knock on Bob and John? “Owner passed on Reggie Bush.”