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Friday, May 19, 2006

Invasor Looks Special

- Wanderin Boy, the 4-5 favorite in the Pimlico Special, didn’t look like he would get beat as he turned for home, least of all by Invasor (Candy Stripes), who looked like he was done when he was passed by West Virginia, and perhaps even by Harlington, on the final turn. “Invasor coming back for more!” announcer Dave Rodman noted with surprise as the four-year old (by North American standards) rallied up the inside (after brushing West Virginia on the way). The winner paid $14.40 for a happy trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who will saddle Like Now in the Preakness.

Invasor ran 4th, beaten by seven lengths by Discreet Cat [EDIT - in the UAE Derby], and Walter is amongst those of us wondering what is going on with him. The last news of him on the Godolphin website was the April 18th report that he would skip the Derby, and will instead be shipped to the US and stabled at Belmont Park where he will be prepared for some of the major races in the second half of the season. But there have been no timed workouts, and who knows if he’s even here yet? Nonetheless, his stock is certainly up now after this race. And Testimony, who actually beat Invasor in Dubai, goes in the Peter Pan at Belmont on Saturday.

A claim of foul on Dominguez by West Virginia’s rider Noberto Arroyo was disallowed. But the same two riders were involved in the prior race, the Black Eyed Susan, when Arroyo was taken down on Smart’N’Pretty for drifting out into Dominguez on the declared winner Regal Engagement (Cat Thief). Watching the head-on, you see the two fillies leaning on each other, and suddenly Arroyo bears out, forcing Dominguez to steady. Arroyo, however, explained "She bumped my hind end and turned me sideways." Losing trainer Dale Romans said that "could have gone either way." [Daily Racing Form]

For Regal Engagement’s struggling sire, Cat Thief, it’s a stakes win but not a new stakes winner, as the filly was already one of his two stakes winners.

Pool Land was pretty damn impressive winning the Allaire du Pont Breeders' Cup Distaff, and the Pletcher trainee is a two-turn monster, with a perfect four-for-four.

- Great stuff by Jerry Bailey on the ESPN telecast of the Special. He spoke about how the seas more or less parted for Barbaro after the start of the Derby. As he stumbled coming out of the gate, you see the horses to each side breaking away from him, which gave him a clear lane through which to recover. Bailey explained that there is no penalty for a horse brushing another in that first step coming out of the gate, and he said that he would sometimes try to intentionally have his horse come out and into a particular rival, if the situation called for it! He implicitly encouraged Alex Solis and/or Kent Desormeaux to do the same to Barbaro if they wanted to have a chance to beat him. They also showed Bailey's winning ride on Red Bullet in the 2000 Preakness. During the replay, he explained how he rushed the horse up towards the front quicker than he normally would have, so that he could gain position on Fusaichi Pegasus coming into the stretch, and force him to go around him. And again, he suggested that Alex Solis have similar positions established on Barbaro as they turn for home.

- On a subsequent half hour ESPN Preakness special, Jay Privman of the Form tried to make his case for Sweetnorthernsaint by showing a tape of the 1985 Kentucky Derby, in which Tank’s Prospect made a big move up the inside similar to what SNS did this year. Tank’s Prospect went on to win the Preakness. But one of the other guys on the show pointedly noted that that year's Derby winner, Spend A Buck, didn’t run in the Preakness.

In fact, Spend A Buck skipped the Preakness, and a chance at the Triple Crown, to run in the Jersey Derby instead, and thus go for a $2 million bonus that was offered by Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan, Jr, for any horse that could win two Derby preps there, plus the Kentucky and Jersey Derbys. Pimlico president Chick Lang called Brennan a "a snake-oil salesman,” an observation that later proved to be true when a federal judge labeled his penny stock business a "massive and continuing fraud" for which he was fined $75 million.[NJ Star Ledger) He’s currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for bankruptcy fraud. The $5 million Triple Crown bonus was instituted in 1987 to prevent future defections.

The really interesting thing about Spend A Buck is that the two preps that he won were the Cherry Hill Mile, on April 6, and the Garden State Stakes, on April 20. So Spend A Buck went into the Derby after running twice in the preceding month! These days, that would be far more radical than even the one prep in 13 week strategy employed by Michael Matz. Yet it was just 21 years ago. Well, I guess that’s a long time. It just doesn’t seem that way.

10 Comments:

Walter said...

...Discreet Cat arrived @ Belmont roughly two weeks before the Derby...i don't think it's all that unusual he hasn't worked yet, as the plan after skipping the Derby was obviously to take it easy on him and give him some time to grow (he was a late foal)...it was announced that he wouldn't be participating in any of the Triple Crown races...however, his connections were quoted as saying he'd go in the Dwyer, and i'm just wondering when that is (i was too lazy to look it up myself, i figured one of you East Coast guys might know off the top of your head)...in any case, i'd expect him to start gearing up roughly a month before the race, whenever that is...if we get inside a month and he still hasn't hit the worktab, there might be some kind of problem...and i'm already alert to the possibility of a "problem", just based on the fact he passed the Derby in the first place (especially after his connections reportedly contacted the Churchill racing office and said he was coming, just a day or two before he was declared from the race)...i'm giving Discreet Cat/Godolphin the benefit of the doubt, but again, i'd like to see him hit the worktab roughly a month before the race...

Anonymous said...

The Dwyer goes the 4th of July.

alan said...

I've been looking at those matchup bets and can't really come up with much I like. Barbaro of course, but not at those prices. Like Now over Greeley's Legacy, that's one, for sure. Bernardini is really a tough call IMO. Just a guess, really. And why would anyone want to bet on Platinum Couple vs Diabolical? (I like Diabolical)

Walter said...

...i haven't seen much talk about the Peter Pan...how does Strong Contender look to you guys?...i don't have the Belmont racing form, but i'd have to think the one-turn 1 1/8 miles would be to Strong Contender's benefit...he certainly ran huge over the one-turn mile @ Gulfstream, not to mention the one-turn Arlington debut...he'll certainly have the jump on morning-line favorite Sunriver...how much speed is in the race?...if Strong Contender can make a relatively easy lead here, or even if he can stalk a moderate pace, i've gotta think he'll be tough to stop over the one-turn layout...

Walter said...

...almost forgot, thanks to Anonymous (Nick?) for the Dwyer info...

Mike E said...

Hey Alan...I feel I owe you thanks, for the inspiration which led to this link: greenlighton.blogspot.com
For good or ill...
Of course, for the content posted, I've only myself to blame.
Good luck today. Pick your favorite loose one, and remember: you can lose it all at the races, then sell a magazine story & still treat the Head Chef to a night on the Town!
Best Wishes,
Mike E

alan said...

I actually started to do a post on the Peter Pan, but had to go to an orientation at my daughter's new high school for next year, which turned out to be three hours long. So I never finished it, and now I figure it's too late (and I wanna head to Belmont anyway). Hey, at least I have my priorities straight, eh?

In short, I was gonna say that I thought Sunriver was vulnerable at this one turn route and that Strong Contender is better suited for it. But having said that, you gotta take a look at Testimony after Invasor's win, and as a longshot I'd take a stab with the bottom horse Harborage.

And hey Mike E, nice to see you on the blogosphere! I don't bet 3-5 shots to win, but I'll try and create some value in the exotics for ya! Good luck to everyone on the race today!

thecalicocat said...

Looks very bad for Barbaro.
This may go down with Ruffian and Go for Wand as one of the worst moments in the sport.

Anonymous said...

That SUCKED Big Time- Byanose

Walter said...

...the moment i saw Barbaro pull up lame, i immediately thought back to him breaking through the gate before the start...perhaps something happened there that wasn't visible on the surface?...i sure hope Barbaro makes it, best wishes to him...