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Friday, May 05, 2006

Oaks Notes

- Well, I’m just as glad that I didn’t have the time this week to pay any attention to the Oaks, because I certainly wouldn’t have had this one (though reader Byanose did!) (at least, he’s alive in the Oaks-Derby double!) Those who favor Polytrack can use Lemons Forever as an example of a horse able to run on both surfaces, though she’s certainly faster on the real dirt. Lemons Forever is a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, and she’s the first Grade 1 winner for the sire, whose third crop is two this year. Lemon Drop Kid had just four stakes winners coming into this year, and his stud fee took a big drop in 2006, from $50,000 to $20,000. This was his second stakes winner of this year, with the other being the G3 Golden Gate Fields Handicap winner Cosmonaut. Avalyn Hunter has more on Lemons Forever’s pedigree here.

If you go to this page, you can watch two of Lemon Drop Kid’s seven graded stakes wins, a total which includes the 1999 Belmont and Travers. These races are from his four-year old season. In the Whitney, you see him out game Cat Thief, who entered stud duty the same year as Lemon Drop Kid, and has been a disappointment at stud himself. Cat Thief had no stakes winners coming into this year (in which he’s had two), and his fee, which was already down from $35 to $25K, was further reduced this year to $10,000 – Stands and Nurses.

The other race on the page is the 2000 Suburban, and this one serves as a reminder of what a nice racehorse Lemon Drop Kid was. Talk about a horse visibly accelerating through the stretch, you see him just rocket away from Behrens once asked by Edgar Prado,

Balance ran 11th at 8-5 with no apparent excuse, or at least none that we’ve heard as of yet. As Walter pointed out, it’s a cautionary tale about the workouts when considering the Derby, given the accolades that Balance’s last breeze received. Victor Espinoza was described as "giddy" after the workout. I haven't seen any description of Espinoza after the race, but it's likely down a notch or two.

The winning filly was dead last; I mean dead last. She wasn’t even in the picture until well after they passed the half mile pole. She was flying wide around the turn, but not picked up by the race caller until deep stretch. Some people are hoping that Saturday’s feature race at Churchill goes the same way.