- Brother Derek got most of the post-Derby bad-trip sympathy, but Sweetnorthernsaint has been catching up in that regard. Mike Trombetta has made it clear that his colt was done from the very beginning, when he broke at the back of the pack. His journey was detailed in the official race chart thusly:
SWEETNORTHERNSAINT, steadied when bumped at the start by A.P. WARRIOR and forced out on PRIVATE VOW, was steadied again under the wire the first time in tight quarters, worked his way between foes around the first turn, angled inside on the backstretch, boldly came through close quarters along the rail at the five-sixteenths pole, but faltered when straightened for the drive.Like Dan Hendricks, Trombetta is placing his hopes on his horse being able to run his race this time. But the NY Post’s Ray Kerrison agrees with my opinion that this is not necessarily assured just because the field is shorter.
A week ago, Like Now, the free-running Gotham winner, appeared to be the main speed of the Preakness, with the Saint and Brother Derek right behind him.Today’s post position draw should help us get an idea of what will transpire early on.
Now in comes Bernardini, a lightly-raced colt with a ton of early speed, and yet another newcomer, a speed freak named Diabolical. Suddenly, the Preakness front end may look like the Long Island Expressway on Friday nights - or the Derby all over again.
The nice clean, clear trip everyone expected in the Preakness may not be there after all. [NY Post]
As far as the late Sweetnorthernsaint money that is fast becoming legendary, Trombetta said "It was not my money.” The late action on the tote board will be one of the many interesting side plots to keep an eye on.
- This week has certainly been a boon for the Fair Hill training center from where Barbaro will ship to Pimlico sometime Friday afternoon. We’ve read countless articles on the scenic and tranquil surroundings, the all-weather wood chip track, and the generous grazing pastures. I was fascinated to read the other day that there is no security gate at the facility, and anyone can just drive in! You wouldn't see that in New York, that’s for sure! No wonder there’s been so much press stories written from there. It sounds, however, like it can be a bit of a free-for-all. "It's terrific that people want to come by," Matz said. "But it amazes people that some people try to walk right in the barn. I wish they'd at least ask first." [Daily Racing Form]
I got a comment from Alex, who works at Tim Wooley Racing, an outfit which is headquartered at Fair Hill (where Diabolical is stabled as well). He writes: “Watching Barbaro train at Fair Hill everyday, we are psyched to see if he can go all the way.” I think we all are, whether we end up betting on him in the Preakness or not. It’s reported on the Tim Wooley Racing website, which includes some daily observations on Barbaro’s preparations, that Haskin was hanging around there for three days. After his frenetic Derby analysis, let’s hope that he is getting some relaxing grazing in too, and perhaps he can come up with a single, coherent pick for the Preakness. On Bloodhorse.com today, Haskin comments on the changes in the way the top contenders are being prepped for the race.
In 1987, when Jack Van Berg breezed Alysheba a half in :50 1/5 early on Preakness week, it was considered too slow, and the alarm immediately went off. When John Servis elected not to work Smarty Jones at all in 2004, no one seemed to care. Now you have three trainers all skipping a work and not a mention has been made.- Bernardini had his rain-delayed final work on Wednesday, and the connections of Ah Day will put their $100,000 to better use.
- Bob Neuimeier is one who thinks that Barbaro will bounce in the Preakness.
Welcome to the mysterious world of the “Bounce Theory” — racing’s version of the Rubik’s Cube. The tenet holds that a horse that runs an abnormally fast race or speed-figure number will typically regress in his next start, unless he or she has sufficient recovery time, usually 30 days or more. Barbaro is being asked to bounce back in 14 days, not nearly enough rest. A trainer as sharp as Matz would never run a prized horse back on such short time.
Ironically, the biggest advantage Barbaro had for the Kentucky Derby is potentially his biggest obstacle entering the Preakness — time. But you say, he won so effortlessly, surely he has plenty of fuel left.
Maybe. It’s more likely that he doesn't, and at the hype-induced odds of 3-5 or less, he becomes a very bad bet. [MSNBC.com]