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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Derby Horses Return

- The G3 Northern Dancer BC featured a couple of one-time Derby hopefuls going in the opposite direction. High Cotton was always under the radar for Todd Pletcher, whose Derby hopes rested mainly with others such as Bluegrass Cat. He ended his two-year old season with a second to Private Vow in the Kentucky Jockey Club, and some had the latter right at the top of their list of Derby prospects (though this observer always felt that he had only proven to be the best of the second tier....I just had to get that in, right?). Here he was making his first start since his 15th place Derby finish. High Cotton exited the Trail after the Arkansas Derby, the second of two extremely ugly running lines he’d posted as a three-year old, but he had excuses in both. At Oaklawn, according to Pletcher, “He got annihilated at the start and came back all cut up.” [Louisville Courier-Journal]

The two both went off at 3-2 (with High Cotton the slight choice), and Private Vow, after setting the pace with High Cotton stalking him all the way, still looked strong midway through the stretch after setting a moderate pace. But he weakened suddenly inside the eighth pole, and ended up in last. His rider Shaun Bridgmohan seemed puzzled: "I have no answers for what happened at the end.....He was running the whole way, and I don't know what happened."

As for High Cotton, he followed up his win in the Sir Barton on Preakness day with his first graded stakes win, and could follow in the footsteps of Pletcher’s Flower Alley, who developed into a division leader after last year's Triple Crown. He’s a son of Dixie Union, who had a pretty good day, as his daughter Nothing But Fun took second to Tour D’Or in the G1 Phipps at Belmont. He’s out of an AP Indy mare who is a half sister to the BC Juvenile Filly winner and champion Storm Song. High Cotton is inbred 4x3 to Seattle Slew, and also has inbreeding to Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector.

- A thrilling finish between a couple of other horses making their first starts since the Derby, as Point Determined (Point Given) finally prevailed over AP Warrior after the latter refused to cede and may even have stuck his nose back in front after being passed at the eighth pole. The interesting aspect of this race was that, approaching the final turn on the backstretch, AP Warrior seemed to be well in hand as Victor Espinoza was busy on Point Determined. Vic Stauffer noted that AP Warrior was “traveling comfortably and smartly,” while Point Determined was being “asked for everything he’s got leaving the backstretch.” Usually not a good sign, but then again, we’ve heard before that Point Determined is a lethargic sort, as Bob Baffert confirmed.

"This horse, he's hard to ride. He's very lazy, you got to force it out of him. He's like riding a bicycle with a rusty chain. He's tough to ride. He made the lead there, and he was sort of like not tired really, but that's his demeanor.

"If he had his dad's attitude, we could have been relaxed there watching him come home. But he's like Silver Charm, you know, you gotta' force it out of him. He's tough, though. That's a big step up. But A.P. Warrior, when he runs his race, he's a really good horse." [Bloodhorse]
And speaking of his dad, it was the long-awaited first graded stakes win for the Preakness/Belmont/Haskell/Travers winner....and when will we ever be able to describe a horse again in that way?

- Well, the party is apparently over at the Cal Racing site. Only races won in California are currently available for viewing....so I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did!

6 Comments:

Walter said...

...is Too Much Bling the best 3yo sprinter in the country?...or is it Songster?...put that debate on hold for a moment...Bro Lo returned to the worktab this morning (his first appearance all year) breezing three panels in 35 and change...he could be ready for action by Del Mar, which is where he debuted last year, beating up on Da Stoops in a track-record performance...he then destroyed Brother Derek in start #2 before hitting the sidelines...best 2yo sprinter i've ever seen, better even than Afternoon Deelites...let's hope he comes back healthy...

...ps...keep an eye on Southern Man in Race 4 @ Hollywood today...

Anonymous said...

Southern Man to win. Exacta's 6-1 and 6-5.


Bank Check

Walter said...

...quick note about the Southern Man race, which is currently 20 minutes away...the 2/1 morning line favorite is a Baffert colt named EZ Warrior...he's been working @ Santa Anita, so i have no reports on him...however, Baffert sent out a 2yo filly on Thursday named Thru n Thru, who went wire-to-wire in 21.54, 45.19, 57.82...i just compared their workouts to see if they've been keeping company, and they each show agate drill on May 28th, with EZ Warrior going 58.80 and Thru n Thru going 59.80...those times are probbaly too far apart to suggest a team work, but they apparently did work together on May 21, as both are showing the same 101.20 time...also, on May 15, each are showing gate works, though at different distances...so it appaers they've kept comapny at least once, and possibly all three times...and if they DID work together on May 28, then EZ Warrior was obviously much the best...and he's opened @ 3/5, while Southern Man is 7/2...i have no doubts about Southern Man, he's a flat-out runner according to the reports...and his trainer Paasch excels with 2yo firsters...great price too, excellent play...but this Baffert colt looks like a runner as well...i'll likely go with my original Sourthern Man win ticket, but add a quinella for insurance purposes...good luck to all...

Walter said...

...nice effort by Southeren Man, but he just wasn't as good as EZ Warrior, who ended up going off @ 1/2...good grief...about 2 minutes to post, the horse was 4/5, and then dropped to 2/5 in one flash of the board!...you think anyone had confidence in that colt???...he brought $1.2 million at the Barrett's sale btw, and had worked a quarter in 21 1/5 @ the under-tack show...i still like my bet on Southern Man, who went off at a juicy 3/1, but he just wasn't quite good enough...he deled with EZ Warrior from the opening bell, but lost a little ground due to position coming around the turn and just wasn't any match for the winner after that...and worse, he gave up second late due to his early exertions...a bad, bad result for me...hope i didn't cost you guys too much with my tip...as these things go, Southern Man will probably win start #2 by open lengths at odds of 1/5... 8^P

...ps...EZ Warrior was showing more than a few gate works...keep an eye out for any Baffert colt whose worktab matches up...

Walter said...

...just got done doing some research on EZ Warrior...as best i can tell, he hasn't been working in company with anyone, with the possible exceptions of Worthy Cause (who's a 3yo), and the afore-mentioned Thru n' Thru...i'll definitely be keeping an eye on his subsequent works though...as for his breeze at the Barrett's under-tack show, apparently the opening furlong of his 21 1/5 drill was clocked in 9 4/5...Baffert said after the sale that the horse compared favorably with What a Song (his undefeated/ill-fated star 2yo from last year), and also Exploit (EZ Warrior's sire and a star in his own right, whom Baffert also trained)...looks like Baffert has a real nice one one on his hands...incidentally, EZ Warrior's odds today (1/2) were similar to What a Song's odds last year...i believe he went off @ 1/5 or thereabouts...What a Song was also a million-dollar graduate of the Barrett's sale...

Christina said...

Hmm...Private Vow now owes me about as much as Vicarage and Going Wild. What a stupid sucker bet at 3/2. I should have looked at the board before I put that one in.