- Disappointing race by Lava Man, and I guess he's just a California horse. That doesn't disgrace him, he's still a great story, but he has serious limitations.
"Try to put any positive spin on it you can," said Doug O'Neill, Lava Man's trainer. "It just wasn't his day. He's got a few of these on his record and I'll hope he'll bounce back like he did after the Japan and New York debacles. (Jockey) Corey (Nakatani) said he was a little anxious in the starting gate and he had to give a little more than he wanted to in order to overcome his trouble at the starting gate." [Louisville Courier-Journal]Aidan O'Brien talked up the effort of George Washington, who finished 6th at an overbet 9-1:
"It was his first time on the dirt and on this surface horses get a rough passage but you could see his class as he travelled so well....Basically he is pure speed, though, and I think he ran a great race on his first attempt at the distance." [Sporting Life UK]Meanwhile, David Junior was as dead on the board as a horse could be, especially one considered to be one of the top horses in the world. He was 17-1 for much of the betting, and came down a bit to 14-1 at post time. Racing towards the golden rail, he was eased in the stretch. For a race that his owners were supposedly pointing for all year, it was a shockingly poor performance, and he was checked out by vets afterwards. His trainer Brian Meehan said that jockey Jamie Spencer told him the horse "seemed to go out on him" around the five-furlong mark.
"He said it wasn't an issue with the ground or the kickback or any of those situations," Meehan said. "We've got a vet going down to check him over and see that he's OK, but at this point in time, it's hard to say what has gone wrong." [LA Times]Here's an interesting note about the rail bias from The Australian:
At daybreak there was a different kind of vandalism when someone decided to send out a tractor to scrape away excess dirt from along the running rail and spread it in the centre of the track. The result was a fast lane on the inside that dictated the pattern of racing for most of the day.Seems like a silly idea, but if so, they only "dud-ed" just about any horse starting from the two post or beyond!
In the press box the actions of that tractor driver were the subject of intense discussion among the British racing media, who seem obsessed with the idea that Americans are somehow out to dud them.
- Todd Pletcher's 17 horses earned a total of $3,492,400 in purse money, for a trainer's share of $349,240.
“This is not a game of secondary awards and of course, I’m not happy with not winning a race....but the idea is to get your horses ready and to have them run well and for the most part, my horses did run well. [Boston Herald]Fleet Indian was reported to be OK, at least in relative terms, after pulling up in the Distaff.
- Frank Calabrese, the owner of Dreaming of Anna, has the Kentucky Derby in mind. "She doesn't know the difference between girls and boys." [Baltimore Sun] That would be pretty funny if a horse from the Juvenile Fillies won the Derby before a horse from the Juvenile did. Just as she had to answer questions about handling stakes horses on the dirt after winning on the turf, she, and the other dirt winners other than Invasor, will be looked at with some doubt after riding the golden rail to victory.
- The Mile is the race that absolutely killed me. Even after holding a Pick Three ticket with Wait A While in the middle of Street Sense and Thor's Echo, and for some reason making the error of not including Ouija Board on that combination, I was alive to Gorella and Araafa in the Pick Three that started in the F&M Turf, and which included Thor's Echo. And, I had tickets that started with Thor's Echo, and concluded with Round Pond (and even included Aragorn, who I didn't really like). Ouch. I did like Miesque's Approval for minor awards, but never for the top spot. He actually came from further back than Gorella, so the latter had no excuse at all. Guess I was wrong about the effect that her prior race would have on her.