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Monday, February 19, 2007

Notes - Feb 19

- Street Sense continued to pick up the pace of his training with a five furlong move in 1:00 4/5 on Sunday. Trainer Carl Nafzger felt that his Juvenile champ may have gotten a lot out of the drill. "The track probably wasn't particularly fast this morning....It may turn out that it was deep enough that he gets even more out of the work than we expected." [BRIS]

But Nafzger is no closer to giving us an idea of when Street Sense will make the first of his expected two preps for the Derby. "I might not know for two weeks."

- Todd Pletcher promises a better effort by Scat Daddy when he next faces Nobiz Like Shobiz, a meeting scheduled for the March 2 Fountain of Youth.

"He wasn't in great position; he was kind of stuck inside in the Holy Bull....And he wasn't fully cranked for his first start. We've faced Nobiz Like Shobiz twice thus far and we're one and one. So it should be interesting to see what happens the third time." [Daily Racing Form]
But Pletcher so routinely does have his horses cranked up in these situations that it just doesn't ring true to me when he uses a layoff as an excuse. I picked Scat Daddy in the Holy Bull (largely because I anticipated that he would be ready) and championed his overlooked effort in defeating Nobiz in the Champagne last fall. But Scat Daddy looked plain outclassed to me in the Holy Bull; there was nary a moment when he looked like he'd beat Tagg's colt.

And speaking of Nobiz Like Shobiz, his status for the Fountain of Youth is on a shoestring according to remarks made by Tagg in the Form over the weekend, after the son of Albert the Great worked five furlongs in a minute flat on Saturday. The work had been delayed due to the heavy rains earlier in the week, and Tagg said: "If I had to wait another day I probably would have had to think about skipping the Fountain of Youth and going to the Fair Grounds the following weekend for the Louisiana Derby."
"If we get another glitch we'll go to New Orleans, although I'd rather stay here. It's a lot less stress on him to lead him over right out of his own stall than have to ship out of town."
Maybe the trainer is just a tad less sanguine about the horse's prep schedule than he was in the days before the Holy Bull, when he said that he could get by with two preps and eight weeks off before the Derby. Personally, I think the horse needs two more preps, not so much for conditioning, but for experience. He was mighty green in the stretch of the Holy Bull, and certainly seems to me to be more than just one race away from being ready for the monumental task he'll face at Churchill.

- I guess Oonagh Maccool wasn't fully cranked up either. She was bet down to even money for Pletcher on Saturday; that despite breaking from a tough rail post in the G3 Sabin Handicap at a one turn mile, her first effort since July. And sure enough, the post hurt as she had to rush up to the lead after breaking a step slow. She was pressed hard by Frankel's Sugar Swirl to a half of 46.57 and was done on the turn, fading to 5th.

Swap Fliparoo (Exchange Rate), the first of two stakes winners on the day for Allan Jerkens, seems to have benefited from a little time off following a demanding summer/fall campaign. But most of all, she's one of those horses who every once in a while will find herself in a race with a contested pace which falls apart sufficiently to make her rally a winning one. In her last win before Saturday, the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga, a grueling pace gave way to a final furlong of 14 seconds. The second half of the Sabin was run in 51.16.