- Garrett Gomez chose to ride Air Commander over Cobalt Blue in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, a Grade 2 stakes which on paper is little more than a non-winners of two other than.
"“Not taking anything away from Cobalt Blue.....but I think right now he might be a little behind some of these colts. Air Commander has run two turns three times now, and that gives him an advantage in my mind.” [Bloodhorse]For Bob Baffert, Air Commander may be his main hope of getting to the Derby, though as of now, he's nothing more than a first-level allowance winner with an career high 89 Beyer. But he has improved his numbers with each start, and, being a son of Point Given, you can expect improvement. But probably not enough to make him a legitimate contender in May. "The only Derby I'm going to right now is the Derby restaurant," Baffert told the Form.
Air Commander is a half-brother to Medallist, who won graded stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs, and a mile and an eighth (the one-turn Dwyer at Belmont). (Medallist is standing for $8,500 at Three Chimneys.)
Cobalt Blue (Golden Missile) has never been beyond six furlongs, and comes off an impressive win at that distance in his 2007 debut, which was his first race in six months. Merv paid $325,000 for this one, and is dreaming Derby once again. "The riders use one word to describe him — awesome...He really is. This horse just want to run. A racey horse. Big, powerful." [Houston Chronicle]
- Now that the decision to send Lava Man to Dubai has been made official (pending of course that March 18 workout), Doug O'Neill seems to be changing his tune. Previously, perhaps in an effort to dissuade the owners from shipping the horse halfway around the world, he'd said that Lava Man may not be ready for the Pacific Classic in August should he go. Now he's talking about the June 30 Hollywood Gold Cup.
"We're hoping the fans of Lava Man will be proud when they see him run on Dubai World Cup day....If everything goes well there, it's all systems go for a third Hollywood Gold Cup." [Daily Breeze]