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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Florida Derby Worth the Wait

- Some of us on the East Coast will have been watching racing from 9 AM in the morning on Saturday by the time the Florida Derby rolls around at 5:30 or so. As for you out in the West, be comforted by the fact that the World Cup race itself isn't scheduled to go off until 10:30 your time. By Florida Derby time, many of us will find our vision blurry and wallets light.

But this Derby prep has been revitalized this year after last year's winner Barbaro's Derby win. Staged five weeks before the Derby in what not too long ago was called "no-man's land," many, including myself I must say, had virtually written it off the last couple of years since it was placed in that slot. I get almost addicted to some of these "rules," at least the ones that make sense. Which is a lot of them. I stubbornly stuck to the Dosage rules for years, dismissing Strike the Gold's win as a fluke, and making note of it when his dosage index was retroactively lowered. Well, I threw out a lot of losers that way, I gotta say. I finally broke out in 1998 when I had Real Quiet, though unfortunately, on top of 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishers Indian Charlie, Halory Hunter, and Cape Town (and not 2nd place finisher Victory Gallop).

The race has come up strong this year; it seems as if the preps are more competitive this year, doesn't it? According to the Haskin, the prospective field is: Scat Daddy, Stormello, Notional, Adore the Gold, Imawildandcrazyguy, Bold Start, Chelokee, Johannesburg Star, Hal’s My Hope and Boogie Boggs. (And Birdbirdistheword has now been added as well.)

All of these horses have to pick up the speed figures a bit to get on par with the top contenders; but the first four mentioned above have all proven to be talented and game. The race is still a bit flawed in that post position is so very vital with the starting gate so close to the turn, so I gotta wait for the post positions to make a pick. But whichever one proves to be the 4th betting choice will probably be pretty good value. I must say that I'm taking a real liking to Stormello due to his toughness. He comes into the race off a fabulous bullet (of 67) five furlong workout, 58.20 seconds over the Cushion Track; I've been noting how well that the California horses who have been training on that surface have been doing out east. The latest is Doug O'Neill's Maryfield, who took the Distaff Breeders Cup at the Big A on Saturday; she had worked a half in 45 4/5 over the Cushion in her most recent work.

I know a lot of people that I've heard from like Adore the Gold, and I don't disagree; but depending on the post position, he's still going to have to find a way to pass Stormello at some point, and that will be no easy task to be sure.

1 Comment:

Kevin said...

three words: NO-TION-AL