- Sounds like trainer Richard Violette doesn't plan on having Summer Doldrums too cranked up for the Gotham on Saturday. "I don't really want to see a 106 Beyer....You can literally run too fast, too early in the year and have nothing left for the major races.....We'd like to see him have a B-plus performance (in the Gotham) that hopefully is good enough to win." [Houston Chronicle]
One of his opponents will be a colt that's eligible for an entry-level allowance race. Longley, who graduated in his debut at Saratoga last summer, was third in his return at Gulfstream on Feb 3. Graham Motion told the Form that the horse was sharper in that race than he'd planned: "He came away from there running and caught the worst of it being between those two horses. You know me, I don't crank them up to be at their best first time back."
And it wouldn't be a Derby prep if Pletcher wasn't there - Cowtown Cat will make his stakes debut.
- At Oaklawn, Wayne Lukas' Flying First Class, who holds the highest sophomore Beyer this year with a 107, worked six furlongs in 1:12.17, and check out these fractions:
12. 49 for his first eighth of a mile,: 24. 60 for a quarter,: 36. 67 for three-eighths,: 48. 54 for a half-mile and: 59. 92 for five-eighths of a mile. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]Man, he just went faster and faster as he went along! Those are fractional splits of 12.49, 12.11, 12.07, 11.87, and 11.38 (!) before he slowed down a bit to 12.25. “He worked great today....He galloped out strong and looked good. Right on the money.” He's prepping for the Rebel next weekend. With his obscure breeding, distance is certainly a question mark....but his speed apparently is not.
- And overlooked in all the excitement on Saturday (as can occur when there's too much happening on one day) was the win by the still-undefeated Half Ours in the G2 Richter Scale at seven furlongs. After a bad start, and dueling through nutty fractions of 21.76 and 43.72, he still had enough left to turn back Park Avenue Ball despite understandably tiring at the end. Looks like his purchase for $6.1 million could pay off after all. Half Ours will now be pointed for the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, where his chief competition could come from stablemate Keyed Entry. [DRF] Cool!