- Bob and John, honored as the Aiken Trained Horse of the Year (must have been an extremely slow year), will make his return in the Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita on March 31.
- Wayne Lukas, undeterred by Flying First Class' 8th place finish in the Rebel, plans to start him in the Arkansas Derby on April 14. Lukas blamed himself for not doing enough with the colt. “I’ve got to go back and put some bottom on him....He’s a quality horse. I’m not wrong on the horse. I’m just wrong on how I handled him.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette] He made similar remarks regarding Pegasus Wind when I interviewed him at Saratoga during my brief fling with being an actual reporter. It may be worth noting that Pegasus Wind won his next outing.
- Any Limit was run down late on Saturday in the Shirley Jones at Gulfstream, denied her third straight stakes win by Kinsman Stable's homebred Sweet Fervor. It was the latter's first graded stakes win, and her second win in as many starts after coming back off two disappointing stakes efforts last spring at Oaklawn. Trainer Bill Mott explained: "After the Fantasy, she just wasn’t traveling well and we decided to stop on her. She didn’t have any serious problems or need surgery. She just needed time." [Bloodhorse]
She's a four-year old daughter of Seeking the Gold, and a half-sister to Concerto, the sire of Bellamy Road, who is standing for just $12,500 in Kentucky.
It was a reversal of fortunes for Kinsman/Mott on the day. Earlier, their first-time starter and homebred Lightning Road was sent off as the 4-5 favorite, pressed the leader but faded to third. Nick Zito, having a relatively slow meeting at GP, took the race with his dead-on-the-board first timer Banque Royale; 5-1 morning line, 11-1 at post time. You couldn't have liked his chances as he seemed to be slipping back from his stalking position on the turn, but he took the Street Sense route up the rail to victory. By Bankers Gold, this colt is out of the Fit to Fight stakes winner Fit For a Queen, and is a half to Zito's stakes winning Royal Assault. Fit For a Queen is a half to the dam of my still-recovering filly Christening.
- Merv Griffin had a nice Saturday; Stevie Wonderboy had a bullet work, and Cobalt Blue wired the field in a weak edition of the San Felipe Stakes. Merv told the San Diego Union-Tribune: "..To me, the words Cobalt Blue sound like action. I thought it would be a good name....But today, he's Cobalt Green.” Er...oh yeah. It was St. Patricks Day, that's it. This son of Golden Missile ran a pretty nice race, basically running at a 24 second-per-quarter rate throughout; at least until his final sixteenth of 6.48. His next start is said to be the Illinois Derby.
Baffert's Air Commander was the 6-5 favorite, but settled for second.
“He’s a big horse....He can’t quicken. I knew we were in trouble when I saw the fractions. At the half, they were walking. When they sprinted home, he just doesn’t have that acceleration. He ran well.” [Bloodhorse]