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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Notes - March 20

- I don't know if Stormello is good enough to be a Classic winner, but he's as dead game a colt as you'll ever see. William Currin has designated the Florida Derby as his next race.

“We’ve decided to come back there and settle the score with Scat Daddy. I’m convinced he never saw (Scat Daddy) coming. His ears were pricked.

However, he ran a great race and I think we accomplished everything we set out to, giving him exposure in the east. Since then, we’ve received inquiries from five major farms in Kentucky about his stud career. [The Downey Profile]
He worked five furlongs in 59.60 (2/37) on the Cushion Track last Friday. Victor Espinoza will replace Kent Desormeauex, who will ride Premium Tap in the World Cup that day.

- Brad Telias, writing for the SportingNews.com, is another who is wondering how the fierce stretch duel of the Tampa Bay Derby will effect Any Given Saturday and Street Sense.
Hard fought contests like the one on Saturday -- strikingly similar to High Yield and Hal's Hope's battle in the 2000 Florida Derby -- often result in both horses emptying their tanks. The one-two Florida Derby finishers wound up 15th and 16th in the Kentucky Derby.
However, that race was much closer to the Derby than this race, as well as their final preps, so I don't know if the example is relevant. And I'll repeat my contention that I'm really not concerned about Street Sense - at least not for that reason - and Haskin agrees, noting that he lagged some seven lengths off a moderate pace and then quickly closed in on the leaders under no urging whatsoever from Calvin Borel, who didn’t even go to his whip until just outside the eighth pole. By the way, nobody has expressed the same concern about Scat Daddy, Stormello, and Nobiz Like Shobiz, who slugged it out in the Fountain of Youth and who were obviously much more tired at the end than the TB Derby horses.

- While we're waiting for Equibase to adjust the fractions of the Winstar Oaks, and any resulting Beyer changes that may result, let's mention that Winstar Derby winner Song of Navarone had every right to improve to the 102 Beyer he's been assigned. He's improved his figures in each of his four starts since his debut, and exploded to a 97 running third in the Sham. He had six weeks off to recover from that effort, and came into the race off two nice six furlong works. He's a son of the Hollywood Gold Cup/ Whitney/Woodward winner Sultry Song (Cox's Ridge/Best Turn/Turn-to) out of a mare by Navarone (Irish River/Riverman/Never Bend); so here's another colt descending from non-ND/Mr. P families (he has one instance of Mr. Prospector in his pedigree, none of Northern Dancer). He has inbreeding to Buckpasser (4x5) and Princequillo (5x5) - a lot to like there. Song of Navarone is a half-brother to Celluloid Hero, a sprint stakes winner, but note that that one is by the sprint sire Glitterman.

8 Comments:

Steve D said...

First off, great work to you and Walter on the Sunland fractions. No shock that the "mainstream racing media" failed to notice (we right wingers can always find a media to criticize, can't we).

Secondly, I am slowly falling in love with Any Given Saturday as a Derby horse. His wide and quick but controlled acceleration on the turn Saturday was exactly what you want to see from a Derby horse. You've got to figure he was at least a couple lengths better than his final number due to the ground loss, and there's nothing wrong with losing a stretch duel by a nose to a champion.

My primary reason for loving AGS, however, can be boiled down to one word: traffic. AGS is a colt who appears to be able to avoid it, and Street Sense is a colt who has, for the most part, lucked into avoiding it. With 20 in the gate on May 5, I'm willing to put my money on AGS to win the race THAT DAY. My hope is that he regresses slightly in his next so that I can get a reasonable price on Derby Day. No one else has really captured my attention the way that he has.

alan said...

Steve D - It was all Walter's doing actually, and reader AJ went to the videotape to check out the evidence.

I'm largely in agreement with you about AGS. I think he's proven that he can go the extra distance in order to avoid traffic. That's not to say that Street Sense can't, but that still remains to be seen. Johnny V has been criticized for watching and waiting on Street Sense to move; but this was a prep, and I think he should be commended for conserving the horse as long as possible in a race he didn't have to win, but very nearly did.

AJ said...

Love to take credit for it, but I think KH did the tape review.

For my money, handicapping this year's Derby seems like it'll be a lot harder than in years past. There are several horses I could see LOSING their final prep, and still getting serious consideration for the derby.

alan said...

Sorry KH....got my initials mixed up! As I said, need to take a break....

And KH, I mean, AJ....I think there are some horses that I'd WANT to see lose their final prep at this point. Not looking for another hard race for the two coming out of TB to be sure.

Anonymous said...

All I need to solidify my Derby bet intentions on Street Sense is, in the Bluegrass, a strong move, with a 4th or 5th place finish, and not too much of a BSF dropoff (ie., a 94 or higher).

Then a place in the gate no further out than 12 or 13th...

and 8-1 or better.

My concern is that this may be a year in which there are fewer heavy pace players than in previous years. This is not a quantitative-empirical statement, but merely a sense of what is out there for heavy front runners. Does anyone else have the same feeling? I guess we'll know better when some goony owner proclaims the Derby as the target for some speedy 3 year old like Texas Voyager....

Calgary, Alberta

Walter said...

I was going over the Santa Anita Stable Notes the other day, and reportedly there were offers "in the millions" for impressive maiden winner Magnificience. And apparently they've been turned down...

Steve D said...

Very interesting comments about the pace scenario. Right now, there isn't a core of "burners" the way there was last year: Keyed Entry, Sharp Humor, Sinister Minster, etc.

The pace may not be that hot.

alan said...

I would speculate that Smith-Tabor would try and pick up a rabbit for Circular Quay, like they attempted to do with Spanish Chestnut for Bandini a couple of years ago. But I can't think of any that would be earnings eligible.