jeff said...I've been seeing so many horses winning off, not only six to eight week layoffs, but six to eight month layoffs of late, that I'm convinced that it's only a matter of time before a horse wins the Derby off the kind of gap that the abovementioned pair are attempting. A win by either wouldn't shock me, and I plan to have at least a saver on Hard Spun, and use him in exotics. I've taken a liking to this colt ever since his losing effort in the Rebel, and I was a willing buyer of the excuse that he didn't like the track. I picked him in the Lane's End, and I love his breeding.
I took a look at the Bris No's for the Derby hopefuls and, lo and behold, the two that stood out to me were the aforementioned Hard Spun and Circular Quay.
What then to do with the layoffs? Ordinarily, I would have tossed both and looked instead for a horse with a strong recent effort. Unfortunately, I'm underwhelmed by the alternatives, and so I'll take a chance on extending the Barbaro trend. Of the two, I prefer Hard Spun because he'll be more forwardly placed, ran an impressive race from the outside in a 12 horse field, and has the slightly shorter layoff. I'll probably throw a few bucks on Circular Quay too, in case he finds the room to make his strong late run. Not thrilled about playing two horses off long layoffs, but that choice may just be a sign of the times.
Where I differ from the commenter is that I'm more concerned about Hard Spun's layoff than that of Circular Quay, even though the latter's is two weeks longer. That's Pletcher's game, and if the race falls apart up front and he gets a clean trip (both big ifs to be sure, especially given the possible moderate pace), he could win even if he's a just a tad bit short.
Talk of Circular Quay brings me to this comment by Valerie (who is, by the way, the proprietor of the Foolish Pleasure blog.
Valerie said...Thanks for this link. This is awesome, you gotta check this out this site. Besides providing further grist for us to vote Cobalt Blue out (Clearly a horse either who does not handle the surface at all, or has some other issue that requires attention), it has an account of a workout in the company of Circular Quay and the filly Rags to Riches, who both went six furlongs in 1:13.2 last weekend:
Talking about Cobalt Blue, there is an interesting commentary in a blog being kept by the brother of the clocker at Keeneland, about his poor workout today at Keeneland, and conversely Liquidity's strong workout:
"We caught the last 5/8ths in :58.4, with the last quarter in :22.3, as easy a breeze as you'll see, until the end when Angel [Cordero] tried to "win" the set, and the filly just lengthened her stride and refused to be passed. They were still flying on the gallop-out, yet the filly refused to let him pass! I'll resist the urge, and temper my enthusiasm until I see her again, but her first impression was flat-out awesome." [CLOCKER-1]Well, I've already written my lament of her not having been pointed to the Derby. But in fact, the Oaks could be a perfect "prep" for the Belmont five weeks later, as someone, I think it was Walter, mentioned it here. As you may know, she's a half-sister to last year's Belmont winner Jazil, who I picked up on early in the game, but had unfortunately soured on due to....well, the fact that he's too slow....by the time the Belmont rolled around.
So Pete did the Special picks on Friday and had five winners! I'm not sure how I feel about that! While for statistical purposes, it's good to get some help from someone who can actually pick winners, but he didn't have to show me up like that, did he? Oh man... But it was a great job, and the lowest payer was Pletcher's debut juvenile Ready's Image, who was pounded to even money in the first. Over the last five years, Pletcher has started 34 first-time two-year olds; he has 12 winners, and 24 in the money, 71%. Ready's Image was wide around the turn with Velazquez, and "hit another gear," as described by Kurt Becker, drawing away by three. This colt, by More Than Ready, sold for $410,000 at Keeneland last September; he's out of a Clever Trick mare, and is from the female family of Came Home (they have the same third dam).