- Reader Hawken reports that he saw the workouts by Pletcher's trio of Derby runners, plus Rags to Riches. They're not up as of this writing on the Keeneland site, so I can't comment on his observations at this time. But Scat Daddy was timed in 59.4; the other three in 1:00.20.
I picked Scat Daddy in the Juvenile, and went off him on price; and I'm liking him more and more in this spot, though I'm also thinking he has a small chance to be as low as third choice. In any event, I'm definitely going to have him on my exotics tickets.
One person who definitely does not agree with Hawken's impression of Circular Quay is his trainer.
"He looked awesome"....When asked if the colt was fully prepared for the Run for the Roses, he answered simply, "He's ready right now. This is the best he's been here so far--he's gotten progressively better (with each work)." [Bloodhorse]I don't think we often hear the Toddster speak with such superlatives after a work, do we? He seemed pleased with the others as well - Any Given Saturday "looked perfect," and Scat Daddy "worked :59.2 so easily" - but he seemed quite enthused about Circular Quay. However, we've seen Pletcher get rather testy this year when his horses or methods have been questioned, and I think that he'd be particularly thrilled to see Circular Quay win and validate his strategy. So I'm not reading too much into his comments; they just might be his way of emphasizing that his decision to go into the Derby off such a long layoff is already paying off. (But having said that, I think he has a shot. His chances will rely more on the pace and racing luck than on him being 100% fit in my opinion.)
At Churchill Downs, Dominican worked out (though don't expect to see video of it on Churchill's website. One might think they'd be embarrassed by Keeneland into adding similar features. If you click on the 'Video' tab on Churchill's main page, you get an advertisement. For Churchill.) This is a colt that I am admittedly ignoring. It's entirely possible that he is a simply a colt improving at the right time rather than merely a Polytrack specialist. But hey, you have to make some difficult stands in a race like this, otherwise you'll end up like Haskin and pick a dozen winners. Dominican's supporters will be cheered by the news of his five furlong work in 59 3/5 over the dirt surface at Churchill.
- Brad Free, writing in the subscription DRF Plus section of the Form, points out that while these works at the two Kentucky tracks are being analyzed to death, others, specifically Tiago, are training in relative obscurity out West.
That was evident six days ago at Hollywood Park, when only one member of the racing print media watched Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago work out seven furlongs on Cushion Track. Though Tiago will start as a relative outsider in the Kentucky Derby, odds should not lessen the importance of a key workout. Or have people already forgotten about Giacomo? [DRF]I haven't forgotten the way Giacomo's works, all at seven furlongs on the west coast, got progressively better after the first one after the SA Derby, which was too slow to be timed, and which caused him to be the subject of some derision - probably by me too. Free reports that Tiago is making similar progress.
In the three weeks since that April 7 win, Tiago has stepped forward.- And if you tune into NBC at 5PM today for the Barbaro documentary and you instead see the Rangers and Sabres skating in overtime, think of me, suffering in the blue seats high above, as his team, already down 2-0 in games, is literally fighting for their playoff lives. Think of Trotter, sweating out the photo of the last race in Let It Ride, thinking to himself "I've done nothing to deserve this anguish." After all, my team outplayed the Sabres for most of the first two games, only to see their few mistakes end up in their net. So say to yourself "Cmon, give the guy a break." After all, a quick Rangers goal and then you can watch your documentary in peace.
"He's handling it very well," said the normally reticent [trainer John] Shirreffs.
With one more workout scheduled for Sunday, Tiago continues to improve.
In the team work last Sunday, Tiago and Smith broke off two lengths behind a maiden filly, ran past her at the three-eighths, and powered home even while playing around.