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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Who's Your (Scat) Daddy?

- Todd Pletcher, speaking from Dubai, was still talking about the lack of respect he feels has been accorded Scat Daddy; and he's likely correct in saying that he should get that respect after sweeping the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. His colt showed some versatility, staying closer to the pace of Stormello, sweeping to the lead three wide coming out of the turn this time, and holding Notional safe rather easily. "He was right behind the leaders, beautiful, galloping easy," Prado said. "It was just a matter of time when I could press the pedal and let him go." It was his most convincing win yet in an already impressive resume; and should he pick up a few Beyer points in the process, he may even be taken seriously five weeks hence. The final time of 1:49.00 was better than AP Arrow's 1:49.70 in the Skip Away that preceded it; that off of virtually identical internal fractions.

Scat Daddy ran the final eighth in an OK 13.08 (the Skip Away finished up in 13.34), and, according to Jennie Rees of the Louisville Courier-Journal, got the last three-eighths in 37.78. That puts him almost within her guidelines of horses who run the final furlong of their last 11/8-mile prep in less than 13 seconds and the final three-eighths in less than 38. Assistant trainer Anthony Sciamatta, Jr told the Baltimore Sun:

"He's matured....When I saw him at the top of the stretch, I didn't think he'd get beat. ... He's on his game and coming into his own now, as we're going where we're going next."
Pletcher has seemed to put some extra nuances into Scat Daddy's preparation, with long term goals in mind. He'd spoken last summer about how he used the Sanford as an "educational trip," letting the colt get some dirt in his face down on the inside; and in retrospect, his 2007 seasonal debut in which he ran head to head with Nobiz Like Shobiz seemed to have had a purpose too. The son of Johannesburg has had a variety of racing experiences now, has won in his career on the lead (in his debut), closing late, and, now, sweeping to the lead turning for home. And you know Pletcher just has to love the five weeks off before the Derby. I know that some people doubt his ability to win a big race - as in a BIG race - a reputation perhaps further enhanced by his winless day at Dubai. But maybe Scat Daddy will be the training job that puts that talk to rest? (Note how yours truly hedges by ending the preceding sentence with a question mark rather than a period.)

As for me, my selection of Notional was, as is often the case, more noteworthy for my prediction that he would not meet his 4-1 morning line; he was the second choice at 3-1. And when I watched the horses in the post parade, I was fairly blown away by the physical appearance of Stormello, and ended up using that one on top instead, using Notional as a saver. There was no real value in any of the exactas anyway. Stormello once again had no problem establishing a lead over Adore the Gold, who had to chase again and ended up 8th. Trainer Bill Currin said of Stormello: “He got tired. Not only the horse, but I’m getting tired, too.” [Thoroughbred Times]
"He's got to learn to slow down a little bit if he wants to go on," Currin added. "I don't think the pace hurt him yesterday. It was a little slower than his last race. He just didn't run to his prior performance. This race was a little different than the other one." [BRIS]
But I'd read another quote by Currin in BRIS, which I can't relocate now, in which he seemed to criticize jockey Victor Espinoza for trying to reign in the horse's speed, saying it was no time for education. Nonetheless, he seems certain to go on to the Derby.

Doug O'Neill was very pleased with the effort of Notional, saying that he "thought he ran dynamite.” And his rally for second should serve as a solid prep for the Derby....though I'd feel more strongly about that if it wasn't five weeks out in his case, given his sparse schedule of late. As for the trainer's statement that "you could run this race ten times, and have four or five different winners," I don't know that I agree. I thought Scat Daddy won pretty solidly. Perhaps Chelokee could have been closer had he not been impeded in the stretch, but I don't know that anyone was catching the winner.

- O'Neill told BRIS that Lava Man is OK after backing up to last in the Dubai Duty Free.
The dark bay gelding "looked fantastic" after the race and "scoped clean," O'Neill said. "We'll regroup and revisit our thinking that we shouldn't ship him out of town again, but we'll get him home first and go from there."
If all goes well between now and then, expect to see him at Monmouth nonetheless.

6 Comments:

Anonymous said...

The FLA Derby final time is listed as 149.4 in tenths but 149. in hundredths.

Think we need to verify the time as 149. appears to have been clipped. If indeed it was 149.00 it should be posted that way, but I am suspicious it is between 149.81-149.99.

At face value they appeared to be crawling the last eighth so i am thinking the 149.4 is the accurate time.

alan said...

Where are you seeing 1:49.4? Both the Form and BRIS charts have 1:49 flat as the fifth of a second time from what I see.

Anonymous said...

The Bris chart emailed to me right after the race indicates 149.4, but it appears to be the mistake. Sorry.

Watched the race, it clearly indicates a final time of 149.00.

Watching it again, thought Chelokee ran huge, closed to the pace, rallied again after his "hole" closed.

He will be tough in the Preakness, his now stated goal.

Superfecta said...

I've seen a few reports that Lava Man bled, but nothing official (certainly nothing indicated by his connections). Anything to it?

I'm sure they'll be glad to get him back to CA.

Kevin said...

I played a generous win bet on NOTIONAL and backed it up with some place money in case someone came from the clouds to get NOTIONAL at the wire. I never expected SCAT DADDY that close to the lead. It was an excellent ride by Mr. Prado. I had the exacta a few times to cover my keys and ended up making about a $15 profit on the race overall (I'm embarrassed to tell you what my return on investment was, though).

I was moving all weekend, but made sure I got those bets in during the morning and hoped NOTIONAL didn't go off a 2-1. I missed all the Dubai races and had to catch the replays late Sunday night.

I'm looking forward to next Saturday now.

Walter said...

I was impressed enough by Scat Daddy. He was clearly best here, and it certainly appears i've under-estimated the horse. I still wouldn't rank him alongside Great Hunter or Street Sense, but he's clearly one of the top Derby prospects right now. And boy, was i ever wrong about Adore the Gold. He showed nothing, and i thought he was sitting the perfect trip. A little fast up front maybe, but he had absolutely no excuse not to challenge turning for home. I was shocked that he ran so poorly.