RSS Feed for this Blog

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Notes - May 3

- For the third straight year, I'm forced to ask: What is this asshole doing here? And, more importantly, why in heaven's name do newspapers feel compelled to write about him and who he likes??? Jeez!!! Almost reason enough to toss Tiago right out!

- Andy Beyer, in dismissing the Derby chances of Curlin, points out, regarding the never-raced-at-two angle: Forty such horses have tried and failed since 1970. In that same period, 87 starters didn't have at least two races at 2, and only one - Fusaichi Pegasus - was successful.

Although Barbaro is cited as a horse who broke the Derby "rules," he came to Churchill Downs with a solid foundation - five races at a mile or more, four of them stakes. Curlin has no such foundation. He started his career too late; he hasn't raced enough; he has raced beyond a mile only twice; he hasn't faced top-class competition. He has everything against him. His status as the Derby favorite defies all logic. He'll be lucky to finish in the top 10. [Daily Racing Form]
- Mike Welsch of the Form observed the activity on the track on Wednesday and notes:
Dominican had a busy morning, jogging and galloping more than two miles, and again displayed the high leg action often associated with horses who prefer turf - and a Polytrack surface - to conventional dirt racetracks.
I seem to remember very similar comments regarding Barbaro last year, do you? Here are the horses that Welsch did not care for:
Tiago once again warmed up in the one-mile chute, then had to delay moving onto the main track while the outriders corralled a loose horse. He was allowed to open up a little more than during his first visit to the track here Tuesday, but still doesn't seem all that comfortable with the surface and was on the wrong lead down the stretch the second time around.

Stormello has very choppy action when he gallops and never seemed to settle into a comfortable rhythm during his training.
That's two strikes against Tiago, who had been virtually assured of a spot on my ticket until now. Hmmmm.

- Besides, of course, the fact that the surface is kinder to the animals, the thing I like the most about Polytrack is the lack of sloppy tracks. I know some people feel it's an advantage to handicap for the muck, but I hate it. I didn't even bother looking much at Belmont's opening day card as the rain was pouring down on Tuesday night, though as it turned out, the grass races stayed on and the track was fast by the end of the day. Sun King was favored in the Grade 3 Westchester, and showed a new dimension, racing close up to the pace in fairly quick fractions before tiring for third after some bumping. Godolphin got the win with its seven year old multiple Grade 1 winner in Japan, Utopia, making his first start in over a year. He's actually related to Wildcat Bettie B, the other horse involved in Hard Spun's blazing workout the other day. The ever-optimistic Nick Zito said of Sun King: "He tried hard. He galloped out better than anyone. Hopefully, the Met Mile will be next.” [Bloodhorse]

Now there's a pretty persistent chance of thunderstorms for Louisville all weekend. And though I could never suggest that the most exciting two minutes in sports should be run on - gasp - Polytrack, wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to worry about a sloppy track?

- How about this - the entire field was surprise-tested for the drug Epogen yesterday. But don't expect any pre-race disqualifications.
Initial results could come before the race, but any infractions are typically dealt with after a race.
.....
Typically, if there's a positive blood test it could result in a disqualification for purse money, but wagering results wouldn't be affected. [Louisville Courier-Journal]

7 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Welch really has taken a stand with DOMINICAN, repeatedly saying the horse has turf action. Given that I intend to allocate 75% of my wagers keying this horse, this makes me nervous. Mike is a pretty sharp guy. But I'm sticking to my guns and think Dominican goes off at 18-1.

Alan, looking at the weather forecast, we've got a great chance for an off track here. That would really screw everything up, IMO. Who do we think that favors?

Anonymous said...

After close review it looks like Tiago didn't switch leads until about the 16th pole in the SA Derby. But when he did.....

Anonymous said...

Yep. Mike Smith was all out with a left stick. As soon as he did he dropped down on the rail.

alan said...

Re: sloppy track...Jeez, I have no clue who that would favor. There's very little sloppy track form in this field. And it would depend if it's a fresh sloppy track that might favor speed, or a drying out surface that might be tiring to front runners.

But if you believe in the Tomlinson mud numbers, Michael at Curb Your Enthusiasm has a rundown here.

alan said...

I looked back at Welsch's comments on Barbaro's final work last year, of which he said:

"If Dick Vitale were on hand during training hours here Saturday, he would have described Barbaro's final Derby work (five furlongs in 59.48 seconds) as "awesome baby!"

"As noted Friday, Barbaro has the high leg action of a turf horse and as a result he does hit the ground harder than most. But the manner in which he stretches out effortlessly and covers ground more than makes up for his action, and Barbaro couldn't be doing any better coming into the Derby."

Tote Board Brad said...

damnit that effing pisses me off! up until reading that, Tiago was leading my list of picks. it turns my stomach to think that a the horse i'm pulling for is one that would comfort that cocksucker.

Anonymous said...

Nobiz is a grandson of Go For Gin, and you know what he did in the Derby slop. He is upgraded should the skies open, as are all the front runners.

Odd that with all the rain there really is no proven wet form.