- I thought that was Larry Jones at Belmont on Sunday. One doesn't see too many people walk around there wearing cowboy hats. He handicapped the weather well and drilled Hard Spun on Sunday instead of Monday. The five furlongs in 1:03.17 was his first timed workout since the infamous 57 3/5 second work that may very well have cost him the Derby (just half-kidding).
Tiago worked out too, and he's a little interesting at this distance I suppose.
"Giacomo had a very elegant way of going, a nice long stride and he really floated over the ground," Shirreffs said. "Tiago has a different stride, more of a running stride than a gliding stride." [AP]Larry Roman said that he would run his recently acquired allowance horse Digger to protest the lack of sportsmanship shown by Street Sense's connections. He tried to hire Angel Cordero to ride, and said that Hard Spun would “need to be going :44 if he’s going to go by us in the first four furlongs.” That prompted a scalding, and, to me, somewhat hysterical response from John Pricci (hat tip to Railbird). Personally, I'm more offended by, for example, Flying First Class having run in the Preakness. But Roman later posted on the Thoroughbred Champions forum:
I AM influenced by what respected people think and will now E Mail TVG and ask them for their professional opinion as to IF Digger should be in the race and do they feel I have a reasonable chance of being in the top 5 finishers. If the answer to either of those questions is no, the horse wont be entered and the 20,000 in starting fees that I would have had to pay, will be donated to a couple of charities. Hey all you critics, is that fair?The big question, of course, is whether Rags to Riches is going to run or not.. Or in other words, whether the race is intriguing or not; in my opinion, anyway. I'm still not buying the "showdown" angle with Curlin and Hard Spun, even though I must admit that I can see the attraction of the latter with the slower pace scenario that some are predicting. But still, even if Cristina Olivares talks some sense into Roman (whose horse couldn't run a 45 second half even if they wanted him to), you still have Slew's Tizzy, who should be out there to at least make Garrett Gomez think about what to do.
The Toddster has let it be known that he wouldn't run both Circular Quay and Rags to Riches and, according to the Form, on Monday he pretty much said Circular Quay was unlikely to run.
"Mr. Tabor has left it up to me....He said 'I'm happy with whatever you do, but you make the call.' "This Belmont has emitted a lot of bad vibes, and I'm thinking that the filly probably stays in the barn; we should find out for sure today. [UPDATE: The Form reports that she's a go!]
Steve Asmussen also had the weather scoped out correctly, and worked Curlin at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Churchill clockers caught him in 13 3/5 seconds for the first eighth-mile, 25 3/5 for a quarter-mile and 38 for three-eighths, with the five-eighths of a mile gallop-out time at 1:04 3/5. [Louisville Courier-Journal]Asmussen also worked Tiz Wonderful an easy half in 53 seconds, his first timed drill since he left the Derby Trail with an injury in January. He is targeting Saratoga's July 29 Jim Dandy Stakes for the return of the son of Tiznow.
- Pletcher is hot, what else is new? He has won his last three races in a row at Belmont, and is now 13 for 38, for 34%. He also won two stakes over the weekend, both at Arlington - the Reluctant Guest Stakes with Quiet Royal; and the Mister Gus Stakes with Tiganello.
- Bobby Frankel's filly Down was listed as the 1-2 morning line favorite in a maiden race at Belmont on Sunday; in her last effort, she'd run third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. But she scratched; maybe Frankel had also gotten the word on Richard Dutrow's hot first-timer City Bird. The Stronach-bred daughter of Carson City took all the money at 7-10, and drew clear in the stretch to a three length win. She's out of a full sister, by Wild Again, to the Grade 1 winner (Met Mile, Carter) Wild Rush.