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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Time Is Now For Any Given Saturday

- The big question now after Any Given Saturday's assertive win over Curlin and Hard Spun is if the Haskell winner will run in the Travers in three weeks minus a day. As we know, that's not Todd Pletcher's preferred way of doing things. When asked by TVG's Jill Byrne whether the Travers is a possibility, the Toddster gave his usual answer, that they'll see how the horse comes out before making a decision. He added that after this performance, the Breeders Cup Classic would seem a natural goal, and that they would start from there and work backwards.

But that's the trainer talking - remember that Any Given Saturday is owned by Winstar (in partnership with Padua Stables). Last year, it wasn't long after the outfit's Bluegrass Cat won the Haskell that some cryptic stud ads for the colt started appearing in the Saratoga Special and elsewhere. Though Any Given Saturday may not quite have the on-track credentials that Bluegrass Cat had at this same time - second place finishes in the Derby and Belmont - it's probably safe to assume that someone at Winstar is already cooking up a marketing plan for his stallion duties next year. The horse looks absolutely spectacular, and, like Bluegrass Cat, he's the son of a fashionable sire in Distorted Humor, who may not be Storm Cat, but is at least from a stallion line that actually wins Kentucky Derbies. Both horses are out of AP Indy mares.

So I would guess that the owner's view is that the ultimate goal is the breeding shed rather than the Classic, and that they'll work backwards from there. And if the trainer says the horse came out OK, I would think that they'll go with the hot horse and shoot for a Travers win that would seal the deal on a lucrative stud fee. They ran Bluegrass Cat in both races, and his second place finish to Bernardini was good enough to ensure his $50,000 fee. Unless you think that Street Sense is the equivalent of Bernardini (and I certainly don't), Any Given Saturday arguably has a better chance of winning the Travers than did Bluegrass Cat, and any further success down the road, whether in the Classic or not, would just be gravy.

- Steve Asmussen, in a taped interview on TVG before the race, conceded that the speed favoring nature of the Monmouth main track would work against Curlin, and reiterated the fact that the Classic is the ultimate goal. But he did not seem at all happy with the effort afterwards, at a time you might expect him to express satisfaction with a decent performance in a race that's merely a stepping stone. "He ran the worst race of his career and we have to find out why," he told the Form. That seems to be a bit harsh, considering the layoff, the competition, and the fact that the race was just a stepping stone. Sounds like the trainer saw something he didn't like, and it will be interesting to see what develops in the days ahead with the Travers coming up so soon.

1 Comment:

Handride said...

Curlin looked awesome in the Paddock, and I was surprised he didn't finish closer.