- Zanjero turned into a pretty nice three-year old for Asmussen. He capped his season with an impressive win in the Indiana Derby, earning a career best Beyer of 103, reprising the deep closing style that he used earlier in the year. He's only been out of the money twice in 12 career start - in his first race, and the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 12th at 36-1. It was a great ride by Robbie Albarado, whose name I seem to have heard a lot lately; he saved all the ground on the turn and swung out seamlessly to mow them down in the stretch. Asmussen said:
"I'm going to give him the rest of the year off," he said. "He's had a long, hard year, and I want to have him ready for a big 4-year-old year." [Daily Racing Form]Seems like a smart move, because Asmussen might be able to win some big races with this colt in 2008. These are the horses that become our handicap stars these days - the ones who weren't quite good, or healthy enough to make it big at stud after his three-year old campaign. Flashy Bull, Hesanoldsalt, Magna Graduate, Sun King, Corinthian come to mind....even Lawyer Ron to a certain extent.
However, I did read somebody, I don't recall who, write rather authoritatively that Darley would keep one of its big three of (in no particular order) Any Given Saturday, Street Sense, and Hard Spun in training next year. There is some precedent for that I guess; they easily could have retired Discreet Cat after the World Cup.
Spectacular Grade 1 winning son of Forestry. Ran six furlong in 1:07 3/5 in Cigar Mile. Three consecutive 112+ Beyers.They could have also included a photo of the dreaded throat mass that killed his World Cup chances, just so you know he had a real excuse.
Actually, the idea of one of them running in at least the World Cup makes perfect sense; a chance to show off one of their expensive toys, probably the one with the least to lose if he runs bad without an obstructive granulomatous mass within his throat. I would guess that would be the Derby winner.
Zanjero is by Cherokee Run, also the sire of War Pass. Not bad, Grade 1 and Grade 2 winners on the same day. Regarding the Champagne winner, I seem to be in the minority in that I wasn't blown away by his Champagne. He earned a really good 103 Beyer, a nice move forward in his third race. He showed brilliant early speed, with quarters of 22.87 and 22.85 to the half. But he ran the second half in 50.40, and did so under a drive by Corny V. to the finish. And it sure didn't hurt that the two favorites didn't run a lick (perhaps, admittedly, because War Pass was out there running so fast). Jessica is one person at least who agrees with me that his ability to handle a two-turn route will be a big question going into the Juvenile. I think he's an automatic bet-against in the Juvenile should he be the favorite - the kind I wouldn't feel bad about if he wins at 5-2.