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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Night Notes - Feb 10

- It wasn't my intention to disparage Pyro's performance - not too much, anyway; and I certainly didn't mean to compare Scipion to him in terms of ability. It certainly was an amazing run, and he made it look easy. But, as noted by commenter McCarron, people and the press tend to go nuts when a three-year old wins a Derby prep in that fashion, so I thought that a little counterbalance to all the hype we'll be hearing was in order; every one of the analysts at the Churchill Downs site now has Pyro as #1 on their top ten. I also realize that the slow pace made the final time more or less irrelevant, as was the case, in a more exaggerated fashion, in last year's Blue Grass. But there's three months to go, and a lot can happen.

A couple of commenters disputed my being skeptical of the quality of the competition. But I did question the supposed depth of the field before the race, and I believe that was borne out from the result. I excepted Z Fortune from that characterization; and in my opinion, Blackberry Road is just an OK minor awards type, and Visionaire had a perfect trip. So, with all due respect, I'm going to stand by my statement about the quality of the field, and we'll see if I'm right or wrong down the road.

Pyro closed at 5-1 in the futures pool, which I think most of us would agree is absurd at this point no matter how much you loved his race. I actually put a few bucks down on Z Fortune (37-1), who I thought ran a really solid second in his 4th career race. He was three wide on both turns, and made a strong move to the lead turning for home. He was the winner on most days, and his tactical speed will serve him well should he make it to Kentucky, as opposed to a horse like Pyro, who will need a lot of racing luck. Z Fortune is by the Brazilian-bred sire Siphon, who currently stands in Pennsylvania for $5,000. The sire's pedigree is strictly Brazilian and Argentinian, and lacks any of the names we're so used to seeing. He's out of a familiar line - a graded stakes (Demoiselle) winner in Fortunate Faith, by Fortunate Prospect (Northern Prospect / Mr. Prospector). But what his distance prospects are on pedigree I can only guess. Which is always the case, I suppose.

Just a horrible accident at the Big A in the 7th on Sunday. Yes, I was there again, and I was thinking that, given the looming deadline, I'd write a funny post about how much I'd miss the place. But the accident really soured the mood. Every incident is awful of course, but Phillip X broke down while grimly trying to hold on to the lead in deep stretch, right there, just under the noses of those us sitting in the 2nd floor seats. I couldn't watch, and had to go inside. It looked really bad, and I don't believe I need to even bother trying to find out what happened to the stricken horse.

12 Comments:

Michael said...

To be fair, most of the Derby website folks had Pyro #1 before Saturday... he's been the posh pick for a few weeks now...

Power Cap said...

It is such a pity what happened to Phillip X. He was fighting so hard to get to the wire first, just a few strides before the wire he broke down in the most gruesome way at the most visible part of the track. So sorry for him and his connections.

Teresa said...

Fountaine reports that Phillip X was euthanized on the track, as surmised. Sunday to Sunday, that's three fatal breakdowns at Aqueduct, and that makes at least five for the six weeks of racing in 2008, with many more being vanned off. Not good.

Anonymous said...

Causes of this rash of breakdowns at Aqueduct? My hypothesis: Over raced, injured, infirm horses masked by drugs and steroids. Track conditions? Both? Would like to hear some objective insight into this as opposed to the biased information we tend to receive from the usual suspects. Hard to get a straight answer as the industry seems to have it's head in the sand on this one. Lack of reliable data certainly doesn't help. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Mitch said...

Weren't there fairly well documented complaints about the condition of the inner track last year? Or were they about the main track?

And as to the horses - someone at another site asked whether necropsies were required in the case of an ontrack breakdown. Is this the case in NY? If so, do the results ever become public?

Anonymous said...

Phillip X. breakdown was horrible. This is racing's dirty little secret, and it gets very little press, just part of the business. I was at AQU too, and sick to my stomach. It is racing's responsibilty to look after the fate of these horses - everyone seems more concerned with the number of trustees on the board.
Slot machines don't break their legs for our gambling enjoyment.

alan said...

>>Weren't there fairly well documented complaints about the condition of the inner track last year? Or were they about the main track?

Mitch - Those were regarding the main track, which needs a new base. And there were complaints that the maintenance crew has been too quick to seal the tracks overnight.

Anonymous said...

Totally forgot about Scipion! As I recall, visually impressive, but a v. low Beyer...any ideas on what Pyro got?

RIP Phillip X

Smash

alan said...

>.As I recall, visually impressive, but a v. low Beyer...any ideas on what Pyro got?

Not yet, but I'm sure that Illman will have it up on WonkBlog pretty soon. However, I wouldn't expect that it's going to be too high considering that he ran a second slower than Indian Blessing. Beyers don't take into consideration slow paces that compromise the final time. So I don't think the number will properly reflect the race that he ran.

Anonymous said...

Pyro had a perfect prep. There were concerns going in that he was too sharp. He's been training with Curlin for goodness sakes! That said, he still has two prep races to get cranked up before the derby, so if his beyer is in the low 90s as one might expect, it sets him up well for the spring campaign. He only had to run hard for a quarter mile. This is your derby fave, although 5-1 is a terrible derby price on Pegasus himself in February...

PS: The big A inner is a disgrace to NY racing. RIP Phil X.

Anonymous said...

One other thing: The chart-writer at Aqueduct that works for Equibase, whomever he or she is, is a HACK. The chart for Phillip X reads "Phillip X fell and broke down in deep stretch." No mention of how this horse gutted his way to the lead. Around a year ago, a similar incident took place at the Big A with a filly named LC Tornado. She was 15-1 and was about to win the race in deep stretch and she broke down in horrible fashion. At the time, the chart writer made no note of her winning effort. I realize it's a tough world, etc etc, but this is so lame. These horses give their lives and the chart writer should at least discuss the effort that took place. I realize these guys make a small paycheck, but they should be more passionate for the game. I guess I have to write Equibase and have them change the chart just like I did a year ago with poor LC Tornado. They should fire this stiff.

aparagon4u said...

Pyro received a 90, while Indian Blessing received a 99. Turf Paradise Derby winner Nikki'sgoldensteed received a 96. Georgie Boy's figure is not up on the DRF Simulcast Daily site yet, usually there is a two day delay so it should be available tomorrow.

Lenny