- I found the Daily Racing Form headline that read Clash of titans shaping up in Blue Grass to be rather odd. Seeing it at first, I thought that Zito had decided to send War Pass there to face Pyro after his Tampa Bay Derby this weekend. But instead, the story was referring to Visionaire and Cool Coal Man being sent to challenge Asmussen's Louisiana Derby winner. Personally, I would hardly put either of those in the "titans" category! In fact, I don't really know that Pyro would qualify as such either at this point.
Pyro certainly doesn't in the mind of some horseplayers. I was taken aback by the ferocity of some of the Pyro-doubting comments in that post about the colt on Steve Crist's blog that I mentioned yesterday. Perhaps some of it is a dislike of Steve Asmussen; his six month drug suspension has certainly not been forgotten; I'm sure that a lot of people would strongly prefer to not see him standing in the winner's circle at Churchill. But again, I just don't see how you can criticize a horse for two impressive, visually if not fig-uratively, wins in his first two 2008 starts. Especially this year, when those races stand in stark contrast to the flops of horses such as Tale of Ekati, Majestic Warrior, Court Vision. Monba, and Giant Moon (actually his second such race, but first since Jan 5). (Is it too soon to speculate that this is a weak three-year old crop? Or does the modern age of sparse preps preclude us from jumping to any such conclusions until much later in the season?)
I'm not at all down with Cool Coal Man. Perhaps that's hypocritical given the fact that he too has won his first two races of the year, both at nine furlongs. His Beyers of 92, and that recalculated 98 in the FOY, aren't bad; but what stands out to me are those agonizingly slow come home times - 14 1/5 - fully extended! - in his allowance win, and 13 4/5 in the FOY. He also started from the highly advantageous rail position in those two GP races, leading to good trips. That ain't gonna get it done come Derby day.
Visionaire ranks higher on my list. He's consistent and improving, earning a 98 Beyer in his foggy Gotham win. However, he too has benefited from fortuitous trips, tracking the lethargic Risen Star pace from the inside to finish third, and, we think, saving ground both turns in the Gotham before his winning rally. But given the sloppy conditions, questionable field, and slow final 2 1/2 furlongs of 33 1/5, he still has something to prove. Certainly before he gets equal billing with Pyro.
- Indian Blessing will skip the Oaks and cut back in distance.
"I wasn't convinced [she wanted to run long]," Baffert said. "She's quiet, but when that gate comes open, she grabs that bit and goes. I'm going to freshen her up for summer and fall."I'm not convinced that she can't win some big races around two turns, but I guess we won't be finding that out too soon.
Baffert said the long-range goal for Indian Blessing is the BC Filly and Mare Sprint.[DRF]
- Denis of Cork, who I'd pesonally rate significantly higher than either of those two horses discussed above, will miss the Rebel, and instead will await either the Wood Memorial (gr. I) or Illinois Derby (gr. II) the same day. [Bloodhorse]
- Thanks to all for your wishes of good health for me. Unfortunately, they have not yet come to fruition, and I'm suffering from a bad cold. While the timing was fortuitous as far as the wedding went, not so for our honeymoon, on which we depart on Thursday. I was hoping to get some catch-up posting in before then, as I know it's been erratic of late, and I appreciate you sticking with me. However, I'm going to have to spend my time trying to get better, and helping out the Head Chef and her cranky back. Oh man!! So I don't know if you'll hear from me again before we depart, except to say goodbye and/or to announce Spitzer's now long-awaited resignation. We're now told by the Times that he is engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as close aides said his wife was urging, to stay on.
“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who lingered on Tuesday outside the State Capitol grounds, avoiding the swarm of journalists inside. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”Wow, I guess that Silda Wall Spitzer must really like being the First Lady of the state!!
Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time. [NY Times]
On the other hand, the Daily Politics blog reports that he has reportedly already drafted his letter of resignation. I suppose he could always keep it in his drawer for a different occasion. But I still say it's 2-5 that he's gone....but I suppose that nothing should really surprise us at this point!