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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Morning News and Notes

- Robert Yates reported in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that Rick Porter has nominated his filly Eight Belles to the Arkansas Derby, though her next scheduled start is the G2 Fantasy on April 6. “Unless something unforeseen happens,” Porter said he still plans to make Eight Belles a late Triple Crown nominee. The daughter of Unbridled's Song earned a 91 for her win in the Honeybee last weekend; that's down from a 96 in her prior, a 13 length stakes win, and from the 100 she earned in her 15 length allowance win two back. But if you see just how easily she won the Honeybee, the Beyers don't seem to be that significant.

Pure Clan, who was previously undefeated before running second to Eight Belles in the Honeybee (she closed as the 7-1 third choice in the second Oaks futures pool), has also been nominated for the Arkansas Derby, though trainer Bob Holthus said “We don’t have any plans to run.....It’s just an option.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette] That's a lot of nominating for two fillies who don't plan to run in the race.

- Don't get me wrong; though I've staunchly defended Pyro's role as solid Derby favorite at this point, I'm hoping and planning to bet enthusiastically against him in the race. Like everyone else, I'm searching, thus far in vain, for someone to get me excited to do so. Can't really say that Adriano is doing it for me given his sole natural dirt effort; but it seems that he'll get another shot in the Lexington. Perhaps grasping for straws, Graham Motion pointed out that the colt was well-behaved prior to the Lane's End, whereas "he kind of fell apart [on FOY] day. The fact that he was good today made a big difference.” [Bloodhorse]

Adriano is by AP Indy out of a Mr. Prospector mare; some good old-fashioned dirt breeding there. His second dam, Golden Treat, though by the grass champion Theatrical, won the G1 SA Oaks on dirt; and she's a half to the great Belmont/Haskell winner Bet Twice. So Adriano certainly has some dirt ability in his pedigree.

The Florida Derby next Saturday comes up as one of the more intriguing preps, with several horses in the eligible to improve category expected to compete, including Elysium Fields and Big Brown. Another probable entrant, Fierce Wind, was sold privately last week, but will remain in the care of Nick Zito. New owner Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET, spent $3.3 million to purchase Dream Rush last fall; but that filly has not raced this year. Fierce Wind is three-for-three around two turns, and brings just a bit of speed to the game. Whereas we all often look for potential closers as our Derby prospects, this seems like a year in which perhaps we should be looking at possibilities to steal it on the front end. War Pass could look pretty good to me at around 10-1!

Fierce Wind is by Dixie Union out of an AP Indy, and is inbred, 4x3, to Seattle Slew. Besides the fact that no possible Derby horse has blown me away on performance, I haven't really seen any pedigrees that have knocked me asunder either. Though Fierce Wind is a half to the graded (turf) winner Rebel Yeller, and his dam is a half to a graded winner in Parade Queen, he, like most of the pedigrees I've examined, is rather light on the catalog page and doesn't inspire me on breeding alone.

Hey Byrn is another Florida Derby candidate, said here to be one of the expected favorites despite a lackluster 88 Beyer earned in his two-turn allowance win against five rivals on March 2. He's by the Honour and Glory sire Put It Back, out of a Skip Trial mare; also not much else to discuss pedigree-wise, though if you delve back to his 4th dam, you'll find that she was the granddam of the accomplished marathoner Lemhi Gold (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Marlboro Cup, San Juan Capistrano).


Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see what kind of action Tomcito gets. The betting public seems to fall in love with the largely unknown and unproven "superhorses". (Has worked fantastically, though.)


Anonymous said...

Today Pepper's Pride, the New Mexio-bred and based filly won her 15th straight victory in $100,000 Sydney Valentini Handicap at Sunland Park. Making her lifetime 15 15-0-0 No she's not running in graded stakes races, but still its an achievement of worthy praise.

With the Florida Derby I too am far more excited to see Tomcito (who put in a serious bullet last week) run vs. Big Brown. Oddly enough ESPN during their Lanes End Stakes coverage didn't utter a whisper about Tomcito. That's a shame as he's proven 1 1/2 miles is easy, older horses can be taken on, and coping with traffic isn't a problem. Effectively he's already vetted out the problems other runners haven't dealt with yet.

I'm hoping his connections get Edgar Prado up for the ride.

At least one deal to sell him has falled to workout so far but if he finishes in the money (let alone wins) with the FL Derby you can be assured that price will just go up.

Good to see you back Alan!

Alan Mann said...

>>I'm hoping his connections get Edgar Prado up for the ride.

I believe that Prado is going to be in Dubai.

Anonymous said...

10-1 on WAR PASS? Alan, c'mon man. You'll be lucky to get 9-2.

Alan Mann said...

>>10-1 on WAR PASS? Alan, c'mon man. You'll be lucky to get 9-2.

Patience....he still has the Wood with which to further tarnish his reputation.