- I know I said I'd start to run down my Derby contenders, and I'll start that shortly; might as well wait for the post draw at this point.
Until then, a few things:
A couple of people commented on Andy Beyer's chat last night, and the fact that he didn't say who he liked, only who he didn't. One excerpt of the chat which caught my eye:
I don't have enough confidence in any one horse to bet to win. But it's the Derby, so I've got to make a play. So I'll throw out Big Brown and Colonel John, dive into the tri and super pools, spread quite a bit and try to come up with a monster payoff.And my question is, why does he got to make a play? That's a question that I internally debate before big races from time to time. I suppose I'd feel stupid following the Derby Trail all these months and then passing the race. But is there anything wrong with that? The Derby has always been hard enough to bet; now, with the synthetic track questions and the paucity of solid evidence resulting from the current trend of less racing as well as the fact that the key contenders rarely face each other in preps, it's more of a guessing game than ever. So, the festivities aside, wouldn't it actually be a prudent move to not bet the race seriously? I mean, I'm certainly not suggesting that some kind of action bet isn't warranted, if not required. But why do we have to make a significant play? Is anyone out there planning on sitting it out entirely?
- A couple of negative developments regarding Just Zip It. Aegean Breeze has scratched, eliminating a possible pace challenge to Precious Too. And my buddy Steve checks in from NC with the word that the Ragozin sheets are not quite as favorable as Thoro-graph. A battle of the Sheets, so to speak. Something about an 0-2-x scenario, which didn't quite work out for the Rangers last night, ugh. But I will remind Steve that she did take a nice bump at the start, and ran much of the race with three shoes. So we'll see!
- A couple of interesting observations by Haskin from his latest dispatch. Everyone's Derby guru, who, as a reader noted, will likely make a case for most of the 20 horses in his final wrap-up, goes against the common grain regarding Colonel John's workout.
Although his five-furlong work in :57 4/5 Sunday was an excellent move and showed the colt handles the dirt well, he did take the turn into the stretch a little wide and didn’t show the agility a horse like Street Sense did last year or Denis of Cork this year. He is such a long-striding horse it takes him a while to find his best stride and you don’t want to get him stopped in any way or stuck in too much traffic.And regarding Pyro, he says of that colt's half mile work the other day:
Despite being under restraint, Pyro still came home his final furlong in :11 4/5. He looks terrific physically and appears to be coming up to the Derby in top form.I could certainly see myself swinging back to Pyro, who I liked all along until his Blue Grass, if the price is right. I guess I'm in the same boat as Beyer on this colt in that as much as I liked him at one time, it's just hard to put the Blue Grass totally out of mind.
- Jeff Gural says that he doesn't want to pay the $20,000 fine levied on him by the Racing and Wagering Board for closing Vernon Downs early last year. Acknowledging that the track could lose its license should he not fork over the cash, Gural said: “I certainly don’t want to see that happen, but it would cost the state a lot more than it would cost me." [UticaOD.com] Of course, in relative terms, it would cost even more to all the employees and horsemen who depend on the track to make a living in these difficult times. So real nice attitude there.
- I know people are upset about the blackout of the NYRA signal at the Mid-Atlantic Coop tracks. But we also hear a lot about how the tracks don't get nearly enough for their signals, and that that aspect of the industry's business model must change. So NYRA is trying to do their part in that regard. Hopefully, the short-term pain will be worth the long-term goal of tracks being properly compensated for their product.
- NYRA is touting a renewed effort towards customer service, so Bob just gave me a call from Belmont to tell me that he's been waiting for a half hour to get his Thoro-graph sheets because they wouldn't give him change. He tried to give them $40 for the $25 purchase, but was told "we don't give change." Efforts to break a twenty at refreshment stands were met with similar refusals. So he's waiting for the windows to open. Maybe he can get some customer service there. [UPDATE: Bob called again to tell me that they're accepting wagers at Churchill, but there's no video signal. Don't know if it's just a glitch or if it has anything to do with the current ADW dispute. But he said there are a lot of very unhappy horseplayers there.]