- Worth taking a look at the finish of the 7th at the Big A on Sunday if you can; it was one of two consecutive state-bred stakes races won by Contessa. Study Abroad was closing in on front-running favorite I Promise, and it looked to my naked eyes as if she got there. However, watch carefully, and you'll see Like a Rose sneak up between them and somehow get her nose down in time; she seemed to have no shot at the top spot with just a few strides to go. Great finish there.
I Promise, at even money, was one of six favorites less than 2-1 to lose there on Sunday - no less than three of those at less than even money; and two of those at odds of .45 to 1! Tough day for chalk players.
- Pyro is fine and is on his way to the Derby. Asmussen told Bill Finley of the NY Times that he's "pretty confident it was simply the surface,” but expressed misgivings about the fiasco nonetheless.
“I’m definitely worried that he didn’t do enough in the Blue Grass....I would have worked him by himself. Now, his next work will definitely be in company. I just can’t look at the Blue Grass as a hard race.” [NY Times]I wonder if he'll interrupt Curlin's vacation to reunite them on the track in the early morning. Even if you simply attribute his poor effort to the Poly, one can no longer say that he hasn't missed a beat in his preparation for the big race. This was a carefully planned campaign, and the horse certainly didn't get anything out of the race at all. It's a setback anyway you look at it, and I can't think it bodes well. On the other hand, man, if I let this horse go at 10-1 and he beats me....
- Barclay Tagg's assistant Joe Rosalez told Bloodhorse that “It’s decision time” after Big Truck's 11th place finish.
“He came back fine, cooled out great, ate up his feed tub. He’s a classy little horse.” [Bloodhorse]He still has the earnings, and you can add him to the list of synthetic question marks should he still go.
Gayego, who is most definitely off that list, is heading to Churchill today, and he has to be considered one of the top contenders now, even if his Beyer comes back a few points lower than the preliminary 103 he is said to have earned. Mike Smith said that the horse lost a length when he slipped coming out of the gate.
"Down the backside it was just a question of me staying on his back and making him keep his mind on his business," Smith said, calling Gayego's run "spotty."Interesting to note that Gayego went from the six furlong mark to the mile in 25.86. But he got the last eighth in 12.68. So it would seem that Gayego re-broke when challenged at that point by Z Fortune. He's a question mark at the distance - his sire, Gilded Time, has an average winning distance of less than 6 1/2 furlongs, and his dosage comes in high at 4.33. But he certainly has some positives here, not to mention that he's proven to be, at least based on his Beyers, the second fastest three-year old in the prospective field.
"He's still learning," Smith added. "He runs some and then he doesn't. Once we caught the leader I stayed busy on him to make sure he stayed focused." [News-Leader.com]
- Back to the last post for a moment. The idea that someone connected with NYRA confronted Spitzer with his/her knowledge of his appetite for prostitutes and blackmailed him into choosing it for the franchise seems like classic fodder for conspiracy theorists. It also smacks of the kind of petty retribution one might expect from some of NYRA's defeated foes based on the campaign of distortions they waged against it. However, Eliot Spitzer has proven to be a liar and a psychopath....and I don't think that the latter is really too strong of a word. Thus far, we haven't seen anything to indicate that he was subject to blackmail, or that his indiscretions included anything other than getting laid (and whatever....don't really want to think about the 'whatever'), as opposed to any corruption for his personal financial gain. I don't believe this story about NYRA for a second. But given the circumstances, I don't think it's at all unfair for other to speculate that there was some kind of foul play involved.
- Monba earned a Beyer of 92 for the Blue Grass.
- The Ranger had the Devils staring at the brink, down 0-2 in games and tied 3-3 in the third. However, the visitors played with grim determination and escaped with a 4-3 OT win. I do believe that the Rangers have a significant edge in firepower and talent, and that they will prevail in the end. But it ain't gonna be easy.