- If you've missed Mike Welsch's clocker reports in the Form, you can find Monday's here, Sunday's here, Saturday's here, and Friday's report on Zenyatta here. As is usually the case when you're dealing with horses of this caliber, most of his observations are positive; Student Council, Cocoa Beach, Curlin, Well Armed in particular. I generally tend to ignore these unless it's a horse that I like, such as Albertus Maximus ("gives the impression he's peaking at just the right time," exactly my point), Cost of Freedom ("seems to be maintaining his vastly improved form"), and Carriage Trail ("could be a strong exacta threat under Zenyatta") (I have more ambitious wagering plans for her).
Of more interest to me in these reports are the horses that he gives negative reviews, especially with respect to how they're handling the Pro Ride. The stupidly named Fatal Bullet "got very weary while struggling home through a final furlong on a loose rein in 13" (too bad); Street Hero (Juvenile) "should have finished better than his 12.33-second final furlong;" Ginger Punch "perhaps...still somewhat of a question mark over the surface;" Indian Blessing - "Pro-Ride might prove a major chink in her armor." I'll list Welsch's reports over in the left sidebar. Also of interest over on that side are the Notes for each of the races, which you can find in the Breeders' Cup widget.
- Midnight Lute, who I don't like at all in the Sprint, worked out on Monday. Funny that neither this report, nor this one, make more than passing reference to the condition of his foot. Welsch has been reporting that he's recently had treatment on a quarter crack suffered at Del Mar, and that he's been working out with a bar shoe that may or may not be in place on race day.
- Ed Fountaine in the NY Post has the Insider's Insight on the Pro-Ride.
- Defections: Mast Track, Red Giant, Tropic Storm, Communique, Believe In Hope, and J Be K. I didn't like any of them, but some good hunch bet possibilities down the drain. Red Giant has been retired.
- Bobby Frankel commented on synthetic tracks:
"Like I told somebody, 'George Bush sold the war and these people sold this track.' No basis to what they're saying, just told you lies." [AP]We like Bobby. Amazing though how different the view is from across the pond, where some apparently see this Breeders' Cup as the dawning of a great new age for the event, and for American racing in general. Greg Wood writes in the Guardian UK:
Bit by bit, the issues and conditions that have prevented the Cup from being a fair test for all are being stripped away and the inaugural event on a synthetic surface is an immense step forward.Oh man, I'd like to see him say that to Nick Zito's face!
This is also linked to the other obstacle to the event's global ambitions - medication. One reason that American racing got hooked on drugs is that it was the only way to keep horses sound when they were training and racing on dirt. Without the dirt, the urge to medicate should start to diminish.
The ultimate goal is to finally change the mindset among punters too. At the moment, when they consider the Juvenile form with a view to next year's Kentucky Derby, they are likely to think: "Shame it was on synthetic, when the Derby is on dirt." At some point, though, it needs to change: "Shame the Derby's on dirt when all the best form's on synthetic."