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Monday, December 01, 2008

Derby Doings

- Nah, I'm not nearly ready to talk about next year's Kentucky Derby, but here's a note about this year's. At least five horses that I know of who contested the 2008 Derby ran this past weekend; and four of them did so extremely well, three of those in Grade 1 stakes - though I think that one can reasonably opine that only one of the stakes runners should have been a winner. Perhaps they're trying to make a statement that the three-year old crop isn't as weak as we've made them out to be.

But the fact is that neither the Kentucky Derby, nor, to an extent, the Trail which leads to it, is a fair barometer on which to rate that year's three-year old crop. Each of the Derby horses who performed well over the weekend has found his niche - Court Vision and Cowboy Cal as grass horses, Tale of Ekati as a one-turn specialist, and Gayego, who set a track record on the Hollywood Derby undercard, as a sprinter. I think you could say unequivocally that two of those were intended for their present role all along, and were diverted from their true destiny by Derby fever. And I think we can do the same regarding Tale of Ekati with just a little hindsight thrown in. Good thing for the connections - and the horses - that they survived their misguided journeys of deluded grandeur and were able to move on. Court Vision I think was mostly good luck for an outfit having a whole lot of that this year.

Both Tale of Ekati and Court Vision are going to Florida, both apparently to race again next year. That's not a given for Grade 1 winners, especially one co-owned by Winstar as is the latter.

5 Comments:

SaratogaSpa said...

I was puzzled how so early on in 2008, racing writers and bloggers called this 3 year old crop weak. I think alot of it has to do with the anti-Big Brown crowd who would do anything to criticize the horse including knocking his competitors.

Actually watching the year play out and see how these horses mature and settle into their class is not something people like to do nowadays.

alan said...

>>I was puzzled how so early on in 2008, racing writers and bloggers called this 3 year old crop weak.

I would have to plead guilty to that I'm sure. Will have to keep this in mind before coming to any rash conclusions in the future!

El Angelo said...

The 3yo crop is weak when discussing dirt route horses. That hasn't changed.

I have to think TOE and Court Vision aren't retiring partially because the economy stinks. What kind of a stud fee could Court Vision get, $15k? It's probably more profitable for him to run.

Anonymous said...

Tale of Ekati didn't deserve to win? Watch the replay again. Anyone who thinks this was a bad DQ needs to rethink it. TOK showed his usual tenacity with a late rally despite clearly being cut off by Harlem Rocker inside the 1/8th pole and being forced to check. Surely that cost him a nose, no?

alan said...

>>Tale of Ekati didn't deserve to win? Watch the replay again. Anyone who thinks this was a bad DQ needs to rethink it.

I would tend to agree with you. All I wrote was that "one can reasonably opine" that the decision was wrong, and, given the race's Grade 1 status and the little bit of extra drama supplied by Prado, I think that's a reasonable characterization as well.