You gotta like the way Papa Clem was able to change tactics in his Arkansas Derby win, and it wasn't at all pre-planned.
"I was supposed to be on the lead," Bejarano said. "Stuff happens."I guess that people are going to downgrade his victory in light of the injury suffered by Old Fashioned, but that could be a mistake. After all, Larry Jones' colt could have gotten hurt in the gallop out for all we know. He sure didn't look like he was at all lame battling the winner gamely to the end, finishing better than I thought he would, especially after a quick opening half mile of 46.19 ("We figured if we could get the half in :47 1-5 we were in good shape.."), re-breaking as he did to finish up in 12.33 seconds after his prior quarter in 25.62. In fact, the highly suspicious amongst us might wonder about the timing of this announced injury, coming after an effort which, valiant as it was, confirmed, at least in my mind, that he's not destined to defeat top flight horses at classic distances. Does anyone out there believe that his value as a stallion will ever be more than it is at this moment even if he should return?
[Gary] Stute said his heart skipped a beat early in the race when Papa Clem, after breaking from two, was not in front.
"When I saw Rafael riding him out of the gate, I said, 'Oh, God.' " Stute said. "Rafael kept telling me he wanted to rate, and he comes to the paddock and says, 'Gary, I think we'll be on the lead.' I was just hoping on the second turn that he wouldn't hang." [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]
Papa Clem is by Smart Strike, last year's leading stallion having an ordinary year thus far; I believe it's "only" his second graded stakes winner of the year. Papa Clem's first two dams are Grade 1 winners - first dam Miss Houdini (Belong to Me) won the Del Mar Debutante; second dam Magical Maiden (Lord Avie) took the Las Virgnens and the Hollywood Starlet.
- The Tampa Bay Derby has now produced two subsequent winners with General Quarters (Sky Mesa) taking the Blue Grass....and Eibar Coa has ridden both of them. "I believe Musket Man is the best horse I've had so far, and he gives me my best chance of winning the race," he said after that colt took the Illinois Derby, but I wonder how he feels now?
So much for Mafaaz and the asinine idea of a qualifying race in the UK. Hopefully, his connections will have the grace to bow out of the Derby and cede his spot to someone more deserving....whatever that exactly means with this Derby crop, which has turned out to be not nearly as deep and talented as we thought it would be just a couple of months ago.
Similarly, we hope that owner W.K. Warren Jr. will have the good taste to declare Charitable Man out of the Derby. Still on the bubble despite his 7th place finish at an absurdly overbet 5-1 in his first race since September and first beyond seven furlongs, Charitable Man is a poster child for a revision of the graded earnings rule. A seven furlong stakes race in September of a horse's two-year old campaign should have ZERO to do with Derby eligibility, especially now when many juvenile stakes serve as nothing more than entry level allowance races.
And regarding Patena, who has now run 8th and 10th in the two races since IEAH purchased him after he ran second to Friesan Fire in the La Comte, all I have to say is, ha ha.
- The NY Daily News reports that Alex Rodriguez and Brittany Frankel, the daughter of trainer Bobby, have been "stepping out" in Miami this weekend.
...A friend said, "They could be a match. She's very athletic - she snowboards and surfs. She's an expert on nutrition. She's also a no-nonsense, straight-shooting lady. And we know Alex likes strong women."And she has access to a wide variety of whips too.
- Happy Easter everyone, hope you have a pleasant and safe holiday.