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Friday, May 15, 2009

Preakness Eve Notes

I think I should have mentioned General Quarters as well. Recall that he broke through to his career best 102 fig in his first race around two turns in the Sam F Davis, and then had an excuse and perhaps also bounced in the Tampa Bay Derby. He forged back towards his Davis fig in the Blue Grass, and then didn't expend much energy in the slop at Churchill after early trouble with traffic and mud.

McCarthy said there was a quarter inch of mud caked onto General Quarters’ lower left eye lid. He also said the colt hacked up a mudball the size of a tennis ball. [Talking Horses, May 6]
This is a horse who I get the feeling may be sitting on an improved effort, as opposed to some of the others who I'm thinking may regress after battling hard in the Churchill slop; I'm liking him more as I write this, and he stood at 17-1 after Friday's wagering.

El Angelo thinks they'll be a hot pace, and mentions Terrain as a possibility should that be the case. I think he'd need a really hot one; his rallies have been late and have left him behind several of the others in here in the past. Nice pedigree; he's a son of Sky Mesa out of a stakes winning Forty Niner mare, and this is the direct female family of the Derby winner Unbridled (Gina Facil, the dam of the latter is the third dam of Terrain).

Reader Ann makes a fair point here:
I don't buy the "trained to peak in the Oaks" argument. It seems to me that the colts were trained to peak in the Derby. So if you discount her for that reason, you ought to discount the colts that ran in the Derby too.
I actually don't disagree; the horses from the Derby that I like the most are the ones that didn't run all that much (Friesan Fire and General Quarters) or all that hard (Mine That Bird). I prefer Musket Man and Papa Clem underneath, though I have to use the latter on top defensively at his overlaid odds, currently 14-1.

So, you might say, Rachel Alexandra won easily too, and that's true. (By the way, everyone was quick to criticize Durkin after the Derby, but I don't recall hearing anyone comment on how he nailed the margin of victory at 20 in the Oaks!) She did run fast though, and had the easiest kind of journey with a clear stalking trip in a short field behind a vulnerable pace setter. She's the one stepping way up in class. It was just a few weeks ago that everyone was talking about how deep this crop of colts was; now they're all a bunch of bums!? Some of these guys have run some tough races under adverse circumstances; unless she's just that superior and runs clear away from these, she has to prove that she can too. Personally, I don't think this is the right time or place for her to do so. But I guess we'll soon find out!

14 Comments:

onecalicocat said...

My two cents:
1. Mine that Bird
2. Big Drama
3. Freisan Fire

Anonymous said...

Spent the morning on youtube watching MTB's prior races. He is anything but a plodder, the Derby was the anomoly and purely accidental.

He does appear to do his best running on the rail, switching leads late and coming again once he got the the rail in the Sunland Derby.

He got a terrible ride in that race as well as an overcondident ride in his prep for that race off a long layoff.

With a first class rider, and without a last minute bad decision to run in the Breeders Cup, his PP's would be very impressive.

By all accounts the trainer is a straight shooter, and Smith certainly prefers the Stardom Bound overland route which is a bad fit for this race, but cowboys usually are good poker players and it would not surprise me one bit to see him laying a lot closer to the pace today, stalking on the rail and waiting for a hole to open.

I too expect a fast pace which should set up a closer and MTB is certainly very possible, but keying Musket Man and Pioneer of the Nile (who I expect to rate after being too close in Derby) simply because historically long shot winners of the Derby fair poorly in the Preakness, with the close runners up usually the victors.

I am completely against RA, not because she is a she, but because she is taking a huge step up in class and stretching out while running into a very tough pace scenario. A throw out even if she were a he, as is Big Drama due more to his distance limitations.

Also very much against Friesan Fire, who I hated in the Derby and hate even more this race. His Derby injury is being completely overlooked here, if this happened in a Derby prep it would be front page news, but in the battle of the sexes barely a mention. Too slow to begin with, coupled with the injured and miraculously cured hoof makes him a toss.

Papa Clem is over the top, will be another pace victim.

1. Musket Man
2. Pioneerof The Nile
3. Mine That Bird
4. Terrain or Take The Points or maybe Big Drama hold on.

ballyfager said...

@Anonymous 10:26

Hey, did you see Friesan Fire's recent work? I don't know what happened to him in the Derby but that work tells you he's feeling good and he likes Pimlico.

I'll bet him to win and play a four horse box; Big Drama, Musket Man, Friesan Fire & Rachel Alexandra.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah I saw that work.

IF it indicates he loves Pimlico and the hoof is miraculously cured, I guess he could be fast enough to fill out the fourth slot on my Superfecta ;-).

Thats whats great about this sport, post your opinions on line at your computer or at the track, and someone gets a wallet full of money and bragging rights.

Enjoy a terrific race, hope one of us is right.

alan said...

I'm back and forth on Friesan Fire. I think he was 9-1 in the betting on Friday, and I guess he'd be worth a shot at those odds. Right now though, I'm back (forth?) on him, and I'm thinking along the lines of MTB/GQ over Musket Man/Pappy Clem/Big Drama, with maybe Terrain for the bottom slot. Cripes, that's half the field, I'm sounding like Haskin. This will be a game time decision.

Looking at Undocumented in the 1st at Belmont. Dropping in class after a week for trainer Naipaul Chattapaul two winners and two second in six starts at Belmont thus far, including another seven day layoff horse. Maylan Studart was up on both winners, and rides today.

rather rapid said...

Musket Man spent half the night in a van. He will stop and take a nap at the quarter pole.

forego is my witness said...

Glad I dropped $50 on Rachel! Dang that was nice! Such little faith, y'all....

Cookie Jill said...

The filly rocked ol' Hilltop today! I have to say...gotta give that little Derby winner some credit...he's got a big heart and some late kick. Reminds me a little of Vigors.

Anonymous said...

Well I was right about Friesan Fire (too slow, injured hoof), Papa Clem (over the top) MTB (legit closer) and Musket Man (game horse), completely wrong about RA and POTN. Not good enough.

I expected POTN to rate, but he was ridden agressively from the gate into a serious pace. Garret Gomez' rep as a "big race" rider should take a big hit after these last two debacles as I find it unlikely it was Baffert's plan to be so close to the pace in either race. If he takes a hold and tucks in he gets a perfect trip.

In any case, he had nothing, RA survived the pace battle and beat everyone fair and square.

Congrats to those that took 9-5 on her.

If Wiggans and company turn down Jackson we are staring at a serious candidate to win the triple crown, instead, unless they run Rachel, The Belmont will be an afterthought.

Rachel was good for the game, for one day at least.

But in the long run a gelding winning the Triple Crown and actually sticking around to run for a few years, health willing, would be much better for the game.

rgustafson said...

Alan, you are conspicuous by your silence.

Anonymous said...

Alan why did you lie and say that King Mobay was fine?
He was put down. Just tell your followers the TRUTH.
Kasey K and Bruce Brown put a unfit horse on the track.
BE A MANN

alan said...

King Mobay is fine. Do you want me to put him in contact with you?

Anonymous said...

Alan Bruce Golden who claimed Kong Mobay told me he was put down why do you say he is fine? He is DEAD. don't be a liar everyone at Belmont Park knows this. your fans should put him in there stable mail and will see no works or races for a dead horse.
I thought you were a Honest man, just tell the truth

alan said...

King Mobay is back in Bruce Brown's barn as a stable pony. That's the truth.