- Awesome Act (Awesome Again) is a horse who I'd view a whole lot differently at 15- or 20-1 in the Derby as opposed to my standing against him at low odds in his two races here. I dissed his Gotham win here, citing his pedigree to support my contention that his future was on the grass. However, as I conceded at the time, he gets props for winning first time dirt while getting it kicked in his snout, and overcame an eventful trip down amongst horses. His Wood is a total throwout given his thrown shoe and impossible pace scenario. He'll hang here in New York and train at Belmont.
He does have an interesting pedigree, and certainly seems suited to dirt. He's out of a Mr. Prospector mare, and he's inbred 4x2 to that stallion. Awesome Act also has the Rasmussen Factor, inbred as he is 5x4 to Natalma, his 4th dam, through Northern Dancer and Raise the Standard.
- Eskendereya is the second Derby favorite in the last three years, Big Brown being the other, to have made his first start on grass and then discover the dirt by "accident" in an off-the-turf race. Exactly what that means I can't say. As I'd mentioned in this post, his 4th dam is Queen Sucree, the dam of the Derby winner Cannonade. She's also the granddam of the Belmont winner Stephen's Odyssey, and the Acorn winner Lotka. And Queen Sucree is also a half-sister to Halo, the sire of two Derby winners and quite the accomplished distance runner himself. Gotta go back a bit in this colt's pedigree, but therein lies some class and stamina.
- Noble's Promise, the likely favorite in Saturday's Arkansas Derby, is an anomaly pedigree-wise. By the Carson City sire Cuvee, out of the speedy Clever Trick, one might dismiss his distance prospects. But his dosage checks in at an acceptable 3.36; and his dam is a half-sister to New Economy (Robert G. Dick Memorial, 1 3/8M). If you look under his third dam, you'll find distance runners such as Parade Ground (Lawrence Realization, 1 3/8M), Plenty of Grace (Diana, Yellow Ribbon 1 1/4M), and the BC F&M Turf winner Soaring Softly (all turf horses).
I could be interested in this one with a further move forward from his impressive dirt debut, a close second to Lookin At Lucky in the Rebel. He comes off a nice work under the handling of the clever Ken McPeek, who seems to have a master plan.
“We were not in the Rebel to be 100 percent....We did not want that race to be his best prep. But, he ran well there. Lookin At Lucky really had to fight to beat him.” [Albany Times Union]The trainer also agrees with me about Eskendereya.
“The horse from New York is obviously very talented....But, has he been in any dogfights? Where was he in the Breeders’ Cup last year? We’ve been in dogfights. I have no doubt our horse will perform well.”Oh yeah, Friday is the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn; forgot about that. Rachel Alexandra isn't around, so Zenyatta will be taking on Tiger Woods all by herself. Those who predicted that the "race for the ages" would be no match publicity-wise for this weekend's Masters probably would have been right based on what we've seen thus far.
Rachel herself is in Churchill, and apparently in no rush for a race, as Jess Jackson perpetuates the myth that she wouldn't have been "fit" to take on Zenyatta on Friday. Steve Asmussen told the Form:
"I'm going to keep working her every Monday....We're just going to worry about getting her back to where she was, and nothing else. I'm not going to concern myself about where and when she runs next."By the time she finally runs again, maybe the rest of us won't be concerning ourselves with her either.