Rule is out, and, according to Mike Welsch in the Form, Todd Pletcher continued to lean strongly against running Interactif in the Derby. The Toddster is down to a filly who I think has no shot, and two colts who I believe do. I know some Sheets guys who really love Mission Impazible, improving slowly but steadily as he has, and with lots of room for further progress. He was pretty tractable in the Louisiana Derby, flashing early speed which carried him to an early lead, dropping back into traffic a few lengths back before moving three wide and rallying resolutely to get up; final furlong in a solid 12.46 seconds. He's a son of Unbridled's Song out of a minor stakes winning Hold Your Peace mare. A bit light in the numbers department with a Tomlinson for the distance of 264 and a dosage index of 4.09, he's a half brother to Forest Camp, a sprint stakes winner and a stallion not particularly known for passing longevity to his progeny. I think Super Saver has better breeding for the distance, and will get to him later.
I mentioned Ice Box rather derogatorily in the last post, though he does figure to be amongst the top few choices off his three wins in his last four races, his 99 Beyer in the Florida Derby, and his popular trainer with a Derby pedigree. About that Beyer, and as I alluded to previously, there were three two-turn dirt races run at Gulfstream that day, all in graded stakes. Ice Box earned a figure that exceeded his prior best by ten points, as did runner-up Pleasant Prince, subsequently a disappointment in the Derby Trial; Devil May Care shattered her prior mark by 11; and Unrivaled Belle set a new lifetime mark as well, albeit just by three points and part of a clear upward pattern. Considering that the abovementioned were three three-year olds, plus Mott's lightly raced four-year old filly, it's certainly possible that all were eligible to move significantly forward. However, these days, the way bettors and pundits rely on the numbers, I think that one has to be willing to sometimes be skeptical of them in order to make some money. So color me skeptical on Zito's colt. Nice distance pedigree - Pulpit out of Spice Island (Tabasco Cat), a graded stakes winner up to a mile and a half. But the Florida Derby was a hot-paced race which fell apart badly, producing top two finishers at odds of 20-1 and 29-1. So I'm tabbing him for minor awards only.
Another sparkling work for Lookin' for Lucky, a legitimate favorite now for sure. But I dunno, can't really get enthused too much about him at 3-1 or 7-2. Nothing specific, just a feeling I guess. Not really jazzed to bet against him either though. Is Penn National running that night?
Interested though to see that Noble's Promise had another nice work. This horse that should have no shot on pedigree continues to intrigue.
This was an important test Noble's Promise had to pass to convince trainer Ken McPeek he was over the minor infirmities that have left his Derby status in doubt the last several weeks. From the looks of things, he passed the test with flying colors. [DRF]