As this reader mentioned, those looking for some closers in the Derby will sure be rooting for Eightyfiveinafifty to win Saturday's Derby Trial. Fans of horses like Sidney's Candy who, I do still believe, will be on or near the lead, hope that he fades in the stretch like the NJ Devils. What can you say....seems like every year we see at least one horse who appears to at least some of us that they're being pushed beyond their limits to satisfy their connections' egos. This colt is very green, and didn't look to me like a horse who wanted to go much further as he was finishing up in the seven furlong Bay Shore. His dosage index is a sky-high 8.33, and there ain't much on the catalog page as they say.
Pleasant Prince will also use the Trial to try and qualify (it would seem that they would both need to earn the full winner's share), and owner Ken Ramsey explained:
“I’d like to be part of it.....I’m getting a little long in the tooth, I’ll be 75 this November, and who knows when I’ll get this chance again. If we get in, we’re going, and if not, we’ll lick our chops and wait for another day.” [Thoroughbred Times]Well, I won't quibble in this case; Ramsey plays the game at all levels and puts in a lot of money, so he's entitled as long as the horse is up to it. And I'm actually a bit intrigued by this colt, trained by the red-hot Wesley Ward (six winners in his last seven starters, at Gulfstream and Keeneland). Let's forget the Keeneland race, which can of course be discarded due to the surface. Up to that point he had a nice improving pattern; in fact, he had improved his Beyer each race of his career, culminating in his game and narrow second in the Florida Derby, a race in which he got a hot pace to close into and earned a Beyer of 99 which actually would put him in the upper echelon if he made the Derby.
Pleasant Prince also has some intriguing bloodlines despite being by an obscure unraced son of AP Indy who stands in Indiana for $1000. With a loaded dosage index of 2.40, he's out of a Pleasant Tap mare, actually shares the same 4th dam with his grandsire; and this is (therefore) also the distaff family of the Preakness winner Summer Squall; as well as the Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid, and the distance loving multiple graded winner Christiecat. Seems like the type who could be one of those big price horses who gets a race that falls apart and sneaks onto the bottom of the exotics like the ones El Angelo mentioned....maybe like Don't Get Mad, a closer who won the Derby Trial before rallying for a close 4th in the ultimate fallen apart Derby, won by Giacomo in 2005.
- It wasn't long after I mocked the NTRA website for its tiny replay screen that they got their act together and joined the modern age. The website of the National Hockey League is a good model for further improvement with its vast array of video options. I especially like the Top Moments page from which you can choose from a healthy menu of various highlights arranged by date. While I could do without the slow motion replay of the Flyers' Ian Laperriere blocking a slapshot with his face; I did especially appreciate that they presented the complete replay of a wild and wacky ten minute stretch without a whistle during the first OT of the thrilling Bruins-Sabres Game 4 on Wednesday night.