At Belmont on opening day, another winner for trainer Randi Persaud, who won with Boldchildsrevenge ($9.10) in the 4th. He then ran second in the 8th when Run a Dubb Dubb couldn't hang on (much to the chagrin of someone in the office); and also had a live runner in 4th place finisher Chics Palace at 71-1 in the 5th. So, as mentioned the other day, this barn, which has struggled for quite some time, is definitely live at this time.
As cautiously selected in the last post, With Exultation ($8.90) made a successful debut in the 7th, taking advantage of a quick pace up front to run them all down from dead last. So another 1st timer on the grass for Clement. The Ramsey-bred colt beat the Ramsey-owned favorite, but don't worry, because the Ramsey's Ready to Taunt won the 9th for trainer Michael Maker.
Trainer Phil Serpe is enjoying the return to grass racing to the NYRA circuit. Fly Ride ($10.60) won the 5th, giving the barn its 3rd winner, with one third, from six turf starters thus far.
- Vyjack worked five furlongs in 1:00.36 at Churchill on Friday morning. But from reading a couple of different accounts of the drill, one might think he worked out twice. The Form's clocker Mike Welsch wrote:
After completing an opening three-eighths in 35.86, Vyjack appeared to struggle over the surface, with [trainer Rudy] Rodriguez taking out the stick and tapping him several times right-handed while also attempting to coax a little more run out of his horse both with the reins and with what can best be described as considerable verbal encouragement approaching the wire.But Claire Novak, reporting for Bloodhorse, wrote of the trainer's reaction:
The Gotham and Jerome stakes winner continued to feel the stick from Rodriguez while galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.16 in a somewhat disappointing drill, considering the favorable impression he’d made galloping here earlier this week.
"If I'm not happy now, then I'm never gonna be happy," Rodriguez said of the effort of Pick Six Racing's Vyjack in preparation for the May 4 Derby. "He worked very, very good -- without company, did everything within himself. I really didn't get into him. He did everything very good and is very alert."So, there you go. Maybe somebody broke into the Form's servers and injected Welsch's review with poisonous words. In any event, he's always impressed me as a nice horse but has never entered my short list as far as the Derby goes. I wrote about the mixed signals in his pedigree for distance here. His career high fast-track Beyer is 93. And his Wood effort was a good one, but would have been better had he not gotten passed by Normandy Invasion at the end.
- In the Derby Trial at Churchill tonight, Forty Tales (3-1) disappointed for Pletcher in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream in his last. He did swing quite wide turning for home, but I thought it was a rather dull effort with no other real excuse I can see for his 5th place finish at even money. However, being the forgiving type that I am, I'm willing to look past. It came 28 days after two similarly spaced efforts that were both quite fast, so he could have bounced a bit, and could benefit from the 56 day break coming into this race, with a steady series of drills leading up to it. Thinking he should love the stretch out to a one-turn mile, and there should be ample early speed to set up a late charge. Zee Bros (5-2) is another Baffert speedball shipping east; this one off a maiden win with a flashy speed figure in a race from which the 2nd and 3rd place horses went on to win their next heats. This may not be the strongest Grade 3 stakes in the world, but this still represents a significant step up, and he figures to have some company from Lukas' Titletown Five (5-1) at the least.