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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday News and Notes

All three New York-based Derby contenders worked out there on Friday, with Samraat working a mile at Aqueduct and Wicked Strong and Uncle Sigh breezing seven and five furlongs, respectively, over Belmont Park's training track. [] They all earned the usual accolades that we've come to expect from trainers before the big race.

Rick Violette (Samraat): "Time was only important if he went too fast, and he didn't. He went great."

Jimmy Jerkens (Wicked Strong): "As far as how he's doing, I couldn't be happier."

Gary Contessa (Uncle Sigh): ""His last quarter-mile was effortless and it was exactly what I was looking for. He came back like he can't even blow out a match."

Talk about clich├ęs! That's really helpful, eh? Uncle Sigh was equipped with blinkers, which he will add for the Derby. Contessa says not to worry about a Palace Malice scenario, that he's "rating kindly" with them in the A.M. His colt has been just a tad short in his matchups with Samraat, so I don't mind seeing his trainer try something new in order to get him over the top. Uncle Sigh should be a fairly big price after a very troubled trip in the Wood, and I think he'll be well worth considering with an OK post draw.

Samraat continued his routine of one mile works, though previously, Violette had shipped him down to Palm Meadows in between his NY races. He's a colt who should not mind the travel anyway. He's obviously a talented and consistent horse, and I like him a lot. But I'm wondering if he's perhaps a bit too one-paced to take the top prize in this particular race.

Wicked Strong showed the kind of running style that is more likely to win the Derby when he took the Wood, earning a TFUS speed figure of 117 that is tops amongst all the three-year olds. On the Beyer scale, by which most bettors will make their selections, he ranks second amongst the colts, four points lower than California Chrome (108). Wicked Strong had everything go his way in the Wood, and I believe that he's going to be grossly overbet come post time next Saturday. Depending on the post positions, I would not at all be surprised if he goes off as the second choice.

The Derby website presents a daily capsule look at the contenders in order of their points standings. That means that Dance With Fate, a horse who has run dismally on dirt, is mentioned third by virtue of his win on the Polytrack in the Blue Grass. What a joke. Yet, I'm seeing a fair amount of sentiment on Twitter that he has a chance. I hope that translates into action on the tote board.

Pletcher's quartet of Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie, Vinceremos, and Danza - which includes the horse I currently like - are all scheduled to work out tomorrow at Churchill.

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