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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Post Post-Derby Notes

I wrote a bit about the Kentucky Derby here, on the TimeformUS blog. Just a few short thoughts here, because I suppose everyone is over it at this point.

 - So much for the workout reports this year.  I'd say they mostly qualified as "too much information." Never read anything that was particularly positive on California Chrome.  The workout "star," arguably Intense Holiday, was arguably the most disappointing horse in the race.  Amongst the others who got good reviews, Danza, did run well.  And though Dance With Fate actually ran pretty well, I do get to say that 'I told you so' with him.  Wicked Strong also ran pretty well.  I'd be saying 'I told you so' about him too, but I did end up wussing out and using him, though really more because there were so few horses I liked that I could afford to use him defensively.

 - Untapable, the Oaks winner, will not face the boys in the Preakness.  The owners cited "the best interest" of the filly in saying they did not want to run her back in two weeks.  I teasingly chided them for not being sporting in this TimeformUS post; but quickly backed off.  Because yes.....of course, it's all about the "best interest" of these animals, so I could never demand that an owner do anything that might smack of overextending.

On the other hand.....let's be honest here.  We all know that the "best interest" of the horse really means the best interest of owners who want to nurse her through a few more starts, and get her through the end of the year fit and sound so that they can bring her to the Keeneland sale in foal to Giant's Causeway and sell her for $20 million.  OK, sorry to be so cynical, and I apologize in advance to these particular owners if I'm being too harsh in their case.  But, as we've said before, if they were really interested in her best interest, they'd take off her tack, provide her with a lush field in which to frolic all day, set her up with a big screen TV and a cool pad so she could hang with her buddies, smoke blunts, and groove to Roy Rogers dance remixes.  But whatever.  This game is rarely about fun and sport nowadays.  All about the bottom line.  Hopefully, we'll get to see her against the boys later in the year.

It sure would have turned the Preakness from what seems like a mere formality to one of the more fascinating matchups in years.  Now we're hearing about the filly Ria Anotonia possibly running, and that deserves nothing more than a big LOL.  Social Inclusion could be an intriguing addition to the cast, but it's hard to get too enthusiastic about a horse who couldn't make his prep on Saturday because of a foot bruise.  We could see a handful of the vanquished horses, such as Commanding Curve. He's been declared as 50/50.  I'm hoping that they wait for the Belmont where we could be all in against him when he gets way overbet off his close for second.  Then there's Ride on Curlin, whose owners have fired Calvin Borel for not following instructions when he steered the horse directly over to the rail. They are the only owners that I've read saying that their horse could have won with a better trip.

 - As I said above, Intense Holiday was probably the biggest disappointment in the race.  I was apparently wrong when I speculated that they were just schooling him when he was closer to the pace in the Louisiana Derby, because there he was, for some reason, close to the pace again.  Don't really understand what the thinking is with this horse.  Clearly, he's been most effective as a closer.  The Toddster hasn't yet said what he plans to do with his quartet....though We Miss Artie is apparently headed to the Queen's Plate on the Poly at Woodbine.  Yeah, Ken Ramsey sure had the "best interest" of that horse in mind when he insisted that he run in the Derby despite his trainer's very public misgivings.  But I guess he gets a pass because he's Ken Ramsey.  He got to party at the Derby, make the walk to the paddock, his horse split the field and lives to play another day.  Danza, the horse who I was perhaps most wrong about, seems the most likely of that crew to come back next Saturday.

 - Rick Violette expressed satisfaction with the effort of Samraat, who he said "ran his eyeballs out." The trainer doesn't sound too enthused about seeing California Chrome again anytime soon. Uncle Sigh was no Palace Malice with the blinkers on, but still set a pace which was too fast for him to go on.

 - I had the NBC telecast on, but didn't really pay much attention.  Found myself doing other things while they were running features like the one on the Ortiz brothers.  I'd rather be playing other races. I mean absolutely no offense whatsoever to any of the excellent folks who worked on the telecast, both on and off camera.  It's just that I don't believe that, as an experienced horseplayer, I'm really a part of the target audience for that kind of telecast.

I'd seen the Asmussen interview online the day before.  As I'd said beforehand, he was relaxed and confident.  He probably made a pretty good impression (though, if I'm not mistaken and I didn't miss it, Costas let him off the hook on the immigration and minimum wage thing).


Anonymous said...

Red boarding the workout comments, the horses that received negative workout comments ran bad. Problem is, they were horses I didn't like anyway.

I did included Danza in part due to the positive comments, and tossed Uncle Sigh and Chitu due to their foot issues, but the latter were health reports.

I am baffled as well regarding Intense Holiday, expected him to revert to his closing ways, especially in a race filled with speedy types and he was the lone horse I included that really disappointed.

While he was getting positive reports they always mentioned his chronic failure to change leads, and even the final report mentioned that Todd said he still had a little problem but was better.

In retrospect I should have tossed him as well. The lesson learned, any horse, with any issue, is a reason to toss that horse. Any excuse will suffice.

Figless said...

Ria Antonia's owner comes off like a real jerk, been through 4 trainers with this one horse.

Fired Englehart after placing in the Breeders Cup(guess he expected to win), gives the horse to Baffert who he now fires after the Oaks.

Hope this filly stays sound but never wins another race.

Another guy to root against is Ride On Curlin's trainer (who has all of three horses). Replaces Jon Court with Borel then cries when Borel rides the rail. What did you expect. He loved all the attention switching to Borel brought him and his horse, but now he cries a river. Rooting against him in the Preakness and the future as well.

Teresa said...

Call me naive or a racing romantic, but the Winchells have bred three generations of Untapable's family---granted that none of the others were of her quality, but I think I'd be surprised if they put her through the ring.