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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Happy Campers (mostly)

- Quite a day for Nick Zito, one of several happy trainers of Derby hopefuls yesterday; besides his aforementioned win with Sun King at Gulfstream, he also took the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay with his son of Fusaichi Pegasus, Andromeda’s Hero, who overcame an outside post and a wide trip around the first turn.

Early in Saturday's race, [assistant trainer Tim] Poole wondered if Andromeda's Hero would suffer the same fate as The Cliff's Edge, another Zito entry, did in last year's Sam F. Davis. The Cliff's Edge, who went on to finish fifth in the Kentucky Derby, shot wide off the first turn and had too much ground to make up, placing second.

``I was a little concerned around the first turn that he was as wide as he was and couldn't get over to save more ground,'' Poole said. ``He kind of ran the same race that Cliff's Edge did last year. He didn't have to come from as far behind as Cliff's Edge and got up a little faster.'' [Tampa Bay Online]
Andromeda’s Hero’s next start is uncertain, perhaps the Tampa Bay Derby. It’s hard to see why anyone would point for Gulfstream’s Florida Derby, scheduled for the awkward time of five weeks before the Derby.

- Other Derby developments:
- Harlington is out; the son of Unbridled out of Serena’s Song wrenched an ankle in the Risen Star. He seemed very green and this is likely for the best long term.
- Declan’s Moon works 7 furlongs, readying for next Saturday’s Santa Catalina at Santa Anita.
"He got a great workout," trainer Ron Ellis said. "Victor was just standing straight up on him. The best part was that he galloped out four lengths in front of Power Boy. The track was pretty deep today and if anything, it was a touch slow."[Bloodhorse]
Ellis also worked Don’t Get Mad. Patrick Biancone worked Risen Star winner Scipion and San Rafael winner Spanish Chestnut, and he’s happy with both.
"I am very, very happy with Spanish Chestnut," trainer Patrick Biancone said. "He's a horse who we've put a lot of work into. He needed today's breeze and he did it very well in hand.

"I'm delighted with Scipion's work. We're very lucky with his program as it fits better with the bad weather. If you look at the weather patterns, horses who've raced in the middle of the month are better off than the horses who raced at the beginning of the month."[Bloodhorse]
And Sweet Catomine worked 5f in :59 2/5 at Santa Anita, and trainer Julio Canani, no longer talking of shipping her to face the boys in Florida but now apparently firmly pointing towards the SA Oaks on Mar 13, was similarly pleased.
"She went in :59 2/5 and (Nakatani) wasn't even moving on her," trainer Julio Canani said. "She galloped out in :12 1/5 and got the seven furlongs in 1:26 1/5, so I'm obviously happy."[Bloodhorse]
Wow, isn’t it nice to hear of so many happy people?

- Next big battleground in the slots derby is Florida, where voters in two counties, which happen to contain three horse tracks, two dog tracks, and two jai-alai frontons, will vote on slots on March 8. Unlike other states, however, in this case the state governor, one Jeb Bush, is opposed. Morally opposed.
In a letter to the Christian Coalition of South Florida last week, Mr. Bush said any gambling expansion would have "a negative impact on the social fabric and economic health of our state," dismissed revenue projections as a "hollow promise" and warned of a "snowball effect."[NY Times]
Writing to the Christian Coalition...nah, he doesn’t sound like he’s gearing up for a presidential run, right? Bush could veto slots legislation even if the voters approve. An opposition group called No Casinos is gearing up for a fight, running TV ads and a website.
Now the gambling interests want to sneak casinos in by bringing slot machines to South Florida pari-mutuel facilities. And guess what? They’re promising doing so will help raise millions of dollars for Florida schools and education. Sound familiar?

With the support of groups representing law enforcement, education, seniors and faith-based communities, No Casinos will defeat this referendum and help preserve our valued quality of life. []
They also have a letter from Governor Bush on their site, you can read it here (pdf).