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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dubai Derby Disappointments

- The possible Derby candidates amongst the starters in the UAE Derby disappointed in the race this morning. Godolphin’s previously unbeatedn Sharmadal was pushed early, and had nothing left in the stretch, finishing up the track -- he “emptied,” according to one of the commentators on the UK feed picked up by TVG. Becrux stopped and finished dead last. But Godolphin collected the winner’s share of the $2 million purse nonetheless. Their longshot runaway winner, Blues and Royals (Honour and Glory), is a Florida-bred, and a half brother to Todd Pletcher’s graded stakes winner, the 4 yo Limehouse.

- I like Wild Desert (Wild Rush) in the Lane’s End today. He finished third in his last start at 2 in the Kentucky Jockey Club, a big key race in which he made an 8 wide move and finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Greater Good. His next race was the Fountain of Youth, and he had little shot to start with from the 8 post; he was bumped at the start and knocked sideways, but still managed to finish a respectable 5th, with a lifetime high Beyer of 90, continuing a pattern of improving figs. He should get good position from the 3 post and a good pace to set up his late run. Spanish Chestnut looks like the best of the speed horses and should stay for a share. Andromeda’s Hero had trouble in his last, but was it enough to explain the slow 79 fig? He could better this rating; like the ‘+’ in the Timeform ratings, which means “The horse may be much better than Timeform has rated it.” I especially like their ‘d’ rating, which means “The horse appears to have deteriorated and might no longer be capable of running to the rating given.” I will try to avoid betting any deteriorating horses from now on.

I like Bank Audit, also a son of Japan-based Wild Rush, in the G2 Distaff Breeders’ Cup at Aqueduct. He was claimed out of a turf race for $65K last summner, but excelled when cut back to sprints at the big A last fall. He Beyered at 100 in winning the Interborough on New Year’s Day, and ran a close second in the Correction after that. He’s 1 for 1 at this distance, has tactical speed and always finishes strongly, and could upset the quite legitimate favorite Cativa, who has won 8 out of her last 10, most recently her first stakes try, suffering losses by a head and a neck. Sensibly Chic ran a couple of lengths behind Cativa in their last, the G2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel.