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Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Look Back

- As they were loading into the gate for the Louisiana Derby yesterday, Randy Moss on ESPN2 noted that no horse had gone wire to wire in the race in the last 14 years. But that changed in about a minute and 42 seconds (The final time of 1:42.76 was not a stakes record as I erroneously repeated from the telecast yesterday, but rather just off Crypto Star’s 1:42.60). It seemed as if Bailey and Velasquez on Storm Surge and Vicarage were afraid to get in High Limit’s face and allowed him to set what would be considered a moderate pace. In fact, on ESPN2 afterwards, Frankel expressed surprise that Storm Surge was not more aggressive. He didn’t exactly heap praise upon his vanquished opponents either.

"I had the option of a two-other-than (allowance race)," Frankel said. "This can't be that much tougher than a two-other-than. I might as well go for the money. Hopefully this race didn't take too much out of him, and he'll come back." [Times-Picayune]
The horses that came out of the Risen Star, including winner Scipion, did not fare well.
"Same racetrack … but he didn't handle the course," said [Scipion] jockey Gary Stevens. "I told Patrick, it's actually a great race because he didn't fire at all and he was running on at the end. …I haven't lost any faith in him."

Stevens said he couldn't see High Limit "because I was a long ways back. But this morning I told my wife, 'It scares me to see Frankel. That's not a Frankel move, to have one coming off that long a layoff and with only two races to run in the Louisiana Derby.' He obviously had a lot of confidence in his ability." [Courier-Journal]
As for Kansas City Boy, "I'm at a loss at why he ran like that," said trainer Kenny McPeek. [Courier-Journal]

- Moss reminded Frankel that jockey Ramon Dominguez is now 3-5 for him. Would you expect him to see him upon High Limit should he make the Derby?

- I'm quite impressed with the wins by Badge of Silver and Uncle Denny yesterday; both looked beaten around the turn after being badgered into fast fractions and tag-teamed around the turn. Frankel, who had instructed Bailey to go for the lead after seeing Summerly and High Limit wire their fields (in slow or moderate fractions) said
"At the quarter pole I thought I had given (Bailey) the wrong instructions," Frankel said. "I've got to be honest, when those other horses came up to him I thought we were beat. But he found something more. Obviously, he's got a lot of heart." [Times Picayune]
As for Uncle Denny, trainer Rafael Bacerra indicated that he expected the owner to nominate Uncle Denny to the Triple Crown.
"They told me he had a lot of speed but don't try to take a hold of him because last time he lugged out on the first turn....I let him run the way he wanted to," added [jockey Russell] Baze. "He seemed very relaxed and wasn't bothered by the horses coming to him. I kind of shook him up at the quarter pole and away he went. He actually ran off with me after the race." [Bloodhorse]
He finished the race more professionally than High Limit, who seemed to get a little mixed up with his leads towards the end. It was Uncle Denny’s fifth start and his 4th win (he was moved up via DQ in one); and he got beat by less than two lengths finishing 4th to Going Wild in the Sham when he did lug out as Baze noted above. Seems like an emerging player who could add a lot of speed to the picture.

- Feel free to email me with comments or questions.