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Thursday, March 17, 2005

More Derby Prep Stuff (Only 51 Days to Go)

- Steve Crist today (subscription only) presents a lot of really interesting facts and figures about Derby winners and how long their last prep was before the Derby, how many they’ve had, and at what intervals before the big race. But it can all be summed up thusly

There are plenty of silly "rules" about winning the Derby that are broken from time to time, and not every historical precedent holds up. Still, those that coincide with common sense are probably worth noting. Having just two preps, starting a campaign this late, or concluding your prep season five weeks out all look like very risky ways to get to Louisville in peak shape, which is bad news if you like Rockport Harbor, Roman Ruler, High Fly, or Bandini this year. [Daily Racing Form]
Also in this category would be Wilko and Roman Ruler (2 preps) and High Limit (started campaign too late).

- Speaking of Roman Ruler, he's the 5-2 morning line favorite in the San Felipe. That’s a surprise to me; out of the contenders for this race, he’s my first throw out. Even if he hadn’t been bothered by a quarter crack and missed training time, even if he wasn’t coming off of a 4 1/2 month layoff, I would still have questions about his 2 turn ability. His two big fig wins were at Del Mar at 6 1/2 and 7f. He won the 2 turn Grade 2 Norfolk, but against only three horses and with an 87 fig; then his troubled 5th in the BC Juvenile with a 91. So I think at best, the book on him is inconclusive, and with all his other troubles (and not to mention the possiblity of rain), he will not be on anywhere on any of my tickets.

- I’m figuring the Rebel will be a race to watch; no way I would bet on Rockport Harbor here unless the price was really right (which it won’t be), Afleet Alex, the likely winner, will be too short, and I'm not really interested in the outsiders. That leaves Greater Good, who I really would like to find a reason to bet at the right odds. You gotta figure that Tim Ritchey is looking ahead with Afleet Alex; he still has another prep to go so you don’t figure he wants to see John Velasquez whipping and driving down the lane. Greater Good (Intidab) is a horse who always tries and usally makes a run if he stays out of trouble. He’s not supposed to be a distance horse breeding wise with a preponderence of sprinters in his pedigree, though he does have a 4.0 dosage number. I had posted some comments on him by Lauren Stitch; in summary, she said that Greater Good is running in the opposite manner of what his speed-oriented pedigree suggests. [DRF]

His high fig is a 91 and he’s closed into some slow final fractions, so while I find myself liking his effort, he will have to demonstrate he belongs with Afleet Alex and even a subpar Rockport Harbor. One thing that’s kinda interesting about him is the list of horses he beat last 11/27 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club: Rush Bay, Wild Desert, B.B. Best, Magna Graduate, Storm Surge, and Drum Major. No, none of these will likely be in the Kentucky Derby, but they’ve all won since except for B.B. Best, who ran third in the Fountain of Youth, and a couple of them, Storm Surge and Magna Graduate, have won stakes races. So I guess my point is that he’s a real nice horse who I’d love to see jump up Saturday, and I’d consider betting him for the right value, but he's one I’ll be following down the road regardless.


Anonymous said...

Nice call -- hope the victory did some Greater Good in your wallet!


Alan Mann said...

Thanks. It was a lone bright spot for me in an otherwise long day...