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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oozing With Talent

- The Derby picture has changed drastically in the last 48 hours with the defection of Declan’s Moon and the win by High Limit (Maria’s Mon) in the Louisiana Derby in stakes record time, and now word of Rockport Harbor's latest setback. He was lone speed and went fractions of 23:2, 23:4, 24:3, 24:2, and the final sixteenth in 6:2 while “powering down” as race caller John Dooley noted. Am I being too effusive if I say he toyed with this field? The rest of the race, after second place finisher Vicarage, pretty much fell apart. The dead closer Scipion had no shot, and Kansas City Boy was a bit wide on the first turn, but had no excuse. In a post race interview on ESPN2, Bobby Frankel mentioned the Blue Grass and the Wood as possible next races, and if he dominates there as he did here, you’re looking at a potential Derby favorite. I get the feeling that people aren’t going to question a two-prep approach for this particular colt as they have for the others. This changes the whole complexion of the Derby picture, as it adds to the mix a colt that's a possible freak, a term which I haven't heard used for any of this year's contenders. We'll have to of course see what happens when he faces some early challenges (if anyone can really run with him) and/or has to hold off someone in the stretch, but here's a horse who could truly be any kind.

- Summerly (Summer Squall) was also quite impressive in her easy win in the FG Oaks. She was totally uncontested and waltzed through fractions of :49 and 1:13:1, coming home in 24:1 and 6:1. With Warning Zone (Elliodor) taking the turf stakes and Badge of Silver (Silver Deputy) prevailing gamely after setting a hotly contested pace, the four stakes at Fair Grounds were swept by the super trainers Asumussen, Pletcher and Frankel.