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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Saturday Night Notes

- Roses in May got the mile and a quarter this time and took the Dubai World Cup.

- The Lane’s End seemed kind of shaky as a legitimate Derby prep to start with, but with the muddy track there, its meaning becomes even hazier. Spanish Chestnut, who was the favorite and set the pace, is headed to “another program,” according to trainer Patrick Biancone, and on the ESPN2 telecast, it was said that Biancone said the distance was just too much, and that the colt would not continue on the Derby trail. In a frank interview before the race, Gary Stevens conceded that the horse could possibly use another race.

The winner, Flower Alley (Distorted Humor), pulled kind of a Greater Good, as he was involved in the early pace before dropping back, rallying in the stretch, and holding off Wild Desert, who rallied nicely and will likely move on from here. It was consolation for his trainer, yes, that man again, Todd Pletcher, who saw his Proud Accolade go down at 2-5 in the Rushaway, finishing a distant 6th. His jockey Jerry Bailey wouldn’t definitively blame the loss on the off-track saying that he didn’t bobble on it, and, in fact, reminded ESPN viewers “it wasn’t my money that made him the favorite,” perhaps to remind bettors of the colt’s record around two turns.

As for Flower Alley, it was pointed out by Randy Moss before the race that he had given Ashado all she could handle in morning workouts, and Pletcher said afterwards

"Those maiden races at Gulfstream, at times, are some of the toughest 3-year-old races around.....He trained well since then, and I trained him with Bandini and Ashado and he finished right there with those two." [Bloodhorse]

Cat Shaker (Catienus) took the Rushaway and, like Flower Alley, was eligible for a NW1, having only won in maiden company. Kenny Mayne said on the telecast after the race that the owner said he would nominate the colt for the Derby, but I don’t know if he was kidding or not! He looked every bit his 38-1 odds, and perhaps his win can be explained by his 396 Tomlinson mud number.

- Rockport Harbor had another flare-up with his foot and missed training on Friday, but John Servis said "I feel we've got it nipped in the bud.” [Daily Racing Form] This horse obviously can afford no more setbacks at this point.