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Monday, May 02, 2005

For the Derby, there's Visa; For Everything Else...

- Visa is dropping its sponsorship of the Triple Crown series, and will sponsor only the Kentucky Derby. They have that $5 million bonus for sweeping the Crown still burning a hole in their pockets, as its done since they started in 1996.

- With the sport trying to clean up its image, as highlighted on the front page of the Times today as I mentioned earlier, Richard Dutrow, the trainer of Ky Oaks favorite Sis City, has been slapped with a 120 day suspension for two horses with banned substances, and an illegal claim. He can get 60 days shaved off for good behavior. Nice.

- Buzzards Bay had a nice final work at Santa Anita, 6f in 1:11.40. Trainer Jeff Mullins commented, “Mark [Guidry] said he never really moved on him, that the horse did it all on his own." [Thoroughbred Times]. Giacomo had a nice work too – 6f in 1:11.80; his second one since working so slowly that it wasn’t recorded. These two will fly together to Churchill Downs, but will be separated so that they don’t get into fights.

As for the other Californian, Wilko, he’s already at Churchill, and Haskin is getting all excited about his last workout in Cali.

It wasn't so much the final time of :59 4/5 as much as it was his final quarter in :22 and change, and that's with the quarter pole positioned well back on the turn. He came home his final eighth in: 11 1/5 and galloped out another furlong in :12 flat. He's become so smooth now with his lead changes, you barely could see him change. Also, you won't see a more determined horse in the stretch as he wore down his workmate, PT's Grey Eagle. [Bloodhorse]
Glad he could wear down his workmate; too bad he hung against Buzzards Bay and General John B, a horse beaten by over 20 lengths by High Fly and Bandini, in the SA Derby. I’m taking a firm stance against him. I’m actually more concerned about Buzzards Bay, who has really stepped up since a disappointing showing in the Risen Star. He’s shown Beyer jumps of 15 and 12 in his last two, and his 98 in the SA Derby leaves room for further improvement. Also, you gotta love the grit he showed in that race as well as the El Camino Real.

His breeding gives me pause though; I’m all for more obscurely-bred horses winning the Derby – Concerto ain’t exactly the most fashionable stallion around – but Marco Bay, a son of Copelan, a son of Tri Jet, out of a Seneca Jones mare? He does have inbreeding to distance influence Ribot, and has the stout Arts and Letters on his distaff side too; but I don't find anything else too intriguing looking at his dam's family. He qualifies on dosage index, but has only 10 chefs in his pedigree. This one is hard to picture in the winner’s circle on bloodlines; not to mention just on his trainer’s bad karma. However, I’m reconsidering him, and may very well stick him on some tickets, at likely a better price than Wilko.