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Monday, March 20, 2006

Notes - Mar 20

- Got the Beyers for the weekend’s prep winners from a reliable source.

Lawyer Ron – 92
Like Now – 106 [CORRECTION: Correct fig is 104]
Deputy Glitters – 102
AP Warrior – 101

Yeah, that fig on Lawyer Ron is as much of a shock to me as was the way he was rated in the Rebel. I’ve gotten in trouble every time I’ve dared to question the sacred Beyers, but are you Beying that Beyer? (ugh, sorry..) It would represent a second consecutive step back from his 106 in the Risen Star that now sticks out like a sore thumb. One factor that could have contributed to that number is the way he was climbing early in the run down the backstretch; and also consider that he swept by the field four wide on the turn while in hand before McKee set him down for the drive, as well as the mere fact that he was changing tactics.

I’d love to see an explanation of the fig to see how much of that number is the guys projecting based on the horses that ran 2-3-4? After all, wouldn’t a big number mean that Red Reymond, Steppenwolfer, and Well Said all earned figures that would defy the logic of what you could expect them to possibly improve?

So, is Lawyer Ron tailing off after his long campaign, and defeating a group that is weaker than others around the country? Or do you disregard the number in favor of how impressive he was visually and tactically? Could make for another interesting test of the numbers come May 6 should the Arkansas Derby not come up faster.

Like Now’s 106 is a big boost for Keyed Entry (Honour and Glory) in my eyes. I’m getting a bit hepped up about this one, despite the fact that I don’t love Pletcher. Who said I can’t be objective? I mean, I think the Bush twins are kinda cute even if their father is an incompetent idiotic liar. This colt had every right to bounce big time in the Gotham after running a 110 in his third lifetime start. In fact, Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph wrote in his race preview that “he is the kind we like to bet against: the big jump to a huge effort for an early season 3-year old is likely to take a toll, especially with a horse that previously went to the sidelines, and he’ll be trying two turns for the first time.”

While he did regress a bit, at least in terms of his Beyer, he rated professionally and rallied gamely against a lone speed setting a slow pace. I think it was an exciting effort, and sets him up for a Wood Memorial that may also include head case Corinthian; I think that those two could be the most intriguing horses in the picture. I think we pretty much know what we have in Brother Derek and Lawyer Ron, and while it’s very good in each case, but how much more, if any, do you expect either of those to improve? I think in each case, it's a matter of them not tailing off come Derby day. But in Keyed Entry and Corinthian, we have two horses with seemingly untapped potential, and that could very well make the Wood Memorial, right here at the BIG A (yay!), the most interesting prep yet to be run.

In this day and age, does anyone doubt that a son of miler Honour and Glory could conceivably win the Derby? The stamina in the distaff side of Keyed Entry’s pedigree is there – his broodmare sire is Cryptoclearance; his second dam’s sire is Avatar (Graustark/Ribot); his dosage is a tidy 2.60, and he has inbreeding to the influential mare Grand Splendor.

- Second look at the San Felipe: Perhaps Point Determined’s effort was worth more than just an honorable mention for the “winners” category. He proved his class in his first try against stakes horses, ran a lifetime best Beyer, and, having run just five times, would seem to have room for further improvement. A.P. Warrior’s 101 is his lifetime best by ten points, and he was solidly four wide throughout the final turn. Bob and John got some education and some dirt in the face, but still ran more than respectably after swinging into the stretch five wide. This could turn out to be a better prep than I originally thought.

- Ernie Paragallo is unfazed by Achilles of Troy’s unscheduled van ride, and said that X-rays proved negative.

"He's 100% sound," Paragallo said. "The digital scans showed nothing. He's perfect. He's mean again."

Today, Paragallo will fly in a foot specialist and is hoping to get the okay so Achilles of Troy can return to the track tomorrow. [NY Daily News]
- The Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita yesterday was as exciting a finish that you’ll ever see. Though pace setter Uncle Denny finished third by two noses, he just refused to quit as he was challenged by eventual winner Super Strut and the unlikely runner-up, 62-1 shot Mr. Wolverine. Well worth checking out on the Cal Racing site if you missed it.

- Todd Pletcher did it again! And I even bet the race, and didn’t listen to myself – how many times have I pointed out right here how uncanny he is off layoffs this year? It just gets to the point when I think, ‘well, he can’t do it again, can he?’ Especially with a horse like Black Snake in the 10th at the Gulf on Sunday, who not only hadn’t been out since last July, but his Beyers were a full 20 points lower than the fresher contenders in the field. Add in the fact that he was dull on the board at 6-1, and……well, I blew it again, man!


Joe Danaher said...

Great analysis of the week-end. I am a bit surprised by that Beyer from Lawyer Ron because watching it on TVG, it looked like he ran a great race and had plenty left in the tank as he galloped out another 1/16 mile past the finish line, eventually being taken in hand by the out rider. Looks like he stays at Oaklawn for the April 15th Arkansas Derby.

Anonymous said...

...i don't buy that crap at all...Lawyer Ron was obviously the most impressive horse in any of the Derby preps this weekend...i don't care what Beyer or anyone else says, i know what i saw...besides, i checked the Oaklawn charts for Saturday, and Lawyer Ron ran faster than anyone else on the card at a route are the mile times (and 1 1/16 times, when applicable) for the races in question:

Race 10, Lawyer Ron - 1:37 3/5, 1:44 flat

Race 6, MSW - 1:40 1/5, 1:46 1/5

Race 7, ALW - 1:38 flat

Race 9, ALW - 1:39 1/5

thecalicocat said...

The only thing I don't like about Lawyer Ron is his name. He should be Doctor Ron.
I also give him extra points for going the Oaklawn route to the Derby -- the same route that produced Smarty and Alex.
We know at least that the Oaklawn route works. It's evidence-based handicapping.
I didn't think Bluegrass Cat's effort was that bad, but he could be this year's Sun King.