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Friday, April 07, 2006

Baffert Determined to Make a Point

- Brother Derek (Benchmark) certainly looks like the likely winner of the Santa Anita Derby; he’s undefeated around two turns, has earned three consecutive triple digit Beyers, and the “private” clocker report that was apparently leaked to the press said he was “sensational.” There’s little negative to be said about him. But at 3-5 morning line against some quality horses, let’s try. We can start (and end) with the fact that you could, I suppose, question what he’s beaten. Not that they’re bad horses at all, but a cynic could point out that Stevie Wonderboy has never won around two turns, and that AP Warrior and Bob and John have improved since losing to Brother Derek, and that Your Tent Or Mine lacked much experience at all.

Well, perhaps that’s a stretch. But we can try to beat him anyway; as I said, this is a pretty decent field, it’s his first try at the distance, and he doesn’t have to prove himself nor win to be purse-money eligible.

I’m going to go with Point Determined (Point Given). I loved A.P. Warrior’s race in the San Felipe, and his 101 Beyer is just a point less than what Brother Derek got in the Santa Catalina. He has a flashy pedigree, by AP Indy, and he descends directly from the dam of Storm Bird. Trainer John Shirreffs says that he “seems to have a real large lung capacity,” [Dallas-Ft Worth Star Telegram], though I doubt he can expel as much as hot air as what’s coming out of the White House. (Don’t worry Brad…much more where that came from) However, that was a huge step forward he made in what was his first race in six weeks – and watching the replay, he was a full four wide the entire far turn. It had to be a really tough race, and despite his sharp works since, perhaps he’ll regress just a bit.

Sacred Light (Holy Bull) closes consistently, but has never been first under the wire (his one win was by DQ). No doubt he’s a factor in the exotics, but I’ll wait until he’s 50-1 in the Derby to take a stab.

Point Determined, like Bob and John, is being brought along slowly but steadily by Bob Baffert, and definitely seems to be on the improve. "Victor (Espinoza) worked him the last couple times…..He didn't really like him much earlier in the year, but now I think he's really sorry that Balance is racing on the same day." [SGV Tribune] Well, we’ll see about that; but Point Determined improved to a 100 Beyer in his second place finish to AP Warrior in the San Felipe. He had a kinder trip than the winner, and mounted his rally after having what Baffert termed a “stop and go” trip through the stretch. I think he may be more likely to move forward here, and is taken to upset, as they say.

- Lawyers for the accused in the New Jersey harness scandal went on the offense, pointing out there is no evidence directly linking the medication found by state police to any horses.

"There is no evidence [vet] Dr. Witmer did anything to affect a race," said Donald Lomurro. "You had Aranesp in the refrigerator of a veterinarian who can possess it legally and dispense it."
"There is no evidence that any outcome of any race was affected," [Seldon Ledford attorney Timothy Donohue] said. "I could have any of these things in my house and it would not be a violation of the racing regulations even if I was a licensee." [Newsday]
Oh, really now! Why would a horse vet, or any racing licensee possess the kind of quantities of a drug for anemia as were apparently discovered? ..The police testified that they found the drugs "all over the house" and in a garage refrigerator.
[State Police Detective Sgt. Brice] Cote said the searches netted substantial quantities of Aranesp. Troopers also seized various injectable foreign substances that were not labeled or identified, hypodermic needles, and syringes from the stable. [Asbury Park Press]
Unfortunately, common sense is often not admissible in legal proceedings; though I imagine the threshold of necessary proof for a state racing board is less than that of a court; and Eric Ledford faces a possible indefinite ban. Bill Finley of points out that much more has to be done if the racing industry is serious about stopping illegal medication.
"The average drugging testing lab in America cost about $2 million, with equipment," said thoroughbred trainer Michael Dickinson, an anti-drug crusader. "There is one at UCLA that cost $4 million. Labs in England, Hong Kong and Australia cost $20 million. We have to do a lot more with research. We hardly do any research at all in this country. And we need more qualified people working on the designer drugs."

Dickinson also says it is imperative that racing begins to freeze urine samples, which would allow chemists to go back and take a second look, using updated methods, at tests involving suspicious trainers.

The question is whether or not the sport has the appetite to do the right thing, which would involve a costly and difficult fight that could inevitably bring down some of the biggest names in the sport. I'm not sure that it does. Please prove me wrong. []


Anonymous said...

I am going with point determined too. I expect him to rate in 3rd and close well for the win over Derek. Going with my Golden Song in the Ill. and Keyed Entry in the Wood. good luck this weekend with your bets. Byanose

Anonymous said...

...yikes...i wouldn't be looking to beat Brother Derek right now...he's just a superior addition to having the best on-paper credentials, there's the issue of his current form...when Toby Turrell says that he's coming into this race better than any horse he seen in 20 years of clocking, well, best of luck trying to beat him...i can't stress enough how freaking sharp that guy is...and believe me, he's not prone to overstatement for my clocker, i haven't seen the report yet, but i've been subscribing for 3 years now, and i've NEVER seen an "A+"...they simply don't i'm very anxious to see if Brother Derek got the A+ rating...btw, i wanted to mention to you guys, Toby Turrell is on a radio show on Saturday/Sunday mornings, from 7am-8am Pacific Time...i think Toby generally comes on about 7:40am, and he's on for 10-15 minutes...should be very interesting to hear what he's gonna can pick up the show @

...btw, i first became aware of Toby in the Racing Form's "Baby Talk" column that they had several years a week (or every couple of weeks), Toby would list an unraced horse or two that had caught his eye in the i'd just write the horse's name down and file it in a notebook, and wait for the horse to turn up in a race...sometimes they'd run the following week, sometimes it'd be a month or two, but whenever they ran, i'd bet them...over the course of a couple of years, Toby probably mentioned 12 or 15 least HALF of them won their debuts, and virtually all that did became big-time stakes horses...Northern Afleet, Advancing Star, A.P. Assay, etc...i also had great success following Toby on some radio shows, though i've stopped listening to the one he's on now because apparently i have a bad internet connection or something and the audio comes in extremely i've got my own clocker now, who's right there on Toby's level...but anyway, i just wanted to give you guys some background on the guy...i might also mention that he's done some consulting work for trainers (may still be doing it), which they use when claiming horses...suffice to say, his opinion is a very informed one...

Ruben Bailey said...

I think Highland Cat may be costing ME as much money as he's costing you!!

HE really looked like he doesn't enjoy the dirt at all.

Looking forward to switch to grass as I'm sure you are too.

t said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Anonymous said...

...just got my reports on Brother Derek...he got a B+ on the Apr 2 drill, and an A on the Mar 26...full of run in both works, though my clocker seems concerned that Brother Derek is a little rank at times...myself, i've seen nothing during his actual races to indicate he's rank, so i'm guessing he's just not being turned loose in the morning, and he's probably a little eager and a bit frustrated...that shouldn't be a problem in the afternoon, i don't think...again, this is just my guy talking, and obviously Toby saw things a little differently...not saying either one is right or wrong, but both would certainly agree the horse is full of himself right now, and training well...should be awfully hard to stop tomorrow...

Alan Mann said...

I don't really disagree with you nor doubt the clocker. Just think that if he's really 3-5, it's too short. He's not facing bums; any of those 3 could step up like a improving three-year old can, and any of them could be worth a bet at the right price. I like Pt Determined - Brother Derek cold.

As for Highland Cat....ugh. But I certainly didn't tell anyone to bet him. Did I?

Anonymous said...

...i've always been a Point Determined supporter, but it bothers me that he had to be pushed on so hard last time...i hadn't seen that from him in the past, so it raised a red flag with me...i do think it's possible he just had an off day, so i guess we'll find out tomorrow what he's really all about...just remember that Brother Derek is just as elgible for improvement as anyone else in the race, perhaps more-so, based on what we've been hearing the past week...i'm not crazy about 3/5 either, but i'm not gonna go against him just for the sake of going against him...i'll either bet him (in the 6/5 or better range), or i'll pass the race...i had been looking forward to some matchups, pitting him vs. A.P. Warrior or Point Determined, but with the discrepency in their morning lines, i'm sure the books will come up some ridiculous number...assuming i can find a matchup in the first place... 8^P

...btw, speaking of strong favorites, how about Too Much Bling in the Bay Shore @ Aqueduct?...hard to see him getting beat...another short price no doubt, but perhaps the New York crowd hasn't witnessed his phenomenal sprinting displays out West...i notice that Songster isn't too far removed from him on the morning line...if Too Much Bling really goes off @ 6/5, i'm all over it G...