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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pletcher Set to Return

- Todd Pletcher's suspension ends on Friday, and the great man himself will be at the Fair Grounds to saddle Circular Quay (Thunder Gulch) in Saturday's Risen Star. Pletcher was one-for-two with his Derby prospects this past weekend; Scat Daddy was outclassed by Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Holy Bull, but Ravel took the Sham at Santa Anita, earning a Beyer of 102 (as compared to the 98 by Nobiz Like Shobiz).

It's a full field of 14 which includes Notional (In Excess), the San Rafael winner over Baffert's Tenfold (who got beat at 3-5 in allowance company last week). Also scheduled to run is Zanjero, runner up to Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Remsen, and perhaps Steve Asmussen's best Derby hope, with Tiz Wonderful sidelined. However, it sounds like Asmussen is looking down the road with this one.

Asmussen said he believes Fair Grounds's tight turns might not be ideal for Zanjero. Moreover, Zanjero hasn't started since he finished second to Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Remsen Stakes on Nov. 25 at Aqueduct, a.nd his training pattern during a wet New Orleans winter has not been perfect. [Daily Racing Forma]
- Just wanted to backtrack a bit and mention last Saturday's Strub at Santa Anita. I didn't have a bet on the race, but I actually found myself rooting for Brother Derek. He was sent off at 2-1 this time, and he hasn't been higher than that price in his three starts over the track this meeting. He put in his usual honest effort, and his usual losing one.

At least it was nice to see these horses knock heads again - five out of the six runners also ran in the Malibu on Dec 26, and the San Fernando on January 13 (and the sixth, Awesome Gem, ran in a different race on Malibu day). That's three races in six weeks, and we rarely get the opportunity to see a group of horses establish rivalries with each other these days as in this case. This California handicap division is closely matched, and this time Arson Squad happened to find the short way home to get the money, while favored Midnight Lute was caught four wide. One of these days, I suppose, Brother Derek will get the inside path, or find himself alone on the lead in a 49 second half and actually manage to win. I wonder what his odds will be when he finally does.

- Nobiz Like Shobiz is listed at 8-1 in the morning line for the first Derby futures pool, which will commence on Thursday. Barclay Tagg is not quite sure which preps he will run in, but he will have just two more with a five week rest thrown in somewhere. There's no questioning the colt's ability, and we're no longer quite as skeptical of a horse going into the Derby on five week's rest, if that's the way Tagg decides to go. My only question is, after seeing just how greenly he ran in the stretch of the Holy Bull, is whether the two more preps in the next three months will give him the experience and maturity he'll need to be ready for the first Saturday in May.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck with HC, hope he pays some bills. Should not be afraid to run him for 35 at this point.

Sure you noticed Corinthian is in vs. Jazil on Thursday at GP. Thought C was one of the top of the crop, will be interesting to see if he can return at the same level.