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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Jaunt

- On one hand, Any Given Saturday's win in the Sam F. Davis (heretofore to be known as The Davis), could be seen as nothing special; the headline in BRIS that reads A Saturday jaunt at Tampa pretty much sums it up. He faced an extremely undistinguished field of six opponents, and had a good trip close up behind dueling leaders in moderate fractions. He closed just a bit into a final 2 1/2 furlongs that went in 31.90, which I calculate as around a 25 1/2-second quarter pace. That doesn't knock my socks off, but his final time of 1:44.27 is only about a second and a quarter off the stakes record.

On the other hand, the colt just exudes class to me. It was a totally professional performance, as was, really, his loss to Tiz Wonderful last year. He never saw the rail, taking the two path on the first turn, and was solidly three wide the entire turn for home. He lost some ground to the leader at that point, but he was totally in hand for John Velazquez, just waiting for his cue. And when that came, he galloped away straight and smooth. The Tampa Bay Derby is next.

Not much else to say about the race, except to question how the bettors could have pounded Mott's Monster Drive, a NY-bred facing winners and going beyond six furlongs for the first time, down to 4-1! I suppose that tells you something about the quality of the field.


Anonymous said...

I have nothing against Any Given Saturday, he seems to be a good sort. I just don't don't think he has the credentials to be considered a majore Derby contender, not yet anyway. In my opinion, his reputation stems from running a good second to Tiz Wonderful, who of course was considered a top-echelon prospect. And i must say i'm curious, why would a barn with Pletcher's resources insist on sending their Derby hopefuls to Tampa Bay Downs? I mean, they did the same thing last year with Blugrass Cat. Am i missing something here? The only benefit i can see is picking up some easy graded earnings. But if the horse is such a blue-chip prospect, he oughta be able to get those earnings vs. better competition. The Derby is a rough-and-tumble race, and i don't think Tampa Bay is the best place to prepare for it. I dunno, Bluegrass Cat ran pretty well in the Derby last year, so maybe they're onto something. I'm no trainer. Just think it's strange.

Btw, i hope you guys caught the knockdown-dragout battle in yesterday's San Carlos, featuring Latent Heat and Proud Tower Too. Huge performance by both animals, with Latent Heat emerging victorious in a race that each horse deserved to win. That's two in a row for Latent Heat (with back-to-back triple digit Beyers, i'm guessing). Nice to see him go on a rampage after being held out of the BC Sprint. Ugh. Reportedly, Frankel has him aimed at a return to the East Coast, most notably the Met Mile.

Alan Mann said...

I rather agree with you about Tampa. I know Bluegrass Cat ended up second in the Derby, but he wasn't second best that day. It seems to me that both Sun King and Bluegrass Cat were right at the top of the class before the Tampa Bay Derby, and both lost some luster that day - and Sun King even won the race. Each went to Keeneland and raced poorly. Of course, the track will be different there this year.

As for Any Given Saturday, I'd consider him a good Derby prospect at this stage, rather than a contender. In fact, they're really all just prospects at this still early stage. Let's see them knock heads with each other first (if we get to see that anymore).