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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Morning Notes - April 29

- Reader Hawken reports that he saw the workouts by Pletcher's trio of Derby runners, plus Rags to Riches. They're not up as of this writing on the Keeneland site, so I can't comment on his observations at this time. But Scat Daddy was timed in 59.4; the other three in 1:00.20.

I picked Scat Daddy in the Juvenile, and went off him on price; and I'm liking him more and more in this spot, though I'm also thinking he has a small chance to be as low as third choice. In any event, I'm definitely going to have him on my exotics tickets.

One person who definitely does not agree with Hawken's impression of Circular Quay is his trainer.

"He looked awesome"....When asked if the colt was fully prepared for the Run for the Roses, he answered simply, "He's ready right now. This is the best he's been here so far--he's gotten progressively better (with each work)." [Bloodhorse]
I don't think we often hear the Toddster speak with such superlatives after a work, do we? He seemed pleased with the others as well - Any Given Saturday "looked perfect," and Scat Daddy "worked :59.2 so easily" - but he seemed quite enthused about Circular Quay. However, we've seen Pletcher get rather testy this year when his horses or methods have been questioned, and I think that he'd be particularly thrilled to see Circular Quay win and validate his strategy. So I'm not reading too much into his comments; they just might be his way of emphasizing that his decision to go into the Derby off such a long layoff is already paying off. (But having said that, I think he has a shot. His chances will rely more on the pace and racing luck than on him being 100% fit in my opinion.)

At Churchill Downs, Dominican worked out (though don't expect to see video of it on Churchill's website. One might think they'd be embarrassed by Keeneland into adding similar features. If you click on the 'Video' tab on Churchill's main page, you get an advertisement. For Churchill.) This is a colt that I am admittedly ignoring. It's entirely possible that he is a simply a colt improving at the right time rather than merely a Polytrack specialist. But hey, you have to make some difficult stands in a race like this, otherwise you'll end up like Haskin and pick a dozen winners. Dominican's supporters will be cheered by the news of his five furlong work in 59 3/5 over the dirt surface at Churchill.

- Brad Free, writing in the subscription DRF Plus section of the Form, points out that while these works at the two Kentucky tracks are being analyzed to death, others, specifically Tiago, are training in relative obscurity out West.
That was evident six days ago at Hollywood Park, when only one member of the racing print media watched Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago work out seven furlongs on Cushion Track. Though Tiago will start as a relative outsider in the Kentucky Derby, odds should not lessen the importance of a key workout. Or have people already forgotten about Giacomo? [DRF]
I haven't forgotten the way Giacomo's works, all at seven furlongs on the west coast, got progressively better after the first one after the SA Derby, which was too slow to be timed, and which caused him to be the subject of some derision - probably by me too. Free reports that Tiago is making similar progress.
In the three weeks since that April 7 win, Tiago has stepped forward.

"He's handling it very well," said the normally reticent [trainer John] Shirreffs.

With one more workout scheduled for Sunday, Tiago continues to improve.

In the team work last Sunday, Tiago and Smith broke off two lengths behind a maiden filly, ran past her at the three-eighths, and powered home even while playing around.
- And if you tune into NBC at 5PM today for the Barbaro documentary and you instead see the Rangers and Sabres skating in overtime, think of me, suffering in the blue seats high above, as his team, already down 2-0 in games, is literally fighting for their playoff lives. Think of Trotter, sweating out the photo of the last race in Let It Ride, thinking to himself "I've done nothing to deserve this anguish." After all, my team outplayed the Sabres for most of the first two games, only to see their few mistakes end up in their net. So say to yourself "Cmon, give the guy a break." After all, a quick Rangers goal and then you can watch your documentary in peace.


Anonymous said...

Just for clarification - I saw the workouts on the Keeneland website, not at the track. The works are not yet posted in the normal video section, but can be seen by clicking on the "watch derby contender workouts" tab on the main page. The works aren't seperated, so you're committed to watching for about 25 minutes to see Cowtown, AGS, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy. The nice feature of these videos is that you see a lot more than the timed portion of the work.

Brett said...

The works are up now.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Dominican and his possible polytrack-specialist status: It's worth noting he ran a decent 3rd at Churchill last year behind Tiz Wonderful and Any Given Saturday (the same race that made AGS an instant Derby contender in some people's eyes). And it's rather obvious Dominican has improved since then. I don't think the surface is gonna be a huge problem for him, and he does have a very explosive kick. Note that he was farther back than anyone in the Blue Grass, and was still able to kick past them despite the fact Street Sense & Co. had a ton of gas left in the tank due to the snail-like fractions. I would agree that the jury is out on the is one, because we just don't know if he'll be as effective on real dirt, but any horse with that kind of kick needs to be considered pretty strongly at this 1 1/4-mile distance. One other point worth mentioning is the fact he dropped so far off the pace in the Blue Grass. Hell, they were moving so slow, even ZANJERO was up close. This indicates a conscious effort by his connections to change his running style. He was showing some decent speed before that, in fact i thought he'd be a clear second behind Teuflesberg in the Blue Grass. So i think you can lump Dominican in with Circular Quay, Tiago, and the other deep closers in here.

Anonymous said...

DOMINICAN is my Derby horse. The work cements it. This horse wants to run on. It's that simple. Call me crazy but he reminds me of VICTORY GALLOP. If he can get in range when they straighten out for the drive, this is the horse I think who can grind em all down late.

Right now I'm playing him, emphasizing ANY GIVEN SATURDAY heaviest, and wheeling most of the obvious contenders going 8 or 9x deep.

Hoping for a fast fair surface. And an honest (46.3, 110.4) pace.

Anonymous said...

Man, Victory Gallop killed me that year; split me in the exacta and triple with 8-1 Real Quiet on top. Now that you made that comparison, I may have to stick him in there somewhere!

Michael said...

Dominican looked real impressive after the work. He looked like he really wanted to take off in his warm up lap and after he smoked his work partner looked none the worse for wear. Consider.

Anonymous said...

well don't kill the price on him.

But glad to hear the work went well. I only hope Miller has enough bottom in him from only two preps and a weird Bluegrass. Here's hoping the answer is "YES" at 15-1