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Monday, April 14, 2008

Belle of the Derby Ball?

- Sounds as if Rick Porter is determined to run his filly Eight Belles in the Derby.

"I'm conservative by nature," [Trainer Larry] Jones said at his Oaklawn Park barn Sunday morning, "and I've always believed in running fillies against fillies. But Eight Belles is something special, and her owner (Rick Porter) really would like to see her in the Derby.

"Right now, the plan is to give her a work over the Churchill strip, and then make a decision. I guess I better be prepared for a media circus if she goes to the Derby. If not, no one will know she's around." [Associated Press]
Porter has been watching the Derby preps, and obviously hasn't seen anything of late that would dissuade him.
“Obviously, the (April 12 prep races) were a part of the decision-making process,” Porter said. “I’m going to get the (Ragozin) numbers on the top 20 horses, along with the past performances, and sit down and analyze them with Larry. [Bloodhorse]
Hopefully, he won't get too crazy over the Ragozin numbers like a certain other owner did. And if he looks at the past performances, he'll see that she matches up against the prospective field just fine, at least in terms of Beyers. The 99 she earned in her troubled Fantasy win is second only to Big Brown in a two-turn prep this year (not counting a "preliminary" 103 Beyer that Crist reports was earned by Gayego in the Arkansas Derby).


Anonymous said...

no matter how terrible the crop of colts i think fillies should point for the oaks not the derby it almost always screws up the filly unless she bounds out to an easy lead and only runs down the stretch

Anonymous said...

Not the wisest of decisions IMHO.

Eight Bells is simply no Winning Colors in terms of style or even proven talen over the boys. WC proved her salt in that great '88 Santa Anita Derby. That was a brilliant run by her (and well worth looking at it again on which affirmed to D. Wayne that she can beat a field of boys at Churchill.

Eight Bells has no such prior powerhouse effort [against colts] and to just assume that race times being faster with prior all-filly fields means she'd do the same with the boys is foolish.

Anonymous said...

If there was ever a year to try the colts this is it. No need for a prior race against boys. This is an American fallacy, done all the time in Europe.

Go for it!

At least it will keep some no chance plodder out of the race.

Anonymous said...

Adding one more bit, if I read the full AP article quotes correctly:

"Porter also said he will enter the filly in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks. Which race Eight Belles runs in will be determined after the Derby post position draw on Wednesday, April 30."

Meaning there is an off chance that only 19 horses will break from the gate in the Derby - if she is cross entered with the Oaks and skips the Derby.

Maybe its me but I'd be irked if I was the owner/trainer on the bubble of the Derby bumped by Eight Belles and then she skips just because of a bad draw position.

Anonymous said...

The aforementioned (youtube) 1988 Santa Anita Derby - crushed by Winning Colors

That, my friends, by the late Winning Colors was an effort which was pure smackdown.

[note the final time was corrected]

Anonymous said...

god i would love if she cross entered in both and then went to the oaks keep one of the horses that will just be in the way out

Alan Mann said...

>>Maybe its me but I'd be irked if I was the owner/trainer on the bubble of the Derby bumped by Eight Belles and then she skips just because of a bad draw position.

Perhaps...but no more so than the owner of a legit late bloomer that's shut out because of some no-chancer like Cool Coal Man (I hope I don't come to regret writing that!)

Anyone can enter and scratch, but a filly such as Eight Belles does have an advantage in that she has a rich alternative available the day before. Seems a decent argument to allow a couple of AE's, though I know that will never happen.

Here's the latest list according to Cindy Pierson Dulay's About Horse Racing:

1. War Pass ... $1,470,000
2. Pyro ... $1,020,000
3. Proud Spell (filly) ... $880,000
4. Tale of Ekati ... $738,000
5. Colonel John ... $720,000
6. Gayego ... $640,000
7. Big Brown ... $600,000
8. Z Humor ... $579,000
9. Monba ... $515,000
10. Kodiak Kowboy ... $441,373
11. Turf War ... $405,407
12. Court Vision ... $331,872
13. Z Fortune ... $329,000
14. Adriano ... $310,000
15. Recapturetheglory ... $300,000
16. Smooth Air ... $290,000
17. Salute the Sarge ... $258,940
18. Cool Coal Man ... $212,767
19. Anak Nakal ... $212,216
20. Eight Belles (filly) ... $210,000
21. Cowboy Cal ... $207,660
22. Visionaire ... $202,500
23. Big Truck ... $194,500

At least four in the top 20 that aren't running as far as I can tell. (And at least four others that shouldn't run IMO.)

Anonymous said...

Z-Fortune was 4 wide around both turns(sprung from 11 hole). If the winner gets a big # from Beyer,than its just a matter of studying Z's ability to throw 2 major efforts in 3 week period.
His previos over same track was poor and the Ark. Derby was huge.
Easy horse to pick or toss.

Harl said...

I wouldn't be surprised to see KODIAK KOWBOY entered in the Derby and scratched.

Anonymous said...

I'd think it would be safe to strike off these three:

3. Proud Spell (f) .. $880,000
10. Kodiak Kowboy .. $441,373
11. Turf War .. $405,407

Salute The Sarge's connections I bet will still try for it unless he bombs in the Coolmore. They hinted at doing the Preakness instead but we'll see.

Logically at #19 Anak Nakal shouldn't go but again his connections might send him there (to become as they say in motor racing "a moving chicane") for a variety of reasons.

Tomcito is going to race in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes this Sat and I'd presume will finish top 3, securing the graded money and going to the Derby.

Racing on such a (relatively) short break didn't hurt horses like 'Don't Get Mad' or even 'Showing Up' finishing very well.

Anonymous said...

With this group, maybe post position will determine the Derby winner.
I know Visionaire could have done better Saturday with a decent post

Alan Mann said...

>.I know Visionaire could have done better Saturday with a decent post

Visionaire ran a pretty decent race; the chart notes that he was 12 wide turning for home. I was really hoping that Big Truck would beat him, because I liked him and that obnoxious guy Frank on TVG was ridiculing Big Truck in relation to Visionaire. But I guess he was right and I was wrong.