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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Capturing the Illinois Derby

- Cot Campbell, the president of Dogwood Stable, said, of the 4th place finish by Atoned in the Illinois Derby, "There's no excuses." Then he proceeded to make them.

"It was a day for front runners. The horses who ran 1-2 led all the way. It was a slow pace on a speed-favoring track. He never got into the game. It wasn't a race that [makes] you say 'We're going to the Derby.' He's light on earnings. He's made about $125,000. It was a speed favoring track, he laid off the pace and he was unable to advance because of the slow early pace." [Aiken Standard]
David Carroll, the trainer of Denis of Cork, the even money favorite who labored home fifth, offered no excuses at all. "I was happy to see a fast track, but he never looked like he was traveling (well) at any point of the race and he never picked it up....Very disappointing. What can I say?" [Daily Herald] Jockey Julien Leparoux concurred: "We had a good trip and when I asked him at the 3/8ths pole, I thought he was ready to go. He kept going but there was no kick to get there.” [Bloodhorse]

Surely, these were disappointing efforts for Atoned and Denis of Cork; though maybe not that surprising in retrospect when it comes to the latter considering his unorthodox campaign with the seven week layoff coming just at a time when it looked as if he was ready to roll. But on the other hand, looking at the fractions set by the front-running winner 15-1 Recapturetheglory, you can see where Campbell is coming from. He went in splits of 24.17, 24.47, 24.20, and 24.05 before a final furlong of 12.12. That's pretty impressive stuff; talk about an even pace! We see that he got a bit of a break in the second quarter, which helped him to accelerate after that. We haven't seen any three-year olds not named Pyro that have been able to close into a pace scenario like that. I'm thinking that neither Atoned nor Denis of Cork are anywhere in that colt's class at this point.

As for Recapturetheglory, it's a high grade Derby fever for trainer Louis Roussel and owner Ronald Lamarque. This colt had won just once in five starts, and was coming off two unsuccessful entry level allowance tries; but his $300,000 winner's share has him off to Louisville.
"The Hornets are winning, we believe the Saints will be back and now we've got Recapturetheglory; what better name can you have to recapture the city of New Orleans?" Lamarque said. "Louis named him and it's perfect.

"Kentucky better be ready." [Daily Herald]
Well, you gotta like their spirit. Not sure about his pedigree, his being a son of Cherokee Run, the sire of War Pass, out of a Dehere dam; and the dosage guys won't like his index of 5.0. I'm not sure that he has the type of speed to run early with Big Brown or War Pass either; but I think he's a worthy addition to the field. It wasn't like he was five lengths in front all the way - he had Golden Spikes by his side down the backstretch - and you had to like the way he was striding out at the finish. Plus, the owner sounds like fun.

Of course, we have to discuss Colonel John, who was, by far, the most impressive three-year old that ran yesterday, both visually and in terms of time (acknowledging that the track at Santa Anita seemed quite fast). But I'm gonna check out these Keeneland races now while I have a few minutes here, before the Head Chef returns and before the Rangers game. Can somebody tell me why TVG is saying that they have an "exclusive" on the Blue Grass? Isn't the race going to be on ESPN?


Anonymous said...

TVG's "exclusive" I think means HRTV is excluded. ;.)

Anonymous said...

I do not think Recapturetheglory was a surprise. I even boxed him with Denis and Golden Spikes in the exacta ($180!)His two previous races on dirt were competitive with the field, and his only loss on dirt was a second to Cool Coal Man. The third place horse in that race was not even close. At 8-1, he was interesting. At 17-1, he cried out for money. I think, in general, running surface analysis provides some good wagering opportunities, like this one.

David M. Miller said...

"Plus the owner sounds like fun"

Evidently you have forgotten 1988, when Lamarque and Roussel campaigned Risen Star in one of the most memorable Triple Crown campaigns ever.

Lamarque acted like he lost his marbles after every win and always celebrated in post-race interviews with some improvised ditty.

This, over the backdrop of Pat Day parking Winning Colors in the first turn of the Preakness, the war of words between Lukas and Woody, and Roussel pledging part of Risen Star's winnings to the New Orleans Little Sisters of the Poor.

It gets even better. In 1993, Lamarque's soon-to-be ex-wife hired a hit man to do away with him.

Yeah, the Louie and Ronnie redux should help make it an interesting Derby.

Here's a video of Ronnie singing: