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Saturday, April 05, 2008

On To the Good Stuff

- Well, it took me about a minute to be wrong about War Pass. Just got the quotes sheet in the pressbox, and Zito said: "it's sad that we didn't win because he is a champion.....We'll take him to Kentucky. We'll take it one day at a time. We still have to salute the winner...he ran a big race. If War Pass has a good month, we'll see if we can make it to the Derby."

Not good news for Big Brown I wouldn't think.

- Great race at Santa Anita, and Colonel John is the real deal. Like the betting public, I preferred El Gato Malo, and the winner was a solid 5-2.

Bustin Stones is something else, remaining undefeated for the scorching hot Bruce Levine, his second graded stakes winner of the day here. Nothing for Spring At Last. I tried to beat them with Lord Snowdon and Premium Wine, and though they rallied for a decent 3rd and 4th, I wasn't close there.

Back to Colonel John, he showed a lot of class, and this is exactly the situation I was talking about with respect to the synthetic/main track issue. I'd be happy to back this one at, say 8, 10-1, if people doubt him because the Derby will be his first race on the main track.

As far as War Pass, I was just discussing with Ernie Munick the question of whether he'll go to the Derby. He thinks it's still a possibility, I say no way in the world...

- El Gato Malo is 6-5 for the SA Derby with 13 MTP.

- After an opening quarter of 22.48, and subsequent ones of 23.59 and 25.43, he then slowed down to 26.92, and then that final eighth of 13.93. So my immediate reaction is that the Derby winner will not come from here. Court Vision rallied for third.

- Well, nothing doing for Proud Spell or Country Star! Kiaran McLaughlin's Little Belle with a game effort. She's been improving steadily, so, in retrospect and after the fact, 16-1 was a nice price indeed.

- Well, War Pass couldn't hold on, and I let Tale of Ekati go at 8-1. It was slow. 1.38.42 for the mile, final time of 1:52.35. That's almost 14 seconds for the final eighth. Temporary Saint finished in 1:51.13; final eighth of 13 seconds flat. Time for the Ashland.

- The crowd is howling as they go into the gate. There goes War Pass...

- Gary Stevens is saying on NBC, as you probably know since you're probably watching it, that War Pass is acting strangely on the track. He said that "we know he loves Aqueduct." He's never run here.

- The Wood and the Ashland, two Grade 1 races, should be going off at just about the same time. How special!

- War Pass is down to 3/4 now; the fans are undaunted by his 23 length loss at Tampa. At Keeneland, Proud Spell is down to 5-2, Country Star is 4-5. Did I say that I think the latter is going to win?

First Commandment is a late scratch on the track.

- I would guess that there's around 6-7,000 people here. The pressbox is around half full, and it's eerily silent up here. The crowd noise is largely muffled by the big glass windows, and it anyone is suffering a bad losing day, they're doing it in silence.

Cornelio Velasquez just dismounted from War Pass, and got back on after a brief delay. Don't know what that was about.

- They're coming on the track, and they all look good to me. Tale of Ekati is 9-1 - he was 9-2 ML. One of my top Derby hopefuls when the year started, I don't know that I have enough faith in him to take a shot even at that price.

- Strictly a two horse betting race here; War Pass is 4-5, and Court Vision is 5-2. Don't want to press my luck, but here goes: I don't like Court Vision at all here. I was totally wrong, or at least I am thus far, about Texas Wildcatter. I thought he'd really get bet, but he's languishing at 6-1 with 10 MTP.

- Country Star is 1-2 early, while Proud Spell is 9-2 in the Ashland! That's with 19 MTP, so I'm certain that will change drastically. A reader wrote me that the tote machines went down at Keeneland for some 15 minutes before the feature race yesterday, as he speculated as to why that exacta came back short.

War Pass is 4-5. It's worth noting, perhaps, that the Excelsior, in which Temporary Saint led every step of the way, was the first two turn race of the day; and the first won strictly wire to wire.


Anonymous said...

Just my view, but I think War Pass should skip the Derby and go for the Preakness. No shame in that route and I'd think Zito could talk his owner out of Derby fever.

Why race him at 1 1/4 mi when (1) he doesn't rate to save his life and (2) beyond 1 1/8 mi and he'll be swallowed whole.

Worse yet putting him in the Derby [and likely not finishing in the top 3] in exchange for being tapped out with steam and/or cut scratched up?

I like Zito as much as the next guy but his other entry Anak Nakal reinforced today the fact that horse would have no business going to the KY Derby, regardless of having the earnings to do so.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I said I thought War Pass would go.

I also think he'll get embarrassed and diminish his value. Obvious observations. But I love Nicky, root for him, and really do wish his colt the best. He ran really well. Just that Cherokee Run blood starts to wear thin...

Good seein' ya.

Thinkin' of Hard Spun. Again. Every day. Issues, I have issues.