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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Morning Notes - April 5

- Woo-hoo! Not only did the rain go away, but it's sunny and warm here in Queens today. If the track isn't fast for the first race, I don't see any reason why it won't be by the time we get to the four stakes races later in the day. (The second race is off the turf, however.) I'll be heading there soon, and will be discussing the Big A races throughout the day.

In the meantime, just wanted to mention the Illinois Derby. I was away for the Tampa Bay Derby, and when I finally got around to watching it, I was concentrating on watching War Pass fizzle. What I missed was a fantastic effort by runner-up Atoned. His pp line for the race notes that he was 'wide early,' but doesn't tell us that he was a solid, and smooth, four wide for the entire turn for home, conceding much ground to eventual winner Big Truck. I would also dispute the comment 'hung.' Atoned battled to the end against the winner, who in comparison physically looked like a big truck coming down the lane.

So I like Atoned here, for Pletcher, who could have a big day, with Texas Wildcatter a prime contender in the Wood. Denis of Cork is undefeated as you know, but when looking at his Southwest win on paper, keep in mind that while the first half of the race was run in 45.1, the second half took 52 3/5 seconds to complete. So his big close may look a bit better than it really was. Having said that, he got the job done, but I'm also put off by this notion that they're going to be able to time his top for the Derby. That, in theory, would mean that we're not looking for a big number here. But what if he runs a monster race and gets a 1 or 0 on the sheets? Will they then run him in the Lexington so that he can bounce?

I'm also interested in Real Appeal (8-1). I mentioned yesterday how scalding hot trainer Tom Amoss has been, and this one has been improving solidly; his Beyers have improved with every race. He returned from his close 4th in the Ky Jockey Club with a stakes win at Sam Houston. That race has already produced a first, second, and a third (albeit all on the grass). 4th place finisher Texas Fever came back to run third in the Grindstone Stakes at FG, beating Boss Lafitte, who came back to win the Transylvania yesterday at 9-1, and you knew I had to throw that in somewhere.


Anonymous said...

I like Z Humor in the Illinois Derby, based on the form cycle bit (3rd off a layoff). His Champagne run from last year would just about do it, and his works at Payson (48 4/5 at Payson? Nice) show me that he's fit as he'll ever be. Granted, I have burned a lot of dough this year on Z, but I think he'll go off at higher than his 3-1 ML, and is worth it in the win pool at 5-1 or 6-1.

Perhaps we are seeing more and more of Nafzger's technique for Street Sense - extract alot during 2 yo season; slowly build to that level (or above if the BSF's/thorographs aren't there) in time for May... Z isn't the best example, but Pyro may be evidence that this style is a way to coax such a performance out of the now sometimes fragile breed.

This is not to discount Denis of Cork, but Z's company lines from last year are pretty solid.

Anonymous said...

atoned is my favorite for the ky derby no matter if he wins today or runs second or third

Anonymous said...

did i say atoned i must of misremembered