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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday Night Notes - Apr 23

- Prado took a spill in the 7th at Keeneland today, and took a trip to the hospital to get checked out. But it appears he'll be fine to ride Adriano in the Derby.

“He seems to be OK, and everything checked out fine,” agent Bob Frieze said from the hospital. Frieze did not say which areas of Prado's body had been X-rayed. [Bloodhorse]
That sounds like when hockey teams identify injuries merely as "upper (or lower) body injuries" during the playoffs in order to prevent the enemy from "accidentally" aggravating an existing ailment. It's Derby time, so perhaps Frieze is worried about an opposing jockey giving Prado a well-placed playful jab in the jocks room before the race.

Looking back at this post, I recall that Graham Motion had counted Adriano out of the Derby prior to his win in the Lane's End. Jerry Bailey spoke on ESPN of how owner Donald Adams had invested a small fortune in the game, and that this opportunity would be hard to pass up. Guess he was right about that.

The explanation for his flop in the Fountain of Youth seems to have morphed from his not liking the dirt to his "falling apart" in the paddock before the race. He seems to have gained a bit of a following, including Bob Baffert. Prado chose this horse over Monba and Tale of Ekati. I know some people have upgraded Adriano because of that; but I'm thinking that Prado is honoring a commitment to a trainer with whom he has a long relationship. I think it's more a case of Prado telling us that he's not crazy about the other two. I imagine that if he really thought he had a legit shot elsewhere, he'd explain to Motion and the trainer would understand.

Jeremy Plonk has been doing some interesting analyses on his Countdown to the Crown series on, and he's been talking this horse up. But check this out:
Still photos of turf/Polytrack ace Adriano working at Churchill Downs have been a wee bit of a concern. The Lane's End winner has tons of pedigree for dirt and a wonderfully long stride, but his high leg action captured in the still photos looks awfully turfy. Of course, Barbaro had the same action, a far cry from the daisy-cutter efficiency of a Smarty Jones, though Barbaro was able to be just as effective. []
(Don't expect to see me doing any analysis of leg action from still photos on this site anytime soon.)

Adriano, by AP Indy out of a Mr. Prospector mare, is one of the better bred horses in this field. I wrote more about his pedigree in this post, and repeating: His second dam, Golden Treat, though by the grass champion Theatrical, won the G1 SA Oaks on dirt; and she's a half to the great Belmont/Haskell winner Bet Twice. So Adriano certainly has some dirt ability in his pedigree.

However, we haven't seen any on the track thus far, and I think he's a tough case to make, and that's despite the high regard I hold for Motion.

- In that 7th at Keeneland, Prado's mount, May Meeting ducked in sharply right after the start, causing 7-10 favorite Closeout to get body slammed and swerve in and nearly go over the rail. I'm hoping he didn't suffer an upper body injury or anything. Lookalike won the race for Matz, and this three-year old filly caught my attention when she graduated earlier this year. She's by Dynaformer, out of a Mr. Prospector half sister to the multiple Grade 1 winner Behrens.


Anonymous said...

This is a stretch and possibly ridiculous, maybe Prado wants to be sure to retain the mount on Adriano for the upcoming lucrative turf races at Colonial Downs?

Harl said...

I could be mistaken, but I believe three of the top four finishers in last year's Derby made their final prep race on synthetic or grass surfaces. Of course, two of those horses, STREET SENSE and HARD SPUN, had excellent dirt form in their past performances. Did SEDGEFIELD get a piece in 4th place? On top of that, CURLIN filled out the superfecta with those three, a horse coming in on what, three career starts? My , how the game has changed...

El Angelo said...

I agree that Prado's doing it to pay back Motion for his years of loyalty, coupled with the knowledge that he'll never be above #2 in Pletcher's eye (probably even 3rd behind Gomez in many circumstances), and that Tale of Ekati just isn't that good.