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Sunday, April 25, 2010


Oh well, so much for my grand Derby plans. Eskendereya is out, and there goes the generous subsidy his presence as a dubious heavy favorite would have generated for the rest of the field. Sure, there will still be value to be found, but it will take a lot more effort to find it now.

Todd Pletcher seemed to be calm in delivering the news, and owner Ahmed Zayat might be numb from all the bad news he's gotten this year.

"The left leg is filled from the ankle up to the knee," Pletcher said. "We've got to get the edema out of there to get a proper diagnosis. He's not uncomfortable. But when we took him out of his stall this morning and jogged him on the asphalt, he was what for me I would call 'slightly off.'" [DRF]
Can't help but think that along with the disappointment, deep down the Toddster may feel a sense of relief. After all, the pressure that any trainer would feel by virtue of having the Derby favorite must have been intensified some 24-fold given all of the media attention on his 0-fer Derby record. Really, it's not like he needs a Derby win to prove himself. So just maybe he won't be gripping the saddle quite as tightly when he's saddling up his other five or six runners, none of whom will be carrying nearly the expectations that Eskendereya would have......though, in my opinion, a couple of them will have an excellent chance of breaking his streak. I'll get to those later in the week.

By the way, the Form's clocker, Mike Welsch, was noticeably wishy-washy in his assessments of the horse all week long.

Besides turning the race into a wide-open betting affair (at least for those who didn't think it was one all along), the defection enhances the chance that we will have a filly in the race, as Pletcher told Joe Drape.
Devil May Care has posted three victories in five starts and has been working out superbly at Churchill Downs. She is owned by John Greathouse of Glencrest Farm and was among the favorites to win the Kentucky Oaks, which will be run on Friday.

“He was impressed with her just like we were,” said Pletcher on Saturday morning, after Devil May Care zipped through a five-furlong workout in 1.00.20. “He said he’d be coming back Monday and we’d talk then about whether she might go in the Oaks or the Derby.” [NY Times]


DiscreetPicks said...

Here's something someone asked me on another forum, and i really didn't have an answer for him:

What is "filling"?

I think it refers to inflammation, but i really don't know. And in thinking about it, i realize that i've heard that phrase used about a zillion times, and i never really stopped to think about what it meant. Can any vets or trainers out there clear this up for us?

DiscreetPicks said...

I'll also re-post my question from the previous thread, as everyone will undoubtedly be collecting here now.

With the defection of Eskendereya, which horse who ran his last race on dirt will take the most money in the Derby?

I think perhaps it'll be Endorsement. Take your pick from the following list:

Awesome Act
Mission Impazible
Ice Box
Super Saver
Line Of David
Noble's Promise
American Lion

Teresa said...

Neither a vet nor a trainer, but I'm pretty sure that it's swelling due to fluid.

Anonymous said...

You left out Homeboykris.

Trainer Mike said...

Teresa has got it right. When there is a leg injury, a lot of blood and fluid will go to the area and the leg will appear and feel swollen. If the injury is minor, Bute will take the filling out. If its slightly more serious trainers may have a vet inject the area draining the fluid and replacing it with "cortisone" Esky's injury must be severe enough where those options would not suffice or be in the Horses best interest.

Anonymous said...

Pletcher didn't "tell" Joe Drape anything. Those quotes are taken from the Churchill Downs barn notes:

FROM NOTES: "The 3-year-old filly Devil May Care worked with her pink Oaks saddlecloth attached, underscoring the fact that she could run in the Friday headliner, or wait an extra day and take on the boys in the Kentucky Derby.

“Mr. Greathouse (John Greathouse of Glencrest Farm) was out to watch her work today and he was impressed with her just like we were,” Pletcher said. “He said he’d be coming back Monday and we’d talk then about whether she might go in the Oaks or the Derby.

“Actually, I checked with the racing office and we can enter her in both races. We’re aware of how that can affect other horses and we don’t want to be in the way of keeping horses out of either race, but on the other hand we’ve got to do right by our horse, too. You might have a case where she might draw the 20 (post position) in the Derby and the six in the Oaks and that would play into any decision. We’ll have to see.”

Anonymous said...

Ahmed Zayat should have won last year. Was the favorite this year. Sounds like the racing gods don't like this scumbag very much.

Anonymous said...

The most disappointed folks in Lexington are Zayat's bankers.

Does anyone but me think this might be an indictment of the Big A racing surface, which has come under scrutiny in prior years? Two years in a row the Wood winner comes up lame.

Pure speculation since we have no idea how or when this injury occurred, of course.

Also, I commended Zayat for forcing Todd to run in The Wood, perhaps the trainer knew more about his horse than myself.

In any case, it sends me back to the drawing board since I intended to make a large bet on LAL, who now will provide no value.

Anonymous said...

DP, the filly will be third choice if she goes.

I always thought Endorsement would be the wiseguy horse but now leaning toward Zito and Ice Box getting a lot of the media attention that was going to be Todd's.

My guess:

LAL 7-2
Candy 4-1
Filly 6-1
Ice Box 11-1
Endorsement 12-1
Dublin 15-1

El Angelo said...

My early guess on how the race will be bet:

Lookin at Lucky: 5-2
Sidney's Candy: 7-2
Endorsement: 5-1
Ice Box: 8-1
Devil May Care: 8-1
Dublin: 12-1
Everyone else: 15-1 to 40-1 (nothing higher)

Steve D said...

Re: the Aqueduct surface...There have been rumors about this horse's tendon for a few months. Whether that's the actual injury or not, we don't know yet.

But there's a reason this horse hasn't sold, given the circumstances faced by his owner. It's because he couldn't pass the vet.

Anonymous said...

RE: Eksy's injury

FWIW there are pictures taken of Esky's front legs before the Wood showing that his knees where shaved--even though TAP claimed he taped all his horses that day "just to be safe," Esky was the only one who's knees where shaved. I sort of think all the other horses were taped to draw attention away from him being taped.

You can see the pictures online, I forget which forum--Thoro-graph, I think...anyway, just google "Eskendereya shaved knees Wood bet at your own risk" and you can probably find them.

I saw Esky up close at the FOY and he didn't look like the "monster" everyone said was to me--he certainly didn't look to be the healthiest horse in the race. Dull coat, droopy head, flat tail...actually Pleasant Prince looked way better than him in person at the FOY, but I was glad after the Derby Trail that Pleasant Prince didn't qualify--he was so diminished-looking before that race, head down, tail flat--they used him up badly, poor guy--trying to force him into the derby.

alan said...

>>they used him up badly, poor guy--trying to force him into the derby.

AND they were going to run him back in the Derby a week later, jeez!!