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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Not Ranting and Raving

Uncle Mo is slated to face five rivals in a one-turn mile race at Gulfstream, and, oh man, talk about a tepid test. His 3-5 morning line seems like a bargain. Two of the horses come straight from their graduation day, and only one of them has won more than their maiden breaker; and that horse, Madman Diaries, was way up the track in the Hutcheson a couple of weeks ago. We read the other day about the likelihood of a short field in the Wood, and it's in fact likely that the juvenile champion will face twice as many horses at Churchill Downs than he will in his two preps combined. Will that matter? I dunno.

Here, I was gonna rant and rave about how dull this whole Derby trail thing has become compared to not that long ago when races like the Wood and the Blue Grass and the Florida Derby and the Santa Anita Derby were themselves major goals to be pointed to....but I'm practicing yoga, remember? so I don't really care. It is what it is; big business, no laughing matter, no time for spontaneity or the sport for sporting sake. Two preps is now the way to go, and if that takes the fun out of it, then that's the way it goes. Hey, it's an amazing game which presents endless challenges, hair-raising thrills and disappointments each week, so why obsess for weeks and months over a single race which has produced more disappointment and mediocrity than satisfaction over the past few years (since, by the way, all the "rules" changed for the worse). But hey, no ranting and raving here...

You know how much things have changed in just a short time when you read something like this:

Winning the Holy Bull so impressively with Dialed In solved one problem and created another for Zito and owner Robert LaPenta. It gave Dialed In enough graded earnings to almost assure him of a spot in this year's Derby field but was too good to wheel him right back in another tough race like the Fountain of Youth just four weeks later. [DRF]
Emphasis mine of course; I mean, just a few years or so ago when I started writing this blog, four weeks was more akin to a layoff than too short of a turnaround! Well, Nick Zito being the traditional guy he is, Dialed In at least will have run three times if all goes according to plan, and his second place effort on Sunday seemed like a fine prep with his closing furlong in 12.35 seconds.

At least there's some hope that owner Mike Repole will be true to his word and do what's best for the sport should his colt live up to expectations. If Uncle Mo was owned by Winstar, it would be 2-5 that he'd be retired before the Breeders Cup, no matter what happens this spring.

Feeling restless as Saturday approaches, Repole spent some pocket change to claim six-year old Caixa Electronica for $62,500 out of the third at Gulfstream on Wednesday. Nice to have money and time on one's hands, eh? And maybe he watched on TV as his NY bred Silver Over Gold won the 6th at Aqueduct on Thursday.

The 8th at the Big A might have produced some kind of record for a non-marathon distance race. It's the kind of race chart you look at and figure there was a spill. But no - three out of the eight runners were simply unable finish up the mile and 70 yard distance and were eased, thus earning DNF's. Yuck!

Speaking of which, Yuck is a young band from the UK whose dense guitar sound recalls bands from a couple of decades ago such as Swervedriver and Ride (who recently released a deluxe 20th anniversary (!) edition of their awesome classic Nowhere LP). Yuck's impressive self-titled debut album is available on Fat Possum Records.


Figless said...

"The San Felipe is gonna be a great race this year. "

It IS very interesting on paper but I think Jaycito may be the real deal and will romp here.

He took serious money in the futures pool, way more than should have been expected, someone knows something.

The expected fast pace should set him up perfectly.

Zuuuk said...

Screw this yoga stuff -- you need to get the "eye of the tiger" back, Rock!

I, too, long for the days of the battle-hardened Derby horses, and the excitement of the preps leading up to the big race. I can remember Silver Charm's hard-fought second in the Santa Anita Derby almost as clearly as his Ky Derby win.

Anonymous said...

The San Felipe is far and away the most exciting 3yo race (and race) of the year. Quality horses coming from all angles. I agree about Jaycito (he's one of my early Derby top 5), but Albergatti and Runflatout could be anything, and the three other stakes winners (including undefeated Bench Points) aren't gonna just lay down.


Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to see a real dirty maneuver, take a look at Beyond Loaded's (who won today's 3rd) previous race.