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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Pursuit of The Pursuit of the Crown

I'm really pissed at HRTV.  Set the DVR to record their Pursuit of the Crown show on Monday afternoon, and was looking forward all day to seeing the works and relaying some of the expert commentary to those of you who don't have access to the network.  But when I settled in to watch, I saw, much to my horror, a caption reading "aired on 4/28/13."  It was Sunday's episode.  They air two episodes in a row midday, and I only recorded the first one; I'm presuming that Monday's was the second.  Nonetheless, surely they must show it in prime time as TVG used to for The Works, right?

Wrong.  They were showing excerpts of NBC's 2000 Breeders Cup telecast instead.  And the 1999 Breeders Cup follows.  Huh, seriously?  Why wouldn't they try and showcase that show?  Don't see another showing of it until 3:30 AM.  So, instead of watching workouts, I'm watching Kalanisi win the Turf, which was a good race and pretty exciting to see since I had no recollection whatsoever of who won the race.  Kinda like Instant Racing.  NBC used that moving camera that rolled down the stretch with the horses; and that was really cool.  We see all the alternate camera angles that the networks have attempted over the years without success, and the one that actually worked, we don't see anymore.

So, what am I supposed to write about now?  The NYRA Bored meeting?

Well, of course there's Welsch's report on the workout by Orb (and others); and one might think from the reaction online that he made Saturday's race a mere formality.  Jay Privman tweeted that it was reminiscent of Barbaro, Street Sense before Derby.   Might as well just watch for yourself, if you haven't already.

By the way, the video comes by way of J.J. Hysell's In the Money blog, which had it up way before the workout page on the official Kentucky Derby site, which still doesn't have a working video of it as of this writing at 8:34 PM, which is pretty lame.  (And still, as of this posting on Tuesday morning.  That's more than pretty lame....this is the official Kentucky Derby site, get your act together, seriously!!!!) Welsch wrote of the gallop out:

  This was a true gallop-out, as compared with several others I’ve seen this past week, where the riders continued to offer some encouragement both into and on the bend.

Orb pulled up six furlongs in 1:14.83 in a move similar to, but even more impressive than, the one I witnessed at Payson Park five days prior to his winning effort in the Florida Derby. [DRF]
Look, there's nothing surprising here, at least to fans of the horse such as myself.  I think he's the best horse, and have every reason to believe that he would make an impressive appearance at this time (as should most if not all of the other Derby horses at this point, for that matter).  There's no doubt in my mind that he moved forward in the Florida Derby; think the 97 Beyer, the same as his prior race, while no doubt an accurate depiction of his final time, is bogus with respect to his performance in the race since it doesn't factor in the slow pace that helped lead to it.  (Same with Verrazano's Beyer in the Wood.)  Under the expert handling of his conservative trainer, I expect him to run a career best race on Saturday.  In most races, best horse + career best race equals a win.  But in this race, in which the slightest misstep can lead to disaster in the 20 horse field, the tote board will ultimately determine who I end up betting and how.

Oxbow and Will Take Charge didn't impress the Form's clocker so much; especially the latter, who was reported by Richard Migliore to have made a "raspy noise" after finishing a lethargic quarter of 25.62 to complete his five furlong race.  Later though, the horse told Ray Paulick that he was just doing his impersonation of Nick Zito.  (It's the second year in a row that Zito, who once dominated Derby week much like Pletcher does now, does not have a starter.)

Wanted to mention Itsmyluckyday, who The Mig singled out for his striking physical development on Sunday's episode of Pursuit of the Crown.  He was beaten fairly and squarely by Orb in the Florida Derby (though I of course feel that his Beyer isn't as bad as it looks), and naturally I don't think he's as good as Shug's colt.  However, this son of Lawyer Ron has made great strides in his 3yo season, and has excellent tactical speed which should allow him to sit close to a pace which nobody expects to be too hot.  His pedigree doesn't scream distance to me - out of a mare by Doneraile Court - family of the tough mare Viva Sec and the one-time Derby hopeful Vicar - but don't think he's impossible if things break his way.  And he should be a square price.

 - In the 7th 8th at Churchill on Tuesday, Seruni (4-1) returns to the Churchill main track; and despite the fact that he's spent most of his career racing on grass, some of his faster efforts have come on dirt.  Son of the ill-fated Saint Liam goes second off a 154 day layoff, and he's done well in that scenario,  as does his trainer Philip Oliver.  Note also that he's replicating a winning pattern; in the fall of 2011, he won over this course with a good speed figure 25 days after a race over the Keeneland Poly with a half mile work in between; and races here off those same exact circumstances.  Prior to his return at Keeneland, he ran a close 4th over this track in the Ack Ack, just a couple of lengths behind the multiple graded winner Neck 'n Neck (who we haven't seen since then), and just a head 'n neck behind the similarly accomplished Fort Loudon; earning a big speed figure in the process (at least with my numbers).  Barn hasn't had many starters thus far this year, but it's been way live of late, with a recent record of 6-2-1-1, including Last Full Measure ($37.60) in the G1 Madison.  Could work out a nice trip sitting off the speed.  Cool Street (7-2) was on a nice improving pattern until a dull effort in the New Orleans Handicap.  Drops in class and shows three drills since then, including a breeze just yesterday.  That used to be fairly common; remember we would have to look in the NYRA program to see the late work listings; but I rarely see that anymore.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the horse is scratched; if not, expect to see him running late.  Taptowne (3-1) surprised with his second place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap, finishing ahead of a dull Fort Larned, and seems the one to catch.

1 Comment:

Figless said...

Wow that really was an impressive gallop out, going to be tough, would love to see Shug win this race.