Sorry to hear about Rags to Riches’ scratch for this weekend’s G1 Coaching Club American Oaks, but not surprised, really. When she posted that slow (1.04:01) workout on July 8, I had an uneasy feeling there might be something else going on. However, reports are that she spiked a temperature today after she “hasn’t quite seemed herself” for the past few days. I hope that it is something so simple and not worse.
While River Downs’ cancellation of races yesterday due to storms left Danthebluegrassman without a race to run in, I was pleasantly surprised to see him post a bullet work today at Keeneland, handily traveling four furlongs in 46:60. Sweet! Sincerely hope this old boy is on an upswing.
Post positions for Saturday’s G2 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs were drawn today, and it looks to be a fascinating field. The past performances are located on the TBA homepage. Summer Doldrums and Strike a Deal (who finished one-two in the G3 Colonial Turf Cup last out) are here, as are Inca King and Duveen (one-two finishers in the G2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill on June 16), and three Todd Pletcher entries: Top Cross (last seen winning the Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth on May 28), the Giant’s Causeway colt Red Giant (who won the Restoration Stakes at Monmouth on June 17), and Circular Quay who has been training on turf since mid-June. Another entrant is Love Dubai, whose connections made two very ill-advised, nay desperate attempts, to get him into the Kentucky Derby, coming back only one week after his devastatingly bad last place finish in the G2 Illinois Derby to see him again finish well-back in last place in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes. However, I will concede his last outing (on the turf here in the Colonial Turf Cup) was a much improved performance, so we’ll see how he does against this talented bunch. Considering $1 million is at stake, why not try for a piece of this very large pie? I’ll do more analysis closer to race time.
In the grassy Virginia Oaks, two of my favorite fillies are making an appearance: Barclay Tagg’s Bit of Whimsy (with Edgar Prado up) who was last seen finishing in a winning dead heat with Rutherienne in the G3 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont, and the Lemon Drop Kid filly Christmas Kid, who was well-beaten by Cotton Blossom and Dream Rush in the G1 Acorn on dirt. Also in this large field of 13 is Dreaming of Anna and Graham Motion’s Bees who tries turf for the first time.
On Friday at Del Mar, world record holding two-year-old filly One Hot Wish starts in the $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes. Curious to see if she's the real thing, especially since she only has that one (amazing) race that she won (by 12-1/4 lengths) back in April 12 at Keeneland. Wesley Ward appears to have been working her carefully since then, and her last three works are strong. But you never know with two-year-olds...