After today’s races, my Kentucky Derby top ten will slightly change, but neither Quality Road nor The Pamplemousse will make the cut.
There’s no doubt The Pamplemousse is a special horse, as he demolished the G3 Sham. But, honestly, looking at the field he faced, shouldn’t he have won as he did? He was the sole early speed, with only potential early challenger Ventana scratched, and Take the Points forced to break from post 10. Additionally, the lightly-raced Take the Points had shipped in this week from Florida having never worked over Pro-Ride—all things considered, Garrett Gomez rode the colt superbly to stay on for second. The Pamplemousse was the only previous stakes winner, with fourth-place finisher Bourbon Bay being the only other horse in the field that was even stakes-placed—and that was on turf last November. Every other horse—save allowance winners Take the Points and turfster Smart Bid—were maiden winners, even my much-ballyhooed Mr. Hot Stuff who did get up for third.
In the G2 Fountain of Youth, Notonthesamepage failed to provide early speed, leaving lightweight Quality Road on the lead with, surprisingly, This Ones for Phil who he kicked away from going into the stretch, as the second-lightest weight Theregoesjojo got up for second. Third-place finisher Beethoven and fourth-place finisher Capt. Candyman Can conceded 8 lbs to the winner, no small amount. Taqarub was a huge disappointment as he couldn’t move beyond the early jostling and stay in contention throughout; he'll definitely drop off my list. Break Water Edison who was eased in the stretch either needs a rest, a permanent retirement, or a new trainer.
In the non-graded stakes, Mine That Bird made a nice 3-year-old debut, finishing just a neck behind Scorewithcater in the Borderland Derby, while Stratos was a non-contender in the John Battaglia Memorial which was won by Proceed Bee over favorite Parade Clown and super-longshot Toccet Rocket.
Did we see the Kentucky Derby winner race today? I doubt it.