Did you take Hooh Why for the upset in the G1 Ashland? Not to toot my own horn, but I did, as I mentioned previously I liked that she had raced well against colts at Woodbine last fall. $50 win payout! Stardom Bound has clearly lost a step, and I’d be shocked if she runs in the G1 Kentucky Oaks—don’t be surprise if there’s an announcement shortly about some physical issue or even a retirement. Ah, what a great young career she had!
As for the Kentucky Derby preps, I’m duly impressed with I Want Revenge, especially after his disastrous start in the G1 Wood Memorial, as Joe Talamo split through a wall of horses late to win going away. The biggest mistake IEAH can make regarding this horse is changing his jockey, as the Kid looks to share a special bond with him. As for his trainer, Milkshake Jeff Mullins, well…it’s another nightmare, isn’t it, coming off Rick Dutrow’s prominent media presence last year? Honestly, it doesn’t aid IEAH’s slimy reputation in that their trainers are, shall we say, “ethically-challenged.”
Imperial Council is definitely not going to the Derby even if he does have enough earnings, according to trainer Shug McGaughey—good call! He looks to need time to mature. Lime Rickey’s dirt experiment was a huge failure—stick to the turf! West Side Bernie had no excuses in finishing a well-beaten second, but his connections will likely continue to the Derby.
Musket Man outperformed his pedigree again, winning the G2 Illinois Derby over Giant Oak and 51-1 bomber His Greatness. Nice to see a cheap ($15k) yearling purchase doing so well, but I just can’t see a son of Yonaguska, out of a Fortunate Prospect mare, win the Kentucky Derby. Oh, barring any injury, he’ll make the field and his connections will enjoy themselves no doubt, but I just can’t see him there among the top three finishers.
The G1 Santa Anita Derby turned out to be fraught with intrigue, as The Pamplemousse was scratched with a reported left front tendon issue. The additional scratches of Cape Truth and Z Day left no early pace, so once again Pioneerof the Nile was not challenged and won in another slow race (1:49.17)—way slower than The Pamplemousse’s victory in the G3 Sham (1:47.86). Chocolate Candy closed nicely for second and Mr. Hot Stuff rounded out the trifecta. I know there are those who think highly of the West Coast contingent, but I’m sorry, I just don’t see it.
At Aqueduct, nice to see Taqarub rebound from his awful performance last out, but he was no match for Capt. Candyman Can in the G3 Bay Shore. It was also sweet to see old-timer Harry Vega up on 49-1 Yano hang on for third; Yano’s dam is the Foolish Pleasure mare Sabreen who was out of one of his last crops, and I’ve always like Vega, not the least because of his association with Xtra Heat. Fabulous Strike is such a trooper, as he stretched out just beyond his best distance and was nipped by Kodiak Kowboy in the G1 Carter.
Finally, it is time for me to truly, once and for all, give up on Tomcito the “Peruvian Mystery Horse.” Bringing him back after an extended layoff in the G3 Skip Away was not ambitious, just plain stupid. I forgave the slooowww workouts thinking that was his style, but obviously this horse just isn’t as good as his hype.