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Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Derby Winners Today

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.


John said...

My Dear Val,

Please get your eyes checked, you did see the Derby winner. I hear grapefruit juice is GREAT for your eyes :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Pamplemousse had things his own way again. Lone speed during the race and the 3 horses behind him dueling with each other.

Anonymous said...

I agree Val, particularly about The Pamplemousse. He's a nice horse and improving but it would have been surprising if he didn't put away that field. Stardom Bound is the only synth horse I have hopes for at the moment.

I think Quality Road is improving and could make some noise in the Derby and certainly on the trail. I was impressed that he rated (which was my concern about him) but he's by no means at the top of my list.

Amateurcapper said...

I'm not so sure that we didn't see any Derby horses, well that remains to be seen. I'm thinking the winners should be on everyone's top 10. Edge to QUALITY ROAD yesterday.

Check out my post when you have a chance.

Valerie Grash said...

John, I HATE grapefruit juice, as it's way too bitter. Now, if you show me something in pineapple :)

I don't mean to sound completely down on The Pamplemousse. He's actually a physically beautiful horse, a lovely color, but I just can't wrap my brain around a Derby winner named The Pamplemousse.

the Source of the James said...

"I just can't wrap my brain around a Derby winner named The Pamplemousse."

Right on. I think the stupid names they're coming up with these days is one reason horse racing is in the toilet wih the general public.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't crazy about The Pamplemousse's name at first either, but the more I hear it, the more it's growing on me. I'd like to see this horse get some pressure up front against a quality field or rate and win, then I think he could be considered a legit contender.

Anonymous said...

I am anxious to watch the Gotham stakes this year. Although Easy Goer, Dr Fager, and Secretariat have been past winners it has been null of pulling a ky Derby winner in quite a while. Easily ignored because it is a grade III and considered a prep for the Wood, this year my expectation is a major derby contender might emerge. Major wins have been recorded for HAYNESFIELD and RUSSELL ROAD but with lower speed ratings to sustain strongest considerations. MR FANTASY who has romped in previous races with spectacular speed ratings. IMPERIAL COUNCIL has recorded a bullet workout is one to watch as well. I WANT REVENGE has not impressed me thus far but we'll get to see him one more time. I think its going to be an excellent race. Looking forward in seeing MR FANTASY and IMPERIAL COUNCIL especially.

Valerie Grash said...

Gary, I love the New York preps, especially the Wood (hey, that’s a fond part of my Foolish Pleasure memories). I find it really hard to believe Haynesfield can stretch out, being as he is a son of Speightstown. He hasn’t faced much so far. Of the two you mentioned, I think Imperial Council interests me more, both with his breeding and his connections—I would love to Shug McGaughey back in the Derby.

I’m also anxiously awaiting Charitable Man’s reappearance—love Lemon Drop Kid’s offspring. He posted a nice 4f work (47:80) on Tuesday at Palm Meadows.