Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend Review

G1 Wood Memorial

Ideally you want a Derby contender to be challenged and as a result show another dimension in his final prep. With that said I doubt any of the connections wanted I Want Revenge to miss the break and take a bewildered first step before deciding he needed to participate in the race.

To the astonishment of most watching, I Want Revenge rebounded from the abysmal start and rallied home after being covered and battered throughout the running in arguably the best performance of the season by a 3yo. It wasn’t an elegant performance like Quality Road’s Florida Derby, but I Want Revenge had to overcome virtually every possible hurdle you could imagine.

There are several talking points post race…

1.What was NBC doing by not showing the full race and instead opting to show the Illinois Derby? The Illinois Derby is typically one of the weaker Derby preps and typically doesn’t attract a “big” horse. Secondly, they showed the race on tape delay, meaning they clearly knew the talking point of the race was the poor start from I Want Revenge. The Wood Memorial should be televised live. NBC’s decision to opt for the Illinois is mind boggling, about as much as ESPN deciding to start their racing coverage on Lanes End day rather than the week prior where Fresian Fire, Rachel Alexandra, Old Fashioned all ran.

2. Jeff Mullin’s, trainer of I Want Revenge, ran into some trouble in the detention barn earlier on the card. Security notified the stewards they had seen Mullions administering an unknown substance to Gato Go Win prior to the G3 Bay Shore Stakes on the under card. The substance is believed to be Air Power, a cough medication that is permissible in virtually every racing jurisdiction in the country. The problem stems from the fact that Mullins broke standard protocol by carrying a foreign substance in the detention barn, whether he had the best of intentions or not. Most talk however has taken a much more aggressive tone, considering Mullins has been suspended and fined on multiple occasions in the past for “milkshaking” and a variety of other medical violations.

G1 Santa Anita Derby

The Santa Anita derby took a major hit with the scratch of The Pamplemousse early Saturday morning.

It has since come out that the colt has a lesion in one of his front tendons and is likely out of action for 6 months. The bizarre thing is the horse was on schedule to run until the track veterinarian caught the issue in their typical pre-race inspection. You have to question just what the trainer, groom and stable vet were doing if the track vet is catching injuries of this nature after the fact.

The ordeal doesn't pass the "sniff" test considering last week there was considerable debate on the backside about how poorly the horse was training. (Particularly his last workout)

The race went from intriguing and relevant to second page status with his defection. (That could be somewhat harsh) A small field with one standout is all too common in California on the main track.

Pinoneer of the Nile won in almost the exact style he did 4 weeks ago in the G2 San Felipe; rank early, mild move on the turn, winning on class by a length.

G1 Ashland

Congrats to Hooh Why for the win. I do not mean to sell her short but lets be realistic Stardom Bounds defeat is the story.

Many have claimed Stardom Bound has regressed since her stellar 2yo campaign. I don’t agree.

Has the division around her improved? Certainly. Did she lose because she is now damaged goods? Give me a break.

The filly is finding things much more difficult at three because her style has been exposed. It’s no secret that deep closers need two things to win races; a clean trip and a fast pace to run at. In all three of her races this year she has either had less than ideal trips or in the case of Saturday’s Ashland, she was running into a turtles pace.

Stardom Bound hasn’t forgotten how to run, it’s just that as her peers improve, her style becomes more vulnerable to factors outside of her own ability. She could overcome a wide trip and a tepid pace on pure class as a 2yo. As a 3yo, she is becoming mortal. She is facing the same hurdles every closer has to. So she ran third Saturday. She was closing into a 48 half at a track that has a short stretch run.

She’s 3-2-0-1 as a 3yo with two Grade 1 wins.

How the mighty have fallen…

No comments: