Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shocker In West Virgina Derby

Well, I thought Big Drama would beat Mine That Bird. What I did not expect was Soul Warrior to beat them all.

Soul Warrior out-staggered the field home in a fairly huge upset.

Its tough to peg Big Drama's effort. He did go a bit fast early, particularly in the second quarter. After setting a pedestrian opening quarter just under 24, he quickened the second quarter to go 46.7. That quarter lost the race. Of course its easy to point to that, but I still believe Big Drama should have finished better despite the fractions. The final time of 1:51 is crawling and I expect more from him. Early word is he'll got to the G1 Kings Bishop next at 7 furlongs. It's a good spot for him. I just hope they make up their minds on what they want to do with the horse (Sprinting or routing at middle distances) He can thrive, he just needs to be placed consistently.

Mine That Bird really ran poor. A lot has been made of Mike Smith asking him for some run on the backstretch rather than making one sweeping move. Frankly, with a final time like 1:51 he should be able to make two or three runs and still cover the distance faster than that. Mike Smith rode him like he would any horse in that type of situation (Small field, dangerous speed horse) and the horse just flattened coming home after making a mild bid. Granted this was a glorified prep for the Travers and it was over a quirky track, but you've got to believe a really elite level horse wins this race regardless of the scenario that unfolds. Soul Warrior, a horse that was eligible for Allowance conditions, didn't run like a G2 horse, he ran a allowance level race against horses that simply couldn't get it done for one reason or another.

I like Mine That Bird and the story, but he's going to have to step it up in a major way to be a threat in the Travers.

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