The performance of the week was turned in by Fly Down in the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. The promising Nick Zito runner earned a 100 BSF for his romping off the pace win over Drosselmeyer and must be viewed as a major player in the Belmont Stakes. Zito also has Derby runner-up Ice Box for the Test of Champions and seems to hold a strong hand at this point.
The other graded 3yo race of the week was the Lone Star Derby, and Bob Baffert struck gold with Game On Dude. He easily defeated Crider and sprinter Henshin Hero. The winner may try the Belmont Stakes but the Lone Star race did not look particularly strong.
Since we last spoke Eskendereya retired. I was on his bandwagon before the ’09 Breeders’ Cup and would have loved to see him make it to the Derby. His budding career was cut short and we can only look back and think what might have been. For updates on his new career in the breeding shed keep checking his Facebook page for updates.
In my latest Hollywood Park post I started a Blog of the Day feature. Since this is Preakness week the site of the day goes to EquiSpace (Ahh, Preak Out). The blogger is preparing to make the trek to Baltimore as Pimlico readies for their big day.
I will keep following the current crop of three-year-olds through the Breeders’ Cup, and I will begin my 2011 Derby list in late summer/early fall.
Horse Racing Nation has a new Facebook page, and we also built pages for some of the Triple Crown series contenders. Click on the provided links below to view the aforementioned pages.
1. Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike) – The 2yo champ will get a new jockey (Martin Garcia?) for the upcoming Preakness. Look for him to get involved much earlier in Baltimore.
2. Super Saver (Maria’s Mon) – Great ride by Borel in the Derby. He must prove that he can run the same race on fast ground away from Churchill Downs. His early-pressing speed will always put him in a winning position. Breezed 3f in :36.60 at Churchill Downs May 10. Facebook.
3. Ice Box (Pulpit) – He got a perfect setup in the Florida Derby and in Louisville. He could have easily won the Derby with a clean trip. Nick Zito took a pass on the Preakness and will train his charge up to the Belmont. Facebook Page.
4. Noble’s Promise (Cuvee) – Recovered from his Arkansas Derby adventure to finish a fine 5th in Louisville. His trainer Ken McPeek opted to skip the Preakness in favor of an overseas grass event at Ascot in June.
5. Paddy O’Prado (El Prado) – Finished a better than expected 3rd in the Derby. The wet track may have moved him up but the versatile sort has also fired on synthetic and turf. Interesting Preakness player.
6. Dublin (Afleet Alex) – He was not disgraced in 7th place Derby run. Garrett Gomez will ride him in the Preakness Stakes.
7. Sidney’s Candy (Candy Ride) – Chased a fast pace and threw in the towel in Kentucky Derby. He won three straight graded synthetic races in wire job fashion before that and has returned to Southern California for John Sadler. Facebook Page.
8. Jackson Bend (Hear No Evil) – The Derby was the first unplaced effort of his career. Look for him to revert to early-pressing tactics at Pimlico.
9. Caracortado (Cat Dreams) – Hard knocking Cal-bred won the first five starts of his career. He did not get much pace help in San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby. The stalk and pounce type is working well for the Preakness.
10. Fly Down (Mineshaft) – New top ten player was my value top in the 2010 Louisiana Derby but had a troubled trip that day. He burst onto the scene with an easy score in the G2 Dwyer Stakes and is now being considered for the Belmont Stakes.
Alphie’s Bet (Tribal Rule) – Disappointed in Santa Anita Derby but rebounded with sharp win in Snow Chief Stakes. Won G3 Sham earlier this year. The Alexis Barba stretch runner could join stablemate Make Music For Me in the Belmont Stakes.
Awesome Act (Awesome Again) – Reportedly injured during Derby run, so his 19th place finish can probably be forgotten. Steve Asmussen is supposed to take over the training duties when he returns to the racing wars. Facebook Page.
Setsuko – Turf is not his best surface so his 4th in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs April 30 can be forgiven. The SA Derby runner-up remains eligible for an entry level spot but the long-winded sort might give the Belmont Stakes a whirl. Facebook page.