SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, February 10, 2010--Since we last convened, the Robert B. Lewis Memorial came up loaded. How loaded was it? It was so loaded that it’s back on the docket again this weekend.* Prior commenting issues should now be resolved
Just kidding, Pro Ride fans. Both of you. Of course, the Lewis and Las Virgenes for sophomore fillies, featuring the return of Blind Luck, as well as the Strub, are being brought back Saturday at Santa Anita.
It was loaded because we needed to find out about American Lion at two turns and where he is in his development, this, his first start at three. And also where one of the Baffert troops, Tiz Chrome, is in his season, if indeed he’s re-entered in the Lewis.
As for colts which did race, Eightyfiveinafifty remains the fastest three-year-old in America and he’ll prove it again: sprinting. Kudos to Remsen runner-up Peppi Knows, who was ready for a winning sophomore debut by taking the Whirlaway, the victory flattering Buddy’s Saint.
Interactif, who we still feel is better on turf, lost the grassy G3 Hallandale Beach on Sunday, failing the eye-ball test when super-sharp Bim Bam came again to nail the odds-on favorite on the line. So far, however, Interactif remains a Derby possibility.
There wasn’t much movement in the HRI Derby Power 10 this week. But after Saturday’s Lewis Memorial (keep those fingers crossed), Tampa’s newly graded Sam F. Davis, and Oaklawn’s G3 Southwest on Monday, that could change significantly in Week 3.
Note that there still are no fillies ranked among the HRI Power 10, but there will be one noted in this week’s Horse With No Fame section. And, so…
HRI DERBY POWER 10, Week 2:
1. Lookin At Lucky (33) Fittingly, the juvenile champion debuted at #1 and remains HRI’s most powerful sophomore. But the lack of a published workout since mid-January is a little worrisome. Trainer Baffert explained the colt came down with a bit of fever and he would err on the side of caution. Long range plans include a pre-Derby run on dirt.
2. Buddy’s Saint (28). Undefeated in three starts, Bruce Levine trainee will try to overcome the fact that the Remsen has been a negative key Derby prep in recent years. Levine is staying with his two-prep approach, the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial.
3. Jackson Bend (20). No news from the Zito camp this past week, his sharp half-mile breeze in :47 1/5 notwithstanding. Did everything right but win his Holy Bull season’s debut. The Fountain of Youth will give an indication of how much stamina he possesses.
4. Noble’s Promise (18). No significant news from the Ken McPeek camp as to the development of the G1 Breeders’ Futurity winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Cash Call runner-up. That kind of accomplishment at 2 rates this lofty rating until proven otherwise.
5. Conveyance (17). Bullet Bob beginning to get after it with the G3 San Rafael winner, getting this fast colt to work a strong five-eighths in :59 2/5 about 10 days after his San Rafael, winning comfortably despite racing greenly. Let’s see how the speedster handles stronger and more experienced rivals. Could run in the re-drawn Lewis or the Southwest on President’s Monday.
5. Super Saver (17). Todd Pletcher in no real hurry with the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner. Speed may not be an enviable Kentucky Derby trait but this colt is no run-off; more a tactical speedster. Maria’s Mon colt has had only two timed works since turning 3. Expect the screws to be tightened soon.
7. Eskendereya (13). Pletcher Redux. Giant’s Causeway colt being kept on edge with a useful five furlong move subsequent to a deceptively authoritative winning season’s debut. Remains on schedule for the nine-furlong Fountain of Youth which, at the moment, is coming up strong.
8. Vale Of York (9). You won’t find this guy on many lists given the abject failure of the Dubai-to-Derby prep path. But the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion is G1 placed in two other countries, which speaks to his talent and class. Today Tapeta, tomorrow the Roses?
9. American Lion (7) Looks like a deserving early line favorite for the Lewis Memorial, given a strong workline going in. Trainer Eoin Harty must keep him sharp this week for the redrawn Lewis. But how this week’s delay effects the rest of his schedule likely is more the issue.
10. Drosselmeyer (6). After breaking his maiden with authority in his juvenile finale, he was very professional taking his three-year-old debut at Gulfstream by nearly two lengths. He rated comfortably, moved to the lead quickly when asked, and appeared within himself at the finish. The more distance, the merrier.
HORSE WITH NO FAME: In Week 2, that horse is not a horse but a filly: Blind Luck. I know, I know; she’s already famous, but only in her division and not as a Derby prospect. A dual G1 winner at 2, she’s bred to run far and runs like that, too. You can bet trainer Jerry Hollander will be keeping a close eye on the run-up to the roses.