SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, February 17, 2010--So now what’s Conveyance going to do? Every time they schedule a prep race, the track says never mind. First Santa Anita, now Oaklawn Park.
While Santa Anita has more options to get horses on the road to the roses, Oaklawn didn’t really need to lose Monday’s Grade 3 Southwest mile. It just wreaks havoc with timing between starts. It’s not late but it is mid-February and the clock is ticking now.
There wasn’t much significant movement in this week’s HRI Derby Power 10, but there was some flip-flopping, two additions and one deletion. Given recent prep results and continued inactivity from perceived contenders, things are getting shaken up but hardly shaken out.
Damn! That Rule is one hell of a race horse, is he not? Yes, we understand he’s a speed type and his kind are up against it in Louisville. But Saturday’s G3 Sam F. Davis was the second race in succession which he simply refused to lose. He’s game; capital G Game.
His connections have decided that now is a good time to go seeking a Grade 1 title while the colt is hot. Get those breeding issues out of the way now so you don’t have to run in the King’s Bishop this summer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The other issue regarding Monday’s frozen-out Southwest is that this is where Hopeful winner Dublin was to get started since the recent equipment change: Epiglottis off.
Darrell Wayne Lukas has said that it’s made quite a difference with him, meaning that Lukas officially is in full Derby-prep mode. The Southwest now will be redrawn and run Saturday.
Meanwhile, the G2 San Vicente run last weekend was won by Sidney’s Candy in very high style. Anytime a horse races seven furlongs in 1:20.91 off a fairly moderate :22.77 opening gambit, finishing up in :12 and small change after being dogged all the way, observers are bound to be impressed. HRI staffers were.
HRI DERBY POWER 10, Week 3:
1. Lookin At Lucky (33): Finally, the colt is back galloping again and a good thing, too. Of course, the juvenile champion debuted at #1 and remains HRI’s most powerful sophomore until proven otherwise. Long range plans include a pre-Derby dirt run on but he’s scheduled to return in the March 13 San Felipe.
2. Buddy’s Saint (28): Time to get started, and that time comes in Saturday’s mile and a sixteenth Fountain of Youth. Given that Levine is on a two-prep schedule, including the Wood Memorial back home April 3, it’s not necessary that he wins Saturday, just that he runs well and gets something out of it. The race is coming up tough.
3. Rule (19): From nowhere to #3 comes this throwback, giving Todd Pletcher his third colt in the HRI Power 10. Connections making the right decision to go after the Grade 1 now since he figures to improve next time out. He appears ratable but looks are often deceiving. Brilliance and heart is a winning parlay.
4. Noble’s Promise (18): Yet another horse with a lofty reputation based on juvenile achievement that needs to demonstrate how he has, or has not, developed at 3. He won’t be able to live off his juvenile reputation much longer. He’s scheduled for two dirt preps prior to May’s first Saturday.
5. Jackson Bend (17): Continues to train right along for Nick Zito and he must parlay his excellent Holy Bull effort into a winning performance in the Fountain of Youth. The win may not be absolutely necessary but a big effort is if he wants to remain among this year’s Derby elite.
6. Conveyance (14): Unlike late-starting mate Lookin At Lucky, the San Rafael winner’s been working right along in Bullet Bob-style and a good thing, too, given two recent false starts. With legitimate Smarty Jones-winning speedster Dryfly signed on, the Southwest should indicate whether he has the heart to match his vaunted gas.
7. Eskendereya (10): Giant’s Causeway colt expected to be in the starting gate for the nine-furlong Fountain of Youth which, as stated, looks loaded. Showed some freshness winning his three-year-old debut but should be more settled this time. He’ll run all day; just a question of whether Pletcher can get him to relax.
8. Super Saver (8): As stated last week, Pletcher has been in no big hurry with the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner, but colt was demoted slightly this week due to inactivity. Given his juvenile foundation, he shouldn’t need more than two preps. Good thing, too.
9. Vale Of York (6): Another week and still no word from his connections relative to the development and progress of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner. At issue, of course, is the failure of UAE Derby winners to repeat in Kentucky. Now with the newly installed Tapeta course, there’s no knowing how he will transition to the dirt.
9. Coracortado (6): Newcomer to the Power 10 earned his way via a highly professional score in the Robert B. Lewis to extend his undefeated record to five. Of note was the authority of the Cal-breds win over open rivals and his considerable turn of foot. Having broken his maiden on Fairplex dirt, he’s a step ahead of his more highly touted SoCal brethren.
HORSE WITH NO FAME: In Week 3, the distinction goes to San Vicente hero Sidney’s Candy. We’ll know more about him after he races around a second turn, of course. But what impressed most last weekend, considerable brilliance notwithstanding, was a professional bearing despite his inexperience and a strong gallop-out after the finish.