SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 16, 2011--The victory by Alternation in the Peter Pan Stakes, more of a Belmont Stakes harbinger than the Preakness barometer, of course, was so compelling that he has broken through to the bottom of HRI’s Triple Crown Power 10.* Prior commenting issues should now be resolved
To reiterate, the Power 10 is a compilation combining past accomplishment with future promise and, despite all the dire words used to dismiss this 3-year-old class, the final chapter of any sophomore generation ultimately is written in the minutes after the completion of that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Besides, what if Animal Kingdom wins his next two starts? Proof positive that the rest of the group is terrible? Hardly. While it might be true that Secretariat had his Sham as a yardstick, and Affirmed his Alydar, Seattle Slew didn’t have a worthy contemporary measuring rod. Does that make Slew any less than?
The point is that while one swallow does not a flock make, it takes only one colt, when viewed through history’s prism, to define a generation. May is barely half over; there’s plenty of racing left.
Another question re: this crop. What if The Factor doesn’t lose a Grade 1 sprint race the rest of the year, or if Toby’s Corner comes back to defeat his Derby-winning stablemate? And here’s one last possibility.
Knowing there’s a chance that Uncle Mo might have been dealing with gastrointestinal issues even before his Wood Memorial defeat, what if Uncle Mo were to come back 100 percent?
The Classic is back at Churchill Downs this year and here’s some perspective regarding “the good” Uncle Mo. On the Equiform scale, Uncle Mo earned a final figure of 79-¾ winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on that surface, compared to Animal Kingdom’s 78-¾ in the Derby.
Indeed, Uncle Mo was a special juvenile champion. But a handful of 2011 3-year-olds still can develop to the point where the group still might be considered special. There’s more than enough time for that.
At this moment, Animal Kingdom is considered by many to be a good horse with a chance to win it all. In April, many fans didn’t even know he existed. That’s all we’re saying.
The HRI Triple Crown Power 10 for Week 13:
1. Animal Kingdom - Graham Motion said last week that his colt could not be doing better considering he’s coming off a lifetime best effort. The colt’s best attributes going forward--an electric turn of foot notwithstanding--is his freshness and world class connections.
2. Toby’s Corner - On the same NTRA conference call, Motion indicated this guy responded very well to acupuncture treatment, the lameness he experienced after the Wood was gone and that might be back galloping this week. Good news for those connections; for his rivals, not so much.
3. Nehro - As stated previously, he’s super honest but has done an awful lot of developing in a short period of time. Owner Zayat said he’s 50-50 for the Preakness and 70-30 for the Belmont. Even though the owner’s pointing Jaycito that way, too, I’m thinking it’s more like 90-10.
4. Mucho Macho Man - The energizer rabbit of the group, this guy just keeps coming and coming, and growing and growing. June 15 foal has been thriving at Belmont Park since the Derby. Observers report he has lost none of his enthusiasm following the Derby.
5. Dialed In -His Derby was better than the eighth-place finish looks, finishing in faster final fractions than Animal Kingdom did. Nick Zito has 5-½ million reasons indicating that he’ll be better on Saturday than he was two weekends ago. Does the name Louis Quatorze strike a familiar note?
6. Uncle Mo -Getting R & R and treatment for his gastrointestinal problems at Winstar Farm. Mike Repole said this week that the Jim Dandy, Travers and Breeders’ Cup would be a great way to end the year. At the moment, Todd Pletcher said he still doesn’t know how to fix the problem. That’s the problem.
7. Midnight Interlude -The experience gained in Louisville will do him a world of good down the road. And they can never take away the favorable impression his talent, athleticism and determination made while winning the Santa Anita Derby. Like the Terminator, he’ll be back. Haskell, Bob?
8. Brilliant Speed - I still see the Secretariat Stakes in his future, or perhaps a Belmont Stakes. However, he doesn’t seem to have the same kind of license Animal Kingdom to make the same successful transition to dirt. But his Derby effort was first rate.
9. Alternation - Having no chance to win the Arkansas Derby with a far-too-late rally, he was more forwardly placed and relaxed in mid-pack beneath Ramon Dominguez on Saturday. Will attempt to become the seventh Peter Pan-Belmont repeater five weeks hence.
10. Shackleford - Just because he was helped by a soft Derby pace doesn’t mean he should be downgraded on Saturday as the surface wasn’t particularly kind to speed at Churchill Downs May 7. Dale Romans said this week he bounced out of the race better than he went in. No reason that he shouldn’t retain his good form this weekend.