NEW ORLEANS, March 29, 2010--Either Las Vegas will have to move over or it must relinquish its distinction of having things that occur within the city’s confines to remain right where it is.
And that’s because what happens in the Crescent City, or in Florence, Kentucky, for that matter, must remain right where it is.
Otherwise, how is it fathomable that race winner Mission Impazible, or probably best Louisiana Derby show finisher Drosselmeyer, or Lane’s End hero Dean’s Kitten, failed to crack the HRI Derby Power 10, the Week 9 installment.
Hell, Todd Pletcher got more ink as the winning trainer of sub-feature Rushaway victor Exhi than did the winner of Turfway Park’s signature event for three-year-olds. But Dean’s Kitten was clearly best in the Lane’s End; a question of dirt with him
But read the list and weep; only Endorsement of last weekend’s prep players cracked the HRI Power 10, tied at #9 with Florida Derby champion Ice Box.
What any of this proves is patently unclear. Since New Year’s Day, there have been 22 traditionally meaningful preps run at one mile or longer, 18 of them graded. Care to guess how many repeat winners there were among them?
Only one: Conveyance, and he was beaten solidly for the win last Sunday despite having it all his own way throughout. The result of the Sunland Derby was a virtual three-speed number, with the first two finishers inverted.
The impressive aspect of the victory was that despite the soft half-mile of :48.03 set by the undefeated Conveyance, Endorsement looked like he had him any time he wanted him. He passed the finish post with impressive power and is peaking right on time.
Interestingly, of the 19 preps excluding Conveyance, there were 21 winners; 19 officially and two coming via disqualification. And, so, what are we to make of virtually everyone’s pre-Derby quinella?
To date, Lookin At Lucky and Eskendereya impress the majority as being the best of the group but both have only run once this year. Would like to see both run good hard races, albeit not too enervating.
While it’s still a bit early to earnestly count graded-money won, if the Derby were held today, Eskendereya would be on the outside looking in at the top 20. So he really needs to run well.
Here, then, the HRI Derby Power 10, Week 9:
1. LOOKIN AT LUCKY (36) We’re thinking that Bullet Bob doing the right thing, staying home for Santa Anita Derby. The alternative is another cross-country ship or go to Louisville from the next site. Champ has nothing to prove.
2. ESKENDEREYA (27) How can it be that he needs graded earnings, but that’s what the math says. The horses he drilled in Fountain of Youth have come back to flatter him. Still, I want to see a strong run in New York.
3. NOBLE’S PROMISE (22) He has run only once, a strong second to the champ on dirt at Oaklawn, and needs to run big again. Now that we know he handles dirt well against a top rival, it will be a matter of complete fitness and the ability to handle 10 furlongs.
4. AWESOME ACT (19) Had a strong recent workout for Saturday’s Wood Memorial. Has everything you want; turn of foot, power and pedigree. Now if only he’s good enough. Saturday’s race will tell us a lot.
5. INTERACTIF (17) His work tab is non-existent since his last power-finish placing and will prep next in the Blue Grass. Go ahead, second-guess Todd Pletcher if you wish but the man is having some kind of year.
5. SIDNEY’S CANDY (17) Very impressive when allowed to lope along on the Pro Ride but, as stated, not many can re-break on that surface with his kind of power. He might be really special. Another where the final prep will tell everyone what they need to know.
7. ODYSSEUS(7) The decision by Albertrani to race him one more time is the right thing to do. He needs to get his mind right and a seven week layoff to the big dance is simply a bridge too far. History matters.
8. DUBLIN (6) Continue to train to his looks, and he’s one good lookin’ SOB. But with most of these, questions remain. Perhaps if his rider gets him a decent trip this time, we’ll find out.
9. ICE BOX (5) Face facts: Nick Zito’s just spooky when it comes to winning America’s Race. Has all the experience and the conditioning needed. The question with him, of course, is the six-week bridge.
9. ENDORSEMENT (5) Came from nowhere to make one of the more impressive prep efforts seen this year. He was tactical but relaxed, beat a horse that had never been beaten, crossing the line with powerful strides. The flavor of the week, yes, but perhaps a whole lot more.