SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 11, 2010--With the results of neither last weekend’s Dwyer Stakes nor Lone Star Derby seriously impacting the state of the three-year-old division, there is no change to last week’s rankings, only updated commentary.
Impressive Dwyer winner Fly Down likely ran himself into the Belmont Stakes on the first weekend in June. The Belmont status of disappointing runner-up Drosselmeyer, of course, depends on how stablemate Super Saver does in Baltimore on Saturday.
The Lone Star Derby, meanwhile, was the first graded stakes victory for Game On Dude, purchased by a group at Florida Derby time and sent to Bob Baffert.
After racing dully in the Derby Trial slop for Bullet Bob, he rebounded Saturday with a comprehensive victory in Texas over a fast track. A long striding, leggy gelding with some ability, he probably will try the division’s elite sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Preakness will attract a field of 13, an indication that the competition posits that Derby winning Super Saver was the product of a favorable trip, wet track, a preferred venue, and a great ride from Calvin Borel.
Indeed, that’s all true. But to dismiss the colt simply as a product of those variables following his undeniable comprehensive score is shortsighted in our view. All will learn more about Super Saver on Saturday, where conditions are expected to be dry.
Here, then, the HRI Triple Crown Power 10, Week 15 edition, in advance of the 135th renewal of the Preakness Stakes:
1. Super Saver (36): Will have no excuses Saturday according to Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. Colt’s energy level is up, his belly is staying full and recent gate schooling and workout went without hitches. Ships to Baltimore this morning. Borel’s not jumping off Derby winner this time around.
2. Lookin at Lucky (26): In the end, Bob Baffert couldn‘t resist, and who can blame him. Glad to see he decided to make a switch, as was suggested here last week, simply to change the karma if nothing else. Young, talented Martin Garcia winning for Baffert all over the country this season. Let’s see if that can include a classic.
3. Ice Box (17): Will be watching this one from his stall at Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track. Nick Zito doing the right thing, not only because of his good Belmont karma but because this colt was trained hard, had an enervating trip--and why run back in two weeks if it’s not completely necessary?
4. Paddy O'Prado (16): One of two Preakness starters for trainer Dale Romans now that purse earnings won’t keep his First Dude on the outside looking in. Right now, the middle jewel has 13 considered definite or highly probable. Like Super Saver, was it the Churchill slop, or something more?
4. Dublin (16): Given his trip and circumstances, the Derby was the colt’s best overall effort this year, so we don’t believe Wayne Lukas is being overly aggressive. And, what do you know, Garrett Gomez will replace Terry Thompson. Love the sub-text, not only for the race storyline but for the old Lukas-Baffert rivalry as well. Good stuff.
6. Noble's Promise (12): Acquitted himself very well in the Derby, despite a necessary premature move to the lead and short pedigree. But it wasn’t enough to get Preakness ticket punched. And, so, it’s on to Ascot where American trainer, Wesley Ward, had success last year. The colt’s future probably lies on the grass, anyway.
6. Caracortado (12): Training up a storm, giving part owner-trainer Michael Machowsky tons of confidence, and he’s not shy about sharing those views--kind of the West Coast version of Rick Dutrow. Providing it’s not overdone, we like that. Journeyman jockey Paul Atkinson would be a great story, and no one knows the gelding better.
8. Make Music for Me (10): Can’t blame Alexis Barba for taking the prudent path with this guy, whose difficult Derby trips in Louisville and Arcadia not getting the attention they deserve. Showed class in SoCal graded company and demonstrated the same on dirt at Churchill. Will run all day and, so, the Belmont awaits.
9. Sidney's Candy (9): Back in California for some R & R and no news presumably is good news. Trainer John Sadler, arguably in the midst of a career year, will be represented by Hurricane Ike in the Preakness--a nice colt on the come but not in his mate’s league. Perhaps there’s a Midsummer Derby in his future.
10. Pleasant Prince (4): Did well to finish third in the Derby Trial, a race that has become a better Preakness barometer in the modern era. Worked very well at Keeneland before shipping to crabtown. If you would have given Ice Box a serious chance today, then you probably shouldn’t ignore this guy.