$15.00 4.80 12.00
Sure n begorrah, it's a Barnum & Bailey world. The only touch of sanity at Golden Gate was that Russell Baze rode the winner of the El Camino Real again. He's now won the stake eight times overall, three straight years and six out of the last seven years. "My little horse was all game today," Baze said. "He was not gonna get beat today."
Baze had never ridden Silver Medallion before. Asmussen, wintering with one of his divisions at Santa Anita, had never started a horse at Golden Gate before. There might be something wrong with Comma to the Top. He keeps drifting out in the stretch of his races, and in the El Camino Real he herded Silver Medallion to the middle of the track.
Eoin Harty, who trains Anthony's Cross, cross-entered him at Golden Gate, then stayed home because he felt that the Santa Anita race, Tapizar notwithstanding, was an easier spot. There was $189,000 bet in the show pool on Tapizar, honest money that landed in the shredder.
There is less margin for error preparing a horse for the Kentucky Derby, because three races as a prep for Churchill Downs is virtually the norm, and some horses show up in Louisville with only two. Asmussen, with Tapizar, and Peter Miller, Comma to the Top's trainer, might say they'll draw a line through the races, but already May 7 doesn't look to be that far away, and the clock is ticking.
At least at Tampa Bay Downs a 3-year-old ran like he was supposed to. Todd Pletcher won the Derby last year with Super Saver, and his half-brother, the lightly raced Brethren, won convincingly in the Sam F. Davis Stakes and paid a measly $3.80. The horses immediately behind Brethren, who was making his 2011 debut after two wins in as many tries last year, were 31-1 and 30-1, which is indicative of what the race amounted to. Pletcher also trains Uncle Mo, the putative early Derby favorite, and the promising Stay Thirsty, which means the trainers will have the luxury of moving his Florida-based horses around.
Another Florida-based colt, Boys at Tosconova, won't even get the chance to run in the Derby. Boys at Tosconova, a Grade 1 winner at two and second to Uncle Mo in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, has been taken out of training with undetermined injuries. Those of us voting in those weekly polls, including the horseraceinsider.com rankings that start this week, need to rethink last week's listings. By one count, there are 38 prep races still to be run before Derby day. I'm going out and buying a rethinking cap, while they're still on the shelves.