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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Wiseguys have called Aqueduct’s Remsen Stakes for two-year-olds a negative key race with respect to the following year’s Kentucky Derby, and the wiseguys have it right.

It might be hard for the NYRA to swallow but it’s been a quarter-century since the race produced its last Derby winner, Thunder Gulch in 1995, trained by Pletcher’s mentor, one Darrel Wayne Lukas.

The most recent Remsen victor to win the Kentucky Derby the following year was Thunder Gulch in 1995.

Meanwhile, Pletcher has won two since that time, with Bluegrass Cat in 2005 and Overanalyze seven years later.

This year, the future first ballot Hall of Famer will tighten the girth on Alpha SIxty Six Chase Tracker.

Alpha Sixty Six broke his maiden SEP 7 at Belmont Park then returned in the Grade 1 Champagne, where he finished fifth following a troubled trip. His strong gallop out after gives the connections confidence that today’s trip is a distance that should suit his style and temperament.

Pletcher’s other starter was a soundly beaten third in the G3 Nashua over the track. But the good news is that it came behind Independence Hall, one of the early Kentucky Future Book favorites. Johnny Velazquez will ride re former while Javier Castellano has the ride on Chase Tracker.

Meanwhile, current Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey will attempt to win his fifth Remsen with Amends and McGaughey admitted recently he’s not quite sure what to expect.

Amends showed improvement to break maiden in the slop but not being a great work horse it’s been hard for the trainer to draw a bead on the colt except that he’s a true distance type who will handle Saturday’s trip and farther.

However, it may be Kiaran McLaughlin’s colt that they all must beat. Showing little in his debut, Ajaaweed was a completely different horse when he got to Belmont. A visually impressive winner by 4-1/4 lengths, McLaughlin shipped him to Lexington for the G1 Breeders’ Futurity off relatively short rest.

He wound up beating more than half the 10-horse field but, like all the rest, he was no match for the Arazi-like middle move of Maxfield. The spacing is better into this, so are his works, and with Joel Rosario having a choice, he opted to stick with this guy. McLaughlin won the 2015 Remsen renewal with Mohaymen.

We’ll try to have it all figured out by tomorrow…

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4 Responses

  1. Can’t see why, although do agree that 9F more definitive than 8F. But one month before is the BC Juvenile and yesterday was the LosAl Futurity. In my view, if you have, say, three races worth of 2-year-old experience, you’ve got four months of 3-year-old preps from JAN 1 to figure it all out…

  2. ‘ Wiseguys’; Always wondered who they are,were and if it was created out of gamblers excuses for winning or losing. I still hear the word when some people talk about any kind of betting ways,’angles’,from Las Vegas to New Jersey,from football and basketball to ,of course,horse racing. If ‘They were so WISE why would they allow their ‘inside info’ be so noticeable ? ‘Wall Street’ brokers don`t do that otherwise it costs them $$. To me, these’inside guys-women are the ones who either bet early or late ,as in especially, harness racing,but that`s another topic about a semi comatose sport. There are some trainer-owner outfits that bet when they believe to cash in on their quadrupeds but others usually do not. I was told that Allen Jerkens was not ,he just believed in his training and did not really care about which jockeys got on top of his horses unless it was a really big time race,that`s why he used so many bug boys-ladies[ Nolan Wynter,S.Uske,,] who were more or less just working on his barns,,as long as they obeyed his direction-command. So,are ‘Wiseguys’ in it or just going by their tuition,logic?As my son ,the lawyer,might say ‘It Depends ‘ {if they`re winning or losing the bet[s] }. Too many digital ‘Touts’ even if they don`t sell colored sheets as in the glorious past. Gotta watch “Lemon Drop Kid” again “Let it Ride” and both ‘Champ’ ,of course …besides the one with the Marks Brothers. Ps; in honor of Berner i will visit a horse barn in Aiken by the weekend.and admire them all.

  3. James, you are going to love Aiken! My visit there–20, 25 years?–was one of my favorite horse racing experiences…

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