It was obvious watching the two races that the first group was going much better over the surface over the second bunch, who were struggling the entire way. And we really have no idea how far the two winners want to go. Private Emblem is by the sprinter Our Emblem, a son of Personal Ensign, while Paloma Parilla is by grass miler Dove Hunt, out of an Allen's Prospect mare. First division runner-up, Dusty Spike
made a huge run on the turn to challenge for the lead, but fanned wide and couldn't sustain it.
We did see some good things in the performances of the two third-place finishers. Frank Brothers said he now believes Clergy
is probably a sprinter, but the son of Pulpit made a premature move to challenge the leaders at the half-mile pole, and was pretty much hung out to dry when the first two finishers charged up on his outside. This was his first start over 6 furlongs, and he should be able to improve if he can save his move for the end. Windward Passage
was stuck in behind horses the whole way, and may have resented getting hit with so much mud. After dropping back on the turn, he found clear sailing between horses and came on again with a good run to get third. We'll give him another chance on dry ground.
-- Whirlaway runner-up Smoked Em
, sent off at 2-5 in a Big A allowance race Sunday, finished third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by the Twining colt Heir D' Twine
. The time for the mile in the mud was 1:38 3/5. Only time will tell if this race says anything about the form of the Whirlaway.
-- There is a nice colt in Maryland to take notice of. Magic Weisner
, a son of Ameri Valay, captured the Deputed Testamony Stakes at Laurel for state-breds for his fourth victory in a row, including wins in the Maryland Juvenile Championship and Goss L. Stryker Stakes.
-- Following three seconds in as many starts, the Randy Schulhofer-trained Blueformer
finally found the winner's circle, scoring a 2 1/2-length victory in a solid 1:44 for the 1 1/16 miles. The son of Dynaformer made all the running, then came again after being headed nearing the top of the stretch.
-- Keep an eye on Monday's 9th race at Fair Grounds, as the Steve Asmussen-trained Forty Nine Deeds
, a colt we feel has a lot of potential, faces off against Todd Pletcher's promising, but very inexperienced Seattle Glory
. If either one wins this race impressively, watch out for them in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.Godolphin goodies
We're not even going to begin to analyze Essence of Dubai's
nose victory over stablemate Firebreak in the UAE 2,000 Guineas. The runner-up is being aimed at shorter grass races in Europe this spring and isn't even nominated to the Triple Crown. But he had won four of six starts, and is considered by his connections a tough, honest colt. Nothing will be known about Essence of Dubai until we see how impressive he is in the UAE Derby. Frankly, there really isn't much to beat there, so he should dominate that race if he's to be taken seriously for the Kentucky Derby.Janadel
, Godolphin's other colt who showed some good form in the U.S. last year, ran a disappointing fifth in the UAE Guineas and never fired. Of Godolphin's other top 3-year-olds, King's Consul
will not be ready in time for the Derby; Ibn Al Haitham
lost some time due to illness, and may show up in a nine-furlong allowance race; and two promising colts, Opportunist
, finished second and third, respectively, in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance race Saturday night to Irish-bred Moon Ballad
, who is not nominated to the Triple Crown. Races to watch
Keep an eye on two Gulfstream allowance races in the next two weeks. Next Saturday, there is a non-winners of two other than, going 1 1/16 miles, that could attract the Nick Zito-trained American Style
, as well as Changeintheweather
, third in a three-horse photo in his 3-year-old debut. Zito said he'd look for a race to use as a possible prep for the Wood Memorial, and this could be that spot. Promising colt with a long-reaching stride and plenty of pedigree. Changeintheweather should improve big-time off his last race if ridden properly this time. We liked the way this colt looked in the post parade and still feel he has a lot of ability. If Personal Reward
, winner of his last two, doesn't run in the Florida Derby, he could show up here as well.
Then, on Florida Derby day, there is a non-winners of one other than, that should draw Monarchoftheglen
, an impressive second to American Style in his U.S. debut. Shug McGaughey has not yet committed D'Coach
to the Florida Derby, and we can only assume that he is also considering this race for the son of Dehere. Also eligible for this race are Buddha
, who ran a brilliant race breaking his maiden at 7 furlongs last time out, and another Zito colt, the two-turn maiden winner Mighty Gulch
. Buddha could also head for the 7-furlong Swale Stakes. Zito's Governor Hickel
, will get the services of Gary Stevens for the Swale.Another Derby 'Monarch?'
Right near the top of our list of monster longshots for the Derby is Monarchoftheglen
. His first race was a great learning experience, and if the grand-looking son of A.P. Indy continues to show improvement, there is an awful lot to like about him. He was forced to go 5-wide into the first turn, then displayed an impressive burst of speed on the far turn and looked like he was going to blow by the field. But he failed to change leads and raced greenly, while losing more ground. Although he couldn't match strides with the winner, who saved ground all the way, he still finished clear of the third-place finisher, earning a very solid 7 1/2 on the sheets. Remember, even being very green in Ireland with Aidan O'Brien, he managed fourth-place finishes in the group I National Stakes and group II King of Kings Futurity. And he did break his maiden first time out at the Curragh. Despite being purchased as a yearling for $1.5 million, was put on Coolmore's expendable list and was snatched up by Niall O'Callaghan.
"His lights aren't totally switched on yet," O'Callaghan said. "He's still a teenager; a big baby in many ways. Coolmore just had too many other good horses who defeated him. But he's much more grown up than he used to be. In his first start, he charged the gate, and Jerry (Bailey) said if the gates had opened when he charged, he would have been two in front. He came back tired, having wasted a lot of energy on the turns. Other than winning, I couldn't have been happier with the way he ran."
Monarchoftheglen is a three-quarter brother to the multiple grade I-winning filly Lakeway, and his second dam, Priceless Fame, is a full-sister to Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Bold Forbes. Priceless Fame produced group and grade I winners Saratoga Six (Del Mar Futurity) and Dunbeath (William Hill Futurity), while his fourth dam, Nellie L., won the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn.Here's Hollendorfer
Jerry Hollendorfer will be busy over the next few weeks, as he saddles Cappuchino
in Saturday's El Camino Real Derby, and USS Tinosa
in the following week's San Felipe Stakes. Hollendorfer reported that his other top 3-year-old Metatron
is sidelined with a wrenched ankle.
Bob Hess said that Azillion
, second to Sunday Break in an allowance race, likely will make his next start in the Lane's End Spiral Stakes. Hess said the jury is still out on the son of Alzao. "I was pleased he was competitive, but disappointed that this wasn't the breakout race I was hoping for. Don't get me wrong, I love the horse, but I'm trying to be realistic."
Oh, if we could only hear honest comments like that more often.