Haskin's Derby Report: Monday Madness
There’s lots to catch up on, with several works of interest over the weekend and a star-studded array of works this morning, which unfortunately were played out against a horrific backdrop, in which a riderless horse running at full speed down the stretch slammed into another horse by the outside rail before hundreds of mortified fans and a large gathering of horsemen.
It briefly took everyone’s minds off works and times and fractions, which for a brief while seemed insignificant. Working at the time of the accident were Chocolate Candy and Join in the Dance, who both were able to continue with their works. It also occurred right after Pioneerof the
As for the works, all the times and fractions have been reported, and there are previous works to discuss as well, so I’ll concentrate on some of the highlights.
But first off, I did see the “wow”
Getting back to the
The most perplexing work of the morning was Friesan Fire, who came down the stretch on a fairly loose rein and, after seeing Pioneerof the
Sadly, I did not see Chocolate Candy’s five-furlong work because I had to turn away as he came down the stretch and approached the finish line. No work was worth having to look at that carnage. What I can say is that since I arrived on Friday morning this horse’s coat has blossomed, and more dapples are appearing each day, which is what you always want to see. After cooling out from his :59 2/5 drill his coat was resplendent. He is such an easy-going horse and takes everything in stride. Yesterday after returning from his gallop he stopped on the track near the gap, reached under the railing, and began eating grass. He is a long-bodied colt and well proportioned, and like Pioneerof the
In other works this morning, Flying Private and Win Willy, my two 40-1 shots who I give a decent chance to hit the board, both had good works. Flying Private worked a half in company in :47 2/5, drawing clear from his workmate in the final sixteenth. He is a powerfully built colt who has been aggressive in his gallops and is coming up to the
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If there is going to be a buzz horse who likely will be bet down, it could very well be Desert Party , who is doing as well as any
He is another horse with a great disposition who doesn’t get rattled by anything. At this point, there is a great temptation to pick this horse if he’s a decent price. He looks that good.
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And you sure can’t fault his stablemate Regal Ransom , who likely will set a decent pace, as he did in his prior three starts this year in
There is no doubt this will be the Godolphin blue’s best chance in the Run for the Roses.
Another work that should be mentioned was Hold Me Back ’s five-furlong drill in 1:01 3/5 Sunday. The time isn’t going to leave your jaw dropping, but watching him dispose of his workmate inside the eighth pole and then burst clear at the end under Kent Desormeaux made this a special work. He went from a length of two in front to about seven lengths in front in the blink of an eye approaching the wire. This colt’s stride is something to behold as he gobbles up ground so quickly and effortlessly. He ran his final quarter in :24 2/5, leveling off only at the end and continued strong past the wire, galloping out another eighth in :13 1/5. Again, the dirt should not be an issue if you want to go by this work, as he seemed to handle the track extremely well.
I also was impressed with Square Eddie ’s gallop-out, as he worked a half-mile past the wire in :50, also on Sunday. He really leveled off around the clubhouse turn and wanted to do much more.
We’ll have to try to decipher this mélange of works and see if we can come up with a couple of strong horses and a few huge bombs to play with. Right now, judging on what I’ve seen over the course of four days, Desert Party is one horse who should not be ignored.
A few more thoughts
-- Most people are talking about Papa Clem ’s seven-furlong work, in which he pretty much staggered home with a final furlong in :13 4/5. Trainer Gary Stute said the colt got tired. Watching the work, it appears as if the rider misjudged the finish line, rising up off the saddle right at the sixteenth pole and then giving the colt a couple of “attaboy” slaps on the neck. But most feel the horse was so tired, the rider simply ended the work at the sixteenth pole, making it a mercy shutdown. We saw the same thing with Stute’s uncle Warren’s Derby horse Greeley’s Galaxy, who got so tired in his mile work it looked as if the rider was about to fall off him from exhaustion. I would prefer to think of this as a rider’s error, which is a much better excuse for the horse’s slow work and finish. I’m not done delving into this work quite yet, and will try to have Stute clear it up for sure.
-- General Quarters makes a great appearance in his stall, and he has that eye you look for. He seems to be a very intelligent horse. He’s also a powerful, long-striding horse. Anyone who watches him gallop must stick around for his second tour of the track, as is it only then that he loosens up and strides out well. Today he galloped on his left lead down the stretch and looked much better the second time around. I still firmly believe this is a far better horse than most people think.
Without a doubt this is the most difficult
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