Well that was an interesting day for racing fans, wasn't it?
Starting with the end of the day first, Horse of the Year San Pail, at 5 cents to the dollar, was defeated by Mister Herbie in the Glorys Comet Final at Woodbine, with Windsong Geant a bang-up third. Shocking, stunning? I don't really think so. San Pail, off the layoff looked fantastic, but if you watched him closely last week as a handicapper, he was working very hard and was not as willing as we've seen him. And of course, his competition is a little better this year than last. That's not a redboard, we talked about it on twitter. And yes, some industry types called me names for thinking he may go down to defeat. Hey, it's twitter.
It will be interesting to see if he is a 151 and change trotter this year as an 8 year old. If he is, he likely will not win the majority of his races. For goodness sakes, he's 8 so we shouldn't expect him to, should we? He's a fantastic horse no matter what happens from here on out.
Golden Receiver won the Toronto Pacing Series, or whatever we're calling it now, by open lengths. Randy toyed with them in the legs - showing he is one of the better thinking drivers around - and saved the best for last. He blew them away.
On to the Derby preps.
The Wood. Gemologist won and received a nice number. Hmmm: Pletcher, perfect trip, looked soft at the end. That's a trifecta that I don't want. If you like this horse good luck and maybe you'll be right, but I don't have him hitting the ticket in a month. I liked Alpha quite a bit, actually. He flashed his kick, but flattened somewhat, which is exactly what horses who are short tend to do. He'd been off for quite awhile and maybe KM has him exactly where he wants him for a 10f gruelfest in May.
The SA Derby. I have not watched more than one or two races at Santa Anita in over a year, so I have no idea how that track plays, or what the time was like. All I do know is Creative Cause had a nice trip and lost, and it's weird to see equipment changes after wins. I'll Have Another is a top horse so there's no shame in losing the Derby to him, but the fact that a Baffert bomb was up close makes me wonder. At Churchill I worry about retention for I'll Have Another, as well. I'm not sure about this one, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to bet any of these horses in the Derby. You?
The Illinois Derby. The favorite didn't flatter Gemologist any with that performance. The winner got a nice trip, the time was slow, and I don't think it'll shake up the Derby rankings too much. I thought Our Entourage would race better, but it seems with most Toddster horses, what you see is what you get. They fire and don't seem to progress and peak.
Who did you like yesterday? What did you think?
A month or so ago I thought Union Rags and Alpha were the top two Derby contenders and I still do today. I am super stoked to see Hard Candy and Dullahan race next, though.
Hope everyone had a great day!!!
Note: For those of you who like to talk international racing and what it can do for us as a sport, please see today's harnessracingupdate, for a column on that, with comments from blog friend Brett Coffey.