Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York. It’s great to be back in The Big Apple to cover the final jewel of The Triple Crown. So without further ado, let’s look at the field of twelve colts, one filly and one gelding in post position order:
The rail belongs to the favorite, Testbarn’s Middle Jewel hero Schumershutdown TB. The drop dead gorgeous son of Tapit is based on a well bred (Medaglia D’Oro x Awesome Again) he-mare that never really did anything on the racetrack. It just goes to show you that there are many ways to get a classic winner. Steve thought enough of the breeding to plunk down $125,000 and sacrifice 250 breeding points to acquire Meta Tag Ted from a claimer in which he finished last by 30 lengths. Schumershutdown TB was terrific in The Middle Jewel. But there remain serious questions about his ability to win Saturday. Did the sloppy track contribute to his victory? Can he handle the added distance? We shall find out soon enough. If he does record consecutive classic victories, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
VYZ Racing sends out Outback Calyx for The New Yorker. The well bred (Deep Impact x A.P. Indy x Mr. Prospector) brown colt punched his ticket to Kentucky with a rousing score in the California Derby two back. Outback Calyx closed like a freight train to haul down pace setting Race A Angel in mid-stretch and hold off fellow closer Kash Back Bonus by a head. Last time out in The Bluegrass Derby, he was no factor at 18-1. This week we find out if the Derby was merely a bad hair day or a true indication of distance limitations.
I’m really looking forward to the pool party! You know there is going to be one if Kirby has a horse in a big race. His Breeders’ Bowl Juvy champ, Into Being Nice, has not finished worse than second ever since that huge win. The son of Into Mischief came from dead last in The Derby to finish a fast closing second. Co-second choice at 6-1, the rangy bay seems well suited for 12 furlongs. I’ll get to the rest of the field right after I check my e-mail for that pool party invitation.
Roaming Cadet is one of the more lightly raced entrants. Cadet has brought him around slowly and it is paying dividends. Two back he won a 10.5f listed stake. Racing at the same distance and class last time out, Robby’s blue blooded colt (Giant’s Causeway x Tapit x Dynaformer) got beat 1.5 lengths but improved his speed figure to a career best 101. 15-1 seems a bit high for an improving performer with limitless potential and proven distance ability.
Testbarn Steve’s second entrant is Discernabletrouble. The son of Arrogate and AW Root Beer TB (Street Sense x Seeking The Gold) has won a pair of listed stakes including his last race. Unlike Steve’s other starter, this one’s mom was a G-3 winner and merely chump change short of half a million in career earnings. Formidable duo.
Pointblank is hoping Strong Presence gives his sire, Strong Mandate, his first G-1 credit. The big bay likes to be on or near the lead. That style has paid off quite nicely recently as Strong Presence is coming off a pair of impressive listed stakes wins. Speed figures are similar to many in here so maybe the hot horse can make it three in a row.
Looking at Empire Strikes Now brought back a flood of bad memories. I once lost horse in claimers that went on to become the number one ranked horse in all of Simdom. So I feel for the former owner. In her defense, ESN was not exactly tearing it up before the claim. Just one of those things. Oakridge was sharp enough to spot a bargain. Under his tutelage, the Empire Maker colt has blossomed. He won the G-3 Chicago Derby two back posting a big 107 speed figure. Second last time out in a listed event. Shot in an open race.
Looking to make amends at 6-1 is The Derby’s beaten favorite, Cry Me Some Gold. After posting a pair of gigantic speed figures back-to-back, Jmadm’s Giant’s Causeway colt showed little interest in Kentucky last time out. Prior to that debacle, the flashy chestnut posted a 107 in the G-2 Fountain of Ute closing from last for the place. Next race he posted a whopping 110 annexing the G-1 Florida Derby in come from behind fashion. As Bud Collier would have said as host of the long running TV game show, To Tell The Truth, “Will the real Cry Me Some Gold please stand up!”
Stockswami spared no expense breeding Seattle Storm Gate (Arrogate x Storm Cat x Seattle Slew). He got what he paid for. The deep closer paired up 106 speed numbers in his last two starts. Two back the light gray was a fast closing 4th in the G-1 Corkscrew. Last time out he got the job done, drawing off by 2 lengths in the G-2 Captain Hook. Could not possibly be sharper. One to beat if he handles the distance.
Woot LV is by Wooton Bassett from the good race mare Impractical (Lonhro x Galileo). Bizalls’ gelding is the longest shot in the field at 39-1. I think Woot will turn out to be a nice horse for his veteran conditioner. But his record to date pales in comparison to his foes. Pass for now.
Fellow BTB scribe Naskippy sends out Yankee Pharoah for The New Yorker. Timing is everything in life. Racing included. And now may not be the time to plunge on this 9-1 shot. After absolutely destroying a field filled with New Yorker contenders in The Fountain of Ute (SP 109), the son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah turned in back-to-back clunkers in which he failed to break 100 either time. His best is good enough to threaten here. Maybe even win. Can Skippy find a quick fix? Tune in Saturday to find out.
What would a stakes race be without a Deep Rock entry? Nothing! Rock sends out recent stakes winner Darkpuku Saturday afternoon. The second longest price (25-1) doesn’t look completely hopeless here. But the Gurkha colt from former claimer Angel’s Gate needs to take a giant leap forward in order to contend.
Race A Angel is a fun horse to watch. I looked at a couple of his races because in his past performances he looked so freakin’ fast! Claimed for a paltry $15,000 last August by high percentage trainer Gerque, the Race Day colt has gone on to do good things for his new barn. He held on for third against a bunch of nice horses in both the G-2 Felipe Alou and G-1 California Derby. If California based superstar jockey Frank Gosset can find a way to ration his speed, who knows what could happen? As an aside, if you want a chuckle, look at Gerque’s master stable and sub stables. Funny guy!
Last but not least is our only filly, Serious Running. Bred and trained by real life handicapping contest master Graywolf, The daughter of Den’s Legacy and Hall of Fame race mare Coyote Smuggler (A. P. Indy x Unbridled’s Song) won a listed stake New Year’s Day against her own kind. Has been pretty much hit and miss ever since. Second in a listed last time out posting a 101 SP. Nice filly but in very tough.