As the preps come and go, Derby dreams fade in and out like an old TV. You remember ? The TV your grandpa used to watch baseball games. Sometimes it came in as clear as day, and other times it took a while before you see what’s happening. That’s the thought rolling through my head as the past weekend left more to question than providing answers. I’ve seen many over the years as a horse player and these are the ones where the winner pays boxcars. It’s been a while and maybe this is the year. Or, maybe we haven’t seen the chosen one strut their stuff. Either way, just sit back and take mental notes. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !
Race #13 – The G-2 $400,000 Fountain of Youth – 1 1/16
Irish War Cry came into the race as the 5-2 morning line favorite. A New Jersey-bred son of Curlin came in from the barn of highly respected conditioner Graham Motion. Joel Rosario had the call and this lightly raced colt was a perfect 3/3 and looked to stamp his ticket for Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
The race didn’t shake out well for Irish War Cry but did show a peaking Gunnevera who swept around the pace setters and opened up at will under Javier Castellano. – I was really excited about Practical Joke from the Chad Brown barn. This was his first start since the Breeders’ Cup and is working great in the morning. Keep and eye on both moving forward as both exited the race in good order.
Race #8 – The G-3 $300,000 Gotham Stakes – 1 1/16
El Areeb entered as the 6-5 morning line chalk looking to make it 5-in-a-row. – A field of ten went to post and for the betting public it looked over before it started, but that’s why they run the races.
El Areeb did all he could and gave it up after a bit of a speed duel. Usually not the makings of a Derby winner. - J Boys Echo from the Dale Romans barn was just off the pace in 4th and started moving at the 1/2 in 47.3 – By the time they hit the 5/16th’s pole he was four wide and inhaled the field to draw off. The son of Mineshaft was making his 2nd off the shelf and was 4th in the Delta Jackpot (the same key race where Gunnevera won). This colt is maturing nicely and Romans knows how to get them to fire.
Race #6 – The G-3 Santa Ysabel – 1 1/16
Unique Bella was the 1-5 chalk coming into this race. Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Smith team up well together and having the rail made this daughter of Tapit pretty darn attractive.
Bella didn’t come off too hot and ran into trouble in the first turn. – When the fans thought she may be in trouble rounding for home. They forgot just how good Mike Smith is when he is riding a very special filly. – She hasn’t found her bottom gear yet and may be something to fear down the road.
From the file of a little something extra. – Take a look at this race and see if it’s worth following. – The John Battaglia Memorial.
It’s Your Nickle may be a late maturing colt. This son of Dialed In was making his 2nd start of 2017 from the Ken McPeek barn. As James Graham came flying late over the all-weather, keep a mental note runners usually don’t accelerate this quickly on the poly. He is pointed for the Spiral later in the month or the Bluegrass. – And for a little extra, if you listen closely that was Mike Battaglia back in the booth as this is the only race he’ll call every year as it’s named in honor of his late father John Battaglia.