|MR SPEAKER—After a disappointing try on dirt
in the Holy Bull, Mr Speaker bounced back smartly to miss the win by ½ length
in the Palm Beach on turf. This will be his first try on polytrack, but he
had sharp 4 furlong work over the surface at Keeneland on April 6, finishing
the half mile work handily in 46:20. If he runs as well on the polytrack as
he does on the turf, he could be quite dangerous. Based on class alone,
MR SPEAKER (Pulpit
- Salute, by Unbridled) took himself off of the Derby trail with a
disappointing finish in the Holy Bull Stakes.
Back on the lawn, the blue-blooded colt came within a half length of
winning the Palm Beach Stakes. Mr
Speaker is out of a stakes placed daughter of the Champion mare and blue hen
Personal Ensign. His dam is a half-sister
to recently deceased Champion My Flag, plus sires Miner’s Mark, Our Emblem
and Traditionally. Champion Storm Flag
Flying, graded stakes veteran Interactif
and second crop sire Parading are all part of this immediate
family. Pulpit offspring hit the board
5 of 11 times last spring at Keeneland and Mr Speaker zipped a strong four
furlongs over the Poly in his latest breeze.
SOLITARY RANGER—Pace makes the race, and Solitary
Ranger runs best when alone on the lead. He gets the benefit of an inside
draw, and if Supermonic and Global Strike don’t break running or can’t get a
good position, Solitary Ranger just might get the trip he needs. The distance
is within his scope, and he has 2 seconds from 3 starts at Keeneland. I’m not
sure if I’m completely sold on him, but he’s worth a look.
|SOLITARY RANGER (U S Ranger - Galileo's Star, by
Lil E. Tee) needed a search party to find him after the Spiral Stakes last
time out. 1 1/6 miles is at the very
edge of his range limit, and even that is pushing it, as he walked his last
quarter of the John Battaglia Memorial in 27.62. With Supermonic and to keep him honest,
it’s likely that Solitary Ranger won’t get an easy lead. Get the search party ready. Pass.
(Tiznow - Featherbed, by Smart Strike) going to the Illinois Derby.
Impact (Tiznow -
Featherbed, by Smart Strike) going to the Illinois Derby.
POKER PLAYER—I’m damned if I do and damned if
I don’t with this colt. He beat me bad in the Bourbon last fall, but when I
supported him in the Spiral, he barely lifted a hoof. So what the heck do I
do with him??? He likes Keeneland. He likes the distance. He gets Stewart
Elliot, who has been riding well at this meet. The blinkers come off, but I
guarantee if I throw my hat into his ring, he’ll run poorly again. So how
about some reverse psychology? “Poker Player won’t lift a hoof!” she exclaimed
loudly before running off to the windows to place a good-sized win wager.
|POKER PLAYER (Harlan's Holiday - Revel in the
Win, by Red Bullet) was found by the same search party that went looking for
Solitary Ranger in the Spiral. Poker Player hasn’t run close to the same
speed figures as he did last year. I’m with Ashley on this one. I’ll add him
to the exotics, just in case.
|Z LUCKY—Surprisingly his only win came in
the one race in which he encountered trouble. Tell me how that makes sense.
It doesn’t. Looking through his past performances, I didn’t see anything I
- Undercover Angel, by Distorted Humor) takes a step up from the allowance
ranks and also tries Poly for the first time. Zensational won at the Grade 1 level over
Poly and his babies have won at Turfway and Woodbine. Distorted Humor is an excellent polysire as
well, so Z Lucky’s form may improve over the surface. The pretty gray colt has a good/bad race
cycle going and gets his sixth jockey switch in as many races. You gotta
watch Lukas tho. He’s sneaking and will pull off the upset when least
expected. Exotics/ live longshot.
DIVINE OATH—Undefeated in two lifetime
starts, Divine Oath is brought to you courtesy of the same connections who
brought us Verrazano. After not drawing into the Blue Grass, Divine Oath
makes his stakes debut in this softer spot. Pletcher wins at an 18% clip when
switching a runner from turf to all weather and wins at a 25% clip when
stretching a runner out from a sprint to a route. I’m not sure how I really
feel about Divine Oath, but it’s hard to argue with perfection.
|DIVINE OATH (Broken Vow - Rejoicing, by Forestry) showed versatility
in both of his starts, improving speed figures and his work over the Poly was
faster than his dirt breezes. All
signs point to a horse ready to move forward.
The sire of two colts entered in the Lexington, Broken Vow is an
average Polysire. Divine Oath descends
from the dame distaff line as Mr. Speaker.
His dam is a half to Bourbon Stakes winner Animal Spirits. She’s also
a half to the dam of the graded stakes warrior Interactif. Divine Oath’s third dam is the Champion and
blue hen Personal Ensign. Contender.
|AMI’S HOLIDAY—A graded stakes winner on the
polytrack at this distance, it’s hard to believe that Ami’s Holiday has been
pegged at 10-1 on the morning line. The Harlan’s Holiday colt had a nice
1.13:80 six furlong breeze April 11. Call me crazy, but I really like him,
and if I can get anywhere near 10-1 at post time, I’ll snap him up in a heartbeat.
Holiday - Victorious Ami, by Victory Gallop) finally makes his appearance as
a three year old. He had some time off
before getting back to the worktab in February. I think the Lexington is a starting point
for the Queens Plate later this year, so Ami’s Holiday probably isn’t cranked
up for the win. Have to take his previous
poly form into consideration and if he’s improved since last year, he could
place in the money. Exotics.
Ride Away—His best races have been at
distances beyond a mile, so it stands to reason that after wins at 1 mile 70
yards and 1 1/16 mile, he’ll like going back to that distance. Other than
that, I don’t really see much I like. Just like several others in hear, he
did record a nice work over the surface, and he is trained by Motion now.
Aside from that, I don’t find much else to make me pause, so I’ll take my
|RIDE AWAY (Candy Ride (ARG) - East Hampton,
by Meadowlake) recorded his best speed figure to date in his last race, even
though the race itself was kinda blah.
But he’s a son of Candy Ride and we know they love Poly. I’m expecting
the switch and additional distance will perk Ride Away up. Contender.
|Morning Calm—I honestly expect this one to be
outclassed. Plain and simple. He got it done in his debut, but against
winners, he just couldn’t cut it. Pass.
CALM (Broken Vow
- Krakowviak, by Tale of the Cat) has a good poly pedigree and his dam is a
half sister to the dam of multiple G-1 winner Switch. Other than that, I don’t know what else to
say. His speed figures have decreased in every start. Pass.
Supermonic—If it weren’t for the fact that he
got away with a slow early pace, his win over this course on the 13th
would look better than it is. After going 49 and change for the half, I would
fully have expected Supermonic to draw off to win by open lengths, especially
given the way speed has been holding up. Of course you could look at is he
just really liked the all weather surface, but we won’t know for sure until
he runs again. Unfortunately, if he makes his next start here, he comes in
off just 6 days, and I’m not a big fan of quick turnarounds such as that.
Thanks, but no thanks.
|SUPERMONIC (Latent Heat - Mesabu, by Fred
Astaire) has a very good polypedigree so his open length win wasn’t a
surprise. He’s also showing signs of rounding into form, as his speed figures
have improved in every start this year.
A step up in class is a natural progression. The “other” Pletcher colt in the field, Supermonic’s
last race appeared to be little more than a paid workout, so the quick turn
around doesn’t bother me. Contender.
|GLOBAL STRIKE (Smart Strike - Misty Lady (ARG),
by Lucky Roberto) going to the Illinois Derby.