Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
My first day on the Churchill scene and apparently I dragged the beautiful So-Cal weather with me. I guess I could complain that it was not 70 degrees but that would make me seem like a typical soft Californian. I resemble the implication. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to observe key contenders in the Derby over the track they get to run over. I need a stronger word than excited. Below are a couple of brief thoughts I had on my first day.
WILL TAKE CHARGE
is an imposing figure on track. He seemed very pleased with himself during his morning gallop. Positive vibes.
FALLING SKY turned in his final prep. A couple of targets were provided for the Terranova hopeful. I did not like how aggressive 'Sky was in opening furlong. Pulled a bit too much for my taste. Not overly settled. Question is whether he habitually does this when breaking behind horses in the a.m.? If you have Terranova's cell phone, send him a text for me and get that answer. Despite the early aggressiveness 'Sky still managed to make up the ground which earned him the bullet. I came away more impressed with one of his targets. Balance of Power. I thought 'Power was waiting on 'SKY. Rider had him geared down late.
went in 59.80 on the watch that counts off an opening quarter of 23.80. From a pure visual standpoint it left a blah impression. Rider giving him a few reminders to stay on task in the lane.
MIDNIGHT LUCKY, the freaky Baffert gray, looked very happy. Gliding over the Churchill track with those ears pricked in her morning gallop. Despite her incendiary speed, she does not get overly enthusiastic in her gallops. That is a good thing.
ROSE TO GOLD
turned in the flashiest drill of the Oaks/Derby contingent. Left a truly genuine impression. You can tell this girl simply loves her job. Energy top notch while focused on her task through the stretch. No slow down after the wire. Choice move.
Scouting reports are an important variable in the grand equation that is this beautiful game. Up to the individual player to choose how much weight to give the scouting variable. Obviously I am severely biased b/c I have been scouting for the last ten years. We all exaggerate our own worth.
More to come in the following days. Tomorrow should be a busy one.
~Written by Donald Harris