Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Sue Kawczynski
These New York-breds are fun to watch!
The battle of the Withers was a fun one to watch, but surely these talented New York-breds could not repeat the feat in the Gotham. I’ll be darned if Samraat and Uncle Sigh didn’t do it again, plus they added a third to the fun just for kicks. I retain my realistic doubts as to whether or not either Samraat or Uncle Sigh will be in the thick of things in the final furlong of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, but that in no way should stop of us from enjoying the ride along the way. While it appears that Samraat, ZATT's Star of the Week, is a little bit better than his rival, the Withers was excellent, the Gotham was even better, and I cannot wait to see them go at it again in the Wood Memorial.
I liked what I saw from In Trouble
As for 3rd place finisher, In Trouble, he may be the biggest threat of the three on the first Saturday in May, and no, I am not just saying that because he was my pick in the Gotham. After a long layoff, and with only two sprints to show for his career, the son of Tiz Wonderful was as game as Dolly Parton seems to be for a good nip and tuck. Of the three, he’s the best bred for a distance of ground, and with this experience under his girth, he could be a real monster, real soon.
Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down to Gulfstream Park
Big kudos go out to Gulfstream Park for running the Caixa Eletronica Stakes on Sunday. It was a great idea to pay tribute to the memory of one of the most beloved thoroughbreds of recent years. He was truly one of a kind, and his tragic death cannot be soon forgotten. Unfortunately, Gulfstream also needs a good kick in the ass for botching the great idea by spelling the object of their tribute’s name wrong. Caixa E-L-E-T-R-O-N-I-C-A. It’s my sincere hope that Gulfstream Park gets it right in 2015.
As much as I think of the UAE 2000 Guineas winner, Long John, I honestly cannot say that he is better than the filly, Ihtimal. Her romp to the money last Thursday in the UAE Oaks was a little bit of magic. So much so, that I would love to see Godolphin reconsider their plan to wait for the English One Thousand Guineas in May, and give her one more run at Meydan in the UAE Derby. Clearly, she loves the Tapeta surface at Meydan, and while she was a fine runner on the turf last year in England, she was far from a world beater. There would still be plenty of time to get her ready for the English filly classics, after the UAE Derby, and at $2 million dollars, this one has the potential to be her biggest career win. Godolphin has never been afraid to run more than one of their runners in a big race in Dubai, why not strike while the iron is red hot with Ihtimal?
Will the real Teen Pauline please stand up
What to make of Teen Pauline? Once upon a time she was a super hyped-up juvenile filly at Saratoga. She fell far from that summer of 2012 perch, but has found a resurgence on the inner track at the Big A. Three easy as she pleases stakes wins already in 2014 have made her an off-season starlet. Has she found new life by not being restrained early, and allowed to run free on the early lead, or is she just simply beating up on horses with little shot, since none have the early speed to pressure her early? Most would probably choose the latter, but I’m not so sure. Sometimes all a talented horse needs is the clarity of thought to be able to do things the way that they want to do them.
Are you ready for the Big Cap?
Generally, I stick with the what has already happened for this weekly wrap-up, but I am too geeked up for this Saturday’s Big Cap, not to give it a closing mention. As of right now, the older male class of 2014 is the strongest in America in several years, and Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge, and Game On Dude represent the top of the heap. Getting all three together for an early season showdown is a bit of a rarity these days, so I believe it should get all the publicity it can this week. Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge are the two finest mile and a quarter horses in the U.S., and the thought of a race near as exciting as the Breeders’ Cup Classic is mouth watering. I would also warn not to give up on Game On Dude yet. There is a reason he has won 15-of-30 lifetime and more than $5.7 million. Leave the two-time Big Cap champion alone on the lead for too long, and the two favorites could be in real trouble. Is it Saturday yet???