There was a strange occurrence on Day 3 of my clocking extravaganza. Drops of water were spotted shuttling down from the sky. As a So-Cal kid this strange weather pattern known as rain does not happen very often. I might have missed a few drills because I was mesmerized by the precipitation. Luckily I snapped out of the daze just in time to catch the work of the morning. I'm not sure if the rain was the reason but the track was playing really fast this morning.
Beware, bad analogy forthcoming . . . I have always considered scouts/clockers similar to 'bird dogs'. The most important skill a bird dog needs is to be on the scene. If the bird dog is not there to bark like crazy when needed, then he is useless. Same thing for clockers . . . We have to show up to start barking when a big drill unveils itself. Today, after the MIDNIGHT LUCKY
/CODE WEST drill, howling could be heard from clockers all around the track. 'LUCKY', a sleek looking gray, lit the Churchill track on fire in a team drill with stable-mate Code West. I had 'LUCKY' breaking about seven lengths back. The naturally speedy gray made up ground while in a gallop. She was not rank - she just has a silly high cruising speed. She had made up most of the ground by the top of the lane. Rider was still doing best impression of a statue at this point. She edged past West slightly to hit wire in 1:00.00. Shot out six in 1:12.00 with a small flip of the reins and logged seven panels in 1:24.80 on the watch that counts. Code West exhibited fitness by staying right with 'LUCKY on the gallop out.
The damn dogs were barking like crazy - I mean tweeting like crazy a few seconds later.
To put this drill in perspective from my vantage point . . . I am based at Hollywood Park year round, so I was rewarded with the opportunity to observe 'LUCKY' train up to her debut. I tweeted about her on January 23rd before she was given her official name. I am not pointing this out for ego purposes (maybe slightly-blog retweet). The fact is the ETRADE baby would have stood up after watching her work from the gate and been impressed without ever having attended clocker college. She appeared to be running downhill. After each furlong she was picking up steam. To make a longer story slightly shorter, 'LUCKY' has demonstrated her brilliance from day one. This Churchill drill was no outlier. As I discussed with Verrazano in an earlier blog, MIDNIGHT LUCKY has to prove she can make her own trip in a large, super talented field. One thing for certain . . . . She is a happy camper right now. The OAKS is not the red headed step child this weekend (as a red head I am allowed to say this). It is on par with the spoiled big Derby brother. I am beyond pumped for the weekend. The OAKS field is a major reason why.
~Written by Donald Harris