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Road to the Roses: A Day of Brilliance

While the Holy Bull might have been the first major Derby season starter, one cannot look back on yesterday and say that it was not the beginning, of what looks to be, a very promising Kentucky Derby prep season.
 
Racing from New York, to Florida, to California, stakes races delivered us new favorites and there were even a few unexpected maiden and allowance winners that stamped themselves as legit. But who was the best of them all?
 
Florida, while not pegged as a major Derby prep site this weekend, still offered up two very exciting prospects in Verrazano and Forty Tales. Verrazano pressured a brutal pace, in his first time trying the mile distance, battling just off a 22.94 quarter and a 45.45 half mile. He cruised up on the outside Gunderman, taking the lead with a quarter mile left and drew off, to win by over 16 lengths, in the easiest of victories. The final time, a scorching 1.34.8, was not half bad for a colt making only his second career start.
 
Forty Tales may have lost the Hutcheson yesterday, but anyone scouting for potential Derby horses could see that this was a horse who needed much more than seven furlongs. He came charging like a locomotive at the end of the race, narrowly missing the winner. He, like Verrazano, is trained by Pletcher, who seems to unveil a star every weekend. It should be interesting to see where he points these two next.
 
In New York, two Pletcher horses, again emerged victorious. The first was Kentucky Oaks contender, Princess of Sylmar. Riding a hot streak of three consecutive wins, the filly had no trouble extending her streak to four. It was impress, it was dominant, everything you want to see. The time was slow, but seeing as how she wasn’t even pressing the top two for most of the race, one cannot blame the slow pace and resulting final time on her. What one can say, and notice is that she ran each quarter faster than the next, not a very common thing in dirt racing.
 
The second Pletcher trainee would be hard pressed to outdo his stablemate, but Revolutionary did just that. Stuck on the rail, blocked in traffic, forced to wait for room, and he still exploded like a keg of dynamite, dodging and weaving his way through traffic to nab the victory by a neck. Again, the time was nothing special, but considering he never got to run until the last 1/16th of a mile, he ran a pretty darn good race.
 
Last, but certainly not least, we saw a Flashback of brilliance. Looking like the opposite of his older sister, Zazu who tended to lay farther off the pace, Flashback took the lead in the four horse Robert B. Lewis and never looked back. He was pressured by He’s Had Enough, a much more experienced foe, and instead of folding he repelled his opponent, to romp by over 6 lengths.
 
From start to finish, from east to west, stars strutted their stuff for the nation to see, but who was the best? Was it the brave Revolutionary? The brilliant Verrazano? How about the unlucky Forty Tales? Or was it the flashy, Baffert trained grey? With such performances all over the country, only one thing is certain….Brian Zipse will not have an easy time of choosing his Star of the Week.
 

 

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Older Comments about Road to the Roses: A Day of Brilliance...

Mike, I'd agree with your point about Flashpoint's win looking good because he was able to hold, but do remember, his fractions were pretty much a saunter for Santa Anita. I will agree that i see a lot of talent in this group. Hoping it won't end up like last year's crop.
Follow the colts that ovecome the most on the way to the big dance.
I think Flashback looked pretty good, I hadn't been to Santa Anita since the Breeders Cup and was happy to see the track is playing much more fair, a lot of horses were coming from off the pace. This made Flashbacks race look even better. Revolutionary ran a great race but didn't look like a strong field. This group of Derby horses is starting to get interesting.
But competence in these picayune races means next to nothing down the line. The nine furlong wall is akin to the wall in the marathon. Also too they are carrying flyweights now, nothing like the 126 ahead of them.
travel, there have been several to run in races, like the ones this past weekend to that do quite well the first Saturday in May.
Imagine we are trying to describe who will be able to swin from San Pedro to Catalina, and we base out observations on how an inexpereinced youngster swims in a small pool. That is the quanturm leap you are making suggesting ANYTHING of rational order is to come out on the first Saturday im May that correlates with these races!
You do have to have that skill, and while impressive, my only question is can you do that with 10 more horses, who are most likely better than the ones he face in the Withers? Maybe he could, but it's hard to say he could when up against much faster horses, that if they get the jump, they are gone. Verrazano wowed me yesterday. Fast and domiant. Last time i remember a horse doing something like that was Big Brown's allowance. He just needs points and Pletcher is running out of spots to run. One I didn't mention, that I do like, Tiz the Truth. It was just a maiden, but being by Tiznow, trained by Baffert, and ridden by Gary Stephens...one can't help but get a little excited.
Rev was most impressive to me, Derby wise. You have to have that skill for a 20 horse field.

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