Photo: Coady Photography
Happy Easter everyone! In this week's report I will discuss some special offspring, the return of a classy sprinter, a classic of a race, and my latest thoughts on the Kentucky Derby!
It's a Hootenanny!
Welcome to racing, Quality Road babies! This bay gelding by Quality Road out of a Hennessey mare has $30,000 in career earnings already after just one race. His maiden performance on April 17th was impressive as he hung tough around the turn, battled down the stretch, and ultimately pulled away from the competition winning by more than four lengths. If this is any indication of more things to come, we will have to watch out for more of Quality Road's offspring!
Once thought to be a prominent contender on the Kentucky Derby trail, Tom Amoss' colt just didn't seem to take to the longer distances with a 7th place finish in the Risen Star and a 10th place finish in the Louisiana Derby. So entering Rise Up into the Robert S. Hilton Memorial Stakes at Charles Town last night seemed to be what the doctor ordered!
(Rise Up wins!)
This horse sure does seem to like the bullring style configuration of a race track. Rise Up absolutely destroyed the field in the stakes race last night, pounding the field by more than ten lengths as the 1-2 favorite.
After watching that race, good friend "Cigar" Orrison and I were just amazed by that performance! We both agreed that we couldn't wait to see him run again!
The 2014 Charles Town Classic
Most of us really enjoy watching when an underdog comes through, no matter what the sport. Imperative's gutsy performance at the Charles Town Classic last night was quite remarkable when you really think about it.
Imperative was claimed for $50,000 just a few months ago. In that time he bounced back and took home the $1,500,000 payday in the classic and to me that is truly amazing. I think more impressive was the ride by Kent Desormeaux in this race. His intuition was correct in that the race was going to go very fast early. He had Imperative saving ground along the rail behind the pack of speedsters. With the "push of the button" his horse switched gears and passed up the class of the field in Game On Dude who, at 3/5, was the obvious choice for many. I'll be watching this replay again and again for a long time.
Furthermore, I can't say enough good things about the work that Erich Zimny and the crew at Charles Town had done to put this great card and evening together. A job well done by all!
It's almost Derby time!
Are you getting Derby fever? I am! This seems like an evenly matched class of three year olds this year and I can't wait to see what unfolds. This is the time of the year where racing fans are all asking each other, "who do YOU like for the Derby?" What's interesting to me is how impressive California Chrome has been in his performances thus far, and how many people don't give him the chance he deserves (myself included) in the upcoming big race. It's highly unlikely, but if he does happen to get a clean trip in the Derby, he might be hard to catch. His pedigree suggests that he might be able to get the 10 furlongs, but like in any other Derby anything can happen.
Still for me, I contend that this will be a year where a long shot wins. Some horse that not a lot of people expect to win, will be first to cross the wire on the first Saturday in May. I'm still on the Wicked Strong bandwagon (and Hoppertunity, and...) for now but I need to see all of the PP's to determine my final choice. I think pedigree and post position draw will have a lot of weight in my Derby decision this year.