American Turf Magazine
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Apr 13, 2007



            The Wood Memorial, the Illinois Derby and the Santa Anita Derby were all run on Saturday April 7th and the outcome of these races had a big impact on the road to the Kentucky Derby on May 5th.

            In the Wood Memorial it was a match-up of NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ versus Todd Pletcher’s ANY GIVEN SATURDAY with the former going off as the 3-5 favorite while the latter would be sent off at 3-2. NOBIZ LIKE SHOBIZ was equipped with blinkers for the first time to help with some of his antics during the race. Breaking from the rail he was right up on the lead battling with SUMMER DOLDRUMS through a half in 47:1, after putting that rival away he had to deal with a challenge from ANY GIVEN SATURDAY who came with a three wide run to challenge the leader. After dispatching of that challenge he still had to deal with SIGHTSEEING who closed with a rush to finish second just a half length off the winner in a final time of 1:49:2, a final 1/8th in 13:2. Although the time of the race was reasonable the final 1/8th  was a little on the slow side but this is not the race you want him to peak in so he is set-up just right for the Derby. SIGHTSEEING might skip the Derby according to his connections and third place finisher ANY GIVEN SATURDAY will be pointed to the Derby in hopes of a bounce back effort.

            In the Illinois Derby the favorite in the race was COBALT BLUE who was coming off a wire to wire score in the San Felipe at Santa Anita. The second choice in the race was COWTOWN CAT who was coming off a win in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. This Todd Pletcher trainee made the lead from post four and was able to set moderate fractions getting to the half in 49:2 while being chased by CATMAN RUNNING throughout with BOLD START sitting in third. COBALT BLUE never did much running tiring to finish seventh after stalking the pace in fourth early on. With the moderate fractions COWTOWN CAT set he had plenty left for the drive drawing away to score by more than two lengths. Longshot REPORTING FOR DUTY closed to finish second with BOLD START holding third. The final time of this race was on the slow side and he won’t be able to get away with slow fractions in the Derby, he would have to improve off his most recent efforts to even be considered.

            In the Santa Anita Derby there was a competitive field of 10 going postward with SAM P.; another Pletcher trainee who was sent off as the slight favorite. Coming off a second place finish to GREAT HUNTER one of the favorites for the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14th he would need another effort like that to win this race. After chasing the early pace he came back at the end to finish third. Todd Pletcher had another entrant in the race in KING OF THE ROXY who was coming off a win in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream back in early March. After stalking the pace in fourth early on he made a wide move to take the lead but didn’t have enough left to hold off the late charge of 25-1 shot TIAGO, a half brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby winner GIACOMO. The final time and the final 1/8th of the race was slow but this horse does have a solid late kick and with only four total starts under his belt he can only get better. Could it be déjà vu all over again? Good Luck!

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