Mar 14, 2008
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
On March 8th there were three Kentucky Derby Preps where one of the winners you could see winning, another was hard to see and the last one you couldn’t see at all, literally!
In the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows you had a field of nine with the favortisim going slightly to COAST GUARD. TRES BORRACHOS and close second choice NIKKI’S GOLDENSTEED were contesting the pace through reasonable fractions of 23:3, 47, 1:11, 1: 36:3 with a final time for the 1 and 1/16th miles in 1:43 flat. The two leaders held on well right to the finish checking in second and third with NIKKI’S GOLDENSTEED getting the better of TRES BORRACHOS but they couldn’t hold off longshot AUTISM AWARENESS who rolled on by the leaders at 62-1. That win was just the second win in 14 starts for AUTISM AWARENESS who broke his maiden in his 13th start. It would be hard to see anyone exiting this race having any impact in any major preps let alone the Kentucky Derby.
In the Louisiana Derby we also had a field of nine and we had a clear cut favorite in PYRO, who was sent off at 4-5 on the basis of his huge win in the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds on February 9th. Longshot MY PAL CHARLIE made the lead from his inside post and set some very reasonable fractions of 24, 48, 1:13:4, 1:38 and the final time was 1:44:2. J BE K another Asmussen trainee along with PYRO was undefeated coming into the race but only had two starts under his belt, both sprint races. He pressed the leader for about six furlongs but tired to finish 8th, his best running will probably come around one turn. Another lightly raced but talented horse, MAJESTIC WARRIOR was returning from a disappointing sixth in the Champagne at Belmont back in October when he failed as the favorite. He made a middle move wide into the slow fractions but tired as expected but should improve off that effort and may be one to watch in his next start. PYRO who was in behind the leaders found a seam in the lane and ran to victory drawing away late by three lengths over MY PAL CHARLIE who held second at 60-1. Along with WAR PASS, PYRO has to be considered the top three year old in the country.
Just like the other two prep races the Gotham also had a field of nine horses but in this one you couldn’t see the winner, literally, there was fog the whole day at Aqueduct which made the races very difficult to see. You could see them when they left the gate, they disappeared down the backstretch only to reappear late in the drive. Appropriately named VISIONAIRE, got up late at the wire to score the nose victory over TEXAS WILDCATTER who had a five length lead in the lane while almost eight lengths clear of the show finisher LARRYS REVENGE. The favorite in the race SARATOGA RUSSELL, who made lead from the start, was there near the head of the stretch but tired to finish 8th. He displaced his palate, according to trainer Rick Violette, who said the colt would undergo a myectomy, an operation on the throat after his return to Florida. He also said the next start would probably be around one turn.
Next week we will take a look at a few more Kentucky Derby preps.
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