Mar 31, 2005
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
On Saturday March 26th there were four Derby Prep races, two
at Turfway Park, one at Laurel and one all the way across the globe in
Dubai. The Dubai World Cup, a $6 million race was also run on March 26th.
In the first prep race at Turfway, the Rushaway Stakes, a $100k
stake race for three year olds at 1 and 1/16th miles, PROUD ACCOLADE
was sent off as the 2-5 favorite but never lifted a hoof. He finished a bad sixth
while tiring in the stretch and showed that his best races will be around
one turn. The winner of the race was CAT SHAKER, who previously only
had one win from eight starts. That win came in a maiden race at
Mountaineer Park. The second place finisher in the race was DADDY JOE, who
had two wins but never in a stakes race. His only two tries in stakes races
resulted in double digit defeats. It would be hard to find a horse from this
race that would have a shot in the Derby and it would be a surprise if any
of them show up in the race.
The next race was the Lanes End Stakes, a Grade II for three year
olds, run at 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $500,000. The slight favorite
in the race was SPANISH CHESTNUT, who was coming off a third place
finish in the Santa Catalina out at Santa Anita. After breaking well from the
8 post, jockey Gary Stevens put him right on the lead through a half mile in
46:3. At that point in the race jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr., on MR. SWORD,
made a strong run up the inside to challenge the leader and take over heading
around the far turn. After clearing to a three length lead in the stretch,
MR. SWORD began to run erratically as he began to tire and he finished third.
The winner was FLOWER ALLEY, coming off a maiden win but hailing from
the powerful Todd Pletcher barn. After stalking the pace early on, FLOWER ALLEY
starting to run greenly, resenting the dirt that was being kicked in his face. After
dropping back to finish fifth, the jockey Jorge Chavez moved him outside
and he finished strongly to score by a half length. The time of the race wasn’t
that bad (1:50:1) considering the track was a muddy mess. WILD DESERT
finished second with a good run and looks like an improving three year old
but still might be a cut below the better three year olds. MR. SWORD tired
to third after that early move and may have been best with a better timed
ride. The three choices in the race SPANISH CHESTNUT, MAGNA GRADUATE,
and ANDROMEDA’S HERO, finished 6th, 4th and 5th respectively.
FLOWER ALLEY will be an interesting three year old that can only get better
for a top barn and is one to watch.
In a small stakes at Laurel, the Private Terms stakes, run at a mile
with a purse of $50k. The winner of the race was MALIBU MOONSHINE who
ran his record to 5 wins in 9 starts. This is a useful three year old but is
nowhere near the caliber of the top three year olds. It should be safe to say that
no one in this race is a contender for any of the Triple Crown races.
At Nad Al Sheba in Dubai they hosted the UAE Derby, a race for three
year olds at 1 and 1/8th miles with a purse of $2 million. The winner of
the race was BLUES AND ROYALS, who had one win in three starts
all on the turf and that one win came in a sprint. The win was impressive
but he wasn’t beating any kind of stock and the fact that horses from
Dubai who have tried the Derby in the past and failed, it would hard
pressed for BLUES AND ROYALS to be considered a contender. If he
does show up at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May lets hope
he takes some money at the windows.
Finally in the Dubai World Cup, a race for three year olds and
older, run at 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $6 million, ROSES IN MAY
showed why he is one of the best horses in the world easily defeating
the field by three lengths. DYNEVER closed to finish second over
CHOCTAW NATION who was third. JACK SULLIVAN a local horse
checked in fourth. ROSES IN MAY was on a big roll late last year
and finished a good second to GHOSTZAPPER in the Breeders Cup
Classic. He will make his presence felt this year in the handicap division.
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