In what is truly becoming a pattern, this weekend's biggest winner I Want Revenge jumped from the bottom of our poll to the fourth position after romping in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday afternoon. What should not be overlooked in the wake of his 8 1/2 length win is how much stronger the case can be made for Pioneerof the Nile. Head to head, Pioneer won by a narrow margin in the Hollywood Park CashCall Futurity and left Revenge in third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. However, I Want Revenge proved that he can run on a dirt track in New York, something Pioneerof the Nile hasn't yet done.
The two biggest losers of the week were Haynesfield and Stardom Bound. Haynesfield, one of the favorites going into the Gotham and a receipient of a first place vote in the last PDI, finished a dismal eighth and dropped completely out of the poll receiving no votes this week. And in light of a shaky performance and reports that Stardom Bound would be heading towards the Kentucky Oaks instead of the Derby, many of our voters dropped her from their lists causing her to fall from the 8th position to number 11.
While it was a relatively light weekend of racing, next week should be anything but with four major Derby preps being run. Study the poll closely this week. It may look very different after the smoke clears Sunday.
1-Pioneerof the Nile. West Coast clockers were buzzing again about the Bob Baffert-trained colt after last Sunday's five-furlong workout in :58 4/5 at Santa Anita. The work came a day after I Want Revenge, the colt Pioneerof the Nile has defeated twice, romped to victory in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. That East Coast win, while solidifying Pioneerof the Nile's status as the West's leading contender on the road to Churchill Downs, begs the question of how the switch from California's synthetics to New York's traditional dirt may have played into I Want Revenge's stunning performance. Pioneerof the Nile (by Empire Maker) goes in Saturday's Grade 2 San Felipe, part of a “fantastic four” afternoon of Kentucky Derby preps (along with Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds).
2-Old Fashioned. Also fired a bullet in his weekend workout at Oaklawn in preparation for the Rebel. Son of Unbridled's Song will be the heavy favorite to keep a perfect record for trainer Larry Jones and Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms. Will be interesting to see whether Silver City, second to Old Fashioned in the Southwest Stakes, can make Old Fashioned work even harder for this victory.
3-I Want Revenge. Hard to say anything bad about Saturday's whiz-bang knockout of his Gotham rivals at Aqueduct, his first start on a dirt track after six races on synthetics in California. Son of A.P. Indy stallion Stephen Got Even was a good horse going into the race and came out of it a budding star. His trainer, Jeff Mullins, may not be the most desirable individual to put up on the Churchill Downs podium on Derby day (he's had his share of medication violations and it wasn't that long ago he called racing fans “addicts and idiots”).But just like Big Brown last year, let's not hold the horse accountable for the trainer's bad behavior.
4-The Pamplemousse. Kafwain colt had an easy week after his big victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. Should start gearing up for his next start in the coming days.
5-Quality Road. Would like to see trainer Jimmy Jerkens ship Elusive Quality colt north for the Wood Memorial and take on I Want Revenge. Right now I would give the edge to I Want Revenge because of his experience edge, particularly around two turns.
6-Friesan Fire. He'll have his biggest test yet in the Louisiana Derby on Saturday and certainly didn't scare anyone away, as nine other 3-year-olds will line up against him. Son of A.P. Indy blazed five furlongs Monday in :58 1/5 at Fair Grounds for Larry Jones to show that he's on edge.
7-Desert Party. Not much news from the desert on Sheikh Mohammed's leading Kentucky Derby candidate. I wouldn't bet against son of Street Cry in U.A.E. Derby coming up later this month, but it's a big hill to climb to run there and then ship halfway around the world for the Kentucky Derby.
8-Beethoven. I still consider Sky Mesa colt a legitimate dark horse for the Derby. Cutting back from two turns to one-turn mile in Fountain of Youth was not to his advantage. He needs to step up much bigger in next start.
9-Patena. Saturday's Louisiana Derby will in some ways be a test to see if Rick Dutrow can move the Seeking the Gold colt up from his previous trainer, Josie Carroll, following IEAH Stable's purchase of a majority interest. Runner-up to Friesan Fire last out had a solid :58 2/5 drill at Gulfstream Park on Monday. Definitely one to watch.
10-Theregoesjojo: It was a toss-up whether to keep son of Sky Mesa in the 10 position or bump him in favor of Stardom Bound, the desperate winner of Saturday's Santa Anita Oaks who most likely is off the Kentucky Derby trail. It's pretty clear that trainer Robert Frankel thinks Stardom Bound needs to stay in her own division, though it's possible he could be overruled if she wins big in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland next out. Theregoesjojo figures to improve off his effort in the Fountain of Youth.
Each of the four Derby preps this weekend will be interesting in its own way. Can Pioneerof the Nile continue his march successfully at Santa Anita? Will anyone stop Old Fashioned at Oaklawn? How will the Friesan Fire-Patena rematch play out? Did Barclay Tagg make the right move by shipping Hello Broadway to Tampa Bay for the Derby there? We'll have some answers on Saturday night.
|Ray Paulick||Fan Vote||Alex Brown||Paul Moran||Billy Reed||John Conte||Bill Finley|
|Paulick Report||Paulick Report||Alex Brown Racing||At The Races||Billy Reed Says||Conte's Picks||ESPN, NYT|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Old Fashioned||Quality Road||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile||Old Fashioned|
|Old Fashioned||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Stardom Bound||Quality Road||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile|
|I Want Revenge||The Pamplemousse||The Pamplemousse||Pioneerof the Nile||Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire|
|The Pamplemousse||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Quality Road||Pioneerof the Nile||Dunkirk||The Pamplemousse|
|Quality Road||Quality Road||Rachel Alexandra||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||West Side Bernie||Quality Road|
|Friesan Fire||Pioneerof the Nile||Desert Party||Hello Broadway||Hello Broadway||Chocolate Candy||I Want Revenge|
|Desert Party||Dunkirk||Pioneerof the Nile||The Pamplemousse||Desert Party||Capt. Candyman Can||Desert Party|
|Beethoven||Imperial Council||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Patena||The Pamplemousse||Dunkirk
|Patena||Desert Party||Patena||Desert Party||Beethoven||Hello Broadway||Silver City|
|Theregoesjojo||Patena||Hello Broadway||Dunkirk||Stardom Bound||Giant Oak||Patena|
|Randy Moss||Bill Nack||Valerie Grash||Gary West||Michael Nikolic||Dana Byerly||Jeremy Plonk|
|ESPN||ESPN||Foolish Pleasure||FW Star-Telegram||Gathering the Wind||Green But Game||Horseplayer Pro, ESPN|
|Quality Road||Dunkirk||Friesan Fire||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile|
|I Want Revenge||The Pamplemousse||Old Fashioned||Quality Road||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Old Fashioned|
|Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile||Stardom Bound||Dunkirk||Desert Party||Flying Pegasus||Patena|
|Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||Rachel Alexandra||Hello Broadway||Patena||Desert Party||Friesan Fire|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Quality Road||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||Pioneerof the Nile||Quality Road||Imperial Council|
|The Pamplemousse||Old Fashioned||Papa Clem||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge||Hello Broadway|
|Friesan Fire||Stardom Bound||Hello Broadway||I Want Revenge||Chocolate Candy||Patena||Dunkirk|
|Theregoesjojo||Friesan Fire||Mr. Hot Stuff||Giant Oak||Papa Clem||Theregoesjojo||Quality Road|
|Desert Party||Desert Party||Imperial Council||Patena||Quality Road||Imperial Council||The Pamplemousse|
|Beethoven||Giant Oak||Dunkirk||Flying Pegasus||Flying Pegasus||Nowhere to Hide||Mr. Hot Stuff|
|Bill Christine||John Pricci||Vic Zast||Jon White||Richard Eng||Alan Mann||Alicia Wincze|
|Horserace Insider||Horserace Insider||Horserace Insider||HRTV, Santa Anita TV||Las Vegas R-J||Left at the Gate||Lexington H-L|
|Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile||Patena||Pioneerof the Nile||Old Fashioned|
|I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||Pioneerof the Nile||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire|
|Desert Party||The Pamplemousse||Stardom Bound||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||The Pamplemousse||Quality Road||The Pamplemousse||Papa Clem||Desert Party|
|Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire||The Pamplemousse||Pioneerof the Nile||Stardom Bound||The Pamplemousse|
|Quality Road||Stardom Bound||Dunkirk||Friesan Fire||Quality Road||Dunkirk||Quality Road|
|Vineyard Haven||Quality Road||Desert Party||Patena||Dunkirk||The Pamplemousse||I Want Revenge|
|The Pamplemousse||Dunkirk||Capt. Candyman Can||Papa Clem||I Want Revenge||I Want Revenge||Hello Broadway|
|Theregoesjojo||Desert Party||Chocolate Candy||Dunkirk||Danger to Society||Flying Pegasus||Chocolate Candy|
|Patena||Hello Broadway||Quality Road||Chocolate Candy||Theregoesjojo||Imperial Council||Beethoven|
|Art Wilson||Joe Drape||Andy Serling||Jessica Chapel||Brendan O'Meara||Jeff Scott||Lisa Grimm|
|Los Angeles Newspapers||New York Times||NYRA||Railbird||The Saratogian||The Saratogian||SuperfectaBlog|
|The Pamplemousse||Old Fashioned||Imperial Council||Old Fashioned||Friesan Fire||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile||The Pamplemousse||Desert Party||Old Fashioned||Pioneerof the Nile||The Pamplemousse|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Quality Road||Desert Party||Friesan Fire||Desert Party||Friesan Fire||Old Fashioned|
|Dunkirk||The Pamplemousse||I Want Revenge||Pioneerof the Nile||Quality Road||Desert Party||Friesan Fire|
|I Want Revenge||Theregoesjojo||Rachel Alexandra||I Want Revenge||Dunkirk||Old Fashioned||I Want Revenge|
|Quality Road||Friesan Fire||Quality Road||Flying Pegasus||Take the Points||Flat Out||Quality Road|
|Papa Clem||Hello Broadway||Danger to Society||Regal Ransom||Pioneerof the Nile||Quality Road||Chocolate Candy|
|Imperial Council||Sumo||Old Fashioned||Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||The Pamplemousse||Stardom Bound|
|Friesan Fire||Dunkirk||Dunkirk||Quality Road||Imperial Council||General Quarters||Patena|
|Desert Party||I Want Revenge||Hello Broadway||Papa Clem||Nowhere to Hide||Mr. Hot Stuff||Hello Broadway|
|Patrick Patten||Peter Denk||Nick Kling||Simon Bray||Todd Schrupp|
|Tbred Bloggers Alliance||Thoroughbred Times||The Troy Record||TVG||TVG|
|Friesan Fire||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned||Old Fashioned|
|General Quarters||Dunkirk||Patena||Pioneerof the Nile||Desert Party|
|Chocolate Candy||Quality Road||Dunkirk||I Want Revenge||The Pamplemousse|
|Pioneerof the Nile||Desert Party||Friesan Fire||The Pamplemousse||Quality Road|
|The Pamplemousse||Pioneerof the Nile||I Want Revenge||Friesan Fire||Friesan Fire|
|Hello Broadway||I Want Revenge||Imperial Council||Dunkirk||Dunkirk|
|I Want Revenge||Patena||Hello Broadway||Hello Broadway||I Want Revenge|
|Old Fashioned||Friesan Fire||Flying Pegasus||Chocolate Candy||Affirmatif|
|Patena||The Pamplemousse||Giant Oak||Quality Road||Pioneerof the Nile|
|Quality Road||Imperial Council||Beethoven||Desert Party||Stardom Bound|
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