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Still, You Wouldn’t Miss It For A Sack of Gold

Great Hunter makes his three-year-old debut this weekend at Santa Anita in the Robert Lewis Stakes. It seems a bit ironic that MSNBC picks up his story (via the DRF) and notes that he has been somewhat overlooked (much to trainer Doug O’Neill’s delight) — indeed, despite his Chester County roots, there’s nary a mention of him in the local press — just a story about Hard Spun (who may or may not run in the Rebel on the 17th).

The Hard Spun story notes that his numbers from his fourth-place finish in the Southwest are his best yet — but it doesn’t say what they actually were. On Let’s Go Racing last week, Dick Jerardi again compared his rather lackluster Beyers to those of Smarty Jones for the same races (although that’s probably a bit unfair), and suggested that the numbers never lie. While I don’t think that the various figures are necessarily accurate across the board (particularly at the individual race level), I do pay attention to the overall trend, which suggests to me that he’s improving, but not quickly enough to be a real Derby contender.

Most eyes will be on the Fountain of Youth to see Nobiz Like Shobiz — given Barclay Tagg’s cheerful demeanor of late, it sounds like he’s expecting good results. It should certainly be a good race, with Scat Daddy and Adore the Gold in the mix as well. Shockingly, the race will actually be shown on ESPN News at 5.24 pm. Set your TiVos!

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Santa Anita Handicap — Lava Man’s attempt to become a back-to-back winner (although I’m picking longshot Ball Four to hit the board) is only available to those with HRTV. It seems a shame, since it’s a non-Triple-Crown race much of the general public has actually heard of — and I’ve never heard of anyone who actually receives HRTV, although I know they must exist…

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