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Returns, Defections and Journeys

While I was very excited to see Rags to Riches (right, in a great photo by Fran) back on the worktab (and in a bullet, no less), I noted that Lava Man had re-appeared as well. I suspect that his best days are behind him, but if he’s really up for another shot at the Hollywood Gold Cup, more power to him. I do wonder what Doug O’Neill is up to, though, in pointing Great Hunter toward the Dubai World Cup — it’s clearly not based on his recent form. I’m not entirely sure how a horse who’s been off the board in his last five starts against California competition is going to rebound after a long flight and a spot against Curlin…even though he can pick up a nice check for finishing fourth, it hardly seems worth the travel.

But more on Rags to Riches and things Belmonty for a moment — this year’s Belmont logo honors her victory, and rather well too. The deadline for the Belmont ticket lottery is fast approaching if you feel like parting with actual money for an assigned seat rather than simply walking up on the day. You can never tell whether it’s going to be worth the investment in terms of having a guaranteed seat when there’s a Triple Crown on the line (and with Rags to Riches’ half-brother Casino Drive potentially in the Belmont picture, I’m a little more interested in seeing history made — again — that way this year), but having that seat is always nice (if only for a wander to the bar for a $7 cup of beer).

Of course, that’s getting a little ahead of things – there are still Derby preps to be run. Denis of Cork is now out of the Rebel and will likely head to the Wood Memorial instead. This should be good news for Z Fortune, and I am still curious to see if Anak Nakal comes back with anything. Face the Cat is out of the Rebel as well — he picked up that sore gluteal muscle that seems to be so prevalent in the Pletcher barn, but should be back for the Florida Derby. In any case, it should be more interesting to watch than War Pass in his walkover.

Finally, a note on Andrew Beyer’s column this week — he’s in Argentina and has some thoughts (as you might imagine) on the way betting is structured there (hint: you’re not going to win any money). I am filing this information away for my own potential South American jaunt at some point in the not-too-distant future (although Peru is more likely than Argentina; it seems more practical to chase a three-year-old around Machu Picchu than across Patagonia). I’m hoping he sends another report on South American breeding and training while he’s away — they seem to be doing those things well in the Southern Hemisphere.

1 comment to Returns, Defections and Journeys

  • JLDecker

    Thank you for mentioning CASINO DRIVE. I was thinking how phenomenal it would be if BETTER THAN HONOUR managed to produce three Belmont winners in a row– and by three different sires no less. It’d certainly lend credence to the school of thinking that the Dam side is just as important as the Sire line.

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