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Tear The Picture Off The Wall

This past weekend’s Derby preps weren’t much help in terms of bandwagon-jumping; War Pass finally had a bad day and the relatively-unheralded (although previously a second place finisher to Denis of Cork) California-bred Sierra Sunset took the Rebel. Georgie Boy, trained by Kathy Walsh, also represented for California by winning the San Vicente, although the question of how he’ll run on conventional dirt remains. (In any case, I recommend listening to the song ‘Georgie Boy’ by Jack L).

While on the subject of synthetic surfaces, it should be noted that the latest statistics show a nearly identical fatality rate for the new surfaces versus conventional dirt, although non-fatal injuries were fewer in number. You can view a list of racetracks participating in the injury-reporting system here. Some have also taken issue with the terminology ‘all weather track’ being applied to synthetic surfaces, since they do indeed change as weather conditions change. It would be very useful to see the full report and whether some synthetic surfaces fared better than others (if, indeed, that information was gathered).

Of course, not every track as the luxury of enough capital to consider switching their surface; Suffolk Downs is a perfect example. I’ve previously recommended T.D. Thornton’s Not By A Long Shot for a behind-the-scenes look at life at an unglamorous track and want to reiterate that recommendation now that the book is out in paperback (and with a rather nifty cover — thanks to Thornton for the copy and the horseshoe, which has provided my almost-3-year-old endless amusement). Get yours before it disappears!

Curlin continues to train well in Dubai; the World Cup could have the largest field ever, with as many as 13 entrants, among them Premium Tap and Asiatic Boy (not to mention Jalil — second only to The Green Monkey at auction, but now an actual winner) –we’ll know who next Monday.

Finally, a note on the very well-considered Randy Moss column about Big Brown and modern thoroughbred durability (or lack thereof) — do check it out if you have not had a chance.

Check back later in the week for more on the Derby trail…

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