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Tuesday Metapost

By now, the news that Rags to Riches has been retired is common knowledge; while the official story is that she re-injured the leg she fractured last year, one does wonder whether (for which read ‘if’) that happened during or after a nice workout at Palm Beach Downs on March 19th. It’s hardly shocking news that she’s off to visit Giant’s Causeway (also part of the Coolmore team, thus saving on stud fees) as might have been announced at the time of her original injury. It would be nice to give the team credit for trying to bring her back, but it’s easy to be cynical and think much of it was for show — given the economy, the lure of a high-value foal might have been too much. Regardless, her place in history as a Belmont winner is secure.

But the Distaff division won’t be entirely empty — Magnificience is back for a crack at the Hollywood Park competition in the near future. Here’s hoping she lives up to her early promise.

The Derby trail picture remains clouded after the Lane’s End; I was glad to see Adriano do well (indeed, the race was on at the restaurant I was enjoying and the table next to me was impressed that I had the trifecta — alas, without any actual money on it, as per usual when I’m right, but at least this time I had witnesses). I was also pleased to hear that it seems that (so far) his connections have not caught an unwarranted case of Derby fever.

Things could become even more opaque in the upcoming Florida Derby, given the very interesting field. Barclay Tagg (who has three hopefuls this year) sends out Elysium Fields, Todd Pletcher may or may not run Face the Cat, Big Brown meets some real competition and the US-bred, Peruvian-raced Tomcito makes his Stateside debut. Check back later in the week for more on Tomcito (already a winner at a mile-and-a-half against older, albeit unknown in the northern hemisphere, horses) and the rest of the Florida Derby field.

But let us not overlook the Dubai World Cup — Team Curlin (left) basically issued a ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’ challenge to the rest of the (large) field. While I do think Curlin is the best horse, he should be tested by Asiatic Boy, Premium Tap and Jalil (although my gut feeling is that neither Asiatic Boy nor Premium Tap is at their best right now). We’ll have more on Curlin and the undercard throughout the week.

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