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Career Paths

While it’s Derby Works a Go-Go at the moment for the 3-year-olds, there’s plenty of actual racing action going on beyond that sphere. In the ‘comeback’ column, first noted at Brooklyn Backstretch, 2005 Preakness runner-up/tripper Scrappy T recently raced at Penn National, getting up for only fourth place in allowance company at Penn National. Finishing a few ahead of him in that race was Barbican – another Triple Crown trail horse (this time from 2006 – the ‘other ‘Barb-‘ horse in my Virtual Stable at that point) who seemed to disappear for some time. Well, Barbican resurfaced there again, grinding out a win in a 24K allowance yesterday.

Another horse I’ve been watching is Lookalike, a 3-year-old Dynaformer filly (out of a Mr. Prospector mare) trained by Michael Matz. She also won (and paid rather nicely too), but this time in rather more rarefied company; still an allowance race, to be sure, but this one was at Keeneland against other regally-bred fillies. The race was also notable for May Meeting unseating Edgar Prado at the start.

While these two races seem worlds apart, the two horses aren’t so widely separated in terms of background – Barbican was bred by Darley; he is by AP Indy out of a graded-stakes winning Mr. Prospector mare. Indeed, it must have seemed like a good breeding – he has a 3-year-old full sister, although she has yet to win a race. His elder half-brother, Equerry, is at stud in France after a successful European career – his first foals are 2-year-olds. Many of his other half-siblings are unraced or have rather less in the bank – while he’s not running at glamorous tracks anymore, he’s still earned nearly $100,000. Granted, it’s not much of a return on AP Indy’s stud fee, but it’s not certainly bad for a hard-knocking racehorse. His career path may be something of a preview for many of this year’s second-tier Derby hopefuls. After all, a Wikipedia entry doesn’t guarantee much.

Speaking of hard-knocking racehorses, my perennial favorite, Brass Hat (pictured), is back tomorrow for his 24th career start – he’s in the Fifth Third Elkhorn at Keeneland, facing the tough Stream of Gold. I’m looking forward to seeing him back on turf; it seems like a smart move at this point in his long career.

Oh, and Patrick Biancone’s in trouble again, but that hardly seems worth mentioning. His client and longtime friend, Fabien Ouaki, found himself in a considerably worse situation over the weekend; a barn fire killed eleven horses at his Fab Oak Stable – no details of the victims have been released yet.

Finally, there’s a Rags to Riches update at the Blood-Horse; she’s lolling around Ashford Stud and is aiming to follow in the footsteps of her dam, Better Than Honour, who was just named Broodmare of the Year; one wonders if she’s bored. At least she can keep tabs on her half-brother by Mineshaft, the Japanese star Casino Drive, as he arrives Stateside to attempt to carry on the family’s Belmont-winning tradition.

Who says life beyond the Derby trail is boring? (If you’re a new visitor from the Times, welcome; and don’t worry — we will get back to it tomorrow).

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