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The longshot winner of the Holy Bull, Saratoga Sinner, is injured and off the Derby trail, so that’s one less to consider for now; all eyes will shift to California (with a brief flick in Louisiana’ direction) this weekend as Derby bandwagons start to take on passengers. There are already a few on board with both emerging stars running this weekend – Pioneerof the Nile will be a favorite (or should that be ‘shouldbe a favorite?’) in the Robert B. Lewis, while Stardom Bound (pictured) continues to take on the fillies (for now) in the Las Virgenes.

I’ve already registered my annoyance with Pioneerof the Nile’s name and it’s been a while since a May foal has been successful in the Derby (Thunder Gulch and Spend a Buck are the most recent examples I can think of), but based on his recent training, he should be more than ready to go this weekend. I am curious to see what Bittel Road and I Want Revenge have in store for him.

I was glad to see that the DRF picked up on the chief worry I have for Stardom Bound – namely, that she may have peaked at 2 like so many recent champion fillies. After being disappointed by Halfbridled (among others), I’m a bit wary, but I hope for good things from her and I’m glad to see that trainer Bobby Frankel is taking a pragmatic approach:

“When she wins, I’ll let you know if she’s exceptional,” Frankel said. “She looks like a real good filly, but you see a lot of superstars as 2-year-olds. Horses mature and catch up to them.”

I’d like to see something exceptional, so I’ll be crossing my fingers for her.

The older horses are in action at Santa Anita as well in the Strub; I like the team of Nownownow and Joe Talamo (even if I hate that he’s back with Patrick Biancone), but it’s a good field all around; Cowboy Cal and Gio Ponti should make it interesting, as should Slew’s Tiznow.

But back to the 3-year-olds, and down to New Orleans; the Risen Star has drawn quite a big field, which was something of a surprise. Friesan Fire is back again for Larry Jones after his Lecomte victory and we are instructed by the connections of Indygo Mountain to throw out his performance in the same race. Giant Oak may be worth watching as well.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a few musings about Jockeys

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