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Three Delivery

While on paper this past weekend’s three-year-old races look like perfect examples of budding stars beating up on lesser competition, all three of those winning favorites (or near-favorites) got to face a little adversity – not a bad thing at this point in their respective careers.

Stardom Bound ran her usual come-from-behind race (demonstrating she didn’t magically lose all her conditioning at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, which does seem to happen to some fillies), but she had more than a little traffic trouble coming through the stretch. Mike Smith (or Mr. Chantal Sutherland, to use the Green But Game Google Power Word of the Day) never seemed particularly concerned that she might be in trouble, and it looked as though he eased her through to victory once that opening appeared – she still looked quite fresh in the winner’s circle. Whether we will see her against the boys next is still up in the air – Bobby Frankel suggests the Santa Anita Oaks is a more likely spot. I’d like to see her win both races, like a certain other grey filly from the California circuit. Stardom Bound’s Beyer wasn’t anything particularly exciting, but I like Alan’s analysis of it and I know she’s capable of posting a 100+ Beyer, so let’s wait and see what the next move is (and let’s hope it’s not simply to the barn of Rick Dutrow as Bill Christie suggests).

Down in Louisiana, Friesan Fire demonstrated that he was quite capable of handling a large field in the Risen Star (more shades of 1988?) and that his Lecomte victory was no fluke. He’s even making headlines in Australia, where his dam, Bollinger, was a Group 1 Classic winner trained by Gai Waterhouse, and his grand-dam, Bint Marscay, set one of the fastest winning times in the history of the Golden Slipper. Trainer Larry Jones is certainly loaded this year – consider that Friesan Fire is still considered his second Derby choice behind Old Fashioned, who makes his 2009 bow next Monday (and more on that later in the week).

Finally, we’re going back to Cali – I may still be irked at Pioneerof the Nile’s name (and I think his sire, Empire Maker, was incredibly over-rated as a racehorse – although the jury is still out on his stud abilities), but there was nothing to dislike in the way he handled himself in the Robert B. Lewis. I also liked what I saw of runner-up Papa Clem – I’m looking forward to seeing more of him as well as we wend our merry way to Kentucky in May.

On the whole, it seems this year’s crop of three-year-olds has a lot more to like about it than last year’s installment – here’s hoping they stay healthy and sound and continue to keep the excitement coming.

2 comments to Three Delivery

  • dana

    It’s funny, I had forgotten that the SA Derby isn’t until April… it’s interesting that “less is more” seems to be Iavarone’s preferred approach.

    Last year it wasn’t pronounced because of Big Brown’s feet, but Stardom Bound looks to be as sound as they come.

    Oh, and hope the Google Power Word works out for you!

  • Wind Gatherer

    Shhhhhhhhhh.

    Keep Papa Clem on the down low; just between you and me. I think his next target is the Southwest and if he handles the dirt…

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