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Forgive – Or Forget?

Jimmy Jerkins may have forgotten to nominate Quality Road to the Triple Crown, but the horse gave him a little reminder in his Fountain of Youth victory. However, without taking anything away from Quality Road, I’m not as convinced as I might be about what this race really means; Theregoesjojo’s second-place finish was a reverse of the January allowance race in which he beat Quality Road, and many of the other horses in the race looked like sprinters who ran out of gas (even though it was a one-turn mile).

I was a bit disappointed by both Beethoven and Capt. Candyman Can’s performances, but I’m not giving up entirely on them; I’m not sure I’d say the same for Taqarub or Break Water Edison at this point, although any horse can have an off day (consider Afleet Alex’s Rebel debacle, when he had a lung infection). Further tests will be done on Break Water Edison to see if there’s a hard-to-find injury, while it seems Notonthesamepage will stick to mile races (once they get his bleeding problem under control).

Injury knocked Midshipman off the Derby trail over the weekend; while he may be back later in the year, it seems the only Unbridled’s Song offspring left in the game at this point will be Old Fashioned. Or Silver City. Or Affirmatif. Or Dunkirk. Or…well, you get the idea.

Of course, there are some grey horses not sired by Unbridled’s Song in the mix, strange as that may seem – and my favorite of them all is The Pamplemousse (pictured). While Val makes the very valid point that his easy victory in the Sham is no more than we should have expected (and I completely agree with that), I think the fact that he delivered on that in great style (and with consummate ease) says a lot. Add in some great human interest ingredients (Alex Solis, who has won essentially everything except the Derby, riding a horse his twenty-something son partially owns, an eccentric trainer who should probably lay off the sauce, and, frankly, one gorgeous horse) and you have a potent mix – I look forward to further video updates on Mary Forney’s blog.

Granted, I still have the ‘he’s only run on synthetics’ concern I had for Colonel John last year – but so far, I have a good feeling about this. The fact that the Breeders’ Cup will be back at The Pamplemousse’s home track of Santa Anita also means that he should be a serious threat come the fall if he stays healthy. In the meantime, I do hope he faces off against the other non-Unbridled’s Song grey I have an eye on – Stardom Bound – in the Santa Anita Derby.

Given the above, here are my votes for this week’s Paulick Derby Index:

1) Pioneerof the Nile
2) The Pamplemousse
3) Old Fashioned
4) Friesan Fire
5) Stardom Bound
6) Chocolate Candy
7) Patena
8) Quality Road
9) Hello Broadway
10) Capt. Candyman Can

Finally, a return to all things Santa Anita: next weekend is the Big Cap – check back later in the week for details on Einstein, Tiago, Colonel John, Champs Elysees, Zambezi Sun and more…

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