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Recession Special

While the Derby Trial has become something of a Preakness prep, there is still some interesting older horse action this weekend to while away the time until May. The Elkhorn Stakes features Champs Elysees (pictured – and who is still in training as a result of the global downturn – so it’s not all bad) and A Bunch of Old Guys – Better Talk Now, Brass Hat and Transduction Gold, as well as German interloper Musketier and British-born Always First. Although I remain a fan of both Brass Hat and Better Talk Now, I suspect they are both almost ready to move on to Kentucky Horse Park (or a similar retirement). In any event, it should be a good race.

But back to the Derby Trial for a moment – while Silver City with Julien Leparoux will be the likely favorite, the race is also notable for featuring Gato Go Win, the horse at the center of the Jeff Mullins/Air Power controversy. One imagines things will be a little tighter around the detention barn this time around. I also like Tintim Por Tintim.

The Withers is also this weekend; while the race is now essentially a Preakness prep, check out Teresa’s great article on its history. This year’s Withers does have an interesting field, however; This One’s For Phil is coming into the race with a good record, but I will have my eye on Gone Astray. You never know who may show up to be a threat in Maryland, even if recent history does not smile upon new shooters in the Preakness.

In actual Derby news, you’ve likely heard about Quality Road’s second quarter crack by now as it’s all over the Twitterverse; all systems are reported to be go at this point, but it’s certainly a worry. It was also announced that Alan Garcia will retain the mount on Regal Ransom with Ramon Dominguez taking Desert Party. Only eight more days…

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