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There Was Some Racing, Too

Last weekend’s Derby preps may, unfortunately, become more remembered for what happened off the track (and not even to horses pointed toward Kentucky) – all thanks to Jeff Mullins, conditioner for I Want Revenge. But let’s set him aside for the moment to recall how things went in California.

Naturally, hearing that The Pamplemousse was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby (and the subsequent news that he will be out at least six months) was a disappointment, but otherwise the Santa Anita Derby went off according to the script. Pioneerof the Nile won as expected in the absence of his on-paper rival, with a fine second-place finish by Chocolate Candy (who seemed to me like he might have caught the favorite in a slightly longer race). While I’m still not entirely convinced how his form will translate to real dirt (although I’m not a total synthetic/dirt unbeliever), I’m keeping him quite high up on the Top Ten list (and bumping up Chocolate Candy):

1) I Want Revenge
2) Quality Road
3) Pioneerof the Nile
4) Friesan Fire
5) Chocolate Candy
6) Old Fashioned
7) Regal Ransom
8) Papa Clem
9) Mafaaz
10) Dunkirk

Regardless of the shady shenanigans going on around I Want Revenge (who, like jockey Joe Talamo, is on Twitter now – hat tip to Green But Game), a performance like the one he turned in in the Wood Memorial rocketed him to the top of the list. It’s really a shame that rumors of doping will be hanging around the horse who overcame every unfortunate thing (including the break, pictured) that happened to him in Saturday’s race to win impressively – even at that level, most horses would have been effectively taken out of their race a number of times, yet he prevailed (thanks in no small part to a very smart ride by the aforementioned young Mr. Talamo). I’d love to at least see a switch to a different trainer, but I also live in the real world and know that is unlikely at this point – but it would save the sport (not to mention the horse) a lot of unpleasantness in the coming weeks.

The news of Quality Road’s quarter crack came after I submitted this week’s list for the Paulick Derby Index, but if recent reports are to be believed, it’s not a bad one – we’ll see how it goes. I’m not thrilled that Friesan Fire isn’t racing again before the Derby and I’m on the fence about his fellow Larry Jones trainee, Old Fashioned, but both remain very much on the list (along with the foreign horses). Papa Clem and Dunkirk are the two I really can’t decide about – but Papa Clem will at least get the chance to face Old Fashioned in Hot Springs next weekend.

Check back later in the week for more on both the Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass and the sure-to-be ongoing saga of Jeff Mullins and the non-war on drugs…

2 comments to There Was Some Racing, Too

  • Wind Gatherer

    That’s the ticket. Just let everyone forget about Papa Clem. Keep him on the back burner and let his Derby Day odds float up to 25-1….Then we cash. Nice!

    Between you and me, of course.

  • Jessica

    And me … Papa Clem’s been lingering in the bottom half of my top 10 all season. I believe he could be the second coming of Giacomo.

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