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Three-Year-Olds & Thumbs Up

Rachel Alexandra

Gaining 100 pounds can be good for some

Road to the Roses kicks off this weekend, and while I have no idea why the Turf Paradise Derby and the El Camino Real Derby are scoring races (although at least the latter is graded),  the rest should be very interesting indeed.

First up is the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park, which includes a little potential owner/trainer/owner drama.  You may recall that Paul Pompa sold most of Big Brown to IEAH, and that his participation in the horse’s career seemed more marginal after that (not surprising, given the amount of cash involved).  He’s back this time with D’Funnybone, trained by Rick Dutrow.  Also trained by Rick Dutrow is British-bred Radiohead – now (mostly) owned by IEAH.  As neither horse excelled in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, it’s hard to separate the two at this point – so I am more interested in A Little Warm and Wildcat Frankie, despite the opportunity Radiohead presents to continually drop in lyrics.  Will the Karma Police be on hand if things go all ‘Jersey Shore?’

Also at Gulfstream, the Fountain of Youth features the hyped Buddy’s Saint as well as Jackson BendEskendereya and Aikenite are both horses I would enjoy watching much more if they were not trained by Todd Pletcher, which essentially guarantees that one of them will finish last in the Derby.  But despite the jinx, I have a lot of time for Eskendereya and expect to see a good performance from him.

Moving to the Fair Grounds, the Risen Star has also attracted an interesting lineup.  I’m not sold on Ron the Greek yet; it will curious to see how he takes on Tempted to Tapit and Drosselmeyer.  If nothing else, Tempted to Tapit will be carrying the banner for the Jockey Club’s inability to identify modern slang. One presumes they at least recognized Drosselmeyer’s name from their ballet season tickets.

While it won’t ‘count’ for Road to the Roses, the Southwest is back on at Oaklawn Park for this Saturday with the same field – post positions are a bit different, but it should still be a good test for Dublin, Dryfly, Conveyance and, of course, Cardiff Giant.

Oaklawn is to be commended not only for pulling the Rachel AlexandraZenyatta Apple Blossom together, but also for actually marketing the event with a decent website and Twitter account.  The news that they’ll be opening the infield for the sold-out race is equally encouraging – it’s nice that someone in this industry actually gets how to do this.   Here’s hoping for an announcement about a traditional media partner in the very near future.  And given that both mares had great workouts yesterday (Rachel Alexandra looks pretty fabulous in today’s picture), it seems that we’re all systems go – for now.

But there’s another top older horse at work, too – although in this case he’s flying somewhat under the radar.  Gio Ponti is making his 2010 debut on turf in the Tampa Bay Stakes with a view toward the Dubai World Cup.  He’s the overwhelming standout in the field, so it should be an easy return to racing for the 5-year-old.

Remember to update your active horses (I find it too shameful to call them Power Horses this year)!

Finally, in parting, please enjoy this link to a photo of Zarkava and her Dalakhani filly.  It’s like an adorable basket of kittens, only better – no need to feed them!

1 comment to Three-Year-Olds & Thumbs Up

  • Toni

    Okay, I’ll try RttR this year.. although most of my choices aren’t terribly serious! Your blog and TBA are what got me into horse racing in 2007, so it’s neat to see everyone’s stables. Sleipnir is a great name, by the way!

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