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Conspiracies and Countdowns

Game on

Game on

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you – while Crisp certainly looked fine in her upset victory in the Santa Anita Oaks, it was a race Blind Luck ‘had to lose’ to stave off Derby fever – hence the change to her usual running style (and the troubled trip overall). An easy victory would have made it harder to argue that she should stick with her own sex (for now), and this keeps her on the road to the Kentucky Oaks, rather than the Derby. In all seriousness, the top three finishers all looked good – and Blind Luck, in particular, looked like she’d relish some extra distance. There’s always the Belmont…

I’m not entirely sold on the colts who ran last weekend (yet) – I liked Awesome Act’s performance in the Gotham, but I’m not quite ready to add him to my top list at present (although I have no good reason for that – I like a versatile horse who can perform on different surfaces); however, he definitely merits further consideration. The same goes for Sham winner Alphie’s Bet, the subject (along with his trainer, Alexis Barba) of a fine article by Joe Drape – I want to see how both horses look in their next starts.

The fact is that the Derby trail is simply not as compelling as what’s happening next Saturday – Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra are both making their yearly debuts. Zenyatta (pictured) has been assigned 127 pounds in the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita; while she’s carrying the high weight, she’s won with more, and the field should not offer her any trouble – she worked another bullet on Friday in preparation, and on paper, it’s another paid workout for her on Saturday.

As for Rachel Alexandra, not many have elected to take her on in the New Orleans Ladies; although she won’t be 100% fit, the field of four other mares should (in theory) still be easy pickings, even with the addition of John Sheriffs’ talented Brazilian trainee Zardana. Still, as this race is really a prep for the Apple Blossom (and it looks as though Rachel Alexandra has been bored with her layoff and needs a race), we’ll wait to see how things pan out – her last work was impressive. We’ll have more on both races as well as Lookin At Lucky’s 3-year-old debut later in the week.

Finally, while things did not pan out for St Trinians in the Big Cap, nicely won by Misremembered, another mare went against the boys and came away with a win – Proviso took home the Kilroe Mile in the final strides, becoming the first filly or mare to win the race. Formerly trained by Bobby Frankel and now in the care of Bill Mott, the British-bred bay has a starry pedigree (by Dansili, so she’s a grand-daughter of Hasili) and has finished within striking distance of Goldikova in France – perhaps she’ll prove a bigger threat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile this year…

4 comments to Conspiracies and Countdowns

  • Nice catch on the score by Proviso. That’s a similar pedigree to Canada’s horse of the year Champs Elysees if I’m not mistaken…(Danehill/Hasili)

  • Finally we get to see racing’s leading ladies run again, it seems like it’s been a life-time.
    I’m not a big believer in Awesome Act either, it seems to me like he was running against the “leftovers”, those horses who weren’t yet ready to face the big boys.

  • Keith: Champs Elysees is a brother to the top sire Dansili, sire of Proviso. I don’t mean to lecture to you or the author of this excellent blog, but in pedigree parlance a granddam is used to connote the 2nd dam of the horse, not to the horse’s sire’s dam.

    Therefore, Ta Wee, to use the example at the left, is the dam of Great Above, but Holy Bull’s granddam is Agathea’s Dawn.

  • Colonel Jessep

    Everybody is looking forward to Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom and rightly so. However, Goldikova versus Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot could be a clash of two of the best milers Europe has seen in recent years.

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