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Last Chances and New Beginnings


Can Uptowncharlybrown pull it off?

Back in the day, the Derby Trial used to be a legitimate Kentucky Derby prep (and we’ll mention that more next week); nowadays, the two-week turnaround from the Coolmore Lexington to the Derby seems a nearly insurmountable challenge.  But graded earnings can be hard to obtain, and it’s the last likely spot in which to earn any, and so a few potential Derby starters are looking to hit the board – ideally, without working too hard at it.

Connemara should perform well here, given his respectable record on synthetic surfaces, but whether the son of Giant’s Causeway will find it a useful Derby prep is another question – he has the look of a synthetic specialist about him.  Uptowncharlybrown will make headlines just for his appearance here; the unexpected death on Monday of his trainer, Alan Seewald, has thrust the spotlight directly upon the chestnut colt with his own blog and Facebook page.  While he will be a sentimental choice, it would also be nice to see a horse who also had some bad luck in the Tampa Bay Derby get another shot – and at least we know he can run on dirt, and I have a soft spot for his sire, Limehouse.  While Kettle River also looks the part of a synthetics-only performer, he did not show much in the Sham, which was his first outing in stakes competition.  Nevertheless, last week’s odd results suggest he’s worth keeping an eye on. I could also see Chief Counsel hitting the board, but doubt that would get him to the Derby – and again, he seems better suited to Polytrack.

In other news, Stardom Bound has been retired, and she’ll be hustled into the breeding shed for a meeting with Big Brown.  While I’d agree she seems beyond her best on the track, I can think of plenty of better matings…sigh.

But there’s an interesting report of a filly across the pond – 3-year-old Deluxe won her second start in France; the daughter of Hasili is aiming to join her siblings as a top-flight racehorse.  She’ll start next in the French 1000 Guineas – remember her name come Breeders’ Cup time!

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