Zarkava and Sea The Stars produce "super foal"...and other news

PARIS - OCTOBER 05: Zarkava ridden by jockey Christophe Soumillon wins the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on October 5, 2008 in Longchamp, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

A look at some of the items making news in the world of horse racing, including first start plans for Uncle Mo, a Fountain of Youth that looks like it will have a loaded field, news about TV coverage of this year's Belmont Stakes, and an eagerly awaited foal from a couple of Arc winners. 

-It was expected that current Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo would make his three-year-old debut in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12th.  According to an article at BloodHorse.com, owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher are considering running Uncle Mo in the ungraded Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream on the same day.  The Timely Writer will be run as a one turn mile. 

The Derby favorite debuting in a listed stakes race (against what will likely be a middling to poor field) is a fairly lackluster proposition; I don't know that a 8.5 furlong workout is really going to do much for Uncle Mo.

-The Fountain of Youth Stakes, scheduled to run on February 26th at Gulfsttream Park, looks like it's going to feature a very competitive field (BloodHorse: Fountain of Youth Coming up Strong) as Gourmet Dinner, To Honor and Serve, Dialed In, Soldat, Bowman's Cuaseway, Casper's Touch, and Shackleford are probable entries.

-The 2008 and 2009 winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe are the proud parents of a bay colt foaled on February 11th.  The foal is the result of a mating between Sea The Stars (2009 Arc winner) and Zarkava (2008 Arc winner).

-The Belmont Stakes will not be returning to ESPN/ABC this spring, as the Disney-owned networks pulled out of negotiations to televise his year's event (Thoroughbred Times: ABC/ESPN bows out of Belmont talks).  It now appears likely that the Belmont, along with the Derby and the Preakness, will be back on NBC. 

-It's probably too early to be concerned about the graded earnings list for Triple Crown nominated horses but there's probably four horses that have locked up enough earnings to get into the Derby should they so desire.  The current Top 20 is below along with a few thoughts on the current standings.

#

Horse

Earnings

1

Uncle Mo

  1,260,000

2

Gourmet Dinner

     700,000

3

J P's Gusto

     490,000

4

Comma to the Top

     456,000

5

Turbulent Descent (f)

     295,550

6

Soldat

     270,000

7

Rogue Romance

     258,000

8

Dialed In

     240,000

t9

Clubhouse Ride

     210,000

t9

To Honor and Serve

     210,000

t11

Decisive Moment

     200,000

t11

Jaycito

     200,000

13

Santiva

     180,254

14

Anthony's Cross

     162,000

15

Riveting Reason

     147,500

16

Blue Laser

     143,502

17

Willcox Inn

     139,000

18

Silver Medallion

     124,334

t19

Brethren

     120,000

t19

Sweet Ducky

     120,000

 

Uncle Mo and Gourmet Dinner are absolute locks at this point, and I'd be shocked if 18 horses picked up $400,000 in earnings to pass both J P's Gusto and Comma to the Top.  Assuming everyone stays healthy and on the Derby trail (something that is never a given), there are essentially 16 spots in the starting gate still up for grabs.

For those looking to solidify their position - Soldat, Rogue Romance, Dialed In, Clubhouse Ride, To Honor and Serve, Decisive Moment, and Jaycito - a single win in a race worth at least $500,000 will likely lock them into the starting gate. 

Turbulent Descent, a filly, was nominated to the Triple Crown by her connections.  It doesn't mean she'll run, but she'll be included in the earnings list going forward.

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