I took a few days to unplug from the track after the Derby; after weeks of build-up, the post-Derby hangover (kind of like the post-Breeders' Cup hangover) requires a few days to recharge the batteries. But with Preakness week on the horizon (RIP Kegasus), it's time to get back in the saddle.
Some random thoughts and news on this Mothers Day Morning:
- It's amazing how much better a horse can run when he can actually get out of the gate in good order. Freedom Child, bet down from morning line odds of 12/1 to 7/2 (yuk) simply dominated the Peter Pan in the slop/mud/rain at Belmont yesterday, a nice return to the track as the disaster that was the Wood memorial. Freedom Child is expected to run in the Belmont Stakes for his next start, according to Claire Noak at the BloodHorse.com.
- Departing worked a half-mile in 50.40 this morning at Churchill Downs in his final Preakness preparation. The Illinois Derby winner is scheduled to fly to Pimlico on Wednesday, according to the Daily Racing Form.
- In a bit of an odds change of plans, trainer Edward Plesa, Jr., cancelled Itsmyluckyday's work for Saturday morning, and instead will turn in his final Preakness work at Monmouth Park between races 3 and 4 on Sunday afternoon.
- While the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies didn't produce a Kentucky Derby or Oaks winner, the Juvenile Fillies Turf produced the winners of the English and French 1000 Guineas. The French 1000 Guineas, or Poule d'Essai des Pouiches, went to BC Juvenile Fillies winner Flotilla (FR), while the English version was won by the post time favorite in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Sky Latern (IRE). That's certainly a "feather in the cap" of that particular Breeders' Cup race.
- And finally, the connections of Animal Kingdom have decided to race the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, and not the Prince of Wales's Stakes. The Queen Anne is a one mile race on the straight, while the Prince of Wales's is ten furlongs with a left-handed turn. The Racing Post quoted trained Graham Motion on the reason for the decision.
"The mile at Ascot is closer to a mile-and-an-eighth race in America because of the layout and if Animal Kingdom were racing in America at this time, we probably would be running him over that distance."
That seems like the right decision to me; while Animal Kingdom has never raced on the straight, he's also never attempted an undulating course like Ascot. Throw in the unknown issue of the going, and the Queen Anne feels like the safer, better bet. If for some reason the ground were to be "Yielding" or worse during Royal Ascot (which hopefully won't happen), I think the Prince of Wales's might be just a bit more than Animal Kingdom could handle. Even on ground rated "Good to Firm", it might not be the best fit.