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Around the Backstretch

Some thoughts and comments on the events making news in the horse racing world on this Monday afternoon:

  • Lookin At Lucky will in fact ship to Arkansas for the Rebel. (via the Daily Racing From)  As I said in a post several days ago, this is a good move by Bob Baffert to find out what he's got with this colt on dirt.  No reason to show up in Louisville with a nice looking horse only to see him hate the surface and finish behind a wall of horses at the finish line.  If Lookin At Lucky takes to the Oaklawn dirt, like Conveyance did in the Southwest, then he would immediately vault up my own personal contender rankings. 

    That same DRF article notes that Baffert is leaning towards sending Conveyance (winner of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn) to Sunland Park for the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 28th.  The Sunland Derby has a purse of $800,000 and will likely attract several more big name contenders looking to add to their graded earnings.  Conveyance currently has $210,000 in graded earnings, good for 17th among three year olds. 

  • Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 closed on Sunday.  The field was again the betting favorite, this time at 3/1.  I've already written as to why I think "The Field" is a horrible bet in a future wager, so I won't re-hash it.  I'll just say this: if the winner of this year's Derby wasn't among the 24 available wagering interests last weekend, the horse will almost certainly pay a lot more than 3/1.  A lot more.
  • Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta will make their "highly anticipated" 2010 debuts this Saturday at the Fair Grounds and Santa Anita, respectively.  Both races will probably amount to nothing more than glorified workouts, but at least we'll finally see some racing.  Rachel will face four other fillies in the ungraded New Orleans Ladies Stakes, while Zenyatta will face a yet-to-be-determined number of fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita.

    Rachel put in her final work prior to her race by breezing four furlongs in :49 flat over the Fair Grounds main track.  Trainer Steve Asmussen described the work as "beautiful", which apparently means Rachel is doing better than she was just one day earlier when Asumssen said that he was "very concerned about her fitness level".  Maybe Rachel just needed to eat a healthy breakfast.

    Not to be outdone, Zenyatta recorded a bullet work last Friday morning over the Hollywood Park cushion  track by covering six furlongs in 1:11.80 while in company.  No word on what Zenyatta had for breakfast.
  • Reigning Japanese Horse of the Year, Vodka, who was in Dubai preparing to run in the World Cup, has apparently been retired and will be bred to 2009 Arc winner, Sea The Stars.  This really shouldn't be a shock to anyone that saw her run in the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan on Thursday morning as she didn't at all appear interested in running.  She's a two-time Japanese Horse of the Year and has proven all she needs to on the track, if she's ready for retirement then it's probably a good time to make that happen.
  • In case anybody miseed it, Misremembered won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday after pressing a quick pace and then holding off Neko Bay in deep, deep stretch.  Misremembered is trained by Bob Baffert.  He is owned by Bob Baffert.  And he is also a Bob Baffert homebred.  No word on if Bob will name himself the jockey for future races.  
  • My own personal handicapping was pretty decent this weekend.  While both my picks in the Derby preps pretty much ran up the track I was able to single out a couple of decent prices in Proviso (GB) and Crisp (winners of the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks).  My weekend would have ended on a very high note if I had been able to finish off the All-Turf Pick 4 at Gulfstream yesterday afternoon.  After surviving the first three legs (with a couple of $10+ winners in the process), my dreams of a $2k payout came crashing down when my single, Musca, faded badly in the stretch.

    That's three straight All-Turf Pick 4's at Gulfstream that have paid $1,000 or more for a $1 base bet.  If you can get a read as to how the GP turf course is playing this bet can offer a tremendous amount of value.  

That's it for today.  With the Keeneland opening only a few weeks away I am spending my free time pouring over old spring meet charts and past performances hoping to find some nugget of information that will lead me to fame and glory.  Not a bad way to pass the time while watching college basketball conference tournaments.