Some post-Super Bowl Sunday thoughts on the this Monday morning:
- Every year, I seem to have to have similar thoughts as the Derby trail progresses from week to week: we need to wait until the next race in order to try and put the most recent preps in perspective. That adage is pretty apt this week following a trio of quirky preps that included a ridiculously small field at Santa Anita, a hard charging closer at Aqueduct, and a gate-to-wire winner at Tampa Bay Downs.
Visually, Revolutionary's victory in the Withers looked fantastic but the race came back fairly middling in terms of the figures, as did all the preps on Saturday. Of course, he had a pretty brutal trip all the way around the track, so we can probably figure he'd have run several ticks faster with a clean trip. But that just takes me back to Lookin At Lucky a few years ago, a horse that seemed to find bad trips like they were going out of style.
While it's always good to take figures and ratings with a grain of salt given many of the subjective decisions involved in coming up with par values, daily variants and a final figure, one of the only truly objective ways to measure performance is the clock. How a horse runs a fractions or a final time is certainly debatable, but the time is the time. And perhaps more to the point, it's easier for me to cast into doubt a specific number if there is some disagreement between various systems. But that's not what we've got with last Saturday's races. While the various systems may disagree on which of those three races was the best that day, all of the figures/systems pretty much agree: overall, those three preps were probably average, at best. But it's still a long way to the first Saturday in May and, perhaps, these are just the bottom steps up to the top.
- Revolutionary will head to back to Florida but is expected to make his next start in the Wood Memorial on April 6. Trainer Todd Pletcher continues his "two prep" philosophy with his Derby horses which, for me, seems a little light.
- The January handle/purse numbers are in and it's a mixed bag. Handle was down 2.02% as compared to January of 2011. Purses were up 0.42%. The number or racing days declined from 315 to 296.
- Do you remember when Sign won the G2-Pocahontas at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28? Well, she's been disqualified due to a positive drug test. According to the Daily Racing Form, Sign tested "positive for the banned medication methocarbomol, a Class C drug found in a commonly used muscle relaxant known as Robaxin."s
The ruling will be appealed to the full Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Runner-up Gal About Town is now the official winner of the Pocahontas.
- And finally, the early Triple Crown nominations are out.