Sunday, April 4, 2010


To quickly sum up this weekend's preps we saw a monster unleashed, another stopped in his tracks and finally, a roar of redemption.

The monster is of course, Eskendereya who won the Wood Memorial in what looked like a public workout. Yes, it was visually impressive (the new race day buzz word of 2010) and under nothing more than a statuesque hand ride by Johnny V. But before we annotate him the next Triple Crown champ let's remember he's beat a horse with distance limitations and questionable breeding in Jackson Bend twice and two pretty weak fields back-to-back. I'm not completely sold on his eventual favoritism.

Can't a guy catch a break? In his last three races Lookin at Lucky has been parked in the grandstands (Breeders Cup Juvenile), was forced into traffic and clipped heals (Rebel) and yesterday forced into the rail by a jock going nowhere on a 50-1 looking for vengeance (Santa Anita Derby). Despite it all, he has been nipped by a nose, then nipped back by the same nose before finishing an honorable third yesterday. He exudes class and has been battle-tested - a must for any Derby contender and likely co-favorite. For me, Lookin at Lucky gets better grades than Eskendereya from yesterday and will likely be my key horse in all Derby wagers. You should also realize trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby after Santa Anita loses - twice.

And yes, American Lion came back to his earlier form and came home a winner in the Illinois Derby. What this means, I'm not sure, but he probably will add to a much anticipated and most likely contested pace in this year's Derby.


  1. I’m glad to see another person who still ranks Lookin At Lucky above Eskendereya although I think Eskendereya deserves a ton of credit for defeating a field that I think was pretty impressive. I am surprised that you think Jackson Bend has distance limitations still. All he’s done in his last three starts is finish second every time behind monster efforts while beating every other horse that shows up.
    Lookin At Lukcy had the worst trip imaginable, and to still get up for third like he did was amazing. Baffert said he came out of the Santa Anita Derby better than any of his other races, so I’m still expecting him to roll at Churchill Downs the first Saturday in May. Just one think I wanted to point out, when you were referencing Lukcy’s last three starts I think you forgot the Cashcall Futurity on December 19th after the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and before the Rebel.

  2. For some reason I have a mental block around the Cashcall Futurity...

  3. Tony,
    I agree that Eskendereya got off very lightly in the Wood. A six-horse field and only one legitimate challenger in Awesome Act. But unfortunately, Awesome Act threw a shoe, wouldn't rate, and Leparoux had him in a strangle hold most of the way. And Eskendereya finished off an easy pace that was 49.21 in the first half-mile. He should have won easily and he did. I hope he's the ML favorite.

    Lucky had a horrible trip, and it seemed to me that Gomez goofed by letting him get pinned down on the rail. Why try to save ground if you've got plenty of horse to circle the field? I hope Lucky came out okay, because he's the one to beat May 1st.