Saturday, February 19, 2011

Questions at Fair Grounds

The Grade 2 Risen Star today at the Fair Grounds looks to be where several 3 year old colts will need to step forward and show that they are making headway in learning the racing game.Questions will be asked. Will they have the answers?

In the case of Machen, by Distorted Humor, out of the very fast Ready’s Gal, he will need to show a little less enthusiasm early on, and a little more rateability. The last thing I want to see is him going into that first turn with his mouth wide open; perhaps we may see a change of equipment (figure eight) on him today? The good thing is, Jamie Theriot knows this horse, and I am sure Neil Howard knows best how to address this problem. His turn of foot in his last effort, despite the issues early on, was impressive and if he grows up even a little, he will be tough.

Justin Philip is another nice colt who has shown talent at times, but has been hampered by his awkwardness at the gate in several of his starts. After breaking his maiden in the slop in January , he wore blinkers in his next start. Blinkers, after a win without them, is a curious move and has to be OK’d by the stewards. That experiment did not pan out. Today we are back to “blinkers off”. Has he learned his lessons? We will see. His fancy win in the slop, could have been the result of being out of a Cryptoclearance mare, which would showcase his affinity for the goo. Though it lends some much needed stamina to his pedigree, is he just a mud horse?

Has Eddie Kenneally found the key to Santiva? The colt has made steady progress through the hands of McPeek, Pletcher and now Kenneally, with his last win ( his maiden score) in the Grade2 Ky. JC at Churchill in November. A best out number, out of 4 starts which included grass, and synthetic, he has kept good company in all his races. He had a 6 week break and was put right back to work at Palm Meadows and shows 2 back- to-back minute workouts. He could be all grown up and ready to roll.

Does Rogue Romance like the dirt as much as he likes the turf? His Breeder’s Cup effort was still good, 13 lengths behind Uncle Mo, but he was coming off 2 grass wins. Horses that excel on both turf and dirt are few and far between. Though Ken Mc Peek seems to be very good at switching surfaces with his horses.

Is Mucho Macho Man coming back too quick? And who will be riding him?( Take a moment and say a prayer for Eibar Coa)

For several of these boys, this race could be a turning point.  Now is time to grow up and continue along the Derby trail.

In the Rachel Alexander, though Kathmanblu appears to tower over this field and I’m not saying she’s vulnerable ( again the McPeek turf to dirt move), but there’s a filly in here who will be overlooked and that filly is Tapit Dancer. First she is by TAPIT, need I say more? And though she is coming off her maiden win she has kept good company. In addition, she has improved in each and every race. An ambitious move by Steve Asmussen , why not a NW 1? James Graham had a riding triple last night and is on top of his game. A huge question here for this Tapit filly,and I look forward to seeing how she stacks up.


  1. I'm not sure how much more MACHEN has for the Derby trail after today, but those two wins were MONSTROUS!!! Any colt who can sprint 1:10 and change @ FG to win a debut, then stretch out successfully by open lengths despite tracking a walking pace, is absolutely uncommon talent.

    Unlike CURLIN, who debuted in January of 2007, MACHEN won't have legalized steroids to prevent a regression along the Derby trail. I fear there just isn't enough time for Howard to put the necessary foundation into him.

    For me in the Risen Star, it's MACHEN trying to measure up and surpass juvenile graded stakes winner SANTIVA.

    As for KATHMANBLU, it'll be interesting to see if she will run faster than the boys like she did at Churchill Downs. On November 27 she won the Golden Rod in 1:44 2/5 while SANTIVA won the Kentucky Jockey Club in 1:45 1/5. SANTIVA makes his 2011 debut in the Risen Star.

    Enjoy the races!

    P.S. Any thoughts on the San Vicente tomorrow or the Southwest on Monday?

  2. Hi Am Cap,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    The San Vincente will be an interesting race to watch. Whoever tries to run with The Factor will probably be cooked. But with a speed dual most certain to set up, could a closer get up?
    Seven Furlongs is just a long sprint and maybe The Factor is brilliant enough to hang on. I have my doubts about a horse like that going much further than a mile.
    The horse that's a little interesting in here to me is the outside horse. Might like a return to the dirt, has Victor, and could pick up the pieces, who knows?
    In the Southwest I like Larry Jones' horse, Yankee Passion. Improving numbers, and I think will stretch out with Pleasant Colony on the dam's side.
    Who do YOU like?