Haskin’s Derby Report: Arch Gallops…Or Did He Work?

This will be an abbreviated report, as there wasn’t much activity Tuesday morning. There isn’t much happening on the track as we await the all-important post position draw tomorrow. No one on the Churchill Downs backstretch could remember a more miserable morning – cold, windy, and rainy. Only a handful of Derby horses were out for a gallop on the sloppy track.

One horse, however, had sort of an unusual gallop, depending on how you look at it. Archarcharch was galloping along smoothly when he was joined on the inside by stablemate Supreme Ruler, who was waiting for him nearing the half-mile pole. The two then hooked up and picked up the tempo. At first it appeared as if they were two-minute licking as they passed the quarter pole and headed down the stretch locked together. It looked like an unusual scenario for a mere gallop. As it turned out, the clockers actually caught them going a half in :52 and put it down as a recorded work.

Regardless whether you considered it a work or not, Archarcharch was striding out beautifully and seemed to be handling the track great. This colt has made an excellent appearance on and off the track and is doing as well as anyone. We’re beginning to like more him each day.

Another horse who seems to be flourishing is Shackleford, who had another strong gallop. For such a big, long-striding colt he is very athletic, even on such a wet track that had a lot of standing water on top. Trainer Dale Romans is beaming with confidence and is hoping to draw more toward the outside where he can sit back a bit and track whoever winds up on the lead.

Following right behind Shackleford was the slop-loving Soldat, who had another powerful gallop. As we mentioned yesterday, he is looking good and is another who is doing well.

Dialed In was out for another of his marathon gallops with his neck slightly bowed and in good rhythm. He has a short stride in his gallops and doesn’t extend it much, but does seem to appreciate the long spins, especially considering how few works he’s had this year.

Comma to the Top, the horse who definitely wasn’t being pointed for the Derby, arrived this morning with the California contingent around 1 o’clock. His coat looked good and he appears to have traveled well. This $22,000 gelding is the throwback of the Derby field, having made 13 starts, beginning back last May in a 4 ½-furlong maiden claiming race at Hollywood Park. In the 12 months he’s been racing he’s made at least one start in 11 of those months, and he’s run hard every time, racing on or near the lead. He has as many victories as half the field has starts. Whether you like his chances or not you have to respect and admire him for his resilience and consistency. And you can bet he’s going to be on the lead, unless he gets a bad start and someone else is intent on setting the pace, which is highly unlikely.

You have to feel badly for the connections of Toby’s Corner, who was beginning to get a great deal of support and who looked be improving dramatically since the addition of blinkers.

Two people who missed out on their chance to run in the Derby this year are owner James Covello, who had Rushaway Stakes winner Swift Warrior fall off the Derby trail, and bloodstock agent and racing manager Nick Sallusto, who had purchased Silver Medallion for Steve Marshall, but lost any shot of getting in the Derby when the colt could only finish fourth in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II).

But Covello and Sallusto do have a rooting interest in the Derby after purchasing a yearling half-brother to Archarcharch, by Silver Train.

Master of Hounds arrived at Churchill Downs this morning, and we’re really looking forward to seeing this intriguing colt out on the track in the next couple of days.

So, with weather finally beginning to clear up, at least for a couple of days, and with tomorrow’s post position draw, we’ll have a lot to report as we get closer to the big day.


Leave a Comment:

steve from st louis

Steve, Isn't this deja vu again? Didn't this happen years ago with a potential Derby horse who wouldn't work fast enough to get on the workout tab? Am I just so old everything looks familiar? Help me out, apparently I need it.

03 May 2011 5:41 PM

The ghost of 'OL BOB BOWERS will be haunting the winners circle may,7 2011....

03 May 2011 5:49 PM
Indiana Johnny

I'm sticking with my main 2 that I've had for some time now, Soldat and MMM, and will be using them in a 4 horse tri box and keyed with 1 more in a 3x5x7 tri wheel. Its the others I keep changing my mind on, I think I've had the whole field at one time or another!

03 May 2011 7:54 PM
Mister Frisky

The news of Tobys defection has ruined my week .I would like to wish him a happy birthday tomorrow.Thanks again for the Wood score and get well soon.

03 May 2011 9:36 PM

There is a rumor going around on a couple of blogs that Dialed In took a bad step and may not run. I hope this is not true.

If it is raining I will be betting on Soldat and Archarcharch. If dry, Mucho Macho Man and Dialed In.

03 May 2011 11:30 PM

I don't think clockers times under the sloppy conditions the past few days have any relevence at all. As a trainer you would simply be wanting your colt to relax and get acclimated to the surroundings. I have not heard that MOH ships poorly so he should be fine after the overseas trip. Shackleford is an enigma that could make the race very interesting. Still sticking with my original choice Soldat though.

04 May 2011 9:06 AM

I agree with "many" and "indiana johnny" above, that the ghost of Ole Bob Bowers will be present.  As soon as I looked at Soldat's pedigree, I was shocked to find Ole Bob Bowers back there.  That's the exact thing I thought when I looked at it.  And I haven't even been keeping up with this year's Derby contenders.  Just went on the Bloodhorse today to get updated.  It's Soldat.  Believe me.

04 May 2011 9:07 AM
Zen's Auntie

I know shocking right? a horse that "works" so often... he looked Marvelous Jinx is the man...

Master of Hounds is an impresive colt I really liked him last fall and he looks like he has grown up a bunch.

04 May 2011 10:39 AM

HUGE developments from Churchill Downs. Read the courier journal. Mo most likely to be scratched

04 May 2011 11:59 AM
Zen's Auntie

Oh you are KILLING me AnneM really?? Steve Haskin, PLEASE tell me it aint true.

04 May 2011 1:51 PM

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