Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher
Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch
Breezed a half in :48 1/5 for much anticipated start in the Wood Memorial. There doesn’t appear to be anyone who can test him to any degree, so he’ll have to rely on himself and Johnny V to get enough out of the race. Regardless of who runs, expect to see him sit back off the pace, or at least attempt to. There may not be anyone fast enough to outrun him.
Dialed In Nick Zito
Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat
He had the two fastest Brisnet closing pace figures this year and demonstrated that powerful kick once again, establishing himself as one of the top 2 or 3 horses to beat on May 7. He’s a little light on experience, but has a world of ability. He had to run a :47 flat half within the body of the race just to stay within relative striking distance. Once Leparoux steps on the gas, he can turn it on quickly.No, he didn't come fast, but of the 8 other dirt races on the card, no winner came from farther back than 1 1/2 lengths, so there definitely was a speed bias.
Premier Pegasus Myung Kwon Cho
Fusaichi Pegasus—Squall Linda, by Summer Squall
Worked a bullet 5 furlongs in :59 1/5, fastest of 17 works at the distance. He started picking it up at the three-eighths pole, and you couldn’t ask for him to be any sharper right now. He’ll be tough to beat in the Santa Anita Derby if he runs anywhere near the race he ran in the San Felipe. Loved the way he came back after the race, prancing along with his neck arched.
The Factor Bob Baffert
War Front—Greyciousness, by Miswaki
Turned in a super work, going 6 furlongs in 1:11 2/5, out in 1:23 4/5. It took a little while, but he has bounced back from his brilliant effort in the Rebel and is “doing great,” according to Baffert. He will return to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby and try to take the next step up; second time two turns will tell a lot. But he certainly is as fast as any 3-year-old out there, maybe faster, and has the stride to carry him a distance of ground.
Jaycito Bob Baffert
Victory Gallop—Night Edition, by Ascot Knight
Worked six furlongs in 1:13 2/5, out in 1:26 1/5 for the Santa Anita Derby. Baffert is expecting a big effort with the San Felipe under his belt. He’ll be closing again, but needs to be in the picture this time to show he can be competitive against faster horses. He did gallop out past Premier Pegasus in the San Felipe for whatever that’s worth. He’s not a big, robust horse and Baffert’s goal is just to get him in peak condition on Derby Day and let his pedigree stretch kick take it from there.
Silver Medallion Steve Asmussen
Badge of Silver—Another Vegetarian, by Stalwart
He had been turning in some sharp six-furlong works at Santa Anita, but after his seven-furlong work in 1:23 3/5 you have to assume he will handle the dirt just fine and perhaps even move up on it. He is improving with every race and that makes him dangerous. He also has become Garrett Gomez’ main Derby hope right now. Looking for a big effort on Saturday.
Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo
Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche
He seems to be coming along nicely after losing his shoe in the Louisiana Derby and returning with a slightly sore foot. He just needs to get that cleared up completely and get in some heavy-duty works coming off a 6-week layoff. He’s scheduled to work April 9. That will be a very important work and could determine his next ranking.
Shackleford Dale Romans
Forestry—Oatsee, by Unbridled
What is most impressive about this colt is that he is still very green. He was ducking in and out in his allowance win and ducked out badly from a left-hand whip in the Florida Derby, but dug in and gutted it out when Dialed In came charging alongside and made the winner work for every inch. And that was after going 5-wide into the first turn and setting a very stiff pace, two seconds faster than the Skip Away Stakes for older horses the race before. He also galloped out strong. His one bad effort is still a puzzler and obviously has to be thrown out. If he can be effective sitting off the pace he could be a major player, especially with maturity. And he has plenty of class and stamina in his pedigree.
Pants on Fire Kelly Breen
Jump Start—Cabo de Noche, by Cape Town
This year in particular you want to see a horse starting to get good at the right time and his big jump up in the Louisiana Derby, plus his pedigree and foundation suggest better things to come. He seems to have found his best running style, sitting just off the pace. We seem to be getting more and more speed horses and stalkers stepping forward, and that could be a problem for horses like him and Shackleford.
Anthony’s Cross Eoin Harty
Indian Charlie—Screening, by Unbridled
You sure can’t fault this horse based on the way he’s been training. He followed up his :46 4/5 work with a sharp six-furlong-drill in 1:12 2/5. He hasn’t run in a while, so he just needs to turn in a sharp effort in the Santa Anita Derby. He definitely will be under the radar, despite his latest works, but has the credentials to make his presence felt.
Sway Away Jeff Bonde
Afleet Alex—Seattle Shimmer, by Seattle Slew
It’s getting really confusing figuring out where these horses belong and who is fast enough. Going to take a chance that the lost tooth in the Rebel really affected him after his brilliant 5-furlong “breeze” in :59 3/5. He’s faster than most of these horses, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him rebound big-time. Watching the head-on, he was throwing his back and forth the opening quarter-mile, so maybe he did have a legitimate excuse. He was shying from the whip in the stretch and was herded out even farther in the final 100 yards. If he’s as good as he was in the San Vicente, he will be very dangerous.
Elite Alex Tim Ritchey
Afleet Alex – Catch the Moment, by Unbridled
Some feel he needs to be given another chance to show how good he really is and others feel he’s just a plodder who doesn’t belong. It’s way too early to categorize him, considering his trips, and he deserves another shot, which he’ll be given in the Arkansas Derby. It was a tough decision whether to put him or Archarcharch in this spot; like them both. But there’s good chance the latter will be on next week.
Astrology Steve Asmussen
A.P. Indy—Quiet Eclipse, by Quiet American
We sure as heck aren’t dropping him now; at least not until he drops himself. He could very well show up in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race against older horses on the Arkansas Derby undercard. Even the Northern Spur at a mile for 3-year-olds is an option. He doesn’t need the earnings and just has to improve his speed figs and run a big race. Either race would be a better spot than the Arkansas Derby at this point after the hard race he ran at Sunland.
This final spot is extremely close, with Archarcharch
, and Santiva
all noses apart. Even Toby's Corner
could be put up there along with several others. Toby's Corner has a big shot to pick up the needed earnings this weekend. He loves the slop and the forecast is for showers Friday and Saturday in New York. Any of the first three mentioned could conceivably show up on the list next week, as the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass approach. I think Archarcharch is going to run a big race, and we’ll see if they run Nehro back in three weeks. Taking a wait-and-see approach with Santiva; not sure how much the Blue Grass is going to do for him, but he’s still a legitimate contender. Soldat
, To Honor and Serve
, and Stay Thirsty
all ran too poorly to keep them on. That was no place for a dramatic regression, and To Honor and Serve didn’t improve at all.
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