1: Pyro is a monster. He confirmed what a lot of people thought after watching the Risen Star, and this time, the skeptics (admittedly, I was one of them) have no excuses. His style, pedigree and eye-popping late kick make him perfectly suited for the Kentucky Derby. He and War Pass are so far ahead of their rivals right now that it is scary. And if War Pass should falter in the Tampa Bay Derby this weekend, Pyro will undoubtedly jump to the top of most everyone's list. Pyro made a believer out of me. Am I ready to put him ahead of War Pass right now? Not so fast. Let's see what happens this weekend.
Personally, it will be hard for me to root for Pyro knowing that he will most likely be retired after the Breeders' Cup. Best case scenario, he has six more races until going to stud. Enjoy him while he lasts.
2: You can't enter a tough prep race after a significant layoff and expect to win. Tale of Ekati and Majestic Warrior both proved that. All week we heard how great both were training, but when push came to shove, neither were ready. We should have known something was up when Barclay Tagg said Tale of Ekati "wasn't where he wanted him to be" in January. And apparently the foot injury that Majestic Warrior suffered before the Breeders' Cup took more out of him than Bill Mott knew (or let on). Also, to think that J Be K was ready to tackle that competition after two sprint wins was absurd.
Will any or all of them improve for their final Derby prep? Probably. But they better make significant progress or kiss the Derby goodbye.
3: Blackberry Road lacks that little something extra. It's a shame because I really like this horse. But for the third time in a row he put himself in position to win and did not have that zip in the final furlong. And unlike the previous two, he had no excuse in the La. Derby. I'm not ready to give up on him yet, but like the others above, it's now or never time.
4: Visionaire was impressive. It's not so much that he won the Gotham (admittedly, the competition was much weaker than La. Derby), but how he did it. A few days before the race Michael Matz told me that he would likley scratch Visionaire if the track at Aqueduct was too sloppy, so I was a little surprised that he even decided to run him. It was a calculated gamble that paid off. Because of the fog on TV it was impossible to tell just how much ground he ate up in the stretch, but suffice it to say that his late move to catch Texas Wildcatter was impressive - especially for only his second try around two turns. Don't forget that he broke from post 10 as well, usually a death trap on the inner track.
5. There wasn't a lot of value in Pool 2 of Future Wager. I know a lot of you will disagree with this one, but I just didn't see anything that was worth the gamble. Maybe that's because War Pass and Pyro look to be in another class, however, even horses that I am still high on were not returning enough for my liking. Court Vision (16-1), Colonel John (17-1) and Visionaire (19-1) are perfect examples. At this rate, I can't see where their Derby Day odds will be significantly higher than that. Z Fortune at 33-1 may have been the best bet out there.