Monday, February 14, 2011

"Oh Brethren.. Where Art Thou?" - Derby Top 25 for Febraury 14th

BRETHREN, in winning the Sam F Davis Stakes, was the only Derby Top 20 horse that moved forward on the Trail this week. A half brother to last year's Derby winner Super Saver, the 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor easily dispatched an outclassed field.

Brethren, purple cap, dusts the field coming out of the turn, coasting to a win in the Sam F. Davis. (Photo: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos, 1/1600 @ f/5, iso 1000, 500mm)

BRETHREN delayed the start momentarily by loading poorly into the gate, and then broke late from post 10, giving his rivals a couple of jumps. But he easily settled into a stalking 2nd place position behind Ribo Bobo by the time the field had rounded the clubhouse turn.

Brethren, extreme outside, breaks poorly from gate. (Photo: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos, 1/1600 @f/6.3, iso 800, 35mm)
Trainer Todd Pletcher watched the race from Gulfstream Park, and said after the race, “He didn’t break great but he recovered quickly, settled into a good rhythm down the backside and went impressively from there. Obviously we have some things to work on at the gate but all in all I thought it was a great effort.”

Eclipse winning jockey Ramon Dominguez, who scored a hat trick in winning all three stakes races on the card, eventually coasted Brethren to an easy score in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis.

Brethren cruised for home under Ramon Dominguez. (Photo: Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos, 1/2000 @ f/4.5, iso 1250, 300mm)
"He won it like a good horse should," Dominguez said in recapping the race. "We set up and relaxed just off the lead  in the first turn and I was able to wait down the backstretch. I asked him in the turn and he came away very nicely. I took a look on both sides in mid-stretch and there was nothing coming so I was able to wrap up on him going to the wire and out. The distance was no problem for him at all."

Still, one has to wonder what Brethren got out of the race that was not really much more that a $225,000 workout against an outclassed field. His earnings of $120,000 for the race puts him solidly in the Derby field for now. But, will Brethren will be back here to challenge stablemate Uncle Mo in the Tampa Bay Derby March 12th. It's doubtful.
 “We talked about him having only two races before the Derby," said Pletcher, "and this puts us in the position we want to be. It gives us some latitude. We got some graded earnings if we only want to run him once more but this didn’t look like a particularly taxing race either. Where he goes next depends upon a lot of different variables, including where some of our other 3-year-olds wind up going.”

Not that Tapizar (Robert Lewis S.) or Comma To The Top (El Camino Real) needed to post a win, but those two both faded badly coming for home.
So what was going on with TAPIZAR in the Robert Lewis? Garrett Gomez had his hands full. The unruly 3-year-old was rank all the way down the front side, settled reluctantly on the back, but there was nothing left when heading for home.

Tapizar proved to be a handful in the Robert Lewis. (Photo: Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos, 1/1600 @ f/3.5, iso 160, 400mm)

ANTHONY'S CROSS, meanwhile, prevailed in a thrilling stretch dual over RIVETING REASON.

Anthony's Cross, inside, prevails over Riveting Reason. (Photo: Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos, 1/1600 @ f/3.5, iso 160, 400mm)
Trainer Eoin Harty had Anthony's Cross cross entered in the El Camino Real, but opted for the Robert Lewis. "With the exception of Tapizar, the rest of the field was unproven, a bunch of turf horses. We didn't know if we'd win (with Tapizar in the field), but we thought we'd run a good race," Harty said.
The next major stepping stone for Anthony's Cross in the quest for the "Preakness 5.5" bonus would be the April 3rd Santa Anita Derby. "I've got to decide whether to give him one more start before the Santa Anita Derby or just sit and wait," Harty said. "It's a long time between now and then so it takes some serious consideration.”

Also making a move this week was SILVER MEDALLION, winner of the El Camino Real. In a well timed move by jockey Russell Baze, the Steve Asmussen trained son of Badge of Silver fired just in time to clip Jakesam at the wire.
"He was calm and very relaxed today," said Baze, "I was a little concerned he might be sick because he was so calm going to the gate. He's a nice little horse to ride."

The "WORD". Top 25 (or so) Kentucky Derby Trail.
Rank Horse Sire
1 UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie)
2 TO HONOR AND SERVE (Bernardini)
3 DIALED IN (Mineshaft)
4 BRETHREN (Distorted Humor)
5 SANTIVA (Giant's Causeway)
6 STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini)
7 JAYCITO (Victory Gallop)
8 ANTHONY'S CROSS (Indian Charlie)
9 SILVER MEDALLION (Badge of Silver)
10 SOLDAT (War Front)
11 WILKINSON (Lemon Drop Kid)
12 RIVETING REASON (Fusaichi Pegasus)
13 ROGUE ROMANCE (Smarty Jones)
15 TAPIZAR (Tapit)
16 COMMA TO THE TOP (Bwana Charlie)
17 TIZ BLESSED (Tiznow)
18 SHACKLEFORD (Forestry)
19 JP'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal)
21 SWEET DUCKY (Pulpit)
22 THE FACTOR (War Front)
23 MACHEN (Distorted Humor)
24 MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno)
25 ELITE ALEX (Afleet Alex)
26 CASPER'S TOUCH (Touch Gold)
27 TOBY'S CORNER (Bellamy Road)

More later.. mw

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