Day of upsets, where does this leave us?

Tobys Corner wins Wood Memorial, Photo:
It was not a question of if he would win, but by how much and in what manner.  However, as the Wood Memorial and horseracing in general have proven before, nothing is a sure bet. The once guaranteed favorite for the Kentucky Derby, Uncle Mo, ended up looking as average as the rest of the 2011 three-year-old stakes crop. Setting honest fractions, not responding to the whip, and ultimately tiring to third you could probably hear a pin drop at Aqueduct after the race. Apparently, Uncle Mo did grab a quarter (stepped on himself and tore off a piece of tissue), but tests and time will tell just how much of an excuse it was.  The winner, Toby’s Corner, was the second choice and able to capture the same race his sire Bellamy Road dominated six years ago.  Wearing blinkers, he was shuffled back in the beginning but managed to relax behind horses on the rail.  Down the stretch, he swung wide and picked off Mo and eventual second place finisher Arthur’s Tale.  He will move onto Louisville as well as Arthur’s Tale, the latter only if $200K will be good enough to qualify. As for Uncle Mo, Todd Pletcher remained non-committal for the Derby and said he needs to see how the colt trains at Churchill before making a decision.  Many will question Pletcher’s 2011 conditioning and race strategy for Uncle Mo, but I’m thinking it may have set him up nicely for the big one.

Midnight Interlude(Left), Photo:
Midnight Interlude advanced from maiden winner to Grade 1 winner in one step by nipping Comma To The Top in the Santa Anita Derby.  He was able to overcome traffic issues and greenness in the stretch to stamp himself a legitimate threat to the now wide-open Kentucky Derby. If Jaycito still remains pointed to the Derby, Bob Baffert could have three Kentucky Derby entries.  Comma To The Top, who set quick fractions and only lost by a head, ran perhaps the gutsiest performance but remains unlikely for the Derby. Mr. Commons, another first-time stakes entrant took 3rd but will probably fall short of the Derby gate.

Joe Vann won the lower regarded Illinois Derby.  Its relevance to the Kentucky Derby is probably negligible as he only picked up $180K and is not nominated for the Triple Crown// 5 big workouts by Arkansas Derby contenders Alternation, Brethren, Truman’s Commander, Dance City, and J P’s Gusto.  Alternation, who flipped in the gate for the Rebel has been progressing faster than his trainer Donnie Von Hemel anticipated.  He now seems likely to run in Oaklawn’s premier race along with the others// Mucho Macho Man fired a bullet at Gulfstream and will ship to Churchill next Sunday// Santiva and Willcox Inn took their final workouts ahead of next Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes// more…

Toby’s Corner wins Wood Memorial (G1): chart / video
Midnight Interlude wins Santa Anita Derby (G1) chart / video
Joe Vann wins Illinois Derby (G3): chart / video

·       Toby’s Corner wins Wood Memorial (NY Times) (Courier Journal) (And Down The Stretch They Come) (Brisnet) (Bloodhorse) (DRF) (TTimes) (Sports Network) (USA Today)
·       Midnight Interlude wins Santa Anita Derby (LA Times) (Courier Journal) (And Down The Stretch They Come) (Bloodhorse) (Brisnet) (DRF) (TTimes)
·       Joe Vann wins Illinois Derby (Chicago Tribune) (Courier Journal) (DRF) (Brisnet) (Bloodhorse) (TTimes)
·       Mucho Macho Man works (DRF) (Bloodhorse)
·       5 work toward Arkansas Derby (Brisnet)
·       Wood changes Derby picture (ESPN)

·       J P's Gusto: OP- 5F- 58:60- B- 1/19
·       Alternation: OP- 6F- 1.14:60- B- 2/2
·       Mucho Macho Man: GP- 5F- 58:20 B- 1/14
·       Brethren: PMM- 5F- 59:00 B- 1/14
·       Dance City: PMM- 5F0 59:00- B- 1/14
·       Santiva: PMM- 5F- 1.00:00 B- 1/12
·       Truman’s Commander: PMM- 4F- 47:80- B- 1/35
·       Willcox Inn: KEE- 6F- 1.12:40- H- 1/2