Blinkers off for Creative Cause, good idea?// Dominguez set to go on Alpha in Wood// Updated contenders and rankings

I will freely admit I have no experience in training thoroughbred racehorses.  That fact doesn’t stop me from questioning certain tactics and decisions trainers make with their horses.  Mike Harrinton, trainer of Creative Cause, announced Tuesday the colt will race in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) without blinkers for the first time in his racing career.  The obvious and simple question is why? Creative Cause is a multiple graded stakes winner, comes off an impressive victory in the contentious San Felipe (G2), has shown no regression in his 3-year-old form, and sits among the top 3 in most Kentucky Derby contender rankings.  So, the obvious question seems legitimate.  Harrington states the equipment change is due to the fact Creative Cause is wandering and unfocused in most of his races.  I still feel it carries more risk than reward.  Although the race after the Santa Anita Derby (G1) is more important, Saturday’s prep is still a key launching pad and a change in routine this late in the game could veer things off course at an inopportune time.  Creative Cause worked 4-furlongs at Hollywood Wood Park Tuesday in 48:40// Excuses are plentiful in the DRF feature on Brother Francis, who has yet to win a race despite remaining on the Derby Trail and sitting at #31 on the graded earnings list. Trainer Jim Cassidy believes multiple obstacles have blocked the colt from finishing first in four starts and they will try to reverse their fortune in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby// Ramon Dominguez is on target to ride Alpha in Saturday’s Wood Memorial (G1).  His recovery from a separated collarbone has stayed on schedule.  Dominguez could have a tough decision to make come Derby time as he rides both Hansen and Alpha.  If Alpha moves on to the Kentucky Derby he would be the first entrant for owner Sheik Mohammed to not have prepped in Dubai ahead of the race // Trainer Jonathan Sheppard was happy with Ever So Lucky’s workout at Keeneland Tuesday.  The graded stakes placed runner will work again next Tuesday ahead of the Blue Grass Stakes (G1)// Updated contender list and CTD Top 5 rankings can be found below…   

CTD Contenders

CTD Top 5

Transylvania Stakes: Bloodhorse / TTimes
Hype springs eternal (Bloodhorse Blog)
They all get beat (Hansen Blog via Courier Journal)

Ever So Lucky- KEE- 5F- 59:40- H- 4/19
Creative Cause- HOL- 4F- 48:40- H- 5/14

Other Rankings
Paulick Derby Index 4/3 (Paulick Report)

Weekly Speed Figures*
Top 3yo winning BRIS figs last week: Take Charge Indy-104; Derby Gold & Ez Effort-100; Sachem Spirit-96; Unstoppable U & Hero of Order-95

Winning 3yo Beyers last week: Take Charge Indy-95; Derby Gold-93; Ez Effort-87; Sachem Spirit-85; Unstoppable U-79; Hero of Order-90.

*Source: DerbyContenders via Twitter