Weekend Derby Points Races
Risen Star (G2)
Winner (pts): Ive Struck A Nerve (50)
2nd, 3rd, 4th (pts): Code West (20), Palace Malice (10), Oxbow (5)
CTD Analysis: Many critics are anxious to knock the Risen Star seeing as a 135-1 shot crossed the wire first. There was also nothing visually impressive with the top six finishers all ending up within 4 lengths of each other. Add the fact the race was held at the Fair Grounds, and many have already drawn a line through it.
There is another side to the coin. The speed figures were not slow- 95 Beyer and 99 BRIS- and you could make the argument the overall Risen Star field was actually stronger than the Fountain of Youth when looking at prior speed and accomplishments. The trip Ive Struck A Nerve endured starting last of the pack, pinballing from the outside to the rail and back to the outside, was especially remarkable considering the crowded field and slow fractions. Whether or not he can duplicate that effort in the Louisiana Derby (G2) remains to be seen, but it was the kind of tough and diligent performance you must keep in mind when combing through this year’s Derby past performances.
Runner-up Code West missed out on the top prize by a nose and displayed determination when finding a second wind along the rail. He did appear to have the most ideal trip by starting quickly on the inside and being among the mild pace on the frontend. Palace Malice, who rounded out the trifecta, took a lot of dirt behind horses yet didn’t back down when an opportunity to split horses presented itself. He was a little erratic in the stretch, which may have cost him the race. Oxbow was in a prime spot into the stretch, but simply ran out of gas. He did race wide for most of the 1 1/16 miles, but you have to wonder if he really wants the added distance.
The favorite Normandy Invasion had a terrible trip most of the way, starting with a slow break and bobbled start. It was nice to see him settle in along the backstretch and get to work late, but his lack of interest in the beginning stages of almost all of his races does not bode well for the future.
Fountain Of Youth (G2)
Winner(pts): Orb (50)
2nd, 3rd, 4th (pts): Violence (20), Speak Logistics (10), Majestic Hussar (5)
Violence injured, off Derby Trail: Bloodhorse
CTD Analysis: For now it seems the legacy of the 2013 edition of the Fountain Of Youth will unfortunately be the derailment of the once undefeated colt Violence. The Todd Pletcher trainee was very game off a two month layoff finishing 2nd after sitting close to a wicked pace. The following day it was revealed Violence suffered a fractured sesamoid and is officially off the Derby trail. HRTV reported he is retired from racing, however no other outlets have corroborated that development.
What to make of the winner Orb? Some were quick to point out he took advantage of the blistering pace and won’t see that kind of setup in the future, but you can’t fault him for running a winning race. Considering it was his stakes debut against a strong cast, the Beyer speed figure came back a very respectable 97, and the opening fractions of the Kentucky Derby are often torrid, I find no reason to ignore his performance. Trainer Shug McGaughey has not decided where to go next. If he chooses the logical Florida Derby (G1) we’ll get a good read on Orb against perhaps the strongest field prior to the Kentucky Derby.
It was more than seven lengths back to third place finisher Speak Logistics, and that’s probably as close as he or any of the also-rans will be if they face more top Derby contenders along the trail. Majestic Hussar could learn to harness some of his early energy, but that’s easier said than actually training him to do so. He most likely doesn’t want to go farther in distance either.
Weekend Non-Derby Point Races:
Mine That Bird Stakes- Sunland Park
Winner: Dry Summer
Gentilly Stakes- Fair Grounds
Gulfstream Park Race 7- Allowance Optional Claiming (Turf)
Winner: Black Onyx
Gulfstream Park Race 3- Allowance Optional Claiming
Winner: City of Weston
Orb’s next start undecided, McGaughey says (Bloodhorse)
Louisiana Derby next for Ive Struck A Nerve (Bloodhorse)
Overanalyze heads Gotham probables (Brisnet)
Dewey Square, Babazonki drill for Palm Beach (Bloodhorse)
Itsmyluckyday gets back to work (Bloodhorse)
Capo Bastone gives Pletcher depth (Union Tribune)
Get Happy Mister- OP- 4F- 50:60- B- 27/73
Dynamic Sky- PMM- 5F- 1.00:49- B- 1/16
Honorable Dillon- PMM- 5F- 1.00:56- B- 2/16
Itsmyluckyday- CRC- 4F- 48:80- B- 3/55
Texas Bling- OP- 4F- 47:60- B- 1/84
Departing- FG- 4F- 48:20- B- 7/120
Falling Sky- PMM- 6F- 1.14:06- B- 1/1
Java’s War- GP- 5F- 59:30- 2/33
Dewey Square- GP- 5F- 1.00:80- B- 3/4 (Turf)
Purple Egg- TP- 5F- 1.00:00- B- 1/25
Quotes and Tweets:
"Work for Verrazano postponed until tomorrow. Too much moisture in the track for [Todd Pletcher] liking."- LGS Racing via Twitter