02/21/2010 1:42PM

Flirty Alexandrian Dance


Eskendereya's 8 1/2-length blowout in Saturday's Fountain of Youth received an overnight Beyer Speed Figure of 106, the fastest figure by a 3-year-old so far this year and nine points higher than Saturday's other two major Derby preps -- the Southwest at Oaklawn (where Conveyance earmned a 97) and the Risen Star at Fair Grounds (where Discreetly Mine got a 94).

Big figures in February are hardly a recipe for roses in May: The only three bigger winning Fountain of Youth figures in the last 20 years were the 113's run by Lil's Lad in 1998, Read the Footnotes in 2004 and Quality Road in 2009. (The last FOY winner to take the Derby was Thunder Gulch in 1995; he ran a 105 Beyer in the FOY.) On the other hand, Eskendereya did not appear to have a taxing race, has no distance issues, and appears to be a sensible and sturdy colt instead of a brittle front-runner.

His trainer, Todd Pletcher, also won Saturday's Risen Star with Discreetly Mine and Golden Gate's El Camino Real Derby with Connemara. He begins a 10-day suspension tomorrow  stemming from a procaine positive for Wait a While at the 2008 Breeders' Cup.

Eskendereya, by Giant's Causeway and the Seattle Slew mare Aldebaran Light, races for Cairo-born Ahmed Zayat, and is apparently named for an Egyptian dance. According to "Keti Sharif's Bellydance Glossary of Middle Eastern Dance Terminologies," an eskendereya is a "dance from the city of Alexandria in northern Egypt. Flirty Alexandrian dance with a milaya, or heavy veil, formerly used as a fashion accessory in the 40s. Dancer wears a bourka - netted face veil, and a frilly mid-knee length dress."

Eskendereya closed as the seventh choice (behind All Others, Lookin at Lucky, Buddy's Saint, Dublin, Super Saver and Drosselmeyer) in last weekend's first round of Derby Futures at 22.70-1

Finally, here's how those six pick-4's (discussed in the previous post) involving Saturday's graded races turned out:

george quinn More than 1 year ago
Steve D My point was if Buddys Saint goes back to New York for the Wood. He would be shorter price than if he were running back in the Florida Derby. Purely because that was the sight of his Remsen win. New York bettors aside, he will sure give a better account of himself next out. George in Tampa
Steve D More than 1 year ago
"New York bettors will not let that trouble trip go unnoticed. But all the snowbirds in Florida playing slot machines will sure let you get a juicy number on him." Right George, because New York bettors NEVER bet on races from Florida in the winter.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Jackson Bend – or any horse entered this year by Nick Zito, in the Derby – looks like the one to beat. Knowing that, here we go again, watching the approaching waves of the weeks ahead, some good, some wiping out our “surfing” picks, and then, we’re heading out to sea, once again.
ejs More than 1 year ago
'NYRA Defends Its Executives' Pay' Not exactly man bites dog.
Matthew Smith More than 1 year ago
Totally off the subject, but sad news from Marylnd. The great warrior horse John's call passed away this week. He died after a leg injury after running around on the farm. RIP.
gofor_broke More than 1 year ago
Several tracks are having their biggest racing days of the year coming up. The Florida Derby Those 2 days at Oaklawn, back to back Of course, Oaks and Derby back to back. I am interested to see what these undercards look like.
FURLONGS More than 1 year ago
To hialeah: You said after that DQ in the FL Derby that Lil's Lad went on to never win another race. He did go on large layoff only to come back and score a nice Turf Win. I believe it was the following spring as a 4 year old. Then later retired to breed where he stood in Ky at Lane's End for I think 2 breeding seasons and then was sent to TX to breed under Mr. Farish's TX Farm.
brainhurts More than 1 year ago
Yesterday's fifth race at Santa Anita was a 62K/N2X which resulted in a dead heat between two horses running for the allowance condition. So, you're the trainer waiting on the photo. You obviously want to win, but would you rather dead heat and take home 40% of the purse butlose the condition, or finish second, win 20% of the purse and keep the condition? I guess the answer depends, somewhat, on how much money you bet on your horse to win.
Leon More than 1 year ago
Todd Pletcher has won 6 straight training titles at Gulfstream Park, and is running away with his 7th in a row in 2010. His 3-year olds have run amazing races at Gulfstream year after year (Bandini & Value Plus come to mind), and yet, that has not translated into TC success; he broke a 0-28 slump with Rags to Riches in 2007, and his record now is something like 1-40...
george quinn More than 1 year ago
If anyone deserves another shot it is Buddy's Saint. Put someone patient on him and you might have a totally different look. I think he might be worth a flyer. He will sure be longer price in the Florida Derby than in the Wood. New York bettors will not let that trouble trip go unnoticed. But all the snowbirds in Florida playing slot machines will sure let you get a juicy number on him. George in Tampa