03/15/2008 6:29PM



War Pass finished dead last as the 1-20 favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby a few minutes ago and I feel like I watched a different race from the one being discussed by the TVG commentators.

They're talking about how he lost because he had a bad trip, or there was a bullseye painted on his back, and pronouncing the victorious Big Truck (who one of their announcers "picked"!) an important new contender on the Derby trail. Huh? To me, something had to have gone hideously wrong with War Pass, who showed nothing at any point in the race. He broke badly and was sandwiched early, but a healthy War Pass would have charged to the lead from the 70-1 shots who led him into the first turn. Instead he struggled to keep up and was finished by the stretch turn. He was beaten 23 1/4 lengths.

The only question is what went physically wrong with him and whether we'll see him race again.

It was a little like Daaher's two horrendous performances this year when he twice tanked at 2-5, was found to have a leg injury and was retired. The closest analogy from recent Derby preps that comes to mind is Afleet Alex's mystifying performance in the 2005 Rebel. He was found after the race to have a lung infection, and recovered to win the Arkansas Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

As for Big Truck, he's a nice enough colt but his winning time of 1:44.25 was only 0.13 seconds faster than a less-than-stellar field of 3-year-old fillies ran an hour earlier in the Florida Oaks.

Someone may be jumping off that bridge pictured in the last entry: With War Pass off the board, the show prices in the Tampa Bay Derby were $25.20, $27.80 and $76.40.

[Update 3/16 12:15 pm The Associated Press reports:

"War Pass is still on the Kentucky Derby trail despite his last-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby.

"Trainer Nick Zito told The Associated Press on Sunday that his colt suffered a few cuts on his leg after being jostled at the start of Saturday's race at Tampa Bay Downs.

"War Pass had won his first five races in front-running style and was considered the leading contender for the Derby on May 3. Big Truck won the Tampa Bay Derby, with War Pass seventh and last.

"War Pass is set to run next in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York on April 5 in his final prep race before the Derby." ]

--There's a two-day carryover of over $236k at Aqueduct after a series of double-digit winners, including the unfathomable Prince of Peace ($48.60) in the Instant Friendship Stakes. Relax. There's no racing at Aqueduct until Wednesday -- not because, as the TVG announcers first guessed, because it's either "a Mob holiday" or "something to do with St. Patricks' Day," but because tomorrow is Palm Sunday. Their confusion is understandable, since no other racing jurisdiction shuts down for that reason.

dud dew More than 1 year ago
Nice work, Gary, and a half-dozen others. If some of you guys who are convinced of War Pass's greatness (and so the "premature conclusionation"), were having these conceptual battles about baseball, you'd be laughed off the site for failing to understand the predictive limits of very small (and smaller all the time, it seems) samples upon which to base those conclusions. William of Occam would have told you there were any number of single and combined explanations for the young and UNPROVEN horse's bad day at the office, short of serious disease/bleeding/injury. It may yet turn out they'll find something`. Or he may be as good as you're all assuming, liking the tracks he'll race on a whole lot more than he may have liked this distinctive one. There's too much of the bad Trevor Denman in Steve's piece: calling the outcome before the race is done (a few months ago, in a stakes, he declared "Soandso looks good for second" at the top of the stretch, while my amateur eye said Soandso has a clear shot at the winner - and didn't she, by a full length-and-a-half!).
Demetrio More than 1 year ago
circuit_rider, My eyes must have been deceiving me when I looked at WP and decided based on his looks to leave him off of all my tickets. He looked terrible in the paddock. What does Zito walking the horse to the paddock have aything to do with the horse's looks?
Larry Thiel More than 1 year ago
Dosage has been proven false. If you're able to live with the fact that it failed for about 10 years in a row, then good luck to you and your money.
DeltaLover More than 1 year ago
I certainly think that last Saturday's twelve race in Tampa Bay is one of the worst vilifications the horse racing sport have ever experience.. We saw an exceptional undefeated horse, that figures as the mos solid favorite to appear for many years, to run an extremely disappointing race and most important than anything else jeopardizing millions of dollars wagered to him from thousands of horse players. A two year champion, running Bayer figures over 110's coming from a top stable, Grade 1 winner running against nobody. Running in a race specially constructed for him to serve as a light training session, a small detail to his way to the Roses, ended up as one of the biggest Fiasco of our game. After the race his trainer appears clueless, and claims 'a light fever in the beginning of the week'..... I consider one of the worst things, the fact that several horse players, like some of the posters in this forum, appear so ROMANTIC to believe that War Pass fiasco appearance can be explained and justified, based in the race's trip, his breed, or whatever other naïve excuse. Personally I didn't bet not even a penny in his race, but this does not change the fact that I feel deeply concern about the future of that game.... What is the image that is projected to the outside world, when we have such terrible results, that at least make our game unpredictable ? How we are going to attract new horse players, that will help the game to continue? Who is responsible to investigate the transparency of the particular race and the racing game in general? Will we ever get a satisfactory explanation of what happened to War Pass last Saturday?
kevroc More than 1 year ago
Okay, I'll bite on the TVG thing. Matt Carothers and Mike Joyce make me laugh, I handicap just fine by myself thank you very much.. so i don't care about their "selections". I will say though.. that when Simon Bray or Frank Lyons make comment about a young 2 or 3yo in the post parade/warmup/paddock.. and I don't have that particular horse on my ticket, I may make a last minute saver. As for the "all" button. It has it's place... I don't personally use it very often but, to say that it is laughable to consider using is wrong. There are plenty times where it can be applicable. Saturday night I used it in a sequence where I hated a 3/5 shot @ Sam Houston and caught a $700+ pick three where the parlay was around 200.
todd More than 1 year ago
so Big Truck gets a 93 and Georgie Boy gets a 92. any more Pyro questions kids? to be fair, maybe the race goes faster if WP runs his race, but i am not so sure. and again, after being reminded of WP's otherwordly fig for the BC Juvenile, there is no chance he is running back to that number..maybe ever..and if he does do it, before the derby, he would be an even bigger toss..all of this points out that Pyro is certainly amongst the best, if not the best, of his age right now..and the speed figs are starting to look like fodder..IMHO
Bob More than 1 year ago
Oh yeah one more thing to all the Pyro fans two words, Ronnie Franklin, or if those two words don't mean anything to you how bout, Shaun Bridgmohan.
Mike More than 1 year ago
This was not the same War Pass. It had nothing to do with the pace. He was restless before going in the gate and some said he did not look the same before the race either. I watched the replay and it looked like a double. This was not the horse I saw in the other races. I think he was sick and not near 100% at all. Remember Bluegrass Cat? He ran a terrible race before the Derby also but still finished 2nd in Derby to Barbaro. Everyone should watch the BC race he won at 2 and see the real War Pass.
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Justin More than 1 year ago
I pretty much agree with all you guys, there was clearly something wrong with War Pass, when he couldn't go pass those two 80-1 shots, and then he started climbing down the back, I felt sick I actually has a $20 pick 4 alive with him to the toon of almost 3 grand, but not as sick as the $700,000 in the show pool, I don't think any of these horse are nothing more than overnight stakes runners. As for Ken Rudolph I am a regular TVG viewer and often his "pick" is only because he wants to be different he is ALWAYS different he NEVER pick the favorite, so it was not some wise guy selection it was a horse, who with a healthy War Pass was running for 2nd. Hey the Super High 5 at Santa Anita has gone unhit for 2 days $103K CARRYOVER. Good luck all.