05/18/2009 2:10PM

Weekend recap

Email

They ran a filly against males in the Preakness, but Rachel Alexandra is no ordinary tomboy.  She's an Amazon, a woman among boys, and her courageous victory in Saturday's second jewel of racing's Triple Crown highlighted all of her many attributes.  We can celebrate her excellent early speed, her acceleration, her staying power, and her professionalism.  Good horses utilize one or two of those qualities to win races.  The very good to excellent runners have them all at their disposal.  Rachel Alexandra proved that she was very good to excellent in the Preakness, and her performance has racing fans craving more.
Mine That Bird may have earned more respect for his game runner-up effort than he did when upsetting the Derby.  The little gelding proved he's more than a one-hit wonder.  Hopefully, he'll retain his sharp form, and will show up with another good performance in the Belmont Stakes.  Some may criticize Mike Smith's ride, but deep closers are always at the mercy of race and pace luck.  Sometimes the trip works out as it did for Mine That Bird in the Derby.  Often, it does not.  I doubt that Calvin Borel would have had an easier time if he rode Mine That Bird in Baltimore.  Smith won't get a chance to win the Belmont should Mine That Bird start in the "Test of the Champion."  Jay Privman is reporting that Smith will honor his commitment to Madeo in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Stakes at Hollywood Park that afternoon.  If Rachel Alexandra skips the Belmont, it's certainly possible that Calvin Borel would regain the mount on his Derby winner.
Musket Man may never hold the star power that the top two finishers possess, but his courage cannot be denied.  He tried his heart out all the way to the wire, and it's a shame that his good effort is overshadowed by those of Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird.  If trainer Derek Ryan keeps managing Musket Man correctly, the solid colt will find plenty of winning spots.
I wrote the following about Big Drama in Friday's blog:

"I must admit that I'm concerned about the equipment change.  I guess trainer David Fawkes doesn't adhere to the adage that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  If Big Drama doesn't relax without his usual eyewear, Fawkes' decision to change gears before the biggest race of his life could be Buckner-esque."

Big Drama probably wouldn't have won the Preakness if he did wear blinkers, but he certainly didn't look happy without them, and Fawkes' decision to change before the race has to be scrutinized.  Fans of Big Drama pretty much tore up their tickets as soon as the Florida-based colt walked out onto the track.  It appeared that Big Drama was wearing a "stop patch" on the back of his left hind hoof, possibly as a result of being cast in his stall the morning of the race.  Then, he washed out badly around his neck during the post parade.  To top it all off, he reared up in the starting gate, unseating jockey John Velazquez, and delaying the break.  One has to wonder if Big Drama, a colt not used to racedays without blinkers, freaked out upon seeing the huge crowd at Pimlico.

The likeable Larry Jones has been above criticism from the racing media for the last year, but his decision to run Friesan Fire in the Preakness should be discussed.

"He got hit real bad leaving the gate," Jones was quoted as saying after the Derby. "He's bleeding. If you see blood on the track, it's his."

Originally, Jones was planning on skipping the Preakness with his injured Derby favorite, but he changed course, and ran the tactical Friesan Fire when the hoof responded to treatment.  Perhaps Friesan Fire's wins in New Orleans this spring were mirages, but one has to wonder if his foot was bothering him on Saturday, and his participation in the Preakness will adversely affect the rest of his season.

***

Here are the winning Beyer Speed Figures for last week's stakes races:

*Blackberry Preakness (Pim):  Rachel Alexandra (S. Asmussen/C. Borel) - 108
*Fall Aspen (Bel):  Light Green (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 107
*Hirsch Jacobs (Pim):  Everyday Heroes (T. Ritchey/J. Caraballo) - 106
*Jim McKay Turf Sprint (Pim):  Mr. Nightlinger (W. Calhoun/H. Theriot II) - 102
*William Donald Schaefer (Pim):  No Advantage (S. Beattie/J. Acosta) - 100

*Matt Winn (CD):  Capt. Candyman Can (I. Wilkes/J. Castellano) - 99
*Gallant Man (Hol):  Kizzy's Chaos (V. Cerin/M. Garcia) - 99
*Los Angeles (Hol):  Red Arrow - Aus (J. Sadler/J. Talamo) - 99
*Maryland Sprint (Pim):  Ravalo (D. Barr/J. Velazquez) - 98
*Lawndale (Hol):  Reba Is Tops (M. Glatt/J. Talamo) - 98
*Dixie (Pim):  Parading (C. McGaughey III/K. Desormeaux) - 97
*Mount Vernon (Bel):  I Lost My Choo (P. Serpe/J. Lezcano) - 95
*Shuvee (Bel):  Seattle Smooth (A. Dutrow/R. Dominguez) - 95
*Black-Eyed Susan (Pim):  Payton d'Oro (J. Jones/T. Thompson) - 94
*The Very One (Pim):  Smart and Fancy (A. Dutrow/R. Dominguez) - 94
*Deceit (Bel):  Yes She's a Lady (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 94
*Gallorette (Pim):  Social Queen (A. Goldberg/R. Bejarano) - 93
*Honeymoon (LaD):  Tensas Yucatan (M. Nicks/P. Valenzuela) - 92
*Express (LS):  Gold Coyote (W. Calhoun/B. Walker Jr.) - 91
*Reluctant Guest (AP):  Mizzcan'tbewrong (R. Scherer/E. Razo Jr.) - 91
*Woodlawn (Pim):  Affirmatif (T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez) - 90
*Big Bubble (Crc):  Mambo Meister (P. Gleaves/M. Cruz) - 90
*Lure (Bel):  Our Friend Harvey (T. Hills/R. Dominguez) - 90

*Hastings Park (EmD):  Clair Annette (C. Bouslaugh/J. Crispin) - 87
*La Lorgnette (WO):  Hooh Why (K. Hoffman/E. Ramsammy) - 87
*Skipat (Pim):  All Giving (F. Stites/J. Joyce) - 86
*Lord Juban (Crc):  Grand Cash (D. Vivian/M. Cruz) - 86
*John Wayne (PrM):  Maya's Storm (K. Von Hemel/I. Ocampo) - 86
*Just Smashing (Mth):  On the Menu (J. Jones/E. Castro) - 86
*Free Spirit's Joy (LaD):  Silent Pipe (S. Ducoing/F. Torres)- 86
*Allaire DuPont Distaff (Pim):  Skylighter (R. Frankel/J. Leparoux) - 86
*Girls, Incorporated of Shelbyville, Shelby County (Ind):  Taletobetold (E. Kenneally/T. Houghton) - 85
*Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness (Pim):  Heart Ashley (S. Asmussen/G. Gomez) - 84
*Hancock County (Mnr):  La Chica Rica (C. Pickett/D. Parker) - 84
*John Franks Memorial (LaD):  Nowandforevermore (K. Bourgeois/G. Melancon) - 84
*Fantasia (LaD):  Lightlightlight (S. Asmussen/F. Torres) - 83
*Shy Native (CT):  Irvs Pick (C. Grove/J. Acosta) - 82
*Marine (WO):  Awesome Rhythm (J. Ross/J. McAleney) - 81
*Hilltop (Pim):  Blind Date (H. Smith/J. Rose) - 80

*Regal Gal (Crc):  Garter Belt (S. Gold/J. Bridgmohan) - 75
*10,000 Lakes (Cby):  Sir Tricky (M. Robertson/D. Bell) - 71

*Lady Slipper (Cby):  Bella Notte (M. Robertson/D. Bell) - 69
*Mamie Eisenhower (PrM):  Irish Party (K. Von Hemel/I. Ocampo) - 67
*Speed (Lnn):  Sir Magic Man (J. Wise/J. Ranilla) - 65

*Tomboy (RD):  Slides Choice (T. Hamm/C. Camaque) - 53


Here are the lifetime past performances of the highest and lowest Beyer stakes performers of the week:

Download RachelSlides

***

I see there a trainer in the Susan named Juan Arias,is he the trainer who trained Canonero? 
jrzingg

This is a different Juan Arias.

***

HELP  Can anyone tell me what happened to the fickle Don't Forget Gil in the Black-Eyed Susan? I keyed her in all my bets and she left the screen midway in the race. AS usual, the DRF chart offers no clue.
Would like to se replay if anyone can direct me to one.
Thanks.
ray flack

From David Grening's recap of the Black-Eyed Susan:

The biggest disappointment in the Black-Eyed Susan was Don't Forget Gil, who finished last as the 3-1 third choice.
Trainer Mark Hennig said that jockey Rajiv Maragh told him Don't Forget Gil felt like she wanted to pull herself up turning down the backside.
"I see a little mucus coming out of her nose," Hennig said. "So maybe she's coming down with something. That certainly wasn't her; she always shows up."

***

Whats going on here???
I coulda SWORN Pyro was retired to stud!!! But I get this this morning:
(had not yet removed him)
Amanda

There was never an official announcement concerning Pyro and retirement.  He's been based at Keeneland, but I'm not sure he's still with Steve Asmussen.

***

Dan, can you post the Beyer figure for Inkado in the 5th race at Churchill on May 17?  The track seemed very slow and he ran six furlongs in 1:10:21 which was :70 faster than a $450K purchase of Zabeel ran later on the card and faster than older horses in lower level claimer races, so there aren't very good comparisions.  Thanks.
TP

Inkado earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure for the maiden win at Churchill Downs.

***

Congrats to Crazyhorsemike for finishing first in the Preakness HandiGambling contest.  He gets to select the race for Wednesday.

***

Best,

Dan