Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Believe!

As we all know, before the Wood Memorial, I was not one of Eskendereya's biggest follower. In fact, I thought he and his romp in the Fountain of Youth was overrated. He had everything his way, going a moderate six furlongs in 1.12 and change. On top of that he had the Gulfstream speed bias on his side, that made it nearly impossible for horses to close ground on any of the leaders. Well after yesterday's Wood Memorial, I believe. I believe he is probably the best three year old pointing towards Louisville right now.

In this race, he did have, yet again, another garden spot, but here he showed how easily he can rate. Eskendereya, could've easily taken the lead and gone on a merry go round show with the sloth-like pace the two leaders were setting. He could've faught for his head, when asked to go so rediculously slow, but no, he settled behind the pace, dropping his head and going into that big powerful stride of his.

Around the far turn Eskendereya remained the same way, not try to rush, or pull his jockey, unlike Awesome Act who was drafting in right behind Eskendereya and was under a strangle hold. When asked for run Eskendereya took the lead with ease, seeming to canter by his fully extended foes. Yet again, he effortlessly opened up an ever widening gap of daylight, even though he was being held in, and asked for nothing. This was a perfect prep for Eskendereya, not to taxing in the least, and will set him up well for his date with the Derby on May 1st.

On an ending note, I would like to say I hope people will stop dismissing Jackson Bend. He is still no worse than second, and has spent his last three starts playing bridesmaid to Eskendereya and Winslow Homer, both brilliant, and one a potential monster. Jackson Bend out gamed Awesome Act in the stretch, and would've been the winner of both the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial had Eskendereya not been Eskendereya. Do I think he can get another furlong against 20 other horses, no. Do I think he can get another half a furlong at Pimlico, with more like 10 other horses, yes. He is not "second tier, " and deserves more respect than that.


  1. Eskendereya has made a believer of just about everyone, but remember, Derby favorites do not have a good record over the past 30 years.

  2. Jackson Bend, I am shocked that some people still don't treat him like a legit contender. You said it: he's not second tier. I agree completely. Eskendereya is fantastic and I've loved him since he won the Pilgrim Stakes, but I like Lookin At Lucky the best.

  3. Well I was certainly not expecting that kind of performance from Eskendereya either...he was incredible. Scary the way he totally opened up under a hand ride.

    I still like Lookin at Lucky though, although he's proven to be anything but. I may be the only one who thinks so, but I thought that if he'd had a clean trip he could've caught Sidney's Candy. Or at least SC wouldn't have won by so much. What were your thoughts on that race?

  4. Jasmine,

    You spoke my very thoughts on the race. I am impressed SC can overcome the speed bias of Pro-Ride, but at the same time, you have to take a step back and notice that it might be because of the fact he is not setting overly fast fractions. He is a speed ball and this year's Derby is not lacking in speed. If Conveyence, who is probably good for the pace up to 8.5 furlongs and Rule, one speedy son of a gun, both show, you can bet SC will have his hands full on the front end.

    LAL had a horrendous trip, which was the fault of just about everyone. Baffert should've made it clear to Gomez he wanted Lucky off the rail, Gomez should've read the situation better and had more confidence in Lucky, and VE, should've never allowed his horse to drift. Even if by accident, every jockey knows, even your hunter/jumper people know, that if your horse does not respond to your leg or rein cues, the crop is there for a stronger reminder. I'm not saying light into the horse, but a couple of correctional taps would prevented that near pile up. If that hadn't happened Lucky wins, IMO, he doesn't know how to quit, and will go as fast as he needs to win.

  5. Railrunner,

    My two "dark horses" right now are American Lion, who screams dirt dirt dirt and distance distance distance, and Jackson Bend. He has the Giant Killer, and perhaps Calvin Borel. If he rates farther back and spurts up, which he can do, he could be up in the money. AL if all goes well at the break will be lying right behind the leaders, waiting to pounce. I loved the second wind he seemed to get in the Illinois Derby that allowed him to win with his ears pricked at the wire.


    I know Barbaro, doesn't really count, but he just about loaded into that gate as favorite, only to be just beaten out by sweetnorthernsaint. Favorites do not have great luck, but last decade, horses relatively close to the top spot have done fairly well.