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C’mon Oxbow!

Twitter can be unexpectedly useful at times, especially since I am far more fond of conversing with strangers rather than people I see every day. One semi-new follower and racing fan sent me a recent picture his friend took of Oxbow:

And some not-so-lovely news followed the picture…

Let’s hope none of it is true.

Funny Cide being a ham for me at Saratoga (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Funny Cide being a ham for me at Saratoga (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Funny Cide (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Funny Cide (Photo by Dawna Wood/The Galloping Hat Rack)

Did he have a huge wager on Oxbow or was he just plain excited? (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire, edit by @ThoroughbredAR)

Did he have a huge wager on Oxbow or was he just plain excited? (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire, edit by @ThoroughbredAR)

Preakness Reflections

I participated in a web chat on Preakness Saturday hosted by Emily. It was a fun, hope-filled type of experience, and unless I’m daft, I don’t think anyone picked someone other than Orb as the likely eventual winner. Now that the race is over and done with, I can “unload”:

  • I knew Itsmyluckyday was going to have a big shot to bounce back and win after that workout, but Pimlico played toward early speed all day which gave Oxbow the big advantage in the end to keep on going. Yes, I admitted in the Derby Dozen that after running a race every single month, Oxbow was likely off his top form. I still maintain that belief, but with his pedigree and favorable placement in the field, he managed to hang in there strong enough to win. Great job to all those who had him on top.
  • Orb didn’t look likely to win from the word go. He was moved into relaxing position far back early, which looked fine given the solid pace of just under :24 for the opening quarter. But he didn’t move up. Then horses began cutting around him to the inside. I was honestly shocked to see he finished 4th with that dull a performance. Maybe it was the dead rail zone, maybe not.
  • Now that Orb has lost the 2nd jewel, we can start looking forward to a free-for-all in the Belmont. We actually have an amazing lineup this year for the race by the sounds of it, and both Orb and Oxbow are listed as possibles. I don’t like either one to win the race, and I’m probably going to wind up favoring a fresh horse. But alas, that race is 3 weeks away so we shall see…

You have a right to your opinion and anything can happen in any race. I just dont see anyone beating Orb in the next 2. He looks the part physically and has been working out better. Reminds me of how much better I thought (and still think) Animal Kingdom was than the rest of his fields. That said though, it didn't work out for AK. I think Orb is the best horse no matter what post or track conditions are. But the best horse doesn't always win.

Asked by behindthecounterinasmalltown

Orb is the one to beat today. At Belmont, he’s advantaged to be at his home track, but he’s got some legit new shooters coming back for that race. Orb is at a much better position than Animal Kingdom was as a horse who doesn’t care where he is during the race, so with that said I think he does have a solid chance to win all three. He’s the best three-year-old right now, but then again, that’s not saying much… our hottest three-year-olds in the country (except Orb) fizzled in the Derby so badly it’s not even funny.

They’ll all be after him today, and again in June should he win today. ORB SHOULD BE ABLE TO WIN AND WIN EASILY TODAY, but I reserve any mention of the Triple Crown until later on tonight.

I'm not even rooting for Orb to win the triple crown. He's been a firm favourite of mine since the Fountain of Youth. I'm just rooting for him to have a good race and come home to the finish line safe. Win or lose, Orb will still be my favourite American horse, hell even if he didn't win the Kentucky Derby he would be. You just click with some horses like you do boyfriends haha

Asked by nicoledowland-deactivated201404

That… is one hell of an excellent way to put it. Orb never gave me the same romantic vibe some other horses in the past gave me, and no one this year has really enthralled me in the Triple Crown preps.

Thanks for your input, Nicole, no really… :) I’d like to witness a Triple Crown winner myself, BUT I WANT TO SEE HIM WORK FOR IT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. If it doesn’t happen today, it’ll happen in June.

The problems I have with "Orb people"

  • Me: It was a good race and he deserved to win, but don't you think Orb is getting a little too much hype for the Triple Crown? I mean, he still has two more races and by the looks of things, he hasn't a choice post position for the Preakness which will be run on a fast track, then you've got the Belmont which presents its own challenges...

Not Your Granddad’s Pimlico Special

Hi again everyone! After a long break, I am excited to get back to “officially” handicapping… I say official because I picked Freedom Child to win the Peter Pan (II) on my Twitter, but it kind of disqualifies me if I didn’t put it on blast. Anyway, as a favor to Reinier and a litmus test to my luck this weekend, how about an overview for today’s historic Pimlico Special (III) for older handicap horses?

$300,000 Pimlico Special (III) - 4-Year-Olds & Up. 1 3/16 miles on dirt at Pimlico Race Course. Post Time: Friday, May 17 at 5:52pm EST.

[Post Position, Horse - Jockey, Impost, Trainer - Summary, Opinion in italics]

1) Avenida Paseo is a late-scratch

2) Indian Dance - Luis Garcia, 118 lbs, Lawrence Murphy - The Maryland-bred gelding by Indian Charlie won his last start by a smidgen here at Pimlico, edging out favored Hakama to win by a nose going 1 1/16 miles. That victory was the gelding’s first since 2010, after competing in the occasional graded stakes without success. Breeding-wise, this isn’t the race for him. Class-wise, this isn’t the race for him. He could improve off that last start some more after a layoff, but by how much is questionable.

3) Brimstone Island - Xavier Perez, 118 lbs, Wayne Campbell - A winner in last year’s Preakness undercard, the Tiznow colt is gunning for his fourth consecutive win. He has only been running in allowances, with his last graded attempt being a hopeless 6th in the Smarty Jones (III) his 2-year-old year in the slop. A colt with some hidden class, this is not an impossible field and Perez is a high percentage rider at Pimlico already with 21%. His breeding suggests route potential, and his speed figures are consistently good.

4) Eighttofasttocatch - Forest Boyce, 124 lbs, Tim Keefe - A local favorite, the Not for Love gelding is hot off a commanding 5-length win in a Pimlico stake last month in the mud. Keen to be making the pace, he tired badly in last year’s Special to finish 9th and hasn’t done a graded stakes since then. Keefe is a high percentage trainer so far this year, and Eighttofasttocatch sports some sizzling figures. If he can be rated, he win, but even with that mindset he has struggled with the class and distance jump in the past and may be overbet.

5) Richard’s Kid - Rosie Napravnik, 118 lbs, Doug O’Neill - A dominant force that has won many graded events, the Lemon Drop Kid shipper is the keen veteran coming in for the race after being disqualified to 7th in the Alysheba (II). Richard’s Kid has struggled to reach the winner’s circle since trading barns from Baffert to O’Neill, with his last win being in July 2012. The distance will suit Richard’s Kid well and with O’Neill’s successful ship rate and Napravnik’s good riding skills, he is not without a chance to close into a fast pace should it present itself. However, he has had this opportunity before and hasn’t acted on it, and being an 8-year-old this year, is it time to call it a career— even in a pretty easy field? Richard’s Kid hasn’t been the same super classy horse in a while.

6) Concealed Identity - Angel Serpa, 124 lbs, Linda Gaudet - The Smarty Jones gelding ruled the slop earlier in the year while winning a 9-furlong stake at Laurel, but lost to Eighttofasttocatch in that gelding’s most recent romp and was traded to turf unsuccessfully recently. Kind of a “meh” horse, he could win this if he can keep pace with Eighttofasttocatch this time, but is an on again, off again type. I wouldn’t go with him unless he had some really attractive odds… I think he can outlast Eighttofasttocatch at this distance should the track decide to not favor early speed.

7) Last Gunfighter - Javier Castellano, 124 lbs, Chad Brown - Bound to take the lion’s share of the winning pool after his most recent G3 win in the Excelsior to mark 5 wins in a row, the First Samurai colt is the scary shipper coming in. I’m not terribly keen on his overall class, but with his consistency no matter what setup he gets, he’s got an excellent shot to win this race upgrading to Castellano off a string of wins and lively works. He’ll get a clean break and likely move up from there. He looks like the solid favorite with a sharp 4 panel work, but the one blight on his record is the long layoff he’ll be shipping off of, with all of his recent success coming from New York tracks.

Top Picks in Order:

1) Brimstone Island

2) Last Gunfighter

3) Richard’s Kid

I imagine Eighttofasttocatch will try to rate the whole way around, and while he can win this way, I think the distance will get to him. Brimstone Island looks ready off his consistent record with his Pimlico experience and route breeding, can take this with some attractive odds. Last Gunfighter will take all the money, but shipping out off a layoff might hurt his class in the end. Richard’s Kid will try to close in late with Napravnik, but I’m sold that he’s done despite being the most accomplished in the field. Use Brimstone Island and Last Gunfighter for your double tickets.

Orb (Photo by HRTV)

Orb (Photo by HRTV)

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