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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Some weekend notes

World Cups, Derby preps, smart racetracks. Let's look at what happened this weekend in this wonderful world of racing.

Animal Kingdom proves U.S. ability
Despite technically representing Australia, Animal Kingdom scored a huge victory for the U.S. in Saturday's Dubai World Cup, proving the American horses can beat international talent on synthetic surfaces, specifically the Meydan Tapeta. Not only did he win, but he was damn impressive. I didn't pick him to win (I put him in for 2nd behind Hunter's Light) but I was incredibly happy when he drew out.
     Animal Kingdom was the 5-2 favorite on the North American tote, but he was 11-2 in Britain. Funny to see how nationalism can affect odds on these international days. Royal Delta was a very close 3rd choice on the U.S. tote, which was completely ridiculous and it showed. Dullahan was the 4th choice at 5-1, and he also ran poorly.
     Now American (and Aussie) fans will have to wait until Royal Ascot to see our hero race again. It's also been reported that he may race in Australia before retiring to stud. Hopefully he'll compete well over there.

Pj Chick in Black is still terrific
After an impressive trial, Pj Chick in Black showed her class again on Saturday, romping in the Grade III West Texas Derby at Sunland. She's now 7-for-8 lifetime, with earnings of $623,919. Her trainer, John Stinebaugh, said in a post race interview that she will get some time off before returning in the Ruidoso Derby trials. Not surprising. Great filly. She covered the 400 yards in a very fast 18.808. If she stays on form, maybe we'll have a Derby Triple Crown winner this year.

Stuff happened at Gulfstream and the Fair Grounds, too
Anybody watch the Florida Derby? I did too. Orb ran very well, and Shanghai Bobby isn't as good as he was. Some people are saying Itsmyluckyday bounced/regressed a bit, but I believe that Orb is simply a better horse. Not by a huge margin, but a more talented horse.
     Dreaming of Julia was incredibly impressive, but her fast time was a case of taking no pressure and being able to accelerate. Had she taken some pressure, she probably would have still gone faster than the boys, but not by as much as she did. She can't go to the Derby, but it will be fun to watch her and Midnight Lucky in the Kentucky Oaks.
     I was impressed by Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby, but I think Departing is a horse to watch in the future. He got stuck in traffic down the stretch, swung out once he got an opening and ran pretty well to be third. The New Orleans Handicap was a good race as well, Graydar's really showing that he's a very talented horse. I'm a Flat Out fan, and I was a bit disappointed with him, but I'll survive.

All About Larry shows his 870 dominance
Sunland's feature today was the Grade III Red Cell New Mexico Distance Challenge going 870 yards. Despite finishing 4th in his trial, last year's AQHA Distance Champion All About Larry won today's final easily, looking to defend his title. He won by 4 lengths under a hand ride, and went in a 44.122. Had he been asked, he probably could have gone in the 43.95 range. He's a fun horse to follow, an incredible talent, and I hope he remains dominant in the 870 division this year.

Northlands Park: Doing It Right
I was checking out the DRF website, and I stumbled across an article about the upcoming Northlands Park meet. Once again, the Grade III Canadian Derby will highlight the meet, with the $100,000 Speed to Spare being the feature race for older horses. Both are 1 mile and 3/8ths races.
     But on to the doing it right part. In the article, it was said that the Edmonton track will be moving their Sunday afternoon cards, which haven't been performing well, to Monday afternoons. Very smart move, less competition creates more interest. I've stressed this point several times, and it's nice to see that there is a track that's smart enough to apply this. I wish Northlands a great 2013 season. Hopefully the new Balzac racetrack will get built and the Alberta racing industry will be able to grow and thrive as it had in the Stampede days.

Have a good week, and good luck.

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