2017 Louisiana Derby – Post Race

Surface playing fast

Girvin ran as well as we had expected. He was able to stalk a solid early pace, made his move to contention on the far turn into the stretch and was able to wrestle a lead just past the 1/8th pole and while looking a little leg weary midstretch was able to change leads again and opened a little space to the wire. So far Girvin has done what was asked, he learned how to rate off the early pace, showed fire late and stretched to 1 1/8th miles. Does he keep improving going longer – well that’s a tough one to answer right now because this race was his longest and hardest so we’ll have to keep tabs on him to study how he trains up to the Derby.

Patch only had two career starts entering this race and stepped up in a big was as he had put in a long drive to finish 2nd here and at one point looked like he was going to pull off the upset. Very hard on a horse to go from a Maiden win at one-mile into a Grade II event at 1 1/8th miles, so getting an even longer distance next time out will be even more difficult on the horse. Obviously Patch has talent and If I were the owner/trainer I would give him a six week respite and not enter him back at a longer distance than he just ran, but that would be doing right by the horse which a lot of trainers don’t seem to care about these days.

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2017 Florida Derby – Post Race

Surface playing very fast

Always Dreaming stepped up in a big way in this race as he turned in a very good effort stretching out to 1 1/8th miles. He was able sit just off an early solid pace and when called upon on the final turn pulled alongside the early leader and moved past him just prior to the 1/8th pole. Pulled away and won pretty easily looking like he could have went further. This effort certainly makes a huge statement for Always Dreaming being one of the top contenders heading into Kentucky. He is well bred for a distance and also finished very well in this race. When he moved to contest the lead the interior fractions stayed strong throughout to the finish which is a very good indication about a horses ability to get a longer distance. It’s also reassuring that Dreaming has early speed but doesn’t need the early lead to be effective and run his best race. ┬áSurely a top contender for the roses!

State of Honor ran a very good race today as he was well within range early, found himself trapped on the rail turning for home and when a hole opened up inside around the turn he shot the gap and got through along the rail eventually finishing 2nd. Does State get better off this race – hard to answer that clearly because he has had 9 races coming into today and on several different surfaces so perhaps with the blinker addition 2 races back along with keeping State on a dirt surface we will see more improvement going forward. Right now we can’t toss him out.

Gunnevera was the heavy favorite and with the distance getting longer it figured to aid Gunn’s late running style. He was biding his time in the early going, loping along at the back of the pack, was asked for run after 3/4′s had passed and slowly made up ground and kept getting closer entering the stretch at about 6-wide. Once he got past the 1/8th pole we knew his race was over as he did not fire as he had done in his two prior preps. He managed to get 3rd money but he lacked the spark. Does he move forward after this race headed into Kentucky is a hard question to answer because I am not sure he will have enough time to recover from these past three efforts and also move forward facing better and at a longer distance in the Derby. One of the clues that will help us decide if Gunnevera will be a top contender in Kentucky will be to see how he trains the week prior to the race.

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The Sunland Derby – Post Race

Track playing very fast

Hence ran a terrific race as he was able to settle far back early and slowly made up ground to the 3/4′s point getting a very fast early pace to help his cause. Hence found his best stride and made a strong move to rally on the far turn and ranged outside the early leader, gained the lead at the 3/16ths point and edged away to the finish. This was a very nice effort for Hence and it looks as though he will move forward off this race as he is also well bred to get the classic distances and seemingly is improving at the right time.

Conquest Mo Money turned in a very nice effort as he settled well off the hot early pace and moved sharply to contention by the 3/4′s mark. Was able to wrestle a short lead approaching the 3/16ths pole but couldn’t fend off the winner however managed to finish a game 2nd. I feel Conquest could move forward off this race since he has now shown improvement in every passing race and is also well bred for the classic distances.

Hedge Fund showed good early speed as he turned in quick splits early and held the lead into the stretch before weakening in the late stages. He has shown improvement but I don’t think he will get 1 1/4 miles right now.

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The Spiral – Post Race

Track playing fast

Fast and Accurate was able to take back off the early lead and stalk a quick pace from the rail in the early going. Was able to move off the rail approaching the far turn and went about 3 wide as he was in top gear gaining on the leader. Seized the lead prior to the 1/8th pole and although going a bit wide and looking leg weary was able to hold off several late closer’s for the victory. Great effort no doubt but I am not so sure that Fast and Accurate can get a longer distance right now. The final furlong was run in a very slow :14 seconds which would also give reason for thinking he can’t get a longer distance right now.

Blueridge Traveler finished well to get 2nd money as he came from well out of it to gain the place from the rail. The fact that the final 1/8th was run in :14 seconds makes me feel that although he was gaining, his late punch isn’t all that strong right now.

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The Rebel – Post Thoughts

Surface seemed to be playing honest

Malagacy easily looked like a talented runner as he was 2 for 2 coming into today’s race and recorded both victories easily and by open lengths, however at sprint distances. Today’s challenge was asking him to get 1 1/16th miles stepping up to a Graded Stake and against a pretty deep field. Malagacy was rated off the early lead which was an honest pace, moved to contend on the final turn, wrestled the lead away by the 1/8th pole and just kept it going to the wire. The time of the race was solid and the effort by Malagacy was very good. Does he get better off this race and show more ability next time out at 1 1/8th? Not sure because it would depend on how much early speed and pace he will be facing next time. However this horse is now 3 for 3 and has just stretched out looking very good. Has license to be a good one so we will have to wait to see another effort going longer before we can decide just how good will Malagacy get at this point.

Sonneteer ran a big race as he finished well for the place coming from well off the early lead. He certainly showed great improvement as he was able to outfinish the rest of today’s field and still hasn’t won a race yet making his record 0 for 9. The fact that he finished 2nd without showing much prior ability might speak volumes when considering the rest of today’s field?

Untrapped & Petrov have no real excuses, both seem to have distance limitations right now.

Silver Dust made a strong middle move to get within striking distance but ran out of fire entering the stretch. Not sure he can improve enough to take on the top of the class right now.

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