Weekly Recap: The 20 at this moment

The Coolmore Lexington has come and gone with Advice scoring a decisive off the pace win for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Garrett Gomez, which preceded Gomez opting against Pletcher’s best 3YO to ride Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile.  Interestingly, Advice could give WinStar Farm (certainly still grinning from Well Armed’s triumph in Dubai) three horses in the Kentucky Derby.  They have three different trainers, have run their final preps in three different races but all have a similar running style. 

As far as the Kentucky Derby field, here’s how it would look pending withdrawals by some connections over the next ten days (in order of graded earnings):

1   Regal Ransom   $1,250,000
2   Pioneerof the Nile   $1,193,250
3   Square Eddie   $804,981   
4   I Want Revenge   $774,000
5   Papa Clem   $760,000
6   Desert Party  $641,667 
7   Quality Road   $600,000
8   General Quarters   $595,645 
9   Friesan Fire   $570,465   
10   Musket Man   $485,000 
11   Hold Me Back   $438,000
12   West Side Bernie   $385,160 
13   Chocolate Candy   $370,000 
14   Win Willy   $230,000 
15   Advice   $206,845 
16   Giant Oak   $169,256 
17   Dunkirk   $150,000 
18   Mine That Bird   $138,705 
19   Flying Private   $124,000 
20   Mr. Hot Stuff   $114,000 
21   Summer Bird  $100,000 
22   Join in the Dance $90,000
23   Take the Points   $85,000   
24   Atomic Rain   $77,500       
25   Just a Coincidence $75,000   

Of the top 10, the only runner who is not a confirmed starter is Regal Ransom, who worked sharply on Saturday at Churchill Downs.  His owner, the Godolphin Stable, has not made a final decision on whether both of their accomplished colts will go to the Derby.  Of the horses in positions in 11-20, Win Willy and Giant Oak are still unconfirmed and the colts in positions 21 and 22 are apparently ready to go if they can make the field.  The 20 that will enter the gate on May 2 are coming together and even with some defections, this is an absolutely stellar group.

Let’s take a look at some of the graded stakes of the weekend.

Lexington (G2)

The good folks at TVG refer to the Lexington as the “Last Chance Texaco” as it has become the final spot on the road to the Derby to grab some graded earnings.  It has lost a great deal of significance in terms of producing Derby caliber horses but usually draws a bulky field and sets up as a terrific betting race.  This year was no exception as there was at least one proven heavy, Square Eddie, who was back at the races after suffering a minor leg fracture in January.  He was sent off as the 7/5 favorite and started poorly in the large field, which left him at the back of the pack in the early stages.  He launched a premature and wide move on the far turn and for a second looked as if he was going to win by open lengths.  He flattened out noticeably in the stretch and that’s when Advice was in high gear under Gomez.  He quickly gathered in the pacesetters, took the lead and scored by a comfortable length. 

Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5QgNTgxuoE to watch the Lexington

Bed O’ Roses (G2)

Three scratches reduced the septet entered to a quartet, which didn’t exactly make for a great wagering scenario, but this race yielded the most impressive performance of the weekend without question.  Seattle Smooth, who closed out her 2008 campaign with wins in the Go For Wand at Delaware and the Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park, over Eclipse winner Proud Spell, was back with a vengeance.  She was co-favored with Distorted Passion, who received a great deal of support based on an iffy pace situation.  Leading rider Ramon Dominguez never let Distorted Passion get far away as he kept Seattle Smooth just off the pace, asked her to confront the leaders turning for home and when given her cue she responded willingly.  She drew off through the stretch with authority and earned a 95 Beyer figure, a career high for her, and a solid figure in her first start off a long layoff.  She will be very tough in the Shuvee on May 16 at Belmont Park, which is her next stop according to trainer Tony Dutrow.

Click here http://207.232.119.242/nyra/2009/hi.cfm?racename=20090418bedoroseshi to watch the Bed O’ Roses

There are only five racing days left at the Big A and no Kentucky Derby preps between now and May 2.  We’ll see you Tuesday to preview the final week at Aqueduct.

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