Thursday, May 24, 2007

Looking Past The Preakness

So it's Thursday, five days after the Preakness and we're still all hung up about what jockey made the biggest mistake, wondering if the order of finish could have been changed without a glance and lamenting over the fact that we'll have no Triple Crown winner again this year. I personally try to steer clear of all that stuff, what's done is done. Discussing ways to gain or lose a few inches in a race that's already over strikes me as a bit of a waste of time and mental energy.

So instead of looking back we'll look forward. Gerry has left more than one comment on the subject of Curlin and his Belmont prospects. I for one agree with him, I think Curlin is sitting on a huge race and could very well blow the Belmont field to pieces. By years end he may be giving Invasor all he can handle.

Instead of musing about the obvious though how about coming up with a list of horses that could and should still have a major impact on their respective division. The catch with this list? Only include horses who either have not run in 2007 yet or have not won in 2007. I'm sure there are many that I simply would not think of so chime in if any come to mind. Here are the horses I've thought of who have not either won or run in 2007.

Afrashad - A freaky fast sprinter who really seemed to get it all figured out in his last few starts of 2006. He is lightly raced and could still improve a great deal which is a frightening thought. I am pretty confident that he will win himself a G-1 this year.
Always First - Maybe the biggest longshot on this list. It's maybe a stretch to think that he could have an impact in the Turf division this year. However he is the one American horse who looks truly legitimate at 12f. He seems to relish the distance and I think Tom Voss could coax this 6 yo gelding through a "John's Call" type of season. After a narrow loss in the Elkhorn he is looking to win his first race of 2007 in the Louisville Handicap this Saturday. He;ll have to step up in class a great deal to be a G-1 horse but I think he is capable.
Arravale - Canadian turf horses have been all the rage this year with Jambalaya and Sky Conqueror winning races stateside. Canadian Horse of the Year Arravale might have more to say than either of these. She was phenomenal as a 3yo and I expect her to come up huge as a 4yo. She popped a splint working towards her comeback so the plan for now is to head for the Dance Smarty Stakes on July 22nd then the Beverly D at Arlington.
Buzzards Bay - He had a quietly good comeback race when third behind Molengao in the Mervyn LeRoy. Last year his season was cut short through injury but he showed the capacity for some brilliance. He may need conventional dirt and thus a move away from California to show his best but he's got talent and could make himself a factor in an older horse division that looks pretty soft once you get past Invasor.
Discreet Cat - Remember him? The supposed super horse who was going to dominate everything in his path in 2007? It's safe to say his stock has fallen a bit, but I would not discount him completely. I'm a born contrarion and the best time to jump on a bandwagon is right after everyone else has jumped off. His connections are saying he'll be ready to go at Saratoga and surely he has to be considered a major contender in any race he runs. If he returns to top form you would have to think he'd have the BC Dirt Mile over a barrel.
Octave - Kind of an obvious selection but Octave still has not won a race in 2007. She has finished second in 5 straight races. Simply put she's due to win one and she has to be considered a major factor in the 3yo filly division even though she hasn't won yet.
Showing Up - Another obvious choice but it's nearly the end of may and he has still not visited the winners circle. Many including myself expected him to have a near championship type season and he still should.
Surf Cat - One of the most talented horses in America, he has not often been seen on the track as injuries seem to have blighted him at every turn but this horse is scary good. He has put in 12 works since March and should be ready for a debut soon. He is effective sprinting and going long although he is unproven at 10f.
The Tin Man - He's lost exactly one race since 2004 and that was a good second in the Dubai Duty Free. He should be making his 2007 debut in the Shoemaker Mile this weekend and hopefully he will have another solid year.
Tiz Wonderful - Who knows when we'll see this undefeated colt back on track. He sure looked like something special as a 2yo. Asmussen would have quite the two-punch if this guy came back healthy and was able to build on his 2yo form.
Youmzain - This is the only foreigner included on the list, I thought I would get his name down as a non-winner in 2007 because I think he's set to make himself ineligible for this list when he takes on the Tattersalls Gold Cup this weekend. Youmzain is a fantastic but underrated 12f turf horse, he was a better horse than Red Rocks last year and its possible that he could be campaigned with an eye on the BC Turf. He was terribly unlucky not to win the Dubai Sheema Classic and would lay over anything we've got in North America.

By the way on an un-related note the Times has printed a very good article about Sheikh Mohammed's boycott of Coolmore. It's a must read if you're interested in the saga.

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