Overview: Not very many high profile stakes or stakes horses in action this week. The Lone Star Derby is contentious but has very little quality. Slew's Tizzy with a score of 39.08 is the 12th ranked 3yo and will not be able to break into the top 10 even with a victory. The biggest race of the week is the Jim Murray from Hollywood. On The Acorn (75.20) is ranked 22nd overall and 3rd in the Turf division but he stands to become the #1 turf horse and break into the overall top 10 if he can manage victory. It's a shame this race lost One Off and Fourty Niners Son, none of the other entrants are really worth noting at this point. The sprint division may see some major players emerge this weekend with Songster reappearing in the Bold Ruler (G-3) and Peace Chant stepping up in the Los Angeles (G-3). Both horses have considerable promise.
Lone Star Derby
The Texan version of the Derby would never be confused with Kentucky's version but they still pay the same currency for winners and it may be the best field going this weekend. Asmussen has three starters in here and although I think ultimately that Forty Grams will prove to be the best of the trio I don't think he will necessarily show that today. I think he needs things to go his own way to really produce his best and he has a penchant for giving up in the straight. The only races where he didn't lose ground in the final furlong were at the Fair Grounds. Coincidentally (or perhaps not) the only two races he has ever won. I can't use him on top here but if you're going for some exotics he makes sense to include. The best Asmussen horse on this day will likely be Reporting for Duty. I know he comes out of the Illinois Derby which produced Cowtown Cat but he was doing pretty well that day. He was really the only one coming into the slow pace and he fought all the way to the line. He is stuck in a bit of a rut but he is the strongest closer in the field. If we get a good pace, and I think we will, he will have every chance. However he has also found ways to lose his last 4 races despite running well. You could make the excuse that he's been running into slow paces in his last two and the start before that he was soundly beaten by the impressive Ketchikan. But still he may not be a winner. I'm drawn to Harrow Land, his figures are not very good but this is a pretty mediocre field. I think nearly any horse is capable if they step up. Harrow Land got no run at all in his last race and if not for the traffic he would likely be a perfect 3 for 3 around two turns. He prefers to stalk from midpack and I think the pace will be good for him. The only question is the trip, Razo replaces Thompson and perhaps that will spark a return to his best. I think Slew's Tizzy is a very beatable favorite. His only good effort have come when he is put right on the lead and allowed to set a moderate pace. I think Mr. Lightlinger will keep him honest, it's a whole lot easier to steal away at 40/1 than it is at 5/2. Moyer's Pond looks interesting on bare form but I'm not going to use him. I think he got the perfect setup last time out and he was unable to improve on his sprint form. He's had just one work in the last 7 weeks, I'll pass. My unconventional play in this race is Reata's Rocket. I know he looks like a sprinter and he ran out of gas in the Rushaway but there are things to like. First of all his Rushaway performance was not too bad. It was his first try around two turns and he did it on the testing Polytrack where we clearly saw that horses needed a good endurance foundation to be successful. He had none of that foundation but still managed to record an 85 Beyer which is close to his lifetime best. Add a few points for the discrepancy between Polytack and dirt and it comes out as his best ever performance. What's better is that he should move forward from that effort. He has had time to recover and should be stronger endurance wise for having gone that trip. He drilled a bullet in his last which is unusual for him and Rajiv Maragh has come all the way to Texas to ride him. I expect a huge effort from him.
3)Reporting For Duty