Weekend Overview: The Derby picture was changed dramatically with Pyro's loss in the Bluegrass. One would seemingly need to take the view that either only Colonel John and Big Brown can win or that absolutely anyone can win. We've got 3 exciting and debate filled weeks to decide. Fans of Turf racing were treated to a pair of top class encounters at Keeneland. Kip Deville reasserted himself as the best miler with a safe and steady win and Rutherienne returned to form and signalled that she'll be a force to be reckoned with in 2008. The steady Semaphore Man got himself a Graded Stakes win in the Count Fleet and makes me wish once again that Euroears was healthy.
Performance of the Week: It remains to be seen whether or not she can run on dirt but Ventura surely qualifies as the newest Female Sprinting sensation. With the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita it may not matter if conventional dirt is her cup of tea. We certainly know that no one lined up against her in the Madison was anywhere near as good. She settled near the back of the pack but actually got shuffled back around the far turn. She had to wait momentarily in the straight but once she got clear she powered past her hapless competition and won with more ease than the margin suggests.
Race of the Week: As a fan I'm slightly biased towards Turf races and the Jenny Wiley is a prime example why. A top class field of fillies and in the end just a half length to separate the top four finishers. Rutherienne made an eye catching dive to the inside and persevered all the way to the line with the classy Lady Of Venice closing on the outside and the surprising Stormy West also coming very strongly. Roshani looked to be in the best position turning for home but she just couldn't get away from the field.
Flop of the Weekend: I hate to give this to Precious Kitten because she is one of my favorite horses but I do think her's was the most shocking under performance of the weekend. Pyro was bad but he'd never been on the surface. Precious Kitten lost a race when everything seemed right in her favor. It was a tough race to be sure but she had no excuse not to be involved in the stretch drive. It's a bad sign for the Jackson's who must have paid a handsome price to keep her in training.
TCR Mover’s and Shakers: The biggest news of the week was Pyro's inability to recapture top spot in the Three Year Old Male division. He lost his place in the top three last week and this week he slid all the way to 5th. Colonel John and Big Brown remain 1-2. Golden Doc A slid into top spot in the Three Year Old Female Division but the top 4 are separated by just 5 points. It's basically as even as it possibly could be. Einstein may not have won the Maker's Mark Mile but his classy second place finish solidified his #1 Turf Male ranking and moved him to 4th overall in the nation.
Tip O’the Cap: Paulo Lobo gets a tip o'the cap for his handling of Gayego. This horse is hardly bred to be a stayer but Lobo is giving him every chance of succeeding in the Derby. He ran a superb race in the Arkansas Derby to hold off Z Fortune. Instead of staying back in California to face Colonel John he got him onto a traditional dirt track and Gayego responded with the best race of his life.
KC Handicapping: The carnage continues, it has now been five weeks since I managed to show a profit. This week was especially bad as 7 of my 8 selections didn't even hit the frame. Roshani was beaten just 1/2 a length in the Jenny Wiley but didn't even get third. Re-reading some of what I wrote I noticed that I had this to say about Rebellion "he'll adore the conditions and it's never good to underestimate a horse who is doing what they love most." Then I promptly went out and underestimated him and he scored at 4/1. Such was my luck with both my handicapping in this space and my Keeneland selections on the sidebar who are quickly becoming a must avoid list.
Cumulative record of selected horses: 8(6)-1-0-0 (-$8.60 -53.75% ROI)
Overall record: 501(248)-91-87-71 (-$78.40 -7.82% ROI)