fantasy stable: week 2 postmortem

The Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy horse racing league has reached the end of the second week of points races.  This weekend, there were three: the Withers, the Las Virgenes, and the Busher.  Alas, I had no horses racing in any of them.  However, there was still some action involving the horses in my stable this week, and so there are still at least a few words to say at the end of the most recent week of competition.

  • Noble Cornerstone – I was looking forward to the Sam F. Davis this week, but that race was a nightmare for Noble Cornerstone.  He didn’t start out the race particularly fast, and did nothing to catch up.  Of course, this was only Noble Cornerstone’s third career race, but he got farther back than he did in any of his races.  In his maiden win he was never more than a length or so off the lead, and he took it within a scant few furlongs.  In his Remington Springboard Mile second he started out almost ten lengths back, but closed to within a neck of the winner.  In this race, he started over thirteen lengths off the lead, and never got within ten.  I’m worried as to why, and I hope he runs another race between now and draft time so I can figure out whether this was an issue of one bad race, a hatred of Tampa Bay Downs, or something more foreboding.  I have seen a bit of scuttlebutt about the Risen Star; I hope that actually happens, so I can see him run again before claiming time.
  • Conquest Titan – Not much has changed about Conquest Titan.  He’s still coming off his second in the Holy Bull (G2), and he has had no published works since.  Per @horseracinghl, his trainer Mark Casse said this week that, “If you put a gun to my head today… I’d say we’d probably run in the Fountain of Youth”.  That’s the clearest current indication of where he’s running.  That would be fantastic, since the Fountain of Youth is a points race in the league — and one before the first claiming date, no less.  I am pretty sure I am hanging onto this horse no matter how he runs in the Fountain of Youth (assuming he runs), but I’m glad there is a chance he may return to the track sooner rather than later.
  • General a Rod – There is not a ton new with General a Rod this week.  That is not to say there is nothing.  This week, he fired a bullet work at Gulfstream: a five furlong breeze in 59.13 on 2.2.14.  The word is that he is heading to the Fountain of Youth as well; even moreso than Conquest Titan, I’m glad to see him pointed toward a race this month.
  • Ride On Curlin – Nothing new has happened this week.  His last work was January 27, a five furlong breeze in 1.03.00 at Oaklawn.  It still sounds like he’s heading to the Southwest Stakes on 2.17.14.
  • Stopchargingmaria – There is little new with her.  She did breeze on 2.2.14, 5 furlongs in 1:00.60, 3/28 at Palm Meadows that day.  There is nothing credible to indicate her next race; she still has not raced since the Demoiselle.  She was one of the fourteen fillies nominated to the Triple Crown this year, though it is hard to tell whether or not she is actually pointed to the Derby, due to Todd Pletcher’s NOMINATE ALL THE HORSES strategy.  (Five of the fourteen fillies nominated to the Triple Crown are Pletcher trainees; the others are Onlyforyou, Got Lucky, Dame Dorothy, and Our Amazing Rose.)
  • Shared Belief – He is still not on the work tab, and there is still no word from Jerry Hollendorfer.  The Lewis is not going to happen.  Someone posted on Horse Racing Nation that he is possible for the San Felipe on 3.8.14, but I have nothing to substantiate that.  No matter what, he’s not working, and he’s currently a big question mark in my stable.
  • She’s A Tiger – She is another horse in my stable who has not returned to the work tab recently — and, in her case, she hasn’t been on the work tab since her two year old year.  There is little else to say about her at the moment, which is starting to frustrate me.
  • Tamarando – There is no real news since the California Cup Derby the weekend before last.  I was confused about him then, and I’m still pondering.  The San Felipe sounds like the most likely race for his return.  I would love to see him in a race before the claiming date, though if his next ends up being the San Felipe, I may consider keeping him into March.  It’s still an open question, though.

This week’s three points races were the Withers, the Las Virgenes, and the Busher.  The Withers didn’t give me any really great ideas for drafts — Samraat and Uncle Sigh were the only horses who came out of that race as clearly promising prospects, and they are both taken in the league.  I was considering Classic Giacnroll if he had done well in the Withers, but he was thoroughly unimpressive there, and I don’t think I’m particularly interested in him after that race.

Just as last week, it was the filly races that gave me a bit more interesting information.  Fashion Plate is interesting.  She was seventh and third her first two times out, at Del Mar and Hollywood Park respectively, but then won a six-furlong maiden race as well as the mile-long Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.  I am interested to see where she points next; if this ends up being a sustained love for dirt and distance, she’s a threat.  She’s got plenty of dirt on her sire’s side, but more turf on the closer generations of her dam’s side.  However, that Las Virgenes win over Streaming — a known quality horse — speaks loudly.  As for the Busher, I am looking into many of the horses in there just for tracking purposes, but I can’t deny: Joint Return coming from last to five wide around the turn to then win by over four lengths was a really pretty sight.  I have some more studying to do with respect to her previous races, as well as her pedigree (I can’t just automatically love her because she’s 4×5 to Hoist the Flag, right?!), but I may be buying what she’s selling.

Thus end my thoughts on where I stand this week, with respect to my fantasy stable.

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