Last weekend was the third weekend of points races in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy horse racing league. There was only one points race last weekend, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Since Shared Belief missed the race, I had no horses in it. It also had no real impact on claiming strategy, since the top four horses in the race (and five of the seven competitors altogether) are all drafted by other stables. This coming weekend will be a more exciting weekend for my stable, since both the El Camino Real Derby and the Southwest Stakes are points races, and my stable is likely to be represented in both of those races.
As of this evening, here is where my eight horses stand:
- Tamarando – He posted a zippy work, five furlongs in 59.40, at Santa Anita on February 8. As of last week’s post, the San Vicente was possible for him, though that plan has changed in the light of the injury to Exit Stage Left. Jerry Hollendorfer was originally going to run Exit Stage Left in the El Camino Real Derby, but since a tendon injury has knocked him off the Derby trail, he has opted to run Tamarando there instead. This is all-around good news for my stable, since the El Camino Real is a points race for the league, as well as a good chance to evaluate him before the draft. It will be Tamarando’s first attempt at the 1 1/8 mile distance; he has run several times at 1 1/16 miles, but nothing longer yet. Russell Baze has the mount — though it will be the first time he has ridden Tamarando, I will never, ever complain about seeing Russell Baze on my horse at Golden Gate Fields.
- Ride On Curlin – There is nothing unexpected here, and that is a good thing. He is still on the work tab at Oaklawn; he posted a five furlong work in 1:03.40 on February 5th. He was nominated to the Southwest, and there has been nothing to imply that the plan to point him toward the Southwest has changed. The Southwest hasn’t been drawn yet, since it is scheduled for Monday, February 17.
- Conquest Titan – He returned to the work tab for the first time since the Holy Bull, breezing five furlongs in a minute flat on February 8 at Palm Meadows. Trainer Mark Casse has confirmed that he is pointing Conquest Titan toward the Fountain of Youth, at Gulfstream on February 22nd. It won’t be an easy race, since several serious contenders in the Florida circuit are pointing there as well, but Conquest Titan shouldn’t be in over his head there.
- General a Rod – He has been a regular on the work tab at Gulfstream; last working five furlongs in 1:02.81 on February 9. It still seems like he is heading to the Fountain of Youth, along with Conquest Titan (and Top Billing…and Commissioner…and Wildcat Red…and Almost Famous…). It will be good to evaluate him in a relatively tough race before the claiming deadline; hopefully he acquits himself well.
- Noble Cornerstone – Just today, he returned to the Gulfstream work tab for the first time since his disastrous Sam F. Davis run. It was a brisk one, five furlongs in 59.82. The latest scuttlebutt says he may be headed to the Fountain of Youth as well. If that’s the case, I’ll be annoyed that three of my horses are all running in the same race, but glad to see one more run before the claiming date. After that clunker of a race last out, this should help answer some questions as to whether the Davis can be tossed, or if he is just not up to snuff on the Derby trail. I really want to be high on him like I was before the Sam F. Davis, but lacking an obvious excuse for the race, I need to see another race from him.
- Shared Belief – He is back in training, finally; he has been galloping at Santa Anita. However, there is still no word from Jerry Hollendorfer about what his racing plans are, or whether there are lingering effects from his injury. It’s good to see him back on the track, but my optimism will be tempered at best until I see him slotted for a race.
- She’s a Tiger – She’s still off the work tab, though she has returned to Santa Anita and is starting to do some galloping there. She has been nominated to the UAE Derby, though I have seen nothing credible to say that she is actually going to run in Dubai. We shall see. I am getting anxious to start seeing works and more concrete plans for where she’s racing, but it is still early enough that I am not overly worried yet.
- Stopchargingmaria – She is still a regular on the Palm Meadows work tab; her last work was a four furlong breeze in 48.40. However, there is still no information about when her three-year-old debut may come.
As it stands, Week 4 is going to be a big week for my stable, and Week 5 may be even bigger given how much I have riding on the Fountain of Youth. Here’s hoping my horses run well!