fantasy stable: week 11 postmortem

Week 11 of the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy league has come and gone, and it was a tough one on the distaff side for Iron Bard Stable, with two horses — and two off-the-board finishes.  Despite there being six league points races this past Saturday, they were the only two horses in my stable running, and my stable’s status has plummeted as a result.

Things are looking a bit more promising at the moment on the colts’ side, with a couple of promising works leading to the Arkansas Derby.  No matter what, I’m going to have a lot to think about in a couple of weeks, come the April claiming day.  It’ll be the last claim before the Kentucky Oaks, the Kentucky Derby, the Black Eyed Susan, and the Preakness, so I’ll have to use my bankroll to score some late-emerging stars if I’m to have any shot at sniping my competition.

Here’s how my stable is doing as of this week:

  • Please Explain – The Fantasy was not what I was hoping to see from Please Explain, simple as that.  She started far back early, and she never made up much.  She was eighth of eight most of it, and only managed to overtake the fading, straggling Haveyougoneaway to finish seventh.  There was no clear excuse for this, especially since she hadn’t shipped out for the race or even raced all that recently.  I am not sure whether she needs a new jockey or easier company.  Either way, she failed to get any much-needed points, and my hopes of seeing her there come Oaks day are pretty well dashed.  I haven’t given up on her, since maybe she will improve late like her sire Curlin or her sire’s currently most prominent offspring, the excellent Palace Malice, but things aren’t looking good for the spring segment of her three-year-old year.
  • Stopchargingmaria – Her Fantasy was slightly better than Please Explain’s, but not particularly good.  She was fairly far back early, though not quite as far as Please Explain was, and steadily made up some ground.  Stopchargingmaria broke slowly, and was wide the whole way through.  That said, she was not so far wide that she couldn’t (or shouldn’t have been able to) make a move.  Stopchargingmaria just never fired much, though, and crossed the wire fourth.  I am still a bit confused that she didn’t run the Gazelle instead, given her love for the New York tracks (including Aqueduct!), but what’s done is done, and Repole and Pletcher sent her to Oaklawn.  We’ll see what she does next.
  • Ride On CurlinAs expected based on Billy Gowan’s previous comments, Ride On Curlin returned to the worktab for a long one this week.  On April 6, he worked 7 furlongs in 1:26.80 at Oaklawn.  Other than that, there has been nothing new, which looks to be for the best.  All systems are go for the Arkansas Derby.  Ride On Curlin currently sits at 15 Kentucky Derby points, 23rd in the standings.  First or second place will get him in the starting gate.  Third will give him a good chance.  Fourth place will mean a few things will have to fall his way to get him in.  Off the board, and he has to hope he’s as lucky as Golden Soul and Giant Finish were last year.
  • Conquest Titan – Conquest Titan is still pointing toward the Arkansas Derby.  He shipped out to Kentucky, and on April 7th worked a bullet 4 furlongs in 47.40 at his dearly beloved Churchill Downs.  Today it was confirmed by Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form that he has shipped down to Oaklawn for the race.  He will need a big effort there, since he’s still sitting in 36th place with only nine points.  First or second gets him in the Derby.  Third, he hopes.  Fourth, he hopes against hope.  Fifth or worse?  He’s out.
  • Tamarando – Tamarando has shown back up on the worktab for the first time since his disappointing finish in the Spiral.  He has shipped back to California, and worked five furlongs on April 6 in 1:02.40.  What’s interesting about this work is that, for the first time since I’ve been following him closely (in other words, since January), the work happened over the turf.  This suggests Hollendorfer may be considering Tamarando for the green stuff, and suggests he is probably not going to run in any further points races for the league.
  • She’s a Tiger -April 3, She’s a Tiger returned to the worktab with an honest, long workout: 6 furlongs in 1:12.80 along the Santa Anita dirt.  There was some suggestion that she may run in this Friday’s Santa Paula Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs over the Santa Anita dirt, and the official press feed from Santa Anita noted that she was nominated, but the draw came out without her in there.  There has been no further word about what prep, if any, she may be running before the Eight Belles.
  • General a Rod – General a Rod still hasn’t returned to the worktab yet after his third-place finish in the Florida Derby.  The General hasn’t lost any ground practically speaking; Wicked Strong leapfrogged ahead of him on the points list, but Toast of New York declared himself off the Derby trail for sure, so he’s still sitting at 14th on the official list.  Other than Wicked Strong, the other big-point horses from the weekend already sat ahead of him on the standings: California Chrome, Hoppertunity, and Samraat.  Barring an injury or a freakish amount of new horses who leapfrog him (combined with no drops from the Derby trail), The General should be in the starting gate on Derby day.
  • Shared Belief – The biggest news about Shared Belief this week is that Derbyologist will offload his future wager ticket to one lucky sap on Twitter who makes him an offer.  I offered him a song for it.  He still hasn’t responded.  I’m pretty sure that’s the best offer he’s going to get for that slip of scratch paper, since Shared Belief still hasn’t shown up on the worktab yet.

That’s how things are going for my horses this week.  So ends this week’s recap — and good luck to Ride On Curlin and Conquest Titan in the Arkansas Derby!

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