This past week was a huge one for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown fantasy horse racing league. Three of my horses raced for points: Stopchargingmaria was in the Black-Eyed Susan, and both Ride On Curlin and General a Rod ran the Preakness. All three of them ran big, and two of the three of them brought my stable points. Alas, that only puts my stable back to about mid-pack after a dreadful mid-season stretch, but there’s still a chance I can hit the board if I have some horses run big Belmont weekend.
Without further ado, let’s see how my horses are doing!
- Ride On Curlin – Ride On Curlin ran a huge second place in the Preakness on Saturday! He ran a closing style, exactly as I hoped he would, but didn’t rush to the rail and then get stuck in traffic like he did in the Derby. Joel Rosario rode him beautifully. He settled about nine lengths off the pace being set by Pablo Del Monte and Ria Antonia, and off the rail enough that he was comfortable. He gained ground down the backstretch, made a four-wide move turning for home, and was the only one to chase anywhere near California Chrome near the wire. He finished second, just a length and a half back. He is Belmont-bound, and vanned up to the track from Pimlico with California Chrome on Tuesday. He will have yet another jockey change in the Belmont Stakes. John Velazquez has the mount on Ride On Curlin; Joel Rosario will be riding Tonalist instead. No clear information as to why this is the case has come out, although the most likely answer is that Rosario chose to rode Tonalist. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, Ride On Curlin’s connections have not criticized Rosario’s ride publicly — nor should they, because it was a masterful ride.
- General a Rod – General a Rod also ran in the Preakness, though he finished fourth. He settled into the second flight early, just two or three lengths off the pacesetters. Unfortunately, he ran into some trouble in the far turn: he got caught up as Ria Antonia plummeted off the lead. He and jockey Javier Castellano did the best he could in the situation; they went out toward the rail, saved some ground, and made a run down the stretch when there was room. He did manage to pass some horses late, and just missed the show. He finished a head behind Social Inclusion, and eight lengths behind California Chrome. At this point, there is no clear information as to where the General is pointing next, though he seems to be out of most of the Belmont conversation.
- Stopchargingmaria – Stopchargingmaria finally found her form as a three-year-old, and took down the Black-Eyed Susan after a thrilling stretch run against Vero Amore. I discussed the race in detail in my Preakness Weekend Recap on Monday night. At this point, there isn’t any clear statement as to where she is headed next. Trainer Todd Pletcher was on At The Races with Steve Byk this morning, and mentioned both the Acorn and the Mother Goose as possibilities. He didn’t sound committed to one or the other yet, though sounded somewhat more enthusiastic about the Mother Goose due to the longer turnaround time. Time will tell.
- Empress of Midway – After her late scratch in the Kentucky Oaks on May 2, Empress of Midway returned to the track on May 17, in the Angel’s Flight Stakes at seven furlongs over the Santa Anita dirt. Fortunately, the gate schooling worked, and she didn’t flip this time. She looked alright early, settling in the second flight and stalking the pace from a couple of lengths back. However, she started losing a bit of ground as other horses made their moves, and faded badly coming through the far turn. She finished seventh in the field of eight, 14 1/4 lengths behind winner Delta Flower. It was definitely not up to snuff compared to her Sunland Park Oaks effort. League-wise, this makes it abundantly clear that she is not showing up in a points race Belmont weekend. Still, I’m pulling for her, and hope she does better next out.
- Conquest Titan – Conquest Titan made a sharp return to the Churchill Downs worktab this week. On May 19, he went five furlongs in 1:01.00, second fastest of twenty-six at the distance. There is no good information as to where he is going next; hopefully there will be something between now and the claim date a week from Thursday. He’s a good horse, and I’d love to see him turn up somewhere on Belmont day.
- Embellishing Bob – On May 21, Embellishing Bob made his second work back after the Derby trial. He went five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:01.20, third of twenty-six at the distance. There isn’t any clear information about where he’s headed next, though the fact that he’s not Triple Crown nominated suggests that it won’t be the Belmont. He’s a good horse, but $75,000 for a crack at the Belmont sounds an iffy investment at best. He is another one I hope to hear some information from between now and claiming day.
- She’s a Tiger – She’s a Tiger finally worked back from the Eight Belles this week. She’s back at Santa Anita, and she worked four furlongs in 47.60, sixth of forty-five at the distance. At this point, there has still not been any word as to how she came out, or whether the Acorn plans are still in place or not. She is another one I am eagerly awaiting information on; I should at least know before the next claim date whether she has been nominated to the Acorn or not.
- Sugar Shock – Sugar Shock showed back up on the worktab for the first time since the Kentucky Oaks this week. On May 18 she worked four furlongs at Prairie Meadows in 48.85, eighth of thirty-four at the distance. There’s no clear information about where she is racing next, though it appears trainer Doug Anderson has a whole string of horses out at Prairie Meadows. I cannot imagine she is going to show up to the Oaks next month, but we shall see.