Last week was a quiet one for my stable. Curlin’s Fox had been entered in the Santa Ysabel (GIII), but she scratched. Instead, she is staying on the grass, and appearing this coming Saturday in the China Doll. That race is a strong spot for her, since she should love the added distance, but a suboptimal placement as far as the fantasy league is concerned.
This week is full of Derby and Oaks preps, with a total of four points races slated for Saturday. Unfortunately, out of all of those races, my stable has a grand total of one horse drawn into any of those. With that, this weekend should end up being more about watching and identifying promising runners to draft this coming Monday than it likely will be about making much headway on the leaderboard. Fortunately, I have $497 of my $500 claiming budget remaining, but I will likely have to make some more aggressive moves soon if I want to improve the prognosis for my stable.
Without further ado, let’s check in with my stable. Very little happened this week, so this update will be a short one.
- Ami’s Flatter –Ami’s Flatter is the only runner in my fantasy stable who has entered a points race this weekend. He drew post 4 in a stiff field of nine in the Tampa Bay Derby (GII). Since the last update he has logged his final work before that race, moving five furlongs in 1:01.90 (11/25) over fast Palm Meadows dirt on February 28. He was in good enough stride late to suggest some possibility of a good outing, and trainer Josie Carroll is making significant changes. The biggest worry is that she is making too many changes: Ami’s Flatter will add both blinkers and Lasix this time out. Maybe he will improve; maybe this is a last-ditch effort to get some Derby points. Time will tell.
- Curlin’s Fox – The good news is that Curlin’s Fox worked a sharp four furlongs at Santa Anita in 59.20 on February 27, and that she is racing this weekend. The bad news is that the race is the China Doll Stakes, a minor turf mile at Santa Anita. The placement makes perfect sense given the turf in the bottom side of her pedigree. Her dam Foxysox won the China Doll herself in 2006, and then stretched out even further to win a handful of graded turf routes. For fantasy purposes, this means she will probably be leaving my stable very soon. I picked her up because she had been in consideration for the Santa Ysabel and I thought she would have enough class and distance aptitude to do well. It turns out, I had the right thought about drafting a Curlin baby for that race…but drafted the wrong one!
- Hashtag Bourbon – Like Curlin’s Fox, Hashtag Bourbon races this weekend, but not in a points race. He races in an allowance optional claiming race at a mile and forty yards on Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby undercard. After his disastrous allowance return last out, he gets one more chance here. If he improves second off the lay and runs a strong enough race to suggest he will be a credible contender in a late Derby prep, I will keep him. If not, he will be on the drop list for the next claiming period. The hope when I took him was that he would run well enough first off the lay in order to then point to a Derby prep, but that flop set him right back. Time is getting short, and he needs to show form in order to remain in my stable.
- By the Moon –By the Moon remains on the worktab, and drilled a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.15 (2/25) over fast dirt at Palm Meadows on February 28. She remains unraced since the Forward Gal, a race in which she finished a disappointing fifth after a move that was likely too early. There has been no clear statement of where she is pointing next, though with the Forward Gal being her first race since the Breeders’ Cup, she likely deserves another shot if she does go to another prep second off the lay. Preps are at least still being considered, since she showed up in the Ashland Stakes nominations. Hopefully specifics come out soon.
- Ekati’s Phaeton – Ekati’s Phaeton has yet to work back from her Forward Gal victory on February 21. She has been nominated to the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, though no race has been announced publicly as her next. Given her love of Gulfstream Park’s track, I would hope that she goes in the Gulfstream Park Oaks next. Still, barring any setbacks, I still plan to go with her as long as she can go, since she has already punched her ticket to the Kentucky Oaks.
- Frosted – Frosted has not worked back yet after faltering in the Fountain of Youth last out. No reason for his poor performance has been announced publicly. No matter how much trainer speak comes out about him coming out of the race okay and it being confusing that he faltered…that race in the Fountain of Youth looked either like there was an issue, or that he wanted no part in a mile and a sixteenth. His Remsen was good enough to make me think that he could, at least at some point, go longer. Thus, it makes me still wonder whether there was a physical issue. Either way, that was not the sort of race that screams “follow me down the Derby trail!” He was on the chopping block during the last claiming period, and he seems likely to be back on the chopping block this time around.
- Instant Replay – Instant Replay remains missing in action. He has not worked since February 11. Though his worktab was fairly sparse even when he was actively working and running, the fact that he has neither raced nor worked in a month, combined with the fact that he went from probable in the Southwest to completely off the radar, suggests that the Rebel is an extremely unlikely proposition. Claiming him is looking more and more like a speculative move that did not pan out: a shame, since his allowance win last out looked quite sharp.
- Keen Ice – Keen Ice has yet to work back from the Risen Star on February 15. However, according to a tweet from @TeamDonegal today, he will be pointing to the Louisiana Derby next. As shown in the Risen Star, Fair Grounds suits his running style than Gulfstream did. This was the move I expected to see. Barring any issues that come up during preparation, I remain high on Keen Ice’s chances, and wait for him to resurface on the worktab.
Stay tuned for next week, when Monday’s claiming day will likely bring more roster changes!