As expected, it was a quiet week for my stable in the Derbyologist Triple Crown Fantasy League. None of my horses raced.
Unfortunately, things were a bit too quiet for one of the denizens of my stable: Let’s Meet In Rio. He still has not returned to the worktab since his disappointing run in the Lewis. I was willing to give him another chance given how good I thought his Sham was…but between his flat Lewis and the fact that he did not return to the worktab in the month of February, he found himself a potential drop once again.
Perhaps I am being too stingy given the weekly draft format, but I did not see anyone this week who I saw fit to make a big move for. However, I figured it would make sense to at least make a little stab for a race this coming weekend. This weekend features a pair of points races: the Gotham at Aqueduct, and the Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita.
The Santa Ysabel is another one of those “second to Songbird” type races. I already have a prime candidate for that in Land Over Sea, who may turn up there. I decided I would rather take a look at the Gotham, which looked a bit more open. I already had one in my stable pointing there: Conquest Big E, who has left the Gulfstream spur of the Derby trail after his disappointing fourth in the Holy Bull. Still, he hardly looks like a sure thing, as he has never tried the Big A and he has not proven himself against stakes company.
Most of the horses being bandied about for the Gotham had been claimed, but I had my eye on a pair.
Get Jets had originally been in another stable, but was dropped after his allowance disappointment at Oaklawn on February 13. He had been discussed as possible for the Gotham, but had not returned to the worktab since that race. He had shown good form in New York, but had never tried the Aqueduct inner before. Get Jets did have some upside second off the lay, but he was also relatively well-known: in other words, not likely to be successfully claimed for a marginal bid.
The other intriguing unclaimed horse whose name I had seen tossed around a bit for the Gotham was Moon Over a Beauty. He was a debut winner over the Aqueduct inner in December, winning after a wide, stalking trip. He disappointed in the Whiteley at Laurel, stumbling at the start and finishing a nonthreatening (and well-beaten) fourth of five. He since went back to Aqueduct, and has posted four drills over the inner since that last race. His most recent drill was a bullet four furlongs on February 28, suggesting some fitness. Stretching out to two turns is a bit of a question, since he has never done it, but there are plenty of Malibu Moons who can go long, and his half-sister Noble and a Beauty recently won a mile allowance at the Big A. Moon Over a Beauty was noted as possible for the Gotham. If he goes in the race, he is a likely long shot, for good reason.
Still, I saw enough suggestions of a bit of upside. For a $1 claiming budget bid, I had little to lose. If I got outbid, so be it, but I felt chances were good that no one in the league would be scouring the Aqueduct bargain bin so diligently.
I was right. For a hefty $1 of my claiming budget, Let’s Meet in Rio was out, and Moon Over a Beauty (Malibu Moon – Overandabeauty, by Grand Slam) was in.
I was also right about Get Jets being a hotter claim box commodity. Two stables put in for him: one for $13, and one for a whopping $60 of their $500 claim budget for the entire season. I was not going to pay that kind of money for Get Jets, or anyone at this point.
So, that’s where I stand going into this week. I have two who may turn up for the Gotham. Conquest Big E is probable, and I have high hopes for him. Moon Over a Beauty is possible, and perhaps he likes winter at the Big A enough to nab a share. Land Over Sea may turn up in the Santa Ysabel. If she does, she is no Songbird, but she has proven herself so far to be eminently competent in pulling down second-to-Songbird medals.
Depending on how those races go, next week may be quite an exciting one for my stable.