The Monday Special – Feb. 7

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How’d your weekend treat you? How about Monday? Yeah, we know the drill.

The dog days of winter roll on, at least without much fresh snow for much of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Three more Kentucky Derby preps in the books, just before the early nominations for the Triple Crown were released Monday. More on that below, along with plenty of other useful tidbits.


By the Numbers

1,000: Wins for jockey Mitchell Murrill after he rode Yin Yang to victory in Sunday’s sixth race at Fair Grounds.

312: 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown series when the early nomination phase closed Jan. 29, a decrease of 4.3 percent or 14 horses, from last year’s total of 326.

42: 3-year-olds trained by Todd Pletcher that are eligible for the Triple Crown.

11: 3-year-olds with 4 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, which ranks them tied for 18th. With no Bob Baffert-trained runners earning points – including Sunday’s Robert B. Lewis winner Messier – Pappacap and Epicenter remain tied at the top with 14.

18: 3-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert eligible for the Triple Crown, not including the Kentucky Derby at this point since he is suspended by Churchill Downs Inc. for competing in the 2022 renewal.

6: Fillies eligible for the Triple Crown, including probable 2021 2-year-old champion Echo Zulu.

3: Winners on Saturday’s Gulfstream Park card for Charles Bedard and Tom Law in last week’s edition of The Saturday Special. Tom leads the “season” standings with 15 winners from 48 races (31 percent). Check back Friday to see where the handicappers landed this week.


Thoroughbred Racing Calendar Plays of the Day (recap)

How’d you fare at the windows this past weekend? Does anyone go to the windows anymore? Maybe we should say, how’d you fare with your app? On your laptop? Anyway, hopefully you took Sean’s advice.

Sean wrote: Lingfield. Race 1. 8:11. Moel Arthur has shown glimmers of form in his three starts. The son of Flintshire makes his handicap debut in the opener. At 10-1, he should handle these and get your day off right.

The result: Moel Arthur won at 13/2.

As for his other pick, Atalante in the second at Deauville Saturday, she finished third at 41/10.


Worth Repeating

“In the front or behind, he’s a good horse. The horse that won is an excellent horse. If my horse breaks good, the race could be different. The good news after the race is that he is a good horse, on the front or from behind.”
Trainer Antonio Sano on Holy Bull late-running runner-up Simplification, who won the Mucho Macho Man on the lead

“He’s a horse that’s going to progress with each race. Each race is going to propel him, and we’ve seen that in the morning with him. He was very impressive in his works. Especially, in his last two works leading up to this. He’s an exciting horse and I was really ready to see him run today. I think he’ll move forward nicely in his 3-year-old year.”
Dan Stupp, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, about Withers winner Early Voting

“It’s been a long time between drinks. I’ve been in layup for a while but the horses we have, we try to make competitive.”
Trainer Dave Duggan after winning the Grade 3 Toboggan with Drafted, his first graded stakes win since 2009

“She’s a bit of a grinder. That last eighth of a mile it was, ‘Come on, come on,’ but she just keeps grinding.”
Jockey Trevor McCarthy on Sunday’s Ruthless Stakes winner Shotgun Hottie