The Monday Special – March 5

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Did Saturday’s smorgasbord of stakes whet the appetite for what is certain to be a busy spring leading up to the 2018 Triple Crown? If so you’re in luck with plenty more top-tier races on the not-so-distant horizon, including the Gotham, San Felipe and Tampa Bay Derby on tap this coming Saturday.

Before we turn the page it’s time to take a look back in the latest edition of The Monday Special, where we offer a review of the weekend’s biggest and most notable events. We’ve got an update on the spring classics, Ride of the Week, By the Numbers, tweets and more.

Check it all out below, and see you later this week when we preview everything in The Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud. Enjoy.


If the Kentucky Derby was this week …

Saturday marked nine weeks to go until Kentucky Derby 144 and after the Grade 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth the great race gained another potential player in Promises Fulfilled.

Promised Fulfilled upset previously unbeaten Strike Power and champion 2-year-old male Good Magic in the Fountain of Youth, one of nine stakes on the card at Gulfstream Park. He earned 50 points toward a spot in the Derby starting gate, all but a guarantee, and shook up the already jumbled list of top contenders.

So what if the Derby was this week, who would be in and who would be out?

Based on the current point standings the 20-horse field would be: Bravazo, Promised Fulfilled, Good Magic, Firenze Fire, Snapper Sinclair, McKinzie, Strike Power, Instilled Regard, Bolt d’Oro, Free Drop Billy, Solomini, Catholic Boy, Avery Island, Enticed, My Boy Jack, Combatant, Mourinho, Flameaway, Greyvitos and possible runners from Japan and Europe. Spots are guaranteed for the Japan and European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. That would leave Audible, The Tabulator, Lombo and the filly Paved as the “last four out,” to steal a phrase from the NCAA bracket experts.

Now for the more difficult question. If the Derby was this week, who would be the favorite?

Good Magic probably would merit consideration for that role based on the fact that the 1-2 finishers in the Fountain of Youth – Promises Fulfilled and Strike Power – ran that way all the way around on track considered speed favoring. Bolt d’Oro would take a ton of money, based on his two Grade 1 wins 26 days apart last September. He lost the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – to Good Magic – but is still considered the best 3-year-old on the West Coast. And don’t forget the publicity surrounding his workouts (see last weeks edition of The Monday Special).

Aside from that, your guess is as good as ours.

Of course it’s always this way and will continue to be so as the weeks count down to days and eventually hours. The rallying cry of the “most wide open Derby in years” will be in full effect the week of the race. Mark it down.

Ride of the Week

Trevor McCarthy didn’t enjoy the most ideal trip of all time riding Midnight Disguise to victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Busher at Aqueduct.

One could even argue he caught the worst of it aboard the big daughter of Midnight Lute, brushing with a rival at the break and racing wide throughout. The outside proved to be the spot to be, both to keep Midnight Disguise in the clear and out of trouble as some of her rivals in the 1-mile Busher found the trip a bit out of their wheelhouse.

McCarthy never panicked and put owners and breeders Dr. Bill Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor of Stepwise Farm in Saratoga and trainer Linda Rice on the path to the Kentucky Oaks with the filly’s second straight stakes victory.

By the Numbers

19: Career victories for 9-year-old Offlee Wild gelding Hogy after he won the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Saturday at Gulfstream Park. He’s also earned $1,321,837.

117: Consecutive races run at Oaklawn Park without a track labeled fast. The stretch was nearly a month, with the last race run over a fast surface the finale of the Feb. 9 card.

2,000: Victories for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey after he saddled Fly So High to win the Grade 2 Davona Dale Saturday at Gulfstream. The celebration was tempered a bit when Jose Ortiz dismounted the Malibu Moon filly after the finish. Fly So Fly was vanned off but cooled out well and was reportedly fine Sunday.

50,000: Career mounts (and counting) for Perry Ouzts after he rode Need The Wall to runner-up finish Saturday at Turfway Park. Ouzts, 63, has 6,881 victories, ninth on North America’s all-time list.

$28,541,305: Total handle for Saturday’s 14-race Fountain of Youth card at Gulfstream, up 7 percent from the $26.293 million handled during last year’s 13-race card the same day.


Worth Repeating

“The only other person to be expelled from the Academy – ever – was a character actor named Carmine Caridi. In 2004 he was kicked out for sharing screeners. Carmine Caridi got the same punishment as Harvey Weinstein for giving his neighbor a copy of ‘Seabiscuit’ on VHS.”
Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel during Sunday night’s opening monologue


Tweet of the Week

@Riley_Mott: Was holding his own against Good Samaritan in the mornings.

After this went out…

@CBredar: @TVG 2 wins so far for @Tyler_Gaff as he gets 1-Show Me the Bucks up on the wire for a 16-1 score in race 4 for HOFer Bill Mott. As a sidebar, maybe have to rethink the ‘Bill Mott doesn’t win w/ 1st timers’ angle!


Tweet of the Week (Honorable Mention)

@racing_dudes: Midnight Disguise looks like she ate the #9 horse before the race then ran them all down with that huge stride. Monster looking horse!


The Best of The Saturday Special

We wrote – Tampa Bay Downs. Race 9. 4:50. Ian Wilkes ships Demolition from Palm Meadows for two-turn maiden. Son of Blame finished fourth in maiden races at Keeneland and Gulfstream last fall and this winter but needs to improve to compete with Navy Armed Guard, Freedonia and Brave Nation.

The change of scenery worked. Demolition graduated from the maiden ranks, racing in midpack early before launching a three-wide bid around the turn to win and return $7.


The Worst of The Saturday Special (Double dip)

We wrote – Gulfstream. Race 11. 4:31. Personal Time, son of Malibu Moon out of winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, looks like the type to want two turns and gets it in start No. 4 in 1 1/16-mile maiden for 3-year-olds.

Personal Time, sent off at even-money in field of 11, raced far back in 10th early and passed only tiring rivals late to finish fourth.


We wrote – Laurel Park. Race 6. 3:00. Nico Bree N Teej, second in back-to-back starts for Claudio Gonzalez, looks best of the half dozen entered in 1-mile allowance restricted to Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired which have never won a state-bred or state-sired race other than.

Not so much. Nico Bree N Teej led early as heavy 3-10 favorite and backed up to finish fifth of six, 13 1/2 lengths behind the winning Tattooed for trainer Tim Keefe.


Stable Tour Archives

Saturday we wrote: Aqueduct. Race 3. 2:21. Lunar Beauty, son of Malibu Moon out of the stakes-placed Grand Slam mare Overandabeauty, was still unnamed when we stopped by Rick Violette’s barn last summer for his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour. Violette thought September for the colt; it’s taken a bit longer but he only faces four for debut going 6 1/2 furlongs.

Lunar Beauty made it look easy in his debut, winning by 4 lengths for owner and breeder My Meadowview Stable and Rick Violette.