This maiden claiming race at Canterbury Park had more than its share of drama. One horse flipped in the gate and was scratched. A second horse bolted and ran off before getting caught and scratched. Tiz a Princess then reared and dropped her rider, but that wasn’t enough. Moments after the horses broke from the gate, Tiz a
Princess took a sharp left toward the infield, losing her jockey again(!) and then jumped the rail.
But that wasn’t the end of it. As the horses headed into the far turn, Tiz a Princess jumped the rail again into the path of the oncoming runners. The jockeys on the leading horses, Jareth Loveberry on Razipat and Leslie Mawing on Battle Chic, anticipated an incident and slowed up their horses, altering course to avoid Tiz a Princess. The rest of the field slowed up as well.
Maybe Tiz a Princess should consider a career change. Steeplechasing might be a good choice.
There may not have been a Triple Crown winner this year, but Belmont stakes was an exciting race regardless, with Tapwrit closing in on Irish War Cry, who ran a strong race.
Tapwrit is only the second horse to win the Belmont from the #2 post position. He the tenth horse to have won the Belmont after running in the Kentucky Derby (Tapwrit finished 6th) and sitting out the Preakness.
Any hopes for a Triple Crown this year were dashed when Amazing Dream faded at
the quarter pole. While Classic Empire looked like he had the race locked up, Cloud Computing rallied in the home stretch and caught Classic Empire, winning by a head. The colt had a picture-perfect ride by jockey Jorge Castellano, who stalked the leaders and waited for the pace to take their toll. Coming off of a six week rest, Cloud Computing charged around Amazing Dream (who faded to eighth).
Although Cloud Computing had qualified for the Kentucky Derby, trainer Chad Brown and owners Seth Klarman and William Lawrence decided to skip the chaos of the 20-horse Derby.
“Certainly, I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “Our horse is very talented too. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses, and our strategy was, if we are ever going to beat them, let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six [weeks], and it worked.”
Cloud Computing is lightly raced and prior to the Preakness won two out his four starts, never finishing off the boards.
The first thing you notice about Always Dreaming and Johnny Valezquez is how clean they are. It’s an amazing accomplishment considering how sloppy the track was and how all the other horses and jockeys looked coming under the wire. That’s the benefit of a clean break and a skillful ride that kept them sitting pretty in second place until they were ready to make their move.
Staying up front was a good strategy. The beginning of the race had some bumper car moments and also the antics of Thunder Snow — seen bucking and spooking in the background right after the break. Reports have come back that TS is fine — he may never have run in the mud before and either didn’t like the footing or having mud thrown in hi face. Who can blame him?
With a 20-horse field, muddy conditions and no real “stand out” horses this year, the 2017 Derby is a bit of a toss up. The baby pictures are adorable, although there a few I wouldn’t have pegged for the kind of speed necessary to qualify for the Derby.
Here are a few interesting things about tomorrow’s runners.
Patch (named before he lost his eye) is the crowd favorite and underdog.
Girvin, who is ridden by Mike Smith (the winner of today’s Kentucky Oaks) was a hot contender until he developed a quarter crack. Fran Jurga wrote an interesting article that describes how Girvin is being shod for the big race. He did win the Louisiana Derby (Patch was second) on April 1st, so it’s possible that the quarter crack won’t keep him down.
Girvin is named after the small town in Texas where owner Brad Grady grew up. Just 30 people live there. Maybe the horse will put the town on the map!
Gunnevera, is an interesting contender, having one four of his last seven starts, but his trainer has a rally interesting story. The horse would
Antonio Sano is the survivor of two kidnappings in his home-country of Venezuela, a story documented well by Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form (via ESPN.com). The second time he was held for 36 days while his family and friends raised the ransom money. Sano purchased Gunnevera as a yearling for just $16K, a relative bargain for a Derby contender.
Irap got his name when the yet- unnamed baby horse needed Interluekin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein therapy, a procedure commonly called IRAP. When a van driver saw the word “IRAP” on the papers, he assumed it was the horse’s name. It stuck.
Classic Empire is known as “Racing’s Bad Boy.” Although he’s the current favorite, the colt has some quirks. Occasionally, he just doesn’t want to play the game. In 2016 he made a U-turn a few strides into the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, dumped his rider and then came to a dead stop. Twice he’s refused to break for timed workouts. So it all depends on how he feels tomorrow at 6:30!
From last to first! Mike Smith piloted Abel Tasman through a sloppy track and a bad start to win the 2017 Kentucky Oaks. What are the chances that Smith will pull it off tomorrow in the Derby on Girvin?
Since it was so muddy today, here’s a chance to look at the lovely fillies who ran in the Oaks while they’re gussied up.