The Brock Talk

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Endorsement Makes Talk's Kentucky Elite Eight

Last week it was the sweet sixteen in conjunction with the NCAA men's basketball tournament, so staying in line with March Madness, here's our Kentucky Derby Elite Eight. I didn't expect the top eight to move much this week unless Conveyance or Discreetly Mine ran a big race in their respective Derby preps. I was correct in that neither Conveyance nor Discreetly Mine would crack into my elite eight, but since mouths are often judged by the money behind them, I must disclose my inability to profit from the outcome of the Louisiana Derby (gr. 2) or it's pier in New Mexico, the Sunland Derby (gr. 3).

And even if you would have told me that Mission Impazible would win in Louisiana and Endorsement would take the Sunland Derby, I would have calculated wrong as to which would be more impressive.

Mission Impazible came to Louisiana from the powerful Todd Pletcher barn and a less than ideal trip while running fourth in the grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in February. But the 10-1 shot, stalked favored Discreetly Mine and A Little Warm through a comfortable pace before switching to the outside to rundown the leaders nearing the end of the long Fair Grounds stretch.

Despite the win, however, I hesitate to make him one of my top contenders as I suspect Mission Impazible may not have even been the best horse in the Louisiana Derby. Third-place finisher Drosselmeyer and jockey Kent Desormeaux spent the better part of the far turn trying to keep from running up on the barrier of leaders in front of them. It was a nice race and I like the improving pattern in Mission Impazible's races - just not enough for me to place him to be among my elite.

On the other hand, and also coming from Oaklawn Park but from the maiden ranks, Endorsement cruised to an upset win over Conveyance in the Sunland Derby. Being a son of the leading sire Distorted Humor, from the powerful WinStar Farm, with jockey Robby Albarado and a $450,000 Keenland September yearling purchase, he had plenty of credentials, except those on the track. His three career races were spent trying to win for the first time.

But as he and Conveyance raced toward the stretch at Sunland, it was apparent that Endorsement had the edge as Albarado had not moved a muscle and Martin Garcia on Conveyance was scrubbing away asking for more. After a battle to mid-stretch, Endorsement seemed to pull away with ease and in the end hit the wire with an impressive 101 Beyer Speed Figure. It was a difficult performance to ignore and enough to make The Brock Talk's Elite Eight.

The Kentucky Derby Elite Eight
1-Lookin at Lucky: Trainer Bob Baffert has called a last minute audible and will stay at home with Lookin at Lucky for the Santa Anita Derby Saturday instead of the planned Arkansas Derby in two weeks. Baffert trained Derby winners Silver Charm ('97) and Real Quiet ('98) both prepped with runner-up performances in the Santa Anita Derby.
2-Noble's Promise: Ran a big race in the Rebel to almost take down Lookin at Lucky and may now be the favorite in Arkansas Derby with the later's departure.
3-Eskendereya: His eye-popping victory in the Fountain of Youth also gave him a big edge with a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. But that may be the challenge for Pletcher to keep him on the path of improvement in the Wood Memorial and into Kentucky.
4-Odysseus: His very late move in the last 100 yards of the Tampa Bay Derby was unusual, but impressive.
5-Awesome Act: British import invaded Yankee territory more successfully the second time in winning New York's Gotham Stakes. Now he'll have home field advantage over Florida invaders in the Wood.
6-Endorsement: Despite the big beyer number (101) and impressive Sunland Derby, I can't put him ahead of the rest until they have their final preparations as well.
7-Dublin: Has the stalking running style I like and I'm counting on the experience of four-time Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas to manage the needed improvement. He will likely meet Noble's Promise again at home in Arkansas.
8-Schoolyard Dreams: Looked the winner of the Tampa Bay Derby until the photo finish was published. Next stop Wood Memorial.

Click here to see the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance 3-Year-Old Male Standings

The Horse Named Brock
Last summer when the two-year-old began to run, Backtalk caught our attention as we continue to enjoy him in his effort to reach the Kentucky Derby.

This year, we will have an obvious youngster to trail as Jess Jackson named his $2.3 million Distorted Humor colt Brock.

According to, Brock is in early training at the Robert Scalon Training Center in Florida preparing for a possible first journey to the races in May.

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