The Brock Talk

Monday, June 21, 2010

Triple Crown Runners Beginning to Roll Again

It is now more than two weeks since the conclusion of the Triple Crown and more than seven weeks since we have seen many of the horses that started only in the Kentucky Derby (gr. 1) presented by Yum! Brands. Four of the contenders from the Derby-Preakness-Belmont trail returned to the races recently, while others are beginning more serious preparations for the next start.

This may not be the flashiest group of 3-year-olds, but they do have depth in their ranks as evidenced Saturday in the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup won by Paddy O'Prado. The Dale Romans trainee was a troubled third in the Derby and sixth in the Preakness and was perhaps returning to his preferred turf racing surface in the Colonial, but his three-length win in the 1-3/16-mile race was a notable none-the-less.

Paddy O'Prado may be making his next start in the Virginia Derby July 17.

Noble's Promise, was recently shipped to Great Britian for the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting and made a good show as the lone American in the St. James Palace Stakes (Eng-1). He broke sharply in the July 15 St. James, set the pace throughout the grassy one mile race but was passed in the final strides by eventual winner Canford Cliffs, a multiple grade 1 winner in Europe. Noble's Promise hung on to finish fifth, beaten just three lengths.

Also fifth in the Kentucky Derby, Noble's Promise suffered slight dehydration that day and was given the extra time to recover by trainer Ken McPeek before traveling to Great Britian for the St. James Palace.

It was two solid races by two also rans in a much maligned group of Triple Crown contenders. Paddy O'Prado impressively won against marginal competition. Noble's Promise ran a very respectable race half way around the world, in a totally unfamiliar environment of Royal Ascot, against the European elites. Neither Paddy O'Prado nor Noble's Promise turned many heads or stopped any presses. But they both ran the kind of races that we may come to expect from this group - solid.

Granted, Jackson Bend (12th in the Derby and 3rd in the Preakness) and Schoolyard Dreams (9th in the Preakness) fell far below the solid standard finishing fifth and sixth in the six-horse Pegasus Stakes (gr. 3) Sunday at Monmouth Park, but the class may be firing some of their bigger guns again later this summer.

Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver (photo top) worked Sunday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for his next scheduled race, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. 1) to be run Aug. 1 at Monmouth Park. The work was a leisurely four furlongs (1/2 mile) in 50.66, just slower than a similar move earlier in the morning by stablemate and Suburban Handicap (gr. 1) winner Quality Road, who stopped the clock in 50.26 over the same distance.

After the work, trainer Todd Pletcher told NY Daily News sports writer Jerry Bossert "It was a maintenance half for both. We're still a ways away from their next races."

Drosselmeyer, the winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. 1), has yet to go through any serious work since taking the Test of Champions more than two weeks ago. Trainer Bill Mott said following the Belmont that the Travers Stakes will be the targeted next start for Drosselmeyer.

Preakness winner Lookin at Lucky recorded his third workout since winning in Baltimore. He recently breezed four furlongs over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita in :47.40. Baffert said they continue to point Lookin at Lucky toward the Haskell or the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. 2) July 31 at Saratoga.

Sidney's Candy, The winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. 1) returned to Southern California after his disappointing 17th finish the Kentucky Derby. He was given a brief vacation and has two recent works in preparation for the July 17 Swaps Stakes (gr. 2) at Hollywood Park including a recent six furlong bullet work (fastest work at that distance that morning) 1:11.60 with jockey Joe Talamo aboard.

Kentucky Derby runner-up and Belmont Stakes (gr. 1) favorite Ice Box had a bad day in the third leg of the Triple Crown. He displaced his palate and the hot and humid conditions adversely effected him as well. Trainer Nick Zito has said the Travers Stakes (gr. 1) on Aug. 27 at Saratoga is the next planned start for Ice Box.

Horses such as American Lion (11th in the Kentucky Derby), First Dude (2nd, Preakness; 3rd, Belmont), Game on Dude (4th, Belmont) Make Music For Me (4th, Derby; 10th Belmont) and others may be coming back to the races in the coming weeks and months as well.

I doubt any of them are going to be scaring Quality Road, Blame or Rail Bird anytime soon either. But they seem well suited to give us plenty of solid and enjoyable races.


John said...

I think Noble's Promise, running as well as he did at Royal Ascot, might be able to excel over here if he remains on the grass. He sure picked a dandy spot to make his grass debut, and he aquitted himself very well. As for Paddy O'Prado, he may not have beaten much, but he sure looked good doing it, like he was meant for the turf.

As far as a few other three-year-olds, perhaps Lookin At Lucky might be able to give the older elite some competition and First Dude is a big, fast hulk, who may move forward off the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. It's probably at least safe to say, he's not a horse to be intimidated. Regarding Drosselmeyer, he should do well at 10 furlongs in the Travers.

I think there is much ahead to look forward to.

Brock Sheridan said...

I think there could be some potential in quite a few them. Sidney's Candy makes the Swaps an interesting race for instance.

Again, not the most talented, but I'm like you John... plenty to look forward to.

Frank said...

Noble's Promise ran a very nice race at Royal Ascot and could eventually give some other top 3-year-olds competition when he returns to US.

ReneC said...

Jackson Bend was a big disappointment in the Pegasus. I was never a Schoolyard Dreams fan, so I expected that bad race from him.