If you look back prior to his Derby win you could make the comment “if he can handle the dirt he’ll be tough with this group”. I didn’t make that comment, continuing my record of Derby futility, but he really looks good after that win. He still looks like a horse on the improve and with the pace looking to be honest he stands a great chance of taking this race.
As the Derby showed us, Shakleford is more than willing to go to the front. He’ll have company with the additions of Dance City and Flashpoint. Midnight Interlude, he of the disappointing Derby performance, is either a horse who failed to fire or simply a cut below the competition. Should he be ready for a bounce back performance this afternoon, he’s another who is going to want to head to the front.
Animal Kingdom should be in forefront of the second group of horses down the backside and be well positioned for his closing kick. In essence when the real running begins all he’ll need to do is beat horses that he already beat handily down the lane at Churchill.
The wildcard is going to be the Derby favorite, Dialed In. Dialed In started slow, stayed slow but rallied nicely through the finish – of course he left himself WAY too much to do and finished the best eighth in Derby history, according to his trainer, Nick Zito. This is akin to having your best outcome in the lottery if you only had three more numbers. In any case, if Dialed In gets into the mix earlier then he will give Animal Kingdom a run for his money but I think will ultimately fall short. Right now my two favorites are co-favorites in the early wagering at 3-1 each. At 3-1, AK is good value though if he slides toward even money I may move to Dialed In who at that point would have probably wandered up around 9-2, though it appears that support for the Derby favorite is going to remain strong throughout the day.
Tabby Land Returns to Canterbury
In our own world, Tabby Lane is settled in to her stall at Canterbury and had her first work over the surface this past week where she surprised all of us with a 2nd best work of the day of :47.8 for four furlongs. The first condition book doesn’t appear to have a race that’ll fit her, but extras are written every day and if we get the chance we’ll get her in a spot – preferably about a mile or so over the dirt track. We may push her up a level from her last Tampa start, but it all depends upon what races are written and how she’s doing. Hopefully it won’t take too long and we’ll be racing here at home in the next few weeks.