Well, let's get the bad news out of the way and move on... Quality Road has been declared out of The Derby based on his deteriorating quarter crack. You would think that I have learned every possible lesson from Derbies past, but I had started my betting strategy a little early this year and had pretty much decided to single Quality Road on top in my big exotic tickets... so much for that! As I indicated in an earlier post, this defection will have a HUGE impact on not only on the odds, but also the pace scenario, where he was likely to ensure a brisk pace being on or very near the lead. Now that he and The Pamplemousse are victims of the Derby trail, that must make the Friesan Fire and Papa Clem camps overjoyed by expecting more moderate fractions for the half mile and 6 furlong intervals.
On a positive note, Friday is setting up to be a huge day for the ladies at Churchill Downs. Not only will Rachel Alexandra be trying to establish herself as one of the great fillies of all time by extending her dominant win streak in the Kentucky Oaks, but it is projected that champion undefeated mare Zenyatta will make her 2009 debut in the Louisville Distaff, also on Friday's card. Zenyatta has already firmly proven herself, winning all nine starts (including the 2008 Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park) and a similar campain in 2009 will make her one of the true greats - male or female - to ever grace the oval. This couldn't have shaped up any better for Churchill Downs, who is trying to establish a Kentucky Oaks attendance record by hosting Susan G. Komen Cancer charity events throughout the infield on "wear pink" day.
Trivia Answer: Yesterday's trivia answer is Alydar, who sired both Alysheba (see my related archived tribute) and Strike The Gold. Strangely enough, "super stud" A.P. Indy has yet to produce a Kentucky Derby winner, although he was twice recognized as sire of the year by progeny earnings and produced Triple Crown champs Bernardini (Preakness) and Rags to Riches (Belmont). The votes were evenly distributed across the four choices. I will offer an easier trivia question today (at least for you Google maniacs!).
Happy Derby Week!