More drama from the Pletcher camp on Monday as he calls an audible and pulls out WinStar Farm's speedster Rule. This will definitely have an impact on the pace of The Derby, which many astute handicappers are calling for blistering early fractions. I'll give you my perspective on likely pace scenario on Friday when I pick my top 3 selections. However, in yanking Rule (watch how this horse tired in the FL Derby at 9 furlongs and I say this was a good move!) Todd replaced him with his filly, Devil May Care.
Until recently, I would have easily discounted the filly's entry. I backed the monster filly Excellent Meeting in the 1999 Derby (Charismatic) and although she finished a respectable 5th it discouraged me from betting fillies in this particular race. Hence, no winning tickets when Eight Belles ran a courageous second to Big Brown in 2008. I was shocked as Rags to Riches out-muscled Champion Curlin down the lane in the mile and one-half Belmont Stakes. But for the record, I did key Rachel Alexandra in last year’s Preakness Stakes when she was clearly superior. (Sidebar: Rachel is working up a storm and will be running on Friday's Kentucky Oaks undercard -- not that I'm paying attention to a Jess Jackson owned horse!) But these fillies had dominated their division and each strung together a solid series of prep races. Devil May Care, on the other hand, beat only 5 fillies at Gulfstream Park in her only victory this year, while running a dull 5th in her seasonal bow at the Fairgrounds. Someone out there please comment on why I should be afraid of the Devil in my exotics.
The answer to yesterday's trivia question was Eddie Delahoussaye, the original cajun bush track extraordinaire jockey who paved the way (along with Randy Romero) for current greats including Kent "squeaky" Desourmeaux, Robby Albarado (of Curlin fame) and Calvin Bo-rel, who garnered the most votes. I guess there is something to the recency effect, since Calvin has been front and center since his Derby triumph aboard Street Sense in '07 and obviously with Mine That Bird last year. Of course, Ron Turcotte was the other jockey to win consecutive runnings when he piloted Penny Chenery's Riva Ridge to Derby glory in 1972 followed by his lesser-known stablemate in '73, Secretariat (just kidding -- by the way, get ready for Diane Lane's portrayal of the first woman of racing in the motion picture "Secretariat" coming to a theatre near you on Oct. 8, 2010).