Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looks like a Devil of a Derby

Thoroughbred Times' text-messaging service a few minutes ago informed me that the Kentucky Oaks indeed has drawn up without top filly Devil May Care, suggesting that trainer Todd Pletcher -- who has lost likely favorite Eskendereya and in-the-field Rule in less than a week -- is absolute in his decision to run his Grade 1-winning girl against the boys on Saturday in the Kentucky Derby.

Eskendereya was declared out on Sunday due to a slight filling in his left fore. Rule was dismissed from Derby entry by his connections because the Roman Ruler colt just wasn't where they wanted him to be in his training leading up to the run for the roses.

Devil May Care is reportedly tearing up the Churchill track in training. And Pletcher -- who in 2007 won the Belmont Stakes with a filly in Rags to Riches -- has said the decision to run her in the Derby became more clear with Eskendereya's defection. Not only was the race-favorite on the sidelines, but so was his jockey, John Velazquez, who is among Pletcher's preferred riders.

Plus, the filly will benefit from a five-pound break in the weights; no small advantage at a mile and a quarter.

Pletcher also expects to start Louisiana Derby-G2 winner Mission Impazible (fifth in graded earnings), G2-winning 2-year-old Super Saver (12th) and Risen Star S.-G3 winner Discreetly Mine (14th). A fifth Pletcher horse, Interactif, a dual G3-winner at 2, is 16th in graded earnings and could be in the race, but his entry is still uncertain.

P.S. Let the Eight Belles references commence, hopefully with some measure of restraint and a nod to the fillies who've worn the roses (Winning Colors, Genuine Risk and, way back in 1915, Regret), or the umpteen to have run and not won nor broken down, most recently Excellent Meeting (the betting favorite who finished fifth) and Three Ring, who both were entered in '99.

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