Triple Crown Watch

Only Two Derby Horses Possible for the Preakness
By T.O. Whenham of Doc's Sports Picks
May 8, 2008, 12:08


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Normally at this time of year we are getting ready to watch at least a small handful of horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby try again in the Preakness. That's clearly not the case - Derby winner Big Brown is the only horse confirmed for a trip to Baltimore, and Recapturetheglory is the only other horse that is even under consideration. If those other horses aren't going to the Preakness then what are they going to do? Here's a look:

Big Brown - on his way to a race in the Preakness that should be incredibly easy for him, followed by a date with history in the Belmont.

Denis of Cork - The horse ran an impressively solid race to finish third. If all goes well and he comes out of the Derby well we'll see him next in the Belmont.

Tale of Ekati - The fourth place finisher is sound and already back at his home base in New York. He is also being pointed toward the Belmont.

Recapturetheglory - Initial reports were that he would take a break after the Derby, but now he is listed as possible for the Preakness. He didn't handle the crowd and the noise well, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him head back to Chicago to wait for a softer spot.

Colonel John - He got caught way wide coming into the stretch in the Derby and didn't have enough left to get up closer than sixth. I'd love to see him take another shot at Big Brown in the Preakness, but that's not going to happen. Plans are unclear, but he will stay in Kentucky for a while before a likely return to California to regroup. He should be a big factor in the huge summer races.

Anak Nakal - Nick Zito was very happy with how his horse ran despite the seventh place finish. He will be pointed towards the Belmont.

Pyro - The horse was reportedly healthy, but something has to account for two straight disappointing performances. It is perhaps telling that the Asmussen camp is being very quiet about future plans. I expect we won't see him anywhere until the summer.

Cowboy Cal - Todd Pletcher's higher finisher reportedly bled during the race, and he was also cut. He needs a break, and he will be heading back to the farm to recuperate and get ready for a second charge later in the season.

Z Fortune - Pyro's stablemate was similarly disappointing, and his plans are similarly unclear. He'll probably rest for a couple of months.

Smooth Air - This horse had a fever a week before the Derby that probably affected him in the big race. He'll return to Florida and get six weeks or so off before returning to action. He'll probably be aimed at slightly easier spots in the future.

Visionaire - The 12th place finisher will head back to the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland - trainer Michael Matz' home base. He'll get a rest before tuning up again. Matz will have a tough task finding the best spot for this horse. He's talented, but probably not among the true elite.

Court Vision - Plans are unclear for Bill Mott's horse. The horse came out healthy but we almost certainly won't see him again on the Triple Crown trail.

Z Humor - This is another Bill Mott horse, and the exact same can be said for him as for Court Vision.

Cool Coal Man - Zito had a bunch of excuses for this horse, but the fact is that he just wasn't fast enough. He's healthy but will likely get a short rest.

Bob Black Jack - The early Derby pace-setter ended up 16th. He suffered a small scrape but was mostly healthy. He's already back in California. He'll try some Cal-bred stakes through the summer and then maybe give the grass a shot in the fall. His days on the national stage are likely over.

Gayego - He'll also return to California to regroup. Specific plans aren't clear.

Big Truck - He's back in New York already. He'll likely move to the grass for his next start, and he'll probably take a step down into New York-bred company.

Adriano - He's headed back to Fair Hill with trainer Graham Motion. He'll be moved to the grass for his next start (and likely the rest of his career). The Virginia Derby in July has repeatedly been mentioned as a possible target.

Monba - On the plus side, Todd Pletcher has experience dealing with a horse that finished last in the Derby. He's already back in New York, but no future plans have been publicized. With two terrible showings on dirt this year it wouldn't be surprising to see him skip that surface for the rest of the year.

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