Good morning to Degen Nation. What a weekend of sports we had. Brooks Koepka made a ridiculous shot for eagle on 17 to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Man City whacked Liverpool, we had multiple Derby prep races and there was this little football game that most of the world watched last night. While all the other events were big, let’s take a look back at this weekend in horse racing. That’s why we are all here, right?
The first Derby prep race of the weekend was the Withers from Aqueduct. Risk Taking sat mid pack before making his move in the far turn. He ran down Capo Kane late and drew off. It was a nice race for the 3-year-old son of Medaglia D’oro, but it leaves far more questions about the quality of the New York contingent and just how good or bad they may be. After taking three times to break his maiden, the added ground of his third start may have been the key. I’m going to wait and see before making a judgement on this horse.
The Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs was the place to be on Saturday. While Johnny V was getting his picture made more than Kardashian on Rodeo Dr., Junior Alvarado and Candy Man Rocket that took the feature. Candy Man Rocket laid just off the pace and a perfectly timed ride by Junior allowed him to hang on by three parts of a length and earn the 10 Derby points. All eyes before the race were on Known Agenda and Johnny V. I saw some Twitter chatter about Johnny V giving the horse a bad ride and I disagree. The horse seemed uninterested in being in a race until the ½ mile pole, where he finally got in gear and rolled home. Johnny told people before the race that the colt had some things to learn in the afternoon and he was right. Again, I’m not super pumped about Candy Man Rocket considering his first effort at Churchill Downs was bad. It will be interesting to see how this group develops in the upcoming months.
Then there were the races out west at Santa Anita. Concert Tour sat a great trip in the San Vicente Stakes and fought off a very game Freedom Fighter to keep his record perfect. Twitter afterwards was electric with hot takes after the race. From Concert Tour isn’t as good as we think, to Concert Tour is better than Secretariat and that was just a schooling race. Chances are he is somewhere in between and still one of the top contenders for the first Saturday in May. After that race, all the buzz was about a MSW race on Sunday. Bezos was making his debut in a loaded field and people were all about this horse, myself included. The field also featured Mr. Impossible, who was second to Concert Tour last out. In an all-out shocker, Joel Rosario and Dream Shake stole the show. Bezos checked out early in the stretch after sitting a good trip. Mr. Impossible ran a very distant third, causing Concert Tour haters to pipe up again. Dream Shake drew off from the field at 20-1 odds and maybe we will see him on the Derby trail in the future. I’m not going to smash on Bezos, it was his debut, the majority think he needs more ground, and sometimes it’s not your day. While Concert Tour seems to be the class of California, I’m excited to see this group play out.
There you have it. It was an exciting weekend in sports and most definitely a nice weekend of horse racing. This week we have the El Camino Real Stakes from Golden Gate and the Risen Star from the Fair Grounds. The action will only heat up from here.
Thanks again to everyone that reads these blogs and interacts through Twitter or email. As always, you can reach me on Twitter @BrianHowardSD or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s have a week!