Are you ready for Saturday? It's time for Mr. Fantasy to take his first step onto the big stage.
Here is a blog with a preview of the race:
Now, here are my thoughts on the biggest race of the year so far for a West Point horse:
#1 Naos - Got a confidence builder at Philadelphia Park. He has dangerous connections. Can't discount.
#2 Russell Road - Gem of consistency is a half-length from being 7 for 7. He's the equivalent of a AA Ballplayer pitching in the playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Will be interesting to see how competes against the big boys.
#3 Masala - Nice horse. Stablemate of Naos. Seems a bit slower than that one. Respect Pletcher at all times.
#4 Axel Foley - Purchased at the beginning of February by a friend of mine, Jeff Singer, who has an extreme case of Derby Fever. He doesn't look fast enough from his Polytrack form, but we know they can improve first time on the dirt.
#5 Mr. Fantasy - Everything has gone according to plan. He's ready for this spot, but we don't think he's over the top because we have one more stop on the road to Kentucky. This is an acid test. Every year we see the trail strewn with talented horses that run too good too soon. Our goal is to get him to run well without having to run his eyeballs out.
#6 Haynesfield - Certainly done a lot right in his career. He's dominated the Aqueduct winter. He shows speed. His pedigree, in particular his sire, leaves a question as to how far he'll want to go against the best horses. His worktab in the last month has been less than stellar. His jockey opted to go to California to ride in the Big Cap.
#7 Imperial Council - Well bred by a hot sire. Ran well off the bench three weeks ago in Florida. Has worked twice since then. He did not retain Edgar Prado who went elsewhere. The wiseguys say he has a very good chance to bounce. If he doesn't, he will be a dangerous contender.
#8 I Want Revenge - A very legitimate horse who hung a bit in the last furlong of the R.B. Lewis at Santa Anita four weeks ago. This is his first time on dirt. His post draw could be a negative. I prefer others.
#9 Giant Ryan - Looks to be a huge longshot. That's compounded by a bad post. He'll likely be a factor early in the race.
There's the field. Everything is set. We'll be near the pace early. Let's hope for a clean start, a safe trip and a little racing luck. I hope to be in the Winner's Circle with our partners and friends at around 4:25 on Saturday.