The Turk is very interested in the Southwest today at Oaklawn. 10 of the 401 Triple Crown nominees are present, which means someone has a chance to announce themselves as a real contender, but many more will be exposed as good horses who shouldn't be spoken of in the same breath as Triple Crown.
It seems to me that Silver City and Old Fashioned are the two best horses in this race. I believe, as many others do, that Old Fashioned is a special horse; Good at 2 YO but not rushed, allowed to be a horse for a long break after Thanksgiving, working steady and fast, and the absolute best Trainer working in North America right now, Larry Jones. Jones saddled 477 runners in 2008. It was too many for a trainer who believes in the traditional ways of doing things, the right way of doing things. For all those reasons, Old Fashioned is going to be fully prepared for the Derby, but maybe he's not at his absolute best today. The competition to garner the earnings in this era of fewer prep races must be intense. I think Old Fashioned could win this race even at 90% effort.
I think Silver City is a fine horse. The Unbridled's Song son may be a classic distance runner, but he'll have to prove himself at longer distances. William Calhoun, who saddled 866 runners in 2008, winning 26% of the time, including a gaudy 28% on dirt, 27% of last start winners and 26% off >31 day layoff, has been working Silver City in a mixture of 1 mile breezes and 4 and 5f bullets.
After the big two, there are some interesting horses running today that could take a real leap up in profile, including one I don't have the guts to pick too high, but I go hmmmmmm when I look at his run lines, Kick On. I don't like his post position, but he's working really well and fast. At 1 mile, with the speed he's been flashing, you never know, especially if the fractions get numbing. He's flashed early speed in his races but faded, so well see.
On an unrelated note, the Turk is now a Thorofan. After reading the news that Turk jock favorite Richard Migliore joined the fledgling group, I wanted to be a part of a grass roots organization like this that is about the fans and growing the sport. Thorofan should consider the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance as a strategic partner, providing a fan voice to the fan group.
For more information: www.thorofan.com