That VERY good looking fella looking calm and inquisitive is none other then the Kentucky Derby Champion Mine That Bird, making his return to the racetrack after an eventful few months. We wish him good luck today, as the Turk is a big fan of his, and he'll need it with the crowd he is going against.
Race 7 Santa Anita Post Time 6:30 ET; The Goodwood Grade I; 1 1/8 miles on fake dirt for 3 YOs and Up.
I had to go back and re watch the trip that Richard's Kid had in the Pacific Classic. It was a Mine That Bird-esque run that left most handicappers baffled in a similar fashion, not as shocking, as Mine That Bird's rise to Grade I prominence.
The day after the Pacific Classic I went back over the materials and tried to glean something from it. I came to the conclusion that Hall of Fame trainer Baffert is back on the very top of his game. Looking at the way Richard's Kid is training, I would say his current form is sharp and he is ready for a very stiff test today. A bullet at :46 4/5ths in 4f and a nice 1:12 2/5ths at 6f make me give him the tentative chalk mark on his hip. If he wins here, or acquits himself with a strong duel, it will establish the 4 YO Lemon Drop Kid son and one of the surprise older colts of 2009.
Mine That Bird is the kind of plucky little gelding that the Turk has a deep affinity for. Those cowboy connections of his are again in the bright lights after their summer plans went astray when Mine That Bird needed throat surgery and went on the shelf for a bit. We watched as Summer Bird became the "bird" everyone was talking about, but the Kentucky Derby win, the Preakness run at Rachel, the gutty but troubled trip of the Belmont can not be dismissed. Could win or could finish last? A test of faith but I believe in Mine That Bird and I'm hedging he finds the exotic ticket.
Tiago has been a Turk favorite since his three year old campaign. Tiago won the Goodwood as a 3 YO and lost by a length to Well Armed last year. This is a test of faith as well, as current form must be questioned. Hedging more down then up.
Colonel John is 7 of 10 in the money on fake dirt and has won three times on the fake stuff at Santa Anita.
A stretch is Monzante, the 5 YO gelding from Maria's Mon. Only the second race of 2009, his form of 2008 was very impressive and he is training well.
There are lots of possible exotic ticket crashers in this lineup so build your tickets wisely. I plan on using my base handicap and then inserting multiple horses boxed in the 3 and 4 spot. We'll see what we can do.
Have Fun, Turk Out!