JC / Railbird

Forever Together

Thursday Notes

Wait, Forever Together might not be done yet. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who said after the champion finished sixth in the Flower Bowl, “It’s no fun watching her run like that,” and suggested the 6-year-old mare would be retired, told Alicia Wincze Forever Together might get another race. “If we get firm ground [for the Breeders’ Cup] we might go on. We haven’t ruled anything out.”

Jaycito should have the stamina for the Kentucky Derby, and that’s the race trainer Mike Mitchell has his eye on. “The ultimate race we want to run in is the Derby,” he said after Jaycito broke his maiden in his third start, last Saturday’s Norfolk. In his two previous efforts, the juvenile finished second to JP’s Gusto in the Del Mar Futurity and second to Indian Winter, third in the Futurity, in a maiden special. Like Stay Thirsty, entered but unlikely for the Champagne unless stablemate Uncle Mo scratches, he’s a colt on the upswing. [Re: that last link, it goes to trainer Todd Pletcher’s ATR blog, on which he also mentions that Frizette starter Tap for Luck, “is probably the one that’s bred the best to get more distance. Unfortunately, she’s only had one race and it was five furlongs so we’re stretching out more than you would like.”]

With the Southern California horse population down, Santa Anita will try a less-is-more schedule this winter. The track plans four-day weeks, with racing Thursday through Sunday. The change, said track president George Haines, “should make the quality better on the weekends.” Fuller fields are something to look forward to; a shame about the takeout increase.

Kerry Thomas talks equine psychology. “Herd dynamics have an impact on a horse’s ability to maintain pace over a distance. Where they fit in a herd is where they’re naturally inclined to move in any group.” Fascinating stuff.

Someone’s having a little fun on Twitter.

Much the Best

Mike Watchmaker asks, “Seriously. How good is Forever Together?” (Beware: DRF+ link.) Just watch the Jenny Wiley stretch run for the answer:

Slow pace, late kick: After Kiss With a Twist takes the field through the first six furlongs in 1:17.12, Forever Together makes her move on the outside, going from sixth entering the stretch to a win in less than 30 seconds (with the final sixteenth in :6.13), all under a handride, becoming the latest Breeders’ Cup winner to return successfully this year. It’s going to be fun watching her campaign through the summer and fall …

Zenyatta too, whenever she debuts. The champion worked six furlongs in 1:10.60 on Saturday in prep for her eventual return. A race in May at Hollywood is a possibility, said trainer John Shirreffs, but nothing is set. Whatever the race, it seems safe to say it’ll be the most anticipated of the spring.

Oaks and Derby odds and ends: Ashland winner Hooh Why is under consideration for the Oaks; no decision yet on Stardom Bound, who gets a new rider in Garrett Gomez. Julien Leparoux picks up the mount on General Quarters, replacing rider Eibar Coa for the Derby. (The General gains a little more credibility with that move.) Pioneerof the Nile worked a bullet four furlongs handily in :46.20 at Santa Anita this morning, Papa Clem arrived at Churchill on Tuesday, and @derbyoaks tweeted that West Side Bernie jogged over the track for the first time today. Also on the grounds and out of quarantine, Desert Party and Regal Ransom. The duo will work over the weekend. Terrain is off the trail: “We just feel he’s not quite a Derby horse,” said trainer Al Stall, who said the gelding would be pointed to the Lone Star Derby instead. If only more connections had the restraint. Instead, come Derby day, “8 or 9 certainly won’t belong at Churchill.”

That gives me an idea: Who are five unlikeliest Derby prospects? The horses you think would be better pointing elsewhere? List below in the comments …