JC / Railbird


Will Take Retirement

The older horse division takes another hit with the loss of Will Take Charge, retired to Three Chimneys after suffering a minor suspensory injury. Less than six weeks to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and last year’s winner, Mucho Macho Man, is out, along with Game on Dude and Palace Malice. (So, three of the top four finishers in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap are done racing, and New York’s best older Classic hope is Whitney winner Moreno.) For the first time since Raven’s Pass in 2008, a 3-year-old could win the Classic — at least eight are in contention, including unbeaten Pacific Classic winner Shared Belief. His stock, already high, gained following California Chrome’s dismal return in the Pennsylvania Derby, won by Bayern, aka “little Dude.” The dual classic winner will train up to the Breeders’ Cup, and trainer Art Sherman is looking toward a happier result: “We’ll be a lot better price,” he said.

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Be Bullish, making his 83rd career start and dropping from $40K to $16K, finished second to Make a Fortune in the third race at Belmont on Sunday, bringing his earnings up to $4,000 shy of $1 million. Bruce Levine claimed the 9-year-old gelding for owner Mike Repole. “Will evaluate his condition before deciding to race/retire,” tweet-reported David Grening.

Jaycito makes his 28th career start on Monday, running in the 10th at Zia Park. He’ll be running at his lowest level yet — $30K, which is $20K less than the G1 winner’s purchase price at Keeneland in November 2013. [9/22/14 Update: Jaycito finished third, beaten 10 1/2 lengths. He was not claimed.]

The Contenders

A few of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup contenders I’ve spotted around Santa Anita …

Animal Kingdom (Mile)

Shackleford (Mile)

Groupie Doll (Filly and Mare Sprint)

Sky Lantern (Juvenile Fillies Turf)

Jaycito (Marathon)

Game on Dude (Classic)

Richard’s Kid (Classic)

Ron the Greek (Classic)

Pool Play (Classic)

Dullahan (Turf)

Point of Entry (Turf)

Trinniberg (Sprint)

Who’s Your DMB?

Bill Christine:

DMB is shorthand for Derby Must Bet — a horse you feel compelled to play in the Kentucky Derby — not because he’s the best horse, or even the favorite, but a horse who has a good chance, may have been overlooked, and is someone you’ve been following for so long that you’d flagellate yourself if he happened to win. DMB is only half of the acronym. In toto, it’s DMBNMW — Derby Must Bet No Matter What. You don’t get a DMB every year. Just enough to keep you in sackcloth and ashes.

My first was Gayego, who won the 2008 Arkansas Derby but not much respect, going to post in the Kentucky Derby at 18-1 and finishing seventeenth. I’m hoping for better from my DMB this year, Jaycito. He’s been on my watch list since his debut; I’ve been waiting for him to win again since the Norfolk.

A little KYC news: We’re thrilled that Brown-Forman, maker of Woodford Reserve, has signed on to sponsor the “Bourbon Underworld” column, joining the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge in supporting Kentucky Confidential. You can also back the best independent Derby coverage you’ll find anywhere.

2:55 PM Addendum: Darn it! Tweets Ray Paulick, “Foot abscess may keep Jaycito out of Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert to decide in a.m., but looking at Lexington Stakes on April 23.” [Jaycito’s officially scratched.]

Where To?

Jaycito’s next start could be the Santa Anita Derby, or maybe the Wood:

“He might stay home, I’m not sure yet. I don’t have to make any decisions right now so I’m not going to,” Baffert said. “I know one thing: The horse needs more ground. He needs a mile and a quarter.”

If he stays at Santa Anita, he’ll face San Felipe winner Premier Pegasus again. If he ships to Aqueduct, he’ll meet Uncle Mo. Seems like a question of to whom trainer Bob Baffert would prefer the colt finish second in his final Derby prep.

Steve Davidowitz and Mike Maloney share the same top three Derby prospects, and Jaycito’s not among them. Soldat breaks up the trio in this week’s PDI.

After NYC OTB closed last December, some predicted illegal bookies would pick up business. Bookmakers tell the NY Post there’s indeed been a spike: “I do a few hundred dollars in bets in a day to a few thousand.”

Back to Bernardini for Zenyatta; her first pregnancy didn’t take.

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