JC / Railbird

Jockey Switches

Odds and Ends

Tim Layden tries to ask trainer Steve Asmussen about the PETA allegations: “I just don’t think this is the time or the place to address it. I think the preparation of these horses for a once in a lifetime opportunity is the focus. And that’s what I’m going to concentrate on right now.” Lots of questions, but unless I’ve missed it, I don’t think anyone’s asked this — are Oaks and Derby contenders Untapable and Taptiture getting thyroxine (a drug mentioned as a widely used supplement in Asmussen’s barn in the PETA video) and if so, why?

Steve Davidowitz writes that the Kentucky Derby isn’t just the fastest or the greatest two minutes in sports: “it also is the most dangerous.” Cover your eyes when they break from the gate!

Gary Stevens will ride Will Take Charge in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on Friday. “We’re looking at the big picture,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas told Dave Grening. “The Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita and Gary knows every grain of sand there. Nothing against Luis, but I thought Gary would be a natural fit.” Stevens and Mucho Macho Man beat Luis Saez and Will Take Charge by a nose in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Sounds like the jockey switch means the “Man” will need a new rider for this year.

Jaycito to Win

Steve Davidowitz (DRF+):

As good as Uncle Mo appears to be, I was more impressed by the finishing punch shown by Jaycito, who won his maiden winning the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk Stakes around two turns at Hollywood Park on Oct. 2. In that race, Jaycito caught and passed J P’s Gusto, a fast, three-time stakes winner. The image I had reviewing that race was of Jaycito doing the same to Uncle Mo on Breeders’ Cup Day.

Me too.

(Via @JaycitoHOY2011, the latest in faux racehorse tweeting.)

It may be futile, but I’m trying to resist the lure of history, in which Uncle Mo potentially figures on the basis of his stellar performance (and final time) in the Champagne Stakes. “Since the 1940 adjustment of the Champagne to one mile,” writes Nick Kling, “only five other colts have run under 1:35. They were Count Fleet (1942), Vitriolic (1967), Spectacular Bid (1978), Easy Goer (1988), and Sea Hero (1992).” That’s in addition to Champagne record-setter Devil’s Bag and second-fastest Seattle Slew. It’s good company. “The scary thing,” trainer Todd Pletcher told Tim Wilkin, “is that I think he is still learning.”

In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, jockey Calvin Borel picks up the mount on Tell a Kelly. “He’s the man at Churchill Downs,” said trainer John Sadler.