Friesan Fire dominates
During an interview following Friesan Fire's dominant win in the Louisiana Derby, a member of the media asked Cindy Jones, the wife and assistant of trainer of record Larry Jones, when she knew they had the race won. I am certain that the TV guy who posed the question was looking for something along the lines of, "probably when I saw how well he settled on the backstretch," or "once he made the lead I knew it was over." But Cindy's answer said a lot more about how highly her and Larry think of this horse. "When he worked in :58 1/5 the other day," was her dead straight answer. And it wasn't tempered by a chuckle or anything.
You've seen the race by now, I'm guessing. Actually, maybe you didn't since it was only on HRTV nationally, so let me sum it up. Just going from memory, I'd say Friesan Fire took charge just inside the quarter-pole and from there he just widened the margin. One second I thought, "It doesn't look like anyone will get to him." And then the next second I thought, "Oh my goodness, he's going to win by double digits!" The actual margin was 7 1/4.
I didn't hear many of the post-race comments, but I must say I enjoyed one of the better post-race winner's circle media scrums I've seen. I knew I should've worn a suit today, as that seemed to be the determining factor in who was allowed in. Serves me right for not dressing up, but I was totally going to wear my suit if it hadn't rained!
After that race it is hard to see what benefit there would be to running Friesan Fire again before the Derby. Already this week Larry Jones was talking about training up to the big one, as he did with Hard Spun, who ran a gamer-than-game second. This horse has a similar style to Hard Spun and I think everyone will be expecting a similar effort in Louisville. He'll stalk the early leaders, move up on them on his own, take over at the top of the stretch, and then it will just be a matter of whether he can hold off whoever else is coming from further back.
Papa Clem's effort today was impressive and answered the question of whether he'd like running on real dirt, or at least genuine Louisiana mud. Terrain suprised me by checking in third, and the public surprised me by making him 8-1 in his 2009 debut. I could not have taken him at single digits despite his solid Grade I efforts last year. The question now is, wil he go on to Lousville? He has the earnings but he was beaten about 10 lengths today.
If I were the owner I'd say yes. It amazes me every year when longshots get criticized for trying to win the greatest race in the world, but from my perspective even if you don't believe in your heart of hearts that you can finish first, history has proven that almost anyone in the field can get third or fourth, and that's worth a lot of money, both in purses and enhanced breeeding value. So what I'm saying, Al Stall and Adele Dilschneider, is go for it.
The bad-trip horses from the Risen Star, like Giant Oak and Flying Pegasus, had no excuse today and will probably be off the Derby trail.
Hope everyone had a great day. I'm heading downstairs to watch the finale with the people. Pacific Tsunami is very interesting to me at 6-1!