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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:13 pm 
Darley line
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 7:54 am
Posts: 6236
Location: FL, NY
McCraken is back in the bit and ready to roll. As planned he will race next in the Million Dollar GR II Bluegrass Stakes April 8th. Ian Wilkes is doing a great job with this colt. He is an outstanding conditioner and shipped his Derby hopeful to Keeneland Thursday from Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, FL. Wilkes outfit was one of the first to ship to Keeneland for their premier 15 day 2017 Spring meet which kicks off April 7th. McCraken worked a bullet 5/8ths this morning 3/20 with his regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. over the Keeneland dirt course. He went a minute flat and galloped out 3/4's in 1:12.80. He'll have time enough for a couple more moves prior to the Bluegrass, so if all goes well from here harm done after he had to alter his Derby plans when his ankle flared up and he had to miss the Tampa Bay Derby.
Classic Empire seems to have demons chasing him around at Palm Meadows as he was supposed to breeze Sunday morning and refused for the 2nd time. Casse is confused and bewildered by his champs antics and sent him directly up to his training center in Ocala, FL to continue his training...hoping a return to his roots will turn him around. He too is pointing for the Bluegrass...let's hope things turn around for him.
Battalion Runner, also playing catch-up after a minor glitch...with zero Derby points so far has been training like a "good thing" at the Palm Beach Downs Training Center in Delray Beach, FL. He may return in the Florida Derby, but that is yet to be determined as Pletcher said all options are on the table and must make this next race count if he wants the roses:>)
Always Dreaming is another Pletcher trainee trying to earn points for the Derby. This is a real nice colt, who trained a 1/2 in 48 at PBD in company with Theory. Always Dreaming was an impressive recent winner going 1 1/8th miles at GP. Pletcher has him nominated to the Florida Derby but might shift that up to keep from running against his own horses.
One Liner, the Southwest Stakes winner just returned to the worktab. Nearly a month after he won the SW. Don't know if that's by design or he had a hiccup:>) Bottom line, he still needs more points to get into the Derby.
Tapwrit, currently Pletcher's definite Derby starter, is galloping along at PBD (Palm Beach Downs). He should be ready to breeze back March 25 or 26.
J Boys Echo, Gunnevera and Practical Joke all are currently and comfortably in the body of the Derby field. All three worked Saturday (3/18). Gunnevera and J Boys Echo had less than stellar works. Gunnevera went 5/8ths in 1:04.60 (21/23) at GP West. J Boys Echo worked a 1/2 at GP in 52.51 (66/66). Though both worked for the first time since their winning races two weeks ago in the Fountain Of Youth and the Gotham Stakes respectively....could be that was all they wanted?
Practical Joke who was 2nd to Gunnevera in the FOY, after encountering a bit of trouble, worked a solid 1/2 at Palm Meadows Training Center in 48.75 (9/61) also on Saturday 3/18.

This Saturday 3/25, is the 100-40-20-10 point UAE Derby, always interesting to see who comes out of that one. Also Saturday will be the 50-20-10-5 Spiral Stakes at Turfway over the all weather surface. Memories of Motion and Animal Kingdom, who might have another one for this running in Soglio:>) So sharpen your pencils and lets see how we do:>) TJ

PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:06 pm 
Eclipse Champion

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 2:34 pm
Posts: 2295
So far McCracken has been my favourite winner of prep races, and I think until he doesn't show me otherwise, he's my choice. I haven't found anyone else that makes my heart "sing".

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:10 am 
Grade II Winner
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Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 5:40 am
Posts: 1488
Location: NH
I giggle every time I hear his name... as a graphic designer, I sometimes have to make up "fake" companies for projects. I've always wanted to do "Phil McCraken's Paving Service—Big or Small, We Fill Them All!". :lol:

That aside, I hope he continues to do well!

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