Powell: Justify was good value; Saxon Warrior a Triple Crown threat for Coolmore
by DICK POWELL
We hear the term "value" thrown around by many and I have written extensively on the subject. Short version is that I think it is misleading to declare that every favorite lacks value. It is a measure of risk versus reward and some favorites represent strong value.
JUSTIFY winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) and paying $7.80 was good value; just like in 2015 when American Pharoah paid the same price. I know, they each had to beat 19 other horses but they were tons the best.
Remember, we are not just talking about the Win pool and nobody is advocating playing just $2 to win on the favorite. But as a key to the gimmicks that are available, there was nothing wrong with Justify paying $7.80 and it just kills me to hear people say they like him but don't like the price.
How did you like the price on MY BOY JACK? And it wasn't because of the wet track that developed Saturday afternoon since he was already second or third choice in the advance wagering on Friday. A legitimate 30-1 in the morning line, he went off as the 6.70-1 second choice in the wagering. So much for this year's "Wise Guy Horse."
All day long on NBC's coverage, we heard how important the start of the Derby would be. I agree. So why did they show the rear end of COMBATANT for so long and almost miss the start?
Everyone knows that when the last horse loads, it's Go Time! But, the director stayed with the backside of Combatant too long and just when he switched camera shots, the race started. We saw the start of the race but didn't have enough time to focus on various post positions or see if anyone was having trouble in the gate. I am sure an Emmy Award will be forthcoming.
Here is what I know about the Emmy Awards -- "The Wire," the greatest show ever produced on American TV, never won any kind of award in five years of its existence. I know I am being harsh, but to me it's like coming out of commercial in the Super Bowl and missing the opening kickoff. And I am a hard-core veteran that doesn't mind most of the changing camera angles.
It was not a good day for Coolmore's MENDELSSOHN. The torrential rain just added to the crowd noise in obstacles to overcome. A horrible trip and Ryan Moore wisely wrapped up on him. He finished dead last, 74 lengths behind Justify. Trainer Aidan O'Brien had some interesting things to say about how great the Derby and the experience was and would not hesitate to come back with the right horse.
To show you how powerful the Coolmore operation is, and how far ahead they are of the rest of the world, SAXON WARRIOR won the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket. With Ryan Moore over here aboard Mendelssohn, O'Brien turned to his son Donnacha to ride and he was brilliant.
He kept him covered up until about two furlongs to go. When he moved him to the clear, Saxon Warrior accelerated to the lead. It almost looked like he might have moved too early but the colt's natural stamina carried him home to a 1 1/2-length victory and maintain his perfect record at four-for-four.
The winner of last year's Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster, Saxon Warrior was bred in Japan by some Coolmore partners. His Group 1 stakes-winning dam is by their legendary stallion Galileo, and when considering who to breed his high-class daughters to, they shipped her to Deep Impact. Saxon Warrior is her second foal.
Ironically, on a day when their Mendelssohn would be denied whatever chance he had at the American Triple Crown, Coolmore won the first leg of the British Triple Crown with a grandson of Sunday Silence, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby on a wet track in 2:05.
The one-mile 2000 Guineas was considered the toughest challenge for Saxon Warrior if he is to go and try to become the first British Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky II in 1970. He is bred to run all day and Deep Impact once won the Tenno Sho Spring (G1) going 3200 meters (almost two miles) in world-record time.
The Epsom Derby (G1) is up next at 1 1/2 miles and if all goes well, the St Leger (G1) at Doncaster in early September. The always adventurous Coolmore team tried it six years ago with Camelot, who came up just short, and they seem to be willing to try again.