Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mr. Popularity And The Derby Shuffle

Robby Albarado has ridden some pretty good horses in his career, among them Mineshaft, Banshee Breeze and Chulukki, and Albarado’s services are always in demand. 2007 is no different, Albarado is off to another strong start this year, he currently ranks fourth in the nation in money won. Albarado also finds himself in the enviable position of having to juggle mounts on three possible Derby starters. With Cory Nakatani in Dubai to ride Lava Man in the Dubai Duty Free on March 31; Albarado gets the mount on Notional in the Florida Derby. It appears that Albarado has committed to ride Curlin in his next start, the Arkansas Derby on Aprii 14.

Albarado’s popularity presents some unforeseen logistical challenges for Ken McPeek and the connections of Birdbirdistheword. The colt was being pointed for the Blue Grass which will also be run on April 14 but if they do they run in the Blue Grass they will have have to find another rider or wait for Albarado to free up and aim for another prep race. Add to the mix that the Blue Grass is coming up as a super tough race with Street Sense, Great Hunter, Any Given Saturday and possibly Circular Quay all aiming for it. One has to think about what benefit would be gained by going up against the top colts on April 14 and then going up against them again (and a field of 20) in the Derby three weeks later. So right now Team Bird is mulling over the advantages of waiting for Albarado to free up and aiming Birdbird for the Illinois Derby on April 7 at Hawthorne, where he would meet among others Cobalt Blue recent winner of the San Felipe.

Birdbird will have his last breeze at Palm Meadows this morning and will ship to Kentucky to train for a probable start in the Illinois Derby in the next day or two.

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