Tomorrow, Aqueduct features the Demoiselle and the Remsen Handicap which should really be the most important 2 years races on the East Coast. The Remsen has always been a bit of an enigma to me, it seems perfectly positioned to produce the better colts and gelding for the upcoming 3 years old season and the Kentucky Derby. But it seldom does! As I go back through my memory I just don’t see the Kentucky Derby challenged by the Remsen winner from the previous season. When I first became a fan of horse racing in the amazing year of 1977, Believe It won the Remsen and then ran brilliantly behind Affirmed and Alydar in the Triple Crown series of 1978. It made perfect sense at that time, but hasn’t panned out so wonderfully since. In the 80’s the Breeders’ Cup came into being, and everyone started going after the BC juvy races and then watched was each of these brilliant — over trained 2 years olds were burnt out as 3 year olds and failed terribly in the KD, with only 1 exception.
If I had a nice – slow developing 3 year old, that had the frame and coordination to run in the KD, I would seriously think about passing up the BC Juvy and go for the Remsen instead. Smarty Jones was a perfectly handled horse for the KD skipping the BC Juvy and running in some easy races in Philly as a 2 year old and then going up to Aqueduct in January to stretch out to 2 turns for the first time. But wouldn’t also be very reasonable to duck the BC JUVY race and maybe start 2 turn races in later November in the Remsen. It makes some sense to me and it might make sense to someone tomorrow. Last year Billy Mott ran and won with To Honor and Serve in the Remsen and was quite unfortunate not to have him ready for the Derby. But it’s quite obvious that To Honor and Serve has come back to the races a very healthy and quality horse at this time, as he attacks tomorrow as a heavy favorite in the Cigar Mile after his very tough and worthy race in the BC Classic this season. I feel it proves my point.
Anyway, watch tomorrows edition and let’s see if any of these fine colts look like they just need a little time to develop into a champion…