Johnny Simpson had
two Messenger contenders in winter training this year—Adios Paul and Painter.
They will be favored entries in later big stakes like the Little Brown Jug and
the Yonkers Pace, but both have been hobbled by lameness thus far and will not
be ready for peak efforts by July 4. It is likely that Painter will not even
start, and Paul's showing will be as much a credit to Simpson's training skill
as the colt's ability.
Of the other
entries, only Stanley Dancer's Pat Rainbow and Tommy Winn's Flying Time have
shown anywhere near the talent to earn a piece of this purse. And it will take
some startling reversals of form or phenomenal racing luck for it to be more
than a very small piece.
If the Messenger
were a popularity contest, there would be no doubt of the winner; since it's a
horse race, which means that anything can happen, the affable, talented
gentleman smiling above is simply the strongest kind of favorite.