Champion 3YO Male No Easy Call

In keeping with the theme of the last two blogs, let's continue discussing the Eclipse Awards. People had some fairly strong opinions about Horse of the Year and 2-year-old male, so I'm guessing the race for 3-year-old male will be no different.

In a year where three different horses won the Triple Crown races and no 3-year-old won the Breeders' Cup Classic, there is no clear-cut choice. In fact, as I see it a legitimate case can be made for five horses. Each one brings a different set of credentials and each of the connections believes their horse is worthy of winning the championship. Let's examine the top contenders, in alphabetical order:

Animal Kingdom: He won two of his five starts including the grade III Spiral and grade I Kentucky Derby. Ran a solid second in the Preakness and unfortunately was injured when running sixth in the Belmont. In a year where there is no standout, a case can be made that Animal Kingdom won the most important race and therefore deserves to be a champion. Owner Barry Irwin did not want to be drawn into the debate, but did have this to say:

"The people that vote are going to get the ballots and get the information, and most of these people have enough experience to look at this and make a good decision. And that's what we're relying on. Everyone knows what it takes to win that award. People know what kind of races you need to win, over what distances, and people know what real grade Is are and what the other grade Is are. It's up to these people to figure it out; not me to tell them."

As a side note, Irwin gave an update on Animal Kingdom as he continues to recover from his slab fracture. He said he has been galloping on the track at Fair Hill for about a week and will start breezing in the middle of December. He will then be shipped down to Palm Meadows in Florida to prepare for the Dubai World Cup in March. Irwin said he may train straight up to the World Cup without a prep.

Caleb's Posse: He's probably the front-runner now after an impressive four-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. That was his fifth overall win and second grade I of the season. He also scored the ungraded Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn, the grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown, the grade II Amsterdam at Saratoga, and the grade I King's Bishop at Saratoga. A horse that very few knew about at the beginning of the season, he has truly been a terrific story. He's also the only contender, so far, to have beaten older horses.

"I don't want to sound too bold, but he's got as good a resume as any 3-year-old out there," said trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Ruler On Ice: He's the wild card because he is the only one that will race one more time before the end of the year. A victory in next week's grade I Clark Handicap could put him right near the top of the list. He's raced nine times this year with a pair of wins--an allowance at Parx Racing and the grade I Belmont Stakes. And is graded stakes-placed four other times. Would a second grade I be enough for him?

Shackleford: Like Ruler On Ice he has had a full campaign, racing 10 times with a pair of wins. He won an allowance at Gulfstream Park and the grade I Preakness. Also has been graded stakes-placed four times, including narrow losses in the Florida Derby and the Haskell. Had the photo gone the other way in either of those two races he probably would be the frontrunner. As it is, he has shown up to every dance and that probably means more in a year like this.

Stay Thirsty: Has three wins from eight starts, all in graded company. Won the grade III Gotham at Aqueduct, grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga, and grade I Travers at Saratoga--all at different distances. Graded stakes-placed twice including a narrow defeat in the Belmont.

You know this race is a contentious one if we can't say definitely even which three horses will be finalists. I would say as of now that Caleb's Posse is the only horse that will be on the ballot without a doubt, and if Ruler On Ice gets his second grade I in the Clark he will be on there too. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.


Leave a Comment:


gotta b derby winner

15 Nov 2011 4:26 PM
Gio Ponti

I would say Caleb's Posse as he accomplished a bit more than the others. Yeah, AK won the Derby, but he did little else.

15 Nov 2011 5:06 PM
Bob from Boston

None of the above.

Off Topic:  How many of you would do pay-for-view to watch Michele Bachmann be waterboarded to determine whether or not it is torture?

15 Nov 2011 5:08 PM

Animal Kingdom... he has the only decisive victory against other 3 year olds routing, however, Caleb's Posse is a strong second.

15 Nov 2011 5:28 PM
Smoking Baby

 Caleb's Posse wins the Smoking Baby Award for Champion 3 year old male.  As much as I like Shackelford I don't like my champions to have lost 80% of their starts.  Animal Kingdom won the Derby decisively and is my second choice.  He did lose more often than he won though.  Come to think of it ALL of the contenders except Caleb's Posse lost more often than they won in 2011.  Caleb's Posse beat the best horses, won around two turns and won the majority of his races.  He's champ in what was undoubtedly the strangest season I can remember.

15 Nov 2011 5:33 PM
Kinga Kowalczyk

I'd say that really no colt deserves the title more this year than Caleb's Posse. He has done a great job and is clearly the best and most consistent in this crop. As for HOTY honours, I'd like to just say that in my personal opinion, Royal Delta captured hearts of fans like no other this year, and if that's what it's about (since Zenyatta won in 2010 because she captured America's heart), than Royal Delta is the HOTY for me. Great campaign, super consistent and I believe she is a great candidate for HOTY and will prove how brilliant she is next year.

15 Nov 2011 5:36 PM

KeyserSoze - I'm assuming you are referring to the KY Derby?  No single win is sufficient to determine the 3-yr old champ this year.  Animal Kingdom might have dominated the 3-yr old division, but because of injury, we will never know.  Shackelford was the most consistent of the colts to compete in all 3 TC races, but I gave my vote to Caleb's Posse.  He beat Uncle Mo at Mo's best game, and he beat older horses when it really counted.  Who says a sprinter can't win an age-group divisional title?

15 Nov 2011 5:59 PM

I want a horse that finishes strong:  Caleb's Posse for 3 year old; Royal Delta for HOY

15 Nov 2011 7:39 PM
Katie L.

I'm all with Caleb's Posse :) He's a great sprinter and ran huge at the BC'S dirt mile too

Maybe AK is a better horse, but with the injury is campain was too short to get ahead of Caleb's posses accomplishment in the year

15 Nov 2011 7:49 PM

Caleb's Posse although none of the ones mentioned above are as good as Royal Delta.  It appears the older mare division is once again going to have the most talent led by HDG.

15 Nov 2011 8:05 PM
LA Dakota

Caleb's Posse is the most accomplished 3 year old this year. Which isn't saying much. But he did beat a field in the Dirt Mile that was deep enough that it sent Zito scrambling to the Sprint with Jackson Bend. So, I guess this year, that's enough.

Bob from Boston: sign me up for the pay-for-view. Now that's entertainment! (And not so "off topic" as picking Eclipse Award winners this year feels like torture.)

15 Nov 2011 8:20 PM


I have to disagree with you: the champion 3YO male is one of the easiest calls this year.  Caleb's Posse stamped his class on the 3YO division by anhilating Shackleford (the trojan of the Triple Crown series) and tagging Uncle Mo (the fastest of the crop, on dirt).  He won both sprinting and around two turns, as well as convincingly defeating a good field of older horses in the BC Dirt Mile. He's hands down!!! the 3YO champ!

15 Nov 2011 8:22 PM
an ole railbird

game on dude, calebs posse,shackelford should be top 3. as long as all 3 of them are in consideration, you will have been fair.

15 Nov 2011 8:40 PM
Paula Higgins

Caleb's Posse in my opinion is the one. Bob from Boston, only if I can waterboard Nancy Pelosi.

15 Nov 2011 10:00 PM

good luck Donnie K., you and Caleb deserve this.

15 Nov 2011 10:07 PM

I think this is a easy one Calebs Posse although my favourite is Shackelford I think Calebs Posse deserves it he beat Shackelford fare and square.


15 Nov 2011 10:38 PM
The Deacon

I think Caleb's Posse is the best 3 year old out there right now but the Dirt Mile doesn't carry the clout the Derby does. I realize he has other impressive wins but I would vote for Animal Kingdom but it is close. Stay Thirsty would be 3rd. Truth is, I believe we have a very average crop of 3 year olds and each year our crop of colts spirals down and the fillies are getting better or at least maintaining. Flip a coin !!!!

15 Nov 2011 11:02 PM
Bob from Boston

LA Dakota/Single in LA,

I could not agree with you more.  Speaking of torture,  I watched Yental today.  ~Ted Bob

15 Nov 2011 11:19 PM

Below is a summary of the 2011 records for the top contenders for 3YO champion and a few comments.

Shackleford: (10 Starts: 2 - 4 - 0)

Graded Stakes Record: (9 Starts: 1 - 4 - 0)

Seven Gl; Two Gll (One G1victory)

Triple Crown (3 Starts 1-0-0)

Defeated Stay Thirsty twice (Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby); Stay Thirsty defeated Shackleford twice (Belmont/Travers); Defeated Ruler on Ice once (Haskell) Ruler on Ice defeated Shackleford twice (Belmont/Traverse); Shackleford defeated Caleb Posse once (Indiana Derby) Caleb Posse defeated Shackleford  once (BC mile)

Ruler On Ice: (8 Starts: 1 - 3 - 3, $521,000)

Graded Stakes Record: (6 Starts: 1 - 1 - 3)

Four Gl; One Gll/Glll (One G1victory)

Triple Crown (1 Start: 1-0-0)

Defeated Shackleford twice (Belmont/Traverse) He was defeated by Shackleford once (Haskell); defeated ST twice (Belmont/BCC); He was defeated by ST once (Travers)  

Stay Thirsty (8 Starts: 3 - 1 - 1)

Graded Stakes Record: (8 Starts: 3 - 1 - 1)

Six Gl; One Gll/Glll (One G1victory)

Triple Crown (2 Start: 0-1-0)

Defeated Shackleford twice (Belmont/Traverse) He was defeated by Shackleford twice (Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby); defeated Ruler on Ice once (Travers) Ruler on Ice defeated ST twice (Belmont/BCC)

Caleb Posse (10 Starts: 5 - 1 - 1)

Graded Stakes Record: (9 Starts: 4 - 1 - 1)

Three Gl; Three Gl ;Three /Glll (Two G1victory)

Triple Crown (0 Start: 0-0-0)

He was not good enough to be considered for the Triple Crown series of races. The only top contender Caleb Posse defeated was Shackleford.

Shackleford has the most demanding body of work. He is the only member of the top four to have participated in all three Triple Crown races facing fresh horses in both the Preakness and Belmont. He was 4th in the Kentucky Derby; 1st in the Preakness and 5th in the Belmont. He defeated the Derby winner Animal Kingdom in the Preakness and returned from his 5th place finish in the Belmont to defeat Belmont victor ROI with his 2nd place finish in the Haskell. Shackleford defeated every member of top five contenders for 3YO Champions. He is the only member of the group that has made seven Gl starts. He won one G1 and finished 2nd in three others. Only Caleb Posse has won two G1s but his schedule was far easier with only three Gl starts. Shackleford’s demanding body of work and achievements is testament to his toughness and ability and I think he has earned Champion 3YO title.

15 Nov 2011 11:26 PM
Barry Irwin

I did tell Jason one other thing, which is that if Animal Kingdom wins the Eclipse, he will not set a precedent, but if Caleb's Posse wins, he will be an out of the ordinary champion, because not since 1936 has the 3yo champion failed to win a major race around two turns.

15 Nov 2011 11:49 PM

I think the three year old horse of the year is Caleb's Posse. He ran all year. He started with the Smarty Jones and then finished with a dominating performance in the Breeders Cup Mile. Second would be Animal Kingdom because he won the Derby and there was no other stand outs this year,

16 Nov 2011 12:54 AM

My hypothetical vote is for Shackleford, he danced the big dances, and did well in all of them, minus the Travers, I think he should have skipped that one and taken a break, that was too much too soon. His Belmont's forgivable, and his KY Derby run wasn't bad at all. Some good points are made for Caleb's Posse here though, yes he beat Shack at the BC, his niche is clearly one-turn races, in those he's a freak, his two turn races, minus the weak Ohio Derby, were quite lackluster, and may diminish him? He's a tough one, but if he gets it, no complaints, he's deserving. I think it could be close between Shack and Caleb, but my edge is toward Shack. Animal Kingdom's Derby just keeps looking better for him, but he may not have done enough. However it would surprise me if the scales are tipped in his favor. Ruler On Ice is a dark horse, his Belmont was quite impressive, he stayed the entire way, and his Classic was a fine effort, I think if he runs in and wins the Clark, he might be the winner, but he'll need that race to get it. Stay Thirsty doesn't have a shot, and I will be extraordinarily surprised if he's even nominated. I mean yeah his races in NY were good, but his races outside of NY were disastrous, and I mean DISASTROUS! 11th in the Classic, 12th in the Derby and 7th in the FL Derby, well beaten in all. At least Shack, Ruler, and even Caleb were placing in their losing races, and ran their race.

16 Nov 2011 2:52 AM
Rachel NH

If Ruler On Ice does not win the Clark, then based on performance alone it has to be Caleb's Posse.

If ROI does win it will be a win over older horses, and he will have already won the "Test of Champions" in the Belmont and beaten the Derby winner, Preakness winner and eventual Travers winner.

16 Nov 2011 6:46 AM
Bob from Boston


Waterboard away.

16 Nov 2011 10:18 AM

Caleb's Posse, that's my two cents!

His dirt mile was pretty impressive.

16 Nov 2011 10:35 AM
Linda in Texas

If i may, i would like to have Pelosi waterboarded also. So i agree with Paula Higgins. Thanks Bob from Boston.

As for Shackleford, he has shown up. Raced every time, against fresh horses and not fresh horses and i would have a hard time not voting for him. On the other hand, Smoking Baby put it rather to the point for Caleb's Posse, i loved watching that gutsy fella come from literally no where to make it to the wire.

And yes it has been a strange year.

About the time we think one horse has superseded the others along comes another one.

I am so glad i don't have to make a decision and vote because all  Jason mentioned have their own reasons to be selected and i really do like them all. All this coming from a Game on Dude supporter.

To me it has almost come down to

which horse has the whitest teeth.:)

16 Nov 2011 10:54 AM
Jason Shandler

Barry: To play devil’s advocate, since graded stakes began in 1973 only one horse has been named 3YO champion with only one G1 win. It was Prairie Bayou in 1993. As you know, he broke down in the Belmont, but won four graded stakes that year—the G1 Preakness, G2 Blue Grass, G2 Jim Beam (now the Spiral), G3 Count Fleet, and ungraded Whirlaway. And he was second in the KY Derby.

Over that same period, only two 3YO champions have had as few as two wins—Real Quiet and Funny Cide. Both of them won a pair of Triple Crown races.

A couple of points on Caleb’s Posse: In addition to being the only contender to have beaten older horses and the only one with two G1 wins, he has made 10 starts this year—the same amount as Shackleford, who many are calling the “iron horse” of this year.

No champion 3YO since 1973 has made fewer than six starts.

16 Nov 2011 11:40 AM
Barry Irwin

Jason, I stand by my comments re setting precedents. And given the nature of how Animal Kingdom became injured, I don't think voters will blame him for not being able to race during the second half of the season. When seasoned voters, who are professionals, sit down and analyze the records, I feel they will come to a good conclusion. By the way Jason, do you have a vote?

16 Nov 2011 11:48 AM
Jason Shandler

Barry: I think you can make a case for Animal Kingdom, but as I stated in my previous response I think Caleb's Posse has stronger credentials when everything is taken into consideration. Nothing personal; I like Animal Kingdom, Graham and Team Valor, and look forward to watching him next year. We need all the stars we can get in 2012; things looks pretty bleak right now.

I have voted in year's past (not last year) and am entitled to a vote if I choose to do so. I am undecided about whether I will vote this year.

16 Nov 2011 11:56 AM
Mike Relva


Enjoyed your honesty after winning the Derby regarding your comments. Many don't have the courage.

16 Nov 2011 12:25 PM

Shack is my man. He gives his all everytime and goes to post ready to run, just watch him kick up those heels to get this action on the track. Bring it on guys! seems to be his logo.  

I like him very much.

16 Nov 2011 12:40 PM

If ROI were to win the Clark, I'd think he would be the 3YO champ, having won the Belmont and then defeating older horses in a G1. If ROI doesn't win the Clark, then I think the title goes to Caleb's Posse. The two G1s he won were no cakewalks, and his Beyer for winning the Dirt Mile was faster than Amazombie (likely Eclipse winner for Male Sprinter) ran in winning the Sprint. He's just done more with his year. Animal Kingdom won the Derby and the Spiral, and then finished behind Shackleford in the Preakness and Belmont. Caleb's Posse beat Shackleford fair and square in the Dirt Mile. A shame AK was injured, and yes, this would be a strange route to the 3YO title, but Caleb's Posse seems like the most deserving in a really weird year!

16 Nov 2011 12:46 PM

Bob from B:  In keeping with Federal standards, it's only right that the government pays us for watching Bachman being waterboarded!  I'll let you know if it's torture after a few weeks.  Right now, I just want to know when they're going to pay us for the torture forced on us by all the early campaigning.

As to 3 year old...Caleb's Posse.  He's been the most impressive visually and in the stats.  (I just wish I could have seen Frankel run in the US...then I'd give it to him).

16 Nov 2011 1:05 PM
Frank J.

Glad this blog has been far. I would vote for Caleb's Posse also with AK second. I think we have had a pretty decent crop this year.

16 Nov 2011 1:16 PM
Terry M.

I agree with Coldfacts. Shackleford was there from the beginning of the season to the Breeders' Cup and, had the photos gone the other way, would be the top contender. I don't think he had a bad race all year.

16 Nov 2011 1:37 PM
Zen's Auntie

I gotta wait till after the Clark If Ruler on Ice pulls it off he's my man if not its Calebs Posse he looked so good at the BC and has been asked for so much it just seems right...

16 Nov 2011 1:38 PM

The most impressive victory by a three year old this year was Animal Kingdom's Derby.  The second and third most impressive were Caleb's Posse's Dirt Mile and King's Bishop.

I like both horses and think these are the only two that should be considered.  The edge for me goes to Caleb's Posse based on his two ultra-impressive Grade I wins.  In the dirt mile, he beat the best field assembled at the Breeder's Cup convincingly.  In the King's Bishop, he beat champion Uncle Mo.

(He was also my only saving grace betting wise as my best bet from the Breeder's Cup).

Hope both horses come back and have good four year old campaigns.  Appreciate the blog and the comments from Barry Irwin.

16 Nov 2011 2:45 PM

A couple of questions for Mr. Irwin:

Is a prep race in Dubai a possibility for Animal Kingdom prior to the World Cup a la Curlin?

If Animal Kingdom comes back and returns to form as I am hoping, are any of the prestigious European grass races a consideration given his breeding and stamina attributes?

16 Nov 2011 2:54 PM

Caleb's Posse beat the big show in Uncle Mo when Mo was fabulous even in defeat. Combined with his other victories AND beating older horses in the Breeder's Cup Dirt Mile, he seems like the front runner to me. I know this bothers some because he didn't receive a lot of media hype earlier in the year like others, but he put the exclamation point on his season in a big way, and in such a close year, winning big in the BC does make a difference. The others had their shot but failed. Looking at the entire year, Caleb will probably get top 3-year old honors.

16 Nov 2011 3:19 PM
Barry Irwin

Graham and I will discuss the AK schedule in another month, after the colt has breezed a couple of times. All options are open as far as a prep race goes, although I am not adverse to running him cold turkey. My goal with AK is to put him position to become the all-time leading money winner. Since he can act on all surfaces, our options are incredible. We have a trainer that can get a horse ready to run anywhere. We will look at races in Japan, Hong Kong, Europe and of course the U. S. A. Any horse that can dominate the Kentucky Derby in his first race on dirt obviously has untapped potential and can win anywhere in the world.

16 Nov 2011 3:22 PM

All I know is we are a long way from '07!

The last good 3yo crop IMO!

16 Nov 2011 3:23 PM
Karen in Texas

Just a few short weeks ago many posters were lamenting the "added" BC races, especially the boring and uninspiring Dirt Mile. Some were challenging others to even remember the names of the past winners. What a different picture we have now! It was a solid field and an exciting race this year--one that may determine the 3-yr-old championship. Caleb's Posse won impressively and should get the Eclipse unless something changes before the year's end.

16 Nov 2011 3:34 PM

Don't understand how you could factor in the length of Caleb's Posse's campaign compared to Animal Kingdom, when Caleb's Posse got trounced in the Southwest, Rebel, Arkansas Derby, Iowa Derby, and Indiana Derby. All but one of those are second-tier 3-year-old races. That's no champion I've ever seen before.

16 Nov 2011 4:54 PM
Criminal Type

In my opinion, you have to give it to Shackleford. Win or lose, the horse showed up every time he stepped on the track. I have to say, I am really glad to see that Draynay is not touting Uncle Mo for 3 yr old champion. Granted he has a serious illness, but in that respect, you also would have to consider Animal Kingdom who also lost a large part of the season due to injury. If Animal Kingdom comes back and runs like he did before the Belmont, he will be a beast. I would love to see another horse best Curlin's earnings.

16 Nov 2011 5:23 PM
Smoking Baby

Karen In Texas.  OOOOOHHH, that was me challenging people to name the past winners.  Lesson learned, the Mile was the best field this year I thought.

MortonLex.  That's what makes this year's voting so interesting.  WHOEVER wins the championship will be like no champion you've seen before.

16 Nov 2011 5:27 PM
Karen in Texas

Sorry, Smoking Baby, I really wasn't thinking of anyone specifically! Yes, the Dirt Mile was a very good field this year.

16 Nov 2011 6:43 PM

If Graded Stake wins and placings in Route races are the determining factor, then Stay Thirsty should win. Gotham III -- 1st; Jim Dandy Grade II -- 1st; Travers Grade I -- 1st; Belmont Grade I -- 2nd; Jockey Gold Cup Grade I -- 3rd. If people only say he "wins at Saratoga", let me remind them that Calebs Posse's Grade I & II were also at Saratoga Sprinting. ( Then he won the 1 Turn BC Mile.) As for AK not being able to race in the summer and fall, there have been several horses over the years that have has this fate. The only problem is that there usually was a "standout" that won.

16 Nov 2011 7:01 PM

WELL.......Alot of arguing about nothing....HAVEdeGRACE will be horse of the year......PERIOD! Top 3 yr old is CALEBS POSSE! PERIOD! and 2;24.....the best effort by a 3 yr old was UNCLE MO'S 118 beyer! PERIOD!....Whats wrong with you people? You make these things too hard!..........Why is posse top 3 yr old?....the triple crown was weak....1 horse had a beyer over 100 for over a why would animal kingdom get it? LISTEN people......the breeders cup is the goal...period!!!! the other races are now pretty much preps...all the triple crown horses flopped.....posse beat the best in a older horse championship race.....championship!!!!!that is worth more than 1 win in case you cant figure that out......its not even!

16 Nov 2011 7:24 PM

COLDCUTS...........SHACKELFORD?? top 3 yr old?  How does a person get everything wrong ALL the time? You really truly believe this?  reality check......if they ran today in a 10 horse field, shack would be 10  to 1   caleb would be 2 to 1............everybody is wrong right?.....find a new sport to screw up "FACTS" on!!!!!!You dont really understand this sport!

16 Nov 2011 7:29 PM
Pedigree Ann

Hey, Barry. Remember the Great Brookwood Syndicate? Well, I've finally taken the plunge you did so long ago: I've bought a broodmare. From the former Teen-aged Wonder.

As to 3yo champion, I am reminded of 1971. Hoist the Flag was the best horse going into the season, but he shattered an ankle in training and nearly lost his life. His two brilliant spring wins, despite his obvious superiority, would not give him a championship. In his absence, major preps were won by Good Behaving, Eastern Fleet, Executioner, Jim French, Unconscious, Twist the Axe, and Northfields. Then Canonero II flew in and slammed them all in the Derby and Preakness; he ran when he shouldn't have in the Belmont and lost to Pass Catcher, who never had another stakes win.

By the summer, almost none of the top spring horse were running anymore. Only Jim French, and he was having to concede a dozen or so pounds to his competition, like in the Hollywood Derby (10f dirt in June), won by Bold Reason. The latter horse had been running 3rd and 4th in a lot of the big races, but now with weight advantages and lesser competition, went on a tear. He won the American Derby (turf), the Lexington S (turf) and the Travers. There was even talk that if he won the Woodward (the old, championship level 10f Woodward), he could be voted champion 3yo. Didn't happen. In the end, the voters went for the winner of two classic races, Canonero II (who beat Bold Reason in 2 of 3 Triple Crown races).

16 Nov 2011 7:41 PM
Bob from Boston

All this arguing about who deserves to be champion 3-year-old male is torture.  Speaking of which, besides Mario Lopez and Ann Coulter, who else should we waterboard?  Barry, who was your first big horse?

16 Nov 2011 8:21 PM

I believe Caleb's Posse deserves the award.  He's done the most winning.  Shackleford gets kudos for running all year but he just didn't win enough.  Ruler on Ice also hasn't won enough and Stay Thirsty came up a little too short in the JCGC and Classic to earn the title.  If voters can't handle giving the award to a 1-turn horse then it's Animal Kingdom's.  His only bad finish was the Belmont and he certainly had an excuse then.  Otherwise, his campaign was strong.  It's just too bad he got hurt so we couldn't see his full potential at three.

16 Nov 2011 9:02 PM

Mr. Irwin- Thanks for sharing AK's future plans.  It's my feeling that the 3 yr old should come from a Classic background, and a Derby win and Preakness place, along with the injury that came at the worst possible moment make him my Eclipse winner.

16 Nov 2011 9:24 PM

Gee, not one comment about Zenyatta yet. A real toss up on this one. If ever there was an argument for co-winners, this is the year as its hard to argue with conviction for one and all. Have to agree with Jason that Caleb's Posse is the frontrunner. Here's hoping Animal Kingdom will get a prep before shipping to Dubai or get one there like Curlin did. As he's had two victories on the synthetic - in a MSW at Keenland and in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway - I can see why Irwin wants to try the surface in Dubai.

16 Nov 2011 9:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Good to know Animal Kingdom will be coming back! Really will look forward to that. Bob/Ted o.k. we are agreed. Linda from Texas, my husband becomes homicidal whenever he sees Pelosi on t.v. LOL.

16 Nov 2011 9:56 PM

Calebs Posse beat a very weak Dirt Mile field. As for him being favored over Shakelford. "in a two turn race, not buying"

 Stay Thirsty my friends!

16 Nov 2011 10:39 PM

There are three reasons why Animal Kingdom should be 3yo champ:  the Derby, the Preakness and forgot the 3rd reason.

I also like Shackleford for First Runner Up in case AK has left the continent to win the World Cup and the Prix de l'Arc

(please, Mr. Irwin, tell me it's possible!)

17 Nov 2011 12:31 AM
Smoking Baby

 Karen In Texas.  Zero problemo.  No need to be sorry for making a good point.  What a difference a month or so makes.

 KY Vet.  I tend to agree.  I don't think Horse of the Year or top 3 year old are near as close as we are making them.

 Coldfacts.  First of all I really LOVE your stuff but the cold fact is that Shackleford lost four times as often as he won.  In my opinion that is simply NOT a championship campaign.  One or two tough losses maybe but eight?  No.  Sorry bro.  Keep the good stuff coming though.  ZERO disrespect.

17 Nov 2011 8:12 AM

Celebs Possi 3 yr old champ

17 Nov 2011 9:12 AM

KY Vet - agree with your choice of Caleb's Posse for champion 3-yr old

but not for your reason. To my mind, the BC "Championship" races are no more important than any other prestigious graded races.  The Breeder's Cup calls their 2-day "race meet" the "World Championships" but this is a self-designated title, not a fact.  My vote would go to Caleb's Posse, not solely because he won the BC Mile, but for his overall impressive record at his game and who he beat on the square.  In most any other year he wouldn't be considered because sprinters don't get the recognition or respect of the "classic" horses, but all of the classic winners and contenders disappointed in one way or another.

17 Nov 2011 11:17 AM
Mike Relva

Interesting Draynay, Billy's Empire suddenly have gone into hiding after the Classic.

17 Nov 2011 12:46 PM

Smoking Baby,

There is no dominant 3YO for 2011. As noted in my previous post the top five 3YO Animal Kingdom included, have taken turns at either defeating or finishing ahead of each other. In Light of this, the criteria for selecting the champion 3YO cannot be performance based only. Shackleford does not have a lot of victories but his body of work is that of champion with a difference. He has defeated all the top 3YOs. He is the only one that boasts this record. Seven of his 10 starts in 2011 were made at different tacks. He bounced back from his narrow loss to top rated and derby favorite Dialed In to defeat him with his 4th and 1st place finish the Derby and Preakness. He bounced back from his 4th place finish in the Derby to the Animal Kingdom to defeat him in the Preakness. In both the Derby and Preakness he had to run very fast and hard. Most connections would have skipped the Belmont and its litany of fresh horses. Not Shack Attack! He finished a creditable 5th. He bounced back from his 5th place finish in the Belmont to the Ruler On Ice to finish ahead of him in his narrow loss to Coil in the Haskell. He bounced back from his loss in the Indiana Derby to Wilburn to finish ahead of him in his loss to Caleb Posse in the BC Mile. He defeated Caleb Posse in his second place finish to the highly thought of Wilburn in the Indiana Derby. No other colt has his body of work. No other colt has exhibited his capacity to recover from hard races and show up ever time. Take away his narrow losses in the FL Derby and Haskell and there would be no argument about who should be 3YO champ.

Caleb Posse won two G1s from three attempts. That was one more than Shackleford who contested 7 Gls. He defeated Shackeford on a CD track that was very unkind to leaders.  Two of his graded races wer at 61/2F and 7F. He was not good enough to participate in the Triple Crown series as he was not successful enough in the preps. He has not face all the top 3YOs who Shackleford has faced even under unfavorable terms. He does not have the body of work of The Shack Attack .How can Caleb Posse he be voted champion 3YO when his record against Shackle ford is 1 to1 with a lesser body of work? Caleb Posse defeated the winner of the Preakness. Shacklefors on the other hand has defeated the Kentucky Derby and Belmont winners and won the Preakness. It is ludicrous for his victory over Shackleford to be a deciding vote in spite the rational provided my Mr.CAPS.

17 Nov 2011 2:20 PM
Matthew Martini

The voting will be close, but my pick is for Animal Kingdom.

He won the Spiral (G3) at 1 1/8, the Derby at 1 1/4, and nearly won the Preakness at 1 3/16. His Belmont was tragic, with all of the problems out of the gate, the horrible track, etc. But he was the best three-year old running that June. Was there anyone better? Distance and quality of races matter.

Caleb's Posse is a great horse. I first discovered him on my radar when he finished 2nd in The Rebel (G2) in a good field at Oaklawn in March. Since June, he has beaten Uncle Mo in a G1 at Saratoga (7f) and just won the BC Dirt Mile over Shackleford. That was a great victory. He has been an improving horse over the year, without question, but is still second (and a strong one), in my opinion, to Animal Kingdom. Had he been stronger in the Arkansas Derby (he finished 12th), which was won by future KY Derby entrant Archarcharch with fellow future KY Derby entrant Nehro finishing second, I think he would be a "slam dunk" for the award. Animal Kingdom beat them both handily on KY Derby day.

With the two strongest contenders for the award (Animal Kingdom and Caleb's Posse), we need to remember the first part of the year, when Animal Kingdom was the best, and the latter part of the year, when Caleb's Posse was the best. But that was also because Animal Kingdom was injured.

As a fan, I also have a warm place in my heart for Shackleford. I love watching him race. He is a thrill to watch, and I'm glad that even though he has been beaten several times this year, it has not been without a fight. He has won two out of ten (!) races this year, but has earned his connections $1.9 million dollars for his efforts. I respect that deeply. He is great. He is a lovely horse to watch, and deserves some votes too.

17 Nov 2011 3:15 PM
Smoking Baby

 Coldfacts.  Do you remember in the weeks leading up to the Derby how some folks were saying Dialed In was so slow because he could only beat that longshot by a head in the Florida Derby?  That longshot was Shackleford who turned out to be a pretty nice colt wouldn't you agree?  I'm not saying I agree that he should be the eclipse winner but I am saying I'd sure like to have a barn full of horses just like him.  For me, I'm just having difficulty getting past those eight losses.  I believe he's a longshot for the title but you won't hear any moaning from me if he does in fact take home the eclipse.

17 Nov 2011 5:09 PM
Bob from Boston

Ted from LA has been waterbordering Draynay trying to force him to pick a winner.  It turns out, waterboarding doesn't work.

17 Nov 2011 7:13 PM
Arts and Letters

"Just a few short weeks ago many posters were lamenting the "added" BC races, especially the boring and uninspiring Dirt Mile."

Still lamenting the added races.  If the Dirt Mile didn't exist, Caleb's Posse might have run in the Sprint or tried the Turf Mile, which would have made either race more interesting (of course, Goldi made the Mile interesting enough on her own).  Who won the Sprint again?

17 Nov 2011 8:57 PM


Your argument in favour of Shackleford over Caleb's Posse is based upon the former having raced marginally more than the later. What you fail to see, due to a blindspot created by focusing only on cold statistical facts, is that Caleb's Posse's Grade One victories were performances of a superior quality than Shackleford's.  In Eclipse award considerations, quality trump quantity my friend. The "Shacks" one Grade One victory and numerous runner-up finishes turned out to be a great money-spinning campaign for his connections but lacked the lustre needed to cop the top 3YO award. Come on Pal, face the facts. Caleb's Posse's victories in the King's Bishop and the BC Dirt Mile were simply breath taking.

17 Nov 2011 9:33 PM
Rachel NH

Good point about CP not getting a decent 2 turn effort and I forgot AK's Derby was his first start on dirt...

KY Vet: One race makes the year? Proves I'm old, I remember pre-BC, when horses actually won the TC...

The only one I want to watch waterboarded is the guy who set the pressure plate that blew up my son's team mate in front of him.

18 Nov 2011 8:25 AM

Interesting, your life is so uninteresting, you still talk about Dray and myself. We are honored. Thanks for caring

18 Nov 2011 9:31 AM
Smoking Baby

 Billy's Empire.  Don't sweat it, I like your stuff.  Keep it coming.  It's not the same without you.  Like your stuff too Mike Relva. You've got the cahones to speak your mind and throw the flag when you see fit I'll say that.

18 Nov 2011 11:05 AM
Aaron McC

Calebs Posse seems like the logical choice.  First, I dont agree that the mile field was weak, hands down; I remember leading up to the race when so many were saying that it was one of the strongest BC races.  

I will say, however, that given the number of very good horses who didnt handle the track, you have to put a question mark by Caleb Posse's victory.  I do think that his race was the most impressive win on the dirt track  that day, but if Drossel's win must be considered a result of track conditions, and the only horses from that race under consideration for Eclipse awards finished off the board, then the mile is probably a little suspect as well.

Given these suspicions, I still think Stay Thirsty is a legitimate Eclipse prospect given his nice two turn races this summer ... I think both he and Animal Kingdom belong on the ballot.

18 Nov 2011 11:13 AM
Karen in Texas

Arts and Letters---The point was that the Dirt Mile suddenly became potentially pivotal in the 3-year-old Eclipse championship. To answer your question, Amazombie won the Sprint. Did you mean who won the Turf Sprint? If so, that would be Regally Ready. Interest and excitement are relative to one's mindset, I suppose.

18 Nov 2011 12:25 PM

In hindsight, Animal Kingdom's results against Shackleford compared with Caleb's Posse's victory over Shackleford and even Wilburn's victory over Shackleford doesn't make AK look all that great. Caleb's Posse ought to be the 3YO champion for 2011 ...end of story.

18 Nov 2011 12:32 PM

KY VET: Forgive me if I disagree with you on the best effort this year by a three year old.  I would be more apt to listen to you had you not previously chastised me like I was a 3rd grader when I posted that Caleb's Posse in the Breeder's Cup was the best bet of the weekend.  All of my opinions are certainly not correct.  However, I am smart enough to not write my opinions in a way that I am speaking down to people.

You really think Uncle Mo's Kelso was the top effort this year by a three year-old?  I respectfully disagree.  A 118 Beyer is impressive but dominating a short field in a Grade II just doesn't seem as impressive to me as dominating the Kentucky Derby or the Dirt Mile.  By your Beyer logic, was Maclean's Music's maiden score the second most impressive race by a three year old this year?

18 Nov 2011 2:46 PM
Mike Relva


Yeah, that's me a boring life. Continue holding to that fantasy.

18 Nov 2011 3:38 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks! Enjoy your comments, also.

18 Nov 2011 3:39 PM

Smoking, the feeling is mutual. I have been a little withdrawn as of late. Sold off the other horse, and the filly bled in her 2nd to last race, and was checked and finished a very bad 4th of 5 in her last on BC Friday. Ups and Downs you know! Have a good weekend.

18 Nov 2011 4:09 PM

It appears my learned colleague that you have not learnt from our exchanges over the years. When you and the Kentucky Clown are agreement it is overwhelming clear you are on the wrong side of the issue. As highlighted previously there are no dominant 3YO male for 2011. Therefore the body of work of the top five will play an important role in the voting. Before I continue your enlightenment I consider it necessary to list the last 10 Male 3YO Eclipse Champions:

2010  Lookin At Lucky – Preakness

2009  Summer Bird - Belmont

2008  Big Brown Derby/Preakness

2007  Curlin - Preakness

2006  Bernardini - Preakness

2005  Afleet Alex – Preakness/Belmont

2004  Smarty Jones – Derby/Preakness

2003  Funnycide - Derby/Preakness

2002  War Emblem - Derby/Preakness

2001  Point Given - Preakness/Belmont

You will note from the above that they all had success in the series of races regarded as the ultimate test for 3YOs. There can be no doubt that the Triple Crown series is the ultimate test for 3YOs. Three races in six weeks covering 31.5 furlongs is a challenge that is now undertaken by few where only the strong survive to continue a productive career. Animal Kingdom. Ruler On Ice and Shackleford are the only ones that had success in the ultimate test for 3YOs.  Ironically none these colts have won a race since their success in the Triple Crown series. Shackaleford is the only one that participated in all three races. He showed toughness, speed, stamina, courage and heart on each occassion. Is he one of those exceptional 3YOs who can win against fresh horse with 14 and 28 days between 10F and 9.5F races? Yes and No! He returned 14 days after the 10F Derby to win the 9.5F Preakness. He ran into fresh and talented horses four weeks later in the Belmont and finished a fighting 5th.   Many who started the Triple Crown quest with him fell by the way side for various reasons which only underscore the enormity of the task.  He has beaten every member of the top five and conversely every member of the top five have beaten him. What sets him apart from all other in a year where there are no stand outs? He is the only one that has completed the ultimate test of speed, stamina courage and heart.  He was competitive everytime. In an era of soft thoroughbreds, Shackaleford has distinguished himself and is worthy of being crowned a champion.

Caleb Posse was not subjected to the ultimate test for three year olds. He did not need earnings to contest the Belmont, Haskell and Traverse. These are premier races that add status to the resume of 3YOs. His connections choose to take a more conservative path by declaring him a late closing sprinter targeting less prestigious race. The connections of Shackleford could have done the same. However, to do so would have dishonored the quality colt. Caleb Posse has not faced the best of the best and therefore cannot be voted the best in spite of his late closing victories at 65.F, 7F & 8F. He does not have the resume of any of the past winners of the eclipse award. In the unlikely event he gets the vote it will represent a disservice to the contenders that have participated at one stage or another and succeeded in the ultimate test for three 3YOs.

I made a case for Shackleford in the FL Derby after his horrible performance in the FOY. I presented some colt facts as to why his FOY performance was not a true reflection of his ability. He validated my confidence with a morrow loss @62-1. I was the only one smiling to the bank with the proceeds from a $300 plus exactor. In the event The Shack Attack does not get the vote, I hope it is a colt whose resume is consistent with the past winners. The road to 3YO champion goes through the ultimate test for 3YO. There have been rare occasions where the 3YO champion was not subjected to the ultimate test for three year olds. Such was the case in 2000 when Tiznow was the recipient. Tiznow on his way to the eclipse aware remains the only 3YO since Monarchos to break the two minutes mark for10Fwith his 1:59 plus in the Super Derby. He also won the Breeder Cup Classic the premier race in the US for 3YOs and up. Is Caleb Posse any part of  Tiznow?

An eclipse award to Caleb Posse would be a joke. Listed above my friends are the cold facts

19 Nov 2011 9:29 AM
Smoking Baby

2:24.  I tend to agree about the whole Beyer thing.  That same race anywhere other than New York on a wet fast track would've got a 108 or 110.  As impressive as everyone is saying My Miss Aurelia was the other day her race got a Beyer of 86.  Lot's of maidens get an 86 (or better) for winning.  You can't always look at those figures as your measuring stick.

19 Nov 2011 10:01 AM
Aaron McC

There are some comments here that suggest that Animal Kingdom was clearly the best before his injury and therefore he deserves the Eclipse.  By that logic, Blind Luck and First Dude deserve significant consideration for the older female and older male, respectively.  But most would consider Havre de Grace the clear vote in her category because Blind Luck couldn't finish out the year (that and the Woodward) and First Dude has lived up to his namesake, who also wont be the American First Dude any time soon (how's the breeding program in Alaska?).  

I know the Derby winner is important for this category - but so is a good body of work from January to December .... I'm a huge AK fan, think he belongs on the ballot, and am really looking forward to next year when he and some other good three year olds are set to return.  But a solid full year for most folks seems to(and should) trump a solid couple months in Eclipse voting.

19 Nov 2011 11:15 AM

Probably Caleb's Posse should be it. I'd like to say Shackleford; those close photos really don't detract that much from him and he really did lay it down out there. Still ... Caleb's Posse has actually done the most and likely should be it. Animal Kingdom? Well, he was impressive in the Derby, yes - but we can't award an Eclipse based on a speculative, "he might have beaten the others if only he hadn't been injured." And this year especially, I don't think anyone could speculate reliably on any of 'em! Too bad my Comma to the Top got hurt. He might have had as good a shot as anyone else!

19 Nov 2011 2:35 PM
Bob from Boston


I asked you a question.  Who was your first big horse?  Don't make me waterboard you.  Thus ends my week using waterboard in every post.  Tune in next week as I turn my attention to Fox News.  mz, if you ever post again and don't make a reference about Bob or Ted I'll waterboard you too.  Dr. D carries my water.

19 Nov 2011 3:38 PM

COLDCUTS!!! Dont embarrass yourself!SHACKLEFORD wont win it! Whats wrong with you? If caleb doesnt win it, it will be the derby winner...Please get something right! ONE TIME! Look the derby was so weak.....Look at the beyer figs on calub!!! he ran great against mo...he ran top beyer of any horse in the breeders cup!!!! all of those top horses!!! he ran the best by far!!! He is the best horse in the U.S. right now, and you dont think he has a chance against 3 yr olds?     Time to find a new sport!

19 Nov 2011 4:20 PM

Coldfacts my buddy,

I'd be persuaded by your very robust argument for Shackleford, as the sole survivor of the gruelling Triple crown series, being crowned 3YO champion if he had managed to pull of one more graded stakes victory.  But the truth is that his resume looks like that of a bridesmaid rather than a champion. Also this year has not been your typical year of standout routers therefore history will look very kindly on the anointing of Caleb's Posse as 3YO champ.  His King's Bishop and BC Dirt Mile performances were simply top class performances.  The fact that he got really good later in the season should not blind voters.  To refer to his very likely Eclipse Award as a joke reflect deep prejudice against classy sprinter/miler types that can stretch out a bit. I wonder what would have been your feelings about Lost In The Fog for HOTY had the toll of cancer not cost him a Breeder's Cup sprint championship and HOTY in the 2005 (the year of Saint Liam's championship).

By the way, I have much more respect for KY VET since he posted his Breeder's Cup picks and didn't fare worst than most in the conundrum that was this year's results.  I wish both of you as posters would respect each other's moniker and throw down some civil discussions instead of mocking remarks. Anyway the time for New Years resolutions is just around the corner and the prospects for some very healthy Triple Crown debates already look good.

Caleb's Posse!!! it will be for 3YO champ.

19 Nov 2011 8:38 PM
Zen's Auntie

Best effort by a 3 year old? ... Why that would be Archarcharch finishing 4th in the Kentucky Derby with a career ending busted leg he got at the gate... thats EFFORT

19 Nov 2011 9:19 PM
Tiz Herself

I love Animal Kingdom. He has my vote.

Does anyone know where Soldat, Premier Pegasus and Toby's Corner are at? Thanks...

19 Nov 2011 9:43 PM
Tiz Herself

Did anyone else see the replay of Gold Megillah? He won a MSW at Churchill November 16/11 (race 5) by 18 & 1/2 lengths. He is a  son of Purim - Touch Me Once, by Touch Gold owned by West Point. I really liked Purim, am excited that a colt from his first crop can run like that... not sure about speed figs or anything, but the race looked good.

19 Nov 2011 9:43 PM

In a very competitive year with no clear 3yo standout, Caleb's Posse is the Eclipse winner.  Animal Kingdom's KD was spectacular and I look forward to his return.  

Barry Irwin:  Thanks for your input on this blog.

Bob/Ted:  I thought sherpa carried your water.  My choice to see waterboarded is Sean Hannity (speaking of Fox News).  He offered previously, ala Ms. Bachmann, to prove it wasn't torture.  When Keith Olberman took him up on it and offered to donate a large sum of money to charity to see him do it, Sean sheepishly got very quiet about waterboarding.  Why, I would even donate to my favorite thoroughbred rescue charity to see Sean waterboarded.  Do you think you can pull that off?  

19 Nov 2011 10:14 PM


I am in no way trying to discredit Caleb Posse. His resume is inconsistent with those of past recipients of the eclipse award. He avoided all the top colts in the top races for 3YOs. If he didn’t avoid them, he was not good enough at the distances of these races. He did not face the ultimate test for 3YOs involving races at much longer distances than those at which he achieve success. For him to be voted champion 3YO would fly into the face of those who have participated in and succeeded in the ultimate test for 3YO. Any of the remaining four possible nominees would be more deserving. A 3YO champion award to Caleb Posse would set the precedence that connections of second stringer can wait until the Triple Crown players have soften up each other and become vulnerable for defeat. Caleb Posse is not deserving of the award.

“I have much more respect for KY VET since he posted his Breeder's Cup picks and didn't fare worst than most in the conundrum that was this year's results.”

If the above is the basis of your respect for posters the bar is very low. I respectfully request that I am not mentioned in the same sentence with the Kentucky Klown. You will note that I preceded him with contributions to this Blog. Upon his entry he resumed his campaing of attacks which started on the now defunct MSNBC Message Board. I have not responded to any of his attacks to date as my capacity to deal with those who are S on S has long been exhausted. While we all disagree with each other’s pinions from time to time, we try to so in a respectful manner. The gentleman has not taken the time to evaluate how exchanges are conducted in this forum. He has instead attempted to pollute each Blog with his culture of disrespect, arrogance and ignorance. These are features synonymous with a male in decline and desperate for attention. Can you seriously sate that this poster has gained the respect on anyone on this Blog?

“I wish both of you as posters would respect each other's moniker and throw down some civil discussions instead of mocking remarks.”

I find your statement confusing. I have neither responded to any of the Kentucky Klown’s attacks nor addressed issue raised in any of posts. Consequently, I have not disrespected him. His contributions were temporarily blocked from Mr. Haskin’s Blog because of his culture of disrespect. I not prepare engage the Kentucky Klown as I consider my time premium and not to be wasted on those who are clearly beyond redemption.  You will understand that I have to measure my comments and avoid using the appropriate word to describe this individual. You have not seen the worst of him. However, I have.

His beef with me stems from his opinion that I project myself as a Mr. Know It All. His mission is to discredit the contents of my posts. In a sport of glorious uncertainties, no one can be a know it all.  His problem stems from him being unschooled in the social grades. I addition, he does not have the awareness that he is overmatched in intellect and communication skills.  I again request that you stop wasting your time.

20 Nov 2011 1:01 PM

you know we got a lot to look forward to next year. all five of the top 3yr olds are coming back next year.

20 Nov 2011 1:04 PM

AK is a good horse but he beat a weak field in the derby,and got a great ride from John V.Curlin was a monster at 3 winning his first race by 13.IMO AK has a lot to improve to even touch Curlin.Sanagas is THE BEST horse in G.Motions barn.

20 Nov 2011 4:39 PM

As far as 3yo preps this year as I posted on here back in the spring,the Arkansas Derby was THE key race.

20 Nov 2011 5:07 PM
Barry Irwin

Gold Magillah 68 Beyer

20 Nov 2011 5:08 PM
Barry Irwin

Bob, the first horse we syndicated was Political Ambition and he won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in his first season racing. Bought him as an unraced 3yo from Brereton Jones. He went on to win other big races, including setting a course record for 10 furlongs at Hollywood Park.

20 Nov 2011 5:15 PM
Barry Irwin

Hi Anne. How could I forget that ancient mare--she was the first horse I bought back in the early 1970s! Good luck to you with your new purchase.

20 Nov 2011 5:16 PM

It has been two years now that D Romans has over raced promising 3 yos.First Dude IMO was even better than Shack and he ran in the classic and shack in the mile.I hope Mr Romans does not do the same with his prospects this year.He has a colt that finished 4th in the Breeders Cup juvy,lets see how he manages him.

20 Nov 2011 5:29 PM
Bob from Boston

I wrote a brilliant post this morning, but it got lost in cyberland.  Ted Bob is not a happy camper (I don't really camp... I'm more of a hotel type camper).  Sherpa carries my track items, Dr. D my waterboarding water.  You all just witnessed why waterboarding is so effective.  Just the threat of it got Barry singing like a canary.  A grade I winner with your first horse?  How sweet it is.  Do you have any two-year-olds you like, Barry?  

20 Nov 2011 9:00 PM
Mike Relva

Mr. Irwin

Good luck with AK next year, wishing him the best.

20 Nov 2011 10:19 PM


Thanks so much for joining the discussion.  It's great to be able to interact with someone right in the middle of the Eclipse debate.

20 Nov 2011 11:45 PM

Coming of age in the early 90s, I just have never made the Derby and Triple Crown the be all and end all of the 3 year old season.

I'll use the 5 3 year olds Jason presnted- Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, Ruler on Ice, Caleb's Posse, and Stay Thirsty for my analysis.

First, I would eliminate Stay Thirsty.  He just had too many terrible races, among them the Florida and Kentucky Derbys and capped by the BC Classic. Outside of New York he was dismal.

Next I would eliminate Ruler on Ice, although that would change if he were to win the Clark.  I will be the first person to admit that I continued to undervalue him up until the BC Classic; when I actually went back and reviewed his campaign, I was surprised how solid it was.  Yet, he just didn't do enough in addition to the Belmont, a race that at the time appeared mediocre at best.

That leaves 3.  I did find the arguments of folks like ColdFacts on behalf of Shackleford to be very persuasive.  And there is a part of me that wants the industry to reward a horse that ran in just about every big race for 3 year olds.  But I just don't feel Shackleford won enough.  Had the Florida Derby or Haskell photos gone his way, then I would be on board.  But only 1 graded stakes win just doesn't cut it, even if it is the Preakness.

Animal Kingdom was the best 3 year old running at a classic distance.  His win in the Derby and close 2nd in the Preakness proved this.  And he did win the Spiral Stakes, now just a gr.3 on synthetic, demonstrating amazing versatility(also proven on turf).  So, no question he is a big talent.  However, it wasn't like the Derby and Spiral were great demonstrations of speed.  The fact is, using most speed figures, this crop was well below average, at least at 9 furlongs+.  The strength of this divsion was at the middle distances and sprints, where we saw some big performances.

So, Animal Kingdom was clearly best of a plain group of classic horses.  And, he sadly wasn't able to stay healthy to build up his resume.  Unless a horse was historically fast or dominant, I tend to place greater weight on season-long accomplishments than performance in a few races.  Injury or not, Animal Kingdom only won 2 races this year, and just 1 gr.1, and that's just not enough for me.

So, if I had a vote, it would be for Caleb's Posse.  He ran all year, won a bunch of stakes, won 2 gr.1 races, was versatile enough to win stakes sprinting and routing, and he beat older horses in the BC.  And, at his best, he was every bit as dominant and brilliant as Animal Kingdom.  No, he wasn't a classic horse, and I wouldn't really have a problem with Animal Kingdom winning because of the traditional weight given to the Classics.  However, MY preference is for year-long accomplishments and not just what happens over the course of 3 races in the spring.

21 Nov 2011 12:18 AM

Anybody else think Never Retreat could take the Eclipse for Female Turfer with a win this Friday in the gr.1 Matriarch?

Stacelita is the pro-tem leader of the division.  However, a win in the Matriarch would give Never Retreat the same number of gr.1 wins this year as Stacelita(2), and a total of 6 graded stakes wins(3 gr.2 and 1 gr.3).  Stacelita would have the advantage in quality, but how could one deny Never Retreat's quantity?  

Since its inception in 1981, the Matriarch has featured a showdown for the Eclipse on a number of occassions, most recently in 2002 when Golden Apples and Banks Hill squared off.  Maybe the best Matriarch was in 92 when all 3 of the leading contenders for the Eclipse met, with Flawlwssly 1st, Super Staff 2nd, and Kostroma 3rd.  Flawlessly was a 3-time Matriarch champ, and is a deserving member of the Hall of Fame.

21 Nov 2011 12:30 AM

Kudos to Graham Motion for shipping horses out to California.  

There are a number of people in the East who bemoan the quality of racing in California.  Yet, few Easterners actually ship their horses out to California, even when big bucks and gr.1s are being offered.  

Like Bill Mott, Graham Motion is not afraid to put his horses on a plane and go for the money and prestige.  And when he sees weakness with a Cali division, he's willing to act, like he did with Sanagas in the gr.1 Hollywood Turf Cup.

The locals in the field for the Hollywood Turf Cup appeared weak, especially if one recognized that Bourbon Bay was 0 for 5 at Hollywood(and a gr.2 or 3 horse outside of Santa Anita where he is a horse for course).  Motion certainly did, and his Sanagas thoroughly spanked the locals.

Sanagas would have been tough even if Acclamation would have been in the field.  Acclamation is about 3-4 lengths faster than Bourbon Bay at Hollywood, and since Sanagas beat Bourbon Bay by 3.25, it suggests Sanagas would have been competitive with Acclamation.  However, Bourbon Bay is probably not as sharp now as he was when he faced Acclamation.  Another point of reference is Falcon Rock.  The two times Acclamation has faced Falcon Rock at Hollywood, he beat him 7+ lengths.  On Saturday, Falcon Rock ran 3rd, beaten 4.25 by Sanagas in the Turf Cup.

Motion is also shipping out 3 horses for the Matriarch, including the defending champion, Gypsy's Warning, as well as Summer Soiree, who shipped out and won the gr.1 Del Mar Oaks over the summer.  To the bold go the spoils.

21 Nov 2011 12:46 AM
Smoking Baby

 GunBow, EXACTLY!!!  Kudos to Graham Motion and others who ship out here.  Summer Soiree should be double tough and reward Motion with another Grade 1.

21 Nov 2011 10:59 AM

RE Sanagas he really improved in his last two races.I guess he dosent run well over dirt because if he did, he would have been competetive in the classic that just ran.He would have to pay too many extra fees for late nominations and for his sire.

21 Nov 2011 11:50 AM


If perusing GunBow's excellent analysis of the merits of Caleb's Posse campaign vis a vis those of the Triple Crown graduates Shackleford, Animal Kingdom and Stay Thirsty doesn't convince you that he deserves the Eclipse Award then further debate will be futile. This has turned out to be a year of sub-par 3YO routers therefore past trends of anointing the winner of Triple Crown races as 3YO champ should not force voters into settling for mediocrity. Caleb's Posse may not have been an ideal Triple Crown horse but he has developed late in the season to be head and shoulders abouve the routers in the quality of his performances.

Regarding you references to the "Kentucky Klown" who refers to you as "Coldcuts" I'd say lets keep taking the high ground in our debates. Some salty yet informative and insightful exchanges, conducted with a certain level of respect and decorum make for very interesting reading on these blogs and Jason has done pretty well in moderating such while gracefully giving as much as he takes himself problem.  Peace.  

21 Nov 2011 1:11 PM
Fran Loszynski

Shackleford has the heart of a champion; He's a locomotive on hoofs, alot like Secretariat. He tried so hard and looked like his heart would burst. I hope you and Afleet Again someday share the same barn in retirement. Your hearts are twice the size!

21 Nov 2011 1:21 PM

Gun Bow: Sanagas was unbelievable, but my heart still belongs to Bourbon Bay who ran his heart out to come in 2nd.  Sanagas though, was as fluid as a turf horse can get, with stamina oozing out of every pore...and compared to his Euro races, this was just a sprint for him.

21 Nov 2011 2:01 PM

Bob/Ted: I thought it went without saying: I am always thinking of you full of water or whatever.

Gun Bow: I like Never Retreat as well but there's always the anti-sprinter-type bias for turfer.

I am also with whoever said something about breaking out 2YO sprinters from "regular" 2YO's in the Breeders' Cup.  Yuck!

21 Nov 2011 4:46 PM

Let me be clear on many of my posts on here.....I ,for years have bet on horses for a living. I do very well...ive spent 40 years learning this game, and when i see blowhards, or people that know next to nothing, putting bad information out there, i must respond....AAF and COLDCUTS, ive seen for years, bad information....AAF actually thinks of himself as a writer of thoroughbred expertise...and he knows rick porter!  Coldcuts ....i cant even start....its pretty obvious.....the thing is....they are the rudest people on here, if you pay attn........i dont pick on many others...some......and some actually have knowlege on here. RAG/and others...I try to educate, by telling people racing hurts horses, that uncle mo/wilburn/jackson bend/tohonorandserve/drill/turbulent decent/plum pretty/etc....had peaked-- ran too good and likely to run bad...........not to just bet the horse that ran his best last time out.....(like jason!)

21 Nov 2011 5:48 PM
Tiz Herself

Yes I wish you luck with Animal Kingdom in 2012 Mr. Irwin!

Am curious, are there many similarities between Animal Kingdom and Thursby? Both are gorgeous.

Maybe see Summer Soiree back next year? She is another of my favs.

How is Pluck doing?

21 Nov 2011 6:45 PM

Rapid Redux gets his 20th win.

21 Nov 2011 10:12 PM


I saw Gun Bow’s post and while I agree with most of his statements, I disagree with his assessment of the importance of the Triple Crown series of races. Scores of preps are contested all over the country to determine those 3YOs that qualify for the ultimate test for this age group. The last 10 recipients of the award all participated in the TC races. In this series the best 3YOs in the country race against each other. Participation in the TC series is not the only measure for 3YO champion. However, those who avoid it, signal their lack of ability to competitively undertake this ultimate test.

Did Caleb Posse participate in the Triple Crown? No!

Did he participate in the Haskell? No!

Did he participate in the Mid Summer Derby? No!  

The champion 3YO designate defeated Major Gain in his maiden win; Uncle Wayne in an Allowance: Dreaminofthewin in the Smarty Jones; Marco Fling in the Ohio Derby; Redeemed in the Amsterdam; Uncle Mo in the Kings Bishop; Shackleford in the BC Dirt Mile.

He defeated To Honor and Serve in the Amsterdam after his return from injury and Uncle Mo in the Kings Bishops after his return from injury as well. You will note that Caleb Posse was not entered in any of the subsequent graded races that both colts entered i.e., the PA Derby and Kelso. THS went on to establish a new stakes record in the PA Derby and Uncle Mo secured a 118 Beyer in the Kelso. Again Caleb Posse avoided top class competition when at their best. Could he have beaten either THS or Uncle Mo in those races? Both THS and Uncle Mo contested the Breeder Cup Classics. I guess they avoided the Breeder Cup Dirt Mile because Caleb Posse was entered.

Caleb Posse defeated top class THS and Uncle Mo in their first starts in 4-5 months due to injury/sickness. He defeated ShackleFord who was contesting his 7th G1 race and extremely tough 2011 campaign involving Four (9F)  Two (10F), One (91/2F) One (12F).

If the above is the resume of a champion 3YO, the eclipse award for this category will be seen as a joke. He avoided every major race for 3YOs and now he is the champion 3YO designate. Amazing!

I am not sure which high road you are suggesting. My exchanges with you over the years have always been respectful. For reasons unknown I have been repeatedly attacked by this Klown. I have not responded so I have been taking the high road. I have nothing further to add regarding the Klown.

22 Nov 2011 1:10 AM


I would assume you played a part in the decision to bring Summer Soiree and Gypsy's Warning back out to California for the Matriarch.  As a California fan, thank you.

You and your partners have always been willing to run anywhere.

22 Nov 2011 1:17 AM


My heart was with Bourbon Bay as well.  He dropped a photo to Champ Pegasus and another photo when giving 7 lbs in the Del Mar Cap', otherwise he would now have 7 graded stakes wins in his career.

Unfortunately, as I wrote above, Bourbon Bay is just not the same horse away from Santa Anita.  Its a little ironic because last year, when Champ Pegasus, Bourbon Bay, and Acclamation emerged as the top marathon turf horses in California, it was Acclamation that was seen as the horse for course(Hollywood).  However, Acclamation won a stakes on all 3 of the different turf courses this year.

Bourbon Bay is 5 for 6 with 4 graded stakes wins over the last 2 years at Santa Anita, with that only defeat the narrow loss to Champ' in the San Luis Obispo this past February; but he is 0-for on the Hollywood and Del Mar turf courses.  The only race he has won outside of Santa Anita the last two years was the gr.3 Cougar II over Del Mar's Polytrack.

By the way, Maragh rode a great race on Sanagas in the H. Turf Cup.  Bourbon Bay does his best running pressing the pace outside of horses. Maragh moved Sanagas up wide outside the two leaders early in the race, leaving Gomez on Bourbon Bay a tough decision.  

Maragh had left plenty of room for Gomez to move Bourbon Bay to the inside of Sanagas, between Sanagas and the two leaders.  But that would have left Bourbon Bay in a place he doesn't like(inside of Sanagas).  Gomez could have gone 4 wide, but since Maragh was keeping Sanagas especially wide, that would have parked Bourbon Bay in the middle of the racetrack.  The most appetizing decision for Gomez was to drop Bourbon Bay in behind Sanagas and the two leaders.

However, when Gomez chose not to move Bourbon Bay a little closer along the backstretch(still not wanting to have to go outside Sanagas to the middle of the track nor wanting to go inside Sanagas where Maragh could lay over him), the result was that he ended up getting trapped inside of horses when Ashtar moved early.  Gomez found himself boxed precisely when Maragh pushed the button on Sanagas.

However, in Gomez's defense, Ashtar quickly moved forward and left Bourbon Bay a clear path to the outside, but Bourbon Bay simply couldn't accelerate with Sanagas.  Bourbon Bay is more of a grinder, and by the time he was able to get his momentum going, the race was over.  And though Bourbon Bay did cut into the lead a bit down the stretch, Sanagas appeared to be opening up again coming under the wire and galloped out well ahead of Bourbon Bay. Sanagas was definitely the superior horse.

If I owned Bourbon Bay, I would only run him at Santa Anita next year.  Try and make as many of the marathon turf races at Santa Anita as you can(San Marcos, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano), then take off the spring and summer and point for the Clement Hirsch early in the Santa Anita autumn meet.  If Bourbon Bay performs well in those races, then take a shot in the BC Turf, since it will be at Santa Anita.

22 Nov 2011 1:49 AM
Bob from Boston

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.  Ted Bob has been having trouble getting to sleep and whenever I get too tired I have odd dreams.  Last night, for example, I was watching Jimmy Kimmel and nodded off.  10 minutes later I'm building a go-cart with Dr. Drunkinbum and my old landlord.  Speaking of Fox News, a recent study shows that those who don't listen to any news sources are more informed than Fox News listeners.  Watching Fox News to gather information is like leaving town and having Ernie Paragallo feed and water your horses.

22 Nov 2011 9:04 AM
Smoking Baby

 Coldfacts.  You are correct when you state that giving the Eclipse to Caleb's Posse flys in the face of all conventional wisdom.  Having conceded this fact I must echo Ranagulzion's post.  If there was ever a year to fly in the face of conventional wisdom this is the year.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING rockers!!!

22 Nov 2011 9:11 AM

Reading all these arguments for the Eclipse, it's hard not to just sway back and forth in total confusion. I think Shackleford has the strongest record and I love him for his courage and heart. I would vote for him.  But, Caleb's Posse also has a strong case and I could settle for him also.

No matter how talented Animal Kingdom is (and I do believe he has great talent) he didn't get to finish.  It's thrilling that he will race again and I hope he stands far above the crowd as a 4 year old.

22 Nov 2011 9:49 AM

Rapid Redux champion 3 yr old, horse of the year a win in every 17 days,how can you stop him.Hands down the winner in any way you want to look at it.

22 Nov 2011 11:52 AM

Did Caleb Posse participate in the Triple Crown? No!

Did he participate in the Haskell? No!

Did he participate in the Mid Summer Derby? No!

Coldfacts, you could substitute Tiznow's name for Caleb's Posse in each question and get the same answer.

I'm not saying Caleb is the equal of Tiznow, but the TC races and Haskell and Travers are not necessarily the be all and end all.

22 Nov 2011 4:47 PM

Bob: Fox "News"...Ernie Paragallo...snort/giggle/LOL

Very Jon Stewart-ish.  Would you, too, have his babies if you could?

Anyways, congratulations to Rapid Redux and his connections and Happy Thanksgiving to all but be careful on Friday.  Even though Cdn$ is almost at par, I'm not going to line up for hours to get across the border -- the one wihtout a fence, so far -- so I'm going to leave it to you 'Mericans to boost your own economy.  (I'm sure there's a joke there, too, especially with your Congress thingy right now but I'll leave it to Bob)

22 Nov 2011 5:57 PM
Tiz Herself

RIP to Bob Holthus. He was one of my favorite trainers. The job that he did developing Lawyer Ron especially, Pure Clan, Greater Good, etc.

22 Nov 2011 7:30 PM
Paula Higgins

Congrats to Rapid Redux and his connections. Yup, I think he deserves HOTY. 18 wins this year. Nuff said. Tell me Bob/Ted, who did that "recent study" about FOX News? CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS or The Bob/Ted Foundation for Progressive Research?

22 Nov 2011 9:04 PM

Coldcuts is right, that classic and graded races should be given more importance....they are the "goal"....obviously, this is a year where everybody "flopped".  He thinks a horse that lost 8 of 9 graded races should be 3 yr old of the year ! how about comparing beyer figs? calub won 4 of 8 graded....anyone? anyone? beuller? how about his beyer figs? 111 top breeders cup beyer! beating older easy? I mean come on people...really? Its not even close! Coldcuts doesnt understand his choice isnt even in the running! Didnt Animal kingdom not lose 8 more graded races? Is not the derby the big race?... a child can figure this stuff out! This is embarrassing.....almost as embarrassing as the factor having a perfect stride for routing!!!!  FUNNY!!! But BOB FROM BOSTON is way FUNNIER!!!

22 Nov 2011 9:56 PM


As previously highlighted Tiznow won the 2000 eclipse award for Champion 3YO. He did not participate in the 2000 Triple Crown series of races. He is one of a handful of winners of the award that did not participate in the Ultimate Test for 3YOs. Caleb Posse who did not participate in the 2011 Ultimate Test for 3YOs and has secured the most votes for the eclipse award for the 2011 Champion 3YO. Since Tiznow was the last winner of 3YO eclipse award that did not start in the Triple Crown series of races I think it appropriate to compare the 3YO records of both Tiznow & Caleb Posse.

Tiznow’s 3YO Record:

MSW  6F, finished 6th beaten by Mr. Wonderful (Debut)

MSW  1 1/6F, finished 2nd beaten by Spicy Stuff

MSW  1 1/6F, finished 1st

Affirmed Glll 1 1/6F, finished 1st

Swaps Gl 9F finished 2nd beaten by Captain Steve

Pacific Classic Gl 10F finished 2nd beaten by Skimming

Super Derby Gl 10F finished 1st

Goodwood Gll 9F finished 1s

Breeders’ Cup Classic Gl 10F finished 1st

Starts 9 (5-3-0-0); Graded starts 6 (3-1-2) 4 G1 (two G1 victories)

Caleb Posse 3YO Record:

Smarty Jones 8F finished 1st

Southwest 8F Glll Finished 6th beaten by Archarcharch

Rebel  8 1/2F Gll finished 2nd beaten by Factor

AK Derby 9F Gl Finished 12th beaten by Archarcharch

Ohio Derby 8 1/2F Glll finished 1st

Iowa Derby 8 1/2F Glll Finished 4th beaten by Prayer For Relief

Amsterdam 6 1/2F Gll finished 1st

Kings Bishop 7F Gl finished 1st

Indiana Derby 8 1/2F Gll   Finished 3rd beaten by Wilburn

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Gl finished 1st

Starts 10 (5-1-1-0); Graded starts 9 (4-1-2) 3 G1 (two G1 victories)


Tiazon won his first graded start (Affirmed Glll) Caleb Posse won his first graded race in his 5th attempt (Ohio Derby Glll)

Tiznow started in four Gl, one Glll,  and one Gll; Caleb Posse started in three Gl, three Glll and three Gll

Tiznow finished second in his first Gl; Caleb Posse finished 12th

Tiznow  won 5 races at distance of 8 1/2F and longer; Caleb Posse won 5  races but only one at a distance of 8 1/2F.

Tiznow contested the bigger and more prestigious races. His overall body of work was far more impressive than that of Caleb Posse. Races at 6 1/2F and 7F bear very little weight on eclipse awards for champion 3YOs. Holy Bull was flop in the Kentucky Derby and was voted HOY and champion 3YO. After the derby he won the G1 Met Mile (8F), Gll Dwyer (8 1/2F), G1 Haskell (9F), G1 Travers (9F), G1 Woodward (9F)

Those who believe Caleb Posse is Champion 3YO material need to revisit his resume.  

22 Nov 2011 10:29 PM

Gun Bow: Excellent analysis.  As much as I love Boubon Bay (and he usually has a great late kick), watching the fluidity of Sanagas was remarkable. Surprisingly, he seemed to be quite a large horse, with an agile turn of foot, and he really stretched out his stride as BB tried to close.

My biggest problem is that in the US we call a 12f race a marathon.  In Europe, the marathons range from 14f to 3 miles.  That's what Sanagas has adapted to, and he excels at those distances...which for Sanagas makes 12f a breeze.

While I'm here...kudos to Rapid Redux.  #20!  Wow...haven't seen horses run that often for too many years. And he certainly stands out singularly, while we figure out how to give the HOY to a horse that may not have actually earned it.  I think Rapid Redux has.  I simply don't care that it's starter allowances.  Wells has kept that horse happy and healthy.

It's odd to me that so many trainers keep saying that the best workout for a horse is an actual race, but so few trainers follow their own advice.  Then, here comes David Wells and Rapid Redux proving it can be done, and done well.

23 Nov 2011 7:33 AM


I clearly stated I was not saying Caleb is the equal of Tiznow. I merely pointed out that there is a recent precedent for naming a horse 3YO champ that had not particpated in the TC races, the Haskell and the Travers.

23 Nov 2011 10:17 AM
Smoking Baby

 Coldfacts.  No one is disputing your cold hard facts (nor should they as you have clearly done your homework).  This has just been the strangest of years and as such you may want to prepare yourself to disagree with this year's eclipse for champion 3 years old.  I'm betting it's going to be Caleb's Posse and I'm betting it won't be nearly as close as some people think.  I am thinking that anyone who thinks a colt who lost 80% of his starts is championship material should revisit THAT colt's resume.  While I'm at it you can actually help me.  Has there ever been any champion that lost 80% of their starts?  I can't think of one but if there is one I'm betting you can name him.  Thank bro.  Hopefully no disrespect came across.  Certainly none was intended.

23 Nov 2011 12:56 PM
Bob from Boston

I our sory if I orfended eny Faux Newz viewors.  I dinnit pourtend too.

23 Nov 2011 3:33 PM
Tiz Herself

Who does everyone like this weekend?

Gemologist in the KY Jockey Club field. Been following this guy for a bit now.

Awesome Feather in the Gazelle.

I wish Bob Black Jack the best of luck on the grass in the Citation. I also like Leroy's Dynameaux.

In the Remsen, I like Shackleford's baby brother Stephanoatsee (he's even got the big blaze on the face, too), Scatter a Star, and I like Our Entourage for pedigree. I liked Our Entourage's dam Sands Springs and am a Street Cry fan.

Undecided in the Cigar between To Honor and Serve, Haynesfield and Sangaree (half to Congaree who won this race twice)

And in the Clark I like pretty much everybody; Flat Out, Mission Impazible, Ruler On Ice, Pleasant Prince, General Quarters, and Prayer for Relief. Hard to choose. Maybe by Saturday I'll have decided. Likely not.

Also want to thank Fabulous Strike for the memories and wishes him well at Old Friends! He'll be well looked after there.

23 Nov 2011 8:04 PM
Mike Relva

Paula Higgins

Happy Hoilday!

23 Nov 2011 10:14 PM


Sanagas appeared SO long and tall, with that solid German build.  He dwarfed the short Bourbon Bay(kind of a squat horse). I was at Hollywood for the race, and Sanagas sweeping into the stretch was a real sight.  He towered over that field.

24 Nov 2011 2:18 AM
Karen in Texas

Tiz Herself----I pretty much like everybody in the Clark, too, but would love to see Flat Out get a decisive win at Churchill. I think you'll need to choose before Saturday, though, 'cause I believe the race is scheduled for Friday the 25th.

24 Nov 2011 4:10 PM

As a relative newbie, I appreciate everyone's input and enjoy the give and take. I learn a lot just reading everyone's comments. I have to say I was delighted to learn of Barry Irwin's and AK's connections' intent to actually work hard to bring AK back to form, to hopefully give him a full campaign.  It's an ambitious program for this horse, one which I hope will succeed in achieving the goal Irwin has set for him, since if they are successful, it will mean we are in for some fantastic and exciting racing in 2012. It's refreshing to hear an owner who actually wants to race and not just shoot for the stud barn as quickly as possible!  If you are going to race, having the goal of becoming the all-time money winner will sure help keep things in focus, I would think. I'm also an admirer of Mr. Irwin for his philosophy on breeding, at least from the statements he has made from time to time.

Thanks everyone, and I hope all had a great Thanksgiving.

24 Nov 2011 9:30 PM

Yay for Rapid Redux! Between him and Comma to the Top, we might be seeing horses starting to race the way they used to do 'way back when - and winning too! They've both made more starts than plenty of horses everyone talks about have made in their whole lives! I remember when horses at the top levels ran often like that and came back after their 3 year-old season too. And their 4. Even (horrors) after their 5- or 6-year old seasons! Anyway, well done Redux. I just love this!

24 Nov 2011 9:48 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!!!!!!!!

24 Nov 2011 9:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Bob from Boston, I don't think Roger Ailes is worried.

24 Nov 2011 9:52 PM
Tiz Herself

lol Karen, if I haven't decided by Saturday then it'll be oh well... I had meant to put the correct date but was looking at another race

regardless it'll be a good race I'm sure.

25 Nov 2011 12:25 AM

Smoking Baby,

I welcome your comments. I do not regard dissenting views as disrespect. In any other year I would not be advocating for a colt that has lost 80% of its starts to get the eclipse award. However, by the process of elimination he has the best résumé of those who qualify for the award. I happen to think Caleb Posse does not based on his body of work as compare to those of the other contenders.

Animal Kingdom (4 Starts: 2 - 1 - 0) Entered all three Triple Crown races. (1st, 2nd, 6th) 4 graded races; 4 different tracks; 3G1. One victory; Wwith only four starts not enough races.

Shackle ford (10 Starts: 2-4-0) Entered all three Triple Crown races. (4th, 2nd, 5th) 9 graded races 7 different tracks and 7 Gls One victory; two of his 2nd place finishes in Gls are by a nose. Has the best body of work.

Stay Thirsty (8 Starts: 3-1-1) Entered two Triple Crown races. (13th, 2nd,) 8 graded races 6 different tracks and 6 Gls.  One victory; Was defeated in the JCGC by The eventual winner and 5th place finisher in the Breeder Cup Classic.

Ruler On Ice (8 Starts: 1-2-3) Entered one Triple Crown races. (13th, 2nd,) 6 graded races 6 different tracks and 4 Gls.  One victory; finished 3rd in the Breeder Cup Classic.

The winner of the award should emerge from the above. Why? Animal kingdom was sidelined consequently has an outside chance because of his impressive Derby victory. Shackleford, Stay Thirsty and Ruler On Ice lost 80%, 87.50% & 62.5% of their start in 2011. However, if they had focused on the Gll and Glll races that Caleb Posse entered instead of the Gl races their winning percentages would be greater.  They were not interested in Gll and Glll at 61/2F and 7F races. Both stay Thirsty and Sackleford had the earning to enter the Derby. Ruler On Ice and Caleb Posse did not. Ruler On Ice entered the Belmont with a MSW and an Allowance victory to his name and zero wins in 2011. His Belmont victory represented his 1st Gl win in his first Gl start. Caleb Posse was 12th in his first Gl start and it took him 5 graded starts for his fists win in a graded race. An Allowance winner was considered good enough to be entered in the grueling 12F Belmont but the now champion 3YO designate which at the time of the Belmont had 3 victories to his credit was not even considered.

I am aware that Shackleford is a long shot to win because of his 80% losing record. My campaign for him was not based on his winning record but his body of work that include two victories over the Derby winner. The colts above targeted the tough G1 races while Caleb Posse was not good enough to be entered. Take away his victories at 61/2F and 7F Amsterdam and Kings Bishop and compare his record to that of the colt above and you might get the point I am trying to make. If Shackleford’s body of work is not good enough for the eclipse award neither is that of Caleb Posse. We are therefore left with three. A colt with only an Allowance win took on the ultimate test of speed and stamina for 3YO and succeeded. He then finished 3rd to the best older horses in the country; sound like the one to me.

25 Nov 2011 9:36 AM
Smoking Baby

 Coldfacts.  As usual, you make good, well thought out points.  Who do you like in the Clark and the Cigar Mile?  By the way, I know this is way out of left field but I think COLDFACTS would be a killer name for a horse.  

25 Nov 2011 11:44 AM

I am for shackleford. What a heart this horse has! 2 wins one a Triple crown race 4 x placed in graded stakes and he showed up for everything

25 Nov 2011 8:46 PM

Smoking Baby,

There is colt from the 2009 crop who is now a member of the 2YO colony with name Cold Facts. I am tempted to think the colt’s name was influenced by my posting title. How facetious can one be?

Cold Facts: Yes Its True - Hot Expectations by Tabasco Cat

Record: 2 Starts: M - 0 - 2, $10,870

Details: 6F MSW Churchill Downs 3rd in 1:10.99

          5F MSW Churchill Downs 3rd in 59.44

His pedigree is by no means fashionable. His sire is a million dollar earner who won the Gl 6F Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash. Yes Its True can hardly be considered a classic wining sire. His dam

Hot Expectations was lightly race which is good and she was sired by Tabasco Cat who sired the dam of the 2010 Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner up Ice Box. He has ability but I doubt he will be a player in the TC series of races, But you never know!

25 Nov 2011 9:15 PM
Paula Higgins

You know, the more I read the stats on the horses mentioned above. The more I think Rapid Redux deserves to be nominated. It comes down to three for me: Caleb's Posse, Animal Kingdom and yes, Rapid Redux. Winning 20 straight at any level is otherworldly. He should be considered. Not one of the other horses has had a "slam dunk" year in my opinion. If they had, at Grade I level racing, I could see not including Rapid Redux. But not one horse did.  

26 Nov 2011 2:49 AM

CALEB POSEE: Top 3YOs he has beaten:

Factor, Wilburn & Shackleford - Breeder Cup Mile

Uncle Mo - Kings Bishop

To Honor and Server - Amsterdam

SHACKLEFORD: Top 3YOs he has beaten

Factor & Wilburn - Breeder Cup Mile

Caleb Posse: Indiana Derby

Animal Kingdom & - Preakness & Belmont

Dialed In  & Midnight Interlude - Kentucky Derby & Preakness

Mucho Macho Man - Preakness

Stay Thirsty - Kentucky Derby & Florida Derby

Soldat & To Honor and Serve - Florida Derby

Ruler On Ice - Haskell

Coil - Traverse

This eclipse award will not be decided on number of wins but instead ‘Body Of Work” The above reflect the body of work of the overwhelming favorite CALEB POSEE and that of my choice THE SHACK ATTACK. There is truth to the adage that if you show your company it will tell who you are. Shackleford kept better company. In fact he kept Championship Company all through 2011. The COLD FACTS never lie. Vote Shackleford!

26 Nov 2011 8:15 AM
Smoking Baby

 Coldfacts.  Cold Facts.  How cool is that?  Hey, Yes It's True is a nice hard knocking sire.  Cold Facts may not make the Triple Crown trail but he may well turn out to be a nice horse.  Two thirds so far is nothing to sneeze at.  I'll have to keep an eye on him.  Thanks for the info.

26 Nov 2011 4:46 PM

Caleb's Posse has beaten the fastest and classiest 3YOs this season: Uncle Mo, The Factor and To Honour and Serve.  Also he beat the durable and consistent Shackleford by the proverbial city block in the BC Dirt Mile. In the Breeder's Cup, Shackleford was back to his best, at his optimum distance, ran his usual gutsy race but was blown away by the scorching stretch run of Caleb's Posse in the final furlong. Vote for quality (not quantity): two Grade One victories gainst the best, vote Caleb's Posse for champion 3YO colt 2011.

26 Nov 2011 9:57 PM
Tiz Herself

It is official - I am absolutely taken with Gemologist. As long as he stays sound, I can't wait to follow him through the spring and maybe to the Derby... yes he has to catch up with Union Rags, Hansen, etc., but I like him already, have for the last month when I was looking through WinStar's roster and liked the name, but saw his workouts and his first two races. He appears to like Churchill. Tiznow - Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector. Pedigree will shouldn't be an issue for him. Anyone know what his speed fig was?

27 Nov 2011 6:32 PM

Gun Bow I dont think that whatever path Gomez took that day even if he used an electrical shocking device like that that was used on Kimberlite Pipe by his jockey, in the Arkansas Derby years ago, or if his trainer put Cayenne pepper on his genitals like Frank Passero used before he was banned from racing or even used snake oil on him like Patrick Bianconne used before getting suspended would have helped Bourbon Bay beat Sanagas that day.

27 Nov 2011 8:44 PM

Gun Bow I stand corrected it was Valhols jockey not Kimberlite Pipe's that was accused of using the electrical device TO BEAT KIMBERLITE PIPE in the 1999 Arkansas Derby.

27 Nov 2011 9:03 PM

Gun Bow Passero apparently got off,shows you what a good lawyer thats well paid can do

Passero, a 62-year-old Canadian, won a North American-record 14 straight races at Gulfstream Park and then was accused of having stable personnel apply a substance found in cayenne pepper to his horses. On Sept. 13, all charges against Passero were dropped after a Florida administrative hearing officer ruled the confession inadmissible.

27 Nov 2011 9:16 PM


Caleb's Posse has beaten the fastest and classiest 3YOs this season: Uncle Mo"

I see you still cannot shake the bout of insanity Uncle Mo has cast on you.

Uncle Mo:  5 Starts (2-1-1-0) Like Caleb Posse Did not win a Derby prep race.

The Factor won two Derby preps i.e., San Vincente ; 1.20.34; Rebel  (Second fastest time in 55 years) 1:42.19 (fastest time in the last 24 years and second overall) THS Allowance

THS Allowance 1:48.31; PA Derby 1:47.34; (Stakes Record); Cigar Mile 1.33.89, Got 31/2L beat in the BCC.

Let me, see Uncle Mo is the fastest and classiest 3YO. How can you justify such a claim? I respectfully request that you stop it as the Cold Facts do not support you claim.

“Also he beat the durable and consistent Shackleford by the proverbial city block in the BC Dirt Mile. In the Breeder's Cup, Shackleford was back to his best”

I gather Shackleford was not at his best when he defeated Caleb Posse in the Indiana Derby. The share finishes ahead of each other. That’s called a Break Even.

CALEB POSEE could win the eclipse award for champion sprinter. Two of his five wins were in sprint races. One was in an ungraded race. Defeating top class horse when they are returning from injury/sickness and avoiding them when they strip fitter is the play is certainly not the book of a champion.

Are you more excited to see the 2012 campaign of sprinter/miler Caleb Posse or the ultra classy To Honor and Serve?  

27 Nov 2011 11:01 PM

Tiz Herself,

I am sorry to advise that no MR. Prospector broodmare has ever been associated with the winner of a Triple Crown race. Subject to correction no winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes that recorded a time of 1:44 plus has ever gone on to win a Triple Crown race. Super Saver recorded a time of 1:42.83 in the 2009 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. It was the second fastest for the stakes. He went on to record an undeserving victory in the Derby. Gemologist time of 1:44.83 on a track listed as fast is pedestrian and does not signal that he has the speed to win the derby.  I strongly recommend that you look elsewhere for a Derby winner

27 Nov 2011 11:16 PM

Tiz Herself - Gemologist received a Beyer Speed Figure of 85.

28 Nov 2011 10:34 AM

COLDCUTS.......Ranag is right! You somehow cannot see the real facts! How can you type with that STRAIGHT JACKET ON?..UNCLE MO IS THE 2YR OLD CHAMPION! He ran faster as a 2 yr old than SHACKLEFORD ever has run! 108!!One of the best EVER as a 2yr old! And he ran a 106 beyer off layoff, then a unreal 118 beyer!!!!!! The beyer figures take track condition into consideration......And YOU cant even see how someone can call him the fastest? YOU are a liar!  Nobody is THAT STUPID! You are touting a horse that had 1 beyer over 100 for 3yrold of the year???? ONE? untill his last race...100 beyers are alw horses!  AND YOU TELL SOMEONE TO PICK A DIFF> DERBY HORSE BECAUSE HE RAN SLOW? NEWS fast was ANIMAL KINGDOM THIS TIME LAST YEAR?   You really shouldnt give any advice about ANYTHING!!!!

28 Nov 2011 4:55 PM

Looks like Baffert has some promising two year olds in the barn.  So Brilliant a $300,000. Medaglia d' Oro colt.  

Lots of horses getting hurt at Hollywood Park.  

28 Nov 2011 7:24 PM


No arguments from me that Sanagas was much the best in the Hollywood Turf Cup.  The ride by Maragh just added a little insurance.

29 Nov 2011 6:57 AM


Yes, some upsetting scenes from Hollywood Park this holiday weekend.  

Galex breaks down and is euthanized in the Hollywood Prevue, Up in Time dumps Garcia coming into the stretch of the Matriarch, Waltzing with Blue breaks down in the 4th(turf race) on Saturday and is euthanized, Irrefutable suffers a heart attack after running 2nd in the Underwood and dies right in front of the grandstand, Bob Black Jack is pulled up after the wire of the Citation and vanned off with career ending injuries, Senor Rain bolts on the first turn of the Generous and is pulled up(but no injury), Surrey Star is eased under the wire of the Hollywood Derby and later vanned off, and Cloud Man breaks down going into the far turn of the Hollywood Derby and later euthanized.

All of it definitely took away from strong wins by Pacific Ocean and Jeranimo and the good story that is Ultimate Eagle(Jeranimo's stablemate).

29 Nov 2011 7:06 AM

Coldfacts gemologist is undefeated,which to all you that think, no that know, they can pick winners by only using history as a guide,means he dont like to lose.All you that think that PPs and times are the only thing that helps separate winners from losers,I got facts you cant even comprehend because you never were able to complete one lap around the track without fainting.Intangibles separate winners from losers in EVERY sport.

29 Nov 2011 4:20 PM


You're funny (LOL).

I wouldn't call my good friend Coldfacts a liar sir ...but he does embroider the facts sometimes to suit his conclusion. He dismisses the credentials of Uncle Mo yet refers to, good and promising but thus far inferior, To Honour and Serve as "ultra classy" me.

29 Nov 2011 8:53 PM


You mow realized why I refer to your new found colleague as a Klown. He certainly makes you LOL.

I respectfully ask that you acknowledge the fact that I have repeatedly given Uncle Mo the credit he deserves. What I have dismissed is the hype associated with this colt. If you and your new found colleague are incapable of distinguishing between the two, I cannot be held responsible for this deficiency.

“He dismisses the credentials of Uncle Mo yet refers to, good and promising but thus far inferior, To Honor and Serve as "ultra classy”

To Honor and Serve is inferior. A colt that records a time of 1:09.52 for the first 6F of the Gl Cigar Mile while his rider motionless is inferior. Interesting! The superior Uncle Mo and THS met once and that was in the BCC. THS finished ahead of his superior batch mate. Did you forget? My bad! Uncle Mo was not fully recovered from his 118 Beyer in his previous race.

THS is the only 3YO colt that has won three 9F races on dirt. His victory in the PA derby in a time of 1:47.34 represents the fastest for the distance by any 3YO in 2011. His victory in the Allowance that preceded the PA Derby was the second fastest for the distance. His time in the G1 Cigar Mile (1.33.89) compares favorably with the 1:33.82 recorded by Uncle Mo in the Gll Kelso. It is faster than the 1:34.51 recorded by Uncle Mo in the Champagne. He was beaten 31/2L by the best older horses in the biggest race in the US and returns 21Days later to destroy a G1 field and he is classified as inferior.

Uncle did not win a G1 race as a 3YO and he is the classiest. THS is now a candidate for the eclipse award for champion 3YO.

Your continued exchanges with the Klown are adversely affecting you. Your statement above suggests you have been transformed into a joker.

NB: War Pass 113 Beyer remains the best for a 2YO in the BCJ.

29 Nov 2011 11:49 PM


I have taken the liberty of using a capital letter in your posting title. I hope it meets with your approval. I had major difficulties understanding your post. It appears English is not your primary language.

Gemologist recorded a very slow time in the KJCS. If he does not improve significantly he will not have a chance of being competitive against the top colts. There are some broodmare sires that have very poor records in the Triple Crown races. Mr. Protestor happens to be one of them. Gemologist second dam was sired by Northern Dancer whose broodmare line is the most successful in TC history. Gemologist is therefore not without hope.

30 Nov 2011 12:20 AM
Carlos in Cali


I don't normally agree with Coldfacts and some of his 'claims',but.. To Honor and Serve was most certainly superior to UM this year.If your wonder horse UM weren't abruptly retired,he'd be playing 2nd fiddle to the classy Bernardini colt that is To Honor and Serve.Just watch and enjoy his awesome campaign next year,he's the real deal unlike...

30 Nov 2011 1:37 PM

Coldfacts & Carlos,

To Honor and Serve only just had a breakthrough into the Grade One winners club in the Cigar Mile.  Uncle Mo has been there since his juvenile season. Also UM has run the highest Beyer speed figures of his crop in both his 2YO and 3YO seasons. At their best so far UM has been the superior colt without doubt.  The plain facts are apparently too hot to handle for Coldfacts.

I'll definitely be watching THAS next year but indication are that he'll be good but not awesome/special.

02 Dec 2011 1:35 PM

THS will emerge as the top older horse from the class of 2011. AK, Stay Thirsty, Shackleford, Caleb Posse etc., will be their hands full.

Another 8F or 9F race before the BCC and he would have made the board. A Time of 1:33.89 21 days are a hard 10F races against the best older horses in the US is no joke.

Only the awesome/special ones are capable of such feats..

03 Dec 2011 8:38 AM

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