A Lot to Look Forward to in 2012

With nearly all of the important races completed in 2011, this is usually about the time that my attention begins to shift toward 2-year-olds. That will happen in the very near future, but before getting into that I think it is worth taking a quick peak ahead to the older horses returning next year.

Listed at the bottom of this blog are 20 of the top older horses expected to return in 2012. For fun, I also went back and compared it to a blog I did this time last year with the top returning horses of 2011. And in doing so, I think you'll agree that 2012 looks much more appetizing that this year did.

As you will recall, by the end of 2010 five of the top-ranked horses were being retired--Blame, Quality Road, Lookin At Lucky, Rachel Alexandra, and Zenyatta. It didn't leave a lot of star power heading into this season. Here was the list I came up with at this time last year:

Admiral Alex; Apart; Caracortado; Colizeo; Crown of Thorns; Dakota Phone; First Dude; Fly Down; Gio Ponti; Haynesfield; Misremembered; Morning Line; Musket Man; Noble's Promise; Paddy O'Prado; Rail Trip; Richard's Kid; Successful Dan; Sidney's Candy; and Twirling Candy.

I don't know about you, but that list didn't get me too excited then, and as it turned out those 20 horses won a grand total of 12 graded races in 2011. Granted, some good ones like Misremembered and Paddy O'Prado were injured early in the year, and others like Drosselmeyer and Tizway didn't make my list, but I don't think it's a stretch to say that this year was one of the most uneventful that American racing has seen in many years. To put it frankly, it was a predictably below average year all around.

Let's compare it to what we have to look forward to in 2012. As maligned as this year's crop of 3-year-old was most of the year, it looks like many of them--including all three of the Triple Crown race winners--will be back, as will Caleb's Posse and To Honor and Serve, who were peaking at year's end. Also pointing toward a return are almost all of the top 3-year-old fillies--Awesome Feather, It's Tricky, Plum Pretty, Turbulent Descent, Royal Delta, and Zazu. Plus, 3-year-old turf standouts Brilliant Speed and Winter Memories are set to return.

When you combine this with the returning older horses, including probable Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, 2012 seems very promising indeed. Compare this group of 20 to the aforementioned group from above:

Acclamation

Animal Kingdom

Awesome Feather

Brilliant Speed

Caleb's Posse

Flat Out

Game On Dude

Havre de Grace

It's Tricky

Mission Impazible

Mucho Macho Man

Plum Pretty

Royal Delta

Ruler On Ice

Shackleford

Stay Thirsty

To Honor and Serve

Winter Memories

Wise Dan

Zazu

As you can see, there are some very talented horses coming back next year, and I'm sure I even missed a couple. Plus, this doesn't even take into consideration the good-looking class of 2-year-olds that is developing.

So while 2011 was largely a bust, there is much to look forward to in 2012.

152 Comments

Leave a Comment:

derblin

That is a great list of horses.  Thanks for getting that together. It does give us something to look forward to in 2012.  Maybe even Rapid Redux too.

29 Nov 2011 3:46 PM
Deltalady

Agree with you, Jason. Good list. Most were on my lists. I've been looking ahead for quite some time. I'm hoping that a couple that were sold might be back: Pachattack (sent to G.Motion), Dubawi Heights, Ask The Moon, to name a few.

29 Nov 2011 4:15 PM
Paula Higgins

Yes, some very good horses returning and that is good for us and good for the sport. Maybe the owners are starting to realize that keeping them racing is one of the things they can do to raise the profile of the sport and keep people interested. Awesome Feather, Havre de Grace, Zazu, Plum Pretty and Royal Delta will keep the women involved who are there specifically for the girls. All good. Will be interested to see Animal Kingdom and Acclamation again too.

29 Nov 2011 4:45 PM
Katie L.

:) Wow, great list...can't remember last time we had all our TC races winner coming back the following year. Something just have 1 winner at 4 is getting hard with the ''breeding money first, fans last'' philosophy of the racing world

29 Nov 2011 4:58 PM
BigRedForever

Looking forward to many from your list Jason, but particularly these 7.

Awesome Feather, Flat Out, Havre de Grace, Mucho Macho Man, Royal Delta, Winter Memories and Zazu.  Hope all 20 make it back healthy and can last the entire year.

29 Nov 2011 5:08 PM
SouthernChris

Here's hoping Premier Pegasus comes back and regains his form.

29 Nov 2011 5:39 PM
Sylvester

This year does look better.  There also could be a few unknowns to break through in 2012 such as Blame and Life At Ten in 2010.  We could also have some really mature and improve dramatically like HDG did in 2011. I am predicting the older filly and mare division to once again be the most competitive with the most talent.  Can HDG dominate again like last year or can Royal Delta make up those 8 lengths and be competitive with her?  Stay tuned.

29 Nov 2011 5:57 PM
Mister Frisky

Not a bad list Jason.As of last week Tobys Corner was galloping at Fairhill along with AK.Did you forget him?

29 Nov 2011 6:44 PM
skyfire

Jason, you were right about predicting an average 2011, as reflected in a current lack of compelling HOY candidates (I don't think any are convincing).  I wouldn't be surprised to see the 3 year old fillies mature into the top racing candidates in 2012:  I love Royal Delta, Awesome Feather, TD, Zazu.

I am looking forward to 2012, good older horses returning (knock on wood) and a very interesting group of 2 year olds turning 3.

29 Nov 2011 8:03 PM
Footlick

I think 2 turns would haave made the Beldame more competitive.  Mott didn't really want to run Royal Delta in a 1 turn race, but it was the best prep for her.  I think she improves at 2 turns and also at 10 furlongs.  JMHO

29 Nov 2011 9:06 PM
Stevebiscuit

Premier Pegasus is going to have a big year.

29 Nov 2011 9:06 PM
Windy City

definitely more to look forward compared to last year. HDG and AF will be fun to watch...does anybody see Rapid Redoux stepping up in a class and winning? That would be fun to watch!  

29 Nov 2011 9:20 PM
Alydar78

Why didn't Blind Luck make the list last year?

29 Nov 2011 10:35 PM
Karen in Indiana

Jason, you are absolutely right - that is a nice group of horses pointing for next year.

The 2 I look forward most to seeing are the first 2 on the list - Acclamation (love the Ununsual Heats!) and Animal Kingdom. The next 2 would be Flat Out and Mucho Macho Man.

29 Nov 2011 10:57 PM
Tiz Herself

I am looking forward to seeing Redeemed come back next year as well as everyone on that list, as well as Pachattack if her new connections race her.

If Jaycito and Nehro both come back, will be glad to see them, too.

Cross my fingers for Premier Pegasus and Toby's Corner also.

Of course, there is always;

Get Stormy, Regally Ready, Santiva, Soldat, St. John's River, Summer Soiree, Turallure, Turbulent Descent (I hope)

Am stoked for 2012.

29 Nov 2011 11:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

Don't forget about the turf monster named Soldat. I'm looking forward to watching him run at Gulfstream Park.

I was also expecting a strong return from Dialed In. The latest news for him is more problems with his ankles.

And I can only hope that Premier Pegasus comes back breathing fire!

30 Nov 2011 1:55 AM
Stellar Jayne

I never thought 2011's thoroughbreds were mediocre.  In the last two - three years there have been so many injuries and illnesses among those who were considered to be the elite of their crops, that it skewed people's view of what composes quality in the long run and that is born out by the wonderful list above for 2012.  My thought is that the talented-elite pool is larger now - it is not just two or three names dominating the sport. There is a lot of talent, speed and fighting spirit in that list.  May they all race successfully and come home sound!  I love them all - win or lose!

30 Nov 2011 3:26 AM
Slew

The toughest part to realize is that the reason so many great horses are staying in training is because there seems to be a tendency to breed less.  Stallions already established will stay in charge.  New stallions are not needed or wanted, which is part of the reason Bold Chieftain was brought back to racing.  Stud fees seem to be dropping except for the most prolific stallions such as Bernardini, and his fee has been doubled.  

While I'm excited to see many great ones staying at the track, I'm also very worried about horse racing as a whole, surviving.

30 Nov 2011 7:45 AM
Dawn in MN

Mr. Shandler,

I enjoyed this article and the list of horses and fillies returning next year.  I am ready to start looking at the two-year-olds, and look forward to your future writing.

30 Nov 2011 9:13 AM
Age of Reason

   Don't forget Deluxe!Remember, in her lone European race on a firm course, the G1 Prix Saint-Alary, she was beaten only a 1/2 length by Sarafina while finishing 1 1/2 lengths clear of Hibaayeb. The form is there! (if you throw out the Flower Bowl, I knew she had no chance after the rain). I've been waiting for Deluxe to come across the pond since mid-2010...

    While I'm on Juddmonte, another of their horses I'd love to see come over here is Bated Breath, who was beaten a head by Regally Ready in the Nearctic (Can-1T); in his two starts before the Nearctic, the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup (both G1-England), he twice ran second to Dream Ahead by less than a half-length. He runs better the firmer the turf is, and could probably stretch out to a mile.

    Mr. Commons and Premier Pegasus also spring to mind...

    Great preview, Jason! You have me counting down the days already! (If the world doesn't end next year, lol!...)

30 Nov 2011 11:37 AM
Pedigree Ann

Sylvester, Blame was not an unknown quantity at this point two years ago; he had won the Fayette S at Keeneland and the Clark H at Churchill at the tail end of his 3yo season. He beat some seriously good older horses in the Clark, so he was one of my picks to be a prominent 4yo at the time. Don't know how you missed him.

30 Nov 2011 12:08 PM
Mike Relva

Counting the days until Draynay posts his "can't miss" selection in Jan. to win the Triple Crown.

30 Nov 2011 12:20 PM
Linda in Texas

Hi Jason, hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

I did not know Game on Dude was going to race again. And do look forward to those you listed and then some returning and the 2 year olds coming up the ladder.

Off Topic, with the dismissal of Steward Veitch, it seems strange to not have listed a reason. It was done as mentioned in the article so he would not have anything exact to appeal. But surely there is a reason, unless it is political.

And speaking of political, i see the president signed funding for inspection of horse slaughter plants back into law. I read that Friday night after i saw a truck with some palominos in it and a couple of dark bays parked in front of one of our restaurants. I recognized the truck and trailer as belonging to one of the killer buyers from Kaufman,TX. For me that is a sad day. I am sure the Slaughter Industry Lobbyist whom i know probably donated a big wad of money to help sway the prez.

I still say the answer is to not allow the breeding of so many horses, ranchers need to take the

responsibility to prevent unwanted horses to begin with. As do all others.

Thanks Jason.

If you find this post too offensive or too political, i will not mind Jason if you do not post it. I simply wanted you to know how i feel about slaughtering horses for any reason. That is the empath in me.

30 Nov 2011 12:35 PM
Sylvester

Good for you PA for noticing him.  At the end of 2009 Quality Road, Rachel, and Zenyatta were on everyone's radar for 2010.  By the end of 2010 Blame had proven he was better than all of them.  

30 Nov 2011 12:37 PM
derblin

Once again, I agree with you totally, Linda in Texas.(My real name is Linda too)I believe the slaughter law was included in another bill that Obama had to sign off on. But this is just heartbreaking.  I will say that I give McCarthy a lot of credit saying he would not sell General Quarters to the Japanese.

30 Nov 2011 3:27 PM
JerseyTom

I think we are starting to see the tide turn--a little bit at least. Too many stallions and broodmares out there?

30 Nov 2011 3:28 PM
AfleetAlexForever

The list going into 2012 Class and Quality wise will be something special. Everyone will be shooting to dethrone the reigning HOY in Havre De Grace. In looking at the list, I believe that a maturing Royal Delta if she stays will Bill Mott will be tough, if transferred to Pletcher’s barn, she may not be much.

The quality of 2012 will reside in: HDG, RD, Stay Thirsty, Shackleford and Nehro.  Game on Dude will run the east if he stays sound, Acclamation will continue to play in the Kiddy pool in Southern Cal, with the best excuse we’ve seen since 2008-2009 (The BC is in Cali so why ship out to run in the top races in the US) I believe we all know who we can thank for that lame excuse.

I believe that east coast connections will need to ship out to California to get their charges a race over the track, it would be very unfair to prep in the east and go west and not have their horses acclimated to the concrete like surface which will probably make up Santa Anita.  

I would hope that Rick Porter and Larry Jones are able to come up with a plan to get a prep for Havre De Grace over the SA Strip, and not go into the BC with a misguided over confidence that she will just handle the surface as we saw in 2010, which backfired miserably.  I also hope that we don’t hear the excuse from FHF that the Rockies are too difficult and too high to fly over.

I believe that Frankel will be the most watched horse in the world, as a 4 year old, he should step up to the 10 furlong distance while AOB has stated that So You Think will drop down to the 8 furlong specialty.

It has been stated that Black Caviar will travel to Royal Ascot on June 23rd to take on the best sprinters that Europe has to offer.  There will be no cantering for her in that race, I do applaud the connections for being bold enough to show faith and confidence in the filly to actually seek out and travel to face the best instead of digging into the (synthetic) surface, whoops, I meant the turf that they run on in Australia and decide to find out how truly great she is, and I hope this occurs on more than just 1 occasion.

The schedule set up by the connections for To Honor and Serve seems very confusing as I believe that they stated the schedule would be daunting, I don’t see much daunting about the first tough race that he’ll run in will likely be the Met Mile in MAY.. That’s right in May.  Strange but not unexpected.  He seems to be the most talented of the 3 year old bunch turning 4 but they will most likely niggle him along until its time to take down a true challenge in the Whitney and Woodward.  

The connections of Flat Out will hopefully give him time off and bring him back to the track in a few months, rested, fit and ready for a tough campaign, he ducks no one, Wise Dan is also intriguing although he has not shown consistent class throughout his career.

As for the 2 year olds, the match up between Hansen and Union Rags will probably not be seen until the Derby, a wonderful rivalry could be sparked up if the connections are sporting, but just like what we saw when Blind Luck was not able to compete on the highest level, both sets of connections will likely go their separate ways and stay away from each other until the derby.

Last here is a bit of advice for any that are thinking about what it means to have your horse prove how great he or she is. Don’t take the bait. We saw overly ambitious campaigns by Invasor and Curlin and even going far back with Cigar and others, in today’s world, dealing with the type of fans that we do, people do not get caught up in the quality of the opponent. Look at Zenyatta’s career, there has never been a horse touted so much for what she may have been able to do if she ran at the highest level of the game on a consistent basis.  Yet people still hold her in the highest esteem for running down allowance quality horses at best in 15 or 16 of her 20 life time races.  

Horses are not built like they were 20 years ago, they aren’t built like they were 15 years ago, they aren’t built like they were just 5 years ago when you look at how hard Curlin and Invasor were campaigned. The BC is the beginning and the end of all things Horse racing now, due to the extreme importance placed on the event by the connections and Zenyatta, and instead of sticking with tradition, Americans as expected were or are sullied into feeling that the full year of racing does not dictate a champion.  But 2 days of championship racing, therefore we have this paper champion that either wins or loses on BC day and is supposedly a champion.  Recognize this and campaign your charges in such a way. A campaign that looks like this in the East for a older filly or mare:  Apple Blossom, La Troinne, Ruffian, Del Cap, Personal Ensign, Beldame and a BC race should garner you all of the Eclipse Award votes you need.  Do not, even if packed on with extra weight, DO NOT I repeat DO NOT feel the need to test your horse during the year in top end events, they seem and are viewed as meaningless to the majority of those in the sport.  

Just my take on the current situation that faces Horse racing in 2012.  Good Luck to all on a healthy and vibrant 2012.

30 Nov 2011 4:04 PM
Mike Relva

AAF

Still stings, right?

30 Nov 2011 6:20 PM
Karen in Texas

That's a nice list of older horses returning to the track. I hope Animal Kingdom and Toby's Corner are able to fulfill their promise as demonstrated earlier in the spring. Maybe even Rapid Redux will step-up in class and do well.

Linda in Texas and derblin---The slaughter inspection issue was a small portion of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill--the Senate approved the "language" allowing the funding after the House had excluded it. Linda, are you referring to the well-known lobbyist from the Abilene area? I have been fighting this battle for years through various legislative networks, and totally agree that the answer lies largely in stopping the overbreeding of horses from various industries including ranchers and racing interests. Another chapter is now on the horizon, unfortunately.

30 Nov 2011 7:00 PM
Runfast159

I would add Ultimate Eagle to the list, the front running near black Mizzen Mast colt.  He has won 4 straight including a grade 1 and a grade 2.  Also what about Caracortado and Jackson Bend?  Are they coming back in 2012?

30 Nov 2011 7:52 PM
Jason Shandler

Runfast: Good ones. I think all three you mentioned are coming back.

Mike: Do you ever have anything meaningful to add? Ever?

30 Nov 2011 7:59 PM
Linda in Texas

KIT - that is a big 10  4  on the

Abilene Connection. Actually used to be a Blue Dog Democrat, left Congress but did not come back to Stamford where his ranch is. But he is a Lobbyist for The Horse Slaughter Industry and lives in the D C area at last report. The Rep in my district is for horse slaughter and sent his last political advertisement out with photos of his grandaughters both on horses he owns. You are right about another chapter on the horizon.

Back to topic. I wonder if Rapid Redux could perhaps be being considered to run some Graded Races in the coming year. I would like to see him race against Shackleford and Union Rags.

30 Nov 2011 8:00 PM
anita b

Hi Jason,

Liked your list; hope all the horses remain sound and give us a great year of racing.

Have a question for you---why is it that for the last 4 years that the Breeder's Cup races are at a "magna"-owned/run track? Something smells to me.

I enjoyed seeing B.Cup races in Texas where I've never been and at other tracks. Like to see it moved to different tracks again.

enough from me for now. Anita

30 Nov 2011 8:01 PM
Householder

Mike Harrington has a couple of 2 year olds.  Creative Cause and a full brother to Royal Delta, Empire Way.  It will be nice to see how they develop.  

30 Nov 2011 8:20 PM
GunBow

AfleetAlex Forever:

I get why you don't like Zenyatta.

But you contradict yourself in your dislike of Blind Luck.  My guess is, your dislike of Blind Luck is personal, because she repeatedly beat up on your favorite, Havre de Grace.

Blind Luck did everything you criticized Zenyatta for not doing.  Blind Luck went back East over the Rockies over and over and over and over and over again, and over again, and....

The connections of Blind Luck SOUGHT OUT Havre, they took the fight to Havre's home tracks and regions, and they won the series 4-2.  At Delaware twice, at Saratoga, at Churchill.

You criticize Blind Luck because she finally just wore out after running in the money for 3 years straight and running all across the country.  Remember, Blind Luck was running in gr.1 races like the Breeder's Cup at age 2 when Havre was just breaking her maiden.  And while Blind Luck was winning races like the Hollywood Starlet, Las Virgenes, Fantasy, and Kentucky Oaks, Havre was running in allowances and ungraded stakes.

When Havre met Blind Luck in the 2010 Del Oaks, Havre's first career graded stakes, Blind Luck had already run in 7 GRADE 1 Races!

So, Blind Luck had many, many more miles on her legs when the rivalry with Havre de Grace began.  Yet, even so, and even though it was Blind Luck that had to travel to even make the rivalry possible in the first place, Blind Luck still kept on beating Havre, including their final meeting at the classic 10 furlong distance.

I'll give Havre her credit for the last 3 months.  Since the loss in the Del Cap, Porter and Jones finally decided to start taking some chances and being a little more aggressive.  You call Zenyatta's campaign soft.  Before the Woodward, Havre had only run over 2 tracks in 2011, her winter home of Oaklawn and summer home of Delaware.

It took losing to Blind Luck once again for Porter and Jones to realize that unless they were more aggressive, Havre had no shot to win an Eclipse, let alone HoY.

To their credit, Porter and Jones did step up, and Havre rewarded them with an historic win in the Woodward.  And Havre was wonderful in that race and the Beldame(she's still only won half as many gr.1 races as Blind Luck).

If I was voting, I would give Havre the HoY.  But I still think, for their careers, Blind Luck was the superior horse.  It appears Havre will get another year, and if she has another strong campaign, I will revaluate the comparison.

Keep in mind, Blind Luck only went off form in her 22nd race, having finished in the money in her 21 previous efforts.  Because Havre was so lightly raced at 2 and  3, she only has 15 career starts.  I hope Havre can make it to 22, but there are no guarantees in this sport.  

But please, do not make it seem that Blind Luck "could not compete at the highest level".  I think winning 6 gr.1 races and beating Havre 4 times, including just this past July, is competing at the highest level.  It's just that all the racing and shipping finally caught up with her and not that the Lady's Secret field was too tough for her.  Havre, having had much fewer races at 2 and 3, is not surprisingly fresher and more healthy now that both are getting ready to turn 5.

I understand you like Havre de Grace.  But please, stop trying to ignore the facts in order to detract from Blind Luck.  She raced often, shipped often, and beat alot of good horses.  The only thing she didn't do was beat males, but I do believe Hollendorfer would have tried her had she not gone off in the latter part of this year.  Havre won the Woodward and for that she will likely win HoY.  But we all still remember the 6 races they ran in, and we all know the scoreboard.

30 Nov 2011 8:51 PM
Mike Relva

JASON

Tell you what I'll answer your question if you answer mine. Are you ever going to remove that large chip on your shoulder regarding the mare and her connections? Time to get over the fact Shirreffs "glared at you".

30 Nov 2011 9:24 PM
Tiznowbaby

Besides some already mentioned above, I'm looking forward to seeing The Factor, Switch, Amazombie, Tapizar, Gemologist and Morning Line if he comes back.

30 Nov 2011 9:26 PM
Sylvester

Jason you're being a little hard on Mike.  I remember him picking Switch in the Apple Blossom and Twirling Candy in the Hollywood Gold Cup....oh wait....I see your point.

30 Nov 2011 9:55 PM
The Dixie Grass Man

Jason love the column. Finally took the time to register...tough to find fans and debate these days. On here I'm among my own kind.

30 Nov 2011 9:57 PM
The Dixie Grass Man

unrelated. 5:56 into the most recent Sons of Anarchy episode there is a Blood Horse issue blatantly on display for about 5 seconds...pretty cool.

www.videobb.com/watch_video.php

30 Nov 2011 10:09 PM
KY VET

AFLEET ALEX FOREVER!!!!!! NOBODY CAN USE MORE WORDS TO SAY NOTHING OF MERIT......TODD PLETCHER cant train? What color is the SKY in your world? And who says you need a prep over a track? Who taught you that? Having a start over a track makes you like it? really? What backfired? She won HORSE OF THE YEAR! Oh..you know better than them!! You wouldve won horse of the decade? Horses not the same?? If you understood genetics, you would know, it would take a hundred years to barely change the breed even a smidgen! People keep saying this, with no factual basis......STOP IT!!...DID you even see ZENYATTA RUN?  You (like alot of beginners) point to times,quality of competition she ran against....what you miss, is that horses are all different...ZEN didnt hardly try! and ran against slow paces almost every race....she only did what it would take to win...pricking her ears and playing....either you dont know horses.....or you are just ignorant....why do you think her beyer figs would go from 98 to 112s in cup races? duh! go back and watch her races!!! how many times did it not look like she would win? yet she always got up!! AFLEET ALEX is simply one of the worst ignorant bloggers i have ever seen.......for years, i still havent seen him be right about anything.......how many tracks did zenyatta run on? you think all synthetics are the same? one of them is really hard to come from behind on...how about apple blossom race? dirt! churchill? dirt! sounds like she ran on more diff tracks than just about anyone huh?  aaf  learn the game!!!!

30 Nov 2011 10:14 PM
Tiz Herself

Does anyone know if the Birdstone colts S.S. Stone and Birdrun are coming back next year?

30 Nov 2011 10:51 PM
Tiz Herself

Some others that I hope to see as they are coming into their own (I hope) are Break Up The Game, Imagining, and Point of Entry

30 Nov 2011 10:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, clearly it does still sting LOL. I would think it would get old, even for them. On another note, I am looking forward to Black Caviar racing abroad next year and the return of Frankel, the two best horses in the world right now. Would also love to see Rapid Redux come back and step it up a notch.  As for the horse slaughter bill, I wrote my senators and representatives before the bill was passed asking them not to vote for it. It is a disgusting piece of legislation and there is NO justification for signing it regardless of what was attached to the rest of the bill. It should have been a deal breaker for President Obama and it wasn't. The only hope left is that state to state, laws are passed preventing the slaughter of horses. It is doable especially if enough people contact their state representatives. The Canadians are fighting it in their country and we need to do the same.

30 Nov 2011 10:56 PM
Tiz Herself

Lael Stables's Simbamangu might have potential too.. have had this Tale of the Cat - Chitka colt on my Equibase watch for some time.

And of course Amazombie. Love that gutsy gelding.

Winchester and Musketier...

Centennial Stables's Arch Traveler, Concealed Identity, Smarty Sunrise, Dominus, Mr. Commons...

Maybe even see Pool Play or Morning Line back, although not sure where they are at.

30 Nov 2011 11:05 PM
rorschach1992

Great list Mr. Shandler, indeed a lot more promising than last year's list. Out of the ones mentioned, I'm most looking forward to seeing Royal Delta, Zazu, Grace, Plum Pretty, Winter Memories, Awesome Feather, Acclamation, Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, Game On Dude To Honor and Serve, and Mucho Macho Man. Ah heck all of them really but these are the main ones off the top of my head I can think of a reason for my interest in them next year. The only one I'm really not feeling is Stay Thirsty, yeah he's great when in NY but he's tragic outside NY, but hey maybe he can turn the corner? Some not mentioned; Caracortado, he's always been a personal favorite of mine, Toby's Corner, I think he'll be coming back, Star Billing, Nereid, Ultimate Eagle, so much potential in these three, and I don't know if Aruna and Ultra Blend are returning or not, but if they are is I'd add them both also. Much agreed overall, especially when you add in the 2yos, much more potential next year than there was this year.

30 Nov 2011 11:45 PM
rorschach1992

Forgot about Sanagas, his Hollywood Turf Cup win was quite impressive. Could be a really nice turf runner next year.

30 Nov 2011 11:56 PM
Tiz Herself

There are quite a few half or full siblings or juveniles from mares who I followed coming up as three year olds - will be interesting to see them next year, too (hope):

*Thursby - 1/2 to Animal Kingdom

*Stanwyck - 1/2 to Tiago, Giacomo

*Quarto - Octave

*Immaculate - Folklore

*Ingenue - Meadow Breeze

*Dramedy - 1/2 to Bluegrass Cat

*Varisimo - full to Octave

*Arm Force- full to Well Armed

*Bill of Rights - full to Colonel John

*Champagne Courage -1/2 to Supercharger

*Delightful Quality - 1/2 to Folklore

*Crusade - La Traviata

*Distorted Dream - Wonder Lady Anne L

*Elbouissante - half to Z

*Longview Drive - full to Pyro

*Lisa. T - 1/2 to Super Saver

*Oddjob - Honey Ryder

*Tiz Bobby - Elloluv

*Proud Pearl - Pacific Spell, full sister to Proud Spell

*Dullahan - Mining My Own; 1/2 to MTB

*Street Talkn - Kimchi

*Captivating Lass - Folk. Love that A.P. Indy sired this filly out of a Quiet American mare too.

*Divine Escapade - Madcap Escapade

*E T Indy - Ex Caelis

Harris - Pool Land

*Global Response - Maryfield

*Gandhi - India

*Indyan Giving - Fleet Indian

*Rightfully So - Society Selection

*Round Midnight - Miss shop

*Raffle Ticket - full to Bernardini

*Rude Warrior - Raylene

*Mr Besilu - Balance

*Tosen Asuka - Ermine

*Vantage Point - 1/2 to Courageous Cat, After Market

*Regulus - Stellar Jayne

*Playback - Magnificent Song

*Zuma Beach - Malibu Mint

Cannot wait!

30 Nov 2011 11:57 PM
Coldfacts

Forbidden Apple,

Listed below is an extract from one of my posts after Dialed In’s 2011 Holy Bull victory:

Ranagulzion,

“ All I can say is wow!!! “

Am I the only one that recognizes that Dialed In carried 116lbs and was being allowed weight by three to four of his competitor? The colt also appears to have soundness issues. His galloping action is by no means smooth and his heavy neck is not ideal for young horse. (Too much weight upfront) Here is question for you. Will a mare from Storm Cat’s 300 plus broodmare band finally produce a derby winner? No son of A P Indy has ever sired a derby winner. No Storm cat broodmare has ever produced a derby winner. Do you have any idea the historic hurdle Dialed I has to cross? With his body type his connection are advised to be very careful with him. I would suggest they find an equine swimming pool and train him there.

Below are some responses to my comments:

Billy's Empire

Coldfacts, Giraffes have huge necks. They don't seem to have any front end issues.”

Forbidden Apple

“All I can do is laugh when I read your comments about the size of Dialed In's neck.”

My response to your comments:

Forbidden Apple,

I am happy I brought some humor to you for a day.

Dialed In has the size neck that is regarded in thoroughbred circles as a stallion neck. It’s the neck more associated with a more mature studish horse. Those heavy necks create a lot weight upfront and could cause problems with front legs with continue growth. Rarely do you see route horses with those types’ necks. I know I will be classified as crazy for my comments but it’s just an observation

It is unlikely that Dialed In will be a sound horse for the foreseeable future based on issues cited in my posts.

01 Dec 2011 12:31 AM
Linda in Texas

Gunbow - Thank you, thank you, and thank you so much for your post supporting Blind Luck. My exact thoughts and sentiments about her.

She is truly a gutsy mare and ran with with best and against the best.

To diss her is to disrespect horse racing and the efforts put forth by so many to make it an enjoyable sport for the rest of us.

I commend all trainers,(maybe not all, a couple come to mind i don't care for) but most all owners, all jockeys, groomers, hot walkers, stall muckers, and anyone else that helps to put a horse on a track in the right colors and at the right time. Period.

I admire and appreciate Blind Luck and everything about her.

Well Mr. Veitch is lawyered up according to the article on Bloodhorse.com. Because he is 66 is a reason not to fire him? Ummmm. Discrimination being interjected into the legal

pleadings? Please. Chief Steward, did he live up to his title or not? Simple question, should be fairly easy to answer.

01 Dec 2011 9:53 AM
Weekend

Jason, the answer is NO. Mike Trollvolta is a troll just looking for attention. He trolls all of the blog sites looking for the opportunity to chime in on topics he knows nothing about, then considers the people that agree with him his "friends". God that sounds miserable

01 Dec 2011 9:55 AM
Slew

Again, I will say, Secretariat and Seattle Slew had huge stallion necks at an early age...it didn't hurt them at all.  Maybe people need to look at the entire horse before assessing it's chances.  Remember the tale about the 6 blind men who each, touching a different part of an elephant, each came away with a different perspective?

By the way, remember the erratic Justin Phillip from earlier this year?  He's running straight as an arrow now, the greenness is over, and he's doing quite well.

Again, what I'm most looking forward to in 2012 is a Triple Crown winner.  (and some day my prince may come too.) Although considering the pedigree and speed of Hansen...maybe...

Gunbow: well said.

Linda & Karen in TX: Agreed!

01 Dec 2011 10:18 AM
Mike Relva

Think if A. Feather remains healthy will have a big yr. Very talented. Looking for Zazu to improve.

Sylvester: do we really wanna discuss picking winners? Told you it wouldn't work out in the Classic.

01 Dec 2011 10:19 AM
josh

I'm looking forward to:

Animal Kingdom - I can't  wait for him to come back!

Acclamation

Nehro

To Honor and Serve

Stay Thirsty

Caracortado

Caleb's Posse

Flat Out

Game On Dude

Havre de Grace

Brilliant Speed

The Shack

Zazu

Awesome Feather

Dialed In

Mucho Macho Man

Jackson Bend

Ruler On Ice

Definitely a better class than last year!

01 Dec 2011 11:16 AM
Will

I have to reserve my optimism as these horses break down now faster than American used cars. Let's hope you're right, Jason. Did not see Jackson Bend on your list. Has he been retired to stud ?

01 Dec 2011 11:29 AM
Will

One other question comes to mind, Jason. What became of that horse of whom you had such a pleasant phone conversation with her owner/trainer ? I thought Blind Luck was supposed to be offered for sale in November ? Was watching for the sale, but saw nothing in the Bloodhorse or the DRF.  Did it ever happen ? It was my understanding that scans and tests revealed nothing wrong with her ? Can you confirm that although I'm sure you would only know that second hand and not from any further phone conversations with the amiable Mr. Hollendorfer.

01 Dec 2011 11:48 AM
Mike Relva

Billy's Empire

Perhaps you didn't read my last post.  You have little room to talk, especially making yourself absent after the Classic. Not suprised. At least I don't pass myself off as a player in the game when in fact myself and others know your only a pretender. Btw, what name do you use on the NTA blog? lmao If you leave now you might make your woodworking class on time.

01 Dec 2011 12:33 PM
Age of Reason

AfleetAlexForever:

    Zenyatta was long ago put out to pasture, retired, and your vitriol against her should be too.

    It long ago ceased to be 2010, and the same will soon be said of 2011. This blog is about 2012. Move on.

01 Dec 2011 12:57 PM
Jason Shandler

Will: Blind Luck sold for $2.5 million. She was bought buy her co-owner, which means he bought out the rest of the co-owners, including the amiable Mr. Hollendorfer.

Jackson Bend is coming back as far as I know.

01 Dec 2011 1:26 PM
-Keelerman

Tiz Herself;

That was a terrific list of half and full siblings that you compiled! I really enjoyed it. I too am looking forward to seeing Musketier return next year at the incredible age of ten. He is simply amazing.

S. S. Stone injured his leg while winning the Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) in early April. It wasn't all that serious, and he was expected to return to racing, but he hasn't worked out since. His trainer, Nick Zito, told Daily Racing Form that he would point S. S. Stone toward the 2012 Donn Handicap (gr. I), but I'm beginning to wonder if he can still make that race with such little time remaining.

As for Birdrun, I believe I read that he will return for a 2012 campaign.

-Keelerman

01 Dec 2011 1:43 PM
Will

Thanks for the update, Jason, on Blind Luck and Jackson Bend. JB seems to be coming into his own as a 7 furlong to a mile horse, He was given too much to do in the seemingly ill-advised entry in the BC Sprint where he couldn't keep up early, then finished up well while running out of distance in the stretch. A three way match up with Uncle Mo and Caleb's Posse in the BC Dirt mile I would have loved to see. Any particular reason, Jason, why you excluded JB from your list ?

01 Dec 2011 1:45 PM
Jason Shandler

Will: I was focusing mostly on handicap horses, not sprinters. He certainly is a top-level horse though. Amazombie is obviously a top returning sprinter too.

01 Dec 2011 1:55 PM
Linda in Texas

Sea The Stars had a hefty neck and

he did quite well.

And Slew, the blind men touching an elephant scenario made me smile.

Sabercat and Now I Know (a sweet faced gray 2 year old filly beat out 8) both won their races at Delta Downs on Jackpot Day, 1 million$$ and 1/2 million$$ respectively and are a couple more names to watch in 2012. Just looked up Now I Know's Pedigree, grandsires are Storm Cat on Paternal side and Maria's Mon on Maternal side. With a little Sheza Barn Burner along as a tweeker on maternal side.

Kentucky Derby !! Just 6 short  months away. So little time and so much to talk about.

Looking forward to everyone's ideas and thoughts and learning a bunch.

Thanks Jason.

Please know that due to state laws and regulations that prohibit horse processing, it cannot be done in Texas, California, Illinois, nor Oklahoma. Per The Horse.com.

01 Dec 2011 2:41 PM
Mike Relva

What I respect about Jackson Bend is he tries everytime.

01 Dec 2011 3:11 PM
KY VET

HERE WE GO AGAIN! COLDCUTS brings up something wacky.....stallion neck? DIALED IN ran the best race of the early spring with that neck...his neck caused unsoundness? wow, what a stretch! But does anyone remember the posting about the dubai horse that he picked for the derby? The horse with the beautiful SWAN NECK?  how did that work for ya?  

01 Dec 2011 3:40 PM
Afleet Treet

Jason,

I thhink it is likely we will also see 9yo gelding Awesome Gem return in 2012. Lots of us love him & no horse tries harder...it's rare that we are blessed with these older guys being sound & healthy for so long & Gem is still doing very well. Can't wait to see him & the rest in 2012!!

01 Dec 2011 5:13 PM
Karen in Texas

Afleet Treet----Thanks for mentioning Awesome Gem! He will absolutely be an exciting part of racing in 2012!

As far as the thick stallion neck discussion--didn't Northern Dancer himself have such a neck? He lived a long, productive life--over age 25, I believe.

LiT----I was never so happy in my life as when the U.S. Federal Appeals Court upheld our Texas ban on slaughter in 2007. The law had been in existence since 1949, but was ignored. Prior to 2007, I was so ashamed that one of the most prolific plants in the nation was in my home town of Fort Worth.

01 Dec 2011 6:33 PM
It aint easy being good!

Coldfacts just keep posting and dont listen to the haters you had Dross in the classic when everyone else was laughing including jason who said save your money!

You post good stuff and keep on doing it. DROSS baby! Has Dray came out of the closet yet or is he waiting for 2012 super speed horse to come out with him?

01 Dec 2011 7:28 PM
Tiz Herself

Thanks Keelerman, I spend perhaps too much time looking at pedigree stats - if there was ever a job available where I could sift through pedigree pages I would be in paradise. It's a passion.

Also found:

*Kogershin - half sister to Kodiak Kowboy

*North Site - Sightseek colt by Giant's Causeway

*Prince of Spain - Spain produced this colt sired by Giant's Causeway

*Distorted Point - produced by Point Ashley

*Golden Ridge - from A.P. Indy mare Indian Vale

*Film Shot - from Film Maker

*Honey Talk - from mare Sweet Talker

*Jimmy Creed - 1/2 to Pussycat Doll

*Lake Superior - produced by Summerly

*Point Cadet - 1/2 to Point Given

*Summer Tremor - 1/2 to Stevie Wonderboy

*Magical World - from Distaff winner Pleasant Home

*Centre Court - 1/2 to Ravel (does anyone know where Ravel went? I loved him, not a thing I have found on where he is)

*Gointobegone - 1/2 to Smarty Jones

*Channeled - full to English Channel

*Half Strike - o/o mare Halfbridled

*Risky Asset - out of mare Smuggler

*Smart Farda - out of mare Farda Amiga

*Smart Ruler - out of my favorite mare to race in Canada; FinancingAvailable

Again, is a hobby. Whether it goes somewhere is another thing.

01 Dec 2011 8:57 PM
Householder

Awesome Gem.  He beat a few on this list like Game on Dude and Flat Out.  

01 Dec 2011 9:23 PM
Sylvester

Gunbow give it a rest. I'll agree as three year olds Blind Luck was a better racehorse than Havre De Grace. Absolutely.  However, as four year olds, Havre De Grace was clearly better.  At equal weights BL wasn't even competitive and when BL got a 2 lb weight allowance at her best distance she managed a nose win. Good for her.  But look what the effort did to her.  She didn't train for 2 months and then her next race she came in last. Last place.  Meanwhile HDG rattled off two grade 1 wins, one against open company.  Something BL didn't or couldn't do.  So which horse was the better racehorse at 4...Havre De Grace. Without question.  Havre De Grace will have 2012 to prove she's one of the all time great mares like Rachel while BL has been sent to the shed.

01 Dec 2011 10:03 PM
Bob from Boston

The Dixie Grass Man,  Welcome to the blog.  I am the owner.  If you need anything, tell mz and she'll contact me.  Jason, which owner bought out the group on Blind Luck?  Carver?

02 Dec 2011 1:51 AM
Rachel NH

Gunbow: DITTO on Blind Luck! ♥

02 Dec 2011 5:23 AM
Jason Shandler

Dedomenico bought her.

02 Dec 2011 10:28 AM
Footlick

There are lots of people on here who should give it a rest, but GunBow is not one of them.  His posts are always informative and factual, not full of bias.

02 Dec 2011 11:33 AM
Mike Relva

SYLVESTER

More garbage as usual. Grace didn't prove what you bragged in the Classic, did she? Do you really think BL was at her best when loaded into the gate for her last race? Tell me. Their last race BL beat Grace in her back yard. Nice try Wes!

02 Dec 2011 2:22 PM
Householder

Hmmm. I seem to remember Blind Luck spotting HDG some weight but no mention of this Sylvester.  You also fail to mention that 3/4s of HDGs wins came at the same track.  

HDG had no business being entered in the Classic against Game On Dude.  She could not go with him and could not close against him.  The same could be said for Mo.  G.O.D. spit that one out after a mile.  Unlike Blind Luck, HDG had no excuses.  

Blind luck has never liked Santa Anita.  She obviously was not the same horse with that last place finish.  Sick horses don't run.  It has nothing to do with talent. Unlike HDG, she was NEVER in the race and finished far up the track.  

02 Dec 2011 2:45 PM
Weekend

Trollvolta, making myself absent? I have a life. My world does not revolve around posting on horse blogs, and I am sorry yours does. It is pretty pathetic.

Jason, I almost spit up my bourbon yesterday when I saw the tweet from Clare about the line on the UK game. That was classic! "Don't you mean +21.5" I got it at 24, luckily SJU covered.

Big game tonight in the Ville v Vandy! Get lubricated Louisville. Friday night games are nuts

02 Dec 2011 4:40 PM
Runfast159

Gunbow, great points on Blind Luck.  She's a gutty little racehorse, a throwback. and one certainly deserving of her accolades.

02 Dec 2011 7:20 PM
Paula Higgins

Great points by everyone who appreciates Blind Luck. Both HDG and Blind Luck are wonderful horses. Appreciate them both for what they did. Gunbow is one of the wise men on this board. Always love to read his posts. They are very informative to those of us who are new to the sport. He is also a gentleman.

02 Dec 2011 9:18 PM
Mike Relva

Billy's Empire

Point is predictable as you are, knew you would scurry off for awhile after your much hyped selection didn't prevail in the Classic. Mine didn't either, but the difference I can man up and take my lumps, you not so much. Btw, will wager my life's more interesting than yours.

02 Dec 2011 10:10 PM
Sylvester

Paula Higgins please don't sell yourself short.  I think you're also a wise man and also a gentleman.

Householder reading comprehension isn't your thing is it?  I said BL was better than HDG at 3, when BL spotted her weight and lost. AT THREE. At 4 HDG matured and became a better horse.  No question.  Hopefully Game On Dude will face HDG on a level playing field in 2012 and not on that peanut butter crap they raced on in the BC.  On a level playing field HDG will make Game On Dude look like the unick he is.

Mike Relva, my name is not Wes.  Another bad guess.

On a side note, Jason, have you heard if Awesome Maria is returning in 2012?  At 9 furlongs, she's untouchable.  

02 Dec 2011 10:27 PM
oso7

I absolutely agree with your post, Paula Higgins.  Anyone who would dismiss Blind Luck for her last race knows little about this sport.  She was obviously injured or just exhausted from what she had endured over her illustrious career.  She was clearly the superior runner to HDG and proved it in their 6 race match up.

As for Gunbow, he is not merely wise, he is a refreshing breath of air on the internet.  Articulate, incisive and with no phony agenda and spitefulness.  Wish there were more like him here.

03 Dec 2011 12:59 AM
The Deacon

Gun Bow:  Brilliant post about Blind Luck, argueably one of your best.

Haynesfield just retired and by the time 2012 rolls around, many more of these horses will also be retired, it always happens that way. The older horse campaign doesn't really start until about February at Santa Anita and the eastern stars don't come west anymore. It is conceivable that we will lose many of these by May, June and summer.

New year coming, happy holidays to all and please lets all try and get along. It's just horse racing.

03 Dec 2011 1:06 AM
LAZMANNICK

Gunbow……I’m glad that you put Blind Luck’s career into proper perspective, even though Afleetalexforever and Sylvestor will never understand what you were tying to tell them.  With regards to Slew’s comment about the blind men touching the elephant, I wonder what part of the elephant they touched.

I really think that To Honor and Serve is the real deal and now that he seems to be straightened away I have him and Animal Kingdom (if he returns his old self) at the top of the handicap division.  I’m also looking forward to seeing what Mucho Macho man is going to do now that he’s back, and another that just might be a bit of a dark horse is Nehro.  Caleb’s Posse should continue to be near the top of the middle distance types and might even be one to beat in those 7F sprint stakes.  The other three year olds soon to be four are hit and miss IMO at this time, win one and lose two or three, and I don’t see any dominance with any of them at this time.  On the female side I’m really looking forward to seeing what Zazu is going to do.  HDG will probably have a fairly good year, but at five will she have already peaked?  Royal Delta is another that just might be a question mark if she’s going to have a new trainer.  She looks like a dominant type though.  I wonder whatever happened to McLean’s Music and Machem.

03 Dec 2011 1:47 AM
Pedigree Ann

Jason, when you say 'handicap horses' you do not exclude sprinters; they run in handicaps as older horses, too.

Used to be, we could tell the real heavyweights in the division by their ability to win 10f races like the Widener and Suburban after prepping in sprints and miler races. No more: the East Coast doesn't even HAVE any 10f handicaps at the top level any more.

03 Dec 2011 2:51 AM
Will

I hadn't found Haynesfield on your list, Jason, and this morning there's the announcement of his retirement. He's no sprinter but a true handicap horse. Did you know this retirement was coming ? That explain leaving him off the list or was it possibly his inactivity this year with just two appearances off a long layoff - a victory in the Empire Classic followed by a lackluster effort in the Cigar Mile. He'd had foot problems. Do you know, Jason, if the foot problem was what led to the retirement or was it stud opportunities as the Bloodhorse article mentions several farms expressing interest in the colt ? No mention there about the foot problem as the reason for taking him off the track.

03 Dec 2011 9:25 AM
Mike Relva

I think THAS will be exciting to watch. Mott does a great job of knowing how to manage a horse.

03 Dec 2011 11:01 AM
barryaksarben

How can you not have mentioned Stephanie's Kitten- ran one of the best BC races this year. I will miss Blind Luck terribly but look forward to HDG, Animal Kingdom , Awesome Feather and the rest on your list. Anyone notice I felt no need to disparage a single horse as I enjoy them all and the effort they put forward. Now the humans- not so much: Todd Pleatcher getting off scotfree when LAT was HIS responsibility and that other trainer who will go unnamed getting a justly deserved suspension for drugging and god knows what else to the horse under his CARE. Unforgivable.

03 Dec 2011 11:04 AM
Forbidden Apple

Coldfacts,

When I mentioned the recent ankle problems with Dialed In, I had a feeling that you would make a comment. I respect your position on Dialed In's neck, however I think it has nothing to do with his soundness issues. For me, I do not have much faith in his stable. This is a group that has few fillies and few turf horses. They limit themselves to expensive colts in pursuit of the KY Derby. Dialed In is in the same boat as Fly Down and Morning line, they have all been used up far too soon. I don't care about bullet workouts and excessive training. I am a believer in patience, endurance training, and somtimes giving a horse a day off. And a day off does not include silly tack walking.

Besides Soldat and Premier Pegasus, I am also excited about the return of Ultimate Eagle, Union Rags, and O'Prado Again. I could watch the replay of the Hollywood Derby over and over again. Ultimate Eagle is a gorgeous hard running horse who may have a move back to dirt in his future. Union Rags was a powerful looking juvenile, his potential is limitless. O'Prado Again is another horse who ran well on turf and dirt, his future looks bright.

I still say that Tizway is the 2011 HOY, he easily exploded away from his competition in the Met Mile and Whitney. Even with only two Grade I wins, Tizway is a deserving champion.

Bernardini's $150k stud fee is far to high.

The firing of John Veitch is outrageous, he deserves far more respect than a slap in the face. And of course Pletcher remains untouched and guilty of nothing.

The horse of 2011 that I will miss the most is ArchArchArch. He was a serious horse that never gets a mention. I hope he turns into a classy stallion.

03 Dec 2011 11:05 AM
Mike Relva

Paula

Good points.

03 Dec 2011 11:06 AM
Footlick

Sylvester- all the horses had to run on the same track.  So it was a level playing field.  HDG got outrun.  

03 Dec 2011 11:33 AM
Coldfacts

Mr. Shandler,

Your statement below does not give credit to the excitement generated in the 3YO decision.

“I don't think it's a stretch to say that this year was one of the most uneventful that American racing has seen in many years”

Far too often the quality of a racing year is judged only in terms of tack based performances. There is a lot of history and intrigue associated with the 3YO class of 2011. In fact the 2011 class has provided the most excitement in years. Listed below are some of the highlights of class of 2011. They are in no particular order with the exception of the first.

The unprecedented overhyped of a colt entering its 3YO season (Uncle Mo).  He was crowned the next TC winner before a start as a 3YO; had a Face Book Page, his owner of afforded guess blogger status; speculation abound that trainer would avoid starting their charges against him at all cost. His speed as a 2YO was blinding. His hype as a 3YO had a similar blinding effect as this triggered a refusal to see by many knowledgeable journalist and racing enthusiasts. Many are glad the fiasco is over but while it lasted it was unprecedented for a 3YO.

The connections of Irish invader Master Of Hounds attempted the unprecedented in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. The colt was train on one continent, has is Derby prep on another before his Derby start that represented his second race as a 3YO and in 61/2 months. He finished a creditable 5th. Truly bold and amazing!

Animal Kingdom became the second Derby winner in the last 29 years that was sired by a stallion whose country of birth is not the US. His derby victory was unprecedented for that fact that it was achieved on Dirt. His previous two starts were on turf and synthetic surfaces.

The biggest upset since Secretariat’s loss in the Wood occurred in the same race in 2011 with Uncle Mo’s 1-5 loss.

The Factor excited for a while following his TR performance and his scintillating win in the Rebel (2nd fastest in 55 years)

Premier Pegasus and Tapizar display of speed in smashing performances were quite memorable.

Deep closer Dialed In created excitement with his Holy Bull and FL derby wins.

Shackelford became the first winner of Triple Crown race sired by son of Storm Cat. Over one hundred of his sons became stallions.

Unbridled surpassed the achievements his grandsire Mr. Prospector by virtue of being broodmare sire of Preakness winner Shackleford. He and his grandsire each sired a winner of each leg of the TC.

The Raise A Native sire line achieved its 47th victory in Triple Crown races with Ruler On Ice.

Mocho Macho Man a June foal finished 3rd in the derby. Amazing for such a late foal!

The winners of each leg of the Triple Crown will end the year without winning a subsequent race.

Shackleford defeated the 9 G1 winners in nine graded races and only recorded one victory.

In a year expected to be dominated by Uncle Mo, the Derby preps provided the exciting and rewarded punters with big pay outs. For gamblers the 3YO class of 2011 will be remembers as the one that returned the most on investment in a longtime. What more can a gambler ask for?  I can only that there will be more  3YO classes like that of 2011 where races generate the excitement instead of one or a few glorified horses.

03 Dec 2011 11:35 AM
Ranagulzion

Gun Bow,

That was a pretty awesome post defending Blind luck's record and exposing AAF's fallacious arguments. Good stuff my friend.

Regarding 2012, its all about the Triple Crown trail right now.  Here's wishing that Union Rags, Hansen, Creative Cause, Secret Circle, Sabercat, Gemologist, Xfactor, Fire On Ice, Fort Loudon, Motor City, Dullahan, Alpha and Thessalonian report healthy, fit and battle ready in the New Year.

03 Dec 2011 1:33 PM
Paula Higgins

Agreed, oso7 with everything you said. Blind Luck's last race was reflective of nothing. It is a thow out in my book. Sylvester, I realize that you think your comments pass for wit, but they don't, at least not to anyone with half a brain. I also don't think you should throw the word "gentleman" around. It is clearly a concept you are totally unfamiliar with. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. Deacon is also a wise man and a gentleman. Mike Relva you too!

03 Dec 2011 2:24 PM
Bob from Boston

I knew a boy named Sue, but never a Paula.  I agree with Sylvester.  You're a good man Paula Higgins.

03 Dec 2011 3:17 PM
Jason Shandler

Will: I'm not sure what the cause of Haynesfield's retirement was. I didnt know he was being retired before I wrote my list; just didnt see him as a major player in 2012.

03 Dec 2011 4:14 PM
Bob from Boston

Discreet Dancer will win the 2012 Kentucky Derby by 5 lengths.  Ted from LA has spoken.

03 Dec 2011 5:05 PM
Paula Higgins

Uh Bob from Boston, it wasn't a compliment from Sylvester. BUT I will take it as a compliment from you.  As always, thank you Mike. ITA Forbidden Apple about John Veitch. I hope he sues them. This has been a shameful situation. Basically, they have fired him because he challenged their inital ruling. They should have let the process run its course or called in a mediator. Instead, they got heavy handed and sacked him. Power can be a great thing until you abuse it. Also looking forward to THAS.

03 Dec 2011 6:55 PM
skyfire

Gun Bow:  I love your post about Blind Luck == it was so well written, thorough and factual.  What a filly; I am sure she joins Hollendorfer in the Hall of Fame.  How fittling that one of her racing owners bought her, and that she will stay in the U.S. Cheers to BL and connections!

03 Dec 2011 9:13 PM
chucky

Afleetalex:

If anybody ran against allowance horses it's your hype of the year Rachel Alexandra....

Her greatest race the 2009 Woodward..lmfao...did any of those HANDICAPPED MALE made it in the 2009 Breeders?.....

Of course claimer Persistent finally exposed her lack of classic distance ability...OH yeah I forgot that Rachel wasn't the same horse in 2009...Hey I got a secret just for you...SHE NEVER WAS....lol

You know what is so funny...I bet you believe that she was Ruffian like eh?.....Ruffian can run 12 furlongs....Rachel can only run up to 9.65 furlongs....but we know that it's the plastic is why she didn't run in the 2009 10 furlongs classic...hey afleet..got some swamp land to sell ya....

04 Dec 2011 12:30 AM
Bob from Boston

Dear Abby,

I feel I have let my girlfriend Paula down as a result of trying to be "superwoman." Paula, that is 100% my fault.  I'm sorry I didn't catch that Sylvester was being facetiouss (if I spelled that right I will write in Herman Cain for President) I am a very busy woman and only pay attention to about 1/3 of the posts this time of year.  I have been getting the decorations up for the holidays, gutting deer, doing laundry, breastfeeding our newest addition (Ted from LA Jr.), in addition to being PTA President.  Someting has to give.  In the meantime, my husband Ted is out drinking with his buddies, wouldn't know a clothes hamper if he fell in it (however, the dozens of $1.00 bills he brings home each night would cushion his fall), and spends most of his time at the track with his friends Moose, Lefty, Red, Fuzzy and the Hammer.  What is a women to do?

Sylvester, lay off Paula.  I think she might be a closet Fox News listener, but other than that she is completely sane.  We've been blog friends since the late 1960s.  Don't make me send Red and the Hammer after you.  I have to ask the other women on the blog, how do you "do it all" and continue to follow horseracing?

Signed,

Bobbie from Boston

04 Dec 2011 1:07 AM
thomas

Tiz Herself

As far as i know SS Stone should be coming back, Zito i recall him talking about the 2012 gulfstream meet after he got injured. It would seem Birdrun is coming back but any thing can happen between now and january so idk.

04 Dec 2011 1:16 AM
Coldfacts

Forbidden Apple,

There has been far too much focus/emphasis on the section of my post back in February regarding the size of Dialed In’s neck. My initial statements are listed below.

“The colt also appears to have soundness issues. His galloping action is by no means smooth and his heavy neck is not ideal for young horse. (Too much weight upfront)”

“With his body type his connection are advised to be very careful with him. I would suggest they find an equine swimming pool and train him there”

My follow up statement is listed:

“Those heavy necks create a lot weight upfront and could cause problems with front legs with continue growth. Rarely do you see route horses with those types’ necks”

The first time I saw Dialed In was in the Holy Bull. After carefully evaluating his galloping action and after seeing his winning photo, I made my initial post. You will note, I firstly mentioned what I saw as apparent soundness issues, followed by his galloping action and then the size of his neck. No subsequent post in response to my initial, addressed likely unsoundness issues that contributed to his awkward galloping action. Instead I was dumped on for the size of neck comments. If my post was taken in proper context it would be clear that I was of the opinion that his galloping action was due to some niggling unsoundness issue. He appeared to be climbing a hill when coming forward. Horses have a tendency to compensate for soundness issues by adapting a galloping posture that minimizes the impact of these issues. There are many ways in which horse compensate for discomfort. I mentioned the size of his neck because of the added weight he had upfront and with his awkward action it would only be a added negative as he is a small colt.

Some folks mentioned that Secretariat, Seattle Slew and even Sea The Stars have large necks. These were all bigger horses with far superior and energy efficient galloping actions than Dialed In. Dialed In is a small colt who is a deep closer with his laborious galloping action and large neck. He has to run very hard to close the gap he allows because he takes forever and a day to get going. Soundness issues and the added burden of a big heavy neck make it impossible to conventionally train this colt. Thus my suggestion above that his connections train him in an equine pool to take the weight of his front legs while getting him to the requisite level of fitness.

If Dialed In did not have an awkward and laborious action, I would not have made an issue over the size of his neck. I hope this clarification helps.

04 Dec 2011 7:58 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

Nice list of colts listed below. No fillies! What’s up with that?

“Union Rags, Hansen, Creative Cause, Secret Circle, Sabercat, Gemologist, Xfactor, Fire On Ice, Fort Loudon, Motor City, Dullahan, Alpha and Thessalonian”

I am not familiar with Xfactor and Thessalonian. They must be under the radar as I certainly would have logged them for evaluation.  

I see that some from your list hail from the A P Indy sire line. (Hansen, Dullahan, Alpha and Thessalonian) It appears you have come to the realization that the LDS Theory has been disproved.

The most powerful force in Triple Crown history (RAN sire line) has a few: Secret Circle, Fire On Ice  and Motor City. How could you exclude from your list the impressive RAN sire line starter in the Remsen? Well I am Done Talking on this wxclusion.

I see your list is also have colts from the Northern Dancer sire line: Union Rags, Creative Cause, Sabercat, Fort Loudon

Very nice group!

Forbidden Apple,

O'Prado Again was a very lucky winner of the Remsen. I was hoping to land a coup with a 23 shot by the name Done Talking. He was much the best in the race without actually winning. This colt has all the derby positives. His sire hails from the RAN sire line and his dam was sired by Dixieland Band (Monarchos/Street Sense). He is a homebred (6 of the last 8 derby winners were homebreds). This colt will have no problems with the 10F distance of the derby. He has the stamina all he need is to improve in the speed department.  I implore you to revisit the video of the Remsen and focus on #3.

04 Dec 2011 8:43 AM
Coldfacts

Of all the horses listed to continue their career in 2012, I am most looking forwards to that of To Honor and Serve. I was very high on this horse and his stable companion Drosselmeyer,

heading into the Breeders Cup Classic. He was in the pace and subject to correction appeared to have assumed a brief lead in the stretch. He eventually ended up 7th beaten 31/2L.  I must admit I was a bit disappointed as I had boldly predicted he would win in a romp. Having watched how the track was playing on BCday I had my doubts but was still optimistic. I had always intended to wager Drosselmeyer as he would no problems with 10F;  he was returning to the tack on which he had broken his maiden and he worked 47 for possibly the first time in career. Although I was disappointed with THS

the proceeds from Drosselmeyer cushioned my disappointment. Why am I so looking forward to THS 2012 campaign? I think he has all the credentials to go dominate all and sundry.

SPEED: He has this in abundance. Rarely does a horse with THS’s body type (big & long) is capable to cruise in1:09 and change with ride motionless. This was on display in the PA Derby & Cigar Mile.

STAMINA: He has recorded three victories and two show finishes from five attempts at 9F. He finished 31/2L behind the winner at his first attempt at 10F. Based on the aforementioned result in rout races it would be reasonable to conclude that he is lacking in the stamina department. However, this conclusion would ill-advised. He won his first attempt at 9F in the Remsen in 1:50.03. He returned three months later to finish 3rd in his 3YO debut on what was a faster track in 1:50.09. I know it is not wise to compare time at different tracks. However, based on the time of the Fountain of Youth, THS did not show the expected improvements with three additional months of development and strengthening. He again never achieved his Remsen time in his 3rd place finish in the FL derby (1:50.07) It was discovered he had an injury which could account for his lackluster performance in his first two 3YO races. He was given 4 months off and I think this costs him a victory in the BCC. The same colt that could not break 1:50 in his first three 9F races, recorded 1:48 and 1:47 for the distance after his lameness issues were sorted out. There was a 3-4 seconds improvement over his first two efforts at the distance as a 3YO. I am confident that if THS did not that 2-3 months interruption in his training due to injury he would had more foundation heading into the BCC and would have won handily. His stamina was compromised as a 3YO due to injury which led to the lack racing enough foundation for the BCC. Stamina is therefore not an issue with this colt as it exists in abundance in his pedigree.   not a issue with THS

TRAINER: He has an HOF trainer who is absolutely one of the best. I know the Todd Pletcher faithfuls might finds this hard to swallow but it’s a cold fact. He managed a major part of the great Cigar’s career guiding him through an undefeated season and a record number of consecutive G1 wins. I have every confidence he will do likewise with the brilliant THS.

The colt has exception cruising speed, stamina to complement and is trained by a Hall Famer. If his victory in the 2011 Cigar mile 21 day after the grueling BCC is an indication of things to come, a bigger stronger 4YO To Honor and Serve will be a delight to watch. Enjoy the ride everyone!

04 Dec 2011 10:38 AM
Tiz Herself

Cannot wait for Animal Kingdom's return. If he does return to his old form, he'll be a force to reckon with - on either grass or dirt. Can't wait to see whether he gets to try the Dubai World Cup in 2012.

04 Dec 2011 12:07 PM
Tiz Herself

This is random, but came across, what I thought, one of the most creative name for a race horse that I have seen in a long time; Cash for Clunkers. That is awesome.

Cash for Clunkers is a 2008 daughter of Tiznow - Miss Dixie Dreamer, by Dixieland Band.

www.pedigreequery.com/cash+for+clunkers.. this is purely random. Had to share.

04 Dec 2011 12:12 PM
Mike Relva

Tiz Herself

Have a feeling AK will return as good as ever.

04 Dec 2011 7:53 PM
Tiz Herself

I can't remember in recent memory when we had all three Classic winners in the same year come back as a four year old; Animal Kingdom of course in the Derby, Shackleford in the Preakness, and Ruler on Ice. As a fan more than anything else, it is something that I hope to see pass to the generations coming up behind them. Will be a year to remember. Hope that all stay sound and safe.

04 Dec 2011 8:59 PM
-Keelerman

Coldfacts;

I believe Ranagulzion is referring to Exfactor, who is undefeated in two starts including a win in the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III). Apparently, a setback occurred after that victory, for he did not return to the work tab until late October. He most recently breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat at Churchill Downs on November 26th. He should be returning to the races before too long.

I agree with you entirely regarding Done Talking; I too was very impressed by his Remsen effort and feel he has more to give. But the colt I am really excited about is Timely Tally, who closed a large amount of ground in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) to finish third behind Gemologist. He descends from the Raise a Native sire line and has plenty of stamina, so he should have no difficulty with longer distances. Also, Calvin Borel is his regular rider.

Tiz Herself;

A half-sister to Kodiak Kowboy sounds like a fun horse to follow. He was always one of my favorite horses and I was quite pleased when he took the Eclipse award for Champion Sprinter in 2009.

One filly that I am following is Causeithertz, a four-year-old daughter of Megahertz by Giant's Causeway. She has made eight starts, all in maiden special weight company, while compiling a record of two seconds and three thirds. I doubt she'll ever be a stakes competitor, but she's still a nice filly who I'm sure will win a race somewhere, someday.

-Keelerman

04 Dec 2011 9:06 PM
Paula Higgins

Many thanks Bobbie from Boston. lLaughd my head off over your last post. I don't think Sylvester is going to lay off me or anyone else however. Yes, I am a closet FOX News watcher, along with a CNN and ABC news watcher. I draw the line at MSNBC. I have no idea how we women do it all. But we do, beacuse otherwise it won't get done i.e. the laundry, the food shopping, the ironing, taking care of the pets....... We realy are amazing. As de Tocqueville said (paraphrasing here) "the prosperity and strength of America is due to the superiority of their women."

04 Dec 2011 9:49 PM
Ranagulzion

Cocts,

It may a bit early to engage you on next years Triple Crown prospects but I am certainly looking forward to our discussions. I still hold to the Late Development Syndrome of most descendants of AP Indy. Until now there is no hard evidence that a Kentucky Derby winner is forthcoming from that sireline but I like to keep an open mind since my hypothesis is based upon historical observations therefore I've included a few of those colts. I dont wish to repeat the AP Indy/Bernardini debate in 2012 and I'll be happy to be proven wrong.  I omitted two colts: Currency Swap and Timely Tally. Also I think that Todd Pletcher's Discreet Dancer bears some watching based upon his very impressive debut.  His pedigree suggest that he'll be a very classy type but with stamina questions to be answered.

It looks like a good crop of youngsters are coming forward.  Exciting times ahead.

I see that you are head over heels about THAS. Right now I'd back Mucho Macho Man to have his measure and he'd better not show up for the Met Mile if Caleb's Posse is around.

04 Dec 2011 10:02 PM
GunBow

Sincere thanks to many for the kind words.  I do appreciate it.

05 Dec 2011 12:15 AM
GunBow

Coldfacts:

I agree that To Honor and Serve is going to have a big 2012.  One key reason is that being based on the East Coast, he's not going to have any stamina issues tested until the Jockey Club Gold Cup(and he might not even run in that race, and instead follow the Woodward-BC Classic path; or maybe he comes out for a prep over the Santa Anita dirt course in the 9 furlong Goodwood?).  

The Met Mile would seem ideal for THAS, although Ranagulzion is absolutely correct that Caleb's Posse would be a bear in that spot.  

I really don't like that both the Whitney and Woodward are the same distance and over the same track.  Basically, if you like Saratoga and excel at 9 furlongs, you have 2 gr.1 races for the taking.  Lawyer Ron basically won an Eclipse in 2007 thanks to those 2 races.  THAS was successful this past summer running 9 furlongs at Saratoga(albeit in a minor stakes), so he should be tough in the Whitney-Woodward.  However, Stay Thirsty also has an affinity for Saratoga, and we know he can get 9 furlongs+ in top company.

With the Breeder's Cup Classic being run over Santa Anita's new dirt course, speed should be more of a weapon than it has been the last two Classics at Churchill(really the last 4 Classics given the 08 and 09 editions over the anti-speed Santa Anita Pro-Ride).  That obviously gives THAS a better shot.  But like with Mo, Quality Road, and Twirling Candy, I will need more evidence to be convinced THAS can win going 10 furlongs at the gr.1 level.

05 Dec 2011 12:32 AM
mz

So, to sum up:

1.  Many of the nice horses that confused us all year are coming back next year to clear up the confusion ( but probably not since after all, I tend to be a " manger is half empty" type of person)

2.  Blind Luck deserves better than to be remembered just for her last race.  (This I can heartily agree with)

3.  Hope springs eternal:  we already have some predictions for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.  (I love 2yos)

4.  Paula may or may not be a man.  (Paula, if it gets you better service in restaurants or Congress or something, use it Girl!!)

5.  Ted has a foal.   If Jr. Is a filly, will she start in the Derby?  Why not?  After all, 2011 will be the third year in a row that a filly or mare is HOY so go with the flow.

05 Dec 2011 12:34 AM
The Deacon

Paula Higgins: Right back at you, a true lady of the blogs :)

The problem sometimes with emails and blogs, a person can't see voice inflection and the meaning behind many statements so they can be conceived as mean or disrespectful. I think a lot of bloggers are kidding and messing around but no one can tell that by just reading the words.

I love reading these as most of you have so much to say and it's nice to see differences of opinions. If we all agreed what a boring world this would be.

My mother used to tell me "people may forget things we might say" but they will never forget how we made them feel.  

Happy Holidays to all............be safe and enjoy....

05 Dec 2011 1:01 AM
Mike Relva

Paula

For Sylvester it's all about the attention. Amusing since his "world beater" horse failed to prevail in the Classic, of course he tried to spin the loss with the track condition.

05 Dec 2011 8:53 AM
Linda in Texas

Pardon me while i pat women on the back here in tandem with Bobbie from Boston and Paula Higgin's post. Need i remind anyone of the age old saying 'behind every man is a better woman,' my interpretation.

And speaking of fillies and mares re: Hollywood Park Dec.4, The Bayakoa Handicap Race 8 - Ellafitz gently  trained by Bob Baffert won her race over 2 entries trained by Hollendorfer who were mentioned to

perhaps being winners. Ellafitz (was buying Ella Fitzgerald's albums when i was 16 with my allowance money while everyone else was listening to Elvis), ran wire to wire and finished ahead by almost 4 lengths. Ridden by Martin Garcia, ya'll watch the video. Nice Win for the owners The Sivages of D & E Stables. Hardly a mention was made of her in an article pre race. Most of the attention went to Washington Bridge and City to City.  Ellafitz had not won since September. So good for her, Garcia, Baffert and the Sivage's. Those are my favorite races to watch. Especially wire to wire. Nice.

And The Cowboys? What coach ices his kicker with a time out in the middle of a field goal??? I am embarrassed and should never have changed the channel and just kept on watching horse racing.

05 Dec 2011 9:48 AM
Linda in Texas

Deacon - your mother had to be a lovely lady as she taught you oh so well to be a kind and gentle man.

It shows in all of your posts regardless of the subject.

May your December be filled with all the blessings of the season.

And that is passed on to everyone

without hesitation.

Thanks Jason.

Linda

05 Dec 2011 9:56 AM
Ranagulzion

Coldfacts,

My keyboard played havoc with your moniker in my last post and I didn't take the time to reread ...my apologies.

I see that your THAS bandwagon has gotten another boost with Gun Bow and Carlos in Cali joining you in the front seat. You'd better not get your hopes up too high because Mucho Macho Man, Caleb's Posse, Animal Kingdom, Wise Dan and Successful Dan are coming to spoil the party.

Keelerman,

Thanks for the correction in spelling Exfactor's name.  He's definitely one to watch.  Thessalonian is a handsome son of Corinthian out of a stakes winning Deputy Minister mare.  He ran fourth on debut after disputing solid fractions in a race won by another good looking Corinthian colt Junebugred (a May foal, out of a Dixieland Band mare).  These two are worth shortlisting.  Junebugred is conditioned by David Fawkes of Big Drama fame and therefore will be very well managed. I was a great fan of Corinthian and am happy to see his progeny show some promise.  I think that if the connections are patient, being from the Pulpit branch of AP Indy, they could explode unto the scene maybe in time for the Preakness.  My 2012 Triple Crown watch list has thus expanded to 17 colts.  If I were to add a filly it would have to be My Miss Aurelia.  I know that the connections of brilliant fillies are getting bolder these days to take on the colts, in the wake of the Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Havre de Grace male-beating accomplishments but I think that the MMA connections should tread cautiously in the coming season.

My watch list reads: Union Rags, Hansen, Creative Cause, Secret Circle, Motor City, Gemologist, Fire On Ice, Sabercat, Fort Loudon, Dullahan, Alpha, Timely Tally, Currency Swap, Exfactor, Thessalonian, Junebugred, Discreet Dancer and My Miss Aurelia.      

05 Dec 2011 12:51 PM
Carlos in Cali

Ranagulzion

I would advise you not to back yet another impressive 1st time-out winner saddled by Pletcher,Discreet Dancer as we head towards the Triple Crown.He has sprinter/miler written all over him,just like his daddy and uncle Discreetly Mine.Do not get bamboozzled & hoodwinked yet again by these precoscious 2yo's with pedigree/distance questions.

Also, THAS toyed with MMM twice last year and I see no reason why you feel MMM has turned the table.Yes,he was an early foal and has improved with maturity but so has THAS and expect to witness further improvement by THAS.. scary. BTW: Caleb's Posse will not be able to collar THAS,no way.His break-away turn of foot coming into the stretch will prove to be too much for Caleb's Posse,IMO.

05 Dec 2011 2:37 PM
KY VET

I hate to break it to you, but everyone is listing horses that have been running GREAT! Thats all well and good, but if you understand the game, you would know that the odds of these horses staying sharp for 2years is remote....RACING HURTS HORSES!!! Any 2yr old that was running great, is not what you want for a derby pick... Why do you think 2yr old champs almost always fail?  Also, if a horse has an injury, there is a reason! Most of the time it is a conformation issue. So, if a horse has a ankle problem, he gets better, but the problem usually will come back....Alot of the horses you are mentioning have problems...THAS was very good/ had a problem/ then was good....STAY THIRSTY was very good/ went way off form/ got good/then off form....Racing HURTS HORSES! the stress on the body is great....Many of you are talking about next year, and these showdowns late in the year? They wont even happen....THIS IS THE GAME!

05 Dec 2011 3:13 PM
MyBigRed

I LOVE Awesome Feather and I'm so glad she's back :) I miss Fly Down.....will he ever return to America ??

05 Dec 2011 3:19 PM
mz

Ranagulzion.....and Excaper.

05 Dec 2011 3:55 PM
mz

Sorry (hit "submit" too fast)

Also Perfect Shirl in the Carlos Pellegrini (is that 2012?  or 2011?) and Royal Delta in the World Cup!

05 Dec 2011 3:57 PM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion

Mucho Macho Man: He was very impressive in his return race an Allowance Optional Claim. He must be a stronger horse now I should show his true potential. THS defeated him in the Nashua and Remsen on the two occasions they met. Are you implying that he has improved more than THS? The cold facts reflect that one colt has the superior pedigree and has 2-0 record. I suggestion to the connections of MMM is to keep him as far away from THS as is possible as he is still very young..

Caleb's Posse: This colt is a sprinter/miler that defeated top 3YOs when they were either lacking in total fitness or were suffering the effect of a long campaign. He requires a strong pace upfront for his closing kick to be effective. It will be a different ball game when he meets THS again. He should be kept at a mile or less.

Animal Kingdom: His return is being awaited with great anticipation. I do not see why! I happen to think he is a turf horse who enjoyed a funky the CD track on which some of the slowest fractions were recorded for the Derby in the last 50 years. On the faster Pimlico strip he had every opportunity go by the stamina challenged Shackleford in the Preakness and flattened out. In his final prep for the Derby he closed the last 3F in 39 plus. If this is the sign of an exceptional horse it is left to be seen. He will not figure as a 4YO in the big ones on dirt as he comes from behind and with THS’s high cruising speed and long strides AK will be left in his wake when he accelerate.

Wise Dan: Where was he when the BCC was being contested? He defeated Mission Impassible and a tired Flat Out in the Clarke and suddenly he is the top horse in the US. A bigger stronger THS will cause him to spit his bit. Keep him away.

Successful Dan: Never hear of him! Get serious.

05 Dec 2011 4:00 PM
KY VET

ANIMAL KINGDOM, ARCH ARCH ARCH, NEHRO, what do they have in common? They all got hurt! Why? They all started as avg. horses, improved leaps and bounds every start...they thrived and got on a roll.....when this happens, the strain of these great improving races takes a toll...knowing this , makes one able to see the future...this is the key to becoming a winning horseplayer...being able to realize horses that are likely to go off form because they ran too good, is one of the greatest skills in the game.....turbulent decent, wilburn,wemissfrankie,plum pretty,pleasant prince,jackson bend,deans kitten,drill,dullhan,jeranimo,mr commons and UNCLE MO...All dissapointed off great races..... these were all horses that were bet heavily! A horse like 3 yr old of the year CALUBS POSSE also improved a ton.....can you tell the future? A layoff might save him.....the REVERSE is the best way to handicap... Who is the best horse in this race that hasnt fired? or isnt tired? who is coming into the race the best?    

05 Dec 2011 4:03 PM
Tricia

Totally looking forward to all these wonderful horses coming back and was thrilled to hear that Nehro is at the Fair Grounds and gearing up for 2012.  What a pleasant surprise about Royal Delta, I am truly impressed by that owner.  

05 Dec 2011 4:26 PM
Mike Relva

Great Royal Delta is remaining with Mott.

05 Dec 2011 4:49 PM
Tiz Herself

Looks promising to see Royal Delta back with Mr. Mott! Can't wait to see her 2012 campaign! Read that they are trying for the World Cup - that would be amazing.

Can't wait to see her, Awesome Feather, Harve De Grace, Plum Pretty, Zazu, It's Tricky, and Pachattack! The Distaff division will be strong. Hoping all stay sound and healthy!

05 Dec 2011 9:56 PM
Tiz Herself

I also welcome Chocolate Candy to Alberta! And warn him that -40 and several feet of snow is norm for the spring season. Poor guy. He'll adjust okay. Hope to go and see him maybe in the summer as am not far from where he'll be at.

Haven't been this excited since they brought Cape Canaveral, Gilded Time, Fisher Pond, Kissin Kris, and Saint Stephen here.

05 Dec 2011 10:05 PM
Tiz Herself

Also welcome Exhi, too, as it is rumored in these parts that he was bought and might stand in Alberta for 2012. Am excited about his potential here, too. I don't believe we have a Maria's Mon son here, so will be great to see!

05 Dec 2011 10:16 PM
Bob from Boston

With all the strong national leadership in racing I'm surprised nobody has approached KY Vet about leading a marketing campaign for horseracing.  He'd have to be better than the androgenous Go Baby Go person (Pat).

05 Dec 2011 10:36 PM
Forbidden Apple

Coldfacts,

I started forming my doubts about Dialed In last winter when he was breezing once a month. He was a talented colt, but maybe best as a closing sprinter. The big horses in the Zito barn all had bad luck in 2011. And we may never see Morning Line, Fly Down, or Dialed In in the starting gate again.

I do not need to watch the Remsen replay again. It was easy to see Done Talking make a strong bid from last place. With O'Prado Again I like that he can run on turf and dirt, just Like Paddy O'Prado did. In his maiden race just before the Remsen, he got up for the win after a 1:16 and change 6f split. And in the Remsen he was a bit wide the entire race. I see this classy colt still full of potential. If he ends up being a grass horse, I still like him.

I am expecting a big 2012 from several Darley/McLaughlin juvenile runners. Alpha, Consortium, and Lake Superior are a few that could make some noise. Slew and Mr. Right are another pair of classy juveniles that I like from the McLaughlin barn.

06 Dec 2011 12:31 AM
GunBow

KY VET:

I too never count my chickens as it concerns horses staying healthy.  

I only discussed To Honor and Serve's potential campaign to highlight the fact that if he remains on the East Coast, he won't have to answer one of the main questions surrounding him, whether he can get 10 furlongs in elite company, until late in the year.  Of course, that's all assuming he remains healthy.

The East Coast handicap calendar, without a gr.1 race over 9 furlongs until the Jockey Club Gold Cup, almost allowed Pletcher to steal HoY or at least the Older Male Eclipse last year with Quality Road without that horse having his distance limitations exposed.  Just imagine if Blame had been unable to nail Quality Road on the wire in the Whitney?  Quality Road would have exited the Saratoga meet with 4 gr.1 wins to his name in 2010, and would have had the Older Male Eclipse virtually sewn up.  With the big lead for divisional honors, Team Quality Road could have afforded to be extra cautious with their horse, and possibly could have gotten away with not running in the Classic(like Holy Bull in 94, Mineshaft in 03, or Rachel in 09).  Even with Blame winning the Classic, I would think Quality Road would have received strong support for the older male Eclipse given the head-to-head win over Blame.  And we would have never seen Quality Road completely unravel in the Churchill stretch.

There is a similar situation this year.  Supporters of Tizway can hypothesize that the horse would have handled 10 furlongs without difficulty, and won the Jockey Club Gold Cup and BC Classic.  And since Tizway missed those 2 races, and because the East Coast did not have any other gr.1 race for older horses over 9 furlongs besides the JCGC, skeptics(of Tizway's classic credentials) can only respond with conjecture of their own.

Interesting that Mott is pointing THAS to the Met Mile and Royal Delta to the Dubai World Cup.  Don't know if it says anything about THAS, but it clearly shows that Mott believes Royal Delta is a true distance horse, and that 10 furlongs will level the playingfield for her against males(in contrast to Havre de Grace, whose best chance against males is at distances under 10 furlongs).

06 Dec 2011 1:05 AM
Mike Relva

GUNBOW

Your comments are always a voice of reason demostrating great knowledge of the game unlike some.

Thanks.

06 Dec 2011 11:13 AM
Carlos in Cali

Gunbow

I think the fact they paid $8.5m for Royal Delta and her proven synthetic form has more to do with her pointing for the $10m DWC,IMO.

THAS is on a different path... HOY.He might feel the effects of that long trip the rest of the year,like we've seen before.

06 Dec 2011 12:09 PM
LAZMANNICK

Great points as always Gunbow, especially about Quality Road.  I have always been one that felt that the 10F distance is very meaningful in racing.  Although I love milers and sprinters, I think that the true test of greatness is not only the ability to win races and overcome adversity whenever it arises, but to be able to win at the classic distances.  Some say that Black Cavier is the best in the world and when comparing her to Zenyatta (I’m not trying to make this abut Zenyatta) they will argue that she is best.  She probably is……at the shorter distances of maybe up to a mile.  However, if they both line up in a classic 10F race, who would be most likely to win?

06 Dec 2011 12:13 PM
Ranagulzion

Gun Bow,

Pardon me but I have to come to the defence of Quality Road's reputation here.  That ultra smart horse did not "completely unravel in the churchill stretch".  Quality Road was not at his best, he ran his the worst race of his career because he obviously trained off. As a 3YO he ran two creditable 10 Furlongs race coming off layoff due to quarter crack issues that set him upperfectly for BC Classic 2010 before the starting gates fiasco.  Be fair to the outstanding career of a special horse that set three track records and excited the racing world when at his best. Thank you very much.

06 Dec 2011 12:46 PM
Jason Shandler

By the way guys, I just posted my first new blog of the year on Triple Crown Talk. See you on the other side!

06 Dec 2011 1:49 PM
Will

Looking forward to the new blog, Jason. Thks for addressing my Haynesfield query.

06 Dec 2011 4:07 PM
Ranagulzion

Carlos my friend,

"bamboozled & hoodwinked"? ...are you talking to me?(LOL). AP Indy has hoodwinked & bamboozled a few folks on these blogs for a number of years and now his son Bernardini is doing the same.  Quit falling for it my friend. Neither will sire the Kentucky Derby winner of 2012.

What might hamper Discreet Dancer is the the closeness of Storm Cat in his pedigree however he is one to follow until any chinc in his armour is found. His sire Discreet Cat was possibly better than Bernardini but Godolphin refused to pit them against each other. Now he could throw a potentially serious Derby contender before Bernardini with a less stellar broodmare cover...we'll see.

06 Dec 2011 5:00 PM
Mike Relva

RANAGULZION

Say what you will QR pretty much did what I expected in his last race of his career.

06 Dec 2011 5:56 PM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion

My initial assessment of first 9 of your 17 on watch:

Union Rags: The Northern Dancer line stallions crossed with the Mr. Prospector broodmare line has produced ZERO derby winners. The Mr. Prospector line stallions crossed with the Northern Dancer broodmare line has produced FIVE derby winners. Union Rags is on the wrong side of the cross. (Derby profile fair)

Hansen: A P Indy line stallions that have sires Derby winners - ZERO. Storm Cat line broodmares that have produced derby winners - ZERO (Derby profile poor)

Creative Cause: Storm Cat line stallions that have sired Derby winners - ZERO. Derby winners produced from broodmares that have earned a million dollars - ZERO (Derby profile poor)

Secret Circle: Derbies winners sired by Mr. Prospector line stallions - NINE. Derby winners produced from Northern Dancer broodmare line - FIVE. His dam sire Dixieland Band is associated with two winners.(Street Sense/Monarchos). Eddington is a son of Unbridled the best Triple Crown stallion in the last 15 years.  Unbridled is a Mr. Prospector line stallion. This colt had all the derby positives from a pedigree angle and his trainer has won three Derbies. (Derby profile excellent)

Motor City: Derbies winners sired by Mr. Prospector line stallions - NINE. The Mr. Prospector line stallions crossed with the Northern Dancer broodmare line has produced FIVE derby winners. Derby winners are poor Derby sires. Only two derby winner were sired by derby winner in the last 60 years. (Derby profile moderate)

Gemologist: Derbies winners sired by winner of the Breeder Cup Classic - ONE. Mr. Prospector broodmares that have produced derby winners - ZERO. This colt appears to have an issue with his left front leg. Not good for long term soundness. In any event 10F will be a major challenge. (Derby profile poor)

Fire On Ice: Derbies winners sired by Mr. Prospector line stallions - NINE. Storm Cat broodmares that have produced derby winners - ZERO Unbridled Song is a son of Unbridled the best Triple Crown stallion in the last 15 years. However, his horses are very soft and prone to unsoundness. (Derby profile poor)

Sabercat: Storm Cat line stallions that have sired Derby winners - ZERO Mr. Prospector line broodmares that have produced derby winners - TWO. (Derby profile moderate)

06 Dec 2011 10:47 PM
Coldfacts

Forbidden Apple,

On the subject of the Darley juveniles, I think you should add Out Of Bounds to your list. Why I am recommending the addition of a colt that only has a 4th place finish on his resume?  The son of Discreet Cat/Unbridled Elaine is a half bother to Etched Nashua and Meadowlands Cup winner. While Etched had excellent cruising speed, Out Of Bounds is a dead closer. He is big strapping colt that closed rapidly from last for his 4th place finish. This colt needs a distance of ground and will be heard from in CA when this opportunity is presented.  From what I saw he is a realy nice colt.

06 Dec 2011 11:18 PM
Tiz Herself

Is Tapizar and Joyful Victory returning for 2012?

07 Dec 2011 12:08 AM
GunBow

Ranagulzion:

I didn't disrespect Quality Road.  It might have read as if I were disparaging Quality Road, but I was only critiquing his ability to get a classic distance.  

Quality Road was an outstanding miler-9 furlong horse, and won 4 gr.1 races for his career.  But he just wasn't as good at 10 furlongs, and I don't see how one can really dispute this.  True, his two 10 furlong races at 3 were far from being bad, with the Jockey Club Gold Cup a particularly solid effort,  but both those races came against medium sized fields with only a few truly elite runners.  Ultimately, I just don't see any way around the fact that his career record at the distance was 0-3.  

Maybe Quality Road could have won the Gulfstream Park Cap if it was still held at 10 furlongs given his affinity for the track.  But facing an elite field like he faced in the BC Classic, with multiple classy speed horses, 10 furlongs was just a bridge too far.  

I concede that Quality Road likely wasn't at his best in the 10' Classic, but I don't think the entire margin of defeat can be swept under the rug as an "off day".  In my opinion, the debacle was a combination of being off form and having to run 10 furlongs while pressed by 3 other solid speed horses.

But really, my earlier post wasn't intended to be about Quality Road; I wanted to bring attention to what I think is a sad lack of gr.1 races open to older horses at a classic distance back East.  Whatever the extent of Quality Road's distance limitations, the stakes schedule for gr.1 older males back East allowed Quality Road to go almost the entire year without having his distance capabilities tested.  Keep in mind also that Pletcher skipped that one gr.1 race at 10 furlongs+ for older males in the East, the Jockey Club Gold Cup, in favor of running in the Woodward and then training up to the Classic.  

I found it amazing that one of the 2 top older males of 2010 was able to go all the way until November without ever contesting a race beyond 9 furlongs.  And that's why I asked people to imagine what would have happened had Quality Road held off Blame in the Whitney.  Quality Road would have had such a lead in the older male Eclipse that Pletcher could have withdrawn the horse from BC Classic consideration, if he felt the race would not show Quality Road in a positive light, and still likely have won the award.

Had Quality Road not run in the Classic last year(in addition to not contesting the JCGC), his supporters could have continued insisting that he is a gr.1 10 furlong horse, and given (in this counterfactual) that he beat Blame in the Whitney, could have even suggested that he would have done the same in the BC Classic.  Those skeptical of Quality Road's distance abilities would not have had the "truth" to offer as evidence, with the "truth" being Quality Road's last place finish in the Classic.

07 Dec 2011 2:27 AM
Forbidden Apple

Even though Tizway was a miler most of his career, in 2011 he was in position to prove himself at a classic distance. He was brilliant in the Met Mile and Whitney, enough to be HOY. 2011 has been the most wide open year I can remember when it comes to the handicap division and 3 year old division. I believed Mr. Bond when he said that Tizway was finally healthy enough to train up to a 1 1/4 mile race.

Quality Road and Uncle Mo were pure milers that had no business entering the starting gate for the B.C. Classic. Quality Road loved Gulfstream Park. Maybe a complete meltdown is how best to describe his two B.C. Classic flops.

07 Dec 2011 8:56 AM
KY VET

You BREEDING PEOPLE are INSANE! From the FAULTY SCIENCE of COLDCUTS, to the "THEY HAVENT WON AT !) FURLONGS" people.....To say because one race(the derby) wasnt won by a sire or a damn, is stupid science....you are talking about ONE RACE! The SAME for talking about 10 or 12 furlong races! There are so FEW! And most are later in the year...If you GENIUSES cant figure out that QUALITY ROAD COULDVE won at 10 furlongs....then you are just STUPID! You think, because a horse wins, on the day of a long race, that they love going long.....Drosselmeyer wins a slow belmont and you all think it was because he is great going long! How about he loves weak races? He won the classic mainly because he got sharp, and won one of if not the weakest beyer fig. for a classic=104....everyone ran bad.. it happens....what if a healthy quality road ran this year and ran a very sub par 106? does that make him a distance specialist? You breeding people might as well throw darts at a number board!!  Of course COLDCUTS cant throw because he is wearing that straightjacket!

08 Dec 2011 4:50 PM
Forbidden Apple

Coldfacts,

Thank you for mentioning Out Of Bounds, I'll keep an eye on his progress. I got to see several Darley Street Sense and Discreet Cat babies this past summer and fall. I liked the physical and mental characteristics of the Discreet Cat babies. They are all in on Bernardini, it was amazing to see so many offspring of the same horse in one barn.

08 Dec 2011 8:50 PM
Redhorse

Hey I'm new. Does anyone know what happened to Coil? It seemed like he finished last in two races and then there was nothing else said. I'm looking forward to see Animal Kingdom come back. Anyone know if he will stay on turf or dirt?

08 Dec 2011 11:52 PM

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