Ky. Derby Trail: The Challenge is On

So, 23 “elite” 3-year-olds have been chosen to make up the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager field. Well, several of those who didn’t make the cut are up in arms over the selections and are offering a challenge to the so-called leading Derby contenders.

The reason they are up in arms over the decision-making is that they feel several of those chosen are less -- or at least no more -- worthy of inclusion than they are.

Read the entire column here

Watch the latest edition of "And They're Off" with Steve and Lenny Shulman. [brightcove videoid="11812123001"]


Leave a Comment:


After Thursday there will no doubt who the Derby favorite really is.

11 Feb 2009 3:20 PM

How can you forget Cribnote and Heir to the Stone?

11 Feb 2009 4:24 PM
Karen in Indiana

So what do you think about Russel Road? I haven't seen any of his races, but he's doing very well & he has good bloodlines. Has he made enough to qualify? Do you know if he's racing outside of W. Va. any time soon?

11 Feb 2009 4:32 PM

Dream-on Draynay,there's too much "real" speed this year for VH,unlike last years' "cheap" speed!...Dubai?  lol

11 Feb 2009 4:36 PM
Abbie Knowles

We'll see Draynay!  Frankie is riding Desert Story and your horse has not been working particularly well according to Simon Crisford.!  Thursday could indeed be interesting and reading the Godolphin website is always worthwhile!

A very interesting column again Mr Haskin and i enjoy reading your views; especially as I am about to have a guess at The Churchill Kentucky Derby Fantasy Challenge!  And i need to know who is in training and who isn't and who is living up to or exceeding expectations etc. etc. etc.!  I am following many of the horses you mention so it is always good to get an update on them!

Many thanks

God Bless

Best wishes


11 Feb 2009 5:09 PM

I think without any doubt Haynesfield will prove to be much more than a sprinter after his next race.

11 Feb 2009 5:47 PM

Oh good, I'm not the only one keeping track of Mr. Hot Stuff. Never mind that his brother was my horse last year; I hope his stunning maiden score is a signal of better things to come. The way he mowed down the others in the stretch still blows my mind away...

Also keeping an eye on Poltergeist. He's an intriguing one by pedigree alone, and Tapit is turning into an amazing sire.

I hope Stardom Bound gets a chance to tackle the boys, but I'll be satisfied with Frankel's decision, as he's the one training her and not me.

11 Feb 2009 5:52 PM

Mike Relva - your right about Haynesfield, trouble is he may finish behind Mr. Fantasy

11 Feb 2009 7:35 PM
russell maiers

Light the fire Steve! Great idea, I had no idea this could get more fun. Two I like made your bad boy list, Woohoo. I have to be honest, there is a lot of horses I haven't heard of in the latter stages of your article. That makes the information you deliver so much the better. Then the comments, I pick up on some well thought out facts and opinions, and why people like the horse or horses. The last few years I have been off on my Derby pics,  but my reward has been most the horses I picked turned out really good later on, such as Showing Up. So its always fun, and thanks again for everything. I will have to read this one ten times to keep up.

11 Feb 2009 9:02 PM

best I can surmise from my own local sports writers poll is they  have:

                     votes  line

1) Old Fashioned        58   6-1

2) Pioneer of the Nile  37   8-1

3) Vineyard Haven       33  10-1

4) Patena               27  20-1

5) Midshipman           26  12-1

6) Friesan Fire         25  12-1

7) Capt. Candyman Can   18  12-1

8) Giant Oak            15  15-1

9) Hello Broadway       14  50-1

10) West Side Bernie     13  30-1

11) Stardom Bound (f)     8  10-1

12) Flying Pegasus        8  12-1

 not neccesarily my own choices or my own preferred order!

11 Feb 2009 10:31 PM

I am still leaning toward Capt. Candyman Can and can't wait for Big Drama to reappear but I have to say I am suddenly intrigued with Mr. Fantasy. Anyone know what is next for him?

12 Feb 2009 1:43 AM
Ann in Lexington

In the Lecomte, Uno Mas was compromised by a slow pace and a bad ride by Bridgmohan, who failed to 'feel' the slow pace and dropped him to the back of the field. Asmussen noticed and jocked him off for the Risen Star. And am I the only person who saw Friesan Fire come out and bump Uno Mas in upper stretch? Hard to tell how much that can bother a horse. Uno Mas is still on my radar screen.

12 Feb 2009 9:04 AM


As I'm sure you know I believe several contenders are still under the radar.

12 Feb 2009 9:07 AM

Slew didn't you pick Pyro last year?

I think I will stick with Vineyard Haven a back to back winner of G1 Stakes.  Let Old Fashioned and some of the others win a G1 before getting too excited.

12 Feb 2009 9:21 AM

Hi Steve,

Wow what a grab bag. Seems this list covers every conceivable angle. I would have to agree with those that can’t believe that the reasoning behind some of the futures odds warrants review. Anyone that bases their opinion off Beyer numbers, the most overrated tool in racing, probably doesn’t need to read your column at all – just use the figure.

Just to touch on a few from the list that bare watching:

Dubai today should really be interesting – Vineyard and Desert Party.

As we have discuss this horse on previous blogs, I guess we’ll see what Shug has been so patiently grooming this Saturday at Gulfstream when Imperial Council gets his first start of the year. Considering the distance is not optimal, he had to get started; a lot of eyes are on this talent. Another horse to watch on the same card is Bear’s Prospector for Baker, since you mentioned Bear’s Rocket’s huge race in the Holy Bull and this boy is a whole lot better. Looks like our Canadian friend, Wanda, and I are the only ones to see the potential.  

The Southwest should clear up two things. First, can Old Fashioned relax and rate and second, is Silver City for real going long.

You sure put together an interesting “sprinters” list and some defined points on their lines why they may not be limited in distance. Think you’re right.

Great time of year for speculation, thanks for the updates.

12 Feb 2009 9:47 AM

I am loving Mr. Fantasy! his next race is in the Gotham I think.

12 Feb 2009 11:28 AM

Steve and Lenny, you guys are a breath of fresh air, lol.

12 Feb 2009 11:37 AM

Why would you the bet “all other horses” option at 5-2 in this pool when you can most likely get a better price in the 2nd pool on any horse that they add to the 2nd pool that wasn’t in the first.  Also, when was the last time you couldn’t get 5-2 on Derby Day on any horse in the field?  Big Brown paid $6.80 last year as the favorite.   Can anyone give me a reason why betting the field makes sense?  If you have a horse in mind like Mr. Fantasy, Charitable Man, or Mr. Hot Stuff that didn’t make the first pool, you can get those horses at good prices in Vegas right now.    I agree with just about everything in this article especially the idea that you need something in the 30-1 range to create value in this first pool.  

12 Feb 2009 11:52 AM

yeah gammyp6;  he's scheduled to run in the Gotham Stakes,where he and Haynesfield are set to run each other into the ground and  therefore assert themselves as pretenders,not contenders for the Derby....ahem!

12 Feb 2009 12:09 PM

I think I read that Haynesfield and Mr. Fantasy will go head to head in the Gotham on Mar. 7th.

12 Feb 2009 1:32 PM

Vinyard Haven fades to fourth? Too bad the horse was not left in the U.S.

12 Feb 2009 2:31 PM
Abbie Knowles

Wow!  Desert Party turned on the style big time at Nad al Sheba with a totally dominating win in the UAE 2000 Guineas!  He could not have been more impressive.  

Regal Ransom was much further behind than when they last met and Desert Party hardly looked flat to the boards!!!!!  

The less said about Vineyard Haven's run the better;  he was stated as not working particularly well beforehand and is surely better than that.  But can he beat Desert Party this Year? On that showing  I rather doubt it!!!!  Although horses can make fools of any of us by proving us wrong!!!!!!!!  That's happened to me many a time!

Were you impressed with Desert Party Mr Haskin?

God Bless

Best wishes


12 Feb 2009 2:36 PM

I heard Mr Fantasy is running against Haynesfield in the Gothem. That should be a great race. I 'd love for them to deadheat but I haven't been a fan for 40years without knowing whats fantasy and what isn't. May the best horse win.

12 Feb 2009 4:20 PM
Easy Goer

While the final time of the race was nothing spectacular (137.62 for just under a mile), Desert Party looks impressive winning the Guineas in Dubai.  Vineyard Haven, a distant and disappointing fourth, not much to offer.

12 Feb 2009 4:40 PM

Draynay, well it's Thursday and I guess we can certainly doubt Vineyard Haven. Frankie Dettori sure had no doubts picking Desert Party over Vineyard. Maybe you should jump on another horses bandwagon.

12 Feb 2009 4:53 PM

Hmmmm It's late on Thursday and I don't see an obvious favorite yet.

It just goes to show, don't hang your hat on what a 2 yr old did last year. When they turn three things can change dramaticaly and last years best might just get left in the dust of Dubai.

I see some very intriguing horses in the "pool" portion of the futures. Perfect Song is one I'm going to keep an eye out for. With the extremely late start and no foundation to speak of I don't see a Derby winner here but give him some time and he may be special. Any word on where he may pop up next Steve?

12 Feb 2009 5:20 PM
Umatilla Joe

My own opinion is that Capt. Candyman Can is poor value on the opening line. He should be more like 60-1

12 Feb 2009 7:10 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm sorry none of the comments were published since last night. I was away all day and I guess the people who normally publish them were tied up with other things. I will get to your comments as soon as I can.

12 Feb 2009 7:49 PM
Ann in Lexington

Did any of you WATCH the Dubai 2000 Guineas? Vineyard Haven was climbing the whole time. Knees coming up to his chest, like a trotter breaking stride. Not training well, climbs on the track - he does not seem to like Dubai. Will they send him back to where he had success or ruin yet another promising young horse?

12 Feb 2009 8:06 PM

Yeah Wiz,

  VH was left 10 1/2 lenghts back in fourth, in his prep. I believe the final time for Desert Party was 1.37 and 3/5. Well by my calculations, on length is equal to 1/5 of a second, which means that VH time for a mile had to be around 1.39.7. Tell me if Old Fashionsed's 1.38 in the Remsen for the mile split was slow, then what do you call VH's time?

12 Feb 2009 9:13 PM

Vineyard Haven not looking too good right now, here's the latest race:

12 Feb 2009 9:21 PM

Unlike Old Fashioned... Vineyard Haven is a 2 time G1 winner on two different fast tracks.  He showed good speed for 6 furlongs in his first race as a 3 year old and in the fluffy dirt of Dubai.  His next race should be much improved and the Derby is 80 days away.  I am sure his speed will show better on the rock hard surface at Churchill.  When both horses are in peak condition Vineyard is still 5 lengths better than Desert Party (Hopeful).  

12 Feb 2009 11:05 PM

hmmmmm hot on my 'radar' list outside of the obviuos! like "Petena" whose breeding is intriquing I awaiting to see what these hoss's do against competition: "Beethoven"-"Bear's Rocket"-"Dunkirk"-"Flying Private"-"American Dance"-"Hold Me Back"-"The Pamplemousse"-"Papa Clem"-"Haynesfield"-"Charitable Man" & "Atomic Rain"  

That is, not being high on sprinters even with Beyer's unless the breeding suggests longer!

12 Feb 2009 11:34 PM

I bet Midshipman will be devalued because of Vinyard Haven's weak effort today.  Perhaps there is even some value to be had in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Champ, if he stays above 20-1 I will will have to play a small saver on him.  

12 Feb 2009 11:57 PM
m palmer

The final time was based on a good track. It is safe to assume there was some rain in Dubai. In addition this that fact, Frankie wrapped up on him long before the wire. No broodmare from Storm Cat's immediate line has ever produced a derby winner. Could Desert Party be the one? I doubt it! Worrier's Reward will win the derby easily. His sire earned $5.5M; was 2nd twice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic; second in the Dubai World Cup and won mostly races in excess of a mile. His broodmare sire earned $2.2M and was also 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The third dams of derby winners Funny Cide & Monarchos were sired by Graustark the son of Ribot. Guess who sired the 3rd dam of Warrior’s Reward? Do not waste money on the 1st Future Pool as none of the listed horses will win the derby.

13 Feb 2009 12:41 AM
Steve Haskin

mfxh, all others closed first day at 4/5, next horse was 12-1.

Yes, Abbie, I was impressed with him and the way he came home and was striding out so well. He basically had to beat Regal Ransom again and the time was slow, but I understand there was a lot of wind. so maybe the contributed to it.

Wiz, Trombetta said he wasnt sure of a particular race, but he is very high on this horse

Ann, I agree with you. I commented on TVG tonight I thought he looked uncomfortable and was climbing. He's always had poor action; runs very wide up front. With that long stretch, I certainly would bring him back here and let DesertParty and Midshipman go for the UAE Derby.

13 Feb 2009 1:13 AM

I am willing to give Vineyard Haven the benefit of the doubt, but will stop considering him if he fails to show again in his next race. But if it's just the track that he dislikes and not that he's failed to train on, then I'm nearly as confused over him as I am over the horses here in California.

But Desert Party does get things done.

13 Feb 2009 3:41 AM


   DP and Vinyard Haven have met a total of three times, and out of those three Desert Party has one twice. At his best VH coulndn't handle desert party as a two year old, and so far he can't do it as a three year old.

13 Feb 2009 6:05 AM

Russell Road will need graded stakes earnings to qualify, but I like him too. He's is by Wheaton, whose dad was Alydar & mom was Terlingua.

I always bet pedigree, so right now Chocolate Candy & Friesan Fire are my forerunners.

13 Feb 2009 8:10 AM
m palmer

Guys stop making excuses for VH. Good horses overcome adversities. He was always overrated. His race in the Hopeful was a clear indication that he is not as good as imagined. Cribnote blew the turn and lost about 10 lengths, while VH was pasted against the rails. He only defeated the charging Cribnote by 21/2L. Which exceptional horse gset a 10L advantage and only wins by 21/2? Below is an extract from a posting I made shortly after his acquisition by Godolphin.

Sheikh Mohammed is obsessed with winning the Kentucky Derby with a horse prepared in Dubai. He has been trying for years to achieve this objective with very little success. In continuation of his quest, he recently purchased Vineyard Haven for a rumored $12,000,000. Vineyard Haven will now join Midshipman for a trip to Dubai where they will reemerge in the blue silks of Godolphin for their Kentucky Derby assault. If this rumored price is correct, the adviser to the Sheikh should have his head examined.

Sheikh Mohammed has several other derby hopefuls in the US.  Included in the US contingent is a $2.1M Street Cry colt by the name of Desert Party. Desert Party has not started since the Hopeful but his pedigree has much more upside for the derby than that of Vineyard Haven. His sire Street Cry needs to introduction. His dam Sage Cat was sired by Preakness, Belmont winner and Breeders' Cup Classic runner up Tabasco Cat. The Storm Cat broodmare line has been dismal to date. However, Sage Cat’s dam hails from the prolific Turn-To line via Lord Gaylord a son of Secretariat half Brother Sir Gaylord. In Desert Party the Sheikh has a horse ideally suited for the derby distance. The same cannot be said about Vineyard Haven.

While I understand Sheikh Mohammed’s determination, I do not understand his purchasing policy for established 2YRS. If the rumored price of $12,000,000 for Vineyard Haven is correct, then the Sheikh’s obsession has transitioned to insanity.

13 Feb 2009 8:55 AM

ANN, I agree with you, maybe they shoud  bring Vineyard Haven back to the states. From what I read Midshipman isn't doing the best over in Dubai either. Should have left him here with Baffert who had him rocking last year.

13 Feb 2009 9:45 AM

LDP... Let me tell you and others what I know.  I just spoke to one of the trainers this morning.  Vineyard came out of the race a little tired but he did not like the windy conditions and the track was a bit soft.  He has been training on synthetic but will now be switched to dirt only training.  I am sure Steve can name a more than a few horses that didn't take to a wet or soft track.  Desert Party got beat badly by Vineyard on a dry fast track.  Desert Party is better on a off track but remember first race off a 4 month layoff rust was expected.

13 Feb 2009 9:49 AM


13 Feb 2009 9:54 AM


    Vineyard Haven was also beaten just as badly by Desert Party in the Sanford, on a dry track, so it looks like Desert Party can run on anything, and VH is a one trick fast dirt mile pony. A great or even a good horse has to be able to run when asked, off a layoff, on a fast track or wet, they need to run. The thing with Curlin that made him a great horse was that he was ultra consistent on any surface, G1 placed on grass and getting forth to a bunch of Euros is nothing to sneeze at, and no matter what that horse showed up and ran his heart out every single time. VH as of now is just a nice horse, when he comes back to the US and wins the Derby then i'll say he's great.

13 Feb 2009 12:01 PM

Regarding the sheikh's spending... $12,000,000 to him compares to a $14 haircut to a normal Americans!! About 15 years ago now he once paid a barber friend of mine $5,000 to fly to Dubai to bring him an American newspaper and cut his hair and paid his expenses!!! And yes, he may have an obsession with horses, but I remember some Japanese buyers about 5 years ago looking like they had lost their minds too and now both have impressive racing stables. At least the Shiekh has invested some in Kentucky.

Anyway, how about we make the game in Kentucky stay competitve for the horse racing industry so that we can keep the FUN of American horse racing in AMERICA!!!!

13 Feb 2009 12:42 PM

bad year for horses that start with "S"...

I had "Street Hero", "Saratoga Sinner", and "Square Eddie" all in my top 20 list at one point or another

13 Feb 2009 12:44 PM

back to under the 'radar... was "Theregoesjojo" 's poor 1 1/16 outing due to his lung infection problem? he may be a sleeper with speed if you can throw out that effort for that reason ... can't wait to see him in next distance effort to find out...maybe the "Fountain of Youth"???

13 Feb 2009 1:02 PM

and as to the sheikh's 2009 stable... although Pletcher and Asmussen have extensive stable to watch (I always wondered if they spread themselves too thin ...but)...


     * T *  City Style: (g)  Kty.; City Zip/Brattothecore-Katahaula County-(Can.);

                      4           2        1        0   114 lbs.; Tr. C. Asmussen –to S. Bin Suroor;  BC Juv. (T) 4th ;

                            winner  1  1/16  1:43.20;  

     * T *  Coronet of a Baron: Kty.; 4  Pure Prize/Time for a Crown-Time for a Change:      

                      4           1        2       1   118 lbs.   a ** $550,000 $$ ** keenelander ** Tr. E. Harty–to S.Bin Suroor;                                

                            BC Juv. (T) 3rd   1:34.68; + 2 ¼ ; has never been over 2 turns;  

           *  Desert Party: Kty.;  3 Street Cry-(Ire.)-Machiavelian-Mr. Prospector-Raise a Native/

                  Sage Cat-Tabasco Cat–(Storm Cat)-(Storm Bird); Tr. E. Harty-to S. Bin Suroor;

                      4          3        0        0   114 lbs. 14.5 breeding rating winner Gr. II  Sanford stakes 6 fur. 1:12.23; + 3 ¼ ;

           *  Jose Adan: Ill.; 3   Cryptostar/Markofclass-Benchmark-(Alydar); Tr. S. Bin Suroor;    

2         2        0        0   112 lbs.

    * T *  Midshipman: Kty.;  1  Unbridled’s Song/Fleet Lady-Avenue of Flags; Tr. B. Baffert-to S. Bin Suroor;

               Unbridled’s Song-(Unbridled)-(Fappiano)-(Mr. Prospector)/Fleet Lady-Avenue of Flags-(Seattle Slew);

                     4          3        1        0  126 lbs. 13.4 breeding rating

                             1  1/16  1:42.12; + ¾ to Street Hero;  2nd Norfolk S.;  winner Gr. I  BC Juv. 1 1/16   1:40.94;

           *  Regal Ransom: Kty.;  4  Distorted Humor/Kellis Ransom-Red Ransom;

                     3          1        1        0    Tr. K. McLaughlin-to S. Bin Suroor;  93 Beyer  7 fur.;  

           *  Vineyard Haven:  Fla.; 1 Lido Palace-(Chi.)/Princess Aloha-Aloha Prospector;  13.4 breeding rating

                     4          3        0        1    124 lbs.  Tr. B. Frankel to S. Bin Suroor;  7 fur. 1:23.40;  99 Beyer  1  Mi.;

           *  A.P. Cardinal: Kty.;  2  A.P. Indy/Smok’n Frolic-Smoke Glacken; Tr. K. McLaughlin;

                      4         1         1        0   a ** $380,000 $$ ** ADN **

           *  Monk’s Creek: Kty.; Friend’s Lake/Sleep Away Camp-Bertrando; Tr. K. McLaughlin;

                      2          1        0        0   a **  $270,000 $$ ** BAR  yearling    

           *  Mr. Fantasy: N.Y..; E Dubai-(Mr. Prospector)/Twice Forbidden-Spectacular Bid; Tr. K. McLaughlin;

                      2          2        0        0

           *  Taqarub: Kty.;  2  Aldebaran/Honor Bestowed-Honor Grades; Tr. K. McLaughlin;

                      3          3        0        0    a ** $150,000 $$ ** FTS (Fastig-Tipton-Saratoga)  winner 6 fur. 1:09.26; + 8 ¼  

           *  Tranquil Manner: USA.; A.P. Indy/Composure; Tr. K. McLaughlin; a Triple Crown Nominee;

                  …not yet in the Thorough Bred Database

13 Feb 2009 1:07 PM

I'm not sure why anyone cares if their horse is listed in the Future Wager field.  The "expertise" of the selection committee is extremely questionable, based on who they chose.  The sad thing is is that this wager could be a great bet and a great advertisement for the sport if Churchill Downs would make it for all of the Triple Crown nominees (and eliminate the "all other 3yr olds" nonsense).  The excuse that I've heard that the computer costs to implement it are very high is baloney.  I've been a software developer for over 25 years, and it should be a piece of cake.  But, even if the costs were high, the resulting PR benefits would outweigh that cost in just a matter of 1 or 2 years.  And many, many more people would play it.

13 Feb 2009 1:15 PM

and why do "Storm Cat" breds traditionally do so poorly in distance races???... they have breeding lines to "Storm Bird"-("Northern Dancer") "Secretariat!!!--"(Bold Ruler)" going for them ... although there was one a couple years ago that finished 2nd in the Derby and the Preakness, but he was the only one on several years now ...  any conclusions???  

13 Feb 2009 1:25 PM

and who out there is routing for

the likes of the $10,000 "Free Country" or the $25,000 "Haynesfield"???...  dat ain't no $12,000,000  lol

13 Feb 2009 1:27 PM

Two things LDP when Desert Party beat Vineyard last year it was on a wet track not a dry one watch the race.  And secondly Curlin never won a race on anything but dirt.  He tried grass and synthetic and lost on both of them so he was consistent on only one surface...dirt.

13 Feb 2009 1:34 PM

Holdorfer may sweep the El Camino Real, but with which horse as the winner???

13 Feb 2009 1:39 PM


I'm drawing a line thru VH's race. It's way too early to write him off. Unlike many so called fans I don't constantly jump on and off bandwagons!

13 Feb 2009 2:54 PM


Remember who you heard it from.Haynesfields' next race will show he's for real without a doubt!

13 Feb 2009 2:57 PM
Abbie Knowles

It is a tremendously exciting Derby trail and having the Godophin horses in the mix adds to the interest for me!  

If Desert Party  stays sound (and i hope he does!) then he must be thereabouts, Vineyard Haven may bounce back and Midshipman could be very good and I was very interested to read Zarvona's comment on Dubai owned horses! Several have the Seattle Slew factor so are of great interest to me!

It does seem Sheikh Mohammed has better horses entered in the Triple Crown races this year than hitherto so his dream may come true!  

The Maktoum family have invested heavily in racing worldwide and give generously to numerous charities!  I do not begrudge them their success!

Am looking forward to this weekends races and particularly would like Chocolate Candy to win and for Merus Merami to run well!!

The main thing is that they all comeback safe and sound.

Good luck and Godspeed to them all!

God Bless

Best wishes


13 Feb 2009 3:25 PM

Mike Relva... you are so right.  I am still on the Vineyard Haven bandwagon and plan on staying there until I see the final works of all contenders 2 weeks before the Derby. As I said earlier he had not raced in 4 months and he had been training poorly on the synthetic in Dubai.  The switch to dirt training and a firmer ground should help a lot.  I can't wait to see him run again!

13 Feb 2009 3:30 PM

I agree good horses over come bad conditions, whether they have to run in the rain, wind, or snow in some cases.  Take the Points won on a wet sealed track at Belmont and came back after 4 months off with a foot bruise and won at Gulfstream on a dry track beating Masala by 2 and the third place horse by 9 lengths.  He wasn't even breathing hard.  Good horses get the job done!!  Thanks for adding him in the 23 to watch.  I also like Haynesfield, Friesian Fire and Break Water Edison...

13 Feb 2009 3:36 PM
Steve Haskin

Zarvona, re: Theregoesjojo, what horse are you confusing him with? He hasnt run since Jan. 10.

13 Feb 2009 4:11 PM

Mike Relva;  the NY horses suck this year,he better prove himself against tougher competition to be taken seriously!..and racing in the inner-track which favors speed means nothing!..remember what I said about him and Mr.Fantasy? watch!!..

13 Feb 2009 4:11 PM

whoops  You're absolutely right!!! cuudooos

Was confusing him with "Notonthesamepage"... Just shows you're on top of this game more than most!!!

13 Feb 2009 4:58 PM


I wanna read your admission that you were wrong after Haynesfield wins,ok?

13 Feb 2009 5:50 PM


Thanks! Do you think VH will be moved over here now? If you hear of anything regarding that please let me know.

13 Feb 2009 5:53 PM


First you said that after thursday we'd have a clear favorite for the Derby then when your horse flopped you changed it to after 4 months off rust was expected. It's not even funny how often you change your tune to fit the situation. I think you just like to argue for arguments sake.

Vineyard Haven didn't just tire he folded the tent and packed it away. That's alot more disturbing than tiring. He should have showed more especially since the winners final time was nothing spectacular.

13 Feb 2009 6:16 PM

Off topic, but I often see his name here. . .

Curlin covered his first mare today, the dam of Afleet Alex.

Happy Valentine's Day!

13 Feb 2009 6:31 PM


You say Draynay likes to argue. What about you? Don't throw stones while living in a glass house. You don't think just maybe VH could have rust? You wouldn't make VH an issue except for the fact Draynay likes him. It doesn't take rocket science to figure that out! If you think VH will be defined for this last race you must be kidding yourself!

13 Feb 2009 7:03 PM
Abbie Knowles

Re Vineyard Haven:  Frankie Dettori is quoted on the Godolphin website as saying we should not write him off yet.  Frankie is an astute judge as well as a brilliant rider.  If he says do not write Vineyard Haven off then write him off at your peril!  As i have written before horses can make fools of us all!  They are not machines and VH may just not have come to himself yet.  

The first Saturday in May is ages off!  just because i prefer Midshipman and Desert Party of the Godolphin horses does not mean i do not want VH to do well!  I want all the Godolphin horses to do well and always have also Sheikh Mohammed's  and all the Maktoum horses! VH looks to be a really lovely horse as they all are.  I love horses and have my favourites. There is nothing wrong with that!  So why not get off Draynay's case and let him believe in VH!

Must stop now or i will not wake up in time to cheer on Weekend Hussler and Apache Cat in Australia at around 5.10am GMT!

God Bless

Best wishes


13 Feb 2009 8:18 PM

Mike and Draynay, I think VH is a really nice horse who's being compromised by his preparations. He's running out of time, and both Steve and Ann said the horse was climbing and didn't like the track. If they keep him there, that's not good preparation. It just seems that time and time again we've seen that everything needs to go perfectly for the Derby to happen. They need to get VH here pronto, IMHO. Until a Dubai prepped horse wins, I'm not ever picking one.

13 Feb 2009 8:19 PM
russell maiers

Anybody know when Ryehill Dreamer runs next? Thanks

13 Feb 2009 8:21 PM

Folks I think that Vineyard Haven is going benefit significantly from his races in Dubai.  Whether or not he wins he just need to arrive at Churchill Downs healthy, fit and ready.  The horse has already established himself as a class act so be careful all you hecklers, you may end up with a lot of egg on your faces (and Draynay riding your backs for the rest of the year).  

It is good to see Desert Party become a serious Derby contender.  he looked like a very good 2YO early last year.  I strongly believe that the horses that impressed as 2YOs are going to produce the goods this year.  I am watching out for Midshipman and for Jose Adan to also throw down the gauntlet later and silence the Dubai naysayers.  

Last years crop of 2YOs was an excellent one.  Mark my words, apart from Sheikh Mohammed's high powered stable, Big Drama, Flying Pegasus, Breakwater Edison, Munnings and Charitable Man are going to raise the standard of route races this year.

13 Feb 2009 9:16 PM

Tiznowbaby ... you make some valid points and the trainers in Dubai agree with you and Vineyard Haven will never see synthetic again.  He will train on dirt only from now on. However, let me say that his run was not as bad as it looked.  The track was soft and it was very windy... he looked very good for 6 furlongs.  Remember on Derby day he is likely to see a very hard and very fast surface at Churchill.  If you look at his history he thrives in that atmosphere.  I think you will see a much improved horse his next trip out.  Training on dirt with a race under his belt will only help the 2 time G1 winner.

13 Feb 2009 9:23 PM


   I can't really speak for everyone on hear, but i will say sorry for being one of the ppl to gaude Dray into coming out after VH's fourth place mystery run. I will say, i didn't mean anything by it, or at least to be mean, just kinda joking. It just gets annoying to some of us who hear him preach his one horse talking him up a storm, then trashing our opinions when we state them. For example, I've stated enough that i like OF, and so have other ppl, and then he goes and says he doesn't know what we see in a horse that runs 1.38 for a mile. For one the Remsen was a mile and an eighth, two he was under raps the whole way after setting slow fractions. I personally would not mind his coming on and stating his who he likes, but it seems like he tries to shove his own opinion down you throat, and trash your opinion. Then when he turns out to be wrong he has an excuse for every little thing. Honestly, in my opinion, let the horse do the running before you open you mouth and do the talking. If you choose not to some of the ppl like me that you annoyed will come back and pick on you all they can.

    Ok, back to VH. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and say he may have been rusty. But honestly if you calculate his time by how much he lost by then his time was some where around 1.39 1.40, and sorry, but truth be told thats slow. Dray can make all the excuses he wants, by saying he doesn't like a wet track, which by the way a good track means soft on top, not lightning fast, but not muddy or sloppy either, so it wasn't really wet. He can say the wind had something to do with it, well every other horse had to deal with those same conditions and Desert Party who VH has beaten handled it. The only legit excuse is the fact that he was rusty, and doesn't like it in Dubai. Now if VH comes here and runs lights out going over a mile and a sixteenth, then yes he deserves consideration, but for me not now. Now when i made the comparison about VH to Desert Party, don't say i'm swithching my opinion, cause i'm not, i believe that DP is the better of the two. Out of three meetings so far Desert Party has won twice, once in the Sanford, on a fast track, where he beat VH by at least three lengths, i can't remember the amount, i just remember that Haven was third and Desert Party got my attention as he dispatched the field. The next time DP didn't fire in the Hopeful, i forget if he had a reason, but in that race VH won over DP by according to Dray 5 lengths. This time Desert Party again prevailed, beating VH by 10 and 1/2 lengths. So far to me DP look to be the better, and the Hopeful looks to have been a fluke. I, in my opinion give the edge to Party, who is top 5 on my watch list if he can make the trip from Dubai successfully.

13 Feb 2009 10:16 PM

LDP let me help you out.  In the Remsen Old Fashion ran painfully slow splits including a 1:14.18 and he faced very soft competition.  Please take a look at both of Vineyard Havens G1 wins and take a notice of the pressure he faced and the splits he posted including beating Desert Party by 10 when he came in second to last fading badly on a fast track chasing fast splits. What I have said about Old Fashioned is simple... do not get too excited until he faces some early speed and tougher competition.  None of the horses in the Remsen will be seen on Derby day except Old Fashioned. Secondly we are discussing DERBY horses and so far no one is wrong and so far I have my wagon attached to Vineyard Haven.  I will not decide on who I am putting my money on until I see the last two works of all the horses in the Derby.  If you remember last year I picked Big Brown to win and spent lots of time telling people why their choices would not win.  I tell you what I am thinking and why.  I am not out to trash your opinion I am out to tell you the strengths or weaknesses of your choice and why.  You are free to argue your point and somewhere along the way we all may learn because someone along the way picks up on something we didn't see.  I notice small things like how Vineyard was pressed the whole way into a 45 and change split in both of his G1 wins and he shook them off to win both races with ease.  He has faced upfront speed and been pressed and won.  When Old Fashioned does that I will be the first to take notice. Same thing for Mr. Fantasy, there are too many excited people already.  Let him face some upfront pressure and win and then I will get excited.  LDP you saw Vineyard get beat first race back off a long layoff training on a surface he didn't like running in conditions that were not ideal. I saw a 2 time G1 champion show early speed and shake off a little rust.  We will know in about 75 days if he is going to be the one to catch.  A race in February does not make or break him.  At this time last year War Pass and Pyro were king.

14 Feb 2009 12:10 AM

I agree with Zarvona. Who wants to see a 12 million dollar horse win with our financial crisis we are having in America? That would be the wrong story line and push more people away from racing. The sport needs a feel good story to help the sport overcome the tragedy of Eight Belles of last year.

Im going for the underdogs here. And I still think we havent seen the real derby dozen yet. According to statistics since 1998 there have only been two graded stakes winners at 2 that have gone on to win the derby. Hmmm. I'd like to see a NY bred win. Haynesfield is looking like a nice horse and lets not forget Cribnote. If he can get back in the game soon, watch out.

I also agree with the person who says that all early nominees should be able to have bets placed on them in the future wager pool. Who are the clowns that pick the first pool anyway?

14 Feb 2009 12:36 AM
Matthew W

Bittel road is my sleeper! He's always around at the finish which is a sign of class! He's a two turn horse! Yes, probably a turfer but why not? Also love Baffert! The west will represent this year!

14 Feb 2009 12:39 AM
2 time valley player of the year

Bring VH back to the states and give training back to Frankel.The Dubai horses need time in the states on dirt tracks to get ready, no theory in running them over there if they are going for a triple crown races.American trainers much better then anybody else in the world!

14 Feb 2009 10:00 AM

Hi Mike.  I think that it is way too early to tell.  The Derby is still 3 months away.  I think we need to just make sure that ALL of these horses are well taken care of and so they all go to the Derby safe and SOUND and go back to the barn the same way.  :)

14 Feb 2009 1:25 PM


I agree with you.  I don't think that Old Fashion is going to do as well as everyone thinks.  Good horse though.  Still way to early to tell.  

14 Feb 2009 1:27 PM


A Valentine conception.  How cool is that?  Can't wait to see that baby.  :)

14 Feb 2009 1:29 PM

Vineyard is going to be just fine where he is.  He will be much improved when they start training him on dirt and he will be a lot more race fit for his next.  After that race he will train sharp at Churchill Downs (I hope) and if he flashes some bullets at Churchill everyone better watch out.  If you don't believe me watch the Champagne again.

14 Feb 2009 1:43 PM

Afleet Heart. . .

14 Feb 2009 1:58 PM


    What do you agree with me on? My number one Derby horse right now on my list is OF. Are you sure you didn't get me confused with Dray? lol.

14 Feb 2009 5:50 PM


Ijust returned about an hr. ago from Kentucky where I again visited the Horse Park and Old Friends,it was fun. I live close to 5 hrs. away. Yes,I see what you are saying here. I think Old Fashioned could be something special for sure. I wasn't meaning you,but others' are WAY PREMATURE to write off VH. He,in my opinion,is way too good to forget about. I see your points here. I do like VH alot,but also Stardom Bound & maybe Haynesfield. Thanks for your thoughts.

14 Feb 2009 9:22 PM


Yes, still very early,obviously anything can happen. Yes,I agree hope ALL HORSES come back safe.

14 Feb 2009 9:24 PM

hmmm ....well I am hoping that "OLD FASHIONED" wins and runs a sub 1:35.50; so that I can keep my own faith in ranking horses!

However, should he get beat or win in some awful 1:37.00 + I think it may open up wide possibilities for many others...

However, among those many others, MOST failed this WEEDEND!!! That is, accepting of course "Chocolate Candy", whom shall remain in top 20 list!!! TY for a sub 1:51.00 (ok, I know sythetic surface -the West Coast Derby hoax and all that, but) for the entire field in Sam F. Davis losing to a $25,000 claimer?! was embarrassing enough, but they couldn't even catch the 33-1 other allowance horse entry!!!  shame and goodbye, you narrowed my list way down TY... I can understand that a $10,000 undefeated "Free Country" may have gotten in over his head up to this point, ok, but "Atomic Rain"? shame on you!!! and K. McLaughlin and his $380,000 Sheikh's toy "A.P Cardinal" ...hah hah  GOODBYE  she you after the DERBY cause you're NOT going to be IN IT!!!  

15 Feb 2009 5:05 AM

Hey Mike,

    Darn, now i'm jealous, i've always wanted to go down to KY. I have a list of places i want to visit there that probably runs for a mile lol. As i said i'm not goint to right off VH, but he's certainly not at the top of my list. With him loosing his first race in Dubai the way he did, and the fact that no horse has won coming from there, i just don't see him winning the Derby. I like Desert Party, because, he won his first race off what a five or six month layoff i can't remember, after traveling back to Dubai from the states, against Southern Hemishpere horses, and showed some guts doing it. Then he come back and wins his next race in spectacular fashion. If he is not affected by the trip from Dubai, then he will, in my oppinion, be a huge threat. O another plus his sire Street Cry, has been on a roll with producing champs lately, last year SS, and this year Street Boss and Zenyatta. Right now i'm hoping that OF will prove his worth in my top spot. He's coming off a pretty decent sized layoff after the his Remsen, but just remembering that race makes me think he won't have a problem, plus he's been working like a monster, so i'm hoping he wins or puts in an exeptional effort. Right now i have a jumbled top five list, because of the fact most horses in my top five have some kind of big question mark over their head. 1. Old Fashion, as of now he's my clear cut leader, 2. POTN, he looked great in his last win but it was on a synthetic track, 3. Desert Party, fantastic horse, but he has the question of coming from Dubai for him, 4. Mr. Fantasy, looks like the real deal, but has not faced stake competition yet, his Gotham with your fav horse Haynesfield should answer that question, 5. SE, I know he's injured, but i'm hoping he can come back, he's a very nice horse, plus he's half brother to my favorite horse Curlin, yay! Well whats you top five ten or whatever your list entails?

15 Feb 2009 8:25 AM

Zarvona I am not sold on Old Fashioned at all.  He has beat nothing and had his own way with very slow fractions.  General Quarters has shown new life without blinkers and stretching out and was able to finish strong behind a sub 48 half mile split something few have shown the ability to do.   General Quarters did nearly run an identical time in the race as Street Sense.

15 Feb 2009 9:22 AM


THanks for including your selections,very interesting. I do expect OF to run big tomorrow. To be honest,there are so many horses out there I don't know where to start. I can say I like Pioneer alot,always have. Months ago I liked Desert Party,also both of Larry Jones horses. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Haynesfield. I'm looking for VH to rebound. Ask me again in a few weeks and I'll give a list,also like Stardom Bound.  When at the Horse Park yesterday,Cigar(my favorite) was being anti-social,lol.

15 Feb 2009 11:46 AM

Did anyone notice Captoin Cherokee (out of the dam of Midnight Lute, with Secretariat and Seabird in there) or Imperial Council winning this weekend?

15 Feb 2009 12:10 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve, Do you know if the Duke of Homberg might be in the Derby or Triple Crown mix? I noticed that he ran a decent time for 1 1/16 miles on Saturday. (Yes, I realize it was on turf.) Sorry if you've addressed this already and I've forgotten. Thanks.

15 Feb 2009 1:31 PM

I guess I failed to mention cuudoos to McCarthy and connections... "General Quarters" keeping 'the field bettors' hopes alive... What? I remember it took around $180,000 plus to make the qualifying graded earnings list last year and after their weekend upset romp they are over halfway home!  

    *   General Quarters: Kty.; Sky Mesa/Ecology-Unbridled’s Song;

Tr. M. Miller;  

 4          2        1        0  a  ** $25,000 claimer **  

101 Beyer 6 fur.;

108 Beyer 7 fur.;

NOW winner Sam F. Davis  Gr. III  1 1/16  1:43.54;

and given an 100 Beyer rating!!

Not on my radar list any longer...Now in my top 30 list!!

15 Feb 2009 4:04 PM
Abbie Knowles

How wonderful to see Cigar in the flesh even if he ws being anti social. He is definitely one of my all time favourites but my video and photos of him have to do!  They are fantastic though!

Chocolate Candy should stay the distance on yesterday's evidence and also has the necessary heart and courage to figure prominently in the Kentucky Derby.

I love the looks of General Quarters in his photo, and as an improver by Sky Mesa hope he can be thereabouts too!  But then I seem to have well over 20 horses that i have a reason for wanting to see win this year's Kentucky Derby and other big races which is very exciting!!!

Yes i did notice Captain Cherokee won and was delighted!  I love Midnight Lute!!!  And Secretariat and Sea Bird II of course!!!

The main thing is indeed that all the horses remain well and injury free!

God Bless

Best wishes


15 Feb 2009 5:44 PM
Abbie Knowles

Both Captain Cherokee and Imperial Council won in good style!

God Bless

Best wishes

Abbie Knowles

15 Feb 2009 5:46 PM

General Quarters looked very good yesterday,sitting patiently behind the respectable pace-setter and bounding away for an easy,comfortable win..Don't know what was behind him,but the way the field was spread-out,it looks like he is genuine!.watch him!

I'm looking for Flat Out and Poltergeist to outrun Old Fashioned in the Southwest,..cha-ching...$$$$$!!

LDP: Square Eddie is NOT Curlins' 1/2 brother..Horses are considered siblings ONLY if they're related thru their Mommas,not Poppas..and Street Boss was NOT a Champ last year,Benny the Bull was..ahem.

15 Feb 2009 6:10 PM

hmmm And, as to fractions, re "General Quarters" vs. "Street Sense" (odd comparison) ...(and given that maybe the girls do mature faster than the boyz) and that tracks, therefore surfaces, etc., have variance, and etc.;

  23.45;   48.18;  1:11.97;  1:35.00;   1:40.80; 1  1/16 me these are the competitive types of fractions I am looking for in the next 8 weeks from true Derby and Oaks competitors...

Gozzip Girl: Kty.; Tr. T. Albertrani; Dynaformer/Temperence Girl-Kingmambo;

3           2        0        0 ** $60,000 $$ ** keenelander ** ; winner Coconut Grove Stakes 1 1/16 1:40.80;

Oilgonewile: Fla.; Tr. J. Calascibetta; Montbrook/Dignified Woman-World Appeal;

9           3        3        0  ** $65,000 $$ ** Ocala Breeders Sale ** ;

winner 1 Mi. (T) 1:36.24; + 1 ¾;

 2nd Coconut Grove Stakes

     1 1/16 1:40.80; +

Racheal Alexandra: Kty.; Medaglia D’Oro-(El Prado-(Ire.))/Lotta Kim-Roar; Tr. H.R. Wiggins;  

                        7          4        2        0  117 lbs.; 2nd   1 Mi. Gr. III  1:34.57;  + 3 ¾ to Sara Louise;  

winner Golden Rod Gr. II

1  1/16   1:43.08; * 99 Beyer

and winner Martha Washington Stakes

23.04;   47.02;  1:11.99;  1:24.46;  1:36.40;  1  Mi.

 These are the types of fractions to expect from the competitors I am interested in!!!

 SO, where is Haskin's TOP 30 Fillie list??, I ask again!! just in case we have another "Eight Belles" sneaking around!!!

15 Feb 2009 10:56 PM

Although, I guess I should wish you good luck with "Desert Party" (oops Storm Cat breeding) and "Vineyad Haven" (the cursed 'Drought of Dubai'), but honestly, I have "Midshipman" ranked much high over both of those... but as we all know, JUST GET TO THE DANCE, any favorite, your's or the public's can get a bad trip in traffic and the DERBY is the biggest traffic jam next to Los Angeles that horse racing has going at this point! Limiting the Derby to 14 entries seems like it might be a much truer test, but


15 Feb 2009 11:04 PM

KatintheHat....yes, I did notice, I was most impressed with Imperial Council, impressive race, I think this one has alot of ground to make up , but could prove to be an important horse if they decide to take the Triple Crown path with him. I think the other horse, Captain Cherokee, was in a rather slow race time, and will have to greatly improve to be considered for the Derby trail. But, definitely keep an eye on Imperial Council.

16 Feb 2009 12:12 AM

It's rather amazing to me at 11:00 pm Pacific Std time there is still not a story on about Rachael Alexandra winning the Martha Washington today at Oaklawn. . . and setting a stakes record doing it.

16 Feb 2009 2:16 AM

Slight correction as I see now a post under Maiden Watch in the Blog Stable.  It would be nice to have the full story.  Please!!

16 Feb 2009 2:19 AM

Pool surprises were lack of support for "Vineyard Haven" , "Papa Clem", "West Side Bernie", "I Want Revenge", & "Big Drama"...(good for those who spent a little on them, maybe)...The Pool publics toppers otherwise remained among the lines of the Sports writers favorites poll I took and somewhat along Steve's "DOZEN". "The Pamplemousse" who didn't run around Pool #1 week seemed to have gotten some odd respect from the Pool players as did "Chocolate Candy", expected off his (expected) win... Maybe the oddest support was for "Starbound Bound" whose connections seem to be hinting they are leaning towards the Oaks!? BUT, THERE was no surprise for the support for

"Old Fashion"; "Pioneerof the Nile"

"Midshipman"; "Friesan Fire"; yet alot of support for the recently less raced "Patena" (the Haskins affect??? or the breednig rating)??? as he only has 1 95 Beyer and that at a mile!! "Giant Oak" who has no Beyer in the 94+ range at 7 fur. or above got maybe expected to slightly high support, and "Flying Pegasus" remained in the top dozen...(I will ignore commenting on 'the sprinters' at this point until they stretch out, as they have also turned me off over the past years! However, the "mutual field" players now get "General Quarters"; "Bear's Rocket"; "Mr Fantasy" and some probable likely new suprprises down the road!!!... And, thought, if they expand the pool to say 48 or 50 entries!!!, that would certainly push the "Mutuel Field" to where it might be more attractable as bettable!

(Although with Big Brown off the radar so long last year!, Mutuel Pool players did collect in Pools #1 & #2!) Well NOW, if your in the Pool  GOOD LUCK, I hope you have to pay the IRS cause the means YOU CASHED!!! And, I you stayed out of, and away from Pool #1, just think of all the information you gained and will gain awaiting Pools #2 & #3!!! Can't wait for the next 8 weeks developements, but now its time for me to get back to work!  GOOD LUCK

16 Feb 2009 3:00 AM

Don't worry Mike,

    I don't need a list right now, god knows it was tough for me to put my top horses in order, other than OF. I liked Desert Party, since last year when i first saw him run in the Sanford, and win so easily. The first thing i noticed about him in that race was how big he was compared to the rest, and how easily he won the race. That is why when i compare all his wins to his one loss in the Hopeful, i kinda think something had to have been going on to make him run that badly. I've never actually seen Hanynesfield run, so i can't say i like him or not, but if you know any places that have videos of his races, i'd love to look at them. I will agree it would be nice to see VH rebound, but after such a loss, i think he'd need a confidece builder. I may be wrong, but when a horse who has dominated his competion so much, has so much trouble in a race, and trys to run it's best, and his best isn't enough, he may as some say it get his heart broken. In that case if i were the trainer, i'd bring him back to the states and run him in a softer spot to regain some confidence, then if he does well, put him in a tougher race that will serve him well as a prep for the derby. But thats just me. SB is a wonderful filly too, it's just that i read a few days ago that they were not as set on the SA Deby, and may go to the Oaks, but they were not sure. If i'm going to like her in the Derby, then i'd want her to run against colts in the SA derby, then come down east and run on dirt, against boys or girls. But again absolutely fantastic filly. What do you mean Cigar was anti social? Was he trying to eat ppls camras? lol

16 Feb 2009 10:20 AM
Karen in Texas

KatintheHat--There's a story on Rachel Alexandra under the Handicapping News section. I only found it by accident. It's more complete than in Maiden Watch...

16 Feb 2009 11:25 AM


I agree w/ some of your points. I'm keeping fingers crossed for VH regarding his next race. I've seen Cigar 4 times at the Horse Park,also watched him race in '95 once. Usually he's friendly,but Saturday he stayed in the corner of this stall. I plan on showing up on Apr. 18(his official

16 Feb 2009 11:30 AM

My top 5 is currently...

1.  Vineyard Haven

2.  Pioneer of the Nile

3.  Rachel Alexandra

4.  Stardom Bound

5.  Imperial Council

16 Feb 2009 12:51 PM

KatintheHat ... I could not agree more.  I have to look at story after story about a slow running Old Fashioned but I can't find a story on Rachel Alexandra that just had an amazing race.  She set a record while the jockey took a nap.

16 Feb 2009 1:21 PM

I thought "Imperial Council" came home a bit slow and was not pressed, although I LOVE the Breeding!! What was surprising to to me was that he was listed as the 3rd program favorite????, which the bettors saw right through!!! Rates in my top 10 among active runners in the breeding category though! The horse has been in my top 30 for some time and on my 'radar list'. Would not be surprised at all to see him in one of the 20 Derby posts slots!, thusly adding another potential entry for the Pool #1 "Mutuel Field" players.

16 Feb 2009 2:58 PM

All the arguments over the derby winner already!!!! I love it!!! Can't wait for the next several weeks to unfold. The picture should be as clear as mud by derby day...makes me think of spring.....

16 Feb 2009 9:46 PM

Zarvona... firing a 44.66 and a 1:09.74 first time out of the gate this year was anything but slow.  He is bred to run all day and I can't wait to see him stretch out where he will be looking at a 47 and change not a 44.66  I have a strong feeling that after his next race everyone will have a new favorite in their top 5.

16 Feb 2009 11:44 PM

Charitable Man finall got back on the work tab on the 13th so hopefully he's makes the Preakness because it' would be rushig him to make the Derby. So it will be interesting if his stablemate Mr. Fantasy wins he Derby. Also Old Fashioned's time in the Souhtwest is pretty fast for Oaklawn. He has to be considered the early favorite for the Derby. I doubt he was fully cranked for his first start of he year which makes him look pretty unbeatable right now.

17 Feb 2009 2:42 AM

Hey Mike,

    What did you think of OF 3yr old bow? I missed the race live, but saw it in a replay on NTRA. Obviously not as visually impressive a his Remsen, but then again he was off for 2 1/2 months and was up on some pretty hot fractions. From what i saw it was a good race. He sat behind SC w/o getting rank, so he proved he doesn't totally need to lead. He ran right behind what has a darn quick opening half, which is what ppl wanted him to do. He showed some courage when SC faught back by responding back instead of backing down. As i said not as visually impressive as his romp in the Remsen, but he did everything we wanted and still won with some authority, overall a good race. By the way did you see Evita Argentina? That was an absoulutly fantasic race, and she beat the boys while doing it. Under normal circumstances i would never expect a horse to drop that far out of the race and win in such style, that was amazing and just so cool to watch. So what is your opinion on this weeks races, or last weeks, depending on how you look at it.

17 Feb 2009 8:02 AM


What about Chocolate Candy?  My two are Chocolate Candy and Stardom Bound at this point.  I am sure that will change several times before the Derby.  You have 5 good horses there.  

17 Feb 2009 2:41 PM


Do me a favor will ya?  Will you give him a apple for me if they will let you and a kiss on the nose :)  Love that horse.  

17 Feb 2009 2:43 PM


Yeah sorry about that.  I did mix you up with Dray.  I like OF but I don't think that he at this time is the top horse for the Derby.  It really is way way too soon to tell.  We are still in February.  OF is a really good horse.  I just have this feeling about him.  I can't quite pin it down but I think that he is going to come in the top 4.  Just not the winner.  Of course as I said, time will make a huge difference.  :)

17 Feb 2009 2:49 PM


I was impressed with OF yesterday and expected him to win. Evita A. is something else! I seen  both replays.

17 Feb 2009 3:18 PM

Hey Mike,

    I'm glad someone agrees with me about OF, I'm over hear getting shouted at by Dray, who says i'm crazy to have the colt in my top five, lol. Yes you can chastize me for saying that, since we both know i'm not the most polite southern bell to post on here. I just get so annoyed, lol. Any who, I cannot get over Evita A. that race was just something, i showed it to my mom and pointed Evita out at the back of the pack, and when she came flying up all my mom could say "O my god, look at her, shes just gettin it." I laughed and laughed. But that was one heckuva race.


    Your fine, though i am kinda surprised you got me confused with dray since we both differ so much on our favs and oppinions, lol. I don't mind you opinion at all especially when you put it so politely. If only some others, not naming any names, but including myself could be so polite.

17 Feb 2009 6:31 PM

  And, again, hello fellow Blood-Horse bloggers: At this stage I am campaigning for a separate ‘Fillies List’. And at about this time  DON”T YOU also think we need one? Isn’t this the TIME for it? With Pool #2 now going to be the ONLY Fillies Pool, isn’t this the time for a FILLIES’ LIST!???!!???!, at minimum? There are probably a minimum of 1/2 dozen teenage girls (fillies) out there that are well ahead of the boyz at this point!! Yes, I know, they have their Oaks! and get lesser recognition, purse wise and other!!!... Although, I remember a year ago my brother,--who refuses to track the youthful fillies, ‘too much work’ he claims, I do!!, and yet--he fell so in love with "Eight Belles" last year that he failed the cash the correct Derby Exacta in 2008 and that after I predicted and told him “Big Brown’ would win the Derby by 4 lengths!!! (ok 5 ¼ officially) But, why even let the fillies take a slot on Haskins’ "Dozen" boyz list!!! at all?   WHY not simply a ‘Fillies list’?

17 Feb 2009 8:12 PM

   To my fellow bloggers:  I cannot remain silent any longer!!... And just who am I?, besides a poor typist with a computer with a poor rural isp connection and an opinion, who is a yearly subscriber to Blood-Horse Magazine, who is a minor track goer, who does little more than gobble up information on 2 year olds, (Mares, Geldings, and Fillies!!!) and then the young 3 year olds prior to 'the dance', "the Derby" and the rest of the Triple Crown races yearly?, well for the last 5 years anyway,... so nothing special I suppose...

   And, don't get me wrong, I do sincerely love Steve Haskins' as a writer, a columnist, an analyzer, (am surprised he's never invited as a TV analysis on major networks during MAJOR PREPS!!) and I REALLY do Love his "Dozen's List", and his brief comments to compare and to rate my likes against, but...

   Yet. I must ask, ‘just how after 3 weeks now, can Steve leave off his top 12 list …

   Gr. I  Breeders Cup Juv.   1  1/16   winner at 1:40.94;

   Kty. bred;  "Midshipman":

Unbridled’s Song/Fleet Lady-Avenue of Flags;

Unbridled’s Song-(Unbridled)-(Fappiano)-(Mr. Prospector)//

Fleet Lady-Avenue of Flags-(Seattle Slew);

4          3        1        0

Tr. B. Baffert-to S. Bin Suroor;

126 lbs.  -13.4 breeding rating

1  1/16  1:42.12; 2nd + ¾ to Street Hero Norfolk Stakes;  ’?????

( I personally had both "Midshipman" and "Street Hero" in my Top Three selections before the Breeders Cup races in Nov.!! and "Square Eddie" ranked below them!! Most unfortunately Street & Square won't be around!) but... I still have this horse ranked as S. bin Surror and the Sheikh's best chance in the Derby and easily in my own top 5 list still! Yet...for 3 weeks now and after POOL #1 even, where the 'betting public' at least respected him enough still as their 4th choice!, and we all know that he has already acquired the required earnings!!--and I have little idea what 'Vegas' thinks at this point, but I'll bet you'll find him in the TOP 10 among the lowest odds of horses at this stage,--can Steve leave this horse out of his ‘Dozen’s list’ week in and week out!!?? And, I am aware that “Street Sense” is the only one that broke the mold of Juvenile Cup winners to Derby winners and that the odds are therefore not highly in their favor, as OTHERS GROW up and surpass them, but!...

  And, Steve is yet still giving much credence to "Patena" (and I do love the breeding, although he is unproven); "Hello Broadway"; among the top 5 ?? another unproven among his top 5???, "Giant Oak" and "Flying Pegasus", who maybe haven't yet shown us their talent, but the point there is, that THEY HAVEN'T YET SHOWN THEIR TALENT, or shown us ENOUGH in my opinion; BUT my point is "MIDSHIPMAN" HAS!! He has shown us he is for real already!!!

  And, I was a little surprised to see that little mention is now being given "General Quarter", whom I thought for sure would show up as #11 or #12 this week on Steve’s list with a comment, (even though he’s only down near the 20 slot on my own list yet well on his way to qualifying dollars), but... ignoring "Midshipman", to me anyway, week in and week out, is flatly a major crime!

   Yes, the early fractions that both "Imperial Council" and "Old Fashioned" chased, overcame, and then put away at 7 fur. and a Mile in not great closing speeds were impressive and they both do look bred to go forever, as “Old Fashioned” has already proved he can go long, but then again, "Midshipman" still rates right up there with "Old Fashion" and likely well ahead of "Imperial Council" at this stage!, that is, in my opinion. And yes, it is just my opinion, for whatever little that is worth.  

17 Feb 2009 8:26 PM


Just wanted to say that weeks ago the intense debate we had over Curlin & Zenyatta that I knew Zenyatta had little chance to win HOY,but I've liked everything about her from the beginning of time. Curlin deserved to win and unlike some fans I have no problem saying that. You had the right horse!

17 Feb 2009 10:28 PM


    Wow. I mean that in a good way. Thank you for you post. Will let you know that as i said many many times that i have absoulutely nothing against Zen, but can she please run a DE Park so i can see her run, lol? I honestly back when all the debates on Zen and Curlin first began actually stated i wouldn't mind if Zen won a Curlin lost, though i would preffer Curlin. The thing that got me started was when some idiots, not you, came on there and said how bad a horse Curlin was, and pointed out all of his weak points and all of her strong points to make her look even better, and thats when i start to get defensive. I've never even seen the horse, but believe me trash him and i'll respond to you like your attacking my own horse. Anyhow, i'm looking forward to watching her run, that way i have some entertainment from the older horse group, lol. Again thank you very much i appreciate it.

18 Feb 2009 6:11 AM


Yeah sometimes when I read this posts, I go through them really fast and respond to the wrong person.  I try to be nice to everyone.  I wish the whole world was like that but we don't live in that type of world.  There are always going to be those annoying naysayers and people that you just have to scroll past.  I know it can be annoying but in the grand scheme  of things, it is not that important.  When people that don't even know each other get into these heated debates, they are arguing with their moniter LOL.  Did I ever think a day would come where I would argue with a machine and not a person?  NO.  LOL!

Have a really nice day... :)

18 Feb 2009 11:46 AM


I think Curlin deserved to win too but Zenyatta sure did come close.  I was suprised at some of those results.  Some of the horses I thought would get in, didn't and the trainers really shocked me.  

I love Zenyatta.  That girl can fly. :)  

Of course who doesn't love Curlin.  He is such a wonderful horse.  Never did get to see the match with him and BB.  I wonder how that would have went had they both been on turf OR dirt.  What are your thoughts about that?  :)

18 Feb 2009 11:51 AM

  POINT NO POINT: Before Pool #1 you might recall that I took a minor poll of what the Sportswriters (Internet Sportswriters?) were sporting as their top 10 picks. I stated that such would maybe be ‘much along the lines of what the bettors might choose’. SO, let’s go back and take a look!

The POLL had: “Old Fashioned” #1

The POOL had: “Old Fashioned” #1

“Pioneerof the Nile” #2

“Pioneerof the Nile” #2

                                  “Vineyard Haven” #3    

“Vineyard Haven” #16 !!

                                  “Patena” #4      

“Patena” #5

                                  “Midshipman” #5  (Steve!!!!)

“Midshipman” #4  (Steve!!!!)  

                                  “Friesan Fire” #6        

“Friesan Fire” #3 !!

"Capt. Candyman Can" #7      

“Capt. Candyman Can" #8            

                                  “Giant Oak”: #8      

“Giant Oak”: #7

                                  “Hello Broadway” #9    

“Hello Broadway” #12    

“West Side Bernie” #10      

“West Side Bernie” #17

“Stardom Bound” (f)T#11  

“Stardom Bound” #6   !!?!!

                                 “"Flying Pegasus” T#11    

“Flying Pegasus” #10  

                                           popping in ...    

“Chocolate Candy”  #9”

“The Pamplemousse” #11

   At this point the “Mutuel Field” players therefore are getting a wide and varying lot, with the likes of potential qualifying runners:

“Desert Party”; “Red Ransom”;

“Mr. Fantasy” (the other Godolphin possibilities!): “Dunkirk”;

“American Dance”;

“General Quarters”;

“Imperial Council”;

“Charitable Man”;

“Break Water Edison”; “Uno Mas";

“Bear’s Rocket”;

“Flying Private”;

“Danger to Society”;

“Lyin’ Heart”;

“Captain Cherokee”;

“Dubinsky”, “Masala”,

“Russell Road”, “Shafted”,


“Smokey Lonesome”;

“Alma d’oro”;

“Toby The Coal Man”; and

“Nowhere to Hide”, and , etc., and that host of those other sprinters we are all still awaiting a distance stretch run from, such as: “Theregoesjojo”,

“Notonthesamepage”; “Rockland”;

“Southern Exchange”;

“Haitian Sensation”;

“Herr Mozart”, and, etc. ...

(ok, I admit, I through in a few off the wall possibilities considering there are only 20 gates we are vying for here, but you may have been one of those ‘field’ players and I am just adding to your hopes!!!)

 Conclusion, I do think that the sportswriters have an effect on the public’s way of thinking, as I suppose we have a ‘lil on them, maybe?!!! SO, you writers be careful, be honest, and do Please Keep keeping us Informed!!

 And thank you bloggers for your insights also! Your comments are actually appreciated and sometimes widely eye opening. Just remember though, criticism of another’s thinking is good if constructive and if handled in a polite manner!!! And, this is all about fun and predicting the future at this point anyway right, because I ask you, “Who other my brother actually had 100-1 shot ‘Gacimo’ (spell check) as his true first choice” way back when?

18 Feb 2009 5:47 PM

geeze, come on you guys (& gals), I wish you would speak up! I don't think Steve is gonna create a "Fillies List" on my want alone!!! If you too want to see a "Fillies List" jump on this wagon and sound off!!! Don't you think we need one?? Don't you think that before the ONLY "OAKS" Pool that we need one???  huh? huh?

18 Feb 2009 7:25 PM


Thanks,I've always said Curlin is a "superhorse". I do really respect his owner,never cared for his trainer for various reasons. He deserved HOY. As I've indicated Zen had too big of a mountain to climb. She truly is something special,in fact my fav.

18 Feb 2009 8:38 PM


Thanks,It would have been difficult decision,but I wanted BB to win if he could have run.

18 Feb 2009 8:40 PM

Yeah Mike.  I think I would have wanted BB to win it too.  He really could have used that.  I love that horse.  Curlin is one amazing horse.  WOW!  

18 Feb 2009 9:33 PM


Quite the list there.  I like Chocolate Candy a lot.  Boy I got dizzy reading your post but it does make sense.  

18 Feb 2009 9:36 PM

  As to someone’s  inquiry re: "Taqarub" (another of the Godolphin hopefuls),

Taqarub: Kty.;  

Aldebaran/Honor Bestowed-Honor Grades;

Tr. K. McLaughlin;

 3        3      0      0    

a ** $150,000 $$ ** FTS (Fastig-Tipton-Saratoga) **  

winner 6 fur. 1:09.26; + 8 ¼   103 Beyer;

probable to the Fountain of Youth Stakes I have in notes somewhere !?!

  In my own case, I prefer to reserve all rights to commit on "Sprinters" only after they stretch!! As, as we have seen so far, "Silver City" a whiz at 5 ½  fur. couldn't tackle a mile in under 1:35.50; !!! and he made Pool #1??? WHY? ask those that make up the Pool list!, I have little idea!! Ok, he has been touted as 'a great athlete', but we are talking 1 ¼ here!!! And right now, I would take "Saint Reade" to take on "Silver City" at a 1 ¼  !!! At this stage comparing "Sprinters" to the rest, it's like comparing apples and oranges as to which might be the best apple!!

18 Feb 2009 11:10 PM

Both Stardust and Mike

    Curlin was amazing, and so was BB and Zen still is. Don't you think this idea would've been cool, if Curlin came back, and went to Dubai for a second year and became the only horse to win the World Cup twice. Then When he comes back to the states, he and Zen get togeather, somewhere, dirt or synthetics, and race? That would've been cool. Let you all know the reason i say i don't mind sythetics, is because i strongly believe that Robby moved way too soon in the Classic. He also had Curlin in his last couple of races too far back in my oppinion, including the 08 Classic. I think in the Classic Curlin should've layed like 3 lengths off the lead, that way he wouldn't have been faned so wide, and he could've waited longer to make his move. Also, if like in the Classic he had to be so far off the lead, i would've waited to make that move. That move around the turn was just beautiful, and wouldn't have been outstanding if he'd sustained it and won? My point is Robby rode Curlin like he was on dirt, at the end of the race he said he made his move like normal, he always around horses. The race wasn't on dirt, which means, in my oppinion, that he shouldn't have ridden like it was. I don't see why Robby made Curlin lay so far back in the races leading up to the Classic. Curlin had layed close to the lead and won in Dubai, Ak Derby, the Reble, and was the leader in his  maiden. Curlin could come from anywhere, and i don't see why Robby thought otherwise. BB was fantastic, and i will always agree with that. My thoughts about him has always been, if he had good feet, he would've been great. The steroids showed me that, since i believe steroid acted as a pain killer on his feet, and thats why he ran better when on them. I don't think they made him bulked up and stronger, just killed the pain, and that's why when taken off them he never was the same BB that was the Derby/Preakness winner. I do, and always will admire that horses heart, he was courage in itself. Zen, i believe is amazing, i'd like to see her come over here to the east a couple of times, and maybe this year take on the boys. She has the talent, and if she were to do it this is the year to. HOY is alread in her reach, i want to see her take it, and draw away with authority.

    Thats my thoughts what are yours?

19 Feb 2009 8:22 AM


I pretty much agree with all you said.  I would like to see Zenn get into some races with the boys.  Also, I really agree with the Two time Dubai thing.  That would just have rocked.  Curlin is a dirt horse.  

I am beginning to think that the surface has nothing to do with the breakdowns.  Running on that polytrack is like trying to run through the sand with thongs on.  It is really different.  I think the toe grabs and the SOUNDENESS of the horse on race day are the big factors.  If a horse needs a break then there will always be another time to run them.  :)

Yeah the steroids. That is the only thing I dissagree with however,   I don't think that he really ever needed them and would have done well had he never had them.  I believe these horses are conditioned to be in a certain state of physical existance and once they are comfortble with whatever that is, they are just as good.  I am just rambling but I don't feel that a good racehorse needs steroids.  Poor Brownie and those feet.  That is so not his fault and he showed so much courage and he is so loved that it is great.  Love BB and Curlin and Zen.  Actually I don't think there is a horse I don't love.  How can one not love a horse.  :)

19 Feb 2009 12:16 PM

 So much for this particular blog sticking to this year’s Kentucky Derby??,--because I don't think Curlin or Zenyatta are going to meet the entrance requirements??,--

 However, on another non Derby subject, as to the 2009 “Kentucky Oaks”!!, that is, since no one else seems to want to have a list created prior to Pool #2!!! (but me!!!)…try some research on some of these just in case they make the Pool list!!! and also since everyone ODDLY seemingly wants to keep throwing their favorite  Fillie up against the Mares since Frankel once hinted about running in the DERBY!?!?! and then the media seemed ran away with that thought....

“Stardom Bound”;

“Evita Argentina”;

“Rachel Alexandra”;

“War Echo”--half sister to “Pyro”;

“Sara Louise”; “Pamona Ball”;

“Frolic’s Dream”--now to B. Tagg;

“Just Jenda”; “Bon Jovi Girl”;

“Livin Lovin”; “Mani Bhavan”;

“Gemswick Park”; “Four Gifts”;… could go on but… Let’s look at those off the Turf next!!!...

“Maram”; “Gozzip Girl”;

“Heart Shaped”;

“Dream Empress”;

“Love Apple”; “Oilgonewile”;

“Pasar Silano”;

“Saucey Evening”; “Gold Goddess”;

“Navigator”, “Wyoming Ride”;

and, etc.

 Did I leave someone else out that YOU are in love with???  

19 Feb 2009 4:16 PM

 " G I A C O M O"  spell checking

19 Feb 2009 4:22 PM

  And, I really don’t get all this talk about Fillies jumping to the Derby!!! They are few and far between!! “Eight Belles” proved to be an exceptional fillie in a year of “the Freak”, where the general Mare pool was otherwise relatively weak!!! and so she threw her hat into the ring to see if she might be the one to run “the Freak” down, and she couldn’t, but gave her All in a most commendable effort. She likely would have easily been the Oaks Favorite, although not necessarily the Oaks winner! Maybe they should just raise the purse in the OAKS and make it a bigger deal!!! You don’t see Serna Williams jumping onto the Mens circuit this year do ya???  

19 Feb 2009 5:01 PM

 Hmmmm, well Steve,--I am sorry that my highly watched Va. bred "American Dance" didn't move up to grade with a better performance!!, However, we saw no let down from "Warrior’s Reward" huh?!! --easily now into my top 30 again!! --And, even though this was not a touted GRADED race!!! ... if you are still looking for a horse not to 'default’ as your #1, that is, with his  

1  1/8  23.55;  :47.39;  1:11.70;    1:37.06’  1:50.15; … finish!!... I suppose "DUNKIRK" may soon take the place up at the top your list!  huh??? He certainly moved right into my TOP 4 !!!

   Dunkirk: Kty.; Tr. Todd Pletcher; Unbridled’s Song/Secret Status-A.P. Indy-((Alydar));

2     2   0   0  

a ** $3.7 million $$ keenelander*; 15.4 breeding rating;

winner 1 1/8 1:50.15;

Warrior’s Reward: Kty.;

Tr. I. Wilkes;  

Medaglia D’oro/For All You Do-Seeking The Gold;

2     1   1   0

19 Feb 2009 6:24 PM


me sorry, I do get carried away and go on and on sometimes


19 Feb 2009 7:08 PM


AP Indy is by: Seattle Slew!!!

19 Feb 2009 9:16 PM

oops   YEP  sorry!

19 Feb 2009 10:45 PM

I knlow AP Indy is sired by SS.  Where did this come from?

20 Feb 2009 10:39 AM

   Yeah,  as to only 3 preps and then a Derby try, I too used to be of the ‘old school’ class of 5 or 6 races starting as a 2 year old, 1-2 major preps as required for earnings, and then a slot into the Derby myself. But, ‘new school’, ala “Vineyard Haven” and “Dunkirk”, of ‘oops I have a live horse, let’s hold him back’ seems to have taken hold in the last several years. I don’t understand Dutrow’s thoughts ala “Patena” yet, but I am guessing that he thinks he learned something from his “Big Brown”’s trail and success, although, had “Big Brown” not had hoof problems, it looks like we’d have seen him a bit more often. BUT, there is the money angle of just getting a healthy horse to ‘the dance’, probably why several prefer to run the relatively new synthetic surfaces during the developmental stage, which keeps me excited about “Chocolate Candy”. And, if a trainer who has seen his horse and worked his horse and knows what he has already and then holds him back a bit, which may be what we’ll see happen with “The Pamplamousse”, yep, it might scare away some bettors, but it also makes us in the ‘public’ eye have to take a more serious and stronger second look.  As to “Dunkirk”, you lay out that kind of money, you do what’s necessary and be careful ,I suppose. But personally, I’d love to see him tackle more competitors or get to see more competitors attempt to take a shot at him, as that way we in the public would get to better gage potential of both he and rest of the others going into the Derby!!

20 Feb 2009 6:49 PM

Did that help narrow down my 50 lb. bag of Potatoes?  And, yes I have a current top 10, and 12, (and 30 and 50-133 list)! lol, where much like you, week to week, my list too gets tweeked and juggled around! It's my April 20th  list I hope to have figured out by then, being I imagine much like must!

20 Feb 2009 10:11 PM

I think it is going to be Chocolate Candy.

21 Feb 2009 10:43 AM

hmmm... Well I see another from "my barrel of potatoes", Baffert's "Zensational", ran a 1:08.64 at Santa Anita!!!

Now wondering where he might be headed next?!

"Zensational": Kty.;

Unbridled’s Song/Joke-Phone Trick; Tr. B. Baffert;

 2       1     0     0    

a ** $700.000 $$ ** keenelander   6 fur. 1:08.64; SA

21 Feb 2009 10:50 PM
just new to this

Great article on Dunkirk! You are still the man!! (But, looking down that list at the bottom, YOU have a pretty big "sack of potatoes" also!!)

23 Feb 2009 1:46 PM

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