Ky. Derby Trail: Dunkirk Evacuation?

Because of the lack of 3-year-old races this week, we’re going into full detail on Dunkirk’s race. Another reason we’re giving it a good deal of space is the big buzz it created. The question is, was it warranted?

Read the entire column here.

Watch the latest edition of "And They're Off" with Steve and Lenny Shulman.

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Leave a Comment:


I don't know Steve if it's warranted but it's racing news and he was very impressive in both starts. I don't think the connections want to go into a Grade One and run up the racetrack.

23 Feb 2009 2:27 PM

I took Garrett's busy ride as that he had to ask Dunkirk to stay with it thru the stretch or wanted to keep him focused since that was a sustained run?  Garrett has some interesting choices coming up.  I have always wondered if his agent Ron Anderson leaves himself with too many choices for the Derby that require an advance choice.  He worked POTN yesterday.  He could take the call back in the FL Derby on Dunkirk...unless Pletcher demands a commitment to the Ky Derby in advance or would Gomez give it? Would he lose POTN for SA Derby if he did?   And then toss in that if Midshipman runs well next week in Dubai prep with Dettori and yet Frankie opts to stay with Desert Party in UAE Derby OR Midshipman is sent to Blue Grass - Garrett might be offered that colt, too?  

23 Feb 2009 2:40 PM

Great article regarding "Dunkirk"! I am a likin' him in my Top 4! You are still 'the Man'! (But, that was a mighty big 'sack of potatoes' yourself there at the end and you left out "Zensational".)

23 Feb 2009 2:48 PM

Seems everyone is jumping on the Dunkirk bandwagon. I must admit it was a very impressive race. I personely will wait for the Florida Derby and see how he runs it before I will concede too much to him.

23 Feb 2009 3:04 PM

Hello Steve, Nice comprehensive update, you must have been a busy man keeping tabs on that many runners. Just a couple comments: As I’ve previously posted my dislike for relying too heavily on Beyer numbers or race times in the past I won’t dwell upon their questionable accuracy, except to note what you just pointed out in the case of Dunkirk.

Dunkirk - Anyone that watched his blowout in his maiden start did not get caught up in the 78 Beyer number and instead gave credence to how he accomplished his task. Since the bettors at Gulfstream hammered him on the board last Thursday, in a promising field, and going two turns for the first time from the eight hole, it seems a lot of good handicappers are still alive and well in America. He certainly didn’t disappoint. Should he step up again in the Florida Derby he would have to be considered among the favorites for the roses run – heck, he already proved he can go a mile and a quarter last week, as his trip path must have been worth at least another 1/8th of a mile. Have to agree with you however on the no two year old race problem.

Pioneer - Glad you talked to Mott on his background. I previously mentioned watching him work on the dirt at Saratoga last year and you rightly pointed out your concerns with a first dirt trip on Derby Day. I sure would like to have seen one prep as well, but as most folks familiar with the Oklahoma strip he trained over will attest, the kick back is terrible when working in behind horses there and he sure looked at ease doing it. I realize it’s still not a race but it’s also not like shipping in and only getting a light breeze and one work over the dirt before the big dance. He’s still my number one - too bad Bill doesn’t still have him but Baffert will get him to Louisville ready to go.

Can’t Wait to See:

The Gotham - that should start to clear up the picture on some major question mark horses - tough field especially if I Want Revenge shows up.

The Sham - The Pamplemousse, Ryehill Dreamer, Take the Points, and Mr.Hot Stuff.

The Fountain of Youth with Phil, Notonthesamepage, Taqarub, and Theregoesjojo - he still showed in the best turn of foot I’ve seen in the preps - hope he moves forward.

The Louisiana Derby and Giant Oak, contender or pretender?

Checklist: Haven’t written him off after his problems in last out.

One Question:

Since the Euro spot in the gate is guaranteed do you have any info on the top candidates? I saw that Gosden and O’Brien have several well-bred runners listed on the Triple Crown noms that are supposedly targeting Kempton.

Thanks for the updates.

23 Feb 2009 3:09 PM

I found your comments on Friesan Fire interesting.  Actually the fact that he's racing regularly and will have a solid 8 race foundation increases my belief in this horse.  It appears that Mr. Jones actually knows how to prepare a horse for three races in five weeks.

23 Feb 2009 3:26 PM
Steve Haskin

I guess I could have listed Zensational, but he's another Baffert-Zayat, he is pure speed, and his broodmare sire is Phone Trick. No way I see this horse going 1 1/4 miles. Watch for him maybe in the Bay Shore Stakes.

We should all wait for the Florida Derby with Dunkirk. He's up against it for the Derby. At least he's exciting to watch and talk about.

23 Feb 2009 3:27 PM

Ok, I was not happy about the comment that Dunkirk ran Take the Points to California.  I think that Dunkirk is impressive but Take the Points ran and broke his maiden at 2 and has shown he can run on an off track and a fast track.  He has beaten some nice horses in all 4 starts.  My hope is that his turf side comes out on Sat and he can win or hit the board then it will show that he is capable on any surface and when he gets back to KY for the Derby he shows Dunkirk who the star was all along...

23 Feb 2009 3:33 PM
Steve Haskin

phoenix, you're taking it too seriously. Part of it is Pletcher doesnt want to run the two together, and the other is what you said, he has turf in his pedigree. Chase out of town was written tongue-in-cheek with an element of truth to to it.

23 Feb 2009 5:24 PM

Dunkirk ?  Was not impressed with the splits or the finishing time so I will pass.  mg... I agree with you the Gotham is going to be great ! Imperial Council wins for fun.

23 Feb 2009 5:28 PM

Steve, I am not taking it that seriously, I just feel like Take the Points doesn't really get the credit he deserves.  Every race he has won the commentators always remark on someone else in the race, last race it was Well Positioned and the fact he ran bad ect...  I am just happy our colt is this good and has the chance to shine on Sat.  Thanks for all the great comments you have given him :)

23 Feb 2009 6:27 PM

Phoenixkyl - Do I remember correctly that you bred Take the Points?  Congratulations on such a good one!  That's no small accomplishment.

23 Feb 2009 6:40 PM

Dunkirk was being wispered for a long time and looks like the real deal.  Let's see if Todd Pleacher can breakthrough this year as a Derby winning trainer.  Himself and Bobby Frankel as is the case with the high profile stallions Storm Cat, Danzig and AP Indy show how hard it is to get a Kentucky Derby winner.

I hope that Breakwater Edison, Capt. Candyman Can and Notonthesamepage stand their ground for the Florida Derby so that we can properly measure Dunkirk.  It would be even better if Big Drama could be ready in time to face them all in that race but we'll have to wait and see.  Dunkirk looks like another very good son of Unbridled Song but I don't think that presently the aforementioned horses need to evacuate for fear of him.  The Kentucky Derby winner is coming out of Florida again unless one of the Godolphin runners come up with something really special.

23 Feb 2009 6:46 PM
The King of the Derby

Obviously the how very  capable we was to win @ first asking as he was bet so well and in his next start. Most of the horses in his Allowance victory are questionable and Dunkirks next start will define how far he will go.(in his quest) He will go far (breeding) but needs to pick up be at the top of the division.

23 Feb 2009 7:05 PM

Steve, I was just wondering if you had any idea where Charitable Man could come up to start his 3 year old season. Also, do you think he has started to late in the year to have any derby hopes? it would be greatly appreciated if you could attempt to answer my questions. Thank You!

23 Feb 2009 7:09 PM
Abbie Knowles

A fantastic article and very interesting reading with lots of food for thought.  As so many of the horses mentioned are favourites I enjoyed reading your comments about them.  

Am a big fan of Dunkirk and hope he can overcome his inexperience and at least run well in the Kentucky Derby; but am anxiously awaiting Midshipman's debut on March 5th.  He and Stardom Bound remain my main hopes!  

However the race is several months away and a lot will change between now and then.  Even so it is very exciting having so many wonderful horses on the Derby trail and I just pray they all stay sound and well!

Many thanks for the articles.

God Bless

Best Wishes


23 Feb 2009 7:38 PM

I like Ryehill Dreamer in the Sham.  He has a patient trainer and has a pretty good turn of foot on the far turn.  He did not look like he had been off 5 months.  He can certainly move forward off his last effort.  

23 Feb 2009 8:18 PM

I can't put my finger on it, but I'm not sold on Dunkirk. OK, I can put my finger on it: no starts at 2. But, he's adding more fun to the whole countdown.

I really want Mr. Hot Stuff to step up. I find him exciting.

23 Feb 2009 9:23 PM

MR. FANTASY worked on Saturday 48.05 flat  - 3/107. Garcia flying up from Fla to ride him in the Gotham. He may have to choose between Mr. F. and Taqarub eventually. I Want Revenge - I assume will be the morning line favorite for the Gotham. He looks awfully tough on paper

23 Feb 2009 9:58 PM
m palmer

I have no reservation stating that I am academically challenged. This may be the reason I am having difficulties seeing what is so impressive about Dunkirk’s two performances.

Let me recap his victories to date: A $40,000, MSW at Seven Furlongs in 1:25.00 by 53/4 lengths; An Allowance ($42,000), at One And One Eighth Miles in 1:50.15 by 43/4 lengths. It was reported that he had traffic problems on both occasions so let me deduct a second from each time and revise them to 1:24 and 1:49.15 respectively. I believe a one second deduction is being overly generous. It would not be realistic to remove 3 seconds and give him Curlin’s 1:22 plus for his seven furlong debut. . It would not be realistic to remove 2 seconds to give him Big Brown’s 1:48 plus for his third start. If Dunkirk was impressive Curlin and Big Brown were exceptional. Is it possible that the absence of steroids from the diets of the current 3YO crop has affected their times? Are we   therefore required to redefine impressive? This horse has won both of his starts but it is overwhelmingly clears he is slow in comparison to the top 3YOs of 2009 and 2008.

Notonthesamepage won the Six Furlongs, Spectacular Bid Stk in 1:08.48. Let’s assume he was required to run an additional furlong. If he ran an unlikely 16 seconds for that furlong he would run a faster time the Dunkirk. Realistically he would probably run about 14 seconds. Do know how far behind Dunkirk would be? Do not be fooled, Notonthesamepage is not a sprinter. A review of his performance in the (G1) Three Chimneys Hopeful Stk will reflect a closing Notonthesamepage after a troubled start. The bleeding problem that plagued him at that time is now behind him. Does any one believe Dunkirk can take this horse off his bridle under normal circumstances? Theregoesjojo won a $42,000 ALW, at Seven Furlongs in 1:22.23. His pedigree does not suggest speed. He was sire by a son of Danzig. His dam was sired by TC winner Seattle Slew. His second and third dams were sired by the stamina laden Cure The Blues and Le Fabuleux. The fact that he can cover 7F in 1:22.23 with his pedigree suggests a lot of class.

Notonthesamepage was credited with a 115 beyer, the highest for 3YO in 2009. Theregoesjojo was on the board in the Bashford Manor S. (gr. III) and has recorded on of the fastest time for 7F at Gulfstream Park this season. They have both displayed excellent speed with their stamina laden pedigrees, yet they are not in the top 10 of any derby list. However, the slow over hyped Dunkirk has made the top five of Steve’s list. What am I missing?

It appears a $3.7M purchase price, a sire that was champion 2YO, a dam that won the Kentucky Oaks and slow times are qualification for making the top five. No past champion had such a profile. We need to keep it real.  

23 Feb 2009 10:13 PM
Matthew W

I know it's early, I just think Pioneerof The Nile is a real nice horse--the having never run behind kickback concerns me--it's akin to a Euro running in The Derby--except he DID work at Saratoga behind horses---That to me is gonna be the biggest story of Spring---Can he dirt? And, yeah, we'll see if Dunkirk is Big Brown alright! But seriously, Baffert's holding the wildcard this year--Pioneerof The Nile is a good horse! He has "the look".....

23 Feb 2009 10:36 PM


I've stated for the past month on blogs that I like Pioneer,(always have),Stardom Bound,Haynesfield. Unlike many of your readers I don't get caught up in Bayer numbers,fractions,etc.

23 Feb 2009 11:14 PM

Very nice win by Dunkirk.  But what Zensational did was even better.  If he stretches out like Congaree did.  Anyone who runs with him will die.  Zayat may throw him in a race to set up the Nile.

23 Feb 2009 11:21 PM
m palmer

OK, I have been too hard on Dunkirk because of his millionaire dam and $150K sire. Listed below is a sampling of the Million Dollar Dam Club.  The sampling reflects their earnings and the stallions to which they were bred. This will indicate why I am adamant Dunkirk is not going to be the derby winner. Millionaire broodmares do not produce derby winners as they are bred for commercial appeal not to produce champions.

Memories of Silver ($1,448,715) Storm Cat

Glitter Woman ($1,256,805) Storm Cat

Dance Smartly ($3,263,835) A.P. Indy

Hollywood Wildcat ($1,432,160) Deputy Minister

Hollywood Wildcat ($1,432,160) Danzig

Antespend ($1,011,954) A.P. Indy

Clear Mandate ($1,085,588) A.P. Indy

Elizabeth Rose ($1,201,226) Sunday Silence

Heavenly Prize ($1,825,940) Storm Cat (Twice)

Jameela ($1,038,704) Mr. Prospector

Windsharp ($1,293,075) Gone West

Miesque ($2,096,517) Mr. Prospector

My Flag ($1,557,057) A.P. Indy

My Flag ($1,557,057) Strom Cat

Personal Ensign ($1,679,880) Private Account

Personal Ensign ($1,679,880) Mr Prospector

Hollywood Wildcat ($1,432,160) Storm Cat

Halo America ($1,460,992) Storm Cat

Miesque ($2,096,517) A.P. Indy

Hollywood Wildcat ($1,432,160) D. Minister

Clear Mandate ($1,085,588) Storm Ca

Jewel Princess ($1,904,060) ) Storm Cat

Jewel Princess ($1,904,060) ) Storm Cat

Inside Information ($1,641,805) Seeking The Gold

Inside Information ($1,641,805) Unbridled's Song

Silverbulletday($3,039,207) A.P. Indy

Silverbulletday($3,039,207) Storm Cat

The above sampling reflects 28 foals produced from covers by the top five stallions. All of the broodmares were super on the track and were champion in their division. Summary: Five Breeders Cup winners; five millionaires and one multi-millionaire; Gulch and Our Emblem sired winners of two legs of the Triple Crown. Storm Cat sired 11 foals – One Breeders Cup winner and one millionaire; A.P. Indy sired 5 foals – Highest earner Friends Lake ($696,400); Mr. Prospector sired 3 foals - One Breeders Cup winner and multi-millionaire. Two of his foals produced winners of TC races. A. P. Indy had the worst record of the top three sires. Can anyone guess who sired Azeri’s first foal that $7.7M could not buy?

No winner of a Triple Crown Race. This indicates why I am adamant Dunkirk is not going to be the derby winner. Millionaire broodmares do not produce derby winners as they are bred for commercial appeal not to produce champions.

23 Feb 2009 11:41 PM

Steve, what do you think about Unbridled's Song having such a great run of prospects this year? Pedigree wise, what do you think of The Pamplemousse and his ability to handle dirt.  I ask because he is aimed for the Santa Anita Derby, like Stardom Bound and Pioneerof the Nile, and we may not see him run on dirt before the Derby.

24 Feb 2009 2:45 AM
Scott from England

"But the colt’s connections, Demi O’Byrne and co-owner Michael Tabor, have had good luck with Gomez and wanted him to ride the colt."

Is Demi O Byrne an owner of Dunkirk? You don't see him as an owner for many. Must have been a real star at the sales.

24 Feb 2009 8:27 AM

I always like following the Triple Crown races every year, they actually being 3 of the now 5 races televised I can watch on TV in my home state of Wyoming. (Other two days are now Breeder's Cup program.)  Dunkirk appears to be a viable prospect so far, see how he does in his next race, don't know how much I like him yet, but being able to win after being carried wide is a plus.

Normally I don't make my picks until the actual Derby field is selected.  I am an amateur at this, being a college student majoring in animal science, with a fascination for Thoroughbred pedigrees and genetics.   Some of you have mentioned Beyer numbers and Ragozin (spl) sheets in your comments, as well as work out split times or sale prices.  I've learned a lot from reading them all, both here and when reading Triple Crown Talk.  Are there other horse racing websites that post the Beyer numbers or Ragozin sheets etc, those of you with more experience at this could recommend?  The Bloodhorse is the only one I read a lot.  Thank you all,


24 Feb 2009 8:42 AM

Trust me, as a chart-caller, Sincero's effort did not go unnoticed. Obviously the addition of Lasix has helped this horse. After being carried well wide early, he had to chase "first flight" while continuing wide from there. He held on very well through the lane. My question is, has any high profile connection made an offer for this horse? Secondly, you can't believe the times at Gulfstream. Whether it's the configuration of the track or the timing system or the combination of those two, nothing seems to really exactly jive there.

24 Feb 2009 8:44 AM

Kat, yes we bred Take the Points.  He was out of a free mare and a $7500.00 stud fee.  Actually the mare wasn't free we traded out some board for her since the owner was tired of her reproductive issues.  We laugh because we only get a foal out of her once every 3 years but if they come out like Take the Points it is worth the wait.  Looks like we will get a Spellbinder out of her this April.  See it doesn't take millions of dollars to get a good one :)  Thanks to everyone who cheers our boy on in the Sham on Sat...

24 Feb 2009 8:50 AM

M PALMER: I really enjoy your postings but can't agree with some of your dogma.  I believe that you will eventually be proven wrong about Unbridled Song, not necessarily in this year's Derby, also about Dunkirk.  

It might have been a very good thing that he was not raced as a 2YO just to make sure that those suspect "Unbridled Song frail legs and joints" be properly developed.  He is definitely the most impressive of the "young turks/ one race wonders" and looks like a bonafide potential Derby winner.  So we'll disagree on this one even though he is only on the bubble of my top ten.

We are definitely on the same page with Notonthesamepage.  This horse looks like at minimum a very smart miler, primarily because he has Catienus(Storm Cat's son) as his sire.  What a revelation the Fountain Of Youth is going to be.  Many experts are going to have "egg all over their faces" for dispising this one.  Keep up the good work.

Thanks to you Steve for facilitating these great discussions.  You're the man indeed.

24 Feb 2009 10:15 AM

M PALMER:  I just learned that Grindstone (1996 Kentucky Derby winner), Mr. Prospector's grand son and the sire of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, was a January foal.  I don't recall you acknowledging that fact of history.  There goes an exception to your dogmatics.

24 Feb 2009 11:06 AM

Trackman, You hit a nail on the head with the times at Gulfstream. I don't know how they are setting their ditch timers but I wouldn't believe a time coming out of there on a bet. Two weeks ago they had the splits for the first 1/2 of a mile and 1/16 race at 17 3/5 and 37 2/5. Obviously later amended - it's scary.

24 Feb 2009 12:08 PM

mg... just because you have all of these facts and just because horses that don't run at 2 don't win the derby doesn't mean Dunkirk won't win. What you don't know is when Mars lines up with Venus on the second Thursday of each month that causes ground shifts that will move only under Dunkirk's feet giving him an advantage at Churchill in May.  I am surprised you didn't know that...

24 Feb 2009 12:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Looks like Baffert is going to stretch Zensational out in the WinStar Derby.

McLaughlin will not rush Charitable Man. It'll be very hard finding an allowance race for him, and any stakes now is going to be a tough spot. I should be talking to Kiaran soon and will find out if he's looked that far ahead.

Unbridled's Song obviously is having an incredible year. He was a vastly underrated horse, and should have won the Derby, but I just wish there wasnt so much unsoundness that comes attached to him.

Demi O'Byrne is Coolmore's racing and bloodstock manager.

24 Feb 2009 1:17 PM

I think you all should rethink this Derby, if you go by Dick Downy's report (Downy Profile). It seems we are on a 4 year rotation of grays/roans winning the Derby. This is the 4th year, will Dunkirk, General Quarters, Stardom Bound, OF,or The Pamplemouse be in the winner's cirlce this year? Just another thing to think about! :-) LOL

24 Feb 2009 1:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Trackman, I'm glad to hear you say that about Gulfstream. The timing there is totally weird and makes no sense. Slow, fast, slow. You never know what youre going to get and thats in one day.

Hllikins, go to Steve Byk lists all the Beyer numbers of stakes winners from the previous weekend, usually each Monday, maybe Tuesday.

24 Feb 2009 1:22 PM
Karen in Texas

Dunkirk looks okay so far. Everyone will know more after the Florida Derby. Horses are living beings subject to the happenstance of daily existence, as are all species. Their racing careers are not totally defined by historical data nor by mathematical analysis. They are not game pieces on a chess board. This year we have a nice group of three year olds with any number of possibilities for success in the Triple Crown. Dunkirk is one of them.

24 Feb 2009 1:47 PM

Draynay, I appreciate you setting me staight,didn't know about that pesky planet alignment. However, I didn't say he could not win the Derby. I simply agreed with Steve concerning the no race two year old problem.

While I've got you, you know I have been high on Imperial Council for a long time but don't get too keyed up for the Gotham. It's not Shug's method to crank em up this early I'm pretty sure he'd be happy to see a nice progression the first around two turns. That's a tough group, some with a lot more experience but I'm looking forward to it. Best of Luck  

24 Feb 2009 2:00 PM

M PALMER: One of the ironies of your "no January foal, no great grand son of Mr Prospector no derby winner" dogma is that Dukirk(Unbridled Song-Unbridled-Fappiano-Mr Prospector), a January foal, is from the same sire line as Grindstone(1996 Derby winner) i.e. by Unbridled(Fappiano)(Mr Prospector). It could happen again.

24 Feb 2009 2:27 PM

You wrote: "But the bottom line was no one obviously recognized Dunkirk’s talent."  Are you kidding?  Anyone with even elementary handicapping skills could see after his first race that Dunkirk was very talented.  And if anyone is relying on Beyer Speed Figures (or any speed figures) that a horse earns in his first start as a significant factor in their wagering, they're going to lose a lot of money at the windows.  By the way, I took this horse in the RTTR contest.  Unfortunately, since his next race comes after the supplemental draft in that contest, everyone and their brother will add him as a supplement.

24 Feb 2009 3:07 PM

The Gotham will be a huge race and I expect the Empire Maker bred Imperial Council to do well.  I understand the Wood is the goal but I believe this one is special we will find out how special shortly.

24 Feb 2009 3:31 PM

Ty Mr. Haskin!  Checking it out now.  Looking forward to improving on my picks.

24 Feb 2009 4:22 PM

FourCats put me down as one of your elementary handicappers.  Dunkirk is a good horse but he is no Derby threat.  Horses running those splits are no real threat.  No races at 2 and only 3 races going into the Derby ... lol... I will pass.

24 Feb 2009 4:57 PM

There are quite a few colts and one particular filly that look really interesting right now.  I'd like to read an article with a good history of Unbridled's Song.  It seems a great time for it.  I love Stardom Bound and believe fillies can run against the boys.  I like to hear some thoughts about this possibility, Steve.  Do you think she'll run in the Derby?

24 Feb 2009 4:59 PM

When I saw Dunkirk's maiden race I promptly put him in my virtual stable so I could watch his progress. What I saw was a horse who may not have enough experience to win come the KY Derby, but I am really looking forward to seeing how he progresses through the summer and fall. I had a feeling watching him that I have not felt since Point Given. I normally don't get hooked on the younger horses as I prefer to root on the older set of warriors. But occasionally I see something in one that just grabs my attention and Dunkirk has that something.

There are a couple of other horses I also like for the Derby but I am really hoping that Dunkirk will be that something special that I can follow through the Derby and beyond.

24 Feb 2009 5:05 PM

Mr Haskin, what have you known about SQUARE EDDIE. Don´t you think he could be a real shot for the Belmont?

24 Feb 2009 5:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Fourcats, surely you're the one who is kidding. Did you really read the story? Go back and read it again. That comment referred to the two jockeys -- Velazquez and Prado -- who took off him to ride other mounts.

24 Feb 2009 5:47 PM

…thoughts… from just another blogger …

    As to my own considering of the “15.4 pedigree rating” of “Dunkirk” and his ‘expensive price tag’, some might want to consider another’s views, thusly…   from the subject of handicapping…

“ …pedigree is merely one part of the equation  As we continue to breed mediocrities dependent on medication, it is becoming less and less important.  

    What are the chances that another Barbaro would magically appear from his dam’s womb?  It just ain’t that easy...  

    The most important aspect of breeding may be luck.  Every mare needs it.  Every foal needs it.  You could have the best breeding in the world, but if you’re a crooked individual, or you ran into a fence as a weanling, or you’re just plain slow, it’s not going to matter.  A good horse can come from anywhere, from just about any family tree, and we learn that lesson every single year.  

    In maiden races, I’ve found breeding to take a good third seat behind workout analysis and trainer intent.  No one studying the work tab was knocked dead by Nicanor’s works…”

    “Sexy pedigrees take money.  Horses that take more money than they’re worth are underlays.  While they’ll win their share, who needs the eighty cents on the dollar a Storm Cat firster will get you?  Avoid underlaid horses that are being played solely because of their pedigree.  They’ll burn you more often than not.” …

     Then again, pedigree is a part of nearly every handicapper’s bag of tools. Moreover, pedigree certainly should not be disregarded by any measure if this truly is the ‘blood-line sport’!! ala Steve’s thoughts on “Phone Trick”, etc.

    And I also found this comment interesting when attempting to stir up the question of “Strong Field”? or “Week Field”? in Steve’s previous blog, which no one seemed to want to comment on …

      “…this group of three-year-olds may be the most uninteresting bunch I’ve seen in a long, long time.  Midshipman, Vineyard Haven, Desert Party and Donativum are in Dubai.  Charitable Man is returning from a saucer fracture, and hasn’t worked this year.  Old Fashioned has beaten everyone and no one all at the same time.  Pioneerof the Nile, The Pamplemousse, and Square Eddie must prove they’re more than synthetic wonders.  How far will Notonthesamepage, This Ones for Phil, and Capt. Candyman Can go?  How healthy is Big Drama?  Didn’t Break Water Edison and Well Positioned run themselves off the trail with poor performances over the weekend?  How good are Haynesfield and Saratoga Sinner anyway?  Would it surprise you if a recent allowance winner like Mr. Fantasy, or a maiden winner like Zoi Zoi turns out to be the real deal?  What are the chances that we haven’t even heard of the Derby winner just yet?  A top-20 list?  How about a top-50?  It’s that wide open...

                                    From FORMBLOG with Dan Illman DRF -2/2/09

    Thusly, Thank You “Steve” for your ‘big bag of potatoes’.

    Well, “Chartiable Man” and “Big Drama” have reportedly returned to work. “Saratoga Sinner”, injured is definitely off the trail, and likely that is the same fate for “Square Eddie” at this posting time.      

    And, as to the subject of injuries and reporting them, what about all of the injuries going seemingly under the radar? ‘Are we being properly informed by the media and the writers to the extent needed ??? even at this early or late of  a stage???’ What about “ ‘Notonthesamepage’s’ early bleeding problems”?... “ ‘Charitable Man’ returning from a ‘saucer fracture’”…?; “ ‘Indigo Mountain’s’ foot problems”?... “ ‘Flying Pegasus’s minor ankle surgery?”…

    Were YOU the “Blood-Horse” public really aware of all those postings? Why doesn’t someone establish something along the lines of “a 3 Yr. Old weekly ‘injury list’ ” and keep it updated with comment? What is the extent of “Square Eddie”’s problems? How much was “Big Drama” affected by his leg kick injury?, etc. Don’t we need to be much better informed? and at this stage?

    You, the media, lost “Big Brown” to us, the public, for nearly 5 months last year. Was that fair to Triple Crown handicappers?, and especially to “ ‘Pool’ players”? We demand to be properly informed.  Granted, “Blood-Horse” is not the only source of information, but if the business here besides breeding, and etc., is racing, then please help us the bettors and the racing fans all you can. Thank you.  

24 Feb 2009 7:08 PM

I would also like to hear any news you may recieve for the Nixk Zito trained Santana Six, who recently broke his maiden very impressivel, following a second to Dunkirk.

24 Feb 2009 7:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Terri, The plan for Stardom Bound is to run in the SA Derby after the Oaks. If she wins or is beaten in a close finish and runs big, she'll be pointed for the Derby. But if she runs a good third or something like that she'll likely go for the Ky. Oaks.

Santana Six got a very good 95 Beyer number. Zito hasnt made any plans for him, and is going to take it one race at time. If the horse can make the Derby, fine, if not he'll point for later races. He's not going to push him.

24 Feb 2009 7:52 PM
m palmer

Ranagulzion, I never stated in my posting that January foals cannot win the derby. My statement indicated that they rarely do. I am aware that Grindstone was a January foal.  Just I am aware that 1995 derby winner Thunder Gulch was a May foal. May foals are at major maturity disadvantages on the first Saturday in May. In light of this, Pioneerof The Nile, Mr. Fantasy and Regal Ransom have diminished chances to win. On the subject of Grindstone, his maturity advantage did not prevent him from breaking down after the derby. Only in America would a Derby winner with the second fastest time in the last 13 year would be standing for $5,000.

24 Feb 2009 8:50 PM
m palmer

Draynay, I am guided by the history of the derby because it does not vary a lot. I agree with you that anything is possible but until some things happen I will be betting against them. Subject to correction, no stallion has sired back to back winners of the great race. Would you be wagering on a son of Boundary in the 2009 Derby? Mr. Prospector’s grandsons have sired consecutive winner of the derby. I will wager contenders sired by Mr. Ps grandsons but I not wager contenders sired by his great grandsons as they are not on the derby board. They have had enough opportunities and have not gotten the job done. Dunkirk is a January foal that should have started his career at two. The fact that he started his career so late suggests that he had problems. It appears most of the top January foals had problems. Old Fashioned (Jan 27) has only races 4 times. Imperial Council (Jan 21)has only two starts. Indygo Mountain (Jan 29)has made four and is off the derby trail. Capt Candyman Can(Jan 21) has only made 5 starts. Beethoven (Jan 22)has only made 5 starts. By the way, if he looses the Fountain of Youth his connections can forget the derby. These January foals should be more developed and consequently tougher than the March, April and May foals. When a May foal like Mr. Fantasy win his first two starts by 191/2 lengths all January foals should be trembling in their stalls.

24 Feb 2009 8:55 PM
m palmer

Karen in Texas, I could not agree with you more. The 2006 crop contains some of the best bred horse I have seen in a long time. However, the derby is no ordinary race. All horses the horses that make it to the starting gates, have one shot at winning, there is no do over. The history of the derby has certain revelations that are ignored at ones peril. It indicates the contenders that should be avoided. Example, a contender produced from a Mr. Prospector broodmare must be avoided at all cost. He sires 511 dams that produced 2214 runners and 1628 winners; no derby winner derby to date. He was mated to some of the best mares that came of the track. Mr. Prospector, his son and grandsons have been the most dominant force in derby his on the siring side. They have accounted for 31 winners of Triple Crown races including 9 derbies.. The records reflect that neither he nor the majority of his sons and grandsons are derby broodmare sires. Carson City was the broodmare sire of Barbaro but he is one out hundreds. Contrast his record with that of Northern Dancer. Northern Dancer’s sons and grandsons have been broodmare sires of 18 of the winners of the last 37 Triple Crown races. However, only one son and three grandsons have sired derby winners. If I see a contender from the Northern Dancer broodmare sire line i.e., Street Sense, Curlin, Rags o Riches, Big Brown, Eight Belles etc. I get excited as Derby history indicates they are the ones that deliver. There are two horses that I am watching keenly because their dams were sired by sons of Northern Dancer. They are Flat Out and Cape Truth. I am convinced that Flat Out would have won the Southwest if not for his gate antics. Cape Truth has only raced once and won in 1:22 at 7F. These horses fit the proven derby winners profile i.e., There broodmare lines is the most dominant in derby history; their sires stand for modest fees and their dams were most earners. The records do not lie.

24 Feb 2009 9:10 PM

  As to those who want to throw one’s “breeding rate” out of the window as a watch tool, I guess you won’t be giving much support for “Ryehill Dreamer”, who has the highest breeding rating among ‘live’ possibilities out there!!—(although not an ‘early TC nominee’--and who is supposedly and hopefully running in the “Sham” and again taking on “The Pamplemousse” this coming weekend. It is going to be a great test and I for one am glad we get these early 1 1/8 runs and that these horses are mature and bred well enough to go that kind of distance so young!

*   Ryehill Dreamer: (Ire.); Catcher in the Rye-(Danehill)-(Danzig)/No Way-(Ire.)-Rainbows For Life-(Can.);

6     2   2   1    

Tr. S. Sheriffs;    

17.4 breeding rating

3rd Gr. III San Rafael 1 Mi. 1:35.31; + 4 ¾; to The Pamplemousse & Square Eddie +2;  

NOT a Triple Crown Nominee at this stage;

  Also, it will be interesting to see just what this ‘barrel’ of Sprinters will do in the 1 Mi. “Fountain of Youth”. And, I for one am most curious to see how this wide range of “dosage index” runners fair. “Capt. Candyman Can   DI  1.67”; from the Turf--“Jack Spratt 1.91  DI; “Theregoesjojo”--off a slight lung infection--DI  2.53; “Taqarub”  2.56; “Break Water Edison”  DI  2.56; “Notonthesamepage”--off early bleeding problems--DI 3.44; & “Beethoven”  DI  5.86; and etc.; ... and that so, all just to see where we stand on that issue in this new age of no more steroids, where we are supposedly to throw out the old 'dosage issue' that used to pop up when discussing 1 ¼  runs.

24 Feb 2009 9:33 PM

Re: “Old Fashioned” and his 5.22 “Dosage Index” and those entering the ‘FOY’, as here are some quotes from net sites...

“You may have heard that ‘any horse whose DI is greater than 4.00 cannot win the Kentucky Derby’. This figure was selected not by man, but by history because up until 1991, no horse with a higher DI had ever won the race. (Strike the Gold won with a DI of 9.0 only because Alydar was yet to be named to the Chef-de-Race list in the Classic category. After that designation, the DI for Strike the Gold fell to the more realistic figure of 2.6 which more accurately reflected his abilities and those of most offspring of Alydar.) Real Quiet won in 1998 with a DI over the 4.0 limit, and subsequent Chef-de-Race additions have actually raised his DI even further. Such is the nature of statistics - it won't be accurate 100% of the time. The 4.0 barrier is still a good historical yardstick for a classic distance race, but is bound to be broken again someday - only because horses don’t race against distances, they race against other horses”.

“...indeed, a few with [DIs] of above 4.00 — have managed to win the [Kty.] Derby and the Belmont..., highlighting the issue of increasing speed and decreasing stamina in contemporary American thoroughbred pedigrees. For example, [the] 2005 [Kty.] Derby winner Giacomo [had] a [DI] of 4.33 and no Solid or Professional points in his Dosage Profile. As a result of these “anomalies,” the theory’s usefulness has been questioned..., at least with regard to the... Derby.”

“High Dosage Index ... figures are associated with a tendency to perform best over shorter distances, while low numbers signify an inherent preference for longer races. The median Dosage Index of contemporary North American thoroughbreds is estimated at 2.40”. Thusly, will “Old Fashioned” be the next “Strike the Gold”-“Real Quiet”-“Giacomo”? + 4.00 inductee???--((Geeze, reading these quotes, one must start feeling like “M Palmer” , ... where less and less on anyone’s list has a chance!)) But, it is another concern. Minor or Major???

 And, just how does such translate for “Beethoven” in this coming weekend’s race?, etc.

24 Feb 2009 11:40 PM

hmmm... 2   2  0  0 and only the Fla. Derby left to reach 'the dance'?? quote Craig Ferguson, "Remind you of anyone???"

24 Feb 2009 11:46 PM

Wow, Zarvona, um...what are you talking about? I have no idea what the point of that is, but I came away with it feeling that people are expecting too much of this current group of three year olds.

25 Feb 2009 1:02 AM

Zarvona... Are you kidding ?  Nothing about Dunkirk reminds me of Big Brown.  Maybe you should look at his splits again and tell me why you would mention the two of them in the same breath.  No races at 2 and only 3 races going into the Derby?  There is nothing here... move along.

25 Feb 2009 11:18 AM
Karen in Texas

m palmer--To state that the history of the Derby has certain revelations that are ignored at one's peril is pretty drastic. It's certainly not "perilous" to me because I follow racing for fun. However, I think that both you and zarvona brought up a point not previously mentioned regarding the absence of the use of anabolic steroids in this year's crop. That fact may affect the outcome of many races from this point forward; but it will take time to obtain and compile statistics on that possibility. Then, of course, you would have a new set of historical facts for your arsenal. The old information would become obsolete. My point is that in life small adjustments can create big change. We are all waiting ...

25 Feb 2009 1:06 PM

Dunkirk's race was far better than any other horse's race on the trail, so far. No matter what the time or Beyers say! You will all be on the band wagon after the Fl Derby!

25 Feb 2009 5:05 PM

trun... what are you talking about? Dunkirks performance was better than Rachel Alexandra who set a meet record ? Or better than Desert Party who shipped half way around the world and won back to back races and beat a two time G1 winner ? Curlin shipped over and won two races and everyone went nuts Desert Party goes over and does the same thing and no one says a word.  Dunkirk... you have to be joking.

25 Feb 2009 5:41 PM

M PALMER: Let me have one last shot at defending Dunkirk,s legitimate Derby credentials from the pedigree standpoint (can't help him with the speed figures).  If you would agree with me that the most dominant genetic influences usually appear in the first 3 generations of a Derby winner's pedigree, then you should recognize that in the case of Dunkirk it would be Fappiano, the Derby winning influence in both Unbridled and Grindstone, NOT his great grand sire Mr Prospector, that would be responsible for the likelihood of him winning the Derby.  My understanding is that any derby-winner-producing sire or grandsire is a major boost to the pedigree of his progeny i.e. appearing in the all important first 3 generations.  Think about it.

You may have to thank me for providing you with a face-saving caveat for your "no grandson of Mr Prospector wins the Derby" theory if Dunkirk and his sire Unbridled's Song succeed this year.

25 Feb 2009 5:45 PM

Who can beat The Pamplemousse in the Sham? SMART BID, MR HOT STUFF OR MARK S THE COOLER. In that  order of preference!!!

25 Feb 2009 5:54 PM
m palmer

Ranagulzion, Mr. Prospector, his sons and grandsons have sired 22 horses that have won 30 Triple Crown races. Fapianno sired one winner and was in the first 3 generations of 6 winners. Mr. Prospector sired of 3 winners and was grand sires of 9 winners. Based on your argument he is the first 3 generations of 12 winners and in the first 4 generation of all 22 winners. He represents the greatest extension of great Native Dancer. Native Dancer had four influential sons i.e., Exclusive Native, Majestic Prince, Alydar and Mr. Prospector. Of the four influential sons, the immediate off springs of Mr. P have dominated the Triple Crown Races. He is obviously the dominant influence so the credit should not go to his sons or grandsons. Dunkirk will not win the derby and it’s not because he was sired by a great grandson of Mr. P. He is just not good enough. Holy Bull went into the derby as an  overwhelming favorite and never hit the board. That grey was significantly better than Dunkirk going in. Dunkirk is all hype.

25 Feb 2009 11:06 PM
m palmer

Alydarstar, I wagered on Tiz True on his debut. He produced a devastating stretch run to defeat a short priced Todd P colt at 18-1. In spite of knowing nothing about this colt, I  wager on him because he was produced from a broodmare sired by Dixieland Band a son of Northern Dancer.  Dixieland Band was the broodmare sire of 2001 & 2007 derby winners Monarchos and Street Sense as well as the ill fated 2008 derby runner-up Eights Belles. With those credential, I would bet a mule if its dam was sired by Dixieland Band. The Northern Dancer broodmare line has been the most dominant in Triple Crown history. Tiz True has had two subsequent starts. In his most recent he finished 5th of 9 beaten 3L at 11/6m. His last reported work reflects a 1:26.3 clocking for 7F handily. This is very big colt and requires 9 -10 furlongs to show his true worth. He will be closing hand over fist in the last 2F and should any stamina limitations be exposed by The Mouse in the last sixteenth of the 9F Sham, he could come out on the wrong end of a photo that excludes  Sarah Palin. Kindly have no fear to include him in your wager.

26 Feb 2009 6:50 AM

M PALMER: You were making a lot of sense until you went into the Holy Bull diatribe at the end.  You completely lost me there because Holy Bull was certainly no hype.  His loss in that Derby remains a mystery, his owner suggesting that he was criminally tampered with before the race.

Back to the main point, all I'm saying is that the further back Mr Prospector is relegated in the pedigree generations the lesser his direct influence.  Put another way, it is the more his influencial son Fappiano takes over as the dominant influence as in the case of Unbridled, Grindstone et al.  The reasoning is no different from that which recognizes Mr Prospector's influence moreso than his sire Raise A Native or his grandsire Native Dancer.

Anyway, having dismissed Dunkirk as all hype you're on your own buddy.  The more I find myself defending his legitimacy as a potential Derby winner the more I fancy his chances.  Nevertheless until I hear from Big Drama, Dunkirk will simply remain one to be watched carefully.  

26 Feb 2009 7:46 AM

Ranagulzion ...horses that don't break 100 Beyer going into the derby have little chance of winning.  Not to mention having no foundation at 2 and only 3 races going into the Derby almost guarantees he will not win.  His 1:37 mile doesn't scare anyone.

26 Feb 2009 10:58 AM

  To the thought of, ‘I hope with get through this process of selection without a lot of injuries’, sorry to hear about “Ryehill Dancer”, thinking we may have lost another potentially good one.

  With “Quality Road” & “Rocketing Return” looking promising, “Beethoven”; “Jack Spratt”; and “Break Water Edison”; all known to be able to handle the distance, and with “Taqarub”, “This One’s For Phil”; “Notonthesamepage”; and “Theregoesjojo”; all capable of taking the lead and running ‘wire to wire’, exactly where does that leave “Capt. Candyman Can”? This one should prove to be interesting!! Expect a big trifecta payoff!!

26 Feb 2009 11:47 AM

Off the subject a bit Steve - but that was great story on Take The Point's breeder.  Did he make it on the plane this morning for CA?  Ever find out where Pyro is hiding?

26 Feb 2009 12:12 PM

hmmm As to 'Who can beat "The Pamplemousse"?, looks like no one, but "Take the Points" apparently might be Superman and therefore "faster than a speeding bullet", because he's apparently schedueld to run on both coasts within 3 hours??

26 Feb 2009 12:33 PM

DRAYNAY:  Believe me, you are speaking to the converted when it comes to speed especially when it is enhanced by pedigree and great connections.  That's why I am gung-ho right now over Notonthesamepage in the FOY Stakes tomorrow.  Admittedly Dunkirk's speed figures need to improve but he has done nothing wrong so far except overcome adversity in his races,  drawing off at the finish.  This horse clearly has scope for improvement being so lightly raced and what Barbaro, Street Sense and Big Brown has taught us over the last three Derbies is that trends are there to be broken by very good horses.  I am surprised that you are writing off Dunkirk before he competes in the Florida Derby.  What kind of axe are you grinding to be so premature in your judgment.  M Palmer's dogmatism about greatgrandsons of Mr Prospector(Unbridled's Song and his progenies) is understandable/ forgiveable but I don't see how you can be so one dimensional (speed figures) in your analysis.

26 Feb 2009 12:48 PM

Ranagulzion... many have placed Dunkirk in their Derby top 5 and some have him listed No.1 and it is plain silly.  To list Dunkirk above multiple G1 winning Stardom Bound or a horse like Desert Party is just plain reckless.  The horse has won one race against no Graded Stakes winners... big deal.  He did not post fast fractions or fast times and will have no foundation going into the Derby.  For your sake you better hope he wins the Florida Derby because if he doesn't many of you are going to look pretty silly and he won't even make it to the Derby.  Really too much press for a horse that has won one race.

26 Feb 2009 1:41 PM
Steve Haskin

Barbara, he left at 6 a.m. this morning.

26 Feb 2009 1:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Oh, and thanks, Barbara.

As for Pyro, I havent heard anything and havent talked to Asmussen. I talked to Scott Blasi, but I'm sorry I forgot to ask him. They have so many 3-year-olds, it slipped my mind.

26 Feb 2009 1:46 PM

Still trying to get a feel for who will be running in the Gotham. So far the best I can piece together after looking at the 36 nominations is as follows:


I Want Revenge

Imperial Council


Mr. Fantasy


Not For Silver

Russell Road

Danger to Society is out - pointing to the Wood instead

Anyone else have any info??

26 Feb 2009 2:12 PM
Mike Relva


I've liked Haynesfield for the past couple of months,expecting big things from him in next race.

26 Feb 2009 2:49 PM

By the way, i still want to know about SQUARE EDDIE. Thanks.

26 Feb 2009 3:00 PM

The Gotham and FOY seem to be loaded with speed types.Watch for the pretenders to fall by the wayside after their done getting cooked on the front-end battle.

26 Feb 2009 3:36 PM

Thanks Steve.  I am rooting for TTP this weekend...

26 Feb 2009 3:43 PM

Mr. Haskin,

Have you heard any word on Vineyard Haven, and how he came out of his race that (I believe) it was Desert Party that won?  Also, on a side note, is The Pamplemousse prounounced like it's spelled? Thanks,


26 Feb 2009 4:07 PM
Steve Haskin

There is nothing to tell about Square Eddie. He's standing in his stall recuperating from his injury.

Vineyard Haven supposedly came out of his race in good shape and will train on the dirt instead of the artificial surface, which he didnt care for. Yes, The Pamplemousse is pronounced like it's spelled. It means "The Grapefruit."

26 Feb 2009 6:42 PM
Abbie Knowles

Hi Mr Haskin, please could you tell me?

Is there any news on when Terrain may be back on the racetrack?

Do you know where Freisan Fire runs next?

Is Mr Hot Stuff likely to run again soon?


God Bless

Best wishes


26 Feb 2009 7:56 PM
m palmer

Ranagulzion, my apology for giving the impression that Holy Bull was hyped going into his derby. He was one gray that was highly favored going in and did not win.

There are a number of horses that have shown more potential than Dunkirk. I see no rush to put them in the top five. I have outlined that for Dunkirk to win a number of firsts have to occur.

Only one Breeder Cup winner has sired a derby winner and ironically it is Dunkirk’s grandfather. One horse has sired the BC Juvenile winner followed by the derby winner and it was grandson of Mr. P. It had taken so long to occur, it unlikely to occur again in so soon.

I will give you a sneak peek into the derby winner. He is running in the Sham on Saturday. His sire is the only back to back winner of the Breeders Cup Classic. His dam was sired by a son of the Northern Dancer and his fourth dam was sired by Triple Crown winner War Admiral. When you see this horse close in the last furlong you are going to forget Dunkirk.

26 Feb 2009 8:57 PM
Steve Haskin

Abbie, Terrain has been working very well at Fair Grounds, and he could show up in the Louisiana Derby. There isn't much else for him.

Friesan Fire definitely runs next in the Louisiana Derby.

Mr. Hot Stuff goes Saturday in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.

26 Feb 2009 10:22 PM

M PALMER: You are forgiven for trespasses against the Holy Bull(one of the greatest 3YOs to ever grace a dirt track in America) but another offence like that against a great one and you may have to visit your Priest for a confessional.  Actually you paid Dunkirk the highest compliment by linking him in the same paragraph to Holy Bull.  Nuff said.

It amazes me that you are prepared to stack so much of your Derby-prognosticating capital on an untried like Tiz True.  He is the only one in the Sham that fits your profile.  All things are possible to them that believe, so says the Holy Bible but it takes much more faith to believe Tiz True(absolutely no pun intended) than to envision Dunkirk winning the Kentucky Derby.  By the way if you check the Bible in Revelation 19:14 you will catch a vision of the Faithful and True One riding a white horse ...a few shades lighter than Dunkirk.  How's that for a revelation of the Kentucky derby winner?

As I have said repeatedly my number one selection for the Derby is Big Drama unless he becomes sidlined by injury or shows that he has regressed on his 2YO form.  Dunkirk is very high on my watch list however.  

26 Feb 2009 11:13 PM
m palmer

You did not see this horse’s debut. He looked like a confused animal that was not aware he was in a race. He won that race from another zip code. No ordinary horse covers that much ground so fast when green. It is possible I could be having crow for dinner Saturday. A little crow can’t be all that bad. By the faith can move a mountain? All I asking for is a win in the Sham and a visit to the bank. I am not asking for a relocation of one of Mother Nature’s formations.

If you think I am crazy now, you are going to find my undisclosed location and ensure that I am committed to a place for thoroughbred disturbed after you read my selection for the FOY

The great old Chinese philosopher Confucius said there is no one blinder than he who refuses to see.  The fountain of Youth contains a horse whose record does not appear impressive at first glance. However, careful analysis does reveal that he has the most foundation of the likely starter and if he takes to the surface, he will win at a big price. Jack Spratt is a May foal and the possibly the youngest in the race. In fact, the unbeaten Taqarub senior’s him by three months. In spite of his late foaling date, he was put through a series of races that baffles the mind. He has made six starts to date, with the first five in three months. On average he started every nineteen days at distances of a mile and longer. If five starts every nineteen days is considered bad for a late foal, then add four different tracks and two different surfaces.  His worst finish came in his third start where he was 7th of 12, beaten 41/2 lengths. It was in the Glll Bourbon Stakes when he was still a maiden and was running against winners. He was beaten by Bittel Road subsequent short price starter in the BC Juvenile Turf. He broke his maiden in his fifth start and ended his 2YO season with a record of (5 starts, 1-1-2-0). The rest he got between his last 2YO start and his 3YO debut was 49 day. It was the longest he had enjoyed since the start of his career. His 3YO debut was in the 100K Dania Beach where he drew post 13 and swung 4 wide in the final turn and got up for an upset victory at 14-1. His final time of 1:35 2/5 had bettered his previous best at the distance of a mile by a full 2 seconds. All but one of JS starts have been of turf. He was a close 2nd in his synthetic debut.

In the FOY he will be taking on two new challenges i.e., a new surface and a new track. His ML is 20-1 and I have no doubt his odds will be longer. On the subject of the new surface, the performances of three horses suggest that JS will have no problem with the transition. This Ones for Phil’s start preceding his victory in the Sunshine Million Dash was on turf. Capt Candyman Can winner of the Hutchison and Beethoven 4th place finisher in the Holy Bull previously raced on turf and synthetic. I cannot imagine the final time for the FOY being more than 1:36 plus. In fact, the celebrated Dunkirk completed a race with a mile split of 1:37 and he is now the derby winner designate.  If Jack Sprat can adds another second to his 1:35 2/5 clocking for the Dania Beach he has the potential winning time. The pace of the FOY is expected to be fast and I expect JS to be there for the melt down. His unbeaten sire Candy Ride and WR holder for a mile (1:31 flat), was faster than the sires of all the other horses in FOY so there is speed in his world class pedigree. His dam sire is son of the unbeaten Personal Ensign. He has a high-class pedigree, lot of foundation and his last race shows that he is much improved.

In evaluating horse we should not be blinded by emotions and shackled by traditional evaluation policies.

27 Feb 2009 7:08 AM
m palmer

Ranagulzion, I am amazed at how dismissive you are about Tiz True. The connections of this horse could have easily found a non winners of two to contest. They didn’t have to choose the competitive and harder Sham. They are around the horse everyday and should know his potential. Are they crazy or do they know something the waging public doesn’t?

Tiago was entered in the Santa Anita Derby with only a maiden win secured in the steward’s room. This did not deter me from making a wager. He won at 29-1. Do you know he is one of only a few horses that have three broodmares that have produced derby winners in his first three generations i.e., Never Knock, Set Them Free and Sun Colony? His brother Giacomo entered the Derby with only a maiden victory to his credit. This did not deter me from making a wager. He won at 50-1. What the betting public failed to recognized was that Giacomo had to be ridden form the gates to keep with the fastest colt in CA. Although being ridden all the way, he still found extra in the stretch. The 10F of the derby would allow him to relax and used his most important asset ‘Stamina’  

27 Feb 2009 7:33 AM

Mr. Haskin-

Thank you for the update.  

M. Palmer-

I hope you're right.  Tiznow is a great favorite of mine, right along with Man O'War and Seattle Slew.

Good Luck everyone today and this weekend.



27 Feb 2009 8:12 AM

I think that the Tiznow offsprings will mostly be late developers like Tiznow and his brothers Bud Royal and Tizbud so I wish you all the best with Tiz True and the derby. I guess that he could get some precocity help from his dam line.  I do admire your eye for a longshot.  What do you think about Breakwater Edison to potentially upset the FOY applecart?  He is the only one that has the proven class to catch Notonthesamepage if that one falters(hardly likely) in my view.  

27 Feb 2009 12:22 PM
Mike Relva

TO SLEW.em.All

Waiting for your spin(excuse) when Haynesfield blows by next weekend,lol!

27 Feb 2009 3:48 PM

To Mike Relva:

Don't speaketh too sooneth!

Like I said earlier; Haynesfield and Mr.Happy are going to run each other into the ground and fade away..And now that I Want Revenge and Imperial Council are showing up,his chances of winning have dropped even lower.He'll be facing REAL racehorses this time bud!! lol

27 Feb 2009 5:29 PM
Mike Relva

TO Slew.em.ALL

Must be nice not to ever let knowledge get in the way,lol!

27 Feb 2009 5:46 PM


    Lets see about Mr. Fantasy too. I'm hoping it will be our two at the wire togeather, preferably mine first. That be Mr. F, lol.

27 Feb 2009 10:33 PM
Mike Relva


I think Mr. Fantasy is possibly for real.

27 Feb 2009 11:58 PM
m palmer

Ranagulzion, Breakwater Edison I do not like. He should have done better in his last. Running so badly after a respite is not consistent with a good horse. Apart from my long shot Jack Spratt I really like Beethoven. If you want to know how talented this horse is, visit the Kentucky Derby135 web site and review his 7F race at Keeneland. He got an excellent break to claim the lead and shortly thereafter he was relegated to last. He then made a Monarchos like move to get to the leaders only to lose by a SH. I have never seen a horse close that way on the keeneland surface. He is better than Breakwater Edison and is realy the horse to beat.

28 Feb 2009 7:40 AM
Derby Mass

any new news on charitableman???

28 Feb 2009 8:05 AM

so... who is the best in California NOW??? "Pioneeerof the Nile"; "Chocolate Candy"; or "the grapefruit?"

...and where is "Patena"? plotting a course to miss 'the dance' although??? sry to hear about "War Echo", ...they are falling fast!

28 Feb 2009 9:47 PM


Patena had a slight setback after the LeComte.  He's working up to the La.Derby

28 Feb 2009 10:38 PM


    Personally i think POTN is still the best, and if he in the Pamp run togeather in the SA Derby i will make sure to get to watch that race it should be one of the best preps of the year, the only thing wrong with it is that it's on synthetics. My reason for liking Nile better is because he's already prove twice now that he's got loads of heart. His trip in his last was just as nightmarish of a trip as the Derby can be and he still over came that. His acceleration was just a thing of beauty to watch as well. He has the pedigree the boot and the pamps is kinda questionable. The pamp ran a nice race, but exect for Square eddie he hasn't beaten any real horses. Most of those new upstarts that were suppose to be for real didn't even get close to him. He also has had dream trips in his last two. He was allowed an easy lead in both which also allows a lead horse like him to get brave, i wonder how brave he'll be when looked in the eye for the lead in the Derby. I know he also set fast fractions but again that track is has the ablility to be very fast allowing horses to more easily make those fractions. I will say i do like the fact that he is a lead horse in a dist race that can sustain his run. Still the winner of the two right now for me is POTN

01 Mar 2009 8:40 AM


    What do you think of the Pamp? I'd love a second oppinion in this matter. You can see my thoughts in some of my other posts. You can feel to critisize any part if you feel needed.

01 Mar 2009 8:42 AM

Phoeix..TTP looked good in the sham, just no match for the pamplemousse that should be proud.

Wow..what a run by pamplemousse... He really made it look easy...what a fluid stride, I was truly impressed.

01 Mar 2009 10:01 AM

Karen, thanks, I thought he ran a great race.  The Mousse was great but I think if you give TTP a chance to train over the surface he will be a different horse in the Santa Anita Derby.  How many horse can say they have run over 5 different tracks and have been either 1st or 2nd in 4 out of the 5.  He had to overcome change of surface, outside post and jet lag.  I am not sure how the West Coaster's will do when they have to come and play on our play ground, the dirt :)

01 Mar 2009 10:30 AM
Mike Relva


Hi! I like many of your selections. The Pamp. impressed me,I will admit that he was never on my list,but he looked really good. I agree w/you aboyt Pioneer,I've liked him from the very beginning,much like I have Zenyatta.

01 Mar 2009 1:20 PM

The Pamplemousse was very impressive.  As we move along, I get a kick out of the comments from some that a horse didn't beat any horse of consequence - since the soph prep season is meant to sort out the chaff, isn't it? And to then note the horses that seem to have more improvement in them, like TTP and MHS?

I think this crop might turn out to be pretty good in the end.

01 Mar 2009 4:05 PM


    Thanks. The Pamp is on my list now but not very high. As i said i'm not totally sold on him and based on my reasoning i seem to be getting some flack for it, not too much though. I swear in Nile was running on dirt i'd have him as my number one. I never have got to see many of his older races, but when i saw a replay of the Lewis i was like no thats a derby horse. I'm not going to rehash what i've said for the millionth time, i've put it on a couple other blogs, but do you think my thinking is flawed on the pamp?

01 Mar 2009 4:33 PM


    The reason the Pamp didn't really beat anything last out, in TTP or MHS, is because TTP was not really even ready, he arrived two days before the race on a foreign surface, therefore he didn't most likely give his best effort. MHS is a winner against maidens, and that's it. Was his win impressive, yes, was he as good as we all expected no. Do both horse have room for improvement, yes, but unlike the Pamp neither one was ready for the race. If they had been, and both ran to what their true potential can do, then I'd say different, but they didn't.

02 Mar 2009 9:58 AM


Pletcher and Harty had their horses as ready as they needed to be on the day and they were not going to beat TPM anyway.  I am well aware of TTP's ship, etc.  

Of course they have room for improvement.

My point is that all of the colts are sorting themselves out and so it would be impossible to say "He beat nothing" when dealing with young, improving horses on the Derby Trail. Who knows yet?  And BTW, Square Eddie was favored off his lay off in Jan. and was well regarded - and TPM beat him fair and square.  Unless you think Canani was trying to peak his colt in Jan?

02 Mar 2009 12:05 PM


    Whose to say the Pamp hasen't peaked? BB did last year, the only difference was he peaked completely in the Preakness. Also part of his success was by beating inferior horses. The trainer may not want TPM to peak, but you can't stop nature. Also just because a horse is favored does not mean that they are ready to fire their top shot. The reason Eddie was favored was because everyone thought he was racing in a soft spot and even with the layoff nobody in the field could handle him. The connections got overconfident and did not gear him up as much as they would if they knew that the field contained some good horses. Pamp knows the track loves and loves the track and was geared up enough to win, plus he has already run in stakes. TTP was not ready so you can throw his performance out and guess that he'll do better, maybe even win next out. MHS is a later bloomer and still learning the game. He had only won against maidens, and was not ready for this race. The Pamp because of these reasons has beat nothing notable this season. If he comes back and does it again in the SA Derby against the same two, plus possible SB and POTN, then he'll have beat something good enough to be moved up the list some.

02 Mar 2009 1:06 PM

Barbara I am in complete agreement with you regarding young improving horses on the derby trail. It is really hard to say right now. What got me with Pamp is is seamingly effortless stride. He was cruising at a decent clip and he didn't seem to faulter. He came across as a much more experienced horse. I loved watching him. The other horses seemed to struggle to find their way and get comfortable. The Pamp was just floating. Maybe just a good day for him...maybe the sign of a great horse in the early to tell but fun to watch!

02 Mar 2009 1:37 PM

LDP, TPM was not any more ready for the Jan race than SE. Hello?  Otherwise how did TPM have so much improvement - well documented by clockers and observers as well as his trainer - over the past 6 weeks? And on display Sat?  Has he peaked now?  Maybe.  Probably not.  But we will find out in SA Derby, won't we?

The "beat nothing" theory is one that you seem to contort for your "argument." If a horse loses, he wasn't ready, therefore he is "nothing" until he wins? Huh?  All of these horses are being brought along to peak later and have a natural progression of maturity. While balancing the need to win for most of them to garner graded earnings.  It will work for some and not others.  But a horse either has talent and potential as a young 3 yr old or he lets us know he is in over his head pretty damn quickly.

All horses peak and have form cycles - I am shaking my head here.  BB peaked in the Preakness?  No he didn't.  He peaked in the Derby, had enough left in the Preakness, and was done on Belmont day.  Then later his form arguably was cycling back up.

And what does a training feat that leads to peaking in a classic have to do with early season preps? Peaking in the Derby is the plan!  

Baffert claims POTN wasn't 100% for his first prep but his bullet works said he was ready as could be.  But if there is a trainer who knows how to control the ebb and flow of the peaking Derby colt it is Bob.       And Canani may make as much sense as you do, but he is a great horseman.

02 Mar 2009 3:07 PM
Mike Relva


No,your thinking isn't flawed,wasn't even back in the day when we were taking shots @ each other,lol. No,seriously I see your point,I think he is good,but I'm taking a wait and see approach.

02 Mar 2009 3:15 PM


TTP WAS ready for the Sham Stakes,he was also entered in the FOY but,they chose to ship him out West for 2 reasons: 1)they thought he'd like the Synth. track better,and 2)to keep him away from his stablemate Dunkirk in the Fla.Derby.    They most certainly had him ready as best they can considering he had no Graded Stakes Earnings to get into the Ky.Derby.

FYI...You can trust that ALL horses without or little Graded Stakes Earnings are pretty cranked-up for these preps in order to qualify.

02 Mar 2009 4:12 PM


    I'm not contorting anything. If TTP had arrive earlier and had been able to work over the surface once or twice, i'd say he was ready, thats why if he looses in the SA Derby i'll be happy to admit i'm wrong. In this case he only arrived two days befor the race and had one gallop over a foriegn surface. That hardly qualifies as ready. If MHS had run in some more stake races, not a lot but more than none and jumping from a maiden to stakes then i'd say he was ready, this horse is still growing and still trying to figure out the game, that is why he was not ready. As i said i'm not contorting anything it's just my oppinion. In regaurds to the race with Square Eddie, the Pamp was on the improve anyhow, but the presence of a Juvinile runner up overshadowed it. The Pamp had been putting everything togeather and finally put it all togeather in that race. Square Eddie was not geared up to face a potential challenge, he was in that race to just go in run win and get him back into the groove of competion. IMO had he been more prepare and not been handle so confidently he would've won, and with ease. This is just my way of thinking, if you don't agree fine, were never going to meet so why should i get upset. Not being rude, just stating a fact.

02 Mar 2009 9:01 PM


    TTP original flight was suppose to arrive like a week before the race so he'd have time to work over the synthetics, but it was canceled and he got there with only two day to go over the surface, a surface which was totally new to him. Because of getting there so late he only had time for one gallop over the surface. How in any way does that qualifies as ready??? Had he gotten there on scheduel he probably would've been ready, and the only exuse i could, but wouldnt use is the fact he traveled from coast to coast.

02 Mar 2009 9:08 PM

gee after all those points and counter-points noone stood up for "Chocolate Candy"??

03 Mar 2009 4:05 AM

I think Pletcher probably knows how to get a horse "ready" for a race.  Many horses fly in on top of a stakes race if based elsewhere. They don't all fly in week(s) in advance for the Derby now either.

TTP's plane was supposed to leave the DAY before, not a week BEFORE.  

03 Mar 2009 10:59 AM

Thanks Barbara,everything you stated is right on..Also,TTP already had done his major preperation in Fla.,that's why Pletcher had no problem shipping him a couple days in advance to let him stretch his legs and get a feel for the track..European horses do that all the time,with success and they travel across the Atlantic.

03 Mar 2009 1:24 PM

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