Ky. Derby Trail: The Total Package


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Shug you were surprised your horse ran a 50 second half mile?  Sure you were... see you in the winners circle

at the Wood.

09 Mar 2009 2:29 PM

Steve, it sounds like you were at the race - did MR F. just die or did IWR just freak. I mean a 113 Beyer seems amazing while Mr. F still ran a 98 in only his career third race which was also his highest rating as well.

09 Mar 2009 3:14 PM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, your comments on I Want Revenge were right on. He doesn't need to be peaking right now and the use of the whip after he had a nice lead was unnecessary. There does need to be some left in the tank to carry him through a Triple Crown campaign. Joe Talamo is young and I'm sure very excited about this chance to do well. Let's hope he tempers his enthusiasm by listening to some wisdom.

09 Mar 2009 5:36 PM

Thanks for giving Talamo the lecture he needed. I hope the trainer also got through to him. I have some issues with the whip anyway. Not that I don't think it is an important tool if used correctly, its just that all to often I see what seems to be needless whipping of a tired horse that is getting beat. That bothers me more than anything. As a jockey you have got to know when your horse is cooked and to lay off of the whip.

This is getting exciting. I am looking forward to a very talented 3 year old crop.

09 Mar 2009 6:09 PM

Steve, last week I took you to task about including IWR in your Derby Dozen list prematurely but as it turned out you were spot on in your estimation of this colt.  Mark you, the fascination with the Gotham field was more about curiosity than quality.  Notwithstanding, IWR stamped his class in squandering that field including the much hyped January foal Imperial Council(I'm learning a thing or two from colleague blogger M PALMER).  I hope that the connections of Mr Fantasy(a May foal) handle this horse with patience and point him to the Midsummer Jim Dandy and Travers stakes at Saratoga or the Haskell at Monmouth instead of rushing him into the deep waters of the Triple Crown races before he is ready for the big league.  

I submit that IWR now belongs in the upper echelons of everybody's top ten or D/Dozen list.  Ah well, that's why your Derby Dozen is the gold standard.  Guess I'll suspend my judgment on Patena as of now until the Louisiana Derby.  You're the man Steve.  

I thought your lecture of jockey Joe Talamo was a bit much since he rode the colt brilliantly/confidently and in my view it is not a good thing when preparing 3YOs for the Derby to be gearing them down before the winning post.  These horses must be trained to run hard through the finish line and gallop out strongly.  The idea of saving something in the tank is a matter for in-between-races training not on race day.  I believe that a champion thoroughbred shows up 100% every raceday to win and win repeatedly.  Therefore IWR should go to the Wood Memorial to again stamp his class not to regress with a view to coming back to win the Derby.  That strategy doesn't always work.  The Monarchos example may be a faulty generalization or even mistaken since Congaree was not for the catching at 9 furlongs in that Wood Memorial 2001.    

09 Mar 2009 6:12 PM

ok ok I'll repeat my comment here, lol.  Good article again TY... yet

"Again, your 'sack of potatoes' seems to keep expanding instead of shrinking this time of year. Although, after this coming weekend, I suppose that we'll all be able to shrink our 'sacks' a bit. And, yet, you gave no mention of "Sal the Barbers"’s hot little Maiden turf debut over  1  1/8  in 1:47.59; !!! (as he too is also an early Derby Nominee!).

* Sal the Barber: Kty.;

Alpahbet Soup-(Cozzene)/

Alya-Deputy Minister;

Tr. C. Clement; DI  2.00

 1       1     0     0  

1  1/8  Mdn. (T)  GP 1:47.59;

-3/7/09 & "A Triple Crown Nominee"

 Nor have I heard any mention yet of a fillies list or article???,-- yet where, as a fillies tracker also, I was personally impressed with Michael Matz’s trained little “Magical Affair”’s Mdn. run over 1  1/16 on the turf in 1:41.30 !!!--  

09 Mar 2009 6:28 PM

P.S. Gee throw in "Patena"; "Terrain"; "Papa Clem"; & "Free Country" and they are making us handicap the 'Risen Star' all over again, which I might add I didn't get right the first time. Although my brother liked "Friesan Fire". Hmmm, may end up watching this one and just takin' notes!!!

09 Mar 2009 6:34 PM

Folks don't get to excited by the IWR win.  He beat a few NY breds that will not be going to the Derby and he faced Imperial Council during a training session.  Is he for real? Lets see what happens in the Wood before you give this 2 time winner too much credit.  He will face a much different Imperial Council in 4 weeks.

09 Mar 2009 7:12 PM

I agree with Ranagulzion and hope they take Mr. Fantasy off the Derby Trail.  I think he could run well in the Wood or Illinois but would hate to see him in the Derby.  He was a very late May foal.  He was hot going into the paddock and the paddock crowd more than he's used to.   He was riled up and spent by the time he got to the gate for the Gotham.  He is going to be a very good but I think the timing for the Derby is not right for this colt.

09 Mar 2009 7:59 PM
Steve Haskin

R, I didnt say he should have eased him. He should have continued to hand-ride him. You can gear down a notch without easing him and stil let him run through the wire. When a horse is giving you everything he's got and is drawing clear on his own you dont need to whip him six or seven times. That teaches him the wrong lessons. If were loafing or not gtiving his all or drifting, then you go to the whip. But this horse did not need to be hit that often.

09 Mar 2009 8:45 PM
Steve Haskin

SSC, Mr. Fantasy wasnt dying. I Want Revenge was just too fast, toHeo strong and too seasoned for such a lightly raced horse who had never run in open company. He's a good horse. He'll probably be pointed for the Preakness.

09 Mar 2009 8:48 PM

Steve - thanks couldnt really tell from the replay. Why does the Preakness make sense? just to give him more time?

09 Mar 2009 9:14 PM
John T.

 It,s still early with many trials and tribulations yet before Derby day.In the Gotham besides the winner drawing off like he did there was a lot to like about how Imperial Council closed for second and am looking forward to seeing if he can improve on that.

09 Mar 2009 9:33 PM

Jojo going to Fla Derby now? Wouldnt an easier spot be in the Bluegrass?? Why go to a speed favoring track with a closer?

09 Mar 2009 9:48 PM

Steve, kudos on IWR.  I didn't see him as high up as you had him even though POTN is my Derby horse.  But I am pleased that I'll encounter less bashing of the Cali horses now by some posters;)  Thanks IWR.

On Talamo - nice job.  Mullens should pay you for that and then read it out loud to Joe.  I think that race did take more out of him than his folks think, but at least he has one to give so to speak.

09 Mar 2009 10:40 PM

I want revenge was impressive but I know he went east to face an easier field. He doesn't want no part of the very fast pamplmousse and pioneer of the nile. We are now seeing the real mile and quarter horses. It's showing unbridled was a sire of sires through empire maker and unbridled song. With that being said, an unbridled grandson cleans up most of the derby preps.

09 Mar 2009 10:43 PM

It's never too early to talk derby fever. This is the time where we can weed out the true contenders. As for IWR, he left the west coast to face a weaker field cuz he wants no part of the speedy pamplemousse and pioneer. IWR got a big beyer but I'm a ragozine guy and he was due for a big number. Will he bounce in wood? Yes, he put up his biggest number ever. We are seeing the influence of unbridled all over the derby trail. Colts out of empire maker  and unbridled song. True 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 horses. Horses  that can run 2 miles with ease.  

09 Mar 2009 11:28 PM
Matthew W

IWR ran like a dirt horse--it's my contention The Pamplemouse will, too.....POTN looks/runs like a turf guy but you just never know.....Steve love that you noted Talamo's finish--VERRRY Smarty Jones's Preakness-like! He beat zilch but think Imp Council will contend in Wood....Pamplemouse just looks like a freak--They won't be able to keep up with his pace/he wins if he gets the distance.....but what am I saying it's EARLY....

10 Mar 2009 4:40 AM
Steve Haskin

SCC, he's just ready at this point in his career to tackle the Derby grind and going into that race with only 4 career starts. Yes, the extra time and smaller field in the Preakness will help him.

Neddy, The Blue Grass is a bad spot because he needs to show what he can do around two turns, and relying on Polytrack, which he's never run, as your first two-turn race and ticket to the Derby is a major gamble. What if he handles two turns fine, but hates Polytrack. What did you learn?

10 Mar 2009 4:51 AM

"... it meant the end of the road for most of the participants". Excellent observation Mr Haskin, because this is meant to be in the next 8 weeks and, at least in new york, IWR didn´t leave anything for nobody else. Yes, the road will be getting shorter and not everybody fits in there. So far, IWR has been the most convicing colt in the derby trail, but, we have to wait for the results of other major races in California, Florida, Arkansas and Keeneland. However, IWR was so awesome in the gotham that he deserves to be at the top of the favorites list at this moment. So, i agree 100% with you, Mr Haskin, when you say "I Want Revenge became the first horse on this year’s Derby trail to have answered every question" About Mr Fantasy, he did a very good race and i don´t have any doubt that will be "fantasy" during the rest of the year for the ny fans.

P.D. i don´y know why, but i have the feeling that the louisiana derby is keeping a big name for the first saturday of may.

10 Mar 2009 9:49 AM

Thank you, Steve Haskin for the

critique of Talamo's ride. He has

the competive nature and guts that

make a great jockey and can verbalize what he feels from the horse. I hope he takes your words to heart

and doesn't let youth get in the way....a big test.

10 Mar 2009 10:11 AM

Sometimes we get a little too excited about a horses performance.  Before getting too excited lets see what IWR does on the main track against horses ready to perform at G1 level.  His fractions at the Gotham were average at best and I doubt he will ever see them again.

10 Mar 2009 10:52 AM

Steve - when does the "difference" in a Jan. foal and a May foal no longer become a factor in handicapping?

10 Mar 2009 11:10 AM

alydar* I would allowance race that Dunkirk won is more impressive from a visual standpoint, and actually I think the field he beat was up to par for class with this years Gotham[a travesty being run on the inner in my view]...can someone explain why Shug shipped his colt to NY, and then shipped back to Florida if he intends to run in the Wood?

10 Mar 2009 11:58 AM

No doubt the Gotham was an impressive race for I Want Revenge. But to catapult him from nowhere to the top of the Derby Dozen becase he wins one Grade 3 race against so-so competition? If he wins the Wood in similar fashion, then I could see the # 1 ranking. Lest we forget, Pioneer beat him not once but twice out West. True, Pioneer has not run on dirt, but his Daddy, Empire Maker, indicates it should not be a problem. In my book, the Gotham result should have put Pioneer of the Nile to the # 1 spot.

10 Mar 2009 12:22 PM
marc W

Steve I enjoy your columns probably more than any racing writer. I think you probably see more than most when a horse moves, unlike those who look at speed figures and sheets and have no idea how a horse is going-see Mike Watchmaker.

OK compliments made-now my issue with this past article.

As a historian go back a few years to Easy Goer--he won his preps and was wrapped up by Pat Day--he never squeezed the lemon. I hated that he was not asked before the Derby. Now watch the watch Sunday Silence and Pat V, in his Derby prep winning by about 8 under a whipping drive even though the race was no longer in doubt. I determined my Derby bet from those races---I wanted the one who knew what his job was-to run to the finish. I wanted a good race in him, not a head and head life and death but a strong finish where he was asked. Although I am not big on the whip but I think every horse should be ridden out,not getting bad habits of pulling themselves up until the wire has been passed.

As for jockeys, other than Tony D'Amico being bumped on Harlan's Holiday for Prado which just made sense, and maybe Ronnie Franklin should have been bumped for his horrible ride on The Bid in Florida I am a firm believer in going with the regular rider. Talk was made Elliot should have been bumped but they made the right decision. Why would you bumped a competent rider that knows the horse(I don't blame him for the Belmont-Smarty wasn't his usual push button self and wanted to go that day not him) There are good riders and bad but the only difference between Bailey and Gomez and 40 great other riders is their agent.

Talamo, Leparoux, and Jose Lezcano are three of the finest young jocks I have seen hitting the scene at the same time in a while. All besides their talent seem to have the confidence to do the right the thing.

My thought is there are a 100 good riders out there with very little to choose between them--the difference is confidence and the agent getting the mounts. I don't think it is right to second guess a rider when he wins---do it after the horse loses.

10 Mar 2009 12:24 PM
Steve Haskin

I enjoy everyone's comments and questions, but I cant understand why some people continue to put words in my mouth. "Wrapped up?" Where did I say I wanted to see Talamo wrap up on the horse? I said to "gear him down a notch." I'm all for hand-riding him and letting him run thru the wire. When a horse opens up on his own and keeps going there is no need to whip him. Do you have any idea if Sunday Silence was a horse that needed to be whipped? Did you see his race in the Derby? some horses need the whip for various reasons, some are lazier than others, some need it to keep a straight course. Theyre all different. If SS wasnt whipped in the Derby he would have wound up either in the grandstand or over the rail. I Want Revenge showed no indication of needing the whip. He should have continued to hand-ride as he started to do, or just give him a single crack to see what kind of response he got. There was no need to hit him seven times after he had opened up on his own and was running perfectly straight. I dont like to see a horse eased or wrapped up on before the Derby, but I dont want to see him running these kinds of speed figures in early March. He got a negative 2 on Thoro-Graph after running nothing but "6s", and Jerry Brown thinks that might have cooked him. Don't compare Sunday Silence to I Want Revenge. They are two different horses.

10 Mar 2009 12:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Oh, and Marc, thank you for the kind words.

10 Mar 2009 12:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Old timer, as for your comment: "But to catapult him from nowhere to the top of the Derby Dozen becase he wins one Grade 3 race against so-so competition?"

Going from #6, having never run on dirt, to #1, winning your dirt debut the way he did is catapulting from nowhere? How come no one said this was so-so competition before the race. How come everyone said this was the best Gotham field in years? If you've read my columns, I've said all along I liked everything about this horse and just needed to see him run on dirt. Well, I saw him run on dirt. I've had him at #6 or #7 for several weeks. I obviously dont consider a move from #6 to #1 as dramatic a move as you do.

10 Mar 2009 12:51 PM

I have to agree with you Steve about the whip. For Talamo to keep at him after he was lengths ahead in the stretch what is the horse to think. Isn't the whip used to get the attention of the horse to speed it up. If he was going as fast as he can ahead of the others what signal is it for him to do?

I hope to see Freisan Fire move up your Derby list with a win on Saturday. Should prove to be an interesting race to say the least.

10 Mar 2009 12:53 PM

nickie... did you really ask why Shug is going back to South Florida?

Are you kidding me?  Have you EVER been to S. Florida?  Imperial Council likes training there and he needs 3 good works before he goes back up to win the Wood.

10 Mar 2009 1:02 PM
marc W

Steve thanks for the reply-but-your thought on Easy Goer? I still think he should have been let run. After all that I still also think SS was a better horse, but it still visually remember how Day never let Easy Goer go before the Derby and thought it was so wrong.

Note-I don't remember Sunday Silence being anything but a push button horse much like Smarty Jones. BUT- I have not ever gone back to watch since I saw the original races other than the Preakness. I will bow to your knowledge and I could be wrong.

10 Mar 2009 1:06 PM

Steve, do you know what the thoro-graph numbers were for Imerial council and Mr. F??

10 Mar 2009 1:06 PM
Steve Haskin

Marc, In the Wood Memorial, Easy Goer was pushed pretty good to the wire to beat Rock Point, so that's not why he lost the Derby. He hated a wet Chruchill Downs track. He ran the same way in the BC Juvenile on a similar track. He had horrible ankles and was floundering the whole way on that track in the Derby.

10 Mar 2009 1:58 PM


You stole the words right outta' my mouth regarding OLD TIMER's comment..Is that the same Thor-graphs' Jerry Brown who said that prior to the Gotham,IWR hadn't improved since his 3rd place debut last year? I personally think that statement is ridiculous. Tell me if that makes ANY sense to you? Remember that includes his CC Futurity run.  Also in response to people thinking that IWR will "bounce". Quality horses are well known to put together 6,7,8 or more solid performances in a row.He's not a $10k claiming horse.

10 Mar 2009 2:16 PM

Draynay:  As far as I'm concerned,IC can train with the Shao-Lin Masters and he still has no shot of catching IWR in the Wood!

10 Mar 2009 2:20 PM

Even if Mr. Fantasy goes to the $500k G-2 Illinois Derby (Apr 4) instead of the Wood he'd have to win it to be assured he has enough graded earnings for a gate. 2nd place is worth 20% so $100k on top of the $25k in graded money from the Gotham.

That's very potentially too low to secure one of the 19th open gates. The 20th is automatic to the Kempton winner..

10 Mar 2009 2:29 PM
marc W

Thanks Steve my memory slipped on the muddy track--In my Derby memory I always relate that to Damascus not firing.

10 Mar 2009 3:01 PM

Slew ?  First time at 2 turns and he post a 98 Beyer and is full of run at the end ?  Next time they are on the big track and at 1 1/8th and Imperial Council will be ready to run.  School is now out look for a brand new horse in a few weeks.  Shug is playing the rope a dope. IWF goes down at 8 furlongs.

10 Mar 2009 3:01 PM

Mr.Dray..whats your point....80 degree weather[humidity 100%] is better than Belmont[45-50 degree]...I really see no diff in works, and I would think track surface might have some bearing on where the horse might stay...I will have to defer to you as far as his training regimen...and lastly, does 13 years fit the definition of EVER!...

10 Mar 2009 3:12 PM
nay sayer

Sometimes we get a little too excited about a horses performance.  Before getting too excited lets see what IC does on the main track against horses ready to perform at G1 level.  His fractions at the Gotham were pathetic and I doubt he will ever see them again.

10 Mar 2009 3:31 PM
Steve Haskin

Slew, Jerry admitted that trying to compare synthetic # to dirt # is a total guess. IWR proved that on Saturday. Throw out the speed figs on synthetic tracks. IWR was a good horse on synthetic, but it's obvious he was crying out for dirt. How many Cal. synthetic horses never get the opportunity to prove how they really are...on dirt?

Marc, I have to give you another history lesson:) Damascus didnt run on a wet track. It was a damp ,miserable day but the track was fast. Damascus lost the Derby because for the one and only time in his career he got too keyed up before the race, even walking to the paddock, and was way too rank early in the race. Whiteley never did figure out why he was like that. But there is no way Proud Clarion and Barb's Delight would have beaten the "real" Damascus. Lots of fishy stuff went on at the Derby back then.

10 Mar 2009 3:36 PM

Marc W....take a look at the '67 Travers, and I'll let you decide wether Damascus could  handle the slop!

10 Mar 2009 3:36 PM
marc W

As far as the Damascus mud thing I was there with my dad and remember mud, although facts don't back me--it was a fast run Derby time wise. I remember Lou Cavalaris running Cool Reception in the Derby Trial the week before and Barb's Delight beating him and he passed on the Derby and when BD ran so well in the Derby my dad wondered if he would have won. (Again I am relying on my memory-so if wrong? I was there-I could probably find a picture-so that much I can back up-could have sworn it was muddy-just getting old I guess)

I guess some things stick others don't--I rarely check facts on line-just go to my memory--yours is proving better than mine-I have no problems giving your memory credence over mine,its part of the reason I like reading your columns. You remember when it was truly a great sport and had its champions and often relay stories from the past.

I'll concede the muddy track in the Derby possibly/probably (still think the best horse won and he did run second) had to do something with his loss, but I still don't think Easy Goer was asked in the Wood and could have been better tested going to the Derby--I'll agree to disagree there.

PS sorry to go off topic-my main thought was I have great confidence in Talamo if not in IWR or any sheets or numbers--I believe the winner will come out of AR or LA still and seen nothing yet to change that opinion---I will know if something changes my opinion this weekend.

Good Luck to all with your different predictions and opinions that's what makes it so interesting.

10 Mar 2009 4:59 PM
Saratoga AJ

Derby Exacta box:

Old Fashioned/Quality Road.

10 Mar 2009 5:03 PM


Thanks for your reply,but my question was--Does it make any sense for Jerry Brown to state that IWR didn't improve from his 1st race to his RB Lewis race?(all on synths'). Because I thought that his CC Futurity run was a whole lot better than his debut...thx.

10 Mar 2009 5:12 PM
marc W

Nickie, although I stand corrected on another point, sloppy track is not a muddy track, nor is a sloppy track at Saratoga the same as it would be at Belmont or Churchill. Also some horses handle sealed tracks which are wet fast yet still termed sloppy. Other than the puddles it has nothing to do with a tiring muddy/sloppy track which is normally associated with the term.

About 10 years ago when at Turf Paradise I saw so much dirt on their turf course I didn't consider it grass racing. It certainly wasn't like Woodbine grass racing. No knock on the fine people at that track.

10 Mar 2009 5:17 PM
The Rock


Of all of the negative points you've just made about IWR (average fractions at best, didn't win on the main track, it was just a G3 against NY Breds) what does that say about IC who's still looking at his rear end with the other NY Breds? If IWRs' times are average, is IC mediocre? Just face it, he's the East Coast version of Mr. Hot Stuff. Let's see IC win a graded race before he's even considered for the KY Derby.

As for Mr. Fantasy, the Illinois Derby would be a great spot on that speed favoring track. Going from there to Pimlico is a good angle, but maybe they should point for the Peter Pan thereafter and skip the TC.

10 Mar 2009 5:51 PM

Geeze,  I didn't catapult "I Want Revenge" to the top of my list either off one dirt run! Are we all forgeting "Bellamy Road" here?? And to repeat, "Pioneerof the Nile" has put this horse away twice already! If anything, this just makes the case the a good horse will run over any surface, which just appears to open up the door for all of the California entries. Are we really saying "The Pamplemousse" and "Pioneerof the Nile" and "Chocolate Candy" can't make the transition to dirt? Come on. Yes, "I Want Revenge" definitely moves up the ladder. Maybe if he repeats this performance in the Wood then you'll change my thinking farther, but let's just see where he stands after the LA Derby and Fla. Derby before he even runs again in the Wood.

10 Mar 2009 5:58 PM

  P.S. Now I think that its time for an article and a blog on the L.A. Derby, especially since you refuse to write an article or make up a fillies list before Pool #2. Where do the likes of the underwritten about "Uno Mas" and "Nowhere To Hide" really stand in this race? If the thought was that they were going to get hammered here, then why not opt out for another race in order to qualify instead of jumping in again with this bunch?? Do they have some hidden confidence that the writers are not capturing while looking elsewhere? Is this an "if we have a good horse it will show here", vs. "if we can't run 1 or 2 against this field then we may not belong and will have to start thinking 'off the Kty. Derby trail' and start looking elsewhere."?? Can "Giant Oak" have another mediocre run and still be a contender? Has “Terrain” just been off in hiding? Can “Free Country” really rebound against this field?? Is “Patena” going to have an “Imperial Council” Gotham run and blame it on inexperience? Is “Papa Clem” the “Buzzard’s Bay” next shipper story?? And then where does that leave “Flying Pegasus”?

  Please write us an article. I for one am dying to hear your opinion. Downey is rarely right in his predictions, but I love reading his angles. But now I want yours, Steve.!

10 Mar 2009 6:17 PM

Dray, do you even know what a furlong is? When exactly is IC going to catch IWR in an 8 furlong race? In another blog, you said that Stardom Bound should have "no more 9 furlong races....only 10 or more". She's never gone 9 furlongs. Only 8.5. And what series of races is a 3yr old filly supposed to follow to only have 10+ furlong races?

10 Mar 2009 9:14 PM

Rock... Imperial Council was out for a jog first time at two turns.  The Gotham was a stepping stone and finished 2nd with a 98 Beyer.  That sets him up perfect for a 105 in the Wood and a 112 in the Derby. Its all about getting your horse ready the first weekend in May.  The Gotham means very little if Imperial Council wins the Wood... agreed?  Lots of horses have run  well on the inner dirt at Aqueduct but it means very little come Derby time.  The winner of the Wood will go into the Derby ready to run.  I believe that horse will be a rested and ready Imperial Council.

10 Mar 2009 9:16 PM

Absolutely love IWR. Do wonder what is happening with the Assmusen trainee Captain Cherokee, thought we would see him in the Louisiana Derby.

10 Mar 2009 10:20 PM
Matthew W

Easy Goer and Sunday Silence faced off four times--the heavy favorite lost all four--I won a bundle on the Derby Tri---But I thought Easy Goer was the better of the two, and it was Phipps/NY Racing who "lost" that now legendary Classic--By running Easy in the (then) 1 1/2 JC Gold Cup--and getting a strong challenge from Cryptoclearance--They took his edge away just like that---They were looking down the barrel at Sunday Silence and they took his speed back a notch! They cost Easy Goer his rightful place as one of the truly all-time great horses...

10 Mar 2009 10:23 PM
The Rock


I'm sure you'll find some kind of excuse if he runs second in the Wood.....

10 Mar 2009 11:54 PM

Matthew W, I know we're off topic here, but this always chaps my hide. If Sunday had been the East Coast horse and Easy the Cali horses, no one would be mentioning Easy's name. As it was Sunday that won 3 of the 4, do you you regard him as one of the truly all-time great horses?

10 Mar 2009 11:58 PM

I just remembered where I had seem the stride like The Pamplemousse had in the San Felipe at Santa Anita, in Forego. I have not been able to see The Pamplemousse in perdon as I am in Texas and can only watch the races on tv. I am interested in his chest conformation. Also, it seems he was "climbing" a bit in the stretch. If that was the fact and he was accelerating, it would indicate a penchant for dirt. Him being tired after the race does not bother me as he probably ran close to a mile and a quarter in the run out. That should put him in better conditioning. I truly expect him to rate in his next race. If so, if Canani could hold off with his "Celebrations" until after the Derby, he just may be the one. Since we can't put pedigree on the track and the horse must do the running regardless of such, we'll just have to wait and see. All said and done don't forget about 10% is jockey performance and who knows when they will"trip."

11 Mar 2009 6:38 AM

Okay. So maybe I was using a little hyperbole with the phrase "catapulted from nowhere" regarding IWR Derby Dozen ranking.  You got me on that. I admit. I still have to differ on putting IWR at the top spot unless he repeats a similar performance in the Wood. To me, the good Gotham performance flattered Pioneer of the Nile even more. That's okay. That's what the game is about. If IWR wins the Derby, I will admit my error. In the meantime, I'll enjoy even better odds on Pioneer of the Nile in the next future wager!

11 Mar 2009 10:13 AM
Robert H

In regards to the Easy Goer comments- the bottom line is- he was an excellent horse, BUT of his 5 most important races- he lost 4!

He won the Belmont, lost the BC Juv, lost the Derby, lost the Preakness, lost the BC and was 3rd in the Met Mile.

You can't blame anything on the JCGC as Curlin ran down LR and won the BCC going away. Because Crypto didn't flop- is that an excuse?

It is like all those who said Big Red lost to Prove Out because he was tired- well- LOL- Prove Out ran 5 races in 5 weeks- he wasn't tired as well?  

Easy Goer was a damn good horse- but minus the Belmont-  he lost almost all of the really important races when he needed to win.  

11 Mar 2009 10:34 AM
Robert H

Zarova- The Risen Star looked more like the Derby with 250-1 shots, bumping, traffic jams- it almost feels like Sat is the Preakness as I said on the other board.

When I picked Revenge it was because his Hollywood races told me that I felt he'd love Aqueduct. The posts are on the Gotham blog- I won 3k, but moving to the race you mentioned- the LA Derby- Friesan Fire will not run three winning races in a row, nor will we see him again after this race if they intend to run him at Churchill and expect to have something left-in my opinion.

There is a reason why horses that have won the Louisiana Triple never do anything else- as a matter of fact- the last horse to attempt it was  Fly Cry in 1994- he was the heavy favorite and finished off the board.

Dixieland Heat did it in 1993- then after that- DH was used up for the rest of the year and DID NOTHING.

Look at Giant Oak- take out the Bourbon and using the Risen Star for what it is- a showcase for his talent and desire to win and he becomes a clear choice in my book. And it was the DRF that said he was in an impossible position and can't be blamed for his showing on the turf, or don't take that word- watch the two races.

You have to also consider the Triple Crown trail is always full of heavy favorites that lose because people jump on bandwagons week to week.

As I said in the 'Gotham/Revenge' blog,   Last year; War Pass lost the Wood at 4-5, Pyro lost the BGrass at 1-1, Z Fortune was off the board in the Rebel at 3-5, War Pass was 1-20 in the TB Derby and off the board, El Gato Malo was 3-5 lost the Sham, Z Humor was off the board at 6-5 in the Sam Davis.............My point is- before the Derby, people get bent out of shape on some of these horses thinking they are backing the next 'star'. When you look at the rankings just before those defeats- they go hand in hand with how heavily the above horses were bet.

And in the Florida Derby, Ill Derby and Lexington- the favorite was off the board each time.

11 Mar 2009 10:43 AM
marc W

Tiz and Mathew

Since I started this SS EG thing I will put my 2 cents in although it is off topic.

Easy Goer and Sunday Silence or even Affirmed Alydar when running basically even in talent. In both cases the handier horse proved best the most times. Alydar wouldn't change leads and wasn't as fast out of the gate, and Easy Goer didn't seem to get race position as well as Sunday Silence giving SS the edge. On the two closest decisions of both pairs the Belmont A and A-Affirmed made an easy lead in the very early race before Alydar challenged him the rest of the way and in Preakness EG and SS case EG broke a touch slow before putting in the most exciting race I have ever seen other than Da Hoss just absolutely refusing to lose the Breeders Cup-(Trumps the A & A Belmont in my mind) I won't even say the gamer horse won in either because all four gave their all. If a horse finds ways to win and another to lose-on who is better-you have to go with the winner. Ranking wise I would put EG and SS in the same area of the wonderful Street Sense, Hard Spun, Curlin crop. A & A above them talent wise, and the Dr. Fager, Damascus crop of 3 yr olds that year the best ever in my lifetime (I rate Dr Fager as the best ever and there were 3 yr olds in that crop excluding those two that in any other years would have been superstars-and I am not talking Sham like horses and remember Buckpasser was still running as a 4 yr old)---I can't comment on or place Man O War or Citation as I never saw them.

The Boss (SH) or any other can disagree-but those are my thoughts-I think it is interesting and a great blog topic-but it isn't what is at the top of the page.

11 Mar 2009 11:45 AM
Draynay an excuse ? Nope... Imperial Council wins the Wood.

11 Mar 2009 12:02 PM
Karen in Texas

Tiznowbaby--Off topic or not, I agree with your views on the bias against Sunday Silence.

There have been several comments on these blogs about The Pamplemousse's stride. Some have said it resembles Barbaro's, and others have said it was more like Skip Away's. As I watched a replay of The PM's last race, I suddenly remembered the quarter horse filly Kool Kue Baby and her distinct way of moving. To me, The PM has that sort of action.

11 Mar 2009 12:29 PM
marc W


A point-I thought Unbridled was the best 3yr old the year he won the Derby. In my mind at the time, better the Summer Squall whom I deemed his only threat-I watched  the Bluegrass and replay a few times-in my mind he was climbing badly and didn't seem to handle the Keeneland track at all. I thought it was a perfect prep and with the result I licked my chops because at that time I was known to bet fairly serious money and I was going to get a bonus price off that race. I bet a little over $1000 dollars on him in the Derby---by far my biggest Derby bet (I have bet a bit more at times but the Derby is usually a tough race to bet with confidence-it is better to cash at Finger Lakes on a $5K claimer than boast after the Derby)With a easy pick for second it made for a cash of about $24K.

A) I didn't need to overly pontificate on my selection-if asked I gave my opinion and reasons why. I thought I had an edge to exploit. Money in my pocket was the prevailing thought

B) I put my money where my mouth was---I didn't tell everyone I was brilliant even after the race or those having other opinions they were wrong.

You have a great opportunity to make a score. People like me don't think your horse is going to win. I don't knock your choice or your reasons for liking him. As evidenced I am not always right--although I have my opinions, but it is getting a little lame, your picks, as it heralded on a number of different posts. Amazing but we horse people are not all are right all the time.

Cash your tickets if you win and take your kudos--I am admittedly curious how much value would be on the tickets if you lost--only to see how much truly you were willing to risk on your overly sure thing. I know a few days ago I bet $1000 on a horse called Hanna's Classy Boy at Santa Anita and ate it. I was so impressed with his first race--in retrospect it was a bad bet--(of course he lost)first off a lengthy layoff, and first time turf--the moral is-I put my money where my mouth was-win or lose.

I have no Wood or Derby wager-

a) I don't know who is running  b) it is too early to predict with any confidence.

If forced I would say same field in Wood as Gotham-same result

Just a few thoughts to the king of surety.

11 Mar 2009 3:32 PM

marc W  like you I also pull out the bucks on Derby day.  On that day I have done my homework and believe in my heart of hearts I know who will win.  The races leading up to the Derby I am a fan first and wishing the horses I like make it to the Derby.  I bet a 50 dollar box in the

Gotham and got paid half because of my heart half because of my head.  I am rarely sure about any race leading up to the Derby but come the first Saturday in May I will have the winner.  Am I always right? No but the last 5 years I have only missed it once.  I was pretty cock sure last year, I hope I can have that much fun this year being so cock sure.

11 Mar 2009 5:38 PM
Dreamer's Mom

So happy to hear your comments regarding Talamo and the whip.  Find myself screaming "get off the stick" all the time.  Ahead by eight? Throw the darn thing in the infield!  You can pop my horse once or twice to see what happens, but you better not be using the stick if you have the win in hand or you'll find another horse to ride!

I have General Quarters in my stable mail-just got a workout notice on him-any idea where he'll run next?  Yep, I'm a girl in love with a gray horse and a great story!

11 Mar 2009 6:58 PM
Mike Relva


ARe you kidding? Steve is on point regarding IWR. I own three horses that race in minor stakes in Fla. and make no mistake about it,if the same situation happened w/mine that did with IWR,I would have found the jockey very quickly after the race!

12 Mar 2009 12:35 PM

Im cracking up reading these comments as it seems everyone is fired up over who the best horse is and so forth. We will only know the derby winner when the day comes and as of now, its March 12. There are a lot of races to be won and a lot of training yet to come. Is there a pool for which horses on the hot  lists dont make it? Everyone should chill out and just enjoy the races and the horses while we can. If only the horses knew of all the crap spoken about them and the pedestals we put them on......

12 Mar 2009 4:23 PM

Hey Mike I hope you don't call them out in public, that would be wrong on all sorts of levels.

18 Mar 2009 2:55 PM
Mike Relva


You have your opinion,I have mine!

18 Mar 2009 4:08 PM

So let me get this straight Mike. You would call out a rider in public, in front of other people instead of talking quietly about it somewhere else. Why? Would it not be better to change riders? There's lots to chose from at any track, besides no human being needs to be humiliated by another over a stupid horse race.

19 Mar 2009 12:21 AM
Mike Relva


Here's a "reality" check. I've done it before,twice and I was able to sleep just fine that night.Thats' my call to make!

20 Mar 2009 5:47 PM

Steve I would like to publicly apologize to you for the verbal exchange I got into with Mike R over this rider thing. I have been on the receiving end of a bad ride a few times ( twice with money on the line) but IMO however bad the ride was I still don't believe in calling out the rider in front of people.

Thank you for all you do on these sites and believe me I won't go there again.

21 Mar 2009 12:43 PM
Steve Haskin

No problem, Wanda. I'm just surprised you're still back in that blog. That was three blogs ago.

21 Mar 2009 2:31 PM

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