Ky Derby Trail: Second Wave Lands

It is the second week in March, the second Future Wager is upon us, and that means the Kentucky Derby contenders are pretty well established…or are they? That’s what we’ll find out this weekend when the second wave storms the beaches at Fair Grounds, Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park, and Santa Anita in an attempt to secure a late spot in the Derby field.

Read full column here.


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Pioneer of the Nile, not withstanding, the road from So. CAl to kentucky goes through The Pamplemousse.

12 Mar 2009 1:07 PM

Interesting to hear that Johnny V is sticking around to ride Quality Road in the Fla. derby instead of going to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup. To me that's real statement.

12 Mar 2009 1:45 PM

Hi Steve.  Seems like a lot of the discussion this year involves Poly and Dirt.  Some of the Discussion involves Turf and Dirt.  I like the fact that Bob Baffert and Julio aren't going to the dirt.  Seems that I remember that "The Bald Eagle"  Got Greinton, Perrault and other "turf" horses to win big races on the dirt first out.  What about John Henry.  In Excess became a monster on the dirt.  Any other East Coast Examples?

12 Mar 2009 2:39 PM

This weekend look out for a few horses to stake their derby dozen claim with breakthrough performances, namely Flying Pegasus in the La. Derby, Silver City in the Rebel and Rachel Alexandra in the La. Oaks.  It will be interesting to see how General Quarters measure up against Hello Broadway in the Tampa Bay Derby.  Happy hunting folks.

12 Mar 2009 4:37 PM

wiz... I agree with you.  Seems like Quality Road may be the monster horse everyone is looking for.  We will know in 2 weeks.  The Florida Derby has been producing a few Derby winners lately.

12 Mar 2009 4:43 PM

To all the connections of Rachel Alexandra... after she destroys the field this week... please give her the chance to whip all the boys in the Arkansas Derby.  Let her prove she belongs.

12 Mar 2009 5:27 PM
TouchStone Farms

Steve, I watched shafted in the "Robert lewis" and knew when he did not fire that he had "tied up", "flipped his palate" suffered an "entrapped epiglotis" or was suffering from a painful minor injury! All these things will stop a horse like he's been shot the further he goes, but with Mark saying he had a high muscle count I have to ask A) CK or SGOT? If it was his CK then it occurred within the preceeding 72 hrs-if it was his SGOT then it could have been as long as 3 weeks earlier! I would hazard a guess that it probably occurred during the final workout prior to the stake race, if so why wasn't a blood drawn the morning after his final work just prior to the stake race so it could have been treated? A big "trainer error" that we all have made at some point, and now that Mark has had his fingers burnt you can bet it won't happen again.....everyone had best be watching shafted for two reasons 1) his muscle enzymes will sure to be in order, 2) It's been awhile since I"ve seen a colt with a turn of foot like him that can also carry a distance! Good luck to the colt & all his connections.    

12 Mar 2009 8:54 PM

Steve, I think Silver City will turn the tables on Old Fashioned in the Rebel. Here are the interesting facts: On the 5th February, Silver City breezed a mile in 1:42 3/5 in preparation for the February 11th Southwest Stakes at mile. Well we all know he got beat by 31/4 lengths in his first attempt at a distance beyond 61/2F. On March 7th Silver City breezed a mile in 1:39 flat in preparation for the March 14th Rebel. He was a full three seconds faster in the March 7th mile breeze. It appears the Southwest has opened up Silver City and I think he will repel any challenge Old Fashioned launches in the stretch. If that March 7th work is not a winning work I know nothing about thoroughbreds.

12 Mar 2009 10:02 PM

OK it is the middle of March.  I quit wagering when Eight Belles went down but I think I will put some money away for the Derby.  I just can't help myself.  I am gonna need some guidence here.  Steve.  How is this for a exacta box and a tri to date?

Old Fashion

Stardom Bound

Chocolate Candy

Will you guys give me some imput here.  I have this funny feeling that SB is going to win this IF she runs.  I only want all the horses to cross the wire on 4 legs and STAY on 4 legs and all come home safe.  What the heck.  I have hit some good wagers before and I probaby can again with a little guidence.  :)

Hi Mark.  

12 Mar 2009 10:14 PM
Greg J.

I still believe Freisan Fire is this year's "Freak", I guess we will see after this weekend's  Louisiana Derby(I don't think the nine post will affect him at all).(Took Freisan Fire/The Pamplemousse Exacta.)

13 Mar 2009 8:15 AM
Louis Schroer

Do you know where Flat Out will run

next.  I thought he would run this week at Oaklawn.

13 Mar 2009 12:15 PM
The Rock


Somewhat of a seperate topic...

Have IEAH kept there promise with regards to medication sans lasix to their runners? I remember you did an article awhile ago, probably around summer time about how Mr. Iavarone was very adament of his horses not receiving any kind of medication that could jeopardise the integrity of their stable. Just curious if Patena & Stardom Bound have been treated that way. Are you planning on doing a follow up with him?


13 Mar 2009 12:34 PM
Mike Relva


Hello! I agree w/ you.

13 Mar 2009 12:37 PM
Karen in Texas

Most of Arkansas and Louisiana, not to mention north Texas, have been dealing with heavy rain for several days. The tracks at Oaklawn and Fairgrounds should be affected accordingly. I guess we'll see who can run on a wet surface. (The time for Proud Spell's comeback race yesterday was really slow.)

13 Mar 2009 1:09 PM

Hi Mike and Greg J.

OK so you both think that Freisan Fire is the one to watch for the win on the Derby?  Do you guys dare give me a superfecta? LOL

Greg are you wagering this weekend?  :)  Keep that streak going.  I may start dabbling in it now to get used to it.  What wagering site do you use?  

13 Mar 2009 1:33 PM
The Rock

Louis S,

Flat Out is being pointed directly to the Arkansas Derby. He's had a minor issue that he's been dealing with.

13 Mar 2009 2:33 PM
Greg J.

Hello Mike R.,

   First, I believe Wise Kid will win the Rebel(Call me Crazy), Second, I took FF & The Pamplemousse in future exacta, BUT I wouldn't mind if FF comes in second or third Sat. to bring down his odds a bit for the KD. Third. Does anyone know what Rachel Alexandra's connections are saying if she wins big, Do they have any thoughts of entering her in KD ?, If any one knows that would be great, I think she also has unlimited potential, Thanks....

13 Mar 2009 3:18 PM
Greg J.

Hey Stardust, Well, Since I was at Gulfstream last week, I bet there, But usually I go to OTB down the street from where I live in Connecticut.

13 Mar 2009 3:44 PM
Robert H

Freisan Fire will go the same route as the last horse to attempt the Louisiana Triple- OFF THE BOARD as the heavy favorite.

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 as were the favorites in the Lexington, Florida Derby and Ill Derby.

Papa Clem will be finished by the top of the stretch- I think that Giant Oak wins the race.

13 Mar 2009 6:21 PM
Robert H


The last horse to win the 'Louisiana Triple'- Dixieland Heat- was useless after the Louisiana Derby and spent the two years following it running on those memories and losing.

FF hasn't had a break in a long campaign and won't win tomorrow. After tomorrow he becomes another of those G-3 horses that show up for the local stakes races- like the West VA Derby etc.  

13 Mar 2009 6:29 PM


Eight Belles was a good filly (not great) in a horrible crop of three year olds , but if her going down drove you away for awhile- look at the Breeders Cup run in the slop- even Beyer said it was absurd to put those horses- with so much purse/breedingmoney and lives at stake- in those conditions because of the financial obligations cancelling the event would have involved.

That almost lost me.    

13 Mar 2009 6:43 PM


Yeah I remember the Breeders Cup.  I don't really feel that putting horses lives in danger for any amount of money is really worth it.  I am up and down with it.  I am good at hitting usually with exactas and tri and even 3,4,5 picks but sometimes when in the past, I have hit a wager and one of the horses was put down, it just killed me.  Mending Fences was one that I wagered on look what happened there.  I didn't even CARE about the money at all when that happened.  Sometimes I feel guilty when I wager on a horse and they get injured or put down.  I know that sounds nuts but I get really attached to them.  Chelokee was the same way.  Pine Island.  All of those horses I put money on.  Just finally when Eight Belles went down that was It!  I was done.  I don't even know why I am thinking about it now.  I really haven't followed the horses that much other than a little bit so I am kind of blind this year.

Actually the demise of Eight Belles gave me a pretty different outlook on the whole industry.  She really broke my heart and at the time, I would have done anything to have been able to reverse that.  Racing scares me to death.  Breakdowns are why.  There are a lot of sports that people and animals don't get injured nearly as much.  A beautiful race horse is something really pretty to look at when they are going 40+ mph.  

13 Mar 2009 7:20 PM

Greg J.  

I am lazy.  I do it from home.  You'll never believe this.  I had 4 dollars in my account on the Belmont with Rags.  I put in a 2 dollar 6 on that race with her.  I hit the 5 and it paid around 3400 bucks.  The 6 hit a half a million and Wait A While was the one that took me down.  LOL.  I'll never forget that.  I only put one horse in each box too.  That was a trip.  The minute I saw blinkers on her that day I though darnet, she isn't gonna do well.  By that time I had already put in my 6 and of course I did a 3 pick that day as well.  The three was on the 2 before Curlin and Rags.  Funny thing is I slept through the whole thing and when I woke up the Belmont was in the gate,  I watched it and thought nothing of it cause I forgot I made those wagers hahahahahahahah THEN come to my PC and OMG no way! LOL

13 Mar 2009 7:27 PM
Mike Relva

To: Greg J

Don't even pay any attention to Robert H,I'm with you on FF. Yes,I think Rachel A. will run in Derby if she continues to move up.

13 Mar 2009 7:28 PM

Stardust could you clarify your comments on betting the Belmont last year. I don't quite get what you are saying. You say you bet the Pick 6 and you got 5 out of 6 and it paid 3400 but then you said the Pick 6 paid half a mill? Sorry I just don't understand how it could pay 5 out of 6 and pay 6 out of 6. Thanks if you could explain it in detail to me so I understand or did I read it wrong? Sorry if I read it wrong if that's the case.

14 Mar 2009 10:52 AM

Mike and Greg.

I am with both of you if I decide to wager.  You guys seem to be up on these horses.  I don't want to do the homework LOL.  

14 Mar 2009 11:38 AM

Rachel Alexandra is a stone cold freak.  I hope she stays with fillies, but good lord she is fast.  I don't see Stardom Bound beating her in the Oaks.

14 Mar 2009 4:18 PM
Greg J.

Freisan Fire, Like I said, "Is a FREAK", You just saw the 2009 Kentucky Derby Winner ! Draynay, I guess you just Handicapped your last race & RobertH, I don't believe you could have been more wrong...

14 Mar 2009 6:04 PM
Greg J.

Also, Kudos to Rachel Alexandra, WOW...A Good Day for Me...

14 Mar 2009 6:06 PM


When I wagered on the Belmont with Rags and Curlin I did a pick 6 (I put one horse in each race and I chose Rags).  I got 5 of the 6 horses right on that 6 pick.  Wait A While was the first race of the pick 6 (7th race I think).  She came in second so I did not hit the 6 BUT they gave me a conditional payout of 3400 because I did hit 5 of the 6 horses.  It is documented somewhere.  I know that the next day it was in the paper.  Also I did a 3 pick with the three horses up to Rags race and hit that too.  Al-together I hit the 5 and the 3 so it came to close to 4 grand on 4 bucks.  

I actually had to call them because I thought that they made a mistake.  I knew that Wait A While did not win, hence I wondered why I had hit that 5.  They told me they do that if a person hits 5 out of the 6 horses.  The person that DID hit the 6 got a half million.  So all in all Wait A While screwed me out of a half million dollars LOL.  Does this make sense? :)

14 Mar 2009 6:16 PM

Smooth Air wins.... Macho Again wins... Backseat Rhythm wins... yeah... real weak group of 4 year olds huh.... !!! Last years 3 year olds dominated.  Proudinsky who Big Brown defeated with ease first time touching turf as a 3 year old beat a large group of experienced turf horses making Big Browns win even more impressive.

14 Mar 2009 6:22 PM

Wanda.  Again.  In a lot of cases when you wager a pick 6 and hit 5 of the horses, they give a conditional payout.  That is what happened to me.  Someone did hit the 6 on that race.  THEY got the half mill.  I only got the 3400 plus the money from the 3 pick cause that was the last three races and Rags won.  I actually did that wager thinking I wouldn't hit it because I really did think Curlin would win that race.  I wanted so bad for Rags to win it that I put in the wager for her.  I thought what the heck, it is only 4 dollars.  I about fell off my chair when I saw the payouts cause as I said, when Wait A While came in second on her race, I thought well there goes my 6 pick.  I did not know that they gave conditional payouts for hitting 5 horses until that day.  I was in shock.  It was a nice treat.  :) THEN I wagered quite a bit until the Derby last year.  When I hit with the exacta on Eight Belles and BB, I couldn't even bring myself to open the envelope with the check in it for over a month.  That did it for me.  I quit at that time.  What I did was took the monies from the winnings and donated it to the Eight Belles fund, got a jar and every time I think about it, I put 8 cents, dollars, 88 cents, 80 dollars, etc. whatever I can afford into the jar.  The jar has a picture of Eight Belles on it and it has Eight Belles on it.  I felt that that would be a good memo for me to do that.  Her demise killed my desire to wager.  I really lost it.  If I wager on the KD, it will be the first time.  I did dabble with the BC a little bit but not very much.  I didn't do well at all there because Curlin took down all of my picks.  I really didn't put a whole lot of time into the BC at all.  Probably about 20 bucks.  So yeah I guess I did wager after Eight Belles but I did not really do the homework like I did on the Belmont.  I did a lot of homework for that day.

14 Mar 2009 6:33 PM

Good on Proudinsky, Dray!!

But don't forget who won the Big Cap. . . .

Sorry, couldn't resist!  :)

14 Mar 2009 7:17 PM

Greg J.

I am putting my money where your mouth is on the Derby LOL!  :)

14 Mar 2009 7:32 PM
Greg J.

Win Willy ???, 4 starts, 3 WINS, My Darkhorse for Derby, lol...

14 Mar 2009 7:42 PM

OK Greg J.  Give me your tri and super for the Derby LOL.  I MAY wager.  I still really need to think about this.  I have not been following these horses much so I am blind this year other than Stardom Bound and who was it that said she was gonna get beat?  I want details on that one.  :)

14 Mar 2009 7:59 PM

Anyone know what ever happened to the colt All Saint. He seems to have just fell off the map?

14 Mar 2009 8:20 PM

I absolutely love Fresian Fire, however what is up with his front end. Does he have an old injury? Why does he run like that?

14 Mar 2009 8:24 PM

I am still going with Greg and Mike.  LOL.  

14 Mar 2009 8:29 PM

Old Fashioned got burned by the pace.  Win Willy walked in the back of the gate as the front opened!  I think it took him a while to figure out he was in a horse race.  But he did.

Was PON flattered by Life is Sweet. . . . ?

14 Mar 2009 8:39 PM
Mike Relva


So,what happened? Greg and I both told you FF would hit the homerun!

14 Mar 2009 9:14 PM
Mike Relva


So how are you? lol Guess you and I were right,pal.

14 Mar 2009 9:15 PM
The Rock

Well Steve,

This is where I respectfully have to disagree with you on Joe Talamo's ride on I WANT REVENGE. He just riding his horse all the way to the wire. That's more then what I can say about Kent D. on SECRET GETAWAY in the New Orleans. Constantly looking back for someone that was going to rush him and someone did, instead of just looking straight and riding his race. That's all a jock needs to do until the Winning Post.

14 Mar 2009 10:22 PM

I have All Saint in my Equibase stable - He had a work a couple of days ago

14 Mar 2009 10:28 PM
Mike Relva


You are wrong,simple as that!

14 Mar 2009 11:44 PM

Friesan Fire, Old Fashioned, and Pioneer of the Nile all can be tossed for the Derby.  Not one of them has a chance to win the Derby. Pioneer of the Nile is tired and will never catch Pamplemousse in the Santa Anita.  If they race that tired horse again they are nuts.  The best thing to do with Pioneer is train him up to the Derby.  Old Fashioned got beat by a nothing horse toss him period.  Friesan fire got outrun by Rachel Alexandra any way you want to look at it.  Fast splits faster everything.  To place any money on Fiesan Fire to win the Derby is a complete waste.  Look to New York and Florida for your Derby winner. The above 3 are done and over.

15 Mar 2009 12:50 AM

Dray, Rachel ran a great race, but I'm not sure how a 1:43.55 is faster that a 1:43.46.

15 Mar 2009 1:48 AM
Matthew W

Dray disagree with you about POTN---He moved very early into a track that plays like the turf---And he held sway like a good thing! They're not as spread out on Pro Ride/just like the turf---Baffert got what he wanted out of the race/look out in SA Derby--Ky Derby another matter entirely! And I'm sure Jones's guy got a good Beyer--He'll get the buzz this week, but think POTN has the advantage of not training/racing on slop---No, I think POTN is a real good horse/think they'll get more pace to wait on in SA Derby....But Fresan Fire goes right to #2 on my list, between #1 Pamplemousse and #3 I Want Revenge....Pamplemousse getting tired after his races does not concern me--that shows me he WANTS to run/he wants to win! He gives his all--At any rate he's the Derby pace/the 2009 Kentucky Derby goes thru The Pamplemouse! I Want Revenge/Fresan Fire won't be able to lap onto a soft pace--they'll have to run to chase him....

15 Mar 2009 8:37 AM

Tiznowbaby do I have to explain it to you ??? Check the fractions ! We ALL saw Rachel "pull up" long before the wire if you didn't see it I am not going to explain it to you.  At a half a mile and at 6 furlongs Rachel would have been 5 lengths ahead of Friesan Fire.  If you think Friesan would have caught her at the wire or been anywhere close let me know who your Derby horse is going to be the Day before the Derby so I can toss that horse.

15 Mar 2009 8:47 AM

Stardust thanks for clearing that up. In Canada the pick 6 has no consolation. If there are no live tickets for 6 out of 6 then it goes to 5 out of 6 and so on. Have a great day !

15 Mar 2009 9:56 AM

Matthew this is what I know.  The Derby winner this year like most will not come out of California.  Right now there are only 6 horses that have a chance to win the Derby. If your horse is not one of these 6 forget it.

1. Desert Party

2. I Want Revenge

3. Imperial Council

4. Quality Road

5. Theregoesjojo

6. Rachel Alexandra

In a few weeks we will be able to narrow this down but one fact cannot be disputed.  The horse with the MOST success and the MOST experience at Churchill is Rachel Alexandra.  As of today I would suggest SHE is the horse to beat in the Derby.  After the race in Dubai, The Wood, and Florida Derby we will know more but the list is down to 6 horses.  For those of you who love California horse I am sorry but Pioneer is a tired horse and the Pamplemousse will not run on hard dirt for a 1 1/4.

15 Mar 2009 10:30 AM

What a romp by Freisan Fire yesterday. I knew he was going to win but by 7 lengths, whew! What a horse he is. Larry Jones really knows what he is doing with that colt. When Larry says he's the best horse he has ever trained people need to listen. After all he had the two horses who ran second the past two years in the Derby. Now he will have the winner this year with Freisan Fire.

STARDUST, I know what you mean about Eight Belles in the Derby last year and having a winning ticket. I had a tri  ti

cket worth 1700 bucks and couldn't bring myself to cash it at the OTB for days. I was so upset.

15 Mar 2009 11:00 AM

Wanda.  So in Canada if someone does NOT hit the 6 pick and someone does hit 5 horses on a 6 pick then they get a payout?  OR do you mean that it is a 3,4,5,6 pick and what it is, is what it is.   That must really suck.  I am glad they didn't have the Belomont in Canada.  I have wagered 6 picks there before and hit 4 horses but never 5.  This is good to know LOL.

You have a good day too.  

Greg J.  FF for the win, and who in the tri box?  As for the Oaks, Stardom Bound?  :) What ya think?

15 Mar 2009 11:09 AM


Out of your horses, I would go for "I Want Revenge".  Why don't you think that FF will do well in the Derby?

15 Mar 2009 11:11 AM

For the record I have one more thing to say.  The 3 year old class that was suppose to be so weak last year won numerous stakes races yesterday and SMOOTH AIR won ANOTHER stakes race and did it at a mile.  He now has stakes wins on Turf, 7 furlongs, a mile, and a 1 1/8th.  Can someone please name another horse in the last 25 years that can say that ?  I would imagine it would be hard to find many in the last 50.

15 Mar 2009 11:19 AM


    Rachel ran 1.43.55 and FF ran 1.43.46. Both of them were going easy in the last half furlong. Something i noticed about FF splits is that he ran 1.13.34 for 3/4 and 1.33.35 for the mile, that is 20 seconds flat for the quarter between those two. Dray you said you wanted fast, well how is 20 seconds flat in slop not fast, that is unbelievable.

15 Mar 2009 11:41 AM

Steve -FF was awesome - no doubt about it. but the rest of the preps were not very impressive looking at the splits/times.Actually looking back at the Gotham makes me think that all 3 of the top finishers (IWR, IMperial council and mr. Fantasy) should all still be considered real contenders. does anyone agree??

15 Mar 2009 12:36 PM
Mike Relva


I'm not sure regarding tossing the others' out,but will say that I don't think needs anymore races prior to the Derby. My thoughts mirrow yours on wondering if he's tired. I like the filly very much.

15 Mar 2009 1:30 PM


    At the mile FF would've been almost fifteen lengths ahead of Rachel, since he ran 1.33 and she ran 1.36. You seem to have left that part out. You also seem to be forgeting you little mile philosophy. 1.36 is decent, but not overly fast, 1.33 on the other hand is very fast, not to mention the horse did it in slop. Another thing to note, is that FF went 20 seconds flat between the his 3/4 split and mile, that again is extremely fast and impressive yet again because he did it in absolute slop! Rachel went i think like 23 or 24 between those two splits. FF's race IMO was much more impressive because of those splits. Of course your going to come back and say well my horse ran 10 for the last 1/16. Well there could be a couple reasons for that. One is that maybe he too was slowing down at the wire, just loafing. The other is well when you go from a 23 or 24 quarter 20, it's bound to take something out of you. Rachel never really sped up against her opposition, and honestly the competition she faced made the horses FF face look like world beaters. Those horses had no business being in that race, which allowed Rachel to do whatever she pleased. Also let you know i believe POTN, though on a different track ran faster than Rachel did aswell, or at least very close, and remember the jockey said he too, was loafing in the stretch. Rachel can't just pull up against horses that close like those two.

15 Mar 2009 1:40 PM

Dray, do I have to explain it to you???? You said she ran her race faster. She did not. Could she have? Yes, if her jockey doesn't gear down. But, the fact is, she ran a SLOWER TIME. Even you, Draynay, can't change the final clocking. Sometimes you seriously need to get over yourself.

15 Mar 2009 1:46 PM

And Dray, don't be stupid. When the gate opens, if there are 20 horses, then there will be 20 horses with a CHANCE to win.

15 Mar 2009 1:48 PM


Why don't you think that FF will be good for the Derby?  I am confused about that.  Isn't that horse undefeated?  Please explain OK?  :)

15 Mar 2009 1:57 PM

Dray - I assume your comment about PM is taken from Gary's comment on the other blog about the PM "hitting the ground too hard" (?).  One of the things I really like about this horse (crookedness aside) is that he does not run on his forehand.  (This is an appreciation in coming from another equine discipline. . . )

This is one fast grapefruit!

15 Mar 2009 3:13 PM

LDP... please get the splits right before posting.  Let me tell you all the story of Friesan Fire... he is the same as Pyro.  Pyro won this very race last year and can someone tell me where the horses that he beat finished in the Derby ? Not to mention where Pyro finished?  Friesan Fire sooner or later will have to meet real horses that can run real fractions.  FF has never seen what a 1:11 looks like and until he does he is just a very good horse not a Derby winner.  Old Fashion saw decent fractions and he crumbled like a house of cards.  I know many of you now like FF but compared to Rachel Alexandra on the same track on the same day Rachel was CLEARLY the faster and better horse.

15 Mar 2009 4:35 PM

Desert Party? That's hilarious. And let Rachel A. face better stock than the 3rd tier horses she's been running against,Draynay,before you say she's the one to beat in the Derby.Because as of today,she'll get her head handed to her by the likes of IWR,FF,The Pamps' and POTN just to name a few.And let me reiterate what I said back in January: Not one horse from last year's Champagne Stakes will make the Derby field and none of the Dubai horses will win it either.

15 Mar 2009 4:40 PM

Seems like when Dray gets his love for a horse stuck in his head he can't see the forest for the trees with anyone other horse. I do agree with him on Imperial Council but will have to see how he runs in the Wood. So far Friesan Fire seems like the legit real deal out there. Yesterdays race with Pioneer leaves me a bit leery of him capabilities. After the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood the picture should become a lot clearer as to who the contenders will be. Yesterday did a lot to eliminate the pretenders. What is Dutrows excuse for Patena? Haven't heard anything yet on that second coming of Big Brown.

15 Mar 2009 4:55 PM

Any new developments on Mr. Fantasy's next race?  Last I heard, they're still considering the Wood and the Illinois Derby.  Once the sting of his first loss subsided, it's worth noting his Beyer figure jumped 5 points in his last race to 98.  That gives him 97-93-98.

His age may be working against him for the Derby.  He's giving away 2-3 months on the field and won't be 3 until after the Preakness.  In a horses first 4 years, he ages the equivalent of 6.5 human years each year.  That considered, it will be like a 17 year old racing against 19 year olds.  The physical development factor working against Mr. Fantasy is actually enormous.

15 Mar 2009 5:06 PM

For all the talent this group of 3 year olds is suppose to have notice that none have shown the speed and ability Big Brown did in the Florida Derby last year. 22.76, 45.83, 1:10.08 and 1:35.18  Old Fashioned ran at fractions slower than this in a shorter race and could not handle it. The first time he didn't make the lead he folded. And this is the horse many had number 1 on their list ? I am looking forward to the last of the prep races run at 1 1/8th because most have shown they can't run well at 1 1/16th and have already been discarded as possible winners in my mind.

15 Mar 2009 5:07 PM


   FF was not unbeaten, that was his stablemate OF who lost for the first time yesterday in the Rebel, running second.

15 Mar 2009 5:43 PM

While FF has been underrated and was most impressive and while Rachel is a freak...FF did not run a mile in 1:33 and change - that is an error posted a certain place on the web.  Here is the chart which indicates n/a for the stretch call.

Anyway, anyone who couldn't figure out that 1:33 + fraction is literally unbelievable apparently also believes that FF walked the last 1/16 in :10 seconds?  Really?? And can't comprehend the difference between a galloping, eased RA and a ridden out FF?  

15 Mar 2009 6:06 PM

Big Brown would have won the Belmont if not for Kent Desormeaux's horrendous ride.

Although the 2008 3-year old crop was weak, Big Brown was anything but.  He won 4 G1's and a stakes on turf, posting Beyers of 107 and 105 after the Belmont.  BB won the Ketucky Derby from Post 20 running 5-wide.  There's no telling how good that horse could have been, however his $60,000 Sire fee is a pretty good indication.

15 Mar 2009 6:51 PM
For Big Red

TO DRAYNAY: You wrote, "He now has stakes wins on Turf, 7 furlongs, a mile, and 1 1/8th. Can someone please name another horse in the last 25 years that can say that? I would imagine it would be hard to find many in the last 50.

Since you asked, here's a link to Secretariat's past performances:

Big Red won the Bay Shore at 7f in 1:23 1/5 on a sloppy track. He won the Champagne (dq'd to 2nd) and the Gotham at a mile. His time in the Gotham was 1:33 2/5. He won the Marlboro Cup at the then world record time of 1:45 2/5 for 1 1/8 miles. His last two races were on the turf. He won the Man'o War in 2:24 4/5 for 1 1/2 miles, then a course record at Belmont, and won the Canadian International in 2:41 4/5 for 1 5/8 miles.

Oh, and he won every Eclipse Award for which he was eligible during his career, including Champion Turf Horse of 1973, the same year he won the Triple Crown in dirt.

Secretariat was in a class of his own, of course, but there have been numerous horses who have won at the distances you named while switching from dirt to turf and vice versa. Another famous one who did it is the great gelding, John Henry. Here's a link to his PP's:

15 Mar 2009 7:11 PM

Stardust- Holy smokes on nailing 5/6 and the Pick-3 cold!  Congrats are in order.  When making your selections, in order what are the first 3 factors you look for?

I'm 48 and have been handicapping for 1 1/2 years.  First book I read was Handicapping 101: A Horse-Racing Primer, followed by Beyer on Speed.  For the first 6 months, most of the time I left the track with more $$$ than I entered with, usually between $50-100 (going in with a $50 limit to lose for the day).  I figured this was going to be easy.

As I learned more about handicapping, my winnings became less.  With all of the information on the Racing Form, I think I'm getting bogged down with stats flying at me from everywhere.  Coupled with that I'm trying to find value in the play.  When I get behind I'll switch to hard chalk combinations and the "clear cut" favorite finishes 2nd or off the board.

Other times, I'll ditch the handicapping and play the tote board with a couple of $3 exactas (example: 1/3,5,8 and 3/1,5,8).  That has resulted in some good days, but kills the whole purpose of the game.

15 Mar 2009 7:36 PM
For Big Red

TO GREG J.: Over on the Nicanor thread awhile back, you and I both said we liked Friesan Fire. While trouncing the strongest field of 3-yr-old running yesterday, he did nothing to change my mind about him. Here's what I saw after watching replays of all three races:

PioneerOf The Nile -- Broke a little slowly, rated nicely, moved up willingly, then won in a hard all-out drive in 1:43.35 after moderate fractions. The mile split was 1:37.09, which he set. He beat the weakest field of any of yesterday's 3-yr-old races, and didn't look particularly impressive to me.

Old Fashioned: Broke good from the inside post, rated nicely while racing along the rail in 2nd, moved up willingly on a loose rein, then tired badly in the stretch. The time was 1:44.41. Win Willy closed gamely to win, but he was all out to make up ground on a very leg-weary Old Fashioned. The mile split was a slow 1:38.09.

Friesan Fire: Broke good, rated nicely while under a tight hold, took command at the head of the stretch, and won as he pleased. The mile split was a fast 1:33.35, and he coasted to the wire under wraps in 1:43.46. More importantly, he seemed to have plenty left in the tank. This horse has a very smooth running style.

15 Mar 2009 7:51 PM

Alan, some horses are precocious enough to overcome late spring births, one of those would be the May foal Pioneerof the Nile;)  Just imagine if he improves.  I like Mr. Fantasy, too.  

15 Mar 2009 8:46 PM

HRTV had the BSF as FF 104, RA 97 (please, don't ask why as I am sure logic as not part of the equation), and POTN 90 (which frankly, the way Beyer does plastic, might be a 100 on dirt.)

POTN's race was better than it looked.  Watch the replay and see him get with it at the 16th pole when Gomez spanked him - he had more left.  Bob says he wants a target and the 'Mousse will be a large one in front of him on April 4.  I say he runs him down when Pamplemousse bounces a bit.

I think Rachel is a freak but I wouldn't go looking for colts and a 20 horse Derby field with her.  But horses like Rachel, that so completely outclass their competition, might just be as good as they look, but no better.  Can't tell until she meets a horse than can give her a real go.

On Old Fashioned - eh, I never loved him, but was surprised to see him fold like that at 1 1/16 miles.  Be amazed if he stays sound anyway.

Friesan Fire - I was thinking wow, this horse gets no respect - and boy did he knock that door down.   AP Indy is due a Derby winner...

15 Mar 2009 8:55 PM

One more time, the 1:33.35 is a TYPO that exists for the mile split in LA Derby  - at least one place and apparently has taken the web by storm  - and the chart does not reflect it.  Who in their right mind thinks any horse ran a 20 second quarter mile?  Or that FF came home the final 1/16th in :10 seconds...

15 Mar 2009 9:00 PM

For Big Red... the fact that you had to bring in Secretariat and John Henry into the conversation says it all ... thank you! Slew... like it or not one of the 6 I posted above is going to win the Derby.  My future ticket hopes its Imperial Council.

15 Mar 2009 9:39 PM


    Go to NTRA, it has the times posted, and if you watch the video on Bloodhorse and look at the times it also said that FF ran the time in 1.33.35, i think that was. So is the tape wrong too? You thing says not available, well that may just be that site. I've watched the tape and been on NTRA and all say the same thing. Just because your site couldn't get their hands on the time doesn't mean a video and another site are wrong. I'm going by what two sources have told me his times were, and both are consistant with each other. If you think for a minute that when i first saw that i didn't think there was a mistake your kidding yourself. Both sights say it, you sight just doesn't give it. If you find another site that has an actual time, not just a N/A, then come and tell me.

15 Mar 2009 9:43 PM
Karen in Texas

Alan--Thunder Gulch, one of the most consistent three year old colts ever, was a May 23rd foal. He was also only 15.3 hands, but won the Derby and Belmont and was third in the Preakness. He then won the Swaps, Travers, and Kentucky Cup later that season. He suffered a fracture in his prep for the Breeders Cup and was retired to stud.

15 Mar 2009 9:53 PM

POTN just needs something to run at.  He won't find himself ahead at the 1/2 again any time soon.

15 Mar 2009 10:00 PM

Um, LDP, Equibase is the official chart caller for the industry, not my "sight" or site.

I'll guess it was a typo or a timer malfunction from Fairgrounds and no one thought quickly enough to question the obvious mistake right away.  

I used the Equibase chart as the industry standard reference and the n/a should indicate to you there was a problem with the split.  But how could you even consider a 1:33.35 mile split as possible w/ a 6f in 1:13 and change and a final time of 1:43 and change? Seriously??

15 Mar 2009 11:44 PM

Barbara - If FF ran that quarter in 20 seconds, he might very well have run (well sorta) the last 1/16 in 10 seconds. . .   ; >)

15 Mar 2009 11:47 PM

"Friesan Fire" stamps himself as one who belongs, "Papa Clem"  young green growing and coming along... "Terrain" a sneaky steady eddie... the rest in the LA Derby get dropped! Enough of waiting on 'Giant Oak' to perform!! "Pioneerof the Nile" got a workout while "Chocolate Candy" goes on siesta?? "Old Fashion" hmmm blame it on non need, the non speed, or the sloppy track? No one else was impressive this weekend other that "El Crespo" off the turf...

  However, I suppose we will have to put higher up on the 'watch list' the likes of "Musket Man"; "Win Willy"; "Join The Dance";  and "Jeranimo"; and I suppose "Justdon'tcallmejeri" & "Fiesty Suances". ARE WE KIDDING OURSELVES??? Bring on "Sal the Barber"!! "Herr Mozart"!! and "Major Marv"!!! and let’s settle who the likely long shots will really be at this point!!

  Guess that I will just be yawning until the Santa Derby, the Fla. Derby, and the Wood Memorial from here... but, as to a dozen?? right now I see a dozen half empty!! and only a 1/2 dozen that look for real... So I propose again, 'Weak Field'? or 'Strong Field'?...

P.S. I surely hope someone like "Dunkirk" adds some more excitement down the road at this point...

16 Mar 2009 1:39 AM


I'm chuckling a bit here this morning. I saw your "top 6" list and lo and behold the ones you listed 1-5 are the very ones I boxed in the Derby Futures Exacta Pool. I was most surprised you included Theregoesjojo in your group. Last I recall you did not like him at all. Let's hope they all get to the Derby in good order and we shall see from there.  

16 Mar 2009 7:48 AM

For the record smooth air still hasn't beaten anybody. Once again he was placed in a very small field of nobodys. Someone had to win. LOL the favorite in the race was cool coal man who was another weak 3 yr old from last year. It isn't very impressive to build a resume against nobody. G2 doesn't guarantee a quality field. I've seen it mentioned here before and I'm starting to believe that races should not be rated until after the year and then only on the quality that showed up that day. draynay you argue one day that the races in the south mean nothing even though they have been graded stakes, then when it serves your purpose you argue that because smooth air won a graded race it makes him good. Labels mean little to me it's who you run against that counts. smooth air never was a "classic distance" runner and never will be. He may have won at 1 1/8th. but did so against nobody and in each case was struggling to the line. When I say last years weak class of 3 yr olds it pertains to who showed up on Derby Day and their abilities (or in this case lack of) to get the 1 1/4.

16 Mar 2009 8:20 AM

DRANAY:  This year's Derby build up isn't over yet.  The ghost of Monarchos (Win Willy) has suddenly appeared on the scene with the most explosive rally seen going two turns this season.  Also remember that the backdoor entrance to the Derby (Bluegrass Stakes-Gr I) is there to let in perhaps a precocious grass/synthetic horse, so hold your six horses buddy.  I tell you one thing, count Win Willy in.  At last 2001 Derby winner Monarchos has thrown his spitting image. More anon.  

16 Mar 2009 10:21 AM
Greg J.

Dray, I believe you said "If Freisan Fire wins I will NEVER handicap another race", You said this on the live blog Saturday, Then after He wins HUGE, in the toughest field on that day, In Horrible conditions on the track, YOU still give him ZERO credit, Say he is "Done and Over". He is not even on your top six derby list!

   No offense meant here, But "Are you Crazy???"(lol), I can understand someone not liking a horse, but if you go by the facts and put your personal likes/dislikes for a particular horse aside, This Horse is Incredible right now and only will get better !

I have been high on Freisan since day one and so far I am correct about him, He is a "Freak", and hopefully you will realize this after he wins the Kentucky Derby!

16 Mar 2009 11:31 AM
For Big Red

TO DRAYNAY: You missed my point. I didn't have to "bring Secretariat and John Henry into it." I used them because their past performances are easily available online.

The fact is that numerous horses have won stakes on both turf and dirt, at various distances, through the years since grass racing started to become popular in the U.S. roughly 50 years ago. Some are famous, like Secretariat and John Henry. Others are not, like Kiss the Kid and Christmas Kid (both by Lemon Drop Kid), and McCann's Mojave. He won eight stakes, mostly in California, on turf and dirt, ranging in distances from about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita to 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Your claim that it's rare for a horse to win stakes on both turf and dirt, and at various distances, simply doesn't hold up.

16 Mar 2009 11:36 AM
Karen in Texas

Ranagulzion---Brisnet is reporting that the owners of Win Willy turned down a $3 million offer on Saturday night. I thought he looked interesting as well, especially being by Monarchos.

16 Mar 2009 11:45 AM


    The reason i consider it is because i know a good enough horse is capable of running 20 second. It would take an incredibley fast horse to do so, as well as incredibley talented. We have no idea of what FF can do, Jones has said he is the best horse he's ever trained. As i said i was skeptical, but then again it's posted on NTRA and the videos show the same thing. Maybe the was something wrong with the teletimer, but if there was i'm sure that there would be something about it somewhere, not just N/A from one site. I could be wrong, but right now according to two different sources i'm not. As i said if you find anything that differs and is an acutal time or something that say that the teletimer was off, i'll gladly admit i'm wrong, but as of now there is nothing solid except for my two sources.

16 Mar 2009 12:39 PM

gw_bushwacker you can try to knock last years class of 3 year olds but they are dominating Stakes races this year like it or not.  You can also continue to knock Smooth Air but like I said he has won Stakes races on turf and at various distances on dirt which few other horse have done in the last 50 years.  The MetMile will be the G1 win he has been looking for. Ranagulzion... No the Derby build up is not over but the winner comes from the Wood or Florida Derby and maybe Desert Party.  Adding optional claimer Win Willy is a joke and the field will be watching the Derby from the same seats as you and me.

16 Mar 2009 1:03 PM

Alan.  What I normally do when I am doing the 3,4,5,6 picks is I check the records of each horse and their past races with the horses that they are racing against in the race.  It is a lot of homework.  I spend about a week with that.  

Then on race day, I always change my mind.  Horses are like us and they have on and off days.  When I wager on just an exacta or a tri I always look at the post parade.  I go by my gut on the horses with those wagers.  I usually hit long shots that way.  I have this really good eye for seeing a horse that I think is going to hit.  When they are on the track, I totally dismiss the tote board and the odds.  I only go by the horse and how that horse is acting.  I have hit more exactas and trifectas that way.  Another thing I do, is I usually don't do a wager on more than an 8 horse field.  Sometimes there will be a long shot and I get this gut feeling that that horse is gonna hit.  I always go with my gut.  I have hit 60/1 odds before on a win doing that.  

On the 3,4,5,6 picks I stack them.  I do a 6 and only put ONE horse in each race.  The one that I feel that will win it.  Then I do the 3 picks as the races go on.  If I don't hit the first horse, I change my 3 pick.  On an on like that.  The problem with those 3,4,5,6 picks is you can't watch the pp so it is harder.  

I never do the multiple horses in one race on  those picks.  That way, if I hit I hit, if I don't, I don't lose a lot of money.  I'll try to explain more of this in another post LOL.  :)

16 Mar 2009 1:30 PM
Mike Relva

GW_ Bushwacker

So from your "expert opinion" lol you don't label Smooth Air as a quality horse. Here's the problem of too many people with too little knowledge thinking they know everything!

16 Mar 2009 3:05 PM
2 time valley player of the year

Shakeouts continue, not ready to throw out Old F yet but wasn't impressed with his tiring performance.less then month and we'll get a real good picture. Fire looked very good no doubt and question is will they run Rachel in the Ark Derby? When does the goldophin Desert P arrive and what race will he run in?

16 Mar 2009 3:39 PM

Karen in Texas:  I can tell a classic race horse from experience and this Win Willy is the real deal both on pedigree and ability.  That quality of his performance in the Rebel will stand up to the Arkansas Derby test providing he has some fast fractions to run at.  Anyway he is definitely Derby caliber and the sky is the limit for this horse. If I were the owner, anybody offering less than $12M I would tell to call back after the Triple Crown series.  

16 Mar 2009 3:59 PM

LDP, I would say that far more than a comment on your lack of knowledge of the sport - that the 1:33.35 mile split error that has been picked up by those that report on the industry as gospel  - and not questioned early and often - is an example of what is terribly wrong with this sport.

Will duly note that my "site" - the Equibase chart - is not as credible as your sources....the regurgitating media masses that copy results word for word without thought.

Ask Haskin if he thinks FF ran 1:33.35 mile...

16 Mar 2009 4:47 PM

Greg J... I know what I said and FF has no chance in the Derby.  The horse is simply too slow.  Look at his times at a mile....slow.  You don't win the Derby when you are running 1:37 miles at a 1 1/16th.  You can argue with me all you want but when it comes to the Derby I am rarely wrong.  FF = Pyro.

16 Mar 2009 4:57 PM


    There is no need to throw around insults. I know plenty about the sport, but just because i have a different opinion and you don't like doesn't mean you have to get evil over it. I never said your source was not creditable only that others said differently. You also i guess did not see or chose not to see the part where i mentioned that at first i did suspect something was up, but when nothing was reported or questioned didn't fight it. Also why would i ask Haskin, do i respect his opinion, yes, in fact i normally agree with him, but again right now i probably wouldn't. As i've been saying if you can find another source that has a time that is different or actually say there was something wrong with the teletimer, i'll admit i'm wrong, as of now there has been nothing reported.

16 Mar 2009 8:16 PM

LOL..Draynay,tell us all what was IC mile clocked at in the Gotham? No chance in the Derby? Sure,like u said FF had no chance in his La.Derby romp huh?

16 Mar 2009 8:35 PM
Greg J.


    Well, I respect your opinion, and we will leave it at that, I will just go on the record and tell you, "The Pamplemousse" & "Freisan Fire" WILL go one/two in KD(Either Order)(I have loved these two since day one, NOT jumping on bandwagon), I will also throw R.A. in the mix(If she runs)....We will see who is right in about six weeks........

17 Mar 2009 8:50 AM

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