Kentucky Derby Trail: Louisville Shuffle


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Of the horses you've seen so far, which ones have the kind of disposition best suited to the circus like atmosphere of the Triple Crown trail?

16 Mar 2009 4:34 PM

Old Fashioned reminds me of 1998 3yo Coronado's Quest.He liked to follow another horse but went as fast as the pacemaker did. If the leaders' pace was slow, Coronado's Quest good finish much better as he did in the Travers that year holding off Victory Gallop.

16 Mar 2009 4:50 PM

Apparently Friesan Fire ran his mile split as fast as Secretariat ran his Gotham Stakes in '73 so I guess corresponding logic means he is the Derby winner and we can all take a vacation until the first Saturday in May..;)

16 Mar 2009 4:52 PM
CB Man

hey Steve

I almost blew a fuse looking at Old fashioned chasing a horse he clearly was going to beat to a half in 46. I just could not figure out why Dominguez would have him chasing that pace so closely.

After the Loss, I figured he would be in free fall on everyone's list. Then i started looking on the bright side, "I might actually get a good price on this horse".

I agree there are questions about him, but he still has not given me any reason to doubt him.

I guess Jones and his guys will have a month to work things out.

I'm confident he will be ready for the big one

16 Mar 2009 5:10 PM

Good point Barbara (above).  That 1:33 and change had (has) me a little confused.  It just must be wrong.  I noticed it was omitted in the DRF charts (for which they do have a mile split for Rachel's race).  

I was high on Papa Clem going into it and do not know if we have a clear indication where he stands relative to the others.  I hope Stute keeps him going toward one of the April one mile and 1/8 preps.  

Steve, do you have any insights currently as to those destined for the Bluegrass?  

Thank you!

16 Mar 2009 5:14 PM

Steve, you're an honest man not knowing what to make of Win Willy but I'll tell you.  This colt has appeared from out of nowhere like the "ghost" of Monarchos ready to haunt the Derby field, especially those speedy front runners and stalkers.  Note that he was not merely a fast closing second or third to a good horse, a la Patena.  On the contrary, he mowed down the field including the much heralded Old Fashioned like a bulldozer.  Answer this question: how far back was he closing from and how far did he beat OF and the 3rd placed runner?.  He will need a strong pace to run at and a clean trip but it is looking like deja vu all over again (2001 Florida Derby & Kentucky Derby).  Some one suggested that touting this optional claimer for the Derby is a joke but the real joke is that Win Willy was masquerading in the optional claiming division as an unknown quantity.  His dam is a Carson City mare but so is Barbaro's dam La Ville Rogue and he has Maria's Mon and Wavering Monarch(Derby-winner-producing influences)within the 1st 3 generations, not to mention Northern Dancer 4x4 to boot, so go figure.  

16 Mar 2009 5:30 PM
For Big Red

Steve, I have to respect your long experience at the handicapping game. Yet I'm a bit surprised you put Friesan Fire third on your list after his superlative race in the Louisiana Derby. Granted, historically, few horses who came to the Kentucky Derby through Louisiana have won the big race. Also, I understand your concern about the fact that FF has not seemingly had a break since his debut. On the other hand, he hasn't been over-raced. His races have been well spaced, as the following shows:

19 days between FF's 1st & 2nd races

50 days between his 2nd & 3nd races

46 days between his 3rd & 4th races

23 days between his 4th & 5th races

28 days between his 5th & 6th races

35 days between his 6th & 7th races

There are 84 days between the Louisiana and Kentucky derbies, and the LD didn't appear to take much out of the colt. So I'm not as concerned about this colt's schedule as you are.

Training FF up to the KD would be a break in his routine, and would worry me more than if he ran in the Blue Grass. That would be 28 days since the LD, right at the schedule he's been on. The KD would be 21 days later. Maybe this schedule is a bit more than is common these days, but it doesn't appear at all excessive or uncommon to me when looked at with some historical perspective.

Just to pick one historical example that's comparable to FF's schedule, Northern Dancer's first start was 8/2/63, and he raced nine times as a 2-yr-old. His first start as a 3-yr-old was 3/3/64. He had two races in March and two in April, winning the Blue Grass just nine days before winning the Kentucky Derby.

I was much less impressed with PioneerOf The Nile's race last weekend. He was all-out to beat a weak field of horses. Old Fashioned finished his races as a leg-weary horse. Friesan Fire, meanwhile, beat the best field in good time this past weekend while looking like he had plenty left in reserve. He's got a pedigree that indicates he should relish the classic distances. So all things considered, he's at the top of my list until or unless something comes along to change my mind.

16 Mar 2009 6:00 PM

Hi Steve,

Just because Friesan Fire's female line is Austrailia/New Zealand doesn't automaticaly equate to stamina. It appears his first two dams were sprinters-take another look. This horse could well prove to be an Old Trieste-type A P Indy.

I still like Patena, perhaps because I want to like him-love his pedigree (by the best stallion of the past 20 yrs.; and out of a lovely female line). Also, despite IEAH's remarks to the contrary, he's a good-looking, racey, well-balanced sort. I want him to do well, because he's likely the last of the really good Seeking The Gold colts (although Godolphin may have another).

16 Mar 2009 6:13 PM
marc W


Thanks for not saying Win Willy's win was a fluke as other have on different blogs. I am not changing my early FF pick or have reasons to yet, but in my opinion Win Willy is now a contender. Yes, Old Fashion chased a fast pace and the fractions were quick but this time he got no fight from Silver and went right by. My opinion only--but if he O.F. is supposed to be good enough to win the KY Derby he should have been good enough to hold on regardless. Your comment of not seeing the other horse has merit but he appeared tired before entering the stretch in my eyes. Ramon can not be accused of falling asleep on him--he never stopped asking.

The thought in my mind is maybe Win Willy is really a nice horse--unbeaten on the dirt, lightly raced, with a trainer that supported a 27% win ratio last year if I am not mistaken.  He just may be for real. If he runs back in the AR Derby I know who I am betting and hope others believe it is a fluke and I get 5-1 or better. I was impressed with him coming off a 5 1/2 and 6f races with a no-show turf between--going 2 turns really for the first time if you throw out the bad turf race---impressive.

I wouldn't have bet a nickel before---but things change. Gamblers adapt or die.

16 Mar 2009 6:16 PM

  Good recap. Yes our ‘bags of potatoes’ shrunk considerably, which only makes those that looked good before look that much better to me now. “Friesan Fire”, “I Want Revenge”, “Quality Road”, and ‘the three California Amigos’, “Pioneerof the Nile”; “Chocolate Candy”; and “The Pamplemousse” all still look for real to me at this stage. Thusly, I have easily whittled my dozen down to little more than a half a dozen, probably much like you and many others. Listing others and shots at this point is but filler. Of course we don’t know yet how green “Imperial Council”; “Dunkirk”; and “Papa Clem” really are still, yet with six weeks still to improve they have plenty of time. Thusly, with big next efforts they too will likely become high Derby contending candidates. And for now, they make up my top ten. (Note:  I am leaving one spot open for ‘a still to come along’!) Yet without, and with poor efforts from these last mentioned three, maybe only the Preakness or the Belmont will be in their future. At this stage already I think that “Patena” should start pointing toward the “Preakness” off that poor effort! I am guessing “Charitable Man” is never going to return. As to you mentioning the potential Turf jumpers, like “Lime Rickey”, “El Crespo” was mighty impressive as was “Sal the Barber” recently. “Win Willy” now takes over “General Quarters” ’s former spot as a horse that brings a smile, but as of now, either of those would still be hard to bet on Derby Day. And, “Musket Man” actually seems to be maturing and stretching farther and farther each time out, which means he may yet still become a contender. He did show some early speed as a youngster, where never ‘til Sunday did I believe he might go even the distance that he won at!!. I have long ago thrown out “Desert Party” for multiple reasons, ‘the Dubai Drought’, “Storm Cat” bred, etc.,! As to me, the rest now look like they belong in my “Giacomo” pile, that is, the way “Giacomo” looked to me way back when, NOT A CHANCE. Yet, if they shock and win the Derby, I lose! Although, we may yet see a “Major Marv” or a “Take the Points” step, but even if so, wouldn’t they just be the next in a long line of “Racecar Rhapsody”’s?. Thusly, I think somewhere in this very column is the Derby winner without listing anymore. Well, that’s my take and I m stickin’ to it!    

16 Mar 2009 6:44 PM
Be Careful...

Having worked for Win Willy's trainer, I can say that physically, you won't find a nicer looking horse than WW - he's gorgeous, and he's a cool customer too.  Nothing bothers him.  His trainer is incredibly talented, and does everything the right way - just waiting for the "one" horse to make his break.  Underestimate him at your own peril.

16 Mar 2009 6:52 PM

In regards to Rachel Alexandra’s ride, it was sweeeet. However, the jockey needs to mind his business and wait until AFTER the wire to celebrate. The rear view mirror is a great idea; put a little one on his helmet, please! Hell, Turcotte looked back ONLY ONCE in Secretriat's Belmont and he was 31 lengths ahead of the field and had all the reasons in the world to flip out and get excited. Borel is more than welcome to celebrate such a wonderful filly as RA, but keep it all business, nothing personal, until after the wire.

As for the KY Derby dozen, I'll hold my peace as I am ridiculously superstitious and don't want to jinx the colt I'm hoping for. LOL

16 Mar 2009 7:08 PM
Steve Haskin

Bill, I havent been around too many of them. I can tell you that I Want Revenge has a great disposition, and The Pamplemousse wont be rattled by anything.

R, he sure ran like Monarchos in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. What I liked about him was how strong he was at the wire and how strong he galloped out. Robertson says he'll run a mile and a half whatever that's worth, but maybe he's right. This horse was like the proverbial runaway train out there.

16 Mar 2009 7:28 PM
Steve Haskin

Also, R, I'm ashamed to say I had forgotten Barbaro was out of a Carson City mare. Thanks for reminding me. I added a postscript in my column.

16 Mar 2009 7:35 PM

  Good recap. Yes our ‘bags of potatoes’ shrunk considerably, which only makes those that looked good before look that much better to me now. “Friesan Fire”, “I Want Revenge”, “Quality Road”, and ‘the three California Amigos’, “Pioneerof the Nile”; “Chocolate Candy”; and “The Pamplemousse” all still look for real to me at this stage. Thusly, I have easily whittled my dozen down to little more than a half a dozen, probably much like you and many others. Listing others and shots at this point is but filler. Of course we don’t know yet how green “Imperial Council”; “Dunkirk”; and “Papa Clem” really are still, yet with six weeks still to improve they have plenty of time. Thusly, with big next efforts they too will likely become high Derby contending candidates. And for now, they make up my top ten. (Note:  I am leaving one spot open for ‘a still to come along’!) Yet without, and with poor efforts from these last mentioned three, maybe only the Preakness or the Belmont will be in their future. At this stage already I think that “Petena” should start pointing toward the “Preakness” off that poor effort! I am guessing “Charitable Man” is never going to return. As to you mentioning the potential Turf jumpers, like “Lime Rickey”, “El Crespo” was mighty impressive as was “Sal the Barber” recently. “Win Willy” now takes over “General Quarters” ’s former spot as a horse that brings a smile, but as of now, either of those would still be hard to bet on Derby Day. And, “Musket Man” actually seems to be maturing and stretching farther and farther each time out, which means he may yet still become a contender. He did show some early speed as a youngster, where never ‘til Sunday did I believe he might go even the distance that he won at!!. I have long ago thrown out “Desert Party” for multiple reasons, ‘the Dubai Drought’, “Storm Cat” bred, etc.,! As to me, the rest now look like they belong in my “Giacomo” pile, that is, the way “Giacomo” looked to me way back when, NOT A CHANCE. Yet, if they shock and win the Derby, I lose! Although, we may yet see a “Major Marv” or a “Take the Points” step, but even if so, wouldn’t they just be the next in a long line of “Racecar Rhapsody”’s?. Thusly, I think somewhere in this very column is the Derby winner without listing anymore. Well, that’s my take and I m stickin’ to it!    

16 Mar 2009 7:59 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve or Ranagulzion or anyone who knows---What would Win Willy's "dosage" be? Thanks...

16 Mar 2009 8:01 PM

Steve, your list is interesting. Here is my take on the contenders:-

Friesan Fire – I would appreciate you could provide the correct time for the mile in the LA derby. It was listed as 1:33 plus. This obviously is incorrect as the 6 furlong split was 1:13.34. It therefore means the next 2 furlongs were run in 20 seconds. Friesan Fire deserves to be #1 but his profile does not fit that of a derby winner. This may have no significance but to date, no derby winner’s first and second dams have earned $600K and $1.5M respectively. Derby winning broodmares are usually well bred relatively low earners. In addition this, the Churchill Downs track will not be kind to his funky action. Something is wrong with the alignment of this horse.

PioneerOf The Nile/Old Fashioned/Dunkirk – They carry the burden of the dismal record of great grandsons of Mr. Prospector as derby sires. No great grandson of the great stallion is on the derby board. It is unlikely these three will break through as all three are overrated. Mr. Prospector sons and grandsons are better derby sire accounting for eight winners so far. Why is Dunkirk even on your list? Warrior’s Reward whom he defeated by 41/2L was comprehensively beaten in the T, Bay derby.

Theegoesjojo – I like this colt. He is unlikely to win as a Danzig stallion sired the 2008 winner. He carries the burden of Seattle Slew’s dismal record as a derby broodmare sire. There has been only one winner of a TC race from a SS broodmare so far. He passed tire horses in the Fountain of Youth and QR looked to be in a different league. Bold Ruler sons sire the three consecutive derby winners; Hyperion sons sire winners two consecutive years. That era has long passed.  Danzig was no part of the aforementioned two stallions. How do you justify Jojo at #4 and Quality Road at #9.

Imperial Council – January foal like Old Fashioned, Dunkirk and Beethoven. I never fancy a January foal for the derby. IC is older than most and has only made four starts. I am no expert but, it appears he has soundness issues. Beating tired horses off slow fractions does reflect serious derby potential.

The Pamplemousse – The Blushing Groom sire line is not on the derby board but I would not be deterred by this fact. Giacomo got the Ruff N’ Tumble line on the board. I like this colt. He certainly deservers a higher ranking.  Interestingly, he has the same third dam as Imperial Council ‘Special Warmth’

Desert Party – I love his colt but he carries the burden of the dismal record of the Storm Cat broodmare line. To date broodmares sired by Storm Cat and his sons have not produced a winner of a Triple Crown race. This is the reason I ruled out No Biz in 2007 and I am doing the same thing with Hello Broadway in 2009. Sadly, I will have to rule this colt out as well..

I Want Revenge – I like this colt. However, he carries the burden of his trainer’s failure in the big race. How can a trainer win three consecutive SA Derby and none of those winners were even able occupy the last slot on the derby board?  No wonder he want revenge. The last Bold Ruler line horse to sire a derby winner was TC winner Seattle Slew. I think twenty four years is long enough.

Quality Road – Fits the profile of past derby winners perfectly. Sire by a grandson the Mr. Prospector – They have sired three of the last six derby winners. His dam is well bred and lightly raced. In fact, her record reflects zero earnings. Somethingroyal dam of the great Secretariat had zero earnings. QA dam sire Strawberry Road was also dam sire of the champion 2YO Vindication was Australian HOY and champion older horse in Germany. His sire Elusive Quality is one of just a handful of stallions that have achieved the Derby and Breeders Cup Classic double. I am amazed you have him ranked at #9 when he has been far more impressive than #2, 3 4 & 6. It’s your blog and you are allowed a do over.

Chocolate Candy – I like this colt. However, he carries the burden of Seattle Slew’s dismal record as a derby broodmare sire. In fact, the great TC champion has only one broodmare that has produced a winner of a TC race. He appears to be too slow to win the derby. Unless there is pace meltdown similar to the one that helped Gaicomo, he has no chance. NB: None of the modern day TC winners have been broodmare sire of a derby winner. However, they are all broodmare sire of Breeders Cup Classic winners.

16 Mar 2009 8:01 PM
mike rullo


I respect your opinions 90% of the time,but you are way off on pioneer of the nile.hall of fame trainer bill mott would have raced that horse on dirt if he was anygood on that surface.By the way why was the horse taken away from him anyway??? what did he do wrong?? please respond

16 Mar 2009 8:40 PM
Karen in Indiana

So do you think Win Willy should be added to 'the list' or do you think he freaked for one race and that was it? Have you heard what his next race will be? He did everything wrong and still beat everyone. I watched that race again today and still just had to shake my head. Even his people sounded almost shocked that he won. Just goes to show - you don't know if you don't try.

16 Mar 2009 9:02 PM

I was SO happy about Win Willy as I love Monarchos and have ever since I read "Horse of a Different Color" by Jim Squires.  Wouldn't it be great if Win Willy were as wonderful as his sire?  I hope he continues to surprise the handicappers as did Monarchos.

16 Mar 2009 9:04 PM

steve,I think calvin borel just gets a kick out of lookin back for competition when he knows he is on the best horse ala street you said no harm done.hope she runs back in the fantasy. still an old fashioned fan, think domingez thought he had it wrapped up when he went by silver city.

16 Mar 2009 9:35 PM
OP fan

I want Revenge WILL not hit the board in the KY DERBY. You can all mark my words. The Derby winner will come out of AR or LA this year. What will it take for the AR Derby to be Gr. 1? Look at the past runners and ONLY 3yo prep with a million $ purse. One day you will all figure out OP is a great track.  How many tracks in this country average 10,000 fans a day?  Also 20,000 to 30,000 on saturdays. Look at ALL the champions that have ran here since 1904.

16 Mar 2009 9:47 PM
black mamba

I was surprised dominguez moved too soon on a hot pace. Pioneer of the nile did what he suppose to do and he did it playing around. When he was aroused in the stretch. He hit another gear. Friesen fire may be the best horse right now. he loves the slop. With all that being said all the horses that won came from very good sires. Sires that won at 1 1/4 or 1 1/2.

16 Mar 2009 11:32 PM

Good comments about the Derby hopefuls but I still like Pioneer of the Nile. He is versatile and he is very business like as well. I Want Revenge could be a freak and time will tell us that also. I said in an earlier blog that I had a feeling that a California based horse would win the Derby this year and I still believe that. The Pamplemousse would be my third choice among them. If Dunkirk runs a big one in the Florida Derby then he could be another Big Brown. Larry Jones is a very fine trainer and horseman and it was obvious to me that Old Fashioned did not go all out last Saturday. He still nedds to be considered. I can not argue with your Derby dozen but we will know much mre very soon. As history has taught us running on a synthetic surface in March does not compare to running in a 20 horse field in front of 100,000 screaming folks the first Saturday in May. We may have not even have seen the eventual Derby winner run a big one as yet. This field is still pretty wide open in my mind.

16 Mar 2009 11:47 PM
Secretariat Fan

I am very impressed with the philly Rachael Alexandra. Very impressed. I hope she runs in the derby.

17 Mar 2009 12:02 AM


i have a lot of respect for you. but your take on potn is way off he is a slow horse. he is my first throw out. i believe the winner of the derby will run in the florida derby. quality road, theregoesjojo, and dunkirk is by far the best race going in to the derby.

17 Mar 2009 1:11 AM
Matthew W

Steve I agree with you Pioneerof The Nile looked good Sat cuz he made a very early move on pro ride, which plays just like a turf course....He won't need to engage the pace in SA Derby--For that reason Steve I think he'll win SA Derby---I sort of "flip-flop on your opinion--I think Santa Anita is back to playing for the closers/think Pamplemousse is up against it--I think The Pamplemousse will rellish the CD Dirt--He sure isn't gonna get dirt thrown on his face--He's my pick--I also love Larry's horse that won LA Derby! Those are my two right now--like Imperial Council for my 'shot---but think Pamplemousse will be three clear with Fresan Fire coming at him!!! Smarty and Lion Heart, a two hoss race....

17 Mar 2009 6:34 AM
August Song

Steve, The Fountain of Youth was a powerhouse of a race. The time was significantly fast compared to what had been run before, and since. Quality Road won by 4 1/4 lengths but, did anybody see how John had him gallop out after the race? He appeared to me to be in front by 8 or 9 lengths after rounding that first turn. One other item that I could not help but notice. Did you see the physical size of Quality Road? He is huge. He dwarfs Theregoesjojo. He was drawing away from Jojo in the stretch. They could have run around the track 3 more times, and nothing would have changed. To have the type of speed that Quality Road has, and to be able not to need to be on the lead, is an incredible advantage, especially with the types of numbers (beyers and fractions) that he has thus far been putting up. And to think, this was only his 3rd lifetime race. Yikes!!!

17 Mar 2009 6:54 AM

Steve, do you think Rachel Alexandra's connections should be strongly considering the Derby for her?  She was .09 seconds of the LA Derby winner, and was obviously geared down.  

17 Mar 2009 7:08 AM

Calvin wasn't looking over his shoulder anymore than Desormeaux was in the Preakness.  Calvin's post-race comment about Rachel Alexandra being as good of a mount as Street Sense should give an insight as to his excitement.  

17 Mar 2009 8:50 AM

Coldfacts, thanks for the tip off on Quality Road. Now I can throw out my other horses for a sure Derby win. Guess we can forget about dosage, beyers and talent for the Derby winner. We all have angles to play and thanks to my angle of picking the four horses with the highest beyers in the 02 Derby I scored 9,000 on a dollar tri box ticket. My angle paid of then, so who knows.

17 Mar 2009 9:20 AM
Fire Slam
The Dam of FF was a awesome and is bred awesome. This horse is bred to run all day and has the right style. Sit third or second by 1/2 length and pounce turning for home. Butch Leher will have that track so tight, speed will carry. If it holds is another questions.

FF and PON will be your exacta.

17 Mar 2009 9:34 AM
Steve Haskin

Northern Dancer  had 2 1/2 months off between 2 and 3. And if Friesan Fire is as good as Northern Dancer I agree with you that he'll win the Derby. There is a reason whyLarry Jones is contemplating training him up to the Derby. Thats not your normal way of bringing a horse up to the Derby. I liked Friesan Fire enough last November to list him in my Top 7 horses to bet in the Future Book in my Nov. 24 column. Dont get too

Sceptre, if you go back and look at Friesan Fire's family you will see plenty of stamina horses who excelled at 1 1.2 to 2 miles.

17 Mar 2009 10:09 AM
Steve Haskin

Win Willy's dosage is 5.00, but I wouldnt go by dosage anymore. It's outlived its day.

The mile time in the La. Derby is listed as not available. The teletimer obviously malfunctioned.

Mike, Pioneer was taken away from Mott because they had a difference of opinion on the plans for the horse. Lets just say divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Pat Reynolds ran Big Brown on the grass first time out and his first start at 3 was off the turf. Trainers arent geniuses all the time.

17 Mar 2009 10:17 AM

As always Steve you do a bang up job on recaps. IMO POTN doesn't look tired he looks like a horse that needs something to run at.

17 Mar 2009 10:20 AM
Steve Haskin

Matthew, I never said POTN will engage The Pamplemousse. I said this prepares him to stay in closer proximity to him if he needs to.

I respect whatever the connections of Rachel Alexandra decide to do. I wouldnt decide until I see how the Derby field shapes up. But I'd lean toward the Oaks right now. Too many brilliant colts and she's always forwardly placed, meaning she could get caught up in a wicked pace.

17 Mar 2009 10:22 AM
Dennis from Hamilton


    You can throw Old Fashioned out of your top twenty.  His pace/final speed figures show he can't finish with enough energy to win the Derby.  He'll be gasping in the stretch at Churchill. And I wouldn't give any credence to the Beyers at Santa Anita.  I don't think Andy's got a grasp of the Pro Ride yet.  Thanks.

17 Mar 2009 10:27 AM

I'm not saying that he will get 10 furlongs, but if Friesan Fire had put in the move that Musket Man did in the Tampa Bay Derby, we would be reading glowing reviews of his performance.  Having to rate behind rivals, then take back, then he was stopped in the middle of swinging out, then he had to start his move again, and then he sustained a 4 wide move through the wire to win.  And he galloped out strongly past the wire.  

Musket Man not bred to go 10 furlongs?  Maybe not, but what about Big Brown?  Boundary had no credentials past 7 furlongs.  At least Yonaguska placed in a Grade 1 at 8.5 furlongs, and as a 2YO no less.  Musket Man is out of a Fortunate Prospect mare. Fortunate Prospect's broodmare sire won The KY Derby, and Musket Man's 2nd dam is by Dixieland Band.  As a geneticist I know that important genes that help determine biomechanical efficiency often come from farther back in a pedigree than just a horse's sire and broodmare sire!  Average win distances are just that...averages.  They are not absolute limits!

17 Mar 2009 10:31 AM

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


17 Mar 2009 10:56 AM

gary, one could argue Boundrys' ped might have assisted "B Squares" 10 furlong efforts given Damascus in the sire and mare lines...I do agree with Steve that dosage is not what it once was[but then again breeders mindset has changed toward speed/precocity types[see Storm Cat]...what did we ever do as handicappers pre Beyer figs[thanks to Andy, Donna got a "signer"!]

17 Mar 2009 11:11 AM
mike rullo

steve ,

yeah big brown started on turf,but raced in 2 dirt starts before the derby,pioneer of the nile would be asked to break his maiden on dirt in the kentucky derby.why do you have this horse listed second on your the derby without racing on a dirt surface,I will book your derby wager.

17 Mar 2009 11:12 AM

It's time to start looking at horses that really have a chance to win the Derby.  Talking about Willy or Old Fashioned is not going to get you any closer to picking the winner.  There are a few questions that need to be answered.  First is Quality Road really that good?  Quality Road won the Fountain and did it faster than SMOOTH AIR and a field of older horses in the Gulfstream Park Handicap G2. If Quality Road improves off his last performance and wins first time going two turns he will be the monster everyone has been looking for and will win the Derby.  Desert Party runs in the UAE Derby and has won back to back races after shipping half way around the world.  Should he win what then?  And then there is the Wood Memorial does Imperial Council take I Want Revenge or does I Want Revenge win and prove his inner dirt win was no fluke?  Comparing FF or Win Willy to the horses above is a waste of time and just doesn't matter.  We could spend time talking about California horses like POTN and Pamplemousse but POTN is clearly a tired horse and Pamplemousse is not going to run for a 1 1/4. If Pamplemousse runs well in the Santa Anita POTN will NEVER catch him.  But does it really matter who wins the Santa Anita ? When was the last time it did?

17 Mar 2009 11:22 AM

Whoops!  In my last comment I had my times wrong for the Tampa Bay Derby.  Musket Man ran the 8.5 furlongs, with some traffic issues, in 1:43.67.  This is only 0.21 seconds slower than Friesan Fire's trouble-free trip in The LA Derby.

Musket Man's time was only 0.56 seconds slower than Street Sense's time in 2007 when he broke the TRACK record for 8.5 furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs.  And if you compare the splits of MM's and SS's Tampa Bay Derbies, they are very similar from the 3/4 pole home.  

17 Mar 2009 11:33 AM

Hi Steve is Stardom Bound off the Derby trail? Although she won her last race she did look somewhat ordinary. I thought she hung in the stretch. It will be interesting to see how she does outside California. Also is Vineyard Haven off the trail as well, you do not mention him anymore. I know Midshipman is injured and if off the trail.

17 Mar 2009 11:37 AM
For Big Red

STEVE: Thanks for your response. You wrote: "Northern Dancer had 2 1/2 months off between 2 and 3...There is a reason why Larry Jones is contemplating training him up to the Derby."

First, I screwed up my calculation regarding the number of days between the Louisiana and Kentucky derbies. In my post above, I wrote that it's 84 days. It's actually 49.

Of course you're right that there's a reason why Larry Jones is contemplating training FF up to the Derby. Everything about the situation seems to indicate the connections didn't think, early on, that FF was a Derby prospect. So they didn't handle him in the kid-glove fashion that's common with Derby prospects these days. I used the Northern Dancer example, not to say that FF is that good (obviously too soon to tell), or that their pre-Derby schedules were identical, but to demonstrate that many past Derby prospects had much more rigorous schedules than is common today.

I don't think a 49-day space between races is all that much or even uncommon with stakes horses. Heck, Mr. Jones trained FF up to his third race off a 50-day gap from the colt's second race, and there was a 46-day gap between FF's third & fourth races.

Anyway, there's another colt I like at this point -- Quality Road. Looking forward to his next race. I'm also impressed with The Pamplemousse, although I'm not convinced he can get the 1 1/4 miles of the Derby. FF, QR and TP are my top 3 for now, until we see what the next round of prep races tells us.

Thank you very much for doing this blog and sharing your expertise with us. Much appreciated.

17 Mar 2009 11:50 AM

Hi Steve (again)-

I'm far from being a student of Aus./NZ form, but Friesan Fire's first two dams (and, perhaps, back more) were high class, early, sprinters. I do think the fact that they were high class helps, but with all that may (or may not) be behind them, they were still sprinter/?milers (their lineage still caused this result). I'm not suggesting that this alone will prevent F. Fire from negotiating the 10f, but I don't see his female line as a positive in this regard. As you know, if you go back far enough there is stamina enough for all (in this case-Sir Tristram). Yes, A P Indy alone might carry the day, and F. Fire's pedigree is competing against pedigrees of today, not years past. Back then it would have been enough to cook him; today, who knows.  

17 Mar 2009 12:25 PM
Steve Haskin

Hi Alessandra, nice to have you aboard.

Sceptre, if youre going to discuss pedigrees you'll have to do more research than just saying his first two dams were sprinters. I dont have the time or space right now to list all the stamina influences in his female family, so you'll have to stay tuned to my column when I discuss them. If you feel he cant go 1 1/4 miles that is your prerogative.

For Big Red, my guess is that Jones will train FF on the Polytrack at Keeneland and if he seems to handle it well he'll run him in the Blue Grass to get a Street Sense type of prep in him. What I'm saying is that he cant afford to peak in his next start.

Deacon, Stadom Bound as of last week is heading for the Ashland and Ky. Oaks.

17 Mar 2009 1:00 PM

I say The Pamplemousse bounces or is entertained on the front end and poor tuckered out POTN catches him in SA Derby.

Regardless, POTN is still my Derby horse and for those that say he has not run on dirt, true, true, didn't seem to hinder any other Cali stakes horse of recent memory to go syn to dirt...but seein' is believin'.

And nice to see FF getting some respect - and for the doubters, it is not as though he hadn't been running well before he caught that sealed sloppy track that he didn't mind so much.

OF is a toss for me.  Very interested to see if Dunkirk is the real deal.  And if Desert Party is on course.  And I'd have taken the 3 mil for Win Willy;)

17 Mar 2009 2:11 PM

Steve- So glad to see Win Willy's name in your Derby Dozen.  I can't believe some of these comments discrediting him,after running a winning race in which all the cards were stacked against him!  With his breeding,especially being the son of a Derby winner- makes me wonder if some of these people are living on another planet!  I'd love to see Larry Jones win the Derby, but this appearance of a new gray certainly makes things interesting!

17 Mar 2009 2:45 PM

It sounds to me like Mr. Draynay is into some west coast bashing with regards to the importance of the Santa Anita Derby. I know east coast bias is pretty prevelant on ESPN for most sports but now for "horse racing". That comment was very unwarranted. I am very proud of our horse racing heritage out west here. In fact if my memory serves me we have had some very fine horses based out here in the west go on and win the Kentucky Derby. Below is a list of what I remember off the top of my head.

Won both santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby

1. Determine 1954  

2. Swaps 1955

3. Lucky Debonair 1965

4. Majestic Prince 1969

5. Affirmed 1978

6. Winning Colors 1988

7. Sunday Silence 1989

West Coast based horses who have won the Kentucky Derby

1. Ferdinand 1986

2. Alysheba 1987

3. Silver Charm 1997

4. Real Quiet 1998

5. Giacomo 2005

California represents only 1 state out of 50. I think the record speaks for itself. Point Given should have won the triple crown in 2001. We have had many fabulous horses win the Santa Anita Derby and place in the Kentucky Derby

Most notably:

1. Candy Spots 1963

2. Hill Rise 1964

3. Sham 1973

4. Avatar 1975

5. A.P. Indy 1992

6. Free House 1997

I am sure there have been others but my 59 year old memory is not as good as it once was. I think the west coast is due for a Derby win and this year the race is wide open...........

Thanks Steve for keeping us interested and engaged............

17 Mar 2009 2:57 PM

Wow.... I love reading this blog. I am so impressed by the knowledge of not only you Steve but by so many of the posters. It is fun to read and always gives me more angles to look at. The one thing that does surprise me is the willingness to throw out certain horses. This is horse racing folks and we all know and have seen over and over and over again.... anything can happen... anything.  Nothing is a sure thing in racing. Like usual this time of year I am confused as to who my favorite or favorites will be. I don't bet so don't really understand the angles used by the handicappers. I look for much simpler things like stride,physical fitness,how they handle the stress of racing, whether they settle in or not, which jockey will be on them, bloodlines, splits and overall physical appearance just to name a few. Not much science to that I know but its the only way for me. The only thing I can tell right now is that I think this is shaping up to be a real interesting and talented group of 3 year olds. I was impressed by WW. Not sure what to think of him yet. I am impressed with PM. One thing is sure..... it will be one fun Saturday in May!

17 Mar 2009 3:51 PM

so considering that street sense, blue grass cat and others exit the tampa derby and go on to win major stakes, you honestly don,t think the first two finisher in that race merit any credit. their time of 1-43 and change wasn't bad considering street sense run 1-43 look forward to you response

17 Mar 2009 4:15 PM

The more I watch the replay of the Rebel the more Win Willy has me confused. He seemed to continue to accelerate and accelerate and accelerate. Once he switched back to his left lead he was gone. This could be the one. He won't get away with a run like that on derby day but if he is closer to the pace, he might blow them all away. From what I can see, this horse has a lot of heart and sometimes that is what separates the men from the boys.

17 Mar 2009 4:18 PM

Nickie, that I did. Thanks to Andy and my gut feeling they were the best the Derby had to offer that year.

17 Mar 2009 4:56 PM


*  Win Willy: Kty.;

Monarchos/City Fair-Carson City; DI  5.00

Tr. M. Robertson;

 100 Beyer 6 fur.

4     3   0   0  

** a $25,000 $$ ** keenelander **  Not an early Triple Crown Nominee **

                        winner Rebel Stakes Gr. II 1 1/16 1:44.41; over Old Fashioned + 2 ¼; gd-sly;

17 Mar 2009 4:56 PM
For Big Red

TO STEVE & SCEPTRE: Steve, you wrote above: "Sceptre, if you're going to discuss pedigrees you'll have to do more research than just saying his first two dams were sprinters." Since I enjoy pedigree research, I did a little digging and came up with the following overview.

Friesan Fire is by A.P. Indy x Bollinger by Dehere (a son of Deputy Minister). The A.P. Indy/Deputy Minister combination also produced Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches.

It's a mistake to dismiss one half of a horse's pedigree by assuming that, because the recent female family is noted for sprinters, a mare's offspring cannot get a classic distance. In other words, A.P. Indy's influence cannot be overlooked. However, there are plenty of stamina influences in the female family of Friesan Fire.

His dam, Bollinger, was a high-class racehorse up to a mile. She was by Dehere, 1993 Champion 2-yr-old, and a very good international sire. He is the sire of 2-time Breeders Cup sprint winner, Midnight Lute, but his offspring have done well up through the middle distances.

Deputy Minister also sired Breeders Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold, Travers Stakes winner Deputy Commander, and Kentucky Oaks winner Keeper Hill. Deputy Minister was a grandson of Northern Dancer, whose influence on classic races worldwide is legendary.

Friesan Fire is inbred to Secretariat 3x4 through his daughters, Weekend Surprise and Sister Dot, dam of Dehere. For those who follow the Dosage system, Secretariat is listed as an Intermediate-Classic "chef-de-race."

Secretariat was out of the "blue hen" mare Somethingroyal by Princequillo, one of the most important stamina influences in the breed. Friesan Fire has four crosses of Somethingroyal in his pedigree. Weekend Surprise, dam of A.P. Indy, was inbred 2x4 to Somethingroyal, while two other crosses come through Dehere and Bollinger's tail-female granddam, Eau Detoile. She was by Sir Tristram, who was by Sir Ivor, a son of Secretariat's half-brother, Sir Gaylord.

Sir Tristram was inbred 4x3 to Princequillo through his daughter, Somethingroyal, and his son, Round Table.

Bollinger's dam, Bint Marscay, was sired by Marscay, a tail-male grandson of the great Australian sire, Star Kingdom. He is listed as an Intermediate-Classic "chef-de-race" in the Dosage system.

To Market, maternal grandsire of Marscay, is another stamina influence. He set new track records in the 1952 Massachusetts Handicap (10f in 2:01.2) and the 1952 Hawthorne Gold Cup (10f in 2:01.2). The great Spectacular Bid was inbred 3x3 to him, as Bid's sire and dam were both out of To Market mares.

You want more stamina influences in FF's female family? Marscay's sire is a tail-male descendant of the legendary Hyperion, who won the English Derby at 12f, Prince of Wales Stakes at 13f, and St. Leger at 15f. Go a little further back, and you'll find stamina influence, Alycidon, sire of Jekyll, sire of Ascalon, dam of Fille Detoile, granddam of Bollinger. Sister Dot, dam of Dehere, was out of Sword Game by Damascus, who is yet another Intermediate-Classic "chef-de-race" in the Dosage system.

That's just an overview of the pedigree of FF's dam. But again, you simply can't forget or overlook A.P. Indy's contribution to FF's genetic inheritance. Indy is, of course, a champion and classic winning son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew out of the aforementioned Weekend Surprise by Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Pedigrees simply don't come much better than that. It's beautifully balanced with the highest of high-class speed and stamina influences.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but no smart Derby handicapper is going to dismiss Friesan Fire on the basis of pedigree.

17 Mar 2009 5:00 PM
DOC 369

Steve, I like your thoughts on Lime Rickey and the dirt breeding- maybe a shot at the Wood Memorial would be a good spot to start. He always runs his race and is breed to run all day long.

17 Mar 2009 5:10 PM

Deacon... lol.... do you not see a pattern here ?  No Derby winner from the Santa Anita winner in 20 years? Do you think maybe that is just bad luck or just bad horses?  I mean 0 for 20 ?  I guess its pretty safe to say the Santa Anita Derby winner will not win AGAIN.  California is nice if you want to look at mountains or ski but Derby winners of late come from the Florida Derby.

17 Mar 2009 5:12 PM
Steve Haskin

Karen 2, and I am impressed with your knowledge, especially your comments about the willingness to throw horses out. People do it so emphatically. It's grrat to have an opinion to keep things interesting, but I don;t know how some people can be so sure of themselves when it comes to something as unsure as the Derby. And I totally agree with your comment about all the things you look for in a Derby horse. I have found all those factors are the most impotant gauges in the long run. And your observations of Win Willy echo mine.

17 Mar 2009 5:46 PM

Zar, I don't dislike Win Willy although I do think he ran down a tired horse, I would just take the 3 mil off the table NOW instead of hoping he stays healthy (lead swapping, hm) or improves enough to win KY Derby, especially as a son of Monarchos is not going to be a hot stud prospect.

Dray, I am going to do this off the top of my head so this is NOT fact. - anyone can check my memory if they like...but here is a list of recent Derby winners and the race they came out of...and my best memory of whether they won or lost the final prep:

1994 Go For Gin - Wood lost

1995 Thunder Gulch - Blue Grass lost

1996 Grindstone - Ark Derby won? not sure

1997 Silver Charm - SA Derby close 2nd to Free House - who was 3rd in Derby.

1998 Real Quiet - SA Derby 3rd reversed that decision w/ stablemate Indian Charlie in Ky Derby

1999 Charismatic - Lexington won (prepped in Cali  before that)

2000 FuPeg - Wood won (trained and prepped before that in Cali)

2001 Monarchos - Wood lost

2002 War Emblem - Ill Derby won

2003 Funny Cide - Wood lost

2004 Smarty Jones - Ark Derby won

2005 Giacomo - um, SA Derby?  Lost? West cost horse?;)

2006 Barbaro - Fl Derby won

2007 Street Sense - BG lost

2008 Big Brown - Fl Derby won

15 years, 7? won last prep, 8? lost  last prep and the last prep came out of - 4 in NY, 2 FL., 6 KY/Ark/Ill. and 3 Cali.

Instead of taking shots at any one region, you should be looking for a top 3 placing in last prep no matter where it is run that the horse can improve off of, right? Oh and one other thing, 2 of the 3 KY Derby winning last prep SA Derby runners in my list were trained by some guy named Bob Baffert.

17 Mar 2009 5:46 PM
Steve Haskin

For Big Red, good analysis of FF's pedigree. you can also add that Bollinger is a half-sister to Mannington, who produced Benicio, winner of the Victoria Derby at 1 9/16 miles or 12 1/2 furlongs. His third dam, Eau Detoile was third in the New Zealand Oaks and Queensland Oaks and produced several 10 furlong winners and a horse who placed in two Cox Plates.

Let's remember, Ghostzapper's dam also produced the sprinter City Zip.  Funny Cide's dam won two sprints in 26 starts and was purely a sprinter. It's not all black and white.

17 Mar 2009 5:59 PM
Karen in Texas

Barbara--Great list and great point! I think Grindstone was second in the Arkansas Derby to Zarb's Magic in his final prep. He had won the La. Derby prior.

17 Mar 2009 6:24 PM

It doesn't look like Rachel is going to run with the boys. She is now pointed for the Fantasy stakes and then the KD Oaks. Through good sources its come to my attention that the connections of RA are fearful of screwing up her mind. She is on a roll right now and they don't want to risk the psychological damage that could ruin her year. Might as well forget about it and move on.

Win Willy ran an incredible race to beat OF. Watch the replay and tell me this horse doesn't have a chance to make some noise.

17 Mar 2009 9:08 PM

Karen2, I really like the factors you listed to watch for in a Derby horse.  There is one other thing, attitude - the great ones all seem to know that they are great.  

17 Mar 2009 9:26 PM
Deacon missed the point. We will see, but I know this everything runs in cycles. The Florida Derby is having theirs.

Things have changed though, with all the synthetic surfaces and traing patterns these days it is next to impossible to predict anything.  Great reporting "For Big Red" I really enjoyed your knowledge.

17 Mar 2009 9:34 PM

Whew, FOR BIG RED your pedigree analysis on Freisan Fire has my head spinning. Excellent job, well done.

17 Mar 2009 9:35 PM

Big Red... I am not throwing out FF because of his breeding I am throwing him out because he ran a full second slower than Rachel Alexandra until she was pulled up.  Same track same day just 55 minutes later and he ran a full second slower or 5 lengths.  NO THANKS... a 1:13.34 ? Sorry but that won't cut it Pampelmouse can fire a 1:11 flat in his sleep.  Where is FF going to find 12 lengths?  Was his 1:43 and change but the rest of the field at 1:45 was pathetic.  FF is a good horse but he is no Derby winner.

17 Mar 2009 11:45 PM

FOR BIG RED:  The proverbial chink in Friesan Fire's pedigree armour is two fold.  Firstly that his sire AP Indy, notwithstanding his huge reputation for throwing good stakes horses, has failed to throw a Derby winner despite getting the crem de la creme of the brood mare band in America for many years(Cold Facts and M PALMER can support me on this point).  Secondly, Derby pedigree is of a special kind requiring the presence of Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, Buckpasser and foreign influences like Ribot and Hyperion close up in the pedigree or in multiple doses if further than three generations back.

Indeed Friesan Fire has no stamina limitations and although his speed figures are not earth shattering his recent performance in the La. Derby suggests that he could run faster if the competition pulled it out of him since he is a stalker type.  He therefore remains a very live contender for the Derby.  However his Derby pedigree is questionable.  Perhaps the outcross with all that exotic blood from down-under is what AP Indy needed to breakthrough but that is left to be seen.  Great anlysis nevertheless and very informative.    

18 Mar 2009 1:45 AM

Whew, did you guys get a degree in horse pedigree? if not YOU deserve one!! minimally an onorable one!! I look back through the Great- Great lines, you guys must look back to the days of 'El Cid'!!! Anyway, thank you! for the work. Believe me, it saves the rest of us probably 48 hours per horse to do all that. I guess what I am trying to say, I think, is a big THANK YOU!! It is all appreciated!!!

18 Mar 2009 1:58 AM

DRAY  DRAY  DRAY, where did Giacomo find 10 furlongs ahead of 19 others and at what fractions??? Too much science?? Noone knows! We are attempting to distinguish 3-6 real contenders here among 20 potential and then eventual entries!! Why do you consistently belittle all comments? Take in the knowledge and enjoy! We are bloggers for various reasons. I assume one of those is help when one is in front of teller!

Gee I like "Agustusthestrong"!  

Augustusthestrong: Kty.;

A.P. Indy/Fire the Groom-Blushing Groom;

Tr. A. O’Brien;

                                   a ** $2.0 million $$ ** keenelander **  

Go ahead and bash him and my comment, who cares he won't be in Derby. He didn't train for it! All you ever add after bashing everyone else is "Draysegolikes" this pic with no reasoning accept my calculator and his last fractions in the Southern Hemiphere!! Believe me. A horse from Cal. has just as much chance as a horse from Fla. or N.Y. The great part is YOU get to choose, but in the meantime, respect others opionions and take in the knowledge. It is so much more fun that way and you'll sleep better!

18 Mar 2009 2:21 AM


    The pamp may be able to go 1.11 in his sleep on a nice synthetic/all weather track, but you don't know he'd do that on slop. For all we know as soon as that horse steps on dirt he'll detest it and never want to run on it. Then again he may love a fast track, but how do you know he'll handle the soup that FF ran in. You can't make those kinds of comparisons when the horses run on two very different surfaces ie. Synthetics vs slop.

18 Mar 2009 5:55 AM

Steve, you have Godolphin’s Desert Party listed at #4 in derby dozen. I happen to think their best derby hope is unknown to most. While a lot of your supporters are interested in the 14 3YOs entered in the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park on Wednesday March 18, I am interested in the March 28th UAE Derby. The 3YO City Style that Darley secured in the acquisition of Stonerside’s racing and breeding stock has impressed me immensely. If he is entered in the UAE Derby, I will be keenly watching his performance as I think he could get Godolphin off the derby zero. I am of the opinion that Godlophin will not win the derby with their million dollar purchases. They will win with a horse that they have stumbled into. This 3YO gelding fit the bill ideally. He started his racing career by winning his debut in a $22,000 maiden claiming race on dirt. He then placed second on the same surface in a 6F allowance. He made his turf debut in his third start in the win and you are in Sunday Silence Stake and closed from 12L last for an upset victory. The connections used the win and you are in opportunity to enter him in the $1M Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. He was dismissed in the betting @45-1 and closed from 12L last but one to be beaten 21/2L by the European duo of Donativum & Westphalia. Interestingly, he was not initially selected by Godolphin to winter in Dubai. He eventually became a late addition to their winter contingent. I am guessing that a 21/2 defeat by two talented Europeans was enough to book this unassuming gelding’s passage.

He has grown a lot since his relocation to the desert paradise and has been very impressive both his 2008 starts on turf. It must be noted that Dettori was the pilot on both occasions. He may pick this horse over Desert Party if he runs in the UAE Derby. He has now won 4 of his 6 starts with one second and a fourth.

I am puzzled why he has been confined to turf when he has an overwhelming dirt pedigree. This City Zip gelding is as tough as nails and appears capable of running all day. A review of the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf will show that with another sixteenth, he would have seriously challenged Donativum & Westphalia. I f either Donativum or Westphalia were considering the derby, I am positive they would not be dismissed.

Why bother to mention a gelding with modest pedigree that has made his last four starts on turf? Well, why did Godolphin nominate to the Triple Crown? He does not sport a turf pedigree; he has a better turn of foot and more stamina than Desert Party; he is a gelding and good gelding are more genuine than good colts. If he performs big in the UAE Derby I would not discount him in the KD.

What a story it would be if Godolphin wins the derby with a gelding that under normal circumstances they wouldn’t accept to pull a cart.

18 Mar 2009 7:04 AM

Karen in Texas,

You are correct in saying Grinstone was second to Zarb's Magic in the Ark. Derby. Grindstone came from "the impossible" 12 hole at Oaklawn that day to lose by a nostril. He was my pick in the Derby but got much lower odds than he would have under todays rules since he was coupled with Editor Note who was too much a plodder to win a KY. Derby.

18 Mar 2009 8:50 AM


It seems like dranay always misses the point. He's just here to vent some of his anger on something other than his dog I guess. Anybody who doesn't respect what California based horses have done and will do in the future is just kidding themselves.

18 Mar 2009 8:54 AM
mike rullo


have you heard about nick zito's horse eye on jacob ,do you know if zito's high on this horse.he has been training  great at gulfstream ??

18 Mar 2009 11:09 AM

Thanks Karen - re: Grindstone.  I did it all from memory and knew I would miss some!

Rang - on AP Indy - another way to see FF is that AP is due a Derby winner just like FuPeg gave Mr. P his only Derby winner in 2000 - a year after the big sire had passed on.

18 Mar 2009 11:26 AM

For Big Red: Nicely done on FF's pedigree, enjoyed reading it.

18 Mar 2009 11:47 AM

slyder why should I respect the winner of the Santa Anita Derby??? The last 20 years has shown the winner is not good enough to win the Derby.  I will continue to pass on them until they have a winner.  0 for 20 seems like a safe bet to go 0 for 21

18 Mar 2009 11:52 AM
Karen in Texas

Coldfacts---Assuming you are correct in your assessment of City Style and his potential for the three year old spring racing classics; that illustrates how a good horse can come from anywhere, doesn't it? Serendipity plays a part in life many times. (This is probably not lost on the owners of Win Willy.)

18 Mar 2009 12:29 PM
Steve Haskin

Coldfacts, in my next columnI have a list of horses still under the radar, and he's one of them. But he still has a lot to prove going a distance, as he's bred to be sprinter. I dont know what you are basing your comments on that he's capable of running all day and has more stamina than Desert Party. He may go long, but he would have to outrun his pedigree, which is inundated with speed. I agree with you, however, that he's bred for the dirt, he's extremely versatile and has a good closing kick. Thats why I have him listed. I'm curious to see how he'll stretch out from sprints in the UAE Derby.

18 Mar 2009 12:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Just so you will know, City Style is not among those in the prospective UAE Derby field. Godolphin has Desert Party, Jose Adan, and Regal Ransom.

18 Mar 2009 12:46 PM

Jason, It's still amazing to me just how many posters make definitive judgements on potential Derby horses following these early prep races. We are still six weeks away from Louisville, light years in the potential development of some 3 yr.olds, and people continue to either toss or quickly add a horse based upon the most recent effort. If the Derby was next week and trainers ascribed to that philosophy we would have six horses in the gate.

I really like your top ten at this stage, primarily for the reasons you've stated. Maybe some posters should pay attention to them before firing off responses. Although my list varies somewhat we are on the page. Certainly the Wood & Santa Anita Derby ill prove to be much more of a gauge as conditioners begin to tighten the screws and graded money becomes an issue.

Best of Luck to All.  

18 Mar 2009 12:57 PM

LDP let me make things simple for you ... if the track comes up wet take Desert Party.  He cannot be beat on an off track.  On a dry fast track we are down to 3 horses... Imperial Council, I Want Revenge, and Quality Road.  Everything else is just meat to fill in all the gates.

18 Mar 2009 1:41 PM
Steve Haskin

mg, I think you're in the wrong blog.

18 Mar 2009 2:01 PM
marc W

Thoughts on some posts

Breeding important to a point??? --Definitely---

Bottom line though is a good 75K sprinter will beat a good long distance 5K claimer horse-at  1 &1/2 miles most of the time-if you are better you are better. It is only when there is little variables to choose between a few that I raise the importance. It shows up but sometimes I wonder out loud if some horses given a chance to do something they are not bred might shine but are trained and raced because of their bloodlines warrant they should be doing that.

As to where they came from--Didn't Smarty come from that Mecca of Derby winners Philly Park? The best NYB 3yr old last year didn't come from the NYC circuit but Finger Lakes. Derby winners can come anywhere.I can wave the flag about Northern Dancer, and Sunny's Halo, but Canada has been much more important breeding wise. I used to walk Pas de Nom at Fort Erie (although she was a FL Bred) and I am pretty sure Trolly Song was a Canuck. She raced there.Mint Copy was a claimer and really I could go on and on without even getting into the boys but I am already rambling and it has little importance on this Derby.

Again bottom line it doesn't really matter where they came from as long as they run fast or ultimately fast enough to win.

Times---Just go to the Meadowlands Harness results--on any given night you will see a cheap race lets say 20K claimer or another go faster than a invite, stake or higher class race where the best in the world are. 1:50 compared to 1:51.2 for example from a few weeks ago---is anyone silly enough to think the 20K claimer would have won the stake?-Harness example is used because it happens daily -But!-Pace makes the race and final times-but class will almost always win out.

Next point and probably most important-opinions are nice and fun especially when they vary--BUT----I'll take cashing a bet or in some rare cases as in last years Preakness cheering for connections to people with the horses. Reade Baker had a horse in the race, we worked together in the calculating room at Woodbine, Fort Erie and were friends-I hadn't seen or talked to him in 20 years but particularly hoped his horse ran well. If I know someone I root for them. Mostly though, I could care less if I am right and don't benefit from it. The sport is here because of gambling which drives all the other off shoot industries-breeding or Mr. Haskin's job unless you are a sheik. Have fun with the blogs and your opinions but in the end its all about who ends up with the cash. Any pontificating without risk--- and they have their right--but certainly shouldn't push their points too strenuously against someone backing theirs with their earnings or job (Steve direct reference to you and other turf writers --if you or others weren't somewhat good at what you do, you wouldn't be working.

Off point, about jobs and performance, I like reading Mike Watchmaker and believe he loves the game-but why is his main gig handicapping? Steve you watch a race and note things and I can them or have the same-he sees things in races that don't exist-- thick glasses I guess? Just something I have been curious about for quite a while-sorry for thinking aloud--Actually I love an answer if you could. A non community  member like me can wonder out loud, I don't expect an answer that wouldn't be positive on his merits.

18 Mar 2009 2:39 PM

   As to some seemingly now semi-dead ‘watch list’, assuming that 11 of the 19 spots remaining are essentially locked up presently barring injuries or some rare disqualification or if they are pulled from the event due to some other unforeseen reasoning, that is, with the likes of the “Musket Man” ($200k); “Win Willy” ($180k); and “The Pamplemousse” ((180k) probably already having obtained the required needed earnings, I still have my periscope out in search also. Yet, one might want to add any of these to such a list: the discussed “Dunkirk” ($00); “Papa Clem” ($160k); “Imperial Council” ($50k); “Join In The Dance”($67k); “Fiesty Suances”($40k), and etc., as they likely all still need earnings. The seemingly lost: “Charitable Man”($150k);  “Munnings” ($105k); and “Mine that Bird”-(g) ($138k). The still awaited upon and in some cases rising hopefuls: “Flat Out”; “Theregoesjojo”($58k); “Take The Points”($40k); “Mayor Marv”; “No Where to Hide”; “Patena” ($00); and now “Justdon’tcallmejeri”. And the basically yet as of late unheard froms: “Danger To Society”; “Al Khali”; “Omniscient”; “Bruce N’ Autumn”; “Scorewithcator”; “Santana Six”; “Rockland”; “Cribnote”? ($90k), and “Zensational”?. And then of course there are potentially those highly regarded from the turf, such as: “Affirmatif”; “El Crespo”; “Lime Rickey”; and “Sal the Barber”. Hey, we are really only talking about filling 6 to 8 remaining slots here, which to me will basically be fillers unless “Dunkirk”, “Imperial Council”, or someone else really surprisingly actually brightly shines in some dazzling super effort, aren’t we?? And that also considering that no fillies with earnings do enter or other Euros (“Crowded House”-G.B. ($195k)) right!?, where I suspect, that the earnings cutoff will likely be near to $200,000, right?, although it may again drop to $160-$165,000--(Your Welcome “Denis the Cork”)-yet probably around $180,000 minimum if that is a correct agreed upon close estimate?? As likely already ‘locked’ in are those above the $225k rage: “Friesan Fire”; “Terrain”; “Old Fashioned”; “I Want Revenge”; “Desert Party”; “West Side Bernie”; “Chocolate Candy”; and “Bittel Road” besides the above mentioned and the silly Kempton winner. (Hey, if we’re going to play ‘win and you’re in’, why not make the winners of the majors here ‘win and you’re in events’, such as the LA Derby; the Lane’s End; the Fla. Derby; the Wood Memorial; the Ill. Derby; the Santa Anita Derby; and the Arkansas Derby!!!, And, drop this silly free Kempton in road. Thusly, then basing the rest of the selection slots on earnings. ( …although, I suppose that as things stand currently that they are basically win and you’re in events at their respective current payoffs now…) , but just LOCK in the winners of the aforementioned events, so that the likes a “Musket Man” off that fine effort doesn’t need another run just in case that there aren’t enough earnings, thusly properly rewarding him for his fine and early effort! And, why actually allow any overseas entries or earnings at all such as from the Southern Hemisphere?? Why not make them all earn it right here in the good ol’ U.S.A., bringing all their dollars back over to bankrupt America (and the bankrupt American horse racing industry), where we need all of the income European and Sheik tourist dollars we can take in? Heck, it was our gold for oil to start with that Europe and the Sheik have been taking from us for years to get rich off of already and we have decided to award them further???  I for one must admit that really don’t get it.

18 Mar 2009 3:08 PM
For Big Red

TO RANAGULZION: In your response to me, you wrote, "Secondly, Derby pedigree is of a special kind requiring the presence of Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, Buckpasser and foreign influences like Ribot and Hyperion close up in the pedigree or in multiple doses if further than three generations back."

Meaning no disrespect to you, but this simply isn't correct. One need go back no further than 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo to disprove your point. He was by Holy Bull out of Set Them Free by Stop the Music. You will not find Northern Dancer, or Mr. Prospector (or any branch of the Native Dancer line), or Buckpasser, or Ribot, or Hyperion anywhere in his first five generations.

Yes, there are "foreign influences," but virtually all U.S. thoroughbreds will have imported horses in their pedigrees somewhere within their first five generations. So that criteria is meaningless as a Derby predictor.

You also wrote, "The proverbial chink in Friesan Fire's pedigree armour is two fold. Firstly that his sire A.P. Indy...has failed to throw a Derby winner..." Good heavens, but many of the greatest stallions in the breed have not sired a Kentucky Derby winner. Northern Dancer never sired a Kentucky Derby winner. Neither did Buckpasser or Ribot.

Are you aware that Indy's half brother, Summer Squall, did sire Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic? Or that Indy, himself, sired Preakness winner Bernardini and Belmont winner Rags to Riches? Are you aware that the horse who currently top's Steve's "Derby Dozen" list is a tail-male grandson of A.P Indy, and his current #8 is out of a mare by Indy?

There are so many variables that go into success in the Kentucky Derby that I wish picking the winner were as simple as identifying a "special kind" of pedigree.

18 Mar 2009 3:10 PM

  As to the highly considered Beyers and Dray so desperately in need of a horse with at least a 100 Beyer… I like to look only at Beyers earned at Mile or longer for real consideration. (I also must admit that I used to think a Beyer of 96 or higher was pretty respectable!, especially as some runs seem to get might lower Beyers than I would have predicted)… However: “The Pamplemousse” a  1o8 Beyer at 1  1/8; (Geeze, what does it take, he ran a 1:47+!!!); “Dunkirk” a 98 Beyer at 1  1/8;   “I Want Revenge” a 116 Beyer at 1  1/16;  “Friesan Fire” a 104 Beyer at 1  1/16;  “Win Willy” a 102 Beyer at 1  1/16;  “General Quarters” a 102 Beyer at 1  1/16;  “Imperial Council” a 98 Beyer at 1  1/16;  “Quality Road” a 113 Beyer at 1 Mi.; “Theregoesjojo” a 105 Beyer at 1 Mi.;  “Take The Points”  a 100 Beyer at 1 Mi.; “Affirmative” a  100 Beyer at 1 Mi. (T); and I admit I haven’t yet found “Sal the Barber”’s Beyer at 1  1/8 (T); or “El Crespo”’s Beyer at 1  1/8 (T); but I will assume they are way up there. (maybe someone knows where to look for such and can enlighten us all)! Anyway, such runs always catch my attention and make me look deeper into each animal as a potential contender!!)   And, I must add a J. Hollendorfer non exact quote, where he stated something like… “Yeah, if I took my horse east and ran him on the dirt we would probably get 25 points higher in some Beyer figuring, so that a 90 in California I can live with, as the Beyer rating seems to be prejudice to horses off synthetic and artificial surfaces!”

18 Mar 2009 3:56 PM

FOR BIG RED: The combined factors of distance, track, time of year and furious pace scenario, not to mention the Derby-fever effect upon the various connection's effort to make the race with their charges, make the Kentucky Derby like no other horse race in the world.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule as was the case of Giacomo.  In some way I am very happy for Giacomo because he vindicated his sire's (Holy Bull who mysteriously lost in 1994)pedigree as Derby-worthy.

If you look carefully at the AP Indy offsprings that you mentioned Bernadini was a fortuitous winner of the Preakness due to Barbaro's breakdown and even so, the Preakness is no the Kentucky Derby.  The Belmont stakes is also a totally different race five weeks later and I wouldn't take anything away from Rags To Riches or AP Indy in that regard.

The mention of AP INDY'S half brother Summer Squall (Charismatic's sire) only strengthen's my pedigree theory.  Summer Squall was the son of Storm Bird which means that Northern Dancer was within the 1st three generations of he sire line.  Nuff said?  The diference between half sibblings can be like night and day with respect to the Derby.  Like fruits on a tree the AP Indies don't seem to ripen in time for the derby and if they are forced it somehow doesn't workout (all other factors relating to training being equal).  That's the best analogy I can find to make the point clearer. Think about it.  

18 Mar 2009 5:06 PM

COLDFACTS:  Jose Adan is the "dark horse" in the UAE Derby field.  Watch him my friend and watch what Godolphin DOES.  If he pulls off the upset, there is going to be another "cat among the pigeons" on Derby Day when the field straightens for home.  

I'm waiting to get the last laugh on Slew.em.All and Jason Shandler concerning this one.  I hope that "Jose" is on your radar Steve.    

18 Mar 2009 7:58 PM

Draynay it is said that people with a sharp tongue usually have a weak mind. Apparently you seem to have "select memory" when it comes to California horses winning the Kenyucky Derby. Giacomo in 2005 won the KD and was a west coast horse. Although he did not win the Santa Anita Derby he still proved he could win the big dance. In fact I would say that some of the best horses who ever raced were west coast based and won both Derby's. Compare the history of Florida Derby winners versus Santa Anita Derby winners who went on to win the Kentucky Derby or another of the triple crown races and I would say the west coast more then matches up. The racing out west has changed dramatically. We now have synthetic surfaces everywhere, patterns training is totally different, and with the emergence of all the Dubai races in late March a lot of the emphasis has changed for owners and trainers. It doesn't a rocket scientist to figure this out. Quit bashing our horses out here, this is a fun sport with a lot of great heritage. Most of us love the purity of horse racing not the bias aspect of it as you apparently do.

My all time favorite horses were east coast based, so what, lets just enjoy the sport.............

18 Mar 2009 8:16 PM

Dray, you of all people should know that these supposed "trends" in the Derby can change in a heart beat.  Big Brown was your man last year..... when was the last time a horse won the derby from post 20? He is also out of a known sprinter, Boundry..I believe he also only had 3 races in before the derby making him the first horse in something like 93 years to win the derby off of 3 races. My point is, there are no sure things and to say a horse deserves no respect because he wins the Santa Anita Derby just doesn't make sense.  Not trying to start an online argument because I do admire your spunk and the way you stand by your favorites but all odds and Derby history has been stacked against many horses. Doesn't really mean much anymore...

18 Mar 2009 9:02 PM

Ran and Big Red and the others keeping up with them, holy cow......I can't even keep up with your vast knowledge in horse pedigree. My hats off to you. Seriously. I can only hope to understand one of your sentences let alone your entire post. Keep the information coming. I love it!!!

18 Mar 2009 9:05 PM


    You were not even on point with that last post, i never even mentioned any of those horses in my previous post. I was challenging your point of the pamp running fast fraction on a nice all weather synthetic track vs the slop FF ran in when he set slow fractions. O and in my opinion Desert Party does not need an off track to win, he just so happens to take to the wet going better than many. He's a good horse with one heck of a shot to win the Derby, at least you and me agree on something.

18 Mar 2009 10:43 PM

In my last post, I meant The Pamplemousse won the Sham. I was anticipating the San Felipe.

18 Mar 2009 10:53 PM

Karen2 I understand the point you are trying to make but I hope you understand you will not see a horse win the Derby from the 20 post again and you will not see a horse win the Derby in his 4th race again.  What you saw last year was a once in a lifetime performance by an often injured but extremely talented horse. And in horse racing Karen2 you look for angles that can help lead you to a winner for the last 5 years I have taken the Santa Anita Derby winner and thrown him out.  Until they prove they can win the Derby its an automatic toss for me.  This year the Pamplemousse will probably win the Santa Anita and after he wins I will toss him as a possible winner of the Derby for host of reasons but the biggest one is they are 0 for 20 in the Derby for the last 20 years.  Any horse in the 20 post this year will also be tossed and any horse going into the Derby with only 3 races to his credit will also be tossed.  Thinking that just because Big Brown did what he did last year you will see it again is crazy at best.  As the years go by you will understand that what you saw last year was a brilliant performance by an amazing horse... an just saw it live.

18 Mar 2009 11:23 PM
Karen in Indiana

With all of this knowledge that others have shown on here, all I can say is -

The Pamplemousse! I love to watch him run - he looks like he's having a ton of fun - and I love saying his name. Plus, he has nice and interesting connections. And that's what this is supposed to be about, right? Having fun and enjoying the game.

18 Mar 2009 11:31 PM

Greetings Steve

With all due respect. Can not see how you rate Dunkirk so high. This horse may turn out to be something special, however at this time he has no graded stakes earnings. I enjoy your articles and opnions. Good luck.

18 Mar 2009 11:40 PM

I am a AVID horse race follower....most of you seem to know your stuff and the history more then I could ever wish.  IF and that could be proven in the Santa Anita Derby, The Pamplemousse can go the distance I REALLY LIKE HIM.  Visually impressive and a massive stride, but could this prove to be a detrimental attribute of him when he comes to the dirt of Churchill?  It is a smooth long stride, but could it be possible he will get bogged down when he hits the dirt this first time almost digging in too much.  What are some of your thoughts on this?  I live in KC, and am going to Santa Anita for the Derby.....I cannot wait and extremely excited, and I would be ecstatic to see the Mousse win the SAD and then come to CD and do the same........

As for Friesan Fire, with the way he finished in the LA and his style of being a stalker type of racer, I don't see his slower fractions being a very good gauge to how impressive this race really way.  I really like FF.

The Florida Derby is shaping up to be a real important race to show what the other handful of contenders will shape up to be like.  I cannot wait to see how Dunkirk runs against better competition, and IMO you cannot say he has no chance until after this race.  The way Theregoesjojo ran in the Fountain of Youth, stretching him out further, could only make him that much better.  Beethoven coming from last to get third in that race was impressive but closers in the derby, I am not going with.  

Then I Want Revenge..........Gotham was impressive and excited to see how the Wood goes.  Not so sure I am with everybody on Imperial Council.

Prior to 08' I had only watched the TC races and hoped for a TC champion.  Now I am almost addicted to this great sport and really pay attention to all the preps and races throughout the year.  Heck I even canceled my cable solely to get dish and get the horse racing channels.  I would like to have some responses/comments on my thoughts, for this rookie horse race guy.

Steve I wait every week for your blogs, and when are you gonna start back up the historical ones.  

19 Mar 2009 12:22 AM

Steve, I will never under estimate an offspring of a grandson of Mr. Prospector that shows potential.

City Style’s sire City Zip was as tough as nails. When was the last time a 2YO that was not in the claiming ranks made 11 starts? City Zip’s 2YO record reads Won Hopeful S. [G1], Saratoga Special [G2], Sanford S. [G2], Tremont S. [G3] 2nd Futurity S. [G1], Kentucky Breeders' Cup [G3] 3rd Flash S. In his eleven starts at two, he was on the board in 7 graded races winning four. He was rated at 121 on 2000 Experimental Free Handicap and a half brother to Ghostzapper. Mr. Prospector the grandsire of City Zip was by all indications a sprinter. In spite of this, he sired a winner of each leg of Triple Crown. Tank’s Prospect (Preakness) Conquistador Cielo (Belmont) Fusaichi Pegasus (Derby) The is consensus in the breeding industry that exceptional milers make the best derby stallions. I think City Zip was at best an excellent miler.

I disagree that his pedigree is loaded with speed. City Style’s dam line is loaded with stamina. His dam Brattothecore earned $300K. She set a NTR in her victory in the 8 1/2F Labatt Bison City Stakes. His second dam was sire by Mr. Leader a son of the influential Hail To Reason. Remember Halo the son of HTR sired derby winners Sunny’s Halo and Sunday Silence. His third dam was sired by Bold Commander sire of Derby winner Dust Commander and broodmare sire of Belmont winner Conquistador Cielo and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Black Tie Affair. His fourth dam was sired by Alibhai unraced son of Hyperion and sire derby winner Determined and grand sire of derby winner decidedly.

At First glance it may appear that his pedigree is at best modest but it contains a lot of individual who have featured in classic success.

Desert Party’s dam earned $15K from 2 starts and is from the extremely dismal Storm Cat broodmare line. Only Sir Gaylord and In Reality in her pedigree have features in classic success. In the case of City Style’s dam, Hail To Reason, Bold Commander and Alibhai were either Derby winning sires of grand sires.

I do not believe a horse out runs its pedigree as there is no way to tell from which generation it has inherited its genes. He passed the short priced Bittel Road in BCJT like he was glued to the ground. He just missed beating (9-2) Coronet Of Baron who was very competitive against the best colts in CA. Dettori would not be riding this horse is he was average.

The policy of breeding the best to the best has been on a very large scale a failed policy.

19 Mar 2009 8:27 AM
Steve Haskin

Bill W, I'll respond by using your own words: "This horse may turn out to be something special." What does graded earnings have to do with anything? If he doesnt finish first or second in the Florida Derby he doesnt deserve to be in the Derby. Do you how much graded earnings Smarty Jones had going into the Arkansas Derby? Zero.

Ryan, I can't disagree with any of your comments. I'm not sure when the historical blogs will start again. Maybe after the Preakness.

19 Mar 2009 10:04 AM

Steve - spoke to the MR. Fantasy connections and they are pointing towards the Wood with a different jockey - thoughts??

19 Mar 2009 11:26 AM
Ann in Lexington

In pedigrees, ignoring the close-up generations in favor of those farther back is good way to miss the boat. Talking Friesan Fire, of course. You have to look at each generation and see who the foal takes after, and it isn't always the parent or ancestor you want it to. Having both speed and stamina, like a Secretariat, is rare, and oftentimes the offspring won't inherit both. Dehere didn't, as he was a miler at best, despite the staying qualities transmitted to other offspring by his sire and damsire. It's hard to pass it on if you don't have the genes for it in the first place. But Friesan Fire may not need stamina from his mum's side because she brings him high-class miler genes, and the best type of natural miler (e.g., Northern Dancer, Dr. Fager,  Precisionist, Hard Spun) can stretch out to 10f on class. And being by a Belmont winner certainly helps.

Watch out for using inbreeding to 'prove' anything without noting whether the offspring of the repeated name inherited the quality you expect. Reverence, who was a G1 winner over 5f in Britain, after they stopped trying to get him to run long, was inbred 4x4 to one of the best recent sources of stamina, Vaguely Noble.

I won't go into how absurd citing 'cousins' who share only a granddam as 'proof' of anything is; the sires who make up 3/4 of the ancestry DO have an impact, you know.

19 Mar 2009 11:42 AM
marc W


Old School

Question I have asked before?

The only Derby I saw live was Proud Clarion's win over Barb's Delight and Damascus. I was also there and I think it was the "week" proceeding the Derby that Barb won the Derby Trial. (My dad was in Cool Receptions camp) Citation ran against older in allowance race as a prep before his Derby.

The question-with accommodating racing secretaries--and they are out there. With a race written for them, why couldn't a horse needing a good easy prep with his ticket in earnings already punched, just avoid stakes and odd racing surfaces to have him win a easy allowance and have him in perfect shape for the Derby?

19 Mar 2009 12:25 PM
For Big Red

TO COLDFACTS: I enjoyed your advocacy of City Style and his pedigree, although I'm neutral about him. But, since you advocated so strongly for him, I thought you might like to know more about his pedigree.

City Style, by City Zip x Brattothecore by Katahaula County. CS's dam is a direct tail-female descendant of one of the most important foundation mares in Thoroughbred history, La Troienne. Brattothecore descends from La Troienne's daughter, Businesslike, dam of the superb racemare, Busanda, who foaled the great Buckpasser.

Busy Whirl, the 1946 foal of Businesslike, became Brattothecore's fourth dam (direct great-great granddam). Busy Whirl won 6 races from 31 starts and produced 15 foals. Can't research all of them, so will focus on Lines Busy, great-granddam of Brattothecore. Lines Busy produced four foals (that I could find), including the stakes placed Leave It, and Busy Windsong, who won 9 races from 33 starts. Busy Windsong is Brattothecore's granddam. She produced nine foals, including stakes winners Do The Bump and Li'l Arch. Busy Windsong's daughter, Sweet Leader, is Brattothecore's dam. Sweet Leader had six foals. Four were winners: two SW's and two SP, all in Canada. Although this particular branch of the La Troienne family has not been stellar, it has continued to produce stakes-class horses.

As for Brattothecore's sire, the obscure Katahaula County, he won the G3 Equipoise Mile, and set a new track record at Arlington Park, about 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.1. Brattothecore appears to be his best offspring to date, and he was 19th in 2008 on the Canadian sire list. The main thing Katahaula County has going for him in terms of pedigree is that he is a tail-male (direct) grandson of Boldnesian, also tail-male grandsire of Seattle Slew.

Katahaula County's sire, Bold Ruckus, was inbred 3x4 to Polynesian through a daughter, Alanesian, and through Polynesian's great son, Native Dancer. Bold Ruckus was a brilliant stakes-winning sprinter who became a leading sire in Canada three times. Among BR's 67 stakes winners were champion Canadian sprinters King Ruckus and King Corrie. According to Steve Roman's article about Bold Ruckus when the stallion was named a "chef-de-race," the average winning distance of major open stakes races won by BR's offspring is 7.08 furlongs.

Katahaula County inherits some stamina influences through his  maternal grandsire, High Tribute, who was a tail-male grandson of Princequillo. Also, High Tribute was out of a mare by War Relic, who was by Man'o War. However, in High Tribute's direct female line, you have to go back to 4th dam, Wolf Gal, to find a stakes winner, although his granddam was sired by Nearctic, who also sired Northern Dancer.

Turning to City Style's sire, City Zip, he was a multiple graded stakes winner who currently stands at Lane's End Farm for a fee of $12,500. He is primarily known as a leading juvenile sire -- meaning a sire of sprinters. Among his top offspring is the high-class sprinter, Bustin Stones, winner of the G1 Carter Handicap. City Zip is a half-brother to Horse of the Year, Ghostzapper, from the female family of Derby winner Lil E. Tee and numerous other stakes winners. City Zip was sired by Carson City, maternal grandsire of Derby winner Barbaro.

So, overall, City Style is by a sire who's best offspring are sprinters. City Style is out of a dam by a grandson of a sprinter whose offspring tend to prefer sprints. City Style has a Dosage profile heavily skewed toward speed, and a DI of 5.67. So the big question regarding City Style is, can he carry his speed over a distance.

19 Mar 2009 1:15 PM
Steve Haskin

SSc, I think he deserves another shot. Even if he can run a good second, he can point for the Preakness if they don't feel he's quite ready for the Derby, or try for the big one. He'll still be fairly unseasoned with only four starts. The Gotham should have really toughened him after running against only NY-breds.

I would aim for the Preakness right now, but let's see how he runs.

Marc, there's no reason at all. Finding a suitable allowance race is another matter.

For Big Red, you should find someone to pay you for all that research.

19 Mar 2009 1:53 PM
For Big Red

STEVE: this economy?

19 Mar 2009 2:29 PM

I hope The Mig gets back on Mr. Fantasy.

19 Mar 2009 2:48 PM


C'mon. There are no "foregone conclusions" in horse racing. To say another horse will never win out of the 20 post is crazy. I agree Big Brown was talented but lets look at a couple others in the recent past who have bucked history. Smarty Jones...1st undeafeated horse to win the derby since 1977. First Jockey/trainer team to win the derby in their debut performance in 25 years. Street Sense..... First winner of the breeders cup juvenile to EVER win the derby and the first champion two year old since the Bid in 1979.  Really the list goes on and on.  That is the coolest thing about horse racing. The horses just continue to re-write history. It is unpredictable. I respect your opinion but perhaps you should broaden your horizens and take history for what it is. History. I'm sticking with PM right now. I can't get past his ground swallowing stride and how easy he makes it look. He literally seems "happy" as he cruises along in what seems to be an effortless high cruising speed. I'm keeping my eye on IWR WW, and FF. Don't you just love this time of year???

19 Mar 2009 2:54 PM

Yes Karen2 I love this time of year!

By the way watch out for Quality Road in the Florida Derby.

Not all records can be matched.  Cy Young finished his career with 511 wins and 749 complete games.  Those records will not be matched.  A pitcher today could never reach 100 complete games.  Big Brown did some things we will never see again and a win from the 20 post off only 3 previous starts is one of them.

19 Mar 2009 5:40 PM
Julie L.

I know this blog is to discuss those horses that are still viable for winning the Kentucky Derby and I still am very high on Pioneerof the Nile and I Want Revenge while keeping a close eye on Take the Points. That said I must say that I am very tired of Draynay's derogatory statements constantly being made about Santa Anita and the racing here in California. Don't know where Draynay lives nor do I think I really care where he does but I was born and raised in California and love our horses and our racing out here. I follow horseracing all over and if I see a potential Derby horse in another state then I follow them and talk highly of them with no bad remarks on the state they came from. California racing is still very viable and important, though it's been awhile since the Santa Anita Derby has produced a Derby winner it does still produce some very good horses. Draynay lately seems to be high on I Want Revenge who was stabled out here in California but shipped in for the Gotham after failing to beat Pioneerof the Nile, smart move by the trainer to get those much needed earnings for the Derby in another state but now that Draynay likes him he has conveniently forgotten that I Want Revenge (a horse I like) started running here at Santa Anita. If you keep having tunnel vision as Draynay obviously does then seeing a possible Derby winner may just slip past you out of your on ignorance.

19 Mar 2009 6:04 PM

Off topic, but Papi Chullo has previously been discussed here.  He has been retired (bone chip) and was sold to Jamaica to stand at stud.  Hopefully he will live a long and happy life with the island girls and die in a sunny pasture.


19 Mar 2009 7:13 PM

OK   Did anyone come up with Beyer #s on "El Crespo" or "Sal the Barber"?

19 Mar 2009 7:49 PM
Karen in Texas

Julie L.---Many of us are very tired of Draynay's derogatory statements about racing in various states and regions. Clearly, good and viable horses come to the Derby from every region as evidenced in the lists compiled by Barbara and Deacon. I was really upset last week by his ridiculous and denigrating remarks on another blog about racing "down south". You are correct when you say he may miss possibilities due to his own ignorance. California has several nice horses in the mix this year. Watching everything as it plays out should be fun!

19 Mar 2009 7:57 PM

Right on ZARVONA! I couldn't agree with you more.

19 Mar 2009 7:57 PM

Whoa... Julie L. I have nothing against California.  California is a great place to visit and I make to Big Bear every other year. But from a handicapping stand point I have been tossing the Santa Anita winner for the last 10 years in the Derby. Why ? Because they don't win it.  When handicapping you follow angles and percentages and for 20 years the best horse out of California has not been good enough to win the Derby so I will continue to toss the winner of the Santa Anita Derby.  I have done it the last 10 and I have been right every time.  Until they ship something that can win and prove me wrong I will continue to toss the Santa Anita winner.

19 Mar 2009 9:29 PM

Bravo to Julie L and Karen in Texas for putting Draynay in his place. His futile attempt of a smooth over was again ridiculous. We all know how he really feels about about California racing.

20 Mar 2009 2:03 AM
Julie L.

Draynay - I understand what you are saying but in following all the angles so tightly sometimes we forget that a potential Derby winner can slip past us, point in case, Giacomo. He did not win the Santa Anita Derby but surprised us all by slipping past my top choice that year Afleet Alex. Sometimes in our postings we may not realize that how we express ourselves may offend individuals and I try not to knock anyone's choices on potential Derby winners or the states they come from. One thing that we must all keep in mind is that we are all horseracing fans.

20 Mar 2009 2:06 AM
Julie L.

Draynay - Just one more note, Giacomo won the Kentucky Derby in 2005 so your "I have done it the last 10 and I have been right every time" doesn't hold up. He may not have been the best out of California but he makes my point.

20 Mar 2009 2:15 AM

Why let Draynay bother you?  He is saying he is tossing the winner of the SA Derby, not all runners.  He has not refuted that Derby winners and good horses come out of the SA Derby and Cali.  Or maybe he has but now he is focused on the winner only of SA Derby.  LOL. We all look for reasons to narrow our choices by tossing certain horses.  I don't agree with his premise or his lack of recognition that a Derby "rule" seems to be broken every year of late...but who cares?

Terry Thompson got the mount on Old Fashioned for the Ark Derby which effs up my RTTR Stable.  Thank you Mr. Porter.  I find it hard to believe that was all Larry's call since he is loyal to Saez despite a few bad rides and doesn't seem like the guy to ding Dominguez off one ride.  Dominguez has one of the highest winning percentages of any jock in the country year in, year out.  That said, I don't like the guy's whipping style and Thompson works OF - maybe Jones thinks he can get him to relax/rate more, too.  I think the colt does have distance limitations, not jock problems, but we'll see.

20 Mar 2009 11:11 AM
Greg J.

FYI Draynay,

    Six Santa Anita Derby Winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, In the last 22 years, 6/22 who used the SA Derby as last Prep Race went on to win the Kentucky Derby(More then any other Prep race)(Wood Memorial is second with 5/22). Yes, In the last three years, 2/3 who won the Florida Derby also won the Kentucky Derby. But, Over the years I would say the top three Prep Races(last one before Derby), Would have to be, Santa Anita Derby,  Wood Memorial, Blue Grass. You just can't go by last ten years, You have to look at the whole picture(history). So when The Pamplemousse runs in the SA Derby, Then Wins the Kentucky Derby(or Friesan Fire, lol) it will end your nonsense on California Racing, That's All.....

P.S., Also, Take a look at what an Awesome Pedigree Mr. Friesan Fire has(I know Draynay, HE HAS NO CHANCE TO WIN DERBY!)(Just like you said he had no chance last week, lol):

20 Mar 2009 11:47 AM
marc w.

Barbara, agree with your comments above and below.

As to the bottom part--strange bumping although TT seems to be his second go to jock and as leading rider and barn favorite why not? I agree on maybe distance limitations but as mentioned above 8 lengths clear of the 3rd horse Win Willy might be the hidden horse. Ramon regardless of whipping style and high seat is one of the best touch riders in the business, horses just run for him. He bumps many a rider in NY so although it is strange to see him replaced I think it is good to see a solid if not famous rider get his chance at the limelight.

20 Mar 2009 12:09 PM

Now for my thoughts after watching replays of the Gotham.  Mr. Fantasy's jockey ran a poor race.  Following a week of horrendous weather (snow, ice, every day), the temperatures shot into the 60's for the Gotham.  The track is banked and the race was run on the inner dirt track, shifting the moisture towards the rail.  Garcia gunned Mr. F from post #5 to make the rail for the first turn and stayed on the rail for the entire race.  By the time the runners turned for home, Mr. Fantasy was gassed from running in the deeper lane.  As for I Want Revenge, he was on firmer footing for the key portions of the pace and began accelerating on the final turn.  The acceleration became evident when the horses straightened out coming home.  The exhausted Mr. Fantasy continued fighting forward on the soppy rail, while the fresher I Want Revenge cruised along outside of him; the beneficiary of a perfect trip.

20 Mar 2009 12:29 PM
Karen in Texas

Barbara---The turf writer/editor for a local newspaper (local as in D/FW metroplex) thinks Dominguez was taken off Old Fashioned because he did not have another mount at Oaklawn on Saturday and did not pay attention to how the track was playing, only rode as though it was "good", as listed. Jones told the writer that Thompson knew the colt "better than anybody" and is the leading rider at Oaklawn.

20 Mar 2009 12:44 PM

That's why speed figures can be misleading.  IWR, who had never run better than a 92, throws up a whopping 113.  Bettors are hammering him at the futures window down to 10-1 now, without consideration to the extremely favorable conditions he encountered while posting that 113.  What are the odds of him catching those conditions again?  Next to nothing.  To the astute handicapper, Mr. F's 98 Beyer running the entire race in quicksand (with a poor mount) was more impressive than IWR's 113 on a much harder surface.

For the Wood Memorial, look for IWR to dominate the tote-board and finish 3rd or worse.  Mr. Fantasy will get favorable odds, get a better trip, and finish no worse than 2nd.  You heard it here first.

20 Mar 2009 12:56 PM

I saw that later Karen.  Yeah, but here is what I think, when a Jerry Bailey or his contemporary counterpart, Garrett Gomez, come in to town, ride one race, possibly screw it up, they are then called smart riders who "recognize" what to change next time. LOL.  I don't think Ramon rode a great race, but wonder what his "instructions" were since we KNOW Mr. Porter likes to give them as well as the trainer...I think this smells of Porter and Jones was ok w/ it because he likes Thompson and the guy deserves the shot.  Good point Marc, that OF would look like a wonder horse except for WW in the Rebel;)

20 Mar 2009 1:25 PM

Steve, how is Desert Party training up to the UAE Derby.  Is he "pleasing in his work"?

20 Mar 2009 1:27 PM

I am sorry if someone has already noted this, I haven't read all responses yet...but...


 While I appreciate and agree with alot of what you said in your post, I did find one error:

California represents only 1 state out of 50. I think the record speaks for itself. Point Given should have won the triple crown in 2001. We have had many fabulous horses win the Santa Anita Derby and place in the Kentucky Derby

Most notably:

5. A.P. Indy 1992

A.P. Indy did not run in the Kentucky Derby.  He was scratched due to lameness...In saying that, I believe had he run the race he would have won it....Just my opinion of course!

I totally agree with you that Point Given should have been the TC winner.  He is one of my all time favorites, and I was devastated by his off day in the Derby!!!

For the record:

This was the field for the 1992 Kentucky Derby. They are listed in the order that they finished (horse - jockey - trainer):

1) Lil E. Tee - Pat Day - Lynn Whiting

2) Casual Lies - Gary Stevens - Shelley L. Riley

3) Dance Floor - Chris Antley - D. Wayne Lukas

4) Conte Di Savoya - Shane Sellers - LeRoy Jolley

5) Pine Bluff - Craig Perret - Tom Bohannan

6) Al Sabin - Corey Nakatani - D. Wayne Lukas

7) Dr Devious - Chris McCarron - Ron McAnally

8) Arazi - Patrick Valenzuela - Francois Boutin

9) My Luck Runs North - Ricardo D. Lopez - Angel M. Medina

10) Technology - Jerry Bailey - Hubert Hine

11) West by West - Jean-Luc Samyn - George R. Arnold, II.

12) Devil His Due - Mike Smith - H. Allen Jerkens

13) Thyer - Christy Roche - James S. Bolger

14) Ecstatic Ride - Julie A. Krone - D. Hal Griffitt

15) Sir Pinder - Randy Romero - Emanuel Tortora

16) Pistols and Roses - Jacinto Vasquez - George Gianos

17) Snappy Landing - Jorge Velasquez - Dennis Manning

18) Disposal - Alex Solis - Bruce Headley

20 Mar 2009 1:39 PM
Karen in Texas

Barbara---Yeah, that could be, I was just repeating what was written. The Arkansas Derby is becoming more interesting.

20 Mar 2009 1:48 PM
marc w.

DEFINITELY subject to change but if will give a list since I have looked at so many

Friesian Fire –original pick no reason to change on what has transpired

Pioneer of the Nile-not pretty buts just wins

I Want Revenge- hate to put him this high but things change

Chocolate Candy—I just see him going well in the Derby no matter how he shows up in the SA Derby

The Pamplemousse-obviously this one can go higher but I will leave him here

Win Willie –Fluke? I really don’t think it was and I have gone back and watched that race 5 times. How good? That’s a tough question even if he runs well again.

The rest of the top ten would be the Florida crew, which needs to be sorted out and will shortly. Dropping from # 2 to this group would be Old Fashion also downgraded was Papa Clem although he ran well. Terrain is not a horse I would say can win in the Derby but is possible to hit the ticket. Beethoven is this years Dennis of Cork in my opinion if the outfit wants placings in big races instead of wins in others, it is very possible he will pick up checks in the big ones..

20 Mar 2009 2:12 PM

Explain this to me....

Friesan Fire has not run 1 1/8th

Friesan Fire has never run below a 1:13 for 6 furlongs

Friesan Fire has never run below a 1:37 mile

Friesan Fire has never posted a Beyer over 100 on a fast track

Friesan Fire has not won a Grade 1

Yet... this is the choice by many to win the Derby ?  Derby winners don't post times this slow and a horse with no foundation going a 1 1/8th has almost no shot of winning the Derby... I wonder if its EVER been done.

Friesan Fire is a good horse but he has won against horses he will not face in the Derby.  His splits suggest he is a good horse but no

Derby winner.

20 Mar 2009 2:40 PM

Baffert said, "Do you want to run a 114 NOW?  Or on Derby day?"  Um, no and YES!

Besides, if POTN even runs as well on dirt has on plastic, he may not move forward, or win the the KY Derby, but probably jumps to triple digit Beyers based on their anti-syn bias.

20 Mar 2009 2:44 PM

Alan - like your thoughs on the Gotham and Wood. The connections for Mr. F. have said that Garcia lost the mount for the Wood - not sure they will get to ride him, maybe Mig or Ramon D. will be a great race and I think Imperial council will win it.

20 Mar 2009 2:47 PM

Dray - Um, lots of horses have not gone 1 1/8 miles YET.  Um, has a Gr. 1 soph prep been run YET?  It is March 20 for gods sake.  Shakes head at the inanity. How do you know WHAT the mile split was in the LA Derby?

20 Mar 2009 2:50 PM

SSC- Imperial Council is another horse who benefited from staying outside in the Gotham.  At Aqueduct, it's like being fired from a slingshot.  They snap around the turn, outside on the inner track, like on a conveyer belt (especially when there is heavy moisture on the track).

The key horse to notice in the Gotham is Haynesfield.  He was competitive early, got moved to the rail, and suddenly fell back and finished over 20 lengths behind the leaders.

Haynesfield probably wasn't the best horse in the field, but he certainly wasn't a "25 length" loser either.  He had the double curse of running on the rail while being bottled up.

20 Mar 2009 3:24 PM
marc w.

I should really not respond to the time man, but

I racing cards all over America on any given track on any given day a horse that is a lower grade than the feature race might run much faster. IF no matter how fast the cheaper horse ran he or she was in the stake or higher class they would have lost. Beyer and numbers although they have there place does not decree the winner. As a trip player and sometimes I just like the way a horse goes. Class rules all (except drugs which is another story-drugs beat all bias)I have seen many a horse play with his/her opposition, making finishes much closer than they should have been. If the mile went in 1:35 they would win by a 1/2 length if it went in 1:38 the winning margin would be the same. When Tiz came back at Zenyatta was she really going to lose if it went another 1/4 mile? Margin was tight, and it looked like the big Z mare was losing ground-Please! (I guess that lame and slow CA mare is subject to the CA curse as well because she come from there).

Watching how a horse goes is selective-Dunkirk looked to me absolutely awesome in his 1st start, a slow maiden win. He blew out a field albeit a much better one and around two turns and didn't look "as good" to me. The FOY was a speed bias track although I will not knock the winner and second--they looked good.

FF went/made to the lead in the stretch before he was asked-he looked like a winner in all parts of the race,when given the  go -he opened out rapidly--visually that is as good as it gets, blank the times and speed figures. (Add to that I think it has been the toughest prep yet-there were some decent horses in there)

20 Mar 2009 3:31 PM
Greg J.


    Friesan Fire got a BSF of 104 in LA Derby!, Compare that to 102/Win Willy, 90/POTN, That weekend......When you say "He never got a 100 over a fast track".

    BSF=The purpose of a speed rating is to take the different tracks and conditions creating a common number using a complex computer generated number that gives us a representation of how fast a horse is. Speed ratings allow you to analyze a horse's particular performance in a race simply and easily, without having to worry about which size track the time was run at, or what the CONDITION OF THE TRACK was during the race, or in some cases even the distance of the race itself.

 ALL BSF Numbers are meant to be equal as far as the conditions are, So when you say "Fast Track", That does not matter...It is built into the equation when you compile the BSF number, FOR ALL TB'S....

20 Mar 2009 4:21 PM

Allan - the Wood will be on the Main track - shorter trip to the first turn - is the inside path the same as the inner track

20 Mar 2009 4:55 PM

Okay, how about a nice Lane's End longshot pick, Orthodox! Liked his synthetic effort against Chocolate Candy last year and his turf return (albeit pedestrian) points him out. He looks to be more of a miler, but could get help from the Strawberry Road influence on the bottom. I know it's a shot, but I'm taking him over and under Westside Bernie, Bittel Road, and Proceed Bee in the exotics. Who knows, maybe he'll be forced to rate behind the leaders and get 1st run, we'll see!

20 Mar 2009 5:04 PM

Greg J thanks for the explanation but it does not change the fact that FF has never posted a Beyer over a 100 on a fast track.  Nor has he run a 1 1/8th yet.  How can you think any horse can go 1 1/4 if he has never run beyond 1 1/16.

20 Mar 2009 7:05 PM
For Big Red

TO DRAYNAY -- You wrote:

--"Friesan Fire has not run 1 1/8th."

Actually, it's common for 3-yr-olds to not run that distance or longer this early in the year, or as 2-yr-olds. Some do, but a progression up from sprints to middle distances, to routes is typical.

--"Friesan Fire has never run below a 1:13 for 6 furlongs."

Incorrect. He won his first race by three lengths, going 6 furlongs in 1:10 4/5, with fast splits of :22, :45 2/5, and :58 1/5.

--"Friesan Fire has never run below a 1:37 mile."

If the splits shown by the timer during the running of the Louisiana Derby were accurate (and I haven't seen any news to the contrary), then this is incorrect.

--Friesan Fire has never posted a Beyer over 100 on a fast track

Uh...why the fast track limit? Makes no sense. Speed figures take track condition into account.

--"Friesan Fire has not won a Grade 1."

Once again, few 3-yr-olds at this time of the year have done so. Of the current leading Derby candidates, Pioneerof The Nile won the G1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December. That's it, as far as I've been able to determine.

To date, Friesan Fire has done nothing but show he is a real racehorse. His lifetime record is 7 starts, 4 wins, 1 second, 1 third and earnings of $603,265. He is undefeated so far in 2009, and has won his three races this year by a combined 10 3/4ths lengths.

For people who use speed figures, FF just ran his highest Beyer so far, 103 in the Louisiana Derby. His lifetime Beyer numbers show this colt has made steady progress as he's matured: 89, 92, 96, 92, 97, 100, 103. He also has had several bullet works over his career so far, so this is definitely a talented colt.

Finally, FF is a classy colt. According to ratings, in his three 2009 races, Friesan Fire faced the fields with highest average class of any 3-yr-old to date.

Not being a clairvoyant, I can't predict that FF will definitely win the Derby. But it's not smart handicapping to throw a horse of this quality out as a legitimate contender. I think Steve highlighted the one big question mark with this colt, and it's the fact that FF hasn't had a real layoff since his first race last August.

20 Mar 2009 7:06 PM

It is duly noted here that Draynay does not understand speed figures or that track condition is taken into account.  Nor do actual facts matter.  Sigh.  That said, thanks Big Red for the accurate and fair portrayal and facts re: Friesan Fire.

On the LA Derby split, it is indeed not widely reported, but yes, it was a teletimer malfunction for the mile split and the chart lists it as n/a.  Crist did mention it in his blog, too.  But based on the 6 f split and final time we know FF came home in a good time, around 30 sec. for last 3/16ths.  But I don't think logic will sway Draynay;)  Or the obvious observation that most 3 yr olds have not run over 1 1/16th to this point unless they ran in the Sham.

20 Mar 2009 8:02 PM

Big Red ...My cut and paste removed "This year" FF had done none of the things I listed.  His times are too slow.  His fractions above 1:13 will not cut it in the Derby.  AND NO he has not run a mile this year faster than 1:37.  His fractions at a mile and a 1 1/16 don't begin to compare to fractions run by Big Brown in the Florida Derby which is 1 1/8th. There is even talk of training him right up to the Derby?  No races at a 1 1/8th ?  And if they do run him... where do you run him?  Still he will go to the Derby without running against top talent.

If Quality Road is not in the Fountain of Youth we would be talking about the GREAT move 4 wide Theregoesjojo made and what a great horse he is.  But Quality Road was there so Theregoesjojo is hardly mentioned.  FF has faced no Pamplemousse, no Desert Party, no Pioneer of the Nile, no I Want Revenge and no Quality Road.  Taking the junior races on the road to the Derby makes you look good on paper but come Derby Day it leaves you scratching your head asking yourself why did my horse finish mid pack.  Rarely have I ever seen a horse run such slow splits and seen people get so excited.  What will FF do when he sees a 47 flat and a 1:11 split going a 1 1/4 for the first time?  Derby Day is the wrong time to answer that question.

20 Mar 2009 8:16 PM

dbjr8:  Your opinion on Point Given's talent  is respected but please dont try to rewrite history.  Point Given did not have an off day in Kentucky Derby 2001.  He ran his race but got burnt by being too close to the record splits of 44 and change for the 1st half mile and 1:09 and change for the 1st six furlongs set by Song And A Prayer (son of Unbridled Song).  Suggesting that he should have won the Triple Crown carries no more weight than those who believe that if Monarchos had skiped the Preakness because of how much his near record run in the Derby took out of him, he could have seriously challenged Point Given's brilliance in the Belmont.  Hindsight is 20/20 vision as they say blindness to the facts of history is disingenuous.    

20 Mar 2009 8:16 PM

Can you really put much stock into the speed figures these days.  Don't you think the Beyers crew is having a difficult time putting numbers on these races.  Do you see how often they go back and revise their figures after a little time has passed (i.e. the Hutch at Gulfstream; both candy and broadway dropped about 4 points weeks later).  How reliable are they to begin with?  Take a look at the past Derby winner beyers on and see how many registered more than a 108 prior   to the April stakes; not many.  There is a lot of sorting out ahead.  As for the Jones crew, he may be in a bind.  He has OF who wants no part of 1 and 1/4 and FF who he either brings in off the long layoff (and not going 1 and 1/8 prior) or he goes in the Bluegrass or the Lexington.  Those options all come with issues.  Draynay maeks more sense each day.  However, I'd give those two horses that beat IWR a little more credit.  

20 Mar 2009 11:17 PM

Draynay, I'm having difficulty figuring out where you stand with any consistency. You appear to have dismissed FF for multiple reasons -- hasn't won a Grade 1, hasn't run 1 1/8. Yet, you have jumped on the Quality Road bandwagon -- a bandwagon pulled by a horse with three starts, none over a mile (and a one-turn mile at that), and no Grade 1 wins. Doesn't make sense to me, but I suppose that is par for the course.

20 Mar 2009 11:32 PM

Affirmed won the Santa Anita Derby.  I think he won a few races after this.  The ONLY angle for the Wood to KY Derby is to bet the horses that have either raced out west, or wintered at Santa Anita, prior to winning the Wood.  

20 Mar 2009 11:36 PM

ok ok ok lets stick to horses... maybe someone will start a Dray bashing blog and we won't have to take up as much space and time reading all the bashing in here!(if we could only restrict Dray to telling us his 5 likes and nothing more....hmmmmm... well I guess we can't...)

21 Mar 2009 1:42 AM

Off subject of the Derby, but on the subject of pedigree. The is a phenomenal sire standing in California named Unsual Heat. His get has been all types of horses. Sprinters, Stayers, dirt, Turf, Synthetic, you name it he has had winners in all categories. It is sad that he has not had the quality mares to point his get towards the Classics. His pedigree is in my opinion quality. For all of you interested in looking at a horses' pedigree and their racing record paste the following link in your browser - . Have fun!

21 Mar 2009 4:48 AM

As of right now my choice in the Derby is The Grapefruit, er..The Pamplemousse. Three things lie ahead of him, the SA Derby, CD dirt, and the post parade of the Derby. One of my observations is The Pamplemousse has the same type of Blaze as Affirmed had, An arrow - to point out where the other horses are. And now for something special - Same sales connection and same stride action as Barbaro.

21 Mar 2009 5:18 AM


    If you think a horse that has just 1 1/16 can't win the Derby, then why do you like Desert Party? From my knowledge all he's run at so far is a mile? Do i know he's about to run in a race that's a 1 1/8, yes, but competition is going to be tough and he may very well lose. As of now he like FF does not meet your so called qualifications, so why is he on your list.

21 Mar 2009 6:26 AM

Beyer figures for the last 17 Kentucky Derby Winners:

Big Brown - 109

Street Sense - 110

Barbaro - 111

Giacomo - 100

Smarty Jones - 107

Funny Cide - 109

War Emblem - 114

Monarchos - 116

Fusaichi Pegasus - 108

Charismatic - 108

Real Quiet - 107

Silver Charm - 115

Grindstone - 112

Go for Gin - 112

Thunder Gulch - 108

Sea Hero - 105

Lil E. Tee - 107

21 Mar 2009 9:13 AM
Karen in Texas

Kat---Forgot to thank you for the update on Papi Chullo the other evening. He deserves a happy life.

21 Mar 2009 11:13 AM
For Big Red

TO ALAN: Thanks for listing those Beyers for the last 17 KD winners. Those numbers work out to an average Beyer number of 109.3. Although I'm not a huge fan of speed figures, they can serve as a rough way to sort a field by relative talent. I think they're more useful with older horses than still-developing 3-yr-olds, since any young horse can improve suddenly this time of year as they fill out and mature.

The numbers I'd be more interested in are the Beyers each of those Derby winners ran in their last race before the Derby, but it would take a heck of a lot of digging to come up with that information. What I'd look for is any kind of consistent pattern; maybe something like all those KD winners ran a Beyer within x points of the 109.3 average in their last start before the Derby.

21 Mar 2009 12:41 PM

Tiznowbaby... and LDP let me try and explain my position.  Quality Road has raced 3 times and it is important that you watch all of the races.  He has raced in 12, 12, and 9 horse fields.  He races out near the the front just off the pace.  When he runs in the Kentucky Derby it will be simular to he previous races because of his early speed.  At the first pole he will be 2nd 3rd or 4th just off the pace.  The other 16 horses will be behind him and be no factor to him.  Also... look at the splits Quality Road can run...he is very fast.  Can he make it two turns and win? Don't know yet but based on his last race and the ease he ran a 1:09 flat and 1:35 flat I would say this horse is big trouble for those running 1:13 and thinking they are in his league.  LDP... I like Desert Party for one reason and one reason only... A WET TRACK.

I don't believe any 3 year old can beat him on a wet surface.

21 Mar 2009 1:29 PM


    If only you could explain all your posts while sounding so nice in them we'd probably get along much better. Im not being sarcastic in the least, you sounded calm in this post, when in your others you tend to sound arrogant, whether you mean to or not i don't know, but normally you sound arrogant. This time you stated your opinion cooly and calmly, nicely done.

21 Mar 2009 5:27 PM

Right now I'm going with PM. His work was amazing and he was flying well in hand. He just seems like the real deal to me. Mature, strong,relaxed and he is ready to run.

21 Mar 2009 6:11 PM
Mike Relva


You are obviously fooling yourself if you discount Pioneer of the Nile.He's one of the few horses,(I said few not ten like some people on here) that I've been on from the beginning.

21 Mar 2009 7:43 PM

Big Red- Beyer figures for the last 17 Kentucky Derby Winners in their final prep race in brackets, with * for horses born April/May

(the only one born in May was Thunder Gulch):

*Big Brown - 109 (106)

Street Sense - 110 (93)

*Barbaro - 111 (103)

Giacomo - 100 (95)

Smarty Jones - 107 (109)

*Funny Cide - 109 (110)

War Emblem - 114 (112)

Monarchos - 116 (103)

*Fusaichi Pegasus - 108 (111)

Charismatic - 108 (108)

Real Quiet - 107 (107)

Silver Charm - 115 (110)

Grindstone - 112 (100)

*Go for Gin - 112 (107)

*Thunder Gulch - 108 (101)

Sea Hero - 105 (91)

Lil E. Tee - 107 (107)

21 Mar 2009 7:56 PM

Mike... I know you love Pioneer of the Nile but after his last race I would say its time to jump ship.  We have seen the best from him and I don't expect anymore improvement.  If he catches the Pamplemousse in the Santa Anita you will have to pick me up off the floor.  LDP... its Derby time I am in my happy place!  Next week we will know if Quality Road is all that and more.

21 Mar 2009 9:43 PM

Mike Relva,

you must have the wrong person?  Pioneerof the Nile is my Derby horse. Barbara is hardly discounting him...


21 Mar 2009 10:48 PM
For Big Red

TO ALAN: Wow! Thank you SO much for that Beyer information. Much appreciated. I'll play around with the figures and see if I can spot any kind of pattern. If so, I'll share it here.

22 Mar 2009 11:35 AM

Alan.  Good work.  Didn't Monarchos run a sub 2:00 Derby...3rd or 4th fastest ever I think.  

22 Mar 2009 12:08 PM

Another weekend of disappointments and upsets (e.g., Lane's End).  

22 Mar 2009 12:13 PM

Nice works put in by Quality Road and Dunkirk. I like that Quality Road worked 7/8 in a good time. Dunkirk had a bullet work at Palm Meadows which I think is not a fast track. Anybody know any different?

22 Mar 2009 12:45 PM

The Lanes End was nothing but throw away horses. Not a single one of them will vaguely or remotely be a contender. I guess the winner was a prime example of a trainer getting a horse fit and race worth after a lay off.

22 Mar 2009 2:45 PM

Interesting side note, Quality Road as of today is not nominated to the Triple Crown.

22 Mar 2009 2:48 PM

The only thing that wasn't fast was Dunkirk's last race... 1:50.15 is simply not good enough and will get him beat by 8 in the Florida Derby.

22 Mar 2009 3:50 PM


    Good, please stay in your happy place, it's a good place to be, lol. I just hope Derby day hurries up and gets here before i'm driven up the wall. The Derby IMO is a very exciting and fun race to watch, with every jockey and horse keyed into doing everything to the best of their abilities. This year should be extra fun with so many variables, like all the Cali horses and some of those coming from Dubai. I personally can't wait.

22 Mar 2009 5:33 PM


   I know you don't like Dunkirk and i can see why, ie. his times, but he has an excuse for the time. He was extemely wide in that race and when i did the calculations a couple months ago, if he had clear sailing and had not been caught so wide he would've won by almost 17 lenghts and his time would've been more around 1.47 or 1.48. Now i'm not crowning the horse yet, but i'm withholding judgement on him until i see him run against stakes winners. Now he may very well be beaten, because i highly doubt we'll get a third year in a row where we get another super horse 3yr old like BB or Curlin, that just pops up and wins out of the blue. If we did like you said in an earlier post to mike you'd have to pick me up off the floore, lol. I will say that even if Dunkirk wins, i don't think he'll win the Derby, and not for lack of talent. This year i think will have a much tougher group of 3yr old in the gates on Derby day, and being as how i doubt that this horse is Curlin or BB, i think he'll be too tired and hit that brick wall everyone perdicted Curlin would hit in 07, but didn't. He's run two pretty tough races, considering he's had to overcome some major traffic issues, and the FL Derby won't be any easier and will take another top effort to win. For this reason, even with the five weeks i perdict if he win he'll bounce in the Derby. If he doesn't and he ends up placing top three or winning, i'll need a new bottom jaw since mine will have dropped ten feet. Pesonaly, i'm hoping that POTN, OF, or FF wins. Larry Jones deserves to go out a winner. You can give your thoughts on that analysis if you wish. Mike don't be shy you can critique too.

22 Mar 2009 8:28 PM

LDP...,. Dunkirk would have won by 17?  Interesting calculations.  Until he runs something under a 1:50 its hard to take him very serious... and he is not the first horse to go a bit wide into the first turn and win.  Maybe you should watch again Big Brown winning the Derby by going 4 wide ALL the way around 1 1/4.

23 Mar 2009 11:35 AM

Wanda, they will announce the late TC nominees around Mar. 28...

23 Mar 2009 11:40 AM


  What does Point Given's being to close to suicidal fast fractions have to do with anything?  That is on Gary Stevens, not Point Given.  Point Given WAS, in MY opinion, the best 3YO that year.  It is my opinion that he should have been the triple crown winner.  I also don't believe Monarchos was anywhere near the caliber of racehorse that Point Given was-again, my opinion.  Point Given won the Santa Anita, Preakness, Belmont, Haskell and Travers at 3....The only time in his career he ever finished out of the money was that Kentucky Derby.  He was 9-3-0-0 in his 13 starts.  All 3 of his second place finishes came as a two year old.  So as a three year old his only loss was in the YES, I do believe that he should have been the TC champion-just because he wasn't doesn't change my opinion on that.

23 Mar 2009 1:07 PM

On Point Given, he was far and away the best 3 yr old of 01.  But you either put it all together in all 3 classics or you don't.  In addition to Gary's hindsight to not be close to that pace, Bob also said he should have run him in 3 preps not just 2, and the paved highway track may have stung him, too.  

23 Mar 2009 2:42 PM


    I'm saying if Dunkirk had had a trouble free trip and got a Street Scence kind of run on the rail. The way i calculated is that every path out from the rail equals 1 length, and he was caught very wide on both turn, like 10 on the first turn and wide again on the second, i forget how wide. I think like 4. With these little math tid bits it tell he lost about 14 lengths. He won by almost five, mathmaticly he would've won by like 18 lengths. On his time 1 length is abouth the equivalent of 1/5 of a second which means Dunkirk lost about 3 seconds. As i said i'm reserving judgement on the colt until i see him run against stake competion. I have most certainly not crowned him yet by any means, just keeping an open mind.

23 Mar 2009 6:07 PM

LDP, wouldn't you have to study the trip of every other horse in the race  - how far were they from the rail - were they checked at any point, etc. to extrapolate a theoretical winning margin for Dunkirk if all trips had been equal?

Given that horses often don't get to run the way they want due to other horses in the race or jock decision, especially inexperienced horses - they might prefer free on the lead, stalking, off the pace, inside, outside, etc. yet not get that trip that made them most comfortable - it seems to me this makes it impossible to determine "perfect" trip scenarios and winning distances in reality.  

24 Mar 2009 12:03 PM


   I was just trying to make a point, that though the final time was slow, Dunkirk did have a reason, and with a better trip would've had a better time. As i said i'm not crowing the horse, just saying give him a chance. I am eager to see what happens this weekend, considering the amount of talent mixed with the number of questions. Basicly, i look at Dunkirk the same way i did BB last year, which is, hey thats a nice looking horse with some talent, lets see what they can do. Am i saying he's BB, no, not by any means. Just saying he's a good talented, unproven horse that i'm willing to keep on the bubble, thats it. Basicly that is all i'm trying to say in these posts on Dunkirk, give the horse a chance, the worse that will happen is that he'll lose and warn you not to bet on him come Derby day. Then again, he could whip the field and be a TC candidate, we just never know.

26 Mar 2009 10:15 PM

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