Ky. Derby Trail: Simple Twists of Fate

Lost in the overwhelming spectacle of the Kentucky Derby and the arduous road leading to Churchill Downs are the little-known ironies and twists of fate that get played out behind the scenes.

There was an old TV series, based on a movie of the same name, called “Naked City,” which offered a gritty look at life in New York City. At the end of each show a narrator would say: “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” There aren’t quite as many in the Kentucky Derby, but here are two from this year’s storylines.

 Read the rest of the column here.

84 Comments

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mike

I could have sworn it was flying private that finished second in the lanes end.Must have had too many beers steve.

22 Mar 2009 9:59 PM
fb0252

Nice job!  Should major TV races such as the Derby have minimum entry requirements in terms of racing and training to avoid situations as Mr. Haskin notes in his last paragraphs.  i.e. no more George Washington's in the BC after almost zero appropriate training, or Barbaros, ditto, and 8 Belles who trained and raced less than the entire field of the 2008 Derby.  i.e. should a Derby entrant have a minimum number of breezes/races in certain time frame pre-race to insure soundness, before entry is allowed?

22 Mar 2009 10:05 PM
sid fernando

steve, great stuff in this column...totally enjoyed it

22 Mar 2009 10:09 PM
Wanda

The perfect read! You go behind the headlines a get the stories about the people involved. Nice little twist about buying or rather not buying. It's got to be tough to go to a sale with 5000 horses and try and hit the home run.

Thanks Steve I'll really, really enjoyed reading this.

22 Mar 2009 10:25 PM
Okiefromtulsa

Regarding Chocolate Candy--hasn't The Pamplemousse also won a stakes at nine furlongs this year?  I do agree that Chocolate Candy has been overlooked by many and may command generous odds in the Santa Anita Derby.

22 Mar 2009 10:28 PM
GunBow

Steve, I was at Turfway and agree with your impressions of Hold Me Back. He is an absolutely wonderful looking and moving horse, and he has tremendous upside, even if only on synthetics and turf. This was only his 4th career start, and first in 4 months, so he has to be a serious talent. He displayed the ability to rate, and finished well in a truly run race with solid fractions, strong come-home clips, and a final time about 10 lengths faster than the Rushaway. Hold Me Back was a $400,000 yearling sale, so he was always meant to be something, and as you said, Mott thought enough of him to run in the Remsen in his 3rd start. He has just about the best breeding you can get, by Giants Causeway out of an Unbridled's Song mare, and Elliot Walden from Winstar was literally glowing after the race. Of course, there is still the dirt question, and how he will transfer his form is guesswork.

Also, does he have the foundation for the Derby? Before Barbaro and Big Brown, foundation seemed to be the most important factor for the Derby. Has everything really changed so much in 3 years? And dont put Hold Me Back in the Blue Grass starting gate too soon. I talked with another Bloodhorse writer at Turfway after the race and he told me that Elliot Walden was talking about going straight to Churchill without another prep. Is that possible? That would be a recipe to ruin a horse with a bright future. It would seem that there is no way a horse could succeed in the Derby with only 1 race in 4 months. The only horse who followed such a path to fare well, that I can think of, is Proud Citizen, who was brought back off an injury by Lukas to run 2nd in the 2002 Derby after only 2 starts that year. Proud Citizen ran out of the money in the Santa Anita Derby, but Lukas knew he needed another race, so he ran in and won the Lexington 2 weeks between the SA Derby and Kent Derby. I sure hope WinStar runs Hold Me Back in the Blue Grass.

As for Lukas, he has a real runner in Flying Private. This was a $700,000 yearling purchase, by Fusaichi Pegasus out of an Unbridled mare, so again, we're talking about a horse that was meant for big things. He has plenty of experience at two turn races, but really hadnt run fast before his last start, when a close 2nd in the 6 furlong Mountain Valley at Oaklawn. But his run in the Lane's End was very good, and while Hold Me Back is unproven on dirt, Flying Private had run on nothing but dirt before Saturday. Did the polytrack move him up, or his he continuing the upward progression arc he began in the Mountai Valley? If it's the latter, he could be heard from in some big races. He probably needs some more graded earnings to be safe, so Lukas could bring him back to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby in 3 weeks or the Blue Grass.

22 Mar 2009 11:59 PM
zippo

re: that british race -- any word from the connections of Spring Of Fame?? he was much the best so why not give him a shot in the Bluegrass too??

23 Mar 2009 1:11 AM
Stan Schulz

Mr. Haskins,

Excellent " Naked City " column this morning. Thanks for your insights, especially your perspective on " Win and Your In ".

As always, it's difficult to understand just what CD is thinking and why.

Stan

23 Mar 2009 7:53 AM
Zaskar

FLYING PRIVATE ran second in the Lane's End not FLYIBG PEGASUS.

23 Mar 2009 8:06 AM
SSC

Steve - great piece - sure their are many more stories you couldnt tell as well!

can you give us your best guess of whos running in the Fla Derby and the Wood as of today??

23 Mar 2009 8:49 AM
Steve Haskin

The Flying Private error has been corrected. Zaskar, thank you for pointing it out. Mike, your sarcasm has been duly noted for future reference.

23 Mar 2009 9:19 AM
Steve Haskin

SSC, The Wood has I Want Revenge, Imperial Council, Mr. Fantasy, Hello Broadway, Musket Man, Al Khali, and possibly Nowhere to Hide or Just a Coincidence.

The Florida Derby: Dunkirk, Quality Road, Theregoesjojo, Beethoven, Stately Character, and

Sincero.

Danger to Society is possible for  either one.

23 Mar 2009 9:24 AM
Wanda

Steve have you heard any word on Patena? He ran so bad last start I thought maybe his minor issues were not so minor.

23 Mar 2009 9:54 AM
SSC

Steve with the list you gave for the Wood and Fl. Derby - not much left for the Ill. Derby is there?  someone might "steal" that one.

23 Mar 2009 9:55 AM
zimmy

steve-is giant oak that bad or is he not getting the kind of ride that would be best for him. my feeling is someone like calvin borel would give him a better chance to win.

23 Mar 2009 10:47 AM
Steve Haskin

Wanda, Patena is running in the Blue Grass Stakes. They still havent given up on him at all. They feel he just didnt handle the sloppy track.

SSC, youre right, the Illinois Derby is coming up weak. I'm looking for one of two Pletcher horses to be right up there, maybe only one will run. That is Join in the Dance and Lord Justice, both are speed horses, so Pletcher might only run one of them. He could send Join in the Dance to the Arkansas Derby. And he could also run Masala in the Ill. Derby. He's a closer.

23 Mar 2009 10:59 AM
Steve Haskin

Zimmy, he's not a bad horse at all. I'm surprised they took him off the Derby trail after a race on that kind of track. Borel probably would be a better rider in some ways, but he likes to come up the inside and this horse is too big to risk getting stopped. He has to come around horses.

23 Mar 2009 11:01 AM
Barbara

fb, you cannot prevent break downs by barring horses with 20/20 hindsight that have already broken down.

Barbaro had one of the best pre Derby works and  Derby races in history. He certainly was "fit" enough when he got to Pimlico.

Eight Belles finished 2nd, beating 18 colts.  What happened to her is tragic, but extremely rare on the gallop out.

And since when did you become a better trainer than Aidan O'Brien?

23 Mar 2009 11:45 AM
For Big Red

Fun article, Steve. Enjoyed a look at some of racing's behind-the-scenes twists and turns. I have Chocolate Candy 10th on my current Derby prospects list, but won't be jumping on the Hold Me Back bandwagon anytime soon. Need to see more from him.

BTW, based on the fact that there have been no reported works for Friesan Fire this week, my guess is his connections may have decided to train him up to the Derby. I've been scouring news reports, but haven't even seen info that the colt has arrived at Keeneland. Do you have any news about him?

Anyway, there's still prep races left to be run before I can settle on my Derby picks. So in the meantime, I've been reviewing every video I can find of the horses currently on my list. Must say I'm very impressed with The Pamplemousse. He's a horse with a lot of class, but am not sold on his ability to get 1 1/4 miles or how he'd handle dirt.

23 Mar 2009 12:08 PM
Wanda

Thanks Steve that makes sense when you realize he can out of Woodbine and never saw a sloppy track before.

23 Mar 2009 12:34 PM
Steve Haskin

FBR, The latest from Jones is that he's leaning toward training him up to the Derby, because he feels his next start will be his peak performance.

23 Mar 2009 12:38 PM
Wanda

Question fb0252: How fit do you think a horse has to be to run? There are lots of positive stories about horses trained up to major stakes, Da Hoss is a perfect example.

The Derby has entry requirements, the top graded stakes earnings so horses must run in top class races to be eligible. One would think that in order to win these races they would be fit enough. I agree with Barbara.

Speaking of Aidan O'Brien did you see where he worked 48 head at the track after the races? I can't even wrap my mind around the logistics of shipping that many to the track never mind how much help you'd need.

23 Mar 2009 12:44 PM
For Big Red

Thanks for that bit of news, Steve. I thought that was the case, reading the few tea leaves available to those of us way out here in Los Angeles. :)

I'm going to have to pay close attention FF's work tab. Training a horse up to a 1 1/14-mile race off a 1 1/16-mile race will be quite a feat. In my fantasy stable, I'd back off Friesan Fire a bit, not run him in the Derby, and shoot for the Preakness instead, with an appropriate prep race beforehand.

23 Mar 2009 1:13 PM
nickie

Steve given that IEAH has opened the wallet for I Want Revenge does it mean that Patena might not have the ability they thought...I have to see a lot more from these guys[I have heard all the stories about their investment in the well being of the thoroughbred] but when I see them tossing out cash for these in traing 3yos. it gives me pause. Especially when ther were stories about Iavarrone having a "sit down" with Desormeaux after the Belmont. I would think after the "Derby" he would give Kent a Months grace. I mean what could Iavarrone possiby have said to Kent who has ridden more races than Iavarrone has watched. I guess the old adage "when you got money you're funny,when you're broke you're a joke" still holds.

23 Mar 2009 1:51 PM
Dona

Great reading as usual Mr Haskin, loved the format. I think the backgroung information on these horses makes it more personal for the general public. Thanks for doing your part. As for Fbo252, Can't imagine where this kind of thinking comes from, the comments are just bizarre and uncalled for.

I'm really impressed with I want Revenge, so far he's done nothing wrong and has showed he can get the distance. I like his jockey but sometimes he gets a little cocky with a horse and that's one thing that can't happen in a race like the Derby. Also, you are absolutely right about Borel, he would not be a good choice for Giant Oak due to his inside the rail habit but Mike Smith would. He's a very patient jockey and knows how to handle a big closer like Giant Oak. I think he might already have a mount for the Derby, not quite sure but I do think Giant Oak would have fared better under the likes of Smith.

Musket man looked awfully good this past week-end, I'm keeing an open mind, still lots of time before May.

23 Mar 2009 1:57 PM
Steve Haskin

Nickie, we dont know Patena's ability yet, neither does IEAH; not on that track. and we wont know much more from the Blue Grass, so you'll have to base everything on the LeComte. Iavarone says he's still high on the horse.

If Iavarone had a sit-down with Desormeaux it probably was more about his bizarre actions during the race and equallly bizarre comments after the race.

Thanks, Dona, I'm not quite sure what to make of Musket Man. He's obviously a very good, consistent horse. It's his pedigree for 10 furlongs that concerns me the most about him.

23 Mar 2009 2:11 PM
Barbara

How do we know IWR can go a mile and a quarter? Hasn't he only gone a mile and a 1/16th in CA and then won on the Big A winter track at a mile? I like the horse but I think he is going to bounce in Wood (I know that could bode well for Derby like his sire) and I don't like another cross country ship.  

I don't think Smith does have a Derby mount yet as he was committed to the filly and he is riding her April 4 in Ashland if she goes instead of riding in one of the Derby preps.  Giant Oak is just a horse that finds trouble or not that good.  Might be later if they don't rush him.

I don't like the jump from 1 1/16 at FG to 1 1/4 miles at CD for FF, but I don't have an issue with the 7 weeks off per se.  Many stakes horses train up on a timeline like that these days - I think it is only a concern now if a horse does not have a foundation.  And FF certainly does.

23 Mar 2009 2:40 PM
Kat

Yes, the Sham is also 9f.

Pamplemousse rocks!

23 Mar 2009 3:28 PM
Bill

Great stories, Steve.  As usual you take the time to find the human interest angle which is not usually reported.  Very interesting and ironic.  Concerning the Lane's End, I'm somewhat consoled by the notion I'm not the only handicapper who is mystified by the challenges presented when trying to figure out how these horses will run on the poly.  It's certainly a different game.  A friend picked the exacta and when questioned about his method of arriving at the result he mentioned that he didn't think Mott would run the horse in that spot if he didn't think he had a good shot.  The place horse was touted by somebody in some column he read someplace.  As good a method as any for landing on a nice payday, I guess?

23 Mar 2009 3:29 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve---I always enjoy your well crafted pieces. There is something "literary" in the way you put your stories together, making you more an author than a writer/reporter. It's not just that you see the ironies in the background stories of these horses and their connections, you get the ironic facts down while making us "feel" the content. Thanks!

23 Mar 2009 3:42 PM
Steve Haskin

Barbara, if you go by pedigree, I Want Revenge should run all day. I dont understand your reference to boding well for the Derby like his sire. I agree with you about the extra cross-country trip. I mention that iny my Derby Dozen comment. As for bouncing, it wouldnt bother me if he bounced in the Wood.

Thanks, Bill and Karen. I appreciate the comments.

23 Mar 2009 3:57 PM
For Big Red

TO BARBARA: Because I really, really like Friesan Fire, I've been studying his PP's as closely as possible. Here's the way Mr. Jones spaced the colt's races so far:

Won maiden race @ 6f.

19 days between 1st race & Futurity @ 7f. Finished 3rd.

50 days between Futurity & Nashua @ 1m. Finished 4th.

46 days between Nashua & Allowance @ 1m. Finished 2nd.

23 days between ALW & Lecompte @ 1m. Finished 1st.

28 days between Lecompte & Risen Star @ 1 1/16. Finished 1st.

35 days between Risen Star & Louisiana D. @ 1 1/16. Finished 1st.

49 days between Louisiana D. & Kentucky D. @ 1 1/14. TBD

Two things jump out at me: (1) of his seven starts to date, there were 35 or more days between races three times, and (2) FF finished 4th after a 50-day break. On the other hand, he was a green 2-yr-old, and FF's Beyer figures show he has progressed steadily from 89 in his first race, through 92, 96, 92, 97, 100 and 103.

Mr. Jones apparently thinks FF is still improving, and I'm sure he's right. However, I'll be paying very close attention to FF's work tab between now and the KD. During his 50-day break last year, his PPs show only two 5f works (one a bullet 1:00 1/5). That doesn't appear to have been enough since FF came back to run his worst race so far. During the 46 days to his next race, FF had three works of 3f, 5f and 4f, then finished 2nd in an allowance race. But FF reeled off three straight wins during a period in which he also had four works, three at 5f. So this might be a horse who actually thrives on more work. Some of them do, but only Mr. Jones knows for sure.

23 Mar 2009 4:09 PM
Mike Relva

Ivarone should have thanked Kent for "taking care of BB". I thought it illustrated a lack of class at the awards in Jan.that he failed to mention him at all!

23 Mar 2009 4:20 PM
For Big Red

TO BARBARA: Another couple of tidbits about Friesan Fire. Larry Jones has been quoted as saying that, as a 2-year-old, FF seemed inclined to run as a herd animal, content to be in the pack. Mr. Jones concentrated on bringing out the colt's competitiveness. He put blinkers on FF for the first time in the Lecompte in January, and FF is unbeaten since.

23 Mar 2009 4:33 PM
Tiznowbaby

Steve, I just don't understand why TV can't do more of what you do. It could be done. I think viewers would love this type of background -- they're great stories. Perhaps you could give them permission to rip you off? ;)

Off topic, just a bow of the head in remembrance of KD winner Lil E. Tee.

23 Mar 2009 5:07 PM
Karen in Texas

Am I reading nickie's post correctly--has IEAH purchased I Want Revenge??

23 Mar 2009 5:10 PM
Vaduz

This blog is not about the Win-and-your-in european race, but anyway, just wanted to comment: You keep writing that we'll have to see the opposition of the left-out owner from the Derby when time comes. Well, there has been no noise yet, and the correct thing is that we hear no noise later on. Either ALL TRAINERS AND OWNERS OPPOSE THAT RULE NOW, or ALL TRAINERS AND OWNERS shut their mouths later on. That's how it should be done.

23 Mar 2009 5:36 PM
Barbara

You're right Steve, I was thinking of Win Willy's sire Monarchos as I was writing - and should have just written Monarchos as my reference to a a horse that bounced in the Wood the way I think IWR might (or might not based on the way he is training.)  i know his sire is SGE.  I know you love him and he might be that good.  I hope his LA buds, POTN and TP, are as good as he is on dirt, too.

Seeing is believing for me on getting a route of ground - and projected more from observing a horse's running style than pedigree until they have done it.

On pedigree, all I have to say is this - if I told you 3 months ago that that crooked running grapefruit by Kafwain would smoke 1 1/8 miles would you have believed me?-;)

23 Mar 2009 5:59 PM
Barbara

Thanks FBR!  I love the in depth research.  I had heard about Larry's herd reference.  I think FF is just progressing perfectly...hope Jones can keep him on tilt.  At least training on the Kee Polytrack should get him fit.

23 Mar 2009 6:02 PM
merrywriter

Great article - Got some real 'inside' info.  My heart is still with Giant Oak whether he wins or not at this point - I think he is still just a big gangly baby.  And yes, that won't get him to the Derby.  Pedigrees or not, we never know since the Derby isn't about racing and is about getting through traffic, it is not always the best horse that wins - it's all about the trip.  I wish Churchill would make the number of runners around 14 so we could really see who's who.

23 Mar 2009 6:26 PM
Barbara

Karen, IEAH is trying to purchase at least half of IWR. But the current owner wants to maintain control of decisions and leave him w/ Mullens - guess they are still working out the details.

23 Mar 2009 6:42 PM
Steve Haskin

Tiznowbaby, TV hsn't learned how to cover racing, except for a few bright moments here and there. Lil E. Tee was an under-appreciated horses. Before the Derby all the talk was about Arazi, and after the Derby, with Casual Lies finishing second, all the talk was about how A.P. Indy would have been a cinch had he not scratched the morning of the race.

Karen. the I Want Revenge deal is supposedly being finalized as we speak. Just waiting for the official word.

Barbara, at 1 1/8 miles I would have believed you. I'm starting to think maybe he can get the 1 1/4 miles but he definitely will have to outrun his pedigree. Kafwain ran some dynamite two-turn races, but theres a big difference between 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/4 miles, especially in May of the 3-year-old year. But horses are outrunning their pedigrees every year it seems.

Merrywrite, Chris Block already said Giant Oak is off the Derby trail. It might be a little premature, but I commend him for doing what he believes is best for the horse.

23 Mar 2009 7:12 PM
fb0252

steve, txs for your comments.  but, i'd hope u'd re-read the suggestion.  did you even take a look at the training of 8 Belles, or is your reaction that this is "unusual" other than knee jerk.  I'll lay it out again, as I have before.

8 Belles had less speed furlongs for 2008 than any other horse in the field.  She had only 1/2 as many speed furlongs for the year as the horse with the highest number.  Moreover 2/3 of her speed furlongs were crammed into the last 5 weeks.  I never did an anlaysis of Barbaro, but Michael Matz broke down two TC horses in two years.  Jones and Matz are good people. BUT does that excuse them from failing to prepare their horses.  Let's hear how many breezes Barbaro actually had and why for three straight races he failed to change leads in the stretch and on the 4th did so only when forced.  

And, yes, I believe, had I trained George Washington that I'd have enough sense to breeze that horse on the dirt and give him some work and racing before entering him into the Breeder's Cup.  Those connections should be hung by their nails for what they did to that horse.  Mininimum racing and breezing standards need to be looked at, as well as scientific pre-race diagnostics.  How many more GWs, Barbaro's and 8 Belles can this sport afford?

23 Mar 2009 7:16 PM
Steve Haskin

Musket Man is being re-routed to the Illinois Derby.

23 Mar 2009 7:22 PM
SCC

Steve - I also heard Al Khali and Mr. Fantasy are going to the Ill Derby as well as Musket Man. Not sure I understand either of these 2 going there. Do You?

23 Mar 2009 7:32 PM
Steve Haskin

fb0252, what comments are you referring to? I did not comment on your comments

Scc, Terry Finley told me Mr. Fantasy is definitely going in the Wood.

23 Mar 2009 7:47 PM
Rggc

Steve, loved the Derby backstories. If you find some more, please share.  

I have Chocolate Candy in both Future bet pools and I love his chances. Thanks for making me feel like a genius!...Steve, what do you think of Kiaran McLaughlins plans to run Charitable Man off one prep race on April in the Derby. He was my Derby horse from the very beginning,( he has beaten both Frisan Fire and Flying Pegs) and I feel he's a realy talented horse. But in my heart of hearts, being a long time follower of the sport I fear for his safety and or his future. I would like to hear your insight into the plan.

Thanks in advance.

respected thoughts.

23 Mar 2009 8:04 PM
Barbara

FB, I made some of the comments about your original post as others did, not Steve.

Wondering if you have heard of a horse taking a bad step?  Or that most of our TB breed is too fast and fragile now?

Barbaro broke down behind early in the race - highly unusual to break down early in a contest before fatigue sets in and less likely to be a hind leg.  Eight Belles broke down AFTER the race, not at the height of competition, and then broke her other leg when she placed it awkwardly.   George broke down on a horrible track that had been pounded in the slop all day long. Do you really think he wasn't fit enough after racing in Europe or that running on a dry fast dirt track in advance would have made a difference?

To attack Matz and Jones (and O'Brien) takes some balls.  You would have loved D Wayne in his heydey. He put LOTS of "speed furlongs" in to them;)

Chelokee was NOT a Matz TC horse if that is who you mean as second Matz horse to break down.   Because Matz did not ask him to be - he let that go and ran him in lesser spots.  The horse did have bad ankles (as do so many others - 2 are named FuPeg and Smarty) and broke down at 4 on a sloppy track. I would say if we followed your training regimen we would be assured of having more breakdowns, not less.

And what are your "speed furlongs", races and works?  How do you know how each trainer trains?  Or whether he uses strong gallops instead, or god forbid, actually tailors each regimen so that each horse thrives to the best of his ability.

23 Mar 2009 8:21 PM
$Bill

this comment is to fb0252 first of all the great BARBARO fractured his right hind leg three to four strides after breaking from the gate so it was just a bad step nothing more nothing less. as for the filly EIGHT BELLS this filly just ran a career best race was fit as a fiddle she just wasn't good enough to beat BIG BROWN who i believe is truly a 'GREAT 3 YEAR OLD", this horse did truly amazing things people really just don't realize how great this horse truly was. i really believe that we wont see another 3 year old as good as he was for quite sometime, anyway the filly ran a HELL OF A RACE that day & MR. LARRY JONES is to be commended for the training job he did with that filly and it was a blatent disgrace the way the media & all the "whats the latest cause whackos" all got together to take out there uneducated furor on him & the jock, sorry steve just a life long racetracker here defending my livlihood and also the greatest game the world ever had as far as human & equine heart courage theres also a million stories on the backside & im just one of them..................

23 Mar 2009 8:29 PM
black mamba

Steve, do you believe foundation, pedrigree plays a big factor in the triple crown? Because a couple years ago I bet on 20/1 shot(bernardini) to beat barbaro in the belmont. I was convinced bernadini was a hot horse with the pedrigree to run all day. Blossoming at the right time to win.

23 Mar 2009 8:46 PM
mike

steve,I was just kiddin with ya on the flyin private correction.Been goin to oaklawn for 35 years n luv d.wayne for bringing his stable here.In my eyes it gives us a little respect. We just raised purses again! Luv ur columns n blog.With respect,Mike

23 Mar 2009 9:07 PM
For Big Red

TO fb0252: Could you explain what you mean by "speed furlongs," please? It may help me understand your point better. I am very sympathetic to your question, "How many more GWs, Barbaro's and 8 Belles can this sport afford?" My answer is, not many. Would enjoy an in-depth discussion, but this is not the blog/forum for it. This is to discuss Derby prospects and Steve's articles.

23 Mar 2009 9:08 PM
Derby132

Just read on two different sources that West Side Bernie is going in the Wood as a last gasp Derby option.

23 Mar 2009 9:13 PM
GunBow

Steve, I read today that WinStar is thinking of going straight to the Derby with Hold Me Back, confirming what I heard at Turfway. I so hope they don't. Could a horse run well in the Derby with only 1 start in 4 months?

Also, I saw that Lukas is making comparisons between Flying Private and Charismatic. I thought the same thing after the race, given how Flying Private has improved his Beyers so much in his last 2 races. In his last 4 starts his Beyers have gone from 71-79-87-94. At this time of year, these 3 year olds can improve almost overnight.

23 Mar 2009 9:23 PM
For Big Red

TO BARBARA: As an amateur pedigree researcher, I second Steve's statement that I Want Revenge's pedigree says he could run all day. Not that Steve needs my second. I just enjoy digging into pedigrees. :)

In fact, IWR's pedigree is a similar pattern to Friesan Fire's. FF is a son of A.P. Indy while IWR is a grandson. Both colts are out of mares from successful southern hemisphere lines. FF's dam is from Australia and IWR's dam is from Argentina. Both mares were by American stallions sent for breeding seasons in the southern hemisphere and were bred to top local stock.

23 Mar 2009 9:30 PM
Karen in Indiana

Thank you for the wonderful articles. To get the back stories on so many of these horses and people adds depth to this waiting and watching. I've been sharing a lot of this with my son (it's only fair - he makes me listen to basketball info LOL!) and he now knows a lot of the horses and their stories and has even said he'd like to go to a race with me. For some people, it's the odds and PP's. For others, it's the horses and the people and the connections through the generations. Something for everyone and you give us all more to enjoy. Thanks!

23 Mar 2009 10:32 PM
Householder

If you like IWR and POTN you have to like Chocolate Candy.  The trainer has over 5,000 wins including a couple with Heatseeker and Hysterical Lady.  The six week lay off coupled with mile works makes him very interesting.  If your betting on POTN being "tired" this is your horse in the Santa Anita Derby.  He was screaming for another 1/16 against POTN and IWR and at 1 1/4 turns the tables on POTN and The Pamplemousse.  Has ran well on Pro-Ride, Tapeta, Cushion Track. Ships well. LOVE this one.  Take the 90 Beyer and add 20 when he hits dirt.

23 Mar 2009 10:53 PM
predict

Wonderful reading your column, "Simple Twists of Fate", you are the Steinway of " horse racing " writers. You are to horse racing , what John Madden is to football. You are the number one reason I visit this web site. Number two is the fine horse racing fans who frequent these blogs. Between the insights you share and the comments from the people who share information they have in the blogs found here, this is in my opinion the number one horse racing site on the web, HANDS DOWN! For example, if one just reads the blog for the Lanes End , one finds that all the top four finishers ( an $81,000 super!) were tauted or mentioned by someone sharing their comments on that blog- all we had to do was put them all togeter on a ticket.

Wish I had. As far as Hold Me Back's chances in the Derby, I think they are better than last year's winner, Adriano. Actually it won't take much to do better. However I feel HMB could be the better horse based on the races final time this year compared to last year's race where the early splits were very similar to this years, but the final time is 3 to 4 lengths better than Adriano's. Thanks for all the good information you have shared over the year's and keep on writing.

23 Mar 2009 11:24 PM
Paseana

Lil E Tee was a bit under-rated as a Derby winner.  The poor lil guy has been regarded, at least before Giacomo, as the worst Derby winner in the last however many years.

Arazi was the hot fave in that year's Derby, but there was a horse that was scratched the morning of the race because of a foot problem.  Some folks might remember him.....his name was A P Indy.  We'll never know for sure, but I think we might have had a Triple Crown winner that year.

That 1992 Derby is memorable for me because, since it was when you had to go to the live racing venue in order to bet the Derby, we SoCals had to watch it on TV.  Hollywood Park was closed down because of the Rodney King riots.

It saved me money because I really liked Casual Lies.  Silly Me!

23 Mar 2009 11:41 PM
GunBow

Black Mamba, did you mean the Belmont (instead of Preakness) when you liked the lightly raced Bernardini over Barbaro?

24 Mar 2009 1:15 AM
Steve Haskin

rggc, thanks. I doubt very much this is Kiaran's decision. Remember, the owner is the same guy who made the bad decision with Denis of Cork last year after listening to his two advisors. This decision would be even worse than that one.

Black Mamba, you mean the Preakness. I'm a firm believer in foundation for the Derby, but it's not as important for the Preakness if you have a horse as talented as Bernardini. But there's a reason the Derby winner usually does so well in the Preakness. Horses get on a roll. But any lack of foundation will come back and bite them in the Belmont.

No problem, Mike. Now if you said "I" had too many beers, that would be funny.

Derby 132, I heard the same about West Side Bernie. It's desperation time for some of these trainers and owners. Wy not give him a chance to bounce back?

Gun Bow, that would be bad a decision in my opinion. I know Mott wants to run in the Blue Grass. Why pass up the opportunity for a grade I when there's no guarantee he'll handle the dirt? Flying Private is getting better and he's proven on dirt and bred to run long, so he could be one to watch.

Karen and Predict, I thank you for your kind words. Predict, you're making me blush :).

24 Mar 2009 1:24 AM
Steve Haskin

Actually, Mike I see you did say I had too many beers. OK, thats funny.

24 Mar 2009 1:34 AM
Matthew W

Steve I just hope The Pamplemousse has something left in the tank for Kentucky...This is a horse who TRIES, thus, he's a horse who lays it all out there--Not sure I wouldn't look for something say, six weeks out---Cuz you already know he's gonna show up/be tough....Julio is having a huge year! Never been on TC Trail...The Pamplemouse runs fast early (on his own) then opens up on them---That he comes back tired is TELLING---he tries hard--in other words, "handle with care"....also, with Freisan Fire training up to Derby, will he be rank/on engine with Pamp? More food for thought....

24 Mar 2009 1:44 AM
Coldfacts

Steve some very interesting stories and issues covered in you piece. It appears you are reluctantly open to the Churchill Downs imitative of offering one spot to a European horse via a win and you are in policy. The amount of negatives cited in your post suggests you are pessimistic about its potential for success. I understand your concerns but you must be aware due to your long term coverage of the Kentucky Derby that it is not an ordinary horse race. Below are some views on one of the issue you cited:

“Why this sudden urge to have a European horse, especially a non-stakes caliber horse”

A lot of European buyers patronize our yearling sales. They buy a lot dirt pedigree that has done well on the turf in Europe, but some have not done well. Some of the horses that do not take to the turf are likely to be better than the bottom five or ten that line up in the derby field annually. What is wrong with offering another option to our European counterparts?

The horse that won the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton was beaten 2 lengths in his second start by eventual Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum.. Are you implying that a 2 lengths loss to Donativym makes Mafaaz a non-stakes caliber horse? Are you also implying that Aiden O’Brien’s selected his non-stakes caliber 3YO for entry to this race?  We have seen a number of stakes caliber horse race on dirt in the US and they have been miserable failures. Certainly the horses that were selected for the Kempton challenge were either the ones best suited to synthetic tracks or had previously performed well on the surface

What could be the worst result for a non-stakes caliber European horse? I guess it would be a last place finish. Well, with  highlighted negatives this horse would have to overcome  i.e., new track/country, different starting gates, different loading procedures,  different pace and  new surface, a last place finish would be understandable. However, I think it is worthwhile noting that being a stakes caliber horse does not guarantee a favorable result. Many stakes caliber horses are incapable of seeing out 10F on the 1st Saturday in May. The most powerful stable in the US over the last 5 year sent the following stakes winners to the Derby: 2006 - Keyed Entry (Won Hutcheson Sk. (G2), NTR 1:27.12 , he finished last; 2007 - Cowtown Cat (Won Illinois Derby (G2) & Gotham S.(G3) he finished last; 2008 - Manbo (Won Blue Grass S) he finished last.

Now let’s look at two non-stakes winners and possible non-stakes caliber horses: Giacomo entered the Derby with only a maiden victory to his credit. He was not considered stakes caliber and won at 50-1. Sir Barton lost all six starts as a 2YO. He could hardly have been considered stakes caliber as he was sold for a modest amount. He made his 3YO debut in the derby as a rabbit for his stable companion and won by five. Each year there are a lot of stakes caliber horses that do not win the derby.

A number of the horses in Kempton challenge costs their owners large amounts and were never considered non-stake caliber at purchase. Some of them may be late developing 3YO. To conclude that they are non-stakes caliber is painting them with a very broad brush. The European lines are loaded with stamina and it is unlikely that if they take to dirt that they will not be competitive. A number of derby entrants are at Churchill Downs because they have the graded earnings and for the novelty. A lot of us would prefer to see a stamina filled horse from over the pond than a six furlong stakes caliber horse that is at Churchill Downs for a party and not a horse race.

24 Mar 2009 7:03 AM
ElusiveQuality8

Steve, thank you!  Great read and just the kind of nuanced article that puts some balance to all of the other data/articles/view coming at the reader from all directions this time of the year.  True writing is an art and you bring that to the blog-o-sphere.  Regarding your updated Derby Dozen, I believe with Quality Road the plan called for three works between the FOY and the FL-Derby and Jerkens was limited to two (versus the 2 and 1 you currently have).  I would imagine putting the 7F into him may be partly due to the "missed third work in the plan" and like Jimmy said, getting him ready for the one mile and 1/8.  

24 Mar 2009 10:56 AM
Karen2

Matthew W: I am on board with you and the Pamp. He has captured my interest and has become my early favorite. His effortless stride,high cruising speed and playful personality makes him a joy to watch. I am slightly concerned with the distance but something to keep in mind. In the Sham, the fact that he was tired didn't show until after the race. He was all on until he was eased. He didn't tucker out in the race. I think he has a lot of heart.

Steve...love the stories behind the "stars". That's what makes this game so much more than a horse race..I echo Predicts comments. Very nicely put Predicts.

24 Mar 2009 11:17 AM
Rggc

Steve, I bet you are correct in saying it isn't Kiaran's decision to run Charitable Man. I don't know the man, but just by the slight insight I gained by reading about him, I believe he is a very compassionate man; who wouldn't knowingly put an horse at risk for injury or burnout. Many times we as fans forget that the man behind the trainer has got control of the purse strings and it is not the trainer that has the last say. Unfortunately, the trainer usually takes all the heat when things go wrong.

24 Mar 2009 1:01 PM
Jeff A

Steve -- what happened to Take The Points on your derby list ??

24 Mar 2009 2:15 PM
Barbara

Steve, you may have already posted this - I am Derby info drunk - but doesn't Chocolate Candy have good Thoro Graph and Ragozin numbers?  

24 Mar 2009 2:58 PM
Steve Haskin

Jeff, last week I had to get Win Willy in the Top 12, so I had them tied at #12. Not wanting to do that again, I had to drop one of them, and Take the Points' plans were uncertain. Pletcher said today he's likely running in the Blue Grass Stakes, which is probably a wiser move. I'll see how the top 12 shapes up next week after the Fla. Derby and UAE Derby. But I want to get Hold Me Back on there as well.

24 Mar 2009 3:18 PM
zarvona

  It has repeatedly been mentioned that the Kentucky Derby in such a large field and at a distance of 1 ¼ miles is a race like no other.  It is also a race like no other for a horse player to get right at the window. You can lose money for the rest of the year, but you will never forget cashing the winning bet on the Derby itself.

  Also, it has been mentioned, that a horse with a “Dosage Index” figure at some set standard of 4.00 or above has a much lesser percentage chance to be the Derby winner,--that is, since DI became a consideration, and--thusly since the average U.S. ‘DI’ is 2.40, where high DI (s) in the neighborhood of 3.90 and above must therefore be more carefully scrutinized.

  Furthermore, it is often also been mentioned, that horses bred down lines to “Storm Cat” have a lesser chance to get the distance and therefore be in the winner’s circle at a 1 ¼ . And, I must admit, that I never understood the why behind the “Storm Cat” gene to extreme distance problem, although it has repeatedly reoccurred as a Derby factor in recent history. And especially so, as “Storm Cat” was by “Storm Bird”-(Can.)-[“Northern Dancer”-(Can.)], which have produced other distance horses, and on the damn side by “Terlingua”-[“Secretariat”];-[[“Bold Ruler”]], and etc.

  Notably, this is also all in the age beyond the use of steroids, however that it is that those drugs did affect a horse’s durability and/or stamina coupled to the more modern speed trend in breeding to cope with a 1 ¼  run, and as such, all excluding running in and from heavy traffic itself of course.

  Are such rules regarding exclusions absolutes? NO. But, notably, although these are not totally hard and fast rules, they are just identifiers to general ‘non-plays’ by percentage that you, or one, might want to consider the percentage of the logic behind as such. Yes, “Giacomo” won the Derby and had a higher DI than 4.00 and there were several others, but only a few over the years. Also, “Blue Grass Cat”, a “Storm Cat” bred, generally broke the non-“Storm Cat” bred distance capable consideration rule, when he went on to finish 2nd in both the Derby and the Preakness.--I personally have always wondered if the ‘strange non-distance getting “Storm Cat”’ gene could be canceled out by another crossing gene from say “Rahy”? In any event, throwing out every animal for just such reasons may not always be the winning play, but surely they are high “percentage considerations”.

  In any event, one should take in and take a closer look in scrutinizing the lists found below from this year’s crop should any such show up in one of the 135th Derby gates--as some have already qualified technically earnings wise--and give them some extra thought before spending your money at the Derby window. “Pioneerof the Nile” DI  3.89;--(notably still in my own top six! and still high in Steve’s top ‘Derby Dozen’)--“Desert Party” DI  3.90--(notably still in Steve’s top ‘Derby Dozen’);-- “This One’s for Phil” DI  4.00; “Munnings” DI  4.00; “Flat Out” DI  4.00; “Musket Man” DI  4.00; “Scorewithcator” DI  4.14; “Mr. Fantasy” DI  4.20; “Win Willy” DI  5.00; “Mine That Bird” (g) DI  5.22; “Old Fashioned” DI  5.22; “City Style” DI  5.67; and “Beethoven”  DI  5.86;  and etc.

  As to this year’s crop of those including “Storm Cat” breeding, that is, either through “Giant’s Causeway”, “Sky Mesa” via “Caress”, “Sage Cat” via “Tabasco Cat”, or “Speightstown” via “Silken Cat”, and etc., are: “Giant Oak” (now off the trail); “Notonthesamepage” (now off the trail); “Beethoven”; “Join In the Dance”; “Munnings”; “General Quarters”--although a winner at a 1 1/16;--“Musket Man”--now notably a winner at a 1 1/16;--“Hold Me Back”--now notably a winner at a 1 1/8 !!!!;--and “Desert Party”; and etc.

  Moreover, let me once again emphasize, that these considerations are all relative to considering not just runners, but runners to a winner and at the dreaded distance of a 1 ¼ !!!!

  Therefore, since the likes of a “Beethoven” and “Munnings” notably appear on both lists, they were easily tossed! And, outside of the “Dubai Drought” itself,--(that being that NO Derby entry from the Sheik’s vast Southern Hemisphere stable has yet hit the board in the Derby and as)--“Desert Party”, who also falls near to or within both of the above considerations, thusly, in my play book, he too is tossed! Hopefully, this has clarified my thinking regarding one of Steve’s continual top dozen pets, his still #4 “Desert Party”, being one that I personally, ‘chucked long ago’.

   If one could logically play a near “all-all Derby exacta” and profit, yes I too would not throw out hardly any such ‘qualifiers’ as they all are relatively in the near top 30 in the country distance wise or outside. But, since one does have to limit one’s playing field when wagering, this is just one of the tools that I follow personally. Following, such thinking,--or not,--you or one must do so at your OWN RISK yourself, as I make no guarantee (s), as neither am I God, nor am I God’s single only gifted horse picker,--(like those of some other unmentioned names that I will not list from this very blog).--But again, I am just a light horse player and a two-to-three year old Pre-Derby tracker and picker who does love to cash on Derby Day and who does love to give myself every angle to success to do just that.

  Also, I don’t mind sharing my thoughts, as my reading ministry does not reach the entire Derby betting universe and thusly my wee thoughts will not affect the odds of yours’ or any other horse come Pool #3 or on Derby Day!

24 Mar 2009 4:31 PM
For Big Red

TO STEVE: I just happened to come across an old article of yours here: www.brauliobaeza.com/.../article_27.htm

November 30, 1991, A Look Back At Two of History's Unsung Heros, Damscus and Dr. Fager Rivalry Made Headlines in 1968

I was a starry eyed, horse-crazy kid then, and I remember those Buckpasser, Dr. Fager, Damascus years well. I loved all three of them.

All of them, plus In Reality, whom you mentioned in that 1991 article, became important pedigree influences. Now, all these years later, I am content to with than outcome for them.

I miss the days when great horses carried that kind of weight and still blazed across racetracks into legend.

24 Mar 2009 7:06 PM
Z

I'm interesting to see how things turn out for Square Eddie as I read that he is or has returned to work and is still working for the Derby...

I hope that they do not push him too hard for the race, but if he makes it in good order sound and everything he'll be my under the radar horse.

24 Mar 2009 8:15 PM
For Big Red

TO STEVE: Ooops. In my previous post, "I am content to with than outcome for them," should read "I am content with that outcome for them." Note to self: proofreading is your friend.

24 Mar 2009 8:15 PM
Karen2

Zarvona: Very interesting post. I had to read it twice but it sounds like you have some science behind your picks but are also open minded to other factors. I don't understand DI or many of the other angles used to handicap. Just out of curiosity... what is your thought on Pamplemousse?

24 Mar 2009 8:54 PM
GARY

Liked your article on chocolate candy,

the dorf is like an assembly line in

Detroit in the sixties,but after all

those winners,his name never seems to pop up with those med/positives that

plague all the other successful trainers,maybe he's due.

24 Mar 2009 9:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Big Red, wow, where did you dig that up from, and more important, how?

24 Mar 2009 10:21 PM
zarvona

Karen2  

  Hint…Google DOSAGE INDEX for a better understanding…

   If memory serves me, after Steve’s blog regarding the result of the Louisiana Derby, I stated that my ‘sack of potatoes’,--Steve’s coined phrase as a result of some many early watched names that I once listed that I was looking out for as a future watch list,--had been thinned down to a ½ dozen and that I still regarded those few much higher than the others. Repeating those, they were the “Three Amigos” still in California, “Pioneerof the Nile”; “Chocolate Candy”; and “the Pamplemousse” along with “I Want Revenge”; “Quality Road”; and “Friesan Fire”. Additionally, that I had and have a high regard still for “Dunkirk”, “Papa Clem”; and “Imperial Council” still. I am also keeping a watch on about 50 others still, many of which will never make the Derby, but will likely be entries here and there farther along during the year at various distances no doubt and possibly in the other remaining majors, as three year olds develop differently and some return from injury, or layoffs, and whatever. Last year we saw many defections from the Preakness from those that ran in the Derby and thusly we will likely be looking again at a near wholly different new field once again when the Preakness rolls around. Also, it might be noted that I don’t like getting surprised by the likes of a late arriving “Da Tara”!!. Thusly, should the likes of “Dunkirk”, or “Imperial Council”, or “Petena”, or “Take the Points”, or even “Papa Clem”, for example miss the Derby cut, they seem as prime candidates to jump into the Preakness with hopes of chasing down the ultimate Derby winner who will likely attempt to complete the silly Triple Crown circuit.--$5,000,000.00 was more of an incentive, as if I won the Derby now with a $3.7 million dollar purchase I would automatically skip the Preakness myself as I have always contended that the Preakness is scheduled too soon after the Derby, a trait easily correctible!--

  Thusly, as to your question, I think very highly of “The Pamplemousse” and consider him at the moment in my top 3!!! He may yet be this year’s ‘freak’, that is, if one’s definition of a ‘freak’ borders my own. I am one who has no reservations about his non dirt running. My feeling has always been that a good horse should be able to run on any surface! Many don’t agree with that thought since the introduction of artificial surfaces, but I subscribe to it. We have already seen this year horses move from synthetic to dirt without any problems with several actually improving over dirt. Just think, if “The Pamplemousse” can run a 1 1/8 in 1:47.86 over artificial,--which is probably like running a 1:49.50 on dirt or over some other eastern surface calculating in ‘variance’,--and can thusly improve moving to dirt, well the sky is the limit in my way of thinking! I also don’t see the distant issues in his breeding that some others have pointed to. So, I think he is in top the three, well, that is, in my own top 3!! Again, I like to carry 5-6 hopefuls into Derby Day and play exactas, but should I get ‘a real price’, thusly high odds on one of my choices, a WIN-PLACE bet is always easier to pick and cash than guessing at an exotic!! Believe me I had no plays with “Denis the Cork” on them last year!!! However, should he win the San Anita Derby at a good time and by 3 lengths or more, likely he will one of the Derby favorites and will thusly not fetch such a good price alone!

   My fear, however, is the ‘California Curse’!! That being that California entries have failed in the more recent Derbies. For example, I hammered, “Colonel John”,--whom Baffert had claimed “was the best horse he saw out of California” last year and whom was a renowned closer,--behind “Big Brown”. Oh, I hit “Eight Belles” behind “Big Brown”, as I track fillies and because my brother hammered her for the upset, but I had “Colonel John” behind him 18 times and a California entry let me down again. Was it the horse?? The Trip??? …or “the Curse”!!!???

25 Mar 2009 12:03 AM
For Big Red

TO STEVE: You asked where I dug that up and how. Answer as to where is on Braulio Baeza's website. How...I was digging for news about whether or not Friesan Fire is at Keeneland, and what Mr. Jones has been doing with the colt. Couldn't find anything, and happened to enter a now-forgotten search term in Google. Your Dr. Fager-Damascus article is one of the links that came up.

It was a wonderful, nostalgic read -- and made me even more grateful that you're doing this blog and interacting with us so generously. Thank you again. :)

25 Mar 2009 1:30 PM
GunBow

Zarvona, I do not think 3 years constitutes a curse. Giaocomo came out of the Santa Anita Derby to win in 2005.

In 2006, Brothers Derek, who ran 4th in the Derby, would have run 2nd had he not been forced 10 wide on the 2nd term; some of it is just poor racing luck.

In 2004, Lion Heart came out of the San Rafael (where he was 2nd) to run 2nd in the Blue Grass and Derby. I know his last race wasnt in the Santa Anita Derby, but he had wintered in California, won the Hollywood Futurity, and was running in California as late as March. Imperialism, wo was 2nd in the 04' Santa Anita Derby after Rock Hard Ten was disqualified, rounded out the trifecta in that 2004 Kentucky Derby won by Smarty Jones.  

In 2003, Frankel's Empire Maker and Peace Rules, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Kentucky Derby, had run in California over the winter before heading East for prep races. Peace Rules won the Generous and Hill Rise stakes on turf in November and late December in California, and then shipped to capture the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass. Empire Maker ran 2nd in the Sham Stakes, after which Frankel concluded that he didnt care for the Santa Anita track. Empire Maker went on to win the Florida derby and Wood in his next starts. Another star of the 2003 crop, Ten Most Wanted, ran in So. Cal and then No.Cal before romping in the Illinois Derby and running 2nd in the Belmont.

While 2002 Santa Anita Derby winner, Came Home, ran poorly in the Kentucky Derby, a Santa Anita Derby also-ran, Proud Citizen, ran 2nd at Churchill. In between his starts in the Santa Anita and Kentucky derbies, Proud Citizen won the Lexington.

In 2001, Kentucky Derby 3rd place runner, Congaree, had come from the maiden and allowance ranks at the Santa Anita winter meet (winning an allowance in late March) before beating Monarchos in the Wood. Point Given, the 2001 Santa Anita Derby winner, disappointed at Churchill, but came back to romp in the Preakness and Belmont en route to his Horse of the Year.

Fusaichi Pegasus, the 2000 Kentucky Derby champ, wintered at Santa Anita and won the San Felipe in March (over eventual Santa Anita Derby winner The Deputy) and then Drysdale took him on the road to win the Wood.

Every kentucky Derby winner between 1997 and 1999 had run in the Santa Anita Derby, although none had won the Santa Anita Derby (Silver Charm 2nd in SA Derby, Real Quiet 2nd in SA Derby, Charismatic 4th in SA Derby). Free House and Indian Charlie, the 97' and 98' Santa Anita Derby winners, both ran 3rd in the Kentucky Derby.

Grindstone, the 96' Kentucky Derby winner, had wintered in California before winning the Louisiana Derby and running 2nd in the Arkansas Derby. Cavonnier, who lost to Grindstone by a nose in that 96' Kentucky Derby, had won the Santa Anita Derby.

Timber Country in 95' came out of the Santa Anita Derby, etc...  

25 Mar 2009 7:14 PM
Coldfacts

Steve, Dunkirk is bred in the purple and if he runs to his pedigree he should be an exception colt. He will be facing a colt in the FL Derby that I think has the best pedigree of the 2006 crop. However, this colt has not been running to this pedigree. The colt is Stately Character (Pleasant Tap - London Valley)

This colt’s first four generations contain the winners of 10 Triple Crown races. Grand sire Pleasant Colony (Kentucky Derby & Preakness) His sire’s dam Never Knock who was also the dam of Derby winner Go For Gin, was sired by Stage Door Johnny (Belmont) The grand sire of his dam London Valley is Seattle Slew (Triple Crown) His second dam was sired by Riva Ridge (Kentucky Derby & Belmont) His third dam was sired by Damascus (Belmont & Preakness)

His sire Pleasant Tap has been one of the most versatile participants in the Breeder Cup history. He participated in four different races over a four year period. He was sixth in the 1989 Breeder Cup Juvenile; eight in the 1990 Breeders Cup Turf; second in 1991 Breeders Cup Sprint and 1992 Breeders Cup Classic. It appears he got better with age.

Stately Character is bred to get 10 furlongs pulling a bus. Sadly he appears to lack the class of the top colt in the FL Derby field. Could it be that he is a late developer like his sire? I have heard the term “Light bulb going on” used regularly. Could his pedigree light bulb get stitched on for an upset in the FL Derby?

Friends Lake won the FL Derby at very long odds. Can Stately Character do the same?

25 Mar 2009 7:31 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS:  I agree with you thet Stately Character has genuine classic/triple crown pedigree, unfashionable though it may be.  His sire tends to throw late developers that get better as 4-5yos therefore his best races are most likely down the road.  I think that the Belmont Stakes could be his "cup of tea" as the stamina in his pedigree could possibly make up for his class deficit going a mile and a half.  Although the field is small it would be a major upset if he were to win the Florida Derby.  Quality Road on a speed favouring track looks like a cinch (not disrespecting Dunkirk or Theregoesjojo).

25 Mar 2009 8:09 PM
zarvona

We need some clarification:

  If "Big Drama" wins the Swale, is he back on the Derby hunt?

Is "Square Eddie" really back in the Derby hunt?

...whoops there would go 2 more potential gate slots per earnings right there!!

And, how about "Charitable Man"??

He would only need a 3rd in some stakes down the road!!

Their reentries would certainly cut down the several remaining open gate slots considerably!!!

Are they all alive for real again at this point?

Thusly, it would seem that "Dunkirk" really needs a straight up win in the Fla. Derby!, as a 2nd may not cut it!!!

25 Mar 2009 8:13 PM
mike

steve,I probably had a beer or two also when I wrote ya.Ha! Still an old fashioned fan.Thought ramon d. didnt give him a great ride althought he was struggling in the bog at oaklawn that day.Think rachel alexandra can beat the boys?She is awful tough but I know its a different ballgame against the boys.

26 Mar 2009 10:33 PM

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