Kentucky Derby Trail: Coast Clash Looms Big


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Thank you Steve for an insightful look at the Derby hopefuls.

I Want Revenge's run was indeed spectacular and Pioneer of the Nile, so professional.

What do you think about Mullins' "Honest Mistake", with Gato Go?  Sure seems like makes a lot of mistakes as a trainer.

06 Apr 2009 3:00 PM
2 time valley player of the year

Revenge was sensational! after that start it was a miracle. Hope Quality quarter crack is minor.This is ahping up as a very good Derby.Will PON like dirt?

06 Apr 2009 3:23 PM
Larry Zap co-host race and sports radio

this years run for the roses will no doubt be very interesting and exciting...with the defection of The Pamplemousse, there doesn't appear to be an abundence of speed in the field...that would probably help Quality Road and I Want Revenge...Larry Jones will have Old Fashioned keep Papa Clem company on the lead and that might help his Friesan Fire as well as Pioneerof the Nile & Chocolate would all change if the superstar filly Rachel Alexandra were to run and i do feel she belongs, but who could blame the connections for pointing to the Oaks...lastly i feel that the beyer numbers on synthetic are a complete joke...if you would have put West Side Bernie in the Santa Anita Derby, he would have had no chance to beat the top three...Bernie got a 101 beyer in the Wood...just proving what a joke the beyers are concerning synthetic racetracks

06 Apr 2009 4:09 PM

Sad to say but the clash is going to be the media jumping all over Jeff Mullins and Ernie Paragallo. This is the worst time for those two incidents to happen. Sad that such a good colt( I Want Revenge) is going to be surrounded by controversy. And a good sire (Unbridled's Song) connected to a man that has no interest in his own cast off horses. This is going to be worse than the death of Eight Belle's for racing.

06 Apr 2009 4:21 PM
For Big Red

TO STEVE: Congratulations on spotting I Want Revenge before the Gotham and sticking with him as your top choice through the Wood. His race in the Wood was nothing short of amazing.

Although my heart wants Friesan Fire to win the Derby, my head makes me still hold off on making Derby selections until the remaining preps are run. So I only have a few thoughts at this point.

Even before The Pamplemousse's scratch, I called the SADerby exactly, POTN on top of Chocolate Candy. His scratch only cemented my take on that race. POTN is as gritty and tough as they come, and no one should under-estimate the training job Hollendorfer is doing with CC. The colt was not tightened for his best race on Saturday, but was being set up for his best on May 2.

I'm very sorry that The Pamplemousse is injured, and hope he comes back as good as ever, but I was never sold on him being able to get 1 1/4 miles. This could actually be a blessing in disguise for the colt and his connections, as they could have next year's monster horse if all goes well.

I'm very troubled that Jeff Mullins was caught medicating Gato Go Win before the Bay Shore. Even worse, that he's quoted in a Blood-Horse article as saying he might have given the same med to I Want Revenge. Even if the stuff really is only a cough medicine, if a horse has any of the conditions Air Power is designed to treat, it shouldn't be running.

IWR may have always raced totally clean, but how can we in the general public ever be sure? This puts a cloud over his record for me.

For different reasons, I'm troubled by news that Quality Road came out of the Florida Derby with a quarter crack. Fortunately, they are one of the more minor ailments horses can have. Still, Gulfstream that day was like pavement. Who the heck knows what other toll it may have taken on the horses.

This sure seems like a deep and talented crop of colts, but I think we're going to have to handicap the trainers more than the horses.

One has a long record of getting caught giving his horses banned substances. Another is faced with healing a QC on time. A third is using a highly unconventional method to train his colt up to the Derby. We have Hollendorfer with his shrewd training job for Chocolate Candy, and the always colorful Baffert. We have Gosden, whom I respect, and we have the Dubai crowd. Makes handicapping the horses seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

06 Apr 2009 4:49 PM

  Seems little has changed with few to no surprises in the last month, except possibly, for the failure of "Imperial Council" to make 'the dance', but he is bred for the Belmont anyway, isn't he? And, I personally am most sorry to see us lose "The Pamplemousse", who if for nothing else was bringing in some greatly needed excitement of his own to this 135th Derby!      

  Thusly, "Quality Road" & "I Want Revenge" are still looking like the ones to beat with "Pioneerof the Nile", (having already beaten 'IWR' not once, but twice!)and "Friesan Fire", being their main competion, and possibly "Dunkirk" and "Chocolate Candy" being the ones trying even harder to beat them all.      

  Yes, "Musket Man", although not having done a thing really wrong in his career to date and having improved in every race with every stretch, although being another with a high 5.00 DI, would still be a big surprise in competing against the above lot. Someone out of the Ark. Derby, like "Old Fashioned", "Win Willy", or "Papa Clem" or out of the Toyota Blue Grass, like "Join in the Dance", "Patena", "Hold Me Back", or "Charitable Man", or etc., would still have to have a monster of a race and come out healthy to even crack any consideration with the above six in my own eyes. And, I don't see anyone from overseas in the Trifecta either!! (maybe the Superfecta)!

  Funny thing, with "Imperial Council" failing so poorly, is that "Dunkirk's" hopes are, or still seem to be slightly alive to get in, although they are giving away much too much graded earnings in these late races to still possibly bump him! "Charitable Man" has as much in earnings from his 2 race two year old campaign to only need any form of a payoff! and thusly to surpass him, that being should his connections really want to make the next step up, and any shake up where those already in that end up running poorly would likely add a list of new money qualifying considerees.                         Thusly, "Dunkirk's connections and his supporters, myself as one, do have to hope that proven commodities continue to take the top prizes again in the coming majors and that any newcomer list is constricted. And, that is really all too bad, and especially so for Pool players who have some banked hopes on him showing up, and because I beleive "Dunkirk" is probably in near everyone's top ten somewhere at this point, where even Pool #3 players marked him as their 5th favorite!!, and all where it looked like two weeks ago following the Fla. Derby that he had a dismal percentage shot at even qualifying!

  Anyway, again good recap. And as always I am awaiting your new next dozen's list.        

  And, good luck to all with your next preps picks, days at the races, and your Derby plays.

06 Apr 2009 4:58 PM
Steve Haskin

Larry, I'm going to miss all your Pamplemousse videos, as well as Pioneer. I agree that the Beyers in California are virtually meaningless, and Pioneer does not get the recognition he deserves. Keep those videos coming.

06 Apr 2009 5:06 PM

How can any horse claim the mantle of front runner after the splended performance of I Want Revenge in the Wood? Correct me if I'm wrong (& I'm sure someone will) no horse has shown the diversity, tenacity & outright ability to get the job done better than this colt. He's the complete package. Quote your statistics, but you can't deny that he has done anything but WOW! I rest my case.

06 Apr 2009 5:07 PM
Steve Haskin

Gerrie, I dont want to comment on Mullins right now. There have been way too many contradictions and odd comments. All I'll say is that this is far from over.

06 Apr 2009 5:08 PM
Larry Zap co-host race and sports radio

i appreciate you watching them...i wish more people did...i really enjoy bringing new and existing fans closer to our sport...the number of hits is quite disappointing...a couple of blogs have noticed and helped promote myself and tizdubai- Eion Harty's wife's youtube site...keep up the good work

06 Apr 2009 5:30 PM
Karen in Texas

Big Red---Did you see my response to your post on "The Key Word is Prep" blog? As a health care professional, I tried to do some quick research to determine the ingredients of Air Power and posted at 2:24 P.M. There may be more than one med with that trade name, but otherwise the info I posted is accurate.

06 Apr 2009 5:39 PM

sophiekea, I disagree with you and think that this is the BEST time for the Paragallo story to come out.  I love racing.  I love these horses.  And the thought that this happens sickens me.  Watching Ernie in his box seat on Saturday and knowing full well that racing and its officials have no control or ability to affect such behavior dimmed the joy of watching Revenge's performance.  I WANT the media to jump on this.  I WANT more spotlight.  I WANT this to end.  Larry Jones didn't deserve what he got last year.  This guy does.  (By the way, I have two rescues where my excess cash goes to support.  I do practice what I preach)>

06 Apr 2009 6:13 PM
Paula Higgins

Can someone please answer my question about Stardom Bound's race. Am I alone in thinking she didn't get a good ride? That they stayed too far back for too long? I thought she was in trouble shortly after the race started. Something didn't look right.

IWR is a fnatastic horse. So are Quality Road, Fiesan Fire, and POTN. This is going to be one heck of a Derby.

06 Apr 2009 6:21 PM

Really nice article. Thank you for your insight. I agree, I want Revenge and his rider couldn't have made a better team during the Wood. It's a shame that the trainer didn't measure up the same.

06 Apr 2009 6:49 PM

I wanted to also add, I have been following I Want Revenge since seeing him run 2nd against Pioneer in the Cash Call.To see him get-up for second left a major impression on me and he was my underneath the radar selection and still is now. It seems the public woke up to him in the Gotham, and come Derby day, he will be favored with Pioneer as well as Quality Road.

06 Apr 2009 6:53 PM

Steve- great article as always.  Do you think there's any chance Eion Harty and Winstar might run Mr Hardstuff in the Lexington to get enough earnings for the Derby?  I read that his jockey was impressed by his run and thought he had a good running style for the Derby.          

06 Apr 2009 7:23 PM

Paula, IMO Stardom Bound is one tired filly.  For whatever reason she did not hold her weight well after the BC juvenile win, and then being shipped to the sale on the east coast and back.  She was far from thriving, and Frankel did well to put some of the weight back on her.  Also, it is very difficult and unusual (right Steve?) for a 2-year-old champion to hold his/her form as a 3-year-old.  I hope they give her a rest now.  As far as the jockey, Smith has been riding her all along, and knows her best.  But I don't like the fact that he whipped her so many times.  Now, Sophia what does this Ernie have to do with Unbridled's Song?  And FYI For Big Red:  Steve did not "pick" I Want Revenge before the Gotham.  He was asked to do a interview and feature article, which he did.  (Way too much sucking up on these blogs)

06 Apr 2009 7:33 PM

OK, found Steve's 2004 BH article:  Paragallo bought Unbridled's Song at the 1994 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale at Saratoga for $200,000, with the intention of pinhooking him.

06 Apr 2009 7:40 PM

Nice observations, Steve.

Zarvona. Your points are well taken, but you are mistaken about Musket Man's dosage index...its not 5.00 something (like Old Fashioned). It is exactly 4.00 (like Curlin). His broodmare sire comes from the Lucky Debonair line (damsire), who won the Derby. I do not rely on dosage index much anymore (see: Damscus, Curlin, etc.) But 4.00 is the cutoff point.

Steve, I have an old Sports Illustrated article on Yonaguska and Jerry Bailey was saying that the horse had the stamina to go long if he ever learned to relax (being from the Brushing Groom sire line). Yonaguska could not relax. Cherokee Run could not relax (despite being the son of Runaway Groom, who could get 10-12 furlongs in his sleep...and said progeny Runaway Dancer was winning 12 furlong turf stakes races at 8 years old). CR was a speedball but still hit the board in the Preakness.

What matters now is form. While I would not put MM at the top, his form states (last 2 furlongs-11.88 seconds; 12.44 seconds), he just might get 10 furlongs, and Coa and the Irish born trainer state that they are certain he will go to 10 furlongs.

Maybe MM is what his sire and grandsire weren't. A true classic distance colt like most Blushing Grooms are. After all, like Bailey said, all his sire had to do is relax...And my friend who breeds horses was at Hawthorne and she said Musket Man is over 16 hands and extremely muscular. That muscle may be needed in the rough and tough Derby (besides, the best classic horses-since Smarty-have all been 16 hands and over). Street Sense, Barbaro, Bernardini, Hard Spun, Curlin, Quality Road, and I believe POTN is nearly 16 hands...his muscular, large size will help.

06 Apr 2009 8:20 PM

Admittedly folks I've got some egg on my face for challenging Steve before the Gotham about I Want Revenge's high rating on his Derby Dozen list. That said, he got his fair share too, via Patena, Imperial Council, Poltergeist, Take The Points and the forgettable Shafted.  We all take turns at getting splattered on the trail but the biggest test will be in the Derby itself.  

I anticipate that Quality Road, despite a minor quarter crack will wipe the egg off my face and add some fragrance for good measure.  With the Pamplemousse out due to injury, BE WARNED that unless another magnificent 3YO with genuine pace (i.e. capable of 6F in 1:10 and change while being ready for a dogfight up the lane e.g. Big Drama) and class enters the fray, Quality Road is going to ROMP the Derby.  I have IWR ranked at #4 right now on my Magnificent seven list with Rachel Alexandra being the only other flyer apart from the aforementioned Florida duo above him, so he is in elite company.  The old adage is true "pace makes the race" and truth be told, IWR, Friesan Fire and POTN have yet to experience hard core pace.  If IEAH and trainer Dutrow get smart and decide to spice up the front end with This One's For Phil the others may fancy their chances improved but then again "Killer" Willy and the Musket Man could be waiting to ambush them.

This is a very nice crop of 3YOs and the Californians are a good bunch although it is still a

mystery as to which of them will move up on the dirt like IWR.  I like Chocholate Candy quite a bit.  He is looking real sweet after the SA Derby.  Unbridled Song's vanquished sons Dunkirk and Old Fashioned can still make a come back especially the latter whose trainer is the real deal when it comes to "pulling a rabbit out of a hat" in the Kentucky Derby a la Hard Spun and Eight Belles.  Larry Jones' record shows that a trainer doesn't have to win at the Big Dance to earn a great deal of respect on the Derby Trail.  Many can learn from him.

06 Apr 2009 8:20 PM
Karen in Indiana

I hate to see the Pamplemousse out, he is a sight to see running. Since he is, my picks will be long shots with a chance - Musket Man, Win Willy and General Quarters. I'm leaning more towards General Quarters for 2 reasons - the back story and his sire. Sky Mesa has had 4 contenders on the TC trail this year and I was impressed with him when I went to Three Chimneys last year. Everyone was on one side looking at Smarty Jones and I was peering through the fence slats at Sky Mesa who came walking up to see me, too. I told him then that he is going to be the next big sire.

Deb, New York Times has an article that says this is not the first time with this guy. I don't have words to express my feelings. It is serious.

06 Apr 2009 8:21 PM
Paula Higgins

I just read about Ernie Paragallo and those 17 horses. This story is unbelievably awful. Horse racing has to regulate itself if it is to survive. I think the facts speak for themselves.

06 Apr 2009 8:36 PM

Sorry,everyone.  I meant Mr. Hot Stuff in my previous post not Mr.Hardstuff. Oh well, it's been a long day!!

06 Apr 2009 8:50 PM
Mike Relva


I've never liked Mullins although he has a great horse for the Derby. His attitude,everything about him is below par in my opinion.

06 Apr 2009 8:55 PM
For Big Red

TO HELSBELLES: You wrote, "Way too much sucking up on these blogs."

Entirely uncalled for. What you see as "sucking up" is, to me, both courtesy and truth. Courtesy may be a quaint concept in our rudeness-besotted times, but some people still practice it.

06 Apr 2009 8:58 PM

Larry Zap, I also enjoyed watching your videos of The Pamplemousse and the rest of the cali horses on youtube. It really makes me feel more of a personal connection to the horses. His injury was beyond disappointing, and I truly look forward to seeing him run again next year. He seems like such a smart and willing horse.

I agree with the other comments about Stardom Bound in the Ashland--either she needs longer races (more time to get to the front) or a break, and most likely the latter. She was trying, but something seemed off. Sometimes I wonder, too, if the stress of changing trainers/connections also has something to do with it. These horses aren't machines, they notice who is taking care of them and I'm sure not all trainers do everything the same way. She's still a special filly, though and I wish her the best. My own horse is a grey mare, so I have a soft spot for them.

06 Apr 2009 9:04 PM
For Big Red

TO KAREN IN TEXAS: Yes, I did read your post, and thank you for it. I defer to your expertise. Do you have an opinion about what the purpose would be of giving that to a horse shortly before a race?

06 Apr 2009 9:05 PM
For Big Red

TO LARRY ZAP: Where can we see the videos? Are they available to us in the general public?

06 Apr 2009 9:06 PM
For Big Red

TO HELSBELLES: Because Karen in Texas directed me back to it in order to read her post, I just happened to see your post there about credit for the "scoop" on The Pamplemousse's condition.'re welcome to the credit if it's important to you. I didn't even know any was directed to me. I'm not interested in meaningless "credit," only in talking horses and horse racing with other enthusiasts. :)

06 Apr 2009 9:12 PM
Paula Higgins

helsbelles, thank you very much for answering my question. I think you are right-she did look tired and I thought she looked thin myself. I hope they give her that much deserved rest.

06 Apr 2009 9:15 PM
For Big Red

TO DEB AND KAREN IN INDIANA: Both the Paragallo and Mullins incidents disgust me deeply. Paragallo, for obvious reasons. Mullins for his terminal cluelessness, if nothing else. The New York Times reported: "'It could have been the other horse getting scratched,' Mullins said, referring to I Want Revenge." The Times also reported that, "Mullins could not clearly articulate what advantage he believed the substance gave his horses if they did not have a cough."

Somebody with authority/power in this sport has got to finally get it that public trust is the foundation of any gambling-related business.

06 Apr 2009 9:34 PM
Dreamer's Mom

Steve-have you heard if The Pamplemousse bowed or is it some other tendon issue?  We call it the  XYZ tendon, but I'm sure that isn't quite right. Everyone knows what we're talking about even though it isn't "vet speak". Time heals all...

I am now down to two Derby horses, but looks like General Quarters is out because of money unless a couple more defect from the top 20.  Friesan Fire is my horse for the course, but I'm thinking about adding Patena to the mix.  This weekend will determine whether or not the window gets my annual $2 win ticket!

06 Apr 2009 10:08 PM
Matthew W

Steve I agree Mr Hot Stuff is intriguing and it would be a shame if he doesn't draw in as he looks the part of a Derby contender--at least he'll get the last 1/8 no problem...Also I've noted that the Santa Anita Pro Ride plays better to horses making the "slingshot" moves around horses---Mr Hot Stuff has PREPPED while closing inside of horses...96-1 in final futures--huge price as he'll be under 20-1 if he draws in to Derby....

06 Apr 2009 10:16 PM
Dr. Max

Mr. Haskin's, Your article on April 6th entitled, "KY Derby Trail:Coast Clash Looms Big," was a succinct synopsis and an astute analysis of the major KY Derby preps that ran on April 4th. I would say it is one of the best articles on horse-racing I have read since...I can't remember when. I e-mailed it to some of my racing buddies. We will re-read it several times before Derby Eve & Day. Well done, Sir, well done! - Dr. Max (P.S. - May the race gods be with you on Derby Day!)

06 Apr 2009 10:46 PM

Deb, I admire your passion for the horses. I too love the animals and the sport. I am a responsible owner that has volunteered and will continue to do so at a rescue farm that has all types of horses, mostly non thoroughbreds. I dont like the fact that the media is doing this right before derby time. This isnt old news about this guy or incident. The Times is playing it up during a special time of the year for the sport and they are going to bring bad attention to it. Many owners, and not just this guy need to be blasted for how they treat cast offs and this needs to be addressed and handled correctly. I agree 100% with you that this needs to stop. I cant imagine treating any animal the way this guy has. And with all the money he has made off the backs of these mares makes me even more sick. He should be fined and starved and treated like he has treated his horses. I just dont think that the timing is right for the sport. Thats my opinion. None of the stuff coming out right now new, they are sensationalizing it for their own reasons. As an owner, why should I be punished for what others in the industry have done?

06 Apr 2009 11:04 PM

I also want to comment that I Want Revenge wasnt even blowing hard after the Wood. He was standing there after the photo very calm and contained. He has a lot left in him and I cant wait to see him in the Derby.

06 Apr 2009 11:05 PM
The Deacon

What a performance by I Want Revenge in the Wood Memorial, kind of reminds me of Afleet Alex in the Preakness. Lunging out of the gate being 7 lengths back, traffic trouble pretty much all the way down the stretch and still drawing off. Wow! He and Pioneer of the Nile make a formidable West Coast contingent. I felt 2 months ago that a California horse would win the Derby this year and I srtill believe that. Quality Road is very formidable and we all hope he recovers from the quarter crack. The rest is wide open right now but the Blue Grass Stakes should provide us with some additional insight. As always Steve excellent writing on your part. I am curious though, who are you picking to win the Kentucky Derby.  

07 Apr 2009 12:51 AM

First we heard that IWR was too slow for the Gotham.  Then we heard something about and inner track vs. an other track.  Now we are hearing that he beat nothing. He looked pretty good against POTN.  But wait, POTN is too slow, he won't like the dirt, his Beyers are too low, and that he is tired.  That same, tired ,slow horse has won over 1 million and is riding quite the winning streak. Little separates these top 2.    

07 Apr 2009 1:38 AM

For those commenting about pace, the slow paces that IWR and Pioneer have been facing is a double edged sword. For a horse like IWR in the Wood, a slow pace is an extreme disadvatage. Typically, in races with a slow pace, the frontrunners are at a huge advatage, and should be able to save something for the stretch. The fact that IWR, in addition to all the trouble, had to close into a moderate pace makes his win even more impressive.

And why wouldn't horses like Pioneer of the Nile and Chocolate Candy actually perform BETTER with a faster pace? Pioneer has been disadvantaged by the slow pace in his last 2, and won DESPITE it. The only reason Pioneer won his last 2 is because he is talented enough to make his own race, and unlike other closers, isnt completely dependent on a fast pace to win.

The argument some of you are making about pace is more applicable to frontrunners. If IWR or Pioneer were frontrunners taking full advantage of slower paced races, I would say you have a point. In fact, that was the criticism of IWR in the Gotham. Although pressured by Mr. Fantasy, IWR was up on a relatively slow pace (although the track was not glib, as reflected in his 113 Beyer), and should have been able to finish strongly in the stretch. However, by breaking so slow, IWR was seriously DISADVANTAGED by the moderate pace in the Wood, and the fact that he still won under a hand ride is just another reason why that performance was so special. Also, as Steve pointed out, those are some serious come-home splits.

Yes, I Want Revenge is going to meet better speed in the Kentucky Derby. That's true for every horse. However, I dont' see the pace affecting IWR. If it's real quick, around 45/46 for a half, IWR can lay 5-10 off it. If it's moderate, 46-47 half, he can stalk, and if it is slow, 47-48, he can do what he did in the Gotham and move to the front. He's so versatile; I'm not seeing the problem. In any event, he's already proven himself to be fast; he has a 113 Beyer for the Gotham, and would have definitely run a 110+ in the Wood w/o the trouble. In any event, the 103 the Wood officially received is not bad.

I understand the point trying to be made about pace. If, in the Derby, IWR and Pioneer are only able to muster a :48 opening half, but the frontrunners are running a :46 half, IWR and Pioneer will be 10 lengths, and not their typical 3-4 lengths, from the front, and will have significant work to do around the turn and into the stretch. However, that assumes that the frontrunners are able to keep going, and do not knock each other off. In looking at IWR, the only horse that such a potential disadvatange is likely to matter against is Quality Road.  Had the pace been faster in the Wood, yes IWR would have been 15-20 lengths back early, rather than 8-13. However, a faster pace would have also meant that the horses near the front, like Lord Justice and Imperial Council, would have stopped sooner and even more abruptly, and that IRW would have run by them even faster. The whole point being made about IWR facing a quicker pace only matters if the horses on that pace (the horses getting that 3-5 length jump on IWR) are able to go on with it in the stretch. And the ONLY horse that appears capable of sitting near a fast pace and finishing well enough to hold off IWR is Quality Road.

However, all this talk about pace is made by comparing raw times. Times, however, are very much dependent on the speed of a track, ie the track variant. The fact is, the Santa Anita Pro-Ride plays alot like turf, slow early and fast late. Thus, comparisons to dirt fractions, particularly in a one-turn mile or an ultra-quick Gulfstream, are of limited value. This past Saturday at Aqueduct, there was only one other two-turn race, the grade 3 Exelsior for older horses also at 9 furlongs. The pace for the Excelsior, 50 and 3 for the half, 114 and 3 for 6 furlongs, made the pace for the Wood seem quick. Perhaps a more refined tool (Randy Moss' pace figures?) would be of more use.

Let me conclude by going back to my first point. When people talk about horses being advatanged by slow paced races, it's most relevant for frontrunners. There was alot of skepticism, and some of it warranted, of IWR's Gotham because he was up on a slow pace. However, in the Wood, IWR was actually at a significant disadvantage by the slow pace.As a side note: I've also read comments by those trying to discount IWR's Wood because the pace was TOO FAST(comapred to the Excelsior), and that IWR's late run was flattered by the speed horses tiring. As for Pioneer, many think he will actually run much better with a faster pace to gun for. The whole pace angle is a double-edged sword. While the quicker Derby pace may force Pioneer to fall much further back than normal, such a development could actually be quite beneficial if the pace is absurd. Additionally, Pioneer seems like a horse much better with a target to run at.

At this point, I know alot of folks are locked in to their Derby choices. However, I'm still of the mindset that there is ALOT of time to go, and much can happen. I truly hope all the horses being discussed with such passion can actually make into the starting gate at Churchill the first Saturday in May. If they do, this does appear to be one of the strongest Derby fields of the last 20 years, right up with the 89', 94', 97', 04', and 07' fields. And in Quality Road and I Want Revenge, this field may have the strongest 1-2 punch since Sunday Silence and Easy Goer.

07 Apr 2009 5:32 AM

Any thoughts on Mafaaz? Excellent breeding and capable of the distance.

07 Apr 2009 7:01 AM


    I already did answer your question and stated that no your not alone, i feel the exact same way about the ride. I feel she was to far back and should've moved sooner. I also think the  surface may have had something to do with that lackluster rally. The polytrack they use over there has always been quricky.

07 Apr 2009 7:28 AM
Saratoga AJ


There's trouble in IWR's camp. Jeff Mullins was seen administering a drug ("Air Power") through a syringe to Gato Go Win Saturday in the detention barn leading to the Stewards forcing him to scratch Gato Go Win before the Bay Shore Stakes. He may have juiced IWR too. The investigation is currently ongoing. Mullins is in trouble. And is IWR not quite the horse he appears? Stay tuned.

07 Apr 2009 8:08 AM
rich loughrey

Wait until the Blue Grass. I love the breeding of Charitable Man as well as the connections.It's a stab but stranger things have happened.

07 Apr 2009 10:13 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

First, thanks Steve for the job you do.  Our enjoyment of the sport, if not the sport itself, is better for your writing.  

To Geronimo2123, thanks for the insights into Cherokee Run and Yonaguska.  We have a Mutakddim filly (now a new momma)that held her breath in her races.  I've been mystified by the lack of respect (maybe until recently?) for Musket Man.  His times are comparable to others, and he persevered in The Tampa Bay Derby after traffic trouble and a stopped move.  He learned a lot and still won.  Very similar to IWR's trip in The Wood.  No I'm NOT equating the quality of the two...just saying that both had successful learning experiences that may help them in the traffic of The Derby.  Both colts are better off for those troubled trips.  Remember what Big Brown did last year in The Belmont when he was walled off in the first turn behind horses, maybe for the first time?  He was rank and damn near ran over them.  Of course, there were at least two other issues for him in that race.

More important to me than how fast MM came home in the Tampa Bay Derby, and in the Illinois Derby, is how he galloped out last Saturday.  Strongly, with ears pricked, like he hadn't run a step.  

I am not an objective observer here, I must admit.  We have a Street Cry mare about to foal a Yonaguska colt at any moment.  So we are paying particular attention to Yonaguska runners.  At the risk of lowering the odds a bit come Derby day though, quite a few of his babies are running well at a mile and beyond.  From what we are seeing, he will not be just a sprint sire.

To Stardom Bound.  When my wife and I saw her in the paddock on TV this weekend, we just about fell off the couch.  There's "tucked up" and "racing fit", and then there's a clear "lack of condition".  She needs a break, and she needs to gain some condition back.  It doesn't matter how you ride a horse if that horse is wiped out.

07 Apr 2009 10:16 AM
Karen in Texas

Big Red---As far as I know, there would be little to no advantage in giving that med to a horse unless an illness existed. Then, of course, the horse shouldn't be racing.

07 Apr 2009 10:18 AM

Gun Bow,

Have you noticed that your (screen)namesake, Gun Bow, has some offspring planning to run in the Bluegrass?  His name is Cliffy’s Future, and Gun Bow is four generations back on his dam’s side.  What do you think of Cliffy’s chances for the Triple Crown?

07 Apr 2009 11:02 AM

Gunbow... your post was long but I understood every word of it and agree 100%. It made perfect sense to me. I also agree with Sophie.. this sport just doesn't need this kind of attention right now. I am deeply, deeply saddened by Mullins actions. I hope he didn't mess with IWR. Trainers that violate drug rules need to be stripped of their license and never allowed to train again. Period. We need zero tolerance.

For Big Red: I hope you don't get discouraged by the comments on this board and stop posting. I enjoy your knowledge and your comments. I don't believe the good folks on these blogs are "sucking" up. We are lucky to have these boards and to interact with other racing enthusiasts. Steve is the man and everyone knows it. Otherwise they wouldn't be on this blog.

07 Apr 2009 11:10 AM
Karen in Indiana

Gary at Rough Creek, I agree with you on Musket Man and Stardom Bound.

Musket Man was on his toes, ears up, bouncing after the race. He looked pumped and he didn't have a walk in the park trip, there was some dirt on him. I'd love for him to win the Derby.

I thought Stardom Bound looked a little heavy at the Breeders Cup and so was surprised at how thin she was when they showed her last weekend. She really does look like she needs some conditioning.

07 Apr 2009 11:30 AM
Karen in Texas

Big Red---I answered earlier, but maybe it was "lost" somehow. Anyway, I don't know of a purpose/advantage to giving that med before a race. This makes very little sense to me. My main reaction is still--what was he thinking???

07 Apr 2009 12:46 PM

I would be crushed if Mr. Hot Stuff doesn't get into the Derby field, but I would hate to wish ill on other contenders just for him to get into the top 19, so I think I'll just be content with him getting into the Preakness and Belmont.

The Californians are looking mighty dangerous, which is such a relief after last year's sad group (not to put down one of my favorite horses, Colonel John).

07 Apr 2009 1:18 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks Dr. Max and Gary. I appreciate the kind words.

The last I heard regarding Mr. Hot Stuff is that if he doesnt get in the Derby they will point for the Peter Pan and then Belmont Stakes.

We'll know more about Mafaaz on Saturday. He has a tough task, coming here after just holding on against mediocre competition, but we'll see. We really dont know how good he is.

07 Apr 2009 2:16 PM

Karen in Indiana, I agree with you as I stated in another blog I was down at the rail by the winners circle at Hawthorne Saturday and Musket Man looked like he never ran and was waiting to go around again. I never had thought too much of him even after he won the Tampa Bay Derby and only put him in one tri Saturday but after he won the Illinois Derby I believe he deserves consideration. I didn't care much for Denis of Cork last year and after he won the ILL. Derby I used him in a tri which was a nice pay out. All I can say is don't discount Illinois Derby winners, look at War Emblem on 2002.

07 Apr 2009 2:50 PM
TouchStone Farms

These are all talented colts, however I would be remiss if I didn't express who I really believe may be the best and without doubt I think that "Mr. Hotstuff" would prevail at the distance. He has come up to this race beautifully improving and looking stronger in each event. His only failing is that he may fall ever so painfully short of the graded earnings necessary, and if that is the case then the world will be robbed of a major contender showcasing his talent and along with it the excitement it would bring to the race.

07 Apr 2009 3:24 PM
For Big Red

TO KAREN IN TEXAS: Thank you for sharing what knowledge you could about Air Power. I agree totally that giving a horse that stuff before a race makes no sense unless an illness existed, in which case the horse should not be racing. We aren't alone in this viewpoint. The New York Times quotes Joseph Mahoney, spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, as saying, "If a horse needs a product of this order to get to the finish line, then we have a problem with that."

TO KAREN2: Thanks for your kindness. :)

07 Apr 2009 3:30 PM

i don't know why you are so high on pioneerof the nile. if he runs the same race in  santa anita derby in the kentucky derby he will finish off the board. he was very rank in the santa anita derby and if he runs like that he is up the track in churchill. he has not run on convential dirt as well. so i see it as a four horse race, quality road, i want revenge, friesan fire, and dunkirk if he gets in. it also seems strange that gomez has not committed to potn yet wouldn't you think he be on this colt after winning 4 straight races. but if dunkirk does get in i guarantee he will be on dunkirk's back.

07 Apr 2009 4:15 PM


Thanks for the info, I was not aware Cliffy's Future was descended from Gun Bow. And I find it interesting, because 2 weeks ago I drove down to Turfway for Lane's End day and was able to see Cliffy's Future win the Rushaway on the undercard. I always go down to the paddock/saddling area for stakes events, and I was able to get a good look at Cliffy's. He's not a big horse, but he looked well proportioned, and had a sharp, intelligent look about him. Overall, he reminded my alot of his papa, The Cliff's Edge, being a brownish bay with a small white star/mark on his forehead.  Cliffy's Future ran well in the Rushaway, coming from well back to take the lead in midstretch, and then holding off the later run of Ziegfield.

Clearly Cliffy's can handle Polytrack (both Turfway and Keeneland have Polytrack), and his late running style is generally flattered by that surface; so, he has a chance in the Blue Grass. The Blue Grass doesn't look like it's going to have a monster, and some of the top choices may struggle on the Poly. However, the Rushaway was a much slower race than the Lane's End, earning only a 83 Beyer compared to Hold Me Back's 97.

Although Cliffy's has a shot to win the Blue Grass, a minor placing is more likely. As for his chances in the Kentucky Derby, they are slim to none. First, he has no graded earnings; the Rushaway was non-graded. Second, he's just not good enough to beat horses like I Want Revenge, Quality Road, Pioneer, Friesan Fire, Dunkirk, etc.. Cliffy's a 3rd or 4th tier contender.

Karen 2:

Thanks for the compliment.

For Big Red:

I agree with Karen 2, keep on posting, your knowledge is well appreciated. Also, no one should ever feel guilty about complimenting Mr. Haskins. Afterall, Steve is one of the best individuals in the sport, and we are lucky to have him here, interacting with us.


Thanks so much for doing this. In all objectivity, you are one of the elite writers in thoroughbred racing and the majority of us are thankful for your blog.

07 Apr 2009 5:32 PM

Steve, every year we go through the same ritual "no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby without...".

Some writers seem to forget that if all the horses gave their lifetime best in the Derby, there will still be 1 winner and possibly 19 losers. What requires analysis is whether the horse without the "traditional" racing record runs "well".There is only one winner. All a horse has to do to win is finish ahead of the other horses in the field. History is a non-starter.

In the case of Dunkirk, he has already finished ahead of horses that ran as 2-year olds. In the case of Friesan Fire, we need to remember that two horses (Lammtarra and Shaamit) won the Epsom Derby, over 12 furlongs, in their first start of the year. They did so by simply finishing ahead of the others. Lammtarra set a track record in the process.

If Friesan Fire loses it might be that he is just not good enough even though in losing he produces his lifetime best. It is time to forget history and focus on the starters.

07 Apr 2009 5:36 PM

Thank you, Gun Bow.  I loved Cliffy’s daddy too!

And thank you, Steve.  

It’s no “sucking up“ that inspires me to say that, between Steve and the bloggers drawn to his astounding knowledge and frequent candor, there is no better site for a learner and lover of horses.  Look at the years of experience both he and these terrific bloggers are sharing with us all!

Thanks to all.

The Learner  

07 Apr 2009 6:38 PM
For Big Red

TO GUNBOW: Thanks, and I agree with what you said about Steve. We are indeed lucky to have him doing this blog. These B-H blogs are what have drawn me back to the sport. It's a joy to be able to talk all things Thoroughbred racing with other enthusiasts.

Cliffy's Future does have Gun Bow in his pedigree. It's a treat to see his name there as he was only a modest success at stud. His best offspring was Pistol Packer, a filly who won a number of G1 races in France. Unfortunately, Gun Bow was sold to a breeding farm in Japan in 1974. I shudder to think what his ultimate fate may have been there.

07 Apr 2009 7:16 PM
Paula Higgins

LDP, thanks for your response too. I am sorry I missed the first one. I also think Stardom Bound looked thin.

You know, I am a R.N. and I work hard all day long, like many of you. When I come home, I really look forward to reading these articles and blogs. You all love horses and are plenty horse smart as well. I also love the dialogue back and forth; some of it pretty "energetic." Some of it is hilarious. All in all, this site is very entertaining and enligtening.

07 Apr 2009 7:57 PM


    No problem. I will agree with you after a long day a school, or work i also look forward to reading the posts, it is very fun.

07 Apr 2009 9:06 PM


    Your not suppose to run the same race in your prep as you would in the Derby. This race in my opinion took the edge of POTN and set him up perfectly. Now all he has to do is take to dirt, which i don't think will be a problem seeing as how versitle he's already shown us he is. He can run on turf or sythetics, plus he can come from anywhere in the field. POTN was not rank either, that means fighting the rider, tossing their head, basicly being just about uncontrolable. POTN was eager and keen to go on into slow fractions, which is just fine.

07 Apr 2009 9:11 PM
Matthew W

Pioneerof The Nile has made very disadvantageous moves in his last two--early moves on grass are usually bad moves yet POTN has gotten the job done vs many on the (grass-playing) pro-ride!--VERY likely he hits the Derby board....the guy who said I Want Revenge/Quality Road might be the next Sunday Silence/Easy Goer needs to amp the gloss down just a peg! One two-turn race does not a champ make--I Want Revenge maybe---but Mr "claim a guy for $20/raise to starter alw/15 point Beyer gain/12 days after claim/wins as 3/5 FAVORITE"---is right where he belongs in the light of day!...We'll see where this goes but I've caught this guys act and it's weak.....

07 Apr 2009 9:17 PM
Steve Haskin

You're too kind, guys. You're making me blush. But I do truly appreciate it. I'm glad we're all able to interact. Once the Triple Crown is over, I'll get back to the historical blogs.

To Picksixny, I agree that if Pioneer runs the same race in the Kentuckly Derby he won't win. But with the pace expected, there is no reason why he should run the same race. That's not his style at all. The dirt is a question, but he has won 4 stakes in a row as you noted, and that says a lot. I have him ranked high because of the other things about him I've observed and like. I think those fast works had him a little too sharp. He looked too on edge before the race and was sweating a bit. If I were Baffert, I'd think long works and not quite as fast.

07 Apr 2009 10:05 PM

Looks like I am forced to defend myself a little here, if Steve will allow it.  My comment had NOTHING whatsoever to do with Mr. Haskin.  I have told him on several occasions how much I value his work (and his kind heart).  Where were all you folks when he was given so much trouble by bloggers early on that he communicated to us that he was having second thoughts about doing the blog?  I can tell you I was right there being ticked off with them, telling them that we are about to lose a good thing because of them.  Where were you guys?  GunBow, I agree with everything you said about Mr. Haskin, we are very fortunate to be able to interact with him.  Again, my comment was directed at certain bloggers, not Steve!  It's difficult to gauge people over the internet, and I always give people too much benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong.  And moreover, feelings can be very easily hurt on these blogs.  Now, can we get back to horseracing?  Aren't there more pressing issues than my insignificant comment that was miconstrued?

07 Apr 2009 10:31 PM


well i don't know what race you were watching , but potn was dragging gomez up to the lead. while under hard restraint. he will off the board with that race. but you must also realize he is not fast either. especially to qr,iwr,ff, or dunkirk. and do you believe gomez will pick him over dunkirk i highly doubt it.

07 Apr 2009 10:33 PM

It is starting to look like a clash between Cali and Flori horses coming up to the Derby. I am surprised by the lack of support that POTN seems to garner, after what he has done, he should be the top one or two pick for most. Who else has beaten so many good horses? I have nick-named him, "Nostrils" . When he sets his head down and starts driving he has the biggest set of "air scoops" I have ever seen. He looks like he opens up those air holes and enjoys pushing through the air like some sort of breathing machine. I think people should look at these animals and judge them more by what they see, than just numbers and PP's. Witness the comments here about Stardom Bound. Observe and win......

Thanks Steve for the great articles, I always enjoy your insights.

07 Apr 2009 11:04 PM

Matthew W:

I NEVER said Quality Road and I Want Revenge are the next Easy Goer and Sunday Silence, nor did I compare the careers of Quality Road and I Want Revenge to the careers of those two great horses. I only said that GOING INTO the Derby, we might have to go back to 1989 to find two more impressive colts. Remember, going into the 89' Derby, Sunday Silence had only won 2 stakes as well, the Santa Anita Derby and San Felipe. That's it. Easy Goer was, by far, the more proven stakes horse at the time and that is why he was such a huge favorite. I've been the one on here telling people to relax, that there is a long way to go, that one or two of these horses will probably not even make the Derby. And if I ever compare any of these horses to horses from the past, I qualify it by saying that I am looking at these past horses at the SAME STAGE of their development. Look at what I originally wrote before telling me to do anything.

Here's what I wrote:"  I truly hope all the horses being discussed with such passion can actually make into the starting gate at Churchill the first Saturday in May. If they do, this does appear to be one of the strongest Derby fields of the last 20 years, right up with the 89', 94', 97', 04', and 07' fields. And in Quality Road and I Want Revenge, this field may have the strongest 1-2 punch since Sunday Silence and Easy Goer."

So, I was complimenting all of the Derby prospects, placing them, as a whole, next to 5 other crops. I don't think that is so unreasonable. Now, I can see how saying that QR and IWR  MAY give this year's Derby the best 1-2 punch SINCE Sunday Silence and Easy Goer can be seen by some as a stretch. However, consider this: Since 1991, only 3 horses have gone into the Kentucky Derby having already run 2 Beyer speed figures over 110. These 3 horses are Holy Bull (94'), Silver Charm (97'), and Indian Charlie (98'). Since 1991, there has not been a Derby that has had two horses that have both earned at least 2 Beyers over 110. Well, this year Quality Road has earned 2 Beyers over 110, with consecutive 113 and 111 Beyers. And if you assume that I Want Revenge lost 3-5 lengths in the Wood, then his 103 would certainly have been above 110, giving him 2 Beyers over 110 (Gotham 113). According to the speed figures, Quality Road and I Want Revenge ARE two of the fastest colts to enter the Derby since 1989. And it's more than speed figures. What IWR did in the Wood was just sick, and the fact that Quality Road has been so impressive in winning graded stakes races in only his 3rd and 4th career starts is also sick.  

Do they have alot to prove? Absolutely. Do I put them in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely not. These horses have alot more to accomplish before I compare their CAREERS with any horse in the Hall. Of course, I never said they had nothing to prove and that they are destined to be in the Hall. I only have to write this for clarification because Matthew W put words in my mouth.

With this hopefully clarified, I do believe IWR and QR are two horses of rare talent, and compared with other outstanding horses at THE SAME STAGE OF THEIR DEVELOPMENT, they are not too far off. Add a horse that has won 4 consecutive grade 1 or 2 races (Pioneer), another that has won 3 consecutive graded stakes (Friesan Fire), a horse than ran a 108 Beyer in his 3rd start (Dunkirk), and so many others, and we have a really good crop.

07 Apr 2009 11:47 PM

I want to make one more comment about my original "Sunday Silence/Easy Goer" post. Notice how in my original post I threw in the words "may" and "since" as in IWR and QR MAY give the Derby it's best 1-2 punch SINCE Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. I think I was fairly circumspect. I never meant to be definitive, and certaintly did not write that they WERE the "next" Sunday Silence and Easy Goer. If any  direct or implicit comparisons were being made, it wasn't between IWR/QR and SS/EG, it was with the horses SINCE 89'. By writing "since Sunday Silence and Easy Goer", I was specifically referring to those Derby horses from 1990-2008. It was the Derby contenders AFTER 89' that I wanted people to think about. Sunday Silence and Easy Goer remain the standard for recent (last 20 years) dynamic Derby duos, thus the word "since".

08 Apr 2009 12:31 AM


Observation is particularly important for the Derby. I'm sure that is why many will be reading this Blog. Steve is one of the very best, if not The best, observers of Derby contenders at Churchill. While most Derby contenders look good, Steve (and others) are usually able to give folks 3-4 horses that should be tossed based purely on appearances and works.


Has there ever been a Derby winner that fooled you with his/her appearance? In other words, since you've been going to Churchill early, has a horse ever looked really off, or worked poorly, or made an overall bad impression and then won the Derby?

08 Apr 2009 12:38 AM


baffert is known for fast works so he will not change.

08 Apr 2009 1:09 AM
Steve Haskin

GunBow, the key to reading my observations is, I'm not looking for horses to eliminate, because they can often fool you. I'm looking for horses that stand out, who I  think are coming up to the Derby in the best shape, as far as works and looks. If I write glowingly about a horse, it's because he really impressed me. If I wrote so and so worked this morning in l:01 and leave it at that, it means he did nothing to excite me. In my Friday column, in which I summarize everything and give my picks based on my observations, I wrote that Smarty Jones had the best Derby work I'd ever seen. Two that came very close in subsequent years were Barbaro and Street Sense. I also wrote that Monarchos had the best work in 2001, and raved about Fusaichi Pegasus' only work in 2000.

I've never been really surprised by a winner, because they didn't look or work well. Some Derby winners like Funny Cide and Giacomo came in late and I never got a chance to really observe them or watch them work. The closest I can come to answering your question is Thunder Gulch, who did not look good working in company with a filly, because he refused to leave her. He was all over her and looked very ordinary in his work. But that obviously didnt hurt him.

08 Apr 2009 2:59 AM


    I know POTN was the one who took gomez up, but as i said he was keen to go on, not rank. Gomez didn't allow him to become rank by letting him run his own race. POTN was running relitively, to me relaxed, was he pulling, most definitely, but a rank horse is a horse you can tell is upset, and refuses to settle no matter what you do. POTN was not upset, was not up tight, just keen to go into very slow fractions. Also are you Gomez himself? He may choose POTN or not. As of now he is more experienced than Dunkirk, he's getting better and better, and he's actually in the Derby. Right now i'd take POTN.

08 Apr 2009 6:05 AM

I watched the Wood Memorial and thought that Revenge really didn't beat much in that race... just like his last race in NY. I think there are plenty of others who have been dominating their competition (keener competition) that could have also pulled it off too under those circumstances, e.g. Friesan Fire, Quality Road, Dunkirk and Old Fashioned (and maybe Musket Man). He's a good horse, but I don't think that effort catapults him to the top of the heap. I'm not convinced yet that the So. Cal 3-year-olds are that spectacular. Papa Clem who was right in the mix with Pioneer and Revenge early on got his butt kicked in New Orleans. And I think Old Fashioned will do the same to him at Oaklawn. Have you noticed that most of the horses that have run against Old Fashioned have chosen not to run against him again, except Win Willy (love that silly name). Does Willy have the foundation for 1-1/8 miles?  Rachel Alexandra, now there's a star.

08 Apr 2009 9:18 AM

I hope everyone finds reasons to bet on horses like Friesan Fire, Old Fashioned, IWR, and POTN.  I would love to get 5 to 1 on Quality Road and laugh all the way to the window as I hear people say, "Wow...who knew Quality Road was that much better than the field?"

08 Apr 2009 10:07 AM

Dear Steve -  Thank you once again for another informative and educational column which I always look forward to even though I may not respond.  I am grateful for your insight as well as your dedication to helping us learn.

Fellow blog commenters, thank you for all your valuable messages as well.  I enjoy the commentary and the individual observations many of you have from either first hand knowledge or past experience.  It makes very enlightening reading and that is what I'm here for - to learn more about the Thoroughbreds that I love.  Thanks!

08 Apr 2009 10:28 AM
mike rullo


a.p. indy is the best sire in the last 15 yrs. but stephen got even was not a 1 1/4 horse and he has yet to sire one. I dont think the derby distance will help I want revenge's chances in the derby.

quality road is a throw out for the me a horse with foot problems before the derby that has gone on to win it??

do you remember unbridled's song, empire maker they could not do it!

08 Apr 2009 11:07 AM
The Rock


Below is a comment from Sohby Sonbol, racing manager for Zayat Stables in regards to PIONEER OF THE NILE race on Saturday to Dan Illman of DRF. Hope this clears a few things....


Just a comment on Pioneerof The Nile. You can state your opinion about your horses positively or negatively, that's your opinion. But so i will just address facts. You said that POTN was washed out before the race. I am not sure which feed you were watching the race on but the horse was the furthest from being washed out. I was there my self with the horse while saddling, in the paddock and until the minute he left to the track and observed him like a hawk till he got in the gate. The horse was very professional, very calm, and did not turn a hair and he was defiantly not washed out. Maybe the glow from how shiny his coat was gave you that impression. As a matter of fact when Mr. Zayat was walking the colt back in the winners circle he was not blowing nor did he even break a sweat.

Bobc thank you very much for your comments, wishes and hopes. I will try as much as possible to provide you our personal insight.

One of which is also about a comment Dan made regarding Pioneer's pulling hard. The colt covers about twice as much ground with one stride than any other horse does. So if they are walking in front of him going 24 then they slowed down to 24.3 and when his shutting off speed is faster than that he had no choice but to take it to them which made them go the 3rd quarter in 23.3, then he got in the rhythm of his cruising speed to the mile in 24.1 and came home for the final 1/8 in 12.2 which is consistent with his rhythm. HIs comfortable cruising speed is 12 sec for the 1/8 and he can do that all day long. That's basically running a 1 1/4 in 2mins flat. but of course a lot of factors come in to play like the trip he get and the condition of the track not to mention the pace of the race. I wish the Pampelmousse did not scratch because we would have ran a faster pace and he would have probably won it in 1:48

Unfortunately not a lot of people appreciate a horse that over comes different circumstances to win and adapts to any pace scenario to get the job done but by low margins of lengths. So he gets knocked for not winning by the "AirPowered" margins that I Want Revenge or the others win by. But at the end of the day he has won 4 graded stakes in a row so far: 2 G1s and 2G2s, every one that he has beaten has become a graded stakes horse Lime Rickey, I Want Revenge, Chocolate Candy, Papa Clem etc. He will probably end up being the youngest or one of the youngest horses in the field of the derby. With horses like Dunkirks have 4 months of age over him, or even 2 months like quality road. Everyone knows that in this time of their 3 yo year an age difference of 2 to 4 months is huge in their development.

I hope this provided some insight in how we view our colt. I will try to keep you updated as much as possible.


Posted by: sobhy sonbol on April 06, 2009 at 08:46 PM

08 Apr 2009 12:11 PM
marc W

When people comment on times, performances, quality of races et. so sure they know everything early and before it is "REAL" race time.


Whether you agree with Mr Haskin or not, realize he has seen many horses work for years and is on track and he has an edge on most of us. I know as the Derby gets closer I want to know how my picks are going in the morning before the race. He is a good source. ANYONE that knows racing knows that a horse can go 58 flat and look impressive or all out---on paper it is 58 either way. Some will understand my comment some will say the horse worked in 58.

Never pick before all preps are in and Post Positions are assigned unless taking a small shot on the futures. Just because BB won out of 20 doesn't mean QR or another can. A horse missing 3 days training can be dead meat heading into the race--wait wait wait!!!!

If you have TVG or HRN on your television you can see the works they offer. I would suggest you steer away from the jock's comments and go with the trainers like Tom Amoss for best results.  

Obviously, if you know what you are looking for and have seen many works your own opinion is all that matters in the end---As a former DRF clocker I still am open to others opinions, although I might not agree. When I know everything, I certainly won't be on any blog-I wouldn't share it, it would kill my price, but I don't ever have to worry about that happening.  

Thoughts to consider from someone who "does not" know it all.

Side note---The Pamp is the only one I have had to drop from my list because of injury---no changes (other than moving IWR up #3 from #9 after the Gotham) or excuses needed, but still all is subject to change before the 2nd.

08 Apr 2009 12:59 PM
Steve Haskin

Rock, clears up what? I dont know what point you're making? Did I not write nothing but positive things about his race?

08 Apr 2009 1:12 PM
For Big Red

TO MIKE RULLO: You wrote, "I don't think the derby distance will help I Want Revenge's chances in the derby." IWR may or may not win the Kentucky Derby. If not, it won't be due to his pedigree.

I Want Revenge by Stephen Got Even x Meguial by Roy. "Stephen" is by Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic winner, and Horse of the Year, A.P. Indy. Most know Indy is by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew out of Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise by Triple Crown Winner Secretariat. Weekend Surprise, of course, also produced Preakness winner Summer Squall, who sired Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic.

What may be less well known is that the dam of "Stephen," Immerse, was bred along classic (stamina) lines, being by Cox's Ridge, a son of Best Turn out of a mare by Blushing Groom. Immerse was inbred 5sx5d to Bull Lea, sire of Triple Crown winner Citation. In addition to Best Turn, other stamina influences in Immerse's pedigree include Man o' War, Princequillo, Wild Risk and Admiral Drake.

Starry Night produced I Want Revenge's dam, Meguial, to the cover of Roy, a son of Fappiano. Roy was a leading stallion in South America, where he sired a boatload of champions and over 100 stakes winners. As for Fappiano, it seems his reputation and influence on our classic races only grows with each new 3-yr-old crop.

Fitzcarraldo is the sire of I Want Revenge's tail-female granddam, Starry Night. Fitzcarraldo, Argentine Triple Crown winner, was a direct tail-male descendent of Alycidon, one of the breed's strong stamina influences. In fact, there are multiple stamina influences in Starry Night's pedigree. She was inbred 5sx4d to Donatello, sire of Alycidon, and an important stamina influence in his own right. Other stamina influences in Starry Night's pedigree include Crepello (by Donatello), Persian Gulf, Sideral, Blenheim II, Mieuxce, Wild Risk and Hyperion.

Handicappers would be wise to base their betting decisions about I Want Revenge on factors other than whether or not he can stay 1 1/4 miles.

08 Apr 2009 2:44 PM
For Big Red

TO MARC W.: Good advice. I'm not only interested in works, but in how the contenders are galloping in the mornings. Wish I could observe Friesan Fire's gallops, or at least get some news about how he's doing. He's almost the forgotten horse at this point, for understandable reasons.

08 Apr 2009 2:56 PM
marc W

For all those smarter than me with there facts and figures----

These truths to be true

I know whether the breeding is more inclined to sprinters or distance, muddy or fast, and of times.

A) A superior horse lets say for sake of argument a $50K and a $4K claimer---the 50K with wins at 5F is still going to beat the 4K with win over a mile at a 1 1/4---meaning if the horse is superior he will win at a greater distance no matter his breeding preference.

---Yes, breeding--it has merit--but not so much these days as hardly anyone breeds for true stayers these days-its not  sales ring popular--but more important is talent-it always has been.

B) There is no such thing as a distance loving horse---some are just better at it than others. The same is for mudders-some just handle the mud better---watch at any farm -horses get out of the rain and will avoid puddles if they can.

(I ran in 3 marathons finished 2 and ached so bad I wanted to stop in all 3. I would much preferred running 100 yards --trust me horses don't love running over a mile with 126 pounds on their back--its just some can do it well)  

C) As to times---very simple

If a 10K race is run in 1:09 and the horse won by 10 lengths--- on the same day a crack stakes sprinter with a $1/2 million besides his name for the year  wins in 1:10 wins by a neck-----I can, with almost complete certainty, say that if they raced in the same race ---the class horse--- wins---no matter what the time.

Handicapping isn't all facts and figures.

08 Apr 2009 3:32 PM
Ann in Lexington

Re: Beyer numbers. Aren't they calculated based on historical data? How fast horses at particular levels have run in previous meets at the same distance? Well, the surface at SA was laid down last summer and was used for the Oak Tree meet, and then for this winter meet. That isn't a lot of data, compared to that available at many other tracks, unless they are cheating and using data from previous surfaces. Grain of salt required with use.

11 Apr 2009 8:05 PM

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