Ky. Derby Trail: Mucho Gracias


Just when it looked as if form was about to do an about face and leave us with a core of 3-year-olds who like the past couple of years keep beating each other, up popped Much Macho Man, Santiva, and Rogue Romance to boost last year’s form by finishing 1,2,3 in Saturday’s Risen Star Stakes (gr. II).

It was a strong 1,2,3 and they all did it the right way. Mucho Macho Man had a one-race head start on the other two, and with blinkers off was able to relax behind the pace-setting Decisive Moment, turn back the challenge of Santiva at the head of stretch, and draw clear to a 1 1/2-length victory. Santiva ran on well to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the late-closing Rogue Romance, who caught the highly regarded, but inexperienced 2-1 co-favorite Machen for the show spot.

Mucho Macho Man earned a solid 94 Beyer figure and confirmed the form of last year’s Remsen Stakes (gr. II) when he was a strong second to leading Derby contender To Honor and Serve. He is a big, hard-running, heavy-striding colt who has had a remarkable career so far considering this was his seventh start and he won’t even turn 3 until a week and four days after the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), so he pretty much is still a big baby. Also, in those seven starts he has competed at six different distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles at five different racetracks and has never been worse than fourth, and has never been beaten by more that 4 1/2 lengths.

This colt gobbles up ground, which helped him come home his final sixteenth in a swift :06 1/5 following a :24 flat quarter. Those are the kind of closing fractions you want to see in a Derby horse.

He does have a number of speed influences in his pedigree, but his inbreeding to Grey Dawn II (through broodmares) no doubt helps him stretch out in distance. His paternal grandsire, Holy Bull, sired Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, and although his broodmare sire, Ponche, was best at shorter distances, setting a track record for seven furlongs at Calder, Ponche is a half-brother to Fleetstreet Dancer, the only American-trained horse ever to win the Japan Cup Dirt. Ponche’s dam, Street Ballet, and granddam, Street Dancer, both were top-class, two-turn grade I fillies.

With Mucho Macho Man’s victory, trainer Kathy Ritvo has infiltrated the elite group of Hall of Fame and future Hall of Fame trainers Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Nick Zito, Bob Baffert, Steve Asmussen, and Kiaran McLaughlin who had the eight top-ranked contenders on last week’s Derby Dozen. Between Ritvo’s amazing story recovering from a heart transplant a few years ago and the small-guys-make-good stories of majority owners Dean and Patti Reeves and minority and original owner Dream Team Racing, Much Macho Man is fast becoming this year’s big Cinderella horse. More on those stories as we get closer to the Derby. Add to that the Risen Star being dedicated to the colt’s regular rider Eibar Coa, who underwent a six-hour surgery the morning of the race for a fractured vertebra suffered in a spill the day before.

In addition to the Remsen, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) form was boosted by Santiva’s performance, as was seventh-ranked Astrology, who finished second in the KJC after winning the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III). And you can say the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) form was upheld to some degree by Rogue Romance’s strong finish.  

Santiva pressed the pace, dropped back a bit on the turn and then made quick move to pull right alongside the leaders on the far outside. He was on near-even terms at the eighth pole, but couldn’t match strides with the winner in the final furlong. This race showed some of the skeptics that he’s not as slow as once thought, based on his low Beyers figures from last year. He ran an excellent race first time out, showed some quickness on the far turn, and definitely should improve off this effort.

Rogue Romance was in behind horses most of the way and had to wait for traffic to loosen up at the head of the stretch. He wasn’t quick enough to burst through any openings but kept making steady progress and was running well at the finish. He also should move forward with this race under his belt.

As for Machen, he was overbet and ran the kind of race one would expect of a lightly raced colt who still hasn’t reached maturity, especially his tardiness breaking from the gate. He again broke slowly, moved up gradually, and like Rogue Romance had to wait for room behind horses. He was able to swing out for a clear run, but lacked a strong closing punch. As we said, it was only his third career start and first in a stakes and he was beaten only 4 1/4 lengths. He proved he can run with this caliber of horses and should improve as he continues to mature.

Pants on Fire changed tactics and was taken back off the pace this time. He made a threatening move passing the five-sixteenths pole but was fanned some eight-wide after having raced wide the entire way, and couldn’t sustain his move. He finished sixth, beaten 7 1/4 lengths, but it’s too early to count him out. This is an indication of how strong this race was, with so many horses likely to improve off it.

The Factor is on…now

It is obvious after watching Sunday’s seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) that The Factor is freakishly fast. Although his margin of victory was only three-quarters of a length over the late-closing Sway Away, he demonstrated what a special horse he is by putting a very fast horse in City Cool away with relative ease, then opening up a clear lead on his own while still on a fairly loose rein. This horse didn’t need to be on the lead, it just happened to be the place to be, especially with City Cool in the starting stall directly to his inside and the other speed burner, Premier Pegasus, in the stall directly to his outside. If Martin Garcia tried to snatch him back from between those two horses, they could have put the squeeze on him and put The Factor in a precarious position.

When The Factor wants the lead it is apparent there is no one to stop him, as evidenced by the torrid :21 1/5 second quarter that cooked City Cool, who staggered home in last, beaten 16 1/2 lengths. Even the two-time stakes winner Premier Pegasus started to get a bit leg weary trying to keep up with that pace, in which they went the six furlongs in 1:07 1/5. Even on the new Santa Anita Freeway that is motoring.

The Factor opened a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole and was never in any danger despite the explosive late run from Sway Away. One would have thought that Sway Away’s momentum would have carried him past The Factor on the gallop-out, but the winner actually opened up several lengths on him and showed no signs of wearing down from that taxing pace.

What made The Factor’s victory all the more impressive is that he went into the race off only two works since Jan. 9 – both at Hollywood Park and both long works (6f in 1:12 and 7f in a bullet 1:24 2/5), which gave him the bottom he needed.

The question is: now what? Baffert could stretch him out in one of his favorite races, the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby (gr. III) March 27, but don’t expect him to rush this colt into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Right now, with his speed and his pedigree, which has a good deal of speed influences, he looks like a King’s Bishop (gr. I) type of horse, and don’t be surprised to see him point for the Met Mile (gr. I), especially in a year with no Quality Roads.

As for Sway Away, this was a huge 3-year-old debut, with him having been out since his second-place finish in the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) on Aug. 8. The flashy son of Afleet Alex, out of the Seattle Slew mare, Seattle Shimmer, came from dead-last, almost a dozen lengths back, with a powerful sweeping move. He was running with his head high as he charged past horses down the stretch and then seemed to level off in the last 100 yards. His tail-female family is made up mostly of sprinters, so it will be interesting to see how he stretches out, especially with his sire and broodmare sire both having won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Premier Pegasus ran a solid enough race to finish third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. He is bred to run long, so there is no reason to think he won’t fare better at longer distances. Don’t throw this colt out of the Derby mix just yet.

Arch of Triumph

The recipe was there for an upset in Monday’s Southwest Stakes (gr. III), with an 11-horse field, the 6-5 favorite J P’s Gusto making his first start of the year, and the 2-1 second choice, Elite Alex, drawing post 9.

Meanwhile, 14-1 shot Archarcharch, whose owners no doubt are taunting the Derby gods with that name, was coming into the Southwest having finished a tiring fourth as the even-money favorite in the one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes after an impressive score in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds. However, this is a son of Arch, out of a Woodman mare, whose second dam is by Nureyev, so he’s not even bred to run that short and it was just a question of taking him back off the pace and letting him settle, which he did in the Southwest.

So, as seven horses managed to string themselves out across the track turning for home it was Archarcharch, under jockey Jon Court, who broke free from the pack and began drawing clear while still on his left lead. Court hit him several times right-handed and began drifting in, but he did finally switch with about 70 yards to go. Oaklawn’s fractions and final times have been pretty bizarre, as they have been for several years, so it’s hard to judge the :26 1/5 final quarter or 1:38 1/5 final time.

J P’s Gusto ran another solid race. Throw out his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and he’s always right there, having won four stakes and finished second in three others, including a first or second in three grade Is. He encountered a bit of traffic at the head of the stretch, but pretty much had a clear run and was gradually getting to the winner without ever looking like he was going to win. Pedigree is a big question mark with him, with speed running all through his pedigree. But he’s a stone-cold runner and is going to continue to win his share of races.

Elite Alex had an opportunity to run earlier on the card in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race, but his connections chose to stay at one-mile and face a tougher group of horses to see what they had and try to collect some graded earnings. As it turned out, the allowance race was won in impressive fashion by Alternation, who was coming off a head victory over Elite Alex in a one-mile allowance race, in which Elite Alex was forced to overcome a horrendous start.

With his outside post, Elite Alex had to take a circuitous route in the Southwest and had made good steady progress from 10th to reach contention approaching the top of the stretch when everyone fanned out, forcing Elite Alex and Calvin Borel to go seven-wide. He ran evenly to the wire, finishing third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. It is important to remember that these are prep races and Elite Alex was making only his third career start and his first stakes appearance, just as Machen was in the Risen Star. There will be better days ahead for the son of Afleet Alex, who still has the Rebel (gr. II) and Arkansas Derby (gr. I) to pick up stakes earnings. The Southwest will give him valued experience, especially encountering large fields.

The biggest surprise in the Southwest was the huge fourth-place finish by 79-1 Picko’s Pride, who had never been farther than six furlongs and had to break from the 11-post. The son of Cactus Ridge was forced out by Brickyard Fast coming out of the gate and dropped way out of it, some 20 lengths off the lead. Around the far turn, he unleashed a big move along the inside, flying past horses, but ran into a wall of traffic. Engulfed by horses, he was able to ease out to the middle of the track and closed fast to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths.
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Caleb’s Posse, winner of the Smarty Jones, was trapped behind horses and couldn’t get free until it was way too late. With even a little luck he surely would have done much better than a sixth-place finish.

As for Alternation, he has yet to face stakes competition, but you have to like what you've seen so far from the son of Distorted Humor, and he did defeat Smarty Jones runner-up Dreaminofthewin in his 3 1/4-length allowance score. He was under pressure early and felt the whip before reaching the head of the stretch, but he did dominate this field and drew off in complete command.

So, all in all, this was a strong weekend with a number of promising performances. Many Derby hopefuls are showing improvement and that's all you can ask for in February.

Crimson seeing red, as in roses

Don’t be surprised to see recent grass allowance winner Crimson China show up in a stakes either on dirt or synthetic next time out. He’s already won on synthetic and he has dirt all through his pedigree. The Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) could be a possible target.

But if he ever makes it to the Breeders’ Cup, you might want to consider putting him on the bottom of all your exactas, and don’t count on him winning any photos. Here is a little whimsical pedigree note on this colt:

His sire, Giant’s Causeway, finished second, beaten a neck, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Giant’s Causeway’s sire, Storm Cat, finished second, beaten a nose, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His broodmare sire, Mr. Greeley, finished second, beaten a neck, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and his second dam’s sire, Dayjur, finished second, beaten a neck, in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

But for now, we’re talking about the Derby, and the above mentioned performances in the Classic, Juvenile, and Sprint, suggest a horse with a great deal of versatility in his pedigree. As we said, he’s already won on Polytrack in England and grass in America, and the best work he’s had at Palm Meadows has been on the dirt. What was impressive about his latest performance is that he went from a rail-skimming trip to fanning seven-wide turning for home, cornered beautifully, and came flying home his final eighth in :10 4/5 to defeat the 4-5 favorite, Ari C. Like Giant’s Causeway, he runs with his head slightly down and with a lot of determination. And you have to like his final three-eighths in :34 2/5. He could be an interesting sleeper if he can run like this on the dirt.

Trainer Graham Motion also has the Whirlaway Stakes winner Toby’s Corner, who is on course for the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), so Motion could have a double-pronged attack for the Derby from the north and the south. Crimson China was purchased by Team Valor International following his three-length victory at Wolverhamption Nov. 25.

Blazing Bind

When was the last time anyone saw so many young, incredibly fast horses break their maidens at 3? Imagine if The Factor, Runflatout, Albergatti, Cal Nation, and now Bind were able to get started earlier and not fallen so far behind.

It looks like the Adele Dilschneider, Claiborne Farm, Al Stall team, which brought you Blame last year, has a monster on their hands after Bind’s freakish maiden romp in which he drew off on his own with smooth, effortless strides to win by 9 1/2 lengths in a scorching 1:08 4/5, earning a lofty 105 Beyer. And he did it without being touched with the whip. His connections have been waiting for this moment to unleash him, and just like that they have a potential star with a limitless future.

Bind is a son of Pulpit, out of the Unbridled mare Check, so there is no reason to believe he will not carry that brilliance two turns. He’s just not ready to be thrust into the Derby picture, and this is the last team that would rush a young horse.

Cause and effect

A recent headline on DRF.com reads: “Queen’s Plate, not Derby, is the goal for Bowman’s Causeway.” Although the story itself does not state anything definitive, the lead-in reads: “Bowman’s Causeway, a winner going 1 1/8 miles in a maiden race at Gulfstream Park earlier this month, is not a Kentucky Derby candidate.”

Bowman’s Causeway, who was not nominated for the Triple Crown, currently is under consideration for the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and/or the Florida Derby (gr. I). If the son of Giant’s Causeway, who is nearly 17 hands, built like a stayer, and maturing with each race, runs big in these races, does anyone really believe owner Martin Schwartz will not pay the late nomination fee and point for the Derby, or at the very least the Preakness (gr. II)? After all, the Queen’s Plate is nearly two months after the Derby and one race has nothing to do with the other.

This long-striding colt still has to prove his class in major stakes company and certainly doesn’t have to win the Fountain of Youth over what promises to be a very tough field. But if he does run on Saturday and is competitive against the likes of To Honor and Serve and Soldat, it would be wise to keep him in your Derby sights.

Trainer Patrick Biancone feels this is a talented and promising colt and said no decisions will be made until after they see how he performs in his next two starts. There is plenty of time to nominate to the Triple Crown.

Dialed out

By skipping Saturday's Fountain of Youth, Dialed In will have to find another race somewhere before his final Derby prep or be forced to go into the Kentucky Derby off only three career starts and only one start in more than three months.

Sham Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Clubhouse Ride will miss the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), all but putting him off the Derby trail

2011 Triple Crown Prospects

The Blood-Horse's production of 2011 "Triple Crown Prospects," an online supplement, is now available for purchase on Bloodhorse.com. It contains in-depth analysis, ratings, color photos, pedigrees, and many other features on 40 top Triple Crown prospects, as well as information on dozens of other 3-year-olds.

96 Comments

Leave a Comment:

thederbydream

105 Beyer for Bind, WOW!! That is somekind of amazing. Felt bad for Caleebs Posse who was in the cat birds seat but had no where to run today. Thought Rouge Romance ran better than I originally thought.  I have to keep him on my Top 12 Derby List

21 Feb 2011 9:32 PM
Freetex

Great commentary, Steve.

I was so impressed with Sway Away.  Just like you stated, the way he held his head and fired as a closer was most impressive.  

Of course, The Factor put on an amazing spectacle.  It will be interesting to see where Baffert goes with his new star.

Finally, I am very excited about Mucho Macho Man.  What a run.  I'm pleased for the trainer as well.  Its always nice to see a trainer break into the wall of the big guys.

I always wait for your take on the races.  You see and observe like no other, Steve.  Thanks again.

21 Feb 2011 9:42 PM
quiet american 55

Great article Steve.  Yes, I was impressed with Sway Away.  For me, from this weekend, he's the one that stands out, for the derby trail.  Elite Alex as well, having run further than most in his race at OP.  Look to see both in the starting gate on May 7.

21 Feb 2011 10:02 PM
The Bid

All this jibberish 'bout horses vying for Place in The Derby...And Mo is licking his chops for Mar. 12th.

21 Feb 2011 10:07 PM
Betsy

The only thing I wonder about is this: is every horse that breaks his maiden at 3 considered a horse to watch? That's what it seems like.

In any case, Steve - another great write up. I don't know if you know this, but Stay Thirsty worked 5 furlongs on Saturday in 1:00 and change. He's looking sharp.

As to THAS, I have the UTMOST confidence in him. I just want a fast track on Saturday (no idea how he'd handle a sloppy one). If he gets that, he's just much the best. He's also working very well.

21 Feb 2011 10:49 PM
Linda in Texas

It will be nice to see Mo race. That is a given and i look forward to March.

This past week end was for all the not Mo's. And i found many i like.

Please if you did not watch The San Vicente, Race 8, do not miss it. And keep your eye on the outside horse coming from way back!

Out of nowhere blasting down the outside was the most powerful horse i have noticed in a long time. I am speaking of Sway Away.

I thought he was unusually fast almost like the horses run in Sprinting. Steve used the word charging. I totally agree. Had he had just 3 more seconds he would have passed The Factor. Not being as talented as The Master of This Blog, Steve, and others, i am hesitant to go out on a limb when one of these wonders catches my breath. But now i see i was not the only one to appreciate him.And after the race i looked up to see who is in his bloodlines. I should have known.

As for Bind, i find that he was the

other horse that stood out. Just a beautiful sight to watch. He smoked'em. I hope he continues to mature nicely and is not rushed to make the KD, but will be around to point toward the fall races. He is truly a svelte looking specimen.

It was a great week end of racing, including the riderless horse that won at Golden Gate, disqualified as the jockey was not aboard, but certainly got to the wire before anyone else nevertheless.

There are many more yet to race, and still no clear picture.

Could not stop without mentioning Mucho Macho Man. I like him. He exudes power and demands attention and respect. As do they all.

Very nice article Steve, thank you. And I agree with Freetex,  You don't miss anything about any horse and that is so refreshing.

21 Feb 2011 11:02 PM
Karen in Indiana

The two horses that impresssed me most this past weekend were Mucho Macho Man and Sway Away. Mucho Macho Man strikes me as talented and professional. And when Sway Away decided it was time to run, he went! I really like his pedigree, also.

21 Feb 2011 11:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Definitely Bind was the unexpected WOW performance of the weekend since The Factor did what he was expected to do, and I expected Sway Away to close like he did, and nobody else was overly impressive. As soon as I saw Bowman's Causeway's last race he zoomed onto my HTW list. I was impressed. He's only run on dirt so the headlines about the Queen's plate befuddled me. He's one that could sustain a drive in The Derby it appears to me. I'm thinking the same about Elite Alex despite his less than wowing performance today. The Factor will tell them where they are going next with him which could mean anything including one or two preps at SA and then The Derby if he succeeds in stretching out. He appears to not only be the fastest 3yo in America but the fastest horse in America although justifiable arguments could come from Big Drama, Twirling Candy, and Smiling Tiger. I know SA is fast but how many can run those kind of fractions and still run under 1:21 leading most of the way. Most will crumble. Mucho Macho Man appears to be one that could always be in the mix. I'm not sure what to make of Archarcharch. He certainly would seem to be bred for The Derby distance, and looked excellent physically. You can toss his last race in the fog. Other than that he has run all good races. The Southwest was only a mile so I don't know how much extra credit he should get.

The Bid

   My sentiments exactly. Jibberish. There is no clear cut leader right now which is almost always the case at this point.

21 Feb 2011 11:30 PM
Karen in Texas

Sway Away and Bind gave special performances over the weekend for sure! (As did The Factor, but I don't see him as a Derby horse now.) Rogue Romance did okay, but I'm wanting to see that come from behind kick he had in the Bourbon Stakes--so, Steve, you say you think he'll move forward? I know there will be the Rebel and Arkansas Derby for Elite Alex at Oaklawn, but many were expecting a different and stronger performance from him today. I hope it was a learning experience, as you said. The Derby trail is becoming exciting and slightly more focused at this point...

22 Feb 2011 12:18 AM
oahunick

For the colts, what has the Fair Grounds' (Risen Star & L. Derby) races really produced on First Sat In May?  

Gotta go back to Grindstone for a dual winner.  

Circular Quay,  Repent,  Pyro,  Ecton Park, Dollar Bill, Kimberlite Pipe, ect ....  

really nice horses but the correlation to the K. Derby is weak.

Hopefully the million dollar purse this year will bring in some real heavy hitters.

22 Feb 2011 12:38 AM
Steve Haskin

Betsy, I take it your blanket comment refers to Bowman's Causeway, considering he is the only maiden winner mentioned.

And you no doubt are certain that in the past I have mentioned EVERY horse who has broken his maiden and not just the ones who I thought were one to watch.


22 Feb 2011 1:29 AM
Deacon

Excellent and informative as always Steve. Sway Away really got my attention. As for The Factor, yes he is amazingly fast but to carry that speed over 10 furlongs and on a track like Churchill Downs with a completely different surface will be daunting at best. Baffert needs to either point for the Preakness or keep him out west. Sidney's Candy can tell The Factor all about Churchill Downs in the barn area. Mucho Macho Man was very impressive, but in my book Uncle Mo is still the standout. He obviously loves Churchill Downs having won the BC Juvenille...............

22 Feb 2011 1:30 AM
anna

she may not be a colt, but i say that might will break her maiden next time, since she's the fullsister to blame and she ran second in a 6furlong maiden race on sunday.

22 Feb 2011 1:35 AM
C. Rio

Steve as the breeder of Mucho Macho Man you hit all the right notes about pedigree and then some, Great job!!

22 Feb 2011 6:28 AM
Zenyatta John

Come on people!!

"If Sway Away had 3 more seconds, he'd had gotten to The Factor". Really? 3 seconds equals 15 lengths! Are ya gonna give Sway Away a 15 length head start?

"a riderless horse finished first" - Really? Since he's carrying probably 110 pounds LESS without the jockey, it kinda makes sense he might finish in front of the pack. I heard they're gonna have a play date with the horse that went swimming in the Tampa Bay infield lake in his round dirt pen!

"Might will break her maiden next time" - Really? I love hearing about a future winner that will pay $2.10 $2.10 & $2.10!!!

Come On!

The Southwest was an interesting race as they raced 3 or 4 wide down the backstretch and 7 wide on the turn. That was a trip handicappers dreams watching all those horror show trips. I thought Calvin was looking for a hot dog vendor on the far turn he was so wide.

I can't believe Dialed In is only gonna have one start prior to the Derby. He has no chance.

This years crop is just starting to get interesting ~ as my top prospect To Honor and Serve comes back in the Fountain of Youth this weekend and Uncle Mo is looking for an optional claimer ~ I mean listed race so he doesn't have to face anyone who may pose a slight challenge.  I hear Uncle Mo connections are asking the Gulfstream racing officials to write a race with conditions - "for three year olds who won the BC Juvenile the year prior" - so he can make his return in a walkover!

The Road is now getting interesting.

22 Feb 2011 7:33 AM
Giddyup

Some decent horses raced in the Risen Star but I didn't see a performance that would make me think I was watching anyone that could seriously give Uncle Mo a problem. The Fountain of Youth Stakes however looks like it is going to be loaded with some real talent and a dominating performance by a horse in that race will certainly get the attention of Mo backers. The Factor has to excel at longer than 7f to convince some of us but you really have to like what Sway Away might be capable of achieving later this year.

22 Feb 2011 7:50 AM
Fran Loszynski

Elite Alex is wicked fast. He would have won the Southwest hands down but Calvin and he were pushed too far out to the right. Having the heart of Afleet Alex believe me fans, this awesome horse will not let it happen again! What speed and Calvin knows what to do. Yes Sway Away and Elite Alex will both be in the Kentucky Derby not to mention look for Harissa too.

GO ALEX'S KIDS!!!!!

22 Feb 2011 8:12 AM
Trebloc

Nice summary of all the races this weekend.  With Dialed In opting to skip the Fountain of Youth and the Timely Writer, what's next for him?  The Tampa Derby, Gotham or will they train DI up to the FL Derby?  Last time these connections had a top Derby horse it did not work out well for them in Tampa.

22 Feb 2011 8:27 AM
Betsy

Steve, did I say I was referring only to you? It's a general practice everywhere - that every 3 year old who breaks his maiden must be a potential star.

22 Feb 2011 8:37 AM
Footlick

The Factor opened a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole and was never in any danger despite the explosive late run from Sway Away. One would have thought that Sway Away’s momentum would have carried him past The Factor on the gallop-out, but the winner actually opened up several lengths on him and showed no signs of wearing down from that taxing pace.- Steve Haskin

Sometimes I just don't think you guys read.  The Factor was never in danger of getting beat, even after those fractions.  

22 Feb 2011 8:50 AM
Grande Dame

I thought Alternation was ultra-impressive beating older horses easily in his allowance score!

22 Feb 2011 9:09 AM
AnneM

You would think that Sway Away won the San Vincente by some of the comments. However, the Factor did win and was very impressive in his win. He put away two very tough speed horses and still held off Sway Away and I think got a Beyer number of 102. This was only his 3rd start.

He may not be able to go a mile and 1/4 but he is the most impressive 3 year old I have seen so far this winter.

22 Feb 2011 9:43 AM
Love 'em all

Mucho gracias to you, Mr. Haskin, for the very informative read above.  

The Factor did not disappoint this one, nor did Bill O'Reilly, once again, featuring his namesake on his show last night!  Saw TF on the 8:00pm and the repeat 5:00am show.  

Cheers to both TF and BOR!  TF looks mighty good on the big screen.

22 Feb 2011 9:44 AM
Trebloc

Nice to see NBC is going to carry all three three Triple Crown races.  Neumy is the best!

22 Feb 2011 9:47 AM
Slew

Bind and Kathmanblu along with The Factor were most impressive this past weekend.  Alternation and Archarcharch both took the mile at 1:38...but Oaklawn seemed slow all day...as did the Fairgrounds on Saturday.  

22 Feb 2011 9:48 AM
Rachel

I love all your observations Steve! And, I will NEVER forget you were the only one who observed MTB and had positive things to say about the "plain brown wrapper that moves effortlessly over the track"...

22 Feb 2011 9:53 AM
Steve Haskin

Betsy, whether you're referring to turf writers or posters, I guess there is a tendency for people to want to discover that diamond in the rough and feel they witnessed the birth of racing's next star. There is a huge difference between beating maidens and beating winners and it's the next race after the maiden that is more revealing.

Rachel, I love your memory :). Thanks for remembering that.

22 Feb 2011 9:56 AM
SaratogaDreamin

Giddy,

I agree whole heartedly with you...the Risen Star and the Southwest show me no horse who can compete with Uncle Mo and to Honor and Serve.....The Factor will be unstoppable in 6/7 furlong races, should he stay healthy..but thats it

22 Feb 2011 9:57 AM
Steve Haskin

C Rio, thank you and best of luck with him.

22 Feb 2011 10:00 AM
Footlick

SaratogaDreamin- not everybody is going to be pressing the pace like they did in The Factor's last race.  He should get a mile and would love to see him point to the Met Mile

22 Feb 2011 10:26 AM
txhorsefan

Thanks, Steve, for your analysis and recap of the weekend's races that I missed due to family stuff going on.  I'm still trying to play catch up on this Derby trail and there seems to be several colts out there with lots of talent so it is an exciting time of the year.  Thank you for all that you do for us!

22 Feb 2011 10:43 AM
WinnahPickah

Prediction.

Timely Writer does not fill. Why challenge Uncle Mo and not get graded earnings? There are no superstars at Tampa Bay why not take a shot there.

I just hate the lack of distance/stamina/conditioning they put into these horses. Two starts and into the derby, good luck with that!

22 Feb 2011 11:05 AM
WinnahPickah

I agree Trebloc.

Continuity with the broadcast will help. Although, one of my favorite betting angles was throwing out Hank Goldberg selections. I'll miss watching his mythical bankroll 'hemorrhage' away.

22 Feb 2011 11:09 AM
Cris

This year is very interesting. The Factor, after hearing about him for months, is the real deal. Sway Away's run was all the more dramatic because the rest of the field was looking for oxygen after those fractions. Dialed In, after becoming a hot property, is taking the slow boat up the Ohio River. Wow. Keeping all the horses in some kind of order is starting to look like a overloaded Gin hand.

By the way, Mrs. Dupont's daughter has put the entire farm up for sale. That is Woodstock Farm home of Kelso. Kelso is buried there as well as many other racing stars. I wonder if there is a way to section that property off from the sale and make it a small park. There is only one five time horse of the year and who knows what the buyer will do with the farm? Off topic I know please forgive me.

22 Feb 2011 11:20 AM
YYZGUY

It will be very interesting to see which path The Factor takes Steve. As you pointed out, he opened up again after the wire effortlessly.

22 Feb 2011 11:43 AM
joe p.

Great article Steve! Very impressed with Mucho Macho Man and Sway Away. Holding judgement on The Factor until his next race when he stretches out. My top 7 now are 1. Uncle Mo 2. Dialed In 3. Brethren 4. To Honor and Serve 5. Mucho Macho Man 6. Sway Away 7. The Factor

22 Feb 2011 11:57 AM
Pam S.

I haven't been following the Derby trail so closely this year as I normally do, and it was so nice to read this blog, Steve, and feel sort of "caught up."

One race I watched on the big screen was the San Vicente, and I must say I like Sway Away as much as everyone else does.  I don't know what to make of The Factor.  He is super fast, but every time a horse is so "freakish" so early in their career, it seems they don't last long.

Looking forward to the FOY on Saturday.  Sorry that Dialed In won't be there ... hope he didn't peak too early.  My favorite name this year is Mucho Macho Man (takes me right back to the disco era), and the horse isn't bad either.  Zenyatta John, those were some humorous (and accurate) observations.  With everyone being afraid of Uncle Mo, it seems odd he's running in the "Timely Written" race (no, not a typo).  Maybe they really are trying to have a very fresh horse who can sweep the Triple Crown.

22 Feb 2011 11:59 AM
Steve Haskin

Winnah, I was thinking the same thing, why waste a race running against him unless you have no Derby aspirations, and if you have no Derby aspirations then you can expect a very weak field with no one to even remotely test him. That is assuming the race does fill.

22 Feb 2011 12:00 PM
Forbidden Apple

Someone wrote that Dialed In has no chance with one start before the Derby. If he starts in the FL Derby it will be his second prep race before the KY Derby. This is the same amount of prep races Mo will have and many people are calling him a Triple Crown winner. I myself would have been much happier watching Dialed In run again in the F.O.Y. against even better competition than he faced in the Holy Bull. I thought these fine animals were called racehorses? I am starting to get much more interested in horses that like to race, like Prince Will I Am. He raced 11 times last year as a 3 year old.

Yes The Factor won the San Vicente, but he clearly was in danger of losing. He did gallop out well, but Sway Away rocketed past him just after the wire. I like both colts, it just seems like Sway Away is going to appreciate a distance race and his monster stride is unbelievable. It would be great if they both stay on the Triple Crown trail. Sway Away has the look of a killer and is the best maiden in the country. His explosive performance immediately made me think of Formal Gold. Sway Away will be hard to handle in the Santa Anita Derby.

22 Feb 2011 12:00 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Steve,

I agree with your analysis that The Factor is likely a King's Bishop type of horse.  I don't see him staying the distance of the Derby or Preakness for that matter.  

I was impressed by Mucho Macho Man, but just as impressed by the way Santiva raced first time back off the layoff.  He may be my pick for the 2nd leg of the Derby Future Wager.

I am still anxiously waiting for the three year old debuts of Awesome Patriot and Tiz Blessed.  Any word yet on their next race?  Awesome Patriot just worked 6f in 1:11.4, it would seem like he is ready to race.

22 Feb 2011 12:02 PM
Steve Haskin

Forbidden Apple, Zito needs to find two races for him, even if it means skipping the Fla. Derby and waiting for another race. It's not that he'll have only two starts if he goes directly to the Fla. Derby, it's that he'll have only one start in more than 3 months and only three starts in his entire career. Uncle Mo will have five career starts going into the Derby and two grade I wins last year. No comparison.

22 Feb 2011 12:04 PM
Karen in Texas

Pam S.---Agree with your characterization of the "Timely Written"! As Steve observed, what sort of field will it be??

22 Feb 2011 12:17 PM
Forbidden Apple

The Holy Bull was Jan. 30. and the FL Derby is April 2. That seems like 2 months between races. Are you suggesting that he might skip the FL Derby and just head straight into the KY Derby? That would be unheard of and silly.

22 Feb 2011 12:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Forbidden Apple, sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about. I said he needs two more races. If he can only find a race thats too close to the Fla. Derby he will have to skip the Fla. Derby and run in a later race like the Wood or Arkansas  Derby. Bottom line again, he needs two more races.

22 Feb 2011 12:39 PM
Forbidden Apple

The one start in 3 months comment was not clear to me. This does not sound good at all, something must be wrong with this colt. I have not noticed a recent work from him.

22 Feb 2011 12:51 PM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks again Steve, interesting developments to KD scene indeed, but until Uncle Mo runs again, I feel they will all be looking at his tail as the finish line approaches, off the KD trail, you mentioned sprinters "The Factor" and "Bind", both amazing so far especially "Bind" doing this on a real more honest racing surface, unlike "TF" so far, freakish in more ways than one, but as I have mentioned before the best 3yr old sprinter so far in my eyes is "Fort Hughes" and on a real race track/dead 108' effortlessly, he is my top pick, hope they all three can race soon anywhere but SA bongoland....Don

22 Feb 2011 12:52 PM
Gene in FL

I'm a partner in Dream Team Racing, AND Mucho Macho Man will be a big time factor on May 7th!

22 Feb 2011 12:52 PM
Steve Haskin

Gene, I'm glad to see you're not superstitious about putting the whammy on your own horse.

22 Feb 2011 1:07 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The FOY would have been the perfect race for Dialed In so Zito must have options in mind already. The Holy Bull was only a mile and the FOY is 26 days after that. It would have given mim more time before the Florida Derby rather than less time. What is he going to do run him in a race 26 days or less before the Florida Derby when he couldn't do that to get him into the FOY, the perfect race? Hmmm. You never want to run a horse when he can't safely run but too many are being overly cautious nowadays and not getting their horses properly conditioned for The Derby.

22 Feb 2011 1:25 PM
Carlos in Cali

Re: Dialed In

Steve,I mentioned last week on another blog that I thought he would be pointed towards the Gotham on 3/5. That scenario will give him about 4wks until a possible last final prep before the Derby,gradually going from 8f-8.5f-9f,do you think they'll go this route with him? He needs more experience,like you said.Strange.

22 Feb 2011 1:27 PM
Forbidden Apple

My worries have been put to rest, Dialed In is fine. I have heard that he is going to train up to the FL Derby.

22 Feb 2011 1:30 PM
Ryan Carey

Great Article Steve,

I heard Kelly Breen said he might send Nacho Business to the Timely Writer.  That could be a good test for Uncle Mo given his 1:36 maiden score and 3 bullets at Palm Meadows since.  Uncle Mo is going to have to at least bring his

"B" game then, what do you think about NACHO?

22 Feb 2011 1:41 PM
Betsy

Steve, I agree with that - that's what we're all in this game for. I do find it funny, though (and I apologize for not being clear that I was not taking aim at you)that every 3 year old maiden race is scrutinized to the nth degree, lol.

Do you have any idea if Heron Lake is ok? I know he wasn't going to be pushed to the Derby, but I had high hopes for him -and he's missed a couple of works.

I'm praying for a fast track on Saturday....I'm incredibly psyched about THAS' return.

22 Feb 2011 1:58 PM
Steve Haskin

Nacho Business is a really good horse.

22 Feb 2011 2:54 PM
Bob

I think Mucho Macho Man is the real Deal. He showed he could pace and pounce in the stretch. I felt he won going away and was getting stronger. A mile and a quarter will not be an issue. I currently have him rated no. 6 and expect him to move up from that. I didn't see anything else this weekend that was as impressive.

22 Feb 2011 3:13 PM
Aspercel

I was at the fairgrounds last Saturday, and it was nice to see some great horses ship in. I was impressed with the filly, as well as the top finishers in the risen star. Mucho Macho Man looks like a baby! He still has soo much filling out to do!

It was also fun to her the gasps of the crowd with every fraction posted in Bind's race. It was a phenomenal performance.  Hopefully this is all a sign of things to come, as I look for the la derbyto be deep. :)

22 Feb 2011 3:19 PM
Trebloc

The Timely Writer will fill.  Gulfstream is not going to let Uncle Mo get near US 75.  Cal Nation to the Timely Writer?

22 Feb 2011 3:22 PM
Zenyatta John

Watch - since Mr Baffert ALREADY SAID The Factor WON'T SEE 9 furlongs for a while , the only real target for him will be the Met Mile.

Forbidden Apple -

"Your relieved Dialed In is gonna train up to the Florida Derby?"

I hope your relieved that he's not hurt but should put off by Zito's moronic delusions that the horse will only have one more start prior to the Derby. He might win the Florida Derby by 15 lengths - he still will have no chance in the Kentucky Derby without TWO more starts.

Tiz Blessed has been sent away from Chad Brown's barn - so he's off the trail.

After reading that Uncle Mo is being pointed to the 'listed' race instead of the Tampa Bay Derby, two things come to mind.

First - how many horses will Gulfstream get to face him now that 'it's been announced'?  What good would a three horse race do for Mo? NONE.

Second - changes on the 'trail' only mean problems. Pletcher knows this and said "it's much easier to van him 22 minutes to Gulfstream than 4 hours to Tampa". That's a BS reason and Mr Pletcher knows it. If he was so concerned with 'the 4 hour van ride' - why even point him for the Tampa race? Did he just figure out it's 4 hours away?

NOPE - must be a problem with Mo.

Lastly - Fran, for me and every other serious horse player who reads Mr Haskin - stop saying every single offspring of Afleet Alex is the next coming of Spectacular Bid? To say Elite Alex is wickedly fast is plain silly with those slow Beyer's he's putting up.

"The horse won't let it happen again" - OK so when another jock takes him wide - he (the horse, Elite Alex)should be smart enough to just prop and stop and maybe even speak English like Mr Ed and tell his new jock that "Fran said I can't let this happen."   Please - enough already.

22 Feb 2011 3:39 PM
Zenyatta John

Wow - it only took a half hour and The Factor is now going to the Sunland Derby at 9 furlongs ...

Nothing like a three horse race for $800,000 , you'd think the race was in Cali!

22 Feb 2011 4:37 PM
In aint easy being good!

Zenyatta John that 339 post was funny but Elite Alex is the real deal and are you really going to be against borel in the derby??? Elite Alex will be ready he just needs a couple of more races to figure it out he stubled one race, went 9 wide the next race! He has overcame alot and will soon learn how to win!

22 Feb 2011 5:24 PM
Aspercel

To those involved with macho man... Chances he'll be back for the la derby? I hope so. I walked to my car pretty much next to him, and he was barely blowing. Didn't seem tired at all and was alertly watching everything around him. I'd be excited to see him run again.

22 Feb 2011 5:31 PM
Aspercel

Aint easy:

you seem high on alex. Has he always raced in front wraps? That's a red flag to me on a 3 yr old

22 Feb 2011 6:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zenyatta John

   Lighten up !!!! Let Fran have her fun !!!!! We all know there is only one lightning fast colt. He has surpassed the speed of light. Einstein would be befuddled by this colt that defies the laws of physics. They'll have to bring him back to earth at 9f though. I don't think he can do 43 and 1:07 and get away with it at 9f, he'll be a mere horse is a horse of course of course at that point. Wilbur !!!!!!!

22 Feb 2011 6:30 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Great article again Steve.  It really explains and ties in all this weekend's preps.  

Zenyatta John,

Elite Alex?  I am ready to toss the little "whipper snapper."  He's got one more chance.  If not for Steve's line here, "better things to come for the son of Afleet Alex," he'd be out.  Don't be too hard on Fran, she is keeping the faith and believing. As soon as Calvin went that wide I knew it was over, at least in that race anyway.  Elite Alex and Rogue Romance only have one more chance for me.

And why are they babying Mo now? He's going in the WHAT?  Timely Written?  What happened to conventional preps like the FOY or Tampa Bay Derby?  I don't get it.

Well they did write a race for Big Brown, but that was after the Triple Crown races, the Monmouth Stakes which he won.  Mo needs a prep in graded stakes company, what is Pletcher thinking?

Mucho Macho Man and Sway Away (and Factor, of course) were most impressive to me this weekend.  I wonder if The Factor does make it to Churchill how he will handle the track?  Steve says he's on the "Santa Anita Freeway" now and remember how cuppy and deep the Churchill track looked at Breeder's Cup?  It could slow him considerably?

Misc. Stuff:

NBC now going to carry all 3 Triple Crown races, at least America will know where to tune in. Big doings at Lane's End yesterday, Feb. 21.  The marriage of Rachel and Curlin was consumated there with Zen's and Bernardini's soon to follow.  Wish Eibar Coa a complete recovery.

22 Feb 2011 6:34 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Ain't Easy & Aspercel,

I have no idea what the front wraps are either.  The better son of Afleet Alex is looking to me like Sway Away now.  Seems to have more determination, drive, and maturation.  Elite Alex has one thing though that Sway Away does not, the Calvin factor.  This TC run gets more intriguing by the minute with Baffert vascillating The Factor in and out of the Derby

and Pletcher dreaming up races.

22 Feb 2011 7:02 PM
SaratogaDreamin

trebloc....cal nation will absolutely not be in the Timely Writer....The reason Mo is there would be so Brethren can run in the Tampa Derby...Pletcher trains them all, so Cal Nation won't be in against any other Pletcher runners this early in his career...

22 Feb 2011 8:23 PM
Alex'sBigFan

A little off-topic but another 3 yr. old son of Smarty's, Smarter Than Ever, won at Turfway Park on Monday, a $20,000 purse race.  This helps Smarty's cause a little as did Rogue Romance's 3rd.  I found that Smarty Jones' stallion fee in 2005 was $100,000!  It is now down to $10,000.  Yet Japan and everyone else wants him!  Go figure!  

22 Feb 2011 9:58 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Well, the "timeliest Derby prep writer" we know is Steve Haskin, and if they insist on entering Mo in this race, at least they could  name it the "Haskin Derby." Very apropos.  No one better to write about Derby preps than Steve, about time there was a prep race named after him.  

22 Feb 2011 10:39 PM
Wild Horses

I was just as impressed by Santiva as MMM in the RS. It was his first start back since the KJC last year and he was carrying 6 more lbs. I like them both. To the person wondering why DI needs more preps than UM. UM had a good 2yr old foundation, when DI has only had 2 starts. Love DI, but hope they aren't making a mistake not running in the FOY if they can't get another race to fill. They should start him in the overnight stake UM is going in. The factor is not a Derby horse. He reminds me of all the other speedballs Baffert has had like Concord Point last year. Interested to see Jaycito come back this weekend now that he's with Baffert. Also like THAS and Soldat. Could have more talent in this 3yr old crop than the last few years. Hope so.

22 Feb 2011 10:56 PM
jayjay

It's very interesting the effects of the Derby when owners/trainers starts planning their path.  Just this week, and everyone's been talking about it, we saw 3 different "decisions" that for me does not make sense at all :

1.  UM running in GP

2.  Dialed In skipping the FOY

3.  The Factor going 9F

Just goes to show the pressure of the Derb...

Zenyatta John : Very interesting point about UM and TP's decision to go to GP.  I sure hope you're wrong though because even though I don't quite buy into UM as the next TC winner, I still don't want to see the horse hurt in any way.  I just hope they're trying to preserve the undefeated record so they're taking the easiest walkover races they can find.  It's quite possible they're have no doubt that UM will win the Derby and doesn't need any "prep races", just paid workouts, maybe they are that confident.  My money ain't goin to Mo on Derby day though :)

22 Feb 2011 11:35 PM
alydarstar

It seems to be a very interesting Derby road... Yes, The Factor was impressive, as well as Mucho Macho Man and Sway Away... But i really liked Premier Pegasus, a lot... I agree with you Mr Haskin, about the possible preferences of this colt for longer distances... From the west, PP is one of my favorites, not only for the Triple Crown Serie, but for the rest of the season..

23 Feb 2011 8:21 AM
nickie

Alex bf, I think you may have hit the nail without realizing, when you said "what is Pletcher thinking"...me thinks that Mr. Repole is his "guide" here, and as we all know, like the patient telling the dentist which tooth hurts, and which one to pull is a giant leap, that as fans we all like to playout. In the case of Mo's connections, they should talk to Dutrow and ask him about 'Brownie and his perils thru the Triple Crown race....translation; too many cooks spoil the broth...very interesting to watch this play out!

23 Feb 2011 9:43 AM
Footlick

Fran's enthusiasm for Afleet Alex's offspring is at least something positive and not cynical and snide.  If you can't appreciate her enthusiasm, then don't read her posts.  Her posts remind me that there are fans who just love the horses.  Keep it up Fran!.

23 Feb 2011 9:52 AM
Footlick

On another note, Old Vic just died.  He was from the first crop of Sadler's Wells and won the French and Irish Derbys.  After standing in Japan, he came back to stand in Europe and became a top sire of jumpers, his offspring won two Grand Nationals and a Chet Gold Cup among many others.  RIP

23 Feb 2011 9:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

"I am starting to get much more interested in horses that like to race, like Prince Will I Am. He raced 11 times last year as a 3 year old."

But Will I Am is not a stallion prospect because a) sire Victory Gallop has been branded 'a failure', and b) he stays 12f. So his people can campaign him to his best advantage, even if he risks losing, instead of worrying that a loss will reduce his future stud fee.

23 Feb 2011 10:11 AM
Trebloc

If your were Mike Repole where would you rather have Uncle Mo's victory party, South Beach or Ybor City?  

23 Feb 2011 11:24 AM
Forbidden Apple

Zenyatta John,

Your recent post was right on the money on every point. I made a call and found out what little information that I could. The only good news was that Dialed In is safe and not injured. The goal is still the FL Derby, another prep before April 2 is not out of the question and to me it is a must. Uncle Mo being entered in the Timely Useless race is definitely a concern. I would not be the least bit surprised if something is a bit off with this colt. Last year I made several comments as to why every single Afleet Alex colt was being considered a Triple Crown threat. Although this year I am quickly jumping on the Sway Away wagon.

Alexs Big Fan,

Sway Away will be guided with the very alert hands of Garret Gomez, no worries here.

Pedigree Ann,

I agree with your comments about Victory Gallop as a stallion, however Prince Will I Am is an all together different package. And yes it is true that turf horses command a much lower stud fee than dirt horses. I just see talent in Prince Will I Am, he can run on dirt or turf, just like my old friend Einstein. I don't buy into the fact that a trainer enters a horse with fear of losing. Almost all stallions have lossed during their racing careers. My point was that I am a fan of horse racing and horses that happily race instead of being overly trained and then stuck in their stalls. I tend to follow more turf horses because they stick around longer than their 3 year old campaigns.

Is their a book that you might recommend to someone interested in studying bloodlines more closely?

23 Feb 2011 11:43 AM
Footlick

PedigreeAnn- he is not a stallion prospect in the US.  There are plenty of other markets in the world who still value a horse that can stay 12 furlongs.  Australia would be a nice fit for him I think.

23 Feb 2011 11:52 AM
Linda in Texas

Fran - would you like to join me in the drawing room for tea and violin music, Zenyatta John has ushered the gentlemen to the study for brandy and cigars to discuss horse racing.

You go Fran - you cheer and raise heck about every horse you like. And thank you so will i, i was impressed with Sway Away. Maybe i should have said as fast as i could count to 3 Sway 'might' have caught The Factor. Not 3 seconds = 15 lengths.

I could also mention that Sway looked a lot like Skip Away the way he raced with his head held high and pounding the ground so hard.

I am not a numbers person, and i am a novice and i don't bet as i have stated. I leave the numbers, the furlongs and all that other to the real handicappers, Footlick. Dr.D.Lazmanick,jayjay,SaratogaDreamin, and most of all to Steve. For me, it is all about the 'heart' of the matter.

Maybe Zenyatta John has calmed down today. Meanwhile, i wonder if i can come out of my room yet??

23 Feb 2011 11:57 AM
Alexfan

This was the third start of Elite Alex's life...Going 10 wide beaten two lengths in graded company doesn't seem terrible. You'll see his best going more than a mile.

23 Feb 2011 12:04 PM
Ranagulzion

Forbidden Apple,

Like you, I see no problem with Dialed-In training up to the Florida Derby.  I'd never second guess an experienced trainer like Nick Zito who has already won two Kentucky Derbies (Strike The Gold & Go For Gin).  So far D-I's races have been spaced out and he's doing fine.  No problem at all.  Win or lose the Florida Derby will set him up perfectly to peak in the Kentucky Derby.  Right now he and Mucho Macho Man are the biggest dangers to Uncle Mo.  Sweet Ducky and Santiva are not far behind IMO and I'm watching Soldat and Gourmet Dinner with a lot of interest in the upcoming Fountain Of Youth Stakes.

23 Feb 2011 12:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

   Great post. That room is smokey !!! And they're getting a little too drunk. I don't mind putting on the gloves, but they want to go out and have real duels with real pistols and real bullets to settle The Derby List, whether it should be a dozen or a baker's dozen !!!! Can I have some tea?

23 Feb 2011 1:16 PM
Forbidden Apple

Wow, I can not believe that someone did not correct my mistake with Sway Away. I thought that he was still a maiden. I did not see his maiden breaking performance at Pleasanton.

Ranagulzion,

Steve and Zenyatta John are correct when they say that Dialed In needs two more races before the KY Derby. There is still time for another race other than the F.O.Y., maybe the T.B. Derby. Either way, Dialed In is still learning and for an inexperienced horse to perform like he does, the sky is the limit for him.

23 Feb 2011 1:26 PM
Karen in Texas

Fran L.---I really enjoy reading your enthusiastic posts celebrating the sons of Afleet Alex! Calvin seems to believe Elite Alex has what it takes to be competitive on the Derby trail, and he is certainly knowledgeable in that area. The strong performance by Sway Away was an unexpected bonus, wasn't it?! Maybe Zenyatta John should start his own, separate blog for all those deemed by him to be "serious horse players" only. I can only imagine what a dull, tedious place that might be.

23 Feb 2011 2:12 PM
Linda in Texas

Yes Dr. Drunkinbum, you may certainly have some tea and would you entertain a bit of Brandy to go with, or just a cube of sugar!!!

Yepper, going to be a long wait til

May, that is for sure, and plenty of time for me to get my comeuppin's again! I'm gonna try and watch my p's and q's.

Dr. Drunkinbum, Z and B are proud parents to be as of this morning.

And Dottie used Steve's Photo of

Bernardini on Zenyatta's web site and credited Steve as the photographer.

I thought that was such a nice thing for her to do for Steve.

You are a people person so i thought you would enjoy knowing that if you don't know already.

Be safe.

23 Feb 2011 3:01 PM
Aspercel

Alexfan:

that is if his legs hold up. I have no problems with his performances, but I called eskendereya's issues after he ran in wraps in the wood. No one wanted to believe me! It just worries me to see front wraps on a 3yr old that's just gotten started in his racing career. I wish him and his connections luck because I do like the horse.

23 Feb 2011 3:56 PM
Alex'sBigFan

I stepped outside of this party, too smoky inside.  I'm over in the barn area teaching Dr. D's horse "Wilbur" this song:

Macho Macho Man

I've got to be a macho man

Macho Macho man

I've got to be a macho!  Hey!

Somebody in a post said the disco era and I could not help remembering this thing!

23 Feb 2011 5:43 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Fran,

Keep spreading your sunshine.  You stay positive always and I admire that because I've got one foot hanging off Elite Alex's bandwagon, ready to jump off.  Talk me back on!  I have a lot of respect and faith in Tim Ritchey though.

23 Feb 2011 6:30 PM
Arlene

The-only-negitive-I-noticed-with-Mucho-Macho-Man..he-seems-to-be-a-heavy-footed-stricker.Not-light-on-his-feet.Could-cause-firmness-problems.He-doesn't-really-skim.Even-Smarty-Jones-who-skimmed-came-up-with-some-cannon-bone-briuses.Sorry-for-the-comment-presentation-my-space-bar-is-out-of-commission!

23 Feb 2011 7:49 PM
Scott's Cause

New, but highly enthuised on Santiva.  Be very aware.  Also if Phd. of Pyscology Bob Baffert can get Jaycito's head on straight who knows--Belmont? Thanx for the after the wire info on The Factor.  Go Steve Byk.

23 Feb 2011 8:44 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Linda in Texas,

Yes, can you believe it, Zenyatta could be in foal as we speak!  The "wedding" took place at Darley this morning.  I wonder if they brought Street Cry out to give his daughter away!  And Rachel could be in foal as well.  Interesting how the two mares had to travel to Darley and Lane's End respectively and the stallions stay put.  Very exciting that two superfoals are in the making!  I wish them both well during their pregnancies.  Wonder how Pirate Queen is doing?

Steve's got a lot of photos to take on his next visit!  I like the Bernardini photo up on Zen's site too.

23 Feb 2011 10:39 PM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

“Right now Dialed-In and Mucho Macho Man are the biggest dangers to Uncle Mo”

Let me see if I understand. Mucho Macho Man who was soundly beaten by twice by THS;  whose victory in the Risen Star was achieved with fractions 24.67, 49 .24,1:13.65; who defeated slow derby pretender  Santiva  is part of a duo that represents the biggest danger  to Uncle Mo. Well I thought you were racing. The three quarters of the 2011 Risen was the second slowest in the last five renewals. They better only those recorded in the RS won by Pyro run a drying out track. Bind ran 1:08 plus for 6F he was 5 seconds faster for 6F than all the derby pretenders in the RS. The Bob Lewis had fractions of 22.45, 45.64, and 1:09.22. Even if these splits are adjusted upwards by two seconds they are 2 to3 seconds faster than those of the RS. The average Derby splits in the last 10 years excluding those run on sloppy tracks are 22, 46, 1:10 . Do you honestly believe horses that a horse that wins in splits of 24.67, 49 .24,1:13.65 is a serious derby horse with the speed shown by class on 2011?

Santiva won KJC in 1:45 plus. The previous year Super Saver won in 1:42 plus a full three seconds faster. Santive came back from his break and ran about 1:44 plus in the RS. Uncle Mo ran 1:42 plus in the BCJ. Riveting Reason came back from his break and ran 1:48.63 for 9F a distance Mr. Pletcher would not dear to sent the gifted Uncle Mo. The router Sway Away came back from 6 months break  and got beat in 1:20 plus,. I the time is adjusted upwards by 2 seconds it’s about 1:22 to 1:23. I continue to laugh at the various comments about the RS contingent. They are very slow horses who have no chance of winning the derby baring an Act Of God.

24 Feb 2011 6:30 AM
Billy's Empire

Coldfacts, you do realize MMM is a June foal, 17 hands, and is only going to keep getting better? Dismiss him if you want, but you may be sorry

24 Feb 2011 5:04 PM
blackgold77

@Coldfacts, do you realize every time I go to the track and bet on the fastest horse in the race according to the program.... I lose!!

25 Feb 2011 4:56 PM
Coldfacts

Billy's Empire,

Name me a June foal that has won the Derby. The colt does not have a derby pedigree and should be put away until late summer. He is likely to get hurt against  the big boys. Remember Second Of June.

26 Feb 2011 9:03 AM
The Bid

STEVE, PLEASE HELP!!!!SOS...

I have been reading posts on other articles written by yourself. Well done by the way! What in the WORLD are people referring to regarding MO's stomp?????????????????? Last time I checked, his fractions and most importantly RESULTS are un-matched...as a 2yr. old with a TON of room for improvement @ 3yrs.old! Can you remember another contender recent or one "down memory lane" that has ever won The Derby on STYLE????? Granted, his gate is "different??"...My point is this...In-different or different, whatever...MO is a RESULTS oriented colt that WINS!!! Regardless of Style or Stomp, I guess people have to come up with some sort of excuse to dismiss MO as a fluke! Like my namesake...There will NEVER be another Bid!...I am positive that MO's race history, age and even pedigree(some have taken issues with it), can significantly improve and The word "special" will be used by YOU in the very near future, when describing Uncle MO!! I sincerely enjoy all your work and stories, especially the one you wrote about The Bid and your daughter!! Continue your great work and tell Lenny to get a haircut...Just kidding!!lol

01 Mar 2011 10:53 PM

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