Ky. Derby Trail: Mos and Cons


One of the great aspects of the Derby trail is that in most cases the decisions made are not proven right or wrong until the first Saturday in May. So, you can debate all you want whether the decision to start Uncle Mo’s 3-year-old campaign off in the newly created one-mile Timely Writer Stakes is a good one or a bad one. Right now, it is nothing more than fodder for opinion.

But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed. That’s what the Derby trail is all about. Like everything, there are pros and cons regarding this decision. We don’t even know if this was the proverbial chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Or is that the cart before the horse? One of those two.

Did Gulfstream’s decision to write a race for Uncle Mo come from out of the blue and precipitate the decision to change direction from the originally scheduled Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) or did Gulfstream write the race because they knew the Men From Uncle would rather have stayed close to home than van four hours to Tampa? It has also been bantered about that WinStar Farm wanted Brethren to return to Tampa after his impressive score in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III). And why wouldn’t they? That is not to insinuate that WinStar Farm put the bug in Todd Pletcher’s ear. Pletcher is very selective what he allows in there. Let’s just say that it made sense for all involved to run Brethren over a track he’s already proven he likes. Pletcher’s horses have run well at Tampa over the past few years, but there are always those visions of defending 2-year-old champ War Pass, trained by Nick Zito, staggering home in the 2008 Tampa Bay Derby, beaten over 23 lengths, at odds of 1-20. Tampa’s surface can be quirky and not all horses handle it, even though form for the most part has held up pretty well there.

Getting back to the pro and cons, from a historical standpoint, only one horse – Big Brown -- in the last 30 years has won the Derby off only one two-turn race at 3. Before that, Genuine Risk was able to pull it off, as was Secretariat, but both those horses had an extra race under their belt at 3. Also, Secretariat had nine races at 2, while Genuine Risk had already won a major stakes at 1 1/8 miles at 2. It also is interesting to note for whatever it’s worth that both Secretariat and Genuine Risk lost the Wood Memorial, the race for which Uncle Mo is pointing.

It is important to remember that winning the Derby and remaining undefeated and maintaining the aura of greatness are totally separate from each other. When you have a potential superstar with the brilliance of Uncle Mo, the last thing you want is for him to peak before the Derby. Of course, you don’t want him to lose, but you can’t be afraid of losing or get too down if he does get beat. Kentucky Derby preps are for getting to the Derby in peak condition and are not meant to enhance a horse’s resume. Winning the Wood impressively didn’t help I Want Revenge and Eskendereya, who didn’t even make it to the Derby. On the other hand, the defeats of Secretariat, Genuine Risk and the 4-5 Monarchos became faded memories the minute they hit the finish line at Churchill Downs.

As for Big Brown, he truly was a freak that spring, and while Uncle Mo certainly has the potential to be a freak as well, it looks as of now that he will be facing a far better crop of 3-year-olds than Big Brown did.
 
Bob Baffert feels Uncle Mo is the kind of horse who would be better off with an easy race going one turn rather than having a tough race and risking injury, which may be the case. But from a foundation standpoint, there is always the danger that the Timely Writer will prove to be nothing more than a public workout. You definitely want a few horses in there that will at least make him get something out of the race to help get him toughened and seasoned enough to handle a 20-horse field going 1 1/4 miles two races later, especially with his style of running. Of the four horses recently who managed to win the Derby off only two starts at 3, Street Sense came from 19 lengths back, Mine That Bird came from 16 lengths back, and Super Saver came from eight lengths back. Even the speedy Big Brown had to adjust a bit, coming from sixth.

Although Big Brown was able to get away with two easy victories and only one two-turn race at 3, no horse has ever gone into the Derby off two easier scores at a mile and 1 1/8 miles than Bellamy Road, who won both his starts by a combined 33 lengths, earning an other-worldly 120 Beyer figure in the Wood. In the Derby, this freak in the making got cooked chasing a blistering pace and had nothing left at the end. That race put him on the sidelines until the Travers. The Derby has a way of turning gods into mortals, so you better get there the right way if you want to still be enshrined when you leave.

And if you’re looking ahead to the Triple Crown, again from a foundation standpoint, Big Brown was so far superior to his opponents he was able to dominate the Derby and the Preakness. But then came a quarter crack and a letdown in his training, and the result was that he came crashing down from his adrenalin high and fell apart in the Belmont Stakes. Despite being at least 10 lengths better than anyone in that field he just did not have the racing foundation to go 1 1/2 miles, combined with his physical setback and his mental meltdown. One of the reasons Smarty Jones, who was not bred for 1 1/2 miles, nearly was able to pull it off was that he not only was a potentially great horse, he had four races at 3, including three two-turn stakes victories.
 
We obviously are getting way ahead of ourselves, especially considering we have no idea the true depth of Uncle Mo's talent or what kind of competition he'll be facing.

But as we said, this is the time on the Derby trail for discussion and speculation. This could work out perfectly for Uncle Mo, who may be one for the ages; we just don’t know at this point. We are merely pointing out that the “one two-turn” path is not one normally taken. In the long run, however, it may not matter in the slightest where he runs as long as he gets something out of it and the race moves him forward. The rest will take care of itself.

We’re all aware that times are changing and the conservative approach, whether by choice or necessity, has proven successful. If Uncle Mo is able to pull this off, you can bet movie scripts will be popping into the heads of screenwriters across the country. So, if his connections want to try something different and attempt to set new standards of brilliance and possibly greatness, knowing the potential pitfalls, more power to them. That’s what this game is all about.

Owner Mike Repole embodies all the characteristics of his horse. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Both are dynamic and energetic and know how to command the stage. Repole has stepped out of the box so many times in his life he can’t imagine ever going back in. It’s not his style and it’s not Uncle Mo’s style. This is one case where man and horse were meant for each other.

The bottom line is, wherever and whenever Uncle Mo runs it’s going to be fun, so whether you agree with their decision or not, just sit back and enjoy the show.

144 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Susie

I am indeed sitting back and enjoying the show.  This time of the year, I'm rubbing my hands together in delight and in the everlasting hope that THIS is the year that a superstar sweeps the TC.  I'd love it to be Uncle Mo because I like what I've seen with him and his owner who seem to be class acts.

23 Feb 2011 3:37 PM
Rachel

I don't know, Steve, you wrote an article a little while ago talking about the things the Triple Crown trainers did as their colts entered their 3 year-old season and you said that pretty much they all dropped back in distance for that first race of the year...maybe it's smart to do less the first start back and build from that...though I do think another race for a total of 3 is better than just 2 before the Derby.

PS I don't think it was all adreniline high...♥

23 Feb 2011 4:08 PM
Draynay

Pletcher has a horse good enough to win the Triple Crown and he knows it.  A nice race of the layoff and a good smooth win in the Wood sets him up perfectly to peak in the Derby and Preakness.  The trick is to have enough in the tank for the Belmont.  If the Champagne and Breeders Cup didn't give him enough seasoning nothing will.  The Timely is perfect for Mo's first start.

23 Feb 2011 4:15 PM
Long live Point Given

Baffert knows what he is talking about.  He trained Indian Charlie and knows the offspring well.  Uncle Mo just needs to stretch his legs before the Wood Memorial and the Timely Writer appears to be a good prep for that.  The Wood Memorial will tell more.

23 Feb 2011 4:22 PM
Pboo

Every spring about this time we have another"horse for the ages". By mid June, not so much. This will again be the story. There is too much speed already showing up with the 3 yo crop and not one of them will win the triple crown this year. You heard it here first!!

23 Feb 2011 4:23 PM
Freetex

It will be quite a show indeed.

What I took away from your article Steve is gaining a solid foundation is most important for stamina and overall fitness.  Its interesting trainers have moved so far over to the less is more kind of Kentucky Derby progression.  Fear of injury would seem to be the most obvious reasoning based on previous Derby history.  Sure not like it use to be.

23 Feb 2011 4:25 PM
Steve Haskin

Rachel, I did say that about starting off at one turn. I didnt say that was the way to go when you're only having two starts. Slew, Affirmed, Bid, and Secretariat all had more than two starts -- most had four or five.

23 Feb 2011 4:41 PM
Steve Haskin

No, Freetex, it sure isn't. I'm sure this thread will have opinions either way, but as I said, in the long run it probably means nothing where he runs if he's the horse everyone thinks he is and carries over his 2-year-old form to 3. And, yes, if there are cons it's about foundation and holding together through the Belmont.

23 Feb 2011 4:46 PM
Larry Edmonds

Regarding whether or not Uncle Mo's campaign leading up to the Derby will "get him toughened and seasoned enough to handle a 20-horse field going 1 1/4 miles:"

I think what recent history has shown is that while a horse may be able to win the Derby off a light series of preps, it's unlikely the horse will hold up after the Derby. Triple Crown? Forget it. Breeders Cup? Even a start in that is unlikely.

23 Feb 2011 4:47 PM
steve from st louis

It's not like Pletcher has the formula down pat on how to have a 3-year-old peak for the Derby. When you leave no margin for error, you usually get burned and I think Pletcher is playing with fire. I'll take the "don't" if Uncle Mo plans on getting his seasoning in the Run for the Roses, off two preps.

23 Feb 2011 4:54 PM
CHoffman

Mike Repole and Uncle Mo are the Charles Howard and Seabiscuit combo of today, PR-wise.  Howard grabbed headlines, so did the horse.  Uncle Mike and Uncle Mo trade headlines back and forth.  I guess it takes a salesman to sell a horse.  Now, as for getting cooked in the Derby, there is only one horse who can do that: The Factor.  I've seen this screaming eagle live twice now and he has monsterous speed.  As long as Mo doesn't try to keep up and lets The Factor blow himself out, Mo should, traffic permitting, take him down.

23 Feb 2011 5:03 PM
Ranagulzion

Mo is a phenominal colt and the trainer is happy with his preparation so far and know what he is doing.  If there is any caution in their approach it could probably be influenced by hindsight: the fact that Eskendereya had one prep too much last year that cost him a win in the Derby and the 3YO championship because he was undoubtedly the best 3YO colt of that crop.

23 Feb 2011 5:12 PM
Karen in Texas

Interesting that Bob Baffert thinks Mo would be better off with an easy race going one turn. To me, Baffert is the current master at preparing horses for the spring classics. Maybe there will be enough competition in the Timely Writer to challenge Mo just a bit.

23 Feb 2011 5:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

This article tells you everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask except that The Belmont was the only one of the three Triple Crown races where Big Brown didn't have a steroid injection prior to it, and after  Derby 2011 the speculation and discussion will start about the possibility of him getting the Triple crown but it won't be about Uncle Mo; however if I'm wrong and Uncle Mo does win The Derby you can throw the Triple crown out the window and I'll have to live another year to see one again.

23 Feb 2011 5:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Karen In Texas

  I like Bob Baffert, but this is the year with all the talent he has that he has to win The Derby to retain the title of The Master At Getting A Horse Ready For The Derby. Otherwise the title is vacant for Derby Master Trainer. It has been too long since Baffert won one for him to hold the title beyond this year. There is truly only one current Derby Master and that is Calvin Borel. Certainly Baffert historically is one of the greatest though.

23 Feb 2011 5:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I would have like to have seen Mo prepared for the Triple Crown, not just the Derby. That is not happening. With this weak foundation, he still could win The Derby but then would have no chance for a Triple Crown. Basically he's a talented spoiled child who will run home to mommy when he tangles with the battle tested well conditioned street kids somewhere along the Triple Crown.

23 Feb 2011 5:49 PM
the illum

Well if Mike Repole ever decided to get into the breeding business he has ALREADY got a great sire to start with.If Uncle Mo retired after shortening stride in the stretch and losing in the Wood,not even hitting the board. He would command a high stud fee,eventhough he cannot run classic distances as a 3yo.I can understand why they are being so conservative with him.He is already very valuable.

23 Feb 2011 6:04 PM
WinnahPickah

As a 'capper, the new prep training is frustrating. There's no PP's with these Derby horses!

I hate picking horses based on workouts and that is what you need to do to win cash on derby day or kill the undercard!

23 Feb 2011 6:07 PM
Convene

I think it's way too early to be seriously speculating. Bob Baffert seems to know his horses pretty well and can get them to their best on Derby day - and we all know he'd love to win another Derby! I never bother with the early Derby pool because I've seen too many so-called superstars absolutely bomb by the time May rolls around - and as many longshots on the pool light up the world at Churchill. Meantime, I've got a couple I'd love to see win it - and they could, if things go right - and I'd never presume to wager against Uncle Mo at this point in his career. He's impressive. Now we'll wait and see if it's early bloom if if he's the real deal. But hey! It's fun to speculate too, as long as we don't get too rabid about it and remember too that the best horse does NOT always cross the wire first and take home the roses!

23 Feb 2011 6:58 PM
Forbidden Apple

With Big Brown it is well known that he lost his marbles in the ridiculous NYRA security barn before the race. And of course the quarter crack did not help his cause. His prep races were incredible, he won with ease every time.

With Eskendereya I believe his intense training at Gulfstream beat him up, as it also beat up Buddy's Saint. He came into the Wood with front bandages and that was a huge caution sign.

With Uncle Mo I just don't get all of the hype. Street Sense was a 2 year old champion and he did not get this kind of press. Nobody was claiming that Street Sense was so valuable that the trainer had to be careful with him. Dr. Drunkinbum is right, this horse is a spoiled brat who is being handled with kid gloves. Good luck when he runs into another horse faster than him, gets bumped around down the stretch, and then has to hold off the late charge of several runners. I do not see him as a battle tested horse at this point in the year. The one thing Mo does have going for him is a win at Churchill Downs, but Dialed In has a win there also.

The Fountain of Youth should give all of us a better understanding of where To Honour & Serve is fitness wise and it should also tell us if Soldat can win on a fast track. I am in the corner of Soldat running another monster race on saturday.

23 Feb 2011 7:06 PM
Karen in Texas

Dr.D---Yeah, well, notice I said "master at preparing for the spring classics", not just at preparing for the Derby. Baffert did win the Preakness last year, and was second in the 2009 Derby with Pioneer of the Nile. Although I will agree that he has sufficient talent to win any or all of the legs this year. If he fails to do so, then we can vacate his title.

23 Feb 2011 7:11 PM
Auburnbill

All I could think when I saw this article is, "Man, am I glad I loaded up on To Honor and Serve at 10-1 in Pool 1." I think Pletcher is thinking about Esky's injury last year and using kid's gloves with Mo. Mo really needs 2 longer races to be ready for the classics. This decision makes Stay Thirsty Pletcher's best chance at Derby repeat.

23 Feb 2011 7:32 PM
Alex'sBigFan

This article ties in nicely with Steve's other artice "Leave Training To The Trainers."  Unless an Owner is an accomplished horseman himself and really knows the athletic abilities of his horse, how can he chose what race the horse runs in?  The trainer should make that decision based upon the training level of the horse.  And if the owner is one person removed from the trainer, meaning the middleman racing manager is the go-between, then it becomes worse.  The owner should be hands-on, of course, but should not dictate race schedules unless he is there with the horse and trainer daily.  That is my opinion anyway.

If Bob Baffert says the Timely Writer is ok for Mo then so be it and I respect his opinion as well as Pletcher's.  Maybe they are not gearing Mo for the TC, but just for the Derby win?  If the Timely Writer fills, but barely, then Mo only has one more prep after that which will enable him to handle the big dance?  Maybe the Triple Crown itself has become so elusive and unrealistic they train to just make the Derby and go from there to the Breeder's Cup races.  The BC Classic has taken precedence over the Triple Crown.

23 Feb 2011 7:34 PM
anniedixie65

I trust the connections with their choice. They made it for good reasons and could still wind up going to Tampa.

23 Feb 2011 7:35 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Slew

   Big storm coming. Button up the hutches and be safe. Derby winner running Saturday?

23 Feb 2011 7:47 PM
El Kabong

Perspective. Steve, I can always count on you for painting the big picture with your magnificent recollection of thoroughbred history and sage advice that we need to stop and smell the roses long before May.

Forbidden Apple,

I hope you are right about Saturday. Enjoy it, but remember as Steve has pointed out, we only need Soldat to learn something, not win.

23 Feb 2011 8:09 PM
TJLuvsTizs

I am glad that they are taking the path they are with Mo right now.  I hope he does go into the Derby undefeated.  He will likely have no more than 5 rivals in either race at GP and the Big A.  He will be close to even money come derby and will raise the price for every other horse.  

Steve you are right to worry about the competition he will face and if he will be able to move forward off of those efforts.  He has been on or near the pace in all of his races and if he is not tested and has the lead in both races he will have a huge step to take come Derby day.

I will cheer for him until Derby day when I play against him and try to hit an exacta with horses at odds between 8-1 and 19-1!  I can't say I would go a different route with him than what they are doing now, but I will be ready to play against him on May 7.

23 Feb 2011 8:27 PM
Racingfan

Nice article Steve!  The Derby trail is so much fun because we all get to speculate and then see how it all turns out.  I personally don't have a problem with two preps if as you mentioned, they can get something out of them. However I don't believe we are going to have a triple crown winner until we see horses running who are better conditioned. Some horse is always going to win the Derby but it isn't always the best horse. It is my opinion though that no horse is going to win the triple crown with the way they are currently being trained. I am not a trainer and NOT trying to say that I know more than they do. But after reading accounts of all the previous winners plus accounts of numerous other famous horses, the pattern I see is a serious lack of conditioning.  Currently horses are going into the series off of only a few races and workouts of 4,5,6 and very occasionally 7 furlongs. Greats of the past were worked at longer distances quite regularly, usually only a few days prior to the races instead of a week out. I don't see how a horse could be expected to win 3 races in 5 weeks at these distances off workouts like I keep seeing and only a few lifetime races. Especially when these same horses are often not even running once per month prior. What is your opinion on this?

23 Feb 2011 8:29 PM
Early Speed

I can see Dialed in taking the lead in the Derby at the last minute after coming in from nowhere. He has the racing style and turn of foot to pull it off.

23 Feb 2011 8:29 PM
Johnny

Personnaly I hope the Timely rider does not go..

As of today Uncle Mo is the horse to beat. However every year their is a new super horse last year esky..

Unclo Mo I just don't no?

23 Feb 2011 9:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Karen in Texas

  I know. I've called him the best at getting a horse ready for the Derby and Triple Crown myself this year but I am re-evaluating. Isn't that still one Triple Crown win in 8 years? The crown is vacant for trainers. Two in a row is a big deal so I guess you'd have to crown Pletcher if he wins The Derby this year. And he won The Belmont with Rags To Riches over Curlin. I think of Zito as being the best in The Belmont but he only has two wins. Birdstone(tears) and Da'Tara. Woody Stephens won it 5 years in a row, and Lukas won it 3 in a row. Now it's somebody different every year.

23 Feb 2011 9:42 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

That is what I said in the "Mucho Gracias" post, just in different words, that they are "babying" Mo.  How can we get ironhorses again if they have such weak conditioning?  Remember Alex himself trained twice a day! The last of the irons.  Instead of meeting up with each other in prep races it seems they avoid each other these days.  Solid foundations make mucho macho men!

Yet the Derby only must be their immediate goal so I trust their decision with Mo.

23 Feb 2011 9:43 PM
Moonie

Steve - the noise around Palm Meadows is that this horse is not sound and will not run in the Derby.

23 Feb 2011 10:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

  Afleet Alex was phenominal and was trained to perfection. One of the great ones that could have just as easily been a Triple Crown winner along with the other close but no cigar's. Getting close in the Derby, then winning the Preakness and Belmont is just as impressive as getting the first two, then not getting the third. Tremendous heart and did a lot for charity. His Preakness is the best I remember after that near disaster. And then Elite Alex two races back almost hits the ground at the start and recovers. Like father like son, but Afleet Alex's was much more dramatic and dangerous and the most amazing recovery by horse and jockey that I remember seeing. And then to win it and escape injury and come back to romp in The Belmont was heroic. The training he got with the two-a-days and strong 2 mile plus gallops saved his life most likely. Afleet Alex is sitting back in his recliner smoking a cigar saying, "These kids nowadays, a bunch of babies. Get out there and do some training and run some races. Put some egg in your beer or something. Now me, I used to run ten miles to school in the paddock in the snow."

23 Feb 2011 10:36 PM
Jodie

Yup, you are right Pboo.

Every year we go threw this hype about the best horse ever and than it is all gone come Belmont day if not before.  Horses that won the Triple Crown were not babied.  With today's training strategy, I don't believe we will be looking at another Triple Crown winner very soon.  

23 Feb 2011 11:15 PM
John T

I am so pleased to learn that Queen.splatekitten has been taken

off the Kentucky Derby trail and will concentrate on the Queen,s Plate.There is lots of time after

that just like Awesome Again to show if he really has got it.What I

am disappointed to learn is that his next race will be a stakes race on the turf rather than a dirt race because of the following.

The Canadian Triple Crown is very

unique because the first leg at Woodbine is on Polytrack,the second

leg at Fort Erie is on dirt,and the third leg back at Woodbine is on turf.If he were my horse I would be looking for a non winners

of two rather than maiden for his next race on dirt and then go for lots of money on the polytrack at

Keeneland in the Blue Grass Stakes.

23 Feb 2011 11:54 PM
Karen in Indiana

Speaking of Big Brown, have you seen him since he came back from Australia? The recent photo Three Chimneys has of him made my jaw drop. He is the most beautifully built horse I've ever seen. I've been there to see him twice already and a third visit this year is on my schedule.

23 Feb 2011 11:57 PM
Aleine

I'm disappointed that I haven't seen Barbaro's sibling out there anywhere...  Isn't there another horse,..."Serano" ....I think, who is Derby age by now?

Sure miss the Mike Matz contribution.   But just missin' Barbaro again.

24 Feb 2011 1:34 AM
Giddyup

There was a time when trainers were able to be more aggressive with the young 3 year olds and still keep them around for years afterwards. Not sure that is possible anymore and that is a shame. Given the choice between a conservative approach and having the horse sent to the breeding shed after the conclusion of the 3 year old campaign I would opt for the former. With a talent like Mo you want to be able to see him race for as many years as possible.

24 Feb 2011 6:44 AM
Slew

Let's also not forget Seattle Slew won the Wood, and then went on to the take the Triple Crown undefeated.  So perhaps we should stop calling the Wood a jinx when the real problem lies with a horse's breeding, and lack of real training.

Pletcher's horse won the Derby last year, but it was a first for Pletcher, and apparently a last for Super Saver.

Wasn't everyone up in arms last year when Monmouth wrote a race for RA to please Jackson?  I'm not hearing the same outcry over the Timely Writer.  It seems to merely be an avoidance, rather than a legitimate test for Uncle Mo.  I still don't see him growing into his 3rd year well, with so little preparation.

As far as Baffert is concerned...Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, and Point Given.  Need I say more?

Dr. D:  Already had 12 inches of snow Monday.  Snow sleet and freezing rain tonight...I'm hibernating again.  But I will be watching To Honor And Serve.  Bill Mott...Cigar...looks good to me.  And I positively love THAS's energy-saving stride and the manner in which he seems to glide effortlessly over a surface.

24 Feb 2011 7:58 AM
Fran Loszynski

Every track is different, the setting, the climate, the crowd. I don't believe any track prepares a racehorse. I feel the very track they are on that day dictates the outcome of their performance. They can train well, run well, and some type of noise from an over-exuberant crowd can affect the horse or the racehorse next to him may get on his nerves. A bird flying low can catch his eye, or he simply doesn't like dirt in his face that day. Training and experience on different tracks helps but when it comes right down to it-it's "that" day, "that" track. I'm only a fan but I have a feeling trainers would agree.

24 Feb 2011 8:06 AM
Fran Loszynski

Early speed:

It's the Belmont I worry about Nick Zito. No matter what favorite I have in the Belmont I "watch" Nick Zito. That guy and Belmont. So Elite Alex will win but Soldat and Dialed In will be on his heels but three lengths away. Because by far Elite Alex is the fastest horse of the year. I think Uncle Mo is going to have so much hype that fans will bet elsewhere. Eskey is still fresh in alot of minds.

24 Feb 2011 8:30 AM
Trebloc

Big Brown sure did freak, but it was in the Belmont.  Is Baffert now training Uncle Mo?  Nice to hear that Brethren is heading back to Tampa.  Pletcher may have two undefeated colts heading into the Derby.  

24 Feb 2011 9:19 AM
Pedigree Ann

It has long been my opinion that Point Given was short for the Kentucky Derby, after only two bloodless wins in SoCal (Churchill's hard track didn't help, either, of course).

If every horse in the race is short, who will win? The one with the most inborn stamina and/or class. Class can take a miler 10f ala Dr. Fager; when the speed horses have shot their bolt dueling in the first mile, the stayers like Gato del Sol or Giacomo can have their day.

Derby winner Bold Forbes, a superior speed-burner, won the Belmont not because he stayed 12f, but because he would not let one of those other horses past him, come hell or high water, such was his grit and class. But he was as fit as he could be, after about 6 races before the Triple Crown began and the class of the rest of the field was questionable.

Uh-oh. I'm rambling. Time to sign off.

24 Feb 2011 9:21 AM
Bill Daly

Just a couple of thoughts on Mo: he reminds me so much of Devil's Bag. I just wonder what the 3yr. old version of Mo looks like. Like Devils's Bag, we know that both colts spreadeagled their competition at two.  Devil's Bag didn't progress as much as his contemporaries at three and was exposed as a miler essentially.  The same could very well be true of Mo. My other thought is that trainers these days leave no room for error in the preparation of these colts.  I've heard all the explanations about how fragile and stamina challenged these horses are, but only the true freaks {e.g., Big Brown} can win the Derby with such kid glove handling. How many Big Browns do we see out there?

24 Feb 2011 10:00 AM
Mary Zinke

Aleine, For information about Barbaro's siblings, go to Tracking Barbaro's brothers: In The Spirit Of Christmas, here at Bloodhorse. Lately, no negative comments will be allowed at that site. Also, Mill Ridge Farm's website, go to Barbaro's Family, then to Barbaro home or Guestbook. There is no three year old brother. Nicanor 5, and who will be running soon and currently working out at Palm Meadows training center, Lentenor 4,and Margano 2 in training, are the full brothers. A new full-sibling is expected in May.

Slew, I had the same thought about The Lady's Secret3, I mean The Timely Writer.

24 Feb 2011 10:10 AM
Forbidden Apple

El Kabong,

Is your username based on the cartoon character, it's pretty funny? Soldat will have to work hard to beat To Honor & Serve, but he can do it on saturday. He already has one race under his belt this year and THAS already has a hefty amount of graded earnings. This will be one of the better prep races this year for sure. THAS is J.V. best chance at winning the KY Derby.

Racing Fan,

Your comments are so true, Afleet Alex would jog 1 mile early in the morning and then come back out later and gallop another 2 miles. My old cross country running coach used to make us jog 1 mile, come inside and stretch, and then send us out on a 6 mile endurance run. Since beyer speed figures and bullet workouts came into play, the DRF bombards us with speed. Yet they charge $7 for a newspaper and do not include recent workouts in the back. What happened to the old school style of giving your horse a race to work his/her way into their 3 year old campaign? Until trainers get back to training for stamina, I do not see a Triple Crown winner in the near future. Keep a close eye on Dialed In, he had the perfect prep race at 1 mile, closing fast on a speed biased track. Also keep a close eye on Sway Away, he had the perfect prep at 7F, closing fast on a speed biased racetrack. Both horses want a longer distance and have unlimited potential.

I made some comments on another blog about Prince Will I Am running 11 times last year as a 3 year old. Another blogger said that he is not a stallion prospect because of his sire Victory Gallop and because he is a stayer. I thought the introduction of more synthetic surfaces would give breeders more interest in using a turf layden horse as a stallion. The turf sires also contain more stamina in their bloodlines.

24 Feb 2011 10:20 AM
Karen2

Well, if there is one thing thoroughbred racing has taught us lately its that history doesn't always repeat itself. I like Uncle Mo and think he has mad talent. I like to believe that the connections know what they are doing but sometimes I find myself bewildered. This is one of those times. It's a sad day when owners are already "saving" their horses for the breeding shed before the derby even. We may never see another triple crown winner.

24 Feb 2011 10:29 AM
Fran Loszynski

Aleine:

Barbaro never left you. His eyes are in the eyes of every Kentucky foal romping in the wind. When you watch the Derby you'll see his stride reminded in horses running- and his heart is in the beat of your heart now. Pay a visit to a thoroughbred farm, you will see his spirit flash by the white rails I'm sure. I can also appreciate the fans of Uncle Mo; we just all love racehorses don't we!

24 Feb 2011 10:52 AM
derbyme

Mucho Macho Man sure came back to flatter the form of To Honor and Serve.  I've said Remsen winners tend to be badly overhyped.  We will see this weekend what we have.  Chances are good he's good but not great.  I'll take Gourmet Dinner at 3 times the price.  The Jackpot form has actually held well.  

Mo sure looks the part, but 10f seems pretty far.  He was obviously peaking in the Juvenile, and will probably have to peak again to win the Derby.  He's similar to Smarty in a lot of ways, but he was ran hard going into the Derby.  

I'm really liking Dialed In, ArchArchArch, and Elite Alex right now, along with Uncle Mo.

24 Feb 2011 10:57 AM
TripleCrownKaren

Yes you need to win the Derby in order to win the Triple Crown, BUT, I think today's trainers are shortsided in that all they THINK about is the Derby!  There is a reason the BELMONT is called the "test" of Champions, because without it....NO TC!

As I recall with the Might Secretariat....Lucien Lauren was pretty tought on him workout wise and race wise.   NOW....By all means lets wrap these horses in "bubble wrap" JUST so they can even MAKE IT to the Derby!  I for one would love to see someone like Nick Zito win the next TC, off of just "hay, oats, water".  Now THAT'S a chamption.    Racing started out as a measn to prove a superior specimen to continue and "improve" the breed.   how can ANYONE even say THAT now with all the "chemical" enhancements and "light" schedules?  I say that fully HALF of the horses entered in the DERBY do not even BELONG in it!  It has become just another "sports entertainment" vehicle....and what is being done to the horses just to GET them there is a travesty.   While I love the Uncle Mo/Mike Repole story line, I'm not so sure about Pletcher and he doesn't strike me as having the best interest of his horses uppermost in his mind at all times (I could be wrong) and I DEFINITELY belive the training connections of BIG BROWN should have been ruled out of the business a LONG time ago.  But......that's just me.....I'm looking for someone who actually has the brains to think LON TERM when it comes to these horses.....not a lot of connections can see beyond the TV lights!   Here's hoping for a SAFE TRIPLE CROWN series and all horses running well, and returning UNINJURED safely back to their stalls!  

24 Feb 2011 11:15 AM
Zookeeper

Fran,

The mere mention of Barbaro brings tears to my eyes but your post @ 10:52 was so beautiful... I just let the tears roll down. We do love all race horses but some of them capture our hearts forever.

24 Feb 2011 11:45 AM
2:24

As a Tampa native, I am selfishly disappointed Mo won't be coming to the Tampa Bay Derby  I will still be rooting for him to live up to expectations as I believe he has great connections and is one heck of a horse.

That said, recent works, going to The Timely Writer, and a weak two prep schedule have me very concerned.  I don't believe personally that Mo can survive the Triple Crown races intact with such a "safe" schedule.  He just will not be fit enough.  And I also believe this is a strong group of three year olds and none of the TC races are going to be easy.

24 Feb 2011 12:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

TripleCrownKaren

  I nominate you for President of The United States Horse Racing Authority. I'm sure you'll start by following the Euro example and get rid of the drugs. I'm sure there will be between four and eight horses(maybe more) that won't belong in The Derby this year, but it seems to be a fairly strong year talentwise. But of course not foundationwise. Since it never is anymore. That is my motto also-Come Back Safe. At least physically. It is impossible for every one of twenty horses to come back mentally sound and raring to go again. It is supposed to be a test of battle tested champions, but as you say it has turned into-"Let's Get Into The Derby And Party." Anyway I still love The Derby and the entire Triple Crown, but if I was an owner I'd like to think that The Derby wouldn't be a priority. Everything would have to fall perfectly in place and my horse would have to be extremely well conditioned and battle tested. My thought on the other comment is that you have to warn first before taking away someone's livelyhood. The penalties have been far too weak for far too long for infractions that are harmful to the horses and racing. You have to have harsher penalties and a clear cut written path to disbarment.

24 Feb 2011 1:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

TripleCrownKaren

   To follow up- Looking at last year's Derby I can only say that two horses didn't belong for sure. Homeboykris with no races since Feb 27, and Backtalk because he looked terrible in his final prep. I do recall that was my feeling prior to The Derby last year also. You can't use hindsight, that isn't fair. There are always a few whose placing in the top ten in The Derby surprises me. I think you obviously belong if you finish that well, and you might also belong if you finished last if you were properly prepared, and have some stamina in your pedigree. I'm really hoping that nobody wins this year that had only two races as a 3yo. Three or more is the better foundation with a race as a 2yo or early January. Even if Mo wins The Derby I see no shot at a Triple Crown, and I will still be perplexed by the easy path. Golden opportunity missed in my opinion for more races and a run at a Triple Crown.

24 Feb 2011 1:15 PM
Horse Lover

No one has any comments on " Moonie's" statement ???

24 Feb 2011 1:16 PM
Paula M

I think it is a tad early to call any horse in race for win in Derby.

Think there is lots of talent though.

I am really excited to see if Uncle Mo can hold his form at 3.

More importantly for race like Ky derby, most of these 3 year olds have never seen the amount of noise and chaos etc etc before Derby.

They not only have to have talent, they must be calm and relaxed and matured between the ears.

Am watching this years derby trail and enjoying it greatly.

Good luck Uncle Mo!

Have fun everyone with sorting out the derby horses.

24 Feb 2011 1:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Moonie, Horse Lover

  Very interesting but who knows where that came from or if it's true.

24 Feb 2011 2:33 PM
Elusive Quality

I'll be surprised to see "Mo" in the gate Derby day - and no horse named "Uncle Mo" is going to win the Triple Crown, the Gods will not allow it...our hope this yr is if "To Honor and Serve" is good enough - he's the only horse with all the "worthy" categories covered according to the TC racing gods - he has the "right" name, breeding, and connections...

24 Feb 2011 3:07 PM
MC

Having a race specially made for a horse is not a good sign. It wasn't for Big Brown and Rachel Alexandra. Why would anyone do that besides to avoid good competition because they don't want their horse to get beat. These are just prep races anyway, who cares if their horse gets beat, as long as it gets them in shape to win the Derby. I have my doubts Uncle Mo will even make it to the Derby. After winning the Timely Writer and Wood Memorial impressively due to lack of competition he'll probably be retired for some reason or another. And why isn't he running in the Fl Derby if they want to keep him close to home? Things just don't seem right with this horse.

24 Feb 2011 3:21 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Time to go watch Dobie Gillis.

24 Feb 2011 3:36 PM
Fran Loszynski

Zookeeper:

I'm glad you liked my comment and it gave you some peace about Barbaro. He was a "King". You have a gentle heart. We have some awesome horses this season; you never know you may find another like Barbaro, keep your racing heart open.

24 Feb 2011 3:39 PM
Tim

Moonie is just flat out lying. Uncle Mo never even was asked for anything close to his best last year and crushed everyone in his path, plus he is way ahead of schedule in his workouts breezing and galloping out faster than Pletcher has been looking for. Another thing is his 94 beyer in the Champagne on a track that wasn't suped up. He went 6 furlongs in 1:10.2 while under a hold and came home in 1:34.2 under a hand ride while getting his final quarter in 24 flat missing the stakes record by one fifth of a second which he would have crushed if put to a drive. He beat Mountain by 4 and 3 quarters and To Honor and Serve beats Mountain Town by 5 lengths in the Remson which he won in a very slow 1:50 getting his fourth quarter in 25.2 and his final eigth in a pedestrian 13.3 and gets a 102 beyer. Obvious Beyer doesn't like Pletcher because of his terrible record in Triple Crown races and his tendency to run his 3 year olds into the ground trying to make the Derby. In Pletcher's defense his owners until recently gave him precocious 2 year olds with sprinter pedigrees, so of course he wasn't going to win the Derby with them. Uncle Mo not only has speed but he rated in his works last year then rated on the lead in his first 2 starts and rated behind Riveting Reason behind moderate fractions. In Excess won the Santa Anita Derby and ran third in the Derby and Arch was a distance horse plus Uncle Mo is inbred to the great Nearco. Uncle Mo has the pedigree to carry his speed all day. It's a smart move to run in the Timely Writer if it goes so he can sharpen his speed in a one turn mile before the Wood plus leave enough in the tank for 5 races in 3 months. Also Zito is considering running dialed in in the Timely Writer just to keep him busy before the Florida Derby and the way Brethren handled the deep quirky Tampa surface it lets him run back there. Gulfstream is a similiar surface to Palm Meadows and only a 20 minute van ride instead of 4 hours to Tampa Bay. With so many 3 year olds Todd has to find a place for all of them, so if Uncle Mo does go in the Tampa Bay Derby then it's back to the drawing board for Brethren who only has beyers in the mid 80's in all 3 of his starts so I don't think Pletcher is to worried about finding races for him. He's more of a West Virginia Derby type.

24 Feb 2011 4:03 PM
Steve Haskin

Dr. D., all I can say is, "Some day I'm gonna kill that boy." Send my regards to Maynard, Thalia, Zelda, and Chatsworth.

24 Feb 2011 4:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve

   Ron Howard was on the show. He looked like Opie at his youngest. He was turning in empty soda pop bottles at the store. One of my early careers, along with selling lemonade and snacks,  mowing lawns and doing magic tricks door to door. I remember getting two cents for each bottle, and then five cents later on. I went door to door asking people for their empty bottles. Some people gave them to me and some told me to get lost, they need to turn them in themselves for the money. Make money and buy baseball cards or candy bars. I even made a quarter from a friend's father for diving into the street to catch a football pass. I didn't even mind getting all scraped up and bloody. Afterall it was five packs of baseball cards.

24 Feb 2011 4:25 PM
GoldenBroom

I'm not against giving horses time off between their 2 and 3 yr old seasons...if they ran a true 2 yr old season. I think 5 - 7 yr old foundation with races (gasp!) every other week or every 3 weeks helps strengthen bone and mind. Not a fan of a race here, a race there then 2 - 3 months off. Too much up and down time not enough consistently. Would rather see up, up, up, then down to rest, heal, and grow then condition and prep. I'd like to us get back to the first half of the 20th century style training and racing. These winter races...and the Breeders cup juvenile races...have screwed up our triple crowns as much as 20 horse fields (with 1/2 of them what are you doing here's).

24 Feb 2011 4:36 PM
Steve Haskin

I remember stacking three nickels on top of each other very carefully on my night table before going to bed, and then waking up early and going to the candy store to buy three packs of baseball cards. Amazing how much money 15 cents seemed like in those days. A quarter meant five packs!!! It was total euphoria. you just hoped you didnt get stuck with the check list. We had lots of weird cards in Brooklyn, like Davy Crockett cards and Elvis Presley cards.

24 Feb 2011 4:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve

   Exactly. I remember how I hated that checklist !!! It was the candy store where I bought my baseball cards also, in the early days. In the second Dobie show his father said, "I'm gonna kill that boy !! I'll strangle him with his own necktie !!!" That was after Thalia scolded Dobie's father for not giving Dobie the six dollars. Thailia said about Dobie, "He loves me more than life itself, as indeed he should...Dobie is the clay and I am the sculptor." That was just part of her classic monologue. Thaila said to tell you Hi. I mowed the lawn for a quarter,(mowing both ways or no money) and then rushed right out to get five packs of baseball cards as soon as I got the money.

24 Feb 2011 4:49 PM
Aluminaut

As much as I hate to say it, I think the Breeder's Cup Juvenile screws up a lot of good horses by asking too much from them against most of the best horses in the country.  It probably costs them mentally as well as physically, and puts the brakes on Triple Crown preperation.  I agree with GoldenBroom.

24 Feb 2011 4:54 PM
Forbidden Apple

What good could come out of Dialed In running a mile race in an ungraded race. Tim is completely lying with that statement. He needs a two turn race and more graded earnings.

Steve,

I have been collecting baseball cards for many years now, the checklists are actually quite valuable now.

24 Feb 2011 4:55 PM
Giddyup

Thanks to Elusive Quality, I am now most curious as to what names the racing gods find acceptable for a Kentucky Derby winner. Me thinks they have perhaps engaged in too much "Foolish Pleasure".

24 Feb 2011 5:16 PM
Alex'sBigFan

"Ode to Uncle Mo"

Oh no, Uncle Mo

Just say it ain't so.

There will be no opponents

Or just maybe Uncle Joe.

The Timely has no guarantee

of Win, Place, or Show.

You should go to Tampa

And face a more formidable foe.

Oh no, Uncle Mo

Just say it ain't so.

If you go in the Timely

They say the Derby you'll blow.

You should face one like Brethren,

Ain't that right, bro?

Oh no, Uncle Mo

Just say it ain't so.

Let's just tell Toddy

That the van is real slow.

And it's loaded up with goodies

And peppermints to go!

24 Feb 2011 5:34 PM
Carlos in Cali

Tim

FYI,the Champagne is a 1-turn mile while the Remsen is @ 1 1/8. You can't possibly compare splits and final 1/4's.You just can't.

BTW: I think you meant Indian Charlie not In Excess.

24 Feb 2011 6:19 PM
Dutch

Let's see. . . an easy race at a mile, then the Wood Memorial. Will those two races have Uncle Mo battle tested and ready for the biggest circus of the year? Put me in the camp of the skeptics.

24 Feb 2011 7:22 PM
Old Timer

Steve,

Giving away your age with recall of Zelda and Maynard and Chatsworth.

The question is will Mo be the next Street Sense? or will he be the next Arazi? Arazi ran a cake race and had no hard races at 3 and couldn't keep up at CD. Not saying that Mo is the same but it seems like it should be a concern.

I see that Johnny V. rides To Honor and Serve. Talk about a nice position to have the top two three year olds in the country! (just in case).

24 Feb 2011 7:24 PM
the illum

Differences between street sense and uncle mo,mo is undefeated and two of his three wins GRADE ONE rating.

24 Feb 2011 7:40 PM
Steve Haskin

Dr. D. soounds, like we had the same upbringing except for the fact we had no lawns in Brooklyn.

Some people quote Hamlet and others quote Doby Gillis.

FA, the checklists actually were good in the long run, but at the time you just didnt want to waste a card for that.

24 Feb 2011 7:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Did you see today's episode of Wanted Dead Or Alive? Michael Landon and Nick Adams were the bad guys. Vicious killers, brothers, Carl and Andy Martin. Nick Adams even shot a doctor in the back like a yellow bellied sap sucker, after the doc fixed up Michael Landon. We don't cotton to men that shoot others in back around these here parts, so we sent Josh Randall to gun them down and collect the $3400 reward which he gave most of to the widow of Nick Adams. Nobody traded for a checklist. I think most got tossed or put in the bicycle spokes.

24 Feb 2011 8:30 PM
cuban chef de race

Mr haskin, i do see more cons then mos to be fair,as good as uncle mo is his breeding is not so good in his sire to be playing hide and see when some derby contenders are closing the gap on him,i have the sensation pletcher knows triple a is not the big leagues,if he goes to the derby with a single two turn race and the factor burn the lead forget the tango and dance rock'n roll

24 Feb 2011 8:31 PM
Cigar16

Love this years Derby buzz..To be honest I am not much of a band wagon type person, especially with the 3yo TC scene. I like tried and true grinders. Love me some "Pleasantly Perfect Cigars", but quite frankly I would really LOVE TO SEE UNCLE MO PULL OFF THE DERBY WIN, AS WELL AS THE TC. It's a crap shot and we all know it. But he is a really NICE competitor, and it has been WAY TO LONG since we celebrated a TC winner! I swear I am gonna create a Facebook Event of having a "Moment of Silence" of heads bowed in silent prayer for one minute from 12 Noon to 12:01pm on Derby Day to pray for a Triple Crown winner. LOL! I will also reflect on 2011 Derby Day that it has been 5 years since the gallant Barbaro crossed the wire a winner looking more like the winged Pegasus than a thoroughbred race horse. GO MO!

24 Feb 2011 8:46 PM
Bob Bright

Is there any chance we are having a fitting for Uncle Mo's crown a little early.

24 Feb 2011 9:03 PM
Woodrow

I think Uncle Mo is the best horse, but his lack of races and stiff competition as a three year old could cost him. Don't think he'll be ready for the Derby. And why is Dialed In skipping the Fountain of Youth? That's crazy. In my opinion those are the best horses, but these weird race decisions might come back to bite them.

24 Feb 2011 9:11 PM
cuban chef de race

the difference between mo and street sense is that the horses s.sense did beat in the b.c.j came buck to win mayor derby preps the b.Lewis and Louisiana derbies b.a.t.is gone but let's see rogue romance,street sense sire? zenyatta's sire!street cry winner of the Dubai world cup at ten furlongs his sire maquiavellian by the immortal mr prospector no comment.

24 Feb 2011 9:16 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Aleine & Fran,

You both brought back all the Barbaro memories.  When I attended the Belmont that year, after his Preakness breakdown, there was a Get Well card the length of the clubhouse wall on the side of the building for Barbaro.  It was going to be sent to Barbaro at New Bolton and the Jacksons.  I signed it that day with such a heavy heart, I'll never forget it.  Then later on tv or the next day they showed photos of Barbaro and they had actually put a tv by his stall at New Bolton so he could "watch" the Belmont.  Oh how I wish he was still here with us too.  

24 Feb 2011 9:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

To kill the boy or not, that is the question. Whether it be nobler to let his love for Thalia do him in or to strangle him with his own tie is what troubles the mind. To sleep per chance to dream Aye, there's the rub, Ah !!! It has come to me in a dream !!! I shall strangle the boy with me bare hands !!! Dobie !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where for art thou !!!!! Dobie !!!!!

24 Feb 2011 9:23 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Two excellent top of the line trainers for many years both have a legitimate Derby contender running this Saturday in the FOY. Each trainer is looking for his first Derby win. Mott who says that To Honor And Serve is his best chance ever to win a Derby, and McLaughlin with the versatile classy Soldat who is training great. Good luck gentlemen. There will be a big buzz if either wins on Saturday. I'm expecting Soldat to run big and be difficult to beat. His last in the slop was no freaky wet track performance I don't think. I also think he is more of a dirt runner than turf runner and will prove that Saturday.

24 Feb 2011 9:40 PM
cuban chef de race

to honor and serve looks the most complete runner this year i will wait till the derby with him the exotics looks okey with him.

24 Feb 2011 10:30 PM
furlongs

Looks like Draynay will be in his box at Tampa Bay Downs and no Uncle Mo... lol you bet Uncle Mo in any of these Triple Crown races and your a fool, simple as that. I am a handicapper nothing more when it comes to horse racing and sending Mo to a non graded overnight stakes going one turn against nothing is a HUGE duck simple as that... win your Wood Memorial going away so you can be happy Mr. Rapole since you want to win it so bad cause come Derby Day your horse will have a empty tank. I mean he says he a horseracing fan first and then this is what he does puts Mo in this race at 1-9. Yeah this is what the racing fans want to see the Timely Writer, lol give me a break once again another owner that a used car sales man. How much Gulfstream give you to get Mo to run there, what a joke... We know Mo will win in the 4 horse field they put together at Gulfstream I just hope Mo runs a hole in the wind in the Wood Memorial so everyone thinks he is a lock in the KY Derby. Trust me the Wood is the goal for this owner and Mo will run the race of his life in there and bounce like a ball in the Ky Derby. BASH me now thats cool, I promiss I wont be on here telling you how I was right the day after the Derby.

24 Feb 2011 11:08 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

Loved the "Men from Uncle" comment.  Brilliant.  Just want to add a personal observation about Smarty Jones.  I was at Belmont in '04 along with 100,000+ others.  Smarty displayed that intangible we all look for--heart.

24 Feb 2011 11:42 PM
Paula Higgins

Wasn't Thalia Tuesday Weld? Loved that show.

I am also a little concerned that  two preps before the Derby will not be enough for Uncle Mo, brilliant or not. As someone else said, he may win the Derby, and maybe the Preakness, but it won't be enough to win the Triple Crown. Not unless they push him between the Preakness and Belmont, a la Secretariat, which might be a stroke of genius or it might ruin him. Conservative management/racing does not seem to me, to be the best way to win the Triple Crown. The races are so close together, you need a horse who has built up the stamina/experience for all three races, especially the Belmont. I think that is one of the reasons we haven't seen a serious Triple Crown contender in a long time (Smarty Jones being the exception). In the old days, they raced them differently and bred them better. Now they have to have more conservative campaigns because of the way they are bred.  It's almost as if because of the way they are bred/campaigned, the Triple Crown may be a thing of the past. Not sure if this is true but it has me wondering.

I hope Moon is wrong and that he does not have soundness issues. The other horses are coming up and maturing. It just boils down to who stays healthy and who doesn't.

24 Feb 2011 11:51 PM
No Brakes

"Of the four horses recently who managed to win the Derby off only two starts at 3", Street Sense,Mine That Bird and Super Saver were all ridden by Borel. Who's he riding this year?

25 Feb 2011 1:26 AM
Moonie

Tim - calling me a liar does not change what I heard at Palm Meadows. I am there quite often to watch them all work and I repeat - the word is Mo is not sound.

25 Feb 2011 7:18 AM
Slew

I think Casper's Touch probably had a better Derby prep than Uncle Mo will ever experience.  He was boxed in on the rail, bumped viciously off course, and still regrouped to push forward and grab 2nd.  The Kentucky Derby has simply lost it's luster and prestige, even though, for some, it has become the "end all-be all".  The Triple Crown has been given too little thought in the spectacle of the circus of the Derby.  You want a 20 horse field...build a track wide enough to accommodate 20 horses.  Otherwise, get rid of the auxiliary gate.  If I wanted to see catastrophe, I'd watch NASCAR. What ever happened to the magnificent, endurance-tested war horse of the past, the Arabian?  Have the bloodlines been so harshly depleted that a Bucephalus will never surface in any contender?  Why consider the Kentucky Derby if your horse is too fragile to run around 2 turns?  To take on and test the top contenders before the Derby?  Do I really care if your horse wins the Derby if he can't do anything else?

Does anyone go back far enough (long before electronics or TV's)to remember collecting old tin cans, stomping your feet into their center, where the tins wrapped themselves around your foot and clung tenaciously, while you ran down the street in full gallop, raucously imitating a herd of tinny horses?  Those were fun-filled days, creativity was rampant, and no moment was ever dull because we really weren't driven to despair just because a battery died.  

25 Feb 2011 9:31 AM
Slew

If Pletcher really wanted to race just at Gulfstream with Uncle Mo, why isn't he in the FOY?  Why did a special race have to be written?

25 Feb 2011 9:56 AM
Footlick

Tim- if the track wasn't souped up, he should have gotten a faster Beyer figure.  A 94 for a mile in 1:34 and change means that the par times for that day were fast.  It has nothing to do with Beyer liking Pletcher or not.  He certainly rewarded Quality Road, and Pletcher trained him.  As far as THAS Beyer, the track was obviously significantly slower on par than the track that Uncle Mo won the Champagne on.  It is just that simple.

I cannot address Uncle Mo's soundness because I don't know and I'm not there.  They are being very soft with him, as far as I'm concerned.  But I'm not the trainer.

25 Feb 2011 10:38 AM
Pedigree Ann

Oh, boy! Some folks bringing up one of my all-time faves! Classes with Mr. (then Professor) Pomfrit and Dr. Burkhardt. And best of all, Mrs. Chatsworth Osbourne, SENIOR, Chatsy's mom. Have you recognized Dobie's Dad as Ernie the Cabdriver in "It's a Wonderful Life?"

25 Feb 2011 11:19 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Moonie

   I don't know what Uncle Mo looks like, his stride etc, but the times and spacing on his workouts are ok, however my instincts have been telling me for awhile that he won't make it to The Derby. If he isn't 100% they would probably retire him and rest on their 2yo laurels. Still, I'm hoping that he is fine and will run in The Derby. Wherever the word has come from that he isn't sound would have to be more specific for us to know. Could it be that he is just a little stiff after the layoff or that someone who never saw him work before is seeing a little glitch that was always there anyway? Well, I don't like to speculate so this will end it for me. I have thought for a few months that he won't be in The Derby but that doesn't mean that I am right. It is not knowledge based just instinct based and those aren't always correct. Just correct about 75%. He might beat the odds.

25 Feb 2011 12:06 PM
El Kabong

Forbidden Apple,

The name El Kabong is from the western satire cartoon character Quick Draw McGraw, who looked alot like Tapit. In this case, a parody of Zorro, El Kabong was a masked vigilante(sheriff quick draw mcgraw wearing a mask)who smashed his guitar on the noggins of villains. I think that's where Pete Townsend and Chuck Berry actually stole the idea for their stage act:0 I used to write that name or draw the character on my racing forms whenever I hunkered down with a table of handicappers known as the 5th Floor Mafia at Emerald Downs. 6-8 people usually meant 12-16 forms floating around.  I think that a gray son of Tapit should have that name, it would be funny to hear it called as he closed in on the field down the lane.

25 Feb 2011 12:09 PM
Forbidden Apple

Dr. Drunkinbum,

The discarding or damaging of the checklists is part of why they are difficult to find in mint condition.

El Kabong,

I thought that's where you got the name from, I like that cartoon. I am also a big fan of Top Cat & The Pink Panther, the theme song's are incredibly energizing.

Furlongs,

The race should have been named the Timely Useless.

Soldat desrves much more respect than he is getting.

25 Feb 2011 2:02 PM
Zarvona

I said this before but... "the man from ...UNCLE Mo ...tor " or whatever one wants to refer to him as, is being raced lightly to Todd's and the horse's connections chosing...AND in my view, I THINK ITS ALL VERY WRONG!!!  

First of all, TODD won his first Derby last year, ONLY HIS FIRST! And each year for the past 3-4 Todd has had some 20 potential stabled contending horses that could have competed for and in the Derby and got about 4-5 to the gates with earnings and etc.; where % wise thats a great record in filling gates, but adds to a HORRID record winning the event!!!

Many past blog entries have already question his decisions on his horses routes to a Derby gate and critized his paths and choices. Additionally, he has so many owners to answer to, that there seems to even be some difficulty running several of 'contenders' in the same race, jeopardizing his 15 potential real Derby potential stablemates and giving each an opportunity for all to potentially move in that direction. His method of choosing races forces odd other path routes among his won stable.

RE MO, again I say, this horse isn't the freak of the century by a long shot! He's not the fastest horse out there right now this year nor is he the most interesting bred for a 1 1/4! Yes, he does have competitive speed and yes he has already achieved his required earnings, but he is not some $6.5 million uninsured animal that wouldn't benefit from solid competition against the other 'horses of the month' out there. This light odd running method is not my choice, yet it is Todd's and the connections of MO apparently. But, from the bettors stand point again I say, let the public see him run and compete against the competion of the month and let us also fairly judge hum.

"Super Saver" was a very late developer... he failed in most all his preps, but he matured at that the right moment time, and maybe "Brethen" will find that same odd kind of peak!

But, RE MO I said it before, I hope this ridiculous training route works against TODD and the connections.

The Movie "Secretariat" brought out the point of HARD TRAINING!! Yes, you can swim the horse and train him off the track, and stop watch read some 5 fur. test of the day, BUT THATS NOT THE SAME as missing PRESEASON all together, bumping and stimbling and getting cut off and finding a way back to win. Where in doing the same with your football team would you likey be seeing if they are going to be at there peak condition come opening day, only after running some few odd wind sprints???? Isn't that roughly the same analogy?  

Line up the needed 2 turn 1 1/8 tests and run your animal against the flavor of the week and see where you stand and let us the betting public judge how good he really is or think he is!

Again, Todd has won one Derby, and the past BC Juvenile winner's have won ONLY ONE DERBY!

 And from what we have seen so far, MO beat hardly any top competion in the BC Juv. Rogue Romance & Riveting Reason may have improved a little since that race, but few have them slated as their horse of choice at this point! And so far from what we have seen, we are only guessing that Stay Thirsty, J.P. 's Gusto, Jaycito, J.B.'s Thunder may yet develope, and will improve enough off their 2 yr. Old campaigns to be something more as 3 Yr. olds or to be even competitive, where none of them have yet dazzled us the way some of the boys from Feb. already have.

You want to know if MO is for real?  Give him a prep for the Wood or the Fla. Derby and run him and find out where he really stands against the competition out there in the Spring.

I say it again, I hope this selected training method fails so that it doesn't become the training pattern of the future, where we the bettors will all be guessing at Derby time the way we guess now in Maiden races. And, again, Todd's Derby winning record,--(not his overall winning record mind you),--it is atrocious, if that says anything about this choice.

Yes, Steve its just an opionion and May 7th I may have to eat these words, but "thats my view and I am sticking to it"!

25 Feb 2011 3:28 PM
furlongs

I like Brethren but his numbers are on the low side but there is still time to develop and get them in the 100 pt range give or take a couple. Dialed In looked like a freak at Gulfstream concerns me a little about Zito not knowing where to put the horse next. I am real excited to see Jaycito run, something tells me he may be a big time sleeper in all this. THAS I like off is races in NY but I dont know, Mott on the Derby trail big question mark for me. All I know is No MO for me.. If he wins I wont cash wont be the first and wont be the last. I bet Santiva real good in the Risen Star and thought he ran a nice race off the shelf. So far the most impressive has been Dialed In. Soldat looked real good if he wins Saturday you got to think he is a Top 3 Derby horse at this stage of the game. I wouldnt throw out Brethren and I got a feeling Jaycito may be the one for Baffert...in this years Derby.

25 Feb 2011 4:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

That would be a very smart move to wait for the Gotham with Crossbow. This is a very talented colt. The Hutch just does not seem like it would be good for him. He needs some room to maneuver, and to strengthen his ego a little more. The Hutch is going to be too fast, and the trip is paramount.

Zarvona

   I am rooting against any horse in The Derby that only has two 3yo preps. This nonsense has got to stop !!!!! Even if it is Dialed In. I want a Triple Crown. How in the world can we get a Triple Crown with these crumbling foundations?

25 Feb 2011 4:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I want a foundation of concrete and American steel, not of plaster and rubber bands.

25 Feb 2011 4:46 PM
Alex'sBigFan

El Kabong,

What a cute name and story about Quick Draw McGraw where your screen name comes from!  I never realized he looked like Tapit too! How funny.  Yeah, El Kabong, a son of Tapit, closing down the stretch and the track announcer saying, "And it's El Kabong putting the coup de gras on them all!"  Think you can knock some sense into Toddy?

Forbidden Apple,

Great name the Timely Useless! That's the hidden, deeper meaning in my cutesy poem up there.  That this dreamed up race is not going to condition Mo in any way for the Derby and he needs to face some stiff competition and get battle tested for it.  Steve's scenario of it being a "public workout" is probably what it will be.  They were questionning a van ride and even questionning the Tampa surface being different from the Gulfstream surface?  I hope Mo is sound, but why write a prep race at this stage of the game, it makes no sense to me, but what the heck do I know.  Maybe they are being a little over confident since Mo loves the track at Churchill and feel any prep to the Wood will be ok and Mo will just glide over Churchill with no problem when he gets there?  Are they forgetting the experience he'll need in his resume for dodging the 19 other Derby contenders?  Why not go in the FOY or Tampa Derby.  So if there is truth to the speculation and rumors of Mo not being "sound", why is he running in any race at all and have they xrayed him and had lab bloodwork done, etc.?

25 Feb 2011 6:00 PM
cuban chef de race

perhaps the mo barn,{and i do not want to speak for them }feel he can be a better sire then his sire Indian Charly with the Quality that there is in his female family and try to avoid an ugly defeat in the derby that can reduce his stud fee sounds like eskendereya?,it is a supposition but is possible.  

25 Feb 2011 6:44 PM
cuban chef de race

I don't know why people suffer about the condition of a derby favorite that most over come his sire, never a derby winner in 9 crops,sire line 1 winner in last 23 years,8 total points in dosage profile,only 1 two turn race at 3 only big brown in last 30 years!when the most important factor is to find the horse he most beat to win,i am doing my home work about that.  

25 Feb 2011 7:05 PM
cuban chef de race

we are worry with him going 10 then why think belmont? that is a joke,look the monsters who have lost the belmont after winning the first to triple crown races,alysheba,sunday silence,silver charm, real Quite,charismatic,war emblem,fanny cide,smarty Jones,big brown!all of them had the breeding to win,if he win the first two{and i am worry about that next mile race at GP}this will be the first time i will see the biggest underlay in belmont history.  

25 Feb 2011 7:34 PM
cuban chef de race

tapizar won the sham in fractions like 22 and change 45 and change 1:08 and change the mile in 1:33 3/5! and did finish in 1:40!and change and the beyer was 98!, the factor figure in san felipe was 102? and closed in 13 0/0?,okey  i want to see the factor run the same fractions as tapizar at a mile 1/16 to see how he close.

25 Feb 2011 8:05 PM
cuban chef de race

let me tell you,i am not reducing the class and ability of uncle mo i know that he is a very talented colt and deserve respect but i do feel his connections are playing with fire,yesterday is not today if you feel pletcher is doing the right think go for it good luck but the horse is the one that will respond to his feelings and the derby is too grueling to make a horse you love! suffer.  

25 Feb 2011 9:06 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

I am commenting on one of your brilliant posts here about the illegal use of sterioids, etc. in the thoroughbreds.  This has been one of my pet peeves for years.  It makes me sick to think that our beloved horses are walking chemical experiments.  All the more need for an NTRA Commissioner to level the playing field and finally say what can and cannot be administered medically and legally to a thoroughbred.  I can understand the lasix, and maybe some of the anti-bleeding meds, but when you read such things as cobra venum and syringes in trainers' barns, and illegal steriods, it is downright frightening.  Life At Ten sure looks like she had a reaction to something.  It has got to stop.  And these are just the things we are aware of, who knows what goes on behind barn doors.  It all comes back to the same vicious cycle of who is running racing, the vets, the breeders, who?  Hello, TVG?  I am ready to sign my contract for the "Voice of Mistreated Thoroughbreds" Show!

25 Feb 2011 9:45 PM
cuban chef de race

i do have some derby patterns that can be history soon,gelding winner since 1929 is done,rise a native bottom line is done barbaro with carson city,2 preps since sunny's hello is done three life time starts big brown is done,dosage profile it was to be done a long time ago just wrong classification of chefs de race,i am waiting for other patterns racing history,i love this game.

25 Feb 2011 10:07 PM
cuban chef de race

when i was talking about last year derby and i did said that the clever trick that noble promise had in his female family was about to emerge when he took the lead in the stretch a blogger told me if i was the only one that was aware noble promise had distance limitations and did said the derby favorite looking at lucky also had clever trick in his female family so is better to have one bird in your hand then two flaying.

25 Feb 2011 10:49 PM
cuban chef de race

calving borrel got the mount on an elephant by A.alex  will the derby name now be kentucky borrel? he better talk to pletcher because to win the derby size is not the most important factor,remember thunder gulch?.

25 Feb 2011 11:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

This isn't Derby related but it's potential superstar related. Bind has Dr. Fager and Damascus on the bottom of his pedigree He also has Buckpasser on top. In a race in 1967, Damascus, Buckpasser, and Dr. Fager ran 1,2,3. In 1967 and 1968 Dr. Fager and Damascus had some tremendous races against each other. From what I saw of Bind in his debut, he may have a good dose of Dr. Fager in him, and throw in some Buckpasser, Damascus, and Secretariat. Not to mention Seattle Slew. Special pedigree and special horse. And a trainer and owner that know how to develop a champion. Looking forward to  watching this one's career.

25 Feb 2011 11:41 PM
Forbidden Apple

Alex's Big Fan,

Of course I am being sarcastic callling Mo's choice of a race the Timely Useless. In my honest opinion he is desperate for a race at any distance. And id I was the owner of Tampa Bay Downs I would be lobbying hard for Mo to ditch the Timely Useless race in a hurry. Mo is now on the outside looking in on the newly developed 3 year old colts that stand in his path towards wearing the red roses. There are just so many question marks that I am leaning towards he will not even be in the starting gate for the KY Derby. But lets just say that he wins the Timely Useless and then wins the Wood Memorial, so what. This horse does not scare me one bit going 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs. My top three horses are Dialed In, Soldat, and Sway Away. I don't wish Mo bad luck or anything, I just prefer other colts with much more potential to improve and at higher odds. After the unpleasant Life At Ten incident, I just don't know if Pletcher will run Mo if he is not sound. I hate to see young horses pushed so early like he was and then vanish from the game.

25 Feb 2011 11:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum, we just had Anmerican steel and concrete and her name was ZENYATTA. A huge horse who was as sound as they get, in part thanks to John Shirreffs. I would love to see her male equal.

26 Feb 2011 1:58 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Well Nick Zito is out there with his race detector machine hoping to find a race for Dialed In before The Florida Derby. No beeps on the machine yet. Another race before  the Florida Derby if it is 8.5 or 9f sets him up really nice for The Derby. I wouldn't leave home without it. His workout in under a minute at PM tells me that the FOY was the perfect race. Ideal spacing, and he seems ready enough. With Dialed In seeming to be in good form it is imperative to find him a race ASAP. "How about The Gotham Batman?"  "Good thinking Robin." "Wham !!! Bam !!! But isn't Repole having a big party? We shouldn't spoil the party."  "You're correct in your assessment Robin. It wouldn't be the gentlemenly thing to do. How about The Timely Writer?"  "Again, Repole is having a party."  "Well can you tell me where we can run where he isn't having a party?" "Golly Gee Batman, "Holy Bull Batman, to the Bat Computer and Bat Condition Book."."  "Good thinking Robin."  "Thank you Batman."

26 Feb 2011 3:22 AM
Pedigree Ann

"But Queeksdraw, I thin'.."

"I'LL do the thin'ning around here, Babalouie!" Then our hero horse sheriff embarks on one of his goofy plans to catch the bad guys.

Quickdraw was fun, but when it came to satire, I still preferred 'Moose and Squirrel.'

26 Feb 2011 8:46 AM
Old Timer

Like the comment from No Brakes on Calvin Bo-rail. How about this scenario... Johnny V. has ridden both Mo and To Honor & Serve. He has to pick one. He rides Mo and Calvin gets the mount on THS. Mo leads by 5 at the quarter pole but Calvin nails him at the wire. Another win for CB! What a great movie script that will make!

26 Feb 2011 8:48 AM
Coldfacts

Champion 2YO War Pass had a race specially written for him so it not unusual. Whatever route Uncle Mo takes it’s going to be difficult for him to win the derby.  He was led by the maiden Riveting Reason in the BCJ. There are some very fast colts heading into the derby and he will possibly for the first time know he is in a race. Two preps or no prep heading into the derby is no big deal as a Sir Barton & Regret did not have a prep heading into their derbies. Sir Barton went on to win the TC and Regret beat the boys. Sir Barton was not the only horse to break his maiden in the Derby but he is the only TC winner to do so. Is Uncle Mo as good as Regret and Sir Barton? Who knows! Assault had six loosing starts as a 2YO.it appears Regret ws lightly raced as a 2YO.

26 Feb 2011 8:57 AM
Slew

2 years ago when I watched Pioneer of theNile and The Pamplemouse run side by side, I favored POtN because the Pamplemouse pounded the track too hard and I didn't think his knees would hold out to the Derby.  They didn't.  I think Uncle Mo is amazing, and I would love to see him pull it off...but, he raises his knees high, he pounds the ground harder than other colts, and his stride is not a stride but a leap.  He tends to leap from spot to spot rather than glide.  To me, that's not stretching out...it's dangerous for the jockey, and it's a form that would be difficult to maintain during a Triple Crown run.  I worry about his future.  I worry about his present.  I love the way Mike Repole has reached out to the fans, and I'm hoping his confidence is rewarded.  But I have my doubts, and this "special" race just confirms what I have so far just been suspecting.  In the TC run, speed helps, but endurance, stamina and efficiency is what will win the day.

26 Feb 2011 9:21 AM
Pedigree Ann

The story of the horse Timely Writer is both inspirational and tragic. He was sired by Staff Writer, an unraced son of Northern Dancer, from an unraced mare of decent breeding; at the Keeneland Fall Yearling Sale, he brought only $13,500. He came out of New England at 2 to win the Hopeful and Champagne and was co-high-weighted with Eclipse Champion Deputy Minister on the Experimental. At 3, he prepared for the Kentucky Derby with wins in the G1 Flamingo and Florida Derby, but missed the big race with an injury. Coming back in the fall, he started by winning a handicap at his Suffolk Downs base (giving 15 lbs to 2nd and 3rd). In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he was well-fancied and had gone up to dispute the lead coming out of the turn when he broke down in his left leg; in falling, he took  half of the 8-horse field out of contention. Euthanized on the track. RIP Timely Writer.

26 Feb 2011 11:12 AM
Linda in Texas

There are so many what if's really when it all boils down, so i merely

mention, What if Uncle Mo loses in a race Timely Written for him against 3 or 4 unknown horses? Because who is going to step up and enter their horses against Uncle Mo? That is what i am looking forward to, of course, after some great races today.

But what would a loss do to his fee for the breeding shed then??

Got my afternoon chores finished up early so i won't miss a single race.

Safe trips to all today, horse and jockey and especially to all the underdogs! I love surprise winners.

And special best wishes to Eibar Coa on having some feelings and movement in your legs, sir. Speedy recovery for sure for you and yours.

26 Feb 2011 12:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

 It's slowly changing, and eventually more drugs will be banned, and more levels reduced, and penalties stiffened. It's going to take one state and one big track to take the lead and the others will have to follow. It's going to happen so why not speed up the process? Everyone knows that drugs take a toll on the body. Thanks for your compliment.

26 Feb 2011 5:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Disappointed in third for To Honor and Serve. Didn't love what I saw. Don't think it's all about the longer layoff. Soldat continues to do well and his trainer's confidence in his works seems to be well placed. The list continues to shake out.

Also wishing Eibar Coa continued improvement. Some good signs there if he is having some movement and sensation in his legs. He may get it all back.

26 Feb 2011 6:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

"Duh, Gee Tennessee, Can I drive the limo that picks up Uncle Mo for the Timely Rider."   "Chumley- I've got a new plan and due to my superior intellect, this one cannot fail. We're going to have a parade on the way to the Timely Writer and Uncle Mo's going to ride on a float to the race. It will be a float of the Twinpsires and it will be filled with a 100,000 screaming fans all holding winning tickets for Uncle Mo in The Derby. It will be the largest float in history."  "Duh, OK Tennessee."

27 Feb 2011 1:53 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Forbidden Apple

  That's a very nice top three checklist you have there which coincidentally is very similar to mine. My top 4 in order is Soldat, Jaycito, Dialed In, and Sway Away.

27 Feb 2011 1:57 AM
furlongs

Well THAS ran about like I figured short off the layoff. Soldat was solid as he was in the slop at Gulfstream but I don't care for horses that go gate to wire at Gulfstream. I mean it is just so easy to do. Soldat has moved into the top 3 for the Derby but with RAN on his bottom side I have to hope he continues to win so I have another throwout in Derby 137. I am still looking at Dialed In, Brethren as my top 2 so far watching races as most impressive. Both have plenty of Breeding as well to go the Derby distance and have a relaxed running style which is what you want plain and simple. I am still waiting to see what Baffert can do with the head case Jaycito, if he has matured he could be a huge factor and I love his breeding to go the Derby distance. I was looking at his works and Baffert is putting a sl=olid foundation in this horse he has worked 7F 3 times in the last month or so, and I like that comeing into a race off the shelf. I would like to see him win his comeback in style and then just run sneeky good in the SA Derby so you can get a halfway price on him come Derby Day. Although if Mo wins his 2 races by daylight I guess second choice will be good enough for anyone to be happy about unless you are ultra greedy. I have noticed since Mo is not going to Tampa someone on here has been real quiet lately!!?? DRAYNAY where are you?? Jump off yet? No he is just waiting to get that 1-9 on the March 12th and tell everyone how he swept the card at Gulfstream and hit a $100 pick 3 ending with Mo... Just some thoughts again about these 3 year olds as if anyone cares. Good luck at the races everyone!

27 Feb 2011 3:24 AM
Coldfacts

Slew,

I mentioned sometime ago that Uncle Mo's galloping action had to be putting a lot of stress on his shoulders. I was abused for making the a statement. This is one of the reasons I do not have him on my list. Horses that gallop that way are not ideal for repeated long distance races. It may be the reason for his light schedule going into the derby.

27 Feb 2011 9:33 AM
Forbidden Apple

Dr. Drunkinbum,

Are you based on the west coast or east coast, just curious? I can not get past my top three as of February 27. I love the way Dialed In explodes late in his races, he will welcome a race at 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 miles. I just made a call again today and my source tells me that Dialed In will train up to the FL Derby.

Soldat has run hard in all of his 7 career races on dirt and turf. If he stays healthy, I will be looking forward to his presence in the 2012 Dubai World Cup. I can not say enough about team McLaughlin, and this includes his brother Neal and his sister in law Trish McLaughlin. Kiaran,Neal, and Trish are all very professional and deserve a KY Derby victory. So far as a 3 year old Soldat has made everything look easy. I believe the FOY took nothing out of him and he will be even better in the FL Derby. People are saying he got an easy lead, this is true, but he will rate just fine in his next start.

Sway Away is my X factor who still needs to prove himself beyond 7f. The recent issue of Bloodhorse showed up at my doorstep yesterday and Sway Away looks like solid muscle. The Santa Anita Derby field better have their running shoes on because Sway Away is gunning for you!

27 Feb 2011 9:04 PM
cuban chef de race

remember when soldat ran at 2 on wet tracks he loves?well i did notice that when the pace is fast he tend to loose ground slowly,because the derby pace will not be made for him.and my second concern about this nice colt is that the florida derby will be his third consecutive 9 furlong's race and he needs to improve that time and final 1/8 on a fast track in the florida derby,because there are some speed balls waiting for him in the shadows,we need two more rounds okey?.

27 Feb 2011 9:07 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Woodrow

  At this point I would have to concur with your assessment of Zito skipping the FOY with Dialed In. It appeared to me to be the perfect opportunity for the two turn race that he wants, and would have been a good test and conditioner. Too many trainers nowadays are too afraid of missing The Derby and baby their star horses rather than getting them ready to win The Derby. There aren't too many John Nerud's anymore either, although Al Stall would appear to be one. The trainers that have gotten their Derby Fever vaccinations, and believe in a path to greatness that doesn't necessarily incorporate The Derby, or feel the best path to greatness is to bypass The Derby. Soldat won the FOY easily. My feeling is that if he was pressed more or challenged that he would have responded and run even faster. With Dialed In in the race we might have seen something really special, maybe a tremendous duel and learned more about both horses also. Only time will tell with Dialed In. Soldat is on the perfect path. He appears to have a great deal of natural stamina, and the competition of the Florida Derby should set him up nicely for The Derby.

27 Feb 2011 9:14 PM
cuban chef de race

remember when the experts said to win the derby the horse most be moving forward and have more then two preps?,well street sense and mine that bird don't fit this profile and the last five derby winners had only 2 preps.

27 Feb 2011 9:45 PM
cuban chef de race

the only reason i see the field as the favorite is because pletcher has the maiden cal nation unrace at 2,borrel has the mount on elite alex a 17 hands colt,and sway away closed like a cheetah on the santa anita expressway,this are the only reasons i do see in that field to tell you the truth.

27 Feb 2011 9:59 PM
cuban chef de race

if jaycito is 21x1 gourmet dinner most be 5x2,victory gallop won the belmont but fortyniner grandson trippi is better sire then gallop,they are playing the trainer big mistake my friend.

27 Feb 2011 10:10 PM
cuban chef de race

stay thirsty has one of the best pedigree this year overall his botton line with storm bird,Roberto,art and letters etc that is class and stamina also his sire bernardini who i think is going to represent his sire AP indy with honor and is out working his stable mate uncle mo,he is a better price then many false horses you see this year he is not my choice but merits more respect.

27 Feb 2011 10:31 PM
cuban chef de race

every year you see the same trainers who have won the derby before getting hammered in the future bets and that is okay because there is always a first time for the others.

27 Feb 2011 11:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Forbidden Apple

  I'm based on the West Coast, near an excellent Derby Fever Clinic that I have failed to make use of. I didn't make use of the Mayo Clinic for my mayonaise addiction either when I lived near it. Some afflictions are better left alone. I hear the treatment for Derby Fever is brutal. Dialed In-so if that turns out to be the case then I'll be rooting against him. He may be talented enough to pull it off though.(2 races as a 3yo pre-Derby) At this point I'm having difficulty imagining Soldat not being in the top three in The Derby. Sway Away is one I like but need to see more of. Kiaran McGlaughlin is an excellent trainer and man and I would love to see him and his team win a Derby. Long ways to go still. I don't really start to narrow it down until the big preps are over, then it's all about how they are working out and looking from there. The earliest I've made up my mind is the Wed before The Derby. It's usually on Fri or Sat. Mar 12 is when we'll see where Jaycito is at. Some of them will surprise later as they are in the midst of a gradual progression. And some seem to pop up out of nowhere sometimes, ready to run the race of their life. The only thing I know for sure is that this is my favorite time of year. Sometimes I wish the preps could go on forever. I've started much earlier than I used to, following the trail. I start with 2yo in July now. I found the withdrawals between The Belmont and January to be too severe, so it has pretty much become year-round for me now on the Derby Trail. I've got a sturdy mule, and he has a stubborn mule and we ride the trail together. All else becomes secondary to the quest to find the Derby winner at the end of the dusty, rattlesnake infested trail. We've found some gold along the way though.

28 Feb 2011 12:19 AM
Aluminaut

Paula,

His name was Tiznow.

28 Feb 2011 12:37 PM
Slew

Coldfacts: Gee...we agree on something ;)

I like Mo but could never climb on his bandwagon, and I couldn't figure out why not until I went back and watched all his races.  Then I knew...it was his stomp.

I still have confidence in THAS.  I really like his efficient gliding motion, and I think the FOY was just to get rid of the cobwebs, and I'm not about to discount him yet.  Rogue Romance and Soldat both evince a beautiful running style.  Now we'll move into March, and it should prove very interesting.

28 Feb 2011 1:28 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Forbidden Apple,

Soldat is looking like much the champion to me.  He can go wire to wire like his grandpappy Danzig, Hard Spun's father.  Hard Spun must have had a high Tomlinson figure as he fared so well in the Monmouth slop. Wonder if Soldat is a mudder?  Hope Soldat can rate off the pace too like Dialed In, and how he would fare against Dialed In's explosion.  I like McLaughlin as a trainer too, classy trainer, in my top 10.  Yeah, this Timely Useless is getting more confusing.  It throws a wrench into the whole thing with Mo.  Slew noticed his galloping style, hard instead of gliding. You are right, if he wins against 4 or 5 horses in the Timely and Wood, it does not guarantee a Churchill win no matter how much he loves the track there.  Soldat's and Dialed In's resumes, pre-Derby, are looking more impressive.  I told you Sway Away was the better son of Afleet Alex.

Dr. D.,

Too funny about Mo going in a parade on a float to the Timely Useless or Rider!  Someone should animate all these great bloggers' funny horse stuff and barn conversations in a Bloodhorse Child's Edition. What a way to get kids interested in racing!  I see a lot of kids at Monmouth now every year.  The big mystery remains the Timely Writer was written for Mo just in the nick time, but why and for what purpose?

28 Feb 2011 6:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

  Good idea on the animation. As far as Alex's kids- Don't count your chickens before they hatch. I'm not counting Elite Alex out quite yet. I like them both. I'm light years away from knowing who I'll be betting on and rooting for in The Derby. I hope they all get there safe and come out safe and it will be a great race. I hope Mo makes it there. I don't know why with only two 3yo preps they are choosing the T. Writer as one. I'm pretty sure Dialed In will run before the 12th, maybe this weekend. I guess they think that Mo is so good that he doesn't need race conditioning or quality opponenents to get ready for The Derby. I don't like it but if their goal is just to win The Derby they might pull it off but I doubt it the way this group is progressing (assuming they all stay healthy and enter.)

01 Mar 2011 3:37 AM
Forbidden Apple

Dr. Drunkinbum,

Your last post simply spells it all out for me with the handling of Uncle Mo. His connections are extremely confident and are taking the other colts lightly. They better hope that he has enough stamina for the KY Derby. I hope you are right about Dialed In racing in an allownace race soon, he sure does need another tightener.

Alex's Big Fan,

You are correct, Soldat is looking like a champion, he is beautiful. Soldat's tomlinson numbers are incredible, he can win on any surface. I can not wait for the Santa Anita Derby and the powerful kick of Sway Away. His last race was freakish and he is so strong, just full of muscle.

01 Mar 2011 10:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Forbidden Apple

  There are a few developing quite nicely, and at least one of them is going to be flying late, and blow by Mo in The Derby. Mo won't be facing scrubs. They are underestimating the competition based on their inability to understand the progression of some 3yo. And they obviously think that going into The Derby undefeated is important. Oh well. Mo should provide a target anyway. And a win is possible for him.

01 Mar 2011 2:48 PM

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