Ky. Derby Trail: Dis and Dat

It took only a week for the Derby picture to get muddled again, as To Honor and Serve’s disappointing effort left a log jam at the top of the list.

Many more people are now sold on Soldat, and while he ran an excellent race and was never in any danger of losing once To Honor and Serve called it a day, he did have everything in his favor – breaking from the rail on a speed-favoring track, getting to the lead without having to work for it, and setting leisurely fractions.

Everyone was geared up for a stretch battle between Soldat and To Honor and Serve, who got floated five-wide by El Grayling and had to rush up to get to Soldat’s flank and engage him passing the half-mile pole. But it never happened. When you’re making your first start in three months and going 1 1/8 miles, you’re entitled to get a bit tired. But To Honor and Serve, despite turning in several outstanding works over the deep Payson Park track, was done before he even hit the top of the stretch. If he were on a three-race schedule he would have time to regroup off a performance like this, but with only two starts, he now has to make a complete turnaround and run a huge race in the Florida Derby, and then put in some fairly stiff works in the five weeks to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Fortunately, he does have a solid 2-year-old foundation to help him out. He just has to prove he can adjust and win from off the pace and not have everything his own way, as he did in the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua Stakes (gr. III). When you’re on a two-race schedule, everything has to fall into place and you have to get something out of each race and then move forward. You have to assume he’s going to move forward, but who knows what he got out of this race.

As for Soldat, he proved he can run on a fast dirt track, as well as the slop and grass, although he does appear to have smoother action on the grass and doesn’t carry his head quite so high. We also have no way of knowing what kind of sire War Front is. Despite being a sprinter, he obviously can sire distance horses. His son Data Link looked very impressive winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the grass Feb. 24 for his third win in a row. Yet his son The Factor looks to be as fast as any 3-year-old in the country in sprints. We’ll see how he stretches out in the San Felipe.

For now, Soldat just keeps winning and has two big scores this year, which no other 3-year-old can boast. He was a come-from-behind horse last year on the grass and it’s now time for him to go back to that style of running.

Gourmet Dinner
has proven himself to be more meat and potatoes. But many people prefer meat and potatoes to Coq au Vin. This colt goes out there and runs big every time and never stops trying. Down on the inside in the Fountain of Youth, he swung out for his run approaching the top of the stretch and switched leads smoothly as he set his sights on Soldat, while drawing away from To Honor and Serve. He kept after Soldat and wouldn’t let him draw away as he did in his allowance victory. When Ramon Dominguez reached back and whacked him good with a right-hand whip, he jumped back on to his left lead and still kept running strongly to the wire to be beaten two lengths, finishing almost five lengths ahead of To Honor and Serve.

As a son of Trippi, you would think he’d be more geared for races up to a mile, but Trippi, as good a sprinter as he was, did manage to win the 1 1/8-mile Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) and was on the lead turning for home in the Kentucky Derby.

What is most intriguing about Gourmet Dinner’s pedigree, as we mentioned in the Derby Dozen, is the amount of Tartan Farm/John Nerud influences in his female family, which reads like a Who’s Who of Tartan stars.

He is inbred to Dr. Fager, Aspidistra (through Dr. Fager and Magic), and Intentionally, who became one of Tartan’s and the nation’s most influential stallions. There is the presence of other Tartan/Nerud horses Fappiano, Blue Hen producer Cequillo and Who’s for Dinner, a multiple major stakes winner and half brother to champion Dr. Patches. Who's for Dinner's dam, Expectancy, is a half sister to Man o'War Stakes winner Ruffled Feathers. Gourmet Dinner’s broodmare sire, Pentelicus, is a half brother to the dam of Unbridled, who was bred by Nerud. Also in his family is the brilliant Quiet American. Here is the legacy of Tartan and Nerud rolled into one package.

In addition, to those who remember and revere the famous 1967 Woodward Stakes with future Hall of Famers Dr. Fager, Damascus, and Buckpasser, all three of those horses are in the fifth generation of Gourmet Dinner’s female family. And he also is inbred to the great stallion In Reality, who was from the same crop of Dr. Fager and Damascus. It was Nerud who convinced Frances Genter to breed Intentionally to My Dear Girl and it was Nerud who raised In Reality at Tartan Farm.

Don’t toss out fourth-place finisher Bowman’s Causeway just yet. This track played against his style of running and he was just reaching contention after passing the three-eighths pole when he ran right up behind a tiring Shackleford and was forced to steady. He regrouped, but the top three were already long gone. He looked good in the stretch and was striding out nicely, finishing 2 1/2 lengths behind To Honor and Serve. And remember, he was running back in only 15 days after breaking his maiden going a mile and an eighth, and went into that maiden race only 12 days after finishing a strong second in a one-mile maiden race, in which he made all the running.

It might be wise now to skip the Florida Derby and try to get some graded earnings a week later, perhaps in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) or try for at least second-money in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) the same day. This is going to be a serious horse.

Dialed In looking for the right number

Before we get to the other 3-year-old races over the weekend, a word about Dialed In. We’ll make it short and sweet. This son of Mineshaft, who needed time as a 2-year-old to get over some niggling problems, now needs something else: two races before the Kentucky Derby. Pure and simple. Nick Zito has been trying to find a two-turn allowance race for him, but they never fill. He’s got one more shot for next Saturday. If that doesn’t go, then it’s on to the Timely Writer and Uncle Mo. Despite being at a disadvantage dropping back to a mile and having to run in what promises to be a small field, he just needs a bridge right now to get him to the Florida Derby (gr. I). He certainly doesn’t need to win the Timely Writer, but he does need a race and to get something out of it.

There was some speculation that he would train up to the Florida Derby, but that won’t happen, because it would all but eliminate him from being a major Derby threat, regardless of what he did in the Florida Derby. Yes, Big Brown, a total freak, won the Derby off only three career starts, but he had a mile race and a pair of two-turn races under him, while Dialed In would have one two-turn race, a mile race, and a 6 1/2-furlong race, giving him less miles than any Derby horse in memory. Even Curlin, who was a well-beaten third in the 2007 Derby with only three career starts under him, had a pair of two-turn races – the Rebel and Arkansas Derby. So, Zito is not about to subject Dialed In to a three-race schedule and only one two-turn race.

Zito knows these Mineshafts better than anyone, having trained his fair share of them, mostly for Dialed In’s owner Robert LaPenta. And he is well aware this horse needs two more races. The Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) looks like it would be a good alternative, but Zito and LaPenta still have nightmares of 2-year-old champion War Pass’ debacle over that track in 2008, in which he was beaten 23 lengths at odds of 1-20. Although form has held up fairly well recently over the sometimes quirky Tampa surface, a repeat of that performance by Dialed In would be disastrous. So, they’re not going to take any chances.

A Flash of lightning

Once again we have a latecomer on the 3-year-old scene score a powerful knockout victory in a sprint. Peachtree Stable’s Flashpoint, coming off a brilliant romp in a six-furlong maiden race Aqueduct, ran some of the fastest 3-year-olds in the country off their feet in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and looked like a beast doing it.

With 3-5 favorite Travelin Man, who had earned a whopping 106 Beyer in his career debut at Gulfstream, shooting to the lead, Flashpoint moved right off his flank and dogged him through fractions of :22 and :44 2/5 over a track that was far from conducive to fast times. It looked as if Flashpoint, under Cornelio Velasquez, could take Travelin Man any time he wanted, as the other speedsters in the field, which included four stakes winners and a pair of promising allowance winners, could not keep up with the top two. That top two quickly turned into a top one, as Flashpoint cornered beautifully and bounded away from Travelin Man in a matter of a few strides. He kept pouring it on to win by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:22 flat.

There was talk after the race from trainer Rick Dutrow about possibly stretching him out in the Florida Derby (gr. I). That is an extremely ambitious move, especially considering Flashpoint’s pedigree is geared toward shorter distances. As we mentioned earlier, even if he were to run a freaky race, he still would have only three career starts, two of them sprints. Is it worth finding out if they do indeed have a freak on their hands? It’s difficult to resist, and when it comes to spotting his horses, Dutrow doesn’t do anything he feels is irrational and not in his horse’s best interests. So, if he wants to run him in the Florida Derby, he must feel the horse can handle it. Then we’ll all find out what he has and what will come of the move.

In the meantime, this was as impressive a performance, visually, as we’ve seen all year.

In other 3-year-old races:

-- Arch Traveler, coming off an impressive seven-furlong maiden score, stretched out successfully in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream on the Fountain of Youth undercard. The track for that race, run as the third, was noticeably slower than later races, and only got faster as they watered it during the course of the afternoon. So don’t get scared off by the paltry Beyer figs. Arch Traveler, however, did benefit from the speed-favoring track, stalking a :49 half and 1:14 1/5 three-quarters. He opened a one-length lead in the stretch and was able hold off the late bid from Nacho Business to win by a length.

It was a good effort by the big, handsome son of Sky Mesa, stretching out for the first time, but the horse to watch is the runner-up, who was making only his second career start, was down on the rail for most of the race, and came home his final eighth in a sharp :12 2/5 over the slow track. We’ve been raving about this horse since his maiden win, and although trainer Kelly Breen was disappointed he didn’t win, he felt he got a lot out of the race. He said the son of Rahy came out of the race pretty tired and still was “dragging his (butt)” around the barn the following morning. This was a valuable learning experience and put some good bottom into him. In short, this is a very classy horse who will be heard from soon.

Breen will train his big 3-year-old Sweet Ducky, second in the Holy Bull (gr. III), up to the Florida Derby and will saddle recent maiden winner Nacho Saint in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes (gr. III). He hasn’t decided where to run LeComte runner-up Pants on Fire after the colt’s sixth-place finish in the Risen Star (gr. II).

This was a good comeback race for third-place finisher Washington's Rules, who was being wheeled back in two weeks after a disappointing effort in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III). This time the son of Roman Ruler ran his race, closing fast to be beaten three lengths.

-- The Borderland Derby, which produced 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, was won by the maiden Fusa Code, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus who was making his fifth career start. This was not a strong field by any means. Behold de Buy, whose only two career wins came at Arapahoe, closed from last in the 10-horse field to be beaten three-quarters of a length.

-- Here is a tip: if you see a son of Pleasant Tap with an easy win and two seconds in sprints stretching out to two turns for the first time and he’s 40-1 in a weak field, take a shot. If you had in the Turf Paradise Derby you would have won a bundle, as Pleasant Tap’s son Beer Meister came from 22 lengths out of it and blew by everyone to win going away by two lengths in 1:41 4/5 for the 1 1/16 miles. The 3-5 favorite, Indian Winter, was rank and never appeared to be in sync. He wound up finishing an ugly third, but was moved to second on the disqualification of 4-1 Twice the Appeal.

-- At Laurel Saturday, two very promising horses, J J’s Lucky Dream, a New York invader, and the locally based Bandbox, put on quite show in the seven-furlong Miracle Wood Stakes.

J J’s Lucky Dream, coming off a second to Toby’s Corner in the Whirlaway Stakes, tracked Bandbox all the way in fractions of :22 4/5 and :45 4/5. But Bandbox, who had finished a troubled fourth in the Remsen Stakes after winning the Sleepy Hollow Stakes for New York-breds, let J J’s Lucky Dream get first move on him when got stuck on his left lead. Travis Dunkelberger did an excellent job getting him change leads inside the final furlong and Bandbox came on again, but J J’s Lucky Dream was tenacious and held on to win by a neck in 1:23 3/5.

-- About a month ago, we mentioned that John Shirreffs was high on a son of Artie Schiller named Mr. Commons, who had broken his maiden impressively sprinting on the grass. The grand-looking colt had been training well on the dirt and Shirreffs tried to no avail to find a dirt allowance race for him. A mile allowance finally went on Saturday, and while Mr. Commons had to struggle to win by a head in a three-horse photo, he nevertheless won, getting the mile in 1:34 4/5, closing his final quarter in :24 flat. Shirreffs now has to decide whether he wants to try much tougher opponents, possibly in the Santa Anita Derby.

Mr. Commons was picked out of a field by David Ingordo, who will always be known as the person who picked out Zenyatta, not to mention dozens of other top-class horses.

-- If you’re looking for a real under-the-radar horse who has won three straight on the grass, but ran well on the dirt last year, keep a close eye on recent allowance winner Data Link, another son of War Front, who turned in a powerful stretch run to mow down his opponents with a :05 and change final sixteenth, defeating a promising European invader, Longhunter, in 1:41 flat. We’ll see if trainer Shug McGaughey keeps him on the grass, tries the dirt, or possibly runs him on Polytrack in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway.

Derby Dozen challenge still alive

On Feb. 1, we decided to issue a challenge – our Derby Dozen Top 12 vs. a secondary Top 12, made up of little-known horses who had not established themselves on the Derby trail. Then we would see how each list stacked up against the other come Derby Day.

Well, a number of the second-list horses have been busts, including the biggest disappointment, Casper’s Touch. Awesome Patriot, Heron Lake, and Rustler Hustler haven’t shown up since, with Heron Lake suffering a slight setback, and Tiz Blessed was recently sent to Rood & Riddle to try to find out what has been bothering him. So, with the possible exception of Awesome Patriot, who has been working regularly, we can kiss those horses goodbye.

Of the ones still alive, Elite Alex ran a good enough third in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III), going extremely wide, to be considered a threat in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II), as is Alternation, who looked good winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race the same day as the Southwest. Sway Away closed like a rocket in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) and may come back in the San Felipe (gr. II). Machen, ran a credible fourth in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) against seasoned stakes winners in only his third career start. Washington’s Rules, who ran horribly in the Sam Davis, bounced back with a fast-closing third in a nine-furlong allowance race on the Fountain of Youth card. Beamer came off his  third to Soldat in an allowance race to finish fourth, after a bad start, in the Sam F. Davis. And Crossbow was scratched from the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) after drawing the rail, and may go in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes (gr. III) or look for another stakes.

So, we have seven of the 12 horses still alive on the Derby trail (possibly eight), although some are hanging precariously by their fingertips.


Leave a Comment:



The Borderland Derby:

When was the last time two colts sired by sons of Mr. Prospector finished 1-2 in a race? Has it ever happened? Well it did in the above derby.

The winner Fusa Code is a son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and runner up Behold de Buy was sired by Suburban winner E Dubai. I am sure they will meet again in the  $800,000 Sunland Derby.  Ironically the only derby nominated colt in the  Borderland Derby was Fusa Code.

28 Feb 2011 9:04 PM
cuban chef de race

my friend haskin you know dialed in is in trouble he need a San Vicente type of pace to be a factor in the derby and i don't see it,all the horses that went to the derby in the last 20 years with 3 nine furlong preps lost, some in the money but i think too many miles before the race is not good ether,any thing can happen in the derby but like any other race pay attention to class,pedigree,track condition,form,and pace before is too late.

28 Feb 2011 9:05 PM

Great article again, Steve.  I am glad you mentioned Artie Schiller.  I loved him and he was grand looking with that great high arched neck, he was a big boy.  I remember standing at Belmont Park looking at him in the Winner's Circle.  I am anxious to see his offspring you are mentioning here.

David Ingordo has a sharp, keen eye for picking out thoroughbreds.

Just a little, tiny correction, it is JJ's Lucky Train.  But this is the little guy I had my eye on a few weeks ago and just mentioned in your Derby Dozen blog that is the improvement I like to see, a win coming off 2 second place finishes.  Could be something if he can make it into the Derby?  He certainly aced the "consistency" factor.

Love Soldat, and you just answered my question in the Derby Dozen blog about him being a mudder, apparently he takes after his sibling Hard Spun.  Danzig must have given them both the ability to handle slop well.  Impressive win by Soldat, he did not even look tired or winded after, galloped out nicely.  Would love to see how he can rate off the pace against Dialed In, hope they both go in the Florida Derby.  Love the name Soldat, it means soldier in French.  Classy name, classy horse.  I'm just about sold on Soldat.

Elite Alex is going to be a bit surprised when he is pulled all the way to the other side, left!  He went far wide right last time out, come Derby Day he is going to be saying to Calvin, "Gee, make up your mind which way you want to go man!"

28 Feb 2011 9:13 PM
cuban chef de race

the two mine that bird preps were slow and he went from an 83 best beyer to a 105! then what his breeding,the good pace and the mediocre field did allow him to do that,this days is better to look for patterns then speed figures.

28 Feb 2011 9:13 PM

Go Flashpoint!

28 Feb 2011 9:16 PM
cuban chef de race

the most important factor to have a chance in the derby is to believe in yourself and try to figure the real possibility,sometimes class out run pedigree and sometimes pedigree out run class,in the derby both are important but the secret in my opinion is to figure which one will benefit most from the pace and track condition,soldat ran a better race in the allowance race then the fountain of youth or did he bounce a bit?,well that kind of results can give you clues for the next step,to honor and serve is very good and he needed that race,did you remember when i did mention gourmet dinner's class? well he did finish second but his breeding is quality speed over stamina but this type of horses can measure the others and talking pedigree i don't know why stallions who did sire derby winners are not dam sires of derby winners in the last 50 years or more for example, alydar,hello,Seattle slew,mr prospector,etc they better be clear because i love the Kentucky derby.

28 Feb 2011 10:09 PM
Linda in Texas

Steve, i knew you had to be writing like mad. This is a great run down of the races.

I took 16 pages of handwritten notes about the races and horses that ran, who came in 1,2,and 3 and i thought if all the races were going to be like Flashpoint's, the afternoon was going to be a great one. He was

awesome to me.  Beside the 1 next to Flashpoint's name i wrote in big letters, WOW. And did that to several others, but Flashpoint lived up to his name and it was a joy to watch!. As were most of them.

Band Box is a favorite but not good enough for J.J.'s Lucky Dream but it sure was for him. That was also a good one.

Those were my favorite races and i keep going back and watching the videos over and over. Along with 2 races at The Fair Grounds with Hut's Rebel outracing everything.

And Seaquest a 57-1 shot also winning at The Fair Grounds.

I cannot fail to mention my favorite name for a horse, Goombada Guska, won at Aqueduct, Race 9 over More than A Reason.

Gourmet Dinner is all heart, love to watch him.

Come to think of it, every single one of them is a favorite. And 2 not racing this week end were Sway Away and Sweet Ducky cannot forget them.  

Thank you Steve. A helpful and informative article for non handicappers like me.

28 Feb 2011 10:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

A lot to digest here and comment on later but I don't think Awesome Patriot is done. He has been training excellent and should run in the San Felipe March 12th at SA or the Rebel March 19th at OP. He has 8 works since his 12-29 race. We're seeing longer than two months off for other horses that are still being considered Derby horses. Unless there is info I'm unaware of I expect Awesome Patriot to have a shot at it.

01 Mar 2011 1:39 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

From what I saw Dancinginherdreams might need time off. She was walking short pre-race and her racing stride was shorter than it has been at it's best. R Heat Lightning looked fabulous and it was no surprise how well she ran. Nacho Business looks to have a bright future but I don't think he can get ready in time for The Derby. We still have two months to go but THAS seems to have a heap of catching up to do. For some, two months is a long time,and we can see drastic improvement but for THAS it seems like a short period of time. I'd like to see him make the progression though. Gourmet Dinner has reached back into his Tartan past for his ability and I would compare him more to Musket Man than Jackson Bend. And I think he can finish better in The Derby than Trippi did. Gourmet Dinner is a stalker-closer type. I'm throwing his immediate heritage out the window. I can see him giving his all every race to the very end. Flashpoint is another that physically looked tremendous pre-race so his performance was no surprise. The odds he went off at were however. Big overlay. I still think he's a sprinter. I sure hope they're not going to ruin a potentially champion sprinter. I'm really looking forward to the next races of Beamer-probably Tampa Bay Derby, Sway Away-don't know where, Elite Alex-The Rebel, Alternation-The Rebel, and Arch Traveler, Bowman's Causeway, and Nacho Business, and of course The Factor(Sunland Derby??). I still don't know how they can slow him down enough. It will be Baffert's best training job to lasso and corral this one's speed. How about that War Front??!!! Some sire eh !! Great article with a slew of information. Sweet Ducky is another that will always give 100% I think.

01 Mar 2011 3:57 AM
Derby Dew


I really like Dialed In and it baffles me that Nick Zito opted not to run in the FOY because he thought the Holy Bull was a hard race for him four weeks earlier.

I watched the Holy Bull replay a half dozen times and it didn't look to me that Dialed In over exerted himself.  Do you think the Holy Bull took a lot out of Dialed In?  

It's easy to see why Nick has white hair.... he seems to be too hard on himself over thinking his decisions.  Hope he doesn't regret passing the FOY.

01 Mar 2011 6:49 AM
Fran Loszynski

Alex's Big Fan:

I wouldn't worry about Calvin and Elite Alex. Calvin wants a Triple Crown and likes Elite Alex, Elite Alex wants to bring home the K. Derby for good ole' Dad. Match made in heaven or guided by the heavens by Alex Scott! All three of them are going to do it! I just know it.

01 Mar 2011 8:37 AM

I picked Beer Meister to win and get this I thought he was one of the favorites and still thought it until after they showed the payoffs and I was like, "Oh"

So...... I will stick with my love for longshots and thats why. :)

01 Mar 2011 9:06 AM

When the colts are running the mile in 1:38, and R Heat Lightning covers the mile in 1:36, you simply must consider that any one of the top fillies just might slip over from the Kentucky Oaks to the Derby.  Especially when you have a Kathmanblu in the picture.

Linda in TX:  For some names, I'm a total sucker...can't help always rooting for Lily Fa Pootz and Absinthe Minded.  Luckily, they each won on their last out.  But it's their names that keep me watching them.  (Although their form is not too bad either).

I look at people asking for more preps (I'm one of them), and can't help noticing Comma To The Top and JP's Gusto have 9 races each, with Riveting Reason having 8.  Some of the "favorites" have only one or two runs, and usually it's a sprint.  Muddled is the right term for the Derby picture.  I think I'll go check my crystal ball...maybe I can get a clearer picture there...or not.

01 Mar 2011 9:47 AM


Thanks again for a very informative article.  Do you have any more info on The Factor?  Will Baffert run him in the San Felipe or wait until the Sunland Derby?

I agree with Derby Dew, I think Nick is over analyzing where to put Dialed IN.  He needs a two turn race before the FLA Derby.  Perfect set up is the TBD, not the Timely Writer. (With NO graded earnings available.)

I'm enjoying this ride as these three year olds sort themselves out.  Way too early to make predictions.  Looking forward to another juicy 4 or 5 horse Derby Ex. box.

01 Mar 2011 11:02 AM

I told everyone who would listen that To Honor and Serve was likely overrated as all Remsen winners seemed to be.  That said, he's still a nice horse.  Gulfstream is way tiring at 9f.  Soldat looks like Big Brown.  He's got the same mechanical stride, similar 2 year old turf form, and miler's pedigree.  Mo better bring it to beat Soldat.  

Gourmet Dinner just keeps running and firing.  Hard not to cheer for him.  

Is everyone possitive Dialed In can go 2 turns?  Most horses with that sort of turn of foot do better sprinting where they almost always get a fast pace, or on the turf or synth.  But he can get 2-1 on Soldat in the FL Derby I'll take it.  (I'd send Soldat to the Bluegrass, btw, with 2 huge efforts and proven turf form)

01 Mar 2011 11:14 AM

I told everyone who would listen that To Honor and Serve was likely overrated as all Remsen winners seemed to be.  That said, he's still a nice horse.  Gulfstream is way tiring at 9f.  Soldat looks like Big Brown.  He's got the same mechanical stride, similar 2 year old turf form, and miler's pedigree.  Mo better bring it to beat Soldat.  

Gourmet Dinner just keeps running and firing.  Hard not to cheer for him.  

Is everyone possitive Dialed In can go 2 turns?  Most horses with that sort of turn of foot do better sprinting where they almost always get a fast pace, or on the turf or synth.  But he can get 2-1 on Soldat in the FL Derby I'll take it.  (I'd send Soldat to the Bluegrass, btw, with 2 huge efforts and proven turf form)

01 Mar 2011 11:14 AM

I told everyone who would listen that To Honor and Serve was likely overrated as all Remsen winners seemed to be.  That said, he's still a nice horse.  Gulfstream is way tiring at 9f.  Soldat looks like Big Brown.  He's got the same mechanical stride, similar 2 year old turf form, and miler's pedigree.  Mo better bring it to beat Soldat.  

Gourmet Dinner just keeps running and firing.  Hard not to cheer for him.  

Is everyone possitive Dialed In can go 2 turns?  Most horses with that sort of turn of foot do better sprinting where they almost always get a fast pace, or on the turf or synth.  But he can get 2-1 on Soldat in the FL Derby I'll take it.  (I'd send Soldat to the Bluegrass, btw, with 2 huge efforts and proven turf form)

01 Mar 2011 11:14 AM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, your reasoning on To Honor and Serve is why I'm holding back with getting excited about Uncle Mo. His lack of experience is bothersome, especially when you consider the atmosphere on Derby day. Like you, I really like Gourmet Dinner. He's not only all heart with a super pedigree, but by the time he gets to the Derby, he will have 9 races under his belt. The only Triple Crown winner with less that nine races going into it was Seattle Slew.

01 Mar 2011 1:04 PM

I fully expected to read today that To Honor and Serve had some sort of medical issue to explain his poor performance on Saturday.   Absent one, it seems that this horse is simply not a legitimate Derby contender.  I watched the race and with the slow splits assumed that he caught a break for his first time out this year.   He was in perfect position at the 1/2 pole but when he failed to fire at the top of the stretch,  I thought he was having a breathing problem.  Top quality horses overcome being hung out in the 5 path especially with a slow pace.  Oh well, it's just one less threat for Mo to worry about.

01 Mar 2011 2:06 PM
It aint easy being good

I love the Elite Alex love on here its awesome most would have given up on him. Remember Afleet Express he was another one I never gave up on and won the travers. Have to be patient with Elite he will break through I am hoping for a break out performance soon! Just think he ran 7 wide last race you know he can get the distance haha!

01 Mar 2011 2:31 PM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan, thanks for the correction, i was writing so fast on race day i just wrote down J.J.'s Lucky (sribbly)looking symbol.

So if Steve wrote Dream i did too because i could not read my own writing. I wrote the names of every horse in each race and with HRTV switching around from one part of the country to the other, i was busy.

Slew - Lilly Fa Pootz is a hoot for a name. And Absinthe Minded, such a clever person whoever thought that one up.

I did not mention any fillies, and they ran some good ones. One race at Santa Anita, Race 4 Lady Sweetness came in first with a super close photo between Cute and Sassy and Candace Gold. Cute and Sassy prevailed for the 2 slot. That was an exciting race.

The San Felipe is looming large in my anticipation as i hope for the best for a certain fella. Don't want to jinx him so won't mention his name.

I believe everyone came home safe.

And that's the best thing.

01 Mar 2011 2:39 PM
Criminal Type

I'm glad you did this one Steve, I just can't seem to get behind any of the horses on your top 12 except for Dialed in. There are a lot of horse mentioned here that I do like, Starting with Flashpoint, Since I am a big fan of gray horses immediately got my attention, It was thrilling to see him perform the way he did since most of the time the grays dissapoint me with a few notable exceptions being Gander, Black Tie affair, Spectacular Bid, Holy Bull, Kip Deville UnB Song and my beloved Daylami. By now your waiting for me to say, but wait The Factor is gray, yes he is ! and I like him too, just need to see him go further. He is another of the few I like at this point. We will see how things shake out over the next 6 weeks.

Alex'sBigFan... Im no expert but, I do know that unless horses share the same mother, they are not considered siblings. What Soldat and Hard Spun are to each other is distant cousins based on them both being from the 2N family. Hard Spun is from Danzigs last crop of foals while Soldat is by War Front, a son of Danzig. You are on teh right track anyway.

I love Hard Spun, anyone who frequents the BH blogs knows it. He has some of his first crop being shown under tack right now at the Fasig Tipton sale at Palm Meadows. One is a dark bay colt that's a half to Sinister Minister, and another who is a half to Friedly Island.

I can't wait to see his foals race.

01 Mar 2011 3:05 PM
Criminal Type

Steve, Any word on Black N Beauty ? I was shocked by his performance on Saturday. Is he injured or was he just in over his head in the FOY? I know he finished like fourth in the Holy Bull, but had hoped the race was a throw away, given his amazing win in his previous race. Either it wasn't and he ran to his ability or something is really wrong with that horse. Thanks for any info you can give me.

01 Mar 2011 3:20 PM

I was never a big To Honor and Serve fan so when he did not win, it did not matter to me. A race with no pace is harder to win than a race with pace and Soldat won a fluke race and I do not think he will be allowed to crawl through another race. To Honor and Serve should be able to come right back and do well. The next three weeks will be very interesting but I don't see a Big Brown anywhere. If we get a triple crown winner from this group of horses it will be a true professional horse no flash just dash. Gourmet Dinner may be just such a horse. I always thought Mine That Bird's speed rating was due to running in little oxygen to more normal oxygen levels. It must have felt so good to be able to breath, no wonder he took off.

01 Mar 2011 3:37 PM

Dear Steve

What  do you think of Bandbox"s class level?

Will  he be  a possible graded winner?

01 Mar 2011 4:25 PM
Steve Haskin

Dale Romans said he is baffled why Black N Beauty and Shackleford both ran so badly. All he can do is regroup and hope they rebound from it.

Faith, I think Bandox right now is a grade III caliber horse who is capable of winning a stakes at that level. He could keep improving as he matures, but that's where I feel he is right now.

01 Mar 2011 5:39 PM
Steve Haskin

Criminal Type, I'm just curious why you need to see The Factor go longer but not Flashpoint.

01 Mar 2011 5:42 PM

Criminal Type,

Thanks so much for clearing that up. Yes, I knew that but all day yesterday for some reason I mixed up Hard Spun and Danzig all over the place!!!!!  Soldat must have thrown me for a loop!!!!  I called them siblings, mixed up Hard Spun's races with Danzig's, gee whiz!  I better go study my pedigrees again!!!!!  Thanks for setting me straight, cous!

Linda in Texas & Slew,

What a funny name, Lily Fa Pootz!  I saw that too, it sounds like a saloon girl form the old west or something!  It's so cute.


Thanks!  I am keeping Elite Alex in my top six, I did not jump off the wagon yet.  You have a strong feeling about this, I hope you are right!!!!!  On my office wall I still have an old article from when Afleet Alex ran his preps and it says, "Afleet Alex Rolls In Arkansas Derby."  Let's hope we see a similar article if Elite Alex runs in the Arkansas Derby.  I want to see Afleet Alex's sire standing improve and his two sons (Sway Away & Elite Alex) just might be able to do that.  I hope Afleet Alex does not get jealous of Smarty & Bluegrass Cat and decide to go on vacation to Brazil or something!  Alex, you better stay here by us!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Hope you get your wish, Fran.

01 Mar 2011 6:05 PM
Criminal Type

To be honest Steve, I never thought about it, and your right, I would like to see Flashpoint go farther. Now I feel like an idiot. Realistically, Id like to see them all go farther before making up my mind who I would put my money behind on Derby day. It's early days yet, still have a long way to go.

01 Mar 2011 6:08 PM

Really lookin forward to the next race of SWAY AWAY, i think he has the right stuff to win the Derdy.

01 Mar 2011 6:16 PM

I heard that Black N Beauty took a bad step at the start.  Is that true?

I was also wondering why The Factor needs to go long but not Flashpoint.

01 Mar 2011 6:35 PM

Just thought Sway Away reminded me of how Grindstone ran in Louisiana prior to the Derby.  When I saw those big loping strides and the ground he was closing I knew he should be suited for ten furlongs the first Saturday in May.  Of course there's a hundred other factors to consider but I loved seeing the way he closed in the San Vicente.  Next race should either make him a real contender or reveal he's just a notch below the calibre necessary for the triple crown trail.  

01 Mar 2011 7:12 PM


I am a big Shug fan,but he kills me with his laid back approach with his horses.If Kiaran can send Soldat off the turf to dirt (Warfront) same as Data Link,why isn't this trainer doing the same?. This horse Data Link has blossomed out real nice and he deserves a chance to get it on with the big boys. But knowing Shug,he is going to leave this horse and assume he is not ready.Sometimes I wonder why the Phipps stay with him. Data Link needs to get it on and show us what he has. If he can bust a .05 final sixteenth,that says this horse has some ability.Shug needs to get off his bed and give these horses a chance( this includes Break up the game).

01 Mar 2011 7:18 PM

Crossbow off Derby Trail with a bone chip in his ankle.

01 Mar 2011 8:00 PM
Criminal Type

I think the reason I mentioned wanting to see The Factor go longer and didnt add Flashpoint to that statement was because I had already moved on from Flashpoint, but yea, Id like to see him run further then a mile and see what he has left in the tank. Usually when im posting a comment I have so much going through my mind sometimes I unintentionally leave things out.

Footlick, are you serious about Black N Beauty ? I haven't heard that but it sure would explain a lot. I watched the race but I didn't see any bad step, I only saw him way back along the backstretch. He sure wasn't the same horse I saw win 2 races back.

01 Mar 2011 8:14 PM
Criminal Type

Footlick, Pedquery says B n B was pulled up in the Hutchenson, But Steve says Dale Romans is baffled. It's anyone's guess until we hear something definitive.

01 Mar 2011 8:17 PM

I always thought Mine That Bird's speed rating was due to running in little oxygen to more normal oxygen levels. It must have felt so good to be able to breath, no wonder he took off.

Cris 01 Mar 2011 3:37 PM

This oxygen levels theory didn't  have anything to do with him winning. As that was proved by Conveyance last year. He finished 15TH in the Kentucky Derby, after coming into the Derby prepping at the same track and the same race as Mine That Bird did the year prior.    

01 Mar 2011 8:43 PM

Anyone hear the HRTV interview with Flashpoint's owner?  He personally challenged Baffert to bring The Factor out to South Fl. for a showdown of speedballs in the Swale.  He wants Gulfstream to up the purse if they both run.  How cool would that be?

01 Mar 2011 11:08 PM
Gary D

I remember and revere the "67 Woodward...senior in high school,black and white TV...Win Elliott and Fred Capposala...turned out to be a rider's race,but 43 yrs later there has never been a better field in the same least in this country

01 Mar 2011 11:43 PM
Gary D

Regarding Gourmet Dinner,with In Reality,Dr Fager,et all in pedigree i would be hoping for slop and a PostPositon outside of #6...a Mine that Bird or Smarty Jones type surface could be perfect

01 Mar 2011 11:54 PM

I thought I read that he took a bad step and was pulled up but I have heard nothing since, so I assumed it was not accurate.  That is why I asked if anybody else knew.

02 Mar 2011 10:09 AM

The Derby begins and ends with Uncle Mo.

02 Mar 2011 10:29 AM
Forbidden Apple


I agree with your comments on Shug, he is ultra conservative. He is a great fit for the Phipps operation because they are also ultra conservative. Data Link is another son of War Front who might prosper from another try on dirt. Although his first two starts were on dirt and he did not perform well. Break Up The Game is talented enough to try him in a stakes race and pick up some graded earnings. He is bred to run long on dirt and could be a triple crown trail caliber horse. But I am expecting him to run in a maiden race this saturday.

You mentioned that you do not see any Big Brown type of horse this year. Big Brown made his first start as a 3 year old on March 5. Team Uncle Mo has a March 12 race planned for him, I guess they feel like they are even more talented than Big Brown.


A race between Flashpoint and The Factor in the Swale would be exciting. But The Factor is pointed towards and $800K race around two turns. The Factor is more interesting to me as he missed training time before the San Vicente and still ran a huge race off from a few works. If the Sunland Derby does not work out well for him, I think he could be a very serious turf middle distance horse.

My off the radar horse is clearly Sway Away. His raw talent and explosiveness will soon pose a great threat to every Derby Dozen horse that steps in his path.

02 Mar 2011 11:25 AM

36 colts nominated to the Timely Writer, including Zookeeper's, Runflatout.  

02 Mar 2011 11:32 AM
Zenyatta John

The Timely Writer WILL NOT FILL!

Draynay - another useless post - "The derby begins and end with Mo" - Where you a Rhodes Scholar? Thanks for the profound opinion as you and every house wife in Kentucky love Uncle Mo. lol.

Astrology just announced for The Rebel, so he'll finally make his 2011 debut.

Jaycito off his recent workouts has risen to my new #1. Being out of Victory Gallop - he'll run all day - and then some!

I think Uncle Mo will be lucky to hit the board in The Derby. He's looking for an easy race, with the Wood as his final tightner. He's facing the same fate as Bellemy Road , Eskenderya , I Want Revenge , Cahill Road ... and on and on. A tough Wood means LETDOWN!

The Wood needs to be an easy race prior to cranking up for the Derby.

02 Mar 2011 2:21 PM
mickey 1957

owners and trainers had better get with the program,and start being honest with the officials also....years ago at old arlington park,a exacta paid less,than the the winner paid,it almost started a riot,people breaking windows,starting fires in garbage cans....the life after ten,joke not once did I hear pletcher's name mentioned,last sat.crossbow's connection's with drew from the hutchison,to run in the gotham (bull) they new he had a chip,black and beauty...the trainer has no clue what went wrong.....people bet hard earned money,on horse's that are supposed to be fit,if it's pressure from losing owner or what must be the latest is mo,might have problem's ,I don't believe that,but if he run's down thetrack in the derby,shame on PLETCHER.

02 Mar 2011 4:11 PM

Flashpoint's owner John Fort made a most creative and enterprising suggestion about the Swale stakes.  If somehow the powers that be can run with his idea, the SPORT of kings and the Triple Crown challenge would get a major boost.  This would go a far way in making the Rachel Alexandra-Zenyatta fiasco a distant memory.  This could really stir up the "pot" of 3YOs, like a gourmet dinner (LOL).  Perhaps even "Mo" could be tempted to sprint seven panels in the revamped Swale against the "dynamic grey duo" and gallop out three furlongs to complete his Derby prep.  This is exciting out-of-the-box thinking.  

Go John Fort! go Flashpoint! go The Factor! go Rick Dutrow! go Bob Baffert! go horseracing.

Lets see what becomes of Fort's idea.  For certain, Flashpoint and perhaps The Factor are definitely going to add some red hot pepper sauce to the pace of the Kentucky Derby and either of them is a freak we could be in for a Derby for the ages.  Nick Zito could be licking his chops at the sound of all this.  Wow!!! Tell me I'm not dreaming, somebody.

02 Mar 2011 4:22 PM
mickey 1957

zenyatta john....for president.

02 Mar 2011 4:44 PM
mickey 1957

draynay...get off the jockey kick,tha great ramon,did (no better) than madrid would have,if you got the horse almost anyone could ride,heck I could have rode secrateriat and I weigh 205,if you have doubt's go ask steve cauthen or ronnie franklin.

02 Mar 2011 4:53 PM

Jaycito is your new #1 ?  Based on what ?  How on earth do you people pick a Derby horse?  Do you have any idea what talent looks like?  You think it looks like Jaycito ?  Give me a break.  The Factor will never show.  California horses like to stay in California pretending to be the best.

02 Mar 2011 8:35 PM

Steve I caught up with Kiaran today at Fasig Tipton Sale you can check out a quick video at talks about what lays ahead.

02 Mar 2011 9:59 PM

Footlick: that would explain a lot about BnB (who I thought would be a monster at the shorter distance).  Let's wait and hope he comes back OK.

03 Mar 2011 12:27 AM
Fran Loszynski

Thank you Alex's Big Fan and It ain't Easy bein good.

I'm glad to see you also as fans. There are some awesome horses this season running. I think every race is going to be a nail biter in the series, but I remember what Calvin did with Mine That Bird and hoping if he rides Elite Alex he waits till Elite Alex wants to use that kick-in speed. It's a trademark of the Afleet Alex strain. I was watching how low he goes into Elite's neck I believe he is talking to him, Jeremy Rose did the same thing to Afleet Alex.  I love these two jockeys. They communicate with their horses. Let's go Louisiana Man! and whisper "We've got it boy!" to Elite Alex.

I also read where Dublin may be making a comeback in 2011.  Hope So, he is a machine and didn't really get started. Go Dublin.

When Elite Alex wins the Triple Crown I hope the both of you are there so we can go hysterical together. I can tell Dr. D. likes him too! Probably Zookeeper and Katherine are winking his way. And to all - this is going to be a

"K" Kicking Derby with awesome horses. Sway Away has my two favorites in his backbone, Afleet Alex and Seattle Slew. Can you imagine if they came in first and second in the K Derby! Is it possible, could it happen? YEAH !!!Please God , no rain!

03 Mar 2011 8:13 AM

Bring on uncle mo bring on the factor and flashpoint and many other speed balls, I cannot wait. There is only 1 horse that's a true freak and his name is DIALED IN.   Were talking about a horse who was only showed the whip once who closed from 20 back on a lightning fast track on the wrong lead the entire stretch. Go back and watch him level off right before the wire it was amazing. He is begging for more ground as the others are backing up. If you truly want to be a winner on derby day then look no further. On may 7th when all these horses hit the stretch most will be looking for an oxygen mask and that's when dialed in actually begins hitting his best stride...remember the derby is a 1 1/4 and there's plenty of a stretch for him to mow them down, and he's already won there to. There is plenty of room on the bandwagon so jump on.. I also 2nd a vote for zenyatta john for president.

03 Mar 2011 10:59 AM

Do not understand.  In Jason's blog Mr.Lapenta saying "Dialed In is busting down the door to run."

They are looking for a two turn race..

What was wrong with the F.O.Y last weekend??

Now it looks like on to the Tampa Bay Derby..

All of this babying horses is like spoiling a child short term satisfaction no long term results..

Time Will Tell liking Soldat more and more..  

03 Mar 2011 12:45 PM

Hey Steve,

Do you think the Derby winner already ran this year or do you think we have yet to see him ?   Jaycito is still my number 1 Derby horse and anxiously awaiting his next race.  I'm still high on THAS but Dialed In is looking more and more appealing to me.  Soldat is also getting up there, his FOY run was  pretty impressive plus he has the advantage in that he'll have a really solid foundation of prep races going into the Derby and he excels in the slop.

I find it sad that our 3 yr old crops have been physically unable to go through the rigorous TC races that they need rests and less prep races year in and year out.   Mine That Bird had solid races when he was two and it showed how much it helps by running in all 3 TC races and actually running well.  I don't know how trainers are still going the 2/3 prep races route but it's probably because most are only interested in winning the Derby, not necessarily the TC.

What do you think ?  I know it sounds absurd to think that owners and trainers would care more about the KD than the TC but I believe we have a different type of owners now, not the same as in the past where they actually want to win the challenging races.  I think most owners we have now are much more interested in the quick return in their investment, hence trying to win G1s early then retire them to breeding.  Can't blame them though as they are the ones that writes the checks.  Looking forward to your thoughts on the matter.

03 Mar 2011 12:48 PM

Ranagulzion : You're dreaming.

I 3rd the vote for Zenyatta John for President and would suggest Steve Haskin as his running mate.  That would be a dream team.  

03 Mar 2011 1:09 PM

Zito is  training Dialed In the same way as he did Strike the Gold in 1991, a closer who was second in the Florida Derby to Fly So Free, won the Bluegrass, and then won the Derby.  Go Dialed In!

As for Shug, he is more interested in the Belmont and Saratoga meets and has seldom had a horse ready for the Derby, the last being Saarland, who ran out.  Additionally, he trains homebreds primarily and has indicated that it takes a little longer to figure them out.  Furthermore, he is honest and works for owners who have impeccable, above board integrity.

Zito also falls into this category as a trainer.  I wish I could say the same for a few of the others.

03 Mar 2011 3:30 PM
Scott's Cause

You have to be 1st. or 2nd. with a 3/16 mile to go in the Derby to win.  Will Dialed In be in that position?  Still intrigued with the path Jaycito might take.

03 Mar 2011 7:49 PM
mickey 1957

RANAGULZION,THE BID and DRAYNAY....I have a propostistion,for YOU MO-LOVER's..I will take brethren and jaycito,to win the derby ,if you lose,you stay off all blog's for 2- month's ,if I lose I will stay off 6-month's....ANY TAKER's(also any elite alex fan's-lol).

03 Mar 2011 10:00 PM
mickey 1957

if none of the 3- win the derby,it's my horse's only has to beat your's.

03 Mar 2011 10:01 PM
Steve Haskin

JayJay its very possible the Derby winner has not run this year.

04 Mar 2011 12:25 AM

Calvin Borel must of been listening to some dam good tunes before he got in the starting gate.    That was one hell of a ride on a horse, but it was great to see a ride like that in my life time.    The other jockeys that Borel was passing could not believe what they were seeing, they were stunned as was everybody else.     It is a jockey like that and a horse who was not even given a chance and a trainer that was focused and determined to get that horse to and in the Kentucky Derby.    This is why I am not sold on Uncle Mo / Soldat/ Dialed In not quite yet.    Mine that Bird and his Kentucky Derby win was horse racing at its best.

04 Mar 2011 7:14 AM


         Where is Beamer headed.?   Is it Tampa Derby.?

04 Mar 2011 7:16 AM
Fran Loszynski


I couldn't have written it any better than that. Elite Alex, Calvin and Tim-AWESOME. When a racehorse maneuvers threw traffic the way he did and still comes up almost winning, there's your champion racehorse and jockey with trainer guidance. You have to think what will he do when he has an easy ride? Win, Win, Win.

04 Mar 2011 12:18 PM

So far, I have to say, I'm not too impressed with this crop of 3-year-olds. The fountain of youth final time was rather slow....not excited about any horse in that field. So here are my top 5 right now:

1)Uncle Mo (until further notice)

2)Mucho Macho Man

3) Santiva

4) Stay Thirsty (late bloomer)

5) Jaycito

* The Factor is gangster, but will be gasping for breath at the end!

04 Mar 2011 1:43 PM

This weekend I like Toby's Corner to win the Gotham over Stay Thirsty. I think the son of Bellamy Road is starting to figure the game out and when he finally puts all the pieces together he's going to be a very dangerous customer at Churchill Downs in May. This colt has a wonderful stride and nice closing kick. The Gotham will be Toby's third race in 2011. He should be primed for a big effort. Stay Thirsty has been training on a tight schedule and hasn't run since BC Juvenile. My guess is that he'll show plenty of early speed and fade in deep stretch on Saturday.

    If anyone wants a free square this weekend, hammer Twirling Candy in The Big Cap. This horse is an absolute monster and could have his sights set on the track record, tommorrow, at Santa Anita Park. In my opinion, he is the best handicap horse in the country. His sire, Candy Ride, was an exceptional runner who retired undefeated. It's obvious he passed those traits onto his son Twirling. I'm going to go out on a limb and say if this horse stays healthy, he will not only win the Santa Anita Big Cap, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic,but also the Jockey Gold Cup at Belmont, and the BC Classic at Churchill. Now would that constitute an overwhelming favorite candidate in Horse of the Year honors?        

04 Mar 2011 4:10 PM
Carlos in Cali

I wonder if blinkers will perk-up Beamer a little bit...

04 Mar 2011 5:05 PM
cuban chef de race

one reason i talk too much about class is because people in general pay more attention to pedigree in the derby then class and sometimes it is a big mistake to cash a winning ticket,speed figures in the derby can be a double edge knife because some horses who are a little short on class can regress and others tend to improve big time from one race to another and the derby have been the best example,la troienne is considered the best foundation mare ever,well gourmet dinner's damsire pentelicus a good sprinter by fappiano is full of la troienne his dam charedi is the grandam of derby winner unbridled also by fappiano his 2d dam magic is by bucckpasser who is out of a la troienne mare and is a half sister to the fleet Dr fager and 3rd dam aspidistra is a granddaughter of of Bimelech a son of la troienne so gourmet dinner's sire reduce his overall stamina but not the class in his female family and he did not take a rest since last year but he knows la troienne is very alive inside him,nice colt.  

04 Mar 2011 7:31 PM

mickey 1957,

You have a deal.  Furthermore if any son of Bernardini or AP indy wins the Derby this year I'll retire from these blogs forever.

04 Mar 2011 8:25 PM
cuban chef de race

to me soldat is better on wet tracks you will see when the pace get faster ,if you do not like my coments it sounds good to me.

04 Mar 2011 9:27 PM
cuban chef de race

the derby is a Pandora box,i can tell you who has not shot but is better to be prudent then fall in a trap,zito wants to do with dialed in what he did with ice box mineshaft is a little better in the pedigree then pulpit but remember this ice box bottom line was stamina oriented,tabasco cat,alysheba,speak john etc,dialed in probably more talented but his dam is by eliza a champion that had distance limitations do to her sire mt.livermoore remenber housebuster? not problem i may be wrong,in the Kentucky derby? okey.      

04 Mar 2011 9:46 PM
cuban chef de race

santa anita track is so fast that i think they did hire an airport construction company to build it,no problem sway away deserve a trophy by closing the way he did there other then that i am not worry.

04 Mar 2011 9:55 PM
cuban chef de race

Anthony cross was a plodder then went to california and look like a sprinter wow it was the blinkers or the track?.

04 Mar 2011 9:59 PM
cuban chef de race

i think machen can beat those three musketeers in lousiana derby ,guive him some pace.  

04 Mar 2011 10:05 PM
cuban chef de race

uncle mo look like a long shot for some people but has a better pedigree then his sire that almost win the derby,i just need to see him do some thing because this group is not as good as people think,i only have 5 fingers on my hand to count.

04 Mar 2011 10:11 PM
cuban chef de race

Mr haskin,i know you are brilliant professional,but you know that mucho macho men,santiva,astrology,rogue romance etc will have to jump out of their skin to be a factor.

04 Mar 2011 10:19 PM
cuban chef de race

pedigree and Kentucky are related but to win you most fallow the reality,when you see speed figures you can see the mistakes,that is one of the reasons some trainers are good and others don't pay attention,why soldat have to goes to the derby with 3 nine furlong races if he has a strong 2 year old foundation? i do not like the move but i am not a trainer but i am a gambler and it never happen before so i will play cat and mouth.

04 Mar 2011 10:47 PM
cuban chef de race

pletcher has three horses now and only two will run the derby with two preps,will this pattern continued or what.

04 Mar 2011 10:52 PM
cuban chef de race

in the wet track soldat did close in 12 3/5 on a fast track he did close in 13 0/0 and the beyer was lower also the pace was slow let's see the florida derby pace and try to figure something.

04 Mar 2011 10:58 PM


Can you please help us new guys?

What does it mean when someone says a horse is "gangster?

Have a good one, LOL..

05 Mar 2011 9:17 AM

Anyone upset with To Honor & erve'sFOY oerformance needs to sit back and take stock.  This was his first out of 2011, and his first out in 13 weeks.  JV was instructed by Mott not to use the horse up, but to get a feel of what needs to be done before May.  Soldat and GD ran well, but knowing the order under which THAS were running makes all the difference in his absolutely not disappointing showinmg in the FOY.  Anyone who put $$$ on him in that race clearly overlooked these facts and deserved to lose their bet.   Before you all write him off, see how he comes out of his next prep, where he will be running for real.

05 Mar 2011 10:47 AM
Forbidden Apple

Zenyatta John,

You should have mentioned that 13/36 of the nominees to the Timely Writer are trained by Pletcher. Also, they changed the distance of the race to please team Uncle Mo. This race was 100% made up by Gulfstream for Mo, what a joke.

I know that you are a fan of Break Up The Game, the Shug barn is also high on Deed It Is and Boisterous today at Gulfstream.

05 Mar 2011 12:43 PM

Mickey 1957, I'm in the same boat as you. Neither Bernardini nor A.P. Indy will produce the 2011 KY Derby winner in my opinion. Although I do think A.P. Indy will be involved in it as a dam sire.

On pure class, it looks like Brethren is the real deal. A son of Distorted Humor, who sired the 2003 KY Derby winner, Funny Cide. He's also out of an A.P. Indy mare, Supercharger, who foaled  last years Derby winner Super Saver. Brethren has good early speed, a high-cruising gear and finishes up well. The only knock on him is the level of competition he's faced thus far. Still, when I look at the expression on Brethrens face, it's evident to me that he gets the game and knows what his job is. He is an incredible athlete, and very explosive. I think he's completely legit, and should continue to improve his unbeaten streak in next weekends Tampa Bay Derby.    

05 Mar 2011 1:09 PM
Mike Relva


Couple months ago I made Ranagulzion an offer to stay off three months if UM won,he would do the same if he didn't and he wouldn't take it. What does that tell you?

05 Mar 2011 8:51 PM
Mike Relva


Your remark about CA horses "like to stay in CA and pretend the best". That must be something like you "pretending" to be the best handicapper on the planet.

05 Mar 2011 8:53 PM
Linda in Texas

With re: to The Santa Anita Handicap,i have to remind myself that this was a horse race. And in a horse race expect anything.

First Dude, Aggie Engineer, Game on Dude and Twirling Candy were all up front going at it. All four i mentioned in my post about the poll. However, i did not take into consideration a bumping issue. Each of us will have a different take of what started it.

I think Twirling Candy wanted to run and got mixed signals when he

didn't get full rein. I would rather see a horse run like he wants to during the race instead of a jockey deciding when he should pick up speed. Contained enertia does not make the horse run faster once he is pulled in then given the signal to resume. My opinion. Is that what Baffert referred to when he said they had no horse left?  

I slept on the race, just extremely thankful that none went down in that debacle. Once I watched the video I realize how fast all the bumping happened.

And the jockey on Quinduci Man was brilliant to get around the fray.

Setsuko showed great concentration to not be knocked out of the picture. Game on Dude is aptly named. I had him 4th, had picked First Dude and Aggie Engineer to come in 1 and 2 with Twirling Candy 3rd.

Hope all are okay this morning.

Must mention Magic Launch, a gray, who was running her heart out at Santa Anita Friday afternoon going down and was put down shortly thereafter. That started the week end off on a sad note for me as i thought she was a beautifully built mare and was racing so gamely.

Glad Fluke won. Bobby Frankel smiled on Ascanio, that is for sure. Fluke means a lucky or improbable occurrence. Lieve going down in the race was unfortunate.

Only part of horse racing that i wish did not happen.

And the Racing Gods for sure blessed Mike Repole for his wins.

Now even more pressure on Uncle Mo to equal Stay Thirsty's win. Ya gotta love Mike Repole

being right there, leading his horses and holding on to the hands of his young son and daughter as they relished the wins and especially Calibrachoa, a $40,000 claimer who has done nothing but win and won The Tom Fool by 4 1/2 lengths. I say Mike Repole for President!!!!  

Thank you Steve, we will be waiting for your educated comments on all of the races.

06 Mar 2011 12:45 PM

Ranagulzion : To clarify, you'll retire from all of bloodhorse's blogs or just this one ?  You must dislike the AP Indy's and Bernardini's that much to put that kind of a bet.

07 Mar 2011 12:14 AM
Fran Loszynski

Calvin is saying some great things about Elite Alex. He's bonding. Elite was talking to Sway Away, he likes him too! Go Calvin! Go Elite in the Rebel.

Get better Setsuko. You're a beautiful horse. I won big with you and Game On Dude this week. Thank you.

07 Mar 2011 9:21 AM

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