Ky. Derby Trail: Derby Material

This is not about who is going to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as much as who so far has the look of a Derby winner – who is on track to peak on Derby Day, who looks eager to do more than they already have, and who has exhibited the attributes that normally win the Derby.

With Uncle Mo, Jaycito, Astrology, and Awesome Patriot yet to make their 3-year-old debuts they obviously do not fit into this equation.

This list differs from the Derby Dozen, which is based on intangibles, pedigree, trainer, and other factors.

1—DIALED IN -- After his remarkable Holy Bull (gr. III) victory, it’s OK that he regressed a little off that race and his 97 Beyer. His 90 Beyer in the allowance race still is solid enough. It is important to remember that he went into his first two-turn race against older horses off only two works (4f and 5f) in five weeks, so he had to be short for the race. Also, the slow pace and being lulled to sleep while in traffic didn’t help him, as he was taken out of his game. Despite all that, his closing Brisnet pace figure of 112 actually was only one point slower than his 113 in the Holy Bull. Of all the other horses in the second Future Wager pool, only Soldat’s 110 closing pace figure in his allowance score comes close to those two figures. So, speed-wise he is by far the best closer we’ve seen this year. He also defeated a top-class field in the Holy Bull, with fourth-place finisher Mucho Macho Man coming back to win the Risen Star (gr. II) and third-place finisher Gourmet Dinner finishing an excellent second in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II). He should get a lot out of this last race, and look for him to revert back to his old style of running with a faster pace and bigger field and bounce back big-time in the Florida Derby.

2—MUCHO MACHO MAN – He’s demonstrated his class at 2 and at 3, running his two best races going two turns. Standing 17 hands tall and with a gargantuan stride, he seemed to be just getting started at the end of the Risen Star and galloped out strong. And he was cutting into To Honor and Serve’s lead in the Remsen. For a June 15 foal, which is uncommonly late, he has already run seven times, excelling from distances of six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Winning the Kentucky Derby off a six-week layoff hasn’t been accomplished since 1956, but because of his size and late-foaling date, and going into the Derby off six straight races at a mile or longer, it could be beneficial for him to have a little extra time off before the Derby grind. But trainer Kathy Ritvo will have to keep him sharp and fit during that time. He’s run three good middle pace figures and one good closing pace figure, suggesting he is a grinder who can beat you from anywhere on the track. He just needs to get back to or improve off his 99 Beyer figure in the Remsen. Grinders don’t need monstrous speed figures, because they have the ability to capitalize on faster horses’ mistakes and weaknesses by being in the hunt at all times and going only as fast as they have to.

3—SOLDAT – As we mentioned before, despite winning his two races this year on the front end, he did get a big Brisnet closing pace figure in his nine-furlong allowance victory in the slop and a solid enough figure in the Fountain of Youth. But unlike closers such as Dialed In, he did it after running solid early and middle pace figures, meaning he can run you off your feet early and still keep going. The best part about him is that he laid back off the pace last year in his grass races, so he should be even more effective reverting back to that style, assuming he will do just that in his next two races. His sire, War Front, was a confirmed sprinter, but has sired several classy two-turn horses this year, and we’ll see how The Factor stretches out in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II).

4—SANTIVA – What I like about him, in addition to his consistency, is his 13-point Beyer jump from his Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) victory last year to his second in the Risen Star in his 3-year-old debut. His Brisnet jump wasn’t as dramatic, but closing pace figure went from a 96 to a 105. He still needs to get faster, but he’s at least progressing the right way. His Beyer and Brisnet figures have gone up in every race he’s run since his first start. And he did demonstrate a good turn of foot in the Risen Star to jump into contention after dropping back on the far turn. He’s by Giant’s Causeway and his broodmare sire, Smarten, like Giant’s Causeway, was as tough and durable as they come, winning the Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and American Derbys and placing in the Arkansas and Tropical Park Derbys, as well as the Travers, Meadowlands Cup, and five other stakes. All in all, he won or placed in 15 stakes as a 3-year-old. Santiva isn’t going to dazzle you with any blazing times, but so far he is taking after his sire and broodmare as far as toughness and consistency.

5—STAY THIRSTY – Many people knocked his Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory, claiming it was too slow and that he didn’t beat much. But the main thing you want to see from a 3-year-old making his first start in four months and first start around two turns is how he closes, how he looks coming to the wire, and how much the race did to move him forward. And in this case, what he had to overcome to do it. He broke poorly with his head in the air and then was floated four-wide into the first turn, not the place to be on the Aqueduct inner track. The pace was very slow and there was nothing he could do about that. He had to show a good closing kick and by coming home in :24 2/5 and :06 2/5 he did just that, despite lugging in on two occasions and changing leads three times. He obviously has to work on that greenness and run faster next time out, but this race was a step in that direction. Although he hasn’t improved from his previous speed figures, his 106 closing Brisnet figure was solid enough and a big improvement. You have to think there’s a lot more in the tank. How much and can he step it up in time for the Derby we’ll find out soon enough.

6-- BRETHREN – This half-brother to last year’s Derby winner Super Saver is a tough colt to get a read on right now. And we might not know that much more about him after the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), in which he looks to face pretty much the same bunch he beat up on in the Sam F. Davis (gr. III), with a few unproven horses mixed in. His Beyer and Brisnet figs are slow and he hasn’t beaten a top-class horse yet. His Derby Dozen ranking is based almost solely on the visual aspect of the Sam F. Davis and the way he improved professionally off his allowance score at Churchill Downs last fall, in which he raced greenly down the stretch. He won the Sam Davis as easily as any 3-year-old has won this year and he did it with smooth, effortless strides. The best we can say about him right now is that he has a great deal of room for improvement and could turn into a man by the first Saturday in May.

7—ARCHARCHARCH – He is another whose speed figures leave a lot to be desired, but there is a good deal upside to him. In a seemingly contentious Southwest Stakes (gr. III), he was the only horse who made a strong run and he did at the right spot and did it effortlessly. One minute the pack was tightly bunched approaching the top of the stretch, and then there he was emerging from the pack, quickly opening a clear lead and doing it on his own, while still on his left lead. A big, long-striding colt, he showed his greenness by drifting in from a right-handed whip and finally did switch to his right lead with 70 yards to go. Although J P’s Gusto was cutting into his lead, he was striding out beautifully in those final yards. What is intriguing about him is that he bred purely for stamina on both sides, yet managed to win the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes in 1:10 2/5 as a maiden in only his second career start. He was too fast early for his own good when stretching out to a mile in the Smarty Jones, but improved 26 Beyer points and 24 Brisnet points in the Southwest, and there is no reason think he won’t move forward again in the Rebel.

8—ROGUE ROMANCE – He looks to be on a fairly similar pattern as Santiva, but hasn’t shown the tactical speed and acceleration Santiva has. He is one of those horses that is always going to be coming at you, and who isn’t rooting for a son of Smarty Jones to make an impact on the classics. What he needs to do is show the same kind of closing knockout punch he exhibited last year on the grass. So far, in his two races on dirt, he has closed in the stretch, but hasn’t shown that turn of foot you want to see. To his credit, he didn’t have the cleanest of trips in the Risen Star and found himself behind a wall of horses before finding a clear lane and coming on late. But a good burst of speed probably would have helped him shoot through a hole earlier. He’s never run a bad race and is always going to look like an attractive proposition, especially in a race with pace. Like Santiva, he ran career high Beyer figure in the Risen Star. While his Brisnet figure was not as high as his BC Juvenile (gr. I), his closing pace figure jumped 12 points, equaling his figure in the Bourbon Stakes (gr. III) on grass last year, which he won going away after rallying from 12th.

9 and 10—ELITE ALEX and ALTERNATION – It’s difficult to separate these two after their close finish in a one-mile allowance race, even though Elite Alex ran an amazing race after a disastrous start and not having run since breaking his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs six months earlier. Elite Alex went on to the Southwest Stakes and again had a horrible trip, having to go seven-wide at the top of the stretch and finishing third, while Alternation opted for a 1 1/6-mile allowance on the undercard, which he won comfortably over Smarty Jones Stakes runner-up Dreaminofthewin. The feeling here watching these colts, who both have exceptional pedigrees, is that we haven’t seen anything near their best, which should make the Rebel a fascinating race, with several shippers expected, including The Factor.

11—TO HONOR AND SERVE – I have him much higher on the Derby Dozen because of his excellent 2-year-old form, but this list is based mainly on how they’ve looked this year, and I can’t put him any higher off just his well-beaten third in the Fountain of Youth, in which he tired early and was a beaten horse before they even hit the top of the stretch. Can he bounce back with a big effort in the Florida Derby? Of course he can, but he had to have gotten enough out of the Fountain of Youth to go out there and prove that race was a fluke and the real To Honor and Serve will show up on May 7.

12—MACHEN --This is one horse who has tremendous room for improvement following a solid fourth-place finish in the Risen Star, in which he encountered some brief traffic problems while making his move and had to swing to the outside. With only two starts under his belt, this was a good move forward and should make him very tough in the Louisiana Derby. He has already demonstrated an explosive turn of foot, bursting through horses in his allowance victory, but his main issue is his habit of breaking poorly. Once he gets his act together coming out of the gate he will be a force to reckon with. That should come with racing and maturing. He still hasn't duplicated his BrisNet speed figure in his career debut, but earned a new high closing pace figure in the Risen Star.

13 -- TOBY’S CORNER – I like this colt too much to give up on him after his third in the Gotham Stakes. A tall, stately son of Bellamy Road, he really caught the eye in the paddock. On a fast track, he just had too much to do off that slow pace. He did close into a fast final sixteenth, and although he likely will be sent to the Illinois Derby (gr. II) to pick up graded earnings on a track that often works against closers, he still cannot be taken out of the Derby picture. He is another who is still maturing and will pop off a big one at some point.

14—GOURMET DINNER – Tough, honest, and consistent, and a horse any trainer would give anything to have in their barn. He had little chance of catching Soldat in the Fountain of Youth, but boy did he try. On the surface, he looks more like a mile to mile and an eighth type of horse and doesn’t have the stride of a stayer. But all the above attributes he gets from his Tartan Farm laden female family will make him dangerous wherever he runs. Nothing he does will come as a surprise.

15—SILVER MEDALLION – He is improving in leaps and bounds and now has to show what he can do on dirt. His form certainly was boosted when POSITIVE RESPONSE, who was third behind him in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), went to Turfway Park and dusted his field by seven lengths in the John Battaglia Memorial. He is another who still has to prove himself on dirt. But Silver Medallion is moving in the right direction and has the right running style. He needs to get faster, like many of them, but is one to keep an eye on.

Right on the heels of these 15 is J P’s GUSTO, who is very similar to Gourmet Dinner in that he’s equally as tough, honest, and consistent. But his pedigree is inundated with speed, so stamina is a major question mark. And COMMA TO THE TOP, who had a five-race winning streak stopped in the El Camino Real Derby, will try to make amends in the San Felipe.

The Southern California horses are hard to gauge off the 1-2 finish of ANTHONY’S CROSS and RIVETING REASON in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II). That picture will clear up in the San Felipe (gr. II) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Anthony’s Cross is improving and has shown a new dimension with the addition of blinkers, but now needs to keep improving against better competition. Riveting Reason has let two races get away from him, losing photos after apparently having victory in his grasp. He’s an honest horse, but with one victory in nine career starts he needs to show he can win one of these. He does have a similar record to Giacomo, but Giacomo was a stone closer.

We’ve certainly seen some brilliant sprint  performances on Santa Anita’s souped up track from THE FACTOR, RUNFLATOUT, ALBERGATTI, AND WILBURN, and an impressive losing effort by SWAY AWAY. But those horses, as well as FLASHPOINT, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II), and PREMIER PEGASUS still have to prove themselves around two turns. Premier Pegasus is bred to go longer, so he is one to keep an eye on.

If the Turf Paradise Derby is ever going to produce a Kentucky Derby contender it will be BEER MEISTER, who ran a fantastic race in his first two-turn effort, coming from 22 lengths back to win going away. By Pleasant Tap, he should have no stamina problems.

Finally, we have the so-called under-the-radar horses who have shown enough to suggest they are on the verge of a breakout performance and establish themselves as legitimate Derby contenders. One of them, STRIDING AHEAD, runs in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby after a very impressive maiden victory over the track, in which he gave all appearances of being a top-class colt, the way he cornered and powered home with long, efficient strides. He was smart enough to throw his tail in the air when jockey Luis Garcia went to hit him with the whip, and he was hand-ridden the rest of the way, while taken well in hand in the final yards. He showed no signs of slowing down after the wire and Garcia had all he could do to pull him up. Of course we don't know yet about his class, but the way the son of Empire Maker turned back a challenge on the turn and the way he looked down the stretch, he could develop into a top horse for Bill Mott and Juddmonte. His dam, Helstra, is a half-sister to Stormy Atlantic, his second dam, Hail Atlantic won the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), and his third dam, Flippers, a half-sister to Apalachee and Brahms, won the Golden Rod (gr. II) and Pocahontas at Churchill Downs. For you Rasmussen Factor pundits, he is inbred to Rough Shod through full-sisters Moccasin and Thong.

Watch out for BOWMAN’S CAUSEWAY, whose fourth in the Fountain of Youth was a much better effort than it might appear. I still like everything about this horse and feel he is going to heard from shortly.

NACHO BUSINESS and NACHO SAINT, stablemates of Sweet Ducky, are coming off tough trips, in which they were unable to show their best, and both should improve many lengths in their next start. You have to give credit to NORMAN ASBJORNSON for his good second in the Gotham off two impressive victories at Philly Park (Parx) and Penn National.

If there is a sneaky horse who possibly can get Uncle Mo to raise a sweat in the Timely Writer it is ROCKING OUT, who exploded in the stretch to break his maiden in spectacular fashion at Aqueduct in November. Coming off a layoff, he wound up on the lead in a mile allowance race Feb. 13, and although he tired late to finish third, he definitely needed that race and should be more effective reverting back to his come-from-behind style.

I don't know if the normally conservative Shug McGaughey is thinking Derby with BREAK UP THE GAME, but this son of Bernardini, out of Personal Ensign's daughter Pennant Champion, has shown great promise in all three of his seven-furlong races, and looked particularly impressive breaking his maiden last weekend. He has a beautiful way of going and looks as if he can't wait to stretch out to two turns.

If you want a huge longshot to at least hit the board in the San Felipe, watch out for SURREY STAR, who is by a son of Dubai Millennium, out of a Fantastic Light mare, so he should be all about distance. After starting nine times at 2 in Europe, he finished a fast-closing third in the one-mile Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) on grass. Dropping back to seven furlongs in the San Vicente in his dirt debut, he drew the disadvantageous rail, made a big early move, running his second quarter in a scorching :20 1/5, and then raced evenly to finish fourth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. Like five others in the San Felipe, he's going two turns for the first time, so, you never know.

Other lesser knowns to watch are BEAMER, FREE ENTRY, and WASHINGTON’S RULES. The first two run in the Tampa Bay Derby. And John Shirreffs is about ready to sneak on to the Derby trail with the grand-looking MR. COMMONS off his recent allowance victory.

Looking for potential Derby horses coming off the grass? The ones to look out for are DATA LINK, CRIMSON CHINA, and KING CONGIE.

107 Comments

Leave a Comment:

SaratogaDreamin

HI Steve,

I love Dance City and naturally CAl Nation....also I agree with you about the Nacho horses, they have potential

09 Mar 2011 6:45 PM
El Kabong

Great read, those top six are the half dozen I am watching closely along with Sway Away and Jaycito, the two Westies I think will make the field if they improve. I love Soldat obviously from other posts but that Santiva strikes me as a colt who has alot more to give if he figures it out and matures a little bit. Mucho Macho Man for me is the big enigma as far as his breeding goes. He's a strapping big moose that doesn't appear to have the best distaff line for stamina, but I could be wrong. That however, matters not if he eats up ground next out like he did in the Risen Star. Thanks for all the good oats.

09 Mar 2011 8:31 PM
inquiry

Steve I remember last year when zito  didn't have ice boxed cranked up in the fountain of youth, and he was beat by eskendereya. Well we all know what happened when zito wheeled him back for the florida derby, ice box went from worst to first and also coming back to run 2nd in the derby. Zito knows what he's doing with horse no doubt and I cannot wait until april 3rd.

09 Mar 2011 8:38 PM
Zenyatta John

Excellent list and format.

The only one on my list you didn't mention was Break Up The Game for Shug who just broke his maiden but is bred to run all day, out of Pennant Champion - a daughter of Personal Ensign, by super hot sire Bernardini.

I know Shug doesn't rush his horses whatsoever , but if he makes it to the Derby I know he has blossomed into a monster I think he's gonna be. If he doesn't blossom this spring, then the Travers will be right up his alley.

09 Mar 2011 8:41 PM
Calvin

Steve,

I like Striding Ahead as an under-the-radar horse. His pedigree qualifies as WOW and if he lives up to his breeding, he has the potential to be a Classic Champion Thoroughbred. Only time will tell.

09 Mar 2011 9:02 PM
Steve Haskin

Zenyatta John, funny you should mention Break up the Game. I touted him big-time on Steve Byk's radio show yesterday and overlooked him, but have already added him to the story.

09 Mar 2011 9:28 PM
Arlene

Steve-I-wish-everyone-would-get-every-horse-off-the-drugs-and-just-run-them-more-shake-out-the-chaff-(you-know-breeding-unsound-to-produce-unsound)-Eskendereya?-paying-a-big-fee-for-something-that-couldn't-make-it-to-the-Derby?-sad.I-like-Tobey's-Corner.He-reminds-me-of-Afleet-Alex-but-who-knows-anymore?I-would-love-Uncle-Mo-to-be-THE-ONE!Hope-he-has-the-talent-connections-preparedness-and-luck-to-make-it-happen.Mucho-Macho-Man-what-a-dream.But-he-is-so-young-afraid-he-will-hurt-himself-on-a-full-Triple-Crown-Trip.He-has-so-much-talent-and-trys-so-hard.Everyone-else-is-a-prom-queen-

they-deserve-to-be-there-on-the-day-and-catch-the-attention-but-where-is-the-grit-on-May-7th?Interest-for-racing-may-be-diminishing-but-you-still-can't-dismiss-it.This-is-our-"sport"-and-the-1st-Saturday-in-May-is-the-finest-2-min.-in-sport(ok-and-some-change!)I-still-can-coerce-everyone-in-my-work-enviorment-to-do-the-Derby-draw-right-up-there-with-the-NCAA-brackets.So-one-has-to-keep-that-clientle-in-the-game.As-always-a-safe-and-adveturuous-road-to-all-connections-involved-to-bring-us-to-May-7th-and-the-playing-of-"My-Old-Kentucky-Home"-There-is-"still"-a-big-industry-and-prestigue-that-allows-us-to-blog-like-this.

09 Mar 2011 10:21 PM
sherpa

Thanks for the heads-up on Striding Ahead.  I had not seen his 2/05 maiden race @Tampa, so looked it up.  Must say, that is just about the most Professional race I've seen by a 3yo this year.  Totally focused. Never mind the field or the times, he looks like a horse with a future.  And no kidding, he looked like he wanted even more distance.  As Calvin said, his pedigree is to die for. I'll look forward to seeing how he runs in the TBD against more experienced!

09 Mar 2011 10:32 PM
TJLuvsTizs

I think we can get some really good value in the Future Wager Exacta! I will probably box Dialed In, Santiva, Brethren, Rogue Romance, Soldat and All Others.

Should be able to see some good value in odds increasing for the horses not running this weekend.  Brethren and Mo will only drive down their odds.

I think the San Felipe will have the biggest payouts for the weekend.  I am pulling for Awesome Patriot to win the San Felipe, but can see any one of 6 horses win it.

09 Mar 2011 10:44 PM
John T

After all is said and done there is just too much to be said and done regarding Kentucky Derby horses,but thankfully by the end of March we should know so much more.

09 Mar 2011 10:45 PM
David (horse whisperer)

Hay steve, had to do that pun.

No more three week hiatus!

Great read, and info.

Waiting for Awesome Patriot to run.

09 Mar 2011 10:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Wow. This is a fantastic synopsis. This one I wil print and use for reference. Lots of good perspective and info here. Thanks. More to learn this weekend and the San Felipe is an especially strong and interesting race. Or potentially very strong anyway. There is talent in here but who will step up? I'm glad you mentioned Silver Medallion. He ran Dec 31st and Feb 12th. I wish he was in The San Felipe. If they wait until the SA Derby that's a long time between races.

09 Mar 2011 11:09 PM
Carlos in Cali

I'm looking forward to see how Runflatout performs this weekend,supposedely he's been working something fierce and has been finishing-up strong.

How about Arch Traveler Steve? Your thoughts on him and do you know what kinda' plans they have in mind for him?

I've been asking about Vengeful Wildcat and he finally showed-up last weekend @ Aqueduct,placing in a minor stakes race after a 7month hiatus.Since I saw him break his maiden @ first asking then running a very good 2nd to an accomplished,speedy stakes winning Wesley Ward charge in the Sapling,I've been waiting for his next race.Any info on his future plans?..

10 Mar 2011 2:29 AM
Zenyatta John

Steve -

I haven't been able to catch Steve Byk's show with the time change in March, but your commentary on his show is what I look forward too the most.

I have been saying since December that I think Break Up The Game is Shug's best chance to win the Derby since Easy Goer. At least this time, I won't be waiting on Pat Day to "pull the trigger."

10 Mar 2011 5:03 AM
Mike from Alpena, Michigan

note the time and date of this post please.  I predict that Rattlesnake Bridge will defeat Uncle Mo in The Timely Writer.

10 Mar 2011 5:08 AM
Quiet American 55

Watched all three races for Break Up The Game.  Thanks Steve for noting him as well as a nice overview of others.  Only Shug knows the intentions, but the calendar is kind of stacked against this one for May 7.  Potentially an allowance two turn followed by something like the Blue Grass - but that may be reaching in terms of races within days left til May 7th.  

10 Mar 2011 7:31 AM
Fran Loszynski

Great summary Steve.

I know alot about the other horses now and what kind of competition they offer. Alot of the racehorses this season have run into "traffic" problems so it should be interesting to watch the Derby if the "day is clear", and it turns out to be a smooth ride for all. I think after the Rebel, Elite Alex will be a part of your twelve list.

10 Mar 2011 7:42 AM
JOE

Is Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer or the Tampa Derby on March  12th .

10 Mar 2011 7:44 AM
Sue

Steve, wonderful list.  I don't see any Iron Horses like in the 70s (Slew, Alydar, etc.), but there are some promising names IF they don't break down.

Love the Afleet Alex colts.  What Justice could be served if one of them wins the KY Derby.

This year, the Derby is on my birthday....my BIG 6-0.

10 Mar 2011 7:47 AM
Billrink

Steve, I have really enjoyed your analysis of this year's Derby hopefuls. In my novice impression (with the exception of Uncle Mo's 3yr. old racing form, although he looks absolutely fantastic in all of this year's still photos),the best looking three year old in the country to date is Zazu. I don't have any idea of what the owner's or trainner have planned for her, (but if she was mine I wouldn't run her in the Derby do to the large number of entrants). That field in the Santa Anita Oaks was as tough as any so far this year. Not to take anything away from Turbulent Descent, she's very talented and very determined, but if Zazu stays sound and they can keep her mind right, it will be very hard for any horse to turn her back.

10 Mar 2011 9:15 AM
Slew

Steve, great list...but I remain confused as ever.  So many promising young colts....less than 2 months to sort them out.  I still have faith in THAS, and am willing to toss his last race, but I remain anxious to see better...I know he is well-bred, now I need to see him bring it to this season.  Your list is helpful, but I'm trying to pare my list down...not add to it...maybe in the next month.  How about those fillies?  Can R Heat Lightning slide over to the Derby?  Zazu?  Dancinginherdreams?  Can Awesome Feather get fit?  Hmmmm...I have a headache.

10 Mar 2011 9:54 AM
Forbidden Apple

I almost did not place a win bet on Break Up The Game on saturday because of the 7f distancae. I was surprised to see him in again for his third straight try at 7f. He clearly needs more ground to work with. I would like to see him move into a stakes race soon. Most likely they will wait and wait some more, maybe point him towards the Haskell or Travers.

Why is Sway Away considered by many to be a closing sprinter? Dialed In and ArchArchArch have also displayed a similar running style and they are not considered closing sprinters. Sway Away is by Afleet Alex and out of a Seattle Slew mare. I am guessing that his Tomlinson distance numbers are quite high. This colt has impressed me much more than most horses who made it into the D.D. list. I firmly believe that Sway Away will be moving like a tremendous machine in his next start.

10 Mar 2011 9:56 AM
txhorsefan

Thank you for another look at a  group of three year olds to study.  Armed with the great information that you get started, I can search a little and try to learn more in this confusing early Derby season.  You give such great analysis and insight that teaches me more of what to look for or points out something in a race that I didn't catch the first time around.  Yeah, ok, so I'm a slow learner - lol!  Any way, the point is, Steve, Thank YOU!

10 Mar 2011 10:01 AM
kml1994

Why is no on mentioning Alstom, Ron Moquett's horse who broke his maiden in a tough spot at Oaklawn this past weekend? He was 10+lengths back at the 16th pole and won going away.

10 Mar 2011 11:02 AM
alejandrom

Mr.Steve Haskin, hello from Mexico City.  My first time posting in you bloggs.  Just want to say that this is by far one of the most informative blogs I´ve seen in a long time.  You are really great and a real eminence.  Thanks for sharing your knowledge.  I hope I wrote well.  I will keep around!

Sincerely,

Alejando

10 Mar 2011 11:18 AM
Karen in Texas

Zookeeper---Hope Steve is okay with my posting this here... Just wanted to say good luck and a safe trip for Runflatout this weekend! The San Felipe should be the most interesting prep so far (to me). That your brief time as an owner has been so rewarding must be a joy beyond words for you. May your success continue!

10 Mar 2011 11:25 AM
Lmaris

Glad to see the mention of Wilburn.  Though it was just a MSW sprint, his performance was very impressive.  He's not likely to be ready for the triple crown, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the Travers on the way to a Breeders Cup win.  

10 Mar 2011 11:37 AM
Gary

Nice to see Alternation mentioned. Despite Elite Alex getting a bad start he had a somewhat easier trip getting back in contention. Alternation was not pressed until EA was right on him and Alternation stuck to task and outlasted him. I saw this as a focused run by Alternation and am anxious to see where he goes from here.

10 Mar 2011 12:59 PM
Footlick

Yes, good luck Zookeeper!  Hope he runs a great race.  Enjoy!

10 Mar 2011 12:59 PM
Gary

I agree this is a great list and usable for reference in weeks ahead. I hope Rogue Romance injury is minor.

Personally there has been more disappointing performances rather than impressive at least to the more touted horses. Dialed In, Tapizar, Honor and Serve, and Stay Thirsty. Though it might be early it is concerning if they are what we expect. Lets hope to see some wow races in the next two weeks.

10 Mar 2011 1:10 PM
Zookeeper

Karen in Texas - Thank you! You got the joy right... now let's see what can be done about the nerves. Ha!

10 Mar 2011 1:15 PM
Betsy

I believe Break up the Game will stretch out next and perhaps be pointed to the Peter Pan, but of course it's just one race at a time for Shug. I really love this horse.....and Steve, I heard you on Byk's show saying Heron Lake was going to be back soon. I'm glad because he's talented and he's missed a lot of time recently. He could be a colt to keep an eye out for later in the year.

10 Mar 2011 2:04 PM
Pedigree Ann

Steve, why no mention of Bench Points? He was 3 of 3 at 2, including two Cal-bred Stakes races, and came off the layoff to beat the Baffert speedster everyone was so keen on earlier, Da Ruler, in an allowance. Came from last on a track that we all know has been kind to speed. He is much better bred on the damside for a distance than Benchmark's Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek. Going in the San Felipe on Saturday for his first two-turn race.

10 Mar 2011 2:14 PM
alydarstar

I insist on Premier Pegasus. He could be the best card from the west. I loves his perfomance in the San Vicente, he just asked for more distance. I do believe that. So, let´s see what happen this weekend in the San Felipe, when it´s supposed to appear the leader of the division in that side of the country. At this point, in a sea of speculations, everybody points to the East. I don´t blame you, because is not easy to think otherway after the efforts of Soldat, Stay, Mucho Macho Men and company. Besides, the champion lives over there. But, a  will cross my fingers for Premier Pegasus. Who knows...

10 Mar 2011 3:00 PM
Steve Haskin

Hi Alejandro, thank you very much for the kind words. I appreciate it. And you wrote it perfectly. Glad to have you aboard.

Slew, none of these fillies will go to the Derby. I dont know how far R Heat Lightning wants to go, and I think Pletcher has a few others for the Derby he likes better.

Billruiink, Zazu certainly has improved in leasp and bounds. She's a very good filly. Tough loss in the SA Oaks.

Sue, hope you have a wonderful and financially successful birthday.

Joe,Uncle mo is running in the Timely Writer. Entered in both.

Zenyatta John, you can alwats archive Steve Byk's show on his website.

10 Mar 2011 5:03 PM
Norman Fan

Glad to see NORMAN ASBJORNSON is finally on this list.

10 Mar 2011 5:37 PM
-Keelerman

Steve;

Fascinating thoughts! I always look forward to your insights.

I watched the replay of Beer Meister's Turf Paradise Derby victory and must admit that it was one of the most impressive performances I've ever watched. He could be something, yes he could indeed.

One colt that I really feel is under the radar is Picko's Pride. He was sent off at 80-1 in the Southwest Stakes. He had a very poor trip. First, he drew the far outside and broke outward at the start. Then he had to check off the heels of Elite Alex, which left him about twenty lengths off of the lead after the first quarter of a mile. Despite this, managed to rally up the inside to reach contention on the far turn, but had to wait for racing room at the top of the stretch. When he finally did get clear, he closed well to finish fourth while beaten less than three lengths. I'm hoping that he returns for the Rebel Stakes. I feel confident that he could win.

Regarding your thoughts on Surrey Star, when I read the part where it says that he ran his second quarter in :20 1/5 I gasped. Then I told myself, "It must be a typo," and checked the results chart. My eyes widened as I realized that it is NOT a typo.

:20 1/5?!? That's incredible even for the Santa Anita main track! Thanks for pointing that out, Steve! That's a really cool fact!

Finally, have you seen the incredible Congo at Aqueduct? He has impressed me by his dazzling ability to escape from pockets. Perhaps he doesn't have the talent to be a Triple Crown contender, but if he did make the Kentucky Derby you can bet that traffic would not be an issue!

-Keelerman

10 Mar 2011 10:59 PM
CV

Zookeeper, let me add my best wishes and crossed fingers wishing you and Runflatout the best of luck Saturday.

I'll be rooting for him.

11 Mar 2011 12:30 AM
Wonder

High Steve

You talk highly on Silver Medallion an Positive Response..

Why dont you consider Jakesam? Close second in El Camino

11 Mar 2011 12:59 AM
Deacon

What happened to the colt named after Lenny S....:)

I'm sticking with Uncle Mo, he has a great shot at a Triple Crown, no foolin'

11 Mar 2011 2:44 AM
Derby Dew

Steve,

Any thoughts on WILKINSON, the LeComte winner?  He seems to be a grinder type and we'll see his mettle tested next in the Louisiana Derby.

11 Mar 2011 5:35 AM
Colmel

My sentimental favorite is Beamer. I guess any reason is as good as another, but my first homebred foal was a Silver Buck filly named Untarnished. We lost her to colic carrying her second foal (way to young). It just so happens that Beamer's dam has that same name. I would love to see a foal out of a mare named Untarnished do great things.

11 Mar 2011 9:39 AM
txhorsefan

Just jumping on the Runflatout bandwagon here to wish all the best good wishes to Zookeeper.  I am so silly, whenver I see anything about him on the screen, here or or facebook or wherever - my brain shouts to me - oh, I know his owner!  LOL!!  He is a cool horse and I am so very excited for you - hope to see you in the winner's circle, but just as importantly - with a healthy horse at the end of the race.  Thank you for sharing him with us.

Sorry, Steve...I didn't know any where else I could share my thoughts with our lovely Zookeeper.  Back to your blog!  And I'll go back under my rock.  :)

11 Mar 2011 10:20 AM
Steve Haskin

Yes, I wish Zookeeper the best. He's an immensely talented horse. My only problem is, if he wins the San Felipe, will I be able to resist the temptation to put a horse owned by a member of the Steve Haskin Bloggers Group at #1?

Derby Dew, yes Wilkinson is a grinder, and I have no idea how good he is. He still has a lot to prove.

Wonder, I dont have any of them in my Top 12 at this point because none are proven on dirt. And Jakesam, as good a horse as he obviously is, doesnt have the running style to win the Derby, and he's by a sprinter, Smoke Glacken.

11 Mar 2011 11:42 AM
Rachel

Zookeeper, we love yah and we love your horse! ♥ Safe trip for all!

A little off topic, but have you noticed with all the buzz about the fast times at Santa Anita, that another track owns a majority of the best Beyers for 2011?

All From Gulfstream Park:

Up to a mile:

1. Big Drama 120

2. Apriority 113

3. Custom for Carlos 109

All Ages Mile & over:

1. Giant Oak 105

2. Soldat 103

3. Morning Line 102

3. Rule 102

4. IWR 101

4. Tackleberry 101

3 Year-olds Only (all distances)

1. Travelin Man 106 (6F)(#5 All ages up to mile)

4. Soldat 103 (1 1/8) (#2 Overall over mile)

5. Flashpoint 102 (7F) (#9 overall up to a mile)

Amazing. Any observations from folks who frequent GP?

11 Mar 2011 12:21 PM
man o peace

i like brethren , seems to have the total package , we shall see !

11 Mar 2011 12:53 PM
PomDeTerre

Peaking at the right time- gotta give that to Bowman's Causeway, hands down.  Most impressive colts' performances who can go the distance so far- Soldat, Mucho, Santiva, Brethren, Anthony's Cross.

Gotta love The Factor, Flashpoint and Gourmet, but none will go 10F.  Biggest disappointment- To Honor And Serve.  

11 Mar 2011 4:27 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

IF(and that's a big IF)he wins the San Felipe, please, please resist!!! :) Thank you for the good wishes and your very kind words. Coming from you, it means a LOT (much more than I can express without sounding demented).

And thank you to all my fellow Haskenites for expressing your support. It is precious to me. Who knew when I first embarked on this adventure, that it would turn (so quickly) into the mother-of-all- roller-coasters!!!  

11 Mar 2011 5:02 PM
sherpa

Zoo, I've got so many body parts crossed for you and RFO, I look like a pretzel ;-D  Won't tempt the RGs by saying he'll win, but I know he'll give it his best and do you (and us) proud.  

Just close your eyes and imagine your many friends here holding your hand tomorrow!

11 Mar 2011 7:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  The very best of luck to ye on Saturday matie. Just have fun. You have been a treasure to many of us on the blogs here. I remember when you were away for a few days and we worried about you and you came back with the news that you had become a first time owner with a minor share in a horse and we went through the trials and tribulations of the setbacks with you. It's a good thing you've been on The Matterhorn. It prepared you well for this astonishing ride. Be relaxed and safe and tell Runflatout to do the same. We cherish all you have given to us, and are so grateful that you have been so gracious as to share this amazing journey with us. Good luck Zookeeper. Our hearts will be with you and Runflatout.

11 Mar 2011 7:21 PM
Dave R.

Steve,

What is Todd Pletcher going to do with Cal Nation.  He is superbly bred and won his first out MDN SPC very impressively over 7F five  weeks ago.  I know he did not run as a 2 yr old, but I still expected him to run in either the Hutcheson (same 7F with class step up) or the Tampa Bay Derby since it came uop soft.  He continues to work, but is never entered.  Just wondering what is going on with the horse.  Thanks.

11 Mar 2011 8:28 PM
Kristen Ohler

Steve,

 I'm not new to racing by a longshot, but I am not sure exactly what the Beyer figure means and for sure don't know what the Brisnet pace figure is.  Could you please explain.  I trust your evaluations of all these great racehorses.  Just don't know alot about the speed figures.  Thanks.

11 Mar 2011 8:41 PM
Katherine

Zookeeper I wish you and RFO the best of luck and safe trips (both of you). All of your blogging buddies will be there with you in spirit with crossed fingers! You really did fine job of picking out your first one!!

12 Mar 2011 12:41 AM
Katherine

Steve I love this time of year when you are doing your Derby Dozen and picks. Your fountain of knowledge fairly gushes forth. There are so many interesting colts this year. How do you keep us with all of them?

Karen in Texas put it very nicely about getting a better perspective after this weeekend's races. I have been very high on UM but I have to admit that I am so impressed with Soldat I find myself thinking Mo who? Hopefully this weekend will put things in perspective.

Thanks so much Steve for sharing your knowledge.

12 Mar 2011 12:54 AM
Aluminaut

On Saturday March 12th all the pieces will start to fall into place on the Derby and TC trail.

Dr. D, that was such a nice comment for Zookeeper in anticipation of tomorrow's prep race.  I'm with ya.

Steve, thanks for sharing your knowledge and commentary with us year after year.  Have you considered letting Lenny do a guest blog next time you take vacation?  Do you trust him wrangling the Steve Haskin Bloggers?  It would be entertaining at least!

12 Mar 2011 1:40 AM
Deacon

Zookeeper:   Much luck and great success this weekend with Runflatout. You have a very talented horse. Hope you bring him along with kid gloves. Good ones are hard to find, and harder to hold on to............

12 Mar 2011 1:51 AM
StonesRoy

If Surrey Star runs a monster race, that will surely shake up many people's lists!

I'm rooting for Quail Hill because I loved Candy Ride.

Exacta Boxing those 2 and hoping for a huge payday!

12 Mar 2011 5:11 AM
Zenyatta John

Is it me - or is Runflatout owned by the syndicate West Point Stable - where the Zookeeper might own 10% of the horse?  I thought so ....

12 Mar 2011 7:28 AM
Slew

Zookeeper...best wishes...we're really backing Runflatout...he runs so beautifully.  Good Luck.  And I can see it now...

"Haskenite revels in number one spot; jubilant groupies feel vindicated."

12 Mar 2011 9:15 AM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I think your comments on the horses featured are fair and measured. However, I feel compelled to comment on some of your point.

“Anthony’s Cross is improving and has shown a new dimension with the addition of blinkers, but now needs to keep improving against better competition”

I gather you consider Riveting Reason sub standard competition. I consider him one of the best colts in CA.  I also think he is better than every colt in your dozen with the exception of Uncle Mo. You may think the aforementioned statement under lines by insanity. However, consider the following: If the  #2 ranked through  #12 colts in your dozen racing records were  restore to maiden status, which of them could enter the Breeders Cup Juvenile on a surface which they never raced and sporting equipment they never wore before and lead Gl, Gll & Glll winners for 6F? I can think of none. The colt Anthony’s Cross defeated close home contested four G1 races as a 2YO i.e. DEL MAR FUTURIYT (3r), NORFOLK (3rd) BCJ (8th) CASH CALL (5th). Although not wining any of those G1 races he was very competitive in all. It must be noted that three of those G1 were contested on synthetic tracks which clearly not is best surface.  I cannot think of any colt in CA that is tougher,  more consistent and classy than  RR. Anthony’s Cross consequently defeated the best competition in CA for the distance.

“Riveting Reason has let two races get away from him, losing photos after apparently having victory in his grasp”

The above statement has ignored some mitigating colt facts. When RR was defeated by Awesome Patriot he was coming back in 11 days after chasing Comma To The Top in the Gl Cash Call. He entered the Cash Call 23 day after breaking his maiden which19 days after his ill advised run in the BCJ. He  clearly run better on dirt than synthetic and in spite of this he ran hard in the CC and battle to take a 5th place check. The allowance race with Awesome Patriot was his third at 8.5F in 53 days with an average rest and recovery period between races of 17 days. He headed Awesome Patriot in deep stretch and eventually relinquished his small lead close home to go down by a 1/2L in a fast 1:35 flat.  You have watching and writing about hating horses for long time and you certainly can appreciate than the kind of workload would make the best of them weaken close to home against fresher talented opponent.

Riveting Reason is eligible for NW2 and his trainer could have found an easy one as a pipe opener for his 3YO debut. This was the path taken by Soldat’s trainer. He had a brutal 2YO schedule and surely could have been given an easy race.  Instead, his trainer chose to enter him in a tough 9F G11 race against Tapizar who had previously destroyed Uncle Sam, Clubhouse Ride and Anthony’s Cross. Neither Uncle Sam nor Clubhouse Ride has been seen since. Coming of 45 days rest and chasing fractions 22.48, 45.64, 1:09.92 and 1:35.07 against fitter horses is bound to take its tool. He lost close home  not a better horse but to a better rider.

This is a better colt that Giacomo as he has more tactical speed. I would be very surprised if RR didn’t win the SA Derby

12 Mar 2011 9:34 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Aluminaut

  I liked seeing you post here. Thank you. I'm hoping to see more from you !!! Go Runflatout !!!

12 Mar 2011 11:35 AM
JEFF M

I LOVE JAYCITO HE IS SO MUCH THE CLASS IN THE RACE, HE IS WORKING BULLETS THE ONLY OTHER HORSE IS BENCH POINTS. DAILED IN IS THE ONLY LEGIT CLOSER OF ALL THIS HORSES IN A RACE WITH ALOT OF SPEED HORSES AND UP-CLOSE HORSES HE SHOULD GET SOME TRIP ZITO USED THAT ALLOWANCE RACE TO TEACH HIM TO STAY CLOSER AND GET DIRT IN HIS FACE HE WILL BE READY  THE FIRST WEEKEND IN MAY!  

12 Mar 2011 11:45 AM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I do believe Jakesam deserves more mention. In fact, I am of the opinion he is a live long shot in the San Felipe. It may appear he is over matched but he has one unknown. He makes his dirt debut and I think he will just love this surface. His one reported work over the SA strip was 35 flat. I believe his speed figures will improve 2 seconds on this surface and that will make him extremely competitive. His PP is interesting. His first two starts were at 5 1/2F & 6 F respectively. I guess being by Smoke Glacken it was thought he was a sprinter. He was switched to 8.5F for his next two starts winning once and getting killed in the other by Comma To the Top. His maiden victory at 8.5F was achieved in 1:46. He subsequent was in the 100K Real Quiet were CTTT ran 1:43 2/5 beating Jakesam who finished 5th by15 1/4L. He clearly repeated his maiden victory time of 1:46. He was givenn54 day off and returned to win an allowance race at 8F in 1:39. He was entered in the 8.5F California Derby 15 days later and was beaten by Positive Response by 2 3/4L. Time of the Cal Derby was 1:44 2/5. This was 2 seconds faster than his maiden win. It is interesting the he was on the lead in splits of 22, 46, and 1:11. He returned 28 days later in the Elcm Derby and led the race to the top of the stretch and was challenged by CTTT who had beaten him by 15L in the Real Quiet. He repelled the challenge of CTTT and battled on gamely for second beaten 1 1/4L. To care note of his action in the stretch and it appeared he was not handling the track. This horse is not sprinter. He is a big far striding colt whom will just love a change of surface. He has improved 2 seconds since his debut win on a surface that does not suite him. He must be a live exotic play in the San Felipe.  

12 Mar 2011 11:49 AM
Racingfan

Steve, not sure what I think of Beer Meister yet but what do you make of his 1:41 time that day compared to Mucho Macho Man at 1:43 and Brethren at 1:45 at the same distances?  Do you think it was just the track so we should ignore the time?  What is your opinion?

12 Mar 2011 1:27 PM
Steve Haskin

ZenyattaJohn, what is the point you're trying to make?

Racingfan, it is good practice not to compare times at different racetracks.

12 Mar 2011 3:16 PM
Firethorn

Best of luck Zookeeper!  What fun it is for all of us to experience  little bit of a ride on a top colt!  You must be thrilled especially as a first time race horse owner!  Not sure this kind of thing happens very often!

12 Mar 2011 3:37 PM
jon

After watching Uncle Mo's return, today, I again believe he is going to win the Triple Crown. He won on the lead, turned away a challenge, and looks to have made a crucial transition from a 2 to 3 year old. I am going to say that I would not want to be a trainer of any of Mo's competitors, because they are not going to catch him-period.  I am curious who may surface as Mo's Alydar or Secretariat's Angle Light, but Mo had the Triple Crown wrapped up the minute he won his maiden. The rest is mere formality.

In case anyone wants to argue-Mo has a fleet turn of foot, races off or on the lead, had a Beyer of 108 in the Breeder's Cup, and improved over the winter. I believe we'll see the usual idiocy in Derby as untalented colts try to catch him, but the fields will be short, and any colt who tries to catch him will end up like Boys or Sham, and others who were ruined chasing champions.

So, I think that Mo's Beyers will be stratospheric, he will set track and world speed records, and further, he will beat Secretariat's Belmont track record as the best horse since Man O' War. Prove me wrong.

12 Mar 2011 5:38 PM
Karen in Texas

Zenyatta John---How many horses do you own? Let us know--that way we can root for yours as well as for Zookeeper's.

12 Mar 2011 6:21 PM
illum

If you are referring to me Dr D Im still around the san felipe is close to post time.

12 Mar 2011 7:03 PM
illum

The BEST performance in a prep thus far was provided just now by Premier Pegasus.Imo his race and dialed in's are the best two preps thus far PP was a little better because he can run closer to the pace.

12 Mar 2011 7:30 PM
Mister Horsey

SH: Glad that you're keeping an eye on Premier Pegasus!! Wow!! "4" top on the TG Sheets before the race, forward moving line and bred to run long.

12 Mar 2011 8:21 PM
illum

Pre-peg reminded me of his daddy fu-peg in the sa derby.He moves into the top 3 Mr. Haskin.Im not a speed figure guy but he might have run a 103, give or take a couple of points,if he didnt GOOD the speed figure players wont be impressed.

12 Mar 2011 8:24 PM
Footlick

Zenyatta John - what is your point?  So Zookeeper is in a syndicate.  ??????

13 Mar 2011 12:44 AM
Aleine

Just gotta ask. Was looking for an appropriate blog tag...but here goes.    What ever happened to Barbaro's brother Serano?  Where is he? Shouldn't he be "Derby age" by now?  Where are the Jackson's and Michael Matz hiding him?

13 Mar 2011 1:37 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

illum

   I definitely agree that Premier Pegasus had the best prep so far. I certainly expect a star performance out of The Rebel too, and I am very excited about this race. I just love to see a race like Pegasus had for one with such a great Derby pedigree. He is a force for sure.

Footlick

  I'm not going to degrade the fabulous, compassionate, and loving Zenyatta by calling the blogger by her name so he'll have to be ZJohn. Some ridiculous, degrading posts have come out of his fingers lately. Must be having a rough time with something. Sounds mad at the world to me. And I have seen no point to them, just throwing mud and worse at some very good people. People that have a lot to offer here and I hope they come back. Don't let him get away with kicking sand in your face.

13 Mar 2011 11:39 AM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

Well, you won't have to resist anything now, will you? Oof! that was a tough one to watch unfold. I knew Runflatout's goose was cooked the minute I saw his nose stretching out for the lead, at that insane pace. I'm disappointed, but not in him. He tried. It was way too far, way too soon.

I'm still looking forward to better results from more realistic expectations. He is aptly named... he runs flat out. A shorter distance will suit him much better.

He came back tired but safe and sound. That was my "mostest" wish.

My thoughts are with Always a Princess this morning... Fingers crossed that she survives. RFO's loss is nothing compared to what happened to this beautiful, talented filly.

Congratulations to Premier Pegasus for an outstanding win. How proud Mr. Cho must be of the colt he bred and trained!!! Alonso Quinonez rode him perfectly. Very impressive!

13 Mar 2011 11:50 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that a loss is nothing compared to injury and worse. Let's hope Princess will be OK. Runflatout is a brilliant sprinter so there should be better things down the road. We know that he has a good mind so he should be able to bounce back. Go give him a hug and a carrot. He gave his all but nobody could have won with those fractions. Now we know where he got his name !!!!! I still think he is a Stakes and BC caliber sprinter. I will be shocked if he doesn't win some stakes races sprinting. The path has been clearly pointed out so I hope it is taken. You're a real trooper yourself.

13 Mar 2011 12:21 PM
jon

There is one little overlooked issue regarding Premier Pegasus. He's a California colt, and the tracks there do not compare to those in the East. They're Kindergarten compared to High School.   Jaycito was certainly off the board in the BC Juvenile, but, he made up a lot of ground in that race despite finishing 7th, so he's one to watch after yesterday.

Just remember that no matter what colts/filly appears on the Haskin list, Uncle Mo is still the one to beat in the Derby. That Premier Pegasus ran on poly track doesn't count since it's a different surface from dirt, and less rigorous. I wish I had been old enough to appreciate Secretariat in 1973, because I would have made similar comments about his competition, many of whom were champions.

Just remember that the sport needs a Triple Crown winner, and people frantically trying to beat Uncle Mo will ruin their horses trying to test him. The fun begins when he sprints away from the fields he encounters going forward, and people scratch their heads and whine about how good they thought their colts were.

Already, last years stars are losing to substandard colts-ie. Jaycito, Pluck, Boys of Tosconova, Brethren, all hailed to be as good as Mo. Well, these champions are losing to long shots and claimers, while the poly horses try to claim their championships. Those who challenge MO will likely meet defeat, and be retired, because there is NO colt faster or more versatile than Mo. Just accept that fact.

13 Mar 2011 12:32 PM
Karen in Texas

Zookeeper---Relieved to hear Runflatout is okay after his race. He does indeed run according to his name!

13 Mar 2011 12:42 PM
Flack

Yes, really why spend horses with such ridiculous pace? It happens so often, not all races are sprints, it's so ridiculous. Pre-Peg's jock reminds me of Borel on Rachel during her 3 year old campaign from which she never recovered. After making tremendous moves on her own, she was repeatedly punished for no reason while being already many lengths in front. Why whip Pre-Peg once he passed all others horses so easily and willingly after going wide, thus covering more ground than any other horses in that race and pulled himself to the front? This is the beginning of the year, not Pre-Peg's last race. The pinhead should have saved him for Uncle Mo. He needs to ask Mike Smith why he never wasted Zenyatta's just to show-off.  

13 Mar 2011 12:43 PM
Zookeeper

Fellow Haskinites, don't let your heart be troubled. We all know that there's one in every crowd. :)

Thank you for the support, though. Much appreciated!

Now, I'll go read Mr. Haskin new blog about Alysheba... I know it will be a gem!

13 Mar 2011 1:06 PM
alejandom

Zookeeper, you are a great person, very nice post the one of 13 Mar 2011 11:50 AM.  Good luck in the future, you have vey special colt, be patient. I really like your posts. Saludos cordiales desde Mexico!

13 Mar 2011 1:25 PM
Karen in Texas

Aleine---The blog "Tracking Barbaro's Brothers", now moderated by Greg J., can help with any information you might need regarding Serano, Mr. Matz, or the other brothers.

jon---In your 12:32 P.M. post today, you say that since Premier Pegasus ran on polytrack it "doesn't count"...He ran on dirt yesterday at Santa Anita and he ran exceptionally well.

13 Mar 2011 3:12 PM
JOE

jon.

      It looked like yesterday on the 12th that Uncle Mo had all he could just to beat that field.   First thing is all the other jockeys let that horse go to the top and set the pace.    I was just waiting for one of the others to blow on by him but they just sat there and let him go.   A mile and a quarter ( no way ) will Mo be at the finish.     It really looks like Uncle Mo and Brethren really can not go a mile and a quarter at all.

13 Mar 2011 3:40 PM
Forbidden Apple

Jon,

What planet are you living on? Premier Pegasus ran on a DIRT track known as Santa Anita. It is a historic racetrack that deserves enormous respect. Lookin At Lucky was recently the 2 y.o champion in 2009 and the 3 y.o. champion of 2010 and he was a Cali horse. You must have gone to the same handicapping school as Draynay. Why do you disrespect and hate Cali horses?

Pluck was not nearly in peak form, it was a prep race for a more meaningful race in his future. His goal is the French Two Thousand Guineas, not an allowance race at Tampa.

As for Uncle Mo, what challenge did he turn away? The only speed in the race scratched out, leaving Mo with a huge advantage. The second place finisher had one career race at 6f before yesterday. Take a step back from your delusions and think about what you are saying. World records and breaking Secretariat's Belmont record are not in Mo's future. The horse got away with fractions of 25 2/5, 49 2/5, 1:13 2/5, 1:24 1/5, and 1:36 2/5. Of course he finished fast, but any horse could finish fast after running 1:13 3/5 for the first 6f. On your comment of no colt faster than Mo, I will only mention a few other 3 year old colts that are faster than him. The Factor, Premier Pegasus, Sway Away, and Flashpoint are the first four that quickly come to my mind. Premier Pegasus sat 2 lengths off from a 1:08 4/5 pace and then blew past the field going a mile in 1:34 2/5. I understand that this was Mo's first race back and yes he did gallop out well, but your comments are ridiculous. Yes, everyone that follows horse racing would love to see a Triple Crown winner. I just don't see how you come to this conclusion based on a paid public workout by Uncle Mo.

13 Mar 2011 3:45 PM
EdK

Since yesterday we've got a lot more information.  Most unusual of all is Gourmet Dinner moving from his Gulfstream barn to Ocala - doesn't sound good.  Next is the amazingly easy win by Uncle Mo - all within himself, though against a soft field - but he's still tops for me.  Brethren beaten by two bottom feeding long shots - he got an easy lead but faded and looked tired - I can't be excited about a horse that stumbles with only a few bites at the apple in an abbreviated prep season.  Lastly was Premier Pegasus who annihilated his competition in the San Felipe.  With the Rebel, LaDerby, and a few other preps upcoming, horses will further shake out.  

With you my top Derby horses now are Uncle Mo, Soldat, Mucho Macho Man, and Premier Pegasus.

13 Mar 2011 4:29 PM
Short bus Driver

OK now, am I the only one who thinks Jon is insane?

13 Mar 2011 4:51 PM
Freetex

Zookeeper.

Watching Runflatout was breathtaking.  What a horse!  I am so glad he came out of such a grueling race in good measure.  

I hope Always A Princess will make it through her surgery successfully.

13 Mar 2011 5:50 PM
bellesforever

Thank you for mentioning Break Up The Game..I for one love Shug and would love to see him have a good one this year and have had BUTG in my stable.He does look like he would love more ground..

13 Mar 2011 7:44 PM
El Kabong

Short Bus Driver,

You have another pick up on aisle jon.

13 Mar 2011 8:49 PM
Tim

I just want to say a few things about all the negative comments made about Uncle Mo on a lot of the blogs on here. Lots of people are saying any horse could run their final 2 eighths in 11.1 and 11.3 after the slow early fractions that Uncle Mo set in the Timely Writer. Yes they could but Uncle Mo did it while under a hold the entire way while being let out just a notch in the stretch while most horses would be under a drive. Also the run up in one mile races at Gulfstream is only 5 feet as opposed to 45 feet for 6 furlongs and 80 feet for 9 furlongs,so a one mile race is almost timed like quarter horses. As far as the myth that Uncle Mo isn't bred for 2 turns he's inbred to the great Nearco and he looked great galloping out 9 furlongs in the Timely Writer in 1:49. I just don't understand how people can complain about waning interest in thoroughbred racing when they want to see their stars lose. An undefeated colt with speed to spare, who can rate off the pace, rate on the lead with a high cruising speed, come home in 22 and change while never asked for his best, and 3 gears we have yet to see is exactly what the sport needs. Best of all he hasn't missed a day of training so he seems to be pretty sound. One more thing I read on one blog where someone posted that Mike and Todd keep him at his home track. Uncle Mo has run 4 times at 4 different tracks in 3 states.

13 Mar 2011 11:34 PM
Forbidden Apple

Correction: Premier Pegasus sat 8 lengths off from a 44 2/5 half mile

14 Mar 2011 12:44 AM
Zenyatta John

My point was the Runflatout is owned by a syndicate - West Point stable. Merely pointing out that Runflatout might have 30 or 40 owners , not just one who posts here. Not sour grapes , just reality.

Currently I have no owner interests, but have had pieces with Dogwood and Daddio stables.

I hardly degrade Zenyatta Dr Dumbbell, I just point out blatant stupidity as seen through the eyes of a 30 year horse player.

14 Mar 2011 6:28 AM
ilwacocapper

looks like runsflatout just ran himself out of the derby pictues

14 Mar 2011 11:02 AM
Billy's Empire

Tim, you are spot on with your post.

14 Mar 2011 11:07 AM
Karen2

I don't agree that Runsflatout just ran himself out of the derby picture. He clearly faded but what was with the suicidal pace? Had he settled in nicely off the pace I think he would have had a shot. He may have gotten just what he needed from that race. Loved Jaycito's late closing kick.....

14 Mar 2011 12:54 PM
Mike Relva

TIM

Where were you the past couple years when many were slamming Zenyatta and her connections when their format seems to have been similar to Uncle Mo's... saving him for the Derby.

14 Mar 2011 1:10 PM
Fran Loszynski

Zookeeper: Your racehorse runsflatout because you are on the rail cheering him on with your heart. It's a two-way street. You must be pretty special. Hope you're watching the Rebel; it's going to show alot of heart in Elite Alex and Calvin Borel.

14 Mar 2011 2:09 PM
opsherr

This comment is about a previous blog complimenting R. Dutrow as a good horseman. According to previous charges, fines and supsensions by various racetracks this trainer is not a good horseman but is detrimental to racing. While I admire your writing talent Mr. Haskin, your professional statement is sorely lacking in judgement.

14 Mar 2011 3:13 PM
cuban chef de race

stay thirsty has the look of another Brethren winning a slow pace race after a lay off and bouncing like a pin-pom ball in the next race,give toby's corner a fast pace his sire won the wood memorial by 17! lengths wit a beyer of 120! wow ,pletcher's group is starting to lose ground my friends,be ready for more i lost my money men.  

14 Mar 2011 7:10 PM
cuban chef de race

premier pegasus is a nice colt of course but the horses he did beat were mostly maiden and synthetic track horses the dirt Quality of the San felipe? he closed in 32 and won by almost 8!! not so fast secretariat take the cargo plane to the east.  

14 Mar 2011 7:23 PM
cuban chef de race

then the factor was suppose to win the San felipe by 10?,wow now my handicapping is going to fly is california for real? or is the same track,i will solve the mystery soon don't worry.

14 Mar 2011 8:47 PM
cuban chef de race

the reason i sense sway away is not going to win next time out is the huge effort he did after such a long lay off,other then to fallow uncle Mo's pattern going to the derby.

14 Mar 2011 9:18 PM
Tim

Mike I must have written at least 50 posts defending Zenyatta. Sh'e one of my all time favorites. Most of my posts were on Shandler's blog, especially when he predicted that Zenyatta would lose 3 times last year. You must remember how many times I told him he was right that RA would lose 3 times?

15 Mar 2011 1:09 AM
Trebloc

As of this morning Westpoint's website still has Runflatout  being pointed to the SA Derby.  

15 Mar 2011 9:04 AM
Dave R.

Just saw that Cal Nation is entered at GP on Saturday in a two turn allowance with field of six.

Good to see him back in a race and fully expect a good perfromance possibly leading to a derby prep race.  Hope he runs lights out.  That is what it will take for his connections to put him on that course.

17 Mar 2011 2:17 PM
jayjay

Hey Steve,

Now that most of the anticipated horses have ran, any update to this list ?  Or is this a one time list.  I'm interested in what you think about who has the "look" of a derby winner.  Has this list changed at all ?

19 Mar 2011 3:42 AM

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