Ky. Derby Trail: Cho, Mo, and Go Show

Uncle Mo’s long-awaited 2011 debut has been discussed in detail in this week’s Derby Dozen, but we’ll touch on it further later on. For now, let’s go back to Jan. 17, 1990 at Santa Anita.

Bob Baffert was a newcomer to Thoroughbred racing, having been a leading trainer in Quarter-Horse racing. He was on the verge of switching over completely to Thoroughbreds and had his eye on a newly turned 3-year-old colt by Cox’s Ridge named Video Ranger, who his former Quarter-Horse idol D. Wayne Lukas had entered in a $40,000 maiden claiming race. Baffert strongly considered claiming the horse, even though he had finished 10th for $62,500 the previous September at Del Mar. It was obvious that Lukas was trying to get rid of him, stretching him out to 1 1/16 miles and dropping him down.

“I wanted to claim him, but I didn’t have the guts,” Baffert recalled. He then watched as Video Ranger romped by 13 lengths at odds of 10-1. Baffert found out that the horse had been claimed by someone named Myung Kwon Cho, a native North Korean who grew up in Seoul, South Korea and operated a clothing export business that he started shortly after arriving in the United States in 1978. Now here he was dabbling in Thoroughbred racing.

“I went down there after the race and offered him $50,000 for the horse and he goes ‘Oh, no, no, no…no sell,’” Baffert said.

Cho, who would eventually take out his trainer’s license and start breeding a few horses, raced Video Ranger with Ian Jory as trainer and the colt went on to finish second in the Bradbury Stakes before closing from far back to finish second in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) behind early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Mister Frisky at odds of 36-1. Cho then sent him to Churchill Downs for the Derby, and this time he closed from 14th to finish fourth at 65-1.

Since the claim of Video Ranger, Baffert, who has gone on to a Hall of Fame career, admits he has a hard time beating Cho.

“Mr. Cho, he’s great,” Baffert said. “I have trouble beating Mr. Cho. He’s always beating me and I keep telling him, ‘I can’t beat Cho.’ He loves it. Believe me he beats me more than I beat him. When I beat him in the San Vicente (gr. II) (with The Factor over Cho’s homebred Premier Pegasus) he came over to congratulate me and I said to him ‘I can’t believe I beat Cho.’”

Baffert’s success over Cho didn’t last long, as Premier Pegasus, stretching out to two turns for the first time and with blinkers off, demolished his field in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), with the Baffert-trained Awesome Patriot finishing sixth.

“After the race, I went down there and I was back to saying to him, ‘I can’t beat Cho,’ and he’s going, ‘I beat you. I beat you.’”

Cho has proven over the years he is willing to step far out of the box and run his horses in races where they appear to be in way over their head. His brazen moves have resulted in a third in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Critical Factor (who he also trained) at odds of 62-1; a third in the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) with the maiden Nationalore (a son of Video Ranger that he owned, trained, and bred) at odds of 40-1; and a third in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Premier Pegasus’ half-brother Street Hero, winner of the grade I Norfolk Stakes, at odds of 6-1.

Cho, who spends a good deal of his time with his other business, has excellent help at the barn, where he has seven horses in training. He also has three broodmares at Hartwell Farm in Kentucky.

His assistant, Maria Ayala, runs the barn. “She does it all,” Baffert said. “The only time I see Mr. Cho is when he runs a horse.” There is also an assistant trainer, Rafael Martinez, who often saddles the horses and used to be Cho’s trainer before Cho took out his trainer’s license.

Cho’s 17-year-old son, Raxon (one of five children), is an aspiring trainer and is heavily involved with the running of the stable. After the San Felipe, he acted as interpreter for his father.

“I started interpreting for my dad when Street Hero was running, because that is when I really started getting into training and what horseracing really is about,” Raxon said. “My dad has always told me one day I would be the one talking to people for him because of his English, and now I really am. His English isn’t the best and he is uncomfortable with that, but I have talked with my dad enough that I can understand what he’s trying to say. It was awesome talking to the press, I was a little nervous, but I think that was mainly the adrenaline flowing through my body from the race.
“My dad and I talk about racing every day for an hour or two at dinner or whenever I finish my school work. Our discussions can be as brief as, ‘How are the horses?’or making big decisions, like where to run next or what jockey to use. He is an awesome teacher and I don’t think he’ll ever stop teaching me, because he believes in the idea that you learn something new every day.”

Premier Pegasus came highly regarded by Eugene Sipus Jr., who breaks Cho’s horses.

“We always thought there was something special about Premier Pegasus from the first pictures we received of him as a weanling,” Raxon said. “We expected great things from ‘PrePeg’ (his sire Fusaichi Pegasus was always referred to as FuPeg by the media) since the beginning, but we never thought he would win (the San Felipe) by such a large margin. Premier Pegasus is a great horse, he has so much class, and he is very smart. After losing the San Vicente (his first career defeat) he knows what his job is now; he learned a great deal from that race. Before the San Vicente it seemed that he never really tried his best. But after losing his attitude completely changed. He’s so smart. Whenever he’s tired he goes to sleep and he knows when its time to get up and go. I just think that Premier Pegasus is a special horse, and we hope that everything goes as planned and we are able to make our way to the Derby.”

As if Premier Pegasus wasn’t enough for one year, Cho also has another son of Fusaichi Pegasus named Riveting Reason, who was beaten a nose in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) in his last start. Last year, as a maiden, he finished third in the grade I Norfolk Stakes and Del Mar Futurity. Although he’s come from off the pace in all his races, he wound up leading the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field to the top of the stretch, while stalked by Uncle Mo, before tiring. He ran a huge race in the Robert Lewis with the blinkers off and was just nipped on the wire by Anthony’s Cross.

Both colts are bred to run all day. Their sire won the Kentucky Derby, and Premier Pegasus’ broodmare sire, Summer Squall, won the Preakness (gr. I) and sired Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic. Premier Pegasus is inbred to the French mare Lavendula through the classy Ambiorix (a major stakes winner in France and top sire) and Source Sucree, the dam of Turn-to, who is the sire of Hail to Reason, First Landing, Sir Gaylord, and Cyane. Add Mahmoud, Buckpasser, and Shut Out in his first five (female) generations and you’re talking true class and stamina. You’re also talking the best of Windfields Farm, Greentree, C.V. Whitney, Phipps, and Meadow Stud.

Riveting Reason has as strong a tail-female family as you’ll find. His second dam, Rabiadella, is by Dynaformer, out of a Dr. Fager mare. Dynaformer is by Roberto, out of a His Majesty mare. Riveting Reason also is inbred 5x5 to Hail to Reason (through Halo and Roberto) and Rough ‘n Tumble (through Dr. Fager and My Dear Girl, dam of In Reality).

So, there is no doubt both horses are loaded with class and will relish a distance of ground.

“I remember Eugene sending us an e-mail saying that Premier Pegasus and Riveting Reason were both great horses,” Raxon said. “He said we would have a great future with these colts. Robby Lyons always gave us good reports about our foals and continues to do so, as well as Jun Park, my father’s bloodstock agent. 

“Riveting Reason just has been unlucky, and I think that he will win one soon. My dad believes he is a good horse, and he has always thought great things of him. As of right now we are not sure where either horse is going to run next. The races that have been talked about are the Santa Anita Derby and the Sunland Park Derby, as well as a couple of others. But we’re probably not going to run the two horses in the same race.”

Getting back to the San Felipe, it was a perfect setup for Premier Pegasus. By going two turns for the first time and without blinkers, he was able sit back in seventh, some eight lengths off the suicidal pace set by the battling Runflatout and Albergatti. When jockey Alonso Quinonez pushed the button on the far turn, the result was quick and devastating, as Premier Pegasus, who showed great speed last year, blew by the leaders as if they were standing still and in a flash was three in front. Even with the Baffert-trained Jaycito closing from last, Premier Pegasus still kept widening his lead, winning by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:41 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.

If both these colts continue to improve, you can bet there will be a lot of trainers joining Baffert in saying “I can’t beat Cho.”

Long lost Uncle returns

As we said in the Derby Dozen, Uncle Mo needed to get something out of this race, and  needed to come home fast off those slow fractions, and he did so and more with that stunning :22 4/5 final quarter under nothing more than a hand ride from John Velazquez. We would rather see a :25 2/5 opening quarter than a :22 2/5; would rather see a 1:36 2/5 mile than a 1:33 2/5; would rather he win by 3 3/4 lengths  than 13 3/4 lengths; and would rather see an 89 Beyer than a 109. So all in all this was a good first-out prep, especially getting slammed into hard at the start. And remember, there is hardly any run-up in mile races at Gulf, so the opening quarter is always slow. Combine that with the bumping and it wasn’t quite as slow as it seems This race showed he can relax early and fly home late, and he galloped out like a bear (I got him in 1:49 1/5 for the 1 1/8 miles).

The race played out like a workout, with a “workmate,” Rattlesnake Bridge, who definitely has a bright future, challenging him approaching the head of the stretch, just enough to get his blood up. If was a brief, but effective, challenge. The fractions also played out like a workout, with Uncle Mo going his first half in :49 3/5 and his last half in :46 4/5. That will help him in races where there is speed and he has to settle off the pace – not race off the pace, as he did in the BC Juvenile, but settle, as he will have to do in the Kentucky Derby.

Although a switch to the Florida Derby (gr. I) was mentioned as a possibility, it looks as if Uncle Mo will stick to his original plan and run in the Wood Memorial (gr. I).

If this was an animated movie, Stay Thirsty would be letting out with a big, “Whew” around now, saying, “Thank goodness I don’t have to go back to New York after just arriving back here.” As long as Uncle Mo rules the roost, Stay Thirsty will have to accept the fact that his schedule is based on what his illustrious stablemate does. But with a horse like Mo that comes with the territory. What Stay Thirsty doesn’t realize, however, is that by returning to Florida, he will be facing a pack of wolves in the Florida Derby (gr. I), while Mo will have a much easier task up in the Big Apple. But that also comes with the territory.

For Uncle Mo, it’s now time to really get serious. And for his sake, there better be some good horses that show up for the Wood. Play time is over and he has only one more opportunity to fill up his ammo pack before the big battle that lies ahead. You can’t bring a pistol with you to the Derby when most everyone else will be bringing a Howitzer. That is our war metaphor for the week.

Other Derby thoughts:

-- Jaycito will get blinkers back again after losing his focus a bit while apparently bored being at the back of the pack in the San Felipe. Despite the final margin, this was a solid effort, and showed he could handle the dirt, handle the turns without freaking out, as he did in the Breeders’ Cup, and overcome a wide trip and having to alter course in the stretch. Even if he finished second again in the Santa Anita Derby, and is much closer at the finish, he will be in good shape to peak on May 7. Remember, this is not a 1 1/6-mile horse. You shouldn’t see the best of him until he goes 1 1/4 miles.

-- Kudos to Comma to the Top, who chased the insane pace of :21 3/5 and :44 2/5 and still hung in there gamely to finish fourth, beaten three lengths for second, while the two kamikazes wound finishing last and next to last, beaten 33 1/2 and 37 lengths.

-- What can you say about the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) when you have a horse (Crimson Knight) coming out of a $16,000 claiming race and running his eyeballs out, getting beat a neck after putting away the 1-2 favorite Brethren. The winner, Watch Me Go, is a nice horse and ran a game race himself, but you can’t think this race produced a Derby winner unless Brethren makes some remarkable comeback. The favorite caved in to the pressure of Crimson Knight, but it must be said he was asked to do a lot, breaking from the outside post again and being rushed up to challenge for the lead, while going wide into the turn. He then wound up on a clear lead way too early down the backstretch and had little to offer when challenged by the winner. We’ll see what he’s got in his next race. At least give him a good post to show what he’s capable of.

Watch Me Go is trained by the vastly underrated Kathleen O'Connell, one of the top trainers in Florida. He's won four of his eight starts and improved dramatically off his third in the Sam F. Davis, and he's at least battle-tested. He did show some brilliance winning a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Tampa by eight lengths two starts back and has continued to improve going two turns. He still has a long way to go to be placed up there with the leading 3-year-olds, but this at least was a good start.


Leave a Comment:


I watched Premier Pegasus' race, but his win was deceptive. He had to be kept to task to win, and was clearly tiring at the end, just not as rapidly as the pacesetters.  A similar race to watch that looks like a brilliant one is the now famous Donnaguska race, where she was 15 lengths back at the half, the pace collapsed, and she won going away-but with a 59 Beyer. Premier Pegasus is not a Derby horse, and his ending fractions were 31 seconds, or something like that, not the mark of a horse who could keep pace with Uncle Mo. Yes, Pegasus won with a 96 Beyer, but he had to, with that early speed, and Mo won with an 89 Beyer, and was cantering.

However, Uncle Mo, despite the bumping, controlled the pace, got a workout and galloped out faster than his earlier fractions, which were pedestrian, and didn't have to be. That's the beauty of Uncle Mo vs. Pegasus. Mo is controlled and able to deliver regardless of the competition, and Pegasus benefitted from a collapsed pace. There's simply no comparison. I am willing to bet that had Mo raced in the San Felipe on Saturday, Pegasus would have been finished. There is what we see vs. what we want to see, and if we compare Pegasus to Mo, well, Mo was toying with the field, and delivered faster fractions at the end of the Timely Writer and in the gallop out than in the rest of the race. He has that in common with Secretariat. The win of Pegasus was an illusion as the pace collapsed faster than Pegasus did. Big difference.

I would expect that Mo will face short fields going forward, that he will win the Derby, and The Triple Crown, regardless of the competition.  People just need to accept that the rest of the 3 year old division is running for second, and that Mo has the speed, ability to rate, and intelligence to win at any distance.

15 Mar 2011 4:51 PM

Jon, I think folks will find Uncle Mo did almost no growing from the BC to now. He was an early bloomer, and while very talented, I would say he's longer than 10-1 to win the KY Derby.

15 Mar 2011 5:15 PM

Steve as you can tell by my e-mail address I've always been a huge fan of Myung Kwon Cho. Riva Ranger was Video Ranger's best runner winning the 1995 Graduation at Del Mar. Unfortunately he broke down shortly after the finish line and was put down after winning both of his starts. Even though Video Ranger only sired 2 stakes winners he will always be my favorite sire. Cho doesn't get much attention, but he has so many longshot maiden winners and grade one placings with maidens. Now he's winning graded stakes and got his first grade one winner with Street Hero since he has started breeding to top stallions in Kentucky after Video Ranger was pentioned. By the way Video Ranger ran fourth in the Derby to 3 great 3 year olds in Unbridled, Summer Squall, and Pleasant Tap.

15 Mar 2011 5:20 PM

Well said Jon. My dream is for Uncle Mo to win the Triple Crown with Premier Pegasus and Riveting Reason second and third in all 3 races. I was praying for Riveting Reason to hold second in the Juvenile. That would have been awesome man.

15 Mar 2011 5:25 PM

Uncle Mo has not won in the Triple Crown yet.  There are a lot of talented horses coming up to challenge the standing of Uncle Mo.

I wish him health, luck, and smooth sailing - but it is not over till its over!

15 Mar 2011 5:36 PM

Watch out for Gallant Dreams later on in the season.

I also think it's ridiculous that Stay Thirsty's schedule, even if it hurts him, is based solely on what's best for Mo. Mo obviously takes precedence, but it makes no sense to me.

15 Mar 2011 6:01 PM

I'm confident that ST is  going to run well in Florida. I still think we'll see him at his best around Travers time, though.

15 Mar 2011 6:02 PM

I don't know why anyone responds to Jon. Steve, please edit out foolish comments by posters that are obviously just looking for attention via their idiotic comments.

15 Mar 2011 6:15 PM
Derby Dew

Jon, I respect Uncle Mo, but let's not go overboard here.  I'm still not convinced that Mo is lengths above the rest of the talented 3yos that will enter the gate at Churchill on May 7th.  Uncle Mo was not tested in the Timely Writer and I suspect he won't be tested in the Wood either.  The race to pass the rites of manhood is the Florida Derby.  That race will tell us a lot.

Premier Pegasus moved up big time in the San Felipe and I didn't see him tiring as you did.  This colt will be a serious threat to Mo in the Derby holding a slight edge in pedigree stamina.  We already know PrePeg has speed with that great move into the stretch for his San Felipe win (reminded me of Monarchos in the Florida Derby).

Nevertheless, I'm sticking with Dialed In and placed a future Derby bet in Pool II.  Was happy to get 11-1.  Stay healthy you worthy son of Mineshaft.  CHA CHING!

15 Mar 2011 6:22 PM

Can anybody name an offspring of Indian Charlie who was effective at the classic distances?

15 Mar 2011 7:03 PM
The Rock


I think you said the same thing about Lentenor last year. While I admit that you've selected a horse this year that has some possibility of attempting to run in all the Triple Crown races, no horse will win the Triple Crown and be the next Secretariat in the near future. Their handled with kid gloves. They lack foundation which in turn, leaves them fragile. Pletcher likes to run his horses with space between their races (5 weeks or so). Can you make an arguement that any of his horses will be performing at the top of their level with only a few weeks of spacing in between? Until he proves it, I think not.

And Premier Pegasus is definitely a derby horse. He hasn't done anything wrong in any of the races he's run. His only loss was to The Factor, the best 3 year old sprinter on the West Coast. And mind you he was running in that race off of 3 published works. He should've been short for that race, and he was short, but only lost by 3 lengths. His move at the 5/16th's was reminiscent of Afleet Alex in the Belmont a couple of years back. Just the way he quickly opened up. Believe me, he didn't need to be scrubbed on the last 1/16th because he was getting tired. Alonso Quinonez rides out every race, no matter how far in front he is. I personally hope he gets his chance at the derby. This kid is underrated, and knows how to get a keyed up horse to relax. He does especially well on the synthetics. He's just not getting much opportunities on live mounts. Which was more reason for him to ride out Pre-Peg as he did b/c he was 0-50 or 60 going into that race.

15 Mar 2011 7:03 PM

I don't get why when a horse is highly thought of that there are so many naysayers on here who have to bash the horse any way the can and every chance they get. Let people enjoy a horse and let horse racing get the fans it deserves.

15 Mar 2011 7:13 PM
The Rock

I can't stop watching that San Felipe. I love how Jaycito is a tight length behind Pre-Peg and then poof, the latter opens up on him in a flash. That's the kind of turn of foot you want. Just push button, especially in a race like the derby. Get some quick seperation on the grinders and play come and catch me. Bench Points got a ground saving trip but no excuse. Jaycito will be better 2nd time out. He was my derby pick last year but man, that push button move by Pre-Peg is lethal. Not only that, he can adapt to the pace scenario. Show speed or sit back.

15 Mar 2011 7:17 PM

Also, jon, very good point made about Premier Pegasus' race. I believe Pegasus had a pretty weak field in the race, not that Mo didn't, but they way each horse performed tells a lot. I like the horse, but I want to see him race another time and against a good solid field. California this year is just so weak in derby horses. I don't really know how to rate Pegasus' performance. I would like to see him instead in the Arkansas Derby to see how he stacks up.

15 Mar 2011 7:19 PM

Wow; giving him the triple crown already?  There have been a lot more talented horses than him who couldn't win the triple crown against mediocre competition. Like you said, there is what we see and what we want to see.  I"d say you are too enamored with Uncle Mo.  

15 Mar 2011 7:38 PM

Well said, LetItRideMike. I could not agree more. No disrespect to Unlce Mo. This happens more times than not with great 2yr olds.

15 Mar 2011 7:44 PM

jon- we see what we want to see.  That goes for you also.  To try to compare the race that Premier Pegasus was ib to the "race" that was really conducted like a public workout that Uncle Mo was in is not fair.  Premier Pegasus had to contend woth a real pace and legitimate horses to run against.  Of course he was kept to task, because he was in a race.  Uncle Mo, once the speed scratched, had no threat to him.  At least be fair to a horse who had to run against some legitimate horses.

15 Mar 2011 7:49 PM

annedixie65- the field that Premier Pegasus ran against towers over the hores that faced Uncle Mo.  

15 Mar 2011 7:51 PM
Scott's Cause

I was at Del Mar when PP broke his maiden.  I missed the bet and was mad because I always look hard at Cho's horses.  A friend in our box, who rarely bets/wins had 2 wp on it.  Nice!  He reals off 2 more victories at short prices then faces The Factor in a sprint after a somewhat long break.  The fastest horse in the west beats him easily.  Last Sat. it was all there for the taking, I threw out Jaycito and did some Combo plates with PP all over them.  Forgot to put 5 + 5 on PP and paid the price.  Be very wary of Mr. Cho...

15 Mar 2011 7:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Anniedixie, I couldnt agree with you more. I dont mind if someone doesnt like a particular horse, but some people will just knock a horse for the sake of doing so, without giving intelligent reasons, and I'm sure those same cynics knock everything they encounter, not just horses. There is one regular on here who is very arrogant and claims to know everything about the sport, and while I let him speak his mind I wont respond to him. But we're talking about only a handful. The vast majority of people come on here to have fun and exchange opinions in a civil and friendly manner.

15 Mar 2011 7:59 PM

Uncle Mo has much potential but he still hasn't gone longer than 1 and a 1/16th. This is only the beginning of the long stretch run at Churchill....There's still a long way to go...And I hope UM doesn't get the same post position that Lookin @ Lucky drew last year. The 2011 Kentucky Derby is still wide open.

15 Mar 2011 8:03 PM

Uncle Mo appears very talented and possibly as fast as Seattle Slew.  Perhaps he can win the Derby primarily on talent.

However, my experience of many decades of handicapping is that horses are fittest and perform at their best when they've been forced to run several tough and tiring races before that top effort.  Workouts are almost never enough because they are almost never at racing speed.

Two preps prior to the Derby are usually not enough to give any horse that level of fitness; particularly with a race as long as the Derby and particularly when the first of those preps had the horse leading on a very slowly run pace. (Fast final fractions, while a good indicator of the talent of the horse, usually do not do too much to improve the horse's fitness level.)

If I had to guess, I would guess that his connections are hoping that Uncle Mo is talented enough to win the Derby below 100% and that the fewer number of preps will make him fresher for the rest of the Triple Crown.

15 Mar 2011 8:32 PM

Snake Eyes,

Fleet Indian sired by Indian Charlie, won the grade 1 Personal Ensign and the grade 2 Delaware Handicap both races at a 1 1/4.

15 Mar 2011 8:44 PM

 Kudos, a great follow-up report as usual.

 However, again as in my weekend recap report, I shall repeat, I don't feel "Comma to the Top" is capable of coming close to getting a 1 1/4 ! And, as to O’Connell’s trained “Watch Me Go”, I do think he certainly falls in my '”Giacomo” possibly' category,--with the likes of “Gourmet Dinner”,--as one who if he does eventually earn a 'gate slot', (still a long shot), he might just be one of those 50-1 + shots coming along late... I also think it’s hard to predict or to know where “Crimson Knight” falls until we see more. Yet, he too was actually impressive as a new comer to consider. Was that just the ride of a life time for him ? Is there more there?? But, heck, we have a month to learn more about host of other potential competitors still also, where “the Rebel” may yet reveal a few even stronger candidates. Certainly there are easily 50 horses out there that will contest “Mo” eventually, regardless of who shows up in the Wood. Yet, if “Mo” produces in ‘the Wood’,--something like a well remembered “Bellamy Road” type run,--I guess then there will be no reason to reduce him from the #1 contender spot, although again. I  personally still do not like this prep training route so chosen. Yet, an eventual run in N.Y. vs. Fla. might also seemingly bring to the sport some greater exposure.  

Yep, all still early with many preps to go, and gradually gravitating upward graduating preps at that, but “Pegasus 2011” easily stamped himself as one of the eventual stronger top 20 competitors in my eyes.  

 And, as we all know, these animals still have near 8 weeks of growing and training remaining, with the question still remaining, has “Uncle Motor” grown up as much as the rest since 2? or, are the others now catching up?  

 Additionally, in “Riveting Reason”, he still remains as one of my highly regarded sleepers, where an analysis of his progress is easily as impressive as “Pegasus”'s. And, as you clearly brought out, "M.K." has been in this game awhile and knows the ropes. As to my thinking, I am looking for “Riveting Reason” to gain a gate spot eventually also.

  I admit I respect your rule of waiting for a horse to go 2 turns before adding him to your 'Dozen's list'. A safe tactic if nothing else, where future runs by the likes of  “Flashpoint”, “Sway Away”, “The Factor”, and “Mr. Commons” still await us.

 However, if your going to continually give “Bethren” a chance,--and continue to toot “Comma to the Top”??,--then I don’t see why “Bench Points”, also off a layoff and going 2 turns for the first time seems to have escaped mention in your article, where in my eyes he deserves a little more of a considered look also.  

 And, I know that you stay away from potential ‘Turf-runner-possible-crossover’ types, but “Joes Blazing Aaron” surely jumped onto the scene to me as a potential candidate to certainly be put under someone’s radar!

 P.S. Also, hats off to “Ft. Hughes” and connections, becoming another casualty of this year’s 3 year old to potentially a Kty. Derby gate long campaign trail, adding his name the ranks of the likes of:

  Injured Euthanized:  “Ft. Hughes”, “Rough Sailing”; & “Square Face”;

  Injured off the trial:  “Kantharos”; “R.Boy Bill”; “Clubhouse Ride”; “Boys of Tosconova”; “Tapizar”;


  Injured:  “Rogue Romance"

15 Mar 2011 8:54 PM

Ha Ha!! Great blog, as always.  Good to get the scoop on Cho!!  Entertaining.  Tx Steve.  You get my 'entertainment of the wk award' - last wk was following Paulick's live blog from the KHRC meeting over LAT.

15 Mar 2011 9:03 PM
Karen in Texas

Steve---I really enjoyed reading the story of Mr. Cho's history with Bob Baffert! I had not known about the horse, Video Ranger, before now. Mr. Cho seems willing to take chances and has been repaid with success--maybe Premier Pegasus will take him to new heights!

SnakeEyes---Fleet Indian is one offspring of Indian Charlie that has won at 1 1/4 miles on more than one occasion. She won the 2006 Personal Ensign and Delaware Handicap, although I believe she was 5 years old at the time. This has been discussed on these blogs a couple of times since the Uncle Mo distance issues have surfaced. Some people think that her age at these victories keeps them from being comparable to a potential victory by Mo at the age of 3 at that distance. I believe Footlick is one of those bloggers--perhaps she/he can give you the rationale. Anyway, I think Mo is a special colt, but in no way a lock to win the Derby, etc. My personal opinion is that it is quite possible that he can run 10 furlongs effectively.

15 Mar 2011 9:07 PM
Karen in Texas

Footlick---Sorry, I mentioned you in my earlier post, but did not realize that you had already explained your position on Indian Charlie offspring and distance today on Steve's Derby Dozen blog. Didn't mean to be redundant.

15 Mar 2011 9:23 PM

I haven't heard anyone speak of Mucho Macho Man. Have any of you seen the size of this horse? My sister saw him run in Louisiana. She had already placed a bet until she saw him and his size, then ran back to bet him to win. And he did! If he improves I believe that he will give Uncle Mo a run for the money. I can't wait to see the outcome of this year's Triple Crown races. It is going to be great and I believe that we will have a Triple Crown winner.

15 Mar 2011 9:37 PM
Paula Higgins

What a nice article on Mr. Cho and his son. A very interesting person and also, Bob Baffert is absolutely hilarious! That man has an incredible sense of humor. I will look for Mr. Cho's horses Steve. I hope he has great success with them.

ITA with Footlick that Premiere Pegasus had a much tougher race and competition. He is most certainly a contender. But Uncle Mo is a wonderful horse. His stride, last quarter in the Timely Writer, and the look of him tells me he is special. But I also agree he needs a good strong race against some tougher competition to be ready for the Derby. We are still not sure about the distance yet (if he can get it) and he needs some "priming." Let's hope he gets it in the Wood.

15 Mar 2011 10:20 PM
Dino Romano

I'm still savoring Premier Pegasus's maiden win.  I used him on top in all the exotics.  Thank you Mr. Cho.

For those of you, like myself, who would love to see Uncle Mo win big this year, let's be realistic; he is by Indian Charlie.  His chances at the classic distances are limited.  Watch for Soldat and Premier Pegasus to be the iron in the Derby.

15 Mar 2011 11:01 PM

No one is looking for attention since this is an anonymous forum. I suspect some people are angry because they can't read horses. People keep stating that Uncle Mo needs a primer to win the Derby. I'll remind them that Man O' War won the Preakness as his first 3 year old start. The tracks of those days were not manicured, and for a colt to do that, then, was stupendous.  I think Mo is good enough to win the Triple Crown on talent, intelligence and heart.

I read this in the Racing Form regarding Mo:

Maiden winner Rattlesnake Bridge made a run at Uncle Mo on the turn, but the champion switched leads beautifully in the stretch, and shooed away his main rival with a final quarter in a sparkling 22.87, while under no urging, to win by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:36.56.  

Critics will point to the 89 Beyer Speed Figure as it was the slowest number of Uncle Mo's career by five points.  But, realistically, there wasn't any chance for Uncle Mo to earn a fast Beyer the way the pace played out.  His last quarter-mile time may tell more of the story than the final clocking.  

While Uncle Mo, given the slow early splits, was expected to run the fastest part of the Timely Writer at the end, his quick come-home times have become a staple of his short career.  Note the final two fractions of Uncle Mo's previous races:

*Maiden Special Weight - 6 Furlongs - Saratoga - 11.78, 11.76

*Champagne Stakes - 1 Mile - Belmont - 24.55, 24.04

*Breeders' Cup Juvenile - 1 1/16 Miles - Churchill Downs - 24.41, 30.66 (runner-up Boys At Tosconova ran his last 2 1/2 furlongs in 31.22, third-finisher Rogue Romance in 31.62, fourth-finisher Biondetti in 32.52)

There you have it, facts, not emotions....

15 Mar 2011 11:04 PM
Forbidden Apple


I really enjoyed this article and wish Mr. Cho the best of luck in the near future with both colts. Even with a blistering pace in front of him, Premier Pegasus exploded down the stretch. I had goosebumps watching him bounce around with his warrior neck after the race.


On another blog you wrote that Premier Pegasus was a polytrack horse. Have you been living under a rock? The S.A. surface is made of DIRT. The KY Derby will not be cancelled, Mo will have to earn it the hard way, sorry. Premier Pegasus is 100% a KY Derby horse, stop kidding yourself. He ran 4 lengths off from a 6f time of 1:08 4/5, that would make his 6f time 1:09 3/5. Mo ran 6f in 1:13 3/5, four full seconds slower than Premier Pegasus, that equates to approx. 20 lengths! And his mile split was 1:34 2/5 while under wraps, that is 2 full seconds faster than Mo. I really do not understand what race you were watching pal, P.P. was far from tiring.


When people start claiming a horse to be better than Secretariat and Man o'War, it should be clear why others react the way they do.

15 Mar 2011 11:05 PM

Karen in Texas- no problem at all. Snake Eyes- There is a big difference between a 5 yr old mare going 10 furlongs in the summer, and a 3 yr old going 10 furlongs at the beginning of May.  I do not believe Indian Charlie has sired any 10 furlong 3 yr old winners.  But as I said I could be wrong.  And there always will be exceptions.  I have no idea if Uncle Mo will be the exception or not.  Certainly a race with the pace he set cannot tell us whether he can go 10 furlongs.  Even the Wood will not tell us much if the field doesn't come up strong.  Wasn't it Plugged Nickle who won the preps and staggered home in the Derby?  By Key to the Mint and out of a Buckpasser mare, he won the Hutchinson, Florida Derby and the Wood.  He had a pedigree to die for and should have been able to run all day.  He became champion sprinter.  This is why I say we never know how a horse will run and what genes will come forth in his breeding.  I would love to see Uncle Mo be the horse he is hyped to be.  But he has to run the races. I will anoint him when he does it, but not before.  If that offends some, then it will have to offend some.

16 Mar 2011 12:04 AM

Heres hoping MMM is able to bask in the glory on the first Saturday in May.  I even have him to win in KDFW pools 1 and 2.  That said, I think he's more likely to run in the money, 2nd or 3rd than he is to win.  From watching his race replays I think he's screaming for more distance, but he just does not posses that devastating run that can seperate himself from the rest of the field like a Big Brown.

16 Mar 2011 12:11 AM

The Rock:

Totally agree with your analysis of Premier Pegasus and the San Felipe.

The Santa Anita Derby might get Anthony's Cross, Silver Medallion, and Gourmet Dinner in addition to the San Felipe horses.  Those horses are stalkers; I just don't see nearly the speed in the Santa Anita Derby as there was in the San Felipe.  

This expected slower pace really shouldn't affect Premier Pegasus that much because he has the speed to stalk likely SA Derby pacesetter Comma to the Top in 2nd and then pounce at the top of the stretch.  My only concern for Premier Pegasus in the SA Derby is that his connections will so fall in love with the move he made in the San Felipe that they'll take him back again in the SA Derby Derby.  To repeat, the pace of the SA Derby is going to be much slower, so PrePeg will need to be closer to the pace and then grind out a victory.

Concerning Comma to the Top, I agree with Steve that he ran very well in the San Felipe given he was up on that pace.  Comma doesn't strike me as a 10 furlong horse, but he's going to get a much more favorable pace scenario in the SA Derby, given he will likely have an uncontested lead.  He's going to take some beating.

16 Mar 2011 12:14 AM

I think that if they were to decide Uncle Mo is going to the Florida Derby, several trainers would change their plans to go the Wood instead. I doubt anyone, rightly or not, wants to face him before the Derby.

16 Mar 2011 12:35 AM


What ever happened to the days when potential Derby horses made horseracing headlines all the way up to the Derby.

I can remember Sham in 1973 winning the Santa Catalina in January then a few weeks later loses to Linda's Chief in record tying time for a mile and a sixteenth in the Grade 2 San Felipe. Sham then reverses that score with Linda's Chief by tying the stakes record for a mile and an eighth in the Grade 1 Santa Derby a few weeks after that.  Then Sham travels all to the way to New York and finishes ahead of Secretariat in the Wood.  This was all done before the Derby.

Or how about Spectacular Bid.  All he did before his Derby victory in 1979 was win the Hutcheson Stakes, the Fountain of Youth Stakes, the Flamingo Stakes, the Florida Derby, the Blue Grass.

Then there's Winning Colors.  In January of 1988 she wins the La Centinela Stakes.  In February she finishes second to muliple Grade 1 winning Goodby Halo in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes.  In March Winning Colors reverses that score with Goodbye Halo with a win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks.  Then in April she wins the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.  Again, this was all done before the Derby.

It was so much fun in those days.

16 Mar 2011 1:36 AM

How come Brethren was asked to do a lot and failed but Crimson Saint and Watch Me Go were not and beat him?

Wish I had been smart enough to spot CS for a claim...

16 Mar 2011 6:26 AM
Zenyatta John

Regarding Jaycito -

Steve said "able to handle two turns without freaking out." I assume your referring to when he bolted in the BC Juvy.

Isn't it reasonable that ANY horse would have bolted when he broke two teeth during the running of the race ( as Jaycito did in the BC Juvy) and the bit most likely was causing extreme pain and his jock guided him through the turn?

"Freaking out" is excessive when all the facts are looked at. Just the fact that he closed to fourth after bolting with two broken teeth and the bit banging around in his mouth is amazing.

From my eyes - Uncle Mo did not gallop out until the backstretch as Johnny V had him 'in full stride' past the wire into the clubhouse turn - then started to pull him up and gallop out.

I was shocked to read the Mr Cho only shows up on race days and his assistant does all the training. You should have covered more of her since she does all the work.

16 Mar 2011 7:35 AM

we are so fortunate to have young horses that are so talented and lots of times, if we continue to try and find fault with a horse, trainer, or owner, we will miss out. Trainers and everyone involved with a particular horse are around that horse day in and day out and they know what the horse needs. I cannot wait to see Sway Away run this weekend.

Steve, what do you think of Biondetti? I saw him at Churchill for the BC and liked him.

Who do you like for the Oaks? I like Zazu or Turbulent Descent. I also like the Larry Jones trained filly Joyful Victory, too. There are some nice fillies out there this year.

16 Mar 2011 8:19 AM

Knock! Knock!

"Who's there?"

"Kids, teenagers and female wanna be racing fans"!!!

"What do you want"? (Instead of come in)

"To root for a winner and see a horse like the Black Stallion or Secretariat. We know it's not likely but so what, racing sounds like fun! We heard about a stellar 2 yr old named "Uncle Mo" owned by some young guy". (Found him on Facebook and see him in headlines).

"He's probably not for real...There may not be a super horse for sometime so don't get too excited" (go away).  

Ok...  :(

16 Mar 2011 9:04 AM

Steve, thank you for spotlighting Mr. Cho. I've been following him since Squall Linda. Think the San Felipe was like Summer Squall's 1990 Swale finishing 2nd to Housebuster after the long layoff from the cracked cannon bone injury. I know that was a sprint but for Neil Howard and Cot Campbell it was the test to see if the horse would could make a bid for the Derby. PrePeg's move on the turn was like Charismatic's move in the Derby. The horse seems to have the best of his breeding. To me, he didn't look tired at all at the end, he looked battle ready.

16 Mar 2011 9:30 AM
Smoking Baby

Thank you Steve for writing a long overdue article involving Myung Kwon Cho.  He seems to have a very high percentage of horses that run well in these big races.  I remember he got my attention when he had the cahones to run Nationalore in the Breeders Cup and the colt ran so well.  Also...I just wanted to give a shout out to the late Ron Hansen who rode Video Ranger in the Derby.  Rest in peace Ron.  You were one of a kind.

16 Mar 2011 10:17 AM

jon- running those finishing fractions at shorter distances and running them at 10 furlongs is a whole different ballgame.  He is a very talented horse.  Nobody is denying that.  But they are being really cautious with him and treating him with kid gloves.  I will be very interested in his Derby.  It would be great to see him win.  But it isn't going to be a walkover.

As far as Man O War-  First, yhou are trying to make a correlation between a horse who was being trained in 1920 to a horse who is being trained in 2011.  They are two absolutely different worlds.  Secondly, as forbidden Apple has already stated somewhere else, the Preakness was actually a prep for the Belmont, which was the premier three year old race.  12 furlongs was considered the classic distance in those days.  Third, Man O War had a very strong two year old foundation to build upon.  He was not lightly raced at two.  And last, Man O War was bred to run all day.  You just cannot compare anything about Man O War to anything about Uncle Mo.  Man O War had already carried 130lbs six times as a two year old!  They retired him after his three year old year because of the weights that the handicappers told them he was going to have to carry in races as a 4 yr old.  Nothing about Man O War can correlate to Uncle Mo.

16 Mar 2011 10:27 AM


I guess I haven't given up on Comma to the Top, not only because of the courage he ran with, but, because he also showed a serious turn of foot stalking the two bullets ahead of him.  If he somehow wins the SA Derby, then I consider that a masterful bit of training to get him prepared.  Caveat, provided he didn't over do it!  

16 Mar 2011 10:41 AM

Steve, I don't expect you to post this.  Here's a fairly new video with clips of Secretariat I've never seen before.

I'm sure some will stir your emotions since you've been up close and personal with the horse:

16 Mar 2011 10:48 AM


Great article! Premier Pegasus has been my favorite for the L-O-N-G distance & I'm so happy to see him make the Derby Dozen! Mo was super impressive to me once I realized that what appeared to be a lazy closing quarter was lightning fast! He was galloping! I'm so excited about this Derby.

BTW, people are skeptical about Indian Charlie siring that Belmont winner but I remember a big red colt sired by Bold Ruler who got the same rap.  ;)

16 Mar 2011 10:56 AM


Please stop talking.

Premier Pegasus went the last sixteenth in 6.8 seconds.  Where are you getting "30 seconds or something like that?"

He was tiring late? Did you ask him? All comments read "drew clear late."

Seems like your opinion is awfully flawed..

16 Mar 2011 11:03 AM
Joe Alva

Thanks to you Steve and all the bloggers for the vast range of wise, wonderful and even wacky insights that make the road to the Derby the most colorful and exciting time of the year in this great sport!

For whatever they're worth, here are a few random thoughts to add to the mix regarding contenders that impress me:


Obviously highly talented and in capable hands.  He will be challenged in the Derby by superior horses and far more daunting circumstances than those he faced in the BC Juvenile.  Although Pletcher is a tremendous conditioner, I have my doubts if two easy preps will give him what he needs to win the hardest contest he will ever race in.  I would not be surprised if he overcomes all this, but I do have doubts.


Has the look and pedigree of a very talented runner who will relish the mile and a quarter, a trainer that knows how to get them to peak on Derby Day and a jockey who is almost as good at Churchill as Crazy Calvin.  He should hit the board on Derby Day, but needs to make his move slightly earlier that day to give himself a solid chance to take the roses.


Dangerous!  Any horse that can win on grass, slop and dirt and has the ability to handle a lead, sit right off it or come from out of it is a bona-fide race horse and a major threat.  I remember a runner who bore similar qualities in 2006 who became one for the ages -- Barbaro!  While I certainly don't think that Soldat is Barbaro, I think he is very good, battle tested and versatile enough to handle anything thrown at him the first Saturday in May.  I will surely have him in my bets.


Has the pedigree, tactical speed and impressive Monarchos-type turn of foot that wins Derbies and, to top it off, is in the hands of a crafty and vastly underrated trainer.  My only question at the moment is:  Might he peak too soon?  His chances to win the Derby I think increase if he does not win the Santa Anita Derby.


Although talented, bred to run across the planet and at the dangerous disposal of Baffert's wizardry, he strikes me as a bit of a head case after blowing a turn in the BC Juvenile and being somewhat distracted in his last race early on.  Will improve much in the Santa Anita Derby, but what will his head make him do before a titanic crowd and a field of 20 horses banging, tussling and scrapping with each other?


Honest horse with solid experience who seems to love battling -- a requisite to run well on Derby day. However, a six week layoff before the Derby hasn't done anybody any favors in a few decades.  Gritty enough to hit the bottom of exotics, specially if the race comes up wet due to his superior off-track pedigree.  


A solid, versatile and experienced proffesional who will outrun his miler-oriented pedigree.  I don't think he will win the Derby, but will show up as usual and possibly sneak into the tote board at big odds.  He reminds a lot of the similarly bred and reliable Musket Man a couple of years ago.


Although I don't favor the two prep race approach to the big dance or his most recent showing, I would not give up on this guy yet.  He will at least pump some serious iron by running in the Florida Derby and Mott will have him dead fit on Derby Day.  He strikes me as a dangerous type with tactical speed who can fight through a mile and quarter.  He was obviously short at a mile and an eighth in the Fountain, but I believe the bottom will be there when it really counts.  I will have in my bets.

Let's hope these and others stay healthy -- this appear to be a superior crop of 3 year-olds!

16 Mar 2011 11:04 AM

I have to take into account comments that come from people who were "there" and saw these horses live and in person, Mr. Haskin being the most prominent.

I saw one comment this week, not from Steve, that said Uncle Mo "has the most powerful stride that he'd ever seen".  There were observations from some that saw Premier Pegasus in the San Felipe.  From the looks of PP's stroll back to the winner's circle, I'd have to say he was showing a cocky attitude and and a will to fight.  

I have to trust my own eyes as well as I watch these races.  I'll be just past the finish line this Saturday at Oaklawn so I can't wait to see that!

If I'm Johnny V, I get Mo behind the first group in the Derby, and we rate and wait.  I let out a notch if necessary around the 2nd turn, I don't turn him loose at the 1/4 pole, I wait until we hit the stretch and then turn him loose.  The way Mo cruises, that final stretch, if he's full of run, will look a lot like Ice Box and his finish last year.

I just don't think he's in the mold of his pedigree for the distance.  My concern with him is injury, God forbid.

16 Mar 2011 11:08 AM

GoldenBroom, I take offense to your comments about "kids, teenagers, and female wanna be racing fans", especially since I was a kid and a teenager not too long ago and am a woman. I've been following this sport avidly for a decade now and don't take kindly to the underhanded suggestion that we're superficial Pretty Pony People who jump on the bandwagon for the Next Big Thing. Attitudes like yours are what drives away potential new fans/supporters of the sport.

I'm pretty excited for Premier Pegasus - he's the first horse on the TC trail this year that's sparked my interest. It helps that he's SoCal-based, comes from a small stable, and has an owner/breeder/"trainer" (does he participate at all in the training or is Ms. Ayala the one in control?) with his own fascinating story (and is East Asian, oh my).

I hope he does well on SA Derby Day, :)

16 Mar 2011 11:57 AM
Zens Auntie

LOL, ouch that stings GB.

Its still the MO SHOW round these Heya parts since he is our Great Nephew.

16 Mar 2011 11:58 AM
Zens Auntie

Zarva I Like JBA too he is decidedly better as a grass horse but if the track At KD comes up off LOOK out.  

Jon I just want to say that I WISH I could ever run a horse that ended up winning in such a "..Deceptive... and clearly tiring way".... LOL

16 Mar 2011 12:08 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

Thank you for the information and anecdotes on Mr. Cho and Bob Baffert.  I love your stories.  And the "pistol" "Howitzer" analogy made me giggle out loud. How do you always come up with something fresh and amusing?  I don't know but I appreciate and keep them coming.

16 Mar 2011 12:11 PM
dwarfs causeway

lets just say i hope the apple fell a looong way from the tree , cuz uncle mos daddy indian charlie was the most overrated horse of the last 2 decades !

16 Mar 2011 12:31 PM
Brian Appleton

There's always going to be people who question Uncle Mo's pedigree limits but there's also always going to be exceptions to the "pedigree" rule.

In 1973 it was Secretariat's pedigree that was on the stand, no son of Bold Ruler was able to go a distance. It was all a load of hype at the end of the Triple Crown season.

Sometimes there's just that very special one...and I sincerely hope Uncle Mo is that one.

16 Mar 2011 12:39 PM
Boneys Pulpit

Where will Awesome Patriot show up next?  First race of the year and pressed the hot pace....I am not ready to give up on this guy yet.  Any ideas where Baffert might place him next?

16 Mar 2011 12:50 PM


Great to see you high light one of the "little guys" in the game.  They get lost by the sheer numbers that the Pletchers and the Asmussens have.

I am put off by the media fawning over these assembly-line operations.  These guys have big barns at every major track on the continent. Would they even recognize 90% of the horses they are training if the assistants didn't point them out?

16 Mar 2011 1:15 PM


I thought GoldenBroom was criticizing the racing establishment for not welcoming and nurturing new racing fans.  I did not take it as a shot at women, novices or young people.

16 Mar 2011 1:20 PM
Jean in Chicago

Ah, GoldenBroom, where to start.  Congradulations, you have single handedly insulted every female racing fan, owner, trainer and jockey.  Your implication that only women jump on the bandwagon of a particular horse is well disproven just by reading the posting on this and other Bloodhorse blogs.

Now back to your earlier post that ManO'War's first 3yr race was the Preakness so prep races aren't necessary is silly.  I assume you know his record since you named yourself after his stablemate.  He raced 10 times at 2yr, 6 of those times carrying 130 lb. at 7f.  The Preakness in 1920 was 9f. Samuel Riddle never entered him in the Derby, saying it was too long a distance for a young horse, but it may have had more to do with Riddle's dislike of Kentucky racing. (ManO'War never raced in Kentucky.)

In other words, things were very different in 1920.  You might as well say that because the incomparable Eclipse ran 4mi heats and didn't start racing until he was 5yr, today's thoroughbreds should follow this pattern, (I might agree with this) but as long as the Big name/Big Fame races are for 3yr olds, this won't happen.

And if these races are for 3yr olds, they better be prepared both physically and psychologically.

P.S.  You might want to contact Ted in LA on Jason Handler's blog for some tips on sensitivity training exercises.

16 Mar 2011 1:24 PM
Linda in Texas

Sweet Ducky - a fine looking and to me a promising colt,is off to Dubai for now, having been purchased by the Chechen President for an unknown amount. I really was looking forward to watching him progress and race on American soil. Best wishes Sweet Ducky for a great future.

Just hope we will still be able to follow him, perhaps, but i just don't see him racing in the U.S.

Liked your write up on Cho, Steve,and personally i thought Premier Pegasus looked in great shape. Winning by 7 3/4th lengths coming from the back in my estimation was not shabby at all. He gets "E" for effort, for sure and the big bucks.

I bet there are lots of owners who would like to have a 'loser according to Jon' like Premier Pegasus.

I don't understand anyone on this blog castigating a horse. If you have never owned, raced, ridden, cared about, rooted for or bet on or and aren't interested in horses,then i fail to understand why some even bother to come here.

Forbidden Apple's comments to Jon, Thank you. Well stated. I saw no evidence of Premier Pegasus "tiring." He was ready to keep on racing.

I say to the Jon's of the world, who nag and 'gritch,'(gripe and bitch) go find a worm in someone elses apple! Premier Pegasus won that race and Uncle Mo won his in totally different ways.

You cannot compare the 2 and i appreciate both and all, for that matter, who race.

Thanks Steve, if you write enough of these bios on your knowledge of so many people and horses 'in the business', we can just print them out and some day when you are 90 and not yet retired from writing, a group of us can muster up our walking canes, hearing aids and tri focals and put together a book for you! :)

16 Mar 2011 1:35 PM
Pedigree Ann


In 1920, the Preakness was a 9f handicap in April and not a classic race. It didn't become a scale weight race until 1924 and an acknowledged 'classic' until the 30s. In fact, the Preakness was a prep race for Man o' War's attack on the New York classics, the Withers (2000 Guineas) and Belmont (Derby S). Racing was different then.

16 Mar 2011 1:44 PM

Thanks Steve for remembering our Puertorrican Champ Mr. Frisky!!! I still have 1990 San Felipe, San Rafael and Santa Anita Derby races!! 16 for 16!! too bad that he went to the kentucky derby with an abscess in his esophagus. He was an example that bloodlines doesnt always count. he was a cheap horse that run like a champion!!

16 Mar 2011 1:51 PM


I think that Golden Broom's point was that some people's attitude may be discouraging to real newbies who want to get excited about a horse. I don't think it was meant the way you took it.

Mr. Haskin,

Who knew of the good-humored rivalry between Mr. Cho and Mr. Baffert? Thank you for that very entertaining bit. I loved it!

Premier Pegasus was arching his neck BEFORE the race. When the horses came into the paddock area from the backside, the horses passed right by me and PP's demeanor sent a shiver up my spine. He was "in the zone" and his neck was arched like a well seasoned stallion. His great presence must be what sent the two "kamikazes"(lol!) on their suicide mission, trying to get as far away from him as possible. :)

After watching the replay several times (not an easy task for me!) I also noticed the heart displayed by Comma to the Top who managed to hang on for 4th in spite of being part of that crazy pace. Besides, who can resist a horse whose name means "apostrophe"?  

16 Mar 2011 1:56 PM
Karen in Texas

GoldenBroom---Gosh! "Kids, teenagers, and females" as wanna be racing fans?! Who's left after that to be regarded as legitimate racing fans? Only elderly men???

16 Mar 2011 2:00 PM
Pedigree Ann

Brian, Bold Ruler was a Preakness winner and won at 10f vs. the Derby and Belmont winners, giving weight. He had had several 10f winners - Bold Bidder won a raft of 10f races at 4, and 3yo Successor won the 13f Lawrence Realization (when it was a dirt semi-classic) in the 1960s. But many of these same horses were too 'Nasrullah-y' in the spring of their 3yo years to cope with the Kentucky Derby's particular demands. THAT is why people doubted Secretariat, not because he lacked 10f bloodlines.

For the younger set, Nasrullah was the sire of Bold Ruler and many another stakes winner. But he was a high-strung and quirky animal who frustrated all connected with him when racing. Horses with the Nasrullah temperament can be headstrong yet touchy, especially as youngsters, and a bit speed-crazy. Like many of us, some will manage to mellow with age and experience.

16 Mar 2011 2:06 PM
Pedigree Ann

Steve, I looked in vain for kind words for the THIRD-place finisher in the San Felipe, but nary a word. You skipped right over him to the fourth. This was Bench Points' first try around two turns as well, second race coming back from surgery, and a definite jump in class, and I think he acquitted himself well.

16 Mar 2011 2:23 PM
Steve Haskin

Pedigree Ann, you're right, I did overlook him and I shouldnt have. He ran a excellent race.

Julio C, I visited Mr. Frisky many times at the NJ Equine Clinic after his surgery, and took lots of pictures with him. What a great patient he was. He will be the subject for a future blog.

Zenyatta John, horses have excellent memories. you always want to see them do something the right way, regardless of what caused them to it wrong. When a horse entraps or flips his palate he could very easily remember that and hold back even after its been corrected. As for Uncle Mo, anything past the wire is termed a gallop-out, not when you personally perceive him to start galloping out. If a trainer wants a horse to keep going after the wire he will tell the jockey to gallop him out past the wire. And the gallop out is partially around the turn, so going :12 4/5 after the wire is impressive.

16 Mar 2011 2:43 PM

Bigtex, letting Uncle Mo rate off the pace and wait for the real running to begin is not the ideal trip this horse wants.  He's not shown the ability to overcome adversity nor has he beaten anyone or anything.                                               I say he should display that great speed of his and rocket to the lead separating himself from the rest of the field by one or two lengths.  If it means running a 22 and change first quarter mile so be, at least he's running freely and not being constantly pressured by the other horses. Let the horse do what he does best: run as fast as you can as far as you can. Just maybe he'll be able to emulate Spend a Buck in '85 or Winning Colors in '88.  I could be wrong but I think that's his best and most realistic chance.  As for a couple other primary contenders.....

Dialed In- his ideal trip would be to relax, sit in the back early, save ground around the turns, and hope the pace to be sizzling.  By the half mile pole he should be steadily advancing and at the top of the stretch should unleash his furious rally.

Soldat- contrary to his two prep races thus far, his ideal trip would be sit a close third or fourth and hope the pace upfront is reasonable, not too fast, and make his move down that long stretch of Churchill.

Mucho Macho Man- his ideal trip would be to track the leader(s)  Fast pace or not, he should wrestle the lead at the top of the stretch and while he does posses that great turn of foot he more than makes up with that heart of his.  I was really enamored how in his two turn route races he will not let another horse pass him in the stretch. So if he should win this race, it will be no more than one or two lengths.

Premeir Pegasus- this horse is very intriguing because he does not have one running style.  It's really up to the jockey. If a fast pace develops he can sit mid pack or if it's sensible pace then he can lay a little closer.  But most importantly, you want him to sit and relax in the early part then putting that patented run with three four furlongs out and hope he can put a little distance between the rest of the field with 100 yards out.

16 Mar 2011 3:34 PM
JB Stoned

Steve, great article. I loved reading it Cho is the man I hope pp keeps improving with every race. If you are not rooting for Mo does that make you a hater because I would love to see him lose he just seems over rated to me. I like Jaycito ,pp, and Stay Thirsty.

16 Mar 2011 3:35 PM
Zenyatta John

Steve -

I have heard of trainers working their horses past the wire , and it wasn't termed 'galloping out' by those trainers since they were 'working' past the wire.

But I believe you if that's considered the standard definition for 'galloping out' is 'anything past the wire'.

Thank you for the clarification.

16 Mar 2011 3:41 PM

Justine and Jean,

That's terrific that you are females. I am too. But I worked at a race track as a groom, hotwalker and owner for almost 2 decades and I was outnumbered at least 20 to 1 most days both on the backside and I noticed when running horses and watching them run, in the stands as well. The only time I saw great numbers of ladies and kids was on Ohio Derby Day or when I've gone myself to the Kentucky Derby.

Parties, festival like atmospheres, new venues, and superstar horses (Queen Z) attract new spectators plain and simple. Younger people and females (Oprah?) seem more open try out and experience and embrace our sport more eagerly than the hard to win over boxing, baseball, hockey die-hards.  Too bad, as skeptical as they are, they'd actually fit right in with us.

I'm just saying the initial gateway to our sport doesn't have to be complicated and hostile. What is wrong with embracing a superstar or even a potential superstar and not tear them down? To promote them to attract new fans, some of which will stick around.  "We" supporters need to look around and acknowledge that "our" sport should be taking notes from other sports and activities that are growing and maintaining it's fans. They have the advantage of young kids who play those sports. They promote players and owners. Baffert is hilarious and does a great job. Repole seems to be picking up where the Moss's left off. I'm not saying you have to cheer for a horse you don't believe will win it all, but some of the negativity is just absurb at times. Perhaps I need to take it with a grain of salt, but you my fellow females who's feathers I ruffled need to as well.

Oh and Golden Broom was not Man O'War's stable mate. He was owned by I believe Mrs. Jeffords and did something no other horse ever did...he beat Man O'War twice (in workouts) before they started their careers. Yes racing was different then. So what if reading about Man O'War was my gateway to the sport?  I hope Uncle Mo or some other horse steps up and is the welcoming committee for other new followers this year as Z was the last 3 years.  

16 Mar 2011 4:08 PM
Steve Haskin

Zenyatta john, we're dealing in semantics here. If a horse is working, a trainer can have a horse work past the wire, which means keep pushing him. But in a race, a trainer is not going to say work past the wire or race past the wire. So they'll often say, "Let him gallop out past the wire," which basically means let him keep going on his own, as opposed to stop riding him completely and start pulling him up.

16 Mar 2011 4:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Joe Alva

   Excellent synopsis.

16 Mar 2011 4:26 PM

Zenyatta John, a horse is timed in a breeze from whatever pole the trainer tells the clocker to the finish line.  They often keep working them another 1/8th past the wire so that the horses learn to run right through the finish line.  That happens in the morning.

16 Mar 2011 4:59 PM
Jean in Chicago


 I apologize.  I misread your post and took it the complete opposite of what you meant.  I thought you were putting down the people who first may get interested in racing by being attracted to one particular horse (as so many of us did) instead of the self-important jerks who seem to want to chase people away all the while moaning about how come there aren't more fans.

(Mrs. Walter Jeffords was Samuel Riddle's niece and Golden Broom went to Faraway Farm along with Big Red.  There must have been some incredible horse talk when that family got together!)

16 Mar 2011 6:27 PM

There is no way a Todd Pletcher trained horse will win the Triple Crown.

Great trainer, but he doesn't train horses to race three times in five weeks.

16 Mar 2011 6:56 PM

Mr.Steve, loved the story on Bafferts' history with Mr.Cho. Am a pedigree wannabee, and your research and knowledge on this specific part of the game is inspiring to me. I am a big believer in searching out Turn To's on the female tail side, and Summer Squall was also a fav...great loved your reminiscing on the radio the other day ie;"The Duke of Flatbush". I saw many good natured[and some not] debate on who was "the best"...truly a good guy who had a swing second to none

16 Mar 2011 8:06 PM
Jean in Chicago

Mrs Jeffords also owned Hoodwink, the other horse in the Lawrence Realization that ManO'War won by 100 lengths.  She entered him as a favor to Riddle because no other horse owner would take on Big Red.

16 Mar 2011 8:36 PM

I am perplexed & disheartened by the sale of Sweet Ducky to Ramzan Kadyorv. This man is nothing but a brutal thug who rules Checknya with intimidation & the constant threat of torture & murder to his people. I don't care how much money was realized with this deal. You don't do business with murderers. We must draw the line and stick to a code of ethics. We can only pray that Kadyorv shows more mercy to his horses than he does to his people. Sweet Ducky stay safe.

16 Mar 2011 10:35 PM

I would love to see a blog from our Champ, MR Frisky!!! We tried to bring him back to our island a few years ago but the Vet told us that the the trip was too risky for an older horse like him.

16 Mar 2011 11:43 PM
Matthew W

Steve glad you noticed Comma To The Top's run---if they take it easy with him (he's "in" on graded earnings) they could get a piece at a huge price--but Mr Cho has a good pair--I loved PrePeg's stretch run--sure, it was a pace collapse--but he and he alone made the move--make no mistake, PrePeg is #1 out here, by a long way--maybe Jaycito makes another improvement--he'll have to--methinks Mr Cho is on the second choice in Kentucky....

16 Mar 2011 11:44 PM
John T

Pedigree Ann

 I find it so sad that you and so many observers like you refuse to give Nasrullah the credit he deserves.You call him and I quote

a quirky animal who frustated all

connected with him when racing.Horses with the Nasrullah

temperament can be headstrong yet

touchy.You make no mention whatsoever of the beautifully balanced horse Nasrullah was.When

Secretariat opened up in the Belmont the way he did and won the triple crown the first word on my lips was Nasrullah because without

his influnce such a thing could not have been possible.Another son of Bold Ruler,Reviewer went on to be the sire of Ruffian.Need we go on about Nasrullah.''Not Bad For A

Quirky Animal''

16 Mar 2011 11:46 PM

i haven't read anything above by those who question mo, that could be termed "hating" (and certainly nothing even close to the degree of vitriol that zenyatta received over the years).

raw talent is nothing against anyone (or any horse) who has been working consistently on his fitness. even the biggest freak of nature can't just show up at a marathon having only run a 1500 a few months before.

as two year olds, all of the horses racing had similar fitness levels. it was their levels of physical maturity was the greatest difference between them and which was the most determinate factor in their races. but neither factor is the case now that they are 3.

based on his prep schedule, it is not unfair to question mo's fitness. nor is it unfair to say that one hopes he doesn't win off of such a regime--because the best way to ensure breakdowns in athletes of any species, is poor preparation. my personal opinion as to why thoroughbreds seem so much more fragile today than in the past is not that they are being bred for speed and thus lack stamina, or that they are given drugs now (after all, man o'war was the most famous hop head in america in his day--though it wasn't lasix, it was opium); their current fragility is due to their lack of fitness resulting from training schedules designed to prepare them for 50 yard dashes instead of marathons. these changes all coincide with the quarter horse trainers taking over the sport...i do not think this is a meaningless correlation. quarter horse racing and thoroughbred racing are horses of a different color, but you'd never know that by the way they are both prepared.

i have nothing personal against mo, how could anyone have anything personal against a horse? but i do hope he does not win the KY derby or any other triple crown race out of fear of the precedent it would set for training schedules in the future. perhaps he is special enough to overcome what i believe is an ill-considered prep schedule. but most horses will only be injured on such a regime.

regarding the timely writer, i was not impressed--even given how fast he finished--horses should be able to finish very fast after walking the the first 3/4 of the mile. those like me, who were equally unimpressed, do not do so because we hate mo, we're just leery that plate may be being pawned off on us as solid gold, and because he is being given a pass that other horses have not(zenyatta comes to mind). i don't think it is too untoward to say "i'll believe it when i see it."

finally, to compare mo to secretariat or man o'war is ridiculous. secretariat was regularly breezing miles in his works, not 4 furlongs 2 twice a month or so, and he was racing regularly through-out his run up to the triple crown. and man o'war was from an entirely different era, so far removed from our own that it is nonsensical to compare them (how many foals did he have to best...less than 2000? foals today have to best upwards of 35,000--man o'war was like the guys who raced in chariots of fire--guys who could smoke and drink champagne as they trained for the olympics because they were competing against a relative handful of other athletes--the exact scenario in which preparation becomes less important (but even so, as others mentioned above, man o'war still had a very tough 2 year old campaign--an order of magnitude tougher than mo's). i do not deny man o'war's greatness but it was a different world back then and the comparison to today is pointless.

ps: those who keep repeating the bold ruler comment need to keep in mind that disney crafted its script to pull at your heart strings, not to document history. besides, we all know that secretariat inherited that mighty heart of his from his dam, something royal, not from his sire, bold ruler. maybe just maybe his routing ability came from her, not BR? but of course i'm female so what do i know?

if the above makes me a hater, than so be it.

17 Mar 2011 12:16 AM

GoldenBroom, I apologize for the manner in which I responded to your comment. Perhaps it was the way you phrased things that set me off, but now I understand where you're coming from so thank you for the clarification.

Every sport will have its haters but I don't see the hate here, just over-the-top opinions that are rubbing other people the wrong way. But that's to be expected of any sport and people who can't handle that really don't have a place here. Those who are truly intrigued will stay on and weather the perceived hate for the glorious things and those with marginal interest will continue to watch from the sidelines.  

17 Mar 2011 2:51 AM
Pedigree Ann

John T,

Nasrullah may have been a beautiful specimen, but his difficult temperament was well known at the time. And I quote: "Besides being temperamental, Nasrullah was also known for being lazy and sometimes unpredictable, and trainers had a hard job motivating the horse during morning works." I recall a caption under a photo of his only major win at 3, the Champion S, which read "Nasrullah deigns to act the gentleman..." Quirky describes his mental state aptly.

In US training conditions, his offspring could be, as I said, high strung and speed-crazy. J. O. Tobin, a son of Nasrullah's son Never Bend, was typical: champion 2yo in Britain, he was undeniably talented - he was the horse who handed Seattle Slew his first defeat - but his nerves kept him from repeating that form with consistency.

I was told a story by a former Claiborne stud groom about leading Bold Ruler into his barn as a noisy thunder storm approached. Bold Ruler did it mostly on his two hind legs. High-strung critters. Good runners, but sometimes their own worst enemy.

17 Mar 2011 4:51 AM
Zenyatta John

Running through the wire - not just in the mornings.

It also happens in Derby prep season where horse keep running through the wire to the clubhouse turn because the run is silly races like the Timely Writer and they know their horse will get nothing out of the race , so they don't start pulling them up till well into the clubhouse turn. To me , that's not galloping out, it's running full speed another furlong. OK, some consider it a strong gallop out, but if they haven't stopped running full speed past the wire, how can they be "galloping out"?


I've seen many workouts live and in person at Oklahoma Training track - so I understand morning workouts and what happens.

17 Mar 2011 7:34 AM

Clearly a worthy sleeping giant just awaiing to peak around May the 7th, M.K. Cho's other charge, "Riveting Reason".

Riveting Reason: (Kty.); Tr. M. K. Cho;

    Mar. 16th foal; $25K ’09 Keenlander;

     9       1     3     3 ;   D.I. 3.86 ;  

     Tomlinson Distance rating 000 ; Haskin’s # nl- ;

     Pool #1 Field 2-1; Pool #2 Field 5-1; Pool #3;

    [[triple bred to Nearco (Ity.) &  dbl. bred to Nasrullah &

    Hail to Reason & … w/multi ancestral crosses to

    Teddy (Fr.) ; Hyperion (G.B.) ; Gainsborough (G.B.);

    Ribot (Ity.) & Man O’ War ;  

   as a runner in Breeder’s Cup Juv. 00 the $$;

    3rd Cash Cal Fur. Gr. I  1 1/16 1:44.72 + 5;

    2nd 1 Mi. 1:35.05; + ½;  

    2nd  Gr. II Robert B. Lewis   1 1/8 1:48.68 + a nose;

17 Mar 2011 9:32 AM

John T- Pedigree Ann is right.  Read what is written about Nasrullah and you will realize that.  It has nothing to do with how he looked.  Or his brilliant genetic contribution to the breed.

17 Mar 2011 10:14 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Your description of the Nasrullahs reminds me of the present-day Tapits.

17 Mar 2011 10:20 AM

Pedigree Ann-  JO Tobin was sad for me.  He was brought to this country because it was decided he had too much peed for the Euro classics.  He had finished third to Blushing Groom in the Criterium.  Here was a horse who's trainer and Bill Shoemaker got to finally relax when he ran in the Swaps, and then he is sold and given to a different trainer and jockey because his former trainer had cancer and was retiring.  I don't think Mr Barrera, as good a trainer as he was, quite understood the horse.  Maybe if they kept Shoe on him.  But he became more of a head case as the year went on.  Jeff Fell, after JO Tobin's last race in the Tom fool, told the press he just hung on to the horses mane and let him run.  He had never been on a horse who was at full speed one stride out of the gate.  It scared him and he thought the horse didn't want to be racing.  When asked if he would ride him again, he emphatically said he would never get on that horses back again.  Ever.  This horse had so much potential.  He could turf, dirt , sprint and route.  But that is horse racing.

17 Mar 2011 10:24 AM

Pedigree Ann-Another weird note on temperment.  Ribot was famous for being mean and passing on his temperment to his offspring.  But when some Italians came to visit him when he was standing here and they saw how he was acting they were surprised.  When asked if he was mean when in Europe, they said no, what did you do to him.  I've never been able to verify if this was accurate or not, as I had read it quite awhile ago, but I never did hear about his famous temper when he was racing in Europe.  Do you know anything about his years in Europe before coming here?  

17 Mar 2011 10:28 AM
Jean in Chicago

John T:

It's not meant as an insult to say a horse is ill tempered, it just means he can make life very difficult for his handlers.  Grooms have killed by dangerous horses.

 It was strongly suggested to Eclipse's owner that he (the horse, not the owner) be gelded because he was so hard to work with.  Thank the Racing Gods that this didn't happen!  But it may explain why he didn't race until he was 5yr.

Hastings was famous for actually being dangerous and passed this along to Fair Play who was no angel himself and neither were his sons and their sons.  Display fought like crazy at the gate and would slow down if urged faster and only speed up if he was being pulled back (try explaining this to the stewards and fans), Man O'War was extremely hard to break to saddle, HardTack could barely be put on a track and his owner had a terrible time trying to convince owners to breed to him.

War Admiral started a lot of races from the far outside (outside of the gate) and Seabiscuit acted up until he met up with the right trainer.  Maybe all of these horses just needed  somebody to figure out that they wanted to be asked, not forced.

But none of these personality traits diminish in any way the hugh effects they had on Thoroughbred bloodlines.  And for all we know, there may be some correlation with personality and racing prowess.  The same spirit that says no human is going to tell me what to do may be what tells them that no horse is going to outrun me.

17 Mar 2011 11:19 AM
Jean in Chicago


 There is a wonderful Sports Illustrated article from Dec. 1956 about Ribot and his breeder Federico Tesio titled "the Search for The Superhorse".  It has delightful details about the man and the horse in Italy.

17 Mar 2011 11:54 AM

Jean in Chicago- thanks!  I will try to find it.

17 Mar 2011 1:04 PM

Papillon: you make an excellent point. But then you have to consider Curlin too, who ran in the Derby off of just 3 starts(?) No, he didn't win the Derby but he sure turned out to be sound over the 2 yrs he ran. I just hope Mr. Pletcher is doing a good job training and assessing Mo's conditioning.

Your analysis of racing unfit youngsters is dead on in my opinion which is why I gave so much credit to John Sheriffs decision to hold off running Zenyatta til she was almost 4 I believe? I think we may have a self compounding problem that there has not been a Triple Crown winner in so long that owners and trainers will try any approach at this point. I do think there is a correlation to the BCJ and only one Derby winner since it's inception (Street Sense I believe?) so I do think the "old days" when they'd campaign hard, rest, grow, then campaign hard again gives you a hardier constitution and horse. Being at the top of your game in early November then back to racing hard in March is tough on a youngster. I hated to see Asmussen take a beating for giving Rachel time off. These animals can't tell you if they have any minor ache or pain so some sort of significant down time of a few months seems warranted to extend a career.

Also there are many young horses that aren't broken til 2 then end up racing 60 - 90 days later. That's just ridiculous to me. The cheap stables I saw at the track when I worked there - we'd swear half the stall walkers were horses who's minds were "blown away" by the racing experience after having a saddle thrown on them after being in a pasture with momma for 2 yrs. Of course most stakes horses are treated much it seems.

 I still can't help but root for Mo though. Just hoping Mr. Pletcher or Repole emphasis all the off track / non-race work it takes to get a horse ready and explain why he didn't run earlier as a 2 yr old?

17 Mar 2011 1:22 PM
John T

To those who responded regarding

Nasrullah,thank-you I totally understand what you are saying but there are a lot of younger bloggers

and mentioning Nasrullah as a horse with all kinds of quirks does

not help them learn the tremendous

contribution he made to thoroughbred racing as a sire,hence the reasoning behind why I wrote the blog.

 Pedigree Ann,you mentioned J.O Tobin who was by yet another successful son of Nasrullah,Never Bend.Before embarking on a career

to the U.S.A he was trained in England by one of the great trainers of the British turf Noel

Murless at Warren Place in Newmarket.Murless had a daughter called Julie and she married a man called Henry Cecil and under the tutelage of Noel Murless he became

a great trainer in his own right.Upon the death of Murless he inherited Warren Place.There have

been many classic winners trained at Warren Place over the years and

as this is St.Patricks Day there was even won called St.Paddy who won the Epsom Derby and St.Leger in 1960.The next classic winner to be trained at Warren Place I am hoping will be Frankel when he takes his place in the 2000 Guineas.

17 Mar 2011 9:05 PM
Jean in Chicago

John T:

I don't know, but I think maybe the opposite might be true.  Knowing there is a lot more personality to a horse than being a wind-up action figure who might win you a few dollar might well attract more people.

Look at Zenyatta.  The dancing, taste for Guinness and the fact she came out of the gate dead last, as though saying 'oh, you guys finally decided its time to run, I guess I'll get started now' and then blowing past the others probably attracted more new fans than 'just' her number of wins.

Sure, the existence of Facebook and YouTube probably played a part, but I'll bet you her personality quirks played a much larger one.

Thats why I like Steve's 'remembering' columns on great horses so much.  I learn 'personal' things about them I otherwise would never know because I don't have access to their trainers, grooms or riders, much less to them.

And thank you for the info on Frankel's historic connections.  This is exactly the stuff I love...a pathway from Nasrullah to Frankel!  Good luck to him and his people.

18 Mar 2011 5:37 PM

All comments that I read about Uncle Mo, refer to two (2) prep races leading up to the Derby. If he runs in the Wood, and it looks like he will, it will actually be two workouts before the derby.  His competion will be no better in the Wood than it was in his last race, which was nothing more than a workout.  For me to question Todd Pleture would be rediculous, but if he pulls this off, he essentialy brought Uncle Mo up to the derby with nothing more than 2 workouts.  For me, this would be the greatest training feat in the history of the derby.  One mile and a quarter, 20 horses, on two workouts.  I will believe it when I see it.    

18 Mar 2011 6:18 PM
Mike from Michigan

watch for a horse called Behold De Buy.  He might run in the Sunland, could be a dark-horse for the Derby if he wins the Sunland.

19 Mar 2011 6:30 AM

Jean in Chicago...It may have been Billy turner, who said of Seattle Slew, "You could ask him to do anything, but you couldn't TELL him to do anything."  It's that type of spirit I enjoy seeing in a horse.  There's a freakish independence that comes with the most intelligent horses...Consider Kelso and John Henry.  What I find amazing is an independent, intelligent champion like Zen, who is also gentle and so sensitive to others.  As far as the Derby goes, I think Uncle Mo may be able to outrun his sire's pedigree; he seems to be pushing toward that goal. (he does have Arch as a dam sire). However, 12f may just lie beyond his abilities.  Premier Pegasus looked mighty fine; I want to see him do it again.  I'm hoping THAS picks up; he seemed to tire too quickly last out.  A lot of the contenders just seem too short on actually contending.  Too few races, too little experience, too much protection,  too few lessons learned.  Today in the Rebel, I think the top 3 in the SW are going to offer a royal battle to The Factor.  I also like Alternation, but I'm not certain he's ready for this top flight group.  He's won 2 allowance races this year, but he needs more time to work up his speed.  

19 Mar 2011 10:23 AM
John T

Jean In Chicago

 That,s ok,we are all entitled to

our own opinions and I always do the best I can in respecting the other persons opinion.

 If you like historical facts about horse racing you should like this one.

In the 19th century there was a track in New York called Jerome Park.It was named after Harry Jerome.He was a very interesting

character and once drove a team of horses down a street in New York in a druken stupor.Like Noel Murless he also had a daughter her

name was Jenny Jerome and she would

move to London England.She married

Lord Randolph Churchill and she would go on to become the Mother of that great war-time leader Sir Winston Churchill.

19 Mar 2011 5:26 PM

Fiction & facts from John T's Almanach... I loved it!!!

20 Mar 2011 5:07 PM
John T

Thank-you Zookeeper,just one slight correction Jenny Jerome,s

father was called Leonard [Lenny]

rather than Harry.He was a successful stockbroker,financier,

and newspaper proprietor.

 Sir Winston Churchill owned some racehorses himself the best being

Vienna who would go on to be the sire of the 1968 Arc winner Vaguely

Noble who in turn was the sire of that great racemare Danlia.

20 Mar 2011 6:57 PM

John T,

The story gets better and better. These little tidbits of history fascinate me. Thank you for sharing this.

20 Mar 2011 8:03 PM


"There is one regular on here who is very arrogant and claims to know everything about the sport, and while I let him speak his mind I wont respond to him"

I hope I am not that individual as I have been already labeled as an agent of misinformation. I have serious doubts I am the individual but you never know worst has been postrd about me..

I always try to provide some rational for classifying  particular horses as derby pretenders. The historic failures and dismal records of sire and broodmare lines is one of the parmaters. Others are speed figures, DOB and galloping action other additional historic date.

I am in total agreement that posters should provide some  rational for their dislike of a particular horse chances. I hardly believe poster dislike these majestic animals. They just do not post the fact that they dislike their chances.

21 Mar 2011 9:05 AM

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