Ky. Derby Trail: Cry Uncle


OK, so two weeks ago, someone tells you the April 9 Wood Memorial (gr. I), Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), and Illinois Derby (gr. III) are going to be won by Toby’s Corner, Midnight Interlude, and Joe Vann, respectively, and that Arthur’s Tale is going to finish second in the Wood. Which of the following would have been your reply: a) Huh? b) Who? c) What? d) All of the above.

You can talk forever about why Uncle Mo could do no better than third in the Wood at odds of 1-10. Some feel he’s not a nine-furlong horse. Others feel he had little foundation, coming off only an easy victory against mediocre competition in a one-mile race that was catered for him. Still others claim he’s not sound and that he had medical issues following the Breeders’ Cup. And there are those who feel he has not developed physically or improved from 2 to 3.

Some or all of those concerns may be warranted. Then again they may not. If he did have medical issues last fall they were not made public, so there is nothing to go by other than hearsay. The only fact we have going for us is this: It’s the Derby trail. You won’t find any lions and tigers and bears and wicked witches and ill-tempered apple trees along the way. But any trainer will tell you that its perils make the yellow brick road seem like a stroll in the park.

As Uncle Mo attempted to traverse those tricky final miles on the trail, he had to pass by the recently strewn bodies of Premier Pegasus and To Honor and Serve, who are the latest to fall by the wayside. They along with several others, going back to Tapizar, serve as a constant reminder just how precarious a journey this is.

So, Uncle Mo at this point at least appears to have made it through the Wood unscathed.

So, now what? Are we simply looking at another Devil’s Bag or War Pass, or can Uncle Mo follow in the footsteps of other Wood victims Secretariat, Genuine Risk, Go for Gin, Monarchos, and Funny Cide, all of whom went home with the roses? Considering 13 of the last 19 Derby winners were coming off a defeat, you can’t hold losing against him. Most of those who did felt an undefeated superhorse is not supposed to lose. Again, this is the Derby trail where the words “undefeated” and “Kentucky Derby winner” have no bearing on each other. Every race is merely the means to an end.

We’re all aware of the negatives concerning Uncle Mo, so let’s deal with the positives. He needed to be tested and he was. He needed to get some foundation under him and he did, and when you’ve won all your races with ridiculous ease, sometimes the only way to get that bottom is to get tired.

When you can set the pace going 1 1/8 miles for the first time in your career and get tired and still come home in :12 4/5 that's not bad. As uncomfortable as he looked from the quarter pole to the sixteenth pole when he was unable to burst clear of the field with his usual kick and was trying to get in on occasion and had his head cocked to the outside, he actually looked better in the last 70 yards than he did the entire stretch run.

Once John Velazquez straightened him out and hit him left-handed he actually seemed to level off and was striding out better at the wire. The winner had to close in :11 4/5 to beat him. At the start, he had his back legs planted in the ground and had most of his weight in the back, which caused an awkward break. When he lunged forward he grabbed a quarter, causing a small superficial wound, which in itself was not an excuse.

OK, so we have presented the good and the bad. The colt’s detractors can fill in the ugly. The only important question left to answer is, can Uncle Mo win the Kentucky Derby off his two races this year? Todd Pletcher was quoted as saying he didn’t believe the horse was short in the Wood. The feeling here is that there is nothing wrong with him being a little short, especially with only two little half-mile breezes since his cakewalk in the Timely Writer. He had every right to be. That’s what the Wood was for – to make sure he’s not short for the Derby. If he wasn’t a little short for the Wood that means the Uncle Mo we saw was Uncle Mo at his best, which plays into the hands of those who feel he has not improved from 2 to 3. Perhaps the word “short” is a matter of semantics. But if he were my horse I would want to hope he was a little short and that the real Uncle Mo won’t be seen until May. 7.

The bottom line is, why are so many people down on Uncle Mo because of a 1 1/4-length defeat after all the excitement he has provided? We should be rooting for him to become the superstar we once thought he was. Whether he is or is not a Derby horse will be determined on the first Saturday in May and not before.

Toby or not to be

Let’s get to some of the winners and runners-up. Toby’s Corner established himself as a leading Derby contender. We will go more in detail on him in the weeks to come. Stuck at the back of the bunched up pack on the far turn, he seemed hopelessly trapped behind a wall of horses. When Eddie Castro took him out several paths to look for room he got sawed off and had to break his momentum. When he finally found room, Arthur’s Tale had beaten him to the punch and was running down Uncle Mo from the far outside. But Toby’s Corner, equipped with cheater blinkers for the first time, was relentless. He came charging late between Uncle Mo and Arthur’s Tale and just got up to win by a neck, coming home his final eighth in :11 4/5 and final three-eighths in a strong :36 2/5.

With his pedigree (Bellamy Road – Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky), his running style, his 12-point Beyer jump and room for further improvement, and his top-class trainer (Graham Motion), he has as much going for him as anyone.

Arthur’s Tale had been thought of more as a Belmont Stakes horse, but he, too, is improving rapidly at the right time and has to be considered for the Derby, assuming he has enough graded earnings. The last time Tom Albertrani had a classic 3-year-old for Darley was in 2006 when he unleashed another unknown 3-year-old named Bernardini to win the Withers and Preakness. He now is in position to do it again with a son of Bernardini.

As for the Santa Anita Derby, where in the world did Midnight Interlude pop up from? The son of War Chant did not make his career debut until Jan. 29 and had only three career starts, having broken his maiden in a front-running romp on March 20. Yet here he was in the Santa Anita Derby running like a seasoned pro, relaxing off the pace in fourth. Despite getting hung five-wide on the first turn and five-to-six wide on the second turn, he bore down on the classy and speedy grade I winner Comma to the Top, with 12 races already under his belt. When Comma to the Top (who is discussed farther down) drifted out badly at the three-sixteenths pole, he forced Midnight Interlude to steady and lose momentum. Victor Espinoza had to steer him abruptly to the outside and Midnight Interlude came with another run. Inside the eighth pole, Comma to the Top came out again, and Midnight Interlude again had to hesitate and steer to the outside. Making a third run, he finally collared Comma to the Top at the wire to win by a head.

You just don’t see horses this inexperienced turn in this kind of a performance, especially coming out of a maiden race. Trainer Bob Baffert, who had to scratch Jayicto from the race with a minor injury, had decided to enter Midnight Interlude after the colt turned in a super six-furlong work in 1:10 3/5. We are aware no horse who did not race at 2 has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882, but, boy, did this colt look extraordinary. And in this kind of a year, all historical trends, whammies, or whatever you want to call them are ripe for the taking.

A quick mention of third-place finisher Mr. Commons, who also ran a big race to be beaten 2 1/4 lengths, especially considering jockey Mike Smith said he seemed to be experiencing some kind of breathing problem in the final furlong.

Comma one, comma all

So, Comma to the Top “isn’t a Derby horse” and is “not being pointed to the Derby.” Well, guess what? After finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby, it turns out Comma to the Top is indeed a Derby horse and may be pointed to the Derby. Is anyone really surprised? As we mentioned last week, it’s hard to step off the Derby trail and look in another direction with the Twin Spires visible in the distance. No matter what an owner or trainer says, the only time a horse definitely is not pointing to the Derby is after the entries close.

Does Comma to the Top belong in the Derby? Actually, the question this year should be, does anyone not belong in the Derby? If his connections feel he all of a sudden is a Derby horse and all of a sudden can get the mile and a quarter, who is to say they are making a mistake? You can say there are already about a half-dozen speed horses pointing to the Derby, but if all their connections feel their speed horse will put away all the other speed horses and then have enough to hold off all the closers then let them run. There is no logic when it comes to the Derby. There is only the Derby. As the connections of Dialed In and Toby’s Corner and all the closers would say, “The more speed horses the merrier.”

Comma to the Top ran a game race in the Santa Anita Derby, and he’s shown he’s a classy horse, but before he runs in the Derby let’s hope they can get him to run a straighter course than he did on Saturday.   

189 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Mike in SB

You stated that Uncle Mo could have had medical issues after the Breeders Cup but they were not made public. Has anyone asked Todd Pletcher or Mike Repole if Mo had knee surgey? What would be gained by keeping it a secret?

12 Apr 2011 12:12 PM
John T

Each year it seems there is a horse who suffers an injury on the road to the Kentucky Derby and you just wished it never happened and for me this year that horse would be Premier Pegasus who was very convincing when winning the San Felipe.

The great patience of a trainer like Graham Motion certainly has paid big dividends with Toby,s Corner and he looked good winning the Wood Memorial.The jury is now out on Uncle Mo but it,s not to say

that he can,t bounce back as the history of this race has got some very famous names who have finished second and third.

This is the week I have been looking forward to for a long time,

the return of Frankel as a 3 year old.Even though he has matured into

a magnificent looking specimen and is training very well you just never know until they make it back to the racetrack.The eyes of the racing world will be upon him when

he runs in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

The unraced 3 year old son out of

Ouija Board,Voodoo Prince will also

be on that same Newbury card,a mile

maiden and it,s the first race.

12 Apr 2011 12:14 PM
anna

i know that arienza lost the fantasy stakes, but she still ran a great race considering the fact that she was coming back on 2 weeks rest and having zero timed works since march 20th, so her losing might've been just because of her being a short horse, and to me she'd be better if she gets in the oaks field and has several good breezes.

12 Apr 2011 12:21 PM
Playfriskyforme

Wow Steve,You have created a monster in Tobys Corner. I will bet him heavy across the board if he makes it to Kentucky.I don't see him being worse than third based on what I've seen so far.Would be thrilled if he ran 2nd or 3rd.With Graham Motion he couldn't be in better hands.I really think the Belmont will be when he will let loose.

12 Apr 2011 12:45 PM
Linda in Texas

Steve, my sentiments exactly about Midnight Interlude. Wrote on my notes to myself "where the hell did he come from?"  Sometimes we are guilty of just watching the front runners, lo and behold here come the unknowns making a name for themselves when least expected.

And also in my notes i wrote beside Toby's Corner, "blocked 3 times and still won"!

I don't think any one horse has a lock on The Kentucky Derby. It is totally up for grabs, gate assignment and guts (internal fortitude as i was taught to say) as more socially acceptable in mixed company. Anyway Steve Haskin, great introspective on some good ones to watch.

P.S. as Uncle Mo was being lead by his handler i saw him putting his head down in an arched manner and doing a little "Zenyatta style" dance step. I watched HRTV.

12 Apr 2011 12:56 PM
Bill Daly

We have indeed entered a new age when a horse like Midnight Interlude can jump up and win the Santa Anita Derby.  I don't know what this says about the horse or the field he beat, but it does prove that you can throw out the book.  A new user's manual for Derby handicapping is sorely needed.

12 Apr 2011 12:56 PM
Karen in Indiana

Graham Motion has been one of the trainers in my virtual stable for the last 3 years. He puts the horse first and so, if he thinks Toby's Corner is telling him he's ready for the Derby, he's ready for the Derby. I love this horse's pedigree - it's one that fits the whole trail, not just a part of it.

I'm not jumping of the Uncle Mo band wagon. It may actually turn out to be a good thing that he lost this race because now there won't be the pressure to get him through undefeated. They can just relax (if that's possible) and get him through it.

12 Apr 2011 1:02 PM
ASL

What a great betting race it will be!  Let's start focusing on the human interest stories, too.  There are some good folks bringing horses to the Derby for the first time.  Let's give them their time in the spotlight.  That's what it's all about this time of the year when we aren't facing a crop like we saw in 2007 or a potential Triple Crown winner.  

12 Apr 2011 1:06 PM
Robert

Uncle Mo was not short in the Wood.  He simply has not developed much more than he was last fall.  Given who his sire is, it is not surprising.  Toby's Corner looks like a distance horse and he was not tired after the race suggesting he has more in the tank.  Midnight Interlude looks the part and he might go off at huge odds in the Derby, but I want to see him do it again and at a track where he has to travel to.  Uncle Mo probably will have something to say about the Derby just because he will get something out of the Wood, but I just can't see him winning at 1 1/4 miles.  Even if he does, he will not want any part of the Belmont.  People want the Derby winner to win the Triple Crown.  Uncle Mo probably won't win the Derby and if he doesn't, the only way you will see him at Belmont is in the Met Mile.

12 Apr 2011 1:10 PM
GJU

Ahh, it's such a mish-mash when it comes to this year's Kentucky Derby. I am still willing to give Uncle Mo another chance. As for  the other horses you talked about, you've made great points about all of them. I don't know if Mo can or will win the Derby, but I'd sure like to see him try. Thank you for another great blog! I hope you will do a Kentucky Oaks blog too. It's shaping up to be a very nice race.

12 Apr 2011 1:18 PM
Don from PA/DE

"We represent the lollipop guild, and we welcome you to muchkinland" Only about 4 weeks away for KD, eternity of possibilities, and I am sure Steve you will hear many of them til then, but I just hope that Uncle Mo will say "There's no place like home !" when he returns to CD for KD! PS: My real long shot, if he runs and wins on Sat is JW Blue...(somewhere over the rainbow !) Don

12 Apr 2011 1:42 PM
alagaz

With the great race horse and sire of sires AP INDY being pensioned off this week due to age and declining fertility, what could  be a more fitting tribute to this majectic thoroughbred than his grandsons and son winning and placing in the Kentucky Derby. So, here's my derby prediction: 1) Dialed In,2)Astrology, 3) Stay Thirsty or Nehro. That would be an awesome trifecta, baby! Oops, maybe just daydreaming.

12 Apr 2011 1:52 PM
Paul

I have not been a fan of Comma To The Top, but if he runs at Churchill, he will be on my card. Despite my past doubts, he has again and again been in contention and shown gameness. What if he likes the Churchill Downs track? I am not going to be the one slapping my knee and saying,"Obvious!" at the end of the most exciting two minutes in sports.

12 Apr 2011 2:19 PM
NancyP

Hi Steve,

Thanks for all the lowdown on horses and their recent races discussed above.  I don't have a particular favorite(s) for this year's derby.  I learned a valuable lesson the past several years regarding who ever the favorite(s) are in the prep races and before the cavalry charge on the 1st Saturday in May - take a hard look at the middling long shots, because of who dropped out due to injuries during training, and bad starts, blocking tactics, interference, etc. during the race.  I'm not a gambler and only make small bets on the Derby and Belmont each year just to see how well I analyzed their pedigrees, PP and how each individual looks on race day.  I also learned the same lesson during the Breeder's Cup races in 2010 - other than two races (if my memory is still accurate) only two favorites won in the two days.  Of course, Zenyatta, in my mind won the Classic, that was a magnificent race she ran.

I always check your articles on the Derby Dozen in the B-H for input as well and watch replays of the prep races for background.  It would be nice if there were more prep races to really give them good solid racing background and maturity and enable more of the unknown cream of the crop to rise to the top, but this is the state of racing in the good old USA!

May they all come home sound without any injuries or ill effects.

Uncle Mo should not be counted down and out and I would have loved to see Honor and Serve make the roses, but it is what it is!

NancyP

12 Apr 2011 2:31 PM
Inquiry

Bring on comma and bring on mo, im for dialed in and ill take all the speed I clan get. The speed will collapse as it does every year so im not worried..I though Toby ran a great race and is a definite contender.

12 Apr 2011 2:36 PM
The Legend

What an interesting series of events this past weekend. Makes us horse players coming back for more.

I am looking forward to seeing Elite Alex run this weekend at Oaklawn Park. I have watched this horse run a couple of times and I know we haven't seen the best of him. Tim Ritchey is very high on this horse and with the addition of blinkers I am positive an improved effort is coming. I know he is light on graded earning's so a first or second place finish is a must. I'm sure Tim Ritchey will be very disappointed with anything less. Steve, please give me your thoughts on this horse. thank you

12 Apr 2011 2:42 PM
tcc

Steve:

I am venturing to guess that 50% or more of the Derby will have distance limitations, there are less and less horses bred for stamina and more and more bred for speed than for distance stamina.

12 Apr 2011 2:55 PM
Giddyup

Uncle Mo has far more ability than Toby, Arthur or Midnight, hence the 1-10 odds. His biggest problem is that in the year following Zenmania, everyone is demanding perfection. He isn't necessarily my Derby choice but I still see him having a terrific campaign this year.

12 Apr 2011 3:04 PM
horsedoc

Let us not forget Genuine Rick. She finished third in the Wood and took the Derby.

The last couple of weeks have shot my list, as well. I was looking for To Honor and Serve, but now I'll have to move to Dialed In, I think. Oh, well, that's horse racing!

12 Apr 2011 3:23 PM
horsedoc

Sorry, Genuine Risk. Fingers got tangled.

12 Apr 2011 3:24 PM
DanC

Steve: Is Astrology running again before the Derby?

12 Apr 2011 3:25 PM
DanC

Never mind, I just saw your article that he is heading to the Preakness!  Thanks.

12 Apr 2011 3:27 PM
Polly

I am a total amateur--but this is what I saw of UM.  He really needed this race for conditioning. Other than the last 50 yrds, he ran with his head higher than usual and his stride was not as smooth and long.   He did not respond well to the whip--almost like he had not been whipped like that before in a race. After his second left handed hit and some straighting out, he responded and his last 50 yrds looked good.  

12 Apr 2011 3:28 PM
rolo

ANIMAL KINGDOM  gets no love and that fine in my book.  20-1 in DERBY is just fine with me.  the SA DERBY wiunner is indeed the REAL deal and if runs in PREAKNESS will win that race. DERBY just asking to much to soon.

12 Apr 2011 3:29 PM
Deacon

Brilliant article Steve, well written and very a fair explanation. So many bloggers are burying Uncle Mo. He really hasn't done anything wrong, so he loses a race name a great horse who hasn't. Only time will tell if he can get the 10 furlongs. Everyone knows Indian Charlie wasn't a 10 furlong horse, it's been beat to death. For me, that's mumbo jumbo. Sure, it's a parameter but not an end all. If it were,  then why isn't Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson's sons as good a ball players as their fathers were.

Untilo Mo' proves to me he isn't a Derby horse I am staying with him. I felt that Premier Pegasus was his biggest threat along with The Factor but we will know more after this weekend.  

12 Apr 2011 3:34 PM
MD Reynolds

Thanks for a wonderful article, Steve. I was wondering if anyone would use the phrase, "Cry Uncle"! Anyway, I'm a huge fan of Mos' & felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach when he lost the Wood. He didn't look like the same horse I'd seen in his other races. I'm hoping what ever was wrong will be fixed prior to May 7 & we can watch Mo blow away the other 3 year olds! Hope! Hope! Hope!

12 Apr 2011 3:38 PM
Matthew W

Agree with you on Midnight Interlude--who does that?--and against Comma To The Top, who was putting them all away until he showed up--also agree about Comma--he bears out every time in the stretch, he'n not gonna stay the whole 1 1/4, he had things his own way at The Great Race Place--he'll finish a badly tiring, probably bearing out 15th in Kentucky--that's way to nice a horse to do that--also I thought Mr Commons was gonna pounce from where he was--good to know Mike thought something was wrong--he probably doesn't draw in, but there's talent there--but Midnight Interlude! I know he didn't run at two--I have to temper that fact with the knowledge that he did what he did in the S A Derby--cuz he could!

12 Apr 2011 3:41 PM
MD Reynolds

Race horses have been my obsession since 2007 &, of course, I've seen several horses that were being pointed towards the Derby (Old-Fashioned, I Want Revenge, The Pamplemousse, Eskendereya, Quality Road, for example) bow out due to injury. Has this always been a common occurrence? Did this happen in the 1950s-1980s? What's been really odd is that so many of these horses are the really talented ones.

12 Apr 2011 3:51 PM
no mo mo

Uncle Mo will not win the Ky. Derby. Simple as that.

12 Apr 2011 3:51 PM
kjana

Great Article!  I wouldn't underestimate UNCLE MO at this point...but exciting to have a wide open field.  As a racing newbie...can someone better explain what is mean by a horse being "short" in a race.  see below:

"Perhaps the word “short” is a matter of semantics. But if he were my horse I would want to hope he was a little short and that the real Uncle Mo won’t be seen until May. 7."

12 Apr 2011 4:02 PM
RichieD

I still think Uncle Mo will be heard from come Derby day, he may have got a lot of seasoning out of that race.  I can see him sitting a few lengths off of what looks to be a torrid pace battle in the derby and getting first run....then we will see if he trips on his pedigree???  Midnight Interlude was unbeliveable in the Santa Anita Derby, that was a very professional looking race horse.  He was tons the best over what looked to be a very strong bunch (at least on paper) I expect to see another step forward in the derby and if he does...watch out.  I will be boxing Mo, Midnight, Sway Away and Dialed In in a few of my trifecta wagers.

12 Apr 2011 4:08 PM
Matthew W

MD Reynolds I can think of many who could not make it into the Derby--Hoist The Flag in '71...that was a biggie....A P Indy was another biggie...and I thought Dinard was gonna win in '91...and there was Roving Boy....these were all top horses who would've been favored in Kentucky, so, yes, it's always been this way with thoroughbreds....

12 Apr 2011 4:15 PM
Playfriskyforme

No more room on Tobys bandwagon.The odds are dropping as we speak.Everyone needs to go back to Soldat,the Pletchers,and Bafferts horses.

12 Apr 2011 4:25 PM
Footlick

We can site all the horses who lost the Wood and won the Derby.  But all of them probably had a better two year old foundation that Uncle Mo and a better three year old foundation than Uncle Mo.

Deacon- if it is mumbo jumbo then we might as well not look at bloodlines at all.  We can all site exceptions, but it is what most of their progeny run like that defines the distance that the sire's offspring wnat to run.  It is not mumbo jumbo, but I agree it is not an exact science either.  The progeny of Indian Charlie that won at 10 furlongs were older than three.  I like Uncle Mo.  I would rather they point him to the Met Mile and work toward the Travers than try to push him to get him fit to go 10 furlongs.  But I will be happy for him to prove me wrong.

12 Apr 2011 4:29 PM
admin

tset

12 Apr 2011 4:32 PM
Freetex

Great commentary as always, Steve; you give us much to consider.

Its the Derby which means anybody's guess.  Mine That Bird proved that to me.

Like Karen, I will keep adding to my notes and when post positions are announced take it from there.  I sure won't make any negative statement regarding Uncle Mo.  He could win the Derby just like any horse in it!

12 Apr 2011 4:41 PM
hasty road

If the derby is not set up for the likes of Toby and Dialed In, I don't know what is.  I am also of the opinion that Midnight Interlude beat something less then the best in the Santa Anita Derby and will not be a factor in the big one.    

12 Apr 2011 4:43 PM
MD Reynolds

Matthew W.: Thanks for your response. I'd love to see a year like '73 when the Derby was filled to the brim with talented horses!

12 Apr 2011 4:44 PM
Johnny

Dialed In Breaks Maiden comes back and wins Holy Bull Grade 3 his 2nd race..

Midninght Interlude Breaks Maiden comes Back and wins a Grade 1..

Which one holds more water?

Dialed in has since Won the Grade 1 Fl Derby..

I have watched the replay of that race a dozen times I believe he got the whip once..

Zito is pumped up about this horse..He gallops him 2 1/2 miles daily[stamina]..He had a nice work today as well..

He is my luke warm horse now but Julian will not be on the rail he will be coming 5-8 wide coming for home..Especially after Ice Box last year he will get orders do not get pinched!!

Uncle Mo gets a pass but Soldat is a forgotten horse??

MMM looses a shoe gets beat by a length,hmmm...

Comma to the Top most battle tested,is their more in the tank??

Toby's Corner never a bad race nice foundation..

Arkansas Derby this weekend,I am taking a stand against The Factor..

Do not know who yet,but is this finally Elite Alex week?

Good Luck everyone..

12 Apr 2011 4:51 PM
Pboo

I repeat my comments to several blogs well over a month ago....Mo will not hit the board in the Derby IF he even starts.

I am very much afraid his connections ( read Pletcher) will continue to work him and he will come apart if he hasn't already. Seems to be a Pletcher thing; remember Eskendraya(sp?) last year?

12 Apr 2011 4:56 PM
slee

I'm old enough to remember Secretariat's Wood Memorial, and all the press that followed about him being just another precocious 2 year old who loses his edge when everyone else grows up.  Time will tell about Uncle Mo, I guess.

As others have said, perhaps the best part of his race was the last few breaths, when the competition came to him, when he didn't toss his head back and say "done", when he didn't put on the brakes, but rather he re-grabbed his footing and went back to running.  Was it the distance?  The surface?  His prep?  Boy I wish he could tell us.  I did read, though, that he'd just shipped in 3 days before the race and never worked over the surface.  Ok, so I'm old school, but for some horses that matters.

And if he does turn out to be like Secretariat and come back and win the Derby, how great that would be for racing.  But if he is like Secretariat, maybe he should find a path that doesn't include races that start with "W"!  ;-)

Me?  I still like Dialed In, but in a field of 20 going 1 1/4 miles under 126 pounds, all for the first time on Derby Day, it seems like chaos to me!

12 Apr 2011 5:03 PM
Chris from California

I'm just glad the Derby is again "wide open" since the East Coast already awarded the Triple Crown to Pletcher, Repole and Uncle Mo.  I'm also very happy that we didn't have to hear a 47 1/2 minute victory speech by Repole.  Caution East Coast, on May 7th, you're about to enter the No Spin Zone.  Go get em Mr. Baffert!!!

12 Apr 2011 5:17 PM
dannyoc13

Maybe I am completely missing something, but I have not been convinced that Mo has the ability to rate and lay off a bit.  Each race this year he has shown the need to be in front.  Granted, they were slower paces - but what would make anyone think that he will not get caught up in a speed duel and burn out in the Derby with all of the other speed in there?  I want to like Uncle Mo, but this is the one thing that keeps me away.

Please correct me if I am wrong on this, just my two cents.

12 Apr 2011 5:18 PM
sceptre

If there's a pedigree knock on Uncle Mo it's not his sire, Indian Charlie. Uncle Mo likely owes most of his talent to a somewhat fortuitous garnering of many of Indian Charlie's better genes-of which IC has in relative abundance. Look instead to Uncle Mo's female line if you seek reasons for weakness. Indian Charlie came by his lofty reputation today the hard way. Along the way (until recently) he was bred to numbers, but many lacked the quality (including Uncle Mo's dam) of those received by the more elite stallions. It's also my opinion that Indian Charlie is as capable as most of siring a 1 1/4 M winner at 3 in May.      

12 Apr 2011 5:23 PM
BCRace

Come on Soldat! How soon they have forgotten you. ( Florida heat )

Cooler weather will bring you back to your old self. War Front's 1st and 2nd in the Derby!!

12 Apr 2011 5:50 PM
txhorsefan

Steve, I love this blog!  Your words have such magic and lyrical quality to them yet we are learning as we read.  Thank you!  Because of his class at two, I don't feel like I can desert Uncle Mo completely even though I am disappointed that he didn't take the Wood as easily as everyone predicted he would.  At least the pressure is off of him to be undefeated and perhaps it will slow the talk of him being our Triple Crown winner, I still believe he is a very talented horse, but did not have enough conditioning going into this race.  Of course, I have no real basis for saying something as strong as that, it is just a feeling I've had and I haven't quite understood why so many of the trainers are handling these young colts with such kid gloves like they are delicate hot house flowers.  I realize they are delicate and fragile, i.e., Premier Pegasus and others, but they need to train them to be stronger in the first place.  I truly don't know the answer and evidently, the trainers haven't figured it out either.  Thank you for your input, though, Steve - it always helps me to clarify how things are shaping up on this yellow brick ....  oops, dirt road.

12 Apr 2011 5:54 PM
Marine

I don't know what it was about the Wood, but I had a funny feeling that one wasn't going to go Mo's way. Although I'd rather he threw the Wood than the KD any day of the week and given history, I'd really rather someone else was the favorite on KD day anyways - LOL. Toby's Corner strikes me as a Belmont spoiler. Nice looking horse!

12 Apr 2011 5:55 PM
J.G.

I'm not jumping off the Mo-Wagon, I was never on it.He has not lived up to his 2yr. old form to me,lacks the foundation.And, there is no comparing him to the great Secretariat, not even close, no comparsion, nada, zilch..ain't happening captain.

12 Apr 2011 5:55 PM
DrMax944

I hope UNCLE SLOW MO will run in the derby with 5 or 6 other speed horses. I love to watch Speed horses ding-dong on the front end of the derby. I hate derby's that are parades - e.g., WAR EMBLEM, GO FOR GIN. I love to watch a presser from off-the-pace or closer from far back come alive and make the derby stretch a quarter horse dash. Even better is when my longshot is running with the best of the best! This is going to be one of those derbies! It will be a memorable one!

12 Apr 2011 6:04 PM
TYRONE (IRELAND)

As regards Uncle Mo I just wonder did Pletcher have it in the back of his mind what happened to Eskendereya last year after being so impressive in the 'Wood'. Did he feel that he had pushed him too much too soon and that contributed to him breaking down? There is no point in getting older if you don't get wiser so perhaps he deliberately left a bit to work on with 'Mo' to avoid a similar scenario. Pletcher is only human after all and that had to have really hurt him last year though he won the Derby anyway. To me Uncle Mo blew up over a furlong out and then got his second wind and ran on again but I would be interested to know if anyone there saw the colt having a good 'blow' afterwards to verify my theory.  

12 Apr 2011 6:08 PM
Max

I think that over the last 15yrs or so horses have become specialists. Generally , horses that have the ability to be champions at two usually do not have the qualities to win the Derby at three.Note how few champions at two win the derby at  three during this time.The odds are against Mo

12 Apr 2011 6:10 PM
It's been 32 years and it's still 31.5 furlongs away

Whatever you want to call it, I thought it looked like Mo wasn't striding as well as usual in the Wood. That said, he had a bad race, something which happens 2nd off a layoff. Actually, since he lost the Wood, I'm more likely to bet him in the Derby since there will actually be value in betting him.

I like Comma to the Top as much as the next guy (and had picked him to win the SA Derby, after the scratches), but if he runs it, his biggest effect on the Derby will be helping to make the pace faster...

12 Apr 2011 6:41 PM
FourCats

I think that Uncle Mo is a very good horse.  However, handicapping is based on the science of probability.  So what does his performance in the Wood tell us, probability-wise, about how he will perform in the Derby?

Uncle Mo appears to be a front-runner type.  He may not need the absolute lead to win, but he is clearly not a closer.  As such, he is mostly up against it.  Front runners have won the Derby but that is the exception, not the rule.  Who are the front runners who have won the Derby?  Horses like War Emblem, Winning Colors, Spend A Buck, Bold Forbes.  How about some horses that stayed close?  Smarty Jones, Funny Cide.  Do these have anything in common besides being front runners?  In my opinion, yes they do.  All of them were improving going into the Derby.  Most were running the best that they ever had.

Not so for Uncle Mo.  By pretty much any metric, he is running below what he did as a 2yr old.  Could he still win?  Of course he could (with a dramatic turn-around).  Probability-wise though, horses like him are very poor bets in the Derby.

12 Apr 2011 6:45 PM
anniedixie65

Thank you for setting the Mo story as best you or anyone at this point can. By the way how many horses go into the Kentucky Derby undefeated, and how many horses win the Kentucky Derby undefeated? All greats lose, and if Uncle Mo learned something from the race than that is better now  than in the Derby.

12 Apr 2011 7:01 PM
Clarinetmama

Well said again, Mr. Haskin! We will see about our Mo on Derby day. Until then, nobody knows, and I sure haven't jumped off of his bandwagon! We can't just assume anything. It is horse racing, after all... :)

12 Apr 2011 7:26 PM
Vaduz

I don't get the "big mystery" on why horses are winning the Derby while following "the wrong way". If nowadays all trainers train their horses on sprints alone, if all of them are running them in 4-5 races (total) before the KD, well, its obvious the chance for a horse with only 4 starts to win is 90-95%, isn't it? You see? they are all running under the same conditions! But the possibility they get a bad race and smear the whole plan (and our bets) is also very high, isn't it? With only 4 races, how do you know how good he really is, or what race is out of his norm: the bad one or the good one?

12 Apr 2011 8:18 PM
Derb Lin

Someone asked about pre derby favorites getting hurt before the big race.  In the 50's there was Gen Duke in 1957 but that was the same year of the greatest group of all time that included Bold Ruler, Round Table and Gallant Man only to be won by Iron Leige.  Then there were  horses named Graustark and Buckpasser who were favorites in 1966 but were injured.  We only think it happens more often now but no one knows why.  I still wish they would run them more before at 2 and at 3.

12 Apr 2011 8:28 PM
PMAC14

Right on Slee!

When Toby pulled up to MO you could see he dug in and tried hard!  He just hasnt been trained enough. Short!  Thats how I see it.  1 1/4 is another story.  I think he will be in the super maybe third but not the winner.  I actually like MMM!  He is tested and tough and look like  distance is what he wants.  He will be in the super also.  Now i just need 3 more to add to ex, tri, and super bets.  Man i cant wait.  Money to be made this year. What an exciting race its gonna be.  

12 Apr 2011 8:44 PM
JayGo

Playin' a different angle here.

Agree 20 horse cavelry charge is utterly unpredictable in an era when horses are lightly raced and all used to different surfaces and distences.

So, let's look at the jockey angle.  Too easy to lock on Calvin Bo-Rail, who I don't bet other than Derby day ever, but can't fight the facts.  This guy seems to find a way to win and (gasp!) is a must use whoever he's riding on May 7.

But my pick likely to be whoever Ramon Dominquez is riding.  Could be Brethern if we get a rebound this coming weekend.  I watch a lot of (actually too many) races all across the land in this era of simulcasting, and Ramon is the man right now.  No factor with 50-1 Homeboykris last year and then surprised all with First Dude in the Preakness, but I think the karma is there for him to get the glory and finally the respect duly earned this year.  He will find the way in a messy field on a live horse to get it done.  I realize betting the "now" jockey will be scoffed at by many, but my accountant will be betting along with me after adding up all the friggin' IRS forms for taxes for April 15.

Playin' Ramon and (thems fightin' words) Bo-rail in exotics with Mo, Dailed In, Toby and Santiva (assuming the expected performance in the Blue Grass this weekend).  Not a big fan here of West Coast horses comin East (sort of like American League baseball teams playing World Series games in National League parks without the DH; surface and climate change too much to ask).

Good Luck!

12 Apr 2011 8:44 PM
Playfriskyforme

The idea the Mo didn't ship in early enough or didn't like the track is possible. Pletcher didn't learn everything D Wayne off the plane had taught him. I think Repole is training this horse.Stay Thirsty should have stayed in New York were he had already won on the inner track at Aquaduct.Uncle Mo should have stayed at Gulfsrteam where he won over the track already,and wouldn't have any tougher competion there since many of the contenders for that race didn't show much of anything.But my contention is that Uncle Mo is simply running into horses that were not part of the two year old scene that are now beginning to come into their own.The easiest eclipse award to win is the two year old divisions,for the simple fact that most of the class really haven't begun to get cranked up.

12 Apr 2011 9:09 PM
DUDE

Sirelines: Uncle Mo - Nasrullah  last one before that out of Nasrullah was Winning Colors in '88, gotta go back 20 more years to Forward Pass for another Nasurllah horse winning at 10F.

Any Indian Charlie horse cant go the 10F this early in their career.    

Stick to the Raise A Native or Northern Dancer sirelines.  81% since 1970.

www.chef-de-race.com www.pedigreequery.com

12 Apr 2011 9:18 PM
Robin from Maryland

It's quite possible that Uncle Mo reached his peak already - too bad.  I for one am still undecided as to my derby horse.  Any suggestions??

12 Apr 2011 9:22 PM
Bob Bright

So Mr. Haskin, If Comma/Top is back on the trail where is he on your list?

Folks are down on Mo because racing pundits were presenting him as the next Secretariat or Seattle Slew. The former lost to some good horses in the Wood with an excuse. Also Todd Pletcher, is of questionable ability. I saw an interview recently where Angel Cordero was proclaiming how Mo was a very special horse. Cordero works for Pletcher. There is just way to much BS concerning this horse. He should have Mo-ed down the Wood field. He is history, let's move on. Maybe Charlie Whittingham or Bobby Frankel could bring this horse up to speed not Pletcher.

12 Apr 2011 9:24 PM
KY VET

I AM A PROFESSIONAL HANDICAPPER. I MAKE A GOOD LIVING ON THIS SPORT. I CAN SEE WHY, AFTER READING THESE POSTS! YOU PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND THE SPORT. WHERE CAN I START? UNCLE MO? SOME LOVED HIM, SOME SAID HE WONT HIT BOARD IN DERBY. NOT BRED TO GO 1 1/4M....NEEDED RACE....UNDERSTAND THE SPORT PEOPLE! HORSES ARE FLESH AND BLOOD! NOT MACHINES! UNCLE MO ALREADY RAN FAST ENOUGH TO WIN THE DERBY. ITS NOT HIS BREEDING ,THAT HE LOST GOING 1 1/8TH....ITS NOT THAT PLETCHER CANT TRAIN....HE WASNT "SHORT"!  HEY, PEOPLE....DO ME A FAVOR...FIGURE THIS OUT! TOP CLASS HORSES DONT RUN UNTIL THEY ARE READY...STOP THINKING THEY ARE OUT OF SHAPE BECAUSE THEY HAVENT RUN IN 3 OR 4 MONTHS....THIS IS SOOOO OVERATED...THE TRAINERS DONT RUN THESE HORSES OUT OF SHAPE...UNCLE MO WASNT OUT OF SHAPE.....EVERY YEAR, YOU PEOPLE THINK THESE CHAMPION TO 2 YR OLDS LOSE THE DERBY BECAUSE THE CANT GO THE DISTANCE...YOU MISS THE MAIN REASON.....RUNNING SO FAST, HURTS HORSES!!!! THE BALLOON BLOWS UP BIGGER AND BIGGER.....UNTIL IT BURSTS!!!! THE STRESS ON EVERY PART OF THEM TAKES A TOLL!!!!! IT'S NOT WHO IS BEST......IT'S WHO IS BEST ON THAT DAY......THIS DERBY FIELD IS ONE OF THE WEAKEST IN YEARS...WHICH IS AMAZING , BECAUSE THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN PRETTY WEAK...MOST OF THESE CONTENDERS RUN BARELY FASTER THAN ALW HORSES......UNDERSTAND THE GAME PEOPLE!!!! BUT PLEASE....KEEP BETTING!!! YOURE MAKING ME ALOT OF MONEY!!!!!

12 Apr 2011 9:27 PM
MisterHorsey

Do you really think that Comma to the Top is really a Derby horse or do you think that his connections have put a big "FOR SALE" sign on him looking for a sucker willing to pay the big bucks to chase a dream? His main owner, Mr. Barber, just made a nice score selling Gitano Harnando BEFORE the Dubai World Cup!!

12 Apr 2011 9:34 PM
Bill in Atlanta

no mo mo, what is your mission here?  You've made your comments now on every blog on every list so we know you are for every horse other than Uncle Mo. Give it a rest.

Steve, I would appreciate your deeper comments on Mucho Macho Man and how you think he matches up with the newer horses on the list post this past weekends events. Given MMM's great workout this week, and knowing that he shows no I'll effects from losing a shoe in the gate at the LA Derby, I think he can stand the quick pace we expect in the KY Derby and still have gas to match the late kicks of Toby and the Midnight and Pants on Fire. I'm going to bet that MMM is on the board in the end, along with Uncle Mo and the Factor, with Toby or Midnight finishing out my superfecta.

I'll be at Keeneland this weekend for the Blue Grass Stakes.

Thanks for all your logical and good analysis, and for putting up with all of the minutiae from us.

12 Apr 2011 9:46 PM
Paula Higgins

I am not counting Mo out yet. I do think that he is talented and that distance isn't the issue. I think he was underprepared. I feel a little strange saying that since Todd Pletcher is one of the very best trainers in the business but maybe they were trying to keep him healthy/uninjured and erred on the side of over caution. BUT, Mo also likes Churchill Downs. So he has some things in his favor. However, it's alot to do in such a short period of time. ITA with Deacon that Premiere Pegasus was the one that impressed me the most this whole season. Maybe The Factor will turn the Derby Trail topsy turvy once more on Saturday. I am not one who likes total uncertainty. I would like for there to be at least one standout this season. I also think I am going through Zenyatta withdrawal. Sigh.

12 Apr 2011 10:00 PM
Dave york

Midnight Interlude stopped to a walk just past the wire. Love Baffert but MI will not be a factor but THE FACTOR will.

Dialed in has the best shot to win all three. T C for D I.

12 Apr 2011 10:04 PM
Dave york

Midnight Interlude stopped to a walk just past the wire. Love Baffert but MI will not be a factor but THE FACTOR will.

Dialed in has the best shot to win all three. T C for D I.

12 Apr 2011 10:04 PM
LUVSRP

I saw greatness in MO in his very first race and he has won them all except for the Wood. Give the poor boy a break people. Horses have bad days just like people. Repole loves his horse and so do I. Knock knock who's there? The Kentucky Derby winner----UNCLE MO.

12 Apr 2011 10:19 PM
Forbidden Apple

I'm not buying any of the weak Uncle Mo spin control. He should be a complete toss in the KY Derby. But never fear, team Pletcher will still find a way to stack the race full of their average horses. Uncle Mo, Brethren, Stay Thirsty, and Joe Vann are all tosses on derby day.

12 Apr 2011 10:36 PM
tom gregory

uncle mo looked bad in fla while winning and bad in ny while losing. he obviously has physical problems. there is no other plausible explanation as to how a great 2 yo becomes an average 3 yo. he's an easy toss out for me in the derby and i loved him as a 2 yo.

12 Apr 2011 11:07 PM
quiet american 55

Really Steve, comparing Mo's performance in the Wood to Funny Cide, Go For Gin, Monarchos (let along Big Red) --- no way.  Funny Cide came into the Derby off of a career best performance and career best Beyer.  E-Maker was suppossed to be the great TC threat.  Yes, he did come into the Derby with an ailment along the way Derby week, but F-Cide was primed to take him over a dry track.  Monarchos, he already showed his metal at one and 1/8 in the FL Derby and lost to Congaree on a strip where he was never going to make up the ground and why try.  Mo's situation is entirely different.  He lost to no better than allowance horses.  I wish the writers, broadcasters would stop already with the Uncle Mo annointment.  We've seen this many, many years.  The fact that he won a Grade One over the Churchill (at two, going 1 and 1/16) strip and going away does not make him great.  Street Sense was a different type of horse with a different type of trainer and was able to parlay the two.  I hope the Mo fans hold on and hold on strong, because he's not winning any of the T-C races.

12 Apr 2011 11:07 PM
dogs up

I look forward to come back and read our forcasts or handicapping for KD. With what I see of the slow early fractions and final times in the graded  preps (except FL. Dby) I see at the top of the stretch of the KD at

say 110.4 for the 6 fl and a flat 136. mile.This Derby will not be one for distance closers in slow times like 202.3 to  203.  This will be a top 4 Derby record time record and unfortunately the winner will be KD-only betting public favorite, The Factor will turn in the above fractions beginning at the mile, with 147.4 and 159.6  +/- for the event w/ weather good. Price will be almost $11.00 as once per yr bettors bet Borel and names and numbers.

12 Apr 2011 11:22 PM
Jodie

What is shocking to me is not that Uncle Mo lost the Wood but how he lost it.  He was losing ground and looked like one tired horse. They announced today that he is physically sound so has to be the lack of conditioning.  Sorry you can't train a horse into the Derby.  I have more faith in Midnight Interlude winning the Derby than Mo.  He at least fought to win.

12 Apr 2011 11:32 PM
Coldfacts

Joe Alva,

A couple of comments on your submission:

“Now I've heard many poo-pooing the slow closing fractions of the Florida Derby, but that's what heat does to people and animals, it slows them down”

R Heat Lightening ran a much faster time for the distance the day before. Was there a significant difference between the temperatures on both days?

The time for the FL Derby was the slowest in the last five years. Are you concluding that the previous 4YRS that were faster were not impacted by high temperatures? I could understand if the race was contested in summer. The heat would have a more impact the faster horses and Dialed In would invariably be the beneficiary of this. I do not regard the heat as playing a significant role in the slow final time. You have conveniently omitted the fact that the colt Dialed In struggled to beat was beaten 23 1/2L in the slowest run FOY in the last five years. For Shackeford to run close to 1:50.07 recorded in the FL Derby, he had to run 4 3/4 seconds faster in the FL Derby than he did in the FOY.  The winner of the allowance race in which he finished second ran the last 3/8th in 37.25 on his way to a 1:51 clocking. I wonder if it was very hot that day. The mile split for that race waas1:38 1/5. Dialed In got beat in 1:51 and won the FI Derby in 1:50.07. Derby winner Unbridled won the 1990 FL Derby in a slow 1:52. Since then all other FL Derby winners that went on to win the KD have recorded times below 1:50. His time is not a very encouraging time.

“As Jack Van Berg said to critics after Alysheba 's slow Bluegrass win, "Time only counts when you're in prison!"

I have heard the above before and I always ask the same question. If times do not matter why record them? The final time for a race can be contingent on a number of factors. If these factors are known then slow time by Graded horses can be better evaluated. It is quite possible that Alysheba was not getting a hold of the track properly. Uncle Mo did was not placed on a pedestal because he won three races. He was placed there because he won the in impressive times.

“Therefore, congrats Steve for getting it right . . . Dialed In is a deserving #1 on the list!”

You are assuming that Mr. Haskin got it right. I bit to differ. The Factor has been more impressive than Dialed In. He is unbeaten in his last three start in which he recorded very fast times. Oh! Time only counts when you're in prison. His projected 9F time for the Rebel is 1:48.97. That is 1.1 seconds faster than the time Dialed In recorded in the FL Derby while struggling home to defeat a 68-1 long shot who was unplaced in his previous graded race. The Factor has the advantage in most categories when the tale of the tape is examined. He has the advantage in speed, fluency in movement, pedigree and trainer. The only category Dialed In might have the edge is the stamina. Speed will always be an equalizer for stamina. I am confident Dialed in is not the #1 colt on the derby trail and he will not win the derby as his energy sapping  action will take its toll in the last furlong and he will be extremely one pace.

12 Apr 2011 11:58 PM
Coldfacts

Deacon,

Why I am not surprised that you would enjoy Steve’s take on Uncle Mo’s Wood performance and the comments that followed. You seem more measured than before which is good.

“He really hasn't done anything wrong, so he loses a race name a great horse that hasn't.” ’

Firstly no one said he did. Secondly Uncle Mo is not great. I am sure you would like to rephrase your question as there are several great horses in recent times that didn’t lose a race during their careers i.e., Personal Ensign and Candy Ride to name a couple.

“Only time will tell if he can get the 10 furlongs.”

What a difference one race can make. In your previous submissions his stamina capability was never an issue. He was so much better than the rest he could walk and win the derby.

“Until Mo' proves to me he isn't a Derby horse I am staying with him”

I am sure you would like to walk back the above. He has no other opportunity to prove to you he is a derby horse as his next race will be in the derby. I cannot imagine your evaluation will be based on his works preceding the derby.

Sometime ago I mentioned that I did not like Uncle Mo’s  action as such a high leg action result in too much ponding of the track and placed extreme pressure on the shoulders. It is my opinion that his galloping action was not going to serve him well against the best of his peers going 10F. The response to my comments amounted are rebuke for making a sacrilegious statement. He is not the best mover on the track and this puts a lot of strain on his energy systems and the last furlong of the derby will be his undoing. Dialed In is another colt whose action is horrible and he also will find the last furlong of the derby overwhelming.  The factor is the colt with the most derby positives and speed. If he is allowed to run the 6F in 1:11 plus, he will very hard to beat. He is a pure mover over ground and while his sire was a sprinter his dam sire is a monster of a broodmare sire. He is the horse to beat.

13 Apr 2011 12:03 AM
Amy

Does anyone know what happened to Gourmet Dinner?

13 Apr 2011 12:04 AM
Old Yeller

Has it ever occured to anyone that these big upsets, Uncle Mo, Big Brown, Smarty Jones could be orkestrated. Firstly no horse is worth betting on at 1-10, if a jockey is so inclined, he and he alone can cause a big favorite like Uncle Mo to LOSE !! Gambler's  in the know or even senseing an arrangement between some of the connections who also bet lay it on the next best thing. Shady stuff, but don't bury our head and say it doesn't happen. It's a fact of the game that it can happen, did it , we'll never know. But just follow the unwritten rule that no horse is worth 1-9 or 1-10 odds, this is when to watch out for the shady side of racing. If new fans get excited about a superstar and down go the odds, the chance of an arrangement grows ! Hey just makes it harder to handicap and puts a lump in your throat if you think you smell a rat. THIS IS HORSERACING !

13 Apr 2011 12:18 AM
Draynay

Two things I know for sure.  Uncle Mo will win the Derby and The Factor will be no factor in May.

13 Apr 2011 1:41 AM
Deacon

Coldfacts:  You live your horse racing life in the breeding world, I stand by my statement, until Uncle Mo loses at 10 furlongs I am staying with him. You have your opinions, I have mine. The Derby is one race, and in one race, when you are the best horse in the race then breeding goes out the window. That would also be my comment back to Footlick as well. So Indian Charlie hasn't produced a 10 furlong Derby horse, I am well aware of that. I just didn't fall off the pickle truck. But in one race, anything can happen and that has been my point all along. Pletcher got off the snide in last years Derby, and we all know he hasn't done well in the Triple Crown races, but don't you think that as time has gone on Mr. Pletcher has learned a lot and has made adjustments. If Mo isn't good enough to win, then let it be decided on the race track. I am kind of tired hearing all this negativity about a horse I happen to adore. You live in your world and I will live in mine. All your stats and figures don't mean a hill of beans once the starting gate opens. I have done pretty well these past 55 years of being a racing fan. My handicapping has served me well and like I have said so many times I normally don't go out on a limb and tout a horse but I just believe Uncle Mo will win the Derby. If I am wrong then it's my bad, and I am ok with that. It certainly won't be the first or last time I have been wrong. Good luck to all.....lol

13 Apr 2011 1:55 AM
shesfast

Lol! I am not for Mo, nor against him, but sometimes as history has proved more than once, to say a horse can not win a race(the derby, classic, ect.), the horse sometimes proves the naysayers wrong. May the best horse on Derby day win, and safe trips and training for all. I will just sit back and enjoy the ride. I always have my favorites and underdogs, but whoever wins I will cheer on throughout the TC, as I have yet to see one in my life time.

13 Apr 2011 2:03 AM
Lawrin

Unless some horse really separates himself from the rest of the field between now and the Derby, we should again see the favorite (whoever that may be) be in the 5-1 or 6-1 range.

I just hope I get selected to make that $100,000 bet on the Derby (not that I have a clue right now on which one I would bet); the potential payoff could be huge.  And I've already bought my own bad-fitting, obvious toupee in order to emulate last year's winner.

13 Apr 2011 2:39 AM
Scotty

John T, is there a key missing on your keyboard, or was that "Apostrophe To The Bottom" a hint?

13 Apr 2011 3:04 AM
StonesRoy

Come Derby Day, thousands of newbies will be looking at the PP's and seeing all the 1's and 100+ speed figures for UM and the Factor and they will go off as the top two betting choices.  They won't care what they did in their last 2 races (and I'm not yet sure I will either).  This will make for some very attractive odds on others.  Toby's Corner will probably go off at something like 8-1.  Soldat will be double-digit odds, easily.  Same for MMM.  The Derby always offers tasty Exacta odds, and a 4-5 horse box will be my main play.

I can't wait for this weekend's races!

13 Apr 2011 5:31 AM
Inquiry

I wouldn't worry about times with dialed in, he could of had a better time if he moves sooner but julien has been measuring the wire just right on those last to wins. The pace will be there and so will he. As long as julien doesn't wait forever to make his move like nice box did then there all running for 2nd place....as far as ky vet nobody's cares your a pro and obviously the only ticket you will cash on mo is a show ticket if your lucky he doesn't spit the bit for 3rd...he has no shot at the win and will be cooked out front as many are every year.. stay thirsty beat tobys corner off like a 4 month lay off....what happened to stay thirsty against dialed in? You couldn't find him with a search warrant...dialed in has beat the best so far and when he gets to Churchill its all over but the crying.

13 Apr 2011 7:59 AM
Paul H.

So people are making excuses for Uncle Mo's loss and still sticking with him? Great, better price on the horses that actually have a chance of winning the Derby I say. The thing NOBODY is addressing about Uncle Mo is this; Can he sit off an expected hot Derby pace? There is absolutely nothing in his past races to indicate he has been willing to do so, so what make anyone think he can be that kind of horse in 25 days? I am gonna love it when he tries to match pace up front with The Factor(another pretender), Pants on Fire, Decisive Moment and Comma To The Top if he runs. Uncle Mo to me is just another incarnation of War Pass, ahead of the others as a 2 year old but with distance limitations from the get go. Think about this 1 last thing about Uncle Mo; what has he done as a 3 year old that would make you believe he is seriously capable of winning a race like the Kentucky Derby?

13 Apr 2011 8:33 AM
Your Only Friend

Uncle Mo could be PAPER TIGER......who did he run against before last saturday......Other horses have grown up and improving.

13 Apr 2011 8:51 AM
Johnny

OLD YELLER:

I swear watch the replay of Big Browns Belmont the jock has his feet in the Dash out of the gate holding that horse to all get out..They took the will to run right out of that horse.

13 Apr 2011 8:53 AM
The Legend

Very well written KY VET and I couldn't agree with you more. Horse players just seem to look at what a horse has done in his most recent race and not the whole picture or the process of of what it takes a trainer to have a horse peak on that first Saturday in May.

I still look for Uncle Mo to run a big race in the Derby but the question is will that big race be good enough to win it?

13 Apr 2011 9:18 AM
peggy7

Did anyone else consider the fact that Uncle Mo's reluctance to load (twisted around a bit not really anxious to go in) may have meant something, as in, he also might not really want to run? Also, many a horse I've ridden has grabbed a quarter--usually for a reason---and even though it didn't "look like much" said horse took a while to feel and move quite as well as before. Racing is very high stress where a seemingly small irritation is magnified at hi speed.

Or maybe not to all of this!

13 Apr 2011 9:39 AM
eightbelles5308

I have loved horse racing ever since my dad took me to my first race at mommouth park when i was 9 i am now 37. Every year i set my hopes upon seeing a triple crown winner. I was 4 when Affirmed won in 1978 so I cannot say I remember that event.What I do wish to comment here is the fact that I do not understand why anyone wants to bash or wish failure on any one horse.I love Mo not because he won the BC juvenille not because he is or was being tagged as a super horse.I saw his first race not in person but on replay and I thought wow he was impressive and what a gorgeous boy. Then I found out more about him and his connections.Mr Pletcher was never one of my favorite trainers but a horse cannot choose who owns or trains them.What I do like is what Mo's owner has done donating winnings making Mo talk to his fans etc. It is people like him and the Mosses who will bring racing back into the mainstream or at least I hope so. I now live in North Carolina and it is almost impossible to watch races on tv except the big ones like the Derby and such. I will always cheer for Mo win or lose in the Derby. Thank you Mr Haskin for another wonderful blog I always enjoy reading your blogs and articles.

13 Apr 2011 9:59 AM
Playfriskyforme

Twenty four days to go now Arthurs Tale is out.I'm sure there will be twenty in the gate May 7th.But how many will be worthy derby starters.This race might go in 2:04. In that case even Uncle Mo could find the board.When in doubt I use two methods when boxing the tri and super. Throw in every horse that has won a grade 1 and every horse that has never been off the board.This should be about six or seven that fit this profile and that might be the way hit.

13 Apr 2011 10:20 AM
lafeet penkuy

uncle mo , super horse , triple crown winner , unbeatable , yeah boy !  lol!

13 Apr 2011 10:49 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

BCRace

   How do you know what the weather is going to be like in Louisville on May 7th? Have you seen what's going on with the weather this year? It could be flooding, a tornado, snowing, or 100 degrees !!! But If it's not too hot that could benefit Soldat.

Deacon

  Nice post. I don't see Mo as a need the lead type, and if he is ready to run on May 7th, we could see him press and explode. It's possible. He didn't show it in the Wood but he is explosive, and has shown that he can maintain that kick for quite a distance. My problem with Mo is that I think the weak 3yo campaign hurts his chances, but certainly doesn't eliminate his chances. Mo showed pre-race that he wasn't feeling particularly good for The Wood and still ran a decent race. He certainly can rebound from what was a poor performance for him. Long way to go yet. Let's see how the preps go and who looks great Derby week, and how the post draw goes. I still admire your class and style.

13 Apr 2011 11:05 AM
Footlick

Deacon- I like the horse.  I didn't like calling breeding mumbo jumbo, that is all.  As I said, there are always exceptions.  And as I said, I will be happy if he proves me wrong.  To act like breeding doesn't matter is ridiculous.  To act like it is the end all is ridiculous.  I have watched him on the track.  He reminds me of Quality Road.  If he can win at 10 furlongs, great.  If he can't, you can say whatever you want but his breeding could be part of the reason.  Hell, even Precisionist under the right circumstances could get 10 furlongs, but it had to be the right circumstances and he had to have everything go his own way.  When he got everything his own way he was devastating at 10F also..  But he was one of the most brilliant 6-9 furlongs horses that has graced the track, turf or dirt.  I do not discount performance.  I also do not discount breeding.

13 Apr 2011 11:21 AM
papillon

coldfacts--yes it was considerably hotter on fl derby day.

as i said in an earlier post shortly after the fl derby, saturday, the day r heat lightening won, was much cooler, much less humid, and much more breezy--in other words much more like south florida in april.

i live in fort lauderdale, my home track is gulf stream. that sunday, fl derby day, was the most unpleasant day i've ever had at gulf stream and more like a day in july at calder. it was in the mid to high 90s almost all day and it was humid and stale--any horse on a diuretic like lasix was going to have trouble in that heat.

all of the horses passed with in 3 feet of me several times before loading and most looked pretty hot, and soldat looked awful, his kidney sweat was almost running off of him.

i am not privy to inside information like mr. haskin, but based on what i saw and my knowledge of horses from having ridden, owned, and trained show jumpers and eventing horses since I was 6 years old, soldat was either ill that day or had succumb to the heat. my guess (my hope?) is that it was the heat, based on what was reported of his demeanor once he was in the shade after the race and once the evening temperatures had cooled down. the difference is pretty drastic between night and day here this time of year--i also garden, i can't go outside o work in it before 630pm right now (which as is odd for this time of year--but weather-wise the past 12 months has been odd). between 530 and 830, i'd say temps drop between 10-15 degrees on average.

i don't know the exact temperature at the time of the race but when i showed up about a half hour before the race the temp gage in my car said it was 95F.

since that day it has been as hot here as it usually is in june/july--zito himself confirmed how hot it is here when he said they are now having to run dialed-in very early in the morning to avoid the heat.

all i know is this--i have a 12 year old cat dying of congestive heart failure who is taking lasix to keep her alive and able to breathe so that she can pass slowly in relative comfort at home--the vet told me in no uncertain terms that she should not be allowed to spend anytime where the temp is greater than 80 degrees because, on lasix, the heat will so stress her that her kidneys may stop functioning and throw her into shock. please keep in mind that all domestic cats are direct descendants of the african desert cat (and physically and genetically indistinguishable from it); tests have shown that cats feel no discomfort until ambient temperatures pass above 126F (people start to collapse at 110f), moreover cat kidneys are so tough, they can easily live off of salt water (which is why they did so well for centuries aboard ships). if lasix and heat do that to a cat, even a sick one, think what the combination does to a horse running at the top of its physical capacity.

mr. haskin is entitled to put any horses he wishes, in any order, on his rankings, but i do agree with those here have voiced concern that the complete tossing of soldat seems rash and unfair, in light of some of other horses he's given a pass to...maybe he knows something about soldat we don't, or maybe he just likes unlce mo so much that he can't let him go...but assuming soldat is healthy and runs in the KY derby, the 10-1 or better odds he'll get are pretty nice for a horse that has proved 1 1/8 miles is no trouble for him several times this year already. 1 1/4 miles isn't 1 1/8, but its seems logical that horses who have struggled with 1 1/8 are less likely to excel at 1 1/4 than those that have excelled at 1 1/8...just sayin'...

however, all that being said, i agree with bataglia, that the current front runner for the derby is the factor--unless he finshes up the track in arkansas, even if he doesn't win the AK derby, i think he may just wire the field on the first saturday in may. out of last weekend's races, only midnight interlude impressed me.

13 Apr 2011 11:45 AM
Race Fan

Why does anyone thing just because Uncle Mo did not win the race thinks there is something totally wrong. I have been around hores all my life including race horses. Race horses just like show horse have their off days too. Just because Mo did not win the Woodward something is seriously wrong...I don't think so.  The only thing I don't want to see this year is the fans bickering over Uncle Mo and other horse like they did with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. I was tired of reading such negative comments against each horse...who was better...or who should have been champion or horse of the year. The horses are champions in their own way.  So lets all enjoy horse racing.

13 Apr 2011 12:27 PM
KY VET

HEY! PEOPLE! I NEVER SAID I PICKED UNCLE MO! I SAID, UNDERSTAND THE GAME! UNCLE MO WAS/IS A GREAT HORSE. ALREADY PROVED IT.THAT CUP RACE WAS AWESOME! WHAT YOU PEOPLE DONT GET, IS, RUNNING THAT FAST HURTS HORSES! GET IT? YOU PEOPLE THINK ITS THESE OTHER THINGS...THE REASON HE LOST,WAS DISTANCE/TRAINER/NOT IN SHAPE......YOU PEOPLE DONT GET IT....THE WOOD WAS LIKE A 7 FURLONG RACE...THEY WALKED EARLY...IT WAS A SPRINT....UNDERSTAND THE GAME!  MO HAD NO EXCUSE...SOMETHING NOT RIGHT...IT WASNT DISTANCE/OUT OF SHAPE/ ETC.....IT DOESNT MEAN HE WASNT A CHAMPION....HE WAS ONE OF THE TOP HORSES IN YEARS....RUNNING FAST HURTS HORSES!!! GET THAT!! WHY DOES CHAMP 2YR OLDS HARDLY WIN DERBY?   HERES ANOTHER TIP!! THE HORSE THAT WINS THE DERBY, IS USUALLY NOT GREAT IN 6 MORE MONTHS....OHHHH THEY NOT BRED FOR RUNNING IN THE FALL?.....AND COLDFACTS IS LIKE A NUCLEAR PLANT SPEWING RADIATION......STAY FAR AWAY, HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH!

13 Apr 2011 12:28 PM
Socko from Atlanta

.......let's not get ahead of ourselves,...this weekend will unveil MY " KY. Derby" winner,...the " other" son of Mineshaft,....Nehro,..will run @ the Arkansas Derby,...Don't get shutout or you'll be sorry.....Nehro will come marching home !!!

13 Apr 2011 12:37 PM
Linda in Texas

Dr. Drunkinbum, you are not chopped liver yourself! Deacon indeed has a way with writing his thoughts from his experiences and knowledge and i always 'listen' to what he writes. Just as i do your classy and style filled postings.

But this sport has some really fickle supporters jumping from one horse one race to another horse another race. If a horse first tweaks your interest it must be from your own assessment and for it's own reasons. We all have different reasons to admire each horse.

With that said, we are all born with different likes and dislikes so we obviously will disagree and it does not mean that we disrespect anyone who differs. But I find calling fellow posters on this blog, "you people" is denigrating to those of us less learned in the horse world of racing, especially non handicappers.

Right now i am looking up exactly what "popping a splint" means since Arthur's Tale is out with one, none of my horses ever had one.  Horses can come back to race from such an injury. So hopefully Arthur's Tale will be racing again. It is not easy keeping these giants free from injuries.

I am glad that Uncle Mo has been pronounced to be in sound condition and headed to Churchill Downs on Monday. And BTW Mike Repole spent all day with vets, trainer and everyone else to make sure his horse gets all the care he needs to do his best on the track at The Kentucky Derby.  

A little history on The Wood and a 'popped splint.' In 2005 Bellamy's Road won by a hand ride by 17 1/2 lengths as a 3 year old, later developed a 'popped splint' and was sent to Ocala for rest in Florida. He was still increasing in size and his bones had to grow in density to his increasing body mass.

What a beautiful race horse he is and the first stallion to stand at Hurricane Hall, owned by Mr. Ben Walden, Jr. and associates. Article dated September, 2006 on Bloodhorse.com.

It is the past that provides the window to our future ability to understand the wonderful world of

Thoroughbred Horse Racing inside and out, brought to us by the living, magnificent creatures who spring from the gates of tracks around the world. I dearly admire  and respect all of them and those who watch over them.

Thanks,Steve and safe rides to all.

13 Apr 2011 1:04 PM
War Emblem

Dry track on May 7th and it's all about can Mo and the Factor not burn each other out and does Dialed In catch one or both? Every horse gets one "throw out" race for a belly ache, not liking the track, whatever. Forget the newbies, the traffic alone throws them for a loop. Now maybe all the Z haters are realizing how hard it is to win EVERY SINGLE TIME EVEN RUNNING AGAINST LOWER CLASS TALENT (or loose by a few inches against the best in the world)???

13 Apr 2011 1:12 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

If Uncle Mo rebounds in the Derby your galloping action critique is toast.  Moreso if Dialed In prevailes. Think about this: Dialed In's large neck and chest that you've observed are housing for large lungs, a big heart (probably inherited from Princequillo) and increased oxygen and oxygenated blood flow, enough to power his running style/action all the way (10 furlongs plus). This Zito rocket has been endowed with a huge expolsive turbo engine that is only just beginning to work in my friend. His galloping action is "leap and float" because he flies low when julien Leparoux switches on those afterburners. Your projections make no room for improvement in these two colts that you like to knock down but you'll have to go back to the drawing board after May 7.

13 Apr 2011 1:38 PM
Deacon

Dr. D:  Thank you, you are truly a class act..........I couldn't agree more with your comments. I would also say that these past few years we seem to have had a very weak 3 year old crop. Big Brown stood out but that was about it, last year Looking at Lucky was clearly the best 3 year old and when Mine That Bird won, Rachel Alexandra was the best 3 year old in the land. You are right perhaps this crop is weak, but Uncle Mo loves Churchill Downs, won handily there last year and yes I also believe that this crop of 3 year olds is average at best. Premier Pegasus is hurt so we don't know about him, The Factor is still a little bit of a mystery, so we will see.......

why do I do this to myself, get into these ridiculous discussions over a person's opinion.......

13 Apr 2011 1:44 PM
farrier1987

What will or should happen to the Dutrow trained horses that are headed for the Derby?

13 Apr 2011 3:30 PM
Playfriskyforme

Need to see The Factor hooked on the front end on Saturday.It's a million dollar race can't imagine the field letting him loose up front.Hope the Ark derby will clear the haze on this years derby.Still lots of front runners headed for Louisville so I just can't imagine a Winning Colors or War Emblem scenario.Like most races if there is multiple speed horses contesting the lead the stalkers will get first shot at history.

13 Apr 2011 3:48 PM
LongStoryTB

WOnderful article as always.  Been a TB/Racing fan since I was a child in the 60's. NEVER missed watching the Triple Crown races. This year love the big, bay colts, Toby'Corner and Mucho Macho Man. Hope ALL of the Derby contenders run safely.

13 Apr 2011 3:55 PM
Cowboy Adventure

Has anyone seen Soldat work since the Florida Derby?  I have not seen a published workout for him; I'm wondering if he is still going for the Derby - any news???

13 Apr 2011 4:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda In Texas

   Thank you very much. The feeling is mutual. Yes-safe rides to all and they are all magnificent(the 4 leggeds).

Deacon

   Thanks. Some people like to argue and get people's goats. It's a learning thing. Time to study, pps are out. The next Derby Dozen will be getting down to business. I've already put Mo back on my list after re-evaluating his race, talent and situation.

13 Apr 2011 4:20 PM
Doubting Thomas

Uncle Mo WILL NOT hit the board in the the Derby. Another great training job by the most overreated trainer in history!!!

13 Apr 2011 5:13 PM
Footlick

I'm glad at least I know who wants me to respond and who doesn't.  It saves me alot of time reading posts.  I don't feel I argue but since I responded originally, and then responded again when my name was specifically mentioned, I will put two and two together.  It's perfectly fine with me.

13 Apr 2011 5:28 PM
BCRace

Comment to Dr. Drunkinbum. I don't know what the weather will be like on May 7th, but I doubt very serious that it will be like Gulstream was on April 3rd. I was thinking back to Sea Hero and Mack Miller's statement about how "when the horse got to cooler weather from the heat of Florida, he really blossumed". Becuase I want Soldat to win the KD, I am hoping that it was the heat and nothing else. I hope he draws out side of the "speed" then sits, swoops and finishes! ( of cource in FRONT )

13 Apr 2011 5:40 PM
Point Given

Draynay,

You said you know two things for sure that Uncle Mo Will win the Derby and that The Factor will be no factor in May.

Here is my take on that.I definitely know one thing for sure that the horses you pick they ran poorly.

Now stay away from the THE FACTOR this week end while he is trying to run his competition to the ground."Cant Wait"

13 Apr 2011 6:34 PM
RickS

Cowboy Adventure,

Besides Soldat, Pants On Fire went to the farm after the LA Derby, Dialed In will have only 1 more work before the Derby.

They're either sore or it's the "new" way to train a Derby starter.

farrier1987, Dutrow doesn't have anything going to the Derby, but If he did, they would need a new trainer.

13 Apr 2011 7:04 PM
BCRace

Sorry about the "misspellings" Where is Spell check when you need it?

13 Apr 2011 7:17 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Footlick

   I was in no way, shape or form referring to you or any of your posts. You're not one to argue for the sake of arguing or endlessly dispute someone's viewpoint, or to say something just to be mean. I enjoy your viewpoints and posts very much.  I'm not talking about disagreeing with someone and expressing a different viewpoint. I am talking about someone purposely saying things just to be obnoxious, and it is just a general statement not in reference to Deacon or any of his disagreements with anyone. It was just a general statement as something to be aware of that can happen.

13 Apr 2011 7:52 PM
Linda in Texas

Dr. D and BC and anyone else interested - The Farmer's Almanac shows the projected weather for May 1 - 4 to be:

Rain to snow then sunny and cold.

May 5 - 10 to be:

Rain then sunny and seasonable, but it does not say which season.:)

I worked for the Weather Bureau in San Antonio in the 60's and would sit at my desk by a window where it would be sunny one minute, then hailing the next. Would ask the forecaster what his 3 pm forecast was: usual pat answer was: Partly Cloudy and 20 percent chance of rain. He sat in an enclosed room and could not see outside. So nothing is a lock when it comes to the weather. I just don't want hot and humid. Horses do much the better in dry and cool weather.

So the snow and the rain could slop up the track for Kentucky Derby Day. Another change in complexion after everything else that has happened in the last few days. But it will be cooler than Florida, for sure, maybe, i think.

13 Apr 2011 8:12 PM
IOWay

I am new to this so find it somewhat amusing that so many people are so definite in their conclusions rather than prefacing them with "in my opinion" or "because of a wager I made in the futures pool I hope" etc. which seems to be the true basis for many posts.  In my truly humble opinion unless The Factor is able to wire it on the front end or Dialed In gets an totally unobstructed trip from near the rear this year like Street Sense did there are quite a few that have a decent chance of winning and that should make for a great betting race.  In the meantime we can enjoy those giving the rest of us their "guarantees" about what either will or will not happen.  It is a lot of fun to read. Wish I had been watching to see how many guaranteed that Giacamo, Mine That Bird and Super Saver would win. Handsight is a wonderful thing. Best of luck to everyone.

13 Apr 2011 8:21 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve, you are the Wizard at the end of this yellow brick road, about the only one who can figure this crop of 3 yr. olds out.  With this year of strange race performance outcomes, strange pre-race appearances (Tapizar, Soldat, Mo reluctant to load), gate issues, etc., one would need a crystal ball to see the star of these little guys

right now.  It is impossible at this point.  I am still believing in and behind Mo; his Wood was not so terrible at all.  Even the TVG guys were questionning if Johnny V was purposely not asking Mo to accelerate at the critical time in the stretch.  I don't think Mo has reached his peak and that bodes well for the Derby.  I'm still keeping Mo at number 1. Mo had a flight on Wed., his Meet and Greet on Thurs. and expected to be focused 100% on Sat. in the Wood for a win, too much to ask if you ask me.  Let's see what Elite Alex does this weekend and on Monday we will all be "off to read the Wizard" once again for answers.  

13 Apr 2011 9:04 PM
Deacon

Dr. D:  I always read and enjpy your posts, same with Linda in Texas and a few others. Trust me, I do not discount breeding, heck it's the foundation for trying to find the next great horse. We all know that. We also know that it's a crap shoot at best trying to figure it out. For those of you who remember the great Swaps. He was by Khaled and Iron Reward, he was bred and owned by Rex C. Ellsworth. A few years later Mr. Ellsworth again bred Iron Reward to Khaled and produced a colt named The Shoe, full brother to Swaps. The Shoe was not much of a runner but boy was he touted as the next great one. Same can be said for Nicanor and Letenor. My point is in this long winded example that breeding is a guessing game and in 1 race

anything can happen. I would never wager money based on breeding. Race horses are athletes, some are just better then others. Some want to win more, some dig in deeper when another is trying to pass them in deep stretch. Great horses don't like to lose. I admired Affirmed because he wouldn't let any horse pass him. Wish we had horses like that running today. Occassionaly we get a pretty good one but before they can become really great, they are rushed off to the breeding shed.......

Wish all of you much success during the triple crown races...........

13 Apr 2011 9:23 PM
PMAC14

Has anyone heard whats the next move for Wilburn.  I havent heard anything since his win. Not even a work.

13 Apr 2011 9:47 PM
John T

It,s not often a trainer has an opportunity to run a horse in a three quarter million dollar prep to get it ready for a million dollar race but that,s exactly what

Todd Pletcher has this week-end when he runs Queen,splatekitten in the Blue Grass Stakes to prepare him for the Queen,s Plate.This race should tell Pletcher what is needed from the Blue Grass to the race at Woodbine.

13 Apr 2011 10:31 PM
jayjay

I've watched and re-watched the Wood and just don't see Uncle Mo progressing.  Two things that will keep me away from UM on Derby day : His breeding and the fact that it will take some perfect workouts for him to move forward in the Derby and have a chance at still being in contention on the turn to the homestretch.

If he is truly a superhorse, I would love for him to prove me wrong and will root for him to win the TC should he win the Derby.  Who knows, there are far more weirder things that's happened in horse racing than a horse with not the best breeding sweeping the TC.

13 Apr 2011 10:40 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Cowboy Adventure,

I as well was frantic about news on Soldat.  I found an article today, 4/13, on Kiaran McLaughlin Racing website.  Soldat is happy and healthy and at Palm Meadows.  He will have 3 works and ship to Churchill.  Derby plans on track.

Supposedly Soldat has a Facebook page too but I have yet to find it. Nothing is wrong with him, could gave had an off day or have been bothered by the hot weather in the Florida Derby.  I'm sure it will be cool in KY in 4 weeks, it's 47-50 in NJ today and raw and cold. Still keeping Soldat in my top 3.

He's battle tested, proven, and I like the high Tomlinson # for Churchill's track for some reason, wet or dry.  I was so glad to read that Soldat is just fine.  What a relief.

13 Apr 2011 11:04 PM
maryann727

Mr. Haskin,

As always, I enjoy your wordsmithing about racehorses and racing.  The way you string your words is as engaging as the subject about which you write.

I also enjoy reading the posts to your blog, so many insights and opinions.  The posts that give me pause are those that are so sure about who will win the KD.  They express themselves as though they have a crystal ball.  Oh, that it were so easy to predict the winner in a 20 horse field.  Anyone who follows racing knows that it is not always the best horse who wins the calvary charge of the modern day KD.  Secretariat, in 1973 raced in a field of 13.  And that is in no way to imply that he would not have won in a field of 20.  I mention it to make the point that racing has changed.

Thank you also, Mr. Haskin, for not making a direct comparison between Uncle Mo's and Secretariat's losses in the Wood as other writers have done.  It is a rare horse who deserves to be compared to Big Red.  I don't think Uncle Mo will be that horse, although like many I yearn for another Triple Crown winner.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and engaging writing.

Like Secretariat, you have rare talent and heart.  

13 Apr 2011 11:22 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I agree with you, Mr. Haskin.  We should celebrate a horse like Uncle Mo who draws people to the track. And I like the way Mike Repole promotes the sport and is making people care about his horses.  More power to them.  As for the Wood, I played a male names super box, Mo, Toby, Norman, and Arthur.  Cha ching!

13 Apr 2011 11:49 PM
predict

The horse looked "short"; means, (a) the horse was not as tall as other horses, (b) the horse I expected to win, didn't win, (c) all the other horses that beat the "short" horse, were "tall", or (d) none of the above. For someone who asked in the blog here, the correct answer is (d). I believe people use the description that a horse looked "short" to describe a horse that ran like his conditioning , or lack there of, caught up to him in the race, preventing him/her from performing to the best of their ability. Imagine if you will that you were a naturally gifted athlete, who could run like the wind, and you were aspiring to be a track athlete on your ability alone, not working out enough to achieve your absolute best. Now you enter a race and get your you know what handed to you by the other very talented athletes who worked harder at their conditioning and therefore outperformed you, and beat you in the race, then one might say you were "short" in that race. It is unfortunate that we have to always find negative connotations for the word "short", in our "tall is better society", but that's the way it is.

The question then is: What do we call a horse that doesn't perform up to expectations because the weather is hot?  I would suggest we say the horse was "eskimo", meaning he prefers to perform in weather of the sort found in the Artic coasts of North America.

I guess it all boils down to semantics, and if we can just get past the fact that Uncle Mo lost a race, and Soldat lost a race, and who ever else lost a race, we can look forward to the next race without fearing that some unknown "factor" entered the equation and threw all our brilliant handicapping answers out the window, or at least kept us from going to the window, and accept the loss and move on, hopefully learning something from the experience, or so we like to think.

14 Apr 2011 3:28 AM
Point Given

PMAC14,

Wilburn ran fifth(5) to Uncle Sam on Apr 30,R7 at Santa Anita.He is probably leaking his wounds before he goes back on track to work out.BTW Uncle Sam not to be mistaken with the FAKE one that lost the Wood Memorial.

14 Apr 2011 4:33 AM
Bellwether

UNCLE MO NEEDS TO B FITTED FORE SOME BLINKERS???...@ WHAT POINT DID THEY PUT BLINKERS ON "BIG RED"(FROM VIRGINIA)???...WILD WHAT A SIMPLE SHADOW ROLL CAN DO FORE SOME RACE HORSE$...LIKE "THE IMMORTAL" JOHN HENRY!!!...ty...

14 Apr 2011 5:03 AM
carlos n

I believe Uncle Mo still will win the Derby because he's the best of his generation. In the Wood he just was a short horse, plain and simple.After the Breeders Cup,they stop training for more than a month,then they try to catch up to make that race at Florida,witch was against nothing really,consequences,didn't prove he was ready to face tough competitions yet.The results,he got beat because he was only fit to run seven furlongs not one mile and eight.  

14 Apr 2011 6:17 AM
Slew

What I find fascinating about Midnight Interlude was not just his win, but the way he did it.  He was practically stopped cold in the stretch when CTTT cut in front of him.  But he recovered brilliantly with an exceptional turn of foot.  It's the horses who have already defeated adversity and rose above it who will stand out in the big dance.  That would include Midnight Interlude, Dialed In, and even Archarcharch. (Probably MMM and EA too). I think the speed freaks, the front runners like Uncle Mo, The Factor, and even one of my favorites Pants On Fire all need to lead to score.  But it's the stayers with the ability to recover their footing and speed, after having to check, who will cross the wire first.

As for Comma To The Top, he simply runs toooo green.  He's fast but erratic. (shades of 85ina50!)  I really don't want to see him in the 20 horse field.

14 Apr 2011 8:37 AM
smartyjones1

remember this;

last year Mo beat 2 good 2 year olds..boy's at tusconva(sorry fornthe misspell)who is injured and rouge romance ,,who is also injured and is by far a better turf horse than dirt-so,,i'm siding with the theroy that he just didn't develope as expected

at 3 years-it happens-THE BREEDERS

CUP JUVIENIAL curse continues onec again...just 1 winner in the derby

since the cup began..very good% for me-add to the fact that that uncle mo falls short on lots of

other dosage #'s and derby angles

to all the nay-sayers and disbelivers of the dosage theroy

just look at the facts and figures

it's still a very good tool in narrowing down the field come the first saturday in may...

14 Apr 2011 8:43 AM
Bill Daly

Peter Miller made an interesting statement the other day to the effect that Dialed In seems to be the only horse in the field who really wants a mile and a quarter. He trains Comma To The Top. That statement tells me that he thinks Dialed In has an advantage his horse doesn't have, but are there any others in the field besides Dialed In who might or should like the distance???

14 Apr 2011 9:24 AM
Footlick

Dr Drunkinbum- No worries.  I didn't think you were referring to me.  To me the nature of a blog is to respond to things you agree with or don't and you try to put it in the most logical way possible.  When I know my response isn't wanted by someone, it is a good thing. I'm not offended in the least.  But I didn't feel that you had directed your post to me.

14 Apr 2011 10:27 AM
Malcolm

The most impressive Derby prep was in Dubai. And Master of Hounds is not even on your top 12?

14 Apr 2011 11:02 AM
afleetalexforever

Just announced that Uncle Mo has a GI infection.

14 Apr 2011 11:37 AM
Lisa g

Thank you, Steve.  I have never seen so many 'fans' desert a horse like the 'fans' of Uncle Mo, for losing 1 race.  I love The Mo and hope he wins, if not, I love The Mo and hopes he does well.

14 Apr 2011 12:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Deacon

   Excellent post Apr 13, 9:23 PM. Well now we know why Mo didn't look that good physically and why he was reluctant to load for The Wood, he didn't think he should be running when he was sick. I'm glad they got to the bottom of it. We can safely toss his Wood performance. Pretty commendable for being sick. His stride looked fine, he just didn't have the energy. Whether he will be well conditioned enough to win at 10f is another matter but the talent is there. If they can't get him ready 100% for The Derby then I think they'd rather pass and run in The Preakness.

14 Apr 2011 12:18 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Uncle Mo was found to have a gastrointestinal infection. Yay, finally a reason for his poor performance. I hope everyone stays healthy for the KY Derby because any one of those eligable are capable of winning this year. The one the best trip is going to be the winner.

14 Apr 2011 12:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Footlick

   That's good. Thanks.

Slew

  You might be on to something there.

14 Apr 2011 12:20 PM
GoldenBroom

The Wood WAS a fluke! Uncle Mo will be back to form! May get better odds on him. Still Mo, Dialed In and Arkansas winner should make it interesting!

14 Apr 2011 12:52 PM
Forbidden Apple

It's time to quit all of the crying and accept that Mo was the best 2 year old of 2010. In 2011 he has done nothing to even merit a mention in the Derby Dozen list.

14 Apr 2011 1:42 PM
Zen's Auntie

Can I mention here how much I am rooting for Joes Blazing Aaron in the Blue Grass.  I am hunching he will LOVE the surface and show something good I like this horse and think he will be DOMINANT on grass - but I like him a bunch this weekend.  

I look for Archx3 to grind his way into the money and Cannot wait to see if The factor can show that rebrake again He is just a thing of beauty to watch in full stride... so fluid, tasty colt..

14 Apr 2011 1:51 PM
Footlick

I'm glad that there was a reason for him being dull.  Now they can take care of that issue.

14 Apr 2011 2:00 PM
Playfriskyforme

The late great Bobby Frankel taught me something.Some time ago in the  BC classic he ran a Juddmonte filly named Joylypha.She ran a very game third that day against the boys. After the race he shut in down with her for the winter. She came to him from Europe lightly raced and in top form. He would later say that she was as talented as any horse he ever trained,but could not get here back to where she was for BC day.What this hall of fame trainer would say was that even after decades of training he just realized is if they are sound and in good form you gotta run em.Look at the Bafferts horses that run in the BC juvy the come back the next month in the Hollywood Futurity .Uncle was lightly raced,and seemed to be sound. Too much time off now the connections are scrambling with 23 days till the derby trying to get it back.It just might be too late

14 Apr 2011 2:11 PM
NancyP

Hi Steve - I guess you already know that Uncle Mo has a gastrointestinal problem - what a relief!  Let us hope Pletcher and Repole really consider his health first and foremost before training him to run in the Derby.  One would think even with medication in him, it would be better not to exhaust him with training.  What do you think?  Can he train and really recover in 23 days for the Derby?

14 Apr 2011 2:46 PM
Playfriskyforme

So Uncle Mo had a stomach virus.Sounds like the same condition I had in my stomach every time I faced a pitcher I couldn't hit.A blitzing linebacker I couldn't block.Or a center I couldn't get a shot over.I called it fear,glad to know it was a GI infection I feel so much better about myself.

14 Apr 2011 3:46 PM
MikeM

Here come the excuses. Cant be that serious because the vets said they can go on with him.

14 Apr 2011 4:05 PM
maxxxaman

don`t ignore the one called best you will ever see ,great horses love rabbit so send the factor in and let the big horse roll ,only the elite win the big ones

14 Apr 2011 4:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Just saw where Mo has a gastrointestinal infection. Could explain his finish in the Wood. I still like him alot. If The Factor doesn't set the world on fire Saturday, my Derby favorite is still Mo.

14 Apr 2011 5:44 PM
The Bid

O.K...WHEWWW.......That was close!!! I'm glad WE Men from Uncle have a LEGITIMATE EXCUSE for the performance in The Wood!!!PLUS...this can be healed while still in training and no time will be missed from the track. Which leads me to THIS....

Many have ASS-umed that MO was short, ill-trained, OHH... my favorite, Pedigree???? These tireless, poppy-cock, and  frivelous assumptions ARE WRONGGG!! The horse was short and just lack-lustered because Johnny V. forgot his oxygen tank! He will still go off as favorite or 2nd choice in Derby, and he is still The Best!!!

The Factor is another story...If he shows to be as imposing as he SEEMS at going longer, this colt could be something special TOO!! This wknd. is going to tell US ALL alot regarding contenders and pretenders...If the pace gets "Real HOT" like most are expecting, The Factor will be no Factor and  colts like Alternation and ArchArchArch could really benefit...ALEX's boys could also be in for a Big wknd. as well...Ark. may prove to be the last race for The eventual Derby Winner!!! Here's To Looking Forward to a Educational Weekend!!!

P.S. Hey jon...

 Now the excuse has been PROVEN, forget R Heat Lightning in the Derby and HOP BACK ON THe MeN fROm UnCle bandwagon and maybe we'll let you drive this time...

14 Apr 2011 5:45 PM
Tracy

Please do right by Uncle Mo,let him get better if he needs to.I hope they don't risk his well being getting him ready for the Derby!

14 Apr 2011 5:48 PM
Tom M

Got my fingers crossed for Nehro. Was finally able to play him in the third round of Futures at 26-1. I'll be watching the Arkansas Derby with great interest now.

14 Apr 2011 6:26 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Predict,

Unfortunately, I think we have to assume at times there will be the unknown factor that explains a strange race performance.  I don't feel however, that any of us are dwelling on these when thinking of the next race.  RedandBlackSilks wrote a great post recently stating that these animals are not well oiled machines with removable parts that can just be replaced at whim.  They are creatures with flesh and blood and digestive and respiratory systems that get illnesses similar to ours.  And with the continued use of medications we have to assume some unknowns.  For instance, do we know for sure that after the administration of Lasix, and the 20lbs. or so lost during pre-race urination, that the extreme heat doesn't have an adverse effect with the drug?  I'm not saying that is what happened to Soldat but he was off and perspiring vehemently so it is possible.  The perspiring contributes to more loss of fluids.  Could they possibly feel dehydrated or dizzy in that heat coupled with whatever meds they were given, I would say yes.  It was an unknown fact of Mo's gastrointestinal disorder, none of us knew he had it.  I assumed he was off because of his reluctance to load and drained from his flight.  He was drained apparently from the unknown, the illness.  So we can only hope that they go into the gate at their best, but also have to accept the fact that anything can be amiss. That is what these blogs are for, we all bring such good points and ideas to the table and dissect them in a respectable exchange of thoughts and challenges.  I think we all go into the next race with open minds pretty much, expect peak performances, but are aware that at times the unexpected does happen and a horse will fall short of his expected performance for either an unknown health related or training related issues, or as most recently seen something occurring during a race, like loss of a tooth in the gate (Sway) and loss of a shoe in the race (MMM), all performance hindering obstacles.  They prepare and train for the best case scenario but just as in life anything can happen and there can exist pre-race conditions unbeknownst to any of us.

14 Apr 2011 8:39 PM
Cowboy Adventure

Alex'sBigFan - Thanks for the info on Soldat; I'm so glad he is okay. I'll have to check on that website.

Good luck everyone on your picks this weekend! I think I'm going for Joe's Blazing Aro in the BLue Grass and a longshot for Arkansas - like Saratoga Red, JW Blue, and I think Brethen will do well but or course have the Factor on my tickets.  I'm also watching Charles Town and hope Duke of Mischief or Awesome Gem will pull an upset with Game on Dude on the ticket!

14 Apr 2011 8:41 PM
Linda in Texas

Just now reading about Eibar Coa, actually walking out of the hospital on his own! Frankly, if you read about his injury, you will see that it is a miracle, no other way to describe it.

Few few people ever are able to walk again once they are in a quadriplegic state from the neck down. I guess even tho she lost her race today, we can all say Amen Hallelujah!

Best of everything Eibar, meant it the first time i sent my best wishes to you for a speedy recovery and i am sending the same sentiments again. You truly are a very lucky gentleman.

OAS out of the horses i was able to watch race today, i thought Preamble was a good looking winner.

And Shotgun Gulch! Whoever came up with that one? Talk about non girlie girl names, but regardless, she ran like a bullet fired from a 12 gauge shotgun for sure. I know her sire was Thunder Gulch so it does go along with that theme.

Thanks Steve and safe rides everyone and hope your horses win.

14 Apr 2011 11:20 PM
Coldfacts

Deacon,

There have been some pleasant exchanges between you and I in the past and it is my wish that this continues. Consequently, if my post created any offence you have my humblest apology. Your characterization below sent me searching:

“You live your horse racing life in the breeding world”

I was of the opinion that I brought far more than breeding issue to this blog. Consequently this was a rude awakening for me. My policy is as follows:

In my evaluation of prospective derby horses I start with their pedigree. I examine the historic success of both the sire and dam lines. I prefer sires who have covered small books and broodmares that were either unraced or lightly raced. I then monitor their performance to determine if they are performing to their pedigree. I do accumulate a lot of data on past winners of Triple Crown races as it helps in a limited way in my evaluation. Example: I read about the 3YOs in Speedy Bob’s stable and when I researched their pedigree only one captured my attention and it was The Factor. I di not see his first race or knew anything about him. Why would the son of a first crop sire who was a sprinter capture my attention? His dam sire! “Miswaki” If you have followed European racing then you would know Miswaki sired Arc winner Urban Sea and became dam sire to two of her brilliant sons Galileo and Sea The Stars. He was also dam sire of Breeder Cup Turf Classic winner Daylami and sire of Breeders Cup Classic winner Black Tie Affair.  He was also dam sire on another Arc winner whose name I do not recall. The factor has turned out to be quite a horse.

I am by no mean fixated on breeding. I do have other areas of interest. While I will highlight pedigree is most of my posts it is not the primary or only factor mentioned. My evaluation of Uncle Mo never focused on pedigree although it was not deemed stellar for the 10F distance of the derby. My focus was on why the bar of greatness was being lowered to match his achievements. He has not achieved anything that has not been achieved and superseded in the past. He added no significant record to the record books and never delivered the best performance in any category in his three races. I was therefore perplexed as to why he was so hyped. It could not have been that the thoroughbred industry was desperate for a Usain Bolt like figure as Zenyatta was just retired. Experience Thoroughbred writers Steve included, gave this colt ZEN like status on the back of three impressive wins at two. War Pass did the same he was not given ZEN like status. Pedigree played no part in my repeated question: What was I missing about Uncle Mo? You clearly have seen something that remains hidden to me. I have never regarded him as a superstar then and he is not one in the making.

“when you are the best horse in the race then breeding goes out the window”

The best horse in a race is quite different from the best horse on a particular day. POTN was probably the best horses in the 2009 Derby based on his past performance. The best horse on the day was Mine That Bird.

“But in one race, anything can happen and that has been my point all along”

If that had been the point all along, you surely did a poor job of communicating same. You are on cord as saying Uncle Mo will win the 2011 Triple Crown. There were no reservations.

“but don't you think that as time has gone on Mr. Pletcher has learned a lot and has made adjustments”

I do not share your believe regarding the above trainer. The cold facts below are being presented as evidence:

Brethren won the Sam Davis impressively and was comprehensively beaten by opponents in a weak TB Derby; Stay Thirsty won the Gotham handily and was destroyed in the FL Derby with blinkers added; Uncle Mo won his paid work out impressively and got out run in the Wood. None of his top three Derby prospects could repeat after their 3YO debut victories, not even the Secretariat ll. Whatever programs these horses are on they are not recovering in the short term to be competitive in their next races. Uncle Mo might be good but his trainer leaves a lot to be desired.  Who is Quality Road? Who is Life At Ten? They are two short priced horses who had unexplained ambulance racing performances in the biggest races of their respective careers. If Mr. Pletcher wants Uncle no to be competitive in the derby advise him to remove the FIGURE EIGHT.  

“All your stats and figures don't mean a hill of beans once the starting gate opens”

I am saddened that you have become so defensive. I guess I must have really offended you. The information and data reflected in my posts are to support the points I make. There are not intended to impact a particular race. You went out on a limb for Uncle Mo and there is still a remote chance you will be vindicated. There is no need to highlight who live in which world. I have taken a lot incoming fire for my comments and I remain positive AND COURTEOUS. I advise you to do likewise.

14 Apr 2011 11:25 PM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

This why enjoy our spirited exchanges.

“If Uncle Mo rebounds in the Derby your galloping action critique is toast”

I could never have imagined that you would be capable of using “IF” in reference to Uncle Mo. The super horse that you are quoted as saying has restored interest to thoroughbred racing. I am sure you are aware of the classic poet Rudyard Kipling and his poem IF. Below are two extracts:

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too”

I trust my assessment of both colts but I am prepared to make allowance for your doubts.

‘If you can dream - and not make dreams your master’

You clearly are allowing your dreams about these two colts to be your master. One is overrated and the other carried the burden of an oversized neck and an energy sapping action.

On a more serious note, the colt facts do not look good The Mighty Mo. The colt has not improved over the winter. Below are splits for the BCJ and Wood Memorial

BCJ          23.57, 47.27, 1:11.92, 1:36.33,1:42.60

Wood       23.49, 47.98, 1:12.28, 1:37.26, 1:49.93

If Uncle Mo maintained the pace recorder in the last 16th of the BCJ for another 16th his projected time for 9F would be 1:48.87. The final for the Wood was a full second slower than his projected time for 9F as a 2YO. Mighty Mo should be bigger and stronger six months later and consequently should at least repeat his impressive 2YO times. He has not improved and appears to have declined.

Are you still confident in Mr. Pletcher’s program after an unknown $16,000 claimer easily disposed of graded winner Brethren? Are you still confident in Mr. Pletcher’s program when graded winner Stay Thirsty was nowhere to be found behind an allowance winner who finished 23L in his graded staked debut? Are you still confident in Mr. Pletcher’s program after viewing the comparative figures above? Mr. Pletcher was incapable presenting his top threes derby prospects in wining condition for their most recent races. What makes you think he will be able to win the derby with any?

15 Apr 2011 12:02 AM
Coldfacts

Papillon

Many thanks for your overview of the heat conditions existing at Gulfstream Park on FL Derby day. This information has enabled me to make some adjustment to my conclusion regarding the slow final time. I remain convinced that the heat played an insignificant role in the final time because a number of 9F race have been run in slow time with the exception of two run by Soldat & R Heat Lightening.

Arch Traveler    (Allowance) 1:52 1/5

Shackleford     (Allowance) 1:50 flat

Dialed In  ( 2nd Optional Claim) 1:51

Bowman’s Causeway (Maiden) 1:50 4/5

Soldat  (FOY)     1:50 1/5

Dialed In FL Derby 1:50.07

Soldart  ( Allowance) Sloppy Track 1:49 1/5

R Heat Lightening (FL Oaks) 1:49.27 in hand day preceding the FL Derby

The colt have been running onaverage 1:50 and a bit for 9F. It therefore is a reasonable conclusion that the heat has to been bad on all those days.  R Heat Lightening was about two seconds fast than Soldat on FOY day. She was approximately 3/4 of a second faster than Dialed In. Heat or no heat these colts are slow by derby standard and will  find it very hard to will against  faster horses who can carry their speed.

15 Apr 2011 7:09 AM
Coldfacts

KY VET,

“AND COLDFACTS IS LIKE A NUCLEAR PLANT SPEWING RADIATION......STAY FAR AWAY, HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH”

What is this I see another attack on the Coldfacts? I have been accused of providing misinformation to the vulnerable misinformed and now spewing radiation. Well, I must be a very bad dude.  It appears the passage of time has no changed your status as you are still SOS. Alas, the quotes below could assist you with a change in status:

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use” – Galileo

“There is no man too low down that the cure for his condition does not lie within himself”

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery none but ourselves can free your mind” - Bob Marley (Redemption Song)

You are at liberty to exercise you1st Amendment Right but this does not give you the right to demean others.

“Just to speak words which have no meaning does not do anything for anyone”

15 Apr 2011 7:41 AM
McGuane

Sure

He grabbed a quarter

He had a tooth abscess

He threw a shoe

He has a GI infection

and the dog ate his homework

Wow...with all these issues it is a miracle that Mo even finished the race.

He must be the greatest horse of his generation!

Or............

15 Apr 2011 2:14 PM
Lisa g

If Uncle Mo goes to the Kentucky Derby, he will without a doubt win.  I have loved him since he started and will not leave him because he lost one race.  Something was wrong, and now we have a 'doctor's note' stating so.  Todd is not my fav trainer either, but the girls in Florida..were fantastic.  Uncle Mo will win, I have faith in him, he will fly and then rest.  I really believe in what the KY Vet says and I do not want any horse hurt...there can be no other winner, it is Uncle Mo.

15 Apr 2011 3:13 PM
Mike Relva

KY VET

I agree with much of what you stated also your opinion of COLD FACTS, you can also add train wreck.

15 Apr 2011 6:41 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I have to admit that I'm not easily influenced by the opinions of others but the posts about Soldat and the heat bothering him, and the probability that dehydration from Lasix made it even worse has swayed my opinion of his last race. I'm tossing his last, and Mo's last and putting them both back on my Derby Dozen. Some pretty funny posts here about excuses- Lisa G-"doctor's note" and McGuane's list was great. Maybe that is why Mo's 3yo campaign has been weak- because the dog ate Pletcher's homework. For four horses in the Arkansas Derby this will be their 4th race as a 3yo. Wouldn't it be nice to see a Derby winner this year that raced four times prior to the Derby?

15 Apr 2011 7:24 PM
Deacon

Coldfacts:  I have nothing personally against you, but you did get my dander up. I have my reasons for what I believe and you have yours, we can agree to disagree. But I do believe that you contradict yourself, you seem to always give pedigree statistics and the times of a particular race as a parameter for what you believe. I do not discount what you say, my point is that in one race I do not use those measures on who I bet on. My process has served me well. Uncle Mo was sick on Wood Memorial day, so he didn't fire. No statistic you could come up with could have predicted that.

I done very well with my handicapping over the years using my methods and I will continue to do so. I will make you a deal, leave my opinions alone and I will do the same for you......

15 Apr 2011 7:28 PM
KY VET

COLDCUTS! WHY DO PEOPLE DEBATE YOUR "FACTS"? BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE THEM! 2 YRS AGO ON MSN CHAT, YOU WERE NEVER RIGHT ABOUT ANYTHING! EVER! GOOD THING YOU DON'T BET MORE THAN 2 DOLLARS...I BET HORSES FOR A LIVING..IVE HAD 4 OUT OF THE LAST 5 DERBYS RIGHT..(MINE THAT BIRD WAS A STUNNER) ..YOU THINK PLETCHER CAN'T TRAIN....REALLY?....YOU SAY DIALED IN CAN'T CLOSE...WHAT?  YOU SAY UNCLE MO ISN'T GREAT......UH HUH? YOU SAY BOTH THOSE HORSES HAVE BAD STRIDES? YOU KNOW THIS HOW?  YOU SAID 2 YRS AGO STORM CAT WASNT GOOD BREEDING.....ON AND ON AND ON......AND YOU WONDER WHY PEOPLE CANT UNDERSTAND YOUR FACTS?...MAYBE PEOPLE CAN SEE THE OBVIOUS! PLETCHER HAS ALOT OF HORSES GO OFF FORM BECAUSE HE TRAINS HUNDERDS OF GREAT HORSES...HORSES GO OFF FORM.! ESPECIALLY FAST ONES! EVER THINK OF THAT? DIALED IN IS A BIG CLOSER...YOU KEEP TALKING TIME OF HIS LAST RACE? HOW ABOUT GOING 22 AND CHANGE 3 RACES BACK? IN ONLY HIS 2ND START? LOOK AT A VID OF HIS 1ST RACE! NOT A CLOSER? NO BURST? LOOK AT HIS LAST RACE...DO YOU SEE ONLY 1 HORSE FLYING PAST HORSES? SEE ANYONE ELSE MOVING?  STRIDE? UNCLE MO BAD HIGH STRIDE? HE RUNS WITH HIS HEAD DOWN....HERES A TIP...COUNT HOW MANY STRIDES IN HIS CUP RACE, STRETCH TO THE WIRE.....THEN COMPARE HIS STRIDE # TO ANYONE ELSE IN RACE.....HE HAS A LONG, NEAR PERFECT STRIDE.....HE IS NOT EVEN A BIG HORSE...HIS STRIDE IS SOOO LONG....CANT GO DISTANCE?   WATCH HIM RUN....IS HE RANK? NO! HE JUST JOGS...PROFESSIONAL HIS TRAINER SAYS.....SMART...YET YOU THINK THE FACTOR RELAXES?.....FACTS? FACTS?.......MORE LIKE ALOT OF BALONEY....FROM COLDCUTS!!!!!!!!

15 Apr 2011 8:30 PM
Deacon

Ky Vet:

Bravo............

16 Apr 2011 2:15 AM
Coldfacts

Mike Relva,

It is evident you are one of my sleeper haters. Thanks for coming out as I can now add you to the list. It is unfortunate that you have chosen to align yourself with the like of the VET. In so doing your have reaffirmed that great minds think alike but fools seldom differ. Off all the persons that have made submission to this blog you have chosen THE VET as a mentor? Shame on you!

16 Apr 2011 9:10 AM
Coldfacts

Deacon,

This will be my final submission directed to you.

“But I do believe that you contradict yourself, you seem to always give pedigree statistics and the times of a particular race as a parameter for what you believe”

I am not sure you have fully disclosed how I contradict myself as the above statement does not reflect same. I present time comparisons not to support what I believe but to highlight to other that make over the top statements about a particular performance. A Lot of folks were very impressed with Soldat after the FOY. I submitted the fractions for the previous four renewals and cited that the fractions for the 2011 FOY were the slowest in the last 5YRS. That time comparison was not submitted to support what I believe but to alert poster that the 2011 FOY should be viewed in  more measured terms.

The time comparison associated with Shakleford was to highlight that the colt ran 4 ¾ seconds slower in the FOY than he did in his allowance win at the distance. I was making a case for him to be given another chance as he returned in 21 days which was the shortest time between his races. The time in his allowance win suggested that he was much better than his FOY performance. I was just sharing some information that might have been missed. What possible harm could that have done and how can this be deemed contradictory.

I recommended Riveting Reason in the Robert B. Lewis San; Sway Away in the San Vincent; Norman Asbjornson in the Gotham and Premier Pegasus inr the San Felipe. In all the aforementioned recommendations I provided a combination of factors. If some were confused I do not believe I should be held responsible,

“Uncle Mo was sick on Wood Memorial day, so he didn't fire. No statistic you could come up with could have predicted that.”

You are being neither fair nor rational. Who would be able to predict from statistical figures a stomach virus? I viewed his performance before the report as a colt that had regressed as a 3YO. The report has changed the conclusion. It must be noted that he ran as fast as he did in the BCJ so the virus might not have been significant. Time will tell.

“I will make you a deal, leave my opinions alone and I will do the same for you”

I am in dissapointed that you have adopted this to approach to criticism. I believe that as thoroughbred enthusiast we should challenge each other opinions but I might be just a bit naïve. At the end of all Mr. Haskin’s blogs are the words “Leave a Comment” I regard the statement as inviting comments on his assessments, conclusion and opinions. He therefore has set the stage for the process. I cannot recall him requesting any supporter to avoid commenting on his positions. This is what the process is about i.e., exchanging of views. You clearly do not have the stomach for same and I understand. I will gladly accede to your request unconditionally.

16 Apr 2011 10:11 AM
PomDeTerre

I continue to be dumbfounded by post race excuses, as in the Wood.  Draw blood after the race, and Mo has a GI infection?  Sorry, it doesn't hold water.  If there was any indication the colt was not sound, he should have been scratched.  Period.  I don't want to hear the post race whining and spin.  This guy has been overrated and under raced this year.  The Timely Writer was a glorified allowance field, and Mo had no excuses in the Wood.  A great 2 year old rarely makes the transition at tree, and we're seeing it- way too many injuries with THAS, Rogue, Premier Pegasus, etc.  In my humble opinion, Mo';s 3 year old campaign has been badly mismanaged.  

Oh- and for Durkin to call this the bighgest Wood upset since Secretariat?  Please... what was he drinking?

16 Apr 2011 12:53 PM
Mike Relva

COLDFACTS

Obviously from all the praise you heap on yourself something like the style of Draynay,you can't take a hit. As for "great minds" you would be in unfamilar territory. QUIT WHILE YOU'RE BEHIND!

16 Apr 2011 4:26 PM
KY VET

OK PEOPLE! LEARN THE GAME! #1 RULE..DON'T LISTEN TO COLDCUTS!(FACTOR HAS EFFECIENT STRIDE!) TO GO 1 1/4M...PEOPLE! I'M A PROFESSIONAL HANDICAPPER. I WILL HELP YOU! LEARN! IT'S NOT THAT HARD. LEARN THAT HORSES ARE HERDING ANIMALS. EVER NOTICE HORSES RUN GREAT WHEN THEY GET THEIR OWN WAY ON LEAD? THE RUN GREAT! SLOW PACE ALLOWS HORSE TO RELAX....THAT IS THE BIGGEST KEY HERE....PAY ATTN...THE BEST HORSES ARE SMART ONES...THEY KNOW TO RELAX..EVEN IF THEY GO FAST...WHEN IN A HERD,OR SPEED DUEL, HORSES TENSE UP MORE....IT SEEMS ALOT OF YOU DONT GET IT...THE KENTUCKY DERBY IS THE TOUGHEST RACE TO WIN WITH A SPEED HORSE(ESPECIALLY NOW ITS ALWAYS 20 HORSES!BIG HERD!)...ANYONE NOTICE HONOUR AND SERVE? PEOPLE LOVED HIM! WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THEY RAN AGAINST QUALITY SPEED? HOW ABOUT SOLDAT? HE RAN 2 GREAT RACES WHEN HE WAS CLOSE TO PACE...THEN WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU KNEW HE WOULD BE BEHIND IN FL DERBY? I CAN GO ON AND ON AND ON...THE FACTOR? HE GOT LEAD BY 4 AND WON EASY..HE RELAXED..3 TO 5 IN ARK DERBY? IN BIG FIELD? WITH MORE SPEED THAN HIS LAST? 3/5? ...YOU THOUGHT HE COULD WIN THE DERBY?  WILL HE BE IN THE DERBY? I WOULDNT RUN HIM....WOULD YOU? IV'E WON 4 OF LAST 5 DERBYS...ANYONE KNOW SUPERSAVER WAS FAST, BUT KNEW HOW TO RELAX? I DID.... LEARN THE GAME!!!

16 Apr 2011 10:14 PM
KY VET

OK! IN FIGURING THIS YEARS DERBY,THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS....THE FACT THAT THIS YEARS FIELD IS ASTOUNDINGLY WEAK!! THIS EXPLAINS ALL THE LONGSHOT PREPS....THESE ARE A CUT ABOVE ALW. HORSES....I HAD CHARISMATIC AT 30 TO ONE, COMING OFF A 105 OR 106 BEYER....30-1! LOOK AT THOSE BEYER FIGS!!! REDICULOUS!  THESE LAST FEW YEARS, HAVE BEEN VERY WEAK..MY BIGGEST HITS EVER WERE HUGE BETS ON BARBARO AND STREET SENSE, AND BIG BROWN....THEY ALL RAN IN WEAK CROPS..HERE WE GO AGAIN...HOW MANY HORSES CAN EVEN BREAK A 100 BEYER FIG??  THIS ISNT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING A WINNING FIGURE...UNCLE MO, THE FACTOR,HONOR AND SERVE,SOLDAT? DIALED IN CLOSE?  ANYONE ELSE?  WHAT A JOKE! UNCLE MO RAN FASTER BEYER FIGS MID 2 YR OLD SEASON THAN THESE GUYS! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH HORSES THAT ARE 3 NOW RUN FASTER THAN MID 2 YR OLD YEAR? WHAT WAS UNCLE MO'S BEYER IN THE CUP? 106?108?...DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW GOOD BOYSATTOSCONOVA WAS? DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW FAR BACK 3RD AND 4TH WAS IN THE CUP RACE?..108 BEYER? HOW ABOUT THE BEST OLDER HORSES RIGHT NOW? HOW MANY CAN RUN 108? THE FACTOR PROB WONT RUN..HONOUR AND SERVE? WILL HE RUN? SOLDAT WILL..HIS BEST MAKES HIM CONTENDER. SO......LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT....A HORSE THAT ALREADY IS MUCH FASTER THAN ANYONE, COMING UP TO THE RACE FRESH....SMART, RELAXES, NOT RANK...HASNT FIRED YET...AGAINST HORSES THAT CAN BARELY RUN 95 BEYER FIGS!   PEOPLE!!! REALLY?  

16 Apr 2011 10:47 PM
KY VET

UNCLE MO....SUPERSTAR AGAINST ALW HORSES...? UNCLE MO SHOULD HAVE BLITZED THE WOOD FIELD! NO EXCUSE! THE PACE WAS SLOW, HE WAS RELAXED, CAME UP EMPTY..WHY DID THIS HORSE LOSE? SOMETHING IS WRONG! DID HE BOUNCE?OFF A GREAT RACE? NO!! HE HAD EASY PREP. EITHER SOMETHING IS WRONG, OR HE IS REALLY FRESH AND WILL FIRE BIG....WHICH ONE WILL IT BE?..EXAMPLE-FRESIAN FIRE-RAN HORRIBLE A COUPLE YEARS AGO IN DERBY..TRAINER THOUHT HE WAS OK AND RAN HIM AGAIN..SAME HORRIBLE RACE....I.E. TRAINERS DONT ALWAYS KNOW! SO.. HOW DO WE FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE ITLL BE...MOST LIKELY, A BAD RACE IS THE RESULT OF A HARD RACE-OR RACES....UNCLE MO HASNT DONE ANYTHING TO INJURE ANYTHING! VERY IMPORTANT! SO THE VIRUS MAKES SENSE....DID HE CHANGE LEADS? SOMETIMES A SIGN OF INJURY..YES PERFECT....EVERYTHING PERFECT EXCEPT HE HAD NOTHING IN STRETCH...THE FACT THAT HE HAS HAD NO HARD RACES IS THE LOGICAL KEY! HOW CAN HE BE HURT? HE HASNT DONE ANYTHING HARD FOR 5 MONTHS! EVEN IF HE HAS A PROBLEM, HE SAVED HIMSELF FOR A BIG EFFORT...HE IS COMING UP TO RACE A FRESH HORSE...YOU BETTER HOPE HE HAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM PEOPLE! IF YOURE GONNA TRY TO BEAT HIM.

16 Apr 2011 11:14 PM
KY VET

OK PEOPLE! I THOUGHT I'D HELP THE BANDWAGON JUMPERS,THAT I CAN ALREADY SEE COMING....EVERYONE IS GONNA LOVE NEHRO!!! I CAN ALREADY HEAR HOW HE IS GONNA LOVE 1 1/4...THE KENTUCKY PEOPLE ARE GONNA JUMP ON THE WAGON....AND I AM...LAUGHING!     SAVE YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!! I'LL TELL YA WHY LATER.....I JUST GOTTA SEE THIS HAPPEN FIRST......THIS IS GONNA BE FUNNY......

16 Apr 2011 11:20 PM
Coldfacts

The statement that "one fool makes many" is clearly warranted for submission sine the emergence of a particular poster.

To all those who have align themselves with this particular individual, make not a fool of thyself, to make others merry.  

17 Apr 2011 8:54 AM
Coldfacts

Mike Relva,

If you are desirous of engaging me I would be happy to clarify any position I have advanced. You might find the exercise edifying. I only request you do so in a manner befitting the poster. I suspect you are an adult with a reasonable level of education. Consequently, this is not a difficult task being presented to you. If you chose to continue with your current form of communication I am afraid I cannot accommodate as my capacity for dealing with those SOS has long been exhausted.

17 Apr 2011 10:17 AM
jayjay

Steve H : Thanks for your article about ArchX3 becoming under the radar.  I kept it in mind this past week thinking about the AD.  I already liked Nehro, he was going to be my pick but I always had in mind that ArchX3 might be the value of the race because of all the horses that suddenly put blinkers on trying to change their plan to get closer to TF.  I watched the Southwest Stakes again, because that's the race where ArchX3 came running from off the pace and that's what I thought they would do in the AD.  I had a feeling they would pull back because everyone will be gunning for TF.  It worked out for me.  I had the exacta, and WPS on ArchX3.  It pays good when people pay attn to your "articles/handicapping hints" :)

So...who do you think will take the favorite role ?

17 Apr 2011 1:28 PM
Smarie

Turns out Uncle Mo DID have an infection. I would guess this did affect his performance somewhat in the Wood; yet he still came home third. I cannot understand the people who claim to enjoy horseracing but are such haters of certain horses. I can understand not liking trainers, jocks, even owners, but horses? These magnificent animals run their hearts out for us and so many, and yes, many who post here, cannot stop spewing hatred towards Uncle Mo. I wonder how most of them would fare in a race of any kind, expecially if they were running with an illness. Stop the nastiness! Racing has enough problems without these kinds of attitudes. I think Uncle Mo is a good horse and if healthy, he will run well in the Derby. The best horse doesn't always win there. Thanks for your perspective, Mr. Haskin.

18 Apr 2011 12:14 PM
Footlick

It used to be that going to a blog by Mr Haskin was a respite from the smack talk and insults of other blogs.  Suddenly, it's hunting season on Coldfacts?  Maybe I should just stop posting entirely because it is just juvenile to think that people can come and call him names because they disagree with what he blogs.  And to deliberately misspell his name?  3rd graders do that.  I certainly don't agree with everything he says, but at least he's not rude and childish.  If you don't like his posts, don't read them.  And don't comment on them.  As in everyone's posts, there are things that are right and things that are wrong.  There are things I disagree with but I have also learned things from his blogs.   I guess maybe my time on these blogs is about over.  

18 Apr 2011 12:15 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

You're a jolly good fellow ...and so say most of us!

Keep the cold facts coming ...and even those weird conclusions ...no problem ma brethren.

18 Apr 2011 2:34 PM
Katie

Why do you keep arguing people? haters will always hate, they always needed to hate a horse to live and that's all^^; When every single horse in the world lose 1 race, people are always willing to give them a second chance, with Mo? No. Like I said, haters will hate

Mo grabbed a quarter, had an infection, changed from big heat in Florida to cold New York only 2-3 days before the race...and he still ran as fast as the horses in the Florida Derby

Maybe he'll firing on 10 furlongs, maybe he won't. Nobody know and with all your respect people, you don't either. He had many excuses and still didn't ran that bad everything consider.

18 Apr 2011 2:36 PM
Ranagulzion

Mike Relva,

Coldfacts is a very constructive poster on here and does a pretty good job of defending his opinions.  He's respectful and doesn't deserve scolding from you.  You should rap KY VET on the knuckle for dissing Coldfacts moniker.  Shame on you.

18 Apr 2011 2:51 PM
Slew

KY vet:  WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING???  Maybe more would listen if you used lower case and discussed instead of preached.  Your self-proclaimed credentials are uninspiring, and you offer no basis for your opinions.  At least cold facts presents valid theories.    

18 Apr 2011 6:44 PM
Mike Relva

RANGULZION

Actually I thought my comment,"quit while you're behind" was pretty funny.

19 Apr 2011 12:48 AM
Linda in Texas

Footlick - i certainly hope not. I learn something from everyone everyday.

None of us will ever be too old to learn something new. Sharing knowledge with one another is the right thing to do.

God knows i probably draw a giggle or a smirk or two from some of the things i write. We all are different and that's what makes this so interesting. Some of us are just more intense and passionate in our opinions and i have not one person in mind whilst saying that.

I hope no one ever feels what they say is not wanted.  Cuz it is. Take the good with the bad and use what suits your fancy is the way i look at it.  

19 Apr 2011 12:46 PM
Ally

Serisouly, where is all that hate for a horse com from?

Don't you think the industry have enough problems, that people in general have such a bad opinion of racing already? I mean, people are saying ''people don't care about horses, all they want is to win money'' and if we try to tell them that they are fans who love horses for what they are.....you go take a look on a website for horse ''fans'' and all you see is people loving a horse that keep winning...and make them win money...and when they lose money cause they made a bad bet, they hate that same horse. Watch at yourself and stop wondering why the insdustrie is hate and in trouble

If you don't like loosing money on a horse, I have a good idea for you: stop betting. I never bet during my whole life and love racing for the horses, so no hate.

and by the way, Am I the only one who noticed that the people who said ''they knew'' are the same who ''knew'' Mo had no chance to win the Champagne...after the Champagne they starting to say Mo had no chance winning the BC...after Mo win, it was 'no chance of winning the Timely writer I know!''...after '.'No chance of winning the Wood'', so after the Wood they can try to make themself look by genius saying ''Look at me how smart I am cause I predicted he would lose''

19 Apr 2011 12:49 PM
Mr.Ruffian

I'm not sure if the blog at MSN ( that's where Kyvet and Coldfacts were going at it) is still working or not. What I do know is that most of the people left that blog and created their own site and didn't invite Kyvet.   I wonder why?  

Coldfacts, if you'd like the site where some of your old friends from MSN are, I'm sure they wouldn't mind me giving it to you.  Get in touch with me if you are interested.  

Keep your thoughts coming, we all enjoy them!!

20 Apr 2011 12:06 AM
Lenny 50 years experience(In Philipphines Now)

Ok..What about The Factor??  Here's something in 50 years I never have seen!!  Breaking the track record at Santa Anita ....where Immortals have run..... in only his 2nd start 1:064/5..Unbelievable!!..Baffert said, They thought he would win BIG his 1st start....But he is a FRONT RUNNER  Period!!   Native Diver type..If he gets a a:1:10 3/5 0r 1:11 in the Derby thats 15---20 lengths slower than he can run!!  Hold your breath for the final 4....As for class  Uncle Mo..if he had problems in the Arkansas  he's the one to beat...But remember   1:06 4/5

23 Apr 2011 9:13 PM

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