Ky. Derby Trail: Pre-Derby Awards

Before we get really perplexed and befuddled by the morass of statistics, opinions, and rumors, here is one person’s opinion of the best of what we have and what we’ve seen, listed by categories. You may be surprised by the horse who finished first in the most categories and who could be a very live Derby horse at a decent price, but we will explain later in this column why it shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as one might think. And because of this, he will move up several places on next week’s Derby Dozen.

Can you guess who it is? Well, think blazing britches or charred trousers or scalding slacks. If you haven’t gotten it yet, you won’t have far to look.

BEST PEDIGREE – The winner is Pants On Fire. He is by A.P. Indy’s son Jump Start, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Steady Cat, who placed in five stakes. Jump Start’s second dam, Hopespringsforever, is a full sister to Miswaki. Pants On Fire’s broodmare sire, Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Cape Town, is by Seeking the Gold, out of the Seattle Slew mare Seaside Attraction, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and dam of 2-year-old filly champion Golden Attraction, as well as Cape Town.

Pants On Fire’s second dam is by Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner and champion older male Bates Motel, whose daughter, Barbarika, is the granddam of Curlin. Bates Motel’s sire, Sir Ivor, won the English Derby (Eng-I), 2000 Guineas (Eng-I), and Washington D.C. International.

Pants On Fire is inbred 4 x 5 to Graustark’s son Key to the Mint, winner of the grade I Travers, Woodward, Whitney, Brooklyn, and Suburban and champion 3-year-old male. He also is inbred three times top and bottom to the classic sire Buckpasser. In addition, he is inbred to Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Mr. Prospector.

Honorable mention goes to Stay Thirsty, a son of Bernardini and a half-brother to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Andromeda’s Hero. His tail-female family is the crème de la creme of King Ranch breeding, as well as Rokeby Stable through Arts and Letters. His second dam is by English Derby winner Roberto, giving him Darby Dan breeding as well.

– The winner is Mucho Macho Man, a big, rugged colt who was foaled incredibly late, June 15, yet still made his career debut in July of his 2-year-old year and has run a total of eight times, six at a mile or longer, and has run big at Calder, Saratoga, Monmouth, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, and Fair Grounds. He also was tough enough to run the entire way in the Louisiana Derby with a missing shoe that he lost at the start and still finished a close third, coming out of the race a little sore. Runner-up goes to Archarcharch, who has run in November, December, January, February, March, and April at five different distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, and finished third in the Rebel after getting cut up and bruised by a thrashing Alternation in the next stall. And we have to give an honorable mention to Comma to the Top, who has run 13 times at nine different distances, starting back in May at Hollywood Park, and nearly pulled off the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). And he has raced on or just off the pace in every race but his debut.

– We have co-winners -- Master of Hounds, who returned off a 4 1/2-month layoff, traveled to Dubai and ran his heart out to be beaten the shortest of noses, while racing on a synthetic surface for the first time and stretching out to 1 3/16 miles over an incredibly deep and slow track. The other co-winner is Pants On Fire, who dug in gamely when challenged by Mucho Macho Man on the outside and Nehro on the inside in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and held off both horses to win by a neck, despite having only one half-mile breeze in five weeks due to a lung infection and ring worm-like condition on all four of his legs (more on that later). Honorable mention goes to Dialed In, who had to really lay his body down to wear down the front-running Shackleford in the Florida Derby over a speed-favoring track. Shackleford as well gets honorable mention, as he dug in when challenged and fought back courageously, giving way only in the final strides. Mention also has to be made of Midnight Interlude, who ran a similarly game race in the Santa Anita Derby when he kept coming, despite Comma to the Top veering out into his path twice, causing him to lose his momentum each time.

FASTEST RISE TO STARDOM – The winner is Dialed In, who came off a 6 1/2-furlong maiden win, his only career start, to defeat many of the leading Derby contenders in Florida in the one-mile Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), blowing by everyone in the stretch to win going away in a sharp 1:35 flat. Honorable mentions go to Midnight Interlude and Nehro, who also came off maiden victories to quickly establish themselves as major Derby contenders with bang-up performances.

MOST VERSATILE – The winner is Nehro, who broke his maiden with an explosive move on the far turn, coming from 11th, 12 lengths back, to win by 4 1/2 lengths. He then was beaten a fast-closing neck in both the Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby, rallying on inside at Fair Grounds and the outside at Oaklawn, and coming from third in the Louisiana Derby and 10th in the Arkansas Derby. It is apparent that is doesn’t matter where this horse is running, he’s stil going to give you that big run. Runner-up goes to Archarcharch, who has the speed to win the six-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes in 1:10 2/5, tracking a :22 1/5 quarter and :46 half, and was able to rally from 10th to win the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby.

FASTEST – The winner is The Factor, with his blistering speed from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles and three consecutive 100-plus Beyer figures. Runner-up goes to the 2-year-old Uncle Mo, whose 102 maiden Beyer and 108 in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) made him one of the fastest 2-year-olds we’ve seen in a while. He hasn’t duplicated those figures at 3, but you never know when he’s going to break out.

THORO-GRAPH FIGURES – Best number this year -- Archarcharch (1). Best pairing this year – Soldat (1 1/2, 1 1/4). Best numbers at 2 -- Uncle Mo (0,0,0), Mucho Macho Man (3/4).

– This is extremely close between Pants On Fire, Toby’s Corner, and Soldat, the only three horses who have won impressively in the slop. From a pedigree standpoint, the edge goes to Pants On Fire, who has a ton of slop influences, with his inbreeding to Seattle Slew, Mr. Prospector, Key to the Mint (Graustark), and Buckpasser, not to mention Seeking the Gold. His seven-length maiden romp in the slop at Delaware Park was not by chance. Soldat had the most powerful performance in the slop, with his 10 3/4-length romp at Gulfstream. We’ll give  honorable mentions to Stay Thirsty because of all the classy slop breeding throughout his pedigree, and Animal Kingdom, based partially on gut feeling and the number of German-breds in his female family. Many German-breds seem exceptionally tough going long distances and on soft ground, and his broodmare sire, Acatenango, was as tough as they come. We’ll see if that can translate to dirt. Also, his paternal grandsire, Candy Stripes, is the sire of Invasor, who won the Uruguayan 2000 Guineas easily over a very muddy track.

– The winner is Archarcharch in the Arkansas Derby, with Animal Kingdom in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes a close second. The most explosive move was by Nehro in his maiden race, but he apparently towered over that field, so you have to give more credit to the moves in major stakes races.

BEST MOVE FROM THE QUARTER POLE TO EIGHTH POLEDialed In in the Holy Bull and Florida Derby and Archarcharch in the Arkansas Derby.

Nehro in the Arkansas Derby and Brilliant Speed in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I).

BEST OVERALL TURN OF FOOT – The winner is Archarcharch for his quick acceleration in both the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and Arkansas Derby.

BEST MIDPACK GRINDER – The winner is Mucho Macho Man, who just keeps coming at you and can sustain his run a long way. Honorable mention goes to Toby’s Corner, who probably is more comfortable racing in midpack and can also sustain his run.

PACE HORSE/TRACKER MOST LIKELY TO CLOSE – The winner is Pants On Fire, who has already demonstrated his ability to rate off the pace in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), in which he put in a huge run from seventh and looked like a winner circling his field, moving right up to the leaders while forced very wide. He made that move with a :23 4/5 quarter, but was unable to sustain his run and tired. He came out of the race with the aforementioned lung infection and skin condition (see more farther down). In the Louisiana Derby, he rated comfortably in second, took over the lead turning for home, and held off his two challengers with a solid :12 3/5 final eighth. He is capable of racing anywhere from fifth to seventh in the Derby and closing well, getting the jump on the late closers.

Runner-up goes to Uncle Mo, who closed his final quarter in :24 flat in the Champagne (gr. I) after blazing a :45 4/5 half; you just don’t see horses doing that, especially 2-year-olds. In the Timely Writer this year, he set a slow pace and came home his final quarter in :22 4/5. In the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he came home his final sixteenth in :06 1/5, so this colt does have a powerful closing kick. Honorable mention goes to Midnight Interlude, who hadn’t closed fast in his two one-mile maiden races, but did close his final eighth in about :12 1/5 in the Santa Anita Derby.

So, the only horse to win four first-place awards is Pants On Fire. Archarcharch won three, with two runner-up awards. Dialed In, Nehro, and Mucho Macho Man won two each.

Pants On Fire wins for pedigree, the ability to close after tracking the pace, gutsiest performance, and most likely to relish a sloppy track.

Archarcharch wins for best move on the far turn, best move from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, and best overall turn of foot. He also was runner-up as toughest and most versatile.

Mucho Macho Man wins for toughest, and best midpack grinder. Nehro wins for most versatile and best move from the eighth pole to the wire, and gets an honorable mention for fastest rise to stardom. And Dialed In wins for fastest rise to stardom and best move from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, and receives an honorable mention for gutsiest performance.

So, if anyone is surprised at the results of these awards, especially the overall winner, it just might be time to reevaluate Pants On Fire, especially his performance in the Louisiana Derby.

As mentioned, he came out of the Risen Star with a little blood and mucus, and by the time he arrived back at Palm Meadows he had a full-blown lung infection, as well as a ring worm-like condition on all four of his legs. It was as if his entire immune system had gone haywire.

In the five weeks between the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby, he had only that only one little :48 3/5 half-mile breeze.

“His immune system to say the least was weak, and this really knocked him out after the Risen Star,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “He had to be harboring something going into the Risen Star. When we got him back to Palm Meadows he was pretty sick. That’s why he had only one workout. He just wasn’t healthy enough; he was still having problems with his lungs. We treated him and got it cleared up enough to run him in the Louisiana Derby.

“When he shipped him to Fair Grounds for the race he left Palm Meadows and went to Ocala. He stopped at Barry Eisaman’s farm, which is a little less than halfway and rested overnight and then continued on the next day. At Barry’s he was given an IV of antibiotics just to make sure the shipping didn’t set something off again. We did everything to make sure he was healthy.”

As for the skin condition, Breen said, “Normally when a horse gets ring worm they’ll get it on their back and neck, but he had it on all four legs, more so behind than in front. We don’t know if he got an allergic reaction to something; perhaps the solution the bandages were washed in. For the next month we didn’t train him with any bandages. I didn’t want anything touching his legs. We treated him with a steroid, prednisone, for a couple of days. You can still see the remnants of the skin condition. It looks like someone laid onion rings underneath his skin. Our vet said he’s seen this maybe once or twice in his life. And in that case the tests came back as an allergic reaction, so that’s how we treated it.”

It makes sense now why Pants On Fire’s big run in the Risen Star fizzled out when he looked so good one minute and so bad the next, and why his Louisiana Derby is even better than it looked visually and on paper.

“When he ran in the LeComte (in which he was beaten a head right on the wire by Wilkinson) I didn’t even think of scoping him or anything like that because I thought he ran well enough,” Breen said. “But who knows if he was sick or bled a little in that race? The more I think about it I wish I had scoped him back then just to check him, because sometimes these things just slip by.

“In the Risen Star he was in an absolutely great spot and made that good run. What impressed me about his race in the Louisiana Derby, and I may be wrong, but watching the race on DVD, I put it on fast forward through the stretch, and when both of those horses came up to him it looked like had they gone around three more times he wasn’t going to let Nehro or Mucho Macho Man get by him. He really dug in.

“Everything is good now, except for the remnants of the ring worm on his back legs.”

Unlike his one little half-mile breeze before the Louisiana Derby, Pants On Fire has already begun to crank it up big-time, breezing five furlongs in :58 3/5 at Palm Meadows. He then had a solid maintenance breeze in 1:00 4/5 Saturday and was scheduled to ship to Louisville Saturday evening at 6 or 7 o’clock when it was a little cooler. He is expected to arrive at Churchill Downs at around 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.

Form-wise, he had been running “5s” and “6s” steadily on Thoro-Graph, but after recovering from his lung infection he jumped to a career best “2 3/4” in the Louisiana Derby. With a four-point improvement from the Risen Star, he most likely will benefit from the extra time off, and it is encouraging to see him bounce out of it with two excellent works.

If you’re looking for a relatively big price on a proven stakes winner who has not gotten much hype, Pants On Fire just might be the horse, based on what he’s been through, his attributes listed above, and how much he’s improved. If he can take even a small step forward on May 7 he should be a serious contender.


Leave a Comment:

Socko from Atlanta

...The field running in the Cliff's Edge next week will NOT run the following week in the 137th KY. Derby,.....So,...To The Masses,..I Shall Unveil The  Winner of the KY. Derby,........Astrology,.....Bet The Mortgage On'Em,.....Yours Truly,.....Socko from Atlanta............

23 Apr 2011 8:43 PM
Mike from Michigan

I can't explain it, but I just got this feeling about Midnight Interlude.  Common sense tells me NO.....but just one of those weird feelings, in a weird and wacky derby-prep season.

23 Apr 2011 9:22 PM

George and Lori Hall are great for the game, but, honestly "Pants on Fire"?  "Sweet Ducky"?  The Thoroughbred is a noble animal, and the Kentucky Derby winner needs to have a suitably magnificent name (OK ignore Mine that Bird and Super Saver)

On names alone:  Best Named:  give me Midnight Interlude and Dialed In.

23 Apr 2011 9:27 PM
needler in Virginia

Wonderful analysis, Steve, and I'm glad PoF is getting some respect, even though his name doesn't really demand it! You can't forget it, though, can you??

Me? I'm still with Arch Cubed, but it's OK if Pants on Fire finishes a close second. I'm nothing if not consistently annoying, right?

Cheers and safe trips to everyone.

23 Apr 2011 9:28 PM
StonesRoy I have to add Pants on Fire to my mix.  I better budget another $20 to my Derby bankroll.  Thanks Steve!

Seriously, I appreciate the info you provide.  I didn't know AAA had the best TG #!

Every year, I like anywhere from 3-6 horses going in.  This year, it's closer to 8!  But if I were to narrow it down to 4, it would be AAA, Dialed In, Mucho and Mo.

23 Apr 2011 10:00 PM


23 Apr 2011 10:19 PM
Linda in Texas

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Steve. When Pants on Fire first came on the scene, his name was not one that most thought was a thoroughbred name and he was dismissed because of it.  I just don't think very many put much stock in him because of his name.

I feel a little bit vindicated after your nice article about him.  

The first time i watched him, i liked the way he 'traveled' and mentioned him. I looked up his pedigree all the way back, just like you wrote above. He has a lot of the greats in his blood lines and is a horse for all seasons.

Slew wrote in and liked him also. And has not deserted him either, i might add, at last posting.

So what a great article, especially for all the attributes that Pants on Fire possesses. I was not aware of his health issues.

I hope he does not have a relapse of any of the lung issues.

Last week end a horse named Itchy Toes and one named Shesaonetontomato raced, if they run like the wind, who cares what their names are! I believe one ran at Oaklawn and one at Santa Anita, if memory serves.

Whoever named Pants on Fire must have had his 'blueprint' right in front of them and maybe said, with his bloodlines, he ought to run like his pants are on fire! It would be nice to know for sure.

Thanks Steve, this was a great summary of each stand out's record and you even mentioned The Factor, haven't given up on him either.

Happy Easter Steve to you and yours. And the same to all who post on this blog.

I wonder if anyone won the close to 5 million $$$ today at one of the tracks? I had to leave and did not hear if they did.

If Dr. Drunkinbum did, then we may not ever hear from him again.  

23 Apr 2011 11:20 PM

Best horse overall i think is Archx3. But I still have faith in Dialed In, Uncle Mo, and Descisive Moment.

24 Apr 2011 12:19 AM

Master of Hounds does not get a honorable mention for pedigree? How much better does it get than 5x4 to nothern Dancer?          The inbreeding to Mr.Prospector should move Nehro way up on an off track.  

Lastly, Rosie Napravnik will get Pants on Fire beaten. I know she rode brilliantly at the Fair Grounds BUT she is riding each horse at Keeneland as if it were her 1st mount. She completely missed breaks (and I bet one heavily)on 2 different horses today. She IS getting live mounts...a continued pattern(and the derby gods, her being female) will doom Pants on Fire's chance's.

24 Apr 2011 12:32 AM

Wow - thanks!  That was great.

24 Apr 2011 1:32 AM


Below is an extract from your Derby Dozen - April 4, 2011


“This is an interesting colt that should be ranked ahead of Dialed In. His extrapolated time for 10F under my system works out to be 2:02.85. The average time for the last 10 derbies is 2:02.16. His extrapolated time puts him within range of the derby average. He improved his time between the Risen Star and the LA Derby by 2 seconds. He only needs improvement equivalent to < a second to be right where he need to be when it’s being decided. Should be #4”

I am not surprise you have recognized that the above colt has major positive. As I indicated he should have been ranked ahead of Dialed In then and should be in your next dozen.

I find your best pedigree ranking interesting. If in fact he has the best pedigree it’s certainly not the best for the derby. That honor goes to Master Of Hounds

Pants On Fire – Jump Start - Cabo De Noche by Cape Town

(a)No son of A P Indy has ever sires the winner of a Triple Crown race.

(b)No grandson of Mr. Prospector has ever been broodmare sire of the winner of Triple Crown race

Master of Hounds – Kingmambo - Silk and Scarlet by Sadlers Wells

(a)Nine sons of Mr. Prospector have sired winners of 14 TC races.

Fappiano, Gulch, Woodman, Our Emblem, Smart Strike, Seeking The Gold, Kingmambo, Gone West, Forty Niner

(b)Eight sons of Northern Dancer have combined as broodmare sires for ten winners of 13 TC races.

Nureyev, Dixieland Band, Storm Bird, El Gran Senor, Vice Regent, Danzig, Nijinsky, Dancing Count

The sire and dam sire of Master Of Hounds makes him a colt with an overwhelming Triple Crown pedigree advantage going into the derby. Pant On Fire sire and dam sire fall into a group that are in no success to date category. I do recognized that I have only featured the sire and dam sire categories but they are so overwhelming, that I them as profoundly significant. While I will not dispute your best pedigree assessment, the above cold facts suggest POF’s pedigree is not the best for the Triple Crown series. That said I will be using him for one of the minor spots.

24 Apr 2011 2:18 AM


Midnight Interlude deserves more than just an honorable mention. He has to the colt that has risen the fasted to stardom. He blew away a maiden field by 8 lengths and in his next start won the Gl SA Derby defeating six colts that had either won placed or showed in graded races. His winning time was the second fastest for all 2011 9F preps. Dialed In has never blown away any field and struggled defeat a NM2 allowance winner in the slowest FL derby run FL Derby in the last 5YRS. That does not equate to a rise to stardom?


I thought Master of Hound from a 4-5 month layoff tracked the UAE derby pace fairly close and quicken nicely to the line. POF was being chased by the slow MMM. MOH was being chased by a real top class filly whom he was allowing 10lbs. he should have been given the above vote.

24 Apr 2011 2:43 AM


Thanks for all the information on POF.  I was going to completly toss him,know he seems to be a must use in the exotics. I love reading inside information.  Keep up the great work,  

24 Apr 2011 2:44 AM
Blame Was Robbed

Doesn't Archarcharch have 4 first place votes, counting best thoro-graph in 2011?  It's past midnight and, for some reason, this seems critically important.

Great as always, Steve.

24 Apr 2011 3:14 AM

Wow Steve, very impressive breakdown. The work you must have put into this well written and informative blog. This is some research, you sure got got some some memory genes to remember all of the stats.

If these poor horses only knew how much trouble humans go to trying to figure out which one will run faster on a particular day, on a particular race track, and in any type of weather...........

Horse racing enthusiasts must have obsessive compulsive disorders.....:)lol

24 Apr 2011 3:34 AM

after reading all that i like pants on fire

24 Apr 2011 4:47 AM
Lorri S

I hope the rain stays away for a change but if it doesn't, it's always good to know a mudlark. But so far for me it's

1. The Factor

2. Pants on Fire

3. Mucho Macho Man

But leave Uncle Mo out at your peril. Then there's Archarcharch & Stay Thirsty. AGHHHHHHHHHH HELP...

24 Apr 2011 6:10 AM

Steve- Thanks for the info.  I think Pants has really been under the radar.  He certainly deserves a serious look.  I hope he gets a decent post.  All the focus seems to be on Dialed In and Mo pushing a horse like Pants out of view.

24 Apr 2011 7:49 AM

very interesting

24 Apr 2011 7:51 AM

How weird is that? Before this article was written, I had and still have PoF in my top 3 (see my comments on him at along with Nehro and Midnight Interlude. He was my sleeper cuz not many people were talking about him as most are talking about DI, Nehro and MMM. He has a great pedigree as stated above. He is out of the same family line as Saint Liam (see Flight Dancer). PoF has great speed and I think he has enough stamina influences to last the grueling 10f Derby distance. He had a good final prep at 9f, has good figs and could greatly benefit from the defections of TF and JP's Gusto, imo. My top 8 Derby contenders as of today (04/24) are: 1. Nehro 2. Midnight Interlude 3. PoF 4. DI 5. Mo 6. MMM 7. TC and 8. Archx3

24 Apr 2011 7:53 AM

I've only seen his race replays and not seen him in the flesh,and to me looks to be a small horse or average in size,hey sometimes small runs big,what a muddle this derby is and i love it.If the invader takes to the dirt that will add to the mess we're in too.Going to be an extremely good betting race though.  

24 Apr 2011 8:03 AM

pants on fire has been my derby horse since feb. I had not heard anyone mention his name in weeks. This was great I was thinking I would get 30-1. Now twice in one week he gets touted by you and jon white(hrtv) Thanks a lot!

24 Apr 2011 8:30 AM


Fun, fun, fun. What a great list. The thing I like so much about your column is that I always learn something, and it's fair and unbiased towards the horses. I'll say it again, "always an "ADULT" evaluation of the horses without all the petty bickering... and well, just fun!!!

Muchas gracias, senor!

24 Apr 2011 9:03 AM
Derby Dew


You outdid yourself on this one.  Just when I think I've absorbed every little detail about this year's wide open Derby cast, there you are opening my eyes about the hurdles that the gallant Pants on Fire has had to go through during his 3-yo campaign.  Damn, you're good.  How you come up with this stuff is amazing.  Well done!

Unfortunately, your excellent reports only serve to make handicapping this year's group that much more difficult.  Talk about adding pieces to the puzzle.  Looks like I'm gonna need extra funds to cover my wide ranging wagers.  Now, if only I could remember where I hid that piggy bank.  (lol).

24 Apr 2011 9:07 AM

Darn, Mr. Haskin told the world of my two derby horses, Pants on Fire, and Archarcharch...( :  Now, if I could only get Calvin Borel I'd be a sure thing!

24 Apr 2011 9:17 AM
Steve Haskin

I remember when everyone hated the name Seattle Slew.

Rondo, every other horse is inbred to Northern Dancer or Mr. Prospector. This is based on a lot more than that.

Blame, the T-Graph numbers were added to the story after they were sent to me. They were just for a matter of interest, and not meant as one of the awards. I just thought it was something interesting to add.

Thank you, Carl, for your kind words. And I'm glad people have found it interesting. Just trying to add a few new twists and angles to the Derby picture.

24 Apr 2011 9:38 AM

"Just trying to add a few new twists and angles to the Derby picture."

As if I wasn't confused enough already!!! Thank you very much Mr. Haskin. Now, my exacta box is going to have so many horses in it, that it won't be worth placing.

Seriously though this was interesting and a lot of fun, just like the horse's name. Loved it!

24 Apr 2011 10:05 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Pure genius. But another sleeper down the drain.

Linda In Texas

  I only paid 3k and I didn't get it anyway. I think Shackleford deserves to get in, and I like what Romans had to say-"It's frustrating because I think a lot of people are going to run because they have the earnings, and they can get in, whether they should or shouldn't. I think we're a legititmate contender if we get in."


   Funny, funny. "I feel good, I feel real good. Don't look at my numbers. I'm whooping these fancy numbers guys with their hyped family tradition today. Yeah my Papa didn't win much money but I feel good today. I feel real good."  And sometimes that's the way it is.

24 Apr 2011 10:24 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Nice pedigree synopsis on Pants On Fire but you're not really gonna' go out again and drive up to the diner are you?

24 Apr 2011 10:31 AM
Dawn in MN

This was a good read Mr. Haskin.  Thank you.  I have read so many statistics opinions and rumors that my head is spinning.  At the end of 2010 I was on the Uncle Mo bandwagon, and I liked Boys at Toscanova.

I start my Derby watch list in January.  January's list was 23 horses long.  February's list dropped to 15, and in March the list had risen to 25.

April began with 19, and Premier Pegasus was injured bringing it down to 18.  

Pants on Fire, Dialed In, and Mucho Macho Man have all been on my list since January.

I seem to remember that you have been touting ArchArchArch for a long time now.  After the Arkansas Derby, I finally added him to my list.  I wasn't sure until then that he was the real deal.  Until that race I just thought he had a cute name.  I agree the his move on the far turn was pretty impressive.

I still like Soldat, and Stay Thirsty too.  What I love about Stay Thirsty is that he appears to be a small gutsy horse, and sometimes with a clever jockey a horse like that can sneak in along the rail and surprise the big horses.  

24 Apr 2011 10:43 AM
Squarely in Toby's Corner

I'm entertained by how little respect Toby's Corner is getting here (and everywhere else, for that matter).

He's my pick for Derby, and has been since the Whirlaway. The Wood win was deeply satisfying for me. The Derby will be even better.

24 Apr 2011 10:49 AM

That was an example of the kind of information that the humans who toil behind the scene,IMO would rather go unreported.I think the tracks and AW sites definitely do not want these(cold facts)out to the public.This type of information is definitely more scientific than any other figures or breeding data because it provides evidence on the physical condition of the actual animal, before it runs in a race.I would like to know this BEFORE a horse runs in a race.Would you dare to report this on this blog on the week before the derby?

24 Apr 2011 11:08 AM

Nice analysis as usual Steve.Good to see Toby only mentioned once.I need him under the radar for thirteen more days.I read yesterday that Toby's Corner got a nick rating of F minus.Which makes him a perfect fit for my analysis.Far more horses exceed their pedigree than run too it.Can't wait for you to be on the ground at Churchill so we can get the inside juice.

24 Apr 2011 11:25 AM

Master Of Hounds is a GRASS horse. His pedigree is meaningless for the Derby!! He will be getting dirt kicked in his face because he will be too far back because he is way too slow to keep up with the early speed. Ok. Besides Street Sense who we knew already loved the dirt. Name one horse who has won the derby coming from a race on the synthetic or the grass!! M.O.H is a throwout!!

24 Apr 2011 11:33 AM
jamie d

steve in an unusual year and with an even field i honestly think that the winner will come out of the Louisiana Derby. it hasnt happened in a while since funny cide. so here is my 336 dollar 1 tri box or 363 pants on fire, nehro,mucho macho man, dialed in,soldat,arch arch arch,toby's corner,shackleford. i know its eight but i play to win not a pat on the back. i started playing this after giacomo won the derby. i had keyed bandini over giacomo closing argument,afleet alex and three others i kept that ticket on me formonths it paid 50000 for a dollar,damn bandini. but the next year i hit barbaros derby and made 4700 ,but havent hit since. i guess thats why they call it the derby fever.

24 Apr 2011 11:33 AM

Somehow the ringworm and Pants on Fire go together. Poor baby! With Rosie he should win.

24 Apr 2011 11:43 AM

Thanks for another excellent read.  Now for two of the longest weeks of the year :)

24 Apr 2011 11:46 AM
Steve Haskin

Look, folks, if I'm going to be totally confused I ain't gonna be by myself. I'm dragging all of you down with me :).

Dr. D, what diner are you referring to?

24 Apr 2011 11:46 AM


24 Apr 2011 11:52 AM
Derby Dude.

Steve., both Toby's Corner and Pants On Fire come from the same female family, I know the stable of the former will not hear of defeat.. so I think you have chosen the wrong one.. pity.

24 Apr 2011 11:56 AM

Steve, thanks for the info on Pants on Fire & also reminding me of important points I need to consider about almost all of the potential Derby field-every bit helps, especially this year. I've always been in Soldat's corner & I still think he's a really nice horse; if not in the TC this year, I still think he'll do well later. I'm liking Archarcharch and Nehro more all the time & they were barely on my radar a couple of weeks ago.

24 Apr 2011 12:02 PM

We won't be seeing astrology so you wont have to lose your house!  I am really pulling for Pants on Fire for the loyal Halls to racing and Kelly.  He is one of the horses that is improving, and got a lot out of the past race.  He is rested; however, it is one time that I wish Kelly didn't blaze his horses in the morning because it will definitely attract more money seeing these bullets.

24 Apr 2011 12:11 PM

Thank you for this interesting breakdown, Mr Haskins.  I applaud your comments about the breeding for Pants on Fire.  You mentioned the dam side, which included the late Bates Motel.  His dam, Sunday Purchase, traces back both top and bottom to ManO'War, Plucky Liege and Teddy.

I still recall the comment from Terry Lipham, the winning jockey aboard Bate's Motel after winning the Big Cap for John Gosden.  Lipham had not been on many winner's earlier in the meet.  So, some LAT writer asked him about winning the "most money" he had ever won by winning the Big Cap.  Lipham looked him straight in his eyes and said, "I won the Million Dollar All-American at Riodoso".

24 Apr 2011 12:16 PM
Steven D

I live about 50 miles from Churchill and I'm becoming increasingly doubtful there will be a dry track come Derby day.

My land is covered with standing water and ankle deep slop.  And the extended forecast calls for rain with more rain for at least 10 days.

So I'm handicapping slop horses.  I loved Bellamy Road.  IMO he got robbed by that sprinter thrown in the Derby.  So I'm hoping the proven slop horse Toby redeems his daddy.

And for the suspicious among us -- it was Coolmore that put the sprinter in the Derby for the purpose of running Bellamy Road's legs off.  This year Coolmore is running Master of Hounds.  So you can make the case that Toby's Corner is the karma play, too.  

24 Apr 2011 12:23 PM

What a year to start following the three year olds. Bet on the past 3 KDs, winning without much following, too busy. Now I get injured, have all the time in the world and we get a year like this.

Enjoy your blogs, Steve, but like everyone else I get more confused. All these horses running at three and winning is crazy.

Does not seem to be any totally fast runners through a complete race.

Hope someone out there picks 'em right.

Happy Easter (wish my prayers would get answered with a winner.)  

24 Apr 2011 12:47 PM

Steven D thanks for the weather info.Toby's final work will be at Fair Hill in Md. He should hit Louisville Tuesday before the derby.He will love the off going but won't have to train in it like almost every other horse.

24 Apr 2011 12:58 PM

Good eye Steve

Bellamy was smoked by the insane pace and popped a splnt during the Derby.

I think Graham Motion will make a big difference.

Did you notice that  homebred Toby's Corner is off the same farm as Bellamy Road

24 Apr 2011 1:06 PM


Kindly forgive me; I should have specified that the extract was from one of my submissions.

“Dialed In wins Rise to Stardom because he rose to Derby favoritism and burst on the scene off only his career debut”

I will not dispute his amazing maiden win but it was no more significant than that of Uncle Mo and BAT. He replaced Uncle Mo who held the Derby favoritism status for a very long time. I know UM has not fallen from grace but he is undoubtedly the candidate for the category FASTEST RISE TO STARDOM. He achieved in three undefeated starts. Dialed lost his third race.

I remained baffled as to why Dialed In has been elevated to Derby favoritism by so many. I suspect it’s off his Holy Bull and FL Derby victories. In the Holy Bull he was in receipt of weight from Sweet Ducky, Ribo Bobo, Major Gain, and Gourmet Dinner. Inferior horses allowing weight to a superior horse does not make him a Derby favorite. It’s normally the other way around.  He struggled to defeat a NW2 Allowance winner in the slowest run FL Derby in 5YRS. If those are the measures for propelling a colt to Derby favoritism then the bar is very low. To Honor and Serve was never the same horse at as a 3YR and I have repeated stated that Soldat is slow by derby standards. Nehro got very close beats in two graded 9F races run in much faster times than the allowance and FL Derby contested by Dialed In. He destroyed a maiden field by 12 lengths. His two grade efforts were at different track. The challenge he overcame were greater than those faced by of Dialed In. By any measure Nehro is more deserving of this status.

“Midnight Interlude did it in his fourth start and is not regarded as one of the top 3 favorites according to all the media polls”

This colt is not sprinter. Dialed In won a 6.5F maiden race on his debut. He caught the leader in the closing stage of the race. Midnight Interlude made in debut at 6F run in 1:07 and a bit. There was no way he could have won that race. Dialed In won his second start in the Gll Holy Bull run in 1:35.19 getting weight from four of his opponents. MI got beat by 1/2L in his second start at 8F run in1:35 1/5  Dialed In lost his third start at 9F run in 1:51 and a bit. MI won his third start at 8F by 8 lengths pulling a bus in 1:36 1/5 on a sloppy track .Both colts won their Gl attempts at 9F.One won in the second fastest time for 9F for the 2011 season and the other the slowest time in the last five renewal of the particular race. Dialed in has a one win and a one graded stake advantage. However, MI moved from a maiden race to defeat 6 graded place horses. How can this colt be excluded from the top three with his performances? Dialed In is not worthy of Derby favoritism based on his PP and speculation is not an acceptable basis.

24 Apr 2011 1:12 PM

I know next to nothing about handicapping but my pick from the beginning has been Archie(Archarcharch). He was in my rttr lineup since I started. I also like Nehro, The Factor and Pants on Fire. Can't wait for the big day!!!

24 Apr 2011 1:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  It refers to the Bates Motel aspect of the breeding. That's what Norman Bates said to Marion Crane at the Bates Motel. Referring to the fact that she was hungry and there was a diner only 15 miles away in Fairvale which was also her final destination. I was not implying any Derby analogies. It's just a general comment about decisions we can make that can dramatically alter the future. But certainly there  are a lot of thoughts and decisions going into trying to pick a Derby winner especially in a field like this. Now with Jaycito out it's a major tossup for me. Hoping I go to the diner rather than stay at the motel.

24 Apr 2011 1:14 PM
A P Indy

Dialed In has the best pedegree in my book.

24 Apr 2011 1:25 PM


Mine That Bird never won a dirt race preceding the derby. All his other victories were on a synthetic track. PioneerOf The Nile and Hard Spun were 2nd in the derby off final preps on synthetic tracks. The Great Briton bred Tomy Lee won the 1959 Derby. He had an overwhelming turf pedigree. Keep an open mine and never say never.

24 Apr 2011 1:35 PM
June Moon


Thanks for this. It isn't another angle--it puts all or at least many angles in perspective. I'm still not decided but the fact that Mucho Macho has raced well at so many tracks/distances and is a grinder puts him at the top or near on my list. He's also at Churchill--one track he hasn't raced on--training well. He takes his track with him and his staying power may carry him the distance when others start to fade. BTW, another "angle" is Calving Borel working Stay Thirsty who's on my list but just moved up a notch or a rail :)

24 Apr 2011 1:42 PM

Love the comments about closers not being a factor because they can't keep up with a fast pace.  Uncle Mo hasn't shown he can keep up with a modest pace.

Also find it interesting that Mo's being given all sorts of credit for a poor performance against mostly allowance/claimers for a diagnosis of "GI infection" but the Factor dismissed after displacing his palate.

As for being only a turf horse and not liking dirt in Master of the Hounds' face?  They said the same about his sire in the Breeders Cup Classic.  He proved them wrong.  I wouldn't be surprised if MoH does the same at much longer odds.

24 Apr 2011 2:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It looks like Twinspired and Shackleford will both get in. And probably more than that beyond the current top twenty in earnings.

24 Apr 2011 2:41 PM

Wow, once again, great writeup.  Thanks for putting this way before the Derby.  Lots to consider after reading this article.  If I hit the super, I'll buy ya a nice dinner hehe.

24 Apr 2011 2:46 PM

Coldfacts I have two questions.  First, name one horse who won the Kentucky Derby without having 2 starts on dirt?   Second, name one horse who won the Kentucky Derby without ever having hit the board on conventional dirt?

Hint:  I've gone back 40 years so far and have yet to find one.

For the record, MTB had 2 starts on conventional dirt and hit the board on it once before the Kentucky Derby (finished second in the Borderland Derby).

Even Tomy Lee had at least two dirt starts before the Derby (and had won on it).

24 Apr 2011 2:50 PM
Curly C

To pick a winner out of this crop of 3 yearolds will be pure luck they are so even. Archarcharch will not win this race. Soldat has been hot & Cold thru the Stakes but his works now are improved time wise and he has experience. if I had to take one it would be SOLDAT,however it's who gets the best post and get the breaks on the trip!!!!!

24 Apr 2011 2:54 PM


24 Apr 2011 2:55 PM

If you think grass horse automatically equals a closer then your opinion just flew out the door.

24 Apr 2011 3:46 PM
Denver Oaks

There are some other horses we really should be looking at...Watch Me Go...did not like the slop in Indiana I think if he gets in he could be a silent contender, much like Mind That Bird was. This will be an interesting race with all these awsome surprises along the way!

24 Apr 2011 3:58 PM
Paula Higgins

I am totally confused, and you didn't drag me down with you Steve, I got there all by myself. It's like there are no standouts of any kind. Pants on Fire has things going for him, but this Derby is wide open IMO. Will be looking forward to your posts when you get there and can eyeball them. Maybe then we will have a better idea. I still prefer Uncle Mo if pressed to make a pick. Will be interested to see how he does on Tuesday when he trains.

24 Apr 2011 4:05 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

Food for thought.  Good information.  I really appreciate and enjoy your articles. This one I will read and reread.  Thank you.

24 Apr 2011 4:19 PM

Denver Oaks, that was the ILLINOIS Derby where Watch Me Go turned in a disappointing finish - the IN Derby is run in October. But you're right Watch Me Go hated the off track, wgich might not bode well for KD, as it could well be sloppy. Tampa Bay is such a quirky surface, I'm not sure form carries through to Churchill. Watch Me Go is likely a toss for me.

Thanks for an interesting analysis, Steve. The thing I like about PoF - besides his breeding, tactical speed and his tenacity - is that he is still improving. He needed a race in the LD and was tougher than expected. Many on the trail have already run their best races and don't look quite good enough. (I'm lookin' for any angle I can get this year - man, it is so wide open.)

I'm going to be watching the works with even more interest tan usual this year.  It would be lovely to have a "good" track at least a few days next week...may not happen though.

24 Apr 2011 5:47 PM
Meg Hannon

This was an informative article in a wide open race (with favorite Uncle Mo not able to hang on in his last race.

I honestly think all horses who enter the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby have a good chance of winning.

We will have to wait and see.

Thanks again for the article.


24 Apr 2011 6:12 PM

Master of Hounds has a good pedigree for classic distances, particularly on turf.

He ran very well last time out. He has only had 1 prep.

Not only that, MOH had his head handed to him by Pluck, Soldat and Wilcox Inn in the BC Juvenile. The horse ran 6th! Are we supposed to act like that race never happened. His only test against American runners and he did not rise for the occasion (although I am sure he had excuses, they always do).

Maybe he has improved by leaps and bounds. He is shipping in on May 3, and will not even have a major work on the dirt. I will do all of you MOH lovers who think pedigrees actually run in the Derby (as opposed to the horse) a favor. I will pass and increase odds for you! Good luck...

24 Apr 2011 6:28 PM

Steve: Pants On Fire's pedigree isn't even close to the best pedigree of those likely for the Derby. His sire (Jump Start) immediately eliminates him from consideration.

Coldfacts: Tomy Lee did not have an "overwhelming turf pedigree". His sire, Tudor Minstrel, proved very competent as a dirt sire. For example, see What A Treat and Tumiga as but a few examples. On the other hand, Kingmambo is essentially a turf sire. Lemon Drop Kid is among his rare exceptions, and he himself is more of a turf sire.  

24 Apr 2011 6:48 PM
Robert Smiley


24 Apr 2011 7:16 PM
Brian Russell

Steve, I thoroughly enjoy your articles and never miss one.  That said, I'm starting to think you might be on the payroll of Martin Collins' Polytrack and Michael Dickinson's Tapeta.  First you had Silver Medallion ranked I think 7th when there has yet to be a Badge of Silver run a jump on the dirt.  Now Master of Hounds gets gutsiest performance for losing to a filly after tracking an extremely pedestrian pace.  I know he was running 1 3/16 off a layoff but you and I both know that doing that on synthetic or turf when you only have to run at the end is MUCH, MUCH easier than doing it on dirt.  At the very least Martin and Michael owe you a thank you!

24 Apr 2011 8:06 PM


There a lot of things that has not happened in the Kentucky Derby. I can cite several. Does this mean they cannot occur? Certainly not! The colt Steve has ranked #1 was sired by a son of A P Indy. His dam was sired by Storm Cat. Neither a son of A P Indy nor a broodmare sired by Storm cat has ever been associated with the winner of a Triple Crown race. That did not stop Mr. Haskin from ranking him #1. There are several horses that performed creditably on dirt off only turf starts. Sackee and Giant’s Causeway ran Tiznow within a head of winning the Breeder Cup Classic. It was the first time both were contesting a dirt race. Secretariat was champion on both surfaces. Will MOH win the derby? No one knows but he has the pedigree that has dominated the race for the last 30 years. He has a trainer that is brilliant at training rout horses and would not bring a horse to the Kentucky Derby just for the pre Derby owners ‘party. The known knows are strong than the known unknowns.

24 Apr 2011 8:52 PM

I sure hope Rosie gets to keep the mount on Pants. She is a very good rider and she deserves it. It would also make a really good story that the media can latch onto. Never underestimate a red head or you will get burned!

24 Apr 2011 9:11 PM
El Kabong


Thanks for the pre-race ceremony. That was good old fashioned banquet fun and I hope a new tradition.  However,  I feel you left off a category and how fitting.   MOST OVERLOOKED HORSE on the trail.

and the winner is.....

STAY THIRSTY. never gets a sentence, but toss his FD and he's legit.

honerable mention goes too.....

Twinspired. Yes, he may still sneak in. I think he will and so there is good reason to have never heard a peep from anyone, except Billy E. If he gets in, he's on my list of gut punching "impossible" finishes. Had to include Tommy D's famous line here to give some credence to the category.

24 Apr 2011 9:23 PM
no mo mo

Great insight Steve. When do your reports from Churchill start?

I'd like to add another "award" to the list. Most Overated and it goes to Uncle Mo. He's been a big dissapointment to this point. Runner-up goes to Elite Alex who is finally off everyones radar and out of consideration to make the field. Honorable Mention goes to Brethren.

24 Apr 2011 9:56 PM

Mr. Haskin, is there any month of birth barrier for horses running the Kentucky Derby? Last year Lookin at Lucky was still a biological 2 years old colt by the derby date and he improved a lot when he was a biological 3 years old colt. If there is a barrier or predominant months (like most winner were born before March for example) wich on of your mentioned horses would be in risk.

Tahnk you attention,


24 Apr 2011 10:37 PM


You have some valid comments. However, can you explain why horses from the Raise A Native sire line have won 23 of the last 30 Triple Crown races? I guess its luck. Is it a bad policy to stick to what has been successful? All the Triple Crown races in 2010 were won by horses from the RAN sire line and it was the 5th time that had occurred. The RAN sire line has produced Dubai World Cup winners, Arc winners, Melbourne Cup winners. Just about every major race in the world has not been won by horse from this line. The Kentucky Derby is the happy hunting ground for the RAN. MOH just happen to be the only remaining worthy candidate with the withdrawal of Jaycito.

24 Apr 2011 11:13 PM


I concede MOH sire Kingmambo is a dominant turf sire. His dam sire Sadlers Wells is also a dominant turf sire. MOH is therefore turf top and bottom. Why bring this colt to the US to contest the world’s hardest race to win? It just does not make sense. There has to be something Mr. Obrien knows that we do not. He is too good a trainer to waste time brining a turf horse to debut on dirt in such a race. If I am over analyzing the situation then so be it. He is the only remaining RAN line horse of worth as Watch Me Go has an overwhelming task. I like contenders whose sires have covered small books. The two horses I really like  (MOH/Midnight Interlude) their sires Kingmambo/War Front bred 69 and 49 mares in 2007. These stallions are from the two sire lines that heads the list for producing KD winners.

24 Apr 2011 11:33 PM

Brian Russell- It is nice that racing in Dubai is so simplistic.  I hope you had all the winners on the card, since you have it all figured out.  And as far as Master of Hounds being beaten by a filly, she is very high class and was in amazing form in Dubai.  They totally outclassed the rest of the field.  She was a very determined closer and better that day.  He was making his first start in 4 months- at 9.5 furlongs.  Our horses have just made it to 9 furlongs after two or three races, because our trainers feel that it is too much to ask them to go 9 furlongs off a layoff.  But, he goes 9.5 furlongs off the layoff.  Give the horse credit.  Question his ability to run on dirt, that is a valid argument, but don't slight his performance.

24 Apr 2011 11:35 PM

If the track is fast, I'm going with Brilliant Speed! Just gotta give the Grand Ol' Man Dynformer some love! Rainy? Pants on Fire with Rosie on his back. Either way, it would be a jaw dropper for the masses.

I think Brilliant Speed can run on any surface. He's trained well on dirt and I don't think it will be an issue. He's one of the few that will relish the distance.      

25 Apr 2011 12:30 AM

Thanks Steve, so much information to absorb with so little time.  Egads!  This Derby is a 5000 piece puzzle.

I still lean toward Aaa, Mmm, Mo, and the Factor.  The Factor reminds me of War Emblem.

Of course there is MI, Toby's Corner, and Di too.

Geeze Laweeze!

25 Apr 2011 2:09 AM

Well, I got "Lucky" with my future bets...AAA, Stay Thirsty and wait &

see if the other two get in.  I've bet the wrong horses before only to see them come in.  I use to do it for my uncle who was in a wheel chair.  Once he told me to bet a 14-1 shot at River Downs and by accident I bet on the fave for fifty bucks.

My knees were shaking as his horse was in front by 6 lengths coming home.  I was thinking of all the money I would owe him if his horse won.  Halfway down the stretch his horse's tongue started hanging out...and here comes the fave to win.  Do I tell him that I bet the wrong horse?  

  Another time I messed up his 2 dollar daily double bet at Turfway, but it came in and paid $450.  We fought over should he get it all, and in the end we pooled our winnings for the day and split it.

  In Barbaro's Derby, my RedHead g'fried liked BG Cat asking me to bet him to win.  Are you kidding me?  I'm a "handicapper" Ha!  That one cost me 75G's......never doubt a RedHead.

  I wish that my uncle were still here.....Moose

25 Apr 2011 4:17 AM

Pantalones en Fuego!  I asked a friend to pick out the best name of the Top Twenty contenders and he was the winner.  He's gonna scorch'em!  :)

25 Apr 2011 9:12 AM
Bill Daly

Thank you for the information on Pants On Fire.  That is what people have come to expect from you and nobody else!  Great work, Steve.

25 Apr 2011 9:20 AM
Still likin Graustark

Every year I analyze the derby contenders to look for Graustark in their pedigree.  I could not believe the Graustark influence in Pants On Fire.  It's easy to root for him to win it all.

25 Apr 2011 9:34 AM

Soldat: raced 8 times multiple tracks, 7 first or second, stakes from 7-1 1/8, turf, dirt, slop, front or come from behind, 2 of top Beyers for 2011 3 year-olds.

25 Apr 2011 9:55 AM
Bill Daly

Incidentally, if it keeps raining in Louisville the horses will need boats to navigate the course.  The Ohio River is way up and flooding areas of the city.  Some roads are impassable.  Not sure about the neighborhood around CD though. Anybody have any info about that?

25 Apr 2011 10:40 AM

Yes, I too like Pants On Fire. Years ago a filly came to me with a severe case of ringworm. My vet at the time (great guy) suggested tube worming. We did it and two weeks later she was dappled and broke her maiden by 10 lengths. Just a suggestion.

25 Apr 2011 10:57 AM


Once again, your "facts" are in error. War Front covered ("bred") 109 mares in 2007-not the 49 stated by you. It has absolutely no relevance, anyway, just as the Raise A Native sire-lined Derby winners have no relevance (as it is, by far, the most prolific sire-line in the US). Please, no back and forths-it's all a waste of my time to argue with you. I mention all this only for the potential good of others-you seem to be beyond thoughtful reflection.

25 Apr 2011 12:54 PM
El Kabong


Sing it sistah! I love your Soldat music. He still looks like a strong candidate to me too for all of the above. Foundation looks great and those times at GP leave me to believe that there has to be a reason for it other than--slow horse. How can Soldat run the 1 1/8 faster in the slop and return 4 weeks later, stronger, only to run a slower time on a "fast" track. I'm familiar with the concrete under the puddle for sealed tracks, but you don't see track records set on sloppy tracks. The times have looked slow at GP for the 1 1/8 all season on "fast" tracks and there track record at that distance is slower than most other tracks. Lack of water, too much wind? Not going to hold it against him or Dialed In.

25 Apr 2011 1:42 PM

OK Coldfacts I enjoy reading your posts and appreciate your study but logic is off because you miss obvious factors.

Sadlers Wells---name 5 horses by him that ran on dirt--period!!!!!-- OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD. "Don't cheat and look some up." I am quite sure that as good of Stud he was ---if he stood in KY he would have some other than grass  major winners. So throw that in the mix.

Breeding DEFINITELY has it merits certainly not an all encompassing factor.







Other things to consider are trainers who can get the horse at the peak on the right day---Riders although last on the list in importance can by bad judgment cost a win. No jockey ever has run the race for the horse.

25 Apr 2011 1:50 PM
Soldier Course

This year I am trusting my intuition, which worked so well in 2003 and 2004. Pants On Fire.

25 Apr 2011 2:14 PM

Always liked Pants On happy to see he's being recognized.  However, he seems, to me, to need to lead as does Soldat, The Factor and Uncle Mo.  I think Archx3 and Midnight Interlude are mid-pack runners, and might have the best shot in the Derby.  Dialed In...ultimate closer, and it will be tough for him but, considering the effort from Ice Box last can be done.  Mucho Macho Man, for as young as he is, is a really big boy, and I think he's tough and resilient.  Another mid-pack runner.  Master of Hounds...too much traveling from the uk to Dubai and back and then to the US..and no runs on dirt.  Frankel, I wouldn't doubt but MOH has too much against him.

Personally, I love the horse and would love to see POF favored by the Derby gods with his wonderful, wacky name...etched forever on the rim of Churchill Downs. (A chuckle for the decades.)

25 Apr 2011 5:26 PM

How could I omit Toby's Corner and Stay Thirsty...I think they are both worthy adversaries?  Ah well,  I'll probably pick my horses in the post parade after all.  And they might prefer to call them dark bays, but if a horse is black/dark bay, he's automatically one of my favorites.  (gee whizz..there are more than 3...I'm stuck again.)  

25 Apr 2011 5:37 PM

Coldfacts, I have great respect for your depth of knowledge and the amount of research you do, and am grateful for your willingness to share it with the rest of us.  Therefore I hope you realize it is with absolute sincerity that I say: with all due respect, speculation is most certainly an acceptable basis, and in reality the only true basis, for a list such as this.

I derive immense pleasure from the discussions that always ensue from Mr. Haskin's columns, your contributions included.  For me, this website and these discussions provide insight unequaled by any other single source, and have left me feeling reconnected to a sport I have loved since childhood.

25 Apr 2011 5:52 PM


Those are indeed some cold facts. I have no need to cheat as I have been doing some research on the dirt runner sired by Kingmambo and they are few and far between. Consequently, MOH is behind the eight ball with that bid of clod fact.

“Breeding DEFINITELY has it merits certainly not an all encompassing factor.”

Another cold fact! However, the RAN sire line has proven it itself to be the best in the world. The dam of the 2011 Dubai World Cup winner was sired by a son of Mr. Prospector. Curlin, Dubai Millennium and Street Cry won the Dubai WC and they were all sired by sons of Mr. Prospector. Add winners of the Melbourne Cup, The Arc, Japan Cup etc you will get how dominant this line is. I refuse to take lightly this sire line as it has proven over and over that it is superior to the rest. All MOH has to do is bring his A game to the dirt and his superior the pedigree will do the rest. He is the best at 10F going into the race. While I respect the achievements of the RANs ire line, I will not become paranoid about it as your statement above is colt facts.


I do not believe any horse like running with weight in its back. However, 10f and 12F races in Europe are literally obstacle courses and the European trainer are better at training horse for these distances.

25 Apr 2011 6:06 PM


Once again, your "facts" are in error. War Front covered ("bred") 109 mares in 2007-not the 49 stated by you. It has absolutely no relevance”

The 49 mare bred relates to War Chant and not War Front the cited stallion. They are both sons of Danzig and the names are close. You will note that Midnight Interlude was the colt being highlighted not the slow Soldat or the extremely swift The Factor. I have state repeatedly that I prefer foals from stallions with small books. The relevance of this is unimportant as its one man’s views.  Giaant’s Causeway bred 167 mares in 2007 and has one slow runner in the derby that has no chance of winning. Tapit bred nearly 200 and has no starter. Fusaichie Pegasus bred 150 and has none. I do not expect anyone to support these views so you need not worry about misinformation.

“just as the Raise A Native sire-lined Derby winners have no relevance”

Can history determine relevance? If you were in the market for a thoroughbred with classic potential, which sire line would be your first option? Northern Dancer that has procured 4 derby winners in 30 years ;  A P Indy  that has produced 2 derby winners in 25 years or Raise A Native that has produce 15 in the last 30 years?  When one sire line produces the winner of  23 of  last 30  Triple Crown race this achievement is unprecedented and can in no way be seen as irrelevant.

25 Apr 2011 6:40 PM

For the Pants on Fire advocates this is only an attempt to save you from yourselves.  POF is an only early speed type that has not yet run the opening half in less than 1:12 and 1/5.  He is at least a length behind several others in the race with that time and the Derby is no time to be running the fastest first half that he has ever seen. Up the track finisher with Comma on Top, Dec Moment, etc.

25 Apr 2011 9:13 PM

The Rock : Had a good day at HP yesterday, hit the Tri and .50 superfecta on the 6th race.  It was pure hunch play on Kayla.  Put her on 2nd for both tickets and nowhere else.  Sometimes you get lucky...

25 Apr 2011 10:32 PM

Point of interest

Raise a Native never ran further than 5F I believe--or at most 5 1/2

Although you can't compare the two with RAN being far more productive I am of the Halo camp which has lately set up shop in Japan.

Another line that should be sprint just as an example is the Northern Afleet from Afleet who was a great sprinter and should have won the BC Sprint---when stretched to 1 1/4 distance against what was very kind to say average group in the Queen's Plate and even with a big lead at the 1/8 off a good trip he couldn't last. Now my point--Afleet speed-Northern Afleet -speed but with stayers popping up--then Afleet Alex's which seem to run everything (I am quite surprised at his success so far)Breeding is far from an exact science. I am a firm believer that if a horse is talented enough his bloodlines don't matter. If you look hard and deep enough you can explain anything--John Henry? The Bible Code vs Moby Dick with the right computer program.

Far more productive to watch races and then pick. If Frankel were to come he would be my pick he could be very special---The Master although nice horse is 2nd tier--another question/point which I am not going to look up---just memory--wasn't it a filly that beat him in Dubai?

26 Apr 2011 11:37 AM

Good stuff Steve but where are the really crucial categories like BEST IMMITATION OF A ZENYATTA DANCE STEP and FASTEST AT DRAINING A DRAFT OF GUINESS?

27 Apr 2011 11:29 AM
Linda in Texas

sceptre - i need educating, why does Pants on Fire's Sire Jump Start immediately eliminate Pants on Fire from winning the Kentucky Derby?

I looked Jump Start up in the stallion register and after i counted the dapples on him and saw that the area around his flank's ripple,(that is what one poster said to look for in a good racehorse) and read about his wins and honors, the only thing i can possibly come up with is his ability to race longer distances. Might that be the issue that eliminates Pants on Fire?

I am dead serious here in asking.

I hate to ask a dumb question which this probably is to some, but i would rather ask a dumb question, than make a dumb mistake.

When i file something away in my head, i want it filed in the right drawer.

I think Jump Start is a rather handsome fella.

Thank you.

27 Apr 2011 6:54 PM

Linda in Texas- my "immediately eliminates him from consideration" referred only to my previous sentence (that having Jump Start as a sire would eliminate Pants On Fire from consideration as the best bred of the potential Derby starters). Perhaps my phrasing should have been less ambiguous.--Sorry, but just now read your post.

30 Apr 2011 7:01 PM

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