Countdown to the Cup: Think Twice About Classic Rankings

Most will think we’ve taken leave of our senses with our No. 1 ranking of the Breeders’ Cup Classic horses, but if you see this horse kick in on the far turn on Nov. 5, it means he’s handling the dirt and the race might very well be over at that point. He’s that good. But that’s still a big ‘if’ and we have no idea if he’ll even show up. Call it a gut feeling that this could finally be the year for Ballydoyle, who has never sent a horse like this before. This was a legend in Australia before they made him a three-time group I winner in Europe, all at 1 ¼ miles.

1— SO YOU THINK – It would be a surprise if Coolmore decided to conclude his campaign in the Champion Stakes when they can attempt to make history and conquer something that has been their Moby Dick for the past 11 years; a quest that even claimed the life of one of their most popular horses. Unlike most of their past Classic contenders, he is a true 1 ¼-mile specialist, and O’Brien spoke volumes about this horse’s amazing constitution when he said Sunday he would run him every week if it were up to him and is seriously considering running in both the Champion and Classic, despite having just run in the Arc last Sunday. O’Brien said he came out of the Arc in “unbelievable form.” In Australia, he won the 1 ¼-mile Cox Plate, won the 1 ¼-mile MacKinnon Stakes, and finished third in the two-mile Melbourne Cup in the span of 10 days, the last two coming three days apart.

Considering the trip he had in the Arc, being taken well out of his comfort zone, and the way he closed from the back of the pack to finish fourth over a hard, firm course, he could very well be set up perfectly for the Classic. Although he was 5 ¾ lengths behind the freaky German filly Danedream, he was only beaten three-quarters of a length for second and showed a great deal of courage to turn back the outside challenges of  French group I winners Meandre and Sarafina, who looked as if they were going to blow right by him in tandem. His broodmare sire Tights was a multiple stakes winner on dirt and grass, and Tights’ dam, Dancealot, won and placed in grade I stakes on dirt for Woody Stephens. Assuming he bounces out of the Champion in good shape and handles the dirt at Churchill he would give Coolmore their best shot to win the Classic since Giant’s Causeway, especially having had a two-month vacation over the summer.

It is also worth noting that the talented and rapidly improving Await the Dawn has made great progress since his serious illness and could still make the Breeders’ Cup. He would be formidable in either the Turf or the Classic. Watch out for this one.

2—FLAT OUT – His authoritative scores in the JC Gold Cup and Suburban and his strong seconds in the Whitney and Woodward are more than enough to establish his class and consistency and make him the horse to beat. Of the top four Americans, he’s the only one proven at 1 ¼ miles. There is a slight concern that he disappointed in the Foster over the Churchill surface, but he was stuck on a fairly dead rail, and it was only his second start in 6 ½ months and third start in more than two years, so we’ll give him a pass for that effort. Consecutive Beyers of 113, 106, 109, and 107 make him perhaps the most consistently fast horse in the country to go with his class and stamina. He did only what he had to in the Gold Cup, so he should have left enough left in the tank for the Classic.

3—HAVRE DE GRACE – She’s as talented and accomplished as any horse pointing for the Classic and has already knocked off the boys and has learned how to decimate her female foes, as indicated by her 8 ¼-length romp in the Beldame while still under cruise control. Only question is whether she is quite as effective at 1 ¼ miles. After watching her last two races and her pair of narrow defeats at 10 furlongs against Blind Luck, there is little doubt she’ll handle the distance, especially considering she’s a much better horse now and has developed into a true powerhouse who can beat you from anywhere.

4—UNCLE MO – We wrote an entire column last week about running too brilliant a prep race at Belmont, especially the JC Gold Cup, and all the horses who paid the price in the BC Classic. Well, Uncle Mo couldn’t have been more brilliant after his 1:33 4/5 mile and 118 Beyer in the Kelso Handicap (at least it wasn’t at 1 ¼ miles). Now the big question is whether he is special enough to overcome his over-zealousness and can avoid meeting the same fate as those who peaked a race too early over Big Sandy. What makes this horse so special is his ability to run fast early while just cruising and still be able to come home fast. Physically, you won’t find a more handsome and finely tuned horse and he just exudes class. We know he loves Churchill, but we don’t know if he can get the 10 furlongs off only a pair of one-turn races since April and coming off a career-high speed figure. The five weeks will help. This is a potentially great horse -- how great we’ll find out in the Classic.

5—TIZWAY – Missing the Gold Cup with a fever won’t help answer his distance questions, so he’s still a bit of a guess on that front. He’s already shown he runs well fresh. His journey to Churchill Downs parallels Invasor, who also missed the Gold Cup with a fever and was able to win the Classic off the Whitney. But it’s still eight weeks and Invasor had no distance question marks. What he has going for him are back-to-back victories in the Met Mile and Whitney, and that alone stamps him as one of the leading contenders. You just don’t run any faster than he did in the Met (1:32 4/5), and he has proven he can rate off the pace. He is one you definitely want to follow in the morning as the race gets closer.

6—RULER ON ICE – Yes, this is a bit of a shocker, but loved his performance in the Pennsylvania Derby, giving 10 pounds to the winner, To Honor and Serve, and totally changing his running style, showing a whole new dimension to him. He leveled off beautifully and came home like a veteran stretch runner who had been doing it his whole career. Also loved the way he lowered his shoulder and was extending himself in the final furlong, flying home his last three-eighths in :35 3/5, despite having to go 8-wide. And the winner set a new stakes record. He now looks like a serious stretch threat with plenty of bottom under him, if, of course, they can get him to run that way again at Churchill. Garrett Gomez, who won the Classic last year, is a perfect fit and should know him a lot better second time aboard. And let’s not forget he is a classic winner who handles any kind of track. Strictly from a visual standpoint, his Pa. Derby stretch run makes him an enticing longshot – at the very least to juice up the exotics. If we had one future book bet to make at a big price he would be it.

7—GAME ON DUDE – He’s tough and game with excellent tactical speed and has turned in two of the gutsiest stretch runs seen all year, winning the Big Cap and just getting nipped in the Hollywood Gold Cup. He occasionally disappoints when he’s taken hold of, but is a tiger when given his head, and at the very least will make life miserable for any horse willing to engage him in battle. He loves a fight and seems to thrive on the competition, so it’ll be interesting to see how the pace scenario plays out with him and Uncle Mo and To Honor and Serve. His three victories this year have come when he’s run his fastest early fractions -- :46 and 1:09 3/5; :46 3/5 and 1:10 3/5; and :45 1/5 and 1:09. When he was slowed down to 1:13, 1:11 1/5, 1:12, and 1:12 4/5 he’s gotten beat. That is a bit misleading, because the faster races were all at Santa Anita, but his fractions were fast enough to make it worth mentioning.

8—STAY THIRSTY – He didn’t get the kind of trip he needs in the JC Gold Cup, and had little chance, having to catch Flat Out in the stretch, which was never going to happen. He needs to be right there turning for home so he can utilize his grinding, staying style, but inexplicably lost his position on the far turn and appeared to be dropping out of it. He did find his best stride again and tried to launch a bid after swinging wide, but had too much ground to make up on Flat Out, who had already broken the race open. He still was beaten only 2 ¾ lengths, so he at least showed he can compete with older horses. He’s the only 3-year-old to put together three straight huge efforts in top-class company – Belmont, Jim Dandy, and Travers. He’s proven at 1 ¼ miles and still has room for improvement, but could go either way, depending on how he handles the Churchill surface. The Ky. Derby was not a good indicator, so throw that race out.

9—TO HONOR AND SERVE – Patience has paid off with him and he’s now getting good at the right time. His Pennsylvania Derby score was big, but he still was a bit green in the stretch, ducking in from a right-handed whip and jumping back to his left lead. He has that regal look and demeanor about him and you have to be optimistic about his future. He may be ready to peak on Breeders’ Cup day, but he definitely is a horse to watch next year. He cannot afford to get hooked up with Uncle Mo and Game On Dude early, so he’ll either have to take back and stalk or be the aggressor and try to dictate the pace himself, hoping Dude and Mo leave him alone and wait for him to come back to them.

10—GIANT OAK – He looked good for a while in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, but was all over the place in the stretch and was unable to sustain his move. He didn’t get the kind of trip he wants. He was wide four-wide every step of the way and too close to the lead entering the far turn. He was only beaten 4 ½ lengths, but all that matters with him is getting back to Churchill Downs, his favorite track. You still might want to consider him as a longshot exotics play, as he’s run some of his best races at Churchill Downs, where he can take advantage of the long stretch. His third in the Whitney was better than it looks on paper, as he had to overcome a snail-like pace and then got hung 6- to 7-wide turning for home. When he got a rare fast pace in the Donn Handicap he blew by Morning Line and Rule to win going away in fast time, earning a career-high 105 Beyer. He should get that kind of pace in the Classic. Remember, we’re talking 30-1 or higher.

11—AWESOME GEM – Will this year mark a third attempt at the Classic for this 8-year-old warrior? After finishing third behind Curlin and Hard Spun in the 2007 Classic as a 4-year-old, he was sixth in the 2008 BC Mile, seventh in the 2009 Classic, and seventh in the 2010 Marathon. So, do you try the Classic again after his fast-closing second in the Goodwood Stakes or go for the BC Dirt Mile, considering he won the Longacres Mile in 1:34 4/5 and 1 1/16-mile Lone Star Handicap this year, having been infused with a jolt of brilliance at his advanced age? Wherever he goes, it’s good to have him aboard again.

12—DROSSELMEYER – This is a first – a horse using the JC Gold Cup as a prep for the BC Marathon and then running so well he winds up in the BC Classic. Although they are still considering both races, will WinStar actually run a horse who closed fast to finish second in the Gold Cup in the Marathon? That’s obviously where he has the best shot to win or finish in the money, but the temptation is pretty strong to try to pick up a piece of the big one. Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner has proven to be on the slow side, with a career-high 94 Beyer prior to the Gold Cup, so you have to wonder if he’s just reaching his peak now or whether he merely got up for second by default in a cavalry charge stretch run for the place and show spots.

NOT RANKED (Pointing for other races at this time, but still outside possibilities)

ACCLAMATION – By prepping in the Clement Hirsch, one would think that all but assures he’ll point for the BC Turf. His pedigree is about 90% turf and he ran miserably in the slop in the Charles Town Classic this year, so that’s probably where he belongs, although he did finish second at Fairplex Park in his only start on a fast dirt track. It is also worth noting he’s traveled back East twice in his career and ran up the track both times – the other being in the United Nations at Monmouth. He’s won his last five races, including a gutsy victory over Twirling Candy in the Pacific Classic on Polytrack and has proven to be a dangerous frontrunner, whose M.O. has been simple – go slow early and come home fast. The fastest three-quarter fraction he’s run during his winning streak is 1:12 1/5. When he was forced to go in 1:09 4/5 in the Frank Kilroe in his ’11 debut he finished fifth.

GIO PONTI – Chris Clement on several occasions after the Shadwell Turf Mile used the word “probably” in regard to Gio Ponti making his next start in the BC Mile, adding it’s up to the owner. Again, that’s “probably,” not “definitely.” We admit he looked impressive enough running down Get Stormy to suggest the Mile would be a good spot for him, and probably the best spot, but we’re still not convinced it’s the right spot. If his connections are content with the Mile and have no desire to take a chance and do something bold and sporting to accomplish something memorable, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with doing the logical thing, and a victory over Goldikova would be a crowning finale to a magnificent career. Gio Ponti displayed a good late turn of foot in the Shadwell, turning apparent defeat into victory, but will he be able to find room in time in the large field and match Goldikova’s turn of foot in the Mile, something he couldn’t do last year? We still remember the horse’s connections watching the replay of the 2009 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, in which he finished second over a bog. Clement immediately turned to owner Shane Ryan and said, “We’re going to the Classic, right?” Yes, the Classic was on Pro-Ride that year, but it still was music to our ears.

TWIRLING CANDY – While he hasn’t ruled out the Classic, trainer John Sadler, said he most likely will point for the “BC Mile,” although he probably meant the Dirt Mile. He would have been ranked in the Top 5 or 6 if he were being pointed for the Classic and didn’t get sick. A foot bruise kept him out of the Goodwood and he would have to train up to the race off an unprecedented nine-week layoff. That alone would scare most people away. Many feel he is not a 1 ¼-mile horse, as evidenced by his 0-for-3 record at the distance, but he is extremely talented, has made great strides mentally and visually, and could very easily erupt on the Churchill Downs dirt. His narrow defeat in the Pacific Classic was a terrific effort and we loved the way he was striding out down the stretch, while closing in blistering fractions against an exceptional horse in Acclamation.


Leave a Comment:


I hope Gio Ponti's owners are fans of yours and read your articles. Keep pushing them to enter the Classic, it would be great to see.

09 Oct 2011 9:44 PM

I like Gio for the mile and Gem for the dirt mile. Mo is great but being pushed too hard after such a serious illness. I don't want to watch him unravel. HDG is the real deal but my $2 will be on Flat Out, and my best wishes go to all the rest.

09 Oct 2011 11:14 PM

I'd like to see So You Think run in the Breeders' Cup Turf race. Also, I hear he's going to be kept in training next year. It would be great to see him in the BC next year at Santa Anita.

10 Oct 2011 1:22 AM

Gio Ponti ran a beautiful race this weekend and is a very honest horse. Game On Dude is extremely game and has a heck of a determined rider. But I honestly think they'll have a challenge beating Havre de Grace. Her campaign this year has been exceptional. She has my vote for the Cup.

10 Oct 2011 1:27 AM
The Deacon

Tizway, Harve De Grace, and To Honor and Serve are my 3 choices right now with Uncle Mo right behind. A case can be made for every horse in the field, that's why they run the race. Still about a month away, anything can happen. It's very daunting to believe that So You Think can jet set around the world and beat the best we have. I am not saying he can't but it sure is asking a lot.

Tizway will be fresh, and perhaps a little bit overlooked. Could get a decent price on him. Harve De Grace is just one tough mare who likes to finish first. To Honor and Serve has been well rested and comes off a dynamic performance in the Penn Derby, he has to be considered. Uncle Mo will be formidible but he won't be facing the same horses he beat in the Kelso. In my mind, it's a 4 horse race...........thanks Steve excellent blog.

10 Oct 2011 2:53 AM

Yes, yes, yes...absolutely # 1 in my eyes, So You Think should take the Classic.  I've already thrown the hints (and demands) to my kids regarding suggestions (demands) for an early birthday present,  November 5th at CD!  

The way he was ridden in the Arc seemed ridiculous to me, since SYT seems to favor being out front.  Keeping him last for over a mile did him great disservice.  On the other hand, though he beat Snow Fairy at 10f, I had my doubts at 12f.  She's so fast, and has the stamina to run on for a long time.  If she came to the BC, she would be my 2nd favorite, followed by Havre de Grace who has already proven herself to be better than most of our handicap horses running.  I don't see any 3 year old besting these 3, even Uncle Mo.

Very good breeding news about Lonrho, shuttling for stud duty to Darley in the US.  Great outbreeding for our new crops.

Thrilled for Gio Ponti...and Jeranimo.  Both well deserved wins.

10 Oct 2011 9:32 AM
Ida Lee

I have so many favorites, I have no idea right now who I'll be cheering for. BUT, the idea of Awesome Gem winning the Classic just brings tears to my eyes. He is such a special boy and that he's racing at such a high level of competition and giving horses half his age a run for their money, well it's downright AWESOME.

10 Oct 2011 9:54 AM
Abigail Anderson

Steve: I would love to see So You Think take it and completely agree with your analysis of his run in the Arc. About his "amazing form": after his first loss on UK soil, his former trainer said that he wasn't really surprised. He felt that O'Brien wasn't pushing SYT hard enough and, to his credit, O'Brien seems open to learning from the horse's former handlers. Certainly his sire, High Chaparral, got the distance -- I still remember his dead heat with Johar in the BC Turf -- and having Tights & Nijinsky on his broodmare sire line can't hurt. What I wonder is whether or not Coolmore-Ballydoyle is willing to risk him on the dirt....they've already lost two great horses that way & my sense is that they're grooming SYT to be one of their big name stallions.....

As an aside, Aussie photographer, Bronwen Healy, who is right up there with the likes of Barbara Livingston, loved SYT and was quite devastated to see that Coolmore had "trimmed his fringe." In his Aussie days, he had the same mop as Quality Road and this was one of the reasons she adored him!!!

10 Oct 2011 10:57 AM

Unfortunately, Stay Thirsty loses one race and he's now basically junk. He didn't handle the track that day and he still acquitted himself well. He's far superior to Ruler on Ice, IMO and will prove so again in the Cup. I'm not saying Steve is saying he's junk, but one race and he's dropped way down on his list and everyone elses'.

Ruler on Ice over THAS? I don't see it at all. Ruler on Ice made no impact in the PA Derby - sorry, that race was completely blown apart by THAS and the only reason it was close is because THAS was so green. I think ROI is a very nice horse, but again - he's not nearly as talented as THAS. Keep in mind that I don't think THAS should be in this race because I don't think he's mature enough - but apparently Mott thinks otherwise.

10 Oct 2011 10:58 AM

Wilburn I susppose is still a possibility - but I think he's going to the mile.

One thing about THAS - he showed he could rate nicely in the PA Derby.

10 Oct 2011 11:00 AM
Abigail Anderson

Another "foreigner" I'd love to see in the BC Turf Classic is Nathaniel, trained by John Gosden. I was SO impressed with this boy at Ascot!!!!

10 Oct 2011 11:10 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

It's a beautiful morning in Haskin's Magic Racedom. Entertaining appraisal of what could turn out to be a phenominal race. We'll know more once the final entries are taken. It could very easily be a fast pace and fast time with many being contenders. The track condition will be a factor also. If it rains then Acclamation is in. If So You Think is in that makes it even tougher to figure out. It's early for predictions but today Ruler On Ice, Uncle Mo, and Flat Out are my top three. If the entrants and pps signal a fast pace I see Ruler On Ice closing very strong for a top two spot, possibly the win. Mo could very easily be a super horse and we're finally going to find out. I think he has the stamina in his pedigree, and he has the stride to conserve energy at fast fractions more than most so I'm not as concerned about the distance as I normally would be. There are others that will want the lead and are proven on or very close to the lead at the distance so I think Mo if possible should relax and stalk and have everything left to explode the last eighth or quarter. His last was on the sealed mud but was an exceptional performance where he cruised at high speed then easily sped away once his scanner detected a cop in the neighborhood. If Flat Out can duplicate his Suburban and extend it another furlong then he is the horse to beat and probably the top comeback story for horse and trainer. Havre is my next choice. She is tremendous and proven at 10f. And I'm a Tizway fan too. Missing the JCGC was very disappointing.

10 Oct 2011 11:16 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

I like this BC Dozen just as I always look forward to your Derby Dozen.  The excitement builds! Many things to consider in the next few weeks but I will be rooting for Mo.

10 Oct 2011 11:55 AM

By far, the three most talented are: Twirling Candy, Mo, and So You Think. So You Think has only turf form and is bred pure turf. Doubt Mo wants 1 1/4M, his last race was tough, and not as impressive as many believe. Twirling Candy is best at less than 1 1/4-but likely better than Mo at the distance-and clearly outclasses the remainder of the proposed field. If his foot is ok, and he trains well up to the race, Sadler should probably take the shot.

10 Oct 2011 11:58 AM

Giant Oak...... More like 40 pr 50-1 after tiring in the stretch. the connections said thay tried to sit closer two races back and they were a little close in the Hawthorne Derby also. Come BC day, i suspect this horse gets the 1:11 and change pace he needs to roll on by, just as i have been saying for weeks.

10 Oct 2011 12:23 PM

Love that you included our old guy Awesome Gem! Watch out,he did almost catch Chantel you know! lol

10 Oct 2011 2:00 PM

I think that your rankings are perfect! Your top five match my top five.

I agree entirely regarding So You Think. He is currently my pick to win the Classic. But if Awesome Gem is anywhere near the lead on the far turn, I'll be cheering him on. I've been a fan of his for years.


10 Oct 2011 2:18 PM
Matthew W

Acclamation has won five in a row--all smashing wins! Turf and synthetic--now, Horse Of Year is theirs, "all" they have to do is win the Classic--I say, throw care to the wind, try them on their surface--he has the stamina, he's going great guns, what a story, a horse who was at one time "usefull", has put together a monster season, by Unusual Heat, a horse who sires many "usefull" horses but not (yet) the big horse, the Horse Of The Year--Acclamation is right there, why not take a chance?!

10 Oct 2011 2:48 PM
Steve Haskin

Betsy, how can Stay Thirsty have dropped way down my list when this is my first list? No one likes this horse more than I do, but I'm not sure if the race will set up for his style of running. It's very close between the 5,6, and 7 spots and he could move up if he works well and shows he might have another forward move in him. I didnt rank him higher because the 2nd and 3rd horses in the Travers came back and ran disappointing races in the Pa. Derby.

10 Oct 2011 2:52 PM
Crickett Hoffman

Matthew W.  I agree.  He's a great horse.  He wires it on the turf with style, but Acclamation is probably going to run on the turf in the Breeder's Cup according to certain connections.  He's going to run on what he was bred for.  Unusual Heat is very proud of this one.  And he's got more "kids" coming.  Stay tuned.

10 Oct 2011 3:27 PM

I believe Stay Thirsty may be a Saratoga Specialist.

10 Oct 2011 3:29 PM
Pedigree Ann

Haven't we been to this party before? Uncle Mo wins a modestly-paced one-turn mile over 3 other horses. Then when we was asked to go farther than he has before, around two turns, and is highly fancied, he flunked the test. This horse does not have the bottom to face experienced 10f horses, no matter how 'talented' he is. Sheer talent can win mile races, but serious fitness is required in a competitive 10f.

I do really object to pigeon-holing So You Think as a 10f specialist. His current connections have been running him at 10f, mostly - he did win an 11f G1 in Ireland earlier in the year - but his Melbourne Cup at 2 miles was a mighty effort, giving weight all around (the Cup is a handicap).

I found the ride he got in the Arc to be inexcusable. They ran him with a pacemaker - again! - which had been demonstrated already to be a failed strategy at Ascot. Taking him to the back of the field - idiotic. Anybody who had watched him run in Australia knew this was suicide. SYT is the sort of horse who likes to bowl along near the lead, then put away his field in the straight; he is NOT a European 'turn of foot from the back of the field' horse and it was folly to run him as if he were.

10 Oct 2011 3:49 PM

Warrior is the perfect word to describe AWEOME GEM who has been a favorite of mine for some time. The "More Gems" blog Steve wrote back on July 11 2010 was one of his best too.

10 Oct 2011 4:04 PM

I have to throw in my two cents with Ida Lee and the rest who are thrilled to see Awesome Gem in the group.  Wow!  8 years old and still running the big races.  He is just amazing.  I hope he does really well.

As for my favorites now, I finally saw both Havre de Grace and Uncle Mo at Belmont.  They look phenomenal!

10 Oct 2011 4:50 PM

You just have to love Awesome Gem and Gio Ponti, where ever they run.  If Goldikova and Gio Ponti once again meet up in the Mile I would not know who to cheer for.  I admire the horses that run for more than a year or two and show us their heart and soundness.

Of course I love Havre De Grace, too.  Let us just hope for clean races and that all the horses come out sound!

10 Oct 2011 5:26 PM

My picks:

Uncle Mo

Havre de Grace

Ruler On Ice


Even if Awesome Gem comes in last he deserves a standing ovation.  What a fighter, 8 years old and still going 4 years after Culin's retirement.  He gets a special award in my book.

Ruler On Ice we know can rule in the slop so the cuppiness of Churchill should not be a big problem and if Churchill comes up wet look out, but I think Mo will show his intelligence, fighting spirit, and show us that other gear he has to get the extended distance.  GO MO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 Oct 2011 5:29 PM


Churchill Downs dirt track has been a kind surface to good turf runners over the years and could possibly favour So You Think but I'm not convinced that this horse has the quality to dispose of Tizway, Uncle Mo, Havre de Grace and Twirling Candy on their preferred surface, dirt.  No way.

The Classic is really turning into a quality contest as a couple of the 3YOs are blossoming at the right time especially the sons of Bernardini: To Honour and Serve, Stay Thirsty and Wilburn.  THAS looked very good in the Pensilvania Derby, winning with authority but it is left to be seen whether he'll be bold or if he'll fold when matching strides with others like Tizway and HDG that kick in on the far turn just like he does.  The pace scenario of this race is not the easiest to figure out because a few of the runners are very versatile and have great tactical speed.  Somehow I Think that out and out closers will not fare well in here because the pacey stalking types are not likely to be backing up.  Anyway its going to be very interesting: I anticipate that the class horse will prevail. Tizway is the one they'll all have to beat.    

10 Oct 2011 6:15 PM
Matthew W

Acclamation likes to cruise into the lead--with an outside post, he can do that--lay close into the backstretch, cruise into an early move--he could put away the pace setters and open up on them, depends on who will be coming--there isn't much to this year's Classic field--I think if Acclamation goes in the Classic, gets that wide draw as the outside speed, track Uncle Mo, who will try to win it on the front end, (at least I think he should), Acclamation will open up on them at head of stretch and it'l be up to the filly! Those two, the beautiful, classy Harve De Grace...and Acclamation, the hard trying/never whipped Cal-bred--those two, in my opinion, have had the best years in the sport.

10 Oct 2011 6:52 PM

Sorry to take a very,very  different view.

So You Think is one of the most overrated horses in training.

He was beaten by Rewilding. He beat Snow Fairy half a length, then finished close to Snow Fairy in the ARC.  Neither Snow Fairy nor the ill-fated Rewilding scared anyone in Europe.

He beat Workforce by a half. Workforce was next beaten by Nathaniel, then finished 12th in the ARC.

So You think  is ranked number 3 among older horses in Europe, by Timeform. Overall he is ranked number 6. Number 6 on grass probably translates to a much lower number on dirt.

He is not a great racehorse. However, I hope he runs because I need the effect on the price.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup was run over  a sealed track. That  makes the result meaningless. This applies to all races run on dirt  that day.

There is one horse they all have to beat, To Honor And Serve. I believe THAS will crush So You Think over any surface at any distance.

The other older horses are to Invasor as 50-Cent is to Beethoven.

10 Oct 2011 9:53 PM
Paula Higgins

I will be surprised if So You Think shows up. So from that standpoint I am going with Uncle Mo, HDG, Fat Out and Tizway. I know Uncle Mo might have peaked, but I am betting not. He is a tremendously talented horse. It just depends on his trip and if he likes the distance. There are so many potential winners and so few throughouts. Any one of them could win if they get a good trip.

10 Oct 2011 11:31 PM
Smoking Baby

 Jersey Boy.  I agree with you on both points.  I normally like the O'Brien horses but I just don't get all the fuss over So You Think.  And yes...We've certainly become overly excited over a few race results over a wet racetrack in New York.  Having said all of this.  I'm not saying I've got a better pick than Uncle Mo or So You Think.  I'm just saying I don't get all the fuss so far.  Maybe I will after the Breeder's Cup Classic is run.

11 Oct 2011 8:59 AM

Steve, excellent list with insights, thanks!

For me it's still way too early to settle on a winner.  Some of these will go to other races and pp's with track condition still have to be taken into account.  But with the size and class of this field, the Classic for me is finding 4 horses to box for a juicy payoff.  Uncle Mo will take a lot of emotion money but I question his ability to get 10F against these.  Ranagulzion has been touting Tizway for a while and I agree he's coming into this race, ready and at a good price.  I think THAS is sitting on a career best and will keep on eye on him.  Havre de Grace can battle with the boys, and win.  Flat Out has the numbers and class.  At this point:



Havre de Grace

Flat Out

Stay tuned...

11 Oct 2011 10:43 AM
Jennifer in Columbia

I love your lists! It is shaping up to be quite an exciting Breeders' Cup especially when it looked like it might be a big, dull dud only a few months ago.

All the divisions are very exciting, and as always the Europeans provide an interesting "x" factor to take under consideration.

Jersey Boy you are totally off the mark about Rewilding. Before his tragic demise, he was a MONSTER racehorse. After his performances in Dubai and Europe, I find it hard to argue with his speed and unrealized potential. There is no shame in losing to Rewilding.

I really hope So You Think does come to the Classic, but I don't know how he will handle the dirt. If he handles it well, Coolmore will almost certainly catch their white whale.

In watching this year of racing, I have gained a substantial appreciation for how important the course can be in determining race outcomes. I think Stay Thirsty is a Saratoga course specialist. Flat Out really likes Belmont. Tizway is a big question mark for Churchill and the Classic distance. Giant Oak has run some of his better races at Churchill so he might be a sleeper at a price. I honestly don't know if he is fast enough though. Uncle Mo loves Churchill but questions about distance. HDG- well this lady travels and runs well at all tracks so I think she is probably the safest bet to hit the board.

I am not sure how the California horses will handle Churchill. As we saw last year, Zenyatta hated the surface (although that didn't stop her from almost mowing down Blame), but other California based runners like Blind Luck thrive on it. It will be interesting to see how Game on Dude and Twirling Candy work over the surface. I think it's a shame they may not put Twirling Candy in the Classic because he certainly belongs there. He is already listed in TrueNicks, so he will certainly be retiring at the end of the year. Seems like they should take a shot at the big time, rather than piddling along in the Mile.

It is looking like Shackleford may not go in the Cup. If he does end up going, I hope they look no farther than the Dirt Mile because that is probably his best distance.

11 Oct 2011 11:42 AM

Jennifer in Columbia:

Rewilding's record before beating So You Think can be found on line.

Here it is:

At 3


Great Voltigeur S.Grade 2

Cocked Hat S.


Prix Noailles Grade 2


Epsom Derby Grade 1

At 4:

Won Sheema Classic Grade 1.

He had won one Grade 1 before beating So You Think.

He won 5 races lifetime.

I do not know how you define "monster".

Be careful questioning my facts.

11 Oct 2011 1:23 PM

I agree with sceptre who opines that Uncle Mo, So You Think and Twirling Candy; all with big question marks.  At this point, I've got to go with the filly.  She handled Flat Out very easily and I think she IS better than when losing narrowly in her previous starts at 1-1/4 mile.  I don't see her stopping.

11 Oct 2011 3:04 PM

off the subject - I am appalled they are selling Blind Luck - she will go to Japan and that is the last we will hear of her. Didn't they make enough money on her? What about loyalty to her fans and why in the world not keep her and her offspring here. The almighty dollar - THATS WHY RACING IS DYING! I bet they NEVER considered selling ZENYATTA or RACHEL

11 Oct 2011 3:40 PM
Jennifer in Columbia

In my opinion, Rewilding was hitting his best stride. I think had he raced the second part of the year, we would really have seen something special. We will never know of course because he never got the chance to prove that he was putting all the pieces together. Some horses mature later, but when they do, watch out (Zenyatta for instance)!

11 Oct 2011 4:06 PM

Hey Jersey Boy-

So You Think only beat Snow Fairy and Workforce! Really? Thats it? Those are slow horses right? Come on, stop it! They are not nearly as talented as the horses To Honor And Serve beat...Right??

11 Oct 2011 4:54 PM

If Frankel's connections see fit to bring him to the BC to get that North American race he would need- and if he wins- he's a contender, as will be Goldikova.  Personally, I think the Euros should be required to have more than 1 NA start for consideration, but those are the rules.  

11 Oct 2011 6:34 PM

Barry- I agree TOTALLY about Blind Luck.  Her connections should be shipped off to Japan with her.  We risk losing a potentially great broodmare.  How much money do these people need.  It's a disgrace.

11 Oct 2011 6:36 PM

I think what hooked me on SO You Think was not his magnificent long stride, or his handsome good looks, or his stamina and speed.  What grabbed me was his courage.

In his race against workforce, he was behind, he was uncomfortable (and it was noticeable), and he never really got into a rhythmic stride.  SYT, however pushed ahead on pure muscle and stubborness, and it put me to mind of Seattle Slew in the JCGC, and I was smitten.  (no one uses that word "smitten" anymore but somehow it was the right word.)  He's so strong, and I think he is more than capable of taking the Classic.

11 Oct 2011 8:49 PM

Steve,  What do you think will happen with Blind Luck?    Do you think she will get purchased and kept in NA or do you think one of the foreigners like Japan will buy her up and ship her over there?   Very sad to hear of this.

Please give us your thoughts on this.

11 Oct 2011 10:41 PM


My point is, he is overrated. He is rated the equal of Strong Suit,who is the number FOUR 3yo in Europe.

So says Timeform.

Yes, he could not beat THAS and

you are not worth hating.

11 Oct 2011 10:48 PM
Diego Conde

Dear Mr. Haskin: So you think So You Think has what it takes... I wonder if you believe he is a great horse or if you just doubt the quality of the prospective field.

I was ready to cheer for SYT a month ago, when I tuned TVG for the Irish Champion Stakes. My jaw dropped during the post parade when a first saw such specimen. But, to be honest, his effort seemed to fall short of the "amazing" that was advertised. He's really good, but so were all the European champions that have come here to compete in the Fall.

I've been an advocate for Uncle Mo, and you and others suggest that he might have peaked to early. I did read your column on prep races. Question: Is your analysis affected by the fact that UM is a fresh horse? His prep races have not come after a long campaign or repeated grueling efforts; instead, a 4 months lay-off.

If UM repeats the Kelso effort over the mud, and gallops out in a :29 (a crawl), he still wins... Doesn't he???

Please shed some light on us mere mortals.

11 Oct 2011 11:48 PM

I would love to see So You Think run in the Classic, if he does he is my choice to win. I don't see anyone who hasn't won at 1 1/4, winning their first in the Classic, so that will leave out Havre de Grace, Uncle Mo, and To Honor and Serve. Filling out the exotics, I like Flat Out, Ruler on Ice and Stay Thirsty.

12 Oct 2011 1:12 AM
The Deacon

Well today we hear that Acclamation is sidelined for the rest of the year with heat around the foot area. Like I have been saying all along, lets not get our hopes up quite yet on who shows up for these Breeders Cup Championships. Almost a month to go and anything could happen. I expect several more defections by by the time race day rolls around, always seems to work out that way.

12 Oct 2011 1:49 AM

AWESOME GEM: (6) 1 1/4m races to date with (2) victories; HOL (2:03.31) HAW (2:04.36)

No horse beyond the age of five has ever won the BCC. I do not believe a performance in the mode of either Voponi or Arcangues will be good enough to even get this horse on the board at age 8. Had his chance when younger in 2009 and ran into the very mean Zen Lady. His entry would be a joke

DROSSELMEYER:  (2) 1 1/4m races to date with (1) victory;  BEL 1st ( 2:06.07); 2nd JCGC (2:03.17)

If there is an upset in the BCC this will be the horse assuming he is entered. He was force out of training for 9 months after his Belmont win. He must now be as tough as nails. His performance in JCGC reflects and almost 3 seconds improvement over his previous effort at the distance. He must be sitting on a big race.

GIANT OAK: (3) 1 1/4m races to date with (0) victories; HAW 5th ( 2:04.68); 2nd  (2:04.16)

Looked a tired horse in the Haw Gold Cup. The times recorded in his losing effort for the distance suggest he should go to the BC Marathon.

TO HONOR AND SERVE (0) 1 1/4m races to date. Projected time for 10F based on his Saratoga time of 1:48.31 for 9F races (2:01.49)

He has to be the most dangerous 3YO heading into the BCC. Folks this colt is fast and I mean very fast for his pedigree. His last two starts are convincing indicators that he is ready for the big times. His action is still not as smooth as it appeared in his 2YO races. I refuse to believe he is still green. His projected time is right in line with the winning BCC times recorded at CD. I have no doubt he can succeed where his sire failed. His dam sire Deputy Minister is one of four horses that have been both sire and broodmare sire of BCC winners. Relaunch, Seattle Slew and Alydar are the others.

STAY THIRSTY: (3) 1 1/4m races to date with (1) victory; SAR 1st ( 2:03.03); 3rd  JCGC (2:03.17)

His two CD performances suggest he does not fancy the track. His grinding style does no suit CD and he will be out run in the lane.

GAME ON DUDE: (3) 1 1/4m races to date with (1) victory; SA 1st ( 1:59.47); 2nd  HOL (2:01.57)

His trainer Speedy Bob seems incapable of winning the BCC. It is probably the only big one he has failed to win to date. Has had only a fighting victory over questionable 10F horses at the BCC distance. The Zen Lady won the 2009 BCC with a time of 2:00 plus on the SA synthetic track. She was defeated in 2:02 plus at CD. GOD times should be adjusted by at least 2.5 seconds which suggest he is not far enough to win at CD.

RULER ON ICE: (1) 1 1/4m races to date with (0) victory; SAR 4th ( 2:03.03)

He has two victories to his credit while the mare HDG has eight. He had every chance in the Haskell and Travers and failed to fire.  He will be closing against superior closers and consequently has no chance of winning. His connections will be praying for rain and even that might not be enough. Not as good as promoted to be.

TIZWAY: (1) 1 1/4m races to date with (0) victory; BEL 3rd JCGC ( 2:02.51)

His dam sire Dayjur was a sprinter and this has to be a major negative at 10F. His last two races were so slow they failed to satisfy G1 requirements. Like Uncle Mo he won a one turn mile at Belmont is a fast time (1:32.90) He is going to find the last 100 meter of the BCC over whelming.

UNCLE MO: (0) 1 1/4m races to date. Projected time for 10F based on his Wood time of 1:49.93 for 8F races (2:03 Plus)

The more I view Uncle Mo races the more I am convinced he will not be very competitive against genuine 10F routers. Why base his project time for 10Fon his Wood performance and not his Kelso? Well, none of the impressive winners of the Kelso have gone on to win the BCC. The only Kelso winner to win a BC race is Lure. Since the Kelso was reduced from 10F to 8F, five winners have recorded times of 1:32 plus and four of 1:33 plus. I know the 1:33.82 and the 118 beyer would have reenergized the Mighty Mo supporters. Caution! Six previous winners have gone faster.

HAVRE DE GRACE: (2) 1 1/4m races to date with (0) victory; SAG 2nd ( 2:03.89); 2nd DEL (2:01.20)

She was unable to repel the challenge of BL in both her 10F defeats. The time recorded at Saratoga for her close losing effort is slower than the average winning time for BCCs contested at CD. If BL can close from another zip code and beat HDG, she has to vulnerable against top stayers who have far more tactical speed. Her average winning time for her four 9F races is 1:49.62. The average wining times for THS most recent 9F races is 1:47 plus. She does not have superior speed figures to those of some of the top males and I cannot see her winning the BCC.  There is even a more significant factor. History! Zenyatta almost captured consecutive BCC. She was the first female to win the BCC and it took an exceptional female to break through. History suggests this feat will not reoccur in such a short span. She is running for one of the spots behind the winner.

FLAT OUT: (1) 1 1/4m races to date with (1) victory; BEL 3rd JCGC ( 2:03.17)

His #2 ranking is surprising considering he was beaten by the grandfather of the field Awesome Gem. He was beaten by a female in a race that was not particularly fast. His only effort at CD was a 6th place finish. In his three victories the following horse finished second: Drosselmeyer, Hymn Book and Max Me Out. I cannot see this horse winning the premier race for older horses in the US. He will be badly beaten.

SO YOU THINK: His record speaks for itself.

12 Oct 2011 3:31 AM

It is a shame to read Acclamation will not make the BC because of a bruised foot.  The other dispiriting news yesterday was that Blind Luck is being sold.  What a disgrace it will be if she ends up overseas.  This tremendous filly deserves more than to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Yet, if the Mosses purchased her and let her be a broodmare with Zenyatta, that would be just fine in my view.

Coldfacts--thank you for your insightful synopsis on the possible field for the Classic.  I know it will be a tall order coming into that race off 9 weeks training, but I still think Twirling Candy has a big shot to win this race.    

12 Oct 2011 6:42 AM
Ida Lee


12 Oct 2011 12:34 PM
Smoking Baby

oso7 (I always think of Oso Pkwy in Mission Viejo, Ca. when I read your posts) I feel you pain about Blind Luck but I do want to say that not everyone that is in the racing business is necessarily in the breeding business.  Selling breeding stock is just another part of the business and if someone overseas is willing to step up and pay the highest price that's no disgrace it's just free enterprise.  

12 Oct 2011 12:42 PM


I enjoyed your BCC analysis. Good stuff. I took note that your current fancies are THAS and Drosselmyer. The latter finished strongly in the JCGC but he's too slow to be a winning factor in the Classic. I think that he has a better chance in the Marathon, although he'll still have his work cut out to defeat AU Miner in that race IMO.

I'm not surprised by your views about Tizway and Uncle Mo: I think that you'll be proven wrong again about these. As for So You Think, pardon me but I didn't get your point.

12 Oct 2011 12:49 PM

oso7: I don't think Twirling Candy is headed to the Classic.  His connections seem to feel he's better at shorter distances...and so do I, as much as I love to see him move.

I love Giant Oak and Tar Heel Mom, but I feel both are G2 horses with occassional flashes of brilliance just like Jeranimo.

I'm going to beg Steve's pardon, while I vent.  Been reading Jason's blogs and, lately, no matter the topic, they all turn into a Zen bash.  I'm tired of it.  I dared him to print what I had to say...he didn't.  So here it was........

"Aaaaaargh!  I'm sitting here tearing out my hair.  I thought this blog was about the 2011 BC Classic.  I should have known better.  No blog of Jason's could go for very long without rehashing 2009 and 2010...not the BC...just the mares.  

To denigrate any race horse does a great disservice to them all.  Don't call yourself a fan of horse racing; you're just a fan of your own hot air, enamoured only with your keyboard and merely stroking your own opinion because you think it's all that matters.

It goes on...and on...and on...goaded by Jason whose own handicapping skills seem to have tanked for the past 2 years, and who is left with so little on which to expound so he keeps  pounding Zenyatta?    Do you even have the guts to print this?  Do you have the guts to control your own blog?  Do you have anything new to say?

I would rather talk about So You Think...and the fact that Havre de Grace has run faster times than the boys.  She's my 2nd choice for the Classic.  I love THAS, but he's still recovering. I think Mott has a champion, who has a better turn of foot than Stay Thirsty.  I think the Classic is the wrong race for UM, just as last year I thought it was a mistake for QR.  Brilliant at a mile...Uncle Mo may be back..but not for 10f."

12 Oct 2011 2:00 PM


I should point out to you the reason why your conclusions about Tizway and Uncle Mo are faulty:

1) Tizway is a very fast horse with a high cruising speed and stamina inherited from his sire, two-time BCC winner Tiznow.

2) His authoritative victory in the Whitney should dispel all doubts about his stamina because he was drawing off from Flat Out at the end.

3) The Saratoga track was playing deep and slow, a cold fact that you've chosen to ignore

4) Tizway does extremely well coming off the layoff and is really thriving right now and primed to produce a career best effort.  Remember that I warned you.

Regarding Uncle Mo:

1) You've always underestimated him (nothing new from you)

2) His Wood Memorial run is a toss out performance due to ill-health and should not be held against him.

3) His speed figures have consistently showed that he's the best colt of his generation in America.

4) He has tactical speed, is very rateable and explosive when roused by Johnny V (so watch out my friend)

5) He has stamina influences in his female family to see out the ten furlongs in top competition.

I'm looking forward to the results on the track once again Pal. Enjoy.

12 Oct 2011 2:43 PM

I dont think their are any dominant horses entered for this years classic as of today from what I know.I hope to see at least a 12 horse field, and then It might become an interesting betting race,in the exotic pool, especially because the favorite should be an entry(everyone on this board should know this entry.

12 Oct 2011 7:30 PM

Thank you, Steve.  I needed to release that pent up frustration.

12 Oct 2011 7:49 PM

I agree with Steve with putting a Euro on top.  The American horses are full of questions and this is the weakest Classic field since Saint Liam a while back.  Havre De Grace might be able to get a mile and a quarter but she has already proven she cant get it before Blind Luck gets there so I am not sold.  Im going with Game on Dude, no valid reason, just eliminating the rest.

12 Oct 2011 8:37 PM

Well said Slew!  I have nearly stopped reading his blogs because all he does is bash Zenyatta at every opportunity.  Thank goodness we have Mr Haskin's blog - the best writer around and someone who really knows his stuff!!!

FYI to ZENYATTA AND RACHEL fans ---a book called Horse Racing Divas just came out that is about them and 10 other famous females.  It's available thru Exclusively Equine...I already ordered mine.

P.S.  Is that why you have been declining to write a Zenyatta book Steve?  If so, you can still do it.  A whole book about her and written by you would be the BEST!

12 Oct 2011 9:13 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

Slew - Great post! I got tired of Jason's constant Zen-bashing (CA bashing too) in the middle of last year. The blog became too tough for me to bear when crazy comparisons were made like... "synthetc surfaces in CA are 'plastic' but anywhere else in the country they are a legitimate racing surface" or "Zenyatta was a complete disgrace in the Classic in 2010". I thought it was a very thrilling race and any horse that finishes only a head back to a nice horse such as Blame has no reason to be called a disgrace. I could go on but what's the point? I have never read his blog since, and never will again.

This has been an extremely tough year for consistency with the horses. Illness and injuries seem to have been a real plague in 2011. Horses will run a stunning race then in their next start they are distanced by the rest of the field and... leaving the fans, handicappers, and often the trainers scratching their heads. Havre de Grace is probably the most consistent runner from NA to be going to the Breeders' Cup this year. I would have also added Acclamation to the list but he is on the sidelines the remainder of the year. Bummer. Gio Ponti never disgraces himself but he's been a bridesmaid most of this year.

Of course, any horse who can string together more than 2 wins back to back is a welcome sight this year. I will still completely enjoy two full days of World Class Breeders' Cup racing and my traditional race day chinese take out!

P.S. He may not be Breeders' Cup material but Rapid Redux is so exciting to follow!

12 Oct 2011 10:56 PM


“You've always underestimated him (nothing new from you)”

I know my English is not the best but I have tried in many ways in spite of its deficiency to state that I do not dislike or try to undermine the Mighty Mo. He has been labeled great and I just cannot understand why. Both Mr. Haskins and Mr. Sandler specified that trainers would avoid him on the Derby trail and yet again I failed to see why. Secretariat was not avoided. There seem to have been some kind of insanity about this colt. Graham Motion specified that he had no desire to s tart Toby’s Corner against Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial. I was shocked when the statement was reported. He abandoned his crazy status and the rest is history. The betting public was not advised of his ailment prior to the Wood as he left the gate at either 1-5 or less. It was reported that he grabbed a quarter in the race. Subsequently reports detailed an unknown ailment.  The only reason he lost the Wood was because he was ill consequently Toby’s Corner victory was undeserved. His loss to Cables Posse was due to his illness and long layoff. When will it end? Why is Uncle Mo great? Could it be his multiple track and stakes records; his widest margins of victory; his turbo charge acceleration;  The fear drives into opponents. I beseech you to tell me.

“His speed figures have consistently showed that he's the best colt of his generation in America”

This is the sort of statement that misrepresents the colt. The fastest time for a mile belongs to (Uncle Mo). The fastest time for 6F belong to (The Factor). The fastest time 9F belongs to ( To Honor and Server) The fasts time 10F belongs to (Animal kingdom) How can you justify the above?

Uncle Mo will not win at 10F against the top G1 horses. He is not a genuine router and I am prepared to eat a healthy portion of crow for my position .


At age six he will not win the BCC as no 6YO has ever won the race. Top rated horses like Pleasantly Perfect, Cigar and Zenyatta all failed to win the great race as 6YOs. Should I assume that Tizway is better than the aforementioned champions? He is a miler at best and will not beat the 3&4YOs at 10F.

THS is the horse to beat. His stable companion DROSSELMEYER will have no trouble with the trip and will be returning to the track where he recorded his first victory.

13 Oct 2011 12:16 AM


I like your analysis, but a little correction is required.

You wrote of To Honor And Serve:

"I have no doubt he can succeed where his sire failed".

Bernardini did not fail in the Classic. He finished second to Horse of the Year Invasor.

13 Oct 2011 7:30 AM

To all the doubters who don't get why So You Think is so well thought of, go to YouTube and watch some of the great races he has won. The Cox Plate twice, once when he was only a 2yr old, (he was foaled in Nov 2006 and the Cox Plate was in Oct 2009). 3 G1's in 2009, 4 G1's in 2010 with a 3rd in the Melbourne Cup and that's just in Australia. Then wins another 4 G1's in the UK so far in 2011.

So here's a horse who's won from a mile to 10 1/2 furlongs. Show me the horse here with a record that's even close to that. If he shows up for the BC (not a certainty,) if he handles the dirt (not a problem as long as they get a jockey who's not afraid to get up near the front), we will see a true champion.

It can't be any easier for the horse to change trainers than it is for the trainer to train him as well as his previous trainer did but despite everything they've thrown at him he still gives his all every time.

I for one would love to see the likes of Frankel, So You Think and Black Caviar run in the Breeders Cup. It would make it a truly international event.

13 Oct 2011 8:23 AM

Slew- Thanks for venting for us all.

13 Oct 2011 9:33 AM


Below is the latest Timeform Ranking of the top older horses in Europe. This shows you what his current level is. He is number 6 overall.










13 Oct 2011 12:28 PM

Jersey Boy, Canford Cliffs is a miler and has been retired,and Rewilding is no longer with us.  So You Think is now ranked at 138 with Frankel at 136 in the Cartier HOY race.  Unlike the USA, the Cartier includes trainers and fans opinion, but also assigns points for each race.

Older horse category is still led by SYT with 138, and Goldikova 2nd with 112.

Frankel leads the 3 yr old division with his 136.

13 Oct 2011 1:58 PM


My tool is Timeform.

Cartier is a popularity contest. The Timeform rankings remain in effect until year end, regardless of whether a horse is active.

Below is the Timeform ranking of 3yos.

There is little contest between So You Think and the 3yos. He has to give them 5 lbs.

If you want to see the Official Ratings see the entries in the Champion Stakes on Saturday.

URL attached.







128 EXCELEBRATION,12495,451779,00.html

13 Oct 2011 4:34 PM

Jersey I said, unlike the American Hoy which is totally subjective, "Cartier award winners are decided by POINTS EARNED IN GROUP the votes cast by British racing journalists and readers of the Racing Post and Daily Telegraph newspapers." As for 10f race Saturday, Nathaniel is rated at 128, while SYT at 127.  But SYT is favored in the odds 9/4.

I really can't believe Snow Fairy's odds are 8/1, as is Twice Over.  I expect the odds to be much lower by Saturday.

Thank you for the link.

Footlick and Racingfan: Thanks.  I simply couldn't take the idiocy any longer, and Jason seems unwilling to accept any criticism.

This may, indeed, be a most historic BC if all these UK champions come.  Apparently even Frankel is now considering it.

13 Oct 2011 7:54 PM

JerseyBoy- I also look at Racing Post ratings and Globeform ratings

13 Oct 2011 8:14 PM

Coldcuts!!! the wack quack...there he is, blinding us with his  science. Cant win because he is 6!!! No 6 yr old can win...ever!!! Cant see why mo is of the best beyers ever as 2yrold.. how about a 118 beyer? nope!!! cant see it!!!  tizway...nope cant see him run good...he only has best races by older horse....COLDCUTS! HOW TO YOU TYPE WEARING THAT STRAIGHTJACKET???

13 Oct 2011 9:59 PM

Smoking Baby,

I laughed when you mentioned Oso Parkway.  I live in San Diego and every time I drive north on Hwy 5 I wish I could get one of those freeway signs for my house.  Oso is actually one of my dogs, a rescued, abused terrier mix who is my all time favorite dog--and I've been blessed with a lifetime of marvelous dogs.


I am so pleased that Mr. Haskin posted your response to Jason Shandler and his incessant need to denigrate Zenyatta and John Shirreffs.  JS gave him a cold and icy response last year in an interview and it appears Shandler can't get over it.  Then you throw in his neophytes such as Draynay and AAF and you have the perfect witch's brew of West Coast haters of horses and anyone associated with CA racing.  At least they are worthy of a derisive laugh now and again.

Steve~I would hope you might consider writing a book on Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, two wondrous fillies who elevated the sport, much as Blind Luck and HDG have.  For me, there is no finer writer on racing than you and I would cherish the opportunity of purchasing your book on them.    

14 Oct 2011 12:35 AM

As usual, you have a way of stringing words together like no other.  Thanks.  

I've got my picks narrowed down to 6.  LOL!

Just curious though.  How much are you going to wager on So You Think?

14 Oct 2011 10:36 PM

No excuses for SYT this time. He had the run of the race. Just not enough left in the tank at the finish. Will he still come over here for the BC? A defeat in the Classic would not do his stallion prospects any good so maybe they'll keep him at home.

This is a horse who benefits from hard work and they do seem to be too soft on him. At this same time last year he ran 3 G1 races just days apart, winning 2 and 3rd in the 2 mile Melbourne Cup.

I still think he's worth putting your money on Steve. Never write off a champion.

FRANKEL, what a monster this horse is. We haven't seen the best of him yet and I hope we get to see him here one day.

Write that book Steve but don't confine yourself to Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. You have been round for, let's just say "more than a day" and I'm sure you have some great stories to tell and memories to share.

15 Oct 2011 9:55 PM


Timeform has a consistent record of assigning over-hyped horses ridiculously high numbers for stellar performances, as well as for favoring British-trained horses. Look at your own rankings of three-year-olds, for example. Frankel has been given a 142, and I don't doubt his impressiveness or the fact that he's the best three-year-old colt in the world, but were any of his performances this year (including this weekend's) really 10 pounds better than Danedream's performance in the Arc? Watch her last two races, then tell me she should be rated with the likes of Dream Ahead and Strong Suit. Her performance was rated lower than deserved because she was an unheralded, German-trained filly before her breakout performance.

This doesn't even take into account TimeForm's incredible bias against any horse who is not based in Europe - Americans, Japanese, Aussies. You can cite their rankings all you want, but they are clearly not an infallible or even very accurate way of determining the "best" horses in any part of the world.

17 Oct 2011 8:35 PM

I completely agree with your assessment of Ruler on Ice's Pennsylvania Derby!  In the final furlong, I distinctly remember thinking, "This is interesting..." Contrast that with my thoughts at the end of the Belmont, drenched from sitting in the rain all day: What the hell just happened?  I think he's got a real chance.

18 Oct 2011 11:21 AM

Ranagulzion: Let's see Uncle mo beat something of merit at 2 turms before you anoint him. This Classic Field has no horse that will be remembered as a great champ and yet Mo will tire come mid stretch and prove his worth as a great one turn horse, just like Zenyatta proved she could beat the gals on synthetic, but nt the best on dirt. Do you think Zenyatta would have been 19-0 racing against boys all the time. And so goes Mo........

18 Oct 2011 2:22 PM

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