Haskin's Derby Trail: Figuring it All Out...Not

After assimilating all the facts, handicapping tools, and observations, we can honestly say we don’t have any more of a clue than we did two weeks ago.

As everyone knows, we have had Creative Cause as our No. 1 ranked horse just about every week since we started the Derby Dozen back in January.

As a preliminary list, we listed our favorite horses based solely on pedigree. Those on that Jan. 21 list that have made it to the Derby are Alpha, Creative Cause, El Padrino, Liaison, and Sabercat. Of course, others have come along since who have top-class pedigrees. But these obviously have combined pedigree with a solid 2-year-old foundation

Looking back at the first official Derby Dozen list, we had 10 horses listed who are running in the Derby – 1--Creative Cause, 2--Union Rags, 4--El Padrino, 5--Sabercat, 6--Liaison , 8--Gemologist, 9--Hansen, 10--Dullahan, 12--tie between Alpha and Rousing Sermon.

Before we get into selections and wagering angles, we were able to watch every Derby horse on the track this morning, with training hours only until 8 a.m. This is relevant because there were several gallops that either confirmed what we’ve seen earlier or even surpassed them. The one conclusion we came to was that, regardless of the high regard we hold horses like Creative Cause, Union Rags, Hansen, and Bodemester, there just isn’t enough value there when there are so many horses at much higher odds that have almost or equal the chance of winning.

As much as we’ve liked Creative Cause all year and respect his toughness and consistency, there seems to be several issues surrounding him and rumors floating around, even though trainer Mike Harrington insists that the colt is doing well. On that front, we’ll take his word for it. Harrington says his normal practice following a work is to walk two days. Again, we’ll take his word for it. We were looking forward to seeing him gallop today, because he did get wet yesterday and his gallop was certainly nothing to rave about. He finally came out around 7:30 and stood beautifully for a short while, but did nothing but hack around the track the wrong way. It wasn’t even what you’d call a jog. Harrington was on the track waiting for him and was eyeing him pretty closely. When asked about the lack of activity, he said, “I’m saving him for tomorrow.”

Creative Cause - Photo by Steve Haskin

So, the bottom line is, we’re going to assume all is well with him. He has a great post, and if you had said all winter that our top pick was going to be 12-1 on the morning line, we would have jumped all over it. I will watch the odds closely and no doubt will play him to some extent, but more apprehensively than I had planned.

As for Union Rags, he’s had some huge moments, especially his final work and the way he schooled in the paddock. His gallops the past couple of days have been OK, and he had exercise rider Peter Brette pulling back on the reins this morning. We still feel there is a good chance he’ll be the favorite, and he obviously is a play in all exotics. But we would have preferred to see him a bit farther out than the 4-post, and there is an awful lot of value out there at much better odds.

Union Rags - Photo by Steve Haskin

Bodemeister is the morning line favorite, and although he could bust this race wide open, you’re having to take short odds on a horse who is coming back in three weeks following a monster effort in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), in which he earned a 108 Beyer, putting him in a class by himself. But the pace scenario, with Trinniberg and Hansen in there, might be the main thing he has to overcome. You can bet Hansen isn’t going anywhere, and with his natural ability, he’s going to be right there in the stretch. Of course, it all depends how fast they go early.

Trinniberg - Photo by Steve Haskin

Hansen - Photo by Steven Haskin

We have quoted the statistic that 18 of the last 20 Derby winners had at least one work over the track, and we are a firm believer that a horse is better equipped to win the Derby with a work over the track. So, of course, with the exception of one or two horses, the best gallops we’ve seen this week have been by horses who shipped in late and had their final works elsewhere. Today’s gallops just substantiated that, and in fact the late shippers looked better and stronger today than they have in past days.

Based on what we’ve seen over the course of the past three days, we have to give serious consideration to I’ll Have Another, Gemologist, Take Charge Indy, and Alpha, all of whom looked terrific on the track this morning. The highlight of the morning was Calvin Borel giving Take Charge Indy a stiff gallop, hugging the rail the entire time. Another highlight was I’ll Have Another’s vigorous gallop that may have even exceeded a two-minute lick. He was really motoring around there, and close to the rail as well, but not as close as Borel, who was right on top of it.

Take Charge Indy and Calvin Borel - Photo by Steve Haskin

Gemologist - Photo by Steve Haskin

Alpha - Photo by Steve Haskin

And we have to add Daddy Nose Best as the standout on a consistent level of the horses who have been stabled here. Based solely on how they are galloping and looking physically, this could be a solid and lucrative exotics box.

Daddy Nose Best - Photo by Steve Haskin

As we mentioned, Daddy Nose Best, as well as his stablemate Sabercat, have done nothing wrong. In fact, they’ve done everything perfectly and there is no doubt they love it here and are thriving. Daddy Nose Best has such a look of class about him and an eye that seems to be taking everything in. He could be a bet-down horse, but if his odds are even somewhat generous he is worth a bet.

This year’s Derby is loaded with potential bombs, due to the depth of the field. If you’re thinking along those lines, one-time rivals Liaison and Rousing Sermon at 50-1 are horses who can surprise and at least pick up a piece of it. No horse has steadily improved since arriving here more than Liaison, both in his coat and in his training.

But, of course, you can’t bet ‘em all. And we haven’t even mentioned several others who have done well here.

One other horse we have to mention from strictly a handicapping angle is El Padrino, who has put together a string of three consecutive Thoro-Graph figs of “2.” We love a horse who can run fast consistently and doesn’t regress. We never saw him in Florida, so we have nothing to compare it with, but  he does have a tendency to get hot. He’s sweated up in his gallops and was very wet schooling in the paddock yesterday. But again, that could just be him, especially being a son of Pulpit.

You never know what tools someone uses to pick their Derby horse, but if you go by pedigree, although there are a number of classy, stamina-laden pedigrees, our favorite is I’ll Have Another. Just look at the Who’s Who of names, both American and European, in his pedigree. From Europe: Nijinsky, Sea Bird, Roberto, Sadler’s Wells, Le Fabuleux, Ribot, and Lyphard. From America: Pleasant Colony, His Majesty, Stage Door Johnny, Hail to Reason, Alydar, Tom Rolfe, Princequillo, Arch, Kris S, Caucasus, Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, and Danzig. And how about top-class fillies such as Althea, Quill, Bramalea, and Patelin? There is more stamina and class in this pedigree than any we can ever recall.

If you’re looking for a long-range Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner coming out of this field, remember Went the Day Well on June 9.

So, who is the most solid win bet at a pretty decent price? Well, you can take your pick, but one horse, despite some question marks regarding surface preferences is Dullahan, and he is the horse we’re going to key on, based on gut instinct, and having liked him for a long time. His last work was nothing to get excited about, and his action looks more suited to grass and synthetic, but he has trained over this track last fall, ran well enough in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and has a long sustained run in him, yet has a powerful turn of foot if he needs to use it. We mentioned his last work, when his fractions appeared to be backwards, his opening eighth in :11 and change and final quarter in :25 1/5. Normally, I don’t like seeing that from a stone closer, but we know he can come home as fast as anyone, and that opening eighth might be an indication he’ll be able to put himself closer up than in most of his other races.

So, where does this all leave us? It leaves us with Dullahan as the solid value play, Daddy Nose Best as the most enticing middle-price horse, and playing those two with the top gallopers who have really taken to this track, Take Charge Indy, Gemologist, Alpha, and I’ll Have Another (despite the 19-post), all of whom look great physically. If you want to throw in a couple of monster longshots, I can also see Rousing Sermon and Liaison picking up a piece of it at huge odds.

Rousing Sermon - Photo by Steve Haskin

One horse we don’t have a clue what to do with is El Padrino, having been all prepared to bet on him as our overlay special, although that :53 1/5 final work at Palm Meadows was not what we were looking for. And as we mentioned, he’s had a tendency to get wet and was throwing his head in the air and changing leads in his gallop this morning. We probably don’t have room to include him in the exotics, but if he’s in the 20-1 range, we’ll probably put a few bucks aside and take a shot, ignoring those other signs like the fool we are when it comes to betting. Just love the handicapping angle.

El Padrino - Photo by Steve Haskin

I still have Creative Cause and Union Rags as my No. 1 and 2 ranked horses on Derby Dozen. But this is about wagering and value, and you’ll have to figure out for yourself what you want to do with those two. If the morning line holds true and Creative Cause is 12-1, I will have to place a win bet on him as well for old time’s sake, despite the rumors and unusual preparation. But I do it in a clueless state of mind.

Anyway, good luck deciphering all of this, and I hope everyone had a good time on the Derby trail. Let’s hope they all come home safely.

Late slop addition

It looks as if the Derby once again could be run on a sloppy track, unless Louisville escapes the predicted thunderstorms, as it did on Oaks day.

So, just in case, here is a look at the race with slop in mind, as it could change the entire complexion of the race.

Although many of the horses should like the slop or at least not mind it, there are three horses who look as if they should move up on a wet track, and we would box them in the exotics. They are Bodemeister, Went the Day Well, and El Padrino.

Bodemeister is by Empire Maker, who won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the slop, and he is also inbred to one of the great slop influences, In Reality. In addition, he is out of a Storm Cat mare.

Another of the great slop influences is Dr. Fager, and Went the Day Well and El Padrino both trace to Dr. Fager in their tail-female family through the mares Quick Cure and Remedia. Quick Cure is the dam of Cure the Blues.

Went the Day Well’s dam is by Tiznow, whose grandsire is Relaunch, the most prominent slop influence sired by In Reality. With Mr. Prospector the paternal great-grandsire, Went the Day Well, who has run well on a good to soft grass course in England,  should relish the slop and would be a definite win bet. El Padrino broke his maiden by 12 3/4 lengths in the slop nd won an allowance over a good track, so he's proven on wet going.

Another horse who should be mentioned is Creative Cause, who is by Storm Cat’s Son Giant’s Causeway, and whose maternal grandsire, Skywalker, is by Relaunch.

Of course, you don't need me to point out that Union Rags' only race over a sloppy track resulted in a 7 1/4-length score in the Saratoga Special (gr. II).

We could pick out others, but we’ll concentrate on the top three, with a shout out to Creative Cause and Union Rags. For a price, we'd have to place a win bet on Went the Day Well and also El Padrino, and play them in the exotics with Bodemeister, as well as Creative Cause and Union Rags.


Leave a Comment:


Oh, I sure like your analysis.  Honestly, you have my horses Daddy Nose Best, Gemologist, I'll Have Another and Alpha who all show great heart and the will to win.

I love Gemologist because he reminds me of his daddy.  The king of the track. He looks at the camera for photos too.

Alpha is small and lean but goes like a tiger.

I'll Have Another just goes for the wire.

Daddy is exquisite from head to toe and for that matter lengthwise too.

I know how you feel about El Padrino.  I will have to do some kind of bet on him just because I think he is possibly the most striking horse and makes a great appearance, at least to me.

My long shot win bet will be on Went The Day Well.  He is improving and has been exposed to crowded races.  Plus, I like Johnny Velasquez and Graham Motion.

Hate to leave behind Union Rags and Creative Cause because UR will be a favorite and CC doesn't seem the same CC.

Then there is Hansen.  He will be such a beauty flying but don't think he's the type for such a long race.

Good luck to all the big bettors and us little guys too!

May each and every horse finish the race safely, I'm with you Steve.

04 May 2012 4:22 PM

"Harrington was waiting on the track for him & was eying him pretty closely."  That says it all, Steve.  I have a very bad feeling about CC tomorrow if he actually does make into the starting gate.  I've been following CC since last yr because I was a fan of his mother's.  I've become increasingly concerned about his welfare this week.  Too many people whose opinions I respect are questioning the colt's soundness.

04 May 2012 4:38 PM

the usual sterling job.  Regards I'll Have Another, am a fan, those Arch horses have some of the best legs. Unsure though that you 2 min. lick or faster a horse every day including one day before the Derby.  Did they overdo it, possibly?

04 May 2012 4:45 PM

I'll Have Another has been my sentimental fave ever since Mario G from here at Hastings won the Robert Lewis with him. But after the Santa Anita Derby, he showed me that he has talent and guts. He's now my solid pick to win.

04 May 2012 5:19 PM

I cant see this race being run fast,who is going to send a speed horse into a 10furlong race and run the first half mile in 45 and expect to win,i don't think the stayers have a chance.I'm expecting one of these speed horses to win it problem is i dont know which one.

04 May 2012 5:21 PM

Hi Steve,

Great commentary again, concerned about CC, Steve when you use the term hack around the track could you please explain "HACK" my meaning might be different. Also, I'm sure Harrington must be getting tired of rumor mill, and since he is a man of few words, he will be hard to read. Given your story about him, I doubt he would put CC at risk.

DNB, only concern is the fact that his two wins were at grade 3, do you think given the caliber of this field that it could be a problem for him competing at grade 1 level?

Thank you Steve,look forward to your response.

Kind Regards,


Kind Regards

04 May 2012 5:52 PM

win I like bodemeister, creative cause, take charge indy and creative cause. what is with the value aspect? cc is generally 12s in uk, that is not exactly skinny. 14s and 16s the other three. on breeding they are all really tasty. anywehere I can watch this race online folks? I live in germany and also have the in-laws over from  south america. great uncle adolfo usually hits the hay at about midnight. anywhere I can watch this online? answers on a postcard please. enjoy and hope all horse come home safely.  

04 May 2012 6:07 PM


Union Rags - top choice

Went the Day Well, Daddy Nose Best, I'll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause, and Prospective on bottom.

I will put these horses in EX, TRI and SUP. WPS money on all the horses I listed.

I am trying to beat Gemologist, Hansen and Dullahan.

If it is a wet track, I'll include TCI, and El Padrino and take out 2 horses from my list

Good luck to all, and thanks to Steve for all of his hard work!

A breakdown of my picks can be seen here, too much to put in here.


04 May 2012 6:44 PM

I'm going to use the following:

I'll Have Another

Daddy Nose Best

Creative Cause (If Harrington doesn't scratch him then he's ready to go)

Take Charge Indy


El Padrino

I just don't now how, YET!!!!!!!!

Excellent reporting, pics, analysis, this week and all season, Steve!

P.S. I can't seem to shake DONE TALKING in my "what to do" column!

04 May 2012 6:51 PM

Hi Steve,

I'm sticking with the three previously posted...


Daddy Nose Best


Now for an outsider for some spice...

Alpha, who reminds in build of Kelso, will get some play but....

While I'm not in KY, I've watched every bit of film I can from numerous sources and the one horse that has really caught my eye...

Prospective.  That compact strong body...smooth stride...and that muscle.  Yup, he's worth a few bucks on the exotics.  LOL, bombs away!

May they all get around safe and sound.

Take care

04 May 2012 7:07 PM

Wasn't it great seeing Rosie win the Oaks???

It would be equally great seeing Baffert win the Derby after his near-death experience in Dubai, and with a horse named after his son.

Bodemeister is my pick, with the hopes he is the beast I think he could be.

But everytime I try to envision how the race will unfold, I see some horse coming up the middle in the final stretch, passing tiring horses.  

I keep thinking Rousing Sermon, but it makes no sense!

No idea how I am betting yet...

04 May 2012 7:11 PM

No matter the set backs, or the leg infection, or if its run on a fast or off track ALPHA is going to be the winner...

04 May 2012 7:12 PM
Linda in Texas

AMEN STEVE, Hope they all come home safely. Heaviest words in  anyone's vocabulary for all of them all the time and everywhere.

This has been the best derby trail ever for me and this is a great size'em up article. Thanks so much for all of your efforts, they have been wonderful.

Mrs. Chenery was interviewed today and mentioned that there are 16 horses running in The Kentucky Derby with bloodlines of Secretariat!  I did not know that as I did not spend time going back that far. Mrs. Chenery is a grand and gracious lady in the true sense of the word and an absolute delight and i admire her greatly.

Thanks Steve. Enjoy, we all surely will because of you.

04 May 2012 7:29 PM
Sue MacGray

Ugh, from everything I've read, I wish they'd just pull CCause. That whole thing about barely jogging and being eyeballed closely by his trainer does NOT make me feel good. Please, please do what's right for the horse. On the flip side, I've been a Gemologist and Daddy Nose Best fan for awhile. If I play a longshot, it may be Prospective. I'm curious about Take Charge Indy as well. Borel definitely knows what he's doing in this race now. As you and others mentioned, may they all come home safely.

04 May 2012 7:33 PM

My favorite horse has been Union Rags. If a speed horse wins it will be like War Emblem's derby, in other words Baffert. Mike Smith gets the most out of the horses he rides and having him on the favorite is a huge plus. What sticks with me is how much like Indian Charlies Derby this seems to be, the dead on speed horse with the unknown stable mate and then the unknown stable mate takes it all. Karma is karma and Indian Charlie is the sire of Baffert's other horse maybe this Derby will be Charlie's after all.

04 May 2012 7:40 PM

Steve, thanks again for another wonderful build-up to the Kentucky Derby. I'm exhausted just reading all the varying opinions.

As the saying goes: "don't change horses in midstream" so I'm sticking with the same six, with Take Charge Indy, El Padrino, and Alpha the leaders of the pack. Good luck to everyone.

04 May 2012 8:00 PM

Another great mud runner is Union Rags. In his race last year at the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special, he looked like he really enjoyed the mud. And he just took off in it, leaving the rest of the field 6 lengths behind.

And, of course, Dullahan's half-brother excelled in the mud as well (Mine That Bird).

04 May 2012 8:04 PM

PS Forgot to thank you for yet another excellent article. Your coverage of this outstanding Triple Crown field is exceptional.

04 May 2012 8:06 PM

this is one helluva puzzle...I been on board w/ Take Charge Indy, Alpha and Sabercat, so was happy to see you had some kind words in their direction.Am also looking to see if Gemologist can answer the bell again. Can anyone help me, was Seatle Slew undefeated going into the 1st Saturday of May...thanks again Steve and Lenny to guide us along this adventure

04 May 2012 8:57 PM

A great final analysis Steve, funny title, and more great pics to match!  If anyone can figure this out it is Steve.  The pictures with the articles have been so great for those of us that cannot be there, I appreciate it.  

Wow, Calvin even practices by the rail!!!!  Indy will know just where to go no problem.  I keep overlooking Dullahan and he has that quick turn of foot you mentioned, maybe he's the one who can get himself out of the traffic jam.  I hope CC is ok.  Congrats to Believe You Can, a daughter of Proud Citizen.  Uh oh, does that bode well for Went The Day Well also sired by Proud Citizen??? I still love Hansen and will be cheering him on a lot but have my doubts, but he'll be up there with Bode.  

I'll stick with my top 5:


I'll Have Another

Union Rags



Steve if you see little Bode tell him he has fans on BH too!!!  Good luck to all and those going to the Derby, well Linda in Texas said it best, "y'all have a blast."

04 May 2012 9:02 PM

Thank you, Steve!  I always enjoy all the inside information and sights that you explain to us through your observations there.  I'm still thinking this is going to be just one heck of a race because there seems to be so much talent in most of these horses.  Your photos are absolutely priceless, too!  You seem to have a way with capturing them at that special moment - I love the way both Union Rags and Take Charge Indy have turned around to look at you plus you got that same pose from Trinniberg. Sure could do without that red pom pom on his forelock.  Poor horse!  :)  I'm not much of a bettor which works out fine since I am still so confused but I will definitely join in on saying I wish them all a safe trip!



04 May 2012 9:08 PM
Paula Higgins

My three are Gemologist, Creative Cause and IHA. I really hope they don't run Creative Cause if there is any issue at all. The horse comes first and I hope the vets take a close look at him. Great analysis Steve. But you are right any number of them could win this with the right trip (and luck).

04 May 2012 9:21 PM

My approach to the Derby was going to be simple, Creative Cause.  

But I don't like what I'm hearing.  Either a bunch of respected people are either over analyzing things or don't know Creative Cause or Mike Harrington is not allowing himself to see the reality that his horse is not doing well.  I'm inclined to think the latter because these observers have no reason to want Creative Cause to be doing poorly while Harrington has reason upon reason to continue believing all is well.  

I hope I'm wrong, and Harrington is right, but not sure I want to have money on it.  So, I'll probably just watch the race.

04 May 2012 9:31 PM

Throwing it back to Rags...his performance at 2 here was monstrous, Matz has him ready to peak and there is no way they are going to let him have a bad trip. Pressure is really be on Julien to deliver. Second pick is Gemologist. Tiznow's son and flicking those ears as he turned back Alpha is the key. Safe running to all...was very scary watching Castallano's spill the race before the oaks.

04 May 2012 9:35 PM

I'm glad Steve mentioned the wet track possibility...Does anyone know of a website where we can see the live, or almost live, track condition at Churchill on Saturday afternoon? Like many folks, I'll change my Derby picks a bit if we get an off track, so this info would be much appreciated!

Good luck, everybody, and thumbs up to Steve for his usual stellar Derby coverage.

04 May 2012 10:27 PM

In the slop, I can't wrap my mind around the fact that you left out Union Rags.  He relishes the slop.  As far as pedigree, come on, I don't think Bodemeister will win, but he has the best pedigree.  Union Rags has a great female line, and should have no probelm with the distance.  I don't know a whole lot about pedigree, but you bloodhorse guys, not very good at pedigree analysis.

04 May 2012 10:44 PM

Union Rags, Take Charge Indy, and the biggest long shot in the field.

04 May 2012 10:47 PM
Scott's Cause

Moment of truth, or at least until tomorrow during the post parade. I am somewhat questioning the "Bounce" theory.  Bodiemeister hits an all time high figure and almost everyone mumbles that dreaded word.  But other horses win their last prep and it's not mentioned.  What if Gemologist ran close to his best figure in the Wood, wouldn't his next race be bouncible.  Same with Done Talking or I'll Have Another.  Dullahan was all out to win, what no "B" next time.  If Bodie runs a 106 he might just win, can the others jump 8-9 digits.  Just thinkin out loud and probably showing some of my lack of handicapping expertise.  That's why I am going into this with what my gut feels.  And I am getting a stomach ache.  But I stated before, what has I'll Have Another done wrong.  He's my key horse and weather permitting he'll get the job. Still on the fence with 5-6 exotic cast members.  Maybe I'll take 2 Advil, bet 10 wps on O'Neill's horse, and sit back and ENJOY the race.  But I have a feelin.....

04 May 2012 10:52 PM

Funny.....everyone is worried about cc's soundness, but people love ill have another.....really?

04 May 2012 10:57 PM

datflipp, speed horses don't win the derby; with a couple of exceptions.  It is all about a horse actually getting into the race, prestige.  You never know.  

04 May 2012 11:35 PM
Greg R

Yes, Mr. Haskin, this one could win or that one could win or the other one could win.  And don't forget about this one #2 or that one #2 or the other one #2.  And then we have........  Believe it or not, I am not knocking you one iota!  It's just that I know almost exactly how you feel!  The Derby is a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Have you ever wished that the Triple Crown were for 4-yr-olds, instead of 3-yr-olds?  That way, we could have a better bead on them.  The first Sat. in May of their sophomore year, the horses haven't quite sorted themselves out, ie., who's a sprinter, who's a miler, who's a stayer, who's a sandy dirt horse, who's a turf-only standout, who's a juvenile prodigy that isn't going on, who's a later-blooming champ...?  Maybe that's the charm of it all, but I'd love to see someone start a 4-yr-old Triple Crown in addition.  Bill Gates, how about it?  

05 May 2012 12:38 AM

This is it...!! Handicapping every day all year, I wish everyone the best of luck and most importantly, a safe Derby for all.

Here it is- read em and weep!!

$2 Superfecta, one NO box and one boxed.

Union Rags

Daddy Nose Best

Take Charge Indy


+ $2 Quinela, the above horses plus Bodemeister to come in 5th. Alpha is very impressive but I am not sure his last race took too much out of him. He does remind me a lot of Alysheba with his good looks, not surprising with Alydar on his damside.

I will also be putting $2 place and show bets on DNB, TCI, and Gem

and $2 trifecta boxes with the above 4 combinations.

I would have considered I'll Have Another if it weren't for the 19 hole.

My strong feeling is that Hansen and Creative Cause are throw outs. They will be too keyed up and throw out their races. CC will probably have a chance of making the top 10. Hansen sure is pretty but he will be lucky if he beats 3 horses. Throw out Dullahan with Kent D and his turf form- he was pulled to a dead stop a few steps after the finish in his last one. Not buying the super upset with Trinniberg anymore, not work a $2 bet imo.. done talking is gonna be done last, nice horse but too outmatched. The euro.. will do worse than the BC. Optimizer is nice to bring D Wayne, but he will be in the back of the pack. and that's the field as I see it.

Some nice horses that i think will do well but won't hit the board: El Padrino, Sabercat, Prospective, Went the Day Well.

05 May 2012 12:50 AM
Matthew W

Take Charge Indy is a good horse who won the Fla Derby despite missing a work before, has rock solid connections, I love him, my six horse box is: #'s 3,4,5,10,15,19---I see it as a pace collapse, with Take Charge Indy and I'll Have Another getting first run, if 'Nuther can get a nice stalking trip, some four or five from the front, I think he'll blow right by them, then open up--big! Really big, I think that 35k two year old sale colt will put on a show for all to see tom.....to everyone, good racing to us all! Everyone come back safe!

05 May 2012 1:35 AM

My sister, who doesn't follow the ponies, told me she would like to bet the Derby, and she asked me how I thought they might come in. I think I laughed a good 5 minutes, and said, "you have to ask me THIS YEAR?" My advice, put a win ticket on each of the longest shots on the board. Don't make it any more complicated than that, because no one knows how Derby 138 is going to play out, nobody.

05 May 2012 3:42 AM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks SH,will be driving past the Wyeth farm/house on my way to DP this AM,n agree UR should be in the mix, if anyone beats "Gem" it may be him or I would hope, but please consider the word "OBVIOUS" if the sparkling proud gem son of Tiznow, shines today in KD.

05 May 2012 4:06 AM
Derby Dew


Another great job of bringing us along on the Derby Trail and giving us an inside look at all the equine and human characters who make this great race what it is.... an important piece of Americana.  Thanks, Steve, it was an enjoyable ride.

Now as for the closing act of this drama, I'm looking forward to one of the following to wear the roses.






This is one of the most anticipated Derbys ever.  May they all come home safe.

05 May 2012 5:21 AM

Thanks Steve for all your hard work, comments and pics.  That raised camera booth at the gap provides a great view  doesn't it?  Oh, how I wish I was there.

Agree, this is the most difficult year I can remember in separating these quality 3 year olds.  But here goes.

#15 Gemologist to win, will use:

#4 Union Rags

#5 Dullahan

#6 Bodemeister

#19 I'll Have Another with the top one in Ex and Tri boxes.

Good Luck to all!

05 May 2012 6:29 AM
Forbidden Apple

Good morning Steve. Thank you for all of your in training photo's from this past week. After the Oaks I noticed that the early odds on Alpha were 22-1. Keep him in your mix for sure, even with Maragh this horse looks live at 1 1/4.

My first play of the day is the 7th/8th double: Amazombie with Daisy Devine.

My next play will be the 10th/11th double: Turallure with Alpha, Dullahan, and Gemologist

KY Derby:

1)Alpha- His recent 59 2/5 workout suggests that he is sharp. He also has the highest Tomlinson Distance # in the field. I know he will like the 1 1/4 mile disatnce and he will be double digit odds. My concern is Maragh and why did Ramon choose to stick with Hansen. For such a high profile and quality group of horses, Darley/Godolphin really does not have a go to rider. I'll play him to WP and key him in my exotics.

2)Dullahan: At first I was not thrilled with his choice of turf to poly prep races. After watching the Bluegrass, this long and powerful looking colt seems to be turning it up a notch at the right time. I will also play him to WP and key him in my exotics.

3)Gemologist- An undefeated colt that has improved his speed figures in every start. The progression is there and he looks primed for a big run today. My concern with him is running back 3 weeks after his allowance win and now having to come back with another top effort. Can he get the distance?

4)Bodemeister- The obvious issue with him is coming back in 3 weeks after a 108 beyer figure. His price will be short and he might be compromised by the presence of Trinniberg and Hansen on the front end. Or he could be the biggest freak since 1882!

5)Union Rags- I wanted to place him higher, but I just can't get over him not being able to get by Reveron in the FL Derby. At the same time I know that it was a prep and the KY Derby is the ultimate goal. The inside post also made me place him lower. Julien will have to go from the start and is that really what Union Rags wants? Plus he always runs a beyer in the low to mid 90's.

6)Creative Cause/I'll Have Another- I can not seperate these two colts at all. They will be used in underneath spots in saver exactas. Creative Cause is a nice horse, I just think he is still green in the stretch for my liking. With I'll Have another he has huge breaks between races and a series of long works. Maybe the long works will help down the lane, I question his explosiveness when it counts.

Good luck to all!

05 May 2012 7:06 AM

 "Based on what we’ve seen over the course of the past three days, we have to give serious consideration to I’ll Have Another, Gemologist, Take Charge Indy, and Alpha,..."  

  Wow !!! its about time you came around! I think that about sums up my analysis going into last week. And, "Alpha" will be a more serious play come the BELMONT!! Track is favoring SPEED! that bodes well for "I'll Have Another", his problem will be getting to the top 6 by the final turn. Look out if he's there !!! And of course for "BodeBeyer". AND if Andrew Beyer is right, that should also aid "Daddy Knows Best". Notice this playa is still shying away from the FAB BC 4 !!! AS of 7:30 A.M. ...

  And to borrow a phrase from Woodstock... "No Rain !!  No Rain !!  No Rain !!"  

05 May 2012 7:25 AM
Point Given

Spending my last $40 on my superfecta.





Apollo, if you are out there some where and planning to watch the race today,take that hundred year old jinx and shove it. Bodemeister will be the next TC WINNER.Yes you hear it here first.

05 May 2012 7:39 AM

Went the Day Well and Gemologists are the 2 horses I am keying in the first and second place spots of ex and tri's... also have Bode,Union,Gem,I'llhaveAnother & Went the day well in the OAKS/DERBY Double going so hopefully I hit that. Draynay when the last time you had a $29 horse to win going into a nice double without hitting the all button?? If Draynay knew anything he would have known Believe You Can worked faster then his super horse UNION on the same day and bet a horse that didn't a  dot in the middle of it for once!! Only thing better then 6-5 is 4-5 right Dray! Good luck everyone...

05 May 2012 8:09 AM
Pedigree Ann

Amazing how unsubstantiated rumors have affected the support for a horse with one of the best records in the race, coming off the toughest circuit of the year.

None of you people, not even Mr. Haskin, say you know anything about Mike Harrington or his usual training methods. Yet, because he doesn't operate the way everyone expects him to, all of a sudden his is horse is a toss?

Excuse me, there is more than one way to train a racehorse. Mike Harrington is a 4th generation horseman and a VET (the horse doctor kind - he left active practice to train nearly 20 years ago). At age 71, he knows more about horses than all of the talking heads who are questioning him put together.

If he runs the horse, the horse is fine. Doc Harrington is not about to get carried away with Derby fever. To quote the Lousiville CJ:

'Harrington might skip the procession that some trainers say makes for an indelible Derby memory.

'"My main focus is being able to perform in the paddock and get the saddle on him. If the horse gets there 20 minutes before I do, what good am I going to be?"'

05 May 2012 9:13 AM


El Padrino


Daddy Nose Best

05 May 2012 9:21 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Your weekly Derby Dozen has been so great and I want to thank you for your wonderful writing, amusing anecdotes, and historical perspectives.  I am all over the place trying to pick this year's Derby winner too but you have made it interesting and fun.  And I have loved, loved, loved your photographs.  Happy Derby Day with thanks.

05 May 2012 9:51 AM
Chills on

After much thought and very little serious handicapping background but for a love of this sport,I kept my picks same and put a straight two buck tri on via my sis (lucky! And great hat!) 1. Daddy knows best 2. Take charge Indy 3. Gemologist. Note that I decided this before bode exploded and last preps run. Just found reasons to discount them all. Happy Derby Day!!!!!!

05 May 2012 11:00 AM

Good analysis Steve. I find it interesting that so much is being made of the "shoe issue" that Creative Cause had but no mention is being made of the shock therapy that I'll Have Another had. I came to the same conclusion as you that Dullham was the best value play but that was assuming the track was fast. On an off track I expect Bodemeister to just make the lead and use his superior speed to leave everyone behind. Good luck and a safe trip to all.

05 May 2012 2:18 PM
Mister Frisky

12:15 west coast time.Union Rags inhales this field in mid stretch.This is the day he has been waiting for.

05 May 2012 3:19 PM
Age of Reason

Steve, what a wonderful Derby trail you have made this for all of us! Thanks so much for your wonderful insight!

Alright, so it's 2 and a half hours to post and I still can't figure this out. I've never been so confused about a race in my life; the Breeders Cup is way easier than this! But I don't want to be accused of pulling a KY Vet and posting my picks after the fact, so here's what I have right now: I'm looking at I'll Have Another, Gemologist and Take Charge Indy (no particular order) on top, with Union Rags and Alpha below those and perhaps Daddy Nose Best if the pace is below 1:11 for 6f. If Trinniberg or Daddy Long Legs win I'll never make a prediction again (lol), but best wishes to all! :)

05 May 2012 4:15 PM


Yes, Slew was the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history, so yes, he would have been unbeaten going into the Derby.  Hansen traces back to Slew on the male side.  I'm still hanging with Hansen - am hoping he'll take back with the speed to his inside, then take off through the stretch like he did in the Gotham.  It's the Derby - anything is possible.

05 May 2012 4:34 PM

Wow, what was with the cheap shot done buy the media on Dr. Hansen on derby day coverage prior to the derby. That was not very nice. Over half of that clip was negative. I just think that the media could have been more positive, even if they were slightly truthful, that just didn't 'paint' a very pretty picture for horse racing.

05 May 2012 9:34 PM


What did your Oaks/Derby double pay?? Oh that's right you didn't have it, I did... but then again you are the Derby Master. Nice call on Bode not hitting the board and nice job of your 6 horses in that box one did run 3rd! LOL Your a complete joke dude. Didn't cash on my Ex's or Tri's but I did cash in the race for $730!! But I am sure you did better then me... God why didn't I just $5 box my 5 horses from my Oaks/Derby Double!! Oh well still had a great time but man it was humid!!!! Good luck everyone at the windows...

05 May 2012 9:51 PM
Bill Two

Give me some  of that shock therapy that I'll Have Another had. Wow.

06 May 2012 7:55 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Morning After

  Baffert Ate Up Well- He actually had hay and oats- (oatmeal and a salad with alfalfa sprouts)

  O'Neill Ate Up Well- He had a filet mignon, courtesy of the house with all of the trimmings and a cheesecake for dessert. Baffert would have won but he was afraid he'd have to eat The Meal of a Champion like O'Neill did.

   Roman's Ate Up Well- He had a steak but it wasn't as good as O'Neill's.

     Motion Ate Up Well- But he's not to the bottom of his feed bag(more to come from Went The Day Well, a strong and improving closer)

   The rest of the trainers and horses shared a buffet of crow except for Creative Cause, Hansen, Union Rags, Rousing Sermon and Liaison who all were admirable in defeat and were all obseved at the "if only" table gobbling up the leftovers. On a side note- Bob Baffert is a changed man. Last year it would have been- "That sob, why didn't he know the fractions were too fast!!!!" This year it's "good job and it's OK." Amazing what an appreciation of life can do.

06 May 2012 1:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Just like the song- and feel free to sing it- "California here we come, right back where I started from"!!!!! For you East Coast bias fanatics, remmember that Lucy, Fred, Ethyl, and Ricky sang it on their way to California from New York. It's time to get a clue- the trainers and weather in CA are the best. Baffert set the trend for excellence but the trainers in S. Cal are tremendous. Give them the horses and they will win. The bars across California are booming. Everyone is saying- "I'll Have Another."

06 May 2012 2:09 PM
Matthew W

Steve now it's time for the Haskin piece, and boy am I glad Doug O'Neil won his Derby--I thought he'd get second, but when he started gaining, I knew that little grinder would win! He'll get the Belmont--that race was made for him--beating Bodemeister would be tough to do in the Preakness--Bode would be favored, again--(did you notice the drop, from 6-1 to 4-1, just as the gates popped open, must've been in the millions...), but The O'Neil Story is a treasure trove of good story--Haskinize it, por favor--they deserve the very best---and their horse reminds me of Affirmed, in so many ways....

06 May 2012 3:34 PM


from your article regarding the pedigree of I'll Have Another; "There is more stamina and class in this pedigree than any we can ever recall."

As your favorite pedigree you nailed it and he ran to it.  Thanks for your insight.  'Ever', that's a powerful statement.  Are we witnessing greatness?

06 May 2012 7:40 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks everyone for your comments. Sorry I was too busy to respond to them.

06 May 2012 9:54 PM
Reesie Girl

Big Congrats to I'll Have Another and his connections! How ironic that the only horse to finish the best out of the top 5 from last year's BCJ is the only one (from that top 5) that I didn't use. Another year-another Derby over-so quick...sigh...

06 May 2012 11:06 PM

Hope you enjoyed the Derby, Steve. The thing about betting is that it makes you focus on your horses and not be as excited/notice at first what a great race I'll Have Another ran. I was worried about that 19 hole, I thought he would wind up at the way back of the pack like Union Rags. Not to knock anything Julien did, but watching the overhead replay, I wish he had moved the horse earlier in the race when there was an open hole. Union Rags, if he is as good as everyone believes he is, should have more than one gear to be able to make a mid race move to be mid pack. Not any horse I can think of, not any of the greatest race horses, could have come from stone dead last and won (Zenyatta the queen of dead closers couldn't nip Blame on a track that favored come from behind trips).

Dullahan surprised me- but Bode, I'll Have Another, and Went the Day Well ran huge as well, so I am not too disappointed in my picks. Except Daddy Nose Best. Gemologist I didn't have in my trifectas, only my super, but I was surprised he didn't do better. Sad news on Take Charge Indy's ankle chip, but good in a way to hear that he ran so poorly because something went wrong and not lack of talent. Daddy Long Legs however, too bad I couldn't bet on last because I called it, all except him bouncing off the rail as he was coming to a dead stop. Everyone thought Trinniberg would gun to the lead and drop like a stone.

The Preakness will be exciting. I am really happy for the team and the winner, and unfortunately I chose to believe the now untrue myth of no one's ever won from the 19 hole.

07 May 2012 12:10 AM

Some folks are actually blaming Mike Smith for Bodemeister's loss. He did as he was told by Baffert, that's my understanding. If they want to blame someone, they should blame the connections of Trinniberg for throwing him in the mix. Hansen and Bode were like a couple of pit bulls chasing a rabbit. Hansen was so tired he faded into the middle of the pack. Bodemeister had enough stamina to hang on for second, but the rabbit chase probably cost him the race. Trinniberg put a spin on Derby 138, but I can't take anything away from I'll Have Another. WHY do some of these Derby winners have such stupid names? If you thought there was even a remote possibility that your horse could win the Kentucky Derby, would you tack a name on him like I'll Have Another? Yuck. Next year I'm going to bet on the horse with the dumbest name.  

07 May 2012 9:28 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve playing straight man for Lenny was funny, i did not get to watch it until after the Derby. Still funny.

I am so glad that Bloodhorse had a much bigger presence at The Kentucky Derby this year. Thanks from a devoted fan. I check out Bloodhorse.com before i check my pulse! Every morning. And it is the last thing i check before turning off my computer at night.

Dr. Drunkinbum, very true words nicely written about California Horses. Maybe they will get some respect now that a male horse is spearheading with a Kentucky Derby win. But i doubt it. Some can even manage to find negativity in a Flower Alley! Pardon the pun. I believe i am right that out of the top 6 horses, 4 were from CALIFORNIA.

Re: Baffert, whom i do like, it takes a pretty serious uncontrollable and unexpected setback for most to realize how terribly delicate the fine line is between life and the other word. Baffert should be proud that Bode ran like the wind, set the pace and was super.

I'll Have Another was awesome to

catch him, i never thought he was going to do it as i sat in amazement watching him overtake Bodemeister. I'll Have Another has one heck of a long beautiful stride.  Bode came back pristine and I'll Have Another was covered in grit and dirt. He wanted that wire and had a bit left in his tank. Amazing.

Y para Mario Gutierrez, gran carrera de caballos, fantastico viaje!

Team O'Neill, Doug and Dennis, be proud. You all just might be on to something as you are obviously doing everything right!

And thanks again Steve. You are a real trooper and i hope you realize just how much you bring to all of us with your knowledge of this supreme sport.

07 May 2012 10:58 AM


 Congrats to J. Paul Reddam &  connections and to

Doug F. O'Neill &

"The Ice Man"

07 May 2012 2:30 PM

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