Haskin's Preakness Report: Cause and Effect

For the first eight months of his career, everything went right for Creative Cause. Is it possible for everything to then go wrong in the next six weeks? Yes, according to a great many experts and anyone else with an opinion on the do’s and don’ts of Triple Crown training.

Trainer Mike Harrington found himself thrust on the Derby scene and out of his comfort zone; the proverbial fish out of water. And how does the big cowboy feel about all the second-guessing?

“They obviously don’t think I know what the hell I’m doing,” he said.

OK, so here’s what happened in a nutshell to create the total metamorphosis of one the most consistent and classy colts in the country. After a near-perfect two opening races this year, in which Creative Cause was a good third in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes and a winner over Bodemeister in the San Felipe, Harrington decided to take the blinkers off his colt for the Santa Anita Derby, off a victory no less. The horse was beaten. Then he worked him with cheater blinkers, but kept them off for the Kentucky Derby. Then the horse tore off a chunk of his hoof on the trip to Kentucky and had to be equipped with glue-on shoes. Then he worked. Then he didn’t go to the track for two days. Then the warning flares went up. Something was amiss. The horse reportedly looked terrible on the track galloping, during which he sweated up pretty noticeably. Harrington all of a sudden was under attack from enquiring minds.

“Anything wrong with your horse?”


“How come he didn’t go to the track for two days?”

“We always do that after a work.” The enquiring minds departed, still not satisfied.

Creative Cause was a drenched basket case schooling in the paddock. Few mentioned he was much better the following day. Even fewer mentioned that he often got hot back in California. After all, it was near 90 degrees in Louisville on Derby week.

Then the colt was scheduled to school for a third time, but was a no-show. Then came the rumors from various sources he was going to be scratched. Even the stewards called Harrington and said, "I hear you're going to scratch your horse."

“Not true,” said Harrington. “He couldn’t be doing any better.”  No one believed him. The Derby experience was becoming an annoying test of the trainer’s patience, having to defend his actions and the horse’s well being. It was like taking an old taciturn cowboy and dragging him away from his home in Laramie and dropping him in the middle of Times Square.

Well, Creative Cause ran a darn good race in the Derby, despite a terrible trip, in which he was five to six wide the entire race and still was beaten only three lengths.

But afterward, the cowboy was it again, shipping his horse back to California and then back east to Baltimore three days before the Preakness. Of course, no one liked that move. Harrington explained it was like a person being more comfortable sleeping in his own bed. Still, no one liked it. What else is new?

So, here he is, ready for the second leg of the Triple Crown. No one seems to be mentioning Creative Cause or putting him up there with I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, and Went the Day Well.

The cowboy couldn’t care less. He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think he could win.

Sure, Creative Cause could show the effects of the Derby; so could any other horse coming out of the race. Is a plane ride back to California and another to Baltimore 10 days later going to hurt his chances? We would hardly think so.

If you look past all the nonsense and rumors and concentrate strictly on his Derby trip, his previous form and his consistency, and the fact that he’s already beaten I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister, he just may turn out to be the overlay special of the Preakness.

And if he should win, well, of course, Mike Harrington would be a genius. He would blow the smoke off the tips of his six shooters, flip them back into his holster and head back to Laramie. But this time he’d be riding a white horse…well, gray at least.

I’ll Have Another puts on a show

We’ve seen an awful lot of Preakness gallops over the years and honestly cannot recall seeing a better gallop than that of I’ll Have Another on Thursday.

It was a thing of beauty to watch; a textbook gallop – strong, straight, and silent. Strong in that he was again motoring around the track at a near two-minute lick pace. He ran as straight as the proverbial arrow, and didn’t make a sound, just gliding over the surface as smoothly and efficiently as a horse can travel. He lowers his shoulder and just takes off, with great extension to his stride. In other words it was one helluva gallop.

Two other horses who made a terrific impression this morning were Cozzetti, a big eyeful of a horse who has a great presence about him, and Went the Day Well, who we mentioned the other day as having shown little effects from the Derby.

Cozzetti - Photo by Steve Haskin

Went the Day Well - Photo by Steve Haskin

Lava Man - Photo by Steve Haskin

Doug O'Neill at local Boys and Girls Club Photo by Steve Haskin

Doug O'Neill at local Boys and Girls Club Photo by Steve Haskin


Leave a Comment:


As soon as you count a horse out, oh by golly, he or she ends up in the winner's circle draped with flowers. It seems most have made this a 2 horse race, big mistake, usually is. Speaking of trivial matters, why don't more gray or roan horses become memorable champions? Yes, I know there have been some, Spectacular Bid for one, the awesome Bid. When you have hundreds of thoroughbred pictures and paintings throughout your home, like I do. I need a bright spot here and there. I love when people ask me, "how can you tell which horse is who?" That can be tricky these days since my eyesight is bad. I knew Hansen was too pretty to win the Derby, I joked about it. Well Creative Cause, don't let your color jinx you. Good luck.

17 May 2012 4:42 PM

This race is a toss up -- too hard to pick the winner -- CC seems to be the enigma......guess we'll all find out!  Just hope they all make it back okay. Great photos above.... Lava Man is 10 ?????  He looks beautiful, so alert -- those ears & eyes....  looks like he wants to jump right in and compete too!

17 May 2012 4:54 PM
Pedigree Ann

Calling Harrington 'a cowboy' with no other qualification has some negative connotations these days in the media, like semi-educated and unsophisticated. I grant you that taciturnity is associated with cowboys, but many other folks can be taciturn as well.

Why ignore the fact that he spent the greater part of his working life as a licensed veterinarian and only turned to training less than 20 years ago? Maybe he decided to try the two-days-rest regimen after reading an article about exercise physiology in a vet journal.

Is it the hat? And the boots?

17 May 2012 5:04 PM

Love all the photos! Keep them coming. I'm also very glad to hear ill have another is doing well.

17 May 2012 5:52 PM
Steve Haskin

Pedigree Ann, it seems to me that by thinking the way you think you are one who considers them semi-educated and unsophisticated. This was meant as a light-hearted piece. Not a bio on Mike Harrington. Try to look at things more positively. Too much cynicism these days.

17 May 2012 6:17 PM
Mary Zinke

CC has been my win pick in every one of his races since the Best Pal, and I have no reason to pick against him in the Preakness. He's been right there at the finish with the Derby winner, IHA in the Santa Anita Derby and blew past Bode in the San Felipe. Closer up at the 3/4 and not having to go 8 wide, he would be right there with IHA in the Ky Derby. The Derby winner is one of the two best colts in the country, and his win should not have been a surprise, but, I think CC can beat him. No one can beat CC's foundation. He had a string of 5 races from July 16-Nov. 5 last year, always finishing in the money, with his two graded stakes wins coming less than a month after the races prior to those wins. Best hope--CC and IHA run 1-2, in that order, in the Preakness, and both run in the Belmont Stakes.  

17 May 2012 6:21 PM

Dear Mr. Haskins - thank you so much for the update on CC.  I think he is a terrific horse as well as I'll Have Another.  I always look forward to your analysis and I'm truly enjoying the addition of pictures.  Have a great day at the Preakness.  I'll be hoping for a win for IHA on the second jewel of the Triple Crown.  It would be a fun to see one more during my lifetime!!!

17 May 2012 6:26 PM

I will be rooting hard for Dutrow to win ;)

17 May 2012 6:41 PM

Went the Day Well looks perky.  Love the pictures.

17 May 2012 6:42 PM

When are they going to turn you into a book, Steve?  Last time I asked a writer that, it was Josh Pons and here came Country Life Diary. Your columns,stories and blogs, WITH PICTURES, would make a remarkable gift. I'd like to put it on my shelf, under the picture of John Henry that hangs there. I'm

waiting for Another one Saturday!

17 May 2012 6:45 PM
Criminal Type

Lava Man, who is ELEVEN, not ten looks like he is ready to go out there on the track and show them how it's done. One of my all time favorites the little claimer who done good...in fact he did exceptional. I just love that they gave him another job. I hope he has a happy life.

As far as Creative Cause is concerned, not on my short list. I really like Went the Day Well. He looks terrific and hope he moves forward off his derby performance. That being said he is on my ticket with IHA and TOTD.

17 May 2012 7:18 PM

There have been many great gray/roan racers. In addition to the Bid, how about Native Dancer? Lady's Secret? Winning Colors? Silver Charm? I believe Determine, the 1954 Kentucky Derby winner, and Decidedly, the 1962 winner, were also gray.

17 May 2012 7:23 PM
Lynda Hernandez

I started reading your blog when Zenyatta was in full stride.  I appreciate your clear analysis of the horses and connections.  I've been disappointed with the way that Creative Cause is being discounted and am pleasantly surprised that you have continued touting him (with good reason of course).  I watched Creative Cause run against Drill at Delmar and have been a huge fan ever since.  I'm hoping that he gets a much better trip in the Preakness so that we can really see his capabilities.  

17 May 2012 7:40 PM

I agree with Dr. Drunkinbum, this is photojournalism at it's best these days.  Steve is amazing.  Look at Went The Day Well, he's so cute!  Look at Lava Man!  I commend O'Neill for all the extra curricular activities he has been involved in.  Them hightailing it out of the taxicab to make the ballgame for the pitch was funny.  

I think IHA has all the tools he needs to get the Preakness.  He is strong, is galloping again like he owns the place, travels like a pro, has a keen mind, is patient, and has Lava Man as his mentor.  He does have the "it" factor.  All that remains is how Gutierrez will use IHA's tactical speed.

Well, let's see, there were 2 out of the last 3 TC winners, (Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Secretariat) who were chestnuts.  There's hope yet...........

17 May 2012 7:48 PM

Based on the way CC looked when he danced off the van yesterday afternoon @ Pimlico,  I'm leaning towards Mike Harrington being a genius.  The horse could not have looked better.

17 May 2012 7:57 PM

I forgot to add that I think it is amazing that the top 3 California horses have made it to the Preakness as well, IHA, CC, Bodemeister.  This really "bodes" well for California racing, a huge plus again.  We get treated to a rematch between Bode and IHA, somebody please keep Mr. Baffert calm.  Bodemeister and Baffert have to make it to the Haskell, he loves that race.  So do I.

17 May 2012 8:02 PM
Del Mar Mark

A "CalRipken-esque" streak of mentioning your buddy Barry Irwin's horse or him. Your admiration continues.......

17 May 2012 8:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Creative Cause is a terrific horse and he will have his day but the Belmont Stakes is setting up fo be a fierce battle for The Crown. I have to believe that I'll Have Another is just doing too good to not win The Preakness and that the reverse psychology a few of us have been using to appease the Racing Gods will have a positive effect. I'll Have Another will have to duel for the lead with Bodemeister but his straight shooting will prevail. He has the best stride of anyone in the race and plenty of bullets left after the Derby shootout. Like a cheap Western, his supply of bullets are endless without reloading. And finally, can I'll Have Another win The Preakness. No, it's impossible.

17 May 2012 9:01 PM

steve-i heard lava man is putting a large sum of money on i"ll have another. so with that in mind trifecta of i"ll have another with bode and went the day well with bode, went the day well and tiger walk. also a win bet on i"ll have another.

17 May 2012 9:05 PM
Stellar Jayne

Steve - Thanks for the update.  Will they put the full blinkers back on Creative Cause?  Also, I had a dream that Went The Day Well won the Preakness - last time I had such a dream was many weeks before Big Brown in the Derby.  I have no favorites this year - was surprised by I'll have another as he came out of nowhere.  Union Rags and Take Charge Indy were in the fore front of my thinking.  Oh well, will just wait and see what happens this time around.  I like Bodemeister, Went The Day Well and Creative Cause equally.

17 May 2012 9:13 PM

Your report was as always, succinct and insightful. The pictures are great! If you should ever run out of words (hope not), a career in equine photography is a possible.

As for Mr. Harrington, he and every trainer realize just one thing- "You are only as good as your last race". Let everyone talk but let your horse DO the talking. T believe CC will do well. He is a horse that tries everytime. Can't ask for more than that.

Here's hoping they all come home safe.

Lava Man, you are the coolest horse on the track!

17 May 2012 9:24 PM
Barry Irwin

While dining this evening at the Nautilus Diner in Baltimore, I ordered some Haskins, which are a combination of Hashbrowns and potatoe skins....Haskins! Delish.

17 May 2012 9:57 PM
Jean in Chicago

Dear Steve,

 Thanks again for your photos!  They show so much more personality ('horse-anality'?) than the usual 'professional' shots.  This doesn't surprise me since you have always done such a great job capturing the 'back stories' on so many wonderful horses.


 Don't forget Native Dancer and possibly the greatest trotter ever, Greyhound.  I think for a long time there were just fewer grays/roans than bays, browns and chestnuts.  There sure seem to be a whole lot more these days than I remember in the past.  It may just be the genetics of horse color since all grays must have at least one gray parent.  

17 May 2012 10:15 PM

My superfecta bet. Bode and IHA, Bode IHA, with WDW, CC, with WDW, CC, DNB, Teeth of the Dog.

17 May 2012 10:21 PM

Many thanks again for your excellent updates and photos. Should be a terrific race and thanks for continuing to extol the class of Creative Cause. Those who dismiss him do so at their own peril. Seems to shape up as he and IHA catching the Meister and dueling to the wire. Then again, WTDW may just rain on everyone's parade as he was awfully impressive finishing in the derby. Would be very interested in your opinion as the where you feel the contendors will all be positioned through the last furlong.

17 May 2012 10:33 PM

Mr. Irwin,

Glad you are back blogging with us.  I love your Went The Day Well, have been watching him prior to the Derby.  He has my favorite look, the bay with the white diamond marking on his forehead, like Alex.  It's so hard not to hope he wins but we just gotta have a Triple Crown winner.  I loved your Animal Kingdom and went to see him in the Belmont, still miffed about that race and his injury.  If that clipping had not occurred things might have been different.  Glad there is food name after Steve.  Soon they must change the name of the Haskell to the Haskin too!  It works for me!  Good luck with Went The Day Well, he's a beauty and hope for good things for him in the future.  Give Animal Kingdom a kiss for me.

17 May 2012 10:49 PM
Steve Haskin

Michelee, I have a million stories and blog archives, but alas, no one to publish them. After six books, the only book I'd write is one I didnt have to write :).

Thanks everyone for your comments, and I'm glad the pics are being well received. I'm atually having trouble with my little camera regarding the lens malfunctioning, and its been hit and miss. I hope I can get enough hits to post a few more photos.

17 May 2012 10:50 PM
Tiz Herself

Will never stop rooting for the grey horse. Hope CC comes in the top 3 - would love to see IHA take the Triple Crown, though!

on that subject of grey champions, here are some more (that haven't been listed)

- Skip Away (my #1 and the reason I love racing so much)

-Giacomo 2005 Kentucky Derby

-Monarchos 2001 Kentucky Derby

-Octave, G1 Mother Goose and CCA Oaks $1.6+ million

-Unbridled's Song

-Even the Score (sire of Dullahan and Take the Points another grey)

-Political Force

-Free House - earner of over $3 mill and was a SA Derby winner as well as won the Pacific Classic and the Santa Anita Derby.

-Woodcarver, 1999 Queen's Plate

-Stardom Bound champion two year old filly, Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies

-Have we forgotten Holy Bull, who is a Hall of Fame and Horse of the Year horse? And sire of Giacomo?

-Princess Rooney, Hall of Fame champion mare who won the 1984 Breeders Cup Distaff.

-Black Tie Affair who won $3.3 million and 1991 Breeders Cup Classic

-Cozzene of course who won the Breeders Cup Mile and sired Alphabet Soup to win the Breeders Cup Classic over Cigar.

-Evening Attire

-Bull inthe Heather, G1 Florida Derby and son of 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand.

-Gato del Sol (Kentucky Derby)

-Maria's Mon


-Wait a While

-Informed Decision

-Forever Together

-Macho Uno

-Kip Deville

-Cara Rafaela - earned $800k+ and dam of Bernardini

-Eight Belles

-Unrivalled Belle

-With Approval, Canadian Triple Crown winner

-California Flag

Love the greys! Always!

17 May 2012 10:56 PM
Jean in Chicago


 I happened across:  


for an interesting trail of the gray horse in thoroughbred bloodlines.

17 May 2012 11:04 PM

I hope you get enough hits too--I love your pictures.

I'm going with a trifecta: I'll Have Another, Creative Cause and Went The Day Well.I hope IHA is on top just so we can see another triple crown winner. The racing world could sure use a boost!

17 May 2012 11:30 PM

Wow - great photos to go with the article - and Cozzetti(for me) is the most photogenic.

17 May 2012 11:43 PM

I thought Creative Cause had a widish trip by design, Creative Cause doesn't like being crowded due to a previous encounter.

I wish Vic Stauffer was calling the TCI races, I still get goosebumps when I hear him screaming: "Lava Man...yes!!" To each his/her own I guess.

17 May 2012 11:48 PM
Mister Frisky

Steve,I'm in total agreement about CC.Hoping he is somewhere around 7 or 8 to 1.Gonna key him in the super with 5 underneath.

18 May 2012 12:47 AM

I couldn't forget Native Dancer or any of the others, I'm just saying that it seems there aren't enough grays who hit the big time, so to speak. Both Big Reds were RED, so I'll Have Another is in good company! Hansen is so light, he looks ghostly. I tried to picture his pale body draped with a blanket of bright red roses and thought, what a beautiful portrait that would make, but it won't happen. I'll have to be happy looking at Desert Orchid. He was a true beauty.

18 May 2012 2:13 AM

Another nice follow-up article, thank you Steve. I sent my comments for the Preakness errantly to the You MAKE the call PREAKNESS pick blog,--had both windows opened at once, sorry Steve,--anyhoo, re the below attached, if interested, copy and paste to a Word.doc. as transferring 8 X 11 formating does not conform to the blog spacing.

 In any event, this is the OTHER hoss that I will be seriosuly using as an underplay, under 'THE MAN' of course, for the Maryland Preakness Stakes, he being the well bred "Teeth of the Dog".

DA Boyz: 2011-12

at 3

                     GROUP 1-2a: Teeth of the Dog:      ** Bluegrass Cat-Storm Cat                   Pool #1 field -9/5; -3/2 ;

                             Downey’s x List;      WM # -n/l’d.;                                                                                           Pool #2  field 3-1 ; 3-1 ;

                                Wynn’s 150-1  45-1                                     Haskin’s # -n/l’d.; c. top 50                               Pool #3  filed 6-1 ;  6-1 ;

Tomlinson Distance Rating:  Dist.:   Wet:  Turf:

                       Teeth of the Dog: (Kty.); Tr. M.R. Matz; D.I. 3.00; -3/20/09 foal; $80K ’10 Keenlander;

                                             4-        1-1-2                                                   breeding rated 176

                                 Bluegrass Cat-Storm Cat-Storm Bird-Northern Dancer-Nearctic-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          s.s.s.d.s.s.s.s.s.: Teddy (Fr.)-Ajax (Fr.)-

                                          s.s.d.s.: Secretariat-Bold Ruler-Nasrullah (G.B.)-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          s.s.d.s.d.s.: Princequillo (Ire.)-Prince Rose (G.B.)-

                                          s.s.d.d.s.s.s.s.: Colin-Commando-

                                          s.d.s: A.P. Indy-Seattle Slew-Bold Reasoning-Boldnesian-Bold Ruler-Nasrullah (G.B.)-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          s.d.s.d.s.: Secretariat-Bold Ruler-Nasrullah (G.B.)-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          s.d.s.d.s.d.s.: Princequillo (Ire.)-Prince Rose (G.B.)-  

                                          s.d.d.s.: Mr. Prospector-Raise a Native-Native Dancer-Polynesian-

                                          s.d.d.d.s.: Northern Dancer-Nearctic-Nearco (Ity.)-

                               Deputy Reality-Deputy Minister (Can.)-Vice Regent (Can.)-Northern Dancer-Nearctic-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          d.s.s.d.s.: Menetrier (G.B.)- … Phalaris  (G.B.)-(24-  16-2-1)-  Bend Or  (G.B.)-(14-  10-2-0)-          

                                                    d.s.d.d.s.s.s.s.: Colin-Commando-

                                          d.d.s.: Prospector’s Halo-Gold Stage-Mr. Prospector-Raise a Native-Native Dancer-Polynesian-

                                          d.d.s.d.s.: Halo-Hail to Reason-Turn To-Royal Charger-Nearco (Ity.)-

                                          d.d.d.s.: In Reality-Intentionally-Intent-War Relic-Man O’War-Fair Play-Hasting-

                                          d.d.d.d.s.: Arts and Letters-Ribot (G.B.)-Tenerani (Ity)-Bellini (Ity.)-Cavaliere Darpino (Ity.)-

                                                        Havresac (G.B.)-Rabelais (G.B.)-St. Simon (G.B.)-Galopin (G.B.)-

                            5 Xs bred to the ‘BHXFG’ via 2 Xs Blossom Time 1920; & 1 X @ to Brushup 1929; Cosquilla (G.B.) 1933; & Mah Mahal (G.B.) 1928;

                                       2nd in a  1 Mi.  Msw; 1:37.75; + ¾ ; GP; // to Unbridled Minister //  

                                        winner  1  1/18 Msw.  1:51.03; GP; // Dynamical // Suns Out Guns Out //  Went the Day Well //

                                       3rd in the Gr. I   1  1/8  Wood Mem.; Aqu.; 1:50.96; + a nose  to Gemologist // Alpha // + 3 Teeth of the Dog

18 May 2012 4:47 AM

This is the first good article I've read so far about the Preakness.

18 May 2012 6:15 AM
El Kabong

Love these type of stories and the pictures have been terrific. There was one of CC I believe before the Derby that had him looking back at you with his tongue just hanging out. I couldn't stop laughing. CC is a great horse, hard working and always gives 120%. I think he will run a better race. I didn't think he would like the 20 horse stampede at all so I tossed him and he surprised me a bit with a 5th place finish. But CC could surprise folks this time around. I don''t think anyone of us knows if one of the big 4 will bounce(Bode, WTDW, IHA,CC), but I only like one of the new kids, Teeth of the Dog. Steve which of the new comers has impressed you?

18 May 2012 6:17 AM

Hope you check back.... Enjoyed article, pics and everyones' comments BUT looking for the answer to Stellar Jayne's question-Will blinkers be back on C.C.?

On or off C.C. will be in my mix for a tri bet cause you don't bet against the grey.

18 May 2012 7:18 AM

There is a lot of truth in this article sprinkled with a bit of rationalization because there hasnt been a TC winner in 34 years.CC dosent know it is bad for him to take plane rides around the country before running in a race and the other 10 colts dont know that IHA is trying to win the 2nd leg of the TC.

18 May 2012 7:57 AM

Every year I read that Pimlico has tighter turns and then that all seems to get debunked when actual comparisons with other tracks are made...and then the next year it's all back again:  Pimlico has tighter turns.  Does it or doesn't it????  And does it favor speed?  They say that every year too.

18 May 2012 8:05 AM
big john t

Approximately 8% of the thoroughbred population is gray. It would be interesting to know what their winning percentage is compared to all of the others.  

18 May 2012 8:43 AM
Pedigree Ann

I was responding to the criticism of Dr. Harrington that was bruited about during Derby week. The sense of the media reports was that he didn't know what he was doing because he didn't train the way everyone else did. Ignorant cowboy was the image portrayed.

Don't you remember how reporters tried to make Chip Wooley out as a just-off-the-range naif who hauled a horse to the Derby in a battered pickup and a single van? Even though he drove a rig the size of a semi-trailer.

Your intent may have been light-hearted, but the background of media folks speaking slightingly of Western horsemen who wear cowboy hats and jeans (and it goes back to Rex Ellsworth and Swaps or beyond) prompted me spring to Doc Harrington's defense.

18 May 2012 8:55 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ah, went the day well, and we capped off a perfect day with a marvelous dinner. I also had the Haskins for my appetizer then had the Sagamore Farm's organic salad, and then the Creative Cause seafood special for my main course. After dinner we cozzetied up to the bar for a few Optimizers and Teeth of the Dogs. Alas, we did overindulge. We must of drank 20 Bodemeisters between the two of us or so it seemed as we both kept shouting out, "I'll have another." I could use a houscall from Dr. Fager this morning.

18 May 2012 9:42 AM

Mr. Haskin,

“So here’s what happened in a nutshell to create the total metamorphosis of one the most consistent and classy colts in the country.”

You must be given credit for your unwavering support for Creative Cause. He was ranked #1 in your final Derby Dozen in spite of being defeated in the SA Derby by eventual Derby winners IHA. I do not believe his record merits this type support. Is he consistent? Yes! Is he classy?  The answer to that question depends on the definition classy. He is an imposing specimen of a horse and therefore could be considered elegant and stylish.

If Creative Cause is deemed classy based on his performances, then he his is several class layer below several of top the colts.  Let me be clear, I Like Creative Cause as he is an honest colt that tries very hard in all his races. However, on too many occasions he has failed to find extra when it mattered most. This is where I consider class to be on display.

His first real class test came in the BCJ. He had perfect trip and could not find extra to either repel Union Rages or overhaul Hansen. This was a sneak preview of what was to be expected for his 3YO season. In his 3YO debut he failed to find extra to catch American Act and Drill. Those two colts were not considered good enough to contest the TC.

He had to be fully extended in the San Felipe to defeat Bodemeister whose previous start was a maiden race. He was again fully extended in the SA Derby to catch the unheralded 45-1 long shot Blueskiesnrainbows and could not find extra to repel I’ll Have Another’s challenge. In the Derby he turned into the stretch in what appeared to be level terms with IHA and again could not find extra and was passed for his first off the board finish  by Dullahan and WTDW who took the overland route.

On the majority occasions where class was required he failed. He has one victory from his last 5 starts and whereas he is consistent, he falls short of class department. A flight to CA enroute to Maryland for colt that has not been exhibiting the will to win cannot enhance his chances.

I hope he justifies you confidence.

18 May 2012 10:33 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Dessert was cookies of course.

18 May 2012 10:37 AM
Chris Simonds

I've been a CC homer since the day I was laying in bed extremely hungover on a Saturday watching a MSW at Hollywood Park.  A grey Giant's Causeway caught my eye then noticing he was out of a G1 winning mare, yet fetched less than $200k in the auction ring when his daddy's stud fee was $300k. Can't stop believing now! Mr. Haskins, you must be pretty popular up there in MD to have restaurants name a dish after you.  Does that mean you eat free there......friend? Have fun this weekend and look forward to your next post

18 May 2012 10:56 AM
Age of Reason


I just keep repeating over and over to myself the words from your first Preakness blog: "What can prevent I'll Have Another from winning the Triple Crown?...The answer is nothing" (paraphrase).

From your lips to God's ears, my friend.

18 May 2012 11:17 AM
Karen in Texas

Wonderful reports, Steve! I like/appreciate the pictures of Doug O'Neill at the Boys and Girls Club. What better way to spread goodwill and to build a future fan base for local racing?

ksweatman9----In addition to the great greys already mentioned, I would add my personal favorite, Skip Away; as well as Cozzene, Alphabet Soup, Lit de Justice, and Holy Bull.

18 May 2012 11:27 AM
Karen in Texas

I had to leave my computer for over an hour after being interrupted during my previous comment. I now see that most of the greys I mentioned were listed. Sorry!

18 May 2012 11:54 AM
Susan from VA

Mr. Haskin and Dr. Drunkinbum - I love you both!  These blogs brighten my day!

18 May 2012 12:04 PM

Big John T, that would be very interesting. If you find the stats before I do, please post. Thanks!

18 May 2012 12:38 PM

Although Hansen is sired by a grey, he is white, not grey. He was born white and the skin on his chest and body showed through when he was drenched going to the Derby gate as pink to red. He's registered grey but thoroughbreds usually are if they are any off colour like pinto. Or they are registered roan, a colour that does not appear in the breed. The roan gene appears in other horses, cows, dogs, rabbits, etc. Roans are roan from birth, don't become lighter each year, and have dark heads, mane, tail and points.

On the other hand, since we don't have any roans, there's a free word to use -- so chestnuts that grey are "roans," and darker base colours that grey are "gray."

I eagerly await a genetic analysis of Hansen. And Tapit. Tapit has some unusually pale horses and some solid dove greys.

The Blood-Horse carried a slew of articles (and op eds in "Letters") back when Ky. Colonel was siring an occasional white, including one with a small chestnut cap that was registered (you guessed it) "roan."

18 May 2012 1:41 PM
Susan from VA

If Hansen was indeed born white, then he is probably a maximal sabino.  I had thought he grayed unusually rapidly; I had no idea he was "born that way."

18 May 2012 3:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Susan from VA

   Thank you so much. That is a treasure for me being loved in the same sentence as the marvelous Steve Haskin who we all love and admire. It means more to me right now that you could know. You brightened my day and I'm glad I could be a part of brightening yours.

18 May 2012 3:02 PM

"To be 'the MAN' you have to beat 'the MAN'... What does it take to convince you, or Harrington or the rest, after two wins over this horse already that "I'll Have Another" is now "THE MAN" !!!, just as I so stated after his Santa Anita win.  

I think, that if there is a horse in this race that might beat "I'll Have Another" it is either "Bodebeyer" or "Went the Day Well" off of his Derby performance... "Creative Cause" and "Daddy Nose Best" are wild cards at best as potential deep underplays to fill a triple or a super in the race...

And, I would not be shocked by a stellar preformance from an up and comer here as we have no idea how the likes of a "Pretension", or the reat, and etc., might have grown... Regarding the new shooter "Zetterholm", he looks--on paper--as a horse much more bred for the Turf.

Thusly, the other horse I personally will be heavy leaning toward and using as a play in this race,--The Maryland Preakness Stakes,--is the so far very lightly-sportswriter-mentioned "Teeth of the Dog", who ran a 151 1/8 in his maiden win, beating in that race "Went the Day Well"; is perfectly bred for this particular distance; is superly bred in his own right; and was coming on quite strongly to be a gamely 3rd right behind an undefeated Gemologist at Belmont recently in the *^&%*$.$@# Casino %,<!^#%#(@! N.Y. WOOD MEMORIAL ^@!$&!!!!... Thusly, thats my take and I'm sticking to it... Good day...


18 May 2012 3:22 PM
Linda in Texas

"Hashkins" - Now you are really famous Steve. Sometimes when addressing your blog a few add an 's' to your name now an extra H, Not many folks are famous enough to have their name on a menu.  I won't look at a potato from now on that i won't think of Mr. Hashkins!

Lava Man but pardon me, buddy ol' pal of everyone's, you rock. And i might add, you have a poker face in Steve's photo. So does his rider. Lava Man looks cool as a

cucumber and is probably looking for his protege I'll Have Another.

Doug O'Neill must not be eating, he looks like he has lost 15 pounds at least. Pictures don't lie.

I am going to look on Ebay for a vintage Canon Power Camera so you can retire Mindy's gift and then "You'll Have Another" as a backup.

Good luck and safe, clean trips to everyone but especially the 4 legged ones. As usual i want everyone to win. But especially come back to their stalls

Thanks Steve. Have a great time at

the races. Lucky everybody who gets to be there.

18 May 2012 6:24 PM
Karen in Texas

I have seen several reports that state Hansen was born a darker gray, and lightened quickly. That includes one recently printed in B-H wherein Annice Johnson of the farm where Hansen was foaled was quoted as stating, "he started out fairly dark." He also had a carrot-orange mane when he was younger. (Several photos on other websites.)


18 May 2012 7:00 PM
Reesie Girl

Aww Steve, the pictures are wonderful and the stories make us feel like we're there. The more I read about these magnificent athletes-the more I love spending time with my own...And Dr. Drunkinbum, your comments are priceless ;)

18 May 2012 11:38 PM

Susan from Va and Karen from Texas

Thanks for your posts and especially the link. I read an interview with Dr. Hansen in which he described his shock at Hansen's birth but it wasn't detailed -- I assumed because he was white but maybe just obviously some kind of color sport. Greys are not born grey. Annice Johnson doesn't say specify what ages she is referring to.

I look further. Susan do you have a link to possible mechanism of inheritance?

19 May 2012 12:19 AM
Greg R

Hard to separate Creative Cause, WTDW and IHA.  CrCs had excuse of very wide trip and odd events of week.  Churchill seemed to rattle him.  Now that he's had the experience of settling into a new venue and knowing he can go home again, the second trip may actually be easier on him mentally!  And horses so often take turns having a good day and a bad day.  If he has one of his best days, he should be right there with IHA at the end.

19 May 2012 12:26 AM

He LOOKS Sabino (SB1 x SB1) and I would discount the opinion that the gene is not found in TBs, as they only discovered it in 2005, and it would have been misregistered if it had turned up in TBs. However, Sabino is expressed when heterozygous and surely there would be evidence of body spots etc. in his lineage.

I've found one pix that shows his white snip standing out more than it does now but google isn't turning up articles I remember reading.

I eagerly await a geneticist getting his hands on a saliva sample.

19 May 2012 12:49 AM
Linda in Texas

Dr. Drunkinbum, there is not a post that goes by that i don't find something you say that makes me chuckle out loud! The one today is a prime example. I quit complimenting your unique quotes and qibbles as i got tired of seeing my name. I didn't want anyone to think that i am trying to hog the space. I just enjoy reading about and listening to so many talented people like yourself and Ted and Bob and our great  BloggoMeister Steve Hashkins and i learn so much and have come to

appreciate and truly care about so many people and I have never met a one.

Steve the photo of Zetterholm was great, he was the only one looking straight at you, the others looked to be being photoed by someone else. But looks like Zetterholm liked you best! He is a handsome fella with a beautiful head and finely honed confirmation, which is nothing more than a bunch of fancy words to say he is one good looking sumgun!

Dr. D i hope your horses win tomorrow. Just know you brighten all our days every day.

And thanks Steve, i bet if anyone needs to find you they just look for the smoke coming out of the roof of the room you are in typing all of these marvie articles.

GunBow really is behind now. He hasn't commented 2 articles back!

19 May 2012 1:00 AM

In case anyone wonders, I post replies in bunches because I sleep days. It's 4 a.m.

Here is a baby picture of Hansen at pasture with his dam. Very peculiar.


Someone posted on their blog spot a pic of a grey yearling with his chestnut foal coat half shedded out, suggesting it's identical to Hansen. But Hansen is a suckling in this picture. Hasn't shed a hair.

19 May 2012 4:06 AM
Mary Zinke

My comment above should say that I've picked CC in every one of his races after seeing him run in the Best Pal. He wasn't in my picks then, but it was love at first watching him run so beautifully.

19 May 2012 10:49 AM

OK kids, put on your reading glasses, 'cuz here I go:

1. Steve, I don't know how much attention sportswriters get from the literary award crowd, but with you and Claire Novak in the running*, I do know that the opportunities to read great writing, regardless of genre, are more frequent than before. There are also several new (to me, at least) writers/photogs/bloggers that are producing very high-quality work.

2. Not surprised in the least when I learned Barry Irwin is a writer too. Definitely a guy I'd crack a bottle with.

3. We won't see CC in blinkers again. He's amazingly intelligent, and naturally extremely curious. He needed them for a while to focus his attention "in class," but like those of us who are also hypervigilant, it bugs him when he can't see everything that's going on. I don't like glasses (in part) because they don't help my peripheral vision---imagine being a prey animal in that situation.

4. To me, the prototypical cowboy is a romantic figure: noble, unpretentious, unassuming; works hard enough to appreciate the luxury of a hearty nap and has the boots & hat to prove it; he may or may not have an advanced formal education, but he does possess a rare quiet wisdom. He's the hero (and often the antihero) and somehow you just know he'll prevail in the end. Of course, I was just about born with boots on, so I'm a smidge biased. There's a vast difference between a redneck and a cowboy. As for Mike Harrington, you'll have only yourself to blame if you take him for anything less than a superior intellect. Also, I think he should be the Woodford spokesmodel!

5. Coldfacts---I appreciate the genuine effort you put into your analysis. You have a good grip on the precision of it, but the accuracy is just, well, not there yet. I'm not a certified expert by any means, but horses are on my very short list of things I don't completely suck at. Pick a track you like, a couple of effective horse/rider combos with several races over different distances and watch lots of races and replays WITHOUT THE AUDIO. The light bulb will go on, I think. I hope that doesn't come across as snooty---we need people with your obvious passion. I've learned more in the last year just by watching CC than I would have ever thought possible. (Which, btw, is just a small part of what makes him such a classy horse.)

6. Jean--'horsinality' is one of my favorite neologisms! Can't quite decide on a preferred spelling, though.

Whew, See what happens when you try to get something other than horse stuff done for a week? Hopefully you're all still awake enough for the race. I love my CC, and I'm happy just as long as he comes back sound. The rest is dark chocolate/red velvet cake ice cream. With an Irish whiskey chaser.

19 May 2012 1:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda in Texas

  Thank you very much. You've given me plenty of smiles too, and I like having you around.

21 May 2012 6:43 PM

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