Countdown to the Cup: A Classic Bomb

He’s not brilliant and he doesn’t have much speed, but if you are looking for a monster, and I mean monster, longshot to play around with in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, you might want to consider Brilliant Speed, whose form bears a striking resemblance to the form of 2002 Classic winner Volponi, who romped by 6 ½ lengths at odds of 43-1.

Looking at his overall record, Brilliant Speed does not have the credentials to win the Classic, but they said the same thing about Volponi. Permit me to toot my own horn, because it is rare I have a reason to, but I not only selected and bet on Volponi, but picked him in my Friday column as my best bet on the entire Breeders’ Cup card. Sometimes, when a race is puzzling, you start looking out of the box and shy away from the obvious. To me, Volponi actually stood out in a race with no clear-cut favorite.

This time it is different. On paper, it doesn’t look like anyone can beat Game On Dude at Santa Anita, and he may very well be one of the biggest locks of the day. But that’s why they have exotic bets.

Although Brilliant Speed does not match Volponi in career victories, I do notice several similarities that I find most interesting.

Volponi came into the Classic having won one of his previous six starts, while Brilliant Speed has won one of his previous nine starts. The one race each won was a grade III grass stakes at Belmont Park. Both horses finished third in the grade I Sword Dancer Stakes on grass that same year. Volponi had blinkers added for the Classic; Brilliant Speed will have blinkers added for the Classic. In addition, both are homebreds who made their career debut in July as 2-year-olds.

Unlike Volponi, who had won a grade II and grade III stakes in his career, Brilliant Speed has won a grade I (Toyota Blue Grass Stakes) and placed in five grade I’s (on dirt and grass), including the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Turf.

If ever a horse ran like he needed blinkers, it is Brilliant Speed, who looked to have the Belmont Stakes won at the eighth pole after making a big move, but hung in the final furlong to finish third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths. He made a big early move in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, opening a length lead at the eighth pole, but was one-paced in the final furlong and had to settle for third behind a pair of top-class European invaders, St. Nicholas Abbey and Sea Moon. Had these races been at 1 1/4 miles, there is a good chance he would have won both of them.

Although his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby looks so-so on paper, he came from 16th, had to go eight-wide at the top of the stretch, and still closed fast to be beaten two noses for fifth and 2 1/2 lengths for third. Yes, he has found a way to lose most of his races, but he has been competitive with a number of top-class horses from America and Europe, rarely runs a bad race, and does have a strong closing kick on any given day. And if you believe blinkers will help sharpen him up, as they did Volponi, then you could do a lot worse if you’re looking for a megabomb to play in the exotics.

And as far as his ability on dirt, he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity on that surface or on synthetic, where he is a grade I winner, but he consistently works sharply over the dirt, and his most recent work over the Belmont training track (five furlongs in 1:00 2/5)  received glowing reviews from DRF’s Mike Welsch, who said it “rivaled” the half-mile drill by undefeated Champagne and Hopeful winner Shanghai Bobby as the “work of the day.”

From a pedigree standpoint, his sire, Dynaformer, is one of the most versatile sires in America, with his offspring competing at the highest level on both grass and dirt. And his second dam, Daijin, is a full-sister to Belmont and Haskell winner Touch Gold.

And from a strategic standpoint, his owner, Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, has a very talented colt in To Honor and Serve, who has an almost identical running style to Game On Dude and should keep the favorite fairly busy on or just off the pace through most of the race.

So, yes, on the surface, it would appear as if we are really reaching trying to convince anyone this horse has a legitimate chance in the Classic. But stranger things have happened and part of the challenge of handicapping is to uncover some angles on a horse one normally would pay little or no attention to.


Leave a Comment:

Ted from LA

Volponi won in Chicago, correct?  Did he also run at Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Classic?  Before or after the Arlington Park Breeders' Cup?  Steve might give a small gift to whomever correctly answers these questions first.  Ted from LA remembers seeing Volponi backside at Santa Anita Breeders' Cup morning.  I believe Toccet beat Balto Star that day too.  Dr. D, thanks for the confidence boost on the last blog.  If you ever need a kidney, and I'm an absolute perfect match, I might consider giving you one.

23 Oct 2012 8:15 PM

Interesting. The horse owes me money, which makes me cautious. That can be a psychological trap.

I bet Brilliant Speed, Master of Hounds and Animal Kingdom straight in the Derby as they were all being eliminated because "we didn't know if they'd like the surface." I figured at that point in their careers we lacked evidence of the capabilities and preferences of any of them on various surfaces, especially off surfaces, which created overlays. Worked out pretty well. <g>

When Chantal was jocked off, I took a long look at Game on Dude's past races. At that point no other rider had ever won a stakes race with GoD, although Chantal had only ridden him in half his races. His pre-Chantal flaw appeared to be a willingness to throw in the towel as he tired. Probably he's braved up with success, but maybe that's a weakness . . .

23 Oct 2012 8:50 PM

Ted from LA:

Go to, enter Volponi in search box, get past performances with charts and, if recent, videos (by subscription, 10 cents to download for 48 hrs.).

23 Oct 2012 9:07 PM

Addenda: That's horse profile with predigree, past performances and charts free, plus link to videos by subscription.

23 Oct 2012 9:09 PM

When a saw the title of this post, I paused and said to myself, "I hope he's talking about Brilliant Speed!" For the last week or so, I have been mulling over Brilliant Speed as a Classic contender, and have slowly but surely convinced myself that he is capable of winning. So I'm delighted to read that you agree!

23 Oct 2012 9:52 PM

Well, Cassandra, except for a couple of rich Grade 1s where GOD...faded in the stretch. Didn't seem to be a problem under Bejarano.

23 Oct 2012 10:42 PM
carol in utah

I never count ANY of BigD's boys out ....ever...

23 Oct 2012 11:20 PM
Mike Relva

Ted from L.A.

It's evident how much you miss your little friend that used to have a blog site. Didn't he sit on your shoulders so he could watch the races? You know the one that always held a super mare and her connections in such "high regard".

23 Oct 2012 11:26 PM
Dave Dillon

Volponi was one of the more versatile horses to race. He raced distances from 7F to 1.25M, which is why I bet him. He was also a huge overlay.

p.s. I had 20 on the nose, which was a nice way to end the BC 2002.

24 Oct 2012 1:13 AM
The Deacon

If we know anything about the 2 days of Breeders Cup races is that there will be upsets. What we don't know is where thse upsets will occur. Personally, I see no obvious standout in the Classic. Yes on paper Game On Dude looks the best but as we all know sometimes that gun runs out of bullets. GOD has had many hard, tough races, does he have one more left in him. Steve's point is not that far fetched. Stranger things hve happened...........

24 Oct 2012 3:13 AM


Brilliant Speed is an interesting play. His race in the Belmont was fine.

I will give him a close look if Royal Delta does not run in the Classic. He is indeed a nice longshot.

24 Oct 2012 8:39 AM
lunar spook

Cassandra- this is too strange ! I had the exact same 3 picks in the derby , i was high on brilliant speed and after reading this article , i may just bet on him , should have real GOOD ODDS !!!!

24 Oct 2012 8:46 AM
Bill Two

Assuming Game On Dude runs no worse than second in the Classic,should a horse like Brilliant Speed win or place the exacta will still amount to something worth betting on.  I've seen worse bets...

24 Oct 2012 10:27 AM

Volponi had won a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 during his racing career.  He was also going into the 2002 Classic coming off of a monster second place performance in the Meadowlands Cup.  He made up nearly 6 lengths going 6 wide and almost won.  He was a very live long shot that day.  Those in the old DRF forums may remember my posts about both him and Domedriver that year.

24 Oct 2012 11:12 AM
lunar spook

While we are discussing longshots , keep this horse in mind POOL PLAY , just saying . . .

24 Oct 2012 1:10 PM


Obviously you think that this year's BCC is shaping up, in quality (or the lack thereof), like the 2002 renewal. Thats the only way turf horse Brilliant Speed could be looked upon so favourably on here. From my perspective that horse has two shots (tongue in cheek), slim and none. With due respect, he wont hit the board. Do you really believe that he can upset the likes of Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out, Ron The Greek, Game on Dude, Fort Larned or even the 3YO Alpha?

24 Oct 2012 1:28 PM

After having Volponi in pick 4 at Arlington for $16,000+ I will put Brilliant Speed in pick 4's here too! Thanks Steve...

24 Oct 2012 3:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Ranagulzion, I couldnt pull the wool over your eyes. Youre too sharp a handicapper for me. You exposed me. You went out on a limb and said the longest shot in a 14-horse field has no shot. Well done. I'll stick to the favorites from now on.

Lunar Spook, I dont throw out Pool Play either. He can pick up a piece of it. If Game on Dude is indeed a lock, anyone can finish second or third, as theyre all running over a new track and he is at least proven at 1 1/4 miles and unbeaten on dirt. Even with Ron the Greek, this track is much different than the track he ran on in the spring. I think it's up for grabs.

24 Oct 2012 4:58 PM
lunar spook

STEVE- everyones assuming game on dude is a lock to win , im leaning toward FLAT OUT on top , what u say ?

24 Oct 2012 5:15 PM

I've liked Brilliant Speed in this spot too. Blinkers makes it interesting, off the turf makes it a genius move by trainer, and Dynaformer's can get the job done, no doubt. I say bombs away, WPS, and go home a winner.

24 Oct 2012 5:36 PM

Good article Steve! As they say across the pond, Its worth a bob or two on Brilliant Speed.

24 Oct 2012 7:20 PM

Game on Dude, IMO isn't a lock because he has shown that 1 1/4 miles isn't his forte. GOD will be heavily bet and I like your thought Steve, when in doubt start pickin' long shots. In the classic IF royal delta runs she has my money if not, Brilliant Speed, To Honor and Serve, Mucho Macho Man, Ron the Greek and Richard's Kid. The turf mile looks like to be a closers race, Animal Kingdom, Mr. Commons and Jeranimo are looking good. I like Cape Bastone in the Juvenile. The Turf is the best betting race, IF the horses that are pre entered show up it could be a full field, which is rare. Point of Entry has my money along with some euro's that I'll have to take a closer look at. Dirt Mile I really like Nonios and Fed Biz. Turf sprint is a giant cluster f#%&, press the ALL button. Sprint, Coil, Capital Account, Amazombie, in that order. FM Sprint, Groupie Doll is a monster, will most likely single her. Juvenile Turf, see turf sprint. Distaff, Royal Delta,IF she runs, IF NOT Awesome Feather, Questing and Love and Pride.

FM Turf, ALL on the euro's.

Juvenile Fillies, Executiveprivilege, Dreaming of Julie, and Kaui Katie.

Marathon, see Turf Sprint.

Juvenile Fillies Turf, see Turf Sprint.

Juvenile Sprint, Beholder, Super Ninety Nine, and Merit Man.

Looking forward to diving into the PP's for these races.

Happy Studying!

24 Oct 2012 8:40 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

I must say that Speedy should have went into the Marathon. The distance is perfect and he wont need a tremendous turn of foot vs that field, that would make him MUCH more competitive.  The ONLY thing standing in his way is a certain Staying champion named Fame and Glory who Ballydoyle said was gonna run in the Marathon even on dirt. The Marathon seems more logical.

25 Oct 2012 12:10 AM
Lammtarra's Arc

Keep your eyes open for a 2 year old British sprinter named Glass office, if he runs in the Juvenile Sprint.  On Poly he has a tremendous kick, and I am sure with his breeding that Dirt will not be an issue.  For the Classic I would love to play my fellow CDN Pool Play, but I think he is better to go into the Marathon along with Brilliant Speed.

25 Oct 2012 1:53 AM

To Honor and Serve seems to have those days when he's an absolute superstar.  Predicting when with him is a head scratcher.  

25 Oct 2012 2:03 AM

I hope the bettors consider Game on Dude a lock for the classic like you have written in this article.Mott has 4 entrants aside from Royal Delta out of his other three entaants in the classic only Flat Out had the screws completely tightented for his last race on a surface that it was logical to do so, as he had won the same race a year earlier on an off track.THAS and RTG were not ready to run their best in their last race for whatever reasons, those could be the horses own form cycles and or combined with training and instructions and strategy to their jockeys on how much to use the horses in their races especially regarding their position in those races, and their chance of winning each race once the race started.Game on Dude lost the Classic in deep stretch last year and the excuse given was the track condition, because he really didnt get any pace pressure.I think if the track comes up speed favoring on race day he might be able to hold on this year at a mile and a quarter, but if he is odds on to win,like the article states thats what exotic bets are for.

25 Oct 2012 8:04 AM
Pedigree Ann

Josh, if 10f isn't GoD's forte, he's been giving a good imitation of it. On dirt, he's never missed the exacta at 10f. On synthetic, his record is a bit more spotty, with off-the-board finishes in the World Cup and last year's Pacific Cup. But this race is on dirt. On a track where he has won 5 of 5 races, including a blinder on the current composition in the Goodwood. And he has already won more races this year than he did last year (4 of 6, versus 3 of 8); he is five now and fully mature. He is an obvious contender for the Classic.

Flat Out has won two JCG Cups at Belmont on off tracks. He hasn't won anything anywhere else in between. A male version of Sightseek? [NB Juddmonte mare who was absolutely unbeatable at Belmont, just darned good elsewhere.]

Volponi had a 10f dirt prep for the Classic in the defunct Meadowlands Cup. [Notice how many G1/G2 10f dirt races on the East Coast are defunct these days? Makes it hard to predict which of the 9f horses will step up on BC day.] Brilliant Speed hasn't run on dirt since August of 2011. And one can't call his race on Sept 8 anything but average, in which he ran evenly until the final furlong, when he dropped farther back.

Dullahan is a 10f horse, but needs a wicked pace up front on dirt to show his best. Whether he will get it is a question. GoD has shown this year he can rate just off 'need the lead' sorts, so he won't be "bustin' a gut" early. Alpha wants to be up close early, and so do Fort Larned and Handsome Mike. Should be interesting.

25 Oct 2012 8:53 AM
Mike Relva

I'm looking for A. Feather to really put on a show.

25 Oct 2012 9:29 AM

Midnight Lute,

The Marathon purse is 1/10th of the Classic.

$300k to win Marathon. $100k for second. $50k for third.

$3 million to win Classic. $1 million for second. $500k for third. $200k for fourth (maybe more not sure if it is 5% or 4%).

Fifth and sixth could pay what Brilliant Speed would get for second in the Marathon.

Brilliant Speed has an excellent shot of getting in the top 6 in the Classic. If he were to get third he would almost double his payday for winning the Marathon.

Nevermind the obvious windfall of placing or even winning.

The money dictates you have to try the Classic.  It just makes the best business sense.  Even a second or third in the Classic would look better than winning the Marathon (for breeding purposes).  To much upside not to try the Classic.

25 Oct 2012 2:22 PM
lunar spook

MIKE RELVA- I agree with u on awesome feather , it seems this filly is getting no respect , but that will all change if she wins the ladies classic against a VERY loaded field !!!!

25 Oct 2012 2:50 PM
Ted from LA

Mike Revlon,

I will be the first to admit I miss Jason's blog but not him.  The reason... I visit him each month in sunny Florida and take long walks on the beach with him, followed by sipping piña coladas at sunset.

25 Oct 2012 3:30 PM
The Deacon

Mike Relva:  I am with you, I like Awesome Feather as well. She is brilliant and will show it come game day.

25 Oct 2012 4:56 PM
Mister Frisky

I'm thinking the same way Steve.I might box all the Mott horses in the exotics.Billy Mott got that slug Drosselmeyer home, nothing would shock me.My hunch play is the other Live Oak horse,To Honor and Serve.At two he looked like a horse that would love two turns but never has.Im thinking he might be saving his best for last.

25 Oct 2012 4:56 PM
Louisville Native

Agree with Midnight Lute. Brilliant Speed much more competitive in the BC Marathon than the Classic. Would love to see him there, but the purse money seems to trump all considerations in the connection's decision to go the Classic route. Business wins out over sport.

25 Oct 2012 6:46 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

dontelmeshome-  Sorry that is your opinion, he would walk over that field take his 320,000 and his first GR2 on dirt.  This horse needs more distance then 10f. 12-14f is right up his alley especially being by Dynaformer. Look at his BC turf last year.  he was just out run on his prefered surface, but he ran strong, and handled the distance easily.  Sorry but The marathon is still where I think he should be entered.  again JMO.

25 Oct 2012 7:12 PM

I respect your choice of Brilliant Speed, Steve.  I would never pooh-pooh any pick you make, unlike some people here.  You have made some pretty good picks in the past, including tabbing action on I'll Have Another all the way back to the to the Lewis Stakes last year.  You earned my respect as a handicapper that race.  You were the only racing journalist/handicapper out there that saw IHA's potential and stayed loyal with him all the way through the Triple Crown races.  I was WAITING for someone with some vision to see IHA's potential and you were the only pundit/handicapper seeing what I saw in I'll Have Another early on.  I did not follow your column when Volpini raced in the Breeder's Cup Classic, but I am not surprised you recognized something others did not in him before the Breeder's Cup.  Well done, Steve.

I don't believe in "absolute locks" in stakes races, especially stakes races at this level.  I look for value for my money.  Thank you for giving all of us the suggestion of Brilliant Speed.  You make a convincing argument in his favor.  He can win the Classic, just as much as any other horse in the race can win it.  If not win the race outright, he can definitely be deep in the mix in the exotics.  

I wish Brilliant Speed and his connections great good luck and good fortune in the BC Classic.  I wish you good luck as well, Steve, in all of your handicapping during Breeder's Cup weekend.  Bon chance to all.

25 Oct 2012 8:27 PM
Mike Relva


He was a disgrace that had next to zero regard for the racehorse in general,just cashing a ticket.

25 Oct 2012 9:34 PM
Mike Relva

Lunar Spook

Thanks! She's managed smartly considering her issues.


Respect your comments and your know how ability to always compose interesting points. Well done.

25 Oct 2012 9:39 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Joy. I didnt actually pick Brilliant Speed to win the Classic, Just bringing up several points on why he shouldn't be overlooked. Too early to make an actual selection,. That will come Friday.

25 Oct 2012 9:56 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I question GoD's ability to beat classy horses at 10F. He lost last year to Drosselmyer, who was mediocre at best. However, I did not question that GoD's contender status for the classic. He obviously belongs there. I am looking for a winner and the favorite has a hole in his game.

Let's see what horses he has beat this year, shall we.

No graded winners in the San Antonio Stakes. The Wolrd Cup, Californian, Hollywood Gold Cup, and Pacific Classic were on Synthetic tracks, so we bypass those. The Goodwood is at 1 1/8 miles. Where he beat 2 7 year old horses, who are past their prime. The fact is simple, a good horse who is really stretching at 10F, and going against questionable competition is an easy hole to spot. I didn't say he wouldn't win, I also didn't say he didn't belong, and that I wouldn't use him when betting. I am just stating that he is questionable at 10F because of the competition he has faced this year. Also, that there are horses that have no question marks at 10F, which reminds me of Drosselmyer last year.

25 Oct 2012 10:09 PM

Steve, Brilliant Speed may not be your final pick to win the Breeder's Cup Classic, however, it's still a very good suggestion that definitely deserves consideration in the exotics.  Just saying! - LOL.

25 Oct 2012 10:27 PM

O.k. we agree to disagree for now.

We will get our answer.

If Brilliant Speed wps in the Classic, it was clearly the right call.  We shall see.  Good luck with all your BC wagers, sir.

25 Oct 2012 11:38 PM

Yes, Drosselmeyer did beat GoD, and GoD beat everyone else as they finished even farther behind Drosselmeyer than GoD did.  Holding that against GoD while many other horses fared worse seems a bit trivial.  

26 Oct 2012 1:15 AM
The Deacon

I agree with Steve, other then my Ladies Classic pick of Awesome Feather it is way too soon to make any other selections.

Just a quick note, being originally from California the weather can get awfully warm in late October and early November. I personally think that it is going to affect many of these horses who have been training and running in much cooler weather and softer surfaces.........good luck

26 Oct 2012 3:37 AM
lunar spook

There is no such thing as a lock in horse racing , but EXCELEBRATION in the dirt mile comes awfully close , bank it kids !!

26 Oct 2012 9:14 AM
Pedigree Ann


Remember the 2003 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita? Afternoon temperatures were hovering around 100 and fires were raging in the foothills. Euro-raced High Chaparral dead-heated for the win in the Turf with Euro Falbrav only a head behind in third. Euros ran 1-2-3 in the Ladies' Turf, headed by Islington. Euro Six Perfections, a 3yo filly, won the Mile. Some of the same reservations were expressed about horses from cooler climes, particularly the Euros, but they proved to be misplaced. I would worry more about an early start to the Rainy Season. [NB to the rest of you, So. Cal has only 3 seasons - the Rainy Season, the Dry Season, and the Fire Season.]

26 Oct 2012 10:54 AM
El Kabong


Few days late but oh was this worth it. My tummy is still tight from enjoying the laugh. I'm sure you know why.

There are handicappers and then their are Journalists with Handicapping responsibilities. Every once and while, X and Y cross and you really have something. Thanks for the article. It makes perfect sense.

26 Oct 2012 1:32 PM

Why is it that My Miss Aurelia isn't getting much play right now?

26 Oct 2012 2:08 PM
Age of Reason

Lunar Spook--please do! I can't wait to see you rushing up to the window preparing to bet Excelebration hand over fist in the Dirt Mile. Rumor has it, though, that O'Brien might pull a huge surprise trick and enter him in the Turf Mile instead(hee)!

El Kabong--I'm still grinning, too. Anyone can make themselves look silly before a race when they fall prey to the hype and assume that any race is a foregone conclusion. It's hysterical when someone else comes under the scrutiny of Steve's sharp wit, but decidedly less comfortable when we become the squirming object of scrutiny. Better R. than A.o.R., is all I can say!

26 Oct 2012 3:16 PM

The BC mile is the race I find most exciting. Again, two horses I'd love to see win, are going against each other. Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom. Good luck fellas.

26 Oct 2012 5:46 PM

Good article Steve.  I know you had an eye on Brilliant Speed a way back.  He could do it who knows and you have a keen eye.

What is disappointing in this year's Classic is that the 3 year olds aren't properly represented, though no fault of their own, due to all the injuries and early retirements.  Imagine what could have been.  From what I saw of Flat Out when I was at Belmont for the JCGC, he's right on his game.  Right now I see the Classic as GOD or Flat Out.

Other Stuff:

If anyone is interested Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm wrote a killer Op/Ed piece in TDN (oops am I allowed to mention that publication here?)

Sorry to see Chantal retire.  Wow, off GOD and retires.  I am assuming she may want to start a family, she just got married recently and biologically agewise this is her time.  I wish her the best of luck if that is her goal or in whatever she aims to do.  Hopefully she will stay involved in the sport announcing or broadcasting or something.

Any more news on Paynter.  Keep us informed Steve.  I hope he is happily grazing and playing at Fair Hill, slowly forgetting his horrible ordeal.  As he grazes outside wearing his blankee one side of it should say, "I'm still the last one standing" and the other side (I love Fran's name), "I'm off to Paynt the town!"

In a few months Paynter gets a new blankee that simply says, "HOY."

Happy weekend to all.

26 Oct 2012 6:54 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Lunar spook if you're gonna bet excelebration in the Dirt mile..don't be surprised if he doesn't win!.  On that note, put a bet on Shackleford in the Classic for me............

26 Oct 2012 7:11 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

dontelmeshome- You as well sir.  Best of luck with your wagers during the Breeders cup weekend.

26 Oct 2012 7:15 PM


Thanks for mentioning My Miss Aurelia

almost forgot about her. She might be a great play in the distaff.

26 Oct 2012 7:37 PM
The Deacon

Pedigree Ann: Yes I remember 2003, but I think that was more of a nomily then the norm. It only affected a couple races anyway and the Euros had monsters running on the turf.

Was just trying to help here as I have been to many of these Breeders Cup races held at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. Didn't know that I was offending you.....

26 Oct 2012 7:43 PM

Mr. Haskin should owe the betting public an apology for even suggesting that people should spend their hard earn money on a horse that has absolutely zero chance of winning a race of this magnitude.....but also to compare him to another classic winning horse that came into the BC Classic with ten 100+ beyers (9 of those 105+)?

Congrats, Steve, on your volponi call from a decade ago but please don't supply the public with false hope. People blindly put their money down on horses based on "expert" recommendations without thinking for themselves. Please don't permit those that take the time to read your columns to be duped.

26 Oct 2012 8:47 PM
Steve Haskin

OK, Yargs, you convinced me. I apologize. I'll never do it again. I dont know what came over me.

27 Oct 2012 1:16 AM
The Deacon

Steve:  What's a yarg?

Keep your opinions coming Steve, I happen to appreciate them........

27 Oct 2012 3:22 AM
Karen in Texas

yargs---How silly! Games of chance are precisely that; one acknowledges taking a risk without control over the outcome. The reading of any "expert" opinion does not not suspend the inherent obligation of one to be able to think for himself.

27 Oct 2012 10:58 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Winning on a longshot is a 100 times better than winning on a favorite, and I'd rather lose on a longshot than a favorite anyday. Longshots win everyday, and with most of them you can't see it on paper. Some sneak through the cracks and win at high odds with comparable stats and numbers but most don't. Anyone that bets more than $2 should be making their own decisions anyway. More are likely to mourn not listening to Steve when his longshot comes through than are to regret listening to him (although he is not suggesting anyone bet based on his article about a possiblity). If you lose $2 and that causes you great financial distress then your problems are much greater than losing $2 because a writer suggests that it is possible a longshot has a chance. This was a fascinating article about a horse and his connections and looking beyond what's on paper. If all the races were won on paper-well you know tha story. In my opinion this Classic is as wide open as any in memory but if you can't form your own opinion go spend your $2 on Snickers bars and be happy, and enjoy the articles for their brilliance without taking the chance of it costing you or making you money. It wasn't Steve's final pick anyway and even with that one, it is your bet to make with your money, not Steve's. Proceed with extreme caution if you make bets based on opinions of writers or "experts", many of whom have extreme difficulty picking a winning favorite eventhough all they do is pick favorites !!!

27 Oct 2012 11:00 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Those that are traveling out west from the east be safe and have a good trip. I see where the national news stole Steve's Frankelstein term and turned it into Frankenstorm. Good luck everyone. Don't forget those longshots, there will plenty of them in this BC.

27 Oct 2012 11:15 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Confucuis say, "He who picks favorite and loses looks dumber than he who picks longshot and loses. Whoa Nelly."

27 Oct 2012 11:32 AM


I would be much more offended then Yargs is, if I had to read through a column dissecting why the even money favorite has a good shot of winning.

27 Oct 2012 1:19 PM
Forbidden Apple

I still want to see Wise Dan and Roayal Delta in the Classic. It looks like both will skip the race, leaving it wide open. I might just stick with Fort Larned, even though he was awful in his last race.

Awesome Feather's last race was not as dominant as some people are making it out to be. Anyone who watched races at Belmont that week should have noticed how the final times were lightning fast all week long. She did look powerful against zero competition. With only 2 races in 2012 I have many concerns with her.

My Miss Aurelia was very lucky to win the photo at Parx. Her huge frame is what gave her the win. I blame the pre-race instructions for getting Questing beat. The jockey let Questing relax and then tried to make one run. Why take a speed horse out of her game? I know that Questing will be on the engine from the start in the B. Cup. She is gritty enough and classy enough to hold off the field down the stretch.

27 Oct 2012 2:00 PM

For everyone who called Drosselmeyer "a slug" - he had the best lifetime record at 10f+ of all the runners in the Classic last year: 6-3-2-0 (with the unplaced in his only start on turf).  He just didn't have enough races that really suited him.  (I overlooked him too - I didn't look up the pps.)  Remember, a horse who can string together consistent :12 sec furlongs may only run 1:12 for 6f and 1:36 for the mile, but finishes the 10f in 2:00...

Who in this years' Classic field has the best 10f + record?  THAT'S who to look at.  Not at these 8-1/2-9f wonder horses who start gasping one step past 9f...

27 Oct 2012 4:28 PM

A couple of thoughts about the weather affecting the outcome of races. First, track conditions are the ultimate consideration which is going to determine any affect that weather is going to have on the outcome of a race; and this is truly a factor that must include a careful look at the breeding of a horse, mainly whether they're able to take to an off track or not.

Secondly, I don't see weather affecting a horse's performance based solely on where they have been running; rather I see it based on how they have run under past conditions. I truly believe some horses, due to their breeding, will do better in colder/hotter weather and it is totally trackable if you take the time, and will produce winners for you if you take time to notice. I have often noticed horses that excel when running in cold/ wintery weather and seem to be just mediocre when run in hot/summer weather. The best example I can give of this would be horses that descended from Stalwart, they seemed to always run best on cold/cloudy days and not so good on hot/sunny days. I know this example goes back aways in time, but this was an angle that produced winners for me when no one else saw the possibility.

On another subject, regarding My Miss Aurelia, if Aunt Aurelia says she is playing her, I would recommend not overlooking her!

Also, IMHO, Animal Kingdom is back, and will win.

27 Oct 2012 5:15 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Because people like YARGS can't think for themselves. BAD Steve for stating your opinion on YOUR Last I read he didn't PICK BS to win he said this horse has a chance just like any other, and stated his reasons.  I am picking Mucho Macho Man because after a race in which he does not win this year he comes back with a monster run.  10f should not be a problem for him.  OOOPPPS sorry YARGS I might mislead the sheep to bet on him now...

27 Oct 2012 5:27 PM
Mike Relva


Think it's you that owes an Mr. Haskin. Can't even put into words how absurd you sound.

27 Oct 2012 5:41 PM
Linda in Texas

Dale Romans is being a gentlemen trainer with the likes of Little Mike, Dullahan and Shack all being

walked to see their adoring public

at Santa Anita so says Love it.

That is just plain hospitable of Mr. Romans. i have been a Shackleford fan from the get go when he always lathered up and needed to be by himself before a race. I am fond of all three of those horses even before Little Mike ran i was pulling for him just because of his name and his size. And darn if he didn't come in first. Only learned later that he was Redham's.

Steve, i was always told by my grandfather that everyone likes to pull someones leg once in a while!

Especially when they ask for it!:)

Yargs, i love all of Steve's and most everyone's opinions and come to think of it, no one paid an entry fee to be able to get on this blog and read it either. Plus it takes all kinds, horses that is. I hope your's always win.

I also like Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom, but given Animal Kingdom's previous injury i am not real excited about seeing him pushed unless he is totally 100 percent physically fit. I am just probably too cautious and i am not saying anyone is running him if he is not 100 percent fit. Just worries me. I have broken my left arm 3 times in the same place and every time i do, it leaves it weaker.

Batten down the hatches on The East Coast please,looks like 'Sandy' is going to kick up a little wind and water. Be safe all.

Thanks Steve.


27 Oct 2012 5:57 PM
Age of Reason

Midnight Lute--Don't be silly, everybody knows that Shackleford has already declared for the Dirt Marathon. With his quick turn of foot, Fame And Glory doesn't tan a chance! ;)  

27 Oct 2012 9:44 PM
Age of Reason

*stand* a chance. Don't mock others when your own keyboard has been freezing up, I suppose.

27 Oct 2012 9:45 PM

I get a chuckle from ome of these comments. Drosslemeyer "a slug"? ok, don't think the people that were bold enuff to use him @ Belmont or Churchill would describe him in those terms. And if anyone reads "expert" selections and do not do their own handicapping you are missing the [imo] most rewarding part of this game, and that is coming up w/ your own #'s. Personally, I remember picking a winner a few years back at the Spa, and the next day noted "pik 6" guy and von vivant Steve Christ commented..."you had to be either drunk or played your favorite #'s to come up with this runner..." and I will tell you, I got more joy oughta those comments than cashing the $150 exacta! I know it's antecdotal, but do your homework, you maybe surprised..aside Steve, have been a big fan of Brilliant Soeed since his Spring 3yo. campaign, he certainly can make presence felt here, and @ >15/1 is a bargain![2 others I will be using next weekend, both should be value,...Atigun[Belmont run was huge], and Wilcox Inn, his last was the real deal vs a gelding that may be the tuffest since Forego[see '75 Marlboro]

28 Oct 2012 10:17 AM
Pedigree Ann

Dear Deacon;

No offense taken. I merely offered a counter-example to show that high temperatures in SoCal did NOT make a difference in at least ONE situation. Hard to communicate tone with typed word. Sorry if you felt attacked.

Compared to the US contingent, the Euros for the Turf and Ladies Turf ARE like monsters; if Dangerous Midge (G3 sort in GB) can win a BC Turf... And so is Excelebration in the Mile; over the last 2 years, he has lost only to Frankel and has beaten some very high-class milers.

28 Oct 2012 10:54 AM
Paula Higgins

To all of those who live in New Jersey and New York, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I grew up on the water and I what it can do in a hurricane. None of it is good. As for Steve giving advice on horse betting, he is one of the few I would listen to. No one is being forced to bet their money. Free choice.

28 Oct 2012 6:24 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Age of Reason- You had it!...then let it slip away ;)  

My personal tip for the breeders Cup is Fame and Glory winning the Turf sprint. Bank it!.  ;)

28 Oct 2012 6:29 PM

Actually if confucious bought some brew and invited all his philosopher buddies to make bets on cons AWD account while they got drunk and watched the races on his big screen tv.He would definitely not use past performances to pick his long shots in his exotic wagers because he would know the races are not run on paper and never will be.In fact to those guys rice paper is a lot more valuable than past performances(they probably could find better uses for this paper since they didnt have indoor plumbing or the accompaning paper eventhough it is printed paper.Confusious being the clever person that he was would know that everyone would read the same thing and assign the same odds if going by past performances to pick long shots.

28 Oct 2012 7:36 PM

Mr. Haskins I want to believe that you're right. Why? Because you've been in this industry for such a long time and I would respect anything you say, with respect to your knowledge on horse racing. I will take your calculated risk. Your knowledge is 2nd to none. And I myself have done my home work. Position would be key. Remincient of his Turf run against a classic Turf field of runners of 2011. He will be right there.

28 Oct 2012 8:40 PM
lunar spook

MIDNIGHT LUTE- I meant TURF not mile , regardless , bank it !!!!

29 Oct 2012 10:04 AM
Linda in Texas

Correction: Little Mike is owned by Ms. Vaccarezza in Florida and trained of course by Dale Romans won the Arlington Million. A very nice win.  

Handsome Mike (and he is indeed) is owned by Mr. Reddam and won the 1 Million Dollar PA Derby, very nice win also. Trained by The Douglas O'Neill Team.

I watched both races, wanted to correct myself before somebody beat me to it. Sorry about that,went back and re read my notes and found my error, no harm intended to either horse.

They both stand on their own successes.

29 Oct 2012 1:53 PM
Soldier Course

For what this is worth, I've had one of my "flashes" that Brilliant Speed is going to be the winner.

This happens to me from time to time, and it's usually correct.

That's how I picked Funny Cide to win the Kentucky Derby in 2003, when everyone at my party that day said I was crazy. My revenge was raking all their money off the coffee table into my wallet!

31 Oct 2012 12:24 PM
Melissa P

I've been a fan of Brilliant Speed since he came to my attention prior to the Bluegrass. I follow Dynaformers. When the big horse went to stud, we bred to him the first two years. There was something about him. Of course, there was all that Classic dosage and distance/turf pedigree that was not found in many other stallions at the time. A great outcross for all the Mr. P and Northern Dancer blood out there. I would love to see Brilliant Speed do well in the Classic. It would be a great swan song. I made quite a nice return on a bet on Perfect Drift in the BC a few years ago, I'd love to do the same this year.

31 Oct 2012 3:13 PM

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