Haskin's Derby Trail: Big Two Locked and Loaded

Patton vs. Rommel! Lee vs. Meade! Washington vs. Cornwallis! Pletcher vs. Baffert? Yes, the armies are massing and they could confront each other on the banks of the Ohio on the first Saturday in May. It could really happen and there’s nothing to stop it. For example, on one expert's poll in the Louisville Courier-Journal, 11 of his top 14 horses are soldiers commanded by either Pletcher or Baffert. And there are a lot more waiting in the trenches.

Gen. Pletcher is well-equipped for battle with names like Violence and Revolutionary. Gen. Baffert is hoping to match that with War Academy. And who else to bring Baffert back to the glory days of his greatest triumphs than Flashback? Let’s not forget, Baffert’s last Derby victory was with a horse with “War” in his name. And his first was a gray, just like Flashback.

While Pletcher has the luxury of staying put for the most part and have Baffert come to him, Baffert’s Army of the West is confined to one place and he, as he normally does, will have to send some of his troops out on scouting missions in the East to test the strength of the opposition by engaging them in some of the earlier minor skirmishes, while saving his main Army for the big conflict.

Last year, he exposed the Oaklawn Park horses by sending his miler, Secret Circle, to Hot Springs for the Southwest Stakes and Rebel Stakes and left the locals beaten and battered. Then he applied the coup de grace with his big gun, Bodemeister, in the Arkansas Derby. He is planning on using that same strategy this year by sending his miler, Super Ninety Nine, to Oaklawn for the Monday’s Southwest Stakes.

And who can forget Pletcher’s powerhouse platoon from last year, with Algorithms, El Padrino, Discreet Dancer, and Gemologist, as well as several others. That army eventually crumbled into harmless fragments. Some of them were wounded in action, while others were last seen in full retreat on the day of the battle. How difficult is it to keep an army of 3-year-olds intact for four months, especially your most seemingly invincible warriors? Just mention the names Eskendereya and Uncle Mo to Pletcher.

Perhaps this year it will all come down to a mano-a-mano fight between Pletcher’s Achilles, Verrazano, and Baffert’s Hector, Flashback. Now, now, all you Baffert followers, that is not to imply the history books have already revealed the result. Remember that famous incident regarding a certain someone’s heel.

We all know that on the Derby trail things are not always as they seem, and the journey has a tendency to take strange unexpected turns. We often see powerful forces marching to Louisville and it’s the little guy armed with a single cannon that sneaks in and steals all the thunder while the big guys are napping (Remember George Washington and crossing the Delaware River, and the sleeping Hessians?). So if you’re looking for one of those this year, remember one of the little guys, Itsmyluckyday, and his trainer E. Plesa, whose name coincidentally is an anagram for “Asleep.” In other words, watch out for the sleeping giant and don’t get caught napping yourself.

We have established that is unlikely the Pletcher and Baffert armies will make it to Louisville intact without any casualties. We all know the Derby trail every year is strewn with the injured and the vanquished.

But as the battle lines are drawn, watch out for the three Bafferts – War Academy, Shakin it Up, and Belvin -- in Sunday’s San Vicente Stakes, and the two -- Manando and Carving -- in Saturday's El Camino Real Derby, and Super Ninety Nine in the Southwest, and Flashbanck in the San Felipe Stakes, and Code West and Den's Legacy and Curly Top and Tiz the Truth in some other far off battlefield who knows where.

On the Pletcher front, watch out for Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby, Violence in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, Shanghai Bobby in the Florida Derby, Overanalyze in the Gotham Stakes, Palace Malice in the Risen Star Stakes, Revolutionary in the Wood Memorial, and Delhomme and Capo Bastone, and Doherty, and Forty Tales, and Charming Kitten, and anyone else in Fort Pletcher who is getting armed and loaded for battle.

Yep, it’s unlikely most of these will make it to the final conflict on first Saturday in May, but good luck trying to figure out which ones will and which ones won’t. In the meantime, it’s gonna start getting awfully noisy around here…BANG!


Leave a Comment:

Don from PA/DE

Real cute SH, being born on GW BD I cannot tell a lie, sure at least one from each camp will run in KD

13 Feb 2013 1:05 PM

Steve your almost always right however I watched a horse race called "Reckless Abandon" in Europe-I believe he was undefeated as a two year old and by the good North American sire "Exchange Rate" he took my breath away! This sire may hand us our heads in the derby.

13 Feb 2013 1:22 PM

Very interesting/entertaining outlook on the build-up to the Kentucky Derby.  There are a few trainers with very potent Derby candidates that would relish upstaging the dynamic duo of Baffert and Pletcher.  One of them is an old battle-hardened veteran on the come-back trail this year ...he too is locked and loaded ...does "basookas" rhyme with Lukas?  Keep an eye on him because he thinks that he "will take charge" with an "oxbow" or something else that not yet well known.

I think that Super Ninety Nine will return to California with bad news for Baffert after the Southwest ...saying he'll need to send heavier artilliary for the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby ...we'll see.

Itsmyluckyday could turn out to be a destiny kind of name, and so far it doesn't require any overanalyzing of performances to figure that out. That's the truth ...forget about the "tizzy".

13 Feb 2013 1:30 PM
Your Only Friend

The big two are locked and loaded but both must pass strong test Before  the Derby.....then they must get by the FIRST TURN. Both need lots of luck...will be fun to watch ......better keep your money in your pocket....they will not pay anything.

13 Feb 2013 2:07 PM

Since we are in the context of war, dont overlook chad browns normandy invasion. hearing good things about this horse

13 Feb 2013 3:23 PM


13 Feb 2013 3:46 PM

  Odd, just before your article popped up I had previously sent this thought to your ‘dozen’s blog’.

 Yeah, we always consider Baffert’s and Pletcher’s horses just because more owners ship to them. {{I always dreamt of them flying 10 horses a piece to some familiar dirt track, maybe CD, loading up 20 gate slots and then running some mock race of their own!!! in say Jan.,--where actually as noted before either could fill all 20 gates alone in any of the past several Kty. Derby years if they could qualify them all!!!,--and then we could all gage from there. But, guessing with the mere cost of all of that, that will never happen…}}

  But memory again serving me, each of those two trainers only got 2 horses a piece from their vast collections into the Kty. Derby last year, Baffert with “MC’s Dream”, I mean umm  “Bodemeister” and “Liason”,--with “BodeBeyer” in for 2nd, yet for a fleeting moment looking like the winner,--and Pletcher with “El Padrino” who finished 13th and “Gemologist”,--who unfortunately broke down.--So, just because they get more chargers sent their way than the rest, and although in shear numbers they look like more than mere mortals with so many out there running in the various preps, ‘Todd’ has only won one Kty. Derby with “Super Saver”, and yet ‘Bobby’ a few more.

  It just ain’t no easy road to the greatest horse traffic jam on the planet and then also producing the winner.

  So, maybe then there is something to be said for the trainers that get to concentrate solely on much lesser numbers, where they can spend more time concentrating with their one or fewer mounts. That then being against a trainer, per say, trying to appease twenty plus owners and worrying about where and when they have to run so many in their charge.--Of course, there is nothing wrong with the profits in being able to handle so many.—But, for us just thinking only about THE KENTUCKY DERBY and its eventual potential winner, maybe some promising Colt,--like “Falling Sky” for example,--who’s trainer--Terranova--isn’t attempting to appease so many other owners,--although I know that each trainer has other lesser graded mounts to also worry about, and also older ones, and others, and etc.,--whereby thusly such trainers actually have a real shot, being where they can spend more time in training with their real say one potential rising fame and money maker, all much like last year with Doug O’Neill and “I’ll Have Another”, or previously with H. Graham Motion and “Animal Kingdom”, or like in the case with “Rick” Dutrow and “Big Brown”, and etc.

13 Feb 2013 4:17 PM
Steve Haskin

THEHOLZ, it says so right in the story. He's running Sunday in the San Vicente

13 Feb 2013 5:17 PM

Couple of things:

Steve, Pletcher didn't train Quality Road for Derby. So that quarter crack is not on him.

And zarvona, Gemologist didn't "break down" in Derby by any definition of the phrase. And the reason that so many owners use Pletcher and Baffert is because they have the skills to get so many ready for the classics and in the meantime, they knock off a Gr. 1 prep or two and make multi million dollar sire prospects for the owners. The two white haired dudes also pick out many of their two year old prospects, or have people they trust do so for them. Give credit where credit is due.

13 Feb 2013 5:18 PM
steve from st louis

While many Derby hopefuls have had very few races under their belts, it wouldn't be surprising if the ultimate Derby winner is currently eligible for non-winners of one other than.

Your Derby Dozen list may be more practical with a list of 20 or so, just like the starting gate at Churchill. I'll stick with Revolutionary and his glowing (Dr.) Roman "numerals"; you can come up with the other 19.

13 Feb 2013 5:19 PM
Carlos in Cali

It's rather premature to label Super Ninety Nine a "miler" don't you think?.. off of one 2-turn race in which he settled nicely and galloped-out strongly, I'll wait and see.

13 Feb 2013 5:19 PM
It aint easy being good!

Zarvona that was a great post and couldnt agree with you more and its actually great to see the small guys win. You could of kept going with Mine that Bird as well. My money will be on a small time trainer that knows his horse and doesnt have 12 horses in the gate. I like BB but cant stand Pletcher! I hope the trend continues. If memory serves me right a new trainer has won the derby the past 20 years which is crazy! I hope romans gets a horse in I thought last year he had a great shot with Dullahan. Cant wait for the preps to start heating up here shortly.

13 Feb 2013 6:33 PM
Steve Haskin

Carlos in California, from an email from Bob Baffert on his horses, and I quote, "Super Ninety Nine is a miler." If you dont think he's a miler that's the person to take it up with. I'll take him at his word.

Bluhorse, thanks, I wasn't thinking. The worst part is that I hadnt included him and then added him for some strange reason. Anyway, it's been fixed.

13 Feb 2013 7:17 PM

A memory exercise It Ain't Easy...

While odds would always predict a 1st time winner, last 20 years have many repeat winners of Derby. 7 out of 20.

1993 Miller 1st

1994 Zito 2nd

1995 Lukas 2nd

1996 Lukas 3rd Baffert 2nd for 1st time

1997 Baffert 1st

1998 Baffert 2nd

1999 Lukas 4th

2000 Drysdale 1st

2001 Ward 1st

2002 Baffert 3rd

2003 Tagg 1st

2004 Smarty's trainer 1st

2005 Shirreffs 1st

2006 Matz 1st

2007 Nafzger 2nd

2008 Dutrow 1st

2009 Wooley 1st, Baffert 2nd for 2nd time

2010 Pletcher 1st

2011 Motion 1st

2012 O'Neill 1st, Baffert 2nd for 3rd time

13 Feb 2013 9:11 PM
Amy Hurley

Bluhorse is right in giving props to Pletcher and Baffert for the way they prepare so many fine prospects for the Triple Crown trail.  And now I'd like to point out that both of these fine trainers are graduates of the U. of Arizona's Racetrack Industry program.  Bear Down Wildcats!

13 Feb 2013 10:04 PM
El Kabong


First I've seen of your posts but thanks for shedding some much needed light on two outstanding trainers. I don't get the criticism from some here directed towards these hard working, highly skilled, equine experts. As if all those owners who place their trust in these men to handle their babies are fools? I don't get it.

13 Feb 2013 10:15 PM

Steve, I'm waiting for the strategic battles of blocking horses through the point system. A trainer sending out horses a &b to prevent another trainers major horse from getting into the Kentucky Derby. It will come.

14 Feb 2013 1:21 AM

Best candid camera pickup I ever saw was Lukas watching with increasing dismay the first few contenders in the Derby stretch, giving up on his, scanning back to the rest of the field, and saying with amazement "Grindstone!"

These guys with a plethora of prospects -- you think they'd ever consent to sit down with a lie detector and tell us whether the one that came through for them was the one they expected all along?

14 Feb 2013 1:33 AM


I doubt they're thinking of trying Reckless Abandon at 10 f. on dirt. They're still chewing over whether he'll get a mile on turf.

But thanks for throwing him into the ring and bringing him to my attention. Reading his pedigree is like curling up with a good book. Tail male Danzig. Tail female to Terlingua through her excellent Northern Dancer daughter Chapel of Dreams. Broodmare sire Efisio's sire line: Forli! I never noticed.

His record was 5 runs, 1st in mdn, two GIIs and two GIs. He is apparently a bit of a flake, and such a character flaw in a novice leaves more room for improvement than physical limitations.

14 Feb 2013 2:01 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve and friends,just now reading on bloodhorse.com that Rachel Alexandra has suffered a very serious health issue after having her foal. It is Valentine's

Day and hearts are being shared everywhere and my thoughts will be with Rachel Alexandra and Mrs. Banke especially today.


14 Feb 2013 9:33 AM
Pedigree Ann

One of the Bafferts not mentioned is Den's Legacy, the horse who keeps on coming. If even half of the front-of-the-pack sort of runners now getting press make it to the Derby, he's one of the horses who will benefit from it. Alysheba or Giacomo, anybody?

14 Feb 2013 9:56 AM

I am hoping for the best for Rachel Alexandra, how terrible. I'm so glad that she's a fighter and I hope she heals and is perfectly okay.

Getting back to the Derby, I have the same feelings about Itsmyluckyday; however, my reasoning is somewhat different due to his dam's pedigree,soundness issues, Derby Gods, and trainer's wife connections.

Most of the classy thoroughbreds we have seen who have Secretariat and Seattle Slew come from AP Indy; and we all know about Indy's quartercracks. However, Luckyday's connections to Big Red and Slew come from his dam, Viva La Slew. Doneraile Court, her sire, is a son of Seattle Slew.

Viva La Viva, her dam, is from Crafty Prospector and Viva Sec. Crafty Prospector was a sound stallion with no injuries from Mr. Prospector. Viva Sec was sired by Secretariat and Viva La Viva.

Lawyer Ron, Lucky's sire, ran best at 1 1/8 mile. And of course, we know about Secretariat's Belmont. Viva la Slew, his dam, won at a mile and was second in a sprint. Viva La Sec, his 3rd dam, won mutiple graded sprinting stakes.

What's interesting is that he doesn't have soundness issues in his pedigree, due to the soundness of Crafty Prospector.

And as far as the Derby Gods are concerned,I think they'll be pulling for him. Both his dam and sire are deceased. And Lord Avie, his 3rd sire on his paternal great dam's side, just died recently at age of 36.

Interestingly enough, I am sure the trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr., and his wife Laurie are well aware of the trials and trevails of the Belmont. As Laurie is the sister of John Servis, the trainer of Smarty Jones. If he runs in the Belmont, he is going to be well prepared to do so.

14 Feb 2013 10:00 AM

Our prayers for Paynter were answered, now we need to pray for Rachel Alexandra. She may be like Genuine Risk and the 2 foals she has may be all she will ever have. Her life should come first. God speed dear Rachel.

14 Feb 2013 10:01 AM

Mr. Haskin,

Interesting analogy that assumes there will only be two armies amassed in Louisville. The one man army containing Itsmyluckyday might just be the David amongst Goliaths.

Since your piece is focused on the armies of General Baffert and General Pletcher, I think there are some colt facts that your supporters may find interesting:

General Baffert started training thoroughbred in 1991 and General Pletcher took out his trainer's license in December 1995 Both  general had their 1st Derby starter 5 years after they officially started training thoroughbreds.

General Baffert:

Number of Derbies contested 14

Number of Derby starters 22

Number of winners 3

Win percentage 13.63

Top three finishers 7; top four finishers 8

General Pletcher:

Number of Derbies contested 12

Number of Derby starters 31

Number of winners 1

Win percentage 3.22.

Top three finishers 4; top four finishers 6

How have the generals horses fared against each other in the Derbies they have contested?

2000 -  General P’s More Than Ready and Impeachment finished  ahead of General B’ Captain Steve

2001 - General P’s Invisible Ink finished ahead of General B’ Point Given.

2002 - General B’s War Emblem finished ahead of General P’s Wild Horses.

2005 - General P’s Flower Alley finished ahead of General B’ Sort It Out.

2006 - General P’s Bluegrass Cat finished ahead of General B’ Bob and John.

2009 - General B’s Pioneerof The Nile finished ahead of General P’s Join In The Dance, Dunkirk and Advice.

2010 - General P’s Super Saver finished ahead of General B’ Lookin At Lucky.

2011 -  General P’s Stay Thirsty  finished ahead of General B’ Midnight Interlude

2012 - . General B’s Bodemeister finished ahead of General P’s Gemologist and El Padrino.

In the eight Derbies that  the General’s charges have met, General Pletcher has a 5 to 3 advantage.

It is worth highlighting that the sole Derby won by General Pletcher, was with a colt from the RAN/Mr. Prospector sire line. Two of the three Derbies won by General Baffert were with colts from said sire line. General Baffert’s Derby runner ups Poineerof The Nile and Bodemeister were also from the Mr. Prospector.

The generals’ leading Derby contenders are not from this line and it appears they are going into battle without the weapons that have brought them past victories.

14 Feb 2013 11:46 AM

HI STEVE- can you please tell me if war academy has a raise a native sire line. thanx

14 Feb 2013 12:44 PM
Steve Haskin

Theholz, no, his sire line is Northern Dancer

14 Feb 2013 1:51 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Giacomo would be my take, for when Prince Pletcher and King Baffert meet in the field of battle it will be from the Great Above that a horse charges through like a Siberian Express in the stretch to Vindicate his storied trainer William Mott; and who could keep the Blushing Groom from smiling as history repeats itself when least expected....MY NAME IS MICHAEL!

Sorry Steve, a bit corny, but you started it...

14 Feb 2013 2:49 PM
Age of Reason


Footbridge worked a bullet 5 furlongs at Hollywood Park two days ago, in :58.60. Yeehaw!

14 Feb 2013 3:34 PM

Coldfacts general B,s colt Belvin is from the same sire as his last two Derby colts that placed 2nd Bodemeister and Pioneer of The Nile.Empire Maker is out of a blue hen mare Toussaud.Belvin has Storm Cat bloodlines on the dam side as his damsire was StormBird.

14 Feb 2013 4:40 PM
lunar spook

And eddie plesa jr has one soldier that will take down both armys !!!  ITS MY LUCKY DAY

14 Feb 2013 5:16 PM

Coldfacts to continue on Belvin, he shares his broodmare sire or is it dams sire with 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch(StormBird).I dont like the fact that he is a May foal but talent on the racetrack can make me overlook this angle.Bodemeister's dam Untouched Talent also had the Storm Cat(Storm Bird)bloodline on the dam's side.

14 Feb 2013 5:34 PM

BTW coldfacts Empire Maker's stud fee is listed as 3 million on the KDFW # 1 Brisnet PP's.

14 Feb 2013 5:36 PM

Ive decided to continue researching the generals breeding of their most RECENT KDerby entrants that won or placed and that leads me to general P's Super Saver.He had AP Indy as a dam sire as does Revolutionary.General B has a colt with AP Indy as a damsire and that would be War Academy who BTW has a good name to represnt general B in that race(KD) if it truly is a war.Revolutionary aint that bad either as names go in that line of thinking.

14 Feb 2013 6:22 PM
Age of Reason


I'm assuming (and surely so) that Empire Maker's 3 mill stud fee is in Yen, not American dollars. Unless the Japanese economy is really booming!

14 Feb 2013 7:17 PM

Very creative Steve with the army theme comparing the Baffert and Pletcher camps.  With many of their names this year we do have that war thing going on and you ran with it!  Great job.  Looking forward to all the war stories as the troops approach the enemy lines at Churchill.

I am praying hard for Rachel Alexandra just as for Paynter.  So my Valentine wish is for God to hear our heartfelt prayers for Rachel and step in and save another great horse.  I felt sick when I turned on my computer and read this today, we just got through Paynter's ordeal and now this.  Hope the little Bernardini filly is doing ok without her mom.


14 Feb 2013 7:18 PM
Paula Higgins

I saw this news about Rachel Alexandra today and I am sick about it. I am praying for her and her vets and connections. I hope they can pull her through this. The picture of Barbara Banke is heartbreaking. She loves Rachel dearly.

14 Feb 2013 8:45 PM
Mike Relva

My prayers are with RA.

14 Feb 2013 9:27 PM

When last seen, General Pletcher was marching by his "Pletcher Platoon" in their stalls somewhere in New York.  Violence, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Shanghai Bobby, and Verrazano were wearing green Army helmets and looking rather sheepish! It seems the General was pacing back and forth going over tons of stat sheets and all kinds of number sheets with points on them and singing a strange tune:

"You're in the Army now,

You're in the Army now,

You better get fit,

to handle that bit,

You're in the Army now."

"You're in the Army now,

You're in the Army now,

You gotta get trained

To run on all kinds of terrain,

You're in the Army now."

Shanghai Bobby looks at Revolutionary rolling his eyes and says, "Sound off, 1,2.....3, 4!!!!"

Yep, Steve, you started this fun!

14 Feb 2013 10:19 PM

Sidenote : Uncaptured had his first workout a couple days ago going :35.60 (1/7) for 3Fs.  They're looking at the Rushaway or the Spiral on 3/23 for his next start.  Hopefully he stays healthy, looking forward to seeing him run again.

15 Feb 2013 12:59 AM

Please excuse my typo, resulting in a very confusing post regarding the female family of Itsmyluckyday.

Viva La Vivi and Secretariat produced Viva Sec. Viva Sec and Crafty Prospector produced Vivia La Viva. Viva La Viva was the dam of Viva La Slew.

Luckyday is the first genuine Derby prospect with South Florida connections since Affirmed. I know Patrice Wolfson will be watching. Mrs. Wolfson showed her class and knowledge as a top horsewoman when she supported I'll Have Another.

15 Feb 2013 5:53 AM

Don't worry Baffert will destroy many of his prospects like he does every year. He over works  and races them all  and the ones that survive his harsh training move on. He has so many prospects he using the injuries to thin out the herd. Steve I wish some one would research Bafferts prospects from Jan. 1st to see how many are not able to race at the end of the year. That's why I like trainers that care  about their horses  and cares for their well being over racing.  

15 Feb 2013 10:50 AM

Article of the year and Eclipse Award winner!!!

Praying for perfect precision by the caregivers of Rachel and may it lead to complete health and restoration.


15 Feb 2013 10:59 AM
Mike Relva


I've stated the same many times. Not a fan of his and others that turns a blind eye to what's best for the horse. Trainer's like Ron Ellis and some are a credit to racing.

15 Feb 2013 12:08 PM

Age of Reason  good point, and it would be the first time that I recall a stud fee was listed on the brisnet PPs in another currency denomination.

15 Feb 2013 12:24 PM
Karen in Texas

I agree, Paula, Barbara Banke looks as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her concern for Rachel is almost palpable. My prayers go out for Rachel and the entire team.

15 Feb 2013 1:37 PM
Your Only Friend

Locked and Loaded....yea....but there are other trainers that are just as talented.....seems every time these two get horse that runs six well they automaticlly become the derby horse.....gimmie a break.....

15 Feb 2013 4:31 PM
Paula Higgins

A big relief to see that Rachel Alexandra is holding her own. The picture of Barbara Banke feeding her a mint was heartwarming. She is a great, great horse and I hope and pray she pulls through.

Kelso916 I don't agree with you at all about Bob Baffert. He cares a great deal about his horses. Quite a few horses don't make it through the season for one reason or another and they belong to many different trainers.

15 Feb 2013 6:21 PM
Mike Relva


You are one that I have great respect for regarding your many comments over the years. But,it's a known fact that War Emblem was raced with knee chips in his Derby campaign. He ran his eyeballs out in all three races. After losing a taxing Belmont, all Baffert could say was he "couldn't wait for the race to be over". I don't like anything about him.

15 Feb 2013 10:29 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike, I hear what you are saying. But is this consistently true? I am not dismissing what you are saying. It is something I will watch for as the year continues. Like you, I believe the horse's condition is the most important consideration. I guess asking them all to be like John Shirreffs is just not going to happen unfortunately. He won't race them if he thinks there is anything remotely wrong.

On another note, Black Caviar aka Nellie, just ran another wonderful race/sprint (Lightning Stakes GI). She is in great form and this was win #23. She is something to behold. They showed her race at 12:30 a.m. on TVG.

16 Feb 2013 12:45 AM


"I don’t like the fact that he is a May foal but talent on the racetrack can make me overlook this angle.”

I absolutely love May foals and hate those born in January. Sorry Rachel and Verrazano! Horses in their natural habitat foal in the Spring and Summer months. May foals are therefore in line with Mother Nature’s calendar while January foals are in the majority of cases the result of human intervention.

Mine That Bird (05/10/2006)

Pioneerof The Nile (05/05/2006)

Musket Man (05/10/2006)

The above gelding and colts with May foaling dates were the first three pass the post in the 2009 Derby.  MTB a very small gelding participated in all three legs of the TC while Musket Man and PTN participated in two. Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch was a May foal.  Derby & Preakness runner up and Belmont winner Victory Gallop was also a May foal.

The above cold facts should put to rest any concerns you might harbor regarding May foals for the Derby. Four of the 5 mentioned were from the Mr. Prospector sire line.

The most famous May foal in recent times has to be Derby & Preakness winner, sire, sire of sire and influential broodmare sire, Northern Dancer. He too was very small and did not carry the physical appearance of a stallion.  

The unbeaten Nearco was probably the most famous January foal.

16 Feb 2013 8:32 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve - clever article to use the war battle plan. Still and all it is pitting the west against the east with a few southwesterner's thrown into the mix(Texas Bling):)

perhaps scheduled to race. Check out kentuckyderby.com. Lists the horses and info about them.  

I am sticking with Itsmyluckyday. So far doing very well. And i have to mention Flashback (a gray roan) as i was wowed by the performance first time i watched him race.

As far as Itsmyluckyday is concerned, i would like to keep that theme going right now especially for Rachel Alexandra. Sorry folks this is my main concern right now.Opinion: No more babies if she makes it thru this. I remember someone riddled me because i felt the mares needed a reprieve from being with foal so quickly after foaling and they disagreed. Something about they were bred to be with foal every year and it was natural and normal for them to always be with foal. Did not agree then nor do i now. I am not good at remembering names of people who disagree with me. But i never forget what they say.

Re: article, some trainers play their cards real close to their vest. Bob Baffert is one of them. And that is a trait he has. He never over hypes a horse so when they win it is a nice surprise. But all comments are off if he is running them knowing they have an issue. And remember once does not a habit make.  

It is 77 days, 7 hours and 2 minutes until that special day in May as i submit this.

As ABF said, "Power up Rachel" you are not alone in this fight.

We are with you. Please keep someone with her at all times. The presence of a human to a sick animal is worth all the miracle meds available from a bottle.

The Blog Empath - Linda    

16 Feb 2013 10:36 AM
Pedigree Ann

Paula - And Black Caviar also broke the course record for 1000m (about 5f). First race off of her 'spell,' aka layoff.

16 Feb 2013 11:03 AM
Pedigree Ann

I am watching the Rachel situation with a heavy heart, because just last Tuesday I lost my only mare 'Emma' and the Include foal she was carrying. It was a stunning and crushing loss and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Eighteen months of hoping and planning - examining catalogues, buying the mare, foaling her out, sending her to the stallion I thought best suited her, selling the weanling, looking forward to the 'grand-foal' of my dreams - then, nothing. Can't type this without tearing up. Emma was such a sweet mare.

16 Feb 2013 11:15 AM
Linda in Texas

Pedigree Ann. Deep and heartfelt condolences are sent your way from Texas on the loss of your Emma and her Include foal. Shatttered dreams  are hard to prepare for and when it involves a living 'thing' be it animal or human, it is just something to deal with that seems to come from another planet as we float around trying to grab onto reality. So sorry for Emmma, her 'to be foal' and you, Pedigree Ann.


16 Feb 2013 11:40 AM

Pedigree Ann : I'm so sorry to hear about Emma, I don't have the words, I can't even imagine how that would feel.  Stay strong...

16 Feb 2013 1:16 PM

Coldfacts good arguement going by recent winners I like February and April,but I will refrain from a complete rebuttal You as well as anyone on this board should know that I can DEFINATELY make a case, and back it up with the facts that support my position.

16 Feb 2013 1:45 PM

Colfacts just looked at the last three WINNERS throw in March,I like April because some colts that I liked were foaled in that month near my own birth date namely Barbaro and Bodemeister.

16 Feb 2013 1:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Pedigree Ann, I am so sorry about the loss of Emma and her foal. I know you are absolutely heartbroken. I cannot even imagine what you are going through. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I know you did everything you could for her. If there is anyone on this board who knows horses and how to provide the very best care of their horses, it is you.

Yes, Black Caviar/Nellie was awesome. I wish we could see her here. I am sure she would set records in the U.S. too. One for the ages.

16 Feb 2013 2:02 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I share your grief over Emma. Time will heal you. Peace.

16 Feb 2013 10:26 PM

Coldfacts : How come you haven't mentioned Belvin in any of your posts ?  Belvin beat Footbridge by over 5 lengths and he's a May foal.  He is debuting tomorrow in the San Vicente.

17 Feb 2013 12:18 AM
Mike Relva

Pedigree Ann

I'm very sorry to hear of your loss. Know that doesn't make it any easier.

17 Feb 2013 12:47 AM

My thoughts are with Rachel Alexandra at the moment.  She has had two difficult pregnancies...or injuries in or during foaling.  That should be enough.  Perhaps the seemingly large size of the Bernardini filly is partially to blame for the difficulty RA is now having, but she had medical issues after her Curlin colt was foaled too.  Let her get well, nurse her little daughter and then leave her alone!!!  Her life is more important than the $$ value of any additional foals she may have.    

17 Feb 2013 10:14 AM

Clever changing of words in my posts Coldfacts what I typed was that you can definitely make a case and support it with the facts that you find that support YOUR position.Afterall thats why you chose to be COLDFACTS.

17 Feb 2013 12:28 PM

Coldfacts Im not sold on May foals that win the Kentucky Derby.The facts that I will choose to support my position the last three Derbies win,place and show horses just posting foaling month.2012 April,April,February 2011 March,February,June 2010 March,March,February.

17 Feb 2013 12:42 PM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

I hope Rachel pulls through this for you and Emma. Take care.

17 Feb 2013 3:31 PM
Matthew W

All of those Cal breds in the 70's and 80's who proved distance-challenged---along came Tiznow, the specimen, and It would seem likely he'd catch a Derby winner or three...I love Fury Kapcori! And Hollendorfer! Tiznow had that natural cruising speed, and that grinding stamina--and his good progeny share his style! Fury Kapcori runs just like Papa Tiz, I know it's early, but I have been on 'Fury since November, I think he's the real deal, his Cash Call was solid, and that has been a key 2yo race over the years--I like a horse who wins or places in graded races as a 2yo. I like foundation, and I love two-turn foundation!

17 Feb 2013 3:33 PM
Forbidden Apple

I prefer Plesa's on horse army, Itsmyluckyday. He is razor sharp and was pulling away from the eclipse champion with ease. I'm not buying the trash that some are throwing at this horse. Two solid efforts are not going to knockout this tough and talented animal. The horse I fear most is Flashback with his robust frame and ballerina like movement.

17 Feb 2013 4:20 PM
Mike Relva

Jon R

Couldn't said it any beter. But they won't leave her along,just like how they pushed her so hard when she raced. Be nice if they could put her first and put aside their greed for once.

17 Feb 2013 5:21 PM

Please dont ask COLDCUTS about COLOR now........

17 Feb 2013 7:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Pedigree Ann

  I am very sorry for your loss.

Jon R.

  I agree 100%.

17 Feb 2013 10:25 PM


“Coldfacts I’m not sold on May foals that win the Kentucky Derby”

Are you implying that horses with May foaling dates are at a disadvantage in the Derby?  They are not!

One of the most spectacular Derby performance in the last 40 years was delivered by the May foal Mine That Bird.

Are you aware that the over hyped Dunkirk that finished 11th in said Derby was 3 months older than MIB and he could not even start in the Preakness?

Champion 2YO Lookin At Lucky is also a May foal. He had a brutal trip in the Derby and two weeks later he won the Preakness. He finished 4th in the Breeder Cup Classic as a 3YO.

May foals Thunder Gulch and Victory Gallop won the grueling 12F Belmont.

Why remain unsold when cold facts to the contrary are so overwhelming?

18 Feb 2013 6:21 AM

Coldfacts going back to the foaling month for in the money finishers of the Kentucky Derby.I think maybe January might be a better foaling month than May for a prospective runner in the Derby.A warm fact for you, the most recent monster that was a January foal that won the Derby was Big Brown the 2008 winner of the first two legs of the triple crown.I think that trumps your inclusion of Derby year 2009 where the top three finishers were foaled in May.I think that was an anomaly.See if you can find more Coldfacts to support your theory that May is a more normal foaling month for thoroughbreds, and as such prospective Derby entrants.

As you probably know Verrazano was foaled in January and if he wins his debut prep race in a few weeks I think we can at least call him a baby monster after that prospective vistory.

18 Feb 2013 12:40 PM
Age of Reason

Pedigree Ann,

My sincerest condolences on the loss of your dear mare.

18 Feb 2013 3:19 PM

Coldfacts I still think February,March, and April are the most represented foaling months for Derby in the money finishers.Stick to the Derby in the last decade, and lets see if you can state the coldfacts that May is just as good as February,March and April as the most prevalent months in Derby top three finishers for the last decade.I think January,May and all other months are underrepresented,and I also think 2009 was an anomaly where ALL THREE top finishers were foaled in the same month.

18 Feb 2013 4:57 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Emma and the foal she carried.  Oh gosh, there are no adequate words to express how sad I feel about it.  They are family members too and to me losing a dear animal is as traumatic as losing a family member.  There is nothing that can be of comfort I know, but maybe my sister Jennifer, Linda's son Edward, along with Barbaro, Big Red, etc. have now greeted Emma and her unborn with open arms and she is in a better place surrounded with great animals and people who love animals.  Hang in there and Godspeed your healing from this.

18 Feb 2013 5:52 PM

Pedigree Ann, I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved Emma and her unborn foal - what a terrible blow this must be, both personally and as a breeder. I don't often post here, but am an avid reader of Steve's (and most of the other BH) blogs, and I always find your posts especially informative, thoughtful, and helpful, so I wanted to extend my sympathies and prayers for comfort and strength to you and your family. Many blessings upon the beautiful spirits of Emma and her foal, and to you as you grieve them.

18 Feb 2013 11:04 PM
Point Given

Bob's Code West VS Todd's Palace Malice (Risen Star) "Down goes Todd"

27 Feb 2013 1:15 AM
Lise from Maine


Which horse(s) should I bet on for the Kentucky Derby? I am still watching and will wait and see.

I rarely bet on a Pletcher horse because he has a history of medicating his horses.

I have no idea if Baffert does but I keep watching to see who does and who does not.

Each horse should race on his merit not on drug enhancement performance.

Still waiting to make my decision on which horse(s) I will bet on regarding the Kentucky Derby.

I pay strict attention to what you write about the horses for the Derby and look forward to reading your articles.

Thank you!

Lise from Maine

28 Feb 2013 2:05 PM

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