The Battle Within the Battle

We’re all aware by now that Game On Dude controls his fate when it comes to Horse of the Year. It’s pretty simple: win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and you are Horse of the Year. Even a good second could nail down the honors. A sound defeat and it’s up for grabs. Then you can turn your attention to the Distaff and the Mile, where Royal Delta, Princess of Sylmar, and Wise Dan would have a legitimate shot at it.

Is there any scenario where a Classic horse other than Game On Dude could vault into contention? Ron the Greek, Mucho Macho Man, and Fort Larned would all have similar records, basically winning the Classic and one other grade I, but with several defeats, some of them uninspiring performances, thrown in. Flat Out would have victories a grade I, grade II, and grade III, and a narrow defeat in a grade I that he practically gave away that could wind up proving costly come voting time.

But, wait, there is another older horse no one is talking about who could stake a legitimate claim to Horse of the Year with a Classic victory, and that is Graydar. If this brilliant son of Unbridled’s Song should win the Classic, he would end the year undefeated in four starts, with two grade I wins and two grade II wins, and he would be on a five-race winning streak. The main thing that would hurt him is the lack of racing caused by the injury that cost him five months in the middle of the year.

Now we get to the battle within the battle. Although 3-year-olds Palace Malice and Will Take Charge have few graded victories this year, there is something to be said for their resilience, as they would conclude their campaigns with 10 starts each, competing in a combined 11 grade I stakes, including five Triple Crown races, and six grade II stakes, while no other Horse of the Year candidate could match that. But this is not about Horse of the Year; that is a big longshot. This battle is about the 3-year-old championship, and what it has come down to essentially is this: whichever horse finishes ahead of the other in the Classic likely will come away with the title.

While Will Take Charge has four stakes victories this year compared to two for Palace Malice, the latter crushed Will Take Charge in the Belmont Stakes and beat him head-to-head in the Jim Dandy Stakes. Will Take Charge, who finished ahead of the out-of-control Palace Malice in the Kentucky Derby, albeit eighth compared to 12th, did beat him by three-quarters of a length in the Travers Stakes, although many felt Palace Malice was the best horse after breaking badly and dropping back to last, way out of his comfort zone, and then making a big late run despite a pedestrian three-quarters in 1:13 2/5 set by Moreno.

In their one race since then, Will Take Charge beat Moreno again in the grade II Pennsylvania Derby vs. 3-year-olds, while Palace Malice ran a solid second against older horses in the grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup behind a freakish performance by Ron the Greek, while finishing ahead of grade I winners Flat Out, Alpha, Cross Traffic, and fellow 3-year-old Orb.

Before we go on, one can say that if both Palace Malice and Will Take Charge run poorly in the Classic, it would re-open the door for Orb if he should beat older horses in the grade I Cigar Mile at the end of November. If all three pretty much fail to squeeze through that door, is it possible voters would go back to Oxbow, who was atop most people’s lists as leading 3-year-old following his three strong efforts in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont?

But for now, let’s concentrate on what is directly ahead of us in the Classic. It always adds to the excitement of a race when there are two scenarios to focus on during the running. Do trainers Todd Pletcher and Wayne Lukas tell their jockeys to go for the jugular and take the all-or-nothing approach or to just make sure they give their horse an opportunity to beat the other 3-year-old, and hope that it can somehow carry them to victory? In other words, do you try to win the battle or the war? Every trainer is going to say they’re in it to win it, as is every owner. But in the back of their minds, they also do not want to cost themselves the 3-year-old title by getting overly aggressive.

From a pace perspective, that pertains to Palace Malice, a horse with excellent speed and tactical speed, more than Will Take Charge, who is going to come from farther back. But when you have a 17-hands giant with humongous strides like Will Take Charge, do you go for a hole that could possibly win you the race and risk getting stopped, knowing how difficult it would be to get him going again, or do you take the safer route to give you a higher percentage of catching Palace Malice?

If you’re John Velazquez, who will be riding Palace Malice for the first time and is well aware what this horse pulled on an unsuspecting Mike Smith in the Kentucky Derby, do you try to rein him in right out of the gate so you don’t get caught up in the expected battle on or near the front end among Game On Dude, Moreno, Fort Larned, Graydar, and Paynter or do you let the colt run his race and hope you can find a comfortable spot where he doesn’t get cooked by the pace and has enough to hold off Will Take Charge? We also saw what happened at the start of the Travers, where a clean break could very well have led to a victory, as many believe.

In the 2004 Belmont Stakes, the jockeys aboard Rock Hard Ten, Eddington, and Purge all seemed to have two agendas – make life miserable for Smarty Jones and try to get him beat and then have enough horse to beat out the other two. They accomplished the first, but killed their own horses in doing so, setting it up for Edgar Prado, who was pretty much riding conservatively on Birdstone, trying to just pick up a piece of it.

The bottom line is, as we all know, both Pletcher and Lukas are going to focus on winning the race. And they should. That is the nature of the game and the nature of all sports. But it is that other element pertaining to their situation that makes strategy and jockey decisions all the more intriguing and fascinating.

Perhaps the Americans will get the surprise of their lives and the Irish-trained Declaration of War will come charging past all of them. Stranger things have happened, and in competitive races such as this, with jockeys having to watch everyone around them and make quick decisions, many times it is the horse no one is paying any attention to that gets the dream trip and lights up the tote board.

So, good luck trying to follow all this. Just make sure you always have one eye on those familiar Dogwood silks and the big chestnut with the white blaze. You don’t want to miss the show within the show.


Leave a Comment:


I truly believe in Palace Malice. He is a gritty little horse and there is just something about him that captures my imagination.  That said I still wouldn't put it past Graydar to pull the upset. Either way I will be happy with the outcome.

17 Oct 2013 7:03 PM

Once again, spot on.

17 Oct 2013 8:17 PM

"good luck trying to follow all this" ...HOW DID YOU FOLLOW ALL THIS? ...THANKS! IT'S REALLY SOMETHING TO KEEP ME AWAKE!

17 Oct 2013 8:40 PM

Steve H : Man, great job at breaking down and summarizing the HOTY scenarios, I never thought Oxbow would ever be in consideration for the 3 yr old championship but there you have it...this is why I love the BC races...specially when the top contenders actually survive the year and makes it to their respective races.

Any hint on who you'll play in the Juvenile Filly Turf ?

17 Oct 2013 11:31 PM
Steel Dragon

Gee Steve, I thought Prado's ride on Birdstone was masterful. I've been sour on the HOTY vote since 1972 when the great and deserving La Prevoyante was robbed by the Secretariat hype machine.

17 Oct 2013 11:51 PM
Tiz Herself

How neat would it be to see the two Dans win their races? Wise Dan in the mile and Successful Dan in the Classic?

Sorry to hear of the retirement of Camelot, was hoping he'd make it over for the BC.

Am getting picks for all the upcoming BC races, for now here are some:

Dirt Mile: Verrazano or Broadway Empire (2013 Canadian Derby winner, 2013 Oklahoma Derby winner - son of Empire Maker out of Belong to Me mare Broadway Hoofer.

Filly and Mare Sprint: Executiveprivilege, Groupie Doll

Filly and Mare Turf: The Fugue, Vionnet, Marketing Mix, Laughing, or Flotilla

Juvenile: Havana, Cleburne, Strong Mandate

Juvenile Fillies: Designer Legs, Concave, Sweet Reason, or Fascinating (1/2 to Bodemeister)

Juvenile Fillies Turf: Clenor (IRE), Chriselliame (IRE), or Al Thakhira (GB)

Juvenile Turf: Outstrip (GB - dam is Asi Siempre), Giovanni Boldini, or Wilshire Boulevard

Marathon: Worldly or Sky Kingdom

Mile: Wise Dan of course :-), wonder if Darwin will be over for that, love Obviously, Magician

Turf: Point of Entry

Turf Sprint - Mizdirection

Sprint - Private Zone

Have not yet decided on the Juvenile, Classic and Distaff - love so many of them.

RIP Take Control - probably the only hope of a son of Azeri to have stood at stud in North America now that she's in Japan. Beautiful boy

- was rooting for him, too.

17 Oct 2013 11:54 PM
Jackie WV

The Classic is going to be a really tough race for me because I love Game On Dude, Will Take Charge, Paynter, and Mucho Macho Man!!! But, in my opinion, it will be a huge shame if Game on Dude doesn't take Horse of the Year whether he wins the Classic or not.  He has been SO under rated during his whole career and it's a shame!!  His loss in the Classic last year was heartbreaking. I just don't understand why this horse never seems to get the respect he deserves.

Anyway, Good Luck to Dude, WTC, Paynter, and MMM!!  I'll be happy if any one of them takes the Classic.

Palace Malice ranks up there with the best of the best....he's just had some tough breaks this year.  Hope he  comes back with a vengeance in 2014.

18 Oct 2013 9:19 AM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

Forgive my ignorance:  What do these trainers get if their horse wins the title?

18 Oct 2013 10:02 AM
Rusty Weisner

Tiz Herself,

The site doesn't list Successful Dan as a contender for the Classic.  Not sure if it's authoritative.

18 Oct 2013 10:03 AM

“This battle is about the 3-year-old championship”

I was of the opinion that Orb had the above wrapped up. The most difficult race to win for 3YOs is undoubtedly the Kentucky Derby.

While Oxbow and Palace Malice won the Preakness and Belmont, they were both off the board in the Derby. While they respectively defeated Orb in the Preakness and Belmont, he finished in the top 4 in both final legs of the TC.

The TC is by far the most grueling test for 3YOs and the one that boost the best record has to be recognized as the champion. The fact that Will Take Charge, Oxbow and Place Malice were unplaced in the Derby disqualifies them from consideration.

Is the above conclusion unreasonable as it ignores the races subsequent to the TC? Probably! However, if the record of the horse should examine closely they will reflect that Orb was consistently superior up the Derby and has been emulated their pre-Derby efforts since.

Orb defeated the leading contender for the Derby i.e., G1 & G2 winner, Violence in the FOY. In the FL Derby he defeated 2YO champion S/Bobby and well regarded G3 winner Itmyluckeyday.

Will Take Charge defeated Texas Bling in the Smarty Jones and Oxbow in the Rebel. He was off the board in the Southwest.

Palace Malice did not win a Derby prep. He was beaten by the 99-1 longshot IV’s Struck A Nerve. He was unplaced in the LA Derby and was beaten by Java’s War in the Bluegrass. Those were two horses that were unplaced in the Derby as well.

Of the three contenders for Champion 3YO male, Orb is the only one that won two graded Derby preps and the only one to win a G1 race preceding the Derby.

He was not unplaced in any of his Derby preps and only one of the three that has won consecutive G1 races.

Animal Kingdom won the Derby and finished 2nd in the Preakness. He was unplaced in the Belmont and never made another start for the rest of the year. He was voted Champion 3YO.

I contend Will Take Charge and Place Malice are playing catch up and the result of one additional race is certainly not enough for them to deny him the Eclipse.

18 Oct 2013 10:23 AM
Rusty Weisner


They were "off the board" in the Derby.  

What an arbitrary criterion:  they were off the board in a muddy, 19-horse race where they went 1:09 and change.  

I guess you're right, though: maybe Orb could win the Eclipse, though he has been beaten like a drum by the trio of Oxbow, Palace Malice and WTC since the KY Derby.  But we're back to my ignorance on the subject:  why do you care about who wins the Eclipse on a technicality?

I just don't get the fan club stuff.  We're bettors.  We don't benefit from these awards and prizes.  We lose or benefit from their odds and next performance.

How about picking us a winner of a BC race instead of an Eclipse?

18 Oct 2013 12:02 PM
lunar spook

IF WISE DAN does not win it you can blame the connections , they will not man up and race any competition whatsoever , if graydar wins the classic he deserves it !

18 Oct 2013 1:21 PM
steve from st louis

You wrote it so I guess you believe it Steve, but I would bet my garage (I would never bet my house)that Game On Dude can not win HOY by running second in Classic. Would it have been his West Virginia win that sealed it for him? puh-leeeeze!

18 Oct 2013 5:06 PM

Since we're dealing in "what ifs", here's another:

Game on Dude fails to win/place, Will Take Charge loses, Graydar loses, Palace Malice loses, AND Point Of Entry wins The Turf. I'd then give Point Of Entry HOY, no matter how the fillies/mares fare, or even should Wise Dan win his race.

18 Oct 2013 7:25 PM
Tiz Herself

Rusty Weisner, I had wondered why he was not among the Classic contenders - hope he is okay.

Love Paynter, too. He could be Awesome Again's fifth Breeders Cup winner and join Wilko, Ginger Punch, Ghostzapper, and Round Pond.

Planteur (IRE) looks like a beautiful individual, too... couldn't be easy facing the likes of Snow Fairy, Frankel,

So You Think and Excelebration to name a few. Would it not be neat for grandsons of Tiznow and Giant's Causeway to duel it out to the finish?

Love Graydar too... the gray horses always win and it would be a tribute to his sire Unbridled's Song (RIP beautiful boy!)

Declaration of War as well... Is Joseph O'Brien able to ride him in this one? How cool would that be if the kid was to win the Classic for his dad?

18 Oct 2013 9:31 PM
Greg R

Wise Dan basically ran in all the same races you would expect a turf miler to run in, largely the same races he ran in last year, so I don't get what "lunar spook" is talking about.  Was he supposed to travel across the continent to seek out Obviously, in advance of the BC showdown?  His connections can't help who does and doesn't show up in his races.  If he doesn't win HOY, it isn't on them, it's because Game On Dude has had a spectacular year, which has gone unrecognized by many.

Speaking of Birdstone's Belmont, he went on to cement his rep in the Travers, right?  So I wouldn't minimize his Belmont win by saying it was the result of others' meltdown.  He was the best 3 yr-old at 1 1/4-1 1/2 miles at that time of the year and he later threw Summer Bird, which won the same races and the JC Gold Cup.

Steve Haskin, this is not strictly germane to your piece above, but what thought do you have about Capo Bastone in the Turf Sprint?  He was so impressive at Saratoga.  A late-running, seven-furlong sprinter that likes an off track and is just now finding his best stride might be just the type to love the downhill, 6 1/2 at S A.

18 Oct 2013 11:58 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm actually very surprised Capo Bastone is running in the Turf Sprint. I'm not saying he can't win, but why is he not in the Dirt Mile other than the fact Pletcher has Verrazano in there? It's like he's spreading them all around so they dont have to face each other. I have no idea what the reasoning is behind this other than the downhill turf course favors closers. Maybe it'll turn out to be a good spot for him, who knows?

19 Oct 2013 12:38 AM
Steel Dragon

Orb will be leaving the Eclipse Awards empty-hoofed. Shug should have retired him at the 1/2 mile pole in the JCGC.

19 Oct 2013 1:48 AM

totally off-topic, Steve, but this comment was disallowed on drf in response to a guy who thinks politics and beuracracy had anything to do with Panza's hiring as a vp at aqueduct treated surface for 4 months is any better than pomona for 2 weeks? and Marge Everette couldn't sculpt any better come-ons than 5 dollar slot vouchers at aqueduct in mid-februrary? or the hollypark surface that was the fairest of all synthetics anywhere? or mis-informed, ill-educated, morally bankrupt corrupters at nyra faking over-take-out for more than a year could do? You, sir, are a rip in the tear of the fabric of jealous, discontented, envious nyra idiots who loathe the fact that cal breds are superior to apple-staters... politics? puleeze... democrat, not democrat, just kool-aid drinkers - all y'all... california here i come, says gary sciacca, gary contessa, linda rice, mike hushion, et al when your nanny state bans casino funds from financing stupid purses for so low-quality racing in february with breakdowns galore...joel from downey (Ca)

19 Oct 2013 2:38 AM
Age of Reason

YES! Finally, a piece of sanity regarding the HOY/Eclipse picture. Sceptre, you could not be more right. Point of Entry's arguably best race came off a layup in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1T and all that), and I am not only hoping but also quite confident that, with a good trip this time around, POE can "run a blinder" in the Turf. If so, he should definitely get Turf Male champion and be given a prominent seat at the HOY discussion table. Actually (and I'm sure you realized this when you brought them up), I wouldn't set the cumulative odds off all those horses losing very high if I were a bookie; much as Baffert might wish to fly lower on the radar with his "gets no respect" runner, Game On Dude has a massive target on his back and we all know it; it's interesting that others have brought up Smarty Jones getting waylaid in the Belmont, because I suspect the Dude might be in for similar treatment in the Classic. I have only one possible exception to Point of Entry though, and that is Princess of Sylmar. If victorious in the Distaff, she too will deserve consideration alongside P.O.E. as a legitimate, beat-all-comers contender for our highest award.

19 Oct 2013 8:01 AM

steve, with the breeders cup, being so close. you should write a story catching up with some of the top fillies or mares who won. take azeri for instace, which it's been nearly eleven years, since she won, on her way to being named horse of the year for 2002, i know she was sent to japan, a few years back. but she has basically disappeared, since then.

19 Oct 2013 10:25 AM

Will Take Charge/Palace Malice:

“Whichever horse finishes ahead of the other in the Classic likely will come away with the title.”

There was just mere mention of Moreno in the 3YO champion male evaluation.

Well, it appears Moreno is chopped liver and does not have a ghost of chance of finishing ahead of either WTC or PM.

What do the cold facts reflect?

Moreno broke his maiden in his 10th attempt on 06/08/2012, the same day the Belmont was being contested.

Palace Malice who had broken his maiden in July 2012 and who had already contested 4 graded stakes, won the Belmont.

Will Take Charge who had broken his maiden in October 2012 and who had already contested 5 graded stakes finished 10th.

Moreno returned a month later to win the G2 Dwyer.

The two colts and the gelding paths would cross in their next two starts i.e., Jim Dandy and Traverse. In the JD, Moreno led to the furlong pole in fractions of 24/47/1:11/1:34.94. He grudgingly gave in and was passed late by WTC for second.

It should be noted that the 1st three passed the post were fully extended. It should be noted that the JD was Moreno’s 2nd race in July and his 1st against graded stakes winners.

In the Traverse Moreno got away with moderate fractions 24/48/1:13/1:37 and gain gave in grudgingly to a fully extended WTC. He finished ahead of the Derby winner and runner up and the Belmont winner. Not bad for a gelding that had only broken his maiden two races back.

Moreno and WTC met again in the PA Derby. He again led but od this occasion in the fastest 6F fractions of their 3 meetings 23/46/1:10. Again WTC bested him but by a wider margin. He held gamely for second but he was obviously a tired horse.

Moreno should not have been entered in the PA Derby. He made 2 starts in July and then contested the 10F Traverse in August.  The gelding had earned and deserved a break. A clearly tire horse set suicidal fractions in the PA Derby and still had enough left to hold on for second. This is a testament to the toughness of this gelding.

He enters the BCC off six weeks between races. He returns to a track on which he has made 5 starts. The SA strip is known for favoring speed and that means; advantage to Moreno.

This colt is the most improved 3YO in training right now. In his encounters with PM and WTC they were fully extended to defeated him. He basically has home court advantage at SA. It does not hurt either that his sire and dam sire won the BCC.

Neither PM nor WTC will finish ahead of Moreno. Will he then be considered for the Eclipse for 3YO male?

19 Oct 2013 11:09 AM

"Gets no respect runner, Game On Dude"

GOD has defeated Kettle Corn twice and Clubhouse Ride three times in his 5 victories in 2013. Kettle Corn a former claimer and is a G3 winner that GOD has beaten 5 times. Clubhouse Ride the G2 winner has won 3 races from 29 starts and has been beaten by GOD 4 times

How can GOD be considered for HOY honors when the two horses that have finished 2nd to him in his 5 victories, have been beaten by him a combined 9 times?

19 Oct 2013 11:28 AM

“He has been beaten like a drum by the trio of Oxbow, Palace Malice and WTC”


Orb defeated Oxbow, Palace Malice and WTC


Oxbow defeated Orb; Orb defeated WTC.


Palace Malice & Oxbow defeated Orb; Orb defeated WTC.


WTC defeated Orb; Orb defeated Palace Malice.


Palace Malice defeated Orb.


Orb has defeated Palace Malice twice; WTC three times and Oxbow once.

Palace Malice defeated Orb twice; Oxbow defeated him twice; WTC defeated him once.

The only colt that has a winning record against Orb is Oxbow.

Your quote above is misplaced as it is not supported by the cold facts.

19 Oct 2013 11:43 AM
Love 'em all

Reminder for those who have NBCSN ... today, Sat., Oct. 19th:

In honor of the 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, NBC Sports Network will televise on Saturday “Daily Racing Form Presents Breeders’ Cup 30-1: Greatest Moments in Breeders’ Cup History.” The one hour telecast (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. PT) captures the indelible accomplishments of the horses and individuals who graced the Breeders’ Cup with the greatest drama and excitement since the event’s inception in 1984.

and .....

NBCSN will also show encore telecasts of “30-1” on Thursday, October 31 from 10:30-11:30 p.m./7:30-8:30 PT and again from 1:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. ET/10-11 p.m. PT.


19 Oct 2013 12:13 PM

Coldfacts, you make an excellent point in stating that: "I was of the opinion that Orb had the (championship) wrapped up. "

Alas, in the postmodern world of short time concentration spans and the whizzing world of cyber chatter you are only as good as the next blog comment. By the way Steve, this is not aimed at you but more a general observation of 'comments' in blogs.

I remember a few weeks back Princess of Sylmar had just beaten Royal Delta, was she allowed to bask in a day of glory - no - within a few hours Beholder had won a Grade 1 in California and yes!!...Beholder was really the the champion 3 year old filly because??? She won the next race. No matter on the races Princess of Sylmar has won.

So, if Beholder were to win the Distaff, is she the champion or does Princess of Sylmar win for winning the Kentucky Oaks in which she defeated Beholder? No doubt the 'blog comment' will advise. No time to think, no time to reflect, on to the next, next, next...

Steve, the Eastern horses are up against it before they even step on the plane, weather (cold to hot etc), travel etc, but isn't the draw and early jockeying for position vitally important? Last year, you basically watched elevator rides, with no movement after the first bend the closers had no chance. I hope the track plays fair this time and good luck to all.

19 Oct 2013 4:26 PM

when has a 3 yo eclipse ever gone to a horse with this record in his 3 yo year?

5 consecutive losses, 2 wins, followed by 2 more consecutive losses--only 1 grade 1 win, and it wasn't the derby.

or this record?

a win, a loss, a win, followed by 4 consecutive losses, followed by 2 wins--only 1 grade 1 win, and it wasn't the derby

and when has a 3 yo lost the eclipse with the following record?

5 wins consecutive wins, 2 of which were grade 1s, one of which was the derby, followed by 4 losses, 2 of which were 3rds (and one of which was by less than a length), all of which where in grade 1s, who ran every leg of the TC, and who has a 3-1 head to head over one of the horses above (all 3 double digits, and the sole loss by less than a length); and is tied with the other horse above?

2 wins, trumps 5 wins because the happened in the fall and they are tied head to head? i'm sure rapole whould love for you to explain why you didn't vote for stay thirsty over animal kingdom then, or dale romans as to why you didn't give the nod to shack that year--after all, shack at least won the preakness, which is more important than belmont, ran all year, had a 2-1 lead in the head to head over the eventual eclipse winner, and was second by noses in most of his races, and is 100x the horse palace malice is...

and 4 wins and a losing head-to-head trumps 5 wins, because 2 of them happened in the fall? how do you explain that to team verranzano--who has the best record, but losing head-to-heads with all of them.

steve, will you please explain why you have so little respect for orb?

it seems to me that based on what is likely to happen in this year's eclipse voting that your better off having your derby winner have a career ending injury in that race, or be retired immediately after it, if you want to be sure that you win the eclipse...great message to send...just what this sport needs...

19 Oct 2013 4:58 PM

rusty--you take the track you're given. sloppy or fast. you take the pace scenario you're given--that's the game--palace malice lost the derby, and lost it badly. end of story. front runner risk being victims of fast paces, closers run the risk of being victims of slow paces. it's 6 of 1, 1/2 dozen of another. there are no mulligan's in racing.

orb has 5 wins on fast tracks, a third by 3/4 of a length on a fast track, and a 3rd at a mile and a half on a fast track--he didn't win the derby because of the track or the pace. he won it because he was best on the day. every horse that wins, is the best on the day. period.

the way things currently stand, orb has been better on the day than will take charge 3 out of 4 times, and better that palace malice 2 out of 4 times.

of the 3, since you're a bettor--surely you realize you've cashed more times with orb than with palace malice and will take charge combined--5 win tickets, 7 across the board tickets, 5 superfecta tickets, 7 trifecta tickets, and 8 superfecta tickets...what nag...

19 Oct 2013 5:15 PM
Bethany Loftis

This may be a silly, however I'm confused why Orb is talked about so little to win the Eclipse for 3-year old male when he has a more accomplished record this year than last year's 3-year old champion (no disrespect IHA, you won the big test and then some). I suppose one could argue that this class is generally more accomplished than last year so the race for year end honors is tougher. Looking back at the past winners of Eclipse awards, the horses' accomplishments, when they were awarded, and the supposed explaination for voting such as a HOY becoming a lifetime merit award depending on the year, it seems the criteria for earning an Eclipse is inconsistent. I'm a relatively new fan, I've only been following for just less than 10 years, I'm curious if there is a list of voting criteria that is available for the public to view so that we may gain a better understanding?

19 Oct 2013 9:32 PM
Greg R

Davids: "...the closers had no chance..." last year. Except for Groupie Doll and Caleidoscopio.  The marathon winner trailed the field early, while the pace wasn't exactly sizzling, so the leaders had no excuse for their complete surrender.  The F/M sprint winner inhaled the field with a sweeping move in the teeth of the bias, making her the performer of the weekend in my book, along with Wise Dan.

Tiz Herself:  I myself would not begrudge the Irish invaders a win in the Classic, because Coolmore have been terrific sports over the years in sending many of their top turf performers to try dirt, sight unseen, in the Classic and other BC races.  Giant's Causeway notwithstanding, most of them embarrassed themselves badly  (without harm to their grass records, of course), but these failures have not stopped their game attempts.  I don't see many Americans having the courage to send their horses to Europe for the top-end races.

19 Oct 2013 11:49 PM

Steve Haskin 19 Oct 2013 12:38 AM

Capo Bastone is not in the Dirt mile because Todd Pletcher has locked up that race.  I think that Pletcher is likely to at least cop a triple in the Breeder's Cup. The BC Classic is the toughest and will require career best effort from either Graydar or Palace Malice but they are both capable of same.

Coldfacts 19 Oct 2013 11:09 AM

Do you really believe that Moreno has a shot in the BCC, given the likely pace scenario? You need to give it some serious thought my friend.  Moreno is a very game horse but he'll be outclassed every step of the way ...he's in too deep but can add some spice to the early fractions if they send him.

20 Oct 2013 1:10 AM

Coldfacts : Who has the other HOTY contenders have beaten ?  Horses run against who will run with them.  You've posted pretty much the breakdown on all the HOTY contenders, and for each one, you posted how they beat "weak" fields.  You did it for Princess Of Sylmar, you did it for Royal Delta, you did it for Wise Dan, and you did it for PM and WTC.  If this is how you actually view all the HOTY contenders, NONE of them are worth winning the the HOTY honors.   At some point, you'd have to take into account that regardless of who they ran against, they won the races they were expected to win.  I'm curious, if it were up to you, who would be the contenders for the HOTY ?

20 Oct 2013 1:23 AM

Although I still love Wise Dan I think he blew any chance of winning back to back Horse of the Year honors. If the Princess should happen to clean everyone's clock in the distaff, I think she'll be the next beauty to wear the HOY crown. Just a feeling. The classic may be a big surprise, a horse who "shouldn't" might just pull it off. If the Dude were to win, he would be the logical choice. Trouble is, things often don't go as planned in these prestigious races. That goes across the board, so we really don't know where the chips will fall. I don't think the Princess of Sylmar will disappoint, this is her time. I hope Danny Boy marvels us once again with a flawless performance and I'd be thrilled if Paynter pulled an upset in the BC Classic. I also love gray ponies {Graydar} we don't see enough of them and Game on Dude gets very little respect, he deserves better. Truth is, I can make a case for all of the contenders and would be happy for any one of them and their connections should they win. I was even respectful of Blame and hung his photo right beside the Queen's. A safe trip for all is a win in my book and is all I really wish for.

20 Oct 2013 7:01 AM
Pedigree Ann

All these hypothetical 'if horse A does this and horse B does that' scenarios are so much hot air. Imagine all you like, but there is a month or more left to the racing season (yes, racing after the BC still counts), races will be won and lost, and the picture will become clear, or not.

I realize that Steve has to write something this week, and since the BC has sucked all the life out of the better racing in late October, he came up with this. Not criticizing. It's a fact of life these days. Like UK racing, the week before and after Royal Ascot - the top runners are engaged for the big dance, so only the lesser lights available to run elsewhere.

For competitive racing with top horses to enjoy, may I suggest The Melbourne Cup is just over 2 weeks away, the Victoria Derby and Oaks are coming up, and Aussies (without raceday meds) 'back-up' horses in a week or even a few days - the last Melbourne Cup qualifier is the Saturday before the first Tuesday in November. If you can't stay up late Friday night (Sat afternoon down there), watch the replays.

20 Oct 2013 9:23 AM

Greg R,

I think why trainer do not send horse to race oversea, because of their drug policy is so strick and you know that very few trainer here

really run their horse clean.

Remember one time Dutrow sent the american best miler to Hongkong and steward scratched him after the random test, and then Bradley sent a horse to Dubai, but fail the test and they take the purse away from him.

20 Oct 2013 9:32 AM


"Do you really believe that Moreno has a shot in the BCC, given the likely pace scenario?"

My post regarding Moreno highlighted why I think he has a legitimate chance of finishing ahead of both Palace Malice and WTC in the BCC.

If he finishes ahead of them he  would have beaten three of the top colts in the country i.e., Orb, PM and WTC. If you throw in the over hyped Verrazano then that makes it four.

In the event he does finish ahead PM & WTC, would he be in contention for he eclipse?

This is just another scenarios  worth considering.

With regard to the pace scenario, the BCC will not be won from behind and Moreno has more tactical speed than PM and WTC.

"Moreno is a very game horse but he'll be outclassed every step of the way"

Moreno has tactical speed but he is not a need to lead colt. The 2:02.68 for the Traverse is a competitive time for a BCC contender.

I know you are very high on MMM. His 2013 record is as follows:

Sunshine Million 9F,(7th) 1:49.19

Criminal Type 8.5F,(3rd) 1:41.14

Whitney (3rd) 9F, 1:47.89

Awesome Again (1st) 9F, 1:48.30


Dwyer (1st) 8.5F,1:41.04

Jim Dandy (3rd) 9F, 1:47.37

Traverse (2nd) 10F, 2:02.68

PA Derby (2nd) 9F, 1:49.29

MMM numbers are not better than those of Moreno. Why should he be outclassed?

20 Oct 2013 9:37 AM

Jay Jay,

“You've posted pretty much the breakdown on all the HOTY contenders, and for each one, you posted how they beat "weak" fields.”

The above is not entirely accurate.

In the case of Wise Dan, I provided data on the opposition he has beaten in 2013 when he was being regarded as an unbeatable wonder horse.  It had nothing to do with his HOY credentials.

Wise Dan has won races at tracks in different states. He has even won a race out of the country. GOD on the other hand has stayed in CA to feast on the low hanging fruits. WD is therefore more deserving of a HOY title even if he is beaten in the BCM (Turf)

In the case of Princess Of Sylmar, I did not address her HOY potential. I focused on her being prematurely awarded the Eclipse for Champion 3YO female. She defeated the top fillies in the Oaks as a big long shot. She subsequently defeated two moderate fillies and caught Royal Delta on an off day. My contention is that she needs to contest the Distaff and defeat the top fillies again to solidify her claim as being the best of her age group gender.

It would be a great disservice to Beholder and Close Hatches if either should wins the Distaff and not be awarded the eclipse based on one loss to POS.

I did not make post on the HOY chances of Royal Delta.

I do not believe GOD should be voted HOY even with an unlikely BCC victory. He has feasted on Kettle Corn and Clubhouse Rise all year and has chosen to avoid the top dirt races in other parts of the country. That not the résumé of a HOY.

“At some point, you'd have to take into account that regardless of who they ran against, they won the races they were expected to win.”

Based on the above the likes of Peppers Pride and Zenyatta should have been voted HOY in 2008.

Compare the Orb’s 2013 campaign to that of GOD and Wise Dan. He won 4 consecutive races including two G1s. He contested the grueling TC series and won the most difficult race to win in the world. His Derby victory was the most electrifying race of the year. He was on the board in all three TC races. He returned from a lengthy rest to finish 3rd in the 10F Traverse against some of the top colts and in the process defeated the Belmont winner.

His one bad race in the JCGC should not be held against him as his burden has been the heaviest of any horse in 2013. Should he win another G1 race he should be voted HOY.

GOD and Wise Dan have just waited on their usual beating sticks to show up for yet another whipping.

Those who believe this to be the criteria for being voted HOY, should all go out and purchase a ‘Pet Rock’

20 Oct 2013 10:47 AM
Linda in Texas

Off Topic - Not unusual for me, but i want to say Congrats on Ms. Symons's fillie EFFIE TRINKET winning her race in the Belmont Ticonderoga Stakes,Race 8. I have mentioned her before. For 2013 she has won 4 Firsts, 1 Second and 1 Third out of 6 starts.

Nice training Mr. Violette. And 'Effie' you go girl!

To Linda Rice accolades go to you as owner and trainer and claimer in October 2012 for $20,000 of PALACE winning The Hudson at Belmont Race 9. She has now banked over $300,00 in one year and i think that is deserving of mentioning. Along with - -

ROADHOG, very nice chestnut, winning his race at Laurel Park beating favored Ben's Cat in the Maryland Million Turf 1 mile. He won it last year also. Jockey aboard was Carmouche. Liked Roadhog's demeanor as he walked to the gates and ran a tremendous race.

Watching The Maryland Million Races, of course in honor of Mr. Jim McKay the announcer, whom i credit for getting me interested in most all sports in the first place.

He was a kind and honorable man.

Thanks Steve, and Bill Parcell's Saratoga Snacks, won his race. Good for Mr. Parcell's who tried his best to straighten up the Cowboys.

He has had better luck with the horses for sure! It was a nice day of racing.

20 Oct 2013 11:51 AM

Johannesburg won the 2001 Breeder Cup Juvenile. He is probably best remembered as the US bred Euro invader that destroyed the previously unbeaten Office. However there is something else that is worth noting about Johannesburg.

He was produced Myth a daughter of Ogygian a son of the great Damascus. The Damascus broodmare line is not seen regularly these days and when he appears as the grand dam sire of a mare that has produced a quality horse, I get excited.

One such horse is Smarty’s Echo. He was sired by Derby/Preakness winner Smarty Jones and out of Silver Echo by Eastern Echo a son of Damascus. I used Smarty’s Echo in a 5 horse Tri box in the Dixiana Breeders' Futurity Stakes at Keeneland and was lucky enough to secure $2,500 return.

He is big handsome chestnut with plenty of tactical speed and has exhibited fighting qualities in his last two starts. He was handily beaten by Wee Miss Artie in the Futurity but that should not be seen as too significant as he is not a synthetic track horse as denoted stride pattern.

There have been four BCJ winners sired by Derby winners i.e., Anees, Unbridles Song Vidication and Capote. An insignificant bit of history but worth mentioning.  He is the only member of the local probables that was sired by a Derby winner. It appears he has a lot of Smarty’s tactical speed and one can hope he has inherited some of Damascus stamina.

I am looking forward to see this colt on dirt. With his tactical speed and resolve I think he has the credentials to win SA Park.

NB: Eastern Echo was produced from a Northern Dancer mare. He probably has been broodmare sire of a top class horse.

20 Oct 2013 1:05 PM
Tiz Herself

RIP Dullahan :( You will be missed beautiful boy --- :-(

20 Oct 2013 1:55 PM
Linda in Texas

Truly a shame, just 'retired due to a tendon injury not life threatening. Then 6 days later he is gone.

So very sad. He was a consistent, hugely handsome racehorse and grandson of Unbridled's Song and Smart Strike.

He just carried himself so stately.

And another Unbridled's Son gone.

Rest in Peace Dullahan. And thank you for your contribution to racing. Here yesterday, gone today.

20 Oct 2013 4:11 PM

RIP Dullahan.

When you found a poly you liked, you were the best.

Unbeatable!  Thanks for the memories Dullahan. RIP.

20 Oct 2013 5:58 PM

Coldfacts : Thanks.  The Pepper's Pride comment was out of character for you, that kind of response I would've expected from KY Vet, but not you as I think you are a lot smarter than him.  My point was (just in case you did miss it), was that the top contenders for the HOTY ran in G1 races and they won.  What Curlin did in 2008 is not a common thing, he traveled across the world and beat the best of the world in that year convincingly, not to mention that he was also winning big races in the US so I think that had something to do with him unanimously winning the HOTY.  He had 153 votes, (yes, you made me research that.)   Zenyatta has 69 compared to 13 for Big Brown who won the KY Derby and Preakness (which Orb did not).  That's 56 more votes for the undefeated vs the KY Derby and Preakness winner.  Many viewed Zenyatta's undefeated record in 2008 as being against weak fields, the same horses over and over and yet, voters picked her over BB.

I don't necessarily agree that winning the Kentucky Derby is the only criteria for the 3 YO championship but it should put the winner of the race on top of the list.  IHA won last year's championship without competing after the 2nd leg of the TC because he won the first two legs and more importantly, no other 3 YO did anything worthy of competing with him for the title, that's not the case this year.  Your comments for Princess and Royal Delta would apply to their chances at being HOTY if you were asked about it, I can't see it being anything different.  I mentioned them because Steve H mentioned them and he has a vote in the HOTY so I would think they're also contenders.

Giving Orb the HOTY title by winning another G1 I think is ridiculous specially if GoD wins the Classic.  Besides the KY Derby, Orb did not really beat much of anything...that was not a stellar field in the FOY and the FD.  IMLD and Shanghai Bobby were the only two high profiled horses he beat and both did not do much after the FD.  He's also avoiding the Classic unlike PM and WTC, not sure you ?  Is it possible he's going back to his own "beating sticks" to get another G1 ?   I'm not really sure who you expected GoD to beat throughout the year, short of saying he has to travel in every race and chase the top horses in the east coast (much like what was expected from Zenyatta), I don't really know what you want from his connections.  Wise Dan's longest "travel" was 12 (at the most).  GoD beat RTG twice this year and actually traveled to (across the states which is about a 6 hour flight) CT for one of them.  RTG crushed the top horses from the east coast in the JCGC including Orb.  How can you say Orb is better than GoD ?

I'm not for or against GoD in the Classic or even for the HOTY, but I think your cold facts have been clouded by your personal interest in Orb.  If you're going to claim to post cold facts, you have to be neutral about them, you can't post the negatives against horses you don't like but then pick and choose what you post about Orb.  You picked apart the horses GoD beat without mentioning RTG.   You highlighted Orb's 4 race win streak but not GoD's, you talked about how grueling the TC races are but forgot to mention that GoD is 6 yrs old, can you see Orb running as a 6 yr old ?  You then highlighted his 3rd place effort after a long rest, GoD has not rested.  His loss in the JCGC is excusable (not sure why)... but GoD"s one loss isn't?  Oh wait, GoD has not lost this year.

Lastly (before I get jumped by other posters), I'm not an Orb hater, I happened to like him.  He was my pick to win the KY and Preakness.  I still like him a lot, I'm very happy that Shug is doing the right thing for him.  I hope to see him back competing next year.

20 Oct 2013 8:25 PM
Rusty Weisner


Just so you know I don't have something against Orb, this was a horse I bet in all three legs: I split my money between him and Palace Malice in the Derby, between him, Oxbow and Departing in the Preakness, and again between him and Palace Malice in the Belmont.  Palace Malice was the one that won me money, while Orb had no excuse in the Preakness and Belmont.  I stopped having a reason to bet him because he's been surpassed.  His best performance was in a pace meltdown on an off track:  my big regret of the year was not taking that fact to its logical conclusion and playing hard against them in the Preakness.

21 Oct 2013 7:38 AM
Rusty Weisner

My question about the Eclipse awards was not a snide rhetorical one.  What do they mean?  

21 Oct 2013 7:44 AM

Greg R,

"If he doesn't win HOY,it isn't on them, it's because Game On Dude has had a spectacular year, which has gone unrecognized by many."

GOD - A Spectacular Year gone unrecognized!

I wonder why?

He contested 4 races in CA and  Kettle Corn and Clubhouse Ride were runners up twice.

The one race he contested outside of CA was at Charles Town. Guess who finished 2nd to him? His old beating stick Clubhouse Ride.

Why take on any serious challengers outside CA when he is assured that Clubhouse Ride and Kettle corn are the two that are likely to finish the closest to him.

His program should land him CA HOY the year but not the national title.

There were several top distance races that the HOY designate, GOD didn't see it fit to enter. Could it be have been that neither Clubhouse Ride nor Kettle Corn would have been not present.

Are the following races too tough for CA horses to win:

Donn Hndp

Pimlico Special

Stephen Foster



Jockey Club Gold Cup

21 Oct 2013 9:36 AM

Rusty Weisner,

Eclipse Awards have significant meaning to owners and breeders. They are less meaningful to punters like you and I.

21 Oct 2013 9:41 AM

Key to the Mint v Riva Ridge.

Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes in 1972.

“He (Key To The Mint) did not run in the Kentucky Derby, the first race of the U.S. Triple Crown series, but then finished third to winner Bee Bee Bee in the Preakness Stakes and fourth to Riva Ridge in the Belmont Stakes.

“Following his mediocre performance in two of the Triple Crown races, Key to the Mint went on to dominate his age group in 1972 and was voted the Eclipse Award for American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse”(Wiki).

What happens after the Spring, does matter.

Many of this year’s championships will be decided at the Breeders’ Cup.

Remember, the decisions are made by voters, not by horses winning and losing.

It is simply not worth worrying about.

Chelsea plays tomorrow. That is worth worrying about.

21 Oct 2013 9:55 AM

Rusty Weisner,

“Orb had no excuse in the Preakness and Belmont.”

That is not a fair statement to make about the Derby winner.

Palace Malice was eased in the Derby after exhausting himself on the lead. Oxbow was kept up to his work but not punished after it was obvious he was not going to win.

Orb on the other hand had to be hard ridden to close from 19th to get to the leaders and then sustain his momentum to the line. The Derby took more out of him than any other horse in the race as he extended himself the most.

In fact, none of the top four finishers in the Derby have returned to win a race. Such was the brutality of the races and the conditions. It should be noted that all the top 4 finishers in the Derby closed from the last 5 positions

In a post earlier in the season I highlighted that Orb has to be ridden for the better part of his races as he is does not move effortlessly over ground like other horses. This type of running style is energy sapping as opposed to energy efficient.

The Derby is a brutal race for hoses with his running style. It takes a lot out of them and he became a victim of his running style.  In retrospect his connection should have skipped the Preakness. His entry into the Preakness did more harm than the Derby. It is no wonder he was flat in the Belmont but he kept trying.  

Palace Malice skipped the Preakness and was a fresher horse for the Belmont. Oxbow had an easy win in the Preakness, while Orb was hard ridden to secure his 4th place finish. Orb had not recovered fully to be competitive in the Belmont. Both PM and Oxbow had the advantage.

“I stopped having a reason to bet him because he's been surpassed.”

Surpassed by whom? Palace Malice defeated him in the Belmont and he returned to finish ahead of him in the Traverse. He was only beaten 2L coming off a lengthy respite. He had previously beaten WTC three times. You are ignoring some pertinent colt facts.

“His best performance was in a pace meltdown on an off track”

Relevance! They were all subjected to the pace and track conditions and he prevailed. He was working the best at CD preceding the Derby and was favored to win by many irrespective of the track conditions. You need to be fair.

His worst performance was on a fast track at Belmont in a fast pace race. Are you suggesting that he is a mud lark?

21 Oct 2013 10:18 AM

So sad to learn of Dullahan's  untimely passing. It ruined my day. Thank you for the memories beautiful one. If Paynter never wins another race, he won the only one that really counted, the race for his life. Lucky pony. R.I.P. Dullahan. You will be missed.

21 Oct 2013 10:52 AM

IMO the much improved Moreno is peaking right now.  He and Declaration of War have impressive pedigrees. I expect them to battle it out for the win.  

21 Oct 2013 11:22 AM
El Kabong

Very sad day. RIP Dully. I'll miss your late charge more than most. Thankful he was in the right hands at Donegal all this time, and especially now. I'll proudly  continue to wear your baseball cap with pride and great memories. I really did want to see baby dully's haunting front speed for the next 20 years. Very sad day indeed.  

21 Oct 2013 1:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks for the response.  I think your logic about Orb's "running style" is kind of circular.  I don't buy it and I don't think guessing form cycles is your strong suit.

Why? Derby winners usually romp in the Preakness.  They just do not bounce.  The ones who have not romped have tended to be the come-from-behind types who benefit from pace in the Derby.  See Monarchos, Giacomo, Mine that Bird, Animal Kingdom...Orb. They tend to be vulnerable in the Preakness.  My biggest regret this year was that I didn't play hard against Orb in the Preakness when I liked Oxbow.  The Belmont, for me, was a suprise, and here you have a better case making the excuse of tiredness for him -- I actually bet nearly as much on him here as I did on Palace Malice thinking that he just had a bad ride and the disadvantage of a loose leader in the Preakness and he made a good bet to win at 3-1, so I was suprised to see him so flat.

Orb could win the Cigar Mile and go on to be in the class of Animal Kingdom.  But I've been playing him with the expectation that he ends up remembered in the same bucket as Monarchos, MTB and Giacomo (though I have a hard time believing he'll never win another race again).  We'll see.  I wish all the best for the horse but the jury's out.  

21 Oct 2013 2:10 PM
Rusty Weisner


"Eclipse Awards have significant meaning to owners and breeders. They are less meaningful to punters like you and I."

I'm have a hard time believing this.  If Orb wins the Eclipse isn't it still just the Kentucky Derby that counts?

"Are you suggesting that he is a mud lark?"

No, Alpha is ;-)  

No, I don't think so.  But I always treat the results on mud as anomalous, and particularly discount the Beyer figures.  I tend to play against winner in the slop the next out especially when he has an inflated fig -- I should have adhered to this principle in betting the Preakness.  No, I thought Orb was the likeliest winner on Derby day (and thought PM the best price) and ignored the slop as a handicapping factor that day.  Unless the horse really is obviously a "mud lark" I tend to ignore the conditions on race day, while in looking at PP's I tend to deprecate spectacular mud wins with high figs.  That may sound contradictory, but that's the way I play it.

21 Oct 2013 2:23 PM

Rusty Weisner,

"Derby winners usually romp in the Preakness."

Listed below are Derby winners that did not romp in the Preakness:-

Super Saver (8th) Giacomo (3rd) Morarchos (6th) Thunder Gulch (3rd) Street Sense (2nd) Mine That Bird (2nd) Animal Kingdom (2nd) Fusaichie Pegasus (2nd)

Two of the above Derby winners finished off the board in the Preakness.

It is nor unusual for Derby winners to loose the Preakness.

"I'm have a hard time believing this.  If Orb wins the Eclipse isn't it still just the Kentucky Derby that counts?"

Any GI victory is significant on a stallion's résumé. The Derby is plus because of the difficulties to win it.

Holy Bull was flop in the Derby and did to participate further in the TC series. He won several G1 races and was voted HOY.

21 Oct 2013 4:43 PM

10 days to BC...anyone have any idea on who they're betting yet ?

Here's mine but I'll probably only play 4 races from each day...too many BC races now.

My (very) early picks :

Sprint : Secret Circle

Turf Sprint : Rock Me Baby / Chips All In

Turf : Point Of Entry / Flintshire

Mile : Wise Dan / Toronado

Marathon : Indian Jones

Juvenile Turf : Diamond Bachelor / Bobby's Kitten

Juvenile Fillies Turf : Clenor / Testa Rossi

Juvenile Fillies : Secret Compass / She's A Tiger

Juvenile : Havana

FM& Turf : Dank / Pomology

F&M Sprint : Teddy's Promise

Distaff : Royal Delta

Dirt Mile : Graydar / Power Broker

Classic : Will Take Charge

21 Oct 2013 6:34 PM

Heartbroken to hear about Dullahan.  Colic is horrifying and he should never have had to suffer like that. He was a stately beautiful boy, talented and a joy to watch. May he find peace.

21 Oct 2013 8:54 PM
Pedigree Ann

Just found out a board buddy's mare had to be put down due to laminitis. As common as they are, colic and laminitis take too many too soon.

Both seem to be diseases of domestication, too - horses who spend 18 hours a day wandering about eating grasses rarely colic.

22 Oct 2013 9:32 AM
Pedigree Ann

From an interview with the IFHA (International Federation of Horseracing Authorities) president:

At the same time [the Breeders' Cup people] are trying to encourage foreign-trained horses to come over, we now have new big things happening in Europe. This year you have the British Championships and next year the Irish Championships beginning. You will have Ireland, France and England staging the three biggest racing weekends before the Breeders' Cup. The risk is that the foreign horses will no longer go to run [in the BC]. Clearly over here there is some bad feeling with the quality of the Breeders' Cup and it's very clear that it has been sending very disappointing signals to see the Breeders' Cup reversing its decision [on raceday Lasix]. I was ultimately planning not to go to the Breeders' Cup this time, but I came out of this weekend and decided to go out there and talk to

the people to exchange views, to see how we could still make steps on the issues because we will all lose from it. Soon there would be fewer Europeans buying horses in the United States, ... and I think everybody will be harmed at the end.

22 Oct 2013 9:58 AM


“The Pepper's Pride comment was out of character for you.”

Your quote was as follows:

“they won the races they were expected to win”

I have to respond to your actual quote without making inferences. I cannot assume that you were referring to G1 races only. In any event the two horses cited would have covered any confusion.

Peppers Pride won the state bred races she was expected to win and Zenyatta won the GI races she was expected to win. Both were undefeated in 2008. Zenyatta won the races she was expected to and was still not voted HOY in 2008.

“ Big Brown who won the KY Derby and Preakness (which Orb did not).”

Big Brown finished last in the Belmont whereas Orb finished 3rd.

I fully understand that Orb appears to be an unlikely candidate for the HOY title.  However, the older horses have been defeating some G2 horses and are uninspiring as candidates for a HOY story. One has to look elsewhere.  

Conquistador Ceilo won the HOY title with a win in the Belmont and Met Mile. Stranget things have happened

22 Oct 2013 10:20 AM


"Can you see Orb running as a 6 yr old ?”

GOD is a gelding while Orb is a horse/colt. Geldings normally have longer racing careers. Most top colts/horses are retired at 4YO. If the question was based on geldings it would have been more relevance.

“you can't post the negatives against horses you don't like but then pick and choose what you post about Orb.”

The above is not accurate. I do not dislike GOD. I have provided an overview on all of Orb’s 2013 races and have done the same for GOD. That does not amount to picking and choosing.

“His loss in the JCGC is excusable (not sure why).”

It was the first time he had finished off the board in his last 9 starts. All the tops colts had previously finished off the board in their last 8 starts -  Verrazano (two), WTC (Four), Palace Malice (two) and Oxbow (three). A young horses contesting races over 9F, 10F & 12F are likely to have an off days. Certainly you should know this.

“Giving Orb the HOTY title by winning another G1 I think is ridiculous especially if GOD wins the Classic”

The Body Of Work for each horse should be examined. Orb had the greater burden and faced far greater challenges. GOD has feasted on sub-par competition all year.

“He's also avoiding the Classic unlike PM and WTC, not sure you ?”

Interesting! He did not choose to avoid them in the TC series but has suddenly found them  to be overwhelming. He probably has not fully recovered from the TC series of races. Rachael Alexandra did not run in the either the Classic or Distaff but was voted HOY.

22 Oct 2013 10:29 AM

Pedigree Ann,

"Both seem to be diseases of domestication"

You have made a valid point may have a point.

In my previous life I owned a few thoroughbreds. I used to pay my grooms extra for them to give my horse more time outside their stalls.

An animal that is accustom to open country is a prisoner in a stall.

I was also against pelleted feeds and spent extra funds to ensure they were provided with a loose feed mix with a high oats component.

Colic and Laminitis can be minimized with proper feed and maintenance programs.

Grooms are a key part to prevention. There are some grooms that are not necessarily horse lovers and do not pay attention to details. For them its job with a certain routine. Beyond they are happy when their morning activities are complete and their horses are re-imprisoned in their stalls.

Have you ever paid close attention to the grooms that lead some horse in the parade ring. They are void of energy and so are their charges. It take energy to take car of a one thousand pounds animal.

22 Oct 2013 10:46 AM

Speaking of  HOY (sorry about this, folks, but I don't know where else to put this), too bad about the retirement of Atlantic Jewel.  I was looking forward to her race against Its a Done Deal this Saturday.  If she won, I don't see how she couldn't already have been Australia's HOY.

I am also sorry about Dullahan.  I especially liked him bc of his older brother, little Mine That Bird and since MTB is a gelding, I was hoping to see Dullahan carry on the family  guts gene.

22 Oct 2013 11:40 AM


I see your selection for the BCC is Will Take Charge. Mr. Lukas has one victory in the BCC with Cat Thief.

Let’s compare the résumés of Cat Thief and Will Take Charge.

Cat Thief:

Breeder Cup Juvenile, 3rd

Fountain Of Youth, 2nd

FL Derby, 3rd

Bluegrass, 2nd

Kentucky Derby, 3rd

Haskell, 2nd

Traverse 7th.

Will Take Charge:

Smarty Jones, 1t

Rebel, 1st

Jim Dandy 2nd

Traverse  1st

PA Derby 1st

Wow! Cat Thief never won a major race preceding his BCC victory. However, he was in the top three in 6 of 8 major races.

Interestingly, he finished 7th in the Traverse the prep for the BCC. It appears that with fewer victories he was a better colt than WTC.

WTC has some major historic hurdles to cross:

No winner of the Traverse has won the BCC to date. However, top three finishers Awesome Again, Skip Away and Concern have won.

Traverse winners Bernardini, Easy Goer, Medagglia D’Oro, and Flower Ally have finished runner ups.

Proud Truth with a troubled trip finished 5th in the Kentucky Derby and went on to win the BCC. He contested neither the Preakness nor Belmont. He won the FL Derby and was 2nd in the Wood. He remains the only 3YO that  has won the BCC  that was unplaced in a TC race. Based on Proud Truth performance in the FL Derby and Wood, it appears he was a better colt than WTC.

History is suggesting that of the 3YOs in the lineup, Palace Malice is the one most likely to win the BCC.

22 Oct 2013 11:58 AM

The least we can expect is that people will get the names of races right.

The race is the "Travers" not the "Traverse".

The wrong spelling appears over a dozen times from the self-righteous one, who refers to others as ignorant. Now we have seen true ignorance.

22 Oct 2013 2:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


Where are you getting your contenders list?  I'm not seeing some of those horses on the site yet -- tomorrow they have the final race lineup and I think the final entries.

22 Oct 2013 3:07 PM

tomorrow they have the final race lineup and I think the final entries.

Rusty Weisner 22 Oct 2013 3:07 PM.

Tomorrow will be a list of the pre-entries.

22 Oct 2013 6:53 PM


Thank you sir for the correction.

Each time I type the word I am alerted that it is incorrect. I just select the option suggested without checking same.

You keep forgetting that I am not very smart as I am a Primary School drop out.

You are not alone in your correction effort. I was recently advised that I transposed a letter in the spelling of the name of a horse.

Wow! I have seen errors that I do not waste time to highlighting. I fully understand the points the contributor are making.

Let me reiterate, your love of hate equates to negative energy.

22 Oct 2013 7:22 PM


It must be exceedingly clear to you by now that I am English


My tenses are always incorrect; my punctuation is usually horrible ND my sentence construction is consistent with one affected by mental retardation.

Despite my numerous deficiencies you continue to read my posts. I appreciate your sympathy.

I continue to try to do better. I wonder what you will do when I have perfected  my writing skills.

Oh! How could I forget, you are married.

22 Oct 2013 7:36 PM

Coldfacts : The post you took that snipped quote from was all about HOTY, I thought it would be clear since I mentioned "HOTY" many times in that short post but I can see your confusion since you snipped the quote to something that would look like I'm generalizing the races when in fact, I was talking about the HOTY contenders.   Again, you failed to mention that RTG was beaten twice by GoD, RTG is the only east coast horse to try him, the rest avoided him.  RTG then went and crushed the top contenders from the east coast in the JCGC, surprisingly very easy I might add.  I'm not saying Orb shouldn't win the HOTY, all I'm saying is he hasn't done much to even win the 3 YO championship.  IMO, this year, the Kentucky Derby is not enough since there are other 3 yr olds that are still competing and doing really well.  As I've mentioned before, last year was different because no one else showed anything worthy after the TC races.

I honestly don't get why you compared Cat Thief with WTC, I picked WTC based on his last 3 races, nothing more, nothing less.  If I have to worry about finding history to help me find the "key to success" then I'm handicapping too much.  I will bet my money on him because I believe that he will continue to improve, if he loses the Classic then I lose my money, simple as that.   I posted before, I'm also putting money on PM even though I don't feel he will win because I've already let him beat me 3 times this year, I didn't bet him in the Belmont, Travers or JCGC.  I won't let it happen in the Classic just in case he does win, if he doesn't, then I lose even more money lol.

Also, you've said all along that you make your bets after watching the post parade.  What happens if you see something good during the post parade with GoD ?  Will you end up putting money on him ?  Or will your stand by your belief that any 6 yrs old doesn't stand a chance ?

Who's your pick btw (I may have missed it) ?

Rusty : I've been using for the past week or so, I don't know of any other sites that lists the contenders.  I clicked on the Contenders link and picked from there.  It's not an official list, that's why I said it's "very" early picks.  Some may not run and they will be removed from that page.  My picked in the Juvenile over a week ago was Sudirman who was listed as a contender but has since been removed.  Who's your top three in the Juvenile ?

22 Oct 2013 10:56 PM
Paula Higgins

I was shocked about Dullahan. What a sad situation.  Colic is such a miserable disease, along with laminitis. ITA with Pedigree Ann and Coldfacts that keeping the horse moving and giving them the right kind of feed goes a long way to preventing it from developing. Coldfacts, I bet you took great care of your horses and Pedigree Ann, likewise.

22 Oct 2013 10:57 PM

To the blog author,

My last comment has not been posted, if it not allow here at least you should give the explanation why itis not posted.


23 Oct 2013 10:17 AM


I see your selection for the Juvenile is Havana. He is an interesting selection.

The last three winners of the BCJ entered the race unbeaten i.e., Uncle Mo, Hansen and Shanghai Bobby

What is the likelihood of another unbeaten horse wining the BCJ?  I hate this admission but it could occur, but highly unlikely.

The three previous unbeaten winners had easy races preceding their BCJ efforts. Havana was fully extended and under immense pressure to sustain his advantage.

Wayne Lukas is the only trainer to win the BCJ in consecutive years. In fact he won the race three consecutive times. Can his student Mr. Pletcher emulate him? It’s possible but high unlikely.

Havana was doing all sorts of things with his tail in the last furlong of the Champagne and was under immense pressure to sustain his advantage. If not for the overland trip by Honor Code, he would have been beaten. It is my opinion that when a young horse is subjected to that type of race it can have negative consequences. How will he react when he sees the starting gate next? He will not be happy.

The field he will meet in the BCJ is loaded with talent. There is a mix of high cruiser, pace stalkers and ferocious closers. None of them have been seen turning their tails in their victories.

Unless Havana is cable as using his tail as a propeller he will be badly beaten.  

23 Oct 2013 10:24 AM
Steve Haskin

Signal, if you demean people you will not be posted, pure and simple.

23 Oct 2013 12:00 PM

“Let me reiterate, your love of hate equates to negative energy”.

Coldfacts, you are at it again. You are playing the victim card. Keep playing the martyr if it makes you feel good.

Again you have made an assumption that I harbor hatred towards others.

Based on that assumption you have reached a conclusion about negative energy, whatever that is.

Of course, you have omitted the possibility that you may be laboring under a persecution complex.

Be assured I hate no one. But I pity many.

It is hard to have any feelings about a pseudonym. He or she might simply be an actor.

23 Oct 2013 12:44 PM

To the blog author,

Sir, you allow some blogger in here

to call somebody a slow learner, that's a demean to other people,

why am I being singled out?

23 Oct 2013 1:31 PM

Biggest Kitten's Joy fan not a Ramsey and I am predicting 2 or more of his progeny winning a Breeder's Cup - He is going to be a leading Breeder's Cup Stallion VERY soon

23 Oct 2013 2:10 PM
Steve Haskin

Signal, I saw yours and didnt see that one. If I had seen it I wouldnt have posted that either. I cant moderate this blog myself, especially at such a busy time, so I wlll just say now to everyone, keep personal insults to yourself or take them somewhere else. Otherwise none of your posts will be allowed.

23 Oct 2013 3:44 PM

Coldfacts : Regarding Havana : OK and I'm looking forward to your next 11 posts about each and every horse I posted as my early pick.   I just want to remind you though, there's less than 10 days before the BC races, I hope you find some time to handicap the races yourself and post your picks.  I want to see how your cold facts play out to picking out the winners.  Or does your cold facts only work on horses that won't win ?

Looking forward to your picks...

23 Oct 2013 4:58 PM


I see your selections for the Juvenile Turf is Diamond Bachelor / Bobby's Kitten. I am not sure if you are aware that Godolphin is sending Champagne Stakes winner Outstrip to contest the race.

The son of Exceed and Excel is a very talented colt. His dam is from the ultra-successful Northern Dancer broodmare line.

With his addition to the field  the locals are in trouble.

23 Oct 2013 7:26 PM


I will certainly post a list of the horses I like to win each race. There is no guarantee they will ultimately be my picks come race day.

Picks are purely based on past performances and other factors. All those selection parameters  can be rendered meaningless during a post parade.

A horse can have excellent credentials to win before it is seen in a post parade. its appearance and demeanor during a post parade can indicate it will not be competitive.  

I rely heavily on the appearance and demeanor of horses during a post parade to make my selections. For those with trained eye a horses demeanor can provide oceans of information not reflected in PPs.

A lot of punters do not know what to look for during a post parade and consequently cannot determine that a five star banker will be a none factor.

23 Oct 2013 7:56 PM

Coldfacts :

" I rely heavily on the appearance and demeanor of horses during a post parade to make my selections. For those with trained eye a horses demeanor can provide oceans of information not reflected in PPs. "

So after all the arguments and cold facts, if GoD looks good in the post parade, you'll play him.  Basically, throwing away all your cold facts about him (or any 6 yr olds), about winning the Classic ?

24 Oct 2013 9:41 AM


"If GOD looks good in the post parade, you'll play him."

Certainly, but no to win. It is likely that all the horses entering the richest race in the country will look good.

If I am unable to determine anything that differentiates any of the entrants, I normally default to other factors.

Under no circumstance will I wager GOD to win. There are just too many hurdles for him to cross.

I know his record in CA and the brilliance of his trainer.

I also know that his trainer has never won race even with better candidates; no horse on third attempt has won; no horse unplaced in the previous year has returned to win in the next and no 6YO has won.

If GOD displays wings in the post parade I would not wager him as a 6YO horse will only grow 6YO wings.

Its my Declaration Of War against GOD.

24 Oct 2013 10:45 AM
Pedigree Ann

Cox Plate at 2000m (about 10f) coming up this Saturday (Friday night for us). Interesting that the Aussies hold their biggest wfa race in the Spring, yet some 3yos still manage to win it. Like putting a Derby candidate into the Santa Anita Hcp. (at wfa) on our schedule.

Only two 3yos entered this year, Long John who just won the G1 Caulfield Guineas two weeks ago, and Shamus Award, who was third in the same race. The Kiwi Dundeel (called It's a Dundeel in Oz), a Derby winner last year, is the one I like - won his last prep, the G1 Underwood.

Lots of Euro imports in the field, too, many of them prepping for the Melbourne Cup, including last year's winner Green Moon. I kind of like Seville, who just won the Metrop earlier in the month, going forward to the Cup, but I need to analyze the weights before then.

24 Oct 2013 11:05 AM

Pedigree Ann : Do you bet the aussie races or you just like to watch them ?  I've been playing the night aussie races and I'm still trying to figure out a way to handicap it.  I'm starting to get familiar with the good jockeys, it's still hard to remember the horses with 3 different tracks.  I don't know how often the horses run and if they go back to the same tracks.  I'm not sure how far the different tracks are from each other.  There's also the different condition of the track (good, dead, slow) and have to remember that the program numbers do not match their post's tough so I only play the .20 cent supers but the payouts are very generous.

24 Oct 2013 1:51 PM

Great article here Steve.  I agree Palace Malice and Will Take Charge seem to be the best of the 3 yr. old crop but I think they are up against it in the Classic facing experienced older males like Flat Out, G.O.D., Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, and my Paynter.  

Personally, from an emotional perspective, I hope Paynter aces the whole Classic.  That was my dream that Paynter would win the Classic and put the icing on the miracle we already witnessed with him.  However, should Paynter come in last in the Classic, he is still a winner to me.  He won life itself.  Biggest winner of all.

Now interesting about the "battle within the battle" for the 3yr. old championship.  I agree that if Palace and WTC run poorly in the Classic the door opens for Oxbow, how can forget little Oxbow?  He ran his heart out during the TC races.  I agree also if they run huge it's one or the other for that title.

We started out with a war theme with General Pletcher and General Baffert this year, so how fitting is it that the Euros are sending one called "Declaration of War."

HOY could be G.O.D., Princess of Sylmar, Royal Delta, Wise Dan.  What if Wise Dan, Princess of Sylmar, and G.O.D. all win their respective BC races, what then for HOY?  

How terrible about Dullahan.  RIP Dullahan, you won't be forgotten.  It's amazing how such big strong animals have so many colic and intestinal related issues.

Going offside here but can we go back to Hansen for a minute.  Ok, so Dr. Hansen wanted him to stand stud in American and sold him to a farm here who in turn sold him to Korea.  But Dr. Hansen was ADAMANT that Hansen remain in America, wouldn't there have been some clause in that deal prohibiting Hansen's sale elsewhere?  And the article said Hansen, the horse, could, and I quote, "EARN HIS WAY BACK HERE" as if he had done something wrong and is being punished.  Money and Greed rule once again, and although it may have been out of Dr. Hansen's hands, it all seems unfair to the horse.  Hansen, the horse, deserves to stand stud here in America.  I think we, as a breeding country should be bringing European bloodlines HERE, not exporting so many of our beloved thoroughbreds.

24 Oct 2013 7:28 PM

JayJay and Pedigree Ann:  nice to know there are other vampires watching the Australian races and trying to figure them out.  Fioravanti in the Cox Plate.

24 Oct 2013 10:16 PM


I will readily admit that I possess numerous weaknesses. Chief amongst them is laziness.

Many times I read some of my posts I observe embarrassing errors. These errors could have been caught if I had spent the requisite time editing the submission.

Editing is tricky as one is not necessarily reading from displays on a monitor but from a memorized version of what was actually typed.

Irrespective, I can do a better job with time spent.

On the subject of spelling, I have become reliant on technology. Again not enough time is spent verifying that words suggested are those intended for use.

This lead to recurring usage of incorrect words which equate to laziness and a lack of attention to details.

25 Oct 2013 9:33 AM

mz : Yes, it's fun to watch the aussie races, it's a challenge to actually bet them but that makes it even more fun when I actually picked the right combination.  I think it's probably one of the places where jockeys, horses and connections run a true horse race.  Just seems to be honest, horses who are the best on the day wins, regardless of the odds.  I play a lot of Schofield, Shinn, Duric and Ms O'Hara and B Avdulla.  P Robl is like my Russell Baze, can never catch him when he's a price play and never bet him on a winning favorite.  I only play the last 3 races of the C track, .20 P3s and I use the dart board handicapping for that lol.

I've learned to identify my horses during the race by trying to remember the silks and helmet they wear, rather than the number.  At first, I was going by the name but sometimes, the announcer talks way too fast for me to understand, by the time I figured out what name he said, the race is over.

25 Oct 2013 12:19 PM
Rusty Weisner


"Its my Declaration Of War against GOD."


25 Oct 2013 12:51 PM

I think the racing commentators from Melbourne, Australia (Jim McGrath (ex-BBC), the late Bill Collins among others) are the best I've heard, worldwide.

Moreover, their Spring Racing Carnival meeting, which is on now in Melbourne is, arguably, the most enjoyable carnival to attend. The Melbourne Cup even has a public holiday in its honor- first Tuesday in November.

Mind you, their riding style could be vastly improved with less use of the whip.  

26 Oct 2013 7:34 AM


Some of the statements I have posted would suggest that was intoxicated when said were conceived. Where I am from, points contained in such statements are regarded as ‘Rum Points’.

The Dough O’Neil trainer Rum Point will make his dirt debut in the BCJ and I love him as longshot. Although he has won a synthetic, he appeared to be struggling in the Futurity on the Keenland water saturated synthetic course but battled on for 4th.

I love his pedigree being by Derby winning sire Malibu Moon out of a mare sired by Quiet American of Bernardini and Saint Liam broodmare sire fame.

What is also noteworthy about his pedigree is the 2nd dam, Amirati. She was sired by Danzig and out of Weekend Surprise of A P Indy and Summer Squall fame.

Call me drunk but he is a worthy exotic inclusion.

26 Oct 2013 10:17 AM
Linda in Texas

Points Offthebench - Big Beautiful Chocolate Colored Talented Racehorse with High Expectations For What Now Won't Be and A Grade 1 Winner - Just cheered him on earlier this month. Condolences to his connections and his trainer Tim Yakteen. Points Offthebench's last win was Tim's first Grade 1 Win.      

Another Great Horse Who Gave It His All on A Racetrack. Rest in Peace.

26 Oct 2013 12:35 PM

JayJay:  never mind the tracks and jockeys, it would be nice if I could get the horses' names right!

Fiorente was my choice in the Cox Plate but he finished 3rd

And I find looking at the entries while waiting for the races really helps to puzzle out the 'Strain accent

26 Oct 2013 2:22 PM

Power Broker is no longer listed in the Dirt Mile but also not listed in other races.  Anyone heard of what's going on with Power Broker ?

26 Oct 2013 3:10 PM

Rusty Weisner 25 Oct 2013 12:51 PM

Voltaire was not much of a macho man ...against God, that dude had no game and perished much for his declaration of war.

The "Macho Man" is looking awesome again for the BC Classic :)

26 Oct 2013 5:56 PM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

How about a 3year old Maiden getting the Cox Plate with an apprentice jock. What an effort. Getting real excited for the Melbourne Cup.

27 Oct 2013 10:45 AM
El Kabong

Jay Jay,

I have been playing Aussie tracks for a few years now. The .20 cent super is a great bet because of the pools and the price allows for deep tickets which are very necessary. I have noticed that the track condition is extremely important and that goes for the Melbourne Cup as well. I  watch it like a hawk on Cup night. Horse for the course condition does apply and can really allow you to narrow the field for a winner. Good luck, hope that helps.

27 Oct 2013 10:53 AM

mz :  I played Schofield all over my ticket and I would've had the exacta if Fiorente held on for 2nd.  I had the 2 horse in one of my .20 supers but that's pretty much it.  It was fun watching him win the race, I really liked his post and he was getting 21 lbs from most of the field.  Schofield reminds me of Talamo, tough on the lead.

Coldfacts : Declaration of War will be going to the Classic coming from a 2 1/2 month layoff, on a surface he hasn't run on all year,  and not to mention the long plane ride...I honestly can't see him being a factor at all.  The only angle you've mentioned about him is his pedigree and that he's a 4 yr old.  If GoD falters, I can see him beating him in the race but actually winning the Classic ?

I actually think Toronado is a better horse than Declaration of War...

28 Oct 2013 1:33 AM

El Kabong : Thanks, I normally don't pay attention to the track condition as I really don't know what it means lol.  Dead, Slow, Good...I'm not sure how they determine the condition at all.  They do have that info in the PPs with regards to how many times the horse ran in each condition which helps but I'd like to understand what does "dead" it like ultra-taxing?  like really deep?  or is that "Slow" ?  I don't know what "Good" condition is on turf... I'm only familiar with firm... yielding... etc.

Honestly though, I can lose all my .20 supers (since I don't really bet much) and still have fun watching the races.  I really enjoy watching the horses run over there.  I feel that a part of me is aussie... not sure which though, the top half or the bottom half.

Has anyone heard anything about Power Broker ?

28 Oct 2013 7:59 PM

Okay, I'll stop about Power Broker, just realized, he was probably never nominated hehe.

28 Oct 2013 11:25 PM
lunar spook


30 Oct 2013 3:12 PM

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