Thanksgiving at the Kentucky Derby

It is November and that means T-Time – Thanksgiving, Turkey….Twin Spires?

Those two inverted drumsticks atop Churchill Downs will be playing a major part in the holiday season this year with the expansion of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Now, those who can’t get an early enough start on Derby fever can make their first Future Wager bets from Nov. 27-30.

The timing could result in instant gratification or instant misery, as the pool closes BEFORE the running of the Nov. 30 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, and, of course, well before the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in December. But it does close a week after the Nov. 23 Delta Downs Jackpot.

So, this is a chance for everyone to test their powers of prognostication and lay their money on the line and predict not only next year’s Derby winner, but the Remsen and Kentucky Jockey Club winner, as well as the winners of the plethora of 2-year-old races at Churchill that same day. If you’re wrong, be prepared to stuff your tickets into your turkey.

With the Derby thermometer starting to rise early, here are some of the top 2-year-olds and Derby prospects in alphabetical order.

ALL IN BLUE -- Looked like a good one when he broke his maiden first out by 6 1/4 lengths, then had a rough trip when fourth in the Sanford Stakes. He was put on the shelf after a poor effort in the Hopeful Stakes, and we'll have to wait and see if the son of More Than Ready makes it to Derby trail. His broodmare sire Buddha was on his way to stardom when he get hurt before the Kentucky Derby. All in Blue was purchased by Starlight Racing for $155,000 at the Saratoga yearling sale.

ALMOST FAMOUS – Trained by Pat Byrne, this son of Unbridled’s Song was impressive breaking his maiden going six furlongs at Churchill Downs Sept. 13, but finished a well-beaten fourth in the listed Street Sense Stakes at a flat mile. However, he bounced back in style going two turns for the first time, romping by six lengths in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer Nov. 9. His strong point from a pedigree perspective is being inbred to Fappiano, and of course Dr. Fager. His dam, Wild Gams, won seven stakes, all at six furlongs, so his stamina can go either way. Wild Gams sold as a broodmare prospect for $1 million. Almost Famous was a huge pinhooking success, selling for only $75,000 as a yearling, but going for $500,000 as a 2-year-old, indicating tremendous physical progress in only a six-month period.

– Winning the grade I Frontrunner Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths while still a maiden, the son of Mineshaft needed to validate that victory with a big effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he did so with a strong-closing fourth, beaten only 3 1/4 lengths. Trained by Doug O’Neill, owned by Paul Reddam, and ridden by Mario Guitierrez, this is the same team that won the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another. Purchased for $125,000 as a 2-year-old, his speed figures, while not fast, are on the upswing and his pedigree suggests he’ll have no problem stretching out to classic distances.

CAIRO PRINCE – Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the son of Pioneerof the Nile is undefeated in both his starts, breaking his maiden at six furlongs by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont before stretching out to a mile and winning the Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:37 2/5, laying just off the pace in fourth and then unleashing a powerful turn of foot turning for home. He did see a five-length length lead dwindle down to 2 1/2 at the wire. He sold for $200,000 at the 2012 Keeneland January mixed sale, then was sold again for $250,000 later that year at Keeneland September. While he has stamina on top, there is a ton of speed in his female family through Holy Bull and Accipiter, and his dam, granddam, and great-granddam were all sprinters.

CLEBURNE – Scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the son of Dixie Union, trained by Dale Romans for Donegal Racing, still has a lot to prove, despite being undefeated in his two starts. He broke his maiden at a mile on the grass at Ellis Park before upsetting the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs at 34-1. Both his victories have come by narrow margins and his times and speed figures have been slow, but for now, he is undefeated on grass and dirt and has shown the will to win. He just needs to show it against better competition. He is inbred top and bottom to Seattle Slew and his third dam, Gay Matelda, was a Meadow Stable-bred who was one of the best 3-year-old fillies of her generation, winning the Alabama and placing in the CCA Oaks, Acorn and numerous other big stakes.

COASTLINE – Trained by Mark Casse for John Oxley, one of racing’s most potent teams the past several years, he has won his last two starts in impressive fashion, including a three-length victory in the one-mile Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs. Prior to that, he broke his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths at Keeneland. Although he was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Almost Famous in his career debut at Churchill, he did hand that colt a 10 3/4-length beating in the Street Sense. He is by Speightstown, a brilliant sprinter who has sired several classy two-turn horses, and his female family is made up of horses bred in Argentina, France, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. His dam, Culinary, won the Arlington-Washington Lassie and several other stakes, and his broodmare sire, El Amante, captured the Flamingo Stakes and placed in the Illinois Derby and Tampa Bay Derby.

FINANCIAL MOGUL – It’s obvious from this colt’s name he’s owned by Klaravich Stables. Trained, of course, by Rick Violette, he’s been in and out in his four starts, alternating big efforts with well-beaten fourth-place finishes. The son of Street Boss broke his maiden by 5 1/2-lengths in the slop at Saratoga before turning in a dull effort in the Futurity Stakes. But he bounced back to run a solid second in the Nashua Stakes, closing from as far back at 11th at odds of 13-1. Ten furlongs is a bit of a question mark, with a pedigree consisting mainly of 1 1/8-mile horses, but he does trace to major stamina influence Tom Rolfe, and broodmare sire Snow Chief won the Preakness impressively. He sold for $185,000 as a weanling and then was a $170,000 RNA at Keeneland September.

HAVANA – There is no doubting this handsome colt’s speed and brilliance, and his sire, Dunkirk, could have been any kind had he stayed sound, but so far, he has not shown any indication he wants to stretch out to 1 1/4 miles. A $575,000 2-year-old purchase by Coolmore, he started his career with a monster score, blazing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02 3/5, earning a 102 Beyer speed figure, and then stretched out beautifully to win the one-mile Champagne Stakes before finishing a strong second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. But by showing such speed and precociousness in his debut and then nearly blowing a 4 1/2-lead at the eighth pole in the Champagne and blowing a two-length lead in the BC Juvenile, one has to wonder how far he wants to go. He can rate off a fast pace, and perhaps if trainer Todd Pletcher can harness some of that speed, he may be able to keep stretching out. His broodmare sire, Kyle’s Our Man, is from a strong Darby Dan Farm family. Kyle’s Our Man’s dam, Lady Donna, is by Graustark, out of a full-sister to Roberto.

HONOR CODE – This could be the one everybody has been waiting for. He’s sure the one everyone’s been talking about, He still has some tests to pass and needs to put himself in better position to win, but he has all the tools – the looks, the pedigree, and a closing kick we haven’t seen from a 2-year-old in quite a while. The son of A.P. Indy, trained by Shug McGaughey, had Saratoga abuzz with his spectacular stretch run from 22 lengths back to win drawing off by 4 1/2 lengths, going seven furlongs in the slop. He returned in the Champagne Stakes, and while not as far back, he still was back in ninth, almost a dozen lengths off the pace. While Havana had a perfect trip, opening up turning for home, he was forced eight-wide at the quarter pole and came steamrolling down the stretch with those long, fluid strides to miss by a neck. He is a strikingly handsome individual and there’s just no telling how good he really is. The potential is limitless. But he does need to stay in closer touch with the leaders, and he should be able to once he goes two turns.

IN TROUBLE – The undefeated winner of the Futurity Stakes at Belmont hasn’t been farther than six furlongs, but is bred to run all day. Trained by Tony Dutrow, he is by Tiznow’s son Tiz Wonderful and his tail-female family is loaded with stamina through Bicker, Round Table, Unconscious, and his inbreeding to Tom Rolfe.  Twice he has successfully raided New York track from his base at Fair Hill, winning a maiden race at Saratoga in a snappy 1:03 4/5 and then the Futurity by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:09 3/5. Put through the sales ring three times, he was a $14,000 RNA as a weanling, sold for $15,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky, and then sold again for $120,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sale.

KOBE’S BACK – The son of Flatter was the 4-5 favorite in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes after breaking his maiden by 3 1/4 lengths with a powerful stretch run in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial at Hollywood Park last spring in his career debut. But he ran into a monster named Shared Belief and had to settle for second, beaten 7 3/4 lengths. Although his broodmare sire is the speed-oriented Well Decorated, his tail-female family has plenty of stamina through Runaway Groom and Temperence Hill. Trained by John Sadler, he was a profitable pinhook, selling as a yearling for $60,000 and coming back in the OBS March 2-year-old sale and going for $480,000.

MEXIKOMA – The sixth-place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile could be a real sleeper. After flopping on the grass in his career debut, he demolished a field of maidens by nearly 15 lengths, going a mile at Delaware Park. After that race he was purchased by Team Valor and turned over to Rick Mettee. The son of Birdstone made an excellent impression in the mornings at Santa Anita, but was way too far back in the Juvenile, racing in 13th, some 15 lengths off the pace. He closed determinedly, making up 11 lengths from the five-sixteenths pole to the wire to be beaten only 3 3/4 lengths for the win and a half-length for fourth. He has plenty of stamina top and bottom, and traces to the top-class mare Sabin, a grade I winner on grass and earner of almost $1.1 million.

NEW YEAR’S DAY – All the talk was about Tap It Rich, but Bob Baffert had another colt in his barn that he also loved and felt could be a major Kentucky Derby contender. Despite having only two starts and never running on dirt, this rugged son of Street Cry won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a strong inside stretch run after weaving his way through horses like a seasoned pro. In his maiden victory at Del Mar, he defeated Bond Holder, who would go on to win the grade I FrontRunner Stakes. Although he hadn’t run in two months, New Year’s Day was finely tuned for a huge effort at Santa Anita and delivered at odds of 10-1. He has a good blend of speed and stamina and has the coveted RF (Rasmussen Factor), being inbred to Natalma through Northern Dancer and Raise the Standard. He also is inbred to the classy Hail to Reason through Mr. Leader and Halo. Gary West purchased him for $425,000 at Keeneland September.

NOBLE MOON – This stoutly bred son of Malibu Moon, trained by Leah Gyarmati, began his career by winning a six-furlong maiden race at Belmont wire-to-wire by three-quarters of a length in 1:10 1/5. Stretching out to a mile in the Nashua Stakes, he was bumped at the start and dropped back to last in the 12-horse field. He trailed the field until the three-eighths pole when he exploded, unleashing a dramatic move around horses that carried him from 12th to 3rd in about three-sixteenths of a mile. He was forced to circle horses six wide, and while he wasn’t able to sustain such a powerhouse move, he still ran on well to finish third at odds of 16-1. He has sold twice for $200,000, as a weanling and yearling. His female family is inundated with stamina, especially his tail-female line with names such as Stop the Music, Stage Door Johnny, Hail to Reason, and Tom Fool. Watch out for this one.

SHARED BELIEF – This son of Candy Ride could be any kind, and judging from his first two career starts, that could mean something very special. In his career debut for Jerry Hollendorfer, he blew his opponents away with a seven-length romp in 1:09 2/5 at Golden Gate. Then, in the seven-furlong Hollywood Prevue, he burst clear of his field so fast turning for home no one knew what hit them. He continued to draw off, winning under a hand ride by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:22 flat. It is interesting to note that one of his owners is sports host Jim Rome, who had just sold his pride and joy Mizdirection at Keeneland. That’s what you call passing on the torch. His breeding is fascinating in that he is a complete outcross and his maternal great-grandsire, Grenfall, is a half-brother (by Graustark-Primonetta) to Florida Derby winner Prince Thou Art. Grenfall came from the same Darby Dan crop as His Majesty and both were considered the two most special colts on the farm that year. Grenfall went on to win the 10-furlong Gallinule Stakes in Ireland and sired the blazingly fast Grenzen, who ran what was believed to be the fastest seven-furlongs ever by a filly at the time.

SMART COVER – The son of Any Given Saturday completed a Dale Romans-Donegal Racing exacta when finishing second to stablemate Cleburne in the Iroquois Stakes. Like Cleburne, he had broken his maiden on the grass at Ellis Park. Plenty of stamina here, with his broodmare sire Smart Strike and tracing to Crème dela Crème. The question, like with Cleburne, is how fast is he? His times have been on the slow side and he was 26-1 in the Iroquois, but he can motor late, charging down the stretch from ninth, a dozen lengths back, and still 7 1/2 lengths back at the eighth pole, to be beaten a neck. There certainly is plenty of room for improvement. So far, he looks like quite a bargain, having sold for only $35,000 as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton July.

– Who can figure this son of Tiznow out? He was brilliant breaking his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths at Saratoga, was even more brilliant romping by almost 10 lengths in the slop in the Hopeful Stakes, but then was dragged back off the pace in the Champagne and never ran a lick, finishing a well-beaten 10th. Sent off at 7-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he had to break from the disadvantageous 13-post, was forced five-wide into the first turn and then charged to the lead down the backstretch through sizzling fractions of :45 1/5 and 1:09 3/5. When Havana ran right by him at the head of the stretch, he looked like he was going to retreat to the back of the pack. But he battled back gamely and came on again. He never quit and was running strongly at the wire, finishing third, beaten only two lengths. That effort, along with his strong pedigree, defined him as a serious Derby horse for Wayne Lukas, who bought him at Keeneland September for $200,000.

TAP IT RICH – Following his scintillating maiden score at Santa Anita, in which he came from 10 lengths back to win by 4 1/4 lengths, he became the hype horse for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, going off as the 3-1 second choice. But you could tell watching him train he still had a lot of learning to do and was one of those young, raw athletes who was doing everything on talent alone. He ran well enough to finish fifth, beaten only 3 1/4 lengths, but didn’t show that devastating kick he showed against maidens. The son of Tapit was purchased by Fog City Stable for $510,000 at Keeneland September. It will be interesting to see what the finished, or near-finished, product looks like next year.

WIRED BRYAN -- This New York-bred son of Stormy Atlantic broke his maiden by 7 1/4 lengths in open company in his career debut, zipping five furlongs in :56 3/5. He then romped by 5 1/4 lengths in the Sanford Stakes before getting beat a nose in the Saratoga Special. He didn't appear to handle the slop when fifth in the Hopeful, but came back in a pair of state-bred stakes and won them easily. He has a ton of early speed that he has to harness if he's going to be a Derby horse. He has sufficient stamina to go two turns, but he has yet to run beyond seven furlongs.

Two others who have had their moments, but need to improve off their last starts are Ride on Curlin, third in the Champagne, but a non-threatening third in the Street Sense at even-money, and Hopeful runner-up Casiguapo, who was a well-beaten fourth in the Champagne.

So, now you can have your turkey, watch some football, and bet the Kentucky Derby. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.


Leave a Comment:


Thanks Steve-super helpful. and I will now always think of drumsticks when I look at the twin spires !

11 Nov 2013 5:03 PM

Great story Steve. I was at Santa Anita and I figured Strong Mandate was going to be way back at the top of the stretch. He really battled back. I wonder how much further he ran, give his post position and the fact he was hung wide? Probably more than 2 lengths, me thinks.

11 Nov 2013 5:25 PM
Johnny D

Tap It Rich, Honor Code, Strong Mandate (if it's wet).  

I can't wait to see how Tap It Rich matures.  

11 Nov 2013 5:33 PM

I can't wait until Derby fever gets going and you start publishing your Derby Dozen, Mr. Haskin. So far, I like New Year's Day and Shared Belief. It will be interesting to see how these horses develop as 3 yr. olds and what others will develop into possible Derby horses as the weeks go by.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

11 Nov 2013 5:39 PM

If you want to Tap It Rich in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on Thanksgiving, then it is a Shared Belief that you better have a Smart Cover and an Honor Code if you are to be the Financial Mogul and big Bond Holder.  If you win it that day you can be Almost Famous, almost as famous as the Cairo Prince.  If not, you'll be In Trouble and better run for the Coastline or hightail it to Havana manana.  If you don't win on Thanksgiving there is always New Year's Day.

11 Nov 2013 5:59 PM
Tiz Herself

Oaks - am eager to see if Samantha Nicole emulates big sis...

Then there is Divided Attention (A.P. Indy - Contrive, by Storm Cat) half sis to Folklore and second in the G3 Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct.

Sprouts - Square Eddie - Ann Summers Gold, by Yankee Victor.

11 Nov 2013 6:20 PM
Tiz Herself

Would love to see Outstrip stay in North America - loved his BC Juvenile Turf but he does have dirt pedigree too.. dam G1 dirt runner Asi Siempre

11 Nov 2013 6:22 PM
Tiz Herself

Corfu, All In Blue, Wired Bryan are also nice two year olds too...

11 Nov 2013 6:30 PM

I'm picking Honor Code as "My" horse to watch.  Being a HUGE AP Indy fan, I'm hoping this is the "ONE" for Indy.  I know this is the last year for AP Indy to get his Derby horse.  I'm not saying Honor Code is going to win or even make it to the Derby, just saying this is MY fav. and I will be following him for sure.

11 Nov 2013 6:33 PM

I'm picking Honor Code as "My" horse to watch.  Being a HUGE AP Indy fan, I'm hoping this is the "ONE" for Indy.  I know this is the last year for AP Indy to get his Derby horse.  I'm not saying Honor Code is going to win or even make it to the Derby, just saying this is MY fav. and I will be following him for sure.

11 Nov 2013 6:33 PM

Thanks Steve, for the tips on the futures.  Don't know about the turkey, though. Share a little Tofurky with me, will you?

11 Nov 2013 6:40 PM
Dr Max

Is this for real? Who will do it? Churchill? TwinSpires? How many horses? Odds?

11 Nov 2013 6:52 PM
Junie Wise

Hi Steve,

The trouble with this "BET" is that the Horse I like will be put in The "Field" or "All Others"....The Best Future Derby Bet place to go is Las Vegas in January.....There you can "Shop" for the Best Odds!!!!

11 Nov 2013 6:58 PM
Steve Haskin

The best odds this early are always in Vegas. But by having it at Thanksgiving, oyu might be able to catch everyone napping.

Dr. Max, this is the same Future Wager Churchill Downs had for so many years. Same rules, nothing has changed. They just added an earlier pool to the three next year.

11 Nov 2013 7:04 PM

As always, well done.  I personally would like to see Honor Code do well given his pedigree.  He is a half to Noble Tune, who I really liked until he went on the shelf.  Time will tell although this is probably a crop where we won't have seen or at least know of the derby winner until later.

I remember Grenzen.  She was during the late 70's, her main rival was B. Thoughtful, both very classy fillies.  

As a side note, for those who ever wondered about Jeff Lukas.  There is an excellent piece on Sports Illustrated complete with video commentary and photos from what seems like a bygone era.

I won't give anything away regarding his fate but it is on form  

Steve Byk's radio program mentioned it this morning, speculating others might not be aware since it ran while the breeders cup was receiving a great deal of media attention.

Hopefully we will see something regarding the breeders cup on real sports or 60 minutes.  There were so many good story lines this year.

11 Nov 2013 7:07 PM

Thanks for this great article .  Health and safe racing for these incredible 2 year olds.  I feel so lucky to have seen some of them at the Breeder's Cup and Hollywood Park and to have said "hi" to you!  Happy Thanksgiving to all

11 Nov 2013 7:24 PM
Paula Higgins

I like Honor Code, New Year's Day and Havana. My early picks. This was a really interesting read Steve. What I love about your writing is that even for people like me who are among the more clueless of your readers, you write it so we get it too. I have high hopes for the next crop and I am really hoping that we will see Mucho Macho Man etc. back next year.

11 Nov 2013 8:27 PM
Rachel best 3 yr old filly ever

Steve, you are a master at giving us race fans information. I respect your knowledge and your geinus on how to relay that information. I look forward to your derby dozen. I cannot wait to see Honor Code. He is my favorite along with the talented Shared Belief. I want to see Shared Belief race on dirt though.

11 Nov 2013 10:38 PM


11 Nov 2013 10:40 PM
Tiz Herself

I also like Meadowood, New Year's Day, Ride on Curlin, and Casiguapo...

11 Nov 2013 10:49 PM
Tiz Herself

And yes Honor Code

11 Nov 2013 11:01 PM
md dale

Great to be talking derby again ,I got my futures in the week the pools opened at the wynn, honor code strong mandate and almost famous, the next few months are the best of the year, honor code might be the best we have seenin a long time, I sure hope shug can pull off a repeat,is it just me or does this horse remind anyone else of zenyatta?

11 Nov 2013 11:10 PM

If you are going to do things early, why not New Year's Day on Thanksgiving? This horse reminds me of Street Sense in more ways than just his sire. Wouldn't be surprised at all, seeing him win the roses too. He is one great looking colt, can't help but excited about this guy.

11 Nov 2013 11:22 PM
Tiz Herself

predict- New Year's Day reminds me a lot of Street Sense, too... not only do they share the same sire, but both are from Dixieland Band line mares - Street Sense via Bedazzle (by Dixieland Band) and New Year's Day by Justwhistledixie (a daughter of Dixie Union - son of Dixieland Band)

New Year's Day coming through on the rail reminded me a lot of Street Sense, too.

Cannot wait to see more from him!

12 Nov 2013 12:22 AM

Steve, another A. P. Indy colt who may shine next year is  Commissioner and the Pulpit colt, Mr Speaker, and the Tapit colt, Coup de Grace, also look promising.

Nonetheless, Honor Code and Tap it Rich appear to be outstanding.

12 Nov 2013 6:01 AM
lunar spook

The one im keeping an eye on his CLEBURNE ,like his breeding an what ive seen on the track , but you can bet their will b plenty more to add to this list come spring !

12 Nov 2013 7:46 AM

Thank you for another good article. I would love to see a son of A.P. Indy win the Derby!

12 Nov 2013 9:19 AM
Pedigree Ann

Once upon a time, the Kentucky Derby nominations had to be in early December. No late nominations, ever. So a Gotham and Wood Memorial winner like Good Behaving (in 1971) couldn't run in the Derby because he wasn't nominated in December.

December nominations meant that the Winter Books at Caliente and Las Vegas only took money on nominated horses.

All this changed in the 1980s when the Triple Crown races got together and created a combined nominating procedure, including supplementals, which the other two had had before. With nominations now due in February, the Winter Book is a more of a speculation - horses who won't be nominated will take money.

12 Nov 2013 9:56 AM
lunar spook

The Remsen should be a good barameter if both cairo prince and honor code run !!!

12 Nov 2013 10:09 AM
steve from st louis

Nothing stirs the imagination like a well-bred 2-year-old or for Steve, 19 of them. I'm going to save this list because if the past is any indication, the Derby winner hasn't been mentioned. However, I get excited when you mention Darby Dan and His Majesty and Primonetta, I think of Lou Rondinello and what a great job he did for John Galbreath. Those were the days! By the way, today is "Amen Corner" or 11-12-13.

12 Nov 2013 10:13 AM

Still to early for me Mr.Haskin..

Those were some nice pics of ORB..


12 Nov 2013 11:13 AM
steve from st louis

hey spook, the last time I think the Remsen was telling was when Thunder Gulch won in 1994. since then, pffffffffft.

12 Nov 2013 12:14 PM

Steve, One more horse and it could  could have been your 1st top 20. I'm pulling for Kristen to get AP Indy his first Derby Winner.

12 Nov 2013 1:07 PM

What? No Bernardini sons?  Could not help noticing there are none this year.  Is it interesting to anyone else that of the 3 noteworthy sons of his, To Honor and Serve, Stay Thirsty, and Alpha that they all throw clunker races and then suddenly show up in a Grade 1 and win.  

Interesting theory is possibly his best are in Europe yet he does not indicate he is much of a grass sire.  Maybe there is still hope for him.

New Year's Day does not look like Street Sense though, more like Street Boss.  He is one tough colt running through all that kickback.  As long as he is good enough, does not look like seasoning will be a problem.

Looks like the voters are going to have a tough time picking the 2 year old colt championship.  If it ends up like this, none will have won more than 1 major stakes race.

12 Nov 2013 1:21 PM

steve from st louis,

Of course we don't know if the winner has been mentioned yet, but Steve Haskin had this in mind , no doubt, when he only gave us 19, there is still room for one more in the gate come the first Saturday in May.

But, as Tiz Herself pointed out about the breeding of New Year's Day, we may be looking at another winner of the roses based on Street Senses accomplishments, and may I be sold bold as to throw out the Triple Crown possibilty for this colt too, as he has Union Rags' sire as his dam sire, which means he could get the Belmont distance! Not only does he have the great trainer Bob Baffert and one of my favorite jockeys, Martin Garcia, but when I look at this colt he has that air about him of being something special. Now is probably a good time to get on the band wagon, and I'm not just whistlin' Dixie.

12 Nov 2013 2:48 PM
steve from st louis

Predict, I wasn't shorting Steve's handicapping--he is after all one of the very few of us here who is actually paid to go to the track. My point is with the way trainers protect their young horses, in past years it was a given all the way back to Apollo in 1881, that the Derby winner ran as a juvenile. I'm just saying it's likely the 2014 Derby winner is right now probably eligible for non-winners of two.

12 Nov 2013 4:12 PM
lunar spook

STEVE FROM ST. LOUIS- I was not aware of that fact , I can see im gonna have to really do my homework to keep up with u ! you are a stat machine !!! lol !!! I do like it when promising 2 yr olds go head to head though ! should be a good race ! im sentimental on CLEBURNE , had him in an exacta when he was 34-1 !!!

12 Nov 2013 5:10 PM
lunar spook


12 Nov 2013 5:21 PM

Shared Belief looked pretty special winning his last race, and his breeding suggests he'll go longer. A lot of things can happen between now and May, but Jerry Hollendorfer deserves another chance at the Kentucky Derby.

12 Nov 2013 5:46 PM


I would love to see Hollendorfer get another chance at the Kentucky Derby; after last years Hear the Ghost fell off the trail due to an injury. That horse was something special, beating both Flashback and Goldencents. Its true its a long road to the Derby and alot of things can and do happen.

anyone know what has happened to Hear the Ghost?

12 Nov 2013 11:30 PM


Listed below are this year’s 14 pre-entrants to the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot in order of career earnings.

Horse (state bred in) Trainer Owner _ Earnings

Best Plan Yet (Florida) Stanley I. Gold Jacks or Better Farms, Inc. $300,960

Rise Up (Kentucky) Thomas M. Amoss Paul & Andrena Van Doren $210,633

Yes I’m Lucky (Kentucky) Edward Plesa, Jr. Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa $173,000

Casiguapo (Kentucky) Mario Morales All American Horses $107,250

Coastline (Kentucky) Mark E. Casse John C. Oxley $80,779

Mighty Brown (Kentucky) Tim Ice Tri-Star Racing, LLC and

The Farm on 4 LLC $76,590

Rum Point (Kentucky) Doug F. O’Neill Reddam Racing LLC $71,490

Big Bazinga (Kentucky) Katerina Vassilieva Derby Dreamers Racing Stable $61,347

Whyruawesome (Kentucky) Anne P. Smith Windy Hill Farm

(Peter Scott Reiman & R. P. Reiman) $54,315

Intense Holiday (Kentucky) Todd A. Pletcher Starlight Stables, Paul H. Saylor

and Barbara Kurtin $51,900

Final Step (Florida) Peter Miller Richard C. Pell $43,800

Rankhasprivileges (Kentucky) Kenneth G. McPeek Magdalena Racing (Susan McPeek) $33,600

Roman Unbridled (Kentucky) Chad Cook Michelle Y. Brown $31,225

Flat Gone (Kentucky) J. Keith Desormeaux Don’t Tell My Wife Stable

(Robert J. Slack) $31,000

Final entries and post positions will be drawn for this year’s $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot on Tuesday, November 19.

13 Nov 2013 1:33 AM
lunar spook

STEVE FROM ST. LOUIS- My bad johannesberg won the juvenile not the Remsen !

13 Nov 2013 8:18 AM
Pedigree Ann

Lunar spook - the Remsen has rarely been a good barometer for the Derby in the last 30 years. Two winners back-to-back, Thunder Gulch and Go for Gin, won both. Blue Grass Cat won and was distantly second in the Derby. Mucho Macho Man was second and third in the Derby. Empire Maker was 3rd and 2nd in the Derby. That's about it. Actually, MOST 2yo stakes races aren't good indicators for the Kentucky Derby anymore, since many breeders have been breeding specialist early maturing 2yos in response to the sales market for a couple decades.

Yes, Lunar Spook, several recent Remsen winners have had successful careers, but we are speaking about the Kentucky Derby here.

13 Nov 2013 11:47 AM
Pedigree Ann

Livewire -

Bernardini has a wicked-good turf miler in Australia this season. Four-yo Boban won the Epsom Hcp/Emirates double, which hadn't been won for a couple of decades - he is 5 for 5 this racing year (which started on 1 August).

He also has G1-winning top 2yo filly (2012/2013 season) Ruud Awakening(AUS) racing in NZ. And back in 2011, Gamilati won a G2 in Britain at 2, then won UAE 1000 Guineas on Tapeta. Not to mention Biondetti, who won the G1 Gran Criterium at 2 in Italy.

Plenty of turfers in Bernardini's catalogue of best winners.

13 Nov 2013 12:23 PM
lunar spook

PEDIGREE ANN- thanks for the info , im still learning , I was interested in the Remsen because a couple of horses who may run in it look like great prospects , but yes u r correct come spring some prospects will arise we haven't even discussed yet !

13 Nov 2013 4:08 PM


I haven't heard anything about Hear the Ghost, who was definitely a live prospect before getting injured. Back in 1988, Jerry Hollendorfer also had a live horse with Event of the Year, who was injured just a week or two before the Kentucky Derby. Then, in the year 2000, his Globalize was knocked out of the race after getting kicked by a pony at Churchill Downs. Maybe the racing gods will have something better in store for Hollendorfer next year. . .

13 Nov 2013 4:41 PM
lunar spook

PEDIGREE ANN- I did some research and u were right about 2 yr old races pertaining to the derby , if my figures are correct 6 HORSES in the seventies named 2 yr old horse of the year went on to capture the derby , RIVA RIDGE, SECRETARIAT , FOOLISH PLEASURE, SEATTLE SLEW , AFFIRMED , & SPECTACULAR BID , SINCE THEN ONLY STREET SENSE IN 2006 DID IT , and to be perfectly honest many of the two yr old champs did not do much at all as 3 yr olds  , is this coincidence are in the way breeding has changed ?

14 Nov 2013 9:01 AM
Pedigree Ann

Yes, Lunar Spook; since the 1980s when some started selling investment in a TB like a stock market investment, the fast return has become the place to make money, just as it has on Wall Street. Commercial breeders have to follow the market, or they go out of business.

So they seize on the stallions who get early maturing stock for the yearling sales who look fully grown rather than gangling and unfinished like natural yearlings. Anabolic steroids to accelerate that 'mature' look became rampant and have only recently been banned for young sales horses.

Those early maturing types are ahead of their peers as 2yos so make a splash for their 'fast return' owners, but by the time they are 3yos, they begin to lose their advantage.

I started 'going racing' in 1970, just in time for a wonderful decade of racing, still based on the old fashioned breeding style, where classic winners were preferred over hot 2yos, yearling prices rarely exceeded what a good racehorse could earn on the track, and even the best stallions had fewer than 50 (usually more like 30-40) foals a year. I didn't know then how lucky I was.

14 Nov 2013 12:04 PM
lunar spook

PEDIGREE ANN- I too fell in love with the sport in the seventies which in my opinion produced the best group of racehorses ever , do you think with the steroid ban we will years down the road see the 2 year olds give us a better indication of their derby potential ?

14 Nov 2013 12:49 PM
El Kabong

Anddddd They're OFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here we go again gang. Get out your palantir and gaze in to it if you dare. Not I. The road to Mordor is full of misgivings.

Oh Say, Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Time to retreat into our Hobbit Holes and relish the family, and friends, good food and the hearth. I can't wait to get through the damp cold days ahead that lead up to Steve's first Derby Dozen.

Stay Warm.

14 Nov 2013 1:46 PM

Pedigree Ann

Your argument for Bernardini as a turf sire proved the point quite well.  His best are likely in Europe and he has not shown much as a turf sire.  4 horses in now 4 years of racing with only one (2 years ago) winning in England, Ireland, or France.  Boban and Ruud Awakening might be something racing in Australia and New Zealand.  Their racing class in comparison may well prove comparative.  Italy and UAE results have really not been anything to stand on historically. His best have been highly inconsistent.  I doubt breeders are exactly beating his door down as far as a turf sire.  He is ranked far down the list by any measure general, turf, or international.  I still hope he turns it around and does well.  He was a tremendous racehorse as was his sire.  His dam was also very good.

I too came into racing in the early 70s, due in large part to Secretariat.  My first issue of The Blood Horse covered the Youthful Stakes of 1977. The top two finishers, Affirmed and Alydar.  What a way to begin following horse racing through the periodicals, since TV coverage was spotty at best.  I truly believe the 70s gave us our last truly great entire male horse in Spectacular Bid.  There are other ways to measure greatness but he was the last dominant male at all ages raced.  Since then we have had several truly great fillies and mares but no males.  We have had great geldings (John Henry, etc) and horses such as Cigar as a 4 year old who were dominant for short periods but nothing of any meaningful duration.

I remember when the yearling prices first broke the million with Secretariat's Canadian Bound (half to Dahlia) in 1975 culminating with Seattle Dancer in 1985 (13.1 million, half to Seattle Slew and Lomond).  The select yearling sales no longer exist, which began the popularized hot house horse.

Commercial breeders success still is predicated by racetrack success to some extent.  If a sire is not producing noone will be buying that sires offspring.  "Balloon" yearlings have always been a part of the auction sales.  I say "balloon" because as soon as real conditioning starts they deflate.  

Precocious 2 year olds have also always been around. Its just that there usually was a 2 old around late summer or early fall to expose the precocious 2 year old as simply that. It seems like the thoroughbred that is just as good at 3 as at 2 became a suddenly rare thing after the 70s.  Only Street Sense and Lookin at Lucky that I can think of.  Alysheba was just beginning even though he competed in the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

A contributory factor to all of this has been the change in Grade 1 race distances, and Grade 1 opportunities.  Prior to the 1980s Grade 1s shorter than 9 furlongs for 3 year olds and up were very few, mostly 2 year old races.  It seems the triple crown races, spring triple crown preps, and some of the old handicap races are really the only races that still exist at the distances of the 70s and before.  Even the handicap races are not the "handicap" weight assignments of a long time ago.

14 Nov 2013 3:06 PM
Pedigree Ann

Livewire - Don't get me started on graded races! The original intentions of the creators of the grading system have been perverted to morph prep races into G1 races, to the detriment of the races for which they are preps.

And many major tracks have lessened the distances of races, especially longer races, without those races losing their grades, which by a strict reading of the rules, they should have. In the first list of open G1 races for older horses, there was one race at 8f (the Met Mile), one at 8.5f (the Californian), and two at 9f (the San Antonio and the defunct Governor's S=Governor Nicholls at Belmont, a Woodward prep on Labor Day). The other 11 were all at 10f or more. All but the Big Three California handicaps have been shortened, although the Brooklyn was recently re-lengthened to make it a BC Marathon prep. (Since Aqueduct lost its July meeting in the 1975 shake-up, the Brooklyn had had no real identity anymore, anyway).

At the same time that the powers-that-be have been shortening races for 3yos and older horses, they have been lengthening them for 2yos. One never saw 2-turn races for 2yos before mid-October in those days and even then and after, stakes races were often not 2-turns - the Remsen, Breeders' Futurity, and Kentucky Jockey Club S were all 1-turn races (8f for the first and third, end of the chute 7f+ for the second). Even the Pimlico-Laurel Futurity (Pimlico at 8.5f to 1966, Laurel at same post-1966) was one-turn at Laurel because of their 8f chute and second finish-line allowed it.

I object to early 2-turn races for 2yos because of the short run-ups on most tracks to the first turn. The horses are near top speed, trying to get balanced, jostling for position, stressing those immature knee and ankle joints. (Ironically, bullrings tend to have longer run-ups to the turns for 8.5f races, horses have settled into stride, so are probably less stressful to their joints. The same applies to turf races that start far up the stretch on infield turf courses.) 8f and 8.5f races on the main track in August for 2yos are an abomination to me.

That's a lot off of my chest.

15 Nov 2013 11:15 AM
shawn st mark

I'll be rooting for the A. P. Indy's. Commissioner and Honor Code look like they have enormous potential.

16 Nov 2013 11:55 AM
Paula Higgins

Interesting conversation livewire and Pedigree Ann. ITA with the much of what you are saying. People like John Shirreffs and Jerry and Ann Moss got that with Zenyatta. We need more of that. The 2 year olds are being asked to do too much too soon in many cases.

16 Nov 2013 3:36 PM
Tiz Herself

Some other two year olds that could be something for next year:

Green Mask - a maiden winner at Keeneland, son of Mizzen Mast - Bonsai Beauty by Forestry

Tiger Bourbon - a son of Big Brown - Tigresa, by Tejano... looked good winning a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Churchill Downs. Tiger Bourbon was also second in the Laurel Futurity.

Sheikinator - Curlin - I'm a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union - maiden winner 11/16/13 at Churchill

Schoolofhardrocks - Rock Hard Ten - Miss Chapin, by Royal Academy, maiden winner at Del Mar on 8/23/13

Aslan - A.P. Indy - Satin Kiss, by Seeking the Gold. Darley owned. Love the A.P. Indy over Seeking the Gold or Mr. Prospector mares. Has not broke maiden yet but in due time.

Rope - Henny Hughes - Confederate Bond, by Broken Vow

Ghostly Wonder - Corinthian - Another Wonder, by Wild Again. Maiden winner at Arlington Park 6/2/13

Mr Speaker  -  Pulpit - Salute, by Unbridled - Phipps Stable homebred

Commissioner -  A.P. Indy - Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold

17 Nov 2013 9:57 PM
Tiz Herself

Anyone remember the filly Panty Raid? She has a two year old Darley homebred A.P. Indy colt named Theros who was a maiden winner 10/10/13 race 7.

Innovation Economy - Dynaformer x Somerset West, by Gone West

Wicked Strong -  Hard Spun - Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic.

Pablo Del Monte -  Giant's Causeway - One Hot Wish (she set a NTR at Keeneland for 4 1/2 furlongs as a two year old going 48.87), by Bring the Heat

Rankhasprivileges -  Einstein - Scrape, by Mr. Prospector

Hirschy -  Papa Clem - Flashy, by Wild Again - won Cavonnier Juvenile, etc.

Sioux  -  Awesome Again - Andraste, by Pulpit

Coup de Grace - Tapit - Home Court, by Storm Cat

Ziggy The Great - Langfuhr - Michele The Great, by Distorted Humor.

Swell  -  Langfuhr - Beijio, by Dr. Blum (Dr. Blum is sired by Dr. Fager) Beijio's damsire is Kris S

Misconnect -  Unbridled's Song - Summer Raven, by Summer Squall - owned by Repole Stable

Request -  Dynaformer - Shades of Grace, by Seeking the Gold

Matterhorn -  Tapit - Winter Garden, by Roy

Beach Hut -  First Defence - Chanceisalady, by American Chance

Divine View - Divine Park - Window Woman, by Skip Away

Spot - Pulpit - Quiet Summernight, by Quiet American

Legend Forever -  Street Boss - Footsie, by Touch Gold

Laddie Boy - War Pass - Lil's Lassie, by Lil's Lad, broke maiden in 2nd try by 13 lengths

Wine Tipster - Hard Spun - Robbie's Gal, by Straight Man

Downey Gap -  Bernardini - Pico Teneriffe, by Red Ransom

17 Nov 2013 10:44 PM
Old Timer


I love the (assumed) tongue in cheek comment on the Delta Downs Jackpot!

While it is way too early for me, looking at your summaries, I always like the colts in Fappiano line. They have done well at the Derby.  That name, Almost Famous, even has the sound of a winner. Could it be?

18 Nov 2013 1:18 PM
lunar spook

TIZ HERSELF- Interesting list of 2 yr olds I am keeping an eye on SCHOOL OF HARD ROCKS ,if you have never looked up a close up still shot of his sire ROCK HARD TEN do it ! Ive been watching racing for over 40 yrs now and ROCK HARD TEN is the most toned up physical specimen of a horse I have ever seen , I guess time will tell what kind of sire he will become !

18 Nov 2013 1:22 PM

Patent is another A. P. Indy with promise and Harpoon, by Tapit, was a good second to the other Tapit, Matterhorn. Patent won on grass last Saturday.

18 Nov 2013 3:35 PM

Predict,  Hear The Ghost just ran second in an allowance/optional claiming at Hollywood on 11-7.  You can look him up on Equibase or create a "virtual stable" there to follow him and whomever else you like.

19 Nov 2013 8:14 AM
Tiz Herself

lunar spook - i was there to see Rock Hard Ten in person in 2010 during my first trip to Kentucky. Placed my hand on that monster's shoulder - I will not see his equal. He was one gorgeous speciman for sure. I hope he does get a Derby winner and the choice to sell him overseas is reconsidered.

19 Nov 2013 7:32 PM
lunar spook

TIZ HERSELF- That's cool u got to see him that close up, the closest horse I ever got to in that size range was WILL TAKE CHARGE now that is another stud for sure , he is huge! I bet him in the classic , and one more stride and he had the macho man beat !

20 Nov 2013 8:58 AM
Tiz Herself

He was something - I even have a hat with his name on it (on the side it says Size Does Matter lol.... I thought it was funny) I'm 5 foot 10 or so and the top of my head still didn't reach RHT's withers... it always amazes me how a horse like that can fit in the teeny starting gates. I can only imagine what it's like to see Zenyatta up close as I believe she is slightly taller than RHT yet...

Another horse who was impressive when I saw him in person was Bellamy Road whom I believe was also close to the 17 hand or is there... he was something, too.

And then there was Tiznow whom I believe is around the 17 h mark too....

they were all amazing.

20 Nov 2013 9:26 PM

Ami's Holiday has the pedigree and running style of e serious Derby contender. In fact, he looks more impressive than most comprising the above list

21 Nov 2013 6:42 AM

It is interesting that the two Wesley ward colts Green Mask and Pablo Del Monte did not make the above cut. While I understand their respective stakes debuts are pending, their MSW victories were sensational.

Green Mask – (Mizzen Mast by Bonsia Beauty – Forestry)

This colt is by an unraced mare won his MSW debut in 1:09 plus without leaving first gear. When an unraced mare produces a colt with this type of ability, chances are it could be either another Curlin or Invasor.

Pablo Del Monte – ( Giants Causeway by One Hot Dish – Bring The Heat)

This colt is by a lightly raced mare won his debut and subsequently allowance race in excellent times without leaving first gear. When Giants Causeway sired a talented chestnut with this type of ability, chances are it could be another First Samurai or Eskendereya.

The big question is - will they be able to make the transition synthetic to dirt? The surface at CD is known to favor turf/synthetic types.

I assume there will be a wagering option listed as ‘Other’ and it will certainly get my money as the above two colts are exceptional.  

21 Nov 2013 9:39 AM
lunar spook

TIZ HERSELF- I had never paid much attention to BELLAMY ROAD till I just now looked at some pics , very impressive !!                                                          COLDFACTS- IM always scouting early derby contenders as I like to bet the early wagering when u can get great odds, somehow I missed AMIS HOLIDAY , but the more I study the more I like , THANX !!!

21 Nov 2013 10:25 AM

Steve - Very impressive Win by Tamarando in the Real Quiet Stakes. The Cash Call Futurity is up for him next. Nice to see he has a quality jockey, R. Bejarano in the reigns. This horse could be a big time under the radar horse in the FP1 pool which I will bet on Thanksgiving Day. I would hope to get 40-1 on him. The jockeys that have ridden on Tamarando and the Trainer believe the longer the better. Which is music to my ears for a Derby contender. The Cash Call is coming up tough with Bond Holder, NY Day, Shared Belief. But off of only 3 wks. rest, with the others well rested, if Tamarando can close strong and finish in the mix, then he looks like my longshot pick at this point to win the Kentucky Derby. I will also be looking strongly at Strong Mandate for FP1, he has a strong pedigree, raced from a wide post in the Juvenile to finish a game 3rd. I would like to get 25-1 on Strong Mandate. I will be boxing Tamarando with the Field, and possibly doing the same with Strong Mandate, if i can get good odds on him. I hope you give a shout back to me Steve on Tamarando, your opinion is important to me. Thanks.

24 Nov 2013 7:49 AM

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