Haskin's Derby Report: Sorting It All Out

This has to be one of, if not the, most confusing Derbys in memory, as we have to deal with a whole new cast of characters than the one we started with last fall. The one-two finishers of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile are gone, the one-two finishers of the Champagne are gone, the one-two finishers of the Remsen are gone, as are the winners of the CashCall Futurity, Frontrunner Stakes, and that includes early Derby favorites Cairo Prince and Honor Code, as well as Top Billing and most recently Hoppertunity.

But that is in the past. We have to deal with what we do have and attempt to sort out this puzzle.

I have been touting California Chrome since January as having the potential to be something special, and have had him ranked No. 1 for quite a while. While I still feel that way, I had been hoping to see him at Churchill Downs earlier, to get used to the surface and most of all the new and unique surroundings. After watching him school in the paddock at 7 a.m. with no one around instead of in the afternoon between races, and watching him looking around in his gallops, I feel even stronger about him coming early. By drawing post 5, with speed directly inside and outside of him, he has to break sharply but can’t get caught up in a fast, contentious pace, and can’t get distracted or become affected by all the noise and people. He does get a bit antsy at times in the paddock, and that is with no distractions in the quiet of the morning. But he’s certainly not difficult by any means, just some nervous energy, and it’s just a matter of how he handles everything.

With that said, it would be foolish for me to go off him now, even though he’s not quite as laid back as I thought watching him race and work. I still feel he’s one of the most gifted young horses I’ve seen in a while, but this is the Kentucky Derby, where gifted does not always apply. It’s more about getting lucky and being professional and putting together that one perfect performance on the right day.

So, while I still rank him as my No. 1 3-year-old and one of the most talented horses in the country, from a betting standpoint, I look for value, and he will be a prohibitive favorite. Also, a good part of this column is to concentrate on horses I’ve seen train on a daily basis over an extended period of time and how they work over the track. Often, it will take two works to get a proper line on a horse. It’s very difficult with no works and only two or three days of gallops. And we don’t know how he will take getting dirt kicked in his face. He has been beaten when encountering traffic in the past.

I feel there are several live longshots in the race based on how they’ve been working, training in general, acting, and looking physically.

One horse who has generated some buzz is Medal Count, based on his training and trainer Dale Romans' extreme optimism. Physically, he does not look like your typical Derby horse, being more on the blockier side, but he handles this track as well as anyone, and his work and gallops have been consistently powerful. The Derby will be his third start in 29 days, and you have to wonder if can take a big step forward off his second in the Blue Grass. He along with Intense Holiday are the only two horses to have run a negative number on Thoro-Graph, and Trakus puts him several lengths better than his Blue Grass conqueror Dance With Fate, based on having run 31 feet farther after going very wide on the first turn.

I can’t go heavy on Dance With Fate, despite his strong gallop May 1 and overall appearance, because I haven’t seen much of him. But I was extremely impressed with the ease of his final work in California, where it looked like he was in a common gallop, yet still went in :47. So, because of the nature of this column I would look heavily at Medal Count as a longshot to hit the board and possibly win it all.

Another longshot I will play is the most forgotten horse in the field, and that is Candy Boy. He was dead short in the Santa Anita Derby, was forced to race closer to the pace because of the speed-favoring track, and has a lot of room for improvement. On top of that, he came here early to have a work over the track, and though it was not discussed much, it was a very powerful work. He is the first Derby horse on the track each morning, along with either General a Rod or Vicar’s in Trouble, so most people have not seen how strong and consistent his gallops have been, especially the one May 1. He is a robust and powerfully built individual who can take any bumping he may incur, and he’s one of the few horses in the field you can say for sure will get the mile and a quarter. Medal Count is another, despite his blocky physique, which makes both these colts longshot specials.

I would include General a Rod in this category if I knew how the public is going to play him. The feeling here is that he may be ignored, but he is another I’ve been following closely, just waiting for him to revert back to the General a Rod I saw break his maiden at Keeneland last year. Mike Maker has tinkered with his blinkers and I expect him to be much farther back than he was at Gulfstream, where he was forced to use his early speed. His pedigree, especially his strong female family, will get him the mile and a quarter with little problem, even with the presence of Meadowlake, who is more of a miler influence.

Sticking with longshots, and we’re talking about horses in the 20-1 range, it would not be surprising to see Ride On Curlin run a big race, despite the bad reviews he received in his last work. I was not among his detractors and saw things in his work that I liked, especially the distance of the work (seven furlongs) over a deep, loose racetrack that was tiring and playing very slow. The farther you worked over it the more demanding it became, and he did go from the quarter-pole to the wire in :24 2/5 and then kicked in another gear. His final eighth was :13, but part of that was on the turn, so I believe he got more out of this work than people think. He’s not the type of horse who glides over the track, so he doesn’t look as pleasing to the eye as some of the others. But he still gets the job done, and he has now reverted back to his come-from-behind days and should be closing.

So, there are some longshots to play around with. Even a horse like Uncle Sigh has the potential to run big at a huge price, but you just don’t know how the addition of blinkers will affect him. We all remember Palace Malice last year. Major equipment changes can be very tricky in the Kentucky Derby. But he did work beautifully in them at Belmont, and he looks the part physically, so we’ll see. He is more of a guess or gut feeling type of horse.

Now for the lower-priced horses. And I have to say right off the bat that the Todd Pletcher pair of Intense Holiday and Danza will be on all my tickets, based on how they’ve been looking and training. Danza is extremely intriguing as a potential freaky type of horse; he looked so amazing in the Arkansas Derby. You have to decide whether it was a fluke or if he is a superstar in the making. He is drop-dead gorgeous, and I just love the way he begins his gallops every morning by casually turning around and then taking off in a flash and immediately breaking off into a strong open gallop. He means business and has a great deal of class about him, and it bodes well for the Arkansas Derby being a legitimate race. His pedigree shouts miler, and coming back at 1 1/4 miles in three weeks could be tricky, but his raw talent may trump his speed influences. The truth is, we really have no idea what we’re dealing with.

As for Intense Holiday, he wins the award as the best worker and galloper on a consistent basis. He made We Miss Artie look so bad working in company it prompted Pletcher to try to convince owner Ken Ramsey to withdraw We Miss Artie. Each day he gallops down on the inside and moves over this track so fluidly and with such authority, you know at least he absolutely loves the surface. They have been working on his crossfiring with chiropractic work, and that is the main concern; whether he’s going to pull what he did in the Louisiana Derby. If he doesn’t and gets his leads correct, he should run a huge race. As I mentioned he is the only horse to earn a negative Thoro-Graph figure on the dirt, and he has the highest late-closing figures on Brisnet. So he has a lot going for him. He gets John Velazquez, and while he and Pletcher have both won Derbys, it would be special to them to win one together.

Finally, of the serious horses, you have to include Wicked Strong, and I would really love to see Jimmy Jerkens win this, not only for himself, but his father, Hall of Fame legend Allen Jerkens. He has to negotiate a trip from the 19 post, and he can’t run as erratically down the stretch as he has in the past. But he does have the closing punch and as I have mentioned, he was going to be my first No. 1 ranked horse on the Derby Dozen in January, but ran a clunker in the Holy Bull, and that still bothers me a little, as does his past antics at the gate. But he is now where I thought he would be in January. He just has to handle the loading, get a trip from post 19, and run straight in the stretch, and use his closing punch earlier than the sixteenth pole. I did love the fact that had a strong three-furlong blowout in :36 3/5 May 1. It’s good to see Jimmy and Allen still keep those old-fashioned methods of training alive.

As for horses like Samraat, Vinceremos, Tapiture, Chitu, Vicar’s in Trouble Wildcat Red, and Commanding Curve, they are all good horses and have a legitimate shot to at least hit the board on their best day. But in a race this wide open you have to narrow it down to a half dozen or so to play around with.

As I mentioned earlier, I have to stick with California Chrome, because I still feel he is enormously gifted and could be on a different level than these other horses, but there are some minor concerns and he is not going to present any value, so while you have to use him in exotics, I don’t play favorites in the Derby and have to look elsewhere when it comes to straight win bets, even though he has the potential to break this race wide open if he gets a good trip and handles all the distractions. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who will play against him and feel he is vulnerable.

Intense Holiday and Danza are two others that have to be include in all bets, with Danza also having the potential to be something special, especially if California Chrome has a bad day. Throw in Medal Count, Candy Boy, and General a Rod and you have my six-horse trifecta or superfecta box.

I would also put California Chrome, Danza, and Intense Holiday on top and use them with the above-mentioned horses as well as Wicked Strong and Ride on Curlin, Again, if I have to leave anyone out it has to be the horses I haven’t seen work over the track, such as Samraat and Dance With Fate, both of whom would have a shot if they handle the track. The only one of those I have to include obviously is California Chrome, because, well, he’s California Chrome. And as I said, there are some slight concerns for those who want to play against him.

I also will be making straight win bets on Medal Count (who is touting himself in the mornings), General a Rod, and Candy Boy, assuming they are going to be a big price. I love forgotten horses, and Candy Boy and General a Rod will be forgotten horses in my opinion, with Candy Boy coming into the race sneakily good and under the radar…and with Gary Stevens aboard. I also have to put a few bucks as a saver on Ride On Curlin if he’s a big price.

So, the bottom line is that I am sticking with California Chrome (if he behaves), but love Danza and Intense Holiday to run huge races as the two morning standouts. Price-wise on win bets, based on proven dirt form and how they’ve handled the track in works and gallops, I’ll go with Candy Boy and Intense Holiday.

** Saturday morning late observations. Having looked at Tapiture schooling the other day and seeing him walk under tack this morning, I have to say how impressed I am with this colt from a physical standpoint. He seems to have really filled out and is packing good muscle and flesh. How that will apply to today's race, who knows, but Steve Asmussen has this colt looking fantastic.. I believe the Arkansas races took a lot out of him and he has flourished since coming to Churchill Downs. If he returns to his earlier form, he could surprise. That's just a late observation, for what it's worth. 

 

(Sorry, no photos today. I actually am now in Lexington and wasn’t even at Churchill Downs this morning, so hopefully, I didn’t miss anything of note. The track was scheduled to close at 7 a.m. for Oaks Day. I plan on making the most of my stay in Lexington by visiting Gainesway and Claiborne Farm today and having features in the near future on a look back at Afleet Alex’s Preakness and (speaking of forgotten horses) Blame, so watch out for those).

91 Comments

Leave a Comment:

JorgeG

Thanks for this column Mr. Haskin.  I want to ask you what do you mean when you say Medal Count is "on the blockier side"? Being spanish my first language, I´m not familiar with that expression.  I agree with all your bets but I will throw Wildcat Red to the mix instead of General A Rod. Thanks a lot for all these months of analysis,  its been a GREAT reading! Good Luck.

02 May 2014 10:48 AM
Floridabred

Enjoy your day, Steve, and thanks as always for your information and analysis.

02 May 2014 10:52 AM
AnneM

Surprised to see Samraat lumped with the horse that really can't win - He is my 2nd choice.

02 May 2014 11:14 AM
francisco

Could you Mr. Haskin please explain ( or somebody please ) what horse crossfiring  means?? thank you

02 May 2014 11:36 AM
iceman92

my final derby 4 horse box trifecta in order of preference.1)danza hits the 8th pole first 2)wicked strong-closes late for runner-up 3)california chrome leads by mid stretch then passed 4)vicar's in trouble gives california chrome trouble. two other mix horses are commanding curve and general a rod. good luck to all.

02 May 2014 11:46 AM
steve from st louis

I'm a loyal chef-de-race pundit and as such, their numbers list (in order) Medal Count (36), We Miss Artie (26), California Chrome (22), Ride on Curlin (20)and Wicked Strong (18). That's my trifecta box. It worked last year; we'll see. Good luck to all!

02 May 2014 11:49 AM
Mister Frisky

Thanks for your picks Steve,good luck tomorrow.My 6 horse box is as follows,CC,Wicked,ROC,A Rod,Medal Count,Samraat.This year it's all about the wager for me,no emotional attachment to any of them.So I'm hoping CC is off the board.See you in the IRS line Saturday afternoon.

02 May 2014 11:53 AM
Giddyup

Excellent analysis Steve. None of the colts in this race have the talent to beat California Chrome but as you correctly pointed out, a great horse can sometimes be beat by circumstances. If CC were not in this race I would be backing General A Rod as the winner and depending on what price he goes off at he may still be playable. Ride On Curlin will be my longshot and exotic pick. A fast pace will set things up nicely for his closing style, he has raced on this track before and Calvin Borel is one of the best at stealing a race like this as we all learned when he rode Mine That Bird to victory.

02 May 2014 12:27 PM
El Kabong

Steve, we are as close as ever on this one. I am going to let Candy Boy make a fool of me as it stands but I'll sleep on it and see if there's room on the bottom of my super since you and GaryStevens-my favorite, have influence on my thoughts.  Good luck and thanks for a great season of Derby Dozen. I think we're in for a great race.

02 May 2014 1:22 PM
Kantharos

Thank you Steve, for playing a significant role in how much we enjoy the Derby prep season.  I don't live near a race track and other than a fluke opportunity to attend the 2010 Derby, never go to the races, but...I love this sport more than any other and am so thankful for stories which provide a glimpse into a most fascinating world.  There is simply no other moment in sports quite like when the Derby horses approach the gate...  

02 May 2014 1:27 PM
Steve Haskin

Anne, I wasn't aware that I lumped horses who cant win. Where did I day that? Most of these horses can win on their best day.

Crossfiring is when a horse is on one lead in front and on his other lead in the back. It takes them out of their rhythm and normal stride.

02 May 2014 2:29 PM
Steve Haskin

Jorge, by blockier I mean he has more of a short coupled body, heavily muscled up front and in the rear instead of the long lean staying type.

02 May 2014 2:30 PM
spectacular bid

great minds think alike. i always take a home run swing on the derby and play a 7 horse tri box. my 7 WERE CC,medal count..who i have a huge future book bet at 175-1 on, candy boy,wicked strong, danza.intense holiday and hoppertunty. with "hoppi" out i had an opening for spot 7..i liked a rod early but was thinking he might be up front but after your report, i think i will go with A-rod as my #7. as a fan,and california guy, i want CC to win it, but medal count gets me a huge payday and if i can get a tri with him on top, then im on vacation for a few months..THANKS STEVE for all the coverage all week

02 May 2014 2:31 PM
tjconway

What if Samraat, Uncle Sigh and General A Rod back off a little at the beginning and Wildcat Red goes "Pedestrian" on all of us at 1:11 4/5......and has a 2 length lead at this point? In other words, whose gonna go toe to toe with him the first 1/2 mile?....Chitu? Danza? The "Uncle"?...Anybody?

   I always try to "picture" the race in my mind. What if Wildcat Red breaks bad and Uncle Sigh gets an easy lead?

   Betting wise, I like Chitu, Uncle Sigh and General A Rod to win.

   What about "Tapiture"? He'll be totally forgotten at 50-1 or higher!

   Final time 2:03 flat....Good Luck everybody...it's been a hell of a ride!

02 May 2014 2:49 PM
Old Timer

Steve, you took the words right out of my mouth! CC looks so good and I would love to see him win. However in this race there are so many factors that can come into play. Just recall Curlin; Point Given; Afleet Alex; Holy Bull; to name a few superb horses who did not win.

I agree that Medal Count is a very interesting long shot. My exacta is a box of 13-14-18-20.

02 May 2014 2:51 PM
Old Timer

By the way, while one can never count Calvin Borel out on this race, IMO Ride on Curlin will be overplayed due to the jockey. The horse always seems to come up short by a few lengths.

02 May 2014 2:55 PM
Stones

I've been on California Chrome since the San Felipe, and like you I'm not bailing out on him now.  But his post position (and speedy neighbors) do concern me.

I'm putting CC and Danza on top of my exotics.  Chitu, General and ROC will be my longshot bets.  Intense Holiday and Samraat will be worked into the exotics as well.

A final thanks for leading us down the Derby trail so faithfully and eloquently, Steve!  Enjoy your Derby Day!

02 May 2014 2:56 PM
Azathoth

Samraat, Uncle Sigh, Danza and Ride on Curlin... in some yet to be determined order

02 May 2014 3:10 PM
predict

superfecta:

1,3,4,5,6 box

1 has to come out fast for lead

3 will freak in blinkers, Pine Bluff blood will keep him there

4 is best horse, will stock right off first two

5 will be right there just off first two and alongside 4

6 will join these all the way to the stretch where he could battle for lead

think the front running will go all the way around and hold up to finish, with the rest unable to get to them,

Danza first, California Chrome 2nd, Samraat 3rd, Vicar's in Trouble 4th and Uncle Sigh in photo with VIT for 4th.

02 May 2014 3:44 PM
predict

Superfecta#2:

when all the speed stops, and it will, because the track will be tiring and there is way to much speed in this race, then the closers will make for a nice superfecta:

box 12, 14, 16,18 and 20.

Wicked Strong first

Candy Boy second

Dance with Fate third

Intense Holiday fourth

Medal Count fifth

02 May 2014 3:59 PM
windy

Steve, You wrote...hit the board, How do you define hit the board, 3rd or 4th ?

02 May 2014 4:21 PM
windy

Steve, You wrote,....hit the board. Do you define that as 3rd or 4th?

02 May 2014 4:23 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

I'm not used to you describing your betting strategies.  This is a very thoughtful post I'll mull over; Hoppertunity's scratch kind of left all my plans a shambles.

Glad you like Intense Holiday.  This is one I have just liked.  He had trouble twice, by the way, in the La Derby (credit El Kabong's eyes), getting bumped and pinched back as he was just starting his first move on the turn.

02 May 2014 4:24 PM
Mary

Based solely on pedigree, Chitu, Candy Boy, Vicar's In Trouble, Wicked Strong, and Ride on Curlin.  Danza and California Chrome are nice horses, but....I don't think either will take the roses.  Good luck to all

02 May 2014 6:38 PM
predict

Stock=stalk when you have been looking at 19 horses too long.

02 May 2014 6:43 PM
iceman92

THANKS STEVE- for all the hard work and great insight you've provided. GREAT Derby Dozen!!! GOOD LUCK and win BIG!!!!

02 May 2014 6:46 PM
Kevin

Recently, I've tried to find a key race and focus on those runners.  I've keyed the Arkansas Derby.  My 5 horse box is 4,5,15,16,19. Throwing in Chrome and Intense Holiday.  

02 May 2014 7:07 PM
Lawton

I still think CC is just too good for this field. I will play ROC, Danza, WR, CB and Chitu on my exotics underneath him.

02 May 2014 7:32 PM
Davids

Steve, another stellar performance to the lead up of the Kentucky Derby - as everyone writes, the enjoyment of Derby is more than enhanced by your insightful prose.

The best of racing luck to all the connections and a safe journey. You never change horses in midstream so I am hoping for a triple dead heat with California Chrome, Commanding Curve, and Tapiture.

Even so, the best 3 year old won today, Untapable - some horse.

02 May 2014 7:40 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Steve what a great analysis you have done here.  No one can sort this all out better than you.  You make the Derby that much more interesting and fun with your insights, expert observations, and those great photos!  I'll say it again, we need a Bloodhorse Channel with a "Steve Haskin Show" at Derby time or any time.

I'm in complete agreement with what you say about California Chrome.  I'm all for getting the horses to the track they are competing on early, at least a week in advance.  I think he will handle the paddock full of people ok but I hope he is not still looking to the right coming down the stretch counting his fans in the grandstand!  He certainly has a great look about him, he just has to handle the pomp and circumstance of Derby Day well and stop this gawking and looking around.

Holy Cow, Steve you are going to Gainesway today!!!!!!  Enjoy it and please give Afleet Alex a kiss for me. Photos of Alex, pleeeeeeeeeze in your upcoming article.  Boy will I look forward to reading that one!

Ok, back to the Derby.  Danza looks fit and perfect.  Intense Holiday looks great too.  Wicked Strong and Samraat look good too.  So, as confusing as it is here are my picks:

1.  Danza

2.  California Chrome

3.  Samraat (or Intense Holiday or Wicked Strong)

I would have named Medal Count (by Dynaformer out of Briquette) "Brickhouse" especially since you say he is on the blockier side!  He could be one "dynamic form" come Derby Day.

Good luck to all!  All horses have safe trips.

02 May 2014 7:44 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Congratulations to Untapable and her connections on a great Oaks performance.  If this keeps up, Tapit's stud fee is going to become insurmountable!

02 May 2014 7:47 PM
Cassandra.Says

Rusty:

My first thought on Intense Holiday was that he was unbalanced by being snatched up and was sent again before he got properly back into stride. I don't have multiple video angles on this race, but I'm now cross-eyed from watching it and unsure of my first thought. He seems to have had time to get it together and just didn't.

I posted then that it was pilot error. I find the explanations unconvincing -- they seem to confuse cross-firing with disunited and I can't believe that this horse would have run without bandages if he was in the habit of striking himself.

02 May 2014 8:12 PM
Cassandra.Says

HINT:

I've just been watching a son of Dynaformer coming late from last to first after a crawling pace, 6 furlongs taking almost 1.15, to win the Florida Derby.

It took so long for people to stop gelding their roguish Dynaformers and judging that they had the stud potential to make it worth the effort to give them the expert and intensive handling they required. I've had my fingers, legs and eyes crossed for his last few sons to give us some legacy stallions.

Awesome Point of Entry with his repeated :33 finishes from a stalking position leads the way. Brilliant Speed had this impressive dirt G1. But wouldn't a Derby winner be a nice wrap up?

02 May 2014 8:32 PM
The Deacon

Well here we go, time to dance. I like all your choices and your explanations. You obviously do your homework. When making your final selections do you take also into consideration pedigree and breeding. You don't seemed too concerned about C Chrome getting the 10 furlongs. Somewhere in his DNA he may have that 10 furlong gene, we'll know tomorrow.

I like

1. Calif. Chrome.......for all the reasons you have stated plus the Art Sherman and Swaps connection.

2. Wicked Strong

2. Danza

4. Samraat

Good luck to all.

02 May 2014 9:08 PM
BelmontBarb

Steve Haskin!

Did you get this right!  The most complex and confusing Derby of note....so much has happened prior to the Derby.... and what about The Oaks today for fillies (being Friday May 2) at the gate!

Your report is a great sum up and I could not thank you more for "Sorting It ALL Out".  It certainly is a relief after all the "Dozens'" of Derby unfortunate incidents and disappointments along the trail.  If we could just get to the gate safe and "sound" that will be a good beginning. The rhythm and the pace will follow and with steady focus our winner will cross the finish line.  Expectations here do not give the impression that anyone is too sure about whom may make it to the Winners'Circle and that leads me to believe that the unexpected will prevail.

California Chrome has marketed the Derby and he has done a fine job - helping us along the way and has given us some spirit to follow and interpret the chances of the Churchill challenge whether it be on paper, in our minds or on our tickets.

I too, (ref:Old Timer...on this post) would like to see this beautiful copper beauty succeed but there is so much more that is going to be going on here as you indicate - it seems that it will be his biggest test and has jostled our confidence. Just the simple mention of the "Blinker Boy" General A Rod is a factor and haunts as you have reiterated more than once and that energy has not diminished.  On the whole - these colts will give the audience what they have wanted and what they came for - The 140th Running of The Kentucky Derby - YUM!

Good Luck to you and everyone - Steve, Enjoy The Derby you have worked so hard for....

02 May 2014 9:13 PM
Cassandra.Says

CROSSFIRE:

In deference to Steve, who just posted a usage I've been calling wrong in treating "crossfiring" and "disunited canter" (the technical, and dressage, term) interchangeably, I've hit the search engine and found that this IS common usage in your neck of the woods. I grovel.

Along the way, if you google "crossfire horse" you will discover a video of a horse in slow motion wearing different coloured bandages and going in and out of a disunited canter on the longe. Those who have complained that they can't see lead changes will find it invaluable. You'll become an instant expert.

Made for recreational riding, the analysis and remedies are not applicable to racehorses, who do not go disunited because they are unfit. If you watch horses running at liberty, babes and upwards, you'll see they change leads in order to corner. The lead matches the direction they're circling. I've heard it described that turning left on your right lead is like circling to the left while leaning over towards your right.

We race horses in circles to the left. For balance, the horse should be on its left lead around the turns and take a break on its right lead on the straightaways. Since the leading leg takes more pressure, we've amended the natural way to spare the left foreleg from excess work. The result is that we train horses to run on leads that outrage their natural instinct to stay balanced and it is no wonder some of them don't really get it. It's impossible to miss in races. They try to turn left into the stretch on their right lead and fan out across the track. It's a rare beast that is nimble enough to cut the corner to the left and commonplace to see them blow the turn completely.

02 May 2014 9:14 PM
mz

Samara at, Uncle Sigh, Vicar's in Trouble, Wicked Strong and, sentimentally, We Miss Artie.

Untappable really looked good.  Preakness?

02 May 2014 9:19 PM
trackjack

Thanks Steve for your in-depth analysis and eagle eye at Churchill Downs.  Your comments on Intense Holiday, Danza, Medal Count and Candy Boy have been especially helpful. Enjoy your Kentucky trip and your Derby Day, you deserve it, you're the best.  Good Luck with your picks!

Art Sherman has been bringing California Chrome along at his own rate and when he puts the blinkers on tomorrow, the nervous energy Junior is showing will all be focused on doing what great thoroughbreds do--run farther and faster than the others.  He will be all business.

Win: California Chrome

5 horse tri box:

California Chrome

Danza

Medal Count

Intense Holiday

Wicked Strong

2nd 5 horse tri box ticket(with my wife):

CC, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, Ride on Curlin, Wicked Strong.

Also have a small across the board back-up on Candy Boy.

Had the Oaks ex. today and am alive in the Oaks/Woodford Reserve Turf/Derby pick 3: singled Wise Dan and need:

either CC, Danza, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy or Wicked Strong in the Derby.

May they all come home safe.  May everyone on this blog enjoy your Derby Day and Good Luck to all!

02 May 2014 9:31 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, you are right that this is a very tough year to pick. I also agree that California Chrome will be up against it due to his lack of time at Churchill and the unique nature of this race. But he has been training at Los Alamitos and the stretch is like Churchill's (so I have read) so maybe that will help him if he is in good position as he comes around the turn. Having said all that, this is my final list:

California Chrome (where my heart is)

Intense Holiday

Danza

Wicked Strong

Samaraat

The 2,3 4 positions could all switch. If Danza or Wicked Strong pull it off, we could be talking another very special/ freakishly good horse.

02 May 2014 9:51 PM
Age of Reason

"Most confusing Derby in [recent] history" pretty much sums it up. Steve, as usual, this year's Derby Trail has been one heck of a fun ride thanks to your reporting. I'm sure everyone on here would agree with me when I say that you're the most likeable journalist in the sport. 2014 has been fun! Thanks so much.

Alrighty, now the horses. Outside of Harry's Holiday and We Miss Artie, I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see ANY of the 17 win. So I'm going with my instincts. (I've never went against my instincts and didn't regret it). California Chrome towers over this field as a man among boys, and the nervous energy he's displayed this week will be an asset tomorrow. He'll break like a shot and put himself in great position, but Victor only has to worry about either getting floated wide by Vicar's In Trouble/Uncle Sigh or else getting crowded by Wildcat Red and Chitu. The cheap speed won't last, California Chrome gets the lead coming out of the final bend and is gone. Medal Count for the place, then I'm expecting Samraat, General A Rod, and possibly Danza to be fighting over the crumbs. Intense Holiday and Candy Boy will also be looking for minor spoils if they get a good trip.

Tl;dr: California Chrome/Medal Count. Then General A Rod, Samraat, Intense Holiday, Danza, Candy Boy.  

Safe trip to all!

02 May 2014 10:34 PM
Indian Hemp

Wicked Strong and Dance with Fate run down Chrome and General a Rod.

02 May 2014 11:47 PM
JayJay

Steve Haskin : I think what AnneM was talking about was you "lumped" him with the horses who can "at least hit the board on their best day, it's different than saying "they can win on their best day."   I read it the same way as AnneM, we all have our opinions and while I respect and take yours seriously, I have to disagree about Samraat and CC.   I've felt the same way about Chrome since he won the SA Derby, and he has done or shown nothing since arriving at Churchill Downs that changes my mind.  He's untried outside of California, some say he's very fast but the Churchill Downs track is a totally different beast than the Santa Anita track.   The speed horses in the San Felipe and Santa Anita are different than the speed horses he'll face in the Derby.   I'll let him beat me.   I've already decided on the horses I'm tossing out... just trying to decide on the bottom 6 I'm using for my tri, the super might get a little expensive since it's a minimum $1 bet.

I'm not going to try and buy this race, I've always been luckier betting smaller than betting multiple horses so I'll limit my top horses to Samraat and Chitu, I'll add IH in the 2nd spot and use about 6 horses on the bottom.   Chitu is the best of the stalkers in the race, I'm confident about that, but like CC, we'll see how good he is after this race.

As for WTC's race today, what in the heck is Lukas thinking switching jockeys ??  Did something happen to Luis (haven't checked that yet) ? I don't get it, Stevens is a smart jockey but WTC is not your typical horse.   He's a plodder and Luis is the only one that knows how to handle him.  I hate when connections makes these changes, I just don't get it.   Stevens was all over WTC way before the turn for the homestretch, it's just ridiculous.  He doesn't know the horse at all.

02 May 2014 11:48 PM
Steel Dragon

I can't sort out this mess. It's become the most aggravating 2 minutes in sports.

03 May 2014 12:43 AM
Householder

California Chrome's good has been great but his bad have been awful.  That Del Mar Futurity where for one of the few times he is trapped behind a wall of horses...it looks like he is comming unhinged running up on, looking over at, heading into the rail...no where to go.  That "wheelie" break of the Golden State Juvenile.  It soon becomes apparent why he has blinkers and is forwardly placed.  I think the Cal Cup Derby was his best race.  Stalk, stalk, pounce Sunday Silence style.  He is going to need everything his way so I hope he is sleeping well.

Candy Boy...Have not seen a better looking horse since Rock Hard Ten.  He is huge, all muscle, and apparently a bit of a morning glory.  

03 May 2014 12:50 AM
yoemite dancer

Steve, Thanks so much for some of the on site information. Am a believer in seeing how horses are adapting to the Churchill racing strip and their final works. All the best to you.           Chuck

03 May 2014 3:55 AM
Giddyup

If California Chrome wins by open lengths again does anyone even bother to show up in Baltimore to challenge him?

03 May 2014 4:36 AM
English Pete

Steve, as everybody on here says, you've done a fantastic job on the Derby. To all of you posters, since you're showing your picks I'll add mine (please don't laugh :)

I think Cali Chrome will win but can't have him at the odds. I backed Intense Holiday each way at a fixed 20/1 (that's 20/1 win and 5/1 show) and am happy with that. Did exactly the same with Candy Boy.

For the exotics, I don't favour full cover boxes so I've tried to pick horses I think will run on into 3rd and 4th, and will combine those with a few to finish first or second. So I'll have Medal Count, Dance With Fate, Ride on Curlin, Gen A Rod, Commanding Curve in 3rd and 4th underneath Cali Chrome, Danza, Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday and Candy Boy in 1st and 2nd. Costs me 100 lines for the Tri and 400 lines for the Supa.  Reluctantly tossed Samraat, but had to draw a line somewhere.

Good luck everyone, whatever you've picked, and I hope it's a great race.

03 May 2014 7:05 AM
Sam Santschi

Not much closing going on late yesterday nor watering of the track.  playing with Candy Boy, Chitu, Cal Chrome, General A Rod, Uncle Sigh and Wildcat Red  

03 May 2014 7:09 AM
Windolin

First and foremost I want to say that I wish each and every horse and jockey Godspeed today and that all have safe trips back to the barn.

I also want to let everyone know and you especially Steve, how much I have enjoyed participating in the Derby Dozen and following the prep races.

At the end of all this I am pretty much still where I started back in the winter.

California Chrome to win with expectations that Ride on Curlin will hit the board. My other favorites to hit the board include Samraat, Uncle Sigh and Vicars in Trouble. My long shot to hit the board is Commanding Curve.

I just have a special feeling about all these colts and have since the beginning.

Again, I wish everyone the best of luck today and pray that there are no injuries or accidents, that is always at the top of my list for every race.

Good racing today everyone!

03 May 2014 7:11 AM
Lise from Maine

Hi!

Thanks for the analysis.

I am looking at Chitu, General a Rod, Wicked Strong, and Ride on Curlin to bet on.

My final decision will be made when I am actually at the window purchasing tickets, and I could change my mind altogether.

Congratulations to Mike Smith, Rosie, and Calvin Borel regarding yesterday's wins.

It was a hairy moment to watch Empress in Midway having her troubles in the gate. So happy that she is all right, and hope that is still the case.

Once again, thank you for the analysis.

P.S. Would have loved to see some photos; you take great

photos.

Lise from Maine

03 May 2014 7:33 AM
El Kabong

Good Derby Day Morning to all! It's Here and the weather has cooperated. Whoosh! Still early out here but I'm up and ready to figure out my bet. Two pots of java will be necessary to sort this out, but I'll give you my  thoughts as of now.

CChrome, Wicked Strong, Medal Count, Intense Holiday. One of these guys will get the trip and we know the winner has to get the good trip. That said after analysis of posts, etc. I think Intense Holiday is the guy who has the best chance of a clean trip. I'm concerned for Chrome. This is going to be a battle at the start, the likes of which he has not encountered. Clowns to left, jokers to the right, and they are determined to close like a barn door. It's the scenario that could put this super star in a position he may not be comfortable with and it won't be as easy to muscle through as he's done in the past in short fields. Wicked Strong has so much talent if he runs a more professional race, and I hope he does. We could be in for eye opener. But, he may run green again and in this talented field, that will cost him. Medal Count has not shown the speed figures, especially the internal speed figures to make me comfortable that he will be in position to pounce, but Roman's confidence is unprecedented and given his success, I can't ignore his excitement. But there is one, one who I feel most confident WILL be in the money. Intense Holiday is the one in this bunch that I am least concerned about bringing and maintaing his A game. The addition of Johnny V means he won't lose a step without Mike Smith in the saddle. I will be using Intense Holiday as my key horse. I will surround him with the other 3 and then toss in some other who I think will like the distance or surprise us by their effort. General A rod I believe, like Intense Holiday and Wicked Strong, will show improvement on this oval, in contrast to the surface he has been racing. We notice a difference in the others(IH, WS) and I think this guy will benefit too. Others that will be added below(some 3rd, some just 4th), include Danza, ROC, DWF, ComCurve.

As always, I will have to figure out a back up situation that ignores my  current logic. Don't know what that is yet but it doesn't matter. I like the above ticket and hope that a little luck puts me in position to be thrilled in the stretch.

Good luck to you all and a special thanks to everyone at Bloodhorse, and especially to our gracious host who stands out in his profession on every level.

Now, I have to calculate the bill for all this nonsense.

03 May 2014 9:04 AM
Racingfan

Well, here's my guess:  1-California Chrome, 2-Tapiture and 3-Intense Holiday or Wicked Strong (still deciding).

03 May 2014 9:10 AM
Steve Haskin

I have just added a late Saturday morning observation regarding Tapiture. Having got a real close and lengthy look at him this morning walking under tack, I was extemely impressed how he has developed physically, even in the past eight days. I believe Arkansas took its toll on him and he has really flourished since coming to Churchill and has put on muscle and flesh. I added it in the final paragraph, for what it's worth.

03 May 2014 9:35 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Thank you so much Steve Haskin.  You make a great event even better.

03 May 2014 10:10 AM
Coldfacts

The above represents a very measured and comprehensive overview of the contenders.

It is interesting that Mr. Pletcher tried to talk Mr. Ramsay out running We Miss Artie. Those who are into biblical stories should wager this colt. He represents the stone that the builder refused.

Age of Reason,

“Chrome towers over this field as a man among boys”

In 2013 Mr. Haskin posted a similar quote about Verrazano. He went on to finish 14th in the Derby. The biblical story of David and Goliath should remind all  that he who tower over an opponent can be can be defeated with the simplest of weapons. With that stated, if the same tack is in play today I see the chances of a closer winning as very remote. Therefore CC #1 has a major advantage as Friday’s track was no different from the conveyor belt at SA Park.

I see you have no love for Wicked Strong for even a minor spot on the board. There are some horses included in your tri at his exclusion that has left me puzzled.

Samaart: His unbeaten record was ended by WS in his backyard. WS was moving away from him in the Wood and an extra furlong should favor WS.

Intense Holiday: WS finished ahead of him in the Remsen. IH had previously contested the Nashua and Champagne heading into the Remsen whereas WS was making his graded stakes debut.

Candy Boy: he did not finish with a lot of interest in his last race and his dam line is suspect at 10F whereas WS dam line has a rich history of success in TC races.

If you like those horses then you need to give WS another look if the track is fair. Good luck with your wagers.

I am going to be making some normal and crazy wagers:

The Jamaican exacta: Wicked Strong/Commanding Curve.

The CC exacta: California Chrome/Commanding Curve.

The Overbred Stallion exacta: Intense Holiday/Tapiture/Harry’s Holiday

The 9F Prep exacta: WS/CC/Danza/We Miss Artie/Chitu/VIT/DWF

The Mr. P sire line exacta: Danza/DWF/GAR/ROC/CB/Vinceremos

The ND sire line exacta: IH/WMA/WS/WR/VIT/HH/Samaart/Chitu

Main horse to comprise my normal wagers:

Wicked Strong

Medal Count

California Chrome

General A Rod

Vinceremos

Commanding Curve

Uncle Sigh

We Miss Artie

03 May 2014 10:17 AM
Windolin

I watched CC's jog this morning on HRTV. He looked calm and focused. Very little looking around and listening to his exercise rider...I am so sorry I forget his name. He was chomping the bit, he wants to break loose and run. Just got have to have faith in Mr Sherman and how he trains CC.

03 May 2014 10:56 AM
Coldfacts

Below in a extract from a post on the previous Blog:

"Dance With Fate’s sire Two Step Salsa is a grandson of Seeking The Gold. Surprisingly, Seeking The Gold who was produced from a Buckpasser mare sired only one winner of a TC i.e., Jazil. His tail descendants have not been very productive a sires. However, his European based grandson Dubawi is a very good sire. He is son of the great Dubai Millennium. Two Step Salsa previously owned by Godolphin could be another of Seeking The Gold's grandson with potential to a classic winning sire."

The power of the Mr. Prospector sire line was on display in the 2014, 2000 Guineas. The Dubawi sired Night Of Thunder lit up the board at 40-1 defeating favorite Kingman. Of the 14 horses in the field the Mr. P sire line was represented by one.

Can another grandson of Seeking the Gold strike on the this side of the pond?

Dance With Fate is the only horse in the field that has defeated anticipated Derby favorite California Chrome. He has also defeated buzz horse Medal Count twice.

He is from the Mr. Prospector sire line that has dominated the Derby. He was sire by a grandson of Mr. Prospector and they are amongst the best Derby winning sires with five wins in the last 17 years.

I will certainly be including  DWF in my wagers as this has to be a sign.

Mr. Prospector's sire line the most powerful force in TC history.

03 May 2014 11:47 AM
Sail On

Since I am not betting on this competitive, if not fast race, as 80% of these entries can win, place or show, here are my picks, based purely on love:

1. Vicar's In Trouble: he not only has earned his way, he deserves it. on the rail? Why not. he will break from gate #2 due to Hoppertunity's scratch, and he breaks well and fast. Expect him to be tied for first immediately after the break, and then fall in behind whomever can take the rail in front of him. Expect him to stalk, and move up along the rail. depending who is on the rail, he scores from inside, having saved ground all the way to win at the wire by a nose, with unseen Wicked Strong closing fast, and Samraat hanging tough after a second kick to beat out ? for third place.

2. Wicked Strong: has the pedigree to win this, but short on guts and experience.

3. Samraat: has been training at a mile, and has guts to duel any horse that challenges him. has an awesome double kick.

4. Expect a photo for 4th; Cali Chrome, Wildcat Red, Chitu, ?

03 May 2014 12:48 PM
josh

I have to go with California chrome, if he gets a clean run, he'll be too tough for the rest. I will also use Danza, wicked strong, and candy boy. A couple long shots that I like, samraat, dance with fate, medal count.

Thanks for the awesome derby season Steve!

Good luck to all!

03 May 2014 1:25 PM
Ribot

I'm almost embarrassed to say I see something in Vinceremos that has me thinking he can finish in the money. I still think it's C Chrome's race to lose but I think I need someone to shake some sense into me before I have Vinceremos figured into to much of my limited bankroll.

03 May 2014 2:50 PM
Lmaris

Good discussion.  Interesting that you favor Uncle Sigh over Samraat, which Uncle Sigh has not finshed in front of before.  

03 May 2014 2:51 PM
Gerry L

Say Hello to Afleet Alex for me. He's one of my all time favorites. People forget he came within a length of winning the TC.

03 May 2014 3:08 PM
Gerry L

I'm sticking with Chrome. I hope he turns out to be as good as he's looked.

03 May 2014 3:10 PM
Linda in Texas

MIKE - GO TO NBCSPORTS.COM AND THEY ARE CARRYING THE

KENTUCKY DERBY ON LINE. NO COST. THEY ARE RUNNING IT

GRATIS. I WILL POST THIS ON OTHER BLOGS.

03 May 2014 5:42 PM
Davids

California Chrome wins!! Great result for racing, and Commanding Curve runs second - too good.

03 May 2014 6:41 PM
Tiz Herself

Congratulations to California Chrome and connections!! Great ride by Espinoza!

Commanding Curve also ran a strong race to close... he's maturing into something special too!

03 May 2014 6:43 PM
robinm

You know, I started second guessing my confidence in California Chrome when he didn't seem to be moving over the CD track as well as some of the other colts.  I got some confidence back when the track came up fast and maybe would be more like what the Cali boy is used to.  Then my confidence plummeted again when he seemed studish in the paddock and I became concerned about his focus.

Clearly, neither I or the rest of his fans had anything to worry about.  Victor rode him perfectly.  Perfect break, perfect stalking trip and as he has in his most recent races, he came out of the turn on top and opened up daylight on the rest.  And again, Victor eased him the last 16th when no one was going to catch him.  Very, very smart to leave something in the tank, especially since he's not used to running back in 2 weeks.  And speaking of the Preakness, the owners, or at least the vocal one, is saying "on to Maryland", but I wonder how Art really feels?  Swaps came home to California and didn't compete in the other 2 TC races.  I kind of wonder if Art wouldn't prefer to do the same with CC.

I'm trying to be respectful of Steve and his blog, but I can't help rubbing it in a little to a certain person (you know who you are) - how does crow taste?

03 May 2014 7:15 PM
Windolin

Tears of joy! California Chrome brought it home.

03 May 2014 7:48 PM
trackjack

Steve,

This was a Derby to remember.  Can't wait for your wrap-up.  I hope Junior didn't take too much out of you as you tried to keep up with him as you all made your back to the backside.  I imagine that was a pretty wild scene back there.  Congrats to all the connections

03 May 2014 10:26 PM
JayJay

I'm officially on the bandwagon.   I ignored the posts by many that if he gets a clean break, he's gone.  When Chitu forced the pace and allowed Chrome to sit behind them, I knew my tickets are worthless.   It was Santa Anita Derby all over again.  He proved he's the best 3 yr old and potentially the best horse this year the way he runs.  I'm not getting ahead of myself but I can't see anyone getting even close to him.  Dale Romans did the same exact thing with his horse, another Golden Soul barely making the field and running huge.  Congrats to all who picked Chrome, hope you all had a big day today!  

CONGRATS to Art Sherman and the owners, a very well deserved win and the forgotten jockey Victor Espinoza who did everything right by Art and this horse.

Chrome went from a $6M horse to priceless...GO CALIFORNIA!

03 May 2014 11:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

    Good job. You almost nailed the superfecta and 149k super high five except for being thrown a commanding curve ball. Is it true that California Chrome was out celebrating Saturday night on the main drag in Louisville, drinking Colt 45 and beating a 65 Mustang, 68 Dodge Charger, and 57 Chevy in drag races? I'm all for a Triple Crown for him even though I'll still be trying to beat him in the Preakness, and Belmont just like I did in The Derby. Nobody could be more deserving of a Triple Crown than this horse, his trainer, owners, jockey, and especially pedigree. It would be a great rags to riches pedigree story. It's one of the few times I'll be betting against him but also rooting for him. It's kind of a can't lose situation. I hope Social Inclusion is ready to at least give CC an early scare. I hope Candy Boy runs in the Preakness also. What would he have done without the bad trip?

04 May 2014 7:45 AM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

Congratulations!  Beautifully done.  A lot of people can thank you for winning a lot of money.  Not me.  Barely cashed any tickets on the horse.

04 May 2014 7:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Wildcat Red and General A Rod were really something, Draynay.

04 May 2014 7:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I wonder if someone will name a new automobile model after California Chrome?

04 May 2014 8:51 AM
El Kabong

KABONG!!!

I don't know why I try to figure this race out only to have my back up ticket hit. I singled chrome, took two shots from my underneath horses, Commanding Curve and DWF, then just went with the logical horses under and lucked out by a nose. There was no Samraat in 4th place on my Super, but there was room for Wicked. Not a huge score but it made for fun night. I was watching at home so we had to wait for NBC to get around to posting who got 4th because it was too close to call.

Chrome is unbelievable. It's time to start rooting for a Triple Crown. Here's to keeping that pony healthy.

04 May 2014 9:28 AM
Cassandra.Says

El Kabong was on Commanding Curve in February and stayed with him late. Most mentions of CC2 were "He deserves to make the field." Just can't stretch that far enough to give points.

04 May 2014 10:01 AM
Windolin

Oh Dr Drunkinbum...you make me laugh. Love, love your comments about CaliChrome out celebrating. Gotta be careful how I use CC, now that we have another CC who just ran beautifully yesterday (Commanding Curve).

It was just a thrill of a lifetime (next to my beloved Secretariat) to see California Chrome win.

I am so thankful too that all returned safely to the barn.

All the colts and owners and trainers as well as their jockeys are to be complimented for making it to the Derby and for giving their best yesterday.

Again, it has been a "hoot" participating in this adventure with all of you guys.

Looking forward to the Preakness and a repeat performance by California Chrome. I have read this morning that he came out of the race "fit as a fiddle" and cleaned up dinner last night and that the vet check this morning was great. Hope all the colts came out the race ok.

Just thrilled about Commanding Curve, what a performance. Think for sure that he is one to watch during the year.

Congratulations to all for a great race, thank God all were safe and hugs and kisses to California Chrome. You brought it home!

04 May 2014 11:16 AM
Linda in Texas

Trackjack were you there? If so, hope you will give us a taste of what it was like.

Deacon - you were right all along and never faltered and i never disagreed either. "California Chrome is the real deal" and you saw and called it early. I am glad he proved you right.

04 May 2014 11:43 AM
MonicaV

How does one start out?  I have to say that that Derby played out the way I thought it would. I have to admit that I was kind of down on Friday having read Steve's remarks about Chrome not being at Churchill long enough, gawking on the track, anxious and chomping on the bit but Saturday morning I just knew he was going to win. That horse knows when he has to get down to business and he does it.  He and Victor are a great team.  The break was good and he was positioned where he likes to be, stalking the pace.  It was superb.  I truly think this is a special horse.  He defies the usual logic even the "experts" on NBC had him fading to 4th.  The roar of the crowd as he was coming down the stretch was incredible.  They had the second biggest crowd in history and I can't help but think that it was because of this California invader who has the connections that make for a hell of a "feel good" story and the little working class guys have achieved something that some of the most famous and successful horsemen all want.  That offer for 6 million and 51% ownership would have put someone else's silks on Chrome and I'm so glad they turned it down.  California Chrome is a special horse and they don't come along every year but it's always one hell of a great experience for everyone.  I hope Draynay is having a good day today.  "Who did he beat?  Dublin?"  Yes, he beat Dublin and Hoppertunity and Candy boy and every horse who started yesterday.  Draynay, is that enough for you or does he have to beat more?  I'm sure he can.  

04 May 2014 11:52 AM
robinm

Steve; I apologize for not including this in my earlier post.  It's amazing to me that your Top 4 in the Derby match the Top 4 of your dozen, with the exception of Hoppertunity, who scratched, in the 2 spot.

Well Done!!!

04 May 2014 12:05 PM
Kevin

Watched the race a dozen times.  Can't believe Medal Count nor Wicked Strong filed objections against Danza.  Both could have finished in the money if not cut off mid stretch.  I had Danza Chrome so not saying this because it cost me money.  

A better ride would have had Ride on Curlin in the money too.  Borel tried riding the rail and got totally stopped on far turn.

As usual the wise guy horse (Intense Holiday) was in reach but wasn't good enough.  

04 May 2014 5:39 PM
BelmontBarb

No Surprise here! Excellent execution and no disappoinment - "The Chrome" was confident and cool without stress and fluidly moved to control the race under Victor Espinoza - Clean race and fine finish.  Thanks for giving us all what we wanted - a Derby!

04 May 2014 7:23 PM
Arch the phoneman

Steve, you are becoming a regular on these NBC telecasts. After the race, your handsome mug was all over the screen sticking your tape recorder out getting quotes. They are going to have to put you on the payroll. Seriously,Steve. Thanks for the great work leading up to the race. It really enhanced the experience for me. I ended up on Danza and I bet to win & place. So,I took a beating,but, can't help feeling that he would have been right there if he did not get hammered into the rail. I'm proud of how he ran and also happy for the Cali Chrome team. Thanks again,Steve.

04 May 2014 11:21 PM
JayJay

El Kabong :  Congrats for hitting the Super, but $7500 isn't a huge score ??  What's considered a huge score ?  lol

04 May 2014 11:53 PM
Sam Santschi

Kabong...good work and credit to cold facts if you did bet the CC exacta.  Not surre if u were kidding.  "All" I got was my pool 3 wager on CC from February and lets face it would not have had it without your early touting Steve, of this very cool horse. So thanks, Steve!  I was very concerned when he arrived in the paddock. His head was cocked to the side, tail dripping with sweat but he was very cool and collected as he came up and they were loaded.

04 May 2014 11:59 PM
JayJay

Anyone watched the press conference of the Kentucky Oaks ?  It was weird that Steve was so focused watching something to his left that he missed the point of the first question posted to him (or maybe purposely "missed" it)...  then at 10:43 of the video, Rosie started explaining to him and they just chatted and was kind of talking over Ron Winchell answering a question.  I'm curious what they were looking at and what they were talking about.

05 May 2014 1:22 AM
trackjack

Linda in  Texas,

No, couldn't do it this year.  From your posts on other blogs, you obviously enjoyed this year's edition.  What a great day and great story.  A friend's daughter at school at U of Cincinnati went for the first time and had a blast on the infield.  She called me an hour before post wanting advice on who to bet. She was betting $10, only bet of the day.  I told her to bet California Chrome to win. She texted me back after thanking me. First bet, first Derby and she had the winner. I told her mom to check her for Derby fever when she gets home.

My friend from Iowa called and we made resv. In NY for the Belmont, just in case. I will NOT use the words Triple Crown and this year's Derby winner in the same sentence. I've been through this too many times. The only race for California Chrome is the next one--the Preakness!

05 May 2014 1:25 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Windolin

  Thanks. It was nice to hear that you liked it. I've really been enjoying your posts, so it's good to be able to give something back. I'll put California Chrome on top on one ticket in the Preakness and try to beat him on another. I think he could also win the Belmont but that is the race I think he is most vulnerable just like most are. Regardless of what happens, California Chrome is a new model for the new age with push button acceleration, 500 horsepower but with great gas mileage, initially sold at a  modest price, affordable for almost anyone despite all of the muscle and chrome, but now with the limited edition the price is through the roof, highly sought after by wealthy collectors pouting in frustration used to being able to buy what they want. There is no joy for them, for mighty California Chrome is not for sale. So far it is still for the hard working owners to enjoy, and they earned this vacation time with the top down, as we see their big smiles, and hair blowing in the wind, they drive off into the sunset with their sleek, muscular beautiful ride.

05 May 2014 7:04 AM
LAZMANICK

Monica you nailed it.  Nice post.  I think that Draynay is looking for a Hong Kong blog, somewhere where he hopes they won't know about his Derby expertise.

05 May 2014 5:55 PM
Old Old Cat

Steve:  I had Chrome all the way from the start.  I had Danza only after your wonderful photo.  Any horse who handled the track like that I had to play.  Unfortunately I went with my heart on Wildcat Red, Samraat, and Uncle Sigh who I thought all had heart and would be there.  My Preakness will probably be Chrome over Wildcat and Danza if they enter.

Thanks again for your wonderful articles.  They are the highlight of the year.

If I were Art Sherman, I would tell Victor to ride the horse through the finish and the next pole and wait for the turn to do his Mike Smith impersonation.  Jockeys fall off.  Jockeys misjudge the finish line.  A lot is at stake.

05 May 2014 6:50 PM
El Kabong

Cassandra.Says

Thanks, I did like Commanding Curve early and I always stick with them, sometimes to a fault, but this guy showed me something in that last race at the FG that was impressive. I know there was a strong front end bias that day and he still closed. I picked up on it after a couple replays and thought I hope this guy gets in to the derby, he's my bomb. His success in the Derby and the struggles of IH and Vicar convinces me now that I was right about that race.

06 May 2014 11:34 PM

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