February 22, 2010 - Presented by Darby Dan

 1

Eskendereya Todd Pletcher

Giant's Causeway—Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew

Been waiting since the Pilgrim for a breakout performance from him and he delivered big-time. With his action, cruising speed, pedigree, and ability to run horses into the ground, he can do it all. Final 3 furlongs in :36 2/5 was impressive. Just have to be careful he didn’t peak too early.

 2

Lookin at Lucky Bob Baffert

Smart Strike—Private Feeling, by Belong to Me

With new stars developing every weekend he’s pretty much in limbo, trying to get sharp and fit for the March 13 San Felipe. Then it’s crunch time, with three weeks to the SA Derby and four weeks to the Kentucky Derby. Out of sight, out of mind, but he’s still the champ and a worthy one. Baffert said on"At the Races With Steve Byk" Monday he's also considering the Rebel Stakes.

 3

Super Saver Todd Pletcher

Maria's Mon—Supercharger, by A.P. Indy

Most of his stablemates are way ahead of him and he has some catching up to do with little room for error. And he’s not going to have an easy time of it if he debuts in the March 6 Gotham. But that’s a perfect spot for him to take back off the pace, with Sidney’s Candy and Tiz Chrome likely heading that way.

 4

Caracortado Mike Machowsky

Cat Dreams—Mons Venus, by Maria’s Mon

He seems out of place among the Pletcher, Baffert, and Lukas glitterati crowd, but until someone figures out how to beat him, he fits right in, and his blood is as blue as any of them. We’ll get a better line on him when he takes on the champ next.

 5

Discreetly Mine Todd Pletcher

Mineshaft—Pretty Discreet, by Private Account

He ran to his works and 2-year-old form, controlling the Risen Star Stakes right from the start with dawdling fractions. Would rather have seen him sit off the pace, but no one wanted the lead and he rated kindly with his ears up the whole way. He’s already shown he can rate.

 6

Rule Todd Pletcher

Roman Ruler—Rockcide, by Personal Flag

Now that things are heating up on the Derby trail, he has to show he can beat better quality horses in larger venues. As of now, Pletcher has a number of horses with similar running styles and they’re all extremely talented. Something’s gotta give.

 7

Dave in Dixie John Sadler

Dixie Union—Risk, by Wavering Monarch

If you like Caracortado you have to like this colt, who was coming on strong in the Robert Lewis in only his third career start and first in almost three months. Strong female family and a relentless stretch run make him dangerous as the distances stretch out. Only question is dirt.

8

Dublin D. Wayne Lukas

Afleet Alex—Classy Mirage, by Storm Bird

Epiglottis surgery obviously worked, and he’s returned to his old form. He had to come from far back after a slow break and fighting the rider early, swung very wide into the stretch and was closing fast, but ran out of room with finish line at the sixteenth pole. His final quarter in :24 4/5 was solid considering three-quarter marker was well up on the turn.

9

Odysseus Tom Albertrani

Malibu Moon—Persimmon Hill, by Conquistador Cielo

Yes, he’s only won a maiden sprint and an allowance race at Tampa, but for sheer power, action, pedigree, and overall style, he’s one of the more visually impressive 3-year-olds seen all year, so ranking him high based on potential.

10

Noble’s Promise Ken McPeek

Cuvee—The Devil’s Trick, by Clever Trick

Now that he’s back working steadily he should be on a decent schedule, but with only two Derby preps likely. He’s as tough and honest as they come. He has a ton of speed in his pedigree, but stout tail-female line is carrying him.

11

Conveyance Bob Baffert

Indian Charlie—Emptythetill, by Holy Bull

Still have major doubts he can carry his speed 10 furlongs, with a contentious pace likely, but there’s something for being undefeated, and his Southwest was a big effort, cutting out wicked fractions from the 9-post. Like the way he dug in at the end when Dublin came charging up to him and was still in front at the regular finish line.

12

Buddy's Saint Bruce Levine

Saint Liam—Tuzia, by Blushing John

Where was Lezcano going? He was in a good spot before sending him into a hole that wasn’t there. He just needed a solid race, coming back at 1 1/8 miles, but timing-wise, this was a disaster, as he got little out of the race and now has to regroup. If he bounces out of it OK, the March 13 Tampa Bay Derby would at least give him two more preps, which he needs.

To participate, use your cursor to drag the selections on the left to the blank placeholders on the right. Once you have completed ranking all of the horses, submit your entries and compare your results to the rest of the community. A first place ranking will earn 12 points, second place receives 11 points, and so on.

151 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Larry Zap

solid list, you have compiled Steve...my Sexy 7 list comes out every Tuesday at @larryzapeye on twitter...i stll haven't made up my mind on the #1 slot...i had Eskendereya 3rd since i started the list two weeks ago...it feels like many folks have jumped on his bandwagon ala Rachel after the KY Oaks

22 Feb 2010 12:55 PM
Slew

Felt really bad for Buddy's Saint, ricocheting like a pinball.  Bad choice by his jockey.  Lookin At Lucky, I'm waiting to see him start.  I probably found the most impressive run coming from Dublin, though I can in no way find fault with Eskendereya or conveyance.  I'm holding on to Ron the Greek...(so I still think he's better than we have seen from him so far).  The Risen Star was most unimpressive for all the runners, and I'm not yet counting Discretely Mine in the ranks of the others.  I really can't wait to see Dave in Dixie run again; he's in my top five.

22 Feb 2010 12:55 PM
Frank J.

Anyone know what's next for American Lion?

22 Feb 2010 12:58 PM
Kevin Stafford

Love your Derby dozen each week as it gives me a chance to reflect on my own rankings.

I currently have 'em:

1. Eskendereya (deserves it..for now)

2. Odysseus (you know I'm on the bandwagon..can't jump off now!)

3. Discreetly Mine (my favorite of the "other Pletchers")

4. Rule (the forgotten Pletcher after this weekend? LOL)

5. Lookin at Lucky (I like him, but I'm not fond of synthetics horses taking the CA path to the Derby. Would love to see him on dirt).

6. Caracortado (can't rank him ahead of Lucky until if/when he beats them).

7. Vale of York (I struggle with where to rank him, if at all, due to his training outside of the U.S., but by virtue of being the 2-year-old champ,methinks he deserves a place at the table for now).

8. Jackson Bend (I'm unable to dip him any further after game 2nd place finishes in the Holy Bull and FOY).

9. Ron the Greek (Lecomte winner got no pace to speak if this last weekend. Obviously needs some help to move forward, but I did not think he disgraced himself at all this weekend).

10. BLind Luck (given what we've seen so far, I still think she deserves a place at the table inside the top 10).  

BTW - glad to see you included my man Odysseus on your list! :-)

22 Feb 2010 1:03 PM
Vic S

I still have Buddy's Saint right at the top.  The race is a throwout and being walloped against the rail back and forth makes it so.  As for having only two preps before the Derby left, I think it'll be enough.  If he is as good as I have thought I wouldn't throw him off the wagon just yet.

22 Feb 2010 1:03 PM
Saratoga AJ

Dublin ran a big race considering. He's my Derby horse if I have to choose one now. Long way to go though.

Good to see D. Wayne back on gthe Derby trail.

22 Feb 2010 1:09 PM
arliss

It might be wise to look back and check out Dublin's stretch run, at a track with a short finish line, at a distance of a mile.  The  COACH has a live one, and I hope he gets him healthy to the Derby.

22 Feb 2010 1:15 PM
Slew

Larry Zap....I LOVE your videos on you tube.  Keep up the great work.

22 Feb 2010 1:15 PM
Ragsy

Steve

I watched the Fountain Of Youth race and felt an inquiry should have been placed on Edgar Prado because he was the reason Buddy's Saint was forced out of the race.  While I think Eskenderya was favored by the other jocks onboard the trainers other horses...which gave Eskenderya a clear shot at winning a set up race....I am thankful that there was not a serious injury and that Buddy's Saint is ok.  

I wish you had given a play by play of the race...I think it was a foul race.

22 Feb 2010 1:16 PM
Dublin Fan

Decent list there, cant believe how Eskendereya could be #1 on anyone's list after running a career best in February, does that maybe spell a bounce in the future.  Pletcher has had this horse just like the many others he's failed at in the derby cranked for prep races in Feb, with works deemed handily by the clockers.  Incredible that anyone would jump on that bandwagon, and then have the thought process and make the statement that: "Just have to be careful he didn’t peak too early."

Very strange how every year Pletcher follows the same path, high on a horse cranks the horse early, wins prep (feb), wins prep (april), runs awful in the derby.  I think the horse with the best chance to make some noise out of his camp ran in Arkansas Mission Impazible, this horse ran a credible race and will most likely benefit from the added distance being out of UBS, if he stays healthy he's on my top 10 list.  The others - Dublin, Looking at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Buddy's Saint (New Rider Please), Discreetly Mine, Tempted to Tapit, Jackson Bend, Tiz Chrome, Mission Impazible and Blind Luck.

Mark my words though, Dublin will move forward off of the race and do just like his father and rule the 3 year old ranks all year long, this horse is really real, his turn of foot is impressive now and Lukas is going to tighten the screws even more within the next 10 weeks. Rebel, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby Triple, you heard it here.

22 Feb 2010 1:20 PM
mg

Steve, Eskendereya very impressive but can't see him jumping over Lucky in ratings. I see that you have given no consideration to Vale Of York since he's still in Dubai. After the BC Godolphin indicated he would be pointed for the Derby and would have at least one prep in the U.S. before. Is there any update on his status?

22 Feb 2010 1:40 PM
Derby Bob

How do you move Buddy's Saint down that for? Horrible trip and should be placed above all the sprinters on this list that will never, ever, ever get the Derby distance???

22 Feb 2010 1:48 PM
Householder

It's nice to see the Cal-Bred Coracortado move up without racing!  Between Coracortado and Conveyance we could see some speed for Lookin and Lucky to run at.  I really see Conveyance playing the "set up" role for Baffert's big gun.  On to the San Felipe!

22 Feb 2010 1:55 PM
keenelandcat

Glad Buddy's Saint is okay-he's a better horse & didn't get to prove it.

22 Feb 2010 2:04 PM
Old Warhorse

Glad Esk is finally at the top, after weeks of being rated below grade.  I still have hope for Rule and Dublin.

22 Feb 2010 2:08 PM
rilharreguy

1. Conveyance

2. Vale of York

3. Eskendereya

4. Coracortado

5. Lookin at Lucky

6. Sidney's Candy

7. Super Saver

8. Discreetly Mine

9. Noble's Promise

10.Drosselmeyer

22 Feb 2010 2:20 PM
HSLewis

Steve,

I enjoy reading your comments and look forward to your lists running up to the Derby.  Quick question--in the FOY didn't Eskendereya run the last 3/8th in 36and 2/5, not 34 2/5?  I do believe he was on the lead at that point--just curious, in case I am missing something!  Thanks!

22 Feb 2010 2:23 PM
Trifectabox

Frank, I heard talk that American Lion could be sent to the Sunland Derby, which I think would be a great spot for him...

Larryzap, Many of us have been on to Eskendereya since the Pilgrim Stakes, as mentioned here...the bandwagon was half-full before Saturday..

Some of the West Coast horses that have been running strictly on poly/turf can really wake up on dirt. That's what happened with Dixie Commander in the Turf Paradise Derby. I think that's possible with Dave In Dixie as well. He is one to watch.

Conveyance is a puzzle. I would love to see him run at Churchill because Indian Charlie's have famously run well on the track there, but one has to question the distance factor. The Southwest is misleading because a mile race doesn't tell you much as far as the Ky Derby.

In an interview this weekend, Ken McPeek seemed awfully hesitant about Noble's Promise's ability to get the Derby distance. I wouldn't have him on my Derby list at this point simply because there are so many other talented horses that have already shown an affinity for the long trip.

In regards to Buddy's Saint, that race told us nothing of his ability or talents, simply that he was put in a very bad position in a large-field race...a tactical revelation only. He could easily rebound.

22 Feb 2010 2:26 PM
Johnny

Sidney's Candy looks very good to me as well.

22 Feb 2010 2:27 PM
Turf Fractions Only

With all due respect may humbly suggest you recalculate your last 3 furlongs. 36 and 2/5ths I believe was the number rather than 34 and 2/5hs.........or did I make an error?

22 Feb 2010 2:29 PM
Turf Fractions Only

The fraction was in reference to the 34 2/5ths you mentioned for Eskendereya.Unless I made error it was 35 and 2/5ths. Thx !

22 Feb 2010 2:32 PM
Carolyn K

I was thrilled with Dublin's performance! He took my breath away at the Spa, and he took my breath away again at the "other" Spa...LOL! This has been and will continue to be my Derby Horse.

22 Feb 2010 2:33 PM
Karen in Indiana

I've had Eskendereya on my list since the first of the year, mainly because of his pedigree. The only hesitation I had in putting him there is that Todd Pletcher is his trainer. Jackson Bend has been high on my list and is still staying there. His record is 8-5-3-0; Tabasco Cat, the winner of the Preakness and the Belmont, is his damsire; and Nick Zito is one of the best trainers and won't have him peaking too early.

22 Feb 2010 2:46 PM
zarvona

  Nice to see "Noble's Promise" and "Conveyance" getting their respect at last!! Awesome run by "Eskendereya", but I see no reason to take "Lookin at Lucky" off the top perch.

Stilling wishing "Pounced" will get back in the game! along with the rest of some of these other uncommitteds from the grass! like “Double’s Partner”??…

Ok, does anyone have a line on what the following horses are currently up to:

"Dixie Band";  "Outlaw Man";  "Excessive Passion";  "Hollinger";  "Twirling Candy"; or "Fast Alex"?...

22 Feb 2010 2:55 PM
Steve Haskin

That :34 2/5 was a typo. its already been fixed.

22 Feb 2010 2:55 PM
Ranagulzion

Steve,

At this stage it looks like the six weeks break between the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby is going to be right up Eskendereya's alley, giving him to time to recover from another big effort in the Florida Derby.  That way he can perform another disappearing act at Gulfstream and scare away more pretenders without having to regress any before the big dance at Churchill Downs.  What'a your take?

22 Feb 2010 3:09 PM
Matthew W

I loved the way Eskendereya inherited the lead in his mile prep, lots of horses will not go on once given the early lead--this is a good horse--the first such three year old I have seen yet this season--expect Caracortado to deliver yet again, so maybe we'll have an East/West battle of the 11-letter/one word Derby horses!

22 Feb 2010 3:10 PM
dave york

Your list can be defended with solid logic, EXCEPT, you need to find a place in the top five for Connemara.  Best pedigree of the bunch.  I think Lion Heart ran a pretty good Derby and this colt is a lot bigger, a longer stride and smoother action.  This colt will blossom in the next month or so.  He does not let anything bother him.  If they can find a jock to let him settle early he will run by them all.  He must be allowed to race from the rear.  Tell Pletcher to put Calvin on his back, he ain't scared, he will let this big one settle and run late.  golden Gate was favoring speed all day.  Check the other races.  Every race on Saturday was won on the engine-except one.  This big ol colt ran around the field after a slow half mile.  He is for real.

22 Feb 2010 3:15 PM
Matthew W

Sydney's Candy--his 7 fur romp was a thing of beauty--he beat a real good/fast guy in Tiny Woods---crushed him, in real good time! Suggest he's a wild card--not sure where they're going with him--would want to be careful, he's way behind the two-turn eight ball, but when it's all said and done, I think Sydney's Candy will be ranked in the top tier--we know he's fast! Think Cali's strong, but it's still a long way to May...

22 Feb 2010 3:19 PM
zarvona

 I must state again, “I was wrong about “Eskendereya”

    quote:

 “To my defense, one might remember that I once said earlier, …that…“with all the “Storm Cat” breds out this year that maybe one might break through”.

 “Of the horses and races run as preps this weekend, “Eskendereya’s” was the most impressive. Double bred to “Bold Ruler”; “Northern Dancer”; and “Hail to Reason”, with a little “Blushing Groom” and “Raise a Native” thrown into the mix, “Eskendereya” may give “Storm Cat”--( a dismal 0 0 0, etc. in the Derby !!!!)-- his best chance to break out of that pattern since “Blue Grass Cat”. Hopefully, this will also not be another one time “Bellamy Road” run. In any event, he has marked himself as the favorite in the Florida Derby if that is his chosen route.”

 Other reasonable wins or runs that were mildly impressive were: “Connemero”, whom I am surprise Steve failed to mention. And I guess “Fly Down” will have to be on a few Radars from here on! Aye?

 And I too have loved “Sidney’s Candy” as well as “Twirling Candy” for sometime. Guess we have to see about any distance issues!!

22 Feb 2010 3:21 PM
LDP

Dublin blew me away. Both he and Conveyance ran a faster last furlong than their second to last which impressed me. Dublin's turn of foot is not the best I've seen, but it is w/o a doubt very very good, and coupled with the fact he can sustain it for as long as he did is unreal. He closed like a bullet, just ran out of track.

22 Feb 2010 3:22 PM
90Proof

Steve:

I with you 100% on Eskendereya, I have waited on this performance as well but also think like many Pletchers in the past he could peek to soon. I thought Dublin ran a great race in the Southwest he was very wide and and finished and is much better than Conveyance with added distance. I actually am think he's a serious derby horse for the first time. Buddy's Saint should bounce back, I still think the number with a chance to really win the derby are small at this point.

My Rankings would be

1)Rule

2)Eskenderya

3)Buddy's Saint

4)Dublin

5)Odysseus

22 Feb 2010 3:23 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Carolyn K I agree with you that Dublin will be my derby horse until I see something else. One it was his first race in a long time and is not cranked up yet. He will probably have two more races before the big dance. Distance is not a problem and he is a beast of a horse! He unlike ron the greek has a explosive closing punch. I think that you will see alot of horses on the lead in the derby you need to find a horse that has stamina, power and speed and dublin fits the bill. Probably be 8-1 and will jump on that all day! With that said Convenyance hasnt lost a race yet and it was his first start on the dirt...impressive!

22 Feb 2010 3:26 PM
Fran Loszynski

I hope Mr. Lukas sticks to one jockey so Dublin can bond to him. All I can say of Dublin is

" A W E S O M E"

I'm not sure he is liking the blinders and he wants to run so please just let him go if he fights you on the track he's saying "Let Me Go"!!!

Glad to also see all the people that feel he is the Derby horse, brings a tear to my eye. Folks, it's going to be one Derby this year! Last year was powering and this year will be Yeehaw!!!!! Go Dublin, Win the Derby for Afleet Alex for your Dad!

22 Feb 2010 3:31 PM
Matthew W

Steve here's a shout-out question, for you and fellow "Hangers With Haskin": Has there ever been a Kentucky Derby winner who raced at Fairplex?...I believe Codex, the Preakness Winner, won when it was 1/2 mile/no banked turns and called "The Pomona Fair"...and Squirtle Squirt the BC Sprint Winner ran at Fairplex...Caracortado won for 40K in his debut at Fairplex--and you have him 4th on your Derby List--and I agree with you--Caracortado is one heck of a story, so far--he's also a heck of a nice three year old! He's won around two turns on pro-ride,twice- perhaps even if he comes up short at Santa Anita, he'll improve his staying ability on dirt--in other words, a Fairplex Park Horse is (probably) headed for The Kentucky Derby!

22 Feb 2010 3:36 PM
Big Red

  With the Derby on dirt, "Caracortado" is an absolute throwout in my book as he's been winning on syn and fits the syn winning profile (mid range stalker).

 Eskendereya was most impressive and not because he won but "How He Won"! Watch the relay and how busy the jock of Jackson Bend is and how quiet J.V. is on Eskendereya. Was not a taxing race on him at all and the sky is the limit. As for Jackson Bend, nice hoss but is all out after a mile and should be kept 7-8 furlongs.

 My top ten list here - www.tbredjkie.co.cc/index.php

22 Feb 2010 3:39 PM
rick in g-town ky

Give Todd p one more chance at the derby if he cant pull it off this year,good luck in the next 5 years

22 Feb 2010 3:54 PM
Billy's Empire

with so much speed starting to materialize, with the likes of Conveyance, Sidney's Candy, and Discreetly Mine, I am looking for the closers to be running at the end of the Derby. The pace should be solid so no one will be in a gallop with an easy lead. With that said, Dublin and Dave in Dixie vault to the top of my list, with Eskendereya and Rule right there with them.  

22 Feb 2010 4:02 PM
Sammi P

I loved seeing Dublin come back,with a better trip he could have won. Also liked how Tempted to Tapit ran, for his first stakes try he really dug in and was getting closer to Discreetly Mine in the end (not much but still) I can't wait to see those three run next, Dublin and Tempted will only improve from here I think and they will be my Derby choices for now.

22 Feb 2010 4:16 PM
hoofprintsandhorseplay

Wow - gotta love a three front running Derby preps to blow up the Derby Dozen!

Buddy's Saint will be up against winning the Derby for timing reasons. He got nothing out of the race. He still needs two preps. If he goes with only one, chances are he will be short on Derby day. He was #1 on my list - he will drop but not completely out.

Look for Sidney's Candy to display his brilliance on dirt in the Gotham Stakes and I don't care who Pletcher sends for the race.

22 Feb 2010 4:25 PM
TerriV

It was great to see Dublin looking good and running well.  But I always love a Holy Bull horse.  Anytime there is one running I bet that horse.  Sentimental but Holy Bull was special and we all have our sentimental favorites.  I loved seeing Conveyance win and I hope he keeps it up.

22 Feb 2010 4:43 PM
TerriV

Referring to a previous blog - Odysseus is a great Triple Crown name.  I don't know much about this horse yet.  How about a little more info on him!

22 Feb 2010 4:45 PM
Runfast159

Hmmmmm.  Mostly I agree.  The only things out of place are Dublin, who should be higher IMO and Sidney's Candy who should be in the Top 12.  Here are mine:

1. Eskendereya (FOY performance)

2. Dublin (Big race off a layoff)

3. Lookin at Lucky (lights out at 2, but still waiting on his 2010 debut)

4. Rule (can't argue with success)

5. Conveyance (he's 4 for 4)

6. Caracortado (and 5 for 5...)

8. Buddy's Saint (don't give up yet!)

9. Sidneys Candy

10. Dave in Dixie

I still like: Maximus Ruler and Jackson Bend, though questions remain about distance particularly for JB.  I LOVE Odysseus and can't wait for his next start.  I also think Conemarra and Northern Giant have good potential.

I don't love Discreetly Mine.  I can't really exlain that, he's a nice looking colt and he ran well enough in the Risen Star but I am waiting for him to show me something more.  

22 Feb 2010 4:52 PM
Paula Higgins

1.Looking at Lucky

2.Dublin

3.Eskendereya

4.Rule

5.Buddy's Saint

6.Conveyance

6.Caracortado

22 Feb 2010 5:20 PM
Ragsy

I love Odysseus: pedigree out of Persimon Hill by Malibu Moon,AP Indy,Seattle Slew, Mr. Prospector and Secretariat seems like a nice pedigree..

22 Feb 2010 5:28 PM
GunBow

I knew Eskendereya had potential, but the FoY was truly a revelation.  He now has excellent foundation and should be tough to beat right back in the Florida Derby.  What tempers my enthusiasm about his FoY performance is that he was up on a slow pace (the track was actually almost as fast as it was for Quality Road's Florida Derby), and few horses behind him did much of anything.

I had seen Conveyance in person when he won the San Rafael, but came away from the race far from being overwhelmed.  However, I underestimated 1) How hard it is to go wire-to-wire around 2 truns on the Pro-Ride; 2) Just how game Conveyance is; and 3) What a good horse the San Rafael runner-up, Cardiff Giant, is.  

All the talk prior to the San Rafael centered on Conveyance's speed and brilliance.  But what has really impressed me is how much heart he has displayed winning both the San Rafael and Southwest.  In the Southwest Conveyance took the best of solid speed horses like Dryfly and Cool Bullet(both of whom finished way up the track) while running 6 furlongs in 1:10 and 3(almost 2 seconds faster than the 6 furlong split of any other prep this past weekend), was able to repel an early stretch run from the hard-trying Cardiff Giant, then had enough to hold off Dublin.  Unlike some others, I believe Conveyance did run the best race in the Southwest and most certainly deserved to win.  However, given Conveyance's possible distance limitations, I do rank Dublin ahead of him on my Derby list.

And can Cardiff Giant get some love?  I don't think he's necessarilly a Derby horse, but he has run 2 bang-up races finishing behind Conveyance in the San Rafael and the Southwest.  In both races he made a giant middle move to challenge Conveyance only to be turned back late in the race; at the top of the stretch in the Southwest, I truly thought Cardiff Giant was going to win.

The Gotham is looking increasingly interesting.  I was very impressed with Sidney's Candy in the San Vicente and believe his free-running style is going to be better served on dirt than synth when stretching out 2 turns.  I also haven't given up on Tiz Chrome.  Bob Baffert knows something about the Derby and he's been high on Tiz Chrome since getting him after the colt broke his maiden at Churchill.  In the Bob Lewis, Tiz Chrome was given the extremely difficult task of going wire to wire around 2 turns after a first quarter in :23; the Pro-Ride is so severe to frontrunners around 2 turns, and those that have been successful doing so went much slower than :23 for the 1st quarter.  On dirt his speed will be an asset not a handicap, and his fast wins at Chruchill on dirt and on Hollywood Park's dirt-like Cushion Track suggest he will be much more comfortable away from Santa Anita.  Distance remains a question, but the Gotham is only a mile.  Add Super Saver, and we have a prep full of talented and speedy colts.

22 Feb 2010 5:37 PM
GunBow

Steve:

Good observation about the gallop-out after the Southwest.  I hadn't noticed that Conveyance remained in front of Dublin all the way to the regular finish line.  In fact, Conveyance never did let Dublin get ahead of him, even past the clubhouse turn on the gallop-out.  I normally don't pay much mind to gallop-outs, but it does allow for some hope that Conveyance can get at least 9 furlongs.

One also needs to keep in mind that Conveyance broke from the 9 hole with a very short run into the 1st turn.  Martin Garcia had little choice but to gun Conveyance out of the gate, and this went a long way in prodcuing that fast 1st quarter of :22 and change.  The best horse on the day (at the 1 mile distance) most definitely won the Southwest.  

22 Feb 2010 5:55 PM
Betsy

I thought I might see Fly Down on here - I'm surprised he's not.

22 Feb 2010 5:58 PM
runfortheroses12

I understand that Jackson Bend didn't win the FOY, and yes, Eskendereya ran away with it, but why is he completely off the list?  He's sitting comfortably in second place in his races, and I think it is good that he is not winning yet! He should slowly progress and peak at the derby which is what Zito I think is trying to pull off!

Don't throw him out yet, especially with his bullet works!

22 Feb 2010 6:02 PM
Alex PB

A forgotten horse for now is Afleet Express. He runs in 7F alw this Thursday at GP with John Valenzuela aboard. The Afleet Alex's have trouble out of the gate, and it happened last out for AE. Not too late for the Derby march.

22 Feb 2010 6:07 PM
kenny outar

i think todd pletcher, bob baffert and my man d. wayne [off the plane]lukas have the best chance of winning this year derby.

22 Feb 2010 6:10 PM
christy tate

loved eskendereya's fountain of youth victory. liked discreetly mine's win as well. hope they haven't peaked too soon either. we'll know for sure come may  1st.

22 Feb 2010 6:14 PM
Steve Haskin

I reluctantly took Jackson Bend off because others are making progress and he's basically where he was a few months ago. Pedigree is still a question for 10 furlongs and he's so small he could get swallowed up in a 20-horse field. I like the horse, but not sure if I like him to win the Derby.

22 Feb 2010 6:46 PM
Marianna

Don't worry about distance for Conveyance. He has Holy Bull's X and heart and believe me, it's a big one. I also like Buddy's Saint, Tempted to Tapit, Tiz Chrome, and Lookin at Lucky.

22 Feb 2010 6:46 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Any thoughts on ron the greek? I just feel this derby is going to have some fast splits with about 4 or 5 horses fighting for the lead. I think dublin will benefit from coming from behind in the southwest and was a good learning experience for him.

22 Feb 2010 7:00 PM
El Kabong

Pletcher looks loaded but esky ran like a real champ. If he reloads and fires in FL Derby, it could be game over when you consider that his pedigree has plenty more distance to go. Looking at the final splits and times, I have a hard time keeping any of that field alive in the top 12, except maybe buddy. Still, we have a long way to go and several untested monsters to view, Odysseus, Concord Point, Super Saver just to name a few. Like what Dublin accomplished, much more impressive than winners performance. He will be deadly  stretching out next race. Looking for Dave in Dixie to improve with more distance as well.

Steve, thanks for your time on the WIN PLACE, SHOW last weekend. Joe Withee does a great job for us Northwest Fans but you should pay us another visit before the Derby. Oh and thanks for your tip on Pletcher's pre-race comment about Discreetly Mine. It was put to good use. Muchos gracias.

22 Feb 2010 7:07 PM
tcc

Gunbow:

Gotham S. (G3) Aqu, $250,000g, 3yo, 8.5f  March 6th.

22 Feb 2010 7:08 PM
Carrie

I would throw Buddy's Saint off completely.  A horse that is already needing his ankle hosed three times a day to help keep it cool is not going to make it to the big day.  Great for Zayat to be on top.  He has put a ton in this sport and I hope he is rewarded!

22 Feb 2010 7:39 PM
PMAC14

Jackson Bend is this years Big Drama!  Nice horse for sure, but not gonna get 10F.  

22 Feb 2010 7:41 PM
El Kabong

Big Red,

Caracortado-scar face- broke his maiden on dirt, 40k at fairplex, not impressive, but it does lend insight into his ability to step back on the surface. Don't toss him yet, he has alot of heart and we'll find out soon how much that counts.

22 Feb 2010 7:44 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

Your new dozen reflects some predictable movements and some surprising movement, inclusion and exclusions.

Eskendereya’s move to # 1 was expected. I would caution that his profile does not match up well with the derby winner’s chart. We should not forget Bellamy Road who rocketed to #1 on every derby list after his impressive Wood victory. His profile did not match up well with the derby winner’s chart.  The 1:12.41 & 1:36.54 clocking for 6F/8F are the slowest for the race in the last 4 years. His closing burst is directly related to a slow pace and must not be used to inflate his performance. Nice colt but will not be the derby winner.

Discreetly Mine from #9 to #5 for a Risen Star victory that was on part with those of derby failures Notoinal, Pyro and Friesan Fire is not justified. There was nothing about the performance that warrants such movement. His winning time of 1:44.88 is slower than the one recorded by Pyro closing from last in the 2008 renewal.

Conveyance has earned his spot and his performance was far better than Discreetly Mine and I do believe he is still unbeaten. how can he be ranked below DM?

Odysseus and Nobles Promise inclusion instead of Connemara whose performance was the most impressive of the weekend and Cardiff Giant is inexcusable. Connemara's win the EL CAMINO REAL DERBY confirms what I have always felt. He is the only Pletcher horse that can win the derby. He is by far the most athletic and possesses the most stamina. His dam line that is associated with derby success and his dam Satin Sunrise is also dam of Derby runner up Lion Heart. Cardiff Giant was 3rd in the Southwest which was his 11 start. He has been in the top three 10 times and was second and third to you Conveyance on consecutive outings. If his trainer would just remove the blinkers & figure eight he would be a different colt. He has the best dam line of all the 2010 colt. His first dam was sired by Stop The Music (dam sire of Giacomo) Second dam was sired by Jacinto (Dam sire of Gato Del Sol) His fourth dam was sired by Tom Fool (Dam sire of Foolish Pleasure) He was defeated by Conveyance and Dublin who are in your dozen. How does the allowance winner Odysseus make the dozen over a colt that has been 2nd and 3rd in a pair of G3 Stakes? Nobles Promise has clear stamina limitation and has not made a 3YO start. How does he make the list over Connemara?

22 Feb 2010 8:00 PM
anniedixie65

Felt terrible for Buddy's Saint, and you can't move him off the list, it's not his fault the other horses came over the way they did completely shutting them off.

Lookin' At Lucky....the competition is getting tougher for him once he does come back, how will he handle that and the dirt surface??

Conveyance is a real horse, concerned with the distance issue and I also would really like to not see him on the lead. However, can't get any better than perfect and that's what he is. Also there was a huge improvement coming out of the San Rafael, he was focused this time.

Discreetly Mine probably had one of the best trips of any horse and got lucky with lack of pace in the race.

Eskendereya, I loved his performance in the FOY. He was very impressive, but may have had tougher competition if Buddy's Saint got the right trip.

SOO many more three year olds, but now I want to focus on a deserving one.

Lentenor ran a game race in his allowance race. He got jipped if I have ever seen it. Much slower pace and I don't think he like that as much, the faster the pace for him the better. IMO, look out Eskenderya he can handle a fast pace. He didn't really get to compete with the winner Doubles Partner because of his slick move on the inside at the end, he is still a contender and should not be forgotten. Anyway, any new information on how he came out of the race and where they are pointing him in his next start?

22 Feb 2010 8:01 PM
anniedixie65

Ragsy,

I completely 100% agree with you. Kinda funny how Aikenite, Pletcher trainee, knocked out of the race going into the 1st turn and which trainer won the race also completing the trifecta?? Idk, IMO there's something going on there. Nothing against Eskendereya at all, love the horse and performed amazing, but the outcome of the race may have been different.

22 Feb 2010 8:08 PM
Matt Converse

Our lists are looking much more similar.  Buddy's Saint and Jackson Bend were nice two-year-olds who never improved and don't want distance.  Buddy's Saint had a horrible trip early, but then what did he do?  Watch Touch Gold or Afleet Alex in their Preakness runs. Buddy's Saint had a bad trip, AND he ran poorly.  He moved into contention nearing the far turn and then faded badly.  

Nice calls on Dublin and Discreetly Mine, Steve.  I had given up on both.  I'm still not that crazy about Discreetly Mine, but he ran well enough to win on that speed-favoring track. He's better than I thought. Dublin is the one that really impressed me, even though he lost to my horse, Conveyance.  It's one of those races where my choice won but I was still proven wrong, to be honest. Dublin looked like the better horse for 10f.

Eskenderya has it all.  Everything you want to see in a three-year-old pointing for the Derby: improving, has speed, yet a relaxed running style, a turn of foot, a strong finish and a stamina backed up by a strong pedigree.  And the 106 Beyer makes him the first horse to run fast enough to win the Derby.

Caracortado is clearly the #2 horse, and we could have a West Coast-East Coast showdown in the Derby with two clear standouts. Dave in Dixie looked pretty good too and looks like he wants to run all day.  

1. Eskendereya

2. Caracortado

3. Blind Luck

4. Lookin at Lucky

5. Dave in Dixie

6. Dublin

7. Super Saver

8. Odysseus

9. Rule

10.Conveyance

11.Sidney's Candy

12.Discreetly Mine

22 Feb 2010 8:10 PM
Katherine

I was very impressed with Dublin's race. He has been my derby favorite since last year. I noticed when he broke from the gate that he as a little slow but I also saw be stumbled a little about three jumps out of  the gate. When he finally settled and the jockey let him go he was really moving and closing fast even with Conveyance setting such fast fractions. It was so exciting to watch. Dublin just needed a little more distance. Be that as it may Conveyance ran a very good race.  I do hope DWL will consider a different jockey for Dublin, they didn't look like a good fit to me. Just my opinion.

22 Feb 2010 8:16 PM
trackjack

Steve,

Look forward every week to your list and your comments.  Eskendereya was brilliant in blowing away his field.  He just has to be careful of getting too close too early and hooking with speedballs.  He's got what it takes.  I am not giving up on Drosselmeyer, cutting back to 8.5f from 9f and trying to run down a dawdling pacesetter from the inside, he gained much needed experience while still gaining on the winner.  His pedigree begs for a mile and a quarter.

22 Feb 2010 8:24 PM
GunBow

Steve:

I am with you on Jackson Bend.  He's a nice colt and clearly as honest as they come, but it looks like middle distances are as far as he wants to go, at least at this point in his career.  With so much focus on the Derby and Triple Crown, it is easy to forget just how much money there is to be made for good middle distance horses in the various derbies across the US.  And who knows, maybe in 3 months Jackson Bend might be ready for the Preakness.  The Derby and the Belmont, however, seem beyond his current distance capabilities.

22 Feb 2010 8:27 PM
Householder

dave york.  I thought Connemara looked awful in the Cal Derby.  

22 Feb 2010 8:41 PM
jacky sams

mr.lukas looked as though he has a few derby contenders, wow wow wow, Northern Giant, 3rd risen star,and Dublin look out here comes coach.

22 Feb 2010 9:04 PM
JD IN OWENSBORO

here is what i saw this weekend. eskendraya won for fun and set a class mark.all the rest will be on the undercard on derby day. discreatly mine ran a nice race. the jock had such a short tight hold on the horse all the way arouand and with his head up and ears pricked and took off when let loose. Dublin is for real and is a real contender. he was eating up ground and almost got there.Its a long way to 4th and central but these three will be there.

22 Feb 2010 9:42 PM
The Gripper

Gun Bow - youd be running past the 9th panel if you were being whipped liked conveyance was too. The jock was soo into him to keep up that pace of course he kept it up after Dublin geared down.  The DWL knows this isnt the race you empty out on, Conveyance on the other hand, left it all on the track - total bounce candidate if his next run is in the dirt.

22 Feb 2010 9:45 PM
dustywhipp

My Derby Top 5:

1.Eskendereya

2.Tiz Chrome ( I'm counting out the Lewis for so many reasons )

3.Lookin at Lucky

4.Caracortado

5.Rule

22 Feb 2010 9:56 PM
Mack

Steve,

This is a good list but one to watch: Wow, Wow, Wow. I think the Coach has a couple that will enter the starting gate on Derby Day.

Just like Dave In Dixie, Dublin is going to a tough one this spring. He looks fantastic!

22 Feb 2010 10:49 PM
GunBow

Coldfacts:

I think you pose some interesting and warranted questions.

tcc:

I guess my brain was 5 years in the past.  Yes, the Gotham is 8.5 furlongs and has been at that distance since 2006.  My point about Tiz Chrome isn't affected though.  While he may not want 10 furlongs, I really think 8.5 furlongs is within his range.  Whether he's good enough at that distance to beat Super Saver and Sidney's Candy is another question.

The Gripper:  Concerning Conveyance galloping out ahead of Dublin, I was just repeating what Steve noted.  I didn't say that it guarantees that Conveyance can get 9 furlongs, but it does offer some hope.  Yes, Martin Garcia got very busy on Conveyance in the stretch, whipping him around 15 times.  However, from Baffert's comments after the race, the possibility exists that he could skip the Rebel with Conveyance and just point for the Arkansas Derby.  

I'm sure Baffert will observe how Converyance comes out of the Southwest and base his decision concerning the Rebel on the horse's signals after an admittedly strenuous effort.  And while Garcia asked Conveyance for his all, it wasn't like the other jockeys were holding back their mounts and trying not to win.  The best horse on the day(at the 1 mile distance) won.  However, as I wrote above, I have Dublin ranked higher than Conveyance in my Derby list.  While the gallop-out offered partial evidence Conveyance might be able to successfully stretch out, I remain skeptical of his ability to get longer distances, particularly  10 furlongs and beyond(Belmont).

22 Feb 2010 10:49 PM
El Kabong

Matt,

Good list.

One to watch for is west coast "Odysseus" named Concord Point. Surprisingly made first list future pool but when you run a 1:15 6 1/2f (95 beyer) first race anywhere, you open eyes. Like Pletcher's Super Saver, this one is in the tall grass, waiting and training. Both could rocket to top of lists with a consistent next out effort. Another one nobody seems to give credit to is the Tapit colt who ran a green second to Discreetly Mine. Tempted To Tapit looks to be making leaps with each effort lately. May mature on next outing. WIth the success of so many Tapit offspring, this one reminds me most of his talented dad, even though he as yet to rate.

22 Feb 2010 11:07 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

Your latest Derby Dozen contains four colts conditioned by Todd Pletcher. If my math is correct this figure represents a whopping 33.33%.  You no doubt have Connemara, Aikenite, Mission Impazible and Colizeo on the bubble. It is therefore possible that by the time of your next dozen, the Todd squad might account for 40% of your dozen.  I remember this exact scenario in 2007. Mr. Pletcher stable accounted for 20% of the final derby field and must have accounted for 40% of your final dozen. It is possible that his stable may very well account for a similar or a greater % of derby starters in 2010. I thought it would be interesting to revisit 2007 to see if it could provide a measure for 2010.

His derby entrants were as follows:

Circular Quay - won the Louisiana Derby (finished 5th)

Any Given Saturday - won the Sam Davis, 2nd Tampa Bay Derby & 3rd Wood Memorial (finished 8th)

Sam P - 2nd Robert B. Lewis S.  & 3rd Santa Anita Derby (finished 9th)

Scat Daddy - Won Florida Derby, Fountain Of Youth S; 3rd Holy Bull S. (finished 19th)

Cowtown Cat - Won Illinois Derby, Gotham S; 3rd Swale S. (finished 20th)

Mr. Pletcher entered the 2007 Derby with 5 colts that combined for six derby preps victories and six top three finishes in six others. He exited the derby with a best finish of 5th. Scat Daddy and Cowtown Cat the multiple prep winners, finished 19th and 20th respectively. Cowtown Cat’s last place finish in the 2007 Derby represented the middle leg of what has turned out to be a unique triple for multiple eclipse awards winning trainer. The last place finishers in the 2006 & 2008 Derbies Keyed Entry and Monba were both conditioned by Mr. Pletcher. It is hard to imagine that entrants from one of the most powerful stable in the US have finished last in three consecutive derbies. The 2007 results for Mr. Pletcher is a classic case of when more equates to less.

Is Mr. Pletcher’s 2010 crop of 3YOs better than his 2007? I cannot say but the 2010 crop seems to be achieving some of the same results and more. Rule won the Sam Davis and Eskendereya the FOY. Connemara and Discreetly Mine have added the Risen Star & the EL CAMINO REAL DERBY. With several derbies preps to come it appears the 2010 crop will eclipse the achievements of the 2007 crop. Could Mr. Plecther be going into the 2010 Derby with even a stronger hand? It appears that way. Will he exit with better than a 5th place finish? There is a possibility he will exist with better than 5th place finish but his resume will still be void of a derby victory.

I hope I am wrong with my prediction as I really like Connemara. When this colt came to my attention, I observed that his dam (Satin Sunrise) had made 78 starts and was also the dam of Derby runner up Lion Heart. It became apparent to me that Satin Sunrise could go one better than Never Knock who produced 1990 Derby third place finisher Pleasant Tap and followed with the 1994 winner Go For Gin. Connemara will run all day and has what I consider to be the best broodmare line of the Todd Squad.

Will more equate to less again for Mr. Pletcher in 2010? Unimaginable! I would really like him to win the Derby so I can stop eliminating his horse from the top spot. I am beginning to believe that a Derby curse has been placed on him. With the sort of operation he runs, there seems to be no other explanation for his elusive Derby victory?

23 Feb 2010 12:40 AM
dr fager01

Hi steve; wonderful derby dozen,conveyance all the way, if you look closely at the southwest,the wonderful run of dublin produced with a late charge was beutiful to watch, but that run can be decieving, because even when the two horse stop driving dublin never passed conveyance, i had conveyance at 8.5 in 143.2/5 and out 9furlongs in 1:51 flat thats not bad at all, this horse dont like to lose much the same as his grand daddy. lets give conveyance a break. breaking from post 9 and to then clear that field in front of dryfly a horse who won his last race wire to wire, conveyance put in a big effort that first 1/4 and then to repel the late charges of cardiff giant and a g1 winner like dublin was fantastic. lets be real the derby winner is going to come from a horse who is a fighter not someone who is running away from the field. conveyance all the way.

23 Feb 2010 12:46 AM
bill c

I don't understand the ranking of Dublin over Conveyance who has won four straight Dublin has lost his last two couldn't get past Conveyance at the finish or the runout I don't think Dublin would have passed Conveyance if they had ran around the track again. Conveyance has a ton of speed and determination. I still think Looking at Lucky is the top one for now

23 Feb 2010 6:45 AM
Fran Loszynski

Alex PB

Wouldn't it be something if Afleet Express, Afleet Again, and Dublin ran in the Derby  "WOW"!! Afleet Again and Afleet Express are beautiful trains on the racetrack. Go Alex's kids! Fans of Afleet Alex wouldn't know what hat to wear.

23 Feb 2010 7:48 AM
Bloodline Bob

Looking At Lucky WILL NOT win the Kentucky Derby. He will win other races. I personally do not think he will run in the KY.Derby.

23 Feb 2010 8:20 AM
RiverCitySmitty

I think we`re heading for another Giacamo derby this year with sooo many front runners winning prep races.  Pletcher has done an admirable job of keeping his horses separated, but with the majority of his horses having identical running styles, when they finally meet up, something`s gonna give.  Discreetly Mine led the Risen Star on a merry go round race and will likely face additional early pressure if he comes back for the La derby.  If a trainer has a stone closer in an upcoming race where pace looks to be weak, why not throw in a rabbit to ensure his horse has a chance.  Drosselmeyer, Stay Put and Ron the Greek were all compromised this past weekend.  Dublin looked good and was getting to the winner in the short stretch Southwest.  Backtalk is set to make his return this week in a small stakes @ DeD and already has suffient graded earnings if connections decide to move forward.  If the big race was next weekend i`d throw out everyone even remotely interested in the lead and wait for the meltdown to happen.

23 Feb 2010 8:29 AM
Glassoniongirl

Personally, Lentenor is looking real good to me, he`s my top pick. I think he`s got a ton of potential.

Buddy`s Saint next. Even Secretariat had rough days.

Then Lookin At Lucky.

23 Feb 2010 10:14 AM
Slew

I prefer to concentrate on horses that have done 8.5 furlongs, around 2 turns on dirt.  But while we're discussing whether or not a colt can make 10 furlongs, we concentrate only on the Derby.  I'm wondering which colt can make 12 furlongs, because I'm desperate for another Triple Crown....that's why Ron the Greek is staying on my radar.  Since he's not on this Derby list, my top 5 are Dublin, Eskendereya, Conveyance, Buddy's Saint, and Dave in Dixie.  Haven't seen LAL run yet this year.  Caracortado was ok.  Risen Star...bad gauge...so I'm not impressed with Discreetly Mine; Was impressed however by Mission Impazzible and Cardiff Giant in the SW. Jackson Bend is no longer in my top 10.  I'm waiting to see Ruler and Super Saver run again. FYI...Maximus Ruler has been shipped to KY for a more thorough bone scan at Lexington.

23 Feb 2010 10:25 AM
Karen in Indiana

Coldfacts, in regards to Todd Pletcher, there is no such thing as a curse, but there is such a thing as being so set in his ways that he isn't changing them even though so far they haven't worked. There is a saying - the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result. It's been 30+ years since a Triple Crown win and every year there is talk of changing the races - length or schedule - to make it easier. Why are trainers not looking at what was done in the past and changing what they are doing now? Because from where I sit (in a chair looking at a computer LOL!), that's the problem.

23 Feb 2010 10:45 AM
dr fager01

I couldnt agree more bill c. I dont understand how you can rank horses who get beat 3 spots ahead of an undefeated horse that he just lost to talk about deep down prejudices, if they would have went around again dublin would have never passed conveyance. I hate to say it, since the derby always has a way  to throw us all off, and since everybody is on the bandwagon for a closer, this all means were gonna see another wire to wire winner of the derby. mark my word.

23 Feb 2010 11:03 AM
luckylad

I think Haskin has it right with Eskendereya on top.  A lot of upside with this horse.  Don't count on Rule, though. Pletcher duo would make a powerful entry.

23 Feb 2010 11:11 AM
Big Red

  @El Kabong

  Yes, i realize that however his last race which put him on the map, was on the syn and he benefited greatly by running the winning profile on syn while Tiz Chrome and American Lion dueled and ran against the winning profile.

  The fact that Conveyance ran against the winning profile and still won shows his immense talent. I'm just now sold he wants to go much farther than he has so far. If he ever shows a rating ability in his start(s) before the derby however, i would make him my #1 choice.

23 Feb 2010 11:40 AM
Forbidden Apple

Conveyance was by far the most impressive horse of the weekend. He is an undefeated horse on synthetic and dirt, plus he gunned from the outside to set a fast pace and wire the field. He is the only true speed horse that I can see, the others like Rule, Jackson Bend, and Discreetly Mine are to slow. The one horse who could possibly run with Conveyance is Super Saver. I do not see Conveyance as a bounce candidate, he should only improve off from this effort. He needs to seetle in more in the future, but he had to go from the 9 post. Martin Garcia is no dumby and I hope Baffert keeps him on this horse, he is a sharp and crafty jockey. He might have been riding hard, but so was Thompson on Dublin. If Conveyance learns to settle, he will clearly be on my KY Derby tickets. Dublin never got past Conveyance and only appeared to be running fast at the end. The race was won in the first 7f and the last 1/16 was run in 13. If anyone is a bounce candidate it is Dublin after coming back from an extended vacation. I loved Holy Bull and this guy sure reminds me of his grandfather.

I have been one of the biggest supporters of Buddy's Saint on these blogs. I will give him another chance in most likely the Wood Memorial. I think the rail was open, it just closed up when the 2 horses came together. Jockeys do have blind spots, on the other hand Garcia is arrogant and thinks he is the man.

Proceed with caution folks, Eskendereya was my second choice and he did look good winning against zero competition. The first 6F went in 1:12 2/5 versus Conveyance running 6F in 1:10 3/5. That is a huge difference, Eskendereya only had to run fast for 3 furlongs. So Eskendereya is a world beater because he abused Jackson Bend? I like Eskendereya, but by no means am I going to start calling him the next Triple Crown winner. Some people are even suggesting that the KY Derby field will be smaller now that Eskendereya ran fast for 3 furlongs. I can not stop laughing after reading that comment. This is no surprise to me though, because these are the same people that are already making Quality Road horse of the Year as of Feb.

If D'Funnybone runs in the Florida Derby, this will surely give Eskendereya a much tougher race. I hope Lentenor enters and beats them all on Florida Derby day. It's worth a shot, I mean he ran okay in his last race. And he has much more potential to run like Barbaro than Eskendereya does.

23 Feb 2010 11:41 AM
JF1104

I think its a little premature to be stating Jackson Bend cannot get 10f.  Was put to an all out drive around the 3/8 pole in an effort to win the race with Rose knowing Eskendereya was getting away from him.  Yet he still held second comfortably.

Zito does know how to get a horse ready to peak the first Saturday in May and is getting a good foundation under him as he moves forward.  i believe that the Wood is next at 9f as Zito stated horse needs a little more time bewteen races.

Also with all the disrespect given to FOY runner-ups, should that not put a bit of a downer on Eskendereya's performace as well?  If JB cant get 9f and the rest of the field sans Buddy's Saint is nowhere to be found on top lists it seems to me that should downgrade winners performance a bit

23 Feb 2010 12:05 PM
Ragsy

anniedixie65

If you will notice Lentenor's race was set up and ran the same as Eskenderya's.  

JohhnyV's ride was the same on both horses only Lent did not win a Pletcher horse did...

horse hugs to Lentenor..

23 Feb 2010 12:06 PM
MarkP

1. Lookin at Lucky

2. Buddys Saint, needs jock change

3. Nobles Promise

4. Dave in Dixie

5. Eskenderaya

Who likes Conveyance and Dublin? They were ready for a nap at the finish line. Some of these posts are hilarious. KNOCK KNOCK, Derby is 10 furlongs, NOT 8 or 9!

23 Feb 2010 12:16 PM
ALB

Karen in Indiana,

Couldn't agree with you more! If I was a trainer, I would research all the training that was done by the previous Triple Crown winners! There's got to be some real reason that there hasn't been any TC winners in the last 30 years, although some have come very very close!!

23 Feb 2010 12:20 PM
Tim G

Conveyance was tiring. Martin said that himself. Dublin was rank and unfocused, first back after a long layoff and was running at the end, closing fast his style of running.

23 Feb 2010 12:37 PM
suitcase

Frank ,American Lion,s  next race Will be  The San Felipe on March 13th at Santa Anita,also running  are Looking at Lucky and Caracortado...you can go to You Tube then go to Tizdubai, which is Eoin Harty,s wife Kathy,s website and see all of American Lion,s works!

23 Feb 2010 1:13 PM
Trifectabox

Hey Zarvona

Fast Alex is living up to his name - he recorded a bullet work of 4f at :47.80 at the Fair Grounds - that was the top of 82 works! Speedy, speedy!

Sidney's Candy should be a versatile fella, his sire, Candy Ride (my fave) has produced winners on all surfaces at various distances.

I still haven't found Hollinger yet.

23 Feb 2010 1:14 PM
Steve Haskin

Coldfacts, I actually had Connemara on the list and took him off at the last minute. If you recall I had him ranked #1 in early Jan. on a list of 25 horses who had never run in a stakes. Then someone very close to the horse said he's "no good." But that's just his opinion. I went by the horses he's run against (I get suckered every year into falling for Golden Gate horses) compared to the horses Noble's Saint has run against. And Noble Saint's tail-female line is incredibly strong. But as I look back I should have had Connemara on instead of Buddy's Saint, who is really up against it. If he doesnt run back in the Tampa Derby I dont think he has a shot of winning the Derby. Until I hear anything definite he's likely coming off next week. Connemara didnt get much a Beyer # but that doesnt bother me too much. I'm pretty certain he will be on the list next week.

23 Feb 2010 1:16 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Apple man Quality Road is the man stop hating but I agree that 1:10 versus 1:12 is a bit different. Convayance should be number 1 horse but its good that he is not since his odds will be better derby day. Conveyance has never lost and it was his first start on dirt what do you think will happen when he starts on dirt again.....IWR ring a bell? Conveyance/All in the derby! lock it up!

23 Feb 2010 1:42 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Great point apple man on conveyance 1:10 versus 1:12 going 6 furlongs. Dont hate on quality road though he is a beast. It was convayence first start on dirt and will only get better with more dirt experience....does IWR ring a bell! Baffert knows what he is doing and think Conveyance is a star. Its funny how the DRF had conveyance across the board winning and he actually won that never happens!

23 Feb 2010 2:10 PM
zarvona

 I see we are taking up the subject of “the Pletcher Stable”… lol

 Yes Ranagulzion, NO ONE will cancel the auxiliary gate because “the Pletcher Stable” won a Gr. II preliminary that the rest of the field decided not to make a race out of. But, you make one laugh with the suggestion. Heck, a filly and even “Dennis of Cork”,--who came from the non legit earnings rankings,-- came along to attempt to chase down “Big Brown”!!! They don’t run from a challenge, they embrace  it! Besides, the owners love to smooze and drink mint juleps even if they bring in a 99-1 shot, just like “Giacomo”!! However, if Pletcher would decide to throw in his two fillies, he could fill all 20 gate slots with his charges and hold the “Pletcher Derby”, which alone would require the auxiliary gate!!! Steve identified ¾s of a dozen already, but Pletcher could fill every slot a defector runs from! He does have 20 nominated ya know!

  And, thank you Steve for enlightening us that “Doubles Partner” may attempt the transitional try !

As to “the Pletcher Stable”,  in Alphabetical order:

    “Aikenite” Fla. 6   1 1 2 ; “Colizeo” Kty. 4   1 2 0 ;  “Connemara” Kty. 4   3 1 0 ;  

“Discreetly Mine” Kty. 7   2 3 0 ;   “Doubles Partner” Fla. 6   1 1 2 ;   “Eskendereya” Kty. 5   3 0 1 ;

“Exhi” Kty. 5   0 1 1 ;   “Ibboyee” N.Y. 7   4 0 1 ;   “Interactif” Kty. 6   3 1 1 ;

“Mission Impazible” Kty. 2   1 0 1 ;   “No Shenanigans” Fla. 2   0 1 0 ;   “Rule” Kty. 6   4 1 1 ;

“Super Saver” Kty. 4   2 0 1 ;   …all of which are nominated for the Lane’s End and the Kentucky Derby!! … plus “Brother Bird”  Kty.  1   1 0 0 ; “Toboggan Slide” Md. 4   3 0 1 ;   “Three Rush Day” Kty. 7   2 2 1 ; “Overcommunication” Kty. 1   1 0 0 ;   “Don Cavallo” Kty. 0   0 0 0 ;   … all nominated for the  Kentucky Derby ; and again, he could always add in his fillies: “Devil May Care” Kty. 4   2 0 0 ;--who is also actually already nominated for the Derby I believe,--and  “Ailalea” 4   2 0 1 !!!  

 And Steve, we understand you are under a strain week to week and yet we are with you ! We all know that it’s hard to cram a top 30 into a dozen!, hoping by May the 1st that 20 of those will make the gate!! And attempting to satisfy so many who love this colt or that. And, we may see a host of surprises yet! In my mind, this was only weekend one of the preliminaries and we haven’t yet seen the winner of the Gr. I race yet! Heck, I for one am still watching allowance races looking for that late bloomer sleeper! I was only projecting that “Eskendereya” would be the likely favorite in the Florida Derby, I was not predicting that he will be the guaranteed winner! nor the Derby winner, I was just confessing I erred in my assessment and was making the case that he gives “Storm Cat” another chance  to break his dismal Derby "00000" win percentage!!  

 And Thank You  “Trifectabox” for the insight into the speedster “Fast Alex”. And, I see  where  “Outlaw Man” is out in Cal. for the coming weekend!  

23 Feb 2010 2:26 PM
Parfour

Let's admit that pletcher is a very good manager of a large stable and should be monikered " the king of the preps , or 'prep king 'for short". He has to prepare lots of horses and keep them all separated and keep all those owners pleased, as opposed to a "normal" trainer who gets that one good horse and puts all his time there.

  As far as Dublin goes, he impressed me as he was so far back and made a long closing run and didn't have the punch late as a result, that and 1st off the LO. Eskendereya impressed as he has tactical speed,obviously his tank was full because of the fractions hence  the impressive finish drawing off. Looking forward to the TC trail more now that horses are gearing up in earnest.

23 Feb 2010 2:34 PM
tcc

Steve:

Buddy's Saint's trainer is looking at Fla. Derby or Wood Memorial next as possibile race's for him.

23 Feb 2010 2:37 PM
Rowner

Conveyance going to Dubai ....DRF.com??? If that happens I guess we don't worry about him, just like Vale of York. Eskendereya by far the best performance but not completely sold yet seen to many Pletcher's fold up tents in the derby. Dublin's Performance in the SW was encouraging that he is coming back to form after the surgery and layoff, wouldn't count him out.  Looks like everyone is leaving California for elsewhere.  Looking at Lucky might go to the Rebel. I hope so! Would like to see Buddys Saint run back at Tampa Bay Derby. Just goes to show anything can happen on the way to The Derby.

23 Feb 2010 3:13 PM
Afleet Alexandra

Nothing I have seen has changed my mind: my Derby horse is and will stay Dublin.

If he stays heathly, he'll be taking those roses home to his daddy.

23 Feb 2010 3:21 PM
Colleen

I think Dublin looked great this past weekend.  To me, he looked like his dad in that race.  

And I must say I'm surprised Todd Pletcher's horses are always held in such high regard in your Derby Dozens.  His typically large contingent is often hyped as his "best hope" before the Derby.  But then he doesn't just lose, he's had the horse that finished dead last in 50% of the last ten Derby's.  Add to that his horses have finished second and third last in 30% of the past ten.  Those kind of stats are too dismal to be merely happenstance.

IMO Pletcher fans would be wise to put your money on him in the "finish last" pools instead of for the win.

23 Feb 2010 3:34 PM
It Aint Easy being good

haha colleen great post. I am not a pletcher fan after he cried about dunkirk last year in the florida derby what a punk! He deserves to be 0-24! I actually love dublin but would like to see baffert win it that trainer is as cool as they come. Reminds of myself jk!

23 Feb 2010 4:52 PM
TerriV

I wouldn't put too much weight on any of these horses being a little tired at 8 furlongs or unfocused or whatever their issue might be at this point.  These are the PREP races.  They are building stamina, correcting issuing finding strengths and weaknesses.  Trainers of Triple Crown winners built and improved on each race to peak at just the right time.  The only thing (as we saw last year starting about now) is to keep them strong and healthy while moving them up the ladder.

23 Feb 2010 4:55 PM
Forbidden Apple

Conveyance to Meydan in the UAE Derby is more than interesting. Mr. Baffert knows how to win in Dubai and bring them back sound. Even if he did ship to Dubai, he has time to try for the KY Derby. That is a mighty tall task to pull off, it's worth a try with a $2 million purse.

23 Feb 2010 5:55 PM
Steve Haskin

There is a horse I'm keeping an eye on in the Sham and that's Nextdoorneighbor. If he wins that race impressively, he will be the next bandwagon horse, synthetic or no synthetic. The farther they go the better.

23 Feb 2010 7:08 PM
Freetex

Any thoughts on Peppi Knows?

I liked Eskendereya before he won and I still like Buddy's Saint.

Not letting go of Caracortada. I like the way he closes, it could work for him later.

23 Feb 2010 8:14 PM
Jason

Apple,

Where do you get off calling Garcia arrogant? Do you even know him?

23 Feb 2010 9:31 PM
Jason

Also, all you people talk about are times, and past prep races and how they compare. Every race is different, every year is different. Tracks play differently day to day, even more so year to year. To compare times from years most is senseless. I didn't like any of the prep winners, and honestly I am only sold on Eskendereya. Things happen, I haven't figured out why you all aren't talking about Stay Put being the only horse to close in the Risen Star, or all you do is praise Dublin who will bounce off of his first start since the surgery like the majority of horses do. And to all the Plecther haters, it probably is his year, live with it

23 Feb 2010 9:40 PM
Green Jacket

Steve...Finally!!  Someone willing to  acknowledge that Lezcano was at fault for that "lights out, cage match" throwdown with Aikenite at the clubhouse turn in the FOY. I was getting sick of hearing about his "nightmare" trip that Lezcano owns.  The video speaks volumes, and I hope the horse isn't hurt. Unfortunately, I haven't heard anyone comment on how the episode may have impacted Aikenite's chances, or more importantly, how he came out of the race.  He certainly wasn't going to catch the winner, but could have easily Placed.

GJ...Out...

23 Feb 2010 9:43 PM
Ranagulzion

ZARVONA,

Tell me this in all honesty; do you really believe that Eskendereya's disappearing act in the FOY was a result of others deciding not to truly compete?  I take a lot of what you post quite seriously but this suggestion is out of character and laughable.  Hear me out about this 3YO colt.  Provided that he stays sound he has the potential to be the North American version of Europe's Sea The Stars in 2010.  I am not yet ready to forecast him as the one to break the Triple Crown drought but a repeat of his FOY performance in the Florida Derby might make that plain for even the blind to see.

My anticipation of a relatively small field (no auxillary gate)for this years Kentucky Derby is based upon history and my estimation of Eskendereya and his stable companions Super Saver and Rule.  I've also been impressed with the California gelding Caracortado, D'Funnybone and Baffert's Conveyance.  I know that if only a few of these colts clearly establish a wide class gap as "Esken" has begun to do, the threat of embarrasment (to become the butt of jokes) for "not belonging in the race" and being a "wannabe" "just here for the ride" will discourage many from starting.  Human nature is such that no matter the prestige or purse money people avoid that kind of embarrassment. This happened repeatedly during the seventies when the clearly outstanding ones of the calibre of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Alydar and Spectacular Bid ran.  The absence of a really standout horse or couple of horses (perhaps because of pervassive similar inbreeding) is the most likely cause for the 32 years Triple Crown drought.  I strongly believe that Eskendereya could be the ONE we've been waiting for, but time will tell.  It wont be long.  

I like the six weeks break between the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby because it alows a horse like "Esken" to strut his stuff at almost full trottle (giving all pretenders a reality check) and have enough time to return freshened-up for the big dance at Churchill Downs.

Yes indeed Todd Pletcher has an embarassment of riches this year but most of all it is the "crown jewel" in his stable that will make all the difference, really separating the men from the boys. This year's Derby is his to win/lose.  

23 Feb 2010 10:09 PM
Ranagulzion

STEVE,

Bob Baffert deserves the greatest of respect for his record as a trainer of Derby horses but it has been kindof a long time since he last had that blanket of roses thrown over one of his charges.  Looking At Lucky is becoming irrelevant with each passing week unless he preps on a dirt track.  It is going to take more than Baffert's genius for him to have a realistic Derby shot if he stays on that Pro-Ride at Santa Anita.  His main rival out there, Caracortado is well forward and already proven on dirt.  If "Lucky" stays out there and gets hammered by "Scarface" what will his chances be against the Todd Squad or even his stable companion Conveyance on dirt?

23 Feb 2010 10:32 PM
John T

Uh Oh Bango hasn,t run since finishing a good second only beaten a neck by Rule in the Delta Jackpot on Dec 4.But it looks like

the Rebel will be his next race which also could be the first race of the season for Lookin At Lucky

as connections are thinking about running him on dirt instead of the San Felipe a week later.The Rebel could also be the next race for Dublin.

23 Feb 2010 10:46 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

When you first highlighted Nextdoorneighbor he fitted into the section of my spreadsheet reserved horses that have no inbreeding in their first five generations. He was pooled in this category with past derby winners Secretariat and War Emblem. It’s not that I think he will be either as great or as good as those derby winners but he shares a similar pedigree characteristic. What is unique about the pedigree of these three horses? Their sires and dams pedigree’s reflect no inbreeding in their first five generations. Three horses free of inbreeding to Northern Dancer, Raise A Native & Nasrullah in their first five generations. Impossible!

The only thing I like about this colt is his unique pedigree.  While the Northern Dancer broodmare line has enjoyed record breaking success, the Icecapade broodmare line has never featured on the derby chart. Both Northern Dancer  and Icecapade were sired by Nearctic. Nextdoorneighbor’s dam was sired by Wild Rush a grandson of Icecapade. There is also another negative regarding his dam. Her success on the track (Earnings $612K ) and graded race success literally disqualifies her as potential derby winning broodmare. Even in the era of high purses no derby winning broodmare had that sort of success on the track. These types of mares do not produce Derby champions. OK I am crazy. There are four other mares on my spreadsheet with significant earnings. They are below:

Golden Ballet ($732K) dam of Drosselmeyer  ( Eliminated from latest Derby Dozen)

Classy Mirage ($717K) dam of Dublin (Ran a nice race that finished in 13 for the last F)

Urbane  ($1M) dam of Worldly (not in Derby Dozen)

Will any of the above broodmare become derby winning broodmare and eclipse Wishing Well who presently holds the record for the highest earning broodmare to produce a derby winner? She earned ($381K) and was the dam of Sunday Silence. I have learnt to never say never but I cannot see it occurring.

23 Feb 2010 10:50 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

Your mention of Nextdoorneighbor intrigued me, so I looked up his pedigree and was amazed to find a horse with NO inbreeding going back several generations. That's different!! I'll be at Santa Anita on Saturday and I'll pay close attention to him. His sire, Lido Palace raced at 2,3,4 and 5. That's different also!!!

You mentioned him quite extensively in a prior article. Intriguing!...

23 Feb 2010 11:16 PM
Somethingroyal

Karen in Indiana & ALB-

I think the two of you have been reading my mind. For the past few years I've wondered the same thing. Why not research and learn from the trainers who understood what it takes to train a horse up to the classics? Not to make light of winning the Derby. But why not train with the Derby, Preakness, and Belmont in mind.  

24 Feb 2010 8:40 AM
Trebloc

I see that Sidney's Candy is not nominated to The Gotham.  Is everything ok?  When will Winstar/Pletcher announce Super Saver's next race?  

24 Feb 2010 8:47 AM
Alex PB

Forbidden Apple:

Conveyance is a nice miler, but his career shows he does not want a step beyond. He has beaten nothing but sprinters except for Dublin, who lost to him while bobbling at start, was running widest on both turns, and was off a layoff. The chartmaker told you these things and that Dublin was "getting to that rival in the late going."

24 Feb 2010 10:15 AM
Alex PB

Jason:

"Also, all you people talk about are times, and past prep races and how they compare. Every race is different, every year is different. Tracks play differently day to day, .... I didn't like any of the prep winners, and honestly I am only sold on Eskendereya. Things happen, I haven't figured out why you all aren't talking about Stay Put being the only horse to close in the Risen Star, or all you do is praise Dublin who will bounce off of his first start since the surgery like the majority of horses do. And to all the Pletcher haters, it probably is his year, live with it."

First part of your post defines the great data given by the Daily Racing Form. Anything wrong with that? The last part qualifies you as one of "you people." But you express a "IMO" concerning the fine prospect Eskendereya and the kind of year his trainer will have. None of us have to "live" with conjecture. And do I detect a bit of envy that more posters here prefer the immensely talented Dublin?

24 Feb 2010 10:54 AM
trackjack

I could not agree more with those looking for a Triple Crown winner.  A friend of mine and I will be completing our "bucket list" this year.  We did the Derby in '08 (Big Brown, infield), the Preakness in '09 (Rachel, grandstand) and we'll be at this year's Belmont on the apron.  I did the '04 Belmont, standing at the rail at the 1/16th pole screaming with the rest of the record crowd as Smarty Jones came into the stretch with the lead, only to be passed right in front of us by Birdstone, with the wall of noise going to dead silence. Oh, do I wash to see a Triple Crown winner.  

However, trying to research past trainers and their techniques only goes so far.  Today's realities of needed graded stakes earnings just to qualify and the increased number of high purse races available complicate the training schedule.  The overriding factor is to have the HORSE that can get it done.  Today, a trainer has to bring a horse to the Kentucky Derby with enough seasoning, yet fresh enough to do 10f, 9.5f and 12f within a five week span. Intangibles the trainer has little control over are; genetics and stamina issues, heart, competiveness, post positions and track conditions, health and injuries,and the biggest intangible of all: RACING LUCK.  

The HORSE has to overcome all these intangibles and get to the finish line first.

We're all following this because we're all looking for THAT HORSE who can put it all together, not only on the First Saturday in May but who may be able to be the first TCW since Affirmed.  Who do you like?            

24 Feb 2010 11:09 AM
Jason

Alex PB,

I would like to know how Dublin is "immensely talented", since you are all about research do your research on throat surgeries, most horses bounce off there first start since the surgery. I know this seeing as how I am on the backside daily. As far as the data by the Daily Racing Form, I am not really sure what you were getting at there.

24 Feb 2010 12:04 PM
Forbidden Apple

Jason, yes I have met Garcia and have watched hime several times interacting with other people.

I was writing about the difference in times between Conveyance and Eskendereya. Of course they raced on different racetracks, everyone knows that. When you are handicapping races, how many lengths equals 1 second? I am guessing that Gulfstream Park is a track that produces much faster times than Oaklawn Park. My point was that Conveyance had to work much harder for the first 6 furlongs of his race.

Someone wrote that Conveyance is a miler, the truth is nobody knows that for sure. I think Quality Road is a miler while others actually believe that he can compete with Zenyatta or Gio Ponti at 1 1/4 miles. And Quality Road is mentioned as the next great American hero. Maybe Conveyance is at his best at 1 mile, but he sure could save energy and win at 1 1/4 miles too. Again, Conveyance is not my KY Derby horse yet, I know better to keep an open mind and wait on my decision for a win bet. I have been stuck on the potential of Buddy's Saint. I still say that the rail was open for him, but this was a risky move by Lezcano. All jockeys have blind spots, that is a fact. I do not blame Garcia for anything, Lezcano has to live with his decision. It is also a fact that Aekenite broke sharply from the 1 post but was not snug at the rail in the first 1/4 mile. It's over now, a done deal.

24 Feb 2010 12:22 PM
Dave

Geez, You gave up on Drosselmeyer? He ran 4th less then two lenghts. Everyon likes the speed horses, and they don`t win derby races. Just bout every horse last weekend went wire to wire. If they all get in, they will be half a dozen horses fighting for the lead.It will be out of the clouds winning the Derby(As Usual).

24 Feb 2010 4:36 PM
GunBow

Steve:

I would like to second Trebloc's question concerning the absence of Sidney's Candy on the list of Gotham nominees.  After the San Vicente, Sadler seemed certain to point Sidney's Candy to the Gotham.  

Is Sidney's Candy injured?  Has Sadler plotted another route?  

I was very impressed with Sidney's Candy in the San Vicente, and think he is one of the most talented of the 3 year olds, distance aside.  He's big but not bulky, has speed, and has the breeding to be a threat at longer distances.  Also, Sadler has been amazing the last few years in SoCal and would certainly be deserving of a Derby contender.

24 Feb 2010 8:56 PM
jon

I would agree that Blind Luck is probably one of the top 3 year olds in training based on her last 2 races and turn of foot. We may not see her in The Derby, so if anyone can talk to her trainer, tell him her presence there would be good for both the sport and his wallet. I would compare her to Genuine Risk at this stage.

Lentenor had trouble last race, clearly bouncing off his maiden win, but as several posters pointed out, he needs both speed and distance. I will go out on a limb to say that Blind Luck is better than Lucky, and Lentenor could hold his own against any of the top 12 Haskin favorites. The problem is that Matz is not being aggressive with Lentenor's talent, so the horse gets wasted in these low level races when he could easily win a major prep.

25 Feb 2010 8:44 AM
ElusiveQuality

Being in upstate NY and practically living at Saratoga during the meet, I have been impressed with Dublin since before his first 2 yr old start...I hope he makes it to the gate 1st Sat in May...that being said, there is another horse I like that ran with him at 2...Backtalk...was supposed to debut at 3 soon....

25 Feb 2010 10:24 AM
Smoking Joe

Anybody watch all of the preps?  Nothing but front-runners and slow fractions except The Southwest, where they staggered home.  Dave in Dixie will love this setup.

25 Feb 2010 5:59 PM
Gunslinger

Backtalk gets his 3 year old debut tomorrow night at Delta Downs.  Can't wait to see him in action again - and then, mixing it up and winning the Derby!

25 Feb 2010 7:17 PM
Matthew W

Caracortado sat a couple lengths off what was a fast pace for that day---he kicked right by and opened space quickly--like a good thing, as pro-riders tend to stay more bunched up/more like turf...Caracortado has a good cruising speed as well as some kick--his stalk and pounce style is the best style of running for EVERY surface, moreso on dirt, which he has handled-- as deeper closers seem to win over the pro ride than do closer stalkers...in other words, I like him over Lookin At Lucky, and all the others out here--throw in the 5 for 5 record, the 4-1 odds (maybe) and I like my chances...also like him in Kentucky....

25 Feb 2010 9:11 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I have been trying to be positive about Eskendereya in spite of the fact that my chart indicates he will not be the 2010 Derby winner. However the cold facts are overwhelming negative:

(a)Seattle Slew sired 444 broodmares and only one has been associated with the winner of Triple Crown race. Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid dam Charming Lassie was sired by Seattle Slew.

(b)I recognize that there are not a lot of Triple Crown winners but they are notoriously poor derby broodmare sires. In the last 70 years a grand total of two derby winning broodmares were sired by a Triple Crown winners.  The modern day Triple Crown winners i.e., Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed sired a combined 1,101 dams. These dams have been associated with the winners of a grand total  3 Triple Crown races (A.P. Indy, Lemon Drop Kid & Summer Squall) A P Indy and Summer Squall share the same dam Weekend Surprise, Of the over 1100  broodmares only two have produced winners of TC races. None of the winners were derby

Winners.

(c)Storm Cat sons do not sire derby winners. One hundred of them have entered stud in the US and none have come close. Nothing has changed. In spite of Giant’s Causeway’s brilliance on the track, he is still a son of Storm Cat in the breeding shed.

In 2009 a colt by the Chocolate Candy sired by the brilliant Candy Ride out of a stakes winning Seattle Slew mare was in the derby mix big time. It was felt the derby distance of 10F was what he wanted. In spite of his multiple prep wins and his placing behind eventual derby runner up Pioneerof The Nile, he was a flop in the Triple Crown races. A Seattle Slew mare crossed with one of the most successful derby sire line in history did not make the grade. Eskendereya is the product of a cross of a Seattle Slew mare with a sire line that has had dismal success in TC races. Will Eskendereya fair better than Chocolate Candy? In this case I am not convinced that two negative will make a positive.

NB: Chocolate Candy second dam was sired by Alydar. He also happens to be the sire of Eskendereya’s second dam. Interesting!

26 Feb 2010 12:21 AM
Tony R

I am not giving up on Drosselmeyer. This guy closed on the leader while behind a slow pace in the Risen Star. Drosselmeyer will relish 10 furlongs. He's still my derby pick.

As for Eskenderya, well he was loping along following a slow pace, and put it in gear the last 3/8ths running away from the field. I'm not sold on him yet.

26 Feb 2010 9:39 AM
ABulldog

Tiz Chrome will be back on everyones list after he crushes the field in the Gotham. Is Baffert trying the same route as I Want Revenge. Win the Wood next and he would be right in the mix. He showed he liked the dirt in Churchill.

26 Feb 2010 10:49 AM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

The problem with your latest posting on Eskendereya's pedigree is that you give too much weight to the history of Seattle Slew's influence as a broodmare sire, as if the presence of Alydar, Ribot, Northern Dancer, Cosmah et al have no impact.  You are being proven to be very wrong about this colt and will have to go back to the drawing board with your system.  Mark my words Pal.

26 Feb 2010 4:00 PM
Truth be Told...

Coldfacts,

When was the last time you picked The Derby winner using your over-analyzed theory.

Connemara?....really? I hope you know he's clearly a synthetic/turf horse.

Coldfacts?... more like Luke-warmopinions if you ask me.

26 Feb 2010 4:13 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

Let me challenge you to take another look at the Derby-winner-producing influences of the outstanding members of Eskedereya's tail female family.

1)Seattle Slew whom you've used to condemn Eskendereya's chances of winning the Derby has been close up in the pedigrees of derby-winners Swale and Funny Cide.

2)Alydar has been the sire of derby-winners Strike The Gold and Alysheba.

3)Northern Dancer's prowess as a Derby-winning influence, I know you wouldn't dispute. He is close up on the Dam side of Big Brown, Street Sense, Monarchos and Fusaichi Pegasus.

4)Ribot, the undefeated European (in 16 starts)and two-time Arc D'triomphe winner, has been close-up in the pedigrees of Kentucky Derby winners Street Sense, Funny Cide, Go For Gin and Pleasant Colony.

5) Cosmah the outstanding half-sister to Northern Dancer's dam Natalma, has been close up in the pedigree of Sunday Silence.

Now Coldfacts, tell me if there is any 3YO in this years crop with a more stellar, blue-blooded, Derby qualifying, Triple-Crown-threatening pedigree than this Todd squad monster colt,Eskendereya.  I figure that his beautiful chesnut coat is coming from his sire's family, perhaps Secretariat or Blushing Groom and that push-button accereration from the Northern Dancer-Blushing Groom cross in Giant's Causeway's blood.  Anyway, without belabouring the point you should see that this horse is breed to be something royal/special. That fluent galloping action smacks of "Big Red" himself and with his stamina flowing from his dam's family we are in for an awesome triple-crown ride this season. Check it out my friend.  Notwithstanding our divergent views on some issues I do enjoy your posts.

26 Feb 2010 10:08 PM
RiverCitySmitty

I won`t be playing any horse on derby day who hasn`t run on a real dirt track.  Someone may run a big race, but most often they do not transfer their plastic ability to the real stuff.  I don`t see how Caracortado fans can claim he has proven himself on dirt citing a 4 furlong maiden claiming win at a county fair meet as evidence.  Sooo many front runners.  Sooo many Pletcher front runners.  I won`t be playing anyone who may remotely be involved with early or backstretch pace.  Sorry Todd, most of your horses will be tossed and the curse will continue despite having half the field @ CD.  The winner will come from off again and will be from one of the following:  Drosselmeyer, Dublin, Stay Put, Fly Down, Backtalk, Ron the Greek or Aikenite.  Shades of Giacamo down the stretch at Louisville.

27 Feb 2010 5:56 AM
Venceremos

I don't think the Derby winner is in this list.  Not criticizing you for picking this group because they're logical.  Just think it's somebody under the radar again.  Not a 50/1 shot, more like a 10 to 20/1.  He'll have been hitting the board somewhere but not winning enough to get the media's notice.  

This prediction is part hunch, part history.  All the name horses have a problem and that leads to an upset more often than not.  

Go down this list and you'll find something amiss in all these guys, some unproven on dirt, some have suspect pedigrees, some will have too few preps, some will have too long layoffs, at least one can't handle getting bumped around....it's last year revisited.

27 Feb 2010 2:25 PM
Ranagulzion

RiverCitySmitty,

Keep dreaming.  The forwardly placed stalkers will prevail in this years Derby and one special one from among them will win it.  

27 Feb 2010 8:12 PM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

“Todd Pletcher's year to win the Derby and score an unprecedented trifecta on the first Saturday in May 2010”

You have posted this statement before and I was of the opinion that you were joking. However, it appears you are serious. A trainer that has never won the derby will suddenly account for the first three past the post. Your ambitions for him knows no bounds. Let me give you a little encouragement. In 1996 Todd Pletcher’s mentor D.W. Lukas started 5 horses in the derby and three of them finished in the top six.

1st Grindstone

3rd Prince Of Thieves

6th Editors Note

Lukas was first and third in the 1995 Derby with Thunder Gulch & Timber Country. He was also first and third in the 1999 Derby with Charismatic and Cat Thief. Now, if the mentor can finish first and third 3 times, the brilliant student with the big spending clients should be able to eclipse the teacher. (Old men dream, dreams and young men see visions) What was the result when the student started 5 horses in a derby?

Circular Quay - winner of the Louisiana Derby (finished 5th)

Any Given Saturday - winner of the Sam Davis, 2nd Tampa Bay Derby & 3rd Wood Memorial (finished 8th)

Sam P - 2nd Robert B. Lewis S.  & 3rd Santa Anita Derby (finished 9th)

Scat Daddy - Winner of the Florida Derby, Fountain Of Youth S; 3rd Holy Bull S. (finished 19th)

Cowtown Cat - Winner of the Illinois Derby, Gotham S; 3rd Swale S. (finished 20th)

It appears Mr. Lukas did not teach Mr. Pletcher everything or just may be Mr. Pletcher was not paying attention in the classes on how to win the derby.

27 Feb 2010 9:55 PM
Zookeeper

RiverCitySmitty,

"...but most often they do not transfer their plastic ability to the real stuff."

That kind of statement sets my teeth on edge because it is simply not true. Case in point, the 2009 Kentucky Derby results:

1) Mine That Bird successful on synthetics in Canada, transferred his ability to dirt very well.

2) Pioneer of the Nile being 2nd in the KD is nothing to sneeze at.

3) Musket Man, best finish of 15 "dirt" horses.

4) Papa Clem, another synthetics horse that ran well.

5) Chocolate Candy, one more synthetics horse that bested 14 of the 15 "dirt" horses.  

The only synthetics horse that bombed was Mr. Hot Stuff. Of the 14 "dirt" horses, other than Musket Man, the best finish was 6th.

There is a big difference between a horse who has raced exclusively on synthetics and a horse who is a synthetics specialist. The first one, although unproven on dirt, may very well transfer his ability to a dirt track. The second one has demonstrated that his preferred surface is synthetics.

I'm not defending synthetics, I'm simply illustrating the falacy that is being repeated over and over again, no matter what the facts indicate.

28 Feb 2010 12:17 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

“Now Coldfacts, tell me if there is any 3YO in this year’s crop with a more stellar, blue-blooded, Derby qualifying, Triple-Crown-threatening pedigree than Eskendereya”

Try Cardiff Giant:

Dam sire – Stop The Music – He was dam sire of 2005 Derby winner Giacomo. Stop The Music sire Hail To Reason was sire of 1967 Derby winner Proud Clarion and was grandsire of derby winners Sunny’s Halo and Sunday Silence.

Second Dam Sire – Jacinto - He was dam sire of 1982 Derby winner Gato Del Sol. Jacinto was sired by Bold Ruler. Bold Ruler his sons, grandson and great grandsons have sired 8 derby winners.

Fourth Dam sire – Tom Fool - He was sire of 1958 Derby & Preakness winner Tim Tam. He was also dam sire of 1975 Derby winner Foolish Pleasure.

28 Feb 2010 12:27 AM
Caracortado

Well first of all Caracortado has proven he can rate and win......second he is bred to win long distances and being by Storm Cat and Marias Mon he can show that winning is his natural ability.  The San Felipe will come up and let see if Looking at Lucky can catch Caracortado.....

28 Feb 2010 2:55 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Ranagulzion,

We shall see in abt. 2 mos. Horses are individuals and cannot be anointed the next best ever based on what their sires/broodmares accomplished.  With the abundance of speed this year and the fact that several will likely get posts that`ll compromise their usual style, I`ll be sticking with my upset prediction.  Current logic obviously points to most on the top 12 list, but they aren`t running today and my thinking is that a few unmentioned names will have a say in this year`s derby.  As far as dreaming, not too many single digit odds winners have  had roses draped over them so why not go for value.  I had Giacamo and all the other closers in his race after throwing out all the speed horses in that race.  I`ll do the same again and hopefully cash another "dream" ticket.

28 Feb 2010 9:10 AM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

Quantitative statistics is one thing but qualitative analysis is quite another. Comparing the pedigrees of Cardif Giant to Eskendereya is like chalk to cheese. The only things these two have in common are their chesnut coats and triple-crown underachieving grandsire Storm Cat.

I don't wish to berate Cardiff Giant (he is a hard-knocking, underrated gelding that is still improving) but it should be superfluous for me to point out to you that, with Yankee Gentleman as his sire, if his pedigree was anywhere near as royal as Eskendereya's he would not have been gelded.  Of course with inbreeding to Tom Fool and Northern Dancer within the first five generations he has classic pedigree but that stamina-limiting Storm Cat influence has to raise a question mark over whether he will truly see out the Derby distance.

No such question lingers over Eskendereya on account of the influence of Giant's Causeway (I have previously argued that he is the exception among Storm Cat's sons as a definite source of stamina). Therefore try again Coldfacts.  You came up way short this time.

RiverCitySmitty,

Let us agree to postpone further rumbling over the identity of this years Kentucky Derby winner and how the race will unfold until after the Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby and Wood Memorial. At that time I'll give you my top four picks and be interested in seeing your top four.  BTW I too had Giacomo in 2005 as my fourth choice (Bellamy Road, High Fly, Wilko and Giacomo). His win was no surprise to me and avenged his sire,Holy Bull's inexplicable loss in 1994  

28 Feb 2010 5:25 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Coldfacts:  Okey doke

With the horrible weather SA has been having this meet and the all weather`s inability to drain, how many trainers will go East or Midwest for their next derby prep? (BTW, a dirt surface may have had the same potponements) I think the Sunland race will draw a few as will the Rebel and Gotham.

01 Mar 2010 8:14 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Also, Backtalk made a successful return to the track with a win Friday night at Delta.  He was bounced around a bit despite a small field and made up three lengths in the stretch over a sealed sloppy track.  I`m not sure if the La Derby or Rebel is next in store for him, but he may re-emerge from off the radar.

01 Mar 2010 8:18 AM
Forbidden Apple

Ranagulzion, keep an open mind on the KY Derby trail. You are so flattered by Pletcher and Eskendereya that you have your blinkers on when it comes to any other horse. I respect your bold opinion of a Triple Crown Winner and your other bold prediction calling Quality Road a HOY candidate in Feb. But now you are saying that geldings are inferior horses?! Tell that to Mine That Bird, Funny Cide, Clyde Van Dusen, Paul Jones, Exterminator, Old Rosebud, Macbeth II, Apollo, and Vagrant. I just made a quick check, and I counted 9 geldings that have won the KY Derby, please correct me if I am wrong. Keep spreading the word of Triple Crown candidate on Eskendereya far and wide, this kind of talk will give me better odds on any other horse in the race. Thank you.

02 Mar 2010 10:40 AM
Ranagulzion

FORBIDDEN APPLE,

I wish you best of luck with your odds and other horses that you fancy in the Derby. The side shows are going to get very interesting as the race approaches but there will only be one winner. I scrutinize pedigrees and performances carefully before making up my mind about any particular horse for the Derby and even when my mind is made up I still reserve room for change or adjustment as new revelation  unfolds on the track.  So far I see nothing to change my mind about Eskendereya's glowing prospects of winning the Derby and possibly the Triple Crown and of a Todd Pletcher trifecta in the Derby with Super Saver and Rules. Caracortado looks dangerous and if D'Funnybone stays (which I doubt) he could be the "fly in the ointment" for Pletcher.

Regarding geldings, you have both misunderstood and misrepresented my comments which were addressed to Coldfacts about the comparative pedigrees of Eskendereya and Cardiff Giant. I never said geldings are inferior horses and never could have said so because I don't believe that. I suggested that if Cardiff Giant's pedigree was deemed to be as royal as Eskendereya's his connections would not have gelded him, for reasons that should be quite obvious.  I am aware that horses are often gelded to stabilize their temperament and improve their disposition for racing but mostly, any promising horse with great conformation and pedigree 'to die for' (like Eskendereya) would not be gelded because of their potential stud value assuming a reasonable racing career. Let's put it this way: being a gelding does not make Cardiff Giant an inferior horse compared to "Esken" in terms of performance, his pedigree etc. does.  I'm not say that he can't win the Derby. He's an  improving colt that could be the next "Mine that Bird" but not in my view. Not this year.  

02 Mar 2010 9:16 PM
Ranagulzion

FORBIDDEN APPLE,

I should have mentioned that my mind is very open to a few off-the-radar "non-Todd Squad" horses such as Laus Deo, Fly By Phil, Backtalk and Worth A Buck but any of these will have to show phenomenal improvement to have a real shot (although the potential has certainly been spoted).  Rick Dutrow's Radiohead won his race with authority this past weekend and acts like a horse that could go longer but so did his sire Johanesburg (a Derby flop grandson of Storm Cat)).  I think this one is going to be an outstanding miler but not quite a Derby horse  

02 Mar 2010 9:47 PM

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