March 8, 2010 - Presented by Darby Dan

 1

Eskendereya Todd Pletcher

Giant's Causeway—Aldebaran Light, by Seattle Slew

Some huge offers are coming in for the colt -- for part-interest, half-interest, and for the whole horse. As Zayat put it, “It seems every serious player is making offers, but I’m not sure yet what I want to do, if anything.” Looks like a standout in Florida Derby.

 2

Lookin at Lucky Bob Baffert

Smart Strike—Private Feeling, by Belong to Me

His 1:25 2/5 work made all those who were concerned forget his 1:15 2/5 work the previous week. It looks like Baffert will try him on the dirt in the Rebel if the weather cooperates. It’s a tough spot, but he needs a tough race, having only two Derby preps.

 3

Super Saver Todd Pletcher

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

Moving him back up after bullet 5f work in 1:00 3/5 and Pletcher’s decision to run him in the Tampa Derby Derby, which looks like a better spot than the Rebel. As it did for Street Sense, this race should get him fit running over that deep track.

 4

Caracortado Mike Machowsky

Cat Dreams—Mons Venus, by Maria’s Mon

Worked a sharp five furlongs in :58 3/5 for the San Felipe. He’ll have to kick it up a notch against a deeper field, but with his running style, closing kick, and consistency, good luck trying to find a way to beat him.

 5

Dublin D. Wayne Lukas

Afleet Alex—Classy Mirage, by Storm Bird

Lukas wasted no time putting him back on the work tab after the Southwest, drilling him a half in :48 2/5 and followed that up with a 5-furlong bullet work in :59 3/5, fastest of 56 works at the distance. He’ll take a lot of beating in the Rebel; Corey Nakatani named to ride.

 6

Dave in Dixie John Sadler

Dixie Union—Risk, by Wavering Monarch

Can he catch Caracortado this time? Actually, it doesn’t matter as long as he’s closing again. He just needs to keep taking small steps forward and then save the big one for May 1. Would love to see him come East to prep on dirt; only question left to answer.

 7

Rule Todd Pletcher

Roman Ruler—Rockcide, by Personal Flag

He’s the one Pletcher horse whose plans are still up in the air. He will run next in either the Florida Derby vs. Eskendereya or wait for the Wood Memorial. Will Pletcher actually run two of his big guns at Churchill off a six-week layoff?

8

Discreetly Mine Todd Pletcher

Mineshaft—Pretty Discreet, by Private Account

Finally breezed a half in :49 1/5, his first work since the Risen Star. Pletcher likely will run him back in the Louisiana Derby against stablemate Mission Impazible. Front-running tactics are over; time to get him off the lead.

9

Awesome Act Jeremy Noseda

Awesome Again—Houdinis Honey, by Mr. Prospector

Loved his race in the BC Juvenile Turf and loved his Gotham even more, especially his turn of foot. He didn’t beat much, but did it the right way. Took the lead while under wraps turning for home, with Leparoux sitting motionless. Euros not used to that, and he’ll be able to wait longer in the Wood.

10

Odysseus Tom Albertrani

Malibu Moon—Persimmon Hill, by Conquistador Cielo

He’ll get a big test going against Super Saver, as well as the Sam F. Davis Stakes 2nd- and 3rd-place finishers and any other shippers. If he passes this one, watch him vault right up near the top of most everyone’s list.

11

Alphie's Bet Alexis Barba

Tribal Rule—Miss Alphie, by Candi’s Gold

If you like Caracortado you have to like this guy, who’s still a big baby that’s just starting to figure things out and developing into a racehorse, physically and mentally. His final 3 furlongs in :36 flat, going wide on both turns in the Sham, was impressive.

12

Conveyance Bob Baffert

Indian Charlie—Emptythetill, by Holy Bull

Worked a half in :47 2/5. Baffert said all along he was leaning toward the Wood Memorial, but it looks as if he is now taking the easier route in the Sunland Park Derby, so we still won't know if he is true Derby material.

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.

158 Comments

Leave a Comment:

trebloc

This is going to be a fun weekend with three of the top five running.  Cannot wait to see Derby pick run in the Tampa Derby.    

08 Mar 2010 2:25 PM
charlie 13

I cant wait to see Dublin and Lookin at Lucky run.

08 Mar 2010 2:39 PM
mike rullo

steve

where is miners reserve going??

08 Mar 2010 2:40 PM
El Kabong

Steve,

Nice call on the TB Derby for Super Saver. I'm with you on this guy, as unproven to date as he may be, he proved quite a bit in November and when Lauren Stich releases her pedigree analysis, I'll be surprised if she doesn't show us her "oh" face on this guy.  . I hope he's worth the waite, I couldn't resist an exacta box with him, dublin, and dave in dixie on one ticket and one with SS,dave in D, and Radiohead. All good fun for now.

08 Mar 2010 2:40 PM
El kabong

trebloc,

That was a nice call on your part and Steve's last week as far as Super Save goes. Let's hope he runs well.

08 Mar 2010 2:48 PM
rb

What is going on, with your top 12.

Noble's Promise off your top 12? After he wins the Rebel, don't bother putting him back in your mix. Bring all of them on!!!! I Like him off your radar.

08 Mar 2010 3:08 PM
Kurt H.

I love Super Savers breeding for the distance....and he shown a more than adequate turn of foot...Will be interesting to see Pletcher decide the path of the young sire Roman Ruler's son Rule and if Conveyance can handle any distance...Right now I like the Super Saver ,Dublin,Rule,and Lookin at Lucky for the superfecta!!!

08 Mar 2010 3:13 PM
trebloc

El Kabong,

Let's hope I am right with my derby pick.  Saturday cannot come soon enough.  My exacta SS and UTCB.

08 Mar 2010 3:33 PM
racehorseJIM

Uptowncharlybrown will be flying in the stretch at the Tampa Bay Derby!

08 Mar 2010 3:55 PM
Glassoniongirl

Really, Buddy`s Sain`t is my top pick, but one bad race took him off the charts? That`s crazy!

08 Mar 2010 3:58 PM
Karen in Indiana

There doesn't really seem to be a stand out choice for this year's Derby. There are some nice horses, but it wouldn't be surprising if any of the top 12 win or even an under the radar horse.

Steve, it would be awesome if at least one of the trainers took your history lesson to heart next year. I'd like to see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime. Horses haven't changed that much, but modern training methods sure have.

08 Mar 2010 4:14 PM
Ed

Though not on your Top 12 list, I still think Buddy's Saint deserves to be in the discussion.  Last out he got bounced around like a pinball, and I realize he's still recouping. But curious when he'll work again and whether Bruce Levine is going to keep him in the mix for the Derby?

08 Mar 2010 4:27 PM
Nick C.

Baffert is going to be watching the weather next weekend. He stated if it looks like snow(or rain) at Oaklawn, he'll stay at Santa Anita with Lucky for the San Felipe. Now im thinking, what the heck will he do if he stays put because of inclement weather at Oaklawn AND it rains the same day at Santa Anita???

08 Mar 2010 4:41 PM
Forbidden Apple

I think Discreetly Mine, Rule, Jackson Bend, Odysseus, and Dublin are extremely hyped up and overrated horses. I am staying with Buddy until I see his race in the Wood. I have a funny feeling about Awesome Act, he had 1/2 dozen reasons to not win on saturday and he overcame them all. Here is my KY Derby Bakers Dozen:

1-Buddy's Saint 2-Conveyance

3-Awesome Act 4-Connemara

5-Caracortado 6-Lookin At Lucky

7-Super Saver 8-Eskendereya

9-Mendip 10-Lentenor

11-Uptowncharlybrown 12-Dave In Dixie 13-Nobles Promise

08 Mar 2010 4:53 PM
trebloc

Nick,

It is being reported that Looking at Luckey is getting on a plane tomorrow for Oak Lawn.  Temps in the 50's on Saturday.

08 Mar 2010 4:56 PM
Steve Haskin

Miner's reserve will run in an allowance race next, then the Derby Trial and Preakness.

rb, stop taking things so personally. Telling me not to put him back in the mix after he wins the Rebel is juvenile. Horses come and go all the time on the list. He was on for several weeks and I had to make room for two others. If he wins the Rebel I am going to defy you and put him back on whether you like it or not.

08 Mar 2010 5:38 PM
Steve Haskin

Ed, it isnt about the incident in the FOY, it's about his not getting enough out of the race. With only two Derby preps, you need everything to go right. He now would have to into the Derby off basically 1 1/2 preps. Thats asking a lot of any horse.

08 Mar 2010 5:41 PM
blackgold77

What happened to Western Smoke?

08 Mar 2010 5:47 PM
kbrod

pletcher seems to have alot of weapons this year,but as usual can he get them in peak performance for the classic distance

08 Mar 2010 5:48 PM
Runfast159

Heard the weather in Arkansas is supposed to be in the 50's this weekend.  Looks like Lucky is headed east to me.  The Rebel is sure a tough spot to make your first start of the year in...

Awesome Act is definately headed in the right direction.  Not sure I'm ready to put him on my list though.  Not sure in fact that I want to think about my list until after next weekend!

I wish someone would put the list of the top 25 or so Derby contenders together with their next potential start.  I'm starting to get confused about who is going where.  

08 Mar 2010 5:50 PM
Pam S.

I was just so pleased to see Make Music for Me win the Pasadena Stakes.  His trainer no doubt was even more pleased, since she won the Sham as well!  I didn't expect Make Music to be in the Derby Dozen after a turf race, but he is being pointed to the Santa Anita Derby and who knows, he might make it to Louisville yet!

08 Mar 2010 6:22 PM
Ranagulzion

Conveyance is Baffert's "secret" weapon in the Derby. He's an aggressive front runner that can wire the field if the fractions are soft enough (a la War Emblem) but in a furious pace scenario he is likely to falter in deep stretch and take down a couple other stamina deficient on-the-pace runners with him. I figure the developing pace scenario is going to suit the elite Todd Squad stalkers down to the ground.

08 Mar 2010 6:38 PM
Aluminaut

I'm still liking American Lion, and it's fine if he doesn't get back on the list.

08 Mar 2010 6:40 PM
Aluminaut

Steve,

I just read your Racing Analysis re

sprint racing for early 3 year olds.  Wow!  You are right, and this sure rang a bell for me....I hope to take your advice to the bank in a couple years.  The Classics are a dream for most of us, but that dream can come from anywhere.  If you have a good horse in the barn or on the farm, you are living forever in the moment and for the future.

08 Mar 2010 6:51 PM
zarvona

    I know that many ‘claimers’ often turn around and run every three weeks, however, is it a sound strategy to press a good colt of gelding in that fashion just before the Kentucky Derby? If the Derby was going to be run on the 8th, ok, but, with it on May the 1st, …is thusly currently pointing "Alphie's Bet" (a new Steve addition) to the Toyota Blue Grass April the 10th ??? that wise of a decision?

   What is your opinion, and yours Steve? Can a good horse make such a turn around and be a real Derby competitor off such a short rest?

    And, did anyone get a Beyer figure on “Paddy O’Prado” ‘s run?, I can’t find one..

08 Mar 2010 6:57 PM
hoofprintsandhorseplay

Ladies -Buddy's Saint has no chance to win the Derby after his fiasco in the FOY. No Chance! If he runs a huge Wood, he'll bounce to the moon Derby day. He had to come off the list.

My top 4 -

1. Sidney's Candy

2. American Lion

3. Dublin

4. Dave in Dixie

check out the rest of my list -

hoofprintsandhorseplay.blogspot.com

I thought the best performance of the weekend was Make Music for Me. His race was very powerful and galloped out 20 lengths in front. The Santa Anita Derby is next for him.

08 Mar 2010 6:57 PM
JM75

Interesting move by Baffert pointing Conveyance toward the Sunland Derby.  I think he deserves a shot in a more traditional prep (maybe the Wood).  If he can show the ability to rate, I think he could be a legitimate contender.  Maybe we get another Derby winner via Sunland this year!

08 Mar 2010 7:11 PM
Slew

I'm certainly still up in the air for front runners.  I need to see more in order to make an honest decision.  So far, Dublin and Dave in Dixie were the most impressive to me, though neither actually won.  But it was their effort and grace that shows promise.  I liked Mendip and hope he comes to the states.  Still waiting for Ron the Greek to improve his times, but I still like him. Backtalk is working well, but I need to see greater concentration on his part. Still considering fillies...I really liked Amen Hallelujah, and can't wait to see her next race.  As far as your top 12, Steve, I think I appreciate that you were able to put a list together this week with so few races from which to choose.  

08 Mar 2010 7:23 PM
rilharreguy

Alphie's Bet???? Really, do you like Caracortado so much that being in the same race as him and winning a cheap derby prep result in being a top 10 contender? I am a "homer" when it comes to CA horses, and all things Alphabet Soup, but I cannot see this ranking. Certainly Conveyance a horse who is undefeated, tested on dirt, and a multiple winner at two turns must rank higher than Alphie's. Anyone else question this as much as me?

08 Mar 2010 7:46 PM
Auburnbill

Mr. Haskin,

I am a big Dublin backer and have 2 questions for you regarding him. #1 - please clarify what you mean by your comment in Derby Dozen that "he'll take a lot of beating in Rebel." Are you saying it will be a highly physical race? #2 - do you have any concerns about his distance pedigree from his dam? I personally think the sprinter influence from her will give him the maneuverability necessary in large Derby field.

08 Mar 2010 7:57 PM
Hotdog99

Check out Sidney's Candy pedigree and dosage index. Then realize he is a half brother to Misremembered and his sire broke the record for a 1 1/4 mile race.  

08 Mar 2010 7:59 PM
Mike Relva

HELLO STEVE

What's your opinion on Uptown charlybrown? Also,Buddy's Saint?

08 Mar 2010 8:50 PM
Smoky Cinder

No mention of Mendip?

Maybe his performance, a 6.25 length win in the Derrinstown Stud at Meydan (defeating last year's BC Juvenile winner) wasn't enough?

Also, what appears to be a dirt pedigree suggests he should fare well on the surface, should he pass the class test in the UAE Derby. This is the year for Godolphin!

08 Mar 2010 8:56 PM
BUZZATOGA

Dave in Dixie caught my eye last August in his debut and my eye is still on him...

08 Mar 2010 9:01 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Steve,

I am in amazement that two of your top three have yet to run as 3YO's. I agree that they have a ton of talent, but there are a handful of other horses that have had a great start to their 3YO season already and should be ranked higher than LAL and SS.

I am anxious to see American Lion's second start around 2 turns. This Saturday might be the most exciting day of racing since Breeders Cup day for sure.  So many 3YO's + the pleasure of seeing RA and Z, I can't wait!

How worried are you for the 10-15 lbs. Z is spotting the field?

08 Mar 2010 9:44 PM
robinm

I love the way Odysseus travels; he looks like he can run all day.  Based strictly on way-of-going, he is my Derby horse.  However, he'll need graded earnings to get in. Eskenderya was certainly impressive in FL; Super Saver is another good mover.  I loved Afleet Alex, so have to like Dublin.  Dave in Dixie was really impressive in his win at 2, and was closing well in his last race.  I don't know if the Dixie Union's really want 1-1/4 mile, but he's built like a horse that can get a distance.  Rule doesn't do anything wrong.  Awesome Act showed a terrific turn-of-foot in the Gotham, likewise, Alphie's Bet in the Sham.  However, I've got a problem supporting horses coming from synthetic surfaces.  Lookin At Lucky is "double whammied" in my book because he's only run on synthetics and hasn't run since the BC.  I sure hope Baffert can get him a dirt start soon.

08 Mar 2010 9:44 PM
John T

Jeremy Noseda will try to go one better in the Kentucky Derby than another English trainer,Clive Brittain who finished second with

Bold Arrangement.Awesome Act certainly gives him a live chance

at it and am looking forward to the

Wood Memorial to see what he can do.

08 Mar 2010 9:44 PM
robinm

Oops!   I forgot Miner's Reserve. He is my favorite of all the colts not on Steve's Top 12; he'd probably be on my Top 5, but he needs graded earnings too.

08 Mar 2010 9:48 PM
Alex

Nice list, Steve. I've never seen Odysseus run, so this should be interesting. His pedigree is outstanding.  

Forbidden Apple, that's a curious list you have there. Out of the six horses you listed as being "overrated", I don't consider Dublin one of them. While I was impressed with Conveyance's race in The Rebel, I thought Dublin ran an equally impressive race, if not more so. He stumbled at the start, and was wide the entire race, yet he only finished a length in back of Conveyance. Dublin is a big, strong horse, and he has the right running style for the Derby. The only thing that concerns me about him is the constant shifting of jockeys on his back. I can only hope Corey will be a good fit for him.

08 Mar 2010 9:51 PM
mike rullo

steve,

why not try the Illinois derby with miners reserve??? who is out there with his kind of talent??

08 Mar 2010 9:55 PM
Secretation

Steve and Glassoniongirl,

 I'm with you, I'd love to see trainers go by the history books and see what happens if they train a horse for the triple crown the way trainers used to.  Steve, your article about sprints as a first race of the year was very interesting.  Another thing I find interesting is that most of the TC winners had a prep race 14 days prior to the Derby and some also had one between that race and the Derby (like Citation with the Derby Trial).  I've long been of the opinion that until somebody preps these horses the way the Triple Crown winners were trained and prepared, we'll never see another triple crown winner.  This current trend where we're putting more space between the last prep and the Derby is probably a move in the wrong direction.  Steve, you know Baffert and if anybody would try it, I would think it would be him.  You could make up a chart of each Triple Crown winner's three year old races up to and through the triple crown season and show him the trends.  They bear little resemblance to the way guys train horses for the Triple Crown now.  I just don't buy this "fragile modern thoroughbred" stuff.  I think they're unfit more than they are fragile.  A recent quote I read said "a tired horse is more prone to injury."  Who said it?  The man who trained two Triple Crown winners, Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.

08 Mar 2010 10:00 PM
chris

Instead of your personal rankings why not group them by earnings, that is what is going to get a horse into the derby right?  Graded money preferred??  Who are the top 20 in earnings?

08 Mar 2010 10:29 PM
Matthew W

Steve and fellow hangers: This Winter has brought a few suprises, and things are shaping up daily, as we approach May Day! I am writing from SoCal, or since the era of "no-choice but to comply" began (unless by choice you mean which synthetic variation do you "choose"?!) I call it "LO-Cal"! But the horses are pulling us out, the Cal-Breds have got me walkin the walk/ with a spring in my step! Caracortado is for real! He'll beat Dave In Dixie--fact is, Dave In Dixie should've won LAST time, the 47 2/5 half was many lengths faster than the three other graded stakes that day--no, Caracortado will win...but I'm also going ga-ga over Alphies Bet! His maiden, v Cal Breds...slow race...slow pace...but Alphie made up 5 lengths in the last 1/4, while four wide--into a 23 3/5 pace, meaning Alphies Bet, in the last 1/4 of his maiden race, over a slow variant turf course...ran 22 and change/not much change, at that! The wide trip/ hammer kick was a thing of beauty--fast forward--long works, seven weeks off--and here is this big beautiful horse, trucking down the outside--the Sham was weak, for sure--Alphies Bet is for real! Why not? If a horse can win like that at 1 1/8 over pro-ride....I'm thinking he can get the Derby Distance...he kicks like a mule--and unlike the smallish Caracortado, Alphies Bet is robust! Obviously I need to see another...but Caracortado on top this weekend....Also note both Cal Breds are by sons of Storm Cat--just like Giants Causeway!

08 Mar 2010 10:36 PM
RJPPDP

I am excited about this week. Many of my top 20 are racing. You got Dublin, Lookin at Lucky, Caracortado, Noble's Promise  Uh Oh Bango and Odysseus, I think Dave in dixie and American Lion are also racing this weekend. I alway enjoy an awesome weekend of racing.

08 Mar 2010 10:55 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Mike R.,

I am not Steve, so I am sure my opinion is not worth much, but UptownCharlybrown will not start in the derby.  

Buddy's Saint may be behind the 8 ball but with a solid start, and finish for that matter (1 or 2) and he will be in the derby with great odds!  I am still on the Buddy's Saint bandwagon, but have yet to jump on board with UTCB.

Take it for what it's worth, which with my history, isn't much! It is only my opinion.

08 Mar 2010 11:14 PM
Irish

I think Baffert is shrewd to run Conveyance in the Sunland Derby.  3 of the last 4 (and both of the last 2) KD winners had their final prep 5 weeks out @ 9 furlongs on real dirt.  

With the Florida Derby having moved to 6 weeks out, that leaves the Sunland & Louisiana Derbys as the only 9f real dirt preps 5 weeks out from the KD this year.  

I'm going to play at least one KD ticket using the 5-week layoff betting angle because it sure looks like a pattern is developing.  

09 Mar 2010 12:23 AM
Armaan

I agreee with your ist two and thats about it. Alphie's bet  a top 12 derby contender, really?  Who did he beat? Setsuko who has won one of six starts. Hey steve what are your thoghts on Mendip? He has proven that he can get the distance and he has beaten strong fields of horses in both of his starts as a three year old. He has the pedigree, he is undefeated, he is derby nominated, he has good connections, what else do you need.WIl a good run from him in the UAE derby be  enough for you to consider him a serious derby horse?

09 Mar 2010 12:31 AM
Pasturelands

No other choice but Esky, next is Lucky... the rest is just fence-sitting.

May the true champion win!!

09 Mar 2010 1:36 AM
MarkP

I cant figure out what the buzz is on Dublin and Conveyance. Sure they are nice horses, but many are better. I expect Lookin and Noble's to finish 1-2 in the Rebel. In the San Felipe it will be very interesting, no way to tell if Dave in Dixie can move up, but I expect him to. Super Saver looks very good in Tampa Bay, I think Odysseus will be beat, but that will be a fun race to watch.Eskengeraya is only top rated colt going in Fla. Derby? That is strange. It sure gonna be a nice 3 races this weekend, I got the fever!

09 Mar 2010 5:18 AM
El Kabong

racehorsejim-trebloc

I looked at the sam davis film and what looks dangerous in the tb derby is super saver hooking up with schoolyard dreams. If they do, they'll both tire. I hope SS can show us some patience and rate. Very interesting wagering opportunity. Might have to have a backup exacta with some shots closing with UTCB. It would be nice to see some maturity and rate from SS, if he does, he can clobber this bunch.  

09 Mar 2010 6:49 AM
trebloc

Steve,

What's up with Girolamo?  I think he had two works about one mth ago, but I haven't seen anything lately.  I hope he is doing well.    

09 Mar 2010 8:01 AM
Fran Loszynski

I'm so glad Corey Nakatani is riding Dublin. He did a great job with Afleet Again at Philly last month and he seems to know the kick-in speed of Alex's kids. I know Dublin has the stuff to do it. Terry is a great jockey but Corey seems to know when Alex's kids feel that urge to get to the finish line. I know Dublin will try his heart out to win this race so all Afleet Alex fans just "BELIEVE" OH AND GET YOUR KENTUCKY DERBY HATS OUT!

09 Mar 2010 8:46 AM
Citation

Secretation, I completely agree. I have been wanting to tell someone that for such a long time. Zarvona, Charismatic in 1999 came back off of winning the Lexington to win the Derby off two weeks rest, so it has been done, even recently.

09 Mar 2010 9:34 AM
Cris

Too many people have dismissed Lookin at Lucky just because he has not run yet this year. He was much the best of his class of two year olds and he will be tough this year too. Street Sense proved it can be done, and if he is indeed, lucky, there will not be a Curlin or Rags to Riches waiting in the wings.

09 Mar 2010 10:16 AM
Smoking Baby

 I hate to be one of those negative folks so I'll try to be careful.  It seems to me that every year Pletcher has a bunch of nice colts that impressively win some of these prep races.  This is great but aside from Bluegrass Cat (who ran second but got beat by more than five lengths)and a couple nice colts who ran well to be fourth I can't remember them firing on Derby day.  Bandini really comes to mind.  He looked like a world beater in his prep but was done after that.  As impressive as Eskendereya was the other day (and make no mistake, he WAS impressive)I can't shake the feeling that the best we'll see of him will be this month in Florida.  So...Who do I like???  The truth???  No clue this early but if pressed I'd say

1. Odysseus

2. Lookin At Lucky

3. Dublin

Now, having said this watch Eskendereya win the triple crown.  How dumb will I feel?

09 Mar 2010 10:17 AM
Slew

Let's see...Allowance at Hialeah, March 9, Flamingo Stakes, March 26, Wood Memorial April 23, Kentucky Derby May 7, Preakness May 21, Belmont June 11..1977..by the only undefeated Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew.  We just don't seem to have any horse today meeting those stats and quick turnarounds.  That stamina and heart seems to have been bred out of today's competitors in favor of speed.  Young and fragile, I've yet to see another "Baby Huey".  So I still sit here, wondering, hoping and dreaming...maybe someday.  I just hope that day comes before I'm dust and ashes.

09 Mar 2010 10:24 AM
Steve Haskin

Auburnbill, it's a racing expression that means he will be tough to beat. I have a slight concern about his pedigree, but not enough to make me think he cant win the Derby.

Hotdog, Sidney's Candy can handle a distance without it being a surprise, but I want to see him stretch out all that speed first. Misremembered is the only offspring of Candy Ride to win major stakes at a route. All his other top horses were 7-furlong horses. I do think he's a very gifted horse, but it is getting late in the game not to have gone two turns. We'll know soon enough.

Mike, I like Uptowncharlybrown. I think he's only going to get better and I expect a big race from on Saturday. Buddy's Saint is way behind the 8-ball getting so little out of the FOY.

Smokey, what do you mean by a mention? Do you want to know why he's not in the Top 12? Let's see what he does in the UAE Derby first. I was impressed with him visually, but his time was significantly slower than the other races have been at that distance. He could very well be prominently placed with a big race against Musir, who is in a different league than the horses he beat last week.

TJ, you shouldnt be amazed. Theyre on there because I felt they were the two best 2-year-olds last year and one is the champ and the other is bred to run all day. Are you saying I should just leave them off the list?

09 Mar 2010 10:30 AM
Gary at Rough Creek

Hey Steve,

Enjoyed your top 12 list, and especially enjoyed the article about how trainers historically used to run their Derby contenders in spring sprints.  Thanks for that perspective.  Something to keep in mind when we talk to our trainer...

I only have one small comment to make regarding your take on The Gotham and Yawanna Twist (Awesome Act not beating much), and it also pertains to last year's Derby and what many said of Musket Man.  I think there is a mistaken impression regarding Yonaguska.  Many (most) in these Derby discussions dismiss Yonaguska as a "sprint sire." I think this is mistaken, for two reasons.  The first is that Yonaguska was Grade 1 placed as a 2 YO at 8.5 furlongs, but his owner specifically kept him from running beyond sprint distances as an older horse.  His trainer and jockey (Lucas and Bailey if memory serves) thought that he could have been quite effective past a mile.  And there are plenty of sires who were best at 7-9 furlongs who have sired legitimate classic horses - Elusive Quality and Distorted Humor being two of them.

The second point is a genetic one.  The mare contributes quite a bit to the distance capabilities of her foals, especially her colts.  If you notice, both Musket Man - who showed himself to be a real 9 to 10 furlong horse last year in my opinion - and Yawanna Twist this year have Dixieland Band as their 2nd dams.  Dixieland Band of course is the broodmare sire of two recent Derby winners in Monarcos and Street Sense.

But it also should be noted that Yawanna Twist's broodmare sire (Oliver Twist) was placed in The Preakness, as was Yonaguska's sire, Cherokee Run.

I'm not saying that Yawanna Twist is going to win The KY Derby this year, but if he continues to perform well around two turns, it would not surprise me in the least.  I thought I'd get this out now, so maybe some other people could cash some tickets down the line too!

Thanks again for your articles...we love them here.

09 Mar 2010 10:38 AM
Simply Majestic

Does anyone know where Laus Deo is?  I don't think I've seen him, since I think it was the Count Fleet?

09 Mar 2010 11:07 AM
Forbidden Apple

Why all of the criticism for Levine only scheduling 2 prep races for Buddy' Saint? I believe that is the plan for Lookin At Lucky and Super Saver. Yet nobody is questioning the training ability of Baffert or Pletcher. Buddy's Saint is far to talented to scratch him off from the Derby trail after one race.

Hoofprints, Sidneys Candy sounds much more like a ladies horse to me. Your bounce theory is highly overrated. If the so called bounce is true, should I be expecting far less impressive efforts from Dublin and Eskendereya in their next starts?

Alex, my list is only somewhat curious because I have not put every popular horse in my mix. I feel that it is way to easy to just move Eskendereya to the top and declare him the winner in March. Out of my list, I have big question marks next to Buddy's Saint(fitness), Lookin At Lucky(fitness), Lentenor(still no dirt race, Uptowncharlybrown(distance limitations), & Nobles Promise(distance limitations). That leaves me with 8 solid runners to study for now.

To the folks asking about Conveyance and why he is not higher on the Derby Dozen list, it is simple, NO RESPECT. Conveyance is the Rodney Dangerfield of this year's KY Derby watch. Dublin gets all kinds os attention because he is by Afleet Alex. For some reason, people are in love with every horse that is sired by Afleet Alex. I know that he was a good horse, but he is a bit hyped up at this point. He was very impressive in the Preakness and Belmont. I was lucky emough to watch 2 of his races as a 2 yo and I was more impressed by his flashy moves as a juvenile. Do not underestimate a Baffert runner with Martin Garcia up. Lookin At Lucky may not be his best chance to win a triple Crown race.

09 Mar 2010 11:25 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Forbidden apple ...great point and think that people are overlooking conveyance. He runs alot like RA with setting blazing fractions. I think he is going to go out to the lead and will take the catch ne if you can approach. Keep in mind he will only getting better on dirt and how can you have distance limitations if you never have lost a race??

09 Mar 2010 11:55 AM
PAUL

Steve Haskins writes an article about the Golden Age of the 70's and how trainers started their horses in sprints at the start of their 3 year-old campaign and how this strategy works. And THEN he continues to leave D'Funnybone (whose only bad start came on an "All-Weather" (boy is that a mis-nomer) surface in last year's BC Juvenile out of his Derby Dozen. I for one have him at the top of my Derby Dozen. His only question mark is will he be able to carry his speed over this distance, some of these have much BIGGER question marks than that.

09 Mar 2010 12:35 PM
Colleen

Since some here asked, here's a list of the top graded earners so far this year.  I included only males who have won at least $100,000.  

I have not included the top earning fillies because their connections have not expressed intent to run in the Derby.  I have also not included horses off the trail due to injury.  This list is current as of March 8.  

1. Lookin At Lucky = $1,210,000

2. Vale of York = $1,114,784

3. Noble's Promise = $648,000

4. Rule = $570,000

5. Beethoven = $342,616

6. D'Funnybone = $330,000

7. Discreetly Mine = $310,000

8. Homeboykris = $250,500

9. Dublin = $243,208

10. Interactif = $240,450

11. Aikenite = $218,000

12. Make Music for Me = $215,000

13. Awesome Act = $210,000

14. Buddy's Saint = $210,000

15. Conveyance = $210,000

16. Radiohead = $196,332

17. Uh Oh Bango = $172,952

18. Backtalk = $172,566

19. Eskendereya = $150,000

20. Super Saver = $133,832

21. Paddy O'Prado = $100,950

22. Aspire = $100,000

09 Mar 2010 1:26 PM
JoshSantaanitafan

Simply Majestic--- Amen to your post. Well Said...

09 Mar 2010 1:27 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

It Ain't Easy being good...

RE Conveyance, you can have distance limitations because you've never run a classic distance before taking on The KY Derby.  That last furlong separates good two turn horses from real classic horses, and since you invoke RA, let me add that I seriously doubt she will ever take on top class runners at 10 furlongs...ever.  

I don't know whether Conveyance will have the mindset and the ability to carry his speed for 10 furlongs, maybe while being pressured more than he has to date.  But I can't wait to see him on dirt.

09 Mar 2010 2:06 PM
JB

Forbidden Apple

YES, you should expect a less impressive from Dublin, he ran a lights out race off the layoff and a surgery. He will be lucky to split the field with all the horses shipping in. Don't forget about Uh Oh Bango in the Rebel, could be a sleeper.

And there is a big difference between Lookin at Lucky and Super Saver only having two preps and Buddy's Saint only getting two. Lookin at Lucky have more overall experience than Buddy's Saint, oh and the fact that Bafferent and Pletcher trains them helps too.

09 Mar 2010 2:11 PM
Steve Haskin

Gary, not beating much has nothing to do with Yonaguska's breeding or ability as a sire. As good as Yawanna Twist might be, he still had only two NY-bred sprints, a maiden and allowance race. There wasnt a single stakes winner in the field. I'm curious, at this point do you think this was a strong field?

09 Mar 2010 2:24 PM
90Proof

Steve:

Awesome Act is #1 its plain and simple. I don't care about the quality of the field he beat in the Gotham. He passes the Visual Test more than any horse I've seen this year. Its the It factor and he's got IT! This horse is heads and shoulders above the rest of this years group and is gonna be a real threat to win 3 in row in the TC. I know I'll be lambasted for saying this but this is a seriously talented race horse. I love how he moves and he really covers some ground.

09 Mar 2010 2:53 PM
Billy

Anyone know what happened to Eightyfiveinafifty?

I believe he worked last week for first time since Whirlaway, but I'd like to know where they're pointing him.

09 Mar 2010 3:38 PM
SlewStable

Steve,

Do  you  have  the  splits  for  Caracortado's  latest  work  of  58.60  for  five  furlongs ?  If  so  I  would  thank  you  for  putting  them  up.

09 Mar 2010 3:52 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Gary,

What do you mean you cant wait to see him on dirt didnt you watch the southwest??? He has been on dirt and crushed! Look back at his fractions they were blazing fast. Its going to be hard for horses to keep up and he could pull a da tara and run away from the field. I just disagree with distance limitations when you dont lose. RA has distance limitations....I dont think so! Either way I think Conveyance and dublin are real contenders and something about awesome act makes me think he will be around when turning home if he makes the gate may 1st!

09 Mar 2010 4:09 PM
Mahaska

The 2010 major preps start soon Untill then Its Lookin at LUCKY

09 Mar 2010 4:10 PM
Ranagulzion

PAUL,

Very good point about D'Funnybone. He is #5 on my list behind Eskendereya, Super Saver, Rules and Caracortado and just ahead of Awesome Act.  D'Funnybone is the most curious of all Derby contenders because he undoubtedly possesses the class to win it and nobody really knows how far he will carry that speed.  I rank him lower down because of the top half of his pedigree (D'Wildcat was an out and out sprinting grandson of Storm Cat which is a double negative but on the other hand he is inbred to the immortal Secretariat and you never know if that X-factor gene will show up). Trainer Rick Dutrow keeps everybody guessing by keeping him in sprints but if he goes to the starting gate on the first Saturday in May don't rule him out. I wouldn't be surprised if he sparkles because he has a very high cruising speed and can sit comfortably in torrid fractions. Watch this one carefully.  

09 Mar 2010 4:28 PM
TheeMilton

1.Sidney's Candy

2.Caracortado

3.Dublin

Sidney's Candy could sneak into The Derby at high odds with only one one mile plus distance race under his belt IF Sadler skips the San Felipe.  

09 Mar 2010 5:35 PM
Freetex

At this point, I like:

Caracortado

Alphie's Bet

Lookin At Lucky

09 Mar 2010 5:40 PM
Americashorse

Steve,

you dropped Buddy's Saint off your list now

you must live with that decision. Don't belittle

your handicapping skills by flip-flopping now.

Thanks & love your comments for all of us

wannabe handicappers!

09 Mar 2010 5:59 PM
Householder

Loved Lookin at Lucky the first time I saw him sprint on the "Zenyatta Undercard" at Del Mar.  I think Baffert is playing this one different.  POTN may have had just 1 too many races in him.  I think he ran the San Felipe, was brought back in 3 weeks for the Santa Anita Derby, and then shipped.  

09 Mar 2010 6:12 PM
montime1

Just Waiting To See if Lucky will like the dirt and blinkers.

09 Mar 2010 6:18 PM
vikingblood22

Steve, you hit the nail on the head again--I, too, enjoyed and agree with you totally regarding "how it was done right," the history of training a quality triple crown contender. The entire article and FACTS made for a very, very interesting article. Thank you.

09 Mar 2010 6:29 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

It Ain't Easy being good...

Sorry for the mindgas re Conveyance...of course.  

Still, there is a real chasm between 9 furlongs and 10 furlongs.  That last furlong is a separator, especially on the first Saturday in May. Most horses' systems haven't even fully grown by then!  There are many examples of very fast horses that can win on the lead at 9 furlongs leading up to the Derby, but sputter that last furlong in the Derby.  So it wouldn't surprise me to see a horse like Conveyance get caught.  It's a rarity to find a horse that can consistently take the lead in top company and win at a classic distance.  Remember Congaree?  He came pretty close and eventually got his Hollywood Gold Cup...at age 5.  Smarty could consistently take his speed 10 furlongs, but look at Lion Heart, a very nice horse...there at 9 furlongs, but placed at 9+ furlongs.

Seattle Slew is the one sticking in my mind who was a legit classic horse who would go to the lead and improve his position.

RA definitely has distance limitations past 9 furlongs - in top company mind you - especially at the more equal weights that she will have to carry this year.  That's no disgrace in my opinion.  I just think that it was obvious that by any objective analysis, she was getting caught and would have been passed in two of her races against colts last year if the distances had been ever so slightly longer.  I think she was truly - majestically mind you - but truly, full out in The Preakness and The Woodward and getting caught at the end in both, even in receipt of 5 and 8 pounds respectively.  

Just watch and see.  If she even runs in top company at 10 furlongs this year, I'll gladly, happily, eat some crow. If they do attempt 10 furlongs with her, they'll have to be very careful with their track selection, and I'm sure they would be. They didn't run her in The Travers, and they didn't run her in The BCC.  Hmmm? Not a coincidence in my opinion.    

That 10th furlong is really tough.

09 Mar 2010 6:34 PM
Zookeeper

I love the fact that Mike Machowsky is keeping Paul Atkinson on Caracortado. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So many times a jockey, who has done nothing wrong, is replaced by a more celebrated one. Granted, the KD is in a class by itself but having the same jockey aboard must be a plus for the horse. Mike Machowsky's loyalty speaks volume for him and the co-owners of this very promissing gelding.

09 Mar 2010 6:36 PM
Ken R.

These are the five horses I think have the most legitimate chance to win the Derby based on speed figures,pedigree,running style,connectios and upside.

1) Awesome Act- Awesome in Gotham after four month layoff.

2) Odysseus- Lightly raced but has the potential to be a monster.

3) Dave in Dixie- If he handles dirt will be dangerous in the lane at Churchill.

4) Eskendereya- The deserved favorite but may be peaking too soon.

5) Drosselmeyer- Was hampered by pace in Risen Star.--Loves Churchill.

Others:

Lookin at Lucky- Late start,Beyers must improve.

Dublin- Has never raced beyond a mile.

Caracotado- Won't have easy trip in Derby like he did in Lewis.Will have no dirt experience.

Buddy'Saint- Is schedule wise,up against it.

All Front Runners- History says no unless someone gets loose on the lead.This year I think that is very unlikely.

09 Mar 2010 6:53 PM
Runfast159

Steve, I liked your article To Go Long, Think Fast.  Undoubtedly training methods 30 or more years ago were different than they are now, as are the horses themselves.

The era we live in now is one where many of the very good horses race maybe a dozen times. The average number of starts for horses entering the Derby has declined significantly over the years. The rush to prep colts for the Derby off of 6 or 7 lifetime starts might indicate that taking the time to stretch them out is a "luxury" trainers don't have. It's a shame!

09 Mar 2010 7:00 PM
hank

Dublin is my pick Lucas is putting the pedal to the metal, I agree with gentleman on horses being unfit more than fragile, I was a big sunny jim fan. Love your article Mr Haskins U R D Best

09 Mar 2010 7:37 PM
Gary at Rough Creek

Steve,

I watch these 3 YO races as a breeder first, and a gambler on The Derby second.  I'm not sure I would go so far as to say The Gotham had a strong field, but I loved the way the first and second place horses ran the race.  Especially on the inner dirt at Aqueduct.  

Part of what compelled me to write is that - contrary to all the commentators on TV that I've heard and you wrote - I liked the way Yawanna Twist finished even more than how Awesome Act finished.  Some made it sound like he won "easily and in hand".  To my eye, he was getting a vigorous hand ride and being shown the whip, and was still getting caught.  

Now, Yamanna Twist wasn't going to blow past him, but I liked his form more as he was crossing the wire than I liked Awesome Act's form.  And they were clear of the field, which I like to see.  And the final time was legit in my opinion, regardless of the internal fractions.  It's all about progression, and I really liked how Yamanna Twist rated behind rivals.  To my eye, he almost had to idle for a stride or two, and then accelerate again when clear, which is a nice talent to possess.  

We are all familiar with the horses on your list, and they obviously deserve to be there.  But The Derby, more than any other race, is a great wagering opportunity because of the massive amount of money wagered - usually incorrectly.  

So what we look for are the horses that others don't like, but we do...the ones which could improve on the day, or that are truly bred to get 10 - 12 furlongs, or that have the running style to match how the track is playing on the day.  We had the super in last year's Derby but only bet the trifecta.  That won't happen again!  

Here's another example of what I mean.  In The 2010 Borderland Derby, the Birdstone colt was fanned way wide going into the first turn and lost all real chance.  He ran on to finish 5th I think, but it was a blanket 5th with the 4th and 3rd place finishers all right there.  Yes they were well behind the others, but that Birdstone colt broke his maiden recently against the DQ'd victor of The Borderland.  They dueled down the lane.  I expect him to improve in his next race, maybe even enough for him to have the graded earnings to be in the gate on the first Saturday in May.

Is this colt as accomplished or as well bred to get 10 furlongs as Mine That Bird was last year?  Obviously not, but if he does happen to get to the gate May 1 at Churchill, he just may be in our Derby weenie box.

I think - no, I know - that I am getting rather defensive as a breeder.  These guys on TV and in print discount so easily discount whole crops of horses.  They have the gall to call a 2 YO champion that wins The KY Derby, and then runs 2nd and 3rd in the next two legs of the Triple Crown a

"one hit wonder" and "a fluke".  There are plenty of other examples.

Not only is this intellectually lazy, it is a cynical turn off.  It's disrespectful to the horses, and their breeders, and their owners, and the people who train them.  I also think it is just really bad for business...public perception.

Steve, you rarely if ever go that way.  That's one reason I enjoy and respect your work so much. So please excuse my defensiveness.  That "didn't beat much" pushed the nerve.  See, the breeder in me gets defensive...the parimutuel wagerer in me just smiles!  Only 23 people cashed superfecta tickets in last year's Derby if memory serves, and that's the way we want it to stay.

09 Mar 2010 8:04 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Steve,

I am not saying that you should kick them off the list, nor am I saying they aren't top five or top ten horses.  My point is that there have been a couple standout horses as 3YO's that have impressed me.  I really like Rule, either as #1 or #2.  Eskendereya is right there as well.  Caracortado has done nothing wrong other than staying on synthetics.

Lookin at Lucky will be a big play against on Saturday being his first time on dirt, first after a layoff, and facing a solid group of horses at the distance.  His works have been far from "Baffert-like".  I loved LAL and SS as 2YO's, but they haven't earned the #2 or #3 spot yet.

I like Uh Oh Bango in the Rebel although he is coming off a layoff as well.  

09 Mar 2010 8:29 PM
Dave

I see you took off Drosselmeyer. Every horse runs a bad none now and then. This might have been his bad one. I`m thinking Radiohead is being missed by everyone. That might be a mistake. Discreet Mine, Conveyance, Alphies Bet, I can`t see anywhere in the Derby Picture. Finally Baffert is going to run Lookin at Lucky. He`s really an unknown at this point. He might fall apart on dirt.

09 Mar 2010 8:56 PM
rick in georgetown ky

steve,watch how fast Cat Dreams makes it back to kentucky from indiana when Caracortado wins the san felipe saturday

09 Mar 2010 9:05 PM
It aint easy being good

I dont know go back to the southwest and look at conveyance again he came out like a cannon from the 9 hole and set fast fractions and beat some good horses to the ground. I think some of you overthink to much. If you go back to the WOOD and RA ...Da tara ran the race just to take RA out! I think Conveyance might get the lead and not look back! I would feel differently but he hasnt lost and look at his times at oaklawn which is not a speed favoring track!

09 Mar 2010 9:12 PM
Zookeeper

Looking at Lucky doesn't need to win Saturday. He already has plenty of earnings. He does need to run well and to prove that dirt is not going to be his undoing. I'm looking for a good effort but not a gut wrenching one. There's one more prep to run and enough has to be left in the tank for May 1st.

I don't have a favorite, yet. Maybe after this weekend. With so much going on, Saturday will be as exciting as they come. Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, all the KD preps and whatever else the tracks have in store for us... we are a lucky bunch of fans!

09 Mar 2010 9:48 PM
Runfast159

Gary at Rough Creek:

I really enjoyed your posts and perspectives.  Particularly the last few paragraphs about about "flukes" and "one hit wonders." Well said.

I have watched the Gotham back a few times.  It will be interesting to see how these two horses progress this year.  I'm not ready to put them in my Derby Top 12, but I do agree that Yawanna Twist ran a good race.    

09 Mar 2010 9:59 PM
Zookeeper

Da Tara ran his race. On the front end, just like in the Belmont. HIS undoing was Rachel Alexandra not the other way around. He couldn't keep up with her. To say that he ran JUST to take her out is not only an insult to the horse and his connections, it is simply not true!

09 Mar 2010 10:09 PM
arazi

youre missing the best 3yo on the top 12 ......his name is sydneys candy by far the fastest 3yo out there..oh and by the way he is by candy ride sire of big cap winner misremembered

09 Mar 2010 10:15 PM
Matthew W

Blows me away, the way Machowsky is sticking with Paul Atkinson, loyalty is so pure a virtue! He keeps giving him perfect rides, but 99.9% of trainers are going to put up another rider--Caracortado is a May foal, won't even be three when the Derby Gates open--his jock was 4 for 4 on him last year, and what--won one more race all year? Such loyalty, such honor, small horse, won't get beat---what a story!

09 Mar 2010 11:08 PM
Jason

It aint easy being good,

I have a problem with  what you said about Oaklawns track, it clearly IS speed favoring, especially at the one mile distance because they only run to the first finish line, do a little more research.

09 Mar 2010 11:23 PM
Brian

I cant believe anyone thinks 3 weeks to the Derby is short rest. Man  has the industry changed. Horses are so babied now-a-days. Believe me, the more they run, the better they are. Ill use the Bid as an example. Spectacular Bid's 3yo campaign to Louisville is an obsolete way of training a Ky hopeful today. The Hutcheson, Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby, Flamingo and the Blue Grass (which then was 2 weeks before the Derby) all in about 10 weeks. 5 races in 10 weeks. Today we're talking about how we need to give these horses 5-7 weeks of rest before the Kentucky Derby or they're gased. It has everything to do with the trainers of today (Baffert & Lukas aside) and the value of the horse upon retirement.

Today if a horse runs in the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby you know there is no chance of them running again until the Derby.

This great sport is so watered down now, its sad. These trainers/owners are a different breed. If some of the past time greats ran today they would never have a chance to show you how amazing they were....

If Spectacular Bid were trained today by Todd Pletcher, how many races do you think he would have had as of now? I can tell you it definitely wouldn't be 14.

10 Mar 2010 12:06 AM
Forbidden Apple

Hi Steve, thank you for your kind Caracortado/Atkinson article, I really enjoyed it. It is certainly a feel good story, kind of reminds me of Seabiscuit. Can you tell me anything about the racing surface at Sunland Park?

It is very clear to me that Martin Garcia shot out of the gate in the Southwest Stakes because he was in the #9 post position. Do not write this horse off as a one run speedball who will only fizzle out at more than 1 mile. I do agree that he has plenty of speed, but take a look at his San Rafael victory again. He set a slow pace and took over when he needed to, he is very dangerous.

JB, Super Saver only had 4 races last year. That is not a ton of experience to me. What you are saying is that he has an advanatge because of Pletcher. If Pletcher is so good, then why with his superior racing stock is he winless on the first saturday in May?

Awesome Act was in an easy gallop, he could have won without the whip in the jockeys hand. Like I said above, this horse had many reasons to lose and all he did was jog to the wire. Even though he was up against a weak field, I still take his race quite seriously.

10 Mar 2010 12:18 AM
Raven

Dear Steve, This is my Derby list may be you can comment about this list :

1. Super Saver;

2. Sidney's Candy;

3. Eskendereya;

4. Rule;

5. Caracortado;

6. Dublin;

7. Mendip;

8. Lookin at Lucky;

9. Ron The Greek;

10.Conveyance;

11.Vale of York;

12.Buddy's Saint;

13.Noble,s Promise;

14.Ron The Greek;

15.Lentenor;

16.Discreetly Mine;

17.D'funnybone;

18.Dave In Dixie;

19.Tempted to tapit;

20.American Lion;

21.Jackson Bend

22.Pounced

23.Aikenite

24.Radiohead

25.Stay Put

26.Drosselmeyer

27.Dry Fly

10 Mar 2010 12:58 AM
Pasturelands

This Wonderful list-- not wonderful yet.  Only Eskandereya is any good.  

Everyone is watching the New Orleans Ladies and the Oaklawn thriller called the APPLE BLOSSOM, so bad luck for these guys running in the Triple crown this year!  LOL.

But I might get a "feeling" for the TC later when April gets here.  Right now, I'm sort of in limbo about my pick for the Derby.

10 Mar 2010 2:07 AM
Capper

Your Derby Dozen is badly skewed against this century's statistics.  90% of the last 10 Derbies were won by either trainers with their first starter or trainers who rarely enter the Derby (80% were first time starters).  

In other words, trainers that start year after year (like Pletcher, Baffert, Lukas) lost 90% of the last ten.  So you've devoted almost 60% of your Derby Dozen to trainers with a collective 90% loss rate since 2000 (and 10 years is statistically significant by any standard).    

If you were handicapping a low-level allowance and saw a trainer with a 90% to 100% loss rate over 10 years, would you bet his horse?  Would you recommend a friend bet on it?   If no, then I question why these trainers dominate your Derby Dozen, keeping in mind that some people probably use it to bet that race.      

10 Mar 2010 3:34 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Seems as if every week brings a new favorite for most people.  If Bango somehow wins Saturday I imagine he`ll be in everyone`s top 5 next week.  Lucky and Promise need dirt practice and not graded money so I`ll probably just shoot for some longshots @ Oaklawn

10 Mar 2010 4:40 AM
Coldfacts

Steve,

Everybody was impressed with Awesome Act’s Gotham performance and rightfully so. However, I do not believe he has any chance of winning the derby. He was produced from a Mr. Prospector broodmare and will not stay 10 furlongs effectively. Lets face it, the only mare from Mr. Prospector’s 511 broodmares band to come close to producing the winner of a Triple Crown race was Tersa the dam of Rock Hard Ten who was runner up to Smarty Jones in the 2004 Preakness. I am generous in mu use of the term close as he was beaten by 8 to 10 lengths.

The interesting horse emerging from the Gotham is Nacho Friend. I have been waiting for an offspring of Friends Lake to show some ability for some time. I happen to think Friends Lake is the best bred son of A. P. Indy at stud. He like his sire was the product of a dam that was sired by a HOY. A.P. Indy’s dam was sired by HOY Secretariat and Friends Lake’s dam was sired HOY Spend A Buck. Spend A Buck remains one of a handful of derby winners that went 2:00 for the derby distance. His time equals that of former stake record holder Northern Dancer whose record was taken down by Secretariat and runner up Sham. Nacho Friend’s dam You’ernotlistening made 63 starts and can be considered an iron horse like the dam of Connemara that made 78 starts. She was sired by speed and stamina stallion Kennedy Road who was Canadian champion 2YO, 3YO, 4YO and Canadian Horse of the Year at 5YO. Kennedy Road’s sire Victoria Park was also Canadian Horse of the Year.

Nacho Friend’s start in the Gotham was his first since July 2009 when he was seen finishing a fighting 4th to Backtalk in the Sanford Stake at Saratoga. The Sanford was his second start which followed his debut victory. The fractions of the Sanford were very fast (21.99, 44.96, 57.31, 10:.07). He closed from last but one for his 4th spot less than 2 lengths away. Eight months later he turns up in the Gotham chasing fractions crazy fractions (22.85, 46.60, 1:11.90) He was second in deep stretch until passed by Yawanna Twist. He was beaten by about three plus lengths. Clearly this colt needed a race but not one that represented the second fastest Gotham in the last 4 years. What was impressive about this colt is the fact that although he was beaten he was very resolute to the line. That one race will do him a world of good and I see in him the toughness of his dam.

This colt has speed and stamina and I think if he is ridden just off the pace he will spring a major upset in the Wood and validate my expectations of Friends Lake. Nice colt

10 Mar 2010 5:00 AM
Mike D from Alpena, Michigan

I think alot of people are forgetting about a very good horse, Uh Oh Bango.  I believe he will run in the Rebel. Watch out for this Arizona runner.  Glen Corbett rides him and this jock has 3,000 wins in his career. I am predicting now, that baring any injuries, this horse gets in the derby and will hit the board on May 1st.

10 Mar 2010 5:41 AM
AJ

Steve, Thanks for this feature. I really enjoy the discussion. Don't always agree with all that is said but it is great that there is a discussion. Not enough people I know and work with can carry on an informed discussion in racing and all my friends are horse owners.

That being said, I still like Drosselmeyer despite his porr showing in his last race but he had a bad trip. Though there are few good trips in the Derby with the huge field. I also have high hopes for Odyseus. Malibu Moon has had quite a few successful offspring though more so in his fillies the past year. And I have a Moon colt starting training so I am biased.

10 Mar 2010 9:57 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Conveyance=4-0, baffert never lost, 3D type runner! Enough said! Keep talking about looking at lucky and the rest of the field. Cant knock a horse ever that has never lost...learned my lesson in the Breeders CUP 2009!

10 Mar 2010 11:13 AM
Footlick

Coldfacts- I wish Spend A Buck made more of an impact as a sire.  He was an amazing front runner- one of my favorites.  Talk about fractions! Buckpasser did not impart the same talent of reproduction to his sons and grandsons as he did to his daughters-lol.  Oh well.  Always love your pedigree analysis because I love studying them too.

10 Mar 2010 11:33 AM
Steve Haskin

Coldfacts, Nacho Friend ran a sneaky-good race off that long a layoff. I dont know if can have the foundation to win the Derby off only two starts this year, but he could turn into a good horse.

AJ, I dont think Drosselmeyer's performance was a poor showing. He was coming back in 3 weeks and dropping back in distance and was beaten a little over a length. I agree with you that he could be a live under the radar horse right now.

Capper, sorry, I'll try to be more diligent in the future. I'll just ignore the ability and records of the horses and go strictly by trainers' records.

10 Mar 2010 2:06 PM
Steve Haskin

Arazi, Sidney's Candy may turn out to be the best, but he still has to prove it going two turns. If he clears that hurdle, then he will be considered a Derby contender. There's a big difference between one and two turns. Misremembered actually is the only Candy Ride to do well at distances. Most of his best horses are 7f horses. We'll see. He looked great in the San Vicente. Now he has to take it to the next level.

Raven, I like that you're taking a shot with Sidney's Candy, putting him that high up. I wish I had the luxury of listing 27 horses, but I'm restricted to 12 and there just isnt room for everyone.

10 Mar 2010 2:12 PM
Steve Haskin

90 Proof, I'm with you on the visual test. I write about that in this week's column that should be posted tonight.

10 Mar 2010 2:15 PM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

You had me rolling on the floor laughing when I read the last paragragh of your 2:06PM post. Thank you!

10 Mar 2010 2:18 PM
wordmanx

Why two 10's ?

10 Mar 2010 2:58 PM
It Aint Easy being good

2 10's because steve was so excited to type about horse 12 that he forgot to edit!

10 Mar 2010 4:19 PM
AReasonablySmartMan

Steve,

Make room for American Lion next week when this "offyourlister" beats your #4 pick!

The Lion needed the last race and will eat scarface on Saturday.

10 Mar 2010 4:27 PM
Lmaris

Forbidden Apple - what is Lentenor doing on your list?  He hasn't won a stakes yet, and has shown he's better on turf than dirt.  He's done nothing of note, and certainly shouldn't be listed above horses who have actually won stakes races.

I think Aikenite and American Lion are underrated and like both these colts' chances.

10 Mar 2010 4:46 PM
Mark

Steve, I know Eightyfiveinafifty doesn't deserve top ten (or even top 25) status, but I loved the way that he broke his maiden and I think the Whirlaway was a fluke.  Any chance he gets enough graded earnings and makes the derby, or are his chances shot?  Also I liked Afleet Express, any chance I will see him running for the roses?

10 Mar 2010 6:27 PM
Americashorse

Steve,

Keep on ignoring my posts about your

dismissal of Buddy's Saint. It will only

help others who truly know the scope

of this talented 3yo. The rest will

blindly follow your lead and bet

foolishly driving Buddy's price up.

Thank you Steve!

10 Mar 2010 6:35 PM
Steve Haskin

smart man, you'll be glad to know I have spot in the top 12 already picked out, and this time it'll be a good spot.

10 Mar 2010 6:53 PM
trebloc

For us horse fans this weekend is just the best!  Super Saver giving 6 lbs to Odysseus,  RA and Z running this weekend, LAL at Oaklawn and to think the bride wanted me to attend the BC vs. UMass Hockey East Quarter final Hockey game.  She's nuts......

10 Mar 2010 7:29 PM
Secretation

Brian,

 That's what I'm talking about.  I'm not sure it's that horses are any more fragile, it's that economics are fragile.  Yes, every race is a risk, but an in-shape athlete is less at risk than an out of shape athlete.   I really think the problem is that these horses aren't in good enough shape to win the Triple Crown.

BTW these fresh shooters frustrate me.I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it sure seems like the Triple Crown spoilers over the last decade were horses that were fresher because they skipped the Preakness or hadn't run in the other Triple Crown races, competing in lesser races before coming to Belmont.  At least Sunday Silence, Alysheba, and Real Quiet lost their crowns to horses that had gone all three races with them. But you put in horses that aren't conditioned like the Triple Crown winners were with horses that haven't had to race as much and you wonder why we haven't seen a TC winner in over 30 years?  And if you look it up, no triple crown winner had to face more than I think it's 7 or 8 foes in the Belmont.  We usually see more than that when one is going for the TC nowadays.

Lastly, in reference to Brian's post, I really like Eskendereya this year, but I wish he had Baffert or Lukas training him.  Pletcher may be a great trainer when he can pick his races, but he's not a good Triple Crown trainer.  I'm afraid Eskendereya won't be in shape enough to reach his potential.  Is the Florida going to be his last prep?  

10 Mar 2010 8:27 PM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I like many of your supporters like to wager small affordable amounts and make big bragging rights returns. The field for San Felipe contains a horse by the name Erbeia that very little known about and he presents such an opportunity. His pedigree is extremely interesting but that is the extent of my knowledge about this colt. In evaluating such unknown quantities I apply the DR principle. What exactly is the DR principle? Well it is cited below:  

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know”

There are known known’s. These are things we know that we know:

His sire is Pulpit; his dam was a G1 winner who earned over $518K; his dam sire was El Gran Senor who is also the dam sire of Toussaud who earner $522K and was dam of Belmont winner Empire Maker. His second dam was sired by Stage Door Johnny who was a Belmont winner and dam sire of derby winner Go For Gin. His third dam was sired by Tom Fool sire of derby winner Tim Tam and broodmare sire of derby winner Foolish Pleasure.

He is chestnut and the last brilliant son of Pulpit was Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian who just happens to be chestnut.

There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know:

Can this colt be trusted to perform to his pedigree?

Why did Mr. Mandela enter this colt in such tough race?

Is this colt a sprinter or a router?

But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we don't know we don't know:

This colt is a monster and a Mandela secret weapon. This is the only conceivable reason for his entry in the San Felipe

Now, having applied the DR principle, I am basing my decision to wager this colt on ‘unknown unknowns’  as he must be a well bred, talented monster that Mr. Mandela is unleashing in the San Felipe. You never know!

11 Mar 2010 12:55 AM
Raven

Dear Steve, thank you for comment on my derby list.

I think Super Saver will approve himself to be nominated as one of a Derby contender in Tampa Bay Derby this week.

Sidney's Candy, I think he would be approve himself to be nominated as one of a Derby contender in San Felipe, Santa Anita. I hope he can show his ability at that race when he is competing with Caracortado, American Lion, Dave in dixie, and Interactif. for me this race will become a tough and interesting race for all horses to approve they abbility.

Thanks Steve

11 Mar 2010 1:39 AM
DS from NV

Thanks, Steve for posting the Cal-Breds.  Folks can continue to blow off the AW runners, but wait until they hit the dirt.  Caracortado is undefeated and Alphie's Bet is just getting warmed up.  Both from the Storm Cat sire line.  Don't count them out!

11 Mar 2010 1:43 AM
RC

As I have said since I purchased

Noble's Promise as a weanling

he's not a derby horse. So far

he has done well to prove me

wrong and I love it.

11 Mar 2010 10:44 AM
Steve Haskin

Coldfacts, I still know what DR stands for or what it is. I was wondering about Erbeia myself, because you know it's not an owner's decision. Those guys let their trainers do whatever they want. Even more interesting is that they already have a horse in the race, Interactif. In his last race on synthrtic he was 3rd to Pulsion, so you never know. The main drawback is that he's in a gainst a very tough field.

11 Mar 2010 12:59 PM
Steve Haskin

RC, who is Wild as Elle? Not your typical buyer's name. Not bad for $10,000.

11 Mar 2010 1:05 PM
Mark

Hey RC,  Noble's Promise has the earnings to be in the derby already, how important are the rest of his prep races to you to determine if he'll be in the field, or is he going to be there regardless barring any injuries?  Good luck by the way!

11 Mar 2010 5:04 PM
zarvona

 Only a 93 Beyer rating? lmfao...

 What does a horse have to do in this day an age to get a 100+ Beyer rating?? Break the track record??

 For *** sake, he ran 1:33.51; mile in a 1:45.40; 1  1/18 race for crying out loud!!!!    

 I repeat a  1:33.51; MILE with a :21.89; closing finish!!!

 Someone please go back and reapply the Beyer formula again! This has to be a joke!!

11 Mar 2010 6:22 PM
Johnny

Steve:

I will not commited to my Derby pick until the week of the Derby. You'r lead up writings and visual impression's the week of the Derby have more than helped me.

FYI; I always play my top pick in a exacta box over all. Last year Pioneer of the Nile under a 50-1 shot. Giddy Up!

BIG THANK YOU STEVE!!!

11 Mar 2010 8:15 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

I see you are not only applying cold facts but also throwing in some philosophy into your calculations. Careful Buddy. If you say that you are basing your wagering decision on the unknown unknown, that's illogical since the unknown unknown is not in the realm of established facts.  You are throwing away your wagering dollar on a wish ... and you should know "if wishes were horses every beggar would surely ride" (or own one).  What is reasonable is that the connections may have entered him to hook Sidney's Candy early for obvious reasons.

Do you remember this one: "he who knows and knows that he knows he is a wise man seek him/listen to him ...". I woudn't worry too much about this unknown quantity Erbeia coming up against two known monsters Caracortado, and Interactif, the known speedball Sidney's Candy and the unknown pretender American Lion. If I were you I would stick to the facts.

12 Mar 2010 12:54 AM
Fran Loszynski

To Brian:

If you liked Spectacular Bid, keep your eye on "Afleet of Angels" she has Afleet Alex sire and Spectacular Bid as a grandfather! Her stamina is just peaking and she looks alot like her Dad and good ole' GranDad. When she saw after her maiden race, she had to compete- her stride became non-tiring in her second race. She's a YeeHawh kind of girl!

12 Mar 2010 10:31 AM
RC

Mark: Yes Noble does have enough

earning for the Derby however in

my opinion the Rebel is a defining

moment for him,Dublin and Lucky as

they move forward to the Triple Crown.Thx for your kind words. Steve: These partners are some of

the same people that raced Dream

Empress who is being bred to A.P.

Indy mostlikely in the next few

days.

12 Mar 2010 10:54 AM
Tony Barreto

Eskendereya looks great for the Florida Derby. Very impressive his :36.40 for closing finish on the Fountain of Youth. So far, this is the colt to beat at Churchill Downs.

12 Mar 2010 4:00 PM
rick in georgetown ky

steve,Iam a kentucky bred person 99% of the time.But Caracortado has me on the fence.Whar do you think Steve

12 Mar 2010 7:10 PM
Unbridled Bet

Appreciate your 'Derby Dozen' Steve it's interesting reading the various perspectives here.

My only suggestion might be that it potentially be named the Baker's Dozen! Your horse mascot can sport a toque. You catch a lot of rough here for your "picks". I don't interpret it this way that often portrayed. It's only a snapshot, a moving target in time if you will. So each week the colts have to earn their way on the list. Roses don't come cheap.

Ranagulzion made an interesting point. "he who knows and knows that he knows he is a wise man seek him/listen to him ...". Pretending to "know" when one knows is plain foolery. We don't so we keep look'n for clues. It's better to be interested in all the batter as a better.

Really difficult to select 12 colts that fit some sort of mold. Again, it isn't a fixed target that's a good thing as things take shape. Absent cookie cutters, of coarse.

I'm not particularly seasoned on the breeding angle of the game. I enjoy listening to what others have to say that are.

Well anyway, there's lots of cookies in the jar so to speak they're still baking. And, the bakers keep on baking don't they. That's tricky business getting them just right not too hard not yet doughy come Derby day.

Best to all! Enjoy your comments.

Scott  

12 Mar 2010 8:10 PM
kat

Coldfacts - You had me laughing with your "DR principle".  LOL

Talk about "Fog of War".  LOL

12 Mar 2010 9:12 PM
Ranagulzion

UNBRIDLED BET,

Wisdom tells me that too much batter makes the bookie fatter and the better bitter. A word to the wise is still sufficient ...if you get my drift ...to think otherwise is to be other than wise.

13 Mar 2010 12:27 AM
Coldfacts

Ranagulzion,

Occasionally I take a shot at an unknown quantity. Are you aware that Big Brown won his debut at 14-1 and subsequent to that never left the starting gates without being the favorite in the betting? Sea The Stars and Ghostzapper both went off at attractive odds when breaking their respective maidens. All theses horses were relatively unknown quantities. I yearlings can be purchased at auctions based on the pedigrees without any knowledge of their abilities then they can be wagered on the same principle.

3YOs can improve overnight. If you agree with the phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ then surely you must know a race is worth more than 10-20 exercise works. After a race a Beyer Speed rating is assess on the participants. What is never assessed and cannot be measured with any degree of accuracy is the improvement or regression a 3YO will make. If the 3YO isn’t damaged physically or psychologically it should improve. The extent of the improvement will be seen in its exercise gallop but only race will provide any semblance of accurate measure of the horses improvement.

(a) What improvements have Erbeia made since it last race?

(b) Was he slow to develop and is now ready for his best effort?

(c) Would this colt’s connections risk hurting him by placing where he doesn’t belong?

(d) Is he in the race as rabbit?

Above are some of the known unknowns that the betting public faces daily. The connections horses on the other hand would be in the category of the known knowns in most cased.

Can monsters in a race be slain? Well cast your mind back to the 2009 Rebel Stakes. It was the 50-1 shot Win Willy that defeated overwhelming favorite Old Fashioned. The betting public is afraid of opposing certain horses in a race. However, horses have no fear of each other.

13 Mar 2010 8:25 AM
Coldfacts

Steve,

On the subject of foundation, I agree that Nacho Friend is vulnerable in this department. However, he is no more vulnerable than Odysseus, the #10 ranked colt on your list who also has only 3 starts to date. I would conclude that Nacho Friend has more foundation than Odysseus. Nacho Friend last two races were in the (Gll) Sanford and (Glll) Gotham. Both races contained much better competition than Odysseus faced in his maiden & allowance wins. A number of the prominent 3YOs are lightly raced and this appear to bethe trend in the last couple of years. It appears a lack of foundation is not a significant issue for derby contenders. Big Brown won off 3 starts. Curlin and Summer Bird were 3rd and 6th respectively in their derbies off 3 starts. Curlin and Summer Bird went on to win the Preakness and Belmont in their respective fourth starts. 2009 Belmont runner up Dunkirk was only making his 4th start as well. Basket Ball star Allan Iverson became famous or infamous for the term ‘WE TALK'N BOUT PRACTICE’ Are talking about foundation when apparently it has become an insignificant negative.

NB: I still content that Odysseus is a horse with issues. He is a January foal making only his 4th start. He has a maturity advantage over most his competitors. His sire Malibu Moon was bred to 136 mares in 2006 and I am unable to identify another 3YO form his 2007 crop. Could this mean Malibu Moon is siring a lot of foals with physical issue?

13 Mar 2010 8:57 AM
trebloc

If Odysseus is so good, why did the connections not run him in the Sam Davis?  After all isn't about getting graded earning and running in the Derby?  Or did they bypass the Sam Davis in the hope that he would crush a lousy field and someone step up and buyt the colt or a percentage?  Sticking with SS.

13 Mar 2010 10:47 AM
Mark

Odysseus scares me with his problems breaking from the gate.  He's a great horse when he breaks well, but it just seems that you never know which horse you are going to get.

13 Mar 2010 1:07 PM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS,

We'll see today if your speculation concerning Erbeia bears any fruit. Personally I don't think he'll hit the board. Also as a son Pulpit and grandson of AP Indy I think his chances of being ripe for the Derby are poor. I agree that the horse should normally improve but the rate of improvement and the time of improvement vary according to several factors including genetics/pedigree.  

13 Mar 2010 5:21 PM
Bloodline Bob

STEVE, ANOTHER SIRE THAT WAS BORN IN 1997....TAMPA BAY DERBY WINNER ODYSSEUS'S SIRE(MALIBU MOON) WAS BORN IN 1997! I AM TELLING EVERYBODY THIS IS THE KEY TO THE 2010 KY. DERBY.

13 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
trebloc

Great race from Tampa!  Six lbs and first race back all the difference!  Glad Mr. Sanan has a derby horse!  Hope all the horses finished healthy!

SS still my derby pick.  

13 Mar 2010 6:07 PM
Jason

Trebloc,

I am just gonna take a guess that they ran Odyseuss in that allowance race to first off get a race off the surface and two because it makes sense to run in an allowance race before a stake. And he proved today that they knew what they were doing

13 Mar 2010 9:43 PM
Auburnbill

Looking for anyone's thoughts on Dublin after the Rebel. After the two bullets earlier and Nakatani moving earlier than I'd expected, have sneaking suspicion that result was more product of Lucas' long-range focus on May 1 than flatering in stetch? Thoughts?

13 Mar 2010 9:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

Lmaris, I have put Lentenor on my list because I was hearing rumors of a possible start in the FL Derby. He clearly deserves a scratch from my new list.

My thoughts on Dublin are that he was way over hyped before the race because of his sire and his trainer. Dublin is not Afleet Alex and he was never ever on any of my lists. Lookin At Lucky was much the best today even with his narrow victory. But I still say that he is not Baffert's best chance at a KY Derby win. Conveyance will be a dangerous horse if he lets Sidneys Candy set a fast pace and sits just behind him. Super Saver was rusty, but I was expecting more from him today. I still say that Pletcher's best chance is with Connemara if at all.

13 Mar 2010 10:40 PM
sherpa

My thoughts on Dublin: put Jamie Theriot back on him.

It was tough to see Caracortado lose today; however, Sidney's Candy did run an awesome race and deserved the win.  I liked Interactif a lot last year but was still surprised that he ran so well today. American Lion sure is a massive horse - he's a big question to me now, but lookout when he's 4!

(And I still think "Scarface" is a Derby horse and hope he'll have sufficient graded earnings to get there.)

13 Mar 2010 11:34 PM
David

Coldfacts -

I promise you that ODYSEUSS does not have physical issues. Haskin can vouch for me that I know this for a fact.  The Padua team had it as there plan to do several things with ODYSEUSS coming into his 3yo year - break his maiden, strech him out to two turns in an allowance race and then get him Graded Earnings so he could get to the KY Derby.  As i mentioned in a post before, he was sick after his first start in October as a 2yo and it pushed him back.

Mark -

I don't see where ODYSEUSS has gate issues.  He has broke well in his last three starts.  If he has a weakness, it is that he is still learing how good he really is and when he needs to do his running during the body of the race.  The only thing that can stop ODYSEUSS from being a serious Derby contender on May 1 would be a lack of experience and race seasoning, but he is improving very quickly coming into the Derby and proved he can overcome adversity in his Tampa Bay Derby win - two qualities that make for Derby winners come the first Saturday in May.  I'm rooting for ODYSEUSS because if anyone in the racing game deserves a Kentucky Derby winner its Mr. Sanan and Padua Stables (with Juddmonte in a dead heat of deservedness - if that's a word.)

14 Mar 2010 1:48 AM
zarvona

  Hmmm, okay, well, “Sidney's Candy” now deserves a spot in the top 8 (that being if he wasn’t already there on most all lists!). “Interactif” has to again be hovering around the top ‘dozen’ spot again. “Dublin” and “Super Saver” definitely drop back a bit, all while “Schoolyard Dreams” creeps back up a bit. And, I suppose, we have to compliment Steve for his eye regarding “Odysseus”!

  So now, the question has to be asked again, ‘where will the earnings cutoff figure be this year??  Over $210 K , over $181K , or lower’?, being where in the past, several with required earnings did actually drop out and did concede spots at the last moment!

  Is “Caracortada” now on the bubble?? Are “American Lion” and “Dave in Dixie” off the trail, unless one produces some miracle come back in the Santa Anita Derby?, etc.

  And, as with “Blind Luck” likely to surrender her graded earned spot, what will “Vale of York” do??, will “Homeboykris” really attempt the distance? and etc., thusly just how many gate slots are filled?? The question always rises this time of year,--as we all take that glance over at the updated ‘graded earnings’ chart,--‘just how many gate slots are thusly left still available? And, especially now, for these with their only 1 time remaining hopeful runs or windows still left available to them?’, thusly, being those now on the earnings bubble? or worst, those currently with no graded earnings to date at all, where one must wonder about the charted paths chosen by their respective connections. And, why then, were there not 12 gate slots filled in these recent preps instead of only 7 ?????  

  Aww , only really 4 more weeks left to answer these questions and to fill out the puzzle!  

  Thusly, will the last available gate slots fall to the likes of “Mendip”; “The Program”; “Who’s Up”?; “Alphie’s Bet”; “Fly Down”; “Paddy O’Prado”?; “Double’s Partner”?; “Drosselmeyer”?; “Lentenor”; “Connemara”?; and etc., or possibly to some ‘newbie’ hopeful altogether, such as “Yawnna Twist”; “Macias”?, “Nacho Friend”, “Fast Alex”; “Game on Dude”; or a “Miner’s Reserve”?

14 Mar 2010 3:13 AM
Coldfacts

Steve,

I took a shot at Gleam Of Hope at 42-1 and lost but his performance left me feeling like a winner. This colt was slowly into stride and was left several lengths last. He choose the wrong time to be slowly into stride as the 47.02 half of the 2010 Tampa Bay Derby is the fastest in the last four years. The first 6F (1:11.74) was faster than that of the 2007 renewal in which Street Sense established the stakes record of 1:43.11. This colt was really up against it with his bad break. In spite of this he closed an 8-10 lengths gap from last to be briefly second in deep stretch before being one pace. His effort to close the gap on a group of legitimate derby contender clearly took its tool. I have absolutely no doubt that with a better break this colt would have won at his gigantic odds.  

I conducted a research on this colt the morning of the race as I knew very little about him. I discovered his dam was sired by Vice Regent. I was of the opinion that there were no Vice Regent broodmares around. I couldn’t help but being attracted to this colt because of his dam sire. Vice Regent is on the Triple Crown board as broodmare sire of the deep closer and Belmont winner Victory Gallop. He was also the sire of stamina giant Deputy Minister. Deputy Minister was the sire of Breeder Cup Classic winner Awesome Again, Belmont winner Touch Gold. He is also broodmare sire of four Belmont winners and a BCC winner. I concluded that this colt’s past performance and being so closely linked to the stamina influence of his dam sire, he was worth a shot.  I know the focus will be on Odyseuss and Super Saver and this colt will be regarded as the also ran. However, I would encourage everyone to revisit the video of the race and it will reflect that Gleam Of Hope was SIS and was left 8-10 lengths last. After being uses to get into contention and forced to go four wide for his challenge, he still had enough left occupy second before flattening out. For me his performance was the highlight of the race.

14 Mar 2010 11:35 AM
Slew

Why do I think I see Lookin At Lucky, Noble's Promise, and Odysseus moving up to the top three?  Wow, what a weekend! Sydney's Candy was no slouch, but Dave in Dixie never fired. (Ron and Dave are just not holding on for me...I'll wait until I see more)  Dublin may have just had a bounce; I expect to see more of him.  Maybe I haven't been keen on Caracortado just because his haircuts are so bad, but he tried. Schoolyard Dreams took a step up.  I'll wait and see with him.  I'm disappointed Buddy's Saint is off the Derby trail.  Can't discount Super Saver, and I'm still waiting to see what else Backtalk can do.  It's been an exciting day of racing, and now I remain exhausted. I wonder if there is still an under-the-radar horse who will step up. (Can New Madrid move up?.(April 10th?)..great breeding, broke his maiden, and looks just like Daddy)

14 Mar 2010 12:58 PM
Carlos in Cali

Odysseus is the real deal,he's still a bit green and has tremendous upside potential. The sky is the limit like Albertrani said. I hope they bring him back in the Wood Memorial as planned,he needs a little bit more seasoning before the Derby. No more questioning his ability,he's a true Derby contender.

Dublin looks like a miler to me. Though he might have regressed a little off his tough comeback race.

14 Mar 2010 2:29 PM
TheeMilton

I agree with Auburnbill comments on Dublin.  Trainer's that are IN the Derby have bigger picture in mind.  I think Sidney's Candy is questionable win candidate in next race now if he runs in Santa Anita Derby for the same reason.  LOVED Sidney's win on the stretchout against one of the tougher Derby Prep fields during the past weekend.  Still like both of these horses on May 1st.  

14 Mar 2010 5:58 PM
Albany Bob

Steve:

I believe Nick Zito's Ice Box will hit your list following the Florida Derby. This horse had no chance behind Eskendereya in his last start since he was disadvantaged by an outside post, fractious/slow start, premature middle move and wide trip. Additionally, for those  who are numbers-oriented, he may have bounced off a jump-up big fig in his previous start.

Ice Box is bred to appreciate longer distances since his dam was a stakes horse at 1 1/2 miles and his distaff family produced a Derby winner (Spend A Buck). His 1/2 mile bullet work on Saturday was a sparkler. Ice Box went 47 1/5 at Palm Meadows. That was one of the fastest (I believe tied for second fastest) works at that training facility among over 600 1/2 mile works since February 24!

Ice Box is sitting on a big race for a trainer who knows how to crank up a three year old in the Spring. He's worth a straight bet at the price and is a must use with Pletcher's Eskendereya.

14 Mar 2010 7:13 PM
Ranagulzion

Auburnbill,

Dublin is going to be a very fit, tuff and battle-ready horse on Derby day. That is D. Wayne Lukas' modus operandus.  The only question is: will he be good enough to even hit the board? That's left to be seen but Lukas' methods have produced four derby winners, Winning Coulors, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone and Charismatic in the past and not all of them had convincing prep races.

14 Mar 2010 8:59 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Esky has been at the top of most lists for the past few weeks, but what if he gets a Buddy`s Saint trip in the Fla. Dby.?  He`s been lightly raced and could be leap frogged by many in graded earnings with the upcoming prep races.  The gap between the Fla. and Ky. Derbies could make for a could force a big change in plans lest he be shut out of CD.

I`ve never been a big Dublin fan, but C-Nak seemed to move too early with him.  Noble`s Promise ran a good race coming off the layoff and perhaps Albarado figured he need to make his move of Dublin would be home free.  Good race by L@L and the top two both have ample earnings in their pockets.

Odysseus ran the best over the weekend, but I still don`t know how he won the photo over Schoolyard.

Interactif has a bunch of graded money in the bank and may go in the BG or Lex @ Kee which means he`ll go to Louisville with no dirt experience whatsoever.  I hope Sydney`s Candy gets into the starting gate in May so I can have another pace horse to toss.  Cacataco looked to have no excuse other than being outrun.

For whoever mentioned Backtalk, there was a quote from his trainer Amoss that they were currently leaning towards either the Ark or Ill Derby with him.

15 Mar 2010 10:41 AM
Kevin Stafford - The Aspiring Horseplayer

All I can say is that I hope you're on my Odysseus Bandwagon now (even invited you to the new Facebook Fan Group I started for him, check your in-box Mr. Haskin! LOL).

Here's my top 10 as of 3/14/10:

1. Odysseus (you know he's my boy)

2. Lucky (ran a helluva race)

3. Eskenderay (still a force)

4. Awesome Act (love this guy)

5. Rule (forgotten horse?)

6. Discreetly Mine (still has ??'s)

7. Conveyance (hey, he won on dirt)

8. Sidney's Candy (can't knock a W)

9. Intaractif (game in defeat)

10. Noble's Promise (always there)

Full thoughts are available here if I can ever get you stop over (LOL):

theaspiringhorseplayer.com/.../kentucky-derby-rankings-third-times-a-charm

Kevin

15 Mar 2010 11:04 AM
You Got to have it

My top Derby picks:

1. Odysseus

2. Gleam of Hope

4. Schoolyard Dreams

5. Sidney's Candy

6. Paddy O Prado

7. Awesome Act

8. Lookin At Lucky

9. Eskendeyera

10. Rule

15 Mar 2010 1:03 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs

Archives