Derby Dozen - February 28, 2011 - Presented by Pauls Mill



Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher

Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch

Works are picking up, with a bullet 1:00 3/5 breeze with Stay Thirsty. Have no idea at this point who’s around with any credentials to run against him on Mar. 12, with the exception of Dialed In if he’s forced to shows up there.You obviously want to see him win, but how? Easy but not too easy? A stiff test but not too stiff? He basically just needs to get past this race and then hope he gets enough out of the Wood to be ready for a mile and a quarter.


Dialed In Nick Zito

Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat

Encouraging to see him turn in a bullet 5f work in :59 4.5. Because the Derby trail in one week became more muddled, moving him up with the understanding he will have two more races before the Derby, which is imperative. Zito says that is the plan, and if an allowance doesn’t fill next weekend he’ll likely run him against Uncle Mo. He’ll be at a disadvantage with a small field likely, but he just needs a bridge to get him to the Florida Derby. After the War Pass debacle, Tampa is out. Would rather see him with a pair of two-turn races because of his inexperience, but a strong performance against Mo should serve him well.


Soldat Kiaran McLaughlin

War Front—Le Relais, by Coronado’s Quest

With To Honor and Serve folding so early and no one other than Gourmet Dinner within eyesight of him in the final furlong, he did pretty much what he was supposed to do, especially over a speed-favoring track. The fractions were fairly soft, but the track was playing funky all day, so you can’t pay too much attention to closing fractions, pace, or final time. He no doubt is a talented, versatile colt who is one of the very few that has been on a perfect schedule this year. But it’s time for him to start coming from off the pace again.


Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo

Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche

This has been a difficult list to compile, because so many horses have major question marks. So, when in doubt, go with the Cinderella story. And he does have the credentials and physical tools to back it up. He hits the ground hard with those heavy strides and is an extremely late foal. But so far he’s done just about everything right and he looks like he wants to keep going.


To Honor and Serve Bill Mott

Bernardini—Pilfer, by Deputy Minister

Can’t totally give up on him, going 1 1/8 miles first time out and getting floated wide into the first turn. He had to work a bit to get a good position right off Soldat, but the pace wasn’t strenuous and he should have hung in there longer, especially working big over the deep Payson Park track. He had every right to get a little tired, and if he was on a three-race schedule he’d have time to bounce back and there wouldn’t be as much concern. But he was done by the quarter pole and now has to make a drastic turnaround in the Florida Derby and prove he can win from off the pace and not have everything his own way. This wasn’t the kind of race you want on a two-race schedule.


Stay Thirsty Todd Petcher

Bernardini—Marozia, by Storm Bird

Breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3 /5 in company with Uncle Mo. He couldn’t be training any better, and if he should come out first crack and win the Gotham he will be a serious Derby contender, especially with his pedigree. This will be a big test for him if he’s going to be considered something other than Mike Repole’s other 3-year-old. It was Zito who bought this half-brother to the Bob LaPenta-owned Andromeda’s Hero as a yearling for $160,000, but LaPenta pinhooked him at 2 and he was snatched up by Pletcher for $500,000.


Brethren Todd Pletcher

Distorted Humor—Supercharger, by A.P. Indy

He had his first work back since the Sam Davis, breezing a half in :49 2/5. He lucked into the Tampa Derby with Uncle Mo staying at Gulfstream, assuming his race fills. But it still should be a good test for him with better competition. It would make sense to follow the same path as his brother and head to the Arkansas Derby after that. From a visual standpoint he’s looked as good as anyone. And he’s getting more professional with every start.


Jaycito Bob Baffert

Victory Gallop—Night Edition, by Ascot Knight

Beginning to think the San Felipe may be the most intriguing prep of the year, with Astrology, Runflatout, and possibly Sway Away and Premier Pegasus. He may turn out to be the horse to watch on the first Saturday in May if he runs to his works and does everything professionally, unlike his fiasco in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. But those antics seem to be behind him.


Astrology Steve Asmussen

A.P. Indy—Quiet Eclipse, by Quiet American

There aren’t many arguments one can make to have him in the Top 12 other than to expect a different horse to emerge this year, even though he proved to be a top 2-year-old. Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 3/5 and may need a race. But after that he should improve in the Santa Anita Derby, and like Jaycito could be on track to peak on Derby Day.


Santiva Eddie Kenneally

Giant’s Causeway—Slide, by Smarten

For a young horse on his third trainer already, he’s been remarkably consistent and just goes out there and does his thing every race, Kenneally had to be encouraged by his debut, and no reason why he shouldn’t improve off it. The main key for him is to keep building those speed figures up. The Risen Star was a good start.


Gourmet Dinner Steve Standridge

Trippi—Potluck Dinner, by Pentelicus

Now that he’s run a strong second going nine furlongs in top company he has to be included among the leading 3-year-olds. He runs hard and gives his all every race, and his female family is almost all Tartan/John Nerud. You’ve got inbreeding to Dr. Fager, Aspidistra, and Intentionally, and the presence of other Tartan/Nerud horses Fappiano, Blue Hen producer Cequillo, and Who’s for Dinner, a major stakes winner and half-brother to champion Dr. Patches. Broodmare sire Pentelicus is a half- brother to the dam of Unbridled, who was bred by Nerud. Also the family of Quiet American. This is the legacy of Tartan and Nerud rolled into one package.


Rogue Romance Kenny McPeek

Smarty Jones—Lovington, by Afleet

Like Santiva, he’ll have to pick his game up a notch coming off a promising debut in the Risen Star. He doesn’t have an explosive late run, but keeps coming. If he’s going to win one of these he needs to show more acceleration and get into the hunt quicker.


Toby’s Corner Graham Motion

Bellamy Road —Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky

Yes, having a tie for #12 again can be considered a cop-out, but with the Gotham coming up Saturday and the belief here that he is an improving, classy colt, there is no way we’re going to knock him off now. He has an advantage over Stay Thirsty with a race over the track this year, and we’ll see if he can take advantage of it. He could be a real sleeper come Derby Day.

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.


Leave a Comment:


Steve, you're being a lot kinder to THAS than I've been. IMO, he ran such a stinker that I no longer consider him a serious contender for the Derby. If he'd made a powerful move and got tired, I could understand it, but the move he made was incredibly mediocre and mild. I also think he's an intractable colt - he just doesn't want to rate.  I don't expect much from him from hereon out.

Now Stay Thirsty is working very well (I think; I only have the works to go on - I don't think Todd has commented on this horse once all winter). I think the Gotham is a great spot for him, but he really needs to win because he's on the outs at the moment in terms of having enough graded earnings.

28 Feb 2011 2:03 PM

Although not having gone the distance, because of his speed, (6 fur in 1:08 and change), lack of experience and his easy score (7 1/2 lenghts) I would add FLASHPOINT (2 for 2) to the list. However his pedigree may not carry him  1/4 mile.

28 Feb 2011 2:27 PM

  Like most of the PREP Weeks, and weekends of Feb., Mar., & early Apr., in this closing week of only Feb.,--really just the start to the major Prep Season,--we saw another interesting weekend of results to observe and take note of and notes on. Thusly, and first of all, MAJOR congratulations go out to the connections of:  

“Soldat”; “Flashpoint”; & “Mr. Commons”, all notable and noted performances, moving each a few rungs higher up my current top 20 list…

Also, still alive from my watch list were the winners “Arch Traveler”; (Jerkens)  ; “Red Sharp Humor”; (Hollendorfer) “J.J. Lucky Train”; (Anderson) [[distance issues here?]];  “Left” ; (A.M. Stall, Jr.) ; [[will this Winstar hopeful also take some similar, ‘Non Derby try’ road like “Bind”?]]; “San Paulo” (Pletcher), and “Achaemenes” (Pletcher);… And. minor kudos go out to “Bandbox”; “Midnight Interlude”, (Baffert) ; “Sour” (Stall) ; and even to “Little Drama” (Fawkes) …[[a most heart felt for favorite]]…

   And, the question has arisen, ‘Is “Gourmet Dinner” priming to be this year’s ”Giacomo”??’… His wins and runs look slow time wise, his breeding does not suggest ¼ , yet he seems to finish in the money wherever he runs. And, he appears to be not only off the extreme hard 2 Yr. old training route, but is now in the early 3 Yr. old campaign seemingly running more often than most of the others. He for weeks has ranked way down my list, but I can’t justifiably shaking him off still completely just yet.

   In the world of the fillies, the revival of “R Heat Lightining” made a good field look bad, being actually quite similar to that of “Flashpoint’s” performance….     “Remind your of anyone??”

  Weekend letdowns however did include: “To Honor and Serve” (Mott)--[[just his layoff? and will that now be the question needed to be answered here?,--stay tune BAT fans, we shall see--…]];--although he does still remain high in my top 20 list and among my top 5. Moving a bit down my watch list though go “Travelin’ Man” ; (Pletcher); “Madman Diaries”; (Ward) ; “Leave of Absence” ; “Shackleford”; and “Casper’s Touch”.  

   Further thinning down my ‘sack of potatoes’ and my current deeper near 150 horse watch list, however, were notably the not so good to poor performances of:  “La Mans” ; (Asmussen); “Lumberyard Jack” ; “Indian Knight” ; (Baffert); “Tapaway” ; (Asmussen); “Nacho Business” ; “Cool Blue Red Hot” ; “Manicero” ; “Voodat” ;  and “King Alpha” ; (Zito).

 Added to my original late Jan. list: “Anthony’s Cross”; “Silver Medallion”; “Jakesam”; “Quail Hill”;

            and from off the Turf (T) “King Congie” ; (T) “Master Dunker” ; and (T) “Ari C” ;

     awaiting potential 2 turns efforts on: “Sway Away”;  “The Factor”: “Albergatti”; “Ft, Hughes”; “Da Ruler”;

           “Dialed-In”; “Bench Points”; “Runflatout”; & now “Mr.Commons”; & “Flashpoint”;

     awaiting still on the much anticipated returns of: (“Pluck”); --(who it will be remembered beat “Soldat” in the Juv.

            BC Turf !!!!; and was 1st on my earliest list of all others since Nov.)-- … sadly being missed, and those of the

            likes of: (“J.P.’s Gusto”) ; (“Tiz Blessed”); (“Awesome Patriot”) ; (“Stay Thirsty”);

            (“Uncle Sam”) : (“Astrology”) ; (“Blue Laser”) ; (“Jaycito”) ; & (“Crossbow”) ;  

     … And , now that’s its Monday, I am wondering who was the other most impressive from this past weekend:  

            (“Beer Meister”); (“Left”) ; (“Gourmet Dinner”); (“Arch Traveler”); OR (“Red Sharp Humor”); ??? and I guess

            I am still wondering if “Travelin Man” will return and show us he was not just a one time flash ???….

    Losing ground from my earliest list: (T)  “Comma to the Top”; while now still also heavily questioning the likes of

            “Santiva”; “Mucho Machi Man” ; and “Gourmet Dinner”… and wondering ‘do they really have any hope of  

             getting a 1 ¼ ?’? Awe yes, soon to be the “Ides of March” and then only exactly two months away.

28 Feb 2011 2:35 PM

... guessing we have to keep an eye out on "Fusa Code" too ...

28 Feb 2011 2:36 PM
Seattle Slew

To Honor and Serve I believe will come much better in the Florida Derby. I don't like the way they have this horse in a 2 or 3 months layoff. In the 70's horses used to run in more races in their 3 year old campaing before the Derby than they do it today. They used to come stronger than now a day.That's probably we have not seen a Triple Crown winners in so many years. Trainers are giving too much time off to the horses.

28 Feb 2011 2:38 PM

Steve: "This wasn’t the kind of race you want on a two-race schedule."

Precisely the trouble with the two race prep schedules, eh?  Great dress rehearsals don't count when the curtain goes up.  

Thought Soldat acquitted himself very well.  

I'm with you in being eager to see the San Felipe.  

Without benefit of being present, my impression of Mucho Macho Man from my couch is that this colt just really loves to run and appears to be having a ball on the track, which I think is an attribute that can make a huge difference - and I could be completely off the mark, it's just the way he looks to me.

Stay Thirsty ... as you have said previously, he may be the sleeper.

28 Feb 2011 2:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Betsy, I can't help it, I'm just a kind-hearted person. I originally had him 6th and then moved him up to 5th out of the kindness of my heart. If he does rebound and runs a big race in the Florida Derby I think he's capable of finishing 5th in the Kentucky Derby.

28 Feb 2011 2:51 PM


No room for Flashpoint in the light of Rick Dutrow's post race comments and no respect for Holy Bull runner-up Sweet Ducky after watching Mucho Macho Man and Gourmet Dinner underline the quality of the top four in that race?  Why?

The 2YO form of both Astrology and Stay Thirsty, Not to mention the AP Indy syndrome, does not trump what we've seen so far from the aforementioned two colts that have already impressed this season.  

Do you want to expose your credible Derby Dozen to another depreciating hit a la To Honour and Serve, in such short order, simply because of apparent sentiments for the AP Indy/ Bernardini sire line?

I look forward to your response.

28 Feb 2011 2:51 PM

For the first time I put other horses over Uncle Mo.  Soldat sold me on Saturday, and I am ready to have Dialed In be ahead of Mo too.  THAS was disappointing.  I wasn't expecting him to win, but thought he would show more class than that.  The second Saturday in March is quickly turning into my third favorite race day of the year behind the Derby, and BC Saturday!

28 Feb 2011 2:51 PM
Zenyatta John

My only question is Astrology. He's behind the eight ball waiting for the San Felipe.

Jaycito is training like a monster for that race plus the others you mentioned being pointed there.

I am looking forward to Awesome Patriot make his 2011 debut soon. Baffert has some bullets in his holster.

28 Feb 2011 2:52 PM
Zenyatta John

Don't give up on To Honor and Serve just yet as Mr Mott admitted he wasn't even close to being cranked up for the FOY - just a stepping stone or like they are listed - prep races.

28 Feb 2011 2:55 PM

Just remenber folks, you heard it from the Kid first. My early Derby-tri :

(1) Mucho Macho Man



28 Feb 2011 3:02 PM

I guess Saturday will be the last time we see a top KY Derby contender run in a graded 1 1/8 race after a 2-3 mth layoff.  Keeping my fingers crossed that Uncle Mo and Brethren enter the Derby undefeated.  We will not know about Jaycito and his antics on BC day until he gets back to Churchill and hits that first turn.  

Looking forward to see Toby's Corner take on Stay Thirsty.  

Hope all the snow will melted by Derby day.

28 Feb 2011 3:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I have had no argument with anyone listing Uncle Mo on top despite his weak schedule and no races as a 3yo yet. He is kind of like The Champion that has to be dethroned before taken down. Normally I wouldn't say that about a BC Juv winner but as we all know, he was extraordinary as a 2yo. On the other hand, To Honor And Serve was a very good 2yo. There is a big difference. THAS needs a lot of improvement in the Florida Derby to be taken seriously. Tall task I know in his last, 9f off the layoff but nothing about his FOY impressed me. I have been surprised at the number of people that had THAS ranked so high in previous weeks.  I don't even recall if he was on my last list at all, but if he was, he isn't now. Not to say that he can't do it Derby Day. He could with enough improvement. I know that Uncle Mo deserves to be ranked higher than the free donut spot I have given him but I still want to see a race from him as a 3yo first, maybe even a graded race. I have two horses ranked above him that haven't raced this year because I like Stay Thirsty's ped a lot better, and because Awesome Patriot has been training so well. It's early. I had trouble seperating Soldat, Jaycito and Dialed In but Soldat is on the perfect path and has done it so easily on dirt this year, and has won the biggest race so far. I am in agreement that the San Felipe March 12th at SA is a trmendous race. Whoever wins that slugfest is the best in the west. The Factor, although extremely talented has to prove that he can slow down. War Emblem won the 2002 Derby wire to wire but his first half mile was done in 47. This could very easily be a 20-30 horse list there are so many that have had success and question marks and can't be easily sperated yet. I changed my list numerous times. One that was on my top 12 is as low as 25th right now with nothing changing except my thought process.

1. Soldat

2. Jaycito

3. Dialed In

4. Sway Away

5. Elite Alex

6. Archarcharch

7. Gourmet Dinner

8. Stay Thirsty

9. Mucho Macho Man

10. Beer Meister

11. Awesome Patriot

12. Brethren

13. Uncle Mo

28 Feb 2011 3:16 PM

Its only a matter of time before uncle mo flops and Steve moves dialed in up to #1.....and as for soldat he won on a track that's nothing but a merry go round. I don't see how you could be impressed, watch every race its the same thing. Can you imagine soldat drawing the 17 hole in the derby and trying to last on the lead at a 1 1/4......come on now

28 Feb 2011 3:20 PM

Santiva is a very gutty colt! He tries hard every time and he will be in the mix come The Derby.  Uncle Mo may just be the best we've seen for some time but he must prove it in 2011. and Dialed In is a freak so we have some good 3 year olds this year!

28 Feb 2011 3:25 PM
In aint easy being good!

TJ Luvs I cant agree with you more  next saturday is going to be fun to watch. I think THAS is a bit overrated and for the life of me cant figure out why he was ranked so high. Long layoffs are a killer in horse racing. I think much macho man is better than most people think.

28 Feb 2011 3:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The extraordinary Bob Baffert last won The Derby in 2002 with War Emblem, a long nine years ago but this year he has more than one really talented 3yo colt. Originally I loved Smash, but he is way to far behind to get into The Derby. Baffert's top Derby horse right now appears to be Jaycito who is training exceptional and should be in the San Felipe March 12th. Baffert also has The Factor and Awesome Patriot, both possible to make The Derby. Baffert has won The Derby three times since 1996 when he lost with Cavonnier to Grindstone by a nostril hair. It was so close that it looked like Cavonnier had won the race, but the photo gave the race to Grindstone. That race is famous for a few reasons. It was where the phrase originated that is used by people to encourage hard work- "Keep your nose to the Grindstone."  And it was the race that turned Baffert's hair pure white. On the night of 5-3-1996, Baffert's hair was jet black, on the night of 5-4-1996 his hair was pure white. In fact rumor has it that it turned white on camera when Grindstone was posted on the tote board as the winner following the study of the photo. Unfortunately that film capturing the moment has been lost, possibly forever. Photos and film have been doctored to show Baffert's hair as being white prior to that race according to conspiracy theorists. Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

28 Feb 2011 3:37 PM

Since all or most of this group are on a two or three race schedule my list includes potential at the top UM,and horses with graded earnings below him.At the bottom of my list is mostly potential since almost none has run as a three yo.Soldat solidified his status IMHO,and the horse that dropped the most on my list is Dialed-In,I had him third.Thas dropped only one position on my list because at least he has run and has qualified for the race already.Remember who was it that said "you cant win unless your in".

28 Feb 2011 3:38 PM
Billy's Empire

Inquiry, Soldat can rate and sit off the pace. He has great tactical speed and does not need the front. He rated in 2nd in the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga, and won going away on turf, which you do not see to often in 2yo's. He was up against a freak in Pluck in the BC, so he is just getting better and better each race.

28 Feb 2011 3:42 PM
Billy's Empire

Also, if you go watch the BCJT, you will see Soldat was 5th or 6th on the backstretch, on the rail saving ground, and made a big move down the lane to get 2nd. He is a game and classy colt. I wonder what happened to Banned? I need to ask Tom.

28 Feb 2011 3:48 PM

I've put several over Uncle Mo.  He is having an extremely late start which makes me wonder if something was wrong earlier.  At most can only have 2 starts and they've announced his first will be just a mile. This means he'll then leap to 9 furlongs and again to 10.

I don't think we'll have any Triple Crown winner this year or any time soon.  These horses can barely handle running once a month, let alone 3 times in 5 weeks.

28 Feb 2011 4:00 PM
Cowboy Adventure

Nice to see Gourmet Dinner on your list!  He hits the board, travels everywhere and he does not need earnings to get in the Derby so he can truly use every race as a prep/workout.  I still am baffled why Uncle Mo is still number one on the poll.  His path to the Derby seems so strange to me but I guess we will see him run soon.  I'm really looking forward to seeing Jaycito run and to watch Dialed In run again. I do like Mucho Macho Man and Santiva - so many good horses; every week gets more exciting!  Thanks for the continued updates on the horses; I look for your column as soon as the weekend is over!

28 Feb 2011 4:03 PM

I am liking Mucho Macho Man alot...he loves to run run run...curious to see the factor around 2 turns and also liking stay thirsty and dialed in

My super.....

Mucho Macho Man

Stay Thirsty

Dialed in


28 Feb 2011 4:06 PM

Can't wait to see what Baffert's done with Jaycito...he impressed me so much in his win before the BCJ. I like him and Dialed In. We'll see about Mo tho...:)

28 Feb 2011 4:08 PM

Dr. D, you rock LOL

It ain't easy - agree with you on Mucho Macho Man.

Inquiry, I think Soldat is better than you give him credit for, and thought he looked well within himself throughout the race.

28 Feb 2011 4:08 PM

To Honor and Serve ran 7 furlongs, probably what he was ready to do given he really had no stamina works.  What happened to working a horse 7 furlongs and a mile to get his stamina up.  Long gallops are fine but working a horse short, IMO, doesn't get him ready for 9 furlongs off the bench.  I could be wrong and he is a dud, or overrated or whatever everyone is saying.  But Mr Mott knows what he is doing, so unless there are underlying issues he wants the horse to peak the 1st Sat in May.   Johnny V said his run reminded him of R Heat Lightning's first run off the bench.

But this is the underlying problem again with lightly raced horses going for the TC, not just the Derby.  A horse needs a foundation to get through the TC.  None of these horses are really getting it with two preps, so unless there is a huge foundation from the 2 yr old year to fall back on, or are just too brilliant for the crop like Seattle Slew, these few preps can't carry them through all three races.  As we have seen.

28 Feb 2011 4:14 PM

Thanks Billy.  Was going to point that out about Soldat, but you already did.

28 Feb 2011 4:16 PM
Jerry B

I watched in disbelief from the rail as Honor and Serve floundered in the stretch. In two races, he wins the derby. NO  WAY.  

28 Feb 2011 4:51 PM

Le Soldat, it means soldier in French.  Soldat really looked like quite the champion to me.  He goes at #1 on my list too, Uncle Mo moves to number #2.  He looked confident and unfrazzled galloping out after the finish.  Classy colt with a classy name, rolls right off the tongue along with Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Seabiscuit, Soldat.  Soldat's grandpappy is Hard Spun's father, Danzig!  

How about that little guy I mentioned a few blogs ago, JJ's Lucky Train!  He won!  Now that's what you want to see a win after 2 second place finishes.  A nice improvement on an already consistent colt, go little guy!!!

28 Feb 2011 5:09 PM

Sitting 2nd is hardly rating especially when you have 18 other horses breathing down your neck...

28 Feb 2011 5:09 PM
Windy City

I have an unpleasant feeling that the Derby winner is still flying under the radar and nobody has him on any "early" list yet. May all stay healthy and I hope Mo will rock in his debut!!

28 Feb 2011 5:23 PM
Kevin Stafford

I'm sort of "meh" about the crop this year and still searching for  my "Derby horse".  Obviously if Mo' is still Mo' the whole thing is academic, but I keep hoping that a "sleeper" will rise from relative obscurity to challenge. I know it's a pipe dream as he's well behind the 8-ball, but I'd be kidding if I failed to mention that a part of me desperately wants that relatively obscure sleeper to be Cal Nation.

Of those we have seen, count me among those impressed by Soldat, Dialed In, and Mucho Macho Man.

I'm on the fence about Sway Away as I thought it was a visually impressive run even if it wasn't off-the-charts from a time/speed figure standpoint.  

I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Jaycito as the hype has been building as the months have progressed.

Perhaps the most intriguing of the Derby prep races for me will be the Rebel, since I'm not sure how the likes of ArchArchArch and company stack up against the Florida and California horses (and New York now with the Gotham approaching) that seem to take up more of the headlines.  

28 Feb 2011 5:24 PM

I was impressed with Soldat this weekend.  I'm pretty much in agreement with Steve's Top 4, and from there on it's anyone's guess as there isn't much racing to go off of.  Mo is still the only horse to have a "wow" race, IMO.  A very cautious path to the Derby is understandable.  Yeah it makes it tough for us fans/bettors to completely "buy in", but if I were the owner and my horse not only had the most impressive preps but also had secured the needed graded earnings, I'd be cautious too.

On the flip side, I still say Mucho's deep resume of preps will go a long way towards having him in shape for 1 1/4.  

Next 2 weeks will separate the contenders from the pretenders.  I hope Stay Thirsty comes up big.  

28 Feb 2011 5:30 PM

Steve, wow you're sensitive. I wasn't criticizing you at all and you reply with sarcasm. Ok, lol

28 Feb 2011 5:48 PM

Zookeeper every time I see RFO mentioned I get excited to pieces for you. I am looking forward to the San Felipe to see Runflatout run and Jaycito. Should be a great weekend of racing. Continued safe trips to all!

28 Feb 2011 5:51 PM
Steve Haskin

Betsy, you're the one who is sensitive. I was laughing with you, not at you. Lighten up. It was meant to be funny, and not sarcastic. I never felt you were criticizing me. And even if you were, big deal. I've been criticized before.

28 Feb 2011 5:57 PM

Does anyone know what Soldat's Beyer and Tomlinson are?  Is he over 320 (T figure)  and a mudder?  Just curious.  We know he can go wire to wire like his grandpa Hard Spun, and Hard Spun fared well in the Monmouth slop.  I wonder if Soldat can come off the pace like Dialed In? I like the trainer McLaughlin too.  Soldat's purchase price was $180,000 in yearling sale in 2009. Who knows, the back to back female HOY's were just bred back to back in the same week. I have my doubts about a TC winner this year with all this weak conditioning, but I sure would love to see one first hand.  I was just a little kid when Affirmed ran so I did not even know who Affirmed was at that time.  

28 Feb 2011 6:01 PM

Well as reported by BLOODHORSE calder and gulfstream have agreed to not run against each other.Next year maybe we can expect a three race campaign for kentucky derby candidates.Gulfstream will start December 3,2011.

28 Feb 2011 6:10 PM
El Kabong


You are so correct about Soldat and welcome aboard, I value your input on him. It's a long way yet but this guy sold me after that Allowance race. That's when I did my homework on him saw what you just pointed out. He not only rated, he waited patiently for a crack and then went up a small opening in the rail. Gutsy & Competitive. He rates, and KM said so when asked about Soldat. He just isn't going to run slower than he has too because he does have that tactical speed-from his sire- and the ability to go long from the distaff influence. He's got the tools, attitude, and desire. I like this guy alot and fits my specs on a Derby Contender perfectly. I hope he improves and doesn't run into any health issues. He is in good hands with Kiaran. The Florida Derby is shaping up to be a doozy if Dialed In shows up. He is the other one I really like but I'd like to see him run a little closer to the pace.

28 Feb 2011 6:13 PM
The illumagnate

I would say at the moment uncle mo is worth 15-20 million as a sire of precosity with lighting quickness and speed to win at over a mile in grade 1 competition.His resume mdn winner over 10 lengths saratoga,grade 1 champagne in a romp,overwhelmed all runners grade 1 breeders cup juvenile.I wonder if repole stable has enough insurance on him.

28 Feb 2011 6:17 PM
El Kabong


You need to do two things.

1.Watch Soldat rate in the BCJT, he was well of the pace, in 5th and didn't get a chance to make a move until half way down the lane.

2. Remember.I will give you 3 recent names of horses who people said couldn't rate the 10f distance. Barbaro, Big Brown and Super Saver. All raced most of their prep races on the lead or second. Soldat has shown more potential to rate than the above mentioned. Plus, KM said he can.

28 Feb 2011 6:30 PM

Ooops, correction on my post 4 posts up.  It should say "like his grandpa Danzig."  Danzig is Soldat's grandpa, and Danzig is Hard Spun's father.  After awhile you scratch your head on who sired who!!!!!!!!!!!!

28 Feb 2011 6:46 PM

El Kabong:

100% correct the BCJt was a great race for Soldat to finish 2 to a horse that may be more talented than Uncle Mo..

Dialed in and Uncle Mo hooking up hmmm I am sure nobody wanted that..

#1 Soldat

28 Feb 2011 6:48 PM

If Mott says he is the best 3-year-old he's ever had and can justify where he is right now, I'm trusting him and sticking by THAS. I remember many of you saying he wouldn't win Saturday off the long layoff (albeit, I too, was very disappointed in his peformance). Just wish I'd saved more money for Future Pool 2, as his odds will definitely be better than they were in Pool 1, but could drop significantly in Pool 3 and in the Derby if the screws are tightened for Fla Derby. With his pedigree and earnings, he is still a serious threat. My primary concern is that Johnny V will be riding Mo rather than him on May 7. I keep thinking (maybe it's hoping)that we are seeing a similar path to what was used for Street Sense, with the primary focus on the end game of Derby victory.  

28 Feb 2011 6:54 PM
Early Speed

Much as I like Uncle Mo, he still has something to prove to me-that he can go the distance beyond a mile. Until then, to me, he is a flash in the pan. I am liking Dialed In a little better right now, especially love his breeding for the Derby distance and his running style. The only thing about a come from behind horse is having to pass the big crowd allowed to run in the Derby. If Mine That Bird can do it, Dialed In can.

28 Feb 2011 6:55 PM

Its funny how most people on here look to find ways to knock UM, Ive been saying on here every week that its the Pletcher 4 and dialed in... now add soldat and maybe jacyito..thats it


28 Feb 2011 6:59 PM

I agree. Watch Soldat in the BC Juvenile. Amazing preformance. He came out of nowhere and was FLYING. I was there. He was impressive. He's my Derby horse so far.

Question:  Inquirey, how can Hard Spun be a grampa already???  Not possible.

Has anyone seen his babies???  They are 2 year olds now. They should be racing soon. He was one of my favorite guys!!!

28 Feb 2011 6:59 PM

I generally agree with your placements on the list, Steve.  My only exception is Gourmet Dinner.  I just think he demonstrated heart in the FOY.  He and Santiva could move up nicely and either horse could be in the right place at the right time in the Derby.  

After all is said and done, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Uncle Mo.  His run in the Juvenile was just fantastic.

28 Feb 2011 7:04 PM
It aint easy being good

If you like a horse he better be a stalker or a closer. Mo puts up blistering fractions and anyone that wants to try and run with him will be cooked. You need a horse with a long stride in the stretch or an explosive turn of foot. I think that Dialed In and Mucho Macho man fit that bill.

I really like soldat but if he is near the lead mo will wear him down! I agree that we havent seen a wow performance yet but usually you want to see that closer to May!

28 Feb 2011 7:24 PM


Any word on Comma to the Top? He already has the earnings, but after that mystifying dud in the El Camino, I was wondering what Miller's plans are for him, especially with the impact his style would possibly have on Mo.

28 Feb 2011 7:24 PM

Last week i stated that Flashpoint was the best 3yo sprinter, imho (look it up). He travels so easily and then re-brakes at the top of the stretch. He is scary. Watch the Southwest replay and notice how easily Archarcharch is moving at the 3/8 compared to the other horses. He will run big again next out - may not win -but he is a must play. Not sure who the best 3yo is at this point, but my fave is Beamer. Thanks again Mr. Haskin for allowing me to vent!

28 Feb 2011 7:48 PM

Soldat was impressive this weekend! I am also waiting for UM to run but will give him the benefit of the doubt. I watched him in the BC and was very impressed. I only hope he returns to form. Dialed in is also on my short list.

28 Feb 2011 7:49 PM


Glad to see Tobeys Corner on the very bottom of your derby dozen.  eager to see him run in the Gotham where he'll be tested for class against the likes of Stay Thirsty and Crossbow.  has a running style similar to Victory Gallop.  Can only imagine him moving up your list!

It looks more and more like this year's Kentucky Oaks winner will come out of the Davona Dale.

28 Feb 2011 8:06 PM

More confused than ever.  Soldat was impressive, but I'm not giving up on THAS.  I think he needs a couple more races.  As for Gourmet Dinner...puleeze...might as well name your horse Alpo.  It's the name I can't digest, but his form was good.  Too many people are not even mentioning Archarcharch and Alternation.  I'm anxious to see the Rebel.  I think some of our top runners are at Oaklawn.  I'll be keeping an eye on Crossbow next week.  Too many colts have spectacular 6f and 7f runs...but too few are giving us a 9f race with the same oomph..except Soldat.

Some of the fillies are turning in better times than the colts.  Perhaps in the next 3 weeks we'll get a better picture of the real contenders.  Right now, instead of a top 5, I have a middlin 15.  Oh well...8 days to Mardi Gras.  It's time to grab some beads and a Hurricane. (Ike and get Absinthe Minded).

28 Feb 2011 8:10 PM

Steve, why isn't Archarcharch in your top ten?  He has the pedigree for distance. I still can't believe so many people have Uncle Mo number one on the rankings list.  Doesn't anyone find it odd that Gulfstream came up with a race for him?  Where NO ONE will race against him?  (meaning graded horses) whats it gonna be a walkover?! Why so few starts between last year and this before the derby? Is it because he is THAT GOOD or does he have "other" issues?  

I do hope the horse does have wings and wins the TC after his performance last year. He certainly was awesome. But theres alot of questions with the few starts and the Timely Writer that throws up flags.  I do like him, but the way they are going about his campaign one has to ponder.  

28 Feb 2011 8:19 PM
Kristen Ohler

Seattle Slew

I couldn't agree with you more.  Why don't they run these horses??  2 Derby preps as a 3 year old?  Please!! Or 1 prep and then work them up to the Derby?  I guess they don't make them like they used to.  Are today's Throughbreds just not built like the great ones of yesteryears?? Secretariat raced 21 times in 2 years winning 16.  The horses before him ran alot more than that.  Your lucky to see 21 races in a horse today that runs 4 years unless he is a claimer.  It's sad.  I just want to see them run.  No wonder it's hard to pick a Derby runner.  You don't get to see them enough.

28 Feb 2011 8:25 PM

Any thoughts on J P's Gusto's return race? I DON'T think he should be overlooked. With a race under his belt that could be just what the doctor ordered...I    have a feeling he will be a contender come the first saturday in May

28 Feb 2011 8:53 PM

Nobody has impressed me (over a distance of ground) except Uncle Mo and until he runs, he'll stay on top in my book. However, I definitely agree with those that have said that trainers are not running their colts in enough prep races anymore.  If Uncle Mo can win the Derby off of 1 8F & 1 9F prep, he will be a very good horse indeed.

I'm not giving up on To Honor & Serve quite yet.  I have a huge amount of respect for Bill Mott and if he said he wasn't "cranked up" then he wasn't; I expect to see a better effort next out.

The colt I'm most anxious to see remains RunFlatOut.  Unlike The Factor and Flashpoint, RFO's pedigree is not strictly speed, speed and more speed. He could truly be "freak", not just a speedball.

28 Feb 2011 9:13 PM
Hot Coal Guy

Hello Steve! Enjoying your commentaries, as always, and everyone's observations. I sneaked in and ate two the cookies from the jar when you weren't looking so here goes....











I also like ELITE ALEX though, I think it is going to take a little more time to witness his potential. So hang on folks who like him and those who don't...he may just exceed your expectations. He needs more distance and it's going to take some for this fella time to come around into his own for us to see his brilliance. Could ring the bell around Belmont time.  

ASTROLOGY appears to be taking a bit more of time than I'd thought so it is a bit suspect. He is going to need a race then we'll see what improvement there is, if much, over last year. I'm not going to get too terribly excited, for now.

I anticipated better of INDIAN WINTER last out this past weekend.

At this point, I prefer MUCHO MACHO MAN over MACHEN and ROGUE ROMANCE. And, I think WILKINSON is going to make (some) noise here in a while. I'm also interested in ANTHONY'S CROSS. He is coming around here sneaking into the thick of things.

ALBERGATTI is potentially a very dangerous horse and I'm interrested to see how Blue Laser performs in his next.

BENCH POINTS could reel in there underneath a few times.

TOBY'S CORNER, appears to be a nimble sort though I'm having serious doubts about him cracking into much of anything past 1 1/8 miles. The Gotham may be an eventful race.

TO HONOR AND SERVE gave the appearance of being somewhat flat...don't count him out just yet! He's still in the top four candidate here. I didn't expect him to deliver a blow like some were expecting.

*DIALED IN is calling and needs someone to pick up! He's right there with this other cookie *UNCLE MO hanging out with BRETHREN and TO HONOR AND SERVE at the moment.

THE FACTOR, is classy and talented enough but I don't see him as a Derby threat. I do like the horse up to a mile though!!! ALOT.  

Looks to be an interesting racing season upon us countdown to the Derby!

Enjoy reading the various perspectives. Last year you featured a perspective about going short first to go long. Have you noticed any instances this year where that may be being employed?

Thoughts and prayer going out to Eibar Coa as well for his recovery and healing following the terrible accident he experienced.  

28 Feb 2011 9:34 PM

I cant believe everyone is overlooking Flashpoint. This horse was wanting more after 7 furlongs Saturday and galloped out great. I see him getting 9 furlongs no problem. Using his tactical speed and his ability to rate,as he did Saturday, I see him as a huge threat. Travelin Man was not a lower level allowance horse. That guy earned a 106 beyer last time out. So dont ignore him.

28 Feb 2011 9:35 PM


Interesting dozen below:

1)Uncle Mo: No Problem with ranking. He can run but he cannot hide form the inevitable. (Contender)

2)Dialed In: Like this colt. A Storm Cat mare has never produced a winner of a TC race. His dam was unraced and that a plus. She cost $1.3M. I cannot recall any broodmare that expensive producing a derby winner. They are produced by mostly low profile mares. (Contender)

3)Soldat : I am still not convinced he is capable of winning the derby with two 9F races run 1:50 plus. He needs to be in the low 1:48 to have a chance. (Contender)

4)Mucho Macho Man: This June colt has no chance of winning. He is just too slow. No winner of the Risen Star that has recorded those types of splits as featured in the derby. (49, 1:13 are claimer’s splits) Remember derby off time favorite Friesen Fire?  Bind ran 1:08 plus for 6F on the same track. Use Bind’s performance as a measure you will see why he is a (Pretender)

5)Sweet Ducky: I would hate for such a name to associated with a derby winner. This is certainly the year for bad names. He does not have the dam line to a derby contested at 10F. (Pretender)  

6)Santiva : This colt has no chance of winning. He is just too slow. Let me reiterate. No colt sired by a stallion that covers 200 mares per year will win the derby. Tapizar is gone and I suggest they take this colt of the derby trail (Pretender)

7)Brethren: I am still trying to figure out this colt. Can his dam produce consecutive KD winners? It has never been done before. He is being petted more than Uncle Mo and that’s not good. This policy of petting horses that are going to run 10F with 126Lbs is going to backfire. The average times for the last 10 derbies contested dry tracks is 2:02 plus. Blame & Zenyatta two seasoned horses covered the distance in the BCC in 2:02 plus. Both were battle tested. Big Brown was a freak. Street Sense was brilliant and had a 10F pedigree. This colt is neither Street Sense nor Big Brown. What are they thinking? I do not like way he carries hind end ( Pretender)

8)Gourmet Dinner: Hate his name. Flattened out in a slowly run FOY. Does not have a derby pedigree and will certainly be consumed by the big boys. ( Pretender)  

9)Jaycito: Deep closer with stamina who is short on foundation. The two colts he defeated in the Norfolk are not in Steve’s top 24 although both have finished encouraging seconds in their 3YO debuts.  If their exclusion is based on lack of potential to win the derby, then he is questionable as he only defeated them by 2L in the Norfolk G1 when they last met.  He is being trainer by Speedy Bob whose derby winners have not come from far behind. He like all Speed y Bob horses will be working 57 or 58 eventually and might take him out of his comfort zone.( Contender)

10)Flashpoint: Two races to date one more expected. Do you se his trainer winning the derby with two horses off three starts. It’s not going to happen as it does not fit into derby history. It previously took 93 years to be repeated ( Pretender)

11)Anthony's Cross: Biggest negative is his trainer. The next is Indian Charlie. Rarely do this trainer’s horses run well in consecutive races and like Todd P’ charges go MIA after big performance. Coronel John is a fine example to use as a measure this colt. (Pretender)

12) Premier Pegasus: This colt has not been beyond 7F. With 9 weeks to the derby he is behind the eight ball. His pedigree profile has not won the derby in 48 years. He is not a closer and will not prompt the pace in the derby and win.(Pretender)

You have excluded THAS based on his FOY performance and mostly because of the A P Indy stallion line. You cannot have it both ways. You have to drop Dialed In and Sweet Ducky as a victory either will put to rest your slow development genes theory. Do you recall Ferdinand? He won 2 of 9 starts before the derby and won handily. THAS will return a better colt. You list Riveting Reason as an alternate although he has far more foundation than is stable mate i.e., (1) 8F,(4)8.5F & (1)9F. I refuse to believe Sway Away is a late running sprinter. You have chosen to list him as an alternate also. One of the best bred colts on the derby trail with 10F pedigree and speed and he is excluded for group of slow poke pretenders. What happened to the 2010 Ranagulzion? The 2011 one is way off on his evaluations.  If by chance you contact him ask for some assistance.

28 Feb 2011 9:36 PM

quit searching! its UNCLE MOE racing down the stretch!!!

28 Feb 2011 9:37 PM
John Fountaine

Enjoy  chatter  today  on XM # 243 with Steve Byck(& Mig ). Duke / Brooklyn / Dodgers  stories . Precious. Derby Dozen  is  very  entertaining .Comparing  yours to cousin  Ed's is  enlightening .

Met you  up @SPA awhile  back @ Ed  place .

Pleasure   to   follow ; keep  up  the  good  work .See  you  in August

28 Feb 2011 10:00 PM

Well, just call Bluegrass Cat from now on "El Gato Azul."  Smarty's not the only one going to visit the senoritas.  Now Bluegrass Cat is going to Chile.  Isn't this hard on them, new environment, new drinking water, the shipping, not to mention viruses?

28 Feb 2011 10:07 PM

i put a $10 win ticket on Santiva and Soldat and a $10 box exacta on them on first derby futures....feel good following Soldat's strong Fountain of Youth...also that Santiva is an early foal and will be a good few months older than most ...could be a nice payoff if they hit!

28 Feb 2011 10:13 PM

Steve, where do you have Sway Away on your list beyond the Top 12 (plus 1)?  Soldat ran like I thought he would and my only "variable" was how To Honor and Serve was going to run.  Soldat runs like an old pro with a lot of confidence meaning he seems to know what he needs to do to win while staying within himself and not wasting any energy.  His trainer says he can rate so that makes him a dangerous horse.  He showed some nice turn of foot in the BC Juv Turf also after rating up to the stretch.  If Flashpoint ends up learning how to rate he'll be a monster!

Mucho Macho Man does not have the turn of foot to win the Derby, period.  He may be knocking on the door but he won't win it.  If you want to add closing speed to the likes of Mucho then what you have is Jaycito.  Pletcher hasn't shown any hint of concern over the Mo's way of going so far, not that he would shout it from the rooftops.  Mo's still MO and with his graded earnings out of the way, their path to Churchill is smart (as smart can be with only 2 preps).

28 Feb 2011 10:20 PM

Still early top twelve , to me:

1. The Factor

2. Flashpoint

3. Uncle Mo

4. Sway Away

5. Dialed In

6. Brethren

7. Soldat

8. Mucho Macho Man

9. Stay Thirsty


11.Awesome Patriot


28 Feb 2011 10:51 PM

I think theres a chance for a real upset in the derby,there are a few good horses in my time ,that many people say they cant go the distant ,but were proven wrong.Have to root for the family

28 Feb 2011 11:15 PM


28 Feb 2011 11:24 PM

The following is my Top 5 as of right now.  

1.  Santiva-  A tough and consistent horse.  He has a substantial stamina influence on the lower part of his Pedigree (his Broodmare Sire is Smarten).  His Trainer stated that they didn't have Santiva cranked real tight for the Risen Star, and Santiva still finished in 2nd.  He has won at Churchill Downs, so he can run well at Churchill.  Substantially improved on his speed figure in the Risen Star as compared to his last race (despite not being cranked real tight).  Has never finished off of the Board.  In his win at Churchill, he was challenged deep in the stretch, and he overcame the challenge deep in the stretch.

2.  Sway Away-  Made up a lot of ground in the San Vicente.  Showed that he closes very well.  Also showed in the San Vicente that he can rate off of the pace.  Has a lot of stamina on the lower portion of his Pedigree (Seattle Slew is on the lower portion of his Pedigree).

3.  Riveting Reason-  Finished a strong and game 2nd in the Robert B. Lewis.  Has a lot of stamina in the lower portion of his Pedigree (In Reality and Dynaformer are on the lower portion of his Pedigree).  Showed that he can rate in the Robert B. Lewis, and he showed that he can close.  

4.  J P's Gusto-  Had a horrible trip in the Southwest Stakes (traffic trouble).  Still managed to finish 2nd.  He made up a lot of ground.  He closed very strong, and he was closing in on the Winner (Archarcharch).  He has a lot of racing experience (9 Starts), so he has a good foundation.  Has shown good consistency with his form in his races.

5.  Sweet Ducky-  Ran a strong 2nd in the Holy Bull.  Finished ahead of Gourmet Dinner and Mucho Macho Man in the Holy Bull.  Showed that he can rate, and he closed well considering that he had to go pretty far to the outside when coming into the stretch.  Has a very good Pedigree.  A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat are on the upper portion of his Pedigree, and Secretariat is on the lower portion of his Pedigree.  

The following is why I don't have Uncle Mo, Dialed In, and Soldat in my Top 5 List.

Uncle Mo-  There is a real concern regarding his Pedigree and distance.  He is by Indian Charlie, and Indian Charlie is not known to produce distance horses.  Todd Pletcher's prep plan for Uncle Mo is perplexing, and it is not very conducive for a horse that is needing some racing foundation.  Uncle Mo only has 3 total starts, and he doesn't have much of a foundation.  If Pletcher thinks that he can be successful at the Kentucky Derby with a horse that doesn't have much experience and foundation, he is sorely mistaken.

Dialed In-  In his last 2 races, Dialed In has had trouble at the start of the race.  His starts at the beginning of those races is very troubling.  He gave up a lot of ground at the beginning of those races, and he ultimately made up the ground, but he won't be able to get away with a bad start at the beginning of the Kentucky Derby.  He will be stuck behind a wall horses at the Kentucky Derby if he has a start like he has had in his last two races.  There is simply too big of a question mark regarding his ability to have a good/decent start of a race.  

Soldat-  Other than Gourmet Dinner, Soldat basically beat nothing in the Fountain of Youth.  To Honor and Serve won against inferior competition in New York.  Soldat beating To Honor and Serve, who is not as good as people thought originally, doesn't say much for Soldat.  Additionally, there is still a question mark regarding Soldat on a dirt surface like Churchill Downs' dirt surface.                                

28 Feb 2011 11:46 PM
Bloodline Bob

I'm going to repeat myself: UNCLE MO WILL NOT WIN THE 2011 KY.DERBY but he will win other big races in 2011.

01 Mar 2011 12:09 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thank you very much !!!


   I thought your response was quite funny, and in a kind light hearted way but remember the words of the immortal Leo Durocher- "Nice guys finish last." Doubles could be a nuisance also. I've got five Pagans and no Cepeda so I have to keep mowing lawns or turning in pop bottles. Sometimes you'd hit a goldmine where a housewife didn't want to go to the trouble and there'd be three cases of bottles she'd want to clear out.

Forbidden Apple

   I answered you on the Mos and Cons blog but it didn't get posted.(Maybe it still will) West Coast.

01 Mar 2011 12:18 AM
Steve Haskin

Gin, I agree with you about the ease with which Archarcharch broke free of the pack. He wouldnt change leads until late, but looked really good going past the wire. He's not on the Top 12 because there's just no place to put him yet, but I do think he's still under everyone's radar despite his win. Oh, and I hate his name.

Lastlion, my main concern with JP's Gusto is his pedigree. There is just so much speed on both sides. He's a terrific horse, but I have my doubts about him getting 1 1/4 miles

Aunburnbill, last I heard Comma to the Top was still on the Derby trail, I suppose he'll either run in the San Felipe or wait for the SA Derby. I'll see what I can find out,

Downsouthracing, I dont think Flashpoint is being overlooked for any reason other than he would have to go straight to the Fla Derby and even if he won, he still would have only three career starts before the Derby, two of them sprints. Until someone does it I dont believe that it can be done nor is it in the horse's best interests for the future.

Nice to hear from you John. always good to hear from a Fountaine.

Bigtex, I have Sway Away between 12 and 15. As good as he looked it is March already and hasnt been farther than 7f. same with Premiere Pegasus who should like stretching out, but still has to do it. horses who run like Sway Away often prove to be closing sprinters. I dont think he's one but he still has to show what he can do around two turns.

Arlene, as far as your comment: "Steve-ranking-horses-who-have-not-run-in-2010?Gimme-a-break.You-are-smarter-than-that-aren't-you?" Apparently not.

01 Mar 2011 1:27 AM

Man O'an, what a crap shoot of 3 years olds we have here. There are about 25 of them who can win the Derby. I got no clue, all I can say is that based on his BC Juvenille win Uncle Mo is the standout until he runs and changes my mind. Each week, pretty much a different one wins. Who reallt knows how these trainers think and why they prep these young 3 year olds the way they do. Sure don't breed them and race them like they used to...........

01 Mar 2011 3:10 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I remember those arguments in the 50's about who is better- Duke Snider, Willie Mays, or Mickey Mantle. Reminds me of The Derby Dozen arguments. All three of those players were great, it depended on where you lived or who you rooted for. Your baseball stories on the Steve Byk show were great, and that story about the black and white Dodgers actually being in color when you went to the game was hilarious. (Sports Fans-not color in the racial sense but going from only seeing them on a black and white TV to seeing them in person at the game. So don't write in that this is the 21st century.) One of my most recurrent dreams is one in which I catch every foul ball going into the stands at an MLB game, flying through the air to catch them. I did actually get one during batting practice at an MLB game but never a game ball. Did the Giants really win the World Series last year?

01 Mar 2011 3:25 AM


A very interesting top five:

Santiva: I cannot see how anyone could this colt as #1. He is an extremely slow colt and carries a lot of derby negatives. His sire is son of Storm Cat whose 100 plus sons have produced one horse to hit the derby board. That was Make Music For Me sire by Bernstein who finished 4th to Super Saver on an off track. He has not been heard of since. His dam sire Smarten has never featured as a first dam sire for any winner of a TC race. His win at Churchill Downs in the 8.5F Kentucky Jockey Club was achieve in a time of 1:45.31 the 3rd slowest in the last 10 years. Super Saver won the 2009 renewal in 1:42.83 a full 2 ½ second a faster. The splits for the 2010 KJC: 24.29, 49.03, 1:14.25, 1:39.94 and for the Risen Star: 24.67, 49.24, 1:13.65, 1:37.77. From those figures Sativa only improved his mile time by 1 plus second and his cruising speed for the first half mile remains the same. The average derby splits in the last 10YRS are 22, 46, 1:10, 1:36. This gives you an idea how far behind Savtiva will be in genuinely run derby. He does not have the class to win the derby. Like many, he is only included in Mr. Haskin dozen because of graded earnings. I now strongly believe the dozen should be renamed the graded earnings Dozen as some that have made the cut will be racing the ambulance. Santiva does not have the speed or pedigree to win the derby. Last year I went out on a limb and stated that I was positive two colts would not win the derby. They were Esky and Dublin.  I am even more positive that Sanriva cannot win the 2011 derby.

I have no problems with your justification for the 2nd,3rd & 4th colts. However, #5 Sweet Ducky is very weak on the dam side and his name is a handicap. No one wants to ask who won the derby and the reply is Sweet Ducky. The response would be, I didn’t mean the quarter horse derby. I all seriousness he will not effectively get 10F. Nice colt short on stamina.

NB: Riveting Reason and J P's Gusto were within 1 1/2L to 2L of Jaycito in the G1 Norfolk. They have both made encouraging 3YO debuts at 9F & 8F. With a little more luck they both could have won. Jaycito is included in Mr. Haskin’s dozen but neither Riveting Reason nor J P's Gusto is included in his first 24. Go figure.

01 Mar 2011 6:38 AM

All I know is,...What I don't know?

Everything is so speculative at this point. Mo and Dialed In need races, forget a race they need races.

Jaycito just posted another phenomenal work this weekend and I will be following his next race closely.

Attn: trainers, its March 1st can you please rave your derby hopeful?

01 Mar 2011 6:47 AM

WHERE is Anthony's Cross?

01 Mar 2011 6:54 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

On the Derby trail, the Fat Lady hasn't even warmed up.  

01 Mar 2011 7:39 AM

I thought Smooth Jazz brought up some very intriguing points in his post.  I'm certainly no expert by any means, but I'm also a bit concerned by Pletcher's approach with Uncle Mo.  We'd all like to see a possible Triple Crown winner.  I hope that we're not once again disappointed.  Since all it takes is a lousy draw to  eliminate you from competition,ask Bob Bafford, it certainly takes all the luck in the world and a good jockey.  By the way, anyone know who Calvin may be riding up the rail this year?    I personally would love to see Mucho Macho Man win the Derby.  Just hope that we don't have slop again.

01 Mar 2011 8:01 AM
Fran Loszynski

Boy I'm not doing too bad if I may blow my own horn:

As a fan, I got interested in Soldat, Dialed In, Honor To Serve, and had the Triple in the Soldat, Honor To Serve and Gourmet Dinner race! Anyone else want to jump on my bandwagon that these horses follow the one and only Elite Alex Tiple Crown Winner? Coronado's Quest for Soldat was temperamental and fought for that win so definitely Soldat will be second to Elite Alex. I have to give credit to we "wee" fans we may not know the numbers but we can sense heart in a racehorse or perkey ears to the crowd!

01 Mar 2011 8:21 AM


      Anything on Bench Points and his next race.                        

01 Mar 2011 8:29 AM

My "Derby Dozen" as of 03/01:

1) Dialed In

2) Sway Away

3) To Honor And Serve

4) Brethren

5) Archarcharch

6) Soldat

7) Rogue Romance

8) Alternation

9) Astrology

10) Awesome Patriot

11) Wilkinson

12) Bench Points

01 Mar 2011 8:43 AM

Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo. Nice 1-2 punch for Pletcher. Jaycito by Victory Gallop should love Churchill. Dialed in a nice horse but overrated. Won a one turn mile where the fractions were blistering. Perfect set up for him. Pace in the Derby at this point looks to be much slower. Also, I'm not convinced that Soldat is the real deal. I'm actually suprised that THAS didn't press him earlier on. 112 for 3/4. Not that fast on a speed favoring track. Don't count THAS out just yet. Mott has a plan I'm sure. Graded earning's not a concern. Toby's Corner an interesting horse. Came from off the pace in the slop in the Whirlaway. Look out on a fast track. He may be even better. Just a thought. I love this time of year. It comes just at the right time with football being over. Good luck everyone.

01 Mar 2011 9:29 AM

My waay under the radar horse Willcox Inn makes his 3yo debut Saturday @ the FG.  Unfortunately it's on the lawn and I'd rather see him try dirt.  Currently 18th on the graded $ list and his 3rd in the BC Juvy Turf (Soldat 2nd) was sneaky good.  Not sure of the path planned for him, but the bogus Blue Grass might be right up his alley.

Dialed in has been impressive, but so was Pyro a couple of years ago so the jury is still out on him IMO.  Fla Dby will answer a lot of questions.

Gourmet Dinner is the Rodney Dangerfield horse this year.  I think I read where he may go for the SA Derby where, if he runs his normal decent race, could hurt some Cal based horses in their graded money chase.

Just my 2 cents...I like your articles keep 'em coming.

01 Mar 2011 9:54 AM
Bill Daly

A moment of silence for the Duke of Flatbush, one of my childhood heros. Hearing of Duke's passing reminded me of General Duke and horseracing in the fifties - particularly 1957 - a great year for thoroughbreds.  Bold Ruler, General Duke, Gallant Man, Round Table, Iron Liege and many others. General Duke was the preemptive favorite that year, but was injured [I believe] and never made it to the Derby. Steve, do you know what happened to that horse?  Did he ever make it to stud?  

01 Mar 2011 10:14 AM

Dialed In - winner of 2011 KD

01 Mar 2011 10:53 AM

when the starting gate opens in the feature race at churchill downs on the 1st saturday in may archarcharch will be no worse than the 2nd choice.

01 Mar 2011 10:58 AM

Bill Daly: I looked Gen Duke up and it appears he developed wobbles (I'm never really sure what that is but I know it's BAD) and never sired any foals, dying in 1958.  Another one of the Bull Lea's that never sired on.  

Also, when you think of that foal crop, for people to still remember him as one of the best, he HAD to be one of the best.

Finally, I know Blue Laser has been training.  Anyone have any idea at all when he might start?

(still like Dialled In, Bowman's Causeway and in place of Pluck who hasn't yet started and might target England: I'm liking Soldat quite a lot.  Still, early times.)

01 Mar 2011 11:13 AM

I think Rogue Romance is one of those horses flying under the radar. I believe out of all the horses in Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen, The Rogue is the only horse whose sire Smarty Jones actually won a Kentucky Derby. Rogue's third place finish in the Risen Star was a good starting race. I like how he was on the muscle in the backstretch. He looked very physical and fit. He definitely needed that race and should be primed for a nice effort in his third start on the dirt after being battle tested for most of the Risen Star. He's owned by Catesby W. Clay, one of Kentucky's finest horseman and master of Runnymede Farm. This farm has produced 3 Kentucky Derby winners at the beautiful 365-acre farm in Paris, Kentucky. It's was exactly 60 years ago when Count Turf won the Derby. He was bred and raised on Runnymede. What else is impressive is that Jaycito, Bob Baffert's main runner was bred on the farm as well. Just think both Rogue and Jaycito, once played in the same pasture together before going out to auction. Then both raced in the BC Juvenile last fall, and now have a chance to meet up once again in the Derby if all goes well. I also like the way Rogue came about. At auction he didn't meet his reserve, and Clay decided to buy him back and race him. I remember when he broke his maiden in his second start on the turf at Saratoga. His final time of 1:41 and change for the mile and 1/16 was just two clicks off the track record. That must of been when the connections probably had a good idea that this one might be special. He confirmed that in his next start with a dazzling last to first place finish in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. That was a win and you're in race, and the connections decided to try the dirt in the BC Juvenile. It ended up being a good move considering he earned $200,000 for the show. I really feel like the Rogue is going to do something very special come May.                    

01 Mar 2011 11:31 AM


01 Mar 2011 11:35 AM
Billy's Empire

Alternation will win the Arkansas Derby and everyone will forget about Archarcharch. Dialed in is the 2011 version of Icebox. He will not win, but he will be running at the end.

01 Mar 2011 11:42 AM

billy mott is the only person in the world to give a horse a grade one race to get him fit after the long lay off.don't worry, he'll have him ready for the first saturday in may.

01 Mar 2011 12:00 PM
Love 'em all

When in doubt "google", so I did.


Meaning is 'soldier' for German, Russian and Swedish.  Is a 'war game' for geeks; hence the name 'War Front'.  Well, that's a pretty good guess.

Whatever, huh?  lol  

01 Mar 2011 12:08 PM


I posted a lot of my thoughts about the AP Indy sire line including my reason for regarding sons of Pulpit, Steven Got Even, Mineshaft and Tapit as exceptions to the late development syndrome. Enough has been said about this.  Let's just watch everything play out on the track. Okay Buddy?

Clearly you are not impressed with my Derby Dozen and I have to say neither am I with yours, but I'll reserve my comments for the right time.  For me the results on the track are what separate the contenders from the pretenders.

01 Mar 2011 12:26 PM
Forbidden Apple

1-Dialed In 2-Soldat 3-Sway Away 4-ArchArchArch 5-To Honor & Serve 6-The Factor 7-Mucho Macho Man 8-Santiva 9-Gourmet Dinner 10-Riveting Reason 11-Beamer 12-Jaycito 13-Uncle Mo

Dialed In and Soldat are the two horses that stand above everyone else at the moment. Soldat has a flawless cruising gear and is battle tested after 7 career starts. Dialed In is still learning and needs to prove himself around two turns. His late kick is devastating and unmatched by any horse. I have Sway Away a close third on my list and like Dialed In has to prove he belongs around two turns. I am confident that Sway Away is a scary good horse at a distance of ground. Also, I watched the Southwest several times and have new found respect for ArchArchArch. After my top four, the rest of the horses are closely matched. Until Jaycito and Uncle Mo decide to run at three, they are at the bottom of my list.

Alex's Big Fan,

I have saturday's DRF outside in my car, I will post the exact Tomlinson #'s for Soldat later this afternoon. I do remember being very impressed with every number. His Turf, Wet, and Distance numbers are all well over 400.

El Kabong,

The most impressive part of Soldat's BCJT race was the gallop out. He ended up going past Pluck and was full of run!

Billy's Empire,

As soon as I read the comments by Inquiry I made notes of how to respond. Your comments were right on and thank you for that.


It was not until the Pilgrim when Soldat sat 5th down the backstretch. Watch the race and you will see Garcia struggling to hold him back. And again in the BCJT Soldat was 5th and sat patiently until deep in the stretch to get his best stride in gear. He does not have killer speed, he simply cruises along and gets better with every start. He will not be on the front end in the KY Derby, his jockey knows him well.

01 Mar 2011 12:53 PM
Criminal Type

I know Ive said this before, But I really really wish Pluck was going to the derby. I dont have any confidence in any of these horses on the list with the exception of Dialed In & Brethren.

I like The Factor, and I like what I saw from Flashpoint this weekend. Beer Meister also got my attention. ANYTHING can happen between now and the Derby

01 Mar 2011 12:55 PM
Jean in Chicago

Bill Daly:

Pretty sad story for General Duke (son of Bull Lea).  12 starts, 5 wins, 5 place, 2 show.  He was hurt at 3, retired and at 4 developed 'wobbler syndrome' (a neurological disease) and was put down.  He is buried at Calumet Farms.  He never sired any offspring.

01 Mar 2011 1:15 PM
Forbidden Apple

I have heard that Break Up The Game will be racing on saturday.

What was Bandbox doing so close to the lead in the Miracle Wood? He sat just off from fractions of 22 4/5,45 4/5, 1:10 2/5 and still fought gamely to the wire.

Alex's Big Fan,

Tomlinson #'s for Soldat:

Wet 407

Turf 438

Distance 417

01 Mar 2011 1:16 PM

Love 'em all: don't wanna rub it in but some of us actually have an honours degrees in French and understood the reference from the start.

Sorry.  I understand you guys in the States don't believe people actually speak French or any other language.

Never mind.

p.s. Whenever I travel in Europe, I am always boring the aitch-ee-double-hockey-sticks about place names also being the names of important horses -- most of my travelling compagnions don't care AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY NOT.

Criminal Type: heard anything about whether Pluck has done any training for the 2002 Guineas or Derby?

01 Mar 2011 1:22 PM

Love 'em All: forgot to tell you how very, very useful it was to have an honours degree in French (not!)

Still, good for when you are in Paris and need to order a Kir.

01 Mar 2011 1:23 PM
Karen in Texas

I thought R Heat Lightning gave the performance of the weekend. Soldat ran well and looked professional, but the Derby picture still needs more focus! I'm hoping Baffert can provide some clarity soon with a major, promising effort by Jaycito.

01 Mar 2011 1:29 PM
Jean in Chicago

Hi, mz:  I posted about General Duke before I finished reading the previous posts so I missed your answer.  Sorry.  Glad to see you back.  Ready with your hat for the Derby?

01 Mar 2011 1:29 PM
Jean in Chicago

Dr. D.:  I also remember the amazing color of reality to the black & white of TV.  I grew up near Saratoga and used to go to the harness races with my father (with a couple of bets from my mom--she was a pretty good handicaper and a really good horsewoman.  I've still got her copies of C.W. Anderson's horse books.)  Way back then kids couldn't go to the thoroughbred races, but were allowed at the harness track.  Shades of 'The Music Man' ("wouldn't want to see some stuck-up jockey boy sitting on Dan Patch, would ya?")

01 Mar 2011 1:40 PM
Bill Daly

Thanks, mz! Yes, those 3 yr. olds of 1957 were good enough to remember for a long time.  Bold Ruler and General Duke broke records - world records- on the Triple Crown trail.  I believe Bold Ruler broke the world's record for a mile and an eighth in the Flamingo Stakes only to be outdone by General Duke in the Florida Derby in which he  set a new record.  It wasn't only those two who broke watches either.  Yes, there's a good reason people still talk about those colts.  Thanks again for the information.

01 Mar 2011 1:44 PM


The numerous comments about Soldat’s FOY victory suggest he is the horse to on the 1st Saturday in May. Was the FOY that impressive a race? Well the answer could be found in comparing the previous four FOY to get some perspective:-

2007 Scat Daddy:        23.21, 46.06, 1:09.89, 1:35.36, 1:49.11

2008 Cool Coal Man    24.03, 47.62, 1:11.52, 1:36.32, 1:50.07

2009 Quality Road       23.83, 45.55, 1:09.40, 1:35.05

2010 Eskendereya         23.72, 47.92, 1:12.41, 1:36.54, 1:48.87

2010 Soldat                   24.34, 47.99, 1:12.43, 1:37.19, 1:50.23  

Well, what do we have here? The slowest quarters recorded in the FOY in the last 5 years and invariably the slowest time. If that is considered impressive, then I have my head serves only to separate by ears.  I know it has been reported that the track was funky. However, the said funky track produced 23.92, 46.53, 1:10.77 and 1:36.25 for the earlier run Davona Dale. It appears the track was just as funky for 6F in 2010 renewal as the times are almost identical. The difference is a quality colt in Eskendereya exploded away from his opponents because to slow early fractions. Soldat did not explode away; he was kept to his task and in so doing consumed a Gourmet Dinner.

Folks this was not an impressive race and no one should be fooled by it. I hate to say this but Uncle Mo could run backwards and whip this field. Uncle Mo ran1:34 plus on the Champagne as a 2YO. He must be bigger and stronger. I see posters getting excited about a 1:37 mile in a 9F race.  The 8F split in the 2007 FOY won by Scat Daddy was 1:35.36 and he did not hit the board in the derby. The above times tells us that none from the above race with the exception of THAS will pose a serious challenge to Uncle Mo if he is right. The group of fillies that ran in the Davona Dale recorded racehorse times and underlines how bad a race the 201 FOY was..

It interesting that Anthony’s Cross that won the Bob Lewis chasing and setting fractions of 22.48, 45.65, 1:09.92 and 1:35.07 was dropped for horses running 2 to 3 seconds slower. Are these colts being raked for the Kentucky Derby or the Pedestrian Derby? Uncle Mo, Dialed In and To Honor and Serve are the only colts that have run  8F in 1:35 plus.

01 Mar 2011 2:01 PM

Dialed In sur looks like the real thing. What baffles me the most is that nothing has been said of the horrible ride Alex Solis gave casper's Touch in the fountain of Youth. I have not been witness to such a horrific misdeed in many years. Casper's Touch is a much better horse than we saw on Saturday after Solis "fought" him tooth and nail for being to sharp. Some people like to call horses who break sharply and want to race on the lead, "rank". I say if a horse wants to lead, the let him. Fighting the horse will accomplish nothing more than ending up last or next to last (in this case Casper ran next to last). I expect that Casper's touch will be back sometime soon and will show (witha different rider, I hope) that he is a much better horse than what he appeared to the naked eye on Saturday. Kenny McPeek is a first class horseman who never send out a short horse in a stake of this caliber. I can't wait to see what Casper' can do with a good ride.....Good luck to all.....I still think Dialed In is in a claas of his own who will improve as the diastances get longer.....

01 Mar 2011 2:15 PM
Steve Haskin

I believe Baffert is leaning toward the Sunland Park Derby. He loves that race. his name should not have been among the San Felipe horses. I have since removed it.

01 Mar 2011 2:39 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Karen in Texas

   You're going to get your wish.

01 Mar 2011 2:41 PM

Jean in Chi: yes.  Got my hat. You?

Please note that my friends and I have now made plans to wander around the KD museum on Monday before and we will check out the horses (maybe Kathmanblu too?) to make my (usual) pick-'em-to-finish-4th bet.

BTW: my sister, who is a grade school librarian, came home with throw-out books (too old, etc.) -- I now have many of the Billy and Blaze books downstairs in the basement -- I will keep them forever together with all of the Misty/King of the Wind/ Black Gold books, not to mention The Black Stallion!

p.s.  If Ted cuts out (the cur!), we will drink us some mint juleps the first Saturday this May without him!

01 Mar 2011 2:48 PM
Forbidden Apple


I agree with your comments regarding the FOY splits. When the race was finished I told myself that people will still doubt this classy colt because of the final time. But do you honestly believe that Soldat was all out to win? He took advantage of a slow pace and coasted to another victory at 1 1/8 miles. He has seven career starts, that is 2 more than Uncle Mo and Dialed in combined. To my eyes it looked like Soldat could have done much more if anyone stepped up to challenge him. I'm sorry, but I can not fault this colt for dominating a $400k Grade II race. Again 2 wins at 1 1/8 while Dialed In and Mo have never even run at 1 1/8 miles. Don't get me wrong, I am not sold 100% on any horse as of March 1. Also, take a look back at his BCJT race and you will find that he galloped out past PLUCK. This colt does nothing but run hard every time he steps into a starting gate.

In 2011 Uncle Mo is nothing more than a pure ghost and phantom. 2010 is over and he has to prove that he is still the heavyweight champion on the race track, not in workouts. Remember, everything that glitters is not gold!

01 Mar 2011 2:55 PM

I say Mo is overrated... def not liking that their bringing him back at a 1 turn race so this means UM will only have 1 two turn prep be4 the derby.... the only horse that has done that in recent years was Big Brown i think... so keep the hype up on UM so the real horse players can cash .... waitin on stay thirsty in the gotham (who has been working faster than UM at the sme track) .... my wildcard is sway away who would of gobbled up the factor if the race was longer... love sway's turn of foot....


01 Mar 2011 3:06 PM


I'm really likeing your baker's dozen pick Tobey's Corner. Thought he ran a nice race in the Whirlaway

winning going away in nasty conditions beating JJ's Lucky Train who came back with a win in his next race. Interesting to see the Belamy's Road (Toby's Corner's sire)banner from your sponsor Paul's Mill on the top of the page I still remember watching his 17 length(120 beyers)win in the Wood. If TC can continue running at Aqueduct any where near like his daddy the Gotham will be a fun race to watch matched up against your number 6 selection Stay Thirsty.

01 Mar 2011 4:24 PM
the illuminati

I think in 2011 race times and speed figures are not as important as they once were in the preparation for the Kentucky Derby.Take the FOY when no other horse seriously challenged him for the lead Soldat dictated an easy pace and won an easy race.In todays abreviated race schedule for 3yos preparing for the derby, the way a horse with ability is managed has become more of an deciding issue of which horses will peak in the big race.Super Saver was managed with a plan to get him to rate with Borel as his rider,and to peak in the right race.In the last five years the biggest prep race speed figure for a horse that actually ran in the derby was a 122 beyer run by bellamy road in the wood,in the year 2005. He went on to finish 7th.Barbaro,Big Brown,and Smarty Jones all had some of the top figures and times before the derby but anyone who watched them run,and dominate their preps didnt need any figures to know how good they were.Imho speed figures are more reliable for sprints,and for experienced handicap horses running routes on the dirt.Now if a horse breaks a track record in any race,that gets my attention.The Factor did just that.If anyone of these 3Yos has a freak figure in any one of their preps,I will look at the race carefully to try to figure out if the horse is a freak,or is he a young inexperienced horse who PEAKED too soon.

01 Mar 2011 4:53 PM
Karen in Texas

mike.p---I thought Casper's Touch was ridden strangely, too.

mz---I have read just about every book ever written by Marguerite Henry and C.W. Anderson. One of my favorites was Anderson's "Deep Through the Heart", his profile of great thoroughbreds on the track. Thanks for your enjoyable reminder!

01 Mar 2011 5:11 PM

caspers touch has no chance in my opinion... i like how everyone blames the jock...lmao.... the horses is not a machine lol .... it has feelings just like u and me... u don't think solis wanted a bigger paycheck???? its just Caspers Touch needs to mature inho.... stop blaming the jock gang!

01 Mar 2011 5:47 PM

gourmet dinner wow what a campaign unheard of so many races before starting in derby would love to see him pick up good jockey for derby how about jorge chavez looks like horse needs some major chop chop whips  gl all

01 Mar 2011 7:02 PM

Forbidden Apple,

Thanks for the Tomlinson #'s on Soldat, just as I expected.  I thought Churchill looked "cuppy" on BC day so if it is on Derby Day it should not ruffle Soldat at all.

If he can run in slop he surely can handle a little cuppiness.

Soldat, just from a visual perspective, appears to exhibit a mental maturity as well.  I hope Mo has that same level of mentality to know how to dip and dodge and get bumped by the pack of closers he's going to encounter Derby Day.  At least Mo appears to be sound as it was reported he turned in a "bullet" work.  So that is a good sign, we just have to wait I guess.  Mo could fool us all yet.  

Dr. D.,

Off topic, but, did you read about Bluegrass Cat going to Chile now?  What is driving this latest South American craze?  Not enough offers here so they are going where there are offers, but how is this fair to our horses?  I would imagine it would be very hard on them with physical and environmental changes.

What's next, Afleet Alex gets jealous of Smarty's & Bluegrass Cat's vacations and books a flight to Rio?????????

01 Mar 2011 8:24 PM


Barbaro ran the derby in 2:01:36..

He won by how much?

Giacomo won in a time of 2:02:75

Please those times mean nothing..

I believe we are all here for the same reason and that is to cash a tix on the 1st Sat of May

01 Mar 2011 9:03 PM


In this case the time in the FOY is basically meaningless.  He won handily against good competition.  I don’t see any need to win by 15 lengths so he can get a 1.47 and change victory?  Maybe Quality Road’s connections might, but QR never got 10F in three tries.  The pace and the way Soldat handled it is important.  He was very professional and had a winner’s determination when he battled for the lead to about the half and then faced a fresh challenge in the turn and shook it off and won convincingly when roused and without much whip.  One of the keys to Soldat is that he will enter the Derby with three consecutive 9F races, which means that he will have the foundation to compete in a TC series.  He is ratable and just might be the most durable horse in the race.  He has a smart trainer who knows what it takes to win a Derby after years of working with Lucas and having his own successful career thus far.  The question is, can he run 9F two seconds faster?  With any sort of a challenge in his January race he would have.  I don’t see why he can’t do it any time he chooses.

01 Mar 2011 10:21 PM
Zenyatta John

Someone had #1 The Factor and #2 Flashpoint?  Are you handicapping for the Derby or a sprint race somewhere down the line? Be serious. Neither has an ounce of a chance to get 10 furlongs.

Fran - nobody cares about your Afleet Alex/ Elite Alex Triple Crown bandwagon. Please, enough. Stop it. Please. Thank you.

01 Mar 2011 10:42 PM

Top Winning Stakes Speed Ratings (2/21-2/27) - 3 year olds (Dirt & Turf) Horse A/S Dist Trk Date Race Bris Speed

Flashpoint 3C 7f (ft) GP 2/26 Hutchesn 108

R Heat Lightning 3F 1m (ft) GP 2/26 DvonaDal 105

Soldat 3C 1 1/8m (ft) GP 2/26 FntnOYth 104

01 Mar 2011 11:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  It's still in America. It's kind of like the 60's and 70's when everyone thought they had to go see Europe or they weren't cool. Maybe it's the cool thing to do. Maybe it's just when it's freezing here. Instead of going to Florida, they go even further South. It's a long ways though. It's got to be over three thousand miles, right? No wonder the horses are in shape when they get there. I don't think it's fair but what do I know. I wouldn't do it. Then again, I would have kept Zenyatta in California. I heard that horses aren't as concerned about the weather as people are.

01 Mar 2011 11:30 PM

Steve, what's your latest top fillies for the Oaks?  Would love to see the list.

Also, any chance you will be writing a piece on Well Armed?  Such a champion in his own right with so much to overcome to triumph as he has.  It's hard to see him retired since I always followed his races, and loved his story.

01 Mar 2011 11:34 PM
Matthew W

Thought J P's Gusto ran well at Oaklawn--he doesn't need to win--I would have him in my top twelve...I also love Jaycito, whom I have at #2 behind MoMo....To Honor And Serve made that move, then he looked like he was tiring, yet he ran on well enough to hold third over that Giant's Causeway longshot that was gaining on the turn--another who does not need to win his early race--but, OH...Jaycito--!!!...Baffert's got a loaded bazooka for the San Felipe--gonna lay back there and wait--then pounce--all they need to do is finish--they don't need to win--but I think they will....

02 Mar 2011 12:30 AM
Matthew W

Bid ran in 2:02 and change, but it was windy/track was real slow and cuppy--good horses went 1:39 and change for a one turn mile--times in the end are meaningless--it's the fractions that make the race--and the variables, which are constantly in play--there are many, many, many: ways to lose a race--which is a good handicapping angle: backwheeling your horse in the exacta--I was all over Pioneerof The Nile, he paid $8 to place, whoop-dee-doo, he paid a K for a $1 backwheel (cost $19) with  Mine That Bird and I should have played that angle, the "many ways to lose a race" angle--and backwheel your guy/or in Eight Belle's case, your gal....

02 Mar 2011 12:42 AM

Uncle Mo is not running again

02 Mar 2011 10:07 AM
jersey guy

I'm with Splitsof12 on Rogue Romance. The 1 post really hurt him in the Risen Star.  When Julian took him off the rail and tried to get to the outside, Santiva just dropped back a bit, closing him off. RR was then boxed in, forced to stay behind a wall, and never hit his stride until halfway down stretch. Mucho Macho Man had a perfect trip, and Santiva also had it very easy.  RR's stride looked great down the stretch, and he looked like he wanted to go longer.  That said, Soldat was very impressive and until Uncle Mo proves otherwise, he's the horse to beat, although I too don't like his path to the Derby.

02 Mar 2011 10:14 AM

Zenyatta John- get over yourself.  She can post whatever she wants.  Don't read it if you don't like it.

02 Mar 2011 10:16 AM
Love 'em all

Must've missed something, but, if I offended you in any way, I do apologize.  I was just interested in the name 'Soldat'.

BTW, what's your favorite Kir?  Mine is the Pamplemousse - made with red grapefruit liqueur and sparkling white wine, which gives a slightly tart alternative. Yummy!

My sister speaks French ... as did my late father, but not this one! [smiling]

02 Mar 2011 10:28 AM
Love 'em all

Oops, my previous post was meant for poster "mz".  I may have omitted the name.

02 Mar 2011 10:33 AM
Bill Daly

Jean in Chicago, thank you for the information. Yes, there is not too much sadder than unrealized potential.  General Duke may have been one of the very best. About 40 years ago another horse with seemingly unlimited potential broke down on the Triple Crown trail. That horse was Hoist The Flag and the way he dominated his competition made one wonder what might have been. He became a very influential stallion - particularly on the turf.  

02 Mar 2011 11:19 AM
Bloodline Bob

On Feb.8th I mentioned 10 sire's that I was considering, this is where they currently stand on the Blood-Horse sire list. #21=E DUBAI;#22=SPEIGHTSTOWN;#23=SONGANDAPRAYER;#32=MACHO UNO;#42=CITY ZIP;#68=ORIENTATE;#69=STREET CRY;#78=PURE PRIZE;#95=PLEASANTLY PERFECT. Remember I'm only concerned with these sires' 3year olds. Stay Tuned.

02 Mar 2011 2:16 PM
Zenyatta John

Footlick - I don't believe I was speaking to you , so thanks for your reply which I did skip.

This is a Kentucky Derby Blog. It's not a "I Love every single horse from a certain sire blog" - so why post it on the Kentucky Derby blog - EVERY SINGLE POST?  

I'm being very nice about it. Enough is enough. Every single horse from Alfeet Alex will not be a star and to think and repeat it over and over is delusional.

Would Gulfstream really put up $1,000,000 for the Swale to see The Factor run against Flashpoint? I don't see it happening. Then Flashpoint is gonna go into the Derby off three sprints? Now that's delusional!

02 Mar 2011 2:40 PM

...also awaiting action from c. Brown's "Free Entry" (Va. bred) ... some breeding there WOW!

 [[dbl. bred to Northern Dancer & Mr. Prospector & Secretariat & f. Narrate-Honest Pleasure &  …

triple bred to Raise a Native & Bold Ruler & quad bred to Nasrullah]];

is there any news on "Lou Brissie" ?

02 Mar 2011 2:55 PM
Bloodline Bob

E Dubai=BEHOLD DE BUY;Speightstown=LORD OF THE STARS;Songandaprayer=NAAFIE,DIVINE MUSIC;Macho Uno=MUCHO MACHO MAN,UNO CALIENTE,TOLOMEO;City Zip=CITY COOL;Street Cry=SPLASH POINT,SAAMIDD;Pure Prize=PRIVATE PRIZE. The above mentioned are 3 year old COLTS(no fillies or geldings).

02 Mar 2011 3:04 PM

Man I watched the replay of Brethren's race and was he going easy...I also would love to see The Factor or Flashpoint turn out to be a couple of Dr. Fagers and hit a mile and a quarter. Ya never thing for sure is Mo is not going to get and keep the lead by himself. I think we have some good talent this year to dig into these next 2 months. This makes Zenyatta's retirement so much more digestible. THANK YOU LORD!

02 Mar 2011 4:04 PM

For those interested the word "le soldat" means soldier in French.  It was derived from the medieval French word "solde" which meant the actual pay of a soldier, which may still be used today.  It was later combined with the Old French word "soudier."  There was also a Latin word "solidus" which meant Roman gold coins, but not sure if the French used that word to derive theirs.  Hope that helps.

Bonne chance dans la guerre Derby, Soldat le cheval!

02 Mar 2011 5:37 PM

Bill Daly

Glad you mentioned Hoist the Flag, two year old champ in 1970 and the pre Kentucky Derby favorite for 1971 after winning the Bay Shore in track record time of 1.21.  This guy was the real deal winning 5 of 6 and getting an Experimental Free handicap rating of 126 (Uncle Mo got a 128) in spite of being a disqualified winner of the Champagne (his only loss).  I remember back then he was all the rage and, but for his broken leg, what might have been?

Reminds me of another great two year old and winter book favorite for the 1965 Kentucky Derby……Bold Lad, who was assigned 130 lbs. on the Experimental Handicap in 1964 as a two year old.

02 Mar 2011 5:45 PM

Dr. D.,

Thanks for responding.  I don't think it is weather related, as they go south for training purposes in winter.  My point is we (U.S.) cannot even get a handle on these breeding paddock accidents in our own country and yet the lives of our thoroughbreds are being risked for profit by shipping to other countries.  The drinking water alone has to be risky.  I think it is too much to put them through and some breeders I know agree.  I don't view it as a sign of being cool, more like a sign of the still struggling economy here.  Since they are going regardless, I wish them well and hope only good comes of these trips and they return safe and sound.

02 Mar 2011 5:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  So dats what it means !!!

02 Mar 2011 7:13 PM

Zenyatta John

Why not put The Factor and Flashpoint, one,two? They have been the most impressive racers so far this year. Who has displayed more sheer talent? No one! Compare the HUTCHESON to the FOY,  and there is no denying that Soldat doesn't belong in the same category as Flashpoint. Until these two fail, big time, going longer, I won't classify them as sprinters only. What we have seen so far in the races that have been longer, to me, have revealed nothing special out there, and certainly nothing I would place atop a list of Derby hopefuls. I am talking just this year's races, and to me Flashpoint looks like a Big Brown at this point, Soldat doesn't.

Please don't be so critical of a list that begins with the statement that it is an " early list", I am very sensitive, after all.

I always respect others here for their opinions, for after all, they are only opinions, and taken for that, they can only make us look at other possibilities. I do care what anyone else has to say in their posts, and I hope I never attack them for it. Disaggreement is welcome when it is done in a non-attacking manner.

02 Mar 2011 8:38 PM

My Derby Dozen

1. Uncle Mo

2. Soldat

3. Dialed In

4. Much Macho Man

5. Rogue Romance

6. J.P's Gusto

7. Gourmet Dinner

8. Sway Away

9. Toby's Corner

10. Comma To The Top

11. Brethren

12. Santiva

02 Mar 2011 9:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  My response was a feeble attempt at satire to help sooth my disgust.(except for the "I wouldn't do it and Zenyatta" parts). Your points are 100% valid but I can't think of one thing we can do about it except become billionaires and buy the horses and keep them here. I apologize for not being more serious but it's a frustrating situation, but so are many issues concerning horse care in our own nation. But I do not like shipping them out of here at all, and you have brought up some of the dangers. It's just not a good feeling when I think about it.

02 Mar 2011 9:41 PM

Dr. D.,

Well at least we both wrote about the issue and did our little parts so that maybe other owners may read this stuff and think twice about shipping out of the country for breeding.  I loved your hilarious "going to visit the senoritas", it's funny as hell, and helps to take the harsh reality out of it, or like you say soothes the disgust.  

What do you think about your Factor possibly meeting up with the other speed demon gray, Flashpoint?  Nice innovative thinking from Flashpoint's owner about the Swale.  Sure going to be an exciting race if these two meet up.  I wonder if these two can hold their speed in the Derby when the closers start barrelling round the final turn after them?????

02 Mar 2011 11:09 PM

love 'em all: no offence meant or taken.  I'm sorry if it seemed I was trying to get a dig in at you -- I was not.  I was just attempting to justify all the money I spent getting my undergrad degree in what I thought (it mustn't have come across right) was a funny way.  And my favourite Kir is the regular one, white wine and cassis - especially at one of the cafes on the left bank just across the bridge from Notre Dame.  Although, come to think about it, Kir is also good at ANY cafe anywhere in Paris.

And Bill Daly and Laz: what about  Graustark as another what-might-have-been?  At least both he and Hoist the Flag got some good ones to keep their names alive.  Poor Gen Duke.

02 Mar 2011 11:31 PM


Santiva's Broodmare Sire, Smarten, was born in 1976.  Smarten had speed, and he had stamina.  Smarten won the Illinois Derby, Pennsylvania Derby, Ohio Derby, American Derby, Woodlawn Stakes, and Marylander Handicap.  Smarten won those 6 in a row.  Then Smarten finished 2nd in the Travers, Secretariat, Lawrence Realization, Rutgers, Meadowlands Cup, and Discovery.  Smarten finished 2nd in those 6 in a row.  Smarten set a new track record at Thistledown, 9 Furlongs in 1:47 2/5.  In 27 Starts, Smarten had 11 Wins, 8 Places, and 2 Shows (on the board in 21 of his 27 Starts).

03 Mar 2011 1:02 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


 Early list is right. It's early. Real early. I just looked at my list from last year at this time. It was way off. Quite a few weren't even in The Derby. I consider April 1st to be a very early list. In fact I had a list one week before The Derby last year that totally changed. I would consider any list pretty much irrelevant before the post positions are drawn. I Want Revenge was my top horse two years ago and I thought my bet was all set then I had to scramble even on Derby Day. No list is safe ever, but especially this early !!!!! I would never consider any list to be delusional. And I don't care if it's fan driven or logic driven(if there is such a thing this early). "Any list is a good list" is my motto. The list is to have fun with, not meant as the end all. My list this week changed several times with my thoughts being the only factor in the change. I already have a new number one, and no races have been run. My original number one on Sep 25th is back to number one. A list by any other name is still a list. It's like a grocery list. By the time you get home everything is crossed off and it's time for a new list. You've got trainers now that are afraid to cross the street with their horse without a team of crossing guards, and then they get hurt anyway and are off the trail. I don't know a thing until the Grade One preps but I have fun making the lists. Everyone should be able to have fun without a bully ruining the party, running around tearing everyone's lists into little pieces, and then making them pick up the little pieces off of the floor and putting it in the trash. Then the bully sticks by his early list and loses a bundle on Derby Day, and is seen begging on the street. The End. The moral of the story- He who makes fun of early list has early demise on Derby Day.

03 Mar 2011 1:40 AM


“Please those times mean nothing”

I did not get the point you were trying to make in your post. If times mean nothing why are they recorded? Why are the fractions of a race displayed at the completion of each quarter? Do you believe Uncle Mo is projected to be a super 3YO because he just won three races as a 2YO? It was the times he won them in and the ease with which he recorded these times. It is a testament to his exception speed. You cited the time for Barbaro’s derby. Are you aware his closing 2F of 24.34 was possibly the fastest since the Secretariat derby? The Monarchos derby was run in 1:59.97.He was the only one that had the finishing speed to catch Congaree and the last 2F for that derby was 24.43. Why was Barbaro able to record such a fast last quarter? Well, the 8F split in his derby was 1:37.02 which was below the average 8F split of 1:36.42 on dry tracks for the last 10 Years. I am sorry advise you sire but time does matter as it is used as measures  to assess speed and sad to say a lot of the member of Mr. Haskin’s Dozen are lacking in this department.

03 Mar 2011 4:39 AM


“In this case the time in the FOY is basically meaningless.  He won handily against good competition”

I consider the only good horse Soldat defeated to be THAS. The time for the FOY is significant as the fillies’ ran2 seconds faster. R Heat Lightening would have beaten the whole lot. She had a far more comfortable victory than Soldat. If all the times were slow I would have no problem but this was not the case.

“The pace and the way Soldat handled it is important”

I do not understand the above. Any quality colt should be able to handle 47, 1:12. Let’s use Uncle Mo as an example. He cruises at 1:10 for 6F. How do you think he would handle 1:12? Just revisit the Breeder Cup Juvenile where he easily tracked the 1:11 recorded by Riveting Reason and passed him like he was glued to the ground. Soldat important handling of a 1:12 pace is meaningless as the derby pace for 6F will be 1:10. How far behind will he be?

“He was very professional and had a winner’s determination when he battled for the lead”

The colt was comfortable all the way. He didn’t battle for anything and if he could not accelerate after those slow fractions it would be disturbing.

“One of the keys to Soldat is that he will enter the Derby with three consecutive 9F races”

Interesting point! How relevant is three 9F races? Well let’s check a couple of the past winners pre derby history: Super Saver one losing effort at 9F; Mine That Bird zero 9F prep; Big Brown one wining effort at 9F; Street Sense one losing effort at 9F; Barbaro  three consecutive 9F preps. Three 9F preps does not give Soldat a significant advantage as evidenced in the aforementioned information on past winners.

“He has a smart trainer who knows what it takes to win a Derby”

With all due respect his trainer has never won the derby consequently the above cannot be justified. He has merely been around someone that knew how to. The celebrated Todd Pletcher was also an assistant of Mr. Lukas and has a grant total of one. In many derbies Todd’s horse accounted for 20% to 25% of the fields. There in no advantage for Soldat in this department. If he were being trained by Zito or Speedy Bob the case would be different.

03 Mar 2011 5:20 AM
Fran Loszynski

To Zenyatta John:

I take it you love Zenyatta. I wonder how many foals you will contemplate being stars when they arrive? Isn't it funny but most of Afleet Alex's foals have been winners, delusional? if anything realistic. Afleet Alex was an awesome racehorse on the track. In fact, he could have beaten Zenyatta hands down.

03 Mar 2011 8:38 AM
Bill Daly

Lazmannick, you are on the money with Bold Lad.  He definitely was one of the most brilliant 2 yr. olds we've ever seen. I'm also reminded of last year's phenom, Eskendereya.  What might have been....

03 Mar 2011 8:47 AM

Likening Bold Lad (USA) to Hoist The Flag or Eskendereya may give some the wrong idea. Unlike the latter two, Bold Lad wasn't retired prior to the Derby, but competed in it, albeit poorly. He later became essentially a miler, and proved rather disappointing at stud. He was the poster boy to those concerned about Secretariat's ability to negotiate the Derby distance.  

03 Mar 2011 9:59 AM
Forbidden Apple

R Heat Lightning would not stand a chance against Soldat or Gourmet Dinner. She beat fillies at 1 mile, so what. I think everyone is underestimating Soldat and how easily he won on saturday. He already ran a full second faster in his allownace romp in January. And last year he ran 1:41 1/5 in the With Anticipation and a close second in the Pilgrim which was run in 1:47 4/5, of course both races on turf. My point is simple, he ran effortlessly and did not need to run faster for the win. What it have been better if Alan Garcia whipped him a few dozen times and pushed him hard to run 1:48 flat? Some people are never happy and find fault in every winning horse. This horse is classy, has an abundance of stamina, and clearly has his best races in front of him. And with 7 career starts he sure has the seasoning to join the Triple Crown Trail.

Flashpoint is a tough running horse, but pushing him towards the KY Derby seems self serving. If his owner is serious about the KY Derby, then the horse should get a two turn test before May 7.

I don't see Gulfstream coming up with $1 million just to satisfy a few east coast fans. The Factor has bigger fish to fry, it would be silly to ship cross country for the Swale. Money talks, if the Swale is $1 million I am certain that The Factor will pack his bags for FL.

03 Mar 2011 10:06 AM


Meaning those times in the FOY mean nothing..

Soldat was the best horse in the race. He controlled the pace and pace makes the race.

He was challenged looked the other horse in the eye and pulled away without Garcia moving a muscle.

Look at his effort in the slop,look at his race in the BCJT the horse shows up everytime and is getting better. He can rate now he proved he can walk the dog on the lead sorry Garcia did not whip him to meet your time standards.

Trust me if Soldat got half the press as UM forget about it.. As of today Soldat would be my choice to win the Derby..

We wtill have a long way until the 1st Sat of May

03 Mar 2011 11:20 AM

 P.S. Btw, TY Steve.

 As a fan, a Bloodhorse subscriber and a follower for near 15 years, and a member of this blog the past 4-5 years, let me say that not only is your 'dozen' list, but also the many informative added side articles that you undertake and pass along, all are most informative and most appreciated. Your contribution does never go unnoticed. And I feel that that point goes often unsaid. For one, I appreciate all the effort you take to keep us the fans, the subscribers, and the bloggers here well informed. I assume such feelings are held by all, but let me personally say it, Thank You!!! It seems I have held such feelings of appreciation forever, and know that I forget to  mention such feelings. So again, thank YOU for all of your efforts in keeping us all informed and enlightened. You are appreciated far more than you might suspect. So again, Thank You.    

03 Mar 2011 11:24 AM
Love 'em all


Interesting post ... le soldat.  Thanks for the info.  In a perfect world, he would've been named Le Soldat.  His mama would be so proud, huh?  lol

I too wish Soldat good luck in the Derby (just hope he is one of the

'horse soldiers'!).  I like that fella!

03 Mar 2011 12:07 PM


So true regarding Hoist the Flag. It was sad that he didn't make the Derby.

I've always wondered what Hail to Reason might have accomplished had he been able to race longer.

Hail to Reason ran eighteen times as a juvenile, losing his first five races. However, he took off after that, winning nine of his thirteen remaining races. He won the Youthful, Tremont, Great American, Sanford, Sapling, Hopeful, and Worlds Playground Stakes, and was rewarded for his efforts by being voted Champion 2yo Male of 1960. Sadly, just a few days after he won the Worlds Playground he suffered a training accident, and broke both sesamoids in his left front fetlock. Amazingly, he survived the incident, and lived to become an excellent sire. But seeing that he soundly defeated future Kentucky Derby winner Carry Back on three occasions, I'm left wondering just how great Hail to Reason might have been.


03 Mar 2011 1:03 PM


I enjoy your posts even though there is much I don’t agree with in them.

To start off with, we’re not talking about the BC Juvenile or horses that shone last year, but haven’t even made it to the track so far this year.   We’re also talking about a horse (Soldat) that at least is coming into an important series of races dead fit.  He’s durable, can run on basically any kind of a track, is extremely competitive and has the necessary foundation.

Soldat faced two challenges in his last two races and repelled them easily, exactly when he felt like it.  In the FOY he ran a 23.65 second quarter when challenged, faster than his first quarter (24.34), and in his third quarter he relaxed back to a 24.44 time.  After that he didn’t need to run any faster and he cruised.  In his previous allowance race he was challenged at the ¾ pole.  All he did was step in up from a 24 second 2nd quarter to a 23.85 third quarter (his fastest quarter of the race).  From then on he cantered with his next quarter in 24.52.  This suggests to me that he runs at a leisurely pace, but when challenged he is capable of stepping up, then after repelling the challenge, relaxes again.  How else to explain that the fastest quarters in his last two races were not the first quarter, but the exact quarter that he was challenged.

Time comparisons, even on the same card and on the same day, to me are basically meaningless.  You make much of R heat Lightning’s 1.36.25 mile.  In that race she wasn’t setting the pace.  She was sitting behind torrid early fractions and then made a move and ran away from the field.  That was an impressive performance for the filly, but her final quarter was in a less than spectacular 25.48 seconds and in her race before that finished 4th to the horses that ran second and third to her.  In the Davona Dale the early fractions set it up for her.  Soldat’s fourth quarter was a significantly faster than R Heat’s final quarter (24.76), so I think he actually out ran her even though her Beyer was 98 compared to his 96.  She had a more comfortable victory because the other horses set it up for her.  Soldat did his own setting up.

Comparing times can be a fallacy.  Lat year when Rachel ran lights out in her Fleur de Lis many said that she should have run in the Foster, especially because Blame’s time was not so fast.  Who tuned out to be the better horse and was actually better at the time?  Back in the day Buckpasser won the 9F Flamingo in 1.50.  The previous race on the same track he won the 9F Everglades in 1.47.4.  He won each race in a photo.  Later that summer after coming back from an injury he ran the 9F American Derby in 1.47, winning by a neck.  The point is, good horses run their race, not against the clock.  Buckpasser had the ability to step up when he had to.  I’m not even remotely suggesting that Soldat is Buckpasser, but it seems to me that he has the ability and the professionalism to step up when he needs to.  It’s also a fact that for distance races at more than a mile on dirt, Soldat has the second highest Beyer at 103, to Giant Oak’s 105 recorded this year.

I’m not burying Uncle Mo.  I’m still not burying THAS.  But I’m also not going to bury Soldat, at least not until he is defeated.  One last thing, of those horses that you said won the Derby with a max of one 9F race coming into it, how many lasted for the TC series?  In fact, two of them never won another race again.

03 Mar 2011 1:37 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Bravo. Well said. I was reading Haskin articles from the 2009 Derby last night. What a fabulous trip down recent memory lane. His fantastic articles will live forever and make good reading anytime. The Mine That Bird Story is the perfect fiction story but it actually happened. Trainer and horse both beat extraordinary odds. Woolley with 12 fractures drives the horse himself with one leg a zillion miles in two days, then refractures one of his bones at The Derby but still makes the Derby walk. If it was fiction and you were watching the movie you'd say, " A little far fetched, would like to have seen it be a little more realistic."

03 Mar 2011 1:50 PM


I don’t know if you were around back in the sixties, but Bold Lad was quite the rage coming into his three year old year.  He won six stakes at two, many of them G1 races today.  He won the Champagne in 1.36.2 on a sloppy track, the same time that Buckpasser would win the race the next year and 1 3/5ths faster that Roman Brother the previous year, (both Roman Brother and Buckpasser to be HOY winners which validates Bold Lad’s time).   His 130 lb. Experimental Handicap Rating was extremely high for a two year old.

For the record, Bold Lad had a popped splint early in his 3 year old year, which disrupted his training and racing schedule.  He would go into the Derby with a 6F sprint win and a third in the Wood Memorial.  He was also diagnosed with anemia after the running of the Derby and missed the balance of the TC.  I’m with you regarding his distance limitations.  He was sired by Bold Ruler and was a full brother to Successor and a half brother to Sunrise Flight (both winners at 1 5/8M), though Bold Ruler was not considered a sire of true distance horses at the time (at least until Secretariat).

Bold Lad’s greatest race was winning the Metropolitan handicap in 1.34.1 carrying 132 lbs.  This made him 4 for 4 at four and he next ran in the Suburban carrying 135 lbs. and suffered an injury during the race and was retired.

03 Mar 2011 2:01 PM
Bill Daly

Sceptre: You make a good point. I think of Bold Lad more along the lines of Devil's Bag, who also seemed to have unlimited potential at 2 - not unlike Uncle Mo - but never realized the apparent potential for reasons other than injury.  

03 Mar 2011 2:39 PM


I've been an avid follower of the sport since early 1961, so I well remember Bold Lad. He was never my cup of tea, and I considered him overrated (and Experimental Hdcp.-wise overweighted). He was, though, an elder (4 yr. old) member of the greatest assemblage of racing talent within one barn-since my association with the sport. Mr. Neloy's barnfull of runners in 1966-'67 has never been approached since.  

03 Mar 2011 5:54 PM


Hail to Reason was an unbelievable horse and just as unbelievable I have the PP’s for his first eight races.  His first two were at 3F and in his first he was 25-1 and finished 12th of 14 (leisurely schooling anter).  He came back about 3 weeks later, again at 3F and this time at 10-1 and finished 13th of the 14.  Those two starts were at Santa Anita.  Later that spring at Aqueduct, in his 6th race he was 1-2 and broke his maiden by 9 getting the 5F in 58 1/5.  Here was a horse that didn’t win and really wasn’t much of a factor until his 6trh race and he would go on to be two year old Champ.

As a sire he had great blood, tracing back to Man o’ War on his dam’s side, and Nearco on his sire’s side.  He was a foundation sire for sure, siring HOY Personality, Halo, and tracing to so many great horses including Seattle Slew.  It has always been a mystery to me why more people don’t talk about him.

03 Mar 2011 6:38 PM

Dialed In found his race, we can all get to watch him this Sunday in a 1 1/8 mile allowance race at Gulfstream!  The article, good one from Jason, mentions owner LaPenta a lot and what he said and thinks.  I'd prefer to hear what Zito thinks as he was barely mentioned.  Maybe LaPenta was just speaking for Zito and available at the time, but it reads like LaPenta is calling the shots.  At any rate, La Penta feels they would get nothing out of the Timely Writer!  Interesting.  I hope Mo gets something out of it, although I doubt it.

Well I'll get braver and venture my Dozen for now:

1.  Soldat

2.  Uncle Mo

3.  Dialed In

4.  Mr. Machismo (you know who MMM)

5.  Sway Away

6.  Elite Alex

7.  Brethren

8.  Rogue Romance

9.  Jaycito

10. JJ's Lucky Train(if he gets in)

11. Stay Thirsty

12. A filly, TBD

03 Mar 2011 7:05 PM
John T

Yes I must admit I was a litle

disapointed in the effort by To Honor And Serve but because of his

2 year old record he certainly deserves another chance before the mind is made up one way or the other.

 The first foal of Ouija Board by

Kingmambo,Voodoo Dancer is now a 3 year old but has yet to race.He could be ready to run in the Wood Dittion Stakes at the first meeting

at Newmarket in April.It is a race

for unraced 3 year olds at 1 mile.

 Team Frankel had a big day at Meydan winning the prep race for the Dubai Classic with the more than useful Twice Over.

03 Mar 2011 9:02 PM
Bill Daly

It is true that Bold Lad's pedigree made him somewhat suspect at classic distances, but Devil's Bag was bred to win classic races and the race in which he stopped - it was either the Flamingo or the Florida Derby - was astounding. Truly one of the great surprises of 1983.  He was beaten by a good horse that day [Time For a Change?], but nobody thought he would lose that race.  Just goes to show you what can happen in horseracing.  That's why I'll reserve judgement on Uncle Mo until he races again.  I would truly love to see the horse live up to all of the hype.  We really need a new superstar.

03 Mar 2011 9:50 PM

As much as I love Soldat and Mo, I found it intriguing when one of the bloggers said that the Derby winner may yet "be flying under the radar somewhere out there."  What a very mysterious and romantic notion to ponder, he's out there and we've all missed him somehow but he is slowly sneaking up on us.  An unsung hero, waiting to burst upon the scene?  We'll know more as the preps unfold, it is still very early.  But whoever said that thanks, it's food for thought for us hopeless romantics.

03 Mar 2011 10:45 PM

I went back in the blog and it was Windy City who said the Derby winner may still "be flying under the radar out there."  And it was Splitsof12 who suggested it may be Rogue Romance!  The name sure fits my last post!

03 Mar 2011 10:58 PM

Bill Daly

I was the Flamingo at .30 cents to the buck.  He came back to win his next by 15 and I believe the Derby Trial by a little more than two and that was his final race.  Talking about Hail to Reason earlier, Devil's Bag was by Halo a son of Hail to Reason and a full sister to a great Canadian bred mare Glorious Song.

03 Mar 2011 11:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  That's great. This is the weekend Dialed In needs to run since they blew it and didn't run him in the FOY. He should be fine now. He'll be raring to go in the Florida Derby and the Derby. This sets his schedule up nice. GP saved their butt. He was about to move down on my list now I can keep him where he was. They struck out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded but the game remain tied and they won it in the bottom of the 12th with help from the other team as they walked in the winning run.


   We love the tangents when you get interviewed. That's where the fun and excitement and learning comes from. We don't need boring by the book, toe the line, raise your hand and answer the question interviews. Don't let anyone change the way you answer questions. You have way too much knowledge to offer, that is beyond interviewers capabilty to ask. We'd miss out on way too much interesting information.

03 Mar 2011 11:51 PM
Steve Haskin

Zarvona, thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.

And thanks, Dr. D. Are you aware they are making a movie about Mine That Bird? Not small time either, some fairly big-time producer.

04 Mar 2011 12:30 AM


What Derby victory were you most impressed with over the years?  To go outside of the field the whole way around and still own the 1:59 2/5 record, Secretariat was just other worldly.  Then Seattle Slew's terrible start followed by his bullying his way through the field, followed by stay with me if you can was outstanding!

Alysheba's stumble at the stretch……..I could go on and on and on!!!

What say you?

04 Mar 2011 2:26 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I heard that a movie is going to be made about Mine That Bird. I don't know any details. I just hope they don't blow it. It's an amazing story. I'm glad they're doing it. It's got the potential to be a great movie. I think The Belmont might have fried MTB's desire but I still wish MTB and Chip would have had a shot at it in MTB's 4yo season. For some reason MTB didn't want to put forth the effort anymore. Maybe he missed his buddy. I don't watch many new movies anymore but this one I will. Looking forward to it. I love that little guy and his trainer and that Derby. It's absolutely one of the greatest sports stories in history for those that embraced it.

04 Mar 2011 2:43 AM


I labeled some members of your dozen as contenders and some a pretenders. I did not discredit the entire dozen.  Below are my latest top eight and the rationals for their selection.

The Factor: Any horse that runs a track record breaking its maiden is exceptional. He had no competition and was merely racing the clock on debut is. Do you remember Usain Bolt in Olympic 200M finals? His dam sire has been associated with some great one i.e., Sea The Stars, Daylami, Urban Sea, Galileo. If Speedy Bob can employ the requisite stamina training he must have a shot in the derby.

Uncle Mo: One cannot dismiss his speed and brilliance. Any 2YO that runs 1:34 first time at a mile is exceptional. Those that have been exciting posters recently are so far behind him it’s pathetic. He does not fit into the derby chart but neither did Gato Del Sol. I think he can use his class to win even if he has stamina limitations.

Jaycito: Many of Uncle Mo supporters highlight the fact that he moved from a maiden to win a GI. Well,Jaycito did better as he broke his maiden in a Gl. Any colt that can break his maiden in a Gl is exceptional. His best race to date was in the Delmar Futurity where he closed rapidly from far back to finish second to J P Gusto. In his win in the Norfolk he was early and did not finish well. Speedy Bod has him working 58 and that’s not good unless he want him to run his last 5F in 58. He must be a factor if ridden of the pace.

Riveting Reason: He is by far the toughest colt on the derby trail. He is the only horse to lead Uncle Mo for 6F while not ready for that level of competition. He covered 25 furlongs in three races in 36 days. Ran second to highly regarded Awesome Patriot by a 1/2L 11 day after running 5th in the Gl Cash Call Futurity run at 8.5F. His last two dirt races were run in 1:35 plus and 1:48 plus. He was sire by a son of Mr. Prospector. Three sons of Mr. P have sired derby winners (Our Emblem, Gulch,Fappiano) His dam was sire by Known Fact a son of In Reality. Two sons of In Reality have been derby winning broodmare sires (Believe It, Smile) He has a proven derby pedigree and has shown significant improvement since switched to dirt. If nay colt can grind out a derby win it is RR. Stay Thirsty finished only 3 1/2L ahead of him in the Breeder Cup Juvenile while he was still a maiden. Any colt that is beaten by another fresh talented horse off 11 days rest in a fast time not ordinary. This weekend Gotham will give an indication just how good RR is.

Sway Away: Possibly the best bred for stamina on the derby trail. He got beat by J P Gusto at 6.5F in 1:16 plus without changing leads. After a six months respite he chased home the exceptionally fast The factor in 1:20 plus. If he is sprinter genetics has no impact on horses. This is a colt bred for stamina and his showing exceptional acceleration at distances way too short for him. If there is a derby pace meltdown he will be closing in for the kill. However, he is so talented he does no need that.

J P Gusto: Initially regarded as a sprinter as he won the Del Mar Futurity [G1,7F], Best Pal S. [G2,Dmr,6.5F], Hollywood Juvenile Chp. S. In his last two starts he closed from off the pace. In his first start on dirt if not bottled up behind horses he would have won. Sprinters turn closer make him dangerous colt. Closing Argument by successful Appeal finished second in the 2005 derby at odd of over 70-1. He was also regarded as a sprinter.

Dialed In: This colt allowed ground to his opponents in his two starts to date. I normally associate repeated acts of being SOB/SIS with some form of lameness. In fact, he gallops like a colt with physical issues. His dam is an expensive unraced daughter of Strom Cat who was produced from Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies winner and millionaire Eliza. These type of dams do not produce derby winner. However, his sire was HOY and his 2nd dam was a Champion 2 year old Filly in 1992. His pedigree therefore has a lot of class. He was very impressive in the HB and appears to have a ton of talent. In spite of all his negatives he is too talented to ignore. The great ones find a way to win in spite of adversities.

Soldat: In spite of his slow dirt times he merits consideration he could make the derby board. Whether he can get the derby distance in 2:02 plus remains to be seen. He cannot be faulted on consistency.

On watch:

Rouge Romance: Liked him as a 2YO and I think he deserves another chance. He has excellent closing speed

THAN: Certainly deserves a chance as he has lots of talent.

Supreme Ruler: His Rebel start will tell if he is the real deal.

Thirtyfirststreet: Certainly deserves a chance as he has lots of talent. Bred to run all day!

Fusa Code: Recent winner of the Borderland Derby. This well bred son of Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus is way under the radar. His first three dams are associated with Codex, Damascus and Nijinsky. His rider in the Borderland Derby said he wanted more distance. Does he have the speed to beat the big boy? Time will tell. He could back into the KD with a good showing in the $800,000 Sunland Derby

Behold de Buy: A KeeSep'09:$3,700 purchase must have been a steal at that price. Recently finished second to Fusa Code.. His sire E Dubai is undoubtedly the fastest son of Mr. Prospector. He is one of a handful of horses that covered 10F in 2 minutes in the last 10YR. He displayed speed of 1:40 for 8.5F; 1:07 plus for 6F; 1:33 plus for 8F. His son Behold D Buy is a dead closer. Behold D Buy’s dam was sired by BCC winner and $5M earner Cat Thief. How was a colt with this type of pedigree sold for $3700? He probably looked like a mule. In the gallop up out he passed Fusa Code and 10F appears to be ideal.  Short on earnings but loaded with intrigue. He also could back into the KD with a good showing in the $800,000 Sunland Derby

04 Mar 2011 7:27 AM
Bill Daly

Ah, Hail To Reason.  Truly one of the great sires and influences on the breed. Charles Engelhard and Mack Miller made a fortune with his offspring. I believe he sired a Belmont winner {Hail To All} and a slew of top turf performers.  My memory is not good, but I do remember vividly the respect in which this horse was and is held today.  Well deserved.

04 Mar 2011 9:07 AM

Spend A Buck's was my favorite.  Cordero said afterwards "We could have gone around again and they never would have passed him."  Fast fractions and just kept going.

04 Mar 2011 10:26 AM
Karen in Texas

I had heard about the MTB movie and reports that it would use local (New Mexican) crews and talent if possible. They apparently have Jim Wilson, the director of "Dances With Wolves", to direct the film. Their website says that MTB and Calvin Borel will probably play themselves. The theme is that if you do what you love, you may well be successful...

04 Mar 2011 11:33 AM

Dr. Drunkinbum: 2:43 a.m. post: Amen.

04 Mar 2011 11:59 AM
It aint easy being good

Go watch Mucho macho man' last race he is flying under the radar with no hype he is improving every day and has a new jockey which I believe did him alot of justice. He was pulling away from the field and is still very very young. Just got a taste of winning and think he will be a beast in the derby!

04 Mar 2011 1:13 PM
Carlos in Cali


Spend A Buck was a fast colt,I think the combination of the track being hard and super-fast(it was very hot that day) and the bad start by the other speedster Eternal Prince helped his cause.

Too bad his owner's greed kept him from a probable TC sweep.I think he ran him 4 times in 7 weeks in order to get the $2m bonus.

04 Mar 2011 4:58 PM


I endorse wholeheartedly the sentiments and appreciation expressed by Zarvona and Dr Drunkinbum.  I figure that a lot of other bloggers feel the same way but withold expression for fear that all this buttering up will spike your cholesterol levels.  You are very good at what you do and we are well served by that.


Your latest Derby list is much improved over the last one that you posted and for which you were going to take a major hit but smart of you to dodge a few bullets with this well timed butt-covering list (LOL).  It is noticeable that Uncle Mo is gradually getting a little more respect from you even befor making his much anticipated 3YO debut.  Smart fellow you are.

With Flashpoint entering the Derby scenario, The Factor has become more of a negligible factor IMO, while JP Gusto is both class and stamina deficient.  I've seen a few posters mention Fusa Code, on that's on your watch list but this colt is way behind in his development.  I give him no shot at all.  Behold de Buy is a mystery horse to me and given the quality of the top colts this year, he or any other unknown horse will have throw in a huge breakout performance in the next round of Derby preps to have any live shot.  Anyway I appreciate your efforts to spot another Summer Bird/Mine That Bird type.  That doesn't happen every year Pal, and certainly not this year by the looks of this crop.

04 Mar 2011 5:38 PM


I notice that we like a lot of the same horses of yesteryear.  Spend A Buck was one awesome front runner and one of my all time Derby winning favourites.  We haven't seen the likes of him since, to the point where nobody believes that front runners can win the Derby unless they get a false pace like War Emblem did.  Angel Cordero was a no nonsense jockey but I didn't like the fact that he jocked-off Spend A Buck's regular rider that won most of his pre-derby stakes races.  The very competent Charles Hussey, a compatriot of Rajiv Maragh, would have had an armchair ride in that Derby as Cordero was a mere passenger on Spend A Buck.  I also agree with Carlos in Cali that he could have won the Triple crown in 1985 had the owners appreciated the pricelessness of winning the Triple Crown.  Spend A Buck was a pretty useful stallion and could easily have earned more at stud as a Triple Crown champion.  He has two good sons at stud, Einstein and Hard Buck (in South America) that could carry the "stamina torch" for the Buckpasser line which right now is being championed by the grossly underrated sprinter/miler sire Montbrook.

04 Mar 2011 6:17 PM

Dr. D - belatedly, I want to mention that I liked your comment about the "early lists" (03 March 1:40 AM) very much.  That's the right attitude!  I don't have a list - I just enjoy all the horses and races - but I like reading everyone else's.

Absolutely agree about Mine That Bird's story/movie.  The mind boggles at the number of YouTube video hits of his KD.  He made it "safe" to be a horse-racing fan again for a lot of people, me included, and he was even more accessible to fans than Zenyatta up to BC '09.  I wish he'd had a good vacation after the Belmont. I still love him and hope the movie happens and does him justice.

04 Mar 2011 7:13 PM

Ain't Easy,

Could be Mucho Macho Man, the one flying just under the radar.  I like him.  The owners just went to give Eibar Coa a written check in the hospital, nice gesture.  They acknowldeged his involvement in the horse's progression.  

Dr. D.,

Of the Birds, I liked Summer Bird more than MTB.  I thought Summer Bird was the better athlete of Birdstone's offspring.  How did MTB end up with Lukas and not Woolley anymore, I somehow missed that along the way, why did he not stay with Chip?  I think both Birds are retired now too.

04 Mar 2011 8:38 PM
the illum

I think The Factor is brilliant but I wouldnt bet he could win the derby off two sprints and a 1 1/8 graded stakes on a hard new mexico track.On this same track baffert sent conveyance to finish second to a winstar colt in what turned out to be a three horse race last year, the form dosent hold for the derby.The year before Mine that bird finished 4th in the same race, after winning most of his graded earnings on an AW track in canada.I know he now has jaycito,lets see what he does with the factor.

04 Mar 2011 8:57 PM

Carlos in Cali- he also won the Jersey Derby at 10 furlongs after being pushed the first 6 furlongs in 1:09 flat, holding off Creme Fraiche who won the Belmont in the next start.  He beat the older Carr de Naskra in track record time in what is now called the Islin but then was the Monmouth Invitational, I believe.  And he ran 9 furlongs in 1:45 and 4/5 in his prep before the Derby at Garden State.  He bled badly in the Haskell or else he probably would have won that too.  He had chips removed at 2 and was retired before the BC because of chips again because he was a hard running horse.  Yes he was a fast colt.  He proved it over and over again.  Is there a fast Derby where the track wasn't super fast?  Maybe he's not everyone's cup of tea, and things like Eternal Prince not breaking well happen all the time in the Derby.  But his performance was dominating.  The fact that it was a hot day makes it all the more impressive as we saw horses wilt in the heat last year.  It was an excuse that many trainers made when talking about winning as well as losing performances, how difficult it was to run in the heat.  Maybe his people were greedy.  Maybe they just weren't rich and this was their only shot at money like that.  They did race him often.  He was successful.  Too bad they don't race more often these days.  Weren't we just lamenting horses light schedules?

Where he ranks with other horses isn't up to me.  The question was what Derby victory impressed me.  His did because his stride never shortened and he ran through the wire after setting all the pace looking like he could go around again.  Maybe he didn't impress others like he didn't impress you, but he did me.  

04 Mar 2011 11:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Nobody knows. I don't even think the owners that made the change understand it. I doubt if Chip does either. The owners have probably realized their mistake by now, "What happened? Why did we do that?" They did the right though and retired the gelding. Some would have kept punishing him when he didn't want to race anymore. It was obvious that he looked excellent physically but just didn't want to race. The owners did almost everything right with MTB so I give them a lot of credit, and MTB is safe and has a good life now so we can't really complain. He may not have wanted to run for Chip anymore either. All is well. I also liked Summer Bird very much. He was probably more talented but for The Derby and The Preakness, and even The Belmont, MTB was tremendous and gave it everything he had. If he would have gotten the ride Summer Bird got in The Belmont, MTB had a shot to win that too, and he didn't have the best of trips in The Preakness either and still got second. Popcorn, soda, licorice, bonbons, and the Mine That Bird movie sounds good to me.

05 Mar 2011 3:45 AM


I have never disrespected Uncle Mo. I have repeatedly disrespected the hype as not all other 3YO are chopped liver. Let me reiterate, The KD does not start and end with Uncle Mo as there are other worthy contenders. I mentioned Fusa Code because I wager on him a 7-1 and was able to eat steak that night. His pedigree in good and one never knows when one of these RAN line horses will become a monster overnight. I find the runner up to him more interesting. The appropriately named Behold de Buy should have speed and stamina based on his pedigree. It should be noted his dam Beholden was purchased by Darley for $700K. She must have been a stand out. Her dam Godmother was sires by an unknown son of Seattle Slew (Showem Slew) She was in the top three 19 out of 23 starts and earned $373K. Can you imagine a $3700 purchase getting into the derby and actually winning? These colts are way behind the eight ball and are unlikely to make the derby unless one wins the Sunland Derby. With The factor heading in that direction it appears hopeless. The KD can produce strange stories.

Behold de Buy sired by E Dubai the fastest son of one of the greatest Triple Crown stallions ever; out of a mare sired by a Breeder Cup Classic winner was purchased for $3700.


05 Mar 2011 9:56 AM

 Taking my annual mock Sportswriters Poll,--as I due about this time of year when the Kty. Oaks Nominees are out, more to see if there are fillies out there that I have overlooked vs. actually seeing where ‘da boyz’ stand, because I have my own opinion, which seemingly always disagrees with the so-called ‘experts’ out there, and noting that the writers are not really the horse experts,--as I have been reminded many times while handicapping off a program, “that horses do not run on paper”. But, in taking the lists from the prospective writer analysts, from the AP’s top 10 (whoever are the forces behind that list), and including the 1st Pool results,--although selections there are limited and don’t include some top names that others point to, yet where it is a fair voice as to where the bettors as fans stand, thusly giving them a voice there,--and  thusly, with 80 being a perfect to score, I have discovered the following respected order as of the first week of March. Thusly, compare these findings with your own propagated list of 12-20 to 40!

              #1  Uncle Mo      78  …(“’Uncle Motor’ the Ghost”, got all of the top slot votes accept from 2 ! )

              #2  Dialed In       67 ½             …a bit of a surprise to me after only but 1 good minor prep run

              #3  Soldat            61                 …whose numbers dramatically increased after last weekends FOY

 #4 - #5 tie  To Honor and Serve           …whose numbers dramatically decreased after last weekends FOY

                   Brethren         52                 …who after but 1 prep has seemingly held on to this spot forever    

             #6  Jaycito           39 ½              …a bit odd to me remaining so high, due to a lack of a recent run

             #7  Mucho Macho Man

                                          33                  …no comment, but until he proves more, not my cup of tea

 #8 - #9 tie Santiva           15 ½               …surprisingly to me hasn’t gotten bumped lower yet

                   Stay Thirsty                          …surprisingly to me, since a lack of a recent run & notably

                                                                          now running against virtually no one in the Gotham

           #10  Rogue Romance   11            …barely nipping a host of others for this coveted spot …

                                                                          being those such as:

           #11  Gourmet Dinner    10 ½        …(Mr. “Giacomo” of 2011)…

           #12  The Factor               9 ½        ...(whom even Baffert’s calls “The FREAK”, & have you seen

                                                                       this animal up close or in pictures? Look at that face, it even

                                                                       scares me, he is one weird looking dude, and is deservedly a

                                                                       “factor” to be feared , especially if they can get him to rate over

                                                                       longer distances…  

           #13 Sway Away             7 ½        …with it to be noted that Sway Away also received no pool votes! #14-#15 tie Elite Alex                5

                  Awesome Patriot

           #16 Silver Medallion      4

           #17 Anthony’s Cross      3 ½

           #18  JP’s Gusto               2 ½

 …with a multitude of others receiving votes of:  2  1 ½   1   and ½  votes…

 …and I might also mention here, that “Beer Meister’s” awesome come from behind, what 15-22 lengths off the lead, run and that of “Flashpoint’s” most dazzling stretch pull away display were made after many of the above lists so polled were forwarded to their respected internet sights…

         (Note: ½ votes as such originate from lists larger than 10 and 12 deep)

05 Mar 2011 10:03 AM


I know you are high on Stay Thirsty and I also like him in the Gotham. However, there is a colt that has captured my attention and that’s Norman Asbjornson. He is a son the recently diseased 1998 Derby winner Real Quiet. His connections started him at sprint distances in his first three starts. They quickly recognized that after being beaten a combined 33 ¾ L in those three races he was not a sprinter. His next two starts were at 8F & 8.5F which not surprising he won comfortably. His last was an 8.5F Allowance at Philly Park that he won in 1:43 flat. Now that fast for Philly Park. He has been off for 49 days and but come back an improved colt.  He broke his maiden in an 8F race at Penn National in 1:42 3/5. He recently worked a mile in 1:42 handily followed by 5F in 1:00. This obviously is a much improved colt. Consider this. Stay Thirsty was 14 1/2L behind Uncle Mo in the BCJ run in 1:42 3/5. He therefore completed his race in about 1:45 plus. Has Stay Thirsty improved 3 seconds during his respite? Who Knows!

The Gotham has been contested at 8.5F for the last 5YRS. The fastest recorded was achieved by I Want Revenge 1:42.65. The average time for this distance is 1:43 plus. Stay Thirsty contested one race at 8.5F and is projected finishing is 1:45 plus. Norman Asbjornson actual time for 8.5 is 1:43. Neither has raced at The Big A so no one knows how they will handle the surface. That advantage goes to Toby’s Corner. However, what is known is that Norman Asbjornson goes into the Gotham with less status than Stay Thirsty but a better recoded time for the distance. Does Norman Asbjornson have the class of ST? Probably not, but he is a staying son of a Derby winning stallion from the RAN sire line and that makes him dangerous. He must be a good exotic play.

05 Mar 2011 11:41 AM

What an exciting and challenging campaign Pletcher's laid out for Uncle Mo-a walkover mile and The Wood which is typically the weakest prep race. Holy Bellamy Road he deserves to lose the Derby. Pletcher's either super confident or maybe Mo ain't all that.

05 Mar 2011 12:26 PM
Carlos in Cali


He definitely impressed me.I wasn't knocking him,just thought his owners might have kept us from having another TC Champion.

05 Mar 2011 12:27 PM
Forbidden Apple

Alex's Big Fan,

The two major horses that have not raced yet this year are Jaycito and Uncle Mo. I do not see any other horses jumping in at this point and making their first start this weekend or next weekend and making any dent in the KY Derby trail. Besides the 2 that I mentioned above, most horses have already made a start this year. I remember Big Brown's March 5 allownace win as one of the latest starts for a KY Derby winner in recent history.

05 Mar 2011 12:54 PM

I just read that Sway Away will be sent to Oaklawn for the Rebel Stakes. I was surprised by the news. I fully expected him to stay in California.

05 Mar 2011 7:44 PM


JP's Gusto

Keep an eye on Special Kid.

05 Mar 2011 10:45 PM

Ranagulzion- We do seem to agree quite a bit on those horses.  We are probably closer to each other's opinions on the current horses too than we appear on the blogs-lol.  Don't know if he will get a Derby winner this year, because it is going to be tough, but Bernadini's are coming out in droves this year.  Looks like they made a good choice for Zenyatta after all.

06 Mar 2011 10:17 AM
Bloodline Bob

DIALED IN WILL "NOT" WIN THE 2011 KY.DERBY. Even if he wins this 4th race at Gulfstream today.

06 Mar 2011 1:30 PM
JJ Lucky Train

Not even a wink to the west coasters?

The Factor, Positive Response, Sway Away......The three I consider more formidable that Toby, Rogue, Santiv and Astrol.

06 Mar 2011 1:39 PM

    Someone asked about a Fillies List:

   …Well, I figured the SA OAKS Gr. I,--being the 1st real major filly prep since the BC Juv., awaiting the other considerable major preps, being: the ‘Fair Ground Oaks’; the ‘Gulf Stream Oaks’; the ‘Central Bank Ashland Stakes’; & the Fantasy Stake’--would produce ‘the best from the west’, where arch rivals “Turbulent Descent” and “Zazu” squared off once again & up against “A Z Warrior”,--a most well bred talented 2 Yr. old off a long layoff from her 2 Yr. old campaign. The result was  “Turbulent Descent” by a neck in a dazzling :23.31 ; :46.67 ; 1:10.67 ; 1:34.69 ; 141.05,--notably the best run time of the weekend for 3 Yr. Olds, male or female &--with “Turbulent Descent”--now 3 out of 4 wins vs. “Zazu”,--and “Zazu”--the gray, 1 of 4 vs. “Turbulent Descent”,--charging heartily to the wire from 5 back only to fall a neck short, with “A Z Warrior” following home + some 5 ¼ back. The shock was that after the race Puype announced that  “Turbulent Descent”,--an early Kty. Derby Nominee mind you,--will neither pursue a path to the Kty. Derby or the Kty. Oaks, claiming that 1 1/16 was the fillies’ preferred max distance.  

    Thusly, if you trust that statement, then you must subtract her from consideration for the Kty. Oaks.

    For sometime now prior to the running of the SA OAKS, my own personal ‘early filly dozen’ had included: “Awesome Feather” ; “A Z Warrior” ; “Dancinginherdreams” ; “Delightful Mary” ; “Kathmanblu” ; “More Than Real” ; “Pomeroy’s Pistol” ; “R Heat Lightning” ; “Tell A Kelly” ; “Turbulent Descent” ; “Wyomia” ; and “Zazu”.

   In following with my Sportswriters Poll re da boyz, here is a recent Fillies Poll from the sportswriter procrastinators re their selections to date, and this assumedly being from lists generated before the running of the first major prep, the SA OAKS Gr. I.

   With 50 the highest rank to be achieved:

               #1  “Kathmanblu”: 45 ;

               #2  “Turbulent Descent”: 40 ;

               #3  “Dancinginherdreams”: 38;

               #4  “Zazu”. 37;

               #5  “R Heat Lightning”: 29;

               #6  “Inglorius”: 15;  

    #7-#8 tie:  “More Than Real”: 10; &  

                     “Biz Tiz”: 10;  

   #9-10         “Awesome Feather”: 7;

#11-#12 tie:  “Pomeroy’s Pistol”: 7;

                     “Tell A Kelly”: 7; &

                     “Rigoletta”: 7;

             #13  “A Z Warrior”  6;

             #14  “Banquet Booth”: 5;

#15-#16 tie: “Delightful Mary”: 3; &

                     “Winter Memories”: 3;

    Of note, “Chloe Kate”; “Joyful Victory”; & “Dixie City”; each received 2 points & “Wyomia” 0, none.

  Also, in studying the breeding of all the “Oaks” nominees,--and there are host of well bred fillies waiting in the wings, where--results from here on will be the determining factor to see if others are worthy and get added to THE LIST of hopefuls for the ‘Kentucky Oaks’,--I was most impressed by many.  

   So there ya go, an early look at the fillies

06 Mar 2011 2:33 PM

WOW HOO about Asmussen's "Wilburn"-- where if

("Sensational Slam") gets a 94 Beyer for 6 fur. in 1:10.61 ???--what rating will "Wilburn" get? with 6 fur. in 1:07.89 ???

Naw, we haven't heard from the entire 'sack of potatoes' just yet.

 Wilburn: (Kty.); Tr. S. Asmussen; Mar. 22nd foal; $75K ‘09 FTS Kty. ; $625K ‘09 Keenlander ;

                   1       1     0     0 ;    D.I. 0.00 ;  Tomlinson Distance rating 000 ;

        winner Msw 6 ½ fur.  

: 21.27 ;  : 43.73 ; 1:07.89 ; 1: 13.95; SA;

     [[dbl. bred to Northern Dancer & dbl. bred to Mr. Prospector ; 5X bred to Nasrullah ; & triple bred to Bold Ruler ;

06 Mar 2011 4:07 PM

Watch out for the horses that have come back after a long layoff only to run subpar efforts.  With that in mind, I am still on the THAS bandwagon and Premeir Pegasus could be a major sleeper in this wild triple crown trail.

06 Mar 2011 7:33 PM

     How do you break down and manage your own top 50 Derby list?

   Out & out Top Condenders and potential predictable winners:

     “Uncle Mo” ; “The Factor” ; “Soldat” ; “Dialed In”  ; “Sway Away” ; “To Honor and Serve” :

   Could cross the finish line first picking up the pieces in bad weather or a burned out front end:  

      “Anthony’s Cross” ; “Riveting Reason” ; “Silver Medallion” ; “Brethren” ;

   Could come flying down the stretch if they can rate:

       “Albergatti” ; “Beer Meister” ; “Flashpoint” ; “Mr. Commons” ; “Fr. Hughes” ; “Wilburn”;

   Could or probably will stumble into a gate slot and might be the 2011 ‘Giacomo’:

      “Gourmet Dinner” ; “Jake Sam” ; “Quail Hill” ;

   Could possibly earn a gate spot but the 1 ¼  seems slightly out of play:

      “Gourmet Dinner” ; “Mucho Macho Man” ; “Santiva” ; “Comma to the Top” [has gained earnings];

   Could possibly still earn a gate slot & would then need to be further considered for analysis:

      “Archarcharch” ; “Astrology” ; “Elite Alex” ; “Jaycito” ; “J.P’s Gusto” ;

      “Positive Response” ; “Stay Thirsty” ; “Wilkinson” ; “Willcox Inn” ;

   Still have much to prove:

     “Runflatout” ;  “Cal Nation” ; “Arch Traveler” ; “Premier Pegasus” ;

   Potential playable extreme Long Shots for the gambling man:

      “Left” ; “Red Sharp Humor” ; Laconic” ; “Swagger” ;

   Honorable Mention but not likely:

      “Alternation” ; “Bowman’s Causeway” ; “Machen” ; “Sweet Ducky” ; “Bench Points” ; “Escort” ;

   Real Long Shots:

      “Nacho Business” ; “Beamer” ; “Bandbox” ; “Washington’s Rules” ;

   Exclusions for reasons other than injury, but still possible::

     “Pluck” (T) ; “Master Dunker” (T) ; “King Congie” (T) ; “Ari C” (T) ; “Uncle Sam” (T) ;

     “Adrindack Summer” (T) ; “Bind” ; “Buffum” ;

   Most likely now off the trail:

     “Shackleford” ; “Toby’s Corner” ; “Da Ruler” ; “Tiz Blessed” ;

   Potential Newbies:  (always leave 10-30 slots open in this category and then evaluate and consider when and if they become players later);

      mock list:

         Achaemenes: (Kty.); Ashbjornson: (Kty.); Beau De Beaupre: (N.Y.); Break up the Game: (Kty.)

         Chinese Praise (g) (Fla.); Data Link: (Kty.): (T) ; Free Entry: (Va.); Fusa Code: (g) (Kty.);

         Hammersmith: (Kty.); Little Drama: (Fla..); Lou Brissie: (Kty.); Old Guys Rule: (N.Y.);

         Praetereo: (gr) (Kty.); Queen’splatekitten: (Ont.); Rattlesnake Bridge: (gr.) (Kty.); Razmataz: (Kty.);

         Redwood Falls: (Kty.); Rush Now: (Kty.); San Pablo:  (Kty.); Sensational Slam: (Ont.);

         Smash: (Kty.); Sovereign Default: (Fla.); Su Casa G Casa: (La.); Taptowne, (Kty.);

         Watch Me Go: (Fla.): World Renowned: (Fla.);

06 Mar 2011 8:33 PM


(2) MuchoMachoMan

(3)Gourmet dinner




(7)Uncle Mo (don't wig on me)

(8)Stay Thirsty


(10) Rogue Romance

(11)Dialed in

(12)Tobys corner

(12) To honor and serve (not sure why I got a tie breaker here? )

Read 'em and weep boys

06 Mar 2011 10:12 PM

,,, And so, the old question arises this time of year when new speed is flashed... With only c. 9 weeks of true prep earnings room left and required earnings needed to be accumlated, does the likes of a late bloomer and new comer speedster on the scene, such as a "Wilburn",--the half brother to "Beethoven", and bred to go forever,--really have any shot at developing in time to gain a Derby gate? ...or ...Shall we always be stuck with leftovers from the 2 Yr. campaign whom lack speed and don't really look competive to the cream of the crop, but whom on the other hand have collected the required earnings and whom will be strapped to us as hangers on, holding back those late bloomers whom we all develope hearts for? Again, does the system of filling the gates need to be revamped?

07 Mar 2011 9:52 AM
El Kabong


If pure statistical analysis were all it took to figure this game out you would certainly be in Steve's chair, but it takes more than that, alot more. You say Soldat is too slow because you focus on his times with blinkers on. You compare them to other stats as if these races were run in a vacuum of equal measure. Well, bad news bud, they're not. So you have to use your eyes and common sense to make heads or tails of a performance or maybe just read and listen to some of the excellent analysis offered up by Forbidden Apple, Lazmannick, and Johnny. I much prefer their read of Soldat's performance and I think it is easy to see, using your eyes, that this colt has much more to offer, if challenged. This horse, his Jock and Trainer are racing with professional intelligence for not running your 9F time if they don't need to, to win the race. That's not slow, it's smart. Why is that not apparent to you? Look at the way the horse runs out and comes back. He's capable of much more and you may get to see it in the Florida Derby if he gets challenged. For now, I will go down on the books that your analysis on Soldat is as far off the mark as you analysis of Super Saver was last year.  

07 Mar 2011 2:50 PM

See any similarities here ??:

“Big Brown”: (Kty.); Apr. 10th foal; $170K ’07 Keenlander ;

                   8       7     0     0 ;  D.I. 1.67 ; Tomlinson Distance rating 000 ; Haskin’s #1 ;

   [[triple bred to Northern Dancer & dbl. bred to Native Dancer ; Round Table-Princequillo ;  Nasrullah ; & Turn To]];

Uncle Mo: (Kty.); Apr. foal ? ;.$160K  ’08 Keenlander; $220K  ’09 Keenlander;

                     3       3     0     0 ;  D.I. 2.20 ; Tomlinson Distance rating 000 ; Haskin’s #1 ;

   [[triple bred to Northern Dancer & dbl. bred to Raise a Native–Native Dancer & Turn To ; & w/Princequillo on the ‘dam side’]];

11 Mar 2011 6:49 PM

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