Derby Dozen - March 7, 2011 - Presented by Pauls Mill



Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher

Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch

One mo week to the long-awaited debut in the Timely Writer. At this point, the decisions have all been made and as Mike Repole said, on May 7 he’ll either look like a genius or an idiot. But for now it’s one step at a time, and they not only have to get past this seemingly innocent little race, but get something out of it before the much bigger test in the Wood Memorial. In a year lacking in two-turn brilliance so far, we’ll have to wait until the Wood to see if he can supply that spark.


Soldat Kiaran McLaughlin

War Front—Le Relais, by Coronado’s Quest

The more you study his record and watch his races the more you realize he’s as proven as any horse on the Derby trail. His pedigree, which once seemed like an issue, doesn’t seem as important now, and he just looks like a flat-out runner, on any surface, at any distance, and running on or off the pace. Following two front-running scores, it would be ideal to see him take back in the Florida Derby as he did last year in his grass races.


Stay Thirsty Todd Pletcher

Bernardini—Marozia, by Storm Bird

Who knows how good he will be once he matures. After breaking slowly and going four-wide into the first turn, he switched leads three times in the stretch, lugged in on a couple of occasions (not as badly as the BC Juvenile), and still came home in :24 2/5 and :06 2/5. This was a solid debut and gave him that all-important first two-turn victory. Some knocked his performance, but it was only a prep and his first start in four months. As long as he learns from it and moves forward, especially mentally and speed-wise, he will be a force in the classics. One thing he doesn’t have to worry about is stamina. He’s not a big horse, but you had to be impressed with his muscle tone in the paddock.


Dialed In Nick Zito

Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat

There are several spins you can put on his surprising defeat at 1-5. You can move him down your list or blame the slow pace and give him another chance. The take from here is simple: he was dead short, having only two works (4f and 5f) in 5 weeks and going two turns for the first time against older horses and being lulled to sleep by Leparoux. The positive was his :12 2/5 final eighth. His supporters can only look at the race as a learning experience and convince themselves he his going to run a much-improved race in the Florida Derby with some pace. There is a huge difference closing from far back into :45 2/5 and :46 1/5 half-miles around one turn and sitting two lengths off a sloth-like :49 2/5 and 1:13 4/5 going two turns, while stuck in traffic most of the way.


Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo

Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche

Ritvo: “(The Louisiana Derby) will give us an extra week to prepare him for the Ky. Derby.” That race is six weeks before the Derby, and the last horse to win the Derby off a six-week layoff was Needles 55 years ago. Preferring 6 weeks over 5 weeks to prepare for the Derby shows how Derby training has changed. Remember, Needles went into the Derby having won the 1 1/8-mile Flamingo and Florida Derby. On the other hand, he’s an extremely late foal and a big heavy-striding horse, so perhaps he’ll appreciate the 6 weeks. It’s not your typical way to get to the Derby, but there’s nothing typical about the Derby trail anymore.


To Honor and Serve Bill Mott

Bernardini—Pilfer, by Deputy Minister

If you want to keep him relatively high on your Derby list don’t watch any more replays of the Fountain of Youth. Just would like to have seen him last longer. He now needs a huge turnaround in the Florida Derby to even be competitive on May 7. He has proven he’s a talented colt and he’ll need all that talent and a near-perfect two months. This is what can happen when you leave yourself with only two preps. If he can get the same kind of race Barbaro did in the Florida Derby -- a good stiff battle to the wire -- he could still be OK.


Brethren Todd Pletcher

Distorted Humor—Supercharger, by A.P. Indy

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 2/5. With Uncle Mo’s impending debut and Stay Thirsty’s Gotham score, he’s been sitting quietly in the wings waiting for the Tampa Bay Derby. He showed he loves the surface and will be tough again. If he keeps moving forward and getting faster he is going to be serious contender, considering how visually impressive he looked in the Sam Davis and how much more professional he was than his previous race. And he’s already won at Churchill Downs.


Jaycito Bob Baffert

Victory Gallop—Night Edition, by Ascot Knight

Baffert feels he might be at a disadvantage going 1 1/16 miles on Santa Anita’s souped-up surface in the San Felipe, but he sure seems to love it in the mornings. He only needs to be coming fast at the end to be on track for the Derby. To rehash his works, he’s coming off a 5-furlong drill in :58 3/5, following 1:24 and 1:25 2/5 works at 7 furlongs. If he runs a big race Saturday, he likely would catapult up to #1 or 2, depending on what Uncle Mo does; that’s how much upside he has.


Astrology Steve Asmussen

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

Probably have been way too patient with him, considering he not only hasn’t started yet, but now they still don’t know where he’s going to run, with the San Felipe ruled out. But it’s too late to turn back now; have to stick with him. He had some issues last year that compromised his performances, but they have been corrected, and his 1:12 3/5 work suggests he’s finally getting sharp. Rebel looks like the logical spot.


Santiva Eddie Kenneally

Giant’s Causeway—Slide, by Smarten

Breezed an easy half in :51 4/5. His next start will tell us a lot. You couldn’t have asked for a much better comeback race than the Risen Star, and well see if he moves forward off it. He showed some quickness reaching contention and fought hard until giving in to the winner inside the final furlong. The question now is will he have one or two more starts before the Derby. The spacing of the Louisiana Derby is tricky – it’s either waiting 6 weeks to the Derby or run again with 3 weeks separating races, which most trainers these days shudder at the thought of.


Rogue Romance Kenny McPeek

Smarty Jones—Lovington, by Afleet

Breezed a half in :48 3/5. Although this crop of 3-year-olds looks like it needs a jolt right now going two turns, it is horses like him and Santiva who just keep coming at you every race. Would just like to see a little more punch when starting his run. How can you not like any horse by Smarty Jones whose broodmare sire is the grandsire of Afleet Alex?


Gourmet Dinner Steve Standridge

Trippi—Potluck Dinner, by Pentelicus

There has been some talk about sending him to California for the Santa Anita Derby, which is contrary to the stay-close-to-home philosophy these days. But he’s already traveled to Louisiana and California and looks to be more like the journeymen horses we used to see. He is going to be a money machine this year, because he always tries and has the talent to be right there with anyone.

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, I don't envy you at all....having to come up with this list weekly with so little to work off of.

Regarding Mucho Macho Man, would it be too much to ask of the horse to squeeze 2 races in those 6 weeks?  

07 Mar 2011 2:18 PM

I really liked Stay Thirsty's race as well, but reading the media poll on the  Courier-Journal, it seems the media is basically less than impressed. That's ok, lol. He is a smallish horse, but he looked fantastic in the paddock.

Steve, did you get a chance to see Wilburn's debut? He's obviously too far behind to make an impact in the Classics, but he's very talented, monster of a horse.

07 Mar 2011 2:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Jaycito-Training like a monster. Will know on the 12th if he belongs here.

2. Soldat-Most impressive so far. 10f will be zero problem.

3. Elite Alex-Calvin says he reminds him of Street Sense and another that 10f should be no problem.

4. Sway Away-If he can close in two turn like he did in his last watchout. Bred for it.

5. Dialed In-Last will do him good. Faced a very sharp 4yo and there was no pace.

6.Archarcharch-Jon Court, nice pedigree and a winner.

7. Mucho Macho Man-A fighter, and getting stronger.

8. Stay Thirsty-Excellent pedigree, could improve rapidly.

9. Uncle Mo-Behind his workmate. Timely Writer does him little good.

10. Awesome Patriot-Training good, should find out on the 12th.

11. Beer Meister-Nice pedigree.

12. Gourmet Dinner- Class. Can never count him out.

13. The Factor-One more shot at slowing down.

07 Mar 2011 2:31 PM
pittsburgh JD

Steve, just had to comment on the Leparoux lulling him to sleep comment, perfect! I know he is a good jock but don't get the love some trainers and capers have for him. A bit of overhype.

07 Mar 2011 3:13 PM


DI's race was a flop.  The race was written for him, he went off at 1-5 and he should have won.  Had the winner not bolted he would have lost by even more.  Maybe, just maybe, Zito is losing his curve ball?  Head scratcher.

07 Mar 2011 3:15 PM

How could you leave Flashpoint out?  

07 Mar 2011 3:35 PM

Steve, you sure you don't want to do a Derby Top 20 instead of Dozen?  What I thought was stacking up to be a solid group for May (before Tapizar, Comma, and To Honor and Serve all burped) is looking all to common save Uncle Mo.

I honestly think Uncle Mo will WOW as he has before this weekend but after him, do any of these top horses, to you, look like Triple Crown material?

With the seemingly effortless, outstanding 6F work from The Factor, you're not there with him yet in the Dozen?  If he has the mind for the game and figures out what he's doing, hold on to your hat!

Stay Thirsty did impress once he got straightened out and hit his stride.  Triple Crown material?  Not confident in that.

Soldat makes me pause and wonder, however, if perhaps he's got the maturity and spirit of Affirmed in him.  He may very well.  Affirmed just refuse to lose and Soldat just reminds me of that.

Dialed In will gain from his race and be better for it.  A tough place to put him in and he made the most of it with the slow pace plus Equestrio ran a pretty decent race.

Too bad Wilburn didn't get his career kicked off a little sooner!

07 Mar 2011 3:41 PM
box it up


Not sure why Sway Away is not on the list. He will have another race or two and has the breeding and style to win the derby. i would have him on and Astrology off. Other than that, keep up the good work.

07 Mar 2011 3:44 PM


Dialed In and the tracks making up races to accommodate these owners is a joke.

Mucho Macho Man June Foal will be on tix..

Uncle Mo is this going to be a practice race or a real effort on Sat?

Its Soldat right now for me..

Steve any idea what your schedule is going to be derby week or to early? That is when I do my real handicapping thru your eyes..


07 Mar 2011 4:11 PM

You still have Uncle Mo on top.  Because we are still waiting for some to make their first start.  I suppose he will be on top after Saturday as well.  Because he is in a race created for him, against nothing.  Might as well be a walkover.

Both Mig and Stevens said, that Zito's move with Dialed In, against older horses was old school, and a great move. Essentially he did not have to win the race.  He has the graded earnings.  Just to give him a prep around 2 turns.  Maybe Julien was told not to move him too early.

Perhaps he was a bit spooked by Equestrio moving sharply in front of him into his path and over. I would have to watch the replay again to determine that.

Hopefully Mig and Stevens are right and it was a good schooling race for him dispite the outcome. Also too bad there was not much pace, but maybe thats what Zito wanted to see what options he has in future races with the horse.  Time will tell.

07 Mar 2011 4:14 PM

Jaycito has visually looked impressive in his workouts. If Bob Baffert can get this horse use to his routine, I think it'll shake a lot of the green out of Jaycito. And by looking at his last three workouts it looks like he's headed in that direction. Still, I think he may come up a little short in the San Felipe this weekend., Being that it is his first race back, since the BC Juvenile fiasco, he'll also be racing for a new trainer. So, we'll just have to see how it goes. Now, for as much upside as this colt has, he's no lock to win the San Felipe, which looks to be a very competitive race.  I think Jaycito will be a better bet to win the Santa Anita Derby rather than the San Felipe. But if he does serve notice this weekend, then watch out Uncle Mo! Because this guy is also a physical specimen who I think can match strides with the Mighty Mo. Strictly off breeding here are the horses who fit my Derby profile: Brethren, Rogue Romance, Jaycito, Sway Away, Elite Alex.          

07 Mar 2011 4:25 PM

I'd love to see Astrology (by AP Indy) do well, but at this point how can you keep giving him a pass when the horse hasn' raced or done anything special?

07 Mar 2011 4:27 PM
El Kabong


I would love to see Soldat take back a bit too, but it will depend on the speed of the race as you well know. I don't believe for one second he will run on the front end in a race where speed sets fast fractions, but this guy has a cruising speed that is plenty fast when you consider how much he appears to have left at 1/8th to fend off challenges and separate the way he has. Unlike his critics who foolishly point to slow fractions and finish times, I don't see him as a slow front runner, but more as a well paced cruiser who has yet to face a fast fractions, which is not his fault.Infact, he has handled that situation very professionally. His last two races seemed rather easy for him. I am looking forward to seeing him challenged in the Florida Derby to prove this point, but his times have been excellent in my book if what you're shooting for is a good pace to get the 10F's in Louisville. Do his fractions/times concern you in the least at this point?

07 Mar 2011 4:40 PM

You honestly have to be kidding me about Jaycito. Number 1 or 2? Unlesss he wins by 15 I don't see how he is any better than a the top 4 on this list.  

07 Mar 2011 4:58 PM

I love Soldat in that he's doing everything right and also because he is doing something.  Brethren is the real sleeper IMO, maybe capable of being the boss three year old.  Uncle Mo needs a race to properly peg him, but if he's himself and his development is on track, there is no limit to his potential.  Stay Thirsty to me is a professional (as are the others I've rated above him).  His slow time in the Gotham is meaningless when considering how slow two turn races at Aqueduct have been lately.

07 Mar 2011 5:12 PM

Stay Thirsty looked great this past Saturday. But what about The Factor?

07 Mar 2011 5:36 PM


You explained Dialed-In's allowance race performance quite accurately yet droped him below Stay Thirsty?  I don't get your logic.  The latter puts in a workmanlike performance against weak opposition and you think that is good enough to be the third ranked Derby contender?  Comparing Dialed-In and Stay Thirsty, which one do you think has more upside coming off this past week-end races?  The answer has to be Dialed-In.  He has had two races, one around two turns and has showed the kind of explosive finish that is require to make a winning run in the Derby.  Stay Thirsty is still behind in both preparation and talent.  Folks in the Pletcher camp must be smiling to themselves to see that you rank Brethren lower than Stay Thirsty.  You got it wrong Steve.  Once again you've overrated another son of Bernardini.  Anyway I'm sure you'll get it right after the Florida Derby.  I look forward to DI and ST being in the same race.

07 Mar 2011 6:00 PM


Your rankings are always a pleasure even though I usually disagree with them. The best 3 year old right now is Cal Nation. If winstar is serious about another Derby and possibly the TC, then they should enter him in the easy Sunland Derby (which they won last year). He would wipe the floor with any other horse

07 Mar 2011 6:01 PM

Surprised that Sway Away is not on the list. Assume your 12 make it, how do you see the pace setting up?

07 Mar 2011 6:04 PM

DI ran against older horses in March 1-5 odds under those circumstances is crazy. Mo, hate his prep schedule still think he deserves to lose the

Derby with two walkover preps. Soldat and The Factor hook up lookout for the first half fractions.  I'm not thinking Mine That Bid thoughts but the Derby could fall apart again and something crazy could happen.

07 Mar 2011 6:26 PM
mickey 1957

trebloc,I can't believe my size,comment affected you that much,it was a joke......steve steve steve still got the mo #1,now I know why you haven't picked a tc winner since 2002 belmont(sarava),if you like macho,why not have santiva and rr in the same cluster,it's a 5 or 6 horse race....brethren,jaycito,dialed in(which by the way zito hit the board all 3 tc race's last year,don't worry about dialed in,soldat maybe, to honor and serve, and a horse you don't have picked.

07 Mar 2011 6:32 PM
mickey 1957 hit a hr,with that jaycito comment,could go way up the list.

07 Mar 2011 6:34 PM
cuban chef de race

what a shame that gulf stream has to create races just to bring more people at the track and to make look better horses that are giving a suspect impression,dialed in had some pace difficulties etc but that was not a grade race,1;51 1/5 on a fast track was slow and a faster pace will make him to spend more energy to get position and his strong late kick will not be that strong at 10 furlongs,it is what i see i may be wrong but his dam and grandam had distance limitations ,i will go with my intuition about it.      

07 Mar 2011 6:40 PM
cuban chef de race

the last 5 derby winners went to the race with just 2 preps and exploded in the derby and mine that bird ran an 83 and 81 beyers and won with an 105!!and all with the exception of big brown who won a turf race at two by a mile all had a solid 2 year old foundation so remember the belmont?do not rush yourself just yet.  

07 Mar 2011 7:08 PM

5 to Box in Future pool#2


(2) Gourmet Dinner

(3)Mucho Macho man


(5) Brethren

or is this too chalky? I need a serious payday.

07 Mar 2011 7:16 PM
Steve Haskin

StonesRoy, it is tough when you have a mish mash year like this. Trainers just dont like the 3 week gaps any longer. It seems the thinking is the more races they run the more chance there is of your horses proving he doesnt belong in the Derby, which is why we always have3 so many question marks going into the Derby.

Betsy, yes, I did see his race and it was very impressive. Theyve been high on this horse since last fall.

Dr. D. I kinda like your inclusion of Archarcharch. Something about that horse tells me he's better than people think -- big, long-striding horse. I just cant stand his name. He definitely would be in my Top 15.

Regarding Flashpoiint, Sway Away and The Factor, to those wanting to know why I have left off horses who have never been farther than 7 furlongs it's because theyve never been farther than 7 furlongs. You dont know what you have as far as a Derby horse until they go 2 turns. And flashpoint will have only 3, maybe 2, starts before the Derby. This has nothing to do with talent, it's about horses going 1 1/4 miles in two months. If they run big going 2 turns they'll be on the list. I touted Sway Away in my column back on Feb. 1.

BigTex, I'd love to do a Top 20, but we arent equipped for that in the magazine, and I want to keep the online list as uniform with the magazine Derby Dozen as I can.

Johnny, my schedule will be the same as always. I never make my Derby pick until I see these horses in the flesh for a week. Thats still the best gauge to picking a Derby winner.

Dan C. I acknowledged that and he can very well make me look foolish, but this horse had a procedure done over the winter that should move him up many lengths. I'm just waiting to see it's going to happen.

AnnieDixie, you're right I was kidding. OK, let's change it to the Top 4. And I DONT want to see him win by 15.

07 Mar 2011 7:22 PM
cuban chef de race

sway away,the factor,and premier pegasus are nice horses but sway away was hard handled and may bounce a little next time out premier pegasus can be who benefit most from that race next time.

07 Mar 2011 7:23 PM
It aint easy being good

The factor should at least be #12 any 3 year old that breaks any track record is a top 12 contender plus he has a hall of fame trainer! The rebel in my eyes will be the most important prep of the season.

07 Mar 2011 7:28 PM
Karen in Texas

As someone suggested above, a Derby Top 20 might be appropriate for this year's list! I'm waiting for the San Felipe (Jaycito) and the Timely Writer (Mo) to help give clarity and focus to my picks. Then, the Rebel should be one heck of a race with The Factor and Sway Away coming to take on the horses already training/running at Oaklawn. I hope Calvin is correct in his evaluation of Elite Alex's abilities! The field of contenders should be somewhat narrowed for me after that. This year has been interesting due to the unusual number of late starters and developers on the Trail--adds excitement!

07 Mar 2011 7:40 PM
El Kabong


no worries on that pace scenario, Soldat is not a front running fool. He has only been on the lead when there was no pace. Can't fault him for that, you have to take what they give you. If the FD has any pace,you won't see him out front, but you will see him finish when he hits the lane. This guy can rate, but he has to have a legit pace horse in front of him to do it or he'll cruise on up. Maybe he'll get that scenario in the FD. I hope he does, but I'm not concerned about him setting crazy fractions either. He never has.

07 Mar 2011 7:43 PM
Steve Haskin

Ranagulzion, I normally make it a point not to respond to you as long as you keep making these absurd comments about my favoring AP Indy and Bernardini without having a clue what you're talking about. I favor no stallion and do not let any stallion or stallion line affect my rankings. I have allowed you to continue making those ludicrous statements , but any others from now on will be deleted. I am addressing your latest comment about Stay Thirsty and Dialed In to tell you that after further analysis early this afternoon I had decided that Dialed In should still be ahead of Stay Thirsty, but I had already sent in my magazine Derby Dozen and didnt want to have a different order on my the online list. Their placings probably will be reversed next week. In the long run, the difference between #2 and 3 is miniscule.

07 Mar 2011 7:52 PM
cuban chef de race

soldat is for now the only solid horse to go for the 5.500,000 $ Preakness bonus if he wins the florida derby in the east then my Question is will he be ready to win the derby after 3 consecutive wins at 9 furlongs or a bounce in the derby will put him in a good position to win that big money? horses run for money after all.  

07 Mar 2011 7:53 PM
Steve Haskin

Mickey 1957, please do not comment on here anymore. I dont think I have to tell you why. Comments like your last one are not permitted on this blog, regardless of who they are directed at.

07 Mar 2011 7:59 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

Losing a prep race in a non-graded event takes nothing away from the enormous talent that is within Dialed In. It was a learning experience for him around 2 turns. The goal is the FL Derby and the KY Derby, not a March allownace race. Dialed In's next race will prove why he is the heavyweight champion and a knockout artist!

Soldat is a running machine who can win on any surface. He looks to me like he can easily get the 1 1/4 mile distance of the KY Derby and hit the board, maybe he's even good enough to wear the roses.

Sway Away is my x-factor horse who will be on every list if he explodes again and hits the winner's circle next time out.

The more I think about ArchArchArch, I seem to keep gaining respect for him.

The next 9 horses on my list are just filling in the blanks until the results of the next wave of prep races.

It's funny how Stay Thirsty makes the D.D. list when his mile split was 1:38 1/5, but ArchArchArch ran his last race in 1:38 1/5 and he gets laughed at.

Also high on the D.D. list are Uncle Mo, Jaycito, and Astrology who have not even made 1 start in 2011. Actually, what has Astrology ever done that warrants being on anyones radar?

07 Mar 2011 7:59 PM

Steve - one colt to look out for who is flying below the radar is Alternation.  Watch out for that one.

07 Mar 2011 8:09 PM
El Kabong


horses don't know how much they're running for :), besides, all the coin and fun is in the breeding. A KD victory will get you in more barns than a FD and Preakness combined, even with all that coin in your pocket. NO SOUP FOR YOU! COME BACK, ONE YEAR!

07 Mar 2011 8:10 PM
It aint easy being good

Forbidden Apple thank you on the last statement who made Astrology any good??

Steve I get the top 12 but Astrology?? I say put Alternation on there instead at least he has a winning streak going and has raced this year. What are people thoughts on Rogue Romance I hate the name but I watched his race again and not bad for a first start and you have to love the pedigree and what about JP Gusto??

07 Mar 2011 8:15 PM

Mickey 1957,

So wasn't my comment. HA!  

So does the Timely Writer fill?  Does Brethren take on Uncle Mo in Tampa.  What a great week of racing, we all have to look forward to!

07 Mar 2011 8:15 PM
cuban chef de race

when a horse has a strong two year old foundation don't need to extend himself too much just keep the form and a solid work pattern, and class and pedigree can emerge when it count most,

07 Mar 2011 8:19 PM

After Stay Thirsty and Dialed In, Soldat is the one that exudes the maturity and seems to have a focus and purpose to him.  He knows how to get it done now.  Dialed In going slow with 4 yr. olds and Stay Thirsty lugging in all over the place?  Not horrendous but they need work. Maybe Dialed In lost some race momentum in time between prep races and maybe the Florida Derby can get it back?  I'll give him another chance.  Stay Thirsty did get it done, albeit very greenly, and don't forget just who his training buddy is, Mo.  There is a look in Brethren I see that I like, don't know how to describe it.  I like Steve's line up there that says, "he's waiting quietly in the wings," maybe he is the one flying under the radar.  The low-flying, radar-dodging ones could be Rogue, Brethren, MMM, Sway Away, or Jaycito.  I can't wait for the Timely Writer, do we know who is entered in it yet?  Steve's other article "Thirst Quencher" was great and explained a lot of what Stay Thirsty was overcoming in that race.  Thank goodness Saturday's weather in NY/NJ wasn't like Sunday's deluge of rain.

07 Mar 2011 8:21 PM

Still have to say that Uncle Mo and his lesser-regarded stablemate, Stay Thirsty, reminds me of Devil's Bag and his lesser-regarded stablemate, Swale, at this time of the year in 1984.  We all found out Devil's Bag didn't train on as a three-year old...couldn't get the distance... and it was stablemate, Swale, who fully came into his own and won the Derby. I think we will see the same thing this year with Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty.

07 Mar 2011 8:23 PM
7 1/2 Furlongs

Mr. Haskin -

Don't mean to be a prude, but your comment regarding Mucho Macho Man, prepping in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby has me puzzled.

In 2010, Fair Grounds lengthened the Louisiana Derby from 1 1/16-miles to 1 1/8 miles on the main track.  This year the Grade II race is scheduled again for 9 furlongs.

Hope all is swell on the East Coast and Spring weather is just around the corner.  

07 Mar 2011 8:26 PM
cuban chef de race

the only two horses to win the derby with only one race at 2 since i am playing horses are f.pegasus and big brown,what they did have in common?well they were the favorites and too much better then the rest,and they also had great tactical speed so do your home work because are only two.  

07 Mar 2011 8:51 PM
cuban chef de race

billy Mott is a nice person,but also is the trainer with the most wins at Churchill downs and the only hall of fame trainer not to win the derby among the derby dozen but he won the last triple crown race last year for pletcher's favorite owners remember super saver?okey.      

07 Mar 2011 9:12 PM

I wasn't terribly impressed with Stay Thirsty's Gotham because of the lead changes in the stretch, but at least he is running.  I think Uncle Mo could be a super star, but how can he be expected to be ready for the Derby much less the Triple Crown series off of 2 preps? (and not even hard preps at that).

Steve, I agree with your assessment of The Factor, Flashpoint and Sway Away.  The Factor and Flashpoint don't look like they can rate and they're not bred to get a distance of ground.  Sway Away shows more promise but might just be a late-running sprinter.

07 Mar 2011 9:19 PM
mike rullo


Did you talk to bill mott why To Honor And Serve with only 2 preps ran so poorly??

07 Mar 2011 9:32 PM
cuban chef de race

one thing is to be a great runner and other to be a great sire,in part i thing some good runners don't get high class mares due to commercial reasons but after all i do think class is in the blood and the triple crown is like a measuring tape to prove it but from now and then you find a giacomo or gato del sol that can turn hope in sad reality .  

07 Mar 2011 9:38 PM

For those of you jumping ship on dialed in thats ok ill throw you a life vest after he wins the florida derby... Hey steve do you see any simalarities with dialed in for which he is being trianed... as those of strike the gold or ice box??? as far as like work out patterns or anything you may notice...thanks

07 Mar 2011 9:41 PM
cuban chef de race

the horses that finished ahead of super saver in tampa last year finished out of the money in the wood and blue grass and the one that did beat him in arkansas was not where to be found in the derby,but he won the derby so pay attention to the future because we all know the past.

07 Mar 2011 9:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, I especially loved your comment (to paraphrase) about no one going great guns around 2 turns yet. That is so true and really muddies the water for me. I still have Uncle Mo as #1 as well until something convinces me otherwise. But you are right again, nothing will be really clear there until the Wood. I also like Brethern, Soldat, Stay Thirsty and I never count Bob Baffert out. He could be running Mr. Ed and I would put him on my list. But I do like Mike Repole as an owner (nice guy and good for the sport in the way he relates to fans etc.)and would love to see him with a Derby winner in either Uncle Mo or Stay Thirsty.

07 Mar 2011 10:06 PM
Zenyatta John

Jaycito rose to my #1 last week as he's working like a mad horse, should get 10 furlongs being by Victory Gallop.

Gulfstream basically said today that they're gonna run the Timely Writer regardless of the number of horses Uncle Mo faces. Probably will be a three horse race.  

I think the Storm Cat on the bottom of Dialed In's pedigree got to him at the 9 furlongs, not just the slow pace.

Someone wrote that "if a horse breaks a track record, he should be at least 12 on the list" regarding The Factor. That's plain silly since the track record was at 6 furlongs. He should be pointing for the Met Mile unless he's the next coming of Secretariat. It's hopeful, but extremely doubtful.

07 Mar 2011 10:09 PM

I will enjoy the falling stock of Dialed In come the time of the 2nd pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.  The odds should get closer to the upper teens, if not 20's for Dialed In.  Santiva will also be one of my future bets.  

I am really anxious to see Awesome Patriot debut.  I am not a believer in Uncle Mo for the Derby quite yet.  

I also agree that The Factor and Flashpoint are to be disregarded in the Derby talk until they figure out two turns, which I doubt will ever come.

The top dozen as of right now are still irrelevant until after the Arkansas Derby.  We are in the midst of a muddled 3YO crop and will likely have some very good odds come derby day!

07 Mar 2011 10:14 PM
Hot Coal Guy

Uncle Mo - Talent obvious, think he'll be close given his ability

Soldat - Within his grasp, particularly if he can rate

To Honor and Serve - Loaded with potential, has work to do but he can still get it done

Dialed In - Similar as with To Honor and Serve, not counting him out just yet

Stay Thirsty - One of the Rodney Dangerfield's of this group, he's a good horse and on the improve with maturity

Brethren - He's been impressive thus far, looks to be well within the thick of things

Mucho Macho Man - Has done nothing wrong, I think he'll be competitive but question his ability to get the Derby distance

Santiva - Appears solid, expecting exciting things for him forthcoming

Sway Away - Appears to be up to the task, won't be at all surprised if he scores big soon

Jaycito - Seemingly going in the right direction, has the potential and we'll learn more shortly

Alternation - From the first time I learned of this horse I immediately took a liking to him, might just prove to be a big shot

Elite Alex - I'd be cautious either overestimating ability or underestimating his potential, he's good and could be potentially great things are gradually coming together for him with experience and added distance

Awesome Patriot - Have a feeling he could potentially make a big splash shaking things up, will be interesting to see how he's progressed

There are several which distance limitations is going to become apparent. Cal Nation is an intriguing prospect with much talent and potential for the long term. Though, expecting a Derby win may be expecting quite a lot.

Archarcharch ran a solid race and appears to have the ability though I got some indication he didn't want a whole lot more. Could go either way with this one. Silver Medallion may be a player to some extent on synthetic. Anthony's Cross and Wilkinson could have some say. Astrology....I just don't know I'm not too terribly excited yet. It sure does look like there's a good deal of speed this year where others may capitalize from off the pace.

Baker's dozen estimate at this juncture.  

Thanks Steve. As always, enjoy reading yours and everyone's perspectives. Have a great week!

07 Mar 2011 10:18 PM

Steve, can you comment on what differences there are with the track surface at Churchill Downs vs. Santa Anita, Oaklawn, Gulfstream and Aqueduct?  

Which track requires the biggest adjustment going into the Derby?  Why is it that Santa Anita is running so fast?  Having asked that, Misremembered looked scary good!

07 Mar 2011 10:20 PM
cuban chef de race

if cal nation was name california nation he probably be 100 to 1 in the future bets he is not blue grass cat,he is a new car.

07 Mar 2011 10:30 PM
cuban chef de race

jaycito wins the derby if baffert get the mount,victory gallop is the only name i do remenber in that family i wish you luck my friend.

07 Mar 2011 10:35 PM
cuban chef de race

for me santiva is the pony of eskendereya,rogue romance is the 20% of his sire,the factor is dreaming with spend a buck and uncle mo have been mishandle.

07 Mar 2011 10:44 PM
eds ponies

I like Flashpoint a lot;  would have put him on top.

07 Mar 2011 11:22 PM
cuban chef de race

i am fighting with myself like a chest match between capablanca and bobby fisher because the rise a native line has been dominant in the derby in the last 20 years or so and nasrullah line don't win the derby since winning colors in 1988 and the 4 northern dancers were very strong on paper and i know who has not shot from this three lines in my mind but i want to win some money or don't you, well i have the talent because i love the game and believe me if you learn from your mistakes and do your own home work sooner or latter you will be compensated,remember only 5 or 6 horses can win this race and some times is only one but don't worry the field and uncle mo has some Questions to answer we are on time,i will give you some clues soon family.

07 Mar 2011 11:31 PM
Brian Appleton

It's so nice to see Stay Thirsty in the top three, he's going to be a really good one this year.

Hoping to see some great things from Uncle Mo this weekend!

I'm surprised you have To Honor and Serve so high and ranked above Brethren. He's a really nice colt but I just can't get past that he will only have one more shot before the Kentucky Derby in the Florida Derby.

Jaycito's return should really shake things up on everyone's lists!

07 Mar 2011 11:31 PM
Barry Boy

Awesome Patriot will show everyone on Saturday that he fits in.  He will win the San Felipe and further strengthen the Baffert contingent that will be in Louisville.

07 Mar 2011 11:33 PM
Steve Haskin

7 1/2 furlongs, that was my mistake. it has been corrected. Thanks

07 Mar 2011 11:51 PM

Here's my Derby list:

1.  the horse Calvin Borel is riding.

That's my pick every year until those 19 other chumps show me they can keep Borel off the fence.

And I apologize Mr. Haskin if calling the other jockey's "chumps" is offensive to your blog.  I'm sure they're very nice people with excellent skills.  But let's face it, Borel has made them look like chumps the first Saturday in May for 2 years straight now.  

07 Mar 2011 11:52 PM
cuban chef de race

rating on the grass is not the same as rating on dirt i like soldat because horses who did finish behind him at 2 came back to win the breeder's cup on turf and santiva won a grade two on dirt but those were slow speed figure races in my book and on a fast dirt track he closed in 13 0/0 so i need to see the florida derby pace and don't pay attention to closing argument, this is not giacomo derby i hope to be right but one thing is what you see and other is what you don't.

07 Mar 2011 11:59 PM
the illum

Stay Thirsty won his prep over an overmatched field IMO. I think the positives that he garnered for his effort is graded earnings and a two turn race as a 3YO.On the last turm he kind of loped along like he wasnt in any hurry to pass any horses in the stretch and dominguez had to use the whip repeatedly to get him moving.I think if he matures mentally(more focus)he will turn out to be a two turn horse since he seemed to just lope around the final turn of this prep without expending much energy.However I will not include him in any bets until I see he is more focused on winning the race he is in without too much encouragement from the jockey.If he doesnt hit the board in the florida derby and any other preps after that he might turn out to be a latter developing colt that could run well in the preakness belmont or even in the summer derby.

08 Mar 2011 12:03 AM

Barry Boy,

Awesome Patriot defeated Riveting Reason by 1/2l in his last start. Riveting Reason competed against him 11 days after running in an 8.5FG1 race. He was much the fresher of the two. He is not that good. He was defeated by Riveting Reason stalemate Premier Pegasus twice. It is likely that Premier Pegasus will be in the San Felipe and his last published work was a 57 and change. You might want to reconsider.


Those 58 3/5, following 1:24 and 1:25 2/5 works at 7 furlongs that Jaycito has been doing is troubling. When he broke his maiden in the G1 Norfolk he was very early and did not finish with the same energy as he did in his losing effort in the Delmar Futurity. I strongly believe he will be too early in the San Felipe and will not finish as he will be cooked if he gets into a pace duel with Premier Pegasus.

08 Mar 2011 12:32 AM
Karen in Texas

It aint easy---Thoughts on Rogue Romance...his last race was not his first race, just his first after a lay off. The BC Juvenile was his first race on dirt, and it looks as though he may not be quite as good on dirt as on turf, but he had a significant closing kick on turf. If he can duplicate that form this spring, then he can do okay in the TC races. I'm going to try to link his Bourbon Stakes victory from last November here. If it doesn't link properly, you can find it on youtube or the BH search site.

08 Mar 2011 12:53 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I forgot to mention in my little blurb about Archarcharch that I like the name. Can you imagine the trend if he wins The Derby? Slewslewslew, Phonephonephone(out of Dialed In), Zenzenzen etc etc. The 18 letter limit will stop quite a few though. Alternation is one that someone mentioned that could surprise also that I like. I had a 30 horse list last week so 12 or 13 is not easy. I'm hoping Rogue Romance can move forward. He's one I really like that I previously had on my list. To Honor And Serve now has something to prove before I can put him on. I'm not giving him a break for what I think was a very weak performance despite the break I'm giving him for the layoff. Soldat strolled through that race with ease. I  feel that if pressed he would have run faster. He hasn't been tested this year but the Florida Derby should be a tough race and the winner has a big shot at The Derby win, and a few others might also that run well in that one. It's almost five weeks prior(one day less, it's on Sunday Apr 3.) to The Derby so plenty of time to rest up.

08 Mar 2011 1:15 AM
cuban chef de race

flash point will be wining races in sprints but with those closing fractions he better be ready.

08 Mar 2011 1:24 AM
quiet american 55

Steve, love your articles.  Stay Thirsty way too high.  Astrology, too high as well.  Sway Away, "late running sprinter" - no.  Built to stand the route of ground.  Expect big things from him.  Looks to me like Uncle Mo's connections may be putting more stock in the Wood, than down the road.  Would love to see him win the Wood by a lot.  Just so I'm standing with the others posts; my top three Sway Away,Elite Alex, Break Up The Game.

08 Mar 2011 1:41 AM

I agree with your list, knowing full well that it's still a crapshoot at this point. I have had Uncle Mo on top all along and until I see him run and he proves me wrong, I see no reason to change. His BC Juvelille was very impressive and I still believe he will be the 2nd horse to win the BC Juvenille and the Kentucky Derby. Street Sense being the other. Horses for courses as the old timers used to say and Uncle Mo loves Churchill Downs.  Soldat is solid at number 2 and after that it's a who's who. I certainly would have thought Flashpoint would have made the list but I am sure you know much more about this then I do. Perhaps we still haven't seen the Derby winner just yet.

08 Mar 2011 1:44 AM
cuban chef de race

jon swell won the florida derby in 1;47 and change and at 2 won the futurity at belmont by Seattle slew he was high class from the beginning and did bounce in the blue grass because the track was sloppy do not compare a stake place with a monster that i love after he died.  

08 Mar 2011 1:44 AM
cuban chef de race

mr haskin i really like this blogs and i do not want to sound like a albert Einstein i am another player but from 1980 to this date i think i have done my handicapping job and i do not want to offend any body just to show that when you love something you most stand for it.

08 Mar 2011 1:54 AM
Bloodline Bob

On Feb.23,"2010"@8:20a.m. I said Lookin at Lucky WILL NOT win the Ky.Derby.He will win other races. I was correct. This year,2011,I'm saying the same thing about UNCLE MO + DIALED IN.   I'M GOING TO PREDICT THE HORSE THAT WILL BE IN "2ND PLACE" IN THE 2011 KY.DERBY(MUCHO MACHO MAN or TO HONOR AND SERVE).

08 Mar 2011 2:30 AM
Bloodline Bob

Read my 2-14-11@3:50p.m.comment and then read my 2-16-11@10:47p.m. comment.

08 Mar 2011 2:43 AM
cuban chef de race

i am prepare for Seattle slew as a broodmare sire,also unbridled and summer squall etc let's see i see you soon.

08 Mar 2011 3:31 AM
Bloodline Bob

Here is some proof about my advanced sire knowledge: The winning sire of The Gr.3 Hillsborough will be a Dynaformer or a Street Cry. Now i don't even know the entries as of today(3-8-11) but I do the nominations(Dynaslew,It's Tea Time,Street Gossip).

08 Mar 2011 3:47 AM
cuban chef de race

borrel is driving an elephant he can be famous in africa  

08 Mar 2011 3:58 AM
cuban chef de race

will be this the year the year of patriotism ? to honor and serve, soldat,awesome patriot,etc you better think who can win because horses are not running for the home land they run to win.

08 Mar 2011 4:24 AM

I dunno but Dialed In may be this year's Pyro.  The other Inn, Willcox gets to try again Saturday in the Grindstone @ FG on the grass.  This guy has been working very good for his return and has finished 3rd behind Santiva and Soldat (both place horses) in his last two starts.  I'm not sure what the plans are for him, but maybe the 2 astrodirt stakes @ TP or Kee for an upcoming start.  Would love to see him make the gate in CD (getting unlikely) where his running style may work in a year seemingly loaded with sprinters again.  Things could come up Rosie in the Roses race.

08 Mar 2011 5:28 AM

Did not anyone see "Flashpoint" in the Hutcheson race? This horse could be a monster in hiding! Look forward to his next race with some stiffer competition. Remember this horse for he will be a surprise to all!

08 Mar 2011 6:52 AM
Fran Loszynski

Mary, you're right the dream team is Calvin and Elite Alex with Sway Away second, probably Soldat or Dialed In third for the Derby. I like all the jockeys but Calvin and Jeremy Rose are my favorites, not to mention retired Jerry Bailey. Elite Alex and Calvin have a mutual admiration society going already.  I know I keep mentioning Elite Alex but I want everyone to win their bet sooooo-Elite Alex and Calvin Borel by three lengths, Kentucky Derby, two lengths Rebel. When a jockey cares about a horse,Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Happy Mardi Gras everyone

08 Mar 2011 8:35 AM

Wow!!  What a weak top 12.

Uncle Mo- Wait & see I guess

Soldat- All alone on a clear lead in the FOY with slow fractions on a speed favoring track. Not impressed.

Stay Thirsty- 3rd on the list?? Your joking right? With a clean trip I think Nacho Saint may have won the Gotham. This alone shows you why the top 12 is very, very suspect.

Dialed In- Showed everyone that he will need a hot pace to run at in the Florida Derby and the K. Derby to be competitive. May or may not get it.

M.M.M.- Like Soldat he nursed a very slow pace in his last race and managed to kick clear before the closers had a chance. In the Holy Bull he was part of a quick pace and faded late. He's not better than Soldat.

To Honor & Serve- Finally raced against a good horse and folded. Enough said. Should have went in the Breeders Cup but instead ran in the 2 horse Remsen. Stop it!!

Brethren- I actually like this horse. Rated and blew by horses in the lane in the Sam Davis. Tampa Bay Derby is his to lose.

Jaycito- Would you race already plse. showed squat last year. Show me something plse.

Astrology- Same thought as Jaycito

Santiva- this is one that should improve 2nd race back. I'm looking for him to run big in his next start. Giant's Causeway colt bred to run all day.

Rogue Romance- Nice race out of the gate this year but he just seems to wait to long to make his move. He's a question mark for me.

Gourmet Dinner- Fight's hard every race. Distance limitation's.

One horse that looks very interesting to me is Flashpoint. The way he relaxes at such a high speed is very impressive. If he can harness that speed going long who is going to catch him. Pedigree may not matter. Just a thought. In closing the top 12 is very suspect.

08 Mar 2011 8:38 AM

Happy Mardi Gras!  Impressed by Wilburn this past weekend.  I still need to see those 7 furlong wonders go 9f, and can't keep them in consideration until they do.  To Honor And Serve needs to work on maintaining his stamina.  With his breeding, I'm willing to toss out his last race...same with Dialed In.  I didn't think they'd be running the Kentucky Derby so early, but Twirling Candy sure looked as though that was where he was last weekend.  That was a grueling run, and just might have been a perfect prep for some of our top 3 year-olds who need a real taste of the Derby BEFORE they get to Churchill Downs.  So far, I'm seeing too little.  Now that March is here, I'm hoping to see more from the contenders, but it doesn't look as though the trainers are willing to actually run their colts. So far (and since he hasn't run yet this year, UM is not yet in my favorites) I like THAS, Archarcharch, Brethren, Stay Thirsty, Soldat, Rogue Romance, Dialed In, Santiva, Alternation, AC, JP's Gusto, Sway Away, and EA.  Excluded, but still in mind because they've only sprinted, Runflatout, Heron Lake, Wilburn.

Colts I wish were contenders..Pluck and Biondetti. And those I'm keeping an eye on...Mucho Macho Man and Sweet Ducky.  And then there are the fillies...Kathmanblu, R Heat Lightning, Kindersley, and Dancinginherdreams.  I think I still have about 10 more in consideration.  The less preps I see, the more confused I become....and the more I miss Seattle Slew.  

08 Mar 2011 8:53 AM

As always with baby horses, rankings at this point are meaningless.  Who will be ready in May?

08 Mar 2011 9:02 AM

I really have to add...Uncle Mo was amazing last year...I can't wait to see what he does this year.  And to anyone who doesn't think a front runner can win the Derby, even with a bad start...go back and watch the 1977 KD.  In fact watch all 3 legs of the 1977 TC.  I simply resent the lack of prep races allowed to UM.  It just might be a disservice to the colt himself.

08 Mar 2011 9:08 AM


I think you do a great job trying to predict what many of these three year olds will do when they haven't raced since last year.  Who would have thought that To Honor and Serve would have run so poorly after the works that he had been firing!  I look forward every week to your analysis.

Mary- I totally agree with you about Calvin's mount in the Derby.I love Calvin and admire his accomplishments very much- BUT- I think the other jocks need to get with the program at Churchill.  If someone else doesn't win it this year, they'll have to rename the Derby the Calvin Borel Open!!  

08 Mar 2011 9:18 AM

Some of you were probably not even born when Northern Dancer ran his Ky Derby, but for some reason I feel like this race is going to be like that (a great duel to the wire).

This spring looks to be a wet one, so I am interested in knowing who is talented on a wet track.

The long debut of Uncle Mo is a worry, and I am thinking MO could lose it by a nose, not because of talent but rather not being as sharp as he could have been.

Mucho Macho Man is one of those hard knocking horses that is always trying. No dishonor in TH&S loss, what a trainer wants rarely matches the desires of the betting public this time of year. Bretheren is the sleeper. Stay Thirsty is Joe Fraser to Uncle Mo's Ali. Gourmet Dinner might just slip in with a George Forman like performance. If all these horses can just stay sound enough to make it to the Derby I will be happy.

08 Mar 2011 9:33 AM


Its the Pletcher 4 and Jaycito now boxed up for the Super High 5...Its funny how pundits, writers, and horse players say horses "needed a race or 2", and dismiss their poor performances off of long lay. Isn't it the trainers job to train the horse 6-7 days a week, so that when they bring him over, he is ready to give his best performance that day?...Do people think that Pletcher and Baffert aren't preparing their horses for the First Saturday in MAY? Of course thats their ultimate goal also. However, they understand that its an expensive sport/hobby and in between now and the derby there is lots of money to be won....This is why Pletcher and Baffert are the 2 best big name trainers in the game(there are lots of other terrific ones, but thats another story)...they get their horses ready at first asking and after a long layoff...they race to win, not get them in shape....Stay Thirst was only 80% fit, how much is he gonna improve?..To Honor and serve, will have just 2 races also but his performance in the FOY was good are those Juddmonte horses now that Mott has them? when they ran for Frankel, they woin races every week, now we need a search party to find them...

08 Mar 2011 10:01 AM

Uncle Mo is the only one that has impressed me in the level you want to see. Mucho Macho Man and Soldat look ok to be worthy. In all these performances  the one to watch to move up is Rogue Romance. He got boxed in traffic and came out flying and ran out of ground. I still am intrigued with Alternation.

Steve I really enjoy the show you have with Lenny. I look forward to it and wish it was weekly.

Horse racing fan since I feel in love with Damascus and Majestic Prince when I was in grade school.

08 Mar 2011 10:26 AM
Barry Boy


That's strong data but here is reality....AP needed to go longer than that 6.5f race.  I wouldn't put too much stock into that race. His pedigree is screaming for more distance.  While Jaycito has been a very good student in the mornings, we still don't know who will show up in the afternoon.  Baffert has said that the San Felipe is just a starting point for him and we shouldn't get hyped just yet.  Awesome Patriot works in company with Jaycito.  He has been the more consistent horse.   AP also needs graded earnings quickly.  Jaycito has already banked 200k.

08 Mar 2011 10:58 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Thanks again for taking the time to formulate your Derby Dozen.  I anticipate reading it each week and I always keep your first one of the season to see which horses are the "last man standing."  And I agree with you on the name Archarcharch.  Don't particularly feel any love for it.  A Derby winner needs a good name.  Plus I think the 3 yr-old series they run at Oaklawn are as good as any out there.  I'm looking for a contender there.

08 Mar 2011 11:10 AM

So give us your top 12 then Joey, and then let us comment on each.

08 Mar 2011 12:50 PM

some people mention Elite Alex. You gotta be kidding ! Anyway, Mo is #1 until proven otherwise, not only did he win and win and win, but he won for fun. Soldat gives his all everytime and loves to run. Brethren needs to improve and have to wait to see him in Tampa Derby.

08 Mar 2011 12:55 PM
It aint easy being good

IF you keep up with derby history then you will know that a new trainer seems to win the derby every year so with that in mind I think its MMM turn to do it! Rougue Romance is a sleeper as well karen in texas thanks for that video I think that he will only get better with added distance!

To the blogger that questioned the pace of the derby are you serious with flashpoint, unclo mo and the factor this might be the fastest derby ever(opening splits wise)!

08 Mar 2011 1:24 PM
Windy City

I don't know much about horse racing training, as a matter of fact I know nothing about it. Still, it looks to me a little outrageous when connections send horse to the Derby racing less than 5 times and/or off 5-6 weeks layoffs. If the horse will win the Derby, I'm pretty sure they'll want to go to the Preakness, won't they? And that will make a second start for this horse in 2 weeks...for a horse who was used to long breaks. And if another turn of events helps him win the Preakness, this horse will be exhausted going into the Belmont (I'm pretty sure the connections won't pass it). That sets him up pretty much for disaster...There is no way we'll have another TC winner unless those horses will be trained more for stamina. I have no idea why nobody is doing that?

08 Mar 2011 1:26 PM

I find it rather outlandish that anyone could still have Uncle Mo as the #1 Derby pick when he remains completely untested in 2011, and we have seen strong performances from Soldat, Mucho and others.  This ranking is either pure speculation or wishful thinking; either way, it is completely unfounded.

08 Mar 2011 1:28 PM
Fran Loszynski

Mark--you might want to order your Elite Alex hat now because as he wins they will be hard to find. If Calvin and Tim Ritchey say he's good, then he's great!

08 Mar 2011 1:57 PM

I was very impressed with Uncle Mo last year - he was a strong two-year old and he ran some great races. I'm VERY disappointed with his preps for the Derby, however. How is he supposed to be ready for the Derby with 4-ish months off, and only two prep races? And one of the preps was created just for him, and at only a mile. I lament the loss of the days where trainers actually ran their horses. Of course, this issue develops into the fact that a lot of horses (most "big name" horses) are retired after 3 or 4 in order to go to the breeding shed. But I won't get into that here. Cheering for Stay Thirsty!

08 Mar 2011 2:08 PM
It aint easy being good

Mark read Fran's comments Elite Alex is built for stamina and late speed. If your not on board go back and watch aleet alex in the belmont and then come back or just wait until March 19th in the rebel when he nips the factor at the wire.

08 Mar 2011 2:32 PM

Come Derby day, I think Calvin will be on either Brethren or Stay Thirsty.  Mr. Ramon Dominguez can only ride one horse.

08 Mar 2011 2:44 PM

Pletcher is a joke entering Uncle Mo in this stakes race. He is just trying to pad Brethren's Graded earnings. Hope this doesn't backfire on a great horse like Mo. I think it's a joke and a slap in the face to horse racing fans everywhere to watch horses like Dialed In and Mo running in these made up races. You wonder why this sport keeps losing interest to so many???????

08 Mar 2011 2:50 PM


You're a highly esteemed columnist and I do enjoy and appreciate your blogs but to denounce my comments as absurd and ludicrous doesn't make them so without valid counter arguments.  Blog comments are filled with opinions and perceptions.  Mine is no different.  It should be sufficient to denounce a blogger's comment as baseless by showing why, without the emotive "absurd & ludicrous" bit.  There is nothing wrong with having a favourite horse, sire or sire line if one says so in a context where horses are being ranked and reasons given for such ranking.  However any observer is free to see or perceive favouritism as a rationale for a ranking if the order of the rankings show no other reasonable explanation.  In such cases it is unwarranted to describe the observer's comment as "absurd and ludicrous", especially against the background of observations and arguments that I've been making on these blogs about the chances of A P Indy and Bernardini siring this year's Kentucky Derby winner.  

I would think that it is postings that are disrespectful, defamatory or plain obnoxious that would raise your ire, not merely a harmless view on the probable rationale behind your ranking.

Thanks for the explanation and adjustment re Dialed-In and Stay Thirsty.  I'm pretty confident even at this early stage that Dialed-In will win the Florida Derby a few weeks from now and vindicate my views.  Sweet Ducky which you've not rated good enough to make the Dozen will be his main danger.  Peace.  

08 Mar 2011 2:55 PM

It'll be exciting to see Mo Go! and I can't wait for TF's chance to go long.

Soldat's the horse I respect the most right Beyer (103) for a 3 year-old (this year) over a mile and second best all age groups over a mile (Giant Oak ran a 105)...dirt, mud, the pace and up front...lots of maturity and a great athletic body.

If Mo shows a chink in his armor this weekend...

I also like Nacho Saint...ST ran a good race but I'm thinking NS might have caught him if he could have got out of the box...

08 Mar 2011 2:55 PM

I'm sure Elite Alex is a very good colt, but he certainly better get some graded stakes earnings quick, or he's not going to any Derby at least not the Kentucky!

08 Mar 2011 4:00 PM

I am disappointed in Mo's path because it kills me in Winstar's Fantasy Derby and I don't like it!  :-)

I have to believe that Pletcher knows something we don't and so I gotta believe that Mo is going to destroy the field come Saturday.

To make matters worse, if he does, how big is the wrench he just threw into the Wood???

Man was Arienza awesome in her debut!

08 Mar 2011 4:26 PM
art in az

Remember this name Wilburn.Needs 1 more start before Derby. Remember Mo's 3rd start last yr?

08 Mar 2011 4:32 PM
Forbidden Apple

When are people going to accept that Zito wanted an extra week of training his horse before he raced again? In his second career start, Dialed In ran like a Ferrari and finsihed his mile race in 1:35 flat. All questions about this classy colt will be answered in the FL Derby. To the best of my knowledge, his 1:35 mile was the fastest by any 3 y.o. colt this year. Maybe someone ran faster at a mile on the S.A. dragstrip, but I don't think so.

Sway Away will soon be admired by all, he is bred and built for a classic distance, look out!


I hope you are correct about Arch Traveler being pointed towards the Wood Memorial. This colt has ample speed, plenty of potential, and will give Mo all he can handle and then some.

Until Rogue Romance does something special on dirt, I see him as a very useful turf horse.

For all of you Flashpoint fans, he is not even the most impressive speedball to run at Gulfstream recently. Just 1 week after Flashpoint's race, a horse named Apriority blistered the Gulfstream stretch and he gets no mention at all. Flashpoint is a very nice horse, but Apriority is faster. His 6f time was a full second faster than Flashpoint.

Flashpoints splits: 22,44 2/5,1:08 4/5,1:22.03

Apriority's splits: 21 4/5,43 4/5,1:07 4/5,1:14 2/5

08 Mar 2011 5:17 PM

BLOGGERS who will be the NEW entries for the derby future bet this weekend?

08 Mar 2011 5:18 PM
Zenyatta John

How crazy are some of you?

I guy rips Steve for his Dozen, then says his horse is Flashpoint!  A freakin sprinter, by a sprinter, out of a sprinting broodmare sire. No chance at 10 furlongs.

Flashpoint is and will be a sprinter.

I guarantee you will NOT see The Factor,  Flashpoint , and Uncle Mo on the lead in the Derby cause two of them won't make the race.

Lastly, yes Awesome Patriot has been working with Jaycito - as his TARGET! He had a 10 lengths lead on Jaycito and he flew by like AP was standing still. That is old time training Jaycito is receiving with those stiff 7 furlong works.

Thanks Cuban Chef de Race for wishing me luck with Jaycito, but I really could care less you don't know anyone else in his family. Your random blathering posts give no real opinions.

08 Mar 2011 5:26 PM

Since so few of these horses will have a solid racing history to handicap off of come Derby Day, I've resigned myself to waiting to see their form in their final preps and their workouts in between that prep and the Derby.

Between now and then, I am left rooting for horses that have caught my fancy for various reasons:

Mucho Macho Man - for his relatively busy racing schedule and determination.

Archarcharch - for his beauty and hilarious name

Stay Thirsty - for being the 2nd fiddle in his barn and having Storm Bird in his pedigree.

It's this kind of logic that makes me a horrible handicapper, but nothing is providing me with useful knowledge this year....and I don't see one month of remaining preps changing that.

08 Mar 2011 5:34 PM

dialed in soldat will not get a piece in the derby julian cant ride in a five horse field without trouble what happens in a big field... soldat gets beat by 37 in the derby

08 Mar 2011 5:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Ranagulzion, when you take it upon yourself to get into my head and tell me what I'm thinking and say I am biased toward AP Indy and Bernardini, and do it over and over in every post then "ludicrous" and "absurd" are the correct words to use. You are entited to state any opinion you wish on here as long as it's your opinion and not mine. I am more than capable of expressing my own opinions and my own likes and dislikes.

08 Mar 2011 6:55 PM
Kristen Ohler


I know you don't pick specific stallions, but I found it funny that the one blogger said you were favoring AP Indy and Bernardini.  Besides Giants Causeway these are my next in line stallions.  I've been waiting for the Bernardinis since he was retired, which I was so disappointed.  I'm in love with Stay Thirsty.  After watching TVG during the Gotham, which I love, love TVG I was so disappointed in the comments after the race.  I was so excited seeing ST winning I was doing a thumbs up.  Then the comments.  I know Mike Repole on the phone with TVG he disagreed with ST race.  Thank you for pointing out some things ST in the race I didn't see.  I saw the one lead change and the switch back to the right one.  He looked green in the stretch.  But, I love this colt and thanks for bringing up some other issues in the race I didn't know about.  I will be one of his number 1 fans thru the TC.  I love Astrology, as I love AP Indy, I just wish they would run him already.  I look forward to your Derby Dozen and I do read them and the pedigree angles in the Bloodhorse mag.

08 Mar 2011 7:04 PM
Steve Haskin

Forbidden Apple, Apriority may indeed be faster than Flashpoint, but why should he get a mention on a Derby discussion when he's a 4-year-old?

Kristen, Astrology probably will make his first start in the Rebel, but that's unofficial.

08 Mar 2011 7:07 PM
Kristen Ohler

Secretariat's schedule up to the Derby:

As a 2 year old:

July 4, '72 5 1/2 furlongs ran 4th

July 15, '72 6 fur. ran 1st

July 31, 6 fur. ran 1st

Aug. 16 6 fur. ran 1st

Aug. 26 6 1/2 fur. ran 1st

Sept. 16 6 1/2 fur. ran 1st

Oct.14 1 mile ran 1st, disq. to 2nd

Oct. 28 1 1/16 mile. ran 1st

Nov. 18 1 1/16 mile.ran 1st

The last 6 being stakes races.

Big Reds 3 year old schedule:

Mar. 17,1973 7 fur. ran 1st

Apr 7,1 mile. ran 1st

Apr 21. 1 1/8 mile.ran 3rd to Angle Light with Sham 2nd.  That was the Wood. His last race before the Derby.  All stakes.  The rest is history.  I just wish we could see these awesome animals do what they are bred to do.  Run!  Just a little more often

08 Mar 2011 7:35 PM

I want to see Uncle Mo go longer than the 8.5f before I really give him the love.  I think he's a great sprinter, but now he needs to show up at the classic distances and prove he can do it. I know he doesn't need the earnings, but he does need to run at least one race that is closer to the distance of the Derby.

I actually really like Mucho Macho Man & Santiva.  I think Santiva is going to surprise a lot of people, he's got the talent and I think he'll improve in his next start before the Derby.  The other one I am watching closely is Rogue Romance, partly because of who is sire is.  Give these 3 all another start and I think all of them are going to improve greatly.  

I don't think Dialed In will make it into the Derby.  I don't think he's ready for the classic distance.  His first race this season was great, but he melted down in his last race, be it from the slow pace, the jockey or whatever.  He needs to be able to overcome a slow pace, because you never know what is going to happen in the Derby, it could be a blistering pace or a dead dull slow pace. A Derby contender has to be able to overcome it.

08 Mar 2011 7:52 PM

What the lack of preps tells me is that the trainers are concentrating so hard on saving their horses for the Kentucky Derby while totally eliminating the training needed to survive in a Triple Crown run.  33 years, and we seem to be getting no closer as trainers regress their colts to sprinting status.  This is a very unhappy fan.

Steve, I think Ranagul simply needs to realize that many of the top contenders just happen to be a part of the AP Indy Line.  That's not favoritism, that's just factual.

However, personally, my own thought is...Go Bernardini kiddos!

08 Mar 2011 8:01 PM

Rechelle you are aware that the 3 colts you like are running against each other in the louisiana derby.

08 Mar 2011 8:48 PM
Pedigree Shelly

     I think Stay Thirsty's race in the Gotham was excellent ! The time wasn't remarkable , but this colt was coming off a break , and I think he'll move forwards ! He's from the direct female line of Man O' War , which is also a plus !

08 Mar 2011 8:57 PM

I enjoyed Windy City's and RacinginNH's comments about the light schedule of 3-yr olds aiming for the TC series.  I agree whole-heartedly that we won't see a TC winner so long as these young horses don't get a good foundation under them.  I'm sure the intent is to have them "fresh" to face the challenge of 3 tough races within 5 weeks; the problem is they are totally unprepared for 3 tough races in 5 weeks.

I feel compelled to respond to Fran. It's clear you are a huge fan of Afleet Alex; I am as well.  I believe he he one of the most underrated racehorse of recent years.  However, no matter how much I admire the sire, I can't get excited about Elite Alex.  He looks to be a "plodder" without the heart or possibly the talent, to compete with the best 3 yr olds.  I love Calvin too; how can I not when Rachel is my absolute favorite since Easy Goer; but frankly, he is either giving Elite Alex terrible rides or he doesn't have enough horse (despite how he raves on him). I hope I'm wrong.  I'd love to see "Alex" sire a KY Derby winner.

08 Mar 2011 9:13 PM

Every year Steve posts his derby dozen and every year we all get on board and discuss our ideas about it. We do it because we love racing and its fun. Not everyone has read a racing form often, or seen a live horse race. We all come from different places and different interests, but one thing should remain the same. We should be respectful of each other and especially Steve. I have seen some posts that are a little mean and that really does not belong here. We all disagree that is what makes one guy bet on a different horse than you. That is what racing is all about, but sportsmanship is also a part of racing and we should all practice this. Just a thought.

08 Mar 2011 9:30 PM
Forbidden Apple


I only mentioned Apriority because of all the recent hype on how fast Flashpoint ran at Gulfstream. I know that he is a four year old. I was only trying to point out that Flashpoint is not even the fastest sprinter around Gulfstream. It has been surprising to me that the owner and many fans think this horse is a possible KY Derby horse.

I forgot to mention in my last post that Brethren also ran his mile split in 1:38 1/5 and some people have him highly ranked. And yet again ArchArchArch gets no respect and laughed at. Of course at 3 different racetracks, but ArchArchArch, Brethren, and Stay Thirsty all ran the same time for a mile.


Your recent post was funny, keep disrespecting Soldat, all he does is run hard in every race. What will Dialed In do in a big field? The answer is storm down the stretch and pass all of the horses that are in his path, win!

08 Mar 2011 9:51 PM

Rechelle I think Mucho Macho Man might even get better.

I think many including myself have given Uncle Mo a free pass in the rankings because he was that good and dominate 3-4 months ago. What I've seen has only been potential to match the level I suspect Mo is in. Only Soldat and Mucho Macho man have made statements. Until I've seen anything impressive to change my mind I'll remain with Uncle Mo as the best choice.

08 Mar 2011 10:38 PM

Barry Boy,

If the blinkers are removed from Premier Pegasus the race is over before it begins. A colt with two reported works in 4 months runs third beaten 3 lengths in 1:20 plus is going to be unbeatable with no one in the race to pressure him on the lead. All his rider has to do is get him to settle in a 1:11 to 1:12 pace and it over. Jaycito will be too close and will not catch him and the rest are pretenders.

08 Mar 2011 10:46 PM

My fellow posters,

There is only one colt on the derby trail with a triple positive base on the derby winners’ chart and no one is talking about him. I have been reading about some colts that I expect to be racing the ambulance in the derby and they are being mentioned. What am I missing?

To Honor and Serve took on the demanding 9F distance for his 3YO debut and faded fast in the slowest FOY in the last 5YRS. He is ranked sixth. The triple positive colt made his 3YO debut at 9F and got beat by a nose in 1:48 under a poor ride but cannot make the Derby Dozen.

Dialed In won the 8F HB in1:35.19 and returned in a 9F race and got beat in 1:51 plus. He is ranked fourth. The triple positive colt ran 1:35 1/5 for before his 1:48.63 for 9F but he cannot make the Derby Dozen

Folks the triple positive colt was sire by a son of Mr. Prospector and three of his sons have sired derby winners. (Positive #1) His dam was sired by a son of In Reality and two of his sons have sired Derby & Preakness winning broodmare.  (Positive #2) His sire belongs to a sire line that has produced the winners of 43 Triple Crown races including 15 derbies (Positive #3)

The cols last two races were on dirt and were by far his best. Six of his nine starts have been on synthetic tracks. How can a colt with so many positives, so much foundation  and has run 1:35 for 8F and 1:48 for 9F be dismissed for a bunch of 1:37, 1:50 and 1:51 foundationless colts with double and triple derby negatives? How can these cold facts be ignored?

08 Mar 2011 11:27 PM

Quoting Fort

"Because Flashpoint had some of your basic 2-year-old problems and needed time to smooth things out, the traditional way of getting to the Derby was not an option this year,” Fort said. “Because the traditional way doesn’t work I have to figure out a new punch to knock these guys out with, because that’s the only way I can fight them. I’m not looking just to get to the Derby. I’ve been there three times and have run second. I need to find a way to win, and the best way to do that is with this colt’s fabulous speed"

Flashpoint has never been asked to run!

09 Mar 2011 12:08 AM
Matthew W

Steve, you're absolutely right about the upside of Jaycito--I got him at 21-1 in first futures, as well as underneath Uncle Mo/"all others"--and all he needs is to be coming at the end--and he's second choice--that's a combination of Baffert, winner of three Derbys/almost four with Cavonnier--also he's a West Coast closer that should improve at Derby Distance--ala Ferdinand/Alysheba---Baffert just took down the Big Cap, and he has the Derby Horse--he also may Factor in the early pace, game on--DUDE!!

09 Mar 2011 12:36 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Very good post, and aren't we lucky that every horse in the race gets bet on. It's amazing but it happens every time. You could put a mule in The Derby and he would get bet on. No disrepect meant to mules.

09 Mar 2011 4:02 AM

Okay coldfacts Ill bite who?

09 Mar 2011 8:08 AM
Zenyatta John

Why do some people think Jaycito will be close to the pace Saturday? Cause of his works?  If you don't know HOW the work was run , how can you make those assumptions?

Jaycito NEVER has gone faster in the beginning of his works and finished slower.  He ALWAYS starts slow and FINISHES FAST. Baffert is not putting speed in him, he's building up that engine.

Jaycito may not win Saturday, but he will be CLOSING like a rocket.

Jaycito is the biggest prospect currently that WILL get 10 furlongs. Everyone else is guessing their colt will get the distance.

09 Mar 2011 8:19 AM


To keep matters in perspective, I must state that my Derby choice is To Honor And Serve.

Now, you wrote "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.."

I think you are sometimes unaware of what you are saying. Consider this.

Let us say that the main descendants of AP Indy at stud are Pulpit, Steven Got Even, Mineshaft, Tapit, Malibu Moon, Congrats and Bernardini. Of these Congrats and Bernardini are 2010 first crop sires. They have had only one crop to race and no reasonable conclusions can be drawn about them except that they are off to a fine start at stud. This leaves us with AP Indy plus the other  descendants. Of these, you have described 4 as exceptions. Now if those excluded exceed those included, you have turned logic upside down.

I hope this helps you understand why your views are seen as baseless.

I swear this is my last word about America's great sire of sires.

09 Mar 2011 8:43 AM

After Tampa Bay Derby - Brethren moves up to 4.

09 Mar 2011 8:49 AM

My prediction for 23 Horse Futures



Anthony's Cross



Comma to the Top

Dialed In

Elite Alex


Gourmet Dinner


J P's Gusto

Mucho Macho Man

Positive Response

Rogue Romance


Silver Medallion


Stay Thirsty

Sway Away

The Factor

To Honor and Serve

Uncle Mo

09 Mar 2011 10:50 AM

Cold Facts

Me thinks your triple positive colt is Riveting Reason, a nice colt with a lot of upside after back to back third place finishes to the pair of Jaycito and JP’s Gusto in the G1’s Delmar Futurity and Norfolk.  I don’t know why they thought they had to set the pace in the BC Juvenile especially against an Uncle Mo type and especially because when running in that race he was still a maiden.

Now the downside……he couldn’t win his second race against two other competitors and is still a maiden only winner (sounds like another version of Little Dude and Setsuko) and though he was trying hard in his last against Anthony’s Cross, going head to head with that one through most of the stretch, he still couldn’t get past, and this in a race with a slow final 3/8ths 38.71 and a slowing final 8th of 13.56.  My feeling is bet both at your own risk.

09 Mar 2011 1:29 PM

What 3pleCrown: no fillies?

09 Mar 2011 1:52 PM

Jersey Boy,

Try not to swear, Okay?  I too have purposed to have made my last comments on the matter only to be drawn out again and again on the subject.  The exchange is good however.  

AP Indy has many more sons at stud than you may realize, such as Jump Start, Flatter, Mingun, Full Mandate, Indy King, Suave and Mastercommand in addition to those you've mentioned. The exceptions that I have made are based on indicators (observation I've made) in some of their offspring that they could mature in time to be competitive in the Derby.  However that is still to happen.  Why hasn't even one of them been a Classic-winner-producing sire.  Those persons like yourself wishing for Bernardini to be a first crop Derby-winner-producing sire will again be disappointed.  I await the debunking of my theory.  This I guarantee you, that if AP Indy or Bernardini sires this year's Derby winner you wont be hearing / reading my ramblings again. Peace.    

09 Mar 2011 3:25 PM

No love for Positive Response? He made a bunch of good colts look like 5k claimers in the John Battaglia. His race in the el Camino was not that bad. Had Jakesam not come into his lane and make him check up and switch lanes, he might have caught Silver Medallion. Look out for him in the Spiral. Also I am on the Flashpoint train as well. He rated Travelin Man well in the Hutcheson and when asked he blew him away. I dont think we have seen his best yet. Gutt feeling. Looks like Im on the Pomeroy train now that I look at it. I people saying you cant rate horses who have never gone two turns, how are you going to rate a horse that hasnt started in 5 months? I am not a Mo fan and i will be shocked if he actually makes the gate in May. Hopefully Im wrong. Right now Im liking the horses that have shown speed against a good group of 3yos. Soldat, Flashpoint, Positive Response, THAS, Dialed In, and The Factor.

09 Mar 2011 3:55 PM

Cant believe u have uncle mo at number one. What? he enters a one turn mile in a restricted race, Who is he scared of. Come on steve u have a horse who hasnt run in 4 months and is avoiding going two turns in his 1st race back. I guarantee u one thing, If he is good enough to run against mucho macho man in the derby he will definetly finish behind him. Wish u werent so blind, but i miss ur great articles on zenyatta. Keep up the good work.

09 Mar 2011 4:01 PM

    It has noticeably appeared to me over the years, that outside of the more recent influence of Candy Ride (Arg.),--and excluding those of the various multi Canadian interbred connections and influences that are way too numerous to separate and dissect, that there are small select few number of other foreigners whom repeatedly appear in the bloodlines of a good many of the 3 Yr. old fillies and mares & etc., that are under consideration and that are now competing for spots in both the Kty. Oaks and the Kty. Derby. This has also been a trait that I suppose that I have noticed over the past several years, but that stuck me again more recently when look up the breeding for those of this year’s potential Oaks runners. In any event, the names of those stallions are:

                              “Nasrullah” (G.B.),--he of course the ‘sire’ or daddy of “Bold Ruler” and thusly the ‘sire’s sire’ or granddaddy of “Secretariat”;

                              “Blushing Groom” (Fr.),--notably the ‘sire’ or daddy of “Rahy”;

                              “Princequillo’ (Ire.),--also notably the ‘dam’s sire’ and thusly another granddaddy of “Secretariat”;

                              “Le Fabuleux (Fr.); and …

                              “Caro” (Ity.).

   Thusly, I was wondering if there wasn’t a fell blogger or someone else out there whom might throw some additional light my way as to exactly who those animals were and thusly the reasoning behind why that they seemingly pop up over and over again in researched pedigree lines.

   And of course, thank you ahead of time for any assistance rendered in this matter.


09 Mar 2011 4:58 PM

  Well, Coldfacts, I don't usually respond to other's posts, positively or negatively, just usually soak in the comments, but I agree.

  "Riveting Reason", whom didn't make it into Pool #1 or now Pool #2 and who hasn't yet graced Steve's 'dozen list', yet remains way more of a threat to me that "Gourmet Dinner", does remain way higher on my watch list presently, where i have him ranked above Steve's currently ranked #'s  5-8-9-10-11 & 12. But shhh don't tell, My list never matches up with so-called expects anyway, where I over played "Sidney's Candy" last year still thinking he was going to wire the field right up to the first turn!!

 And, it also appears odd to me that several others, such as the likes of "Anthony's Cross", who have pretty much proven distance won't be an issue, are getting nearly as little respect. Guess we have to await the SA Derby before any west coast horse gets any respect. And noone is mentioning that the likes of a "Quail Hill" of a "Jakesam" might come flying back with some potential greatly improved effort.

  And, I can only have wished that the likes of "Free Entry" & "Awesome Patriot" would have jumped into some earlier prep other than waiting this late for this weekend, but sorry, I am not their trainer or their a member of their connection. I can only hope that after these long layoffs that they don't produce poor performances, which we have already seen from several others and that they know what they are doing regarding their paths re each animals fittness and earnings accumulation required here to make a gate at 'the dance'.    

09 Mar 2011 5:26 PM

1st off Mr. Haskin i really really really enjoy the blogs!!! thanks so much for a place like this so we can banter 24/7!

-Zenyatta John- Hey whats up bud? (from horseplayernow chats?)

Well i hope their is racing @ MTH this year...

heres my order of preference as of today

1)SOLDAT - would just realy like to see him sit just off the pace

2)UNCLE MO - lets just wait and see

3)STAY THIRSTY - Gotham wasn't impressive but i know 4 darn sure he's pointed to bigger races....switched leads 2-3 times in stretch but hey he's learning

4)BRETHREN - already won @ Churchill and looks like he's moving in the right direction

5)MUCHO MACH MAN - just looks like he gives it all we shall see in the Louisiana Derby

6)DIALED IN - Not throwing him out yet... Zito hit the board in all TC races last year

7)SWAY AWAY - Loved is closing kick or was that FACTOR slowing down anyway looked like he can run all day

8)ELITE ALEX - Reminds me of a Street Sense... last race was forced 4 wide all race just a learning exeperience and couldn't hurt ... Iexpect much better next out

9)JAYCITO - looks like Baffert has him right where he wants him to be

10)CAL NATION - really impressed in maiden on 2/5 @ GP

11)ASTROLOGY - where has he been well i heard hes ready to roll

12)MACHEN -  i think the risen star has to be the deepest prep yet... just really can't toss him yet

OBVIOUSLY this list will change and its not really how good are they now but more of how will they do on DERBY DAY!!!!

09 Mar 2011 6:11 PM

illum, yes, I was aware of that and am really looking forward to that race!  We haven't seen Santiva's best yet and I really think he has the talent to improve.  

Gary, I just don't like Mo being in the Timely Writer.  I think he should've been in the Tampa Bay Derby as a better example of his talent & dominance. The Timely Writer is only a mile and he has to answer the question of distance. Otherwise, until he does, for me anyways, it is really hard to consider him anything more than a miler. Look at Quality Road, everyone thought he could do the classic distance of 10 furlongs (myself included) and he proved very quickly in the BC Classic that he wasn't and should've been in the dirt mile.

09 Mar 2011 6:39 PM

I would love to see a filly like Zazu run in he Derby.  I'm sure she would be charging in the stretch drive.  A tough spot, but why not.

09 Mar 2011 7:56 PM

Ok, chill out guys.  Time to relax with some more thoroughbred fun.  The colts to each other via cell phones this week:

Stay Thirsty to Dialed In:  "You can't beat those older, slower guys, man?"

Dialed In:  "I felt sorry for them and took it easy on them. Besides if I conserve my energy for the Derby win I get my new upgrade IPhone, that's all."

Stay Thirsty:  "Well you better get "pinging" faster in your next race or your conversations will keep breaking up on this outdated phone you have now."

Dialed In:  "What about you, where the heck were you looking, and why can't you just run straight?"

Stay Thirsty:  "I was looking around for Mo, but when I figured out he was not in the race with me I kicked in for the win."

Dialed In:  "Where is Mo anyway?  And why is Toddy hiding Brethren?"

Stay Thirsty:  "Mo?  Oh he is down in Florida doing some charity event race in honor of Timely Writer.  You know he is paying homage to those buried at Belmont at his home town.  Bro is running soon, are you scared?"

Dialed In:   "No, but I am kind of scared of Soldat and really scared of Jaycito, he always wears that masquerade mask on his face like Zorro."

Stay Thirsty:  "I can't hear you man you are breaking up.  I ain't scared of anybody except Calvin."

Dialed In:  "Alright, man, talk to you later in the week.  This phone is fried and I'm going "rogue" for awhile.  Later, man."

09 Mar 2011 7:58 PM

If you look carefully at the field for the Timely Writer you may conclude that the race is far from a gimme for Uncle Mo. Should he win with style, he would be the clear Derby choice at this point. Only a win (any type of win) by Alternation in this weekend's Oaklawn stakes could alter Uncle Mo's present status. The others would then be far behind, and that includes Brethren, even should he win.  

09 Mar 2011 9:06 PM

I just studied Brethren's pedigree.  Holy Cow he's got Distorted Humor, Mr. Prospector, A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, Danzig, and way back Secretariat in there.  I knew I saw something in him, must be the "Danzig" thing I can spot.  Now let's see what he does with all that heritage in him.

09 Mar 2011 9:19 PM


I have a policy of not putting ANY

HORSE that has NOT COMPETED  at the

TOP of the rankings

Im NOT a BELEIVER in Uncle Mo

and with the  EXCEPTION of STREET


09, ANY 2YO champion based on the

POOR RECORD overall they have had

since the ADVENT of the BREEDERS

Cup and the "shift in the sands"

regarding trainers Derby \


20 YEARS OR SO ,though Iam  LESS

OPPOSED to the 2 race pre DERBY

BASED ON THE  fragility of the modern American racehorse, or the PERCEPTION they are all "BRITTLE",

along with the SUCCESS of horses

that have prevailed off the two

race formula - STREET SENSE , Big

Brown, MINE THAT BIRD,and Super

Saver ,  despite the fact the latter two were pretty SORRY  

success STORIES  

CORRECT if Iam wrong -I think

GIACOMO also had just two runs

prior to his win in 05

But back to this NEW CROP - I do think that Uncle Mo will make the Derby  just because the margin of error is both SMALLER and WIDER , u KNOW what I MEAN

LESS tome to right the ship if there is a setback , but with two races and if all GOES relatively well , and in TOOD Pletchers' world RELATIVELY WELL means

if they come back to the barn STANDING UPRIGHT ,  then he goes to Churchill - MAYBE Im being a bit harsh

but PLETCHER like most horsemen are notoriously SKEPTICAL, and they habe a right to be especially these days - NO ONE seems to be AS INTIMIDATED even when one comes in with blowout wins like ESKENDREYA or an Empire Maker or a FUSAICHI or POINT GIVEN

so as long as UNCLE Mo  dosent run last and if there is an EXCUSE PLAUSIBLE or NOT as to why he got beat and the belief he will APPRECIATE the ADDED distance  - plus  the fact he ALREADY has the GRADED earnings - he's in the gate (for the DERBY)


Uncle Mo or an anti - TODD PLETCHER sentiment

but to TRULY assemble a TOP NOTCH

Derby field -  u ELIMINATE the two year old winnings , INCREASE the opprtunties for horses to earn money in the pre Derby events and there you go....

for the fans it would be great

make the prep SERIES more

COMPETITIVE despite the fact some

trainers will have their

preparation styles and stategies

CRAMPED by having to send their

charges out a bit MORE OFTEN

it could BACKFIRE -  it may prove

to be MORE BENEFICIAL to these horses

Then if you  want to incorporate the UAE Derby and any European races into the mix, instead of  allowing the one year expirement of the Kempton Challenge to be an

AUTOMATIC WIN and Youre IN "qualifier" for the DERBY , you make it an AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER for

ANY PREP race in the U.S.

Puts a bit of pressure on that horse to perform, but EVERY POTENTIAL DERBY candidate has some "heat" on them to COME THROUGH prior to the BIG RACE ,

maybe the UAE Derby should work in the SAME MANNER, maybe not - perhaps just CHANGING things where ONLY  three year old GRADED EARNINGS are  tallied would make the trip 2 DUBAI and the purse that it along with the NOW GRADED Sunland Derby offers , MORE IMPORTANT

But as far as top horses go

I find it interesting than MANY of

you think SANTIVA is too SLOW

and is by the WRONG SIRE (Giant's Causeway) while  ASTROLOGY, who LOST to SANTIVA last fall in the Kentucky Jockey Club

and has SLOWER speed figures , has MORE UPSIDE , being by A.P.INDY

who HAS, despite his greatness as a stallion has  NO TRIPLE CROWN resume outside of Bernardini

(who has TWO CONTENDERS in his first CROP)

and has been a sire some 8 - 9

years LONGER than Giant's Causeway

ASTOLOGY has not run yet though it looks like he's about to this week , while SANTIVA ran a pretty respectable race over a long FAIR Grounds stretch

something to think about

To conclude,

 I thought STAY THIRSTY 's Gotham was a good first out and well see what ability, if any he has when asked to go 9f


see you NEXT WEEK



09 Mar 2011 9:48 PM

The colts continue with more cellular interpretations of their perspective of things:

Brethren to Stay Thirsty:  "I just got a call from Dialed In.  He said he had a workout today and to tell you his cellular tower pings came in faster on the radar and his Beyer figure went up.  He was mumbling something about being afraid of Jaycito's mask."

Stay Thirsty:  "I tried to tell him that is just Bob's California "cool."  Jaycito's just seen one too many Tyrone Power movies."

Brethren:  "Oh, ok.  I heard Mo is in some race with a cat, a snake, and the guy from AMC's "Mad Men."

What in the Quail Hill is up with that?"

Stay Thirsty:  "Yeah, Mo is whooping it up down there.  I hear he is riding in a float and everything to the gala event.  Some guys have it all!"

Brethren:  I gotta ask Toddy to get me some of that Vitamin Water Mo drinks, must be something to it.  I'm off to Florida myself in a real race."

Stay Thirsty:  "Good luck, Bro.  We better keep an eye on Awesome Patriot.  If he wins we better go enlist at Fort Dix for training to combat him and Soldat.  Get the word out we have to be on "guard rail duty" on the first Saturday in May.  We gotta watch out for Elite Alex and Calvin.  Later, Bro."

09 Mar 2011 10:38 PM
John T

Alex,s Big Fan

 No it,s not that Danzig you can

spot in Brethern.''It,s That Old

Northern Dancer''

09 Mar 2011 11:19 PM
Karen in Texas

Alex'sBigFan---Yes, Brethren's pedigree is outstanding. You know that Cal Nation shares that heritage, right? They have the same sire and their dams are full sisters, Supercharger and She's A Winner by A.P. Indy.

09 Mar 2011 11:42 PM


Steve made the same observation regarding the last three furlongs in 38.71 and last furlong in 13.56. What did you expect when the early fractions were 22.48, 45.64, and 1:09.92? In the last five year 1:09 plus was recorded in 9F derby preps twice. The most recent being the 2011 Bob Lewis (1:09.92) and the other being the 2007 FOY (1:09.89). In the 2007 FOY won by Scat Daddy the last 3 furlongs were run in 39.22. Soldat ran the last 3F of the 2011 FOY in 37.8. The 6F split for the 2011 FOY was 1:12.43. This was 2.51 seconds slower than the 6F split of the Lewis. In spite of Soldat slow fractions he only came home 0.91 of as second faster than Anthony’s Cross and RR. Quality Road in his Track record performance in the 2009 FL Derby ran the last 3F in 37.06. His 6F split was 1:10.66. The point I am trying to make is that the fractions for the first 6F of the Lewis were extremely fast for a 9F race so any horse either sitting in or close to the pace would not close in 37 plus. If that occurred the final time be in the region of 1:46 plus. That would possibly be a either a NTR or a stakes record at least. Ifthese colt has gone either 1:11 or 1:12 do you believe that would come home in 38.71?

The important thing to take away from the race is that RR was making his 3YO debut and he was place in a 9F Gll race. How many colts have made their 3YO debut in a 9F graded race. I know of two THAS and Riveting Reason. THAS faded badly while RR was resolute to the line in what was his third start on dirt and first on the surface without blinkers. Anthony Cross had a pipe opener in the Sham where he was 3Rd to Tapizrs so he might have been the fitter of the two. If his rider was any good he would have won. Its same way he cost me a bundle of money on Setsuko by not being able to keep a straight course because of excessive whipping. This colt is at a stage of rapid improvement and is being trained beautifully. His trainer use to rip him a 57 and change, these day he does 1:00. None of the colts that have started in 2011 can set a pace that he cannot track and then quicken. If Soldat who is #2 on Steve’s list cannot beat this much improved colt then the rest can be forgotten. None on Steve’s list can run1:48 plus for 9F with exception of Uncle Mo. He has to be the top colt in CA and should be #2 in the derby dozen. Ironically he was the closest colt to Uncle Mo in the BCJ. The highly regarded and #3 ranked Stay Thirsty could only manage to finish 3 1/2 Ls ahead of a dead tired RR in the BCJ. RR has improved 100% since.

Big Brown came home in 2008 FL Derby in 38.08; Ice Box came home in 38.43. The 6f split for the 2008 & 2009 FL Derby were 1:10.66 & 1:10.76 respectively. They were 0.74 &0 .84of second slower than the Leiw 6F split. 38 plus for the last 3F is fairly normal.

10 Mar 2011 12:11 AM

I have never been one to make predictions about a horse race, like all of you I simply bet on the horse I believe will win. Many folks have opinions and I would like to believe that I respect all of them. However, it is my firm belief that not only will Uncle Mo get the 10 furlong Derby distance, he will win going away. The only thing that can beat him in my book is injury. My only concern is the fact he may be running in the Wood Memorial. The fact that he has had a long layoff is not concerning, the connections know what they are doing. The last winner of the Wood Memorial to win the Derby was Fusaichi Pegasus. Empire Maker won the Wood in 2003 but he lost the Derby. Easy Goer won the Wood in 1989 but finished 2nd in the Derby to Sunday Silence. So my point is, Wood winners usually do not win the Derby. True, that many Wood winners are very nice colts but right, wrong or indifferent, I'm just saying......luck to all.

10 Mar 2011 3:26 AM
Bloodline Bob

OK, the entries are out + ITS TEA TIME is running in the Hillsborough. Thats the Dynaformer horse that will win this weekend.Look at my 3-8-11@3:47a.m.prediction.

10 Mar 2011 7:07 AM

My fellow poster,

Are tough derby preps advantageous?

Well, those of you that are familiar with me will recognize that some cold facts will follow in an attempt to answer the above question.

The 2010 Derby winner Super Saver made two starts preceding the derby. He was fully extended and pushed to the limit on his 3YO debut in the Tama Derby. Only the Street Sense/Any Given Saturday Tama Derby was closer at the finish. He went to the lead and was literally not given a breeder from start to finish and was pressed in the stretch by four different colts.  He returned in the AK Derby and had to chased the very fast Line of David all the way in derby fractions of 22.65, 46.26, 1:10.75, 1:36.52. In the end he could not get by Line of David and had to hold off Dublin. Two extremely tough derby preps.

The 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird made two starts preceding the derby. He ran hard in both Borderland Derby and Sunland Derbies where he finished 2nd & 4th respectively. In the Borderland Derby MTB took the lead approaching the half mile and was subsequently challenged by five colts at the top of the stretch. One eventually headed him. He then rallied to get back on terms and in the ensuing last furlong duel he came up short by a neck.  Sunland Derby he joined the leaders after a half mile and took the lead at the top of the stretch and was quickly headed but he battled on resolutely to finished 4th. . He looked like a short horse in both races. It appears the 1700 miles van ride to CD eventually put on the finishing touches. Two tough derby preps.

The 2008 Derby winner Big Brown made two starts preceding the derby. He was a freak and had no competition to put pressure on him.

The 2007 Derby winner Street Sense made two starts preceding the derby. . He was fully extended and pushed to the limit on his 3YO debut in the Tama Derby by Any Given Saturday. The final time for the  G3,8.5F race was a NTR (1:43.11). He held on desperately to win by a SH. He returned in the Bluegrass and ran his eyeballs out finishing a bang up second. Two tough derby preps.

The 2006 Derby winner Barbaro made three starts preceding the derby. He won his first two fairly comfortably. His last the FL derby was different case as he was pushed to the limit by Sharp Humor in a stretch run that will long be remembered. He prevailed by a neck to 1/2L. A very tough final derby prep.

Four out of the last five KD winners were pushed to their limits and it appears the experience left them battle tested. Big Brown was an exception as he was mile ahead of the competition in the ability department. Is Uncle Mo the 2011 version of Big Brown? Based on his 2YO record he could but time will tell. Assuming he is not can he win the derby with a soft schedule? It possible as he is that good but his pedigree for 10F is suspect. Big Brown’s pedigree was not.

Although not terribly scientific, the cold facts above lean towards supporting an advantage for those engage in tough derby preps. who are the colt that are really battle tested based on the 2011 preps so far?

10 Mar 2011 7:25 AM

Is Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer Stakes or the Tampa Derby.   He is entered in the Tampa Derby.

10 Mar 2011 7:47 AM

Who is the better horse-Dialed In or Stay Thirsty?

This is what the numbers say. I am adding the Speed Figure to the Track Variant for races they ran at a mile or longer:

Dialed In:

81+24=105 while carrying 116 lbs

93+11=104 while carrying 116 lbs

Stay Thirsty:

90+18=108 while carrying 116 lbs

78+7=85 while carrying 122 lbs.

It looks like Stay Thirsty might just be the most underrated 3yo in training. His numbers in sprints, as a 2yo, are 107, 102, 107.

Those are the numbers as they appear in the DRF. I did not massage them.

10 Mar 2011 8:01 AM
Fran Loszynski

To Robin: I respect your opinion but I don't see the plodder in Elite Alex-I see more the speedster- he came from behind in two tough traffic races, he didn't flinch he kept his stride and look into his eyes, he has a killer instinct in him and courage. Maybe after the Rebel we will both have different opinions because "that's what horseracing is. And Cris is right we all may be standing next to one another at a race and not even know it and share our picks with one another and "like" the same horse that day in another race.I respect people disliking the horse I like because they share in the blog and it gives me the chance to "sway" them if I can my way. But just remember the next person you ask about an exacta at your local track may be the blogger you hate to read. I hope Steve never has photos with his blogs because then I'll have to cover the gray more thoroughly.

10 Mar 2011 8:15 AM

Zarvona:  Nasrullah was a direct descendent of Nearco, one of the foundation sires of the thoroughbred.  Imported from Ireland, he was lazy, ill-tempered, and unpredictable, but he is in the blood of Bold Ruler, Secretariat, Ruffian, Invasor, Noor and Nashua.

Blushing Groom was another import with speed but not stamina..a grandson of Nasrullah. He sired champions Sky Beauty, Rahy, Rainbow Quest...among aothers.

Princequillo was an endurance champion, imported to the US during the WWII for his own safety.  He was the horse who carried the xfactor gene for a large heart, and his progeny, through his broodmares, passed on this gene not only to Secretariat, but also to Sham, Seattle Slew, AP Indy and Cigar...and many more.  If Princequillo shows up in a bloodline, via the dam, chances are the colt is bred for endurance.

10 Mar 2011 9:15 AM
Forbidden Apple

Timely Manner- Rattlesnake Bridge

T.B. Derby- Beamer

San Felipe- Comma To The Top

I like Zazu and think she can win the KY Oaks. Kathmanblu is very talented, but I still say that she is much better on grass.

10 Mar 2011 9:19 AM

Coldfacts- comparing splits from Santa anita with splits from Gulfstream is absurd.  You should know that.

10 Mar 2011 1:17 PM

Brethren has the best pedigree of any horse on the triple crown trail.

10 Mar 2011 1:24 PM


What would I expect?  I would have expected them to go faster at the end.  My reasoning……they didn’t run those early fractions.  Tapizar did.  More reasoning……it wasn’t a single horse running through the stretch just maintaining its lead.  It was a head-to-head dual, both running very hard, both reluctant to give up the lead.  What are they going to do in a race like the Derby, fold their tents because the early fractions were too fast?

In the last five years none of the Derby preps were contested on the present Santa Anita speed track surface.  On Lewis day, two races later in the Santa Maria, the fillies hit the mile in 1.35.34, compared to AC’s 135.07, and finished their final 16th in 6.21 which if interpolated would come out to 12.41. for their final 8th, faster than the three year old’s 13.56.  The fillies were 2.37 off the track record, the 3 year old 2.53 off.

You can’t necessarily compare times horses ran at one track to another.  Personally, I don’t place a lot of emphases on times to begin with.  It’s the pace of the race and how it sets up that is important and as always, class matters.  At this time I do not believe that these two colts have the same class distinction as some of the horses you mentioned.  Of course, I may be wrong and perhaps one of them will jump up and win the Derby at very large odds.  I won’t be betting them to win but perhaps you might and in doing so, (A) enjoy a very nice pay day and, (B) with all the speculating we’ve been doing regarding the Derby horses, tell us that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

Soldat is a nice colt and perhaps the most versatile of the Derby contenders because of his running styles.  I am still a little leery of his breeding, but so far he has been able to over come it and his sire and dam are both relatively new to the breeding shed.   If he should be rated in his next (I believe the Florida Derby) and does well, then I give him a shot at the Derby (providing how Uncle Mo, Jaycito and especially Brethren do this weekend).  If he tries to wire the field and maybe employee this strategy in the Derby, I give him no chance to win it.

Regarding Stay Thirsty, I wouldn’t put too much negative emphasis on his race, his first in 4 months since the BC Juvenile.  It was a good effort, the time though slow was much faster than most two turn races at Aqueduct during the week leading up to the Gotham.  He was wide and had some trouble and still finished strong when he got his lead straightened out.  His next is import and if he goes in the Derby he will certainly be ready to fire.

10 Mar 2011 1:25 PM
El Kabong


You keep stating that if a horse can not do 1:48 and change in a 9F he doesn't stand a chance against Mo.  Soldat ran 9f back on 1/21 in 1:49 and one on a sloppy track while being geared down because he was 10 lengths in front of the pack. That's pretty close to your standard, and I do I need to  mention that it was his first race back in 10 weeks.  In the FOY he cruised home again, in a slower time of 1:50 but the key to both races is that he was not being challenged to run faster so why should he? To say that a horse who has run in this fashion won't  run 1:48+ by May, is to say that he has peaked. Are you nuts? Do you think Kiaran even has him close to being cranked? Do you not see that he hasn't even been tested by his competition-that's where you get fast times by the way. Oh and the most enjoyable fact of all for you Mr. Facts,  is your Boy Mo hasn't even run 9F's, so extrapolating from 8.5 is not a fact. It's a guess at best. How do you even know-fact wise- what time he will run it in? And you won't have that fact for some time because he won't even see 9F's until the Wood on 4/9. That's a fact that wouldn't allow me to talk so big about the virtues of a 9F 1:48+ standard. By April 3 you will have your answer on Soldat, and so will I, as I am sure with better competition, this horse will respond. The difference is one of us will be cashing in, and the other will  probably finding "facts" to discredit the results.

10 Mar 2011 3:51 PM
4th Grade teacher


You still have a lot to learn,now go to the chalkboard and write " I'm sorry,I rely on statistics way too much." 1,000 times and then you must change your moniker to 'Theories'.

10 Mar 2011 4:56 PM

Thanks "Slew"

... now have you got anything on "Le Fabuleux" (Fr.) ; Caro (Ity.) l and "Ribot" (Ity.) ???

10 Mar 2011 5:17 PM

Happy Birthday to Uncle Mo!!!

Congratulations to Zenyatta and Rachel in foal!!!

10 Mar 2011 5:18 PM

   And, again thanks Slew.

   And a most interesting point to add, not only did “Secretariat” notably have “Princequillo”-“Prince Rose”-“Rose Prince” on his 'dam side',--(d. & s.) “Somethingroyal”-“Princequillo”,--but in looking back over “Big Brown’s” pedigree; he had “Princequillo” on his sire’s (Boundary’s) ‘dam side',--through s.d.d.s. “Round Table”-“Princequillo”, but also notably had “Princequillo” on his 'dam’s (“Mein’s) side',--through his (d.d.d.d.s.) also having been through “Round Table”-“Princequillo”, being thusly dbl. bred to “Round Table”,,,

10 Mar 2011 5:57 PM

Question, did anyone get a Beyer reading on "Wilburn"'s run, I still haven't seen it posted yet on the Beyer leader board charts.

10 Mar 2011 5:59 PM
Blood-Horse Staff

zarvona - Wilburn's Beyer was 91.

10 Mar 2011 6:04 PM

   Will 2011 Follow the trends of the past? …Or, will it  Break the trends of the past?

 “…when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, [the normal rules] have been shattered into tiny shards in recent years.

    “A horse had not won the Derby off a layoff of at least five weeks for more than 50 years, that is, until “Barbaro” did …in 2006, followed (in 2008)  two years later by “Big Brown”.

    “Big Brown took down another supposed rule, becoming the first horse in nine decades to win the Derby with a mere three starts. So much for (old) experience.

    “No winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile had won the Derby since the inception of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984. Then along came “Street Sense” in 2007.  …there has been zero discussion of that [fact regarding] this year’s [current] Derby favorite, “Uncle Mo”…

   “And [as to the issue of] Dosage? It’s not even part of the serious Derby discussion [seemingly anymore]… since so many horses with supposedly inferior pedigrees [have more recently made] the winner’s circle…

    “[However,] there is one big …[old rule still standing] out there, [where for] nearly 130 years, no horse has won the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old. It will be the last rule to fall, and it’s putting up a hell of a fight [… to remain as the stumbling block that it is].

    “[Of the] 55 horses [who] have competed in the Derby without starting at 2, … [only] six ….have finished in the money.

    “…two horses who were un-raced last year, “Albergatti” and “Runflatout”, will try to take a significant step towards the May 7th [running of the] Kentucky Derby [to attempt to be among others to break that rule.]…

    [As to] “Runflatout”, [he] was entered twice at Del Mar last summer, and [yet was] scratched both times because of illness.

    “Additionally, as to the other]…20 horses currently on the top 20 of [“Watchmaker’s Derby Watch List, notably,]… only one, “Machen”, was un-raced as a 2-year-old.

    “Howard said … ‘the trend toward…smaller pre-Derby campaigns will help yield a horse who [could possibly equal] “Apollo’s” feat. But, he [added that], “the battle tested horses always seem to have a little bit of an edge.”

       By Jay Privman from the DRF

    Thusly, the odds against the likes of:  “Albergatti” ; “Bench Points” ; “Beer Meister”; “Flashpoint” ;

“Mr. Commons” ; “Runflatout” ; “Sway Away” ; “The Factor” ; & “Wilburn” remain long, however, they are not insurmountable for some incredible animal.    

10 Mar 2011 6:45 PM

Thanks Fran.  I didn't mean to imply I don't like Elite Alex.  I hope is a really good one because I'd like to see great success for Afleet Alex's babies.  My concern is that Calvin is known as "Bo-rail" for a reason but he keeps finding himself wide outside with EA.  I'm thinking he's not coming inside with him because he doesn't have enough acceleration to zip through holes as they open up, or maybe Calvin doubts he is courageous enough to squeeze through a tight hole.

I mean no disrespect to your opinion.  I've always found your postings to be thoughtful and well-written.

10 Mar 2011 9:18 PM

Jersey Boy,

Recently (just prior to the FOY) You did a speed figures comparison with To Honour and Serve and Uncle Mo that was intended to project THAS as the better horse and we've already begun to see how that analysis turned out, having watched the Fountain Of Youth.  Now you are again using the same anaytical tool/methodology to project another Bernardini colt, Stay Thirsty as the superior horse to Dialed In.  People who really know what to look for in a quality racehorse and how to discern differences in quality don't have to rely so much on those figures that you are "not massaging".  Trust your eyes sometimes Jersey Boy. Nothing that we've seen up until now suggests that Stay Thirsty is better than Dialed-In  my friend.  Don't allow your sentiments for Bernardini to become a delusion. Why don't we agree to meet again on the matter of your comparison after the Florida Derby where both colts are supposed to clash?  Are you up to the challenge or will you blame the speed figures are being unreliable?

10 Mar 2011 9:47 PM
John T


 You mention that Nasrullah was lazy.ill-tempered.and unpredictable

but he also was one of the most

beautifully balanced horses of all

time.Hence the reasoning behind giving us great racehorses and stallions like Bold Ruler and Nashua who went on to produce horses we shall never forget like Secretariat,Ruffian,and Shuvee.

You also mention that Nasrullah was a decendant of Nearco who also was the sire of Neartic who give us Northern Dancer and I can,t even imagine what racing worldwide

would be like without his blood let alone North America.

10 Mar 2011 11:28 PM
Forbidden Apple

Bloodline Bob,

I like Tea Time, but you better take a long look at Keertana. She loves to run and will be very hard to beat on saturday. Her trainer Tom Proctor knows his horse well and will have her ready for battle.


I think you are underestimating Dialed In and Soldat. Dialed In already has a 1:35 mile this year and will prove his quality and killer instincts in the FL Derby. His allowance race loss does not bother me at all. Now Nick Zito does not have any pressure about being undefeated, the pressure that sits in camp MO. With Soldat he ran 1:41 1/5 in the With Anticipation (1 1/16) and a close 2nd in the Pilgrim which was run in 1:47 4/5 (1 1/8), of course on grass. This year he ran a 1:49 1/5 1 1/8 in the slop where he won by more than 10 lengths. Both colts have unlimited potential and will give Mo all he can handle if they ever meet up.

Again, I like Rattlesnake Bridge to upset the Timely Writer.

Is anyone surprised that Pletcher is not being accused of any wrong doing when it comes to Life At Ten? This is exactly what I expected after 4 months, racings golden boy trainer can do no wrong. But yet some folks in NY want to strip Mr. Dutrow of his trainers license.

11 Mar 2011 12:24 AM

4th Grade teacher,

Many thanks for your comments they have been duly noted. Like every other poster I am not above criticism. However, I find criticisms that are vague insignificant. If you have been a regular visitor to this blog you would have noted the manner in which I address issues submitted by fellow posters. I copy and pace the points from their posts and below them I cite my comments. By doing posters are made aware of exactly the issues being commented on. I regard this policy as an effective way to respond and one which is void of confusion. This is a policy employed by those who recognize that effective communication gets the desired feedback. You clearly have no such policy. However, you are welcomed to adopt this policy if you have the capacity to execute same. If it has not been exceedingly clear to by now, I am unable respond as you have failed to effective communicate what issues you are addressing in your post.

It must be blatantly obvious that the majority of the posters here are mature knowledgeable people who are interested in meaningful exchanges on thoroughbred issue. Consequently, there is little or no room for those who have not attained said status.

11 Mar 2011 4:07 AM

El Kabong,

Many thanks for your comments they have been duly noted. It’s not very often I am referred to as Mr. Facts. I like it as it give me status. In all seriousness the points you raised are legitimate.

“You keep stating that if a horse cannot do 1:48 and change in a 9F he doesn't stand a chance against Mo”

Uncle Mo recorded a time of 1:34 plus the first time at the distance of 8F.  Big Brown recorded a time of 1:40 plus the on his debut at 8.5F. Curlin recorded a time of 1:22 on his debut at 7F while not keeping a straight course. Base on those times so early in those colts careers, do you believe horses that are consistently running 48, 1:12, 1:37 will have a chance against them if they report right?  Horses with serious class even on cruise control pace faster than Soldat and the others behind him. The reason Soldat recorded the slowest time for the FOY in the last 5YRS does not lie in any of reasons you advanced. It’s said that time only matters when one is incarcerated. I totally agree as those who are recording these slow times are in Uncle Mo’s thoroughbred jail. He has destroyed all those that have opposed him to date and consequently remains the colt by which all other will be judged.

“Oh and the most enjoyable fact of all for you Mr. Facts,  is your Boy Mo hasn't even run 9F's, so extrapolating from 8.5 is not a fact”

Oh how I love ridicule. The extrapolation of actual results give a good measure of projected times at longer distances. A colt that is capable of running 1:36 plus for a mile comfortably is likely to be very competitive a 10F Derby. The average time for the last 10 derbies run on dry tracks is about 2:02 plus. The average for the last 2Fs is about 25 seconds. Now let’s do the math. Uncle Mo ran 1:34 plus for a one turn mile in his second start. His mile split in the BCJ was 1:36.33 at two turns. If the average time for the last 2F for derby  is add to Uncle Mo’s  mile split in the BCJ  the projected time for 10F is in the region of 2:01 plus. This projected time is well below the average winning time of 2:02. It is not terribly scientific by I am convinced it will take less than 2:02 to defeat him as he has already attained the average winning time.

“ It's a guess at best. How do you even know-fact wise- what time he will run it in?”

You are correct Sir. As projected above his likely time without attempting the distance is at the derby wining average.

“The difference is one of us will be cashing in, and the other will probably finding "facts" to discredit the results.”

I have every intention of being the former and not the latter. The race has not been run as yet. I claim the majority of the colts on Mr. Haskin’s list are slow by derby standards. You happen to think they are not fully cranked up. One colt came out and ran three lightening fast races and other have ran twice that amount and have still not displayed his speed. It will take more than cranking up for them have a chance.

11 Mar 2011 5:09 AM

I like how most are dismissing THAS after his 3 yr old debut...where he ran 9f carrying 2 lbs more than the two horses who beat a 3 month layoff.

The weight they carry in these preps is huge to me, as they will all be carrying 126 on Derby Day.  Very few have carried 122 and earned a better Beyer than THAS.  Since I refuse to take the short odds on Mo in the Futures Pool, I think THAS will bring great value in Pool 2.  A Pool 2 Exacta Box bet with Mo may be in order.

11 Mar 2011 5:36 AM


“Comparing splits from Santa Anita with splits from Gulfstream is absurd.  You should know that”

Since you did not list the specific post I will assume you are referring to issue of the closing for the last 3F of 9 races. Well, I encourage you to revisit the above statement after the bit of cold facts below. There are about 9 to 10 major 9F derby preps that are contested each year. Of the estimated 42 contested from 2007 to date, the 6F split in these races has been 1:09 plus twice. Do you know on which track the fastest 6F split of 1:09.89 was recorded? Not at the current speedway at Santa Anita. It was at Gulfstream in the 2007 FOY. Ironically it was the CA shipper Stromello that set those fractions.

Quality Road ran two track records at Gulfstream Park and one at Saratoga. His Saratoga 6.5f NTR of 1:13.45 is not dissimilar to the NTR of 1:13 plus set on the new SA strip by Square Eddie. If you have been reading some of my post you would have seen that I from time to time recommend the addition of a second or two to the SA times. Apriority recorded 1:14.47 for 6.5F on the GOP strip recently. The strip therefore is producing very fast by quality horses.

The record will reflect that the Gulfstream Park strip can be just as fast as the SA strip and therefore a comparison between the two can in no way be deemed absurd.

11 Mar 2011 5:38 AM


Why do you keep imputing motives to others?. Is this a habit of yours? How can anyone ever develop sentiments for a first-crop sire? As I have said repeatedly, I judge horses by what they have done.

My method has seldom failed me. I have been using it for years. It enabled me to make a bundle on the last year's Ky Derby.

Those figures are provided by the DRF for a purpose. I rely on them.

Consider this. The numbers for Uncle Mo are:




They suggest a consistent level of performance.

By comparison his Beyer Figures are:

108, 94, 102. Do you think Uncle Mo's performances are as erratic as the BSF would imply?.

I do not rely on my eyes because all horses appear to run well when racing against weaker company. Eyes can deceive.

Look at Dialed In. He was beaten by an allowance horse in his second start of the year while receiving 7 lbs (matching the weight for age scale).  

What I hope you would have noticed is that the figures for Dialed In's last race are better than his figures in his previous race. He ran his best.

On the matter of the Florida Derby. This is a race heavily influenced by post position. I will base no comparisons on it. However, if THAS runs poorly I will simply switch to another horse. I have no feelings for any horse. I am a bettor.

Ranagulzion, I am not concerned about your opinions. My advice to you is to respond to what people say without imputing motives to them. It is an annoyance but you do not seem to be getting the message.

11 Mar 2011 9:34 AM


4th Grade teacher's remarks were spot on and, despite your allegation to the contrary, crystal clear in message conveyed. As to the "status" you attribute to yourself and some of the other posters, I couldn't disagree more.  

11 Mar 2011 2:35 PM

  As to i guess a less than brief follow-up to the discussion of the “Princequillo” appearance on ones’ ‘dam side’ as tending to lead toward ‘being bred for distance’. One might want to take a look at the lists to follow of a few of the top fifty to a hundred 3 Year Old thoroughbreds out there. And, only wishing I had a current “Tomlinson Distance rating to attach to each. In any event, thinking ahead & about the BELMONT ANYONE ???

triple bred to “Princequillo”:

“Ari C”: (T) notably as triple bred to “Secretariat” & dbl. bred on the (‘dam side’); d.s.d.s.d.s. ” via

      “A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”; d.d.s.d.s.d.s.: via “Chief’s Crown”;

      & (‘sire side’) s.s.d.s.d.s.: through “Stormy Atlantic”-“Storm Cat”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Beer Meister”: notably as dbl. bred on the (‘dam side’) via d.d.s.d.s.; “Princequillo”; via “Kris S”; &

      through d.d.d.d.s.d.s.: via “Secretartiat”-“Somethingroyal-“Pricnequillo”;  

      & (‘sire side’) s.d.s.s.s.: through “Pleasant Tap”-“Stage Door Johnny”-“Prince John”-“Princequillo”;  

“Sensational Slam”: notably as dbl. bred on the (‘dam side’) via d.d.s.d.s.s.; “Prince John”-“Princequillo”

      through “Cozzene”; & (‘dam side’) d.d.d.d.s.d.s.: via “Secretartiat”-“Somethingroyal-“Pricnequillo”;  

      & (‘sire side’)  s.s.d.s.d.s.: through “Gland Slam”-“Gone West”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Willcox Inn”: notably as dbl. to bred “Secretariat” twice on the ‘sire side’; as dbl. bred  to    

      “Secretartiat”; (‘dam side’) d.s.d.s.d.s.; through “Gone West”-d.s.: “Secretariat”; &

      directly on the (‘sire side’) as s.d.d.d.s.:; through “Harlan’s Holiday” & (‘sire side’) s.s.s.d.s.d.s.: via  

      “Secretartiat” through “Harlan’s Holiday”-“Harlan”-“Storm Cat”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

dbl. bred to “Princequillo”:

“Buffum”: notably as dbl. bred to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Storm Cat”-d.s.:

       “Secretariat”;  & (‘sire side’) s.s.d.s.d.s.: through “Bernardini”-“A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Dialed In”: notably as dbl. to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Storm Cat” &  

       (‘sire side’) s.s.d.s.d.s.; through “Mineshaft”-“A.P. Indy”;

“Escort”: notably as dbl. to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Pulpit-“A.P. Indy”-d.s.:

       “Secretariat”; & (‘sire side’)  s.s.s.d.s.d.s.: “First Samurai”-“Giants Causeway”-“Storm Cat”-d.s.:


“Free Entry”: notably as dbl. bred to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Pulpit”-“A.P. Indy”-

       d.s.: “Secretariat”; & (‘sire side’) d.s.s.d.s.d.s.: “Tale of the Cat”-Storm Cat”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Printing Press”: notably as dbl. bred to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Mountain Cat”-

       “Storm Cat”-d.s.: “Secretariat”; &  

       (‘sire side’) s.s.s.d.s.d.s.:  via “Tapit”-“Pulpit”-“A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Runflatout”: notably as dbl. bred to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Grand Slam”-

       “Gone West”-d.s.: “Secretariat”; &  

       (‘sire side’) s.s.d.s.d.s.:  via “Flatter”-”A.P. Indy”- d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Sweet Ducky”: notably as dbl. bred to “Secretariat”; (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Storm Boot”-

       “Storm Cat” -d.s.: “Secretariat”; & (‘sire side’) s.s.d.s.: via “Pulpit”-“A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

 … And yet here, the continuing suspect question must be asked surrounding all of those with “Storm Cat” breeding and his dismal non-Derby winner’s circle trip as of yet, although--(& like T. Pletcher last year as a 1st timer)--it seems in another post we were just discussing how such negative trends are records possibly only soon to be broken.  

  And, also to a brief follow-up to the discussion of the “Princequillo” appearance on one’s ‘dam side’ as tending to lead toward ‘being bred for distance’…

& therefore also notably discovered as singularly bred to “Princequillo” through the ‘dam side’:

“Albergatti”: (‘dam side’); d.s.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Sea of Secrets”-“Storm Cat”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Brethren”: (‘dam side’); d.s.d.s.d.s.; via; “A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Cal Nation”: (‘dam side’);  d.s.d.s.d.s.; via “A.P. Indy”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Elite Alex”: (‘dam side’);  d.d.d.d.s.d.s.; via “Secretariat”;

“Flashpoint”: (‘dam side’); d.d.s.d.s.; via “Secretariat”;

“Premier Pegasus”: (‘dam side’); d.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Summer Squall”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

“Sway Away”: (‘dam side’); d.d.s.d.s.d.s.; via “Summer Squall”-d.s.: “Secretariat”;

   …thusly, supposedly all of the above are influenced for distance…


& notably as discovered as singularly bred to “Princequillo” through the ‘sire side’:  were …

“Archarcharch”:  “Arch Traveler”: “Astrology”:  “Bind”:  “Chinese Praise”: “Economic Support”:

“Santiva”; “Stay Thirsty” & “Wilkinson”: ….

 …And all being where, thusly, it might also be noted here, that a host of the other list toppers names do not appear in the lists above. Thusly, 'those others' must each on their own merit in the least be further questioned as suspect for adequately being able to sustain their respective brilliant speeds up to a mile and ¼ .

11 Mar 2011 4:12 PM


  Additionally: bred to “Princequillo” on the ‘dam side’: is  “Uncle Mo” !!!!!!!!

  Additionally: triple bred to “Princequillo”:

“Occelli” ; & “Twinspired” ;


  Additionally: dbl.  bred to “Princequillo”:

“Admiral Perry” ;  “Chasing Moonlight” ;  “D’Pendable” ; “Heron Lake” ; “Lou Brissie” ; & “Midnight Interlude” ; ... along with those already off the trial in  “Crossbow” ; & “Prime Cut” ;

11 Mar 2011 6:47 PM

Forbidden Apple,

What a name, Rattlesnake Bridge!  That is one bridge, as sure as God made apples, I am NOT walking over!!! Ha! I hope it's Mo with the win now that the guy from "Mad Men" is out!  We shall see what unfolds in this Timely Useless.  RS Bridge puts the "squeeze" on Mo but the cat in the race could be the "snake in the grass."  Sorry, couldn't resist!!!

Now seriously, the Life At Ten debacle decision.  I cannot see Johnny V being culpable for this. In my eyes, he did his part by alerting ESPN, who in turn as I understand it, alerted the stewards.  Doesn't it rest at that particular juncture on the stewards?  I agree with you, I would have questionned Life At Ten's demeanor hours prior to the race.  She was ok on the walkover?  This reaction, or whatever it is she had, took place after saddling, leaving only poor Johnny V. to notice it?  Owners and trainers noticed nothing amiss or out of character?  The jocks, who are not with the mounts daily, and may not know the idiosyncracies and characteristics they possess as they have many other mounts, are left with a dilemma of "should every sluggish horse now be scratched?"  This solves nothing.  If they are going to continue to allow meds and sterioids, they need to revisit the rules for authority to scratch a horse from a race.  What exactly are stewards, anyway?  What about the vets say in the matter, do stewards have vet training or are they just racetrack officials?  Shouldn't the next step have been the steward asks a vet to take a look at Life At Ten before loading in that gate?  I just don't see this blame on Johnny V. at all.

11 Mar 2011 7:20 PM


In looking for stamina influences for potential classic winners I suggest that you survey the pedigree of the winners of at least the last ten Belmont stakes (2001-2010).  You may be surprised to find out that Princequillo, to which you have payed much attention, seldom appears anywhere.  In fact Princequillo, the broodmare sire of Secretariat, like Bold Ruler has been marginalized by AP Indy's failure as a classic-winner-producing sire. On the Dam side of Belmont winners of the last ten years you'll see Raise A Native often in the sire line, Northern Dancer embeded top and bottom in both sire's and dam's family, In Reality, Buckpasser and Alydar, top and/or bottom.  The latter appears to be a strong influence when in a Broodmare's blood. A couple of old time influences that show up are Hyperion, especially when in the broodmare sire line of either sire or dam of the classic winner, and Ribot.  For instance, Da Tara, Point Given and Sarava all had Hyperion in those relative positions mentioned.

Once you've made those observations, go to work looking for similar patterns in the current crop of classic aspirants.  Good luck.

In this context let me talk about the overwhelming kentucky derby favourite for a moment. Uncle Mo has Hyperion via Sing Sing (i.e. in the broodmare's family of his grand sire, In Excess, an apparent good position) coupled with inbreeding to Hyperion's sire Gainsborough via Caro, as well as Raise a Native, in the top half.  In his dam's family he has Alydar in the female family of his broodmare sire Arch (thus inbred to Raise a Native, top and bottom) with inbreeding to Northern Dancer (another good indicator of stamina being passed on).  

Take it from me Zarvona, Uncle Mo has the pedigree to go long and he has genetic patterns congruent with previous Belmont Stakes winners.  Its ironic that the presumable inhibitting factor in his stamina could be Hyperion's grandson Sing Sing (a champion sprinter in England that was undefeated in six starts as a 2YO, but never winning beyond five furlongs). However the greatest probability is that with the pedigree configuration appearing to enhance stamina as a dominant trait "Mo" is looking like the one to do what "Esky" missed out on doing last year, which is to break the 33 years Triple Crown drought with Johnny V sitting motionless in the saddle.  His pedigree represents the quintessential combination of speed and stamina ...making him the ultimate equine "racing machine".  How's that?  

11 Mar 2011 11:37 PM

Is this merely a coincidence?

By adding the Speed Figure to the Track Variant of Uncle Mo's 3 races, I get this:




The average is 101.66

The Beyer figures are:

108, 94, 102

The average is 101.33

12 Mar 2011 8:26 AM

Zarvona...Round Table was a son of Princequillo, and therefore would not have inherited the xfactor gene.  You always have to keep in mind that it is the dams who pass on the genetic trait.  Something Royal was Secretariat's dam..and she was a daughter of Princequillo.  So merely having Princequillo in the ancestry is not as important as having it in a dam's ancestry.

12 Mar 2011 9:34 AM
Quiet american 55

Would not worry about graded earnings for ea.  Will take care of itself as distances get longer at oaklawn.

12 Mar 2011 10:46 AM
Jean in Chicago


Whole books could be written on Ribot (and probably have been).  He was bred by Federico Tesio who also bred Nearco, sire of Nasrullah.  If you go back in his pedigree, the great British horse St.Simon appears 6 or 7 times.  St Simon was leading sire 9 times and leading broodmare sire 6 times.

 Ribot was Italian 2y old champion, Ity 3yr champ and Ity, Fr and UK champion older horse in 1956.  He won the Arc de Triomphe twice and was undefeated in 16 starts.

 He was imported to the US by John Galbreath (Darby Dan) on a 5yr lease arrangement, but turned out to be so ill-tempered and hard to handle that no insurance co. would cover his return trip so he stayed here (lucky for us).  Maybe this is where Nasrullah got his bad temper.  It was said his chest was so wide & deep that it was hard to find a girth that would fit him.  Probably his most famous sons were Tom Rolfe and Arts and Letters.

Caro (IRE) also has Nasrullah in his pedigree.  In addition to Winning Colors, he sired Cozzene, Tejano, Dr.Carter and With Approval (Canadian triple crown winner and HOY for 1989).

Le Fabuleux (FR) can trace his pedigree also back to the great St.Simon.  He was leading (FR) broodmare sire in 1980.  My favorite of his offspring is The Bart (who raced against John Henry).

12 Mar 2011 12:34 PM
El Kabong


No ridicule intended, it's just that I find it amusing that a man of such hard evidence has turned to faith to explain his logic. I like mo myself but I am not fond of his late beginning. The soft schedule doesn't sit well with me either, as much as I respect Mr. Pletcher's talent.

Did anyone congratulate you on your call in the Gotham. I will. Norman B ran a great race. Look into your fact machine and tell us more about this colt. He struck my fancy after that last race. Your fact machine has it's moments and I won't deny you that.

12 Mar 2011 1:49 PM
Forbidden Apple


Even though I don't always agree with what you write, I do read all of your comments and take out which parts interest me. I always tell you that I appreciate your hard work and research. Earlier this week I picked Comma To The Top to win the San Felipe. But that was before I purchased a DRF and got to see the horses in the paddock and post parade. When I noticed the front bandages and dull look to Comma To The Top, I began to search for another horse to play. I thought back to your post earlier this week when you talked about Premier Pegasus. "If the blinkers are removed from Premier Pegasus the race is over before it begins". Alonso Quinonez surprised me when he took the horse back. I thought for sure he would flash speed again. Premier Pegasus ran a hole in the wind and completely smashed his competition. And he really did show tremendous speed again, he sat 2 lengths off from a 44 2/5 half mile. I thought his performance was far better than Uncle Mo's jog at Gulfstream. I played Premier Pegasus in November in an exacta box with Industry Leader. I had kind of written them both off as sprinters. This performance by Premier Pegasus must be taken seriously, I will surely play him back in the Santa Anita Derby. And it gives me great confidence for the upcoming race of Sway Away. Anyway, I had a $40 WP ticket on Premier Pegasus and it pulled back the cash that I lost earlier in the day on Keertana and then some. I just wanted to say thank you and I hope you made a good score as well.

12 Mar 2011 11:47 PM


…If anyone was impressed by “Watch Me Go” ‘s win from a pace that clocked a 1:37.10 ; mile, where following he then got home in the final 1/16 totally pressured yet holding on by nose to win in 1:44.25 ;--  with a closing 16th  of 7:15 ;  --stamping himself as a true yet mild competitor , across the continental forty eight after rating off the most torrid pace of the day--: 21.75 ; : 44.58 ; 1:08.98 ; 1:34.55 ; --created from the multi present group of expected speedsters, stamping himself as even more of a true DERBY threat, and never near the front of the pack early on and yet also without competition pressing him home, THE SON OF “PEGASUS 2000” , “PEGASUS  2011”, romped home, finishing in a most respectful 1:41: 23 ; and in a final 16th of 6:68 ; --AWESOME !!!--marking him as a true top flight threat not only in the SA Derby, but with his breeding, a new true threat on the later Kty. pit stop as well.

  Notably otherwise among the many others who were expected to perform better, “Brethren”–although his brother “Super Saver” didn’t really mature until Derby Day also winning only one prep and not impressive in his others also, “remind you of anyone?”--, “Free Entry”, “Awesome Patriot”, the gorgeous “Jakesam”, and even “Jaycito” were all major disappoints. If anyone wants to say that “Jaycito” got something out of this race after a lengthy layoff, the same could easily be said about “Bench Points” who also rated from well back off the pace. Additionally, “Comma To the Top”,--although with enough earnings already to potentially steal a low gate slot, proved again distance is an issue, where it would be nice if he just left the Derby trail at this point and went off to pursue a new Turf career opening a Derby gate up for some other late competitor.

  And, if anyone was even paying attention,--to anything else besides that of "Uncle Motor's workout or that of “Pluck”’s non return-return, which I won’t discuss here,--in other 3 Year Old news of this mid-March Saturday’s happenings, Pletcher’s long awaiting to develop “Praetereo”,--another formerly watched from my ‘deep sack of potatoes’,-- off a slow pace to reach a Mile at 1:38.32 ; finally finished up nicely coming home in a 1 1/8 finish of 1:50.92 ; where finally after 5 tries he did finally break his maiden in a $52K  Mdn. 1 1/8 event.    

  “Uncle Mo”, set his own pace to hold off late the developer “Rattlesnake Bridge”, whom may yet have a future. “Adriondack Express” broke his maiden in a slow 1 Mi. 40 event in 1:41:34 ; ,,,and this all of the while that “Duca” won a slow 1 1/16  out at OP in 1:45.51 ;   Another seemingly slow finishing time was turned in by the 1 Mi. Turf winner “Lil Bit of Fun” in  1:38.22 ; in the race that “Pluck” never woke up to run in. John Shireff’s “Cloud Man” broke his maiden impressively in 6 ½ fur. in an awesome 1:14.27 ; finish off of a pace of  :21.39 ;   :44.08 ;   1:07.72 ;--AWESOME !!!-- early fractions, being besides “PEGASUS” maybe the other most impressive ride of the day for the 3 Year Old generation. And, off 'the TURF', the 1 1/8 victory of "Joes Blazing Aaron" (notably having been the 20-1 program long shot) in a respectable :24.06 ; :49.22 ; 1:13.48 ; 1:36.55 ; & final of 1:47.85 ; all besides being quite impressive by the time turned in after moderately good fractions, was even more impressive in the fact the bet off at 11-1 shot not only set the fractions himself but that he wired the field winning wire to wire in that impressive time of 1:47.85 ; picking up speed in the end over an otherwise quite respectable 3 year bunch, including 2-1 (2nd placing by + 1 1/2) finisher and Pletcher's  "Queen’splatekitten", but also over the likes of "Master Dunker" (6th) ; "Ari C" (5th); "Newsdad" (3rd by a neck!); "Liberty Cap" & "East of Danzig" (4th)!

  On the filly side, “Joyful Victory” romped home by 8 ¾ lengths ahead of few notable rivals covering a 1 1/16  in 1:44.83 ; also at OP.  And, another of my early fillie dozen who the sportswriters totally ignored, “Wyomia” came flying down the stretch between horses to take the $75K Suncoast S., although the speed of the race seemed like a pretty normal low Graded event or an allowance type race. For short new speed, “Home Sweet Aspen” broke her maiden and got home in 5 ½ fur. in an impressive time of 1:02.30 ; as did “Run Candy Run”, a daughter of “Candy Ride”, covering the short 5 fur. sprint in another impressive showing in a maiden event in :57.38 ;

  And so, another early prep Saturday passes, where the only runner probably gaining more respect to being a real Derby competitive threat more so than he did already going into the weekend was “PEGASUS”, “Premier Pegasus”, the son of “Fusaichi Pegasus”.  

  Paul Harvey… “good day”.  

13 Mar 2011 1:12 AM
Fran Loszynski

Robin M.  Oh I know you mean no disrespect. I wish I had your knowledge of horseracing. Reading your blogs I learn alot and believe me I too questioned at first if the rail would benefit Elite Alex. I can't wait for the Rebel. It's going to be a nailbiter of a race.I believe though that Calvin knows he has to make a quick decision the minute he leaves the gate. Just think what he has to decide on: rail, hold back, go to the front, or go wide!  Wow. You know though Tim Ritchey is an awesome trainer. I've watched videos of Afleet Alex over and over again and his strategy is awesome.

13 Mar 2011 11:09 AM

Coldfacts, I probably misread the post, but it is even more of a slippery slope to compare times of different years, since the only really relevant times are the ones being run on the track now.  Gulfstream was reconfigured since 2007, I believe, but I may be wrong.  Mr Haskin said that the track was funky all day at Gulfstream for the 2011 FOY so he was disregarding the times and looking at the performance.  And even though there have been a few fast times at Gulfstream, on the whole it is playing much slower than Santa Anita on a raw time basis.  If we are going to go back in years to compare times we also have to compare the track variants for each of the races you mentioned and compare it to the track variants of the fast races this year at Santa Anita.  Why didn't you mention the world record 6 furlong time at Turf Paradise since you are bringing up past fast times?  On raw time that horse was the best sprinter ever, and we know that isn't the case.  I still do not believe you can compare fractions at Gulfstream and Santa Anita with any meaning this year, let alone past years.  But, differing opinions is what makes a discussion.

13 Mar 2011 1:26 PM
El Kabong

Forbidden Apple, Coldfacts

I too read that article but I was already on Premier Pegasus. I was still wondering how he(Coldfacts) came up with Norman B so I didn't hesitate to put PP on top of Jaycito, many times in a tri that would have paid handsomely if Comma hadn't finished up like a bowery bum and let bench warmer steel my bundle. Ouch. Keep up the good work, both of you. A pleasure to be in your company.

13 Mar 2011 9:11 PM
Forbidden Apple

Alex's Big Fan,

Someone on another blog made a comment that Uncle Mo turned away a challenge. Did you see any challenge? The race turned into a paid workout when Madman Diaries scratched out. All things considered, Rattlesnake Bridge ran a pretty good race. He had no chance to catch a little speed horse who jogged 6f in 1:13 3/5.

By far the most impressive race of the week came from Premier Pegasus in the San Felipe. Did you see his brilliant performance? He sat 2 lengths off from a 44 2/5 half mile and then kicked into overdrive and won by almost 8 lengths.

One major problem that J.V. is facing, is the fact that he made his comments on national television. It's bad for horse racing and it is clearly horrifying for gamblers. If you remember back to the post race interview with Pletcher, he talked about Life At Ten's behavior pre-race in the paddock. He said that she was not acting like herself, but still insisted that J.V. see how she would act in the warmup. J.V. could have told an outrider or track veterinarian that L@Ten was off and in need of an inspection. Or he could have simply refused to ride the horse for her own safety and for his safety. In the latest report, it appears that J.V. told one of Pletcher's assistants after the race that he knew she was not right. ESPN has nothing to do with the Kentucky stewards or horse racing. They were simply broadcasting what they could. Yes, the stewards are state officials. However the chief steward(John Veitch) is a Hall of Fame trainer who knows and loves horses. The only thing I blame Mr. Veitch for is not ordering a post race blood/urine test on L@Ten. I stand firmly behind my opinion that Pletcher should be found accountable. He knew his horse was not right, but sent her out of the paddock anyway. The entire situation is unfortunate, someone needs to be fined and suspended. I believe Pletcher is getting the golden boy treatment and some people think that he can do no wrong.

13 Mar 2011 9:19 PM

P.S. All I can add re my own thinking surrounding "UNCLE MO" besides his breeding,--which I am impressed by btw,--and this so in comparison to that of "Big Brown”’s own,--is that, personally, I still think this training method en route to the Kentucky Derby "STINKS" , where I believe that a more rigorous training schedule against the competition of the day and the month should have been undertaken. Again, “Big Brown” had hoof issues limiting his ability to take on more which undoubtedly he would have. Although, if successful, bravo and kudos to his connections, but should this method fail and “Mo” have some horrid May 7th Derby Day ride, it’s squarely going to fall on Pletcher’s and his connections shoulders due to their failure to map out a more strenuous course of competitive preps. And besides that, Pletcher, who maybe the most respected trainer of the last decade now, still has a horrible record on Derby Day. And achieving the winning of the Triple Crown off such a weak training schedule seems even more impossible as besides the still compact back to back nature of the races, still having gas left for the “Belmont” off such a weak month of preps going in seems extremely unobtainable.  And, bet “Mo” or not, that mapped out weak training schedule really has me frightened. That being in thinking of throwing money in that direction on a horse that virtually by reputation of the BC Juv. win alone and the continuing press be showered to him will undoubtedly still go off on Derby Day with low return yielding odds, nice pedigree or not.

 “Big Brown”: (Kty.);

    8       7     0     0 ; D.I.: 1.67 ; Apr. 10th foal; $170K ’07 Keenlander ;

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

 “Uncle Mo”:  (Kty.);

    4       3     0     0 ; D.I. 2.20 ; Apr. foal;.$160K  ’08 Keenlander; $220K  ’09 Keenlander;

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

13 Mar 2011 10:09 PM
Forbidden Apple

Correction: Premier Pegasus sat 8 lengths off from a 44 2/5 half mile

14 Mar 2011 12:51 AM

Forbidden Apple,

I sure did see Premier Pegasus sprout his wings in that performance.  It was great.  

Yes, the Timely was pretty much what one of the things Steve had surmised earlier for us, a public workout.  I guess, however, Mo at least went through all the race motions, saddling, paddock, people, gate, etc. so it has to have at least some positive mental value.  But will it help him to combat his 19 compatriots converging on Churchill all at once on Derby Day, who knows?  Mo looked physically good, he did his job asked of him, I'll give him that much.  Did we learn much, no.  

I wasn't aware that Pletcher noted Life At Ten not right, then he and Johnny V knew and took a chance instead of erring on the side of caution I guess.  Thanks for explaining ESPN's involvement.  Then, that being said, I guess it does come down to Johnny V demanding Life At Ten have been looked at by a vet. If he knew she wasn't right he risked his own life to boot.  Maybe it's a hard call to make, your're say a jock sitting on a mount, the mount does not seem exactly right, do you jump off and check it out or do you continue hoping it's nothing.  I'm sure the jocks see horses sluggish who win and those keen and sharp who run out of gas later. Johnny V is one of my favorite riders.  But now just watch, jocks are going to panic and we may see many more scratches.

Sluggish is one thing and way out of character is quite another, I don't know which one applies to Life At Ten.  Apparently they thought it was mild or else why would Johnny V risk his own life as well?

14 Mar 2011 7:01 PM

 Ok, anyone want to take a guess at the 2011 minimum earnings for a 'Derby gate' requirement!! $250K or higher?  "225K or lower?    

 It seems that only a few years back we were debating a figure around $185K and saw $125K qualifiers. Thusly, what is your guestimate for 2011??  

 And, if you don't think that it matters, take a look at your Derby hopeful and see where he stacks up against current yet former 2 yr. campaigners among the leading earners presently who may knock your hopeful right out of a gate slot!! In fact, if "To Honor and Serve" fails in the Fla. Derby to be #1 or #2, what options would then be left open to him? Dropping out and awaiting the Preakness? ...or attempting another so present not mapped out prep trial run?, and etc.  

16 Mar 2011 9:23 PM

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