Derby Dozen - April 11, 2011 - Presented by Pauls Mill

 

1

Dialed In Nick Zito

Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat

He gets pushed up to the top spot, partly because he’s done enough to earn it and partly because there is no one else to put there. We haven’t seen Zito this high on a horse in a long time, and he definitely has a special feeling for him. The decision to keep him at Palm Meadows until the final week is not Zito’s m.o. at all, so that is a bit curious. But as long as everything goes according to plan you know he’s going to be charging down the stretch.

2

Toby's Corner Graham Motion

Bellamy Road—Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky

I have to admit, after having him in the Top 12 for three consecutive weeks in February when he hadn’t done anything but win the Whirlaway, it is gratifying to see him start to fulfill his potential. And he still should get better as he matures physically and mentally. The Wood was a perfect prep for him, overcoming heavy traffic, going five to six paths out to look for room, getting sawed off in the upper stretch, and still coming home his final eighth in :11 4/5 and three-eighths in :36 2/5.

3

Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher

Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch

Boy is he taking a beating -- he’s not sound, he’s not fit, he’s overrated, and he can’t go 1 1/4 miles. We’re certainly not saying he’s going to win the Kentucky Derby off his two races this year, but he should have gotten a lot out of the Wood. He needed to be tested and he was. He needed to get a little tired to put some bottom under him and he did. When you can set the pace going 1 1/8 miles for the first time and get tired and still come home in :12 4/5 that's not bad. As uncomfortable as he looked down the stretch, he actually seemed to level off in the final 70 yards after being hit left-handed and was striding out much better at the end. He has a tough task ahead, but can’t desert the ship off a 1 1/4-length loss when seemingly short.

4

The Factor Bob Baffert

War Front—Greyciousness, by Miswaki

Watched his 6-furlong work in 1:12 over a pretty dug-up track and just loved the way he lowered his head and shoulder and the extension of his stride. And he just kept going. The Arkansas Derby will tell us all we need to know. If he can beat the assemblage of talented horses that await him, the “Danger: Keep a Safe Distance” sign will go up for the Kentucky Derby. Trying to run with this powerhouse of a horse will result in a one-way ticket home

5

Midnight Interlude Bob Baffert

War Chant—Midnight Kiss, by Groom Dancer

I would actually have him higher if I had the chutzpah; that’s how impressed I was with his Santa Anita Derby. He ran like a seasoned pro, despite being interfered with twice and going very wide on both turns. Talk about popping up out of nowhere. Even with his momentum stopped twice by a drifting Comma to the Top, he still closed his final eighth in about :12 1/5 and three-eighths in :36 4/5. Looks like Baffert has had a Howitzer hidden in his arsenal all this time. But he does have to overcome the dreaded Apollo curse.

6

Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo

Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche

His five-furlong work in :58 1/5 was huge, and moves him up as a legitimate contender. Yes it was only a work, but when they can bounce out of a tough race (and losing a shoe) and work like that it tells a lot about the horse, especially his ability to recover from a race and his overall constitution. With a horse this big and born so late in the year, any concerns about the six-week layoff to the Derby have been greatly diminished after this work.

7

Santiva Eddie Kenneally

Giant’s Causeway—Slide, by Smarten

Assuming he gets a good trip in the Blue Grass Stakes there is no reason why he shouldn’t win or at least run a huge second if he’s going to be considered a top Derby contender. He has a class edge on this field and should have no excuse. Of course, we have no idea how racing over the Polytrack will set him up for the Derby. He did use it successfully last year prior to his Kentucky Jockey Club win.

8

Archarcharch William Fires

Arch—Woodman’s Dancer, by Woodman

His third in the Rebel was much better than it looks on paper, considering the minor injury and mental anguish he went through in the gate when Alternation thrashed about, striking him in the next stall. He wasn’t able to run his race and never settled, but still hung tough and was just beaten for second. He’s been training super and should bounce back in the Arkansas Derby. Whether that’s good enough to win, we’ll see. This is going to be one tough race unless The Factor blows ‘em all away again.

9

Elite Alex Tim Ritchey

Afleet Alex – Catch the Moment, by Unbridled

One thing is for sure, you won’t see him last, far off the pace in the Arkansas Derby. If he can finally get a decent post and a decent trip, we should find out just how good he really is. Blinkers should get him sharper as well. They certainly seemed to help in his last work. This horse has much more natural speed than one might think. He’ll get his class test on Saturday. Ranking him this high mainly because we really don’t know how good he is and what he is capable of doing with a clean trip.

10

Sway Away Jeff Bonde

Afleet Alex—Seattle Shimmer, by Seattle Slew

He could very well be the smart play in the Arkansas Derby. Of the top four finishers in the San Vicente, three have come back to win a stakes. The reason he’s a smart play is his last work, in which he came home each of his last two eighths in :11 3/5 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25. We all know he was victimized in the Rebel when he lunged forward in the gate and knocked out a tooth. He’s fast and he can rocket home as well as anyone. We just have to see if he can do it going two turns. If he can and he makes it to the Derby, watch out.

11

Jaycito Bob Baffert

Victory Gallop—Night Edition, by Ascot Knight

You never want to see a setback this late on the Derby trail, especially when it alters your schedule this dramatically. Big difference between the Santa Anita Derby and the Lexington on Polytrack. But he still has a chance if he can run huge at Keeneland. He just needs to leave something in the tank coming back two weeks later, which actually may get him on a Charismatic-like roll. Big issue is never having run 1 1/8 miles and very little racing on top of that.

12

Nehro Steve Asmussen

Mineshaft —The Administrator, by Afleet

If it doesn’t work out with Jaycito, Zayat Stables has an able back-up in this colt, who is making huge strides with every race. He is on a three-week schedule now, and if he can run another big one at Oaklawn, the sky’s the limit. He also will provide a good gauge on the Louisiana Derby form.

12

Arthur’s Tale Tom Albertrani

Bernardini—Owsley, by Harlan

If the Wood Memorial turns out to be a legitimate prep, as it appeared to be on paper and also visually, then he has to be considered a legitimate contender. Like Toby’s Corner, he also closed fast and had to overcome traffic problems. He had never run a race like that before, so is he just starting to blossom now? Remember how quickly his sire burst on the scene.

Shackleford and Pants on Fire, because of their running style, will sit it out for a week until the Arkansas Derby horses sort themselves out. With five Arkansas Derby horses on the list, we’re going to lose at least several of them. Brethren, Caleb’s Posse, and J P’s Gusto have all been training super for what is shaping up to be a very tough race. Saratoga Red and Dance City are interesting up-and-comers, and who knows what Alternation is capable of. Even Soldat could make it back on the list if most of the Arkansas Derby horses falter. Mr. Commons showed he has tremendous potential with his third in the Santa Anita Derby, but his main problem is earnings. Silver Medallion’s Derby status is uncertain, but he just lacked the necessary closing punch in the Santa Anita Derby; he may be more effective coming from farther back.

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.

192 Comments

Leave a Comment:

kalidinrs

Uncle Mo is still my man! Just one loss and at his first 1 1/8 with a minor foot predicament, only beaten 1 3/4 lengths by what looks to be a solid horse.. not bad. Hes still the one to beat, cant jump off him after having him at #1 for MONTHS after just one loss. Dialed In? I mean i like him but #1 after how slow the final time ended up being? He is a legitimate closer and classy horse but i have him in my tri's not as my top contender. The Factor should show us whats up in his next race and then ill know for sure if hes a legitimate second choice or not. Love Mucho Macho Man and Elite Alex as my two horses who just might show up as a BIG surprise at the Derby, but I cant jump off my boy MO until something warrants it, even if he somehow loses the Derby, hes much better suited for the Preakness distance anyway i believe so you still cant jump off him there either. Still the CHAMP and #1 in my book!

11 Apr 2011 3:25 PM
artlagaz

Never a fan of Uncle Mo- didn't touch him at all in all 3 futures pool. I went for Dialed IN, The Factor, Mucho Macho Man, Soldat and Santiva (win and exata boxes) I decided to have the 5-2 fave beat me. So far, I may have been right.

11 Apr 2011 3:35 PM
TRACKMAN

MO had absolutely no excuse. In a $1 million dollar race with a field void of anything resembling a Grade 1 horse, except for the star himself, UNCLE MO made a relatively easy lead and couldn't have asked for a better trip. After showing the way through six furlongs in 1:12, he should have drawn away in the stretch, but, when the real running mattered, UNCLE MO, under jockey John Velazquez's valiant efforts didn't have it and finished third. The Wood Memorial was the first serious race MO had since winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile last November. After a span of five months, MO ran like a horse that had not faced a challenge in that time span. Forget the 1 mile ungraded Timely Writer last month at Gulfstream. That race did absolutly nothing to advance the fitness level of UNCLE MO, he only ran the last quarter with any serious intent. It was nothing more than a Gulfstream publicity move/afternoon workout. After that race, UNCLE MO received just two 4 furlong breezes,(49 2/5 and 48 1/5). I know very little about training horses, but I'm wondering how did Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher believe that those half-mile morning works were going to be enough to have his star ready for it's first attempt at 9 furlongs? Only Pletcher can answer that. Overall, MO's race wasn't a terrible performance, he was only beaten less than 2 lengths, but the showing wasn't anything the fans were expecting. But it was a showing that was far better than what was turned in the prior week by, TO HONOR AND SERVE, SOLDAT and STAY THIRSTY. He still is a talented colt, sure the unbeaten aura is now gone forever and his defeat levels the Kentucky Derby playing field for all entrants. However, it is premature even at this late stage on the trail to write him completely off. The kid glove handling and micro-managing of UNCLE MO has put team Pletcher behind the eight-ball and now they have a little over three weeks to prepare UNCLE MO properly for the grueling 10 furlong Kentucky Derby, which by the way, has been the ultimate goal of the UNCLE MO team since winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile. Is there enough time? If there is, I believe you will see a different horse on May 7th. If there isn't, I believe you will see alot of people crying uncle.

11 Apr 2011 3:35 PM
JerseyBoy

Forgive me if I sound like a voice crying in the wilderness.

This is why Uncle Mo was beaten.

Uncle Mo ran to his previous best in the Wood.

Below are the numbers for his 5 races. As always, I am adding the Speed Fig and the Track Variant taken from the DRF.

The numbers are in reverse chronological order:

AQU 94+6=100

GP  86+15=101

CD  93+7=100

BEL 91+12=103

SAR 94+8=102

Average  101.2

Once again, the figures show that he continues to run within 2 points of his average, regardless of the track. Note also that the 94 he ran at Aqu on Saturday equals his highest pure figure. This can be attributed to the condition of the track.

What does it mean? It means that any horse who can run a higher number over the same tracks can beat him. Such a horse is Toby's Corner. He previously ran about 104 on the Aqu inner track. Stay Thirsty ran even higher numbers on more than one occasion.

This was the reason I picked To Honor And Serve to win the Triple Crown. He once ran a 112. Unfortunately, he is injured.

Uncle Mo has always been an overrated horse. On his best day, Super Saver would have crushed Uncle Mo because Super Saver twice ran 107.

These numbers are the best Speed Figures available. So why are the other guys so popular? It is because in America, if your marketing is clever enough, you can sell pet rocks and bottled tap water.

11 Apr 2011 3:41 PM
Old Warhorse

You might have a small problem with your name grid.  When I entered the blog, the names were already in slots, not of my choosing, and it wouldn't let me make my own selections, which have changed radically since last week. Is there a way to reset?

11 Apr 2011 3:42 PM
RichieD

I think it is way too early to give up on Mo, maybe he will get a ton of conditioning out of the Wood and really be sharp for the Derby???  If not I really like Dialed In, Sway Away and Midnight Interlude who really looked professional in the Santa Anita Derby beating a pretty good bunch of horses.

11 Apr 2011 3:43 PM
RIP VAN DINKLE

CMON STEVE LETS GET OFF THE AUNT MO BANDWAGON , THIS HORSE WAS OVERRATED FROM THE GET GO AND WILL NOW DROP FASTER THAN RORY MACELROY AT THE MASTERS ! THEY SHOULD CONSIDER SKIPPING THE TRIPLE CROWN RACES TO SAVE AUNT MO TEH EMBARRASSMENT OF GETTING DESTROYED BY THE FACTOR !

11 Apr 2011 3:44 PM
local 10

Good list...

But with Nehro, Archarcharch, Elite Alex, and Arthors Tale all lacking earnings and Jaycito and Santiva on the fence, it will be tough for half of these horses to make the field.  

One point, Ive noticed that several of the top horses seem to lack the pedigree to go 10F.  So do we jump on the bandwagon of the few that do, or throw up your hands and because 3/4 of the field (on paper) cant make the distance, and go with the SPEED!

11 Apr 2011 3:49 PM
Householder

Toby's Corner # 2!  How fitting is this?  Bellamy Road, who was the Derby favorite after his 17 length Wood romp out of a Mister Frisky mare who also was the favorite bringing with him a 16 race win streak.  

11 Apr 2011 3:52 PM
Dr. Drunkinbum

I went round and round with my top four switching their order numerous times, and I've loved Midnight Interlude since his first race so I'm glad he got his chance. Have always loved his pedigree for the classics, it was just a matter of him running out of time but he's in the mix now and capable of winning. The Arkansas Derby is definitely the prep of the year with four or more in there capable of winning the Derby. Elite Alex needs earnings so he'll have to really show up this time or wait for The Preakness or Belmont. Third  could possibly get him in The Derby but they want first or second in a tough task. He is a true 10f-12f horse so it would be nice. Archarcharch and The Factor will be very tough and then you have the talented Nehro and others capable of coming up with a big race. Any of the top three or even four finishers in The Ark could win The Derby. If Mo makes The Derby I don't see him winning it but is still capable on his best day. The Wood was not his best day for whatever reason. He didn't look nearly as good pre-race as in The Timely and was reluctant to load in the gate so if he rebounds physically, you never know.

1. Archarcharch

2. The Factor

3. Dialed In

4. Elite Alex

5. Midnight Interlude

6. Jaycito

7. Mucho Macho Man

8. Santiva

9. Arthur's Tale

10. Pants On Fire

11. Nehro

12. Toby's Corner

11 Apr 2011 3:54 PM
Billy Silver

Really? You drop Astrology now?!?

11 Apr 2011 3:54 PM
JULIOC

Hi Steve! I'm from Puerto Rico and a new Tobeys's Corner follower, not because he beat Mo..can you guess?!!!

11 Apr 2011 3:54 PM
jockey girl amy

all good horses!! but i hate it how every one is hammering down on uncle mo! he had a bad day we all get them give him a break!! he still super impressive!

11 Apr 2011 3:55 PM
Simply Majestic

Still have to go with Soldat and Archarcharcharch...

11 Apr 2011 3:58 PM
Inquiry

Well it took awhile but as I said a few months ago dialed in would be on top the ALMIGHTY derby dozen. YIPPIE

11 Apr 2011 4:03 PM
kevin

Excellent List. As usual filled with good information.  Interested to know where you put Master of Hounds if he shows up in the Derby.  Seems to be a year where a horse like him could shock us.

11 Apr 2011 4:04 PM
steve from st louis

Maybe it comes from reading Leon Rassmussen too damn much and paying too much attention to Dr. Steven Roman but horses by Indian Charlie and those out of Mr. Frisky mares just aren't going to get the 10 furlongs the first Saturday in May. Dialed In has the dosage and running style to succeed when the majority of the field are milers. The unknown factor is The Factor. A Miswaki mare wouldn't normally drop a router but this guy looks like the freak of the crop.

11 Apr 2011 4:06 PM
CharlieCigar

The field in pool 3 is looking really juicy at 8-1 all of the sudden. Between Archarch, Midnight Interlude, Tobys Corner, Arthurs Tale, Shackleford, Wilcox Inn among others you should get a nice run for your money.

11 Apr 2011 4:09 PM
Matthew W

Steve, Midnight Interlude, out of nowhere, has moved to the top of my list--I still like Uncle Mo, think he's still the horse to beat--just think Midnight is the horse to bet--wide both turns and had to alter course in deep stretch/start up again--shades of Alysheba, this horse ran down Comma To The Top, who is a pro--this horse is already battle-tested, in just his first start v winners--Midnight Interlude is looking like Strike The Gold, who got real good right at Derby time--I actually think Baffert hasa strangle hold on the Derrby this season--and don't forget about Jaycito--can you say one/two/three???

11 Apr 2011 4:19 PM
merasmag

top 4 a lock

11 Apr 2011 4:21 PM
flounder

Hey Steve, what's up with Astrology? Is he running somewhere this weekend?

11 Apr 2011 4:34 PM
Freetex

I think Nick Zito believes Dialed In just might get the Derby for him if he can get through whatever traffic problems arise.  So for me, that's not a bad thing.  It would be nice to see Nick Z get the derby after coming so close last year.

Not giving up on the Mo.  It was a horse race.  Who knows what to really make of the end result?

I like your choices and the reasons behind them.  I find myself leaning towards Mucho Macho Man and ArchArchArch to come through the lane if they can grind it through...  

As you say Steve, The Factor could be the big boy in this, we'll soon see how he fares in the Arkansas Derby.

11 Apr 2011 4:45 PM
StonesRoy

Some people are bummed out about this year's crop of 3 year olds, but I for one am loving it.  Regardless of the BG result, Santiva should be a great value in the KD (I'd guess 10-1 or longer even if he wins the BG).  I think the Blue Grass is a nice, safe prep for him.

I'm excited that my Pool 1 $5 Exacta Box of Dialed In-MMM is alive, as it will yield a tasty payout if it hits!

11 Apr 2011 4:46 PM
Johnny

Steve a couple of questions:

Do you think Baffert new what he had in Midnight Interlude and that is why Jaycito[I never read anything regarding the hoof until the scratch] scratched as well as shipping The Factor out?

If MMM won the LA Derby would he be higher on your list? Loosing a shoe and finishing 3rd by a length is good to me.

Both Toby's Corner and Midnight Interlude found their way onto my tix..

Dialed In is at the top of my list as well not by much though.

My real concern is passing 19 horses and going 5-8 wide coming for home is alot to make up,one pinch and he is done.

Other than Uncle Mo I like the list. Last big weekend of preps,anyupsets or does the factor take it?

I got a feeling Elite Alex shows up this weekend..

Thanks again Steve..

11 Apr 2011 4:48 PM
jon

I like R Heat Lightning for the Derby instead of Uncle Mo at this point. She is a brilliant filly, and deserves her chance at history. Pletcher put Mo on the lead in the Wood, inexplicably,  rather than rating him, which I thought he would do, given the pedigree concerns, and lack of seasoning.

If Mo is used as a pacesetter in the Derby, rather than rating, Pletcher might as well get a horse ambulance ready when Mo either breaks a leg or is eased. If I can't run a mile in front, I'll pace myself. That's the key to Mo having a chance.

The high irony that The Wood was won by the son of Bellamy Road, and grandson of Mr. Frisky, another highly touted 3 year old in his day. Both flopped.

The biggest upset I remember was Arazi in 1992, but he had had bone chips removed and was never the same. Then there was Big Brown, as Dutrow took him off steroids and the colt never fired.

At this point, Pletcher ought to rest Mo, put R Heat Lightning in The Derby, and not destroy his colt. If Mo can't go a 1 1/8, he'll look like Sham in the Belmont

t or Winning Colors as both faded. Mo needs rest and a few more races. If not, The Derby might be the end of his racing career.

11 Apr 2011 4:56 PM
Your Only Friend

Maybe> "Uncle Mo" is paper tiger ....what has he done? Many many horses have grown up since his last big splash....

11 Apr 2011 5:02 PM
pittsburgh jd

Loved Toby Corners race. Perfect trial run. No Mo uncle Slow Mo talk, Please he is not that fast. Sorry bandwagon.

11 Apr 2011 5:25 PM
redandblacksilks

I'm not too happy with Uncle Mo.  I had a $20 exacta box using him and Toby's Corner.  I thought sure he would be in the top two but he just couldn't hold on for the place.  Same thing in the Santa Anita Derby.  I boxed Midnight Interlude with Silver Medallion and Anthony's Cross.

I'm not so sure that Jaycito had a bruised foot.  I think Sly Bob knew he had a good shot to win the race with Midnight Interlude IF Jaycito and Premiere Pegasus were out.  You will note that he didn't scratch Jaycito until after Premiere Pegasus was scratched.  He obviously thinks he will win the Lexington with Jaycito.  If his plan works he'll have two entries in the Derby if The Factor flops in Arkansas and three if The Factor runs a good race. No, I'm not crazy, trainers really do think that way.

Uncle Mo didn't run a bad race but he didn't impress either.  It was the last 1/16 mile that got him and I'm wondering if he can handle 1 1/4 miles.  The pace in the Derby will be furious and it would take a heck of a E or E/P type to attend such a fast pace and survive to the wire.  I think the winner will be a horse with a P or S running style.  

It is still too early to try to pick the Derby winner.  I think any intelligent person will have to, at least, see the Bluegrass and Arkansas Derby before venturing an educated guess.  I want to see how Archarcharch and Sway Away bounce back from the Alternation fiasco (I'll bet their trainers are hoping that they don't draw the posts next to that one.) and see if Nehro continues to improve before narrowing the field down to 5 or 6, then I'll wait for the post position draw before making my selections.

11 Apr 2011 5:33 PM
anniedixie65

Don't know what is going on, but when I went to rank my horse they were already ranked?? This is the second time this has happened.Ugh...

11 Apr 2011 5:37 PM
Trebloc

The only reason Tobey's Corner is not number one is due to Zito's tears after the FL Derby.  OK, I'm kidding but how can Tobey's Corner not be number 1?  He just unseeded the reining champion.  Arthur's Tale should easily be in the top five he also, beat the 2 yr old champ.  

Am I missing something or did Elite Alex win a race this year?  

Dance City is going right after The Factor in the Ark Derby.  He owes Winstar after beating Cal Nation.  Brethren will get his earnings and get in the Derby.  

11 Apr 2011 5:37 PM
tjconway

HEY, Where's Master of Hounds?

11 Apr 2011 5:46 PM
Matthew W

Steve, Midnight Interlude went wide both turns, steadied hard in stretch, and won the Santa Anita Derby over a nice colt, in his first start v winners--CUZ HE COULD....

11 Apr 2011 5:48 PM
Alydarstar

Mr. Haskin, where did you leave Astrology? In this "anything can happen" scenery, the AP Indy colt doesn´t have a chance anymore for the Derby? I do believe at this point, all in your list and everybody else, have a big chance to get the roses... But, i really want to know about Astrology...

11 Apr 2011 5:48 PM
Betsy

I love how Arthur's Tale is coming along - he was about 6 or 7 wide and ran a great race. I doubt he'll get into the Derby, though - too bad, as he'd love CD.

11 Apr 2011 5:52 PM
edhswift

Why is Uncle Mo #3?

He should never have been on the radar in the first place.

His Sire's progeny  winning distance is 6F

And his grandsire comes in at 6.6F

We are talking about a sprinter here.

Never saw an Indian Charlie who could get

1-1/4.

Yet all the "experts" picked him to win the Wood.

Shame!

11 Apr 2011 5:56 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Ah, we live for Steve's list on Mondays!  Great list again Steve.  Poor Mo, probably wondered why he wasn't in the Winner's Circle partying.  Mo's loss in the Wood was a shocker, but I don't think it was so terrible that he cannot rebound from it.  He looked physically awesome, physically fit, and so much bigger than the rest.  He tired and was tested but did anyone stop to think that Mo just got off a plane 2 days prior to the race from Florida and had to re-acclamate to his surroundings, and win a race to boot?  That has to take something out of them.  I don't think grabbing a quarter had anything to do with the outcome.  Maybe the outcome would have been different if Mo had a week to rest and train in NY from his trip.  He took a respectable third but it does raise all our fears and questions about what the Timely Writer really would be, just a workout.  And it does open the Derby up but I still think Mo can do it.  Maybe he got more out of the Wood than we know.  At this rate though, Dialed In may not have to step it up a notch, he may be ok at his current flying speed.  

Toby's Corner, wow, no names in his pedigree other than Bellamy Road, roll off the tongue for me until 5X out to Danzig.  Certainly not a Brethren pedigree at all. I saw Bellamy Road in 2005 at Saratoga, he came out in the Travers' post parade sideways and took off like a bat out of hell and lost.  He was a speed horse.

Now, I would say it was about time for a one-two Afleet Alex punch in the Arkansas Derby!!!  

11 Apr 2011 5:58 PM
El Kabong

"If I can, make it there,I'll make it, anywhere......." Smacks of too much Old New York to me Steve.  And in this case especially, I am not buying it one bit.

Before the Wood, everyone was criticizing that field and rightfully so. Stay Thirsty in his first race back demolished half of these guys including the first and second place finishers just one month ago, and where is he on this list? If Mo wasn't in the race, the Sunland Derby would have been more interesting, and I think it produced better horses than the Wood.

Steve I am one of your biggest fans but this dead wood heavy list is going down like a  nasty kingdome hot dog, which was real reason we blew up that stadium with that venders contract and recipe inside.

The rest of the list looks great, except for the glaring exclusion of Soldat, Animal Kingdom, Twice the Appeal and Astrology. Like them all more than the mo's workout buddies.

If I'm wrong, I guess I'll just have one more reason to hate that song.

11 Apr 2011 6:03 PM
Lowell Rikert

Baffert will finish 1-2-3 in the Derby!

11 Apr 2011 6:16 PM
CW

would be nice if mo is 3rd choice in betting derby day cant see that happening this promising season has taken a 180 its looking like mostly scraps now

11 Apr 2011 6:17 PM
Giddyup

With each prep race the dozen are getting more dirty. It is now possible that the horses that have fallen off the Derby trail will present a higher quality field than those that actually make it to Churchill Downs. I think tossing Soldat after one mediocre performance in a race he didn't need was a mistake though Steve.

11 Apr 2011 6:20 PM
Playfriskyforme

Steve,Great job as usual finding Tobys Corner months before anyone else.I am a huge fan of this guy thanks for the heads up. I'm all in on Toby for the derby.Handsome physical animal,great trainer,a jockey that can get him to relax,and karma.His daddy a beaten derby favorite.His dam sire a beaten derby favorite.Even the racing gods aren't that cruel.If he fires I can't see him any worse but third in the derby.

11 Apr 2011 6:22 PM
Eric James

PullLease!!!!!!!!!!

Nice win in the SA Derby, over a bunch of west coast synthetic types and you're moving Midnight near the top???????  

11 Apr 2011 6:24 PM
hardgoer

Hard to see a strong favorite with all of the recent upsets. If the Factor wins arkansas derby in impressive fashion, then some will proclaim him the next great horse. I will look for value on derby day.  

11 Apr 2011 6:29 PM
Eclause

Here is the Real Deal:

Dialed In

The Factor

ArchArchArch

Jaycito

Soldat

Elite Alex

MuchoMachoMan

Santiva

Sway Away

Astrology

Brethren

Uncle Mo

11 Apr 2011 6:30 PM
rjb92

if i were baffert i would have joc hand ride "factor" in arkansas derby and save real race for kentucky derby.also has "midnight" to close if "mo" softens up "factor". nice position to be in.

11 Apr 2011 6:33 PM
Moonie

Steve - was at the Wood - very quiet after that race - Agree with your comments. Also thought the Carter was a great Grade 1 as well. For a moment thought the 14-1 shot Sunrise Smarty was going to wire them - went 1:08 for 6f - but Morning Line is the real deal - thoughts??

11 Apr 2011 6:40 PM
Bob Bright

Mr. Haskin,                     Last week Uncle Mo was in first place by 31 lengths and this week he only drops to third place? You put allot of value on the Wood. SA Derby was a better race but Comma/Top is nowhere to be found. Also Shackleford should be in the mix. He and the Baffert colt MI, ran big similar races. Pletcher won't be able to move Mo forward. He has been drinking his own cool-aid.

11 Apr 2011 6:46 PM
Kevin

Uncle Mo ran a pretty good race, he's lacking conditioning big time! I for one think he is too far behind now to beat Dialed In,  The Factor, Mucho Mucho Man. But it's the Derby and maybe Uncle Mo got what he needed out of the Wood. He's still dangerous, so is The Factor !!

11 Apr 2011 6:47 PM
Lmaris

Top 8:

Dialed In

The Factor

Mucho Macho Man

Toby's Corner

Pants on Fire

Midnight Interlude

Uncle Mo

Jaycito

Steve still seems willing to ignore the pace Mo set was nothing to brag about.  His supporters & connections bragged about his "high cruising rate" but we didn't see that in either of his races this year.  

He needed glacial fractions to run an impressive final furlong at a mile.  In the Wood, he hit a wall.

Running out of excuses.  Unlike Secretariat, Mo wasn't improving his position in the stretch of the Wood.

Leaving off Pants on Fire & Shackleford while including Uncle Mo due to "their running style"?  How is theirs suspect while his warrants a high rating?

11 Apr 2011 6:49 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Forbidden Apple,

Yeah, I remember Biancone alright.  He had Chekov, wonder whatever became of the grand-looking Chekov?  Yes I addressed the cobra venom thing blogs ago and yes it has to stop.  If I was an owner I would be livid if anyone injected my horse with that. It masks pain for weeks supposedly.  You wonder what the steroids, etc. are doing to their bone density, maybe it builds muscle but what about studies on bone?  I agree, it just all has to stop. And you would think that the steriods and meds would have some kind of affect on their virility later on.  It's an issue far bigger than me but they have to clean it up.  Cobra venom administration cannot possibly be a horse first mentality.

Dialed in really shines now.  It's Mo that's got to step it up a notch now, not Dialed In.  I'm not writing Mo off yet though.  Mo was just off a plane, not enough time, just my theory.  Now let's see if Elite Alex and Sway Away exhibit any signs of potential to compete with Dialed In.

11 Apr 2011 6:53 PM
CARL

Mr. Haskin,

Thank you for having the best columns on the Blood Horse site. A grown up's view of these animals and an honest approach to evaluating them. I always look forward to reading your work, even though I keep seeing my favorite horses go by the wayside.

All I can say is that we are in for a Derby shocker, if you ask me. Horses don't win the Derby off workouts, so I am really hoping to see Soldat rebound and show his class in Kentucky. Can't fault Dialed In one bit. If anyone makes a mistake and falters in front of him, he will run them down.

I also fear "The Factor". It's not unheard of to see a horse win the Derby on the front end. Different coloring and more muscular, but The Factor is starting to remind me of the great "SEATTLE SLEW". If he wires another field, I will hand paint the "danger sign" myself.

11 Apr 2011 6:54 PM
Playfriskyforme

To JULIOC of PR Let me guess Señor Frisky?

11 Apr 2011 7:13 PM
rolo

and NONE OF U  have mention the DERBY WINNER,   and thats ANIMAL KINGDOM.

 i agree with SA DERBY  winner and the factor and NEHRO being on ur lit but not to mention ANIMAL KINGDOM is ridiclous.  yea been on turf and polly but havnt u all seen the stride on this horse and the way he finishes up.   he handle dirt just fine.

11 Apr 2011 7:22 PM
Steve Haskin

OK, where do I begin? To all those who say a horse is ranked too high and to those who say a horse is ranked too low, I appreciate your opinion. On the Derby trail, you're either a genius or a moron. I am striving for someplace in between. To those who actually enjoy the list, even if just for the comments, I thank you.

It's funny, when I had Astrology on the list for so long I was crazy. Now that I take him off I'm crazy. You gotta love it. He most likely is not going to run. Asmussen supposedly doesnt want to run. And if he is overruled by one of the 50% partners then he is going into the Derby off only the Sunland Derby. Either way he's not winning the Derby; he just got started too late.

As for having so many horses from the Arkansas Derby, I totally agree, but I'm trying to find the two or three who could emerge from the race as top Derby contenders. It's going to take a very good horse win this race, with so many good horses, and whoever does is going to be tough May 7. Then again, The Factor may eliminate most of them singlehandedly. But I feel all 5 have a legitimate chance to run big.

11 Apr 2011 7:22 PM
joe b

trackman is dead on with the numbers. with the rare exception of giacomo,thats how i get the derby winner almost every year. drf-sr +tr-var. back class doesnt hurt either. giacomo didnt have the numbers but he did have back class

11 Apr 2011 7:22 PM
Steve Haskin

Mr. Tomasi, I'm not doing anything with Animal Kingdom until I see how Crimson China does in the Blue Grass. There's plenty of time to put him on if I want to.

Thank you, Carl. Soldat is another whio could make his way back on after this weekend. But I want to see how he trains first.

Bob Bright, if you want to know why Comma to the Top is nowhere to be found, ask his trainer, who says he definitely is not running in the Derby. It's been widely reported already. How do you know I didnt have Uncle Mo in first by a nose? I dont recall making up a chart with margins.

11 Apr 2011 7:31 PM
KR

Always enjoy your list Steve. Here's mine.

1- Sway Away

2- Dialed In

3- Archarcharch

4- Master of Hounds

5- Toby's Corner

6- Santiva

7- Animal Kingdom

8- Uncle Mo

9- Nehro

10- The Factor

11- Elite Alex

12- Mucho Macho Man

11 Apr 2011 7:32 PM
Kentucky Fan

Does everybody realize that the last Santa Anita Derby winner to take the Run for the Roses was Sunday Silence in 1989 (!). Very hard to imagine that streak will be broken this year with Midnight Interlude.

For me, I'll take Mucho Macho Man, Dialed In and Archarcharch and give you the rest of the field.  

11 Apr 2011 7:32 PM
Playfriskyforme

Steve,Could you please get TV gig and save the real racing fans from the on air talent at TVG and HRTV.Don't know what was worse hearing a bunch of on air gamblers hype a suspect 1 to 9 shot.Or the phony amazement that he was beaten on the square by a horse that you and a few of us knew was a live horse.For new fans I understand the denial that Mo could actually get beat.I know I was devistated when Mister Frisky was up the track in the 1990 derby.That was my baptism to horse racing.The pros should see every angle and no one on either network mentioned Toby I was feeling sorry for them and the new fans who trust them to learn the game.Please help us.

11 Apr 2011 7:47 PM
Karen in Texas

Changes in the list reflect a fair assessment of the happenings in the weekend preps. Midnight Interlude was a total surprise for me, but he looked great! Mo couldn't reasonably remain at the top at this point, but removing him altogether wouldn't be fair either. Now if Elite Alex will just respond to the equipment change as well in the Arkansas Derby as he did in his work, then that race could be the best prep so far. The loss of Premier Pegasus from the trail last week was really unfortunate and disappointing. Only a few weeks left...

11 Apr 2011 7:48 PM
Scott's Cause

What a weekend.  Took some real time in looking at the SA Derby.  With PP out and Jaycito recovering thought I'd hit a hay-maker with some long prices.  Studied and settled on Mr. Commons.  Keyed him with a few others and sat back to watch the race.  My wife walks in 2 minutes before the race and says "Can I make a bet?"  Sure, and I put 2 across the board on Midnight Interlude.  Turning for home none of my horses are showing much interest.  Suddenly this horse on the outside looms large and passes Comma To The Top (I didn't have him).  As they pass the finish line she looks over at me and says "How much did I win?"  Damn, Bob Baffert, Damn...

11 Apr 2011 7:51 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Dr. D.,

Good point you brought up.  Mo was a little reluctant loading for some reason.  Maybe that supports my airplane theory of it being as simple as "hey guys I'm tired and don't want to run today period."  Who knows, for whatever reason he was reluctant and their body language has to be saying something to us.  Let's see what the blood sample reveals if anything.  I've still got Mo, Dialed In, Factor, and Soldat in the top 4 positions until the Arkansas Derby results.  Do you think Speedy Bob defected Jaycito for another reason?

11 Apr 2011 7:57 PM
RickS

I don't want to take anything away from Toby's Corner, but if Ramon Dominguez kept riding Arthur's Tale when he ran by Uncle Mo, he most likely would have held on to win The Wood.

So, do you think Son Of Posse is going to show up in The Lexington?

11 Apr 2011 7:59 PM
sceptre

Should Alternation win, or run very big in Ark. Derby, he is likely Derby favorite (out of nowhere). Should above transpire, and the Derby be a truly run race and, as this will otherwise be a very weak field, the Derby should go to Alternation or Mo.

11 Apr 2011 8:01 PM
Oldie

Kentucky Fan, how funny, I like the same three horses, but also think Sway Away and Soldat could figure into the picture.

Steve, thank you once again for a list I look forward to each Monday.  Your analysis and the ensuing discussion is stellar entertainment and never fails to enlighten.

I must say my opinion of Mo's run in the Wood is that he needed a loss, he needed a challenge, and probably had an off day - I love the horse and owner, but am not confident he will win at a mile and a quarter, particularly without an increase in conditioning and possibly some change in his training that makes him insist on winning.  Is it possible Pletcher was training him to rate and he somehow got the idea he was supposed to stay back?  By the same token, is it possible this is part of ensuring he doesn't peak too early?

11 Apr 2011 8:13 PM
Kristen Ohler

Except for a slight mention of Secretariat in an earlier blog, thanks for everyone for not mentioning the fact that Secretariat finished 3rd in his Wood Memorial.   If you watched my favorite station TVG, after the race over the weekend alot of analysts mentioned it.  They even joked that that was the most repeated comment after the Wood.  Mo isn't even in the same class as Big Red. Amen.  Love Arthurs  Tale.  Love the Bernardini's.  Don't think Arthur will have enough earnings.  And what happens if Mo or whoever else gets the dreaded no. 1 post?  I believe Baffert and Lookin' At Lucky drew no. 1 last year and Baffert's comment was something like "we're cooked.  I would wait until posts are drawn before picking a winner.  Love the top 12 except the missing Astrology.  It's just hard to pick the winners until post's are drawn.

11 Apr 2011 8:17 PM
Bloodline Bob

On Feb.1,2011@ 12:04p.m. I said in the DERBY DOZEN "...UNCLE MO WILL NOT BE THE 2011 KY. DERBY WINNER! Just like I said last year about Lookin At Lucky-but he will win other big races but not the Ky.Derby."

11 Apr 2011 8:18 PM
Bloodline Bob

As for the son's of Mineshaft(Dialed In,Nehro) they are possible winners of the Ky.Derby but I'm not sold yet on 1 clear cut winner of the 2011 Ky.Derby as of today(4-11-2011).

11 Apr 2011 8:21 PM
mike metro

Still have to beat the two fastest horses, Uncle and Factor, if the speed collapses look for Dialed In or Mucho Man.

11 Apr 2011 8:30 PM
John

Steve,

You got to help me out understanding your logic.

How in the world do you have The Factor only in fourth place.

Good grief! The Factor should be in first place all by himself after the loss by Uncle Mo.

Please consider what The Factor has accomplished in just four starts:

1. Broken the track record for six furlongs at Santa Anita

2. Clobbered Premier Pegasus in the Grade 2 San Vicente whom later came back and romped in the Grade 2 San Felipe

3. Romped in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes with the second fastest time for the stakes in the last 24 years

4. His last three races have earned 100+ Beyers

5. Beaten the winners of the Smarty Jones Stakes, Sugar Bowl Stakes, Grade 3 Southwest Stakes, Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes, Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Williard Proctor Memorial Stakes, Grade 2 San Felipe, Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue, Jack Goodman Stakes, and the Riley Allison Futurity.

Good grief, Steve.  This horse has earned the top spot.

11 Apr 2011 8:32 PM
Alydarstar

Yes Mr Haskin, to make a favorite list during the four months before the Kentucky Derby, like your ¨Derby Dozen¨, is whithout any doubt, a crazy thing, a funny thing because nothing is harder than predict the winner of the first crown.. Some are not good enough and fade away through the road; others develope later, and a very few, like Giacomo or Lil E Te, just get there at the right moment to shock the world for only one time in their lives...  That you drop Mo from the top of your list and took Astrology off the list, is so reasonable... Who dare to throw you a stone for that if everybody does it... This kind of surveys have life by their own... Even more when you don´t have a solid 2yo champion... Maybe the last was Easy Goer and he did not win the Derby... And nobody doubts about the greatness of the Alydar son... My favorite for the Derby and for the rest of the season was Premier Pegasus... I´m almost sure i was the only who mentioned in this blog before his amazing perfomance in the San Rafael... But as used to happen in the Derby road, the injuries appear to take some possible stars off (Buckpasser, Graustark, etc etc etc)... And yes, we all here play to be geanius and marons... We did it the years before, we do it now and will do it the years to come, always we have a wonderful window like your Derby Dozen... So, don´t take so seriously and enyoy it... Without Premier Pegasus over there, i don´t have a real favorite now... But you know what, i still believe Uncle Mo deserves a bit of confidence...

11 Apr 2011 8:33 PM
Paula Higgins

Always love your comments about the horses Steve. They help me alot to get a clearer picture since I am a relative neophyte in the racing world. Count me as one of those who is not counting Mo out. I think his 3rd place finish is due to being underprepared. Just my gut. I think if they step it up a bit, he has a chance. A small one, but a chance. I still think he is a very good horse. Horses outrun their pedigree all the time. Personally, I think The Factor is the one to be reckoned with now that Mo is a question mark and Premiere Pegasus is out. Dialed In is a very good horse and I would put him behind The Factor. I also like Mucho Macho Man. Things will be clearer after The Factor runs this weekend. ITA with the poster who said they want to see R Heat Lightning run in the Derby.

11 Apr 2011 8:33 PM
El Kabong

Steve,

I thought Astrology was going to run in the Arkansas Derby? If he doesn't, he's off my list. I'm sticking with the rule of foundation this year. No one wins cheap this year. No gut checks, no glory and the more the merrier.

11 Apr 2011 8:45 PM
Horse Lover

Steve you're getting closer. He's back on your list at #7. As I have said SANTIVA will  be in your Derby top 5 after the Blue Grass . Maybe # 1.

11 Apr 2011 8:52 PM
m2m

Steve,

I've been in Toby's camp since I saw the tape of him breaking his maiden in the First Timers blog here on BH.   That smooth stride, he flows.  I'm not making a comparison to The Slew...but his stride is similar.  I also note that despite dropping him off the Dozen..you were one of the few who still gave him a nod after The Gotham.  

A few questions.  

If you look at the replay of The Wood Toby seemed focused on running down MO.  Is it me or did Castro swing Toby's head for him to get a quick look to the outside to see Arthurs Tale then jerk his head straight...whack him a few times and the horse hit another gear?

Second, I really believe Toby likes to close but I also think he has more tactical speed than to be just a "dead closer".  He moved forward and back down the backside...almost like they were schooling him in the middle of a race. What do ya think?

btw: I think you're right about Zoebear, he was the only horse moving behind the winner in IL.  We'll hear from him later in the year.  I wouldn't be surprized if they go to the Peter Pan with this horse.

11 Apr 2011 8:55 PM
Bob Bright

Mr. Haskin,

Valid point, I was just trying to get your attention. My guess is the nose would not be accurate. The 31 lengths was symbolic of the general pundit opinion. Although, you don't fall into the general classification.

11 Apr 2011 8:59 PM
Meydan Rocks!

Baffert thinks Mo still has  a nice shot so cheer up Uncle Mo backers..

cs.bloodhorse.com/.../derby-dozen-april-11-2011-presented-by-pauls-mill.aspx

"The horse has been the big talked-about star and they kind of got to babying him a little bit," Baffert said."

""I know what it feels like to go there loaded and walk away empty, so I never take anything for granted," said the three-time Derby winner, who last hoisted the gold trophy in 2002 with War Emblem."

11 Apr 2011 9:04 PM
ROBINM

I think the only thing "wrong" with Uncle Mo is a lack of conditioning, racing experience and "bottom". I know he was expected to win the Wood in a route, but his 3rd still looks better than many of the prep races by many on the "trail" including a few in the Top 12.  He may very well move forward off of that race. In answer to the blogger that said basically Mo can't get beyond 6 furlongs because of his breeding (being by Indian Charlie)I remind you Mo has already won beyond 6 furlongs and in very fast times, as have for that matter, have a bunch of other Indian Charlie's.  Charlie himself didn't disgrace  in his Derby running a respectable 3rd.

Still love Comma to the Top.  Now, he IS a sprinter but ultra game. He ran a very good race in the SA Derby but his connections have stated unequivically he is not going to the Derby.  Good for them.  Their horse would try his heart out.  Better they put him where he can really show his stuff!

11 Apr 2011 9:06 PM
John G.

I've allways liked MMM, if he continues to train good, he's on the top for me, and maybe Astrology(depends on next race) and Soldat, "over" dialed in, Tobys corner, comma to the top.

The last few preps have shook the Derby picture up, and if the Ark derby is a big upset, its a wide open derby.

11 Apr 2011 9:18 PM
Bob Bright

Several other pulications have Comma/Top back under consideration for Derby after strong showing as of today?

11 Apr 2011 9:20 PM
txhorsefan

Thank you for another enlightening and entertaining dozen, Steve.  I missed most of the races live on tv, but was able to watch the replays and I must admit to being shocked at Uncle Mo not taking the Wood as he was expected.  I could not be happier for the connections of Toby's Corner, though, and I've been high on this guy since I first noticed him a few races back.  Thank you for sharing your educated, well developed list with us, Steve - I do appreciate your insight into all the variables I do not know enough about to even notice.  Thanks!

11 Apr 2011 9:30 PM
Cris

This is getting exciting. For the fella that does not think Toby's Corner has any decent breeding. His sire was a world of speed. Mr. Frisky was a very good horse and his grandsire Deputed Testamony won the Preakness Stakes. He was a fast horse that could rate and a decent sire. Sometimes looking up bloodlines takes more than looking up AP Indy. Not every good horse stands in KY.

I still think the Factor reminds me of War Emblem. ArchArchArch ran a very decent race last time out and I look forward to his next race. Mucho Mancho Man is going to really break out next time. The first Saturday in May should be a real barn burner.

11 Apr 2011 9:33 PM
CharlieCigar

If Rosario makes the trip to Kentucky to ride Clarke Lane in the Bluegrass look out...

11 Apr 2011 9:39 PM
goodwin

Hey, Eric James - news flash: the SA Derby was run on dirt. Yes! And the final time was faster than the Florida Derby.

Stop living in the past...

11 Apr 2011 9:44 PM
ctgreyhound

Who's the hottest jockey on the face of the planet?  Why it's Rosie Napravnik of course.  And her horse isn't too shabby either.  I'm looking for Pants On Fire to throw a monkey wrench into Uncle Mo's plans to wear the roses on May 5th.  And in turn for Rosie to make a little history of her own.  Got to have Mucho Macho Man as back-up for the human interest story alone.

11 Apr 2011 10:05 PM
Sonny

Who has Uncle Mo ran against this year? Were you aware that with the quality of Horses in this years Wood that it was a huge stretch calling it a Grade I.

Uncle mo could not handle the extra 110 yards and breeding or not looks to be a mile or mile and 16th Horse to me.

Midnight Interlude was is 2-1-1 from four starts and is green as they come. From her Maiden win to the SA Derby he matured a ton and should only get better. I am a little partial as I loaded up on him in the Santa Anita Derby and people were laughing at me then. Do not sell to short.

11 Apr 2011 10:21 PM
Sharon

All I can say is remember 1973 and who the third place winner was then. Who went on to win the triple crown. Big Red/~

11 Apr 2011 10:35 PM
Playfriskyforme

Thanks again for another great dozen.The blog is muy caliente today.I need to rest up for the next 26 days.Good nite now.

11 Apr 2011 10:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Alex'sBigFan

  There is no way that Baffert wants to run Jaycito two weeks from the Derby on Poly rather than 4 weeks out on dirt. He was honest and cautious, rightly so. You can't run Jaycito on a tender foot or in an altered shoe. It's not safe. He has always liked Midnight Interlude but certainly didn't know he would win but if he didn't think he could win then he wouldn't have entered him. He would have had no problem entering both in the same race. Uncle Mo was not ready to run. Maybe it was as simple as the trip and the track, and he didn't even look anything close to the same horse physically as he did in the Timely. If he looked like he did for the Timely he would have won the Wood. He was ready for a strong performance the day of the Timely. The problem is his 3yo foundation. Unless there is a physical problem that we don't know about, he should have gotten a much earlier start as a 3yo. You can't rest on 2yo laurels no matter how good you are. When he needed a testing race was the day of the Timely, and he needed a prep prior to the Timely. He just isn't going to have the conditioning and battle testing that he needs in my opinion although it is possible if he is ready for a peak performance on Derby day that he could run the race of his life. He is talented and does have a powerful stride most of the time. I know that his Wood wasn't that bad but when you combine it with the poor 3yo campaign it is telling. With his pedigree and running style I would have taken my chances and given him the strongest 3yo campaign possible for peak conditioning. He would have raced in January and once a month if sound. All horses except Zenyatta have good and bad days, maybe Mo got out on the wrong side of the bed in the Wood but will have sweet dreams the night before the Derby, have a croissant and be ready for revenge. It wouldn't shock me but I'll be betting against him if he enters. If he looks and runs extraordinary the week of the Derby I might have to reassess. He'll need to look A+.

11 Apr 2011 11:24 PM
Hot Coal Guy

1)Dialed In - picked up in time

2)Toby's Corner - showed the grit

3) Santiva - conditioning only concern

4) The Factor - speed seems to factor better than Mo

5) Midnight Interlude - Steve says he ran like a seasoned pro and he did

6)Uncle Mo - appears vulnerable getting the Derby distance, I won't be singling him

7)Mucho Macho Man - always puts forth a strong effort

8)Astrology - probably belongs a bit higher, will have to prove it

9)Animal Kingdom - liked his win, the potential is there

10)Sway Away - much better than last

11)Alternation - has the speed, the talent and the ability, has to exhibit maturity and step up to the plate now

12)Brethren - been putting in some nice works, can chug along nicely, might sneak back into the thick of things

Honorable mention: Elite Alex. Picked up the pace in his recent works, I'm still not fond of his running style (for the Derby).

The Arkansas Derby looks like a barn burner, should be one HECK OF A RACE.

Have a great one everyone!

11 Apr 2011 11:32 PM
GunBow

Steve and others:

I'm not familiar with Midnight Interlude's bottom-half(damside) breeding.  Does someone have any info?

The SA Derby came back ok(for this year at least) in terms of speed figures.  Thankfully, the SA dirt surface has slowed the final 2 weeks and we are getting truer reads on horses.  Midnight Interlude did show alot of professionalism in dealing with a veteran horse-jockey team in Comma to the Top and Nakatani, who were pulling out all stops.  

Of all the horse-jockey teams among the prosepcts, the Comma/Nakatani team is perhaps most in-synch.  Nakatani is taking a page from his days on Lava Man, and is great at getting Comma to open up turning for home.

However, Comma and Corey don't get any style points. Watching a Comma stretch run is like watching a Bulter basketball game.  While Comma was ugly in the stretch again this past Saturday, he was actually pulling away from horses like Mr Commons and Silver Medallion, and his final eighth of 12 and 3 wasn't bad at all.

Still, for Comma's sake and the sake of others in the Derby field(horses that could be interfered with if Comma blows the turn at Churchill and/or drifts out in the stretch) I hope Peter Miller sticks with his gut and holds him out of the Derby.

11 Apr 2011 11:36 PM
Bloodline Bob

OK, just finished my possible winning 2011 KY.DERBY sire list: Bellamy Road,Bernardini,Pomeroy and War Front. These sire's fall within certain criteria that the Ky.Derby winner has had for last 50 years. Such as avg.# of runners,avg.# of winners and avg.# of stakes wins for the Ky.Derby winning sire.

11 Apr 2011 11:49 PM
Bloodline Bob

There has only been 1 horse that has won the KY.DERBY that his name began with the letter "U",and his name is NOT "UNCLE MO". Hint: 1990.

11 Apr 2011 11:53 PM
Mike Relva

BLOODLINE BOB

A month ahead of you,I stated this in Jan.

12 Apr 2011 12:35 AM
Geronimo2123

Uncle Mo did not run terribly in The Wood, but he is clearly not the same horse--his action is not the same as when he was a 2 year old, and his last two BSFs are 20 points lower than his year end 2 year old form.

This normally spells soundness issues. And, wouldn't you know it? According to an anonymous Vet who works at a Florida Equine Center, UM had surgery to clear away bone fragments from a swollen joint (THAT is what really went on during Mo's Florida vacation). He has not come back as expected and the surgery was VERY hush hush.

It was kept secret because they felt all the hoopla might distract from the horse's recovery. And, he was the Derby buzz horse.

It is time for Pletcher and Repole to man up if this anonymous Vet is speaking the truth and this indeed is what happened. The truth has a way of getting out, although many racing blogs will not let you post it. The public would be much more forgiving of Mo, and it would explain the kid gloves and the tepid and spaced breezes the horse has received. Not only is he struggling with soundness issues, he is not fit enough, and at this juncture he would needs Larry Jones, not Mr. Easy Does It Pletcher.

I hope the horse does eventually get back into form. He was a special horse. But if he does have soundness issues why isn't someone in the media demanding answers from Pletcher?

12 Apr 2011 12:50 AM
Carrie

What is the Apollo curse?  I haven't heard of that one.  Also, I think your list is on par Steve.  This year there have been too many inconsistent performances to truly rank anyone.  Dialed In is deservedly ranked number 1 just because he is the only one, besides The Factor, who has been consistent.  I really like The Factor, but distance is obviously the question mark.  This year is turning into a grab bag for the Derby!

12 Apr 2011 12:55 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

I was very anxious to read this week's Derby Dozen. Extra good, I thought. The excitement is definitely building.  Will be at Oaklawn on Saturday and it should be a doozy!

12 Apr 2011 1:01 AM
Big G

Stevie, Stevie, Stevie   I tried to tell you after Uncle "Sloooow" Mo was not that great of a race.  I still don't know what you saw in it.  His fast closing quarter came after very slow fractions.   The Wood will help him to an extent but not enough.   So what I am proposing for drastic times is drastic measures.  It is time to employ the >>>>>>>> "BOREL Factor".  If I am the owner I tell Uncle Todd get me the man !!!  This is the only chance I give "Slow Mo".   Take him back early,  ride the rail , and hope Calvin can do his magic in the stretch!!!

12 Apr 2011 1:17 AM
Christy

Steve if I may ask you a question.  I know Joe Vann is barely touching the bubble where earnings are concerned. I know the Ill Derby was slowest in 25 years.

But it wouldn't make sense for him to run any faster than he had while still romping to win well clear. Joe Vann came home his final 1/8th in 12.85 seconds.

The Fla Derby final 1/8th if I'm not mistaken was 13.69 or something close to that.

Someone said well the fracts were much faster in the Fla Derby...well yes but Dialed In was not participating in those early fast either and still came home in 13.69 and he is one of the faves for Derby Day. All I am saying is he would have a legit shot.

Why would they not nominate him? This horse has a pedigree that's asking for distance with Silver Deputy/Deputy Minister on top and the mare PolishFlower by Danzing  and Pletchers other two aren't on a streak like he is right now. I see tremendous upside and potential now that he's finally caught on and is really rolling coming of three wins in a row...

What was so awesome about his win was that he showed he can relax and press the pace and not have to be on the lead as in his previous two starts he'd won.

So, why not take a shot with this horse who's begging to run after vanning for 22 hours all the way from NY to KY then on to Chicago for this race and romping under a jock who's never even ridden him before? Just wondered what your thoughts are on him?

He probably won't get into the Derby but he's very intriguing down the line...

12 Apr 2011 1:39 AM
Horswld

Steve,

Looks like Comma to the Top's trainer has decided to leave the door open for the Derby in which he should for this talented horse. I do have him in my top contenders for the Derby as well as Animal Kingdom as others have also.

Also, I want to say a big thank you to TVG and HRTV for their hosts, handicappers and entertainment! God bless em!!!

And a big thanks to you too, Steve, for allowing us to gripe and ramble on with our opinions. You are indeed a kind sir.

12 Apr 2011 2:25 AM
Dee

Never jumped on the Mo bandwagon and now he moves farther down my list. I always enjoy reading your list, Steve, it helps me adjust mine according with the new information. Here is my list before the last preps; not a fan of 6wks out or 2 weeks off up to the derby:

-Dialed In

-Toby's Corner

-Archarcharch

-Arthur's Tale

-Shackleford

-Mucho Macho Man

-Elite Alex

-Uncle Mo

-Midnite Interlude

-Brethren

-The Factor

-Nehro

12 Apr 2011 2:53 AM
Joe Alva

Thanks for the list, Steve -- it strikes me as one of the most sensible ones of the year!  The only horse I would not have overlooked as much, however, is Soldat who indeed ran poorly in the Florida Derby, but was overwhelmed by the heat that day and quite lathered up before the race.  He also ran that race on a very dead rail.  I like that he is battle tested and will run a lot better in weather that is 20 degrees cooler, I would think.

Now, in light of sorting out who might be best with less than a month to go, I want to share a great story and lesson I learned at the 2006 Derby.

The night before the race I was in downtown Louisville and someone from the backside told me that Barbaro had some issues with his knees.  Upon hearing that I began to consider leaving him out of my tickets.  I sought some advice in that regard from a trainer friend of mine who will remain unnamed and who actually had a few Kentucky Derby entrants himself in previous years.  I'll never forget what he said to me:  "Who cares if he has bad knees or not?  Horses are like people -- they have different personalilties and will act upon them -- there are people who at the smell of trouble will shrivel up and abandon you in a second and then there are people who are willing to go through a brick wall for you.  If he has backbone and wants to race he'll run his heart out with bad knees even if he kills himself and never gets to run again!!"  Hard to believe, but he really did say that!  . . . As a result, I had Barbaro on top of my tickets the next day and cashed one heck of a hefty superfecta that had a dead heat for fourth and, having both fourth place horses, wound up being escorted to a special room that evening to be paid!!

The point of this story is that in such a grueling race as the Derby, in order to prevail, one needs to look for a horse that has adequate talent AND the disposition to go through a brick wall!!!  Naturally, we still need to see some guys on this list run their final preps, observe Derby workouts and post position draw and see track condition on May 7th before making sensible decisions.  However, given what I have observed so far, the horse that looks to me like he has that "I'll bust a wall down at all cost to win" attitude is DIALED IN.  This colt thrives on adversity.  His maiden win at Churchill last year looked like a bad bumper car ride in which he willed himself to the wire somehow.  He then beat a very decent bunch with ease in the Holy Bull while zig-zagging on the far turn and closing like a rocket.  In his only loss, to four year-olds incidentally, he chased a turtle's pace on a dead rail yet closed willingly to be 2nd while screaming for more distance.  Finally, in the Florida Derby, after having been conservatively trained, he closed from far back on a brutally speed-biased track on a sweltering hot day.  Does anyone think this horse lacks grit?  His trainer certainly doesn't.  Zito, who knows the Derby as well as anyone, is giddy not just about this guy's talent, but specially about his courage and resolve.  He thinks he might be the best he has ever trained!

Now I've heard many poo-pooing the slow closing fractions of the Florida Derby, but that's what heat does to people and animals, it slows them down.  I take nothing away from Toby's Corner's Wood triumph, but had he run in Florida's heat that day his final eighth may have been quite slower.  Had Dialed In run the Wood, he undoubtedly would have closed faster in much cooler temperatures.  As Jack Van Berg said to critics after Alysheba's slow Bluegrass win, "Time only counts when you're in prison!"

Therefore, congrats Steve for getting it right . . . Dialed In is a deserving #1 on the list!  We'll see what happens in due time, but it would not surpirse me to see him run through, over and around a wall of horses on May 7th to confirm that placement no matter what!!!    

12 Apr 2011 3:04 AM
Holy Bull

Funny things happen at Churchill on the first Saturday in may, but I don't see a horse with two starts in 2011 wearing roses.  There will be no shades of war emblem.. Only Calvin Borel can pull the same trick twice with no one watching, in this day and age..

I don't have a derby horse yet, better to wait and see who trains lights out at Churchill. That is when Mr. Haskin is my personal hero.  Steve - please tell me you will be reporting from Louisville again this year??  Your analysis has given me plenty of insight over the years. Given the current confusion at the top, the works and post position draw will be paramount for this group.  

I will make one statement... I believe a trainer will win his first Derby this year.  It's one of those types of years for the Derby gods to make amends.

Current top 3 (in no particular order): sway away, Santiva, toby's corner.

12 Apr 2011 3:38 AM
Steve Haskin

Carrie, no horse has won the Derby without having at least one start at 2 since Apollo in 1882.

Christy, as you pointed out, he's not nominated so he can't run unless they want to supplement him for a lot of money. Remember, he had been a big disappointment to them early on.

Geronimo, according to my sources, he did have surgery after the Breeders' Cup.  But that apparently was never made public.

Regarding Comma to the Top, that is a discussion in my column tomorrow. In short, never believe trainers.

12 Apr 2011 4:17 AM
Fran Loszynski

You stick to your guns Steve. You like Uncle Mo, you sense his potential, quote from Seabiscuit-"You don't throw away a horse just because he's a little beat up"-you loved Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra and liked Afleet Alex alot.  All your submissions on each horse is so true to the core of what they can and can't do. When I go to the betting window at our casino I take along your list instead of the racebook. Dialed In and Nick Zito's passion deserve to be No. 1 for now, and looking into Elite Alex's and Sway Away's grand-dads

Unbridled and Seattle Slew-well all I can say is there's your one-two punch Saturday in Arkansas. Can't wait for the great write-up you give Elite Alex when he wins the Triple Crown-I have to buy a new scrapbook soon.

12 Apr 2011 8:24 AM
Sue M

I cannot fill out my picks this week, what gives?? (They're already filled in.)

My two top horses are Dialed In and The Factor. I loved Premier Pegasus, but unfortunately we'll never know.... Hope he runs later in the year.

If Mo has soundness issues (and a secretive surgery), I just add these to my list of why I'm not a Pletcher fan. I don't think he always puts the horses' welfare first (QR/LA10). He has eyes, right?

I also like Elite Alex (well, more a huge fan of his daddy), so I'd love it if he showed up big this weekend.  

12 Apr 2011 9:01 AM
knowitall

Astrology should run in the Derby Trial, he ran 1 1/8 now let's see how he likes Churchill, all goes well let him run in the Derby. Of course modern U.S. trainers don't think this is possible so it ain't gonna happen.

12 Apr 2011 9:08 AM
Playfriskyforme

Regarding any doubts about Tobys pedigree, One should look no further than a horse named Saarland.He is the prime example along with hundreds of others that were long on pedigree and short on racehorse and heart.Unbridled on top out Versailles Treaty a grade 1 winning mare at a mile and a quarter. I lost quite a bit on him as did thousand of bettors that thought pedigree gets you home in the derby.The days of a stallion like the great Alydar are over.With years of speed and unsound lightly reced stakes winners becoming the dominant sires the last thirty years.Graham Motion had been saying Toby needed the route of ground and that horse delivered big time.He thinks Toby will love even more distance that's enough of an endorsement for me on May 7th.

12 Apr 2011 9:45 AM
Footlick

Anything can happen, but Comma to the Top does not run like a horse who wants any part of 10 furlongs right now.  Nice horse, I like him alot.  But not for the Derby.

12 Apr 2011 9:46 AM
Slew

Along with Old Warhorse, I've also found the list filled in before I've ever read the column...and that's the 2nd time.

What a weekend.  Prem Peg was in my top 5, and I feel a loss without him there.  I guess something was wrong with THAS all along.  Hope they both heal well.  Great to have seen Toby's Corner live up to your expectations.  (By the way, Toby's Corner is a home in the lower Garden District in New Orleans on the corner of First St and Prytania). I'm willing to give Uncle Mo a pass on the Wood.  He's still a sprinter to me, but we'll see if he comes back better in the KD.  And no thanks to Joann Jones on HRTV who lit a raging media storm when she repeated backside gossip on air stating UM was off the Derby trail.  Hey, Joann, try checking with the owner and trainer next time before you pass on unfounded rumors.

An if I thought the Ky Derby was a demolition Derby...you ain't seen nothin' folks.  Watched the Grand National at Aintree.  Over 4 miles, over 30 jumps more than 5' high...40 start; 9 finish with rider intact, while a few riderless horses keep zigzagging over the jumps with the pack.  Wow!  Won by a 10 year old! Wow again!

I'm still clinging to POF, Archx3, Dialed In, Shackleford, The Factor, and adding Arthur's Tale, Toby's Corner, and Midnight Interlude.  (you know I have to stick with those Bernardini babies)

To me, Comma To The Top is terribly erratic, and they should make up their mind.  I think he'd mess up a 20 horse field.  Too much catching up to do here.  Can't wait to see the AR Derby.

12 Apr 2011 9:50 AM
Pedigree Ann

Eric James - Where have you been? Santa Anita replaced its Pro-Ride with real dirt last fall. Oak Tree had to run at Hollywood Park because of the construction. No 'Poly horses' at SA anymore.

Playfriskyforme - You know, of course although others might not, that Mr. Frisky was operated on after the Preakness for a growth the size of a grapefruit that was in his sinuses (?) - some part at the airway. Hard to run to your best with that sort of air constriction.

Trebloc - forgive me, but I cannot help myself! It is just too much wrong in one phrase! 'Unseeded the reining champion'? Were Mo and Toby out in Texas, showing how maneuverable they are with sliding stops and spins on the hind legs? Because that is what 'reining champions' do. Kings reign over their subjects, champions reign over their contemporaries.

And although basketball teams are seeded in tournament brackets, an underdog 'unseats' the favorite when he beats him. Can't blame you for having seedings on the mind, though. Oh, but for a few missed freethrows the Big Blue Wildcats had that well-deserved championship!

12 Apr 2011 10:04 AM
Christine

THE FACTOR! The reason is: he has power and he is fast. He has an incredible body and he is absolutely determined. He will stay the derby distance - I'm sure for that. The Factor is the one to follow to win the triple crown!

12 Apr 2011 10:18 AM
Derby Dew

Steve,

You sure know how to stir the pot with your Derby List.  Great insights, as always.

While surprised that Uncle Mo didn't win the Wood, I was equally impressed with Toby's Derby-like trip in getting up for the win.  He should have little trouble manuevering thru the Derby field in Louisville on May 7th.

Dialed In, my pick, is another who has displayed Houdini tactics  escaping traffic problems in the run for the wire.  As we know, Nick Zito loves this horse and rumor has it that he will soon be sleeping in Dialed In's stall to keep an eye on him 24-7.  Ha!  Didn't Chris Antley do that with Nick's first Derby winner?

My only concern is for an honest pace to favor the stretch runners.  There appears to be plenty of speed to ensure a fast pace with the likes of Pants on Fire, Shackleford, Uncle Mo, JP's Gusto, Soldat, not to mention The Factor.  The post position draw could influence how the pace develops.  We'll see!

Looking forward to watching and wagering on the Arkansas Derby this weekend.  The Factor notwithstanding, this race looks to be wide open with some juicy mutuels potentially popping up on the toteboard.

Let's pray for no more injuries.  That kick to the stomach for those of us backing those horses is the worst part of the Derby Trail.

I feel really bad for the Cho family and assistant trainer Maria over the loss of Premier Pegasus off the Derby Trail.  It would have added a lot to Derby Week with stories of this small stable taking on the Goliaths of racing.  Hope PP fully recovers to return to competition this year.  Maybe he'll get to Churchill after all - in the Breeders Cup?

12 Apr 2011 10:32 AM
Tim

I want to know why there wasn't an investigation after Dialed In's third start. His stablemate had a 3 length lead and just magically bolts to the outside rail, but he did it about ten yards too late and Dialed In loses by a half length. That was a very poor acting job trying to keep him undefeated. Besides they ran the 9 furlongs in 1:51 so it wouldn't have made a difference where Dialed In finished.

12 Apr 2011 10:39 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve Haskin - Geronimo2123 or anyone who knows the regulations of racing. I thought anytime a horse was not 100+ that someone had to be notified. Especially if that horse is going to be wagered upon in a race and even more so, if they had surgery.

Mr. Cho notified the racing commission immediately about Premier Pegasus.

I see Steve Haskin has just made a comment but says sources. I think that info needs to be offered by the owners or the trainer.  

Interesting to say the least.

Thanks Steve for the list. I am still a Factor fan along with Dialed In co sharing the no. 1 spot right now with a couple more moving in on them. And for some reason a sentimental favorite on Comma To The Top?? Have no idea why either.

I loved Joyful Victory's victory this past week end at Oaklawn and i know she is pointed toward The Oaks not The KD but she just looked superb and i loved her win. She has a look about her i cannot describe, like i am here get me to the racetrack I want to run! Good for the gray gals! And Larry Jones and Fox Hill Farm.

Have a good day.

12 Apr 2011 10:44 AM
Jared

Interesting list.  I would argue that Toby's Corner and Arthur's Tale are way too slow to have any serious Derby impact.  They've only been elevated due to the reflected starpower of Uncle Mo, who they beat easily in the Wood.  Both will prove to be allowance/G-3 level horses. Mo folded like a cheap umbrella in a hurricane and *something* had to suck up and win. Throw the entire Wood field out.  

The AK Derby should be interesting.  I like Alternation to jump back into the Derby picture with a win, but also have an eye on Sway Away rebounding.

12 Apr 2011 10:47 AM
Playfriskyforme

Hope as many west coast horses make it on derby day.My personal favorite of all preps the SA derby was nothing short of a million dollar allowance race.It would make handicapping the derby much easier to draw a line through everyone coming out of that race won by a horse that hadn't even used up his conditions yet. Couple that with the fact that the DRF exposed this past weekend that Premier Pegasus is basically trained by an assistant while Mr. Cho runs his mega million dollar clothing business so even if he didn't get hurt that disqualifies him in my mind.Final thought this Jaycito better show something in the Lexington or this would be the weakest bunch from these parts in recent memory.

12 Apr 2011 10:49 AM
Johnny

Yes HOly Bull; we will need Super Eyes Mr.Haskin more than ever this year..

He has contributed to my winnings on KY Derby more than anything.

Mr.Haskin's if we ever cross paths I owe you..

12 Apr 2011 10:58 AM
BillRink

Hi Steve, Thanks for another great Derby Dozen list. One thing's for sure there are no absolutes in racing. When  listening to the commentators talking up Uncle Mo's invincibility prior to Saturday's Wood, I was all but sure an upset was in the making. I really like Uncle Mo, and I wish he would have been turned loose sooner and spread that field a little. We may have seen a different dimension to his running style? As I watched the race I kept waiting, the 1/4, then the 1/2, and he almost got to 6 furlongs before moving freely. The horses in close proxsimity were all moving much easier. I hadn't seen that type of handling in any of his previous races, although he has been rated before. My concern with this race is not with his conditioning coming in, but rather his confidence level coming out. So far he has dominated in all of his races with that overwhelming stretch drive. I hope he can keep that fierce will to win burning. On the other hand, we have Toby's Corner running an extremely tough race to get a most deserving win. I don't think I've seen any 3yr. old this year deal with so much adversity, and show so much determintion. No doubt-about-it, he definetly wanted to get to that finish line first. Graham Motion is a top rate trainner, and really has Toby's Corner ready to go. As for the rest of the Derby Dozen list and their rankings, I would have to agree they are all really good horses and great fun to watch.    

12 Apr 2011 11:07 AM
no mo mo

Uncle Mo will not win the Ky. Derby.

I've been saying it for month's and I stick by my pediction. It's a wide open derby which is the way I like it. Plenty of betting opportunities. Can't wait till May 7th.

12 Apr 2011 11:51 AM
Monarchos Matt

GunBow, from a site I ran across:

Pedigree-wide, Midnight Interlude is an interesting mix.  His sire, War Chant, a Breeders' Cup Mile winner, provides a decent amount of speed on the top half, while the bottom half of his pedigree suggests that he'll do just fine when stretched out further.   His broodmare sire, Groom Dancer, won several Group-level races in France, including the Group 3 Prix de Conde (9 furlongs), the Group 3 Prix de Guiceh (9 furlongs), Prix Lupin (10.5 furlongs), Prix Daphis (9 furlongs), and G3 Prix du Prince d'Orange (10 furlongs).  Just based on pedigree, Midnight Interlude should be just fine in the Derby.

12 Apr 2011 11:54 AM
Playfriskyforme

Good lookin out Pedigree Ann you know your Mister Frisky.What most people really don't know was even though he romped home by five lengths in the SA derby he was already in the early stages of developing that abcess.Gary Stevens said something was not quite right with him that day and he still cruised home.

12 Apr 2011 12:07 PM
Meydan Rocks!

Regarding UNCLE MO / SECRETARIAT comparisons...

Mike Watchmaker had this to say on his blog at DRF.com under the title..

"Uncle Mo and the Wood, Pt. 2; Other Saturday Thoughts"

"One thing that does bother me a little is how some folks have drawn an analogy between Uncle Mo losing in the Wood at 1-10, and Secretariat losing in the Wood at 1-5 in 1973. While Uncle Mo was the divisional champion at 2, Secretariat was not only divisional champion at 2, he was the first ever to be Horse of the Year at 2. Before he lost the Wood, Secretariat turned in scintillating victories in the Bay Shore and Gotham, running a mile in the latter in 1:33 2/5. And really, the only way Uncle Mo’s loss in the Wood could ever be analogous to Secretariat’s is if Uncle Mo goes on to sweep the Triple Crown, beats a superstar field of older horses in an invitational race in the fall, and then closes his campaign with two awesome romps in major turf stakes going 12 and 13 furlongs. Otherwise, it’s fantasy."

12 Apr 2011 12:09 PM
Bigtex

Well, I know some of my money will be on the long shots!  AR Derby will be telling.  If The Factor dominates again, he's a clear favorite in my book.

I'm curious, Steve, as to what happened to Toby's Corner after losng to Stay Thirsty?  Some horses get a pass for having flat days and some (Uncle Mo) don't.

I always have my favorite horses and I never really can pinpoint why I favor them.  I like champions for sure, but, I have the soft spot for underdogs.  Last year, I really pulled for Caracortado and, then, had hopes for Endorsement.

This year, there's just something about Nehro I like and I still have it for Elite Alex and Sway Away.  I just loved Sway Away's debut and it has always stuck with me.  I love the gritty Comma to the Top for his spirit and, gosh darn it, I hate to see any of them lose!

12 Apr 2011 12:32 PM
Ravenswood Matt

Steve, your list has been very thoughtfully compiled, as usual.

I would agree that Dialed In is now the obvious #1 horse, with two firsts in significant preps in Fla, and the fact that Zito is very big on this horse.

However, I suspect that the KD winner will come out of the Arkansas Derby field, as the previous final preps have all produced Beyer figures well below the magic 100 mark. As such, it makes sense to have several of the AD entries on your list.

I would probably have slipped Brethren onto the list, just for the obvious similarities to last year's KD winner. Befitting the name, the horse is Super Saver's younger brother, and sports the same connections, and roughly the same road to Kentucky (Tampa Bay Derby followed by the Arkansas Derby). For these reasons, he seems to be a good Derby god pick at this point. However, he will need to take a step forward in Arkansas (at least get into the money).

I think the Ark Derby finishes like this: Saratoga Red wins in an upset, giving Lukas his KD horse for this year, and Brethren and Elite Alex round out the tri. Meanwhile, The Factor fades to mid-pack in the stretch.

12 Apr 2011 1:41 PM
Oldie

GunBow, TrueNicks is the only place I looked, but was able to find the following on Midnight Interlude's dam, Midnight Kiss (NZ):

Sired by Groom Dancer, out of Midnight Assembly.

Groom Dancer sired by Blushing Groom (FR)(Red Gold - Runaway Bride (GB)) and out of Featherhill (FR)(Lyphard - =Lady Berry (FR)).

Midnight Assembly sired by Night Shift (Northern Dancer - Ciboulette) and out of Secorissa (Secretariat - Orissa).

12 Apr 2011 2:09 PM
Zookeeper

Thank you for a great list once again, Mr. Haskin and for the valuable comments that help so much in understanding your choices.

In spite of your input and the posts of my fellow bloggers, I'm still very tentative with my own list.

I could never rank 12 horses but by now, I have a pretty good idea of the first 5 or 6. Here's what I have so far subject to revision after the AD and BG.

1) The Factor

2) Dialed In

3) Mucho Macho Man

4) Archarcharch

5) Toby's Corner

6) Midnight Interlude (!#%?!&#? Baffert)

Even if my list contained 20 horses, Uncle Mo wouldn't be on it. I like the horse and his owner very much but his 3yr old campaign has been uninspiring. It's too late IMO for a reversal, not the way TP trains.

Another thing I would like to add on the subject of UM. IF IT IS TRUE that he had surgery after the BC, I think it is very unfair of his connections to keep it a secret. The wagering public (who keeps this game going) should be made aware of any pertinent information. If surgery is not pertinent, I don't know what is.

12 Apr 2011 2:09 PM
RiderWriter

Steve,

Two questions to plumb the depth of your connections/knowledge :-):

1) What is The Factor's barn name? He's my fave and I'm not happy calling him that...(unless the grooms call him "Factor" in which case I guess I will, too)

2) What time will the Arkansas Derby go off? Trying to plan my day Saturday so I can watch it and can't find the info.

Thanks a bunch if you can help!

12 Apr 2011 2:12 PM
Sue M

As an editor I must admit that Comma to the Top is my favorite name.... I have mixed feelings about the Grand National. 2 horses died in this one just past (out of 40), I don't know, it doesn't seem right to me. I saw a picture of  one jump they were making at Aintree with a HUGE drop afterward and it made me sick. I know it's supposed to be the toughest race to finish let alone win, but when horses die every year.... For me, I don't think I could ever watch it and I love watching Grand Prix events and other cross country races, but the course seems too cruel.

12 Apr 2011 2:59 PM
Trebloc

Pedigree Anne,

How about those UCONN Huskies!  Just kidding, we all know that UK and UConn's final four appearance will be vacated in about two years and Butler will be declared the 2011 NCAA Mens Basketball Champions.  

12 Apr 2011 3:23 PM
JG

Steve, I enjoy readings your rankings and articles, and I may not agree with every horses rankings, your knowledge is much more than mine, and I like your comments on each horse, sometimes with a chuckle. This year seems to be getting more up in the air with each prep race, and I'm scratching my head wondering if the Ark. Derby will have the same results...if so, what a wide open Ky. Derby. I really like MMM, and I'm thinking of giving Soldat a mulligan(?), allways did like him, and maybe using Tobys corner,Dialed in,pants on fire, astrology(if runs arrrgh) and comma to the top(if runs arrrgh).I still have to figure in the Ark. Derby yet, its way to early yet anyway, but sure is fun trying to figure it all out and discuss and read others picks and logic. Thanks

12 Apr 2011 3:24 PM
okee doe kee

The Factor is the 2000lb. gorilla he's powerful fast and can run for days.He will he win and win big.When he stretches out and digs there's not a horse out there that will run with him.Triple Crown contenders ? There's only one: THE FACTOR

12 Apr 2011 4:21 PM
Zookeeper

Correction to my 2:09PM post:

If my list contained 12 horses NOT 20.

12 Apr 2011 4:38 PM
Erythrura

It's easy to say Mo (or whoever) won't win the Kentucky Derby. The odds are heavily in your favor if you believe that any particular horse won't win the Derby, so I'm unimpressed by people who make such predictions and then crow about it afterward. If you're going to make a prediction about who won't win the Derby, maybe you should consider predicting who you think WILL win the Derby. That's much more impressive if you get it right.

12 Apr 2011 6:32 PM
Draynay

Did all you forget Uncle Mo loves Churchill and has a G1 win there going 2 turns?  Placing any horse above Uncle Mo is just plain silly.  Uncle Mo will win the Derby by 5 lengths or more.

12 Apr 2011 7:16 PM
A Racing Fan

If Uncle Mo shows up for the Derby he'll fade badly like Haynesfield did in the BC Classic.

12 Apr 2011 9:28 PM
John

The Factor just worked 1:12:2 for six furlongs the other day at Santa Anita all the while the jockey holding him back.  He then galloped out a mile in 1:38:2 which means he worked that last furlong in 26 seconds flat.

Bob Baffert, after witnessing such a display of speed, couldn't contain himself and a grin as wide as the Rockies.

I think someone overheard him say "Oh My God".

I think The Factor is the male version of Ruffian.

12 Apr 2011 9:34 PM
rjb

when i die i want to be buried at the eighth pole. that's where all my horses seem to die. hope draynay is right. mo will have to be spend a buck on derby day and leave factor sleeping in the gate like eternal prince did in 1985.

12 Apr 2011 9:55 PM
ROBINM

Considering we've seen no truly dominant horse this year, add in the surprising results in most of the preps, and I don't think we'll see a Triple Crown winner again this year.  No offense, but anyone who thinks a horse that hasn't shown much so far, is going to win the TC just because they like the sire is just a little bit delusional.

I hadn't jumped off the Uncle Mo bandwagon but now that Draynay has predicted a UM win by 5, I may just have to leave him off of my ticket.  Sorry Draynay; I like your spirit and conviction but lately you've been the "Kiss of Death" to my picks!

12 Apr 2011 9:55 PM
rooster1

Archarcharch comes from a great family top and bottom, had a huge excuse in his last yet posted his highest mid and late race numbers -plus,he has value at the windows.  Worth a shot. If he wins in Arkansas, he will deserve respect in the Kentucky Derby, however, he will get none - zip, as they say. Ergo, will still have value at the windows as the public will be overly influenced by the New York wise-guys (mostly bloggers, would-be whales, etc). They will always overlook what they consider a rather pedestrian pedigree (early-on Arch was presented with cheaper $20K to $25K mares at stud) and favor Uncle Mo (local fave and local owner). Uncle Mo lost but Pletcher is already making excuses for his performance. Then the NY fans will take over and will most likely bet him down lower than his real value. Six months later,in order to preclude a big drop in stud value, and in fear of his becoming just  another under-performing "New York bias" horse, his handlers will retire him prematurely to protect their investment. Sad but, oh so true.

12 Apr 2011 10:26 PM
rooster1

Steve

Billy Silver is referring to El Rincon, right?

12 Apr 2011 10:38 PM
bumper-2-bumper

If history is any indicator, the pace in the Kentucky Derby will be hot, so as always I am looking for value in a horse with a stalking or mid pack closer profile. As much as I have been a supporter of Dialed In, I will not bet him as the favorite(albeit high priced)in the Derby when he will have much more traffic to overcome. Here are three potential value horses whose progress I will be keeping my eye on between now and then, and in particular, if they make it to Louisville in the first place, how they train over the track in the week or two leading up to the Derby.

(1)  Crimson China:  It will likely take a win in this Saturday's Blue Grass for him to qualify earnings wise, but when that happens, he will be an intriguing possibility as a horse who will relish the mile and a quarter, and whose odds would remain high due to the lack of respect a win on the synthethic surface would get him.

2)  Elite Alex:   Expecting a top notch performance this Saturday as well for this ultimate "tease" horse.   The blinkers seemed to work wonders in his recent work and we may be looking at a "new" horse after the Arkansas Derby

3)  Mucho Macho Man:  Still not sure what to make of his Louisiana Derby, lost shoe or not, but he has the foundation as a two year old, is a huge physically imposing animal who was a late foal that may be only now ready to show his best.  That 5f .58 workout days ago may be a sign of what's to come.  The 6 week gap to the Derby since his last race is a bit of a concern, but that fact, which was once a definite no no, has been shattered a couple of times recently.  If he works similarly at Churchill, could be dangerous.

Good luck to all!

12 Apr 2011 10:52 PM
Coldfacts

Draynay,

I thought Uncle MO was 15 lengths better that everyone else. He has certainly come back to the field.

12 Apr 2011 11:19 PM
Forbidden Apple

1-DIALED IN 2-THE FACTOR 3-SOLDAT 4-SWAY AWAY 5-ARCHARCHARCH

My Derby Dozen list is skimpy this week. It's not even a half dozen, as this crop falls apart yet again.

DIALED IN is the current heavyweight champion and his knockout punch is lethal!

THE FACTOR is always dangerous and needs to run big again on saturday to remain my second pick.

SOLDAT got tossed off the D.D. list after one loss. Yet Aunt Mo stays on the list for whatever unknown reason. Soldat deserves more respect and should be a square price on May 7.

SWAY AWAY is also dangerous and needs to get back to the form and power that he showed in the San Vicente.

ARCHARCHARCH should be set for a peak effort after getting kicked in the gate last time. He came out of his last race with a clear excuse and needs to run big on saturday to make my cut in the run for the red roses.

Alex'sBigFan,

Patrick Biancone is cold blooded and not a true horseman. Yet his owner Martin Schwartz has stuck by his side and continues to send this guy horses. Some owners like to take an edge any way they can get it. I have heard that birds of a feather stick together for a reason.

Kalidinrs,

You claim that Dialed In is not all that because of the final time in the FL Derby. Take a look at the final time of the Wood Memorial(nearly 1:50), it's almost the same time. And the S.A. Derby was run in 1:48 3/5 over a dragstrip. Even the Factor ran about 2 seconds slower when he left the S.A. dragstrip. The bottom line is that so far this year, the races have been slow. If Dialed In runs the KY Derby in 2:03 or higher and wins, who cares what the clock says!

jon,

I am a horse lover and fan of horse racing as a sport. Why is it that you mention injuries and broken legs in every single post that you make? Your thoughts are dark and heartless, I think it's time you switched sports.

Trebloc,

Aunt mo was always over hyped after only defeating the likes of Mountain Town and Boys@Tosconova last year. I do not believe that Toby's Corner is an automatic world beater because he won a race over a cupcake like Mo. But I agree with you on Elite Alex, this horse never wins anything. He is this years version of Dublin, another son of Afleet Alex. Heck, I loved Point Given, but that does not make all of his offspring champions. If Elite Alex does not win or run second on saturday, I hope we will no longer be hearing about this maiden winner anymore.

Draynay,

It's amazing how you so quickly gloss over the weak effort put forth by Aunt Mo. After his zero late punch move in the Wood, I do not expect much more fight to come out of your little pony. But don't worry, your man Pletcher will still find a way to have 4 or 5 derby horses.

12 Apr 2011 11:51 PM
Coldfacts

I see the Blog Tzar likes Alternation. No wonder he was angered by my mentioning that mares with a lot of earnings have poor records as derby winning broodmare. A very close colleague of mine likes Alternation a lot. I cannot see why as the colt PP suggests he is cut below classic standard. He won a mile at OP in 1:42 defeating Elite Alex who made the Derby Dozen cut. He followed up that victory with a win in an Allowance race at 8.5F in 1:45 1/5. The Factor mile split in the Rebel was 1:35.41 on his way to winning time of 1:42.19. The Factor’s winning time was a full 3 seconds faster at 8.5F and 6.60 seconds faster at 8F. Now, in fairness to Alternation he closed impressively in all his wins suggesting he will be extremely effective over a distance of ground. However, if he is to have a chance against The Factor in the ARKANSAS DERBY, he has to be closer to the pace or runs the risk of having to close too much ground against a colt with superior speed. Unless he has some hidden talent he is running for second money.

In the event he wins the ARKANSAS DERBY he has a major historic hurdle to cross in the derby. His dam falls in to a derby jinxed category. She amassed $551K during her career and based on the derby chart is unlikely to be Derby winning broodmare. What does earning have to do with conceiving and producing a derby winner? Nothing! The dam of 2010 FL Derby winner Ice Box earned $487K. He should have won the 2010 derby but was blocked repeatedly and finished second. He is yet to hit the board in a subsequent race. The dam of 2010 Bluegrass winner Stately Victor earned $431K. He was unplaced in the derby has been a disappointment ever since. What do these two examples prove? Nothing! However, it is a fair assumption that these high earning mares are jinxed when it come to the derby. Only one mare with reasonably high earning has produced a derby winner i.e., Wishing Well the dam of Sunday Silence who earned $381K. Why haven’t the multiple G1 winning millionaire mares produced derby winners?  It is still puzzling to me and I can only conclude they are jinxed. Will the likes of Rags To Riches, Zenyatta , Rachel, Silver Bullet Day, Ashado, Azeri etc., produce a derby winner? I would not bet on it.  Alternation dam was sired by TC winner Seattle Slew. TC winners have extremely dismal records as broodmare sires.  My records reflect that two TC winner have been derby broodmare sires. The last was Count Fleet 46yrs ago. None of the modern day TC winners have been derby wining broodmare sire and they also fall into a jinxed category. AP Indy was the best colt from his crop and he had to be scratched before the derby. His dam was sire by Secretariat. Eskendereya had the derby at his mercy and had to be scratched. His dam was sired by Seattle Slew. Every time a talented horse emerges with a jinxed associated with the derby it bites the dust for one reason or another.

Alternation has not shown the ability of either AP Indy or Eskendereya and consequently has no chance of overcoming the two derby jinxes associated with him. Kindly differentiate the cold facts from the opinions and do not be influenced by either.

13 Apr 2011 1:34 AM
Draynay

The Wood was a prep.  Uncle Mo like Secretariat will be ready when the real running starts in May.

13 Apr 2011 1:46 AM
GunBow

Thanks Monarchos Matt and Oldie on Midnight Interlude's breeding info.

Baffert was confident before the SA Derby that Midnight Interlude would like 9-10 furlongs.  I can see his damside provides that endurance.

13 Apr 2011 4:32 AM
Mike from Michigan

I don't understand how some of you can say 'Midnight Interlude' doesn't belong.  Yes, he may not win the Derby, but you can't say he won't win the Derby.  There is no way you could know that.  NOBODY picked 'Mine That Bird' to win the Derby, most experts said he had NO chance either.  Anything can happen in thorougbred racing, especially on the first saturday in May.

13 Apr 2011 5:45 AM
Revello

Don't forget Gourmet Dinner, no. 2 on the graded stakes earnings list.  That horse will be in the top 4 of the Derby.  Lack of front speed, but he can run all day. No question he'll get the distance.  I love those horses who race at Calder in their earlier races to build good endurance.  

13 Apr 2011 7:33 AM
Fran Loszynski

I was watching the Kennel Club Dog Show the other day and when the judge picked just three of the beautiful dogs I was sad and then I realized every dog that was in the show was at the top of his class to be in the show in the first place. So true for racehorses, each racehorse we watch in the upcoming races has an undeniable right to be there, has trained and has the stats to be there, so if your horse loses this weekend or in the Derby, Preakness, or Belmont -remember they were at the top of their class to be there in the first place, and yes "they are all winners".

However, I want Elite Alex to win the Arkansas Derby-G00000 ALEX!

13 Apr 2011 7:55 AM
Eli's Stables

What Happen with Soldat ?...He got beat but I still think he is a top 5 in this wide open Derby Field.

13 Apr 2011 9:55 AM
WinnahPickah

Don't blame Mo! He didn't make the decision to run a one-turn mile off the bench! He should've ran in the Tampa Bay Derby! TP had a conflict of interest between Winstar and Repole. Uncle Mo was short in the Wood. Mo has the best running mechanics and the most efficient strider. He ran great at CD last fall.

What 3 yo in this crop has great stamina anyway? Mo should sit off the lead in the KD and he'll explode at the top of the stretch. I think he needs to sit off the pace.

Not that he needs an excuse but for arguments sake.

Cut a nickel size hole in the sole of your foot, pack it with dirt, then walk a mile. Let me know how it feels?

I like Dialed In but his running style is not good for a 20 horse field.

Lastly, I think Ballydoyle should take a shot with Master of Hounds. Why go up against the best 3yo in the world (FRANKEL) when you can run against the lowly American crop? He's the only 3 yo I've seen with enough earnings and enough stamina. He lost by a nose in the UAE derby to Kwahlah and she looks like something special, IMO.

13 Apr 2011 10:09 AM
demon cordero jr.

TO:DRAYNAY pleas dont ever mention uncle overrated in the same breath wit the horse god secretariat again , thats like comparing my childs crayon drawing on my refridgerator with a painting hanging in the louve !

13 Apr 2011 11:00 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   You could rank 12 horses but I can see why you don't want to waste your time. It will change anyway, and it only counts in Derby week and when you bet anyway. I pretty much have to erase my list from my head after the post draw and start from scratch anyway. Then I'll have to scramble again if someone like I Want Revenge is scratched the morning of the race. Still a very long ways to go !!!!!!  But as far as sheer talent, your number one is number one. We'll see what he has up his sleeve this Saturday especially if pressed early. He has shown no inclination to run behind any horse at any point. Who knows, maybe he doesn't have to.

13 Apr 2011 11:17 AM
It aint easy being good

The factor reminds me of U BOLT lighting fast. You can talk all you want about damns and sires. The Factor is a speed demon and has waxed everyone and has 100 beyer speeds. Its ridiculous to have TOBY and Mo ahead of him! The factor is just too fast for this weak crop of horses!

13 Apr 2011 11:43 AM
Antman

John,

After this weekend Steve won't even have The Factor in the Derby Dozen much less in first place. Any pressure the horse will fold like a tent on a windy day.  

13 Apr 2011 12:05 PM
JerseyBoy

Coldfacts:

This is the second time I have seen references being made to the productive quality of Graded Stakes winners (big-money winners) compared to allowance horses  when they become broodmares.

I do not think this comparison is worth making. Here is an example of why I say this.

Look at races 4 and 9 run on Apr 9 at Keeneland.

Race 4 was a fillies maiden race run in 103.28 secs. Race 9 was a fillies Grade 1 race run in 102.73 secs. The difference is about 0.5%.

I have found that the difference between allowance horses and graded winners to be about 1% in terms of running time, at a mile or longer. So I will treat the difference here as 1%.

Now the question that arises is this. For purely statistical purposes, is a difference of 1%  great enough to warrant analysis for breeding purposes?

In other words, if we omit the fact that the mares were graded stakes winners and dealt only with the times in which they ran their races, would the difference be capable of any meaningful statistical analysis.

I am just being the devil here. There are statisticians on this blog. I am sure they know the answer.

13 Apr 2011 12:09 PM
Karen in Texas

Revello----Is Gourmet Dinner on the Derby trail at this point?

13 Apr 2011 1:43 PM
Zookeeper

Antman,

I also have The Factor as #1. I'm fully prepared to admit that I was dead wrong if he "folds like a tent" in the AD. But if he prevails, will you do the same?

Dr Drunkinbum,

Thank you for understanding that my ranking is very tentative at this point. I agree with everything you said. Contrary to many opinions, even with only some 20+ days to go... to be SURE runs the risk of being SUREly deflated at any moment.

Coldfacts,

What do you think of Decisive Moment? I respect your extensive knowledge and would really like to read your thoughts on him.

13 Apr 2011 1:48 PM
Thelwell Pony

I like your top 10 this week.

I agree with Matthew W about Midnight Interlude and the Baffert crew. Midnight Interlude's SA was such a professional race - made me wonder if Baffert has been hiding this colt. I also like the SA better as a prep-race this year now that it's back to dirt. Midnight Interlude is my horse for the time being.

That said, I really like the AR Derby field, and think that this is historically a legitimate prep race. I think it should show us if The Factor really is a freak. I like that Elite Alex is in your top 10, and Saratoga Red looks strong as well.

I haven't written off Uncle Mo either, but he was so dull last weekend that he will have to get real fit real fast to get my bet on the first Saturday in May.

Not much is certain about three year olds, but I have to say that this class seems to be a good one with some depth, which makes them pretty darn interesting!

13 Apr 2011 2:27 PM
Jersey Derby

SWAY AWAY  NICE LONG SHOT WITH GREAT BLOODLINES

13 Apr 2011 3:54 PM
redandblacksilks

Arthur's Tale is out with an injury.

KHRC has denied Rick Dutrow a license to race in Kentucky and I say it's about time someone took a stand against his sort.  Problem is I can think of a half dozen others just off the top of my head who should also be banned. Dutrow's just one of many who do their training "by needle". In Dutrow's case I hope other states follow suit.

The fact that Uncle Mo grabbed a quarter leaving a sore the size of a nickel would have affected his performance enough that, had it not happened, he might have won he race by a narrow margin.  If, however, you consider the quality of the field in the Wood, I doubt that he can win the KY Derby against the best 3 year olds in the land.  I will not use him on my Derby tickets.

If The Factor goes to the KY Derby he WILL be challenged on the front end and will have competitors looking him in the eye.  The pace should be very hot and the only way speed wins is if someone pays the trackmen to roll the track before the race. A hot pace in a sprint is one thing.  A hot pace going a mile and a quarter is something altogether different.

If Borel gets a mount in the KY Derby and doesn't win, I wonder who he'll attack after the race this time.  It's no great feat to win a race if the jocks ahead of you move out of your way and give you the rail.  You'd think they would learn, wouldn't you?

13 Apr 2011 4:48 PM
Slew

Steve, you're highly respected and your Derby Dozen has a faithful reader in Lafit Pincay III...as he noted your top picks on HRTV today.

That one drop at Aintree is 7 feet.  I didn't realize we lost horses in the race...so many picked themselves up and kept running with the leaders.  It is one of the toughest races I have ever seen.

I forgot to add a fond farewell for AP Indy who was pensioned last week.  It will be our loss, but maybe the old guy deserves a break.  I'm also upset to hear Arthur's Tale is off the Derby trail.  Just when I thought I had a good one...

As far as great race mares not being great broodmares...I think Personal Ensign sinks that theory, as does Terlingua.

13 Apr 2011 5:00 PM
Bailey

Oh, be quiet you Mo-haters, you know that last week you were Mo's biggest fans, give him a chance, also the REAL list:

1-Uncle Mo

2-Tobys Corner

3-Dialed in

4- The Factor

5-Shackelford

6- Archarcharch

7- Mucho Macho Man

8-Elite Alex

9-Santavia

10- Antony's Cross

11-Arthurs Tale

12-Jaycito

13 Apr 2011 7:04 PM
Forbidden Apple

Bailey,

Speak for yourself, I was never on the Aunt Mo bandwagon. Take a horse like Soldat, one loss and he is trashed. But when Mo loses he gets endless excuses to support his cause. I wanted Mo to win the Wood. Now after his weak performance the odds are going to be much less on the real KY Derby winner. Good luck to all who continue to support a horse that wants no part of a 1 1/4 mile race.

13 Apr 2011 7:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I can barely stand waiting for the Arkansas Derby. It will be very revealing. I hope that The Factor gets some serious pressure up front so that we can see where he is really at. This is a great race since it is a full field and there are so many horses that people think have talent but aren't quite sure what they will do. Nehro, Elite Alex, The Factor, Brethren, Sway Away, Alternation, and Archarcharch, and Caleb's Posse are all touted by some and debunked by others. It's the What's My Line of the prep season. "Will the real Derby contender please stand up." And the winner is likely to be one of the favorites in The Derby. Tell me this- when it comes to the Derby odds line-How can odds be made this early? How can they be made before the post draw? Last year, not one change in the odds was made after the post draw. I find that to be very strange since we all think the post draw is meaningful for a horse's chances to win. Does anyone want the one hole in a twenty horse field?

13 Apr 2011 8:04 PM
Old Timer

Steve,

I wholly agree with your list. The Florida and Arkansas Derbies seem like the key preps. The Wood, Santa Anita and the La. Derby seem like secondary.

I don't know what to think of Midnight Interlude. Baffert is always live, but a horse who just broke his maiden and has no 2 yo races?

Before the Wood, it was being said that it was a weak race. Now that Mo lost, it is all "Toby's Corner is a real nice horse."  What's changed? I think the winner comes from either Fla. or Ark.

Any thoughts on dosage this year? From strictly breeding, Dialed In sure has the look of a classic winner.  Then again, I have learned to keep an open mind. Funny Cide (by Distorted Humor) and Smarty Jones (by Elusive Quality) sure didn't look like classic mile and a quarter horses.

13 Apr 2011 8:51 PM
Old Timer

Draynay, will you let up on the comparisons to Secretariat? If Mo wins the Belmont by 31 lengths, then I'll apologize, but for now comparing Mo, who faded after a 48 half and Secretariat, who ran the Gotham mile in 1:33 & change is LUDICROUS.

13 Apr 2011 8:59 PM
Point Given

I am riding Baffert's Trio (TF,MI & JAYC)all the way. Reminded me of Baffert's former classic winners with the Speed(War Emblem),the Mid Pack closer(Real Quiet)and the best closer in the game(Point Given).

13 Apr 2011 9:55 PM
Oldie

GunBow, there's a nice write up on Midnight Interlude's lineage that came out this evening on BH, and there's more stamina than I was aware of.  Very intriguing.

13 Apr 2011 10:01 PM
Antman

Zookeeper

I most defiantely will admit I was wrong if I am wrong.  If he gets looked in the eye early with pressure and draws off and wins, I will be the first to admit I was wrong.  I honestly want him to have an uncontested lead like last time and romp.  Because in the Derby he will be contested.  He will be hammered on Derby day if he wins again with no pressure.  Maybe he is just a freak! Should be a great race no matter who you are rooting for in my opinion.  

My top 5

Dialed In

MMM

Soldat

AAA

UM

AD winner is AAA

Bluegrass winner is Crimson China.

I think after Saturday this list is going to look alot different. This seems to be a year that has a lot of questions.  

13 Apr 2011 10:14 PM
duchess

At the moment I do not have a Derby horse anymore. PrePeg was my Derby horse and Jaycito was my Belmont horse. PrePeg is out, and we will have to wait to see how Jaycito comes out of his injury.

I will be watching the AD very closely. Lots of promising colts in that race. (Though I thought that about the FD going in, too, and lots of the well regarded colts ran flatly). I have the feeling my Derby colt might be coming out of that race...

Personal Ensign, Miesque, and Urban Sea all say that some great race mares become world class broodies!

Mr. Haskin, I just want to thank you for running this blog. I look forward to reading it every Monday leading up to the Derby.

13 Apr 2011 11:32 PM
JerseyBoy

Sorry to see Uncle Mo has an infection. I hope it clears up in time and that he does run in the Ky Derby because his participation  will help to raise the odds on the others.

14 Apr 2011 1:41 PM
Zenyatta John

Draynay -

Give it a rest. If you rode Uncle Mo with a 'buzzer' like Billy Patton, he still wouldn't win the Derby.

Uncle Mo just didn't make the leap from two to three , you just have to face facts. Now that they have their excuse with the GI infection, Mo probably won't even make the Derby.

14 Apr 2011 2:05 PM
Footlick

I'm glad that they found something wrong with Uncle Mo and can treat it and get him well.

14 Apr 2011 2:08 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Well, there we have the answer to the Wood outcome, Mo has a gastrointestinal infection.  That explains his reluctance to load and telling us by the body language that he was not up to par for the run that day, plain and simple.  Hopefully he will be ok in a short period of time and on track for the Derby.  I loved how Mike Repole et al got the vets on it asap and proceeded with investigating a medical cause.  I knew something was off and drained Mo, I thought the flight and maybe dehydration but it is now clarified as the infection.  Mo I am sure is getting the best care.

Soldat is fine, he is in Palm Meadows, healthy and happy reported by an owner on Kiaran's Racing website.  Soldat will have 3 works then ship to Churchill.

Here's hoping they all stay well and healthy for a long time.

14 Apr 2011 5:44 PM
redandblacksilks

Generally a horse with an infection that is as widespread as one in the G.I. tract will present a fever.  Can't imagine they didn't know he had an abnormal temperature.

14 Apr 2011 8:01 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Forgot to add this line in my post above.  That tells me something more about Mo as well, that despite his maybe having some stomach discomfort he still aimed to please and his professionalism prevailed.  I had said his third was respectable, now it is even more respectable knowing what we do now about the intestinal problem.

14 Apr 2011 8:52 PM
Xavier

To all the Uncle Mo haters, if you are bold enough to come on here after the derby start writing your concession now. You might save some face.

14 Apr 2011 9:35 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Now that I'm on a roll here, I have a question that maybe someone can answer.  HRTV is covering the Arkansas Derby, and TVG is covering the Toyota Blue Grass, yet the following week they BOTH are honing in on the Jerome Handicap at Aqueduct.  WHAT???  Let's completely forget the fact that NBC should be covering all the major Derby preps since they are covering the entire Triple Crown now.  But, at any rate, this means that we TVG viewers will see the Arkansas Derby on tape replay only, not live and not the loading or post parade.  This is ridiculous, wouldn't you think that the bettors watching TVG want to see the horses minutes before placing their bets, not to mention just fans wanting to watch the race live?  I for one don't get it unless they are in monetary advertising competition wars as well (TVG&HRTV)???  They both surely must have enough cameramen to cover both major events.  Why are they both covering the Jerome H., a race of less relativity to the Derby?  I'm baffled by this type of coverage, or lack thereof, so can anyone explain?  I feel that both TVG and HRTV should cover both races from the minute the horses start the walkover until the end of the race, not one of the channels just devoting a few seconds to play the replay.  I would assume that not every racing betting fan and racing enthusiast has both HRTV and TVG combined.  The way they have the coverage set up for this weekend I am assuming that TVG viewers cannot see the Arkansas Derby until after the fact and vice versa for HRTV viewers who cannot see the Toyota until after the fact because TVG has it.  Horseracing tv coverage is dismal at best and now we need the only two stations we have in some competition at our viewing expense?

14 Apr 2011 9:45 PM
Xavier

Can everybody with any honesty say that Toby's Corner is a better horse than Uncle Mo? The competition didn't beat Uncle Mo, Uncle Mo beat himself. One subpar out of character performance does not override what he did in his 4 previous races.

The good thing is, he had his bad race in the Wood Memorial and not the kentucky Derby.    

14 Apr 2011 9:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

If my calculations are correct then Archarcharch is only 12 letters so there is plenty of room to name his son Archarcharcharch, and for Archarcharcharch's son to be named ArcharcharcharchJr.

15 Apr 2011 9:52 AM
Lisa g

Uncle Mo

Arthur's Tale

Dialed In

Midnight Interlude

Mucho Macho Man

The Factor

Elite Alex

Toby's Corner

Jaycito

Archarcharch

Nehro

Stay Away

Santiva

Hopefully:

Uncle MO

Alternation

Shackleford

15 Apr 2011 3:43 PM
Oldie

Alex'sBigFan, this has been the case for some time now.  As someone who only sees TVG I have missed many Derby preps live, getting instead to watch a man in headphones announce the race and then see the replay later.  Additionally they do a terrible job of informing the viewer who switches back and forth between horse racing, car racing and baseball what the schedule is, at least in my opinion.  But that's just me :)  If I recall correctly, each one has separate contracts with tracks and races and competes to televise them live.

16 Apr 2011 10:48 AM
WendyO

You know, upsets may abound, they may be trading victories and physical issues, and I know people are calling this a weak crop.  But I found myself rooting for a good half or more of the Arkansas Derby field, cheering on ArchArchArch, and feeling breathlessly delighted at Nehro's closing dash.   They may not be an exceedingly fast (at a distance) or consistent crop, but they're keeping it interesting and there's something lovable about this year's group.  

16 Apr 2011 7:36 PM
JJ Lucky Train

I think Uncle Mo will scratch from the Derby between now and Derby day, has he has respiratory problems and not GI problems, or that he grabbed a quarter. I still like JJ Lucky Train and Pants on Fire, Nehro, and Shakleford

17 Apr 2011 7:10 AM
joe p.

Steve: Getting down to the final furlong of the Derby Dozen with all of the Major preps over now. Here's my top 10 leading up to the first Saturday in May. 1. Dialed In- Has a win over the track at Churchill. Fires every time. Will relish the distance. Should be around 4-1, the one to beat. 2. Uncle Mo - Loves the track at CD, was runaway winner in BC Juvenil Race in 2010. Should be 100% for the KY Derby, should see the real Uncle Mo. 3. Master of Hounds - Will Get the distance, has tactical speed, hopefully he will run, will be at a big price, could pull the upset. 4. Mucho Macho Man - Healthy again, should like the distance, well rested. 5. Nehro - strong closer like dialed in, 3 weeks rest does concern me though. 6. Archarcharch - Contender after winning the AK derby, 3 weeks rest a concern. 7. Midnite Interlude - Nice win in SA Derby, didn't race at 2, a concern. 8. Toby's Corner - Beat an improving Arthur's Tail and a stomach sick Uncle Mo in Wood Memorial. 9. Shackelford - has a win over CD track, could hit the board. 10. Pants on Fire - LA Derby winner could hit the board. PP will be the key for all of these horses. Good luck to all.

17 Apr 2011 11:53 AM
Mcguane

Xavier

I said it before the Wood. See my previous post prior to the race calling the finish as:

1- Toby

2- Norman A

3- Uncle M

OK...I had my 2nd and 4th place finishers switched but not bad.

And I'll say it again Toby's Corner is a better Classic Horse (read Kentucky Derby) than Uncle MO.

And why does it have to be about hate?

I think Mo is a excellent horse, but he's a miler and won't go the classic distances, nothing wrong with that.

Toby was a late foal and is still maturing and improving colt, as he fills in and muscles up the longer the distance he gets the better he's going to be.

Uncle M's connections can make all the excuses they want(does anyone know what a GI infection is, because it is a very unspecific diagonsis) but the fact is he got beat running a perfect trip While Toby's Corner got blocked twice early and completly cut off by Norman A in the streach and still won.

I'll be at the Derby to watch a great race with alot of fine horses and as a horse fan I hope they all come home safe. Will Toby win ? I don't know beacause with 20 horses out there it's a demolition deby as much as a horse race, but I will have my money on Toby to win just like I did in the Wood.

17 Apr 2011 12:59 PM
Mcguane

Oh and my pick for the Kentucky Derby:

1 - Toby's Corner

2 - Mucho Macho Man

3 - Dialed In

17 Apr 2011 1:01 PM
Slew

Just when I thought Archx3 was clear away from Alternation's antics, his next door neighbor, Dance City kicks up a fuss.  The only thing I could think was "don't kick Archx3".  I thought Archx3 did just fine in the Rebel.  His legs were cut up, and he really got a nasty kick to his flank.  You wouldn't catch me trying to run after a hit like that. (limp...yes; run...no) At last..he proved his mettle in in the AR Derby, and I was so proud of him.  And I'm positively thrilled for Jon Court, who WON'T lose his Derby mount this year, since Jinx is his father-in-law.

I think Nehro is our Belmont winner; he looked as though he could run all day.

The picture seems to be clearing.  I like Dialed In, Pants On Fire, Archarcharch, Nehro, Midnight Interlude, Toby's Corner, MMM and I'll give Uncle Mo and The Factor a pass for one bad race.  I don't think Dance City has the earnings for the Derby, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Preakness.  He was running up front most of the way, and still finished in the money.

Of course, we witnessed nothing but upsets since the Derby preps began, so...what's there to say the Ky Derby will be any different?

17 Apr 2011 2:52 PM
Thelwell Pony

Hey Steve, are you feeling vindicated after the Arkansas Derby? Good call on keeping both Archarcharch and Nehro in the Dozen! I wonder what the margin of victory would have been with both carrying the same weight? Arch's stock just keeps going up, too!

Wonder if "bloodwork" will reveal a GI infection that prevented The Factor from performing? Bloodlines revealed that he can't go 9f. I'm just kidding around. I would have loved for him to have been a freak, but he ain't.

Was anyone else bored to tears by the Bluegrass Stakes? (I'll probably have to eat crow for saying that in a few weeks.)

17 Apr 2011 6:21 PM
the fireman

my hot 6 are the following

dialed in

astrology

elite alex

the factor

premier pegasus

nehro

brethren

22 Apr 2011 11:21 PM

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