Derby Dozen - April 26, 2011 - Presented by Pauls Mill

 

1

Uncle Mo Todd Pletcher

Indian Charlie—Playa Maya, by Arch

Boy, am I going to get hammered for this move. I just cannot come up with a #1 that I’m totally comfortable with, so I am going back to the horse most people thought was a superstar only a couple of weeks ago and who had an encouraging 5-furlong work Tuesday. He’s been cleaning up his feed and you have to assume he will be 100% healthy on May 7. As gifted as he is, that's good enough for me. You also have to assume the Wood was a total aberration and he’ll get close to those three “zero” Thoro-Graph numbers he ran as a 2-year-old. I may be totally off base and will live with it if I am, but if he was only 70% for the Wood, as they feel he was, and still only got beat 1 1/4 lengths by a highly regarded horse, maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the real Uncle Mo on the first Saturday in May if Pletcher can get him fit enough and sharp enough. I also like him because most everyone has deserted him. But that’s just me.

2

Dialed In Nick Zito

Mineshaft —Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat

I have total faith in Nick Zito getting him to the Derby in the best possible condition. And I believe he’s an immensely talented horse. But there is a little concern putting a horse on top with only four career starts and so few works, especially since the last horse to win the Derby with only four career starts was Exterminator in 1918. He will have his final work Thursday at Palm Meadows. His work regimen has been conservative to say the least, but by necessity, due to his quick rise to stardom. I still like this horse a lot, and #2 isn’t exactly chopped liver. Plus, most everyone has him on top and this isn’t the year to go with the crowd. But that’s just me.

3

Archarcharch William Fires

Arch—Woodman’s Dancer, by Woodman

His “1” on Thoro-Graph in the Arkansas Derby is the fastest number earned by any of the Derby horses this year. If he pairs up in the Derby or even regresses a little it should be good enough to put him right there at the finish. He does have a good number in the Southwest and the Sugar Bowl in December to fall back on, so even if he does regress coming back in three weeks, it shouldn’t be by very much. He has all the tools and there is nothing to suggest he won’t run another big race on May 7

4

Toby's Corner Graham Motion

Bellamy Road—Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky

Speaking of Thoro-Graph, he’s been extremely consistent in his last five races, but will have to improve off his Wood Memorial figure. He does have a lot of room for improvement, so he still must be considered a top contender. Uncle Mo obviously has to improve as well, but his numbers last year tower over these horses. Toby has improved with blinkers and with maturity, and he’s become a more determined runner who is only going to get better.

5

Mucho Macho Man Kathy Ritvo

Macho Uno—Ponche de Leona, by Ponche

I like the bottom Ritvo is putting in him. His 7-furlong work on Saturday was significantly slower than his previous 7-furlong drill, but this was only a maintenance move over a sloppy track. Expect a bigger work next time. What I also like about him is that he has a big Thoro-Graph number (“3/4”) in last year’s Remsen, and is steadily heading back to that number, improving with every start without taking any huge leaps forward. He is the kind of steady grinder that should just keep coming.

6

Pants on Fire Kelly Breen

Jump Start—Cabo de Noche, by Cape Town

There isn’t much more to stay about him that wasn’t said in the last Derby trail column, where I even convinced myself he is a major contender and a vastly improved horse with a super pedigree. The six weeks should actually help him, because he jumped from a steady run of “6s” on Thoro-Graph to a “2 3/4” in the Louisiana Derby after recovering from a lung infection. He’s been working up a storm and should be fresh and fit for the Derby, especially with six two-turn races and a one-mile race under him. I moved him up from #11 to #6 this week and if he works huge at Churchill I can see him shooting right to the top and becoming a definite bet come Derby Day.

7

Nehro Steve Asmussen

Mineshaft —The Administrator, by Afleet

The main question with him is, can he improve again in the Derby, making this third start in six weeks with only five career starts under him? He’s accomplished a lot in a short period of time and didn’t make his career debut until Dec. 12. Fortunately, his Thoro-Graph figs also show moderate, steady jumps with no gigantic career best number, which will help him if he is to make another move forward in three weeks. What was encouraging about the Arkansas Derby was the way he galloped out well past everyone. I especially want to see his energy level leading up to the Derby. He has proven his versatility and ability to rally from anywhere on the racetrack. Can anyone say wise-guy horse? I only latch on to wise-guys horses if I’m the only wise guy, but that’s just me.

8

Midnight Interlude Bob Baffert

War Chant—Midnight Kiss, by Groom Dancer

Like Dialed In, he’s made only four career starts and has burst on the scene off a maiden win. He also didn’t run as a 2-year-old, so he has history against him. But boy did he look good in the Santa Anita Derby. He did make a four-point Thoro-Graph jump winning that race, and likely still has to improve off it to win the Derby. Other than Comma to the Top, we really have no idea what he beat in the Santa Anita Derby, and Silver Medallion (who finished a close fourth) didn’t fire as expected in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. But despite the questions (who doesn’t have questions?), he does have star quality and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him put Apollo to rest once and for all.

9

Soldat Kiaran McLaughlin

War Front—Le Relais, by Coronado’s Quest

I will state right now that this horse may be ranked too low, but I want to digest everything about him for a few more days and see how he works at Churchill. His :59 flat work at Palm Meadows last week was fantastic and that alone makes him a horse to definitely reevaluate. I just realized something writing this comment: I don’t know where to put any of these horses. This is the perfect year to heed one of my favorite quotes: “It takes a horse to make a person look like an ass.”

10

Stay Thirsty Todd Pletcher

Bernardini—Marozia, by Storm Bird

Yes, I’m resurrecting another old friend. If you didn’t like the Uncle Mo move you’ll probably hate this one. But his bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:00 over a sloppy Churchill surface shows he at least likes the track, and I like the fact he was one of the first arrivals at the Downs. So, while we’re forgiving bad performances, why not forgive his Florida Derby? I actually wasn’t expecting a top effort because I don’t like horses going up north from Florida and running in cold weather and then going back down to Florida, especially when it’s an extremely hot day. The bottom line is that, although I feel by having only two preps he needed at least one gut-wrencher, he did beat Toby’s Corner convincingly. I just don’t know if he’s battle-tested enough.

11

Shackleford Dale Romans

Forestry—Oatsee, by Unbridled

He turned in a sharp bullet 5-furlong work in 1:00 1/5 with a final eighth in :12 2/5 over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. He still needs another defection to get in, and is much more deserving than several of those ahead of him. He is one horse who looks ready to peak on Derby Day.

12

Brilliant Speed Tom Albertrani

Dynaformer—Speed Succeeds, by Gone West

He is another I devoted an entire column to in the belief that he should be taken more seriously than just another synthetic/grass horse. There are enough classic influences in his pedigree to suggest he will handle the dirt fine. Of course, there is never any way of knowing for sure, but at the price he’s going to be, it just might be worth it to take a shot on him.

12

Animal Kingdom Graham Motion

Leroidesanimaux—Dalicia, by Acatenango

We were all looking forward to seeing how he worked over the dirt at Churchill Downs, but bad weather forced him to remain at Keeneland and his work over the Polytrack did not go as expected, so we’ll have to until next week. It would have been more reassuring to see two dirt works in him, but that’s not going to happen, so we’ll just have to hope we see enough out of next week’s work to get a feel for him one way or the other.

I’ve decided to hold off on The Factor until he works and is actually confirmed as a Derby starter, then he’ll be ranked accordingly. The same goes with Master of Hounds. We’ll wait until he finishes all his works and gets on the plane for Kentucky. One horse who has become an enigma is Santiva, a one-time highly regarded horse who wasn’t able to show his best form in the Blue Grass Stakes due to traffic problems. Did he get enough out of that race to prepare him for a top effort in the Derby? It’s only appropriate that we end with another question.

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.

91 Comments

Leave a Comment:

BlueHen

I'm still going with Stay Thirsty & Uncle Mo -- glad to see they're back on the list! :)

26 Apr 2011 10:46 AM
Draynay

You have every right to put Mo first and I don't blame you.  No one else has shown enough to take the spot from him.  Nehro is low considering I just don't believe Dialed In is fast enough to run by him in deep stretch.  The mid pack horses do not fear Dialed In running by them.

26 Apr 2011 11:12 AM
Gardner

Toby's Corner is my favorite out of your list.  I like that the pp's in 4 of his 6 starts use the adjective "driving" to describe his finish.  Plus he's won coming from both mid-pack and deep.    

I also really like ArchX3 but his win one, lose one pattern worries me. If the pattern holds he's due for a lose one in the KD.

26 Apr 2011 11:33 AM
JAJ

Steve,

You can't seriously think Uncle Mo will be a factor in the Derby.  He has done nothing this year that suggests he  even belongs in the Derby.  It doesn't matter what he did last year, it is now THIS year.  The horse that is on the improve and who peaks Derby day is the one who with the best chance to win it.

Uncle Mo looks like a horse who is just not doing well.  There are too many things going against him including 10 furlongs.  I just don't think Pletcher has the horsemanship skills to be able to pull this off.  Pletcher's wins in the Triple Crown races seem to come from horses he wasn't expecting to win with, or in Rags to Riches' case, even to enter.  He's no Baffert, Lukas or Zito who manage to get their horses to peak on the right day.

26 Apr 2011 12:15 PM
Karen in Texas

This is such a strange year for Derby contenders that you should not be criticized for any rearrangement of the list! So, if The Factor is now out due to surgery, then is Shackleford in?? I think he really deserves a chance to be in the Derby field.

26 Apr 2011 12:20 PM
The Deacon

I totally agree Steve, I never gave up on Uncle Mo. He has been my pick all along and I have stated so many times on these blogs. Your assessment is right on.

It's a horse race, anything can happen. None of us are so naive that we think the best horse always wins. I think Uncle Mo is a very nice colt and he will vindicate the Indian Charlie bloodline by getting the 10 furlongs at age three.

I also Stay Thirsty has a legitimate shot as does Midnight Interlude. Those are my picks at this time.

Best of luck to all............

26 Apr 2011 12:31 PM
El Kabong

Steve,

We all know the exact order of the Dozen is pretty much interchangeable and  vulernable moment to moment with this years bunch.  I will chalk this list leader up to an act of faith,-yours with Mo-nothing more than that. I  do like the Dozen here. I think it was a good move to bring Stay Thirsty back. With the factor out, it's time to start drafting pace scenarios and figuring out where everyone will sit on the bus ride around churchill's oval. If it were up to me, your bags would be packed and you would be reporting from the rail right now, but that's just me and probably everyone else who visits this irreplaceable derby feedbag.

26 Apr 2011 12:38 PM
Johnny

I believe the big news is The Factor and Jaycito are out..

So I ask is the speed going to be Schackelford and UM??

I have seen both those horse and Schackelford is the better looking of the 2 just saying..

Do not underestimate Schackelford he is a big ol colt..

With the lost of the speed how big is the pile up turning for home going to be??

Dialed In,Nehro,Tobies Corner, are going to be at least 8 wide that is an aweful lot of ground to make up..

While all the closers are getting checked the ones on the front are gonna be pulling away..

I believe as of now it will be a horse like Barbaro who sat 5-6 of the pace and got the first jump turning for home..

So if the race is shaping up like I think..

I have AAA,MMM,Soldat,MI,Stay Thirsty.

Steve when do you leave for KY??

TY

26 Apr 2011 12:45 PM
Linda in Texas

What a bummer to learn that The Factor, a co favorite, will not be winning The Kentucky Derby along with a photo finish with Pants on Fire my other favorite!!!!! With Rosie a Red Head riding Pants on Fire, just imagine what fun the writers will have with that combination if it comes to pass!

So now i will have to add Comma To The Top,(if he is still back in) my 3rd favorite and a possible 4th in Mucho Macho Man as

my picks for kicks, no bets. I leave that to the pros.

Really admire The Factor and the news of his not participating is an upset to me. Look at The Factor's expression, how could you not love a face like that??? Oh

don't answer that. I will just look forward to his racing when he is healed and healthy. Maybe Soldat can carry on for War Front and bring a little honor to him.

Just checking the weather forecast for the next few days, not looking good for a dry track: Apr 26 thru 28 showers, Sunny April 29 and 30,

showers Sunday May 1 & 2, Partly Cloudy and Sunny on May 3 & 4, then showers on May 5. Pray for sunny on May 6 and 7 if your choice favors a quasi dry track.

Thanks Steve, and don't forget to pack your galoshes again this year!

26 Apr 2011 1:29 PM
JerseyBoy

Steve:

You are to be admired for your courage in bringing back Stay Thirsty. All he needs is an inside draw.

26 Apr 2011 1:43 PM
Paula Higgins

No, you aren't getting hammered by me Steve. I totally agree with you about Uncle Mo. I am not deserting him either. (Steve you have a big heart). His work today was pretty good. The big question is, can he get the distance. Ultimately, that is the big question. He has a ton of talent, I think with a decent trip he can win this. I pretty much agree with your list but would put Mucho Macho Man third. Great discussion of the probable entires as usual It helps neophytes like me alot.

26 Apr 2011 1:47 PM
CW

that was an interesting week or so where it looked like mo would be in the 4-1 or 5-1 range. with the word put out the he is "back on track" i think you are looking at low odds again guaranteed.

26 Apr 2011 1:48 PM
Dutch

As you know, Steve, things have to go perfectly for these horses in the days and weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Now, I understand the sentiment in wanting Uncle Mo to be special, but he's up against it here. Things have been less than perfect for Uncle Mo in the last few weeks, and even if he gets back to full strength his back is against the wall. He will have had an easy prep in the Timely Writer, and then a race in the Wood where he wasn't 100 percent. That makes for about a prep race and a half leading up to the biggest race of his life. Factor in the distance, which to me is a major question mark, and Uncle Mo will truly have to be something special to win the Kentucky Derby.

Trust me, I've been there before with horses who just didn't have everything go right leading up to the Kentucky Derby. One that comes to mind is Millennium Wind, who had foot issues in the days leading up to the 2001 Derby. Even though I knew all about the hoof problems, I still backed Millennium Wind and watched him stagger home in 11th place.

And of course there's Arazi, who had surgery on both his knees and just one prep race before the 1992 Derby. Arazi made a big, sweeping move in the Derby, but he flattened out and finished 8th. As Charlsie Cantey so succinctly pointed out that day, Arazi's "wings were made of gossamer." Truer words were never spoken.

26 Apr 2011 1:49 PM
-Keelerman

Steve;

Good list!

I was quite impressed by Stay Thirsty's bullet workout under Calvin Borel, and agree with your decision to move him back into your Derby Dozen. I'm going to toss his Florida Derby performance and judge him by his previous efforts when handicapping the Kentucky Derby.

I am fascinated by your mentions of Thoro-Graph numbers. I've always been intrigued by them, but should really learn more about them.

-Keelerman

26 Apr 2011 2:07 PM
GoldenBroom

I'm working on my Derby boards for my party and I'm coming up with the same thing as I consider the non-racing fans/fans for a day and explaining to them who each horse is and what has it done to get here...how do you bet against the only horse that has made over $1 mil, has 4 wins out of 5 starts with 1 third (and an excuse to get beat less than 2 lengths?). I think there are several contenders but I agree with your list. I have

#1 Mo (he hasn't run his best race by far this year and no Factor running a decent draw and he runs away with it)

#2 Dialed In (Zito knows what he's doing)

#3 MMM (likes the track, legit excuse last race)

#4 Stay Thirsty (like you said likes the track)

26 Apr 2011 2:22 PM
tcc

Dialed In Nick Zito:

I have total faith in Nick Zito getting him to the Derby in the best possible condition. And I believe he’s an immensely talented horse. But there is a little concern putting a horse on top with only four career starts and so few works, especially since the last horse to win the Derby with only four career starts was Exterminator in 1918.

Steve: Big Brown had only 3 career starts before winning the Derby.

26 Apr 2011 2:30 PM
Giddyup

Have liked Soldat from the get go and have no reason to back away from him now. It should be one of the most interesting races in years.

26 Apr 2011 2:35 PM
JerseyBoy

Dutch:

I hate to sound like a broken record, so I will take an extract from Wikipedia to make a point in response to your post:

From Wikipedia:

"Lammtarra very nearly didn't get to the Derby at all. During the early part of the season, he was a sick horse and his participation was in grave doubt. When he arrived at Epsom on the big day, it was for his seasonal reappearance and his first run in 302 days...

There was no hint of what was to come as the field rounded Tattenham Corner, with Lammtarra stuck on the rails towards the rear of the field...

Proof of Lammtarra's ability came in the official time for the race, an astonishing two minutes 32.21 seconds, 1.53 seconds inside the previous Derby best"

It was his second lifetime start.

Talent wins races. Prep races are overrated. They cannot make a poor horse a better horse.

26 Apr 2011 2:48 PM
Freetex

Nice list Steve.

Post positions could change a lot of folks' top four or so.  For now, I like AAA, UM, Shackleford, Nehro, and MMM.

If it stays wet, then oh my, Soldat or whomever Calvin Borel is riding.

26 Apr 2011 3:22 PM
Freetex

Have to add that MI keeps doing very well at Churchill.  So, its a puzzle this year (and every other year actually), a real puzzle.

26 Apr 2011 3:30 PM
Weekend

I wrote this down after the ARK Derby

MMM

Dialed In

Nehro

Uncle MO

still like it, but have to add AAA and Stay Thirsty to the list and go from there after PP's are drawn.

Lowest Odds favorite will be 5-1 in Derby

26 Apr 2011 3:39 PM
Steve Haskin

tcc, trust me I'll well aware Big Brown had 3 starts. I said 4 starts. Big Brown was a total freak. Many more horses have run in the Derby off 4 starts than 3, so it is a more relevant stat.

26 Apr 2011 3:57 PM
Dutch

JerseyBoy: Appreciate your support and backing of Uncle Mo, and best of luck. More power to him if he can pull a 'Lammtarra.'

26 Apr 2011 4:10 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, you are so right. Everyone keeps bringing up Big Brown as an example of a horse who didn't need alot of starts to win. People are forgetting that he was expected to win because he was a monster. If he had lost then it would have been news.

26 Apr 2011 4:43 PM
CW

yes a lot of things have to go right to win the derby but to say uncle mo "will truly have to be something special" to win, now that is laying it on a little thick.

26 Apr 2011 5:00 PM
El Kabong

Premier Pegasus, Jaycito, The Factor All Out. That  I don't like to see but I can live with it.

BUT NO TOM DURKIN ON THE NBC CALL!

That will be tough to handle. This old horse will really miss one of the finest gentlemen to ever call a race. His great talent for finding the right words added much to this thrilling event. Like buttah.

I'm sorry..........I'm a little verklempt.....

Churchill Downs, neither a church nor a hill, discuss...

26 Apr 2011 5:01 PM
SACK THE SECRATARY

RE: MOH I think just because he is shipping across the pond shouldnt make you want to back him in the derby.How many horses who have not prepped in the US won the derby? Is O'Brien shipping him by himself or will he have a companion or companions that will compete on derby day? Is this the first time the trainer has done this?

26 Apr 2011 5:06 PM
anniedixie65

Love that you took the initiative to put Uncle Mo back on top! Uncle Mo hasn't been moved from #1 off my list even after losing. My Top 3 are as follows:

1)Uncle Mo

2)ArchArchArch

3)Midnight Interlude

Keep a close eye on Soldat in the case of a sloppy track. We all know how much Soldat loves to romp in the slop!

26 Apr 2011 5:08 PM
mz

Master of Hounds?

26 Apr 2011 5:10 PM
Rinzler

I like Shackleford's chances even more now that The Factor is out.

26 Apr 2011 5:27 PM
Stones

I'm ready to throw names in a hat come Derby day....

I completely agree with your logic on Mo.  He owns the best performance (on CD track, no less) and was the best 2 yr old.  Who has been consistently excellent as a 3 yr old?  Nobody.  There are as many question marks surrounding every other horse as there are for Mo.  Every horse has something that their backers must "excuse".

So as a collective body of work, his history earns him merit for consideration as #1.

I almost never root for the favorite, but I have to feel for the horse and his connections given the tumultuous year they have had.  I'd be "OK" if he wins.

All that being said, my heart is with AAA...followed closely by MMM.

The good news is most of my Futures wagers are intact, so my race day wagers can fill in the blanks.  Mo is one of those blanks.

26 Apr 2011 5:30 PM
KY VET

WOW!! STEVE, AS A PROFESSIONAL HANDICAPPER, I MUST SAY, THAT THIS IS PRACTICALLY PERFECT! I'M SURPRISED..ONLY THE 3RD PLACE HORSE, I WOULD PUT LOWER..THE HORSE ALREADY RAN HIS BEST...BUT I'M NOT SURE.IT'S CLOSE CALL ON HIM....IF UNCLE MO IS SOUND, THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO FIRE BIG..PEOPLE CALL HIM A SPEED HORSE, ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS WATCH THE HORSE RUN...HE IS NOT SPEED CRAZY/ TRAINER RAVES ABOUT HOW SMART HE IS/ LONG LONG STRIDE,ABILITY TO RELAX.....HIGH CRUISING SPEED....AND HE CRUSHED THE 2ND BEST HORSE AND MAYBE 3RD BEST IN BOYS OF TOSCONOVA, ROGUE ROMANCE.....RR I THINK IS A QUALITY HORSE.....THE REASON TO KNOW THAT MO IS SOUND IS, HE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING HARD FOR 5 MONTHS...THE HORSES TO WORRY ABOUT ARE THE ONES COMING OFF THEIR BEST, OR TOUGH RACES, LIKE AAA NEHRO, ETC....

26 Apr 2011 5:42 PM
IOWay

Until I actually went to Churchill Downs for Big Brown's Derby I was under the impression that it was necessary for the outside horses to sprint away to get a good position into the first turn, thinking that it was a short distance there, much like mile races at mile long tracks where the horses have a short run to the first turn.  In actuality, the stretch from the starting gate to the first turn is a good long distance, and there is room to establish a good stalking position as Big Brown did, without burning a horse out.  Last year the jockey on Sidney's Candy (Joe Talamo) rode him like believed he had to be first to the turn and had burned him out by the time they came out of that turn instead of trying to rate him at least a little.  I think that was his first ride in the Derby and he did a terrible injustice to the horse.  As others have pointed out, the one hole is the tough position because from there it actually appears to be inside the rail once the horses get to the part of the track that is beyond the second turn when they go by the first time, and if a horse is covered up there he is in trouble. I think if Sidney's Candy and Lookin at Lucky could have switched positions last year both would have done better.  In a twenty horse field the ride given the horse is even more important than normal and Derby Day is not the time to try to teach a horse a new style of running. The jockey has to sense the pace and not burn his horse out.  In the end, the best horse may not win, but the best horse that is feeling good that day and who gets a good ride and a good trip probably will. I just hope it is one that I have bet on. Good luck to everyone.

26 Apr 2011 5:43 PM
KY VET

HORSES RUN EVERYDAY WITH PROBLEMS.. HURT HORSES RUN EVERY DAY....HOW DO WE SPOT A HORSE WITH PROBLEMS? IN PARADE? BY BANDAGES? BY STRIDE? BY PERFORMANCE? BY LACK OF RACING? BY CONFORMATION? THE ANSWER IS ALL OF THE ABOVE... AND EVEN IF YOU'RE RIGHT...THE HORSE CAN WIN, THEN GO BAD LATER... IT'S USUALLY JUST A MATTER OF TIME...LOOKING AT STRIDES, NOT CHANGING LEADS IN THE STRETCH IS NOT A GOOD SIGN...ONE OF THE WORST, IS LUGGING IN OR OUT..ALSO BAD BREAKS FROM THE GATE...WE WILL LOOK AT A COUPLE OF HORSES IN DERBY FIELD, THAT SHOW THIS, IN MY NEXT POST....

26 Apr 2011 6:07 PM
Criminal Type

I think there is still plenty of speed in the field even with The Factor out, Comma to the Top immediatly comes to mind. I think Shackleford will be up in the front too. I was not impressed with Mo's work. I do not believe he is the same horse as he was at two. His performaces so far this year were in my opinion, weak. Granted he has a "virus" but still his work was uninspiring. Several other horses have worked 5f in quicker time on a less then perfect surface. Midnight Interlude blazed in his work. I really like the 7f works they are getting into Mucho Macho Man. Yes, Stay Thirsty worked really well under Borel but I don't know if he can go 1 1/4 miles. My sentemental favorite is Master Of Hounds now that Sadlers Wells (MOH's brrodmare sire)has passed on. What a prolific sire he was. Ive always loved the photo of him looking over the top of the fence on Coolmore's site. It was like he was saying " haha here I am " If Master Of Hounds comes over to the Derby, and it is looking like he will, and performs well, I think they should keep him here for the Belmont. I think a mile and a half would be right up his alley.

26 Apr 2011 6:23 PM
KY VET

LOOK HOW BAD BRILLIANT SPEED WAS WHEN HE STARTED RACING....LOOK AT VIDEOS. HE RACED GREENLY, WOULDN'T CHANGE LEADS ALOT LUGGED...RAN AGAINST GOOD HORSES, SO HE MUST HAVE SHOWN TALENT...HE DID THINGS PERFECT IN LAST RACE..SOMETHING WASN'T RIGHT THEN GOT RIGHT..MAYBE SORE SHINS...THIS EXPLAINS THE BIG IMPROVEMENT! BUT, JUST BECAUSE A HORSE STARTS DOING SOMETHING RIGHT, DOES'T MEAN HE IS ALL BETTER..HORSES GET INJURIES MAINLY FROM POOR CONFORMATION.OR THE MAKE-UP OF THE HORSE(WEAKNESSES). INJURIES COME BACK! ESPECIALLY HORSES THAT RUN GREAT,THAT USED TO SHOW PROBLEMS..(OR HORSES THAT SHOW BIG IMPROVEMENTS) .ARCH3 -SAME STORY..HE WAS A NO LEAD HORSE IN THE STRETCH, THEN LAST 2 DID THINGS RIGHT! EXPLAINS THE BETTER RACES! BUT CAUTION THERE TOO...WHY WAS HE NOT? SOME OF YOU WILL SAY HE LEARNED IT...USUALLY NOT THE CASE..BOTH OF THESE HORSES MIGHT HAVE HAD SLIGHT PROBLEM AND ARE ALL BETTER, OR BIG PROBLEM ,AND FELT GOOD ...SOMETIMES A HORSE RUNS GREAT, BUT SHOWS BAD SIGNS...DIALED IN, WHO I LIKE, HAS SHOWN BAD STARTS(BORE OUT IN HOLY BULL OUT OF GATE) CHANGED LEADS LATE, AND LUGS IN IN THE STRETCH...A LITTLE CONCERNING! ZITO SAID ONLY 1 WORK TILL DERBY MAKES ME WONDER..BUT I THINK HE'LL HAVE 2.....MIGHT ALSO EXPLAIN THE LIGHTLY RACED LATE START HE GOT TO RACES......DON'T BE SURPRISED IF THESE HORSES GO BAD IN THE COMING WEEKS/MONTHS

26 Apr 2011 6:25 PM
Old Timer

Steve,

Your dozen this week gave me a chuckle. Mainly that is because your honesty is refreshing. Reading between the lines you obviously see this race as a crapshoot. And rightly so.

I have to give Arch x 3 a big shot at this, both on breeding and his record.

Dialed In's chances have fallen with the defection of JP's Gusto and Factor.

You have one horse who had an intestinal bug and one who had a lung infection so there are two more wild cards.

Your comments on Stay Thirsty remind me of another year. Can you say Sea Hero? He went off at long odds partly on his poor races in Florida. But the horse did not like hot weather at all. Come Derby day, it was cool and his two year old form was right back.

One thing for sure is that this will be a great betting race. A few weeks ago who would have thought that would be true?

26 Apr 2011 6:50 PM
Kevin

The pace scenario is definitely taking shape, but I think makes the overall pic more muddled; as a lot of the favorites are closers. Dialed in closed into a speed favoring track in the Florida Derby, but not sure he can loop a big compact field. Not sure Nehro can fire again after 2 tough races. I'm really leaning toward a large show bet on Mucho Macho Man and not even considering an exotics play.

26 Apr 2011 7:03 PM
Kristen

I'm really confused about this years Derby, more than ever.  I've always liked Stay Thirsty.  Thx Steve for putting him back on the list.  If Calvin Borel gets the ride on him, than more the better.  How does Calvin not have a mount in this years Derby??  It's funny how things happen.  I like Shackleford also.  Sorry about Tom Durkin not calling the Triple Crown races anymore.  I think the best race caller out there is Keenelands Kurt Becker. I will also be Dialed In!!  Should be a fun ride this year in all the Triple Crown races.

26 Apr 2011 7:43 PM
CharlieCigar

Well i'm no professional, but it seemed pretty obvious to me that Brilliant Speed would have also won two starts back had he not been carried wide and bothered by King Congie.

This horse had no business winning the Bluegrass being so far back off  a snailish pace. If he takes to the churchill dirt he will be a serious force to reckon with.

26 Apr 2011 8:03 PM
btiggeriffik

Love your analysis--my money will be on ArchArchArch, Stay Thirsty, and Dialed In.  Love Uncle Mo, but I'm going with my original picks!!!  

26 Apr 2011 8:10 PM
Foregofan

Have enjoyed your opinions for years. Thank You. Why is everyone ignoring a colt that fell in love with dirt racing ay Santa Anita, placed in the Turf Paradise Derby and won the Sunland Park Derby.

26 Apr 2011 8:17 PM
KY VET

COLFACTS! GIVE ME THE WORST 5 BREEDING IN THE TOP 20.YOUR WORST 5

26 Apr 2011 8:35 PM
joeywoge

It's all coming together. The pace horses, the stalker's and the closers. From what I see pace will be moderately fast. I don't believe it will be a blistering pace. That being said there will be horses vying for the early lead. I think Shack is the quickest of the bunch. But P.Val will be right there early with Comma To The Top. Pants, Soldat and Decisive Moment also have early speed and will be close to the pace with Midnight Interlude there as well.

In my opinion the winner of the derby comes out of the next flight of horses which will be Uncle Mo, Mucho Macho Man, Toby's Corner,Stay Thirsty, Master of Hounds and Santiva. MMM and UM will be the closest horses out of this group to the leaders. They will get the jump on the others. Does UM want a 1 1/4?? I don't think so. Just my opinion. Also, he has never been behind where he has had dirt kicked in his face. Will that be a factor?? Mucho Macho Man will have the lead as they turn for home. Then we will see if the 6 week layoff has hurt or helped him. TC should be coming late along with believe it or not Stay Thirsty. It kills me to use this horse but Pletcher somehow gets them ready for the big day and he is bred to get the distance.Let's not forget Invisible Ink and Blugrass Cat. He is also bred to love CD!! Master of Hounds I can not use. He is a turf horse in my opinion. Let him beat me. His UAE derby did not impress me at all.

Still have to wait for PP's to come out and track condition's of course before making my final picks. But you get the picture. Good luck everyone.

26 Apr 2011 9:18 PM
Indiana Johnny

Steve, I allways enjoy reading your rankings and coments, and think you do a great job. My brother and I check Bloodhorse out several times a day. I also enjoy the TCI ratings and coments from Joel.

I still really like Soldat & MMM & Uncle Mo on top of Pants on Fire, AAA, and Comma to the top, depending on w/o's and post draws, will use these in a 3x5x5 tri's.

I've got concerns with each of them, but it seems wide open, and every horse has its own little issues. My main str. up bet now is on Mucho Macho Man, seems like one to give his all every race, and I think he can take a little bumping around and keep hammering down.

26 Apr 2011 10:24 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Steve,

I agree with you on Santiva, sure wish he would have found a better spot to prep for the derby than on the polytrack at Keeneland.  

Without dissecting the Past Performances and just doing the picks on gut feeling and having watched the prep races my top 5 horses likely to box in an exacta are:

1. Mucho Macho Man

2. ArchArchArch

3. Dialed In

4. Nehro

5. Soldat

However, I agree with others that Nehro may be up against it not having won a graded stakes yet and running two big races back to back.  Soldat would definitely be a gut instinct pick, but I will likely be persuaded off him once I get entrenched in the PP numbers on Derby Day.

Pants on Fire and Midnite Interlude may creep into my top five before the gates close.  Maybe I will box those 7 in a $.50 tri and call it a day...

26 Apr 2011 11:13 PM
JasonR

Please! Bet Mo down to 8/5! :)

27 Apr 2011 12:47 AM
Delrene

I think it is shaping up to be an extremely exciting Derby.  Would they possibly hire Trevor Denman to be the race announcer?  At this point, almost anything can happen.  I hope all horses and riders have a safe trip and remain healthy.  Thank you Steve for your analysis.  Always enjoy your articles

27 Apr 2011 1:29 AM
Stones

I see people still discussing Comma to the Top.  I thought his trainer ruled the Derby out?  Is the Derby still in consideration?  If not, Silver Medallion moves into the Top 20 in earnings.  I suspect he won't run, which then moves Anthony's Cross (whom I give a slight chance) into the picture.  Barring any late developments, I don't see any other defections.

27 Apr 2011 6:32 AM
Rachel NH

Pretty good list, glad to see Soldat back in "the Dozen!"

I finally managed to get registered...kept getting an "error message" for days. The only problem is, after all these years of being "Rachel", someone took my screen name, so now I am "Rachel NH"....bummer...however, if this is my biggest "whine" obviously I am blessed! ;-)

27 Apr 2011 10:50 AM
Weekend

As I stated on another blog, M.I may of worked a bullet, but he was blowing hard hard hard. Plum pretty worked a furlong further and would not of blown out a candle yesterday. M.I is a toss. He has no shot

27 Apr 2011 11:12 AM
Criminal Type

<shaking head> Steve, I know you still think that Uncle Mo will pull it all together and win the Derby. You are the expert here after all, and if I am wrong I will be happy to own it. In my opinion, after the Derby, Todd Pletcher will be training Uncle Mo for the King's Bishop, not the Travers. The only bad part about that scenario is he will likely wind up facing The Factor and get his proverbial door's blown off.

27 Apr 2011 12:02 PM
Flynne

@Criminal Type: How on earth can you think Stay Thirsty cannot get a mile and a quarter? Have you seen his pedigree? His sire won the Preakness, his paternal gradsire won the Belmont, and his dam's side of the family is LOADED with stamina. Add to that his half brother finished 3rd in the Belmont and I'd say he has the makings of a horse that should only get better with time and distance.

27 Apr 2011 12:10 PM
Criminal Type

OOps My bad, I did mention him in my first post. One, I am no fan of AP Indy ..never was. Second, ITS MY OPINION and im intitled to it. I do not see Stay Thirsty being a factor at all. His last couple races didnt impress me. Third, Believe what you want about Bernardini and his Preakness win. I only have three words for that win...Barbaro didn't finish.

27 Apr 2011 12:45 PM
Flynne

Steve,

I love your Derby Dozen this week! I think I would replace Midnight Interlude with Stay Thirsty. I just love this horse and I think he is far better than he showed in the Florida Derby. Several horses didn't show that day so I'm willing to toss it. On another note, I lovelovelove Archarcharch. He is a beautiful colt that ticks all the boxes. He's certainly got the pedigree to last the distance, and he's had four two-turn races this year. Toby's Corner is another that has had four two-turn races this year. Those blinkers woke him up in the Wood and that performance was no fluke.

Also, this race is shaping up in Soldat's favor, particularly if it rains. With much less speed now he might just run away with it. Mo could do the same though. I see Shackleford, Soldat, and Decisive Moment going for the lead with Mo and Mucho Macho Man right with them or slightly off of them with Pants on Fire somewhere close up too.

27 Apr 2011 12:46 PM
Windy City

Steve - you have got a gallant heart.

I hope that our overnight  "riches to rugs", former "favorite/shouldn't even run in the Derby anymore" will prove non-sayers wrong and in the process, he will deliver good money to those who believe, along with some roses :-)

I don't understand why people abandoned him, just after he finished third...He still has a lot of potential and even more talent. I don't see that amount of criticism for The Factor who's latest performance was much worse than Mo's?

Anyway, my betting top three will be:

1. Mo

2. Dialed In

3. Calvin Bo-rail :-)  

27 Apr 2011 12:50 PM
KY VET

SOMETIMES IT MEANS SOMETHING, SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T....I WROTE DOWN THESE NOTES....STAY THISTY WINNING GOTHAM"CHANGED LEADS,THEN CHANGED BACK TO WRONG LEAD"-THEN HE RAN REALLY BAD? HMMM....AAA NO LEAD IN RACES EARLY IN YEAR.SOUTHWEST STKS LUGGED IN ALMOST FOULED..LAST 2 CHANGED LEADS GOOD...ALTHOUGH ANYONE SEE A BOBBLE AT 1/8TH POLE? IS IT ME?  DIALED IN LUGS IN STRETCH,CHANGES LEADS LATE...BUT ON PAPER LOOKS GOOD.....

27 Apr 2011 1:07 PM
mz

Rachel RH: I agree with you about the Login/Register stuff.

It made my brain hurt.

Lucky no one else (in their right mind) would want "mz".

Still going for Dialed In, Soldat, Brilliant Speed and Master of Hounds.

But I will have to include Pants on Fire too, since this has been a usual refrain in letters I have wanted to send to other lawyers.

27 Apr 2011 1:28 PM
KY VET

BREAKING NEWS.......THE AFLAC DUCK HAS JUST BEEN ENTERED IN THE DERBY!! COLDFACTS HAS JUST CHANGED HIS PICK, DUE TO THE COLD FACT,  THE DUCK HAS THE PERFECT SWAN NECK TO GO A MILE AND A QUARTER!!!! ESPECIALLY IF THE TRACK IS SLOPPY, BECAUSE THE DUCKS' FATHER WAS A MUDDER AND HIS MUDDER WAS A MUDDER!!!!!

27 Apr 2011 1:58 PM
calico cat

Mr. Haskin,

I'm not going to give you any flak for putting Uncle Mo as #1 on your list, I understand your reasons for it and they are very valid. There isn't one horse on the list that doesn't have a question mark next to his name and none of them has a perfect record.

My earlier favorite was Premier Pegasus. Then I picked The Factor. Now, I realize that I should quit choosing because my liking a horse in this Derby seems to bring it very bad luck. I'm more convinced then ever to box a bunch of horses in an exacta and call it a day.

I like your list. Now, I need to cut it in half. Arghhhh! Can't wait for your comments after you get to CD... hoping that will help me.  

27 Apr 2011 2:01 PM
The Deacon

I think way too many folks give Calvin Borel too much credit. He is not a great jockey. He just happens to know the Churchill Downs nuances. He knows how to ride there with the best of them. Is he one of the best Churchill Down jockeys of all time, absolutely. But that doesn't make him a great jockey, prove it on other circuits and then we can re-open the discussion. Just my opinion.......lol

27 Apr 2011 2:19 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Does Master of Hounds' pedigree scream too much Turf?  He has staying pedigree for days, but I am not so sure he is built for the dirt as much as he is for the turf.

Thoughts?

27 Apr 2011 2:46 PM
Windy City

Go Mo!

27 Apr 2011 3:35 PM
Gardner

I don't know what Master of Hounds pedigree is screaming but his pp's seem to be saying "I'm just not that good".  

27 Apr 2011 4:08 PM
Footlick

TJLuvsTizs- he is very turf bred, byt you never know.  So was Sakhee.  He certainly is bred for the distance.  We will wait and see about his gallops on the Churchill dirt/mud.

27 Apr 2011 4:56 PM
alejandrom

hello, it is a really sad news the one of tom durkin!  I would like that the guy that says "And down the stretch they come" to call the triple crown races. I don´t know his name and if he is still doing that job.

I found interesting the rare analysis of KY VET, they are different, it seems like screaming!!! I like them alot and also the fights he has with coldfacts, very funny.

Ok, Good Bye and sorry for the bad english.

27 Apr 2011 7:00 PM
Bspec1

'Mo and Shackleford are my fav's

27 Apr 2011 7:46 PM
predict

 Steve! Nothing speaks more about the derby this year than you making Uncle Mo number one. What has he proven as a 3 year old that makes him number one? We can only imagine what great things are to come from him, because we certainly haven't seen them. Why? Why? Why? should we accept that he is the best horse currently, when he has DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, THIS YEAR.

I respect your opinions, always, for you are the greatest racing authority and writer I have ever read, but please.

Consider yourself hammered.

27 Apr 2011 8:01 PM
robinm

At this point I don't think anyone can be critical of anyone's choices.  A case can be made for or against every horse either definitely in or "on the bubble".

However, I'm in agreement with Steve.  None of the horses have impressed me as much as Uncle Mo.  Yes, I know his last important win was at 2, but it was at Churchill Downs and it never hurts to have shown a previous affinity for that track.  If he is over the GI problem, in my opinion he has a better chance than most.  Recent history tells us horses don't have to have a "distance" pedigree to win the Derby.

27 Apr 2011 8:57 PM
Kristen

Deacon, I agree with you.  I am NOT a Calvin Borel fan at all.  But statistics don't lie as you pointed out.  He is good at the Downs.  He to me is too whip happy.  But he does win at CD.  We'll see where he winds up

27 Apr 2011 9:05 PM
KY VET

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHY UNCLE MO IS/WAS SO GOOD,(108BEYER ONE OF BEST EVER FOR CUP), IT IS HIS STRIDE...SPEED/TALENT/ABILITY TO RELAX/SMART...YES.....BUT THIS HORSE HAS AN AMAZING STRIDE....YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS...HE'S NOT A TALL HUGE HORSE....BUT JUST COUNT HOW MANY STRIDES,FROM A CERTAIN POINT IN HIS RACES...THEN COMPARE THE OTHER HORSE NEXT TO HIM..TRY THE 2ND BY FAR BEST 2YR OLD BOYSOFTOSCANOVA IN THE CUP....WHAT YOU WILL FIND WILL AMAZE YOU! IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW, THIS IS IMPORTANT! A HORSE TAKES A BREATH EVERY STRIDE...THIS HELPS GO A DISTANCE....CRUISING SPEED....STEADY PACE.....NOT TO USE THIS AS EXCUSE, BUT, MIGHT EXPLAIN A LITTLE WHY HE DIDN'T BURST AWAY IN STRETCH IN WOOD..(HE IS NOT A BURST HORSE)...IE STRETCH WAS SPRINT TO WIRE IN SLOW PACE....HE STILL IS BETTER THAN THOSE THAT BEAT HIM, SO HE PROB WAS SICK...BUT MAYBE A COMBINATION OF THE 2.......TRUST ME....GO COUNT HIS STRIDE.......I KNOW A GREAT HORSE WHEN I SEE ONE.....HE CAN LOSE EVERY RACE FROM NOW...HE STILL PROVED ALREADY HE WAS GREAT.....

27 Apr 2011 10:01 PM
Johnny

So Twice the Appeal gets Borel..

A horse that has won 3 of his last 4. A horse is speed figures have improved with every race..

A mid packer who this years derby may be setting up for with all the closers..

Now you have the Hottest KY Derby Jock on him..

What you say 40-1???

This horse will get a wager from me.

I am defintly doing a 5 horse bomber tri..

27 Apr 2011 10:29 PM
Forbidden Apple

1-DIALED IN 2-BRILLIANT SPEED 3-SOLDAT 4-ARCHARCHARCH 5-Shackleford 6-MuchoMachoMan 7-Toby's Corner 8-Pants On Fire 9-Master Of Hounds 10-Nehro 11-Midnight Interlude 12-Santiva

I have had Dialed In in my #1 spot since February 14. I still believe he is the most talented horse in this years KY Derby. He runs with power and determination in every start. I keep hearing others knocking this horse for one reason or another. So far he has been durable and seems to keep on improving. The 1 1/4 mile distance should be a perfect fit for this fine colt.

Brilliant Speed should also love the 1 1/4 mile distance. He always fires a good late kick and only needs a good trip to hit the board. I will keep him at #2 if Rosario stays aboard.

Soldat is a horse that deserves far more repect than he is getting. I trust Kiaran when he said the Churchill surface should suit his colt well. This time I hope he sits just off the pace and gets first run on the speed.

ArchArchArch is a horse that I never make any money on, but I will be using him next out. I am still kicking myself for using Sway Away instead of ArchArchArch in the AR Derby. Like Soldat, I am hoping that ArchArchArch gets an early jump on the speed.

Uncle Mo is a very poor choice for the #1 spot on the D.D. list. In 2011 Uncle Mo has been a phantom runner. If he hits the board in the KY Derby, then I will lose and I can accept that.

27 Apr 2011 10:32 PM
Mister Frisky

Steve you are the king of turf writers there is none higher.However,I can't let this Uncle Mo ranking go un checked.Simply I just don't see him as a horse with the guts to win the derby.Also the horses he beat at two are nowhere to be found on the derby trail.The Gulfstream race was soft at best and set up just like his races at two.The only time he got looked in the eye Toby and Arthur blew bye him and they didn't have the greatest of trips.Nine days to go can't wait.

28 Apr 2011 12:15 AM
Slew

First, let me offer my condolences to family and friends of the victims of these terrible tornadic storms pulsating so violently throughout the Eastern US.

Horses in Kentucky may need waders to get any exercise this week.

KY Vet: STOP SHOUTING!

Steve: nice list, but I expected POF to be a bit higher. Uncle Mo may be fast, but his ability to get the distance has always been a nagging question.  All front runners like POF and Soldat may lose in a speed duel with him, and so may not finish well along with Mo tiring.  The closers, Dialed In and Nehro..DI is a big boy, but Nehro is faster.  Where they finish depends on the traffic.  Mid-Pack boys...Archx3, Midnight Interlude, MMM, Stay Thirsty, Toby's Corner will be fighting with Shackleford, who is now in. I think the mid-pack boys have the best chances. Brilliant Speed and MOH..turf...not dirt.  And I really have to go back and rewatch the runs of the rest who I didn't find exciting the first time.

(Now I hope the tornado warnings are over for the week...my basement is simply too creepy, and has too many windows. Meanwhile, my brilliant cats always seem to head up the stairs and under the bed with the first roll of thunder.  What to do?)  

28 Apr 2011 8:14 AM
Oldie

Just wanted to say I hope all our fellow fans and their friends, families, and animals are safe and sound as this weather system works its way through what appears to be the entire Eastern half of the country.  

Trackjack, congratulations to you, and I hope you have the trip you have dreamt of!

28 Apr 2011 10:59 AM
vapaul67

So, Pants On Fire  wins 4 of your pre-derby awards, Mucho Macho Man won 3, Uncle Mo maybe got one award and he goes back to #1? And Dialed In you have at 2 but the horses who appearently impressed you the most in the prep races get #5 and #6? It's your list and can do what you want but I would've expected more of you to thsn to have the 2 chalks at the top of your list. I expect this from Ron Nicoletti or Jill Byrne but not you. I have asked this question on numerous sites and noone has provided me with an intelligent answer but I will ask it here again; With as many as 5 other speed horses signed in for this years Derby and the fact that he has never ever really sat behind horses in a race does anyone reasonably think Uncle Mo can win with his running style? How can you have confidence he's gonna be able to sit behind horses in this race when he's never done it before? And if you are of the thinking he's the fastest of the speed horses I think Shacklefords and Comma To The Top have something to say about that.

28 Apr 2011 12:55 PM
Coldfacts

I understand there is a lot of confusion regarding this year’s derby field but to restore Uncle Mo to the # slot has gone beyond confusion.

“I just cannot come up with a #1 that I’m totally comfortable with”

You had the option to leave the #1 slot vacant and start at #2. It would have been unprecedented for the Derby Dozen but it would have been more reflective of the current state of Derby affairs.

“I am going back to the horse most people thought was a superstar only a couple of weeks ago”

SUPERSTAR - One that is extremely popular or prominent or that is a major attraction.

Nowhere in that definition is there a reference to exceptional ability. The colt with the most appeal is not the one with the best performances as a 3YO. You are correct in forecasting that you would be hammered as you were well aware that the premise for ranking Uncle Mo #1 was without foundation. We expect you to make tough decision and you must be given a very low grade for this one. You are allowed a bad joke and you now owe serious thoroughbred fans a Dozen that reflect seriousness at the top.

“As gifted as he is, that's good enough for me”

Statements like the above have left me asking you, Jason and others what has Uncle Mo done so far to be considered so gifted. Has he been the gift that has kept on giving? Gifted horses normally achieve exceptional feats. Uncle Mo’s record reflects nothing exceptional. I know the Uncle Mo lovers are going to be all over me for the aforementioned statement. However, if they cannot present some colt facts and not the usual emotionally driven comments, they are advised not to challenge my assessment that he is just a nice colt. As a 3YO he has not raced against any of the colts he defeated in the BCJ. He might have been gifted against the BCJ field but he was soundly beaten by the best horses he faces as 3YO. The really gifted ones find ways to win even when they are not at their best. Has Uncle Mo produced a gifted performance in his two starts as a 3YO? No! Does he have the first, second, third, fourth or fifth best performance for a 3YO? No! How many of the colts he defeated in the BCJ will he be facing in the derby? Subject to correction; None!  If in spite of these cold facts Uncle Mo is god enough for you and other then this reaffirms the fact that there is no man blinder than he who refuses to see.

28 Apr 2011 9:12 PM
Coldfacts

There is one colt that is must use for and he is listed below:

Shackleford:

His FL Derby performance was far better than winner Dialed In. Why?  Shackleford made his debut  in a 6 1/2F  race on Keeland’s poly tack. He  finished 9th of 12 beaten 8 1/2L. Time of the race (1:23 flat) Five weeks later broke his maiden in 7F maiden race at CD (Time of the race 1:23 3/5) He’s clearly not a synthetic track horse. That would be his last race as 2YO. He resurfaced at Gulfstream with a winning effort in a 9F allowance race ( Time of race 1:50 flat) The internal fractions of the race merits mention – 48, 1:12, 1:36 4/5.  A colt with only two races; 6.5F & 7F coming off a two months break is asked to run 9F. This is not the norm. A shorter race would be normal before a lack of foundation horse is asked to take on 9F. Well, Shackleford won and in addition to swerving he finished the race on the wrong lead. His winning time of 1:50 flat would eventually be better than those for the FOY & FL Derby. He made his graded race debut in the FOY and was beaten by 23 1/2L  in a time of 1:50 1/5.His projected finishing time in the FOY was approximately 1:55 4/5. He entered the FOY off short rest and apparently not fully recovered from the grueling 9F 3YO debut. He returned in the FL Derby and again swerved in the latter part of the race to lose by head in 1:50.07. The final time for the FL Derby meant that Shackleford made a 4.80 seconds reversal on his FOY final time. No other colt entering the FL Derby had ever been beaten 23L in any race. Stay Thirsty came in second as he was beaten 14 ½ in the BCJ. For mere allowance winner running his third 9F races in two months, he finished ahead of 4 of 5 graded winners and lost by a HD to the other.

Storm Cat stallions rarely feature in the Derby. Make Music For Me was a surprising 4th in the 2010 Derby and is probably the first time a horse from a Storm Cat stallion made the derby board. A Storm Cat stallion is due to serve up a derby horse and I think that horse is Shackleford. His dam sire Unbridled must have a broodmare somewhere that can add to his legacy. There were six colts on the derby trail produced from Unbridled broodmares and Shackleford is the only one that made the cut. Unbridled was the last derby winner to sire a derby and has sired a winner of remaining two legs of the TC.  . Unbridled is clearly the best extension of Mr. Prospector and it would not be a surprise if Shackleford wins the derby on what is shaping up to be a muddy track. :

Shackleford broke his maiden a CD like Dialed In. Below are the internal fractions of the races:

Dialed In 61/2F:   22.40, 45.40, 1:10.80, 1:17.60

Shackleford 7F :   22.80, 46.60, 1:11.00, 1:23.60  

The extrapolated times shows Shackleford as the faster of the two colts. Dialed In is either #1 or #2 on most derby lists.  Shackleford is the better of the two and will not be closing from another zip code on a sloppy track. He has to be in all my bets.

28 Apr 2011 11:32 PM
Stones

Taking a closer look at Shackleford; still on the fence with Mo; need more info on Decisive Moment (whom nobody is talking about).

29 Apr 2011 9:43 AM
Householder

Baffert:  What does he have?  MI unraced as a 2 year old, breaks his maiden in March, wins the SA Derby, comes back to post a 59.20 work at Santa Anita and a six furlong bullet work at CD (1:13.60).  Could be some of the new age "Pletcher" mentallity about saving a horse for the Triple Crown.  He's certainly lightly raced and the two bullet works ala Baffert after the Santa Anita Derby suggest he has a lot in the tank after that Grade 1 win.  He's interesting and initially looked to be a "toss."  But it is Baffert...

29 Apr 2011 2:30 PM
KY VET

PEOPLE! WHY SAY UNCLE MO HASN'T DONE ANYTHING? LEARN THE GAME...FIRST MISTAKE YOURE MAKING IS THAT MO IS OUT OF SHAPE...THESE GRADE 1 HORSES DON'T RUN UNTIL THEY ARE READY! WHY? BECAUSE IT IS GOOD FOR THE ANIMAL...WE ARE NOT TALKING CLAIMERS.....2ND..IT'S FUNNY, YOU SAY HE HAS DONE NOTHING, BUT HIS 1ST RACE BACK WAS JUST A LENGTH OR 2 SLOWER THAN THESE HORSES THAT FIRED THEIR BEST! WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE LOOKING AT?  DID HE LOOK LIKE HE WAS ALL OUT? NO! SO HOW FAST COULD HE HAVE GONE? AT LEAST 5 LENGTHS? HE JOGGED...THEN IN WOOD HE RELAXED, JOCK HAD HOLD...THEN CAME UP EMPTY...SOMETHING WRONG HUH?  EVEN SO, HE RAN 2 OR 3 LENGTHS SLOWER THAN THESE OTHER HORSES BEST? LOL! ...HE'S DONE NOTHING?   WORKS DON'T REALLY MEAN MUCH..BUT HE OUT WORKED HORSE THAT RAN 107 BEYER...OLDER HORSE...NOTHING? ...NO CHANCE?  REALLY?  

29 Apr 2011 3:56 PM
GaryB

Steve I've refined my dozen to this for my final list heading into Derby week.

1. Archarcharch- best turn of foot will let him have a great chance.

2. Uncle Mo - Most talent. 1 1/8 and if fit is only question.

3. Mucho Macho Man- I predicted him to be a late bloomer and is training real well. Hunch best effort available here.

4. Dialed In- Worries me in coming from way back.

5. Toby's Corner- Always performs well and will here.

6. Nehro- hunch peaked early.

7. Animal Kingdom- Is dirt a problem? I like how strong his stride is.

------------------------------------

     drop off here for me

8. Midnight Interlude

9. Soldat

10 Master of Hounds

11. Brilliant speed

12 Twice the Appeal (Borel) Just in case the Borel magic is real I can say I had him in my dozen.

29 Apr 2011 5:19 PM
PB

no love for Derby Kitten?????  

30 Apr 2011 10:55 AM
Stones

Ooooooo baby, I like what I'm hearing about Archarcharch's works!!!

30 Apr 2011 11:05 AM
PB

everybody better get back on board with Soldat and Santiva.    ive got the tri all figured out.   Soldat on top with Santiva, Uncle Mo, Nehro, and AAA.   Write this down.   $100 tri-box will bring back a HEFTY payout.   Get your pen out you will have to sign on this one

30 Apr 2011 11:08 AM
Splits of 12

Steve,

I like that you kept Uncle Mo on top. He's still owns the best Speed Figure of the bunch a 108 and earned it at Churchill Downs. If it's a sunny day and the track is like it was BC day, it wouldn't shock me if he won. But my heart tells me that Mucho Macho Man is going to win the Derby. His story is incredible. I think he's the toughest horse of the bunch and will have first run to the wire after the turn. If he runs like he did in the Risen Star, at 17+ hands,he'll be tough to catch. Mucho is blossoming at the right time. Being such a late foal , I believe the six weeks off between his last race and the Derby has given him time to grow into his large frame and will work in his favor as opposed to a horse who may have been foaled earlier in the year. He is the feel good story of the year and something tells me we are going to be talking about him as the next TC winner right before the Belmont takes place.  

30 Apr 2011 11:06 PM
JayJay

Steve :  Is this your final dozen ?  Are you going to re-evaluate after the posts are drawn ?  I've been reading up on your "workout" reports and frankly, I'm getting more and more confused as to who I'll play with Dialed In.  I'm sticking to DI regardless of the workout reports, I just need help on who to play with him for the superfecta :)  The surprise for me is how well a lot of horses are working out on the slop, something I didn't really think about before.  I thought Soldat was solid if the track comes up sloppy but now,I'm not so sure.

02 May 2011 5:15 PM
billfromwa

If Animal Kingdom adjusts favorably to the track, I think he could be a strong player. His pedigree screams distance, and he is just starting to learn the game. I think he will be a factor, and I'm taking a shot here.

Bill

03 May 2011 2:24 PM
Slew

Who wudda thunk?  With all the defections, the cut off in earnings is barely $100,000.  I originally had it pegged around $240K.

05 May 2011 8:35 AM
dalton

The GRID still has Arch ranked #1 followed by Soldat and Dialed In.


06 May 2011 1:18 PM

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