Derby Dozen - February 3, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Creative Cause Mike Harrington

Giant's Causeway—Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer

No one talks about him much, but he scores high marks in every category. In his three victories he’s never been touched with the whip. His lead change is so smooth you can barely see him do it. He had trouble in both losses, is bred to run all day, and is relentless in the stretch. He’s always running strongly at the wire, and is extremely consistent and versatile, having won at five furlongs and 1 1/16 miles. Earned 98 Beyer in debut. He seems to be more of a one-paced grinder who just keeps coming at you and does everything on his own, with little encouragement; the consummate pro. Private clocker report says his last work, a bullet 6 furlongs, was unimpressive, but he’s not known as an enthusiastic worker, and you can’t let a single work in January be a deterrent.


Union Rags Michael Matz

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Believe he’s the most gifted colt seen so far, and is a deserving No. 1, except for his tendency to swerve out in the stretch; he was bad in Spa Special and BC Juvenile. But was all class in the Champagne, showing great athleticism. He has beautiful action and showed an excellent turn of foot in Juvenile, while racing very wide every step of the way. Was in front one step past the wire after losing all momentum ducking out in midstretch. Untapped ability and we’ll see if Matz can nurture him along, as he did with Barbaro.


Algorithms Todd Pletcher

Bernardini—Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance

Like Creative Cause, this handsome, smooth-striding colt has no apparent weaknesses and does everything like a seasoned pro. Love the way he bounded away in the Holy Bull, while hugging the rail, under a hand ride. Undefeated in three starts, he seems to be improving with each performance. Got caught up in Hansen’s blistering :22 flat second quarter, going in :22 2/5, and still went his next quarter in :23 4/5. Everyone within 5 lengths paid the price except him. Earned a career-high 105 Beyer. Add a powerhouse pedigree and you’ve got one serious Derby horse.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

Whether the wet sealed track helped him, his allowance score at Gulfstream was as impressive visually as any 3-year-old race this year. Bounded past a classy stakes horse in Take Charge Indy, who finished 13 ¾ lengths ahead of the third horse, while earning a lofty 100 Beyer. Like Algorithms, he did it on his own without the whip, despite having to catch a good horse who had opened a huge lead on the turn, trying to bust the race open early. He’s already shown his class finishing a close third in the nine-furlong Remsen and looks like he still has improvement left in him. Only thing he still has to do is win on a fast track, but there is no doubt this is a quality horse.


Sabercat Steve Asmussen

Bluegrass Cat—Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

Last year, he was visually as impressive as anyone. Turned in an electrifying move in the Delta Jackpot and never broke stride despite being taken hold of when he almost ran up over horses. Showed quick turn of foot drawing off in Garden State romp. Likes to run his foes into the ground and put them away quickly, but also can be tenacious, as he showed out-battling the talented My Adonis in maiden race. He’s won three straight, all at a mile or longer. He just needs to improve his speed figures. He’s been galloping at Santa Anita and progressing beautifully for a March debut.


Liaison Bob Baffert

Indian Charlie—Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop

Baffert loves these Silver Charm types who know how to win and do whatever they have to get it done. He’s not going to blow you away, but ask Rousing Sermon’s trainer Jerry Hollendorfer how tough it is to get by him. Liaison wouldn’t let this powerful stretch runner get by him in the Real Quiet, and although it looked like Rousing Sermon was getting to him in the CashCall Futurity, Liaison dug in and wouldn’t let him by in the gallop-out. Female family is loaded with stamina and traces back through five generations of Calumet Farm breeding to Bull Lea (twice) through Hall of Fame mares Real Delight and Twilight Tear. A big performance Saturday will move him up several places.


Out of Bounds Eoin Harty

Discreet Cat—Unbridled Elaine, by Unbridled's Song

He’s the “in” horse in California right now, but not as battle-tested as Liaison. By one of the most brilliant horses of recent years, out of a Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner, if there is a horse with tremendous scope for improvement it is this tall, long-striding winner of the Sham Stakes. He could be any kind. His Sham score was almost a carbon copy of his maiden victory, stalking a rapid pace in third or fourth and then running down the leaders in the final furlong with great determination. Not quite as agile as some of the others, but for a colt with his stride he is more than athletic enough. Sire was special and could be the next hot stallion.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

It’s difficult to get a good line on him, especially with Timely Tally off the Derby trail with an injury. But this undefeated colt did beat a good one in Ever So Lucky in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. A big, scopey colt, he’s unbeaten in two starts at Churchill Downs, has good tactical speed, and has to be taken seriously, at least until someone beats him. Like WinStar’s Derby winner Super Saver, he spent some time at the farm to freshen up, but has been back training for about a month. Another on a two-prep schedule.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

His first defeat in the Holy Bull over a sloppy, sealed track was not as much of a concern as the fact that he has yet to show he can rate off the pace. He charged to the lead in the Holy Bull after stumbling and never seemed to relax, scorching his second quarter in :22 flat. He’s still 3-for-4 with a second, and he’s going to win his share of major races, but he has to show he can conserve some of that raw speed and energy and settle better, even if it’s on the front end. He opened a big lead against some fast horses with early lick, indicating he was too fresh. His next start should tell us a lot more about him. Hate to put a champion with his speed and heart this far down, but he needs to show he’s not one dimensional.


Dullahan Dale Romans

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

He really caught the eye in his Breeders’ Futurity score, winning despite losing a ton of ground and making a wide five-furlong sustained run. But it was his fourth in BC Juvenile on dirt that proved he was legitimate. Hopelessly out of it at the quarter pole, he made a strong, steady rally from last of 13 to hit the board. With his style of running he does need luck and needs to get faster, but he runs like he’s crying out for 1 ¼ miles. He’s very intriguing at 30-1 in Vegas, and could be enticing at a big price in the first Future Wager. Romans is going to win one of these and soon.


Discreet Dancer Todd Pletcher

Discreet Cat—West Side Dancer, by Gone West

Pletcher says he has “tremendous mechanics and great action” and he’s never seen the bottom of him. He feels there’s no telling how good he may be. He was spectacular in only two starts, but how far can he carry his speed? One big thing in his favor is that he has combined professionalism with his brilliance and has the right temperament; easy-going colt, just like his sire. Next start should tell how special he really is.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

Throw out his BC Juvenile, in which he bled. If he can get over his antics in the gate he could be right up there with the best of them. Huge maiden score at Spa, strong second in Champagne, and impressive win in Count Fleet. After 6-length romp in maiden race under Darley colors he was upgraded to Godolphin blue. Like the way he was drawing off in the Count Fleet. He’ll try for graded money in Saturday’s re-positioned Withers Stakes.


Rousing Sermon Jerry Hollendorfer

Lucky Pulpit—Rousing Again, by Awesome Again

Forced to start off with a baker’s dozen. Cal-bred has a pedigree filled with top-class influences and has shown his ability several times, especially his two powerful seconds to Liaison. Unleashed powerful stretch run after going very wide in CashCall Futurity. He is one of three major contenders for Hollendorfer, who also has the late-running Russian Greek and Sham third-place finisher Longview Drive. He’ll try again to knock off Liaison in Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

Knocking At The Door

Sky Kingdom Bob Baffert

Empire Maker—Sky Beam, by Kingmambo

Likely will take on stablemate Liaison again in Robert Lewis Stakes after finishing 4th to him in CashCall. His last race was very impressive, winning while under wraps the length of the stretch and still drawing off to big win in dirt debut. He actually looked like he was galloping out the final three-sixteenths. He has a nice way of moving and a high cruising speed; was taken out of his running style when shuffled back to 10th in CashCall, yet still was only beaten 3 lengths. A big effort in Lewis will catapult him way up the list. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him win it all.

Ever So Lucky Jonathan Sheppard

Indian Charlie—Bally Storm, by Summer Squall

If you like Gemologist, you surely have to like this colt, who finished a game second to the WinStar colt in the Kentucky Jockey Club in only his second career start and first over 6 ½ furlongs. It would be great to see his trainer, the always dangerous Jonathan Sheppard, on the Derby trail for the first time. Pedigree just so-so for 10 furlongs, but if anyone can get him to go that far it’s Sheppard, especially considering the colt’s laid-back temperament. He’ll make his first start at 3 in the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes.

Fed Biz Bob Baffert

Giant's Causeway—Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again

Highly promising colt who was impressive breaking his maiden, defeating Zackn’mat, who came back Sunday to break his maiden against a classy field. This colt gives all indications of being a runner.

Souper Speedy Tom Albertrani

Indian Charlie—Speed Succeeds, by Gone West

Not sure if he’ll stay 1 1/4 miles with his style of running, but he is one tough horse on the lead, and he did finish ahead of El Padrino in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen. He’s not an easy horse to get by in the stretch, and we’ll just have to see if he can be as effective coming from off the pace.

Rounding out the Top 25 are the first three finishers in the Lecomte, Mr. Bowling, Z Dager, and Shared Property; the most accomplished maiden in the country, Brother Francis; the late-running Russian Greek, winner of the Gold Rush and California Derby; My Adonis, who showed flashes of brilliance at 2 and made up 15 lengths in the Holy Bull to finish third; Take Charge Indy, who tried to bust Jan. 29 allowance race wide open with big early move, but couldn’t withstand El Padrino, while finishing nearly 14 lengths ahead of the third horse; and Smarty Jones winner Junebugred and runner-up Reckless Jerry. Other names to keep an eye on are Casual Trick and Consortium, who, assuming they came out their respective races sound, deserve another shot over a fast track; Empire Way, Reveron, Motor City, Longview Drive, Currency Swap, Neck n Neck, Spring Hill Farm, Prospective, King Kid, Big Blue Nation, Zackn’mat, Apprehender, Thunder Moccasin, Liberty Bound, Castaway, Ecabroni, Quick Wit, and Maritimer.

In Action Last Week

Quick Wit, trained by Dale Romans, boosted Spring Hill Farm’s status by breaking his maiden in impressive fashion after being drubbed by the Pletcher-trained colt in his previous start. First-time starter Apprehender crushed a maiden field going 5 ½ furlongs at Oaklawn, winning by 7 ½ lengths and earning a 98 Beyer speed figure. By Posse, out of multiple stakes winner Missy’s Mirage, his pedigree is all speed, but maternal grandsire is Derby and Belmont winner Riva Ridge and maternal granddam, Grey Mirage, is a half-sister to NYRA Filly Triple Crown winner Dark Mirage. Has a lot of catching up to do. Although you can’t find fault with Zackn’mat’s maiden score, watch out for runner-up Stirred Up, who really caught the eye flying from last and galloping out well clear of the winner; Darley/McLaughlin unveiled another well-bred colt in Side Road, a son of Street Cry who drew off to a four-length score in a mile maiden race at Aqueduct. Corporate Chapel, coming in from Remington Park, upset a mile maiden event at Oaklawn, rallying from sixth to win by three-quarters of a length at 11-1. Beggarthyneighbor shipped in to Laurel from New York to win the 6-furlong Dancing Count Stakes in 1:09 4/5 for Chad Brown.


Leave a Comment:


Lots to study and my head aches but oh boy, the Haskin Derby Dozen has started.

My inner fan is thinking  Algorithims and Gemologist, at least, as of today.

Thank you Steve.

03 Feb 2012 6:18 PM

Steve,after the effort by Algorithms,just dont see how you can put CC ahead of him.105 beyer was off the charts,and he did it with much left in the tank.

03 Feb 2012 7:09 PM

    Some “sack full” for a fella who only went out looking for a dozen ‘potatoes’.  

    I show on my current injury list: “Basmati”; “B Shanny”; “Currency Swap” (though no reason listed, yet in your ‘sack full’); “Here Comes Frazer”; “J C’s Pride” (euthanized); “O’Prado Again”; and “Stephanoatsee”, …many whom did look promising, and thusly sad they are not here to compete. And, hats off to the connections of each.    

   Without getting specific, I have a few reasons to toss a few of your upper ‘dozen’ though. God forbid I should explain and open myself to more negative feed back. I did like the mention and inclusion of the likes such as “Stirred Up” from the Baffert barn who I was high on while completing his breeding check. And, I am a bit surprised you found the time to notice him too.

    But, what wows me if your going to mention 30 in a top 25 (of a “dozen”!!!????) and go one to mention another 20 or so, was where if we’re getting that deep, no mention of “Captivating Lass”; “Game Fair”; “Giant’s Surprise”; “Got Even”; “Gun Boat”; “Holly Candy”; “Midnight Transfer”; “Officer Prado”; “Pulpit’s Express”; “Secret Circle” (large shock there unless you have word he’s sticking to sprints we don’t have); “So Brilliant”; “Summer Front”; and etc., to mention only a few others of my 400+ reseachered and no mention of anyone apparently off the TURF (who I will thusly refrain from namely many!!! )accept for "Dullahan", whom I assume you are waiting for a commitment from said connections to cross over? and, or also awaiting earnings accrued coupling such a move?. Many here with “Storm Cat” breeding, I see, and at least one off hand with no “BHXFG”! strain line present !! in the current top 12, thusly not choice in a cup of tea.

    But, I am glad the list is finally out and that we all have a chance to comment and express their opinions and gain more knowledge during the quest for the next Derby Champion. And, thank GOD that you still are still “the Man”. Keep us up too date and entertained as always. And, Thank Very Much!! again for your ‘dozens list’ at last, your superlative ever informative reportings, and all you do to make our journey to the first week in May and the "greatest two minutes in sports" that much more enjoyable.      

03 Feb 2012 7:37 PM

I just love this list.  Of course me being the huge Secretariat fan I can't lose with these choices.  I hope Creative Cause and Fed Biz don't fall the way Eskendeyra did last being sons of Giants Causeway.  I know the breeding has nothing to do with it but I love Giants Causeway and was devestated when Eskendeyra got hurt.  I hope Alpha wins and gets his gate problems worked out.  I also like Take Charge Indy being a huge AP Indy fan and he doesn't have many more chances after next year to have a Derby winner as his last crop races next year.  Love Hansen.  Wonder about his speed at the Derby distance.  Not pretending to be the horse expert as I'm not but he just seems to run so fast on the front end do not see him going 1 and 1/4 miles running like that against 19 other horses.  Anyway great list.  I like this year better than any of late for my hope for a Secretariat lined Derby winner hopefully by Bernardini, Giants Causeway, AP Indy, Pulpit, Lucky Pulpit, Tapit, Bluegrass Cat and Discreet Cat.  Loved Discreet Cat.

03 Feb 2012 7:44 PM
Criminal Type

I've been on Union Rag's since he broke his maiden and am not getting off now. This is a horse who can run from anywhere. I have always thought he was the best horse in the Breeders Cup juvenile and had he had a better trip he would have won. (tracus had him traveling almost 80 feet more then Hansen and losing by a short head) I too am concerned about his ducking out in the stretch and thought blinkers would be worth a try. From what I hear he has filled out very nicely over the winter, putting on a lot of muscle. I am sure the 6 weeks off helped. As far as his looks go, He is stunning.

I am most surprised by your placement of Hansen. It was pretty shocking to see him so low. I figured he would be 4 or 5 after his lose in the Holy Bull. But I see your point. I have always thought that Tapits were brilliant 2 yr olds but not so much after, with a couple exceptions.  

Another horse on your list not in the top 12 I really like is Sky Kingdom. If he runs to his pedigree, everyone better watch out. Empire Maker over a Kingmambo mare. Second dam by Seattle Slew.  Third dam by Secretariat...Does it get much better ?

One more I like is Reckless Jerry. You gotta wish a guy like Toby Keith all the best of luck with this son of Cactus Ridge.

Thanks Steve, Will look forward to the continued updates to your derby dozen as I do every year.

03 Feb 2012 8:08 PM

Steve, DRF changed algorithms beyer to 105.

I agree with creative cause, I think he has the most potential. But I love union rags. A horse I like is lucky chappy, but I don't know if he on the derby trail.

Just a side note, I look forward to your derby dozen every year, I love your articles!

03 Feb 2012 9:06 PM


Algorithms beyerwas revised to 105,and the time was changed to 1:35 1/5 for the record

03 Feb 2012 9:10 PM
El Kabong

Answer me this Steve,

Was this the most difficult list to come up with in some time? I am willing to wager you worked more on this first list than you have in a long time. Great insight as always and much appreciated. There is alot of talent this year and as you pointed out, many have the breeding so we should see a landscape that changes with each race. I'm very interested to watch Dullahan to see if he continues to improve with age and distance. He caught my eye but there are many in this group with potential. It's going to be an exciting run to the roses and I'm thinking we will not see a dominant contender sweeping his or her way up to the first Saturday undefeated. Great first list.

03 Feb 2012 9:27 PM
Kyle S.


Great to have the Derby Dozen back!  I'm normally not a future wager player, but I'm sending some money out to Vegas next week to be placed on Fed Biz.  Please make me feel better about my investment.  Thanks.

03 Feb 2012 9:33 PM


I've been itching to post my Derby Dozen but couldn't do so until the original had been put out ...thanks for the relief.

From a pedigree angle it is an interesting first baker's dozen with five Northern Dancer line and five AP Indy line colts. If the latter doesn't breakthrough this year in the Derby it may never happen because there are some really good grandsons of the retired stallion coming out this year.

I don't get your rationale for ranking Creative Cause as number one over Union Rags or Algorithms.

Here's my dozen for what its worth: 1)Union Rags  2)Discreet Dancer  3)Algorithms  4)Summer Front  5)Hansen  6)El Padrino  7)Creative Cause  8)Spring Hill Farm  9)Out of Bounds  10)Liason  11)Junebugred  12)Gemologist

Five on the threshold are: Exothermic, Motor City, Sabercat, Reveron and Currency Swap.  

03 Feb 2012 9:34 PM


I will have Empire Way on my list to watch and see if he can progress futher throughout the Derby Preps.

03 Feb 2012 9:34 PM
El Kabong

A talented horse by the name of FInnegans Wake will be running on turf for Romans on Sunday. If the weather pattern continues, he may have to run on Dirt if they don't chose to scratch. That I want to see. He's up against Exothermic, another very talented 3 year old that  I'd like to see on dirt.  Any thoughts  or info on either?

03 Feb 2012 10:03 PM

Mr. Haskins,

After reading your list and knowing anything can happen, I may have to put a Future Wager on Dullahan and hope that if he gets there, he likes the mile and a quarter at Churchill just as much as his half brother did.

03 Feb 2012 10:20 PM

Great list, Steve. A lot of solid contenders this year, a few are really starting to shine but so far they seem pretty nicely matched. I wasn't too thrilled Hansen won 2yo honors, especially after his first race back I see him more of the Shackleford type. I still hope Howe Great is possible for the Derby Trail, because he is my #1, and one you left off your list of names but mentioned on twitter as a big one to watch. So after much thought and shuffling around and rewatching prep races......

The Top 20:

#1- Howe Great

2 (tie)- Algorithms

2 (tie)- Union Rags

4- Liason

5- Sabercat

Rousing Sermon

El Pardino


Take Charge Indy

Longview Drive


Mr Bowling

Discreet Dancer


Creative Cause


Z Dager

Russian Greek

Shared Property


03 Feb 2012 10:49 PM
Mary Zinke

All of my favorite 3 year old males made your Derby Dozen, 1,7,12,11,3,2. Creative Cause was the best two year old male in the country last year. I'm looking forward to his return. Thank you for your perfect description of his running style.

03 Feb 2012 10:56 PM
Afleet Treet


I am very curious to her your thoughts on Empire Way...he is trained by Mike Harrington and is a son of a Derby winner...and a stablemate of Creative Cause. He is running this weekend and while his last couple starts haven't been much I think he may just be a horse who will benefit from least I hope so. What say you???

WOOOOHOOOO!! The Derby Dozen is upon us!! HOOF HOOF HOORAY!

03 Feb 2012 11:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It sure brightened my day to see this list. And a bold move putting it out the day before three big preps. Spring has sprung !!!! I was wondering if it was going to be a baker's dozen or not but this list is no cream puff. Great list. It's very similar to mine but I have Midnight Transfer, Spring Hill Farm and Broadway's Alibi in my box of donuts. Good to see Out Of Bounds on here who is some kind of monster I think but not sure yet if he's 10f yet. I definitely think that Discreet Cat is going to be a very hot stallion. Woohoo, the Derby Dozen is here Spunky !!!!

03 Feb 2012 11:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Algorithms

2. Midnight Transfer

3. Sky Kingdom

4. Out Of Bounds

5. Creative Cause

6. Liaison

7. Empire Way

8. El Padrino

9. Alpha

10. Broadway's Alibi

11. Spring Hill Farm

12. Union Rags

13. Hansen

03 Feb 2012 11:41 PM
Steve Haskin

Clsaacs, I wasnt aware of the change, but running a 105 Beyer in January has no bearing winning the Ky. Derby. You dont necessarily want to see a horse peaking too early, whcich some Pletcher horses have a tendency to do. Now he's going to have to be careful handling him.

Criminal Type, I actually picked Sky Kingdom to win the Lewis on Byk's show. He's only one place off the Top 12, mainly because all those above him belong there. He very well could after tomorrow.

El Kabong, you definitely are correct. This was the toughest because so little separates #1 from #12, it's that close and contentious.

Kyle, at the price you'll get it probably is a good bet. He has a great deal of potential.

Afleet Treat, hard to tell yet. We'll find out soon enough how he stacks up against this group.

04 Feb 2012 12:38 AM
The Deacon

Steve is Drill on the shelf, no mention of him anywhere. He was pretty solid last year, just curious..........

04 Feb 2012 12:57 AM
Paula Higgins

Steve, you are so right about Pletcher's horses peaking early. But I will still put Algorithms first, then Union Rags, Liason, Discreet Dancer. I also like Broadway's Alibi. Gotta get a girl in there.

04 Feb 2012 1:09 AM

I am very curious to her your thoughts on Empire Way...he is trained by Mike Harrington and is a son of a Derby winner.

Afleet Treet 03 Feb 2012 11:18 PM.

He is the grandson of a Derby Winner and the son of a Belmont Winner.

04 Feb 2012 1:09 AM

to the likes of Kyle S GhostTown and, etc.

From the Net…

    "The biggest problem with Derby future (bets) is simply identifying the winner. The race is tremendously hard to handicap in most years…Kentucky Derby contenders are forced to do something they've never done before, which is win a race at 1 1/4 miles. Throw in the 20-horse field and it starts getting very dicey, to say nothing of the injuries that plague Derby hopefuls every single year….It's fun to follow the Derby Trail, and at times you can scoop up some very attractive prices on legitimate contenders. But cashing a Derby future is extremely hard to do. You have to be very, very fortunate.

    "[Thusly,]… it's imperative to demand big prices on ANY horse you're considering at this stage (i.e. 3 [to 5] months out). The guys in the [Daily] Racing Form and/or the guys posting the odds in the race books would have you believe that several horses have a -20/1 chance of winning the Derby right now. That's laughable. First off, [one] couldn't even identify a favorite right now, and even if [one] could, he wouldn't deserve to be any lower than -50/1 at this point. There is just too much that can happen between now and the first Saturday in May. Horses can go off-form, they can be injured, they can fail to develop any further than they already have, [and, or] they can demonstrate distance limitations, etc. [Not to mention late additions that come along and are lightly pre-raced, being where in past years a more stringent 2 year old campaign was the norm.] They may not like the Churchill surface (these days, some…have never even run on dirt before [i.e. last year’s winner]), they may draw a very bad post, they may get swallowed up in the big Derby traffic jam, etc. [Heck], it could even rain on Derby Day, resulting in an 'off-track'. All this must be factored into the price [that] you’re willing to accept, in order for there to be any [real] value [and for little more other than those of your later boosting rights if you select the actual winner.].

    "So when you see horses like “Quality Road”, [“Crown of Thorns”, “Drosselmeyer”, “I Want Revenge”, “Sidney’s Candy”] and “Point Encounter”, [or the like, etc.] who have one maiden sprint win to their credit [or some one win over some new synthetic surface] and are being quoted in the -30/1 range…you just have to laugh. Like I said, the [Daily] Racing Form and the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Future Wager people do [NOT do] us (the Derby future wagging public))… [any favors] by legitimizing these kinds of prices through their [so-called] "expert" line makers. [Have you even checked current Vegas Future Book for odds recently from the 2 year old campaign races?? Are quotes of -8/1 on the likes of Hanson and -10/1 on Union Rags even close to realistic at this juncture??? (And we know that history tells us only 1 horse [Street Sense] off the Juvenile Breeder’s Cup race as a the winner has ever gone on to win the Derby. That should increase Hansen’s odds alone. ((In fact, I thought Union Rags was the better horse in that race and am still high on Creative Cause!!!)) If they make and were even in the Derby field they are 19 other horses in the Derby, making anyone of their odds -19/1 to win to begin with. Plus, they (although Hansen has already) they still need to secure a gate slot by gaining the required ‘graded’ earnings, be healthy, and show up on the first week in May whenever.] People see that stuff and take it as Gospel, and it prompts the Vegas race books to continue offering those kinds of prices. [To the author of this article mind you then the]… whole …[aspect behind the concept of future waging]… is just ridiculous. {And thusly, one should not only either wager what he can afford to lose, wager with some caution, or most practically not consider entering into future betting field at all. How many horses have you bet on that NEVER did enter the Derby field due to injury or not enough earnings, or etc."

From me [Zarvona]:

    Thusly, I ask, ‘wouldn’t one be way better off taking that same $money$ and, or more spent on future bets to the window on Derby Day when a horse is actually in the gate?: where you have all the other entries past performances besides your pick or picks; where you have some idea of the track condition due to weather on that day; where you have heard commentary on all such in the field by the "so-called" experts, you have researched the breeding; where you have some knowledge of your favorite or favorites and the better competition?; where you have listened to the comments of bloggers, (who post such as myself); where you hopefully have a gut feeling; and where by then the odds are more realistic and the betting pools are still high??… And. then "there off"… for “the Greatest 2 minutes in sports”.

    Yes, I cashed a future bet on ["Super Savor: (Kty.); Tr. T. Pletcher; Tomlinson distance rating 368; $364K earnnigs; odds of: 30-1 15-1 8-1]… and 10Xs bred the “BHXFG” but still lost $money$ on my overall Derby betting that year and yet cashed winning tickets at the track that Derby day. My problem in 2010 , was that I fell in love with "Sidney’s Candy" but caught an off track and a novice jockey who ran like he thought he was running a sprint race with a horse whose breeding said he should have loved the distance. (His sire. “Candy Ride” had broken the 1 ¼  track record in California.!!)

    But, the point of the above article is that FUTURE wagering is not a good betting ploy overall. Yet we do all get sucked in don’t we?

    My brother who plays the future pools and did cash-in on “Giacomo” ???? objects to betting future pool #3 , versus Pools #s 1-2, as the odds are lower in Pool #3 are lower, yet , Pool #3 does offer way more realistic odds (if any odds are realistic) with the potential that contenders so listed have a higher probability percentage-wise by then of actually getting to the GATE on Derby Day!!.

    But, again, ‘wouldn’t you be way better off taking that same $money$ to the track on Derby day??? It is your preference. This is just a position, a suggestion, a posting, and a comment, not hate mail responses required, thank you.  


04 Feb 2012 1:30 AM

Steve; I was thrilled to see your first "Derby Dozen" of 2012.  This appears to be a very talented group of 3-yr old colts.  It seems, once again, that Todd Pletcher has an embarrasment of riches this Spring, but my favorite remains Michael Matz' Union Rags.  He has all the talent in the world, absolutely beautiful action and need only show he is maturing to cement the #1 position in my mind.

04 Feb 2012 1:34 AM


I believe you have it right.

04 Feb 2012 7:21 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Hopefully Drill is getting a much needed rest but Baffert said he will most likely be sticking to a mile or less with him. I think that was before his last race. He's not going to win at any distance until he gets some time off to rejuvenate.

04 Feb 2012 9:31 AM

All betting on horses is a gamble.

Here is what one blogger once wrote, on the Derby Dozen:

“I like a colt that is inbred to Raise A Native. I chose him simply because I think he is the best horse. He just needs an inside draw.

If he wins it will be party time. I backed him on all 3 Future pools and 35-1 never looked better…..

The horse is Super Saver.”

27 Apr 2010 9:42 AM

One week prior:

“As a 2-yo going a mile this year's sleeper ran in 1:09 2/5, beaten 2 lengths while carrying 122 pounds. He earlier ran a split of 1:10 4/5 and won by daylight.

The name is Super Saver, the super sleeper. If he is drawn 1-5 he will romp. If the track is wet they won't see which way he went.”

20 Apr 2010 8:30 AM

04 Feb 2012 10:22 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Hooray!  The first 2012 Derby Dozen!I love it!  And thank you for including your Knocking on the Door.  That's where Smarty Jones resided in 2004.  After watching a replay of the Holy Bull Stakes, I noticed how well My Adonis was closing.  Interesting prospect.

04 Feb 2012 10:38 AM

I'm getting more excited every day, and, Steve, you make that itch more pronounced with each Derby Dozen you publish.  

When I look at any list, I'm not thinking....who can get 10f?  I'm thinking...who can get 12f?  Which immediately makes me cross off the Indian Charlie contenders.  The itch for a Triple Crown is even more intense than the one for the Kentucky Derby.

I'm anxiously waiting for all the preps, and it looks as though we'll be taking a big step today.  I haven't lost hope for Hansen...but I need to see the same as you...the ability to rate and relax.

This time of year, we have so many high hopes, but come Derby day, it's who makes it into the gate that counts...and judging by past's not always the best or brightest...but we still have our high hopes.

In today's Withers Stakes, of course I like my Bernardini's...but I'm anxious to see what Swag Daddy will do against some classy competition.  His runs have been a second slower than Alpha, but he ran run gate to wire on the lead, or close from last to first like a bullet.  He has options; I don't know if Alpha does.

04 Feb 2012 10:52 AM

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhh!  Swag Daddy scratched out of the Withers today...dang nabbit!

Steve, have you heard the reason?

04 Feb 2012 11:57 AM

I said I am not going to get sucked into the Derby hype this year like in years past.

Like my New Years resolution thanks Steve for helping me fall of the wagon.

13 weeks until the Derby or 91 days.

Who's counting

04 Feb 2012 12:08 PM

Love this list Steve. The Derby handicapping is officially started!

I especially like Creative Cause at number one, even though I am a huge Union Rags fan. Visually, I don't think there is a better looking contender than CC. I can't wait to see what the racing produces.

Thanks Steve, it is a great listing of potential talent, with  what  could prove to be one of the best competitions we have have seen in some time. Does Triple Crown winner look possible? I think it will be very tough with so many good ones.

04 Feb 2012 12:36 PM
El Kabong


Tough to look past favorites in RBL out west but I do like the Bob and John colt Groovin Solo to add some value to my exotic ticket. Dam sire Summer Squall, he likes the dirt at SA and has tactical speed and running style that should make him a force in the turn for home. Like the addition of Victor Espinoza as well. After dealing with the difficulties of Premier Pegasus, it would be nice to see Mr. Cho get a slice of the limelight.

04 Feb 2012 12:37 PM
Pedigree Ann

Here we go again with the "big Beyer figures are everything" litany. [Throwing the water on you this time, Clsscs. Sorry.] I thought the Uncle Mo debacle would have dampened some of the enthusiasm for this mindset, but some, like my big brother, need more than one lesson for the message to get through. Enjoy.

Now if this horse is able to repeat his improved performance on a dry track not Gulfstream (no-passing-zone stretch), he would be worth putting in my RTTR stable. But 3yos race so infrequently these days and have too many places to duck the tougher horses, so maybe.....,

This is your first call - Road to the Roses is coming soon!

04 Feb 2012 12:46 PM

Great list, Steve! Your Derby Dozen has always been one of my favorite parts of the Triple Crown season. Every week, I eagerly anticipate the new list; to read your opinions on all the major contenders and compare your list to my own.

Here's my top dozen:

1 Creative Cause

2 Union Rags

3 Rousing Sermon

4 Algorithms

5 Out of Bounds

6 Liaison

7 El Padrino

8 Gemologist

9 Hansen

10 Empire Way

11 Dullahan

12 Sky Kingdom

I've got a number of Robert B. Lewis-bound runners in my Derby Dozen at this time. I'm hoping they sort themselves to some extent later this afternoon!


04 Feb 2012 1:05 PM

I remember a story a ways back about a racing secretary who was going to accommodate one moaner of a trainer by writing a race at a mile and one jump.

Union Rags was within one jump of Hansen from the head of the stretch. I didn't think he ducked out, although I didn't look at the head-on. I'd say "drifted" out. And I don't think Rags had such a bad trip; a winner wire-to-wire down inside was a rare occurrence during the two BC days. Definitely bucking the track bias.

04 Feb 2012 4:41 PM

Slew, I heard on TVG that Swag Daddy was scratched because of a foot problem.  And that was all that was said.

04 Feb 2012 5:04 PM

If this year is anything like the last few, the list of horses that fall off the Derby trail will be more impressive than the eventual field that competes.

04 Feb 2012 5:57 PM

Great list as always Steve!  Creative Cause is my number one too and I am liking Discreet Dancer, Alpha and Algorithms too.  Still love Hansen but I worry about his style like a lot of others.  On another note - I was a huge fan of Any Given Saturday and have been anxiously waiting for his offspring to hit the track but it didn't appear any of his 2 years olds did much last year.  Any standouts that you have seen or heard about Steve?

04 Feb 2012 7:42 PM

Could Giant's Causeway have another promising son on the Derby trail?  Battle Hardened looked good in the Sam Davis.  I also was impressed with Prospective's 2nd place finish.  Congrats to Alpha!  Bernardini is great.  Everytime one of his offspring run I almost expect them to run good.  And how about Gamilati, who won the UAE One Thousand Guineas by 5 1/2 lengths?  It just doesn't get any better for my favorite sire.

04 Feb 2012 7:44 PM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, thank you for your Derby Dozen. Discreet Cat is the sire that was kind of a surprise, but after looking at the bottom of his pedigree, it's more understandable. The horse whose win today pleased me the most was Battle Hardened. He handled a large field and I think he probably got more out of his race than Alpha did, even though Alpha's win was more impressive. What did you think?

04 Feb 2012 8:37 PM

Wow, another year of the Derby Dozen. This is always my sign that T

he fun has begun. After today, I like the following:

1) Algorithms

2) I'll Have Another

3)Union Rags

4) The filly champ (Girls are ruling)

5) Alpha ( Mostly because I played little League baseball with Kiaren)

04 Feb 2012 9:10 PM

Interesting dozen Steve, history has no doubt reshuffled your order already - rust never sleeps on the Derby Trial/Trail.

You, and Dr Drunkinbum, are very high on the progeny of Discreet Cat being able to run 10 furlongs, forgive this doubting Thomas, but seeing is believing. By the way, I do see that Discreet Cat's pedigree says yes they can stretch a bit.

At this stage, I think the Bernardini colts will take a lot to beat. Do you think Take Charge Indy will flourish as the distances increase?

05 Feb 2012 2:54 AM

I don't have a dozen, but like in order Gemologist, Algorithms, Union Rags, and Shared Property

05 Feb 2012 8:10 AM

Ranagulzion hello Exothermic is running in the 10th at Gulfstream today,are you going to play him?

05 Feb 2012 8:50 AM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks SH, so it begins again the never ending and changing trail to the KD paddock...hope you can give some attention to the fillies you feel may be in possible contention as I feel some female horses can win this too as the races continue into Spring all around...My Miss Aurelia, Grace Hall, and hugh LS who just has amazed me since I saw her first race the unblemished and graceful and powerful "Agave Kiss"

05 Feb 2012 9:18 AM

I love my Bernardini's...but...I think Broadway's Alibi would have wiped the track with the talent I saw yesterday.  Alpha's ok, but my $$ would have been on Swag Daddy.  I thought the pace was pedestrian, but Alpha had no real competition, and it's early yet.

California fell apart as the 3 year olds ran every which way AND loose.

But thank you Mr. Commons for a great turn of foot.  

And when Mr Muscles walked out in the post parade for the Strubb, I felt my heart beat a little faster, and may have salivated a bit too much.  Best race of the day won by the handsomest horse of the day, Ultimate Eagle.  First time on dirt, and he knocks the socks off everyone. Wow!  

05 Feb 2012 9:35 AM

At this stage Harrington is the trainer for Creative Cause and he also has Empire Way.

05 Feb 2012 10:41 AM

Ranagulzion another sidenote in regards to Exothermic running in the 10th at Gulfstream today,Big Blue Spirit 2nd to Exo as the favorite in his last, is changing surfaces and running on dirt in the 4th at Gulfstream.

05 Feb 2012 11:05 AM
Old Timer

Steve it is just fantastic to read the first Derby Dozen for 2012. I love this time of year. I don't know if it is just wishful thinking but your list just gives off a feeling that this will be a very good year for three year old thoroughbreds! I mostly cannot argue with your list. No doubt Creative Cause seems to hold an advantage on Rags in pedigree for 1 1/4 miles. I only have to say that Mr. Matz and Barbaro make me have to root for Union Rags. I don't think that he is another Uncle Mo. Plus, by not winning the Juvenile and the Eclipse could that mean that he misses the 2 yo jinx? :-)

If I can put in a request, please do a piece on the contender's dosage figures or work it into one of your weekly lists. Thanks and good luck to all.

05 Feb 2012 11:40 AM
Pedigree Ann

With Discreet Cat and classic distances...,

It's hard to pass it on if you couldn't do it yourself. Not impossible - horses with limited careers who have not been tested (one race is not enough for a proper test) at a distance can surprise. Despite a staying dam, Forestry's damline is more sprinter/miler - dam is a half to dual Vosburgh winner Sewickly. Add in a dose of Terlingua/Crimson Saint (with Storm Bird overshadowed in this instance), and you get a horse who couldn't win around two turns. (Yes, the faux Dwyer is 8.5f but it's at Belmont.) And Foresty seems to be the major influence on Discreet Cat, whose 8f+ wins were around 1 turn.  So this Missouri-bred says to Discreet Cat, "Show me."

I remember watching Crimson Saint run - she was a lightning bolt, a closet Quarter Horse. She set track record for 4f at Oaklawn as a juvenile, then as a 3yo filly, she defeated good older males in the Meteor H, 5f on turf (it was her first time on turf). In those horses who inherit more Terlingua/Crimson Saint 'stuff' than Storm Bird 'stuff' from Storm Cat will always struggle at classic distances.

05 Feb 2012 11:51 AM


My learned friend I see your long awaited list has been posted. Before I give my yearly evaluation of your twelve, I cannot help but noting that five horses from Mr. Pletcher’s stable accounts for 5 of the available spots. Mr. Haskin has 4 in his twelve. You are truly amazing and must be given credit for your unwavering loyalty to the multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer. I am still puzzled after so many years by your loyalty. What exactly fuels it? I pose the question because I think your answer can provide insight into reasons for repeated loyalty to one in spite of overwhelming failure. Forgive me if I appear cynical but I am guided by colt facts.

One win from 29 starters over 10 years equates to a win percentage of 3.44. Base on such a record your loyalty is either misplaced or knows no bounds. I have compiled a chart reflecting the Derby exploits of the multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer and it makes for interesting reading for one so revered.  If any of the five colts on your list finish either 5TH, 15TH, or 16Th horses from Mr. Pletcher barn would have run the table on the maximum 20 finishing positions. The category that leads the list is last place finishers which amount to five. His one win was achieved from 25 starters. Interestingly that winner never won a 3YO race before or subsequent to the Derby. He had 20% of the field on three occasions and has been as high as 25%. He therefore has been adequately and sometimes over represented in the great race. The size of his Derby contingents is important as the only time had one starter (Wild Horses) it finished last. He has finished in the top four 5 times from his 29 starters and two of those placing were in the same race. His stable wins a lot of Derby preps and consequently his horse secure the requisite graded earning to make the race. However, they seem to perform way below expectation in the Derby. Between 2000 and 2011 the 29 horses that started in the Derby from his barn won 24 Derby preps and placed in another 12. A lot of Derby preps won; one Derby win to date.

If your loyalty is driven by Derby preps won then it cannot be questioned. However, if it is based on his Derby résumé I am not so sure it can be justified.

Union Rags: Nice colt who will find the Derby distance challenging with his power style of running. Gone West is not a dam sire of note in spite of his Secretariat dam.(Contender)

Discreet Dancer: Nice colt who will find the Derby distance challenging. Gone West is not a dam sire of note in spite of his Secretariat dam.(Pretender)

Algorithms: Cannot fine any fault with this colt. Can Mr. P get him to perform at the Big Dance? (Contender)

Summer Front: Will not be effective 10F on dirt (Pretender)

Hansen: Did not like the way he broke in the HB. His sire like Unbridles Song appears to pass on lameness. Will not stay 10F especially with the blinker on.(Pretender)

El Padrino: Nice big chestnut. He was being caught rapidly by Done Talking in the Remsen. Pulpit/Giant’s Causeway Derby winner is highly unlikely. (Pretender)

Creative Cause: Sire bred190 mares in 2008. Over bred stallions do not produce Derby winner in the US. Neither does high profile broodmares. Two dirt races were average at best.(Pretender)

Spring Hill Farm: Nice colt. His dam was sires by a Derby winner and those mares are MIA as Derby winning broodmares. Like the sibling inbreeding the in dam. Smart Strike is a quality Mr. Prospector stallion and SHF could be an exception: (Contender)

Out of Bounds: Big powerful chestnut who will find 10F to his liking. Half Bother was 6th in 2010 BCC. The best colt in CA who has a Breeders Cup wining dam.Dam sire Unbridled Song is emerging as a brilliant broodmare sire.  (Contender)

Liason : Indian Charlie with the sloe Victory Gallop. (Pretender)

Junebugred: Nice may colt. Dam sire Dixieland Band has to be respected. Like his fighting victory in Smarty Jones (Contender)

Gemologist: Based on his action in the KJCK this in not a sound colt. The time of the KJCK was pedestrian suggesting the entrants do not have Derby winning speed. (Pretender)

Exothermic, Motor City, Sabercat, Reveron and Currency Swap.  (All Pretenders) Take a look at Najjaar .

05 Feb 2012 12:14 PM

Great picks Steve, even we know that always is too early to make a clear selection :/ Here are my picks for, at least, the first part of February hehe:

1. Union Rags

2. Gemologist

3. Dullahan

4. I’ll Have Another

5. Algorithms

6. Creative Cause

7. Out of Bounds

8. Sabercat

9. Souper Speedy


11.Empire Way

12.Rousing Sermon

05 Feb 2012 1:06 PM
Matthew W

I heard Harrington (Creative Cause) say he had others who inspired him, as well as his top-ranked charge--Empire Way, well-bred (and closing) in the Lewis, yesterday--Mike Harrington has two! I also heard he said, in regards to his Creative Cause, that he wouldn't trade horses with anyone--he is holding a strong hand!

05 Feb 2012 1:54 PM
Matthew W

Cassandra I concur--Rags had whole length of stretchy to go by--and he could not pass a horse who had made all of the running--last year's Breeders Cup race was a three headed monster of a horse race--been a long time since I saw a race that solid from three horses--don't care how it Beyered, I know what I saw and I saw a real nice horse race--and the best horse, Hansen, won!

05 Feb 2012 2:00 PM

I like Haskin's Dozen, but I'd say that Hansen is a sprinter (hint-he'll never rate) as amply demonstrated in his last start where he was  left behind. He'll be a good miler, but beyond that, there are better colts.

Union Rags is trained by Michael Matz, which gives me some pause after the most overrated overhyped disaster named Barbaro. Great horses don't break legs, and when they break through a starting gate prematurely, they're trying to tell you something-ie. Get me out of here. It's called common sense, and any out of the ordinary behavior should be taken seriously. I always thought Barbaro was injured before the Preakness, knew it, and tried to tell the world that by breaking through the starting gate in a fight or flight response. While I like Union Rags, I'll pass on the trainer. The Jacksons did.

My Miss Aurelia should be on this list, too, and may give some threat later, if she runs in any of the Triple Crown Races.

I had hope Margano would be decent, but he's raced unevenly and may never make it past allowance company. Not sure why the Jackson's want to replicate a colt who broke his leg? Ruffian hurt her leg several times, and finally snapped in one bad start with Foolish Pleasure. I guess we'll see what happens this year with this group of colts/fillies.

05 Feb 2012 2:02 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  Thanks much for the response and update on Drill.

I wish that Bloodhorse had a list of all the stake and handicap horses who are either on the shelf, in traing or next race planned. Much like a "where are they now" update list to keep the public informed. many of us loyal followers fall in love with these equine champions and then the horses drop out of sight and we don't know where they end up. Example:  Where is Nero, Premier Pegasus, etc..........  

05 Feb 2012 2:47 PM

7 minutes to post for the 10th at Gulfstream there are no replies so I guess your not playing Exothermic.

05 Feb 2012 4:49 PM
Criminal Type

Jblues, Seriously ? Your blaming Michael Matz for Barbaros injury ? Overhyped? How can you say overhyped when he WON the Kentucky Derby..Obviously the hype was well deserved. To be fair, Leigh Delacour has not had much success with the two brothers who came out of Matz's barn. In fact Nicanor has yet to run for her and I seriously doubt if he will, I expect him to be retired on a daily basis. You might want to take a look at the statistics of the Jackson horses in the Tagg barn before you lay blame at Michaels feet.

05 Feb 2012 7:40 PM

Coldfacts Exothermic might be a pretender,but you didnt have to make believe he won the 10th at Gulfstream today at 6-1.Your archrival on this blog, Ranagulzion, mysteriously was absent in his rebuttle to your arguements today.

05 Feb 2012 7:53 PM


Thank you for your dozen.  It's hard to imagine dissing Barbaro after such a dominating Derby.  Don't know where your reader's coming from on that.

I'm curious your opinion on Liaison.  He did drop back but prior to being cutoff it looked to me like he was looking for some room to make a run.  How'd he come out of the race?

I agree with your assessment of Sabercat, Algorithms, Out of Bounds, Union Rags.  When does Russian Greek run next?

05 Feb 2012 9:38 PM
Karen in Texas

Deacon----There are lists for every category at Horse Racing Nation--you might try that site for Nero, etc. Premier Pegasus was scheduled to start working again recently,

but x-rays or scans were not satisfactory as of last week, and he is being "turned out" for a while. I'll try to link his Facebook page here. By the way, the HRN site still shows Drill going to the San Vicente on 2/19. Possibly that is not current information....

05 Feb 2012 9:49 PM
Karen in Texas

jbluesbeatle----Aside from your derogatory remarks about Michael Matz and Barbaro, your statement that "great horses don't break legs" is patently ridiculous. Ruffian, Personal Ensign, and Go For Wand are all among the top 100 horses of the 20th century. After surgery for her fractured left rear pastern, Personal Ensign returned to the track to remain undefeated with five screws in her leg. What is your criteria for greatness?

06 Feb 2012 1:03 AM
The Deacon

Ksren in Texas:  Thank you very much.

06 Feb 2012 2:10 AM

The top dozen as I see them at this point:

1) My Miss Aurelia- a special horse with great connections, that I hope will send her to the Derby. Until someone beats her she is most promising 3 year old in the country.

2)Creative Cause-looks incredible; tremendous heart in this one, which comes from Rising Market lineage, makes him all race horse.

3)Union Rags- think when he races next, those non-believers will be amazed.

4)I'll Have Another-tremendous raw talent, if he stays sound he will be tough to beat.

5)Discreet Dancer- love this horse, think he will be moving up on everybodies top twelve.

6)Algorithms-all class in defeating Hansen, he is the first to do that, still early in the year, if he improves as expected, he will tough to beat.

7)Alpha- his Withers says he is going to have to be reckoned with at some time, and it won't be easy now that he seems to have put some problems behind him.

8)Russian Greek- not sure yet how he will stack up against the best, but I think he'll love running long, and that can't be dismissed.

9)Sabercat-watchout for this guy, he would be hire on my list if I followed my pure gut feelings about how good I think he will be, just reminds of a pure stallion along the lines of a Sunday Silence type.

10)El Padrino-(the GODFATHER), another I can't wait to see more of, think he is one serious race horse.

11)Out of Bounds- el confundir, because he looks so special he shouldn't be so far down this list, will most likely be moving up.

12)Spring Hill Farm- this year's Curlin? Just think he will be special.

This is just my first twelve at this point and I'm sure will change with racing, but I found this listing incredibly difficult at this time, but I tried to pick those that I felt were all race horse, that will be tough in any race they run.

IMHO- Predict

06 Feb 2012 2:17 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

  Apparently Baffert said about Drill- "I think he likes one turn. We'll play it by ear." He had a workout Feb 2 so probably isn't getting a break. Checkout Look at "looking good', "worth watching" and "just in case" for information on every horse.

06 Feb 2012 9:42 AM
Pedigree Ann

jbluesbeatle, I have to say WHAT?!?

"Great horses don't break legs.."

Where did you pick up that idea? Ever heard of Ruffian? Or Go for Wand? Both Hall of Famers. Ever heard of Dark Secret? He won two runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in the 1930s, the second on the broken leg that doomed him.

06 Feb 2012 10:02 AM

Matthew W,

I advise you to take with a grain of salt what trainers say. Mr. Lukas made the same remark about Dublin. If Creative Cause’s record is carefully examined it will reflect that he has beaten what has turned out to be CA’s second stringers at best. He tracked Hansen in the BCJ and was unable to produce enough finishing speed to get by in what was a slowly run race. His last race preceding the BCJ was completed in a slow 1:43 and change for the speedway at SA. Creative Cause is a nice colt but his limitations have already been exposed and while he can improve those that are better will improve also. Mr. Haskin was being generous to rank him #1.

As for Empire Way he is a victim of being the sibling that follows an impressive brother or sister. A broodmare rarely produces two champions consecutively. He is slow by Derby standards.

06 Feb 2012 10:30 AM

   What the “little barns” should be competing against for a GATE SLOT! [[Of Course being only the 19 gates left with “Hansen” already having secured his!]], and note, this being a list that does NOT include either “Union Rags” or “Creative Cause”!!!

    You really want to be placing a “future bet”? before you’ve seen this competition in action ??? We have only had one week of preps and so far the heavy 2 year campaigners fell way behind! since they blessed Doug O’Neill’s “I’ll Have Another” as a real competitor! [[Note: the ranked divisions are my own!!]]

   Pletchers’ Nominees: (29)

A List:


“Discreet Dancer”;

“El Padrino”;

“Gemologist” -WinStar;

“Harris”; “Raconteur”;

B List:  

“Big Blue Nation”;

“Colony Strike”;

“Declaration of War”;

“Ender Knievel”; “Graydar”;

“Highly Justin”;

“Mordi’s Miracle”;

“New York Playboy”;

“Our Entourage”;

“Overdriven”; “Spring Hill Farm”;

“Willy Elliiot”; “Z Vilna”;

C List:  

“Dan and Shelia”;

"Disposablepleasure: (f.);

“Dixie Dice”; “Ecabroni”;

“How Do I Win”;

“Late Night Action”;

“Liberty Bound”;

“Majestic Number”;

“Thunder Moccasin”; “Tommy VM”;


     Bafferts’ Nominees:  (21)

A List:

“Castaway”;  “Full Cry”;

“M C’s Dream”;

“Secret Circle”; “Stirred Up”;

B List:

“Bodemeister”; “Brigand”;

“Fed Biz”; “Lasso”; “Liaison”;

“Macho Rocket”;

“Sky Kingdom”; “Stat”;

C List:  

“Blueskiesnrainbows”; “Branaman”; “Captain Baker”; “Drill”;

“Eaton Hall”; “Night Tide”;

“Princess Arabella” (f.);

“Senor Hambone”;

   Asmussen’s Nominees:

A List:


“Saturday’s Charm”; “Tritap”;

“Unbridled’s Note”; “Verne”;

“Wharton”; “Whinston”;

 B List:  

“Bravo Habibi”;

“Class President”;

“Daddy Nose Best”; “Hierro”;

“Lake Victor”; “Major Hope”;

“Welter Weight”; “Z Dager”;

Romans’ Nominees:

A List:

“Captial Goods”; “Captain Ben”;

“Dullahan”; “Gaelico”;

“Google My Grandson”;

“News Pending”;

”Quick Wit”-WinStar; “Seve”;

“Suns Out Guns Out”:

B List:  


“Finnigan’s Wake”;  

“King Kid”: “Silver Max”;

“Z Camelot”;

          Casse’s Nominees:

A List:

“Bluedacious” -WinStar;  


“Moon Traveler”;

“Prospective”; “Steelcase”;

B List:  

“Dynamical”; “Patrioticandproud”;

    McLaughlin’s Nominee’s:

A List:

“Alpha”; “Consortium”;

“McKinley Square”; “Steele Road”;

“Unbridled Fire”;

B List:

“Got What”;

“Little Hail”; “Slew”;

    Hollendorfer’s Nominee’s:

A List:

“Candy’s Jewel”;

“Longview Drive”;

B List:

“Rousing Sermon”;

“Russian Greek”;

06 Feb 2012 11:32 AM

the weekend's races redeemed hansen's second in the holy bull for me quite a bit tbh.

the great thing about trakus, isn't the accuracy of the times--which may or may not be any more accurate than gulfstream's timer (which is notorious for being way-off in one turn mile races there), but because each horse is timed and tracked individually, so for the first time you can see what really happened--and whether a horse really did speed up or slow down.

what happened in the holy bull was this:

hansen ran the first two furlongs at a suicidal pace, and the third furlong in a respectable pace-while carrying the same weight as 5 yo game on dude in the san antonio--the only 3 year old assigned that much weight in any of the ky preps this year so far. (there seems to be something very wrong is assigning a young horse in his first race back the same weight as a top older horse in his first race back btw...).

algorithms did not make a move at all. he was consistently slowing every fraction, and closed in 25.72, while carrying 6 lbs less than hansen, and after running more reasonable fractions than hansen. if algorithms runs in the FOY, he's going to be assigned a high weight--he'll be dealing with both a distance and weight that he's never had to deal with before. (look what happened to liaison, rousing sermon, and sky kingdom when they were asked to carry real weight for the first time--and not even as much weight as hansen).

my adonis made a small move in the 3d quarter (a very small move, he sped up from 23.52 to 23.28), but could not sustain it at all and closed in 25.11.  after having he run his first quarter in a reasonable 24.06, he should have had more in the tank for the final furlong.  (he was carrying less weight than hansen too, but more than algorithms).

my conclusion, at equal weights, hansen crushes the holy bull field, and every other 3 year old that has run this year.

no other 3 year old has been asked to carry so much weight this year, but while much is made of 2 lbs in a race between older females, nothing is made of 6 lbs in race between horses, where most will not even be truly 3 years old  for a month or two more (with hansen, a late april colt, being one of the youngest of this crop).

a lot is made of the distance of ky derby, so much so that it is often the only factor considered, but another factor of equal importance (esp. injury-wise) is that for most the horses in the derby, it is the first time they race carrying real weight. i also think this is a crucial factor in why so few BCJ winners and runners are never heard from again--that 123 lbs is a big deal for such young horses. and so far only three horses have shown they can carry it--hansen, creative cause, and union rags.  we know hansen came out of the BCJ just fine, we won't know how creative cause and union rags came out for a while longer.

i'll wait to see how hansen came out of the holy bull to make any decisons, but for me he is moving ahead having carried 123 lbs twice now. he ran the holy bull under a hand ride--he chose to go that fast all on his own (which is a very different thing than doing so under urging from whips or other horses). even in the stretch he wasn't urged, but still dug in finally to hold off the rest of the field.  oddly, ramon made no effort to get hansen to relax, and despite looking completely spent at 7/8ths hansen galloped out well. finally, hansen has already shown he can get 1 1/16 twice, he has also shown he is more than able to ration his speed over distance--the one turn, no-run up, one mile holy bull, is not a race that will let any horse truly ration his speed or settle and relax.

what the holy bull shows me is just how dangerous hansen's speed is, he forced all of the other horses in that race to cook themsleves too, he paid the price for it in the short run, but in the long run, it'll be interesting to see if he did't just win the war, by having lost the holy bull battle.

no other three year old to date has shown he can run as fast as long as hansen carrying weight--but to win the derby, they'll have to do just that.

06 Feb 2012 11:37 AM

Good list. My picks so far are Union Rags, Secret Circle, Longfellow Drive. Been looking for Drill in something. I think Hansen will be a very good horse and even more impressive if they do not direct him towards the classics.

06 Feb 2012 1:21 PM


Flaming Page: Nijinsky and Minsky.  Her daughter had The Minstrel.

And re: Empire Way: I really, really like Exothermic (but I really, really liked his dam.)  Hope he "translates" from the turf (like a couple of KD winners recently.)

06 Feb 2012 1:42 PM
Karen in Texas

Deacon----You are welcome very much.

06 Feb 2012 2:22 PM


Exothermic is a nice turf colt. In his two races he has sat of slow fractions and closed with a flourish. Which to 3YO race on dirt will be run at 24, 49 & 1:13? If  does not have the speed be more forwardly placed he is going to get killed by dirt colts who can cruise at 23, 46, 1:11 and accelerate. He is well bred being by the 2003 Belmont winner Empire Maker and  2005 Co-champion 3-year-old filly in South Africa.  Irridescence was a champion on turf. Her sire was a turf runner in Germany. She belongs to the Million Dollar Club whose members have a strained relationship with the Derby. None have produced a winner to date. Exothermic first, second and third dam sires were turf performers. His pedigree is loaded with turf. Is it any wonder that’s where he is being raced? I know there are those that will cite Animal Kingdom’s overwhelming turf pedigree and that would be fair. However, Derby history suggest the 2012 will not be similar at least not Exothermic as he has too many Derby negatives and appears too slow to win.

06 Feb 2012 5:00 PM

Coldfacts: even when your "facts" are proven wrong, you continue to persist usings stats that don't exist.  Most recently you said...

" A broodmare rarely produces two champions consecutively. He is slow by Derby standards." when referring to Empire Way.

Again I would refer you to Urban Sea as a prolific broodmare of champions..consecutively.

It's one thing to cite a fact.  It's a totally different critter when you consider your opinion to be a fact, when it is, in fact, a myth that you continue to reference as though it has credence only because you claimed it was a fact.

Yes, Exothermic has an excellent pedigree, but you went out of your way to disparage Empire Way even though his pedigree is similar...same sire line.  His dam just happened to also produce last year's winner of the BC Ladies, Royal Delta.  I'm guessing you're relying on a false myth that lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot.  Hmmmm...scientifically it does...and often strikes more than twice.  As it did with Urban Sea.  

By the way, as far as TC races go, have you been able to count high enough to figure out how many winners Unbridled has given us?

And Animal Kingdom is not the only horse with turf breeding to score so well on dirt. (The Derby just happened to be his first out on dirt). How about Zenyatta, Rock Hard Ten, Secretariat, Citation, etc..etc.  It seems to me, most of our TB's trace back to turf horses, Nearco, Nearctic, and Natalma.  

And I don't think anyone wants to see these 3 year olds scorch the track so early with such fast fractions that they have nothing left for May.

06 Feb 2012 7:36 PM
Karen in Texas

Dr. Hansen shared his thoughts/feelings on Hansen's loss in the Holy Bull via a blog I found by accident. He states that the blinkers are coming off for the next race. I'll try to link the entry for anyone who might like to read it.

06 Feb 2012 10:36 PM

Slew, Coldfacts, just to piggyback on this conversation, Better Than Honour produced back to back Belmont winners 5 years ago, rags to riches and Jazil. Casino Drive was no slouch either, so her producing three very accomplished winners and stakes horses in a row must be a miracle...

07 Feb 2012 10:08 AM

Also, you can throw that derby standards crap out the door. The last 20 years have changed what "Derby Standards" are. Dual Qualifiers, Beyer Speed figures, internal fractions, breeding, etc, when it comes to the Derby now, it is all about who is fit, ready and has a good foundation. Derby standards used to be to have Preps every month, now they train up to races to have a fresh horse. Derby Standards did not have geldings win, or NY breds, and they all came from major preps, not the Sunland Derby. The game is changing, you better get on board.

07 Feb 2012 10:16 AM

Slew- he did say rarely and you have to admit it is not an everyday occurrence.  The percentage is probably quite low.  So he actually has not been proved wrong in this case.  He didn't say it never has happened.  He said rarely, which is correct.

07 Feb 2012 10:21 AM

Considering mares have only one foal per year, it can't stack up to the sires' stakes winners.  

But Footlick (love that tag..even though you still won't tell us what it's all about.) it's not a rare occurrence.  I cited Urban Sea (simply because she's a well established broodmare who kept foaling champions).  Billy's Empire cited Better Than Honour and Casino Drive.  We would have to include Personal Ensign and Miesque, LaTroianne, ....just look for a list of blue hen mares.  They're highly prized but not as rare as Coldfacts wants you to believe.  He used that "semi-fact" to exclude Empire Way from Derby consideration.

I see Coldfacts spending most of his time shooting down other peoples' favorites without listing his own.  Last April, he did make a choice..I believe it came down to the wire between Dialed In and shackleford.  The problem is that he attacks others with conclusions and myths he likes to call "facts".  Most people have reasons for their choices.  Coldfacts just spends his time telling them they're wrong...and wields his opinions under the guise of "facts".

07 Feb 2012 6:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Karen In Texas

  Thank you very much for that link !!!!  I knew Hansen would be mad about the loss. He's just that kind of a competitor. I'm glad the blinkers are coming off.

08 Feb 2012 9:40 AM
Karen in Texas

Dr. D----You're welcome. I am glad to hear the blinkers are coming off as well. On a different (and bizarre, slightly sad) note, there is an editorial on ESPN's site that claims Dr. Hansen has also blogged that he wants to dye Hansen's tail and mane in future races. He apparently thinks the fans will love it--makes me ill. I'll see if I can link that here. If not, it's on ESPN's horseracing page.

08 Feb 2012 10:49 AM
Karen in Texas

Dr. D---Link to editorial.

08 Feb 2012 10:55 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Karen In Texas

  Thanks for the espn link. Just the thought of coloring Hansen up makes me ill. How about polka dot and change his name to Little Dot? Or paint him like a clown suit and call him Bozo The Clown? I will always love the horse but if they make him into a coloring book I'm going to have difficulty rooting for him because of the travesty and connections. Beauty is only skin deep so they could paint him green and call him The Incredible Hulk. I think I might have to drink a shot of White Lightning in memorium.

08 Feb 2012 4:18 PM
Criminal Type

Karen, Thanks for the link to that article concerning Hansen and the dyed mane & tail. Although I am not particlarly crazy about this horse, I just don't think he is a classic distance horse. I actually think he will excell at shorter distance races like the Kings Bishop. I think his owner is a few bricks short of a full load. When he got down and kissed the ground at Churchill after the Breeders cup Juvi, I thought it was a little bizarre and a lot unsanitary. Now im sure he is a a little nuts. The folks at PITA will have a field day with this (point of reference: the bruhaha over the pink dyed horses in the Selena Gomez music video) Apparently Dr Hansen has not fully thought this through. Maybe he just doesnt realize how many people will be upset, offended and even sicked by these proposed actions. I feel sorry for the poor horse.

08 Feb 2012 4:41 PM

Here we go again!!  I'm so excited - just like always when we start down the Derby Trail.  One thing I have to say is that that is the best group of Names for a Triple Crown that I've heard in a long time.  Maybe we can take that as a sign??

08 Feb 2012 5:14 PM

Also, sad to hear about Big Brown's daddy.  Rest in Peace, Boundry.

08 Feb 2012 5:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Dr. Hansen isn't a plastic surgeon is he? I fear that a nose job and tummy tuck might be next. Hansen is one gorgeous and dynamic competitor. Leave the kid alone.

08 Feb 2012 7:00 PM
Karen in Texas

Dr. D, Criminal Type, et al----As the article states, Hansen deserves better. He is beautiful and will forever be the Eclipse Champion 2-yr-old colt of 2011. All I can think is that Mike Maker may be able to stop the nonsense. I am not beyond contacting him via e-mail. How could anyone think such silliness is appropriate??

08 Feb 2012 7:13 PM

Dear (and I use the term out of decorum) Dr. Hansen, are you out of your mind?  Dye any part of Hansen's coat? &*^%$#@*&@#!

Totally classless..(why am I surprised?)

08 Feb 2012 7:18 PM
Criminal Type

Karen, Dr Hansen quoted "Maker is on board".

09 Feb 2012 1:56 PM
Karen in Texas

Criminal Type---Yes, I saw that later on the actual blog segment, too. An ESPN poll shows 72% against and 28% for the idea. Maybe public opinion will make a difference if presented to the connections. As you said, I feel sorry for Hansen at this point.  

09 Feb 2012 8:12 PM

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