Derby Dozen (video) - February 6, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

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Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

He’s had a pair of six-furlong works and is progressing nicely for 3-year-old debut. Harrington also has Robert Lewis runner-up Empire Way for powerful one-two punch. This colt can do it all and appears to have no weaknesses. It’s just a question of how he stacks up against the talented 3-year-olds we’ve seen so far this year. Because he doesn’t have a strong closing kick and is more of a one-paced grinder, it is essential he keeps improving the farther he goes and that his running style works more in his favor at 1 ¼ miles. 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 won at five furlongs and 1 1/16 miles, earning a 98 Beyer in debut. He just keeps coming at you and with little encouragement; the consummate pro.


Union Rags Michael Matz 

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

He’s been working steadily at Palm Meadows and has two five-furlong works under his belt. If he can keep a straight course down in the stretch, he will take a major step forward and become the complete package. Still believe he’s the most gifted colt seen so far, and can’t remember a horse running more impressively in the Champagne. He showed his class as well as great athleticism. He has beautiful action and demonstrated an impressive turn of foot in the BC Juvenile, while racing very wide every step of the way. In fact, Trackus has him running 78 feet farther than the winner. He was in front one step past the wire after having to get back in stride following his antics in the stretch. There is no doubt he possesses untapped ability.


Algorithms Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Bernardini—Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance

His time in the Holy Bull was changed to 1:35 1/5 and his Beyer jumped to a 105. Pletcher’s 3-year-olds have a tendency to run huge early in the year, so he’s going to have to make sure he doesn’t peak too soon. He has some strong speed influences in his family, but with careful nurturing, his stamina should prove dominant, with the likes of Bernardini on top and Cryptolearance, Avatar, Fappiano, Graustark, Dr. Fager, and Tom Rolfe on the bottom. 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 under a hand ride. Undefeated in three starts, his Beyers have jumped at least 10 points in each race. He went his second quarter in the Holy Bull in a blistering :22 2/5 and his next quarter in :23 4/5, demonstrating his extraordinary cruising speed.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

Well, at least he had a higher Beyer speed figure than Algorithms for a few days, but his 100 was as fast as you’d want him to go this early in the year. His victory was as impressive visually as any 3-year-old race this year. You had to be impressed with the way he bounded past a classy stakes horse in Take Charge Indy, who had opened a huge lead and finished 13 ¾ lengths ahead of the third horse. Like Algorithms, he did it on his own without the whip. 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 Click Here!

Bluegrass Cat—Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

He finally turned in his first work of the year, breezing a half in :48 3/5 at Santa Anita. He may be out of sight, out of mind, but don’t be surprised to see him jump right out of the box with a huge effort in the San Felipe. His speed figures last year were nothing to rave about, but he was visually as impressive as anyone, especially his electrifying move in the Delta Jackpot. He never broke stride despite being taken hold of when he almost ran up over horses. He also showed a quick turn of foot drawing off in his Garden State Stakes romp. He is one who is capable of improving big-time from 2 to 3, especially with some time off. He 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 a maiden race. He’s won three straight, all at a mile or longer. He just needs to improve his speed figures and continue on the work tab without any glitches.


Out of Bounds Eoin Harty

Discreet Cat—Unbridled Elaine, by Unbridled's Song

Worked 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 and moves way up the ladder in California after the poor efforts by Liaison, Rousing Sermon, and Sky Kingdom in the Bob Lewis. He’s not as advanced as some of the others, but immensely talented. 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. 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. He’s nowhere near his peak and there’s no telling how good he may be.


I'll Have Another Doug O’Neill Click Here!

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

No one was expecting him to blow open the Robert Lewis at 43-1, but the fact is, the credentials were there and his performance likely is legitimate, especially based on his solid second to Creative Cause in Best Pal Stakes. He looked like a flat-out runner in the Lewis, bounding down the stretch, although he showed a little greenness by jumping the gate tire tracks, switching back to his left lead and ducking to the inside. His time of 1:40 4/5 and :06 1/5 final sixteenth were impressive. Awesome female family, tracing to European legends Ribot, Sea-Bird, and Nijinsky, as well as Roberto, giving him three English Derby winners. Fifth generation sires on female side are a Who’s Who of class and stamina – Hail to Reason, Princequillo, Northern Dancer, Alydar, His Majesty, Stage Door Johnny, Nijinsky, and Sea-Bird. Also traces to icons Darby Dan, Claiborne, Greentree, Calumet, Windfields, and George Widener.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

He had his first work of the year, breezing three furlongs in :39 4/5 at Palm Meadows. He’s gotten kind of lost in the Pletcher barn with the exceptional performances of Discreet Dancer, Algorithms, and El Padrino. It’s difficult to get a good line on him, with Ky. Jockey Club runner-up Timely Tally off the Derby trail with an injury, but 11th-place finisher Mr. Prankster has won the first two stakes at Turfway Park this year, including a 7 ½-length romp in Saturday’s WEBN Stakes. Gemologist also defeated a good one in Ever So Lucky in the KJC, so the form of that race should hold up well. A big, scopey colt, he’s unbeaten in three starts, two of them at Churchill Downs, has good tactical speed, and has to be taken seriously, at least until someone beats him.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

With his one dimensional style of running, it only takes one defeat to lose some of the shine. The bottom line is that his Holy Bull defeat over a sloppy, sealed track was not a setback as much as his inability to settle, even on the lead. His blistering :22 flat second quarter was not what you want to see, but he at least held on for second and still should be dangerous in his upcoming races. It’s just that, as a potential Kentucky Derby horse, you want to see him harness some of that speed. Perhaps he can achieve that with a cleaner break. When they stumble and swerve in as he did, the tendency is to switch to the afterburners, which at this point is the only way he knows how to run. His next start will tell us if he’s a legitimate Derby horse. Maker has himself a solid second-stringer in Mr. Prankster, who is blowing them away at Turfway.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

He wasn’t facing any world beaters in the Withers Stakes, but did everything the right way, dominating his opponents after turning for home and then finishing it off under a hand ride. And he was excellent in the gate this time. He’ll run all day and should keep improving. Throw out his BC Juvenile, in which he bled. His key race last year was a fast-closing second in the Champagne in only his second career start. After his six-length romp in a maiden race under the Darley colors he was upgraded to Godolphin blue. Like the way he’s been drawing off in his races, like a true distance horse. He’ll likely stay in New York and point for the Gotham and Wood Memorial.


Discreet Dancer Todd Pletcher

Discreet Cat—West Side Dancer, by Gone West

He’s had two easy breezes since his monster allowance victory, but missed his latest work with a slight fever. Fountain of Youth start now in question. With only two career starts and a world of speed there’s no need to look for any bullets in the morning. He has a great temperament and should have no problem settling. His ability to put his speed on cruise control makes him potentially something special. The main question is how far he’ll be able to carry that speed. Pletcher says he has “tremendous mechanics and great action” and he’s never seen the bottom of him. He still needs to step up against stakes horses, so his next start will tell how special he really is. Pletcher reluctantly was going to run him against Algorithms in the Fountain of Youth, as both have shown on more than one occasion how much they like Gulfstream Park, but his missed work may alter those plans.


Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

Romans backed off a little after the colt came down with a cough, but he’s doing well and is right on target for the Palm Beach Stakes Mar. 11 on grass and then the Blue Grass. He already has the earnings and Romans likes this route. 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 fast-closing fourth in BC Juvenile on dirt that proved he was legitimate and convinced Romans he doesn’t need to run him on dirt again before the Derby. 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 and should show big improvement as he matures and grows into his big frame.

Knocking At The Door

Ever So Lucky Jonathan Sheppard Click Here!

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.

Empire Way Mike Harrington Click Here!

Empire Maker – Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy

The Empire Makers normally come around later and it looks as if he’s no exception. A full-sister to last year’s champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta, he has shown improvement with each start, and although he finished a solid second in the Robert Lewis Stakes, we haven’t seen the best of him. If he keeps moving forward, he should be peaking just around Derby time. He’s certainly an able back-up for Creative Cause, giving Harrington a powerful one-two punch.

Fed Biz Bob Baffert Click Here!

Giant's Causeway—Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again

Highly promising colt who was impressive breaking his maiden, defeating Zackn’mat, who came back 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 30 are the first three finishers in the Lecomte, Mr. Bowling, Z Dager, and Shared Property; Mr. Prankster, impressive winner of the WEBN Stakes and Turfway Prevue; the first two finishers in the Sam F. Davis, Battle Hardened and Prospective; 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; San Pedro winner Midnight Transfer; and Smarty Jones one-two finishers 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; Reveron, Motor City, Longview Drive, Currency Swap, Neck n Neck, Spring Hill Farm, Big Blue Nation, Zackn’mat, Najjaar, Apprehender, Exothermic, Thunder Moccasin, Teeth of the Dog, Cyber Secret, Liberty Bound, Castaway, Quick Wit, Fly Lexis Fly, and Maritimer.

In Action Last Week

Mr. Prankster has run two good races on dirt at Hoosier, but he has busted out on Turfway’s Polytrack, highlighted by a resounding 7 ½-length romp in Saturday’s WEBN Stakes. He should provide quite a reception for those shipping in for the Spiral Stakes. The Sam F. Davis Stakes was a wide-open affair, but the maiden, Battle Hardened, stood out, winning by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:44 2/5. Trained by Eddie Kenneally for Coolmore’s Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier, this son of Giant’s Causeway is another who is improving in leaps and bounds. Runner-up Prospective, winner of the Pasco Stakes, overcame a wide trip throughout and was running on well at the end, getting up for second, nosing out Gulfstream Park Derby winner Reveron and 69-1 shot Ravelo’s Boy. Michael Matz-trained Teeth of the Dog, a game second in a mile allowance race last out, turned in another gutsy effort, winning a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream by a head over Dynamical, who was making only his second career start and first on dirt. Suns Out Guns Out (third) and Went the Day Well (fourth) closed fast off the slow pace and bear watching next time out. Also at Gulfstream, Todd Pletcher added another gun to his arsenal, sending out the Distorted Humor colt Ender Knievel to a 7 ¾-length victory, getting the mile in 1:37 2/5. He’s the type Pletcher normally would point for the Illinois Derby. At Oaklawn, Charles Cella’s Cyber Secret had no trouble winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer by 5 ¼ lengths over a weak field. In one of the more impressive performances of the weekend, Romp City, by Holy Bull, blew by Hard Line inside the eighth pole to win a maiden race at Laurel going away. Behind by four lengths at the furlong pole, he went by the leader so fast he was four in front at the wire, covering the seven furlongs in 1:24 3/5. At Gulfstream Sunday, Exothermic, a son of Empire Maker, looked terrific winning a nine-furlong allowance/optional claimer on the grass at Gulfstream for Rusty Arnold, coming home in :11 2/5, and could make the switch to dirt. He's a beautiful stiding colt with a devastating turn of foot. Dale Romans is considering putting second-place finisher News Pending and fourth-place finisher Finnegans Wake on the dirt. At Aqueduct, the Tapit colt Inflation Target, trained by Rick Violette, broke his maiden by 1 ¾ lengths, getting the six furlongs in 1:10 4/5.


Leave a Comment:

Karen in Indiana

Thank you for the update, Steve, & looking forward to the full analysis.

06 Feb 2012 3:15 PM
Karen in Indiana

P.S. I really want to like I'll Have Another because he's a Flower Alley, who was a very good racehorse and in person, he has quite a personality, loves attention. But I do not like who his trainer is and find it hard to support any of his horses.

06 Feb 2012 3:20 PM

Thanx for the review.I have a comment on Alpha.He is beating overmatched fields thus far, and although I think the connections are following the path of least resistence,I am not sure it will work as preparation for the Derby itself.I am starting to believe through my experience of following the derby trail with access to a computer on a daily basis that unless there is a dominant colt in the triple crown this year the winner will be the one that has a trip that most resembles the one he had in the most previous race  or a trip that accomodates his running style most closely without much turbulence.The races Alpha is winning in New York,will not prepare him for the Derby itself unless he is the best by open lengths in the derby as well as the Preakness.

06 Feb 2012 3:39 PM

Steve, do you expect Liaison to rebound and is there an explanation on Sky Kingdom's performance?

Also, whom do you expect to run in the Southwest at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 20?

06 Feb 2012 4:49 PM


Union rags is working like a bomb and begging for that #1 spot in your Derby Dozen. What happened between the Breeder's Cup juvenile and now to reverse your ranking of these two?  Even on the execise track UR is promising more than CC. I don't get it.

Exothermic sounded another warning on Sunday. Watch this one.

06 Feb 2012 4:56 PM


Forget about Dixie Union colts, pal. They don't go a mile and a quarter. Find yourself another prospect (quickly).

If you want "real" pedigree, try "Fed Biz".

PS: Your going to be watching your Union Rags go backwards at the 1/8 pole (...if he even makes it to the Derby). Matz has already hinted that "this is no Barbaro". Delve deeper into the web and you'll find the quote from Matz.

06 Feb 2012 6:32 PM

No Mention of the following colt:

Najjaar: In his second to last race an 81/2F MSW at Churchill Downs he was third to Indian Ambush and Battle Hardened. In that race he closed from 12-15 lengths last under mild urging to engage the leaders finish one length behind Battle Hardened who was in turned finished 21/2L behind about Indian Ambush. The move he made from last to engage the leaders was reminiscence of the move Monarchos made in the Florida Derby. I would encourage everyone to find and view this race contested on the 11/26/2011. Najjaar was sired by Belmont winner Jazil who was a ferocious closer himself. His dam Hasheema was Irish bred and was sired by Darshaan who was voted 1984 Champion 3YO in France and Champion 3YO stayer in Europe. This colt is all stamina and has a wicked mid race move. Najjaar broke his maiden at Oakland Park in a MSW at 81/2F. he was 8-10 lengths last in that race and changed direction in the straight on a couple of accessions before mowing down the field.  If Najjaar can improve in the speed department and take close orders he will be the most dangerous colt on the Derby trail.

NB: Najjaar’s sire Jazil is a grandson of Mr. Prospector. Why is this significant? Five grandsons of Mr. Prospector have sire Derby winners. This is a serious colt that will be heard from.

06 Feb 2012 6:33 PM


“He is beating overmatched fields thus far, and although I think the connections are following the path of least resistance, I am not sure it will work as preparation for the Derby itself”

There is no such thing as the least path of resistance for the Derby. What paths did the likes of Animal Kingdom, Mine That Bird and Super Saver take? If a horse is good enough to win the Derby it can ship in from Dubai and win. Alpha can stay in NY and accumulate the graded earning he needs to secure his spot in the starting gate. These are decision owners and trainer make. The least path of resistance is not significant in the decision making process. What is significant is the best place and race for a horse to secure the requisite graded earnings to make the Derby field.  

06 Feb 2012 6:47 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm aware of Najjaar. I just forgot to add him to the horses to watch. He still has a ways to go from a neck maiden win to "the most dangerous horse on the Derby trial." But he does have a powerful kick. I have added his name.

Btw, he won at Oaklawn Park, not Oakland Park.

06 Feb 2012 7:03 PM

Steve, I am so enjoying your triple crown articles. I wanted to ask your opinion of Ultimate Eagle, winner of the Strub. He really caught my eye. Does he have a distance pedigree?

Thank you.


06 Feb 2012 8:11 PM
Criminal Type

Secretariat, If you were paying attention you would have also heard Michael Matz say distance is not going to be a problem for Union Rag's.  What I believe Michael said after the Champagne was Union Rag's was not where Barbaro was at that point in his racing career. Not nearly as developed or mature. He also said, He knew very early that Union Rag's was a Derby caliber horse. As far as going backward, I believe you mean Hansen will be going backward at the eight pole. Rag's sure looked like he wanted to keep going after they crossed under the wire in the BC juvenile. He passed Hansen in the very next jump after the wire after running 78 feet further then Hansen. Incidently, Terpsichorist, Union Rag's second dam set a NTR at 11 furlongs in her career (2:13). Your theory is full of holes.

Fed Biz ?  Agreed Nice pedigree. His dam is by the inagural Breeders Cup Classic winner Wild Again, She is a half sister to Minardi and Tale of the Cat. However, He has a long way to go before he is a blip on the Derby radar with no graded earnings. Union Rag's is already in the gate in that regard.

Didn't Secretariat's critics say he would never get a mile and a quarter ?

06 Feb 2012 8:17 PM
El Kabong


Super Saver ran in the Tampa Bay Derby and The Arkansas Derby on the road to Kentucky. Ever heard of those races? I wouldn't call those easy stepping stones unless I planned on never setting foot in Arkansas or Florida again. I do get your point, if a horse is the best at 10F naturally, he can come from just about anywhere and win if he gets the trip. I just felt the need to clarify the significance of those two races as being two battle grounds that were taken  just recently by the likes of Street Sense, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin, Arch Arch Arch,  and Musket Man. Not exactly  the cream corn of thoroughbreds taking the road less traveled.

06 Feb 2012 10:08 PM

Criminal Type,

Very good response to Secretariat.


You have misrepresented Matz's comments and failed to see that he's as excited about UR as he was about Barbaro.

its a long way from Tipperary for your fancy, Fed Biz, my friend. Try zeroing in on Spring Hill Farm, Summer Front and Exothermic if you are looking for a possible upsetter in the Derby.


You showed scant regard for my chosen twelve in Steve's previous blog but you've yet to name your twelve "apostles". Beware, lest your latest tout Najjar betrays you like Judas.

You scoffed at Exothermic, labelling him a pretender but his winning performance on Sunday, staying undefeated in two starts, should cause you to repent and take notice (LOL).


I'll agree with you about Alpha. His trainer is being very careful with his development and preparation, and rightly so because he's a grandson of AP Indy which means that if he shows any signs of late development in comparison to his more formidable rivals, they would back off until the summer when he's likely to be surging in his improvement. He's not on my list because I think that he flatters to deceive amongst the light competition in New York.

07 Feb 2012 5:19 AM

It seems to me it was Beyer who decided the time for Algorithms should be changed.  Gulfstream refused, citing no problems with their clock.

Wasn't there controversy over Secretariat's time in the Preakness?  Pimlico never changed their time either.  

Having seen a race here and there, I'm so not ready to commit to favorites yet.  I thought Algorithm was impressive, while Hansen just looked confused.  I thought Alpha was pedestrian.  I thought Broadway's Alibi was sensational, and Take Charge Indy was every bit as good as El Padrino.  

I simply don't have faith in the Santa Anita surface; you never know whether it will be fair or too fast.  The Robert Lewis just fell apart. I'll have Another was impressive, but you cannot ignore the chaos behind him.  Since I find Tampa Bay erratic, the Sam Davis still offers no clues to potential.  Battled Hardened ran well, but so did Reveron and Prospective.  Reveron rated smoothly for the entire run, while Prospective came from last to 2nd.

I'm waiting to see how Hansen handles his next out.  I've always been impressed by Union Rags, but I really don't trust his ability to go 12f, chiefly because of Dixie Union.

And never discount On Fire Baby who has already taken on the boys, and came in 3rd in the Smarty Jones Stakes.  It's awfully early for a filly to step up to this challenge.  It appears they have big plans for her.  She has been KY Derby nominated.

What about it Steve?  There are fillies nominated...when will you include them?

07 Feb 2012 7:56 AM

I should have added.......if it's a Bernardini or a Vindication, an AP Indy or any of his sons...of course I'm going to lean toward them.  I am extremely biased in that regard, in case you haven't already noticed from my tag.

But I'm also not going to be averse to any other line that steps up to the TC Challenge.  I actually think that Unbridled has an excellent record through his progeny in the TC.

07 Feb 2012 8:04 AM

Coldfacts you have your opinion and I have mine.Alpha if continues on the same path will go into the gate as an underlay and will burn a lot of money when he runs up the track.Thats the way I see it, and I will watch his future races to determine if I will adjust my opinion of him.He will defeinitely have the graded earnings.

07 Feb 2012 8:46 AM

BTW any colt can win ONE race if he gets the trip,but will he be a ONE race winner after the Derby like Coldfacts has stated Mine that Bird,Super Saver and so far Animal Kingdom can be included in that group of winning the Derby and no other race.

07 Feb 2012 8:53 AM

I saw Najjaar in October at Keeneland (1M) with a very close 2nd running 7-8 wide on the turn, and, in January at Oaklawn, he was about 8 lengths back into the stretch to break his maiden.  Serious kick.  He runs way back like Zenyatta.

Steve, Matz says Union Rags is about 17 hands now.  Is he that big???

07 Feb 2012 9:58 AM

well, i feel thats the first crop of Discreet Cat but his two colts - todd plether,s colt may not do it but out of bounds in california can win the derby . discreet cat,s are running in dubai - we cant get their results or work outs but two here are coming to form now - darley stud will show again like street cry .

07 Feb 2012 1:52 PM

thats ok

07 Feb 2012 1:53 PM
Criminal Type

Big Tex, Yes, Union Rag's is that big. Check out the photos on his facebook page. I have a friend that lives in South Florida who excersizes horses at Palm Meadows and she says he looks absolutely incredible. She watched his work yesterday and said he wasn't even trying.

I would speculate that the time off, which was planned, was probably necessary so he could grow into himself. One thing is for sure, the time off over the winter definately agreed with him. He has grown a little taller, and has put on a lot of muscle since November.

Apparently the time off was also good for his mind as he is displaying a more mature demeanor on the track. Hopefully his ducking out days are behind him. That is my only concern. We will see how he goes in the FOY on 2/26. I havent been this excited since I was waiting for Hard Spun to make his 3 yr old debut.

07 Feb 2012 2:45 PM

Looks like Pletcher has the powere agiain, love Union Rags, dissapointed in Hansen,5 works looked like a short pony would be a great story, love his owner, reading your dozen is something to really look forward to,thankk you for your great input and knowledge, u r d best!

07 Feb 2012 2:48 PM

I have to ask Karen In Indiana why the dislike for I'll Have Another's trainer.  Just curious.

07 Feb 2012 7:03 PM
Scott's Cause

Already the Smack has begun, I, personally am looking forward to another insightful year of Steve's inside opinions and the small to big steps these wonderful thoroughbreds may bring to all of us...Last year was crazy, to say the least.  And this year, it's just starting to get interesting...Am I alone, but wouldn't it be nice if Tiznow sired a winner in the feature race at CD, the first Saturday in May...With that being said...Sabercat is loaded with La Troienne....Good Luck, everyone

07 Feb 2012 8:30 PM

Great list Steve to get all of us Haskinites going!  Nice to see you on video as well.  So much to digest and process, it sent me scrambling to do homework.  So what have I learned so far?  Well, out of these 12 we have 5 bays, 5 chestnuts, and 2 roans.  Three of these 12 horses have a different trainer named Mike.  Pletcher, by himself, has 4 of the 12 in the dozen.  If all goes well we should be seeing some fancy footwork and dancing soon from Union Rags with that "Terpsichorist" influence!!!  

The dancing theme continues with Discreet Dancer.  And if ever there was a Queen of all Terpsichore it's Zenyatta, the Equine Muse of the Dance, looking on over her queendom this year.

I hope Matz gets a handle on Union Rags and curtails his ducking or veering out in the stretch.  C'mon Rags, you're not Dublin, talk about ducking out!!!!!!!  I don't have a favorite as yet, I haven't singled out "the one" yet.  Back to reading and studying, hope this is the year the drought and curse is broken and we see the next TC winner.  Thanks to Steve and Jason for all the info and articles, keep it coming!!!!

07 Feb 2012 9:44 PM


It appears from your response that you have missed the point I was making. My post addressed a portion of your previous posts listed below:

“I think the connections are following the path of least resistance”

The connections of most if not all horses on the Triple Crown trail will gladly opt for easy races that do not require their horses to fully extend themselves while gathering valuable graded earnings. This allows them to save their maximum efforts for the Derby. I do not know of any connections that target races because they contain tough oppositions. The focus is always on the races that are most likely to provide the requisite graded earnings to make the Big Dance on the 1st Saturday in May. If you consider this taking the path of least resistance, then this is not unique to the connections of Alpha. Is Bob Baffert shipping his top colts from CA to face the Breeder Cup Juvenile winner and runner up in the Fountain of Youth to evaluate their chances in the Derby? The obvious answer is no. He can keep them in CA and secure the same graded earning they would earn contesting the FOY.

If you are of the opinion that the soft competition that Alpha is now facing will lead to a false assessment of his ability, that can be considered a legitimate point. However, to accuse his connections of following the path of least resistance is impractical.

El Kabong

“Super Saver ran in the Tampa Bay Derby and The Arkansas Derby on the road to Kentucky. Ever heard of those races?”

As someone who follows thoroughbred racing to the extent that I do, I must question the relevance of the question above. Wouldn’t a better question be, do you consider those competitive Derby preps?  

The connections of Super Saver chose not to participate in the usually more competitive G3 Holy Bull and G2 Fountain of Youth in preference for then G3 Tampa Bay Derby. They also bypassed the usually more competitive G1 Florida Derby for less completive G1 Arkansas Derby. No one would consider the connections of Super Saver of following the path of least resistance.

“I wouldn't call those easy stepping stones unless I planned on never setting foot in Arkansas or Florida again.”

I never considered them easy stepping stones. However, traditionally the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby have attracted more competitive fields.

“I just felt the need to clarify the significance of those two races as being two battle grounds that were taken just recently by the likes of Street Sense, Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Curlin, Arch Arch Arch,  and Musket Man.”

I guess Mr. Pletcher shipped Super Saver to Arkansas because of the prestige of the Arkansas Derby that just gained G1 status in 2010. A lot of connections use the then G2 Arkansas Derby as a happy hunting ground for graded earning because of its big purse. It was certainly not for its competitiveness that admittedly has improved over the years.

07 Feb 2012 10:05 PM

Mr. Haskin,

Many thanks for your correction. I also made another error using the word accessions instead of occasions. I have to address my editing deficiencies. My post was not directed specifically at you but was just citing that no one had mentioned this colt. No criticism was intended.

“He still has a ways to go from a neck maiden win to "the most dangerous horse on the Derby trial."

There was a contingency in my post regarding Najjaar becoming the most dangerous colt on the Derby trail. I specified he had to improve in the speed department. The above suggest that you have based you evaluation of his current status on his narrow maiden win. There is more to this colt than his modest record reflects. His last four races all at 81/2F were at four different tracks and over three different surfaces i.e., turf, synthetic and dirt. If he is evaluated on his 81/2F race at Churchill Downs a similar distance at which the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes is contested, he appear to be far more advance than his maiden win suggest. He was beaten 31/2L by Indian Ambush in a time of 1:44.34. He was 10-12 last and was taken five wide at the top of the stretch for clear passage. The energy to closed such a large gap and the lengths lost on the turn are negative hard to overcome by a young horse. The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes won by the #8 ranked colt Gemologist was completed in a time of 1:44.46. It should be noted that Gemologist had previously won an allowance race at CD in 1:45.24. Najjaar projected finishing time in his loss to Indian Ambush would be faster than the time recorded in Gemologist’s allowance win.  The only track that Najjaar has run consecutive races is Arlington Park. He finished second on turf in his second start there and was then shipped to Keenland where he finished second the synthetic surface. He was then switched to the dirt track of CD where he finished 3rd. Next Stop, Oaklawn Park where he won running erratically in the stretch due to excessive whipping. Najjaar can be considered to be a track hopper that performs everywhere he goes. What a start to a racing career. Interesting col!

NB: I am aware that my time comparison will be discredited because of the influence of varying track conditions on different days. It is worthwhile noting that the average wining time for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in the last 23 years is 1:44 and fractions.

07 Feb 2012 11:08 PM
Bloodline Bob

Happy 2012 to all the Derby Dozen loyalists. I was at the Wynn Hotel for the 2011 Breeders Cup week and I placed 5($10 each) Ky. Derby future bets: Argentine Tango, Bay Park Boy, Brigand, Making Amends and Officer Prado. The only one I think that might last until May 5th would be BRIGAND. I have 10 Triple Crown nominees that I'm watching currently. They are as follows: NEWS PENDING, AFRICANIST, LEMON JUICE, NO SPIN, ATTENBOROUGH, MARK VALESKI, PATRIOTICANDPROUD, WENT THE DAY WELL, COP A TUDE, GOWHEREYOUGAZE.

07 Feb 2012 11:44 PM
Mike Monarchos


    I also look forward to your Derby Dozen reports. They are always very informative. Where is Pletcher planning to send Gemologist in his 2012 debt? I like those Tiznows, and Gemologist already has two 2-turn wins at Churchill.

07 Feb 2012 11:49 PM
Mike Monarchos

That was supposed to be debut, not debt. Anyway I just read on Bloodhorse that Gemologist is going to follow Super Saver's route to the Derby. Pletcher said Gemologist will run in the March 10 Tampa Bay Derby or the March 11 Rebel. I hope it's the Tampa Bay Derby since I live in the area.

08 Feb 2012 12:14 AM


“You showed scant regard for my chosen twelve in Steve's previous blog but you've yet to name your twelve "apostles".

Why such harsh words?  How do you expect favorable reviews when you have loaded your dozen with colts from Mr. Pletcher’s barn? Four of the colts in your dozen were considered contenders. A lot of the colts on your list are very nice horses but are not serious contender at 10F. Your dozen reflect one horse from the Mr. Prospector sire line. How can the most powerful sire line in TC history account for only 8.33% of your list? That amounts to gross disrespect. At least three of your five threshold horses are from the Mr. P sire line. However, they are not the ones that merit inclusion. Since you are short on quality colts from the Mr. P line you can consider adding Zip Top. The boys in Blue have nominated this Smart Strike colt who is out of a Danzig mare. He was second in the 2011 Racing Post Trophy to Mr. Obrien’s monster Camelot. I do not believe he is a turf horse although he runs well on the surface. Done Talking is another horse from the Mr. P line that should be on your list. I know you like Dixieland Band. He is the dam sire of Done Talking closed rapidly to finished just behind Elpadrino in the Remsen with a bad trip.I Will post my 12 in due course.

08 Feb 2012 12:26 AM

Coldfacts I do not fault the connections for taking what I have named the path of least resistence,after all the electrons traveling thru your computer do the same thing as well as the water that runs thru the pipes at your resisdence.Ny has increased their purses and altered their 3yo prep race schedule,and this year thus far, in my opinion, Alpha has greatly benefitted.Unless the fields are progressively better for the Gotham and the Wood and he wins both easily he will go to the gate as an underlay.I know that the trainers all want easy races on their planned path to the Derby,but we both know that what is important is what they get out of the prep races.IMO Alpha if he keeps crushing overmatched foes will be ill prepared for what he will face in the 20 horse field of the Derby.

08 Feb 2012 3:07 AM

It was refreshing to read that Take Charge Indy's main aim in the Triple Crown series will be the Belmont Stakes and, even then, should this ambition not come to fruition, then there are many other races later on in the year.

Gulfstream Park, race 8, this Thursday may have some interesting horses to watch.

08 Feb 2012 5:52 AM
Bloodline Bob

I see 2 of my "watch" horses got a mention in Steve's comments(NEWS PENDING + WENT THE DAY WELL). That is always a good sign.

08 Feb 2012 10:58 AM
Forbidden Apple

2012 KY Derby baker's dozen:

1)Out of Bounds 2)Alpha 3)Union Rags 4)Creative Cause 5)Sabercat 6)Empire Way 7)I'll Have Another 8)Gemologist 9)Algorithms 10)Battle Hardened 11)Prospective 12)Ever So Lucky 13)Captivating Lass

08 Feb 2012 3:55 PM

Already a big shake up after the first round of preps.  I had a feeling the Derby gods weren't going to allow all 3 preps to be formful.

I'm not sure the quality of the Sam Davis field, and the final time was only moderate, but Tampa is a more demanding track(than say Gulfstream) and I like that they were able to run that final sixteenth in 6 and 2.  Yet, that final time of 1:44 and 2 compares unfavorably to an allowance for older males that went in 1:43.  The top 3 finishers in the Davis this year will get a look from me, but only a short look at this stage.  

The Withers was all about Alpha before the race, and it was all about him during and after the race as well.  Alpha was simply in another league; the competition will get more difficult.  

Alpha certainly looks like a racehorse, and I like that he has tactical speed.  But, if I'm picky, although Alpha won rather easily(by margin), it wasn't like he was being wrapped up through the stretch;  Alpha was being ridden aggressively, particularly up until the sixteenth, so while I'm sure he could have run faster if challenged, I don't think he could have run THAT much faster.  The Beyer came back a 90(which makes sense given the older male Lunar Victory went about a second faster through his mile fraction).

08 Feb 2012 4:57 PM


   * Only distance limitation can take him down


   * A full tank still wasn't enough for I'LL HAVE      ANOTHER keep stride with this colt.


   * He wants to get rolling just as he's hitting the 1 1/8th marker and has the speed to make it happen.


   * We'll know after Fountain of Youth.  Who will Castellano pick in that race to ride???






   * He reminds me of MUCHO MACHO MAN in which he'll keep coming at you but not the turn of foot like an ANIMAL KINGDOM had to finish it off last year.


     * Bejarano is much more relaxed with the reigns here than with SECRET CIRCLE and FED BIZ seems to have a pretty high cruising speed to boot.


     * Gave up a lot of ground to JUNEBUGRED at Oaklawn but nearly had him collared.  MR. PROSPECTOR may have something to say here.


     * Not ready to give up him

08 Feb 2012 7:49 PM
El Kabong

Cold Facts,

“As someone who follows thoroughbred racing to the extent that I do, I must question the relevance of the question above. Wouldn’t a better question be, do you consider those competitive Derby preps? “

I was being a bit rude with you and I agree. My apologies on not using one ounce of decorum, but I’m glad you can read between the lines. Nevertheless,  I was astounded at your disregard for the two most improved Derbies on the circuit. I would agree that the Florida Derby has been the most competitive Derby over the recent years but there were two real reasons, not the one you mentioned, why Super Saver connections sent him to the Arkansas Derby and not the FOY/FL Derby.

#1 Eskenderaya was scheduled in the FOY/Wood  and Super Saver to the TB Derby/Ark Derby.  Rule was running in the Florida Derby. Why send your best horses(pletcher/winstar) into the same race?

#2 Super Saver’s issue was learning to rate. The Arkansas Derby had the speedy Line of David who’s only chance was to blast out front. It was the perfect scenario to see if Super Saver could rate. It worked. He did. David surprisingly held on but both Pletcher and Borel were convinced Calvin and Super Saver would improve next out going farther.

“The connections of Super Saver chose not to participate in the usually more competitive G3 Holy Bull and G2 Fountain of Youth in preference for then G3 Tampa Bay Derby. They also bypassed the usually more competitive G1 Florida Derby for less completive G1 Arkansas Derby”

Just so you know, the 2010 Kentucky Derby featured 4 horses from the Arkansas Derby and 1 from the Florida Derby. Only the Bluegrass came close with 3. I’d consider the Arkansas Derby’s elevation to G1 that year a timely and clairvoyant decision, wouldn’t you?

08 Feb 2012 9:26 PM


“IMO Alpha if he keeps crushing overmatched foes will be ill prepared for what he will face in the 20 horse field of the Derby.”

The above question has no relevance. If he looses to an overmatched opponent will he be better prepared for the Derby? It is not the horse that competes against the best opposition that wins the Derby. If this was the formula for success then every trainer would try to identify the most competitive Derby preps to start their Derby bound horses. What prepare a horse for what it will face on the 1st Saturday in May varies between trainers. There is no set formula. The fact that you are of the above opinion does not make it reality. No knowledgeable thoroughbred enthusiast will entertain your question as it is baseless.  Mine That Bird contested the ungraded Borderland and Sunland Derbies two then insignificant and irrelevant Derby Preps in New Mexico. He subsequently won the Derby by the widest margin in the last 50 Years. I note that you countered with the fact that he won only one race as a 3YO. Are you aware that he was the Canadian Champion 2YO just like Derby winners Northern Dancer and Sunnys Halo. He was overpowered by horses in the Borderland and Sunland Derbies that could not even make the alternate Derby list. He defeated the winner of the tough and far more competitive SA Derby; the runner up in the FL Derby run in track record time; the winner of the IL and AK Derbies. These races were significantly tougher than the New Mexico races in which MTB stated and it did not make a difference as they were all destroyed. If the aforementioned example does not convince you to drop your claim, there is no point in engaging you further on this issue.  

Alpha is a bred in the purple horse. His sire was the HOY runner up and 2006 co-world champion 3YO. His dam sire Nijinsky was the 1970 British Triple Crown winner and leading broodmare sire in North America 1993 & 1994. Alpha is bred to be a champion and to defeat tough competition. If he runs to his pedigree the Derby is all but over.  This notion that he has  to face tough competition before the Derby is pure nonsense.  

08 Feb 2012 9:32 PM

Forbidden Apple:

1) Out of Bounds - Strong Contender; now wearing the Godolphin Blue; best colt In CA.

2) Alpha: Strong Contender; bred to be a champion; if he runs to his pedigree the Derby is all but over.

3) Union Rags: Soft Contender; does not reflect the energy efficient running style to win at 10F; does have class

4) Creative Cause: Pretender; Too many Derby negatives. Over bred sire;  high profile dam. His last two were slow races and highlighted the fact he was beating CA’s second stringer. .  

5) Sabercat: Soft Contender; Product of an unraced mare and could be anything. Sire was trained by Todd Plether and I am cynical about those stallions.

6) Empire Way: Pretender; The sibling that follows the champion is never as good. This colt was conceived in the Delta Princess foaling heat and is unlikely to be very good.

7) I'll Have Another: Contender; He is a product of the Mr. Prospector sire line and must be a dangerous colt. Lightly raced dam sired by Arch that goes back to Hail To reason.

8) Gemologist; Pretender; He was not a sound horse when I saw him last. No Mr. Prospector mare has ever produced the winner of a TC race and this colt is way too slow to be the first.

9) Algorithms: Contender; Nice colt that is from a barn affected by the Crash and Burn Syndrome on the 1st Saturday in May. Love the colt suspect of the barn’s capacity to get him to perform on the big day.

10) Battle Hardened; Soft Contender: Dislike the fact that his sire is over bred. His dam was sired by a relatively unknown son of Northern Dancer.dam sire major positive.

11) Prospective 12) Contender: Love his sire Malibu Moon. If this colt has half the class of Coco Beach he will be tough. Dam line loaded with stamina. Awesome Again not a stellar broodmare sire by his sire Deputy Minister was great.

Ever So Lucky:  Pretender; Product of an unraced mare and could be anything, Love his dam line as his second dam sire was Miswaki. Was beaten by the slow Gemologist and he is a pretender.

13) Captivating Lass: Contender; The horse with the best stride patter seen in 2012. She will have no difficulty staying the derby trip. Needs improvement in the speed department; if she shows improvement in that department the 5lbs gender allowance will not be needed.

What do you know about Zip Top? He will be running in Dubai on February 9th. If he does well in the UAE Derby he will be Church Downs bound as he has been nominated to the TC. He was sire by Smart Strike out of a Danzig mare. He is a product of a potent cross Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer  and is well built with tons of ability.

08 Feb 2012 10:15 PM

The Bob Lewis threw the West Coast Derby picture wide open.  Well fancied contenders Liaison, Rousing Sermon, and Sky Kingdom frankly did not run well.  

It's hard to imagine Baffert and Hollendorfer coming away from the race encouraged.  All 3 had won on the Santa Anita dirt before, so surface doesn't seem to be the issue although none had ever had to contend with a pace like they got in the Lewis.  The best display of athleticism from Liaison was remaining on his feet when he got pinched in upper stretch.  But make no mistake, Liaison wasn't going anywhere at that point(and I was a fan of the horse going in).

One race is not enough reason to give up on any of the 3, particularly Liaison and Rousing Sermon who had run well in 2 or more stakes, but their poor runs in the Lewis make solid performances in the San Felipe(or somewhere else) vital.

09 Feb 2012 12:39 AM

At first blush, it would be very easy to write off the Lewis and toss most, if not all, the field as legit Derby prospects.  Such is the tendency when a 43-1 longshot wins a prep and wins easily.

But handicapping these lightly raced teenaged horses is not an exact science; for as much attention and respect as Liaison received prior to the Lewis, it was easy to forget that he had made only 4 career starts and had won exactly one graded stakes.  In an era when even our champion 2 year olds only make 3-5 starts, newly turned 3 year olds don't provide much form to go on.  Thus, it shouldn't be too surprising when we see one horse jump out of nowhere and run huge or for the "favorites" to run moderately; these 3 year olds are rapidly changing and developing.

If one is able to look past the 43-1 odds, then you will see that I'll Have Another was simply much the best on the day and was a very deserving winner.  He sat off solid(but hardly spectacular for Santa Anita) fractions(6 furlongs in 1:10 and 2), burst open the race through a 24 second 4th quarter, and then finished up nicely with a 6.32 final sixteenth.  Note that the time was one-fifth faster than what Setsuko posted in his impressive allowance win the conclude the card(96 Beyer for I'll Have Another).

Even if one acknowledges that I'll Have Another was best on the day, does this make him a Derby contender?  I say, why not.  I'll Have Another clearly has excellent tactical speed, and there are some signs to suggest he should be able to handle more ground.  Remember, this was his first start since running in the Hopeful 5 months ago and his first start past 7 furlongs.  Traditional handicapping logic would suggest that he should be even better next out.  

Additionally, I'll Have Another has a pedigree well suited for at least 9 furlongs, being by Flower Alley out of an Arch mare.  I'll Have Another's connections have always treated him as a good one, running him in the gr.2 Best Pal after a debut win(he ran 2nd in the Best Pal to Creative Cause) and then shipping him cross country for the Hopeful(was injured in the race), so perhaps it's not such a shock he ran so well(easy to say after the fact:)

09 Feb 2012 12:42 AM

Aside from winning trainer, Doug O'Neil, the only other trainer that likely came out of the Lewis really happy is Mike Harrington.  Not only did Harrington, as the trainer of Creative Cause, watch some of that horse's top rivals go up in smoke, but his barn's "B Team", Empire Way, closed well to be a clear 2nd.  

Empire Way, remind you, is a full brother to Royal Delta(by Empire Maker), so his pedigree screams classics.  One has to be encouraged that he moved up considerably first time dirt, and one has to be thrilled that he closed his personal final sixteenth in sub-6 seconds(or around there).

09 Feb 2012 12:43 AM
Forbidden Apple


Out of Bounds and Alpha will stay at the top of my list, as I do not see any other stiff competition at the moment. Union Rags, Creative Cause, and Sabercat are all quality horses, until they race at 3 they must be considered contenders. We both know that a good horse can pop up quickly on the KY Derby trail. Just last weekend I'll Have Another was an unknown commodity. I put him on my list, but I see him falling behind when he runs longer. After my top two, the rest are just filling up a list of the best I've seen so far. Captivating Lass is a wonderful filly, but I am 99% sure that she will be a KY Oaks runner.

I watched the replay of Zip Top's Racing Post Trophy. Smart Strike has both turf and dirt runners and the same goes for Danzig. I like any horse associated with Danzig. As of now I would call Zip Top a seriously soft contender as he has only run on turf and only up to one mile. The first time dirt angle worked well for me last weekend when Empire Way ran second and paid 5-1 for place and the freak named Ultimate Eagle paid 7.5-1 going first time dirt. I am getting tired of so many 1 1/16 races for 3 year olds. I never understood why there are no prep races at 1 1/4 miles. Take a look at a horse from Peru named Fly Lexis Fly. He recently joined the Drysdale barn in CA. Go back and watch his last race in the Clasico Derby Nacional at 1 1/2 miles. Of course the competition is unknown, but the horse sat just off the leader and won by a pole. He is by Badge of Silver and out of a Silver Charm mare. It is not easy to spot a 1 1/4 mile horse when most of our prep races are at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8.

Nascar Pro,

There are only so many good horses to go around in these prep races. These are living breathing animals, not cars that can be overhauled and have parts replaced at any moment. I think Alpha has shown some maturity and he has filled out nicely since 2011. This classy runner will most likely only run in the Wood Memorial and then on to the KY Derby. The idea is to progress with a horse gradually. There was no reason to beat on the horse and push him any harder in the Withers. With 5 races behind him, his future looks very bright.

09 Feb 2012 8:42 AM

I will repeat myself I have my opinion and you have yours.I wont go over it again.I will watch his next which is now reported to be the Wood.When the derby rolls around I will check his odds and I will make my bet.GL Coldfacts.

09 Feb 2012 8:46 AM

BTW Coldfacts the best derby prep last year was the Arkansas Derby when it was run and we didnt get to see Arch Arch Arch run,Nero was 2nd.Look at the colts that came out of the race.These small field preps are a showcase for the winners and traps the uneducated bettors on derby day to bet on them producing underlays.You can write a book if you want,I have won too many times to change my mind from what an opposing blogger writes.GL.Coldfacts.

09 Feb 2012 8:51 AM

    To those "Future Pool" players laying it out on 1 hoss. Potential candidates among those still hidden “CADILAC’s in the BARN”: being those someone thought enough of to spend $225K (nearly a ¼ of a million) or more on!!! Obviously, these ain’t no polo ponies! {{Suggestion: Do to different formating, & thusly for readibility sake, copy & paste this list to a “word.doc” & then print out.}}

    Bodemeister: (Va.): Tr. B. Baffert; D.I. 3.00; foal date; $260K ’10 Keenlander;     1-        0-1-0  

    Castaway: (Kty.): Tr. B. Baffert; D.I. 2.43; -2/4/09 foal; $435K ’10 Keenlander;    6-       1-1-2

    Class President: (Kty.): Tr. S.A. Asmussen; D.I. 1.14; foal date; $350K ’10 Keenlander;    2-       1-0-0  

     Conserve: (Kty.): Tr. M.E. Casse; D.I. 2.29; foal date; $70K ’10 FTS Kty.; $280K ’10 FTS Kty.;  2-       0-0-0

    Gameday News: (Kty.): Tr. D.W. Lukas; D.I. 2.08; -2/24/09 foal; $160K ’09 Keenlander; $350K ’10 Keenlander;  5-       1-0-0

    Genten: (Kty.): Tr. Y. Yahagi; D.I. 2.69; foal date; $80K ’10 EAS; Keenlander; $470K ’11 FTS Fla.; sent to Japan;  5-       2-0-1

    Got What: (Kty.): Tr. K.P. McLaughlin; D.I. 4.33; -3/9/09 foal; ($175K) ’09 Keenlander; $430K ’10 FTS N.Y.;  1-       0-0-1  

     Heiko: (Kty.): Tr. D. Miller; D.I. 2.47; foal date; $385K ’10 Keenlander; 5-       1-1-1

     Late Night Action: (f.) (Kty.): Tr. T.A. Pletcher; D.I. 3.00; foal date; $230K ’10 Keenlander; 1-       0-0-0

    Laurie’s Rocket: (Kty.): Tr. D. Stewart; D.I. 3.00; foal date; $300K ’10 Keenlander;    6-       2-2-0    

    Macho Rocket: (gr.) (Fla.): Tr. B. Baffert; D.I. 4.60; foal date; $22K ’10 OBS: $825K ’11 OBS; 1-      1-0-0        

    Mank: (Kty.): Tr. J.A. Sherriffs; D.I. 3.00; foal date; $290K ’10 Keenlander; 2-       0-0-1

    Moon Traveler: (Kty.): Tr. M.E. Casse; D.I. 3.40; foal date; $325K ’10 Keenlander;  5-       0-1-0                  

    Moonrush: (Kty.): Tr. D.W. Lucas; D.I. 3.36; -3/1/09 foal; $250K ’09 Keenlander; $325K ’10 Keenlander;  6-       0-1-1

    News Pending: (Kty.): Tr. D.L. Romans; D.I. 1.40; foal date; or Pvt.;  5-       1-1-0

                $180K ’09 Keenlander; $220K ’10 Keenlander; $185K   ’11 FTS Fla.;  $250K  ’11 FTS Mid Atl.;

    Red Duke: (Kty.): Tr. J. Quinn; D.I. 2.11; foal date; $15K ’10 Keenlander; $228K ’11 Dor. S.; 3-      2-1-2  

    Rockfield: (Kty.): Tr. T.A. Pletcher; D.I. 3.31; foal date; $500K ’10 Keenlander;  0-       0-0-0  

    Saturday’s Charm: (Kty.): Tr. S.A. Asmussen; D.I. 3.00; foal date; 1-      0-1-0

                $150K ’10 Keenlander; ($75K) ’10 Keenlander; $240K ’11 Keenlander;

     Slew: (gr.) (Kty.): Tr. K.P. McLaughlin; D.I. 2.64; foal date; 1-       0-1-0

              $265K ’09 Keenlander; $290K ’10 Keenlander; ($290K) ’11 FTS Fla.;

    Stealcase: (Kty.): Tr. M.E. Casse; D.I. 3.67; foal date; $35K ’09 Keenlander; ($35K) ’10 OBS: $320K ’11 OBS; 0-     0-0-0

    Tritap: (gr.) (Kty.): Tr. S.M. Asmussen; D.I. 2.67; foal date; $450K ’10 Keenlander; 3-       0-2-0

    Unbridled Fire: (gr.) (Kty.): Tr. K.P. McLaughlin; D.I. 2.38; foal date; $95K ’09 Keen.; $230K ’10 Keenlander; 1-       0-1-0

    Unmarked Bills: (Kty.): Tr. R.E. Mandella; D.I. 1.67; -4/22/09; foal; ($340K) ’10 Keenlander; or Pvt.; 2-       0-0-1

    Unyielding: (Kty.): Tr. N.P. Zito; D.I. 2.30; -4/19/09 foal; $340K ’10 Keenlander; 1-       0-0-0

    Wharton: (Oh.): Tr. S.M. Asmussen; D.I. 1.82; foal date;  2-     1-0-1

                 ($33K) ’10 FTS Kty.; $60K ’10 FTS Kty.; $485K ’11 Keenlander;

    Whinston: (Fla.): Tr. S.A. Asmussen; D.I. 3.00; foal date; $75K ’10 OBS; $625K ’11 BAR; 2-       0-1-0

    Z Camelot: (Kty.): Tr. D.L. Romans; D.I. 3.19; foal date; $550K ’10 Keenlander;  3-       0-0-1

    Z Vilna: (Kty.): Tr. T.A. Pletcher;  D.I. 3.33; foal date; $200K ’10 FTS N.Y.;  1-      0-1-0  

     Zellers: (Kty.): Tr. D.W. Lukas; D.I. 2.60; -4/15/09 foal; $625K’10 Keenlander;  5-       0-0-0

09 Feb 2012 11:51 AM

opps sorry... from another list all together:


    Brigand: (N.Y.); Tr.: B. Baffert; D.I. 3.92; -3/6/09 foal; $90K ’10 FTS N.Y.; $925K ’11 OBS;  3-      1-1-0

    Welter Weight: (Kty.): Tr. S.M. Asmussen; D.I.  3.17; foal date: $1 Mil.. ‘10 Keenlander;  1       0-1-0

 and those potential crossovers from "off the TURF" still unmentioned: Summer Front a $475K Keenlander; Animal Spirits; Finale; Howe Great; Kitten's Kid; State of Play; etc. to name a few...

Plus more from the yet or UN-nominated list:  Belle Passe; Godard; Mabroom; Southern Parkway;

Star Channel; & Wayward Sailor; etc...

  Still along way to the first week in May boyz and girls after only one week of preps in...

09 Feb 2012 12:56 PM
Criminal Type

Coldfacts, See Steve's entry on Union Rag's. Quote "He showed his class as well as great athleticism. He has beautiful action and demonstrated an impressive turn of foot in the BC Juvenile, while racing very wide every step of the way. In fact, Trackus has him running 78 feet farther than the winner. He was in front one step past the wire after having to get back in stride following his antics in the stretch. There is no doubt he possesses untapped ability."  I am going to choose to believe what Steve says here, as he is the professional and not what you say about Rag's not having an energy efficient running style.  After having read your comments for the past 3 years, Ive come to the conclusion that you are extremely biased to certain sire lines.

As I stated in the previous Derby Dozen blog, Union Rag's second dam set an NTR @ 11 furlongs (1 3/8 miles for those who dont know) in 2:13. I think a lot of people HOPE he can't get the distance. I can't wait till he proves how wrong all of you are. Alpha is going to have to beat better horses then he did in the Withers to impress me at all, I guess beating a soft field is what it takes to be a contender in your world.

09 Feb 2012 2:17 PM

    Early Sportswriters Poll,--pre-Pool #1 completed -2/08/12--(having taken the “so-called” experts top picks and having assigned 10 points to their top pick and 1 point to their bottom pick, the results read as does follow:

Union Rags                #1         69 points;  

Algorithms                 #2         59 points;

Creative Cause           #3         54 points;

El Padrino                  #4         42 points;

Gemologist                #5         39 points;

Out of Bounds           #6         30 points;  

Ever So Lucky           #7         23 points;  

Alpha                         #8         20 points;

Liaison                       #9         19 points;

Hansen                     #10         16 points;

Discreet Dancer       #11         15 points;

I’ll Have Another  

#12         13 points;

Rousing Sermon      #13           7 points;

Sabercat                   #14           6 points;

Dullahan                  #15           5 points;

Take Charge Indy    #16           4 points;

 TIED         #17-#20

             3 points; @

Battle Hardened

Fed Biz

Motor City


 TIED         #21-#21  

              1 point; @

Secret Circle

Unbridled Note;

Receiving no top ten credits…

Empire Way


Midnight Transfer

Mr. Bowling

09 Feb 2012 3:04 PM


I'm not sure that the west coast derby scene has been blown open. It was never really a closed affair. Liason, the big flop in the Bob Lewis had been workmanlike but not spectacular. His failure now leaves Out of Bounds, Creative Cause, Midnight Transfer as the better known ones among the Cali "elite".  For me, I'll Have Another has to do it again because he could be a flash-in-the-pan. I have a feeling that Bob Baffert hasn't yet showed his hand: Secret Circle could come back into the reckoning and rail birds have been buzzing about Fed Biz. I like a Steven Got Even colt called Got Even and i'm keeping an eye on him. He's the type that can run strong on the lead and fight on. Watch him.

09 Feb 2012 5:43 PM

I see that Alpha will run only in the Wood before the Derby.  I hate that one race prep so many trainers are leaning on this year.  I don't think it properly prepares the colts for what's in store for them.  He already seems to have plenty in earnings...but if you really want your colt to last through a rigorous 3 demanding races in 5 it wise to run him only once every 2 months before then?

Fed Biz looked great today at Santa Anita and galloped out still full of spunk...Consulado was done too early.

09 Feb 2012 7:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Algorithms- A clear #1 for me at this point when you combine his pedigree with what I consider to be a dominating, easy win in the Holy Bull. Nice relaxed, full stride for the Classics.

2. Midnight Transfer-This is a leap of faith but I loved his last race. Showed a lot of determination to win despite trouble and I love Hard Spun as a sire.

3. Out Of Bounds- This guy looks to be really talented. Will he be a miler or can he get 10f is the question.

4. Creative Cause- Run all day type.

5. Empire Way- He's just getting started with tons of room to grow and improve. Will he grow up in time for The Derby?

6. I'll Have Another- I love his pedigree and had him ranked high until the race prior to his last win.

7. Castaway- Trainer Baffert. Another pedigree I love with Street Sense on top and a fabulous bottom too.

8.Spring Hill Farm-Looking for a big race on Saturday from him. My favorite pedigree I've seen so far. Smart Strike and Pleasant Colony.

9. Alpha- I don't know why I'm not convinced yet. Will have to see him tested.

10. Union Rags- Can't wait to see him at 9f. I have doubts about his pedigree at 10f.

11. El Padrino- He can run !!!!

12. Cyber Secret- Another superduper pedigree.

   I feel a few months short of feeling good about a list and left off a lot of talented horses with Classic pedigrees. I can't remember ever seeing this many where I feel so good about so many's ability to get 10f. The proof will be in the pudding or the peanut butter. This is already fun. It's going to be a good year. Does so many with strong pedigrees make it easier or more difficult to get a Triple Crown winner?

09 Feb 2012 9:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The other thing about Algorithms is that he has the look and demeanor of a champion.

09 Feb 2012 10:13 PM
Forbidden Apple

One race prep for Alpha? Am I missing something here, he has already run twice this year. And with one more race in the Wood, that would make 3 prep races.

10 Feb 2012 8:15 AM

This year's Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream is going to be a pivotal race for first class three year olds. Discreet Dancer is well and back in training. He, Union Rags, and Algorthims will be battling it out. Wouldn't it be wonderful for Penny Chenery if one of Big Red's descendents won the Triple Crown; that would be some belated 90th birthday present.

10 Feb 2012 8:56 AM

Changing the subject to the 3-year old fillies:  Abigail Anderson's wonderful story about South African Triple Tiara winner, Igugu, begs a question.

Belmont needs to have a race be the third trophy for a Triple Tiara for the fillies here in America.

Maybe if some influential owners/breeders and trainers would bring up to the appropriate NYRA official it would happen.

Those "Girls Gone Wild" [on the racetrack] are most certainly deserving of an opportunity to achieve this.

What is your take on this please.

Thanks for another wonderful written and researched article about the triple crown hopefuls.

10 Feb 2012 9:11 AM

Forbidden Apple thanx for the comment and for not writing it as if it were set in stone.I am stating that thus far Alpha hasnt beat anything in his races in NY,and if he continues on a similar path he will be an underlay.IF you read my post right under yours I have read the Wood will be his next,which I thought was a good decision because I believe their he will find a tougher field.I follow his trainer daily so if he goes off in the derby after a 2nd in the Wood at double figure odds and all the other circumstances are favorable I will bet him.As of when I initiated these posts he is not a dominant colt.All these are opinions,and they are mine and I will post them regardless if there are opposing views.GL.

10 Feb 2012 9:13 AM

Fellow Posters the last winners of the Florida Derby to win the Kentucky Derby were Barbaro and Big Brown,both were dominant colts heading into the derby.The surface at Gulfstream plays alot different than Churchill.Whoever comes out of the Florida Derby this year might be overbet on Derby day,we will have to wait and see.Its a very good chance T Pletcher will have a say in the Florida Derby this year.

10 Feb 2012 9:25 AM
El Kabong

To All

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

Steve's remarks about Fed BIz.

I was watching the race and in particular Bejarano's reaction afterwards. Read Jack Shinar article and it confirms what I was thinking at the time. He genuinely seemed very excited about the ride. Even Trevor pointed out the ears on Fed Biz in the live call. Looks like Creative Cause, Out of Bounds and Empire Way have some talented company. Worth watching the replay.  

Nice call Steve.

10 Feb 2012 1:36 PM

Well race fans no more G3 bank deposits for Alpha,no it will be a G1 deposit or go home(so to speak)

10 Feb 2012 6:13 PM

There is no one (and I mean "NO ONE") that is going to beat "Fed Biz" in his next start against stakes company.

Bet against him you all. I dare ya...

10 Feb 2012 6:31 PM

I'm on El Padrino....smooth runner with endurance

10 Feb 2012 6:32 PM

Dr. D.,

I think you are right and early on this does have all the earmarks of a good year.  I hope we are all lucky enough to get a Street Sense, Hard Spun, Curlin year again.  Boy, when it's gone don't we really realize what we had then in 2007 with the 3 of them.  Yep, it's fun alright, I'm going at it with "Reckless" abandon!!!

10 Feb 2012 7:01 PM


Which of them looks the best physically now?  Remeber how we were commenting at the Haskell how great Astrology looked then and your photos of Animal Kingdom all but had the crown on his head at Fair Hill.  Do any of them look that good in the flesh as all I am going on are internet photos and race replays as many of us are?

10 Feb 2012 7:08 PM

Dr. D: I agree about Algorithms...and Alpha.  But Fed Biz just notched a place on my watch list.

Isn't it odd?  What some considered a weak group of 3 year olds last year are coming back this year in the handicap division with guns blazing.  Now they're looking much tougher than some gave them credit for.  I'm finding it to be a very exciting start for the year.

10 Feb 2012 7:11 PM
Point Given







10 Feb 2012 9:58 PM

Criminal Type

“I am going to choose to believe what Steve says here, as he is the professional and not what you say about Rag's not having an energy efficient running style.”

I am in agreement with everything Mr. Haskin has said about Union Rags. Professionals are not the only persons with opinions. You are at liberty to believe whomever you chose. I am merely an opinionated fool. That said, I encourage you to revisit the Breeder Cup Juvenile and view the running style of Hansen and Union Rags. Hansen possesses deceptive speed and does not appear to be running as fast as the clock reflects. His strides are far more fluent than those of Union Rags. When Union Rags unleashed the powerful turn of foot Mr. Haskins observed, it appeared he was going to sweep by Hansen. However, this did not occur. Why? Although Union Rags looked more powerful in the gallop than Hansen, he was using a lot more energy because of his powerful strides and this impacted his ability to sustain his run. He was being asked to sustain this powerful gallop throughout the length of the stretch and his powerful strides started draining his energy resource leading him to swerving the under resulting pressure. If Union Rags had energy efficient stride he would have been able to get by the tiring Hansen.  He was simply tiring at a faster rate. I have serious doubt that Union Rage can win the Derby because of his share power.  He is best suited by wither 8, 81/2 or 9F

“After having read your comments for the past 3 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are extremely biased to certain sire lines.”

How did you arrive at this conclusion? Union Rags’ sire Dixie Union is a grandson of Northern Dancer. The Northern Dancer sire line is second only to the Mr. Prospector sire in the production of Derby winners in the last 20 year. Why would I harbor some bias to this line or any other sire line? I happen to fancy the Northern Dance sire line. Seven out of the top ten horses in the world are from the Northern Dancer sire line. The Mr. Prospector sire line is the most successful in Triple Crown races. I have nothing but respect for horses from this line and tend to highlight them. The line will win the 2012 Derby again.

“Alpha is going to have to beat better horses then he did in the Withers to impress me at all. I guess beating a soft field is what it takes to be a contender in your world.”

Is Discreet Dancer a contender on Mr. Haskin’s list? How many difficult field has he defeated? I wonder how he fits into Mr. Haskin’s world. Alpha finished second to Union Rags in the Champagne. He has therefore raced against the colt that appears to be #1 on your list. Do you believe he has improved since his 5 lengths loss to Union Rags in the Champagne? Alpha is bred to be a champion and he can only run against the field that is assembled against him. His pedigree suggests that he should be able to handle better competition without much fuss. There have been many Derby winners that defeated soft competition and there are some that did not even win a 3YO prep race. There is no set formula to win the Derby. Tiger Walk the colt that finished 3rd in the Withers is very nice.  I expect him to continue on the Derby trail.

NB: Do some research on Najjaar. If he can improve his speed to secure the requisite graded earnings for a spot in the Derby he will be tough.

10 Feb 2012 10:47 PM


After your evaluation of Cash Call and overly favorable comments about Liaison, I indicated that I did not share your views on the colt. My reason stemmed from the fact that the runner up Rousing Sermon spotted him about 15 lengths and he was only able to defeat him by a nose/head. He did not win with the sort of authority to merited your favorable evaluation. I am in no way trying to validate my assessment of the colt that he was average at best but I could not see what all his supports had seen to be happy about. Can the he rebound with a better performance in his next race? Unlikely as he was never a brilliant colt based on is speed figures and it was only a matter of time before his limitations were exposed. Going forwards he will be facing the big guns in CA and they are not going to be spotting him 15 lengths.

On the subject of Empire Way he is an interesting colt from few angles. His sire and dam sire won the third leg of the Triple Crown.  The 85 years of Derby history that I have summarized does not reflect this combination producing a winner. Probably not enough speed to compliment the stamina. His foaling date is February 3, 2009 and full sister Royal Delta’s foaling is February 2, 2008. This suggests the mare Delta Princess was bred either in her foaling heat or shortly thereafter. While the mare was nursing she was also carrying a foal. How does this stress impact the subsequent foal? Your guess is as good as mine. This brings me to the issue of siblings. History reflects that the sibling that follows a brilliant or great brother or sister is never as good and rare if ever duplicates or supersedes their performance.

Empire Way got a dream trip along the rails and rallied sufficiently to finish a non-challenging second. He was the only one that made up ground after the leaders started to retreat. He is a nice colt but appears to be a one pace sort who will not trouble the big one in CA.

11 Feb 2012 10:17 AM

FED BIZ: This is a nice colt but does not fit the profile of the really good Giant’s Causeway’s. The better horses from this stallion are all chestnuts. Does this mean Fed Biz will be impacted by his coat? Absolutely not! His Derby negatives are numerous:

Product of an over bred stallion- Giant’s Causeway’s bred 190 mares in 2008. Was Feb Biz the product of an early cover? Major negatrive

Purchase Price - He changed for $950K.  Yearling that sell for those types of prices are jinks. The do not win Derbies.  Fusaichi Pegasus was the exception $4.4M

Dam sire- Wild Again is from the Icecapade arm of Nearctic that has not been as stellar as the Northern Dancer arm.

February Foal: With only three starts, this suggests he had problems and will not have enough foundation for the Derby distance.  

I am not overly impressed with what I saw and Fed Biz appears to be just another nice pretender.

11 Feb 2012 11:54 AM
Karen in Texas

Mike Monarchos----Gemologist is going to the Rebel on 3/17 according to Brisnet.

11 Feb 2012 1:19 PM


We need some form of algorithm to work through your "stack of potatos" (LOL). Come on, just give us your dozen and what about your list of incognito turf candidates a-la-Paddy O'Prado.


Regarding the FOY, you've omitted Hansen.  He also has Secretariat close up in his pedigree, top and bottom and will be coming back to restore some lost prestige after his Holy Bull loss. So far it appears that the FOY will be the "mother of all preps" this year if those four colts start. Can you imagine Hansen making the early running with Discreet Dancer on his flank and Algorithms and Union Rags stalking those wicked fractions? Also, which one will Javier Castellano be riding? Personally I'd like to see Edgar Prado on Union Rags this time. If this FOY materializes, a couple of them might want to skip the Florida Derby to avoid another gut wrencher before the Derby. I have a hunch that Todd Pletcher will skip the FOY with Algorithms and train up to the Florida Derby but thats left to be seen.  Very interesting.

11 Feb 2012 1:20 PM

Secretariat If you are as good as your namesake you are worth following.Fed Biz will probably be overbet in his next depending on who else is in that race.

11 Feb 2012 2:34 PM
Criminal Type

Ranagulzion, Hansen is out of the FOY, he is going to the Gotham which promises a much softer feild then the FOY. The connections say it's a better fit for him. Of course it is, He wont have to Face Union Rag's who I am told is training gangbusters or Algorithms who showed Hansen his hind end in the Holy Bull. Now, why does this seem like ducking to me?...Oh, because it is !  

Also, thank you for your analysis of Fed Biz. I'm with you there also. Tired of the self proclaimed experts, who are wrong most of the time pontificating on and on and freaking on. Apparently, they never heard of Keep it simple (you know the next word)

11 Feb 2012 3:21 PM

Thunder Moccasin looked mighty impressive winning the Hutcheson Stakes - smooth, relaxed, and professional. Not bad for a horse running only his second race. Interesting pedigree, will he get 10f is the big question.

At this stage, T. Pletcher appears to have a very strong hand on the numbers that will contest the Kentucky  

Derby. Hansen has already moved out of Gulfstream Park.

11 Feb 2012 4:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I'm actually more abuzz about Bodemeister than the Biz but I understand why you bizzy beez and beavers are abuzz for the Biz. The second place finisher in the 3rd at SA, behind the Bodemsiter Welter Weight has a nice pedigree, don't you think?

11 Feb 2012 5:27 PM

Ah well, there goes my FOY dream race with Hansen headed out of town for the Gotham. I wonder, who scared the 2YO champ away?  

11 Feb 2012 5:44 PM


“This year's Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream is going to be a pivotal race for first class three year olds.”

I am in agreement to the extent that Union Rags and Algorthims are first class 3YO. However, Discreet Dancer is yet to start in a stakes race and should not be ranked with both. Do not get me wrong he could be just as good although I doubt it but let the race unfold before he is given undeserved accolades.

“Wouldn't it be wonderful for Penny Chenery if one of Big Red's descendents won the Triple Crown; that would be some belated 90th birthday present?”

I am aware the both Union Rags and Discreet Dancer were produced from Gone West broodmares. Gone West Dam was sire by Secretariat. In term of descendents, How would either colt be considered  descendents of Secretariat?

Descendant: A person, animal, or plant whose descent can be traced to a particular individual or group.

The above definition suggests it is not accurate to regard Union Rags and Discreet Dancer as descendents Secretariat. In fact, if either colt goes on to be a great horse the particular dam would probably be crowned broodmare champion. It this occurs Gone West would be noted as broodmare sire and Mr. Prospector noted as Grand dam sire. Secretariat would not be mentioned. I recognize that you are passionate about Big Red but passion in not a basis for altering how records compiled and reported.

The celebrated Mr. Pletcher does not have a stellar record in the FOY. In his 16 years training career he has won the race twice. However, he is the king of the Hutchison Stakes that he has won 7 out of the last 11 times it has been contested. Such is his dominance in the Hutchison that between 2003-2007 he won all five renewals. The FOY appears to be between the three colts you have cited. Assuming that all the aforementioned make the race, it will mirror that of the 2006 Kentucky Derby for both trainers. In the 2006 KD Mr. Matz had the top class and undefeated Barbaro and Mr. Pletcher had Keyed Entry who shares dam with Discreet Dancer and Bluegrass Cat. The undefeated Barbaro won and Bluegrass Cat finished second. Now it’s Mr. Pletcher that has the top class/rated colt Algorthims and Mr. Matz has the highly rated Union Rags. Can the newly crowned 3000 man turn the tables on the humble and unassuming Mr. Matz?  That Algorthims reflect no.

12 Feb 2012 10:02 AM
Forbidden Apple

Nascar Pro,

I don't get your continued badgering of Alpha. There is no shame in winning a grade 3 race, graded stakes earnings are a plus. No 3 year old horse has won a grade 1 race this year, because none have been contested.

12 Feb 2012 10:19 AM

Let me remind all that this is a forum where the supporters of Mr. Haskin post their views and opinions. He is the sole authority and decides what he thinks is appropriate to be displayed. It would be unrealistic to think that there will always be consensus on all views and opinions advanced. While consensus will never be achieved, one thing that can be is respect. It is something that requires very little input even if one has been schooled in the social graces. If anyone is in disagreement with the views/opinions of another, there are two options available them. They can state the basis of their disagreement in a respectful manner and allow for either clarification or verification. They also have the option to ignore the opinion and chose not to comment. If one chooses to be critical of the views of another and in a rebuttal post the critical party appears illogical and uninformed, this resulting reality should not the be the basis for posting unpleasant remarks. This type of response only serves to highlights the communication limitations of the critical party. Sometimes it must be acknowledged that a person is capable of defending and supporting what is perceived to be a non-traditional form of throughbred evaluation.

We are all thoroughbred lovers but have differing views. I refuse to believe that the common love we share for these majestic animals is not enough allow for respectful co-existence in spite of facelessness of the forum.

Many us do not know Mr. Haskin personally and have come to love him for his ability to put into words what world renowned painter put on canvas. It is too much to ask that we extend similar courtesies to each other?

12 Feb 2012 11:14 AM
El Kabong

The reason I was so curious about Bejarano's reaction to his ride on Fed Biz is just this. He has ridden Creative Cause, Out of Bounds, Secret Circle and Liason. For him to immediately claim that Fed Biz was his Derby horse means something to me and makes him worth a future wager and much more than a pretender. At 25-1, I always go with exacta boxes. They pay well.

12 Feb 2012 12:27 PM
Karen in Texas

What I see as significant about the Hansen announcement is that "they" are rethinking and regrouping, which is precisely what needed to happen. They have given themselves a bit (~one week) of additional time. Hansen only began competing in Sept. and was slam-dunked into the pressure of the BCJ in only his third start. He managed to survive that with a win. A victory in the slop at humid Gulfstream while running a first quarter in 22.56 and a second quarter in 21.91 may have been too much for him after the initial stumble in his first start of the new season. (I borrowed the times from one of papillon's posts.) Relocating him to a slightly different environment makes sense to me. None of us know how the Derby trail will ultimately play out for any of these colts. I do find it interesting that the Gotham announcement was apparently made by the chief partner in SkyChai, not by Dr. Hansen. Now, if only they will say the dyed mane and tail stuff was just "a joke".

12 Feb 2012 12:51 PM

Gee with all the attention on “Thunder Moccasin’s” +6 ¾  Gr.  II 7 fur. Hutcheson win & Pool #1 being in play, I hope some of you were still watching some of those supposedly minor under card $50K runs.


Baffert’s Storm Cat bred “Bodemeister” was maybe the most impressive in his $55K Msw win going 1:34.45 (faster than the now highly toted “Out of Bounds” time mind you over the same track !!! )  with Asmussen’s 1 million $$ Keenlander “Welter Weight” in for 2nd and Baffert’s Va. excellently bred “Stirred Up” getting in for the show. [[Looks like all 3 of these have a future in this year’s coming preps!!!]] and …not to drop “Fleet Eagle” and “Unmarked Bills” a few other TCN listees from watch lists who competed against and finished just behind that toted trio.

  Also from the TCN list over this weekend,

“Old Time Hockey” ran 2nd in a 1 1/6 Msw (T) event;

Va. bred “Spring Hill Farm” won a 1 Mi. $50 OAC defeating another highly toted in “Unbridled Minister”, “Big Blue Nation” running 4th ; “Window Boy” 6th ;  and “Space Race” 7th and last in that trial;

“Lake Victor” got a $50K 6 fur. win;

“Magic Number” got a $50K 7 fur. win; and

“Morgan’s Guerrilla” finished 2nd in front of “Desert Storm” 3rd; “Z Vilna” 4th; “Sensor” 6th; and “Hunter Jak” 8th  all in another highly watched 7 fur. $50K  Msw event. …and all that tacked on to

“Fed Biz’s” most impressive mile run pre-weekend.

“Thusly, there are still going to be lots of “potatoes” still to sort through prior to the first week of April no less the first Sat. in May !!!!  

12 Feb 2012 1:33 PM

Well, this is what I wrote on Feb. 8…


    * Bejarano is much more relaxed with the reigns here than with SECRET CIRCLE and FED BIZ seems to have a pretty high cruising speed to boot.

He moves into my top 5 now.  Bejarano's comments after the race certainly didn't hurt, either.

BODEMEISTER and THUNDER MOCCASIN were sensational but how often do we see 2nd or 3rd races at sprint distances  in a horse's career come and win the Derby?

12 Feb 2012 4:50 PM

Well Rangulzion

  …who am I highest on at this moment as of -2/12/12 ???? Although I never do put much credence into lists, mine or others, don’t usually ever display one, or am I that high on rankings this early on and until we get to about 2 weeks away really, but do I chart and follow many, and many I will undoubtedly leave off this list, but since you asked, I do rank a few higher than others at this time, that being BEFORE we HAVE yet SEEN a MAJOR prep other than the BC Juv., which usually as history has proven is all a bit meaningless by the time DERBY TIME actually rolls around, since we want a 3 Yr. peeking the first week in MAY !!! not in Oct. of the year previous… but higher on my current watched lists are:

                          Odds as of Wynn’s Encore -2/7/09

“Algorhithms”;       10-1


    -  n/l’d.    Storm Cat-

“Creative Cause”;    20-1    

   ** Giants Causeway-Storm Cat-

“Discreet Dancer”;   18-1        

      Storm Cat-

“El Padrino”;        28-1

“Empire Way”;        40-1

“Exothermic”;       100-1

“Fed Biz”;           40-1    

   ** Giant’s Causeway-Storm Cat-

“Hansen”;            18-1        

     Storm Cat-

“Gemologist”;        25-1  

“I’ll Have Another”; 65-1

“Longview Drive”;   125-1

“Midnight Transfer”; 50-1

“Secret Circle”;     30-1    

 …((possibly only a sprinter ?))

“Stirred Up”;        60-1

“Teeth of the Dog"; -n/l’d  

   ** Bluegrass Cat-Storm Cat

“Thunder Moccasin”; 100-1

“Union Rags”;        10-1

“Welter Weight”;    100-1

 …have all caught my eye thus far and that so, not being high on Storm Cat bred animals or Indian Charlie breds for the Derby run as stated in the past.

   Yet also Currently Still Under High Watch:

   There are these “potatoes” also:

“Alpha”:              11-1

“Battle Hardened”:    30-1

“Blingo”:             40-1

“Brigand”:           225-1

“Big Screen”:        125-1

“Castaway”:          125-1

“Casual Trick”:       50-1  

“Consortium”:         60-1

“Consulado”:          60-1  

“Cyber Secret”:      150-1

“Declaration of War”: -n/l’d.

“Done Talking”:      200-1

“Finnegan’s Wake”:   175-1  

“Fly Lexis Fly”:      60-1  

“Groovin’ Solo”:     150-1

“Hierro”:             50-1  

“Holy Candy”:         75-1

“Howe Great”: (T)    125-1

“Liaison”:            20-1

“Maan”:               85-1  

“Macho Rocket”:      125-1

“Mark Valeski”:      175-1

“Monastic”:          100-1

“Motor City”:         60-1

“My Adonis”:          45-1

“Naajjaar”:          150-1

“Neck’N Neck”:        85-1

“Prospective”:       100-1

“Raconteur”:         175-1

“Russian Greek”:      50-1

“Segway”:             80-1  

“Shared Property”:    75-1

“Sky Kingdom”:        60-1

“Souper Speedy”:     100-1  

“Spring Hill Farm”:  175-1

“Stat”:               80-1  

“Summer Front”:(T)   125-1

“Suns Out Guns Out”: 150-1  

“Take Charge Indy”:   45-1

“Timely Tally”:    -n/l’d.

“Unbridled Minister”: 85-1

“Unbridled Note”:     70-1

“Wharton”:           200-1  

“Whinston”:        -n/l’d.  

“Z Dager”:           125-1

…whereby 19 of these, other than “Hansen”, still of course have to earn their way to a “gate” and be healthy upon arrival there !!!  

            Good Luck…

as I said before, "its a long way still til the first week in MAY".

12 Feb 2012 5:48 PM
Criminal Type

Coldfacts, You can justify things anyway you like. The only part of my comment you did not disect was the one where I addressed your pontification and failure to keep it simple.

12 Feb 2012 6:24 PM

El Kabong,

Mr. Bejarano took the more advanced and accomplished Secret Circle instead of Out Of Bounds in the Sham. His comments therefore cannot be taken seriously. This time of year is silly season for riders who have many options. Neither Fed Biz nor Bodemeister has accomplished what OOB has. I watched an interview with Mr. Gomez earlier today and he was anxious to get back as he does not want to lose the ride on OBB. I have been waiting for a member of the Millionaire Club and Breeder Cup winning mare to produce a Derby caliber horse. I think my wait is over. I identified OOB as such a horse from his 4th place finish in his debut effort. This led to my making a handsome return in the Sham. This colt has all the assets to win the derby. Although still green he defeated one of the fastest colts in the US. If you revisit the Sham and focus on his rider just be before he started to negotiate the final turn you will see that Mr. Gomez had the colt in hand in a 45, 1:10 pace. This colt has the tactical speed to stalk fast fraction. This he must have been inherited from his sire. He has the stamina to sustain a strong closing gallop. This he inherited from his stretch running dam. A lot of contributors have probably forgotten that in addition to her Breeder Cup Ddistaff victory, Unbridle Elaine ran second to the brilliant Ghostzapper in the PA Derby. This big 17 hands chestnut has a great chance to break several jinexs.

12 Feb 2012 6:31 PM

Forbidden Apple I think you misinterpreted my meaning.When I started posting about Alpha, was when Steve Haskin started this blog.At that time it looked like they were running more for the money than prepping for the Derby,at least to me,by choosing to pad the bank account in the Gotham.So I posted the path of least resistence post, which was vigorously contested by Coldfacts.Since then things have changed, Alpha is headed to the G1 Wood or Florida Derby which will provide all of us handicappers a better idea if he belongs in G1 competition as a 3yo.That is why I posted no more G3 bank deposits G1 bank deposit or go home so to speak(or write)I am not badgering any of these colts or their ownership,I just write my opinions,if anyone wishes to contest them be my guest,you are free to do so.If you analyze my posts carefully like some might do you will see that I said I would watch his next race and decide if I still thought the same way.

12 Feb 2012 7:52 PM

Hello If anyone is interested in an informative response post as opposed to a rebuttal post feel free to have a go at this.What are your pedigree opinions and ideas about Bluegrass Cat as a sire.I know that he once was at Winstar and now is at Vinnery.

12 Feb 2012 8:28 PM

The ability of the well bred Alpha is being questioned because of the soft competition he has faced as a 3YO and the moderate Beyers he has received. He is ranked at #10 in Mr. Haskin’s 2nd Derby Dozen.  I find his ranking puzzling considering the likes of El Padrino, #4 and Gemologist, #8 are ranked ahead of him.  Can these rankings be justified?  What do the cold facts reflect?


Graded Stakes:  1st Withers G3; 2nd G1 Champangne; Unplaced G1 Breeder Cup Juvenile. Won on debut at Saratoga (7F, MSW).  


Graded Stakes: 3rd Remsen G3;  2nd on debut at Saratoga (7F, MSW).  


Graded Stakes:  1st Kentucky Jockey Club G2; Won on debut at Turf Way Park, (6F, MSW).

Alpha won a G3; placed in one of two G1s; won on debut at tough Saratoga and is given a #10 ranking. El Padrino who has not won a graded race; has not contested a G1 and was a loser on debut at tough Saratoga is given a #4 ranking. Alpha has the more proven pedigree as his dam sire Nijinsky was also the dam sire of Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair. Has is also grand dam sire of the 2011 Breeder Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer. El Padrino’s dam sire Giant’s Causeway is not known as a broodmare sire of any significance.

Gemologist has run some very slow times over 81/2F at CD i.e. 1:45.24 & 1:44.46. Alpha won the Withers in 1:44.23 on a track much slower than the CD strip. His winning time could have been better with more competition. Gemologist broke his maiden at Turf Way Park and was fully extended to hold off Ever So luck and others in the KJC. On the issue of pedigree, A mare sires by Mr. Prospector has never been associated with winner of a Triple Crown race. Is the slow Gemologist going to be the first? Unlikely!

Alpha is a better bred and better quality colt than both El Padrino and Gemologist and has certainly run faster than both. I am aware that I am not a very bright guy. Consequently, I would appreciate an explanation for these rankings with existence of the above cold facts.

Are Beyer Speed Figures the only measure use in the evaluation process?

12 Feb 2012 8:53 PM

Also interesting where Hansen is concerned as the way they're playing his races out.  Years ago, newly turned 3yos began their season in shorter races and as the season moved along, their distances increased, peaking the 1 1/4 miles in May. Slew and Secretariat both began their 3yo seasons this way.  It wasn't that long ago that I had read this, perhaps even in my Blood Horse, how todays runners just aren't brought along like those years ago.  It didn't hurt Slew and Secretariat & I don't see how it could hurt Hansen, either.  

I do have 1 question though - does anyone know why they changed riders on Hansen?  I thought Victor Lebron was doing an excellent job - they were 2 for 2...

12 Feb 2012 10:05 PM
Forbidden Apple

Nascar Pro,

Okay, but your response about padding a bank account is hilarious. If you did a little research on Alpha's owner, then you would take back what you wrote. Alpha's owner is a billionaire many times over. Winning a $150k race might be enough for a few loads of ocean sand to build his next island. Godolphin has a rich history with horses, breeding and racing. And I'm not talking about modern day racing, the history of the Godolphin Arabian horse goes back hundreds of years. They want to win the greatest race in the world, the Kentucky Derby. Godolphin/Darley has a breeding and racing program around the world that is second to none.

13 Feb 2012 7:05 AM
Karen in Texas

Melanie---I think Victor Lebron rides mostly a local circuit at Turfway and in Ohio and Indiana.

Mr. Haskin----A DRF article says Hansen became ill after the Holy Bull. I had noticed that he had not worked, but thought it was probably due to the weather. Do you have any information about his having been sick?

13 Feb 2012 10:57 AM

the only thing I see that is CAUSE for concern in Creative Cause, he did not switch leads until 3 strides before the wire in his latest work. He is going to have switch leads much earlier going

1 1/4. other than that, he is a runner.

13 Feb 2012 11:31 AM

And the "betters" add their early say to the rakings following in 'Pool #1' ; where maybe the biggest surprises was the support for "Empire Way" !!

Mutual field (all others): -3/2

Union Rags:            

10-1      7-1      #1    


8-1     12-1      #2

El Padrino:              

20-1     16-1      #3  

Creative Cause:      

20-1     17-1      #4


20-1     19-1      #5

Fed Biz:                

20-1     21-1      #6    


20-1     22-1      #7        

Out of Bounds:        

20-1     23-1      #8          


12-1     26-1      #9      

I’ll Have Another:  

20-1     29-1     #10

Discreet Dancer:      

15-1     30-1     #11

Empire Way:          

50-1     33-1     #12


30-1     34-1     #13

13 Feb 2012 12:07 PM

 Oh, and another off hand that I seemed to have left out of earlier postings, and yet also another "Storm Cat" bred:

"Forward March": (Kty.):

Tr. C.R. “Suggs” McGaughey III; D.I.  2.20; -3/20/09 foal;

$2Mil. $50K ‘10 Keenlander;

 1-    1-0-0  125-1

13 Feb 2012 12:13 PM

There are times when one reads nonsense and just ignores it. However, when the nonsense is repeated ad nauseam, one is forced to comment.

One such bit of nonsense is the suggested reduced ability of”overbred” stallions to produce top performers because they covered a large number of mares.

Note the term “overbred” has not been defined by the user. So for the sake of argument let us take the term to indicate sires bred to more than 100 mares.

One question that arises is why do some sires get bred to so many mares? The obvious answer is that they must be very good.  If not why would breeders rush to breed to them.

In any case, you can judge for yourself. Here is the list of stallions used in 2011 and the number of mares they were bred to. Which of the top dozen would you downgrade because they are so called “overbred”?

13 Feb 2012 2:09 PM
El Kabong


In OOB you correctly identified a miler. Congratulations. Was it tough spotting a Discreet Cat Miler. I didn't think so. Dismiss Bejarano at your own peril. There could have been a number of reasons why he chose secret circle over OOB but one thing is for sure. He did not get off either one of them claiming-this is my derby horse-and as a leading rider, I think he knows a bit more about the athlete under his saddle than any one of us hacks. And don't bother telling me his record in the derby is worse than Pletcher's. We'll just have to wait till they stretch it out in the SA Derby.

13 Feb 2012 7:57 PM
Forbidden Apple

How can one simply call Out Of Bounds a miler when he has not even had a chance to prove himself beyond 1 mile? And for my money I would take Gomez over any other jockey in CA.

14 Feb 2012 9:12 AM

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