Derby Dozen (video) - February 20, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

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Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Have mixed feelings about his third in San Vicente, but mostly good, such as coming home in :35 flat and :11 4/5 for final eighth, finding his best stride late and galloping out very strong. But he did change leads three times in the stretch. He twice jumped over to his left lead after shying from a right-handed whip and swerving in slightly. He’s only been hit one time in five races and has never been hit in his three victories. Don’t know why Rosario started hitting him left-handed so early in a 7f prep. Colt is very smooth and quick with his lead changes and it looked as if he was merely reacting to the whip. Leaving him on top for now based on the positives. All in all, it was an excellent first-out prep at a distance too short for him. Rebel or San Felipe is next.


Union Rags Michael Matz 

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Breezed a half in :48 4/5 for his much-awaited debut in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. A victory is not essential by any means, as long as he runs well and keeps a straight course in the stretch. This is a tough spot first time back. Algorithms, the horse to beat, has a two-race head start on him with starts in December and January, but he has a much stronger 2-year-old foundation. He loses Castellano, but picks up worthy replacement in Leparoux.


Algorithms Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Bernardini—Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance

Now that he’s knocked off Hansen, he sets his sights on Union Rags in his attempt to blitz the 1.2 finishers of the BC Juvenile and stand alone atop the leading contenders list. This is an important step, as he tries two turns for the first time. Castellano sticking with him over Union Rags certainly doesn’t hurt and if he keeps on moving forward going two turns there’s no telling what we’re dealing with.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

He may be the most solid of all of Pletcher’s Derby horses and the most suited for 1 ¼ miles. Most of the talk has been about Algorithms, but his win on the same card was equally as impressive and he has more of a foundation. He has tremendous upside and the colt he defeated, Take Charge Indy, is a serious Derby contender in his own right. Can’t wait to see how he does in the Risen Star.


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

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

The more I watch the Lewis the more legitimate he looks. He has it all – tactical speed, stamina, and a great deal of room for improvement. Jumping gate tracks and swerving in showed he’s observant and was a good learning experience. It does a young inexperienced horse good to expose him to distractions to prepare him for anything he may encounter. Did all three favorites, all previously consistent horses, run badly or did he just run too fast for them? They’re skipping the San Felipe because he ran a monster “4” Ragozin number and is a likely bounce next time, so giving him extra time. But nothing wrong with regression, then moving forward again in the Santa Anita Derby. Time will tell if layoff now is a good idea.


Out of Bounds Eoin Harty

Discreet Cat—Unbridled Elaine, by Unbridled's Song

He’ll get a huge class test in the San Felipe against several proven stakes horses. This is his meat-in-the-sandwich race and he doesn’t need to do anything spectacular with a big effort behind him and the Santa Anita Derby still to be run. Received a form boost when Sham runner-up Secret Circle won a division of the Southwest, but third-place finisher Longview Drive didn’t fare too well in the other division.


Sabercat Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Bluegrass Cat—Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

Continuing to show progress, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 for his debut in the San Felipe. Like Union Rags, he’s facing a tough task against some seasoned, classy horses and only needs to get a good solid race in him and show he can be competitive against horses of this caliber. If he can duplicate his quick-fire turn of foot from last year he would have to be considered one of the leading contenders. Lowering him slightly only because of the length of time we have to wait for his debut, but still believe he’s the sleeper and is better than most people think.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

Breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03 4/5. No one talks about him much with all these other Pletcher pugilists knocking out their opponents every week. He’ll likely attempt to get back in the spotlight in the Rebel Stakes, but will have to contend with some dangerous California horses. Locals don’t appear to be that formidable.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

Well, it looks as if he’ll have to go to the post in the Gotham dressed only in his natural white attire. No frills, no paint jobs, just those long legs that have outrun all his opponents but one. But now it’s time to harness some of that speed. If the Big A inner track is playing to its usual form he’s going to be very hard to catch, assuming he doesn’t throw in any of those ridiculous :22 second quarters.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

With two stakes victories already this year, McLaughlin has the luxury of skipping the Gotham, which he will take advantage of. He just has to hope there are no bumps in the road leading up to the Wood, because there are no alternate routes. McLaughlin has done a masterful job on several occasions building foundations under horses who had lost some time, and he already has built a solid foundation at 2 and 3 under Alpha.


Discreet Dancer Todd Pletcher

Discreet Cat—West Side Dancer, by Gone West

Turned in another sharp work, breezing a bullet five furlongs in company in 1:00 1/5. With only two career starts, does anyone really know what to expect from him in the Fountain of Youth? This will be a huge jump in class, but with his natural talent and the way he’s been working, he’s capable of anything.


Fed Biz Bob Baffert Click Here!

Giant’s Causeway—Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again

Say hello to this year’s early wise guy horse, as his bandwagon is filling up fast. As good as he looked in his allowance victory it may be a bandwagon worth getting on. He’s enormously talented and should only keep improving. Unlike several more accomplished Baffert runners this year he is going to keep getting better as the distances stretch out. Very tempted to rank him higher, but can’t justify lowering any of those above him. Cannot wait for his next start, and expect him to catapult up the list.

Knocking At The Door

Bodemeister Bob Baffert Click Here!

Empire Maker—Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

Like Discreet Dancer he has a world of talent, but is playing catch-up with only two career starts. You rarely see a young 3-year-old run a :23 4/5 second quarter and proceed to run each subsequent quarter faster than the one before; and do it drawing off to a 9 ¼-length romp in 1:34 2/5, earning a 99 Beyer. And this was after being rushed up from the outside post. He seems to be very professional, but his sheer brilliance caught everyone by surprise.

Empire Way Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Some believe he’s closing the gap on stablemate Creative Cause, but he still has a lot to prove. Harrington says he feels there is a lot of improvement still to come. He doesn’t want to risk Creative Cause costing him much-needed graded earnings, so he’ll split them up, sending one to the Rebel and one to the San Felipe.

Liaison Bob Baffert Click Here!

Indian Charlie – Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallo

No reason not to give him another chance and hope he settles early better than he did in the Robert Lewis. Still would like to see him get a clear trip and not be stuck down on the inside. He obviously has talent and has shown his courage under fire. But as Jerry Seinfeld would say, he still has one big matzo ball hanging out there in that Lewis performance.

Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

Finally back on the work tab, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 4/5. Still like this colt a lot, but would have preferred to see him try the dirt one more time before the Derby instead of taking the safe grass--Polytrack route that has become popular the last few years. In his case it’s the Palm Beach and Blue Grass, where he’ll meet some very talented horses going the same route, including Exothermic and Howe Great.

Exothermic Rusty Arnold

Empire Maker – Irridescence, by Caesour

If this colt handles the dirt the way he does the grass, and he should with his breeding, there’s no telling how good he could be. He demonstrated as explosive a turn of foot (very European-like) as we’ve seen all year and just bounds along with big, beautiful strides, which make it appear as if he’s leaping off the ground. If you want toughness, his tail-female family is almost all South African, and his broodmare sire is out of a full-sister to one of the greatest iron horses of modern times, the indefatigable Jim French. He’s also inbred to the great Tom Fool through his classy daughters Dinner Partner and Mrs. Peterkin. They’ll try to emulate Animal Kingdom by attempting to win the Derby in his dirt debut, following starts in the Palm Beach and Blue Grass.

Take Charge Indy Pat Byrne Click Here!

A.P. Indy – Take Charge Lady, by Dehere

He could surprise some people in the Fountain of Youth if they go in that direction, but certainly doesn’t need to win to move forward. This is another colt with a lot of room for improvement. His first start back against El Padrino was an excellent debut, as he separated himself from the field with a huge early move and, although caught by a top-class colt, left a lot in the tank. As he showed in that race and in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, he just needs to finish off his moves, which will come with experience. His fifth-place finish in the BC Juvenile at 25-1 was very solid.

Souper Speedy Tom Albertrani

Indian Charlie—Speed Succeeds, by Gone West

Breezed five furlongs in 1:03 1/5. Time to start cranking him up. Not sure how far he’ll stay with his front-running 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.

Ever So Lucky Jonathan Sheppard Click Here!

Indian Charlie—Bally Storm, by Summer Squall

Missing the Hutcheson may not seem like much, but it was huge in our opinion. Instead of having a good sprint sharpener, followed by a pair of two-turn races, he now will have to sprint in the Swale and have only one two-turn prep. For a horse with a suspect pedigree and only four career starts before the Derby that is asking an awful lot. If Sheppard feels he’s not up to it he’ll be the first to give up the chase. We’ll see if he changes plans between now and then.

Rounding out the Top 35 are Rousing Sermon, who also was disappointing in the Lewis, and definitely deserves another shot; Mr. Bowling, Z Dager, Shared Property, and Dan and Sheila, the first four finishers in the Lecomte; Southwest winners Castaway and Secret Circle; Mr. Prankster, impressive winner of the WEBN Stakes and Turfway Prevue; the first two finishers in the Sam F. Davis, Battle Hardened and Prospective; My Adonis, who showed flashes of brilliance at 2 and made up 15 lengths in the Holy Bull to finish third; San Pedro winner Midnight Transfer, who worked a sharp 5f in :59 2/5; El Camino Real Derby winner Daddy Nose Best; three more Pletcher horses, Ender Knievel, an impressive allowance winner who likely is headed for the Sunland Derby, Spring Hill Farm, who made it two-for-two with a mile allowance score at Gulfstream two weeks ago; and Windsurfer, who ran a super race breaking his maiden after going wide every step of the way; Zackn’mat a dark horse to keep an eye on; the exciting maiden winner Street Life, who ran an awesome race at Aqueduct; and we’ll give Casual Trick, Consortium, and Sky Kingdom another shot after their respective debacles.

Other names to watch are the well accomplished maiden Brother Francis, who is back working; Scatman, game second to Secret Circle in Southwest division; Gulfstream Derby winner Reveron, Iroquois winner Motor City, Optimizer, the powerful stretch runner Najjaar, Hopeful winner Currency Swap, Went the Day Well, a big stretch runner who should show huge improvement next time out; News Pending, and Teeth of the Dog.

In Action Last Week

Although Castaway looked more like a Derby horse than Secret Circle in their respective Southwest divisions, the latter did run a full second faster, and has the pedigree to stretch out. He just hasn’t shown any signs yet that he wants to. But he at least has a two-turn victory to his credit and fires every race. Castaway did win from the 11-post, which boosted his performance even more, and he just seems to be getting good now. Will we have a Godolphin – Coolmore showdown in the Derby? Scatman was super game battling back against Secret Circle to be beaten a half-length and Adirondack King, in his first two-turn start, made a strong move around horses on the turn, but couldn’t sustain it, finishing a clear-cut third in a good effort. The El Camino Real Derby proved to be nothing more than an exciting race decided by two grass horses, Daddy Nose Best and Lucky Chappy on the Tapeta surface, but Daddy Nose Best showed a lot of guts, and he is by a Florida Derby winner, out of a mare by a Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner, so his pedigree shouldn’t stop him from transferring his form to the dirt. It’s difficult getting any kind of gauge on a horse’s Derby chances when they run on Tapeta or any synthetic surface. The most eye-catching performance of the weekend belongs to the Pletcher-trained Windsurfer, who raced wide on both turns and every step in between in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Gulfstream and still won going away, coming home in solid fractions and striding out beautifully as if he wants to go on. His pedigree is pretty speed-oriented and not exactly inundated with top-class stallions, but his sire Speightstown has shown he’s capable of getting a horse like Haynesfield, winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban Handicap. This was one of the more impressive performances of the year. Drill, winner of the Del Mar Futurity, had gone off form since his Norfolk second to Creative Cause, but he bounced back with a narrow victory in the San Vicente over a gutsy American Act. Baffert has a lot of action going on with his 3-year-olds and likely will keep him at one-turn, where there are plenty of opportunities for him. Sticking with Baffert, although Paynter won’t, or I should say shouldn’t, make the Derby, with only one 5 ½-furlong race under him, he looked freaky in his career debut and isn’t even bred to run short. He looks like he could be something special.


Leave a Comment:

Baby Jane Towser

Three sons of Empire Maker are knocking at the door. They all seem to have a lot of room for improvement and appear to be exciting prospects who can make it to the Derby.  It is very disappointing that Empire Maker no longer stands in the U.S. I know it is a business, but I wonder if Juddmonte now regrets the sale to Japan. This is a big loss for the U.S. Not a Sunday Silence type loss, which was incalculable, but it is still pretty big because we need classic sires and he is delivering.

21 Feb 2012 1:50 PM

I would include Lucky Chappy in the "other" list. I think this horse will improve with every start and will benefit with added distance. I love his closing kick. If Team Valor is able to get enough earnings with him, he'll be a wise guy horse come derby day.  

21 Feb 2012 2:00 PM

Forgot, I would also include secret circle in the top 12 list, I've always liked this horse, very consistent and determined.

21 Feb 2012 2:02 PM
El Kabong

I am surprised to see Creative Cause on top, but Harrington feels confident he got what he wanted so news at eleven on this guy. I didn't like what I witnessed the other day, but he doesn't need earnings so his best must be yet to come.  I am leaning toward 3 others out west, Fed Biz, Empire Way, and I'll Have Another who I just believe will get better with each furlong added. In Florida, I like Algorithms best, but Steve, do you know why there was such a lapse in his schedule between his maiden win in June and his return in December? El Padrino should love FG. He stays close enough to the pace to pounce and despite the long stretch, that seems to be important to win at FG. Posting my first Dozen, but until mid March, its a tough call.


Algorithms, Fed Biz, Exothermic, El Padrino, Empire Way, Spring Hill Farm, Take Charge Indy, Battle Hardened, Creative Cause, Consortium, Dullahan, Alpha

On Deck,

Prospective, My Adonis, Howe Great, Bodemeister, Gemologist, Union Rags. Sabercat

21 Feb 2012 2:07 PM


I'm not ready to give up on LIAISON nor am I ready to give up on RECKLESS JERRY, a respectable third in the first division of the Southwest.

CASTAWAY was very impressive to me.  He came ready to rumble as they were placed in the infield before the race.  He reared up and fell backwards but came up ready for more.  He moved very well out of the gate and seemed the class of that bunch from the outset.  SCATMAN was impressive as he didn't give an inch to SECRET CIRCLE going into the stretch run.

21 Feb 2012 2:53 PM

MR Haskins great read as usual but i got a question i know horses can't talk but if they could as in the case with paynter, after watching the replay i noticed in the stretch run about 70 yards out paynter shakes his head(which you don't see unless there rank) as to say "COME ON MAN" with that said i know he just broke his maiden at 5 1/2 and too get a mile an a quarter in just a couple months isn't probally in the best intrest of the horse but correct me if i am wrong but didnt CURLIN break his maiden in early feburary going 7/8s so a couple weeks and a furlong in a half isn't alot for baffert to make up. DREAMIN probally yes but isnt that what this great sport is built on"DREAMS"

21 Feb 2012 3:22 PM
Kyle S.

Fed Biz - "Cannot wait for his next start, and expect him to catapult up the list."  Ditto.

21 Feb 2012 4:13 PM
Karen in Texas

I had a problem submitting a comment--hope this is not a duplication. Creative Cause looks to need more distance. He finished strongly and, as Steve said, there's no reason to remove him from the top right now.

Bigtex----I thought Castaway was very visually impressive, too. Did he really fall backwards in the infield? That makes his win even more special. He flew out of the gate and kept on going.

El Kabong----Algorithms had a hock injury/issue and was recuperating for a few months.

21 Feb 2012 4:27 PM
El Kabong


Great Article on Algorithm and Union Rags.

So a little hock problem was the issue. Like Mr. Wolf said, it may have been a blessing in disguise. Got my answer and then some.

21 Feb 2012 5:42 PM

I'll stick with the 10 I posted on the previous blog. If Broadway's Alibi decides on the Derby, then I'll add her too. I'm intrigued by Paynter, but I need to see more than a sprint.  He just may go to Sunland for those earnings.

The stature of Empire Maker is growing as his colts make their mark on the track. Scat Daddy is also making his presence felt.

It's looking as though Baffert has enough ammunition to fill all 20 slots on Derby day, but Fed Biz really sparkles.  I'm looking forward to his next out.

Scatman was as impressive as Secret Circle in the SW.  

Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)  Happy Mardi Gras to all!  

21 Feb 2012 6:36 PM
Steve Haskin

RobbieJoe, I saw him do that but have no iea why. Gary Stevens thought maybe it was something to do with the bridle. But it was to to see

21 Feb 2012 7:05 PM

Il be at Gulfstream Sunday in the paddock looking forward to it.

Right now I say Algorithm is the sharper horse and have him for the win Sunday.

In May I see Union Rags as the better horse.

21 Feb 2012 9:10 PM
El Kabong

Karen in Tx,

Thanks. I came back out and saw Steve's article. Did you remember that original post on Al or research it? I missed it but I can't say I was paying too much attention or even heard of Algorithm in early December. I missed his June debut, but I'm on board now. Sunday is going to be a barn burner.

21 Feb 2012 9:21 PM
Karen in Texas

El Kabong----I vaguely remembered hearing that he had an injury and searched so I could post the link. I then saw Steve's current article as well. Sunday should be quite a race!

21 Feb 2012 9:41 PM

I'm surprised to see CC still on top also, but I don't see the SW stakes winners (either division) as standouts, so maybe that is why.  Also, I haven't seen video of the race; only aware of the placing.  I'm really looking forward to the Fountain of Youth.  I'd like to see Union Rags put in a good one.  Not necessarily a monster race, but good enough to know this nice 2 yr old has a chance to be a really nice 3 yr old.  I too, am impressed with the Empire Maker's and agree with the sentiment he should never have gone to Japan.  The US needs to hang on to it's classic distance stallions.

21 Feb 2012 9:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

1-Out of Bounds 2-Alpha 3-Union Rags 4-Saber Cat 5-Creative Cause 6-Empire Way 7-I'll Have Another 8-El Padrino 9-Algorithms 10-Gemologist 11-Battle Hardened 12-Fed Biz 13-Consortium

Union Rags does not have to win the FOY on saturday, but I would not be surprised if he wins even at 80% fitness level. It looks like the San Felipe is going to be an incredible race if all contenders show up. And Consortium can easily rebound with a strong race in the Gotham. Saber Cat and Gemologist are nice horses, when are they ever going to race again?

21 Feb 2012 9:58 PM

Karen in Tx---Yes, CASTAWAY fell backwards which caused me to catch my breath because, #1, I hate seeing that and, #2, I had him in my exacta box which, by the way, was not to be because of RECKLESS JERRY'S show instead of place.  CASTAWAY was a good looking horse.  So was SECRET CIRCLE.  LONGVIEW DRIVE was also a great looking horse so I was disappointed he didn't do better.

21 Feb 2012 10:03 PM

Currency Swap worked in 47:00 last Saturday at Gulfstream. Undefeated Hopeful winner needs a race.

21 Feb 2012 11:45 PM

 Gee, in the olden days you won an early prep you made it to Haskin’s Dozen List and bumped a few others of the low boys, [[which this year has taken on the appearance of Downey’s deep “sack of potatoes” list or my own, for some odd reason]]. But, even after a 102 Beyer, and early exclusions since the 1st Haskin’s listing, “Why is there still no reference to “Secret Circle”?? ((OK finally a sub paragraph under 20 other names this week I see!!))I asked earlier and got no response to the question of  …“Do you (Steve) know something that we don’t regarding his future campaign plans, such as, “was it passed about he would remain a sprinter? not competing over a Mile?, or so, etc.?” So now two questions, why isn't “Secret Circle” much higher up on your “Dozen’s List”? and “Do you know something regarding his future campaigning that we don’t, regarding a potential run the 1st week in May”?? I admit, he has been high on my watch list for sometime, and was mildly shocked he missed Future Pool #1. But, having gotten beaten by “a head” or whatever to “Out of Bounds”,--“Out of Bounds” being another dreaded “Storm Cat bred”,

who of course always impress during 'Prep season', he--now appears on 7 out of 10 lists while “Secret Circle” seems to have been tossed by the wayside by not only you, but also from many others future Derby probables lists. What’s up here???  

22 Feb 2012 4:20 AM

In support of Dullahan, may I just remind (or inform) everyone that he is 1/2 brother of improbable (50-1 longshot) 2009 Derby victor, Mine That Bird........ can lightning strike twice?!? I'm in his camp :-)

22 Feb 2012 8:04 AM

Street Sense is on fire. He has Castaway, Afford, Motor City, Sir Bond and Street Life all on the road to the Derby.  

Any idea where Motor City is being pointed?

When was the last time a KY Derby winner sired a KY Derby winner?  

22 Feb 2012 9:38 AM

time to burn discreet dancer on the lead to see if he is this years"spend a buck" showed flawless lead change in his last race.

22 Feb 2012 10:57 AM
Fran Loszynski

Hansen all the way! His roots lie from the beautiful Tapit of Gainesway and that remarkable thoroughbred farm. Tapit and Afleet Alex are roommates so they are keeping "taps" on the racing sheets. Afleet Alex to Tapit: "Your kid has a great set of legs!" "Steve Haskin says its so!"

22 Feb 2012 12:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Nice to have the video straight from the horse's mouth along with the list. I still love Algorithms for my number one. The rest is pretty much up for grabs for me. At this point prior to the big FOY test I'm thinking that the Pool One futures odds of 12-1 for Algorithms could be a steal. In the FOY both Discreet Dancer and Union Rags could be tough but I think it's possible for Algorithms to be undefeated going into the Belmont Stakes if he's the monster I think he is. However this is a year with many talented, fast horses who also have the pedigree. Quite often we see talented horses but question their pedigree for 10f. There are a number of them this year that could win a Triple Crown leg in a fast time. It could also be a breakthrough year for Empire Maker as a Triple Crown sire, ironically, now that he is in Japan. Very exciting year with this 3yo crop and so many top older horses returning. I like Creative Cause but I wonder if he's fast enough in this particular year with all of the horses out there that are fast and have the pedigree.

22 Feb 2012 5:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

That's my "Haskin Out On A Limb Show" prediction- Algorithms wins the FOY, wins the Florida Derby, wins The Derby, wins The Preakness. He has the perfect running style- a presser that can keep up with fast early fractions and still have enough left to blow by the pace setter and finish strong. Most great runners are pressers or are flexible, able to press or lead or even close from farther back depending on the pace and race scenario. Very few are dead closers like the Great Zenyatta was but she was a freak of nature. Of course there are plenty of good ones this year that could throw a wrench into my prediction. That's why Mr. Haskin has not only a Derby Dozen but a top 35, and many have the pedigree for The Classics. I think I have Derby Fever despite getting a vaccination for it this year.

22 Feb 2012 8:22 PM

Hansen is a sprinter, nothing more or less...and Union Rags needed a prep race before a major Graded Race, because not every hprse is Man O' War who ran his first race in the Preakness as a 3 year old. If Matz is true to form, Union Rags will either run well, or poorly against more seasoned colts. Not sure why Matz doesn't get it...horses need preps, and if they show talent, as Lentenor did in finishing 4th behind Rule, don't stop racing the colt in stakes...keep pacing them. This panic over Barbaro has seemingly made him too cautious a trainer who igmores cues that even the commentators didn't miss. Michael...if your colt breaks through the starting gate early, scratch him. Just common sense. He was already likely injured prior to the Preakness and in true fight or flight, Barbaro took flight. He didn't look right before the race, either--

Why the undefeated My Miss Aurelia isn't on the list I have no idea. She can play spoiler in the Derby and the Wood....and she is good enough to beat any colt on that list.

23 Feb 2012 12:31 AM

This top twelve list is so tough, what a great group of horses. I like Creative Cause at top still, he ran third to 2 very good horses, just what he needed, wasn't blown away, and was just getting into stride at the end with plenty left in the tank. He is going to love the mile and a quarter.

I think this weekend is going to be one of the best in sometime, with Algorithmns, Union Rags, and

Discreet Dancer matching up for the first time. Union Rags got bigger and stronger? Really? Are we going to see a Big Brown like performance? It's his comeback race and it's Algorithmns first around two turns, that should equal the two out as they both chase the winner, who just loves the Gulfstream track, Discreet Dancer will blow it up!

23 Feb 2012 12:43 AM
The Deacon

Street Life has my attention....  Just loved Street Cry, and his son Street Sense, and his great daughter Zenyatta. Hope Street Life can keep the family tradition going. He has a ways to go in such a short time. Might be asking too much. He might be better in the summer with more seasoning.

23 Feb 2012 2:58 AM
El Kabong


I think it was Seattle Slew who sired Swale.

23 Feb 2012 6:25 AM

Cold Cast looked resonably impressive in his debut last week-end but his performance was overshadddowed by more spectacular peformances on the other side of the continent. Steve, any thoughts on this son of Bernardini? I doubt he is a Derby prospect but there are other races.

Your enthusiasm for El Padrino has me convinced, through Rose Colored Glasses.

23 Feb 2012 6:32 AM
El Kabong


I was wrong. Unbridled sired Grindstone. So yes we are overdue. There were 12 years between Slew siring Swale and Unbridled siring Grindstone.

23 Feb 2012 6:32 AM

Dr. D...

I agree with you except that I'm having trouble distinguishing any differences between ALGORITHMS, EL PADRINO, & SABERCAT.   All three look equally talented to me & my meaningless early pick is EL PADRINO but ALGORITHMS seems to do his thing effortlessly for sure.  

23 Feb 2012 10:17 AM

The Deacon....RE Street Life....ditto, on all accounts.

I'm not sure Hansen is merely a sprinter, but he is certainly running out of time to learn how to rate.

Can't wait to see El Padrino run this weekend.  Hoping for a dry track to get a better read on this horse.  

Also, I've been keeping my eye on My Adonis ever since his Jean Lafitte (sp?) win.  Liked how he finished in the Holy Bull.

I love this time of year...

23 Feb 2012 10:34 AM
Karen in Texas

jbluesbeatle----My Miss Aurelia isn't on the list in part because she came out of the BC with an injury and has been recuperating at a farm. Her owners have stated that if able, she will be going to the Kentucky Oaks, not to the Derby.

By the way, which is it---that Matz is too cautious or not cautious enough? You're saying he's too cautious with preps, yet should have been more cautious in having scratched Barbaro. He simply used/uses the best judgement he can for a given situation in my opinion.

23 Feb 2012 11:59 AM
Karen in Texas

Good grief! Just when it looked as though Hansen was safe from "colorization"....we have the following blog from Dr. H:

24 Feb 2012 1:11 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  We'll know more very soon !!! All three of Algorithms races were excellent, champion caliber. He's the top monster for me until proven otherwise. El Padrino needs to do it again. Sabercat will be fun to see once they get on the ball and race him. The game plan for both Algorithms and El Padrino is superb. This is not a year to be screwing around. The Derby winner will be a monster with strong 3yo experience and peak conditioning. I sure expect and hope it's a Derby winner with 3 or more 3yo preps this yer. Too many good ones this year. Did you see Algorithms demeanor before the Holy Bull? Bowed neck, champion's attitude.

24 Feb 2012 1:53 PM

The prep races  to prep races are now are over and what I’ve always considered the real opening to the Derby season is this Sunday with Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream,  the final prep for the Florida Derby.

   As soon as the Breeder’s Cup Juvy was over I turned to you all and said even though Hanson beat Union Rags, the big white horse would get no respect and the Rags would be the one the geniuses would key on. And they have. And in reality it’s legit because I believe another sixteenth of a mile Hanson would have lost on the first Saturday in November at CD. I’m not big on any front runner, as Hanson is, when it comes to the classics. So, here we are almost four months later with Union Rags making his debut going against a Pletcher double entry. That sets up badly for Rags but sent Hanson packing to New York to prep in the Gotham.

  Algorithms looks like the real deal in Hallendale (even though I hate Pletcher)  who is 3-3 with two wins already over the GP track and putting Hanson away in the process by winning the Holy Bull. However, I’ve seen this before where a horse will dominate early in his 3 year old campaign and bounce down the line. Like winning the battle and losing the war. I want a horse who is hitting it right now with ten weeks to go before the mile and quarter race we hold in Louisville.  Trouble is, I don’t see it in this race. Nicky Z is the only other shot with Casual Trick, but god damn, he lost his last race at GP by THIRTY lengths. So, you have to just throw that out because he just lost by two lengths before that in the Gulfstream Park Derby.

    Also, this weekend will bring the final prep to the Louisiana Derby in the Risen Star. I’m sticking with Mr. Bowling, who I had as the Lecomte winner. Although, I think Asmussen’s Z Dager will be the chalk. I sense an upset in the Crescent City late Saturday afternoon.

   And one more item to put before you. With all these pumped up purses this season I think it will take a minimum of $250,000 this year to get into the gate for the Central Avenue 10 furlong contest this May. Oh, my horse here late in February? Well, as it is no surprise, it's a Pleasant Colony offspring who came like a freight train in the Holy Bull  when he came from 20 lengths back after a half-mile over a speed-conducive sloppy sealed track, and was still nearly a dozen lengths back at the head of the stretch to finish third behind a second place Hanson. It’s My Adonis and his next start is next weekend in the Gotham against the two year old champ, the big white horse, Hanson.

25 Feb 2012 12:03 PM

I don't know quite what it is, but there is something nagging at the back of my mind that prevents me from backing El Padrino.  I had this same feeling with Uncle Mo last year, and it was his stride that put me off.  With El Padrino, I can't quite put my finger on it.  He won the Risen Star by a short nose over Mark Valeski.  But I am fond of Z Dager, and I'm looking to see more from him.  Perhaps it was EP's paddock acrobatics that took too much out of him.  I thought he should have won more definitively.  

I'm looking forward to the FOY today, and Algorithms remains my favorite.  

26 Feb 2012 10:20 AM
Bloodline Bob

I gave everyone my 10 Derby Watch horses on 2-7-2012@ 11:44 P.M. Well, 2 of them came in second:MARK VALESKI in Risen Star,NEWS PENDING in Fountain Of Youth.

26 Feb 2012 6:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

Ever since Captain Bodgit joined the Derby Dozen blog, it has become a bit frozen.

Maybe the paid gallop by Union Rags will spark up some opinions and conversation.

27 Feb 2012 11:16 AM

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