Derby Dozen (video) - March 5, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

[brightcove videoid="1489056121001"]


Union Rags Michael Matz

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Now that all the superlatives have subsided and we continue to forge ahead on the Derby trail, it should be noted that because the Fountain of Youth appeared to take very little out of him, he’s going to need a stiff test in the Florida Derby, much like Barbaro, if he’s going to be battle tested enough off only two starts. Of course, he could be another Big Brown and is simply so much better than the rest of them. But this appears to be a much more talented group of 3-year-olds and he probably could use a gut check next time out. But the way he looked in the Fountain of Youth, good luck finding a horse to test him.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

He now is Pletcher’s top gun, unless Gemologist has something to say about it. His two starts this year and the Remsen last year have built a solid foundation and there’s no pressure on him to run lights out next time. Still can’t find any faults in him – right running style, right pedigree, right temperament, and he won’t back down from a fight. Some question his narrow margin in the Risen Star, but his :23 1/5 and :06 flat final fractions and 5 ½-length gap to third tell you what a big effort this was.


Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Worked 6 furlongs in 1:11 4/5, and as of this writing he is 50-50 for the San Felipe. That race or the Rebel will determine just where he fits and how much progress he’s made. BC Juvenile form has been holding up exceptionally well and a big performance next time will put him right up there at the head of the class. He’s even not ranked this high on the majority of lists, but the feeling here is that it’s mainly because he’s not as flashy as some of the higher regarded horses. But flashy doesn’t win The Kentucky Derby. One thing is for sure if he does stay home, he will either make Out of Bounds and/or Fed Biz look like world beaters or expose their inexperience, because they’re going to have to run their eyeballs out to beat him. The same applies to whoever shows up in the Rebel if that’s where he goes.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

A little tinkering – removal of blinkers and change of bit – and, voila, you’ve got yourself a Derby horse. Now that he’s shown he can relax and overcome the 12-post and going 6 wide on the first turn, his brilliance and class can take over. You had to love the way he came back to Dominguez after losing so much ground, then settled behind a horse and drew off to a 3-length score under a hand ride. Maker also made other little changes and tweaks and it says a lot about the horse that he responded to all of them. It also shows the importance of having three preps compared to two. He got his bad race out of the way early, which became a learning experience for his connections; got all the experimenting out of the way in race 2, and now just needs to move forward in race 3, likely against better quality horses, without having to risk pulling a Bellamy Road and turn in a freaky performance a race too early. In short, the champ looks to be back and better than ever.


Sabercat Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Bluegrass Cat—Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

Worked sharp 6f in 1:12 3/5. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi says he looks as good physically as he’s ever seen him and his works have been “spot on.” They are considering the Rebel, but are “not expecting his best performance off the bench.” Rebel may be an easier spot than the San Felipe, but a much larger field, so they’ll have to consider all the factors. Wherever he runs, he just needs a good solid performance and to get a lot out of the race in order to set him up for his final prep and more importantly the mile and a quarter of the Derby. He also has to show he’s fast enough to compete with the top guns. Still believe this is very talented horse with a great deal of upside; he just needs to have his two starts go perfectly.


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

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

Turned in a brilliant work between races, going in :58 1/5 and 1:10 and did it all on his own. But can’t forget the fact that he would be the first horse in 15 years to win the Derby having fewer than 3 races at a mile or longer in his career. And the only horses in memory who have accomplished that – Silver Charm, Sunday Silence, Bold Forbes, and Proud Clarion – all had more than two starts at 3, so he could very well be attempting something that has never been done in modern times. With that said, his Lewis win and most recent work suggest he could be a much better horse than most people think. If you feel he’s taking the right path, he is very intriguing at 22-1 in the Future Wager.


Fed Biz Bob Baffert Click Here!

Giant’s Causeway—Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again

Worked 6f in 1:13 2/5. In many ways his next start is the most highly anticipated, because his ceiling is so high. He has shown such flashes of brilliance that a big win in the San Felipe will skyrocket him right up there with Union Rags on everyone’s lists. He is a physical standout and impeccably bred, and the only thing he has to do now is show he can beat top-class horses in stakes competition. Because he’s never run in a stakes, one can only speculate where he fits among the leading Derby contenders. Even a close second against a horse like Creative Cause or Out of Bounds would be a move in the right direction. If he should win impressively, then his reputation, as his dam indicates, would spinoutacontrol.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

Worked a half in :49 4/5, as he waits for either the Florida Derby or Wood Memorial. He’s had enough time to adapt to the hot weather in Florida, but a return to the cool weather could be a good tonic for him. If Union Rags looks to be the only major threat in the Florida Derby, he could very well stay there. He would only need to be competitive and finish a good second to set himself up for a big effort on the first Saturday in May. Right now he’s just lurking quietly in the bottom half of the Top 12, waiting for that one opportunity to strike. Remember the one-time band of Bernardinis – Algorithms, Alpha, Consortium, and Casual Trick – high on the Derby Trail? Well, he’s the only one left.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

Continues to move forward in his training, drilling five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 for his 3-year-old debut. That’s two sharp five-furlong works in a row and he should be ready for a big effort in the Rebel off a 3 ½-month layoff. He is after all undefeated and two-for-two at Churchill Downs, is a grade II winner, has excellent tactical speed, and bred to run all day, so he really doesn’t have much to prove except to show that he’s made progress after spending time at the farm, a tactic WinStar proved successful with Super Saver. He’s been out of sight, out of mind, but could rectify that in a hurry. His placing on here shows just what a deep, talented group of 3-year-olds we have this year.


Mark Valeski Larry Jones Click Here!

Proud Citizen—Pocho’s Dream Girl, by Fortunate Prospect

If he only has one more start, which is likely, he’ll fall into the same category as I’ll Have Another. The talent is there, but will he have enough bottom with only two distance races in his career? He does, however, have that important third start this year. Repeating his tail-female family for all those who like the old-time pedigrees from the pillars of the turf. His is the very best of C.V. Whitney. Third dam Silver True won the Spinaway and produced Suburban and Whitney winner Silver Buck, sire of Silver Charm. Fourth dam Silver Fog, by Mahmoud, is the dam of Hall of Famer Silver Spoon, winner of the Santa Anita Derby against the boys and eight other major stakes, and Silver Bright, winner of the Arlington Lassie and dam of State Dinner, winner of the Suburban, Met Mile, and Whitney.


Liaison Bob Baffert Click Here!

Indian Charliee—Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop

Followed up his mile breeze in 1:43 with a six-furlong work in 1:13 4/5, as Baffert continues to teach him to relax early, something he’ll have to do in the San Felipe to show that his dull performance in the Lewis was a fluke. He could also use a clear trip and not get stuck down on the inside again. You don’t want horses backing up into him when the jock is trying to get him to settle. He’s already proven he’s a good horse and a gutsy competitor; he just has to put that last race behind him.


Empire Way Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Worked five furlongs in 1:01 for the San Felipe, as Harrington said that’s where he’ll definitely run in an effort to collect much-needed graded earnings. Not the easiest spot to accomplish that, but he’s improving quickly. Some believe he’s been closing the gap on stablemate Creative Cause, but he still hasn’t shown the same speed and class, so we’ll see what the next race brings. You certainly can’t get a more illustrious pedigree.

Knocking At The Door

News Pending Dale Romans Click Here!

Harlan’s Holiday—Motivated Sreva, by Lear Fan

Romans managed to pick up another graded stakes placing on dirt with stablemate Finnegan’s Wake in the Gotham, so he obviously is loading up for an assault on Churchill Downs. This colt still intrigues us the most, with his diversity and ability to make a big move at any point in the race. He even is dangerous on the lead. There were so many aspects of his Fountain of Youth that point to him as an up-and-comer to be reckoned with.

My Adonis Kelly Breen

Pleasantly Perfect—Silent Justice, by Elusive Quality

With a come-from-the-clouds third in the Holy Bull and now a tracking second in the Gotham, he is making great strides with every race. Only Hansen and Algorthims have finished in front of him this year. Like News Pending, he is very adaptable and can be placed anywhere on the track. Breen is looking forward to bringing him back for another crack at Hansen in the Wood Memorial.

Castaway Bob Baffert Click Here!

Street Sense – Priceless Storm, by Storm Cat

Worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. From a visual standpoint, he was very impressive in the Southwest, despite running a full second slower than Secret Circle, who is simply a faster horse going a mile. But we’re looking at a mile and a quarter, and he should be plenty fast going that far with his pedigree. He’s sort of Baffert’s quiet horse right now, but that could change quickly.

Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

With back-to-back five-furlongs works in :59 1/5 and 1:00 3/5 at Gulfstream, he’s more than ready for his long-awaited 3-year-old debut. Unfortunately, it’s going to come on the grass, so we won’t know much more about him than we already know, other than whether he’s maintained his 2-year-old form. He’s going against some tough horses in Exothermic and Howe Great in the Palm Beach, but if he remains on course for the Blue Grass we’re really not going to have a good grasp on what he’s capable of doing in the Derby. His pedigree says dirt will not be an issue and you sure can’t knock the three horses who finished ahead of him in the BC Juvenile.

Bodemeister Bob Baffert Click Here!

Empire Maker—Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

Worked six furlongs in 1:14, then five panels in 1:00 2/5 in company with Secret Circle. He is among three horses Baffert is considering for the San Felipe, but only two will run. Talk about a high ceiling, this colt is capable of anything following his sensational maiden victory, in which he drilled stablemate Stirred Up, who came back to win going two turns on Saturday. But let’s remember, he does have the Apollo curse to overcome, not having raced at 2. What better year to end the curse than on its 120th anniversary. He obviously needs to get two races in him before the Derby, and even then, winning the Derby off four career starts is going to be tough. Only one horse, Big Brown, has done it with four starts or less since Exterminator in 1918, so he does have a lot of history to overcome.

Take Charge Indy Pat Byrne Click Here!

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

Getting real sharp now, drilling a half in :47 3/5 at Palm Meadows. Only two races in Florida are the Tampa Derby and Florida Derby, otherwise he’ll have to ship out of town. Tampa Derby fits his style and ability to make a big early move and try to bust the race wide open. This is another colt with a lot of room for improvement. He has that big move in him, but needs to finish it off. Twice he’s opened clear leads and has gotten caught in the final furlong. But that’s just a matter of timing and maturity more than anything else.

Our Entourage Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Street Cry – Sand Springs, by Dynaformer

With Pletcher’s pair in the Gotham – Dan and Sheila and Raconteur -- not faring very well, it would seem he’s more likely to contest the Wood Memorial over the same track he ran well at in the Remsen. But nothing is definite yet regarding his plans. By the sire of Zenyatta, out of a mare by Barbaro’s sire Dynaformer, he has the Rasmussen Factor (RF), being inbred to Natalma, and also is inbred to Hoist the Flag, giving him three doses of Ribot, and to Hail to Reason through Roberto and Halo. The Illinois Derby is also being considered.

Exothermic Rusty Arnold

Empire Maker – Irridescence, by Caesour

Hasn’t worked since his :58 4/5 drill on Feb. 24, so we’ll just wait for him to reappear on the work tab for his final prep for the Palm Beach, where we’ll find out just how good he is after two explosive performances. If this colt handles the dirt in the Derby the way he does the grass, and he should with his breeding, there’s no telling what he’s capable of. He’s demonstrated a European-like turn of foot and just bounds along with big, beautiful strides, which make it appear as if he’s leaping off the ground.

Zackn'mat Marty Jones

Northern Afleet – Pic Me for Fun, by Piccolino

Just something about this horse I like. He runs hard all the time, and is always coming at the end, regardless of the distance. He ran into the proverbial buzzsaw in Isn’t He Clever in the Borderland Derby. The winner has shown he loves Sunland Park, and this colt ran a huge race once he leveled off and got into his stride, but couldn’t catch the winner, who came home his last sixteenth in :06 1/5. His broodmare sire, Piccolino, was bred by John Nerud and is by Fappiano, out of stakes-winning Mochila, a half-sister to Cozzene. Pic Me For Fun is inbred to Dr. Fager, so there is a great deal of Nerud’s influence in his pedigree.

Went the Day Well Graham MotionClick Here!

Proud Citizen—Tiz Maie’s Day, by Tiznow

He would have to jump from a maiden race and get enough graded earnings to make it into the Kentucky Derby, but he’s capable of it in the right spot; perhaps a race like the Illinois Derby. He looked like a classy colt breaking his maiden, rating beautifully right behind the leaders, outrunning the two horses who had him pinned in, and then after easing outside the two leaders accelerated after a late lead change to draw clear. Again, he’s a race behind if he’s trying to make the Derby, so he’ll have to step way up next time.

Najjaar Dan Peitz

Jazil—Hasheema, by Darshaan

It might be time to start taking this Shadwell colt seriously after he turned in another of his monster moves, beating older horses in an Oaklawn allowance race. Granted, he wasn’t beating much, but there were a few accomplished horses in there and his burst of speed around the turn was pretty devastating. He does it consistently and that makes him dangerous. Whether he can pounce on top-class 3-year-olds the same way is another matter. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

Rounding out the Top 40 are Rousing Sermon, who seeks to make amends in the San Felipe; Z Dager, a solid enough third in the Risen Star; Southwest division winner Secret Circle; the first two finishers of the Sam F. Davis, Battle Hardened and Prospective; San Pedro winner Midnight Transfer, who has been working sharply for his stretch-out for the San Felipe; El Camino Real Derby winner Daddy Nose Best; four more Pletcher horses, Discreet Dancer, who is better than he showed in the Fountain of Youth; 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; and Howe Great, another talented grass horse who is pointing for the Palm Beach and then Blue Grass.

Other names to watch are the Borderland Derby winner Isn’t He Clever; well accomplished maiden Brother Francis, who is back working and heading for a grass maiden race; Scatman, game second to Secret Circle in Southwest division; Street Life, who ran an awesome race at Aqueduct and returns in another allowance test on Wednesday; Stirred up, who won his first two-turn race over the weekend over a really nice horse in Holy Candy; impressive allowance winner Politcallycorrect; Well Armed’s full-brother Arm Force; Gulfstream Derby winner Reveron, Hopeful winner Currency Swap, Battaglia winner State of Play, who likely will run next in the Spiral or return to the grass; and Union Rags’ stablemate Teeth of the Dog.


Leave a Comment:

The Deacon

Well said Steve as always..........another one bites the dust, Out of Bounds off Derby trail with injury, isn't that 3 or 4 now.  Hate to be right but we haven't seen the last of these injuries. Wish there was a way to stop this. The past several years seem to be worse then it was back in the day. I wonder if drugs are a big part of the fragility of these horses.  Nice assessment and win by Hansen, he sure looked solid. Don't like him going to the Wood memorial though, based on recent history colts that go through Aqueduct seem to get hurt and the Derby goes out the window.....  

05 Mar 2012 4:11 PM

I love Teeth of the Dog, can't wait to see him race again.  Right now, I'm not sure there is a horse out there that can beat Union Rags.  My gut is telling me this horse is going to go all the way; seems like rational thinking to me.        

05 Mar 2012 4:36 PM

I've not been a fan of Hansen until after this weekend.  In rating pretty kindly off of the leader, he showed a new dimension; the fact he still had his big kick makes me think he may go further than I have always thought he could.  However, Rags is still my "main man".  Disappointing news about Out of Bounds who looked to be a very promising 3-yr old.  It sounds like he will be back after a few months and that, at least, is very good news.  No more injuries please!

05 Mar 2012 4:51 PM
Mike Monarchos

Nice dozen Steve. Who do ya like in the Tampa Bay Derby? I'll be there on Sat. I wish Gemologist was running, but I guess he's going to Oaklawn. I like Prospective a little at Tampa Bay.

05 Mar 2012 4:51 PM
Kyle S.

Hate to see Out of Bounds off the trail.  Seemed like Harty was extremely high on him, and hope he makes a return to the track.  Can't wait for the San Felipe as we finally get to see how Fed Biz fares against stakes caliber horses.  I think he wins Saturday and stamps himself as the horse to beat come Derby Day.

05 Mar 2012 4:57 PM
Scott's Cause

Union Rags, I don't think so........Hansen, probably not....  the winner first Saturday in May,....I have no idea...Really looking for a Animal Kingdom type...Good Luck everyone...

05 Mar 2012 5:02 PM

Great Dozen as always Mr Haskins, This is the only race where i actually care about the Dam and the Sire, most the time when i read the racing form its all about class, times and speed figures. I am from Charlestown and the only bloodlines we have around here are wheelbarrow out of shedrow and we end up with pitchfork but every now and than that pitchfork can run.My uncle is like coldfacts with the bloodlines and he drives me nuts but for some reason when you do it i am into it. Maybe its just the way you put it. Now i find myself researching each contenders family tree. So thanks again  for all your insights.

05 Mar 2012 5:22 PM
Matthew W

Just heard Gary Stevens say Harty was supremely confident in Out Of Bounds--moreso than he was with Colonel John, who won S A Derby/Travers! Too bad! I was blown away with the work of I'll Have Another on Sat! O'Neil is heating up, and that horse looks so good, he was waiting for the prompt, waiting to be asked, he is all professional! I had first round bets on Empire Maker and Gemologist, and I played I'll Have Another in the 2nd round...we'll see more on Sat, as of now Empire Maker is my guy, but I'll Have Another just might be the #1 three year old out here--also, Hansen again showed he belongs at/or near the top of the rankings! Despite the defections, this year's crop looks like a strong one to me, and I'm gettin a case of Derby Fever!

05 Mar 2012 6:18 PM
El Kabong

Excellent news on Hansen. You really give a smart trainer his due and illustrate the need for more prep races in these 3 year olds. Glad the video is working, some of us out here think the world of the new format that brings your mug and your great New York dialect into our derby crazed world every week. Really looking forward to this weekend's racing but very disappointed for all the connections of OOB. Here's to that being the last one on the trail this year or does that sound to wishful? Worth a shot.

05 Mar 2012 6:34 PM

Steve, thank you for the 'behind the scenes' insight regarding change in bit, etc. and sharing some of HANSEN'S idiosyncrasies.  Sounded like he ate up well and rested well also from what I've heard.  I watched a replay today of BODEMEISTER'S maiden race where he finished 2nd to AMERICAN ACT.  Any thoughts on AMERICAN ACT?  It looked to me like he was quite a bit bigger with a much longer stride than BODEMEISTER and his pedigree looks pretty strong.  

05 Mar 2012 6:49 PM

… “this appears to be a much more talented group of 3-year-olds” …  maybe more talented than in several past years,--hoping we do not lose too many more to injuries, that is,--and if “Union Rags” is just another good stakes hoss in a vastly competitive field and not the freak monster his positive press is claiming he may be, and whether there are really 5-10 ? or more? gate slots left with so many already over the $200K level in earnings, or covering the $180K bubble level, and a host also over the always marginal $140K mini-bubble level with so many preps yet left to go for earnings, this is going to be one tough Derby to find playable exotics in, unless a few step up and really stand out over the next 5 weeks. One may have to be ready to dig pretty deep to find the correct exotics in this field, especially where we all know even Tiznow ponies mature later than others. But, then again, such balance though making those same exotics hard to find ‘correct’ permutations, such troubles will only bring smiles to those that do ‘hit’, as they should fill a pocket well.  

    Oh, and, for all those who chose to play “the mutual field” in the Pool #2 Oaks Pool, there is hope in that dark tunnel. How about E. Kenneally’s trained “Kitty Wine”!!! … Really ??? a 1:39.73  in a  1  1/16  turf event at Gulf Stream Park!!!… Did anyone call ‘foul’, ‘objection’, someone please check the clock!!!  The time keeper??? Someone re-measure the track !!!  I haven’t seen a sub 1:40  1  1/16  in near  5 years of watching, and this from a 3 year old????  Woooooaahhh!

    OK, what was the Beyer?, …and don’t go telling me… “87” …. AGAIN !! ? !! ? !!

05 Mar 2012 7:02 PM

Someone blogged that Hansen was a maniac in the paddock. Could you get someone to scout that his next start? In your time I'm sure you've seen a few meltdowns pre-race in the Derby atmosphere.

If that little white horse learns that he just has to wait a few minutes, he IS going to get to run, it could be the cherry on top.

05 Mar 2012 7:16 PM

Sure have to agree with you, Deacon, about it being a mistake to run Hansen in the Wood. He is so talented, he reminds me of some horses of yesteryear. If he and Union Rags make it to the Derby unscathed, it's going to be one for the books. Great list again, Steve. One more thing, and I'm pleading here. Mr. Lukas, please put the "O" back on the grass!

05 Mar 2012 7:26 PM

Ok, one more crack at the SPORT WRITERS polled going into the first week in March, let’s say 5 weeks away from that time to start doing some more serious thinking for the first Saturday in MAY,--and this all being since Steve finally posted and got his latest “dozen’s”   (?? “40-50 sack ‘o potatoe” ??)   list up, that is--…

“Union Rags”:        88

“El Padrino”:        75

“Fed Biz”:           42  

“Alpha”:             40

“Out of Bounds”:    (39)

“Hansen”:            38

“Gemologist”:        37

“Creative Cause”:    36

“I’ll Have Another”: 35

“Sabercat”:          14

“Mark Velaski”:      13

“Secret Circle”:      9

“Take Charge Indy”:   9

“Castaway”:           8

“Empire Way”:         6

“Dullahan”:           6

“Liaison”:            2

“Spring Hill Farm”:   2

“Bodemeister”:        1

“Rousing Sermon”:     1

05 Mar 2012 7:26 PM

Was not nearly as impressed by Hansen's performance this weekend.  Moderate fractions, and his jock had feet on dashboard 1st 5 furlongs.  He wasn't "relaxed", just held up.  

And there wasn't much in the tank, his 8th furlong was well over 13 seconds and he slowed in the final 16th to nearly 7 seconds.  Crawled home.  Not bounding freely as Union Rags did with little urging.  Hansen had to be put to the task and a far more vigorous effort to maintain the snails pace down the stretch.  had there been any talent in the race, he'd have been cooked.

Don't see him in the top half of the dozen.  Not based on what he's done this year.

05 Mar 2012 7:27 PM

RobbieJoe, the fun is looking at a horse's pedigree.  I would never place a bet without knowing something about the horse.  It's a great hobby; I enjoy it thoroughly.  IMO, Union Rags has a fantastic pedigree on the tail side; he's out of a Gone West mare.  Gone West is out of a Secretariat mare.  The thing that intrigues me about Union Rags, is depending on the pace, he can position himself anywhere on the track.

In the Fountain of Youth, Julien and Union Rags caught Velasguez and Discreet Dancer at there game, setting a slow pace, so UR stayed up close.

Now, if Hansen runs in the Kentucky Derby, he along with a couple of other horses will set fast fractions, so Union Rags will go into his closing mode. Hansen has great early speed, but that last furlong in the Gotham was very slow.  Hansen will never get away with running like that in the derby.  On the other hand, Union Rags has never really been tested; that may never happen, who knows.  I just have to say that Union Rags has 3 white socks; like his great great grandsire, Secretariat, who is positioned perfectly in Union Rags pedigree.

05 Mar 2012 7:40 PM

Great list, but only 2 months away, is it possible to base the list off of projected starters? Prospective is in top 15 in earnings; but outside your top 20.  

05 Mar 2012 7:40 PM
zan the man


I love the D. Dozens and the whole Triple Crown Mania deal.  And I'm in close agreement with your top 12

(OK, maybe not Sabercat).

But your relegation of Secret Circle to the 8th Circle of Hell, in the shabby company of the likes of Spring Hill Farm, Windsurfer and Howe Great, is indefensible.  It's because you "know", because

of breeding or your viewing of his races, or whatever, that he can't possibly get a mile and a quarter?  Remember War Emblem?  What if Secret Circle and Hansen are running 1-2 into the stretch at CD and one of them (or both) decide not to consult their pedigree and forget to stop?  I've invested in Secret Circle at 37-1 in Pool 2 and figure I may get at  least a little thrill up my leg on May 5th.  What say you?

05 Mar 2012 7:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1, Empire Way-Top Triple Crown threat.

2. El Padrino-Has it all.

3. Creative Cause-If he progresses, watch out.

4. Hansen-Nice to have him back in the mix. Really nice router stride. Still some 10f doubts but he sure hates to lose. Is determined not to get bushwhacked again like in the Holy Cow. I liked seeing him look around for any varmits that might be nearby  in the Gotham. Don't make him mad. Great job by Maker with the changes. Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of this white knight.

5. I'll Have Another- Not thrilled with the race plan but sure looks talented, and has the pedigree.

6. Spring Hill Farm- Anxious to see this undefeated, super pedigree against some good competition.

7. Midnight Transfer- The wild card.

8. Union Rags- I don't know why I'm not sold. Maybe the Florida Derby will convince me.

9. Castaway- The Professor and Mary Ann here on Haskin's Derby Dozen Isle.

10. Daddy Nose Best-The Nose knows the finish line.

11. Bodemeister-Empire Maker and if I had to pick the most likely winning sire of at least one Triple Crown race winner this year it would be Empire Maker.

12. Alpha- Good luck catching Hansen in The Wood but if he does then he's the fastest gun in town.

13. Secret Circle- I think he's better than given credit for so far.

05 Mar 2012 7:44 PM
zan the man

What?  Secret Circle dumped in with the likes of Windsurfer and Howe Great ??

I took him at 37-1 in Pool 2.  What if he forgets to stop?

05 Mar 2012 7:46 PM
Forbidden Apple

1)Alpha 2)Union Rags 3)Saber Cat 4)Creative Cause 5)I'll Have Another 6)Fed Biz 7)Empire Way 8)Gemologist 9)Battle Hardened 10)El Padrino 11)Hansen 12)Prospective 13)Arm Force

Kiaran said this past weekend that he might stay in FL to face Union Rags. I'm surprised at that comment, but he is clearly showing confidence in Alpha.

When are Saber Cat and Gemologist going to join in the KY Derby prep races?

I'm about to jump on the Fed Biz bandwagon. Bejarano is calling him his Derby horse, so I'll listen to him.

I'll Have Another looked professional in his effortless breeze on saturday.

05 Mar 2012 8:49 PM
Forbidden Apple

I forgot to mention the sudden loss on my Derby Dozen list. The racing world lossed a rising star today in Out of Bounds. This makes the 6th horse that I have watched fall off from the trail. The other five are O'Prado Again, Stephanoatsee, Basmati, Junebugred, and Consortium.

05 Mar 2012 8:58 PM

Very tough group this year, the Derby should be one of the best in years, it's so hard to separate the top dozen at a mile and a quarter at this point, but if Union Rags and Hansen can go the distance, they'll be very tough. I still like Creative Cause a bunch at this point and can't wait for his next race.


 Have you heard anything about whether Fly Lexis Fly will be pointed to the Derby? We know he can run forever but how he would stack up against the best here is a tough call till we see him race here. Also, any update on where The Lumber Guy might race next?

05 Mar 2012 10:19 PM

OK 2 cents worth ...and please, don't take this as a bashing of either Union Rags or Hansen, but Steve, I think you're right on the money (as usual) ...My Adonis ... A. improves with each and every start ....B. he's screaming out for more ground ..... C. has only been beaten by the two most impressive prep winners thus far ....D. has the perfect Derby running style ....these factors, plus an ever improving Breen (tutelage with a very, very astute conditioner only us Jersey boys know, Steve) Does this make him my solid Derby fave?? ....the jury is still out, but he is definitely one to watch ...

05 Mar 2012 10:24 PM

In the FOY Discreet Dancer was sent there to set the slow pace for Algorithms, but after Algorithms was out, the strategy did not change. I hate that rabbit thing.

05 Mar 2012 10:28 PM

I would love to see Alpha tangle with Union Rags in the Florida Derby.  

05 Mar 2012 10:33 PM

Dr. Drunkinbum, maybe you need to get on the wagon, I just can't see Union Rags losing a race.  You may have a problem getting on his bandwagon because he seems to win so easily, but it happens sometimes, Union Rags is special IMO.

05 Mar 2012 10:40 PM

zan the man,

Secret Circle wants no more than 7 furlongs. That last 1/8th of a mile in the Southwest was hard to watch.

Both divisions of the Southwest Stakes was weak ( say the least).

Union Rags is going no where either. He'll stop at the 1/8 pole in the Derby. Dixie Union colts want no part of a mile and a quarter. I don't care who the dam or the damsire is (when it comes to stamina). Any colt that is bred directly out of Dixie Union wants no part of a mile and a quarter. Ask Richard Mandella.

Sure, any horse can go a mile and a quarter (...including a Dixie Union colt), but the question you need to ask yourself is:

Will they go a mile and a quarter in two minutes or will it take them two minutes and 10 seconds to polish off that distance?

If you wanted a "real" mile and a quarter horse, you should of took another Baffert horse at 22-1.

His name is "Fed Biz" and this colt breathes different air.

05 Mar 2012 10:46 PM

zan the man, Secret Circle and Hansen will both consult with their pedigree and stop at CD. They are both bred for speed.  They will both set a fast pace, and Union Rags will close.    

05 Mar 2012 10:51 PM

Lmaris, I so agree with you, that final furlong and 1/16 was so slow.  Hansen has early speed, but in the end, a closer will go right past him.  Union Rags, on the other hand, has tremendous late speed.  Hansen IMO is a miler; unfortunately his connections are trying to make him into a router.  I hate that they are doing that to him, really.  

05 Mar 2012 10:58 PM

I just have to add a couple of observations about Steve's list and the subsequent comments. We can armchair this to death and we will. The fact is this--Hansen has already defeated most of the horses on the list. He did it with class and courage in the 2011 Juvenile. As far as the critical view about the time of the Gotham, one must remember, the track was good not fast. It makes a gigantic difference.

05 Mar 2012 11:01 PM
El Kabong


The Fed BIz wagon is tenuous by most standards of belief but very full of excitement. This weekend might, if he runs, might be a telling moment, and the left coast needs a Baffert hero right now. Not to ignore Empire Way. He's a very clumsy juvenile that is only half ripe and Mr. Harrington is very worthy of a contender.

I hope you got a chance to see Soldat. He is back and looked his spectacular self. Very push button and enthusiastic to be running. He's a special colt and Kiaran was right all along about his destiny. Turf is the road for this colt and he has just begun to show his gratitude.

05 Mar 2012 11:06 PM
Point Given

My TC Runners and Beyond.

1. Bodemeister

2. Fed Biz

3. Liaison

4. Secret Circle

5. Castaway

6. Paynter

7. Stirred Up

8. Princess Arabella

9. Captain Baker

10. Barber Shop Rock

11. Drill

12. Macho Rocket

13. Mile High Magic

14. The Brain

15. Eden's Moon

06 Mar 2012 12:12 AM
Steve Haskin

It should also be noted that there was a pretty strong headwind down the stretch and no one was closing in fast fractions all day, especially over a tiring surface.

06 Mar 2012 2:04 AM

Also, any update on where The Lumber Guy might race next?

predict 05 Mar 2012 10:19 PM.

Was mentioned he might be a possible for the Wood Memorial.

06 Mar 2012 3:18 AM

Interested in a couple horses you don't mention. Groovin' Solo 3rd place finisher in the Lewis who was DQ'd has been working well, maybe San Felipe? You mention the first 3 finishers in the S.F. Davis and although a slow time; there's a second tier horse in 4th place finisher, Ravello's Boy who may have been going fastest of all. Should be back for the Tampa Bay Derby.

06 Mar 2012 5:04 AM
Don from PA/DE

Good update SH, I had "A Adonis" over Hansen on Sat, he ran a gutsy race and feel he will improve, but I was surprised by Hansen, looked good, top Jock too,but really question distance for him in KD, just look back at his CD win, he will be passed at least by UR, but as I said before, think and hope there will be one other horse passing UR, "Gemologist" maybe the call will be "G UR ....

wish the Rebel was sooner, but need to see if his next race is impressive, hope so....Don

06 Mar 2012 6:12 AM
Forbidden Apple

El Kabong,

I hope Fed Biz can bring some excitement to the racing world after losing out of Bounds and watching Ultimate Eagle being gunned into wicked half mile fractions. He is a gorgeous horse that appears to be full of class. I'm expecting a win from Fed Biz and another late move into second by Empire way.

I did get to watch Soldat's race and I'm very happy for the horse and team McLaughlin. This horse is also full of class and can run forever on the grass. The thought of a dirt race with him is still quite interesting. War Front is off to an incredible start at stud. A healthy Soldat is going to be a very salty foe in Grade I turf races.

06 Mar 2012 9:23 AM

Love Union Rags, he is the real deal. Our Entourage is a very interesting horse with alot to offer, but I am interested in seeing Secret Circle do something that gets him on the list. This is a very good horse.

06 Mar 2012 9:49 AM

I was at Oaklawn for both Southwest races & I should note that they, also, ran into a headwind that day.

06 Mar 2012 10:30 AM

Revision...they FINISHED into a headwind in both Southwest runs.  

06 Mar 2012 10:32 AM

Great list Steve, thanks.  It is too bad with the injury to Out of Bounds and I hope the rest of them can stay healthy but history shows us that there will probably be more.  At this point there are a lot of quality prospects and I have to wait to see how they sort themselves out.  Looking forward to your thoughts on the Tampa Bay Derby.

Mike Monarchos:  I have this Derby fever from this cold weather up north so Thursday I'll be heading to Tampa and some warmer weather and a visit with my son.  We're doing the Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa(TROT)fundraiser at TBD on Friday, the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday and some fishing on Sunday. I hope this trip can help my fever but after this weekend's races it'll probably be worse.  Good Luck to you at the TBD.

Mary:  If Discreet Dancer was in the FOY as a rabbit for Algorithms, it would have been to set a fast pace, as Hansen so willingly obliged in the Holy Bull.  IMO when Algorithms was scratched, Pletcher decided to try and slow him down and conserve his speed.  He took him out of his natural running style and we saw the results.  Take nothing away from Union Rags, he has all you want in a Derby winner and probably would have run down a free running Discreet Dancer anyway, because, as you say, Union Rags can place himself where he needs to be, depending on the pace.    

06 Mar 2012 11:08 AM

mary--secret circle's sire is eddington.

eddington was 4th in the belmont behind smarty jones and birdstone, he won from 1 1/8 to 1 3/8. this is his dosage profile: (6-16-14-4-6): DI: 1.71 CD: 0.26

as for tapit, his foals have an average winning distance (AWD) of 8.27 furlongs, dixie union's have an AWD of 7.58 furlongs.  

if you were touting a giant's causeway as having a genetic potential to stay over the rest of the field, it would be a very different thing, instead you are dismissing horses whose genetic potential, which--on paper--is far more likely to get the 1 1/4 of the derby than rags's is.

btw, hansen's dam sire's AWD is 8.5.

you love union rags--great! but there is no need to go to every blog on bloodhorse and poopoo every other derby hopeful with misinformation about their pedigrees.

while your penchant for spreading misinformation has no outcome on the races and the horses you malign could care less--lies and misinformation are like weeds, they tend to take over if not rooted out diligently.

i hope you are simply too lazy to look up the facts and are not dilberately doing this, but TBH it is getting very hard to think you have anything but a bad motive, because no matter how many people correct you, you keep doing it.  

please stop. if you are not doing it on purpose, please just take a few minutes to look up the information before you post incorrect information as fact.

06 Mar 2012 12:06 PM
Karen in Texas

Nice updated list, Steve! I enjoyed hearing your explanation of M. Maker's continuing (astute) work with Hansen. I'm sure they were trying to modify his running style as soon as the BCJ was over and out of the way. The stumble at the start of the Holy Bull probably derailed some of that effort, but it looks as though they're back on track. By the way, the Beyers for the Gotham and FOY were the same, 95, weren't they?

06 Mar 2012 12:16 PM

Sheeeesh...Out Of Bounds out? #$%^&  I'm also thinking I have to eject Swag Daddy from my favorites because he has no graded stakes earnings.  But I think the world of him.  I love Fed Biz but unless he runs in the Sunland Derby, he has no earnings either, but I can't find it in my heart to discard him.  Love Dullahan but he hasn't yet run this year...and it's already March.  Same for Gemologist.  Bodiemeister has run only in a sprint.

So my iffy top 10

1/Hansen...I saw everything I've been waiting to see.  With his bloodline...I'm still hoping for a TC.

2/Union Rags: Doubting the 12f, but not the 10f.  

3/Fed Biz: Spectacular

4/Secret Circle: Can get only 7f? His grandsire is Unbridled.  How have his progency excelled in TC races? hint...Grindstone,Empire Maker, Birdstone, Mine That Bird, Summer Bird!

5/Take Charge Indy-AP Indy..'nuff said.

6/Alpha (may be a grinder but he's fast)

7/ News Pending- Loved his run

8/ Scatman-has earnings after the SW, and if I can't have Swag Daddy..this guy's next best.

9/ Howe Great..C'mon folks...this is a Sunday Silence grandson - dirt on top/turf on the bottom

10/ Empire Way..Well Bred..Empire Maker is stamping his genetic footprint on winners. (Unbridled again + AP Indy on the dam side.)

I'll Have Another -I like the combo of Flower Alley and Arch better than the combo for Creative Cause. (However...when he came to the track with Lava Man...I had eyes only for the MAN, and Another just didn't stack up.)

06 Mar 2012 12:52 PM

Secret Circle a sprinter? Check out his lines. Sire won two 1 3/16 mile races. His dam sire Dixieland Band, out of Northern Dancer. Back to his sire, his grand sire is Unbridled, the dam is out of Chief's Crown, by Danzig.  

06 Mar 2012 1:30 PM

The San Felipe should be a great race even with losing Out Of Bounds. There are too many contenders to try to pick a winner. I do have a pick in the Tampa Bay Derby however- Take Charge Indy is going to roll. He's got the best pedigree of any Derby contender and I think he'll finally put it all together.

06 Mar 2012 1:46 PM

Responding to a few comments and others lists:  I think that considering the conditions, Hansen's comehome time in the Gotham was not all that slow.  As I said earlier, I've never been a fan, but I think he may be better than I've previously given him credit for.  Anybody who leaves Union Rags off of his/her list or has him way down on a list, hasn't seen the same horse I have.  Dr. D; what would it take to convince you?

06 Mar 2012 2:14 PM

I noticed a comment in another blog where the writer was demurring about the 3x3 inbreeding to Mr Prospector in El Padrino's pedigree. Maternal inbreeding is common in the standardbred breed and becoming more so in thoroughbreds as the list above shows. Of the top 40 there are 28 that show inbreeding to a significant individual maternally, 14 to Northern Dancer, 7 to Mr Prospector, 6 to Raise A Native etc. Some are double inbred to two of these three principals. El Padrino is one of the most extensively inbred since in addition to his own pedigree his dam is 4x3 to Blushing Groom, second dam 4x4 to Nasrullah and his dam has an x-factor double to Nashua. My top 12 based on the extent and position of maternal inbreeding are as follows

El Padrino 3x3 Mr Prospector

Hansen 6x4 Rise A Native and 5x5 Northern Dancer

My Adonis 5x5 Northern Dancer, 6x6 Raise A Native

Daddy Nose Best 3x4 Mr Prospector and 5x(5x5) Northern Dancer

Scatman 3x4 Mr Prospector and 4x5 Nijinsy

Union Rags 4x3 Mr Prospector

Sabercat 4x3 Mr Prospector

Empire Way 4x4 Northern Dancer

Castaway 4x4 Northern Dancer. Dam is 3x3 Secretariat

Bodemeister 4x4 Northen Dancer, Dam is 3x4 Secretariat

Exothermic 4x4 Northern Dancer

Our Entourage

The last on the list has no significant maternal inbreeding but has a pedigree reminiscent of Zenyatta who is outmatched to the dam of her grandsire through Hail To Reason and Hoist The Flag

06 Mar 2012 4:01 PM
Indiana Johnny

Is the video messed up, again, or is it just something with my pc?

06 Mar 2012 4:27 PM

Always appreciate and enjoy your Derby Dozen, Steve.

I'm sick about Algorithms and Out of Bounds.  Like the Deacon said earlier, I with something, some causal effects could be addressed by the racing community regarding the early injuries of Kentucky Derby hopefuls.  I wonder if that is one reason Dale Romans seems to prefer the grass and fake grass preps.

One more note, I've been watching the LUCK HBO series.  Not so sure it is a vehicle that will help attract new fans.  I'm sure that's not the main intent; more like providing entertainment to the masses.  Its fun to watch Gary Steven turn into quite the actor.

06 Mar 2012 4:29 PM

    Let me attempt to remind you all once again that “NO ‘STORM CAT’ BRED or ‘INDIAN CHARLIE’ BRED horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby. And, I know that lesson because I poured a ton in once upon a time on  “Bluegrass Cat” who finished 2nd, being the highest up in the Derby a “Storm Cat” bred has ever finished. Not to knock the likes of “Fed Biz”, as we all know “Storm Cat” breds are highly productive winners at  1  1/16  and many are quite impressive at a  1  1/8.. And really, there is nothing in the breeding up to “Storm Cat” via “Storm Bird” via “Northern Dancer” or s.s.d.s. “Native Dancer” or d.s. “Secretariat” d.s.d.s.s. “Prince Rose” (G.B.), etc., that would otherwise necessarily suggest they should not get 1 ¼, they just don’t get there in 2 minutes and beat the other breds. Not yet anyway, whether Steve continues to believe that “the winner can come from anywhere breeding wise” or not, as he once posted years back. Horses bucking the odds with weaker foundations in only 1-2 three year starts prior to the Derby and no 2 year old foundations used to be considered as NO Plays until the freak “Big Brown” came along and broke that trend off a short pre-Derby career due to hoof issues!! Betting on those as a Derby WINNER used to be where they were ‘long shots’, that apparently is the case no more. Some of us still feel that way about “Storm Cat” breds, (the most bred sire still ???) no matter where Steve has chosen to rank that cat’s ancestors over the years!! SO, in any event, take note of the following short list and bet accordingly at your own peril as to the winner of the 2012 Derby. AND, this is not to say that rules and trends can’t be broken, but in regard to “STORM CAT” BRED DERBY WINNERS they are still .000 percentage wise !!! (And, let me add that I do like many “Giant Causeway” breds and the few “Bluegrass Cat” breds, just not to be the WINNER of the Kentucky Derby or the Belmont for that matter!!!

“Bodemeister”:  Storm Cat- d.s.

“Castaway”: Storm Cat- d.s

“Fed Biz ”: ** Giant’s Causeway-

    Storm Cat- s.s.

“Hansen”: Storm Cat- d.s.s.

“Scatman”:  Storm Cat- s.s.s.s.

“Teeth of the Dog”:

    ** Bluegrass Cat-

    Storm Cat- s.s.

“Daddy Nose Best”:  (T)  

    Storm Cat- s.s.s.s.

“News Pending”: (T) Storm Cat-


“Souper Speedy”:

    Indian Charlie- s.

06 Mar 2012 4:33 PM

Nice dozen Steve.  Hansen has got himself back into the thick of it.  I think it shows a lot of versatility if he can make equipment changes and running changes and still get the win.  Glad he learned to rate and relax a little and going wide at that.  He's exhibiting something I look for, consistency, even with what was changed and thrown at him, great.  Apparently he has the mind to handle and deal with change, it was impressive.  Hard to choose between him and Rags.  

The intriguing one to me is Fed Biz.  I'm not quite allspunout over him, not just yet.  Let's see what he does next time out.  

Nice to see my handsome French soldier is back and on turf with a win, Soldat, of course.  Except the track announcer was mispronouncing his name saying "sold at" instead of "solda" with a short a at the end and no t sound. I'm glad Kieran found Soldat's niche which appears to be on turf.  Vive La France!!!

06 Mar 2012 6:08 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  So far, if we don't get too many more injuries, this is a strong year. Many have the pedigree and talent. Union Rags pedigree isn't as good as many for 10f and I've seen some really outstanding strides and winning attitudes to go with the pedigrees. I also thought that Hansen's BC performance was more impressive than UR's. It's hard to seperate many of them this early. Any in the top 15-20 could win The Derby. I look at potential as much as I do the last race or two. If Union Rags wins his next race against a much stronger field than the weak field of his last race then I'll be forced to throw the pedigree out the window. Battle tested wins also help. I know a lot of people think Union Rags is a clear number one. We'll see how much he progresses. Matz had him ready for a big performance in his return  off of the layoff judging by his appearance. Some of these like Empire Way could improve dramatically the next two months. Maybe UR doesn't have to improve dramatically but he has to improve. He's not a 10f Derby winner yet, and he's not Barbaro yet. Those futures odds were ridiculously low for UR. I certainly have no argument with any that have him number one. He's talented, and has looked very good in his races. His BC at 8.5 didn't show that he could win at 10f but he was only a 2yo. His last moved him closer but he's not there yet. I will agree that his stride is good enough to win The Derby.

06 Mar 2012 6:18 PM
Karen in Texas

papillon----Thanks for your continuing efforts to correct another poster's skewed misinformation. That person completely lost credibility with me back on Jason's "Eclipse Award Choices" blog when she insisted and persisted that Union Rags was a late foal with a foaling date in May, despite numerous attempts by others to correct her assertion. The facts just seemed to elude her no matter what was said. She insists that others need to research their comments, yet can't seem to read a date-of-birth on a pedigree profile. It almost seems to me that she is trying to convince herself of her favorite horse's intrinsic value. At any rate, I, too, would like it to stop.

06 Mar 2012 6:47 PM
Carlos in Cali

papillon, it's futile.

Her statement: "In the FOY Discreet Dancer was sent there to set the slow pace for Algorithms".. finally broke the camel's back along with her other outlandish remarks. Hey,we tried though.

06 Mar 2012 7:45 PM

Zarvona...have you ever heard of Tabasco Cat, by Storm Cat.  He seems to have won not only the Preakness, but the Belmont too.  He might have taken the Derby too if Go For Gin didn't duck out and force TCat into another horse.  Go For Gin finished 2nd to TCat in the Preakness and Belmont.  Chances are that's how he would have finished in the Derby if he hadn't fouled TCat.

So be careful when you say "never".

You're using the 10f Derby distance to disallow Storm Cat's progeny's chances...but his progeny have won at longer distances.  Remember Giant's Causeway...Euro HOY.

If a son of Storm Cat has already won the Belmont at 12f...perhaps you shouldn't sell his progeny so short.  

Also...just because any horse hasn't yet sired a KY Derby winner, does not mean it cannot happen.  You're using Coldfacts' inane logic on that.

Hey, hey Dr D...didn't Hansen look great?

06 Mar 2012 7:57 PM
The Deacon

We got 2 months until the Derby, we have lost 4 or 5 of our good colts, sad to say this attrition isn't over. Like "Gun Bow' says I never get too excited in March for a race in May. Heck "The Masters" is right around the corner, best 4 days in sports. We also got the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, lots of stuff coming up. Oops, I got side tracked.

Wish we could pinpoint and stop these rash of injuries this time of year, every year. This is becoming the norm and it shouldn't be. I would be very surprised if we have a Triple Crown winner within the next 20 years. The sport just needs too much fixing, the breeding is all messed up and the use of Lasix and other drugs over the past several decades has just about ruined the sport. Not meaning to be a doomsayer here but seeing all of these nice, sparkling young horses go down just saddens me. What happened to the iron horses like Kelso, Forego, John Henry and Lava Man. Yeah I know they were all geldings, but it seems that we don't even have too many standout geldings around anymore....

As far as a Derby horse right now, I have none, just haven't seen enough to form an opinion.

Good luck to all and I appreciate reading so much good information on these posts........    

06 Mar 2012 8:06 PM

What gives me hope about UNION RAGS going 10f and being as much a favorite as he is for the Derby, yes, the pace was slow in the FOY, however, his final time was not plus he had a LOT in the tank going through the wire.  Also, the pace will be much quicker on May 5 and the front runners will probably be bogging down the last quarter, and with LEPAROUX aboard, showing patience as well as any jockey out there, AND, with the tactics that BOREL's been using over the last several years, LEPAROUX doesn't have to necessarily stalk the leaders as talented as UR is.  He just needs to keep RAGS out of trouble and have him ready to roll between the 3/8ths and ¼ poles.

06 Mar 2012 8:23 PM

The Deacon

Just wanted to let you know THE DEACONATOR is entered in Race 7 at Gulfstream tomorrow (3/7) in case you want to take a shot at him.  3 yr olds, Maiden claimer…

06 Mar 2012 8:31 PM


Union Rags rules the roost at Gulfstream, Florida, Hansen is king of the hill at Aqueduct, New York. If Creative Cause doesn't take Santa Anita, California by the scruff of the neck this Saturday, you are going to have egg all over your face for overrating that one. From where sit, Midnight Transfer is going to cop the San Felipe and bully his way into your next posting of Derby Dozen. To be fair, the California group looks like the saltiest I've seen in years, even with Out of Bounds going to the sidelines.

06 Mar 2012 8:48 PM

What I really liked about Union Rags FOY win was how he broke from the gate.

He had a length on the feild and was waiting on them.

In both of Hansen races this year his break were not that good which on derby day could put a horse at the back of the pack in a hurry.

06 Mar 2012 10:02 PM

  BTW add these to the above listing:  

 (has earned a gate slot earnings wise):


** Blue Grass Cat-

Storm Cat s.s.

 (likely in a gate):

Creative Cause:

 ** Giants Causeway-

 Storm Cat  s.s.

 (potential gate crashers):

Battle Hardened:

**  Giant’s Causeway-

Storm Cat-  s.s.

Drill: Storm Cat d.s.

Ill Conceived: Storm Cat d.s.s.

Liaison: Indian Charlie s.

Major Hope: Storm Cat d.d.s

Monastic: Storm Cat d.s.

Russian Greek:  

** Giant’s Causeway-

Storm Cat s.s.

Tiger Walk: Storm Cat s.s.

Windsurfer: Storm Cat s.d.s.      

06 Mar 2012 10:06 PM

Karen in Texas, who said that Union Rags was a late foal, he was born in early March.  I give up, Union Rags is an extraordinary horse, the end.  

06 Mar 2012 10:13 PM

Dr. D.- thanks for your explanation for placing UR #8 on your list.  What you say makes a lot of sense, especially if a good part of your placing is based on pedigree. Personally, because so many recent winners haven't had particularly stamina-laden pedigrees, I don't put as much weight on pedigree as I did, say 20+ years ago.  I think that the influx of "speed" lines in many thoroughbred pedigrees today equates to fewer horses in the gate with true "stamina" lines.  As a result, I put more weight on stride and running style.  UR has a big, efficient stride and his running style allows his jockey to place him advantageously no matter how the race plays out.  I agree with you that he's not yet Barbaro, and I haven't heard Matz put him in quite the same rarified air. If the Florida Derby comes up a strong field, we should know a lot more at the end of the day.

06 Mar 2012 10:16 PM

robinm I so agree.  I think we have a bunch of people on this  blog that make no sense to me.  Leaving union rags off the list is just silly.  I think I will move on now, to another blog.  I'm done.

06 Mar 2012 10:21 PM

Slew, I have no doubt that Union Rags can go 12 furlongs, but Hansen, will never get the 10 furlongs in the derby; much less the 12 in the Belmont.  Look at the tail side of Union Rags pedigree, enough said.  He will go the distance.  

06 Mar 2012 10:28 PM

As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing we have going in this country right now, is Union Rags.  He is not engulfed in politics; he is simply a spectacular looking horse that is striving for perfection.  At the end of the day, the Lord will be right there with him in the derby, urging him to go; and he will.

06 Mar 2012 10:52 PM

Steve, he doesn't seem to be on anybody's radar yet, but what do you think of Fly Lexis Fly?  I understand he will likely make only one start in this country before heading to the Derby. Was he running against glorified claimers in Peru or should we take notice that as a TWO YR OLD he won two legs of their TC, running against 3 yo.  Does the fact that he has won at 1 1/4 mi and also at 1 1/2 mi add any weight to his resume?  Just curious about this one.

06 Mar 2012 11:24 PM

I just got a partial answer to my was reported that it appears likely that Fly Lexis Fly will run only in the Belmont.  I'm disappointed as he sounded intriguing as a TC prospect here.

06 Mar 2012 11:37 PM

I have to agree how disappointed I'm with all these injuries.  I still haven't gotten over Eskenderya!!  Algorithms, shame.  Out of Bounds, sad, so hopeful. When does it end.  I hope all these great Thoroughbreds make it back to the track or at least survive this sometimes crazy sport in which they truely enjoy and are able to live a comfortable life either in breeding or just relaxing in a nice green pasture.

06 Mar 2012 11:49 PM
The Deacon

Bigtex:  I should bet The Deaconator to place, I do better at running second then I do winning, ha ha.....

07 Mar 2012 2:08 AM

Doing yard-by-yard time comparisons between different races without taking into account track conditions is bizarre.

Are we developing pro and con Hansen factions and headed towards catfights on message boards like the little girls who were so insanely partisan about Z and Rachel?

Perhaps a more logical knock about Hansen might be that he has never won over a quality field except on a sticky, drying out track. Make something of that, LMaris.

I really can't get excited over a 2/5ths difference in Rags' and Hansens's final 1/16th, given the respective track conditions and the fact that they had no competition.

07 Mar 2012 2:49 AM

Mary: I'd give Union Rags 10f.  I don't think he'll make 12...The sire and dam sire are challenged in respect to the distance.  JMO.

Hansen, on the other hand, follows the bloodline of 2 Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew and Secretariat.

Zarvona: According to your logic, since Bourbon Bay never won the Derby, he can't get the derby distance??????  Just an analogy for the way you are treating the Storm Cat line.  Since his progeny have already won at 10f and 12f, your hypothesis doesn't hold water.

And by the way, Leroidesanimaux never had a Kentucky Derby winner...until last year.  History changes every year.  Personally, I think Unbridled has a great record for the TC races.  I'm carefully watching his progeny.  (and no, I'm not saying an Unbridled will win...only that the odds are good that one might.)

Deacon: %^&*$ 20 years?????  Don't say that!  I can't hang around that long.  It's not as though no one's ever come close to taking the Crown...we've had good enough colts (Point Given, Smarty Jones, Funnycide, Spectacular Bid, Swale, Afleet Alex, War Emblem, Big Brown, Charismatic, Silver Charm, Tabasco Cat) we just haven't had the luck.  34 years...I can't hold on forever. My bucket is already starting to tip.

Ok everyone, close your eyes, cross your fingers, and click your heels racing NEEDS a Triple Crown winner soon just to survive.

07 Mar 2012 7:02 AM

Mary:  Both the sire and dam sire of Union Rags are challenged at 10f.  I believe he's big, strong, and determined enough to get 10f.  I have grave doubts about 12f.

Hansen, on the other hand, is descended from 2 Triple Crown winners, coupled with his ability to relax and rate off a pace setter, gives him a much better chance of getting 12f.  JMO

Zarvona:  Suppose I was to say that since Bourbon Bay never won the Kentucky Derby, he can't get 10f.  That's simply an analogy for your hypothesis that the Storm Cat line can't produce a KY Derby winner.  His progeny have won at 10f and 12f.  You simply cannot dismiss Storm Cat progeny as being distance challenged when his sons have won at 12f.  Hell, Leroidesanimaux never had a Kentucky Derby winner... until last year.  History is constantly changing.  Were I to play the odds, I might lean heavily toward Unbridled progeny as they seem to win TC races quite often.  It doesn't mean an Unbridled will win...only that it's a strong possibilty.

Deacon!  #$%^& 20 years?????  I can't hang around that long.  It's not as though we,ve never come close.  (Point Given, Spectacular Bid, Smarty Jones, Funnycide, Afleet Alex, Big Brown, Silver Charm, Swale, War Emblem, Tabasco Cat, Real Quiet, Thunder Gulch to name a few). My bucket's already tipping over.  I want this to be the year...but it ALL comes down to LUCK!

So, everyone needs to close their eyes, cross their fingers, and click their heels together...and racing itself needs a Triple Crown winner to survive the lack of attention from the media.

07 Mar 2012 7:31 AM

Good to see my sleeper Najjaar starting to get some props and hopefully he'll be back in next week's Rebel.  His problem, along with several others, is a lack of graded earnings which he has ZERO $$.  I think the lowest earnings an entrant had in last year's KD had abt 120k, but this year around 23 horses have already equaled or surpassed that amount.  With 3 or 4 million buck races still to be run along with a few 3/4 million there could be be plenty of leapfrogging on the list and several trainers left scrambling with lightly raced horses.  I think the way graded earnings are determined should be revisited with maybe races at 3yo or two turns given more clout.  We always seem to have horses in the derby who've amassed their earnings in baby races or sprints who have no chance at 10 furlongs.  Derby Fever puts them in the starting gate not logic.

07 Mar 2012 8:29 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Everything you say is true. It's just a list, and a still early one, and mine changes often. It's really after the big preps when I'll base it more on what they've done and racing factors such as able to battle, and stride, and running style, and less on pedigree and growth potential.  It's true that at some point you can throw pedigree out with the manure. I'm just not there yet but I hope to be !!!!


   He sure did. I loved it. And his will to win reminds me of Seattle Slew. His stride is excellent. As mad as he was about being bushwhacked in his last I was impressed with his being able to rate even if the jockey had more control, he took it well, and I think he learned a lot.

07 Mar 2012 8:55 AM
Steve Haskin

Deltalady, he's very intriguing bcause of what hes done at 10 and 12 furlongs against older horses, but the form in Peru is very weak. However, they said the same thing about Uruguay. And hes in good hands with Drysdale.

07 Mar 2012 8:55 AM

Some keep saying this or that horse hasn't beat anything, yet. Duh, at this stage of the Derby trail, most of the runners don't have a bunch of Secretariats to run at.  Are any of these still-babies a known entity yet?  With the possible exception of some that ran as 2 yr olds and won name races, some of these runners didn't even break their maidens until this year, or late last. The 3yo are just emerging, and so far, it looks a whole lot better than last year.  But there just aren't that many stars in any of these races to make such emphatic judgments. I would just like to see some reasonable comparisons made, but the rhetoric sometimes clouds the discourse to the point there is more heat than light. JMHO

07 Mar 2012 10:21 AM

Slew, Union Rags has two triple crown winners in his 5x pedigree, Secretariat and Nijinsky, the 1970 English Triple Crown winner.  Both of these horses are located on the tail side of Union Rags' pedigree.  I think that Union Rags will get that 12f distance, via his great great grandsire, Secretariat and his great grandsire, Nijinsky.  UR also has Tim Tam in his 5x, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.  Tim Tam fractured his leg in the Belmont, but still managed to come in 2nd.    

For very good reasons, when looking at a colt and his pedigree, it is extremely important to look at his mare and her pedigree. The mare passes on to her son more genetic material than the sire.  

07 Mar 2012 10:31 AM

Slew, Hansen has a nice pedigree, but in his 5x there is too much line breeding, Native Dancer, for my taste.  If you go even further back in Hansen's pedigree, on the tail side, it is really good.    

07 Mar 2012 10:40 AM

You've probably heard Seth Hancock say of Secretariat, among other things, that he had "legs like iron & an iron constitution"...

To me it looks like Hansen has legs of iron & from what I'm reading & hearing he has that "iron constitution" as well.  Something to consider along with that good looking stride & speed to boot.

07 Mar 2012 10:40 AM
The Deacon

Slew:  Hope I am wrong about the 20 years, you are right though horse racing needs a Triple Crown winner in the worse way. The industry needs a commissioner I believe. Every other major sport has one, why not our beloved sport. Too many loose cannons out there. Yes Point Given was the best 3 year old in the land that year as was Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex. Go back to Real Quiet as well, still think he won the Belmont this sport I hope for the best but expect the worst, history is a good teacher.

07 Mar 2012 11:33 AM

Slew; as Hansen showed the ability to rate somewhat in the Gotham, I am not totally discounting his ability to be a factor in the Derby. But saying he should be effective at 10 furlongs because he "follows the bloodline of 2 Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew and Secretariat" is not much of an argument considering how far back these great horses are in his pedigree.  Seattle Slew, great,great grandsire and Secretariat, great,great,great grandsire (X2).  I'd sure like to see these horses a lot closer in the pedigree before claiming they will have a major influence on Hansen's stamina.

07 Mar 2012 11:51 AM
Fran Loszynski

I have to say this Isn't Real News Pending a "Beautiful" Racehorse. Sometimes you don't need a racing sheet to go WOW! you just like the looks. Forgot to say great shots of Rachel Alexandra's foal. Or should I say "Miss Raquel Welch" Rachel Alexandra will always be a beauty queen to me on the track.

07 Mar 2012 11:52 AM
El Kabong

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you... AND RIDE THAT HORSE!

My question is, what will the weight assignment be on that ride?

Way to go you guys, you got the almighty involved in Horseracing. But, last I looked, INVOKED retired without a win, 1 place and 4 shows for a grand total earnings of 6,166.

07 Mar 2012 12:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm not waiting 20 bloody years either !!! We've come awfully close and the BC made a Triple Crown Winner move banning lasix in 2yo races. Now it's up to everyone else to follow. Lasix in every 2yo in every race is insane and detrimental to the development of the entire skeletal system. Who's to say the injuries to Eskendereya and Algorithms and I Want Revenge and others didn't come from the use of medications and who can say that one of them wouldn't have won a Triple Crown if not injured. And we have new sires that give colts and fillies a better chance at the Classic distances. I want a Triple Crown winner before the bucket is kicked and I won't take no for an answer. Sure we had three in the 70's but we were spoiled brats then. We want one when we are desperate fogies  before the bucket tips all the way over. Smarty's loss especially was a kick in the stomach. The pain has subsided the the ravaging hunger for a Triple Crown winner is there.

07 Mar 2012 1:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Oh, oh. Bodemeister instead of Fed Biz in the San Felipe makes it even tougher for my two horses, Empire Way and Midnight Transfer to get earnings. I think both Castaway and Bodemeister are better than Fed Biz. Anyway, it will be fine if the one named after little Baffert wins. Then he can again show off where he lost his baby teeth in front. You gotta love those big toothless grins. Now that's confidence. What a race. So much talent. Winner moves way up.

07 Mar 2012 1:25 PM
Indiana Johnny

Is Bloodhorse having problems posting the video or is it my antique pc?

07 Mar 2012 4:16 PM
Criminal Type

Zarvona, Teeth Of The Dog is by Tail Of The Cat, but I get your point.

Dr D, I know your not convinced Union Rag's is the real deal, but regarding your comment that Matz had him cranked all the way up for the FOY, That is not true at all. Matz stated that the horse was only 80 to 85 % for the FOY and they were not even expecting him to win and certainly not as commandingly as he did.

I have no faith in Hansen excelling at any distance past 1 1/8th miles. I think Union Rag's has a ton of stamina in his female pedigree and I think If we are very lucky, the racing gods smile and the stars line up just exactly right, we will all see a triple crown run for the ages.

07 Mar 2012 5:23 PM

Aw gee...I'm sorry my post went up twice.  My computer fizzled as I was writing it the first time, and I never got to submit it.  Somehow it still posted.  

We have to face it.  So far Hansen and Union Rags are BOTH standouts.  You really can't knock either one.  I love them both.  As far as stamina, yes you have to go far back in the pedigree, but we haven't had any TC winners for 34 years.  Of course you have to go far back in the pedigree.  The point's there.  But I have an emotional bent with Hansen.   There was just something about the BCJ that started me thinking about Slew and the Triple Crown.  Perhaps I just have a taste for white lightning. (or tequila)

I think, compared to last year, we have a few more stand-outs.  But you just never know which one will steal the show on Derby Day.  I'm simply hoping it's a horse who can also take the final 2 legs along with it.

Fran: News Pending is a real handsome, and so promising.

Deacon...fingers and toes are crossed for a TC.

El Kabong...whaaa?

(By the way, by the time Zen has this foal, she/he'll be a full grown horse.  Anyone else as impatient as I?)

07 Mar 2012 6:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Criminal Type

  I said that judging by Union Rags appearance that Matz had him ready for a big performance. Matz himself said that he hoped he had him ready but that you never know if you've done enough until they run. Well he did enough. If Matz said that he was 80-85% then 80-85 was enough against that group and 100% should serve him well in his next race or the one after. I thought Matz said that a win wasn't necessary as long as he runs good, not that they weren't expecting him to win. He certainly had him cranked up enough to win the FOY. And I am convinced he is the real deal, just not convinced that he can win The Derby. I think it is obvious that he is talented but I'm not convnced that he'll like 10f. With hansen I have a lot of faith at 9f but I'm definitely not convinced about 10f. It's only 1f difference but a long ways from 10f. Huge difference for most TB's.

07 Mar 2012 9:00 PM
Criminal Type

Slew, The Moss's have been in Lexington for two days now awaiting the birth of Zenyatta's foal. No new's yet. I think it will be Friday. I have Lanes End and Zenyatta liked on my Facebook page and I'm sure they will update as soon as there is any news. I'm betting Anne E. is waiting with camera ready to go take those first Bloodhorse photos of the foal. Im as excited or even more so about which lucky stud is next in line for her.

07 Mar 2012 9:51 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  Very well said my friend,  I too hope we don't have to wait 20 years but the industry better get this drug thing ubder control. Like I nentioned, history is a great teacher albeit not always a happy one........hope I am wrong.

07 Mar 2012 10:06 PM

I never said that Union Rags was a late foal.  He was born in March, for goodness sakes.  As for Discreet Dancer, he was sent to the FOY to get graded earnings. The plan was to then send him to the Kentucky Derby along with Algorithms to set the pace, knowing that he is a miler, no chance to win the derby.  If you guys do enough reading you will find this information.

As for Hansen, he has a good pedigree.  Buckpasser, Secretariat on the tail side.  I just don't like the Native Dancer line breeding. If you look at Eight Bells and Big Brown, you will see the same thing.  The line breeding creates horses that develop soundness issues.  I said that about Algorithms, and look what happened.  

Hansen was bred for speed IMO.  Let me repeat this, In My Opinion.

If Hansen wins the derby, I will be behind him to win the triple crown.  I have a favorite horse just like everyone else.  Now, Papillon and others, your comments lack credibility.  Good night everyone, sweet horse dreams.

07 Mar 2012 10:30 PM

Criminal Ttype, I love you.  I'm taking a beating on this blog for things that I did not say.  I agree Hansen will not get the distance.  Union Rags has the pedigree to do this.  Thank you for your comments.

07 Mar 2012 10:34 PM

Papillon and Karen in Texas, you both love Hansen, and yes I am very impressed with Union Rags, but my mind is open.  Obviously, neither of you do a lot of reading, please do so before posting any more comments.  My statements are factual; I have no ill intent and want all horses to simply come home safe.  

07 Mar 2012 10:58 PM

With Bodemiester now confirmed for the San Felipe, I think that everone else is running for the minor placings. I'll put my original selection Midnight Transfer in the exacta spot. "Bode" is a good one folks.

The Japanese really scored huge with the purchase of Empire Maker.  That Belmont winner throws classic material for both turf and dirt and has a big stud future.

07 Mar 2012 11:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Criminal Type

  Matz is not the kind of man to express over confidence. Here's one quote from him before the FOY. "He's coming up to the race in good form. He's certainly ready to race. Our main objective is to get him the the Kentucky Derby." Most of his comments were made prior to Algorithms being scratched which could certainly have influenced his degree of confidence for the win, but the horse was ready.

08 Mar 2012 8:31 AM
Melissa P

I may be repeating something already stated, so please forgive me if I have.

Deacon, as a former breeder/owner, I think the big difference between horses today and yesteryear is breeding. Today's big breeding operations breed for precocious, fast, short-distance, sales horses - no matter the outcome. In the past, people bred for more distance, bone, and longevity. The market and changes in financial rules have dictated that getting horses to the track earlier trumps durability. How many stallions have more than a dozen starts. We're breeding a much more fragile thoroughbred these days.

08 Mar 2012 10:38 AM

Johnny, I agree in the FOY, Union Rags was at least a length ahead after breaking from the gate.  He had to wait for a couple of the horses to pass him.  He could have easily won the FOY on the lead, IMO.

08 Mar 2012 12:40 PM
El Kabong


You were engaged in a discussion of probability based on as much logical evidence you could muster about Hansen's chances and another blogger tossed in the trump card of divine intervention.  Invoked a higher authority on your mortal wisdom. I was just having fun with that notion as I do most notions that are beyond the attainable confirmation of good old handicapping.  

08 Mar 2012 12:41 PM
Fran Loszynski

All I can say Steve and this is probably a little off the topic but thank goodness for Bloodhorse and reporters like you because after reading that they are having a hard time finding a place to celebrate one of the greatest racehorses in history's birthday Secretariat; I just hope everyone gets together and offers a great place for this to happen. Isn't it ironic that Penney Chenery fought so hard to keep the Meadow Land Stables and gosh we should have Secretariat's Birthday celebration right on the Churchill Downs track or the Belmont. We wonder why horse stories sometimes take the back door for recognition well we need to bring events like this to as many fans as we can and Bloodhorse always does that! Now come on, some great place, let's honor Secretariat, the great horse that "Ran His Own Race". Thank you Bloodhorse, thank you Steve. Now I'm going to watch the movie Secretariat for the sixth time!

08 Mar 2012 1:27 PM

No EXOTHERMIC entered in The Palm Beach.  Any update on him, Steve?

08 Mar 2012 3:20 PM

Dr. D.,

Well stated.  Yeah, how many more years do we ALL have to wait for a TC winner?  The BC has taken the initiative to ban the lasix in the 2 yr. olds but they don't madate or control the industry.  What happens to the 2 yr. olds after the BC, they resume lasix to compete in an industry that hasn't yet banned it?  A lot of horsemen are for lasix so unless the entire industry follows suit with the BC, we're still in a medication mess.

I think the face of breeding must change as well as the banning of calcium depleting meds.  I, for one, cannot wait to stand at Belmont Park for the corronation of the next TC winner.  There's a lot of talented colts out there now, I hope this year ends the drought.

08 Mar 2012 7:13 PM

Mary,  when you start dissing the GREAT Native Dancer then all the rest of your statements become suspect.  If you look at bloodlines you will see that he is in the pedigree of nearly EVERY great runner for MANY years - sometimes multiple times.  That great Nijinsky you were referencing was a relative as was Northern Dancer and Raise A Native and Mr Prospector and on and on.  There is no evidence to support your claim of unsoundness.  You are entitled to your opinions but they should NOT be stated as fact. He himself was not "unsound" if you know the facts about him so he would not be passing along this genetic defect you seem to be referencing. And yes there have been some injured horses with his bloodline but when your name appears in NEARLY EVERY pedigree, it is unavoidable!

08 Mar 2012 7:59 PM
El Kabong

Big Tex,

Is right. What's going on here? NO EXOTHERMIC in Palm Beach and no mention of the void. Hmmmmmm. Not good.

08 Mar 2012 8:36 PM
The Deacon

Melissa P.

       Of course, we all know this, I totally agree. Now throw in the use of Lasix and other drugs and horses become brittle. There will be more breakdowns, euthanizing, and early retirements. How can we expect a Triple Crown winner when we can't even fix our sport. Owners and breeders figured there was much more money to be made in the breeding shed then on the race track. The only concern is, they better hope their stallion isn't a dud. Funny, Steve and Lenny mention things like this all the time and the industry doesn't listen. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing every day but waking up and expecting a different result......

08 Mar 2012 10:41 PM

Race #8 GP -3/3/09

3 yr. old FILLIES

Distance:  1  1/16

Track: (Turf) Firm

Trainer: E. Kenneally

Jockey: J. Castellano

Winner: “Kitty Wine”:

Time: 1:39.73; !!!!!!

Margin: + 9 ¼

Beyer:  _______  ???????

Breeder: Stone Farm & Joseph W. Sutton’

Owner: Stone Farm and Sutton, Joseph W.’



09 Mar 2012 12:00 AM

Fran, thank you.  I watch the Secretariat movie all of the time.  In the Belmont, he really did run his own race.  I hope to see that again.  The day Secretariat won the Belmont was a very good day; I wll never forget it.  

09 Mar 2012 12:43 AM

El Kabong...Gotcha now.  I was wondering which spirit possessed you. (but, Who hasn't learned how to pray when your favorite is headed to the wire gaining on the lead?)

Hooray...the prince has finally arrived, and he's gorgeous.  Congrats to Zen and Bernardini.  Watch out for the 1215 Kentucky Derby.

Since we need to bring things to the fans' goes...Why does no race track, especially Belmont, have a Seattle Slew Stakes race?????  How about it, fans?  Possibly a 10f handicap.  Wouldn't it be awesome?

Maybe the fans need to wake up the tracks.

09 Mar 2012 11:17 AM

Zarvona: Kitty Wine earned a 94 Beyer for that race according to the DRF.

09 Mar 2012 11:32 AM
Forbidden Apple

Creative Cause is the deserving favorite in the San Felipe. His latest workout is razor sharp, good luck with Bodemeister.

09 Mar 2012 11:51 AM

Racingfan, I did not say that.  I just don't like all the line-breeding; of course a lot of horses have a little Native Dancer in their bloodline.  Again, I am talking about line-breeding.  It's a very bad thing and can lead to soundness issues.  Go back and compare Zenyatta's pedigree to Big Brown;  The line-breeding in Big Brown's pedigree is just unconscionable; that's why he had soundness issues, he was bred for speed.   On the other hand Zenyatta's pedigree is an old time kind of pedigree, like when horses were bred for endurance before speed.  Do you understand that?  If not, I give up. Nevermind I give up anyway.  

09 Mar 2012 1:58 PM
Karen in Texas

This weekend's races should give us a look at the progress of several colts on Steve's Dozen. Would a really definitive win in the San Felipe put Creative Cause at the top? I'm interested to see how Liaison runs without blinkers for BB in that race as well. I've watched Spring Hill Farm since his maiden win in mid January and hope he moves forward in the Tampa Bay Derby, but haven't read whether his connections are actually pointing him to the KD right now--he's had sort of a late start. It is March, and a more defined Derby picture is emerging....

09 Mar 2012 5:03 PM
Criminal Type

Ranagulzion, Queens Plate at Woodbine ???...Dixie Strike, Hard Not to Like and Northern Passion trifacta ?  I really like that Hard Spun filly.

Congrats to the Moss's on the birth of Zenyatta's adorable little colt. The video is precious, her licking him. I thought it would be a filly, but in this case I am quite happy to be wrong. I can't wait to see who she is bred to next.

Midnight Transfer in the San Felipe and Dullahan in the Palm Beach.

09 Mar 2012 6:03 PM

TY  Slew  

(Not sleepless in seattle)

And, i see 'coldfacts' posting on other Bloodhorse blogs...  Is there some bad blood re Steve blog still?? ... bud we miss your insights ...

09 Mar 2012 6:14 PM

Congratulations to Zenyatta and Bernardini.  What priceless photos of her and her new foal on her website.  The birth so many of us have been waiting for.  God Bless Zenyatta and her new little treasure.  Hope Steve gets to go in the near future and take some photos of them for us.  How great of Jerry and Ann Moss to be right there the night of the birth, last night. Zenyatta was surrounded by those that love her as she foaled.  Awesome.

09 Mar 2012 6:42 PM

Mary: Big Brown...soundness issues???  Yes he had quarter cracks, but his real issue was his jockey.  He was pulled up in the Belmont by Desormeaux for no known reason, and was found to have no physical issues.  Later that year, "While working out with stablemate Kip Deville on October 13, Big Brown sustained an injury to a hind hoof and was declared out of the Breeders' Cup Classic, and retired."  Bones and muscles were just's his feet that were tender.

Apparently the breeding experts disagree with your position on line breeding (inbreeding).

"The Lesh brothers, early evaluators of Thoroughbred pedigrees, determined that the 3x3 position has only a slightly higher percentage of winners than average, but a very high percentage of good producers. Later researchers have agreed with this finding saying that inbred horses are often extraordinary producers."

So line breeding is less of a "bad thing" than you are assuming, and actually has benefits according to experts who have done the research.

As far as I am aware, the one horse who has raised soundness questions in his progeny is Unbridled's Song...but I don't believe anything definitive has been established.

Zarvonna: I don't believe Beyer numbers are fair in regards to turf or synthetics....or even females...Kitty Wine won over Center Court by a head.  Both were over 9 lengths ahead of the rest of the field.

09 Mar 2012 7:28 PM

I second BigTex's post, any news on Exothermic ?  I've been waiting for this horse to run and get on the trail.  

09 Mar 2012 7:46 PM

So, the connections of Take Charge Indy have decided to skip the Tampa Bay Derby, and put him in the Florida Derby instead. I thought he had an excellent chance to win the TBD. The field in the FD is going to be stacked, so it may be difficult for him to pick up enough earnings to make it to the Kentucky Derby. Pat Byrne had stated that he probably should have sent the colt to the Sam F. Davis stakes instead of that allowance race, and now they do this. I have to wonder how serious his connections are about making the Derby.

09 Mar 2012 8:15 PM

Mary do you really know what you are talking about??? Where do you get the idea that Hansen is inbred to Northern Dancer so much??FACT:Northern Dancer 7Sx5Sx5D, that is 3 crosses. FACT: Union Rags: Northern Dancer 3Sx4D closer than Hansen's. You keep making comments that Hansen is not bred to go the distance. Well, here are some facts: He has 15 stallions in his pedigree listed in the professional category of the chef-de-sire(which is the stamina end)he has a least 9 in the solid category . He has 18 crosses to Nearco, 11 to Discovery, 11 to Blenheim 2, 7 to Teddy, 8 to Princequillo, 8 to Man O' War, 6 to War Admiral, 5 to War Relic, 9 to Blue Larkspur. He also has 3 crosses to La Troienne, 5 to Hyperion, and the list goes on. If you look close you will see the names of La Fabuleux, Run The Gantlet, and April Run, closer up in his pedigree They excelled at distance. Then you have Temperence Hill he did also. This is just a quick trip down memory lane. To state that this horse is a miler is just an opinion, but to say or imply that his connections are going to hurt him by making him run. You really have no idea what you are talking about.

09 Mar 2012 9:54 PM
Baby Jane Towser

Mary, Big Brown would not be Big Brown if it weren't for his "unconscionable linebreeding". How many other Derby-Preakness winners has Boundary sired? Big Brown was bred for distance. Don't take my word for it, check out the pedigree. He is inbred 2x3 to products of the Damascus/Round Table cross (not exactly sprinters) - and his dam is inbred 3x4 to full siblings out of the illustrious mare Rough Shod. Moreover, his dam goes tail female to Simon's Shoes the 2nd dam of Rough Shod.  This is widely regarded as one of the best families in the book. As far as Native Dancer is concerned, Big Brown only carries two strains of Native Dancer, on a 5x5 basis, whereas the grandsire of Zenyatta is inbred to Native Dancer 3x4. Impossible to say why he had foot issues, but its not because he was bred for speed. He never even ran in a sprint. Without the linebreeding he would have been just another son of Boundary, not a horse who the Derby in his 4th start!

10 Mar 2012 12:38 AM
Aaron McC

Steve - interesting dozen.  I agree with those above that a Triple Crown winner would be good for racing.  But, I think what's needed to develop fans is a deeper, more sustained campaign changing public perception and branding racing (not just the Triple Crown) in such a way that new fans develop a sustained, cultural and emotional connection.  I know that you and Lenny often comment on racing's attempts to develop a new fan base, and wonder what you think of "The Other Madness" campaign.... I think the concept of "madness" is an interesting choice, and if they're going for 20 and 30 somethings, its a good one....  I'm serious. It presents racing as an emotional letting go that's wierd, not quite mainstream, which allows it to offer an alternative to the big three sports.  

Given the kind of nostalgia styles (20s and 30s vintage clothing styles and cocktail revivals) newly popular among the target demographic, I think racing would benefit from emphasizing the history of the sport, and appreciate the video that mentions horse racing's prominence in the US through the 19th and early 20th c.  I think more nostalgia fantasy, blended with the "madness" concept would be a good strategy ...

In any case, the campaign seems to be a step in the right direction, if only as a needed attempt.

10 Mar 2012 11:40 AM
Aaron McC

At least its a step up from Kegasus ....

10 Mar 2012 11:42 AM
El Kabong


That spirit would be a gin martini.

IF there's a prayer that starts out, "Get up seven, Get up seven!!!......," then I've said alot of them:)

10 Mar 2012 1:50 PM
El Kabong

Jay Jay, Big Tex,

Exothermic last seen on Feb 24th breeze. Nothing since. Not good.

10 Mar 2012 1:55 PM


Right on! It can't be good for the individual or the breed to have two-year-olds shipping hither and yon, even to Woodbine, in search of graded earnings in baby sprints. A premium for wins at 8 furlongs or more would give more of a chance to start in the Derby to a genuine stayer brought along carefully.

10 Mar 2012 1:58 PM

I once read a blogger bemoaning the fall in the number of horses breaking their maidens at two.

The number of two-year-old maiden winners will approximate the number of two-year-old maiden races that are carded by racing secretaries. No other factor.

The elephant in the living room here guys and gals is that racing is declining and one of the adaptations to fewer races being run is to race your horse less often. Let them down and bring them back up as the British do.

As for the superior soundness of the old timers, let's not close our eyes to these factors: they ran slower; they didn't have to pee in a bottle after they ran; the technology did not exist to detect problems like bone chips; and, perhaps most important, the idea that the horse's welfare came first would have been regarded as barking mad.

10 Mar 2012 2:08 PM
El Kabong

Tampa Bay Deby.........

Battle Hardened over Spring Hill Farm, Tell All You Know, Prospective. All four train on the deep surface of Pmm and all but SHF's have experience on the TB surface which favors those close to the pace.

Palm Beach............

Howe Great over Dullahan. Howe Great and JV should control the pace and get this. Dullahan will be closing but not so sure Dullahan is fit enough to get there unless the pace gets out of control. Not likely in this small field and JV is unbeatable with even 2nd or 3rd best horse under his saddle on turf.  

San Felipe,

I still can't convince myself of a pick in here that exudes any kind of confidence in a wager. Is bode a  monstah? I don't think anyone knows yet, but alot of locals seem to think so. Did creative cause get "exactly what he needed last out?" He better have. Rosario jumping on board would suggest he did, because I sure liked the effort Empire Way displayed in that blistering RB Lewis. He has 3 more works under his belt and a great Jockey for winning from off the pace. Liason got fried in his 1st back in that wicked pace and was tiring long before he clipped heels. Hence 4 works and good ones at that. American Act is very fit, and may be his best at this distance. NOT one work since that last 7F effort. His progress has been steady and that last effort was gutsy. There, I've narrowed my pick down to 5 I really like. 10 cent super box is 12 bucks. Hmmmm.

10 Mar 2012 2:28 PM

Baby Jane: To be fair, I'm the one who mentioned Big Brown's foot issues, as opposed to Mary's claim of unsoundness due to line-breeding.  Big Brown was certainly not unsound.


Mary: I should note that the one horse considered most royal of American breeding has plenty of line breeding.  You just don't get better than an AP Indy...lots of inbreeding that produced a dynasty.

Face it folks: Inbreeding among humans (as praticed by early aristocracy) has produced idiots and insanity.

In animals, however, it has refined their class and defined their place in our culture.  Perhaps it's because some animals, like horses, have so many more genes to play with.  I do consider outbreeding to be a positive step, (like Lonrho coming to stud).  But all thoroughbreds eventually trace back to the Arab...and have been bred to keep certain lines in tact.  Considering the original warhorse, that is not a bad thing.

10 Mar 2012 2:36 PM
Baby Jane Towser

Slew, I don't know about synthetics, but Beyers on the turf are useless, no need to even print them

10 Mar 2012 3:11 PM

Prospective wins the Tampa Bay Derby furthering his advances to the Kentucky Derby and perhaps some respect from many in the turf media. However, with the withdrawal of Take Charge Indy its hard to put the win into 'perspective' with regards to the overall Triple Crown picture.

This year there seems to be a lot of 'talking horses' coming out of maiden wins etc that don't match their hype when it comes to stakes competition. Mind you, highs and lows is what the Kentucky Derby Trial is all about.  

10 Mar 2012 6:41 PM
Forbidden Apple

Creative Cause was running hard after the wire, it looked like Rosario was having trouble pulling him up. He is much better than his one length victory. A 1 1/4 mile race will be perfect for him. The San Felipe will sharpen him up nicely, look out!

11 Mar 2012 11:03 AM

Bigtex, jayjay, & El Kabong;

According to, Exothermic suffered a minor setback that caused him to miss some training. He is over it now, and will be pointed to either the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) or the Lexington Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland.


11 Mar 2012 1:58 PM

Cassandra: You said, "As for the superior soundness of the old timers, let's not close our eyes to these factors: they ran slower"

Is that why no modern day horse has ever broken Secretariat's times?  Because he was sooo slow?  He ran the fastest Derby ever, and Sham the second fastest.  Monarchos was closest after that..but he didn't win the TC.  And I'll barely mention his unmatched Belmont win by 31 lengths at 2:24.

Dr Fager was slow? this remarkable animal set the world record at 1 mile on any surface, 1:32 1/5.

How many horses today can claim HOY for 5 straight years?  How many horses today actually run that long?  Kelso was a perfect example of the iron horse.

Fastest Santa Anita Derby? 1965 Lucky Debonaire, 1:47:00, Same time for Sham in 1973 and Indian Charlie in 1998.

So the old timers were definitely not slow.  You short-changed their abilies.

Baby Jane...Andy Beyers used to give pitifully low numbers to horses on synthetics.  Even when she broke records, Zen's Beyers were low.  Beyers number are extremely biased toward East Coast dirt horses.

El Kabong: Tequila!

11 Mar 2012 2:08 PM

Slew, my lad:

For me, 'old-timer' has to be a bit further back than a horse in the 2nd generation of some current runners. At least pre-60s.

I don't remember the days when every trainer had his secret 'tonic' but I do remember seeing a lot of horses snubbed up tight the night before race day standing in a bucket of ice. ELISA came in during the late 80s.

I suspect that around the turn of the 20th century, many folks were scoffing at the soft modern horses that weren't up to running four-miles heats.

12 Mar 2012 12:34 AM

Oh that cost and injuries:  

 (last auction price!)

Not a game for the short of pocket.

Algorithms:  $170K;  

Basmati: $35K;  

Currency Swap: $90K;  

Ever So Lucky: $600K


Fed Biz: $950K;

Fire on Ice: $170K;  

Here Comes Frazer: $35K;  

Hunt Crossing: $275K

J.C.’s Pride: $200K;  

Junebugred: $20K;

(f) My Miss Aurelia: $550K;

O’Prado Again: $350K;

Timely Tally: $220K;

   Privately Owned:  

B Shanny;



(f) Ismene;  

Out of Bounds;




12 Mar 2012 4:31 PM

I am guess requesting the question of "What was Howe Great's Beyer figure ?"  OFF OF THE TURF !!!!... lol ... will just then be a meaningless stastic ,,, that being IF  I COULD EVER GET THE  &+^%(^&)*  ANSWER!!!

12 Mar 2012 4:36 PM

WOW look at the + $200K earners thus far... this is shaping up to be a Derby between Storm Cat breds and NOT Storm Cat bred horses more and more every day... I suppose if Storm Cat breds fill 50% of the Gate slots they will be 50-50 to be the winner!! Gee maybe next year the gate will be filled with 75% to 100 % Storm Cat breds and we won't have them to exclude in the future from hanging roses around their necks anymore. Creative Cause was my Breeders Juv hoss and let me down... Gee he's coming back strong as a 3 year old,,,  but he is on the side of the dreaded Storm Cat breds !!! for the Derby run... hmmmmmmmm  

12 Mar 2012 4:45 PM

ok mid March... so here is my current top 20 list ...

hard to to separate those in my top 5 so I will just list them in alphabetical order:

"Creative Cause"

"El Padrino"


"Howe Great"

"Union Rags";

to complete my 'dozen'...

6.) "I'll Have Another";

7.) "Bodemeister";

8.) "Mark Velaski";

9.) "Secret Circle";

10.) "Alpha";

11.) "Sabercat";

12.) "Gemologist";

to the top twenty...

13.) "Dullahan";

14.) "Castaway";

15.) "Prospective";

16.) "My Adonis";

17.) "News Pending";

18.) "Midnight Transfer";

19.) "Take Charge Indy";

20.) "Liaison";

 da bubble:



12 Mar 2012 7:00 PM

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