Derby Dozen (video) - March 26, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

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Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Still razor sharp after two tough races, as indicated by his :59 4/5 drill. It is those two stiff races that gives him the slight edge over Union Rags, and the fact that he has a bit more upside when it comes to getting the 1 ¼ miles. He could have been more professional in the stretch of the San Felipe, but we attribute that to the whip. We’d like to see Rosario put it away in the Santa Anita Derby and see what happens. He didn’t need it last year, and he doesn’t need any aggressive encouragement next time out, just a good solid effort to get him to Kentucky.


Union Rags Michael Matz

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Breezed a half in :49, but flew home in :11 1/5, blowing by his two workmates, and was a pole in front going into the turn. He would seem to need a fairly stiff race, but Matz obviously doesn’t want him freaking either. He’s doing everything the right way. As dominating as he was against News Pending and Discreet Dancer in the Fountain of Youth, he should be tested by El Padrino, and the feeling here is that he’s going to need that test. Take Charge Indy and News Pending aren’t going to be waving any white flags either. He’s still the solid Derby favorite and has shown enough so far to indicate he could be on the road to greatness.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

Let’s give credit to Pletcher and the Let’s Go Stable team for not being afraid to take on Union Rags now when they could have returned to Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby. Might as well find out how he stacks up now, as Union Rags should only get better after this race. El Padrino is a hard-running colt who will stay the distance and isn’t going to back down under fire, as he showed in the Risen Star. With Union Rags coming off only one easy win this year, this actually may be the perfect time for a tenacious, seasoned horse like El Padrino to test him. Pletcher was happy with his final work, a half-mile breeze in :49.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 1/5, and is doing so well in Kentucky he’s going to stay home and return to the Polytrack in the Blue Grass Stakes instead of heading back to New York for the Wood Memorial as originally planned. The owner cites the safety factor in not having to travel and running on a kinder surface. We can’t recall more alterations in horses’ schedules than this year, as we’ve been bombarded with last-minute changes of plans. That’s not to say this isn’t a good idea. Polytrack has proven to be a decent springboard to the Derby, with two of the last five Derby winners having prepped over it. What is important for Hansen is to show again he can rate off the pace and come home strong.


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

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

I can’t pinpoint why I have such high regard for this colt, especially considering I questioned his skipping the San Felipe. But I love the way he’s been training, with that brilliant 6-furlong work between races followed by one-mile and 7-furlong works. The 7-furlong work in 1:26 1/5 seemed perfect; not too fast and not too slow. O’Neill is putting a lot of conditioning in him and air in his lungs, while trying to prevent him from peaking in the Santa Anita Derby following a two-month layoff. If he succeeds and I’ll Have Another is right there against Creative Cause and possibly Bodemeister, then he’ll have a tough horse on the first Saturday in May. I could be wrong about him, especially considering the Lewis form hasn’t held up, but I just have a feeling this is a much better horse than most people think, and he could be a huge Future Wager overlay at 22-1.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

This is another colt who has been targeted for several different races and hasn’t run in any of them yet. He was given a stakes pass when an allowance race was carded for him, had a stroll in the park, and now needs a good stiff race to prepare him for the Derby off two starts. He, like Alpha, appears to be heading to the Wood Memorial against a large field, and another easy race is the last thing he needs. He is undefeated, he has the pedigree to run all day, and he has two victories at Churchill Downs. That is a dream resume. More importantly, from a physical and performance standpoint, he has made a great transition from 2 to 3. Like with Super Saver, a little R&R on the farm seems to have done wonders for him. Have to plead guilty for rooting for a son of Tiznow to win the Derby.


Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

Lowered him a little only because it’s so tight and at this point he will be the last of the major contenders to compete, along with Hansen. He’s the other horse I’d love to have in the Future Wager (at 26-1), because I find him so intriguing. I loved his second-place finish in the Palm Beach as much as any prep I’ve seen, even if it was on the grass. I can’t help but picture him flying late in the Derby. Although a non-threatening fourth, his race in the BC Juvenile ranked right up there with the top 3, as he turned a horrible trip into an excellent performance. Come Derby week, I expect him to be back in the top 5.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

Breezed a sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00 4/5. Although we’ve had Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley,” he goes down as the animal who has had the most interesting journey ever without having gone anywhere. At this point, it looks like he’s finally going to wind up in New York for the Wood Memorial. The bottom line is this is a legitimate Derby contender who is just itching to prove it. He appears to have the talent to take on anybody, and it’s not imperative that he win his final Derby prep, especially after a two-month layoff. He just needs to get in a starting gate, anywhere, and then get down to the serious business of preparing for the Derby. He has the tools, he has the trainer, and he has the pedigree. You can’t ask for much more.


Bodemeister Bob Baffert Click Here!

Empire Maker—Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

He moves up in stature after his bizarre work at Santa Anita that looked more like the chariot race from “The Ten Commandments.” That had to be the wildest free-for-all ever and he came through it like a champ, working in :46 4/5 for the half-mile. I don’t know if any horse has ever gotten a better learning experience out of a work, as he had to negotiate his way through a 10-horse cavalry charge, constantly getting dirt kicked in his face, and not only emerged unscathed, he turned in the second-fastest work at the distance. He still has a lot of history to overcome, but as we well know, times are changing, and he seems to have as much raw ability as anyone. He just needs to catch up in a hurry and keep a straighter course than he did in the San Felipe. Our best wishes to Baffert for a speedy recovery.


Mark Valeski Larry Jones Click Here!

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

Jones has him razor sharp with a bullet :59 2/5 work. When the smoke clears, he should be a solid favorite in the Louisiana Derby, and is going to be awfully tough if he runs back to the Risen Star. We’ll find out if he’s a star in the making. Sometimes, it’s that second two-turn race that tells more about a horse with his kind of brilliance. They either move forward off the first one or they fail to duplicate it.


Liaison Bob Baffert Click Here!

Indian Charlie—Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 3/5 for likely start in the Santa Anita Derby. Thought Baffert might send him out of town after last two, but he’s listed as a probable starter. Still can’t help but think we’re going to see big improvement, but the Santa Anita Derby looks like a very tough place to do it. Basically, just looking for a clean trip and a strong finish. He certainly doesn’t need to win, but must at least be competitive with this group, so he can build off it and move forward in the Derby. If not here, the Arkansas Derby or even the Wood look like enticing spots to get him back on track.


Daddy Nose Best Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Scat Daddy—Follow Your Bliss, by Thunder Gulch

Although he hasn’t been beating the best of fields he has won back-to-back graded stakes and has demonstrated that all-important desire to win. In his last two starts, he did beat good horses who finished far ahead of the third-place horse, which is something I love to see. Isn’t He clever, previously unbeaten at Sunland, beat the third horse by 7 ¼ lengths. If Union Rags makes it to the Derby, he’s going to lose Leparoux, who has ridden him in his last eight starts and they’re just now getting in sync with each other. The Sunland Derby was set up perfectly for him, but he did come home his last eighth in :12 flat. He’s getting sneaky-good right now.

Knocking At The Door

Went the Day Well Graham MotionClick Here!

Proud Citizen—Tiz Maie’s Day, by Tiznow

Tough decision between him and Daddy Nose Best for No. 12 spot. Team Valor has been waiting for this kind of breakout race from him for a couple of months and has felt this was their Derby horse ever since he arrived from Europe. There is no doubting their ability to find good horses…anywhere. Big question now is whether to run him again before the Derby. Immediately after the race, owner and trainer seemed to have different thoughts on the matter. Although his race in the Spiral was impressive, and he demonstrated a very efficient stride, it wasn’t as eye-catching or professional as Animal Kingdom’s win last year and he could still use some fine tuning for the Derby. His closing fractions of :25 4/5 and :13 1/5 were just OK, and the first three finishers had never run in a stakes, so we really don’t know the true quality of the field. Most of all, however, loved the way he handled traffic, surrounded by horses a good deal of the trip, and never flinched. European background might have helped in that regard. Good chance he’ll jump into the Top 12 after next week’s races.

Holy Candy John Sadler

Candy Ride – Spooky Minister, by Deputy Minister

Yes, the pace was slow. Yes, it was only a maiden race. And, yes, the competition was far from strong. But there was something about his scintillating victory from a visual standpoint that caught the eye. His final half in :46 1/5 and final quarter in :22 4/5 didn’t hurt, nor did his powerful gallop-out, in which he opened 15 lengths in a flash. But most of all it was the way he was striding out in the final sixteenth that suggested this might be a pretty special colt. The Santa Anita Derby is an ambitious spot for his next start, especially with the top-class field being assembled and the fact he’ll probably need to win to assure a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby. But all that aside, we’re still going to pay close attention to him just to see what we’re dealing with.

Windsurfer Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Speightstown – Surf Light, by Malibu Moon

This colt could be Pletcher’s best kept secret, and even coming off a maiden victory he may be ready for a bust-out performance in the Louisiana Derby. Although his pedigree is geared more toward speed than stamina, he was very impressive winning his last race at 1 1/16 miles after being forced 6-wide going into the first turn and still drew off to a 2 ½-length victory, coming home in a solid :24 3/5 and :06 2/5. He’ll go into the race off a visually impressive 1:01 3/5 breeze.

My Adonis Kelly Breen

Pleasantly Perfect—Silent Justice, by Elusive Quality

Returned to the work tab with a sharp five-furlong drill in 1:00 3/5 in preparation for the Wood Memorial. The only two horses who have finished in front him this year have been Hansen and Algorithms, and he has a license to improve big-time going 1 1/8 miles. Even with Gemologist and Alpha in the Wood, he’s going to be very dangerous. He definitely is one of our main sleepers and will climb up the list in the upcoming weeks as the Wood gets closer.

Optimizer D. Wayne Lukas

English Channel—Indy Pick, by A.P. Indy

I’m going to hold off until the Arkansas Derby, as there is a major question about the 3-year-old form at Oaklawn this year, especially with the failure of Castaway in the Sunland Derby. Unless there are some high-profile shippers for the Arkansas Derby, the race could come up a bit soft and turn out to be a rematch between this horse and Secret Circle. Baffert and Pletcher are so deep, this would seem like a good spot to try to land some huge graded earnings and grade I status. As for this colt, I’ve been a fan since last fall and would love to see him get Lukas back to the Derby. He just needs to put two good races in a row to be considered a serious contender. Looking for another big effort in the Arkansas Derby.

Secret Circle Bob Baffert Click Here!

Eddington—Ragtime Hope, by Dixieland Band

Again, we need to see him take another step forward stretching out to 1 1/8 miles. He’s another horse who wants to win and that’s a trait that will always make him dangerous on the Derby trail, as long as he can prove his ability to get nine furlongs. At this point, it would seem logical to ship him back to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby after his two stakes victories over the track.

News Pending Dale Romans Click Here!

Harlan’s Holiday—Motivated Sreva, by Lear Fan

Breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 for the Florida Derby, which will be his make or break race, as it will Take Charge Indy. He just has to figure out what his best running style is and stay consistent with it, Right now we don’t know how he wants to run. We do know he has a big kick and can use it anywhere on the track. It would seem the later the better if he’s going to have any chance to pick up a big chunk of the purse on Saturday.

Prospective Mark Casse

Malibu Moon—Spirited Away, by Awesome Again

His connections have to decide whether to go in the Wood Memorial or Arkansas Derby. The latter would seem a logical spot for the reasons listed above, but the Wood would give him an extra week to the Derby. This is a consistent, hard-trying colt who just has to prove he can handle better horses than he was facing at Tampa Bay. His owner, John Oxley, did use the Wood as a springboard to a Derby victory with Monarchos.

Take Charge Indy Pat Byrne Click Here!

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

Breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 for his all-important engagement in the Florida Derby, where, like News Pending, he needs to pick up enough graded earnings to move into the Derby picture. He is another whose best running style is still unknown. He also has a big move in him, but needs to time it right. Even with missing the Tampa Derby, a big effort by him on Saturday would not come as a surprise, and you can be sure, with his pedigree, his bandwagon will fill up quickly.

Others to keep an eye on this weekend are Cigar Street, a 13 ¼-length maiden winner last time out, who steps way up in company in the Louisiana Derby; California invader Rousing Sermon, who should appreciate the long Fair Grounds stretch and the switch to Mike Smith. Has to overcome the 12 post, but could be a smart play in here; the consistent Z Dager, who needs just a little more rocket fuel in the stretch; the late-running Shared Property, who has a good effort in him anytime he gets the right scenario; Finnegan’s Wake, an improving Dale Romans colt who was third in the Gotham; and Well Armed’s brother Arm Force, who was impressive last time out.

Others to watch are Street Life, who should be the big buzz horse in the Wood Memorial after his two electrifying stretch runs. The big issue with him is maturity; Sabercat, who is eligible to improve big-time off the Rebel; still haven’t given up on him; Howe Great, who will have his hands full in the Blue Grass; Najjaar, who will relish the extra distance in the Arkansas Derby; Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Golden Ticket; Our Entourage, who likely will head to the Illinois Derby in an effort to get owner Mike Repole back to Churchill Downs; Private Terms winner Raconteur, who should be heard from more prominently later on; Sam F. Davis winner Battle Hardened, who needs to rebound off a disappointing effort in the Tampa Bay Derby; Jake Mo, a consistent closer who finished a solid fourth in the Rebel; the four-time stakes-placed Senor Rain, who beat a strong field in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claimer at Santa Anita; Stat, another Pletcher latecomer who was brilliant winning a one-mile allowance/optional claimer; and the enigmatic Drill, who stretches back out in the Blue Grass Stakes.


Leave a Comment:


I really like the way Daddy Nose Best won the Sunland.

His ears were pricked and he was looking around.

He is heading in the right direction and will be on all my exotic tix come May 5th..  

26 Mar 2012 8:55 PM
Tiz Herself

Hoping for a speedy recovery for Mr. Baffert. Hope he's okay.

26 Mar 2012 9:27 PM
Tiz Herself

Can't wait to see Mark Valeski and Mr. Bowling in the Louisiana Derby - add in WinStar's Windsurfer, Finnegan's Wake, Arm Force, Shared Property... should be a good one.

Steve, what's your opinion on Isn't He Clever?

26 Mar 2012 9:30 PM
Tiz Herself

Princess Arabella was absolutely fantastic in the Sunland Oaks - can't wait to see more from her! I loved Any Given Saturday, am excited to see his kids are starting to bloom. Also happy to see Saturday Launch on the late nom list, although not sure where he'll start next.

26 Mar 2012 9:33 PM

Very difficult to separate the top 6.  Best thing about it is you will get 10-1 on a horse like Gemologist.  

26 Mar 2012 10:18 PM
El Kabong


Daddy is one tough  monkey. He wins on the away court and that is a huge sign of horse who is just stubborn enough to pull off an upset. Damn this guy, he has me concerned. The will to win cannot be underestimated in any athlete and this guy has it. He doesn't seem to know his limitations. We'll have to watch his workouts in Louisville. I'm happy for Mr. Asmussen, I didn't see a horse in his barn until now, and I have been rooting for him since Private Vow. Keep an eye on him for us.

26 Mar 2012 11:03 PM


I can't see El Padrino going all out to win the Florida Derby if the connections really have their sights set on the first Saturday in May. While it is fairly obvious that Union Rags will benefit from a hard race, the same cannot be said for El Padrino and I think that it would be foolhardy to run this colt into the ground with back to back gut-wrenchers before his big date in Louisville.  It seems more likely that Take Charge Indy, Fort Loudon, Reveron and News Pending are the ones coming to prove a point in the Florida Derby and I have a sneaky suspicion that the exotics will be lucrative in that race.

I think that Daddy Nose Best has earned himsel a bigger jump up your list than you've given him. he earned a 100 Beyer speed rating in the Sunland Derby and has demonstrated beyond doubt that the stretch out in distance to ten furlongs is going to be right up his alley. He looks like a top five colt right now that is yet to give of his best.

Another interesting development is that the winner of the Swale Stakes, Trinniberg became a late nominee to the Triple Crown series. Surely his likely presence in the Derby (already with $174,000 in graded earnings) is bound to change the complexion of the pace and race: Steve you need to give a perspective on this although I know that you consider him no more than a sprinter. You do remember Bold Forbes, don't you?

Trinniberg is a Northern Dancer line colt that has the Northern dancer over Secretariat cross top and bottom, along with stamina influences Herbager, Secreto and Dunce within the first five generations plus inbreeding to Princequillo further back. his cruising speed will be punishing to other habitual frontrunners and he could float away if underrated. From my perspective this colt adds lots of spice, the real hot stuff, to the Derby diet. Are you going to be quiet?

26 Mar 2012 11:19 PM

Mark V. wins easy and El P drops out of top 10 after Saturday.

26 Mar 2012 11:21 PM
El Kabong

Speedy recovery for speedy Bob.

I'll share a story about him that truly gets to the genuine goodness of his character and heart. My brother was in Arcadia for work and went to SA for breakfast and a little early am fun. He was having breakfast and Mr. Baffert sat across from him. He saw mike going through his racing form and asked him if he saw anything he liked. Mike told him, your horse in the 2nd looks ok(morning line favorite), but I like your horse in the 5th better( a shot). Bob looked him in the eye and said, Me too. Good luck.

I don't think I need to tell the rest of the story except to say that he is a class act. He entertained Mike for a good half hour chatting thoroughbreds with Mike and left him with a memory of what is good about this sport. He's been a Baffert Bandwagon Banchi ever since.

Slainte Mr. Baffert.

26 Mar 2012 11:22 PM
Mike Monarchos

First I'd like to wish Bob Baffert a speedy recovery. He's a great trainer and is great for the sport of horse racing! Get well soon Bob!

The Florida Derby should be a great race on Sat. We'll see if Union Rags is as good as Draynay thinks he is. I think El Padrino can beat him. Union Rags does not even have a 100 Beyer yet. Matz will have him ready, but probably not for a peak effort.

El Padrino shouldn't be totally cranked up either.

Maybe Take Charge Indy will be a factor.

My top five:

(1) El Padrino

(2) Union Rags

(3) Creative Cause

(4) Gemologist

(5) Hansen

27 Mar 2012 12:33 AM

Love seeing a Candy Ride colt entering the picture, albeit kinda late in the game and with one shot at making the needed earnings.

I'm really curious to see how My Adonis and Street Life do in the Wood.  I've had my eye on My Adonis for a long time, and I really think that if Street Life figures out how to change leads, he will be one seriously dangerous horse.

Hansen going to the Blue Grass is going to ensure tasty odds come Derby Day, as many bettors still disrespect the Polytrack as a Derby prep indicator. Seeing him rate last time out made me a believer in him, and unlike some others, I do not worry about him getting the mile and a quarter distance.  He may be my one play in Derby Future Pool 3.  

Thanks again for taking the time to do our homework for us, Steve.

Best wishes to Mr. Baffert on a speedy recovery.

27 Mar 2012 5:59 AM
Mike from Michigan

Bob, many well wishes go out to you from Michigan.  Hope you are up and around very soon.  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and peg 'Take Charge Indy' in the Florida Derby.  This race is crucial for his connections if they have any hope on making it to Louisville.  He has been training real well and it looks like he is ready for his best effort...he will need it.  Good luck TCI.

27 Mar 2012 8:01 AM

 Before the horses, no matter what the cost--especially in loss and tragedy--there are the people that make this sport go. So before any comment on the horses this week, my best wishes to Bob Baffert and his family and all his connections concerned that Bob--a long time fan favortie and one of my own--finds the pleasure in a speedy and complete recovery.

27 Mar 2012 9:04 AM

20-1 morning line odds on Arm Force in the LA Derby...  I am very tempted at those odds!  While I am not sure he is ready for this kind of win, the place would be good enough for a Derby slot and we know that the 1 1/4 mile is what he is bred to run!

27 Mar 2012 9:44 AM
Your Only Friend

Still cannot believe only 8 horses ran in the Sunland Derby for 800 big ones......Daddy nose best looked good closing......wonder where everyone else was hiding....andy why.....800 big ones is big money in anyones language

27 Mar 2012 9:48 AM

LOL… Are you guys for real? “Neither “Union Rags” nor “El Padrino” should not nor need to burn themselves out as they don’t need the graded earnings??? “ What are you people thinking.  This is Horse racing at its best. This is a $I Million purse. This is why the run for crying out loud whether they get to the Kty. Derby or not. The Fla. Derby is a huge event, one of the top 5 three year old races in this country and believe me it looks fine on any horse’s resume for breeding purposes no matter where any of these animals finishes in the traffic jam in Kentucky!! This isn’t some pre Derby workout. But, simply its about speed, tactics, desire and heart, the traits in any race, human or animal, and its mostly all about the best athlete winning. Whoever wins this race should be the top ranked dog in anyone’s top five! .THE BEST ATHLETE!!  Is “Union Rags” ‘the monster’ the press has been building him to be??? Is he the next coming of “Big Brown” or “Big Red”? Are we about to witness the “Bellamy Road” run # II ??--I have my doubts

--or is “El Padrino” going to step up and show that he has become the best athlete at 3 ??? Then again should we dismiss that fact the Mr. Sanford after consulting with his trainer has made the right move with “Take Charge Indy” and that he now has some fresh monster himself coming into the Fla. Derby ??? And then again, another little guy from off of the turf, I won’t dismiss with his breeding also to die for, “New Pending”, a scrappy little athlete in his own right that also needs the coveted graded stakes earnings more so than the rest and that BESIDES the PURSE WIN itself, is he going to step and prove, I AM THE DOG!!! --“News Pending”… dbl. bred to: Northern Dancer; Exclusive Native;--Raise a Native-Native Dancer -Princequillo (Ire.)-Prince Rose (G.B.); & Hail to Reason;  & triple bred to: Bold Ruler; & 5 Xs bred to: Nasrullah (G.B.);  … & at least 9 Xs inbred to Nearco (Ity.);  & 3 Xs bred to the ‘BHXFG’ via 2 Xs to Blossom Time; & 1 X to Brushup; --So don’t go trying to convince yourselves or anyone else that one of these isn’t going to be giving 99% come Saturday, because I will assure you they will all be coming with 100% of whatever they have to bring!!!

27 Mar 2012 9:54 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Get well soon Bob. Glad you made it. By a nose from the sounds of it.

1. I'll Have Another- His workouts have O'Neill giddy. And Steve likes them too !!!

2. El Padrino- He's ready for the big test. We'll see this weekend how good he is.

3. Hansen- I still think they don't know for sure which race is next. The three weeks from The Bluegrass has to be scary if he is just now recovering from the Gotham.

4. Union Rags- Reads Muscle magazines and works out in the gym.

5. Creative Cause- Loves to run and loves to race.

6. Street Life- My Hero.

7. Bodemeister- Monster workout. He's back with a vengeance.

8. Daddy Nose Best- The Nose knows and he has the pedigree.

9. Gemologist- I like his stride.

10. Secret Circle- Winner.

11. Optimizer- If he can keep closing like that with that distance pedigree then D. Wayne is back.

12. Midnight Transfer- Workout is encouraging.

13. Went The Day Well, Holy Candy, and Stirred Up.

27 Mar 2012 9:59 AM
Dave R.

Union Rags and Gemologist seem best to me at this point.  Current good longshots from my perspective

are Golden Ticket, Prospective, Mark Valeski, and Went the Day Well.  Just my two cents.

27 Mar 2012 10:19 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Standing near the paddock area at Sunland Park on Sunday, I was able to observe the Derby horses.  They were a pretty impressive group.  However, Castaway was clearly not happy.  He repeatedly tossed his head, kicked, and objected to the equipment procedure.  I went back to my seat thinking he wasn't going to do well.  Probably not  legimate handicapping but a legimate feeling.  And please enlighten me on why two top notch jockeys rode the race as they did.  Very perplexing.  As for the Derby Dozen, loved it as usual.  The "Travels with Charley" comment was priceless.  

27 Mar 2012 11:18 AM

  “Nearco (Ity.)-1935 [ (14-  14-0-0)-Pharos (G.B.)-Phalaris (G.B.)]- Sire of champions Nearctic, Nasrullah & Royal Charger, major stallion influence for Northern Dancer and Bold Ruler lines. Born January, 24, 1935 - died June 6, 1957.”

  “Phalaris (G.B.)- 1913 [ (26-  16-2-1) The] Leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland (1925, 1928) Leading broodmare sire in Great Britain & Ireland (1937, 1941, 1942). In the last century, the male line of Phalaris dominates world racing like no other, represented by the world’s greatest sirelines: Northern Dancer, Raise a Native, Nasrullah, Buckpasser, and many others. And there’s no end in sight. Phalaris died in 1931.”

27 Mar 2012 12:14 PM

So Draynay likes Union Rags..... There's a throw out, then.

Alpha is the horse, right now. Ability to go the distance will prevail over those Beyer figs that Draynay oh so loves every year.

Remember Uncle Schmooo?

27 Mar 2012 1:05 PM
Anita Xanax

Y'all go ahead and forget all about Went The Day Well, let me get better odds. My top 3 today: Union Rags, WTDW, and as much as I dislike Mr. Pletcher, Gemologist. Hang on to your collective hats, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!!

27 Mar 2012 1:06 PM
Pedigree Ann

Really, Ranaguzlion? Trinniberg? Northern Dancer is SIX generations back on the sire line. And in between are such distance limited horses as Teuflesberg (best win, G2 7f), Johannesburg (best win G1 8.5f), and Hennessy (best win G1 6f at 2). The dam won only a sprint, SP at 2 at Finger Lakes. The damsire won only sprints; the second dam won only sprints. You sure are asking a lot of the more distant ancestors to make it through this roadblock of no 10f

(or even 9f) distance ability.

Let me explain "regression to the mean". Horses in the wild don't need to run fast for more than 2 or 3 furlongs to escape a chasing predator. Left to themselves, this is where the racing speed of all horses, including TBs, would be limited. By judicious breeding of the odd ones who could run fast for longer distances over many, many generations, we came up with the Thoroughbred. But the baseline of the species is always there, tugging the distance over which such speed can be shown back toward the 'normal mean' for the species. Only by continuously finding the fastest, stamina-endowed animals and preferring them as breeding stock will the TB retain the stamina that is its defining trait.

The more generations between the staying animals in the pedigree and the horse itself, the less likely the staying genes are to be present.

27 Mar 2012 1:06 PM

Current Dozen:

1. Union rags

2. Creative Cause

3. El Padrino

4. Hansen

5. Alpha

6. I'll Have Another

7. Bodemiester

8. Gemologist

9. Dullahan

10. Went The Day Well

11. Mark V.

12. Daddy Nose Best

On the Bubble:

Secret Circle, Midnight Transfer, Take Charge Indy, News Pending, Howe Great, Lucky Chappy, Prospective and Cigar Street.

My 2 cents on the others...

I do not believe in Liason, this horse is too slow for me to even consider. Optimizer was finishing well against tired horses, I don't think he'll be a factor in the Ark. Derby. Holy Candy is WAY overrated. My Adonis will get better as he gets older, I'll look for him in the Belmont, he reminds me of Ruler on Ice.  

27 Mar 2012 2:27 PM

Not too thrilled with any of the top contenders as a potential Derby winner. As of now consider either Holy Candy or Liaison as best. Interesting that it appears Holy Candy likes some distance whereas his full-sister was a pure sprinter.

27 Mar 2012 2:46 PM

All good thought to Bob Baffert for a speedy and complete recovery.

My view of Went The Day Well is that he looks very fit and I will be interested in how he progresses.  

I agree with El Kabong's statement that the will to win is irreplaceable and should never be discounted, and like Your Best Friend, was surprised at the small entry for $800k.

Steve, I get a kick out of your acknowledgement that you can't pinpoint why you like I'll Have Another as well as you do, and offer that I have that same don't-know-why-I-just-like-him feeling about Prospective.  That is part of the fun of spring.

27 Mar 2012 3:00 PM

This is always such an exciting part of the year as hopes and emotions run high as we get closer and closer to the first Saturday in May.

On another subject - "Daddy Nose Best?" That poor horse. What an awful name.

27 Mar 2012 3:14 PM

Hi Steve, you use to mention Reveron several times on your knocking at the door. I noticed you no longer have him mentioned, your thoughts on him in the Florida Derby, also Fort Loudon, never mentioned, I think he has had more races than any other horse, 10 if I'm not mistaken. What are your thoughts about him?

Kind Regards,


27 Mar 2012 3:14 PM
The Deacon

Hmmmm; no one is really high on Secret Circle, interesting.

The colt hasn't done anything wrong. After all the upsets the past few years I certainly wouldn't count him out.

Still like Creative Cause, Hansen, and Street Life.

27 Mar 2012 3:19 PM

the last furlong of holy candy was u-n-b-e-l-i-b-e-b-l=e ,i hope he can get grade earnings to be on kd ,same type of horse as creative cause( for me today's best), a grey giant grinder.

27 Mar 2012 3:34 PM

simply like the name Daddy Nose Best.

, thus he is my favorite.

27 Mar 2012 3:36 PM
Criminal Type

Plodderman, Mistaking Union Rag's for Uncle Mo would be your own misfortune. These colts are nothing alike. I don't recall Michael Matz, looking for a glorified allowance race for Rag's 3 year old debut. I also don't recall Union Rag's barely getting up to win said allowance race...Wait, thats right, his 3 yr old debut was made in a major stakes race which he won by 4 length's without even trying.

Ranagulzion, your analysis of Trinniburg in the Derby is right on in my opinion. Could make things very interesting. If he goes out and engages Hansen right out of the gate, neither one will be much good after 7 or 8 furlongs. Burn the speed off early and let the real contenders fight it out. Union Rag's has proven he can run from anywhere.

27 Mar 2012 4:19 PM
Criminal Type

DFR reporting Discreet Dancer off the trail and getting a "meaningful" break according to Todd Pletcher.

27 Mar 2012 4:24 PM

Loving Howe Great right.  Want to see a grandson of SS punish a Derby field.

27 Mar 2012 4:26 PM
Age of Reason


Once again I get the feeling that your Derby Dozens put everything about the major contenders into one convenient place; enjoyed it!

However, I do have questions about two horses flying under-the-radar (at the moment): Nonios (Hollendorfer, Golden Gate) and On Fire Baby (Hartlage, Oaklawn). Surely I'm not the only one who noticed that On Fire Baby just worked 7 furlongs (unusual)...any idea on plans for either, where the Derby or other Triple Crown races are concerned?

27 Mar 2012 5:11 PM

Guess we'll just have to wait and see when "Howe Great" (named for one of the greatest hockey players of all time) defeats the coveted "Hansen" in the TOYOTA BLUE GRASS before he gains enough respect to be in your dozen!!

AND right now, my money goes on the "THE GODFATHER", as "El Padrino" who passes "Union Rags" in the stretch and we all become new believers. Although my heart is with "Indy" now hoping that Chuck found the right logic and it pays off for him.

27 Mar 2012 5:13 PM

 Is there a breeding line that rivals

the  Nearco- (Ity.) Pharos- (G.B.)-

Phalaris (G.B.)… line?

The line the brought us

“Big Red”… also from

the Cosquilla  (G.B.) “BHXFG” strain

“Secretariat”- Bold Ruler - by

 Nasrullah (G.B.)-Nearco (Ity.)- by

 Pharos (G.B.)-Phalaris (G.B.)-


try this other G.B. -Ity. line …

 Graustark- (8   7-1-0)-by

 Ribot (G.B.)- (16   16-0-0)-by

 Tenerani (Ity)- (22-   17-x-x)- by

 Bellini (Ity.) (23-   15-7-1)-by

 Cavaliere Darpino (Ity.)- by

 Havresac (G.B.) (14-  9-x-x)- by

 Rabelais (G.B.) (11-  6-2-1)-  by

 St. Simon (G.B.)-(10-  10-0-0)- by

 Galopin (G.B.)- (11- 10-1-0)-by

 Vedette (G.B.)-Voltigeur (G.B.)-

“Graustark-  1963 (8   7-1-0)-

 [undefeated !!! until he…]

  Sustained a career-ending injury while

  in the lead in the Blue Grass Stakes.

  Died 21 August 1988.” …also from

  the Mah Mahal “BHXFG” strain

“Ribot (G.B.)- 1952  (16   16-0-0)-

 Died in 1972 Darby Dan Farm, Kty.

  He is buried at the farm near his

 sons, “Graustark” and “His Majesty”.

“St.Simon” (G.B.) -1881  (10-  10-0-0)-  by

    Galopin (G.B.)- 1872   (11- 10-1-0)-

“Champion sire in GB/Ireland nine times.

 Champion Broodmare Sire

 in GB/Ireland 6 times.

 Died April 2, 1908 at age 27.”

“Galopin (G.B.)- 1872   (11- 10-1-0)-

 Leading sire GB/Ireland in

 1888, 1889, 1898.

 Died June 3, 1899 at age 27.”

27 Mar 2012 6:01 PM

Steve, I put this in the other article but it got lost.  I was alerting the bloggers to an article that was in the NY Times over the weekend entitled, "Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys."  It blasts the industry and number of catastrophic breakdowns and blames the drugs for hiding lameness.  It says exactly what you said about Aqueduct, Zia Park, and Ruidoso Downs.  It says horses are being run for purse money that are not qualified or fit to be running.  It says our beloved thoroughbreds are pumped with cobra venom, Viagra, cancer meds, Flunixin (pain), Bute, etc.  It's saying that it is impossible for vets to detect lameness pre-race as the horses are full of pain meds and pain is being masked, so if there is an existing injury it is exacerbated in a race or even causing a breakdown.  This is some article, an unfortunate black mark for the industry.  They were warned by so many articles before this to "clean up their act."  How can humans do this to these magnificent creatures, yes it is a business, but at the heart and core of the business are living, breathing creatures that demand and deserve respect and the utmost caregiving.  This is an article worth reading, albeit dark, yet it exposes the reality of what is going on.  

Wishing a speedy recovery for Bob Baffert.  It sounds like they got the stents in in time.  Jill and Bode hang in there, our thoughts are with you too.  

Nice list again Steve.  I noticed Proud Citizen sired two, Mark Valeski and Went the Day Well, both of them interesting to see what they do the next time out.  I'm liking Street Life more and more and Gemologist too.  Hansen would look very regal with the red roses against his white coat in May, but somehow I don't see it happening.

27 Mar 2012 6:18 PM


You may be right about the Florida Derby being a million dollar Grade One event that embelishes the resume and stud value of colts like El Padrino such that he is coming for the "kill" on Saturday. That could very well be how Todd Pletcher sees it, and if so, I'm inclined to toss him as a serious Derby contender because another brutul effort (which he'll have to give to challenge Union Rags) should see him below par for the Kentucky Derby. I could be wrong but we'll see.

Pedigree Ann,

I wouldn't gainsay your argument about Trinniberg's closest ancestors, although you misrepresent Hennessy's best performance which was in a gut-wrenching head-bob defeat by Unbridled Song in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile at 8.5 furlongs.  It may be improbable but it has happened before and is only likely with uncommon high-cruising speedsters like Trinniberg that has incognito stamina lurking behind his closer speed-oriented ancestors.  Also, after thirty six years since Bold Forbes (Spend a Buck's and War Emblem's pedigree were more stamina laiden up close) we could again be due for a bold front-running gambit in the Derby.  

27 Mar 2012 6:21 PM

zarvona- if I am not mistaken, Ribot is an Italian bred also.

27 Mar 2012 7:43 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Further to our discussion on Trinniberg's incognito stamina pedigree, your explanation of "reression to the mean" suggests that you are an evolutionist.  I'm not. I'm creationist and I believe that the Darley Arabian from which the Thoroughbred descends were gifted from above with stamina to run on dirt/sand for many furlongs, not escaping predators but in the service of human developers of civilisation. Horses were created for human care, service and enjoyment.

Criminal Type,

I'm not proposing that Trinniberg is cheap speed BUT a possible upsetter in the Derby and one to make for lucrative exotics. if he has no chance of staying the trip the connections might as well confine him to sprints because he's already a very classy sprinter.  They would have nothing to gain using him as cheap speed in service of the closers.

27 Mar 2012 8:23 PM

Will history repeat itself? Back in 2010, Steve Haskin ranked Super Saver as number 12 on his Derby Dozen at this same point in the year. This year he has ranked Daddy Nose Best as number 12, who interestingly is 5 notches below where 2010's Sunland Derby winner, Endorsement was ranked, as number 7. Unfortunately Endorsement never ran in the Kentucky Derby that year due to injury. Endorsement holds the race record for the Sunland Derby since it has been run at a mile and an eighth, and the horse with the closest time to that is this year's Daddy Nose Best, having run just about .15 seconds slower. For those who may be wondering, Endorsement is racing again now, I think he recently won at Gulfstream Park in February , setting a track record for a mile and a sixteenth. I think Daddy Nose Best is going to surprise alot people in this year's Kentucky Derby if they can get a jockey as good and patient as Julien for him.

27 Mar 2012 8:28 PM

Off topic Steve but why is Rachel in foal ALREADY to Bernardini?  Can't they give her a rest, and wasn't she hospitalized for pain management after the recent birth?

Why does this foaling process have to be so factory productive?

And Tapit is not exactly the Gainesway candidate I had in mind for Zenyatta.  Can't they rest Rachel and Zen with their new foals for awhile, apparently not.

27 Mar 2012 8:45 PM

It is difficult to concentrate on the list this week, in light of the NYT piece and Mr. Baffert's trouble. So much to be said about the article and I see the responses have already started, mostly defensive posturing in my opinion. One statement in particular made me want to weep. You know the one about the horse who ran in the 2010 Derby, broke a leg and recovered to live his life as a breeding stallion. This horse had 7 lifetime starts, was unsound and is now propagating more unsound horses. Wonderful! Don't take this wrongly. I am happy he was saved to live another day. Just not happy that life will be in a breeding shed.

Mr. Baffert, my heartfelt best wishes.

The list this week has a subdued flavor. Of course, nothing distinctive happened this last weekend. Several horses posted works but you know what? No money or race has ever been won in the morning. Some horses blaze in the a.m. but never show up in the afternoon. Why, you ask? I don't know, ask them!

The list is good this week as always.  

27 Mar 2012 8:56 PM

Ranagulzion, I agree with you.  I'm not sure Pletcher made the right move with El Padrino after his hard faught battle with Mark Valeski.  Union Rags has never been in a duel, and I don't see that happening between Union Rags and El Padrino, or any of these other horses for that matter.  Depending on the pace, Union Rags can run close to the pace, off the pace, or he may go into his closing mode.  Nevertheless, he'll go to the outside, and fly.

27 Mar 2012 8:59 PM

I think prospective's beyer in the T Bay Derby may be miscalculated, The 1 43 2/5 was the second fastest tbd recorded behind street sense's 1 43 flat. He will be a nice price in arkansas or the big apple. And L. contreras is a great rider, gutsy with a keen sense of pace and a powerful finisher.

27 Mar 2012 9:39 PM

Thanks for all of your ongoing work Steve!  Midnight Transfer should improve substantially second time around two turns.  Watch out for a big performance from him.  

27 Mar 2012 10:00 PM
Mary in VT

Does anyone recall what the superfecta paid for last year's KY Derby?

27 Mar 2012 10:41 PM


You wrote “I'm creationist”.

Now I understand how your mind works. Evidence is not always a part of the equation.  It explains why you keep discussing Trinniberg as a Kentucky Derby runner even though the connections have not said that he will run in the Derby.

It is possible he was nominated to the Triple Crown to keep their options open for the Preakness. But what do I know . The horse was probably created to run in the Derby, the same way AP Indy’s descendants were created without a First-Saturday-in-May gene. Sorry,delete that last sentence. Genes suggest evolutionary implications. Sorry.

28 Mar 2012 7:46 AM
El Kabong

Mary i VT,

The 2$ super paid 48,126.00 chaching!

28 Mar 2012 10:05 AM

It's strange that we're only about seven weeks to the KD and Pletcher has only one horse seemingly ensured a spot in the gate that being El Padrino at #14.  In fact his only other inside the top 50 is Gemologist who currently sits at #29 with a little over 100k.  I think his decision to keep his horses apart by seeking the softest spots or just running in allowance races against overmatched company will come back to bite him in the... this year.  Gemologist looks to be a good horse, but needs a win in the Wood to make it to Louisville.  I don't think he makes it with the Wood shaping up as the most contentious race this year.  Shoulda run at Tampa where he'd have likely finished 2nd at worse and acquired some graded bucks.  Bodemeister needs money badly and I don't think he'll get it either in the SA Derby.  He appeared wobbly and spent after running 2nd in his last at a shorter distance.  Midnight Transfer seemingly will like the added distance next week and may pull an upset to punch his ticket.

P.S.  If Street Life can change leads he'll win the Wood and add to the topsy turvy graded list.

28 Mar 2012 10:52 AM

Mary in VT, the super in last year's derby paid over 48k for a $2 ticket.  BTW, the top 6 finishers broke from the 11 hole or further out for whatever that's worth.

28 Mar 2012 10:56 AM
Linda in Texas

Hi Steve, great list, and the mention of Holy Candy, nice win for John Sadler.

I agree with everything Alex'sBigFan said in the first post re: Mr. Baffert. And I add, to his wife Jill for convincing Bob he was having a heart attack, roses for you every day, amazing.

From a medical standpoint, my dad was a cardiologist and i heard this often, arteries blocked 90 percent on one and 100 per cent on the other we are all lucky he is still with us. Unbelievable.

I realize that having foals is great, but give Zenyatta a break.

She just had hers. And Rachel, yes she had hers a bit before Zenyatta, but she needs a break also. Maybe re: Zenyatta, they are worried about her age. But broodmares have babies all the way til some are 21, frankly i think that is too old. But Zenyatta and Rachel are relatively young,I just do not think of them as conveyor belt mares. And I am wondering if Tapit was chosen to see if they can get a gray/roan. Seems the Mosses like grays (Giacomo and Zazu). And then of course Hansen.

Saw one heck of a fancy van traveling thru my central Texas town last Friday night. Came up on the side of it at a stop light, huge long tractor length fancy dark colored rig with chrome shining in the dark,lights bright enough to see a mile away and lights on inside and a big orange feed bucket in the window! Rolled my window down and said "anyone home?" and a whynnie came back at me and a paw of the stall floor. I guess that meant yes.:)  Obviously they were headed west to Sunland and i wondered as i watched the races, which horse was in that fancy rig being pulled by a big gray dually? The driver had on a plaid shirt. Gave them a thumbs up as they hurried on thru town in the

darkness and a thought for safe travels for all.

So much to think about at this time of the year that my mind gets boggled and i read your posts and the posts of others and i get my horse racing compass realigned.

Where are Zookeeper, Needler in Virginia, Mary in Vermont et al? I hope you all are well and i miss your expertise.

Thanks Steve.

28 Mar 2012 11:15 AM

Does anyone recall what the superfecta paid for last year's KY Derby?

Mary in VT 27 Mar 2012 10:41 PM.

$2.00 superfecta payoff was $48,126.00.

28 Mar 2012 11:59 AM
Age of Reason


I am very puzzled as to your continuing love-obsession with Trinniberg. Why are you touting a colt as Derby material who couldn't even run with Secret Circle for 6 furlongs? (especially given that Secret Circle's own suspected distance limitations are well-known.) Or, to argue that point in the opposite direction, if you think Trinniberg is good then why aren't you all over the horse who ran him into the ground at the Breeders Cup?--after all, Secret Circle has pretty much everything Trinniberg lacks: stamina influences in immediate family, willingness to rate, proven ability to win around two turns, etc. Thoughts, please?

28 Mar 2012 12:03 PM
Carlos in Cali

Funny,I recall Union Rags "being in a duel" and losing to Hansen.

El Padrino will let UR know he's in a horse race and will prevail in the Fl. Derby,Pletcher has him ready for battle.

28 Mar 2012 12:29 PM

I hope Trinniberg runs in the derby along with Secret Circle, but only because I'd like to see Borel get another win on Najjaar.  

28 Mar 2012 12:36 PM
It aint easy being good!

10 days until Street Life's bandwagon is full. He is a beast from the east that takes no prisoners. He is the best 3 year old closer I have ever seen and cant wait for the wood next week!

28 Mar 2012 1:28 PM

Age of Reason,

Thats not how you compare horses: their developmental/growth rates differ. There is no way that I would fancy Secret Circle over Trinniberg at 6 furlongs if they ran against each other now. The latter has come to hand and is very relaxed running without the blinkers. I look forward to his next outing.  Watch him good. I've learnt to spot the good ones early, before most get a clue.

28 Mar 2012 1:42 PM

Age of Reason,

Secret Circle is a mystery horse.  He seems to get slower stretching out but may really be learning to stay a distance of ground in keeping with his pedigree. He has to be respected as a colt with a propensity to win his races. The Arkansas Derby will tell us what we need to know about his chances in the Kentucky Derby.

28 Mar 2012 1:58 PM

The Florida Derby is going to be more interesting than most people think. This will be no cakewalk for Union Rags. The FOY looked tough, but Algorythms scratched. Discrete Dancer was a fast sprinter, untested really for class. News Pending jumped up and is improving. He softened up D.D. who folded it up. Rags sat in the catbird seat and blew by nobody while News rerallied far back. Visually impressive - yes! More like a workout than a race test. In Florida Derby, it doesn't look like there's a true need the lead speed horse. Reveron, News Pending, El Padrino, and Take Charge Indy like to press and will likely be close. Rags likely sits behind that group. Pace looks like it could be moderate. El Padrino & Indy will break for home first and they won't be folding the tent. Union Rags will have to run them down into a slow pace and fight his way past them. He'll also have to prove his kick is as effective at 1 1/8th as it was sprinting a mile. He may be that good - physically he sure looks the part. This will be a more accurate measure of his ability. I'll take the need to win horse - Take Charge Indy for $500 please Alex.

28 Mar 2012 3:01 PM

Jersey Boy,

Your attempt to ridicule my belief in creation is laughable. You could do better trying to produce evidence to support your strong conviction that A P Indy is a great Derby-winner-producing-sire, the American version of the European Saddlers Wells, with which you've compared him in a previous post (LOL).

I quote you "Genes suggest evolutionary implications. Sorry."  I could retort that your sorry statement is beyond ridiculous but if thats your view, I respect it.  However I'd have you know that the concepts of the gene and genetics are derived from the Greek word, GENESIS, meaning beginning ...sounds familiar?

The gene is simply a fundamental unit of heredity, that is, scientific evidence that you descend from your parents or ancestors.  

Some evolutionists actually believe that their ancestors evolved from some primordial mass of protoplasm floating in space.  Is that your position Jersey Boy?

I choose not to believe such non-sense.  My faith is that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"(including those immaculate four-legged wonders that gave birth to the Darley Arabian from which Union Rags and Trinniberg descended.

Gregor Mendel, William Bateson and Charles Darwin might have been of evoloutionist persuation, being from the 'enlightment era' but their postulations remain theories NOT facts, my good friend.  Therefore enjoy a good laugh at yourself.

28 Mar 2012 4:58 PM


You grossly underestimate the ability of Gemologist. He'll romp the Wood Memorial. Also Todd Pletcher could have three in the final Derby line-up with Windsurfer.  Watch him in the La Derby.

28 Mar 2012 5:04 PM
Mike Monarchos


Gemologist can make the Derby with a second in the Wood. I think it's a 750,000. race. Second should pay 150,000.

I'm getting the feeling that El Padrino is going to take the Florida Derby by a length over Union Rags, with Take Charge Indy four lengths behind in third.

What ya about that Draynay?

28 Mar 2012 5:35 PM

1) EL PADRINO - He's still getting better.

2) UNION RAGS - Top dog if he stays healthy.  Leparoux was the best thing to happen to him in 2012.

3) CREATIVE CAUSE - He's one of the big dogs on this trail.

4) HANSEN - If he rates like the Gotham and gets first jump on GEMOLOGIST, he'll win the Wood.  If GEMOLOGIST runs him down, we'll have a clash of titans in May.

5) GEMOLOGIST - That's about the easiest 1:35 and 4 mile I've seen and the Wood should put some much needed heat on him.

6) BODEMEISTER - Hopefully, he's not a Sidney's Candy chasing Conveyance just to get cooked before the stretch.

7) MARK VALESKIE - Jones says he's ahead of HARD SPUN and EIGHT BELLES, numbers wise.

8) SABERCAT - No faith lost here from the Rebel.  

9) HOWE GREAT - DULLAHAN did get the stick good going into the stretch in Palm Beach.  He wasn't going to catch HG.  Will he take to dirt?


11) SECRET CIRCLE - He gets out of the gate. Enormous talent.  He's tactical but doesn't know it yet.  If he'll ever relax while rating, he's at the least, in my superfecta in May especially if he wins the AR Derby.

12) NEWS PENDING - Like EL PADRINO, he has plenty of upside IMO.  Good looking hoss!

I'd like to see WINDSURFER run a relaxed race in Louisiana to see what he's got.  Great 1:11 and change workout for LIAISON.  Perhaps he's developing at a critical stage.  NEWS PENDING could make FL Derby very interesting if he doesn't blow it out too early.  If I'm planning strategy for EL PADRINO, I'd rate him close to the front, stay out of trouble, get the first jump on UNION RAGS and let him come after me.  If we can't take that route, sit back and pull a DIALED IN and see where the chips fall.

Anxious to see how ROUSING SERMON does with the FAIR GROUNDS stretch.

28 Mar 2012 6:23 PM

Linda in Texas,

I loved your story about pulling up next to the fancy horse van! Cool.  What a great feeling that is.  And the occupant answered you, how cute is that!  I wonder who it was and yes, probably going right into Sunland for a race.  Hope the driver reads this stuff and answers you!

We are of the same mindset about the foaling process of Zenyatta and Rachel.  We both said it is like an assembly line production schedule.  I fail to see the need for immediate pregnancies in either.  I would be thankful and appreciative that they both had successful deliveries and give them a rest if I was the owner of either.  Your theory of Tapit could be right.  But Giacomo wasn't a near TC winner like that "OTHER" Gainesway resident I mean (no other than Afleet Alex) who has the distance and stamina right in his pedigree, a length away from being a TC winner.  So how does the timing work if Zen and Rachel are pregnant this year by the time the foals are born are the two little foals just born  now going to be yearlings about to turn to weanlings?  I say Zen and Rachel are special broodmares who should have only selective matings and not be turned into baby factories, just my opinion.  

Yes, what a week between Bob Baffert and the NY Times article.  I think the article is an industry must read piece.  It's scorching, unfortunately, but at some point "the show must go on" mentality must stop and running safe and sound horses must come first.  There is also a video with the piece if you google it in the NY Times.

28 Mar 2012 7:34 PM

First and foremost, I want to send my best wishes to Mr. Baffert.  Recoveries of this sort are not speedy, but rather slow and steady.

Trying to rush things just makes life tougher.

Mary: Union Rags has never been in a duel?  Did you miss the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year?  78 feet more and a nose short of Hansen!

I'm upset that after all the plans for Hansen to go to the Wood, Gemologist signs on, and Hansen goes elsewhere.  Hansen can rate but he's a dirt horse whose best advantage is his speed.  It simply won't be to his advantage to run on a poly track.  And like Take Charge Indy, the travel excuse is simply bogus considering the traveling these horses will do to Kentucky, then Maryland, and eventually New York, all within a 5 week period which will be demanding.  They can either travel well or not.

My top 10 essentially remain the same, except it's now a top 11.

1/Hansen...proven speed and class, and has shown the ability to relax and rate.  And traces back to 2 Triple Crown winners.

2/Union Rags...speed and class and stamina along with size and a whole lot of muscle.

3/Prospective...well-bred, beautiful mover, has speed and a will to win.

4/Bodemeister..He may be the West Coast equal of Union Rags.  And Empire Maker has left his mark on this one.

5/ Howe Great...Sunday Silence

6/Take Charge Indy and

7/ Alpha..seem both to be grinders without a late kick...but they're speedy and all class.

8/Secret Circle..whether he knows it or not, he's bred for the distance, and has already proven himself at a middle distance.

9/Scatman..He keeps showing up in the money, and I hope he has the earnings needed because he has a lot more to show at the big dance.

10/News Pending..Well-bred...shows lots of promise...and he's gorgeous.

11/Daddy Nose Best..another Swag Daddy showing up with class.

Went the Day Well, while promising was a bit green, and it was a slow race.  I'm certain he'll do more.

Mark Valeski is MR Prospector top and bottom...I like him, but I'll wait and see.

As to RA and Zen being bred back so quickly, yes I wish they had more time...but their worth now is in the foals they produce, and no one wants a late May foal.  It would be nice if they had a year off...but breeding remains a business, as we are constantly reminded.

28 Mar 2012 7:45 PM
Scott's Cause

What a muddled mess.  However I am impressed with everyones opinions/predictions of the upcoming races and the BIG one in May.  Last year I was pretty much set on my KD selections as I drove home early Saturday morning from work.  I got Dave Johnson's racing show on Sirius.  He's doing a round-robin in house and calling 2-3 guys at various tracks around the country.  Six out of seven of these guy's mention Animal Kindom,(Who?) especially the "Workout".  I get home, get on-line and get to work.  End up hitting the exacta, should have bet the Tri, and with bigger ??? had the Super. All I am saying, concerning the Derby, don't fall in love with your current "Favorites", Things can change fast once the final 20 show up at Churchill....

28 Mar 2012 8:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


 It must be a bureaucratic snafu, a typo, a misprint or I need new glasses. I don't see El Padrino on your list, the impressive winner  with a powerful performance in the 2012 Florida Derby. He'll be number one on most lists after Saturday.

28 Mar 2012 9:40 PM


I like your attempt at a pace scenario analysis of the Florida Derby. Not bad.  Note however that the 'Big Horse' will not fall prey to a slow pace. He usually breaks well and can take the race by the scruff of the neck from the off. He's push button and roars like a ferrari.  If Julien Leparoux has him in front rounding the far turn, it is all over bar the shouting ...another arm-chair ride with a mere cock of the stick.

We're talking the stuff of which Triple crown winners are made ...rare and priceless (poor Castellano).

28 Mar 2012 9:47 PM

Pedigree Ann,

You have misinterpreted the concept of regression to the mean and with that have applied it incorrectly to the thoroughbred. As per the point of your example, a new member of the breed would (all else equal) tend to regress (or advance-dependent upon the relative "ranking" of his parents) to the mean of the PRESENT of the breed, not the PAST of the breed. That said, your last (small) paragraph is certainly correct...BTW- I wouldn't categorize Northern Dancer as a true distance influence.

28 Mar 2012 11:31 PM
Criminal Type

This is off topic, but word is coming from Coolmore Facebook fan page that top European stallion, 16 year old Montjue, passed away today following a brief illness.

29 Mar 2012 8:54 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

To show you how early it still is and how difficult it is to do a Derby Dozen at this still early stage here is Steve's Derby Dozen from last year at this time(3-28-11) and their Kentucky Derby finish position or if they didn't even run in the race at all(DNR). At this point Animal Kingdom had already won The Spiral on the 26th and Nehro was second in the Louisiana Derby on the 26th and neither made the list. Nehro was on some lists but Animal Kingdom was on very few if any. Eight of the thirteen on the list didn't even run in the Kentucky Derby. Only one on the list was in the top five finishers in The Derby, and Steve's list was as good as any.

1. Uncle Mo (DNR)

2. Soldat (11th)

3. Premier Pegasus (DNR)

4. Dialed In (8th)

5. Stay Thirsty (12th)

6. To Honor And Serve (DNR)

7. Mucho Macho Man (3rd)

8. The Factor (DNR)

9. Jaycito (DNR)

10. Anthony's Cross (DNR)

11. Santiva (6th)

12. (tie) Elite Alex (DNR)

12. (tie) Astrology (DNR)

29 Mar 2012 9:08 AM


You wrote:

“Some evolutionists actually believe that their ancestors evolved from some primordial mass of protoplasm floating in space.  Is that your position Jersey Boy?”

You are back to your habit of trying to typecast people. That is what your question suggests.

I do not wish to pursue this subject any further because it will become a distraction. But, for what it is worth, I should let you know that I do not have a doctrinaire or ideological stance on any subject. I go with the evidence, especially scientific evidence. If the evidence changes, I change my mind.

There is one exception. My money is already on Creative Cause. That I could not change even if I wanted to.

By the way, in your  spare time do a web search on-Genes and Evolution. It might broaden your mind

29 Mar 2012 9:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Whether it be Union Rags or El Padrino or both on Saturday, I do think we're going to see something special.

29 Mar 2012 10:06 AM

Creationism?  Really?

(Moon made of Cheese; Falling off the Edge of the World if you sail too far towards the Horizon; Mayans and 2012; 9-11 guys coming through Canada.)

I will stop.

Except for one comment to Sceptre: I think Varola categorized Northern Dancer as Intermediate/Brilliant but considering how well his colts and fillies did in the European Classics, maybe in the American market he IS an influence for stamina.

29 Mar 2012 10:41 AM


re-Northern Dancer: the comparative is not how the stallion Northern Dancer would compare today against today's stallion population, but rather how he compared (aptitude-wise) to his contemporaries, and those before him. re-his distance in pedigrees, his aptitude influence is what it is relative to those other influences at that distance.

29 Mar 2012 12:20 PM
Pedigree Ann

I believe in evidence. The evidence is that humans have changed domesticated animals by selective breeding for many thousands of years. Breeds have come and gone as our human needs for them have waxed and waned.

Most of the very distinct breeds of dogs today were developed by us humans by selective breeding over the last 200 years. We have changed our beef cattle, our dairy cattle, our sheep, our swine, and our goats from the types and breeds known to our remote ancestors to the those that we have today. When fat and cholesterol became 'bad stuff' in the diet, pig breeders managed within a few generations to produce swine with leaner meat.

We developed draft horses of enormous size for hauling when we needed them, and a fast, agile, sound, and hardy cavalry horse called the Thoroughbred when armor became useless and cannon more reliable.

Thoroughbreds did not exist until humans developed them from many Oriental strains over the course of the 17th and 18th Centuries. (And when you get down to it and go back along all the recorded lines of any particular TB, the Godolphin Barb/Arab actually is responsible for a larger percentage of ancestry than either the Darley or the Byerly. Giving credit to the male line alone went out with the 19th Century.)

We used the technique of selective breeding to develop the modern TB from the famous 4-mile-heat runners of the 19th Century like Lexington and American Eclipse. Can modern TBs compete well in 4-mile heats (best 2 of 3 in a single day) because their ancestors could? I think not. We have changed the breed too much since then.

I come from a family of stock-breeders, so I have been aware of how humans have changed their domestic breeds from my cradle. I expect city-bred folks lack this knowledge, through no fault of their own. Too bad.

29 Mar 2012 1:27 PM
Carlos in Cali


Don't feel too bad for Castellano,I think he'll get the last laugh once the Fl.Derby is over with. UR will hit the wall inside the last furlong much like UM did in last yr's Wood Memorial.El Padrino is a Bulldog!

29 Mar 2012 1:36 PM
Pedigree Ann

Linda and Alex's Fan-

A bit of anthropomorphism going on? Horses are not humans. It is normal for mares to be bred every year in the spring; she starts going into estrus, which attracts the male to her. If she is not in shape to carry a pregnancy, she will not catch or will abort early. It is not cruel, it is not 'unnatural,' it is not merely a matter of business. It is the horses' own instinct.

29 Mar 2012 1:51 PM

Dr. D: No clerical error.  Just a gut feeling I cannot account for (the intuitive sense that gets lost in the electronic face book age). I have no inclination to include El Padrino or Creative Cause in my top 11.  They each have shown me something negative.  With El Padrino...maybe his stride, maybe his pre-race hyperactive athletics (maybe races at the Fair Grounds seem more like a merry go round than a competition).  With Creative Cause, for a veteran, he ran really green in his last out.  

I'm actually looking for News Pending to move up in the Fla. Derby.

Mark Valeski is a fighter, but we saw how Mr. Bowling failed between the LeComte and the Risen Star.  Has anyone here seen Cigar Street run?  He's taking an awfully big step here. Is he capable of battling proven winners?

While I'm at it, I've always questioned the the rides of various jockeys on So You Think.  For the World Cup, he'll have tall and lanky Joseph O'Brien...the one jockey who has been his exercise rider for a long time.  This should be a spectacular battle in Meydan.

I also think that revisiting the battleground between evolutionist and creationist THEORIES simply pigeonholes the writers as narrowminded and self-involved to the point of not recognizing that this is a horse racing blog and not a philosophical symposium.

29 Mar 2012 2:06 PM

By the way, Dr D: The Florida Derby hasn't been run yet.  El Padrino won an allowance race over Take Charge Indy at Gulfstream before he went on to the Risen Star.

29 Mar 2012 2:27 PM

Carlos in Cali,

Your bulldog will be all bark and no bite when "Beauty & the Beast" opens up on him in the lane. Leparoux only has to cock that stick and it will be game over, my friend.

Castellano had better ride sensibly and save El Padrino for his best effort in the Kentucky Derby where he might have a better shot in the big field and with a furious pace and an extra furlong to run.

29 Mar 2012 4:16 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I know. It was a prediction. That's why I said "after" Saturday. But now that I've read about how great Union Rags is looking I'm not as sure. I'm just happy that we have a great matchup and race. I also think that News Pending, Take Charge Indy, and Neck N Neck have a shot. Any other than those five would be a big surprise and El Padrino and Union Rags are the two to beat. One or both could emerge with big time accolades. If someone beats both of them then they are something special.

29 Mar 2012 4:26 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Thanks for the expose on the methods/rationales of selective breeding (nothing new there), but if this was meant as a retort to my earlier comments (about your misinterpretation of the concept of regression to the mean) it was not. As a matter of fact, the purpose of selective is to "fix" and enhance specific genomic traits while at the same time eliminate (genomically) others. So, all else equal, you can't "regress" back to something that is no longer part of the present genome. For example, if humans were successfully selectively bred for only blue eye color the "big B" allele for brown would no longer exist (but for mutation) in the human genome and, therefore, could not be "regressed" back to...Yes, it is theoretically possible for us to selectively breed today's thoroughbred back to a more robust and/or more stamina oriented breed of the past (because I'm sure enough of those type alleles still exist within the present genome), but it would require conserted selctive breeding-while doing nothing, i.e. haphazzard matings- with no selectivity in mind-would not cause the present breed to "regress" to the past.  

29 Mar 2012 4:36 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Just read your remark to Linda and Alex's Fan. Not trying to single you out, but your topics and comments are more to my interests/worthy of my time than, perhaps, some others. I'd suggest you not be so quick to form your conclusions. I do find merit in the sentiments offered by the above two. I'd posit that what may, or may not be "nature's way" isn't necessarily the "best" or "right" way. Along this line, I'd also say that what we feel is right and ethical for humans perhaps-to a large extent- should also apply for animals-in this case, the broodmare. By your logic, humans also could become pregnant and deliver to term far more often than is the present state of affairs. But, aside from economic or quality of life considerations, to do so would collectively no doubt foreshorten the female lifespan and/or negatively impact upon their health. All else equal, the female horse is in a more precarious position as, unlike the human female, broodmares are capable of conceiving much later into their lifespans. Each successive pregnancy does take its toll (physiologically) and can impact on their quality of life along the way. Yes, such practice would collectively yield more total horse lives, but would tend to foreshorten or lessen the quality of life-viewed collectively- of the "mothers".  

29 Mar 2012 5:03 PM
Age of Reason


This is off-topic, but since you and others started the argument I'll follow your lead. Don't be surprised if no one argues against your attack on straw-man creationism. Comparing scientific creationism to flat-earth believers? Please. Christopher Columbus' entire theory that the earth was round began with his interpretation of the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah revealed that the earth was round in the 6th century BC, referring to the Judeo-Christian God as "He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth". He was over 2,000 years ahead of "science", for the record. The foundational statement of atheism is, "Nothing created everything"--which is a scientific impossibility. Just sayin'...

29 Mar 2012 5:34 PM

Jersey Boy,

Do you think that I've typcasted you?  I merely ask you a question. It was not meant to be rhetorical.

Pedigree Ann,

Who doesn't believe in evidence? Human domestication of animals and selective breeding is evidence to what?  Help me here I don't really get your point. Do you believe the evolution stuff or do you believe that God created the horse and gifted human with intelligence to fashion the various breeds ?  What are you saying?

29 Mar 2012 6:12 PM

I just don't see UR as the monster that many are pegging him to be.  I see El Padrino as just as imposing, and he is my pick on Saturday.  Either way, when you throw in News Pending, I see an exciting race coming.

29 Mar 2012 7:04 PM

Here we go again.  Try Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision" and consider.. the man was blackballed in the scientific community because he based his timeline of chaos using the  history of the Bible as a basis.  Imagine the scientists surprise 50 years later when they discovered his conclusions had been correct.  

Before the Hubble telescope, Black Holes were a theory.

As to horses...Dr D, I sort of figured you had foreseen the race in your head....just thought I'd toss a bucket of cold News Pending on you to wake you back up.  Should we sneak off together now for a stiff drink at a race track before lightning strikes Steve's column?

29 Mar 2012 7:50 PM

mz- Northern Dancer is a brilliant/classic influence.

29 Mar 2012 8:18 PM
Criminal Type

Slew, I dont get your point about Hansen being decended from two triple crown winners when Union Rags also has 2 triple crown winners in his first five gnerations and when you go back further, he has War Admiral multiple times, as well as other great horses in Nashrullah, Nearco, Bold Ruler, as well as some of the best foundation mares ever to grace this planet..So what exactly was your point about Hansen having two Triple Crown winners in his pedigree and why this makes his breeding superior to Union Rag's ?

29 Mar 2012 8:30 PM
Criminal Type

Stones, If you want to see the monster Union Rag's has become, Look at his facebook page of the photos schooling at Gulfstream Park the other day. He is EfriggingNORMOUS and glowing. The one on the track apron is particularly spectacular. He is visually stunning and has muscle to spare.

29 Mar 2012 8:35 PM

Age of Reason,

Regarding your response to mz, I couldn't have said it better.

About our earlier  discussion on the comparison of Secret Circle with Trinniberg, I should have explained to you further that I think both are very different types in the sense that Secret Circle has to be rated to go far, whereas Trinniberg only needs to be allowed to relax on the lead. You rightly said that Secret Circle has more stamina influences up close and therefore teaching him to ration his speed behind horses is ostensibly supposed to bring out the stamina in route races. Trinniberg is a pure "speed-merchant" with stamina influences hidden or neutralised therefore, teaching him to rate would be blunting his sharpest asset if indeed he is able to carry that speed a far way. He is so fast, if you've been paying attention to his running fractions, that all he needs to do is cruise, burn the stalkers and do a "catch me if you can" gambit on the closers. I'm watching to see if the connections have caught Derby fever and are prepared to take a shot.  I tell you right now, I'll be on that wagon and Trinniberg will be in my Derby Dozen.

29 Mar 2012 8:47 PM

Carlos; Uncle Mo was 3rd in the Wood, beaten a length and immediately afterward was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.  He hardly "hit the wall" in the final furlong due to distance limitations.  As for Union Rags, there is no similialarity between he and UM and there is nothing in UR's pedigree or in his running style that says he can't get a 1/2 furlong more distance than he handled under wraps in the Fountain of Youth.

Dr. D.; I agree; Slew is pretty short-sighted leaving El Padrino off of his Top 12 list, but I will be very surprised if El P beats UR.  But as you added in a later post, it will be a heck of a horse race if both horses run to their potential.  I can hardly wait!

29 Mar 2012 8:48 PM

I've just had a terrible thought.  We've talked about politics.  Now it's religion.  If Bob/Ted starts talking about the third thing youre not supposed to discuss in polite conversation, I'm outta here!

29 Mar 2012 9:33 PM
Mike Monarchos

Stones, I agree with you. I don't see Union Rags as a monster either. If he beats El Padrino by more than three lengths he's a monster. Could be that El and Rags finish close and destroy the rest of the field. Then they'd both be monsters. Then again if the track is fast and they run 1:50+ they're probably not. I just wanna see a great and safe race!

Bob Baffert, glad you're out of the hospital! We need ya. Stay healthy man. Go Bodemeister!

30 Mar 2012 12:42 AM

Can someone please tell me why Yara #1 horse in the 10th Sat Gulfstream Oaks has to carry more weight than any other horse?

Thanks in advance

30 Mar 2012 7:53 AM


The Gulfstream Oaks is run under allowance conditions, which means that some horses are allowed to carry less weight than others based on whether or not they have won certain kinds of races during a certain period of time. For example, the conditions of the Gulfstream Oaks stipulate that the base weight is 122 pounds. However, "Non-winners of a grade I or grade II stakes at a mile or over allowed 2 lbs; of a grade III once or $60,000 twice at a mile or over, 4 lbs; of two races other than maiden or claiming at a mile or over, 6 lbs."

So because Yara won the grade II Davona Dale Stakes at 1 1/16th miles last month, she will be carrying the standard weight of 122 pounds. All of the other Gulfstream Oaks entrants qualify for the six-pound weight break because none of them have won "two races other than maiden or claiming at a mile or over."


30 Mar 2012 11:24 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Especially at this point everyone is entitled to their opinion. At the time I didn't realize that Creative Cause wasn't on her list either. Both are on most lists. I was just curious as to why El Padrino was left off. I didn't think it was probable that it was an oversight but I wanted to be sure. Slew is pretty sharp and knows what she's doing. I figured she had her reasons. I just think El Padrino is tremendous and I love this matchup with the highly touted Union Rags. There is other talent also and this race will tell us a lot. Algorithms was my pick as the top talent but others are close to what I think of Algo. I'm actually surprised at myself for questioning any list at this early stage but I was a little dumbfounded. I'm sure a lot of people could question my list. It's kind of a waste of time though. Half of the horses on any list might not even make the starting gate.


    I'll meet you at Rosie's Lounge for a quick snort before the Fifth (race).

30 Mar 2012 11:54 AM

"Circle of the earth" does not necessarily mean a sphere.  It could just as easily mean the Earth was flat and a circular shape.  Sadly the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways.  We are reading translations, not the original language with scholars who know the original meaning of the language in that time period.  I am not saying it did not mean the Earth was a sphere, all I am saying is that you can interpret it another way also.  I don't really care what anyone believes as long as everyone is respected.

30 Mar 2012 12:27 PM

Pole dancing.

(for the Rep. Primaries: Poll Dancing -- same thing.)

30 Mar 2012 2:15 PM
Carlos in Cali

robinm; they diagnosed UM with that "mysterious" illness more than a week after he lossed the Wood with a little help from the CIA,FBI and Interpol. I wouldn't classify it as "immediately". UM set a moderate pace in the Wood and Pletcher said he was "dog-tired" afterwards. Check out the replay and you'll see him shorten his stride inside the last furlong,then watch his BCC race.. yes,I believe he had distance limitations without a doubt.

With the exception of Grasshopper,Dixie Union didn't produce 9f+ type of horses,fact. IMO,UR is a very talented horse but I say the further he goes the least effective he will be. BTW: Gone West isn't a stamina influence either.

30 Mar 2012 2:20 PM


I am stubbornly anti-"social media" and refuse to join Facebook.  However, I have seen UR and agree he is quite the physical specimen.  There is no argument from me there.

But physical stature doesn't always equate to race stature.  I've watched all of his races and, while more mature than most of his foes, he doesn't blow me away.  If the KD were run today, I'd probably take El Padrino AND Hansen over Rags.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind after tomorrow...

30 Mar 2012 3:20 PM

Dr. D and Slew - so true; we all interpret what we see differently and so much can change even now only a bit over a month away from the big dance. I think we all can agree there are a lot of nice colts this years and if those still in the mix stay healthy, it's going to be a lot of fun.

30 Mar 2012 5:04 PM

I am always for an AP INDY colt doing well.  Come on TAKE CHARGE INDY, give em hell, brother!!!

30 Mar 2012 6:02 PM

Dr. Dr: if only...if only.  Wish I were there! And Algorithms was one of my favorites too.

Criminal Type: Most of the colts on the track today have a similar pedigree because Slew and Mr Prospector along with Storm Cat were very productive sires.

Union Rags, however, was sired by a middle distance runner.  Even though UR has shown he has the size, grit and stamina for 10f, I don't feel he'll get 12f.  I think, since Hansen has shown he can rate and relax, he might get 12f. And he's already beaten Union Rags.

Keep in mind, I'm not just looking for a Derby winner...I'm looking for a Triple Crown winner.  (desperately).  (And I noticed in a recent photo of Hansen that he has Seattle Slew's amber eyes.)

I do wish folks would stop comparing Union Rags to Big Brown.  Union Rags is an awesome colt who is running cleanly.  Big Brown made his TC runs on steroids which were not illegal until 2009.

Now, guys...I think Creative Cause is superb.  He has a beautiful stride and a fantastic late kick.  He's not off my radar, just not in my top 10..(there are 20 gates in the Derby).  But in his recent out, he simply ran erratically.  I thought Bodemeister had a right to run a bit green; CC had no such excuse....and wasn't he beaten by I'll Have Another before that?

As to the Godfather...I thought Mark Valesky was the more impressive horse in the Risen Star.

El Padrino was impressive over TCI in the allowance at Gulfstream, but how much have we really seen of TCI?

30 Mar 2012 7:40 PM

While I'm at it....

Wrote in the UAE Derby.

Haatheq in the Godolphin Mile

Invincible Ash in the Al Quoz sprint

Soul or Krypton Factor in the Golden Shaheen

Musir in the Duty Free

Mahbooba in the Sheema Classic

So You Think in the World Cup

30 Mar 2012 7:57 PM
Criminal Type

Slew, Respectfully, I must disagree. There is plenty of stamina in Union Rag's pedigree, especially on the bottom. Please show me a Tapit that has won at 12 furlongs..Are there any ? Hmmmmm. In fact, I don't think there are more then a couple Tapit offspring who have been successful past 9 furlongs after turning 3.  This makes me think that you are of the opinion that just because it has not been done, doesn't mean it can't be done.

There is just as much Seattle Slew and Secretariat in UR's pedigree as Hansen's. In addition, Hansen's win in the BC juvenile is not nearly as impressive when you consider the fact that Union Rag's traveled 78 feet further that day and lost by less then a foot. Rag's performance in defeat that day said volumes more then Hansen's win did. Make no mistake, Union Rag's is as gutsy and determined as they come. When the first Saturday in May comes along, UR is gonna pull up beside Hansen, look him in the eye and say "not this time buddy".

Slew, I too want to see a triple crown winner more then anything. I have been fortunate enough to have been around for Secretariat, Settle Slew and Affirmed...although I was an Alydar fan (gee..really?) The sport and the fans really need it.

I think Rag's wins the Florida Derby, going away with relative ease this evening, and I await the next round of excuses as to why he can't win the Kentucky Derby.

31 Mar 2012 7:37 AM

Sceptre, on the subject of breeding broodmares back each year, I was once told by someone (who was a breeder - not TBs) her theory that a mare is born to bear a foal each year, and that when she is no longer capable of doing so she loses her reason to live; thus, if she elected not to breed a mare thinking she would be giving her a break, she may somehow be telling the mare she was no longer useful and was soon to die.  Whether this theory is correct or not, mares in managed breeding programs are receiving regular, healthy rations of food and water and are protected from predators and the elements.  I don't think it harms them in any way to have a foal each year.  Just my two cents.  Like you and Pedigree Ann, I have a particular interest in the fact, and the way in which, we (in the collective sense) influence future generations of thoroughbreds.

31 Mar 2012 11:12 AM

It appears that my Titanic handicapping has sunk most of my favorites at Dubai.  Only Krypton Factor saved part of my face.  Can I get an exacta on first and last place, since Soul managed last in the same race?

And Congrats to Scat Daddy as a new face enters the Derby picture with Daddy Long Legs winning the UAE Derby...and possibly Wrote who came in 3rd.  Some also eligibles are having to move aside.

And I don't like Hansen going to Keeneland for the same reason I didn't pick the Factor or Game On Dude, 2 super fast American dirt horses just had nothing on the tapeta.

I still don't see So You Think getting the right ride...his heart was not in this race.  I don't know where Mendip finished, but he had also been one of my favorites.

31 Mar 2012 2:36 PM

Interrupted by a phone call, I meant to add my heartfelt sympathy to the connections of Fox Hunt who broke down fatally in the Gold Cup.  Declared a was just rerun with Opinion Poll taking the race.

I was thrilled to see Rogue Romance return to the track with a win.  He was my favorite in the 2010 BCJ because of his beautiful long and easy stride.  McPeek did a great job on his comeback.

31 Mar 2012 2:52 PM

i thought union rags could win from anywhere? what excuse will his groupies have this time?????

31 Mar 2012 5:52 PM

Fantastic win by Take Charge Indy...who knows, A. P. Indy might just sire a Kentucky Derby winner.

By the way, making excuses for odds on favourites not winning races is tiresome, and I like Union Rags. Perhaps some realism will settle in as we lead up to the Kentucky Derby.  

31 Mar 2012 6:08 PM

Ranagulzion - That pace scenario I laid out sort of played out except El Padrino's jock rode Union Rags the whole race. Guess he forgot he voluntarily got off the horse. Kept Union Rags pinned to the inside the entire first turn and whole backstretch and kept him in a pocket into the stretch. Completely forgot about positioning and forces his own horse to drop the bit. Both were 6 lengths back...nobody closes at GP. Think maybe Julian learned a thing or two today. No reason to toss any of the first 4 horses based on results. Wait to see who blossoms and works well @ CD. Got to pat myself on the back - here's my quote: "I'll take the need to win horse - Take Charge Indy for $500 please Alex." Beers are on me!

31 Mar 2012 7:44 PM

At least I don't need to hear about El Padrino anymore.

31 Mar 2012 11:28 PM

   +++  APRIL  FOOLS !!! +++

  I told my brother, "if Union Rags turns out to be just another horse, this derby will be even more wide open than in past years"

...  guessing the "All button" is going to be in play alot in the coming KENTUCKY DERBY ... the question is where should it be employed?? ...the winners side?? or the place side?? of an exacta?

01 Apr 2012 9:40 PM

Cuban, 'not proven' does not mean the same as 'proven not.'

Hansen is the first foal of his dam who is the only foal of her dam.

Stormy Sunday was a sprinter, but a good one. She was 4/3-0-1 with and excuse for her only loss. She was slammed at the gate. Hansen claimed her from her first start (and win) for $5,000 at Turfway and sent her back at Churchill for $30k n/2L, which is not dogfood. She won going away after breaking 22 and 45 dueling. She definitely contributed something to Hansen.

We've been disappointed by so many brilliant sprinters lately that we may be in danger of forgetting that lack of speed is not a virtue.

02 Apr 2012 1:30 AM

Criminal Minds..I've been around for Citation (he and Arcaro suckered me into this sport), Secretariat (I liked Sham), Seattle Slew (my all-time hero), and Affirmed (I, too, was a fan of Alydar).

With Hansen, I'm going with my gut.  I saw something special in the BCJ.  I saw a shade of Slew, and have been smitten ever since.

With Union Rags, my jaw dropped with his runs in Saratoga.  It was his ability to stop and restart with little effort that kept me interested.  I was disappointed when he tired in the stretch at the BCJ.  Now more than ever, due to the Fla Derby, what's he going to do in a 20 horse field?  How far can he run?  Do you know how slow he was closing?  I do think he can go 10f.  No way he can get 12f. He gets erratic after 9f.

The horses bred to run all day in this chase..Take charge Indy, Prospective,Gemologist, Alpha, Stephenoatsee, Empire Way, Wrote...look for AP Indy, Unbridled, Tiznow, etc..

02 Apr 2012 7:24 PM

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