Derby Dozen (video) - April 2, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

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Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

Worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 and seems to have maintained his energy level, despite two tough races and a series of fast works, including three bullet drills. He just needs a good competitive effort in the Santa Anita Derby and to keep that energy level high without gutting himself or peaking a race too soon. His Thoro-Graph figs went from a 4 ¼ in the San Vicente to a “0” in the San Felipe, so a slight regression certainly is possible, and for the sake of the Derby it definitely wouldn’t hurt. Of course, he could “bounce” and still win, as long as he doesn’t do anything too dramatic. He’s on the right course where he is. Also, would like to see him return to his professional races last year when he was left alone and allowed to do his thing without the whip.


Union Rags Michael Matz

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Certainly no reason to panic. Remember, his goal is to peak in the Derby, not establish himself as a superstar now. He had several things go against him and he still ran a good enough race keep his place in the Derby rankings. Leparoux was down on himself and got a bit defensive on Twitter, but he didn’t know going into the first turn the pace was going to be that slow, and he had Reveron outrun him from the outside and cut in front of him, as El Padrino kept him pinned in. After that, he was in a mess of a traffic jam, with Leparoux back in the saddle and pulling on him through three-quarters in 1:12 (the other four stakes were run in 1:10 2/5, 1:10 2/5, 1:10 3/5, and 1:10 4/5). Also, he threw a shoe before the race, which likely didn’t affect him, but still is a needless concern. And take note that his three works before the race were :50 3/5, 1:04 1/5, and :49 breezing, coming off one easy victory in five months. He leveled off beautifully in the final yards and was closing the gap, while pulling away from El Padrino at the wire, so there is plenty to build off of from this race. If you’re a Beyer pundit, only concern is his failure to improve his figs since last summer, being stuck in the low- to mid-90s. Big long-striding colt, he’s more effective with a clear, outside run; just didn’t quicken when El Padrino finally left him and had no escape route as they kept closing up. Important thing is that he got a lot out of the race, and he should move forward and peak on Derby Day.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

Turned in a sharp five-furlong drill in :59 4/5, final eighth in :12 2/5, out in 1:14 3/5. He should get a good test in the Blue Grass Stakes, as that race is filling up fast. He still has to show again that he can rate behind horses and close. That would eliminate any doubts that still may exist about his ability to relax going a mile and a quarter. The key is relaxing and coming home fast. He’ll be facing an eclectic group of grass, synthetic, and dirt horses from across the country, so we should have a better idea how much he’s improved and matured and how comfortable he is in his new running style.


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

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

Continued his string of long works, going seven furlongs in 1:26. His previous works have been seven furlongs in 1:26 1/5, a mile in 1:42 3/5, and six furlongs between races in 1:10 flat. Interesting to see old-school training these days. Charlie Whittingham and Allen Jerkens would be proud. By skipping the San Felipe and having only two preps this year, he most likely needed a string of lung-opening works like these to keep his fitness level high and put some bottom into him. He gets his big acid test next weekend against Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby. He avoided a “bounce” in the San Felipe after running a “1 ¼” Thoro-Graph fig off a five-month layoff, and now, because he’s fresh and sharp again, must make sure he doesn’t run another huge number that would cause a bounce in the Kentucky Derby. Like Creative Cause, he doesn’t have to win. He just needs a good stiff race to move him forward.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

While racing has been looking at Union Rags as its savior and protector from evil outside forces, perhaps it has been this guy all along who is on that path. He is after all undefeated, loves Churchill, and is bred to run all day. We’ll find out this weekend in the Wood Memorial. Somehow he has managed to separate himself from the mighty army assembled by Pletcher early in the year to attain the rank of No. 1 general. But before we get too excited, he has only one allowance victory to his credit this year and won that with such ease he could need a good old fashioned street fight in the Wood to get him battle-tested for the main onslaught on May 5. If it turns out he’s just that much better than his opponents, then he has to at least get something out of the race, as did all the other recent Derby winners who had only two preps, including his WinStar predecessor Super Saver, who also came up through the Pletcher ranks as his compatriots kept falling off the trail.


Take Charge Indy Pat Byrne Click Here!

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

Well, he took charge alright, getting away with a 1:12 three-quarters, and in doing so, turned the Derby trail upside down, inside out, and on its head by knocking off two of the top heavy hitters. Byrne did an excellent job having him sharp and fresh for this race. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if switching at the last minute from a three-prep schedule to a two-prep schedule will have any effect on him in the Kentucky Derby. To his and Calvin Borel’s credit, they seized the opportunity and made the most of it. This colt has always shown great versatility and tactical speed, and the ability to use it at any point in the race. When Union Rags desperately needed to make his run and get into contention, he threw a :23 4/5 quarter at him, which all but sealed his fate. Byrne, who had a brief stint as one of the premier trainers in the country in the ‘90s, fell on hard times and was all but out of the game, and it’s great to see this colt come along and bring him back into national prominence. Many will chalk this race up to grand theft, but it wouldn’t be wise to underestimate this horse. As a side note, he became the eighth horse from last year’s BC Juvenile field to win a graded stakes this year.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

Breezed a half in :49 before heading north for the Wood Memorial. It seems like ages ago that he ran; I can barely recall the Withers Stakes. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for from him on Saturday. McLaughlin is in it to win, and that’s good enough. I don’t think he’s in any danger of peaking. He can move forward off a win or a loss, so might as well go for it all for a million bucks. I don’t think his first two starts took much out of him; both were workmanlike performances against questionable competition. But he looked good doing it and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be closing in the stretch and no reason why he shouldn’t move forward off it. He’s the last Bernardini standing and Godolphin’s last chance.


Bodemeister Bob Baffert Click Here!

Empire Maker—Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

Baffert shifted gears and is sending him to the Arkansas Derby, even though his running style is similar to Secret Circle’s, who is trying for an Oaklawn trifecta. But Baffert entries never seem to compromise the other’s chances and often finish 1-2. There is no questioning this colt’s brilliance and gameness and how far he’s come in a short time. But as I’ve been saying, there is still that old Apollo curse, having never run at 2. Can he break a 120-year-old curse, or whatever you want to call it? And can he become only the third horse since 1918 to win the Derby having four or fewer career starts? He’s the only 3-year-old with a pair of triple-digit Beyers this year, so who knows, maybe he is that special.


Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

Obviously, the news about him popping a splint wasn’t good, but Romans said he’s perfectly sound now, and he did show up on the work tab April 1, breezing five furlongs in 1:02. So, it appears as if all is well for the Blue Grass Stakes. He’s been jumping around the mid-numbers of the Dozen because of the conflict between his speed figs and the visual aspect of his performances. He has yet to top an 86 Beyer or a “5 ½” Thoro-Graph figure, which would indicate he’s significantly slower than the leading Derby contenders. But I loved what I’ve seen in his last three starts – on Polytrack, dirt, and grass – and can’t help but think he has a big forward move in him, which will have to come in the Blue Grass Stakes, and then another one in the Derby. I just can’t equate his performance in the Palm Beach with an 86 Beyer. That’s not the race I saw. What I saw was a horse, looking like a million dollars, who ran extremely fast and closed in blistering fractions, regardless of how fast the turf course was. His speed figure and track variant in his PPs added up to an excellent 110, as archaic a method as that might be. If he runs another big one in the Blue Grass he definitely will catapult up the list.


Liaison Bob Baffert Click Here!

Indian Charlie—Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop

The forgotten horse, I still think he may be Baffert’s sleeper, especially after his 1:11 1/5 work. Rousing Sermon, who he defeated twice at Hollywood, bounced back with a strong third in the Louisiana Derby after two poor efforts at Santa Anita, and there is no reason to think he can’t bounce back as well in the Santa Anita Derby. He gave all indications he’s capable of it with a decent enough fourth in the San Felipe with blinkers off and dropping far off the pace, which is not his style of running. Baffert decided to keep him home and not look for a change of scenery, so maybe he’s confident the colt will run well. He certainly deserves one more chance.


Daddy Nose Best Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Scat Daddy—Follow Your Bliss, by Thunder Gulch

He has not had a backwards Beyer move since his second start. Since stretching out to two turns, he has made a steady uphill climb, and his last two figs of 93 and 100 indicate a horse who is getting really good right now. In his two starts this year, his Thoro-Graph figs have jumped from a “6 ½” to a “2 ½.” He has the versatility trifecta of having won on dirt, grass, and synthetic. And he did finish second at 5 ½ furlongs on the dirt at Churchill Downs in his career debut, finishing four lengths ahead of Dullahan and behind the speedy Exfactor. Main drawback is that he will lose Leparoux, who has ridden him in his last eight starts. His sire is scorching hot right now.


Went the Day Well Graham MotionClick Here!

Proud Citizen—Tiz Maie’s Day, by Tiznow

His Ragozin speed figure in the Spiral Stakes was 2 ½ points faster than Animal Kingdom’s in the same race last year. As a result they have decided not to give him another race before the Derby, just as they did with Animal Kingdom. Like with last year’s Derby winner, they will train him at Keeneland and ship to Churchill to work once or twice. Although he didn’t beat much in the Spiral, what I liked most about him was his efficient stride and the way he handled being bottled up in traffic. He is improving with every race and at the right time, and Animal Kingdom proved those horses are always dangerous.

Knocking At The Door

13 El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

I honestly don’t know what to make of him at this point after his fourth in the Florida Derby. This isn’t what you want for your final prep, but I’m not tossing him out just yet. Did the Risen Star and traveling to New Orleans and back take too much out of him? You wouldn’t think so, considering he got a bigger Thoro-Graph figure in his allowance victory and Mark Valeski came back to run a strong race in the Louisiana Derby, despite throwing a shoe and returning lame. And he is a big, strong colt, so forget that theory. One other thought is this: When a jockey “rides” another horse, usually the favorite, there is always the danger of compromising his own chances. Castellano had every right to keep Union Rags pinned down and trapped; it’s called race-riding. But when the pace started to slow down I would have liked to seen him put the horse into contention before it was too late. Castellano has ridden this horse flawlessly, and you can’t blame him for thinking he had enough horse to make up 3 ½ lengths, but he seemed to stay focused on Union Rags too long and the first two just never came back. And he did have a wide trip. Who knows what would have happened had El Padrino run the same race as Reveron, which he could have with his tactical speed. That doesn’t excuse the horse for coming up flat in the stretch. It’s not like he wasn’t trying; he just didn’t have it on this day. But he’s too good a horse to discount off this one race.

14 My Adonis Kelly Breen

Pleasantly Perfect—Silent Justice, by Elusive Quality

Drilled a sharp half in a bullet :47 flat at Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial, giving him an all-important work over the track, which he obviously handles extremely well. With the distinct possibility of him winning the Wood, his 73-1 odds in the final Future Wager look like the potential steal of the year right now. He just needs to develop a consistent running style, having been effective on, near, and far off the pace. In most of his races last year he was right on the pace and in fact got caught up in a suicidal speed duel in the Delta Jackpot. In the Holy Bull this year, he came from 20 lengths back to finish third, falling a half-length short of catching Hansen for second. And in the Gotham, he sat about a length off the pace, but couldn’t match strides with Hansen in the stretch, finishing a clear-cut second, six lengths ahead of the third horse. He looks as if he’s sitting on a big race, stretching out to 1 1/8 miles, and would most likely catapult into the Top 5 with a win or a strong second.

15 Mark Valeski Larry Jones Click Here!

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

Really can’t do much with him until we find out the extent and cause of his lameness after throwing a shoe in the Louisiana Derby. It is inconceivable to think he couldn’t catch the 109-1 shot Hero of Order in a :13 2/5 final eighth and :38 2/5 final three-eighths. So everything is up in the air with him until we know more. With only two two-turn races in his career, there already is a question how much foundation he has. But all in all, considering the circumstances, he ran a pretty gutsy race and did have enough of a gut-wrencher to prepare him for the Derby. We should know more shortly. (I’m not including the winner anywhere, as it is extremely unlikely he’ll be able to make the starting field, not being nominated).

16 Optimizer D. Wayne Lukas

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

Breezed a half in :49 in preparation for the Arkansas Derby. We know this horse has ability and a strong closing kick. He just has to use them with some consistency and at least put in two good performances in a row, which is why the Arkansas Derby is such an important race for him. He’s right on the bubble with graded earnings and needs to pick up some money. Yes, he’s had some traffic issues this year, but he still should have run better. You can’t knock his second in the Rebel, as he was flying at the end, but he has to learn how to change leads, something he fails to do race after race. In short, the Arkansas Derby is a big race in more ways than one. When this horse runs his race he is extremely dangerous.

17 Prospective Mark Casse

Malibu Moon—Spirited Away, by Awesome Again

Still don’t know if he’s heading for the Wood Memorial or Blue Grass Stakes. His Beyers need to get faster in a hurry, with a career high 88, but he is on a nice pattern on Thoro-Graph, pairing up 5 ½ and 5 ¼ in his first two starts and then jumping to a 3 ½ in the Tampa Bay Derby with the addition of blinkers. He hasn’t beaten anyone of significance, but other than a poor effort in the BC Juvenile, he’s been a gem of consistency, finishing first or second in his other six starts.

18 Secret Circle Bob Baffert Click Here!

Eddington—Ragtime Hope, by Dixieland Band

Does anyone, even Baffert, really know what to make of him? He’s still trying to shake the pre-conceived notion that he’s a sprinter by continuing to win each time he stretches out in distance. He doesn’t win pretty, but he wins. He’s razor-sharp right now, working a blistering five furlongs in :58 2/5 as he prepares for his final test in the Arkansas Derby, where his toughest opponent likely will be his own stablemate Bodemeister. He did drop 10 points in his Beyer fig in the Rebel (102 to 92), but has remained remarkably consistent in his Thoro-Graph numbers, running a 2 ½, 2 ½, 2 ½, 2 ½, and 2 ¾ in his last five starts. So distance is not slowing him down.

19 Rousing Sermon Jerry Hollendorfer

Lucky Pulpit—Rousing Again, by Awesome Again

He rebounded nicely off those two disappointing efforts at Santa Anita by closing from 11th to finish third, beaten two lengths, in the Louisiana Derby. But he was closing into a :13 2/5 final eighth and the two horses who finished in front of him were a 109-1 shot and a horse who threw a shoe in the race and returned lame. What is important is that he regained his form and demonstrated the big closing kick he showed at Hollywood Park last year.

20 Midnight Transfer Carla Gaines Click Here!

Hard Spun—French Satin, by French Deputy

Although the mile and a quarter is a question mark with him, he is on a strong upward trend in his Beyers. He ran a huge “3” Thoro-Graph fig breaking his maiden in December and then paired up 4 ¾’s this year. He needs to take a step forward in the Santa Anita Derby, his second start around two turns. He’s just a little guy and the rigors of the Derby might be beyond his scope, but he tries and has a ton of sprinting speed that he can stretch out. It’s just a question of how far. He did get a little tired at the end of the San Felipe, but was competitive with Creative Cause and Bodemeister. We’ll just have to see in which direction he goes this weekend.


One horse who will be watched with great interest this weekend is STREET LIFE, who has turned two straight electrifying stretch runs and should make the final furlong of the Wood Memorial all the more interesting. If he should win or finish second, watch how quickly his bandwagon fills up.

Sitting just out of the Top 20 is REVERON, and he should make the list next week. He probably should be on there this week after his game second in the Florida Derby. The question is whether he was carried there by Take Charge Indy after chasing him through a slow three-quarters. He has an enigmatic pedigree, having all speed on top with Songandaprayer, and stamina on the bottom with Awesome Again. He was very game winning the Gulfstream Park Derby, and ran well enough to finish third in the Sam F. Davis from the 10-post. He had the blinkers removed for the Florida Derby and worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:00 4/5 at Calder a week before the race. He ran hard in the stretch and at one point looked like he had a shot to win, moving up on even terms with the winner, but couldn’t stay with him in the final furlong.

Expect our old friend SABERCAT to be back in the Top 20 next week after everything is sorted out in New York, California, and Illinois. Yes, he finished a disappointing eighth in the Rebel, but he was way too far back, some 15 lengths off the lead. He actually appeared to be moving with good momentum turning for home, but was in traffic and never sustained his run. This is the big disadvantage of giving a horse only two preps at 3. Everything has to go perfectly. He now has to make a huge turnaround in the Arkansas Derby and get something out of the race. I feel he can do it and expect big improvement with that first race behind him.

So, we could have a Ballydoyle duo in the Derby this year following the 1-3 finish by DADDY LONG LEGS and WROTE in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby. How that transfers to the dirt is hard to tell. Master of Hounds ran huge in last year’s Run for the Roses after his gutsy second in the UAE Derby. It was said by those close to the Ballydoyle contingent in last year’s Breeders’ Cup that Daddy Long Legs could be their best shot, but the son of Scat Daddy never picked up his feet after breaking slowly and beat only one horse. He has, however, made excellent progress from 2 to 3 and ran a strong race in the UAE Derby. Wrote looked fantastic winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, but his pedigree is almost all grass. He did close well over the Tapeta in the UAE Derby, but couldn’t catch Daddy Long Legs and was just beaten late for second by the French-trained Yang Tse Kiang. We’ll see how Aidan O’Brien goes about his attack on the Derby this year.

It will be very interesting to say the least to see what PAYNTER does in the Santa Anita Derby off one 5 ½-furlong maiden race.


Leave a Comment:

Dr Drunkinbum

1. I'll Have Another

2. Hansen

3. Street Life

4. Gemologist

5. Creative Cause

6. Bodemeister

7. Secret Circle

8. Midnight Transfer

9. El Padrino- Good foundation. Didn't have it in the Florida Derby. Maybe his last duel took too much out of him and he'll have more for The Derby? 10fer for sure but is he fast enough? Maybe he's more of a Belmont Stakes horse but I see your point Slew.

10. Daddy Long Legs and Daddy Nose Best (tie)

11. Optimizer

12. Take Charge Indy- Can Borel change his style? Maybe. I doubt if he can wire The Derby.

13. I'm still not sold. Yeah I know he had a troubled trip again and ran 78 inches farther than the winner. He gets in more trouble than Theodore Cleaver according to his fans.

14. Ever So Lucky- Exciting that Sheppard might be entering him in the Bluegrass.

02 Apr 2012 3:45 PM
Carlos in Cali

WOW! Dropping El Padrino from 3rd to "knocking on the door" is pretty harsh IMO. Considering he went 4-5 wide throughout and traveled an extra 68ft/20yds further than the winner while only getting beat by 3L,I thought he ran ok,not great.

Steve,I thought a "slight regression" before the Derby "wouldn't hurt", or does that only apply to Creative Cause & Liasion?..

Speaking of Liasion;  I don't get why he's still in your top 12 after running horrible in his last 2 starts. IMO,Rousing Sermon's race in the La.Derby proved nothing regarding Liasion moving forward,they came home crawling.Pretty much the same race Rousing Sermon ran in his last 2 starts where he Liasion finished next to each other.

I still don't see where UR had any trouble,he was in the 2-path througout.It's not like he was "pinned on the rail".

02 Apr 2012 4:31 PM

I am high on Gemologist even though he has not raced in many prestigious races so far. I'm sure the Wood should tell us more. I was thinking about recent undefeated horses running in the Derby and it seems like most all of them have won, Big Brown, Barbaro, Smarty Jones. I am not saying Gemologist is the equal of any of these but time will tell as it always does. I am aware that many horses in past years have gone into the Derby undefeated and not won but has that happened in the past 15 or 20 years? I can't seem to recall a recent undefeated horse that has lost. Also, FuPeg was undefeated as a 3 year old entering the Derby, with 4 wins, placing 2nd in his only start as a 2 year old.

02 Apr 2012 4:47 PM

In all of El Padrino's races he was finishing up well except for the Florida Derby, which makes me feel Castellano really took him out of his game by being so concerned with Union Rags, especially after getting away a step slow.  I also think EP runs better when covered up and just needs to settle into his own stride and not be forced into a spot for 'race riding' purposes.

02 Apr 2012 4:56 PM

Steve, I do not envy you, having to come up with these Dozens when it seems every week, major contenders befuddle or disappoint us and lesser-knowns throw wrenches in the works.

And with the 3 major preps this weekend, you just know this list will be jumbled again next Monday.

Despite being repeatedly burned by California horses year after year in the Derby, I am jumping on the I'll Have Another bandwagon after reading about those long works.

I'll stick with El Padrino...perhaps foolishly.  I kept yelling "Go now!" at my TV....and he never did.  Putting a line through that race.

Hansen is my "I'm From Missouri" me you can rate and win at 1 1/8th.

And I'm eager to see how the Wood shakes out....especially My Adonis and Street Life.

02 Apr 2012 4:57 PM
It aint easy being good!

Steve when are you going to give street life some street cred. you have opened my eyes but he isnt even on the watchlist now. Did you see his work the other day? The apollo curse will end with him. So jacked for the wood finally a race worth watching these preps have been slow and boring so far!

02 Apr 2012 4:59 PM

Agree that Liaison should be among top 10. I'd put him at #1 and would round off top 5 with Holy Candy and your top 3. All others seem well below the quality of these 5.

02 Apr 2012 5:02 PM

Great commentary Steve and so much information to use in my picks.  

Just from watching the prep races I am attracted to Secret Circle and Daddy Nose Best will to win.  They seem to have so much heart.

I wonder if Calvin Borel will be the rider of Take Charge Indy on Kentucky Derby Day.  Is that to be expected? If Calvin is the jockey there will be a lot of wagers on TCI.

I think its important Gemologist has an affinity for Churchill.  In my view, its never an easy track whether its fast, dry, cuppy, or slop.

This week end is going to be extremely interesting.  Creative Cause always looks so strong and into his run.  I hope Joel Rosario heeds your advice about sparing the whip.  Creative Cause doesn't like it and obviously doesn't need it.  Then again, I wish all the whips would disappear altogether.

Final thought, something about Mike Smith riding Rousing Sermon (if he makes it to the Derby) seems very intriguing.

Creative Cause

Daddy Nose Best


Union Rags

I'll Have Another

Secret Circle

Take Charge Indy




02 Apr 2012 5:10 PM
Sam Santschi

Sure would be nice to see Mike Smith pick up #5000 on Saturday aboard Midnight Transfer.

02 Apr 2012 5:14 PM

El Padrino as well as his highly touted stablemate Gemologist are bubble horse in regards to graded money.  Padrino likely won't make it lest Pletcher find another race for him and Gem needs to finish no worse than 2nd this coming Saturday in the Wood if he's gonna make the gate.  EP is now 18th and Gem is 28th or so.  Pletcher may be left without a starter for the first time in several years.  That being said, I prefer Street Life and Alpha in the Wood and Midnight Transfer out West which will result in a lot of leapfrogging.  Next week Najjaar.

02 Apr 2012 5:15 PM

  Gee, I just hope that some 2-3 digit millionaire comes along and pays Gennadi Dorochenko’s and Raut LLC's $125 million late fee,

--issue re the lost shoe of no lost shoe not significant, because that 1 1/16 Gr. II WIN should be a ‘WIN and you’re IN’, unlike the Delta Jackpot !!! and he and the connections deserve the right to go to the Derby wether 109-1 again or not.

02 Apr 2012 5:31 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

13, bonus donut was supposed to be Union Rags. I somehow left his name off.

02 Apr 2012 5:39 PM

I thought the LA Derby was a total joke.  That track was rolled so tight that the horses hooves were barely breaking the surface.  It was akin to running on a freeway for the speed horses.  Closers had absolutely no chance in that race.  The Fla Derby wasn't as bad, but the track was also playing to speed and, on top of that, the pace was dog slow for that caliber of horse.  Take Charge Indy will NOT get a slow pace in the KY Derby.  That being said, I'm wondering if Union Rags might not have distance limitations after all.  He did not display that late explosive turn-of-foot once he was clear.  I believe it's clear that Castellano is regretting his decision to give up the mount on UR as demonstrated by his ride on El Padrino.  He seemed more interested in making sure that UR didn't win than he did in winning with El Padrino.  Both of these races were made less competitive by the desire of the tracks' connections souping up the surfaces in a search for fast times.  This is my pet peeve during the run-up to the KY Derby. I don't believe any horse out of the LA Derby will hit the board in the KY Derby and don't think the FLA Derby did anything but muddy the picture.  

Still looks like a horse closing from mid-pack or farther back will win the KY Derby.  I want to see what Gemologist, Alpha, and My Adonis do in the Wood before passing judgement on them. Creative Cause will be tough in the SA Derby IF the last two didn't take too much out of him.  Midnight Transfer should improve going long 2nd time.  I'll Have Another is a mystery yet to be solved.  Expect a closer to win the Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister turning up the gas on the speed horses.  The Bluegrass should also be quick with Hansen and Howe Great pushing.  If Dullahan is on his game (popped splint cost him a few training days), he should blow by them in the stretch.  

I still think the KY Derby field should be limited to 14 horses.  In a 20 horse field there is just too much that can go wrong and, obviously, does.  The winner is often far from being the best horse in the race.  I always hold my breath until after the field has negotiated that first turn, fearing that there will be a pile-up that will wipe out half the runners.

02 Apr 2012 5:41 PM

It is remarkable how the connections of Take Charge Indy have, in a single stroke, converted him into a top Classic prospect with a guaranteed life as a high-priced stallion. The horse does not have to win another race and the connections will reap millions from their investment. This is was brilliant. Congrats to them.

I just hope the trainer changes his mind and scratches Creative Cause from the Santa Anita Derby.

I have a bad feeling about that race.

02 Apr 2012 5:49 PM

It's quite entertaining to sit back and watch these very hily thought of picks for the derby get thier heads chopped off not to mention the bunch in La who got beaten by a Russian goat,oh this derby is going to be interesting!!!

02 Apr 2012 6:17 PM
El Kabong

Carlos in Cali,

There is a good chance El Padrino may not have enough earnings. I see possibly 3 horses coming out of the Ark Derby with earnings to pass him by(Bode, Optimizer, Isn't he clever) 3 out of the Wood-Gemologist, Alpha, My Adonis or one of the new kids, and 1 from the SA Derby (I'll have another) and maybe one more from the Illinois Derby. El Padrinos 280 may not cut it. I hope he gets in, but I'm not real comfortable about that happening right now.

02 Apr 2012 6:20 PM
zan the man

Bodemeister would become the THIRD (not the second) horse to win the KD off only 4 starts or fewer since 1918.  Big Brown had 3, Animal Kingdom had 4.  

02 Apr 2012 6:23 PM
Mike from Michigan

I guess Mike Repole's  last shot for the K Derby is 'Our Entourage' and he will have to win the Grade III Illinois Derby to have a  chance for graded earnings.  I think the winners share should be around 250K-300K and that should get him in.  Another one that needs earnings is Cozzetti for Dale Romans,  but I haven't heard what's next for him.  I would like to see either one of these horses make it for Derby 138.  In the Wood Memorial, It looks like a pretty tough race, but I'm going to tab 'My Adonis' for the win.  It looks like he can close like a locomotive and should be there for a nice win and a trip to Louisville.

02 Apr 2012 6:24 PM

I was not impressed with Union Rags in the Florida Derby.  Even when space opened up, took him a long time to get in the next gear.  What will he do in a 20 horse field?  No longer an obvious single for me on top of the exotics. I'm hoping Gemologist runs a good 2d in the Wood to get the needed earnings and he'll be my bet in the Derby (10-1).

02 Apr 2012 6:29 PM
Your Only Friend

Thought crossed my mind that rider on Union was paying to much attention what El Padrino was doing and not paying attention the pace leaders were setting....just a thought.......watching rerun ..never started move until El Padrino started too move....should ride his own race.

02 Apr 2012 6:29 PM

Dr. D, this is the first time I've seen Take Charge Indy race on the lead. There was no blazing speed horse in the Florida Derby, so Byrne sent TCI to the front, and it worked out perfectly. I imagine Borel will have him in a good stalking position in the Derby. I don't think he'll try and send him out with Hansen and Secret Circle. The things I like about TCI are:


2)Good tactical speed

3)Ran well at CD

4)Off track won't bother him

5)Has Calvin Borel on his back

6)Beyer figs aren't stellar, but they are consistent(96,95)and  better than most heading towards the Derby as of now.

02 Apr 2012 6:30 PM

I still wouldn't put TAKE CHARGE INDY ahead of EL PADRINO although TCI has definitely moved up in my book.  If Borel rides him with his patented "off the pace" style, he can run this just as fast as MINE THAT BIRD or STREET SENSE and win the DERBY.

Why try and RACE RIDE, Steve, when this race wasn't do or die for CASTELLANO?  I give him full credit for EL PADRINO'S showing.  With 20 horses in the DERBY no one will be race riding it for crying out loud.

The FLORIDA DERBY was the best thing that could've happened to UNION RAGS.  He got a good workout.  LEPAROUX learned a good lesson, and, UR is none too happy about losing the race, I'd be willing to bet.  He is the best talent of all the 3 year olds and if he gets a decent trip, everyone else will be competing for 2nd.

Btw, for his first trip in graded stakes, I think CIGAR STREET has no reason to hang his head.  

The WOOD is going to be a hum dinger of a race & I may have to make a trip up for the ARKANSAS DERBY when they run at Oaklawn.

Oh, EL PADRINO will be ready for the DERBY, that is….if CASTELLANO didn't blow it for him.  He's not in a comfortable position as far as graded earnings are concerned.

Is CASTAWAY off the trail???

02 Apr 2012 6:53 PM

Wow!  Big upsets...especially in my top 10.  While I would like to include Gemologist, Bodemeister, Howe Great, and I'll have Another, I've dropped them until they have enough $$.  I've included only those with over $250k, and the cutoff could end up being even higher...$280K to $300K.  

News Pending walked backward in the Fla Derby and is off my list.  Scatman would need to win the AR Derby to qualify, so he's off the list too.

The only good to come out of Louisiana was Star Guitar and Nate's Mineshaft who highlighted Sunday.  Everyone else was pedestrian, including El Padrino.

My fear with the O'Brien duo is that they won't be pursuing a TC, just come for the Ky Derby, but I cannot ignore those 2 powerhouses.

1/Hansen (he makes me think of Slew)..and he's done nothing wrong.

2/ Wrote..I thought he was best in the BC.

3/Take Charge Indy..royally bred and capable, but has only one just happens to be high gear.

4/Daddy Long Legs...Another Scat Daddy taking on the world.

5/Prospective...keeps improving with every out.  Well bred.

6/Daddy Nose Best...On tapeta and dirt, another great Scat Daddy.

7/Union Rags...Still think he's awesome, but even more convinced he has distance limitations.

8/Secret Circle..he has the breeding to run all day...not sure if he knows it.

9/Alpha...a grinder with a high cruising will be tough for him in the Wood. Actually has only $210, but he and Casual Trick are the last Bernardini's in the chase.

10/Creative Cause...ok you guys broke me down.  He has the $$, but can he get by I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby?  I like the way he moves; I just question his erratic moves.

Went The Day Well has the $$, but he still seems green to me, and it looks as though they changed their minds about giving him more experience.

I stated on another blog that after this weekend, I'm going back to my original handicapping ways...

if there are more than 3 black horses in a race, then I might get confused...but I'll keep betting black(dark bays).  Take Charge Indy, Reveron, and Hero of Order proved that works best.

02 Apr 2012 7:00 PM

All in all Steve, I am pretty much in agreement with your list though I can't seem to drum up any love for Liason.  I too was puzzled by Mark Valeski's inability to get by the winner on Sunday.  Losing the shoe may explain it, especially since he came back lame. Hopefully it's just some tenderness in the foot, but he wasn't running on pavement, so he'd have to be a real "tenderfoot" to go lame from losing the shoe unless he lost part of the hoof wall along with the shoe.

Carlos; UR was indeed pinned on the rail for all but the last 3/16th of a mile. Did you not see Leparoux standing in the irons having to hold him off of horses with El Padrino stuck like a burr to his outside?  He may not have the turn of foot and quick burst of speed which might have extricated him 1/16th earlier, but he certainly leveled out and came home well the last 1/4 after getting out of the hole.

He is still my #1 and if I ever had any doubt about his ability to get the 1-1/4 Derby distance, I don't any longer.

02 Apr 2012 7:04 PM

I thought Union Rags race was very impressive. Even Gary Stevens commented two times how the horse made 3 runs (including driving at the wire). A lot of dirt in his face, inside, outside, and he still was gaining at the end...his jockey needs to let him run a little closer and get him in position in the backstretch and I think he'll be fine. Will have to see how this weekend's starters fare now...

02 Apr 2012 7:09 PM
Mike Monarchos

Steve, I love your Derby Dozen blog. I really learn alot from it. I also look forward to your CD workout reports a week or two before the Derby.

Here's my Derby Dozen for what it's worth:

1. Gemologist- He's undefeated and could be a superhorse. It's just a feeling I have. He's big, good looking, consistant, and undefeated!

2. Creative Cause - Why? Just cauz.

3. Bodemeister - I think he's Baffert's best, and he has two triple diget Beyers this year.

4. Daddy Nose Best - he has a good foundation with wins in two 1 1/8 graded stakes races.

5. El Padrino - A big, beautiful chestnut colt who ran too wide in the Florida Derby, and probably bounced a little off the Risen Star stretch battle.

6. Hansen - A beautiful white colt who improved witout blinkers in has last race.

7. Take Charge Indy - Won Florida Derby due to a great ride from "Borail".

8. Union "Onion" Rags - Got mostly a rail trip in Florida Derby, but still couldn't win. Beat El Padrino by a length and 3/4 because he ran about 40 - 50 feet less.

9. Prospective - An improving colt with a good foundation. He has three races over the Tampa Bay Downs stamina building track this year. Beyer for the Tampa Bay Derby should have at least been in the low to mid 90's.

10. Alpha - Good colt with a distance pedigree.

11. I'll Have Another - Has been off a while, but is working well for S.A. Derby.

12. Secret Circle - Baffert's other entry in the Arkansas Derby.


02 Apr 2012 7:15 PM
marilyn braudrick

Paynter isn't listed as being nominated for the derby.  Why supplement him if he wins one of the prep derbies if he can't get in any way with 400 plus nominated horses.  The rules state that it doesn't matter how much he earns, he still can't get in if one of the nominees wants to get in even if the nominated horse only has $1.00 in graded earnings???

02 Apr 2012 7:32 PM

Carlos in Cali..did you not watch the Florida Derby?

02 Apr 2012 7:35 PM

I find it somewhat disconcerting that several of your horses in the Derby Dozen wouldn't qualify if the race was held today due to insufficient earnings. For instance, Bodemeister has only earned $60K in graded stakes in a year when it will likely take over $250K to qualify. I would be interested to see a Derby Dozen of horses that have the money to be at the Derby rather than ones who hope to be there.

02 Apr 2012 7:42 PM
Steve Haskin

I actually numbered the Top 20 this week and El Padrino was No. 13. They dropped the numbers but should put them back. I dropped him in order to wait for next week's results after which I'll probably move him higher. Read my comments, dont just look at where they are listed. and I dont think #13 is unreasonable for now. I couldnt find anyone to drop lower.

I completely forgot about Street Life. I added a graph on him.

02 Apr 2012 7:45 PM

Dr. Drunk doesn't have Union Rags in the top 10 and Carlos didn't see him have any problems at all.  Unreal.

02 Apr 2012 7:53 PM

I'm glad you at least mentioned "failed to quicken" once. He also failed to quicken when Reveron swerved away from Take Charge Indy in the early stretch, leaving UR a path between horses you could drive a garbage truck through. UR not only failed to quicken, he dropped back, and was taken outside a horse that had moved out to the five-path.

No more moaning about wide trips for this boy. Union Rags will not run inside of horses. Wide trips are his best thing.

02 Apr 2012 7:54 PM

El Padrino was overrated just like I said and may not have enough to even get in the Derby so why have him in the top 10 ?

02 Apr 2012 7:54 PM
Steve Haskin

Bodemeister comment regarding number of career starts has been fixed. Should be third horse, not second.

02 Apr 2012 7:56 PM
Paula Higgins

I would love to say that I think Union Rags will win the Derby for Michael Matz, but I don't see him doing it. Same for Hansen. I like Gemologist alot and Creative Cause as well. The Wood will tell us the story on Gemologist. If he doesn't fire, well I give up. I don't think there will be a dominating front runner in that case.

02 Apr 2012 7:58 PM
Mister Frisky

Thanks Julian Leparoux,Your terrible ride increased Union Rags odds come derby day.I will gladly take 5 to 1 instead of the 5 to 2 he would have been.Next time you have the best horse give him some rein and let it roll.

02 Apr 2012 8:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I think you're right, and he could be improving, and be able to pounce from anywhere. I agree with those who say that El Padrino could need more earnings. I didn't like the ride at all. He should have been closer and not worried about Rags. Rags is in no matter what. Who cares what he does? El Padrino needed to be pressing closer and he needed to get at least 3rd, but who knows, maybe it wouldn't have been his day no matter what, and maybe he'll still get lucky and get into the Derby, and maybe he's not really good enough to win it anyway. I think there is almost zero chance of El Padrino racing again before The Derby. If he doesn't get in they'll just run in The Preakness and Belmont. I'm hoping a monster emerges in the remaining preps. The pedigrees are out there for the Triple Crown this year. The workout from Bode was something and he might be really special. I do not expect the next two weekends to be disappointing. Monsters are lurking and one or more could be scary good.

02 Apr 2012 8:41 PM
It aint easy being good!

Thanks steve I love street life and I am glad you put him in the mix he is stepping way up in class. He reminds me of curlin a few years back light on experience but a hell of a race horse. His bandwagon is goign to fill fast after saturday!

02 Apr 2012 8:41 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  All of the other "never been done befores" have been squashed so why not finish them all off and be done with it. Then we can just start handicapping the race without the "he can't win it because no one has ever won it before trying to do what he is trying to do."

02 Apr 2012 8:44 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

P.S. I should have said "never done or since Paul Revere did it in 1776."

02 Apr 2012 8:49 PM

Love the way I'll Have Another is being trained!   Right now I like him, Creative Cause and Prospective best I think, although not in that order necessarily.

02 Apr 2012 9:08 PM
marilyn braudrick

Steve, O.k., now Iʻll say it . . . I had a dream that Paynter won the Derby- when I woke up, I assumed it was the Kentucky Derby- but on second thought, it could maybe be the Santa Anita, Illinois or Arkansas derby??? Thatʻs why I was so jarred when you mentioned him at the end of the most recent derby dozen- like that sort of after thought statement you made about Mine That Bird the day before the Kentucky Derby-a sort of throw away comment about him looking so good at Churchill.

02 Apr 2012 9:28 PM

you are dreaming if you think you are going to get 5-1 on union rags derby day. if he had won big saturday he would have been in the 3-5 or 4-5 range maybe worse. now you are looking at 5-2 at best 3-1 and i doubt that his people aren't jumping off yet.

02 Apr 2012 9:43 PM
Gary Tasich

Rags Baby Rags

I'll Have Another

Creative Cause



Take Charge Indy

Stick a fork in ePad!

02 Apr 2012 10:05 PM
Gary Tasich

1. Rags Baby Rags

2. I'll Have Another

3. Creative Cause

4. Bodemeister

5. Hansen

6. Take Charge Indy

Stick a fork in ePad!

02 Apr 2012 10:09 PM
El Kabong


Your comments concerning Union Rags and Leps ride are the most intelligent comment I've read so far. If I was a fan of Union Rags, I would be giddy at that result. If he is all that and a bag of chips, you have been given thrice what you would have received had he won or raced better. And as Steve has pointed out, it wasn't necessary. I have my doubts about his assumed prowess and I will be handing you greenbacks saaaalapp slap slap if I'm wrong and good on you and Mr. Matz for a game well played if I'm wrong. But you have the right outlook for now.

02 Apr 2012 10:20 PM

I was not able to view a head-on of the stretch drive in the FL Derby, but what I saw was a horse not willing to run between two others in order to gain the lead, leaving Leparoux no choice but to cut to the outside to get his colt to run for the wire.  From the angle I saw, there appeared to be room.  If I am wrong please correct me.  Otherwise, Matz has a major training issue to work on if Union Rags is to contend in the crowded Kentucky Derby - and I think it was lucky to have learned it now.  Thought El Padrino was demonstrating bounce and will be fine for KD if he has the earnings, and agree with others who believe Castellano was more concerned about UR than his own mount.  Similar may be true of Mark Valeski, depending on lameness report.  Based on trainer's comments about his colt not liking to run back in only three weeks, I do not see Take Charge Indy as a TC prospect - which is not to say he can't win the KD, only that if he does we will not likely see a TC winner this year.

I have long been a Hansen doubter but am beginning to think he has a legitimate shot.  Still like Prospective, warming up to Bodemeister, and think Went The Day Well has huge potential.

Have to watch Creative Cause again before I give in to the belief he can beat all the rest.  Steve, you rarely put a horse at #1 without very good reason, you see things we don't too many times for me to think otherwise.

Sure wish I had seen Hero Of Order as the potential upset winner on Sunday :)  But who among us doesn't?

02 Apr 2012 10:25 PM
El Kabong


when the season opened, I asked you if your first listing wasn't one of your most difficult to post. You concurred that it was. Well,  I don't think it has gotten any easier. I'm looking at the potential in this class and despite the setbacks of some fine talent already, we still have a very competitive and talented group that is making this year difficult, but very enjoyable. Last weekend aside, this has been a season of good racing. Thanks for all your extra hard work with this class of tricksters. This chase to the Louisville wire with all your wisdom and insight is invaluable and just pure fun.

02 Apr 2012 10:50 PM

I get a little amused at those on the Union Rags bandwagon.  Invariably someone says "if he gets a good trip", or "he had a bad trip", it just seems like somebody is always defending him.  To me, if he's good enough, he'll make his own luck. And in the Derby, yes, it often happens that the best horse doesn't win, have to grant that.  I have nothing against UR, but this year is so much better than last and there are quite a few nice horses who I think stand as good a chance as any.

Someone mentioned having smaller fields in the KY Derby and I kind of agree with that.  It would weed out any marginal horses and for the most part would assure a higher quality field.  JMHO

02 Apr 2012 11:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Regarding some of the comments on Union Rags, I mention his last three works, which is something that requires one to read between the lines to form the proper conclusion.

02 Apr 2012 11:32 PM

Great analysis Steve on this week's list.  Just when we think we have it figured out the weekend's races muddle it all again.  I guess Union Rags got a bad ride, I'll chalk it up to that.  I wanted him to emerge the star this weekend but if you say we want him to peak in the Derby you just might be right.  I did not think Mark Valeski ran all that bad, shoe and all he got up for a game second.  Hope he is ok and can keep his shoes on for the next race.  I am liking Went The Day Well a lot for some reason and glad to see you have now included him in the "Dozen."  I would have named I'll Have Another "Arc de Fleurs" or Arc of Flowers after Flower Alley and the dam, I don't know what to make of him though.  Take Charge Indy lived right up to his name, impressive win.  

I agree with R&BSilks about reducing the Derby field to 14 or so.  Certainly safer.

Can we get a listing of the Dozen's Beyer, Thoro-graph, and Tomlinson numbers somewhere listed next to each other?

Feel bad for Royal Delta, I wanted her to ace it over there in Dubai. Hope Bob Baffert is home and feeling much better now.

02 Apr 2012 11:33 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, El Kabong. And you hit it right on the head. The bottom line is that it's supposed to be fun.

Marilyn, thanks for remembering the Mine That Bird comment. I can tell you that althiugh I believe the gigantic and mind-blowing leap to the SA Derby is something I've never seen, they truly believe this colt this horse is freaky special. To win this and/or the Ky. Derby is something you would only see in a movie -- and then probably rip it for being too unrealistic.

02 Apr 2012 11:39 PM

The graded earnings concerns for both El Padrino and Mark Valeski are way overblown.  Yes, theoretically they could miss out, but it's very, very unlikely.  It always seems to be a story that gets blown up at this time of year, but by Derby Day there are never any horses that get left out that should be in.  I would expect both of them to be in the gate on Derby Day if healthy.

02 Apr 2012 11:54 PM

union rags looks like this years afleet alex with the troubled 3rd place finish in last race. looks like a real horse race developing between rags and hansen who seems to have learned to rate just off the speed. i just can't seem to come up with a third horse to complete my exacta and triple box. help please!

02 Apr 2012 11:57 PM
Mister Frisky

El Kabong,Thank you for the kind words.I was a huge Gary Stevens fan.He rode so many big 3 year olds in his day.I believe he won the Santa Anita Derby 7 or 8 times.When he had the best horse in the big derby preps he never got cute.They always broke alert and got right down to business.He mentioned this on the telecast Saturday.I'm hoping Juli got the message.

03 Apr 2012 12:37 AM

Interesting weekend of racing for sure. Castellano riding two horses at once. Kept UR pinned and trapped in box for nearly the entire race - forgot about how far off the pace he'd fallen, how wide he'd run or that at some point he should head for finish line. Russian mafia pulls a rabbit out of their baggie. Assist from Mexican mafia and their contribution of obscure jocks. Well played! Both tracks souped up and playing to speed - track records set. Only thing we learned was Valasky needs shoes, Indy needed $$ and got it, Rags & Padrone ran well enough considering goofy speed track, lack of pace pressure, and stupid jockeys. Shoes falling off left and right - you'd think they'd tie their shoes before going out to dance.

03 Apr 2012 1:04 AM

Steve - Glad your'e sticking with Creative Cause as youre #1. Really like him alot and feel good that he can get top 3 in KY Derby to have a chance to win a trifecta. All of my bets will have CC finishing in the top 3. Here's my current top 8. #1 Creative Cause, #2 Gemologist, #3 Take Charge Indy, #4 Daddy Nose Best, #5 Union Rags, #6 Hansen, #7 Went the Day Well #8 El Padrino. 5 horses trying to crack into my top 8 are Bodemeister, IHA,Howe Great,Alpha, My Adonis. I can see a CC, Gemologist Exacta Box for the Derby. Daddy Nose Best is a real threat and hope to get 20-1 on him for Derby Day. Even losing Leparoux, there are alot of good jocks out there that will be available to pick up the mount. Went the Day Well wil be at least 10-1 and is also a big threat. would love to get at least 5-1 on CC and maybe 8-1 on Gemologist to cap a strong Exacta and strong trifecta with the above mentioned top 8 filling out behind CC. The next 2 wks. will tell alot with filling out all of our lists, thats for sure.

03 Apr 2012 1:36 AM

I feel that the Illinois Derby will be especially important this year, I expect big things from

Currency Swap and Our Entourage, I may be crazy but look forward to seeing these two make the Derby, just not sure purse is big enough for both to get there, depnding on who runs first and second.

03 Apr 2012 3:02 AM

Further thought on Rags refusing to close between horses -- Castellano, who parked on his outside throughout the race, knows the horse. Perhaps we got a hint as to what he knows about him and why he went to Algorithms.

The Kentucky Derby will not be won by a horse who sulks in traffic or goes looking for the outgate in mid-stretch.

El Kabong, you are right; Rags had a ton of room to go between Reveron and Take Charge Indy. I have just reviewed the head-on for you and Reveron went out to the five path with TCI still tight to the rail.

03 Apr 2012 3:13 AM

Don't get fussed about the chances of horses on the earning bubble. We have another month for splints to pop, tendons to tear, hooves to crack, temperatures to rise, bellies to gripe. Surely we're not going to go a full month without some ill-timed temporary setback derailing some of the current top 20.

03 Apr 2012 3:18 AM
Point Given

Marilyn Braudrick

Paynter was early nominated under the name "M C's Dream" owned by Zayat Stable.The name change took place at least 5-6 weeks before his debut on 2/18/12 @Santa Anita.So far they have not made that change.By the way Paynter is the last name of the man who is currently building Baffert's new mansion. My three amigos for the Ky Derby Paynter,Bodemeister & Secret Circle.

03 Apr 2012 3:27 AM

KenfromRI The most accomplished Triple Crown competitor in the last decade was undefeated and untoched going into the Kentucky Derby.He was untouched because in all his races he crushed the opposition Curlin.He lost the Derby because he drew inside and had a terrible trip starting from post 2.

03 Apr 2012 3:43 AM

Exacta box:  Went the Day Well; Dullahan

03 Apr 2012 6:35 AM
Don from PA/DE

Nice input Steve, I agree also about "being FUN" fact I had a thought that your next "Derby Trail" column may use this pun...all sing along now.....heard a "Grandmother" singing this Sunday night....

"Over the river & thru "THE WOOD" to the KD gate one or two will go..with many such as Alpha, Street Life, My Adonis and the Lumber Guy trying the heart out, but it will be "Gemologist" who will, I beleive, look them all in the eyes as he goes by to collect his ticket to the KD Pie.....unbeaten, proud, majestic and hopefully on his way to becoming our new special 2012 horse, time will tell....Don

03 Apr 2012 6:39 AM

Chief Picawinna: And Curlin ran only 3 preps in 2007, an Allowance, the Rebel, and the Arkansas Derby...but lost the Ky Derby to Street Sense.  And he ran on steroids which were legal at the time.

Dr. D: relative to your 8:44 posting on throwing the myths out the window...AMEN!

03 Apr 2012 8:17 AM

I forgot to mention, El Padrino has $255,500.00...not too shabby for the gate.  It's Bodemeister, Alpha, Gemologist, I'll Have Another, and Howe Great who desperately need more earnings.  Of the horses mentioned, Alpha at $210k is probably the least needy.

03 Apr 2012 8:30 AM
Derby Dew


This year's crop of 3 yos is a very interesting bunch to say the least.  At this point, it's difficult to par down this group to a viable Derby Dozen, as you have effectively displayed in this week's list.

The race which I am keen to watch this weekend will be the Santa Anita Derby.  In particular, I'll be focused on Brother Francis, who is still a maiden but has run well in stakes company and has $120,000 in graded earnings.  A win or place would propel him into the Kentucky Derby.  Veteren trainer, Jim Cassidy, apparently has a lot of faith in his charge and morning works suggest a big effort on Saturday.  Are we looking at another upset on the heels of this past weekend?

This weekend's Santa Anita Derby will have my attention focused on the maiden with much potential..... Brother Francis

03 Apr 2012 9:16 AM
Tiz Herself

Love Gemologist and have since his maiden win last year. He was the first one that drew me in and it would be awesome to have followed a two year old all the way.

Also love Creative Cause... never could say no to a gray horse and hope that he shows what he's capable of.

Went the Day Well could be this year's Animal Kingdom, can't wait to see how he handles Churchill's dirt.

Prospective may be a longshot, but he tries so hard and didn't do terrible in the Tampa Derby.

What is there to be said about Union Rags that hasn't been? If it weren't for Borel on Take Charge Indy, would love to see him pick up the mount! Either way, Rags is a star. Hansen, love him. Feel like he's better than most think.

03 Apr 2012 9:31 AM

Here is my two cents worth this week. I totally agree that the trainer of CC should declare "no whip" but then maybe that should be a blanket request for all of them running their guts out every raceday.

Take Charge Indy was in one word 'IMPRESSIVE" UR not so much! He is a grand looking horse, has credentials but has two problems as I see it. One is a lack of speed and the other a lack of heart. Two qualities that separate the great from the good. Two qualities that I'e seen in only one other horse---Hansen. Several contenders have shown one of the two but so far not together.

The best horse often doesn't win on the first Saturday in May. Just look at the past, 1953- who would have thought that Native Dancer would lose? He did! That happened to be my first Derby and my heart was momentarily broken. It was a child's heart and would soon heal and break again in subsequent Derbies when sometimes the best horse would not win that day. So it is and will be again. So I say with my heart pounding as I wish that white flame to victory in every race he runs.

03 Apr 2012 9:35 AM

Slew:  El Padrino is currently #18 with no more chances to pad his bankroll that I know of.  Mark Valeski is #17 and abt. 10k ahead of El P.  He won't be running again either.  I think they are both on the bubble although a couple ahead of them may pass on the Derby.  Namely On Fire Baby who should stay with her sex and Drill who should stick to one turn races.  That would move MV and EP up a couple of notches but they'll likely be leapfrogged this weekend.

Predict:  Currency Swap is #26, but seems to tower over the projected Ill Derby field. A win gets him in while a place puts him abt level with MV and EP.  He earned all his money in a 1 turn stakes on a sloppy track.  He may hhave distance limitations IMO and I'd go with Longview Drive if he runs there.

Joe po:  I think the fave on KD will be about 5 or 6 to 1 and Daddy Nose Best abt 25-1...just my 2 cents.

Deltalady:  Granted a smaller field would be safer, but wouldn't necessarily eliminate marginal horses.  One hit wonders in big races would have preference. BTW, 3 in the top 10 money-wise have no dirt experience.

03 Apr 2012 10:00 AM

Steve:  I think the #20 horse last year got in with abt 120k.  This year it looks as if 300k may be the magic number with possible upsets in upcoming stakes.  Do you think any trainers will scramble with their horses and opt for the Lexington or Jerome or even the Derby Trial in a last ditch effort?  

03 Apr 2012 10:07 AM

FROM - "wins by the stretch"

TO- "betting 3 horse fields"

To- "hitting a 4 HORSE BOX in the Fla Derby with a horse that COULDN"T LOSE.

To - Worrying about the TOP 10.

Draynay....You make me raff.

03 Apr 2012 10:09 AM

I do believe Take Charge Indy is one of the best colts of his crop. Like others AP Indys, he´s developing through the time, so has the potential to be the best 3yo colt at the end of this season. I do beleieve he can win the KD, or the Preakness or more probably the Belmont Stakes. As i said 3 weeks ago, in Mr Haskin´s blog about Alpha and TCHI respective desertions, i only could justified Byrne´s decision if he really knew Take Charge Indy was so fine that he deserved a bigger spot than de Tampa Bay Derby. The Florida Derby result apparently gave him the reason. They (TCHI team) know the jewel that is in their hands. Take Charge Indy is one of my favorites for the triple crown because of his versatility, an important factor for the Triple Crown. About Union Rags, despite Leparoux poor "driving", his performance was simply excellent, above all in the final furlong. UR is still the horse to beat in the KD. If he has a clean trip will be a hard rock to beat. At this point of the TC trail, this is my top 10:











03 Apr 2012 10:23 AM

chief pickawinna,

I did think about Curlin afterwards but will counter that he did not race as a 2 year old. However, your comment about his post position just highlights the fact that often the best horse does not win. Only the TRULY GREATS can overcome bad luck or trip in the Derby and still cross the finish line first. I still am very surprised at the lack of respect Gemologist is getting. I am not big on touts or pro handicappers but one of the best in the business in my book is Jeff Siegel and he happens to put Gemologist at the top of his charts as of last Sunday morning. I can't wait to see the Wood Memorial and hope to be there!

03 Apr 2012 10:41 AM

 Top 12-20 & 40 lists... and predictions, yada yada yada... blah, blah, blah, make your selection and let your $$ do the talking at the window, where we'll all be betting against one another on Derby Day, and GOOD LUCK... --accept to you Draynay where we all want your money in our pool wins,--and may you find a combination or a horse worthy of the cost expended... Personally, having avoided most of Pool plays thus far this year,--all as per an article I posted way back on one of this year’s first blogs about your Future bet horse actually gaining a gate slot and then ACTUALLY showing up, and healthy, and, etc.,--especially as all the picks are looking so muddled from the beginning of this year and even still now,--where ya know “Hansen” could still wire this field presently out there,--and yet I was delighted as a bargain shopper having seen “HOWE GREAT” at 65-1 on Saturday night and having gotten 57-1 on “HOWE GREAT” in final of Pool #3,--where apparently some other ‘Howe-mart’ shoppers saw a bargain too, unfortunately for me,--because if he makes it into the dance off his path and some coming obscure win to accrue the coveted earnings, not only will he deserve his place in the top 5 or 6 going into the Derby, but he won’t be getting near those odds on Derby Day.  Go Baby Go Baby GO!!

03 Apr 2012 11:34 AM

Rivercity- there is no way $300k will be the threshold to get into the derby.

03 Apr 2012 11:41 AM
El Kabong


Gary Stevens is a favorite of mine and I had the pleasure to watch him ride up here right before he made his big name at Santa Anita. He has always been a class act and a hard working athlete. I'm really glad that he has stepped into the broadcast booth, not to mention the acting career. I'm a fan of his too. I was just watching my collection of Great Derby Races the other day and boy did he have a few impressive and well deserved Derby Wins.

03 Apr 2012 12:07 PM
Age of Reason

Anyone looking to evaluate Take Charge Indy's Derby chances have a remarkable historical precedent with which to compare him.

So, we have a colt by A.P. Indy out of a grade-One winning mare, who scored an upset victory in the Florida Derby despite being lightly raced. Wait, I'm not talking about TCI but Friends Lake in 2004! Friends Lake fits all of the details above, thus making him remarkably similar to Take Charge Indy. The field he beat in the FL Derby included Tapit, The Cliff's Edge, Read the Footnotes, Value Plus, etc. I'm not going to pull a Coldfacts and say that Friends Lake lost the Derby--therefore TCI has not shot in the Derby, but I found the litany of similarities between the two to be very interesting.

03 Apr 2012 12:22 PM
Bill in Atlanta

Can someone please help this rookie out and tell me the process regarding being "nominated" for the Derby?  I have always thought that it was simply a matter of which 20 (max) horses had the most Graded earnings as a 3 y.o. And now that Hero of Order has $600k in G2 earnings, he can't race in the Derby unless he gives $200k to CD?

03 Apr 2012 12:45 PM
Carmel Stables

My Derby horse is Reveron. Trujillo knows him better after the Fla Derby and must rate the pace at his best. If you are  for big exotica pays, Reveren must be keyed in

03 Apr 2012 12:45 PM

So yet again Union Rags breaks well but for some reason Julian waits for the race to develop instead of riding like he had the best horse.

Is it me or is Julian better on grass than dirt?

Union Rags was the only horse running at the end,he ran the last 1/8th a half second faster than the winner, I dont know how you can say he lacks heart.

I really like the way Daddy nose best is progressing. Who is going to be his jock??

So I ask,were does this weekend schocker come from, the Wood or Santa Anita?

Steve Im gonna need your eyes at churchill more than ever this year!

03 Apr 2012 12:47 PM
John Sau

hi steve, love reading your opinion. Many times it is the only sane one out there. I wish news pending had done better. They try to rate him back and he wants to run closer to the leaders. he has speed and can run all day. I hope he makes the derby and they let him run. Best always

03 Apr 2012 1:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Chief P.

   The great Mine That Bird had just as good of a Triple Crown series as Curlin. Except that Mine That Bird romped in The Derby by over 6 lengths whereas Curlin lost The Derby by 8 lengths. They both had a win, a place and a show. MTB lost the Preakness by only one length to HOY Rachel A, and was 3rd in The Belmont by only 3 lengths. Curlin lost The Belmont by a head to Rags in one of the best duels ever and barely won The Preakness by a head over Street Sense. There is no way that Curlin was going to beat Hard Spun or Street Sense on that day in The Derby. Street Sense won coming from last place. I don't see how Curlin had it anymore difficult than Street Sense.

03 Apr 2012 1:03 PM
Kinga Kowalczyk

Almost everyone is saying that if Union Rags gets a clean trip, then he is unstoppable. Yes, I agree that a clean trip means a monsterous performance from him, but because he needs clean trips and can't get out of trouble, does that mean he's only good when given a good trip? And another thing to point out is that in the Derby only 4 or 5 horses get desired trips. The rest just have to improvise and if UR ends up one of those improvisers come Derby day than will he win? I highly doubt it. I still think that UR is a little too over hyped and I also think that a better 3 year old is still rated behind him. Not exactly sure who that is, but the next 2 weeks should reveal that.

03 Apr 2012 1:06 PM
marilyn braudrick

To Point Given,

your response to my Paynter dream has rocked my world!! I should have more faith in myself as I have dreamed precognitively several notable times in my life. Maybe it sounds crazy,( and even I say it does) I also have alot of dreams some of which are not relevant. And, i have never dreamed precognitively about a horse in any horse race (we do own percentages of several race horses) BUT . . . this was very vivid and powerful like my other dreams that came true soon after... However, when I checked the complete nomination lists, he wasn't there. So I thought it had to be some other derby, maybe???

BUT!!! Because of you, now I KNOW he IS listed as a nominee, albeit under his old name (M.C.'s Dream), I am awed and a little scared.  Is this the real deal like the one I dreamed of my mothers death, when she wasn't even sick, the night before she passed, or just another throw away like some of the other not so powerful ones???  The precognitive ones are uber powerful and always stay with me after awakening.  This one was like that. ( I frighten myself sometimes.  If it's the real deal, no matter how "unrealistic", (and yes, Steve, i agree with you there) all the old myths (Apollo included) will be broken.  If it's not , oh well, just another throwaway dream. But, you know, at this exciting time of year we, as racing enthusiasts,  do possess right to dream about a derby winner or anything else about our sport. Again, we have the right to dream!!

Also, Point Given, how do you come to the knowledge about the name change of Paynter and the name of the person who is building BB's new home??? I am Very curious. Thanks for the new excitement and drama to this issue.

P.S.  not related to Paynter, I told Bob Baffert several years ago that we felt he is an ideal spokesperson for our sport for alot of reasons not necessary to list here so  . . .we dearly hope he is recovering to enjoy many more years as a successful trainer  AND as a very notable spokesperson for thoroughbred racing.

03 Apr 2012 1:23 PM
It aint easy being good!

Dr Drunkinbum there is a beast brewing and I think you are finally going to see a wow performance this year. I thought last years wood and santa anita derby provided that and think you will see the same thing this year. The woods field is outstanding this year!

03 Apr 2012 1:39 PM
Tiara Terces

Union is a young horse and may not feel comfortable going between horses.  Secretariat couldn't or wouldn't pass Onion on the inside but beat him and all the rest circling outside in the Marlboro Cup.  Is Union a Secretariat or even an Onion? It's too early to tell. But, if the FD had been the KD, he would have won in the last quarter as he was getting to TCI and passed him shortly past the finish.

03 Apr 2012 2:25 PM

It doesn't look like Exothermic is getting into the gate.

So, I am going with the gut again and picking the longshots: Prospective and Optimal. If Najjar gets in, its him.  If not, Union Rags for 3rd.

BTW, if On Fire Baby stays in the Derby, I'm picking her in the first three instead of Union Rags.  

(Since all my "scientific" bets tanked last year, I need to go with my gut.)

If I lose, so what.  If I win, everyone else gets to eat crow.  Either way, I am already a winner.

03 Apr 2012 2:58 PM
Karen in Texas

My lists have essentially been altered so many times by horses dropping off the Trail that I'm just going to stick with 5 or 6, and then wait for the post position draw to refine that list. I agree with Steve's listed top 6 except for I'll Have Another, who I would replace with El Padrino. I'm not sure what happened in the Florida Derby, but it could be that he bounced.

Although I understand Union Rags remaining close to the top of many lists in theory, I agree with those who say he has training issues and/or is reluctant to split or go inside other horses. Perhaps Cassandra is correct in saying Castellano may have given us a hint as to his knowledge of UR and why he went to Algorithms. Michael Matz did not have the demeanor of a trainer playing games with the odds on his horse (as someone suggested above) in the post race interview. He appeared concerned and in a state of cognitive disequilibrium--as though he could not believe what he had just seen. I think he fully expected to win the race by several lengths. So, maybe there are training issues with Rags, or maybe he is showing distance limitations at this time.

Bigtex----I'm wondering about Castaway as well. Does he have the earnings for the Derby?

marilyn braudrick----The HRTV commentators mentioned the Bafferts' builder's name being given to the horse, Paynter, on a broadcast several weeks ago.  

03 Apr 2012 4:59 PM
El Kabong

Cassandra.Says, Oldie

Cassandra Says, I think your reply should have gone to Oldie's comment.

Oldie 02 Apr 2012 10:25 PM

I was not able to view a head-on of the stretch drive in the FL Derby, but what I saw was a horse not willing to run between two others in order to gain the lead, leaving Leparoux no choice but to cut to the outside to get his colt to run for the wire.  From the angle I saw, there appeared to be room.

Cassandra.Says 03 Apr 2012 3:13 AM

El Kabong, you are right; Rags had a ton of room to go between Reveron and Take Charge Indy. I have just reviewed the head-on for you and Reveron went out to the five path with TCI still tight to the rail.

03 Apr 2012 5:26 PM
Karen in Texas

Bill in Atlanta----Here is a link explaining some of the Triple Crown nomination process.

03 Apr 2012 6:01 PM

Union Rags seems to have lost a lot of luster with some of the bloggers on this site and others that never liked him are saying "I told you so".  Personally, I think the race conditions were exactly what UR needed; squeezed, blocked and in some respects, a bad ride considering the track bias.  Rags is perfectly capable of showing speed and getting position.  He is a big horse and may not care much for being in tight quarters, and again, perhaps because of his size, he does not show an explosive turn of foot.  But he did rate, he made 2 or 3 separate runs, showing he can slow and quicken again and he was motoring at the end.  That's all I needed to see to seal the deal for me.  UR is my Derby horse.

03 Apr 2012 6:15 PM

Got to agree with John and Tiara, I think Union Rags best shot at winning the derby (since he is prone to bad trips) is to let him run. Isn't that what they did with Big Brown to overcome the 20 hole? People are crazy to dismiss him as in his only 2 losses he was gaining. He's game, huge and has talent. Just needs a better ride. Both the BCJ and Florida Derby there is as much talk about the crummy ride as the horse's talent and effort despite. Love Hanson, think he's pretty to look at but Rags will get him over a mile and a sixteenth...probably many others too.

03 Apr 2012 6:18 PM

Ken from RI: Gemologist is the ONLY undefeated horse on the trail, but aside from the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club, all his other races were allowance races.  I like him too, but he really needs to win the Wood to get in the Ky Derby gate.  At $103k, he comes in 29th in graded earnings.

And he just may be one of the best.

Bill in the early part of the year, trainers could nominate their horses to the KD with a fee of $600.  March 24 was the deadline for the next series of nominations with a fee of $6,000.  There were over 400 horses nominated in those periods.  A horse not nominated during that time can pay a supplemental $200,000 fee, but nominated horses get first preference.  That's why Hero of Order will not get into the gate even if supplemented.  He was not nominated by Mar 24th.

In looking at the purses, I was thinking the cut-off might be about $250k to $280k.  It was Darren Rogers of Churchill who stated that it can possibly be $300k.

River City Smitty: with new battles coming up in the Wood, Santa Anita, Arkansas, Illinois, etc...if new winners emerge...El P and MV will drop below 20, especially with the formidable  Gemologist, I'll Have Another, and Bodemeister looking to win.  If they do win...or even if Alpha gets's goodnight El P.

And has anyone considered that Matz might have instructed Julien to ride Rags..."he doesn't have to win.  Don't go outside and use him up."  It could be the reason Julien stayed on the rail.  If Rags were my horse...that's exactly what I would have asked of the jockey.

03 Apr 2012 6:25 PM
Pedigree Ann

None of the horses that ran in Louisiana this year is all that much, and that includes El Padrino. Did any of you see the New Orleans H on Sunday? Nates Mineshaft went 9f gate to wire in 1:47.64, a new track record for the distance. Hero of Order was second all the way to the far turn before taking the lead and holding on in 1:50.13. It was a very fast track and these 3yos ran very slowly.

03 Apr 2012 6:33 PM


Mark Valeski's farrier was last seen pulling his hair out and saying, "Darn, I tried to make those shoes as light as Florida sandals.  Back to the drawing board......"

Along with their Beyer, Thoro-graph, and Tomlinson numbers can we get their PBXFactor number?  Oh, yeah, that's how well they perform in peanut butter!

Hard Spun's little Midnight Transfer.  I would have named him "Tour de Soie" (Silk Turn) after Hard Spun and French Satin.

We're all good as long as Calvin doesn't jump on Street Life's back!

Have fun!  I agree that is what it is all about.

03 Apr 2012 6:35 PM

Here are my updated ratings for the Top 3 on Steve’s list.

For each horse, I have added the DRF Speed Figure to the Track Variant for races run at a mile or longer on a dirt track rated fast or good. The weight carried is always 122 or 123 lbs.

The most recent race is shown first.




Average= 104

Unav,no ratings for one race.






Average =99.5





03 Apr 2012 6:47 PM


Afleet Alex's 3rd place finish was not in a prep like Union Rags, but in the actual Kentucky Derby itself, third by one length.  His only poor prep was the Rebel Stakes in which he finished about last due to a lung infection. Had he gotten up that length in that Derby in 2005 he was the next TC winner as he went on to win the Preakness and Belmont respectively.

He did not run in the Florida Derby like Rags, but romped in the Arkansas Derby in 2005.  

03 Apr 2012 6:51 PM
Scott's Cause

Before Baffert's Dubai trip, Steve Byk had him on his radio show.  Byk's going over most of BB's 3 year olds and kinda out of the blue Baffert mentions M C's Dream (Who?)  Paraphrasing: "Wev'e always been  high on this horse, just had a few issues to work out" and "yea, wev'e always been really high on this horse."  Thanx Point Given for the puzzle piece that might fit...

03 Apr 2012 7:08 PM
Criminal Type

Johnny, Absolutely ! Julien is a better turf rider then dirt. He is a Frenchman, He learned his trade there. They don't race on dirt over there.

Bill in Atlanta, The nomination process to the Triple Crown is done when the horses are foals. I do not know the exact details that have to be completed in order to nominate a foal, but If I am not mistaken it must be done before they turn two. If a horse is not nominated the owner can supplement the horse to the Triple Crown for a fee. This would be the 200K you are talking about.  Please do not take this as gospal because like I said, I am unsure of the complete process of nominations and supplementation but believe I am on the right track.

To those of you following Dullahan, The DRF is reporting he popped a split on 4/1.

From DRF:

DULLAHAN (popped splint) Gulfstream - April 1

03 Apr 2012 7:57 PM
The Deacon

Chief P: No disrespect but no one was beating Street Sense in the Derby that day, no one. Bad post or not, he dismantled the field and Calvin Borel gave him a perfect ride. I loved Curlin but he couldn't beat the brilliant filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont and he had no excuses that day. Street Sense was a brilliant colt and in my opinion didn't get the credit he deserved. He had the same sire as Zenyatta. If he were allowed to race at age 4 he would have given Curlin all he wanted for horse of the year honors....

03 Apr 2012 8:09 PM

Steve, Thanks for the list and your insights.  I try and keep this fun, there are too many other "issues" in life to be serious about.

I'll wait until these next two weekends of semi's are out of the way before getting serious about my top five because that's all I'm looking for for big box payoffs. (Of course I'll pick the winner.)

Right now it's:

1. I'll Have Another

2. Creative Cause

3. Hansen

4. Daddy Nose Best

5. Union Rags

One more point; The 2011 BC Juvenile was certainly a deep field with a ton of potential.

03 Apr 2012 8:40 PM

Hey Steve,

Just an FYI, the main page of "Triple Crown Mania" is not updating your derby dozen list.  You still have the old list showing up (might confuse people lol.)  Man, picking the top 3 is hard enough, picking a derby dozen is a nightmare but I'll put my list up as well :

1.  Creative Cause : I don't expect him to win the SA Derby, he doesn't need to, but I would like to see him work on the stretch.  If it's good enough for the win, good, but I think Mike H's target is 2nd or 3rd as his "best" effort for this race.  He doesn't want him peaking this weekend.

2.  Hansen : Just watched his race again, the Gotham.  Depending on the post position draw, I don't think anyone would be crazy enough to go with him if Ramon decides to try gate to wire.

3.  Secret Circle : I honestly believe this horse will win the Derby.  I haven't put him on top because I wanted to see how he does in the Arkansas Derby.  It'll be a good test for him with potentially a monster speedball Bodemeister running as well.

4.  Wrote : I think he's better of the two O'Brien horses.

5.  Take Charge Indy : I don't know if Borel still has his magic but like everyone says, this horse is a grinder.  If he gets a clear path at the top of the stretch, it'll be tough to get by him unless you're Secret Circle ;)

6.  Union Rags : I'm still not sure he can get the distance but who knows.  I don't see Steve talking about any issue with distance so I'll put him here.  Although, it seems that the the "red sea" will have to part and give him a clean trip for him to win, at least that's all I hear.  He's had trouble everytime he loses according to his fans, at some point, need to start looking at the horse or the jockey.

7.  Gemologist : I hope he is the great Tiznow colt I've been waiting for.

8.  My Adonis : He's pretty consistent, but I think he needs more distance and the Derby and Churchill Downs stretch is perfect for him.  He just needs the graded earnings.  He'll show up again in the Wood, and might even surprise.

9.  Alpha : I really like his win in the Withers, other than the curse of the Wood Memorial, I think this is the right race for him.

10. Bodemeister : I have a feeling we'll see a deja vu in the Arkansas Derby (aka The Factor).

(T) 11. Raconteur :  I had him on my list way back when, his win in the Private Terms got my attention again, he seems to like to win close.

(T) 11.  Exothermic : If he runs in the Coolmore and wins, he'll move way up on my list.

(T) 12. Dullahan : A good chance he might take the Bluegrass from Hansen.

(T) 12. Midnight Transfer : I don't know which one is lucky, Mike Smith getting the mount or Midnight Transfer/Carla for getting Mike.  I do expect a good run from this horse in the SA Derby.

Okay, so it's a Derby DozenNN  as I have a lot of horses I'm waiting for to run.  My top 6 are horses who already have earnings, the bottom 6 (8)  are who I think has a big chance of getting to the big dance from the 4 big preps left.  

Steve H : So Mark V came up lame after the LA Derby, does this mean he'll drop out of the Derby ?  I didn't see any articles about it so I'm not sure if he's still going or not.  I don't like hearing horses gets hurt but if this is one way that El Padrino makes it in then I hope he does, and I hope that Mark V recovers well.

03 Apr 2012 8:44 PM

I've been watching the Palm Beach a few times. My original thought as Dullahan attended an honest pace was "Okay, he isn't Silky Sullivan." But I was looking for a European-style close when he was asked to go and wasn't impressed.

Stupid me, I had failed to register that it was his first race of the year. Allowing for that, I now think he will be able to attend an honest pace and produce an improved finish. He's not my number one but he has become a danger.

03 Apr 2012 9:06 PM

What a difference a race makes, the Florida Derby, that is. Two of the top colts run well enough to set them up for super efforts on the first Saturday in May and many can't see that.

I tell you one thing, two things: Union Rags will sparkle in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and the Triple Crown waggon will be full and overflowing before the Preakness arrives. Secondly, El Padrino should make it into the field with $250,000 in graded earnings and be a very strong contender for a minor placing along with his stable mate Gemologist. The reason being that the top colts should prevail in the Wood Memorial, Bluegrass and Arkansas derby, shutting out the leap-frogging "johnny come latelys".


I like your signature: "go baby, go baby, go baby, go!!! (LOL).

It doesn't appear that the fleetfooted Trinniberg is coming but Howe Great will be a welcome pace factor that can carry his speed doggedly a long way.

03 Apr 2012 10:17 PM
Point Given

Marilyn Braudrick

I happened to watch Paynter's debut and only race of his  young career on HRTV in which he won.At the winner's circle,Baffert was interviewed by one of HRTV's reporter and pointed out a huge man that the colt is named after and the one who built his new home.

Baffert's Other colt was renamed before his debut and that was Bodemeister.Both Paynter & Bodemeister are both owned by Zayat Stables.I will not be surprised if Baffert,Pegram & Zayat rename one of their 2 year old fillies in training as "JILLSAVEDMYLIFEINDUBAI".Just hope Paynter pulls a shocker on Saturday and just may be renamed for "M B's Dream"(ha!ha!ha).

04 Apr 2012 12:20 AM
Don from PA/DE

Steve and others, I have made this point before, but will repeat again as we r getting so close to KD and final preps, re: "GEM" and your legit cautious observations.

I have been very high on "GEM" not from day one,but from his G-2 win at CD Nov 26..he beat me pick that day and I learned from it, when I went back to look at that race I am sold, he has proved he is "battle tested" please look at this race again, and his times were equal if not better than the G-1 three weeks prior at CD, also since then he has won "in hand" racing about equal to Macho M Man on GS he is "wiser" and a very smart animal, and I believe he will even improve his running,brain-gut talents that we should see in "THE WOOD", that will show us all if he may be "the one to beat", as he arrives this morning in NY, let us take a look at him, "the story is in his eyes", so Steve that is my ongoing take, obvious path to me so far, I am also high on Creative Cause, and think he will be "Gem's" main foe, if they run in KD, UR should be there as well, and maybe Dullahan if he runs well, I was not high on El Padrino, and never thought he was the #1 in Pletcher barn, the jockey call will be very telling as well...I can't wait for Saturday's race and will be Keying "Gemolologist" all the way home.....Don

04 Apr 2012 8:31 AM

Bill In Atlanta-  Horses are "nominated" to suscription (Stakes) races way ahead of time, before we really know what we have.  The earlier you nominate, the cheaper it is.  The nomination fee is followed by subscription payments to keeep them eligible.  Followed by a fee to "pass the box" (Start in the race.)  If a horse is not "nominated" the owner has to pay a supplemental fee (late nomination), plus all subscription fees to date.  It is VERY expensive to supplement a horse into a race they were not originally nominated for.  Make sense?

04 Apr 2012 9:04 AM

Bill In Atlanta-  I forgot to mention, in addition to just being nominated & subscribed or supplemented into a race, the horse also has to meet entry requirements.  Example: The Derby has a 20 horse field.  The field is comprised of the 20 highest Graded Stakes earners ( 2 & 3 y/o's) that are nominated and/or supplemented into it.  

So yes, even if Hero of Order has $600,000.00 in Graded Stakes earnings, if he was not nominated to the Derby, his owner must pay $200,000.00 to supplement him in.

04 Apr 2012 9:15 AM

Hello Steve!  Love the rankings this week.  I'm glad you didn't totally give up on UNION RAGS like alot of the media is doing...I do agree with you and hope that both jockey and horse got experience from this trip and will be more than ready to move on the Kentucky Derby!  I was a bit disappointed in El Padrino....we'll have to see how he comes out I guess...I'm still rooting for "On Fire Baby" to get in the starting gate with the boys!  :O)

04 Apr 2012 10:27 AM
Karen in Texas

Bigtex----HRTV interviewed a Churchill official this A.M. who reviewed the earnings list--it showed Castaway at #25 with only $162,000 in earnings at this point.

04 Apr 2012 12:22 PM
Don from PA/DE

PS: Just was informed that "Gemologist" drew post#6 for The Wood, ideal! Don

04 Apr 2012 2:16 PM
Karen in Texas

Slew----Did you watch the post race interview with Michael Matz? I, personally, do not think his demeanor or facial expression were those of a trainer who gave the instructions you describe or expected the outcome that occurred. It is just my opinion, but I was immediately struck with that strong impression.

04 Apr 2012 4:16 PM

Slew Curlin wom his maiden race by 12 lengths in January or February won the Rebel and the the Arkansas Derby.As far as running on steriods,thats why US racing is in a state of flux, the drugs the horses run on and then pass on through breeding.

04 Apr 2012 4:25 PM

Dr D by most accomplished I mean as in his career he is the top money earner in North America lifetime.I cant say for sure that he would of beat Street Sense but would of been in the frame with him at the wire just as he was in the Preakness.Street Sense had the same type of trip as Mine That Bird,with the same jockey Calvin Borel.Curlin crushed his foes in the Classic the last time a 3yo won,and he was by far the best of the crop in 2007 which was a very good year for 3yos.

04 Apr 2012 4:37 PM

AngelainAbilene:  I think that even if the La Dby winner was a late supplement it would only put him on the AE list behind those previously nominated.  Trainer sez no way for that.

Currency Swap seems to tower over the Ill Derby field, but has never been 2 turns and got all his graded money going 7 in the slop.  Might still win and punch his ticket, but I need to look at the pp's for the race before going with this underlay.

Jayjay:  Sorry, but Tiznow didn't run in the KD and don't think his son will run either.  He also picked up all his money in one race and none of those he beat have done anything much since.  Street Life will burst his bubble.

Jones stated that Mark Valeski is not lame and is doing fine.  He also said he'd go in the KD, but was concerned he wouldn't have enough money.  If he doesn't get in then neither does El P.

04 Apr 2012 5:04 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   I concur.

04 Apr 2012 6:05 PM

I was just knocked off line, so I hope this doesn't post x2.

Criminal Type: You're thinking of the Breeders' Cup nomination process...and the supplemental there is $600k.

For the Triple Crown, first nominations had to be in by Jan. 21, 2012 with a $600 fee.  Late nomination deadline was Mar 24, 2012 with a $6k fee.  Over 400 horses were nominated this year.  After Mar 24th, an owner may try to get in the gate with a $200k supplemental fee, but nominated horses get preference.  Deadline is Oaks day.  I've read of no additional subscription fees.

Chief: You seem to understand nothing about chemistry or biology.  All phases of a chemical steroid injection will pass out of the system by at max, 6 months. (Accumulated use however may be a different story.) Conformation flaws however, that went undetected due to steroid use, are what is passed on to the progeny.

Curlin's maiden win was an allowance against whom?  Winstrella and Marnesia's Big Boy?  Wow! impressive.  Exactly who were they?

I won't deny Curlin was awesome.  I'm just advising that today's non-doped colts are better than they might appear when the horses you're comparing them to ran on steroids.

Karen: I did see the interview, but I still feel that if Leparoux wasn't following Matz's instructions, there'd be a jockey change by now.  

Creative Cause and Alpha drew the rail in their respective races.  Liaison and Casual Trick are in Gate 2.  Gemologist, in post 6, looks to have the catbird seat.

04 Apr 2012 7:01 PM

Chief...additionally, Curlin has earned the most in the US but bypasses Cigar by only $500k.  When Curlin won the World Cup it was a $10 miilion race.  Cigar won the World Cup when it was a

$5 million race.  

04 Apr 2012 7:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Point Given

   How about "No More BLT's"

Chief P.

   No doubt you are correct. Curlin was one of the best and had a great career. I just don't think he was quite as good in the Derby as the other two on that day even with a better trip. Street Sense and Hard Spun are both a little underrated. Great horses like Curlin have a career advantage running as a 4yo.

04 Apr 2012 7:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Chief P.

   But Curlin did have a great 3yo season, no doubt about it.

04 Apr 2012 7:46 PM

Karen in Texas

Did they mention Castaway's next race or is he off the trail?

Keep in mind this is preliminary because I've just had two margaritas, but:



Gemologist/The Lumber Guy/My Adonis

Illinois Derby


Currency Swap/Pretension/Ring It Up

Santa Anita


Holy Candy/Creative Cause/Brother Francis

04 Apr 2012 8:15 PM
Karen in Texas

What's with all the back and forth about Curlin?? He was, in 2009, declared Horse of the Decade and co-Three Year Old of the Decade by our own Steve Haskin, you know. As Slew said, in 2007 anabolic steroids were legal and widely used in U.S. racing.

04 Apr 2012 8:17 PM
marilyn braudrick

O.K Steve and Point Given,

Heʻs in. . . .PP #6-- Only destiny from here. Thank you both for everything- Iʻm in a full on state.

Steve, i was honored that you thought my comments were not nuts. You were also very gracious when I wrote  the only other comments years ago re: Lavaman. Also who could ever forget what you said abt. "Mine That Bird" after he won the derby.  Also,at clockers corner before the breederʻs cup I told his trainer with the broken leg , "Thankyou, sir, for what you have done . . .you have given hope to all if us!!!"

PS- Point Given, has anyone ever given you the nickname "handsome as Sin"??? If so, my daughter and I know who you are and we thank you again, and again . . .

04 Apr 2012 9:00 PM
7 1/2 Furlongs

Steve -

My mythical Master's Golf Tournament-Kentucky Derby daily double looks like this:  Adam Scott

to Hansen / Bodemeister / Gemologist.  What the #%@]!, it's an exciting and entertaining time of the year.

05 Apr 2012 12:18 AM

I can't remember when the draw for post position struck me as so influential.

I'll go back to my handicapping tool for the trots: I would number aspirins one to 10, line them up, and push them around according to who could leave and how fast to try to figure out positions going into the clubhouse turn.

You see the beauty of this. If you are still baffled and frustrated, take two aspirins and try again in the morning.

05 Apr 2012 3:54 AM
El Kabong

Karen in Texas,

I didn't see the post race reactions of Matz but I do agree with Steve's comment about the 3 works Matz put into Rags were pretty mundane for a horse getting set to run a million dollar purse- Still, he might have been surprised that he didn't finish up better which does leave him with alot more work to do. I'm not one who believes this horse will be as effective at 10f's but lets watch his works for the derby. My guess is you will see a bullet or two.

Pedigree Anne,

I agree with you on the LD results. Just like FD, I spotted that record and switched my top pick to speed but not to hero. Damn, should have tossed him in too.

05 Apr 2012 6:44 AM

RiverCitySmitty- yes I forgot to metion it would only make him Also Eligible, now that there is an AE list for the Derby.  I was trying to answer Bill in Atlanta's question about nominations.

05 Apr 2012 9:02 AM
Karen in Texas

Bigtex----HRTV did not mention a next start for Castaway, and I can't find one listed.

While looking for Castaway's next start, I saw a very recent entry on HRN that said On Fire Baby is headed to the Kentucky Oaks now.

05 Apr 2012 11:53 AM

Golden Broom:

"Rags will take him at a mile and a sixteenth."

In my youth, professional players used to swear by the rule "Never bet a horse to do something it has never done before."

05 Apr 2012 12:21 PM

Slew Chief: You seem to understand nothing about chemistry or biology,I dont have to.As far as Curlin he was the most accomplished triple crown performer in the last decade,which was my original post.

05 Apr 2012 12:26 PM
The Deacon

Karen in Texas:  The back & forth about Curlin started when Chief P. said he would have won the Kentucky Derby with a better post. I respectfully disagreed. I believe and I stand by it that no horse running would have beaten Street Sense that day. It can be argued until the cows come which was the better horse. I loved Curlin but Rags to Riches, a brilliant filly who hasn't gotten her due beat Curlin fair and square in the mile and a half Belmont Stakes. Yes I know Curlin won the BCC but that was on a very sloppy/muddy track and Street Sense didn't like the footing. Had Street Sense been allowed to run at age 4 I think he would have given Curlin a serious run for horse of the year.

I agree with Steve haskin on most topics, but if he said Curlin was horse of the decade then I will respectfully disagree. I think Zenyatta is horse of the decade.

We all have our opinions and that is what is special about this game.......

05 Apr 2012 1:34 PM

Marilyn Braudrick,

I am very intersted in what you dreamed, I too have had vivid, and highly remembered dreams when I awake that have come true. The dreams often occur at a time when I am not thinking about the subject or have any reason to be thinking about them, but they just occur and come true in real life. I wish you knew which Derby you dreamt about Paynter, but if I were you I would put great stock in it.

05 Apr 2012 1:57 PM
El Kabong


The reason you didn't see a European style move from Dullahan is simple. He ran it as if he was on dirt.  By this I mean he produced as Steve very accurately stated, a dirt move in the turn instead of waiting to make a stretch run after straightening out. But he did make a very good steady closing effort closing in splits of 11+, and finishing the last 3F's in 34+. And that was with little urging and his head up most of the way. That was a great race for a horse returning off a layoff. Howe Great is a seasoned runner and Dullahan was gaining on him. I think we will see a big effort at the Bluegrass. With Hansen in the race, I think this will be the best Prep of the season.

05 Apr 2012 5:21 PM

I have the feeling the monster that is about to be unleashed this weekend is Our Entourage, who may not like the dirt, but his connections aren't convinced he doesn't, so I say there remains more to learn; and if he beats Currency Swap, a horse that I just think has been totally underrated so far, then Our Entourage will go to the Kentucky Derby, and I think(IMHO) he could very well win it!

05 Apr 2012 5:33 PM
marilyn braudrick

To Predict,

In my dream it was The Derby, the Kentucky Derby- but when  i found out he wasnʻt nominated, I lost faith and thought maybe it was another--Illinois, Santa Anita or Arkansas but then a blogger called "Point Given" wrote in that he WAS NOMINATED as his former name, M.C.ʻs Dream, so i looked that up and there he was! Voila!They had changed his name after he was nominated in the early stages and before he raced on 2/18/12 at Santa Anita.

05 Apr 2012 6:26 PM
Mike from Michigan

@Cassandra....... Derby horses have never gone a mile and a quarter.

05 Apr 2012 6:51 PM

Wow...what good news...Take Control is coming back.  His debut held all the magic of a Sea The Stars type run.  Hope he stays healthy.

And I don't know who got to watch the 9th race at Gulfstream today, but if you get a it.  Revenue did everything Union Rags should have been able to do.  Moving from last, stuck on the rail, making her move splitting horses and forging her way to cross the wire first.  When you see moves like that, you understand better what you didn't see in the Fla. Derby.

05 Apr 2012 7:46 PM

My picks for the Wood:


Street Life

My Adonis

If Gemologist and My Adonis show their continued consistency and finish in the money that will be something that "doggone it we can sink our teeth into."  Teeth of the Dog for fourth!


Stick with that dream.  In 2007, 2 weeks prior to the Derby, I dreamt that Street Sense won the Derby but it was in a small town in New Jersey.  They paraded him down the street and I saw the name in the dream on his saddle cloth as clear as day.  I had wanted Hard Spun to get it so bad but somehow knew it would be Street Sense.  I agree with Deacon, Street Sense is just as good as Curlin.  As a matter of fact the three of them were awesome, SS, Curlin, and Hard Spun.

05 Apr 2012 10:35 PM

Some of the lyrics from the old B.B. King song "Street Life:"

"You let the people see

Just who you want to be

And every night you shine

Just like a Super Star

That's how the life is played

A ten cent Masquerade

You dress, you walk, and talk

You're who you think you are.

Street Life........

You can run away from time.

Street Life........

For a nickel and a dime.

Street Life........

But you better not get old

Street Life........

Or you're gonna feel the cold."

Go Street Life!!!!!!!!!!!

05 Apr 2012 11:01 PM

Gee Alex'sBigFan, I didn't know BB did Street Life.  I first heard it on a Crusaders album years back when.  Still have it somewhere in the attic.  I might have to dig it out while waiting for the Wood Saturday.  If Chad Brown can teach him to change leads he'll have a big chance.  I don't care for anyone in the Illinois Derby, but whoever wins will earn a starting spot in Louisville.  Tim Ice has one in there named Slamit who's 2 for 2 since moving to his barn and adding Lasix.

06 Apr 2012 8:19 AM

I find this bit of information interesting, especially, in light of those critical of UNION RAGS and EL PADRINO in the FLORIDA DERBY:

Coming home the final furlong:


Pretty darn good considering

BIG BROWN 12:98 (faster pace, however)

BARBARO 12:93 (again faster pace)

Even though he was flat that day, probable bounce, running wide:


And this should've been expected:


06 Apr 2012 9:57 AM
Pedigree Ann

Michigan Mike:

Almost true about 10f before the Derby. Canonero II had beaten older horses at 10f in Venezuela before running in the Derby. For its first few runnings the UAE Derby was at 10f and several of its winners came to the Derby, without success.

And a lo-ong time ago, a colt called Stagehand won the Santa Anita Derby so easily that the trainer wheeled him back a week later in the 10f Santa Anita Hcp. As a 3yo, he was assigned only 100 lbs. and he beat Seabiscuit by a nose, getting 30 lbs. Stagehand was a pre-race favorite for the Derby, but finished 3rd in the Trial and didn't start in the main event. Stagehand was champion 3yo of 1938.

06 Apr 2012 10:23 AM

  Stuck at the ranch this weekend unable to get away, thusly will be watching NBC ((TY GOD for allowing horse racing to return to public television--the only hope for this sport long term)) where I can only think that I must be a terrible handicapper because in the Ashland I just like “Stephanie’s Kitten” ((one of my top 3 fillies, and hoping the layoff has no affect)) yet in the big 1 1/8 boyz PREPs this weekend, I seem to be leaning toward all of the 10-1 shots….????  thusly that gives me TEETH in the Resorts Casino NY City yada yads blah blah balh yada yada Wood Memorial… ((don’t see why we just don't go back and call it  “THE WOOD” !?!))  and “Morgan’s Gurrellia in the Ill. Derby, and since I took nothing but 10-1 shots in the others, I have to try “Midnight Transfer” in the SA Derby… (although thinking “Bodemesiter” was the real smart one here to seek his graded earnings elsewhere as I will predict now that “HOLY CANDY” will scratch out of the SA Derby pre race and also run elsewhere!!  Go Baby Go Baby GO!!!   Happy Easter ALL !!

06 Apr 2012 10:41 AM

    Not that many of us I imagine resort backward to reading old blog postings, yet where back on blog “stardate” -2/23/12 I once posted a breakdown of Pletcher’s ‘29 kazillion’ barn TC nominee hopefuls and Baffert’s ’21 bazillion’ TC barn nominee hopeful, in which I broke down into my own designated “A”-“B” -“C” categories, where I had assumed that I would follow the “A” listed mounts and the promising “B” group listed mounts with more passion. HAH!  A review of that listisg recently brought to my attention that one of those listed off Baffert’s “A” list was in fact a lil hoss name of , “M.C.’s Dream”…Long having heard nothing from him, we now discover that  … a horse name of “Paynter” is listed as:

“Owner: Zayat Stables, LLC

Breeder: Diamond A Racing Corp.

State Bred: Kty.

Winnings: $33,600

Starts: 1-    1 - 0 - 0,

      Won Debut by 4 ¼ lengths (5 ½  fur. Msw.) -02/18/12 Santa Anita

Foaled March 4, 2009.

Originally called “M C's Dream’ ”  …

   and guess what folks… high on Baffert’s list yet a SLOWWW  developer, “Paynter” aka

“M.C.’s Dream” gets his dream shot at some coveted  earnings this weekend… woooohh Nelly!! .

06 Apr 2012 2:11 PM

Slew; there is no valid comparison between Union Rags Florida Derby and Gulfstream Race 9 April 5.  The FD was 1-1/8 mile on dirt and GP Race 9 4/5 was 5 furlongs on grass.  The opening quarter of the FD was about 24 seconds (as I recall) and the opening quarter in GP race 9 was 21 seconds flat.  If your intent was to infer that Union Rags is a lesser quality horse than Revenue, I'm not buying.

06 Apr 2012 5:32 PM


I think the original writer was Will Jennings or Joe Sample and BB King did a variation of it as well as the Crusaders.  The song just popped into my head when I heard Street Life's name.  If he is anything like his sire and grandsire he's got a great chance.

Let's see what he does.  If Street Life comes up the Wood winner Clavin will be itching to change mounts!!!!!

Thanks for the info on Tim Ice's Slamit.  Cute name.

06 Apr 2012 7:04 PM
Point Given






06 Apr 2012 8:50 PM
El Kabong


I don't see the Bluegrass or the Ark giving us anyone dramatically new. I believe Optimizer will crack the list before long, outside of that, your dozen looks spot on with some order juggling but I think you are solid with a week of Preps to go. I'd have Gemologist, Take Charge Indy, Hansen, I'll Have Another, Creative Cause in my top 5 (I'll wait on Dullahan usurping the throne until he earns it next week) but the list looks solid as a rock. I feel bad for El Padrino, he probably won't get in but he'll make for a solid entry in the Preakness if he doesn't. This is getting real fun. Many coming to the party in solid shape and nobody really standing out too far above the rest. I think the Favorite will be around 6 or 8 to one!!!!! 5 digit Trifectas? ELLLL KABONGGGG!!!!

07 Apr 2012 9:12 PM
marilyn braudrick

o.k-egg on my face no problem BUT my horse Paynter of the dream went from  his first ever race, a 5 1/2 furlong maiden win on feb. 18, 2012, to to 4th (in the money) in a $750,000.00 Grade One Race , the Santa Anita Derby.I accept all your thanks for introducing him to you, since all his works were under the radar at Hollywood Park. We will be seeing him later this year if he didn't injure himself when he reared up in the "House" stall in the paddock saddling area. The "house" iis n the saddling enclosure at Santa Anita,  He reared up and slammed himself into the wall and still ran 4th ( i did not see any vet checking him).. after that he let out a huge roar of a whinny as they were still trying to saddle him in the "house' which is in the corner of the saddling enclosure in santa anita's paddock..I am not ashamed to have had this dream.. This is a big jump for a 3 yr. old.

07 Apr 2012 9:51 PM
marilyn braudrick

o.k-egg on my face no problem BUT my horse Paynter, of the dream I had, went from  his first ever race, a 5 1/2 furlong maiden win on feb. 18, 2012 at Santa Anita,  to 4th (in the money) in a $750,000.00 Grade One Race , the Santa Anita Derby. I accept all your thanks for introducing him to you, since all his works were under the radar at Hollywood Park. We will be seeing him later this year if he didn't injure himself when he reared up in the "House" stall in the paddock saddling area. The "house" is in the saddling enclosure at Santa Anita,  He reared up and slammed himself into the wall and still ran 4th ( i did not see any vet checking him).. after that he let out a huge roar of a whinny as they were still trying to saddle him in the "house' which is in the corner of the saddling enclosure in santa anita's paddock..I am not ashamed to have had this dream.. This is a big jump for a 3 yr. old.

07 Apr 2012 10:08 PM

Happy Easter, everyone.

Robin M: My intent was to show that a horse with guts, will move out of a tough spot by splitting front-runners to get on the lead.  In case you didn't notice, UR would not go between TCI and Reveron when there was a mile between them.  He wasted time going to the outside.  It's not that Revenue is better; it's that she was courageous and more tactical.

And I have to say the best, most spirited horse on the tracks today was a lead pony named Lava Man.  Were those bows he was taking as he pranced along dragging I'll Have Another behind him?  He was so full of himself, and apparently passed on that spirit to I'll Have Another.  Awesome showdowns in the Wood and SA Derby...and the best horses outdid their contemporaries.  Gemologist remains undefeated.  Alpha showed me a lot more courage and adaptability, and a lot more speed.  Creative Cause had the race sewn up...until I'll Have Another nosed him out.  Exciting duels.  And I still don't quite understand where the Ill Derby put Done Talking.  It was a great stretch run, but I'm unfamiliar with most of the horses he beat. And a 1:39 mile won't cut it.

08 Apr 2012 9:15 AM

Flash back to 1964 Derby: A quick little horse, two year old champion, gets first run and a good big horse comes after him in the stretch, eats up a three length lead, reaches the saddle cloth.

Quick little horse flattens his ears and holds Hill Rise there for a sixteenth.

(I'm sure I've dreamt this but I rarely remember my dreams.)

08 Apr 2012 1:12 PM

Man, I dont know what to make of GEMOLOGIST.  When he separated I thought he was going to just increase his lead from there.  Did he get bored on the lead?  Then, you think ALPHA'S going to blow right by him, BOOM, another gear and he finishes with a slow time but his ears pricked.

Is he still green or is he toying with his competition?  One thing for sure, he does not want to lose!  There was so much hype with UNCLE MO only to end with disappointment, I think PLETCHER has downplayed what he thinks is also a pretty nice horse in GEMOLOGIST so as not to expect as much this year if things don't work out.  

Wow, what a SA Derby!  Just think if BODEMEISTER would've been in the race!

08 Apr 2012 2:37 PM


I'll pre-empt your next and perhaps final Derby dozen with my proposed top five at this point:

1) Union Rags: the results of the major preps confirm him as head honcho of this crop. Contrary to what some pedigree analysts think, this colt will relish the ten furlongs of the Derby, runs well on a fast or sloppy track and will be trained to the minute for his big date in Louisville.

2) Gemologist: toyed with Alpha after getting bored, once in front in the Wood. This undefeated colt will run all day and has the heart of a champion. Must be followed until his colours are lowered.

3) Daddy Nose Best: Improving with every race, will be closing hand over fist going ten furlongs and has to be amongst to elite colts this year to have run a 100 Beyer speed going two turns.

4) Creative Cause: a consistent top performer that seem to lack that extra umph to score when it really matters against the top three but can't be left out of calculations.

5) I'll Have Another: defeated Creative Cause fairly and squarely in the SA Derby but might have had a harder race and might not relish the extra distance as much as Creative Cause might in the Derby.

If the connections of Trinniberg succomb to derby fever, pace setters and stalkers like Hansen, Bodemeister and Take Chgarge Indy are going to be toast.  You may need to comment on the likelihood of this scenario playing out.

08 Apr 2012 5:00 PM

"Street Life" also sung by Randy Crawford

08 Apr 2012 11:29 PM
El Kabong


SA was a real stretch run and you have to tip your hat to the two winners and marvel at the genius of Baffert. He has placed Bodemeister in the right race to get earnings but he damned near stole the show with an allowance winner who proved to be worthy, but who was probably supposed to be just a gage. Just think if Fed Biz had run Saturday? Remember, Blueskiesnrainbows ran 3rd to Fed Biz as well, but by 12 lengths. I hope Fed Biz is doing ok I was really looking forward to the TC run with that colt but alas the dreaded injuries that have taken him and Algorithm away from this fantastic journey.

09 Apr 2012 8:54 AM


It's too bad there isn't time for another prep for PAYNTER before Kentucky.  Doing what he did Saturday was very impressive, I thought.  Interesting to see how he moves forward off such a big jump where he held his own like he did.

09 Apr 2012 11:57 AM

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