Derby Dozen (video) - April 16, 2012 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

[brightcove videoid="1565029582001"]


Creative Cause Mike Harrington Click Here!

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

If you were impressed with Dullahan and Bodemeister, he’s the only horse to have finished in front of both of them. With the top end such a toss-up, it’s difficult dropping him at this point after having him on top for so long, especially with question marks surrounding the others. Harrington had the blinkers removed for his final prep, but who knows if the change helped or not. Although you hate to see an equipment change so close to the Derby it does show he’s pretty consistent with or without blinkers and still is right there in every race. The feeling here is that he’s right where he’s supposed to be, despite the late equipment change. I still believe the whip has been the culprit in his meandering stretch runs. Whenever he’s been hand-ridden he’s run as straight as the proverbial arrow. Love that he’s had three preps, especially a seven-furlong sharpener, and has gotten any “bounce” out of the way, although the SA Derby was a bigger bounce than you’d like to see right before the Derby. But he does have a “0” on Thoro-Graph to fall back on, and with his stamina, high cruising speed, ability to sustain his run, and grind ‘em into the ground style of running he should relish the 1 ¼ miles.


Dullahan Dale Romans Click Here!

Even the Score—Mining My Own, by Smart Strike

I’ve been waiting to put this guy high up for quite a while and had rocketed him up to No. 5 off his second in the Palm Beach. He just needed a performance like the Blue Grass to prove he can beat top-class horses and do it impressively. The opinion here is that no horse has moved forward more dramatically from 2 to 3. He’s grown up physically and mentally, and for a big horse is unusually athletic and light on his feet. He can accelerate quickly, yet he can sustain his run a long way and doesn’t mind negotiating his way through traffic. He resembles his half-brother Mine That Bird as much as Laurel resembles Hardy. But what they do have in common is their ability to explode from the back of the pack. Poly or no Poly, he did come home in :23 3/5 and :11 3/5. The only loose end is having only that one dirt effort since last July with which to evaluate him. But his BC Juvenile was good enough to remain confident. And he does have the best money rider in the country.


Union Rags Michael Matz

Dixie Union—Tempo, by Gone West

Call this a three-way photo for No. 1. I’ve been so tempted to put him in the top spot since the Florida Derby, and after Saturday’s monster performances he could wind up a huge overlay in the Derby. If he gets to Kentucky and trains like Barbaro, he could easily move to the top. There are some who have concerns about his ability to get the 1 ¼ miles and feel he should have had more punch in the Florida Derby, despite being given a lot to do. It’s true he didn’t have his usual push-button response when he was asked at the three-eighths pole, but I still believe he was nowhere near 100 percent sharp and tight for the race, having only one easy victory in nearly five months and only three slow breezes (:50 2/5, 1:04 1/5, and :49) between the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. If I had this horse and felt he was far superior to the others, I might be inclined to think or hope he could win the Florida Derby on sheer talent, while making sure he wasn’t fully cranked for the race and risk having him peak a race too early. You can tell he was fresh and ready to roll by the way Leparoux was pulling back on the reins while being boxed in on the rail. I believe he didn’t accelerate nearing the quarter pole because they went that quarter in a brisk :23 4/5 and he had a wall of horses directly in front of him. He still managed to close his final three-eighths in :36 flat. We know he possesses that Derby-winning move on the far turn and there’s no reason to think he won’t be ready to fire off his biggest shot on May 5.


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

Flower Alley – Arch’s Gal Edith, by Arch

The philosophy behind his preparation is totally different than that of Creative Cause. He avoided the “bounce” by waiting 8 weeks between races after his “1 ¼” in the Lewis, but bounced anyway, and now has 4 weeks to the Kentucky Derby. Which will prove to be the better strategy we’ll have to wait and see, because we really don’t know how good this horse is and how much upside he still has. We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg with him. We know he’s fast and he’s battle-tested, and now it’s just a matter of how he recovers from the Santa Anita Derby with only a limited 2-year-old and 3-year-old foundation under him. There is little doubt this is an extremely talented horse to have done what he’s done in his two starts this year. You won’t find a more class- and stamina-oriented female family (American and European), with names like Arch, Kris S, Pleasant Colony, Roberto, Caucasus, Hail to Reason, Princequillo, Alydar, His Majesty, Stage Door Johnny, Nijinsky, and Sea-Bird. And add male influences Sadler’s Wells, Tom Rolfe, Northern Dancer, Vaguely Noble, and Lyphard, as well as inbreeding to Mr. Prospector and Danzig, and a bit more removed, Ribot. I cannot recall ever seeing such a loaded pedigree and Who’s Who of European greats.


Bodemeister Bob Baffert Click Here!

Empire Maker—Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

As the final day of Passover concluded, a plague was unleashed on the unsuspecting participants of the Arkansas Derby that destroyed everything in its path. That plague came in the form of a flashy bay named Bodemeister, which begs the question: why is this horse different from all other horses? To be honest, no one seems to know. He appeared innocently enough in a maiden race as second fiddle to another Baffert colt and had jaws dropping with his other worldly performance. Two races later he did it again in the grade I Arkansas Derby. It is encouraging and unusual to see a horse turn in such a brilliant performance and show so much speed with the blinkers off. The only concern now is that he has to come back in three weeks after earning a whopping 108 Beyer figure , so you have to wonder how this race will affect him, especially being so lightly raced and with no 2-year-old foundation. There are two ways to look at this phenom. It’s possible he is improving so rapidly he’s already climbing toward superstardom. You don’t see many frontrunners coming home their last eighth in :11 4/5 (he’s done it in his both his wins) and running a full second and a fifth faster than the nation’s top older horses the race before. Add to the fact he has stamina screaming from both sides of his pedigree. On the other hand, the Arkansas Derby was far from the strongest field, and he will have to contend with some brilliant pace horses in the Derby. He may be favored in the Derby, but being a pure speed horse is what’s keeping him at No. 5. Yet I can see him pulling a War Emblem or Spend a Buck. I just know this colt looks to be something special and is getting scary good.


Gemologist Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Tiznow—Crystal Shard, by Mr. Prospector

I am well aware this colt is ranked too low, but I’m committed to others at this point, and there is little separating him and the top 3. You have to respect any horse who has never lost, is still improving, and can beat you in many different ways. And, yes, he’s by one of my all-time favorites, Tiznow, whom he resembled in the Wood Memorial, the way he dug in and fought back. One of my problems with him is that, like El Padrino and Take Charge Indy, he won’t even be seen on the track until the Wednesday before the Derby. To him it shouldn’t matter much, as he’s 2-for 2 at Churchill, but strictly from a personal standpoint, I’d like to see more of a horse as he prepares for the Derby. He did loaf a bit after taking the lead in the Wood, but that should not be an issue in the Derby, where I doubt he’ll be in a position to loaf. One thing that won’t be lacking in the stretch is competition. In short, he’s going to be very dangerous, and although I’d love to have him higher up, I’ll have to be content keeping him here, at least for the time being.


Alpha Kiaran McLaughlin

Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky

Ok, I’m looking at the odds on Derby Day, trying to find an overlay who actually has a good shot to win and will pay a big price in this wide-open betting pool. My guess is that this is the horse that jumps off the board. So I might as well put a few bucks aside right now. McLaughlin, Godolphin, (Dominguez or whatever big-name rider they get), Bernardini, and this improving, stretch-running colt will make a formidable team. He certainly can be excused for coming up a little short in the final yards of the Wood, considering he clipped heels on the first turn, had to check pretty sharply, and came back with some lacerations. And on top of that was coming off an eight-week layoff and going up against a talented and undefeated colt in Gemologist. His race actually fits the pattern of past preps where the Derby winner was second in his final prep – Super Saver couldn’t get by longshot Line of David in the Arkansas Derby; Street Sense couldn’t outgame Dominican in the Blue Grass; Funny Cide was outgamed by Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial; Monarchos couldn’t catch Congaree in the Wood; Real Quiet couldn’t catch Indian Charlie in the SA Derby; Silver Charm was outgamed by Free House in the SA Derby; Grindstone couldn’t get past Zarb’s Magic in the Arkansas Derby; Go For Gin couldn’t catch Irgun in the Wood; and Lil E. Tee couldn’t get by Pine Bluff in the Arkansas Derby. The list goes on, so he’s in good company.


Hansen Mike Maker

Tapit—Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat

I actually was all prepared to rank him higher until Bodemeister turned in his monster performance and added a major obstacle for him. I was hoping to see him rate off the pace again, but the lead was there for the taking. Considering all the craziness that went on at the barn that day, having to get his tail dyed and then un-dyed, who knows if the distractions affected him at all. I thought he ran a terrific race, and the biggest irony of all is that the horse who dogged him and prevented him from getting a breather on the far turn was his own stablemate. History shows if you’re going to try to win the Derby on the lead, this isn’t the way to go about it. In the past 40 years, what did wire-to-wire Derby winners Riva Ridge, Bold Forbes, Seattle Slew, Spend a Buck, Winning Colors, and War Emblem have in common? They all won their previous start, and won by daylight. In order to win the Derby on the engine you have to have shown dominance in your previous start, the way Bodemeister did. But in the end, I must say I have even more admiration for the colt than I did before. I just want to see a return to the running style he showed in the Gotham. After the Derby he can go back to his hell bent for leather style.


Take Charge Indy Pat Byrne Click Here!

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

He won’t get away with a Florida Derby scenario again, not with Hansen and Bodemeister in there, so it’s time to concentrate on settling back off the pace again, something he’s never had any problem with. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see him either until the Wednesday before the Derby when he ships in with the Pletcher pair. One thing is for sure: with the turn of events these past two weeks, you can count on him being the forgotten horse, especially for a Florida Derby winner. What he has going for him is that we likely have not seen the best of him, and there’s really no telling how good he is. He has all the tools, and the pedigree, and the jockey, so he is another who could be an intriguing exotics play at a big price.


El Padrino Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Pulpit—Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway

And now for the mother of forgotten horses. Pletcher or no Pletcher, he has been swallowed up in the recent grade I feeding frenzy, and his one-time luster has faded. But the truth is, he actually received the same Thoro-Graph figure as Union Rags in the Florida Derby and a faster number than the winner, running basically the same strong fig in all three starts this year, so he’s more live than people might think. But first he has to get in the race, and is going to need some help. It has been well established that Castellano didn’t do him any favors by concentrating too long on Union Rags, looking over his shoulder for him on several occasions. He then parked El Padrino wide on the far turn and had to fan 5-wide at the top of the stretch. He likely will high-tail it over to Gemologist, leaving the mount open on this colt, who at one time looked to be Pletcher’s main Derby hope – post Algorithms and pre Gemologist. In short, don’t ignore him based strictly on the Florida Derby. This is as laid back a colt has you’ll ever see, and who knows, maybe he just got bored hangin’ out with Union Rags away from the real action.


Daddy Nose Best Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Scat Daddy—Follow Your Bliss, by Thunder Gulch

He had a pretty big bandwagon starting to fill up before last weekend’s action, and there’s no reason why anyone should jump off now. It was kind of odd to see Mike Smith commit to him before riding Bodemeister, but he quickly jumped on to the Baffert colt after the Arkansas Derby. No problem. His new jockey, Garrett Gomez, will be riding a vastly improved horse with the right running style and the right trainer. So if you were looking to hop aboard his bandwagon before Saturday, nothing has changed as far as he’s concerned. He will be going into the Derby off a six-week layoff, so we’ll see how hard Asmussen trains him. That’s normally not his style. But I love the fact he's been at Churchiil and already has had two works, including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 1/5, with a strong gallop-out. He is one I will be following closely once I get to Kentucky. I can feel the vibes already.


Sabercat Steve Asmussen Click Here!

Bluegrass Cat—Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

Although I believe Went the Day Well, whom he replaced in the final spot, has a better shot of actually winning the Derby, I had this colt at No. 5 on my first Dozen list and it was good to see him bounce back to some sense of credibility. I couldn’t desert him now. His Arkansas Derby third was a good step forward, and with his 2-year-old form and foundation, it put him in position to possibly pick up a piece of it in the Derby. There were several signs in the Rebel that pointed to a comeback effort, and while he didn’t threaten the winner, he did finish a neck behind Secret Circle for second, making up six lengths on the Baffert colt from the Rebel finish. Every indication is that he’s ready to take another move forward.

Knocking At The Door

13 Went the Day Well Graham MotionClick Here!

Proud Citizen—Tiz Maie’s Day, by Tiznow

Consider him virtually in a tie for the No. 12 spot. With a six-week layoff between the Spiral and the Derby, it is understandable if he falls through the cracks. But after the way Animal Kingdom trained over the Churchill surface last year, you can be sure people will be watching him closely in the mornings.

14 Mark Valeski Larry Jones Click Here!

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

He is another who has faded from the spotlight following his defeat to mega-longshot Hero of Order in the Louisiana Derby. But he did throw a shoe before the race, and he ran hard throughout. He’s still a very good horse. We just have to wait and see if he’s ready for the Derby.

15 Rousing Sermon Jerry Hollendorfer

Lucky Pulpit—Rousing Again, by Awesome Again

He redeemed himself with a fast-closing third in the Louisiana Derby following two subpar efforts at Santa Anita. He does have a big closing kick, as he demonstrated in the CashCall Futurity and Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood. He could make some noise at a monster price.

16 Done Talking Hamilton Smith

Broken Vow—Dixie Talking, by Dixieland Band

They may have crawled in the Illinois Derby, but he at least wiped out the only blot on his record, the Gotham Stakes, by returning to the form that saw him finish a fast-closing fourth in the Remsen Stakes. On paper, he’s not fast enough, but he’ll win his share of stakes this year.

17 Daddy Long Legs Aidan O'Brien

Scat Daddy—Dreamy Maiden, by Meadowlake

His victory in the UAE Derby in his 3-year-old debut was impressive, but it’s still hard to get past that dreadful performance in last year’s BC Juvenile in his only dirt appearance. He’s the only horse to have won farther than 1 1/8 miles.

18 Secret Circle Bob Baffert Click Here!

Eddington—Ragtime Hope, by Dixieland Band

You certainly have to admire him. He tries hard every race and always gives his all. He may have finally hit his wall at the eighth pole of the Arkansas Derby, but still managed to finish second, giving him five wins and two seconds in seven career starts.

19 Prospective Mark Casse

Malibu Moon—Spirited Away, by Awesome Again

I’m not going to get too down him for his sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes. Although he was two-for-two over the Woodbine Polytrack, he’s become a solid dirt horse and may not have cared for the Keeneland Poly. He did win the Tampa Bay Derby, but the Tampa form this year was pretty suspect. He does have talent and is honest, so you know he’ll give his all.

20 Liaison Bob Baffert Click Here!

Indian Charlie—Galloping Gal, by Victory Gallop

He may be the most disappointing of all the 3-year-olds, never coming close to duplicating his 2-year-old form and taking a step backwards in the Santa Anita Derby. Perhaps he just didn’t like Santa Anita, so Baffert will train him at Churchill and see how does.


Leave a Comment:


Hansen did not need to win or even finish in the Bluegrass; Dullahan has been in my top 3 picks since watching him win the Cash Call last November, but he did not need to set a stakes record with that run, and I wonder how much he'll have left in the tank in 3 weeks.  Between the 2 of them, which horse got the smarter trip?  Desormeaux has been known to grandstand in the past, and I don't think he gave Dullahan an intelligent ride Saturday.

If Hansen has moved down to 6th position, I question Rags being in the third place.

Laison does not have the earnings, and he is not bred for the distance.  Prospective will, sadly,  most likely not make the field as well, same for Mark Valeski and El Padrino, unless there are defections from both Irish horses- Daddy Long Legs and Wrote- as well as a couple more.

And the only undefeated colt here, Gemoligist, is ranked 5th.  

With so much recently uncovered talent probably not making the starting gate, this is another example of changing the graded earnings rule, possibly by giving 2 year old earnings only 1/2 the weight of the stakes' values.  This would help eliminate the animals showing sophomore slumps as well as minimize the pressure and risk placed upon these babies.  Every year, I get sick hearing of the talented 3 year old who were, perhaps, raced too hard in their 1st year and get injured- some finished for good.  The attrition that occurs should be limited to finishes, not caused due to too much racing too soon.

16 Apr 2012 5:46 PM

Great as always Steve, I respect your position that several horses can take up one spot and are interchangeable at anytime. I have the same view of my top 5!

Union Rags



Creative Cause

I'll Have Another

I hope people admire Bodemeister and Duallahan's performances, and forget about Union Rags, he might very well be 7/1 or 8/1 come post time. Fine with me! I'm sure Creative Cause's odds with go up as well. A horse that is just outside these 5 is Daddy Nose Best. I feel like he is an honest horse that tries every time. He is battle tested, distance isn't a problem, and has good 2 and 3 YO foundation. As far as works go, Assmussen's horses don't always work fast or flashy, so people looking for that one workout won't see it in him. His odds could be 15/1 to 20/1 range.

Sabercat is coming in at 3rd off the layoff, I like his chances of hitting the bottom of a super or tri, at 30/1 to 40/1!

When are you going to start covering the works, Steve?

16 Apr 2012 5:50 PM

Mr. Haskin,

Thanks for the Derby Dozen. I look forward to it every week during the Derby run-up. I was hoping you could provide some insight into the Oaks for me. Do you know if Princess Arabella will be able to make the field? Most of the "experts" on the Oaks page have her as Top 3, but she has no graded earnings and indications are the race will draw a full field.

16 Apr 2012 6:07 PM
Nicholas Costa

Hi Steve. Glad you left CREATIVE CAUSE at number one, but wouldnt disagree if DULLAHAN had been put on top. Now, as for BODEMEISTER: Despite running a very big race, BODEMEISTER had a clear uncontested lead under fairly quick early fractions and was able to slow the pace down, before turning it on for the final eighth of a mile. This was his best effort and at the longest distance he has ever run, so it might have been his topper because he has only run 4 career races. Can he get better going longer without a solid amount of foundation? Not sure he can run better in 3 weeks going an additional furlong. Furthermore, his running style will also conflict with several other early speed types headed to the Derby. He looked very good in winning here, but going forward off this performance is questionable. Thanks.

16 Apr 2012 6:13 PM

Steve, this is, to me, your most enlightening and interesting commentary of this year's Derby Dozen columns.  I suspect you have been "taking back and rating" all along.  You are sure to take a lot of heat for keeping CC on top, but your logic is explained in the sum of the commentaries of the rest.

I still don't know which way to go.  I eagerly await your reports on the training and workouts in the coming weeks.

Thanks as always for the time and effort.

16 Apr 2012 6:18 PM
Mike from Michigan

Talk about a hard derby to figure!  But I am going to play Take Charge Indy, like you Steve, I think we have not seen the best of him yet.  Hopefully, on Cinco de Mayo we will!  Besides, how can you not bet a horse with Calvin aboard?  Thanks Steve for all your insight and here's wishing a safe derby for all.

16 Apr 2012 6:20 PM
Your Only Friend

After watching warmups....believe someone else other than the obivious will showup on Derby Day.....that is what makes horse racing fun too watch.

16 Apr 2012 6:25 PM
Mister Frisky

The emergence of Bode and a couple of others recently sets up perfectly for Rags fans at the windows.Will play him big to win and key on the exotics.The thought of 8 to 1 or so has me checking the sofa for spare change.A very serious horse at a nice price finally.

16 Apr 2012 6:31 PM
Patrick O.

Maybe Bodemeister will confirm my theory that modern racers are too young at two inmany cases. Cow horses go to work at five when they are physically mature. I went to the 2005 triple crown and suggested post trip that running the triple crown at four would be a horse saver.

16 Apr 2012 6:34 PM
Don from PA/DE

Steve, nice job, I understand why "Gemologist" is not in top three, and also hope and wish we will see him at CD earlier than current plans indicate, in anycase,what is the rush? Right? If he shows up at KD, he is my hope

16 Apr 2012 6:36 PM


You still have the right leader.

Here is my comparison.

Bodemeister won the Arkansas Derby  in 1:48.71.

The Oaklawn track record, set in 1987, is 1:46.60.

I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause completed the Santa Anita Derby in 1:47.88.

The Santa Anita track record, set in 1979, is 1:45.80.

They both carried 4 pounds more than Bodemeister.

Bodemeister was 2.11 seconds off the track record.

The Santa Anita Derby was run in 2.08 seconds off the track record.

The Track Variant was 8 in the SA Derby.

The Track Variant was 6 at Oaklawn.

Creative Cause beat Bodemeister when giving him 5 lbs.

On a dry track, Creative Cause will blow away the Ky Derby field if he is drawn 1-8.

16 Apr 2012 6:50 PM
7 1/2 Furlongs


I stayed home from work today to recover from flu/virus symptoms.  It's good to read your weekly Derby Dozen column on Monday.

I'm pulling for Bodemeister in the Derby.  Hope horse draws an inside post position, grabs the lead, and says "arrivederci, baby".  I realize there's other speed, but maybe he's good enough to go all the way.

Thanks for another year of expert coverage of one of horse racing's biggest events.

16 Apr 2012 6:51 PM
Tiz Herself

The fever has long since set in for me. Am having a hard time between Gemologist (he will be on my ticket as have followed him since he was a named two year old), I'll Have Another, Creative Cause (I hope they put the blinkers back on him for the Derby, he seems to be more focused with them), Bodemeister is indeed something special in the making. Whether he'll be able to show that in a 20 horse field and with all the chaos that Derby Day will be, I cross my fingers. I like Prospective as well. Like MTB he won the Grey Stakes at Woodbine as a two year old. Union Rags of course I have never lost faith in.

I think another one that may surprise is Drill. Whether not he is going to go to the Derby, he seems to try real hard. There has not been much on him, but in each of his races he has given his heart. He has twice defeated Creative Cause, in the Del Mar Futurity as a two year old and in the San Vicente. Drill refused to quit in the San Vicente. He also refused to quit when Majestic City did some antics in the stretch in the Del Mar Futurity. Was a huge Lawyer Ron fan and would love for the horse to have a Classic winning horse in his too short career at stud.

16 Apr 2012 7:05 PM


Liaison and Prospective both have enough earnings, and with apparent defection of Triniberg, Mark Valeski will, alos. Here is a link to earnings --

16 Apr 2012 7:07 PM
Tiz Herself

Any decision on whether On Fire Baby will contest the Derby or the Oaks? That had been on the table at one point. I hope she stays to the Oaks. She is one of my tops for that race. Then of course there is Broadway's Alibi, Princess Arabella, and Believe You Can... can't wait for that one as well.

16 Apr 2012 7:08 PM


The connections announced Wrote was not coming.

16 Apr 2012 7:08 PM
Scott's Cause

This horse, I'll Have Another has done nothing wrong.  And I don't think he was All-OUT to beat Creative Cause.  Hopefully CC got more experience splittling horses late stretch, but what a goof-off.  I think the winner of the KD has to be a professional race horse.  Not some huge potential, what if he does this, type of runner.  Alpha fits.  Dullahan fits. And if the jockey of Union Rags is half as smart as his mount, he fits.  Gemologist would have gone around 2-3 more times in front.  I like that, I like that a lot....

16 Apr 2012 7:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Josh, I start the Saturday before the Derby.

Auburnbill, it's too early to tell. We've lost a couple of too fillies, but youre right about a full field likely. Ask me again in about a week to 10 days.

16 Apr 2012 7:15 PM
Criminal Type

Patrick, I am in full agreement with you about starting horses later when they are more mature. My Arab is just starting under saddle and he will be 4 on 5/15/12. Of course I have been doing ground work with him since he was ten months old and he has a great foundation, is very willing and so smart.

I was kind of dissapointed to see Union Rag's drop to third mainly because I think he is the best horse. I know a lot of people do not share that opinion, oh well. Then I read the comments and totally understand. Im sticking with him. I think his next work will be balls to the wall and I bet Matz works him at CD, not Keeneland.

16 Apr 2012 7:21 PM

I love these Derby Lists. Guys (and gals) who have been handicapping for years switch and swap and move and toss horses like they are clueless as to has a chance. Can anyone say "pace"??? Anyone sitting closer than 8th on the far turn is D-E-A-D. That Pretty much ruins the chances of 6 of the above horses. Just like your A-B-C's.... It an ALPHAbet!!

16 Apr 2012 7:26 PM


Very interestng Dozen and strong defense of the ranking. The only possible chink in your armour this week may be Dullahan. The #1 reason is that the Bluegrass Stakes is a known deceiver of a prep and it synthetic track results are not to be trusted.  I know that you do not have fond memories of Monba back in ...2009 I believe. To my reasoning, the only thing that the Bluegrass did was confirm the top two, Dullahan and Hansen as elite contenders but there is no guarantee that Dullahan can beat Hansen on dirt, even going ten Furlongs. I think that you could re-examine the pace scenario of the Bluegrass and conclude that Hansen might be in a better position in the Derby, bearing in mind that Dullahan will have to negotiate a lot of traffic in the Derby.  Also, since the rankings are intended to reflect the chances of the horses winning the Run for the roses, do you really think that Dullahan is convincing enough in his ability on dirt to overcome the beating he got from Union Rags in the BCJ, given that UR will be tuned to the minute on Derby Day?  I look forward to your response.

16 Apr 2012 7:31 PM

Top five no order..


Daddy Nose Best



Creative Cause..

Long term I believe Bodi will be the best of the bunch but not Derby day..

I believe him and Hansen will fry each other on the front end.

Gem will make first move at the front and be the one that avoids all the traffic in the cat bird seat.A Barbaro type of trip.

Rags,Cause,Dullahen daddy nose best [great work 2day],will all be farther back and will have to deal with traffic..

Who gets thru clean??

Take Charge Indy is a ? for me he will be next or right behind Gem with Gem getting the jump.

Good Luck to all.

16 Apr 2012 7:33 PM

Still like Union Rags best of all. Daddy Long Legs is a chip off the old block. Before I make my picks I will wait and see who draws what for post positions.

16 Apr 2012 7:39 PM


Excellent.  This year I am having trouble trying to narrow down my top 5.  It is wide open and as you pointed out you can assume reasons for some races results.  My head is truly reeling from trying to make some form of a top 5.  

From a pure fan of horse racing, this Derby excites me. I believe we have an above average crop this year and we may see some memorable racing.  

What are your early thoughts this year.  Above average crop of 3yo or no opinion yet.  Thanks for the great articles.  Love them

16 Apr 2012 7:42 PM

 As always appreciate “the Dozen” and the blog itself. Your order still baffles me. Yes its close at that top, but you can’t say it’s a 1-2-3 tie or a 12-13 tie… It’s closer to a 1–12 tie this year!!, yet some of us have a way different preferences as to who will finish 1-2-3-4 against your weekly rankings. Among maybe 8 horses I will say, I agree that it is very close, and then …“along comes MARY”!! …yet. to me some of your higher rated have slipped along the way to the dance. And yet, everyone has their own preferences, that is understandable. Good luck to all on Derby Day !! Go Baby Go Baby GO !!

  Will a “Storm Cat” bred break the curse this year?? Will a runner who has never run at 2 break that curse ?? Will a horse trained in Cal. ever run well in Kentucky the first week in May?? Will it rain ???  Do I have to toss any horse I am considering that draws posts 1-2 and 19-20 ?? Who out there actually made a sensible ‘future bet’ ???  Wish it was Sat. May 5th. 11:00 A.M. and I was handicapping those Tomlinson Numbers which apparently NO WEB site seems to ever want to revea1 and share ahead of time ??? …and that I had already looked over the Post draws , …and know and have seen the weather report, …and I actually see my PICK in the Paddock ! on camera… and … then … “THEY’RE OFF!!!” …OH BABY!  

16 Apr 2012 7:43 PM
Vegas Derby


Do you think that Dullahan's race in the Bluegrass was too big such that he might "bounce" on May 5th?  Looked to me like Kent was riding him pretty darn hard, almost unnecessarily.  Do you agree?

And thanks for all your great work here!

16 Apr 2012 7:48 PM
7 1/2 Furlongs

Steve -

I stayed home from work today to recover from flu/virus symptoms.  It's good to read your weekly Derby Dozen column on Monday.

I'm pulling for Bodemeister in the Derby.  Hope horse draws an inside post position, turns on the jets, and says "arrivederci, baby".  I realize there is other speed, but maybe he's good enough to go all the way.

Thanks for another year of expert coverage, leading up to the Derby.

16 Apr 2012 8:03 PM
Shoe Board Sal

The Bluegrass ruined the chances of Dullahan and Hansen in Louisville.  

They both gave titanic efforts.  I do NOT want to see my horse run that hard 3 weeks before the Derby.  I've really liked Dullahan since last Fall, but there's no reason to think he'll be as good on dirt as he is on poly and grass.  He has shown no indication of that to date.  

The Bluegrass brawlers make a striking contrast with the FL Derby alums Union Rags and Take Charge Indy, who will be coming in off a leisurely 5 week break.  I thought the FL Derby was an absolutely perfect prep for Rags.  Take Charge Indy is extremely intriguing based on pedigree, and as Steve notes, he can rate.  Remember when Pat Byrne was the hottest trainer going?  

Steve, I love what you wrote about I'll Have Another's pedigree-all that European stayer class. They never got around to stretching him out last year after the Saratoga debacle, which may give a bit of concern if one believes in "bottom."  But I just think that class and stamina will be telling late.

It's really hard to separate IHA & Creative Cause.  CC would have blown away Bodemeister in the San Felipe if he hadn't shifted out so badly in the  stretch.  I think it's quite reasonable of you to keep him on top, and the intriguing aspect is that he is going to be a very square price on Derby Day.                    

16 Apr 2012 8:04 PM
Johnny D

Steve, nice comments.  I find it hard to believe that Bodemeister can move forward off of that effort.  I try to look more toward what is going to happen than what has happened.  The adjusted Beyer figure of 108 seems tough to repeat and I think that a horse like Sabercat will offer huge value come the Run for the Roses.  He will probably go off somewhere north of 30-1 with the top 6 probably expected to be close in odds.  From a pace perspective, do you think that with an expected hot pace, horses like Daddy Nose Best and Sabercat will be playable?  

16 Apr 2012 8:26 PM
Rusty Weisner


Several commenters on Jason's last thread noted that Dullahan was pulled up after the wire; apparently Romans was asked about it.  Do you have any comment on that?

16 Apr 2012 8:26 PM

To all you great handicappers and experts out there...think about the "trip". Don't forget this is 126 lbs. .......  I have two horses I'm going to bet.....I plead the 5th amendment....sorry folks!!!!

16 Apr 2012 8:32 PM

Steve, great call and faith shown from the beginning on DULLAHAN.  Your experience and expertise are why I lean on you for my education here at University de Haskin.

I disagree on a bad ride mentioned earlier against DESORMEAUX.  It appeared to me that KENT was trying to get him to shift into a new gear because DULLAHAN didn't originally respond to him.

No shame at all for HANSEN front running the whole way and finishing a length to 1 ½ behind a stakes record.

Can anyone tell me what SABERCAT'S closing fractions were?  He seemed to me to almost be on pace with BODEMEISTER except he didn't know which way to go around SECRET CIRCLE who should've been pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.  

I believe SECRET CIRCLE will take that loss personally and still have faith he'll want to come back with a vengeance in the DERBY.  I wouldn't write him off yet.

The speedy BODEMEISTER made me think about WHIRLAWAY with the way he pulled away like he did even though BODEMEISTER doesn't have the love of the outer rail like WHIRLAWAY did.  

I thought BOLD RULER & SOMETHINGROYAL'S names were rather prophetic in producing a very fine racehorse and now I believe EMPIRE MAKER & UNTOUCHED TALENT may have done the very same thing with BODEMEISTER not to mention the inclusion of little BODE himself from the BAFFERT clan.  I kind of look at FRANKEL in that light as well.

Lastly, just a fantastic job by you, Steve, for a great season of "DOZENS"!!!  Now my radar is getting a tightening for the final days of DERBY FEVER!

16 Apr 2012 8:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It's definitley tough to separate the top 7 or 8 or more. Strong field.

1. Bodemeister- Yep, he's a monster alright. Natural stamina plus speed and the best story to boot.

2. I'll Have Another- Battle tested. Some think he will bounce. I think he's just getting started.

3. Gemologist- The way he surged again in The Wood as soon as he was pressed by Alpha impressed me.

4. Creative Cause- Probably the most battle tested and definitely the most consistently best looking pre-race in all of his races of anyone on the list.

5. Alpha- Had to check in The Wood, losing ground and momentum and it didn't bother him at all. Just kept plugging away.

6. El Padrino- I still consider him to be a top talent despite a very disappointing FL Derby.

7. Daddy Nose Best- Underrated but definitely could win The Derby.

8. Dullahan- Very strong performance in the Blue Grass and looked great physically. I don't like the quick pullup after the race at all though.

9. Take Charge Indy- It wouldn't shock me to see him near the rear and then a weaving run for the win with Borel.

10. Daddy Long Legs- has the pedigree and dominated a good field in the desert.

11. Hansen- Pre-race he was "Let me at em !!!" He loves to compete, lead and win but will have to relax and rate to win in The Derby. The three weeks could help him to not be so keyed up. I do have 10f doubts but would love to be proven wrong.

12. Union Rags- Everyone is counting on him peaking on Derby day and having less trouble. The fact is that he hasn't had as much trouble as his fans want people to believe and he hasn't been as impressive as some others.

13. Sabercat- Coming along nicely and could be a big surprise in The Derby. He could peak and have a career race in The Derby.

16 Apr 2012 8:53 PM

Steve; with only 2 exceptions, I have the same Top 10 horses though not necessarily in the same order.  I've not waivered from having Union Rags #1 on my list. I would love to have seen him win the FD, but, unless a horse has managed to open a big lead with relatively slow fractions, the Derby is won in the final quarter, and Rags was flying the final 8th in Florida. Given another 8th he would have been well clear of Take Charge Indy and Reveron.  

I don't have Dullahan on my list because I am still concerned about the popped splint and I didn't like the way he pulled up after the wire in the TBG.  I'm also not convinced he can handle dirt as well as synthetic.  I have Mark Valeski in the 10 position where you have El Padrino.  Though both horses need some help to get in the gate, I think they will make it.

Pom de Terre; I am a little confused by some comments in your post.  Liason is currently 14 on the graded earnings list, which puts him safely in the Derby field.  Based on how he has run this year, I think Baffert should keep him out and give a more deserving horse his spot.  Prospective is currently 16 on the list, so unless your comment "Prospective will sadly, most likely not make the field" is because of an injury I've not heard of, he is safely in based on earnings.  Mark Valeski and El Padrino at 22 and 23 repectively are definitely "on the bubble", but there are at least 4 horses above them likely to be no shows.  Baffert has 4 in the top 20, but I think at most he will send 3.  Unless Liason and Drill  have awesome works at CD I think he'll do the right thing and keep one or both of them out of the gate.  Trinniberg is doubtful to go; I've read they may try him at the shorter Preakness, but his connections seem to realize he is a high-class sprinter; why throw him into the mad scramble of the 20-horse Derby field when his breeding says that no way will he get 1-1/4 miles?  I would also be very surprised if both Daddy Long Legs and Wrote come over for the race.

Finally, in regards to 2-yr old racing; I don't think we see more breakdowns when colts are run as 2 yr. olds.  In fact, I've seen statistics that show horses run at 2 actually have less incidence of breakdowns at 3 and older.  Additionally, history says that unless a colt runs as a 2 yr. old, he has little or no chance in the Derby.  A colt simply needs more seasoning in order to get the distance under the Derby conditions of a crazy pace in a 20-horse field.  However, I'm thinking that Bodemeister just might be good enough to be able to break the "Apollo jinx".

That said, I agree that graded earnings at 2 should not carry the same weight as graded earnings at 3.  The form of a precocious 2 yr. old often does not carry over to their sophomore year.  1/2 credit might be a good idea, or possibly credit only for graded races of 1 mile or longer.

16 Apr 2012 8:57 PM

Great list Steve.  I believe 3 of your top 5 are California horses.  Bodemeister was impressive and little Bode must be ecstatic.  A much deserved win after what the Baffert family endured in Dubai.  The top 6 here are tough.  I agree you gotta respect an undefeated colt coming into the Derby, just how Barbaro came in (Gemologist).  

I see the "Tailgate" saga continues!  I cannot believe they died Hansen's tail royal blue and then washed it out fearing a scratch.  WHAT????  Hansen's body double for the preview of the tail color was Embarr, a 16 year old Argentinian beautiful white horse who runs as a jumper in KY now.  Embarr had his tail died royal blue, footage on YouTube, as a test color.  Poor Hansen.  Agree with Steve, this bat out of hell style is not getting the Derby won, needs to sit back and rate a little again. I'm not sure I'm still picking him for the Derby after this race, although I love him.  I think the article says Dr. Hansen has abandoned the tail dying idea for the future, whew, about time.  This is one owner who needs to seriously chill out.  I'd be much more worried about the running style than the dyed tail.

Can't wait until Steve is a railbird at Churchill for the workouts and TVG's "The Works" kicks in.  19 days to go until the Derby!!!

16 Apr 2012 9:01 PM

One of the best handicappers I know told me to not bet a race that you can't figure out.  THat is the Derby this year.  I can't get below 6 horses that I think have a legit shot to win.  I hope they all make the starting gate; it will make for the most competitive Derby with quality horses in my memory.  Maybe even a turf race finish. But I may just be watching.  

16 Apr 2012 9:06 PM
Indiana Johnny

Steve, great Derby Dozen and insight on the contenders.

The last preps really thru things for a loop, Bodemeister, a horse with zero foundation turns in a jaw-dropping performance, and Dullahan, who at one time did not fit the dosage, romped in the other. Maybe you or someone could explain this, how could Dullahan at one time not have the dosage, but is suppose to have a good pedigree to go the Derby distance? Thanks

16 Apr 2012 9:10 PM

Steve, after watching the races this past weekend I think I have several more horses added to my list.  First, Bodemeister; what a performance!! My only hope is that he hasn't peaked now.  He literally blew the field away. Second, Duallahan; most impressive. Third choice, Union Rags.  I hope his best year wasn't last year.  Being a FOB, I have to give MM a nod.  But as always, I'll wait until sat. to make my pick.  This year will be all the more special for me as I'm actually going to the Derby.  So even if I get it all wrong, I'll still be in heaven.

16 Apr 2012 9:11 PM

Daddy Nose Best is not in the top 10 ?  I am simply speechless.

16 Apr 2012 9:27 PM
El Kabong

Nice call on Dullahan Steve,

I guessed you'd place him second and had a feeling you were itching, as was I, for a resolute performance from Mr. Romans colt to hoist him up where he belongs. I could not be more excited about the next two weeks. Looking forward to your rail bird observations and I am glad you're getting out of the office a little earlier this year(if I remember correctly). But it's really necessary. Your observations are the final clues to the puzzle and not once have they been simple self pandering gimmicks to build your following.  "hey kids, be sure to drink your ovaltine" No sir. Rest assure, I have my decoder ready to decipher the smallest of hints overlooked in  the months of scouring for separation. Bring it on. We're in for a race. I only wish we had Algorithm, Out of Bounds and Fed Biz in the pot.  

16 Apr 2012 10:03 PM
All the Kings Horses

Mr.Haskins as we all know you have a wealth of knowledge both on angles & classic breeding cross expertise is outstanding so I must ask ???? People,people, can you pick the winner today when the man hasnt even began Sunday School''The Works'' How they standout visually in 10 days,what post postion drawn,& what happens when if it comes up a sloppy track May 5th ? I had one of the biggest Derby favorites ever nailed in Vegas in fall of 1988 in Easy Goer & my back up was a colt named A.P.Indy. A.P.came up stone brusied on the morning of & Easy Goer came up short at the wire. In 1993 Jerry Baily jumped off Go For Gin to ride the unbeatable Irgun after the Wood & funny things happen this time of year even to jockeys. Irgun was injured soon after didnt run & Chris McCarron was around at the right time to pick up the winning mount.And what about Pat Day giving away Unbridled mount for Summer Squall.As you can see alot can happen in 19 days...Lesson of the day keep reading take it all in & wait for the Sunday School Teacher to open the Bible ! In the meantime dig up your coffee can in the yard,look up anyone who owes you cash & maybe your piggy bank & sofa is hiding some change as well.You will need it all this Derby is wide open with $$$$ in the gimmicks written all over it.Good luck & as always Steve you always amaze me with your bloodlines.I have I'll Have Another at 200-1 on Oct 6th at The Wynn but know anything can happen.What a 35k bargin he was for Mr Reddam let me know more in 10 or so days I will paying attention in your class !!!!!

16 Apr 2012 10:09 PM

Everyone is jumping on the Bode bandwagon now but I think the Bluegrass was, by far, the better race.  Bode faced a weaker bunch, had the race all his way, on an uncontested lead, on a track that favored speed from race 7 to race 11.  I discount race 12 as it was 1 3/4 miles.  He also carried only 118 pounds while all of the runners in the Bluegrass carried 123.  In the KY Derby Bodemeister will not be on an uncontested lead and the pace will be hotter.  I don't know why the speed didn't go in Arkansas but I can assure you it will show up in Kentucky.  There will be a half dozen horses pressing the pace, including Hansen, who'll be looking him right in the eye.  If I've ever seen a race that will favor the closers it is the race that will unfold in the KY Derby this year.  Dullahan set a stakes record in winning the Bluegrass and he did it easily.  I think his race in the Breeders Cup Juvenile shows that he won't have a problem with the surface at Churchill.  He finished 4th in the juvenile but he was closing fast and it was only 1 1/16 miles.  The Derby is 1 1/4 miles.  I also believe that Dullahan will peak at the right time in the KY Derby. I suspect that Bode will bounce.

My top five for the Derby:




I'll Have Another

Union Rags

16 Apr 2012 11:05 PM
Steve Haskin

TizHerself, On Fire Baby Will run next in the Oaks

Antman, definitely above average

Vegas Derby, I don’t think horses coming off Polytrack tgnd to bounce as much as they do on the dirt. I don’t see a bounce.

7 ½ Furlongs, hope you feel better

Johnny D, I can see either getting in the exotics. The pace should help them.

Rusty, I think the horse was running so strongly at the wire and wanted to keep going, he steered him to the outside to help pull him up

16 Apr 2012 11:27 PM


I'm with you.  At the very least, I was curious about Dullahan after the wire.  

Dr. D

That's a great list.  I'm not even submitting one now.

I have to say "Dang it!" as I throw my DRF to the floor!  Gung Ho & Cozzetti ruined my Super bets & despite Nehro's snafu, I won that one.  Thank God for "boxes"!  

Steve, how do you feel about Flashy Dresser?  He looks awfully nice.

16 Apr 2012 11:35 PM
Mike Monarchos

Well I spent alot of time typing a nice comment on this stupid cell phone and it didn't show up so I must not have not hit the submit button??? Anyway I compleminted you Steve on your current Derby Dozen, and then said something about how good I thought Gemologist and Bodemeister were.

I can't duplicate what I typed due to short term memory loss. That happens when you get to be my age. Whatever it is? I forgot.

17 Apr 2012 12:41 AM

A foal pedigree and body very quiet but with great quality in their impressive workout Reveron name. Reveron is to beat Rags Union and El Padrino at the Florida Derby. If Reveron is present in the Kentucky Derby will be a longshot that will be on the top and could surprise with a win. It has quality and potential, and is being forgotten by those who think they know about horses. Remember, you read that 20 days before the Derby.

17 Apr 2012 1:41 AM
John from Seattle

Steve - great indepth article.  Not that I'm leaning to back Creative Cause but you have to give the horse credit.  According to your ranking CC has beaten or has finished ahead of #2 Dullahan, #4 I'll Have Another, #5 Bodemeister, #7 Alpha, #9 Take Charge Indy, and #17 Daddy Long Legs.

Now I can understand why you continue to rank him #1.

17 Apr 2012 1:50 AM

My head says to stick with Union Rags BUT I can't shake this feeling that Gomez is taking down this Derby with Daddy Nose Best. I can just see him "nosing" out UR at the finish.

17 Apr 2012 2:14 AM

Of all the Derby preps, the most impressive performance IMO was by Daddy Long Legs.The only problem is his awfull performance in the BCJ on dirt.

17 Apr 2012 6:13 AM

Memorable words from Bob Baffert:

"We have always been excited about this horse... I knew he would win, I just didn't know how far he would win by. I know when I have a really, really good horse, and he showed me today that he is. He brought it to another level."

The front-runner had just won his last prep,a Graded stake, impressively. However, on Kentucky Derby day when the grey ghost blew by him he looked as though he was standing.

Baffert's comments were made about Congaree after he won the Wood. Monarchos simply blew them away. Another grey ghost awaits.

17 Apr 2012 7:07 AM

Mike M:

Daddy Nose Best did not run on dirt in the BCJ..

He ran on the grass and got 6th..

I like how this horse has 8 races at a mile or more..

17 Apr 2012 7:28 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  It's tough to separate the top contenders, and there is more than one that could be number one so some people don't want to put a horse at number five when he possibly could be number one but it's still early and I'm not going to get too serious until the posts are drawn and I study the final pps. Before that we have workouts and Steve's physicality reports that could effect rankings or bets. Despite his great record and that he always tries I think that Secret Circle will be big odds and a surprise if he wins the Derby. I'm not seeing him as a 10f horse. He's a special horse though and could even be a great miler. I really don't know what his ideal distance is but it's below 9f. The horses that try so hard but get demolished like he did in the Ark Derby I feel bad for. If I owned him he wouldn't even be in The Derby. I'd probably give him a little rest then point to the BC Mile and other big mile races. Bodemeister can run strong fractions at 9f and I believe 10f and still close strong. I don't think Secret Circle can at those distances. He'll try hard but still get swallowed up late. Too much talent and speed in this Derby.

17 Apr 2012 9:02 AM
Pedigree Ann

Zarvona said:

Will a horse trained in Cal. ever run well in Kentucky the first week in May??

Newby, aren't you? How about 1997, with 1-3, Silver Charm and Free House (Cal-bred!). 2005 winner Giacomo was out of a SoCal barn.  Charismatic, Winning Colors, all the Lukas and Baffert runners (save War Emblem, whom they bought from a Chicago stable) were trained in SoCal. Not to mention Sunday Silence, Affirmed, Majestic Prince, etc.

The incompetence of the Stronach team at putting in a proper AW track when the California racing board required it has led to several years of bizarre track surfaces at Santa Anita. Even the new dirt surface was quirky when it was just laid down. Trainers have not known quite how to prepare their horses on the kaleidoscope of surfaces at the only major track running in California pre-Derby.

17 Apr 2012 10:18 AM
Age of Reason

Draynay speechless? That'll be the day!...

17 Apr 2012 10:18 AM
Mister Frisky

Don't get all the love for Daddy Nose Best.By Scat Daddy who finished 18th in his derby.Thunder Gulch on the bottom not a top Broodmard Sire.Beat nothing in the El Camino Real and at Sunland.Another pretender to make Union Rags even more inviting.

17 Apr 2012 10:37 AM
Don from PA/DE

Dear John(ny) like your vision of KD setup, post position will also factor in, major players

for sure and I do believe and hope

that "Gem" will be the smartest and

fastest of them all that day. He will be my key....Don

17 Apr 2012 11:02 AM
Anne in SC

As always Great article..  and as always I'll just "go with my heart"   Done Talking - Dullahan - Went the Day Well

(Both Done Talking and Dullahan were started here at Elloree Training Center and Mr. Motion is always a favorite of mine) So yet another year of "no science-just hunch"...

17 Apr 2012 11:10 AM

1. Went the Day Well

2. Gemologist

3. Creative Cause

I think Bodemeister left his Derby in Arkansas.

17 Apr 2012 11:17 AM
Tiz Herself

I like the other 'Daddy' in Daddy Long Legs. He has a dirt pedigree and should not have an issue with it. I read on the racing that Daddy Long Legs is coming to the US while Wrote is staying there for their classic races, which shows how much Coolmore thinks of Daddy Long Legs.

Scat Daddy of course was a dirt champion horse in his time. Of which he was a Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth winner at three as well as the Champagne winner as a two year old as well as the Sanford. Johannesburg, sire of Scat Daddy of course was a Breeders Cup Juvenile winner. Hennessy, sire of Johannesburg was second in that race but was a grade one dirt winner in his time.

Having Mr. Prospector, Northern Dancer, Princequillo, Secretariat, etc. lines makes no doubt that he shouldn't handle dirt. Will be interested to hear how he looks in his works leading up to the Derby.

17 Apr 2012 11:25 AM
Tiz Herself

With Mr. Matz as trainer, is hard not to cheer for Union Rags. He deserves any / all accolades that comes his way.

Also, I salute the long, prosperous career that Dynaformer had. At this time of year is nearly impossible to not think back and remember Barbaro. And not to forget Perfect Drift, Dynever, Film Maker, Riskaverse, McDynamo, Sands Springs, Purim, etc.

Hopeful prediction here that his next star is a colt named Point of Entry, who is half brother to Pine Island and owned by Phipps Stable. Point of Entry won a $57k grass allowance race at Keeneland on April 12 going 1 1/2 miles by 1 1/4.

17 Apr 2012 12:01 PM

seattle slew did not wire the derby--he sat a head to a half length off of the front runner until they hit the home stretch, then he took off.

the lack of two year racing for bode seems more important to winning than whether hansen lost at a mile and an eighth by a length on poly without having his speed collapse like it did in the holy bull.

why? because bode has never carried over 118 lbs in his life--he'll be stepping up 8 lbs all at once, whereas hansen and the other 2 year old veterans will only be stepping up only 3 lbs.

the thing about all the horses you mentioned that wired after having romped the race before is that all of them had already carried weight throughout their preps and had raced successfully at two. also, they raced on the lead on dirt without closers in their races--not on poly which plays like turf (which is kind to closers and not to front runners).

unless your name is zenyatta, a closer on dirt needs the pace to collapse to catch the leader, not so on turf and poly.

apples and oranges.

finally, who says hansen will take the lead? it will depend on the post he draws and how cleanly he breaks.  he had no choice but to take the lead in blue grass and the bcj--there were no horses in those fields as fast as he and in the blue grass he also had an inside post.  in the derby, he'll have bode at least.

most of the horses you have a above hansen are too slow to beat him. hansen has shaved a 1-2 seconds off of each of his 4 attempts at 1 1/16--no other 3 year old has done that--he's looking at a 1:40 opening 8.5 furlongs--how are horses like take charge indy and union rags and take charge indy and gemologist, with their 1:12 6 furlongs and their 1:36 plus miles going to cope with that?  you give hansen 5-10 lenght at the top of the stretch and the race is over--unless you are daddy nose best (dullahan is done--no horse pulls up like that 70 yards after the wire from full flight to dead stop and is ok).

finally, hansen only seems to loose when he is passed from way off down the middle of the track where neither he nor ramon can see them coming--hanson doesn't slow down if he knows the horse is there.

after the holy bull i argued that the obsession with rating was misguided--the ke is know your horses red line threshold--i guessed that hansen's was 22 seconds--i feel pretty confident that i was right--running consecutive 23s didn't prevent him from accelerating again in the fourth quarter in the blue grass or from closing in well under 13. and here's the thing--the race didn't seem to take a thing out of him.

17 Apr 2012 12:17 PM


Read my comment again.

17 Apr 2012 1:18 PM

I think speed is going to help in this years derby to avoid falling too far back and getting in traffic jams. As pointed out Rags seems to have more speed this year and hopefully his jock learned a hard lesson in the Florida Derby, let that horse run. Bodemeister appears capable of carrying himself the distance.  I think if he can set the pace or lay just off Hanson, it's his race to loose. Gemologist seems to have untapped potential the way those ears were flicking at the wire. I've got to root for Bode, Rags or Gem...not gonna be satisfied with a Kentucky Derby win. I want to see a triple crown dog-goneit! I think these 3 have the best shot if they win the derby to get the other 2. The field is too deep this year which has me worried if we don't have a great one in the making, it's going to be another year without a triple. The Belmont is such a grind...and as someone mentioned there is always a chance or rain...that and traffic with the deep field, I sure hope whoever wins does it impressively.

17 Apr 2012 1:21 PM
Bill Rinker

Hi Steve, Thanks again for a great column. I have to say that I agree with your supposition about the whip and Creative Cause drifting about. My personal favorite is Bodiemeister, he was foaled just down the road from home and I worked at Audley for a short time. Removing my personal attachment, I think he has the potential to be a great great horse, he carries his speed very easily with near perfect mechanics and has that size to weight ratio that makes it very easy on himself as well, (what a beautiful creature). His Dam, Untouched Talent is loaded with class and could really run, everything you want in a Broodmare, his Sire Empiremaker would be considered a perfect match, and is quickly earning a reputation for getting stakes runners. As for his racing connectons they just don't come much better than Bob Baffert and Mike Smith. But here's my big concern, as I watch more and more racing I feel that one of the major factors in racing success is the message a Jockey sends to the horse with the whip. I can't help but feel that all too often in the heat and excitment of the stretch run that most Jockey's become over zealous with that whip and end up doing much more harm than good. I really think it sends the wrong message and don't understand, how in raceing venacular, the use of the whip can be correctly termed as encouraging. With close observation you can see that many more times than not it is counter productive, and can also have accumulating negative effects  down the road. So with me it is the handling of the horse that counts as much as raw talent. It is that mental, physical and most importantly, inner heart felt connection and rhythm between rider and horse which must be maintained through the entire race. It is a tuff edge to stay on top of and even harder to maintain, but when it happens it's poetry in motion and thrills us to the core. This year we have been blessed with a lot of talented and sound horses, which is very very encouraging. As always it's really hard to say how our twenty horse Derby will pan out, but if cooler heads prevail, we just may see what we've all been waiting and hoping so long for.    

17 Apr 2012 1:46 PM
Jennifer in Columbia

I am really surprised that no one has commented on this. Hansen has been on a five week race schedule. From what I have been hearing, he lost weight after the Gotham, so they re-directed him to the Bluegrass to give him more time. We all remember that Hansen wasn't scheduled to race in the Gotham; however, his connections said he was a little ill after the Holy Bull and neeed an extra week between races. Given that he seems to need the 5 week race schedule, physically, what does that suggest about racing him in the Kentucky Derby? Three weeks rest instead of five weeks and a distance that looks like it won't be his best distance. If he was my horse, I would save him for the Preakness. Better distance for him, and he could remain on the 5 week schedule. I hope he doesn't run in the Derby if he isn't physically ready.

As alwalys Steve, I look forward to your "Dozen" every week. The Derby Trail has been so much fun tis year, and there are so many horses I like.

So far, I like: Dullahan, Bode, Gem, Daddy Nose Best, and Rags. I am feeling a bit lukewarm toward I'll Have Another and Creative Cause. I do think it is a shame that so many horses are completing their training away from Churchill this year. I think the horses who go to the track early like Bode and Daddy are going to have an advantage.

17 Apr 2012 1:56 PM

Your loyalty to CC is to be admired but the list is curious in many ways, at least  to me. Elevating Dullahan to @2 certainly raised my eyebrows. He galloped for a mile and 1/16th and gave a heckava run for a sixteenth while the white flame ran hard the whole race. Dullahan being pulled up immediately was also a puzzlement. Galloping out is important for the horse in the recovery phase. Sorry, but it does raise flags.

When I saw Mike Smith was riding the Bode, I had a good feeling and I'm happy it worked out. I have been high on this horse from the get go and his victory confirmed everything he promised. Finally, another horse with the two elements, speed and class necessary to win the Derby. The other one, showing both elements in every race he has run is, of course,Champion Hansen.

However, remember, on the first Saturday in May, it's all a crapshoot.      

17 Apr 2012 2:58 PM
Bill Two

For the life of me I just cannot understand why people are always so quick to condemn Kent Desormeaux for some real or imagined slight.  Kent is a great rider and isn't in the Hall of Fame because he was an idiot. True, he was guilty of not finishing on horses who weren't going to win, but that was a long time ago and he learned his lesson. He is if anything an underrated rider.  Has anyone asked Kent why Dullahan was pulled up so abruptly after the Blue Grass?  I would like to hear his side of the story.

17 Apr 2012 3:24 PM


You started off last week's Dozen saying separating the top six was like splitting hair.  How true and well put.  Thanks for your insights and information , such as, how all the wire to wire winners since Riva Ridge had won their previous starts by daylight (Bodemeister?).  I was on the infield that day with $40.00 to win on Riva at 3-1. I still remember the feeling listening on the radio (you couldn't see anything).  Also your obvious admiration of I'll Have Another's pedigree.  I have also registered for your Sunday School class and am waiting patiently for your updates from CD.

We spent Derby week in Louisville last year as part of the prize for winning the RTTR contest in 2010, it was a dream come true week.  It was nice to meet you at the Derby draw and I'll be looking forward to your comments on how these contenders are looking.  

My top 5: subject to change,

1. Bodemeister

2. Union Rags

3. Alpha, if healthy

4. Gemologist

5. I'll have Another

17 Apr 2012 3:46 PM

Very well done once again Steve! Astute and extremely well thought out observations. You are obviously professionaly trained as a writer but you also have the gift that, for me, sets you apart from any other racing scribe and on par with my favorite authors. Some crazy Derby shaping up and workouts at CD, while always extremely important, may have more significance than even the prep races this year. Something tells me there will be more than one standout move over the surface but we'll see and I look forward to your evaluations. Once thing is clear, there is no favorite but that's really irrelevant as it comes down to who we choose at the moment of truth and for me, I too am sticking with Creative Cause but probably more for some personal reasons and the fact that I truly believe he has the most upside potential at a mile and a quarter. I truly believe that less than a handful of horses will be running well at the end of the race and this one's shaping up more as a pedigree/running style/body style play. The wild card is this tends to be the hardest race to win because of how much luck comes into play with 20 horses. Post position and ability to gain position heading into the first turn such a key and will eliminate several speed and stalking horses before the race is half over. Closers have more of chance to hit the board than win with all the traffic to negotiate but this too can happen if there is a speed meltdown and the holes open up or in the case of Mine That Bird, one is made! If Union Rags gets a good post, manages a good position into the clubhouse turn and brings his A game he may win this easy with his brilliant turn of foot that was evident in the Juv as he was bearing down on Hansen. Reminds me a bit of Afleet Alex who was another victim in this race from a less than optimal trip. But I'll be pulling for CC as it seems this year's race, with all the speed which is very difficult to carry at CD at this distance, seems to set up well for a horse with his solid foundation, pedigree, body type, stalking/grind them down running style, proven to get over the track fine but a better horse than at the Juv and if sans whip will perhaps pick up another length or two. Best of luck to all but not a bet the ranch year!

17 Apr 2012 4:20 PM

"Bottom" comes from the morning gallops more than racing. It has been scientifically proven that a series of 10-mile morning gallops build stamina better than anything else.

Horses who didn't race at 2 but did trained extensively at 2 without glitches would probably be your ideal for later soundness.

The comparison of soundness of horses raced at 2 with those not raced at 2 is not valid. The group not raced at 2 is loaded with the all the horses that went lame in training so your 'raced at 2' group is comprised of horses who passed a basic soundness test to get into that group, and your 'unraced at 2' group is mostly horses who would have if they could have.

Anybody know what Bode was doing last year?

17 Apr 2012 4:31 PM

By the way, looks like the Stevemeister's eye, not for the first time, has bettered "the numbers," calling Dullahan's Palm Beach S. effort visually first-rate in contrast to the luke-warm numbers it generated.

17 Apr 2012 4:37 PM

Let's hope they all stay healthy and make it to the gate. if so, we will have a real nice race on our hands. Just received my tickets to the big dance via fed-ex yesterday. can't wait for a huge day of racing.

Steve can you name a good restaurant or two for after the Oaks and Derby? No sense travelling all that way and not experience some quality dining. OI would really appreciate it. Thanks.  

17 Apr 2012 4:38 PM

Steve,your dozen looks good,but cant see CC being #1.Afterall,he's a Storm Cat.Dullahan will flop because of the dirt factor,but I will not totally discount his chances because of his closing ability.Union Rags will be a dangerous horse no matter what. He looks the most professional,and I expect him to be consistent.As for my choice of the lot,I expect the winner to come from Alpha or Gemologist.The Wood will give us the derby winner this year as the ensuing speed duel shaping up with Hansen,TCIndy,Bodemeister will set up nicely for Gem and Alpha to run on.Remember,it's not the best horse who wins on 1st Sat in may,it's the best horse that day.And if Optimizer gets in for DWayne,watch out.

17 Apr 2012 6:43 PM

Some have mentioned Dullahan pulling up quickly after the wire in the Bluegrass.  I don't think it's a concern.  On TV Gary Stevens noted that Dullahan looked just fine returning to the winner's circle.  If the horse was off, he would have seen it.  I think Kent D pulled him up because the horse was strong and wanted to keep going.  With the Derby in 3 weeks they want to save as much as they can and avoid a long, high speed gallop out.

On Fire Baby and Wrote are not going to the Derby.  Trinniberg is most likely going to the Derby Trial.  Drill is not going.  

17 Apr 2012 6:57 PM
Old Timer

Steve it has been fun following you this year. I believe that this will be one of the best betting Derbies in years. I say that not because we have a bunch of mediocrity but because there is some great talent this year IMO.

Proof of this is right there in your ranking. Gemologist is undefeated, has Pletcher, and 2 for 2 at Churchill and HE IS # 6!

Mike Smith is no fool and the fact that he did not hesitate to stay with Bodemeister is a telling fact.

However Romans is no slouch,(just missed with Paddy O'Prado and Dullahan looks very similar) and Desormeaux has won this race before.

In addition Matz is a winner and Union Rags was a whisker away from being 2 year old champion.

I like to box about 4 or 5 horses in the exacta and have had fairly good luck wiht that strategy, but this year will be tough to eliminate horses. I can see the case for about ten or twelve of them.

It is going to be exciting when those gates open!

17 Apr 2012 8:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Empire Maker won the Wood Memorial on 4-12-2003 in his 5th career race with a time of 1:48.70. Bodemeister's time in the Ark. Derby was 1:48.71. It was his 4th career race, 4-14-12. Both final preps were three weeks before The Derby, nine years and one hundredth of a second difference. Empire Maker was second in The Derby and won The Belmont. Bobby Frankel called him the greatest horse he'd ever had. How much of a like father like son do we have here? With the two horses and with the trainer and his son who inspired the name Bodemeister. I think it's great that Bode was in Dubai with Bob Baffert and told him, "You'll be alright Daddy," when Baffert was suffering a heart attack, and that they could be here to see Bodemeister dominate like he did in his final prep.

17 Apr 2012 10:05 PM
Rusty Weisner


I much agree with you about Daddy Nose Best.  I dont' get it.  Maybe it's the name.  Sounds like the "wise guy" horse.  He's coming out of what can now be considered a negative key race off a six week layoff.  I should have a soft spot for him, having keyed him in a pick 4 at Saratoga when he won his maiden (or first level allowance?) on grass.  Picking him to win the Derby also means making a presumption about pace that a lot of people seem too ready to make.  Underneath, sure, but not to win.  

17 Apr 2012 10:11 PM

Steve, thank you for another stellar list and for explaining clearly why each horse is ranked where he is.  I agree with the opinion that this is a very talented group of three year-olds, and the only sadness that accompanies the running of the Derby is that it signals the end of another series of Derby Dozen columns.

What I saw this Saturday was Hansen running well and his jockey not using his last ounce of run to beat Dullahan (and possibly not seeing him coming), and I *think* what I saw when KD was pulling up Dullahan was a horse fighting his jockey and possibly having an equipment issue - looked to me as if he was agitated over a bit or tongue tie, or perhaps as another suggested he just wanted to run on and KD was working to save him for the Derby.  When I saw him with feet out of the stirrups and the horse standing calmly by the fence, my sense was he had accomplished that which he set out to, which was halting the horse and evaporating a fight.  Thereafter he seemed fine.  I do think the complete stop unusual after a race, and would very much like to know what happened.

Loved the run by Bodemeister, it was really thrilling to watch, one of those runs that brings a smile to my face, as he seems to just love to run.  Whether he can perform as well or better under more weight and in a large field of talented colts remains to be seen, but he certainly appeared to be having fun.

Still like Went The Day Well and Done Talking, but feel as many do that this is going to be a very tough race to handicap, and works and draw will hopefully help.  Or not.   This is such a fun year :)  Really it is, I am so happy to have the chance to watch so many talented colts race, and I hope they all remain sound and healthy.

17 Apr 2012 10:14 PM

Desormeaux pulled up Big Brown as well in that Belmont, but that was more intense.  Maybe he did not want a strong gallop out Sat.  In Big Brown's case there were so many obstacles before even the start of the race and there was even a death threat on the owners if anything happened to Big Brown which was publicized afterward in Bloodhorse.  In any event Dullahan and Bodemeister were awesome and it's harder now to pick one.  

Flying under the radar could be Went The Day Well and Mark Valeski and Daddy Long Legs.

Top 6 now subject to workouts and post positions:




Creative Cause

Union Rags

I'll Have Another

17 Apr 2012 10:16 PM
Rusty Weisner

Jennifer in Columbia,

For someone like me, vacillating about Hansen, but wanting to be a little contrarian in picking him as a possible winner, that's very interesting, even if I don't like hearing it.  I don't remember an illness mentioned.  Anyone else?  Also, did anyone hear an alternative explanation of the choice of the Bluegrass three weeks before the Derby?  I assumed it was boldness and confidence and something to do with the more forgiving synthetic surface, but never heard an explicit rationale.

17 Apr 2012 10:16 PM

LOL,Mike M

Thats what happens when you work 48 hrs straight..

So you like the other Daddy..

I never looked at him,main reason is  he is getting here late and then to deal with quarintine..

I hate that especially with  a young horse..

Good luck

17 Apr 2012 10:20 PM

Dr D

Once again, I agree with you.  If BAFFERT'S going to run SECRET CIRCLE in the Derby then I want to hear about the great workout SC had running behind a wall of 10 plus horses the way BODEMEISTER did and work on running midpack instead near the lead.  May not be possible for SC, however.


I forgot to thank you for keeping the faith in EL PADRINO!  He is legit, IMO, and certainly deserves to be in the gate, May 5.  Will he be there?  I just think he's going to be there looking for a fight.

We won't hear it called but wouldn't you love to hear Dave Johnson's call this year saying, "8 of em across the track at the 1/8th pole, it's anybody's race!!!"

17 Apr 2012 10:46 PM
Rusty Weisner

1. Creative Cause

2. I'll Have Another

3. Union Rags

4. Hansen

5. Gemologist

6. Bodemeister

7. Take Charge Indy

8. Alpha

9. Dullahan

10. Went the Day Well

11. Daddy Nose Best

12. Sabercat

Another unsolicited same-looking list to make everyone's eyes swim.  This is my desultory ordering of horses by likelihood of winning, which has nothing to do, of course, with likely order of finish.  If I can figure out a superfecta ticket I can afford, I would like to take a stab at big lonshots like Done Talking/Sabercat along with a solid closer like Alpha on the bottom and with a narrowed list of favorites on top.  I don't like closers' chances to win, but that's where I see some long odds and some plausible tickets with them on the bottom of keyed superfectas.  I usually concentrate on multi-race bets, but, heck, I've devoted so much time already to this one lousy race that I should make a special exception for it beyond the usual exactas and occasional trifectas I take a stab at on the Derby (and never, ever win).

17 Apr 2012 10:48 PM
Mister Frisky

@Rusty Weisner,I like your rankings.I can see the top 8 having a legit shot May 5th.Good luck at the windows.

18 Apr 2012 12:59 AM
Mike Monarchos

Here's my top 10:

1. Bodemeister - he's a freak that is fast and talented. He can sustain his speed too.

2. Gemologist - he's a big, tough colt with the will to win like his sire Tiznow. He's also undefeated.

3. Creative Cause - a colt who tries hard each race. Has a 102 Beyer this year, which is second to Bode's 105.

4. Union Rags - because Draynay knows he's voing to win. So I can't put him first.

5. Dullahan - his trainer thinks he likes the Churchill dirt. But can he run down Bode and the other 3 above him.

6. Hansen - if his owner doesn't try to dye his tail on race day he could fight Bode for the early lead.

7. Alpha - he has a 380 + Tomlinson rating for 1 1/4.

8. El Padrino - will make the field and be about 20 - 1. He bounced a little in Florida Derby, but also was very wide all the way around.

9. I'll Have Another - might be stalking early leaders.

10. Prospective - he'll run better at Churchill than he did at Keeneland.

18 Apr 2012 1:26 AM


I've been high on SC since the Rebel.  He made me a believer.  I still believe that the Arkansas was a test for SC, and it was Bode that was the focus to win the race to get in the Derby.  Baffert will need to address SC's actions at the top of the stretch in that race and he will, SC will be cranked up and will peak come Derby day.  I checked his pedigree and he's by Eddington, and Ragtime Hope is by Northern Dancer so I'm pretty confident he can get 10F or maybe even 12F.   He is a distance horse, he will figure out he is come Derby day.


He's by Tiznow, a fighter/brawler on the stretch.  He's lightly raced, and the Derby will be his 3rd off a layoff.  There's not much else you can handicap about this horse.  He too will be peaking on Derby Day.

I have started my long handicapping process and have looked at a few horses :


If I was going to bet a Scat Daddy horse, I'd bet on DLL.  He beat Lucky Chappy by a mile in the UAE Derby.  DNB beat Lucky Chappy by a tip of a nose hair.  I watched the UAE Derby and that's how the derby will be won (I hope SC runs that kind of race).  He tracked the pacesetter, took the lead at the top of the stretch and sustain his drive.  His gallop out looked like he wanted to run another mile and that race was a 1 and 3/16 mile.


He was 2nd choice for quite sometime behind El Padrino and I won't be surprised if he makes me look dumb for dropping him for SC after El Padrino lost the Florida Derby so I'll make sure I put him on top on some tickets.  I read some interesting comments about the use of the whip and I would actually want to see Rosario run the Derby not carrying a whip and see how CC runs.


Baffert has 3 horses in the Derby (which Draynay predicted, good job!).  Two of them are well known, the 3rd is this horse.  If I have to guess, Martin Garcia will get the mount and that's something to consider.  Garcia has been Baffert's money jockey.  I can't remember the last time they paired up to run in a stakes race and didn't win.  Yes, call me crazy, my only angle looking at this horse is the jockey, but only if it's Martin Garcia.  Sometimes, the jockey wins the race for ya ;)


I watched the Bluegrass race again and I'm still not convinced that he will carry his Bluegrass form to the Derby.  He seems like a synthetic/grass horse to me.  The times he ran at CD, he finished 3rd,4th and 5th and a couple of those races were against Optimizer, DNB and Sabercat.  Steve did say this horse has grown physically and mentally so I'll take his word for it and actually play him on the bottom of my exotic tickets.  I won't get totally surprised if he gets up for 2nd to my horse :)


He's actually my favorite horse in the field, but it's because of how he looks.  He's just gorgeous.  If Dr. Hansen wanted to salute the UK basketball team, he should hire the Blueman team from vegas or wear the facepaint himself and his entourage.  As for the Derby, I'm not sure what to do with him.  I don't think he can rate against this field but he might be forced to with 20 horses.  The question in my mind is, can he actually rate ?  I agree with Papillon that Ramon should just let this horse run and see how far he takes him.  Put a side mirron on his left nostril with the message at the bottom that says "Objects in this mirror are CLOSER than they appear... RUN HANSEN! RUN!


He was my top choice for quite some time but had to drop him because I didn't think he was going to make it when he didn't hit the board in the FL Derby.  To be honest, I was very disappointed with his run that day and I actually blame Javier but that's in the past.  I hope that Todd gets him cranked up for the Derby as there's a good chance he might make it.  I'll keep an eye out for information on his workouts and see how he looks on race day.  If he looks good, I might have to break another piggy bank to bet him.

I'll try and maintain discipline and use two horses on top and find 3 or 4 horses to mix up in my exotics bets.  I'm liking DLL, Creative Cause at the moment.  Of course, come derby day, I'll probably throw all of these handicapping angles and just go with my gut instinct, hunch lol.  This is how crazy the Kentucky Derby is!  I still think it's 70% LUCK, 20% Horse and 10% Jockey.  Let the circus begin!!

18 Apr 2012 4:22 AM

Hello Steve Haskin would it be possible for you to post the actual birthday of the top twenty on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list?

18 Apr 2012 8:34 AM
Jennifer in Columbia

Rusty, there was a Feb. 11 story in a racing publication where Maker said that "we felt he needed more time" as the justirication for choosing the Gotham over the Holy Bull. I also remember reading something about him being a little under-the-weather after the Holy Bull, but I can't find the story right now. On the CNBC coverage this Saturday, one of the commentators (maybe it was Randy Moss? Don't remember) said that Hansen lost weight after the Gotham. All this makes me concerned about him for the Derby.

18 Apr 2012 9:06 AM


18 Apr 2012 11:31 AM

Jay jay,

Secret Circle?  You've got to be kidding. The Arkansas Derby clearly exposed his distance limitations. If Baffert runs him in the derby he'll not hit the board ...I guarantee you that. He's a classy sprinter but as he stretches out his classy edge becomes blunted and he becomes a bit of a plodder. definitely not a Kentucky derby horse.

18 Apr 2012 12:32 PM

Interesting that Bodemeister is a Virginia bred... shades of Big Red?  I hope so.

At one point didn't Baffert think Paynter was an even better prospect than Bodemeister?  Then how good is Paynter?

18 Apr 2012 12:46 PM
Johnny D

I am going to take a stand firmly AGAINST Bodemeister.  A Herculean effort in the Ark Derby but his road ends there.  He needed that huge effort to make earnings to qualify and that never bodes well come Derby Day.  Anyone remember Sinister Minister (also a Baffert trainee), he needed earnings to make it and won at the Blue Grass by 14 lengths (I think)...took a bunch of money on Derby Day and made no impact (16th).  

Looking for surprise package...

18 Apr 2012 1:13 PM
Steve Haskin

Chief Picawinna, here ya go:

Hansen   April 23

Union Rags   March 3

Bodemeister    April 28

Creative Cause   April 6

I’ll Have Another   April 1

Gemologist   Jan. 28

Alpha   March 11

Daddy Nose Best    March 3

Take Charge Indy   March 27

Dullahan    Feb. 8

Done Talking  Jan. 30

El Padrino    Jan. 22

Rousing Sermon   Feb. 27

Daddy Long Legs    Feb. 12

Secret Circle    April 13

Sabercat   April 8

Liaison   March 18

Mark Valeski   April 12

Prospective    Feb. 22

Went the Day Well    Feb. 21

18 Apr 2012 1:27 PM
Steve Haskin

Johnny D. I also thought of Sinister Minister, who believe it or not was even more brilliant in many ways than Bodemeister. But Bodemeister is a better horse.

18 Apr 2012 1:31 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Would it be possible for you to write an article about the amazing story of Bode, Bodemeister, Bob and Jill, and Dubai for my birthday present?

18 Apr 2012 2:15 PM

Ranagulzion : No I'm not kidding.  How about you re-post your proclamation of Union Rags as the 2012 Triple crown winner and we'll who's "kidding".  You picked Union Rags, and based his main influence to get the distance as Hyperion from 6 generations back.  Are YOU kidding ?  At least Secret Circle's pedigree has Eddinton who is a proven distance horse and Ragtime Hope who was unraced but is by Northern Dancer so distance wise, I think Secret Circle has a better shot at 10F than Union Rags.  And I only went back 2 generations to find his distance influence, not 6 generations back.  There was an article about UR's pedigree by Alan Porter, you should read it, let me know if you need the link.

It's obvious you have started to back off Union Rags and have always mentioned Gemologist in your top picks posts but I do remember that at one time you proclaimed Union Rags the 2012 Triple Crown winner even before he wins the Kentucky Derby.  I know, you're trying to forget you posted that but it is posted so we'll see who's kidding :)   It's one thing to guarantee a Derby win, guaranteeing a triple crown win is ... well,

Let me educate you about the Kentucky Derby.  It's a special race and by that I mean, your normal handicapping angles, whatever they may be, does not apply.  It takes a LOT of luck to win the Derby, not just talent alone.  As I said in my previous post, it's 70% LUCK, 20% horse and 10% jockey.  ALL 20 horse has a chance to win legitimately.  Union Rags has a chance to win the race even if I think he has distance limitations and he's not a superhorse like you claim him to be.  Done talking has every bit of chance to win as Gemologist or Bode.

I picked Secret Circle because of the reasons I stated above, he is battle tested, 3 preps this year, Baffert will train him in CD, he has a smart jockey (99% of the time) and his pedigree tells me he'll get 10F easily.  I haven't seen you post anything about UR's preps this year that says he's a superhorse.  He won the FOY against News Pending, he lost the Florida Derby agains TCI and Reveron.   Secret Circle lost his only prep against potentially the favorite of the Derby.  What more do you want ?

Steve : I don't think I've ever seen you address Union Rags' distance "discussion".  Or maybe you have and I missed it.

18 Apr 2012 2:43 PM

Holy's getting tougher and tougher, and we all know our positions will change on the day of the post draw...because post position is a big determiner in this wild East rodeo known as THE Derby.

Bill Two: per Kent D..On Paddy O'Prado ...he was called into the steward's office for not riding the race to the end.  In 2010 he was taken off a horse at Woodbine for not passing a breatholizer test.  Just last September, 2011 "Desormeaux had been arrested for “reckless endangerment” after city police reportedly said he intentionally tried to hit a New York Racing Association security guard with the 2003 Porsche Carrera he was driving"  He has been cited numerous times for not riding his horses to the end.

Desormeaux said if he did not pull up Dullahan sharply, he would have kept on running.  As far as I can see, a colt is more susceptible to injury by an abrupt stop than by running further to cool down and work out excess adrenalin. Dale Roman's said Kent always pulls his horses up short. I feel that KD is Dullahan's biggest liability, just as Mike Smith is Bodemeister's greatest asset.

As impressive as Bodemeister was, I was really not impressed by any horse he beat.  The Bluegrass was deeper and run with faster fractions, which Hansen set.  And the race was won in  1:47.94 and broke the stakes record...on poly no less.  As much as I've enjoyed watching Dullahan, I still feel he is not sound...and I think much less of his jockey.  He's not in my top 10.

1. Although I felt Hansen shortened his stride in the final furlong, I've kept him on top of my list.  But I'm still uncertain of his ability at the distance...

unless he rates. (But he really overcame a circus in his stall the mornibng of the Bluegrass, and ran well in spite of his eccentric owner.)

2. Union Rags, but with reservations for distance and the ability to keep himself from getting into trouble...which he seems to be capable of always finding.

3. Gemologist...A Tiz now whose speed may be suspect.

4. Take charge Indy..I know he'll go the distance..not certain of his pace..but it may be fast enough to wear others down.

5. Alpha..has speed, is agile, and has certainly been battle tested in the Wood..impressing me more than ever

6. but he has a veteran at the controls..and the distance is no problem.

7. Daddy Nose Best...has won on every surface.  We haven't seen his bottom yet.

8. I'll Have Another...As long as he has Lava Man with him, I'll like him...

9. of the best bred...and I think he has a lot more in the tank.

10. Creative Cause..His stride is magnificent, and he has an awesome late kick..and has run well at CD.

(Sorry...I just have a thing for dark bays...and he's not)

11. Because I don't really don't know what he has...except the UAE Derby...Daddy Long Legs.

However, all bets are off if Lava Man bullies his way into a gate to try a start in this Kentucky Derby.  (And he may try...judging from his last stint as a lead pony.)

18 Apr 2012 2:46 PM
It aint easy being good!

Papplion great post and my thoughts exactly. There is two ways to look at this one is that Bode and hansen will control the speed in the race and be too tough to catch or they will burn each other out. The difference with this years front runners is that they can carry there speed a long ways. I know the Bodemiester bandwagon is full but he will be chasing Hansen all the way around the track. I think this years winner and they will come from midpack. I think this sets up well for the midpack horses which will be union rags and gemolist. I think dead closers are going to have to be zenyatta good to pass on of these. I belive that the winner will be either union rags or creative cause both have a solid foundation and both are mid pack closers with a strong turn of foot and both have carried max weight in all of their races. Go back and watch union rags blow past both horses after the wire!

18 Apr 2012 3:02 PM

i"ll have another , union rags, dullahan

18 Apr 2012 3:22 PM
Johnny D


I can vividly remember how hard Garrett Gomez was riding Sinister Minister in the stretch of the Blue Grass and I kept saying, "Why doesn't he look back?"  I think Mike Smith didn't use all of Bodemeister but still, how can you duplicate a 108?  If that race was 1 1/4 and Bode kept finding, does he put up a 112 or 115?  He ran his last 1/8 in under :12.  Very impressive.  

18 Apr 2012 3:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Do you mean "never carried more than 118 lbs in his life" other than when he carried 121 lbs twice, in his first two races? So half of his races have been at 121 lbs and half at 118 lbs. So he'll be carrying five pounds more than he ever has. I don't think the Ark Derby phased him and he's a growing boy so I don't think the extra five pounds and carrying the same weight as everyone else will hinder him nor will not having raced at two, which could be the next big Derby fable of "can't do it because" to fall. He also is less of a need the lead horse than Hansen. I can't predict yet who the first horses will be to have the lead without the posts and pps but Bodemeister won't be the first one to lead. But the possibility of him leading at some point is high. BTW, your posts are excellent.

18 Apr 2012 4:12 PM
Karen in Texas

Cassandra.Says----You asked what Bode was doing last year. I'm assuming the question refers to Bode not having raced as a 2-yr-old.(?) If so, Baffert said in an interview on HRTV that he had bucked shins. I see that explanation in a DRF article as well.

18 Apr 2012 4:35 PM


18 Apr 2012 4:43 PM

Since this is supposed to be fun, how about if Hansen WAS allowed to run with the blue tail, would we have heard converations like this going around the clubhouse turn as the colts got an eyeful of Hansen's tail?

Dullahan:  "What's up with the dude's tail man?"

Midnight Crooner (#8):  "I've got a blue shadow roll on me does that count?"

Hero of Order:  "My jock up there has a royal blue shirt on, that counts, right?"

Gung Ho:  "What is the name of this race we're in, the Toyota Blue "Gr-ass" Stakes?"

Scatman:  "I've heard of the Byerly Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian. But when in the 1700's did they foal the Blue Tailed Barb?"

Dullahan:  "I don't know when they foaled it but my number 6 is blue and I'm takin' this race.  I want a kiss from the girls in the white dresses and blue tails too!"

......which gives me an idea for my Belmont attire.  If Hansen makes it to the Belmont or Haskell I've got one of those slinky white dresses ad I'll have my large white hat revamped with blue plumage.  I'm as good as in!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh brother!!!!!

18 Apr 2012 9:50 PM
Bill Two

Slew, I'll plead nolo contedere to the sins real or imagined committed by Kent. From all I've heard and seen he's been straight since the breathalyzer fail in Canada.  Just curious, how did the incident turn out where he was accused of trying to run over a security guard?  I never heard.  Whatever, Kent is still one damn good jockey and knows what to do with a good horse.  He is far from a liability on Dullahan.  If he were, do you honestly think a trainer like Romans would keep him on the horse??

18 Apr 2012 9:56 PM

jay jay my friend,

I have neither flinched nor wavered in my confidence that Union Rags, the imposing son of Dixie Union, will break the 34 years Triple Crown drought this year. He has never been passed by any horse in the home stretch of any of his races neither has any horse ever been closing in on him approaching the wire, nor has any horse ever galloped out better than he has.  I tell you, he'll be so sharp and explosive on Derby day that he'll inhale anything infront of him when they turn for home.

Nothing is a certainty in this game and there will be nineteen others in the starting gates on May 5 therefore if I tout others that I fancy to perform well or even to upset the applecart it does not mean that I'm backing off of U/Rags. When I change my mind about a selection that I have been touting publicly I say so and give reasons. Trust me Pal, nothing so far has prompted a change of heart. On the contrary, I am expecting a spectacular break-out performance from the Michael Matz trained colt in the Derby. His two prep races have set him up very well for a career best effort and if it rains at Churchill Downs, his stocks will soar even higher.

Regarding the distance/pedigree debate, I have read Allan Porter's piece and have not seen where he's answered the question definitively. He leaves the question hanging for obvious reasons (protecting his credibility), while casting doubts about the colts prospect of staying the derby distance. I trust my understanding and analysis of thoroughbred pedigree more and I am not shy to say definitively that this colt will relish every inch of the ten furlongs. Porter says "so far so good BUT can Union Rags stay the Derby distance?" He discusses aspects of the pedigree relating to stamina limitation but does not do justice to the very prominent stamina influences in both the top and bottom halves of the pedigree that indicate the strong probability that this colt will relish a distance of ground.  In fact, Union Rags' performances to date gives good grounds for Porter to explore those influences more fully. Therefore I found his oblique suggestion that the colt has stamina limittions to be disingenuous. Believe it or not jay jay, the Hyperion factor in U/Rags pedigree is potent.  It would be interesting to read Steve Haskins view on this subject.  Anyway, watch and see whose position turns out to be accurate and please dont say that it was just luck.

On the matter of Secret Circle's chances of winning the Derby, he has as much chance of hitting the board as that of a snowball in hell, if you can forgive the expression. How can you not see that this colt, consistent and game as he is, is racing out of his depths going ten furlongs in a salty 20 horse field. I just can't comprehend your logic in this one. From the pace scenario that I see developing, Bob Baffert might use SC as the pace setter to neutralize the chances of Hansen and Take Charge Indy while paving the way for a crucial mid-race move by Bodemeister. Anyway its all fun and everyone is entitled to his/her view. Lets continue to enjoy.

Remember to hold your "all I can say is wow!!!" until after the Belmont Stakes. Okay?

18 Apr 2012 10:21 PM

good catch drunkinbum! i should have looked at the pps before posting =)

5 lbs is still a lot though...but i don't discount bode at all, in fact i think if the race plays out ideally--he and hansen should carry each other to the wire and leave the rest of the field in their dust.

but you dance with the one that brung ya--and i've been with hansen for a long time now--he won me a small fortune in the bcj and i've got a nice futures bet on him at 26-1 for the derby.

the benefit that hansen has over bode in my eyes, other than his experience with weight, is that hansen has always run and trained over more tiring tracks than bode...they are about equal speed wise--and it's funny cause they are only a few days apart age-wise and are the two youngest of this crop...

thanks for the kind words too btw!

rusty and casandra--regarding hansen and illness/injury--it is true that the gotham was chosen because hansen got ill after the the holy bull (he was originally supposed to go into the foy and then the fl derby), and the blue grass was chosen because hansen did loose weight after the gotham (he was supposed to go to the wood)--however, the weight loss was attributed to the fact that he doesn't seem to ship well--and that was why they chose the blue grass--it gave him another week but more importantly didn't involve shipping.

he usually rebounds pretty quickly after a race and was back in training both times in two weeks regardless (which is quicker than most horses without issues). the other thing to keep in mind is that hansen usually  gallops before a race--if he wasn't fit, he wouldn't be able to run those fractions in the afternoon after having galloped in the morning.

but until he gets back to work--we won't know for sure. i think being a little less fresh may help him actually to settle easier.

i'll keep my eye on the works but mostly i want to see the posts--then i'll spend a couple of days mapping out the most likely trips/times for each horse--right now i don't see anyone that can impact bode and hansen other than daddy nose best...but we'll see--i didn't have any opinion about gung ho till i spent 15 hours handicapping the blue grass and realized he was the best money bet in the race.  mike maker has been good to me lately!

19 Apr 2012 12:16 AM
Mister Frisky

Steve,Thanks for all the hard work you do for the real race fans this time of year.Wanted to get your opinion of Take Charge Indy.Is he the real deal come May 5th?Or is he more like Saarland and Friends Lake.Two horses with monster pedigrees that didn't get a call in their derbys.

19 Apr 2012 12:19 AM
200 lb. Jockey

I don't think there will be a heavy favorite this year, betting should be wide open. I think I'll just play multiple exotics and hope to get lucky. I really liked Dullahan last out and will be pulling for him because I like the connections, but I won't be placing any "Big Brown" win bets on this Derby. It's kind of refreshing to not have an over-hyped field this year. All of these horses have and deserve a shot. I think it's going to be a hell of a race with astronomical exotic payouts. I'm glad I steered clear of the future wagers this year. Go Dullahan!

19 Apr 2012 1:54 AM


  “the DANCE” -5/5/12 !!

               from the

-11/5/11  BC Juvenile

(assumming no scratches)

        winner:   (time)

     “Hansen”; 1:44.44;

 2nd “Union Rags”; + a head

 3rd “Creative Cause”; +1

 4th “Dullahan”; +6

 5th “Take Charge Indy”;

 8th “Optimizer”;

11th “Alpha”;

12th “Daddy Long Legs”;

13th “Prospective";

19 Apr 2012 4:37 AM

Ranagulzion  :

It seems to me that you consider anyone who doesn't pick or glorify Union Rags as someone who doesn't know what they're doing.  I've stated my reasons for picking Secret Circle.  Hyperion is 6 generations back, I just can't understand how a horse from the 1930s would be the MAIN influence at giving stamina to a horse in 2012.  If Hyperion's "stamina" genes ever make it to UR, I would think it would be very minute.  After 9Fs, he'll have enough stamina left to get back to the barn but I think that would be it.

You claim to be a pedigree expert so I'll put the ball on your court.  All I need is a Yes or a No.   I'll just go with the 1st generation :  Eddington is a proven distance horse, won twice at 1 and 3/16th (a G1 and a G2).  Ragtime Hope is by Northern Dancer.  Are you saying that Secret Circle is distance challenged ?

You can spin Alan Porter's article any way you like, I read the whole article and I got the info I needed.  "I" don't believe that he has the ability to get 10F.  If he can't win the Florida Derby with 8 horses going 9F, how can I bet him in the Derby where there'll be  more than twice as many horses and going 10F ?  Just the fact that everytime he gets in trouble, he loses, (whatever the excuse is),  the chances of him getting in trouble in the Derby is much more likely to happen than him winning the Derby, in my opinion.  I'm not trying to change your mind about UR, you could very well be right.  I just don't agree with any of your arguments as to why you have declared him the Triple Crown winner this year.  I know that UR is a talented horse but I think his goal this year should be the BC Mile.

Regarding the pace scenario you see developing...let me just think here for a minute. Basically, what you're saying is that Baffert will pull back his speed horse aka Bode who can't rate and put his stalker aka Secret Circle loose on the lead trying to burn Hansen.  So neither hits the board ?

I actually think that's an insult to Bob because I believe that he is a true class act.  As much as he wants Bode to win, I don't think he is stupid enough to use his other horses to give Bode the best chance at winning.  I just don't think he'll be that stupid.  And the worst part of it will be, that it wouldn't be fair to his son.  If Bodemeister wins, he should win it fair and square, by himself and with some luck, okay, a lot of luck.

I'll be sure to reserve my "all I can say is wow!" right beside "all I can say is I told you so!" until after the Belmont.

19 Apr 2012 6:06 AM
Tiara Terces

It seems a good case can be made for at least half of the field, and even they can be dangerous.  I remember waking up on a recent  Derby day saying "Mine That Bird."  When I came fully awake, I thought "He's the first horse I have to throw out."  As often happens, it may be rainy May 5th. What do you all think would be the effect that would have?  I saw one Union Rags supporter say it would help him. Who else might it help?  Would the Tomlinson ratings be reliable?  It's better to get prepared for rain than to be in a dither trying to figure it out at the last minute.  I know a sloppy track usually benefits front runners.  General Assembly still has the Travers record.  If it had only rained on his Derby, we might not have had to see Bid lose the The Triple Crown because of a safety pin.

19 Apr 2012 7:54 AM

I've had personal favorites over the Derby prep season, but there are so many really deserving and talented horses, I think I will be happy no matter who wins. I'm actually most interested in the historical aspects to this deep field of talented 3 year olds. I believe Steve said there are now NINE runners from the BC Juvenile who have won graded stakes!  Is that unpredented in the history of that race?  How does this field of 3 year olds compare to those of the past?  I mean, Mike Battaglia says he doesn't even know where to start, that it's not between A or B but it's A, B, C, D, or E!  Others have hinted that there are historical aspects to this year's sophomore class. Steve, you are the best in giving us some historical perspective, I'm hoping you will write about this.

19 Apr 2012 10:13 AM

Bill Two...the incident at Woodbine was in 2010.  The incident at Saratoga was just last September..from the Times "The jockey was taken off his mounts today by stewards the Racing and Wagering Board. No word on whether or not he will be allowed to ride tomorrow.

The woman Desormeaux hit was not injured.

According to Saratoga Springs police, Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux intentionally hit a NYRA employee with his Porsche at the Saratoga Race Course yesterday. He was charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and released on $500 bail."

Later: "On September 8, 2011, Desormeaux plead guilty to a reduced charge of Disorderly Conduct. He was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and take a defensive driving course."

Actually...when I've watched post race interviews, if KD doesn't win, it's always some one else's fault, but if he wins...the credit is all his.  I think I just got tired of the whining.  A good jockey...yes; A good sportsman..just my opinion...not so much.  To most jockeys, it's the horse who counts, and so many show appreciate for their mounts, with gestures and words.  I've never seen that from Desormeaux.

And pulling a horse up short after a race (or during) is not acceptable to me.

19 Apr 2012 11:48 AM

Nice to see this update on CASTAWAY…

Castaway has a chance to vault into the top 20 for earnings in graded stakes races if he can capture the Lexington Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland. Trinniberg is not on the Derby Watch list, because his connections are leaning against the race, but he has enough money to run should they reconsider. If Castaway does not win, and Trinniberg stays out, then Reveron, the Florida Derby runner-up, would be one defection away from making the field.

19 Apr 2012 12:35 PM

The removal of Secret Circle from Derby consideration has seriously effected the graded earnings list, as it now appears that Reveron, and possibly Isn't He Clever or Optimizer, will be able to make the race.

Here is the current graded earnings list, as of 4/19/12:

1. Hansen $1,550,000

2. Daddy Long Legs $1,294,030

3. Union Rags $1,170,000

4. Dullahan $855,000

5. Creative Cause $836,000

6. Gemologist $703,855

7. Sabercat $701,4297.

8. Take Charge Indy $698,400

9. Bodemeister $660,000

10. Hero of Order $617,375*

11. I'll Have Another $601,000

12. Daddy Nose Best $545,558

13. Liaison $393,000

14. Alpha $380,000

15. Prospective $367,327

16. Trinniberg $324,500

17. Done Talking $311,000

18. Went the Day Well $282,000

19. Rousing Sermon $270,000

20. Mark Valeski $260,000

21. El Padrino $250,000

22. Reveron $220,000

23. Isn't He Clever $191,333

24. Optimizer $184,708

25. Castaway $162,000

26. Currency Swap $150,000

27. My Adonis $140,000

28. Brother Francis $135,000

29. Battle Hardened $127,000

30. Mr. Bowling $115,848

(*Not nominated to the Kentucky Derby)

As we can see, Mark Valeski has officially entered the top twenty. And when one considers that Hero of Order is not nominated, this would allow El Padrino to run in the Derby.

In addition, defections from Trinniberg, Rousing Sermon, or Liaison -- none of whom are definite for the Derby -- would allow Reveron, Isn't He Clever, and even Optimizer to sneak into the race.

Of course, this could potentially change depending on who wins the Lexington Stakes (gr. III). A victory by Castaway, which would net him an additional $120,000, would put him safely into the race. Even Stirred Up could get into the Derby should he prove victorious, for the winner's share of $120,000 would put his total graded earnings at $210,000, ahead of Isn't He Clever and Optimizer.


19 Apr 2012 2:11 PM

jay jay,

Secret Circle is obviously distanced challenged based upon how much slower he's run when stretched out beyond six furlongs. He won those races at Oaklawn purely on superior class compared to the competition.  However, competing against Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby  exposed his pretender status for the Derby. His only shot in the Kentucky Derby was going to be as THE front runner (Baffert is knowledgeable enough to have seen this) but debating him is now a moot point since he is unfortunately injured and off the Derby trail.

I quite like your addition of the "I told you so" line to our anticipated post-Belmont Stakes discussion. Only, you'll be saying "All I can say is wow!!!" and I'll be responding "I told you so" (LOL).

19 Apr 2012 8:48 PM

Wow! Already my last post is out of date! Rousing Sermon has been confirmed as a Derby starter, which will make things a little bit trickier for Isn't He Clever and Optimizer -- although making the Derby field is still very much a possibility for both of them.

I should also mention that Morgan's Guerrilla and Golden Ticket could also make the Derby field if either were to win the Lexington Stakes, for a victory there would raise their respective graded earnings to $220,000 and $210,000. It should be interesting to see what happens!


19 Apr 2012 9:18 PM

It's very interesting to read the number of opinions on KentD that reflect how I personally feel. I do want to clarify though that I do think he has a lot of talent; it's just a shame that he has an ego, temper and attitude that interferes with his ability to use his talent to the best effect.  I really admire Dale Romans and have been really thrilled with the great job he's done with some very good horses in recent years.  I'd love to see him win a Derby.  I am worried about Dullahan after watching him being pulled up so roughly.  I just ride for fun but even I know you can't pull up a horse like that.  But maybe Dullahan can learn to slide like a quarterhorse.  

19 Apr 2012 9:34 PM
an ole railbird

about the old "appollo" excuse. we all know no horse has won a derby ,without racing as a 2 yr old, since appollo. so be it . now ,how many horses have srarted the kd, without racing as a 2 yr.old ??? i have never heard this figure. some one adress this please. just an ole railbird.

19 Apr 2012 10:00 PM

Jay Jay; with Secret Circle out with injury, whether or not he can get 1-1/4 mile is a moot point, but I'd like to point out that you cannot rely entirely on pedigree to predict a horse's ability to get a distance of ground.  Some horses with sprinter pedigrees can stay, and some with supreme distance pedigrees can't.  Secret Circle seems to be one of the later.  He has never shown any indication he wants any part of 1-1/4 mile.  In regards to Union Rags; the first few generations of his pedigree is not laced with stamina, and I too agree that

stamina influences 6 generations back will have little to no affect on distance ability.  However, Rags runs like a horse that will relish more ground.  In the long run, which is more important; how the pedigree may influence stamina or how the horse performs when the distances get longer?

19 Apr 2012 11:09 PM

I saw Sabercat win the Jackpot at Delta Downs. Would love to see him finish at the top of the Derby.

20 Apr 2012 12:08 AM

robinm :  Yes it is a moot point and it's very disapointing because I truly believe that he could and probably would've won the Derby.  I totally understand that it's not all about the pedigree but what I'm basing Secret Circle's win is the total package of the race.  I'm depending on how the other horses will run, who and how the pace will be set up and run.  The jockey and also how much of a fighter Secret Circle is.

Union Rags two races at two turns didn't really give me confidence that he can run longer.  The Florida Derby was suppose to be his breakout race, and he disappointed there too.  You and Ranagulzion seems to me, likes to see what you want to see on Union Rags and that's fine, that's what I did with Secret Circle.  I saw his races and didn't think he's a sprinter.  Someone said it before, he's a distance horse, he just doesn't know it yet.

Come Derby day, I will have a look at Union Rags but I will not place any money on him to win, if he does, that's fine.  I just think there's a lot more others that has a better chance than him to hit the board.

20 Apr 2012 1:17 PM

Ranagulzion : It's funny how you think of Secret Circle as a distance challenged but yet you're so excited to see Trinniberg run in the Derby.  Trinniberg!  Can you truly see him going 10F ?

Seems to me you contradict yourself for the sake of ... something, I don't know.  Good luck on your big bet on Union Rags.

20 Apr 2012 1:30 PM
The Deacon

Just saw where Union Rags had a workout at Keeneland. Is it me or does this seem somewhat odd that a couple weeks before the Derby one of the favorites is working out on a different track, and on a poly surface as well. I certainly am not in favor of this..........any opinions out there!!

20 Apr 2012 1:55 PM
Bill Two

Slew and TerriV: I don't contest your assertions that Kent's ego may be bigger than his talent which is considerable.  When he was an apprentice at Pimlico I remember fans chanting, "Superman" when he appeared in the winners circle after one of his multiple win days - of which there were so many.  He certainly hasn't distinguished himself on occasion with his behavior off track, but I really would like to hear from him and Romans about the abrupt pull-up after the Blue Grass.  Apparently, the horse is thriving from all accounts so it doesn't appear he emerged worse for wear for the experience.  I agree with you, of course, that it is not a prescription for good health to pull a horse up so abruptly.  

20 Apr 2012 8:57 PM
The Deacon

Secret Circle and now Reveron out of Derby, happens every year. A couple weeks before the race they start dropping like flies. It's almost seems like a curse the racing Gods have put upon us. How is the racing community ever gonna know who is the best 3 year old if they keep getting hurt every year. Horses by species are born to run, so something is amiss as to why they keep getting hurt so much.....ugh!!

21 Apr 2012 1:30 PM
Karen in Texas

I'm reading on another site this A.M.  that Trinniberg is going in the Derby. BH will probably have the story up by the time this is shown as a post. Ranagulzion, it looks as though you are going to get your wish, but the pace scenario takes on new implications now...Has anyone else seen this?

21 Apr 2012 1:33 PM

Steve : Would it be possible for you to write an article on the first generation pedigrees of your derby dozen ?  I'm not a pedigree expert but I wanted to get your opinion on some of the not so popular sires and dams.    I think it'll be useful to some of us who are not experts in pedigrees.  Any helpful info handicapping this bunch of talented 3 yr olds would be great appreciated.

I don't want it to become like an open debate, I just want to get your opinions on the dozen.  There's one or two horses I'm settling on.  I think I've looked at every angle except pedigrees.  I even have a set of numbers I'm betting based on my birthday and my daughters birthday.  That's like a last resort if I still can't figure out who to bet on come derby day.

21 Apr 2012 2:16 PM

jay jay,

We all ...well, lets say most of us knowledgeable turfites have seen what Secret Circle had to offer and knew that he had no shot in the Derby except as a pace-setter. Now that he's exited the scenario (we do regret his injury), a far more colourful and mysterious fleetfooted colt enters the fray in Trinniberg. I've posted at length about his credentials and the possibility that he's capable of doing what Bold Forbes did in 1976 (a perceived 'cheap speed' from the Caribbean Territory, Puerto Rico, that also won the Bay Shore stakes, wiring the Kentucky Derby field).  Now let's just see how it all unfolds.

You could be in for another "all I can say is wow" moment.

Let me give you the elite group from which the Derby winner comes:

1) Union Rags 2) Gemologist 3) Daddy Nose Best 4) Trinniberg 5) El Padrino. Name yours and lets see who knows more about this game my friend.

21 Apr 2012 7:16 PM

Karen in Texas,

I am thrilled. Getting my wish will be to have spotted the Derby exacta and the Triple Crown winner for 2012. Wish me luck my dear.

21 Apr 2012 7:19 PM
Cinco De Mayonnaise

I would please like to add my 2 cents. It's worth about that anyways. I find this years Derby interesting. So much early speed and so many horses that will have to rate for the first time. On paper this race seems to set up perfect for Union Rags. I hate paper though. Creative Cause was right there in Juve and has beaten good horses. BUT, assuming he goes back to blinkers, I haven't seen a horse win in 15 years with an equipment change on Derby day. The change was indeed stupi, but it seems would be made even stupider by changing back. He's gotta leave them off to avoid history.

   The other thing that has to be mentioned is it is too early to pick a horse yet. Creative Cause is everybody's pick huh? Ok he adds blinkers and draws the 1 hole. Still like him? How about post 20, 19,17, 18, 14. This race has been run many times and post 17 has NEVER won. The 1 horse hasn't even finished 3rd in like 20 years. Ya sure Big Brown was the first post 20 winner ever, but see a Big brown here? Bodemeister is 2nd pick consensus. Ok, well he didn't race as a 2 year old, is he better than Apollo? 2nd in history? How about he draws the 17 hole? Let's just wait for the final draw, handicap this like a regular race but yet pay attention to history. If this was the 5th race at Keeneland and Creative Cause was the 20 horse, everybody would say I'm not playing a horse breaking all the way from post 20. Look forward to the discussion. Oh and officilally I haven't made a pick, but on paper I like Alpha and Daddy Nose best as a longer shot. I'll tell you one horse that really seemed to gallop out well after each race and has a ton of class is El Padrino. But again, i have to see the draw

21 Apr 2012 8:15 PM
Cinco De Mayonnaise

Ole Railbird : I honestly can't give you a number, but there seems to always be at least 1 started in each derby that didn't run at 2 YO. I did look at this one night and also saw somethign very interesting about that. At least in the last 10 years or so, a horse has run 1st, 2nd, or 3rd being drawn 2-4 posts near the 2 YO. May be a coincidence, may have legs. But I guess I'm saying if you really like a horse this year, hope that he draws 2-4 posts away from Bodemeister.

And just for the record, I also noticed somethign else crazy. The top 4 finishing horses are OFTEN close. Last year it was 16,19,13,11.  Year before 4,2,9,10.  Year before 8,7,2.  In 2007 7,8,2,5. Just food for thought.

21 Apr 2012 8:28 PM

Deacon: A lot of the Derby horses are training on poly because the trainers find it easier on the horse to run on a cushion.  While soft tissue injuries can occur, they are usually not career ending.

JayJay: I was a fan of Secret Circle also...because of his pedigree.  His Grandsire, Unbridled won the Derby, and is responsible for a good number of TC race winners including Empire Maker, Grindstone, Birdstone, Mine That Bird and Summer Bird.  His damsire, Dixieland Band, is the the damsire for Monarchos and Street Sense.  Unfortunately Secret Circle won't go to the Derby, but I'm wondering if his poor showing in Arkansas was due to his injury.

Bill Two: In a previous response, I already noted Roman's answer to Kent's abrupt pull-up...he said KD always pulls up his horses quickly.

22 Apr 2012 10:48 AM

THANK YOU Slew.  I knew I wasn't that dumb when looking at pedigrees.  I think I'm smart enough to spot the difference between a sprinter and a distance horse when looking at pedigrees... for example, Trinniberg... well, most of us know he's a sprinter.  I didn't even have to look at his pedigree, just learned it from his trainer who said he's a mile horse at best.  I guess some people know better than the trainer of the horse.

23 Apr 2012 1:22 AM

Ranagulzion- Bold Forbes also won the Wood, just to be clear that he did win a race longer than a sprint before running in the Derby.

23 Apr 2012 8:10 AM

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