Derby Dozen (video) - February 26, 2013 - Presented by Shadwell Farm

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Revolutionary Todd Pletcher Click Here!

War Pass—Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy

What is most interesting about him is his ability to maintain a high fitness level from his gallops. In the 36 days between his maiden win and the Withers he had only one :48 half-mile breeze, 23 days after the maiden race and 13 days before the Withers. For him to run the race he did without a work in 13 days was pretty remarkable. He followed that same schedule, breezing a half in :48 2/5 Monday. His main attribute is his incredible female family, which traces back to the foundation of the Phipps family dynasty, all the way to Striking, and before her the great La Troienne, as well as major stamina influences Ribot, Herbager, Buckpasser, and Tom Rolfe, and a double dose of War Admiral. He has all the tools and the looks of a Derby horse, and we know he’s one tough colt, and hopefully his habit of finding trouble, whether at the start or in the stretch, is a thing of the past. He can’t afford that to happen in his final prep.


Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. Click Here!

Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court

Returned to the work tab with a :48 4/5 half-mile breeze, out five furlongs in 1:01. To Plesa’s credit, he says if the colt fails to pick up enough points in the Florida Derby to assure a starting berth in the Derby, he will not run him again and will accept his fate and move on. You would think he’s done enough to qualify, with two impressive stakes victories, including a track record, but under the new points system, big races in January and early February will not get you in the Derby. And, as is the case with Shanghai Bobby and Revolutionary, you’re taking a major risk by sitting still for two months and passing up the 50-point races.


Orb Shug McGaughey

Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

As an old school traditionalist, it would be great for the sport to get McGaughey, Stuart Janney III, and the Phippses to the Derby with a big chance. Perhaps the Derby gods were waiting for this partnership to reward all involved. The pace of the Fountain of Youth did set up perfectly for him and he was getting six pounds from Violence. But to his credit, he was the only other horse who closed into that rapid third quarter, making a long sustained run and beating the third horse by 7 1/4 lengths, while earning a 97 Beyer. This was a major improvement off his last race when he ran a full second slower than Cerro in the other division. He still has a tendency to wait on horses once he gets the lead, just as he did in his previous start. This most likely was not a strong field other than Violence, so we’ll see if he keeps moving forward. The bottom line is he’s won three straight and is going in the right direction, and that’s more than you can say about anyone else. Female family is the same family as Ruffian and also includes the Big 3 from the 1964 crop -- Damascus, Dr. Fager, and In Reality.


Verrazano Todd Pletcher Click Here!

More Than Ready—Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway

Breezed a bullet 5 furlongs in :59 1/5 Monday. Although there are question marks regarding his seasoning and whether he’ll be battle-tested enough to go 1 1/4 miles, I’ve decided to move him up because he’s the one horse, along with Flashback, who could be something very special. It’s that unknown factor that has him ranked this high. But he still needs to prove himself against better company and has a lot of cramming to do if he’s going to be a major threat on Derby Day. I also moved him up because there is no real standout, and he’s no more an enigma than that crazy Risen Star Stakes, in which the first eight horses finished within 3 1/2 lengths of each other.


Shanghai Bobby Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Harlan's Holiday—Steelin', by Orientate

Yes, I know he can’t go a mile and a quarter, but I heard the same thing about Union Rags last year. Maybe he can’t. His female family certainly is not geared toward stamina, but going strictly on raw talent, he’s still accomplished more in his career than anyone else on the Derby trail and he did run huge in his 3-year-old debut. I know I lowered him a bit, but at this time of year, many horses get lowered as others start winning or running big in major races. Many are also tossing him because the BC Juvenile does not look like a strong race, but this colt peaked in the Champagne and probably should have called it a year and not traveled cross-country to run in the heat and get caught up in a brutal pace. Bad race or not, he deserves credit for fighting back, despite running out of gas turning for home. We’ll have a better idea how far he wants to go after the Florida Derby, for which he breezed a half in :49 3/5.


Flashback Bob Baffert Click Here!

Tapit—Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley

I can pretty much echo the words I used for Verrazano. He hasn’t been quite as brilliant as the Pletcher colt, but he’s faced better competition. Again, the main concern is seasoning and toughness, and in his case, the two minor setbacks he had following his maiden victory. He has tremendous raw talent, and don’t expect to see him on the lead again unless there is a paceless race, as he’s a better horse stalking the pace. His owners, Gary and Mary West, also have two distance-loving sons of Lemon Drop Kid on the Derby trail in Treasury Bill and Code West, so they’re loaded. Like Verrazano, Flashback needs to get tested in battle by a good horse at some point, just so we’ll know what’s beneath all that brilliance. He tuned up for the San Felipe with a sharp six-furlong work in 1:11.


Overanalyze Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Dixie Union—Unacloud, by Unaccounted For

If he wins the Gotham and catapults up near the top of everyone’s list, those 33-1 Future Wager odds are going to look mighty good. He tuned up for the race with a half-mile breeze in :48 3/5. It is important to note that Unlimited Budget, who romped in the Rachel Alexandra, won the Demoiselle in time two full seconds slower than Overanalyze in the Remsen. You have to love a horse who can win at 5 furlongs and 1 1/8 miles. The only concern with him is that he was beaten eight lengths in his only start at Churchill Downs as the 9-5 favorite, and there are horses who don’t handle Churchill. But he ran an odd race that day, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.


Goldencents Doug O'Neill

Into Mischief—Golden Works, by Banker's Gold

This horse has to be setting a record for the most consecutive six-furlong works, his latest being a 1:10 2/5 hummer. Is this going to catch up to him or will he be like the proverbial tiger in a cage when he’s let loose in the San Felipe and help turn him into a professional racehorse? We’ve known all along the talent is there, but he just hasn’t blown anyone away, which could happen once he becomes more focused and learns how to level off in the stretch. Can’t wait to see what we get in the San Felipe. His future is limitless if he can get his act together. He’s another who could leap to the top with one big effort.


Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Click Here!

Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy

Bet you never thought you’d still see this horse on here. I admit the Risen Star was a head-scratcher, and how do you choose one or two horses from the first five or six finishers? Well, the fact is, this colt was at least 5-wide going into the first turn, was wide down the backstretch, made an early move to engage Code West, and after taking the lead early, hung on gamely to be beaten a half-length, battling with horses on both sides of him. We may have learned more about him in this race than we did in his Lecomte laugher, in which he beat the Risen Star winner by over 13 lengths. He most assuredly will get the best or second best Thoro-Graph and Ragozin numbers in the race. He’s bred to run a lot farther, he’ll get a lot out of this race, and this is the time to take a chance on him.


Palace Malice Todd PletcherClick Here!

Curlin—Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem

Of the first eight finishers of the Risen Star that finished 3 1/2 lengths apart, every one had multiple races at a mile or longer, while he had only three sprint races -- one in the past 6 months -- and is the one who has the most room for improvement. He was three-wide on both turns, was stuck in traffic the entire run down the backstretch, and raced greenly in the stretch, drifting in and out and jumping back to his left lead, but still kept battling to finish third, beaten a half-length. He looked like a winner at the sixteenth pole and might have won had he kept a straight course and also kept his head straight. Considering this was only his fourth career start and he was going two turns for the first time, and had to cope with that long Fair Grounds stretch, he ran a darn good race and definitely should learn a lot and move forward off this effort, especially with his strong pedigree.


Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Click Here!

Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor

He certainly didn’t help his chances in the Risen Star when he broke a step slowly and bobbled after possibly clipping Oxbow’s heels. He dropped way out of it, while rank into the first turn, and had to take the overland route on the far turn. He then was fanned 7-wide turning for home and was coming on in the final 100 yards. But I would have liked to see a little more from the quarter pole to the eighth pole, rather than late when the others appeared to be slowing down. I keep wondering, with his female family, if he wants to get that extra eighth of a mile. What I did like was the way he was striding out at the end, so let’s give him one more chance and hope for a better trip. The Wood Memorial would seem to be right up his alley. With hardly any points and only two preps this year, he had better make the most of his next start. Ironically, Brown sent him to Fair Grounds because of Gulfstream’s normally speed-favoring surface and as it turned out the Fountain of Youth would have set up perfectly for him.


Treasury Bill Ron Ellis

Lemon Drop Kid—Wow Me Free, by Menifee

It was a tough choice between him and Code West and Tiz the Truth. He’s still a live longshot special for the Derby and I can’t wait to see him stretch out in the Rebel Stakes. Like in the San Vicente, if he’s coming at the end and is right there, then it will set him up for a huge effort in the Arkansas Derby, where he’ll face Super Ninety Nine, who along with Flashback, Code West, Tiz the Truth, Den's Lrgacy,and Shakin It Up, could give Baffert a powerful quintet for the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher may have the bigger names right now, even without Violence, but Baffert’s 3-year-olds are on the rise, and several of them have very strong pedigrees. And we haven’t even mentioned Curly Top, another with tremendous promise.

Knocking At The Door

You could have chosen any one of several horses coming out of the Risen Star. You never like to see that many horses finish so close together in a big race, but it still got a 95 Beyer. The winner, 135-1 shot I’VE STRUCK A NERVE, ran lights out, but needs to show it one more time. His best previous effort was a second in the 6-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes. All in all, this race was just too bizarre to figure out. CODE WEST looked like he was headed to a fourth-place finish at best and came on again late to be beaten a nose. Baffert had taken the blinkers off him, but it’s possible he may have lost a little focus turning for home after being challenged by Oxbow and didn’t start getting back into the race until the final 70 yards. What I liked most about his race was he probably was expected to take back farther off the pace with the blinkers removed, but, breaking from post 2, he wound up right on the pace and under pressure the entire way. The fact he was coming back at the finish bodes very well for a big improvement when the distances stretch out. It’s as if the light bulb went on in the final sixteenth. Normally I would have a horse like this in the Top 12, but there’s no way I can put four horses on there from the Risen Star.

Saturday’s Gotham will have several interesting horses on the verge of breaking out, headed by the undefeated VYJACK, along with a possible pair from Kiaran McLaughlin in maiden winners ELNAAWI and TRANSPARENT. Another intriguing possibility is Hutcheson winner HONORABLE DILLON, who should have no problem stretching out. He’ll go either here or wait for the Tampa Bay Derby.

FALLING SKY, who was scratched out of the Fountain of Youth, will now return to Tampa Bay for a rematch with DYNAMIC SKY in the Tampa Derby. All they can do is hope Verrazano isn’t crazy about the surface. Dynamic Sky indicated his sharpness with a bullet five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5.

Al Stall scratched both DEPARTING and SUNBEAN from the Risen Star due to outside posts. The latter showed up instead in the Gentilly Stakes for Louisiana-breds earlier on the card and won by almost five lengths at 9-5. One race later, the promising GROUND TRANSPORT blew away his rivals in the final eighth to win an allowance/optional claimer by three widening lengths for Mike Stidham and looked very good doing it, striding out beautifully at the wire. The son of Big Brown has two wins and a second in three career starts, his only defeat coming at the hands of Departing in his career debut sprinting. He's certainly a new face to keep an eye on.

Graham Motion finally unleashed Team Valor’s CROP REPORT in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer on the turf and the son of Medaglia d’Oro, making his first start in the U.S., turned in a powerful closing kick to finish third after hitting the side of the gate at the start and dropping far off the pace. This is a grand-looking colt with a classic European look and a big, beautiful stride. The winner was the Rock Hard Ten colt BLACK ONYX, who was making his grass debut for Kelly Breen.

DRY SUMMER, a well-beaten fourth in the Sham Stakes behind Goldencents, made it two in a row at Sunland Park, winning the Mine That Bird Derby by 1 1/2 lengths as the 6-5 favorite.

Doug O’Neill found himself a Sunland Park Derby horse, winning the Turf Paradise Derby with PERSUASIVE PAUL, who drew off to a 3 3/4-length score. What’s interesting about this horse is that his broodmare sire is Lure, and that’s a name you don’t see too often in pedigrees.

UNCAPTURED followed his :35 3/5 work at the Ocala Training Center with a half-mile drill in :47 4/5, so he is progressing nicely for his 3-year-old debut, which could come in the Spiral Stakes. DEWEY SQUARE is looking to rebound from his dismal Holy Bull effort in Saturday’s Palm Beach on the grass. Trainer Dale Romans used this race last year for Dullahan’s 3-year-old debut.


Leave a Comment:


I was wondering if Baffert is still going to try  and get Power Broker to the Derby?

25 Feb 2013 2:36 PM
Steve Haskin

(What follows will be posted on today's new Derby Dozen blog) I must preface this with the following comment. I cannot monitor every post that comes on here. That is the moderator's job. I try to help out as much as I can. So, once in a while an inapproprate post might find its way on here. If I see it after the fact I will delete it. Considering we are dealing with the Kentucky Derby and not politics or religion, future posts with name calling and anything insulting will not only be deleted, but the person writing it will have his or her future comments deleted as well, regardless of their content. This blog is meant for the exchanging of ideas, opinions, and friendly debate (I emphasize the word friendly). Anyone who wishes to engage in improper comments can take them somewhere else. There are plenty of free-for-all blogs out there with no restrictions. I realize this is directed at only a small fraction of the people who post on here, but ground rules must be set if this is going to be a blog people enjoy coming to.  

25 Feb 2013 2:42 PM

Orb and his connections would make for an awesome story and I'll be rooting for them. However, Itsmyluckyday earns #1 for me because his last 2 races were really fast. I just don't know if he wants any part 10 furlongs. Revolutionary didn't beat much so he can't be my #1. Super Ninety Nine is a question mark, but obviously really talented in the slop. It's unfortunate to see such a good prospect in Violence go down to injury.

25 Feb 2013 2:44 PM
steve from st louis

Revolutionary--on paper--posseses one of the most striking pedigrees for 10 furlongs with speed in the Stud Book. Being a (Dr. Steven) Roman "numerals" geek, I'm so hopeful that the individual in the dark bay or brown wrapper is all he's bred to be. Very unusual to see an American-bred horse with representation in all five chef-de-race categories as this one. Plus his female family is as fashionable as it gets. My only dog in the fight is fingers crossed for my patron saint, Leon Rasmussen, who developed the Dosage Index with Dr. Steven Roman, PhD., in 1981. I don't know if he'll win in May, but I'd sure like to have a piece of him when he goes off to the stud.

25 Feb 2013 2:48 PM
Steve Haskin

Greg, Power Broker is just too far behind, but you should hear from him later on.

25 Feb 2013 3:11 PM


I like that you finally added Orb.  Still can't see Revolutionary in front of him since he beat him, but I like your 12 anyhow.  

They will probably end up running against each other again in the Wood.  Shug would probably send him there instead of the Florida Derby.  

25 Feb 2013 3:27 PM

I've never seen you mention John Sadler's colt DEMONIC out of two really exceptional sophomores Bernardini and Sincerely who won the Delaware Oaks at 3. He ran once in the middle of January but he gamely beat Baffert's more seasoned Tiz the Truth at seven furlongs. He's owned by C R K Stable who raced the brilliant filly/mare sprinter Switch. He is an exceptional looking colt, not unlike Bernardini himself, and I wonder given Sadler's success in the Arkansas Derby with Line of David and Switch having ran 2nd in the Apple Blossom if maybe they are looking to possibly make the trip to Hot Springs to take on what is shaping up to be a lackluster group, however whichever horse Pletcher and Baffert need to get points for will make or break this Grade 1. Is it likely DEMONIC tries to make up ground on FLASHBACK and GOLDENCENTS? Out west or comes in for the Rebel and/or the Arkansas Derby? Any news would be great as this is a strapping young colt that could be the horse to watch later this year, if not sooner than that. My heart goes out to everyone around VIOLENCE, I think he was something special. He reminds me of Vindication now. He didn't quite get to make his mark on racing, but I think he was awfully good. He will be missed, but hopefully he'll make a great sire.

25 Feb 2013 3:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Hirize, you cant go by what they did in a maiden race. Revolutionary got slammed coming out of the gate, breaking from the rail and got shuffled back. Horses improve, just as Orb has improved since he was out of the money against Vyjack. I went with Revolutionary because he has a stronger mile and a quarter pedigree on his dam's side, but it's splitting hairs right now. Theyre all pretty much equal unntil someone busts out. From a rooting interest, I would love to see Orb win it for Shug.

TC, I have mentioned Demonic and he's had only one 6f sprint in his life and had a "malady" after that race which has him listed as "questionable" for the San Felipe. Even if he was healthy there is no way they should push him to try to make the Derby. Why ruin a good horse?

25 Feb 2013 3:49 PM

Poor Violence.  I feel for this horse.  He was just starting to show us the scope of his talent and all he was capable of doing, then this horrible injury happens to him.  I feel for Violence, and for his connections.  I pray he heals completely, and I wish him a long, happy life.  It was a pleasure to see him race the several times I've had the chance to.

This past weekend's stakes races proved to be an interesting mix. I've Struck A Nerve has, interestingly, been racing with some of the best West Coast colts on the Derby trail the last six months or so at Del Mar, Hollywood & Santa Anita, quietly running under the radar, coming in consistently third and fourth in most of his races, just waiting to spring the "Big One".  Well, he got his chance to spring a big one and sprung it on the world in the Risen Star at 135-1!  I thought the maturing-at-the-right-time I've Struck A Nerve (just love his name!) showed a lot of improvement in this race.  I think he announced himself to the world on Saturday.  A good showing in the Louisiana Derby, where he will stretch out and gain more experience, will help him if his connections decide to run him in the Kentucky Derby.

And Orb - great race from Orb in the Fountain of Youth.  What a closing kick he has!  John Velazquez rode a smart, patient race on Orb, and Orb's kick in the stretch was mighty impressive.  Orb ate up a LOT of ground in the stretch to run down a very brave Violence.  Violence even tried coming back against Orb on a now revealed to be broken leg, showing great character and heart on his part.  (I feel for Violence and wish him a very happy life and future.)  

Orb was impressive to me, and carried off a very respectable Beyer Speed Figure.  I am looking forward to seeing his talent blossom as we go farther down the Derby trail.  

Surprise contenders always show up on the Derby trail because late bloomers usually step up about this time, maturing rapidly.  I look forward to more talented "surprises" coming down the pike on the Derby stakes race trail.  It makes the handicapping, speculating, betting and observing of the races much more interesting and fun.  At least it does for me! - LOL. I love trying to figure it all out!

25 Feb 2013 3:51 PM

I peppered Mike Watchmaker with questions this weekend about Revolutionary during his Gulfstream Park discussion. He shared my concerns about Revolutionary and his "issues" and having only 1 more prep. In my opinion he really could benefit from 2 races. I see him being a very good horse, but #1 in your derby dozen means #1 for the derby and it is hard to see how you put a horse #1 for a 20 horse race when he has gate issues in 6 and 7 horse fields. I really think he would benefit from a move to a trainer like Bill Mott, who is more patient, but obviously in the derby is your thing, Pletcher may be the way to go.  Good dozen though. I do wonder if Verrazano is another Big Brown though and just much better than anyone else. Still pulling for Revolutionary though.

25 Feb 2013 3:53 PM

Also about Revolutionary, for those of us wanting to see a Triple Crown winner, could a son of War Pass win a 12f race?

25 Feb 2013 3:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

My Fellow Haskinites of the Racoon Lodge

     It's still very early with probable dramatic changes to come to any list. It's all fun and games now but after the big 9f preps it won't be all fun and games. It will be serious business. I changed the order of my top 12 after reviewing it with my instincts.

1. Itsmyluckyday- Definitely the one who has impressed me most with his performances.

2. Uncaptured- Training well, proven at CD, nice pedigree.

3. Code West- Baffert's top Derby horse so far. Love his pedigree.

4. Revolutionary- Just has the feel of a good one.

5. Verrazano-The touting is justified in all probability.

6. Speak Logistics- Should keep to task at 10f and has the stride.

7. Palace Malice-Nothing to dislike and has the Curlin factor with massive stamina underneath and has shown speed.

8. Shanghai Bobby- A tough cookie.

9. Flashback- Talented but hasn't faced the big boys yet.

10. Orb- We saw that he is a competitor.

11. Tiz the Truth- Another with talent that needs to show it against top caliber.

12. Overanalyze-Has beaten some god ones already. Needs a race.

25 Feb 2013 4:08 PM
Rusty Weisner

Does anyone have a take on the Fair Grounds?  It's a track I've never bet.  I'd be tempted to toss all these horses, but the G3 Mineshaft, at the same distance, was a hair slower.

25 Feb 2013 4:13 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with this list Steve. I like what I saw in Orb. I also agree that waiting for races 2 months down the road might not be the smartest strategy for getting into the Derby. I feel terrible about Violence. It is so difficult to keep these horses in tip top shape and then you factor in their basic soundness, or lack thereof, and it really is not surprising so many fall out before the big day.

25 Feb 2013 4:31 PM
Rusty Weisner


Funny coincidence, there's a piece about him today:

25 Feb 2013 4:40 PM

Steve,  I agree with Revolutionary and Orb for some of the same reasons you mention.  Would love to see Shug win a derby and also that there is so much Man O War on Rev's female side.  I know it is getting a lot farther back in the pedigrees these days, but it is still something I search for.  Are the Phippses not the major owner of Orb?  Would love to see their silks.

25 Feb 2013 4:44 PM

Steve - That Risen Star sure was a crazy race. I was cheering for Oxbow because I have him at 26-1 in FP 1 with several other contenders, including 33-1 Overanalyze. I boxed my exactas with Oxbow. I also noticed he was very wide and likely this took the energy, the punch out of him coming for home that he needed to stave off the other 3 that passed him up. But still a good effort by Oxbow, I'm glad you included him in your list. I also like Treasury Bill, and will be including him at what surely will be big FP 2 odds, hope he is included. I agree with you that N. Invasion is still in the mix, after an awful start, he charged home with a vengeance and was only 1 length behind Oxbow at the wire. I would love to see Dynamic Sky breakout in the TB Derby, Verrazano will be tested, this will not be a cakewalk for him this time. My concerns with IMLD and Revolutionary are the Derby points. Both are very good horses and with 2 more preps, would probably both get in, but with big fields, and good competition, I could see one or both of them missing the KY trip. I think Revolutionary is most likely to not hit the board, the long layoff, plus he didn't beat much in the Withers. However,with that said, if he were to win his next race, he is good, this wouldn't be a surprise. Keep up the good work as usual on your Derby Dozen Steve! Future Pool 2 here I come!

25 Feb 2013 4:46 PM
marilyn braudrick

Has anyone heard if Tis The Truth will continue to stakes races and /or the derby trail???

25 Feb 2013 4:50 PM

To see Revolutionary, albeit as transient and ever-changing as this list may be, hold down the number one spot this week was a dream come true. He is a purely emotional pick for me. I never gave up faith in War Pass even though he was considered a long shot to make the KD field. And then he was pulled from contention due to an injury. His life and time as a sire was all too brief. It would be nothing short of a miracle for one of his limited progeny to be in the KD starting gate.

25 Feb 2013 4:59 PM

Steve, thanks for the update. I was sure you had probably mentioned DEMONIC at some point but I couldn't recall anything especially recently when it seemed he had missed a work last week I got to wondering. Given that you liked TIZ THE TRUTH I thought he was worth bringing up again. He was able to out finish that one going 7/8 in a reasonably fast time in only his first start while coming off the pace and also having TIZ THE TRUTH get the jump on him. That showed me a lot, not only that he had talent but also that he had the courage and tenacity to win a tough race against a good horse. It's hard not to think back to Bernardini and the remarkable amount of strides he took from each start, he debuted on the 7th of January and DEMONIC the 13th. Bernardini only went 6/8 and wasn't able to overcome his slow start, but the fractions were similar to DEMONIC's race. It wasn't until March 4th when Bernardini would dazzle us in his second start at only a mile. His only other start before the Preakness was on April 29th in the mile Withers. It seems plausible that if DEMONIC wouldn't be able to make the Derby and it looks like he had been working steadily until likely missing a work last week that he would be on point for the Preakness given both Bernardini's and Sincerely's affinity for Pimlico. Especially if he is able to come around as quickly as Bernardini did, although he probably won most of his races on raw talent and fitness alone. DEMONIC seems to be tough though and if he can improve on the talent he showed he will be a fun one to watch. He seems to have got his looks from his dad, hopefully he has his talent as well.

Anyway, I appreciate the blog and your updates. I wouldn't want them to rush him along just to make the Derby. It seems winning that race or even running in it is cutting these horses' careers short anyhow. I think the Preakness winners' have a much better resume when it comes to what they accomplished after they win. Belmont winners are also pretty unlucky afterwards. So, I'm all for the best thing for the horse. I would like to see him run in the fall and hopefully next year. If he is healthy and the Arkansas Derby comes up short on talent I think I would take a shot. He'll need earnings for the Preakness as well and the Withers is no longer a prep for some reason, weird given the success horses were having coming out of that race.

25 Feb 2013 5:20 PM


Revolutionary at #1 does not compute. Yes he's very promising and has a great pedigree to be a Derby winner but he has not yet earned that #1 spot on the track. What's wrong with Itsmyluckyday inheriting that lofty spot from Violence based upon his performances to date or even FOY victor Orb?  Also the omission of Shakin It Up continues to be a puzzle?  Its you ranking that is the head scratcher here Steve.

25 Feb 2013 5:25 PM
Binx Bolling

It seems that the Beyers from Fair Grounds are weird for the entire day on Saturday.  Ive Struck A Nerve gets a 95, running faster than Mark Valeski who gets a 97.  Sure there is a pace issue there, but that's not the oddest speed fig.

Why does Sunbeam only get a 88 when running a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.76, when Mark Valeski gets a 97 for a 1:44.82 running only an extra 30 yards.  Shouldn't they be about the same (plus the mile splits were almost all identical)?  

What does that mean for Sunbeam moving forward?

25 Feb 2013 5:53 PM

Horseplayers Verrazano outworked ALL of Pletcher's workers today including Steves top of the heap colt, Revolutionary.If the track in Tampa is holding speed the day he runs, a mini-cakewalk is possible.Having said that, what I posted before the FOY will come into play, because Verrazano's rep precedes him, and he will be at the mercy of colts that run overambitious races as they relate to the colts condition and up to the race talent.Look what happened to Violence because of the sprinter  doing just that in the FOY.

25 Feb 2013 6:23 PM

The reason I have for posting that Verrazano could administer a mini-cakewalk to those entered in Tampa that day is simple, and I liked Violence a lot but I thought it would be a tough race.The horseflesh found in Tampa that are 3yos are generally less talented than what is at Gulfstream.We will have to wait and see the SHIPPERS that will tote the tarif and travel for the right to face what has been a buzzsaw in his brief two race career.

25 Feb 2013 6:34 PM

Orb has improved his last three races after stretching out, the fountain of youth had strong fractions to set up his run.  Malibu moon out of unbridled should run all day long.  He also seems to have improved with lasix.  Originally Phipps wasp wolf 50 owners who said they would race without lasix as juveniles.  With violence hurt and palace running an ok third, pletcher doesn't look as loaded now.

25 Feb 2013 6:41 PM
It aint easy being good!

I love being right all the time especially when it comes to ORB at least his bandwagon should be full now. Steve the list is great he can only put 12 horses on the list what else do you guys want? I am def. interested to see Flashback who BB calls a monster. If Baffert is calling a horse that I tend to listen. ORB is a 10 furlong horse and should be a play on derby day. Another 10 furlong horse that is under the radar is Dice play if you watch the el camino derby he has a ton of stamina and late speed. He might be a turf/synth runner but Turf/synth runners have hit the board in the past couple of years in the derby with dulluhan/animal kingdom and paddy O prado.

25 Feb 2013 6:43 PM


I would not argue with you about bloodlines but Orb's female side is no slouch either.  There are some stayers there including Cox's Ridge and Unbridled.

Look out for Crop Report, he will be and interesting watch next race on the dirt.

25 Feb 2013 6:45 PM

Great list Steve and so hard to figure at this stage of the game but Steve has one of the best eyes in the business I think.  I agree with it except I have LuckyDay now at the number 1 spot.

Feel so bad for Violence and the connections.  He was my favorite so far and now he's off the trail - just like that.  From the video he looks like a big, strapping, good looking colt, what a shame.  Orb was impressive overtaking Violence but Violence ran a great race and sat pretty early on in a great striking position.  Orb dug in though and held on to impress.  I'm agreeing with what Steve said, if Violence was not injured I would have kept him at the top of the list despite the second place finish, I think he still ran huge but it's a moot point now.  

Not one of them has grabbed at my heartstrings yet, I don't feel that "this is the one" yet feeling.  

Verrazano is the most intriguing right now to me, seems there is a lot of potential.  Goldencents too, very consistent.  I wonder which one is out there, flying by cover of night, romantically like batman, under the radar, right under our noses...............he could be right on Steve's list here, he could be knocking at that proverbial door, or he still could be nowhere in sight............

25 Feb 2013 7:00 PM
ned williams

Does anyone have any news on Bern Identity? He had a bad outing in the Holy Bull and seems to have disappeared.  I don't think he is a  derby horse, however, I would like to know if he was hurt in the Holy Bull or what his status is ? Any news?

25 Feb 2013 7:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Cheryl, I actually have been thinking all day of putting Itsmyluckyday into the No. 1 spot for next week. I honestly dont know why I didnt move him up from No, 2, which wasthe logical move. I think I outsmarted myself looking for a sexier pick. By the time I realized it, the magazine Derby Dozen was gone and I couldnt change the online version. Everything happened so fast after the news broke about Violence, but now I'll give it a lot of thought over the next week. Let's see how Overanalyze looks in the Gotham. but as of now I'm leaning toward going with Itsmyluckyday.

25 Feb 2013 7:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I guess a revolutionary for the right cause is sexy but I think having a really lucky day is sexier, still, it's all a crapshoot at this point. Nobody actually earns the top spot until the first Saturday in May anyway. It's just spring training and they are bound to throw us some Koufax curveballs in the coming weeks and make all of us look like the Twins in the World Series facing the master, like they didn't have a clue how to hit.

25 Feb 2013 8:16 PM

I'm glad to see the 3, 4, 5 horses from the Risen Star still in here.  Normandy Invasion disappointed many, I'm sure, but he was finishing strongest of the bunch, too much to overcome.

Violence comfirmed everyone's hype about him.  What a race in a losing effort.  If Verrazano runs like he has been then it would be very hard to separate him from Itsmyluckyday.  Plus, I wish Pletcher would work Bobby long ala Doug O'Neill with some consistent 6f works.  

25 Feb 2013 8:28 PM
El Kabong


The times at FG are slower than most tracks, especially when compared to tracks like Gulfstream. What you noticed about the time of the Risen Star was the very first thing I looked at when wanting to get a measure. So, what did it tell you? I know what it told me. Those 3 year olds ran a damn good race. Faster than G3 4 year olds. That's why they got the decent Beyer figure for the effort. I look forward to watching  these horses in their next race. Naysayers beware. That was a good bunch of 3 year olds at the wire in Louuuusianna.

25 Feb 2013 8:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   The Rebel March 16th at Oaklawn has been mentioned as a possibility for Tiz The Truth. It will be there or another stakes prep if he is healthy and ready, I do believe.

25 Feb 2013 8:55 PM

JoyJackson21, I've Struck a Nerve is as fit of a horse as you will see, and his pedigree is exceptional, particularly the female line.  This is trainer Keith Desormeaux's first stakes win. ISAN is in the best of hands right now; this is an old-time trainer who is of the opinion that the way to get a horse fit is to race him.  I've Struck a Nerve has 9 races under his belt.

I live in New Orleans, so this horse is very special to me. I will say that the Fair Grounds track is similar to Churchill Downs, the exception being that the stretch at the FG track is longer.

25 Feb 2013 9:34 PM

I can't believe that Bobby B will send all his good ponies to  Arkansas.

25 Feb 2013 9:39 PM

Steve : Thanks for the mention of Ground Transport, I've had him in my watch list and derby dozen for awhile now, even before he ran his first race.  Do you know if they're going to LA Derby ?

25 Feb 2013 9:52 PM

Steve that would be cool if ItsMyLuckyDay takes over the No. 1 spot on your list next week!  I am trying to remain impartial and fair to all the colts and let the most athletic and deserving one evolve into a Derby pick but, I would love nothing more than "Lucky" winning the Derby to prove to the racing world that Mr. Whiteley belongs in breeding, not out of business in NJ. Besides, I want to jump up and down like a little kid at the Haskell cheering for a horse named "Lucky" once again!

I see Dr. D. is thinking along our wavelengths and a few others with this Lucky in the top spot for now.

ABF  (or Cheryl)

25 Feb 2013 9:54 PM
Bob from Boston


I don't want to over analyze the Gotham, but I think it's Overanalyze in a romp.  I've been away for a while and missed the drama about banning posters. Overanalyze, Treasury Bill, Honorable Dillon, and Itsmyluckyday superfecta... stone cold.  Until one of them gets hurt.  Then, it's back to Dr. D's yacht to study again.  It's great to be back.  It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Has anyone seen Trackjack?  I borrowed his sherpa and want to get him back to him before the Oaks.

25 Feb 2013 10:28 PM
The Deacon

Steve your list is fine with me as is Dr. D's.

This is a weird Derby, so much promise from many and it seems that a lot of these trainers are playing all their cards. Meaning they are waiting for the right race at the right time before going forward. When Violence got hurt the first thing that comes to mind is here we go again. Another Derby season and we start losing our stars. Every year about this time they start dropping like flies. I've said it before but the old days may be long gone. Horses now will continue to win these triple crown races running only a few times. Maybe there is a standout in this crop somewhere but I haven't seen him yet.

We got close last year to a triple crown winner so maybe its almost time.

Steve:  Any fillies out there that gets your attention?

25 Feb 2013 10:31 PM
Forbidden Apple

1)ITSMYLUCKYDAY 2)FLASHBACK 3)ORB 4)Fortify 5)Shanghai Bobby 6)Goldencents 7)Revolutionary 8)Treasury Bill 9)Frac Daddy 10)Super Ninety Nine 11)Uncaptured 12)Tiz the Truth

After this past weekends prep races, I think Itsmyluckyday is looking more and more like a standout type of horse. He has run two fast races and was pulling away from the eclipse winner Shanghai Bobby in the Holy Bull. Plus he is clearly an underdog that gets little respect. My top thee picks look like serious contenders, the rest are only completing a list. Flashback is still the horse that scares me and he could be the monster ready to knockout any horse that gets in his way. Orb crawled home after an extremely fast pace melted down in front of him. He should exit FL and come to NY to avoid a battle with Itsmyluckyday. My number four pick Fortify is completely unproven and only here because the other horses I have watched are not that impressive.

Any news on the progress of Frac Daddy?

25 Feb 2013 10:47 PM

 I know that somehow it seems pertinent to give credence to those that have already run, but…

 First of all, no “dozen’s list” of Steve’s has yet included a winner in “Falling Sky”. Secondly, no horse that ran in BC Juvenile will likely be the winner of the Kentucky Derby. And thirdly, definitely no runner from the Risen Star whose multitude now dominates Steve’s coveted 12 this week ? will win the Kentucky Derby either. And fourthly, including “Normandy Invasion” in any list as a possible winner is flatly a joke.

  Steve seems to live in some fantasy late 80’s world still where a 2 year-old foundation, which was somehow then a prerequisite to locating a winner is still a norm. This is a new age. These young horses don’t have to run at all as intermediate school students anymore to prove a thing. Starting them out as high school teenagers is now the norm and foundation means little if they can train a distance horse to get out of a gate. In this new age, a jockey can also feel his way on a horse after 1 or 2 runs and doesn’t need the old school 5 or 6. In fact, seeing horses that have run 6 or more times before the Derby is flatly becoming a thing of the past, new points rules to qualify or not. And, there are trainers already expressing that… “if they don’t win this prep or that prep that they we’ll just flatly skip the Derby”.

 Furthermore, this current list is much like many of Steve’s early lists in the past, where maybe some half of those listed might get a gate slot. From this week’s list I have my doubts about it containing 6 that will get a gate slot.

 In Steve’s defense, he has to list 12 for the magazine. And noticeably in the last several years Steve has taken up the habit of adding names and more names to a post-script list in the least noting that his own ‘sack of potatoes’ is always deeper than he first perceives,--although maybe always smaller than my own.--

 I personally in the past have expressed that among the early 400 that are out there, that there are many, many that are flatly bred to go longer. Some of those mature more slowly than others and will miss out on a gate slot at Churchill Downs altogether, where in fact, some others won’t even run as 3 year-olds. Some others will get close and yet will just miss out in qualifying, and unfortunately some few will become casualties to injury, because that’s the nature of the game. And many that we have seen already that are bred to go longer, have flatly not figured out how to race,--equine IQ ?,--or are not being trained properly ?, or that flatly just don’t possess the speed required to be a true competitor, not just a winner. Others bred for less distance have dazzled us at 7 fur. and a mile, and a few at even a 1  1/16, and those rare few that have run respectable 1 1/8 early in the beginning of the prep season towards the ‘big dance’ have opened our eyes to their future potential, but not all of those are bred to sustain that excellence over 1 ¼ . I have however warned you to be patient. There are excellent horses out there that are growing now that are bred to get more than a 1 ¼ and we have only seen a few bred for longer that have just begun to shine. This is only the tip of the iceberg. And, we haven’t yet even really considered ‘turfer’ crossovers, although Steve has  actually eluded to a few names.

 Yes, I believe in “Revolutionary” and now “Orb”, as being so fortunate that we have recognized a few that have promise of not only getting a gate slot, but that they will be among those that will aid us in simply only being able to gage the others against. Are they my choices to win the Kty. Derby at this stage ? ,--well I have a small bet on “Revolutionary” in CD Pool #1 as he is bred to go long, however--I am far from reaching any conclusion that he is my choice yet to be the winner for sure. So stay tuned. We have not seen the best in N.Y. or from Cal. that await to dazzle, nor have we yet seen the “Animal Kingdom” types that might yet surprise or “MC Dreamer”-“Bodebeyermonster” types that will appear later on either. So far, we only have a half sack full of “Giacomo”s at this stage, and my list of some top 50 doesn’t include half of Steve’s this week listed 12 !!, which makes me wonder if it is my thinking that is the thinking that is astray.

 Strap yourselves down, it is a long ride from the poll position at Daytona to the finish line of “the greatest two minutes in sports” come May the 4th.          

25 Feb 2013 11:53 PM

OK Steve, dumb question:  what do you think will be the cut off number of points to get into the Derby?  I've alteady bored everyone with my love for Uncaptured and I would hate that he doesn't get in because, for example, he finishes 2nd in the Spiral and 3rd in the Bluegrass (not that I'm saying he will do anything except win both!)

Also, I know it is too early but is it your understanding that this set of races is a work in progress?  Wll there be yearly changes?  For ex. If a stakes race is upgraded or downgraded, will that be a consideration?

26 Feb 2013 12:09 AM
joseph alva

Steve, not only are you a cherished voice of reason in your perspectives, but a class act as well -- thanks for the extra work in editing the unnecessary less than respectful remarks of some.

Orb!  I have been high on him for a few weeks after having watched replays of his races.  He looks like a competitor and seems to want to strecth out longer.  I adore his pedigree going long.  He is obviously in extremely capable hands.  Shug will not allow him to peak before Derby Day and will keep him healthy.  I am glad the Beyer turned up a 97 for the Fountain of Youth.  I am not crazy about horses that post 100-plus Beyers at this point -- I think they tend to peak too early.

And speaking of keeping horses healthy, there is a disturbing trend I notice with Pletcher-trained potential Derby sensations each year -- his elite runners get hurt before they can make it to the starting gate on Derby Day.  Violence sadly joins the likes of Algorhythms, Uncle Mo, and Eskendereya the last few years.  This strikes me as more than just bad luck.  I know a few people in the industry whose names I will keep to myself that have shared with me their suspicions about Pletcher's ethics in training horses.  Ben Leon, one of today's prominent owners and astute minds of the sport, interestingly dropped Pletcher as a trainer a couple of years ago before turning his stable over to Bill Mott.  Pletcher has obviously won a Derby with Super Saver and placed with Bluegrass Cat and Invisible Ink in the race so they all don't get hurt, but this trend of injuries the last couple of years is disturbing to me.  Trainers have horses get hurt from time to time -- this is part of the game, I understand -- but with this level of consistency at such a high level?  I wish the Derby would be as easy to predict as the premature outcome of Pletcher's three year old elites!    

26 Feb 2013 12:42 AM

Please excuse my changing the subject. Is the Jockey Club recording injuries to the horses on the Triple Crown trail? Is a study going to be made comparing the frequency of injuries with horses who received lasix at the age of 2 versus those who started receiving lasix at 3?

Maybe they need to stop giving lasix to 2 year old horses as many top owners are doing.

It's sad that so many wonderful horses have been breaking down going down the Derby trail.

Kudos to Janey and Phipps to keeping Orb lasix-free at age 2.

How great it is for Shug and the owners that they have a real contender in their barn.I hope that Violence can eventually heal and come back from his injury.

26 Feb 2013 6:23 AM
Bloodline Bob

As of 2-26-13, I don't believe that the 2013 Ky. Derby winner is on this Derby Dozen list. The only one I would think could win the Ky. Derby from this possibility  list would be OVERANALYZE. Can anyone give me info concerning ROLLING FOG and TIZ A MINISTER? 68 MORE DAYS UNTIL WE GET OUR FIX, LOL!

26 Feb 2013 6:37 AM
Steve Haskin

From what I've heard, Ground Transport is supposed to run next in the Louisiana Derby.

Churchill Downs' racing people are estimating the cutoff to be around 30 points. Ties will be broken by earnings in non-restricted stakes, so races like the Holy Bull and other rich events could eventually play a big part in determining who gets in.

26 Feb 2013 7:00 AM

Looking at the Beyer numbers that were assigned after this weekends preps,I have 2 impressions 1. how close the 2 figures were and I didnt see the races that close while watching them live. 2. the figure in the FOY dosent take into account the blazing internal fractions after 6 furlongs that were run by a Tampa shipper that up to then was a sprinter but they tried to get him to stretch that speed at the speed favoring track of Gulfstream.

26 Feb 2013 9:32 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I'll have to pay closer attention in class. I didn't realize that Orb had five races as a 2yo, all without lasix. It's no wonder he was able to bounce out of the rigors of that race like a champion. No lasix as a 2yo will dramatically increase his chances of staying strong and healthy with a muscular-skeletal system allowed to develop properly. Smart owners. Thanks.

Bob from Boston

   You are always welcome back on the ship because we love your antics but you forgot to swab the deck before you left, where you spilled a pitcher of martinis.

26 Feb 2013 9:45 AM

Wow, what a weekend!  Dropping Violence from my list is heart-breaking.  And yet again it makes me wonder what about the other stars trained by Pletcher? fingers were crossed for good just doesn't always work.

My list has been shaken. Not in any special order:

Transparent, Vyjack, Itsmyluckyday, Shanghai Bobby,  Verrazano, Revolutionary, Tiz the Truth, Goldencents, and Valid.

I'm adding Orb.  I would have even if he didn't win.  When I saw his stride, and how far he reaches with it, and then checked his was a no-brainer.

I may also add Code West.  He has an interesting, if not the most potent, pedigree, and he finished decently in the Risen Star, a no-holes-barred melee that did not impress me.

On the other hand, all of these colts in the RS are the only ones who now have the experience of the rodeo of the Kentucky Derby.

I think it's right to have Revolutionary as #1.  He had one of the roughest trips (I hope it's not a habit) I've ever seen, (other than Buddy's Saint) and he still managed to win.  He never had a chance to really stretch out that marvelous long stride we barely glimpsed.

It Ain't easy: Dice Play does have something special.  I'm just waiting to see how he does on dirt.

Rusty W: I no longer trust the Fairgrounds from; it simply doesn't carry over to other tracks.  Of course, Ron the Greek has done really well since leaving the Fairgrounds behind.

Steve, all the talk was about Crop Report before that race.  But me, I heard the name Black Onyx (I love onyx) and thought, "That should be the name of a Rock Hard Ten (one of my favorites) colt."  Sure enough, he was by RH10...on grass...another no brainer.  And that was me screaming through the TV, cheering him on.

I still wish the RH10's would start winning more G1 stakes, although the fillies are rarely shy of the winner's circle.

Still shying away from Tapits.

And a final thought: Goldencents hasn't run for a while but I liked what I saw.  Best, if he goes to the Derby, my Lava Man will go too.

26 Feb 2013 10:08 AM

hi steve, i am one of your biggest fans and really look forward to your column each week....i put together my first attempt at the KD field:




















DEMONIC might do well in san felepe





WAR ACADEMY nowhere to run in last






i don't see OXBOW going 1 1/8 miles

i hope that VIOLENCE has a great stud career

it would be wonderful id gary stevens could win the derby with TIZ THE TRUTH

keep on writing bring joy to a lot of people...

26 Feb 2013 10:16 AM

What are the chances that Rosie decides (if that is afforded to her) to ride Palace Malice in the Louisiana Derby - a track she almost owns during this meet - in lieu of Shanghai Bobby in Florida Derby?

With both races being on the same day and business being business I'd think she would go with horse that is more apt to either win that day and be her ticket to the Kentucky Derby.

26 Feb 2013 10:22 AM
Pedigree Ann

Violence was a $600,000 yearling. Colts who are likely to bring that sort of price at the sales are 'prepped' in such a way that makes it much more likely that they will crack a bone than a $17,000 yearling like Ive Struck a Nerve.

Big-money buyers want perfect specimens, with a build that looks like a 2yo's. And no scars that interrupt the beauty of a shining coat. To get that look from what should be a leggy and scrawny yearling, the animal is stalled most of the time, fed a over-rich diet, and put through an intensive exercise regime inappropriate to his age. Meanwhile, the ISANs of the world (and the breed-to-race yearlings) spend most of their time outdoors with their fellows, playing, rough-housing, running and browsing, building bone density and lean muscle.

So don't be surprised when well-bred, high-priced yearlings break down after a few races at 2 and/or 3. They have been set up for it by the way they were raised.

26 Feb 2013 10:31 AM


I rarely comment on Mr. Haskin’s DD these days as I take too much heat for the cold facts I present. That stated, I have no problem with his #1 ranked colt. Just as I was convinced Transparent was a talented colt despite his string of sub-par efforts, I was blown away by Revolutionary MSW win. He destroyed Transparent by 8L without breaking a sweat. His energy level heading back to the winner’s enclosure was something to behold. I was of the opinion he was administered a significant dose of Mr. Pletcher’s high octane so I reserved judgment until his next start. This opinion did not stop me from stating that if his MSW win was not aided and abated by chemical enhancement, the Derby was over. I am not in the habit of making such extreme statements and certainly not about a member of the Todd Squad. He was even more amazing in his (G3) Withers victory that he achieved effortlessly despite his troubles.

I have long considered him to be Mr. Pletcher, best Derby prospect as the others were typical Pletched horses. He was sired by a BCJ winner that earned the highest Beyer for the race. His dam was sired by A P Indy whose pedigree Packed with stamina. This colt therefore has a nice pedigree that combines speed with stamina. The last first crop sire to be associated with a Derby winner was Birdstone. He was trained by Mr. Zito. Revolutionary is from War Pass's first crop and he was also trained by Mr. Zito. Cloud lightening strike twice of another first crop sire previously trainer by Nick Zito?  

I am of the opinion Revolutionary is Mr. Pletcher’s best option for his next Derby winner and those who can truly evaluate talent are unlikely to disagree.

26 Feb 2013 10:33 AM

KevinV 25 Feb 2013 3:54 PM

Revolutionary's damsire is AP Indy, who won the Belmont, as did his daughter Rags to Riches.

Yup..I'd say problem.

26 Feb 2013 11:00 AM

MR HASKINS a horse NOBODY and I mean nobody mention is FORTY TALES.  this horse will be a MONSTER going 2 turns.  was wondering if PLETCHER is going try one the ERBY PREPS next to try get into erby wit this one?   this horse I think will be one best 3 year olds in the country by years end.

26 Feb 2013 11:17 AM

I just wanted know if u have heard anything on this COLTS next start Steve. tx

26 Feb 2013 11:18 AM

The two horses that impress me the most are Verrazano and Flashback.As Steve has mentioned, both have the potential to be "very special".The only other horse that comes close to them in raw talent is Itsmyluckyday. From what I've seen so far I wouldn't put any of the others in that  "very special" category.However both Verrazano and Flashback have to show me they can lay off the pace and close strongly in the final 3 furlongs of a race. Obviously more seasoning and racing experience would have been preferable at this stage with the Derby only 2 months away--- but again, both these horses have already shown tremendous potential. I hope they both stay healthy.

26 Feb 2013 11:45 AM

Hi Steve, It has been a couple years since I have participated in your blog. The last time was in support of Super Saver right up to the derby. This year is the most competitive in a very long time. I hope there are no more injuries. Violence race was truly amazing and who knows he might of injured his leg at the stretch of the FOY which cost him the race. I am a fan of Shug and ORB is worthy of top consideration with Revolutionary and Itsmyluckyday. However, I have my money on Super ninety nine with all things considered...especially with the high probability of an off track on derby day...the way our weather has been behaving. I was high on Super99 prior to his last 11 length victory in the Southwest stakes for he is a push button horse as he has shown in that stakes race and believe he is this years Bodemiester. The Arkansaw derby should set him up fine. BTW: your work is superb on maintaining your top 12 but as I had mentioned in the are most informative during the two weeks leading up to the derby when final works are evaluated an play most importance in final handycapping. I wish continued success to you and all your fans.... By for now.

26 Feb 2013 12:06 PM

Superfecta: 1)Code West 2)Flashback 3)Overanalyze 4)Goldencents

26 Feb 2013 12:28 PM

Can anyone give me info concerning ROLLING FOG and TIZ A MINISTER? Bloodline Bob 26 Feb 2013 6:37 AM.

Rolling Fog is off the Derby trail.

Tiz is a Minister's latest workouts.

On Feb. 7, Tiz A Minister breezed four in :51.80 (27/27) at BHP.

5stardayy;Forty Tales to the Swale ?

On Feb. 14, Tiz A Minister worked five in 1:01.00 (9/22) at BHP.

On Feb. 22, Tiz A Minister worked six in 1:14.40 (7/12) at BHP.

26 Feb 2013 1:22 PM
Forbidden Apple

It is obvious that Revolutionary has tremendous raw talent. He also has gate troubles, is not very fast, and he ran all out to beat a small group of turtles. He still has plenty to prove on the track.

For those of you that still believe foundation means something, Itsmyluckyday already has five wins in his cap.


I found it a bit odd that most of what you wrote was speaking for Steve like you were his assistant.

Joseph Alva,

A 97 beyer is not far from a 100 beyer, Orb ran pretty hard to pick up his victory. Pletcher trains more horses and expensive ones at that. His chances of breakdowns is increased by the huge number of 3 y/o colts in his barn. What other horses besides Royal Delta were sent to Bill Mott? I did not know that Ben Leon had enough horses to call it a stable. I have heard plenty of people say that Pletcher does not like to work his horses fast. I completely disagree, they work fast as 2 year olds and are trained to win early.

26 Feb 2013 2:39 PM



Time to retire. the horse gets left at the gate EVERY RACE. Watch the replays. No where near the class needed to beat Derby horses.

26 Feb 2013 3:02 PM

To me Flashback is this years version of last years Fed Biz and Verrazano is this years version of last years Discreet Dancer.  All hype but no substance from big barns.  Both horses have a alot to prove although Flashback has probably faced tougher in his short career.  

Revolutionary has been impressive but he beat some bums the last 2 races.  Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion have alot of catching up to. Shangai Bobby has class but distance limitations.

The only 2 horses at this point with any subtance is Orb and Itmyluckyday. Between them they have beaten a Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and runner up, a Sanford winner, a Withers winner, a Nashua winner, and a Cash Call Futurity winner.  Undoubtedly to me Orb and Itsmyluckyday are #1 and #2.

26 Feb 2013 4:12 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D your assessment of Mr. Koufax was right on. World Series 1965, game 7, 2-0 shutout of the mighty Twins. On only 2 days rest mind you. Pitchers today couldn't even come close to that. Best pitcher in MLB history.

You must be from L.A. as I many days spent at Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita. Those were the days, we all miss them.

26 Feb 2013 4:15 PM


Revolutionary ran a mile in 1:36 in hand and returned to the winner enclosure pulling a bus. If you know anything about class then you will agree that his performance was extra-ordinary.

The average 8F split for the last 10 Derbies is 1:36 plus and this colt recorded said time in hand.  Many of 3YOs are full out to achieve said times.

On less this colt is a total fraud you will be laughing at his #1 ranking  at your own peril.

26 Feb 2013 5:30 PM

No list for me not even short one, because it is contingent on upcoming race,not the Gotham.I dont even know who is running in that one lets see if one runs a crusher race.Then there will be detractors and naysayers that go on Breeding.If you handicap a stakes race on breeding alone, I got news for you almost all of them belong,unless the distances are out of the norm, they just have to get the right circumstances to win unless of course a colt has run a crusher race then go ahead and bet against him because he cant get the distance.I got more news for you in the US the horses are bred for speed that run on the dirt, the trainers and owners and even the Breeders dont know if he will run 9 or 10 furlongs competively against his peergroup(which means hitting the board)

26 Feb 2013 5:38 PM
marilyn braudrick

Thankyou for the info., Dr Drunkinbum ,about Tiz the Truth. I was there for his last race and i was VERY impressed with his power and focus. He just hunkered down and went for it non stop. He passed those horses like he was all alone out there and won by Alot!!

His hall of fame jockey Gary Stevens, gave him a perfect ride. What a pair.

26 Feb 2013 5:45 PM

Orb ran well in the FOY he got favorable circumstances in that race.You might think he will be better the farther he runs but if he drops too far back in a 20 horse field it will be hard to win.Mine That Bird got a great set-up,track, if you remember the track that day I do,and a great ground saving rail trip by you know who.He never won again.I dont play those types because it dosent happen with much frequency.The colts have to keep contact with the front runners to win such as IHA did last year,inotherwords stone cold closers fill out the exacta, tri and super but are hard pressed to win.It all has to line up.

Nobody knows what kind of track Churchill will be on the 1st Saturday in May,last year it was fast, the year MTB won it was a quagmire probably similar to the classic that was run there when Drosselmeyer won from the back.

26 Feb 2013 5:51 PM

You think Normandy Invasion's odds in Pool 2 would go up a bit?

26 Feb 2013 5:53 PM

Forbidden Apple,

I have nothing but respect for your ability to evaluate young talent. However, the cold facts do not support some the negative points you raised about Revolutionary.

“is not very fast”

In his 5 1/2F Debut he finished 3rd to Always In A Tiz beaten 1L closing from 14L last. The time of the race 1:04.13. No slow horse get beaten 1L in a 51/2F race completed in 1:04 and a bit.

In his second start at 6F he was beaten 1 1/2L by Little Distorted. The time of the race was 1:09.72. no slow horse get beat 1 1/2L  in a 1:09.

His MSW victory was competed in 1:36.52 in hand.  Fancied horse colts Flashback and Tiz The truth recorded easy victories at the distance in similar times. Do you consider them slow?

The 8F split for the withers was 1:38.01 and that is 2 seconds slower than his MSW win at 8F in 1:36.52. He was on hold and blocked the entire race and only got room to run at the 1F marker. The field would have been beaten badly had he been able unleash those leaping strides.

“He still has plenty to prove on the track”

This colt has proven enough to merit the #1 his ranking. His last race is an indicator of the class of the animal displayed under adversity.

26 Feb 2013 6:17 PM

Coldfacts 26 Feb 2013 10:33 AM

I quote you:

"I am of the opinion Revolutionary is Mr. Pletcher’s best option for his next Derby winner and those who can truly evaluate talent are unlikely to disagree."

The fact that you said "unlikely to disagree" means that one can disagree, although unlikely, and still be regarded by you as capable of truly evaluating talent? Am I correct? Otherwise I wouldn't bother to reply since I absolutely disagree that Revolutionary is Todd Pletcher's top Derby prospect (hope you see how important your estimation of my judgment of horse talent is to me, buddy). I don't know which one TP regards as his best but from what I've been able to evaluate, Overanalyze and Verazzano are the top two in his barn. At this point I rank them in that order but Verazzano could very well be "el numero uno" ...we'll know after their  next outings in the Gotham and Tampa Bay Derby respectively.

Regarding first crop sire War Pass, you might also be advised to reserve judgment on which colt is his top offspring of the first crop ...keep a close eye on Ore Pass in the Gotham because he is more pacey than Revolutionary and also has stamina on the dam's side of his pedigree should also like that he's under the radar but I know you wont relish the cold fact that I spotted him first (LOL).

BTW Transparent has come to hand since his defeat by Revolutionary and might even be the superior horse now. sorry for beating up on Revolutionary so much (I do think that he's very talented) but I have to say that you forced ny hand a bit with your over-the-top estimation of his current ability.    

26 Feb 2013 6:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

A few people here seem to have their heads in their shells or are radically status quo and don't like Revolutionary talent. Revolutionary is dynamite. There is no basis for the turtle claim if you compare other times of the day at the track on Wither's day and that move he made was the kind champions make. Remember that we're talking about The Derby, not the BC sprint. His maiden win was a good time for the day also. His pedigree has enough stamina for 10f but of course as with all it remains to be seen if the horse does.

26 Feb 2013 6:22 PM
The Seer


Was leaving Super Ninety Nine off your list an oversight? You mentioned 29 horses and didn't include the horse that won the Southwest by 11 lengths. That seems very odd to me.

26 Feb 2013 6:25 PM


There is still time to work on Revolutionary's gate problems. In fact, that is their #1 priority with this colt. Class is an issue, really? I would ask Mine That Bird about that. In a 20 horse field there is more interaction and tight quarters than any of these Derby hopefuls, classy or otherwise, have experienced. You either get the ride of the century or you rely on a tactical trip to the finish line. I believe Revolutionary has past the test of waiting his turn.

26 Feb 2013 6:49 PM
Steve Haskin

The Seer, why would I mention him this week when he won the Southwest last week. I mentioned him last week. I've explained several times already why I left him off the Top 12 and it wasnt an oversight. The simple fact is, Bob Baffert told me he was a miler. Now, he may be wrong, but considering he knows the horse better than I do, I have no reason to doubt him. He has a number of horses he considers Derby horses, so I'm not going to include this horse when Baffert says he's a miler. We'll see if he's right or wrong.

26 Feb 2013 6:52 PM

 Ok, who are my dozen???  I haven’t formulated such a list yet, as I am still researching, but  …

  … among those apparently bred for longer than 1 1/8 or longer, and that have so far been looked up and researched by me that are outside of those in Steve’s “Dozen”, although including some of those within his current “Dozen”, being: “Revolutionary”; “Orb”; “Flashback”; and “Treasury Bill”, whom are included btw per my research thus far…

{{…all totally my own rating, with “Violence” having been chosen BACK LAST SEPTEMBER after his Sar. maiden run as the standard to compare the rest against re. this year’s crop re. the ‘run for roses’ …}}…


 …those among the others that have been mentioned by the sport writers like Steve, include:

“Declan’s Warrior”; “Dewey Square”; “Dynamic Sky”; “Falling Sky”; “Forify”; “Forty Tales”;

“Frac Daddy”; “I’ve Struck a Nerve”; “Little Distorted”; “Majestic Hussar”; “Manando”; “Merit Man”; “Mudflats”; “Power Broker”; “Speak Logistics”; “Super Ninety Nine”, & “Valid” and, etc., as all qualify…

  …others from ‘the Turf’, include: “Balance the Books”; “Forever Thing”; & “Summer Shiner”, and, etc.

  …also, in at just above the low end of the ‘variance level’ were discovered these: “Carried Interest”; “Intrepid Citizen”; “Saint Vigeur”; “Shakin’ It Up”; “Tesseron” (T); & “Title Contender”, and, etc.

 …and there are those whom among the rest researched thus far that so far still are receiving little respect from the vast array of sport writers out there, with they yet including: “Battled”; “Bold Dance”;

“El Duro”; “Bradester”; “West Hills Giant”; “Distinctive Passion”; “Govenor Charlie”; “Offlee Afleet”; “Perfect Set”; & “Qualify”, and, etc.,--and I have previously stated why we may never see any of these earn a gate slot,--but being where they still remain high on my watch list yet--as I am also a bettor--

  Thusly, if not listed, and that includes many on Steve’s list and many hyped thus far, and many fast critters that have dazzled us already, although being among those that did not meet the ‘breeding rating’ standard as had been set with “Violence” as the median standard for DISTANCE ability, there are many!. Those listed above were shown to have been equal to or rated out at above in some cases well above “Violence”, or were within a variance range of acceptability,--where they might have other bloodlines such as through the dams lines that have been overlooked or not accounted for.--Therefore, there are many horses straight up on Steve’s list alone, and those of other sports writers at this point, that those writers appear to be all over from past preps and many others that many bloggers continue inquiring about whom fell OUT of the acceptable range once looked into to, of ‘getting’ a 1 ¼ --in my opinion from those looked into,--whom therefore however, are thusly not listed.

 And I do carry only those that have connections to the “BHXFG” strains!!!, STEVE !!!

 Yet, which is not to say, that any one of those falling below the ‘distance set standard’ still won’t dazzle us at a 1 1/8, and MIGHT carry their speed and talent to some rare stretch at a 1 ¼ ,--or like “Giacomo”, who will just hang in there longer than any horse that makes a gate slot.--But, for percentages, breeding is still a ‘key’ in factoring in searching out a 1 ¼ running Derby WINNER or a 1 ½ type Belmont runner besides just accessing his ‘speeding rating’ in this particular bloggers opinion. Moreover, I have not researched everyone on the ‘Nominations list’,--although I did look into near a 100 that weren’t on the list before it came out--and I only look into and research newbies as they ‘come out’ and impress in maiden runs and now that are on ‘the list’, or showed speed beyond their age group at a young age, or that show up in qualifying prep run gates that I was not yet aware of , and etc.,--much like looking into “I’ve Struck a Nerve” last week.--

  Besides, I also track the fillies too, which is whole other several hundred, whom per my scale need to rate out c. 15 points higher for me due to their greater accessibly to the “BHXFG” strains though the sire lines.  

  So take from this post and this list whatever that you will--its all free shared information.--Like I said before, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. And, apparently ‘I’ve Stuck a Nerve’ in the past week in not having shared my findings yet,--though I don’t get paid for my opinions either,--where I have just talked around such, so I hope that this post clears up that poke in the eye,--ms slew.--

26 Feb 2013 6:58 PM
Paula Higgins

Pedigree Ann, those were very interesting points and they make perfect sense. I would love to know if John Shirreffs handled Zenyatta that way. I still can't believe how he was able to keep her so fit over 3 years. Bob/Ted good to see you back. I was worried you were on the personna non grata list for questionable behavior. I shouldn't have worried.

26 Feb 2013 7:09 PM

Ground Transport to the Louisiana Derby.  Waiting to see who else is going.  

Anyone know what's up with Bern Identity ?  

26 Feb 2013 7:24 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

     Steve and I both posted about the greatest pitcher of all time on the Feb 19 Derby Dozen blog on Feb 23 at 8:25, 8:50, and 8:58 pm. I don't know if you saw them. My two favorite Koufax moments were meeting him as a young adult, and when I listened on my transistor radio at the playground to a no-hitter he pitched. It was quiet and serene and magical. Nobody else was there. I should have been home for dinner but I just sat there listening to every pitch until it was over. I had forgotten about the two days rest. I lived about 200 miles from LA for a number of years. I went to Santa Anita in 71, 72 but never to the other tracks. I did run in LA in track in the CIF quarter finals. I read your explanation of your name awhile back, The Deacon. Just think if we had three pointers and could palm and carry the ball like they do now !!!!! I got hot and buried the bombs myself sometimes. Thirty footers plus.


    What a combo- Stevens and Tiz, I'm rooting for them all the way. Let's hope they get to The Derby.

26 Feb 2013 7:33 PM

My top two right now are Itsmyluckyday and ORB.

Their performances speak for themselves.

Both will meet in the Florida Derby.Both should make the Derby along with ShanghaiBobby

A notch down is Revolutionary his race speaks for itself.

Don't like he will have only one more race prior to the Derby.

Plus I will not bet a Pletcher horse to win the Derby.

Ive watched the Risen star race several times and Ive Struck a Nerve ran a damn good race.

He was 5 wide coming for home

Truthfully the top five from that race ran a good race.

I believe right now that is the most competitive racing for the Derby going on.

I will be watching the Louisiana Derby closely this year as these horses may be the most battle tested.

26 Feb 2013 7:51 PM

 <-----  Secretly “Steves’ assistant”…lol…well I did pre Derby last year post the winning exacta on Steve’s blog before the race, if that gives me any credibility,  {{… but, you may of course know or not know that “Zarvona” was of course a Confederate spy who dressed up like a woman and then captured Yankee ships in the Chesapeake Bay before having been captured and imprisioned.}} So, for now, I am really just a spy, identity to remain secret. …lol…

 And, I thought I was being critical of Steve’s latest “Dozens” in sevearl of my past posts???. And, gee “Forbiddn Apple”, I am still a bit confused as to whether or not your comment was a criticism or compliment, but being spoken of in the same sentence with Steve, I will take it as having been a compliment so, thank you.  

26 Feb 2013 8:11 PM

Steve, I LOVE that ORB has finally shown what his background speaks so loudly about.   And you KNOW my love affair with the "class of '64".   Shug is a class act and I would really love to see this horse do it for him, but I also have a lot of respect for REVOLUTIONARY.   He seems to have the luck of "Charlie Brown" in finding trouble, so I'm hoping he's past that now.   I was sorry to hear about VIOLENCE, but we all know that this is the time of year when the lists changes due to injuries as much as placings.

My heart is with ORB for sentimental reasons, but still think REVOLULTIONARY has something to show us.

26 Feb 2013 8:19 PM
El Kabong

"A Miler"

When Baffert refers to his horse as a miler, it doesn't mean he won't impress on the road to the Derby. It means in our discussion that when he is asked to go 10 F's, he'll have problems. Look at the Derby Charts over the last 10 years. 13 of the 20 runners finish 10 lengths behind the winner= couldn't get the distance. It's astounding how many of the runners had no chance at all and some of them performed brilliantly at 9F's while some who didn't perform at 9f's,  manage to put in a good show at 10F's. Super Ninety Nine for example, may do well in his final preps, but there is little doubt in my mind that Baffert does not see this horse hitting the board in the Derby. Indeed, he probably knows to expect less, but he'll get in no doubt. 20 horses pop out of that gate. We're lucky to see 5 of them actually compete after the 1/8 pole, and it's typically over by then. I've always interpreted Steve's list to be one the represents horses with the opportunity to get the added distance, not just the horse who has shown brilliance at the prep distances. If you're looking for an explanation, that's the one I use to interpret Steve's list. Steve and the Bloodhorse staff were the reason I took notice of Went The Day Well last year. Without their comments, and interview of Mr Irwin,  I would have left him out of my exotics. Now, I don't just listen to the good. I take in many factors and despite all the good that was said about Creative Cause, I left him off all my wagers. He almost maid me pay a heavy price. Point is, I don't know of a better source for attaining a good read on who has the potential for getting that last furlong than the collective information exchanged on this site. Staff and contributors. Post it, and without all the qualifiers of self bloating brilliance if you will, and let people decide for themselves, whether your remarks will be considered. Matters of "fact" are always subject to and deserve the Piñata festival. But opinions are all good until May reveals the answer.

26 Feb 2013 8:53 PM
El Kabong


As was mentioned, Revolutionary dug his own hole, but he responded well. Some horses make mistakes and compound them by running rank, etc. Revolutionary didn't. He maintained himself, hung in, and made the best of the situation. That speaks volumes to me. His progress is going to be fun to watch and gate issues rarely remain with horses of this caliber.

26 Feb 2013 9:18 PM
El Kabong


that was a good race(Risen Star). I know the reason why people don't like a crowd at the finish, but that race was run with a good pace, it finished up well, and they ran it faster than G3 4year olds in the Mineshaft. I like 3 of them to come out of this race competitive going longer. ISAN, Code West and NI, but I agree with you that was a good race. Tough for the handicapping crown to admit an oversight, but I think the winner was impressive from start to finish.

26 Feb 2013 9:25 PM

Steve Haskin 26 Feb 2013 6:52 PM ,

I read your response to The Seer and had to comment. Do you think that Super Ninety Nine is any more a miler than Shanghai Bobby is a miler?  From what I've seen so far SNN appears to have more scope for staying further than SB, not only on performance but especially on the basis of pedigree. Therefore if SB made the Derby Dozen, the question of SNN being omitted is quite a valid one.  

26 Feb 2013 9:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  He meant it as a compliment.


    Have you checked out ? There is lots of good Derby horse info there including possible next start.

26 Feb 2013 9:42 PM

I'm sad to see Violence injured, off the trail and retired.  He had the speed and pedigree to be a very good one.  

The most impressive colts I've seen this year are Verrazano and Revolutionary.  Verrazano is just plain fast and Revolutionary has proved himself a tough customer.  I loved, loved, loved his gallop out in the Withers.  Both colts have the kind of pedigree I like to see in a classic horse; speed from the sire line and stamina in the dam line.  I can't say I'm pleased they are both in Pletcher's barn.  Considering the number of horses he's gotten in the gate on Derby day, he has little to show for it.

26 Feb 2013 9:59 PM
The Seer

Steve... My apologies. This was the first of your Derby Dozen columns I have read, so I didn't see your earlier explanations about the horse. I hope Baffert's wrong about him just being a miler, and I did hear him say he could have another Bodemeister on his hands. We shall soon see.

26 Feb 2013 10:09 PM


The comparison between Flashback/Verrazano and two previous year colts bearing similar characteristics is interesting. You are cautioned to avoid extreme statements as their next races could enhance their status.

“Revolutionary has been impressive but he beat some bums the last 2 races”

Be careful classifying young developing horses as bums as some can improve overnight. One of the bums beaten by Revolutionary was Transparent who returned to record an impressive MSW win. Are you aware that both Revolutionary and Transparent finished 3rd and 4th to Orb when he broke his maiden. They were only 3-4L behind him. Both have returned improved colts. In fact, Revolutionary was the off time favorite in the maiden race won by Orb. I like Orb a lot but I happen to think Revolutionary is the better of the two. As for Transparent he needs a trainer.

As I have stated in the past, Orb takes a lot of riding and the 10F of the Derby is not ideal for his style. Revolutionary has more tactical speed and far superior acceleration. In fact, Revolutionary does not gallop, he leaps thus spending less time on the ground. Check out how quickly he established 10L on the Withers field in his gallop out.

26 Feb 2013 10:24 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D: My laptop blew its motherboard during the time you posted that Koufax trip down memory lane. Just got a new one a few days ago. No one like Sandy, was at the game in Sept. 1965 against the Cubs and witnessed his perfect game. Thrill of a lifetime for me. Used to go to Chavez Ravine a lot, watch many of the games. All through the 60's and early 70's. Hollywood Park during the day, Dodger game at night, awesome.

Met Koufax a few times but never got to speak to him one on one. There were always people around and I was still a teenager looking for an autograph. If Roy Hobbs was the best there ever was in a fictitious movie then Koufax was the reality version of the movie.

So. Calif was great to grow up in during 1950's and 60's.

Yes I played BB in high school and our team was also in the CIF.

My two racing highlights in life was sitting on my dads shoulder in 1955 at Santa Anita and watching Swaps win the Derby. I was 6 years old. Also watching my all time favorite horse Dr. Fager win the Californian in 1968 at Hollywood Park. Got to see him up close and actually touch him, Mr. Nerud was very gracious to me, he could tell I was in love with this horse.

I sure wish we could get about 5 or 6 really sound Derby horses who captures our hearts and race at age 4. Maybe even a rivalry of some kind. Just like Affirmed and Alydar or Sunday Silence and Easy Goer.

26 Feb 2013 11:12 PM
Greg R

Agree with everything in Alex's Big Fan's first comment.

Violence lost no respect with me in FOY.  After running that fast early, in his first start of the year, he was brave still to be fighting at the end. I, too, am enthusiastic about Verrazano, Golden Cents and Lucky Day.

I'm not yet on board with Flashback.  BB has had a lot of these speedy colts the last few years.  Most of them are no Bodemeisters.

What about this odd style Revolutionary has of running with his head up?  OK, it's not THAT unusual and there have been some outstanding horses that looked like that when they ran, but it makes me a little uncomfortable, you know?

26 Feb 2013 11:27 PM
Greg R

By the way, when was the last time a 3 yr.-old came through the Gotham and Wood Memorial to win the KY Derby?  I mean WON one of those NY races, not chased, as with Monarchos.  Extra points to the first correct answer.  That seems like a dead end anymore.

26 Feb 2013 11:34 PM


I was probably getting ahead of myself in my last post as I so often do. I do not regard myself as being versed in the evaluation of young talents. I merely look out for the little things that indicate a young horse could develop into a champion.

“I hope you see how important your estimation of my judgment of horse talent is to me, buddy”

You are correct Sir; you do have immense capabilities in the area of thoroughbred evaluation. However, these capabilities could be enhanced if you were not so affected by a fixation syndrome and occasional self-imposed blindness.

When you were excited about Violence I advised you that the colt won his races by a combined 3 3/4L. Despite this bit of cold fact you predicted he would trample the FOY field. Your alternate fixation Overanalyze has now been moved to the top of your list. He was made to look very ordinary by S/Bobby and Uncaptured. At your leisure, kindly revisit the Remsen. You will note that Normandy Invasion closed from another zip code to be defeated by a HD. Are you of the opinion that Normandy Invasion could spot the leaping Revolutionary 15L and have a chance to come within 1L?

I do not know what to make of Verrazano. He is a typical Todd Pletcher horse i.e., flutter to deceive with wide margins victories. Is he different? It’s hard to tell as he has neither been tested nor had to overcome adversity in any of his races. His sire More Than Ready does not feature a lot on the Derby trail. The preferred surface for most of his top runners is turf.  His dam sire Giants Causeway has been represented in Derby in this category once by the also ran El Padrino who happens to be a half-brother of Verrazano. If it’s any consolation, Soft Falling Rain the unbeaten South African Champion 2YO and favorite for the UAE Derby shares dam sire with Verrazano.

The Tama Bay Derby is an interesting choice for his stakes debut. Mr. Pletcher has not had a lot of success this race. Spring Hill Farm, Brethren, Super Saver, Join In The Dance, Atoned, Any Given Saturday, Bluegrass Cat all lost. If not for Limehouse , Mr. P would be 9 and 0 in the race. Verrazano reminds me a lot of Spring Hill Farm although he appears to be more talented.

Ore Pass: You seem to be the only one that is high on this colt. I will check him out. As for Transparent he needs a trainer.

26 Feb 2013 11:39 PM
Forbidden Apple

I have Revolutionary #7 on my list, so I do like him. I called his competition in the Withers a group of turtles, not him. The Wither's was the weakest prep race I have watched this year. I can not question his class or raw talent, he just has to run faster and beat someone of quality. Yes he beat Transparent easily, but Transparent came back with a much improved effort since then. Speed and stamina, maybe.

Flashback had a very easy race last time, not very fast either. With only 2 races so far, I'm expecting a big run next out. He also has something to prove on the track.


My comment was intended to be neutral, no harm meant. Odd was the best word I could come up with after reading the first half of your post. I agree with you concerning Normandy Invasion, I don't get the hype. And the same for Overanalyze, I am not excited about his breeding or his performance on track.

27 Feb 2013 12:08 AM

Pedigree Ann

I appreciate your comments and insight.  Thank you!

27 Feb 2013 2:37 AM

Steve, Is War Academy still on the Derby trail?


You might be able to knock Shanghai Bobby on his pedigree but you can't knock his performance. Did he not break the track record in his loss to Itsmyluckyday, and, after a decent layoff?

Also, it's just my interpretation here but it seems to me that Baffert has Flashback ranked a tad bit higher now than he did Paynter this time last year.  From what I've seen, Flashback seems to have his power packed just a little tighter than Paynter.  Flashback has Tapit in him but seems to keep within himself very nicely compared to the way Hansen did.  Other than that, his pedigree seems to be phenomenal. I don't think Verrazano is a typical Pletcher horse. More Than Ready stalked a hot pace in the Derby and still came in 4th and with Giant's Causeway as dam sire...I can't wait to see him run next.

1. Itsmyluckyday - Seems to have class in the way IHA did. High cruising speed with an extra gear for the stretch.

2. Revolutionary - Just hope he figures things out in time.

3. Verrazano - I'd just like to see him use an extra gear and get in a fight.

4. Flashback - Baffert's "scary good" remark plus was powerful in the Lewis.

5. Palace Malace - Developing and can stay near pace

6. Shanghai Bobby - Until he proves he can't

7. Oxbow

8. Normandy Invasion

9. Treasury Bill

10. Shakin it Up

11. Orb

12. Delhomme

27 Feb 2013 3:21 AM

It Ain't Easy: my error.  I knew it right after I wrote it, but I doubled-checked it first.

Dice Flavor (not Dice Play) won the El Camino.  He wasn't Derby nominated then, but perhaps by now he is.  I still say that I think he's special; it was something about the way he finished.  

27 Feb 2013 8:49 AM

El Kabong:

I agree I can see 3 derby horses coming from the Risen Star.

I also agree with the 3 you said going longer.

Vyjack this weekend is a interesting horse with a rider change.

27 Feb 2013 9:02 AM

Chief: While Mine That Bird won the Derby by an excellent ride by Borel, he did win it by 6 lengths.  He was 2nd in the Preakness to Rachel Alexander by 1/2 lenth, and was 3rd to Summer Bird in the Belmont.  That ain't half bad in my book. He had throat surgery after that, but was never quite the same horse.  He ran the BC Classic with knee chips.

Seer: The Southwest was run in a swamp. Super Ninety-Nine is a Pulpit.  While he had no problem with the surface, the other horses never had a chance.  I won't pass judgement on them until I see another race on a better surface.

27 Feb 2013 9:07 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

  Dr. Fager and Damascus was a pretty good rivalry also if I remember correctly. That's a nice Mr. Nehrud and Dr. Fager story. I talked to Sandy, or should I say babbled to him. He pretty much just listened to my gushing. Thanks for your memories of the good old days, I always love them.

Greg R.

     Things change.

27 Feb 2013 9:23 AM

Question to all:

How many in the top ten have locked up enough points to make the Derby?

Usually by this time we have over half the Derby field spoken for with earnings.

Now with the point system we have 2 in for sure and if the point cutoff is 25 points their are still 18 spots up for grabs.

All these Pletcher,Baffert horses have work to do.

Do they all fire?

Do they run their Derby race in their 1 prep to get in?

Are we underestimating the change this point system brought to the game?

27 Feb 2013 9:26 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm kind of feeling the same way about the Risen Star despite my eyeball impression:  it looked like a race you throw out.  But the figure was good.  And Sunbean, who scratched because of post position, went on to win a stakes; it was very competitive.  The circuit was terrible last year, but things change, and I'm inclined to give these horses a good look, particularly when they switch to a less quirky track.  Normandy Invasion, for example, is supposed to run back in the Wood, and I think he'd be a good bet there.  Don't know if Palace Malice and Code West are second stringers, but they seemed to run well and both beat a good horse in Oxbow.

27 Feb 2013 9:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Re: milers.

Baffert has had exactly these types on the same circuit the past couple years:  The Factor, and Secret Circle, who won the Rebel and was beaten only by  Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby.

27 Feb 2013 9:58 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Who is Motion's Went the Day Well/Animal Kingdom this year?  Crop Report?

Uncaptured also looks like a horse that will have a light 3-yo campaign, will also run in the Spiral and will therefore get good odds in the Derby.

27 Feb 2013 10:03 AM
Rusty Weisner


The "peanut butter" track two years ago favored closers.  On last year's track Nehro, or even Shackleford would have won.

27 Feb 2013 10:16 AM
Rusty Weisner


Baffert never had Derby plans for Paynter, whereas Flashback seems his top Derby prospect at the moment.

27 Feb 2013 10:30 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Derby List:

1) Code West - was upgraded by us heading into the Risen Star off three modest 'vs Flow' efforts (see Live Blog, 2/22.  While we consider the Risen Star to have been modestly Closer favoring, it was not enough to warrant upgrading or downgrading any of the other 11 participants that came into the race w/'neutral grades'.  However, the closer favoring nature of the RS is certainly enough for us to carry the existing upgrade of Code West into his next race.

Previous horses on my list, Orb and Treasury Bill,  have been returned to neutral grades for the time being.

27 Feb 2013 10:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Since no one asked me:

1. Uncaptured

2. Flashback

3. Itsmyluckyday

4. Orb

5. Revolutionary

6. Power Broker

7. Shakin' it Up

8. Code West

9. I've Struck a Nerve

10. Goldencents

11. Den's Legacy

12. Oxbow

A lot of Baffert horses there.  I figure one of them besides Flashback has a chance of breaking out.

27 Feb 2013 10:51 AM

Greg R: 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus

Wood and Derby winner.

Before that..1977..who else.. Slew

27 Feb 2013 11:05 AM

Johnny and El Kabong, I've Struck a Nerve is as fit of a horse you will see in this 3 year old crop.  He has 9 races under his belt, and his pedigree suggests that distance should not be a problem. He is improving right now. This is Desormeaux's first stakes win, so he is totally focused on this lovely horse. I too am looking forward to the Louisiana Derby and since I live in the New Orleans area, I will be there.  I think the top 5 finishers in the Risen Star are the best horses in the country right now.  We shall see.  

27 Feb 2013 11:22 AM

Flashback and Verrazano have only 2 races under their belts, so I don't understand why they are in the top 12.  I don't like Flashback's pedigree; he was bred strictly for speed, and the inbreeding is alarming to me.  I haven't checked out Verrazano's pedigree.  Will do that soon.  

27 Feb 2013 11:38 AM


I've never knocked Shanghai Bobby's performance or class. He's a very impressive miler to me. I've left him out of the Derby reckoning in terms of winning the race, purely on pedigree. I do believe that if he runs he'll be a pace factor though.

27 Feb 2013 12:45 PM


Bern Identity has not turned in a workout since the Holy Bull Stakes, which makes me suspect that he might have suffered some minor injury when roughed at the start of that race. However, I haven't heard anything official on his status, so perhaps we'll see him back in training before too long.

27 Feb 2013 12:49 PM
Between Friends

Greg R, Fusaichi Pegasus was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby after winning the Wood Memorial. No extra points needed as I had to look for the answer on Google. (I also discovered that three Triple Crown winners (Gallant Fox, Count Fleet and Seattle Slew) did go to Kentucky after finishing first in the Wood Memorial.  I wish the NYRA could figure out how to bring some of the magic of Saratoga back to Aqueduct and Belmont.

27 Feb 2013 2:16 PM

Happy birthday STORM CAT!!

27 Feb 2013 2:46 PM


We will see Saturday if Transparent has the goods you speak of.  I have my doubts on a horse that takes 6 races to break his maiden unless you think he is the second coming to Real Quiet.  He got beat 5 by Orb and 8 by Revolutionary.  Did he improve when he broke his maiden or did he just find some weaker bums?

Revolutionary is no slouch losing to Orb, thats very clear now but I have my doubts still.  He breaks bad from the gate and he can't continue to do that against quality horses.  Also, I can't see a War Pass horse getting a 1 1/4.  His femle side is solid but I don't trust his distance capability.

To me Orb's style fits the Derby very well.  Get him in position on the outside and watch the others collapse in front of him.  I also trust Shug when he says distance in no issue and there is plenty more in the tank.  I agree Revolutionary is more tactical with very good excellaration but if he continues to break the way he does he may have to leap 19 other horses in a single bound!  I will stick with my galloper.

27 Feb 2013 4:07 PM

Greg R 2* points for the last time a colt ran only at Fairgrounds in their series of preps and finished 1st or 2nd in the Derby.

27 Feb 2013 5:53 PM

Slew I posted that these types complete the exactas,trifectas and supers.Mine That Bird out of 3 TC races won 1 and finished 2nd and 3rd in the other two.

27 Feb 2013 5:56 PM

Hey horseplayers we got another stakes this weekend with the racing secreatary assigning weights(just like FOY) Overanalyze and Vyjack will be carrying one more pound(123) than Violence carried in his last race(122)the rest of the field is the low weight 116.

27 Feb 2013 6:01 PM

Rusty Weisner when Animal Kingdom won in 2011 he was a lot closer to the pace in the Kentucky Derby,than he was in the Preakness.Subsequently he didnt have enough ground to catch Shakleford at Pimlico.

A colt like Orb that seems to me to be a deep closer, will need that type of trip to run the field down in the Derby,otherwise he will be running to complete the exotics.

27 Feb 2013 6:10 PM

I think only one of the top two finishers in the Holy Bull will make it to the Derby.The time between races is too much to maintain the fitness level they had exiting the race.If their is a strong field for that 100 pointer it is very possible neither make it past the Florida Derby.

27 Feb 2013 6:13 PM

 …copy of an e-mail to my brother re Pool #2 and the Gotham… Wed. -2/27/13…

  Lets start with the ‘New Shooters’ in Pool #2. Remember back in Aug. I told you “keep an eye on a horse off of a Mdn. run trained by Pletcher name of ‘Violence’ ”. Well first off, the horse he beat that day by a neck was “Title Town Five”,--who rates out right up there pretty much even with “Violence” re distance ability.-- However, “Title Town Five” was subsequently reported soon after as having been injured, so I moved him to my ‘injured list’ and pretty much paid little attention at to him after that all until about 2 weeks ago when it was reported that he was actually back in training.--Although, I am also usually not high on a horse that misses that much training time.--In any event, the horse that ran 3rd in that same race back on Aug. the 12th, 2012 was “Orb” in for 3rd by + 2. And in “Orb” we just saw the first horse to beat “Violence” --by a ½ length-- although we subsequently discovered that after the race that “Violence” was discovered having run down the stretch on a broken leg, !!!--although “Orb’s” own recovery and stretch run were impressive enough. So, they are both eligible from here to go on to accomplish w/e. “I’ve Struck a Nerve”, having been hammered repeatedly on the west coast comes east and steals the Risen Star. “Treasury Bill” and “Shakin It Up” just ran 2 & 1 in the San Felipe with “War Academy” and “Mudflats” both on their heels, and all are in my top 50 !!! And then there is “Palace Malice”, one of the one’s in the Risen Star place-show photo who like the rest in the Risen Star were NOT bred for longer !!

… and like many, you may have missed a horse in the 12th at GP last weekend in a  1 Mi. (T) Msw that finished just ‘a head’ behind the winner in 1:36.00; flat but who that was the “million dollar boy”, Pletcher’s trained “Forever Thing” !!! who btw way also rates high as previously reported !!!

   And in this week’s Gotham we have others that measure up in:  “Transparent”; “Sky Captain”;

& “West Hills Giant” so keep an eye out there….

 Other, …there were some strange interesting news titles today in Yahoo this evening on my way to e-mail…

“Shark eats film director”   ???   …LOL  …and ….

“Dog shoots owner” ???  … LMAO

{{…sounds like a couple of great names for horses huh ??

  And as they turn for home, its “dogshootsowner” down the stretch by 2 over “sharkeatsfilmdirector” in duel with “stevessecretassistant” & 'forever thing'…}}

 OK , will get back to you Sat. night …

27 Feb 2013 6:59 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Verrazano a mile at GP in 1;34 and 4/5!!, Itsmylucky day won Holly Bull in TR time 1;41 and change!! have they moved the Santa Anita Track expressway to Gulfstream Park this year? I will have Another was superior to this GP horses do not fall in this trapp,and Pletcher tend to fall short at Tampa Bay Derby for some reason just be alert.

27 Feb 2013 7:11 PM

Keelerman : Thanks, yeah, not sure what's up.  I checked downeyprofile and that's what they said as well, waiting for a workout.  I really hope he's alright, I still quite like him for the derby.

27 Feb 2013 7:43 PM

Coming from a clime and time when horses spent the winter stabled, I see no reason to scratch Uncaptured, who is training brilliantly and has bottom, just because he hasn't been out yet.

That one embarrassing race where Overanalyzed finished a floundering and distant third was behind Uncaptured.

I agree with a couple of comments to the effect that I've Struck A Nerve was not without form and should never have been scornfully dismissed at those odds. I wouldn't have bet him but I think his race earns more respect if one doesn't think of it as a lightning strike.

Orb and Itsmyluckyday have shown they have a clue what it's about and how to do it, and I'm liking closers for this field.

No scary, classy speed horses except Verrazano, who could be any kind.

27 Feb 2013 7:50 PM

Sticking with Uncaptured until the Spiral, I feel he already has the foundation, just need to see in the Spiral if he's truly fit and then the Bluegrass to see if he can get the points he needs.  It's a one shot deal, hopefully his connections are right.  

- Uncaptured

- Itsmyluckyday

- Overanalyze

- Goldencents

- Falling Sky

- Code West

- Amerigo Vespucci

- Bern Identity

- Ground Transport

- Palace Malice

- Mylute

- Belvin

27 Feb 2013 8:01 PM

Well at this time Dice Flavour is my pick,The El Camino real derby is the best race i've seen so far with a gutsy staying performance from this chestnut colt.Lo and behold he's not even made it to your also ran list,this is a talented colt i hope he stays healthy.

27 Feb 2013 8:54 PM

Left off of that previous post re 'rated for distance' we're a few previoulsy mentioned in "Carving" and "War Academy" offhand, and add Md. based Michael Trombetta's trained "Ore Pass" also running in the Gotham to that list.

27 Feb 2013 11:38 PM
Bloodline Bob

The late pick 3 + the late daily double @ Aqueduct on Sat.(2-27-13) will be extra large payoffs. My Gotham box is Overanalyze, Amerigo Vespucci, Transparent + Sky Captain.

27 Feb 2013 11:40 PM


“I have my doubts on a horse that takes 6 races to break his maiden unless you think he is the second coming to Real Quiet.”

I fully understand your doubts but they might just be born out of the lack of Derby history.  The first Triple Crown winner Sir Barton lost all six starts as a 2YO. His 3YO debut was in the Kentucky Derby as pacemaker for his table mate. He went from gate to wire. Maidens have won the Derby in the past.  Transparent’s one win from six starts will not adversely impact his chances of winning the Derby should he make the field.  

“Revolutionary breaks bad from the gate and he can't continue to do that against quality horses.”

The Derby is 10F and he will have time to recover from being either SIS or SOB.

28 Feb 2013 1:17 AM

Despite being upset I think Normandy Invasion looks like he has the class to be a Derby winner. I have always been a big Lukas fan but was disappointed with Oxbow who should have been able to put the rivals away in the Risen Star but failed. I was most impressed with Palace Malace in that race and think Pletcher has him right on course for some great results in the future.

28 Feb 2013 6:58 AM

JayJay it seems that you are looking for a big price in the WIN column of the exotic spreadsheet,but I understand, since you play horizontal exotics.The Derby is probably the best vertical exotic, or in the top 3 yearly in the US.The place and show pools arent that bad either even for single digit odds colts.

28 Feb 2013 9:48 AM

Uncaptured is picking an untraveled Derby trail.He has thusfar only ran his races at his home track of Woodbine on the AW and 2 races at Churchill.He is supposed to run next at Turfway in the Spiral according to this blog,if he wins even in convincing fashion,he will still be flying under the rader.Although there is a precedence in winning the Derby out of the Spiral Animal Kingdom in 2011, and fast closing Went the Day Well 4th last year.

28 Feb 2013 10:19 AM
Love 'em all

JorgeG -

Thanks for the reminder.  A belated happy b'day to both Storm Cat and Rags to Riches. SC was a virile 21-year-old when 'Miss Rags' was born on his birthday in 2004.  Time really does fly!

28 Feb 2013 10:27 AM
Rusty Weisner


You're probably right.  If the track is anything like last year's, I won't be a putting a horse like Orb on top.  Maybe I shouldn't have put him so high -- he looks like a very likely horse to hit the board now, though; when I make an exotic in the Derby I like to cover a likely closer underneath.  My bias will be against them, unless I see a track like 2011's.  

I also put "Uncaptured" up there, just because he caught my eye recently.  I know nothing about pedigree (add it to the list!) and I know that his is open to question, but to me Lion Heart seems close enough, and a horse like Dangerous Midge is a half brother.  Above all, this horse is intriguing because of the tack the trainer is taking, with a long 2-yo campaign, topped by two wins on CD dirt against good competition, followed by a 3-yo campaign that will be virtually the same as the one Animal Kingdom followed.  Who knows.

As far as the bottom of that list, it's haphazard - I finally lost track of all those horses Baffert has (I was looking at charts and in one of Shakin' it Up's races Baffert had four out of the five runners) -- maybe Treasury Bill or Tiz the Truth should be there; beats me.  I was also reluctant to take Oxbow over Palace Malice, but I'm skeptical that a lightly raced Pletcher second-tier horse is going to even show up in the gate over Lukas's only contender.

28 Feb 2013 10:57 AM
Rusty Weisner

Weather will be good for the Gotham.

28 Feb 2013 11:05 AM


Transparent has improved since the addition of blinks and he is bred well.  He could be the play Saturday.

Revolutionary could be a dangerous horse if he can break with the group but I still question his distance capability.  I know you say he leaps but that could lead to being rank as well.  Some of his races when he broke bad he became rank as well when finally settled.

28 Feb 2013 11:05 AM
Rusty Weisner

I can't bet Overanalyze here.  Besides the post, this horse just hasn't beaten anyone, except Normandy Invasion, and that doesn't flatter him.  I'm giving up on Amerigo Vespucci underneath, too.  This is a tougher race than previous, where he was a late runner hitting the board.  Vyjack, Transparent, Ore Pass in boxed exactas.

28 Feb 2013 11:29 AM

Rusty Weisner it reads like a sound approach to horseplaying, being decisive but keeping an open mind for circumstances related to the particular race,in this case the Kentucky Derby.It is easier said than done, doing this it requires a kind of dual personality,having a strong opinion and at the same time being open to small changes in circumstances, like track condition,post position and how it relates to race tactics,pace scenarios etc,and many others.IMO if you are a good bettor you can make money in the Derby even if you pick the wrong horses at the top of your list on that day.

28 Feb 2013 1:10 PM

Rusty Weisner Lion Heart came in 2nd in his Derby run in 2004,do you know if any other colts with Lion Heart as a sire a 2nd sire or a damsire or broodmare sire has hit the board in the Derby since 2004?

28 Feb 2013 1:18 PM
Rusty Weisner

I am tempted to take EscapefromReality instead of Vyjack here.

28 Feb 2013 1:19 PM

JayJay Uncaptured has a differnt running style than than the last two colts that won and came in 4th in their Kentucky Derby races.when prepping in the Spiral.he will have to win that race or try to get in in a tougher race somewhere else.

28 Feb 2013 1:22 PM
Pedigree Ann

Greg R -

Back only 15-20 years or so, the Wood Memorial was 2-3 weeks before the Derby and the last waltz on many a Florida-raced 3yo's dancecard. After all, the Florida Derby/Flamingo was 3 weeks or so before the Wood and you gotta keep 'em sharp. West Coast horses had a choice between the California Derby, Wood Mem, or Blue Grass for their final preps. Fair Grounds horses would usually go to the Arkansas Derby or Blue Grass.

The last Derby I remember using the entire sequence of the Bay Shore (7f), Gotham (8f) and Wood to go on to Derby glory was Secretariat. Private Terms won the Gotham and Wood, went into the Derby unbeaten (had won two stakes in MD beforehand) and favored, but didn't fire.

Some others who hit the board in both are Air Forbes Won, Mogambo, Eternal Prince, Easy Goer, Thirty Six Red, Devil His Due, Talkin Man, Smokin Mel, Survivalist, I Want Revenge, and Awesome Act.

A mixed bag. Easy Goer was good enough to win a Derby but ran into one better. Eternal Prince, who was a speed horse expected to entertain Spend a Buck on the lead and set the race up for closers, blew the start. Devil His Due turned out to be a darned good older horse. I Want Revenge was hurt. Smokin Mel was lucky to last at 8f in the Gotham, never did it again.

28 Feb 2013 2:04 PM

steve- could titletown five be the real deal. got a feeling he could be special as long as lukas takes good care of him. i'm an old packer fan from the 60's now that would be some hunch. i think at 30-1 i'm looking to make a big future bet. his pedigree looks pretty impressive. just found out his dam won 14 races in a row at one point. thats amazing.

28 Feb 2013 3:00 PM
Rusty Weisner


None, I believe.  But there's a first time for everything.  Anyway, I think it's his damsire that has the pedigree.  Oops!  Now I've gone down the rabbit hole -- I'll leave this discussion for others.  I don't need any more variables in my handicapping.

My point really was that Uncaptured is "intriguing".  Like a lot of bettors, I'm more drawn to an unknown quantity than a known one.  I think this horse will be favored and win in the Spiral (wins on two surfaces) and earn a spot in the Derby, where he will be a mild outsider.  

Let me know what you think of Escapefromreality vs. Vyjack if you get a chance.  I like my other two in the Gotham.

28 Feb 2013 3:13 PM
Rusty Weisner


"Uncaptured has a different running style than the last wo colts..."

He has a better style!  You sound like you should appreciate that style -- he can stalk or run on the lead, either surface (don't know anything about WO synthetic).  His only loss was the result of the bad trip.  The more I look the more I like -- at least the horse is a different quantity with a different resume.  I'll look forward to watching the replays.

28 Feb 2013 3:21 PM
Rusty Weisner


Re: betting -- Last year I wrote up about $300 in superfecta tickets on the Derby.  I picked a Dullahan as a prime closer underneath on every ticket, and gave four horses the chance for the top spot, all types likely to be near the lead:  Bode, IHA, Gem & TCI.  Luckily I didn't pull the trigger, as I also had Creative Cause underneath on every ticket and he was edged out for fourth.  Instead I chickened out and took a shot on Bodemeister on top in trifectas (and in a multi-race bet).  

The Derby is the only race where I'd bet a super vs. a tri -- it gives you room to catch a longshot, the payoff is vastly greater relative to the investment, a realistic ticket can cost $200-300, and heck, it's once a year.

28 Feb 2013 3:37 PM
El Kabong


Motion's 2013 version is Cerro. He had his coming out party in the FOY and didn't exactly turn heads but he deserves another look. He may show up next in the Spiral which is shaping up to be a good race with Uncaptured, who I can't wait to see run and now Balance of Power, another Derby wild card loaded with talent who is now pointed to the Spiral too.

28 Feb 2013 3:37 PM

IMO if you are a good bettor you can make money in the Derby even if you pick the wrong horses at the top of your list on that day.

Well said Chief,my personnel favorite bet Derby Day is the exacta box.

28 Feb 2013 3:39 PM
Rusty Weisner

And the intrigue goes poof.  

Steve Haskin reported earlier this month:

"It has been reported that UNCAPTURED had suffered a bruised foot and then an abscess on his other foot and is now almost ready to start breezing on the farm. He’s being pointed for a March debut. You never like it when plans have to get altered because of minor injuries, even with such a tough, seasoned horse as this. We have plenty of time to monitor his progress."

28 Feb 2013 3:45 PM
El Kabong

Chief Picawinna,

Uncaptured is scheduled to run in the Spiral, and the Bluegrass. I like this schedule for him. He's very talented and will handle the synthetic preps fine. I for one believe that synthetic races take less out of a horse and are especially good for developing 3 year olds. Uncaptured is proven at CD so it's just a matter of seasoning and blowing out those lungs. Getting enough points won't be easy with the company now headed that way but I like this horse and his chances in May very much if he shows us the necessary 3 year old improvement over last year. His dam sire is outstanding and he gets more stamina on the female tail. This guy may turn heads if he can throw blows with Balance of Power and Cerro in the Spiral.

28 Feb 2013 3:52 PM
El Kabong


I'm going to include Palace Malice from the Risen. Steve's comments ring true about his talent needing more bottom and experience. He looked like he was trying to hail a hot dog vender in the stretch before finishing the race. Not to mention his pedigree which is solid and perhaps late to bloom like his Pop. Can't ignore PM. He's back in on second thought and 5th or 6th review of that bayou brawl.

28 Feb 2013 4:01 PM
Little Bill

I like the way West Hills Giant is coming into the race. That sprint was a nice prep. They didn't ask him for much in that race.

28 Feb 2013 4:21 PM

Flippinrabbit: I'd save my money on Dice Flavor for now.  None of the first 3 finishers in the El Camino were Derby Nominated.

I hope Dice Flavor has been nominated by now....otherwise, the points fall by the wayside.  I still think he's very special!

28 Feb 2013 4:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

Today's lesson:  don't outthink yourself.

I'm fever-addled.  

28 Feb 2013 4:50 PM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

I Want Revenge won the Wood (in a tremendous effort) but scratched as the expected Derby favorite.

28 Feb 2013 4:54 PM

CHIEF :  Yes, I'm not a WPS player so I am always trying for the shot in the win for my bets.  I am worried about Uncaptured going that route but considering the issue he had, I think the connections is doing the best they can.  I'm not concerned about him winning the spiral, just a good showing but for the BlueGrass, he NEEDS to win it to get the points.  I mentioned this awhile back, it's a risk for the connections but I think Uncaptured, if healthy, will be up to task.   He'll definitely be a good price in the Derby if he makes it.  I never play KDFW but I just might on him, even if it's only $20.

This weekend, I'm putting Amerigo Vespucci on top of all my bets.  It's now or never lol.  I have faith on this horse, I just hope Eric puts him outside coming into the final turn.  If AV wins or hits the board, I'll probably put him up below Uncaptured for my derby dozen.

The one horse I'm really anxious to see run against the derby contenders is Ground Transport.  Really excited to see him run in the Louisiana Derby.

28 Feb 2013 6:12 PM

Johnny Im with you dont tell that to the folks trying to pick the WINNER of the Derby futures bet with a 24 member field,heck the Derby field itself has only 20 members.

28 Feb 2013 6:25 PM

Ed Kabong,Rusty Weisner If the Spiral and Bluegrass is the plan then he will have a better chance to get-in, because generally the top spot in AW stakes with any type of pace contention is occupied by a closer or a midpacker.On paper Uncaptured looks like he likes to be forwardly placed,but I have never watched him run LIVE or in replays.Rusty I dont have an opinion on the Gotham that being said I follow Mclaughlin and he has three shots in the race.When a trainer has 3 horses in the race and I am playing in just the win/place/show pools its almost always a losing proposition because gotta play all of them in all the spots Im playing for.I read something McLaughlin said in an interview, and even before I read it I liked Elnaawi the best out of the three.But like I said I dont have a strong enough opinion to tout any ONE betting interest.

28 Feb 2013 6:46 PM

I think we all have to admit that what we do here every week is pure speculation. It's fun, but it's guess work based on what we know and what we've seen.  I don't think anyone, at this stage, is picking the Derby winner; we seem to be still trying to work out who's going to get in the gate.

Every year, another Derby "rule" falls by the wayside.  Can't win from post 20? Yes you can.  A gelding can't win? Yes he can.  A filly can't win? Yes, she can. Can't win if a horse hasn't raced on dirt? Yes, a horse did. Etc,etc,etc.

Someone was mentioning how long a horse took to break his maiden.  There was one horse who had a dismal 2 year old year, never won a race.  When he entered the Derby, he was still a maiden.  He broke his maiden in the Kentucky Derby.  He won the Preakness 4 days later, then captured the Withers, followed by the Belmont in June.  It was 1919, and his name was Sir Barton, our first Triple Crown hero.

There are no "rules" to a Derby winner, no standards, no axioms that have not fallen.  It's all speculation no matter how astute we may try to be.  We know only that the horses will be 3 and will carry 126 pounds.  And then we play the odds.

Chief: I was just responding to a previous post.  I don't think Mine That Bird's win was a fluke.  I think he was a good little gelding who was overlooked by the odds makers and ignored by the press.  He was the Canadian Champion 2 year old, but no one took notice of that fact.

As to Revolutionary's wicked trip last out, do people really think that trip was the fault of the horse?  I'm hoping there is a jockey change next out.  Most horses cannot comeback after being checked.  I cannot count the number of times Revolutionary did just that in the Withers. And where does it say he broke his maiden in his 6th race?  Revolutionary has had only 5 starts.  He was second, third, second, first (2012) and first in the Withers. (2013) That's 5 races where he's never been off the board.

At this point, most every one is picking their favorites.  Opinions, at this point, are neither right nor wrong.  The Derby itself could surprise us all.  That's the fun; we never know for certain.  Neither do the owners, trainers, and jockeys.  And we will all probably remain in a speculative cloud of dust and a hearty, "Heigh Oh ?" until one horse crosses that wire first on the first Saturday in May.

Isn't Hope a wonderful thing?

28 Feb 2013 7:40 PM

I don't pay attention for ONE day and bang!  my boy is in the running for favourite!

Looking forward to the Spiral

28 Feb 2013 8:15 PM

Ed Kabong I am keeping Palice Malice in mind for the Belmont if he dosent make the KD.Why, just a simple angle that I read about concerning May foals.

28 Feb 2013 8:51 PM
Pedigree Ann

Rusty -

I was trying to say that about I Want Revenge: "He got hurt and didn't make the Derby." Also, that Red Bullet went on to win Preakness.

28 Feb 2013 9:06 PM

El Kabong, Palace Malice in the Risen Star looked more like he was attempting to strike a nerve, rather than hailing a hot dog vender.  I've Struck a Nerve was to his outside, and Palace Malice was almost bumping him in the stretch. If ISAN was not a seasoned horse, those two would have bumped one another off the track.  I live in New Orleans, so I'm a bit prejudice; I like ISAN's trainer; his first graded stakes win.  

28 Feb 2013 9:45 PM

No interesting up-and-comers featured this week. Well, let me feature one that I think merits mention. He happens to be one of three colts entered in the Gotham by Mr. McLaughlin.

The third member of the McLaughlin trio is a colt by the name Now and Then. He won a 6F MSW race on debut in a good time of 1:11.66.  What is so significant about a victory in a MSW race? The answer can be found in Champion Boy an also ran in the Withers Stakes.

Champion Boy finished a none threatening 3rd by 3 1/2L in the MSW race won by Now and Then.   His next start was in the Withers against winners. Like eventual winner Revolutionary, he had his issue heading into the first turn and had to be steadied. He eventually finished 5th beaten 5 1/4L.

Now and Then easily defeated Champion Boy prior to his Withers effort.  If a maiden that exited a MSW race with a 3rd place finish was capable of getting within 5L of the winner in a G3 stakes, what would the winner of said MSW race have done?

Now and Then is a strapping and alethic son of Tizwon.  He was produced from a Meadowlake mare that also produced multiple G1 winner Seventh Street. The 1:11.66 he recorded en route to victory was achieved with a few taps on the shoulder and a hand ride.  This very big colt will certainly be seen at his best with more real estate.

If Champion Boy’s performance in the Wthers is used as a measure,  Now and Then should at least be competitive in the Gotham. His last work of 1:00 for 5F heading into the race suggests he will be entering the race fit and ready.  This colt merits watching.

01 Mar 2013 2:43 AM


thanks for restoring civility on the board!

Rusty. your choices in the Gotham are close to mine....Vyjack, Escape, Transparent is what I am thinking.  

01 Mar 2013 3:59 AM


“I do think that Revolutionary is very talented but I have to say that you forced my hand a bit with your over-the-top estimation of his current ability.”

By virtue of the above you also regard Mr. Haskin as being over the top due to the #1 ranking awarded to Revolutionary.

Overanalyze that you have ranked ahead of Revy, was beaten badly in two races. Two of Revolutionary’s three defeats were at distances far too short for him i.e., 5 1/2F & 6F. In his 3rd loss at the hands of Orb, he walked out of the gates. My Math is as bad as my English but I am able to calculate that in Revy's three losses the combined numbers of lengths were less than those by which Overanalyze beaten by Uncaptured in one of his two wide margin losses.

Revolutionary’s dam Runup The Colors was Gl winner that earned over $500K. Derby history reflects that a mare with this type of profile rarely produces the winner of the great race. However, there are major some major positive associated with this mare.

Her sire A P Indy has already been the dam sire of a Derby winner i.e., Super Saver. Slewacide another son of Seattle Slew is also on record as a the derby winning broodmare sire of Funny Cide.  These are positive bits of Derby history. Runup The Colors dam was Up The Flagpole who was also the dam of Prospectors Delite who was dam of 2003 HOY Mineshaft, millionaire Tomisue’s Delight and Flagbird champion Older Mare in England, Ireland, & Italy.

Prospectors Delite like Runup The Colors was a Gl winner. I am prepared to gamble that yet another daughter of Up The Flagpole has produced a champion that is likely to be the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner.

01 Mar 2013 9:09 AM

I'm wondering if Gulfstream have a real contender coming out of the Fla Derby like Big Brown and Barbaro. They have three excellent horses riding in the Fla Derby:  Itsmyluckyday, Orb, and Shanghai Bobby. Lucky is partially owned by the trainer's wife, Laurie Plesa (her brother John Servis trained Smarty Jones), I am sure she has learned quite a few lessons about running a horse in the Belmont.

I think that Baffert and Pletcher might have to fight over place and show in the Triple Crown.

01 Mar 2013 10:07 AM
Rusty Weisner


I've amended that and am probably taking Escapefromreality, not Vyjack, with the two Mclaughlin entries:

3,1 boxed

3,8 boxed


01 Mar 2013 11:11 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm very much in agreement.  Revolutionary has upside, and Overanalyze is already weak on paper.

01 Mar 2013 11:13 AM
Pedigree Ann

Two of the last 3 Triple Crown winners were homebreds, and the third was an inexpensive yearling by a first-year sire out of a Fair Grounds Oaks winner.

Spectacular Bid was by a good but late-maturing staying sort out of a SP Cal-bred. Sunday Silence was by an unfashionable but good stallion out of a SW and former claimer from an idiosyncratic breeding program in California. Both SB's and SS's sires had previously sired Kentucky Derby winners.

If you look at the sires of the last couple dozen Kentucky Derby winners, you will find that only a few were by stallions who were top or near-top of the sires' list at the time. As Cold Facts points out, G1-winning mares are not a good source for Derby winners, Grindstone being the only one. Two, Sea Hero and Sunday Silence, were out of G2 winners on turf. Lower level SWs, stakes-placed runners, solid multiple winners, unplaced and unraced mares are all represented, but winners predominate.

High-priced yearlings have only one representative, Fusaichi Pegasus. Of the last 10 Derby winners, 6 have been home-breds and the other 4 were sold as yearlings for $11,000, $9,500, $60,000, and $22,000. The early-maturing, fashionable stock may dominate the yearling sales, but the Derby is the province of a different sort of horse.

01 Mar 2013 11:47 AM


Yes I do believe that both yours and Steve's estimation of Revolutionary are over-the-top at this stage. I do appreciate his pedigree and talent but there are a few colts ahead of him right now.

01 Mar 2013 12:39 PM

My 2 cents on the Gotham.

12 horses entered.

1 has not broke his maiden

5 have won a maiden

1 won a 40K claimer

1 won a low stakes race.

Can any of these horses really step it up?

That leaves us with 4 horse and for me Overanalyze is in a no win situation.

If he wins he was suppose to even if by 10.

If he looses excuses will come out about wide trip getting pinched etc..

Their is a lot of speed here and he could get hung wide on both turns.

That being said it should be a 2 horse race Vyjack and Overanalyze.

Play is superfecta keying those 2 for win and place,with who ever you like for 3rd and 4th.

As we all know they run the race for a reason.

Good luck to all.

01 Mar 2013 1:03 PM
El Kabong


You are correct, PM did come out on ISAN's path twice. ISAN handled it just fine. Didn't shake, rattle or roll. I do like a horse with a cool demeanor under duress. Let's keep our  fingers crossed that this guy is what we think he is. I have to admit, I found Hard Spun at the FG and Friesan FIre and followed them both to the Derby, so I too have admit a soft spot for a horse who can perform down in the bayou even though I'm a long ways away!  It's all about the horse, but I do like horses that travel and perform. Remember, he doesn't have to win if you bet him right. He needs to hit the board and I really like his chances to do that at a price.

01 Mar 2013 1:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'm passing on the Gotham.  Overanalyze is too likely to break up my exactas, but I'm unwilling to bet him.

01 Mar 2013 1:45 PM

Good eye Mary I saw that as well.

01 Mar 2013 2:09 PM

Coldfacts I will take Elnaawi to finish higher than Now and Then in the Gotham.

01 Mar 2013 4:24 PM

Hard Spun ran at Arkansas and Turfway before his Derby start.Friesen Fire went directly to the Derby out of the Fairgrounds prep series I think, but didnt hit the board in the KD.Who was the last colt that only ran at the Fairgrounds preps that finished 1st or 2nd in the KD.History buffs get out the records.

01 Mar 2013 4:33 PM
Ted from LA

Hi Paula,

I think we're both good to go.  Gary Stevens winning the Derby would be fine with me.  I've seen him in the 3rd floor clubhouse several times on Oaks and Derby Day and he's always more than willing to give out his thoughts on races if asked.  Nice guy.  Which means he could finish last.  

01 Mar 2013 6:23 PM
El Kabong

Chief P,

Hard Spun's campaign began that year in FG in the LeComte. Winner. Looked good too, resulted in heavy favorite status in Southwest.  

Friesan was injured right out of the gate in the Derby. Tough break, but he ran his heart out for 8F's in pain.                        

01 Mar 2013 8:59 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from LA, yes Gary Stevens seems like a very nice guy. I hope he does well but my favorite will always be Mike Smith. Nice guys do finish first Ted, not to worry. ITA with the poster above who said MTB was not a fluke win in the Derby.

01 Mar 2013 11:00 PM

Coldfacts:  I, too, am impressed with Revolutionary.  However, at this stage I disagree that he is "likely" to win the 2013 KY Derby.  At this point, I think touting any horse as likely to win is premature.

02 Mar 2013 3:04 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Your knowledge deserves maximum respect. However, I find it interesting that you consider Halo unfashionable but good.  He sired the 1981 Champion 2YO Devils Bag.  Seth Hancock subsequently syndicated Devils Bag for a juvenile record $36 million. If Halo was deemed unfashionable, why did his Champion 2YO son attract so much interest in what was then a syndication record?

Two years after Devils Bag, Sunny’s Halo carried Halo’s genes to victory in the 1983 Kentucky Derby. I would have thought that by the time he sired Sunday Silence he would transition from unfashionable to fashionable.

Halo was sired by Hail To Reason who was the sire of 1967 Kentucky Derby winner Proud Clarion, Belmont Stakes winner Hail To All, Preakness winner and HOY, Personality. He also sires Stop The Music who sired Belmont winner Temperence Hill.  Hail to Reason was also a very successful broodmare sire whose daughters have produced more than one hundred stakes winners, including Reason to Earn, the dam of Bold Reasoning the sire of TC winner Seattle Slew.

Turn To the sire of Hail To Reason also sired First Landing who was the sire of Derby and Belmont winner Riva Ridge. Turn To also sired Sir Gaylord who was sire of Epsom Derby winner Sir Ivor.

Turn To’s  grand sire was Neacro who was also the grand sire of the great Northern Dancer

How can a stallion from this line be considered unfashionable?

02 Mar 2013 7:57 AM

Chief, Grindstone won the La. and Ky. Derbies.  He was a son of Unbridled, also a Ky. Derby winner.

Grindstone was also the sire of Belmont winner, Birdstone, and the grand sire of Ky. Derby winner, Mine That Bird and Belmont winner Summer Bird.

I still think the Gotham is Vyjack's race, and I think Transparent may see the light.

Love Game On Dude, but my heart is with Ron The Greek in the Big 'Cap.

02 Mar 2013 8:19 AM


Ground Transport:

I have review the video of his maiden victory and I came to a similar conclusion about him that I had about Proud Strike and My Lute. The colt is just not fast enough right now to be competitive in graded races.  

While it is always unwise to rush to judgment about these developing youngsters, he left no impression that he has the goods.

Amerigo Vespucci:

I know you are a big fan of this colt and he has certainly done enough to warrant your continued support. However, are you aware that he finished only 4L ahead of the maiden and second time starter Champion Boy in the Withers? Champion Boy has to return an improved colt for what will be his third start.  

Now and Then, Transparent and Elnaawi all recorded impressive MSW victories ahead of the Gotham. Now and Then easily defeated Champion Boy before his Withers effort.  

Using Champion Boy as measure, If Amerigo Vespucci was only able to beat him by 4L with his troubled and wide trip, it is unlikely that he will able to repel the challenges of the McLaughlin trio and others.

02 Mar 2013 8:44 AM
Rusty Weisner


Re: Louisiana -- Things can change from year to year.  We had a weak California circuit for most of a decade until last year produced monsters.  I have the same prejudice against Louisiana races that you do, but I'm keeping an open mind -- above all, I'm entertaining the possibility that these horses didn't run their best races on that surface, or in that stretch, and could bounce out with big efforts elsewhere -- even if the Louisiana Derby itself doesn't translate into Derby success.  And for that pattern other commenters can provide plenty of examples.

02 Mar 2013 8:55 AM
Rusty Weisner


My agonizing continues.  Because I feel like I should put my money where my mouth is, and because it's hard for me to pass on a race I've handicapped I'm making this bet:

$18 WPS Escapefromreality

This doesn't require me to make a decision on Overanalyze, no do I have to decide which of the McLaughlin entries to pick.  I don't think both Escapefromreality and Vyjack can hit the tri, so I'm staking on the former.  In any case, those exactas I picked earlier depended on beating both Overanalyze and Vyjack, and I'm not willing to to do that.

But because I can't help myself, and because I tend to split the baby, I'll put the remaining $6 of my budget on:

3,8,11 boxed tri.

02 Mar 2013 10:04 AM

Chief Piccawinna, Grindstone won the Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby in 1996.

02 Mar 2013 10:36 AM

El Kabong and Johnny, thank you and I'm happy that you both reviewed the race and agree with me.  El Kabong, I love Freisan Fire and really thought that he would win the Derby. I don't think he was the morning line favorite to win it, but I think he was the post time favorite.  I'm going to the Fair Grounds next week to watch I've Struck a Nerve work.

02 Mar 2013 10:42 AM

I must admit that Revolutionary has a spectacular pedigree, and his works are great, so he must be watched along with I've Struck a Nerve.

02 Mar 2013 10:52 AM

I thought Itsmyluckyday was #1

02 Mar 2013 1:10 PM


I noticed top-10 Keeneland sales yearlings were not represented on anyone's Derby trail, and upon checking found they were also not represented in anyone's winning circle.

There are ways to rationalize this, but none of them disprove the thesis that breeding for sales and breeding to race are significantly different goals.

02 Mar 2013 1:17 PM

For instance, sales preparation methods (steroids, e.g.) might compromise young horses. They look mature and ready to start training at the expense of BEING mature and ready to start training.

Just speculating. And comparing muscle development with horses I know were grass-oats-hay reared.

02 Mar 2013 1:28 PM


I took your advice and watched the replays of, you say, Revolutionary getting left at the post. Here's what I saw.

First start: Rev is post #3. #1 broke sideways, charged #2, drove #2 off R's shoulder and past him to crash into #4, at which point #7, the eventual winner, took advantage of this pileup to cut across in front of the field, closing the door.

2nd start: Rev #9, #8 breaks outward and falls to his knees under R's nose.

Race #3: Rev breaks a little warily.

Race #4: Rev breaks perfectly.

Race #5: (Withers) Rev is #4, #2 falls on his head but doesn't hit Rev or roll under his feet. Rev is pinched pack but not impeded. From his run through the pack, he has not been intimidated by all these threatening events around him.

I see Valasquez, a consummate horseman, schooling him to keep his cool, find his stride, "never mind them just leave them behind."

I see him mustering a brilliant burst after chasing a sprint pace. What he hasn't shown me yet is how long he can sustain that move off the moderate pace he's apt to meet going a distance. Orb has shown me this ability. Rev, not yet.

02 Mar 2013 4:39 PM

Vyjack------great closing kick in the Gotham. I like the fact that he's a gelding and already has banked close to a 1/2 million.It would be nice if this horse turns out to be a real good one and stays around a while.

02 Mar 2013 6:47 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Uncapture will be a hope to some broodmare sires historians,but the difference between him and i will have another is from the earth to the moon, i will have another broodmare sire is Arch and Uncaptured broodmare sire is Arch,the second dam of I Will Have Another is by stamina chef de race Vaguely Noble and Uncapture 2d dam is by Bold Ruckus,this is with out mesuring what their sires did at 10 furlongs,do you think i have a valid point?.

02 Mar 2013 7:54 PM

Well, I think we've got a new addition to the Derby Dozen after Vyjack showed a new dimension coming from way off of the pace to win the Gotham impressively.  His pedigree may not scream 1-1/4, but he was certainly motoring in the stretch and showed every indication he can go further.  He's a gelding which until recently would say mean winning the biggest 3-year old stakes race in America is unlikely, but Funny Cide, and more recently, Mine That Bird have dispelled that notion.  I'll be interested to see Steve's new list on Monday.

02 Mar 2013 8:53 PM

Glad to see Uncaptured's connections went with the Spiral for his next race.  Initially, they were looking at the Rushaway which did not have points.  If he wins the Spiral, all he needs to do is hit the board in the Bluegrass to make it.

03 Mar 2013 12:37 AM


“I don't know which one TP regards as his best but from what I've been able to evaluate, Overanalyze and Verrazano are the top two in his barn.”

Overanalyze finished a creditable 5th and was not disgraced. His rider specified that he had no kick in the stretch but showed fight. He probably needed the race.  

While the colt has scope for  improvement and can rebound, I cannot see what made you so high on him. Very early in the DD process you made your usual wild declaration that he was the best colt on the Derby Trail. Despite cold facts presented to the contrary, your resolve regarding him remained unshakable. What the status of you resolve? Probably in Union Rags!

Is it too early to ask if you still think Overanalyze is supersedes Revolutionary in stable status?

Well, on to the Tampa Bay Derby. Let’s hope Verrazano can lands the first major Derby prep of 2013 for Team Pletcher. In a recent interview he spoke about his deep bench. Mr. Haskin in a recent Blog equated his long list of colts to an army. Is this an army comprised of paper soldiers?  On paper these soldiers tower over their opponents. However, on the field of battle they are meeting more than worthy adversaries and one by one they are going down to defeat. The story is unfolding on script.

Not to worry Revolutionary will be the Super Saver.

03 Mar 2013 7:52 AM

Saw the strangest run from I O Ireland in HerecomestheBride Stakes.  Going for the wire, some great horses lower the head parallel to the track and reach for the wire. Sea The Stars and AP Indy both had that style.

Ireland was running in the lead, and lowered her head so low, I thought she'd step on it.  It looked as though she was trying to blow on her toenails to dry the the polish.  Very odd style, and asking for a bad trip.  Needless to say, she dropped back.

03 Mar 2013 9:18 AM
Rusty Weisner

Fugue for Tinhorns,

Well done.  I hope you cashed in, even if your horse wrought havoc on half the field.

Note to self:  don't bet on Aqeduct preps.

Vyjack's makes Goldencents worth a second look vs. Flashback.

03 Mar 2013 10:08 AM
Pedigree Ann

"There was one horse who had a dismal 2 year old year, never won a race.  When he entered the Derby, he was still a maiden. He broke his maiden in the Kentucky Derby.  He won the Preakness 4 days later, then captured the Withers, followed by the Belmont in June.  It was 1919, and his name was Sir Barton, our first Triple Crown hero."

Have to disagree with you here, Slew. Sir Barton's 2yo season was NOT 'dismal.' In a typical move of trainers in those days, he was deliberately entered over his head (stakes or open races-vs older horses! yes, they did that!) to get fitness and an education, so that he could get the sizable weight allowance for maidens in THE Futurity at Belmont, the race with the largest purse in North America, 3 or 4 times larger than that of any other race. And they nearly pulled off the coup, as Sir Barton finished second, carrying 10 less than the winner. Third was the "Adonis of the Turf," Purchase, who became a powerhouse at 3.

Moreover, there was no Triple Crown as we know it in 1919. The Preakness was a 9f handicap, not a classic; it didn't even become a scale-weight race until 1924. It was only in the 1930s that a Triple Crown including the 3 races it does today came to be acknowledged. And many trainers and owners still preferred to aim for the races of the New York Triple Crown - the Withers, Belmont, and Realization.

03 Mar 2013 6:57 PM
Pedigree Ann

Chief P -

Until recently, there was too much time after the Louisiana Derby for the horses not to need a run before the Kentucky Derby. LA Derby was usually run in early March or thereabouts, so that horses who ran in it would usually run in the Arkansas Derby or the Blue Grass afterwards to stay sharp and fit.

It is only in the last decade or so that horses have come into the Derby off of a 2-month (8-week) layoff. And less than that since FG's management moved the LA Derby to later in the meet.

03 Mar 2013 7:28 PM

Nothing surprised me in the Gothom!! The Wood is a whole new ball game though. Am really looking forward to Flashback's return on the week-end.

Perhaps, that Sunday Silence had to find a stud in Japan answers the question on Halo's fashionale(ness). Precocity drives the fashionablity of a sire more than most things.

04 Mar 2013 1:25 AM

Pedigree Ann I am aware of that, but I still think that the Fairgrounds meet does not attract the same quality of 3yos that it once did.Regarding California form, in 2009 Pioneer of the Nile ran harder than Mine that Bird to get 2nd in the Derby, which to me means California form has no question marks(1st or 2nd).I know about Grindstone, I had the winning ticket in that Derby but how many years ago was that?,back then you had trainers that focus on the triple crown sending a string there like D wayne Lucas and others,nowadays L Jones is one of the only trainers that is known to do well with 3yos and focus on the Derby still uses Fairgrounds as his winter base.I know there are others like Assmussen,but he has horses all over the country, and the world.The racing quality for the 3yo series at Fairgrounds is not the same.I wouldnt be surprised if this year they break the drought,but all of us have to make decisions, and I have not seen anything yet that would make me regard the Fairgrounds 3yo prep series any different this year.

04 Mar 2013 7:34 AM

This saturday should be very interesting---Verrazano in the Tampa Bay Derby and Flashback in the San Felipe.

04 Mar 2013 10:28 AM
Forbidden Apple


Wow, what a rough prep race for your boy Pletcher. Overanalyze, another overbet average horse. With Violence out, it looks more and more like Revolutionary is his best soldier in the barn.

04 Mar 2013 10:44 AM
Pedigree Ann

I was around then, Coldfacts.

Halo's sire Hail to Reason was respected but not fashionable in that his yearlings didn't bring top dollar.

Halo had made his name as a turfer here in the States and demand for him was so low that he was originally sold to Britain for stud duty. But the Brits turned him back because he was a cribber. Another strike against.

Halo sired some top horses, but for the most part his success was connected with Canada or overseas.

Devil's Bag was an EP Taylor-bred, dropped in MD because Windfields South was there. His sister Glorious Song was Horse of the Year in Canada before she was a US champion. Sunny's Halo was Canadian-bred.

Devil's Bag was an atypical Halo in that he matured early enough to be a 2yo champion. Few other Halos were that good as juveniles in the USA. (In Canada and in France, yes but not here.) It was his prowess at 2 that got him his high syndication value. You wouldn't believe some of the horses who were syndicate for monster amounts in the 1980s.

And perhaps most of all, Halo got ugly yearlings. All legs and angles, front end not matching rear end in development, that sort of thing. No amount of sales prep was going to make them look like finished 2yos, as the others did. Devil's Bag was probably the exception because he sold well. But otherwise....,

Looking back, we can see that Halo was an important sire, but it wasn't obvious then. Raise a Native and his sons were eclipsed by Northern Dancer and Vaguely Noble in the 1970s in terms of fashionability. Things look different now.

04 Mar 2013 11:15 AM

Pedigree Ann: I believe it was Charles Hatton who first coined the term "Triple Crown" (to save typing out the names of the races over and over)in the 1930's, but the title was formalized in 1950, (by turf writers) and Sir Barton was retroactively awarded the trophy as our first Triple Crown winner.

But the term existed long before.

England's Triple Crown began in 1853 with West Australian's win in the 2000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby, and the St Leger.

My point was that sir Barton had not won a race and was still a maiden when he entered the Kentucky Derby.  He was actually entered into the Derby as a rabbit for the "star" of the stables Billy Kelly, with instructions to run Sir Barton as fast and as far as possible.  Kelly came in 2nd behind Sir Barton who took the Preakness 4 days later, then the Withers at Belmont, and then the Belmont itself on June 11th.

(Sir Barton's losses at 2 were ascribed to very tender and sore feet with very thin outer shells, and special care had to be taken in shoeing which was done only with felt.)

04 Mar 2013 7:04 PM

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