Derby Dozen - April 2, 2013 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Revolutionary Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

After several flips of the coin, finally decided to make him No. 1 slightly over Orb, mainly because he was my last No. 1 (Feb. 26) before Itsmyluckyday, and he won having to travel and run over a new track and beating a deeper field. You have to admire his determination and will to win and his ability to beat you in many ways. He’s already shown in his maiden win he can blow you away, and in the Withers and Louisiana Derby he showed he can beat you from anywhere – close up or far back -- and he can bull his way between horses or go seven wide, as he did around the entire far turn in the Louisiana Derby. He looked to be in danger when Mylute came charging up on his outside, but dug in and repelled the challenge and then galloped out well clear of the field. Considering he hadn’t run in eight weeks, this was an excellent Derby prep. It must be noted, however, the time did not compare too well with the other big races on the card and his 93 Beyer was well below the others. But he’s already run a 102 Beyer and is heading back towards that, and I don’t think this colt has gotten a chance to show his very best. That could come on May 4.


Orb Shug McGaughey

Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

Everything about him and his connections spells tradition, and you have to feel that’s not going to escape the Derby gods. It’s pretty remarkable how much this colt has improved since arriving in Florida, and it’s even more remarkable that he keeps moving forward with each victory, which now has reached four straight. And you can bet McGaughey has left even more in the tank and won’t have him peaking until May 4. The one downside is that he ran 10 lengths slower than Dreaming of Julia’s freaky performance in the Gulfstream Oaks (17-point Beyer difference) and four lengths slower than the Rampart. Also, the 29-1 and 103-1 shots that were battling on the lead finished third and fourth, which makes you wonder how good the horses were behind them. But despite all that, he did run right by a very talented horse and drew off with authority. This colt can be placed anywhere on the track and still close, and if you look at his last four wins, he runs only as fast as he has to. As a traditionalist, it’s hard not to root for Shug, Janney, and the Phippses. It’s been a long time coming.


Verrazano Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

Still want to see him step up in company and see what he’s capable of against classy and proven stakes horses, and most important, see if he can settle off the pace and come home. As stablemate Shanghai Bobby showed, until these brilliant pace horses actually are put in that position, you don’t know how they’ll handle it. He’s already in the Derby, so, with only three career starts, this is the time to actually prepare him for the race and get him battle-tested. On the other hand, in some ways you’d like to see someone show some superstar potential in these big stakes, and he’s the most logical one to step up and assert himself as something special.


Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez

Into Mischief —Life Happened, by Stravinsky

After his last two works – 5f in :59 and 6f in 1:12 3/5 – you know he’s going to be sharp and fit for the Wood Memorial. Perhaps he will be the potential superstar who emerges from the race. He certainly would be if he can beat Verrazano and several other classy horses that are expected to run. Until a horse is beaten, you never know how high his ceiling is. Let’s just hope all this stuff going on with Rodriguez doesn’t become a distraction that would take away from this horse’s accomplishments. We’ve been down this road before on the Derby trail.


Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. Click Here!

Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court

He had a perfect trip in the Florida Derby and had every chance to win, but simply was outrun by Orb. Smart move by Trujillo to push on at the five-sixteenths pole and try to get the jump on Orb, but he was no match for the winner. There have always been some doubts about his distance capabilities, but he just may have needed the race after a layoff. After all, he had run two monster figures on Thoro-Graph this year, both negative numbers, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that he regressed a bit. This should ultimately help him in the Derby and put him on an upward swing again. We still have no idea how far his natural ability will carry him, but he obviously must improve off this race if he’s going to compete with natural 10-furlong horses like Orb and Revolutionary.


Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Click Here!

Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy

Breezed a slow six furlongs in 1:16 for Arkansas Derby. When you think about it, it’s difficult to assess the merits of the Fair Grounds and Oaklawn horses. They have been inconsistent all winter, but he at least has had excuses for his defeats and got a lot out of them. And he has shown the ability to demolish his opposition, as long ago as the LeComte seems. Looking forward to seeing what he does with a good post and a good trip. At least you know he has the pedigree to get the mile and a quarters with no problem.


Hear the Ghost Jerry Hollendorfer Click Here!

Ghostzapper—Rehear, by Coronado's Quest

With no one blowing me away this past weekend, I actually considered moving him up into the Top 3, but his lack of racing experience and foundation prevented me from doing so. If, however, he should exhibit that same explosive burst of speed in the Santa Anita Derby, he no doubt would catapult up near or at the top. This no doubt is an enormously talented horse and you don’t normally see horses do what he’s done in his three career starts, but again, the key is three career starts, two of which were at six furlongs. He, like Verrazano, could prove to be something special, but he can expect a much better performance this time from Flashback, who should be tougher to run down, assuming he learns from the San Felipe.


Flashback Bob Baffert Click Here!

Tapit—Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley

He is going into the Santa Anita Derby in much the same situation as Verrazano in that he needs to rate off the pace and come home, and also get enough of a gut check to overcome his lack of racing experience. He got battle-tested in the San Felipe and just needs to take it a step farther and show he can win under fire. We’ll also see how well he stretches out to 1 1/8 miles. We need some indication he’ll be able to handle 10 furlongs on the first Saturday in May. We might have had that indication had he not been taken off the rail and hooking up with Goldencents in a speed duel in the San Felipe.


Elnaawi Kiaran McLaughlinClick Here!

Street Sense—Pilfer, by Deputy Minister

If you want a more detailed reason why he’s on here prior to the Wood Memorial, you’ll have to read my accompanying column. His third in the Gotham was an excellent effort for a young inexperienced colt, who should only keep improving. He just needs a better trip this time, and definitely should appreciate the return to the main track. The column will break down his Gotham and detail his pedigree.


Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Click Here!

Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor

This colt means business. He threw in his second straight bullet work (a half in :47 4/5) and third straight brilliant work, as he sharpens for his big test in the Wood Memorial. He will have to overcome Verrazano, Vyjack, and a big field and find a way to get first or second. But if he does make it into the Derby, watch out. He will be very dangerous. Brown has him razor sharp and he’ll be running on a track he likes. The big question is the trip, especially after all the trouble he found in the Risen Star. He likes to come from far out of it, so he will need luck just to put himself in position to snatch first or second from the two undefeated favorites.


Rydilluc Gary ContessaClick Here!

Medaglia d'Oro—Swift and Classy, by Clever Trick

What the heck, I’ve been pushing this horse for so many weeks, it’s time to put him on here, even though he still has so many questions to answer. Sometimes, a horse just hits you smack on the head and you feel as if you’re watching something special. Well, this is such a horse, but how that is going to equate to Polytrack and then dirt, who knows? For now, let’s just put him on here based on pure speculation in case he somehow can find his way into the Derby field.


Will Take Charge D. Wayne Lukas

Unbridled’s Song —Take Charge Lady, by Dehere

Breezed a half in :49 1/5 as he prepares for a freebee in the Blue Grass Stakes. Even if he doesn’t hit the board, you can be sure he will be in the Derby, because the Blue Grass provides you with an instant he-didn’t like-the-Polytrack excuse, and Lukas will use, even though he’s already over it. We’ll see how that big stride takes to it going 1 1/8 miles.

Knocking At The Door

No one has ever said racing was fair, and that was never more evident while watching poor PALACE MALICE trapped helplessly behind two speed horses who were going nowhere, while Edgar Prado was pulling back and throttling down a horse who looked ready to bust the Louisiana Derby wide open from the three-eighths pole to the quarter pole. Then it went from bad to worse after Prado took him out looking for running room. He still looked like the winner if only he could make it to and through a hole that be was beginning to open. But just as he was about to go for it, Code West came in and bumped him soundly, knocking him right back where he was, behind horses going nowhere. He in turn knocked into SUNBEAN, who was trying to sneak through on the inside, forcing him into the rail. Palace Malice now was a beaten horse with absolutely nowhere to run. Prado did see a slight opening on the rail and went for it, hoping maybe to pick up a little piece of it late, but that also closed up, and he was forced to come back out. Still stuck in traffic, he just went through the motions after that, finishing seventh, beaten 7 1/4 lengths.

The more I watch the race and see the how well Palace Malice was moving on the far turn without being asked, the more I’m convinced he would have won, possibly convincingly, had he been able to continue his run. And I believe he still would have won had he made it to and through that opening at the three-sixteenths pole. But it wasn’t meant to be, and now comes the decision, do you wheel him back in two weeks and hope he can Polytrack his way into the Derby? That’s not Pletcher’s style, but Cot Campbell has to be tempted to give it a try. The horse certainly deserves the chance if he's up to the quick turnaround.

Louisiana Derby runner-up MYLUTE, who looked to have Revolutionary measured inside the eighth pole, ran a much improved race without blinkers for the first time following his decent effort in the Risen Star, and he should be able to build on that in the Kentucky Derby. His neck defeat is the type of prep race that wins a lot of Derbys (see Silver Charm, Funny Cide, Go for Gin, Street Sense, Super Saver, Grindstone, Lil E. Tee, and Real Quiet et al), in which the prep race runner-up has something to build on. It was between him and Rydilluc for that final open spot, and I just decided to go unconventional. I have him ranked No. 13 right now and wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Top 12 in the next week or two.

The other Derby horse to emerge over the weekend was UAE Derby winner LINES OF BATTLE, who will be yet another Aidan O’Brien horse to try the Derby. The time was extremely slow, but he should get a great deal of fitness and bottom from the race, and I loved the way he found another gear late and drew clear of the runner-up after being challenged from the inside. Of all the horses O’Brien has sent to Churchill, this colt looks to have the best shot of making his presence felt. His female family is dynamite, and not only is it loaded with dirt influences, he traces to the same mare as Wood Memorial hopeful Elnaawi, and that is the Darby Dan Blue Hen Golden Trail (see the column on Elnaawi). Don’t overlook this colt, who will be in the Top 12 as well in the weeks to come. He made a handsome presence in Dubai and carries himself like a good horse.

Arkansas Derby Watch: Do not forget about OVERANALYZE, despite his disappointing effort in the Gotham. This horse has yet to put together two big races, although he gets a pass for his well-beaten Iroquois third, due to a terrible trip and a questionable ride. He’s bounced back from dull efforts before and his “3 3/4” Thoro-Graph figure in the Gotham actually wasn’t bad at all and allows him room for improvement. Asking a 2-year-old to go 1 1/8 miles is a tough assignment, especially if they’re involved in a gut-wrencher as he was. You had to figure it would take him and Normandy Invasion, and Delhomme a race to get back to their best. Delhomme was eased in his return, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion improve big-time in their second start.

Last week, I wrote a column on 100-year-old John Nerud's influence on this this year's Derby trail. Well, Nerud came within a neck of sweeping the three big stakes this past weekend. Florida Derby winner Orb, UAE Derby winner Lines of Battle, and Louisiana Derby runner-up My Lute all have the Nerud-bred Fappiano in their pedigree through Unbridled, Quiet American, or Rubiano. And this weekend, Nerud has Verrazano, Normandy Invasion. and Mr. Palmer in the Wood Memorial and Flashback and Super Ninety Nine inthe Santa Anita Derby. Two weeks ago, he was represented by Govenor Charlie, winner of the Sunland Derby in track-record time. The week before that, he had Rebel Stakes winner Will Take Charge. This is quite a legacy he is leaving.


Leave a Comment:

Mike from Michigan

Let me pre-empt my comments by saying I am a big Edgar Prado fan, always have been.  That being said, I just don't understand Edgar's ride on Palace Malice in the LA Derby.  He had tons of horse just itchin' to run and absolutely nowhere to go.  Such a shame this horse probably won't make the Derby, because I think he would have had a BIG chance to win the roses.  Just my opinion for what it's worth.

01 Apr 2013 7:18 PM

I agree with you on Itsmyluckyday, I think he might have needed that race or simply is not good enough to beat Orb. I'll see how he progresses to derby day, he'll be a square price.  

Orb is my #1, I can't help but to love this colt, he's done everything against the grain of the track, he was also sweating like a pig in the Florida Derby and still managed to win easily. If he can really put it all together in the Derby, he'll be the one to beat.

I like revolutionary, especially his pedigree, speed on top, stamina on bottom, and I love War Pass. However, I don't think Revolutionary beat much, he did, however, have 2 races but his experience would seem like 4 races this year. Orb beat a champ and a track record holder, granted either could be suspect at 8F, but it's better than what Revolutionary beat.  

01 Apr 2013 7:34 PM

I agree 100% with your assessment of Palace Malice, which is one reason the 20 horse field is a poor idea for the Kentucky Derby.

Hope they don't rush him back just to try to get into the gate, and instead look toward the Preakness and Belmont.

01 Apr 2013 7:37 PM

@Mike from Michigan - how do you suggest Prado should have gotten past that wall of horses?   Over top?  He looked inside, and it closed, outside and got shoved back.  Not Prado's fault, just bad racing luck.

So why does that make Revolutionary #1 when arguably the best horse on the track was prevented a run.  I'd have given #1 to Orb, since he and he alone beat the previous #1.

01 Apr 2013 7:40 PM

The more I watch these preps the less impressed I am. Orb was just solid. Palace Malice wins the LA Derby over Haskin #1 with ease if he gets through. Unless Verrazano is a superstar, this is wide open. A horse like Elnaawi or maybe Power Broker but someone other than the usual top ranked horse is going to win this thing. This is the year somebody off the radar is going to win this thing.

01 Apr 2013 7:49 PM
Scott's Rail

Because of work (sic) I really haven't had the time to delve into the current run up to the KD.   but I do make time to check out Steve's derby columns. Besides Steve's on point writing, the other members of highly intellectual followers keep me more than informed.(Thanx) Haven't got the feeling like last year yet on a under the radar type horse IHA (Thanx) but keeping an open mind that I might find one.  Leaned a little on My Lute but gave up on Revolutionary.  Do think the west coast horses are much ado about not much.  But it's still early...Thanxs again Aka Scott's Cause

01 Apr 2013 7:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Kevin, if you've read the entire column you'll know Revolutionary only is my #1 because of what happened to Palace Malice. I said in my opinion he was going to win and if he had he would have been #1 for sure.

01 Apr 2013 7:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Outstanding analysis Steve. That was one weird trip for Palace Malice and he sure got slammed just as he was seemingly about to make a big move. They have already talked about bringing him back in two weeks to try to get the points to get in. I am one that is convinced he has the talent to make a Derby impact if he gets in. They said he might be able to make the quick turnaround in two weeks because the race didn't take that much out of him. I'm not too sure about that. Looked like a fairly taxing trip, but if he is strong enough I'd like to see him get a chance. Revolutionary is number one for me at this point because he is the most battle tested winner, has a great pedigree and a 10f stride. Obviously a case could be made for Orb also. I thought the LA Derby was the stronger race. A bunch on the the list will show us this next weekend if they belong. I am most excited about seeing what Elnaawi can do who I like very much.

01 Apr 2013 8:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm forcing myself to go with a regular dozen instead of the baker's dozen. I had Departing on my list but I don't think he'll get in so he's out.

1. Revolutionary

2. Hear the Ghost

3. Orb

4. Oxbow

5. Verrazano

6. Lines of Battle

7. Elnaawi

8. Java's War

9. Itsmyluckyday

10. Vyjack

11. Mylute

12. Normandy Invasion

  I think that Flashback could win the SA Derby and still not be in my top ten, maybe 11th or 12th. Itsmyluckyday needed the race and I still give him a shot for the Derby win but I'm not quite as impressed as I was and had to drop him down quite a bit.

01 Apr 2013 8:19 PM

I was impressed with Revolutionary considering how far he ran to get to the wire.  I also thought Departing ran a respectable race & could have been there at the wire with a little better trip.

Orb is very impressive.  He followed a slow pace so he should get some slack as it compares to Dreaming of Julia. He did what he had to.  I think Itsmyluckyday will move forward off of this race & improve.  The Wood is going to be a great race with winner being a horse with a lot metal.  It's going to be battle.  

Lets hope Palace Malice finds a way in the gate.  

Top 5 are Orb, Revolutionary, Hear the Ghost, Verrazano, Vyjack with Normandy Invasion about to break out.  

01 Apr 2013 8:22 PM

As for Mylute, I've been following this horse since the Jean Lafitte. He has a lot of talent and I have been... discouraged, but your never mentioning him. He was a fantastic two year old, completing sweeping, audacious moves and circling the field yet he cannot run inside of horses and give a rally. He must go wide. I am glad he is finally accepted into your list, but I think this may have been the wrong time to do that.

He's an amazing horse, but if he doesn't break from post 15+, I don't expect him to win. But, should luck find him closing 8w, throw out your tickets because he'll hit the exacta.

Have a good day.

01 Apr 2013 8:34 PM

Great weekend of racing:

Steve:After his last two works – 5f in :59 and 6f in 1:12 3/5 – you know he’s going to be sharp and fit for the Wood Memorial. Perhaps he will be the potential superstar who emerges from the race.

Steve I have been saying that for weeks now.

This is the horse that may be the freak.

3-1 in the Wood maybe?

Love Orb don't like him getting worked up in the paddock. More so who is his jock?

Will take charge round out my top 3

01 Apr 2013 8:34 PM

steve- i checked out track equalization charts for fairgrounds and gulfstream (routes). revolutionary would have beaten orb by more than 10 lengths since gulfsteam's route rating is 93 and fairgrounds rating is a punishing 81.mylute deserves an ataboy too!

01 Apr 2013 8:44 PM


You just can't pull the trigger and make Orb #1 can you?  He beats your #1 from last week and still gets no love.  What does this horse have to do to convince you he is  the best 3 year old in the country.  First, he wasn't fast enough, second he won the FOY because of a fast pace, now he's still not fast enough.  Crazy!

Orb is the obvious #1.  Remember this is the "Derby" list.  There are is other horse better for the Derby than Orb including Verrazano and Revolutionary.  Revolutionary ran a great race Saturday but he still has gate problems and he has no chance in the Derby breaking that way.  

01 Apr 2013 8:46 PM
Uncle Smiley


Can we be looking at a change of rider scenario?

O'Brien's Lines of Battle, for example might present such an opportunity.

With Shanghai  Bobby out of the Race for the Roses, I can think of one exceptionally high quality rider that is available.


01 Apr 2013 8:48 PM
It aint easy being good!

I do like revolutionary and think he was very game in the LA derby. Its very difficult to ship and beat 14 horses on a track that is not your hometown. Revolutionary has a great shot on Derby day and whoever Johnny V doesnt ride you can toss that horse! Revolutionary ran a faster time then Orb did. Revolutionary is a fighter and feel like he could of ran another 3 furlongs if needed. My lute wasnt getting by him at all. Also Revolutionary beat some solid horses in departing, code west and palace! I feel like there is an explosive performance coming there always is!

01 Apr 2013 8:53 PM
Nicholas Costa

Hi Steve. Orb reinforced my confidence in him– and if anything has made me more confident in his ability. In the Fla Derby, Johnny V had him much closer to a MUCH softer pace than he ran into during the FOY, which I think makes Orb that much more dangerous. He showed that he doesn’t have to be coming from miles away to have a great chance to win. To me, the most impressive thing about his race was the kick he showed in the final 1/16 of a mile, giving every indication that he would LOVE more track. The Kentucky Derby is all about staying power, and Orb is demonstrating that he has it. I don’t believe Shug even had him that cranked up for the Fla Derby…if he stays sound and healthy for the next five weeks – look out

01 Apr 2013 8:57 PM

steve-still looking for a horse that can wire this derby field of great closers. any thoughts? i see a logjam coming on the far turn.

01 Apr 2013 9:05 PM

I think Verazzano is a stand out and everyone else is running for 2d.  

Looking at Hear the Ghost, Vyjack, Orb, Revolutionary, Uncaptured and Oxbow as ones who can fill out exotics.  Assuming of course they make the field.    

01 Apr 2013 9:07 PM
Kenny G

In my opinion the forgotten horse

in all of this is Java's War. His race at Tampa was fantastic considering it was coming off a three and a half month layoff. He spotted the field several lengths at the break and was checked in the middle of his big run. The 96 Beyer he earned is as good or better than most of the top contenders and his pedigree is loaded with stamina on his dam's side. If this colt gets the points he needs in the Blue Grass I think he will be very dangerous on Derby day at a big price!

01 Apr 2013 9:13 PM

Neither Revolutionary or Palace Malice had a good trip in the La. Derby.  Revolutionary broke badly from the gate, went 8 wide to win.  Palace Malice got bottled up. Revolutionary always finds trouble, but in spite of it all, a great horse finds a way to win.  Actually, I am not a big Pletcher fan, nor a Castellano fan, but the horse, I love.

Revolutionary has a fantastic pedigree; he should be able to run all day long.

01 Apr 2013 9:19 PM

Don't see Revolutionary as #1. He just beat Mylute by a neck. This years 3 yo's look like a bunch of nice looking average horses. Possibly Orb, Verrazone, or Vyjack might step up. But nothing outstanding. Possibly someone from Calif.

01 Apr 2013 9:22 PM

josh, what do you mean "suspect at 8 furlongs".  Explain, please.

01 Apr 2013 9:26 PM

Sorry, but the only race that Palace Malice has won is a maiden race.  Nice horse, but I would not attempt another race before the derby.

01 Apr 2013 9:31 PM
mike brown

Watched the replay carefully - don't think Palice Malice would have come close to winning - might have gotten 3rd - IMO - THERE WAS AN OPENING AT THE TOP OF THE STRETCH FOR AN INSTANT BUT THE HORSE DOESN'T HAVE THE "ZIP" TO GO THROUGH.

01 Apr 2013 9:36 PM
Kyle S.

Steve, this is the second week in a row I've not seen any mention of a horse I'm particularly high on, War Academy.  I thinks he's going to be tough to handle at Oaklawn, in part because of a potentially mediocre field lining up, but also because I believe his breeding and connections make him a top contender.  Just wondering what your thoughts are.

01 Apr 2013 9:37 PM

I find it strange that those who were "frothing at the fingertips" with the facts, figures, and whatnot are strangely silent today.

01 Apr 2013 9:42 PM

It's a shame that due to the new rules the horse that ran 10 lengths faster than the likely derby favorite can't even make the Derby.  But hopefully Dreaming of Julia will destroy them in the Oaks and get a chance in the Belmont.

01 Apr 2013 9:43 PM
El Kabong

Steve, great list.

I would only replace two off that list with two that will be running in the Bluegrass against your Rydilluc, so my speculation isn't any better than yours that's for sure. Rydilluc will have to prove me wrong against Uncaptured and Java's War. I have a better read on both of them getting it done in the Bluegrass than I do a turf horse who has not proven himself on Synthetic. Normandy Invasion is a good horse but he faces very stiff competition, needs to finish 1 or 2nd against 3 horses I believe are better  and stand in the way. The favs and the above mentioned Elnaawi, combined with my suspicion that the Boston Harbor blend won't help are reason I would leave a fine horse like Normandy Invasion off the dozen. But we agree on 10 of 12 and I carry only 8 into my final betting structure for supers so some tough X's and O's to come. Looking forward to both races this weekend. It's shaping up very well so far and I credit the Point System for allowing the best so far this year and the best that emerge in the next two weeks. Even if my two Bluegrass Derby favorites fail to fire. We are in for a real fine race with legitimate contenders, no one turn sprinter offenders or has been 2 year old pretenders. Fiat justitia ruat caelum! Let justice be done though the sky(heavens, if you must) fall.

01 Apr 2013 10:28 PM
Fran Loszynski

I agree with you Steve about Normandy Invasion He has three wicked things going for him..He has Tapit A.P. Indy and Unbridled I believe in his lineage...and the killer instinct. A racehorse who has that doesn't run with the pack...he leaves the competition behind him A train coming around the bend snorting and weaving Gainesway/Tapit Go Go Go

01 Apr 2013 10:32 PM

Fiashback, Normandy Invasion and Rydilluc are all products of stallion that bred 170 mares and over in 2009. Based on record that I have been keeping these colts are longshot to make the Derby field and if they do they will be non-factors.

I really hope they all make the Derby field and one wins thus allowing me to dispose of my records.

Giant’s Causeway and Medaglia d’Oro bred 194 mares each in 2009. Giant’s Causeway has one serious horse on the Derby Trail without any points (War Academy). Medaglia d’Oro has one serious horse on the Derby Trail who might have the requisite amount to points to make the Derby field (Dan’s Legacy).  Rydilluc is unlikely to make the field.

I cannot see Rydilluc winning the Bluegrass. It is not a race in which he will be allowed to crawl on the front end and then explode home. He will be under pressure to keep pace with Footbridge and other fast colts.  

01 Apr 2013 10:37 PM
El Kabong

Hats off to Bob Baffert

Steve, I just read the article on Power Broker. In it, Baffert takes full credit for giving bad instructions to his Jockey, Bejarano. That's credibility. Few people who are in a position where they don't have to admit mistakes do despite their position. I admire that type of candor, it speaks volumes for a man in his position and it is rare. Had to toss that in to this discussion if for no other reason than to underscore one of the people in this industry who put cards on the table, even if it means an admission of error. That said, I enjoyed Barry's remarks about Rosario's efforts just as much.

01 Apr 2013 10:51 PM

The decision on the #1 slot should not have necessitated several coin flips. Revolutionary is the more impressive of the two colts.

I have like Orb from the first time I saw his 3rd place finish to Violence at Saratoga.

I was extremely impressed with Revolutionary when he broke his maiden. On a track not known for fast 8Fs, Revolutionary recorded the easiest 1:36 I have seen in  while in hand. He returned to the winners’ enclosure with so much energy that it appeared he had just left the paddock.

My only concern was whether his performance was high octane induced or natural.

Revolutionary is a much faster horse than Orb and has just as much stamina. He has more emergency efficient strides and is more versatile. Orb’s advantage over Revolutionary lies in his trainer.

If Orb defeat Revolutionary in the Derby it will not be because he has more ability but because he has the better trainer.  

01 Apr 2013 11:07 PM

1.  Orb

2.  ItsMyLuckyDay

3.  Revolutionary

4.  Verrazano

5.  Vyjack

6.  Hear The Ghost

7.  Oxbow

8 - 12 is a toss up

I thought ItsMyLuckyDay ran great, a game second is ok after not running since January and a break in momentum.  I put him second on the list and did not regress him too far down the list.  Orb looks great right now as does Revolutionary, both look grand.

Poor Bobby got Shanghai'd.  Maybe we'll see him later in the year in the summer.  Unfortunate he's off the tc trail.  Hope he is ok and they observe him.  

But the king of all animals right now is none other than my Animal Kingdom!  Wow, what a Dubai win.  Congratulations to Team Valor, Mr. Irwin, Mr. Motion for an outstanding job.  Remember that photo of AK at Fair Hill that Steve took for us during AK's tc races.  Well a crown was meant to be on his head and he was destined for greatness.  No ill-fated Belmont that year or heel clipping, injury causing Belmont could hold Animal Kingdom down.  Coming back from 2 career injuries is amazing.  He IS another amazing animal, like Paynter, Rachel, Zenyatta in a class by themselves.  And best wishes for Rachel's continued progress, her ordeal is almost as bad as Paynter's was coupled with losing the bond of the foal after carrying it.  May she continue to heal and be well.  

01 Apr 2013 11:24 PM
John M


 Please, I beg you to never compare Mylute snd Silver Charm ever again!  Give Silver Charm the

respect he deserves! Enough said!

01 Apr 2013 11:24 PM


Top 11 of the 12 I have no argument at all and many of those positions can be arguably juggled by most of us here.

But, this is the very first time that I must disagree with your placement of "Elnaawi".

I have watched that Gotham race over and over again & I'm a fairly good spotter, Elnaawi did not have any major problem till the time Vyjack came into the picture & that may have set him a length back, but, taking into account that neither Hill not Kiaran called for an inquiry I have to say that MAYBE Vyjack crossed lanes after clearing. The incident in the early part of the race is what every horse almost goes thru.

Bottom line on that day Elnaawi was third best.  This is just my view  and I’m confident of it.

Keep up the good work, as you know the real fireworks start after this week.

01 Apr 2013 11:26 PM
Megan W

What about the Withers? Did Revolutionary win? As a saying my boss uses, "Winners finds ways to win, Amd losers find excuses!"

01 Apr 2013 11:34 PM

I think I have good equipment and a good eye for this kind of thing, but I have not seen one indication that PALACE MALICE belongs and nothing stopping him from winning the Louisiana Derby.

He waited for the rail to open on the final bend and it didn't -- not unusual racing luck and the chance you take if you don't think your horse has enough to win going wide. Palace Malice then worked outside and got there, with no straw in his path, and from there to the wire lost ground to just about every other horse in the race. [The pace setter passed him in reverse.]

In the Risen Star, he did not finish. He never has.

All this horse has ever shown is the ability to stay close to a very hot pace.

REVOLUTIONARY has dropped for me. It was his or his rider's choice that he got away at the back of a big field of green horses. If all the harassment he's endured is starting to get to him, making him hesitant at the break (and who could wonder?), it may be up to post position in the Derby.

It looked very easy for ORB.

All this horse has ever shown is the ability to stalk a very hot pace.

I, too, scan the young stallions for a rising star at stud. Looks like Curlin isn't it. Switch to Midnight Lute.

It's like popcorn, innit? Almost day by day, his massive, long-legged foals are polishing off their spring growth spurts and learning to coordinate those big bodies.

It should keep on. They are too massive to push hard in training, so the "ready to go" dates will be strung out.

02 Apr 2013 12:01 AM
tom mallios

people,let us not go overboard on orbs make it sound like he came from the clouds into a slow pace.down the backstretch he was laying 3 lengths off the pace.on the far turn he was a length off.slow pace.that benefited him.the overall time was slow.the slowest fla. derby since the reconstruction of the track.the track was playing fast all day.he beat a sprinter (merit man) who was done on the turn by 4 to 5 lengths.bobbi never showed he beat an overrated allowance field in a slow time.for johnny v to jump off verrazano to ride him,verrazano would have to be a real bum this weekend.i will admit,i never liked revolutionary.he was impressive saturday.he had a sustained extremely wide trip and won.but enough with you honestly think he will be that close to the pace in the derby and come home slow.i do not think so

02 Apr 2013 12:02 AM
Steve Haskin

Kyle, I am waiting until next week to get to War Academy. Although I couldnt justify putting him ahead of these horses right now, if Saturday creates new openings, he will be added. I'm also anxious to swee how Uncaptured and Java's War do in the Blue Grass against Rydilluc and a few others. I loved Uncaptured's race in the Spiral, and if he runs a biog race at Keeneland, he will be ranked very high, same as War Academy if he runs big at Oaklawn

02 Apr 2013 12:02 AM

3 things:

Now I see why Code West hadn't been getting any love.  I don't think there were any excuses for that flop.

If you thought Palace Malice was a winner if he got through, you'd have to think Sunbeam completes the exacta.  That horse was going to fly by on the rail, and got shut down.  I'm on him whenever his next race is.

I can already hear all the complaining about who did or didn't make the derby because of the new system.  It is what it is.  They all know the route to the derby, race in the point races and accumulate points.  If you have traffic trouble, you have traffic trouble.  There were plenty other races to try to get points in, when you eleventh hour it, it might backfire on you.  You want fillies in the derby, race in point races.  To me it seems like its going to be a good thing.

Guaratee you Shanghai Bobby would be in the derby if it were based on earnings still, he probably would have had a different path this spring, thus going into derby completely distance challenged.

We're going to get 20 horses who earned it, this year.

02 Apr 2013 12:14 AM

Re John Nerud.

The following is from the very first posting I made on one of your blogs almost five years ago.

I first became aware of John in the early 1950's, before he made it to NY. In my opinion, he was the most astute American horseman of the last half of the last century. Because he accomplished so much with what he had to work with, I place him on a pedestal next to Tesio.

02 Apr 2013 12:49 AM

EDIT -- I trust the paragraph that needs to come out of my last post is evident.

COLDCUTS: If you ask for more than your due, somehow you always get less. Narvaez didn't belong in the Florida Derby. On the other hand, he earned his people 50 grand, he was certainly better than 100-1, and you were the lone voice crying in the wilderness.

You earn points for seeing something in him that others missed, but lose points for seeing him as a legitimate classic threat.

On balance, good catch. One of these days one of those will pay off.

02 Apr 2013 1:04 AM
Mike Monarchos

I like Revolutionary's Louisiana Derby better than Orb's Florida Derby. Although Mylute gave him all he could handle, Revolutionary did gallop out very strong though. He and Orb both have strong pedigrees and should get the Derby distance. With Govenor Charlie's strong showing in the Sunland Derby his sire Midnight Lute is producing some good three year olds. We'll see if Verazanno's a stud or not this week in the Wood.

02 Apr 2013 1:25 AM

Will keep Orb as my number one horse and Revolutionary number two. I liked both races even though times not all that great. Orbs final 3F were slightly faster than Revolutionary while going easily with ears pricked. Think if someone had gone with Orb or he had a target, would have finished up quicker. Orbs FOY was much quicker than the Withers. Both will get 10F. Havent decided my third horse yet but will pay particular attention to Wood, Ark and SA Derby. Leaning towards Oxbow but well see. Itsmyluckyday think is a very nice horse but dont think hes going to want 10F...wish he was going to Met Mile instead. Will watch Elnaawi but To Honor and Serve won a few 9F but zip at 10F. I heard that Gary Stevens will be on Oxbow next start. If John Velazquez stays with Verrazano, would love to see Mike Smith ride for Shug again. Things getting interesting. I dont comment much but love reading your blogs!

02 Apr 2013 2:09 AM

It's deja vu all over again. Every year about this time we are taking a bit of notice of displays of stamina but are still looking for our choices among horses we hope will carry their speed.

If we hadn't been watching these through 2012 and the earliest races this year, I'm sure we'd have different lists. I think the point system will be better than any of our lists -- next week for sure.

02 Apr 2013 2:40 AM
El Kabong

Kenny G,

I agree with your comments on Java's War but that is par for the course for any horse that waits until mid March to run his first race and then uses the Bluegrass for his final prep. If he hits the board in the Bluegrass he's in and I am confident he will. Still, and lucky for us, his Synthetic success and lack of a win on Dirt will guarantee us great odds even if he prevails in the Bluegrass. No worries though, I'll take it and I'm sure you will too. He'll make a fine horse to key in derby exotics.

02 Apr 2013 6:11 AM
Paul Horton

I know that traditionally only colts make this list but what about Dreaming of Julia. She out ran both colts (Revolutionary and Orb) this weekend by about six lengths or 2 seconds??????

02 Apr 2013 8:42 AM

Nuts. Looks like one of of the two I like was knocked out. Code West got caught up in a Lincoln Tunnel traffic jam. He had no turn of foot to help him get out of it. Looks like he needs a clean path in order to keep his grind going. The only one left for me now is Uncaptured. He needed his last. Hopefully he'll have a better showing in The Bluegrass. If he doesn't make it, then I guess I will have to do the smart thing and wait until field is actually set and the posts are drawn and then handicap the race.

02 Apr 2013 8:53 AM


The ID you referenced in the section of your post regarding Narvaez is not an official ID on this blog.

“Narvaez didn't belong in the

Florida Derby”

S/Bobby belonged in the FL Derby and he finished behind a colt that did not.

Your confused wisdom is consistent with your coded posts. You have aligned yourself with one who is SOS and it appears it contagious.

02 Apr 2013 8:54 AM


"Elnaawi did not have any major problem till the time Vyjack came into the picture"

You are encouraged to revisit the video of the Gotham a carefully focus on  Elnaawi heading into the first turn and down the back stretch.

02 Apr 2013 9:01 AM

I don't see a true come from behind horse winning this year's Derby,I think the winner will be a horse that has tactical speed and one that is no more than 4 or 5 lengths off the pace. Horses like Verrazano,Vyjack,Hear the Ghost and Flashback all have tactical speed and all have enormous talent and all four,in my view, will have no trouble getting the 1 1/4 mile distance.The winner will come from one of these 4 horses.

02 Apr 2013 9:04 AM
Bethany Loftis

Steve, great list as usual! I had a feeling Revolutionary would be your new number one with Orb right up there :) I was a little shocked, yet understood completely when I read your explaination, that Itsmyluckyday was moved down farther than third. I hope this race helped him get the cob webs dusted off. I thought he still ran a good race for second.

I must say I do love the comments on how fillies are being excluded with the new rules that are turning the derby into a "resricted race" as someone stated. Owners of fillies are NOT excluded whatsoever. They just need to be prepared to dance EVERY dance with the boys if they want in. Just my two cents.

Btw, Dr. D, El Kabong, coldfacts, and all you regular posters, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts in addition to Steve's blogs! You guys are part of the fun! Thank you so much!

02 Apr 2013 9:24 AM
classic go go

To AP Cindy - Agree on Julia and do not care for the point system

02 Apr 2013 9:27 AM
classic go go

To Coldfacts - Interesting point on over-taxed sires

02 Apr 2013 9:28 AM

I had a dream about the Derby last night.  Horses missed the break. Jockeys fell off their mounts.  Th winner was 69 to 1.  I was running around trying to find out who it was amid the carnival after the race (which, for some reason, also included a couple of Standardbreds trotting or pacing across the finish line) but I was completely unsuccessful.  

I will be checking who starts at 69 to 1,

(Still looking forward to the Bluegrass)

02 Apr 2013 9:31 AM
classic go go

To Kabong - Agree on Javas war . The move in the TBD shows potential

02 Apr 2013 9:33 AM


“I'm also anxious to see how Uncaptured and Java's War do in the Blue Grass against Rydilluc and a few others. “

Why would there be any anxiety to see Uncaptured in the Bluegrass?  He has an extensive resume of 8 races with the majority being on a synthetic surface.  Four of his starts have been is stakes races.  Is he expected to run significantly faster than his previous synthetic efforts? The Bluegrass will be the strongest field he will be facing and he has struggled to beat less.  What additional information can be gathered?

Java's War only attempt on synthetic was fair but he did not show the closing kick he displayed in the Sunday Silence. There is no cheap speed in the 2013 Bluegrass.

Rydilluc will not be allowed to crawl on the front end and consequently will have to be used to keep pace with the fast colts in the field. Will his long powerful strides be as effective in the last 3 furlongs? Unlikely (Nice Colt)

Footbridge will be the speed in the Bluegrass and I am expecting Mr. Gomez to put him in front and try to make all. He has been doing his training on the Hollywood Park synthetic track and racing on the dirt track at SA. This is the first time he will contesting a race on a surface similar the one on which he does his training.

I have my plate of crow seasoned and ready to be cooked if he does not perform.

02 Apr 2013 9:41 AM

This argument that the “point system is keeping fillies out of the Derby” is getting very old.  It seems like those who don’t like the point system are trying to say that it is now sexist. Really! Do you complain about sexism or “a level playing field” when a filly or mare running  in an open race is not required to carry the same weight as a colt, gelding, or horse of the same age. Of course not! Winning Colors won the Kentucky Derby after winning the Santa Anita Derby. So it is not asking too much of a filly to run against colts in a prep race. If you don’t like the point system then just say so, but don’t use sexism as an excuse for your disapproval!

02 Apr 2013 9:45 AM


You caught my mistake, I meant 9 furlongs.

02 Apr 2013 10:36 AM
lunar spook

I just cannot agree with you on revolutionary or oxbow , both are a tad overated in this mans opinion , but we shall see , ORB & VYJACK look like the top 2 to me , the horse i see coming on later in the year is CROP REPORT gosh what a stud !!!

02 Apr 2013 10:50 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bethany Loftis

  Thank you very much. That's really nice of you, and of course you are right about the fillies. I love the new point system. I hope you put in at least a couple of bucks here, two cents at a time, or even a nickel or a dime. When we were kids a nickel or a dime was a big deal. Candy bars were a nickel for a long time. We used to tease each other- "Want a nickel?"  "yeah sure." "Ok go suck a pickle." A penny was "go kiss Jack Benny."

02 Apr 2013 10:58 AM
Pedigree Ann

"Haven't got the feeling like last year yet on a under the radar type horse IHA (Thanx) but keeping an open mind that I might find one."

Why was a Santa Anita Derby winner, who scored in 1:47.88, under the radar? He defeated the horse who had beaten Bodemeister, impressive winner of the Arkansas Derby. The DFR and some other media sorts still dote on the Florida/New York form, even when the races are slow and uncompetitive (48 second halves). It's a puzzlement.

02 Apr 2013 11:01 AM

Where is the love for flashback. bobby b is tightening the screws for this saturday. he will crush this field with a real professional jockey in garrett. what a difference he will make taking frenchy off the horse. hear the ghost will run a plodding 3rd. he is no orb closing. hear the ghost had to close coming for home after those fast fractions. wake up america and take the 8-5 on flashback this saturday. easy money. there is nothing like bobby b juice at this time of year. last year dougie o'neill had tremendous juice for i'll have another. then gets notified he will serve 45 days suspension in california. what a coincidence. wake up america. go bobby b you are so very overdue the 1st saturday in may. got 200 dollar future play on flashback. then got him with overanalyze in exacta for 100 dollars to get back over 100,000. that is retirement money.  crazy!! just one time !!!!  

02 Apr 2013 11:51 AM

angelaj: I am not "claiming sexism" when I whine about the points system.  I am just adding to my previous whines about Churchill Downs deciding to restrict the biggest race in the U.S. to horses running in races THEY picked for reasons which I have every right to feel paranoid about.  

Restricting the race to only those who have already received points in certain, very exclusive races can leave out the Streaking Comet or, more importantly, ALL NON-COLTS.  Not every trainer of a great filly wants to run against the colts until the big race -- look at some of the Arc winners; look at Zenyatta before her first Classic;  look at Rachel Alexandra before the Preakness.

I never thought I would say this but at least with the old way, I wasn't worrying about whether my choice got points.  I was just worrying about whether my choice did well enough during the year (I agree, weighing the 2YO races so high did not always help the selection) to make it into the gate.

Leaving out the possibility of Dreaming of Julia makes for a less fun Derby for me.

02 Apr 2013 11:58 AM
Rusty Weisner


There's another obvious interpretation for those odds.

02 Apr 2013 12:00 PM
tom mallios

angela,i agree.if the connections of a certain filly have enough confidence in her ability and want to try the derby.go for it,all the power to you.but please do not get excited when bafferts filly or julia beat small overmatched fields and want credit for it.i am not knocking the fillies.speed figure wise,they are running faster than the boys.can 1 of them beat the boys.heck yea.maybe more than 1 the julia lovers.where were you before her last race when she lost.where were you after the breeders cup when she come nobody suggested to todd how great she was.they should of told him to bypass the filly preps and go against the boys.the derby has become a national and international fans you look at it one way.what about the is such an honor and privaledge to be in the starting gate.imagine having the 20th rated horse.regardless if he has a strong are all is your dream come true.then they pull the rug out of your feet and enter a filly who came in through the back door by running in restricted gender stakes.this is not sexixt.personally,the oaks as it stands now,this race may be more contentious and exciting than the derby.but let us not go overboard.

02 Apr 2013 12:01 PM


just to make sure I did go back & watch the video, as I had stated yes he had to study a bit close to the first turn and at the most lost 1/4 to 1/2 length(that happens in most races as they are jockeying for position) and was bit wide on that turn & after that there was no problem till the Vyjack incident which I thought was more severe, but, maybe Hill thought he did not have enough horse to try to maintain his position else he should have at least made an inquiry.

02 Apr 2013 12:56 PM
Greg J.

Since I took a Revolutionary/Vyjack exacta in the last futures at decent odds, sticking with these two if they are both in the gate come the first Saturday in May!

02 Apr 2013 1:13 PM
Dave R.

My top 12.

1. Orb

2. Verrazano

3. Itsmyluckyday

4. Flashback

5. Revolutionary

6. Vyjack

7. Govenor Charlie

8. Tiz a Minister

9. Uncaptured

10.Hear the Ghost


12.Normandy Invasion

02 Apr 2013 1:27 PM
Dave R.

My Derby Longshots:

Tiz a Minister - improving colt with strong finishing kick.

Govenor Charlie - sharp lightly raced Baffert colt.

Mylute - hot/trainer owner duo 2nd in LA Derby with blinkers off.

Departing - improving colt from Claiborne Farm. 3rd in LA Derby after being shut off in stretch.

Den's Legacy - good last race, finished up well in Rebel at OP.

Normandy Invasion - closer had troubled trip in last at FG.

Will Take Charge - good last race, needs to duplicate form.

Merit Man - has speed to lead in KY Derby, needs to build endurance.

02 Apr 2013 1:43 PM

surprised Govenor Charlie wasn't mentioned.  he was cruising w/o any effort

02 Apr 2013 1:57 PM

I believe that one filly race each year should be designated with points interchangeable for a Kentucky Derby start.  This way trainers can point their fillies toward the specified race(example the GP Oaks)if they believe that they may have a freak.  If the points were awarded 100 first, 40 for second, the best case scenario would give 2 fillies a shot at the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

02 Apr 2013 2:14 PM

Hey, Rusty: thanks for the 13YO boy interpretation.

I expect to get the last laugh on May 4th.


02 Apr 2013 3:34 PM

Should we be comparing Dreaming of Julia to Orb & Revolutionary as if Saturday's races were apples to apples?  All things being equal - ground saved, pace, size of field, competition, etc. - we wouldn't be looking at such a disparity between her time and beyer and theirs.  


I think Footbridge showed his quality with the stretch run against Governor Charlie at SA.


SA Derby - Hear the Ghost

Wood - Verrazano (ala Eskendreya)

02 Apr 2013 3:40 PM
The Deacon

Wow, no mention pretty much anywhere about Govenor Charlie. I would have thought he would have at the least made your top 12 Steve.

He only runs the fastest 1 1/8 of any 3 year old, sets the track record doing it. I find very little to be excited about with Revolutionary and Orb except for the fact they won their respective races. Running a 1:50 plus and change is awfully slow for a Derby horse. I just don't see it, maybe all you folks know and see something in those 2 horses that I don't.

I think Hear the Ghost will win the Santa Anita Derby and we will see if Verrazano is the super horse everyone thinks he is. Vyjack will be formidable

1. Govenor Charlie (lightly raced or not) Wasn't Paynter and Bodemeister lightly raced as well.

2. Hear the Ghost (love his late kick)

3. Verrazano  (we will see come Saturday)

4. Vyjack  (could be last years Alpha)

5. Oxbow  (like his upside, never count Lukas out)

Good luck to all........

P.S. Midnight Lute is turning into a pretty good sire........

02 Apr 2013 4:02 PM

But the best and most impressive candidate so far has been Dreaming of Julia. What she did this saturday was simply overwhelming... No other one (colt, filly, horse or mare) has been so spectacular this year. Aparting DOJ, the landscape looks confusing  yet. I prefer to wait a pair of weeks.

02 Apr 2013 4:06 PM
Saratoga AJ

The Wood is shaping up to be a dandy. I'm still staying with my pick from the beginning of the year...Normandy Invasion. If he can beat this field, he'll certainly deserve to make the starting gate in Louisville. Besides...I love the name...and my father was there!

02 Apr 2013 4:08 PM
Eddie S.

Hey, Steve Haskin.

Very nice list. I as well have always liked Palace Malice. I feel he couldd have won the LA derby if not for such a bad trip.

I've never really been high on Revolutionary, but he certainly has climbed my list. He catches a lot of traffic and doesn't break well at all, which are both very dismal attributes for the Kentucky Derby. However, he has a will to win, so he deserves to be noted.

I think you mentioned some very good positives and negatives about Orb. One must question the speed he mowed down and he will face more quality speed in the Derby. Shug is a fantastic trainer. He'll get Orb peaked on May 4th.

Have a nice day, Haskin, nice list.

02 Apr 2013 4:13 PM
Saratoga AJ

Dave R.

I definitely agree with you  concerning Tiz a Minister. He closed from about 20 lengths from the the turn for home to the wire in bis last while finishing 3rd to Hear the Ghost. One to watch in the SA Derby.  

02 Apr 2013 4:15 PM
Rusty Weisner


Mylute and Revolutionary separated themselves from the field, so that's a very good sign for Mylute.

02 Apr 2013 4:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

I like Java's War in the Bluegrass, but I don't think any Derby contender is coming out of this race.  There are no dirt horses.  

I have a feeling I'm going to be betting against War Academy in the Arkansas Derby and for Oxbow.  

Looking forward to the matchups in the Wood and Santa Anita, but I don't have a picture of how these races will be run.

02 Apr 2013 4:51 PM

I am a fan of the new point system. This weekend proves that it is doing what it was designed to do. Shanghai Bobby is a nice colt, but does anyone here really believe he would get the Derby distance? With the old system he would be a lock because of his two year old winnings. Last year Trinneberg should not have been anywher near the Derby because everyone knew he couldn't get 10F. But the sprinter "earned" a spot in the starting gate. The owners and trainers have been aware of what it took to get points, so if Dreaming of Julia's connections thought her worthy then she would have run in the Florida Derby. A lot of you are thinking she is an automatic winner in the Oaks. She still has to beat some very good fillies and not that suspect field behind her this weekend. Does Beholder or Unlimited Budject ring a bell!

02 Apr 2013 5:23 PM


Nice plan, while we are making special concessions,why don't they make two slots in the Oaks for colts who can't quite get the distance of 1 1/4 miles. I'm sure the trainers of Super 99 and Goldencents would love to try to take down a G1 that is in their wheelhouse!

02 Apr 2013 5:28 PM
Steve Haskin

Deacon, do you know how many horses have won the Derby with 3 career starts? One - Big Brown. If Govenor Charlie is as good as Big Brown then he can win the Derby. As for time, Midnight Lucky, a filly with one career start also broke the track record the race before his and got a better speed figure. Dont go by times on the Derby trail. It's all relative and running fast times doesnt win you the Derby. Govenor Charlie is a very good horse, but winning at Sunland against a weak field and with only 3 career starts and going in the Derby off a 6-week layoff, I'm not quite ready to put him ahead of the horses I have on there. If he goes on and wins the Derby, then he's a great horse and I'll know not to go by all those factors in the future.

02 Apr 2013 5:34 PM
Old Old Cat

Stallion A breeds to 50 mares, Stallion B breeds to 50 mares.

Any difference???

Stallion A goes on to breed to another 50 mares. Any difference now between Stallion A's first 50 and Stallions B's first 50???  Any difference between Stallion A's first 50 and Stallion A's second fifty???  

What about over a lifetime??? Does the power diminish with age and overusage??

Breeders think that mares have their best foals early.  Blood Horse magazine ran an article that showed STATISTICALLY that Stakes winning mares are better than stakes placed mares, better than winning mares, better than non-winners.  

Also mares progeny STATISTICALLY deteriorate each breeding season.

A Lady named Penny had a mare well past prime, who should not have produced anything of consequence.  The mare dropped a pretty filly named the bride that couldn't run.  STATISTICALLY speaking, the big clumsy colt produced the next year should have been MUD.

So much for statistics, so much for theory.

02 Apr 2013 5:44 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve wrote about Govenor Charlie last week and said that entering the Derby with only three career starts is a lot to overcome. Gov has talent but really isn't battle tested and won a prep that wasn't very strong. I actually had him as high as number 5 before dropping him to 13th or 14th. If they decide to train him into the Derby will have to evaluate him again to see how he fits. Revolutionary recieved a 105 Bris speed figure which is a lot more realistic than the 93 Beyer. Brisnet gave Orb a 97. Julia got a 107 against a weak field with everything her own way. I personally don't believe she would have won the Florida Derby if entered. The entire pace and traffic scenario would have been much different.

02 Apr 2013 5:57 PM
Bethany Loftis

Dr. D

Being a broke college kid I get a little stingy with my bucks, nickels, and dimes. Those add up after a while! I can certainly toss a few pennies around though!


I actually kinda like that idea. That way it would offer a compromise for those like mz, who brought up a good point about owners not sure if they want to run in the big one or not until the big day gets closer. I think they should have to pay a small supplemental fee if they do this however, as it could be seen as taking the easy route to the derby.

David R

Love how you have Uncaptured included in your dozen! I hope he makes the field! Hopefully the Spiral helped get him fit. We'll see in his next race! He has experience, and seems to like Churchill, so for me that's a bonus. I like his female family too.

Looking forward to this weeks races! Its going to be a blast! Good luck everyone!!!

02 Apr 2013 6:16 PM

Wasn't overly awed by Orb or Revolutionary. Really looking forward to the Wood this weekend! I think the race throws off it's jinx and shows us if Vyjack or Verrazano are up to the hype. Somewhere I read that people close to Vyjack were using the "Freak" word. Haven't heard that thrown around since Big Brown. As for Palice Malice, I understand the excuses but good horses find a way to win. Still his daddy had traffic issues in the derby too didn't he? ...and he turned out to be a nice horse. Animal Kingdom's race was just awesome. So glad I got to catch a live stream of it.

02 Apr 2013 6:20 PM

Steve, thanks for the list.  I can appreciate your coin flipping, as I am seeing red after re-watching videos.  Orb came home his last 1/8th in 12.88 looking like he wanted more after easily passing IMLD, the fastest horse in the Florida Derby field at the mile.  Even though he looked sweaty, hot and antsy before the race, Orb ran like a 10F colt.  His running style, as you pointed out, makes him a much more versatile colt for the Derby.

Revolutionary has matured and seemed much more relaxed.  Coming from way back and fanned 7-8 wide at the top of the stretch, proved to me his grit and stamina coming home in 12.85 for his last 1/8th.  But his running style of getting off slowly, probably from all the bumping he got in previous starts doesn't bode well at CD with 20 horses at 10F.  IMO Revolutionary was also waiting on My Lute as he grabbed the lead,  waiting for somebody to run with and stay ahead of as he dug in and did.  Not a bad trait, but not what I want to see in the Derby.

I give the edge to the "Cold-Hearted Orb."  My Fab Five:




Hear The Ghost


It was great to watch Dreaming of Julia as she Rachel'd her field in the Gulfstream Oaks including Live Lively who beat her previously.  The only thing keeping her or any other filly or colt out of the Derby, is the decision of the trainers and owners.


perhaps you were dreaming of Hip Four Sixtynine who ended up 11th in the LA. Derby at 109.80/1.  His Derby dreams just went up in smoke.  

Pedigree Ann-

Not everyone had I'll Have Another under the radar at this time last year.  I followed how Doug O'Neill patiently handled this colt with all the physical problems he had.  IHA had the 2 yo foundation, had the class and O'Neill worked him 2-3 miles daily and would tell the rider to "set him down" for the final two furlongs every time they went out.  He did not need to have fast timed workouts, but he needed time between his races.  He built stamina in this colt that showed in his grit, winning the SA Derby, KD and the Preakness.  I had him in the SA Derby and he was part of my winning 5 horse tri-box for the Derby.

I'm hoping Verrazano is the "heavy hitter" this year and we have a super horse but will not hold my breath.  He will get his biggest challenge Saturday in Vyjack.  I'm still not convinced, as brilliant as he has looked, that Verrazano is a 10F colt, especially with his front-running style.  Would love to see him be the one, but he has to prove it Saturday.  

With all the preps and the point system this year, the Derby is looking to continue to be a handicapper's dream, big field with some good horses with very attractive odds.  

02 Apr 2013 6:23 PM

My Derby (Half a) dozen :



Den's Legacy

Will Take Charge


Black Onyx


Just hoping Uncaptured hit the board, not necessarily win the BG, just get the points to make the dance.  Same with Den's Legacy, I think he has the potential to upset.  He's a hard trying horse that will keep at you until the finish line.  If these two don't make it, I'll end up playing Orb and WTC on top.  I normally wait for the post position draws but I'll stick to my list unless they get 1,2 or 19, 20 - I'll toss one that gets those posts.

Wood : Normany Invasion / Vyjack

SA Derby : Hear the Ghost / Power Broker

02 Apr 2013 6:43 PM
It aint easy being good!

I have a little beef with Steve's list. I appreciate the list but no love for Black Onyx at all? Your horses 8,9 & 10 havent won a prep at all this year and are not even promised a spot in Louisville. Black Onyx is down in Churchill now working on his game and should be at least #12. Spiral Stakes have done great in the derby recently and think BO is no exception.

02 Apr 2013 6:52 PM

Steve, a little birdie told me that this week it's your birthday!!!  I am not quite sure exactly which day it is but I want to wish you a happy and blessed day.  Happy Birthday Steve!  Thanks for just being you and all you do for us fans.  Happy Birthday to one of the greatest writers in all journalism.

And how about Zenyatta foaling on her own birthday!  What a week.  I hope they have foal photos up on her website of the little chestnut.

I thought that after last weekend we would have a clear cut or better perspective Derby picture.  It's still confusing, had Lucky romped in the FL Derby the picture would be less clouded.  Did Revolutionary really beat stellar company?  What can he do against Orb and Verrazano?  Will the Wood clear things up a bit? I'm not sold on Vyjack yet but will the Wood make him the star? With Barbaro and Big Brown by now it was clear to me.  This year there seems to be a number of talented colts who could win the Derby.  I guess the picture will get more fine tuned when Steve gets to Churchill and becomes our "eyes."

02 Apr 2013 7:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bethany Loftis

   You can stretch out a couple of bucks throughout the year with your two cents here and two cents there. Don't just eat ramyan to do it !!! Stick around but make sure your homework is done first. They didn't have the "I was busy blogging" excuse when I was in college but I'm sure it won't fly now either.

02 Apr 2013 7:29 PM

Greg J, you and I agree on a horse for the first time, Revolutionary.

I am looking forward to the next run by Verrazano and Vyjack.  Not so crazy about their pedigrees, but they both are talented horses that may be able to overcome it, anomalies, perhaps.

02 Apr 2013 7:33 PM

Old Old Cat, you are right, so much for statistics.  Somethingroyal was a great producer; she foaled Secretariat at age 18.  She had one career start and finished off the board.  Sir Gaylord and Syrian Sea were also stakes winners.  She was a great mare indeed.

Vertigineux, dam of Zenyatta, had 7 career starts, with a maiden and allowance win.  She also is a great producer.

I don't care if the mare has raced or not; it's all in the pedigree.  

Take a look at Plucky Liege, one of the most important broodmares of the 20th centry.  She didn't show her stuff on the racetrack.

02 Apr 2013 7:53 PM

Steve, you are so right about that; don't go by times on the derby trail; it is all relative.  I never pay attention to time.  Track conditions change every moment from track to track, not to mention the pace scenario.  A good horse does what he has to do to win.  Time is irrelevant.

02 Apr 2013 8:02 PM
steve from st louis

Maybe after this weekend I'll be able to seperate the pretenders from the contenders or maybe I'll just start picking stable colors or, hey, how about one-word names? Yes, that's the ticket: the Derby winner will be one of those contenders with a one-word name like Secretariat or Affirmed, ie.  Orb, Revolutionary, Vyjack, Verrazano, Oxbow, Flasback, Itsmyluckyday or Mylute. How about a trifecta box of Revolutionary, Orb and Verrazano? Yes, that's how desperate I am for some legitimate seperation among these 3-year-olds. I dare anyone to pick apart my logic here.  

02 Apr 2013 8:06 PM
Matt Converse

1. War Academy--must win Arkansas Derby to secure his spot, 2nd will put him on the fence. Best pedigree for 10f, but is he fast enough?

2. Verrazano--almost my co-#1.

3. Orb--looked good, finished strong, keeps improving.

4. Revolutionary--looked good, finished strong; knock is even considering bad trips, he may not be fast enough, especially considering he may be 8-10 wide in the Derby.

5. Govenor Charlie--looked great although only the 2nd best Midnight Lute on track that day.

6. Hear the Ghost--not sure the Cali horses have swagger this year, but he could be the standout.

7. Oxbow--good running style and pedigree looks good for 10f.

8. Will Take Charge--distinctive stride reminds me of Secretariat's--just the stride, not the talent of course.

9. Vyjack--still not sure he'll relish 10f but loved the running style change last out.

11. Mylute--red hot sire but not positive he'll love 10f.

12. Black Onyx--has the stamina, not sure the dirt will be his best.

wrong sex: Dreaming of Julia, Midnight Lucky; we'll never know, but could have run 1-2 in the Derby. (Remember, I said "could"; just as War Academy-Verrazano or Orb-Revoltionary "could".) These look like the top six three-year-olds.

02 Apr 2013 8:06 PM

Can we stop with the Palice Malice Love! "Well if he got a better trip he would have won". Really? If..If....If? How many excuses can we give this colt. Has he even won a race yet?

Also, was it me or did Mylute's jockey fall asleep at the wheel during the last furlong? Watch the tape! He was looking for second!

02 Apr 2013 8:15 PM

Old Old Cat

There's Somethingroyal about your comments!  

Steve, great article on Elnaawi!  If he were to win The Wood this early in his development, against these horses, we'd have something on our hands here with him, huh?  

02 Apr 2013 8:20 PM
Indiana Johnny

(1) Orb (can't deny him #1 any longer.Really like his trainer).

(2) Uncaptured.( 1'st. race off layoff not bad.Has beat Javas war,Overanaylize, will take charge, and has a couple wins at CD).

(3) War academy. out of Giant Causeway, and Baffert in his corner with a 98.

(4) Javas War ..War Pass. 2'nd off layoff.would prefer to see him run on dirt next out.

(5) Verrazano ( I'm still skepitical.we'll see after the wood.)

(6) Hear the Ghost..would like to see him win SA Derby. Ghostzapper. Hollendorfer.

(7) Oxbow...seems to give an honest effort. tri/super

(8) Revoultionary...Seems eratic..will speed rating be a low or high end..tri/super

(9) Dens Legacy....Hope he makes the a good effort...tri/super...

(10) Vyjack ( not sold yet...we'll see soon, or will Normandy redemn himself? )

(11) Black Onyx....I like seeing a horse go to the track early and acttually work at the track your racing at.

(12) Reserved for whoever is getting the " backtrack " talk the week or so before the Derby. Pay close attention to that.

***** subject to change numerous times before Derby *****

02 Apr 2013 8:28 PM

Do people really think that just because Dreaming of Julia ran a 1:48 in the GP Oaks that she would've beaten the FD field and run in 1:48 ?  I don't understand the thinking... she'd be facing a much tougher field than the one she faced in the Oaks.  The FD was slow because the pace was set slow, Orb ran 1:42 in the FOY with Majestic Hussar setting :23 :46 and 1:08.  The FD was ran in :24, :48 and 1:12.  It would make sense if DoJ had run in the FOY and see how she matched up with at the very least Majestic Hussar before thinking she is a derby contender.

Can someone edumacate me on this please ? and please be gentle...

mz : Please don't ban me from Canada for this post...

I'm a die hard Zenyatta fan but I actually miss RA.  I didn't really get to enjoy her wins when she was racing because of the "blog wars" and that's entirely my fault.  I'd like to see DoJ or Midnight Lucky or Unlimited Budget turn into anything close to Rachel Alexandra without running against the boys and race for 2 or 3 years.  RA paid dearly for those races against males, it wasn't worth it then and it's not worth it now to run against the boys just to win HOY award.

02 Apr 2013 8:54 PM

1. Verrazano- don't need Wood to know he is the best

2.Will Take Charge- could be second to Verrazano in Derby

3.Hear the Ghost- could be better than top two

4.Uncaptured- don't elimnate just yet

5.Oxbow- serious race horse

6.Revolutionary- nice horse, not sold he can be in top four on Derby day.

7, Itsmyluckyday- hope he runs in Derby, better than his last

8. Orb- we've seen his best, doubt he improves in Derby

9.Den's Legacy- still like this one, could be big surprise in Derby

10.Normandy Invasion- still waiting for that big one

11.Java's War-getting very good

12.War Academy- could be best of all

02 Apr 2013 8:57 PM

The odds of duplicating another Secretariat are astronomical.  I'm just trying to get there through pedigree analysis.  At some point history repeats itself. Perhaps this is that time in history.

02 Apr 2013 9:03 PM

The La Derby has not produced a derby winner so i'm tossing that bunch.

02 Apr 2013 10:16 PM

What separates Orb from Revolutionary at this point is who they have faced. From top to bottom Orb has beaten much better horses including Revolutionary himself.  Orb has beaten (Revolutionary, Shanghai Bobby, Violence, Itsmyluckyday, Merit Man etc)  Revolutionary ran a very good race Saturday against a suspect field.  He continues to break very bad from the gate and that will be disastrous in the Ky Derby.  Orb no longer has gate issues and this will make him a very tough horse to beat.

The Wood looks like it will be a good race but I feel Vyjack will handle these on his home track.  He will have the pace to run at including Verrazano.  This will also clear the Jockey decision  and allow Johnny V to pick Orb for the Derby.  However, if Verrazano wins Joel gets the mount back on Orb.

02 Apr 2013 10:18 PM
Native Dancer

Thanks again Steve for this nice summary!

Picking the winner of the Kentucky Derby is certainly a daunting task. Last minute injuries due to demanding training regimes, traffic problems during the race or who is at peak condition or “over-trained” the day of the race are factors impossible to forecast. At this stage,  I would  be content to just speculate about the pace over the 2- kilometer race. So far, the possible pacesetters seem to be Oxbow, Verrazano, Flashback, Code West, Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday and Governor Charlie. The one with the best balance of speed and stamina will have the greatest chance to achieve glory the first Saturday of May...! In my mind those privileged ones are Verrazano and Flashback.

Baffert has in Flashback the closest resemblance to Bodemeister and he unquestionably knows how to get  an athlete horse ready for the Derby. Some people would shy away from the gray when they realize Mr Greeley as his broodmare, theoretically implying pure speed. However, digging little deeper you will find the stamina sources of Pleasant Colony and Nijinsky(x2) in his maternal side. We just need to remember that I’ll Have Another has the same formula in his maternal line as well...!

Vyjack with all his versatility (displayed only at Aqueduct) is not able to match Verrazano’s level as will be proven in the Wood. The son of More Than Ready will be the only undefeated horse seeking the glory of the Triple Crown.

I believe Itsmyluckyday ran a sub-par race in the Florida Derbu... he would have been better off dictating himself a hotter pace instead of “crawling” behind lower quality horses the first half of the race. I just hope his team takes the learning and try to be more aggressive on the big day... but still, the stretch at Churchill will prove to be a big challenge for the Lawyer Ron colt who, by the way, could be the one who peaked prematurely in terms of sharpness.

Taking closers and mid pack runners, Orb, obviously, will be the one to beat. Revolutionary is a very impressive runner but being a magnet for troubling trips is not helping at all his chances. Hear the Ghost and Will Take Charge are the ones with the best upward trends in form so far.

As satisfying as this intellectual exercise is it would be only a snapshot of our current best knowledge and things could turn 180 degrees at the moment of truth.

I truly enjoy the threads generated by Steve writings ... the quality of his followers reveal how appealing and insightful are his releases.

02 Apr 2013 11:23 PM
Native Dancer

Jay Jay: Nice comments about the super girls... however, I would like to see more girls running against the boys... it is a myth that it is ultra demanding and erosional to the "weak sex" trying to run races against males. In Australia for instance it is a very common thing to see girls beating the hell of the colts and geldings every single week...!

02 Apr 2013 11:30 PM

The Mr. Prospector sire line has only four representatives with points in the top 20. They are Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, Mylute and Merit Man.

The Wood Memorial will feature Elnaawi with 10 points; the Bluegrass will feature Noble Tune, Footbridge both without points, Capo Bastone with 4 points, Merit Man with 20 points and Will Take Charge with 60. Palace Malice is a possible.

Merit Man presently occupies the #17 position with the departure of S/Bobby  and will definitely need a 4th  place finish to increase his points total to 40. Noble Tune, Footbridge and Capo Bastone will also need top three finishes to have any chance of making the Derby field.

Palace Malice and Elnaawi presently have 10 points each and a 4th place finish in either Wood or Bluegrass will move them to 30 points and a possible place in the Derby.

With only Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie and Mylute assured of places, the Mr. Prospector representatives in the Wood and Bluegrass will have to be on the board to increase the numbers in the Derby field.

The best representatives could very well be on the outside looking in when the point are finalized.

Under the New Points System it appears it going to be more difficult to make the Derby field than actually winning the great race.

Interesting times are ahead!

02 Apr 2013 11:40 PM


Who is Grindstone?

02 Apr 2013 11:47 PM

The Northern Dancer sire line accounts for 9 of the top 20 horses with Kentucky Derby points.

Lines of Battle



Hear the Ghost




Den's Legacy


Of the above 9 only Departing and Dan’s Legacy appear to be vulnerable. The Northern Dancer sire line is second to the Mr. Prospector sire line with of number of Derby win in the last 25 years.

With such a large number of representatives it certainly has more than and average chance to prevail in 2013?

I think its best representative is Hear The Ghost. His victory would be a fine tribute to his excellent trainer.

03 Apr 2013 12:14 AM

The Wood Memorial is a cake walk for super star Verrazano. This colt is an untouchable amongst these. It will be a real dogfight however for the runner-up spot with Elnaawi, a desperate-for-points Normandy Invasion and the versatile and consistent Vyjack.

In the Bluegrass, they all have  to beat Rydilluc ...believe me, he'll make no mistake under Edgar Prado ...take that to the bank.

Itsmyluckyday is going to bounce back big time in the Kentucky Derby, kind of similar to how Fort Larned came back in the Breeder's Cup Classic after looking stamina deficient in the Jockey Club Gold Cup last year. This colt will get the Derby distance, no doubt but definitely needed the race in the Florida Derby. Don't forget that he's a fast horse with great tactical speed that runs solid Beyer speed figures when at his best. He'll turn the tables on Orb in the Derby ...mark my word.

Had it not been for Verrazano, I'd probably not go any further in following this year's Derby after seeing the implications of the points system on the quality of the Derby with Dreaming of Julia's exclusion. It is really sad that this superior filly has no chance of competing, subject to the wishes of her connections. I understand the novelty and initial excitement of scoring points to qualify for the Derby but think that it is against the ideals and "sacred tradition" (for want of a beter expression)of the Kentucky Derby to prevent a star performing filly from entering by requiring that she firt run against the colts, having showed herself hitherto superior to the highest ranked in on-the-track performance. The Graded Earnings System and th entry tradition preceeding t would never have produced such an outcome. It is a crying shame. Steve's 'derby gods' must be vomiting or throwing a fit at this state of affairs. I can't understand how defenders of this half-baked, fly-by-night, inferior system, think that it's okay to have a Kentucky Derby without the best 3YO horses available in the starting gates. Its almost sacreligious. If some how Verrazano falls off the Derby trail, so will yours truly. Peace.

03 Apr 2013 12:19 AM


Hear the Ghost has a "devastating late burst of speed"? Coming home in 25.39 is hardly devastating. It was an optical illusion, FB and GC stopped as he clunked by them. Think you missed badly on this one, as he will be a non threatening also-ran in Flashback's blowout Santa Anita Derby win.

03 Apr 2013 1:33 AM
Matt Converse

I dropped Itsmyluckyday completely from by dozen for the same reason Shanghai Bobby was never on my list, even back in January. he's not a 10f horse. It's one thing to have iffy pedigree for 9-10f, it's another to back that up by showing their hand in an actual race.  Itsmyluckyday didn't regress, he ran too far.  You have to be very careful about patterns with Derby 3-year-olds, often a "bounce" isn't, it's just a horse running beyond his means.  I've picked Itsmyluckyday to beat Shanghai Bobby both times, but next out I expect a better number from Bobby.  Not because of any pattern but because he will be cutting back in distance and Lucky will be going longer, in the Derby.  I really like that little horse but the Derby will be the worst race of the year for him.  

03 Apr 2013 2:50 AM
Forbidden Apple

1)HEAR THE GHOST 2)ITSMYLUCKYDAY 3)ORB 4)Flashback 5)Revolutionary 6)Verrazano 7)Vyjack 8)Speak Logistics 9)Mylute 10)Lines of Battle 11)Black Onyx 12)Govenor Charlie 13)Incognito

I am surprised that Itsmyluckyday was not in the winners circle on saturday. The layoff clearly did not do him any favors. The final time was weak, not sold on the results of the race. Itsmyluckyday is 10 lengths better than he showed in the FL Derby. The bright side is that he should be around 15-1 in the KY Derby.

Revolutionary broke nearly last and appeared to be all out to win.

Orb was hot and bothered before the race, he only had one horse to beat.

Hear the Ghost is the push button horse, look for him in the winner's circle on saturday.

Lines of Battle was all out and swerved his way to victory on a synthetic surface. I don't see him as a serious KY Derby threat on dirt.

03 Apr 2013 4:01 AM
Steve Haskin

JSP, I'm not sure how you came up with a final quarter in a 1 1/16 mile race, but I do know he closed his final sixteenth in :06 flat. I'll just  leave it at that.

03 Apr 2013 5:36 AM

SA Derby - Goldencents/Tiz a Minister in a battle to the wire.  Would love to see SuperNinetyNine shock the world though (nobody is talking about him any more)

Wood - tough to go against Verrazano, but I love Vyjack and have a sneaking suspicion that Normandy Invasion will return to form.

Can't wait!

03 Apr 2013 7:01 AM

Orb defeated Revolutionary in a MSW by 4 1/2L. In that race Revolutionary was a step slowly out of the gates and was immediately impeded by Transparent. This caused him to surrender 4-5 lengths to Orb. He appeared ranked and quickly pulled himself passed Orb. This move would later take it tool as he was one pace in the final furlong.

Orb’s victory over Revolutionary is not very significant. Neither colt has lost since their last meeting. and While Orb has had problem free trips,  Revolutionary has displayed heart and versatility in winning his races.

In a race consisting of 20 horses the ones that are accustom to ovecoming adversities are the ones to be on.

He remains Mr. Pletcher's best option for his next Derby winner.

I have no confidence in Mr. Pletcher but even a trainer with a dismal record gets it right sometimes.

03 Apr 2013 9:13 AM
Rusty Weisner

Matt Converse,

I'm not liking War Academy after the performances of Shakin' It Up and Treasury Bill (who both beat him).  It just might not be Baffert's year.  

03 Apr 2013 9:32 AM

I don't see the hype with Verrazano.  I know he is 3 for 3 and hails from a nice barn but what's the hype?  Just because a horse wins by lengths in his races don't make him a super horse.  He has beat a horse of significance.  Java's War? Dynamic Sky?  Falling Sky?  Come on, as of right now he has beat no horse that would even be in the Derby field the 1st Saturday in May.  

This Saturday will be the true acid test and I don't think he passes.  I can't see him winning Saturday in the Wood against a quality field.  I also think his bloodline is suspect.  I'm not a big fan of MTR going distance on the dirt.  He himself never won past 7f and his progeny are better on the turf.

Vyjack is the play in the Wood.

03 Apr 2013 9:55 AM
Rusty Weisner

it ain't easy being good,

"Spiral Stakes winners have done great recently in the Derby".

The trend has been the trainer, not the race, which remains G3.  Outside of the winners no one has raced in that race -- unless you count Twinspired and Decisive Moment, two runners that came in 14th & 17th in the Derby; other than the winner, no one ran in the Derby out of last year's Spiral.  

I'll watch Black Onyx -- or rather listen for buzz -- but I hate the idea of having to cover him in some kind of longshot angle because of Motion's two.

03 Apr 2013 10:12 AM

Thanks for all the interesting and helpful information as always Steve.  Always love your Derby Dozen's.  So far this year I do not have a clear cut favorite which is very unusual for me.  I am leaning toward Itsmyluckyday at this point. I may just go with a sentimental choice and hope for Hear The Ghost or any grey horse in tribute to "the Grey Ghost" the great Native Dancer in tribute to the 60th anniversary of his only career loss!

03 Apr 2013 10:17 AM
Rusty Weisner


"He hasn't beaten any horse of significance.  Java's War? Dynamic Sky?  Falling Sky?  Come on, as of right now he has beat no horse that would even be in the Derby field the 1st Saturday in May"

Java's War is 16h on the points list, Falling Sky 19th, Dynamic Sky 24th.  All will be running again and all stand a good chance of getting more points and being in the gate May 4, particularly Java's War, in my opinion.  He's only run in a 50-point prep, but he's run fast in two races already.  Give him a chance.

03 Apr 2013 10:17 AM
Pedigree Ann


That was my point. As I pointed out last year on this (or similar blog), in a logical world, I'll Have Another would have been the Derby favorite. Instead of which, all the press was about Bodemeister and Union Rags and Gemologist.

03 Apr 2013 10:33 AM

Mr. Haskin,

“Sometimes, a horse just hits you smack on the head and you feel as if you’re watching something special”

I am baffled that you are so seriously impressed with Rydilluc.

Below are the previous winners of the Palm Beach:

2012 - Howe Great – 1:46.56

2011 – Joes Blazing Aaron  - 1:47.75

2010 – Paddy o’ Prado – I45.40

From the above final times it can be concluded that the Palm Beach is synonymous with impressive winners.  Rydilluc 1:48.18 is the slowest time recorded in the last 4 years. He crawled for the first 6F and exploded home with eye popping strides.

Will he get that set up in the Bluegrass? Very unlikely!

Was he more impressive than the previous three winner of the Palm Beach? Not based on final times.

Did any of the previous impressive Palm Beach winners go on to win the Bluegrass? No!

This colt victory in the Pam Beach must be viewed in context.  Any talented horse that is allowed to set pedestrian fractions will run away from the competition in the final furlongs of a race.

His inclusion in your DD represents a brave move. Since bravery is in operation then why not include Footbridge?

His sire Street Cry has an excellent synthetic record.  He sired Zenyatta who was unbeaten in 18 starts on synthetic. He also sired Derby winner Street Sense who was a SH looser in Bluegrass contested on a synthetic for the first time. He also sired Street Hero an excellent synthetic runner.

Footbridge has been doing his training on the Hollywood Park synthetic surface and is certain to be at home at Keeneland.

Your #7 and #8 ranked colts have not run faster than Footbridge. He will have an advantage heading into the Bluegrass and given the performance of GOVENOR CHARLIE he should be ultracompetitive.

03 Apr 2013 10:37 AM

Jay Jay:

If you tossed post 19 last year you lost your bet, if you tossed post 20 in Big Browns Derby you lost that bet too. 2 of the last 5 winners have come from there. I learned a lesson last year when I loved I'll Have Another but tossed him because of post position. It was a good thing I had him at 29/1 and 22/1 in the early futures but that made it easier to begin with to toss him on Derby Day.I'll still toss post 1 every time but will take a top notch horse who I am high on from the outside from now on. In the case of Big Brown I bet him to win only with the assumption he was good enough to win or would not hit the board. I didn't have quite the same confidence with I'll Have Another going in as the field Big Brown was facing was so very weak.

I find it interesting that at this stage we have 2 geldings who look to be serious contenders on May 4th. This can all change this weekend but the old adage of betting against a gelding will be tested if they continue to improve. Funny Cide burned a lot of tickets as if memory serves me he was a gelding as well an a NY bred but it has been a solid play against over time.

I'd love to see a column on your opinion and history of geldings in the Ky Derby Steve, any chance of this if Vyjack and Hear The Ghost come through this weekend and make the field?  

03 Apr 2013 10:57 AM
It aint easy being good!

Some of your post crack me up. I love when people say  who did he beat? He beat all the horses in the race. Some of you say that Revoluationary finds trouble trips yet he still wins so who cares! You then compare Revolutionary to Union Rags are you serious? Union rags lost his prep races and had frency as a jockey! Also Revolutionary just beat the largest prep to date with 14 horses! You think adding 6 more horses is going to make a difference? Wake up people.

03 Apr 2013 11:29 AM
Forbidden Apple

Matt Converse,

Itsmyluckyday ran too far, that's completely not true. But that kind of logic is what should boost his odds up to 15-1 or better in the KY Derby. Look at the mile time for the FL Derby, 1:37 4/5. He ran 1:34 1/5 in the G.P. Derby, more than 15 lengths faster. So you are telling everyone that this horse regressed a ton because of the distance? Could it have been a layoff, or by design? He did just enough to get his second place points. The FL Derby distance is not would beat this horse. Final times are not the only measure of a horses ability, but Orb and the rest sure did not run fast.

I watched the replay several times and I really like the gallop out by Revolutionary. Mylute was blown away after the wire.

03 Apr 2013 12:14 PM
Rusty Weisner

One of my first reactions to Revolutionary's win was "So what?  He beat Mylute".  But that's circular reasoning.  There's no reason why Mylute didn't step up in this race -- the evidence is how they separated themselves from the rest of the field.  

I also didn't like Revolutionary's slow break and wide trip.  But, this being a make-or-break race and he being the best horse, his jockey was probably told to stay out of trouble above all else.

Still, I think he's going to have bad "racing luck" in the Derby with these tendencies, even if he is the best.  I think Orb and whoever the best front-end horse are (Verrazano?) are going to have shorter, less eventful trips.

03 Apr 2013 1:07 PM

I don't know if I would be brave enough to pick a horse that walks out of the gate.......Revolutionary ???? Wow. I made a huge score when he got beat by maiden Orb back around Xmas time. Walked out of the gate that day too. Expect the same in a 20 horse field. We'll call it the "Revolutionary Shuffle"

03 Apr 2013 1:25 PM

Hirize...Dynamic Sky is going to be a real good horse. Wins the blue Grass and then the Derby at 32-1.

03 Apr 2013 1:26 PM
El Kabong


Get rid of the blinkers.

By the way, I noticed no picks west of Mississippi. Do tell.

03 Apr 2013 2:54 PM

Some are complaining about the Derby restricting horses who have no points. Dreaming of Julia, while I love the horse, is left out because SHE ran in restrictive races. Why should she be allowed in when she ran in races that no colt could run in? Run in races for which all 3 year olds are eligible, to be eligible for the ultimate race for those same three year olds.

03 Apr 2013 3:35 PM

hirize said,

"Vyjack is the play in the Wood"

And what if the Rodriguez brothers aren't able to juice him up with flunixin this time?

Rodriguez is suspended for a reason.  And he's got another suspension on the way for another flunixin violation.  Just saying.

03 Apr 2013 4:00 PM

Vyjack  looked the most determined. A win in the Wood puts him firmly on top.

03 Apr 2013 6:05 PM

How quickly everybody has forgotten about Black Onyx! But Orb and Revolutionary look the best but their price will both be about 3/1....DRAG!

03 Apr 2013 7:25 PM

mz 02 Apr 2013 11:58 AM:

Get over it. The fact that filly restricted earnings were allowed previously was discrimination against colts and geldings.

A filly needs to qualify in the same manner a colt does. There could not be a fairer system.

03 Apr 2013 8:00 PM

Native Dancer : I've only started playing the aussie races and to be honest, I don't really pay attention to the gender as just hitting a winner there is very very tough.  Do the fillies there start running against the boys early on or just after they dominate their races ?

draynot : Good point but I see the field for this year's derby as fairly evenly matched.  If whoever horse(s) gets those posts and beats me, so be it.  I just don't feel the horses I picked will be good enough to get out of 19 and 20 and win.

03 Apr 2013 9:13 PM
Plod Boy Phil

pgpg -

One question:  Did Vyjack test positive following the Gotham ?

03 Apr 2013 9:33 PM

Vyjack 4-1


03 Apr 2013 9:48 PM

I like the new points system,but i'm also for letting the fillies run,that filly at Gulftream ran a craka best prep so far by far.

03 Apr 2013 10:24 PM

Does aerodynamic "drafting" come into play in horseracing as it does in cycling and other sports and sometimes running? How does it work in conjunction with pace setting and tactical speed does anyone know?  If a horse can step up his pace when the pace is slow or set back if the pace is blazing then that is tactical speed, correct?  Lucky has this great tactical speed and Orb and Revolutionary have great versatility in striking from anywhere on the track.  And Steve says Revolutionary can "bull his way around horses" a quality he'll certainly need for the 20 horse field.  Any early Derby pace scenario ideas assuming these 12 colts above are in it?  Is this basically how they play out the Timeform oval results according to Beyers and running styles and pace scenarios?

03 Apr 2013 10:31 PM

I wanted to mention in the previous post that "drafting" is running close behind another competitor to reduce the work required to overcome drag (pushing air or water/fluid out of the way).  Since the horses are a pack animal do they do this naturally?  But horseracing is not a natural phenomenon for them, we put them in it or are the jockeys cognizant of drafting and try to conserve energy in that manner?  I got into all this just from trying to figure out which one has tactical speed.

03 Apr 2013 10:50 PM

JimF552:  thank you for your comments.  I respectfully disagree.  (OK, maybe not so respectfully but whattheheck, it doesn't hurt to be polite.)

Speaking of fillies, respectfully or not, Nipissing was a really nice filly last year.  Looking fwd to her run in the Ashland.

04 Apr 2013 12:06 AM

datflippinrabbit. you are wrong. Grindstone won the La. Derby and went on to win the Kentucky Derby.  You need to do your research before posting.

04 Apr 2013 12:06 AM

I haven't seen a totally dominant performance in any prep race so I have to agree with Kevin V that this could be a Derby year where we see another Mine That Bird "Where the heck did he come from?" type win - especially if the weather on race day comes up bad.

04 Apr 2013 3:35 AM

This weekend I am looking forward in seeing the return of Flashback, Normandy Invasion, and am intrigued on how Mr Palmer and Power Broker compete for various reasons.

If I was a trainer, the horse I would be fearing the most is Orb. Orb will run 10f.

04 Apr 2013 6:39 AM

Happy Birthday, Steve!

And may you have many more as the best thoroughbred writer of our time.

04 Apr 2013 8:01 AM
Bloodline Bob

Here's some obscure Ky. Derby history for everyone. IF ORB wins the 139th Ky. Derby, he will be only the 4th horse that their name begins with the letter "O"(1935=OMAHA;1917=OMAR KHAYYAM;1914=OLD ROSEBUD). Also, if ORB wins, he will be only the 6th horse with a 1 syllable name(1984=SWALE;1955=SWAPS;1923=ZEV;1912=WORTH;1894=CHANT. If VERRAZANO or VYJACK win the 139th Ky. Derby, they would be only the 3rd horse in Derby history that their name begins with the letter "V"(1960=VENETIAN WAY;1876=VAGRANT). Stay tuned for Bloodline Bob's statistics.

04 Apr 2013 8:12 AM

mz:  I've fished the West Arm of Lake Nipissing.  What a gorgeous, peaceful body of water to vacation on and fish.  I try not to get hung up on names, but sometimes my heart overrules my head.  I hope she does well in the Ashland.

04 Apr 2013 8:17 AM

Rusty Weisner,

Below are the internal fractions and final times for three 9F races.

Mr.Palmer: 24.56,49.30,1:13.71, 1:38.82,1:51.35.

Revolutionary: 22.84,46.34, 1:11.84,1:37.76,1:50.28

Orb: 24.74,48.56,1:12.89,1:37.79, 1:50.87

These races were contested at three different tracks and track configuration and variances may have contributed to the final times.

That stated, Mr. Palmer’s time is the slowest of the three. Should Mr. Palmer be mentioned in the same sentence with Revolutionary and Orb? No!

However, it should be noted that he was a step slow out the gates and was pinched back and like Revolutionary was piloted 7 wide for clear passage and he won in hand by 3 1/2L.

What’s the significance of mentioning his rough trip? His final time was only 0.48 slower than Orb’s who had a trouble free trip. If he was pushed out to the line that difference would be even smaller as he finished in hand.

I hope Mr. Palmer does well in the Wood as I think he is one of a few that will be comfortable at 10F.

All the Derby  contenders are likely to have something unique about their pedigrees. In the case of Mr. Palmer his 1st, 2nd & 3rd dams were unraced.

My love affair with unraced dams is well known but to have the first three dams unraced is certainly a bonus.

04 Apr 2013 9:08 AM

With Verrazano's presence in the Wood Memorial field and his widely expected victory, the rest of the field is expected to be running for the three remaining minor places.

VyJack, Normandy Invasion, Elnaawi and Mr. Palmer are expected to battle for these positions. Can any of the lesser fancied horses get into the mix? I think there are two likely candidates i.e., Freedom Child and Quinzieme Monarque.

Freedom Child has been on my watch list for sometime as has done enough to suggest he has a ton of ability. In his 2nd start he gave the eventual FOY & FL Derby Orb all he could handle before being beaten by 2 1/4L. Finishing behind him was race favorite and eventual Withers & LA Derby winner Revolutionary.  Both Orb & Revolutionary entered that MSW with more maturity and experience.

Freedom Child broke his maiden in a 9F MSW at Gulfstream Park in a time of 1:50.96. The recently completed FL Derby was won in a time of 1:50.87. FC ‘s menacing performance against Orb & Revolutionary and his impressive MSW win were achieve without Lasix. The race day medication will be administered for his Wood Memorial effort.

Quinzieme Monarque has done his best racing on turf. However, he was 4th in the Remsen in what was his 2nd start on dirt. He like Freedom Child will be administered with Lasix for the first time in the Wood. In his most recent start he finished 4th closing from last to the impressive Palme Beach winner Rydilluc.

The two colt have the potential to hit the board big time and I will be using them in my exotics as they will now be medicated.

04 Apr 2013 10:10 AM

Dynamic Sky, Black Onyx and whoever wins the Bluegrass are up against to win the Derby.  They are all synthetic or turf horses.  They all remind me of Brilliant Speed, a true grass horse who wins a Derby Prep on a synthetic track.  There are many horse like this that gather graded earnings and points but have no chance to win the Derby on dirt.  Those who like these type of horses are dreaming!  However, there are true dirt horses that use these type of races as preps such Street Sense did but I don't see that this year.  Uncaptured may be the closest one.

04 Apr 2013 10:30 AM
Rusty Weisner


You're harping on Footbridge.  Haskins' list is not the top twelve prospects for winning the Bluegrass Stakes, however.  It's a about the Derby, and saying how great Footbridge is on synthetics is hardly a recommendation for that race.

I like your argument against Rydilluc for the Bluegrass, though.  Not very bold, but I don't like WTC here, either:  I think he will hate the surface and he doesn't need to win the race anyway.

04 Apr 2013 11:10 AM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

You make a good argument.

Even if pedigree's not the culprit, the problem remains that this was a slow race with a weak field and he couldn't win it, even when he needed the points (did his trainer really just have him run for second?).  If anything, you've lowered my estimation of Orb, because it was a slow race with adequate same-day points of comparison in the Skip Away and GP Oaks.  Maybe I'm overreacting.  Maybe it wasn't that slow, or maybe that slow early pace gives the top two an excuse.  

I'll take the 15-1.  But it's not as good as the 15-1 on a certain Derby horse last year that had won his two preps, on the strongest circuit.

I'm liking Revolutionary more than I did.  Being much the best (going wide to avoid traffic) and then being tested in the stretch and again proving best, I take as a good sign.  My only knock is that I think he will have bad "luck" in the Derby; I will like him a lot if he gets an outside post, though.

04 Apr 2013 11:27 AM
Rusty Weisner


Actually WTC won his maiden at Keeneland.  Didn't know that till I bothered to look.

04 Apr 2013 11:32 AM

Wow! What a weekend.  While I love both Revolutionary and Orb, the fact that Orb sauntered past his field with ease, while Revolutionary was all out to keep a few inches ahead of Mylute, spurs me to keep Orb at #1.

People are mentioning that Orb beat Revolutionary in a previous race; are you also aware that Vyjack beat Orb in a previous race?

Shook up list:

1.-Orb...breeding, connections, ease in moving.  However, he did seem very distracted coming down the home stretch, and JV had to work hard to get his attention back.  But once he did, Orb coasted to the lead.

2.-Verrazano...natural talent who may just be a "freak".  Looking forward to the Wood.

3.-Revolutionary..well bred, intelligent, tactical, and competitive.  So far, I've seen nothing not to like.

4.-Vyjack...Toughest competitor for the Wood.  Well-bred and experienced.  Nothing I don't love here.

5.-It'smyluckyday..good connections, worried about the distance but he seems to be a long-striding competitive colt.  Looking for improvement.

6.-Hear The I need to say anything beyond Ghostzapper?  Steady progress; need to see more.

7.-Black Onyx...Brilliant, and I love RH10.  BUT, RH10's do best on turf, and that worries me.  Sure is a handsome colt!

8.-Java's War and 8a.-Tiz A Minister were both impressive closers.  They both get this spot, but each needs a major win to qualify.

9.-Goldencents..Another Midnight Lute who (I think) will redeem himself in the SA Derby.

10.-Secret Number...I don't even think he's coming to America, but I thought he was the most impressive in the UAE Derby, and he was closing fast.

11.-Narvaez...So well bred, sired by Holy Bull, I don't think he'll have a problem with the distance.  But he needs a win to qualify, but I think he may be a legistimate contender, now that he's streched his legs.

12.-This spot was reserved for Transparent, but I don't see that he's entered in the Wood or any other major prep. Sooo.. #12 goes to War Academy.  I thought he was impressive in an allowance...but he needs a major win.  Well bred and handsome, I like him.

Guess I've got a baker's dozen but...there are 20 slots.

Palice's always cudda, shudda, wudda with this colt..but no wins.  Unimpressed so far.

Will Take Charge belongs on my list, but I'll wait and see.

For the Wood...Verrazano and Vyjack.

For the SA Derby...Goldencents and Hear The Ghost. (Don't think Flashback can win at 10f)..but there might be an upset as Tiz catches them all this time.

04 Apr 2013 11:41 AM

Did I mention

Vyjack 4-1!!!

04 Apr 2013 12:57 PM
Rusty Weisner


If I'm not mistaken, it's not just the horses that are slow at Laurel, but the track.  I actually like Mr. Palmer underneath for the odds.

04 Apr 2013 1:52 PM
Lise from Maine


How many of these horses were medicated for those races that they won?

I don't bet on medicated horses if I know in advance that they are medicated.

Thank you!

04 Apr 2013 2:47 PM

El Kabong,

Lets make a deal ...I take off the blinkers if you'll get rid of the tongue-tie and start making sense's that?

I've posted previously my fancy in the Santa Anita Derby ...Flashback to play ghostbuster and win impressively by daylight.

In the Arkansas Derby don't Overanalyze it, watch this Dixie Union colt get his act together and re-enter the Derby fray ...sorry Bro about all the chalk but it is what it is.

Tell me, do you like the idea of Dreaming of Julia not being able to strut her stuff against the colts in the Derby because of some arbitrary rule that says fillies must run against colts before the first Saturday in May? Did Eight Belles, Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Serena's Song et al really need to be proven against colts before hammering them at first asking? Come on man, the rule is ridiculous and it takes away from one of the great intrigues of the derby in a year when a super-filly emerges. I expressly pointed this out in early criticism of the points system to which you gave a "tongue-tied response, before Dreaming of Julia exposed the folly on the track might now want to retract your "tongue-tied" response now that you have egg all over your face, compliments of DOJ. Peace.  

04 Apr 2013 3:53 PM


The final quarter is official Trakus data posted on That would seem to be credible information, but with the rampant lack of credibility in this game who knows...

I think you do good work, I just disagree with your analysis of HTG. Unfortunately he is now injured and we'll never know how it would have turned out.

Also, Verrazano and Itsmyluckyday don't have the right pedigree on the granddam side, not a chance they get 10 furlongs. They will eventually be dominant at 8f to 8.5f, if the trail doesn't ruin them first.

04 Apr 2013 6:33 PM

aW...sadness for Slew City Slew.  Is there any son of Seattle Slew who has not been awesome?  And I love my Lava Man.

What a shame for Hear The much potential.  Here's hoping for a speedy and complete recovery.

For those who don't believe a turf/synthetic horse can win the Derby...didn't you watch Animal Kingdom do just that?  You never know.

For the Santa Anita Derby, don't forget that will be Lava Man taking Goldencents out in the post parade again.

04 Apr 2013 7:14 PM

Ranagulzion :   No love for the 4 horses I asked you about ?  HHE, Fortify, Bern Identity and Capo Bastone..they have more than enough earnings, how come you're not all up in arms about them ?  Can you post a comment on whether you really believe these 4 belong in the Kentucky Derby ?  The new points system is not perfect but it's doing what it's designed for and so far, the list makes total sense, all have earned their spots, winning or hitting the board in prep races as a THREE year old.  Seriously, what has Julia done to deserve a spot in the Derby ?

It's unfortunate that HtG got injured and off the trail.  I liked his chances in the SA Derby but I forgot that SA can be a speed track sometimes and if that's the case on Saturday, Baffert might actually go 1-2-3.

04 Apr 2013 9:25 PM

Revolutionary, though I don't like the trainer, I am wishing and hoping if Verrazano does not show up in the Wood, that Johnny V. will get the mount on Revolutionary in the Kentucky Derby.  I just don't like the Revolutionary/Castellano scenario, not in the Kentucky Derby.  

04 Apr 2013 9:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   He had a good long life. Hear the Ghost being injured was quite a shock but I've learned to roll with the punches. If it's the last one injured of the Derby entrants I'll still be happy. I just watched "Rocky" again. Still a very good movie. Will have to figure out who to root for in the SA Derby now other than Lava Man.

04 Apr 2013 9:51 PM

Verrazano will become the undisputed #1 Derby Dozen horse after the Wood Memorial on Saturday.

Revolutionary and Orb are petty good colts that appear to be still improving but both are not in the same league as Verrazano and Dreaming of Julia(her Beyer speed figure of 114 was simply awesome). Folks shouldn't jump off Itsmyluckyday so quickly ...he definitely regressed out of need for the race and will certainly rebound at Churchill Downs. Only distance limitations based on pedigree or colts capable of running stronger Beyer figures will be able to beat him. Orb will need to keep improving leaps and bounds to win at Churchill Downs against super star Verrazano and a back to form Itsmyluckyday.  The Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass winners respectively will also have a lot to say about the flavour of the Derby IMO.

Steve, you wrote about "breaking a few eggs to make omlet" in one of your columns on the points system, suggesting that there would be casalties of the experiment. Can you please tell us how the omlet is tasting or smelling after seeing Dreaming of Julia put a ten lengths class gap between herself and Florida Derby winner as well as your current #1 Derby Dozen colt?

04 Apr 2013 9:53 PM


Make no mistake about it ...the casualty or "broken eggs" as you termed it, of the points system, will not be Dreaming of Julia, her sire AP Indy or her connections as much as the Kentucky Derby (depending on whether Verrazano or some hitherto under-the-radar crackerjack colt can save the day).

04 Apr 2013 10:02 PM
El Kabong


Dreaming of Julia ran a great race. Would I hand her the roses today, not a chance. Would I like to see her in the derby? Absolutely, but not because she can beat the group she did in the Florida Oaks. If she had run and won in a qualifying race she'd be in and welcome, but nothing, bro, N   O   T  H  I   N   G   prevented her or her connections from making that happen.  Not sure why you don't see that the new point system is not responsible for DOJ not being in able to run in Louisville, hence the only egg in the conversation is the one rotting in your graded earnings lock box.  Someone made a good point earlier about this system actually being less discriminatory and I agree. Before, a filly could run against the colts for graded stakes earnings whenever her connections wanted, but a colt could not run against a group of fillies to collect graded earnings restricted only for fillies. Do you see how that is not even handed? You ignore, let me repeat that because you're not getting this at all, you ignore the fact that any filly can run in any race she wants to earn points. That's fair bubba. Maybe her connections will run her in the Preakness after the stampede is over in Louisville, and I do say maybe because we still have some pretty talented colts lined up and ready to throw down.  And for the record, I do think that it is in the best interest of any filly to run in a prep race with the colts, before she is subjected to the environment of facing 19 colts in Louisville. It makes total sense and I'm surprised you don't understand or value this because if you did,  you wouldn't be so brash about this sensible feature in the new system.

I must have missed your earlier posts concerning Ark and SA Derby. You may not be so chalky on Overanalyze. Oxbow and some late entries could leave him at 5 or 6 to one. I know I don't like him. Flashback is going to be unbearable chalk and worth taking a shot against. I will probably box him with the Minister and Power Broker and hope he gets beat from a betting standpoint but I wouldn't be disappointed if he backed up his barns chatter and cost me a few coins and a new tongue tie.

04 Apr 2013 10:13 PM

Happy Birthday to Linda in Texas!!!

Guys, her birthday is today, Friday the 5th!!!!!

And Steve I wished a Happy Birthday in a previous post.

05 Apr 2013 12:24 AM

Whoa. Hear the Ghost is slightly injured and will be back in plenty of time to show what he can do against his crop, those who are still around when he comes back this summer.

Bone cracks heal much more dependably than connective tissue tears.

05 Apr 2013 4:31 AM


"I'm also anxious to see how Uncaptured and Java's War do in the Blue Grass against Rydilluc and a few others."

I did not post this. Steve did.

05 Apr 2013 4:44 AM

I just watched all Tiz A Minister's races and I think he's a stretch-running sprinter. Well seasoned with four failed attempts in maidens, he still failed to win stretching a little to a mile.

I wouldn't arbitrarily eliminate a non-winner of 2 other than in the Derby, but I will eliminate a horse with 10 tries against modest opposition. He's won a maiden and a Cal-bred.

05 Apr 2013 4:56 AM

Rusty Weisner,

“Saying how great Footbridge is on synthetics is hardly a recommendation for that race.”

Kindly revisit my post.  I never specified that Footbridge was great on synthetic. I specified that he does his training on a synthetic track and should be at home on the surface.

Familiarity with synthetic surfaces can prove to be an advantage. I specify that his sire is regarded as a top synthetic sire and gave some examples.  Based on Street Cry’s record with synthetic runners and the fact that Footbridge  trains on the surface, I give him a better chance than Rydilluc.

“Haskins' list is not the top twelve prospects for winning the Bluegrass Stakes”

I do not understand the need to specify the above. Nowhere in my post did I either specify or infer that the DD covered the possible Bluegrass starters. The DD contains two colts that are likely to contest the Bluegrass and I focused on one.

05 Apr 2013 8:33 AM
Forbidden Apple


I agree, if you think Itsmyluckyday is finished, then Orb must be downgraded. Since the best horse Orb has ever beaten in my opinion is Itsmyluckyday. Violence was running in the FoY with a broken ankle.

More sad news, the loss of Hear the Ghost is difficult to accept. I'm certain that he will not be the last horse to fall off the trail.

Dreaming of Julia has no business running against colts. I remember another Pletcher filly that tried 2 or 3 years ago, and she finished poorly.

05 Apr 2013 9:31 AM

Hi Steve and Everyone,

I'm new on this blog and i'm sorry I missed the race between Orb and Dreaming of Julia. It must have been an impressive performance by the filly if she beat the colts by 10 lenghts.

Oh yeah that's right they weren't actually in the same race were they? There are a lot of people who are convinced she would have duplicated that performance in the Florida Derby but running against some tough colts may have been a completely different ballgame.

Ruffian was the fastest filly that ever lived and dominated all 10 of her races against fillies so much that she was never headed at any point of call. The first time she faced a colt in a match race she tragically broke down.

Eight Bells ran a great second to Big Brown in the KD and also tragically broke down right after the wire.

I guess there's a reason why fillies are usually kept away from colts. The races against colts are much more demanding than races against their own sex.

If Dreaming of Julia actually beat Orb by 10 lengths than she absolutely would deserve a shot in the Derby.

Sorry to hear about Hear the Ghost. I was looking forward to the SA Derby.

Good luck to everyone and all the horses.

05 Apr 2013 11:16 AM

Happy Birthday, Linda in Texas.  Are you now 29, just like Steve?

05 Apr 2013 11:21 AM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

I'm not sure Itsmyluckyday is finished.  I don't think I'm going to be singling in the Derby this year and I'll consider him because I like your case for him:  you remind me that he has been, objectively, one of the fastest horses in the field.  But his 15-1 is not nearly as appealing as IHA's was last year.  Most of my money was spread on multi-race bets with Bodemeister, IHA and three others.  I did some singling of Bodemeister on the side, which you'll probably agree was pretty logical.

05 Apr 2013 11:41 AM

Happy Birthday Steve and Linda (in Texas)!

05 Apr 2013 12:17 PM

Dr. D:  Wellll, Lava Man will be taking Goldencents to post, and I think this horse, if he keeps his cool, can win.  It's tough for a deep closer on the speedway of Santa Anita, but I still believe Tiz A Minister can shake up this race.  He was running like a locomotive in the San Felipe.

I know Flashback is really fast, but I simply don't believe he can win at 10f....and that's really what we're all looking for...our Derby horse.

Ranagul: D of J is Derby nominated, but if she doesn't meet the colts in their preps, don't blame the point system...blame her connections.  They're equal opportunity prep races, and she would even have the advantage of a weight allowance as a filly.  So I would get off your high horse of indignation, and get real.  The qualifying races are there; D of J has not entered them.

05 Apr 2013 12:59 PM
Karen in Texas

Happy Birthday, Steve and LiT!

mz----And here I thought they were both 30! :)

05 Apr 2013 1:44 PM

El Kabong,

History doesn't support your argument against fillies under the Graded Earnings system. You'll need to cite some examples where fillies denied worthy colts on the basis of earnings against easier competition ...I doubt that you can cite even one over all the years of the Graded earnings system. Your point is hollow and hypothetical my friend.

jay jay,

Bern Identity is injured and off the Triple Crown trail, Godolphin would not be sending Fortify unless he showed that he belong in the race even with qualifying earnings ...thats how they operate. I'd have no problem with He's Had Enough in the Derby as he'd have been in a better position not travelling to Dubai for the UAE Derby ...and who's to say he could not spring an upset? Capo Bastone would have as good a shot as any of the "no hopers" that get in on points, so whats your point Bro?

05 Apr 2013 1:54 PM

Happy Birthday, Steve!  And Happy Birthday, Linda In Texas!  May you both have an outstanding day today celebrating your Special Day.

To Pedgree Ann - We've disagreed in the past, but I totally agree with you about last year's Santa Anita Derby & following Kentucky Derby.  I never could understand why I'll Have Another was not the favorite going into the Kentucky Derby last year, and was almost totally overlooked by the racing press, especially the East Coast press.  One journalist, in particular, took delight in ridiculing I'll Have Another every time he had to evaluate IHA in a race.  Every East Coast journalist except one missed what was staring them right in the face about the high quality of racing I'll Have Another was providing us in early 2012.  Steve Haskin was the only other journalist that was very savvy in seeing the many upsides of I'll Have Another and was wisely singing his praises from the start of the year.  Everyone else was on the Bodemeister-Union Rags-Gemologist-Take Charge Indy-Hansen bandwagon, and beating it to the exclusion of everyone else.  IHA was ignored by the majority of the press, and subsequently, by the majority of the public, and I'll Have Another went off 15-1 in the Kentucky Derby.  

On a personal level, I'm happy most people were blind about something I thought was fairly obvious.  It left IHA's odds quite high for those of us who saw the greatness in him, supported him and bet him.  But as a whole, it's head-scratchingly perplexing how IHA's talent and impressiveness was so easily overlooked by so many for whatever reasons of their own.  I see it happening again this year again, too.  When the dust settles after the Blue Grass and the Arkansas Derby, it will be interesting to see if a similar scenario with the press and fans maps itself out to the Kentucky Derby.

05 Apr 2013 3:52 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes.

05 Apr 2013 4:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Flashback can win at 9f. He's a legit favorite in the SA Derby but he needs to close. Nobody expects him to be in a suicidal pace this time but you never know although I think they'd rather take their chances with strangling him.

05 Apr 2013 7:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Zenyatta's Tapit can already run ten furlongs.

05 Apr 2013 7:30 PM

Ranagulzion : The point is they would have a spot and probably not running much as a 3 yr old, which from what they've shown in their races as a 3 yr old, they can't compete at a high level against the top contenders.  Can you name any horse in the current leaderboard that doesn't deserve to be there ?  All the work those horses and their connections have done this year makes them all deserving.  It's a moot point really because DoJ is NOT running in the Derby which is how it should be, she'll be running where she should be running, in the Kentucky Oaks.  I still don't get what DoJ has done so far that earned her a spot in the Kentucky Derby...I don't see where she showed she can beat the colts.

05 Apr 2013 7:33 PM

OOPS, came late for this party.


06 Apr 2013 12:06 AM

No wagers today, especially the way these big two are setting up.  Will save my cash for next weekend and the Derby.

Wood:  Verrazano has it all and will dominate this race.  Look for Normandy Invasion and Vyjack to battle for place and show.

SA Derby:  With the scratch of HTG, this could be a BB ex.  Looking for Power Broker to upset with Flashback next.

Good Luck to all and enjoy the races!

06 Apr 2013 8:14 AM

Wood: Normandy Invasion is sitting on big race look for him and Vyjack to run down Verrazano.

SA Derby: Power Broker and Tiz a Minister battle to the wire past Flashback.

06 Apr 2013 8:43 AM

JoyJackson21 : It's interesting to me you picked BG and Arkansas, who are the horse(s) you think will be overlooked by the press from these races ?

06 Apr 2013 12:17 PM
Linda in Texas

And ditto to what Steve Haskin posted at 4:54 pm on 5 Apr 2013.

Thanks gals and guys. With as much gray as streaks my locks hard to say i am 29 anymore.

"My birthday came." Thank you Lord.

"My birthday went." But not me -- Ditto :)

I am going to go out on a limb, going to put my pennies worth of thought and say, Black Onyx will surprise! Look at his pedigree. My word, Seattle Slew, as well as Secretariat, Bold Reasoning, Storm Cat and on and on. My mind tells me to follow my first impression as usually i am right. But not cocky about it. I feel his Dam side will do him well though his Sire side is not too shabby either. I hope. And with 50 points already garnered for his entry he still needs to win. I am not deleting Itsmyluckyday in my mix at all. I am just adding 1 and need 1 more.

Have not had a vision yet on the third. I like to mentally pick 3 reserving slot 3 until after April 17. Happy and Safe Racing everyone.

06 Apr 2013 12:50 PM

hirize, well you were almost right, Normandy Invasion was running Verrazano down; he just ran out of track. Revolutinary and Normandy Invasion have the pedigrees to go longer. IMO Verrazano has reached his distance.  

06 Apr 2013 6:53 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Sneak Preview next Derby Dozen:

   I don't like anyone out of the SA Derby despite it being the best time so far of the big 9f preps.

1. Revolutionary- No doubt, a true 10fer.

2. Oxbow

3. Orb

4. Verrazano

5. Lines of Battle

6. Java's War

7. Itsmyluckyday

8. Will Take Charge

9, Vyjack

10. Normandy Invasion

11. Mylute

12. Tie- Texas Bling and Carve

06 Apr 2013 7:26 PM

Excitement x 2. So pleased that Normandy Invasion has made it to the Kentucky Derby - if the Wood Memorial had been 10 f. I doubt Verrazano would be undefeated. Mere speculation though.

I have watched the Santa Anita Derby a few times now - Flashback is rateable and looked relaxed. Not sure how much ground/momentum Flashback may have lost when he shied a bit from Goldencents' jockey's wide sweeping right hand flourish but for an inexperienced horse he is learning the tricks of the trade quite quickly.

If there is a clear cut favourite for the Kentucky Derby I haven't spotted him, and besides, who wants that poison chalice.

Orb, Normandy Invasion, and Flashback are the three I like the most.  

06 Apr 2013 8:38 PM

Well said Slew. Derby nominated, but no Derby preps.I guess some bloggers think they know more about DOJ than her owners and trainer.

06 Apr 2013 8:59 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Velasquez said that he never had to whip verrazano whith those fracctions why a son of mineshaft,a son of umpire maker did try to do what pletcher want to do and they ran good but to win this race you don't need to be famous what you need is to have the blood of a derby winner but more then ready? well may be pedigree Ann can say something about this.  

06 Apr 2013 9:23 PM

Dr. D, agree with your picks.  Revolutionary has the 10f pedigree.  Verrazano, I don't know, another furlong and Normandy Invasion gets him.  

06 Apr 2013 9:28 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

They said that the sire is responsible for the stamina and the dam can pass the class but at what distance? for example revolutionary is a very talented horse his fimale line is 2d to none but his sire who did finish 2d in a good memorial that was timed in 1,52 and change is a far cry of what you need to win this, do you think A.P Indy is going to be all what he need well supersaver was a Dual Qualifier and won the Kentucky Jokey Club at Churchill Downs at 2 so the evidence for the future was there but hi was sire by maria's mon the sire of Monarchos who ran a beyer speed figure of 116!! like Unbridled so it let me think what secretariat Beyer speed figure was? so you really think that speed figures or trends like sires who did sire a derby winner are out of my decision you are wrong but when the river sound is because stones bring i hope that you do not need a rest to win.      

06 Apr 2013 10:35 PM

Well, Verrazano didn't dominate, but a win is a win. I am disappointed in the time, especially relative to other races on the card, but I don't think he was finished at the wire.  It looks to me as though he might be able to get another furlong.  It will be really interesting to see who Johnny decides to ride.  As I'm in between Orb and Verrazano now, whoever Johnny chooses will be my Derby horse.  I'm not ruling out Revolutionary either.  

Goldencents looked good winning the SA Derby; a solid time too.  Those of us sticking with "Eastern" horses again this year may be doing so at our own peril.

As I've been typing, I've reconsidering making my making a choice so early.  I think I'll just wait and see how they work at Churchill.  Usually a horse who looks really good training on the CD track runs a good race on the big day.

06 Apr 2013 10:45 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

when you compare pulpit's derby 4 and more then ready derby 4 you can see that pulpit lost with 3 monsters of beyer speed figures,silver charm won with a 114 beyer!! capitan budget was rigth there and the preakness was even faster!!118 whe fusaichi pegasus won the beyer was 108 so do you think verrazano  is better then more the ready ? the limite is 100 beyer by giacomo  even when he went wide but his sire holly bull ran a beyer of 115 in the florida derby ann the derby winner go for gin finished 4 in that race do you want to talk about class? well we have time to do some damage but in a positive way.

06 Apr 2013 11:05 PM


Verrazano will become the undisputed #1 Derby Dozen horse after the Wood Memorial on Saturday."

You were no doubt impressed with his performance.

The last winner of the Wood that went on to win the Derby was Fusaichi Pegasus.  His winning time in the Wood was 1:47.80.

Based on available records, it appears no horse that has recorded a winning time of 1:50 in the Wood has ever won the Kentucky Derby

"Revolutionary and Orb are pretty good colts that appear to be still improving but both are not in the same league as Verrazano"

I encourage you revisit the internal fractions and final times for the LA Derby, FL Derby and Wood to see if your above statement warrants revision.

06 Apr 2013 11:54 PM


I would love to see Johnny V. back on Revolutionary, but I don't think it's a matter of 'getting' him. He will have his choice.

JV rode him in his first three lifetime starts, in all of which he was severely interfered with in the first stride out of the gate and lost all chance. I think JV gave up on him in his third start when he hung in the drive and was beaten by Orb and Freedom Child, both better horses than we knew at the time. He took third in a photo with Transparent.

However, Revolutionary did not give up on himself, and in his next start Ramon Dominguez hand rode him to an easy 8 1/2 length win over Transparent with the 3rd horse almost 20 lengths back.

I don't think Dominguez rode him better; he just wasn't fouled out of the gate for the first time. I  give JV credit for bringing him through a nightmare introduction to racing with his nerve and desire intact.

Verrazano may have been 'idling' on the lead Saturday, but he looked vulnerable to a better closer, and that might be Revolutionary who has shown us whirlwind finishes are in his repertoire.

07 Apr 2013 12:19 AM


"I also didn't like Revolutionary's slow break and wide trip.  But, this being a make-or-break race and he being the best horse, his jockey was probably told to stay out of trouble above all else."

Good analysis. I'm sure you're right.

07 Apr 2013 2:57 AM

LOVED how Goldencents performed in the SA!  And Krigger's post-race interview was awesome!  How rare and refreshing to hear a jockey talk so boldly about the Belmont before the Derby.  He may eat his words on the first Saturday in May, but I was laughing and enjoying his win right along with him!

Verrazano still remains a mystery to me.  The Wood was slow and easy for him, but he did fight off the challenges from Vyjack and Normandy Invasion with little urging.  Normandy was the most impressive to me in the Wood.  I have little doubt he will get the 10f.

Warming up more to Black Onyx now.

My Derby half dozen right now:

1. Orb

2. Revolutionary

3. Goldencents

4. Black Onyx

5. Normandy Invasion

6. Verrazano

07 Apr 2013 5:44 AM

To CUBA'S: Periods aren't just for the very end of a post!

So many folks focus on the winners of the preps as though this is horse racing's version of the NCAA tournament. Losers in preps win a pretty fair share of Kentucky Derbies.

07 Apr 2013 9:25 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


    I am not assuming that Verrazano would not have responded to the challenge given another furlong and pulled away. I am not assuming that Normandy Invasion would have continued his run another furlong. I think it was a fairly easy race for Verrazano despite how it looked. At the same time I don't know if he can win The Derby. I don't know if any will from the Wood but it's possible. Highly unlikely that any of them will be in my top three. On another note, the assistant to the assistant to the assistant of my Derby Dozen staff has informed me that late votes are trickling in from our district that indicates that Uncaptured could be on our list.

07 Apr 2013 9:44 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The best thing that could have happened to Verrazano was to not have dominated.

07 Apr 2013 9:46 AM
Saratoga AJ

I picked him after his imprssive performance in the Remsen last November, and I feel good about his chances on Mat 4th. after watching him closing in on Verrazano yesterday. Normandy Invasion is looking like the horse who will love the last furlong at Churchill. the name...and my late father was was a decorated veteran of the Normandy Invasion. Got to bet him.  

07 Apr 2013 9:49 AM

Cassandra, I agree with you, Verrazano could be vulnerable to deep closers.  

Linda, I also like Black Onyx a lot; and his pedigree is outstanding.  Right now, Revolutionary and Black Onyx are at the top of my list.  Of course, that may change.  I'll have to see how they are doing at Churchill.  

Coldfacts, surely you are joking.  Verrazano is a nice horse, but to place him in a league of his own is quite frankly ridiculous.  Also, why do you pay so much attention to times. Horses do what they have to do to win.  The time in which they finish doesn't mean that much to me.  IMO of course.

07 Apr 2013 9:54 AM

Stones, I like your picks for the Derby.  I would change the order a bit, but all 6 are fine horses.  Revolutionary and Black Onyx are my top favorites, followed by the others.  I think that these two horses have the best pedigrees to get the distance, particularly the Belmont distance.  

07 Apr 2013 10:02 AM

Verrazano could have blew away the Wood field if he was allowed to do his own thing.Pletcher was obviously trying to teach him to come off the pace and I agree with that strategy for future races but there was no need to do that in the Wood-------the horse could have wired this field and won by 10 if he was allowed to do his own thing up front.

07 Apr 2013 10:19 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'll be watching Revolutionary.  Know any signs to watch for in training that might indicate he'll break better in the Derby?  I consider the sluggish breaks disqualifying.  Compare him to Verrazano, who broke so nicely, and who overcame the bobble in the TB Derby.  

07 Apr 2013 10:40 AM

The idea that stamina comes from the dam and speed from the sire is not an idea of biologists, it's an observation.

I think it tells us about the market, not horses. We undervalue sires of stayers. They get exported, get written off if they don't show up on leading sire lists off 2 yo sprints, don't get good books.

They almost have to sneak into the sire lists like Midnight Lute, who is looking like he might be a sire of stayers but as a dual BC Sprint winner was expected to sire speedsters.

07 Apr 2013 11:10 AM

I can't forget that in the La. Derby, Revolutionary's gallop out was something to behold, beautiful.

07 Apr 2013 11:26 AM

Verrazano = Gemologist.

1.- Orb

2.- Will Take Charge/Goldencents

3.- Flashback/Govenor Charlie

4.- Oxbow/Black Onyx

07 Apr 2013 11:59 AM

Dr. D: No Flashback did not win at 9f.  So what about 10f?

Now, Zen's Tapit...will be beaten by Zen's Bernardini who may get 12f.  Looking forward to 2015!

I was thrilled for the O'Neill Stable and Goldencents.  I just knew he could do it...but that didn't look like Lava Man taking him to post. But the Man is on his way back to Kentucky...and he done good last year!

I personally think Verrazano just might be a freak, and surprise us all.  

And why do we talk about times of a race when none of our recent winners set the pace, but were victims to it?

Black Onyx, by Rock Hard Ten, boasts Roberto, Princequillo, Mr. P, Slew, Secretariat, and Damascus.  Plus he's really handsome.

Vyjack bled, and it robbed him of his usual explosive finish.  We'll have to see what they do for him.

And Declan's Warrior really stepped up big in the Bayshore, even though I was hoping to find him entered in the Wood.  He's bred to go long.

07 Apr 2013 1:30 PM

Mary; I find it interesting that you acknowledge that horses do what they have to do to win, but continue to question Verrazano's ability; a horse that has done nothing BUT win.  He will be the only colt going into the Derby undefeated.

IMO, Verrazano defeated Normandy Invasion as easily (or not) as Revolutionary defeated Mylute.  For sure though, Revolutionary had the more impressive gallop out.

07 Apr 2013 2:30 PM
Linda in Texas

Slew you had Goldenscents in your post. Nailed what he needed to do.

I never disagree with anything you say. When you say it, i listen.

I don't think that was Lava Man at all ponying Goldencents. I looked real hard and don't think my eyes deceived me.

Black Onyx,really really like glad Slew and Mary agree. I was afraid someone would test me on my choice.  He only has 50 points so far. Verrazano and Orb now both have 150. And Flashback yesterday in his appearance looked to me like they put him on a diet. He was not filled out in his chest as usual. Maybe that was just the angle. The whip shying he did twice really didn't help. Went back and watched the rerun 3 times. Swaggerjack is a hefty fella. Especially in his hind quarters and not shabby in his shoulder muscles either. I liked him.

Best not to put all your coins on one horse right now. Save a little for a surprise. And don't forget Lines of Battle, we have not watched him race here on our soil against 'our's and may not get to until the Derby. That could be a real test.

Thanks Steve,anxiously awaiting your next list. Pretty much know who will be 1 and 2 :). If i am wrong on those 2 i ought to just pack my bags and go home.

07 Apr 2013 2:37 PM


I am quite happy with Verrazano's facile victory in the Wood ...Johnny V was looking around several times, toying with the opposition on the backstretch then gave the colt a hand ride up the lane. It was a thing of beauty ...saving a lot for the first Saturday in May. I tell you right now, barring injury thats my Derby horse and I'm really confident that he'll oblige. I'll be paying attention to the progress of Will Take Charge, Rydilluc and Itsmyluckyday well as keeping an eye on the Baffert camp with Govenor Charlie and Flashback. I would like to see Super Ninety Nine in the Derby as the "pace police" and wish that Shanghai Bobby was there for the same reason.

As I told you before, your horse Mr Palmer (grandson of AP Indy) is best suited to the summer races at Saratoga.

07 Apr 2013 4:23 PM


I don't know if you recall that Fusaichi Pegasus' Wood Memorial was a huge effort that probably cost him the Preakness as it was too much to ask him for three similar type performances in seven weeks, consequently Red Bullet, a colt that he blew away in that fast run Wood, skipped the Derby and turn the tables on him in the Preakness. Verrazano's victory was a well measured performance that should set him up for a sweep of the Derby and Preakness ...thats what the difference in running times will produce.

I omitted to mention Overanalyze as still being on my Derby radar. Normandy Invasion's runner-up effort has vindicated the Remsen, suggesting that Mike Repole's Dixie Union colt is going to shine at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

07 Apr 2013 6:08 PM

Johnny Velazquez, I hope he is okay.  What a terrible time for this to happen to him.

07 Apr 2013 6:18 PM

Verrazano showed me what I was hoping to see from him, turn of foot.  When he wants to run, he can.  Wouldn't it benefit him to wear blinkers perhaps?

I don't think we saw his best in the final 1/8th even though he ran 12.55.  The final 3/8ths from the preps:

Wood Memorial – slow pace – 36.53

Santa Anita Derby – fast pace – 38.29

Florida Derby – slow pace – 37.98

Louisiana Derby – fast pace – 38.44

Sunland Derby – fast pace – 37.58

Spiral – slow pace – 38.98

Looking at these times, I'm not as impressed with Orb as I was.  I also don't think we've seen the last of  Vyjack.  Personally, I think the Derby winner for this year was unfortunately scratched from the SA Derby.  Now, I'd love to see a WOW race from War Academy!

This year's Kentucky Derby seems pretty wide open right now.

07 Apr 2013 7:46 PM

Who will be the speed in the Derby? I can only see 4 horses that might go for the lead---Verrazano,Goldencents,Itsmyluckyday or Flashback.I don"t think Super NN will run in the Derby.

07 Apr 2013 8:44 PM

I assume Pletcher will have V razor sharp for the Derby and he may very well take the lead.If he's not in front you can bet your life he'll be breathing down the neck of whoever wants the top.I envision V taking full advantage of his high cruising speed.

07 Apr 2013 9:03 PM

Let's see!  How many have fallen off the Derby trail to date....

There's Violence and Shanghai Bobby and Hear the Ghost and John Velazquez and....

Oops, John isn't a horse.

Heal up soon, John!  Orb & Verrazano are counting on you.

07 Apr 2013 10:07 PM

In 1972 Meadow Stable and trainer Lucien Lauren had classic wins in the Preakness & Belmont with Riva Ridge.

In 1973 Meadow Stable and trainer Lucien Lauren won the Triple Crown with Secretariat.

Flash forward to 2012, I'll Have Another and Doug O'Neill won two of the three legs of the Triple Crown.

Could it be possible that Goldencents and trainer Doug O'Neill will put together the golden combination required to sweep all three legs of the Triple Crown?

Rick Pitino's Louisville is the  favorite versus Michigan in the NCAA college championship game on Monday night.  Can his horse do the same on the first Saturday in May?

07 Apr 2013 10:20 PM

Ranagulzion : Hard to take you seriously when you contradict yourself.  Verrazano's 1:50 was him "toying" with the competition but Orb's 1:50 would've been demolished by Dreaming of Julia ?  If you really think his 1:50 sets him up to sweep the Derby and the Preakness, then he's going to sweep 2nd place in both races because Orb won in 1:50 by more against IMLD and he did it quite easily.    To me, it seems JV was looking around because he wasn't getting the acceleration he wanted from Verrazano, he wasn't putting away Chrisandthecapper who came right back at him on the inside.  I think he was looking around to see where Vyjack and NI was.  His ride on Verrazano looked very similar with his ride on Quality Road in the Whitney, same panic look behind him to see who's coming to get him.  Verrazano was used in his win, it was a nice gutty win but it was not an easy win.   Good luck with your money on him in the Derby.

Oh and A.P. Indy horses can win the Derby if it's a horse you picked otherwise, they should all skip the TC and wait for the summer races ? lol.

08 Apr 2013 1:24 AM

No Flashback for the Derby, it's devastating but arguably good for the horse. There are plenty of races down the track. Still, Orb and Normandy Invasion are nice horses to wish for.

08 Apr 2013 3:13 AM


The pace was Mr. Palmer's undoing but he tried hard and that's all I wanted.

Varrazano toyed with the opposition! I recall him swerving in the stretch while under pressure to sustain his advantage.

Goldencents will ensure an honest pace. It will be the first time he  will be facing a colt that will be able to stay with him for  8F.

Thereafter he will  be a spent force and will be ripe for picking by the for the ferocious closers.

I hope my big colt Footbridge secures the requisite points in the Bluegrass to make the Derby field.

I am still of the opinion that he has the speed and pedigree to win the Derby.

NB: I know he is only a MSW winner but so was Giacomo.

08 Apr 2013 9:42 AM


You are extremely brave to be focused on War Academy.

He was sired by Giant's Causeway who bred 194 mares in 2009.

What are the odds of such an overbred stallion siring a Derby winner?

Based on historic data, zero.

Keep your finger crossed he exits the AK Derby sound.

That stated, I hope one on these overbred stallions do produce a Derby winner as it no fun keeping there records.

08 Apr 2013 9:47 AM


"the horse could have wired this field and won by 10 if he was allowed to do his own thing up front."

Bellamy Road won the Wood by 17 3/4L in a New Stakes Record and was an also ran in the Derby.

Empire Maker won the FL Derby by 9 1/2L and finished second in the Derby.

Speculation regarding margin of victory is meaningless.


"He will be the only colt going into the Derby undefeated."

Obvious question is, Relevance?

Gemologist, Indian Charlie and the great Native Dancer to name a few  entered the Derby undefeated and exited defeated.

Seattle Slew, Barbaro, Big Brown, Smarty Jones to name a few entered the Derby undefeated and exited undefeated.

There is no guarantee of wining the Derby even with an undefeated record.

08 Apr 2013 10:08 AM


"Coldfacts, surely you are joking.  Verrazano is a nice horse, but to place him in a league of his own is quite frankly ridiculous."

Are you sure you targeted the right contributor?

I made no such claim.

08 Apr 2013 10:10 AM


You haven't been listening and gone to look at the head-ons, have you?

Revolutionary does not have a habit of sluggish breaks. Revolutionary has a history of breaking beautifully straight into an assault. If he has now started to take protective measures, who could blame him? He's only a horse and they are not very bright.

I can watch his last start and see strategy in action. He is soooo cool and brave, I suspect his humans were thinking: Let's be sure nothing happens to him at the break. We want him to forget all the muggings, so just take him out safely then goose him to be sure we're not teaching him to break slowly.

08 Apr 2013 10:16 AM

Verrazano has not answered the distance question because of the pace. Maiden claimers can get 9f  off a 50 and change half.

08 Apr 2013 10:30 AM


Also, why do you pay so much attention to times?”

I am sure you are familiar with the phrase ‘Pace makes the race.’ Why are internal fractions and final times recorded if they are not significant? If you concur that they are significant, then you already know the answer to your question.

Verrazano recorded a time 1:34 and a bit for 8F in his second start. He was subsequently propelled to a status of ‘Wonder Horse’. If he had recorded a time of 1:38 for the mile he would have been the usual nonentity.

Final times are not as significant as internal fractions although the latter significantly contributes to the former.

The manner in which internal fraction are recorded can prove to be a useful handicapping and evaluation tool.

“Horses do what they have to do to win.”

You are no doubt aware that the above is applicable to both slow and fast horses .Do you consider what a slow horse does to win as being effective against much faster opponent?

08 Apr 2013 10:33 AM
Rusty Weisner


Falling Sky.

08 Apr 2013 1:48 PM
Rusty Weisner


I agree with your take on the Wood.  I don't know how much I like Verrazano, but I am betting against Normandy Invasion after this race.  He was the beficiary of Verrazano beating Vyjack, and Vyjack wasn't 100%.  NI never really threatened Verrazano.

08 Apr 2013 1:51 PM

Thank you, Linda, and Happy Birthday to you and Steve.

No Lava Man did not go to post with Goldencents on Saturday.  Apparently the Man and Goldencents do not get along.

08 Apr 2013 6:20 PM

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