Derby Dozen - April 16, 2013 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Revolutionary Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

Castellano’s decision to drop him for Normandy Invasion has forced me to keep him at No. 1. I’m just a sucker for the disrespected. Bottom line is I still see no reason to replace him. He has had as atypical a Derby campaign as any top horse in memory and still keeps delivering race after race, despite trips that would stop most horses. First, he spends the winter in frigid NY while Pletcher’s other big 3-year-olds bask in the Florida sun; then he’s sent to the farm during the heat of the Derby trail, and finally, loses his rider. Talk about different, love WinStar’s fan poll to help choose a rider, but Pletcher ultimately made the final call. He’s proven to be a dream horse to ride, because he’ll go inside, outside or through horses to get the job done. He didn’t lose any training at the farm, and was able to get away from the grind for 12 days and get a lot of grazing in. This colt has the ability to keep himself fit, as evidenced by his winning the Withers off only one half-mile work in 36 days and no works in the 13 days leading up to the race. He’s only one of four Derby hopefuls to run a triple-digit Beyer. Even if you don’t like him to win the Derby, you have to admire him.


Orb Shug McGaughey

Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

So, get this: Joel Rosario was the regular rider of Orb, but because the colt was considered only a very slight possibility for the Fountain of Youth days before the race, McGaughey freed Rosario to ride Speak Logistics. Orb winds up running and winning with Velazquez aboard, then repeated in the Florida Derby. So, by losing the mount on Orb, Rosario was then free to ride Animal Kingdom in the Dubai World Cup, run the same day as the Florida Derby. Velazquez then winds up taking off Orb for the Kentucky Derby to ride Verrazano and Rosario lands back on the Orb for the Derby, only instead of the $1.4 million in purses he would have won on Orb, he won $10 million in purses on Animal Kingdom. We’re not done. Rosario also had been offered the mount on Itsmyluckyday for the Holy Bull and Florida Derby after regular rider Paco Lopez for some odd reason took off the horse to ride Bernstein in the Holy Bull, but Rosario was already committed to Sr. Quisqueyano. If he had taken that commitment on Itsmyluckyday, he wouldn’t have ridden Animal Kingdom or Orb on March 30. You gotta love this game.


Verrazano Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

This colt had the audacity to remain undefeated by not impressing people in the Wood Memorial. He didn’t “wow” anyone in the Tampa Derby; oh, wait, the horse he beat by three lengths came back to win the Blue Grass. His final 3f in :36 3/5 in the Wood wasn’t impressive enough because the pace was very slow. I’m not saying he’s a lock in the Derby by any means, but what more does this horse have to do to get the respect an undefeated horse deserves? What good did “wow” do for Bellamy Road or Sinister Minister or Bodemeister or any horse that ran dazzling final preps? Are there concerns about the 1 ¼ miles? Yes, of course; that’s why he’s No. 3 and not No. 1, but this colt has done nothing wrong and his “prep” races may not be as underwhelming as many think.


Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Click Here!

Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor

As expected, the bandwagon is starting to fill up already, and you can bet the money will come pouring in on him, especially with Overanalyze crushing his field in the Arkansas Derby. In the Wood, he was pretty much taken out of his game plan due to the dawdling pace and still flew home late with a final 3f in :36 1/5 and galloped out strongly well past the wire. He obviously impressed Castellano to make him go off a horse as talented and well-bred as Revolutionary, a dual graded stakes winner, to ride a horse who has never won a stakes. Brown couldn’t be happier with the way he bounced out of the Wood, and all things point to a big effort in the Derby.


Overanalyze Todd Pletcher

Dixie Union—Unacloud, by Unaccounted For

Sometimes the eyes say one thing and the stat sheet says another. How can a horse look as visually impressive as Overanalyze did in the Arkansas Derby and run so slowly and get such a low Beyer? I will go by what my eyes tell me and consider how much ground he lost the entire trip over a sticky track and how powerful he looked in the final sixteenth and how strongly he galloped out. He was just getting started when he hit the wire. Love to see that. His Futurity score was as powerful a stretch run as I saw all year by a 2-year-old, and his Remsen victory was as gutsy an effort as I saw. It is interesting to note that Pletcher’s best Derby finishes – a win, 2nd, 3rd, and two 4ths – all came with horses coming off three weeks. I no doubt will be criticized for having too many Pletcher horses so high, but this is about the individual horse. Pletcher just happens to train them. Getting back to the slow time, it’s starting to look more and more as if the Derby is going to be run in slow time, so if everyone is slow, these final prep times may not be that significant. It’ll be more about who is peaking on that one day.


Palace Malice Todd PletcherClick Here!

Curlin—Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem

The key to him is how he bounces out of the Blue Grass, having gone into the race off two weeks rest and having to come back in three weeks in the Derby. He was getting tired, judging by his switching leads twice in the final furlong, but Keeneland can be demanding on horses on or near the lead going a distance, and he did a lot of the dirty work as the only horse to go after Rydilluc and running hard to put him away in his first start ever on a synthetic surface. He still only got caught in the final jump by a horse who had already run big in a grade I over this track and who is a two-time winner on grass. This was a huge effort over a track on which he didn’t seem all that comfortable down the stretch, and he gets a lot of credit for trying as hard as he did even though he was out of sync and noticeably tired. That’s why it is important to see how his energy level is in the next couple of weeks. Let’s just say his now dead-fit.


Goldencents Doug O'Neill

Into Mischief—Golden Works, by Banker's Gold

Yes, I’m well aware he’s too low for a Santa Anita Derby winner who ran a 105 Beyer, but I still have some concerns about his ability to get 1 1/4 miles tracking a testing pace. Even though he settled better, he still was pulling a bit that first quarter, and I feel his best shot to win the Derby is on the lead and hope everyone, especially Verrazano, leaves him alone. The key to him is how he trains at Churchill, although I would have loved to seen him work over the track. His pedigree does have enough stamina scattered throughout to negate the speed, it’s just the uncertainty of whether he can turn it off if a good horse looks him in the eye early. The horse is immensely talented and it wouldn’t come as a big surprise if he won, but I’m still trying to get a feel for him as a 10-furlong horse.


Java's War Kenny McPeek

War Pass—Java, by Rainbow Quest

He is another who could very well be ranked too low, especially considering how far back he came from in the Blue Grass and how wide he was turning for home. His record indicated he should have loved the synthetic surface, and closers often do very well over this track. He is related to such top-class grass horses as turf champ Fiji, Cacoethes, and Subordination, but also to quality dirt horses Fabulous Notion and Treacherous. The key race for him was the Tampa Bay Derby, which was his breakout race, finishing a strong second to Verrazano. Churchill is conducive to synthetic horses, but it’s just a question of whether he can win the Derby in a 20-horse field the way he won the Blue Grass and whether he can break with his field. He’s a small horse and I don’t know if he’s the type who can rough his way through all those horses, and he may have to depend on the overland route again. There is no one more dangerous than McPeek, who always must be respected.


Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. Click Here!

Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court

This is the sneaky horse that could wind up being the big overlay, as people will tend to forget about him because of how decisively Orb beat him in the Florida Derby in his first 1 1/8-mile race. If he is in the 12-1 to 20-1 range at Churchill, he is worth a wager on the premise that he simply needed that last race coming off a two-month layoff and was expected to regress off back-to-back monster Thoro-Graph figs. I did have him ranked No. 1 for quite a while, and still must have faith in him off one defeat. As I’ve stated, I just wish he had put up more of a fight and had been able to dispose of Merit Man, who was coming off sprints, a little easier. I did like his 5f breeze in 1:01 at Calder. I have a feeling I’m going to start liking him more and more as we get closer and more people forget about him. He gets a lot of toughness from Lawyer Ron on top and Crafty Prospector on the bottom, but his pedigree is geared mainly toward a mile to 1 1/8 miles.


Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Click Here!

Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy

OK, call it stubbornness or pig-headedness, but I’m still not ready to give up on him. It’s starting to sound repetitious, but he had another horrendous trip and had absolutely no shot to win coming from dead-last. Breaking from the 10-post for the third straight race, the only reason he wasn’t hung out to dry on the first turn this time was because he was taken back and just never looked comfortable. It’s extremely rare for a pace tracker who’s been running that way for seven races to suddenly become a stone closer and be effective. With all that, he still tried to make an impact on the finish and was beaten two necks and a half-length for second. Although he keeps getting beat, he’s been getting a lot out of his preps, and the feeling here is that he still has a big effort waiting to come out; all he needs is a clean trip for a change. And it would help if he can get a rider to stick with him so he could at least get to know the horse – Alvarado, Court, Thompson. Rocco, and Nakatani all rode him only once, then Court twice, then Smith and Stevens once. That’s seven riders in nine starts. In his five two-turn races, he’s drawn post 10 three times and post 11 once. The only time he drew well (post 4) and had a clean trip he won by 11 1/2 lengths. And remember, he’s already shown he loves Churchill.


Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez

Into Mischief —Life Happened, by Stravinsky

It’s hard to fault his record and his consistency; it’s just a question of how far he wants to go and much that lung infection/bleeding incident affected his performance in the Wood and more important, how it will affect his performance in a race as stressful as the Derby. He has been a regular visitor to Bruce Jackson’s hyperbaric chamber at Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center and Jackson said he’s been enjoying it and looks “absolutely fantastic on the track,” and Rodriguez has been there every day. He said the lung infection has completely cleared, and being at Fair Hill and taking it easy for a little while has done him a world of good. So this may be just what the horse needed to move forward on the first Saturday in May.


Mylute Tom Amoss

Midnight Lute—Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations

His six-furlong work in 1:12 2/5 confirmed him as a longshot special right now. He went in splits of :12 3/5, :12 1/5, :11 4/5, :11 4/5, :12, and :11 4/5, then galloped out another eighth in :12 4/5 for a 7f gallop-out of 1:25 and pulled up a mile in 1:39. That is what is called a Derby work and indicates he is a horse on an upward spiral. He also has some interesting classic horses in his pedigree. He has Derby winners Real Quiet and Strike the Gold close up in his pedigree, and his broodmare sire, Valid Expectations, is out of a mare by Iron Constitution, who was a fast-closing second to Seattle Slew (beaten 1 1/2 lengths) in the Preakness at 30-1. He gets a lot of his toughness from his inbreeding to In Reality, as well as having the hard-knocking Al Hattab in his tail-female family.

Knocking At The Door

Spiral winner BLACK ONYX finally returned to the work tab and it was worth the wait. The son of Rock Hard Ten drilled five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill Downs, coming home his last eighth in :12 2/5 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 and pulling up seven panels in 1:28 1/5. He’ll have two more works before the Derby.

Black Onyx and WILL TAKE CHARGE, who worked a mile in 1:40 4/5 (he needed a long work like that) have the credentials and the pedigree to make some noise in the Derby, but the seven-week and six-week layoffs, respectively, is a bit of a concern, even though Animal Kingdom did it off six weeks. But that horse was a freak. What the two colts do have in common is that both are getting good at the right time and should improve off their last starts.

The other horse with a big question mark is GOVENOR CHARLIE, who looks as brilliant as any of them, but with only three career starts, he’ll be attempting something that’s been done once in the last 98 years. And again, the horse that did it, Big Brown, was a freak.

Although LINES OF BATTLE was dropped from the Top 12 to make room for others, he still intrigues me, and looks to be the strongest horse with the best pedigree that Aidan O’Brien has ever sent over here for the Derby.

A matter of time

A great deal has been written and discussed about the slow final times of a number of the major Derby preps. While that is always a concern in evaluating the overall speed of a crop of 3-year-olds, it is hardly written in stone that a slow prep equates to a slow horse or a slow Derby time or even winning the Derby.

Unbridled not only won the Florida Derby in a pokey 1:52, he came back to get soundly defeated in the Blue Grass before winning the Derby by 3 1/2 lengths.

Animal Kingdom won the Spiral Stakes in 1:52 1/5 before capturing the Derby in his first start ever on dirt.

Street Sense was beaten in the Blue Grass, run in 1:51 1/5, but won the Derby by open lengths.

Lil E. Tee won the Jim Beam Stakes (now the Spiral) in a sluggish 1:53 2/5, then was beaten in the Arkansas Derby before winning the Kentucky Derby.

Northern Dancer had won the Flamingo in a sharp 1:47 4/5, but when he came back and was all out to win the Florida Derby in 1:50 4/5, Bill Shoemaker took off him to ride Hill Rise in the Derby, which Northern Dancer won in record time.

As we all know, Secretariat ran the fastest Derby in history, but was beaten four lengths in the Wood Memorial, run in 1:50 3/5.

Genuine Risk was beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Wood Memorial, run in 1:50 4/5, but became the first filly since Regret to capture the Run for the Roses.

Carry Back was beaten three lengths in the Wood Memorial, run in 1:50 1/5, but came back to win the Derby and Preakness.

Everyone knows how Canonero II romped in the Derby and then set a track record winning the Preakness, but his final Derby prep in Venezuela, at about 1 1/8 miles, was run in 1:54 4/5, which was four-fifths slower than he ran in the Preakness at 1 3/16 miles.

To demonstrate how time can vary, Easy Goer won the Gotham by 13 lengths in a near-world record 1:32 2/5, then had a tougher time in the Wood Memorial, run in 1:50 3/5.

A Nerud double?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about John Nerud’s influence on this year’s Derby trail, mainly through the Nerud-bred Unbridled and Quiet American and tracing back to his foundation sire Fappiano (who Nerud owned and bred) and ultimately Fappiano’s broodmare sire Dr. Fager (who Nerud owned and bred) or Dr. Fager by himself. Even with losing Flashback, Mr. Palmer, Super Ninety Nine, Texas Bling, Capo Bastone, and He’s Had Enough, the ones remaining in the Derby from those families include Verrazano, Orb, Normandy Invasion, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, Frac Daddy, and Mylute. That is an amazing impact, especially coming in the year of your 100th birthday.

We’re not done yet. Turning to the Kentucky Oaks, the fillies tracing to those same families include Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia, Sunland Oaks winner Midnight Lucky, Gazelle winner Close Hatches, Ashland winner Emollient, Santa Anita Oaks and Las Virgenes runner-up Fiftyshadesofhay, and Fair Grounds Oaks runner-up Flashy Gray.

How fitting for the last of the true living legends to make such a profound impact on the classics and the sport itself.


Leave a Comment:

Dr Drunkinbum

Monster article and list with a ton of valuable information. Thanks Steve.

15 Apr 2013 3:39 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Revolutionary- The team picked Calvin to ride him thanks to my vote and we may see them bobbing and weaving for the knockout.

2. Verrazano- Could be a monster, we really don't know but he has easily beat anyone thrown at him.

3. Java's War- Won the battle in the Blue Grass now looking to end the war with a victory.

4. Palace Malice- Pletcher's palace of Derby threats includes this talented son of Curlin who should have no problem with 10f.

5. Orb- Could be ranked first or second as could many of these. I wouldn't mind seeing Shug up there celebrating.

6. Itsmyluckyday- The odds will be good now so it is up to how he is training to decide whether to include him. His last does not inspire 10f confidence but has some of the top race numbers of any.

7. Vyjack- Big excuse in last with a lung infection and still ran very good.

8. Mylute- Very good workout and I think his pedigree is fine for 10f.

9. Overanalyze- Even more room to improve left, could really peak Derby day.

10. Normandy Invasion- Could very well get a piece but am having trouble seeing the win.

11. Lines of Battle- Just because I like his pedigree and last race. If he gets here late, he's a toss.

12. Frac Daddy- Likes CD. Could be far and away his best race of the year.

15 Apr 2013 3:52 PM
Louiville Dave

1. Verrazano, done it all right                               2 Java's War, love the pedigree if he breaks close to decently                            3 Revolutionary, willfight                           4 Mylute, coming into his own                                 5 Orb, not quite as convinced                           6 Normandy Invasion, chugs in for apiece                               7 Goldencents, If no one wants the lead

15 Apr 2013 4:29 PM
Eddie S.

Hey, Steve Haskin.

I love your list, and I love how high you included Palace Malice. He has been #1 on my list since February (the lists are posted on, and I'm glad others are realizing this one has potential. Ultimately, I believe it depends on the post position draw (I'd like posts 7-11 for him)and how he recovers from the Blue Grass.

I noted him switching leads in the stretch. I am not an expert horse player... I have 30 years of experience, and always, to this day, consider myself a learner of this game. I thought the switching leads was a sign of inexperience and greeness, but, could it be a sign of tiredness, which you indicated? Please enlighten me as I could use that tidbit of info.

Currently, Goldencents is #2 on my list (Behind Orb, Palace Malice #3 and Verrazano #4)... I understand you concerns of him stretching out to ten furlongs. I personally believe this Derby is the slowest in a while. I have been graphing the Derby fractions for 10 years. Usually, the lead horse is somewhere in a 45 or 46 half, and a 109-111 six furlong fraction. However, this year the Derby seems a bit short on speed. Speed horses like Super Ninety Nine and Falling Sky are most likely not in Derby... Verrazano's energy distribution is actually on the late/press side, his E% is like 50.5-51 and his median % is 67.9, I believe. He isn't very fast if you look at it... Who else? NO SPEED. Goldencents can go stalk and fast pace or he can take a HUGE tactical advantage and go alone on the lead (War Emblem, Olden Times, anyone?) I think he is a legit contender.

While I believe Verrazano has all the talent G-d has to offer, I question him due to the fact he has yet to taste a :46, 1:11 pace....

@Dr... Great list.

Fantastic list,Haskin. Have a good day.

15 Apr 2013 4:53 PM
hasty road

Great Article.

I am like you Steve, I cannot give up on Oxbow. I really think he has a big chance in the derby and with just a little luck on the draw,  (Not Post position 1 or 20) He might show his real talent.  

15 Apr 2013 4:54 PM
Monarchos Matt

Great write up as usual Mr. Haskin, there is lots of great stuff to digest here.

I agree with the top 4 horses on your list, although probably in a different order, and think that the winner will come from that group. The tricky part will be filling in underneath those four as it becomes quite blurry to my eyes.

I wanted to love Overanalyze in the Arkansas Derby, but can't get past how amazingly slow it was...11 lengths behind the Oaklawn winner? Looking at the Beyer number, which appears fair to me at 88, one can make the argument that the sudden "improvement" shown by Overanalyze in winning that race is an apparition. In reality, he ran a pretty similar race figure wise compared to when he was 5th in the Gotham (86) and crushed by Vyjack, he just got to do it against weaker horses this time. Given that reality, I can't rank him ahead of Vyjack in very good conscience, pending that one's recovery from a pretty gutsy Wood performance...although I don't like his pedigree at all for the Derby.

Oxbow has my favorite pedigree but I can't support him off of that alone and continue to make excuses for his bad trips. That was a significant bounce Saturday coming off of three ascending figures, and I just don't feel like he has the turn of foot to make an impact on the first Saturday in May.

15 Apr 2013 4:58 PM
Keep your powder dry

My list for the win is down to three - Overanalyze, Normandy Invasion and Itsmyluckyday although I agree Itsmyluckyday's pedigree doesn't scream ten furlongs. No reason to get off him now though if you liked him before the Florida Derby. He had every reason to regress and only needed to finish second to secure a spot in the Derby. He'd actually be much more suspect coming into Louisville had he turned in another record performance.

Both Overanalyze and Normandy Invasion showed they belonged early and appear to be rounding back into form for their respective trainers at the right time. They'll both also probably offer more attractive odds than some of the others as well.

I get what you're saying about Oxbow. Florida Derby winner Thunder Gulch finished a zip code behind the Bluegrass winner that year and crossed the finish line first in the Derby at around 26-1 if I remember correctly. The Lecomte might not be the Florida Derby but I'll be inclined to include this one in my exotics for all the reasons you list, especially if Stevens retains the mount.

15 Apr 2013 4:58 PM

One colt that has run well at Churchill is Uncaptured for the list of possible head scratchers that might move up with a surface change.

He needs to run forwardly placed but not in the first group and now with his last race in the BG his odds will be 30-1 or more.

On the topic of AW a lot us seem to lump in the AW tracks as all of them being the same,its possible that he didnt like either Turfway or Keeneland and or he just ran well at Woodbine because that is his home track and he didnt have to ship out.

Hes been in Kentucky now for almost a Month and he has a perfect record at CD.

I think if he trains well over at CD he might be worth a shot in the vertical exotics.

15 Apr 2013 5:07 PM
Mister Frisky

Steve you don't need to explain your fondness for Oxbow.I still think he will be very game in three weeks as do lots of other people.Got to get a jab in at all the War Academy lovers from last weeks blog.I guess all that Secretariat blood wasn't enough as he was being walked off the track.That was real sentimental reach at best.Another over hyped Baffert horse not going to Ky just as well for the betting public.Orb over Normandy Invasion,Oxbow,Will Take Charge,and Black Onyx.See you at the IRS window.

15 Apr 2013 5:33 PM
Indiana Johnny

Steve, great write up and comments on each horse. I enjoy reading your Derby dozen, and I hope to hear more from you this year after your trackside at CD. Now its time to start paying attention to the work outs, I would rather the horses work out at CD, but it is what it is. Again, I've shuffled my list around, and probably will again.

(1) Goldenscents..I'm a sucker for the big beyer jump, or maybe he's peaking at the right time. I thought he looked good at SA. I wish he would come to Louisville sooner. I like O'Neil sticking with the unknown jock, it may payoff for him again.

(2) Orb...I could flip-flop top two, nothing seperates them. He seem to be the type of horse that can adapt his running style to the race.I like it that Shug brings a horse only when he thinks the horse has a good chance of winning, it seems some trainers bring a horse on a prayer.

(3)Itsmyluckyday...I could see him bouncing off his two big beyers and coming into Fl. Derby off a layoff.I agree with Steve that he will be overlooked and may get a good price.

(4) Verrazano....I realize he is undeafted, so was Gemologist.But, in at least 2 of his races he beat a couple of pretty good horses in Normandy Invasion and Javas War, both of whom may improve and turn the tables on him in the Derby. If either are working very good and getting good reports I could shuffle them around. Right now I could use him from 2'nd. to 4'th.

(5) Normandy Invasion.... Came home the last part of his last race fast, seems to be inproving..right now I could use from 2'nd. to 4' a tri-super.

(6) Revoulutionary...I like the sire, speed rating are erratic, although he did bust a 100. Don't like the fact it took him so long to break his maiden, not sure how many Ky. Derby winners have won after so many tries to break maiden. Picks up Bo-Rail. Right now I could see me using him on the bottom of a super.

(7) Overanalyze...I like the fact he has good foundation, after his maiden win he ran in 3 grade-2's, 2 grade 3's and wins a grade 1. He seems eratic, but if he starts getting good work out reports I could see him moving up on my list.

(8) Black Onyx... Has been at the track( CD), I like that. Will be watching his w/o's. Maybe the sneaky pete?

(9) Javas War...Like the sire. Really liked his race aginst Verazanno, but a little disappointed in Bluegrass race, but it was on quirky Keenland track. Needs to work on coming out of the gate better, and maybe not be quite so far behind, lol

(10)Governor Charlie....somebody has to be # 10. But, with my luck at times, maybe I should play my list backwards.

Steve, I hope you go to CD early this year and can give daily video reports and updates, workout reports, etc... ? Thanks

15 Apr 2013 5:58 PM

Total crap shoot this year. So far leaning toward a big show bet on Mylute unless he gets a bad post.

15 Apr 2013 6:09 PM

Well I'm guilty of the "looking for a wow moment" and admit that no horse really jumped out at me in the Derby prep season.  But I think the sneaky aspect of the Kentucky Derby is that this is a "growing up" period for horses, and much like humans, they can grow up literally right before our eyes.  So I once again search for clues in your keen observations in the weeks leading up to the race, Steve.

Pedigree Pick: Orb - love Malibu Moon as a sire (also my Jockey Pick with Rosario on board)

Heart Pick: Vyjack - just experienced his first loss and I think that means something to a horse.

Wallet Pick: Frac Daddy - my best future's wager payoff; was psyched to see him get the needed points this weekend.

Head pick: check back after Steve's reports on works at CD (no pressure, Steve...)

15 Apr 2013 6:18 PM
Little Bill

Chief, Downey reported Casse as saying Dynamic and Uncaptured going back to Canada. Of course that could change with UC.

15 Apr 2013 6:19 PM
carol in utah

I do not see any way for Uncaptured to make the derby loving CD is irrelevant

15 Apr 2013 6:22 PM
It aint easy being good!

Well this is it the final preps are in. My top 5.

1) revolutionary: He is bred for 10 furlongs gets a hometown jockey, he is a fighter might be the favorite now??? Has a great chance to win 5-1 come post time...??

2) Verrazano: He is undefeated, is built like a tank! JV seems to give flawless rides...The win over Javas war makes me like this horse even more.

3) Palice Malice: A wolf in sheeps clothing! Steve said that PM might have won by daylight if he gets a clean trip. His last race I think had more to do with him not taking to the surface rather than him being tired. Hails from the Mr. Prospector sire line. Gets mike smith who has faired well at churchill. Most importantly he will have curlin blood running through his veins in 3 weeks! YES PLEASE!

ORB: Doesnt seem like a derby name but has a hot jockey. Built for 10 furlongs. Might just disappoint its bettors. Have a bad feeling he is not the one.

Black Onyx: Built for 10 furlongs, first to arrive at churchill gobbles up ground quickly. New trainer angle! Is he good enough probably not but need a bomber for derby day and he fits the bill!

15 Apr 2013 6:33 PM

STEVE I'm so glad you mentioned Java's War's size, or lack of it.

His trainer was quoted as saying he needs to walk out of the starting gate because he's such a big horse with such a big stride.

I'm left thinking "Then who was that lathey little guy who could barely see over the starting gate, was dwarfed by his rider, was not visibly taller than anyone he ran beside, and was wearing Java's War's saddlecloth? And also, who  the horse whose hole card, that he displayed in the stretch, is a short stride repeated so quickly it's hard to count them down to the wire. I get 10% more strides than the horses he was running down, but he folds and unfolds so fast it's hard to tally without slo mo.

15 Apr 2013 6:41 PM
Tiz Herself

First, welcome back Wise Dan :) Look forward to seeing what that gutsy gelding will do this year!

Was waiting to see after the Arkansas Derby where my picks for the Derby would be. Granted that anything can happen between now and May 4.

Revoluntionary - the pairing with him and Calvin Borel is going to be dynamic.

Palace Malice - It was back in 2007 that Curlin was favored going into the Kentucky Derby but ran third. His son could very well get vengence!

Normandy Invasion - If he gets a clean trip and is given room to spread his wings, Normandy Invasion will be there at the wire.

Verrazano - the unbeaten colt going into the Derby, looking forward to what he can do!

Orb - Am huge fan of the Phipps Stable connection and of trainer Shug McGaughey, always root for his horses!

Black Onyx - was a huge fan of Rock Hard Ten and was hard to see him go. Would be great to see a son of his win the Derby!

Oxbow -D Wayne Lukas is one of my favorite trainers, Oxbow has tons more to show us all!

Mylute - the sleeper here... plus he's grey and they get an automatic vote from me.

15 Apr 2013 6:54 PM

Revolutionary, Black Onyx, Will Take Charge, Itsmyluckyday all have the pedigree to go the distance.  I'm not sure about Goldencents and Govenor Charlie.  Goldencents, iffy pedigree and Govenor Charlie, inexperience. I just don't think Verrazano can get the distance.

Go Calvin Borel, the Louisiana boy, where I have lived all of my life. He did it on Super Saver with the same connections.  I do worry about the Belmont though, that is definitely not Calvin's track.  

Todd Pletcher must think highly of Revolutionary to choose this jockey.

War Academy is a great horse; Mike did the right thing by pulling him up.  Perhaps we will see him in the Belmont.

15 Apr 2013 6:57 PM

Calvin Borel on Revolution! Yes!

If Revolutionary does not break smartly, we may see the new textbook example of broken field running. I want it all. I'm hoping Calvin will get up on him a few mornings, although he manages to establish good communication with just the post parade and warmup to work with.

I'll be looking more than I usually do at the post position draw to see who's beside him. We are hoping for neighbors who break well, ridden by riders who don't screw up half their breaks, or who are known for "race riding." I call it something else, but I want the best horse to win.

Watching as many head-ons as I do, I've wondered when they research breakdowns in terms of track, medication, banking of the turns, shoeing, whether they will also look hard at riding tactics.

I was glad to see a rider get days for his ride in a race with no claim of foul or stewards' inquiry. It's not just about the purse distribution or payoffs.

15 Apr 2013 7:00 PM
Tiz Herself

Also like Govenor Charlie for the fact that not only is he a son of Midnight Lute, but his second dam is Kentucky Oaks winner and Hall of Fame inductee Silverbulletday.

Govenor Charlie actually decends from three star horses that Bob Baffert trained:

Real Quiet

Silverbulletday, and of course

Midnight Lute

Storm Cat, sire of Silverbulletway, dam of Govenor Charlie of course we know brings Secretariat and Northern Dancer.

Though Midnight Lute was a champion sprinter, Baffert was confident enough to mention the Dubai World Cup and Breeders Cup Classic which were hampered by setbacks.

Silverbulletday is also from the family of 1969 Kentucky Derby, Preakness runner up and Belmont Stakes winner Arts and Letters.

Bodemeister, who was also produced from Storm Cat mare, ran second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness last year.

On top of that, my dog who I have had for a few months is named Charlie :)

15 Apr 2013 7:03 PM

Steve terrific list and analysis once again.

Have the "Riders On The Storm" finished playing that popular parlor game of musical jockeys now?  I revisited your article by the same name last year and am wondering with all the even equine talent if it could come down once again to "the ride."  But all this jumping ship how can they know the idiosyncracies of each horse that way?

Speaking of the ride, the goings-on at Churchill so far:

Revolutionary arrives, gets off the van, stretches, looks around and starts sniffing the air.  When they arrive they remind me of foreign dignitaries arriving for a grand summit meeting.

Revolutionary:  "I'm here oh great people of Louisville.  Where is your King Louis I will lead you in a revolution against?"

Black Onyx:  greeting him, "Funny bro, but I hear tell you better practice revvvvvving it up along the rail in morning practice."

Revolutionary:  "Why, who's got my back?"

Black Onyx:  "None other than the famous rail-skimmer himself, bro."

Revolutionary:  "As long as it's not those big tall guys of Pitino's!  I'd never make it to the 1/4 pole with those monsters on my back."

Black Onyx:  "One thing for sure, it's going to be "war" out there.  Let me show you where the "Lines of Battle" are going to be."

Revolutionary:  "Here's the strategy for this "invasion."  We'll circle back around in an "orb" and cut them off at the "war pass" right under the Verrazano Bridge."

Black Onyx:  "That's a "golden" plan but my two cents says that it just might not be your "LuckyDay."

15 Apr 2013 7:04 PM
The Deacon

I guess I know very little about this game. These Derby favorites can't break 1:50 for 9 furlongs.  I am supposed to believe that running 10 furlongs will be better. Maybe we're looking at a 2:04 or 2:05 winning time for the Derby. Maybe my sights are set too high. Just because a horse wins a Grade 1 doesn't make him a good or great horse. Based on what we know I got arguments with your top selections, I just don't think they are top horses. Oxbow was a major disappointment Saturday. This group of contenders are real head scratchers. I can't get a feeling for any of these except Govenor Charlie or Goldencents.

Thanks for your insights Steve, I admire the hard work you put into these blogs each week.

15 Apr 2013 7:21 PM

I like your first pick, would love to see him win, but looking at the stats, I wonder if it's wise to expect one jockey to win the roses so many times. It seems against all odds that the rail skimming lucky charm Borel can make it 4. Not impossible in this game, but tough, really tough. Well, if it can be done, Calvin is the one to do it. We shall see. Revolutionary kind of sounds like Cinderella, ah. You know what they say about tough love. What don't kill you, makes you stronger.

15 Apr 2013 7:27 PM
Tiz Herself

Steve, has there been any word on whether War Academy was okay? Thanks to Mike Smith for taking care of his horses... he'll be back another day in another race hopefully, just not Derby... the horse's welfare is more than the race.

15 Apr 2013 7:29 PM

Mr. Haskin.

Mr. Castellano’s decision  is ride Normandy Invasion.

15 Apr 2013 7:29 PM

Still love Oxbow.  Rider switch to Gary Stevens cannot hurt.  Hoping Gary can keep Oxbow a little off the pace, and make one big run. His pedigree screams distance.

15 Apr 2013 7:35 PM
Jeff Hall

Am I seriously the ONLY person who has noticed that the mile time for the Arkansas Derby is INCORRECT?!?  There HAD to be a clock malfunction if you look at the internal fractions before and after the mile mark....NO WAY they inexplicably slowed down by about 2 seconds or so in the midst of running that much faster both before AND after that mile marker!




26.65 ?!?

12.72 final 1/8th (25.44 1/4 equivalent ??)

NO WAY that 4th quarter time is correct!  Most likely lost a second somewhere...

15 Apr 2013 7:35 PM
El Kabong


Give me a 1,2,7,8 tri box off your list. Hope Bloodhorse gets you over to Louisville a little earlier. Your insight as they train up and gallop is worth it's weight in Gold. Enjoy the last furlong of this event, you've been terrific to follow as usual. Much appreciated.

Chief P,

I agree with you about Uncaptured and hope his connections decide to give him a chance. He's earned it and maybe they'll discover a reason for his poor effort. I just hope it's not one that would eliminate his chances to run all together.

15 Apr 2013 7:36 PM

Free, gratis and for nothing, I offer a methodological tip to some people who earnestly and at length pore over history but have never been given the tools to analyse.

The number one logical fallacy is called affectionately "post hoc" from "post hoc ergo propter hoc." It means "after which therefore because of which" and is illustrated by the proposition "Night causes day."

One precedent only creates a law when the Supreme Court delivers it.

It is often found in ads for snake oil: "I took this Tuesday and was all better by Friday." If "I" in the ad is a celebrity, all the better.

It is not an argument for causality. It is especially not an argument for causality if you are unable to come up with a possible mechanism of action.

15 Apr 2013 7:41 PM


When Steve says there are personal reasons for a jock's decision, don't ask what they are.

They're personal.

It would be most unclassy for Steve to pass them on.

15 Apr 2013 7:43 PM
El Kabong


Bad news. Uncaptured pointed to Queen's Plate. Looks like he's off the Derby Trail.

15 Apr 2013 7:43 PM

Can't really blame Castellano for dropping Revolutionary in favor of the Normandy Horse.  I feel like Revolutionarys peak distance is a 1 1/8 as opposed to Normandy horse just beginning to to hit his best stride at the 9 furlong mark.

The "Oxbow Incident" is proving to be a far superior movie than it is a race horse saga.  

I think Goldencents and the Charlie horse will make things very difficult on each other in the Derby.

Rosario has the magic hands and I'm thinking Orb will be Golden on derby day.

Footbridge just now crossing the finish line in the Bluegrass.  This horse could still be something special. If only he had retained the services of Mr. Gomez, things would have been much different lol

15 Apr 2013 7:48 PM

Dr D

Great job getting Calvin the mount!


I'm not sure where the Verrazano dissing comes from.  He is a push button horse, just ask Java's War.  If anything gets him beat on May 4, I think it's his greenness.  I'd like to see a killer instinct instead of playing around on the playground mentality from him.  He gets lonely in front, perhaps.

I'm throwing my focus towards these horses:

Mylute - he's beginning to peak & getting better

Orb - knows how to win & does it without emptying the tank

Verrazano - if he knows they're coming & has the stamina it's game over!  He has a turn of foot & he looks incredible!

Will Take Charge - he reminds me of I'll Have Another in that he's a solidly built horse with nice big strides to that closing kick.

Revolutionary - if Calvin sits back & gets a clean trip, Revo may hit the stretch like he was shot from a cannon.

Overanalyze - anyone catch his final 1/4 fraction?  I was very impressed with his ground gobbling & he had a big class advantage over Frac Daddy and you are right, Steve, he was hitting overdrive at the wire.

Vyjack - He is talented & competitive & he may not have felt his best.  If he didn't, he was still on Verrazano's tail.  He has enough attitude that the loss is something he's thinking about ala Secretariat who always came back to break a record.  

Palace Malice - who has his mount?  He'll be fit as a fiddle & he may finally put it all together just in time.  He'll be in the leading pack & in good position to strike.  

I'm betting against Java's War from taking his Blue Grass effort on poly to Churchill even though Tampa was strong.  He either flattened out or Verrazano said, "I don't think so!"

Maybe Oxbow for some EX or TRI but not to win.  Normandy Invasion, maybe, but he's a poor man's Orb who will have traffic & he's used to not winning.  I'm gambling onGoldencents not liking Churchill the way he does SA.

My wish list would include Mr Palmer, Departing, and Rydilluc to all be moving forward if they were in the gate May 4.  


Also, I bought the kindle edition of John Henry (Thoroughbred Legends).  Can't wait to start that!

15 Apr 2013 7:54 PM

Steve--I always look forward to your perceptive comments of the Derby Dozen. Much thanks. But I don't think you made a convincing argument regarding the slow times of this year's preps. I think that nearly all of the criticism relates to the "final" preps, not the next-to-last ones (Unbridled's Fla. Derby and Lil E. Tee's Jim Beam in your comments). As for Unbridled, after the Fla. Derby, he was only 3 3/4 behind winner Summer Squall in the Blue Grass with a final winning time of 1:48.3. Lil E. Tee followed his Jim Beam win with a neck loss to Pine Bluff in the Ark Derby--final time 1:49.2.

You bring up Street Sense and Animal Kingdom, both of which ran on synthetic tracks in their final preps. Those tracks are notoriously slow, so slow that Beyer had to reevaluate and change his speed figure calculations.

I've looked back at the last 28 years of Ky Derbies. Only Street Sense and Animal Kingdom came out of races that were slower than 1:50, and as I mentioned, those were on synthetic tracks.

15 Apr 2013 8:00 PM
Steve Haskin

Tiz Herself, so far, they cannot anything wrong with War Academy. They'll test him further, but right now he's fine.

El Kabong, I should be there nine days before the race, so I should catch almost all the final works.

As everyone can see from the comments, this Derby is indeed a head scratcher.You can make a horse for almost all of them or if you want to take the negative approach, none of them.

15 Apr 2013 8:01 PM
Saratoga AJ

Still want to see the post positions, but looking for a repeat of the Remsen Exacta, boxed, and using Revolutionary and Orb with those two. Besides, I lost Flashback, but I'm still alive with Normandy and Overanalyze in the KD Futures pools at nice odds.

This appears to be shaping up as terrific betting race and you probably can make a good case for more than half the field.

Not that I don't respect probable favorite Verrazano, but I am not sure he can get the 10 furlongs's. But for that matter, you can't be sure any of them can get the classic distance until they do it.  

15 Apr 2013 8:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

From Kelso to Eclipse

  Thanks, and congrats on your good picks over the weekend of Palace Malice and Overanalyze. Super horse Curlin could only get third in the Derby, could his son Palace Malice make amends and save face for the family? Could we see a War Pass, or Into Mischief exacta? Could we see a McPeek or Lukas exacta? Could we see a Pletcher Oaks/Derby Double, the Derby exacta, trifecta, superfecta and Super High Five? The biggest shocker would be if Pletcher isn't in the top three in the Derby. He is loaded with legit contenders this year, they are at CD early and Pletcher is standing guard. This is easily his most talented Derby crop ever and he is taking it more serious than ever. Overall there are many contenders this year in the most competitive Derby in memory.

15 Apr 2013 8:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

No need to Overanalyze this Derby, it's going to be war out there !!!! The Lines of Battle are set with the Palace of Malice tactics creating a Revolutionary populous that Will Take Charge at Normandy Invasion in the battle of Verrazano. Govenor Charlie will step in and try to lead the call for peace as will War Pass who has two sons in the war. I hope Itsmyluckyday and all survive to fight another day.

15 Apr 2013 8:28 PM
Splits of 12


I like your first selection of Revolutionary. After video capping his races, he continues to amaze me with his will to win, and the desire to get it done, under any circumstance. He is the brave soldier of the bunch, never afraid to take on a challenge. The way he won the Louisiana Derby going five wide around the final turn and then holding off a game Mylute, for the winners share, was ultra impressive. Nothing against Mylute but if they had run around the track again, he was never getting by Revolutionary. A few other things I like about this colt is that he was foaled on my birthday. And the last time Todd Pletcher won his only Derby with Super Saver, his damsire was an A.P. Indy, just like Revolutionary!!! Also I haven't given up on Oxbow either. Call it what you want but I still think he's sitting on a big race. My friend was telling me that the best thing for me as a bettor was to see Oxbow run a non-threatening fourth or fifth, so I could get a big price on Derby Day, does 50-1 sound good?  

15 Apr 2013 8:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

V is for Victory so will it be Verrazano or Vyjack? Or will it be Java's War? Or will it not be a war at all but a Charming Kitten leading the parade to a peaceful conclusion. Afterall a win is a win whether it's done with battle or charm. Whatever gets the job done. A Tom Jones song anyone, to lead us to the Preakness?

15 Apr 2013 8:34 PM
El Kabong

Great News Steve,

And Congratulations on a well earned assignment. Looking forward to the first report from you and Lenny and stable boy.

(:(  say the magic word and win $100.


15 Apr 2013 8:39 PM

While I believe Verrazano has all the talent G-d has to offer, I question him due to the fact he has yet to taste a :46, 1:11 pace....

From Kelso to Eclipse 15 Apr 2013 4:53 PM.

You might want to check his race (#5), on 2-2-13 at Gulfstream.  

15 Apr 2013 8:39 PM

Verrazano, Overanalyze, Will Take Charge, Itmyluckyday in that order for now. Orb comes next.

If there is one among them that could go all the way winning through to the Belmont Stakes its got to be Overanalyze.  Those who discount his chances based upon the slow Arkansas Derby time are making a huge mistake because this colt is just about finding his grove and he, like Verrazano, has Normandy Invasion safely held.

15 Apr 2013 8:51 PM

Thank you Mr. Haskin, for pointing out the final times for major derby preps. They have NO correlation with the winner of the derby. I never base my derby decision on final prep times. I just want the horse to show improvement from race to race and be training unbelievably well.

15 Apr 2013 8:55 PM

If you like Oxbow, you must love Will Take Charge....what am I missing a injury? If the track is fast he has the right style and can close a bit. Help me, am I crazy?

15 Apr 2013 9:14 PM
Sam Santschi

Deacon, u may be right.  If so, then lines of battle has a shot.

15 Apr 2013 9:28 PM
Sam Santschi

Anybody else see the pic of Normandy' s ribs and shoulder as he was being unloaded? Maybe a funny angle but he looked real scrawny...isn't he just a maiden winner to boot.  Crazy hard year.

15 Apr 2013 9:32 PM

Below is an extract from a previous post under the blog titled ‘The Powers of Illusion’

“Does this mean that a stallion that has sired 150 or mares in a season is unlikely to be a Derby wining sire? Strictly from historic samples it is highly unlikely. I know it’s too simplistic and needs more analysis and a bigger sample. For what it worth, if this trend holds up we are all in trouble with our fancied horses for 2013:

Footbridge – Street Cry (169 mares bred)

Avie's Quality – Elusive Quality (151 mares bred)

Shanghai Bobby - Harlans Holiday (165 mares bred)

Uncaptured – Lion Heart (180 mares bred)

Voilence - Medaglia d'Oro (194 mares bred)

Normandy Invasion – Tapit (170 mars bred)

Listed above are some of the top rated and promising 3YOs who are unlikely to win the Derby if this trend continues. Into Mischief the sire of the talented Goldencents bred only 61 mares in 2009. Could he be the one?”

Normandy Invasion made the cut and now he is on watch to see if he can at least hit the board.

Goldencents in addition to Vyjack were produced from 61 mares bred and both will be amongst the favorites. I would not be surprised if one wins and joints the past winners below who were products of small books bred.

2004 – Boundary: 37 mares (Big Brown 2008)

2005 – Birdstone: 69 Mares (Mine That Bird 2009)

2007 – Leriodesanimaux:  47 mares (Animal Kingdom 2011)

2008  - Flower Alley: 66 mares ( I’ll Have Another 2012)

15 Apr 2013 10:02 PM
Paula Higgins



Javas War


Normandy Invasion


Thinking of the people in Boston.

15 Apr 2013 10:03 PM

Even if there is little pace, I have a feeling this Derby field is going to be strung out enough that good trips will be available.

15 Apr 2013 10:06 PM

Steve - You've revived my belief in Overanalyze after your article of not getting too bent  out of shape over the slow times in the AK Derby. He did finish strong and galloped out well. I love that Rafael Bejarano is the jock, truly one of the best. I have alot of faith in Governor Charlie, he is #4 on my list. #1 Orb, #2 Verrazano, #3 Revolutionary, #4 Governor Charlie, #5 Normandy Invasion, #6 Java's War #7 Overanalyze. I will be betting these 7 on Derby Day in various combinations, with Orb Being my key horse in the trifecta.

15 Apr 2013 10:29 PM

War Academy's problem is the jockey,at this stage of his career it's going to be in front or around the pack.Looks to be an average bunch this year,i'm wating on the PP to make my final pick,however as of now it's Orb.

15 Apr 2013 10:41 PM

#1 for me right now is Orb.

Wish he was getting to the Downs a little earlier.

Horse that know one is talking about and I like is WillTakeCharge.

Horse will be 15-1 or longer come  Derby day.

He is my longshot pick.

I also am not of the Vyjack bandwagon.

As of now those are the 3 horses  I will be keying come Derby Day.

Orb unless Steve and his eagle eye tells us something different.

Orb if it comes up wet.

Orb if any of them get the 1 or 2 hole.

15 Apr 2013 11:24 PM

Borel on Revolutionary. Wow!  I don't think I'm going to be able to pass on that combination especially if the price is right.

Seems like a perfect combination for this race.

I may not handicap the Derby any further.   Matter of fact I don't think I'm going to.

15 Apr 2013 11:28 PM

A thought on this years derby.

Their is no cheap speed in this years Derby.

Speed in the race is going to carry farther than in years past.

I see the big bunch up happening a little later this year maybe even after the turn.

I am thinking horses more towards the front of the pack wins the Derby.

15 Apr 2013 11:44 PM

My top six subject to change once Steve becomes a railbird for us at Churchill:

1.  ItsMyLuckyDay

2.  Verrazano

3.  Revolutionary

4.  Orb

5.  Java's War

6.  Goldencents

15 Apr 2013 11:53 PM

I am over the moon. Who in their wildest dreams could have predicted that one let alone TWO sons of War Pass would be in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. This push button duo have the opportunity to provide a plethora of thrills on the first Saturday in May. Bets are that they will produce a wave of excitement, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that one of them will be the talk of the town come Derby night. If the Derby dreams of these two youngsters by a ill-fated, scrappy sire aren't realized surely they have demonstrated they possess bright futures on the track and possibly beyond.

Sleep well tonight, War Pass. You've done good.

15 Apr 2013 11:57 PM
joseph alva

Exciting time as we finally know who will basically make up the Derby field!  The big question is who will set the pace?  I would love to read some thoughts on that.  Here are a few possibilities that I can think of in that regard:

- GOVERNOR CHARLIE, given his inexperience, may be sent by Baffert a la Bodemeister so as to avoid getting caught up in traffic and responding greenly in the midst of that.

-  GOLDENSCENTS may also be sent to perhaps try to steal the race wire to wire since very few have his speed.

-  I am convinced that Lukas will send either OXBOW or WILL TAKE CHARGE (or maybe both) to the top tier since they have shown they can do this so as to avoid being caught in a herd (OXBOW is small and can get beat up in traffic and WILL TAKE CHARGE is huge and long-striding and can be set off-sync if not allowed to extend his stride)

- VERRAZANO or PALACE MALICE I don't think will inherit the lead, but I bleieve they may be close to it to be able to pounce without great difficulty

-  ITSMYLUCKYDAY I think will also sit up close right off the leaders (like Barabaro did) to likewise pounce without trouble

-  If FALLING SKY indeed goes in the race (I read yesterday that his connections are thinking of running him) he must be near the front for he has raced like that all along

- Even VYJAK who has raced best coming from behind, but who has raced near the front in the past, may go up there (Rudy typically trains his horses to show early speed)

The question is who will be able to sustain their speed and, most importantly, who will be flying at the end?  You know that Orb, Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion and Java's War will be coming fast.  

By the way, is SUPER NINETY NINE, #19 on the Points List, going to be sent to the Derby?  If he goes his presence will quicken the race much and he will likely set the pace, but I have a feeling his connections will have the good sense to not make him attempt a distance he clearly cannot handle.  The odds of him lasting a mile and a quarter are like the odds of getting Shug McCaughey or Angel Cordero to speak the Queen's Enlgish!!    

16 Apr 2013 12:03 AM
Tiz Herself

And let's not forget the ladies...

Beholder (Henny Hughes x Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek) of course the Champion two year old filly of 2012 and Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies champion. Winner of two grade ones this year; Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks

Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy x Dream Rush, by Wild Rush) winner of Gulfstream Oaks by 21 3/4 last out. She is something special.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense x Unlimited Pleasure, by Valid Appeal) winner of G3 Rachel Alexandra, G2 Fair Grounds Oaks as a three year old and Demoiselle Stakes (G2) winner at two. Love Street Sense :)

Emollient (Empire Maker x Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold) winner of the G1 Ashland last out by 9 at Keeneland. Empire Maker of course the 2003 Belmont Stakes winner and her dam, sired by Touch Gold and the broodmare sire of Soothing Touch Glia, AP. Indy. The pedigree is there. Always root for Juddmonte connections.

Close Hatches- Gazelle Stakes winner at Aqueduct last out. First Defense x Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat. The dam has two strains of Secretariat through Storm Cat's dam Terlingua and through Zafonic (Broodmare sire of Rising Star) who is sired by Gone West, produced by Secrettame. Also, the mare Toussaud, the second dam of First Defence via Honest Lady (1/2 to Empire Maker, etc.) Love her.

Fiftyshadesofhay. Was a huge fan of her late sire Pulpit (A.P. Indy x Preach, by Mr. Prospector) and she is out of Quiet Kim (Real Quiet x Miss Alydeed, by Alydeed)

16 Apr 2013 12:04 AM
Mike Relva

Alex's BigFan

Hey,how are you?

16 Apr 2013 12:11 AM

Tiz Herself:

I've been awaiting your return for ages, because we had a miscommunication on this board a while back.

When I told you you could follow a horse on Equibase, I didn't mean putting it in the Virtual Stable. Whenever you "wonder whatever became of so-and-so" just go to Equibase and enter the horse's name in the box top right, and it will take you to a record of all its races, plus if you subscribe, videos of all races at 10 cents each.

16 Apr 2013 12:40 AM

Mike Relva,

Hey Mike!  Good, thanks for asking.  Nice to see you bsck and hope you are having fun with this Derby.  Good luck on your picks!

Dr. D.,

Loved your take on the war theme too!  We march on to Derby Day!

16 Apr 2013 12:58 AM

Johnny; No cheap speed - exactly!  And thank goodness!  Finally, a truly competitive field where it appears all of the horses that get in the gate will deserve to be there.

Tiz Herself; what about Midnight Lucky?  I think she deserves to be mentioned with the group of fine Oaks fillies you have mentioned.

16 Apr 2013 1:48 AM

Thanks, Steve, for your dozen and insightful comments.  No pressure, Steve, as you head to Louisville and begin your reports.  A lot of us are counting on your 'eagle eye'.  If you need any help, such as carrying your note pad, mic or camera on the backside, I'm available.

Pending the draw, track conditions and Steve's observations, here's my Fab Five + 3:

1. The "Cold-hearted ORB."  Orb has the right running style to sit mid-pack and make his move when Joel asks him.  He's coming in well rested, improving and will have no problem powering down the stretch.  He's also in the hands of one of the masters.

2. Verrazano.  He deserves to be the Derby favorite(5/2, 3/1?)but still concerned on he getting the 10F with the solid pace and pressure he will get.

3. Java's War.  A dead closer who will relish the 10F.  Nicely spaced races.  Only concern is how he will take to the CD surface.  Need help, Steve.

4. Revolutionary.  Glad Elliot Walden and TP listened to my suggestion to grab Calvin Borel, good fit.  Another gutsy, classy closer who has handled traffic.  Just hope he doesn't get too bottled up.

5. Normandy Invasion.  Another power stretch runner coming up to the Derby primed for a big effort and, like Java's War, has run second to Verrazano.

6. Oxbow

7. Will Take Charge

8. Black Onyx

These I'll keep on the bench in case one of the five needs to be lifted.

As others have said, this looks to be a very contentious and competitive Derby  that should offer some very attractive odds.  Looking forward to your reports, Steve.    

16 Apr 2013 2:14 AM

I can see Normandy Invasion, with Javier aboard, weaving his way through traffic,winning by a comfortable margin. They will be battling for second.

16 Apr 2013 7:21 AM
Rusty Weisner

My list:



2. Revolutionary

3. Java's War

4. Will Take Charge

5. Normandy Invasion

6. Mylute

"pressers" or horses on the lead:

1. Palace Malice

2. Verrazano

3. Itsmyluckday

5. Goldencents

6. Govenor Charlie

CD "specialists":

Overanalyze, Frac Daddy.  I don't like either.

I like Orb on top.  I like him to stay out of trouble and up close enough to put it all together.

Don't know yet who to put him with:  more of the speed or my #2 & #3 "closers".

16 Apr 2013 7:47 AM

To all Java War fans no concerns regarding the 2 length head start he likes to give the field?

Cassandra Says:

I kinda see it different I think we are going to have a bunched up field the whole trip.

Who ever gets the lead will try to slow it down big time.

16 Apr 2013 7:56 AM

F For Tinhorns yeah I read something like that about Uncaptured after I posted on here.

Tiz Herself I am surprised that the pedigree experts on here have not mentioned Govenor Charlie I think its because most of them apart from pedigree believe strongly in foundation(I dont anymore)

In Govenor Charlies pedigree are two 3yos that ran in the Belmont Stakes not too long ago Real Quiet and Silverbulletday.

The Apollo curse and foundation could go out the window this year if its a Baffert Pletcher exacta in the form of Govenor Charlie and Verrazano.

16 Apr 2013 7:57 AM

I remember Pegram had another similarly named colt that won the Dubai World Cup Captain Steve.

16 Apr 2013 7:58 AM

Ed Kabong I read Uncaptured was out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby after I posted about him on here.

16 Apr 2013 8:11 AM

Oxbow supporters I think his race in the Arkansas Derby was an experiment to get him to relax(rate)better in the early part of the race(Hes already in). I think he will be 30-1 or more doubt he will be 50-1.

But the odds for the KDerby are different from anything you will play in the US this year(20horse field).

Thats why IHA was 15-1 and Bode the favorite was over 4-1 last year.

16 Apr 2013 8:23 AM
Tiz Herself

Thanks Cassandra - am always reading the blogs but don't always post :) I do have the Virtual Stables the stable watch and many horses are included with that, have added the top 20 to see how they do leading up to the Derby. Love reading and coming here... being from Alberta which the only publication that comes is likely the day of the Derby and that's it (was elated to see the Blue Grass stakes televised, was the only one of the TC Season, unable to subscribe to HRTV or any of those racing channels)

Also had two deaths six weeks apart from each other; my uncle who is almost solely responsible for my passion for horses in general and my grandpa, so wasn't posting lots. The horses are the best part of my day sometimes :)

16 Apr 2013 8:25 AM
Proud Acres

Hey all!  This is a crap shoot at best.  Whoever I pick never wins so I'll look at who's prettiest!  That would be Black Onyx, love his color.  Good luck folks, always fun to read your comments Steve

16 Apr 2013 8:31 AM

On the same topic another factor some of us will forget is that the ultimate prize is the Kentucky Derby so if you can win or get in without using your horse too much that might help explain the slow times.

I have always liked Verrazano and in the Wood instead of keying him on top I won it with a box,which didnt turn out well when the 10 horse was considered a non-starter.

He was clearly the best in the Wood, Normandy Invasion was 2nd start off the layoff for Brown(30%) and was running on his home track the only track he has run well on.Vyjack was also running at his base on which he was undefeated.

IMO that was close to a public workout for Verrazano.

I cant say that this year there has been a really strong 100 pointer the best prep that I see as far as top finishers making it to the race is the Tampa Bay Derby,but I think 3rd place finisher Falling Sky has also been taken out of consideration for the KD.If that is the case then all the 100 pointers could be considered equal as being key races except for the UAE Derby and the SA Derby.

16 Apr 2013 8:33 AM
Tiz Herself

Looking forward to Normandy Invasion's work over the track. Looks like Verrazzano is settling in. Revolutionary from what I have seen on Facebook looks fantastic.

Another horse added to my Virtual Stables is Reload (Hard Spun - Hidden Reserve, by Mr. Prosector) owned by Phipps Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey. He won an allowance at Keeneland on April 12/13 over Casino Dan (half to Wise Dan and Successful Dan). Reload's dam is dam of G3 winner Philanthropist and Defer. Second dam Pure Profit produced Educated Risk ($1mill+), Inside Information (1mill+ and dam of Smuggler and Illicit, dam of Gone Astray)

16 Apr 2013 8:40 AM

I see a moderate pace for this Derby,I don't see any cheap or legitimate speed that will set fractions under 23 for the 1/4 or under 46 for the 1/2 or 1:10 and change for the first 6 furlongs.There are no Bodemeisters,Bold Forbes this Derby.-----So,what does that mean? It means that it will be a lot harder for closers to beat Verrazano.

16 Apr 2013 9:05 AM
steve from st louis

I did my best by voting for Rosie in WinStar's "you pick the jockey" contest, but I can't imagine a worse pick for Revolutionary than Calvin Borel. I know he's got three Derbys but he's almost guaranteed to get this horse stuck along the inside right about the time he'll need to push the button.

In addition, Calvin's slowly showing his age and losing his touch as his last five years' stats show:2008; 148 wins from 947 mounts, 140/853 in 2009, 120/690 in 2010, 114/756 in 2011 and just 73 from 610 mounts last year. The only way Borel wins with this one-run horse is if the Red Sea parts at the quarter pole. Highly unlikely.

16 Apr 2013 9:25 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   When Rosie and Calvin come marching in , hoorah, hoorah. Ready, aim, fire !!! And they're off !!!!!  I like your list. It could easily be my list except I'm not sure what to do with Goldencents. It feels so wide open that any list is a good list. Just like Steve I feel like I might have some too low but where am I going to put them? Some of them have better last races than my first impression after seeing a few replays. Maybe I'll shoot numered balls out of a cannon and whichever lands the farthest away will be my Derby bet to key on.

16 Apr 2013 9:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I think I'm done with doing a list, I think I'll just search the bunkers for a top three. I'm going to bring 7 or 8 canteens. It's going to be a tough task through marshes, valleys, mountains, swamps, and the desert and desserts.

16 Apr 2013 9:55 AM

Back to the topic of breeding of which I think is so inconclusive one way or another as it relates to a runner getting the distance(finishing in the money) of 1.25 miles on the first Saturday in May.

Last years derby winner Ill Have Another's daddy Flower Alley faded badly in his Kentucky Derby run(it was the Giacomo year)Then Flower Alley came back later that summer to win two stakes at Saratoga including the Travers at 1.25 miles.

A lot of you breeding experts said Bodemeister wouldnt get the distance(his daddy got 2nd 2003) as you are claiming Verrazano wont because his daddy got 4th in his run.

16 Apr 2013 10:01 AM

With all respect to Mr. Haskins and all the other supporters, I'm still trying to find out why there is this bandwaggon of enthusiasm for Revolutionary. I'm not saying he cannot win the Derby, but if one maintains this, it must follow as the day the night that Mylute, who seems to be improving as the distance grows, must be accorded like treatment.  Revoutionary was ridden in his last by Castellano. Who knows whether Mylute would have beaten Revolutionary had he been ridden by the more able Castellano.  Compounding this analysis is the fact that Castellano, for presumably good reasons, has decided on Normandy Invasion over Revolutionay.  Jockeys' decisions are often multi-faceted and not always correct - note the great Shoemaker taking Hillrise over Northern Dancer -, but with this background, I find it quite fascinating.

16 Apr 2013 10:28 AM


I love " your love" for Oxbow.  I can't see it, but I hope he wins for you, because I would enjoy reading your column after the Derby.

Wouldn't this be a great field for the Derby:












Every year we have injured horses that never make to the Derby.  This year is more outstanding than ever before.

I am not saying that this the new points system for the Derby is at fault ( forcing to run horses in point races that would not be on that particular horses 4-5 week schedule between races.  But, before at least, the trainers could pick and choose races that would coincide with that horse traing and racing regime.  Any thoughts?

My Derby picks


java's war


tiz a minister (if he gets in)

great column as always Steve...

16 Apr 2013 10:38 AM


Not sure if I am the first person to comment on this because I couldnt get through all the comments on here, but on Revolutionary you said Castellano took off him to ride Orb, when Rosario is riding Orb and Castellano is on Normandy Invasion.

16 Apr 2013 10:41 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I can see Javier and Calvin duking it out down the stretch until Rosie comes along on Mylute, and Normandy Invasion and Revolutionary pull the boys apart, while Rosie and Mylute split them to roar to victory. Mylute- "Move aside boys here come me and Rosie !!" The boys get off of their horses and tie them to the rail after finishing 5th and 6th and continue their fracass on the track. Rosie and Mylute do their victory lap as Calvin and Javier are finally pulled apart by a group of drunken infield fans. They join the fans in the infield for a few drinks and Calvin and Javier are later seen walking back to the jock's room arm in arm, smiling and laughing.

16 Apr 2013 11:07 AM

TIZ HERSELF, please accept my regretes on your losses. My passion for horses came from my father who bred and raced horses.  I am in Ontario so peerhaps we can talk Queen's Plate some time, as well.  Cheers!

16 Apr 2013 11:26 AM

Indiana Johnny makes an excellent point, which is probably quite underweighted. A racehorse that is late in showing quality is an outlier, like Cigar and a few more. One does not normally train a horse to be good.  Being exceptional is genetically based. Yes, there is the issue of performing better at longer distances and on different surfaces. The exceptional ones run  well on virtually anything.

16 Apr 2013 11:38 AM

top 5 derby picks pre-post position draw and weather report. 1)revolutionary-borel good as any with closers. dam grade 1 winner.2)will take charge-dam grade 1 winner, lukas improved stock last few years. 3)overanalyze-peaking at right time needs to win two races in a row.4)mylute-also rounding to form and from hot sire.5)lines of battle-raced longer distance than the rest and won.(remember canonero II in 1971 derby?)

16 Apr 2013 11:58 AM


This is the last time, I swear.


The horse has never been off the board and has been stopped cold or sent backwards or shoved the wrong way up the track coming out of the chute. The interference over which he has triumphed belongs on a list with Alex in the Preakness.

The telescopic lenses with which races are filmed removes perspective. You cannot see lateral movement on them. When you watch the pan video of his first start and then watch the head-on, it's like stepping into an alternate universe.

He HAD NO CHANCE to win in his first three starts. In his fourth start he broke like an arrow, nothing collided with him, he stalked outside, went to the front at will and drew off, beating Transparent 8 1/2 lengths and the third horse by 20 lengths for a triple Beyer at a mile on a drying out track. No signs that he was gun shy.

This year he's undefeated but I've noticed two pertinent things: one, his rider had to hold him off the horse inside him in his fifth start, as though he had decided the best defense was a good offense. The last was that he walked out of the gate in the Lou Derby. Was that an indication that he will do it again?

On balance, I'd expect that he would have done it after his surreal first start if he was going to. He has a very sound nervous system.

I find it more probable that his trainer gave his rider instructions something like this. "We've got the best horse. Just make sure nothing happens to him at the break."

16 Apr 2013 12:42 PM
Rusty Weisner


I predict Govenor Charlie will go for the lead.  Others here are predicting a slow pace.  I could see a War Emblem Derby.

16 Apr 2013 12:43 PM

What an interesting weekend.  The more I watched the races from Keeneland, the more confident I became in Java's War.  Closers were winning the battles.

That just wasn't the real Oxbow I saw in the Ar. Derby.  I felt that he was a tired time, he should be tuned up.

As everyone argues about times and pace, I think it would be well to remember an important fact.  A mature horse, over the age of 4, is not asked to do what is asked of these 3 year olds on the Triple Crown trail.  These are immature horses being put through the wringer.  It's like throwing a 15 year old boy straight into the NFL. And everyone is discussing these babies, latching on to their favorite boy, and expecting him to behave like a Super Bowl MVP.

There's too much criticism and not enough appreciation for their efforts.

As far as my DD:

1.) Orb...simply for the ease with which he's won his races.  (and breeding, and stride, and the connections, and Rosario.)

2.) Revolutionary...intelligent, tactical, and loaded with stamina and speed.  Whether or not he'll win the Derby, this guy is destined to be a Champion.

3.) Verrazano...I think he's a super freak.  He has the ability to set an easy pace, but still stay ahead of the crowd no matter who's trying to catch up with him.

4.) It''s been a while since we watched him win, and too many have forgotten about him.  He's the sleeper of the crowd, and I think he'll be fine-tuned in May.(While Lawyer Ron may have been short on distance, that's THE SLEW on the bottom.)

5.)'s great that he didn't bleed, and I'm glad to see him recovering so well.  That explosive move in the final furlong will serve him well.

6.) Goldencents..I trust this boy, and really don't doubt his ability for the distance.  My Lute may have been a sprinter, but he was actually bred for distance.

7.) Black Onyx..Loved RH10, can't help loving this handsome dude. I still have reservations about turf vs dirt.

8.) Java's War...he really needs to get out of the gate better in the Derby, but it doesn't seem to matter with him.  (I will say I thought he was a small horse when I saw him closing on Verrazano.  Now, I discover he's actually a very large horse, and I really have to wonder just how big and muscled Verrazano is.)

9.) Overanalyze...Stepped up and did great in Arknsas, this guy is just starting to peak.  And he's handsome to boot.

10.) Will Take Charge...Great job in the Rebel, and I liked his stride.

11.) Oxbow...I think he has a lot to offer, and no one should discount him.  He's a competitor who just didn't show up in Arkansas, though he has every other time.  Next time.....

12.) Frac Daddy...Great Ar.  Looking to see more.

I'm fairly certain, in the Arkansas Derby, I saw War Academy take a misstep just 2 furlongs into the race.  Did anyone else catch it?  Watch that right forleg.  He was pulled up shortly afterwards.

As I said, these colts are just babies, and the attrition is high because their bones are not yet fully formed.  The stress factors are also wearying on their joints.

16 Apr 2013 12:50 PM

My two futures are out. There are three that I am looking at: Black Onyx, Java's War and Orb.

16 Apr 2013 12:51 PM


My Lute looks short in stakes races.  He had a better trip than Revolutionary in the LA. Derby and he still couldn't get past him in the stretch.   Revolutionary blew by him on the outside on the far turn (at least 4 or 5 wide) and still held off My Lute.  The charts say the difference at the finish was a neck but it was closer to 1/2 length if you ask me.   My Lute faded in the Risen Star.  He faded in the Delta Jackpot.  He couldn't get past Bern Identity in the Jean Lafitte 200K.  My Lute faded in the Arlington Wash. Futurity.   All those races are shorter than The Kentucky Derby.   He's not going to get the Derby distance in my humble opinion.

My Lute is a decent horse but he's not as good as Revolutionary.

16 Apr 2013 1:00 PM
Steve Haskin

LMKas, thanks, that has been fixed.

16 Apr 2013 1:02 PM

The Decline and Fall of Calvin Borel:

"In addition, Calvin's slowly showing his age and losing his touch as his last five years' stats show: 2008; 148 wins from 947 mounts, 140/853 in 2009, 120/690 in 2010, 114/756 in 2011 and just 73 from 610 mounts last year." [StevefromSt.Louis]

If you have a 'system' Steve, I hope it doesn't include arithmetic. The winning percentages are 15.6%, 16.4%, 17.4%, 17.39%, 11.97%.

At most, they might support a suggestion that Calvin is "coming off a year that was less than his best."

When you've got it and everyone knows it, you don't have to ride everything that's available. You're not desperate to make an impression, if only with quantity.

16 Apr 2013 1:44 PM

Orb is still the pick.  He has the right style, trainer, owners, bloodline and Jock.  It all fits together like a glove.  There is no better horse right now to swing wide and win the Derby.  Right now there is no one hotter than Joel Rosario the best jock in the country and who better to swing a horse wide to win than him.

Shug is long over due and if he sends one over you know he has a shot.  Also, who better than

Shug to get every ounce out of horse to go 1 1/4?  No one!

16 Apr 2013 1:51 PM

Winstar, Pletcher and Borel are doing another rain dance!

16 Apr 2013 1:52 PM
Plod Boy Phil


I have to object (strenuously) regarding the '15 yr old boy in the NFL' analogy.  The reality is they are all '15 yr old boys' with each developing at their own rate.  Each and every 15 yr old thrust into the NFL would be destroyed.

I have not further comments on the post as I stopped reading when the topic turned to the never ending analysis by one blogger or another about the exact same horses.

16 Apr 2013 1:58 PM

Rusty Weisner You are making this prediction without seeing the draw I will defer to after the post  position draw.

What happens for instance if Goldencents draws the 1 or the 2 hole,or even draws closer to the rail than the  other speed.

16 Apr 2013 2:16 PM

If the connections of the colts that run forwardly placed draw inside and are allowed to settle then they will be people that would have went to the Derby to support their animal, and drink Mint Juleps on a hot and sunny day,but as far as winning the Derby forget about it.

These disadvantages post position draws should be dealt with as taking the race to the rest, If they dont they are going to be toast.

16 Apr 2013 2:20 PM
Rusty Weisner


You've got your pedigree on Goldencents mixed with someone else's.  

16 Apr 2013 2:24 PM
Rusty Weisner


The Churchill Downs site has nice profiles of all the horses and they consider Mylute's pedigree questionable, too.  Just looking for anyone I can eliminate.

16 Apr 2013 2:26 PM

Animal Kingdom won the Derby with Schakelford setting the pace with a 1:12:3 for 3/4mile a very fair pace.

I watched the replay and the top 4 finishers all came from the front of the pack.

I am handicapping this years Derby with that kind of pace scenario in mind.

I just don't see the closers getting their.

16 Apr 2013 2:30 PM

IMO Revolutionary won his race easily, in retrospect the only colt that might of had a chance was Palice Malice who was on the inside and ran a shorter distance around than Revolutionary.

After the race Amoss trainer of Mylute stated that he didnt think he would run well at that distance 9 furlongs, and that he would wait for the owners to make the decision on wheather to proceed to the Derby.

I dunno about you but if Mylute were to hit the board he would surprise his trainer and if he didnt thimk too much of his chances what what make YOU think that he would hit the board.

I like his trainer because he wins alot but he dosent get many distance horses,so If I was to play him it would be in a minor position like 3rd because he shud be over 40-1 IMO.

16 Apr 2013 2:34 PM

Then again I think Amoss bets on his horses so he might of just said that to mislead a lot of prospective bettors once again its a FIELDERS CHOICE.

16 Apr 2013 2:35 PM
:46 Breezing

Love D-Day...but recent pics of him coming off the van in KY were disturbing.   He looked ribby and at least 100 lbs lighter than he normally does.   I'll be monitoring Mr. Haskin's posts for his impressions about how NI looks in the flesh.   Still love him and Vyjack.  

16 Apr 2013 2:57 PM

With a bomber who targets sporting events still on the loose, my thoughts and prayers are jumping ahead to the first Saturday in May. I feel the need to pray for the safety of race fans, connections, and our equine heroes. My absolute love for creatures in the animal kingdom stems from the fact that they are incapable of intentional premeditated evil. Their beauty is a reflection of their innocence.

16 Apr 2013 3:21 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Hirize -

Please list for me the examples that have you have drawn upon to label Shug as the best possible trainer to get one ready for a 10f event?

Support and excitement are one thing, but try to keep at least one foot on the ground.

16 Apr 2013 3:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'll take 11.97% for the year and three Derby wins anyday. Calvin is still the top Derby rider. This is going to be The Thrilla in Churchilla. Love having Rosie in there also, definitely one of the top female riders ever and she will win a Derby sometime so maybe it will be this year. Assuming Stevens is on Oxbow it will be awesome to have him back.

16 Apr 2013 4:32 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Jeff Hall -

I believe if you were to take the time to review the small number of 9f races run at Oaklawn over the last 8 years or so,  you'd see that the 3/4 time listed fits inside the 'normal' range relative to the other splits.

16 Apr 2013 4:46 PM


AMEN!  My thoughts and prayers are with those suffering in Boston.  My thoughts also jumped to CD on the first Saturday in May.

May I add to your thought that the beauty of our equine heroes is also a reflection of a creature doing what it was created to do--RUN--and the thoroughbred does it best.

Mankind can learn a lot from the innocence of the Animal Kingdom "incapable of intentional premeditated evil."

16 Apr 2013 5:04 PM

listen because I am only going to say this once, promise. I have known since the end of last year who is going to win the Kentucky Derby this year, and even though we haven't actually seen the field yet, I am confident in relaying the winner at this time. The winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby will be........(drum roll): Frac Daddy. Ignore this information at your own peril. Good Luck.

16 Apr 2013 5:14 PM

I am in mourning for my futures picks.

I will snap out of it when I see who is at 60 - 1 on the morning line so I can bet my dream bet.

(and then probably be in mourning for my $10)

Condolences Tiz Herself (and Boston).

16 Apr 2013 5:40 PM

RUSTY and whomever feels it would be good to review the c.v. of a few horses:

Go to

There's a search box at upper right set to default search category "horses." Type 'Revolutionary' in box. You will be taken to Rev's profile. Click on the green bar labelled "results" and you will get race lines for every start. Beside each is a link to the race chart and to the video replay. There is a link to the video on the chart also.

Click on the video and you will be directed to a registration page where you can buy access to all the videos. One of the packages is 300 plays for $30. You have it for 48 hours, unlimited replays, and a choice of Flash pan shot and head ons or Windows pan shot and head ons.

I recommend viewing breaks head on with pointer on pause. Stutter step them out of the gate because the action is really fast.

You will notice such things that don't show in the side shot as Revolutionary breaking perfectly, ahead of the nine-horse field, straight and centered in his path, just before a tsunami of horses crashes into him.

And that is my final post on this particular topic. If you don't know now, you don't want to know because it's such a relief to be able to eliminate one of the horses you're juggling, whether you're right about him or not.

16 Apr 2013 5:47 PM

Predict what do you think F Daddys odds will be before he leaves the gate and wins the KD?

16 Apr 2013 6:17 PM


I'm weary of Giant's Causeway but since you asked me directly whether I knew how he nicked with RaN blood, I'll refer you to a list of all his stakes horses on the Coolmore website.

Analysing 1000 or so foals to several removes is a staggering task, especially when they are registered in a dozen or more different stud books and I'm not inclined to do it. A once-over shows massive representation of Mr. P among the dams of his stakes horses, including a couple of dozen Mr. P. sons, most notably Seeking the Gold. His best son, Shamardal, champion at 2 and 3, winner of the French Guineas and Derby is by the Mr. P. son Machiavellian.

It's interesting to see Northern Dancer as an equally frequent presence, but they must also dominate the Coolmore broodmare band.

This doesn't tell us whether his unraced and unplaced offspring are bred to the same pattern. I'd guess yes.

A list of all his starters can be found at the link below, but the race records are not complete and may represent only European racing. I think I recognize some winners among the listed non-winners.

16 Apr 2013 7:17 PM

Of subject but has anyone else read the article on drf regarding Rodriguez and his hearing?

What a bunch of crap.

16 Apr 2013 7:19 PM

Rusty...thanks...I screwed up my own spread sheet, and ended up with Gov. Charlie's pedigree in the Goldencents spot.  (and I meant to say Midnight Lute, NOT My Lute.)

PBP: These may ALL be the equivalent of 15 year old boys.  My point was that their bones and joints are not yet fully functional, and they're being required to do a grown man's job.  Because their maturation rate differs, we've eked out Triple Crown Champions.  However, we've lost so many more to attrition than we've had winners.  This year alone, we've lost Violence, I've Struck A Nerve, and Flashback just to name three.

Last year, the heart breaker was I'll Have Another.  The year before, Animal Kingdom who had to fight awfully hard twice to finally surface as a victor in the World Cup.

Yes, throwing a 15 year old boy into the NFL could be devastating.  But we do it every year with colts...and fillies.

And when times are argued about, everyone seems to forget that fact, AND the fact that none of the eventual winners actually set the pace in any of the preps.  They all came from off the pace.

So stop complaining about the times, and marvel at how the winners overcame the pace to cross the wire first.

ABF: Chuckle...loved the dialogue.

Would have preferred Rosie on Revolutionary.  Calvin has been so-so lately, but he's gotten the job done before...and he'll have a mount who is more tactical than most.

As far as how many times can you win the Derby?  While Hartack has won it 5 times, my hero, Edie Arcaro not only won it 5 times also, but rode 2 Triple Crown Champions doing it.

16 Apr 2013 7:19 PM

Cassandra, well Calvin Borel won the Kentucky Derby 2 times in the last 5 years, so frankly I don't give a *** about his stats.  This of course is IMO.  Revolutionary, Will Take Charge, and Black Onyx have the pedigree to get the distance.  I would also throw Itsmyluckyday and Govenor Charlie into the mix.  Although Govenor Charlie has a really nice pedigree; his inexperience worries me.  Orb IMO is a beautiful horse, but I'm not all that high on his pedigree, again IMO.

16 Apr 2013 7:36 PM

predict-frac daddy shows inbred to damascas,nashua and mr.pros. 4th position dosage number at least has a 1 in it which is positive for distance. that's the good news. hate to see horses like ogygian and johannesberg show up (sprints). i used him underneath in his last race and still could'nt catch. question is does frac daddy or slack daddy show up for the derby? needs to put another good effort in.

16 Apr 2013 8:01 PM
Tiz Herself

Thanks Nordancer! My grandpa was 94 and uncle 61, both were hard to take for sure. Definitely love to talk Queen's Plate or anything horse :) I drive the people I work with crazy because none close to me have the same passion. They just hear me blather and nod :) On my to do list is get to Ontario and see Woodbine as well as some stallions who are there, maybe meet up, though wont be for a while, would love to see a Queen's Plate in person.

16 Apr 2013 8:19 PM
Fran Loszynski

Does Revolutionary like the rail? Because that's where he's going with Calvin. I love Calvin he's a 1930's jockey and that's such a great compliment from me but Normandy Invasion has Tapit and BOSTON Lady! God Bless my BOSTON! Run Run Run!....HOME

16 Apr 2013 8:37 PM
Paula Higgins

ksweatman9, so well said and you are so right. The animal kingdom is not capable of premeditated evil. They are true gifts from GOD.

16 Apr 2013 9:19 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   There probably won't be anyone with an ML of 60-1. They are usually 50-1 or lower on the ML. Was your dream ML or odds he won at? There is likely to be somebody at 60-1 or more when the race starts. You'll have to probably bet any around 60-1 because the odds will change after the race starts most likely to catch up with all of the bets pouring in.

16 Apr 2013 9:34 PM
Mike Relva

Alex's BigFan

Concerned cause it's like Laz has dropped off the planet. Never notice anything from him anymore. Also,emailed him recently and never got reply.

16 Apr 2013 10:15 PM

There goes the odds on Mylute.  Rosie is a great jockey, but Mylute will now garner a lot of sentimental bets.  

16 Apr 2013 10:21 PM
Mister Frisky

Stevens and The Coach for one more rodeo.Maybe a Hollywood Ending in the making.

16 Apr 2013 10:33 PM
Native Dancer

Thanks again Steve for this comprehensive account!

I am still convinced that Verrazano will be an authentic star this year (health permitting of course!).

After watching all his races to date the only common denominator I could make out was that Velazquez was, most of the time, looking back for competition, giving hand rides and always finishing like a train. Theoretically, Verrazano still has plenty of gas in the tank and timing for him is perfect as his races have been just resemblances of solid workouts... His running style with great initial explosion and good dose of stamina makes him less prone to suffering from traffic problems in the Derby and ensures good finish as well.

Genetically speaking, Verrazano is taking a good deal from Giants Causeway, who precisely in Churchill Downs, established himself as a genuine world champion and a truly  2- kilometer specialist. I vividly remember his battling to the end with Tiznow and missing by a neck. Their time for the distance was about two seconds better than the other best times for the Breeder’s Cup Classic run in Churchill Downs.

To me, John Velazquez made the right decision

For the exotics, I will be rooting for Orb, Overanalyze, Goldencents, Revolutionary and Java’s War.

Looking forward to Steve’s reports from Churchill Downs ... and good luck to everyone in the race of all horse races...!

16 Apr 2013 11:25 PM
Sail On

Thank you Paula Higgins. We had a no fly zone with helicopters patrolling. RIP innocent victims.

Thanks Steve for thought provoking write up. It's too early for me to set all my picks. But unless something radical happens I see Verrazano beating the two best closers, with Goldencents 4th. I think if Normandy can get around the pack he can outrun revolutionary at this distance. Not sure how good Java really is. Orb, Vyjack look like milers.

Still, it's too early and I could change any except Verrazano. I still think he will not be truely tested untill the Belmont. Do I think he is a distance horse, heck no, but there is no true speed this year, no horse to keep them honest, and if they are going to stroll to the 1 1/8th, then Verrazano can and will hold them all off. I am not even sure he will feel the whip it the Derby!!!

16 Apr 2013 11:46 PM
Sail On

Oh, forgot Charming Kitten. If he makes the cut, I think he will be 4th-6th.Depends on how Revolutionary runs and if Java ever gets out of the gate.

17 Apr 2013 12:17 AM
Ted from LA

I think Overanalyze might lap the field.  I usually don't make such bold predictions, but my handicapping has arrived at that.  Varrazano second by a mile and a half length.  Orb third.  Palace Malace 4th.

17 Apr 2013 12:27 AM

Chief P,

Hhmmmmm let's see, a maiden winners odds of winning the Kentucky Derby, it will be a big number, probably 50-1 or more. I know I'm probably crazy, and nothing he's done this year makes this a logical play, but it's a feeling I have had since late last year and I've decided to go with it. Besides, when was the last time you saw Hilarious in a

K.Derby horse's ancestry, so why not a Hilarious pick? I hope he proves to be the right McPeek play. The one thing I can say from a past performance point would be his apparent liking of the Churchill surface. Scat Daddy gave us last year's Daddy Long Legs and Daddy Nose Best, so why not expect with Skip Away in the mix , a possiblity about to happen.

17 Apr 2013 1:26 AM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  I just booked you a comedic spot on the Ed Sullivan Show, or was it the Dean Martin roast, I can't remember. I must be drinking the same hooch as you. It sure goes down easy. Stay thirsty my friend..  :)

17 Apr 2013 2:12 AM
Karen in Indiana

Slew, to follow up your comments: the reason Man O'War didn't win the Triple Crown is that his trainer thought it was too early in the year as a 3 yr. old to run 1 1/4 miles.

17 Apr 2013 3:02 AM
Matt Converse

1. Normandy Invasion--seems ready to peak in the Derby, looked like he could run another mile in the Wood.  He targeted Vyjack and Verrazano and ran them down, he thinks he beat them both.  Next time, he might be right.

2. Java's War--showed he can get up for the win, but the task will be much tougher in the Derby. Is he really fast enough? Most years, no; this year, maybe. Those that discounted him being able to get around a dozen or so horses in the Blue Grass will probably discount him again. Learned nothing?  I would like them to work on his break from the gate.  A slow starter is fine, but he just stands there and walks out, spotting the field 2-3 lengths his last two races.  

3. Verrazano--I have to admit, watching little Java's War chase this big strong colt almost makes me want to put him back #1, but I think the last eighth will be a struggle. His numbers have gone down a bit as distance has increased, and if just one of the closers improves on Derby day, he'll be hard pressed to hold on.

4. Orb--has improved at three and finished pretty strong, not much to dislike.  Also could be the one with the first run on Verrazano, giving him a tactical advantage over the closers.

5. Revolutionary--should come running at the end, but faces the same hurdles Java's War and Normandy Invasion do. A good trip in the Derby isn't easy, and this horse has found trouble before.

6. Govenor Charlie--might be the sneaky value play.  His last race Beyer is right there with the rest of them, and he may actually have an advantage in his inexperience: he just might be the most likely to take another step forward.  

7. Will Take Charge--I just love the stride on this guy, it reminds me of Secretariat's, mind you, just the stride.  But he is another who is right there numbers wise.  Pedigree is one of the weakest for 10f, but the visual impression was he could go longer.

8. Mylute--another one who could fly under the radar at long odds. If you like Revolutionary, you have to like him a bit too, and like Govenor Charlie, his inexperienced may also lead to a step forward on Derby day.

9. Charming Kitten--much more iffy than Java's War when it comes to surface, but distance shouldn't be a problem. Watch his works and gallops at CD.

10. Black Onyx--he too is one to be watched over the Chruchill surface, it's critical he looks to be taking to it.

11. Overanalyze--nice horse but probably not fast enough to win.  Visually, he looked good and he should be running at the end, but maybe a notch slower than most of these.

12. Goldencents--give him an inch and he'll take a mile and the money, but can the Into Mischief colt go a mile and a quarter?

17 Apr 2013 5:54 AM

If Revolutionary is the top Pick why did he not compete in a Grade 1? The connections chose the weakest prep.

No better than 3rd for me.

17 Apr 2013 8:20 AM

Hey Steve, great article as usual.  Could you briefly touch on the list should the track be off, which is about a 50-50 chance as in recent years.

17 Apr 2013 9:18 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'd guess those sentimental bets are all in the win pool, not underneath or in multi-race wagers.  Same goes for "Itsmyluckyday".

17 Apr 2013 10:31 AM

"I like your first pick, would love to see him win, but looking at the stats, I wonder if it's wise to expect one jockey to win the roses so many times. It seems against all odds that the rail skimming lucky charm Borel can make it 4. Not impossible in this game, but tough, really tough. Well, if it can be done, Calvin is the one to do it. We shall see. Revolutionary kind of sounds like Cinderella, ah. You know what they say about tough love. What don't kill you, makes you stronger." [ksweatman9]

Nietzsche quoted on the board (sort of)! Aren't we classy! I've never believed that, btw. In my experience, what doesn't kill you, cripples you.

The odds against Calvin Borel winning four Derbies were huge when he started riding. They dived every time he won one. Now, he has the best odds of any rider in the world of winning four.

Think of it as 1000 rides. Once a rider gets into the 990s, it's impossible to believe s/he's NOT going to get there.

Calvin can ride 'em wire-to-wire, down the middle, stalking, up late -- he's known for the rail rides because no other rider makes them so frequently and well.

17 Apr 2013 10:36 AM

As of now:

Black Onyx

Java's War


If the race were now this would be my exacta box. But we still have time to see how they take to the surface at Churchill.

17 Apr 2013 10:59 AM

Not liking Calvin on Revolutionary so I am moving Verrazano up and Revolutionary down on my list.  

Got a feeling that we have a "sleeper" in the final group that is going to win the KD, but not be able to take the Triple Crown yet another year.

17 Apr 2013 11:04 AM

Thx Dr. D: it wasn't ML, it was the race odds.  

Considering some of the comments on all the blogs, it appears I may have as great a shot using this method to pick my horse in this Derby as all the scientific bettors.

But isn't that always the way?  Just when you think you have it all figured out, they get hurt, they retire, they change their focus and remember they are sprinters or grass horses or milers ... now add: they don't get the points.  (And they can't be fillies.)

p.s.  I used to hope all the horses would be safe on Derby day.  Now I gotta add that I hope everyone at this wonderful, world-type event stays safe. Peace

17 Apr 2013 11:21 AM
Mike Relva

Paula Higgins

Hope things are well with you. Alot of good horses to consider for the Derby. Orb is very impressive,also like Java's War. Shug and Kenny are great trainers,both deserving of a win here.

17 Apr 2013 11:32 AM
steve from st louis

Cassandra: Statistics can say whatever you want them to say and while Borel's winning percentages have been fairly constant, his earnings have not. In 2007, he ranked 17th in earnings, in 2008 49th, in 2009 85th in earnings, 24th in 2010, 68th in 2011 and just 87th in 2012. Getting on fewer class horses and winning less in purses is not a great trend. That's what I'm looking at. Since 2010, Borel has displayed weaking skills.

17 Apr 2013 11:32 AM
steve from st louis

BTW Cassandra, Borel had just two graded stakes wins in 2012-- the Grade 1 Florida Derby aboard Take Charge Indy and the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap aboard Daisy Devine. He has four Churchill Downs riding titles, the most recent in 2010(spring).Trying to argue his skills haven't diminished now at age 47 is difficult.

17 Apr 2013 11:43 AM

I have often cited that Derby starters produced from mares that are lightly raced or unraced and who do not have stellar race records, are more likely win than those produced from mares with either good, great or exceptional race records.

Below is a list of 9 colts/geldings that are likely to face the starter in Derby 2013. They were produced from mares falling into the above mentioned categories.

The winner of the 2013 Derby is likely to emerge from this list if this Derby trend continues:

Verrazano - Enchanted Rock (0 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows)

Normandy Invasion - Boston Lady (0 Wins, 0 Places, 0 Shows)

Charming Kitten - Iteration (0 Wins, 0 Places, 1 Shows)

Goldencents - Golden Works (2 Wins,3 Places, 1 Shows)

VyLack - Life Happened (Unraced)

Govenor Charlie - Silverbulletway (Unraced)

Oxbow – Tizamazing (Unraced)

Overanalyze – Unacloud (Unraced)

Java’s War – Java (2 Wins,1 Places, 2 Shows)

If the Derby trend continues for horses produced from mares with good to great racing records, the following colts/geldings will not win the 2013 Derby:


Palace Malice


Will Take Charge



Black Onyx

The combined lists do not cover the probable 20 starter but does cover the main contenders.

Charming Kitten appears to be the  colt with the best credentials for 10F from the list containing the likely winner.

17 Apr 2013 11:52 AM

johnny--i wouldn't worry about orb looking like a hot mess before the ky derby--i made that mistake before the FOY--looked awful. looked awful before the fl derby too. that's just him. i'd be more concerned if he shows up clean and dry.

cassandra--pretty preachy given your claimed expertise in american jurisprudence is nonsense--precedent is set every day by the 11 circuit courts of appeal, the appellate courts in every state--as well as the state supreme courts, the administrative hearing boards for every from social security, tax, labor, and the FEC. in fact, very little precedent has been set by the US supreme court--they rarely get involved unless there is a significant split among the various circuit courts--they only hear about 7 case a year.

so it's hard fo me to take anything you say seriously after that--especially since every one of your comments makes a much more common and faulty logical fallacy--appeal to authority. not sure about your tossing in post hoc ergo propter hoc--haven't seen that in these posts--people here are saying horse A won the FOY becuase he won the FL derby, they are saying, horse A is unlikely to win the derby becuase of his performance in an earlier race raises doubt about his ability. that's not a logical fallacy, it straight up logical deduction.

if A, then not B


ergo, not B

logical doesn't involve vailidity, just soundness (ie lies can be logical--sound, but are nonetheless false--invalid).

steve--not sure how you can say verranzo is not the bandwagon horse; battaglia has already announced he'll be the morning line favorite, most lists have him first, and most forum posts around the web see him as a lock.

phil--shug has a much better record than pletcher with 10 furlong horses--most of pletcher's "10f" horses start backing up on the turn for home a la quality road.

here's a stat to consider--the only horse sold at auction to win the triple crown was seattle slew...i don't think that is a coincidence, homebreds aren't bred for fashion and fad, and they don't go through he 2 yr old in training grist mill...

17 Apr 2013 12:21 PM
Rusty Weisner

Derby odds are funny.  They seem to max out at about 50-1, regardless of a horse's chances.  Since those throwouts take too much money, it means your odds are better everywhere else.  If Verrazano goes off at 4-1, for example, it means you get 7 or 8-1 on Orb or Revolutionary and everyone else will be 12-1 or better.

So, for example, this ML would be possible, even tossing in some 100-1 shots:

Verrazano 4-1

Orb 7-1

Revolutionary 8-1

Goldencents 12-1

Normandy Invasion 12-1

Java's War 12-1

Overanalyze 15-1

Palace Malice 15-1

Itsmyluckday 20-1

Vyjack 20-1

Lines of Battle 20-1

Will Take Charge 25-1

Govenor Charlie 25-1

Oxbow 50-1

Black Onyx 50-1

Mylute 50-1

Frac Daddy 50-1

Falling Sky 100-1

Charming Kitten 100-1

Tiz a Minister 100-1

17 Apr 2013 12:40 PM
Karen in Texas

I had to smile at Steve's 4/15, 8:01 P.M. remark, that this Derby is indeed a head scratcher; a case could be made for most of the horses or none of them, depending upon one's point of view. I suspect that is true because the point system is working as designed/planned. I'm eagerly awaiting the reports from Churchill on how the entrants are getting over the track, and then seeing how it all comes together on the first Saturday in May.

Mike Relva----Laz is apparently alive and well and currently commenting over on HRN. (This very morning.)

17 Apr 2013 1:43 PM

OMG!!  Are we starting to argue precedent and stare decisis and (I do Estates and Family Law): Cohab Agreements, Marriage Contracts, Applications for Certificates of Appointment of Estate Trustees with a Will and ...

I come to these blogs to bury Law, not praise it. (Hey, Cassandra Says: Shakespeare!)

Please, please - argue however you wish about your choices (including those genetic marker thingies, which involve numbers and stuff) but don't talk law becuase I get enough of that in my day to day work.

Dr. D: maybe Mylute or Charming Kitten?

17 Apr 2013 2:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

1)ITSMYLUCKYDAY- A fast horse that can sit and pounce, a rebound big performance is expected at 15-1 or higher. 2)ORB- Tough as nails and powerfully built for a 1 1/4 mile race, more improvement is expected. 3)REVOLUTIONARY- Likes to win, needs a decent start this time to be around at the finish line. 4)Frac Daddy- Loves Churchill Downs, problems may be behind him now, still has not run fast enough to win. 5)Verrazano- A quality horse, I just don't trust him at 1 1/4 miles, low odds expected. 6)Normandy Invasion- The wise guy horse will take money, still a maiden winner, does not like to pass horses at the wire. 7)Goldencents- He might sit a perfect trip, he will be fighting hard down the lane. 8)Black Onyx- Looked good on synthetic, will he run well on dirt? 9)Mylute- Finished a close second last out, the difference is that Revolutionary burried him in the gallop out. 10)Java's War- A proven closer on synthetic, I'm convinced he will be a future turf horse. 11)Lines of Battle- Also see him as a turf/synthetic horse only. 12)Govenor Charlie- Looked good at 1 1/8 miles aginst nothing, unproven against Grade I competition.

Joseph Alva,

I made the same comments about Itsmyluckyday last week, a Barbaro like move is quite possible for this horse.

17 Apr 2013 2:27 PM

Coldfacts, Charming Kitten the best credentials???  And your Mr. P line?

Itsmyluckyday and Orb my picks for the moment.

17 Apr 2013 2:31 PM
Pedigree Ann

I appear to have reached the age of the Miss Marple style of analysis, since Derby candidates remind of horses I have seen coming into the Derby in the past.

Like, Verrazano reminds of Private Terms, who came to the 1988 Kentucky Derby with a 7 for 7 record, including a workmanlike win in the Wood Memorial. Den's Legacy reminded me of Giacomo until his last race.

I have not fallen in love with any horse this year, like I did with Hard Spun and Sunday Silence. So I am still open to conversion to any of the contenders, given a sufficient argument.

17 Apr 2013 2:37 PM
tom mallios

steve i agree with your confidence in oxbow.personally i think it comes down to normandy invasion or vyjack.they are by far the 2 best finishers in my opinion.oxbow i think is the true speed horse in the field.fact gary stevens stayed on the horse after such a poor showing,is evedence that this was just a walk thru in preparation for the real race.if the other so called speed horses try and play a cat and mouse game,this is the only legitimate speed horse who can win this.jumping to another issue.johnny mentions earlier the handling of rudy rodriguez.this has nothing to do with the positive or juicing.if that were the case,many of the trainers in the race would be in the same predicament.some will say they did it because rudy asked for it.does that mean if he also asked for a preferential post position that they would of given it to are a very respected have followed racing for a long time.if you do not mind.would you give us your opinion on this it fair to do to 1 horse and not the other the kentucky board not criticizing their security standards of not only this derby,but previously run derbies.if they scrutenized as carefully as we are led to believe.why the extra those who are haters.this has nothing to do with juicing or association with is about what is right and what is fair

17 Apr 2013 2:50 PM
Soldier Course


I like the symmetry of the idea. The storied connections, who probably know something we don't. The name, full circle, full Moon. The year, 2013. Forty years since ... well, we all know what happened in 1973.

17 Apr 2013 3:11 PM

Coldfacts, what did last year's trend list look like? Thanks.

17 Apr 2013 3:24 PM
Rusty Weisner


I briefly looked into that "trend" going back a decade and here are some that defy it:


Smarty Jones


Street Sense

Super Saver

Animal Kingdom

I guess the notions of "not stellar" race records, or "lightly raced" are elastic and hold your theory together.

I don't need any more statistics rattling around in my head, least of all spurious trends.

17 Apr 2013 3:54 PM

Watch it on TV and stay away from your betting site Steve. You are waaaaay off.

17 Apr 2013 4:15 PM

Coldfacts if you believe in the thesis of your list why are you picking Revolutionary?

17 Apr 2013 4:44 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Thanks, it's quite a compliment that you enjoyed them. Instead of Ed Sullivan or Dean's show, I think I'll go for a guest appearance on The Honeymooners. You, me, Steve, Ralph, and Norton take the subwway to the track and listen to Ralph talk about how he has it all figured out and is going to get rich with his handicapping skills, and he does well until the last race where he puts it all on a sure thing 2-1 shot and loses every dime. Norton bets his last two bucks in the last race on a horse he picks because of the name- In The Trenches, a 100-1 shot and he wins. Prior to the race of course Ralph was telling him what an idiot he was for betting a sure loser. Norton was the only one that won and springs for a three foot french bread sandwich that we all share on the way home. Except for Ralph who had lost his appetite.

17 Apr 2013 5:13 PM

Coldfacts, I think Black Onyx is in the wrong column.

Going back, you would have had Super Saver and Street Sense, in the 'if the trend continues ... no win" column as well. Barbaro, Giacomo, Smarty Jones seem to have been the exception to this trend you brought up. Unless it has already run full cycle last time and it is time to turn.

17 Apr 2013 5:14 PM

Rusty Weisner now that you have the

line who is the wise guy horse the one that is overbet and underrepresented in the win place and show results after the race.

17 Apr 2013 6:02 PM
Mike Relva


Are you serious? Rev is a top notch horse, just has the wrong trainer. Some are never happy if a horse ran thru a wall. Give him a break. Not buying it.

17 Apr 2013 6:27 PM


I would be crushed by your post if it were not so silly.

You have argued extensively with a whole bunch of stuff I never said and you just made up.

For instance, you might read what I said about precedent a bit more closely. I said precedent was not law unless the Supreme Court set it. That was a little joke (you've heard of those?) because it's not law then either. It is not mandatory to follow precedents if they are, in the Court's view, clearly mistaken. It's policy and PR. The Courts think it looks better if the legal system is consistent. (Some of us think it would look better if it were just.)

I have never claimed expertise in American jurisprudence. I'm a Brit; I consider waving degrees around to be the height of bad taste. The Brit equivalent of claiming expertise contains the word "smattering." I doubt if there are more than a dozen experts around, since every state has its own laws and such an expert would have to know all of them. I did not train or practice in the U.S. except for some pro bono work in the civil rights and anti-war movement. I was also a body on the line. No elitist, moi.

You have made up an syllogism I did not use, and that does not match anything I used, to argue with. I did not say that there was never a causal connection between two events one of which follows the other, I said that this was not PROOF of causal connection and the first thing required was some theory as to mechanism of action. Precedence is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

Seriously, do you handicap this way? Have you thrown out Verrazano? Do you research which post positions have won a stakes most often? Did you used to throw out anything outside the gate? Post position one is a throw out for good reason but even then one should verify the precedents with consideration for the individual breaking from it and your expectations of the shape of the race.

I was thinking mainly of Coldfacts and the allergy to KD mutation that occurs in the sperm of stallions who breed more than 100 mares. Capisce?

The KD seems to attract this kind of thing. In my youth it was an insistence that no grey horse had won the Derby in 80 years therefore you can throw them out. Then came the torrent.

Your syllogism has a flawed major premise. It should read:

If A not B, in the past.

And A.

Therefore not B, in the future.

Did you know your country is internationally famous for greeting information with "I don't need no stinking information"? We in the rest of the world think it explains a lot.

17 Apr 2013 7:15 PM

I am not arguing that Calvin Borel is not losing it with age. I don't know the man and haven't looked at his rides this year.

I'm simply saying that the stats you used to argue it show nothing except he's riding less. Why shouldn't he now that he's rich and famous?

I would never suggest that one doesn't deteriorate with age. I myself went down like She Who Must Be Obeyed.

17 Apr 2013 7:19 PM

In the study someone referred to earlier that found high class winners produced more stakes winners, the group that ranked second was unraced mares.

Before that, on his own intuition and observation, one prominent old tyme breeder said he didn't like broodmares who had "failed the racetrack test." Unraced was okay, unplaced he'd pass on her.

The question is "All other things being equal, does x vary as y?"

All other things are not equal among the study groups, but the variables favour the stakes winners. They have better access to top stallions, for one thing. Another is that the unraced mares pool includes mares unraced because they couldn't stand training, had a club foot, were dwarves, or weren't race horses. Racing is not the only horse sport that breeds thoroughbreds. The unraced mare's unraced foal may be three-day-eventing.

17 Apr 2013 7:37 PM


Palace Malice is better than I thought. You were right, I was wrong. Crow feathers make good toothpicks.

17 Apr 2013 7:39 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

I LOVE Line's of Battle.  Flying under the radar amongst the Derby talk.

17 Apr 2013 8:26 PM

Coldfacts: Quickly was a sprinting mare who had competed in 85 races in 6 seasons.  She was bought by Mr. Hertz to breed to Kentucky Derby winner, Reigh Count, going against conventional breeding practices.(by placing stamina on top, and speed on the bottom.)

The result of the pairing was Count Fleet, our 6th Triple Crown champion.

As far as well-raced mares not producing champions...Urban Sea (she won the Prix d'Arc).  Among her progeny, count Galileo and Sea The Stars, who each won the Epsom Derby, and STS also won the Arc.

And there's Personal Ensign, well-raced, undefeated, and a desirable broodmare.  Her second foal sired Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem.  Her filly, My Flag won 4 G1 races, and was a great broodmare producing 2 year old champion filly, Storm Flag Flying.

That makes your tired theory that you repeat every year, just out-dated, disproven theory.

17 Apr 2013 8:52 PM

Plod Boy Phil:

Shug's success has always been with well bred horses pointing for distance races on turf or dirt. He arguably has the best distance horse in the world today in Point of Entry and when he points for a distance race you best believe they are ready to fire their best.

Although his success with 3 year old's have limited and light with colts, when he does come up with a good one they are runners. Easy Goer, Awe Inspiring, Vanlandingham Seeking the Gold, Coronado's Quest and Saarland were all nice horses with great bloodlines but they could never get Shug the prize, but it was not for their distance questions.  He has had some special 3 year old fillies too like Heavenly Prize, Inside Information, My Flag and Storm Flag Flying.

Now he has pleasantly come across Orb who will finally get him there. Shug has been very patient with  this colt all year and he is on a race program that has him ready to fire his best Derby Day.

My statement was only meant to say that if I had a horse that had to run the race of his life going a 1 1/4 on the dirt Shug would be my trainer of choice. Lukas, Baffert and Pletcher have all won the Derby but have started multiple starters to get it.  When Shug brings one look out!  

17 Apr 2013 9:01 PM

Interesting that we don't have one contender this year that is the offspring of a former Kentucky Derby winner. This years crop has one horse whose sire hit the board in all three Triple Crown races, that being Palice Malice son of Curlin.

Pensive ,Ponder, Needles, now that was breeding.

17 Apr 2013 9:29 PM
Sam Santschi

Interesting that Baffert has not completely ruled out Code West who is on the bubble. Of course he's not good enough, but nice to "squirrel-cage" about my last single from pool 1 (Dynamic Sky) being the other.

17 Apr 2013 9:30 PM

Revolutionary, Black Onyx, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie.  Verrazano, distance problems.  Calvin is not going to ride the rail with Revolutionary.  He'll take him to the outside, out of trouble.  Revolutionary is the best horse Calvin's ever ridden in the Kentucky Derby.  IMO of course.

17 Apr 2013 9:39 PM

Well Slew, I like speed on the top and stamina on the tail side of the pedigree.  I really like the Mr. Prospector (Count Fleet) cross with Secretariat (Princequillo).  Mr. Prospector on top and Secretariat tail. IMO

17 Apr 2013 9:50 PM
Uncle Smiley

Mylute rises in the mist.  From the line of Strike the Gold.

Now in the hands of Rosie Napravnik.

An unexpected coupling.

The essence of racing horses.


17 Apr 2013 10:02 PM
tom mallios


i do not know how long you have been following the game.please do not for 1 second think shug did not have that many horses.your statement "when shug brings them look out" from the time he had easy goer to probably the mid to late 90's.shug worked for arguably the #1 racing stable in america.he had access to the most amazingly bred horses one would want.the phipps barn was world renowned for years.they constantly raced champions and bred them in house.shug was the envy of all the the trainers in america.i have 2 classifications of so called trainers.they are either trainers or horsemen.guys like shug,bill mott. they fall into the horsemen me pletcher,baffert or assmusen.although they have the knowledge of horses.i consider them succesful as shug was in the peak time for the phippses'.my true dissapointment was his lack of many big wins outside of new seems all of his horses won at new york tracks only.yes there were the exceptions.but for a world class quality felt as though there were not quote me,but i think the great easy goer ,never won a graded stakes race outside of new be careful when you think "when shug shows up".

17 Apr 2013 10:35 PM

It seems there's alot of people on this board "Overanylizing" things and invoking certain "trends". We can all be as scientific as we want, but everybody knows that every horse race is different. There are no "systems". So start picking your top "3" everybody. We've seen 98% of them race, so let's make those predictions! Obviously, I have certain prices in mind depending what the odds are near post time. Here's my top 3 right now:

1) Orb

2) Scat Daddy

3) Revolutionary

17 Apr 2013 10:47 PM
Greg R

Steve, After you recently made no mention of Overanalyze at all in your Derby Dozen article, I said, "Do we have to give on Overanalyze completely?"  I thought he had a license to improve off his 2013 debut.  Still, didn't expect him to improve THAT much!  I concur that his Ark. race HAD to be better than the stats appear.  I also asked if we should toss out the Remsen.  Obviously not!  Still, I think some are overrating the Remsen's Normandy Invasion because he keeps almost getting there at 1 1/8.  Don't trust Boston Harbor in his pedigree for the Derby.

Of your first six, I most like Orb's pedigree for the Derby, with Unbridled on the bottom.  Of your next six, I most like Oxbow's pedigree for the Derby.  He has already run almost ten furlongs in some of his races.

I would sort of like to see Tom Amoss win a Derby with My Lute.

17 Apr 2013 11:50 PM
Greg R

Cassandra.Says:  Tickled to see the Rumpole reference.

On another of your subjects:  I have lived in America for almost fifty-four years (since age two), and I have never once heard any American say, "I don't need no stinking information."  You might as well have said, "Your country is internationally famous for having a green sky."

17 Apr 2013 11:57 PM

Mike Relva,

Yes, and we lost Zookkeeper, Needler, Ole Railbird, Longtimeracingfan who gave us all that wonderful information on The Harvester, Laz, and GunBow too.  Where are they?  I think Karen in Texas answered you about Laz.

Dr. D.

Let's clink our coffee mugs and celebrate the finalization of the picks and battle plans (er, uh, or not) in toasting with a little java!  Hooch if you are toasting with Deacon.  That was hysterical about Norton picking the winner from the horse's name!  Go stock up on coffee now, when Steve gets to Churchill we gotta be wide awake.

18 Apr 2013 12:11 AM
Mike Relva

Karen in Texas


Solider Course

How's it going?

18 Apr 2013 1:29 AM


I love "Why, who's got my back?"

It reminds me of Traveller's autobiography.

18 Apr 2013 2:28 AM

Who's inbred? List compiled rapidly and not guaranteed. From most to least. The numbers are a rounded off approximation of the chances in a thousand of both members of a chromosome pair descending from the common ancestor: 5x5 is 1, 4x5 is 2, etc. Most people do it from the other end and get into multiple decimal places. Also it's hard to do in your head and note on the margin of a catalogue.

16 Lines of Battle: 4x2 Danzig

14 Overanalyze: 3x(5x5) Northern Dancer, 4x4 Mr. P., 5x(5x5) Gold Digger

10 Java's War: 4x3 Blushing Groom, 4x5 RaN

10 Verrazano: 4x3 Mr. P., 4x5 Northern Dancer

09 Revolutionary: 3x4 Hoist the Flag, 5x5 Bold Ruler

09 Orb: 3x4 Mr. P, 5x5 Bold Ruler

09 Normandy Invasion: 5x3 RaN, 4x4 Slew, 5x5 Northern Dancer

08 Will Take Charge: 4x3 Fappiano

08 Black Onyx: 3x4 Mr. P.

08 Govenor Charlie: 4x4 Deputy Minister, 5x4 Secretariat, 5x5 Mr. P., 4x6 Northern Dancer

03 Oxbow: (4x5)x5 Northern Dancer

03 Mylute: 5x4 In Reality, 5x5 RaN

02 Frac Daddy: 5x5 Nashua, 5x5 Damascus

01 Itsmyluckyday: 5x5 Nearctic

01 Goldencents: 5x5 RaN

01 Vyjack: 4x6 Northern Dancer

What about Frac Daddy's two crosses of Mr. P.?

Inbreeding is the mating of two related individuals. Scat Daddy is inbred to Mr. P. However Scat Daddy is not closely related to Frac Daddy's dam, Skipper's Mate. It's not possible for Frac Daddy to have both members of a chromosome pair cloned from Mr. P.'s chromosomes, because Skipper's Mate supplied one of every pair and she has none of Mr. P.'s.

I'm not going to spend a week counting, but going by stallion registers and sales catalogues, this is a high number of relative outcrosses compared to the average of the breed.

18 Apr 2013 3:11 AM
Mike from Michigan

Steve, I'm glad you still got faith in Palace Malice, you are one of the few that have stuck with him.  I really like this horse a lot too.  He should have never had to run in the Bluegrass for points because that LA Derby race was his if he had gotten out of that mess he was in.  I saw a comment by Cot, he said PM was switching leads because he saw the tractor tire marks on the track and it kind of spooked him a little, by the time Garrett got him back on the right lead it was too late.  Anyway, this is a top-notch horse and I think he will be right there at the finish in Louisville.  Would really like to see him win.

18 Apr 2013 5:07 AM
Rusty Weisner


Re: wiseguy.  That's a good question.  I guess Normandy Invasion, the late closing rush in the Wood.  That is always attractive.  On the other hand, I think Orb is the second favorite and I think Revolutionary will get very good odds for people who like him to win, maybe 8-1?

People talk about Verrazano as chalk, like he's going to be 6/5 or something.  If he is, it's the best betting race ever.  But I don't think that's going to happen.  I don't think he'll be below that 4-1.  He shouldn't be, anyway.  

18 Apr 2013 7:52 AM
Plod Boy Phil


I appreciate you answering the question with facts, rather than merely comparing him to one of the more disappointing distance trainers.  Papillon chose that route despite the question not actually being posed to him.

No knock on Shug here.  My point from your list of 3's was just one win in a TC race.  With Goer,  he had a knack for getting one of my all time favorites to fire his best shot one race before the main event (Wood/Derby, JCGC/BCC)

Good luck.

18 Apr 2013 7:53 AM
Rusty Weisner


That line doesn't reflect my preferences, by the way.

They are:

1. Orb

2. Palace Malice

3. Verrazano

4. Revolutionary

5. Itsmyluckyday

6. Goldencents

7. Java's War

8. Govenor Charlie

9. Normandy Invasion

10. Overalanalyze

11. Will Take Charge

12. Lines of Battle

13. Oxbow

14. Frac Daddy


18 Apr 2013 7:58 AM

Mike Relva,

When was the last time a Louisiana Derby winner finished in the top 3 in the Derby? That is why it'a Grade 2. Pletcher sends his top 2 yr olds to Gulfstream the Wood  and second stringers elsewhere. It's were the money is. Good luck

18 Apr 2013 8:03 AM

Question for the group:

When was the last time a horse won the Derby without a prep beyond 1 1/16m? (re: Will Take Charge)

18 Apr 2013 8:13 AM

Casandra. Says after looking at your list one would tend to think Govenor Charlie is the best bred colt in the race and Pegram is not taking any chances with him(hoof problem)because that will hinder his breeding business(9999999999thats where most of the loot is BTW)

18 Apr 2013 8:24 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I know you enjoy a good comedy so thank you very much. I hope I don't finalize my picks until after the final pps, and I hope I don't run out of coffee. I watched replays yesterday and my favorite horse changed three times. I'll be awake that last week.

18 Apr 2013 9:28 AM
Pedigree Ann

' I have never once heard any American say, "I don't need no stinking information." '

This is a paraphrase of a famous line from the film "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." The prospectors are waylaid by a group of bandits, who are posing as federales. One of the prospectors asks to see their badges, to which the head bandit, played by Alfonso Bedoya, replies, "Badges?!? We don't need no stinking badges!"

I'm past 60 and this was a favorite line to paraphrase at university in my day. It was usually used in a sarcastic or ironic way. (My residence hall subscribed to magazines for the lounge under the name of Alfonso Bedoya.)

18 Apr 2013 10:39 AM

It is widely known that I am hooked on Derby history. Before I attempt to determine the contenders that will comprised my exotic wagers, I always place the contender in their respective stallion lines and evaluate them against the historic success.

Below are the respective sire line Derby win records over the last 20 years:

A P Indy/Blushing Groom (Narrullah) (1 win, 1993-2012)

Orb, Java's War, Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion

Northern Dancer: (4 win, 1993-2012)

Goldencents, Overanalyze, Lines of Battle, Vyjack, Itsmyluckyday, Frac Daddy, Charming Kitten, Oxbow, Tiz a Minister

Mr. Prospector: (10 win, 1993-2012)

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, Palace Malice, Mylute, Code West

Hail To Reason: (1 win, 1993-2012)

Black Onyx, Verrazano

It’s extremely interesting that the A P Indy/Blushing Groom line horses are all deep closers. Orb and Revolutionary were produce from mare with excellent race records and consequently are long historic shots to win. Normandy Invasion was sire by an overbred stallion and based on historic data he is highly unlikely to win. Java's War is like a little Energizer Bunny. A small May foal whose heart is significantly bigger than his body. There are many with Goliath like physiques in the Derby field that this David like figure will certainly slay

The Northern Dancer line contenders dominate the field with 9. Based on the profile of past Derby winners, all the contenders from this sire line have major elements in their pedigree profiles to win the Derby. Charming Kitten has never run on dirt but has not been a killer on turf. He has the best pedigree for 10F and if he adapts to the Churchill Downs surface he will be there to the death. Tiz A Minister is the most unlikely winner from this group. However, slower CD surface could be an asset. Giacomo!

The Mr. Prospector contenders lack depth in 2013. Code West is the colt I like the best. His performances have not matched his pedigree. If he is fortunate enough to back into the Derby, he should enjoy the CD surface and this could activate a switch. Mine That Bird backed in and ran a shocker.

The last time there was an undefeated colt from the HTR sire line in the Derby he ran away from the field. That colt was Barbaro. Verrazano has done all that has been asked of him and could be just good enough to win. He has some negative Derby history to navigate and his trainer’s poor win percentage. He could fall victim to one whom he towers over.

From a historic perspective Java's War, Charming Kitten, Code West and Verrazano are the horses I would use in my wagers. However, the Kentucky Derby is not an event that one wagers along the lines of sanity.

Despite the dismal win record of the A P Indy/Blushing Groom sire line, its 4 worthy contenders could sweep the board. Boxing all would cover that possibility. In 2013 horses from the Mr. Prospector sire line occupied all four positions on the board.

The pedigree profile of the A P Indy/Blushing Groom contenders do not suggest this possibility but one never knows.

18 Apr 2013 11:38 AM

TJConway: At age 9, I'm certain you were not including Scat Daddy in your Derby favorites.  His son is Frac Daddy who placed in the Arkansas Derby.

There are so many doubters in the distance ability of Verrazano.  His damsire is Giant's Causeway, and that ain't chicken feed!  Check out how many champions he has sired.  I just believe Verrazano is a freak, who'll fight to the wire.

And with all the love for the Princequillo line, it's odd that no one has chosen Vyjack on that very basis.

This Derby is a toss-up for picking a winner.  Mostly because the colts with the points have been proven to be the best around.  They're all top class.

But the Derby is not always won by the best horse. (Ask Point Given about that.)  It's won by the horse who manages the best trip.  So a hell of a lot will depend on the jockey's ride.  I'm sticking with Rosario (maybe because he's riding my favorite).

Post positions 1 and 2   :-(

What about the Illinois Derby?  I'm still thinking of Narvaez with Siete de Oros.  They've both done well so far.  Too bad points were excluded.

18 Apr 2013 12:00 PM
Rusty Weisner


Saarland's Derby really baffled bettors; that was the year of War Emblem's theft.

When you compared him to Orb I said uh oh, because I like Orb, so I took a look and saw that Saarland won the Remsen, was 2nd in the Gotham and 4th in the Wood, and still went off as the co-second favorite at 7-1 along with Medaglia d'Oro (Harlan's Holiday was tepid favorite at 6-1).  People bet Saarland solely because of his pedigree.

18 Apr 2013 12:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

Greg R,

"I think some are overrating the Remsen's Normandy Invasion because he keeps almost getting there at 1 1/8.  Don't trust Boston Harbor in his pedigree for the Derby."

I agree with this.  If I'm not mistaken, Steve Haskin also had reservations about his pedigree on one of his early lists.  I like how you put it, that "keeps almost getting there"; I don't trust that type.  It's funny, by the way, how he so rapidly overtook Verrazano in the gallop out:  one minute he was trying to catch him and when the camera panned back he was five lengths ahead.  I'm curious if anyone saw what Verrazano did in his gallop-out.

18 Apr 2013 12:44 PM
Soldier Course

Hi Mike Relva!

I still love racing, despite my not posting on the Blog Stable as much as I used to. I am fulltime caregiver for my mother, who is a spry and healthy 96. I'm on sabbatical from practicing law as a result of that responsibilty. Thanks for asking. Hope all is going well for you.

And hello to everyone else, too. Steve and all the regulars. Miss you.

18 Apr 2013 12:56 PM
Sam Santschi

Heading to Hawthorne tomorrow to support IL Derby.  Betting Guidry for nostalgia...

18 Apr 2013 1:20 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D:  That Honeymooners story was hysterical. Poor Norton, he sure got abused.

Note to all:  This is just my opinion but I would caution anyone betting a horse just because of a jockey. Speaking of Borel on Revolutionary. If you like the horse, then bet it, if you like the jockey but not the horse then I would leave it alone. Borel or any can't win a race without a live horse under him.........

18 Apr 2013 3:21 PM

Coldfacts 18 Apr 2013 11:38 AM

Interesting post. I think that the pace scenario is going to be very important in handicapping the Derby this year ...perhaps the most critical factor, given the absence of sprinters speed (thank your points system for that). The pacey types are going to be tactical on the front end, believing that they have a realistic chance of winning, thus making it very difficult for the out and out closers to make an impact IMO. More anon.

18 Apr 2013 4:43 PM

Coldfacts just one thing about your list puzzles me it is for 20 years yet only shows winners for 16 years where or who are the other 4.1+4+10+1=16 not 20

18 Apr 2013 6:17 PM

Rusty Weisner somehow I think on this blog which is definitely biased towards breeding we are talkin not,the majority see an image of a deep closer circleing the field and fanning wide on the last turn and gobbling up gasping early/presser types.

The reality is the race is still run on dirt and the majority of the winners are near the front or midpack.Figure out since the year 2000 how many closed from close to last after a half mile to 6 furlongs it aint many.

18 Apr 2013 6:23 PM

I think from all the info Ive read on breeding recently on here Govenor Charlie should win oh sorry I forgot he dont have any confirmation races as a 2yo well neither does Verrazano.

Apollo will be keeping his fingers crossed this year.

18 Apr 2013 6:26 PM

I'm going with my eye, Steve. Come on in, the water's fine.

Dithering about Overanalyze, I checked out the videos and was wowed by his Remsen. That colt knew how to win, and wanted it. Maybe he just doesn't show up some times.

I can't imagine a trainer telling a rider "If he's clear and nothing coming, ride his guts out to get a great time."

Horses, even pregnant Shetland pony mares, want to be first. What they have to learn is to define "first" as "first at the line." Their instinct is to be first long enough to make their point, then go back to the grass. A few easy ones think "catch me if you can" and "catch the other horse" are equally fun games.

What strategy do the time critics believe is best for a stayer behind a slow pace? Set the pace himself? Press it? Move early? Or accept the gift gracefully?

Revolutionary, Overanalize, Orb, Verrazano; Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalize, Orb.

Post position may induce changes.

18 Apr 2013 6:43 PM

Oh, Slew:

Neither Coldfacts nor anyone else said anything that could remotely be considered "Excellent race mares have never produced and could never produce a top runner."

The discussion is about probabilities: how many top runners per 10,000 will be produced by top race mares compared to unraced mares.

One swallow does not a summer make.

18 Apr 2013 7:21 PM

Slew, I don't like where Princequillo is located in Vyjack's pedigree.  Now, if Princequillo was positioned where Mr. Prospector resides and vice versa, the story would be different.

Revolutionary, Govenor Charlie, and Will Take Charge are my 3 to watch, along with Black Onyx and Itsmyluckyday.  I've watche all of the replays and these are my horses.

I just can't leave out Govenor Charlie, in spite of his inexperience; his pedigree screams distance and that track record that he set in the Sunland Derby is just something to behold.

I also like Verrazano and Orb, but I'm not sure either one can get the distance, particularly Verrazano.

18 Apr 2013 7:30 PM


Both Rumpole and I were referring to the original She Who Must Be Obeyed, a character in the late Victorian novel "She" by H. Rider Haggard.

Ayesha is the high priestess/sorceress of a lost civilization whose worshippers refer to her as "She" or "She Who Must Be Obeyed." Ayesha is over 2000 years old, which she accomplishes by bathing in the Fires of Eternity once every 1000 years. She takes a bath at the wrong time: in two minute her hair turns white, her skin wrinkles, she grows stooped, skeletal, the bones collapse and she turns into a pile of dust.

"She" is still in print, is a top 10 all time seller, and has been made into around a dozen movies.

Ursula Andress portrayed Ayesha in the Hollywood version in the 60s.

18 Apr 2013 7:31 PM

tom mallios:

I echo your comments.

I have always been a fan of Shug's but his results v the quality of stock he gets is sub par to say the least.

Imagine what some of those blue bloods would be worth on the open market!

18 Apr 2013 8:11 PM

Coldfacts, is that all you look at in a horse's pedigree, Mr. Prospector.  Come on, that's insanity.  Now, I do like the Mr. Prospector/Secretariat cross on the female line, Mr. Prospector on top for speed, and Secretariat on the bottome for stamina.

I find what I'm looking for in Revolutionary, Govenor Charlie, Itsmyluckyday, and Black Onyx.

Verrazano and Orb are nice horses, but I doubt they can get the distance, particularly Verrazano.  Since I like both of them, in spite of their pedigree, I'll be watching their works.

I like Johnny V. on Verrazano.  I do believe the Kentucky Derby is not only about the horse's ability, but it's about the jockey also.

I do think Calvin Borel has the advantage at Churchill.      

18 Apr 2013 8:44 PM


"One final comment on the kind of hard to promote a stallion as having it after he has died and the heart is weighed at necropsy don't you think?"

Good catch. Setting a good example, alert, clear-headed and reasonable.

I was thinking imaging technology should be able to establish it for a stallion at stud, but it's too expensive to use widely.

So I started thinking how one could establish an "average" heart and figured you'd have to hang out in slaughterhouses with a notebook and set of scales (or, if so situated, hire your students to do it over the summer). Then there's the problem of what you learn by averaging the heart of a dale pony and a Clydesdale. Then I started getting intrusive pictures of slaughterhouses and hastily abandoned the topic.

18 Apr 2013 8:45 PM
Plod Boy Phil


In the event you were unaware or have chosen to give it no credence, there were three,  yes three, track records broken at Sunland that day. Gov Charlie was as hard used as a horse can be in the final 1/8 of a mile to achieve his mark.

18 Apr 2013 9:08 PM
Fran Loszynski

Flew home galloped out strongly loved you words on Normandy.  The few past derbys---not the horse we thought would win/my words.  Can't wait to read your description of how well the Roses looked draped around Normandy Invasion's neck.

18 Apr 2013 9:09 PM


I'm wondering if the X-Factor believers consider this horse part of the evidence.

He was a gorgeous red gold horse, lion-hearted, a triple crown winner regarded as better than that suggested, the best triple crown winner ever. He disappointed at stud, getting many stakes winners but not a classic winner, his best a Derby second.

His daughters produced the great sires Djebel and Prince Rose.

My reference to him failed to mention one other thing. He was also damsire of the damsire of Ribot.

Secretariat, the second coming of Gay Crusader (1914)?

Something is happening here. It's not a gene on the X chromosome. But there's something.

18 Apr 2013 9:14 PM
Plod Boy Phil


The Flow Boys have high expectations  for Ground Transport on Saturday.  Consider Departing for vertical wagers or as a secondary runner in horizontals.

Good luck - enjoy.

18 Apr 2013 9:23 PM

I'm already having seller's remorse for cutting out Itsmyluckyday and the Guv'nor.

18 Apr 2013 9:29 PM

Govenor Charlie just edged Footbridge, his past performances are not special. A pure money burner. Steve what is the good word on Will Take Charge?  

18 Apr 2013 9:29 PM
Mike Relva

Tom Mallios

Really? Shug and Mott are far better. You compare Pletcher with these two. lol How come Pletcher has been loaded year in and out and has only one Derby? He always finds a way to ruin horses.

18 Apr 2013 10:58 PM


Very much enjoying the wonderful information and learning so very much!  I'm keeping quiet as so often silence is golden.

I know my Derby choices pending post positions, your positions and track condition forecasts.!

In 15 more days we will all know!  GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

19 Apr 2013 2:17 AM

Plod you may have acase that Govenor Charlie didnt beat any horses of merit but I dont even have to rewatch the race IT WAS A CAKEWALK

19 Apr 2013 7:43 AM

Govenor Charlies problem coming out of the race in New Mexico is that the surface was rock hard as the red clay found in that areaand his subsequent hoof issue.

19 Apr 2013 7:50 AM
Rusty Weisner


LOL.  I noticed that, too.  Somehow I suspect the missing four don't confirm the desired trend.

19 Apr 2013 9:44 AM
joseph alva

The long layoff of Will Take Charge going into the Derby chosen by Lukas is out of character for the trainer.  While he obviosuly prescribes different training agendas for his horses like all trainers do, his tendency is to run them often more so than give them long layoffs going into major races (I cannot remember him ever brining a horse into the Derby off a layoff).  This could point to the fact that maybe Will Take Charge is not totally sound.  I wonder if anyone has any inside info on this.

Jill Byrne has reported that Palace Malice is totally full of himself and bursting at the seams to run since arriving at Churchill.  Seemingly, the Blue Grass did not take much out of him.  He could be coming into his own and is likley better on dirt than synthetics.  With his running style and stamina-oriented pedigree he could be dangerous if he continues to show such signs of life.

19 Apr 2013 9:52 AM

Still cannot pick a horse....liking Itsmyluckyday more after his one mile work though.....

19 Apr 2013 9:56 AM
Mike Relva


There's no doubt in my mind regarding Orb getting the distance. He won't have a problem.

19 Apr 2013 12:09 PM

Pletcher caters to the win now owner and thats what he does.He always has so many 2yos that win stakes but in todays era when a young 2yo is put to that grind as a 2yo it is rare that they are even as good as a 3yo as they were as a 2yo(the others catch up)foundation dosent exist like in decades past.If you have a good 2yo it is good to give him a long break away from the races as did IHA connections last year.

Ill Have Another last raced at Saratoga in the summer of his 2yo campaign before resurfacing again in a race in February as a 3yo.

These colts bred primarily for  speed not constitution cant handle enough racing and training to race a lot as a 2yo and still improve as a 3yo.Thats the way it is in 2013.

19 Apr 2013 1:33 PM
Sam Santschi

Thanks PBP for the encouragement.

19 Apr 2013 1:58 PM
El Kabong

Chief Picawinna,

I look at the derby fields divided by 4, The pace setter, the group close to him, the mid pack bulge and the trailing 6 pack. Since 2000, there can be no doubt that Mine That Bird, Street Sense, and Giacomo fit the closer bill. Debatable, but I believe in that group are Monarchos and Fu Peg who were either the back of the bulge or the front of the back. My point is, I agree that it is easier to win in the coveted stalking or Mid pack position, but it's not that bad to have had 3-5 of those wins in 12 years. It's at least 25 % or as I see it as  40%. That is surely better than being the pace setter. Given I'll Have Another, Animal Kingdom(who I concede to the mid pack bulge), and Super Saver fall into the coveted position, you prefer, the odds suggest you need to  open your mind to the possibility that this is the Derby won from a far. :0

19 Apr 2013 2:39 PM

Good Heavens, Steve, your piece on Mr. Kelly on the website today is incredible.  You are a truly amazing wordsmith and storyteller. What a tribute to an amazing man who showed his kindness to so many and trained some fantastic horses.  I know that your kind words will bring comfort to the late Mr. Kelly's family and you have done him right.  Thank you, Steve.

19 Apr 2013 5:22 PM
Indiana Johnny

Steve, I thought I'd seen where you said you will be at CD 9 days prior to Derby, will you be doing video reports daily on workouts and how all the horses are looking?

Workouts and post draw could effect my list, but I'm looking at a top six of:

(1) Goldenscents...I like the big beyer jump, seems to be heading the right direction, looked good in SA. PP's look like a Ky. Derby resume.

(2) Itsmyluckyday...I beleive he may have bounced in last off two big figs and off a layoff. He may be a pretty good price on Derby day, 15-1 ?

(3) Orb..I could flip-flop #2 and #3, depends on workouts and post draw. He seems to be able to adapt running style to the race. I thought he looked very good in Fl. Derby.

(4)Overanalyze...Plenty of foundation to build on, hopefully he can improve on beyers.

(5) Normandy Invasion...I could also flip-flop #4 and #5 depending on w/o's and post draw...Like how he finished up in last.

(6) Javas War...I could see him closing like a freight train down the long CD stretch, if he breaks good.

19 Apr 2013 5:25 PM

Plod Boy Phil, on Govenor Charlie, "as hard used as a horse can be", what does that mean.  The horse was running away from the field at the end.  He went 3/4 in 1:09.  He was right up there with the pacesetter all the way.

I don't care if the track record was broken in every race on that day; I fail to see the relevancy. The fact is, Govenor Charlie broke the track record, and that is the end of the story.

I am down to 4 horses now, Revolutionary, Will Take Charge, Black Onyx, and Govenor Charlie, not necessarity in that order, and of course subject to change.

19 Apr 2013 6:16 PM

GonnaFinally, Good grief, that was a maiden race where Govenor Charlie edged Footbridge.  Govenor Charlie went on to win an allowance race and the Sunland Derby.

19 Apr 2013 6:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

Another poster asked you to do a wet track ranking.  I second the request.  It would give you an excuse to do a stroll down a sloppy memory lane and I'm sure all these pedigree experts would love it.  

19 Apr 2013 6:44 PM
Rusty Weisner

It's raining where I am.

19 Apr 2013 6:44 PM
Rusty Weisner

Mike Relva,

"He always finds a way to ruin horses"

Baffert does, too, and I loved betting his horses last year.  Playing a horses is about change.  I was a critic and a skeptic, but I think he's loaded for the Derby and will get at least two horses in the money.

19 Apr 2013 6:48 PM

Cassandra, maybe its not a gene on the x chromosome, but since the x carries so much more genetic material than the y, well, logic would tell you that the mare is more important than the sire.

Gay Crusader was Prince Rose's broodmare sire and he is located in Ribot's female line. The Italian's consider Ribot the greatest horse of all time; so there may be something going on with Gay Crusader.

Prince Rose, the 1931 Belgian Triple Crown winner, was retired to stud in France in 1938 and he was killed during World War II in 1944.  It was in France in 1939 that Prince Rose covered Cosquilla.  As soon as she was safely in foal, she was transported to Ireland; France was not safe.

If Cosquilla had not been moved, Princequillo would have been lost to American breeding.

No more talk about genetics.

19 Apr 2013 8:06 PM

El Kabong:

What a good idea with a 20-horse field that needs simplifying before you fry your brain.

I used the "Aspirin Method" at the trots. Get a bottle of cheap aspirin, write the post positions on their backs, line 'em up and nudge them forward in the pattern they expect them to show. Of course, at the trots you don't get sabotaged by horses breaking sideways.

When you still have six first choices after this, take the aspirin.

19 Apr 2013 8:36 PM

One more about genetics. The chromosome pairs carry the same genetic information barring genetic damage. The difference with the XY pair is that the X information has no backup for the top half of the y chromosome isn't there. If it was, it wouldn't be extra genetic information, it would be a repeat.

That's why sexual reproduction took over the world. The cell needs one functioning gene and gets two chances to get one.

19 Apr 2013 8:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

You point out the 3/4 split yet fail to consider the nature of the race track that day.  That's the relevance of how many track records were broken.

As for pulling away at the end, he was hit 5 or 6 times right handed and at least 4 times left handed in the final 3/16 to gain 3 lengths on the great Show Some Magic....

For the record,  not that it's relevant,  GC did not win an allowance race before the Sunland Derby, though it was pretty darn close to being just that.

Good luck.

19 Apr 2013 9:16 PM

The runners of today are not "bred for" anything different than the runners of yesterday. Their genes are copied from the runners of yesterday. Where else could they come from? There hasn't been outside blood for 200 years.

There has been time for some weeding out since horses raced two heats for a blanket, but not 100%.

19 Apr 2013 9:26 PM

Joseph Alva:

You are way off regarding Will Take Charge.

I like this horse a lot and keeping close tabs on him.

Lucas stated that the horse is in the middle of a tremendous growth spurt and is doing well.

That was 3 weeks ago, horse had a workout the other day.

He is my bomber play come derby day.

19 Apr 2013 9:28 PM

Like trackjack says: no pressure.

But I hope you'll remember to check out Vyjack's size.

19 Apr 2013 9:56 PM

Plod Boy you are right, Govenor Charlie did not win an allowance race.  He went from winning his maiden to winning a stakes race.  I just like the horse's breeding.  I bid you a pleasant evening.

19 Apr 2013 10:04 PM
Mike Relva


If you've read some of my other posts you'll find I'm not a fan of Baffert either. Don't care much for hotdogs.

19 Apr 2013 10:45 PM
El Kabong


The simple approach can alleviate hours of senseless toil and the spittle that accumulates from verbal nonsense aroused by this event. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :)

19 Apr 2013 11:39 PM
joseph alva


I respect what I see in Will Take Charge as well and have not written him off by any means.  I am merely skeptical about an apporach which is out of character for Lukas.  

I have learned, by the way, to take what trainers say with a grain of salt.  I remember someone reporting on a blog a couple of years ago during the winter before Uncle Mo's first race as a 3 year old that he was not totally sound while up at Palm Meadows.  He worked out well in the meantime while Pletcher and the media raved about him only to be exposed in the Wood at less than his best and suffering from some kind of liver ailment if I remember right.  He worked well and the trainer spoke  well about him, but he, as the blogger had indicated all along, was not well.

I'm not necessarily saying this is what is going on with Will Take Charge -- I hope not.  I only wonder if it may be a possibility.  

20 Apr 2013 12:49 AM

Ed Kabong I think there are only three Mine That Bird,Giacomo, and Monarchos thats 3/12=4 25%.

I would rather play in the 75% outcome than vice versa.

I am aware that a closer could win in 2013,but I will play those types to complete exotics not key them on top.

Good Luck.

20 Apr 2013 1:27 AM

The one last Derby rule that I would like to see fall is the Apollo curse and the fallacy of foundation.

Then going forward the bettors wont be able to lean on this bit of folklore and the betting will be distributed more evenly.

20 Apr 2013 1:30 AM

As far as Orb getting the distance...hmmmm...sired by a Belmont winner, damsire is a Derby winner who sired a Derby winner, who sired a Belmont winner, who sired a Derby and Belmont winner.

To me...that screams distance.  Plus he seems to win just loping along.  That's a horse mature enough to know how to conserve his own energy.

Since Revolutionary and Verrazano are in my top 5, YES, I wonder if Pletcher can get them into the gate sound.  It's been a failing of his for many years, and we've already lost Violence and Shanghai Bobby.

As to Baffert, he's been fortunate with his Derby horses, BUT, since his heart attack last year, it just doesn't seem to allow his cards to fall into line. It seems as though he's reverted to training TB's like quarter horses, and it ain't working.

At Charlestown today, as much as I think Game On Dude may win, my heart still belongs to Ron The Greek, and I don't think Mott would place him in this race uless he was fine tuned this time.

As to Lexington, look Ranagul...a FILLY in a prep race!  I'll go with Pure Fun, being sexist when it comes to horses, but I think Sunbean could finally take one.

20 Apr 2013 9:39 AM

There is no doubt that a number of the 2013 Derby contenders are lacking in foundation.

Below are some horses that contested past Derbies whose last two and three starts preceding the Derby were contested over 9F. It

2003 – Empire Maker (2 x 9F) 2nd

2006 – Barbaro (3 x 9F) 1st

2010 - Ice Box (3 x 9F) 2nd

2010 -  Paddy O’ Prado (3x 9F) 3rd

2011 – Nehro (2 x 9F) 2nd

2012 -  Dullahan (2 x 9F) 3rd

It should be noted that with the exception of Nehro the spacing between those races were an average 30 days.

Paddy O’ Prado and Dullahan last two races preceding their respective Derbies were the Palm Beach and Bluegrass. The Todd Pletcher trained Charming Kitten will travel the same rout. Can he better the 3rd place finish of the two grays?

It’s the Derby and anything is possible. The owners of this colt are deservingly lucky folks

Below are the horses in the Derby field that have contested multiple 9F races:

Orb – Two starts - two wins

Charming Kitten - Two starts – 2nd; 3rd

Overanalyze - Two starts - two wins

Normandy Invasion - Two starts; Two 2nd.

Palace Malice - Two starts – 2nd; 7th

Orb and Overanalyze clearly tower over all with foundation and have won both attempts beyond 8.5F and must be respected. Palace Malice will be contesting a 9F & 10F race off short rest and is definitely not appealing. Normandy Invasion appears to lack the will to win.

The dark horse is definitely Charming Kitten. He has performed with credit on both Turf and Synthetic without being overly impressive. The Derby will be his dirt debut and the Churchill surface suits these types. His sire won races at 12F and has to be a major stamina influence.  Dam sire Wild Again was a BCC winner and could provide his dirt proficiency.

This is an interestingly bred colt that is unknown and the dirt at CD might just be what he is waiting on to deliver an exceptional performance.

20 Apr 2013 11:43 AM
Pedigree Ann

Chief -

You must be cheering for Verrazano and Governor Charlie (who is having feet problems bad enough to ship him to a major KY vet hospital), because all the rest of the high qualifiers were raced at 2, viz.

1- Orb 4/1-0-1

2 - Verrazano 0/0-0-0

3 - Goldencents 3/2-1-0

4 - Java's War 5/2-0-1

5 - Overanalyze 5/3-0-1

6 - Revolutionary 4/1-1-2

7 - Lines of Battle 5/2-1-0

8 - Vyjack 2/2-0-0

9 - Will Take Charge 4/1-1-0

10 - Itsmyluckyday 7/3-1-1

Of other likely runners, Oxbow 5/1-0-1; Palace Malice 2/1-1-0; Mylute 7/2-2-2; Normandy Invasion 3/1-1-0; Frac Daddy 3/2-3-0; Black Onyx 2/1-1-0.

Racing at 2, not necessarily being a stakes type at 2, is still a major advantage for Kentucky Derby aspirants.

20 Apr 2013 11:50 AM
Rusty Weisner

Joseph Alva,

I completely agree.  As someone else here noted, the horse hasn't even run 1 1/8.

20 Apr 2013 12:02 PM

Orb then, Orb now.

20 Apr 2013 1:29 PM

Pedigree Ann I believe this is a fallacy(check my post to yours on other blog)but logically if Govenor Charlie has hoof problems I hope I will see this in his workouts, because I wouldnt want to bet on him if this is true.

It looks like Verrazano is the only one unraced at two but if he should win then the fllodgates will open for future training agendas for Kentucky Derby prospects.Remember Bodemeister last year it wasnt enough to get 2nd, the theory needs a winner to get people to think about their methods.

Big Brown ran in late December as his only race as a 2yo.

20 Apr 2013 1:40 PM

Pedigree Ann to continue on the same topic last year their was more than half the field that competed in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and then in the Kentucky Derby.This is unprecedented in history.

The best finish of more than half the field was Dullahan in 3rd.

I believe Apollo will be forgotten as a so-called curse for winning the Kentucky Derby and it could start with the 2013 edition.

20 Apr 2013 1:48 PM

Joseph ALva:

I agree with what you are saying.  Trainer you speak of also sent a lame horse into the starting gate at the Breeders Cup.

Somehow it fell onto the jock.

For personnel reason I will not wager on any of his horses to win the derby although I do like Palice Malice the most of his horses.

Will take charge is my bomber right now and my 2 concerns are his only time he ran at the downs he thru in a clunker and if it comes up wet.

He drilled a mile the other day and has plenty of races unde his belt for a 3 year old.

He likes to be close to the pace which I think you need this year as their is not much pace in this years derby.

Good Luck

20 Apr 2013 1:53 PM

Chief, Big Brown ran in September, disappeared and became almost an afterthought in until he surfaced again in March.

20 Apr 2013 4:15 PM

Back to the topic of races as a 2yo.Orb,Palice Malice and Revolutionary only raced in maidens races as 2yos.

That to me implies that they were not trained so hard as 2yos to run in stakes competition that they could have a lot more upside left as 3 yos as opposed to lets say Shanghai Bobby who went thru the grind as a 2yo and look where he is now,on the bench.

20 Apr 2013 4:36 PM

General Election was able to close in the Lexington on the poly as opposed to the Spiral where the race was a conveyor belt affair.

20 Apr 2013 5:27 PM

Johnny...mot a lame horse...a filly having a lasix reaction.  Even though Ky regulations state the trainer is responsible, it was the jockey, Johhny V. and Veitch who paid the price...not Pletcher. And which trainer kept tossing the best miler in the country to the wolves when he kept entering Quality Road in classic distance races?

But Pletcher also has Overanalyze and now Winning Cause, who just won the Coolmore Lexington.  Pure Fun and Sunbean were no where to be found.  Pick of the Litter was closing nicely.

20 Apr 2013 5:43 PM

Rinzler you are correct went away for six months similar to Ill Have Another.

So the unraced at two participants, there havent been many have only come in the money not won.

Two that I recall Bodemeister (2nd)and Curlin (3rd)

20 Apr 2013 7:36 PM

I just find it hard to believe that in this day and age with so much money involved the trainers would under race and under train their horses.

20 Apr 2013 7:49 PM

Departing's big win in the Illinois Derby makes Revolutionary look really good.

20 Apr 2013 7:55 PM

One colt that made one start as a 2yo in December Nehro 2nd in 2011 KDerby.

I still think going forward when you get more starters that are unraced at 2 and develop rapidly there will be a winner.

20 Apr 2013 8:07 PM

I also believe the competition for 2yos in stakes races(much more in graded) is a lot tougher today than it was years ago just because of the sheer numbers that are born these days.

20 Apr 2013 8:17 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Foot problems or not,  does the performance (none) of Show Some Magic in the Illinois Derby put things into a bit more perspective regarding Gov Chuck ?

20 Apr 2013 8:40 PM

joseph alva:

I think your recollection of Uncle Mo is correct. If you recall they had to write a race for him at Gulfstream because he wasn't ready for the FOY.

Lukas stated after the Rebel that he was contemplating training up to the Derby. I am more concerned with the lack of 1 1/8 foundation race prior to the Derby.

Pedigree Ann:

How do you view late foals, the ones that aren't 3 years-old yet:

Java's War - ironically May 4th. I wonder how long it took the owner/breeder to realize he would turn 3 on Derby Day.

Overanalyze - 4/30.

Palice Malice - 5/02.

Normandy Invasion - 5/02.

Golden Soul - 5/14.

20 Apr 2013 9:11 PM
El Kabong


I agree. The form of several venues were on display and none was flattered more than the La Derby. Stall's post race remarks were also revealing. Especially his remarks about the Preakness. "If they(current favs) do their thing(in the Derby) and scare everybody off, we might do something differently." Some good honest feedback.

20 Apr 2013 10:11 PM

Coldfacts 20 Apr 2013 11:43 AM

Normandy Invasion does no lack the will to win ... he simply ran into a "brick wall" named Overanalyze in the Remsen, and a "buzzsaw" named Verrazano in thw Wood Memorial. The extra furlong of the Derby will not improve his chances, contrary to what many think, due to stamina limitations in his pedigree. Let us take the high road and offer our sympathy to the one who clowns under the moniker, KY Vet, on this one (LOL).

Charming Kitten is a turf horse and does not have a shot at turning the tables on Java's War with the added distance ...this one is a plodder at best on dirt.

Palace Malice we agree on ...too much to ask in a short time.

Orb is a classy sort that has an excellent shot at Derby glory but you have to bear in mind, as one who pays attention to historical trends, that the AP Indy sire line cannot be trusted to win the Derby ... (I would have been seriously tempted to go against my better judgment on this point, had Dreaming of Julia been eligible, notwithstanding the imposing presence of Verrazano, which she outstrips on pedigree in the stamina department). Furthermore, I think that the pace scenario will be more favourable to a few of his rivals that are faster horse based upon past performances ...Verrazano and Itsmyluckyday in particular. The garland of roses is for a horse that can run fast and finish strongly. Orb finishes strongly but how fast can he run?

Overanalyze is just about coming into his own at the right time and we know that he has back class to put in a winning effort amongst these. He is also versatile enough to be where his jockey puts him, has the will to eyeball challengers and outrun them, and is not wanting for samina in his pedigree, therefore he's got to be a very serious winning factor.

I know that you view Will Take Charge as a "slow poke" but I'd think that he has a far better shot at embellishing your exotics than Charming Kitten ...even if it rains.

20 Apr 2013 10:40 PM

Will Take Charge has done his best racing from off the pace, mid-pack with some pace to run at.  D. Wayne has had him at CD and is trying to get him comfortable with the track where he ran terrible in the KJC on 11/24.  He's also doing the anti-rain dance for WTC after his wash-out in the SouthWest Stakes on 2/18.  Coming in with only 8.5F under his belt and a 7 week wait bothers me. But if the pace is honest, as I believe it will be in the Derby, and if D. Wayne has him resdted and more than ready, WTC has a shot as a huge upset.  Oxbow is the key.

Look for D. Wayne and Gary Stevens to send Oxbow.  He's done his best racing on or very close to the lead and if he's going to get a peice of the pie, he has to go.  He'll have Verrazano, Goldencents and a few others to help him set an honest pace for the mid-packs and closers, but Oxbow will go and try to stretch it as his sire did in the 2004 Breeder's Cup.  

D. Wayne Lukas has a rabbit in his hat and if the rabbit can't do it, he'll be setting it up for Will TaKe Charge.  

20 Apr 2013 11:02 PM

Chief: I think Curlin and Bodemeister show that the Apollo "jinx" is going to be broken sometime soon.

20 Apr 2013 11:25 PM

What's this about my curse?

21 Apr 2013 1:12 AM

QUOTE: "I also believe the competition for 2yos in stakes races(much more in graded) is a lot tougher today than it was years ago just because of the sheer numbers that are born these days."

CHIEF: You should browse the rest of the site occasionally, just to keep up with things like this.

Thoroughbred racing and breeding is declining rapidly and the number of foals being born annually is plummeting.

It was around 25,000 in 2011, 2012 and 2013, down from 45,000 in 1990.

21 Apr 2013 1:54 AM

Baffert's horses run as though they're interval trained. The interval trained horse runs at or near the lead because he is trained for a specific pace, and rating him slower does not increase his capacity to quicken.

Less speed in the first half for more speed in the stretch doesn't work with the interval trained.

Bodemeister ran like the poster child for interval training.

21 Apr 2013 2:01 AM


Nehro, a five-year-old, is still eligible for non-winners of two other.

After his Derby 2nd he was 4th in the Belmont and next raced Feb.25, 2012, winning a n/w 1 ($17.5 opt claiming) at Fair Grounds. He was lost the Pimlico Special by a nod last year.

He made his first start this year in a n/w 2X and finished off the board.

So we need to add a question. If we do gear up a colt, unraced at two and with only a maiden win, to race in the Derby, will it ruin him?

21 Apr 2013 2:22 AM

So the unraced at two participants, there havent been many have only come in the money not won.

Two that I recall Bodemeister (2nd)and Curlin (3rd)

CHIEF PICAWINNA 20 Apr 2013 7:36 PM.

Here's another horse, in the 1994 Kentucky Derby, Strodes Creek finished 2nd to Go For Gin, he also did not race as a 2 Y.O.

21 Apr 2013 2:33 AM

Plod Gov Chuck also held off Abraham,and with the hoof issue I will need workout confirmation before betting.

There have not been many starters in the KDerby that have not raced as 2yos.

Bodemeister(2nd)Curlin(3rd) are the ones I recall.Once there have been at least 10 like that, then I think it will show that this is a viable route to prepare a young colt for the race.

21 Apr 2013 3:24 AM
Rusty Weisner


Re: only maiden races as 2-yos.  That's another thing I like about these two, Palace Malice and Orb.

21 Apr 2013 9:40 AM
Pedigree Ann

JIM - Northern Dancer was foaled on the 26th of May, raced 9 times at 2, champion 2yo in Canada. It all depends on the late foal's development and how they have performed in the spring.

Mary - Princequillo is in the same generation as Mr. Prospector for Vyjack, the 5h. For the vast majority of chromosome pairs (23 of 24), they have the same mathematical probability of influencing Vyjack's genotype. The XY pair of chromosomes is one among many.

Rusty - Saarland was a gorgeous hunk of horseflesh, too. People are influenced by that as well. I didn't get the low odds, either.

El Kabong - your method is reminiscent of my own handicapping which I do for every race I analyze. Speed, stalk, midpack, and deep closer. Helps to identify races that will have a pace meltdown or that have a lone speed runner. Pace makes the race.

Chief - can't help it: I have to ask if the little 2yos wear white suits to their confirmations? Conformation is the way the horses are put together. The word you were looking for is 'foundation.'

Coldfacts - have you ever considered how many 'elite racing mares' there are considered to the general population of mares? 1% maybe? Less? Very small minority. Going back to 2000, the dams of Ky Derby winners line up as 2 SWs, 2 SP Winners, 8 winners, and one unraced. The last G1 mare to produce a Derby winner was Buzz My Bell (Grinstone, 1996), but SWs have produced more than unraced recently. Winners vastly outnumber unraced, 12 to 1.

21 Apr 2013 11:13 AM

Pedigree Ann I used the wrong word Opps My bad.

21 Apr 2013 5:05 PM

Rusty Weisner yeah it goes along with what I have posted on here many times in different posts.

I have an opinion(surprise)and I will maintain this belief until proven otherwise on the track.

If it dont work fix it,if it does work can you make it work better? try if not, leave it alone.

21 Apr 2013 5:10 PM

tcc thanx I remember him, he was trained by Whitingham.Back then the derby maxins were still working, if he wasnt who he was, I dont think the owners would have been too confident running him.

21 Apr 2013 5:13 PM

Cassandra Says since there have been 3 that didnt race at 2 and Nehro that had one race in December,I dunno yet.

The best of the lot after the Derby was definitely not ruined Curlin, I dont know about Strodes Creek,Bode was retired not long after and Nehro seemed to be a shooting star that fell back to earth after he flamed out.

21 Apr 2013 5:18 PM

Cassandra.Says if that is the case then I gotta believe the comercialization of breeding has hurt the breed.That is contra scientific every one has heard of Darwins survival of the fittest.

The times that these thoroughbreds run has not improved dramatically in subsequent decades there has to be something causing this and IMO it is not nature.

21 Apr 2013 5:22 PM

My bad Darwins theory is called Natural Selection part of it is survival of the fittest.

In human sports records are constantly being surpassed that has not been the case for Thoroughbred athletes.

The record that Govenor Charlie broke was 30 years old for instance.

Will anyone ever top Secretariats 3yo records?

21 Apr 2013 5:30 PM

Once again I have to ad to my post after checking on what I wrote.

Darwins thesis is The Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest are parts of it.

What has happened to the thoroghbred athlete in the last 40-50 years is not natural, but has mans fingerprints all over it.

21 Apr 2013 5:38 PM
KY VET are very smart....i can tell........but if you think horses are inteval trained at the track, well.................

21 Apr 2013 6:56 PM
Mike Relva

KY Vet

At least Cassandra hasn't bashed Hanson's owner in awhile. lol

21 Apr 2013 8:11 PM

I'm going to stay with Revolutionary and Govenor Charlie; both beautifully bred.  I'll put a couple of others in the mix, not sure yet.

21 Apr 2013 8:33 PM

Pedigree Ann, I don't think you get it.  It all depends on where they are placed in the pedigtree.  Vyjack, no.

21 Apr 2013 8:45 PM

El Kabong, yes I expect to see Departing in the Preakness, of course depending on what happens in the KD.  

21 Apr 2013 9:25 PM

Chief Picawinna, from Darwin to Hitler, survival of the fittest.  Please don't go there, very dark.

21 Apr 2013 9:32 PM

Chief, yes a horse will top Secretariat's 3 year old record.

21 Apr 2013 9:35 PM

I've seen a lot of Derbys come and go where it looked in advance that there would be no pace.

It always seems to materialize.

These 20 horse fields feature rough breaks which give us several horses spooked and bolting, less amenable to being rated than ever before in their lives.

There's always a reward for getting these green colts out early when it helps you avoid traffic jams and scrums or being fanned 8 wide on the clubhouse turn.

Somebody besides Verrazano will be leaving, even if I'm not sure who.

21 Apr 2013 10:38 PM

Ky vet:

I don't KNOW of anyone interval training, but someone said Baffert trains his the way he used to train, like quarter horses. (Baffert, too? D. Wayne used to train quarter horses.) And I commented that some of the Bafferts run like interval trained horses, notably Bodemeister, reeling off fast furlongs but unable to quicken further when challenged.

Why do you think it couldn't be done at the track?

21 Apr 2013 10:59 PM

HORSEPLAYERS who are bitching about the genetics talk: the game is breeding, the racing is just the scoring system.

Don't ignore the breeding; it is an angle most of your competition ignores. That's the best kind of angle to play. I don't think too many people overlook a Kitten's Joy making its first start on turf, but there are less touted angles.

A Most Happy Fella in the mud . . . still brings a smile to my face. The best angle for the trots would be driver shift to Doug Brown if you were the only one who knew about it, but unfortunately they printed it in the program and it never put a 50-1 shot in your Tri. There was a great mud sire, Winning Shot, who paid my rent for a couple of years at Hastings.

Steve is spoiling "Betting on the Pretty One" when he sizes them up Derby week and tells everybody.

21 Apr 2013 11:19 PM

Thanks to the new points system, looks like we're in for a treat with the best 3 yr olds this year.  Whoever wins, it's well deserved.   IMO, we have a very evenly matched field.  No sprinters, no free pass from 2 yr old races, the only change I'd like to see is the inclusion of the Illinois Derby in the qualifying races list.  It doesn't matter if the race doesn't produce derby winners, it should be included.  Hopefully that'll change next year.

Looking forward to Steve's report of workouts next week...

21 Apr 2013 11:49 PM

I sense nobody is actually resistant to cautions that three-year-olds' bones are not mature but underestimate it as a factor. Let me try to paint a picture of the most extreme example.

The mature horse's cannon rises like a pedestal and spreads out to make a platform of solid bone to cradle the knee and handle the concussion shock on the foreleg.

The 2-3 year old's leg isn't like that. There's a bone platform under MOST of the knee, then there's a space and two little bones on either side, the splint bones, that look like thin carrots and just float loose. They are attached to the cannon bone by ligaments. (They are the remnants of two of the other cannon bones when horses had three toes.)

The ligaments holding the splint bones in place gradually calcify until there is solid bone wall-to-wall. In the meantime, part of the knee drops onto a yielding platform (think breaking a stick over your knee) and the splint and its ligaments are vulnerable to passing but painful conditions up to and including a fracture, which is what took Algorithms out of training last year.

It wasn't a sign of unsoundness in Algorithms, just youth in a May 8th foal. During the calcification process, lumps of calcium often irritate the ligament. This isn't hereditary; it can happen to any young horse.

22 Apr 2013 12:07 AM

Mary you wrote that someone will break Secretariats 3yo records.I doubt it, the comercialization of breeding is difficult to change,I dont think there will be a triple crown winner unless they change the rules for the TC.

Sorry I dont know if Hitler used survival of the fittest to convince his minions to follow him into darkness.

22 Apr 2013 7:56 AM

Cassandra.Says good post thats another reason I think unraced as 2yos colts will begin to win the Kentucky Derby.

The graded stakes 2yo winners of today are put thru the grind, and very few of them are better than they were as 2yos.One solution a long rest between their last 2yo race and 3yo race an example Ill Have Another last season.

22 Apr 2013 8:00 AM
Pedigree Ann

Mary - in some hypotheses the position counts. I haven't seen any reliable evidence for those hypotheses, so I will stick to proven genetics, thank you.

You can get the vast majority of your genes from any ancestor; position is important only for one pair of chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA. And no one has demonstrated that that pair of chromosomes or mDNA have THE dominating influence on the genotype or phenotype or racing abilities of the horse produced. People have hypothesized that this is so, but not proven it.

22 Apr 2013 10:01 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Does anyone really think that any information shared here by bloggers or Steve or anyone else really in any forum for that matter impacts the Kentucky Derby win pool ?  

22 Apr 2013 11:28 AM


“I know that you view Will Take Charge as a "slow poke. He has a far better shot at embellishing your exotics than Charming Kitten”

You might just have a point.

Will Take Charge: A big colt with a grinding running style and sufficient speed to be effective at the Derby distance. If he can grind at a 12.5 seconds pace for the last 3F he must have a great chance. He is not very fast but has plenty of foundation and strides that cover lots of ground.

He does have some major negatives. Historically high profile mares do not produce Derby winners. In his only effort at CD he finished last in the slowly run Kentucky Jockey Club Stales. On the positive side, fellow Derby entrant Frac Daddy was 2nd and Java War was an also ran in the KJCS.. WTC’s sire Unbridled Song was the sire of Eight Bells who was runner up to Big Brown.

Unbridled is the grandsire of Will Take Charge. He is undoubtedly the greatest extension of Mr. Prospector. He sired Derby winner grindstone; who in turn sired Belmont winner Birdstone; who sired Derby and Belmont winners Mine

22 Apr 2013 12:58 PM

JayJay 21 Apr 2013 11:49 PM

Bury your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, all you want but the exclusion of top fillies and the Illinois Derby contestants has altered the Derby field significantly. The depreciation should become clearer to lethargic minds and those in denial after the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness, even the Belmont Stakes are run.

Cassandra.Says 22 Apr 2013 12:07 AM

Interesting and informative post. You cited Algorithms as an example and I'd say that most of the AP Indy line 3YO colts appear to be thus affected as consistent late developers. Along with Agotithms there was Consortium, Crossbow, Stefanoatsee, Casual Trick and this season the prominent one is Flashback, out with a knee chip.

22 Apr 2013 1:33 PM

He does have some major negatives. Historically high profile mares do not produce Derby winners. -coldcuts comment...........the contrarian, doesnt realize comparing 10 or 20 high profile mares to thousands, just might mean its a numbers thing.......these "facts" that this guy gives.....are totally insane.................bad science!

22 Apr 2013 3:56 PM

Ranagulzion : How will those races prove the system to be ineffective ?  As many many people have told you, fillies were not kept out of the Derby, their connections made that decision.  You need to stop living in the past.  This new points system worked well for what it was designed to do.  Does it need tweaking yes, but not much.  Just because you didn't get what YOU wanted doesn't mean it's not working.  If Churchill Downs gave you the authority to pick the field for the derby, you'd have 5 sprinters, 7 Fillies and 8 Colts... all descendants of Hyperion and all trained by Todd Pletcher.

The only thing this new points system altered was it prevented you from proclaiming the Triple Crown winner in January like you do every year because you pick horses who won a G1 as a 2 two year old.  This year and going forward, you actually have to handicap your Triple Crown winner.  Is it Verrazano or Overanalyze ??  Come on, I know you're itching to say it.

22 Apr 2013 9:33 PM
Forbidden Apple


When has Verrazano run fast and then finished strongly? In the Wood he ran slow and then finished slow. I can't wait to see how he reacts to several other fast colts running with him. And down the stretch they come.

22 Apr 2013 10:20 PM

In the past 20 years, 50 high-class mares per crop (GSW/LW) have gone to stud and roughly 15,000 uncelebrated mares. (It's 3:00 a.m. and I'm winging the numbers.)

Our Derby fields are drawn from the offspring of 1,000 aces and 300,000 'just mares.' And yet the great mares make their presence felt in spite of the overwhelming odds against it and are much better than 300 to 1.

I have been looking at the SW mares' production figures for years and thinking about fooling with them. I would like to see how their progeny compare with their sisters' foals and their daughters' foals. That should even out some of the SW mares advantages in access to stallions and will often mean they have identical rearing on the same pasture.

Somehow I always found something better to do, fortunately.

23 Apr 2013 3:26 AM

Pedigree Ann:

Before seeing your post, I also went back to 2000 but got a different total using different parameters: elite mares, unraced, ordinary winners. I was looking for mares ranked in the top ten on the year-end handicaps.

I've been a few places where black type doesn't mean much, it may be earned from a sales stakes funded by a small sales company or a sire stakes for which only a handful are eligible. Someone who would think it useful to study an unfiltered group of "stakes winning mares" doesn't get around much. It's not all Aqueduct, Belmont, Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Hialeah and Woodbine.

I get two elite mares among the 13 dams: Dalicia (G3 wnr) and twice G2-pl La Ville Rouge.

Taken with the two more minor stakes winners, the good mares are sure hitting above their weight!

23 Apr 2013 5:00 AM

Mary and Ann:

I think the observation is correct that most frequently in our middle distance winners the staying blood is on the bottom.

I'd ascribe this to market conditions. Foals by our staying stallions just don't sell well enough; people willing to wait for a colt to mature are probably breeding their own. Where's our Princequillo sire line? Blenheim? Ribot? Roberto? Count Fleet? Affirmed? Round Table?

Hail to Reason maybe still in training.

Perhaps we can test the hypothesis by watching what the Japanese succeed in doing with our staying blood, since they own most of it.

23 Apr 2013 5:12 AM


We're breeding a hybrid of several other breeds. It always goes fastest in the first couple of dozen generations.

We do not, in fact, have many long-standing records, although the increments by which records are broken are getting shorter. Were I looking into it, I would prefer to look at track records.

One very good reason records aren't falling like autumn leaves is the increased sensitivity in the current time to animal welfare. Tracks feel they are being judged by their casualty figures and are grooming their tracks accordingly. Artificial tracks are slower and have significantly fewer breakdowns.

When Mahmoud set his Darby record the track was concrete. When Lammtara broke it, the turf was watered.

However, I think inbreeding is the major culprit. Consider the huge leaps in the quality of horses when the Americans raided GB and the Continent for WWI refugees; all those dynastic French mares. Think of Nasrullah, Princeqillo, Nearctic, Mahmoud taking the breed to a new plateau with outcross blood that landed in the American gene pool like a lit match in gasoline.

23 Apr 2013 5:38 AM

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