Derby Dozen - April 23, 2013 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Revolutionary Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

Departing’s impressive score in the Illinois Derby flattered the Louisiana Derby form. When WinStar announced that the “Revolutionary” buttons were in, I have to admit I shuddered. Between the buttons and the jockey poll that wasn’t, I started feeling that marketing jinx kicking in. But that’s just in jest. I really liked his :48 4/5 work inside a workmate, especially his super gallop-out, going out another eighth in :12 2/5. Went in :24 4/5 and :24 flat, hugging the rail the whole way, with Borel barely moving his hands. He does keep his head a bit high and switched back on to his left lead, which he has a tendency to do, after apparently being distracted by the shadow of the sixteenth pole. He and Borel should be made for each other, as he will go through any sized hole Borel asks him to. Put a fearless rider on a fearless horse who can come from anywhere on the track and you’ve got a darn good team. His speed figs are nothing to rave about, but he hasn’t had a chance to show what he’s really capable of. The one time he did, he ran a huge Thoro-Graph number in his maiden victory and a 102 Beyer. This well might be deeper than we think.


Orb Shug McGaughey

Malibu Moon—Lady Liberty, by Unbridled

When McGaughey uses the word “excited” three times in one comment, you can start heading to the windows. That’s how many times he used it following Orb’s work at Payson Park, in which he went 5f in company in 1:02 2/5. All Shug wanted to see was a strong final quarter and Orb obliged with a :23 4/5, out another eighth in about :12 1/5. A bit surprised to see that he ran a career best Thoro-Graph figure in the Florida Derby, equaling Itsmyluckyday’s in the Holy Bull, which was only a quarter of a point off Verrazano’s top 2013 figure in his 16-length allowance romp. So, the five weeks should have him ready for another huge effort on Derby Day. Question is, was his speed figure based more on Dreaming of Julia’s mind-boggling, record-high Thoro-Graph number that same day?


Verrazano Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

Speaking of good works, you had to like several aspects of his 5f drill in 1:00 1/5, in which he relaxed outside a workmate through a slow quarter in :25 1/5, then poured it on with an eighth in :11 4/5 and a final quarter in :23 2/5 before galloping out 6f in 1:13, up 7f in 1:26 4/5 and a mile in 1:41 3/5. He was being asked down the stretch more than Revolutionary was, but it was a longer work and much longer gallop-out. His workmate actually was going the easier of the two. With the Wood behind him, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he pulled a Barbaro and won off. Remember, Barbaro also won his final prep by a hard-fought three-quarters of a length. With horses this brilliant, the prep often is the calm before the storm. There is no way he came close to giving his all in the Wood.


Overanalyze Todd Pletcher

Dixie Union—Unacloud, by Unaccounted For

Dare I put a horse who ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 4/5 this high? The last time a horse ran that slow in the Arkansas Derby, the springs in Hot Springs were barely lukewarm. But visually, that is what a Derby horse is supposed to look like, and I can’t get past that. He actually has a strong Thoro-Graph pattern and has already run a fig at 2 that is fast enough to win the Derby. That fig in the Remsen is as fast as Verrazano’s two stakes wins and he appears to be heading back to that number. True, he didn’t beat much, but when they run through the wire like he did and gallop out that strongly, you have to think there’s a lot more there. And remember, Pletcher’s best Derby finishes (a first, two seconds, a third, and two fourths) all came off three weeks rest. If you're looking for a proven commodity with speed and stamina who is coming up to the Derby the right way and should be a huge overlay at double-digit odds, this colt very well may be the best bet of the race.


Normandy Invasion Chad Brown Click Here!

Tapit—Boston Lady, by Boston Harbor

Worked a half-mile by himself at Churchill and did the opposite of what you would have expected, going the first half in :23 2/5 and second half in :25. He hit the pole in full flight after a sixteenth of a mile run-up and was rolling that opening furlong. Brown looks to be putting a bit more early speed in him. He is on a strong Thoro-Graph pattern and should be coming up to a career best effort. He just needs to make more headway from the quarter pole to the eighth pole and put in that explosive move on the turn that he showed in the Remsen, when he was right alongside the leaders at the eighth pole. Don’t want to see him doing what he did in the Risen Star and Wood. He has to be in contention turning for home. Remember, his female family is not exactly inundated with stamina.


Palace Malice Todd PletcherClick Here!

Curlin—Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem

I said last week the key is how he bounces out of the Blue Grass off two weeks rest and having to come back in three weeks in the Derby. Well, after watching him on HRTV bouncing all over the track and so full of himself that Pletcher couldn’t even grab hold of him, I got what I wanted to see. Dogwood president Cot Campbell said he almost dumped his rider one morning. He could very well have won the Blue Grass had he not spied the tractor tracks and lose focus, changing leads twice in the final furlong and shifting lanes. Next big test will be to see how he works with Mike Smith next weekend. If you go by speed figs, you probably won’t like him, but his La. Derby was a total toss and his last was his first time on Polytrack and he had to do the dirty work going after Rydilluc, which left him vulnerable to the deep closers. I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near his best.


Itsmyluckyday Eddie Plesa Jr. Click Here!

Lawyer Ron—Viva la Slew, by Doneraile Court

The question with him is the distance. Can his raw talent get him that extra furlong? He had no response when Orb came up to him in the Florida Derby and took a while to finally get the better of a sprinter. Loved his 1:43 mile breeze at Calder, which should put a lot of bottom in him. He obviously wasn’t wound fully tight following a two-month layoff off back-to-back negative Thoro-Graph figs. There is no doubt he’s fast enough to win the Derby. He should have regressed off his negative fig in the Gulfstream Park Derby, but actually ran a faster number in the Holy Bull. So we know he’s an exceptional colt. He’s bred top and bottom for toughness and soundness and that also should help him in the Derby.


Goldencents Doug O'Neill

Into Mischief—Golden Works, by Banker's Gold

He’s another who is a question mark at a distance, but with him it’s a combination of pedigree and running style. He did relax better in the Santa Anita Derby, but still was a bit speed-minded the opening quarter before finally settling into a good rhythm. We know the brilliance and talent are there, but how will the Derby scenario play out? Can he look Verrazano in the eye at some point and still have enough left to be competitive in the final furlong? If no one wants the lead, he might be better off taking charge and trying to steal the whole thing rather than monkey around attempting to rate off a slow pace and then try to outclose the closers. The last thing you want is to get his blood boiling early on. One thing we do know, he’ll be right there at the head of the stretch and it’s just a matter of how much he has to push him home.


Vyjack Rudy Rodriguez

Into Mischief —Life Happened, by Stravinsky

His Thoro-Graph pattern is quite interesting. He closed out 2012 with a huge figure, then regressed in his stretch-out to two turns. But he rebounded with another big number in the Gotham and actually equaled that number in the Wood, despite exiting with a lung infection. Those two numbers make him competitive with anyone. The time spent in rehab at Fair Hill, using their hyperbaric chamber, looks to have done wonders for him and I can’t wait to see him work at Churchill and how he progresses leading up to the Derby. The question in the Wood is, did he fail to catch Verrazano because of the bleeding and lung infection or did suffer the bleeding and lung infection because of the strain of trying to catch Verrazano? If he’s going to get the 1 1/4 miles, good chance it’ll be mainly because of maternal great-grandsire Nureyev, who helps get that pump going, as he did for Big Brown.


Java's War Kenny McPeek

War Pass—Java, by Rainbow Quest

Although the Blue Grass was a big effort, if you’re going to make a good case for him it will have to be off his performance in the Tampa Bay Derby. Although he wasn’t catching Verrazano, he was running strongly and pulled well clear of the others. Just can’t glean much from Polytrack, especially when you have two deep closers flying from the back of the pack together. His one poor dirt effort was at Churchill Downs. He was sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, and didn’t put in much of a run after going wide, but he looks to be a much improved horse now. You always have to take Kenny McPeek’s horses seriously, especially on the big stage.


Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas Click Here!

Awesome Again—Tizamazing, by Cee's Tizzy

I really wanted to put him higher, but I can assure you right now that I will be betting him straight on Derby Day at a big price. He is another who has not been able to show what he can do, because of bad posts and a trip last time out that took him totally off his game. You can bet Stevens has gotten to know him better and will have him well-placed this time. He has excellent tactical speed, is push-button whenever you ask him, and has the pedigree to carry him 1 1/4 miles with no problem. I believe he could prove to be the big overlay of the field. As for his Thoro-Graph figs, he put together three straight huge efforts after making a significant leap from 2 to 3. He then regressed off those three races in the Arkansas Derby, but never seemed happy running at the back of the pack with all that dirt kicked in his face. Still, he was beaten a length for second and was just finding his best stride in the closing yards. Don’t underestimate this colt.


Mylute Tom Amoss

Midnight Lute—Stage Stop, by Valid Expectations

When you have a big, strapping horse who has always been kind of lazy by nature working a half in :47 4/5, second fastest of 81 works at the distance, and the trainer says he’s usually not that into it when he works alone, you know you’ve got something positive going on. You’re always looking for that eager horse who wants to go out there and train, and when he’s also on an upward spiral, as this colt is, and just coming into his own, you again have a recipe for a good longshot play. Only problem with him is the thud that was heard when it was announced Rosie Napravnik will be riding him. That thud was the sound of his odds hitting the floor. Whatever odds you were hoping for, just expect a lot less. But the positive is that you get Rosie. WinStar and Pletcher just have to hope the fans didn’t get it right.

Knocking At The Door

Once again, the temptation was great to return LINES OF BATTLE to the Top 12, even if just for the unknown factor. Unlike many of O’Brien’s previous Derby starters, this colt has mostly dirt breeding and a strong classic lineage, with the best Darby Dan Farm throughout his tail-female line. And you can bet the UAE Derby will have him dead-fit. This will be O’Brien’s most potent Derby entry and he says the colt has been training great since the UAE Derby. He is at least a must-use saver bet, just in case.

Wayne Lukas is pulling out all stops in an attempt to get WILL TAKE CHARGE fit and ready to go 1 1/4 miles off a seven-week layoff. This 17-hands colt worked a mile in 1:41 3/5, picking it up nicely at the end, with a final two eighths in :12 3/5 and :12 1/5. That’s a good solid come-home time going a mile. He’s bucking history big-time with such a long layoff, but for Thoro-Graph followers, note his fig jumped nine points in the Rebel and was four points faster than his previous high, so perhaps he’ll appreciate the layoff. It’s just something that hasn’t been accomplished since the early part of the 20th century. Only Needles in 1956 came close with a six-week layoff.

It looks as if Bob Baffert’s only chance to avoid a shutout is to get GOVENOR CHARLIE to the race sound and healthy. You can’t be happy with the foot issue that sent him to Rood & Riddle, but he seems to be over that, and Baffert still has plenty of time to monitor his progress. Even if he does make the race, he has a ton of history going against him, mainly with only three career starts and none at 2.

BLACK ONYX’S Thoro-Graph figs are making significant leaps forward, and he’s sort of sitting there as an unknown factor. He did break his maiden impressively on dirt going a mile, and the Rock Hard Tens are only going to get better with time. Kelly Breen is sneaky-good and has already pulled off a Belmont Stakes shocker. There will be absolutely no issues when it comes to getting the 1 1/4 miles.

Of the others, FRAC DADDY made a huge leap forward in the Arkansas Derby after battling a couple of setbacks early in the year, and the best race of his life came in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill. GOLDEN SOUL has upside to him after a solid fourth in the Louisiana Derby, in which he was parked out in the middle of the track, but he needs to make big improvement in his Thoro-Graph figs. Distance would be no problem for him. FALLING SKY has good speed and would be better suited in the Preakness, as he has not made any improvement in his speed figures since last year. CHARMING KITTEN is a pure guess, as he has no dirt starts in seven career races. But he does pack a strong closing punch.

Handicapping the old-fashioned way

Remember, before Beyer, BrisNet, Ragozin, and Thoro-Graph, there was the good old-fashioned simple speed rating and track variant in the DRF? The former has been tweaked a bit over the years, but I thought in such a confusing year, it might be interesting to use them to see who the fastest horses are. In simpler times, many people would just add the speed rating to the track variant, and the latter still is a useful tool to see just how fast or slow the track is.

So, by adding up both figures for the horses’ last three races, here is what we came up with:

Verrazano 327
Vyjack 318
Normandy Invasion 313
Govenor Charlie 313
Goldencents 311
Mylute 307
Itsmyluckyday 306
Overanalyze 304
Oxbow 304
Charming Kitten 304
Revolutionary 303
Falling Sky 303
Java’s War 296
Will Take Charge 291
Orb 290
Palace Malice 290
Super Ninety Nine 289
Golden Soul 286
Black Onyx 285
Frac Daddy 269

The highest numbers for a single race are:

Verrazano 111
Vyjack 111
Mylute 111
Itsmyluckyday 110
Black Onyx 110
Govenor Charlie 109
Verrazano 108
Verrazano 108
Charming Kitten 108
Normandy Invasion 107
Black Onyx 107
Govenor Charlie 107
Normandy Invasion 106
Overanalyze 106
Oxbow 106
Will Take Charge 106


Leave a Comment:

steve from st louis

Steve, I love the confidence you're showing in Revolutionary, even more so than John V. He has the tremendous all-encompassing dosage profile (10-8-12-1-1) we've discussed earlier, the reason I bet him early along with Code West, who himself has a fantastic 9-1-19-5-0 profile. I hope he can make the field.

I think it comes down to this: either Verrazano toys with them or his lack of stamina opens it up for Revolutionary (10-8-12-1-1)if Borel can get him uncovered or Oxbow, if Stevens can remind him he's inbred 4X5X5 to Northern Dancer. Either way, with the way horses are trained up to the Derby these days, the race itself is wide open because we know so little about most of the entrants.

22 Apr 2013 3:31 PM
Lise from Maine


There are twenty (20) horses in the Kentucky Derby so why ONLY the dirty dozen?

Thank you!

Lise from Maine

22 Apr 2013 4:01 PM
Sail On

WOW! Nice presentation. I especially like the last two lists.

1. Cannot fail to notice Verrazano on top in both lists and dominates in list two.

2. Cannot fail to notice who is missing from list 2.

3 Interesting to see Charming Kitten doing so well on these lists. Wish I knew more about this colt who seems to be flying under the radar. Second best come from behind horse after Normandy, beats revolutionary and Java's War, the latter two do not even appear on the second list.


Normandy Invasion

Charming Kitten

Goldencents or Govenor Charlie

Revolutionary and Java's War will close strong to beat Vyjack, Palace Malice, Orb, Mylute and Overanalize. The rest will be also ran.

22 Apr 2013 4:03 PM
El Kabong


Is super 99 officially not running? If not wouldn't that put another Baffert Horse, Code West in a 20? 1-19 look set, it's that 20th spot that seem up in the air. Have you heard anything regarding spot 20?

22 Apr 2013 4:19 PM
Karen in Indiana

I really didn't want to like Verrazano, but looking at the figures you have, it's hard not to. The only weakness I can see is that he's lightly raced and the atmosphere at the Derby will be unsettling. How is his personality? I've heard he's physically impressive, but is he high-strung or calm? I did see him sweat pretty heavily before one of his races. That he won. so it may not matter.

22 Apr 2013 4:25 PM

Now all that is left before the race is workouts of which speaking of almost ALL the workouts are rated positively nobody goes out on a limb and says for instance, this colt dosent show a lot of energy, and his in workouts he seems disinterested,I dont think they should run him.

Everybody connected to the colts involved spin everything related to their colt positively THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

So eventhough we hope to learn something from workouts, I dont think we will, unless one of them goes out there and smokes a Barbaro(4f in 46 and change)or a Hard Spun(57.60 5f).

22 Apr 2013 4:27 PM

Good list, Steve, though I think you know I'll choose others in my top horses.

All the numbers in the world just can't tell me what my eyes assess for themselves. I have to watch how a colt moves.  I like horses that stretch out and glide over the track.

I'm not worried about the times in the prep, because, practically, what trainer wants to use up everything his colt has before the big dance.

Twelve days!  I can hardly believe it, finally.  We're so close.  My favorites are chosen.  Now, I'll just cross my fingers, my toes, and my eyes, hoping they all stay healthy, and are in a good mood on Derby day.

1. Orb of course.  Well-bred, beautiful stride, ease in moving, and great connections.  (Blinkers might help; I'd hate to see him lose focus again.)

2., tactical, intelligent, competitive, well-bred, and fast.  

3. Verrazano..I still think he's a freak.  He's separate from his breeding, an individual. His ability to relax, however, will be key.

4. Vyjack..I think this little guy can do anything, and he can be explosive in the final stretch. Now that we know what ailed him in the Wood, and he's overcome it, makes him top drawer.

5. Black Onyx...he's just too pretty.  Rock Hard Ten has always been impressive.  This baby may be the best yet, but I still have my doubts about the dirt for an RH10.  And he keeps getting better every time I see him.

6. Goldencents..He's been consistent, and I like what I've seen so far.

7. Java's War..Impressive closer.  Anytime I have doubts about his getting through the crowd, I think back to Ice Box..who came so close to a win that year.  I think JW is even faster.

8. It'smyluckyday.  Moved him down only because I've really big doubts about 12f.  Loved Lawyer Ron.  Female line, though is really strong with both Seattle Slew and Secretariat...and I think I should put aside my doubts.

9. Will Take Charge...loved his stride when he edged out Oxbow in the Rebel.

10. Oxbow...I'm with you on this guy Steve. I think he has potential that we really haven't seen yet.  (But if a colt has a bad start in a race, he can't continue being excused...the Slew didn't let a bad Derby start stop him.  He made short work of the leaders, bullying his way into the lead).

11. Frac Daddy...he finally got to show what he had after his injury in his previous out, he did damn well in the AR Derby, and he's quite handsome.

12. Overanalyze...Worried about the distance with him, but he has a strong dam side.

So before you ask, yes I saw Normandy Invasion do really well in the wood.  He looked strong, and was closing like a freight train.  But you all already know, I shy from a Tapit over 9f.  But since this guy looks as though 10f may be a walk in the park...I'll make him my baker's dozen at 13.  (Even I can't deny what I saw in him.)

22 Apr 2013 4:36 PM

D.Wayne is running out of chances to win another Derby, and the path he has chosen for Will Take Charge tells me he thinks he can make a deep run into the Triple Crown with this near genetic clone of the monster Graydar.

Three year olds can make huge jumps in performance over a seven week gap in races. Furthermore,the suggestion that D.Wayne can't prepare a horse for a peak performance can only be characterized as precarious.  

22 Apr 2013 4:50 PM

Lise from Maine, I was thinking the same thing. It should have been a Baker's dozen, or better yet, it should have been a dozen and two-thirds, with two horses deadheating for the show.

22 Apr 2013 4:57 PM
It aint easy being good!

I think the best bet for the derby is a 5 horse exacta box take the top 3 horses and take your two favorite bombers. For me I like the top three palace malice and Black Onyx. Any horse that has an issue leading to the derby should be a toss or at least they are for me. Govener Charlie and Vyjack are both tosses in my book.

22 Apr 2013 5:09 PM
Mister Frisky

Love that Pletcher has 5, only thing better would be if he got 6 in.Dude is like The Yankees, people love him or hate him.Could wreck havock on the tote.I too like Oxbow flat at a price.Getting down to the nitty gritty.

22 Apr 2013 5:25 PM
tom mallios

steve regarding the thorograph are right.vyjack paired his tops ,he has shown he recovers and a forward move is in order.orb has run(if you can believe the # his last race) 2 super tops.that does not lend to a forward move.usually efforts like this take their far as vyjack not being able to get the distance.take a closerlook at the wood.forget for a second any health issues.due to the slow pace in front of him,vyjack had to make a premature move when verrazano went after the leader.turning for home,he pulled to within a half length of the that time VZ sped clear by about a length and a the photo at the wire.with VZ difting out a bit,vyjacks nose is almost on his tail.he was coming back at him.this is not the sign of a horse who does not want to go further,with all the issues mentioned and if he did not want the distance.he should of packed it in and finished up the track.regarding bris pace figures.the fastest last figure belongs to normandy invasion.he has come home in 114.vyjack is next.his late pace is 112 and those that are not familiar with the pace numbers.similar to beyer figs.the higher the to all the fans,if you thnk vyjack is not good enough.regardless if i agree or is an opinion,which is fine.but do not toss him because you think he can't get the distance or is fit enough.

22 Apr 2013 5:32 PM

i watched the works for the derby contenders over the weekend several times. revo and mylute were excellent. wtc and norm inv. were avg. at best. any way you look at verrazanos work he got outworked by a 6yo mare. he had better show huge improvement next 12 days or won't hit the board!

22 Apr 2013 5:36 PM

Can't see past Orb and Normandy Invasion - post positions the big fear. Steve, as mentioned above, is Super Ninety Nine going to run if it rains?

22 Apr 2013 5:37 PM

Any word when Lines of Battle is arriving at CD?

22 Apr 2013 6:20 PM
Your Only Friend

Any horse in the twenty can win....the secret....who can get threw the first turned without getting banged around and can relax......Good luck to all....

22 Apr 2013 6:22 PM

  I must say that I haven’t much agreed with Steve’s weekly dozens lists this entire year. And, that being when his 1st had the BC Juvee winner ranked #1 and then right up to this last list. Personally, my hat will be off to any horse that can beat “Revolutionary”; “Black Onyx”; “Govenor Charlie”; or “Orb”, although leaving “Vyjack” or “Verrazano” whom do not appear breeding wise to be able to handle a 1 ¼ off some exotic ticket might be at ones peril. Additionally, a horse that has come on of late that is also bred for longer is “Frac Daddy”. And just how many times in Steve’s current and past dozens are there some lines, such as: “the question with him is the distance” or “another who is a question at distance”, or “is he going to get a 1 ¼”, or “can he handle the distance?”, and etc. Well, then why is it that we aren’t, and isn’t he looking at those horses that are BRED for more distance than making selections from those that are less apt via their breeding to get a 1 ¼ ?, essentially being the point that has bugged me all of this year re all of Steve’s past dozens lists.

  So, for those that awaited my picks that I promised would come in April, they are listed above.

  Next issue, just how stupid are CD Pool bets when something like 5 horses fell off the grid injured,--actually a low number this year,--and only 9 of 23 from Pool #1 even will now make a gate slot and then one still had to find the 1 in 9 from that group that might then go on to be the actual winner from there? If you’re one who plays the CD Pools, that being before you spend money there in future years, my suggestion is save that money for a horse that will actually be in the gate next year. And then, also take a look at just how many from this year’s Pool #3 list are actually headed to a gate spot?? TAKE A REAL CLOSER LOOK!! The odds of such future bets do not correspond to the payoffs, which more realistically back in Pool #1 should all be well in some range of 150-1 as a minimum range to 225-1 to 250-1 to 500-1 range, and not 12-1 or 17-1 or even 50-1, & etc.?,--where Pool bets actually end up being,--which makes the whole endeavor fall into B.T. Barnum’s bag of “a sucker is born every minute”.  

22 Apr 2013 7:02 PM
It aint easy being good!

Tom Mallios since the trainer was called out for funny play his horses are 3/32. 9% ouch! Vjack= TOSS!

22 Apr 2013 7:12 PM

Wow.  what a great group of the most interesting and intelligent comments i have seen in a long time. I am leaning toward Oxbow,Revolutionary, and Normandy Invasion.  By derby day, and betting time, I will probably do a five horse box. Will post at a later date.  Good luck to all.

22 Apr 2013 7:19 PM

I believe Verrazano is strong enough to carry 126 lbs; but can he "kick clear" in the last 50 yds. of this race? At 9/2 he may be worth it.

22 Apr 2013 7:23 PM


This is a very interesting list with solid comments BUT the #1 position continues to be incongruous with all the facts and analyses. Your list, based upon the overall contents of the blog, should read 1)Verrazano, 2)Orb, 3)Overanalyze, 4)Revolutionary (based mostly upon your sentiments) etc. IMO.

Also, don't you think that D. Wayne Lukas should know how to get Will Take Charge ready off seven weeks, being the trainer also of your #11 ranked Oxbow whom he caught at he wire in the Rebel? I believe that you're also underestimating the talent of Itsmyluckday. This is another fast colt that could possibly do a "Barbaro" in the Derby. Would you be surprised? If not, then he should be ranked above both Palace Malice and Normandy Invasion, neither of which seems capable of a freakish performance of that quality.

22 Apr 2013 7:24 PM
Kenny G

When handicaping the Derby I'm not looking for the fastest horse. I'm looking for the one that appears to be peaking at the right time and has the stamina in his pedigree

to relish the mile and a quarter distance.  In my opinion two colts standout. Java's War and Orb.

22 Apr 2013 7:27 PM

FRACTION TIME! I predict the 3/4 in 1:11 flat with Oxbow in front and Goldenscents and Verrazano a length behind him......To see what happens next, go to!

22 Apr 2013 7:33 PM

only slight change to my top five-1)revolutionary-borel will tap into the pedigree this horse has.2)will take charge-lukas knows oxbow will only be his rabbit.3)palace malice replaces overanalyze if crowd forms entering the stretch watch smith jerk this horse quickly to the left nobody can flair(rearend) the competition out to the right like him.(NOBODY)(WISH HE WAS ON REVOLUTIONARY). 4)mylute training great. rosie must stay to the left of pm and smith. 5) lines of battle will be the last of the expected front runners to give way.

22 Apr 2013 7:42 PM

Steve, since you're in the media maybe you can ask Churchill Downs management something.   Why do they pull the number first and then the entry sheet?   Pretty easy to fix the draw that way if the guy pulling the sheets knows where every horse's sheet is.   I swear the guy knew where Daddy Long Legs sheet was last year and pulled him when #1 came up.  

In my opinion the entry sheet should be pulled first and then the post number should be pulled from the shaker.  No way to fix it then.

That's also obvious to Churchill and the fact they aren't doing it that way leads me to believe that the draw is fixed.   If Aiden O'Brien and his horse get screwed again this year and get the #1 hole, you all are going to know the draw is fixed.

22 Apr 2013 7:46 PM
John from Seattle


Totally agree with Revolutionary. This horse has a comparable racing resume with the both Orb, Verrazano, and whomever.

The change of jockey to Borel is the game changer.

PS - did you get the quotes from Borel after his work with Revoluntionary?

22 Apr 2013 7:59 PM
Pedigree Ann

Until a horse who raced in Dubai in the winter hits the board (1-4) in the Kentucky Derby, I will continue to toss all such horses. How many times has it been tried? How many times has it failed, both with horses who raced in the US at 2 and those who raced in GB/Ire at 2?

22 Apr 2013 8:05 PM

and now the losers derby. goldencents keeps pace honest makes verrazano run too fast too early along with 99,falling sky and oxbow. it's my lucky day will get lucky on may 5th. orb runs a nice even 6th. vyjack gets homesick for aqueduct and quits. java's war too late and the rest of the pack your quess.

22 Apr 2013 8:11 PM

Was then and now (ORB)!  His progression since going 8 furlongs and longer is amazing.  He is 1 of only 2 horses that have won 2 races at 1 1/8, the other being Overanalyze.  His 3 two turn races at Gulf were great on a speed favoring track.  Can't see him losing if all run clean.  This is Shugs year.

22 Apr 2013 8:23 PM

Was very disappointed to see Rosie get the ride on Mylute.  He was my sleeper horse for a big show bet.  But agree his odds plummetted based off the female bet alone.  

I'm probably moving to Palace Malice as my big show bet now.  

Odds on Revolutionary will be too low with the Borel factor now too.  But that makes Verrazano and Orb odds look a lot juicier.  

Pending post positions and weather, looking at the following trifecta:

Verrazano, Orb over V, O, Normandy Invasion, Revolutionary, over V, O, NI, R, Mylute, Palace Malice, Itsmyluckyday.  

22 Apr 2013 8:24 PM

Revolutionary, Black Onyx, and Govenor Charlie, if he is okay.  After these 3, I have no idea.  All 3 are beautifully bred so...things change from day to day.

22 Apr 2013 8:37 PM
The Deacon

Another insightful and well written blog Steve. I got no issues with your top 12. I don't necessarily agree but that's horse racing. Departing wins the Illinois Derby in another 9 furlongs run in 1:50 and change. So in my mind there are about 12 average horses who are vying for the top prize. Next factors will be weather and track conditions plus the daunting 20 horse field. So we can honestly say with most horses being equal, who gets the best trip will likely be the winner. Revolutionary gets into trouble so he is off my list.

I still like Goldencents, Govenor Charlie and Orb. Yes Charlie is lightly raced and has a recent foot issue but since I don't think there are any standouts in this crop he has a good chance to hit the board. I like O'Neill, he did a wonderful job last year with I'll Have Another. He knows how to bring a horse up to the race and Goldencents is peaking right now. Orb looked good last race even though it was pedestrian time. I hope that Shug gets a good shot, he is most deserving......

Verrazano looks like a monster, very well defined and who knows how good he may become. If he wins then the Wood Memorial jinx will be to all.

22 Apr 2013 8:43 PM

Well, my heart belongs to Revolutionary, but most of my money is going to Mylute.  Apparently he loves the surface--that was all he needed to show to convince me he's the "most likely to succeed!"  Also I just can't let Aiden O'Brien best chance ever go by with out putting something down on him.  May the racing gods be with all of us!!

22 Apr 2013 9:11 PM

WTC my friends....D Wayne has a monster

22 Apr 2013 9:14 PM

Great list Steve.  It sure is a tough one to figure this year.  Are you at Churchill yet?

I just watched Revolutionary's (who I also love in my top 3)workout at Churchill and I am cracking up laughing, he really listened to his "conversation" with Black Onyx at Churchill and is skimming the rail exactly as told already with Calvin!  How funny is that I wrote the workout script!  Let the rail-skimming begin!

Visually Verrazano looks amazing, confident, and again I can see the Barbaro comparison for some reason.  Verrazano is quite a handsome looking colt.  Stable Bud Rev is a little guy but quite athletic indeed.  

From what I see so far my Derby top three are:

1.  ItsMyLuckyDay

2.  Verrazano

3.  Revolutionary

I must say Oxbow is adorable, Awesome Again makes cute offspring.  He looks good, already has a win at Churchill but is this war going to be won with just a little Oxbow?  

Awaiting the arrivals of Goldencents and LuckyDay to see how they look.  I am not deserting ItsMyLuckyDay and especially for Rob want him to win but Verrazano is also beginning to tug hard at my heartstrings.  It's all getting very exciting now.  I love the arrivals and workouts.  Does anyone know, or will BH announce in an article as they do, when TVG will televise The Works from Churchill?  There are some good works posted in videos on the Derby site hosted very well by Jill Byrne too.  Love the "Todd Squad" and even Overanalyze looks good out there.  This all still leaves Toddy doing the 4 or 5 "saddle jig" in the Derby paddock!  Have fun everybody!

22 Apr 2013 9:31 PM
The Pope

Assessing Verrazano's breeding, it doesn't look like he can consistently be effective at classic distances. But stranger things have happened. Anyone remember Closing Argument? Verrazano's true calling will be the sprinter/miler type. In the Ky Derby he'll need an ideal or favorable trip to have any chance. Remember, this horse has never had to overcome anything in his races.

22 Apr 2013 10:13 PM

all you people stay off Itsmyluckyday---- so I can get a nice price on him!  Go on with your other horses... that's fine!

22 Apr 2013 10:20 PM

It’s time to seriously examine the chances of the contenders from the most successful sire line in Derby and Triple Crown history.

Palace Malice: His sire belongs to an elite category of stallions from the Mr. Prospector sire line. Five grandsons of Mr. Prospector have sired Derby winners i.e., Street Cry, Distorted Humor, Unbridled, Quite American and Elusive Quality. Can Curlin join the ranks? If not for this colt’s demanding two race schedule heading into the Derby he would be considered as having the best chance of the quartet despite his trainers dismal win percentage.

Govenor Charlie: One of two colts in the field to record new track records. He was sired by the son of a Derby winner. The 1986 Derby winner Ferdinand was sired by Nijinsky a son of Northern Dancer. The 1956 Derby winner Needles was sired by Ponder a son of  Pensive. Can this occur for the third time in 57 years?

This colt seriously lacks foundation and is not as brilliant as Bodemeister his 2012 stalemate who possessed a similar negative. His dam was unraced and that’s a plus. His sire Flower Ally is a great, great grandson of Mr. Prospector and this stallion category has only recoded on victory i.e., Birdstone - Mine That Bird. This colt has high cruising speed and will be in the mix with the hot steppers and like Bodemeister his lack of foundation will not allow him to repel the classy closers.

Mylute: The above details regarding being sired by the son of a Derby winner are applicable to this colt as he was also sired by Midnight Lute. He kept the top rated Revolutionary honest in the LA Derby. In spite of his encouraging run in the LA Derby and his foundation, I am of the opinion this colt is not fast enough to win the Derby. He will be closing for his share and will not be able to out close the classier types.

Will Take Charge: A big colt with a grinding running style and sufficient speed to be effective at the Derby distance. He is not very fast but has plenty of foundation.

He does have some major negatives. High profile mares, historically  do not produce Derby winners. In his only effort at CD he finished

On the positive side WTC’s sire Unbridled Song was the sire of Eight Bells who was runner up to Big Brown.

Will Take Charge grandsire is Unbridled and 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 That Bird and Summer Bird.

Classic Winners from the Unbridled

line have usually outrun their odds: Grindstone 6-1, Birdstone 36-1 Mine That Bird 50-1 and Summer Bird 12-1. CE

It is therefore possible for WTC to out run his odds. He gave a sneak preview in the Rebel.

22 Apr 2013 10:29 PM

Fugue For Tinhorns,

I meant to comment on the last Dozen how clever and cute your screen name is.  I believe you said you also use the song as a ringtone, that is great.  I think in the broadway play it even has the Call To The Post in the beginning.  I always wanted to have the "Call To The Post" as a ringtone.

Cassandra Says,

Thanks for enlightening us as to where the song came from "Guys And Dolls" the broadway play.  I went and googled it in youtube and heard it.  I vaguely knew the song about the horse named Paul Revere but did not know what play or show it originated from.  Thanks for that info.

"I got my horse right here

his name is LuckyDay

The experts are wondering

how much he'll pay.

Can do, can do, Verrazano and Orb

can do.

I got my horse right here

his name is Revolutionary dear

He'll be a great big threat

If the rail is clear.

Can do, can do, do we think little Oxbow can do? Can do, can do....."

22 Apr 2013 11:21 PM
Tiz Herself

A much closer look and the more I see and read the more I like Frac Daddy - the top reason is his broodmare sire is Skip Away who started it all for me and who I will forever regret not getting to Kentucky sooner to see the big Skippy in person. While he did not like Churchill, Frac's maiden win at Churchill indicates he does not inherit that. I will have to have some money on Frac regardless of what his chances may be, for Skip Away is very near and dear to my heart.

22 Apr 2013 11:28 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I enjoyed every word.  Laughed out loud over your Hot Springs comment on Overanalyze. Thanks.

22 Apr 2013 11:43 PM
Paula Higgins

I like Slew's top 5 on his list. Verrazano remains my favorite.

22 Apr 2013 11:44 PM

Verrazano,won last time out just to win and not over do it. Bellamy Road crushed everyone in his last prep and took a big crap on Derby Day. Goldencents can get outfront and relax and yes maybe steal it if not to have pressure... I have REVO in the Futures and hope he doesn't get closed off. Java's War,Oxbow will not be there.

22 Apr 2013 11:45 PM

Will Take Chrage is my number one, love the long works off the layoff and ran faster than g1 mares in last.  Overanalyze I would like more if his last race wasn't  so slow compared to the other races that day (at oaklawn not other tracks) Palace Malice race spacing doesn't bother me but liked the way java war  finisheda little better.

23 Apr 2013 12:12 AM
Native Dancer

If great jockeys are good handicapper we ought to believe John Velazquez is right to choose Verrazano.

From what we have seen so far, it seems like JV could position Verrazano wherever he likes and still have a lot of horse in the stretch. The tempo in this Derby won’t appear to be that hot anyways.

With all the trainers “teaching”  their speed horses to relax, it could happen that no one would be willing to make the pace. Then, Verrazano, could very well take that challenge as well. Anyways, Verrazano is written with the “V” of Versatility.

Hbc sounds very convinced about the unfitting first work of Verrazano under the twin spires... but I should assume that Pletcher knows the best pattern for his potential champion.

Steve’s case for Revolutionary is quite appealing but the intrepid outlook from Borel may prove too risky especially if the speedy horses don’t get tired in the stretch. Overanalyze seems to be built for the distance and will be certainly peaking on Derby day.

It is amazing how Steve has scrutinized every movement of Palace Malice. If you factor in that Curlin had his “greatest blunder” running on synthetics you can infer that his son would improve a lot on the CD dirt. I am starting to see Palace Malice as the best value on the betting ring....!

Coming back to jockeys being good handicappers, I should say that Javier Castellano made a mistake leaving Revolutionary for Normandy Invasion... but there is always the luck factor in the always crowded Derby.

If the track is sloppy, Orb will be running the race of his life.

Thanks again Steve for your customary excellent account of the Derby picture. I hope to see more of your scrutiny on subsequent works to have better idea of the suitability of the horses to CD surface... and specially Verrazano’s evolution there.

23 Apr 2013 12:31 AM
Bloodline Bob

As of 4-23-2013, I'm looking at 1 of these 4 horses to win for the 139th Ky. Derby: OVERANALYZE(#4),ITSMYLUCKYDAY(#7),JAVA'S WAR(#10) and GOVERNOR CHARLIE. When it comes to betting on the winner of the KY. Derby, I throw out certain owners, breeders + bloodlines. The top 3 horses, for me, fall into one of those categories. The top 3 horses are great horses but i'll bet them in other races but not the KY. Derby. I wish all of the Haskin Derby Dozen followers great prosperity on May 4, 2013.

23 Apr 2013 5:47 AM

So tough to handicap this group...

Based solely on performance and pedigree, I have to agree with your top 2, Orb and Revolutionary.  

Verrazano's size worries me a bit, although he seems to carry it well.  Given a clean trip, he will at least be in contention (pedigree is iffy for the mile and a quarter, IMO).

Which brings me to my next 2 choices, whose pedigrees I love but have iffy performances: Will Take Charge and Frac Daddy.  For WTC, it will depend on the fitness he exhibits in his works at CD.  For Frac Daddy, it is a suspicion (gamble) that his 3 yr old season just got revved up in the Ark. Derby.  

I can't see wagering the exotics without at least 5 horses this year.  So those might be my 5. (I may regret leaving Palace Malice out though...)

Slew...I have come to respect your thoughts and insights on this board over the years.  What is your take on Pal Mal?  Too green?

23 Apr 2013 5:56 AM
Indiana Johnny

Steve, will you be doing daily video reports on the workouts/gallops from Churchill starting this coming Friday? Thanks, Johnny

23 Apr 2013 7:15 AM

hbc Bloodhorse shud send you to report on the workouts(paid drinkfest) but only to film the works and write the times down.If Verrazano was outworked by a 6 yo mare then you will represent us on here and demand that Mr Pletcher work that same 6yo mare against both Revolutionary and Palice Malice.

23 Apr 2013 8:13 AM

Your Only Friend your logic sounds like you are taking the Greyhound dog racing approach(5/16 course) whoever makes it around the first turn has a good shot.

23 Apr 2013 8:18 AM

Re A LIST fellow comrades a list dosent mean squat unless it is accompanied by a comprehensive betting strategy including amounts wagered.

23 Apr 2013 8:28 AM

pgpg57 thats PAR FORE THE COURSE

23 Apr 2013 8:30 AM

Vistoso I think you are referring to the CRap angle at the DOg track.

Watch for the ones that take a crap before the race they will be lighter than their listed weight and also more ENergetic.

23 Apr 2013 8:34 AM

The Pope can you assess who will be running the white house in four years and who will just POop out in the primaries.

23 Apr 2013 8:36 AM

Coldfacts what does Flower Alley have to do with Bodemeister(Empire Maker) and Govenor Charlie(Midnight Lute)Flower Alley was Ill Have Another's sire. I think you got him confused with FOOTBRIDGE.

23 Apr 2013 8:43 AM

steve-just wondering if o'brien plans to bring ryan moore to ride lines of battle?

23 Apr 2013 8:59 AM
Saratoga AJ

Every year it seems to be the most difficult race to handicap, and this year is no different. There are at least a dozen or so colts here that look to have the ability of winning this race off their top effort. And of course with 20 starters and racing luck, the best horse has a better chance of not winning than being successful.

I'm sticking with Normandy, and key on him over a number of your top ten Steve.

In other words, roll the dice and hope to get lucky.  

23 Apr 2013 9:20 AM
tom mallios

it aint easy being good

i hear you and your open mind.yet someone wrote that baffert since the problem arose with his horses has hardly won.yet pletcher has shipped a slew of horses to AQ and has lost with many sub even money horses.yet todd is what? something like 1 -48 in the derby and has a pooor breeders cup statistic.somehow they do not register with you.have you seen the horses rudy has run lately.if you ran against them ,you might have a is not the juice a trainer he has a responsibility to run for his owners.unlike you i do not point fingers at trainers until they are caught big time.i am not in their barns like so many who are sure what the problem is.please,toss vyjack from the derby.because if he wins,it will be an added joy knowing you are ripping tickets.also to guys like you who isolate on 1 trainer.when is rudy going to get blamed for the gondolphin mess.i guess after the derby

23 Apr 2013 9:38 AM
Mike Monarchos

I love Calvin Borel on Revolutionary! He's got guts and and is riding a horse with the guts to split horses. Nice pedigree too. I still like Itsmyluckyday. I don't think he was sharp for the Florida Derby. still got the needed points to get in the bigg dance though. Verrazano probably was not all out in the Wood, but the question is can he get the Derby distance? Others I like are: Govenor Charlie, Orb, Mylute, and Black Onyx.

23 Apr 2013 10:02 AM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts: if you go back and look at the data, the leading sire line in terms of turning out Derby winners is *Leamington with 12. Mr. Prospector is only second with 11.

Only if you go back to Raise a Native and add in the descendents of Majestic Prince, Alydar, and Exclusive Native, does a sire line exceed *Leamington. And, by the way, *Nasrullah sits at 11 as well.

23 Apr 2013 10:13 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Still a long ways to go to the rumble in the jungle. The only one I see on the list with a snowball's chance in heck is Super Ninety Nine. He needs time off and then become a miler, and he could be a good one. I wouldn't ruin him. Let someone in with a chance to hit the board in this still wide open Derby. There are potential monsters but no proven monsters yet. I think the top three are probably the top three but there are plenty that could upset. Remember- The early bird catches the worm, a rolling stone gathers no moss, a penny saved is a penny earned, and be sure to save those pennies to bet on the first Saturday in May.

23 Apr 2013 10:20 AM
Pedigree Ann

Native Dancer - Bill Shoemaker defines the term 'great jockey', yet he took off Northern Dancer to ride Hill Rise in the Kentucky Derby.

If it were a case of the trainer assigning his 'first rider' to what he thinks in the best horse, that is a different matter. But riders (and their agents) are not consistently the best source of handicapping info.

23 Apr 2013 10:22 AM


I like how you're sticking with Revolutionary, and I am sticking with Orb. The one thing they both have in common, winning. They both have found ways to win this year and both overcame adversity to get those wins. Good horses find ways to win. As a long shot mylute and black onyx have impressed me, and Itsmyluckyday will be flying under the radar.

23 Apr 2013 10:42 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Many thanks for the update. Your willingness to share y our knowledge of the history of the great race is always appreciated.

I specified the most successful sire line in Derby and Triple Crown history. In light of this, I did not restrict it to Mr. Prospector as he is one of hour sons of Raise A Native that have 15 Derby winners associate them.

The Nasrulla/Bold Ruler decade of classic winners was great.  The line has literally gone MIA since.

23 Apr 2013 10:56 AM


All the horses in the Derby from the most successful sire line in Derby and TC history are from the Mr. Prospector arm.

Below are the categories of Mr. Prospector stallions that have sired Derby winners:

Sons – 3

Grandsons – 5

Great Grandsons -1

Great Great Grandsons – 1

Midnight Lute is a great, great grandson of Mr. Prospector and he falls into a stallion category that has not been stellar in producing Derby winners.

I hope the above categorization and clarification helps.

NB: Footbridge did not perform in the Bluegrass and if your jab is to imply his performance was based on a lack of ability, you have clearly ignored the impact of the surface.

23 Apr 2013 11:19 AM
It aint easy being good!

Coldfacts good post need more post and good info like that. Tom mallios I already have a red x through vyjack if he wins your right I will be ripping up my tickets but I am not worried about that horse. Vyjack is alpha 2.0=toss toss toss. Frac daddy are you guys sersious that horse is the next toss! I see alot of love for will take charge. He seems like a slug to me but to be honest someone on here compared him to graydar and I couldnt agree more.

23 Apr 2013 11:27 AM

steve, on the thorograph forum jerry brown said that he didn't know what to do with dreaming of julia's race, because it apparently would be the best thorograph number ever assigned--it apparently took him a lot longer than normal to assign figs for that card at GP, and in the end he set her race aside and based the figs on every race but her's .

the horse that looks the best right now physically is will take charge...last year the horse that impressed me most physically was i'll have another, to the pint where i said to myself, there is no way a small horse like hansen can compete with him, but i let my heart sway my judgment--i did the same thing the year before with animal kingdom and shackleford (however, the physical difference between them was much less than etween hansen and i'll have another). however, sometimes, the little guy dusts the rest as mine that bird showed.

as for orb, shug and the phipps don't bring horses to the derby unless they are convinced they have a legit derby contender--that's a pretty powerful endorsement.

23 Apr 2013 12:01 PM
Louiville Dave

I will take the long odds and look for Java's War to pass them all in the stretch on the far outside, will play in exacts with Orb, Revolutionary and the improving Mylute  

23 Apr 2013 12:23 PM

Save your money on betting Oxbow. He won't even be in the top 6 finishers.

I would have thought all your money would be on Revolutionary, being you have had him on top for so long.

23 Apr 2013 12:37 PM

Mr. Haskin,

“You always have to take Kenny McPeek’s horses seriously, especially on the big stage.”

I find very interesting the above comments contained in your summation regarding Java’s War.

Mr. McPeek is indeed a dangerous trainer when he has material to work with.

Who can forget the talented sprinter Nobles Promise that he conditioned to finish 5th in the 2010 Derby.

Nobles Promise by Cuvee was 2nd to Lookin At Lucky in the Rebel and 5th in the 9F AK Derby that produced Derby winner Super Saver.

He finished ahead of Lookin At Lucky in the Derby

It appears one has to go back 18 years to find an on the board finish in the Derby for Mr. McPeek. His Tejona Run finished 2nd to Thunder Gulch in the 1995 Derby. Interestingly Tejona Run  last Derby prep was the Bluegrass where finished 3rd.

There is no doubt that if Mr. McPeek has a talented horse he will present him it in winning form on the 1st Saturday in May.

It is no secret I like the other War Pass colt Revolutionary. I recommended Java’s War for inclusion in exotic wagers in the Tampa Bay Derby. He justified my confidence with a very good runner up finish.

If his PPs can be added to the other positives in his pedigree profile, he will be considered the colt to beat in the Derby and not the vaunted Verrazano.

He finished 5th by 2L in his 1st start as a 2YO on 15th June in a 5F race on turf at CD. This was 6 1/2 weeks after turning fully two. It was the first and only time he would contest a race with either a 45 or 46 half mile pace. He won his next two starts that were over 8F on turf at two different tracks. Of his 5 starts as a 2YO all except one was were at 8F and longer.

He returned much improved as a 3YO after being away from the races for 15 weeks. His 2nd and 1st place finishes in the TBD Derby and Bluegrass is testament to this.

There are many of the opinion that this War Pass colt will not be effective at the Derby distance. While these might be a legitimate opinions based on the exploits of his sire, his dam sire appears to have supplied the requisite stamina for the Derby distance.

His dam sire Rainbow Quest finished 2nd in the Arc was promoted to 1st due to interference by the winner. He has been broodmare sire of winners of all the important G1 rout races in Europe and a few in the US. His most recent achievement was broodmare sire of the 2013 Grand National winner. Of the 20 likely  starters in the Derby, Java’s War has the dam sire with the best record of achievements at the highest level.

The signs are ominous as this little May colt is expected to get some pace to run at for the first since his debut. He will be closing best of all and add the much maligned Mr. Leparoux to the equation and there could a ‘Flashback’ moment for many.

I will be making box wagers but I will have to make a significant single wage on this colt.

23 Apr 2013 1:04 PM
Rusty Weisner

The early extended forecast for Louisville says rain for May 4, with rainy weather following that week.  I'll be doing a dance to ward it off.

I'm tapped out on thoughts about the Derby.  I'm going to start taking a look at the Oaks.  Besides the Oaks-Derby double there's an Oaks-Woodford-Derby P3.  I've been cursed by the Woodford the past two years.

23 Apr 2013 1:41 PM

Verrazano going off as 9-5 post time favorite.  People love jumping on the same horse- undefeated, Pletcher, visions of Big Brown romp etc..

23 Apr 2013 2:07 PM

Now, how to narrow this down...what to box, who to box, where to box, exotics, move up, move down, move all around, 4 corners, run and shoot, west coast offense, rope a dope, smash mouth, alley oop, etc!!!









Palace Malice

Charming Kitten



Java's War


Normandy Invasion

Black Onyx



Golden Soul

And then...GATORADE DUMP!!!

23 Apr 2013 2:32 PM
Little Bill

Alex'sBigFan, Thanks glad you like it. I don't have the ring tone, my friends do. When they hear it they know the weather is clear. Let it Ride!

On Palace Malice- I like him, mostly breeding, and will include. What I don't like is that he has been passed in the stretch his last three races. Twice giving up a board spot. Gets a pass for the La Derby. I have him in books two and three.

23 Apr 2013 2:34 PM

Pedigree Ann,  taking your comment about leading sire lines for Derby winners a little further.....when you add Raise A Native, Majestic Prince, Alydar and Exclusive Native to Mr Prospector what do you get...?  Native Dancer as the leading sire line for Derby winners and since all those come directly from him it is HE who should be getting the credit.

23 Apr 2013 3:00 PM
Jose Armao

Hi, Steve. I´m the venezuelan journalist you met last year at Belmont Park, when we covered the Union Rags Belmont Stakes. The same one who wrote you in response to your Canonero II article.

Personally, hope Normandy Invasion takes the Derby because here, in Venezuela, we are passing thru the worst time concerning horse racing. This government definitively does´n like this sport which they consider  just a gambling activity.

Probably, if another venezuelan jockey wins the most famous and important race in the United States, as Gustavo Avila did it in 1971 aboard the unforgettable Canonero II, they would change their point of view and may be recognize the horse racing world, and La Rinconada Race Track, just as the great spectacle and unique infrastructure they are.

Hope to talk to you again in the Belmont Stakes.

23 Apr 2013 3:26 PM
Terry M.

I am sticking with Orb and Shug. Just a hunch, but I think Orb will run well. His pedigree is Classic through and through. Shug is overdue for a Derby win.

23 Apr 2013 4:05 PM
Rusty Weisner

Point of Entry is in the Woodford and there's a chance Wise Dan will be, too.

23 Apr 2013 4:39 PM
Sail On

So, with the Baffert horses officially out, does that leave Verrazano the speed in the Derby? Unbelievable!

23 Apr 2013 6:46 PM

I believe Mylute has a boy crush on Rosie.  Winning by 11 lengths over General Election....also,  Verrazano was based in Florida and managed to duck Itsyourluckyday and Orb....Steve is right on in terms of Overanalyze....Mylute with Overanalyze.....go get in line!

23 Apr 2013 6:48 PM

Mr Haskin,  at 46 I am finally going to see my first live Kentucky Derby this year.  Any suggestions for a newcomer?  Anyone else have anything?

23 Apr 2013 6:54 PM
Uncle Smiley


Nice to hear Rosie N is a big thud!

Agreed, she makes a difference. In a positive direction.

Did the Press, back in the day,  have a cognomem, similar,  for Julie Krone?

23 Apr 2013 7:23 PM

I think it's short-sighted to pick the Derby winner basically on pedigree alone.  I take the pedigree into consideration, but several recent winners have not had the best of distance pedigrees; certainly many with "better" pedigrees have not won.

I'm much more inclined to look at the horses stride and the manner in which he has finished his races.  Also looking for a tactical horse that is able to stay out of trouble. For these reasons, I like Verrazano and Orb.  I'd include Revolutionary, but am worried about the trouble lines in his races.  Of course these three will likely be the "chalk" on Derby Day.  For a long shot, maybe Mylute and I think you might get a decent price on Java's War.

23 Apr 2013 8:11 PM

Tom Maillos:

What constitutes a "super top"?

You state Vyjack has paired his tops and is likely to move forward.

Then you state Orb has paired 2 super tops and is not likely to move forward.

23 Apr 2013 8:24 PM
Scott's Rail

Steve, your last entry created a stampede. (264 or so comments)  And that is good.   Thought I'd get position on the first turn before it gets crowded.  Oxbow's last race meant nothing.   G.Stevens signed on for 2 races.  C-Facts thanx for the Java's War approval.  I will now take a looonger look at him.   L.D. runners doing well.  Hmmm! P.S. Just liked the way  Overanalize did his business... Looked up his Pedigree, I really like it...Wish there was some Turn-To, but everything else looks good, Why not?  I Can't Wait...

23 Apr 2013 8:25 PM
Scott's Rail

Check out Revolutionary's work at CD, Didn't see much terra ferma coming off his hooves. Like a dancer on clouds.  Overanalyze skipped along almost as well.   Can't wait for Steve's on-site observations...

23 Apr 2013 8:30 PM

Skipping to the Belmont, the last 11 of 13 winners had Princequillo on the broodmare sire's female line and/or the tail female line. Therefore, my picks are Revolutionary, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, Orb, and Black Onyx, of course not necessarity in that order.  Baffert says that Govenor Charlie is doing great and is a go.  Also, Orb doesn't fit my pedigree standards, but I like him very much. I will have to narrow it down a bit, but I really like these horses.  

23 Apr 2013 8:34 PM

steve-i agree with most of your horse placements in the top 12 and the great comments. the only one i cant see in there is oxbow. no winning dam, subpar average winning distance in his cross numbers and no distance numbers in his dosage profile plus all the excuses for not performing. he looks like a rabbit for will take charge and along with goldencents should insure an honest pace. most of all i never bet on boxers or jockeys coming back from retirement. this one i have finishing DFL.

23 Apr 2013 8:51 PM

Racingfan - use mass transit, bus or taxi. Get there early although no coffee at the concessions. If sitting in the bleachers, dress comfortable and bring a seat cushion. Bet early, lines get extremely long as the day goes on. Tiring day in the elements, sunblock and Mint Juleps will get you through the day.

23 Apr 2013 8:53 PM

There are so many ways to go. I just read every post and the two most important things are Weather & Post Positive. We'll have another chat May 2nd, more will be revealed.....

I love all the comments, Thank you

Last word: I don't think we've seen Verrazano's best. We may not see it May 4th, but if we do, Lights Out!

23 Apr 2013 9:03 PM
Indiana Johnny

I'll be mixing up some several 30 cent supers, and a couple larger ones. Each horse has its own pros and cons, you can shoot holes in any if you look hard enough. The winner has to be good that day, and lucky, avoid traffic, and get bumped around and 20 times the dirt kicked in his face.Its a cavalary charge. I'll drop any horse in post 1 and maybe 2.

one super may look like this:

Goldenscents and itsmyluckyday over Gold., I.M.L.D, Orb, Javas War over Orb, Javas war, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Normandy Invasion over javas war, Rev., Overanalyze, Normandy Invasion and Black Onyx.

In one super, I got to squeeze in Charming Kitten somewhere, his name sounds like one where you and your buddy look at each other after the race and say " who"? Charming Kitten ! lol

23 Apr 2013 9:06 PM

I love to see these late blooming Horses as well. MyLute/Frac Daddy.

I don't think Palice Malice will have enough with the energy used already. remember, Curlin is my all time favorite Horse and he broke from the #4 hole and had a bad trip and came in 3rd...........

23 Apr 2013 9:08 PM

To all you Java War backers do you believe he can overcome his lazy starts?

Spotting a field 2 lenghts at the start is a lot to over come.

Best I can do with this horse is play him at the bottom of my exotics 3rd and 4th place.

23 Apr 2013 9:08 PM


Do you have seats or are you doing General Admission/Infield?

1. Get there early

2. Get your bets down early, especially if you're doing GA.  The lines get horrendous as the Derby gets closer.

3. If you're in the grandstand, you must visit the Infield and do the walk around.  Be sure and wear shades so no one can see what you're looking at.

4. Visit the Paddock for at least one race, what a scene, and you must have a Mint Julep in your hand while in the paddock area.

Enjoy your day! I'm jealous!

23 Apr 2013 9:13 PM


Almost forgot THE most important thing for the first time Derby goer.  You must bet the winner, be sure you get that right. (Orb)

23 Apr 2013 9:21 PM
Little Bill

Racingfan, If your on the infield you might not see a horse all day, enjoy the party. I would make my bets online before leaving the room. Tablet,laptop, or wager on your phone. Have fun.

23 Apr 2013 10:18 PM
The Pope

Hey Steve, I am still scratching my head you have Revolutionary on top. If Javier Castellano was the rider I would understand, but Calvin Borel has never ridden this colt. I think he'll need to pull another Bo-rail skimming ride to win. Good luck and good riddance!

23 Apr 2013 10:20 PM

 Leaving out our previous long discussions of post positions, here are a few other late thoughts.

 Does actually having links to the “BHXFG”--Big Heart ‘X” Factor Gene,--strains matter regarding ‘breeding for distance and stamina as some of us do believe that it does?  Or, can “breeding come from anywhere”, as Steve Haskin’s once stated regarding a Derby entry to a Derby winner ????

 Notably them,re this year's crop:

  those with “0” links to any “BHXFG” strains include: “Normandy’s Invasion” & “Java’s War”; and …

  those with the most links to the “BHXFG” strains include: “Black Onyx”--9 Xs--& “Verrazano’--8 Xs--.

 Does age matter?: “Verrazano”, foal date, -1/27/10, will be the oldest.

                              “My Lute”, foal date, -5/26/10 will be the youngest.

 And, regarding the “Storm Cat Curse”,--where no “Storm Cat” bred horse has yet gone on to win the Kentucky Derby”,--this year “Storm Cat” hopefuls will be heavily out-numbered,--c. 4-1 or slightly lighter,--as only 5 of 20 likely entries thus far will have “Storm Cat” breeding. “Storm Cat’s” hopes will thusly now then lie only with: “Govenor Charlie”, via dam side “Silverbulletway”; …“Verrazano”, via dam side “Enchanted Rock”; …“Vyjack”, via sire side “Into Mischief”; … “Falling Sky”, via sire side “Tale of the Cat”: …and by “Goldencents”, also via sire side “Into Mischief”. {{And, possibly by “Winning Cause”, who is actually dbl. bred to “Storm Cat” via sire side, “Giant’s Causeway” and on the dam side through “Touch of Truth”.  [[Wow ‘Slew’ , see I found one finally!! …lol…

  Just some points to ponder.

  In any event, Good Luck to All with your picks, plays, and whatever type of bets you chose, come the first Saturday in May for the “greatest two minutes in sports”.

23 Apr 2013 11:15 PM

In comparing the two horses, Govenor Charlie's and Midnight Lucky's races at Sunland, I would have to say I would give Midnight Lucky the nod as the better looking race. I would place very little importance on Gov's track record, as the track was lightning fast that day. Throw in the foot issue with Gov and you have a throw out in the Derby.

23 Apr 2013 11:38 PM

Baring any post an/or track position issues, I've personally decided to go with the following in a few  tri-boxes hoping for longer odds.

(My Lute, Java's War, Will Take Charge, Revolutionary)

(My Lute, Java's War, Will Take Charge, Orb)

(My Lute, Java's War, Will Take Charge, Itsmyluckyday

Obviously I'd love for the first 3 to take it down and cash all three tri-boxes.

Who knows....NOBODY until it's all over!  


24 Apr 2013 12:30 AM


I see you are making a case for Overanalyze ahead of Revolutionary. Overanalyze was beaten 7L by s/Bobby; 8L by Uncaptured and 4L by Vyjack.

Revolutionary worst loss came at the hooves of Orb and that was by 41/4L after he walked out of the gates. Running away from Frac Daddy is not sufficient for this colt to be considered a serious Derby horse.

You should have made a case for Goldencents since he is ranked 8th. Since breaking his maiden on debut at 51/2F, he has contested 5 graded races with the following record (5 starts 3-1-0). The zero represents a 4th place finish in the San Felipe.

He has never finished off the board and his worst loss came at hooves of S/Booby in the G1 Champagne.

Overanalyze contested his first G1 in his 7th start after conversing 43.5F in his previous 6 starts. Goldencents made his G1 debut at 8F after only one start that covered 51/2F.  Cheese to Chalk! I think yes.

Irrespective of his perceived stamina limitation, having him ranked at 8th represents a gross disservice to the talented colt. Many eventual Derby winners had suspect stamina but prevailed on class and speed.

The two in combination are potent weapons to have in the quest for thoroughbred supremacy.

24 Apr 2013 7:27 AM


Java’s War was 13L behind Verrazano at one point in the TBD. He closed to get within 3L at the finish. Normandy Invasion was 6L behind Verrazano at one point in the Wood. He closed to get within 3/4L at the finish.

Java’s War contested the TBD after 15 weeks away from the races in what was his 3YO debut. It is very likely that the small colt might have needed the race to eliminate some rust.  The winner Verrazano was making his 3rd start in 2013 and would have been much sharper.

Normandy Invasion was making his 2nd start in 2013 in the Wood and would have been much sharper than Java’s War. He had the easier task of closing 6L on Verrazano and failed.

Both Java’s War and Normandy Invasion are May foals as compared to Verrazano who is an enormous January foal. The smaller and less fit of the two May foals closed 10L of a 13L gap and the bigger and fitter of the May foals closed 51/4L of a 6L gap.

Which of the two do you think you should be focused on?

24 Apr 2013 7:52 AM

Johnny, 2 lengths isn't that bad.

24 Apr 2013 8:03 AM

Coldfacts I never implied anything about Footbridges ability,what I DID imply was that I hoped that he was scratched because I KNEW your streak of 4th place finishes would end, and then I couldnt structure a Super ticket on your Derby pick Revolutionary keyed in 4th.

Footbridge was not advanced enough to run in that field, as for the future it is possible he will get better as the year progresses.

As for sons,grandsons etc it seems to me you are taking the long way around the block to pick a winna.

Use Steves simpler approach when for instace he states this colt has a lot of sprinters on his-----side.

24 Apr 2013 8:33 AM

Unlike the filly, I have a 'limited budget'. I am playing just these 5 boxed in exotics:

Black Onyx

Java's War




And with Zarvona's information, a Mylute-Verrazano exacta for S&G.

24 Apr 2013 8:35 AM

Predict the sire Midnight Lute is on a streak right now so if you include Midnight Lucky and disinclude Govenor Charlie you could be making a mistake.

I hope Midnight Lucky runs well but dosent win, and I would like to see a blowout workout(I saw bullets on his PPs) by GC to include him prominently on my exotic tickets the odds should be good.

24 Apr 2013 8:41 AM

Thanks for the tips JIMF552, Trackjack and Fugue.  I am going on the trip as a "tour package" that takes us to some farms, Keenland, Kentucky Horse Park and then the Oaks and Derby.  I have grandstand seats.  So, do I understand from the comments that you do not have to wait until near post time to place a bet for each race?  You can bet early in the day for the later races...?   I do want to visit the paddock but is it crazy crowded there?  I am a little nervous I may get lost, LOL.

24 Apr 2013 9:47 AM
Rusty Weisner


Verrazano will not go off at 9/5.  He will be around 4-1 or better.  Those who like him will get good odds.  

24 Apr 2013 10:03 AM
Rusty Weisner


McPeek had good stuff at good odds in the Belmont last year.  

24 Apr 2013 10:04 AM


You are correct in your commentary about Shug.  Shug is never excited, in fact, you can never really tell how he feels about about a horse leading into a race most of the time.  What's scary is that Orb has made him excited.  When Orb won his allowance race at Gulf Shug was looking for a non winners of 3 other than for the next start.  He did not want to run in the FOY stakes.  He didn't really commit to that race until the Monday work previous to the race, which is one of the reasons Rosario did not ride him.  He was pleasantly surprised by him winning and going on to win the Florida Derby as well.

With that being said, this all means that Orb has made Shug a believer and has probably not been this excited since Easy Goer.  Like Charlie Whittingham, Shug is not one to bring a horse to the Derby unless he is there to win and Orb is the right horse.  We all know that there are some horses entered that have no chance but are entered because their connections have "Derby Fever".  This is not the case for the connections for Orb.

24 Apr 2013 10:08 AM
Rusty Weisner


Who says Rosie Napravnik affects the show pool?  Are you sure about that?  I bet it only affects the win pool.  I'm sure it doesn't affect exotics.

24 Apr 2013 10:11 AM
Rusty Weisner

A lot of people here like Will Take Charge.

24 Apr 2013 10:26 AM

Indiana Johnny,

Agree with you about Charming Kitten,:D .......any idea who will ride him if he gets in the Derby.

24 Apr 2013 10:50 AM

Looks like Frac Daddy could be McPeeking for the Derby! I also can't wait to see Lines of Battle, he should not be the automatic toss ,so many think he is.....

 Looks like a Frac Daddy, Oxbow, Vyjack, Lines of Battle box.

24 Apr 2013 11:01 AM
It aint easy being good!

Alot of bloggers on here are saying that palace malice needs rest and will be a tired horse come May. I disagree! Curlin ran 3 races in the span of 7 weeks the last race was a taxing 1 1/2 where he finished 2nd by a nose. If you you think Palace Malice will be tired your dead wrong. I could see him getting 2nd or 3rd a good price. Remember Haskins stated he thought PM would of beat his #1 horse had he been given a decent trip in the Louisiana Derby. Comes back and runs on synthetic and gets 2nd.....DADDY ran and finished 4th. PM is a potential monster! More food for thought when Curlin finished 3rd he was facing 2 great horses in Hard Spun and Street Sense. With no world beaters in this years derby dont sleep on PM at the windows! Who you can sleep on is Tom's Vyjack!

24 Apr 2013 11:17 AM
Rusty Weisner


Just think of how impressive it would have been if he'd lost thirty lengths at the start and made up twenty-five.  He'll have that chance in the Derby.

24 Apr 2013 11:39 AM

Come on breeding people!!!! Are you really trying to pick the derby, off breeding? When does that work? still dont "get" the fact, it takes 1 or 2 good horses to change the "breeding"....i.e. if normandy wins, now his breeding will be great.......and the wackos talking about the x thing....that this horse, or that horse doesnt "have" is a common sense flaw.....normandy , as an example.........HE ALREADY IS VERY GOOD!!!!!!!!! DOES IT MATTER NOW?  he lost by less than a length, to the go on the wrong things! Some of you pick mdns.....horses that cant win minor preps.......THIS IS THE DERBY!

24 Apr 2013 11:47 AM

RIP Storm Cat.

No dissing him today, OK?

24 Apr 2013 11:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

Racingfan -

I didn't go back to Native Dancer because I wasn't sure how to count Dancer's Image. Heck, one could go back to Phalaris and then all the Tom Fool, Nearco, and Polynesian sire-line horses would be included in one, overwhelming sire-line.

Note: Dancer's Image was the horse I picked to win on the day; I lived in a non-racing state and had not discovered the DRF or that TBs had pedigrees yet, so I went with the pretty grey.

As to going to the Derby -

Go to the Churchill Downs website and study carefully their restrictions on what they will or will not allow onto the grounds. I had to give up a perfectly good (if cheap) umbrella when I went to the BC in 2000. And after the Boston bombings, they have added even more restrictions.

24 Apr 2013 12:25 PM
Linda in Texas

Trackjack - funny funny No. 3 suggestion to Racingfan. I can only imagine and to discuss it would be Rated XXX. Spoken from a true Kentucky Derby attendee as you are. And if Racingfan is married, at least he will get to ride home in the same vehicle that got him there!

Must mention Storm Cat today especially. I dreaded this day and worried about him. His contribution to this sport is endless and his name will live on forever, however long that is. So Rest in Peace Storm Cat and enjoy your paddock in the wild blue yonder. And thank you for the memories, job well done for sure.

24 Apr 2013 12:34 PM
Pedigree Ann

On the cover of the 13April issue of the Blood-Horse is a photo of the finish of the Wood Memorial.

On the foreleg cannon bones of Verrazano, showing up well against his dark points, are a number of small white dots, arranged in regular columns. Anybody know why they are there?

24 Apr 2013 12:41 PM

Storm Cat has passed without leaving his mark on the Kentucky Derby.Or should I write yet.

24 Apr 2013 12:44 PM

I Listen IWIB

Is this a similar wagering strategy to the one you used last year to make the big haul you wrote about on here.

I know that if you are not betting a lot of money in the tri and super pools you need A LOT OF LUCK.Do you care to enlighten us.

24 Apr 2013 12:47 PM
Melissa P

Am I the only one who thinks Verrazano's running style (body position, leg motion, etc.) are very similar to AP Indy in his day? There's something there that really reminds me of Indy at his best.

24 Apr 2013 2:19 PM

Indiana Johnny there are no 10 cent supers on the Kentucky Derby unless you are betting on a site that allows this.

24 Apr 2013 2:29 PM


When Goldencents entered the G1 Champagne he made one start in a MSW.

24 Apr 2013 2:40 PM


Your right 2 lengths is not that bad in the Bluegrass.

In the Derby I don't want anything to go wrong with my horse.Breaking slow is not good.

To ask this horse to pass 19 other horses in a race that is showing a very fair pace going how wide coming for home.

He will be coming at the end no doubt but I will not play him any higher than 3rd.

I am predicting a race with a very similar pace scenario as the year Animal Kingdom won.

Good Luck

P.S I still have a few days to change my mind.

Mr.Hasken could play a role in that,no pressure Steve.

24 Apr 2013 2:50 PM

Steve, I know this is off topic, but I hope you do one of your brilliant pieces on Storm Cat.

I feel like I knew this horse all my life and was very sad to hear of his death today.

24 Apr 2013 3:19 PM
El Kabong


More important than his slow start, I hope Java's war draws an inside post, even the dreaded one post. Having to come across the field to find the rail is a bigger worry for us Java fans. He's the type of horse that doesn't get running until he's put in 6F's so the break isn't as much of concern as an outside post which does add unnecessary distant for a horse that plans to trail the field anyway.  An outside post and a bad break would not be good.I think you are smart to key him to hit the board as I have no doubt he will. He is bred to love the increase in distance and that surely is and advantage given his running style. He reminds me more of Zenyatta in style than he does say a Dullahan. From my research, about 13-15 horses in the field finish 10 lengths behind the winner=didn't want the distance. This guy is not one of them.

24 Apr 2013 3:43 PM
tom mallios


what i mean by super top.he ran a 7 in his allowance race.then he ran a 1 in the FOY.then he ran a -2 on fla. derby race.just a statement that has proven to be correct over the years.there is to much improvent within a short span.especially when he wass not that fast as a 2yo.vyjack on the other hand paired 1's.they represent tops.he ran a 2 as a he still has room potentially to develop.where is orb going to go, to a -3.that would be the fastest derby in history.if you feel he can do that.then empty your pockets and find loan officers rhat will issue to you a major credit line.i have been using sheets a long time.i am not one that follows patterns religiously.i believe every horse is an individual.i treat them that way.with orb,i do not think he is good enough to do that.especially since his 2 monster races were over the same track.i am skeptical about that.but i am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say it is has nothing to do with value.before i play any race.the first question i ask myself is.if all horses were the same odds.who would i play? if the answer i get is the horse i do not like the odds on.then i either try to put him in exotics.if that does not make sense.i pass.there is no law that says you have to try and beat every chalk. for those not familiar with sheets.assuming no ground loss or scale weight.1 length and a half at a mile or over represents 1 orb between jan and end of march developed 1bout 13 lengths.great, but i do not think he can go forward.the other thing is,when they react negatively.we have no clue how far back they can go.especially when the are trying a distance they never went before

24 Apr 2013 6:40 PM

Midnight Lute never ran further then 8.5 furlongs. Do not see, Mylute, handling the derby distance.  Oxbow and Stevens at a nice price.

24 Apr 2013 7:02 PM

Coldfacts, you make valid points when comparing Normandy Invasion with Java's War. However, CB is puting more speed into Normandy Invasion so the projection of these 2 colts by the first Saturday in May is difficult to judge. As well, Normandy Invasion is a 'light' horse so the conditioning is softly, softly. CB, has the art to achieve the peak performance at the right time. Time will tell.

With regards to Verrazano, I expect him to be promiant up to 9 - 9.5 f. then to flatten out.

24 Apr 2013 7:35 PM

Chief, yes Govenor Charlie is a really nice horse; I can't leave him out of my wagering.  Revolutionary, Black Onyx, Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Orb; are such thoughtfully and beautifully bred horses.  I hope that they all continue to train well.  

24 Apr 2013 7:47 PM
Indiana Johnny

Has anybody heard what Steve's schedule will be at Churchill Downs ? I thought I'd seen where he arrives 9 days out, maybe tomorrow Thur.? I couldn't remenber if Steve does daily reports/videos on the horses from the track. Thanks and good luck all.

24 Apr 2013 8:15 PM


“Footbridge was not advanced enough to run in that field”

I wonder if you seriously believe the above.

Was Goldencent advance enough to contest the G1 Champagne against S/Booby after one start at 51/2F?

Was Nehro advance enough to contest the G2 LA & AK Derbies with only a MSW victory in his credit?

Was Dullahan advance enough when he contested and won the G1 Breeder Futurity as a maiden?

Was Paddy O Prado Dullahan advance enough when he contested and won the G3 Palm Beach Breeder Futurity as a maiden?

Footbridge ran one of the worst races of his career on a surface he was racing on for the first time and you attribute his poor performance to him not being advance.

Do you realize that six times winner Uncaptured finished 10th and that was the worst race of his career? West Hill Giant the runner up in the Gotham made his Synthetic debut in the Bluegrass. His 12th place finish was the worst of his career.

I suspect those horses were also not advance enough for that field.

24 Apr 2013 9:01 PM

Rusty Weisner--

Re: The Oaks/Woodford/Derby pick 3:

Wise Dan worked a bullit today and Charlie Lo Presti made no mention of the Woodford, seems to be pointing to the Stephen Foster on 6/15 as he had mentioned after the win in the Makers 46 Mile.

Oaks: Midnight Lucky

     Close Hatches

Woodford: single Point of Entry (Best Bet of the day)

Derby: Orb

Good Luck  

24 Apr 2013 9:28 PM


Lost one of the greats with the passing of Storm Cat.  Watched him closely as a 2 y.o. especially because of the the Secretariat blood from Terlingua.  Vividly remember the post parade of that second Breeders Cup Juvenile at Aqueduct in 1985.  He looked so good and ran like it, just getting nipped by Tasso.  What a great racehorse and an even more renowned sire.

RIP Storm Cat.  

24 Apr 2013 9:43 PM

I'm rooting for Golden Soul.  The longer distance of the Derby should help him.  Hopefully the Belmont Stakes is on his calendar too.  I'd love to see him win that one!

24 Apr 2013 10:19 PM

There was a buzz on the backstretch at Churchill today.  It seems that Charming Kitten, taking on the role of "Chicken Little" went flitting about announcing that the "sky was falling, the sky was falling!"  He came upon LuckyDay, or Ducky Lucky and told him, "we must go tell the King, the sky is falling."  So they went on and came upon Henny Penny, played by Palace Malice, who's name already rhymes.  The three set out to warn the King when they came upon Revolutionary.  He set them straight and told them it was just the arrival of Falling Sky who is in the race with them and not to worry that it just meant the pace steps up a bit.  Moral of the story is pace could make this race, or everything is not as bad as it sounds, or don't count your chickens before they are hatched!

24 Apr 2013 10:23 PM

I am starting to think that Goldencents will be this years Bodiemiester.

Who catches him down the stretch?

24 Apr 2013 10:42 PM

I know everyone wants to know who will win the Derby... I decided to let everyone know despite the threats from the bookmakers in Vegas.  Java's War wins the Derby !

24 Apr 2013 11:13 PM

Will Take Charge

Normandy Invasion


If this!

24 Apr 2013 11:28 PM

There will be two horses contesting the 2013 Kentucky Derby that both have one victory to their credit.

They each recorded a victory in a MSW race.

Can either Normandy Invasion or Palace Malice duplicate the winning effort of fellow MSW winner Giacomo?

Will either come up short like Nehro who entered the Derby with a MSW victory as well?

The first Triple Crown winner was a maiden when he won the first leg.

In what was his first start as a 3YO he wired the Derby field.

Do not be harsh on maidens or maiden winners as the terms merely refer to the status of a horses and do not denote the extend of their abilities.

25 Apr 2013 2:44 AM
El Kabong


you are right about Goldencents being very dangerous on the front end. I don't think O'Neil cares what anyone else does, Krigger will be looking to achieve his own pace by getting Goldencents to relax in the initial going as much as possible but he'll have a tough time slowing down to the pace the others have been running. If the pace is running 110 to 111 at the 3/4 and 136+ at the mile, he'll be leading by the 1/8th. Even if he comes home in 26 for the last 2f's, he'll beat this crowd. I like his cruising speed and Krigger looks to have control of the switch when he needs more. He must be patient and not be concerned by anyone trying to get the jump to soon.  The big pace factor could be Oxbow. They know he has no chance running off the pace it failed in Ark and Stevens is vert capable of pace management. I think these two will be out front. Very crucial piece of the puzzle revolves around what happens here. I'll bet two scenarios for sure and Java figures well in the other.

I'm going to go throw up now that the foolish one has returned touting my horse, if indeed it is him. Seemed a bit cordial for the Dray I remember. Of course the Bloodhorse staff could confirm that though? Thanks.

25 Apr 2013 5:57 AM
Mike from Michigan

Rest in peace Colonial Affair, you gave us all many amazing moments in your career.  I will never forget watching him in the Belmont and Julie making history that day.  We will miss ya fella.

25 Apr 2013 7:34 AM

Rusty Weisner Will Take Charge dosent like to run in the rain.If the sky crys toss WTC.

25 Apr 2013 8:21 AM

Pedigree Ann- I haven't seen the photo but it sounds like a pinfire pattern.  (I thought we had discontinued that practice?)

25 Apr 2013 9:30 AM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks.  I'd prefer Point of Entry even if Wise Dan were in the race.  I'll still look around for a horse who will try to steal it, like Little Mike and Get Stormy in the last two editions.  But I don't relish the thought of betting against Point of Entry, particularly as he's already got one race under his belt in this year's campaign.  Last one would have been the time to trying playing against him, and that wouldn't have worked out.

I may play the Pick5 like a Pick 4, with him as one of my singles.

Thanks for the Oaks recommendation.  I really have no idea on this one, as they haven't gone head to head or even raced much.  It'd behoove me (hey, that would come in handy in puns around here) to watch the replays.  I liked Summer Applause last year, but the track didn't come up right for her style.

I like Orb and Palice Malice.

25 Apr 2013 10:07 AM
It aint easy being good!

Yes KT VET is back! Who do you like for the derby or are you going to tell us next week? Hopefully its not Normandy Invasion have you seen him he looks like skeletor! That horse needs to eat!

25 Apr 2013 10:20 AM
Sam Santschi

Realizing that he is out of favor but I seem to remember in of Beyer's columns or books reading that a horse that pairs their figure (Orb) will move forward again next time out.  Makes him a must use in any exotics. KISS, right?  I remember making all the manner of crazy bets in the FL Derby and the most logical outcome happened.  

25 Apr 2013 10:43 AM

Post Position, Weather and if there is a surprise Horse that goes outfront as the Pace and throws everything off. If that happens, this could the biggest Trifecta in Derby history!! Can you imagine Horses coming into their own on 5/4/13 and having the Pace breakdown and having so many that come from off the pace and a possible slow pace...It could be the Prefect 'Exacta/Trifecta' Storm

25 Apr 2013 11:48 AM
Love 'em all

zarvona (4/23) -

Re:  Age matter?

Mylute was foaled Feb. 26th - not May 26th.  Golden Soul foaled May 14th - is the youngest.

There are four foaled in May (from DD list 4/23):

Palace Malice and Normandy Invasion - May 2nd

Java's War -  May 4th

Golden Soul - May 14th

25 Apr 2013 12:33 PM
Shoe Board Sal

Lastest revision of my derby picks:

1-Verrazano- The more I think about it, his Wood was just perfect.  You have to leave something in the tank.    

2-Will Take Charge-  Went back & watched the Rebel again and his late burst was pretty amazing.  

3-  Normandy Invasion-As Davids noted, Brown has gone pretty lightly on him in bringing him up to the Derby.  So you're left projecting quite a bit, but I really like this one, and he may wind up my top pick.  

4-Lines of Battle- Yeah, I wish he were at CD already, but O'Brien has won how many hundreds of millions of $$ by running horses off the plane?  This thing is a very strong stayer, who knows how he'll handle the track, but with all the knee-jerk skepticism, he should be 35-1 easy.  So the price will make up for the uncertainty, IMO.

5- Java's War-  Was my top pick a few weeks ago, but the more I look at it, the more clear it is that he's going to have to pass 17 or 18 horses to win this thing.  The traffic makes him more of a backwheel.    

25 Apr 2013 1:37 PM

Pedigree Ann,

In looking at close up pictures taken of Verrazano he appears to have pin fire scars on BOTH front shins. (I have seen these pictures posted at the Pedigree Inquiry site posted by a fan who took them in the paddock before one of his races).

However, it is hard to trust pictures on the internet, as they are so easy to photoshop.

Hopefully Steve can find out for us if these scars actually exist and find out if the colt has a history of physical issues.

I really like Orb, Revolutionary, and Black Onyx, but am waiting to read Steven's reports before I make up my mind on which colts to root for. His eyes and ears on the ground are literally priceless.

25 Apr 2013 2:01 PM

A stalker will win the Derby this year NOT a stone cold closer.

25 Apr 2013 5:59 PM

El Kabong:

I Believe you are overlooking Falling Sky in the pace scenario.

I say he is the first to fall.

Goldencents will finish in the money just got that feeling,very valid point regarding the jock and derby nerves.

My win horses right now are Orb,WTC,Vyjack. Unless it rains then WTC is a toss.

All reports are saying NI is presenting the best right now.

This horse may go of at less than 10-1.

I know this I am expecting some very nice payouts.

Hello my name is Johnny and I'm an addict.  

25 Apr 2013 6:19 PM

Racing fan - there couldn't be a better place to get lost, enjoy!

Tom Mallios - thanks for the detailed explanation, appreciate it.

Davids - I agree, the More than Ready breeding will show up when they hit the lane.

25 Apr 2013 7:07 PM
Pedigree Ann

Well, the picture I saw was published on the cover of the Blood-Horse and I doubt they have any need or reason to photo-shop anything. It is a long-lens close-up of the two horses, Verrazano and Normandy Invasion filling the page, with Vyjak's jock looking like is on JV's back. White dots are quite distinct.

25 Apr 2013 7:10 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Sal -

Who's going to be behind Java's War after a 1/4, a 1/2 ?  That one is to be used on the bottom of supers and high 5's - nothing more.

25 Apr 2013 7:12 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Coldfacts -

When will you stop comparing 2 yr old MSW winers going into and winning 2 yr old stakes races and MSWs facing stakes experience colts in the spring of their 3 yo season ?  Two year old stake races for the most part glorified Alw1x races.

When will you stop comparing MSW winners with horses that have just a MSW win but which have competed successfully against Graded competition?

While repeating something over and over worked for Dorothy, it doesn't work in t'bred handicapping.

25 Apr 2013 7:26 PM

I have heard a few comments on lack of pace...I think that is ridiculous.  Verrazano, Goldencents, Govenor Charlie, Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, and Falling Sky all set up the race for a mid pack closer like Mylute, Overanalyze, Orb, or Black Onyx .  It all depends on post and just which one gets the first jump!  

Good luck to all!!   Especially my Strike the Gold  horse from the female family of the four I mentioned!!   Mylute****

25 Apr 2013 7:47 PM


What section are you in?

First Post both days is 11am.  Betting windows open about 10:15am.  You can bet any race at any time.  Unless you like to see them in the paddock and in the post parade and then go bet,(which I normally would), get your bets done early, especially Derby Day.  You can then enjoy the day and cash out anytime.  Would suggest early Friday to walk around and familiarize yourself with the plant and your seating.  The staff at CD is very helpful and will get you back to your seat.  Try the Paddock earlier (2nd-3rd race) on Derby Day.  Who knows, you may enjoy it and stay awhile. You might even see Ted from LA with his fiend sherpa carrying his bags.  But it will get more crowded as the day goes on.  Not to fear the crowds, it's part of the Derby experience.  You must visit the Infield on Derby Day.  It's a unique slice of Americana.  Be sure you're in your seats for the Derby walkover and Post Parade and have your lyrics ready for 'My Old Kentucky Home', we need to hear you on TV.

Your trip sounds like a dream come true.  I'm glad for you. Enjoy!

Pedigree Ann--

My first live Derby was 1968 and I also had Dancer's Image.  I caught a fever that day, still can't skake it.

Linda in Texas--

Good to hear from you.  If I remember correctly, you've never been to a Derby?  The Infield may have its wilder side at times but doable. It's truly a unique American experience, one day out of the year.

Of all the works I've been able to see, Revolutionary looks the best with Normandy Invasion next.  By the way, not only posts some daily works but also has live works every morning fro 8-9am., repeating for an hour or so after.  With the harrowing after 8am., they show the Derby and Oaks horses at 8:30am.  Still waiting to see how Orb looks on the track.


Patiently waiting for your reports.  No pressure, though.  Really interested in your take on how Verrazano and Java's War are doing.  With the inclusion of Falling Sky, a very honest pace is setting up with Verrazano, Goldencents and Oxbow with Itsmyluckyday and Palace Malice setting just off.  Orb looks better and better.

Orb, Revolutionary, Java's War, Verrazano, Normandy Invasion.  

25 Apr 2013 7:48 PM

Steve : Is this your last list ?  Or are you going to have another one after watching the workouts ?  There's one horse I'm waiting for you to comment when the workouts starts, hopefully you'll get to watch that horse, if not, I'll drop him.

Also, now that the field is pretty much set barring any injuries (i do hope everyone on the current list gets to start healthy), would love to hear your opinion on the points system.

Thanks for doing this every year, it's great to see different opinions whenever you publish your derby dozen.

25 Apr 2013 9:38 PM
Age of Reason

There are a lot of guys and gals who’ve posted on here in the last month or so who should give themselves a hand or a pat on the back; I’ve always had a personal policy of not commenting on internet boards and threads unless I had something original or unique to contribute to the discussion, and it’s a great tribute to the many analytical minds on this site that since the final round of Derby preps, every possible angle I’d been able to think of had already been covered by the time I thought to post it. This isn’t the most star-studded group of three year olds we’ve ever seen, for sure (Big Brown’s year is now starting to look pretty strong by comparison), and like many of you I’m probably farther away from landing on a pick than I’ve ever been at this time in previous years; although, El Kabong, we can now eliminate Java’s War from any serious consideration (Apollo’s Curse has nothing on Draynay’s [grin]). Though it seems many recent Derby lead-ups have figured debates similar to the ones this year on old traditions versus changing times, this year seems to be a real epic standoff between, on the one hand, good old-timey traditionalism making its last stand with Orb and others, and the new-blood tradition-breakers on the other hand like Verrazano, who will surely start as favorite. I see tradition staying alive this year. Sure, Verrazano is brilliant and probably the only potential superstar in the group, and for the record I have him on my 6-horse short list; but horse racing is too much of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game, and Verrazano may not realize who he’s dealing with; say what you want to about this being a slow crop, but I have too much respect for a lot of these old masters (McGaughey, Stevens, the Janneys, Lukas, Borel), and those like Chad Brown who’ve learned from them, to count tradition out completely. But then again, I was born in the last century so what do I know… Anyway, with about 8 days and 20 hours ‘til post time, here’s what I’ve got: (1) Orb, (2) Normandy Invasion, (3) Verrazano, (4) Oxbow,  (5) Revolutionary, and (6) Palace Malice.

25 Apr 2013 9:58 PM

Javas war this years dullahan?

25 Apr 2013 10:31 PM
Greg R

Comments listed in your order.   1. Revolutionary - To me, War Pass on top seems untrustworthy for the Derby.  Could prove me wrong.

2. Orb - Logical.  Hard to argue.

3. Verrazano - Has all the natural tools; would prefer if he had more racing background.

4. Overanalyze - Was my "sneaky" longshot pick.  Now he's no longer under the radar!

5. Normandy - Red herring.  Someday, a Tapit may win Derby...not this one.

6. Palace Malice - I say this with no malice:  Someday, he will make a good grass miler.

7. It'smyluckyday - I'd be pleased for Plesa.  Good chance he can run back to those earlier 3-yr-old wins. Re: Fla Derby:  Not every effort can or should be a top-level one.

8. Golden Cents - My two cents worth: He can't measure out his speed in the excitement of Derby conditions and big field, whether he's on the lead or not.

9. Vyjack - Fun, intriguing horse and trainer for me.  Can he reproduce Gotham move at the end of mile and a quarter?  I say POSSIBLE!

10. Java's War - Another War Pass.

11. Oxbow - Oh, please, oh, please, save ground for once!!!!!! As a sophomore, he's been near top of my list right along.

12. My Lute - Probably has better shot than this ranking allows.

MY CANDIDATE FOR "BEST GROW-UP POTENTIAL": WILL TAKE CHARGE.  Seven weeks don't bother me; might be just the ticket for this individual.  With more frequent races, horses never get the chance to work long.

Wasn't going to go blow by blow, but since I'm probably the last one to comment, what the heck?

25 Apr 2013 11:51 PM

it aint easy....i have 200 on normandy.....17 to i get 3600.....had flashback also...both were perfectly set up......1 got unlucky injury..........light horse? like an ethiopian long distance runner? i'll take him.......

26 Apr 2013 12:08 AM

One race scenario I can see is the two War Pass colts taking the field from the two extreme sides.  Calvin gears Rev to the rail inside and if Java's War likes to hang back Zenyatta style he may have to go wide to circle the field on the far outside, ergo the field is surrounded by those two, with a stalking Orb, Lucky, Verrazano, and a retreating Falling Sky somewhere up front.  There are so many what ifs though.  I can't wait to see post positions and play it out on the Timeform oval.

26 Apr 2013 12:16 AM

duchess interseting post about Verrazano bringing in another element of doubt for some Kentucky Derby bettors,as for me, Its my money and this is not an absolute endeavor(there is NOT one answer)so I go by what I SEE and my experience.

26 Apr 2013 8:35 AM
Pedigree Ann

War Pass, at least, is an unknown quantity when it comes his limitations (first foals are 3) and both the War Passes have distance blood on the distaff side.

Unbridled's Song, on the other hand, is a proven bust when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. They are either hurt in the runup to the race and can't start, or they finish up the track. Talking Songandaprayer, Buddha, Old Fashioned, Rockport Harbor, Domestic Dispute, Dunkirk, etc.

26 Apr 2013 11:39 AM
Rusty Weisner


Java's War is definitely this year's Dullahan, who came in third.  Like Dullahan, he's never won on dirt, and he will be too late.

26 Apr 2013 11:57 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

That's a great point about the 1 post and Java's War.

26 Apr 2013 11:58 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'll be interested in hearing the answer, but this pin-firing question reminds me of the speculation last year about I'll Have Another's radiotherapy treatments.  Uh oh.

26 Apr 2013 12:02 PM
Sail On

RIP Storm Cat. (what an awesome name!)

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that the speedsters in the Derby field can all be beat by Verrazano at any distance, no?

So the big V will tag along, then, as the closers show up, working hard, the big V will sprint to the finish????

26 Apr 2013 12:06 PM

Verrazano has been fired and his near knee looks like it has been broken.

26 Apr 2013 12:32 PM
Mike from Michigan

This year's Oaks is really loaded with a lot of talent.  My pick for the Oaks is 'Close Hatches'.  This wonderful filly will go off at a good price and I think is the 'Best Bet' at Churchill next Friday.

26 Apr 2013 1:20 PM
Mister Frisky

Hi Steve,Hope your at Churchill.Look forward to your opinion of Black Onyx.All the RH Tens are good looking,just need to know what his action looks like over the track.Thanks.

26 Apr 2013 2:15 PM

Hey "Vet",

The ethiopian long distance runner analogy is all about pedigree. I see that you dont like the pedigree buffs on here but truth be told, Normandy Invasion does not have long distance pedigree ...he'll just about get the distance but if another good colt looks him in the eye he wont get by.

The Kentucky Derby is usually about the class horse, subject to a good break from the gates, therefore look no further than Verrazano, Overanalyze, Itsmyluckyday, Will Take Charge and Orb for the winner.

Normandy Invasion, Vyjack and Goldencents are genuine Grade one calibre horse up to nine furlongs but beyond that they'll be exposed in a truly run race.

Falling Sky appears to be coming to be the "pace police" to ensure a honest pace but he'd better be honest himself because "Big V" piloted by Johnny V can take the race by the scruff of the neck from early and do a disappearing act on the front end.

Nobody talking about the Kentucky Oaks? Thats going to be a humdinger ...Dreaming of Julia by a city block ... in a fast time (subject to track conditions of course). Her closest rivals are very good fillies and could also hold their own in a race like this year's Derby. Stay tuned.

26 Apr 2013 2:20 PM

A.A.E.P. (Equine Practitioners) as amended in 2006:

"Thermocautery may have therapeutic value for certain conditions in the horse. When applied judiciously and in conjunction with appropriate analgesia and aftercare, the AAEP considers the modality an acceptable form of therapy in cases that have proven refractory to conventional treatment."

Verrazano usually appears clad in Knee-Hi's, but has been caught a few times with neat double pin-firing revealed. It seems a very tight job, burns close together.

Both legs are usually done to prevent the patient from breaking down his sound leg by transferring all his weight onto it not because the problem is occurring on both.

It has been controversial for more than 100 years.

26 Apr 2013 2:25 PM
It aint easy being good!

KT VET who else do you like besides NI? Give me another horse man. I cant bet skeletor!!

26 Apr 2013 2:51 PM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

"Unbridled's Song, on the other hand, is a proven bust when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. They are either hurt in the runup to the race and can't start, or they finish up the track."

Do you think that explains the seven week layoff?

26 Apr 2013 3:44 PM

Pedigree Ann...It was brought up on Steve's FB.  Verrazano's left foreleg was pin fired when he was 2.

26 Apr 2013 5:54 PM

Ranag.....your statement that normady cant go by, is a the one race, you base this on! the remsen.....he DID go by.....just got bobbed.....any WHY did he hang? look at the HUGE move invasion did, before he hung......there was a reason! Again, just like a beginner, you love a horse off a great race....the filly.....I understand why you love her, she ran a monster are not as advanced as knock a horses' breeding that already went 1 m1/ say its his breeding that makes him skinny....he was skinny already, and ran great......just liking the horses that run great, will put you in the poor house......

26 Apr 2013 7:19 PM
El Kabong

Age of reason,

wipe that grin of your face, it's not a laughing matter. I think the appropriate phrase is.........even a nut finds a blind squirrel now and then.

26 Apr 2013 9:24 PM
Ted from LA

Overanalyze and Verrazano in a heated battle down the strech.  Has anyone seen Sherpa?  I need him Friday and Saturday.  Who's going to be there in person besides Ted from LA and Bob from Boston?  Out of the 52 weeks in the average year, this is my favorite one of all.  85% of me can't wait until Thursday, and the other 30% can't wait to see Overanalyze romping down the stretch to leave Verrazano in his dirt.

26 Apr 2013 11:42 PM

I don't think we've seen enough horses coming in from Dubai to love them or toss them.

Scat Daddy, for instance, seems to have a mind problem. He races forwardly and finishes (6 races) 1st to close 4th in half his races; in the other half he finishes last or second last.

The horse seems to chuck it if he finds at some point in the race he is unable to outrun the horses closest to him.

In the Derby he drew post one (or was given it) which all agree condemns a horse to leaving with all its got or being buried. Many doubts were expressed that DLL, coming off a typically slow Derby win at Meydan, would be in the race at all. DLL broke like a shot and led Hansen for a half, then stopped as if shot, backing out of the field in a few strides.

One thing one might take from this: Aidan O'Brien's riders can teach a horse new tricks.

27 Apr 2013 12:23 AM

"I specified the most successful sire line in Derby and Triple Crown history. In light of this, I did not restrict it to Mr. Prospector as he is one of hour sons of Raise A Native that have 15 Derby winners associate them." [Coldfacts]

Pants on Fire.

27 Apr 2013 1:10 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Have you forgotten the ill-fated Eight Belles. She was runner up to Big Brown.

Mission Impazible was 9th in a 20 horse Derby field.

Unbridled’s Song’s sire won the Derby and his dam sire Caro sired Derby winner Winning Colors. His offspring’s are indeed fragile and injury prone but when they stand up they are excellent racers. Do you remembers Distaff  winner unbridled Belle?.

Unbridled’s Song’s is from Unbridled who is by far the greatest extension of Mr. Prospector. Will Take Charge appears to be tough for a 17 hands Unbridled’s Song horse. He has a very good chance of winning the Derby.

27 Apr 2013 1:16 AM

Pedigree Ann,

I actually meant Distaff winner Unbridle Elaine.

27 Apr 2013 1:17 AM

And now for something a little different . . . on pedigrees. Let's look at Revolutionary as being inbred not to a name but to a horse.

Revolutionary: inbred to Ribot through Hoist the Flag. Inbred to one of the most vicious stallions in the breed through a stallion who inherited that temperament. Inbred to a horse who broke down in training, a champion at two who didn't make it back at three. Hoist the Flag had shocking hocks. In full stride, when his back foot hit the ground the hock sank and swivelled inward until it looked as though the lower leg was being unwound.

Ribot is my number one. For me, if Ribot's in it, it's a good pedigree. If Ribot's in it twice, that's my broodmare. But inbreeding to him? I wouldn't do it, and I wouldn't buy it. But it's only risky. No certainty.

That is why, though, some of you may have noticed, I have been measuring Revolutionary's temperament with slitted eyes. As nearly as I can tell, he has the temperament of a Jedi master and he tracks as straight as he needs to. The bullets have been dodged, he's got the best without the rest.

As important as knowing that this is rarely going to happen is recognizing it when it (rarely) does.

27 Apr 2013 1:36 AM

And btw, he'll be a magnificent sire for mares saturated with Northern Dancer but not carrying Mr. P. or RaN closer than 4 or 5.

Northern Dancer and sons nicked spectacularly with Ribot and Ribot's sons.

27 Apr 2013 2:06 AM

Plod Boy Phil,

“When will you stop comparing 2 yr old MSW winers going into and winning 2 yr old stakes races?”

Nobody likes a wise ass and this is the reason assess are not sent to school. I know I come across as wise ass in many instances but I have no option due to questions similar to one the above.

How many glorified 2YO Allowance races Secretariat and Favorite Trick won en route to HOY titles as 2YO?

It’s the Breeder Cup Juvenile glorified Allowance race?

“When will you stop comparing MSW winners with horses that have just a MSW win but which have competed successfully against Graded competition?”

My learned colleague, how do horses with just MSW victories compete successfully against Graded competition if they are not entered in said races?

Nehro broke his maiden as a 3YO and his next start was in the LA Derby where he finished second. If a colt that broke its maiden as 3YO and was entered next in a graded stake, would it be reasonable to compare it to Nehro?

I provided you with a sample list of 10 horses that broke their maidens as 3YOs and whose next starts were in graded stakes. You have clearly failed to appreciate that any comparison to similar MSW winner entering Graded stakes is appropriate.

Below is another list of 10 to support my comparison:

Bernadnin (1st), Curlin(1st) Rags To Riche(1st) Nehro(2nd), Midnight Interlude(1st), Paynter(4th), Bodemeister (2nd), American Act (2nd), Govenor Charlie(1st), Cigar Street(4th)

27 Apr 2013 2:13 AM
Monarchos Matt

While we're discussing pedigree, it bears mention that a horse with a Tomlinson Distance Figure among the top two in the field has won the past three Derbys, and 7 of the past 14. The top two figures in this year's field might surprise you:

Lines of Battle- 352

Oxbow- 336

And there is a considerable drop off after those two. While I would certainly be surprised to see either of those two win this year, they could certainly offer some value in exotics and outright bets.

27 Apr 2013 9:22 AM
Shoe Board Sal

Phil-  I agree, Java's War may well have to pass everything in the field to win.  That's why I've cooled off on him a lot.  He's also a little guy, which some will say makes him more "handy" in traffic.  But anyone who has ever watched a head-on of the Derby knows how much paint gets traded, and I'd rather have a horse with some body in there that can take some shoving.  That said, I do like the horse, but backwheel only.  

Pedigree Ann- your point about Unbridled's Song is well taken, and you didn't even mention the saddest example.  But I don't think this automatically DQs Will Take Charge from consideration.  

I've heard the buzz and rumors about Will Take Charge being injured or having a setback, and Lukas' uncharacteristic decision to train him up to the race, but I don't believe it.  If you look at his workout pattern, it mirrors Oxbow's, except WTC worked the day before the Bluegrass instead of running.  So I don't see when they're saying he was hurt.  There's no evidence for it.    

27 Apr 2013 12:24 PM
Pedigree Ann

Matt - Any number like the Tomlinson depends on data and for a number of the horses in the Derby, the data is limited. Stallions whose first crops are 3 will not have have offspring tested in long races yet. And one can't always go by the racecourse proclivities - Langfuhr was a miler sort, but has sired a number of 10f+ SWs (Wando, Jambalaya, Interpatation, Marlang).

27 Apr 2013 2:35 PM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

That is very useful.  I'm not surprised by those two being on top, though.

27 Apr 2013 2:37 PM

April 23, 12:23 A.M.

That would be Daddy Long Legs, DLL, not Scat Daddy, in case it's not obvious.

27 Apr 2013 3:40 PM

I still like Frac Daddy, only hope is his less than spectacular Feb./ March will be far behind him, and he will be Mc Peeking on Derby day. We don't often hear a success story in the Derby that starts out this way, but this could be a story that is just getting going.

That said, the horse most likely to be in the top three this year is Revoltionary. He reminds me somewhat of Victory Gallop,  a horse I loved back in 1998, what with his athletic ability and ability to shoot through almost any hole that came available. With Calvin up on Revolutionary, this could be an unbeatable combination. I think it was Elliott Walden who campaigned Victory Gallop, and now he is racing manager for Winstar Farms that campaigns Revolutionary. If history repeats itself, we could see a second placing for Revolutionary, or maybe he wins this time, I'm liking this horse more all the time.

27 Apr 2013 10:17 PM
El Kabong

For the record, by their visual efforts and in evaluating their last race, especially shown in the splits of their last 2F's, and in part to their breeding and foundation yada yada yada,  these horses have shown me enough to convince me that they will rise to the challenge of the added panel of the Derby Distance and improve on their 9F effort.



Java's War


Normandy Invasion

I believe exacta lies within them.

Door is open for minor awards for




Charming Kitten

Palace Malace

Will Take Charge

I am tossing altogether


Falling Sky


Govenor chuck

Lines of Battle

Frac Daddy

Black Onyx


Mr X(the yet to be named 20th position unless it is Golden Soul)

From a betting standpoint I love to find one horse that I am most comfortable keying 1, 2, and 3 and build winning and losing scenarios around him based on his running style. Last year I used Dullahan. In the scenario where the pace and stalker held on, I had him closing with other closers who couldn't get their in time. That one worked.  I am tossing a coin between Goldencents and Java becasue I believe their running styles will afford them the best race. I know alot of people think Java is in a dangerous zone but I like his style of closing over those who try to close from mid pack(like dullahan). They get caught in traffic at the top of the lane. His stamina and proven acceleration after running a mile should afford him an easier path than those trying to build momentum in the turn in hopes of finding a seem at the top of the lane.Keying one horse to finish in the 1,2, 3 slot is the best way I know to cash an exotic. If your handicapping on that horse is right, you don't have to win. It opens up the door to build the supporting cast in scenarios that support his defeat or victory. I like this better than trying to box a group. Good Luck to you all. If I've tossed your horse, don't worry. My chances of being right again are slim.

  (:(  say the magic word and win $100.


27 Apr 2013 10:47 PM

KY Vet,

I give you this make me laugh a lot. Its only one week left and we'll see if Normandy Invasion hits the board. He'll have to beat Verrazano, Oveanalyze, Itsmyluckyday, Will Take Charge and Orb. Bring it on my friend (LOL).

28 Apr 2013 12:33 AM

Cassandra, Revolutionary's broodmare sire's female line obviously has taken care of the issues you speak of with reference to Hoist the Flag. The line breeding to Hoist the Flag is not extreme.

28 Apr 2013 1:02 AM

Langfuhr is 3x3 Nearctic. These usually produce more distance in the stud than on the track.

28 Apr 2013 2:28 AM
Rusty Weisner

I've got an open question.  

Who's won the Derby with blinkers, and who's won with first-time blinkers?

28 Apr 2013 8:38 AM

Cassandra: Scat Daddy is 9, and at stud.  

Frac Daddy is 3, in the 2013 Derby, and had a chunk of heel removed by another horse who ran up on him in another race prior to the AR Derby. That might explain his tailing off in a race.

Lines Of Battle will not get to Churchill until Wednesday, and will then be in quarantine.  It gives him very little time to adjust to the Churchill track surface.

28 Apr 2013 10:17 AM
Pedigree Ann

Cassandra -

Hoist the Flag ran spectacularly at 3. First he won an allowance race at Bowie, then ran in the Bay Shore on March 20 on the Aqueduct main when the race was a prep for the Gotham and Wood. He blasted clear of a field that included Droll Role, Jim French, and Bold Reason, G1-type winners later in the season, several of which filled places in the Triple Crown races. Before he put a hind foot leg down wrong pulling up from a workout and shattered an ankle, he never showed unsoundness.

Hoist the Flag was a son of the champion 3yo of 1965, the diminutive Tom Rolfe, winner of 16 of 31 races from 2 to 4, including the Preakness and the Aqueduct H (the 9f prep for the 10f Woodward).

Hoist the Flag was the last major US SW out of a War Admiral mare, being foaled in 1968. A full sister of his won 3 of 22 starts; his elder half-brother, Deck Hand, won 13 of 80 starts lifetime, including the Discovery H at Aqueduct and the San Marcos H at Santa Anita. Other half-siblings won 5 of 46 and 6 of 38 (that a SP 'chaser). The dam, Wavy Navy, had a 35/2-5-8 record lifetime.

The second dam was the French import Triomphe who only made 2 starts in the US and won them both, including the New York Turf Writers H, the premier 'chase at Saratoga. She had won on the flat and over fences in France. Both her sire's sire and her dam's dam were of the old-style French breeding, before the Phalaris invasion, full of stoutness and soundness.

Hoist the Flag was not bred to be a precocious 2yo at sprint distances; he was a champion at 2 with class. Standing 16.1, he was a genetic puzzle, as his sire and damsire stood no more than 15.2 and his sire's sire was 'Il Piccolo' (the little one) Ribot. Perhaps those more sizable 'chasers in his female ancestry? As to funny hocks, his 'chasing second dam was by sickle-hocked Tourbillon (who was also no sweetheart).

28 Apr 2013 11:37 AM
Monarchos Matt

Pedigree Ann- all very valid points, just pointing that out for what it's worth. Considering that the last three Derby winners have all come into the race with +340 Tomlinson numbers, it is at least worth consideration, especially since those two horses are likely to be 30-1 or higher.

28 Apr 2013 5:53 PM

But Matt comments still are very interesting and that also means that Verrazano who a lot of people think is not bred for 1 1/4 are wrong as well, so all in all this means what in means an extra piece of data for people to consider in boxing their choice Horses

28 Apr 2013 9:56 PM

Where is Lines of Battle?  I've heard no mention of him this week.  Is he even in Louisville?

29 Apr 2013 2:47 AM
Sail On

Baffert out of the Derby? How does that effect the race?

29 Apr 2013 12:26 PM
Greg R

Will Take Charge disappointed in his Monday work, so much so that I'm dropping him as my "most likely to improve" colt.  Orb seems sharper than ever.  According to those who have seen him in the flesh this week, he looks stunning.  As much as I hate to land on the likely chalk, I think he's set to run a peak effort.  I liked the look of Luckyday in his Chll. gallop and still look for him to rebound with a great effort.  So maybe it's the year for the Florida horses.  Don't know what to make of Verrazano's readiness for 1 1/4 mi. and wouldn't believe anyone who said he/she did know.  We'll see, said Mr. Obvious.  Oxbow is not getting over his idiosyncracies and the shine has sort of gone off for me.

Mike from Michigan:  Absolutely, one of the best Oaks fields in years!  Several of these talented girls are free-running types or pressers, though.  I could see a faster pace than the Derby.  Which one would be most likely to bat cleanup?  Also, any danger that Dreaming of Julia ran too fast at Gulfstream?  Horses don't normally run that well twice in a row.

30 Apr 2013 12:57 AM
Greg R

In case of an off track, whose picks go flying out the window?  Who would stick with the same picks?

30 Apr 2013 1:00 AM

Relax, Steve. Buttons are a far cry from a blue tail.

Rachel and Zenyatta survived buttons for a lot of races, no?

30 Apr 2013 12:03 PM
Uncle Smiley


Nice choice in the Derby!  Looks like he skips the Preakness.

What makes you positive about the Belmont, should it for him happen?

His lineage points to success on the grass.

Uncle Smiley

12 May 2013 7:39 PM

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