Derby Dozen - February 3, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Top Billing Shug McGaughey

Curlin—Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy

The truth is, I don’t feel comfortable putting him or anyone at No. 1. Just too many question marks, inactivity, and setbacks regarding the top contenders, and he moved up because he’ll now likely go in the Fountain of the Youth with Honor Code out, and he does appear to have as much potential as any of them, although he still has to prove it against stakes horses. So, although he appears to be the hype horse and hasn’t done enough to really qualify as a true No. 1, I feel his upside is sufficient for the time being, and for reasons stated below, I wasn’t comfortable keeping Cairo Prince there, although his credentials are much stronger at this point. The bottom line is, it is difficult evaluating the leading Derby contenders these days because they simply do not run enough times to be truly evaluated.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

I can understand McLaughlin’s thinking in going straight to the Florida Derby (gr. I), especially with the colt having run 1 1/8 miles at 2, but my old-school thinking just can’t grasp having one race in 14 weeks going into to the Derby, especially when you’re dealing with the No. 1-ranked horse. With nine weeks to his next race, that’s just too much inactivity to occupy the top spot. To his credit, if any trainer can pull this off it is McLaughlin, who did wonders getting Invasor to the Breeders’ Cup Classic straight from the Whitney and almost pulled it off with Closing Argument. I’ll Have Another won the Derby off one race in 12 weeks, but he had much more of a stamina pedigree and his gallops were more like works and his works were more like races, and this is pushing it two weeks longer. Barbaro pulled off the Holy Bull to Florida Derby route, but the Holy Bull was run a week later and he had won the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Park Derby on Jan. 1. And he also was more geared toward stamina than Cairo Prince. As it is, I’m not thrilled about having horses who have had setbacks at No. 3 and 4 and I’m just not willing to keep him No. 1 for nine weeks without running.


Shared Belief Jerry Hollendorfer

Candy Ride—Common Hope, by Storm Cat

One of my biggest problems on this year’s Derby Dozen is filling this spot with anything even remotely informative. Until we learn more about the condition of his foot and any kind of timetable he may be on, there is simply little to say about him. Look, we know his talent level is through the roof and he is one horse on the Derby trail at this point with true star quality, but you know Hollendorfer is not going to push him to make the Derby, and because we know so little about his progress, I’ll keep him floating around up here until we know in which direction he’s going.


Honor Code Shug McGaughey

A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat

The last thing we needed to hear after New Year’s Day and Shared Belief is that he’s missed training with a bruised foot and will pass the Fountain of Youth (gr. II). But he is back jogging, so that’s at least a step in the right direction. The Gotham (gr. III) may be next. He’s only had one 3-furlong breeze, so his setback came pretty much before he even got started. The best thing you can say about him right now is that Cairo Prince flattered his victory in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) even though third-place finisher Wicked Strong finished up the track in the Holy Bull. He still has tremendous potential and Shug doesn’t seem too worried, so, like Shared Belief, we’ll just keep him where he is for now, making the top of the list pretty iffy.


Conquest Titan Mark Casse Click Here!

Birdstone—Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft

A week after the Holy Bull, not much to report on him either. From a pedigree standpoint, the first three sires in his male line are all classic winners and the first three sires in his female family are all Horses of the Year. His dam also is inbred to Seattle Slew, so there is plenty of class and stamina in his illustrious pedigree. He’s been highly thought of his entire life. and now that he’s carved out a new running style, there is no reason why we shouldn’t see continued improvement.


Strong Mandate D. Wayne LukasClick Here!

Tiznow—Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister

Followed up his sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00 2/5 with a bullet half in :48 3/5 in the slop, fastest of 52 works. Although several promising 3-year-olds have emerged at Oaklawn recently, I don’t see anyone down there who can match this colt’s brilliance and class. He seems to have it all together, but just needs to show that he can conserve his speed early and settle off the pace, and then finish. His Breeders’ Cup Juvenile defeat was a tremendous effort and an excellent learning experience.


Mexikoma Rick Mettee

Birdstone—Toccet Over, by Toccet

Continues to train sharply for his debut. Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 3/5 in company, coming home in fast time, and his gallop-out for 6 furlongs was two-fifths faster than stablemate, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. IT) third Brujo de Olleros, worked the full 6 furlongs. So, it’s all positive so far with this colt, who appears ready for a breakout performance. He’s in the patient hands of Mettee, who has years of experience training the Godolphin horses.


Midnight Hawk Bob Baffert

Midnight Lute—Miss Wineshine, by Wolf Power

Baffert had him break 6-8 lengths behind a workmate, and he wore him down to finish a half-length in front at the wire in 1:00 3/5. He was caught by a private clocker galloping out 7 furlongs in 1:26 2/5. Next stop the Robert Lewis Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 8. Baffert has been involved with a champion baseball coach and a world-class skier, and now he’s involved with a champion (Black Hawks) hockey coach and former professional football coach. Co-owner Mike Pegram is sitting on a gold mine with Midnight Lute, a son of his Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet. There is a good deal of mile speed in Midnight Hawk’s female family, but his dam’s broodmare sire, Cormorant, did sire Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin and pushed Seattle Slew through some torrid fractions in the Preakness before finishing fourth.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

Turned in a solid half-mile breeze in :49 2/5, his first work since his runaway LeComte score. The farther we get into the season, which isn’t very far, the more impressive he and that performance appear. Stamina a question, but there is some staying power, mainly through Vicar and Tank’s Prospect and that should help to some degree. He still has some learning to do with his lead changes, but sometimes when a horse totally dominates his field there is no need to change leads. However, you don’t want it to become a habit.


Candy Boy John Sadler

Candy Ride—She’s an Eleven, by In Excess

Continues to train sharply for the Robert Lewis, working 6 furlongs in 1:13. This follows a 6-furlong drill in 1:13 2/5 and a 5-furlong move in :59 3/5. Gary Stevens looks like he has a live one, who looks ready to catapult up the list. We know he has a monster middle move, which is good to keep in storage in case you need to pull it out, but for now you want to give him every chance, so watch for Stevens to wait until pulling the trigger.


Commissioner Todd Pletcher

A.P. Indy—Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold

Well, considering I moved Top Billing up to No. 1, it only made sense to move him up a notch as well. He tuned up for the Fountain of Youth with a sharp 5-furlong drill in 1:00 3/5. He hasn’t shown a quick turn of foot, but he sustains his run and keeps coming. From a personal standpoint, it’s great to see one of my all-time favorites, Touch Gold, back in a top-class horse’s pedigree. Perhaps broodmare sire will be more his game. He, like Honor Code, could have the A.P. Indy farewell karma going for him.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Harlan’s Holiday—Intensify, by Unbridled’s Song

With him, it’s all about steady improvement. I don’t know if he’s fast enough or talented enough to win the Derby, but never underestimate a horse who improves, even a little, with every race. He, like Giacomo, could wind up peaking on Derby Day. I still like to go back to that :46 1/5 half he ran in the body of the Holy Bull and the way he closed into blazing final fractions in the Remsen to finish fourth. Coming along the year after Shanghai Bobby, I can’t help but think of Darby Dan losing the brilliant and exciting Derby favorite Graustark, who broke a bone in the Blue Grass, and coming back the following year to win the roses with a 30-1 closer named Proud Clarion.

Knocking At The Door

It sounds odd saying this, but three of the most impressive 3-year-olds I’ve seen this year have been a California-bred and two New York-breds. I wanted very much to put CALIFORNIA CHROME in the Top 12, but I can’t justify taking someone off this quickly, and I need more space to write about him, so let’s consider him No. 13 for now, and not knocking, but pounding on the door.

I have not seen a 3-year-old this year more impressive than this colt. I watched all his races and loved everything I saw, especially the visual improvement in his last two starts – whether they were against Cal-breds or not. First off, forget about him being a Cal-bred. In the Cal Cup Derby he demolished a top-class horse in Tamarando, who had won a grade I and placed in two others and is one of the most consistent horses in the country and an explosive stretch runner.

In that race, California Chrome was caught looking to his left at the break and stumbled slightly, breaking awkwardly and bearing out and bumping with the outside horse. After going a bit wide into the first turn, he settled beautifully in third, and then at the five-sixteenths pole he unleashed an impressive turn of foot all on his own without being asked even slightly. He inhaled the leaders in a flash and cruised to the lead with Victor Espinoza already looking back several times, then changed leads smoothly and on cue and drew off on his own. This horse is so smooth and has such a long fluid stride and levels off so beautifully he is a joy to watch. Tamarando made his typical late run, drawing 3 1/4 lengths clear of the pack, but could not make a dent in California Chrome’s lead. C.C. covered his fourth quarter, going from two lengths back to 5 1/2 in front in :24 1/5 before cruising home, throwing his ears around, in :06 2/5.

In his previous start, the King Glorious, you couldn’t have asked a horse to run any straighter down the stretch. He accelerates on his own at the right time, nearing the head of the stretch, and for a long-striding horse his lead changes are so smooth you can barely see him do it.

As for his two prior defeats, in the Del Mar Futurity he got shuffled back around the turn and was stuck in traffic with nowhere to go, losing valuable ground. In the stretch, he again was in tight quarters and the way he threw his head out so abruptly, he had to have gotten hit across the face with the whip of the jock inside him. He still was beaten only two lengths by Tamarando.

In the Golden State Juvenile, he broke from the rail and leaped in the air at the start, dropping back to last. He then got very rank and quickly passed horses, getting as close as third. He had his head up in the air turning for home and never really leveled off until it was way too late. This time, he was beaten three lengths.

Earlier on, in his last race before getting Lasix, the 5 1/2-furlong Willard Proctor Memorial at Hollywood Park, he got caught up in a three-horse speed duel through a torrid opening quarter in :22 flat and that is not his style at all.

This horse has already won at 4 1/2 furlongs, 5 1/2 furlongs, seven furlongs, and 1 1/16 miles and runs like he’s just getting started. His sire, Lucky Pulpit, is by Pulpit, out of a Cozzene mare, and what I love the most about his pedigree is that his dam is inbred (Rasmussen Factor) to the great Numbered Account (a daughter of Buckpasser) through her daughter Dance Number and son Polish Numbers. And his third dam is by English Derby and Washington D.C. International winner Sir Ivor.

I may be getting too high on this colt, and am drawn to him because he’s run eight times already and is trained by an old-school trainer in Art Sherman, but I do love everything about him and can’t wait to see him face many of California’s top Derby contenders in the San Felipe.

And I certainly wouldn’t give up on TAMARANDO as a serious Derby horse. He is dependent on pace and will win his share and lose his share, but he fires every time. By Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Bertando, he has a ton of top-class stamina in his female family.

Next we come to those battling New York-breds, and because of space I will go into more detail on them next week. But there is no doubt that SAMRAAT and UNCLE SIGH, who staged the duel of the year so far, have a great deal of quality, brilliance, and most of all courage. And all you have to remember for now is that they made their debuts against open company in a graded stakes and finished 10 1/4 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher. The time has come where it is pointless referring to these two as New York-breds. They are simply two talented horses, period.

I don’t know what to make of the Sam F. Davis, with the first four so close together at the wire. VINCEREMOS looks like the type who is never going to wow you, but just keeps running well enough to win. He’ll need to take another big step forward. HARPOON looks to have a ton of ability, but he’s still green and needs to get it all together in a hurry. What bodes well for him is that he makes mistakes and still wins or is right there.

Other horses to watch who are ready to make some noise are TONALIST, RIDE ON CURLIN, BOURBONIZE, MOSLER, BARATTI, and COOL SAMURAI. Proven stakes horses who have been working for their return are RISE UP and LOUIES FLOWER. Casiguapo is a bombs away sleeper who has knocked heads with a number of good horses and who recently turned in a bullet 5-furlong work in 1:01 2/5 at Calder.

HAVANA finally had his first work, breezing three furlongs in :37 3/5. By having to miss the Fountain of Youth and point instead to the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (gr. II) March 1, he would have to go into the Derby off only one two-turn race and only two starts. That is a tall order no matter who you are.

Doug O’Neill is still a believer in BOND HOLDER and is expecting big things from the son of Mineshaft in the Risen Star Stakes.


Leave a Comment:


Bond Holder


Strong Mandate

Shared Belief

Midnight Hawk




Honor Code

Cairo Prince


Top Billing

03 Feb 2014 4:52 PM
ned williams


Thanks for your thoughts. It is always a pleasure to take a look at the Derby Dozen, especially this time of year. Any thoughts on No Nay Never? His 46 and change move on the dirt at Gulfstream over the  weekend make me think W Ward may be thinking Fountain of Youth. Any word or is headed back to Europe?

03 Feb 2014 5:38 PM

Mr. Haskin,

A few comments on the horses in your dozen that I dislike.

Intense Holiday: Tends to make big runs and flatten out when expected to continue. He does not fit the profile of the horses that have been competitive in the Derby for the barn. Derby history reflects two sons and a grandson of Mr. Prospector as being wining Derby broodmare sires. Great grandsons are MIA in the TC.  

Commissioner: Should get the Derby distance as sire and dam sire were Belmont winners. Sire has a strained relationship with Derby. I am yet to see son of Deputy Minister, get close to his efforts as a broodmare sire.

Candy Boy: Chocolate Candy who was produced from a Seattle Slew mare did not hit the board in the Derby. A colt produced from an In Excess mare will fare no better. No history of the dam line in the TC.

Vicar’s In Trouble: Stallions from the Northern Dancer line that have sired Derby winners have been either sons or grandsons of the great stallion. Into Mischief is a 5th generation stallion and this colt will need a miracle to win. Broodmares from the Icecapade line are MIA in TC history.

Mexikoma: I am yet to see grandson of Deputy Minister, get close to his efforts as a broodmare sire. Toccet is the most unlikely candidate to break this trend.

03 Feb 2014 5:48 PM

Great list, Steve! I will definitely be taking a closer look at California Chrome!

One horse that really impressed me last week was Discipline, who broke his maiden sprinting six furlongs at Oaklawn Park on Friday. I loved the way he settled into second place as the leader ran off through ridiculous early fractions, and the move he made in the final quarter mile was fantastic. Six lengths off the lead at the quarter pole, he gobbled up the leader in less than an eighth of a mile, then stayed on strongly to win by 10 1/2 lengths in the time of 1:11.67. By my calculations, he ran his final quarter in less than twenty-five seconds, which seems to be pretty rare at Oaklawn as of late. Granted, there didn't seem to be much behind him, but this was an eye-catching performance, and I'm looking forward to seeing if he can stretch out in distance.

03 Feb 2014 5:59 PM

For me, march is the starting point for the real road to the triple crown. Today the scenery is too heterogeneous. In the next days we will see a lot of expectations falling down. So, until the past weekend, only CAIRO PRINCE has shown real quality for the triple crown. HONOR CODE has yet to prove a lot of things, as well as TOP BILLING and COMISSIONNER. It´s probable that some others, today outside of the radar, will be in better positions in april. We´ll see.

03 Feb 2014 6:16 PM
Katie L.

Is it just or me or we're barely having any top horses who will run more than 2 races before the Derby this year? Most of them used to have at least 3 just a couple of years ago, but now all we're seeing is horses coming back in end of february/march or having 2 months break after their january race.

Could it be a symptom of the point system? With almost every race at 10 points before the last races in march and april, it's like the first races of the year aren't even worth running it anymore.

03 Feb 2014 6:24 PM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for your Derby list Steve, sure does look good going into 2014, there are a lot of nice works out on the track, some very interesting pedigrees, and good racing so far. The more I watch, listen, and take notes the more fun it is, thanks for all the insight.

03 Feb 2014 6:45 PM

Steve, thank you for making this time of year my favorite!  I would've put California Chrome in the dozen.  His last two races were stunning visually.  He looks like he's having fun out there.  At this point, Shared Belief is the only triple digit beyer so far, do I have that right?  

03 Feb 2014 7:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It is all about the upside of a horse that we see from an individual standpoint so I am glad to see that you went with Top Billing as your number one. The truth is that I am comfortable with anyone I put on my list. They are the ones I see the most upside with at this point. None could be on my list in April and it wouldn't matter. It's major speculation at this point even with proven horses.

1. Indianapolis- I'm hoping for a total of 4 preps as a 3yo but 3 preps would be fine too. He already ran in January. Next is probably the 7f San Vicente at SA Feb 16. Then I hope it is the San Felipe 8.5f on March 8th at SA. Then the SA Derby April 5th then The Derby, Preakness, and Belmont.

2. Strong Mandate- I moved him up and Honor Code down. Strong Mandate seems to be working very well. He has showed talent as a 2yo and I have a feeling he will be a mature and ready force for D. Wayne Lukas on Feb.17th in the Southwest at OP and then go The Rebel and Arkansas Derby path at OP.

3-Intense Holiday

4-Midnight Hawk

5-Cairo Prince

6-Conquest Titan



9-Top Billing

10-Honor Code-Behind schedule.

11-Gold Hawk


03 Feb 2014 7:03 PM
Baby Jane Towser

I really like Havana - he is better than Cairo Prince - I just wish he had a different trainer - why rush to get to the Swale? Can't they just forget the Derby and allow a talented horse to develop properly. I fear he will be Pletcherized!!

Also Shared Belief has never run on dirt, how did they give him the 2 year old title?? Did he hurt his foot working on dirt???  Fortunately, Hollendorfer will do what is right by him.

I like Top Billing, great pedigree too, but he's never won a stakes, he can't be the #1 horse??? Steve I love ya but I have to respectfully disagree on this one.

Best bets right now are Strong Mandate, Honor Code, and Baffert

03 Feb 2014 7:34 PM
Scott's Rail

I think the potential KD winner hasn't been in the wps of any race this year.  Your right Steve, seems like no one wants to race with this new points system, anything can happen.  Wonder what the over/under for making the field will be this year?  But if I were in Vegas I would lay $20 on a recent SA turf maiden breaker...Texas Ryano--worth a looook.  Thanx

03 Feb 2014 7:35 PM
Ted from LA

Mexikoma.  If he doesn't win, I'm selling all of Dr. D's belongings and using the proceeds to double down in the Preakness.  Toccet would have won the Derby if he stayed healthy, Coldfacts.

03 Feb 2014 7:42 PM

I said it last year, and i will say it again.......the game has will see more and more lightly raced horses coming into the derby.....the layoff is a good thing. i was hoping cairo prince wouldnt run again in the foy. why? racing hurts dont want to come right back off a 95 beyer........the horse is fit.......if a horse ran an 80 or 85, then you want more racing to try to catch workouts, YOU control the horses that are bumping you, your horse is balanced....not checking or go at the speed you want.......the trainer made the smart choice.....

03 Feb 2014 8:01 PM

   I have now been accused of being a “pedigree handicapper” … hmmm … I wonder, “Is that a knock on me? .. or … Is that a compliment ???” First of all, let me say that I am a  “pedigree handicapper” of sorts. I just like to think of myself as “pedigree handicapper searching for distance ability”.

   And, I know some like to knock my posts and yada yada yada. And, I didn’t even look at Steve’s 1st Dozen lists this year because I didn’t want to be influenced early on by anything accept by my own research methodology. And, I don’t even know where this year’s DERBY NOMINATION LIST is yet, but in the 300 + 2-3year olds that I have already researched,--some that haven’t yet hit the track I might add or others only once, and etc.,--I have to say that Steve’s original  #1 pick is in the bottom of my top 100 researched so far, and that FOR being able to “retain speed at distance” and that being distance over 1 1/8 , --thusly the 1 ½ Belmont Stakes; the 1 3/16’s Preakness Stakes; and the 1 ¼ Kentucky Derby !!!--And, I have a still growing list of 40+ right now that have been on a track that I have not yet delved more deeply into their pedigrees yet because time for such is harder to find. Thusly, I usually look for the more interesting prospects by known stronger blood lines that jump out at me being the first I look deeper into.  

  Second thought, hmmm … that’s right, this is a “BLOOD HORSE” blog… “Blood” !!!!, genes-pedigree !!! and this is supposedly a blog dedicated to locating the KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER !!! … I have given you my top choices the last 4-6 ? plus years and was spot on with the exacta 2 years ago and had the 1-3 finishers last year. I refuse to DO YOUR HOMEWORK again totally this year, but… here is a list of horses with better pedigrees to get a 1 ¼ than “Cairo Prince”! And, I might add that I warned you about the likes of the “Verazanno”s and the “Vyjack”s and the other “sprinter” to “short route” types that might get

1 1/8 and that I wouldn’t leave off a ticket in the WOOD or the FLORIDA DERBY, and etc., but if this blog is a search for the true KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER !  Keep your eyes open along with your mind.      

  A top 30+… see if these don’t show up somewhere later on, whether they have by now made Steve’s list already or not. Then again, take any of Steve’s lists the past 10 years and see how many of the 1st dozen listed were on the last dozen listed.--and I don’t care if he adds 30-40 names onto the bottom of the 1st five or so lists,--we can’t just agree on who is the best on past performances at this stage where there are lots of GRADE 1 and GRADE 2, and two turn races still to come to better form our opinions with, and etc.  

pedigrees with potential distance ability via rank…

“All For Us”; “Alpine Luck”; “American Pride”;

“Barnstown”; “Blue Distortion”; “Bond Holder”; “Brilliantlee”;

“California Chrome”; “Candy Dandy”; “Candy Shoes”; “Celtic Moon”;

“Charleymillionaire”; “Commanding Curve”; “Conquest Titan”; “Constitution”;

“Corfu”; “Coup de Grace”; “Dunkin Bend”; “Endowment Manager”; “Even to the Moon”;

“Havana”; “Honor Code”; “In Trouble”; “Maria’s Dunkirk”; “Midnight Hawk”;

“Misconnect”; “Mysotis Dan”; “Permanent Campaign”; “Roundupthelute”;

“Skydreamin”; “Tamarando”; Tap It Rich”; “Tapiture”; “The Morning Guys”; “Tonalist”    

the below all rank lower than the above, but all still rank well above “Cairo Prince”; …

“Breakeven Analysis”; “Cleburne”; “Commissioner”; “Debt Ceiling”; “Discrete Reason”;

“Divorce Party”; “Hollywood Talent”; “I Earned It Baby”; “Indianapolis”: “Jake’s Magic Hat”;

“Louies Flower”; “Lulu Le Monme”; “Mosler”; “Noble Cornerstone”; “Shared Belief”;

“Vicar’s In Trouble”; “Witch Alert”;… and etc.;

… ranking lower still than the above but higher still than “Cairo Prince”:…

“Can the Man”; “Conquest Two Step”; “Exit Stage Left”; “Harpoon”; “Life Is Joy”; “No Nay Never”;

“Pablo del Monte”; “Pleuven”; “Ride on Curlin”; “Samraat”; “Sound of Freedom”: “Sudirman”; …

and, I am not that really that high on those in this last list yet personally…

   I have not always agreed with Steve’s lists in the past, but I most add, I love Steve for many reasons. Great writer, insight thinker, great that he created this blog forum, and etc., but as a handicapper searching for distance via a breeding angle, we have always seemed to have differed. And, maybe that’s a good thing.

  Well, Good luck to all, in the preliminaries, the pools, at the windows, and at the GATE come the first Saturday in MAY !!  

03 Feb 2014 8:52 PM
White Plains Eric

Coldfacts, your knowledge of bloodlines exceeds mine, but I have to disagree with you about Vicar's in Trouble being in Steve's dozen.  The colt had the highest 2 YO Beyer of his generation going 6F then followed it up with the highest Beyer of his generation as a 3YO while going a distance.  In his 2YO 6F win, he won authoritatively while wiring a field of state breds and in his 3 YO bow, he rated and drew off in the stretch while switching leads a couple of times, which shows he's still figuring this all out. He's owned by the hottest owners on the planet, is in the hands of a capable trainer and is ridden by a jockey who has her pick of the litter in LA.  He may not be cut out for this as the distances get longer and the competition gets stiffer but, frankly, as we sit here after the first weekend in February, I find it hard to believe he's not in everyone's dozen.  As far as breeding, I recall you are a Mr Prospector fan and he's got Mr Prospector blood in his chain.

03 Feb 2014 8:56 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Shared Belief

Historically speaking,  how often has any negative reference to a race horse's feet/hoof been associated with a future Derby winner ?

Or for that matter, of a Derby participant ? I can think of one in this category.

03 Feb 2014 9:06 PM

Steve, I too worry about Cairo Prince's schedule - too much time between races.  I'm not really worried about his pedigree (except his 7.0 dosage which I feel is inaccurate) so I think he has great potential. Love your evaluations!  Will have to check out California Chrome as I don't know anything about him yet.

Katie L - I too have wondered if the points system is stopping some from running.  Winning a 10 point race will not get you in and maybe even winning two will not be enough. So I guess why not wait for the later ones... Maybe they should even out the points a little more?  (Although, if I were training, my horses would still be on break in January so I wouldn't be pointing for some of those races anyways,LOL)

03 Feb 2014 9:29 PM
food fight

Hi Steve is there a reason why you do not mention Indianapolis from Bob Baffert's barn . I think he has run the some of the most professional and eye catching races of all the contenders . And he will get better with distance.  

03 Feb 2014 10:13 PM
Amy Hurley

Wasn't Casiguapo up the track in an allowance at GP over the weekend?  He seems like a good Calder horse, but not much more.  What is the status of Bayern?  He looked good in his maiden win - has he had a setback?

03 Feb 2014 11:39 PM

Samraat just won what I thought was the best 3 year old race so far this year - Right now he is #1 on my top 10 Derby list.

04 Feb 2014 12:11 AM


He's a Tapit out of a group-placed half to Emcee, etc.

He's 1/1 and his pedigree says speed -- at best, horses who could carry their speed around two turns,  but were best sprinting.

But what a race he ran in his debut! He got himself left at the post by going up rather than out when the gate opened, not rearing but sort of hopping up and down in place. Then he put himself back into it with a half in 43 and 4, duelled head and head for a quarter, and was going away at the end of 7 furlongs.

He's either a fit horse or the second coming of fill-in-the-blank.

Where's he been, Todd?

I should probably wait for the early book on the Breeders' Cup mile. Maybe grass mile.

Nobody else has really caught my eye. Honor Code's first race close was astonishing, but he didn't seem to want to run. After he strolled out of the starting gate a pony clubber could have pulled him up.

04 Feb 2014 1:23 AM

Steve, physically California Chrome couldn't look more spectacular, and the last race was more than impressive. Would like to see him with the brighter lights before getting too carried away but he has the Wow!!

Harpoon, couldn't agree more but he is improving in every race - good signs.

04 Feb 2014 1:25 AM

Steve : I'm surprised to see the new list and it doesn't include Samraat since you mentioned prior to the Withers that whoever wins will become a serious derby contender.   I thought Vinceremos' win in the Sam F. Davis was more impressive.  Vinceremos is still learning to race while Samraat looked like a pro winning the Withers but I like Vinceremos' potential more so than Samraat.  I like that he was held back coming into the turn and then made his run and still ran well.  I want to see him get an outside post in the Tampa Bay Derby just to see how he does when forced to run outside horses, I have a feeling he will not wait for them once he gets the lead.  As for Samraat, I see him making the Derby and be the speed of the speed.  He's my Bodemester this year.

I'm really looking forward to seeing In Trouble run, he's had another workout so his next race should be really close.  I'm hoping that he's doing well enough that he'll be a surprise entrant in the Risen Star stakes.  Poker Player had his 2nd workout yesterday, hopefully he'll be ready for the big races.  I don't think he needs that many workouts to get in shape.  I'm just anxious to see him run.

04 Feb 2014 1:30 AM

Concerning the Candy Ride's: keep in mind that this year's three year olds are the first of the Lane's End foals.  There will be a marked improvement in the quality of the broodmares and the general "trends" could change a bit.

Not a big debate point, but I'm a big CR fan and I've been looking foreward to seeing the newer crops.

04 Feb 2014 8:02 AM
food fight

Looking at the odds today on possible contenders for the derby from a gambling stand point i would take Indianapolis and put him on top in exacta's with the field for $2.00 wagers and behind the field for $1.00 exacta's . then use back on top for $10.00 exactas with Strong Mandate Top Billing Honor Code Mexicoma and Commissioner .bet him to across the board for $50.00 and part wheel super's for .50 cent's with him 1st and 2nd with Strong Mandate 1st and 2nd with Top Billing Honor Code Mexicoma Conquest Titan Intense Holiday and the Commissioner in the 3rd and 4th slot's.And for a back up bet Strong Mandate on top bottom in small exacta's with field and $20 WIN

04 Feb 2014 8:15 AM

Oh you breeding people make me chuckle,but if that is your thing you do it..To many other factors to consider that are more important than breeding to me..

Since the list came out last week if the Derby was to be run this weekend with out taking into consideration the odds my

#1 is Strong Mandate.

I believe Luckas has a new fire in him. He is getting some good horses again and I still prefer the old school way of training.

I agree with Steve regarding his BCJ effort.

Being a Tiznow fan and it looks like this horse has the heart his daddy did in those 2 BCC races.

Long way to go and a lot of fun to be had..

Good Luck..

Side note looking forward to seeing WTC at Gulfstream Sunday.

04 Feb 2014 9:04 AM

One of my regular questions has been; to what extent should Derby history be used to eliminate certain horses from the top spot?

Derby winners are rarely sired by winners of Triple Crown races. My records reflect that 44 of the last 50 Derby winners were sired by stallions that did not win a TC race.

It appears the significantly larger pool of stallions who are none winners of TC races, has overwhelmed the pool comprising TC race winners. Is this a reflection of strength in numbers? Probably!

The 2nd Derby Dozen contains 5 horses that were sired by winner of TC races i.e., Top Billing, Honor Code, Conquest Titan, Mexikoma and Commissioner. Top Billing was assigned the #1 slot with some amount of reservation.

I like this colt and its trainer a lot and likewise think he has a lot of upside. He was sired by Preakness winner Curlin. Preakness winners Summer Squall and Bold Ruler sired Derby winners Charismatic and Secretariat. This could be considered a big historic positive for Top Billing. However, there is a big question; did either Summer Squall or Bold Ruler sire the winner of the Derby or a Triple Crown race the next year? History reflects they didn’t. Is this a bit of history insignificant? What has not occurred in 50 years can occur on any 1st Saturday in May.

If the above was the only bit of history to be dismissed, things would be looking good for Top Billing. However, there are other historic factors to consider. Claude McGaughey won his 1st Derby after career spanning 34 years. He is now expected to record a repeat victory. The likes of Woody Stevens, Charlie Whittingham, Jack  Van Berg, Barclay Tagg etc.,  tasted Derby success late in their careers but never won the great race the next year. A Derby winner whose sire was a two time HOY and dam sire HOY as well does not appear in my history compilation and probably does not exist.

On share ability Top Billing probably merits the #1 slot. However, his prospects of winning the 2014 Derby are very remote as his profile does not fit into a Derby history that has little regard for the exceptionally well bred..

04 Feb 2014 9:40 AM

Plod Boy Phil,

Go back and look at the trouble Big Brown had with a hoof and won the Derby from the 20 hole.

04 Feb 2014 9:51 AM

Steve, putting a first level ALW winner on top of your list confirms what you said on how uncomfortable it is trying to rate these untested warriors this early.  Yes, Top Billing has a huge upside.

Strong Mandate: recent bullet work for his 3 y.o. debut in the SouthWest on 2/17.  

Cairo Prince: trainer now waiting for the FLA. Derby.  This precocious guy on top of his game and McLaughlin wants to keep him there.

Honor Code: needs to do some catch-up, possibly the Gothom on 3/1. Sky's the limit.

Conquest Titan: wealth of experience with large fields, CD and ability to come from behind.

Intense Holiday: another traffic controller looking for distance.

JayJay--congrats on your WinStar selections.  Both Samraat and Uncle Sigh deserved to tire a bit as they separated themselves from their competition and ding-donged it around that inner oval at Aqueduct.  Vinceremos surprised me but I'll keep on eye on him as I'll be going down to Tampa Bay for their Derby.

Linda in Texas--Good to hear from you.  Be sure you keep all these Derby Fever nuts in line!

04 Feb 2014 10:29 AM

White Plains Eric,

I agree with all the cold facts you have presented regarding Vicar's in Trouble. Mr. Haskin uses performance and other factors in the compilation of his dozen. I use similar factors but I also use historic guidelines. Vicar's in Trouble like about four other horses have been included in Mr. Haskin’s DD at the expense of a colt that I think is a better Derby prospect based on historic factors. (Bond Holder)

The Derby winners chart does not reflect the horses with the highest Beyers and most impressive performances leading up to the race. Vicar's in Trouble’s profile does not fit into this chart. I am aware that they have been horses whose profile did not fit into the chart but were eventual Derby winners. However, those have been few and far between. Giaciamo is one comes to mind.

Vicar's in Trouble was sired by Into Mischief a 5th generation stallion of Northern Dancer. All previous Derby winners from this stallion line have been sired by either sons or grandson of Northern Dancer. Union Rags was a brilliant colt sired by a Dixie Union a grandson of Northern Dancer. He therefore fitted the Derby winners profile from this sire line and still finished off the board. Into Mischief generation of stallions from the ND line are nowhere on the chart!

Union Rags’ dam was sired by Gone West a son of Mr. Prospector. Two of Mr. Prospector’s sons and one of his grandsons has been Derby winning broodmare sires. Vicar's in Trouble dam sire is Vicar a son of Icecapade. Neither Icecapade nor his sons have been featured on the Triple Crown chart.

Vicar's in Trouble is obviously a very talented colt but there are so many horses whose profile fit into the Derby winners chart that his chances of winning are very remote if not non-existent.

The above are just opinions driven by historic facts. There are not intended to influence others.

04 Feb 2014 10:59 AM
steve from st louis

Ky. Vet tell us something we don't know. For the past 20 years horses have been enetering the Derby starting gate with fewer starts on their resume.

Coldfacts, I don't think the exercise behind Haskin's Derby Dozen is to shoot down horses on the list but rather to find common ground on what you like about a runner. None of the horses mentioned look like Derby winners right now, do they? The idea is to find something to hang your hat on--a pedigree, how a horse gallops out after a race, etc., and how that horse could move forward in this beauty parade.  

04 Feb 2014 11:00 AM
Pedigree Ann

I won't be able to do much research on pedigrees for folks right now; this stupid sinus infection has come back AGAIN - been going since the Kee Nov sale when I bought Milly. Take an antibiotic, feel better for a week or so, then it comes back. Right now Lexington is under a lovely blanket of snow, 3-4 inches, with freezing rain expected this afternoon. We usually lose power when the ice hits the tree limbs, so probably will be off-line anyway.

04 Feb 2014 11:08 AM

Bond Holder, Tamarando and Mexikoma dropped from list of betting interest in 2nd KDFP. Wow!

Bond Holder has defeated Conquest Titan, Candy Boy two new entrants into the list. The fast tracks in CA do not suit this colt. He will be much better out of town.  Tamarando has defeated California Chrome twice and he is dropped due to one loss to him. MexiKoma made up a lot of ground in the BCJ on a track that did not favor closers. His capacity to get the Derby distance was on display.

If you like the above three 7-5 is not appealing.

04 Feb 2014 11:47 AM

I think Mr.Lukas, gets the Roses this year.Strong Mandate, has the class and pedigree to catch the Roses.  Gotta love any talented Tiznow offspring, and Mandate fills the bill. Lukas knows how to get a Derby contender ready for the big races, and I believe, Strong Mandate is the horse they all have to beat.

04 Feb 2014 12:18 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

bitters n bourbon nominated for the tc series today .. runs in a two turn mile allowance race thurs at oaklawn thursday . race 8 .... his maiden win was impressive thru the gallop out ... ... pedigree dosage  help someone ... ?

04 Feb 2014 1:19 PM
Rusty Weisner


Winning a 10-pointer and hitting the board in everything after that is enough to get you in. 20 points was enough last year.

04 Feb 2014 2:19 PM

Watch a horse called Undertaker. Raw talent. Recently got slow/bumped start & checked and was on cruise control to win on 1/26/14.


04 Feb 2014 2:39 PM

Steve from St Louis,

I was unaware that I was shooting down horses on Mr. Haskin’s list. I give somewhat of a historic critique of chances of some but not all. That does not mean said horses cannot win the Derby. It is just highly unlikely that they will with major historic hurdles they have to cross. Occasionally I disagree with his rankings and exclusions but I am not alone in this respect.

The colt excluded from his list that I truly love and will be placing a rare future wager on is Tonalist. He is one of the 16 Tapits on the Derby trail. I should not like him as he is the product of an overbred stallion. However, his dam was sired by Pleasant Colony who hails from the Ribot sire line. Secretariat was a disappointment as a sire. The only winner of a Triple Crown race sired by him was Risen Star. Which broodmare line facilitated this success? Ribot! Risen Star's dam sire was His Majesty a son of Ribot.

His Majesty just happens to be the sire of Pleasant Colony. Tapit has a litany of stakes winners but none have been recorded in Triple Crown races. If the Ribot broodmare line helped Secretariat it can help Tapit.

Pleasant Colony is rarely seen in the pedigree of Derby type horses, with Pleasant Tap being his best. He has done well as a broodmare sire as his mares have produced over 100 stakes winners here and abroad. He was the dam sire of Kentucky Oaks winner Farda Amiga who also finished 2nd in the distaff. Multiple G1 winner and multi-millionaire Marsh Side was produced from one of his mares.

04 Feb 2014 3:07 PM

Drinks from a glass !!

My dear colleague, in the interest of honest disclosure kindly confirm that you like this colt because bitters n bourbon can be consumed from a glass.

He will need an oxygen tank in the last furlong of the Derby with Honor and Glory as dam sire.

04 Feb 2014 3:11 PM


“Oh you breeding people make me chuckle”

Why have you concluded that pedigree enthusiast do not focus on other factors? There are some exceptionally well bred horses that have not been mentioned. They have either not performed or have not yet made a start. No dozen contains an unraced horse. Contrary to the belief of some pedigree enthusiasts are not paranoid.

“I believe Luckas has a new fire in him”

Mr. Lukas last won the Derby in 1999 with Charismatic. He finished 2nd in 2002 with Proud Citizen. When exactly did the fire get old?

The Kentucky Derby is the hardest race in the world to win. Just ask Todd Pletcher who has send 30 plus well-bred and talented horses to the starting gates and has come away with one victory to date.

All trainer have the fire to win the Kentucky Derby and it is never grows old or gets extinguish while they are still in the game.

Here is a little breeding information for what its worth. Strong Mandate has an excellent broodmare sire in Deputy Minister. For some strange reason the Derby has eluded his mares. Curlin who was produce from one of his mares won the Preakness. Rags To Riches, Jazil and Sarava who were produced from his mares won the Belmont.

No many broodmare sires have completed the Triple Crown. Deputy Minister has a chance with Strong Mandate. I like him.

04 Feb 2014 3:42 PM

pedigree are allergic to mold.....go somewhere like a motel/hotel for a week. you will feel have too much moisture in your house....

04 Feb 2014 4:14 PM

steve from st. louis.....yes you know the way horses are being trained different.....but alot of people on here are saying cp being off till the fl. derby is a's's the right thing to do.........

04 Feb 2014 4:17 PM

Steve I like the fact you put Top Billing on top considering you really wanted to last week.  That is good switch in my opinion, Top Billing has so much upside he is hard not to put at the top.  I got the feeling Shug feels the same way.  He has Honor Code as well but he seems to gush when talking about Top Billing.  Now that TB is headed to the FOY it is his chance to do something special in his first stakes race.  My top few are Top Billing, Commissioner, Honor Code, Mosler, Strong Mandate and Cairo Prince.  I'm really looking forward to Mosler's first race this year for Mott.  He is my sleeper.

04 Feb 2014 5:01 PM
Steve Haskin

Plodderman, I write about Undertaker and runner-up Kid Cruz next week. Terrific win but he was far from eased. Kid Cruz was getting to him with every stride. But considering how horrible a start he got and to be rushed into the lead, it was a very impressive performance.

04 Feb 2014 5:21 PM
Bill Rinker

Amy Hurley, I too have been eagerly awaiting Bayern's next race, it shouldn't be very far off. He appears to be just fine, as his works are very, very impressive, it's quite possible that he may be a sleeping giant in Bob Baffert's barn. I checked him out several times at the Midatlantic two year old in training sale, and was very impressed with him both on and off the track. In my notes I wrote that he was nothing flashy but All REAL GOOD, he looked to me to have tremendous grow up potential, and got a quarter in 21:3/5, on my breezing notes I had him doubled checked and circled (a very good work). His pedigree is loaded on the Dam side for stamina, he should be the real deal, I've got my fingers crossed. Hope that was helpful.

04 Feb 2014 5:32 PM

As of this date, here's my take on the most talented 3 yr. olds:

Candy Boy, Shared Belief, Kobe's Back, Tap it Rich. It's too early to tell which 3 yr. olds (from Steve's List, or others) will truly relish 1 1/4M in May, so I'll stick with my view of talent, for now.

04 Feb 2014 6:09 PM
Karen in Indiana

Pedigree Ann, try Neilmed Sinusrinse. It's not a neti pot, it's a squeeze bottle. Worked wonders for me.

04 Feb 2014 6:25 PM

Nice info and opinions Steve, as usual. Conquest Titan certainly has the breeding and his 2 Churchill Downs starts have been impressive, not often a 2 yr. old runs a 1:35 mile with a poor start to boot, could be a horse for the course. Harpoon looked good Sat. changed leads and accelerated quickly,unlike his maiden victory . You are right, still has some learning to do but looks talented nonetheless. Looking forward to your next lineup.

04 Feb 2014 8:04 PM

I'm looking at Top Billing's female line relevant to the classic races.  His sire, Curlin is a nice stallion, but Rages to Riches, an AP Indy filly did run him down in the Belmont Stakes.  I'm looking for stamina in the female line, i.e., broodmare sire's female line, and dam's female line. Enough said.

Going forward, Curlin was bred to some great mares, one of which was Parade Queen, an AP Indy mare.  The speedy English Triple Crown winner Nijinksy is also in the 5x of Parade Queens pedigree.

I like Top Billing, among others including Vicar's In Trouble.  Vicar's dosage index is 5.00, but his redemption may lie in his broodmare sire's female line, where Secretariat lives and breathes.  Vicar's In Trouble is a fast horse, but perhaps he inherited a bit of stamina from his broodmare sire.  Hope so.  

04 Feb 2014 9:01 PM

I love the Buckpasser and Princequillo influence on the tail side of California Chrome's pedigree.  Distance should not be a problem for him even though his dosage index is 3.40.  

04 Feb 2014 9:10 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

coldfacts ... u will watch his race thursday and watch his previous 2 turn race the day of lecomte ....

04 Feb 2014 9:11 PM

Steve- Since you seem to like California Chrome so much,why is he not in your Derby dozen. Also, since you are so uncertain of Top Billing and Cairo Prince-why is Conquest Titan placed higher in the dozen ranking.??

04 Feb 2014 9:41 PM
Tana Rae

Being a California girl, I watch the West coast races closely. Most impressive 3-year olds thus far, to me, are Shared Belief, California Chrome and Midnight Hawk.  Like you, Steve, I'm impressed with California Chrome.  He has looked fantastic in his most recent outings.  He seems to be putting it all together and learning from adversity in his previous races.  There's no greater lesson in life than experience and he's getting it. I, like you, also like his breeding.  I'm also still high on Shared Belief.  Jerry will do right by this one's condition so am not too worried.  If he needs time, so be it.  Such a talented thoroughbred he's worth it IMHO.  Midnight Hawk is worth watching for sure.  Baffert always seems to have one (at least) up his sleeve.  Is this the one?

04 Feb 2014 10:33 PM
Keep your powder dry

Always appreciate your work Steve but I think my handle says it all - Too early to commit at this stage but that's why you guys get the big bucks. Strong Mandate interests me greatly. Vicar's in Trouble is another but I'll have to see more.

I wouldn't rule out a McLaughlin off a lay-off. I seem to recall another he had finish pretty well in the Derby at huge odds off a similar lay-off.  

04 Feb 2014 10:52 PM

Steve: You're doing awesome with this dozen and I'm enjoying and agreeing with your analysis.

For me, its okay for Honor Code to start slowly as he is an AP Indy colt (not to be forced early). Provided that he gets sharp for the Wood Memorial, he'll be in a very good position to go for all three legs of the Triple Crown while getting better as the season wears on. At this point Top Billing appears to be his main danger. Shared Belief and Cairo Prince are likely to find the Derby distance a trifle long IMO. Vicar's in Trouble is another very good colt that wil be distanced challenged beyond nine furlongs but he should totally dominate the Fairgrounds prep races and bring a lot of pace into the Kentucky Derby scenario.

05 Feb 2014 12:18 AM
The Deacon

That darn groundhog saw his shadow, 6 more weeks of frigid winter.....ugh.

I am very concerned about Honor Code Steve is he getting better?

He's arriving late to the party may not be enough time to catch up unless he's that good.

Not to throw a wrench into the wheel but Northern Dancer is arguably the greatest sire ever so it stands to reason that his bloodline would be in so many of these 3 year olds, past and present.

With that said, his bloodline seems to be always at the fore front of the Triple Crown journey.

He did win 2 legs of the event and beat some pretty good horses doing so. Hill Rise, Quadrangle (Belmont Stakes winner) and Roman Brother to name three.

His bloodline includes Sadler's Wells, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Storm Bird, Danzig, and Be My Guest to name a few.

He is also the grandsire of Dance Smartly Canadian Triple Crown winner.

I believe since the early 90's Northern Dancer's male bloodline is involved in every Prix De Arc de Triomphe winner plus he has more Breeders Cup winners then any other horse. His sire line is Nearco and Nasrullah who were as well brilliant sires.

No particular point here but just to say it stands to reason why so many horsemen want his bloodline in the colts they purchase. I am confidant most the group here already know all this.

Much an be said for the Raise A Native bloodline as well but that topic is for a different day..........

05 Feb 2014 2:13 AM

trackjack : Thanks, I'm hoping I'll get lucky with my picks, either Louies Flower and Strong Mandate (Southwest) and Exit Stage Left (El Camino Real).  I got excited watching Vinceremos that I added him to my list right after the race but then started thinking about it and decided I'll wait until the Tampa Bay Derby to see how good he really is.  The one thing I liked is that Prado took him back after being close to the pace, then came running at the top of the stretch.  It's the kind of move that can make the difference in the Derby.

05 Feb 2014 3:18 AM

The only time Pletcher won the KD was with a Winstar colt.Winstar makes sure to keep the torque screw driver under lock and key until the Derby.They dont want any screw tightening until the actual race they are pointing for.It still didnt help Super Saver two weeks after the Derby win he had lost weight and wasnt the same animal entering the Preakness that won the 2010 Kentucky Derby.Btw he won with the right style but the pace in that race wasnt the same as it was for instance last year.

05 Feb 2014 8:19 AM

Two days ago Candy Boy worked 1:13 in preparation for the Bob Lewis. This colt has been getting a lot of attention since his 2nd place finish to Shared Belief in the CashCall.

Candy Boy made the cut in both of Mr. Haskin’s DD and was cited as one of the 24 betting interest in the 2nd KDFP. The colt has only made one start on dirt and was defeated handily by debutant Tap It Rich by 41/2L over 8F. I must concede he is an imposing colt with ground devouring strides. His best races including his only victory were recorded on synthetic. Is it his preferred surface?

His performance in the Bob Lewis will certainly provide an opportunity to further assess the potential of Shared Belief. While I like the Cady Ride portion of his pedigree, the In Excess portion does not appeal for a 10F.

He was unable to make any impact in the stretch when defeated by Tap It Rich. He could not respond to Shared Belief move in the stretch and this appears to be a pattern. Will he be able to handle Midnight Hawk and Kristo?  Those two colts are high cruisers with the ability to accelerate after setting fast fractions.  

What will be his path to victory? He will be behind the above two and should his rider try the same tactics as used in the Cashcall, I cannot see him winning. The 2014 renewal of the Bob Lewis will be very exciting despite the projected small field.

05 Feb 2014 8:19 AM

Because I, too, have always loved Touch Gold, I'll watch COMMISSIONER; same reason to keep up with CANDY BOY as his sire, Candy Ride, is a favorite.  But I'm hoping for WICKED STRONG because, well...Boston!    

05 Feb 2014 9:04 AM

Great list Steve, Top Billing must be special, having not won a Stakes race yet and being atop the Dozen, but cannot argue against a son of Curlin. Being a O'Brien fan, one horse I hope to see come though via UAE is Giovanni Boldini by War Front, majestic looking colt, who will take to dirt big time.............he never saw Mike Smith coming in the Breeders, same connections as Indianapolis, hoping to see both of them the 1st Sat in May.  Also nice to see 2 Birdstone colts on the list.

05 Feb 2014 9:33 AM
Pedigree Ann

Well, the ice wasn't so bad that we lost power, although many did. Hovering around 32 with the temp due to fall the rest of the day, so frozen slush is likely.

Vet, I am certainly allergic to many molds - I take shots for them every week - but our house is not too moist now - it is too dry. Humidifier on heat pump can't deal with the whole house, so we have 25% humidity, which is not too moist. Vaporizor in the bedroom certainly is helping me sleep.

Karen - I can only use my Neti-pot sporadically because my nasal tissues are currently so tender that the salty stuff (even cut to 1/5 of a packet) stings and causes me to blow out blood. I imagine I would have the same problem with your rinse. Thanks anyway.

Horses. Yes, horses. My Nord in Skyrim has one called Boudicca, a dappled grey with black mane and tail. Got her in Riften. Let Letrush keep Frost, then later saw one of Maven's thugs take him out up north near Winterhold. It doesn't pay to steal from Maven.

Oh, REAL horses. Too many to consider right now. Too many horses currently breaking their maidens or n1x 'impressively' won't progress from there and I can't sort them out. 10-12 years ago a colt who actually ran second in the Florida Derby showed up that fall at Kee running for a $10K tag, as best I recall. I was astonished, but there you go. Right now, you don't know which of these will be still in stakes races near the end of the season and which will be in claimers. Too many stakes races so they can dodge one another until it counts.

05 Feb 2014 11:19 AM

hey steve-have you spotted any 3yo so far that has the toughness(races often)and pedigree that are pointed to win a triple crown. seems like horses today are geared to win the derby then syndicated. any thoughts?

05 Feb 2014 11:32 AM

“he had lost weight and wasn’t the same animal entering the Preakness that won the 2010 Kentucky Derby”

Does any horse enters its next race in the exact state  as its previous? Highly unlikely! Horses that race with the powerful diuretic ‘Lasix’ will lose 50% more fluid than those that race without the medication. All horse lose weight went they race, some more than others. Post-race recovery is crucial to quick turnarounds. Fit and well-conditioned horses will recover faster. Some horses are more adversely affected by racing than others despite fitness levels.

Super Saver had a perfect trip in the Derby as opposed to the runner up Ice Box. His victory was aided and abetted by the misfortunes experienced by Ice Box.

05 Feb 2014 12:09 PM
Steve Haskin

Iceman, it's tough enough trying to find the Derby winner, but I wont even attempt to find a Triple Crown winner. A sound Honor Code might have the credentials you mention.

05 Feb 2014 12:54 PM
Daniel Jividen

Pretty audacious putting Top Billing at the top of the list but, when you think through it, why not?  At this point in the season Top Billing is just as good a selection as any of the others, and better than most.

05 Feb 2014 1:06 PM

beginning to build my derby trifecta box-1)honor code-thanks steve for a starting point 2)strong mandate-hope he's this years "spend a buck" 3)midnight hawk-baffert hopes he's the one 4)noble moon-leah gyarmati got a stakes win at saratoga last summer. Go Leah!

05 Feb 2014 2:16 PM

A Triple Crown winner could emerge from anyone of the 3YOs we are presently evaluating. We can evaluate pedigree; review past performances; trainer’s records and a host of other pertinent facts. However, we will  never be in a position to evaluate the heart a horse will show in the final quarter of three races contested at three different tracks and at three different distances, covering 30 1/2F in five weeks.

It is easier to start evaluations for the Derby which the first hurdle. Some of the most impressive Derby winners did not go on to be Triple Crown winners.  Barbaro fell to misfortune. Mine That Bird was a more impressive Derby winner than Barbaro and he contested the remaining two legs of the TC and file to complete it.

There are many horses on the Derby Trail that are bred for the TC series. Will the stars be aligned for one to be the 12th TC winner? Who knows!

It takes combination of the soundness, training, conditioning, ability, heart and most importantly ‘Luck’ to win the Triple Crown. Barbaro was an excellent candidate to win the TC. No one knows if his luck had prevailed, whether he would have been able to defeat the fresher and ultra-talented Bernardini.

The first TC winner made his 3YO debut in the Derby after losing all 6 starts as a 2YO. He was about a million to one to will all three races. The current points system might not allow for another Sir Barton but other stories could emerge.

05 Feb 2014 2:32 PM
lunar spook

PLODDERMAN- Thanx for the tip about UNDERTAKER I you tubed that race in which he stumbled , regrouped and blew the field away , I like his connections and his pedigree INTERESTING HORSE . . . . . . . .

05 Feb 2014 3:45 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Undertaker

His latest came 'with the grain' of a surface playing importantly speed biased.  He beat 4 others in a field, with just one other runner with any speed (using the term loosely). In my eyes, he's a worthy downgrade when next seen.

Good luck.

05 Feb 2014 4:46 PM

Mr. Haskin,

Your comments regarding Vinceremos are spot on. I reviewed the videos of his two victories and I was amazed at what I saw. It appears there is no bottom to this colt.  He is obviously still green but has displays all the assets of an exceptional racehorse.

He just lopes along covering ground casually and when you think he is going to weaken, he get into the race, takes the lead, bangs into the rail and when horses joint him he takes off. None of his opponents in the Sam Davis were going to get by as it appeared he was just ready run.

He is not a typical Todd Pletcher horse. While his sire is from the powerful Mr. Prospector sire line, his dam sire More Than Ready from Halo line does not immediately capture ones attention. Although the Halo dam line appears to be dormant in the Derby, it’s really not. Halo traces back to Hail To Reason. The dam sires of Derby winners I’ll Have Another and Giacomo both trace back to Hail To Reason. Windstar got lucky again.

This is a very interesting colt that might just be the best of the 42 horses nominated to the Triple Crown from the Pletcher barn.

05 Feb 2014 7:27 PM

Coldfacts its not too late for a law degree you wanna argue this Does any horse enters its next race in the exact state  as its previous

I agree with you on Ice Box if we could have run him in 2013 he would have won.

05 Feb 2014 7:44 PM

Coldfacts if Ice Box runs in 2009 or 2013 he wins running his same race with the pace set-up and track condition that were prevalent.It was an off-track in 2010 also.

05 Feb 2014 7:49 PM

Looking solely at pedigree, I like Top Billing, Vicar's In Trouble, California Chrome, Uncle Sigh, and Baratti. Also on my list is Ragtime.  Ragtime won his maiden a few days ago.  He forced the pace and drew clear.  I really like the horse and his pedigree.

05 Feb 2014 8:25 PM

Cold Facts, you hit a sore spot with your mention of my man, Union Rags.  Union Rags was sired by Dixie Union, but his broodmare sire Gone West was out of a Secretariat mare.  Union Rags was the best of the two year old and three year old crop. He was bottled up in the Kentucky Derby, everyone knows that, and he went on to win the Belmont after again being pressed at the rail.  He is a brilliant horse and he inherited that large heart stamina from his broodmare sire.

I understand your love for the Mr. Prospector line, but unless he is uniquely placed in a horses pedigree, it means nothing.  He sired thousands of horses.

I love Secretariat broodmares, but they also must reside in a special place in the pedigree.

I must say that the word "simplistic" does not fit when studying pedigree.

I do like the Mr. Prospector (Count Fleet) Secretariat Princequillo) cross.  Mr. Prospector on top, Secretariat on bottom.

05 Feb 2014 9:36 PM

Honor Code's odds could just get better in his next race, so not to worry just yet. Remember, Charismatic showed up wearing rundowns in his Derby and was dismissed at 30 something to one, and exited that race with a burned heel, only to come back in his next to win the second leg of the TC, but couldn't hold it together in the Belmont. And Lucas is no Shug, when it comes to being careful. Don't worry, Honor Code should be fine.

05 Feb 2014 10:53 PM

HEY! Did everybody forget about Noble Moon?.......with his Stop the Music & Stage Door Johnny female bottom line! We're talking 126 lbs. at a mile and a quarter!!!!

05 Feb 2014 11:05 PM


06 Feb 2014 9:00 AM
ned williams


Any word on No Nay Never. Nobody on this blog has mentioned him, I know his eye catching performances came at Keeneland, Royal Ascot and Deauville  (and that he is a Scat Daddy out of an Elusive Quality mare) but he is undefeated and has been incredibly impressive. Thanks for your insight.

06 Feb 2014 9:15 AM
Steve Haskin

No Nay Never gets his first mention next week. He returned to the work tab last Sunday, working a half in :46 3/5. He looks too fast right now to be a Derby horse, but he's an exciting colt for sure. Remember, his dam's broodmare sire is Exceller.

06 Feb 2014 9:34 AM
lunar spook

PLOD BOY PHIL - Could not agree with you LESS about undertaker , but we shall see come may !

06 Feb 2014 10:19 AM
Pedigree Ann

Pioneer needs to be a heck of a stamina sire if Vinceremos is to get 10f. Dam-line is sprint oriented, second dam being a multiple graded SP sprint winner who was a half-sister to Safely Kept. Sometimes a horse takes after only one parent or even a grandparent, but most of the time you can't ignore either parent's heritage. And don't count on More Than Ready for stamina - like his sire, Southern Halo, he gets more top 2yos and milers than he does classic-distance horses.

06 Feb 2014 12:18 PM

Hi Steve, glad to hear that you are watching our California 3 year olds close as I have been keeping a steady eye on California Chrome and Tamarando and at this stage I am so impressed with C.C. I think he is a real legit contender for the Classics this year. I have been hearing lots in regards to Top Billing and having been such a fan of Curlin I can't help but follow his offspring with such great anticipation. I hope Top Billing lives up to his name, literally. The game is early yet however and will watch each classic prep and see how these 3 year olds progress. Do believe that Cairo Prince is a colt not to underestimate as I believe he is one that will simply get better with each race.

06 Feb 2014 5:42 PM
Plod Boy Phil


re: Vinceremos

A few days late and 13-1 odds short.  As you know,  Vinceremos was no surprise to Flow players.  This $26.80 winner was tabbed as the Sammy Davis bet down the hall in Unlocking Winners.  You'll recognize the name.

Vince is talented,  but limited.

06 Feb 2014 5:55 PM

talking about vinceremos I got that horse from one of the bloggers on unlocking winners blog  PBP

06 Feb 2014 7:31 PM

saw the blog by PBP  a couple hrs before vinceremos race took a shot with him.

06 Feb 2014 7:51 PM
Sam Santschi

Steve, I just watched Cal Chrome.  Not to sound like that guy on "Horseplayers", but CC, Candy Boy and Strong Mandate are giving off real positive vibes.

06 Feb 2014 9:57 PM
Bill Rinker

Pedigree Ann, I hope your feeling better, your last entry sparked my interest in More Than Ready's stamina influence. I looked at his past performances and saw that he had a high cruising speed that he could carry fairly effectively. He was fourth in the Derby, early on he was about 3 or so back of the pace in 3rd, they got 3/4's in 1:09 and he didn't melt down. In the Blue Grass he just missed by a head and the winning time was 1:48, some of the other racing results tend to support this idea on paper. I think you are correct in your analysis of his get, but I'm hesitant to write him off as a stamina influence. As I'm sure you're well aware, genetic traits can be turned on and off by varying influences, unfortunately we don't seem to really understand all of the factors that control this expression process. It looks like there is plenty of stamina in his tail female line and you would think that he should impart this through his fillies. One of many questions to ponder would be how much of that fast twitch muscle fiber comes along with the genetic package as well, and how the whole thing balances out. It was hard for me to find enough definitive information on his progeny's racing results with out an entensive search, coupled with the fact that so many of his off spring are in the southern hemisphere. However at a quick glance it did appear that his fillies out preformed his colts. It seems likely that Vinceremos could have a dose of that More Than Ready stamina and there is additional stamina farther down his dam side as well. Now with all of this theoretical mumbo jumbo in place all that is necessary is to covey this assurance to the four legged contestants on the Derby Trail, by which I'm sure they'll get a mile and a quarter with ease...  yeah right.

06 Feb 2014 11:42 PM

Pedigree Ann : Hope you're doing better.  I liked VInceremos and as I've said I was really impressed with his Sam Davis win but I held off calling him a derby contender and will wait to see how he does in the TBD.  I'm not sure there's going to be that many true 10F horses in the Derby this year (based on pedigrees) so I think that would make Vinceremos a contender if he continues to improve regardless of his pedigree.

ROBERT B. LEWIS : Diamond Bachelor was my pick for the BC Juvenile Turf until the connections decided to run him on dirt.  Looks like they're giving him one more shot on dirt in the Robert B. Lewis.  I like him in this race specially after his last two workouts and my other pick is Nakatani's horse, Cool Samurai.  I don't think he's a derby horse but I think he's all primed up for this race and based on his workouts, is probably sitting on a big one.    I'm not sure what his ML is but I would guess 8-1 or higher with Candy Boy and Midnight Hawk and Chitu taking the money.   I'll play Cool Samurai with Diamond Bachelor, Candy Boy and Midnight Hawk.   I'm going to let Midnight Hawk beat me, it's his 3rd race, and he could very well turn out to be a super horse but for betting purposes, I will try and beat him.   I'll play a .20 super : Cool Samurai, Diamond Bachelor with Cool Samurai, Diamond Bachelor, Candy Boy and Midnight Hawk, my cheap $2.40 superfecta hehe.

07 Feb 2014 12:14 AM
Carlos in Cali

California Chrome was indeed impressive in his 2-turn debut,especially how he widened his lead on Tamarando down the stretch when the latter seemed to make-up a few lengths on him.He was breathing pretty hard afterwards,but still has plenty of room for improvement going forward. The fearless & aggressive Victor Espinoza fits him well with his tactical speed,his next race vs. solid open company will be telling.Can't wait.  

07 Feb 2014 12:59 AM

Plod Boy Phil,

Thanks. I always feel bad when opportunities are missed especially $13-1. Good call.

His last two races were very slow but he appears to do just enough to win.

I have done some further research on his dam line as it relate to dam sire More Than Ready. The dam sires of Derby winners I'll Have Another and Afleet Alex were Arch and Hawkster who are both great grandsons of Hail To Reason. More Than Ready is a great grandson of Hail To Reason.

Hail To reason was a son of Turn-To. The Turn-To broodmare line has bee associated with Derby winners I'll Have Another, Grindstone, Giacomo and Charismatic. Preakness winners Afleet Alex, summer Squall  and Belmont winner Danzig Connection.  

The dam sire the great Zenyatta was Kris S a great grandson of Turn-To. Likewise Arch, the dam sire of 2YO champion Uncle Mo.

Vinceremos might have limitations but he also has some positive history to call on.

NB: What out for projected FOY winner General A Rod as he is also from the Turn-To dam line via Dynaformer.

07 Feb 2014 8:55 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Have you viewed closely the running style of Vinceremos? If he is not a 10F horse none on the Derby Trail are. He is lazy and appears to be uninterested until he is asked for his final effort. It appears he doesn’t like the whip as it is used sparingly. Rarely does a horse bang into the rails in consecutive races; is passed by opponents and then fight back to reclaim the lead close home. Those are qualities of a champion. He might not be fast enough but he certainly has a ton of heart.

07 Feb 2014 9:07 AM

Vinceremos has little chance to get the 10 furlongs.  The tail side of his pedigree is full of sprinters.  I believe that distance/stamina is inherited through the female line of a horse's pedigree, sire to daughter, not sire to son.  Therefore, Vince unless by some miracle, did not inherit stamina from Pioneer.    

07 Feb 2014 9:47 AM

Coldfacts, Secretariat was not a disappointment at stud; he was a great broodmare sire.  His blood runs through the female lines of some great horses, Wise Dan, Will Take Charge, Rags to Riches, the very popular freshman stallion, UNION RAGS, and the list goes on and on.  Most of the horses that won an Eclipse award for their work in 2013, have Secretariat/Princequillo blood running through the female lines of their pedigrees.

By the way Secretariat was a broodmare sire that did complete the Triple Crown.  HE WON THE TRIPLE CROWN.

My analogy is that if you do not thoroughly study a horse's pedigree, it's like a piece of the puzzle is missing.  You may as well throw the puzzle away because it cannot be completed.  

07 Feb 2014 10:25 AM

Steve :  I like your One For The Roses series, specially the 2nd and most recent one with Strong Mandate.  Also re-listened to Midnight Hawks and anxious to see him run in the Lewis, this is by far the best field he has faced in my opinion so it should be a good test for him.    Looking forward to listening to more of those.  Who's next on your list ?

07 Feb 2014 12:41 PM
Bill Rinker

Distance capabilities in Thoroughbred Horses are influenced by a mulitude of factors. One of these that we seem to have identified is associated with the x, or sex linked chromosome, which is also associated with heart size. However, there are other factors that influence stamina as well. Vinceremos may very well have inherited this x-factor trait through his Dam, Kettles Sister, via- Playmate, Becky Be Good and or Bases Full. The thing to keep in mind though, is that a Horse's ability to cover a route of ground is usually not the result of one such characteristic, but rather the sum of many factors that more than likely have been developed by those in charge of their well being.  With the size of todays Derby field it is highly desirable to have a healthy combination of both speed and stamina. I think it is safe to say, that in terms of natural abilities that horses are born with, is that speed can be managed some what easier than endurance. However, that to is subjective, and it's just not that easy to hang your hat on one nail and achieve lasting success.

07 Feb 2014 1:13 PM

Why all the talk about a horse that is not a derby contender? the sam davis 82 beyer? come on man!

07 Feb 2014 3:20 PM

Bill Rinker, thank you for your comments relative to the x-factor.

07 Feb 2014 7:49 PM

Diamond Batchelor has a great shot to win the Robert Lewis ...he's my pick to humble the favourites Candy Boy and Midnight Hawk.  

07 Feb 2014 8:41 PM

Because they way the qualifiers are done for the Derby, it pretty much eliminated any chance of pure sprinters entering the Derby and now can concentrate on those better bred for distance. Of course there are milers who have the possibility of stretching out given certain circumstances.

So far, I am looking at one whose breeding intrigues me. That is Midnight Hawk.

07 Feb 2014 8:46 PM

Cousin Stephens finished less than 3L behind Top Billing and Commissioner over 9F. Top Billing is ranked #1 and Commissioner #12 in Mr. Haskin’s dozen. Are They Derby horses?

Cousin Stephens returned in the Sam Davis with a perfect trip and finished 4th beaten by Vinceremos who had issues in the stretch and rallied for avictory. A careful review of the SD will reflect that Vinceremos was mostly under a hand ride whereas Cousin Stephens and all others were subjected to aggressive whipping.

There is no such thing as a Derby horse. Under the current points, the question has to be can he accumulate the requisite points to secure a spot.

Was Golden Soul a Derby horse? If my memory is correct, the MSW winner entered due to defections with very few points and finished a gallant second.

The contributors supporting Vinceremos are by no means baseless.

08 Feb 2014 9:05 AM

Diamond Bachelor made his dirt debut without Lasix on an exceptionally fast track and was wide on both turns. He could not get into the race from post #12 and looked lost. He ran on mildly in the stretch and although appearing to be one paced was only beaten 91/2L.

His connections seem adamant to try him on dirt again. I believe he is a turf horse but one never knows. He did finished ahead of Conquest Titan who returned with two of his best effort on dirt.

He was acquired for $570K. His trainer has a very poor win % and all parties concern but be very disparate to determine the dirt status of this colt. He has trained well and could be dangerous off three month between races.

08 Feb 2014 9:16 AM


"Secretariat was not a disappointment at stud; he was a great broodmare sire.'

The cold facts do not support your claim. I am prepare to rephrase my statement to read he did not live up to expectation as a stallion but had reasonable success a broodmare sire.

NB: Many great thoroughbreds did not lived up to expectations as stallions.

08 Feb 2014 9:27 AM

Mr. Haskin,

I have nothing but regard for your assessment of the horses comprising your Dozen. That stated, I cannot seem to endorse your assessment of Candy Boy.

“We know he has a monster middle move”

The above was only on display once and he flattened out and had to be fully extended to hold second. In addition, he displayed that move on synthetic while recording a 6F split of 1:11.38. The 6F split in the Sham was 1:10 and a bit. He is unlikely to make such a move against high cruiser on the SA surface.

“so watch for Stevens to wait until pulling the trigger”

He was one pace in the stretch against Tap It Rich in his sole dirt effort. In his first 3 starts he was one pace in the stretch. His sole victory was achieved on the lead. Mr. Stevens will now rate him behind the leading pack and unleash his big move. Let assume this occurs, can he hold off Cool Samurai who has closed relentlessly in two starts at a mile, giving the impression that longer is better.

Candy Boy has no definite running style. He is either one pace, one the lead or making a premature move. It’s hard to envisage him adopting a new strategy for the Lewis. He is likely to be caught between running styles. This an erratic colt.

A lot of folks are high on him and I cannot see why. Again they could be right and I could be so wrong.

08 Feb 2014 10:03 AM

Come on Coldfacts, Secretariat sired the great Lady's Secret, the 1986 Horse of Year.  Out of 45 starts she finished in the money 37 times, winning over $3 million.  Name one mare by Mr. Prospector or for that matter the entire Native Dancer line that accomplished that feat.  Next on my list is Weekend Surprise, dam of the great AP Indy, another Secretariat daughter.  I really wish that you would broaden your horizons and look at female lines. You have a tendency to focus on the top side of a horse's pedigree.  On the bottom side you focus on the broodmare sire's sire line.

Princequillo, Secretariat's broodmare sire, was one of the greatest long distance runners of all time.  Secretariat inherited his large heart from the Princequillo mare Somethingroyal.  All of Princequillo's daughters were carriers of the large heart gene.

Secretariat was able to sprint 1 1/2 miles in the Belmont Stakes, thanks to Princequillo's stamina and Bold Ruler's speed.    

08 Feb 2014 1:16 PM

I'm surprised to see Diamond Bachelor having the same ML as Cool Samurai but I'll take it.  I thought Cool Samurai would be a little bit higher.

It'll be nice to see Blueskies take on GoD's speed, but I think American Blend might make this trifecta decent.

I'll take Temeraine in the San Marcos, with Lucayan, Jeranimo and Vagabond Shoes

I like Falling Sky in the GP Sprint as my longshot, it's a speed race and I think the speed holds in this race.  Will play him with Catron, Jackson Bend and Singanothersong.

08 Feb 2014 2:44 PM

I love Candy Boy.  As the distance gets longer, he'll just get better.  I'm happy he is up there on your picks Steve.  The tail side of his pedigree is replete with stamina.  Somethingfabulous is a half brother of Secretariat.

08 Feb 2014 3:22 PM

Midnight Hawk's pedigree is interesting.  Pursuant to the tail side of his pedigree, the Princequillo line breeding explodes past the 5x.  I do think that Candy Boy will give him a run for his money.

08 Feb 2014 7:05 PM

WOW, the Candy Boy did it.  He was just getting started at the finish.  Like I said earlier, the longer the distance the better for this guy.  

08 Feb 2014 7:22 PM

pool 2 2 horses are the favorites .....things going well......cp from 26 to 13....hc from 10 to advice from a against will take charge!!!!!

08 Feb 2014 7:32 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Storm Cat is now the #1 broodmare sire in the world but when you look at his record as a dam sire of 3 year's old classic winners on dirt at 3 his record is very suspect, well when the experts see the  horse who   did finish 2d in the derby two year's back they may feel that Honor Code,Shared Belief etc have a similar pedigree mixture and they don't, the problem with Storm Cat as a broodmare sire of distance runners is with his second dam by Crimson Satan when you see his sire  Storm Bird you can notice a strong stamina influence and i did notice that the horse that finished 2d at the derby 2 yer's back had A.P.Indy at his second dam sire will be Storm Cat problem as a broodmare sire of classic winners lay at the second dam?,just a humble comment to try to be lucky.  

08 Feb 2014 11:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You sure nailed it on your Candy Boy assessment, prognosis, evaluation and prediction. To be expected I suppose from those who have been paying attention in class. Looking forward to seeing where you place him on your next list. It's looking like there is a little talent and competition out West. Just hoping they have enough water left at the troughs and watering holes. I would imagine the horses get a little thirsty after those monster moves and tough races.

09 Feb 2014 8:58 AM
Sam Santschi

Sure feel dumb today...Didn't realize they closed the KDFW on Saturday instead of Sunday like they always have, right? 30-1 on Candy Boy sure looks good now.  Then again, never have won one of those future bets anyway. (American Lion one of my shrewder future picks.) Yes, it's a sucker bet but kind of cool to walk around Derby week with a live ticket from 12 weeks earlier..

09 Feb 2014 2:48 PM

Unlike some here, when analyzing pedigree, I look at the entire pedigree.  I don't believe only the female lines of a horse's pedigree influence stamina.  Stamina lines in a pedigree help a horse get a distance of ground no matter where they come from.  That said, personally, I look for speed over stamina as often as possible in a pedigree and I tend to give less preference to a sire that doesn't have stamina in the bottom half of his pedigree.  

However, I strongly believe that talent can come from anywhere, and I always look first at a horse's accomplishments on the track, running style, and in particular how a horse "finishes up" his races.  If a horse is finishing up well in top races against top competition, then, and only then, will I go to the pedigree.

09 Feb 2014 11:15 PM

Anyone know why they took the points off of the Sam F. Davis race yet kept it for the Lexington Stakes ?  I just think if a horse needs to run on April 19th to get the points, they're probably not a contender.  I would guess they're running to chase an owner's dream to have a starter in the Derby.   I thought the Sam F. Davis is on par with the Lecomte race, really not much difference as far as the quality of the fields.

My new list  :  

Rise Up

Poker Player

In Trouble

Top Billing


Gold Hawk




Honor Code

Cairo Prince


I'm wondering whether Cairo Prince is actually hurt.  As for Honor Code, he's had one workout this year, I'm not sure which race they'll end up in.

10 Feb 2014 3:04 AM


“Secretariat sired the great Lady's Secret, the 1986 HOY. Out of 45 starts she finished in the money 37 times, winning over $3m. Name one mare by either Mr. Prospector or the entire Native Dancer line that accomplished that feat.”

I will give you two that are comparable"

Street Cry sired Zenyatta the 2010 Horse of Year. Out of 20 starts she finished in the money 20 times, winning over $7.3 million.  

Genuine Risk is the only female that finished in the top two in all three Triple Crown races. Out of 15 starts she finished in the money 15 times.

“Next on my list is Weekend Surprise, dam of the great AP Indy, another Secretariat daughter.”

Weekend Surprise was also dam of Preakness winner Summer Squall. Dose Natalma rank with Weekend Surprise? You can decide. She was the dam of Northern Dancer and she was sired by Native Dancer.

While a Mr. Prospector mare has never produced the winner of TC race, one produced HOY Mineshaft. The runner up in the 2013 Derby Golden Soul was produced from a Mr. Prospector mare.

Mares sired by descendants of Native Dancer chiefly  through Mr. Prospector have produced 2 winners of TC races. How many of secretariat's tail male descendants have been associate with winner of TC races? My records reflect none.

secretariat like Snow Chief  and many other did not live up to their high expectations.

“You have a tendency to focus on the top side of a horse's pedigree.  On the bottom side you focus on the broodmare sire's sire line.”

You are correct. The records indicate that’s where the focus should be.

10 Feb 2014 1:53 PM

Robin and Coldfacts man, I'll respond on Steve's February 10th derby picks.  I have much to say.

10 Feb 2014 9:09 PM
Pedigree Ann

"The dam sires of Derby winners I'll Have Another and Afleet Alex were Arch and Hawkster who are both great grandsons of Hail To Reason. More Than Ready is a great grandson of Hail To Reason."

So because they have one ancestor out of eight in the great-grandparent position in the pedigree in common, More Than Ready, Arch, and Hawkster are the same horse when it comes to sire influence. The fact that Hawkster had a G1 win at 12f, a distance at which his sire placed in 2 classics (THE and the Irish Derby); that Arch won a G1 at 10f, while his sire had other staying offspring; and that More Than Ready and his sire Southern Halo have gotten almost exclusively hot 2yos, sprinters and milers - all this makes no difference to you.

Hail to Reason was IN GENERAL a stamina influence, but that doesn't mean that EVERY descendant of Hail to Reason inherited that stamina influence. Three Bars was a great-grandson in the male line of Suburban Hcp winner Ballot, a great champion of the early 20th Century. In the next generation back were of his pedigree two winners of the Belmont and other classic-distance stayers Ben Brush, Trenton, Disguise, etc. Didn't stop Three Bars from becoming the foundation sire of running Quarter Horses.

11 Feb 2014 10:15 AM

Pedigree Ann,

Points acknowledge.

Below are the horses that have won TC races whose dam sires are tail male descendants of Turn-To:

I'll Have Another - Derby/Preakness

Grindstone -Derby

Afleet Alex -Preakness/Belmont

Giacomo - Derby

Charismatic - Derby/Preakness

Pine Bluff - Preakness

Danzig Connection - Belmont


Zenyatta - BCC/HOY

Uncle Mo - Champion 2YO

Spring At Last -Don Handicap

Stately Victor - Bluegrass

On the Derby Trail

Vinceremos - (3 starts 2-1-0)

General A Rod - (3 starts 2-1-0)

Bourbonize - (2 starts 2-0-0)

The above colts have shown above average ability. They have ran very fast. One has won at a mile in 1:35 plus and two have won at a 1 1/16m.

One has to be optimistic that another winner of a TC race can emerge for a mare sired by a tail male descendant of Turn-To.

11 Feb 2014 1:04 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs