Derby Dozen - February 10, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Top Billing Shug McGaughey

Curlin—Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy

Sometimes, the less you have to say about a young horse the better, as that usually means he had no bad habits. When he was at Fair Hill last year, Bruce Jackson said he had a great temperament, was very straightforward and willing, his works were impressive, and he did everything very easily. In fact, he was training so well, McGaughey decided to just run him at Laurel while he was down there and he blew his field away in the slop going six furlongs. And we all know what he’s done since, even though he still hasn’t run in a stakes. He had his first work since his allowance score, breezing a half in :49 1/5 Saturday at Payson Park. His No. 1 ranking is based purely on potential and visual assessment, as he does not possess anything close to the credentials of those directly below him, and his speed figures, both Beyer and Thoro-Graph, need to improve.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

Two weeks down and seven weeks to go before we see him again. What he has going in his favor is McLaughlin’s ability to get a fresh horse ready for a big race, as well as the foundation he built and the battle test he was put through in the Remsen Stakes. Although he did allow Honor Code to come back and beat him after apparently having gotten the better of him, we at least know he won’t back down from a fight, and he does have the ability to deliver a knockout punch, as he did in the Holy Bull. As for his minimal campaign and passing the Fountain of Youth, welcome to the world of the speed sheets and the fear of peaking too early in the year.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

What I loved most about his effort in the Robert Lewis was how he willingly eased back on the turn and moved to the outside, and the way he covered ground down the stretch with that huge, flowing stride, winning under a confident ride, while tossing his ears back and forth. He was a powerhouse galloping out way ahead of the others and just kept going until Stevens finally got him to the outside fence and was able to pull him up well down the backstretch. Stevens said the colt didn’t even take a deep breath and called him “a super talent.” He has such a high cruising speed, Stevens was extremely surprised when he saw how fast the final time was. He has the physical appearance of a horse who will relish the longer distances, and runs like it. Loved the way he sat comfortably off a quick pace, while rattling off quarters in :23 3/5, :23 2/5, and :23 4/5, then came home fast in :24 3/5 and :06 1/5, and kept on going. And we’ve already witnessed his rapid-fire acceleration with that mind-blowing middle move in the CashCall Futurity.


Honor Code Shug McGaughey

A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat

We’ll see if the move to Gulfstream from the deep, testing surface at Payson Park will help get him back on course. McGaughey needs to get two solid starts in him, and the question is, will he be ready for the March 1 Gotham or wait a week for the Tampa Derby? It would seem finding an allowance race would be a longshot. You never like to see any physical setbacks, regardless how minor they are, but he does have the Remsen and Champagne foundation to fall back on. And he is a very talented and versatile horse with a monster stretch kick if he needs to use it.


Shared Belief Jerry Hollendorfer

Candy Ride—Common Hope, by Storm Cat

Back in training after having his quarter crack patched and should be back breezing after several days of galloping. Until we see him progressing on a daily basis, we’ll keep him here. Once he’s back in his routine and doing well, he’ll return at or near the top. It was just difficult keeping him in the Top 3 week after week when there was nothing to say about him and no news coming from his camp. He is one horse you really don’t want to lose because of his extraordinary talent and star potential. As owner Jim Rome tweeted, “He's on the mend. Don't sleep on this dude.” He is the 2-year-old champ after all. Candy Boy certainly flattered the CashCall Futurity result, so let’s hope we get him back in a daily routine right up to the San Felipe, which would seem to be the logical starting off point. Let’s not forget, though, he’s never run on dirt, and despite his pedigree and the likelihood he’ll love it, you never know for sure until they do it.


Conquest Titan Mark Casse Click Here!

Birdstone—Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft

Casse has his priorities straight: “We maybe would have a better shot going to New Orleans with the longer stretch, with speed not holding as well there. But we felt it was better to keep him home for right now. We know he loves Churchill Downs, so we’re trying to get him there happy and healthy. We’re just looking for him to run another good race.” This is a trainer who knows what the Derby trail is all about and realizes these are all just preps to get him to peak on Derby Day. This is a time for learning and moving forward en route to the ultimate goal. Conquest Titan doesn’t need to win these early races, just pick up enough points, while coming home strongly and showing continued improvement. He remains sharp, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:00 flat.


Strong Mandate D. Wayne LukasClick Here!

Tiznow—Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister

The weather has been playing havoc with the Oaklawn track, with four straight days of canceled racing, but there is still plenty of time before the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 17, and he’s built up a solid series of works, and everyone there is in the same boat. The Southwest is going to come up a tough race with a large field and Lukas certainly doesn’t want to gut him first time back. The key with him is how he relaxes early and how he comes home. Once again, he’s proven how talented he is, he’s built a strong foundation, and there is no reason to start back with any monster speed figures. It’s all about settling early and finishing, and he doesn’t have to contend with Bob Baffert, who has won four of the last five runnings.


Mexikoma Rick Mettee

Birdstone—Toccet Over, by Toccet

Considering he worked alone and without blinkers and is not a willing worker unless in company and blinkered, his 6-furlong breeze in 1:15 merely served its purpose as a stamina builder and to have him come home fast (:11 4/5) over a deep tiring track. He is eligible for a nonwinners of 2 allowance race scheduled for Feb. 17 that looks like it’s going to attract a number of exciting Derby prospects, so if he runs, that will be a good test for him. If he can build on his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which he finished up fast after a less-than-ideal trip, he should be in good shape moving back into top stakes company.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

The belief that he can’t get classic distances seems unfounded, considering his grandsire won the Florida Derby, his maternal great-grandsires won the BC Classic and Preakness, and his third dam, Jabot, is a half-sister to the classy stayer Big Spruce, who defeated Forego in the Marlboro Cup, won graded stakes at 1 1/2 miles and 1 5/8 miles, and was second twice in the 1 5/8-mile Canadian International to Secretariat and Dahlia. Jabot, a two-turn stakes winner herself, also is a half sister to Manta, who won the grade I Santa Margarita and Santa Barbara and placed against colts in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Gold Cup and 1 1/2-mile Oak Tree Invitational. His maiden win vs. La.-breds earned the co-fastest 2-year-old Thoro-Graph figure, equaling Shared Belief’s fig in the CashCall Futurity. And he still came back and destroyed his competition in the LeComte. He did shy slightly at the sixteenths pole, switching back to his left lead, but other than that it was a professional performance and a big step forward from winning a Louisiana-bred maiden race. Continued his sharp works with a 5-furlong breeze in 1:00 3/5.


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

I’ve been waiting to get him in the Top 12. Love everything about this colt, especially from a visual standpoint. Not only was his Thoro-Graph number in the Cal Cup Derby the top 3-year-old figure this year, along with Cairo Prince’s Holy Bull, he paired up his previous number, winning by huge margins both times, so it would seem he’s for real. He had his first work at his new home, Los Alamitos, at went a sharp half in :48 with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard. All the other reasons why I rate this horse so high were mentioned extensively in last week’s Knocking on the Door.


Commissioner Todd Pletcher

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

Turned in a sharp 5-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5 for the Fountain of Youth Stakes, where he’ll try to defeat Top Billing once again and prove he is indeed the better horse. He’s not going to knock you out, but he looks like the type who will out-slug you and is not going to back down from a fight. His Beyer figures have climbed 24 points and 13 points since his first race, and we do know he has the pedigree that shouts distance and steady improvement. With two 1 1/8-mile victories already, he has the foundation and just needs to keep getting faster with each race, as does Top Billing.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

One thing we know about him is he’s a survivor. When he was a baby he had a reaction to plasma and came very close to dying. It took emergency procedures to get him breathing again and it was touch and go for about 5 minutes until he pulled through. When Frank Brothers, representing Starlight Partners, came to Machmer Hall to inspect the yearlings for the Keeneland sale, he told breeders Carrie and Craig Brogden he was the best horse he saw at the farm, and he backed up that comment by paying $380,000 for him. And Machmer Hall also has had homebreds Vinceremos, who recently won the grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes, and the promising closer Kid Cruz at the farm preparing for the sale. He showed his sharpness, breezing a half in company in :48, second-fastest of 67 works at the distance.

Knocking At The Door

This week’s big push horse is the Bob Baffert-trained maiden winner HOPPERTUNITY, although having made his career debut on Jan. 4 must tackle the dreaded Apollo curse, never having started at 2. But this colt could be Baffert’s next Bodemeister, who almost pulled it off two years ago, despite making his debut 12 days after Hoppertunity. In fact, Hoppertunity was entered last Nov. 22, but was a late scratch, so he at least was ready to go back then.

In Hoppertunity’s debut, Baffert just needed to get a race in him, and after he broke badly, dropping back to last, he made a good move on the turn before flattening out, finishing fifth. But it was interesting to note that, despite getting beat over seven lengths, he blew by everyone in the gallop-out.

In his next start, he broke cleanly and tracked the pace along the inside, waiting patiently for something to open up. He finally found an opening and took over at the three-sixteenths pole. He seemed to be putting in nothing more than a workmanlike performance trying putting the hard-hitting Snuggley Bear away, but put it in another gear with 70 yards to go and quickly opened up to win by three lengths. A sixteenth past the wire he was some 15 lengths in front and had no desire to be pulled up by Martin Garcia.

The son of Any Given Saturday is long-backed horse with the look of a stayer, and I love the way he runs through the wire and just now seems to be learning what it’s all about.

His dam, Refugee, is by Unaccounted For, best known for his victory in the Whitney and close second to Cigar in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Cup and third to Cigar in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Most interestingly is Hoppertunity’s third dam, the great Hall of Famer and Filly Triple Crown winner Davona Dale, who produced the French-trained Le Voyageur, third in the Belmont Stakes behind Easy Goer and Sunday Silence.

Speaking of SNUGGLEY BEAR, perhaps it is best for trainer Julio Canani to get him as far away from Bob Baffert as possible. In his last four starts (three seconds and a third), he was beaten by Baffert’s Derby contender Indianapolis, then by Baffert’s Derby contender Midnight Hawk, then by Baffert’s Derby contender Bayern, and now by Baffert’s Derby contender Hoppertunity. Has he finally run out of Baffert Derby contenders?

And speaking of Baffert, I didn’t want to drop MIDNIGHT HAWK off the Top 12, but the competition for that final spot is very hot and he just didn’t show enough to indicate that he’s a Derby horse. But he is a very good horse who just needs to grow up and mature a little. As for CHITU, he ran a bang-up race, but is still a ways off from being a Derby horse. Every year, Baffert seems to have a horse who keeps surprising and stretching out, and he looks like that horse this year.

After displacing grade I winner BOND HOLDER, Champagne third RIDE ON CURLIN, and MEXIKOMA, beaten 3 3/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the next appearance by Derby Future Wager addition MATTERHORN is greatly anticipated. The son of Tapit is inbred 3x4 to Fappiano and was visually impressive winning a tough maiden race going a mile, in which he was between horses almost the entire way, then ran down and out-dueled stablemate HARPOON, who came back to win impressively and then get beat a nose in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. With only one start under his belt, albeit a mile, and not having run for 2 1/2 months, Matterhorn is playing major catch-up, and Todd Pletcher likely is going to have to get three starts in him with no hiccups along the way.

Also in the beaten field was the highly regarded TONALIST, who came back and broke his maiden in impressive fashion and also was added to the Future Wager field. There is a lot to like about this colt, especially the way he was forced five wide into the far turn and swept by horses before having to be put to a long drive to put away the Pletcher-trained Global Strike, drawing clear to win by four lengths. Another son of Tapit, he could turn out to be a smart play in the Future Wager at 48-1. And how about getting Candy Boy at 32-1?

While Tonalist goes for the Fountain of Youth, there is an allowance race at Gulfstream in the books for Feb. 17, and you can expect several major players to show up there. In addition to Harpoon, Pletcher also has the exciting maiden winner HARTFORD working regularly and looking for a race. Yet another son of Tapit, he, too, has had only one race in his life (going 7 furlongs) and looked like a powerhouse coming home in :12 flat under a hand ride the entire stretch, while drawing off by almost six lengths and then galloping out strong. But like Hoppertunity, he’ll be facing the Apollo curse.

So, it is apparent that we have a number of lightly raced, budding stars waiting to break out, and we can expect some major changes on the Derby Dozen in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking of BOND HOLDER, he worked 6 furlongs in 1:12 3/5, followed by 1:12 2/5, followed by 1:12 1/5, so we just could see a much sharper colt than we saw in his last two races. He’s heading for the Risen Star Stakes and should relish that long stretch. Also working for the Risen Star was Delta Jackpot winner RISE UP, who breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 2/5.

The Southwest Stakes Feb. 17 should help clear up the Derby picture at Oaklawn, as a large field is expected, headed by STRONG MANDATE, TAPITURE, BOURBONIZE, RIDE ON CURLIN, TANZANITE CAT, COASTLINE, and LOUIES FLOWER.

COMMANDING CURVE, a two-turn maiden winner at Churchill Downs last out, turned in a bullet 5-furlong work in 1:00 2/5 at Fair Grounds, fastest of 64 works at the distance. The son of Master Command, trained by Dallas Stewart, has a win and a close second and third in three starts at Churchill.

Several other new faces to watch in the upcoming weeks are MOSLER, trained by Bill Mott, KID CRUZ, and back-to-back winner UNDERTAKER for John Servis. Mosler turned in a super 5-furlong breeze in a bullet 1:00 2/5 at Payson Park, which is a huge work at Payson.

WICKED STRONG, a horse I was very high on until his dismal effort in the Holy Bull, breezed a sharp half in :48 at Palm Meadows. His Remsen performance has earned him another shot. Last year’s Futurity winner IN TROUBLE, who also was dropped from the Future Wager, has been training sharply, with a :48 breeze and 1:00 3/5 drill, while the speedy undefeated NO NAY NEVER, a winner in three countries already and a group I winner at Deauville and Group II winner at Royal Ascot, worked a half in :46 3/5 at Gulfstream Feb. 2.

Bob Baffert said his exciting San Pedro winner INDIANAPOLIS, likely will start next in the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes Feb. 16 before finally stretching out to two turns. This fleet-footed colt has the potential to be any kind. But we’ll have to see how far he wants to go.

TAMARANDO, who was a clear-cut second behind California Chrome last out, drilled a brisk 5 furlongs in a bullet :59 2/5, fastest of 21 works, while Sham Stakes runner-up KRISTO worked 5 furlongs in :59 1/5.

Last week’s Withers Stakes came up strong on Thoro-Graph, with SAMRAAT getting a “1 1/2,” one of the fastest figs earned by a 3-year-old this year, right behind Cairo Prince and California Chrome.


Leave a Comment:


steve,excellent,you are the best. don't go anywhere.

10 Feb 2014 4:53 PM

Nice list Steve, I still like Top Billing on top as well.  He has so much potential it's scary.  I like Commissioner too and when these 2 meet in the FOY it will be a good one again.  I'm awaiting a race from Mosler, I think Mott has a nice one here from the same connections of Lea who just won the Donn yesterday.  Tonalist from the Clement barn interest me as well.  I still think Honor Code will be heard from again too.

10 Feb 2014 5:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Excellent top 12 and knocking at the door list and information Steve. I'll put in my two cents with my list based on what I've seen, speculation, and some of the numbers I like.

1- Indianapolis- Ridiculously talented in my opinion. He's fast so distance still could be a question but seems very professional and I think he can get any distance.

2- Conquest Titan- I really like his pedigree and running style and looks so he takes over the number two spot.

3- Honor Code- Moved him back up. Have just seen too much talent from him and think he might just get ready in time.

4- Commissioner- He seems to have it all for a big shot at a Derby win.

5- Candy Boy- Awesome performance Saturday with status enhanced by Gary Stevens gushing, head over heels assessment of the horse, his race and his gallop out.

6- Strong Mandate- Just being at Oaklawn with the weather problems sets him back a tiny bit but i like his talent, and his trainer is in the groove, and knows how to win Triple Crown races.

7- Intense Holiday- Great looking horse, loves to run and compete and has a good style, pedigree and had a very strong move in his last race.

8- Cairo Prince- Cruising to victories so far with the look of carrying it a lot further. I just think he should of run the FOY in between.

9- Havana- Not getting much support but his next race will propel him back into the picture.

10- Top Billing- Has the right style.

11- Cousin Stephen- Have a hunch that he will improve a lot and get in.

12- Gold Hawk- Another that I see with big improvement in his future and could surprise.

10 Feb 2014 5:21 PM

Candy Boy was eye popping, with the ease of his win, and his eagerness to run on.  After his run, he didn't look like he could have blown out a match.  He moved to the top of my list.

10 Feb 2014 5:25 PM

Steve: You're making a strong case for Vicar's In Trouble's Derby distance credentials but it is very hard to look past his sire Into Mischief, one that is throwing very fast horses but with stamina limitations. I like this colt a lot but he'll have to convince me that he wants to go 10 furlongs.

Candy Boy certainly looks like a Derby horse ...and what a compliment he paid to Shared Belief ...can't wait for the latter's 3YO debut to hop onto his wagon, albeit belatedly. Shared Belief must truly be a crackerjack. Interesting days ahead.

This is off topic but both Lea and Will Take Charge are monsters. Had luis Saez not taken WTC off the rails we might have seen a 'dogfight' down the lane in the Donn Handicap. Now we have four genuinely top class older horses, including two-time HOTY Wise Dan and Mucho Macho Man, to enjoy well as Verrazano, across the pond. May they all stay healthy.

10 Feb 2014 5:41 PM
Sandy in Lexington

I have mixed emotions about Midnight Hawk - really like the horse, but Candy Boy just charged down that stretch and took it all in the Robert B. Lewis.  Always love your picks and look forward each week to them!  You're awesome, Steve!

10 Feb 2014 5:55 PM
Karen in Indiana

Steve, good to see how far up you put Candy Boy. The more I see him, the more I like him. The three main points I like about him: 1. physically, he's built - there is no obvious feature that could be better, 2. at 6 races so far, he has more experience that most of the horses on the Derby trail (sad that!), and 3. he's not a speedball - he has speed when it's needed, but his successes of late have been because he's smart and listens to the jockey. Oh yeah, and 4. his jockey!

10 Feb 2014 5:57 PM

In the Robert B. Lewis, I find it a bit curious that the 7th and 8th furlong (4th split?) of the race was run about a full second slower than the previous, but then the final sixteenth was lightning fast. It’s almost like the horses took a breather then it was stretch duel to the wire. That probably explains why for such a fast final sixteenth there were several horses there near the wire. Candy Rides hadn’t fared well in triple crown races, so I’ll have to see how the Santa Anita Derby turns out before judging his 10 furlong potential.

10 Feb 2014 6:21 PM
Johnny D

Dr. Drunkinbum, I agree about Gold Hawk.  He needs more ground and will love it.

10 Feb 2014 6:35 PM

Steve, do you ever look back after the Derby at your 1'st. list of the year, and your last right before the Derby and see how your picks did? I like looking back at mine, they end up quite humorous.

(1) Shared Belief: The most impressive I've seen yet, but too miss any training is critical.

(2) Rise up : He destroyed the field at the Fairgrounds Delta in near record time and was like 50-1 in early derby betting?

(3) Indianapolis : Out of Medaglia d'Oro, who I hear is suppose to be one fine sire. Nothing wrong with having Baffert in his corner either.

(4) Strong Mandate : Tiznow- Lucas - Won the Hopeful in the SLOP ( how many recent Derbys have been in the slop? ).Not a bad showing in the BC Juvy.

(5) Commissioner: I believe he beat Top Billing if I'm not mistaken, but gets no respect, kinda like Rodney, huh?

(6)Honor Code : AP Indy - Shug - fast closing 2'nd. in Champagne, won Remsen.

(7) Others watching, or wondering where their at(?):

Bond Holder, Top Biling, Tap it Rich, Schoolofhardrocks....and I wish O'Brien would run War Command on this side of the pond on dirt.

10 Feb 2014 6:39 PM
Age of Reason

Thought-provoking as always, Steve! I've been so busy lately with, well, life in general that I've only been following your Derby Dozens and sometimes the comments without posting a list of my own. Guess I'd better put up or shut up though. I don't have a "List" per se, i.e. a compilation in any particular order, but here goes, just for the heck of it--the ones who've caught my attention:

Honor Code

Strong Mandate

Bond Holder

Candy Boy

Conquest Titan

Cairo Prince

Top Billing

We Miss Artie


Ride On Curlin


Stroll To Victory

Solitary Ranger.

p.s. Ranagulzion, my old friend. How wonderful to hear from you. In your opinion, does this year's 3yo crop appear quite competitive because it's a quite talented group, or because the crop is "a mile wide and an inch deep"? Love to hear your thoughts.

10 Feb 2014 8:58 PM

Hi Steve,

Any thoughts on Bayern?  I found his maiden win super-impressive and am really taken with his pedigree.  I'm anxious to see how he runs this Thursday.

10 Feb 2014 10:21 PM

Posted this in the older blog, moving here with my comments :

Rise Up :   Looking forward to seeing him run in the Risen Star, I'll be satisfied if he runs decent and hit the board.

Poker Player :  I really like his running style, the grinder / stayer type which is why I'm not worried about his lack of workouts.  I think this horse is ready made to run and will run all day.  Only question is, can he do it against the top class of this year's crop.  So far, there really isn't anyone on top.  I'm hoping to see him race soon.

In Trouble : On track for the Gotham, or the Swale or Private Terms

Top Billing : Let's see if he becomes the next hype horse, looking forward to the re-match with Commissioner.

Havana : Will win preps, I really think he's short for the Derby though but then again, there's really not that many out there who are true classic distance colts.

Gold Hawk : Not giving up on him just yet, he's mostly under the radar now and everyone pretty much jumped off the bandwagon, probably rightly so but I'd like to see him try one more time.  Next race is Risen Star stakes going up against my No. 1

Commissioner :  He might end up being Todd's number one Derby horse.  I'm not sure why TB got so much hype off of that allowance win but he didn't.

Honor Code :  The Downey Profile has listed the Gotham Stakes on March 1st but with a question mark.

Cairo Prince :  Hope he's staying in shape, still not sure why 9 weeks off.  I'm starting to think he might be hurt…hopefully not.

Samraat : My bodemeister this year

Vinceremos : The TBD will show whether he's a contender or not.

Chitu : I thought he ran the most impressive race in the Lewis.   He will have to improve a lot to turn the tables on Candy Boy in the SA Derby though.  Baffert might be left with him and Indianapolis.

10 Feb 2014 10:24 PM
Jeffrey Simes

Steve nice choice for number one.Those dams on the bottom just scream for distance and we know how good Curlin was.He still has to win a big race soon.

10 Feb 2014 11:18 PM

Just under three months left until the Derby.  I try not to get too excited this early.  Candy Boy was impressive at Santa Anita in the Lewis.  His half sister sold at Fasig-Tipton today.  I'm partial to Honor Code and California Chrome.  Go Junior!

11 Feb 2014 1:35 AM

Top Billing  $8.20 $5.80 $4.00

Noble Moon         $22.20 $9.60

No Nay Never              $7.40

          "Just Sayin'"        

11 Feb 2014 1:47 AM

Mosler is one that I'm looking forward to seeing in his 3-yr-old debut.

In Trouble (per Tony Dutrow) is training up to an "... end of February, early March return to the races." One might think possibly be in the Swale (Mar. 1st), but Dutrow added, "He'll leave FL (for his 3-yr-old debut), but we're not exactly sure right now where he'll go."  

Your thoughts on Texas Ryano? His maiden win (@ SA 1/20/14) on turf was the most visually impressive I've seen from any 3-year-old. Yeah, he's bred for turf, but Gaines could take the "Synthetic Route" to the Derby with him.    


11 Feb 2014 9:00 AM

I find your lack of Samraat disturbing...

11 Feb 2014 9:29 AM
Steve Haskin

Azathoth, you shouldnt be "disturbed" over such mundane things. For what it's worth, I have Samraat ranked at No. 13, so he will be the next horse to crack the Top 12. no on on there has done anything to warrant their removal, so he and you will just have to be patient. He's a very very good horse.

ranagulzion, don't make too much of the sire. As I stated, Elusive Quality and Boundary sired Derby winners, and Into Mischief doesnt look any more quesionable than they did. Into Mischief's sire Harlan's holiday has sired mostly distance horses. VIT may not want to go 1 1/4 miles, but then neither do a lot of them. I'm merely making a case for him.

Dr. D. I agree about Gold Hawk. I love his pedigree and I can can definitely see him bouncing back in the Risen Star.

Snake, I think Bayern has great potential and he should win Thursday unless Tap It Rich makes a complete turnaround.

11 Feb 2014 10:01 AM
food fight

I like most of your top 12 but would shuffle them around and drop several from top 12. 1st California Chrome he's a Cal bred and would have to step up against better to qualify for my top 12. 2nd Vicar's in Trouble he's a Louisiana bred and an $8000 yearling i also don't think his pedigree will get a mile and a quarter against the best 3 year olds in the country. 3rd Shared Belief never run on dirt and has health issues the never run on dirt is his biggest problem until he shows he's the same horse on dirt that he is on synthetic and can take the kick back he won't be on my top 12. 4th Cairo's Prince he's a very talented horse but i don't believe he has learned much in the way of getting dirt in his face and encountering traffic problems also his stride is that of a middle distance type to me not so long and fluid and lastly the long delay to his next race i believe will only add to his inexperience.I would bring up Indianapolis Tonalist No Nay Never Hoppertunity to complete my top 12.And i would put Indianapolis in the second spot replacing Cairo's Prince.

11 Feb 2014 10:24 AM

But... my statement was posted in Darth Vader voice font.

11 Feb 2014 10:29 AM

Still irritated the points system essentially precludes a filly running in the near future. Not that there are any of this caliber right now, but it gives us ladies something to get excited about...

11 Feb 2014 10:44 AM

Another great list, Steve! Following Candy Boy's victory in the Robert B. Lewis, I'm more anxious than ever to see Shared Belief get back into serious training.

Here's my Derby Dozen:

1 Top Billing

2 Cairo Prince

3 Strong Mandate

4 Honor Code

5 Shared Belief

6 Candy Boy

7 Conquest Titan

8 Commissioner

9 Vicar's in Trouble

10 Ride On Curlin

11 Chitu

12 Bobby's Kitten

In general, I'm really excited about this crop of three-year-olds. You know it's a strong year when there are at least six or eight more horses you'd love to include in a top twelve list, but just can't find a place to squeeze them in!

11 Feb 2014 11:28 AM

HAVANA: He has many negatives – Trainer’s <3% Derby win record; no runner-up in BCJ has ever won the Derby. He is the best colt from the crop of 2011 so far. Dam line has a powerful TC history and this could help him overcome his negatives.

BOND HOLDER: Sire & dam sire were HOY. He closed from the rear of the field to finished 4th in BCJ, just behind pace setter Strong Mandate.  He is not suited to the fast SA strip. His out of town performance should validate his ranking. He could be another Giacomo.

TOP BILLING: All historic indicators suggest this colt will not win the Derby. Curlin sired Belmont winner Palace Malice. Sires of winners of TC races in a particular year do not normally repeated the feat the following year.  However, this colt is talented enough to break this historic trend.

SHARED BELIEF:  A classy 2YO champion with a wicked turn of foot and a gait abnormality.  Geldings rarely win the Derby and there have been 2 in the last 11 years. He is unlikely to survive 10F over the Churchill Down surface with his paddling action. However, his class cannot be ignored.

STRONG MANDATE: Has good tactical speed and carried it well. He was sired by a BCC winner. The 2013 Preakness & Belmont winners were sired by BCC winners. It is unlikely that this will occur in consecutive years. Broodmare sire Deputy Minister is due for a Derby win. Can SM succeed where Curlin failed? History is against it but it’s the Derby.

GENERAL A ROD: Sired by grandson of Mr. Prospector who sired a Belmont winner. Dam sire is Dynaformer who hails from the successful Turn-To dam line. Has speed and will certainly stretch out. His FOY effort should provide better evaluation of his ability.

TONALIST: He is not the usual Tapit. Love his dam sire Pleasant Colony. A talented 10F colt in the hands of a dangerous trainer. What’s not to like?

BARATTI: Darley/Godolphin is long overdue for a Derby win. This colt was ultra-impressive in his MSW win. He has a powerful dam line. He looks better than the 2 top NY breds and his Gotham performance will answer a lot of class questions.

CAIRO PRINCE: His Remsen performance indicates he is unlikely to effective at 10F. Despite the fact that he will be struggling in the final furlong, he is classy, consistent and it’s the Derby where strange things happen.

BOURBONIZE: This unbeaten colt appears to be ultra-talented. His victory in his two turn debut on a muddy track was very impressive. His performance against Strong Mandate will give an indication of just how good he is.

VINCEREMOS: This colt has either a very large heart of a second set of lungs. The Tampa Bay Derby is expected to show just how good he is.

COASTLINE: Sire was BC Sprint Champion and so too was the sire of Thunder Gulch. He has double dose of Icecapade in his dam line and is the prime candidate to put the broodmare line of the son of Nearctic on the TC Chart. He displays energy efficient strides when covering ground. Has tactical speed and is due for breakout performance

11 Feb 2014 12:43 PM

My #1 as of now is Candy Boy. After reading Stevens comments after the race that to me is a strong indication of what this horse may be..

I am curious what happens with Shared Belief next race after he defeated Candy Boy like he did in their last race..

Strong Mandate is #2 he races Saturday lets see what he does..

Still a long way to go.. Good luck to everyone..  

11 Feb 2014 1:11 PM

I've been a Jim Rome "clone" (a follower of his radio show) for even longer than I've been a horse racing fan.  I remember the days when he disparaged horse racing with the line "it's not a sport, it's a bet."  But he has obviously turned around and become not only a fan, but an owner and an ambassador for the sport to a very large audience.  For that reason, I'm pulling for Shared Belief on the Derby Trail this year.  A win by him would bring in a lot of fans that haven't otherwise given horse racing much attention.  However, the possibility that there could be a Derby winner (perhaps even triple crown winner) named Indianapolis is too delicious not to savor.  I know this is totally out of the realm of all that makes sound handicapping, but I don't bet anyway.  I mean, come on, Indianapolis Colts, The Indianapolis 500 as our most prestigious motor race.  Just the headlines it could produce stimulate the imagination, not to mention the story angles.  Sure it would quickly become cliched, but wouldn't the convergence of those three things be surreal?  Hey, if it's not Shared Belief, I'm pulling for Indianapolis.  I've wanted Baffert and Lukas to get back in the winner's circle anyway. Hopefully Bob this year and Wayne next year.  I'd love to see both of those guys get a triple crown before they retire as well.

11 Feb 2014 2:52 PM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for this week's Derby Dozen Steve, always a treat. I really enjoyed the Robert Lewis, and was impressed with the field, your assessment on Candy Boy was as usual spot on, and Gary Steven's ride couldn't have been any better, a total Hall of Fame effort on display, so enjoyable to watch. I like your call on Vicar's in Trouble, he is another Midatlantic Two Year old that I was able to check out. I thought his page looked intriguing, and in the barn he looked very good, with strong bone, good wind, and nice size to weight conformation. On the track he got an 1/8th in 10:2/5th's, and improved 10 fold on the market at the drop of the hammer, a pretty good value coming and going. This makes two years in a row that Pike Racing has brought a very impressive Into Mischief colt to the sale. I'm thinking that he might be a little better suited than Vyjack to get a route of ground. He certainly has a good chance with Mike Maker, the Ramseys and Rosie on board. I'd be hesitant to knock him because of his birth place, he seems to be on the right path, and hopefully will move forward and continue to develop. In the big picture of beating the odds, isn't that all part of what makes the Derby dream so special?

11 Feb 2014 3:00 PM

Undefeated No Nay Never can be seen on YouTube winning the G1 one-mile Prix Morny with ridiculous ease.

11 Feb 2014 7:05 PM
Cynthia Holt

No way could I argue with any of the choices.  With his lacklustre performance in the Robert B. Lewis, Cool Samurai will no doubt drop off the national radar as far as the Derby is concerned.  That being said, I still really like this colt, and think that he will make his presence known down the road.

11 Feb 2014 8:23 PM
Bloodline Bob

I like it that this week's Derby Dozen has 5 horses with a stallion connection to the Farish Family(#1,#3,#4,#5,#11) and 2 horses with a stallion connection to the Whitney Family(#6,#8). Read my 1-21-2014 Hangin with Haskin.

11 Feb 2014 9:09 PM
Mike Relva

Steve,great observations as usual

11 Feb 2014 9:25 PM
Mike Relva

Think "disturbing" is a little dramatic.

11 Feb 2014 9:26 PM
Mike Relva

Hello to Ranagulzion,Keelerman,Dr. D

11 Feb 2014 9:29 PM

Steve; it must be hard to make a new Derby Top 12 each week when not many of these colts are running, but I can't wait each week for your new list.  Frankly, I have no clue what to do with these colts.  A few have caught my eye; Honor Code because of his good looks (and a pedigree to back it up) - Shared Belief because of his eye-catching acceleration and margins of victory and California Chrome for the same reasons.

Stretchrun; I don't think the point system precludes fillies from running in the Derby.  If I owned a filly and considered pointing her to the classics, I'd want to know that she could actually compete with the boys.  Best way to learn that is to put her in one of the points races and let her qualify her way in, same as the colts.

11 Feb 2014 9:54 PM

There are three horses outside my top 12. They are Kristo, Tamarando and Fire Starter. Of the three, Fire Starter is the one slated to face the starting gate next in the G3 Southwest. He is one of the 16 Tapit sired horses nominated to the Triple Crown.

This colt broke his maiden at Laurel Park and finished a troubled 5th in the Smarty Jones next time out. His Smarty Jones effort is much better than it looked as he was the only one that closed on a track that was not kind to closers.

Fire Starter has an interesting pedigree. His dam sire Rajab was a son of 1962 Belmont winner Jaipur who was a son of Nasrullah. I was of the opinion that the only grandson of Nasrullah with a few mares still around was Secretariat. The grandsons of Nasrullah have sired mare that have produced the following winners of TC races - Summing, Gato Del Sol, Conquistador Cielo, Alysheba, Winning Colors, Summer Squall, A P Indy and Lemon Drop Kid.

Fire Starter 2nd dam was sired by champion rout horse Exceller; his 3rd by 1968 Belmont winner Stage Door Johnny and his 4th by Olympia. This colt is bred to run forever and a day. He galloped past the 1st four past the post in the Smarty Jones quite quickly suggesting longer will be better.

A May foal with a Nasrullah grandson as dam sire and who scored its only victory by 10½L merits attention.

11 Feb 2014 10:02 PM
Bill Rinker

Steve, I really enjoyed listening to your comments about Vicar's in Trouble on "One for the Roses". I'm totally on board with your thinking. In addition I'd like to add my thoughts on the top side of his dam Vibrant's genetic contribution as well, because it is here that I think the highest concentration of stamina infused blood flows. As we know Vibrant is by Vicar, and Vicar's broodmare sire El Grande Senoir carries the blood of the renowned broodmare La Troiene. Through his dam Sex Appeal, via Buck Passer, and Best in Show, we find two crosses of La Troiene. We also find this same blood passed on through the great Toussad, dam of Empire Maker and the late Chester House. If this was not enough we have one of the all time great broodmare sires in Secretariat as the broodmare sire of Escrow Agent. Perhaps the stamina influence doesn't stop here on the dam side, perhaps Into Mischief is a contributer as well. Current thinking shows us the pattern of the X chromosome, but stamina is not completely controlled by the heart, and there are many many genetic codes yet to be mapped out. Into Mischief much like Vicar's in Trouble shows a stamina influence on the top side of his dam's pedigree, in this case through Battle Creek Girl. In much the same manner the third Dam makes a contribution through her broodmare sire's dam Quill. Into Mischief raced six times in his career showing brilliant potential before an injury ended his time on the track. He broke his maiden at first asking going six and a half furlongs in 1:14, next he was second in the grade 2 Hollywood Prevue by 1 3/4 lengths with the winning time of 1:21:48. Now comes the evidence of potential staying power with that high cruising speed, he wins the Cash Call Futurity, getting the 1-1/6 mile grade 1 impressively in 1:40:82. During this race he was a 1/2 length back at 22:4/5ths for the first two panels and carved out the next 3 quarters each under 24, on or near the lead. He came through the mile in 1:34:33 and finished up in 6:49 seconds. All of this as a 2yr. old with races spaced one month apart. His 3yr. old campaign ended after three very nice races, winning the Damascus, and running 2nd in the grade 1 Malibu and the San Vicente. As you noted we don't know a lot about Into Mischief yet as a Stallion but it would appear that he has the credentials to make a very good sire and should be on every ones radar going forward. With that said there's little doubting the potential of Vicar's in Trouble pedigree. If his last race is any indication it would appear he has that closing ability with the potential to stretch out. However as we all know at this age so many things can develope or decline in a few months. For a person like me on the side lines speculating on which way a horse is going to go this question becomes some what of an oxymoron. Here in America winning the race we hold in such high esteem would appear to be the result of a plan for the future based on stamina and endurance. Conversely our present market trend is focused primarly on speed and precocity and understandably but unfortunately we are all to often left thinking;...     what if ???

12 Feb 2014 12:37 AM

Dr. D : Really intrigued at your choices of Intense Holiday.  I'll have to take a look at Intense Holiday for the FOY, he might be the dark horse in that race.

12 Feb 2014 2:13 AM
Baby Jane Towser

Coldfacts is exactly right - Havana is the best colt from the 2011 crop so far and his trainer is a negative

12 Feb 2014 2:21 AM

My top three Commish,C-Titan,all others in a box and thats how I played them.I will add as it gets closer to the race.Top Billing is getting top billing but TPs Commish beat him at 9furlongs on the same track they will race in the FOY which starts the series of races with 50-20-10-5 points being awarded for a position in the starting gate.C-Titan will also be in the FOY on the same surface that he ran he good one to be 2nd to CP in the Holy Bull.These two are a good place to start with as they have a shot to be 1st and 2nd in the FOY among several other reasons that I thought would make them good foundation picks in the road to cover half the field or more for A LOT LESS WAGERING DOLLARS THAN you might think.GL ALL.

12 Feb 2014 9:00 AM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts, you throw around random statistic facts without recognizing the importance of CONTEXT. I am pasting what I added to last week's column, late.

"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. Ri-i-i-ght.

Hail to Reason was IN GENERAL a stamina influence, but that doesn't mean that EVERY descendant of Hail to Reason inherited that stamina boost.  Three Bars was a great-grandson in the male line of Suburban Hcp winner Ballot, a great champion of the early 20th Century. He was out of a mare by Belmont winner Luke McLuke, and had classic-distance winners Sir Dixon, Commando, Ben Brush, Trenton, Disguise, etc., in the 4th generation. Didn't stop Three Bars from being a sprinter on the track and becoming the foundation sire of running Quarter Horses.

12 Feb 2014 9:09 AM

Potentially, Hoppertunity is the best 3yr. old I have seen thus far. I know he is getting a late start prepping for the derby but if he happens to in, it would confirm my beliefs of how good he really is. Right now, he is the one I am really excited about.

12 Feb 2014 9:24 AM


It appears Intense Holiday is heading to the Risen Star as reported by Dick Downey. It is probably a better option as the GP strip is just too fast for his running style. I have lost a lot on him and I am convinced that  he is one of those type horse that promises a lot and come up short every time. He was hard ridden heading to the top of the stretch in the HB and flattened out as usual.

You must be disappointed that Exit Stage Left has sustained an injury and is out of the Real Derby. My preference was Enterprising despite the fact that he defeated him in the Cal Derby.

I am disappointed that Tonalist will not be heading to the FOY but rather an allowance race on the same day. I thought his MSW victory was good enough for his connections to take a shot. However, they should know best.

12 Feb 2014 9:42 AM

Mr. Haskin,

I see Candy Boy has made a significant upward movement in the rankings on you latest dozen. I must concede he justified your assessment and confidence. While his performance appeared impressive and Mr. Steve’s post-race comments suggested he was out for an afternoon stroll, caution should not be thrown to the wind.

He defeated a colt that was making its 3rd start and first beyond 6F. Candy Boy had previously made 5 starts with 2 at 8F and 2 at 8.5F. He therefore had a significant advantage in the foundation department going in. You wrote about the slow final eight recorded by Midnight Hawk in the Sham and he repeated same in the Lewis as failed to maintain his speed to the line.

While Candy Boy’s victory was visually impressive, it should also be viewed in proper context.

12 Feb 2014 10:00 AM

Hopportunity's maiden gallop out was huge, then he won impressively in first try around two turns while really striding out nearing the wire - interesting prospect & well bred. While I was impressed by Samraat, I like Uncle Sigh better. Sigh was compromised by the inside post position, forced to set a pressured pace, was pinned on the rail in tight quarters the entire length of the stretch and fought gamely to the wire. Nice learning race, showed toughness, big horse looks like he'll improve with racing & distance. Would be fun to see Steve Haskin interviewing Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame as he wandered the CD backstretch on Derby Day with a glass of tea!

12 Feb 2014 10:39 AM

I’ll Wrap It Up will win the El Camino Real Derby...After that he will be a top contender. Best pedigree around, by far.

12 Feb 2014 10:58 AM

Conversely our present market trend is focused primarily on speed and precocity”

What exactly do buyers desire from the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry? If answer to the question is speed and precocity, then the industry has been delivering the requisite product. If the answer is stamina then the industry is likewise providing that product. The thoroughbred Breeding Industry is not perfect but far too often is blamed for the shortcomings of the thoroughbred race horse.

If thoroughbred racing is viewed through the lens of the Breeder Cup, the breeding industry is supplying horses that can compete in every category i.e., sprints, middle distances and endurance.

The 2014 3YO crop is a product of the 2011 foal crop. The mares that produced the 2011 foal crop were bred in 2010. Below is a list of stallions that bred 150 and more mares as per the 2010 Mares Bred Report:

Giant's Causeway - 217

Kitten's Joy – 173

Candy Ride (ARG) – 172

Malibu Moon – 172

Medaglia d'Oro – 170

Henrythenavigator – 169

Tapit – 169

Pollard's Vision – 165

Harlan's Holiday – 162

Smart Strike – 160

Street Cry – 159

Tale of the Cat - 152

Afleet Alex – 150

City Zip – 150

Corinthian – 150

Curlin - 150

Of the 16 stallions listed above, how many would be considered sprinters? City Zip, Smart Strike, Malibu Moon and Tale of the Cats are probably the four that did not have significant routing careers. All the above have speed and stamina in their pedigrees.

How many of the mares above were bred to the above stallions for speed and precocity in the resulting foals?

The truth is, no one knows what a mating will accurately produce. Many of the great thoroughbred champions that have left their foot prints on the sands of time were produced from either unraced or light raced mares and no one knew the matings would have produced world beaters. Instead of lamenting breeding and market trends, it would be more worthwhile to accept the fact that with so many generations in horses pedigrees, one can never accurately bred for desired results.

12 Feb 2014 11:27 AM

1. Hoppertunity

2. Mexikoma

3. Tonalist

4. Commissioner

5. Top Billing

6. Extrasexyhippzster

7. Kid Cruz

8. Bourbonize

9. Rprettyboyfloyd

10 Vinceremos

12 Feb 2014 11:45 AM

Interesting that Top Billing is getting top billing at number 1. Also can't believe I "missed Hoppertunity". Some great insight and some creativity too.

The best creative thinking story (maybA farmer lived on a quiet rural highway. But, as time went by, the traffic slowly built up at an alarming rate. The traffic was so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at a rate of three to six a day. So one day he called the sheriff's office and said,

"You've got to do something about all of these people driving so fast and killing all of my chickens."

"What do you want me to do?" asked the sheriff.

"I don't care, just do something about those drivers."

So the next day he had the county go out and put up a sign that said: SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING.

Three days later the farmer called the sheriff and said, "You've got to do something about these drivers. The 'school crossing' sign seems to make them go faster."

So, again, the sheriff sends out the county and they put up a new sign: SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY.

And that really sped them up. So the farmer called and called and called everyday for three weeks. Finally, he asked the sheriff, "Your signs are doing no good. Is it all right for me to put up my own damned sign?"

The sheriff told him, "Hell, yes, put up your own sign."

He was going to let the farmer do just about anything in order to have him stop calling.

Well, the sheriff got no more calls from the farmer.

Three weeks after the farmer's last call, the sheriff decided to call him.

"How's the problem with those drivers. Did you put up your sign?"

"Oh, hell yes. And not one chicken has been killed since then. I've got to go. I'm very busy." And he hung up the phone.

The sheriff thought to himself, "I'd better go to that farmer's house and look at that sign. There might be something there that WE could use to slow down drivers..."

So the sheriff drove out to the farmer's house, and he saw the sign. It was a whole sheet of plywood. And written in large yellow letters were the words:


12 Feb 2014 12:16 PM
food fight

Of all the 3 year old races i have watched so far the one horse that looks the most confident, relaxed and that looks push button is Indianapolis. His last race was outstanding he relaxed and was in complete control he was never in doubt. He has one of the best 3 year old conditioners in the country and if he stretches out the way i believe he will with his pedigree he will be at the top of a lot of peoples list's come first Saturday in May.He is a very mature 3 year old that takes commands readily the connections are for real and so is he.

12 Feb 2014 3:12 PM

1. Texas Ryano

2. California Chrome

3. Indianapolis

4. Mexikoma

5. Candy Boy

6. Shared Belief

7. No Nay Never

8. Commissioner

9. Hoppertunity

10.Vicar's In Trouble

11.Uncle Sigh

12.Cairo Prince

Just twelve I like now, but makes me realize there is probably at least twelve more I could see being in the list. This is a wonderful crop of three year olds.

12 Feb 2014 3:27 PM
The Deacon

Steve I want you to know that I personally thank you for taking the time each week to post a Derby Dozen. You carefully word your explanations, display the facts and offer your opinions. It is very well put together.

Since we don't know a lot about most of these horses, many of the bloggers are using pedigree and breeding as a parameter. The Derby trail has changed, gone are the good old days when trainers followed a rule of thumb and most horses had several races under their belt.

Truth is for me, I have no clue about what to expect this year. Hard to get excited when these horses just don't get on the racetrack much. I am happy to see Honor Code back working, from a visual standpoint he is majestic. Candy Boy ran a pretty good Robert Lewis Stakes the other so he merits respect. I believe I'll Have Another also won the Robert Lewis Stakes and before that the last time a Kentucky Derby winner also won the Robert Lewis Stakes was 1986, Ferdinand.

Unless some horse really comes to the forefront we may have a race time Derby favorite of odds around 6-1 maybe even higher.............

12 Feb 2014 3:39 PM


I could never get away with such a post. That’s a  funny piece.

Pedigree Ann,

I have been spoilt by the success of the broodmare sires who are tail descendants of Northern Dancer. Mares sire by tail made descendants of Northern Dancer have produced 18 horses that have won 21 TC races. The success of these tail male descendants has led to the Northern Dancer broodmare line being one of the most successful in TC history. It should be noted that Northern Dancer was neither the sire nor broodmare sire of the winner of a TC race.

When I see a horse produced from a mare sired by either a son or grandson of Northern Dancer, the 2nd, 3rd & 4th dams are of no interest.  

Mares sired by tail made descendants of TURN-TO primarily through Hail To Reason and Sir Gaylord have produced 7 horses that have won 10 TC races i.e., I'll Have Another, Grindstone, Afleet Alex, Giacomo, Charismatic, Pine Bluff and Danzig Connection. Other notables are Zenyatta, Uncle Mo, Spring At Last and Stately Victor.

You therefore should forgive me if I get a little excited about Vinceremos, General A Rod and Bourbonize.

I can tell the dam sires of most winners of TC races. However, I retain no details for the 2nd, 3rd & 4th dams.

12 Feb 2014 6:23 PM

Steve great list and great forum...............a lil off the subject if u don't mind...all of talk radio has been the chatter of LeBron and mt rushmore, just curious who would be on your horseracing mt rushmore......maybe you could do a blog on that sure it would get many your dozen great info and insight

12 Feb 2014 8:23 PM

Coldfacts : You may be right about Intense Holiday but I have a feeling he'll have a good race in the FOY.  I have other horses I need to win in that race for the Winstar contest but for betting purposes, I'll probably use IH for my P4s and trifectas.

Yes, very very disappointed about Exit Stage Left, I know you don't see much in his pedigree but I really believe that he would thrive on dirt and even be better on it.  I guess I'll have to wait for maybe the Preakness or the Belmont.  I do believe he's going to be very competitive at Churchill Downs though if he can make it.  I'm a bit concerned that Jerry is not saying much about his injury, kind of like Shared Belief.  It's not like him...

I was looking at Tonalist, a rare Clement trainee.  Always thought Clement is a turf trainer but maybe that's the twist in this year's derby, that Clement wins.  I don't know if he's ever won the Derby.  His last race looked good and he lost his first race against a quality horse, Harpoon ran a strong 2nd in the Davis.

12 Feb 2014 10:56 PM

Oops, totally missed it, the Risen Star stakes for Intense Holiday!  lol  My comments still applies though...although I personally believe the Risen Star has a better line up than the FOY :)

12 Feb 2014 10:59 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, RobbieJoe. you didnt say if you meant horses or people. LeBron still has a ways to go before he makes Mt. Rushmore. Way too many ahead of him.

13 Feb 2014 12:46 AM

A horseracing Mt. Rushmore!  What a perfectly wonderful horse racing topic to debate while we prepare for the Derby.  I love this idea Robbiejoe25.  I know you asked for Steve's, but if you don't mind my chiming in, I think the first three would obviously be Man o' War, Citation and Secretariat, but that fourth one... Native Dancer, 21 of 22 and an indelible influence on the breed; Kelso, one of the greatest handicappers of all time and whom Arcaro at various times said was the best (it seems it depended on whether he was talking to a Citation fan or a Kelso fan)he ever rode; or Zenyatta, 19 for 20 in the modern era and only female to win the BC Classic: almost twice.  Then there are the honorable mentions of Seattle Slew (winning the Triple Crown undefeated), Count Fleet whose dominating Belmont is second only to Secretariat's for lengths and the amazing Dr. Fager.  Since it's a Rushmore we're talking about, I'm not mentioning the rivals to these horses for the title of greatest ever in the world like Seabird, Ribot, Brigadier Gerard, Mill Reef and Phar Lap.  Steve, I know you were unclear whether he meant horses or connections, but I would love to see how you answered if he meant horses.  

13 Feb 2014 2:19 AM
Bill Rinker

In our affinity to understand all that is  Thoroughbred Racing it is only natural to think of all potential possibilities. To question is to learn as long as knowledge is the intended goal; least we be bound by our ego. A myriad of objectives confronts the successful breeding of a prosperous Thoroughbred and the results can be life changing. A few in the industry have had unbelievabley consistant results, while many others have not been so fortunate. The game of genetic roulette can be managed through astute dedication but the reality of a constant is not the way of natural procreation. However the economics that drive monetary success do reflect the industry's market objectives. One of the axioms used in American breeding has been the theory of speed over stamina, and when examining the pedigrees of many prominent Sires lines we find this quite often the case. Trends have a tendencey to change with time, and this can be seen when reviewing the last fifty years of racing. The present focus toward speed in the American Thoroughbred seems to be highly desirable when selecting individuals at the various In Training sales. Here are some interesting statistics I noticed at the 2013 Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training sale. There were 183 two year olds sold that were timed at 1/8 of a mile in 10:0-sec. to 11:0-sec.. I broke them down in two catagories; those that were timed in 10:0 to 10:2/5ths and those that were timed in 10:3/5ths to 11:0. Of those 183, 56 fell into the faster bracket and 127 in the slower bracket. In a attempt to be subjectively even I put the 10:3/5ths in the slow catagory, 10:3/5ths in my opinion really isn't slow, but I'm trying to get a feel for the market trend and desire for brilliant speed. I rounded off the sale prices and the faster group avg. was $97,000 with a median price of $67,000 the slower group avg. was $56,000 with a median price of $30,000. The faster group had 16 sell between $100,000 and $200,000, 2 sell between $200,000 and $300,000, and 2 sell over $300,000. The slower group had 8 sell between $100,000 and $200,000, 5 sell between $200,000 and $300,000, and 3 over $300,000 it is interesting to note that of those 16 that sold for over $100,000 13 got an 1/8th in 10:3/5ths. These results are not really surprising and seem to reflect the preference for a faster individual. I find this very interesting in regard to the physical requirements necessary to be successful on the Derby trail.              

13 Feb 2014 4:00 AM

My bad Steve, what I meant to say was what horses would be on your Mt Rushmore.....I have been following horseracing since the early 80's so my opinion would be mute, and to be honest I thought all day about who I have watched that would deserve a spot and I just couldn't name 4 horses that one would deem legendary like dr fager, big red, the bid and so forth..........thanks again for the dozen and the great stories you provide for us

13 Feb 2014 8:09 AM

Two colts I am really high on are Molser, and Giovanni Boldini, by both War Front. I am interested if the pedigree experts have any distance limitation thought's on War Front's offspring. Declaration of War didn't look too shabby going 10f in the BCC, lines of battle won the UAE at 1 3/4.

13 Feb 2014 11:15 AM
food fight

As far as the greatest horses of all time this is a debate that will go on for ever. But i'm stuck in a snow storm in the northeast and would like to give my perspective on this matter. First i think we can all say that the greatest race ever run would be Secretariats Belmont win for obvious reasons. When you look at a season Dr Fager comes to mind in his four year old season he wins 4 championship awards sprinter, handicap, turf, and horse of the year .For two year old three year old seasons from five and a half furlongs to a mile and five eights no body can touch Man O War.There are a few others that come to mind for there brilliance on the track. Citation for one with the way he dominated the horses of his generation and Seattle Slew being the first unbeaten two year old to win the triple crown. But there are many other deserving of this debate the undefeated Colin 15 for 15 . Five time horse of the year Kelso. But my pick might surprise you I think when you take into consideration how much weight they carried and how fast they ran and against what competition they ran against this leads me to one horse the great Dr Fager he broke track records while not being asked carrying as much weight as 139lbs that's when he broke the 7 furlong mark at Aqueduct in the Vosburgh handicap with 139lbs and 7 furlongs in unbelievable 120 and 1 comment in racing form under mild drive.Or when he broke the mile and one quarter stakes record at Aqueduct 159.3 with 132lbs comment under mild drive.He beat the best turf horses in the country in the United Nations H even though this was the first time he ran on the turf and his rider said he never handled the going but refused to be beaten.In that race he beat Advocator and Fort Marcy while carrying a staggering 134lbs top weight for the field of turf specialists.He set the mile mark in 132.1 carrying 134lbs comment easily the best. He traveled coast to coast carried imposing weight ran on surfaces that were not to his liking and not just won he won with superiority against the best of his time in world and track record time. Look at today's horse of the year recipient Wise Dan he won two years in a row and was a deserving winner of the title but he ran on his preferred surface at his preferred distance while carrying 126lbs . I think if Dr Fager were around in today's Breeders Cup he could win the BC sprint on Fridays card setting a Breeders Cup record and win Saturdays Breeders cup classic setting a track record if they would let him run in two races a day apart .

13 Feb 2014 1:38 PM
lunar spook

SECRETATION - MT.RUSHMORE-  SECRETARIAT , NATIVE DANCER , COUNT FLEET , RUFFIAN , . . . . . . in the shadows - affirmed , dr. fager , colin , john henry

13 Feb 2014 3:36 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

excellent comments by all...







13 Feb 2014 10:14 PM

Mike Relva: good to see you're back from your hiatus. I take it that you've booked your seat on the Honor Code wagon ...should be an interesting ride.

Age of Reason: I'm still waiting to get really excited about this crop of 3YOs. Honor Code, Shared Belief, Top Billing and Cairo Prince are presently the cream but the spectre of ill-health and disrupted preparations cast over the top ones doesn't help.

Last weekend, Candy Boy looked the part of a genuine Derby horse with a lot of scope for improvement and today I was quite impressed with Bob Baffert's colt, Bayern. It is still early on the Triple Crown trail and there are a few well bred colts that I expect break out performances from.

The Fountain of Youth is going to be very interesting. All eyes (including mine) will be on Top Billing but Almost Famous and Wildcat Red are coming to make anouncements. The top ones are not leagues ahead by any means therefore virtually anyone can become the new buzz horse from the next round of prep races. In fact, if ever there was a year for the Apollo jinx to be broken, this is it for some 3YO unraced at two to win the Derby.

13 Feb 2014 10:14 PM
The Deacon

Food Fight:  Dr. Fager totally agree..........after that Man O War, Spectacular Bid, Swaps, and Kelso.

Secretariat was the darling, probably had the most single race performance but never carried more then 126 lbs and lost races he should not have.

Citation never won a won carrying a 130 lbs.

My question what's the criteria here.

Its a subject that's been argued for generations and a resolution will never be found.

America and many of these bloggers have a passion for the Triple Crown. Since Dr. Fager never ran in those 3 races I believe he gets slighted. The dudes on the backstretch, the guys in the know they'll tell you who the greatest were. I have been around many of those folks. I knew dudes who could handicap a snail race and be to discuss though.

13 Feb 2014 10:54 PM

Bayern looked really nice on the 13th  at a mile and more.  Still waiting to see which way No Nay Never is going to go - do you know if he's on track for here or Europe?  

14 Feb 2014 1:20 AM

ROBBIEJOE25-what an awesome idea!  Secretation - I'm with you - Native Dancer, Man O' War, Citation and Secretariat.  Spectacular Bid and Count Fleet would be my runner ups.  And one for the ladies would have to include Ruffian and Zenyatta....!  Great list also Lunar Spook!

14 Feb 2014 8:13 AM

Bayern won yesterday by 15, and now becomes the best candidate that I know about to put the Apollo rule to rest,having only raced as a 3yo.I just queried his name on the appropriate website, and I think pedigree players will like his bloodlines,although I know some of you on here like to argue, and can spin this in such a way to convince others that this is not true.

14 Feb 2014 10:31 AM

I wouldn't be correct if I named the same legends, and to be honest I only know what i've read or the videos from youtube have shown me but it was way b4 my time, so my Mt Rushmore will consist of the ponies that I have admire from both on the track and at the windows......Zenyatta, for what she did no matter what generation is unmatchable period....Curlin who was the best of his generation.....Cherokee's Boy what a warrior 48-19-10-8, 1.1milion b4 slots.......and my list wouldn't be complete if I didn't put my favorite West Virginia bred Donald's Pride 50 starts 19-10-8 and half mill in earnings and he wasn't nominated to the WV Breeders program and never got a shot to run in the half million breeders almost list includes Invasor, Cigar, Point Given, Skip Away, Tiznow

14 Feb 2014 10:39 AM

I'm looking forward to Roger Rocket's race on Sunday.  His pedigree, with only two great grandsires mirroring each other top to bottom is certainly interesting!

14 Feb 2014 10:40 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

food fight

   That's a really nice post you made that concludes with the great Dr. Fager winning the BC sprint on Friday, and the Classic on Saturday. I'm stuck in a big rain and wind storm. I think if she ran them at SA Zenyatta could have won the BC Distaff on Friday and The Classic on Saturday. Her talent is underestimated because of the conservative approach they took and not having her ready for the conditions in the Classic at CD. It's impossible to compare horses of different generations, we can only validly assess them as to how they ran against their peers and on the track conditions and timing apparatus and methods of the time period but I really like Dr. Fager, Zenyatta, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed and Secretariat.

    Of course I'm very disappointed about Indianapolis not being able to race in the San Vicente but I hope he can make to the San Felipe. Bayern was impressive.

14 Feb 2014 10:40 AM

Drinks from a glass !!


BOURBONIZE is a better prospect and he is training at  OAKLAWN PARK as well.  

14 Feb 2014 10:53 AM


There was a headline a while back on that stated No Nay Never's goals are the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream on March 1st, the Saint James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June, and the King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in August. I suppose that doesn't necessarily count out a start in the Kentucky Derby -- after all, Noble's Promise started in both races back in 2010 -- but No Nay Never's connections seem to have shorter races in mind, and I doubt they would compromise their chances of winning the King James's by running him in the Derby.

14 Feb 2014 12:21 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I had intended to write- Zenyatta wins the distaff on Friday, the Classic on Saturday and Dancing With the Stars on Sunday.

   Brontexx- No argument here. I like Bayern's pedigree, and stride. He's a contender.

14 Feb 2014 12:40 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Last year, Bayern went by the name Tiz the Truth....that one was never a legit derby contender either.

14 Feb 2014 12:52 PM
lunar spook

Back on the MT. RUSHMORE argument , I have been doin a lil research and going waaaaaay back COLIN was an awesome horse, 15-0 ,set several records and destroyed the field in the Belmont on a bad leg , check him out , I may have to make room on the mountain for him !

14 Feb 2014 2:14 PM
Sail On

Thanks for the list. I really have no idea which of these colts will develop. We should all know more after the races this weekend.

Wish there fillies could get points.

Q? What is dosing and how does it affect a racing horse?

Q? Is the Risen Star too crowded to test these contenders?

14 Feb 2014 4:57 PM

sorry lunar spook......COLIN was NOT bred for ROCK!

14 Feb 2014 7:52 PM

PBP I guess your comment was a prerequisite for a difference of opinion, and thus another post on my behalf here is Tiz The Truth first 3 races

Santa Anita 2/2/2013 1 Maiden Special Weight 1

Santa Anita 1/13/2013 4 Maiden Special Weight 2

Betfair Hollywood Park 12/15/2012 8 Maiden Special Weight 8

Point is he didnt break his maiden until his 3rd race and Bayern is 2 for 2 and both races were won by open lengths.IMO he more resembles Bodemeister than Tiz The Truth.

14 Feb 2014 8:12 PM
Bill Rinker

TnT,   I by no means consider my self as a pedigree expert, but I do very much enjoy doing pedigree research. War Front is definitely off to a great start as a sire of quality runners. From the information availible to us per. the Blood Horse Stallion Register we see improvements of his get in both the average earnings, and comparable index, with a average winning distance of a little over 7 furlongs. War Front's sire Danzig was highly successful in the breeding shed while getting very good runners, and has become a sire of sires. On the track he was both speedy and precocious, and unfortunately some what injury prone. As a two year old he had problems with bucked shins early on, and after winning his maiden by 8 lengths was side lined for the remainder of that year with a knee chip. His three year old campaign started with two impressive allowance wins but was ended by the beginnings of a slab fracture that would ultimately end his racing career. I have a very cherished winning photo of him and his trainner Woody Stevens taken at Aqueduct that shows him winning "The Hourless" at 6 forlongs in 1:09:2, with Eddie Maple up. War Front on the other hand came about a little slower on the track, doing his best work as a four year old by winning or placing in graded stakes from six to seven furlongs. However it should be noted that he won a stakes at 1-1/16 miles as a three year old with a time of 1:41:79 while clearing the field by 8 lengths. Based on his pedigree it would appear that his genetic contribution to racing distance would follow his running success that being from six furlongs up to a mile and a sixteength. His dam Starry Dreamer by Rubiano is a multible graded stakes winner with over thirty starts and earnings over $500-K. Starry Dreamer is a first class producer as well with 7 foals, 6 runners and winners, and 4 stakes winners with 3 earning over $300-K. In addition to War Front she is also the dam of Ecclesiastic. Too top it off Starry Dreamer's second dam back from Rubiano is Moon Glitter. Moon Glitter is by the good broodmare sire In Reality, and is also the third dam of Tapit. The second dam of War Front, Lara's Star is by the Argentine classic winner Forli a sire of over 60 stakes winners, most notably of which being the all time great Forego. I'll stop and move on to your three year olds of intrest; Mosler, and Giovanni Boldini both show evidence of good bottom line stamina influence. Mosler's dam Gold Vault is by Arch, and of the 15 mares present in Mosler's 5 cross pedigree, 14 show evidence of stamina with many being first class broodmares. Mosler's bottom line is very, very good showing an abundance of the large heart gene. Giovanni Boldini's dam side influence is good  although not as good as Mosler's in terms of the X-factor, but showing evidence of stamina none the less. Giovanni Boldini was a 190-K purchase that set a record for weanling bred in West Virginia and sold at market, His dam Dancing Trieste, was some what of an enigma as a broodmare, Dacing Trieste had not been given much hope of success at this level before her mating with War Front. Giovanni Boldini may very well have recieved a level of stamina from his dam's sire Old Trieste, a consistant graded stakes winner at 1-mile to 1-1/16th. Lovlier Linda was Old Trieste's dam, with a produce record of 13 foals, 10 runners, 7 winners with six earning over $100-K. On the track she compiled a record of 24-10-5-4, and won 5 times in grad-1 stakes company at six furlongs to 1-1/8 miles, while hitting the board in grades 2-3, 5 more. Of further intrest it should be noted that a mating of Lovlier Linda to Danzig produced the very durable colt Proud Danzig, who raced 62 times winning 14, running 2nd 5, and 3rd 5. The second dam of Giovanni Boldini is La Promenade by Southern Halo and out of Aquarelle an Argentina bred mare. There is a likely hood of stamina being passed on here in by both the top and bottom lines with the presence of La Troienne in Aquarelle's sire's dam line. I hope this was some what helpful and apologize if it was to wordy.

15 Feb 2014 12:04 AM

I love reading the other comments regarding this Horse Rushmore thing.  I am mostly a triple crown follower, as the Deacon mentioned, but I still hold horses like Buckpasser and Dr. Fager in the highest regard.  I hated to leave a horse like Tom Fool off the honorable mention list too, but when trying to carve out a mountain, we have to reserve room for the transcendent horses.  I for one buy the excuses that are made for Secretariat's losses and there is no denying the amazing feat that was the '73 Belmont.  Man o' War lacked in the competition department in a lot of races, but he set records, so his opponent was the clock.  If they hadn't brought Citation back to win a million, he would have retired at the end of his three year old season with bad legs (which nobody would begrudge a modern horse) and a record of 29 starts, 27 wins, both of which were excusable. He would probably be more highly regarded than MoW or Sect. if that had happened.  Of course, I have rewarded my spots to horses whose greatest accomplishments were in their three year old campaigns and I do gladly listen to arguments for horses who went on to do things at 4 and older.  I especially appreciate the comments of those who've followed the sport much longer and more closely than I have.

Oh, and Lunar Spook, I like your list and was torn between Zenyatta and Ruffian.  It's the BC Classic that swayed me to Zenyatta between those two.  But then for me, I'm not sure I could put either above Native Dancer and I'm not inclined to take down Man o War or Citation or Secretariat.  Colin was, along with Sysonby and Hindoo, one of the greatest of the pre-Man o War era horses, but most of his races were at 2.  But there's no denying his greatness.  I'm just not sure he makes the Rushmore cut for me.  

Some of us love reading stories, studying records and watching bad video clips and making our own judgment of who was greater.  Others prefer to stick with what they've been able to see for themselves.  Robbiejoe25 has stated that he is in the latter category and I think Steve has mentioned before that he is more along those lines.  He doesn't like to rate horses from before the era that he has been able to observe himself.  Still, I would love to see what Steve's Rushmore would be.

15 Feb 2014 1:40 AM

Mr. Haskin,

You have an unenviable task of compiling a Derby Dozen each week. Your supporters eagerly await each compilation. With your wealth of knowledge no one can really challenge the  methodical way you approach the ranking of the horses fortunate enough to make the cut.

One such fortunate horse is California Chrome. His sire Lucky Pulpit is a son of Pulpit that stands for $2,500. He has two horses nominated to the 2014 Triple Crown from the 35 mares he bred in 2010.

Tapit another son of Pulpit stands for $150,000. He has 16 horses nominated to the 2014 Triple Crown from the 169 mares he bred in 2010. None of those horses are featured in your Dozen. Is it inconceivable that Lucky Pulpit with his small book of mares has actually produced a more noteworthy Derby contender than Tapit?  Tapit’s stud fee is 59 time greater than that of Lucky Pulpit.

There are four horses in your Dozen whose sires bred < 100 mares in 2010:

Honor Code/Commissioner – A P Indy (80 Mares)

Vicar’s In Trouble – Into Mischief (44 Mares)

California Chrome – Lucky Pulpit (35 Mares)

Based on a particular historic Derby trend, one of the above is more likely to be the 2014 Derby winner. Interestingly, the above four horses are all homebreds. As previously highlighted, homebreds have won 7 of the last 10 Derbies.

Overbreeding: Into Mischief bred 54 mares in 2011 and 50 in 2012. His appeal has certainly increased due possibly to graded stakes winners of Vyjack and Golden Cents. His number of mares bred sky rocketed in 2013  to 210. Another promising stallion has become a victim of his own success.

15 Feb 2014 2:22 AM

Of all the great horses mentioned the greatest in my book in Native Dancer. His only loss in 22 starts can be excused due to misfortunate suffered in the Kentucky Derby.

Native Dancer won from 5F to 12F. He won 4 races covering 24F in one moth as a 2YO. After his narrow loss to Dark Star in the Derby, he won the 8F Withers and 1 3/16F Preakness. Three races in the month the Derby is contested that covered 27.5F.

Native Dancer did not leave his greatness on the track. He carried to the breeding shed. He sired two Derby/Preakness winner Kauai King and disqualified Derby winner Dancer’s Image. His tail male and female descendants have created a dynasty in the Triple Crown series of race.

His son Don Cupid was the sire of Sea Bird winner of the Epsom Derby and Arc. Sea Bird would go on to sire Derby/Preakness winner Little Current. Raise A Native his other son of note sired 4 sons that have combined with their tail male descendant to accumulate 53 victories in the Triple Crown series.

Native Dancer‘s tail female descendants have made significant contributions to his legacy as well. He was the dam sire of the great Northern Dancer and the legendary Ruffian.

Many great horses left their greatness on the track. Native Dancer’s greatness continues to be replicated through his tail male descendants and is appears to have a perpetual status.

He is the epitome of total thoroughbred greatness.

15 Feb 2014 10:16 AM
Pedigree Ann

Bill R - I would be more inclined to read your entire post if you separated your thoughts into paragraphs. The one huge block of text is off-putting.

And I might point out that "they are all royal if you go back far enough." There are stayers in the pedigree of every sprinter, some even close up. For instance,  Reverence was campaigned at longer distances initially due to his pedigree - sired by a son of Darshaan, inbred 4x4 to both Northern Dancer and major stamina source Vaguely Noble, second dam by Nashua. But it wasn't until they sent him sprinting at 5 that he won G1 races.

Pedigrees give probabilities, not guarantees. The further back in the pedigree, the less likely it is that a particular ancestor is THE deciding factor in a horse's phenotype.

15 Feb 2014 10:57 AM
Pedigree Ann

Perhaps one day a horse will make the huge development from unraced 2yo to Derby winner, but in the meantime I shall support only those horses with some foundation at 2. Not necessarily a win at 2, only races. No Atswhatimatalknbouts or Verrazanos or even Bodemeisters for me.

15 Feb 2014 11:28 AM

Thank you very very much Bill. I will keep my eyes on these two and hopefully one of them make it to the derby. I am hoping Mosler races next weekend on the FOY undercard, and maybe O' Brien will finally decide to ship earlier if GV makes it.

Coldfacts tell me war front bred less than 150 mares in 2010, as I think your thesis merits attention, I have checked online, but cannot find the data.

I also like fire starter on Monday., exacta with Strong Mandate, who needs to lose the blinkers soon.

15 Feb 2014 1:37 PM

Shug McGaughey had the horse of a lifetime, but it wasn't Orb, it was Easy Goer.  I knew Easy Goer; Easy Goer was a friend of mine; none of these horses are no Easy Goer including Top Billing and Honor Code. Right now, I like the Candy Ride horses: Candy Boy and Shared Belief.  

15 Feb 2014 4:29 PM

Sail On; I don't understand why you think fillies can't get points. Fillies are not excluded from the 3-yr old races that offer qualifying points to get into the Derby.  Colts can't run in points-qualifying races for the Oaks, but fillies can indeed run in points-qualifying races for the Derby.

15 Feb 2014 6:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   My picks- #4 Yahilwa in the Santa Maria at SA. Dance With Fate #8 in the El Camino at GG.

15 Feb 2014 7:19 PM


Speaking purely from the male perspective, I think hardly a victim, but rather a beneficiary.

15 Feb 2014 8:35 PM


War Front bred 90 mares in 2010. His progenies appear to excel on turf as oppose to dirt. That stated a lost a ton on Declaration of War in the BCC. This stallion is being properly managed as he has averaged 103 mares bred between 2011 and 2013.


Into Mischief bred 61 mares in 2009. The resulting foal crop produced 3YOs Vyjack and Golden Cents. Two Derby starters from a book of 61 mares bred is excellent by Derby starters' standard.

In 2010 he bred 44 mares from which Vicar’s In Trouble emerged. It appears he might have another Derby starter. He bred 54 and 50 mares respectively in 2011 and 2012. Would it be surprising if other quality horses emerge from his 2012 and 2013 foal crops? No! This would be consistent with a pattern established from his small books.

His 2014 foal crop will be from 210 mares bred. In 2013 he bred in some cases 3 to 4 times the number of mares over previous years. I know it’s a business and the stallion is now established and the farm has an opportunity to cash in? Breeding Into Mischief to between 150 and 200 mares per years going forwards will be good for business in the short term by bad for the stallion in the long term.

NB: When was the last time a progeny of the king of the overbreds’ Giants Causeway emerged as a viable Derby candidate here or abroad? He breeds an average of 200 mares per year.

16 Feb 2014 9:31 AM

Steve: I know that your focus in this series of columns is on the Kentucky Derby but could you name at least three colts that you think has all the goods (pedigree, raw talent, good trainer etc) to capture all three legs of the Triple Crown? This could be quite a hot topic of debate, maybe for your Hanging with Haskin blog AFTER the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Consider it.

Coldfacts, Sceptre, Jersey Boy, Carlos in Cali, Age of Reason, Jay Jay, Pedigree Ann, Mary, Karen n Texas, Paula Higgins, Dr Drunkinbum, lunar spook, predict and KY Vet(LOL): What do you folks think about the above suggestion? Tell Steve "lets get ready to rumble"!!!

16 Feb 2014 12:00 PM

The 7th race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday saw a colt by the name Victory Nor Defeat win on debut. I had few dollars on him because of his dam sire Affirmed. Rarely do broodmares sired by the 1978 Triple Crown winner show up in the pedigree of horses. The last horse that was produced from an Affirmed mare that captured my interest was Sam P. He finished 3rd in the SA Derby and went on to finish a disappointing 9th in the KD.

Victory Nor Defeat covered 7F in 1:23.33 pulling away from the field. He clearly needs more ground to be seen at his best. Can this colt turn out to be as good as Pleasantly Perfect the best horse produced from an Affirmed mare? One can only hope. Is it too late for him to make the Derby field? It probably is.

We all know how good a stallion Unbridled Song was and we all know how good a race horse Affirmed was. The 2nd and 3rd dam of this colt are Northern Dancer and His Majesty. What's not to be hopeful about!

16 Feb 2014 1:24 PM

COLDFACTS - I'm with you!  Couldn't have said it better myself about Native Dancer!  He is my all time favorite!  He was incredible!  And here it is nearly 50 years after he died that his descendants are still burning up the track, with his name appearing (and usually multiple times) in the pedigrees of the best horses running (and actually MOST horses to be exact)!  I'm assuming you have read the two excellent books about him?

16 Feb 2014 1:29 PM


His sire Offlee Wild was sired by Wild Again a son of Iceapade  Icecapade like Northern Dance was sired by Nearctic and out of a Native Dancer mare. His best progeny has to be BCC winner Wild Again sire of Offlee Wild. Both the tail male and female descendants of Icecapade have been disappointing to date. Could Bayern be the one to reinject energy in the Icecapade line?

His sire Offlee Wild was produced from a Seattle Slew mare. He finished a disappointing 12th in the 2003 Derby. I consider his Derby finish disappointing as his sire Wild Again won the BCC and his dam was sired won the TC. Hiss 2nd dam was sired by His Majesty. Offlee Wild might not have been a great race horse but he certainly has the pedigree to be a great stallion.

Bayern dam Alittlebitearly was unraced and this is a significant plus for the colt. Her Alydar dam was a graded stakes winner that earned $450k. When an unraced mare produces a hoses that wins by such wide margins it should not be taken lightly. Curlin was one such horse.

16 Feb 2014 2:03 PM

Wicked Strong had a 1:00:20 5 furlong work at PM today. 1 of 32. Faster than Palace Malice.

16 Feb 2014 4:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


    My San Vicente pick is Rprettyboyfloyd.

16 Feb 2014 5:23 PM
Bill Rinker

TnT,   I'm glad that I was able to be some what helpful. There were a few other points of interest that I had intended to add, but unfortunately I accidentally hit a shift key and was unable to finish without completely starting over. There is one source of helpful information readily at hand when attempting to predict a Sire's genentic contribution. In the Bloodhorse Stallion Register you will find the average winning distance (AWD) of the runners from the subject Sire, and his Sire and Dam. In this case War Front's sire Danzig's runners were best at 7.57 furlongs, and his dam Starry Dreamer's runner's at 7.72 furlongs, and so far War Front's a little quicker at just over 7 furlongs. Undoubtably War Front has a very good 5 cross pedigree page. All of the Sires fitting into the top tier to elite class, and we all know that it takes a good Mare to make a good Sire. This has drawn many top class mares to his court and thus greatly enhanced his ability to succeed in the sale ring, and on the track. As evidenced there is a very good chance that we will continue to see a lot of diversity in his prodgeny. Making him a candidate for another long held axiom "breed the best to the best, and hope for the best".                                                                                                       Pedigree Ann,   Thank you for the formatting suggestion, I will keep this is mind for the future. While pondering the likely hood of dominant, recessive and allelic frequencies of the equine genome in regard to their influence on staying a route of ground, I agree with your thinking for the most part. The one thing that I have noticed is that while an increased ancestrial contribution may add to a mathmatical uncertainty, good blood has a tendency to stay good and in the genetic expression process will often time assume the roll of dominance. As we add more vegetables to the pot of soup many of the flavors blend, but that good tomato keeps it's good taste.                                                                                                      Coldfacts,   I'm thinking you didn't catch my drift in one of my entries above. My thoughts in questioning the possibilites of a Thoroughbred mating are not a form of lamintion of the present Breeding Industry. But rather are driven by intrigue towards potential improvement, and from my prespective the endearment of the thoroughbred has no boundries. I have never owned a Thoroughbred, but would certainly think the objective of breeding to a proven Sire would be the potential for reaching the top. I would also think that the chances of getting to such a mating would be greatly increased by a pedigree that runs deep in class, and I can't imagine anyone being disappointed by a good turn of foot while coming to hand early.                                          

16 Feb 2014 6:16 PM

Southwest:  Strong Mandate over Tanzanite Cat

           7/1, I'm done.

17 Feb 2014 8:18 AM
Pedigree Ann

Robinm - to continue. In 2011, Reddog Hartlage had a real nifty 2yo filly here in Kentucky named On Fire Baby. His barn caught a mild case of Derby fever, however he was rational about it. She was tested against colts in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn and although she finished a decent third, it was clear she wasn't up to taking on a Derby-type field. Stayed with fillies thereafter.

17 Feb 2014 10:56 AM
El Kabong

Thanks for the list, Steve. I watched some film and the top two finishers in the Iroquois, Cleburne and Smart Cover seem to have dropped off the Radar. Both Dale Romans trained for Donegal, but I can't get a beat on what they are up to next. Any word on these two? Both looked great last fall, especially Smart Cover.    

Kenyatta, very funny. Thanks for the laugh.

17 Feb 2014 12:37 PM

Thanks, Keelerman (re: No Nay Never).  I figured that considering  how well he did last year, they would keep him short.  I am glad that they are sticking to an international schedule and it would be nice to see him at Longchamp on Arc weekend.

17 Feb 2014 12:50 PM

Ranagulzion, on this day I would have to go with Top Billing, Vicar's In Trouble, California Chrome, and Candy Boy.  I'm basing this on pedigree alone.

They all have outstanding female lines, replete with stamina.  So in the Triple Crown races, particularly the Belmont, these are the horses to watch.  

17 Feb 2014 7:15 PM

Cold Facts and others, sires are glamorous individuals, but on numbers alone it's very likely that the best genetic influences in history have been female, not male, particularly since broodmares contribute as much or more to the genetic inheritance of the foal.

It is common practice to plan a pedigree with several great stallions, it is less common to plan a mating loaded with great broodmares, even though such mares may have been the best genetic influences in history.

In the early 20th century four foundation broodmare left their mark on the breed:  Mumtaz Mahal, Selene, La Troienne, and Plucky Liege.  As far as the placement of these broodmares in a pedigree, a few spots may be more advantageous than others.  Mitochondrial DNA is only transmitted by mares, never by stallions, so such desirable DNA can only come from the bottom of a pedigree.

The X chromosome "heartline" has been shown to influence the size and function of the heart.  The heartline traces on a zig-zag pattern to the dam, then to the dam's sire, then to his dam, and her sire, etc.  So great broodmare sires like Sir Gallahad III, War Admiral, Buckpasser, and Secretariat might have benefitted from the X chromosome that they transmitted to their daughters, but never their sons.

A.P. Indy, Storm Cat, Gone West, Dehere, and Chief's Crown all have Secretariat as their broomare sire, and so they enjoyed Secretariat's outstanding dam, Somethingroyal, as well.  

I think that we need to see this group of stallions combined in pedigrees that load up on the blood of Somethingroyal, particularly when the blood of her other fine son, Sir Gaylord is added to the equation.  Somethingfabulous is another stakes placed horse out of Somethingroyal.  You can find Somethingfabulous on the tail sire female line and the dam's female line of Candy Boy.        

17 Feb 2014 7:48 PM
Sail On

Looks like Tapiture is the winner of the crowded field in the Southwest Stakes. Not sure what we can learn from this race. He didn't seem to run easily, but the others failed to show up.

@robinm, yes, the fillies can race with the boys for Derby points. My point was they should be able to earn points in the premier filly races, otherwise there will be no fillies in the Derby, or the great filly races will be hurt.

Q? does dosing affect racing, if so, how>

17 Feb 2014 8:55 PM


What do you think about the larger bookings for Into Mischief in 2013, I think you said 210, as it's probablity of producing about half of the upcoming crop to be fillies; and would this not be good for the future of horse breeding or not. What I'm wondering is as dam sire would his proclivity to produce outstanding individuals in future breedings also be diminished because of the large numbers he covered. If this does diminish the quality, then it would be a rather difficult statistic to follow dams from this dam sire.


Love the idea suggested by Ranagulzion of having a potential Triple Crown winner as only you could see it

with your incredible knowledge and experience. """"""

Let's get ready to rumble""""

17 Feb 2014 9:46 PM

El Kabong,

Cleburne had bucked shins in October and is now galloping at Gulfstream.

Smart Cover,

Has not worked but has been galloping, also at Gulfstream.

17 Feb 2014 9:58 PM

Coldfacts - I also was impressed with the first out win by Victory Nor Defeat.  I am watching him because he is owned by Sagamore Farm - the home of the incredible Native Dancer!  I am watching all of their horses as I am thrilled they are once again breeding and racing horses and I wish them much success!  There will never be another Native Dancer, but I am hoping one (or more) of his descendants will bring them back to prominence!  Steve, an article about them and how they are back in the business would be wonderful!   Hint Hint  LOL

17 Feb 2014 10:01 PM
Bill Rinker

Pedigree Ann,   I found myself interested in the plight of Reverence and how it relates to the influence of stamina inheritance when assessing pedigree. As you noted, Vaguely Nobel, Northern Dancer, and Nashua are all present in his pedigree, but seemly show little effect in regard to stamina induced routing ability. Two of the three Sires have the highest likely hood of receiving an X-factor contribution through their Dams, Noble Lassie, and Natalma. But in Segula's case, the inheritance is a little farther removed. Here we find the contribution made through her Sire Johnstown's second Dam Flambette, and her mate Sir Gallahad. Moving forward in Reverence's ancestry we find his Sire, Mark of Esteem by Darshaan, and his Dam, Imperial Bailiwick by Imperial Frontier. Mark of Esteem did his best running at a mile and possesed an impressive closing turn of foot, whlie his Sire Darshaan was a classic winner at 1-1/2 mile. Conversely, Bailiwick was cut from a different cloth, and possessed the speed of a sprinting champion while winning the Flying Childers at five furlongs. In addition to Reverence, she produced another sprinter in Helm Banks, who won the Chesham stakes at seven furlongs. Bailiwick's Sire Imperial Frontier, was best at slightly under a mile. However, all of this pedigree influence very well may have had little to do with Reverence performing as a sprinter. As it turns out Reverence was never initially campaigned at longer distances do to his pedigree while eventually finding his best as a sprinter at five. Unfortunately, Reverence fractured his pelvis at two and was unable to race, and a reocurrence prevented any improvement at three. Reverance was a maiden at four and won his first race second time out at five furlongs. He continued to improve at four winning at the Handicap level. At five he advanced to the Listed Class by March, ran his first Group Race in May, and would go on to race very successfully until his eleventh year. Reverence was quite remarkable, and on the track his legacy was that of a champion sprinter. However it would be hard to deny the size of his heart when considering his longevity and the adversity he over came.    

18 Feb 2014 12:22 AM
El Kabong


Thanks for the info on Cleburne and Smart Cover. Given Tapitures win in the Southwest, these two could prove to be late threats if training resumes soon. I shot an email off to Conor Foley over at Donegal, hopefully I'll hear back soon on any potential Derby activity for either.

18 Feb 2014 3:15 PM

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