Derby Dozen - February 17, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


Top Billing Shug McGaughey

Curlin—Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy

He’s going to get quite a test for his stakes debut in the Fountain of Youth. Not only does he have to contend with a 13-horse field, he drew post 12, so his best case scenario is to take way back, drop in, and hope he can make his way through or around all those horses. He tuned up for the race with a maintenance breeze in :50. Let’s face it, he’s going to have to get lucky, and with only one more stakes start after this, he better get some luck if he hopes to start accumulating enough points to get in the Derby. It’s February and he still has big fat goose egg, so it’s time to put up, bad post and big field or no bad post and big field.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

McLaughlin was happy with his :48 3/5 breeze, although this work is just a minor step toward the Florida Derby (gr. I) and his first start in nine weeks. I fear I will run out of things to say about him every week in that long a time. As one can plainly see, I already have, except to add that the Speed Sheets apparently are playing a major in his R&R period on the Derby trail. As I also have said, if you like the horse, you have to feel good it’s at least McLaughlin who is attempting to pull off the fresh horse approach. He’s had success at it before and he is dealing with a talented horse with a good amount of bottom.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

Sadler might have had a few moments of jockey anxiety when Bayern came rolling down the stretch in isolated splendor, but at this point, Candy Boy is more advanced and battle tested in classy company. But only Bob Baffert knows how Bayern stacks up against Chitu, who was narrowly beaten by Candy Boy in the Lewis. It’s still a long way off, but it’s always intriguing to ponder the choice: The proven, classy stakes horse or the unproven dynamo who could be something special? Gary Stevens just has to hope he doesn’t land on any more gifted 3-year-olds (that was a joke).


Honor Code Shug McGaughey

A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat

Under the circumstances, things couldn’t be going any better. He worked 3 furlongs in :35 3/5 and also was caught a half in :47 3/5, galloping out a solid 5 furlongs. McGaughey won’t rush him into the Gotham (gr. III) and likely will wait a week for the Rebel (gr. II). Oaklawn hasn’t exactly been a common watering hole for McGaughey’s 3-year-olds, but timing is what’s important and a Rebel-Arkansas Derby (gr. I) double should have him ready for the first Saturday in May. With his strong foundation, he shouldn’t need more than that, especially if he can get a good stiff race in one of them. Because of his come-from-the clouds style in his first two races, that Remsen barn-burner was much needed to show his versatility and willingness to fight and come back from certain defeat.


Bayern Bob Baffert

Offlee Wild—Alittlebitearly, by Thunder Gulch

Yes, I’m well aware he didn’t beat much in his allowance procession, but sometimes it’s not who you beat, but how you look doing it, and this colt reminded me of Big Brown in his first two wins, in that the performance seemed out of the ordinary; that maybe you were looking at something special in the making. To win by 15 lengths under a hand ride and come home in :11 4/5 and under :12 1/5 is pretty impressive no matter who is behind you. Now, here’s the kicker: he wasn’t even my top Baffert horse. Hoppertunity is the horse that has captured my imagination, but unlike Bayern he has yet to beat winners, and he needs to step up in the Risen Star Stakes. But for now, Bayern has everyone excited and rightly so. But can he end the Apollo curse? Interesting early decision for Gary Stevens, but it’still hard to go off the more proven Candy Boy at this point.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

I have to admit I was skeptical about his Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) victory, considering he was a maiden, and others coming out of that race didn’t run well, but he proved he’s a top horse with his authoritative victory in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III), drawing clear of Strong Mandate with a final sixteenth in :06 1/5. And Strong Mandate was 6 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Ride On Curlin. In addition, this colt’s actual birthday is Derby Day, the Winchell family owned his sire Tapit and broodmare sire Olympio, and Asmussen is eligible for the Hall of Fame this year, so perhaps the stars are aligning the right way for all involved. His pedigree can go either way, with a combination of speed and some decent stamina.


Commissioner Todd Pletcher

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

We know he’s a fighter, and now he just has to demonstrate his class in stakes company and show he can beat Top Billing at equal weights. He had a far better trip the last time they met, and most likely will have a better trip in the Fountain of Youth, but the rail is always tricky, and you can bet Pletcher would love to see him get to the outside. John Velazquez, who rode him two races back, will replace Jose Lezcano. He seems to be in top physical condition, and like Top Billing, just needs to start collecting some points, with only one remaining start after the Fountain of Youth.


Mexikoma Rick Mettee

Birdstone—Toccet Over, by Toccet

Not crazy about post 10 in Saturday’s allowance race against a stakes-quality field. Had his most impressive work to date, going 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 in company with Intrepid Citizen. Without blinkers, he sat 5 lengths back and ran down his workmate with a :35 1/5 final three-eighths, coming home his last three eighths in :11 4/5, :11 4/5, and :11 3/5. Followed that up with a :49 1/5 breeze, coming home in :12 1/5 and :11 4/5. The Team Valor team feels he probably is more of a Belmont Stakes horse than a Derby horse, so make of that what you wish. He’ll still get his chance at Churchill Downs, and no one has told Mexikoma he’s more of a Belmont horse. His upcoming preps will dictate where he stands as a Derby horse.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for his big test in the Risen Star, but received a bad break drawing post 14, which is not where you want a horse with his tactical speed. If he’s as good as he’s looked in his last two starts he will have to show it Saturday to overcome his post. He is one of many top 3-year-olds who drew poorly next weekend, but he at least has the long stretch and with most of the speed down on the rail, he could come away unscathed with a clean break and a little bit of luck. Look for Rosie Napravnik to hustle him out of the gate to get position. If he should beat this quality field from that post, then the sky’s the limit.


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

When you see a tough, classy, consistent horse like Tamarando come off a shellacking at the hands of California Chrome and win the El Camino Real Derby with another of his patented stretch runs, you can appreciate just how good a horse California Chrome is. He had his first work back since his romp in the Cal Cup Derby, drilling a half in :47 4/5 at his new home, Los Alamitos. This colt continues to become more and more intriguing, and he just needs show this same kind of brilliance in open stakes. It’s time to start thinking points, and he has the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

He’s been a forgotten horse since winning Gulfstream Park Derby, but the horse he out-dueled, Wildcat Red, came back to romp by almost 5 lengths in Hutcheson in 1:22 1/5. He has run big every time and keeps showing significant improvement. He’s versatile with a stout female family and began his career with a powerful move nearing the head of the stretch to sweep past everyone, winning by almost three lengths over Keeneland’s Polytrack. Switched to dirt and with blinkers added, he got cooked in a :45 2/5 half, dueling on the lead, and finished a game second to the top-class Conquest Titan going a mile. In the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, he laid just off a fast pace and then out-dueled Wildcat Red to the wire, winning by a head in 1:35 4/5. General a Rod, who more than enough stamina in his pedigree, has had his Beyer figures increase from a 65 to an 81 to a 92. Trainer Mike Maker thinks a great of this colt’s ability, and he just may surprise a lot of people next Saturday.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

The Risen Star will be his make-or-break race and he drew well in post 9. All these thirds and fourths are fine as stepping stones, but at some point he has to start showing more, and that means sustaining his run, which has been impressive. But he has to show more punch in the final furlong. The Fair Grounds stretch should help him, as should getting away from speed-favoring Gulfstream. He’s shown the kind of steady progress you want to see, and he’s demonstrated a good turn of foot, but now it’s time to knuckle down and make some noise. He tuned up for the Risen Star with a solid half-mile breeze in :48 3/5.

Knocking At The Door

It was tough taking STRONG MANDATE off the Top 12. It wasn’t the sound defeat that was troublesome, as he lost a lot of ground early and had every right to get a little tired. But he was a mess down the lane, switching back to his left lead and drifting all over the stretch. You just never know what you’re going to get from this horse with each race. He’ll need to show more professionalism and take a big step forward next time out to get back among the top echelon 3-year-olds. There is no doubt the talent is there.

As for the removal of SHARED BELIEF and CONQUEST TITAN, the former is in limbo right now, and with no one knowing if he can make it back for the San Felipe, there is just too much happening on the Derby trail to keep him on and occupy a valuable spot. If he has no more setbacks and indeed does make the San Felipe, then we’ll have our Derby favorite back again. We really don’t want to lose this horse, but Hollendorfer is not going to push him. Conquest Titan has been my live longshot for quite a while, but he didn’t show up for the Fountain of Youth, for which he was intended, as he reportedly had lost some weight and will wait for the Florida Derby, putting him in the same position as Cairo Prince with the exception of the weight loss. We have no idea how much racing he can take, so that is a question mark. I still like the colt a lot, but again with so much activity around the country, I'll just put him off to the side for now.

This weekend will see numerous changes on everyone’s Derby list. Now that we saw Bayern rocket onto the Derby Dozen, what should we expect from HOPPERTUNITY, who is regarded right up there with Bayern in the Baffert stable? We featured this colt last week and he’ll get his chance to make his own splash when he journeys to Fair Grounds for the Risen Stakes. He continues to train well, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5. I really like this colt, and if he can overcome his lack of experience against a tough 14-horse field of stakes horses, I feel he has a bright future and am looking for a big effort on Saturday.

Among those he’ll have to face are fellow California invader BOND HOLDER, a grade I winner who has been training brilliantly for Doug O’Neill; RISE UP, runaway winner of the Delta Jackpot who is coming off a bullet :47 3/5 work; GOLD HAWK, who could be the sleeper in here at a generous price; ALBANO, runner-up to Vicar’s in Trouble in the LeComte; COMMANDING CURVE, who has been training well since breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs; and, of course, two horses in the Top 12 – Vicar’s in Trouble and Intense Holiday. So, as you can see, this is a very tough race that is going to eliminate a bunch of Derby hopefuls.

Has everyone, including myself, been premature in dropping WICKED STRONG or did he just have a very off day in the Holy Bull and is just waiting to bounce back into Derby contention? I was thinking seriously of putting him No. 1 in the first Derby Dozen off his excellent third in the Remsen until his clunker at Gulfstream. But he’s come back with two big works, the last being a bullet 5-furlong breeze in 1:00 1/5. All of a sudden, I’m anxiously awaiting his next start in Saturday’s tough allowance race to see just where this promising colt stands on the Derby trail. If he can make amends he most certainly will leap up to or near the top of the list. The good news is that he’s back in action, but over the same track he flopped on in January. He will have to find a good spot breaking from post 9.

To show how tough a race this is, he’ll have to face Mexikoma, who is in the Top 12; TONALIST, who has been hovering just above the Top 12 for several weeks and who could emerge as a major player; and two highly regarded Pletcher maiden winners MATTERHORN and CONSTITUTION.

Questions in the Fountain of Youth: Can WILDCAT RED stretch out successfully to two turns? Is ALMOST FAMOUS ready for a victory to continue his pattern of first, fourth, first, fourth? Will blinkers off help CASIGUAPO, who always has a sneaky good race in him when you least expect it? Will WE MISS ARTIE handle to dirt well enough to make his presence felt?

TAMARANDO and KOBE'S BACK both scored impressive victories over the weekend. You have to admire Tamarando for his consistency, his potent stretch kick, and his ability to handle distances from 5 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles on dirt or synthetic. He's the kind of horse you love having in your barn. In the El Camino Real Derby, he ran down a very nice horse in DANCE WITH FATE after going 5-wide turning for home. Kobe's Back rebounded big-time from his dismal effort in the CashCall with a stunning 5-length romp in the seven-furlong San Vicente in a sprightly 1:21 4/5, stamping himself as not only a worthy back-up for Candy Boy, but a legitimate contender himself. Dance With Fate is another you have to admire. He's finished first or second on dirt, grass, Polytrack, and Tapeta and has run big on the front end and coming from 10th.

Bob Baffert worked the Robert B. Lewis runner-up CHITU a half in :47 4/5 and put MIDNIGHT HAWK back in action after his disappointing third in the Robert Lewis, working the gray 5  furlongs in 1:00 4/5.

If you have doubts about SAMRAAT’s stamina, be aware that he has four links to Hail to Reason, is 6x6 to Ribot and 5x6 to Buckpasser, so although there is a good deal of 1 1/8-mile breeding and his tail-female line is pretty obscure, there is at least a foundation for stamina. Speaking of Samraat, we don’t know if My Meadowview Farm’s other 3-year-old NOBLE CORNERSTONE’s poor effort in the Sam F. Davis can be attributed to a dislike for the Tampa surface, but for what it’s worth he did come back with a sharp :59 4/5 breeze at Gulfstream. Samraat’s budding rival, UNCLE SIGH, will get the services of Corey Nakatani.

HAVANA, one of the most gifted 3-year-old in the country, is up to a half-mile in his breezes, but considering he’s heading for the 7-furlong Swale, the chances of him being ready for the Derby appear slim. That doesn’t mean he’s not still pointing for it, but realistically do they really want to rush him off one sprint and one two-turn race? HARTFORD, Pletcher’s other horse playing catch-up, breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 1/5.

Pletcher had the remainder of his 3-year-old brigade on the Palm Meadows track for workouts on Sunday. In addition to his Derby Dozen horses Commissioner an Intense Holiday, he sent out Sam F. Davis winner VINCEREMOS for half-mile breeze in :49 1/5, Sam Davis runner-up HARPOON a half in :48 breezing, MATTERHORN a half in :48 3/5, and WE MISS ARTIE a half in :48 breezing. The last two will see action on Saturday.

Undefeated Futurity winner IN TROUBLE continues to train sharply, breezing 5 furlongs in a bullet :59 1/5. He is another who is way behind.


Leave a Comment:


Tapiture should be #1, Top Billing has to earn it. Lots of your horses in top 10 have to prove it before they earn it...too liberal and not enough progressive, let's be real, i enjoy your weekly updates but it is time to get serious and real.I do not see how Honor code is going to be rushed by Shug, but strangers have happened, I believe this horse is going to Belmont then Travers... if Top Billing makes it through, it would be bad management getting both horses to Derby(then you are left with nothing for later season), and Shug manages his stable pretty good.

18 Feb 2014 2:46 PM

Top horse unraced, but not horses who looked foes in the eye and prevailed?  Samraat should at least make the top 10, and Candy Boy no worse than 2nd.  

18 Feb 2014 3:10 PM

BOND HOLDER: I am glad to hear he is training well. He contested 7 races as a 2YO and might be the only 2YO that broke its maiden in a G1 race. With the résumés of the top contenders reflecting so few races, his foundation and heart will be a major asset if het get the requisite Derby points.

HONOR CODE: I am conflicted about this colt. His retired sire represents the strongest stamina influence in the US but has a poor Derby record. His dam sire has a broodmare band of 381 and only one progeny has featured in the Derby i.e., Bodemeister. Dialed In and Nobiz Like Showbiz were talented colts but failed in the Derby efforts. His pedigree just does not fit into the Derby winner chart but his obvious talent does.

HAVANA: Despite his many negatives and interrupted training schedule, I am forced to keep this talented colt high. He is from a high octane barn that has a record of winning stakes at big prices. Too much talent and I am still banking on the positive TC history of his dam line.

WE MISS ARTIE: A rather odd name for a colt. He was only beaten 4L in the BCJ which that was his dirt debut. Was too close to the suicidal pace and found little in the last 100M. His turf races have not been great and I think he is better on dirt. Five of his 6 races have been at 1 1/16m. He should win the FOY easily.

TOP BILLING: I am also conflicted with this colt. His pedigree just does not fit into the Derby winner chart but I cannot get his allowance victory out of my mind. Has very little chance of winning the FOY from his PP but his class could help to secure some points.

SHARED BELIEF: Another fast colt from a Storm Cat mare. His class is not in question and does not have to be 100% to win the Derby. I still have concerns over his paddling action over the Derby distance. One of the TC winners had Club Foot.

GENERAL A ROD: His sire belong to the most potent category of Mr. Prospector stallions i.e., grandsons. Dam sire is Dynaformer who hails from the successful Turn-To dam line and should be stamina efficient. The FOY will test if he can be dominant against stakes types over 1 1/16f.

TONALIST: Connections appear to be taking a conservative rout. After his victory in the competitive Allowance on the FOY under card I am sure they will go points hunting. Love Pleasant Colony as dam sire.

BARATTI:  Another fast colt from a Storm Cat mare. I am desperate to see his Gotham performance. Madaglia D' Oro is one of the overbred stallions with 170 mares bred. He produced Rachel Alexandra from 184 mares bred. One can only hope he can repeat. Ultra-impressive MSW win stimulated my interest.

CAIRO PRINCE: I cannot state that I like the timing between races for this stamina challenged colt. His trainer should know best. However, his Derby record suggests otherwise. Classy colt who I am forced to acknowledge.

VINCEREMOS: His Tampa Bay Derby performance will tell if he is the real deal. I think he is.

EAST HALL: If I like General A Rod I must also like this hard knocking gelding. He made 8 starts as 2YO. He was only beaten 2 1/4L in the GP Derby on a track impossible to close on. His dam sire Sultry Song won the Hollywood Gold Cup H (G1,10F), Whitney H (G1,9F), Woodward S (G1,9F). Long is better for this gelding. A strong pace in the FOY should see him picking up major points.

18 Feb 2014 3:40 PM

Steve, I am glad to see Tapiture in your dozen but he will have to relax early on, and is still green. Nonetheless, he is more gifted than his full siblings and they were decent runners. Mind you, the last 100 yards was impressive, the light went on, so to speak.

This Saturday is going to broken dreams for some, and up, up, and away for others. Good luck to all.

18 Feb 2014 3:40 PM

horseontherun Tapiture is no 1 on the points list with 22, which I believe earns him a position in the starting gate if he continues on to Kentucky.horseontherun if you bet on him especially in exacta boxes in the last Derby future wager where he closed at 38-1 for the win,then you probably made a good bet as long as he is on the top 23 for the next Derby future wager at the end of February beginning of March.

18 Feb 2014 3:43 PM

Steve I still agree with Top Billing, I don't think the post will matter Saturday bercause is going to drop back anyway.  Obviously, he has to find a seam or go wide but there should be plenty of pace for him to close.  I think he becomes the legitimate Derby Favorite after Saturday.  I also like Honor Code and Commissioner.  Honor Code will trounce anything at Oaklawn in the Rebel and Commissioner has to overcome post 1 Saturday in the FOY as well as a fast closing Top Billing.  Looking forward to seeing Tonalist run Saturday for Clement and I'm still waiting for Mosler to make his 3yr. old debut for Mott.

18 Feb 2014 3:50 PM
Kyle S.

sceptre -

"TAMARANDO and KOBE'S BACK both scored impressive victories over the weekend. You have to admire Tamarando for his consistency, his potent stretch kick, and his ability to handle distances from 5 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles on dirt or synthetic. He's the kind of horse you love having in your barn. In the El Camino Real Derby, he ran down a very nice horse in DANCE WITH FATE after going 5-wide turning for home. Kobe's Back rebounded big-time from his dismal effort in the CashCall with a stunning 5-length romp in the seven-furlong San Vicente in a sprightly 1:21 4/5, stamping himself as not only a worthy back-up for Candy Boy, but a legitimate contender himself. Dance With Fate is another you have to admire. He's finished first or second on dirt, grass, Polytrack, and Tapeta and has run big on the front end and coming from 10th."

18 Feb 2014 3:51 PM
It aint easy being good!

I agree anyone watching that race has to give some love to Kobe's Back! Running 7 furlongs in 1:21 and change is running lights out!

18 Feb 2014 3:53 PM

I would not consider Top Billing as # 1 until after his stakes debut ! He has the pedigree and connections to be a contender ! I am rooting for Honor Code and Commissioner ,as they are the last of the A P Indy's

18 Feb 2014 3:55 PM
Steve Haskin

Why dont we try something different this week before Saturday's results. I'm not overly thrilled with Top Billing as No. 1 either considering he hasnt run in a stakes, but I feel he has as much upside as anyone I've seen and I dont like anyone any better at this point. So, whenever you comment, start off your comment by naming your No. 1 horse and give a brief explanation why. I'm curious to see how many different No. 1's there are and who is the consensus No. 1. This way the readers will have a say and I will incorprate that into my Derby Dozen comments. And perhaps I will select the most astute, well thought out explanation and present that person with the "Pick of the Week" award. I'll only do this if enough commenters participate. If not enough interest, that's fine. All comments still welcome.

18 Feb 2014 4:07 PM

Steve Haskin this is what you wrote:Conquest Titan has been my live longshot for quite a while, but he didn’t show up for the Fountain of Youth, for which he was intended, and as of Tuesday he missed his last work, so we’ll just have him knocking on the door until we know more about what’s going on with him.

and this is  but this is what I got as information for Conquest Titan from HRN:

“We’re going to pass on it,” Casse said. “His last race, he came out of it good but I thought he lost a few pounds. He worked really well last week and he trained great this morning,(Feb17) but we can’t make all the dances. We’re just going to wait for the Florida Derby.”          

Owned by Ernie Semersky’s Conquest Stable, Conquest Titan breezed five furlongs in 1:00 on Feb. 8 at Palm Meadows. A five-time winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top trainer, Casse said the Birdstone colt will work again later this week.          

18 Feb 2014 4:21 PM
It aint easy being good!

Is it me or is this years horses have horrible names associated with them. We miss Artie, Candy Boy, Matterhorn,General a Rod. Awful names!!! I will never bet on a horse named Candy Boy I just cant do it! haha!

18 Feb 2014 4:23 PM

 I think Top Billing should run close to his name , but I think for the time being ,Cairo Prince would take the top spot !

18 Feb 2014 4:23 PM

What can be extrapolated from Tapitur’s all-out victory is the slow time of 1:44.95? Was the track was impacted by the recent bad weather? Probably! Irrespective I am of the opinion he will have to improve significantly to be a serious Derby contender? Let’s not forget he is the product of an overbred stallion. Despite his comfortable victory, he was hard ridden while not keeping a straight course. The fact that he is a Tapit progeny, one always has to keep the fingers crossed that he will be capable of making another start before the Derby.

The Southwest was being contested a 1 1/16m for the second time. The Rebel stakes contested at the same distance is therefore a measure that can be used to assess Tapiture's Derby winning chances.

The last winner of the Rebel to win the Derby was Smarty Jones. He won the Rebel in a time of 1:42.07.  Curlin won the 2007 Rebel in a time of 1:44.42 pulling a bus. He went on to finish 3rd in the Derby. Deduct one second for the weather affected track and his final time is still not a Derby winning one for his all out effort.

18 Feb 2014 4:26 PM
Cathy in Washington

I thought Ride On Curlin did pretty well considering he was caught wide into the first turn. Also he had only 2 published works between his allowance win and The Southwest Stakes. He looked like he tired a bit at the end. Look for him to do better in his next start.

Excited to see Top Billing run in the FOY.

18 Feb 2014 4:33 PM

Cold Facts you are going the turf to dirt angle as you did with Mr Speaker again for your pick in the FOY as you did in the Holy Bull but at least this time your pick has already run on the dirt, but easily win you gotta be kidding here is what you wrote about your pick:

WE MISS ARTIE: A rather odd name for a colt. He was only beaten 4L in the BCJ which that was his dirt debut. Was too close to the suicidal pace and found little in the last 100M. His turf races have not been great and I think he is better on dirt. Five of his 6 races have been at 1 1/16m. He should win the FOY easily.

18 Feb 2014 4:35 PM

The San Vincente is renowned for producing impressive victories in very fast times:

2014 - Kobe’s Back – 1:21.84

2012 - Drill - 1:21.28 - Did not start

2011 – Factor – 1:20.34 – Did not start

2010 – Sidney’s Candy – 1:20.91 – 20th in Derby

I think Kobe’s Back is a sprinter that could be effective against weaker over routing distances.

Just an opinion!

18 Feb 2014 4:52 PM
Sail On

My list:

#1 Vicar's In Trouble. Looks to be the most complete runner, has early speed, can hold back, breaks well, and loves to run. Hope he can learn to run in traffic at the Risen Stakes.

#2 Tapiture, good horse with speed.

# Candy Boy, seems game.

AR Samraat

Seems silly to rank these green recruits before they run the big Derby points races.

18 Feb 2014 5:12 PM

Beyer methodologists who played Tapiture in Derby Futures 2 where he was 38-1 to win should be happy that his Beyer was 98,and that with 22 points he is in the gate if he wants to run.

I think the inside was the place to be for the Southwest and he got a good trip as opposed to Strong Mandate who didnt.I want both to run in the Rebel and I hope the shippers come to find out if he got a good trip or if he is for real.Tapiture is flying under the radar lets see what his odds are for Derby Futures 3.

18 Feb 2014 5:22 PM

My #1 has to be Candy Boy right now. His race was impressive, but that is not why I have him #1 as there have been other races that looked better. He is #1 because Gary Stevens is one of the all time greats, and when he says something you have to listen. He is quoted as saying things such as "we aren't even half way there to his ability yet" and "He is a super talent". My favorite though is "this is one of the best horses I have been on in 20 years". This is the same guy who told us that he really like his horse last year in the Preakness, and what did he do but go off a huge price and win easy with Oxbow, the only horse still around after that crazy Derby pace. That is the biggest reason, but there is also nothing not to love except for his CAL breeding status. My theory on that though is 1. Candy Ride is more than good enough to sire a Derby winner, and 2. More and more horses are being bred in other states, and one of the reasons there haven't been a lot of winners outside of KY is that there haven't been that many run. The more that run, the more we will see that trend dissipate.....

18 Feb 2014 5:47 PM


“Average” trainer :), I love Touch Gold as a broodmare sire,  I love a Belmont winner as broodmare sire, that Buckpasser inbreeding…..,  big fan of L.T. Stevens, bred and raised at Winstar,  Hall of Fame Jockey,  1 1/8 miles(two times), showed his class and heart in his last at GP, very nice maintenance half (February, 16),love the April ones (Citation, Whirlaway, Riva Ridge, Canonero II, Barbaro, Swale, Big Brown, Funny Cide, Fusaichi Pegasus, Go for Gin, I´ll Have Another, etc.), runs with the head down just like his daddy, and you know who his daddy is…..

18 Feb 2014 5:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Indianapolis- Decided to keep him at number one until he loses or is off the trail or someone else looks incredible. Haven't heard a word since he was scratched from the San Vicente.

2. Bayern- It's Baffert's year. This colt looks super talented also.

3. Honor Code- 10f should be no problem with his natural ability alone.

4. Commissioner- We'll see this weekend if he belongs here.

5. Candy Boy- Best performance so far in the preps.

6. Intense Holiday- Risen Star won't be a picnic but he's bringing cake and eating it too.

7. Conquest Titan- Dropped him some because of missing the FOY but has a Derby pedigree and should close strong.

8. Cairo Prince- Could be a tremendous talent but I want to see more, and has a long time off between races.

9. Top Billing- We will see soon if he is the top billing or second banana again to The Commish.

10. Gold Hawk- Upset special in the Risen Star.

11. Havana- Should be back on the trail soon after his Swale win. I don't think they'll be able to resist a Derby run if he looks really good in the Swale.

12. Cousin Stephen- Big longshot but I like him.

      Knock, Knock, Knocking at the door- Hopportunity, Constitution, We Miss Artie.

     Under the mat- Tamarando, Dancing With Fate, Strong Mandate, Tapiture. I don't think any of them can win The Derby.

     Not sure of Kobe's Back yet. Need to see another race.

     Love Will Take Charge in the Big Cap and to go undefeated the rest of the year and win HOY.

18 Feb 2014 6:12 PM
Jennifer Elliott

My #1 horse is... Um, ?, hmmm, ???!  Not sure why, but I just haven't had a horse yet that has "captured my imagination", as you so eloquently wrote.  I just haven't been wowed yet... Influence on "yet"!  I do hope I/we/all get the opportunity to be star struck soon, until then, I think your approach to this year's Derby Dozen is on track... basically an innocent (in other words, has mega potential) until proven guilty (or, sure looked good on paper)!!  Cheers!

18 Feb 2014 6:16 PM
Carlos in Cali

Hmmm... My take,for what it's worth.

1)Honor Code: If Shug gets him to the Derby,I still think he's the best prospect to handle the distance/circumstances of the 10f, based on his pedigree,versatility,doggedness and late-kick.

The last time Mr.McGaughey had 2-starters in the Derby?... Easy Goer & Awe Inspiring,who ran 2nd-3rd(maybe 4th?)to the brilliant Sunday Silence.

2)Commissioner: I watched his decent debut @ Monmouth last summer,missed his maiden breaker, then really took notice of him at the beginning of January when taking that 9f Allowance @ GP over the "supposed" now horse-Top Billing. People seem to forget he was coming off a 5 month lay-off while the latter had a recency edge on him. Love the way he has gamely prevailed in his last 2 races when being headed in deep stretch,showing his will-to-win.Pletcher said he's progressed a lot from last summer,has been training forwardly and already has 2 wins @ 9f.Lots of upside,IMO.

4)Top Billing: Shug likes him a lot,that's enough for me.Although I feel he beat nothing of significance in his last race,still think there's more room for improvement going forward with his pedigree and running style.He had every chance to get by "The Commish" in that Allowance race though...

5)Bond Holder: Flying under the radar for now,but I expect a big performance from him @ The Fairgrounds. He's always making-up ground in the lane,his steady grinding seems well suited not only for the La. oval,but for the 10f of the Derby. I remember his connections stating; the longer the better for him.. this was last summer right before he took the Forerunner.Been following him since. Doug is probably shipping him due to the speedy prospects stabled @ Santa Anita coupled with the assumed speed-biased surface.

Others: California Chrome looked very legit in his last,the only problem I have with him is his immediate family/pedigree is laden with sprinter/miler types,and he was breathing pretty heavily afterwards eventhough he won in hand.I don't think he's a 10f horse,we'll see what he's made of in the San Felipe.

Kobe's Back looked good in his comeback after clipping heels and easing-up in his disastrous CashCall run. His pedigree suggests 10f will be within his grasp and Sadler will now gear him towards the Derby. Highly regarded from day-one,he told Joel Rosario after the San Vicente; "Tell your agent to contact me next weekend".. he means business!

Cairo's Prince: I think he has peaked,hence they're waiting until the Fla.Derby for his next start.Plus I don't think he'll effectively handle the 10f,IMO.

Tapiture also looked good and has quality to him,but 10f will be a stretch.. reminds me of Tapizar.

Candy Boy might still improve a bit,but the way he pounds the ground will limit his ability the further he goes,IMO.Bottom-side of pedigree is iffy..

18 Feb 2014 6:19 PM

Tapiture doesn't look so slow when you adjust the raw final race time ....accurately....for track condition. Take into account the fast pace.....also adjusted for track don't just look at raw fractions...and that it was his first start of the year...and he was pretty impressive.

18 Feb 2014 7:13 PM

Hey Steve,

I see you are itching to put Hoppertunity in your derby dozen. Well, after the Rebel itch no more. Just make sure you take the opportunity and bet Hoppertunity in the next round of future bets. This horse is going to be a monster.    

18 Feb 2014 7:43 PM

Totally agree with General A Rod and Intense Holiday; my picks for this weekend's races.

Do you know where Constitution is running next?

18 Feb 2014 7:58 PM
food fight

My number one is Honor Code Shug said he is a little further along than he thought he would be and that is good enough for me right now. He is the class and looks to be one of the top colts that will have no problem with the Derby distance. Love what Stevens had to say about Candy Boy and Bayern so i would put those two in my top 12 . Still waiting on another Cal colt in Indianapolis i love the confidence and the way this colt responds when called on i would put him close to the top on my list. 1st HC 2nd INDY 3rd Bayern 4TH Commish 5th mexicoma 6th CANDYBOY 7TH TOP BILLING 8TH BOND HOLDER 9TH CONQUEST 10TH SAMRAAT 11TH INTENSE HOLIDAY 12TH BOND HOLDER .I don't think Tapiture will get the derby distance and although he was very impressive in the SW stakes i think he got away with a slow half mile in 47.93 and 3 quarters in 113 and change . As far as Strong Mandate goes i didn't like the multiple lead changes down the lane this looks like a colt that's not comfortable whether physical or mental. He is a lot of horse and if the coach can get him comfortable and get him to relax he can be a force but for now i think he got to much to do.

18 Feb 2014 7:59 PM


We Miss Artie was not my initial choice for the FOY. However, after reviewing his performance in the BCJ, I cannot envisage him not being the horse to beat.

He drew post #10 in the BCJ and show excellent speed to be 3rd to 4th heading into the first turn. He sat 3L off the a 45.38 half mile and left the rails to take 3rd at the top of the stretch after being 2L away from 6f in 1:09.70. He battled all the way up the stretch eventually being one pace in the last 100 meters. He was passed by Bon Holder, Tapit It Rich and Maxekoma on the line

All the horse that finished ahead of him previously won on dirt and three were G1 winners i.e., Havana, Strong Mandate and Bon Holder. Two of the horses that were in the crazy pace with him, were Rum Point and Conquest Titan. Both faded badly to finish to 12th & 13th respectively.

Conquest Titan finished last in the BCJ beaten by 26 3/4L. He recently finished 2nd in the Holy Bull to Cairo Prince the only graded stakes winner in the field.  There are two graded stakes winner in the FOY. They are G3 winner Wildcat Red and G1 winner We Miss Artie.

The Gulfstream Park strip is very fast but not as fast as the SA strip. We Miss Artie was given a brutal introduction to dirt racing and held his own against some of the fastest colts in the country. None of those are present in the FOY field.  We Miss Artie must have gotten stronger in the 16 weeks since his 4L loss in the BCJ. I expect him to track Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Almost Famous and go by at his leisure and hold to the line. Commissioner, Top Billing, East Hall and other will be hard press to catch him if he improves off his BCJ effort. Despite his turf résumé, he is the class of the field.

A humble prediction unlikely to be matched by reality due to the glorious uncertainties of thoroughbred racing.

18 Feb 2014 8:08 PM


My Derby pick would have to be Honor Code.

His minor problems are behind him, and he's back!

He runs very well in the mud, he has beat Cairo Prince, and lost to Havana by a head, arguably two of the best on the derby trail  (another yard and he wins that race)

His derby pedigree fits past derby winners and the two races Shug has mapped out for him are going to have him primed for that first Saturday in May.

He will be the Futures #4 favorite in the last of March.

You can take that to the bank!

And oh yes, I forgot to mention he will most likely have the best jock in the world riding him.

18 Feb 2014 8:21 PM

Until taken off the trail or proven otherwise my #1 is Shared Belief.  My need to haves are the following:

Shared Belief

1) Intelligence/Class - He seems to know exactly where he is and/or needs to be during a race without pressing; willing to lose distance maintain his pace.  Class / intelligence play a key role, I believe, in being able to handle the Derby (atmosphere, conditions, crowded race, etc.)

    * California Chrome

    * Tapiture

    * Commissioner

    * Mexikoma

2) Explosive turn of foot - The best separation from other horses I've seen so far have been Shared Belief and California Chrome.  Haven't seen this from Strong Mandate

    * Honor Code

    * Top Billing

    * Bayern

    * Vicar's in Trouble

    * Havana

3) High cruising speed

    * SB

    * Cal Chrome

    * Vic's in Trouble

    * Tapiture

4) Pedigree - I support Coldfact's view on speed out of Storm Cat mares because I see the Terlingua influence, not to  mention Big Red, and think there's stamina on the dam side.  As far as Candy Ride, I thought Twirling Candy was a phenom who could go the distance so I don't discount stamina from him. I always make note of the Mr. Prospector / Fappiano sire line.  I like to see Derby winners and/or Derby winning producers, Princequillos (dam side), Danzigs, Dynaformers, Unbridled, Grindstone, Street Cry, and going to start paying attention to Flower Alley because I loved I'll Have Another so much.  I really liked Maria's Mon.  He'll be missed.  Now that I've been a big fan for a few years I'll be looking harder at the mares.

5) Basically, I'm looking for a Bodemeister with control and Shared Belief is it if he can make the switch on surface and go the distance.

18 Feb 2014 8:34 PM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for this weeks Dozen Steve, should be an interesting weekend. I am really looking forward to the Risen Star. I'll have my eye on Vicar's in Trouble, perhaps he'll be all right on the outside, who knows it might be a good thing, he does have a fairly light frame. I'll also be watching Bond Holder too, I see that he was raised kinda close to my home, their a very nice group of people on the farm, and they have some very nice Broodmares as well. I'm sure you probably saw the seventh race down at Gulf Stream on the 15th, it was a maiden special weight at seven furlongs. Victory Nor Defeat ended up winning, and really looked impressive, I think he was the morning line forth pick at 6-1. He had a little trouble getting away, and was checked in traffic a couple of times. Johnny Velazquez had the mount and did a great job of keeping him togeather. Johnny found some running room before the turn and had him in good shape at the head of the stretch. Victory Nor Defeat accelerated nice down the lane to win by three in 1:23:33. I thought he handled a lot of obstacles extremely well for the first time out. As he was another Midlantic 2yr. old that I thought highly of at the sale, you can imagine that I'm pretty happy to see him doing so well. I have really enjoyed participating in your blog page this last week, it has been insightful and enjoyable. I mentioned to a friend the other day that I feel like I have joined this cyber thoroughbred racing family, thanks for the oppertunity!      

18 Feb 2014 8:58 PM

Hi Steve, I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been following your blog weekly.  My Derby pick is in limbo right now, but if they get him back on the track soon, who knows, he just might get there.  I’m talking about Schoolofhardrocks.  This guy was scratched the morning of the Frontrunner stakes with an issue, but in his only start, in a split MSW at one mile at Delmar last August 31, he came from well back to blow by 3-5 Southern Freedom and win by 1-1/2 lengths, this after being sixth, 8 ½ back at the half.  His closing fractions were encouraging with a final half in 48.87 and final quarter in 24.50; the race being run in 1.36.85.  I mentioned that the MSW was split because in the other MSW run a couple of races later, the eventual BC Juvenile winner, New Year’s Day, won the race in 1.36.93, slightly slower than Schoolofhardrocks, and he defeated Bondholder (2nd) and Candy Boy (4th).  New Year’s Day’s final half was in 49.69 and his final quarter in 25.02 which, which when compared to Schoolofhardrock’s splits, show that School is a runner and one to be reckoned with, providing of course that he is ready.  Schoolofhardrocks also has an excellent dosage profile as do his sire Hard Rock Ten and dam Miss Chapin.  There is a lot of stamina in his pedigree, top and bottom, but one thing stands out and that is turf.  Hopefully Schoolofhardrocks will adapt to dirt which appears a good possibility based on his past five dirt works at Sanata Anita, the last the fastest of 38 at 5F in 59 flat.  

18 Feb 2014 9:15 PM

#1 - Honor Code; I like his breeding, his connections, his running style and his looks.  Can lightening strike for Shug 2 years in a row?  I can't think of a trainer who deserves it more.

Most impressive win I've seen this year?  California Chrome.  But, I think his pedigree is a little suspect for the Derby distance.

18 Feb 2014 10:08 PM

My #1 right now is Shared Belief.  I am concerned if he will make the race or not but until he does something wrong he is my choice.  He is unbeaten and basically untested.  He has already beaten a number of horses on the list, including Candy Boy, Kobe's Back and Tamarando and they have all won their most recent starts.  Love his breeding and his dosage!  My next choices are Rise Up, Noble Moon and Candy Boy in no particular order.

18 Feb 2014 10:29 PM
El Kabong


This is the reply I received back from Mr. Foley at Donegal concerning Cleburne and Smart Cover:

"Both are doing well as both had minor injuries after that race(Iroquois). Smart Cover will hopefully run in an allowance race at GP next month and then possibly the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland. Cleburne is about a month behind Smart Cover and will hopefully have his first breeze back in about 2 weeks. Both of them are doing well at the moment."


I'll get back to you on my #1 even though I think ranking them is silly. The Dozen should be just that, twelve to watch. I've never put stock into the #1-12 positions. It's enough at this stage to narrow the focus to twelve.

18 Feb 2014 10:31 PM
Mister Frisky

Steve,I respect your list like always.Half these don't want the trip even if they crawl 2:05 at Churchill.The west coasters are all tosses to me, so the more that make it to KY the better.Shugs two,Comissioner,and I think Gold Hawk has a lot of upside.And Strong Mandate looks to be a tough horse that always gives a good effort.

18 Feb 2014 10:38 PM
The Deacon

Honor Code just on looks alone.

I agree with Coldfacts, running a fast 6 or 7 furlongs in Feb. is much different then winning the 10 furlongs Kentucky Derby. My opinion is that the Derby winner hasn't raced this year yet. We still don't know how good this crop is. Until these trainers start running their horses we may as well flip a coin. Folks are trying to determine the Derby winner on breeding alone and I think that may be a recipe for disaster.

Obviously that's mainly what we have to go on right now so good luck trying to sort this bunch out.

My brain hurts thinking about it.

18 Feb 2014 10:48 PM

Love how whoever won the most recent prep should be the new #1. Getting both horses to the Derby would be bad management??? Nothing left for later in the season???

Will Take Charge ran in all 3 Triple Crown races... all he did was win the Travers, Penn Derby, and Clark later in the season, while missing the Breeders Cup Classic by a nose en route to Champion 3yo male. Let's be real... are you progressive or just misguided?

18 Feb 2014 10:55 PM


Don't know if you heard, but Shared Belief is completely healed and scheduled to return to the work tab this week. The Spiral and/or Bluegrass is being considered as of right now. There's no reason he should not be on your list. He has been, continues to be, and will remain my #1 until the gates close without him on the 1st Saturday in May. But I do understand your reasoning.

18 Feb 2014 10:59 PM
Valiant King

Candy Boy is Kentucky bred.......maybe confused with California Chrome.  

18 Feb 2014 11:15 PM

#1- (until I know for sure he won't try to work towards the Kentucky Derby) Texas Ryano- has shown more raw talent in his one race on turf at SA, than any other horse I've seen in a very long time. He wins this MSW on turf going a mile in under 135, all the while receiving one of the worst trips(rides) ever, I'm still  in awe of his raw talent, reminds me a bit of Animal Kingdom, possibly even better.

Can't wait to see how well Top Billing does this weekend, he should be in top two, without a doubt. Think the field is not that strong, maybe only four horses that are Derby quality.

19 Feb 2014 12:47 AM

Rise Up :  He's won 3 stakes at 3 different tracks while going longer in each race, he's seems to be one that's consistently progressing.  He has yet to show he can transition that form as a 3 yr old but unlike previous Delta Jackpot winners, I feel he is more proven having raced at 3 different tracks.  He did finished 6th at CD but if he continues to progress, I think his return to CD will have quite a different result.  This is all depending on how he transitions to 3 and I'm only going to give him one shot, if he runs poorly in the Risen Star stakes, excuses or no excuses, I'll have to jump on board with the current top contenders.   I'd like to see him run well and that means hitting the board, not necessarily win.  His pedigree doesn't scream classic distance but having seen his races, I'm confident he can stretch out to 10Fs and still be very competitive.  I'm going with Samraat and Cairo Prince for my 2nd and 3rd choices.  They already have some points so they have a better shot at getting in and I believe they're doing well.

Rounding up my dozen :

02.  Samraat - I would prefer for him to run in the Lousiana Derby, I just think that track is kinder than Aqueduct (Wood Memorial)

03.  Cairo Prince - I still don't like the 9 wk gap but he's back on the work tab so that's good.

04.  Commissioner - FOY will get him the "hype" he deserves (I think)

05.  In Trouble - Anxiously awaiting his next race, lots of workouts so it should be soon.

06.  Top Billing - I now have a feeling he's very vulnerable in the FOY.

07.  Vinceremos  -  only need points, I think he will become one of TP's top contender

08.  Gold Hawk - Looking forward to seeing him run a good one against my top pick.

09.  Havana - I'm confused about him...

19.  Poker Player - Still waiting for his next race, another one that I think has a one shot deal.

11.  Shared Belief - I don't know what to belieF...

12.  Honor Code - If he's healthy, he just might be the best.  

This list will probably be reversed come Derby day lol…

Steve : Thanks for the "consensus" part of this blog, really like it as I'm also curious to see who everyone's top pick is and why.

Dr. D : Glad to see you're sticking with Indianapolis although I'm also concerned about the "no news", I started paying attention to him after you posted him as your no. 1.  I was anxious to see him go longer but now I'm not sure what the deal is.  I'm hoping that Baffert will surprise us with news that he's going to Oaklawn.

19 Feb 2014 12:49 AM

#1 - Cairo Prince: Giving him a break now may not be the traditional route, but we've been breaking traditions this past decade in getting a horse to the Derby.  Being that Steve's Derby Dozen isn't about where they will be, but where they are now.  Cairo Prince belongs at the top.  Having run 3 strong races at 1m+, he's had as much or more bottom than any other horse.  He's been impressive in each start, even in defeat to Honor Code.  Look for his best second start off a layoff - May 3rd.

19 Feb 2014 1:20 AM
Bloodline Bob

Well, I never heard of the horse INTENSE HOLIDAY until 19 days ago when I was sitting in my reserved seats @ the Mohegan Sun Race Book and a man with Starlight Racing told me to watch for a horse named INTENSE HOLIDAY. Now, the esteemed race handicapper Mr. Haskin has him as #12 in his Derby Dozen. I was on BOND HOLDER before this info. See what happens in the RISEN STAR on 2-22-14.

19 Feb 2014 1:39 AM

Steve: As of right now Honor Code is el numero uno, the one they'll all have to beat in the 'Run for the Roses'.

1)He has already shown the kind of devastating stretch run required to overcome traffic or a slow start, typical of Kentucky Derby conditions,

2)ability to take a lot of kickback dirt,

3)the fearlessness to outduel another good horse while looking him in the eye and

4)the speed to run a sub-twelve second final furlong

Add to those credentials the fact that his veteran trainer Shug Macguehey is experiencing some kind of rennaisance.

I dont see how you can drop 2YO champion Shared Belief from the dozen when his trainer (known for holding his cards close to his chest) hasn't said or hinted that he's off the Derby trail. The proven class of Shared Belief deserves patient observation and an honorable position in the dozen in the sameway that speculative class, of Top Billing and Comissioner are accommodated IMO.

19 Feb 2014 1:42 AM

Carlos in Cali: Don't be too disappointed if Commissioner is overwhealmed from the inside post while Top Billing overcomes the outside post. This FOY field has come up real salty with General a Rod, Wildcat Red and Almost Famous likely to have Commissioner pinned down and lost in traffic, so be careful my friend. Also I don't expect that those three will be backing up, therefore its going to take a really good one to run them down ...Top Billing!!!

19 Feb 2014 1:51 AM

 Well Steve, hmmm. Seems like you got nearly everyone’s name in this “dozen” and with your additives list that rate--and in some cases also rate less,--for ‘distance’ than “ORB” did, except for:

 Awesome Sky; Barratti; Candy Dandy; Chas’s Legacy; Coup de Grace; Celtic Moon; Commandment; Decisive Edge; Diamond Bachelor (T); Divine Oath; Dunkin Bend; Enterprising; Extrasexyhippzster; Hines; Heat Star; Home Run Kitten (T); I’ll Wrap It Up; Ironicus; Kendall’s Boy; King Cyrus; Kowboy Boots; Lawmaker; Misconnect; Mr. Speaker (T); Pacific; Prominence;

Roger Rocket; Rum Point (T); Salisbury Knight; Sassicaia; Smart Cover; Storming Inti (T); Talent Show;

The Morning Guys; Thunder Moon; Unstoppable Colby; Vegas Strip; & Wise Move; and etc. … that all rate out higher for ‘distance breeding’ than did “ORB”. And, Roman Fire; Noble Moon; Louies Flower; and Vigorish, & etc., who rate right around “ORB’s” rating.

 Although I do realize that some of these ‘TC Nominees’ haven’t hit the track yet, or haven’t run well in 1 or 2 debuts,--such as “I’ll Wrap It Up”; and etc.,--where in any event, I personally am still keeping an eye out on ALL !!!, especially those that rate 25-50 rating points and even 130 rated points higher than “ORB” for retaining speed while bred for distance. {{hmmm, I may really be a “Distance Handicapper” when it comes to finding a “DERBY WINNER”, which I don’t see as knock!!!}}.  

 Now as to the “BHXFG” strain carriers,--where “ORB” carried only ‘4’ links, and “Revolutionary” ‘5’,--in this crop we have a whopping ‘bakers’ dozen that carry double digit LINKS in:

“California Chrome” ‘10’; “Chitu” ‘11’;

“Conquest Titan” ‘10’; “Divine Oath” ‘10’;

“Extrasexyhippzster” ‘13’;

“Home Run Kitten” (T)) ‘10’; “I’ll Wrap It Up” ‘10’; King Cyrus” ‘10’; “Misconnect’ ‘11’;

“Rise Up” ‘11’; “Roger Rocket” ‘10’; “Sassicaia” ‘11’; and “Talent Show” ‘13’; where it has to also be remembered that about the only thing that “Super Saver” had going for him into his DERBY,--where he hadn’t yet won another meaningful PREP race going in, which reminds one of  “Princess of Sylmar” last year with her win in the “OAKS”--and then his Win, was his ‘8’ links to the “BHXFG” strains, which was well above average for that year’s crop of 3 yr. olds he raced against,--so this years crop is in a sense is phenomenal,--being where high rated fillies usually carry those types of link numbers where they can add links from the sire side.--And additionally, five in the above list have ‘8’ links, and ten have ‘7’ links. So again folks, keep your eyes wide open for some of the so far unmentioned newbies, although we may not yet have see some of these at all, or only see some jump up into the Preakness or the Belmont !

And, a few non-TC Nominees that rate extremely high, “Permanent Campaign” ‘6’,--who hasn’t faired well on the track yet with a 2nd in his last recent effort, & etc., so those connections may have saved

“$600 ???,-- & …“Charleymillionaire” ‘5’; and “Sky Dreamin” ‘3’ that also rate HIGH.

 So good luck to all from this “distance handicapper’.

Good Day. & "Go Baby, Go Baby, GO"!!!

19 Feb 2014 2:23 AM

Wicked Strong needs a better chance this time. If he doesn't like the surface, then back to NY.

19 Feb 2014 3:09 AM
Forty Niner

All of you who are bashing Top Billing for not having earned it, the author is simply saying it is his belief Top Billing will win the 140th Kentucky Derby.  It is my belief that Big Brown 2008, Mine That Bird 2009, Animal Kingdom 2011, and Orb 2013 had not accomplished much by February of their derby years.

Top Billing has a terrible post draw for the FOY. I don't think his chances of winning will be greatly diminished.

From Dec 1st to the end of Jan, there were 17 dirt races at Gulfstream Park at the FOY distance. Race 8 on Dec 7th and race 7 on Dec 14th were the only races with 12 or more entries. The order of finish on Dec 7th (9-10-6-13) and Dec 14th (8-11-5-6) should give Top Billing's connections hope that post 12 in the FOY is not a death sentence.

19 Feb 2014 8:09 AM
The Bid

I know that he has YET to debut @3yrs. old....BUT...from a visual standpoint and clocked TIME....NO 3yr. old YET has come close to SHARED BELIEF!!! I would give CANDY BOY the nod so far BUT...SB blew his doors off in The Cash-Call on his way to becoming THE CHAMP!!!

TOP-BILLING is THE NOW horse, he has lots to prove AND OVERCOME Saturday! (Firm believer HE CAN!!!)

BARATTI is a TRUE SLEEPER, just curious why he gets no mention going into The Gotham.

What I really would like to know is can SHARED BELIEF skip San Felipe and go to the Santa Anita(that be ENOUGH???)... How 'Bout this scenario...Hollendorfer skips Cali all together and travels down to New Mexico for 50 EASY points in The Sunland Derby then heads east for Bluegrass!!! You think March 23 and April 12 TOO close???? (25 yrs. ago would not have been!!)

19 Feb 2014 8:27 AM

Commissioner is expected to take a lot of cash in the FOY. A lot has been made of his pedigree because his sire and dam sire were Belmont winners. I much prefer A P Indy being crossed with a mare from a stallion with speed.

Commissioner's PPs reflect moderate to slow internal fractions in all his races. The internal fractions in the FOY are expected to be 2 seconds faster than those recorded in his previous races. From post position #1 he is expected to be outpaced by the faster contenders if he is not used early to get into contention. He is not a very fast colt and if he is used early his only chance of winning will hinge on a pace meltdown.

At 1 1/16m a pace meltdown is unlikely as the 2014 FOY field is full of quality horses with high cruising speed and also good acceleration. He appears to be much faster in is his exercise spins but that will have no impact on his performance. His equally slow stable mate Intense Holiday  breezed 5F in 1:00.01 before the Holy Bull and was still far off the pace an could not get back to the classy Cairo Prince.

It’s a horse race and anything is possible. However, the FOY appears to be a shade too short for the even pace son of A P Indy.

19 Feb 2014 10:15 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Idianapolis is my #1 because I said so and it's my party and my Derby Dozen and I'm sticking to my story until I'm caught in a lie and furthermore Indianapolis is the most talented colt I've seen so far although I haven't seen them all, and it's very early in the game, and his sire is Medaglia D'oro who is the sire of Rachel Alexandra, and Medaglia D'oro was 1st in the Travers and Jim Dandy, ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown getting a 4th in The Derby and 2nd in The Belmont Stakes and was 2nd in two BC Classics, and I'm always looking initially in the Triple Crown preps for the second coming of Spectacular Bid until I have to move on after realizing once again that there won't be another Spectacular Bid again this year, year after year, and I always choose The Bid as a comparative focus because he could run such fast times at any distance, and just because a horse runs a 6f in 1:08.80 like Indianapolis did does not mean that he can't run a winning 10f race, it depends on professionalism, stride, pedigree, the will to win, grit, determination, courage, ability to accelerate at will, and Indianapolis has it all, and isn't going to let little things like a cough and mucus stop him and he has Secretariat on the bottom of his pedigree and Secretariat wasn't too shabby of a runner himself plus Indianapolis has Bob Baffert as his trainer and it's Baffert's year to win The Derby, so in summation I would like to say that cookies, coffee, and ice cream will be served in the auditorium on Friday afternoon and please bring your babies since Indianapolis will be there to kiss them.

19 Feb 2014 10:18 AM
White Plains Eric

Steve, I'm sticking with Vicar's in Trouble as my #1.  I'm not looking for a win in the race this weekend (tough post to overcome) as much as I am looking for a winning effort, although it would be nice to pick up some important points towards the Derby.  VIT's tactical speed should keep him close, but probably further off the pace than he's been in his three previous starts.  Although there are questions out there about his stamina, he's kicked clear in the stretch in both of his wins.  I like the fact that he is set up to make three Derby preps and he should accumulate enough points to make the Derby field.  As I mentioned before, he's owned by the hottest owners in the game, in the hands of a capable trainer and is ridden by a jockey who can have her pick of mounts in LA.  Still a lot to like about VIT until proven otherwise.

19 Feb 2014 11:20 AM
Cathy in Washington

Predict did you see that Texas Ryano is entered in an allowance race at Santa Anita on 2/21?

19 Feb 2014 11:37 AM

Thanks for the great blog Steve! Excellent information.I'll put Candy Boy in my top spot. I expect you will see Baffert run his best ones at Oaklawn and Fairgrounds to stay away from him. I also still like Conquest Titan - wouldn't mind if they changed plans and went to the Spiral then the Bluegrass or Lexington. I know those are synthetic but I think he could get plenty out of those races.  Almost sorry you mentioned Casiuapo though. I like him to get a nice trip in FOY.

19 Feb 2014 11:42 AM


Mr. Haskin likes the above colt. I did not see his MSW victory but his 3L victory must have been impressive. His sire Any Given Saturday has been a bit of a disappointment and probably that is why he now stands in PA for fees ranging from $5,000 to $2,500.

Hoppertunity’s dam sire Unaccounted is a grandson of the great Damascus. The 1967 Preakness and Belmont was one of the greats that went to stud with high expectations.

I maintain a spreadsheet containing the various sire and dam sire lines connected to the winners of Triple Crown races over the last 50yrs. Data is only compiled on the tail male descendants of sires and tail male descendants of dams sires. Data on 2nd, 3rd & 4th dams is not compiled.

Neither Damascus nor any of his tail male descendants have sired a mare that has produced the winner of a TC race.  In fact, they are missing from both sections of the TC chart. Should Hoppertunity win any leg of the TC he would represent a breakthrough for the Damascus broodmare line.

It is difficult to envisage a colt sired by a disappointing stallion out of a broodmare from a line that is non-existent in TC history, being the winner of a TC race. Who knows, the next Triple Crown winner might just have such a profile.  

19 Feb 2014 11:49 AM
Sail On

Jay Jay: I agree with you they Rise Up is a good prospect, and I inadvertently left him off my preliminary list.

19 Feb 2014 11:57 AM

1.  Honor Code:  Breeding, Class, 2, competitive spirit and in the hands of one of the masters.  With his minor set-back behind him, Shug is bringing him along at his own pace pointing for the Oaklawn trail to the Derby where he will get the needed tests with the proper spacing leading up to May 3rd.

2.  Cairo Prince:  Right there with Honor Code, has carried his form into his 3 y.o. campaign.  Kiaran McLaughlin has this precocious stalker on his game and wants to keep him there with only the Florida Derby as his next and final prep before May 3rd.  Not sold on his ability to get 10F, he has to show me.  

3.  Candy Boy:  Stepped up big-time in his RB Lewis win.  Running style, Class, Breeding and 2 y.o. foundation shows a colt who can get the 10F at Churchill Downs.

4.  Tapiture:  Southwest win validated his 2 y.o. form, besting Strong Mandate, both separating themselves from the rest, while obviously running green in the stretch.  With three races at Churchill Downs and still in need of seasoning, has much upside.  If he meets up with Honor Code, will have a better gauge on him.

5.  Intense Holiday:  Will stick with him pending FOY.  Will relish 10F at CD.  Needs to continue to show improvement as the distances get longer.  

Really like Shared Belief but cannot include him in my top 5 until he's back on the track and working well. If he's going the Spiral/Bluegrass route as slewcrew7778 informs us, he'll go into the Derby having not raced on dirt.  Made the mistake of tossing Animal Kingdom in 2011, will not do it again with Shared Belief.

Tapiture had the dream trip in the Southwest while Strong Mandate, seemingly antsy and nervous in the post parade, had a horrible trip getting bumped at the start, racing wide and in last place on the first turn, continuing wide, making a strong move down the backside to reach the front runners, finally getting near Tapiture at the top of the lane, then had nothing left in the stretch, obviously tiring and switching leads while still separating from the rest of the field after the trip from hell.  As Will Take Charge took some time to get it together, Strong Mandate looks to be in the same boat and the same hands.  Can't wait until he gets the clean trip.

Steve, I base my list on which horses have shown me to this point can finish in the top 5 on May 3rd.  This weekend will undoubtedly provide some new shooters.  With Vicar's in Trouble and Top Billing breaking from the parking lot, things may even be more confusing.    Watch out for Bond Holder in the Risen Star and Commissioner in the FOY.

Thanks for this blog, Steve, and good luck to all!

19 Feb 2014 12:28 PM

Candy Boy is my #1horse. He's bred for the Derby distance, rates kindly and appears to have sharp push button acceleration. Gary Steven's

raves about him. We haven't seen him cranked up yet or at a distance he should be best suited for. I think he's had the best 3 year old performance

against quality opposition so far. I like a Derby horse who can sit and stalk yet has the ability to get decent position....Candy Boy fits the profile. I'd name about 15 other horses as my #2 horse...really tough to put them in any sort of order this early in the spring. Great job Steve Haskin on your Dozen as usual! In the FOY this weekend, I think Top Billing's post can be overcome with his racing style. If he runs just like his last race, he'll be close at the end. Almost Famous should be sharper and I wouldn't be surprised if he wired them. Wildcat Red and General A Rod impressed me too. Is this race too short for Commissioner? I'm more interested in that allowance race - the field may be deeper & more talented than the FOY. Doesn't appear to be much pace in the Risen Star. Rise Up should get an easy lead and may run off. Vicar's In Trouble should be able to get decent position despite the post as he's the only other one with much speed...lots of extra ground to cover though. I'm looking for someone to stalk and pounce on the leaders...Hopportunity comes a knockin.

19 Feb 2014 12:32 PM

After posting my last blog, found out Bond Holder out of the Risen Star.  Hope his injury is not serious.  Also, I may have mentioned Intense Holiday going in the FOY by mistake, meant the Risen Star.

19 Feb 2014 12:37 PM

Is your Extrasexyhippzster article still coming?  It does appear that he's not being aimed for points races, so the Preakness might be more in his plans than the Derby.  Still would like to hear what you have to say about him.

19 Feb 2014 12:48 PM

I know it's a very long way to the Kentucky Derby. And I'm glad you took him off your Derby dozen list. Yes there are really good ones that are coming into hand. But I'm most interested in the horse STRONG MANDATE. This horse has seen somewhat of the best in his past performances. What I like about him is his running style. He picks up horses with the greatest of ease and then settles. I wouldn't let that one race or two for me to jump off the band wagon. What I need to see is a very strong performance in the Arkansas Derby. I can trust the coach.  After losing a very tough lost in the Breeders Cup, it's my estimation that Mr Lukas horse is heading in the right direction. On Derby day he'll be at his very best!! Trust me. No. Trust the coach.

19 Feb 2014 2:16 PM
The Bid


Love your eloquent statements regarding the horse that is the reason I'm a FAN of THE SPORT OF KINGS!!!! Reminiscing back to when I was 8yrs. old and my father coming home from work during prep season talking 'bout his co-worker's grandson Jockeying THE NEXT GREAT HORSE after AFFIRMED. That personal link put ME in the saddle and TC season has been my passion EVER since!!


If you were to "pull my leg" I will go on record and put CANDY BOY #1....Visually the best performance by ANY 3yr. old TO DATE!! His gallop out was equally impressive as well as Gary's comments afterwards, He has become somewhat of a prophet in regards to assessing his mounts abilities and how he utilizes their strengths in the saddle, hence his comments going into the PREAKNESS last year regarding how OXBOW could beat ORB. We need to remember that he came from the booth and was NO SLOUCH there either! STILL have issues with putting a horse ahead of SHARED BELIEF though. Clearly the best of the DOZEN.

Could it be logical for Hollendorfer to skip the California meet all-together get him right and some easy points down in New Mexico??? He would also be doing the rest of HIS connections as well as others a favor if that were to become a REALITY! The fact that they've been silent and Rome has been equally silent on the matter makes me believe that the LACK OF DERBY TRAIL experience for BOTH is very telling! Yes, they are doing right by the horse of course,BUT, being media savy and not so SURLY as he seems with regards to his comments letting everyone know the plan in 15 days is something I really don't think you would here from Baffert or Pletcher. Jim Rome has a daily talk-show and million plus listeners, he could be a feather to Hollendorfer's fedora but instead THEY remain silent and the BEST THREE YEAR OLD in the WORLD continues to work with NO PLAN!!!!!! Could they shock the world and plan to run SA Derby ONLY??? 100pts would put him in the gate BUT not enough foundation! They need to get 2 in before The Derby, time is running out and the remaining CROP is definitely catching HIM if NOT CAUGHT and SURPASSED!!!

19 Feb 2014 2:42 PM

Coldfacts Commissioner is a distance horse why do you think they ran him at 9 panels after 5 months on the sidelines.To tell you the truth I hope he comes in 2nd,with the 20 points he earns he is in the gate,and will probably stay in Florida and run in that Derby before the KD.As far as being used early I will bet you if you want, that Johnny V will have him saving ground and tracking the leaders where ever he gets into an easy stride he outclosed Top Billing to beat him.

I know you have already thrown your hat proclaiming We Miss Artie as an easy winner IMO hes better on AW or turf.I will take one half of the uncoupled Pletcher entry in Commissioner against his barn mate We Miss Artie in the FOY.

19 Feb 2014 3:21 PM


19 Feb 2014 4:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   It would be difficult to argue against your assessment that Candy Boy had the most visually impressive prep so far since you are correct.

    The Derby Dozen and the Triple Crown trail always puts me back in the saddle again no matter what else is going on. The Derby Dozen has really enhanced what is naturally a special time anyway. I used to just wait and see close to Derby time who I liked, now I can't help but follow closely and try to pick talent over accomplishments. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    I was a big fan of Affirmed and loved it when he beat Alydar. The Alydar fans were always whining and giving excuses which became more annoying after each butt kicking Affirmed gave him. It was clear who was the best.  Then I was a huge fan of Spectacular Bid and remember it as being the first time I experienced a heart breaking defeat in racing, with him not winning The Belmont. In my mind it was a done deal and shocking. Thanks for your response.


    I like Smart Cover also. He's way behind but has had 3 works in succession but I don't know if they are going for dirt or turf.  Oaklawn or SA would be just fine for Indy. In my opinion those are the two best prep venues.

19 Feb 2014 4:38 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I forgot to mention that Rise Up does seem to have some talent and wouldn't surprise at all if he rises up to win the Risen Star. I'm looking forward to seeing the odds. He should be the favorite or one of the favorites I assume.

19 Feb 2014 4:44 PM

Enjoying the comments and banter here. Still a long way to go, but this is starting to get fun.

Bayern looks like a very intriguing horse after his latest victory. Let's see what he does against a bigger field and when another horse stares him down, but he obviously has ability.

Speaking of, I became a fan of Dance With Fate over the weekend. I really don't know if he's a Derby contender, but he seems to be an honest horse who gives a good account of himself every time out.

Keep up the good work!

19 Feb 2014 4:46 PM
Age of Reason

Mr. Haskin,

My #1 Kentucky Derby choice is Honor Code because as a student of history, I have noticed that many times history tends to repeat itself in cyclical patterns.

Let me explain. In 1972, a respected but aging trainer from the “old school” named Lucien Laurin won the Kentucky Derby with a homebred colt named Riva Ridge, of whom it was thought after his victory that he could turn out to be any type. Unfortunately, his charge ended up even losing out on the 3 year old championship. Next year, though, Laurin was back with another homebred, a late-running colt who’d already shown grit by winning a historic 2yo stakes in New York. Despite setbacks along the Derby trail, doubts by many as to whether his sire could get a Derby winner in a final crop, and the opinion of many that it would be highly unlikely in the modern era for any trainer to win the Kentucky Derby two years in a row, Secretariat did indeed “turn out to be any type”.

Let’s flash forward to 2013:  a respected and aging trainer from the old school (Shug McGaughey) won the Kentucky Derby with a homebred colt (Orb) whose victory was highly regarded but ended up even losing out on the 3 year old championship. The next year, The Year of the Horse 2014, he has returned to the scene with a homebred, late-running colt who has already proved his toughness by winning one of New York’s historic 2yo stakes races; however, this colt too has suffered setbacks, the self-proclaimed experts are saying it’s highly unlikely that in the modern era any trainer can win the Kentucky Derby twice consecutively, and many have serious doubts as to whether the colt’s sire can get a Derby winner in his final crop…and this is where it will get interesting!

Put down your stones and rotten tomatoes, everyone! Am I saying that Honor Code is the second coming of Secretariat? Absolutely not! I’m simply saying this, again: as a student of history, I am fascinated by the parallels between 1973 and 2014. I think they are too many and too intriguing to ignore. And that is why Honor Code is #1 on my list to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

19 Feb 2014 5:50 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mr. Haskins -

First, allow me to acknowledge that this is your Derby Dozen, not mine.  From your Post, I have read only the write-up of the horse in question.

It was a ~54 weeks ago that I used the term 'mystified' in a reaction to your choice to include MSW winner Tiz the Truth as #11 in you Derby Dozen.  If I may, I'd like to clarify my motivation then, and more importantly, my motivation now, for being equally mystified in your inclusion of Bayern at #6.

- There is no argument that each horse 'ran fast' in their wins prior to being included in your Derby Dozen.  An important factor in anticipating improvement or decline is an accurate analysis of 'how they ran fast'.  

- Both Tiz the Truth (2/2/2013, SA, R1) and Bayern (2/13/2014, SA, R7) recorded wire to wire wins in what we classified as Extreme Races for Speed. Based on Flow methodology, an early leader at this specific trip will get an easier pace scenario to produce a top effort is just 2 of 100 events.  Additionally, each faced 4 others that, as a group, were too slow both early and late to compete.  With this in mind, it's my read that Bayern is a question mark to advance in his conditions against a legit field of 8,  never mind occupy a spot in a subset of the 12 most likely Derby winners.

Decades of history have proven that the chasm between romping wire to wire wins under perfect dynamics over four over-matched foes in entry level races at Santa Anita in February and beating 19 horses in the Derby is certainly wide and vast.


19 Feb 2014 6:44 PM

“The BEST THREE YEAR OLD in the WORLD continues to work with NO PLAN”

The best 2YO on synthetic in the US cannot be considered the best 3YO in the world without a start as a 3YO. Shared Belief is a nice colt but he has not defeated the top 3YOs that race on dirt. He therefore is the best of his peers on synthetic.

Is he better than Outstrip and the other top colts in Europe that race on a comparable surface? The best horse he has beaten is G1 winner Bon Holder who finished 4th in the BCJ. If that makes him the best 3YO in the world then the bar is pretty low.

Bobby’s Kitten is a very fast colt on Turf. It took two brilliant colts from over the pond to defeat in by 2L in a mile completed in 1:33.20. The fractions were 22.27, 45.70, 1:09.53, 1:33.20. Wise Dan won the turf mile in 1:32.47.

The final time for the Juvenile turf is no joke. Can Shared Belief defeat Bobby’s Kitten if he is just a good on synthetic?

19 Feb 2014 6:48 PM

With the injury to Bon Holder I have switched my support in the Risen Star to Quick Indian. With Vicar’s In Trouble, Intense Holiday, Hoppertunity, Rise Up and Gold Hawk expected to attract the bulk of the betting, Quick Indian will provide a good return on investment.

Am I crazy or is he really good enough to defeat the above colts? Well his numbers do not compare favorably. However, he is a serious closer and with the expected fast pace he could mow them down in the last 100 meters.

This colt is not the typical Indian Charlie progeny. His name might be Quick Indian but he is not quick in the first 6F.  He really should have been named Charging Indian. In his last race he charged from 8L last to tag the loose on the lead runner-up. He showed a lot of energy in the last furlong reminiscent of dam sire A P Indy.  

He has two victories at 1 70yd over the FG strip and will need the extra yards of the Risen Star to catch his faster opponents. This colt’s dam line is loaded with quality/stamina and he appears to be very genuine.

If he wins the Risen Star and Top Billing wins the FOY, they would represent two deep closers sired by stallions that finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby and out of A P Indy mares.

Sounds like the two could be coupled.

19 Feb 2014 7:45 PM

Cathy in Washington,

Thanks for the heads up on Texas Ryano racing at SA on Friday 2/21/14, Race 3, 1 mile on the turf. I'm really glad to see the jockey change to Mike Smith. Can't wait to see how he does!

19 Feb 2014 7:53 PM

Shared Belief is extremely talented. However, he is a gelding & Hollendorfer owns a large chunk of him. Winning the Derby does not increase his value as a stallion. This horse has the potential to be a money making machine for Hollendorfer over several years of racing. There's no need to risk injury/rush him back to the races. When the horse is ready, he'll run. Hollendorfer's not exactly known for pushing his horses onto the Derby trail. I expect to see Shared Belief in the winners circle often this year & next, but not in the Derby.

19 Feb 2014 8:01 PM
Pedigree Ann

Valiant King - Candy Boy's dam was a Cal-bred SW and the family has been situated in California and going to local stallions since 1957, when his 8th dam Blue Nile went to visit Khaled's son El Drag (whose own dam and second dam were Cal-breds).

"We miss Artie, Candy Boy, Matterhorn,General a Rod. Awful names!!!"

It is not "Wee Miss Artie", as in little miss Artie. It is We - as in the lot of us; Miss - as in feeling the absence of a person or thing; and Artie - the person or thing we miss being the sire, Artie Schiller. Not a great name, but a heartfelt one.

Candy Boy. Don't see the distaste. A 'boy' by Candy Ride, who was out of Candy Girl, who was by Candy Stripes. All in the family. There have been previous stars named Roving Boy, Career Boy, Bolshoi Boy, etc.

Matterhorn. One of the tallest peaks in the Alps and, traditionally, the most difficult to climb. The name of a special mountain for a special horses? Is it worse than the second tallest mountain in Texas (Mt. Livermore)?

General A Rod. Okay, lovable only to a Yankees fan? I've not much attention to A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez)'s career - is he implicated in some scandal with steroids or something?

At least they aren't those terrible run-on names like Atswhatimtalknbout, Itsallgreektome, Arewehavinfunyet, etc.

19 Feb 2014 8:21 PM


I'd love your & others' feedback on the horses who are lightly raced or late starters going into the Kentucky Derby.

If an ultra talented horse with very little foundation runs "lights out" in the Derby a a la Big Brown, I'm going to write off the triple crown season because the schedule will just be too much.  

Is that wrong thinking or does giving a young thoroughbred more time to develop physically before racing give him a better chance to perform in the Triple Crown races?

Did Dutrow learn a lesson from Big Brown or was his Belmont a fluke?  Looking at the last 4 Triple Crown winners it seems they got a lot of racing in leading up to the Big 3.  I remember Desormeaux saying after Big Brown's Belmont that the Triple Crown winners had to be freaks to be able to complete the Trifecta.

Are these trainers who are bringing lightly raced horses to the Derby just trying to win a Derby with less emphasis on the TC???

19 Feb 2014 8:33 PM

“Candy Boy had the most visually impressive prep so far”

Cairo Prince won the Holy Bull by 5 3/4L

Vicar’s In Trouble won the Lecomte by 6 3/4L

Tapiture won the Southwest by 4 1/2L

Candy Boy won the Bob Lewis by 1/2L defeating a colt that had never raced beyond 6F and his victory is the most impressive 3YO prep seen to date. I guess the field assembled for the Lewis was loaded with quality routeres.

Am I the only one that has seen the wide gait Candy Boy possesses? Candy Ride progenies are always monsters on the ultra-fast CA tracks. How many races did the likes of Twirling Candy, Chocolate Candy, Sidney’s Candy, Misremembered, Holy Candy etc., win outside of CA?

19 Feb 2014 8:39 PM

In the Iroqouis, did RISE UP not like being in close quarters coming down the stretch and back off or can we write it off as him being a little too green in that race?

19 Feb 2014 8:54 PM

To the believers in Shared Belief; his starts on synthetic tracks have been spectacular.  However, despite Animal Kingdom having proven it can be done, I am not convinced a horse is well-served by trying dirt for the first time in as prestigious a race as the Derby.  If what I heard is correct; that Jerry H is now targeting either the Spiral or Bluegrass, then I will look elsewhere.

19 Feb 2014 9:09 PM

Regarding General a Rod/Wildcat Red going "toe to toe" at Gulfstream:

Was it too early in the season (1/1/14) to be concerned that these two, fighting it out, came home in :13 and change???  Not what I want from a Derby champ or TC champ!

19 Feb 2014 9:09 PM

“Commissioner is a distance horse, why do you think they ran him at 9 panels after 5 months “

I am not sure I understand what the above means. I hate the classification distance horse. Commissioner is a colt devoid of the speed necessary to be competitive at distances shorter than 9F. His speed deficiency does not make him a distance horse, it just denotes he is slow. There are horses capable of carrying their speed from 5F to 12F. Are they distance horses or just versatile

“I will take one half of the uncoupled Pletcher entry in Commissioner against his barn mate We Miss Artie in the FOY.”

We Miss Artie displayed excellent speed in his only start on dirt. I am of the opinion he was too close to the pace and that contributed to him being one pace late in the race. He must be stronger now and Havana and company are not present.

He has some positives going into the FOY:

Only G1 winner in the field

Most starts at 1 1/16F. (5)

Most victories at 1 1/16F. (2)

Most graded race starts (4)

The luckiest owners in racing at this time.

Will all the above equate to a victory? Probably not but he has the best credentials going in.

19 Feb 2014 9:23 PM

Lazmanick: Great to read you on here. Welcome back. Yours is quite an exotic number one, Schooolofhardrocks. The Hail to Reason sire line's most recent visit to the winners enclosure in the Kentucky Derby through a grandson of Roberto was by the outstanding but illfated Barbaro (son of Dynaformer) in 2006. Rock Hard Ten, the sire of Schoolofhardrocks, like Barbaro's sire, Dynaformer, is also a son of Epsom Derby winner, Roberto. I'll join you in the observation and I suspect we'll have Coldfacts and Sceptre as company (LOL).

Plod Boy Phil: I get your drift ...or should I say ... flow regarding Bayern BUT his trainer is Bob Baffert and he looks an awfull lot like Bodemeister. I suspect that Steve views him similarly.  

19 Feb 2014 10:10 PM

Top Billing = Orb/Dialed In/Normandy Invasion

Cairo Prince = Pioneer of the Nile/Verrazano

Candy Boy = Palace Malice

Honor Code = Freakish

Shared Belief = Freakish

California Chrome = Union Rags/Sham

Tapiture = Not convinced of Tapits

Bayern = Paynter

Commissioner = Algorithms

Mexikoma = Possibly freakish

Intense Holiday = Den's Legacy/Super Ninety-Nine

Vicar's in Trouble = Affirmed???

Texas Ryano = Animal Kingdom

Uncle Sigh = Revolutionary

Rise Up = Sabrecat

Samraat = Vyjack

Havana = Bodemeister

19 Feb 2014 10:14 PM


Tapiture > Hansen

19 Feb 2014 10:15 PM

Neverwherecauseway (pedigree ann, here's another name you'd love :) )lost to Schoolofhardrocks( there's another for you, pedigree ann) and he will run against Texas Ryano on Friday, which will allow us to compare Texas Ryano to Schoolofhardrocks in how they both did in relation to Neverwherecauseway.  

19 Feb 2014 11:02 PM

I think this is a somewhat more promising group of 3 yr. olds than what we've had the past few years. At the moment, it seems to be lead, for the most part, by the Californian's-Sadlers' and Baffert's, and Shared Belief. Talent-wise, I think that Kobe's Back, Bayern, Hoppertunity and even Tap It Rich are all legitimate, with the leaders, at the moment, being Shared Belief and Candy Boy. So, none of the above would surprise me if they went on to establish themselves as major forces. In years past I would have excluded-due to  their sires- a Bayern or Hoppertunity from Derby consideration (recalling Carry Back as nothing more than an aberration), but recent times have taught me to keep a more open mind. Yes, it's hard to imagine Offlee Wild or Any Given Saturday siring a Derby winner, but not too long ago there was War Emblem (by the banished, Our Emblem, albeit far better bred). I also note that both (Bayern and Hoppertunity) are quite well fixed on the distaff side-another reason why I can't eliminate them from consideration. Kobe's Back is another whose pedigree gives me pause re-a Derby, but as I've said, things have changed. Tap it Rich is an enigma; he's bred borderline well enough and has hinted at great talent-he was all over the place in his last start, but still managed to be 2nd-but this may also speak to the weakness of those behind. Candy Boy and Shared Belief are certainly bred well enough, top and bottom, to win a Derby. They are among the better bred Candy Rides yet to race. Both are also "lookers", particularly Candy Boy (but he has high action). I was actually higher (than now) on Candy Boy prior to his last start, as I saw that win to be nothing more than workmanlike. What keeps sticking in my throat about Shared Belief is the fact that Wygod was willing to sell him after his maiden win. Yes, he's a gelding, but I can't believe that just this alone made him available in Wygod's mind. I've yet to read an explanation for that sale. Mr. Wygod is a very wealthy, astute owner (and owns a major stake in Candy Ride); so what did he know that we don't?...I have omitted the mention of other California 3 yr. olds by intention-they don't stack up to all those abovementioned.          

19 Feb 2014 11:13 PM

Wee Miss Artie dosent have to win just run a better race than Mr Speeker did.Shug Mcgauhey has derbie fever and caught it at an old age, sending Honor Code to dismantle Tapiture and crush the Beyer methodologists.BTW(as far as the (TheBeyerM) most of them receive a check with the initials DRF that they direct deposit in their bank accounts.

20 Feb 2014 12:56 AM

So far, this generation of 3-year-olds is not blowing me out of the water.....but they seem to be a "tad" better than many of the more recent generations. I'll stick with Noble Moon....until further notice! Can't wait for the WOOD!  

20 Feb 2014 2:07 AM

Hey Ranagulzion I’ve been around doing a lot of reading, but not posting.  I like your enthusiasm.  I think we have a pretty good crop of three year-old with tons of potential, but as usual at this time of year there’s lots of sorting out to do.  Unfortunately with the way trainers approach the races now as opposed to the good old days, the majority of these colts are asked to do too much in too short a period of time and with not much foundation.  Some that I like besides Schoolofhardrocks are Cairo Prince, Noble Moon, Candy Boy and California Chrome. Wicked Strong deserves another chance because in his last he didn’t run an inch and I consider that race a complete throw out.  I also think that if Tamarando can run well on dirt, his running style will fit the Derby.  Suspect (possible issues) to me at this time until they race are Honor Code and Shared Belief.  And then there’s Top Billing.  Anxious to see him in the FOY along with General A Rod.    

20 Feb 2014 2:14 AM

Honor Code is the leviathan that everyone is waiting to surface. Has he progressed or levelled off? For all intents and purposes, you have to presume that a forward progression is most plausible. For me, the most charismatic horse in a very long time and one can only hope that his physical attributes can excel on the track even further. A star, waiting to be born. Will fate be kind or cruel?

There are many other horses with great potential as well, some underrated Tapiture; Tonalist, Commissioner, Matterhorn, Sassicaia, Hartford, Constitution, Harpoon appear to be stakes bound winners.

California Chrome and Kobe's Back could be major players and this Saturday will determine the future plans for Casiguapo and Commanding Curve.

20 Feb 2014 5:43 AM
Pedigree Ann

Bigtex - I take it you never saw Sham or Affirmed run. To equate a horse who equaled the track record for 9f (1:47, in the Santa Anita Derby) and ran the second fastest Kentucky Derby time ever to one who couldn't win a 9f Derby prep and was 7.5 lengths behind a Derby winner who was 2 seconds slower than Sham..., well, I find no comparison. And Vicar's in Trouble to Affirmed? In case you forget, Affirmed had been 2yo champion and beaten his main rival Alydar 4 times in 6 meetings during that 2yo campaign. VIT beat state-bred maidens and a modest G3 field of MSW and n1x winners, sprint and bullring and turf SWs. I fail to see any points of equality.

20 Feb 2014 10:20 AM

Cold Facts,

I think some of you pedigree people put way too much importance on bloodline to determine if a particular horse is derby material or not. Using pedigree is a good handicapping tool but understanding the past performances of a horse on the track is what gives us a true indication on how to predict the potential of what a horse can really do.

For instance, you touched on Hoppertunity and his dam sire Unaccounted, whose grandfather was Damascus. So what if Damascus and his family tree never produced a triple crown race winner? You could probably say the same thing for a many of the greats. Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Specticular Bid might have been decent dam sires but never pass on their brillance to the countless number of offsprings they sired. Other than, A.P. Indy who else.

I respect bloodline and all the history that comes along with it but at the end of the day it is the individual on the track that is going to determine if he is capable or not. Not necessarily the art of deciphering genes.  

20 Feb 2014 10:43 AM

East Hall was included in my Derby Dozen. I am probably the only one that seems to like the hard knocking gelding. It is understandable as he broke his maiden in his 6th visit to the races. What’s there to like about this gelding?

The first things to like about East Hall are consistency and toughness. He has only been of the board twice in 10 starts and one was in his only turf start. He is the only horse in the FOY field that has made 2 starts in a month on three different occasions.  

The most interesting part of his PPs has to be the 8F races he has contested on dirt:

08/24/2013 Crc – 1:42.01; 2nd by a NS

10.19/2013 GP – 1:38.83; won by 4L

11/24/2013 GP – 1:37.14; 2nd by 3/4L promoted to 1st

01/01/2014 GP – 1:35.84; 3rd by 21/4 (GP Derby)

This colt has improved in every mile race he has contested. Both General A Rod and Wildcat Red that finished 2L ahead of him in the GP Derby, will be allowing him 4Lbs at a distance more favorable to him. In his last race he finished a NK second over the FOY distance on a synthetic track.

This gelding enters the FOY with the most foundation of any and has the speed to get a good position from his wide draw. He has to be a candidate to secure some pints and make the exotics lucrative if he maintains his consistency.

20 Feb 2014 11:14 AM
Ted from LA

Why hasn't anyone mentioned Indianapolis?  

Indianapolis is the most talented colt I've seen so far although I haven't seen them all, and it's very early in the game, and his sire is Medaglia D'oro who is the sire of Rachel Alexandra, and Medaglia D'oro was 1st in the Travers and Jim Dandy, ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown getting a 4th in The Derby and 2nd in The Belmont Stakes and was 2nd in two BC Classics, and I'm always looking initially in the Triple Crown preps for the second coming of Spectacular Bid until I have to move on after realizing once again that there won't be another Spectacular Bid again this year, year after year, and I always choose The Bid as a comparative focus because he could run such fast times at any distance, and just because a horse runs a 6f in 1:08.80 like Indianapolis did does not mean that he can't run a winning 10f race, it depends on professionalism, stride, pedigree, the will to win, grit, determination, courage, ability to accelerate at will, and Indianapolis has it all, and isn't going to let little things like a cough and mucus stop him and he has Secretariat on the bottom of his pedigree and Secretariat wasn't too shabby of a runner himself plus Indianapolis has Bob Baffert as his trainer and it's Baffert's year to win The Derby.  That is all I have to say.

20 Feb 2014 11:45 AM

In my opinion it's Honor Code for #1.

Two of the best Derby prospects in training;he beat one, and lost to the other by a head, (on the loss -10 more yds. and he's undefeated).

He definitely has the pedigree when compared to the past Derby winners. His quarter times are super, he runs in the mud, and has the best jockey in America on his back.

A minor setback, and now he's ready to roll, he will be the Futures #4 favorite. If there were a #5 overwhelming favorite!

20 Feb 2014 12:37 PM

Pedigee Ann, in the case of California Chrome and Vicar's in Trouble, I'm having a little fun projecting.

How would you compare Sham at or about the time Pancho Martin got him to Sham at the stage he ran the SA & KY Derbies?  I think your point already mentioned might even apply.  

As far as VIT, he has speed and he has tactical speed and he looks like he could DEVELOP into a horse who can win a race from any position in the race as Affirmed could've if he'd wanted.  I've seen Sham and Affirmed race 1,000 times and I don't take their place among the greats lightly but when projecting young 3 year olds on the Derby trail for a little fun I'd like to think we're in the midst of another Affirmed or Sham.  I hope that makes sense.

20 Feb 2014 1:00 PM
Fran Loszynski

Hi Steve, hope you are well haven't written because computer has been down and we are battling snow storms here in the East! I'm so happy for Alex his daughter made a big splash with class at Santa Anita, go Iotapa, and a loud Yeehawwwh for Gainesway kids from Birdstone and Tapit, they're going to the Derby for sure! can't wait, great choices Steve, this should be an awesome Derby, I'm getting the Derby

Yeeeeehaaawwwwhssss! As always keep us updated.

20 Feb 2014 1:36 PM
Carlos in Cali




Secretariat sired: Risen Star,winner of the Preakness/Belmont

Seattle Slew sired: Swale,winner of the Derby/Belmont and was/is the greatest sire in modern TB history,IMO.

Spectacular Bid sired: Dud at Stud.

20 Feb 2014 1:42 PM
Sail On

Coldfacts, I do hope that Bond Holder is not seriously injured, and can recover quickly for his next race. It is convienient for him to withdray from the Risen since he had 0 chance to be in the money in a crowded field where he was over-matched by several horses that have speed which they have already shown they can carry to the finish line. I do agree with you on the issue of what a "distance horse" is. I willpay attention to how We Miss performs in next race, as well as General and Commish.

Bigtex: Love your list! Wouldn't it be great if Vicar would run like Affirmed? Let's do see how he does in the Risen.

Spades: The issue of bloodlines prevail es in spite of the fact that dosing has been soundly disproved, and my question about dosing on this blog continues to be underexposed to. There have been dozens of A P Indy colts with strong broodmare bloodlines "racing" in claiming races at Suffolk Downs over the years.

Here is my updated list:

#1 Vicar's In Trouble

#2 Tapiture

#3 Candy Boy

#4 Kobe's Back

#5 Tamarando

#6 Rise Up

#7 Bayern

#8 Intense Holiday

#9 Havana

# 10 Walt

Expect this list to change after this weekends races, if not sooner.

20 Feb 2014 2:14 PM
The Deacon

Pedigree Ann:  I totally concur about your assessment regarding Affirmed. I still thing he is one of the greatest horses ever. He never has gotten the respect he deserves. He won the Triple Crown, he beat Spectacular Bid and lost to another Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew. He got robbed when he was disqualified in the Travers (east coast stewards)and this horse ran his guts out every time he stepped on a race track. Affirmed is in my top ten of all time. I can say I was honored to see him race several times, he always gave me a thrill and my monies worth.......

20 Feb 2014 3:13 PM
Bob from Boston

I have one big question!  Why hasn't anyone mentioned Indianapolis?

Indianapolis is the most talented colt I've seen so far although I haven't seen them all, and it's very early in the game, and his sire is Medaglia D'oro who is the sire of Rachel Alexandra, and Medaglia D'oro was 1st in the Travers and Jim Dandy, ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown getting a 4th in The Derby and 2nd in The Belmont Stakes and was 2nd in two BC Classics, and I'm always looking initially in the Triple Crown preps for the second coming of Spectacular Bid until I have to move on after realizing once again that there won't be another Spectacular Bid again this year, year after year, and I always choose The Bid as a comparative focus because he could run such fast times at any distance, and just because a horse runs a 6f in 1:08.80 like Indianapolis did does not mean that he can't run a winning 10f race, it depends on professionalism, stride, pedigree, the will to win, grit, determination, courage, ability to accelerate at will, and Indianapolis has it all, and isn't going to let little things like a cough and mucus stop him and he has Secretariat on the bottom of his pedigree and Secretariat wasn't too shabby of a runner himself plus Indianapolis has Bob Baffert as his trainer and it's Baffert's year to win The Derby.  These are just one man's opinion.

20 Feb 2014 3:50 PM
Smoking Baby


Affirmed sire Peteski who won the Canadian Triple Crown as well as Flawlessly (Hall of Fame) and The Tin Man (Arlington Million).

Secretariat sired Risen Star (as mentioned by Carlos In Cali) as well as Lady's Secret (Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer retired as the leading money winning female of all time) and General Assembly (won Travers Stakes by 15 lengths in a track record that still stands over 30 years later).

Both sired about 10% stakes winners lifetime which is quite an achievment.

Also mentioned by Carlos In Cali, Spectacular Bid was a disappointment at stud but hey....that in no way diminishes his greatness on the track.  That guy could sure run.

20 Feb 2014 5:15 PM

I still don't know that much about any of these colts, have been buried in snow in New Jersey and dealing with mega parking problems due to the mountains of ice and snow taking up all the parking on the roads.  It's been an awful winter here to say the least.  No parking at work and no parking at home, I've been at my wits end with it all and have been so depressed so I better get with the program here!!!!!

I don't like these names either as someone else mentioned.  Owners couldn't get any more creative than this?

Let's see who wins the FOY.  Good luck to all runners.  

20 Feb 2014 8:03 PM

Spades, I agree with you about the emphasis put on breeding.  All you have to do is look at Wise Dan and his sire, Wiseman’s Ferry, who I think stood for 5K when he was mated to Lisa Danielle, also not much of a producer with her six foals until they got it right with Successful Dan and Wise Dan.  However, I think that Slew sired a few champions besides AP Indy…..Swale, Vindication, Surfside, Capote and Slew O Gold: Gold along with Slew and A.P. Indy in the HOF.  Other Slew offspring of note were Seaside Attraction, an Oaks winner and dam of Golden Attraction a champion two year old filly; Flute who won the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama, and multi G1 winners Lakeway and Life at the Top.

20 Feb 2014 8:19 PM
Bill Rinker

Steve, I always enjoy your Derby Dozen, and look forward to what you and everyone else have to offer. As I'm not one too lay down a bet, the ranking doesn't carry as much weight with me as it probably does with most who follow the list. And as much as I would like to participate in your suggestion for a personal number one ranking, I find myself in some what of a conundrum. I feel comfortable writing about the horses I have a personal connection to, and the one's I have followed closely on T.V. and or have read about. However, in order for me to feel fair and accurate about validating a number one selection, would require that I know more about the entire field.

20 Feb 2014 10:19 PM

  Ok, a few more names discovered that should additionally handle distance at least as well as “ORB” are:

“Chelious”; “Edison” (T); “Hoppurtunity”; “Interchange”; & “Global View”.--I can only look up so many a day, sorry.

 Tough for me to pick a number one at this stage, since I really like the likes of say “Talent Show” and “Sassicia” who haven’t made a maiden attempt yet,--as far as I know,--, and “In Trouble”, and, etc. Three others I am keen on are all among those double bred to “Seattle Slew”, which included “Talent Show” ! and “Wise Move” and those others being “Conquest Titan” and “Constitution”.

  Hmmm, so to differentiate which one from all the 400+ others?? , I guess that I would choose the one with the stronger damn side. So at this stage, I will try “Conquest Titan” for a #1 with a gun to my head. But, I have to be convinced by performances, and so far few have really stood out for my standards yet. But, hey we’re talking mid-April for really choosing and it’s only just passed mid Feb. when the Gr. II’s are just cranking up. And, we haven’t gotten near the Wood, the SA Derby, or the Fla.Derby !! yet. So, I will wait ‘til after those Grade I events before I take a true stand on a top FIVE !!!--which ended up being cut to a top 2 last year, “Revolutionary” and “Orb”.--And who yet knows who’ll Baffert will bring to the Ark. Derby ??? lol  

 OK here’s a TOP 40 though,--and this by my calculated rating for ‘distance’ being the higher rated, where we will still have to see ‘performances’ and then ‘speed’, and where I will first list 20 that have been on a track at last 3 times and then a 20 that have not been on a track or out only 1 or 2 times.

The seasoned-experienced:

 “Conquest Titan”;  “Storming Inti” (T): “Awesome Sky”; “Extrasexyhippzster”; “Home Run Kitten” (T):

“Coup de Grace”; “Commanding Curve”; “Chitu”; “Mr. Speaker” (T);  “Celtic Moon”; “Diamond Bachelor” (T);

“Ironicus”; “Candy Dandy”; “Enterprising” (T); “Chas’s Legacy”; “Tamarando”; “Kowboy Boots”; “King Cyrus”;

“Honor Code”; & “Intense Holiday”; --now if we could only get in the trainer’s and connection’s heads, huh?--

…And so, how does that list match up with your top 5-10-12 ??? NOTE , No “TOP BILLING” or “CAIRO PRINCE” here.

NEWBIES to watch out for:

 “In Trouble”; “Talent Show”; “Sassicaia”; “Constitution”; “Vegas Strip”; “Lawmaker”; “Divine Oath”;  “Hines”; “Roger Rocket”; “Decisive Edge”; “Barratti”; “Rum Point” (T); “Wise Move”; “Chelious”; “Salisbury Knight”; “Misconnect”; “Thunder Moon”; “Conquest Top Gun”; Pacific”; and “Cleburne”. And of course I can’t wait to see who shows up where and what they might do.--And, of course those late surprises.—

Again good luck to all at those windows.

Hope lists like these help with your further evaluations.

GO BABY GO BABY GO !!! …and good luck picking those top ‘dozens’ Steve.

20 Feb 2014 11:22 PM

Really enjoying reading everyone's top picks and the reasons, looking forward to see which horse is the consensus to be number 1.   My previous dozen included Chitu which I think is probably going to be  one of Baffert's starters in the Derby but had to drop him off because of Honor Code's last workout which seems to indicate he's going to be racing soon.  I still really like Chitu and he will be my value pick in the SA Derby.

Dr. D :  I think someone posted both Cleburne and Smart Cover had minor injuries after the Iroquois but should be back on tab.  I had both of them in my P4 that day but didn't cash out as I didn't box them in the exacta (and worse didn't hit the P4 either lol).  If Indianapolis does indeed go to Oaklawn, I think he'll have a really good shot at scoring points which I feel is getting into a critical stage.  I just hope he's doing well and it's just a timing thing.

As for Rise Up, I have really high hopes but then again, I picked a horse last year that looked really good winning his maiden and alw race but didn't really do much in the prep races.  I just think this horse is probably much ahead of most as far as foundation and experience.  The only question is whether he is good enough.  

Sail On : I'm glad you like him as well, just don't bet too much on him in the Risen Star, I still want some value hehe.

Lazmannick :  Glad to see you back!  Took you awhile to post again hehe but it's good to see you still get the derby fever.  Hope things are going well with ya.

Coldfacts :  It's my turn to ask, why East Hall ?  Nothing in his immediate pedigree shows any races from any triple crown races.  Graeme Hall ran in the Derby but did not finish.  Just curious as you asked me about my list in relation to their sires having raced in TC races.

21 Feb 2014 12:42 AM

In the last 10 renewals of the FOY, horses sired by tail male descendant of Northern Dancer have won six. Orb’s defeat of Itsmyluckyday prevented the Northern Dancer sire line from winning the last 4 renewals.

The 2014 renewal of the FOY contains 5 horses sired by tail male descendant of Northern Dancer i.e., We Miss Artie, Wildcat Red, Our Caravan, Hesinfront and East Hall. We Miss Artie has the best credentials of any entering the FOY and it appears he is set to restore the Northern Dancer sire line dominance.

There are 5 also from the Mr. Prospector sire line i.e., General a Rod, C Zee, Almost Famous, Best Plan Yet and Top Billing. The line has won 2 of the last 10 with Quality Road being the last. Top Billing appears to be the best of the Mr. P line horses but a bad post might just be his undoing.

21 Feb 2014 8:53 AM


Regarding Hoppertunity:

The Kentucky Derby has been contested over the last 138 years. It has a bizarre history that many exceptionally talented 3YOs have failed miserably to rewrite.

21 Feb 2014 8:57 AM

He is the #3 ranked contender with a registered name that baffles. Of the 138 Derby winners to date none contain the word ‘Boy’. I guess winning the Derby is a man’s job. Candy Boy had been registered previously in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Why the lack of originality?

Sire: Candy Ride; Candy Stripe; Ride The Rails; Cryptoclearance

Dam: She An Eleven; In Excess; Siberian Express

Second Dam:  She A Sensation; 3rd dam: Fabulous Ballet

Assuming the word Candy was designated to be a part of the name, were the following name already registered:

Candy Sensation; Siberian Candy; Candy Rails; Crypto Candy; Candy Clearance. Fabulous Candy and Candy Express were previously registered.

The Kentucky Derby is the greatest thoroughbred dirt race in the world. Come on guys register the horses with names that will do justice to the great race.

21 Feb 2014 9:07 AM
The Bid


With All Due Respect....Mine are opinions not laced with ur thorough adept knowledge of fraction timing nor Pedigree! Just thru basic Observation and what I LIKE TO BASE MY Handicapping and Opinions on regarding DERBY Prospects! Given only what we have SEEN TO DATE/ and must be noted what we HAVE NOT SEEN TO DATE...SHARED BELIEF is the Clear Cut #1!!(IMO).....ALSO,(IMO) CANDY BOY has clearly raced the most visually impressive race(as 3yr. old) based on result, turn of foot AND gallop out. That is not to say the others you mentioned and there margins was NOT impressive, JUST NOT AS IMPRESSIVE as CANDY BOY's, this is because of my HIGH regard to SHARED BELIEF, whom CRUSHED EVERYTHING California has to offer minus a few, most notably CALIFORNIA CHROME!!! With THAT said....HONOR CODE has NOT raced yet NOR has TOP BILLING( in Stakes company) both of whom I hold with HIGH REGARD just NOT on the same level as one SHARED BELIEF!

I firmly believe that if given the minimal of 2 preps one of which being on DIRT, that SHARED BELIEF has THE IT FACTOR that EVERYONE this time of year looks for and is the closest THING to THE BID (not to mention the Blue & Black silks), that WE have NOT seen in quite some time. Given he acquires enough points makes The DERBY GATE, SHARED BELIEF will be one of the SHORTEST Derby Favorites at POST TIME EVER!!!!!!!! You can BOOK IT and like the Late GREAT Chuck Thompson so eloquently tabbed..... "Thank Youuuu!!!!!!!!"

21 Feb 2014 10:21 AM
Smoking Baby

Coldfacts.  I tend to agree with you about the whole name thing.  I don't dislike the name Candy Boy as much as you do but I do see your point.  When compared to Lil E Tee, Candy Boy doesn't seem so bad.  I hold the naming of a racehorse sacred.  A pal of mine purchased a yearling back in the day and we were all SO excited for him.  I couldn't wait for him to name the horse.  I had some grand name in mind. Noble Dancer, General Challenge, The King's Road...something like that.  What does he name the horse you may be wondering?  Get this..........MORE FRUSTRATION.  You can imagine my disappointment and to make matters worse I don't think he ever made it to the races.

21 Feb 2014 10:22 AM
Pedigree Ann

Cold Facts - Horses are generally named before they go into training and though name changes can be done (Ashen became Officer, Bodemeister previously had another name), it costs money. Nobody really knows which youngsters will be Derby horses until they actually get to the races and, once they race, no name changes are allowed, except in rare circumstances.

Statistical oddities abound and they are just that - oddities, not prohibitions. No horse with the word 'Ridge' won the Kentucky Derby before Riva Ridge. Were there any winners with an apostrophe in its name before Li'l E.T.? I'll Have Another made it two. No 'Prince' before Majestic Prince and none since. No days of the week before Sunday Silence and none since. Amazingly enough, only one horse with 'Bold' in its name has won the Kentucky Derby, Bold Forbes. Names are not a useful elimination criterion for Derby horses.

Looking at East Hall's damline brings back many memories from my past. Donut Queen, his sixth dam, was purchased as a yearling by 'The Donut King', Verne Winchell, founder of the Winchell's Donut Shops. She was unplaced in 3 starts, but her first foal, by locally-bred My Host (full brother to Your Host, sire of Kelso), placed in several nice stakes for 3yo fillies out in California.

Another Winchell homebred was Aloha Mood, whom I saw win the San Felipe Hcp, his only stakes victory. Winchell was probably the only breeder who used him as a stallion and bred her to Donut Queen's granddaugher to produce Lohagogo, dam of 3 SWs. Lohagogo's best was Willowy Mood, by Will Win (another Winchell homebred), winner of 9 stakes including the G3 Barbara Fritchie.

THe next dam in the damline leading to East Hall was by Crozier's son Inverness Drive, who a nice sprinter/miler; SW at 2,3, and 5. He was still running when I first arrived in SoCal for university (when I saw him run).

And the most recent dam, who produced East Hall, was sired by Sultry Song, a half-brother to G1 distance turf SW Solar Splendor (2 Man o' Wars, 1 Turf Classic). Sultry Song was no slouch himself, having won 3 stakes at 3, placing in 2 G1s, and winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup, Woodward, and Whitney at 4. At stud, Sultry Song was best known as sire of BC Mile winner Singletary, a special favorite of mine, since I was alerted about him on the RTTR board and won $60+ for his debut win. I continued to follow him throughout his career.

East Hall's dam is an unraced full sister to a SW named Song for Annie (awww..,my namesake!), winner of miler type turf stakes at Fair Grounds and Tampa.

I don't worry when a horse has a pedigree with unusual names in it IF that horse comes out of a quality breeding program like Winchell's, or Fred Hooper's, or Tartan Farms', or Bwamazon's or Golden Eagle's, etc. Such breeders knew what they were doing and bred for what the mare needed, not for what the market wanted.

21 Feb 2014 11:38 AM
Sail On


>The Kentucky Derby is the greatest thoroughbred dirt race in the world. Come on guys register the horses with names that will do justice to the great race.<

On this we agree big time!

21 Feb 2014 12:04 PM

This year, instead of picking a horse, I'm picking a blogger.  Bigtex, you are it.  I'm riding your coattails this year!  Don't let me down!

(Sorry Steve....I couldn't pick you as you are the "chalk")

21 Feb 2014 12:52 PM

Steve as mentioned before my #1 is Top Billing.  My reason is that when looking for a horse this early to win the Derby, I look for a horse with tremendous potential, versatility, the right connections and the right breeding.  In my opinion, Top Billing has all of these.  He showed his potential and promise right out of the gate when he dusted a maiden field at Laurel in the slop coming from dead last in a 6 furlong dash.  He showed his versatility by winning in the slop, winning going 2 turns and winning at Gulfstream, a notorious speed favoring surface .  He’s trained by Shug McGaughey who proved he can win the Derby by masterfully getting Orb at his peak last year for the roses.  He is sired by Curlin, the All Time Leading North America money earning horse of time, and out of an AP Indy mare.  Enough said there, distance is NO PROBLEM!

Despite his 12 post position Saturday, I look for him to explode in the lane in the FOY and plant himself as the clear Derby favorite.  His style of running will negate the post because he will be off the pace anyway and his sharp turn of foot will allow Rosario to pick his spot wide or inside.  Saturday is when the potential, versatility, connections and breeding all come together in one remarkable run.  Can’t Wait!

21 Feb 2014 2:20 PM

Does anyone have an update on Bond Holder?  I thought he was out of the Risen Star with an injury incurred during shipping.  Now I see his name has passed the entry box.  Which is older, the injury report or the entries/post positions report?

21 Feb 2014 2:21 PM


What a sad situation in which you find yourself!  Obviously, a big risk taker!  Who's your top prospect so far?

21 Feb 2014 4:09 PM
El Kabong

Ok, here is my vote for best in show so far. At this point, I'll go with the Commish.

They didn't win at Mth in a 40 K going a mile, in fact they got killed. Solution, lets go to Saratoga and see how we do in a 85 K going longer. Result, a gutsy win. Lets give him 4 months off then race Top Billing. Result, another gutsy win. He showed he could be rated, he didn't get to move when he wanted but when he did he proved he could go shoulder to shoulder with the best and prevail. I don't think he shows us a weaker side this weekend because I don't think he has one. Plus, he needs points so it's game on from here. I think Pletcher has been patient because he knows this horse has a lot of raw talent. I expect him to move forward Saturday with a thrilling stretch run. Love the return of Velazquez. The Commish gets even weight with TB but still only 116. He's  probably put on weight himself so the weight won't be a factor. It's a matter of fitness and racing luck and JV should keep him out of trouble. And yes, his breeding is there. IF you ask Lenny, I'm sure he'd tell you it's all there and it's spectacular!  I hope he's right this time. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

2-12 in no order

Smart Cover: If he runs well in his next allowance race at GP, he'll be headed to the Bluegrass with the perfect setting to display his closing kick. This guy put Tapiture away with style in the Iroquois before a minor setback. Keep an eye on him.

Cairo Prince: 3 wins, three different tracks, 3 different distances against G company in two of those wins. Kiaran is do and this guy has all the essentials.

Candy Boy: Very professional win last out. Stevens is hungry for a blanket of Roses and really likes this horse. If he stays with him, and the horse keeps winning out west, It will be hard to not have him in the picture in May.

Top Billing: He ran second to my top pick and Steve loves him. What else can I say.

Commanding Curve: He's my long shot in the Risen Star and there is no better setting for a surprise party than New Orleans. Have I Struck A Nerve? I hope so, love the works and the momentum because he'll need to hit the board to keep my faith. I hope he lands 1st or 2nd in this test.

Vicar's In Trouble: I loved his last outing but I keep looking at his pedigree and seeing nothing to bolster  any support for 10F's, but he may be a freak. We'll know more by Saturday Night.

General A Rod, Honor Code, Tapiture, Bayern, Mexikoma.

21 Feb 2014 4:41 PM
Steve Haskin

Risen Star entries were last Monday, well before the injury.

21 Feb 2014 4:46 PM

Jay Jay I'm having a blast.  Hope everything is okay with you.  Derby fever is a great way to shake the doldrums of winter.  I'm especially looking forward to this weekend's races including that stakes quality allowance in the 6th at Gulfstream tomorrow.  

21 Feb 2014 5:12 PM

California Chrome is my #1, although reluctantly because he still has to face some solid competition.  Keeping a close eye on Commissioner and Vicars in Trouble this weekend.  Like others, I have always been a fan of Candy Ride and his offspring, but (like others) I hate the name Candy Boy.  I mentioned his name to some co-workers....they cracked brief smiles and edged away slowly....

21 Feb 2014 5:18 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

Wow, what was with Texas Ryano's dud in that race today? He was sort of closing at the end, but was no where near as good as he was in his previous one mile grass race. Don't understand it.

21 Feb 2014 5:27 PM
Sail On

@robinm, Bond Holder is indeed out, he is now pointed to the San Felipe.

Emmett Park has drawn into the Risen Star.

21 Feb 2014 6:01 PM

Thanks, Steve.  The article I read had a more recent date and confused me. I am known to be easily confused!

21 Feb 2014 9:06 PM


East Hall’s pedigree is pretty modest on each end.

His dam sire Sultry Song is tail descendant of Turn-To. Tail male descendants of Turn-To have sired mares that have produced 7 horses that have won 9 TC races.  

In his 5th generation there are two broodmare sires of note. My Babu was the dam sire of Damascus and Little Current winners of two legs of the TC. Fleet Nasrullah was dam sire of Preakness winner Elocutionist. What's the impact of these 5th generation sires? Who knows!

Occasionally a horse like East Hall turns up and his performances just cannot be ignored. Any horse that has been on the broad in 8 out of 10 starts should never be dismissed. In his only effort on turf he finished 7th beaten 2 1/2L. In his only effort on synthetic he was beaten by a NK with a wide trip. His worst finish was 5th beaten 4 1/2L.

This bit of information might seem insignificant but take it for whatever it’s worth. Apart from Top Billing, Wildcat Red and General A Rod, every other horse in the FOY field has been beaten by a wider margin in defeat than East Hall.

It will be very difficult for him to win from post 13. However, his PP's reflect versatility, toughness and consistency. He is yet to run a really bad race and continues to show improvement in every start. At an ML of 20-1, I think he is a live exotic with the expected fast pace.

22 Feb 2014 1:19 AM

Vicar's In Trouble.  His broodmare sire, Vicar, is out of Escrow Agent.  Escrow Agent's broodmare sire is Secretariat and her sire is out of a Buckpasser mare. Can it get any better than that, well yes. Prince John makes an appearance in the 5x of his dam's female line.  Prince John is by Princequillo and is out of a Count Fleet mare.

Mr. Prospector shows his lovely head in the tail sire line of Vicar's pedigree.

So what you have hear is a fine Mr. Prospector (Count Fleet) Secretariat (Princequillo) cross with a dose of Buckpasser (War Admiral)for good luck.

Vicar's In Trouble's dosage index is 5.00; regardless the tail side of his pedigree is replete with stamina.  Win or lose he is a lovely and talented colt.

I also like Quick Indian, but I'm too tired to go on and on about him.

Pedigree is just a piece of the puzzle.  I'll be at the Fair Grounds tomorrow to wish them all a safe trip.      

22 Feb 2014 1:56 AM

Can history be repeated? In the 2013 renewal of the Risen Star, Palace Malice, Code West and Proud Strike represented trainers Pletcher, Baffert and Asmussen. Tainer Chad Brown had the post time favorite Normandy Invasion.

The race resulted in a shocker with the J Desomeaux trained Ive’ Struck a Nerve getting up late to win at the gigantic odds of 99-1.  Ive Struck a Nerve had only a 6F, MSW victory to his credit scored over the FG strip.

In the 2014 renewal of the Risen Star, Intense Holiday, Hoppertunity and Gold Hawk represent trainers Pletcher, Baffert and Asmussen. Chad Brown is replaced with trainer Mike Maker who has the expected favorite Vicar’ In Trouble. Trainer J Desomeaux returns with Flat Gone who has only a 1 70yd MSW victory to his credit scored over the FG strip. His Ml is 30-1.

I liked Flat Gone when he was in SA but he could not manage the fast surface. In his two races before breaking his maiden, he was beaten a combined 46L. He then returned to close from 12L off the pace to win by 2L at a 1 70yd. The closest the colt had finished at the end of  a race was 5th by 5L. Has the Flatter colt turned the corner? With a lot of speed to be provided by Rise Up, Vicar’s In Trouble, Hoppertunity and Gold Hawk, the tote board could be lit up again if Flat Gone has under gone what appears to be a miraculous transformation.

22 Feb 2014 7:53 AM

Emmett Park:

In 2009 the Canadian champion 2YO Mine That Bird drew into the Kentucky Derby field due to numerous defections. He silenced 100K fans at CD with an improbable 50-1 victory. The undefeated Emmett Park has moved from AE into the starting lineup of The Risen Star with the defection of Bond Holder.

It’s the first time I am seeing this gelding. His PPs is reminiscent of those of Hansen i.e., two wins at Turf Way Park. Those two wins could not be more different. The 1st was wire to wire and the 2nd he closed 18L off the pace. Who is the chestnut gelding? He has never raced on dirt and his dam and most of her progenies raced on turf. It’s difficult to gage this gelding due to the sub-standard horse the race at TWP.

However, there are some things to like.

His sire Bob and John belongs to the most successful category of tail male descendants of Mr. Prospector. Roman Ruler when least expected sire Belmont winner Ruler on Ice.  He is a grandson of Mr. Prospector. Emmett Park could be very dangerous if he has inherited some of the properties of his stamina laden dam line that include Seattle Song, Exceller and Stage Door Johnny.

An unknown and undefeated gelding with a May foaling date, enters the RS field due to a defection, could capitalized on the opportunity just like another gelding with a May foaling date did in 2009.

22 Feb 2014 8:26 AM
El Kabong


I wish I could join you today. If you can, shoot us a note from the Paddock. Who has the swagger, the stink eye, the tone of muscle rippling to fear of his foes? I would love it if the Vicar proved me wrong. Just hope his supporting cast comes with him.  Like 8,9, and 13 to join him for a smothering étouffée finish of 4.

22 Feb 2014 9:54 AM
El Kabong

Stink eye. the glare of confidence.

(not to be confused with pink eye, scourge of Bob Costas fans.)

22 Feb 2014 10:03 AM

A little late in making comments, but nevertheless here they are. Honor Code, Commissioner, and Tapiture are at the top of my list of horses that I hope are in the hunt on Derby Day. I am a sentimental person and think there would be no greater honor to A P Indy than for a son from his last foal crop to be not only a Derby winner, but to take the Triple Crown. For right now, at least in the eyes of this novice, there is no strong front runner, which is one reason why I think your list keeps changing. One factor (that I do not think anyone mentioned in the posts below,correct me please if I am wrong)is the impact of the winter that we have experienced on the East Coast. Horses are after all athletes and must be trained and conditioned towards a certain race. How much training and conditioning have some of these horses had taking this into consideration? My state has endured the coldest winter in decades and two "Snowmageddons" and the long range forecast into March calls for more frigid temps and possibly more snow or ice, all of which is very unusual for the "South". So by this thinking and being a horse owner, I would have to say if there is an advantage enjoyed by any of these trainers, it would be for horses trained in Florida and California right now. Tapit is hot right now and last time I checked was at the top of the sire's list. He seems to be consistently throwing winners, so that is why, for now, I am favoring Tapiture. On another note, Steve, I do not know if you follow the foals that are born each year as some of us do, especially the ladies, but I do not know if it is because it is the "Year of the Horse" or what, but the foals this year are mostly fillies and are some of the best looking ones that I have seen in years. They have beautiful conformation, lots of chrome and great bone. Maybe the industry has made the turn away from these fragile horses from the bloodline that I will not mention so as to not offend back to the horses that will have the bone and conformation along with speed to be strong runners. Finally, if there is one thing I have learned over the course of my life it is to never say never. While the odds may be against Shug training a Derby winner two years in a row, it is not impossible.    

22 Feb 2014 10:24 AM
jorge batiz

No pace scenario for Texas Ryano! in 2/21 SA race. A little bit dissapoint. But think he can make huge advance on dirt. He looks awesome

22 Feb 2014 11:00 AM

Laz : Yeah, that's an exciting race.  I like the outside horses, Wicked Strong and Mexicoma but Matterhorn's there too, I may have to go 3 horses here for the middle P4.  

Coldfacts :   5th generation....I feel that's reaching.   You're starting to sound like Ranagulzion, saying Union Rags is a distance horse because of Hyperion lol.  So, are you saying that the horses you picked from my list has no TC runners in any of its pedigree, not even from 5th, 6th or 7th generation??   I'm  

In Trouble is pointed to the Gotham, I think that's a tough race to start off the year but if he's healthy, I think he'll make some noise.  He'll have to catch Baratti, but I do think that he's better than Uncle Sigh.

FOY : 1, with 12, 7, 8, 5

Risen Star : 2 with 9, 1, 14, 8

22 Feb 2014 1:17 PM
7 1/2 Furlongs

Steve Haskin-

Howdy from L.A.  My Derby winner selection is Bayern.  He doesn't deserve the top spot now, but colt could be the one on the first Saturday in May.

The Wild Again line is overdue to produce a champion.  Generally-speaking, descendants from the Wild Again line show guts and determination on the race track.

Bayern has displayed talent and brilliance in 2 starts, but has not really been tested.  In both races, Bayern reminds me of Colin Kapernick running in open space, pulling away from 300-lb. defensive linemen.  Would like to see the Baffert colt get hooked in the lane and prove whether he inherited Wild Again's guts and grit.

Put me down for Bayern.

22 Feb 2014 1:21 PM

El Kabong, I'll try to shoot an email from the paddock.  I wish you good luck on your picks.  A smothering etouffee finish of 4 would be great for both of us.  LOL  

Along with Vicar, I really like Quick Indian; he's a lovely horse out of an AP Indy mare. The pace may set up nicely for him.  My 3 picks are Vicar, Quick Indian and Rise Up.

22 Feb 2014 1:28 PM

I guess I'll post the question to the pedigree experts out there (including Steve H.) :

How far back in the pedigree generation would you say the horse can still influence speed, stamina ?  As I've said, I'm not a pedigree expert (I really only look at the immediate sires and dams).  I just think there's a limit as to how far one can go when handicapping using pedigree.

22 Feb 2014 1:39 PM


Any new thoughts on Strong Mandate from the Southwest?  After further review I think he did better than I initially gave him credit.  I think Lucas wanted wanted the race to be a conditioner although I'm sure they didn't expect to be in such bad position.

And is Los Alamitos a good place for California Chrome to be training?

22 Feb 2014 2:36 PM

Coldfacts as per your previous post on 21 Feb 2014 8:53 AM

In the last 10 renewals of the FOY, horses sired by tail male descendant of Northern Dancer have won six. Orb’s defeat of Itsmyluckyday prevented the Northern Dancer sire line from winning the last 4 renewals.

The 2014 renewal of the FOY contains 5 horses sired by tail male descendant of Northern Dancer i.e., We Miss Artie, Wildcat Red, Our Caravan, Hesinfront and East Hall. We Miss Artie has the best credentials of any entering the FOY and it appears he is set to restore the Northern Dancer sire line dominance.

The fact is Wildcat Red had the best record at the track they ran the race on and We Miss Artie had done his best running on AW and turf.Isnt it frustrating knowing this information but not being able to close the deal and make a winning wager.

22 Feb 2014 6:14 PM

Coldfacts another tail male descendant of Northern Dancer wins the Risen Star,Intense Holiday.I like it Conquest Titan outgamed him in the Holy Bull.The bad is that Intense Holiday is in the gate already earning 50 points and Conquest Titan is not, but the odds in the next derby future will reflect that fact.

22 Feb 2014 6:50 PM

I wonder what Steve will do with his #1 Top Billing after the 3rd in the FOY?  Personally, I wouldn't move him because of the loss.  He had a long, sustained move to get into contention, and with more distance, would have got up, I believe.  Good time for the race, too.  Gotta give General A Rod his due, though. He's clearly a tough horse whose pedigree says he can go longer.  Not so Wildcat Red.  I'm guessing 8.5 furlongs is nearing his limit.

Since I have Direct TV and TVG, I'm still waiting for the replay of the Risen Star

22 Feb 2014 6:51 PM


“So, are you saying that the horses you picked from my list have no TC runners in any of its pedigree; not even from 5th, 6th or 7th generation”

For your benefit I have reposted the list and my comments.

Meadowood - Harlans Holiday-Into Reality by  Untuttable

In Trouble - Tiz wonderful-Ballpark Butterfly by Grand Slam

Gold Hawk - Empire Maker – Caressing by Honour And Glory

Rise Up - Rockport Harbor – Appenzell by  Johannesburg

Exit Stage Left – Noonmark-Hanna J by Peaks And Valleys

(The broodmare sires are not known to in Triple Crown Circle.)

(I know you must have some rationale. Would you care to share?)

You will note my specific reference to the broodmare sires of the horses and not their overall pedigrees.

East Hall was including in my dozen based on his performances and not necessarily his pedigree.

22 Feb 2014 8:21 PM

WILDCAT RED, my oh my. Exactly what you hope for when breeding speed to stamina, forgetting that often you might equally well describe it as breeding lack of speed to lack of stamina.

Red's momma broke her maiden at a mile, won at 10 furlongs in 2:00 4/5 and was graded stakes-placed at 11 furlongs.

The colt's not speed crazy and he's got the blood. All he would need is to run back to his dam's 10-furlong win. Looks like a little Personal Ensign may have trickled down to him too.

22 Feb 2014 8:24 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Wild Cat Red wants to copy the The Big Red last name but for now i like that he won,General A Rod is nice but look at his 2d dam sire i am not worried about it,Top Billed can win the Florida Derby on pedigree but you can notice when the going get tough by running so often with out a 2 year old foundation and that okey the pedigree pattern historians will be thinking wow and now what,well some bloggers are smarter then me because they want all the money and this blog is not for them,instead of points to calculate what horse should run in the derby why they not offer points to the most complete contenders? well overall class,tactical speed,track condition,form,trainer and pedigree then you will see why so many favorites lost at the derby.  now let me read your comments because i love to read.      

22 Feb 2014 8:49 PM

What's so odd about "We Miss Artie"? I assume it's a little nod to his daddy who was shipped to the southern hemisphere, but unlike many who leave, Artie Schiller has returned and stands 2014 in Kentucky.

22 Feb 2014 9:08 PM


Then there was a certain A P Indy colt who was the Keeneland sales topper and ultimately . . . "participated" is too strong . . . watched two maiden races from a position on the track.

The Keeneland credential rules out a crummy distaff or congenital infirmities of wind and limb. The colt was just a bum.

22 Feb 2014 9:27 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

History means what has been done till now but history is eternal, very soon you will see why persons like Steve,Coldfacts,dr drunkinburn,mary,carlos in california,pedigree Ann all the bloggers here deserve to win even when i do feel they are wrong at some points but let's be sincere a millionaire do not waist  time talking derby so like i said before some people are born to smell the blood but i have to be careful with my talent because like  you i want to win.                                                                                      

22 Feb 2014 9:33 PM

robinm, it appears that the good old Gulfstream feature race day speed bias compromised a lot of performances today.  Top Billing was visually impressive and on a normal track probably would have gotten up.  What really impressed me was the race itself was run in 1.41.85 compared to the track record of 1.41.00  Both Wildcat Red and General A Rod ran their final 9/16ths in 55.60 while Top Billing made up 7 ¾ L in that 9/16ths and ran it in 54.28.  This is a serious race horse.  

22 Feb 2014 9:45 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Wild Cat Red wants to copy the The Big Red last name but for now i like that he won,General A Rod is nice but look at his 2d dam sire i am not worried about it,Top Billed can win the Florida Derby on pedigree but you can notice when the going get tough by running so often with out a 2 year old foundation and that okey the pedigree pattern historians will be thinking wow and now what,well some bloggers are smarter then me because they want all the money and this blog is not for them,instead of points to calculate what horse should run in the derby why they not offer points to the most complete contenders? well overall class,tactical speed,track condition,form,trainer and pedigree then you will see why so many favorites lost at the derby.  now let me read your comments because i love to read.      

22 Feb 2014 10:08 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Now you have to adjust your thinking and probable think Honor Code and Cairo Prince the Holly Bull is suspect and what about The Fountain of Youth ? be careful with That i have doubts with both but they look superior on paper and what about form? the 2 race pattern is going to be interesting this year a huge effort like Orb fallow by a moderate time?Orb female line was full of distance Unbridled,Damascus let's see what you have.

22 Feb 2014 11:07 PM

Dr. D :   You were right about Intense Holiday!  Hope you cashed out on him.  I had the tri, exacta and .20 super although would've cashed more if Rise Up hit the board.  I can't blame Gerard rushing him to the lead as it was getting crowded inside, it just didn't look like he was good enough.  It's his first race of the year and maybe he'll recover.  I said I'm dropping Rise Up if he doesn't perform and I will but it doesn't mean I won't put him back on if he runs well next time out, just hope he came out of the race well.  

I was totally surprised by Wildcat Red, the horse was gutsy in the win.  I want to say he will not be a factor in the Florida Derby but then again, I said the same thing about him today.  He did help me gain position in the Winstar Contest so I'm glad he got the win.  I'll wait until after the Gotham to make my new list.

Rainbow P6 is at 1.3M, will invest some good money to play it.  The pot is just too big to not take a chance.  Congrats to all who cashed out today, tough handicapping and lots of nice payouts.

23 Feb 2014 4:00 AM

The FOY turned out to be the tale of two leaders and  two trailers. The two leaders went from gate to wire and the two trailers passed the rest of the field to occupy the two remaining slots on the board.

Both Top Billing and East Hall showed a lot of grit and determination to overcome bad post positions and a speed favoring track to get on the board. While Top Billing was expected to feature late, East Hall must have been a surprise to all but one. He was included at #12 in my dozen and has to some extent justified his inclusion.

We Miss Artie ran a disappointing race and was surprisingly far back at the start. He made a mid-race move but failed to sustain his bid. I guess his BCJ effort was a result of high octane administered for the big day. I guess its back to either turf or synthetic.

Commissioner ran as I expected. He was used early to stay in touch and found little in the stretch. His grinding running style is not suited to the GP strip. He is a slow colt that has not improved in the speed department between races. He will need every inch of the Belmont stretch to win that leg of the TC. His #7 ranking was always suspect based on his speed figures and running style.

Top Billing ran very hard and I just hate when a young horses is required to produce such an effort on a speed favoring track. He was very tire at the end of the race as there was very little gallop out. He reminds me a little of Normandy Invasion. Will the extra 100m of the FL Derby and a better post be in his favor?  Certainly! However, if Honor Code and Havana are added to the field his task become more difficult as he will have to contend with three fast colts and an equally determine closer.  

23 Feb 2014 5:55 AM

Intense Holiday finally won his second race and first stake. It took him every inch of the FG stretch to get there. Going into the RS he had the best credentials and squeezed out a narrow victory. This does not reflect favorably on his Derby winning chances against more accomplished opponents. If nothing else he tries every time and for that he deserves credit. His #12 ranking was always too low for his experience.

Albano ran a smashing race and his defeat must be attributed to his rider who assumed victory was already secured. He is yet another Derby contender sired by a grandson of Mr. Prospector. His dam sire Fortunate Prospect has a good record as a broodmare sire. Millionaire and Derby/Preakness 3rd place finisher Musket Man and multi-millionaire Ron The Greek were both produced from Fortunate Prospect mares. The sire and dam sire of Derby winner Mine That Bird and Preakness/Belmont winner Point Given were both tail male descendant of Raise A Native.

Vicar' In Trouble had every chance and ran well but his stamina limitation was expectedly exposed. Would he have been more competitive from a more favorable post? I doubt it as the really good ones that are in contention at the top of the stretch normally find a way to win. His # 9 ranking was fair as he does have points.

Hopportunity as expected did not live up to his billing. I failed to see the buzz about him going into the RS. He probably needs more ground to be seen at his best. He is not going to find a longer stretch than the one at FG.

23 Feb 2014 6:39 AM


“The fact is Wildcat Red had the best record at the track they ran the race on and We Miss Artie had done his best running on AW and turf.Isnt it frustrating knowing this information but not being able to close the deal and make a winning wager’

You were correct. In gambling you go with your gut sometime at the expense of the cold facts. We Miss Artie did not run the race expected. I guess he is best on Turf/AW. I hope you were able to capitalize of the cold fact provided.

23 Feb 2014 7:13 AM


“How far back in the pedigree generation would you say the horse can still influence speed, stamina?”

Was the above question raised because I cited Derby/Preakness winning broodmare sires My Babu and Fleet Nasrullah in the 5th generation of East Hall? I am no pedigree expert but I doubt there can be a definitive answer to your question.

What made Holy Bull the exceptional thoroughbred he was? I can think of one big reason that can be found in the 3rdth and 4th generations of his dam Sharon Brown and I could still be wrong.

Sharon Brown was sired by Al Hattab a grandson of Epsom Derby winner Mahmoud a Blenheim ll stallion. In fact Sharon Brown’s pedigree reflects inbreeding to Mahmoud in the 3rdth and 4th generations. Let focus on Mahmoud and by extension his sire Blenheim ll?

Blenheim ll won the Epsom Derby and sired Mahmoud to repeat the feat. He also sired Triple Crown winner Whirlaway and Jet Pilot the 1947 Kentucky Derby winner. Blenheim ll was also the sire Donatello who sire Epsom Derby winner Crepello and champion stayer Alysidon. Blenheim ll was probably best known as a leading broodmare sire. He was probably on of the very few broodmare sires with three Kentucky Derby winners i.e., Hill Gail, Kauai King & Ponder. He was also dam sire of Nasrullah.

Mahmoud became a leading broodmare sire like his sire Blenheim ll. His broodmares produced Derby winner Determined and Belmont winner’s Gallant Man and Avatar. His most important broodmare was undoubtedly Natalma dam of legendary Northern Dancer. Grey Dawn was the sire of Sharon Brown’s dam Agatheas Dawn. He was a leading broodmares sire with more than 125 stakes winners. His dam was sired by Mahmoud.

With horses the likes Mahmoud and Blenheim ll who excelled on the track and as sires and broodmare sires located in Holy Bull’s  4th & 5th generation, can there be any doubt as to the source of his brilliance.

23 Feb 2014 9:07 AM
Mike from Michigan

Top Billing is a good horse, but not a great one....great horses overcome things and Top Billing did not on Saturday.  Question now is, will he even make it to the Derby?  We also saw Saturday that Wicked Strong is not even close to being a contender.  California Chrome is my top horse at this point.

23 Feb 2014 10:08 AM
Bloodline Bob

***Well, to all of the DERBY DOZEN followers go read my comment on FEB. 19 at 1:39 a.m. I thank the Starlight owners + Steve Haskin for giving me a good horse to bet.***

23 Feb 2014 10:28 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve, reading your comment on Intense Holiday and i note he must have been reading your remarks "He has to show more punch in the final furlong." And he did. That was a nice race,did not think it was going to happen and it did. I like Intense Holiday, said so before. Frankly speaking, The Fair Grounds would have been a great place to be on Saturday, 2/22/14 and do watch the Fair Grounds Handicap with Potomac River coming from next to last to win, tremendous turn of foot like a bulb went off in his head! Glad i did not miss Gulf Stream with Wildcat Red and General a Rod fighting for the lead to the wire. I know it's early, but these are my favorite races. Almost more than The Kentucky Derby, 'almost.' Those were horse races, my style. I never question your placings, it is a crap shoot to be honest, some shine, some don't. Thanks Steve.

23 Feb 2014 10:56 AM
Linda in Texas

Coldfacts:  With regard to your comment about We Miss Artie's name being odd. Allow me to tell you why he is named 'an odd name.' He was purchased at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearly Sale for $90,000. The colt was named for Sara Ramsey's cousin's husband Artie who had died recently. Also adding to the reason for the 'odd name' is that We Miss Artie was sired by Artie Schiller by El Prado (IRE). Thus 'We Miss Artie.' Makes perfect sense to me, i heard that the day he raced mentioned by an HRTV announcer before the race.

23 Feb 2014 11:09 AM
El Kabong


I agree that Top Billing ran well under those conditions. He may not be 1 but I'll bet he stays in the top 5. Steve is very loyal. I know I like Top Billing more after yesterdays effort than I did before. GP is not playing fair right now for anyone but front speed so TB showed a consistency of style, class, and a desire for more ground that should have impressed anyone paying attention.

That said, I think Steve will place Cairo Prince in the #1 spot and this comment, should be considered for Steve's contest if that is the case.


#1 - Cairo Prince: Giving him a break now may not be the traditional route, but we've been breaking traditions this past decade in getting a horse to the Derby.  Being that Steve's Derby Dozen isn't about where they will be, but where they are now.  Cairo Prince belongs at the top.  Having run 3 strong races at 1m+, he's had as much or more bottom than any other horse.  He's been impressive in each start, even in defeat to Honor Code.  Look for his best second start off a layoff - May 3rd.

23 Feb 2014 12:26 PM
Bill Rinker

Jay Jay,  Again I must say that I do not consider myself an expert in genetics, or pedigree, but I enjoy that aspect of all things Thoroughbred. In general the farther back you have to go to find an identifying characteristic in ancestry the higher the likelihood for diminshed influence. But that may not always be the case, and it helps to be as objectively netural as possible when searching for clues. In some cases our present understanding of equine genetics can be quite concise, such as in determining coat color. Conversly other traits can be not so predictable to nearly impossible to determine with reasonable certainty. However, like anything else the more time you put in the better your chances are of recognizing the correlation between individuals and families that in turn will most likely improve your success at the betting window. For me, I love to search thru pedigree pages, and along the way I have picked up many interesting bits of information regarding racing and breeding history. If this appeals to you at all, there is a book availible that may shed some light on your question. The name of the book is "Understanding The Power Of The X-Factor", patterns of Heart Score and Performance, by Marianna Haun. It was out of print for quite some time, and purchasing a copy was insanely expensive. But there is good news, an affordable third edition is currently available, and you should have no trouble finding it on-line. I'm not trying to plug a read here, but it could be helpful. There have been varing opinions on the applicable validity of this book, but it is based on extensive reaserch. I hope this has been of some use to you, and good luck on your future wagers.      

23 Feb 2014 1:00 PM
Sail On

Hi Steve, it looks like your Derby Dozen is a valid guide. Your #1 proved he deserves #1 consideration. A very game performance on a speedy track from outside. Vicar also ran from far outside, but in a considerably slower test.

Certainly, both A Rod and that smallish Red horse deserve another look. Andamo was ill served by his jockey who looked back once, not seeing the winner closing, thought he had the race in hand.

23 Feb 2014 2:01 PM

robinm, I agree with you, Top Billing ran out of track.  He is an impeccably bred colt; loaded with stamina on the tail side of his pedigree.  He simply needs and desires more distance.  Hopefully he will remain at the top of Steve's picks or close thereto.

I'm disappointed that Vicar ran 3rd in the Risen Star.  I was at the Fair Grounds for the race, and I must say he is a spectacular looking foal.  I expect that the top 3 finishers will show up for the Louisiana Derby.  I'm going to throw the race out, and continue to support Vicar's In Trouble.

My top picks at this point are Top Billing, California Chrome, Candy Boy, and Vicar's In Trouble.  

Shared Belief is another impeccably bred horse, but I don't know what his status is at this point.    

23 Feb 2014 2:41 PM

Jay Jay: You've acknowledged to not being a pedigree expert yet you continue to poke fun at the multiple Hyperion influence in Union Rags stamina which I've explained ad naseum. Remember this friend, you insisted that the horse was a miler while I predicted that he would get the distance of the Belmont Stakes without any problem long before other notable pedigree buffs acknowledged it. Like you they simply looked at his sire, Dixie Union's shortened stud career and formed their opinion. You should pause to reflect that perhaps Ranagulzion could teach you a thing or two about pedigree analysis.

The first three generations are the most influential but inbreeding is a major factor influencing speed/stamina. There are certain sires and dams of the past, going back five or more generations that, when present multiple times in the pedigree matrix, have to be considered as potential influences. Sires of old like Buckpasser,Ribot,Princequillo and Hyperion should not be ignored and mares like Cap and Bells,Natalma, Cosmah, Almahmoud and La Trionne are prized by breeders searching for class ...the more these feature going back, the better. Its about time you give up on the Union Rags wrestling match ...everyone on here knows that you lost that fight bro. Peace.  

23 Feb 2014 6:25 PM

Commissioner was a non-factor (glad I didnt bet a cent on the race) but I want to see who the 23 are for next weekends derby futures.I still have Conquest Titan although he didnt run this weekend so he got no points,but I will add more combinations with him.

I would imagine Commissioner and Top billing wont be in the top 23.I also think Kristo,Matterhorn and Tonalist will be dropped.

23 Feb 2014 7:23 PM

Check that Top Billing will not be dropped he has 10 points,for his backers his odds SHOULD GO UP.

23 Feb 2014 7:27 PM

Come to think of it Conquest Titan could be dropped.

23 Feb 2014 7:35 PM

If CT is dropped still have him with at least 4 that will be added this week just not at 500-1,but still workable odds compared to what they will be for exactas on the day of the race.

23 Feb 2014 7:38 PM

Was at Gulfstream yesterday for the FOY..

The top 2 horses were very nice looking colts of average size. I for sure will not play them come Derby day. Both colts came home starting to slwo down the last 1/4 was ran in 25sec.. Last 1/16th in 6 and changes. Give them a extra 4 lbs and 3/16th of a mile. I say they get caught..

Top Billing I noticed was the smallest colt in the race.

Not much of him but if the race was longer he would of caught the leaders...

Unless the top 2 learn to control their speed I say Cairo Prince,Top Billing exacta come Florida Derby.

23 Feb 2014 8:10 PM

Ranagulzion, if you will remember, I was right up there with you relative to Union Rag's pedigree.  Like you, I could not get over the fact that many were looking at his sire lines.  His pedigree is loaded with stamina on the bottom.

Coldfacts, since stallions can sire hundreds of offspring, key broodmares are most often found through their best sons at stud.  Mumtaz Mahal, Selene, La Troienne, and Plucky Liege all left their stamp on the breed.

As far as the placement of these broodmares in a pedigree, there are a few spots that are more advantageous than others.  Mitochondrial DNA is only transmitted by mares, so such DNA can only come from the bottom line of a pedigree (the direct female family).  

The heartline (x chromosome)has been shown to influence the size and function of the heart in hores.  The heartline traces on a zig zag pattern to the dam, then to the dam's sire, then to his dam, etc.  Great broodmare sires like Sir Gallhad, War Admiral, Buckpasser, and Secretariat may have benefited from a great X-chromosome that they transmitted to their daughters, never their sons.

You tend to completely ignore the value of the mare.  The sire is only as great as the mare he is bred to IMO.

23 Feb 2014 10:48 PM

Ranagulzion, Union Rags was the first horse in a very long time that I thought could possibly win the Triple Crown.  In the Kentucky Derby he got bottled up and when he finally saw daylight, he exploded and ran the last furlong with more speed than any other horse in the field.

Johnny V. on his mount saw what was happening and could not believe that Leparoux did not take Union Rags to the outside.  In the end, this extraordinarily talented horse passed the test of a champion.  I'm looking forward to seeing his foals on the track.    

23 Feb 2014 11:35 PM

Well I guess I have to find another number one, clearly Texas Ryano won't be pointing to the Derby.

Still not sure who to like yet, it truly is a long way to May.

Is there a Big Brown out there this year? You know, the type of horse that just goes out there, regardless of track biases or post positions and destroys his competition. I'm afraid that's kind of what I was thinking about TR. Does anyone think we have that kind of horse this year? Obviously Top Billing is a good horse and still may be formidable in the Derby, but he certainly is no Big Brown. Was the Gulfstream track especially fast this weekend? Probably it was, as the time of the FOY was probably overly flattering to both 'Red and 'A Rod. I guess I was just not very impressed by any of the performances this weekend. I don't know if it's just the name of the horses as some here have commented on, but I'm just not feeling it yet.

As far as those who questioned what influence a horse 4 or 5 generations back in a pedigree could have on a horse, that is a statistical question that a geneticist could provide for you a probablity or precentage answer and would probably have some explanation as to how difficult it would be to predict what kinds of influence you could expect. Fortunately or unfortunately genetics is a highly complicated mathematical science, and is never as easy as this sire and this dam and their sires were this or that, so they should produce a particulat type of individual. One has to look at at a horses' displayed abilities on the track first, then look at the pedigree for possible probabilities that they will have distance ability or an abundance of speed etc.

23 Feb 2014 11:42 PM

Coldfacts : Yes, it kinda was.  Like I said, I'm no pedigree expert but I just can't see 5th generation and above having that much influence and that's why I posted the question.   I was kinda kidding about my comment about "reaching" but I can't really question your angles as you've been researching pedigrees for a long time.   I don't know if there's a definitive answer either but I was curious about how the bloggers who use pedigree a lot thinks.   By the way, I hope you caught the super in the FOY since he got 4th.  Here's a question for you, do you think Havana can get 10Fs ?  He's one I like but I don't know if he's going to be short.  

Bill Rinker : Thanks for your comment, I will definitely look up that book (hopefully they have it in Kindle) just for leisure reading and learn more about pedigrees.  I'm an immediate pedigree handicapper, I don't go past that as I'm not familiar with the horses of the past.  I am very intrigue at how people use it for handicapping and quite honestly am amazed at how many bloggers here use it for their handicapping preference.  I think the only time I will seriously look at pedigree is when I hit the lotto and can afford to buy myself a horse, but not to race but just for riding.   I would like to own one exactly like Hansen, who to me is the most gorgeous horse I've ever seen.  I do enjoy reading people's comments and it does make me go research them online ( I use HRN to look up the pedigrees ) if something interests me.  I think the fact that the horses of our generation are now bred for speed and no longer stamina.  I play a lot of Australia races at night and watch Japan races online, just to see how a 10F races looks like lol.  It's fun to actually see the horses run.

Ranagulzion : He won the Champagne (8F) and the FOY (8.5F) and lost the FD (9F) and the KD (10F).   I'm of the opinion he's a miler and I will never change my opinion on that.  Neither one of us can prove our point because he was conveniently retired after the Belmont.   I think if you asked all the experts about how "tough" that Belmont field was, you won't be happy with the responses.  Him winning the Belmont proved nothing about your point so I'm not sure why you kept saying you won that battle.   At least you've learned your lesson about not predicting TC winners and I don't mind taking credit for having reminded you of that.  Good luck in your Derby picks this year, hopefully you got it right with Honor Code this year.  I'd like to see how he does in the Rebel, I think he's in for a nice race.  I picked him very early last year as the horse I'm watching but have gotten off of him due to him being sidelined.  I'm curious, how many horses from the last 3 years that did really well going long that has Hyperion in their bloodline ?  I'm not being sarcastic, I'm really curious.

24 Feb 2014 12:34 AM

Steve, if Normandy Invasion can break the track without trying then the other race result are suspect. How talented Constitution is,can only be measured at other tracks but you had to be impressed. Tonalist ran well also, despite the track bias.

Untapable's performance certainly questions the validity of Breeders' Cup Friday's results, no matter how much she has progressed over the Winter months.

24 Feb 2014 1:20 AM
Linda in Texas

Bloodline Bob - Congrats to you on your bet and win! You no doubt were reading the best blog and sitting in the right place! Intense Holiday did not win by multiple lengths, but a win is a win!  I still like him.

24 Feb 2014 10:16 AM


“Top Billing ran out of track”

Each time I see the idiom above used as to describe the reason for a horse’s loss, I cannot help questioning its appropriateness. Did Top Billing run out of track when he was defeated by Commissioner in their previous meeting?

The configuration of most if not all tracks allow for continuous gallops and other motions. It is therefore unlikely that a horse will run out of track at any point in a race. What often happens is leaders are not decelerating at a quick enough pace for deep closer to capitalize.

Mr. Haskin and others alluded to the fact that with Top Billing’s lack of tactical speed, his assigned post in a large field would have been a major disadvantage at 1 1/16F, based on location of the starting gates in proximity to the first turn.

Top Billing’s rider had no option but to save ground or lose valuable lengths with a wide trip entering the 1st turn. The fraction were very fast and consequently his rider had to get him involve early to have a chance. He expended a lot of energy to close a wide gap in a quickly run race and got weary in the final 16th.

A victory for Top Billing on Saturday was contingent on him being able to record a time faster than 1:.41 from his unfavorable post. The bit of real-estate on which the race was contested had nothing to do with his lost as the distance of the race was predetermined.

24 Feb 2014 10:34 AM
The Bid

This weekend proved that TOP BILLING is a serious contender and WILDCAT RED and GENERAL AROD could be decent overlays. CAIRO PRINCE coming off layoff into Fla. Derby along with TOP BILLING will be both short prices, CAIRO PRINCE is going to have major issues getting 1 1/4 I believe, BUT the same cannot be said for TOP BILLING!!!(LEGIT)

Anxious to see HONOR CODE's debut, Shug will definitely have him ready! The Gotham stands to be an interesting race that seems to be flying under-the radar! There are some really nice speed/stamina sleepers in NY who seem to have some legitimate potential at a mile and a quarter! With SAMRAAT and UNCLE SIGH headlining with their previous eye-popping duel, BARATTI comes in with legit pace/setting credentials to spoil the aforementioned speed duel!! The one factor that needs explored that makes this race interesting is MOTHER NATURE!!! She has reaked havoc on the east coast and limited training to ALL of the contenders EXCEPT the shippers from Fla.!!! Makes for some interesting fodder in the very near future!

In closing....California seems to be the place with the most TC potential. CANDY BOY, CALIFORNIA CHROME, SHARED BELIEF being the ones with serious potential. HONOR CODE and TOP BILLING round out the rest of the crop with having the possible IT monicker. Not sold on ANYTHING in Louisianna or Arkansas (maybe to my detriment) just nothing STANDS OUT!!!! Things are just beginning to take shape for the BIG DAY in MAY, gonna be a great ride getting there!!!  

24 Feb 2014 10:41 AM

Jay Jay: You posted "I'm of the opinion he's (Union Rags) a miler and I will never change my opinion on that". I appreciate your honesty and I wouldn't try to change your opinion only to expose the mettle of your argument.

This year I haven't forcasted a Triple Crown winner because I haven't been convinced about the capability of any of this crop to sweep the series. Honor Code has looked great for the Derby since his 2YO campaign but his pedigree suggests that 10 Furlongs may be his limit due to the presence of Storm Cat as his broodmare sire. Top Billing looks best of the lot but he's a smallish colt, smoewhat lacking in foundation and not having enough edge on class over his main rivals to secure my confident selection. Shared Belief is another with a world of class but nt the pedigree to sweep the series.

In the past I was very confident about Big Brown, Eskendereya and Union Rags. Big Brown's Belmont stakes remains a mystery to me since he towered like a collussus over one of the weakest crop of 3YOs in recent times. There are not many who would argue that 'Esky' looked like the most spectacular 3YO to come along since the era of Secretariat and Spectacular Bid ...and I'm proud to say that I spotted him before his runaway victories in both the FOY and Wood Memorial. We all know hat happened to Union Rags in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and I'll not change my opinion that with a more keen and enterprising Jockey than Julien Leparoux was on that day, he could have won the Derby (no disrespect to I'll Have Another).

Read up on Hyperion's record as a race horse and sire of sires and you just might begin to appreciate how influencial and significant this great horse is in pedgree analysis. He brings both stamina and class to his descendants. Groupie Doll's pedigree, like Union Rags is loaded with his influence and although she is a sprinter/miler, her offsprings are destined to be route runners.      

24 Feb 2014 11:33 AM

I've been having fun reading all the comments.  Steve: good luck with the next Dozen!  (Considering I am sending you this at 12:30 in the afternoon on Monday, I guess you are having a real fun time juggling the placings).

24 Feb 2014 12:42 PM
It aint easy being good!

Everyone needs to keep in mind that these are just prep races. No one wants their horses peaking too early. Also keep in mind that these preps are mostly at 1 1/16. The real racing in a 1 1/4 race starts at the eight pole. Watch Mexikoma race again he was exploding at the end. He is going to excel at 1 1/4th distance. Keep in mind he was running at gulfstream from post 10. Outside post dont have a chance at Gulfstream. With that being said Constitution has to crack the top 12 he looked like he was jogging out there.

24 Feb 2014 1:51 PM

I love Cairo Prince, but his pedigree suggests that longer distances will be a problem.  He did get beat by Honor Code, granted by a nose, at 9 furlongs.  With a 7.00 dosage index, I can't see him getting the 10 furlongs.  He simply is not bred to run long.

He may be at the top of Steve's next list, but I don't think he'll be there long.  

24 Feb 2014 2:59 PM

Come on Coldfacts, the Gulfstream track was speed biased to front runners.  It was a 1 1/16 distance.  Longer distances over the years have usually gone to runners coming off the pace.

There was 6 races on dirt Saturday and 5 of them were won by the front runner.

What you saw in the Fountain of Youth was 2 sprinters (there is a question of distance in both of their pedigrees) dueling it out.  This would not have happened on a normal surface.

So IMO Top Billing ran out of track on a biased surface.  This is really very simple.

Top Billing has the pedigree to run all day long and he showed his class on Saturday.

24 Feb 2014 7:25 PM

Ranagulzion : See, this is where I have a problem.  You tell me to read up on Hyperion and tell me I will find all sorts of influence and that he brings stamina and class...then you give me two examples :  Groupie Doll and Union Rags.   I'm not questioning whether he was a great horse or not, I asked if you can name horses in the past 3 years influenced by Hyperion that did well going long...

24 Feb 2014 9:50 PM

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