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


Top Billing Shug McGaughey

Curlin—Parade Queen, by A.P. Indy

No, he was not gaining with authority in the final yards of the Fountain of Youth (gr. II), as those critical of him point out, but to me that can be excused when you have to run your second and third quarters in :22 2/5 and :23 1/5 just to get within 7 lengths of the leaders and still come home in :24 2/5 and :06 2/5. Let’s not forget he blew by 8 other horses in the race and finished 4 1/2 lengths ahead of the fourth horse, so he was the only horse in the field to get anywhere near the first two, who are fast, talented horses who can carry their speed, especially on a such a speed favoring track. I have to admit he is probably the least accomplished horse I’ve had ranked No. 1 this late in the season, and I did toy with putting Cairo Prince back after his bullet work, but lifting horses to the top spot based on a work just confirms how screwy things are his year. Some day soon it will all make sense, but for now I have seen enough from this colt to believe we haven’t witnessed anything close to his best.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

Big move by Darley buying majority interest in the colt. All the dots seem to be connected now – McLaughlin to Sheikh Mohammed to Jimmy Bell to the pre-Darley Jonabell Farm to the recently pensioned Holy Bull. And, of course, he did win the Holy Bull. Interesting start for Godolphin’s new regime. Cairo Prince responded immediately by turning in a bullet 5-furlong work in :59 4/5 in company, fastest of 31 works at the distance. Although I’m still not used to these layoffs on the Derby trail and horses rarely showing their face, this colt’s reputation seems to be becoming more and more energized by staying in the barn and letting the others knock each other off. And Intense Holiday did boost his Holy Bull romp even further.


Honor Code Shug McGaughey

A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat

The more I watch his races, the more important he becomes on the Derby trail and the more we can’t afford to lose him. His stride is something to see and he has all the qualities of a star. All we can hope for is no more setbacks and two good efforts at Oaklawn. With Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day retired, Champagne winner Havana out with a quarter crack, and CashCall Futurity winner Shared Belief looking more and more like a no show with each day, he, along with Cairo Prince and Tapiture are all that remain from the elite group of major 2013 stakes horses. His half-mile breeze in :52 appeared at first to be a slight step backward, nearly three seconds slower than his previous breeze, but according to McGaughey, although it was slower than he wanted, it actually was a 5f work from the half-mile pole and he was strongest in the furlong after the wire. McGaughey said he galloped out strong and he would work him in company next time and have him pick it up, which he did on Sunday, tearing off 5 furlongs in :59 breezing, so all systems appear to be on ‘go.’


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

Lost a little time after the Robert Lewis (gr. II), but finally returned to the work tab with a solid half-mile in :48 1/5 breezing, as he awaits the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Another going into his final Derby prep off a layoff and only two starts, which is becoming a trend this year. Same connections as San Vicente (gr. II) winner Kobe’s Back, who will stretch out and try to catch up to his stablemate by Santa Anita Derby time. What hurts is that Shared Belief annihilated both Candy Boy and Kobe’s Back. Sadler also has Sham Stakes runner-up Kristo working sharply for the San Felipe March 8. So, like Cairo Prince earlier this year, nothing to do but sit back wait for him to show up again. Right now, his resume says he’s still pretty much a guess, as we have no idea how good Chitu is or whether Midnight Hawk can bounce back.


Bayern Bob Baffert

Offlee Wild—Alittlebitearly, by Thunder Gulch

As mentioned last week, he’s ranked this high only because there is the chance he is something special. We pretty much know what we’re dealing with regarding the other leading contenders, but when they start surprising a veteran trainer like Baffert, as he did last time out, you have to think there’s a chance they are blossoming into stars overnight. We’ve seen it with dynamos like Big Brown and Bodemeister. But it won’t be confirmed until he continues his rapid ascent against top-quality horses in next week’s San Felipe. If he can handle that field or even run a big race against a highly regarded horse, he will shoot up to or near the top of most everyone’s list.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

One thing we’ve learned is that he’s not going to blow away his opposition and he’s not going to give you goosebumps with any electrifying bursts of brilliance. But he is always going to be coming at you and there is something to be said for sheer determination. But don’t think he’s some plodder who is going to pick up the pieces of a pace meltdown. In his last several races he has managed to throw in some brilliant fractions, whether on the far turn or in the final furlong, depending on where the jock wants to use it. The key with him is to time it right and not ask him to sustain his big run from too far out or you’ll get another Holy Bull type of result. To get the most out of him, it’s all about building up momentum by using his punch to get a good position, but saving enough to keep it going.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

He’s been pretty simple and straightforward his entire career. Never out of the money in five starts, excellent tactical speed, constant improvement, and back-to-back runaway victories, including a grade II score as a maiden. In short, he has done nothing wrong, and the way he crushed Strong Mandate suggests he has made great strides from 2 to 3. And a first, second, and third at Churchill Downs doesn’t hurt. For you Beyer followers, his figs have gone from a 68 to 78 to 83 to 98. The only question mark is pedigree, as both his families were best up to 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles, with a number of sprinters in his female family. Continued his excellent work pattern with a 5-furlong breeze in 1:00 2/5.


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

His big test is coming up in the San Felipe, and we’ll finally find out how he fares against open company. I’m looking for a huge effort, despite the competition, and have moved him up two spots in anticipation of that huge effort. I love the way he moves and accelerates, and he is the only 3-year-old to have won carrying as much as 124 pounds. If he can defeat these horses or even run a big race, don’t expect to see him anywhere near No. 10 next week. He continued his sharp series of works at Los Alamitos, drilling 5 furlongs in 1:00 2/5. You never know for sure until they show they’re competitive against open company, but visually, he looks like a star in the making and a potential bargain at 32-1 in the Derby Future Wager.


Conquest Titan Mark Casse Click Here!

Birdstone—Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft

His impressive victory over General a Rod at Churchill last fall is looking better and better, and he followed that up by out-closing Intense Holiday for second in the Holy Bull (gr. III). Beyer pundits can’t be thrilled over the fact he’s never earned higher than an 85 speed figure, but the feeling here is that this colt has tremendous upside and just needs the right pace scenario and race setup to improve his numbers. If he handles the Tampa surface and gets a good trip in the Tampa Bay Derby, he should be right there at the finish. With his pedigree and new running style, expect to see continued improvement. Breezed an easy 5 furlongs in 1:02 1/5.


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

Some no doubt will knock the :25 1/5 and almost :07 final 3/16 of the Gotham (gr. III), but that would be misleading. Compare the fractions of :23 4/5, :48 1/5, and 1:12 1/5 to Teen Pauline’s :25, :49 2/5, and 1:13 4/5 in the Top Flight (gr. II), and you’ll see they ran the opening quarter 6 lengths faster, the half 6 lengths faster, and the three-quarters 8 lengths faster, and Teen Pauline is the dominant older filly in New York. I love the way he was able to sit just behind the pace, and you have to marvel at his and Uncle Sigh’s ability to bounce out of that gut-wrencher in the Withers and engage in an even stiffer gut-wrencher in the Gotham four weeks later, with the brilliant, undefeated In Trouble thrown into the fray this time. And remember, he was giving 5 pounds to Uncle Sigh this time and jockey Jose Ortiz never touched him, cocking the whip slightly one time in upper stretch. He never even threw a cross on him, just hand rode him the final three-sixteenths. You love to see horses give that much of themselves without the need of any urging. These are two tough, courageous colts and you have to have tremendous respect for their resilience and competitiveness.


Mexikoma Rick Mettee

Birdstone—Toccet Over, by Toccet

I still believe in this colt’s ability and his scope for improvement. On paper, he hasn’t accomplished enough to merit elite status among the 3-year-olds, but I feel a breakout performance is imminent, as long as he finds the right spot and right scenario. It’s hardball time, as the points get tougher to earn, and he has none. My main concern is having only one more prep after a performance in which he did very little running until the end. So, he needs to get a tough race in him in top company, but more important, he needs to finish first or second to pick up much needed points. So his supporters can only hope he hasn’t been left with too much to do in a short period of time. His connections feel he may be more of a Belmont Stakes horse, so they’re not going to rush him to make the Derby. I will still keep him on here as long as I can, but next weekend could be a revolving door with horses coming and going.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

When you get down to it, he ran a super race in the Besilu Fountain of Youth (gr. II), considering he hadn’t run in 7 1/2 weeks and Wildcat Red had that bang-up performance in the Hutcheson after their Gulfstream Park Derby battle. He should be sitting on a huge effort next time. His Beyers have continuously leaped from a 65 to 81 to 95 to 101. not only is he out of a Dynaformer mare, which is all stamina, his fourth dam is Betty Lorraine, who is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince and who produced French Derby winner Caracolero and is the second dam of English Derby winner Secreto. Mike Maker has been very high on this colt, and you have to think there is a lot more still to come.

Knocking At The Door

I really wanted to put UNCLE SIGH in the top 12 this week, but couldn’t justify taking someone off, and his nemesis Samraat earned first digs at inclusion into the elite dozen by beating him again while giving him five pounds. And this way, I get more space to write about him. So, let’s consider Uncle Sigh No. 13 after his gutsy performance in the Gotham Stakes, in which he took all the worst of it, being caught in between two extremely talented and tenacious colts in Samraat and In Trouble and taking (and giving) a few mild bumps down the stretch, while in very tight quarters. And he was being ridden by Corey Nakatani for the first time, and Nakatani was in so tight he couldn’t go to the whip and could only wave it at him and throw an occasional cross. One of these days, if he draws outside Samraat, we’ll see if the result is any different.

Although he’s been on or right off the lead in his three two-turn races, the feeling here is that he will go as far, or even farther, than Samraat and most other 3-year-olds, based in good part to a strong female family. His broodmare sire, Pine Bluff, won the Preakness and was narrowly beaten by A.P. Indy in the Belmont Stakes. Also, Pine Bluff is a full-brother to the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Uncle Sigh’s second dam is by Belmont winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy, out of a Fappiano mare. And his fourth dam is by English and Irish Derby winner The Minstrel. That fourth dam, named Minstress, sold as a 2-year-old at the Newstead Farm dispersal for $1.3 million and went on to win or place in five stakes.

The bottom line is, I feel we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg with this colt and would expect to see further improvement in the Wood Memorial, if he, like Samraat, can bounce out of yet another taxing race the way he did the Withers.

And kudos to IN TROUBLE, who ran his heart out to be beaten a half-length in only his third career start, first start over six furlongs, and first start in five months. And he drew the rail, which all but forced him to go the lead. No matter how hard Samraat and Uncle Sigh tried to crack him they couldn’t. It looks like Tony Dutrow has himself a gem. What a rematch we have in store in the Wood Memorial.

In dropping CONSTITUTION after one week, I had to make room for Samraat, and as I look at his possible itinerary, I’m finding it difficult to see how he can make it to the Derby with more than three career starts, and unless you’re a freak like Big Brown in an off year, three career starts just isn’t enough to be ready to go 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. This is a very talented horse with a bright future, but he may be one race too short. Pletcher prefers four to five weeks between races, so we’ll see how it plays out.

STRONG MANDATE showed that his erratic-running Southwest defeat didn’t take too much out of him by breezing a half in a bullet :48, fastest of 31 works at the distance. You just never know what you’re going to get from him. His highs are very high, but he has to display them more consistently.

Before you totally give up on MIDNIGHT HAWK after his disappointing third in the Robert Lewis, be aware that he is quietly strutting his stuff in the mornings, with his latest work a blazing 5 furlongs in :58 4/5, second fastest of 82 works at the distance. We’ll see how he fares against stablemate Bayern and the others in the San Felipe.

SPOT has made quite a dramatic turnaround since being purchased by Joseph Moss and sent to Nick Zito, who ran him for the first time since his well-beaten fifth in the Hutcheson Stakes, and the son of Pulpit proceeded to blow right by 2-5 favorite NO NAY NEVER to win the Swale Stakes going away by 2 ½ lengths. Boy, would Zito love to have gotten this colt a little earlier in order to get a couple of two-turn races in him. Now, it’s pretty iffy that he’ll be prepared to go 1 1/4 miles on May 3. We’ll see if Zito even has thoughts of roses at this point. But either way, it’s good to have him back with a talented 3-year-old, who does need to learn to change leads.

Look for Todd Pletcher to give GALA AWARD a shot at the Blue Grass Stakes and a chance to make it into the Kentucky Derby following his hard-earned victory over MR SPEAKER in the Palm Beach Stakes on grass. The son of Bernardini is bred for the dirt and all his works have been on dirt, so if the shoe fits. The latter turned in a powerful stretch run and appears to be best on grass, but with his pedigree and overall class, I’d love to see him get one more shot on dirt, despite his poor effort in the Holy Bull. He was on Lasix for the first time in the Palm Beach and there really isn’t anything of note on the grass for 3-year-olds this time of year. Yes, McGaughey is loaded with a pair of Derby aces, but neither one is a Phipps colt, and you can bet Shug would love to win the Derby in the Phipps’ colors.

SOLITARY RANGER made it three-for-six with an authoritative victory in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway, in which he opened an eight-length lead at the eighth pole and coasted home under a hand ride to win by 4 3/4 lengths. The son of US Ranger has made five starts on synthetic and one on grass, so his dirt status is questionable as he likely heads to the Spiral Stakes.

Two horses to watch down the road are impressive allowance winners ANCHOR DOWN and THE TRUNK MONKEY, both of whom were impressive, but were making only their second career start. Anchor Down defeated a solid allowance field, zipping seven furlongs in 1:21 3/5 at Gulfstream for Pletcher, while The Trunk Monkey took advantage of a main track only entry by romping to a wire-to-wire 6 1/2-length victory going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds for Larry Jones and Fox Hill Farms.

Also this past weekend, TASHIR made it two huge wins in two starts at Calder, defeating a talented field in the one-mile Smooth Air Stakes. If the son of Afleet Alex was able to duplicate those efforts at other tracks, he could be a serious Derby contender. At Sam Houston, IBAKA made it four for six lifetime with a wire-to-wire three-length score in the Texas Heritage Stakes for Bret Calhoun.

Todd Pletcher worked his two Tampa Bay Derby candidates, VINCEREMOS and SURFING USA, with the former going a half in :48 2/5 and Surfing USA in :51.

Watch out for HY KODIAK WARRIOR at Tampa. This colt is consistent and has a good closing kick and finished only two lengths behind Top Billing in his last start. He worked a bullet 5 furlongs at Calder and should be very dangerous in here.

Jerry Hollendorfer told HRTV that 2-year-old champ SHARED BELIEF should begin serious training in a week, but hinted that the colt’s future may be down the road and that they are not going to push him to make the Derby. If the success of Candy’s Boy and Kobe’s Back, two horses Shared Belief annihilated last year, is any indication, the Derby trail is missing out on an extraordinarily gifted racehorse.


Leave a Comment:

Mister Frisky

Exactly two months out and time for some of these colts to start earning points.The Darley buying into Cairo Prince is much different this time around.Worldly Manner in 99 was a nice colt but being by Riverman the Derby was a reach.Sheikh Mohammed is sitting pretty good right now.Agree with you Steve on Honor Code.The Derby begins and ends with him in my book if he makes the race.Have a great week.

03 Mar 2014 3:59 PM


Wildcat Red IMO is a sprinter.  His dosage index is 5.67.  No horse has ever won the derby with such a  high dosage.

03 Mar 2014 11:16 AM.

This is not to say that Wildcat Red is not a sprinter, but below will show you 3 winners of the Kentucky Derby that did have dosage index of over 5.0.

Derby Winners

1998 Real Quiet 5.29

1999 Charismatic 5.22

2009 Mine That Bird 5.40

03 Mar 2014 4:04 PM

does Noble Moon have about a one in three chance to make the KDerby ?

03 Mar 2014 4:26 PM
Sam Santschi

Great list, Mr. Haskin especially considering there is so little to go on nowadays. Sure liked it back when they ran in the Hutcheson, FOY, FD and Blue Grass or Wood! Took chances this weekend on Uncle Sigh, Cal Chrome and Kristo in the futures wager.    

03 Mar 2014 4:37 PM
food fight

Hi Steve i like your comment about Top Billing not making up any ground on the top 2 finishers in the FOY stakes as you correctly pointed out the huge speed bias that day.Haven said that I have not seen any real WOW factor from the 3 year old colts yet. There have been some good races run like Bayern last race but until he takes on a stakes caliber horses he is an x factor as you point out.So when i was looking at who has run the best 3 year old race to date and has the credentials to get the job done first Saturday in May. I had to look outside of the colt division because the most dominating performance came from Untapable she destroyed her competition in the RA stakes at Fairgrounds.She ran faster than the colts that day and was geared down through the wirer.She is 2 for 2 at Churchill Downs including a grade 2 win over the surface. Her pedigree is first rate being a daughter of the red hot sire Tapit and out of a Prized mare , so distance should be no problem. She also possess that type of separation turn of foot you need to win the Derby.I know she is being pointed to the Oaks but if the colts do not define them selves  with some breakout performances and she improves off her last i think she will , the connections might consider the Derby not the Oakes.  

03 Mar 2014 4:47 PM


I am really surprised you have Samraat so low.

He is undefeated speed figures are improving and the jock like you stated never touched him in his last race..

I have him as my soft #1 right now..

I have a feeling if he was by a big time trainer and owner he would get more respect. Which could be good odds for all backing him

Steve; would you bet a once raced Honor Code going into the Derby?

If Top Billing runs in the Fl Derby I say he does not get the points to get in Ky Derby..

A lot of racing to go and I may change my mind..

Good Luck to all

03 Mar 2014 4:56 PM

Love what you have to say about California Chrome.  His Cal Cup Derby is the one prep performance that has stood out to me.  He looks so strong and fluid, and is a beautiful horse to boot.

I'd love to see Spot make the field.  Seeing Zito get so emotional post-race reminded me why he has always been one of my favorite trainers.

Samraat/Uncle Sigh may not yet be "the return of Alydar/Affirmed", but you love to see two horses battle head-to-head repeatedly.  I hope we get to see much more of it.

03 Mar 2014 5:06 PM

I still agree with you Steve, Top Billing still my #1 as well.  His race in the FOY is sneaky good considering how that track was playing.  No one could have made up that kind of ground like he did in that race.  His potential is still endless but it will be interesting to see if Shug ships him out.  My thought is Shug stays and takes his chances with a better post, a longer distance and a more favoralble surface.  Honor Code is dangerous too.

03 Mar 2014 5:06 PM

derbygal 03 Mar 2014 4:04 PM : Good post. Wildcat Red, notwithstanding his high dosage index, can be any type of horse and has already qualified on points to make the Derby field. His omission from the Derby Dozen could leave Steve Haskin with egg all over his face when all is said and done. He's had some tough races (winning all but one) to put foundation into him and he's got stretch-out speed, gameness and the heart of a budding champion. His sire, D'Wildcat, although a crack sprinter is inbred to Northern Dancer and Secretariat within the first five generations which means that he could potentially throw an offspring with superstar qualities. On the dam side, the presence of staying horses like Miner's Mark, Flying Paster, Grey Dawn II and Herbager, all in the five cross pedigree matrix is cause to rethink this colts Derby-winning potential.

Wildcat Red has a propensity to win his races and I don't think that we've seen his best yet. The trainer can now comfortably plan his training strategy leading up to the first Saturday in May. This colt deserves to be in any top twelve IMO.  

03 Mar 2014 5:15 PM

Steve Haskin I like your pick of California Chrome who closed at 32-1, but Im not in the boat for Top Billing who closed at 11-1.

I took Honor Code who also closed at 11-1 and tip toed in on Bayern,his coach did it 2 years ago with Bodemeister.

I am not worried about Conquest Titans 85 Beyer being his best,check Mine That Birds Beyers, who incidently was also sired by Birdstone.One thing I like about Birdstone as a sire is my belief that BOTH he and his offspring were helped by an off track in their respective wins in the Belmont over Smarty Jones and in the KD over Pioneer of The Nile.

03 Mar 2014 5:31 PM

I like Conquest Titan to move up on an off track, if the KD is once again contested on one like in 2009,2010,2011 and 2013.

Im not confortable with breeding terminology but Conquest Titan is inbred to Mr Prospector on the dam side.

A sidenote I dont remember how many times I used the Crafty Prospector on off track angle more than 20 years ago to get good prices and win Daily Doubles at Calder race course when I was a relative newcomer to the game.

03 Mar 2014 6:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

1. Intense Holiday

2. Top Billing

3. Conquest Titan

4. Bayern

5. Honor Code

6. Cairo Prince

7. Indianapolis

8. Candy Boy

9. Constitution

10. Midnight Hawk

11. Spot

12. Cousin Stephen

03 Mar 2014 6:27 PM

Steve, you mirrored my thoughts on UNCLE SIGH.  Seems he'll have the points to make the Derby and if he moves forward in a big way around that time, look out.  You gotta love his constitution!

I'm very impressed with IN TROUBLE and especially now after watching MEAN SEASON (4 yr old, HENNESSY connection) run this weekend!  WOW, what a powerhouse!!!  I hope MEAN SEASON'S ok pulling up after the wire.

You also make a great case for TOP BILLING...1st sentence is "enough said"!

I'll set aside SHARED BELIEF for now as #1 which means HONOR CODE doesn't have to share it anymore and there's something in my gut, along with the DQ Blizzard, regarding STRONG MANDATE that just won't go away.  I was at the Southwest Stakes and he really surprised me by the speed he used to get himself out of the terrible position.  I know stamina shouldn't be an issue and if he makes it to the Derby I'll be using him.

03 Mar 2014 6:38 PM

The trio of Samraat, Uncle Sigh and In Trouble remind me of another trio of fun to watch trio who raced against each other a few years ago; Silver Charm, Free House & Captain Bodgit. I like these three horses and I like Intense Holiday. I'm also hoping that Spot may develop into something special for Nick Zito.

03 Mar 2014 6:39 PM
Pedigree Ann

Brontexx - an ancestor of Crafty Prospector along the damline was the champion older horse of 1952 (my birth year!) by the name of Crafty Admiral, who was also damsire of Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Crafty Admiral and his some Admiral's Voyage were both

excellent sires of mud runners (mud-blood, in the lingo). This is, surprisingly, an inheritable ability, whether it comes from the size or construction of the foot, or the type of stride, or whatever. Oh, and damsire In Reality was also a good source of mudding ability; his son Valid Appeal was one of the best mud sires ever. Mud-blood tells.

03 Mar 2014 7:17 PM
Your Only Friend

Like the Points system more and more.....many would try and run when not ready for Derby...because some owners would like the opportunity regardless of qualifcations...and some trainers will honor their wish's...Keep the points system forever....should consider Points for big race for filles...

03 Mar 2014 7:35 PM
Steve Haskin

Johnny, I couldnt move Samraat much higher based on a three-horse photo, as much as I loved his race. I certainly cant fault anyone who does or even has him on top. Also, there are two big races this weekend with a number of Top 12 horses running, so there is amply opportunity to move him even farther up, depending on what happens. I am more upset that I didnt have room for Unlce Sigh. When you move a horse on to the Top 12 you have to remove one and its difficult to do when that horse did nothing wrong.

Dr. D, you are aware, despite being put in the Derby Future Wager pool, Indianapolis has never been over 6 furlongs, missed his last start, and has not had a work in five weeks.

03 Mar 2014 7:51 PM

Steve I think you have a good solid list here from what we've seen of these colts so far.  I like the first two a lot.  I like Intense Holiday as well.

I also like this Samraat and Wildcat Red.  I looked up the name Samrat, and I believe it is a name from India meaning Emporer or King of Kings, but the colt's name has two a's.  I wish the owners would say where they derived his name from.  Interestingly enough the two Gotham runners up both have Indian Charlie in their pedigrees, Uncle Sigh is directly by Indian Charlie and Samraat's dam is by Indian Charlie.  Anyway I think Samraat is undefeated and went to Florida today to train there a month prior to the Wood.  Ok, don't quite understand that logic if Samraat is a NY bred and the Wood is going to be run at Aqueduct in NY in a month, why not train here, why all the shipping in such a short period of time?  Funny name though, especially if it is going to appear after Affirmed's name on the list, but it will take a herculean effort by a real Emporer to get on that list!  (The TC list)

Wildcat Red has the heart of a champion I think too as well as some of the other posters have said.  I think he's got enough heart that with proper training distance may not be so much of an issue.

Ok, Tashir a son of Afleet Alex knocking at the door?  C'mon in and let's see if he has what papa had.

03 Mar 2014 7:52 PM
Scott's Rail

Very happy with your Midnight Hawk update. (saw that recently).  Chitu, has that dam side upscale turf line that usually does well at CD.  Just can't imagine what Tapit's next year stud fee will be. It's getting good, too bad the script isn't close to completion.  I think most trainers will be talking to themselves into the wee-hours of the night come mid April.  Thanx Steve

03 Mar 2014 8:24 PM
Ted from LA

After 60 hours of solid research, Ted from LA has this list:

1. Indianapolis

2. Intense Holiday

3. Top Billing

4. Conquest Titan

5. Bayern

6. Honor Code

7. Cairo Prince

8. Candy Boy

9. Constitution

10. Midnight Hawk

11. Spot

12. Cousin Stephen

03 Mar 2014 8:31 PM

Alex'sBigFan I read on HRN that Samraat's trainer stated that horses spend 75% of their energy staying warm when in their stalls.

Pedigree Ann Valid Appeal was a Florida bred wasnt he?

03 Mar 2014 8:40 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Yes, Indianapolis is a big, big longshot but I decided to leave him on my list one more week, holding out hope that he'll get a work in soon and be entered in the Rebel. I have no idea what is going on with him, whether he is galloping or what but I wanted to give it another week hoping to hear something about him. The jump up from 6f at this point is a lot to ask but I think he has the talent to do it. This is the last week anyone will be on my list in such a speculative manner. Two big weekends coming up and it's getting time to put up or shutup very soon. I was surprised Indy was on the future's betting list and maybe that encouraged me to hold out hope. It could have been worse, I could have left him at number one so I made progress. Ain't love grand?

03 Mar 2014 8:46 PM

Tapit like his offspring Tapiture was owned by Ron Winchell and he has points in ALL FIVE DOSAGE CATEGORIES.Tapit won the Wood in 2004 but finished 9th in the KD right behind Birdstone.

The most prominent offspring of Tapit last year in the TC was Normandy Invasion who made a bold move on the turn but flattened out.Does anyone recall a more prominent Triple Crown participant that was sired by Tapit in the last several years.I think there popularity as a sire might have something to do with how precocious they are, they have a good percentage of winners as first time starters.

03 Mar 2014 8:58 PM
Fan of Damascus

Hi Steve,

I too liked the way Mr. Speaker closed in the Palm Beach Stakes though he didn't win as I had hoped.  I am going to keep him as my pick until Shug takes him off the Derby trail (or doesn't put him back on it.)

Steve, my understanding of the Phipps family is that they generally don't get in Shug's way.  Are you aware of any incidents in recent years when Shug has earmarked a horse for a certain race or type of race (allowance vs stakes for example)and has been over-ruled by Mr Phipps or other members of the family?  I am thinking of course about Mr. Speaker and his next start.  If it's not a 100 point prep race we won't see him in the Derby.

Thanks Steve for your insight as well as for making this time of year even more enjoyable as we watch the key sophomore races and dream about the first Saturday in May.

03 Mar 2014 9:01 PM

To those wondering......shared belief and indianapolis need 4 works before a race........which means throwing them to them to the wolves in the last big preps......or a smaller other words.......buh bye........odds are no chance.........

03 Mar 2014 9:31 PM

Just want to say I'm glad to see WTC and MMM are traveling west again to run in the Santa Anita Handicap.  I'm excited to see the 3 of them go at it again.  My pick obviously is WTC as he has been my horse but I'm a believer of MMM and I'm still a fan of GoD.  I saw MMM's workout yesterday (on tv) and man, he looked good doing it.  It should be a great race...

Back to TC trail...

With Samraat's spot firmly in place, he'll be my number unless another horse from my dozen makes a case to make me move him down.  I'm very excited about In Trouble and Poker Player, either one could very well end up being my number one come derby day.   People are still talking about Shared Belief… even betting them in the KDFW (I'm really wondering why) without any news of how he's doing.   Honor Code was suppose to work out yesterday (or maybe today) to determine his fate.    I'm tired of waiting though…

Samraat :  The real deal…still have a little bit of doubt only because he's been running on the inner track at Aqueduct, but like I said in my previous post, he did win at Belmont so I'm hoping he will do well on the "real" dirt track.

Intense Holiday : I'm starting to really like this colt, he'll be in my trifecta and supers in the Kentucky Derby, not sure if he'll win though.

Cairo Prince : Nice workouts, so maybe the long layoff might just work out for him.  I see everyone posting he can't go 10Fs but really, how many colts out there are bred to go that long and are actually competitive ?  Not that many…

Vinceremos :  I'm more interested in what his post will be for the TBD, would like to see him run on the outside to see if he does his "stop and go".  I said before, he could be one of TP's top derby horses (along with Commissioner) come derby day.

In Trouble : Will be my top horse again for the Wood Memorial.

Honor Code : Working out, but so was Havana.  Seems like this is the year where the top 2 yr olds last year might actually be all no shows in the Kentucky Derby.  I don't agree with the comments that the Derby is all but won by him if he makes it.  It would be nice to see him in the race because everyone talks very highly of him but I don't believe he can actually win the Derby even if he makes it.   I think he might be part of the Superfecta though.

Commissioner :  Still think he's much much better than he showed in the FOY.

Top Billing :  Let's see how he does in the FD.   He reminds me a lot of Ground Transport, one of my early picks last year.

Poker Player :  Looking forward to seeing him take the Spiral Stakes to get the points.

Chitu :  I think he'll end up as one of Baffert's top contenders.  Martin Garcia and Bob Baffert, potent combination.  Last I read, he might be headed to Rebel or Sunland Derby and his workouts are typical Baffert's so I believe he's doing well.

Saving the last two spots for some unknowns to make some noise… one of those spots will probably go to Spot depending on where he goes next.   And maybe I'm still saving a place for Rise Up who I still like but maybe they'll think about the Preakness instead.  I kind of like Tapiture but would like to see one more race.   I can't get to liking Candy Boy, not sure why but I just don't think he's a top contender.  He had to work to get by Chitu.  I'm not sure about Bayern either, I'll see after next weekend.

03 Mar 2014 10:05 PM

Food fight, I was at the Fair Grounds and watched with almost disbelief how Untapable blew the field away.  She is a spectacular looking filly.  Steve Asmussen has done a superb job with her.  I have many pictu

03 Mar 2014 10:06 PM

My Derby pick (if he gets into it) Schoolofhardrocks will finally make his 2014 debut in the San Felipe on Saturday in a race that includes Bayern, Midnight Hawk, California Chrome and Kristo.  If they all go this will be one of the deepest Derby preps so far this year.  Shoolofhardrocks has only one start, an impressive off the pace victory in a MSW at Del Mar last August.  This will be his first race on conventional dirt, but he has been working lights out at Santa Anita since the beginning of the year.  Hopefully we won’t see one of those speed biased tracks that seem to haunt some tracks on big race days.  

03 Mar 2014 10:08 PM

I apologize, the last sentence of my comment was cut off.  Food fight, I agree with you, Untapable is a filly to watch.  Good night to all.  

03 Mar 2014 10:10 PM

Steve, thank you for your kudos to In Trouble.  He is a finely bred colt. Uncle Sigh, another well bred colt, showed great bravery in between horses.  I love Samraat, but his pedigree suggests that he is a sprinter.

03 Mar 2014 10:31 PM
Greg R

Steve, I don't know how fast Constitution will run when forced to fight, but I sure thought he won the "beauty pageant" award when I saw him the day of his last race.  He is a real picture.

I thought Uncle Sigh might turn the table on Samraat in the Gotham, but maybe it wasn't time yet; I'm now waiting until they go farther, but still think he could do so.

Top Billing also gets MY top billing.  Makes me think of Dunkirk in that colt's struggle against the Gulfstream track bias in the Florida Derby.  Quality Road was the big beneficiary of the track that day, as the first two colts were in this year's FOY.  I suspect T B is "on track" to keep improving and peak at the right time.  Where will he get his points, though?  No matter where you go hunting for them, there will be stiff competition.

04 Mar 2014 12:06 AM


I look forward to your derby dozen every week.I agree with you on most of the horses on your list but I have a couple of differences. Firstly, I still have Bobby's Kitten on my list. I had such a feeling this horse can win the derby. Also Strong Mandate is in my top 12. I think this horse being trained by Lukas will be seasoned and ready to run. My top twelve has a mixture of current contenders and laate bloomers.

1. Honor Code

2. Cairo Prince

3. Bobby's Kitten

4. Top Billing

5. Tapiture

6. Strong Mandate

7. Candy Boy

8. Bayern

9. Samraat

10. Indianapolis

11. Intense Holiday

12. Hartford

04 Mar 2014 12:35 AM
joseph alva


Thanks for your insightful lists and the excitement they generate and to all the bloggers as well for their interesting perspectives which make all of this quite fun!

Predicting a Derby winner two months out feels like random guessing to me with so much yet to be seen from the prospects.  Not until I see the post position draw do I really develop a very strong opinion of who may be likely to win.  A horse can be doing great and be the pick of the litter, but if he doesn't draw well in a field of 20, it's basically over for him.  This sadly seemed to be the case with Lookin' At Lucky and Union Rags in recent years.  They went on to win their upcoming Triple Crown race after being hurt by their Derby post.

That being said, it seems to me that Honor Code, should he successfully train on and race without setbacks, is the most talented of these three year olds and possesses the best profile to win, given a decent draw.  He has sufficient battle tested experience from his two year old campaign and versatility in running style.  While he seems best suited to come from behind, he is tactical enough (as his Remsen showed)to lay closer if needed.  He does not seem to be intimidated by close quarters which I think is critical in the Derby (he won his maiden race finding a seam to fly through on the rail and came back to outdo Cairo Prince after being collared and smothered on the inside by that foe in the Remsen).  This horse has talent, class and serious toughness.  I am anxious to see his Rebel.

Cairo Prince I feel is another classy, talented and tough horse (his grit and talent remind me of Hard Spun for some reason).  I love what I think Top Billing and Conquest Titan may be able to do, but they need the right pace set-up and draw (they will both be there ahead of most in the end).  Another horse I absolutely fear, should he get enough points to run, is Mexicoma.  I saw his allowance race in person and this guy flew like a rocket in the stretch on a day when stretch runs were impossible to come by on that speed biased track.  Yes, I know it was just allowance level, but this guy will be extremely dangerous going the classic Triple Crown distances wit5h the stamina in his bloodlines and his turn of foot.  Where is he scheduled to run next by the way?

It seems that with Wildcat Red and other speedy types there will again be a hot pace to run into to favor closers.  However, before they all deal with getting the right pace scenario or draw they first need to get points.  That's what these next two months are about and with limited preps for most there is no margin of error with procuring points.  I hope the top talent gets in.  Otherwise it could be a Mine That Bird kind of year with a major surprise who gets hot at the right time, gets the right pace and the ideal draw.

04 Mar 2014 12:56 AM
The Deacon

I have been on the Honor Code band wagon since the start and I see no reason to abandon ship now. I agree Steve this horse could be the best of the lot. Nothing else really stands out to me. There are a few nice horses but the list is dwindling.

04 Mar 2014 2:42 AM
Old Timer

What? NO Tamarando? He may just be this year's "Lucky Debonair". :-)  We are due for a California bred.  Is his absence a sign that you consider him a synthetic specialist? If you like California Chrome, it seems that he should be on there somewhere. One significant advantage Tamarando has is experience. He has not been sitting on the sidelines like so many of these so called contenders.

04 Mar 2014 8:07 AM
Smoking Baby

Honor Code is still my #1.  I'm not as concerned about the late return to the races as some are.  I'm going back and forth with Candy Boy and California Chrome and can't decide who to have #2 and who to have at #3.  I don't expect California Chrome to have any trouble with open company on the Big 'Cap undercard.  We'll see.  For #4 I've got Samraat.  Don't know if he'll win the Derby but what's not to like?  Tough as nails, battle tested, Beyer figures to match some of the best.  I sure like this horse just as a fan.  In fact if you're a race fan and don't like Samraat, there's nothing I can say to help you.

04 Mar 2014 9:04 AM

Trying to separate the top 3 from the Gotham is extremely difficult.  They each are tough hard knockers who won't back down.  I'll give In Trouble the edge after stepping up to 2 turns and being off since late September.  Can't wait for the Wood.

The San Felipe should help clarify the West Coast group, looking forward to it.

My top five remain the same;

1.  Honor Code

2.  Cairo Prince

3.  Candy Boy

4.  Tapiture

5.  Intense Holiday

Thanks Steve.

04 Mar 2014 9:40 AM

I'll stick with Conquest Titan on top, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, Uncle Sigh, Vincermos, General a Rod, Tamarando, Tapiture, Cairo Prince, Bayern, Albano, Samraat. I wish the trainers were putting more races into these. I'm hoping Conquest Titan Goes to the Bluegrass after the Tampa Bay Derby. I think thats what Street Sense did.

04 Mar 2014 9:47 AM
The Bid

The Gotham proved that Even Mother Nature wasn't going to have an adverse effect on these talented 3yr.olds in regards to minimal works leading up to the race. SAMRAAT looks to be the real deal and wickedly formidable with a perpensity to rate and then POUNCE!

With that said, if SHARED BELIEF can make the gate NO ONE IS GOING TO CATCH HIM!!!! I'am convinced this IS THE IT HORSE we have ALL been waiting for. I'll go HONOR CODE/TOP BILLING just behind and my new SLEEPER is CALIFORNIA CHROME just because SHARED BELIEF hasn't annihilated him as of YET!!! The future price for HIM and SAMRAAT is awfully juicy! Proof is in the pudding, and if you look back to EVERY SHARED BELIEF race NOTHING THIS YEAR COMES CLOSE!!! NOTHING!!!!!! The BELMONT is the ONE that he would have doubts but he just may scare EVERYONE away from The Preakness just like The BID did, I will STILL hold out hope that HE makes The Derby and THEN, we will all see GREATNESS!!!!

04 Mar 2014 10:48 AM

Fan of Damascus:

I don't think you're going to see Mr. Speaker on dirt again, however you will probably see him run in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland because of the synthetic track but the Derby is out of the question.

04 Mar 2014 11:39 AM
lunar spook

THE BID- Hate to burst your bubble but the horse your droolin all over, SHARED BELIEF is gonna do what your other hero "THE BID" DID 35 YRS AGO IN THE BELMONT  (CHOKE , CHOKE )

04 Mar 2014 11:44 AM
Fan of Damascus

Aside from Mr. Speaker, Honor Code and Top Billing (my top three) my fourth pick is a horse whose identity isn't known yet - the winner of the UAE Derby on March 29th (particularly if it is a Ballydoyle colt.)

With no clear standout for this year's KY Derby I could see this being the year an Aidan O'Brien starter takes some of the purse back to Ireland.

I'd particularly like to see War Command make the trip - particularly after the brilliant run made by Declaration of War in last year's BC Classic.  Of course the 2000 Guineas is the same day as the Derby but, again this year, Ballydoyle will be deep with quality starters for the Guineas so maybe his third or fourth stringer might do damage in Louisville.

We'll have to wait and see  

04 Mar 2014 12:28 PM
Sail On

Brontexx, you wrote >ALL FIVE DOSAGE CATEGORIES< in one of your posts. Could could you please explain what this refers to, means? :)

04 Mar 2014 12:49 PM
Sail On

Steve, thanks so much for your blog, and thanks to all the commentators. W/o this forum, and the Iditarod, March would be all madness!

04 Mar 2014 12:50 PM
The Bid

lunar spook

CHOKE??????? REALLY????!!!!!!.....I remember The bobby-pin found in the skin of the hoof found earlier that Belmont morning. Then Ronnie Franklin 4getting he was not on BIG RED with a pre-mature move prior to the turn and THEN......AN Undefeated 4yr. old season(Bill Shoemaker)highlighted by being the ONLY walk-over winner of a GRADE 1 race EVER.. The Woodward!!! Far from CHOKE! That word has never been spewed out of anyone's mouth in reference to The BID....SHAME ON YOU!!!LoL

SHARED BELIEF on the other hand could legitimately CHOKE! BUT he has yet to race and from what WE have seen so far IMO, NOTHING IMPRESSES me to the point of WOW!!!! Have You???? Just Curious.....Weekend and week out time goes by and I believe there are 3 that could be special and MY requirements are threatening for a TRIPLE CROWN!!!! The only thing CLOSE to date in that regard would be CALIFORNIA CHROME's romp BUT,... HONOR CODE has yet to race and could vie as a threat, as well as TOP BILLING, given he continues to improve and acquires the required amt. of points are really the ONLY one's besides SHARED BELIEF!!!!! IMO

Anyone have any thoughts regarding TC Contenders from what we've seen to date???

04 Mar 2014 1:11 PM

Baffert on Indianapolis: "I'm not going to push him" to the Derby and won't really know anything more for a couple of weeks.

04 Mar 2014 1:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm putting Samraat onto my list and taking Indianapolis off in the exact same position, number seven. Samraat should have been on in the first place. Undefeated and just too tough to leave off. Indianapolis probably won't even make the Preakness let alone the Derby. Hopefully the summer classics. Info was posted at the Downey Profile today that Indianapolis is just jogging and Baffert has no plans for him yet.

04 Mar 2014 1:34 PM
lunar spook

FAN OF DAMASCUS - I agree with u , I too would love to see war command in the derby but I suspect he will run in Europe that weekend ,Aidan Obrien is an awesome trainer , but the odds are so stacked against him when he comes here for the derby or the classic , with the travel and quarantine and all , but he will win one soon , I had my money on declaration of war last year , and he was oooohhhh soooo close !

04 Mar 2014 1:46 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

I smile every time I read the name "The Trunk Monkey."  I enjoyed the Derby Dozen as always.

04 Mar 2014 1:52 PM
Valiant King

Hopefully Schoolofhardrocks will make some noise in the triple crown races this year.  He only has one race, a win @ a mile in August, but this horse is a Beast and he's training as such. Supposed to be in the San Felipe this weekend.

04 Mar 2014 2:21 PM

Steve, they could run 40 of the most promising horses 40 times and you wouldn't be surprised to see a different winner eac time. This week-end is the beginning of the separation between of those who can and those who won't make it to the first Saturday in May.

Just on races this year, no. 1 is anyone's guess, and good luck with that Steve.

04 Mar 2014 3:34 PM
Steve Haskin

Racingfan, I have a ton of behind the scenes stuff on Silver Charm. One of these days I'll write about the amazing way Baffert got him and that entire Triple Crown journey with Touch Gold, Captain Bodgit, and Free House. What a year that was.

04 Mar 2014 4:16 PM
lunar spook

THE BID- OK maybe I was hard on the bid , but I just never think of him as an all time great , maybe cuz he lost to affirmed , maybe cuz he couldn't win the Belmont , maybe cuz I didn't care for his connections  , top 20 yes , top 10 never! as for my early derby picks ? how bout tapiture & samraat !

04 Mar 2014 5:22 PM

Sail On I guess you have never heard of Steve Romans and his dosage methodology.I think if you are interested in a good explanation straight from the person who created this  GOOGLE Steve Romans dosage and it should lead you to his site.

04 Mar 2014 5:41 PM

Mr. Haskin. What do you know that we don´t know about Commissioner. Until a pair of weeks, before the FOY, he looked like a real shot for the triple crown. He gained speacial attention after defeating Top Billing, today your principal choice for the Derby. And he did it in magnificent way. But, suddenly, Commissioner desappears of the landscape. Why? I understand at this point all this colts and fillies are just adjusting to their real possibilities, but this Platcher pupil showed an interesting abillity for doing a major work. What about him? I undestand he is still one of the best prospect in the TP barn.

04 Mar 2014 6:47 PM

The 3 Gotham Stakes finishers after the wire:

Uncle Sigh:  (to Samraat) "You dirty rat, yoooooou dirty rat, you squeaked by me!"

Samraat:  "Well you ain't exactly batman and this ain't Gotham City!"

In Trouble:  "I'll get both of you in trouble, just wait for the Wood and we'll see who's a rat."

And thus the "rat pack" go on to train for another day to race.  May the best "rat" win!

04 Mar 2014 7:12 PM


Thanks.  So I guess that means Samraat's trainer is going to spend his energy getting him on a plane, train for 3 weeks and get him on another plane and back for the Wood in NY all in 4 weeks time?  Samraat is a NY bred he should be used to the NY climate.  Don't know if I agree with the short time frame of shipping unless Florida is his home base which I don't know.  Where is Samraat based normally anyone know?  The Wood is sure going to be interesting.

04 Mar 2014 7:27 PM


You must have some inside info on shared belief, why was he still listed on the future bet?? why would churchill still have this horse in the future wager?

That's why the public dislikes racing! They should have received new info on this horse and not mislead the public. He has 0 chance of running and that's not right.

04 Mar 2014 8:24 PM

Will be interested in who comes out on top in the San Felipe. I looked at photos of Bayern and California Chrome and they both appear to be in top physical condition. They both appear to have a lot of deep, good muscling. Guess that is benefit of being trained in California (maybe?). They both remind me of I'll Have Another for some reason. Be curious to see how that race shakes up the apple cart of Derby hopefuls.

04 Mar 2014 9:05 PM

Lazmanick: I'll be watching your highly favoured Schoolofhardrocks but I think that California Chrome is going to be the new buzz horse and the 'king pin' after he sparkles in the San Felipe. Good luck.

04 Mar 2014 11:33 PM
Tiz Herself

One colt whom I am looking to seeing run this weekend is Schoolofhardrocks who goes in the San Felipe Stakes. He is son of Kentucky Derby runner up and G1 winner Rock Hard Ten (whom I had the pleasure of meeting in 2010) and out of the Royal Academy mare Miss Chapin. Rock Hard Ten had an affinity for Santa Anita during his racing days winning the Strub Stakes, the Santa Anita Handicap, Goodwood Breeders Cup Handicap (now known as the Awesome Again stakes), and Malibu Stakes coming to mind. Miss seeing him in North America since he was sold to Korea.

I watch and re-watch Schoolofhardrocks maiden race on August 31 when he won at Del Mar... of course he'll have to get through California Chrome, Kristo, Midnight Hawk and Bayern

Schoolofhardrocks is trained by David Hofmans (of Touch Gold glory) who can forget Touch Gold denying Silver Charm the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown? Eagerly anticipate this guy's start in the San Felipe.

Steve what are your thoughts on Schoolofhardrocks?

05 Mar 2014 12:09 AM

Honor Code worked out this weekend, 59.18 Breezing at GP yet no word from Shug.  I would consider that an excellent workout.  Has Shug said anything?  Anyone know ?   I'd like to see him in the Rebel.

Baratti is nominated to the Spiral Stakes but so are 136 other horses.  I'm anxious to see where he'll run next.  

05 Mar 2014 1:01 AM

Superb list, Mr. Haskin. Your love of horses and the glorious sport of thoroughbred horse racing shimmers throughout your article. For the first time in years, I am really excited about the Triple Crown. I have no favorites; I just want everyone to cross the finish line safely.

05 Mar 2014 2:15 AM

PS: Imagine a horse named Spot winning the Derby. Ha ha!

05 Mar 2014 2:16 AM

Smoking baby, my list is looking awfully similar to yours (which is probably a bad omen for you...):

#1 - California Chrome - just a beautifully built horse with a fluid stride and a relaxed demeanor.  Everytime I watch his races, I go "Yup...that's my Derby horse"

#2 through #4 are tough to separate for me, but for now, it is Honor Code, Candy Boy and Samraat.

#5a - Top Billing - I agree that his performance in the FOY was sneaky good.  Great move to make up ground on a speedway.

#5b - General a Rod - mainly on pedigree and grittiness.  I think this is a tough horse who could make some serious noise going forward.  Hate the name, though.

05 Mar 2014 6:37 AM

Alex'sBigFan his trainer probably has a lot of stalls already paid for in S Florida.Also it might be easier to get his workouts completed down here where it wont snow but it can rain.

05 Mar 2014 8:07 AM
Tiz Herself

Correction RHT runner up in the Preakness

05 Mar 2014 8:20 AM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for this weeks Derby Dozen Steve, had a nice time watching last weekends preps and am looking forward to this weekend as well,  good luck to all.

05 Mar 2014 10:02 AM

Good morning Mr. Haskin. Am I missing something here? I don't know. You see, after reading an article you wrote on the horse -Wildcat Red-and his connections and then running to what we (BHF) blood horse followers read and witnessed, how can you or should I say, why did you dismissed him already. Maybe I misread something? Is there something you know that you don't want us(BHF) to know. Or is it that, you're not about to let the cat out the bag? No, not just yet....

05 Mar 2014 10:06 AM

1) Cairo Prince  Possesses "Separation Speed"!

2) Noble Moon    Looks like a true "Grinder"

3) Top Billing   Too Obvious

05 Mar 2014 11:17 AM
Diamond Jim

Yo,Steve, I love the Prince but in checking his DI

I found his profile to be 7.00..Scary. Your comment


05 Mar 2014 11:51 AM
Steve Haskin

Othello, dont confuse a horse having a good story and winning the Kentucky Derby. There are 12 spots to fill and there's always going to be people wanting to know why a certain horse is not on there. If it was Top 20 list and I ranked him 14th, would that mean I did not dismiss him? Is there really a difference between #12 and #14? Also, because the horse was impressive going 1 1/16 miles on a speed favoring track does not mean he's going to like 1 1/4 miles, especially if he's by d'wildcat. I'm not saying he wont go 1 1/4 miles or that he wont win the Derby. There simply are horses I like better at 1 1/4 miles.

Diamond Jim, dosage chef-de-race sires havent been updated by Steve Roman for as long as I can remember, unless he's doing it surreptitiously. Dosage to me has become totally irrelevant with each generation of new sires. Dosage has seen its time, and that time has long passed.

05 Mar 2014 12:00 PM
Smoking Baby

Stones.  Too funny.  I was thinking the same thing (bad omen for YOU).  I'm just a fan and very possibly the worst handicapper there is.  If you own a horse you DO NOT want him to be my win bet.  It's the kiss o' death.  I have fun trying though.  Silver Charm and Swale were my last two Derby winning picks. 'Nuff said.

05 Mar 2014 12:54 PM

any particular reason my comments are not being aired?

05 Mar 2014 1:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Redmangeorge, this is the first comment I've seen from you.

05 Mar 2014 2:34 PM
steve from st louis

Steve, It seems like it gets harder every year to make an intelligent case for Derby horses when the way of the world now is to race these babies less than five times before the first Saturday in May of their 3-year-old year. There is less and less to handicap; less and less information to make an informed decision on who has the goods. We are all guessing more and more.

In Secretariat's 1973 Derby, Big Red was running his 13th race, runner-up Sham was facing the starter for the 11th time and 3rd-place finisher Our Native was running his 24th race. Boy, has the game changed.

05 Mar 2014 2:43 PM
steve from st louis

Steve, I believe you are also wrong about Roman updating his chef-de-race and dosage numbers. For example, A.P. Indy and Awesome Again are both listed as both intermediate and classic, Giant's Causeway at classic and Danzig at I/C. This was as of October, 2013. I find dosage to be more relevant than ever before because there is so little evidence of these horses running on the track that you have to lean even more on pedigree when handicapping a horse with less than say 10 starts.

05 Mar 2014 2:50 PM
Steve Haskin

Steve, you would think one stallion would have been added since giant's causeway. That was 14 years ago. A.P. Indy 22 years ago. There are only a handful of A.P. Indy sons even left, so you realize only two or three of all the chef-de-race stallions are currently sires of 3-year-olds and one of them is pensioned. I see so many horses who are bred for stamina these days have a high dosage and speed oriented horses with low dosages. Every person to his own means, but I never look at dosage anymore. Means little or nothing to me.

05 Mar 2014 4:16 PM
lunar spook

STEVE FROM ST.LOUIS- You make a very valid point , these horses today are so lightly raced its hard to evaluate them at all , and makes you wonder if most of them are even good enough to be in the derby , in my opinion this is THE SINGLE BIGGEST reason we haven't had a triple crown winner in 35 yrs !!!

05 Mar 2014 5:22 PM

Hi Steve,

This is perhaps not relevant beyond this weekend (though it could become so down the road, if he remains on the Derby trail going forward), but I wonder if you have any thoughts on California Chrome's post this Saturday?  I know you're high on him, and I agree that he's been impressive of late, but in looking at some video I thought his race on Breeder's Cup weekend (one of only 2 dirt starts for him) might indicate he's not crazy about running down on the rail and/or catching kickback -- which it appears might be the hand he's dealt in the San Felipe.

05 Mar 2014 5:26 PM
food fight

So here is my updated top 6 for the Derby. 1st Honor Code he is training good and looks to still be the class of the lot. 2nd Untapable should her connections decide to run her . She has perhaps the best race of any 3 year old in a graded stakes and is [2 for 2 ] at Churchill including a grade 2 . 3rd Top Billing he was unlucky in his last when running into huge bias and 12 post, he's getting better with every start. 4th Bayern he appears to be the best shot Baffert has at the moment with the news of Indianapolis being on hold. And love the comments from hall of fame jock Stevens about the colt.5th Mexicoma very unlucky to run into such a speed bias, but once again he finishes strong. 6th Conquest Titan likes Churchill and if the track should come up muddy he will move way up.On the fence Candy Boy like Stevens comments about him.Intense Holiday like the fact he win a mile and an eight and seams to grind down the field. Indianapolis if he ever gets going i will move him into the top 3 he may be one of the most talented of the group. And lastly the horse under the radar after his last race Commissioner he had a huge excuse in the FOY stakes when running into huge speed bias and making several moves in the race looks like a grinder that will love the distance.

05 Mar 2014 6:03 PM
Steve Haskin

I would prefer to see California Chrome a little bit farther out, but it's better than 1,2, or 3.

05 Mar 2014 6:49 PM


Perhaps it is weather related for training.  But the colt won 4 of his wins at Aqueduct and 1 of his wins at Belmont, all in New York.  You'd think he would train on the track where he will be racing, it's still a bit perplexing but only Violette knows the reason.  I'd like to see how the colt races out of state but his next race is the Wood.  He's high point earner so far for the Derby I think with 60.  Maybe Samraat is just getting a well deserved mini vacation in Florida before he's back to the "rat race!"

05 Mar 2014 8:58 PM

Lunar Spook - I tend to agree with you that one BIG reason we cannot get a triple crown winner is the lack of races the horses have now days prior to the Derby.  The other BIG reason in my opinion, is the workouts.  If you look at the history of the past winners, they did NOT work 4-5 furlongs once a week with an occasional 6 F thrown in.  They worked much longer as a rule and more often, including often a 3F "lung opener" 1-3 days prior to a race. Today's horses simply do not have the conditioning to run 3 races in 5 weeks and I do NOT believe it's because they can't (claimers all over the country are running every 2-3-4 weeks just fine).  It is because today's trainers of the "big" horse are training for the breeding shed (probably under the direction of the owners who stand to make much more money upon retirement).  Until those things change I don't think we will see another triple crown winner.

05 Mar 2014 10:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Will Take Charge by 3 in the Big Cap. Bayern by a mile in the San Felipe. Wild Dude and Shakin It Up in the San Carlos in a close one, Cousin Stephen and Conquest Titan in a dogfight in the Tampa Bay Derby.

06 Mar 2014 7:22 AM

Alex'sBigFan put yourself in Violettes shoes he is in S Florida with his string of horses, and Samraat could be the colt that takes his career to another level.

Wouldnt you want to personally monitor him and his training in a place where he wouldnt miss a work because of weather, or would you leave your best horse up north in freezing weather.

I think you might be overcomplicating this, and yes I agree he might want to give him a break from the weather and stress of the track environment in New York before the real racing begins.

06 Mar 2014 7:29 AM
lunar spook

RACING FAN- You make some very valid points , the endurance and distance seems to bred out of our horses today and what you now have are speed merchants who run shorter distances and fewer races , however I do think their is still a triple crown runner out there , as we have come so close in the past years , but maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part cuz it would be so great for our sport !  BY THE WAY I LOVE HEAR THE GHOST THIS WEEKEND AY 20-1 IF THET SET FAST FRACTIONS UP FRONT ,LOOK OUT FOR THE GHOST COMING LATE !!!

06 Mar 2014 10:48 AM
Pedigree Ann

Racing Fan - you hit the nail right on the head. Campaigning for the breeder's shed. To keep the number of wins at a maximum, number of losses at a minimum. Failing to fully condition the horse for fear he will get hurt, ignoring the fact that unfit animals are more likely to be hurt than those who are fit (ask any human athlete).

06 Mar 2014 12:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   My pick in the 6th on Saturday at Tampa is Mighty Brown.

06 Mar 2014 4:07 PM


I love California Chrome.  He has shown so much improvement in his last two races and in Victor Espinoza has a jockey that knows how to win a race like the Derby.  His potential is unlimited based on his rate of improvement and the improvement in his closing times and that dominant attitude that he is now exerting.

However, not a lot of people are buying in at this time.  Mike Watchmaker doesn't have him listed in his top ten (maybe a good thing).  Like Schoolofhardrocks, the bandwagon just might be overflowing after this weekend, kind of reminiscent of the millions that picked Animal Kingdom to win the Derby, after the Derby was over of course.

I think that at some point this year Schoolofhardrocks is going to be at the head of the class.  The question is will it be on dirt, turf, or synthetics.  His disrespect by many at this time is reminiscent of the disrespect shown Will Take Charge at this time last year.  WTC was my Derby horse.  Kind of puzzling to me that he really didn’t show his true colors until after an equipment change.  Once he was on the right track he rose to the top of his division.  To me, both School and Chrome have that mystique and I feel that barring issues, we’re going to be hearing a lot about them this year.

06 Mar 2014 4:28 PM

Pedigree Ann, Racing Fan, Lunar Spook, etc.:

Re- Today's training practices, the Triple Crown, etc.,

I just plain disagree with your reasoning. Firstly, these stakes-quality horses are trained first, and foremost, with the goal of winning (or giving a good account of themselves), and not so much with the "breeding shed" in mind. Just as small example, notice that the elite-type geldings are trained in much the same way-ex. Wise Dan...Probable fact is that trainers today are more sophisticated and knowledgeable about how to properly train a racehorse than was the case before-somewhat similar to what has changed in human athletic training practices. I'm not suggesting that racehorse training still doesn't have a long way to go, but it's probably far more effective now than in the past. I also feel that current practices have not been a factor in the lack of Triple Crown winners recently. For that matter, all else equal, I think they increase the chances. And, by the way, would you make the same assertions as reason why there were no Triple Crown winners post 1948 until 1973?

06 Mar 2014 4:40 PM

Just in case you didnt know Baratti is back, and is running Saturday at Laurel in the Private Terms Stakes its the 8th on the card, and it has a purse of $100,000 to be contested at 9 furlongs.

06 Mar 2014 5:19 PM
Sail On

Steve Haskin wrote:

>dosage chef-de-race sires havent been updated by Steve Roman for as long as I can remember, unless he's doing it surreptitiously. Dosage to me has become totally irrelevant with each generation of new sires. Dosage has seen its time, and that time has long passed.<

The reason I brought up the issue of dosing is that I thought it had been soundly dis-proven. However, lengthy discussions of pedigree re speed vs distance back more than two generations continue to colour many discussions about which horse is best bred to win the Derby.I do believe pedigree is important, but I also see that training, conditioning, the jockey, track conditions, not to mention the horses will to win are all seriously important.

It may be that one horse who came in third last weekend is Derby material, while another is not, based on breeding, but I remain unconvinced.

I believe that is why we run the race!

I was going to hold off until after this weekend to draw up another list, but right not I like Wildcat Red, General A Rod, as well as Vicar's In Trouble, Intense Holiday, Samraat, Uncle Sigh, and my outlier would be Walt.

Injured horses, horses who have not been raced this year, are not on my list until I see something meaningful from them. However, I do enjoy all the chat about pedigree.

06 Mar 2014 5:46 PM
Fan of Damascus

Racing Fan and Lunar Spook,

I agree with both of you about how the limited starts by today's 3-year-olds often results in some pretty green horses vying for the TC - likely being a part of the TC drought we are experiencing.  

Even more, I feel the size of the field for the KY Derby hurts the chances of good horses.

Steve recently posted an excellent column about Little Current and his successes in the '74 Preakness and Belmont and his decent showing in the Derby.  That year's running of the derby was the centennial edition which brought out a record field of 23 which not only compromised the chances of Little Current but also the chances of Judger - my favorite horse that year (and one of three starters sired by Damascus in that year's running.)

I would like to see the Derby field capped at 16.

True, that size field would likely eliminate some speed horses with low-end Derby points who do provide the race with an honest pace.  What it would do, though is to lessen the impact the post position has on the race and how it is run plus eliminate some of the unwieldy number of horses who battle for position going in to the first turn at CD.

06 Mar 2014 6:36 PM


I do agree with you that Samraat could be the horse that takes Violette's career to another level and trying to see it as you said if Violette has to be in Florida with the rest of his stable then he should monitor Samraat himself personally.  Ok, point taken and perhaps I am being too critical and sensitive of the shipping, (which one of them just freaked and got injured on a plane?), still on the fence about it but you made some valid points too.

06 Mar 2014 7:19 PM
Plod Boy Phil

It looks like my comparison of Bayern to another one hit wonder, Tiz the Truth, is looking more and more spot on every day.

06 Mar 2014 8:42 PM

Dr. D :

San Felipe :  I like the jockey switch on Kristo from NakNak to Rosario.  I think he'll improve off a short rest and wins this one.  I also like Midnight Hawk, Recanted and Bayern for the Tri and Super.

Tampa Bay Derby : Sticking with my horse Vinceremos, glad to see him in the 6th hole which means he won't be stuck on the rail.  I'm anxious to see him run as I think he'll be tough in this race.  I think he's probably the class of the field here.   I'm worried about East Hall, I think this horse is legit so I'll probably put both on top for betting purposes but for my Derby Dozen, Vinceremos all the way.

Florida Oaks :  I've been waiting for her return and finally it's here.  Testa Rossi to win this easily, Miss Besilu gets up for 2nd and my long shots Istanford, Kitten Kaboodle and Interrupted to complete my tris and supers.  I'll probably do a cold $10 exacta on my top two and a $10 Double Testa Rossi / Vinceremos.

Santa Anita Handicap :  WTC wins another thriller, but this time, I feel he'll have to catch GoD and nip him at the wire.  MMM looked good with his workout but I think this race will be totally different than the classic as GoD will be able to dictate the pace.   If he still has the goods, he will take them much much farther before giving up (if he gives up).   This is probably the one race where you will get a decent price on GoD.  I'm hoping Hear The Ghost gets a small piece of the pie to complete my superfecta.   Just for kicks, I'll play a $2 superfecta straight :   WTC, GoD, MMM and HtG.

Good luck this weekend, hope you hit the big one !

07 Mar 2014 12:40 AM

Alex'sBigFan you must be a big backer of Samraat while PBP must want to really continue the discussion if his comparison of Bayern to another colt was valid, when at this point it is insignificant or moot.

07 Mar 2014 7:20 AM
food fight

Bad timing for a 1/4 crack, Bayern is up against it now. He will be pressed to garnish valuable points and will miss crucial training. Many very good horses have missed key races and or run in them with sub par efforts. Does Big Brown come to mind! So i am going to take him off my top 6 and place him on my watch list.Here is my new top 6 list. 1ST Honor Code class of the field no problem with the distance. 2nd Untapable if she runs, she will be a major force she loves Churchill [2 for 2] with a grade 2 win at the track and she has the best race of any 3 year old at this moment in her RA stakes win. 3rd Top Billing ran into a huge speed bias in his last, and keeps gaining the much needed experience of having to diversify during a race. 4th Commissioner his last effort much better than it seems. Had no chance do to the speed bias that day but gained a lot of experience having made several early moves on the rail to try and stay close . Not his style looking for big effort next outing.5th Mexicoma another that ran into a ridiculous speed bias but love the way he closes . 6th Strong Mandate got away bad in his last but closed some ground , concerned about the lead changes down the stretch. But he obviously has a ton of talent and is far to good looking a horse to leave off my top 6.  

07 Mar 2014 10:04 AM
The Bid


Downey has Shug quoted as saying HONOR CODE will ship to Oaklawn Park I believe on the 13th for his debut in The Rebel! Can't wait...

To those referring to lightly raced 3yr olds and the shipping of SAMRAAT back and forth...Evidently this colt ships well, not sure who it was but, someone was quoted saying that horses spend 80-90% of their energy getting warm in cold climate, so the ship makes sense in that regard. I understand but in the same context do not like it, how lightly raced colts are during prep season going into The Derby, let alone The Triple Crown Trail. Which in doing a little research, brings me to Violette and SAMRAAT!! His training methods are not the "norm" but the EXCEPTION! Here's why....Leading up to The Gotham after the Grueling Withers duel he breezed SAMRAAT 4 furlongs then 8 furlongs 3-4 times before going back to 4 furlongs and then breezed him a mile as his last workout before The Gotham! Seems to me... SAMRAAT is getting quite a good amount of foundation, not to mention the Grueling in-race experience ALL 3yr olds need before the SHOCK and AWE of EVERYTHING Derby Day has to offer regarding: Crowd, distance, pace and most of all The Attention in the mornings leading up to the race! Quite different to what has been the "norm" for the last 4 months! This colt can rate, can be on the lead, and ALL HE DOES IS WIN!!!!! This horse may not win on the first Saturday in May, but he DEFINITELY will hit The Board and should be included on Every exotic ticket!

Good Luck, and have a Great Weekend to ALL!!!

07 Mar 2014 10:40 AM
Jersey Girl


It was Bond Holder who was bruised on a plane while en route to the Risen Star...scratched. Connections were hopeful first to return him home (but he reacted poorly on the next plane ride and wound up in Florida) and then next to enter him in the Tampa Bay Derby, but he is now in a clinic in Ocala.

07 Mar 2014 1:13 PM

The Bid : Yes, read that over at the Downey.  I'll excited to see him race again but I'm not totally sold on him.  I'm sure someone will post that he will tower over the Rebel field and that he'll demolish them with ease but I'd like to see a couple of races before I put him on top.  If anyone can do it right by the horse, it's Shug so I'm hoping he's still the same horse as last year.

07 Mar 2014 1:46 PM

Ranagulzion, I really enjoyed the information and views you have shared regarding Wildcat Red; however, you left out a very important relative on his dam's side. Personal Ensign is  his maternal great dam. One could not hope for a classier great grandmother than that.

We can only hope that the current broodmare queens  will impart their brilliance to their heirs.

So many experts said said that Big Red could not get the distance, but they were only looking at his sire and his sire's family. His mother's sire, Princequillo, gave him the gift of his large heart.

07 Mar 2014 2:50 PM
Mister Frisky

Honor Code going Wed at Gulfstream in an allowance race.Gonna be 1 to 9.Just a paid workout to scare off a few down the road.

07 Mar 2014 5:39 PM

In Shugs World of owners a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.Now let me interject my opinion as when Im at the track nobody takes money outta my pocket and bets with it or  taps on my keyboard when Im on MY ADW account.

Top Billing has proven to be a good allowance horse thus far, Mr speaker has proven to be a good turf horse.

Honor Code has proven to be a graded stakes winner on dirt at 9 panels.In Shugs world of owners its easier to bring HC back close to his form as 2yo in one race than it is to get Top Billing to close out the speed and pressers at Gulfstream in the Florida Derby or ship him to a track where supposedly he will have a better chance to win.Or to get Mr Speaker a race on dirt where he can excel, and prove he belongs,he can probably do this on AW,but Im writing about dirt tracks.

07 Mar 2014 5:53 PM

Sorry about that Steve, I had thought I'd entered comments correctly, guess not.

My comments were to the effect that Honor Code, being a head, or another yard, away from being undefeated against two of the best horses on the derby trail is pretty telling.

He looks the part of a special horse, and I believe he would have been the Futures #4 favorite had he gone to the Rebel, now he's going in an allowance race at Gulfstream on Wednesday, which he should win easily, but it won't be enough to make him the Futures favorite, but should show he's ready to roll.

I still have hope for one of my early (longshot) favorites: Noble Moon, he is back in training; looking at the Wood Memorial. Where he will complete my exacta with Honor Code.  

07 Mar 2014 6:43 PM

Wicked Strong bullet works at Palm Meadows, back to NY.

What's his DI?

07 Mar 2014 6:50 PM
Steve Haskin

Wicked Strong hasnt worked since his last race on Feb. 22.

07 Mar 2014 8:41 PM


I am not exactly leading the Samraat bandwagon yet, I just like the colt and respect his state of undefeatedness.  He seems to know the deal.  I like to think in "horse first" mentality and sometimes question fitting the horses into human agendas.  But I am hoping Samraat is having a nice time in Florida and Violette made a right move.  Hope Samraat comes back very energized and makes "ratattatui" out of the Wood.

Bond Holder get well soon.

07 Mar 2014 11:44 PM

If he's all set and ready to go and Shug feels good about him, why skip the Rebel ?  If he's as good as everyone else thinks, wouldn't it make sense to get the points in the Rebel ?  I'm not sure what the Alw race would do except give him another workout.  Shipping to Oaklawn and running in the Rebel gives him a chance to run at the track.  He'll have to ship there anyway to run in the Arkansas Derby.   I'm the last person to question Shug but I'm just worried that he might not make the points, now that he only has the Arkansas Derby as an option.

08 Mar 2014 5:00 AM

Lazmanick: I have very high regard for your views and thats why I'll be watching Schoolofhardrocks with interest. I do believe however that Caifornia Chrome is a very good one and ready right now to shine (pardon the pun). His sire, Lucky Pulpit, has only had moderate success (Rousing Sermon comes to mind) but like Wise Dan's sire Wiseman's Ferry, for example, this could be his breakthrough progeny ...California Chrome in the San Felipe.

In the other Derby prep race Conquest Titan should confirm his superior class in the Tampa Bay Derby ahead of stablemate Matador and East Hall.

TerriZ: I agree with you about Wildcat Red. Personal Ensign's influence flows through his broodmare sire Miner's Mark and it may still be too early to write off his sire D'Wildcat as an exclusively sprinter producing stallion. I think that D'Wildcat's pedigree makes him more likely to throw a router than Into Mischief, sire of Vicar's In Trouble. Wildcat Red should be followed until he falters with distance ...that hasn't happened yet.

08 Mar 2014 7:12 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   With Honor Code potentially going to The Wood, that race is REALLY going to be a humdinger !!!!  Maybe the most humdingiest of them all but the other big races are shaping up to be humdingers also. All of them are almost here and it is exciting. Woohoo !!!!!!

08 Mar 2014 8:43 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

How many dogs will be named Spot if Spot wins the Triple Crown? How many kids will be named after him?

08 Mar 2014 8:56 AM
darwin caranza



08 Mar 2014 11:55 AM

Well....Top Billing is out, Bayern has a bruised quarter and missing a big race and poor Bond Holder, bless his heart, may never recover from that traumatic plane ride to ever race again. I so hope that this is just not the beginning of a series of events that will take out more of these 3 year olds.

08 Mar 2014 2:34 PM

What a bummer.  Another one hurt.  Looks like Shug will stay and run Honor Code in the Florida Derby now.  This isn't shaping up to be a very sound crop, all starting with New Years Day.

08 Mar 2014 2:56 PM

I've said previously I was intrigued by California Chrome.  I am now officially wowed by this colt.  I only needed to see if he could be as dominant in open company, as against Cal-breds, and boy, did he blow away the San Felipe field today.  

08 Mar 2014 5:25 PM


Congrats on your touting California Chrome.  A simply awesome performance, the second fastest running of the San Felipe at 8.5F since 1952.  This guy should now rise to the top of the Derby eligibles and be favorite.  As for Schoolofhardrocks, I’m not giving up on him yet.  He showed some close on the turn then hung (or the top two ran away from him) in the stretch.  I wasn’t sold on his blast out of the gate and in looking at the replay he was abnormally wide and for no reason on that far turn.  Could have been a little short for such a tough race, only his second lifetime and first in 7 months.  Or maybe he really will turn out to be a turf horse.  No getting away from the class of California Chrome though.  He’s a very serious race horse and is now at the top of my Derby list.

08 Mar 2014 5:26 PM

ooops; submitted by mistake before finishing my comments.  The only disappointment was the defection of Bayern, which would have provided a better yardstick, but I think I'll use the race time as my yardstick and just accept the fact that California Chrome is a serious Derby contender.  140.2 final time, really just in a gallop and still pulling away from Midnight Hawk.  I'm hoping he stays healthy.  Already lost Top Billing off of the trail today and I think the fact Shug is sending Honor Code to an allowance race instead of to the Rebel.  Love the horse, love the connections, but I can only take that as a negative.

Waiting on the Tampa Bay Derby now, though I'm not expecting a top prospect to come out of that race.

08 Mar 2014 5:32 PM
Steve Haskin

California Chrome is more of a freak than even I thought he was. Guess where he's heading on the Derby Dozen?

08 Mar 2014 5:36 PM

What an unbelievable performance by California Chrome. He was really motoring and seemed to do it so easily. I agree, Steve, it was freakish. Will definitely have him near the top of my list.

08 Mar 2014 5:44 PM

Steve Haskin like I wrote on one of these blogs, I like your Derby Future bet on CC at 32-1,right before he exploded.I hope you boxed him in exactas with several.

I am not a Beyer methodologist per se but when one of the figures is well above the others, I pay attention.I think that will be the highest Beyer to date for the 3yos on dirt over a mile.

08 Mar 2014 6:59 PM

Oh It was on this blog March 3 at 5:31PM.Only negative I see Steve is the same one I wrote about, on the Timeform blog,the one on getting a fast dry track like he ran on today on the day of the KD.

08 Mar 2014 7:03 PM
Smoking Baby

Big races by both California Chrome and Game On Dude today.  California Chrome and Saamrat may not be Derby winners but you've got to admit that both the NY bred and Calbred both bring their lunchbox, clock in and come to work on race day.  Off topic I know but it would appear that Game On Dude can in fact beat good horses that are not based in Southern California.  Many of us already knew this.  

08 Mar 2014 8:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Although the dirt times were fast at SA today I think we saw three freaks and it was good to see Sahara Sky and Game On Dude show that they still have it. Sahara Sky is the best miler in the country. Game On needs to run the Classic as a second or third race off the layoff with his race prior to the Classic being about a month out. Another freak and the OMG moment for me was Palace Malice coming back for the win after it looked like Golden Ticket would win for sure. Will Take Charge ran his heart out again and the top two annihilated the rest of the field. How many times would Will Take Charge lose a 10f race running like that? Maybe three in 30 years? My new Derby Dozen.

1. Intense Holiday

2. Honor Code

3. Cairo Prince

4. Candy Boy

5. California Chrome- He looked really good. Not convinced yet about 10f though but maybe I should be?

6. Samraat

7. Constitution

8. Spot

9. Bayern

10. Uncle Sigh

11. Commissioner-Deserves another chance on a different track.

12. Wildcat Red- Not sure of 10f but he's a runner for sure, could surprise in the Florida Derby.

08 Mar 2014 9:11 PM
Matthew W

KUDOS to Mr Haskin for recognizing the fluid action of one California Chrome, and including him despite his obscure breeding! It's not his fault it was a highway out there today, it was hot and so was he! Los Al has that long stretch, also it"s much deeper than Santa Anita, so horses get fitter training over there! Methinks more good horses are going to head to the OC now that Chromey kicked some blueblood booty out there today! Maybe we box the NY and Cal breds this year!

08 Mar 2014 9:28 PM
Mister Frisky

Steve curious to what you thought of Conquest Titans 4th today,I'm not sure what to make of him.His action looked good but was that a 4th he can move forward on.Cant wait for the big horse on Wed.

08 Mar 2014 10:01 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

My friend Steve, now you can see why running so often with out a rest and with out having a 2 year old foundation can be detrimental to try to win this race,brother are General A Rod,Cairo Prince etc potential derby winners? well i think it is possible on paper but can you ask pedigree Ann to explain about this confusion pleas?.  

08 Mar 2014 11:23 PM

Great race from California Chrome. With all the injuries going on - Samraat is looking better and better. He is fit and can win.

08 Mar 2014 11:34 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

When people play the derby some tend to fallow pedigree and historical trends and i don't blame them for this but pay attention to class,distance and class are very different but class can out ran the distance when the row ability is present and the pace is favorable so to change this opinion and talk about the dosage system if Unbridled was name a classic chef de race and not an intermediate chef de race Cairo Prince may have the right dosage to look better then he shows with 2 points in the classic wing, Unbridled did sire a derby winner and a Belmont winner  and a number of extraordinary runners for me a better sire then A P Indy but when you die young like his sire Pappiano you din't have the time to show your real value as a sire,well Dr Roman is great but i think he has made some errors in the attitudinal classifications,do you remember when he did name Alydar A classic chef-de-race after Strike The Gold won the derby? well i do have my own dosage system and i do feel that the second dam is more important then the first,i hope a change because my money is all ready bet.      

09 Mar 2014 12:32 AM

What in the name of Mike Ditka did we witness today??? California Chrome was out of the gate like a kid outta bed on Christmas morning!  My heart was racing to begin with anticipating the race and then I saw the half mile fraction of 45 & change so I let my heart out a notch and it was really pumping thinking CC was going to burn out but he wasn't fazed!!  Oh my!!!  What a story with Art Sherman.  I'd love to see the fairy tail come to life!

09 Mar 2014 1:06 AM

Steve, to add another note on CALIFORNIA CHROME, from what I saw, Espinosa shut it DOWN at the 1/16th pole and we STILL saw 6.65.  He appears a mechanical marvel!

Also, regarding the BIG CAP, I'm sure it'll be serious Beyer on GAME ON DUDE, however, my gut tells me team HEAR THE GHOST knew they weren't going to win this race so they pumped a lung buster into him for this race with eyes on the future.  If so, I'm totally on board because I love this horse!

I didn't see the TB Derby so what happened with CONQUEST TITAN???

09 Mar 2014 1:49 AM

On the far turn as MIDNIGHT HAWK gets ½ length of CAL CHROME…

"Sup, CHROME?"

"How you doing, HAWK?"

"Great to see ya, HAWK.  Would love to hang but gotta go!  See ya!"

09 Mar 2014 3:03 AM

That was a freakintastic performance by California Chrome.  Art Sherman has himself a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender, I was in awe watching him toy with Midnight Hawk.  To go 1:09, 1:33 and still win in hand is just phenomenal.

I'm quite disappointed with Vinceremos, beaten by loose on the lead horse.  He'll have to go to Florida or Arkansas to get the points now.

I'm not sure why Hear The Ghost tried to go with Game On Dude, I was literally scratching my head.  I knew after he put away HtG that he's home free, WTC wasn't going to catch him.

09 Mar 2014 3:07 AM

Steve, you don't have to post this comment but I played CAL CHROME in slow motion on my DVR when he was coming into the winner's circle and I froze it at a point where his rear end was barely out of the picture.  

I'd love for you to comment on what you think when you see the base of his neck and his shoulders!  He toyed with that field!!!

09 Mar 2014 3:23 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

If the star don't win they will have the ghost to destroy your dreams like Animal Kingdom 2d place finisher,the Apollo Baffert and last year Louisiana derby Derby also ran 2d,so tell me what yo did after i beat you i only need one more race it is very risky but you understand what i'm talking about?.

09 Mar 2014 3:54 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve What do you think about Lucky Pulpit? because i don't now what to think.

09 Mar 2014 4:09 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Future great sires,Top Billed,Honor Code,Strong Mandate,C.Titan,commissioner etc. but  the 2014 derby is now what do you think about the derby trends for this year? i think California is in trouble but you never know,can you talk about the Gulfstream fast track this year? i think the problem is not the track the problem is in the class,one more prep and not more excuse the great Swell had it in a sloppy track but he was Swell.  

09 Mar 2014 5:09 AM

What a joy it was to watch California Chrome romp in the San Felipe!  Bring on "the Boy"!  Imagine what a race the Santa Anita Derby will be if we have CC, Candy Boy and Bayern in it?!?!

You saw this one coming from a mile away, Steve.  He's done nothing to dispel your initial impressions of him.

09 Mar 2014 5:57 AM

Hi Steve, What a great day for racing yesterday from coast to coast. California Chrome was spectacular and Palace Malice showed such grit and heart to win on his debut. Spectacular race. Lastly, Bobby's Kitten with a spectacular debut. He is a favorite of mine and I do believe he is ON the Derby Trail. Next will be the Bluegrass. He has brilliant speed and Castellano appeared to have kept him in hand the whole way yesterday. Love to know your thoughts on his pedigree for the Derby. Love your Derby write ups , they simply are the BEST!

09 Mar 2014 7:44 AM
Linda in Texas

JayJay - glad Game on Dude proved you right in the comment you posted about him re The Santa Anita race March 7, 12:40 am. He didn't give up! He beat two of the most respected horses give or take several and disputing his effort will be a real test for anyone who takes his win on whether he was on his home turf or not.  I think Game on Dude had his ears tuned to the great fans at Santa Anita who were cheering him on. I was screaming Mikey let him run, just let him run a few thousand miles away and he did!

California Chrome looked super, his coat shines in the sunlight just like Secretariat's did. I love this sport and Thanks Steve.

09 Mar 2014 10:49 AM
Pedigree Ann

Mister Frisky - MY opinion on Conquest Titan was that he needed to get out off the rail sooner, even if he had to lose ground. Big striding horses need some space to work up to full speed and not be checking every few strides. Pilot error, IMHO.

09 Mar 2014 11:38 AM

While off-topic for the Derby Dozen; I've just got to give a shout out to Game On Dude. What a tremendous performance!  The Ghost tried to push him; no go.  Than MMM gets to his flank with WTG just to his outside; 132 and change mile and I think the Dude will be swallowed up, but, no, he kicks away and sets a new stakes record.  Just plain super, no matter how fast the track was playing.

BigTex; I don't think any trainer uses a Grade 1 race as a "lung buster" looking to the future.  I'm more inclined to think Hollendorfer told the jock to put pressure on Game On Dude and not to let him lose on the lead.  Why he'd take his own horse totally out of his game and ruin any chance he had to hit the board, I don't know, unless there is some bad blood between Baffert and Hollendorfer.  But from my perspective, the Ghost's early run was all about trying to compromise the Dude.

09 Mar 2014 12:53 PM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

I watched the first 6 races closely at Tampa Bay to get a feel for the track, and there was an extreme bias down on the rail. Bridgmohan knew it and kept him there for a good reason. The horses who had the rail at the top of the stretch were drawing off or closing well. It happened all day. I was torn between Ring Weekend and Conquest Titan as I mentioned on the live blog, but I'll give you one guess who I bet. Down the road, Conquest Titan will do better. I'll be curious to see where he goes. He's a better horse next out and maybe they'll send him to Keeneland. That would be my guess and my recommendation.

09 Mar 2014 12:58 PM

Pedigree Ann since 2009 how many KDs have been run over the same type of tracks that you get regularly at Santa Anita and Gulfstream?

Conquest Titan only has 9 points,but IMHO I only expected him to have 5 more after the TB Derby.He will run again anyway, and Im not so sure they were not trying him on the inside to see how he runs because in the Holy Bull he rallied outside of horses.All of this conjecture of course is dependent on him continuing on the derby trail.BTW the reason I asked about the track condition on KD day is I think Conquest Titan moves up on an off track, and his new running style also helps him on an off track.Speed does not hold at 10 furlongs at Churchill for 3yos making their first start at the distance on an off track.The best hope was in 2012 when the track was as close to what they run on in California and SURPRISE it was a Cali exacta.CaliforniaChrome fans dont forget Bode ran his 109 Beyer in Arkansas at 9 furlongs, on the track insiders have stated most resembles the ground at Churchill,at least when its dry.

09 Mar 2014 1:10 PM

Steve - Gotta love the KY Derby Future Wagers, especially when they go right. I have California Chrome at 30-1 from KDFW Pool 2 and boxed him in exactas with Strong Mandate and Conquest Titan as well as boxing him with the field. The field bet should give me at least 10 contenders plus Strong Mandate and Conquest Titan. Hoping that Conquest Titan can get in the derby, he only has 9 points. He will need to get 3rd or better in his next race, thinking they will run him in the Fla Derby next, he ran a solid Holy Bull, and the 1 1/8 should suit him fine. You were spot on with California Chrome Steve. My #1 California Chrome, #2 Strong Mandate. I wouldn't be surprised if you bolt California Chrome to #1 on your Derby Dozen after that performance. I am looking for a big performance from Strong Mandate in the Rebel, a 2nd or 1st will get him in the Derby. With Honor Code out of the Rebel, Strong Mandate's big competition should be Tapiture. Looking forward to you zooming Strong Mandate up your list, close to California Chrome, after the Rebel. It's all about beinhg in form, and having the pedigree on KY Derby Day. Hoping to get at least 20-1 on California Chrome in KDFW Pool 3 to put a win bet on him. 15-1 may be more realistic odds, but I can hope.

09 Mar 2014 1:32 PM

Trough all this who scared of Coldfacts??

On a serious note; Steve when you say a Horse is a Freak that is a very heavy statement..

Almost to the point I wont even try to beat him come Derby Day if he has no set backs..

09 Mar 2014 3:14 PM

KY Vet: In my view Shared Belief is a "special one" capable of smashing to smitherines your 'rule' about 4 works and being thrown to the wolves in the final Derby prep.  My friend, Shared Blief is both wolf and top dog rolled into one. Lets respectfully await his 3YO debut.

The Bid: I think that, with Top Billig off the Derby Trail with an injury, we are left with only three colts/gelding capable of sweeping the Triple Crown series ...Honor Code, Shared Belief and California Chrome.

I had my doubts about Shared Belief's stamina to get the Belmont Stakes distance but upon examining his pedigree more closely I've observed that stamina runs deep on the Dam side (second dam, Sown, is inbred to Hyperion 5X5X5X4) and stretching out to 12 Furlongs successfully shouldn't be out of the questionfor him. Furthermore, his sire, Candy Ride's broodmare sire, Candy Stripes (sire of Invasor), also carries inbreeding 6x6x6 to Hyperion. Some skeptics of pedigree analysis will scoff at the value of going so far back but when you see the calibre of horse that Shared Belief has shown himself to be there's always more than meets the eye in the blodlines.  

09 Mar 2014 4:14 PM

The Bid: I should've added Bobby's Kitten as a fourth potential Triple Crown series sweeper. He had a nice pipe opener on the Tampa Bay turf course which should set him up to be a major contender off his next effort. He has the quality, foundation and pedigree to go all the way. he only needs to answer the "dirt" question.

Lazmanick: Schoolofhardrocks ran encouragingly off the layoff and looks like a good colt. His next outing will tell a lot ...he certainly deserves to be followed closely.

09 Mar 2014 4:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Linda in Texas

   Steve was right when he said that Game on Dude would win this time since he was being disrespected. Jayjay was right that Game On was going to be really tough all the way to the wire. I think some other people were right about some things too. I don't think I was right about anything but every dog has his day. I'm becoming a big fan of Spot. I'd like to see him win The Derby at big odds so they can write the headline- "Every dog has his day !!!!"  According to there have been 19 horses named Spot. I wouldn't mind seeing Nick Zito win either, or the 90 year old owner. Nick Zito is always a breath of fresh air and it sounds like the owner is also. Speaking of breath of fresh air, where is "Slew" (the spunky blog poster)? Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks or a new dog old tricks? Like winning The Derby !!!!  Go Spot go. See Spot run. Did you see Spot run? Wow. He's even faster than my dog and my dog is really fast. I like Spot's pedigree also. He's got it all. I like him even if he is a horse with a dog's name. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever met a dog named Spot. Hmmmm.

09 Mar 2014 5:46 PM

Steve, California Chrome confirmed that he is the 'wow' horses of the moment, but things can, and often do, change rather rapidly on the march to the first Saturday in May, 2014. Is Ring Weekend a legit Kentucky Derby horse - 50 points says yes.

I believe Churchill Downs will have to modify the points system a bit, I don't think prep races for the Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Florida Derby et al should be granted enough points that will basically enable the winners of those 'preps' an immediate start in to the Kentucky Derby.

Honor Codes' return race this Wednesday will be more than interesting.

09 Mar 2014 7:08 PM

After yesterday's race and the unfortunate news about Top Billing, here is my new derby dozen:

1. Honor Code

2. California Chrome

3. Kobe's Back

4. Samraat

5. Commissioner (I can't give him up just yet)

6. Strong Mandate

7. In Trouble

8. Bayern

9. Cairo Prince (he would be higher but his pedigree is questionable

10. Candy Boy (questionable pedigree

11. Mexicoma

12. Conquest Titan (he should improve with distance

09 Mar 2014 7:33 PM

I told you guys that California Chrome was in great physical shape leading up the race! Gotta love this...a 77 year old trainer who has not been on Derby trail but once with Swaps as a teenager...2nd fastest time in history and by a stallion with a $2800 stud fee.  

09 Mar 2014 8:30 PM

I can understand why many regard California Chrome as a "now" horse and may highly rank him on their Derby list. I don't share that view. I question the quality of horses he's defeated-on the day he defeated them-, and was not in awe of his winning time-the dirt track was lightning for the San Felipe. For this horse to be as good as some believe, he must have made an ultra dramatic improvement from 2 to 3. I suppose it's possible, but highly unlikely. I'll stick with several other California 3 yr. olds for now-let's see how California Chrome competes against them-assuming he will?  

09 Mar 2014 8:49 PM

sceptre :  The San Felipe field is probably the toughest california field he'll ever face.  I don't see anyone else except Candy Boy and if CC stays healthy, the race will be over by the time they hit the home stretch.  He won in 1:40 for can you not be impressed by that ?   This from a horse running his first race as a 3 yr old.   You can be impressed by a horse' one race without declaring him the triple crown winner or even the Kentucky Derby winner like other people do.   He may turn out to be a one hit wonder horse but looking at other california horses, not much stands in his way to win the Santa Anita Derby.   Does he win the Kentucky Derby ?   I wouldn't bet the farm on it.   I like that he's the now horse, and I hope he wins the Santa Anita Derby by a mile, I want him to put on a show out here on the West Coast because that means he will take all the money in the Kentucky Derby, he'll be the overwhelming favorite and that means the odds of the other contenders will go up.

10 Mar 2014 1:22 AM

sceptre : My bad, it was his 2nd race as a 3 yr old.

10 Mar 2014 3:49 AM

One good thing about the KD futures wager is that their are 24 betting interests and the all others entry gets the money everytime.California Chrome could still be used by bettors that already have combinations in play at a lot better price than what they will get on the day of the race.Its all about building slowly and not putting all your eggs in one basket because the Florida Derby and the Louisiana Derby are the  ONLY 100 point races that in the past were seen by the futures players before the betting period was complete.The way they have started the betting this year on a Thursday and closed it BEFORE the prep that week gives me the inclination to think they will close the last pool before either race is run.So the bet will be blind FOR ALL 100 point races.Inotherwords you wont see any of them run their last prep before the race.As far as Shared Belief if he dosent run in the Spiral where his stablemate Tammarando is going to run as reported, I think he will not run.Thinking any colt even Shared Belief can run in the KD using only one prep on AW like in the Blue Grass and then run his first on dirt in the Kentucky Derby is wishful thinking.Hate to say I told you so but Top Billing wasnt Shugs best hope.In the race that Commissioner beat him Hy Kodiak Warrior ran 3rd and was bet down to 2nd choice in the Tampa Bay Derby and ran up the track,unless Commissioner comes back and runs a gasser to me, Top Billing was 11-1 in the last futures the same as Honor Code based mostly on media hype.

10 Mar 2014 8:54 AM
Pedigree Ann

Ranagulzion - While being loaded with Hyperion back in the pedigree is probably a good thing generally, it has become part of the breed-wide background. There are sprinting claimers with as much or more Hyperion in them, especially in California, where Alihai and Khaled left many sons and grandsons.

I prefer to look at the closer generations and the damside of Shared Belief is a bit iffy for the Derby distance. Fourth dam Rich and Rare II was champion 2yo filly, wins at 5-8f. Third dam Bad Seed was a tough mare, won or placed in 23 of 44 starts, SW at 4 on turf at a mile; her sire Stevward may have been a son of Nashua, but he never won past 6f. Second dam Sown raced only at 2, won 2 of 3 sprints; her sire Grenfall won up to 10f on turf in Ireland, while his best offspring Grenzen was a miler on the main track.

Sown's best offspring was the Flying Paster filly Key Phrase, a G1 sprint winner at 7f and dam of the stakes-class sprinters Yankee Gentleman and Key Deputy. And Common Hope, the dam of Shared Belief, won only a sprint, too. Her sire Storm Cat can sire distance horses, but in a fair fraction of his offspring, the Terlingua-Crimson Saint side of pedigree dominates.

Now Candy Ride was a very fast horse who stayed 10f in top company; he has already sired a Big 'Cap winner in Misrepresentation as well as Twirling Candy, who was beaten heads and necks in the Pacific Classic and Hollywood Gold Cup, so a Derby winner by him would not surprise.  

The major question must be "will the distance limitations of the damline be overcome by the sire?" We won't know until he tries 10f.

10 Mar 2014 10:52 AM
The Bid


I am with U on one SHARED BELIEF....Cannot be ignored, only those who doubt him will be missing out on something SPECIAL. BRONTEXX questions his ability to make the Derby not running on Dirt prior to, but he has clearly forgotten ANIMAL KINGDOM! Not only did he also make a very late debut at 3, but he also didn't run on dirt till the Derby. Recent history makes his assumption regarding SHARED BELIEF a mute point. With regard to a Triple Crown Winner what are your questions and or hesitations with SAMRAAT??? Mine would ONLY be can he be versatile enough to come from off the pace, he clearly has shown a lot of early speed where that may not be an issue even if he draws outside! He has also won at Belmont as well, I know it was not a mile and a half but he is familiar with the long turns and stretch!

CALIFORNIA CHROME....The NEW #1 and very much deserving! THAT was EYE-POPPING and from my perspective his stretch run drawing off MIDNIGHT HAWK was ASTONISHING to say the least!!! He is legitimate and I just have a feeling about him, his look, demeanor screams STAR!!!! After Steve mentioned him in the others segment in a previous Dozen, I watched his Cal Cup race and he was screaming for attention THEN, after the show he put on in that race! Looking forward to this weeks dozen, there is going to be quite a shake up and good banter for the days to follow!













10 Mar 2014 11:22 AM
Linda in Texas

Dr.D, i wondered why you were beating yourself up so badly. Now i know why, "WTC by 3" oh my! :) Don't feel too bad, you had lots of company. Tomorrow and tomorrow will be a new race! So better luck next time. BTW, Mr. Schiappa chided the HRTV folks that they did not even consider Dude a threat or even that he was in the race, so to speak. They fidgeted somewhat and found a bit of redemption in their answer, so you were not alone.

IMISSSLEW, WEMISSSLEW, WHEREISSLEW? A great mind is a terrible thing to waste.

10 Mar 2014 12:00 PM

sceptre: Take another look at California Chrome's pedigree and you should appreciate where his talent comes from. His sire, Lucky Pulpit (ideally underbred as per Coldfacts' theory which you make fun of :),is an AP Indy line stallion, inbred to stamina influence (big heart X-factor carrier, which you also scoff at :), Princequillo 6x6x5x5). On the dam side he's inbred to Buckpasser (source of the La Troinne influence) 5x5, not to mention Hyperion via Vaguely Noble and Northern Dancer. Watch this colt with amazement and perhaps reconsider some of your dogmas.

Coldfacts & Lazmznick: Whats your take on Game On Dude's Santa Anita tour d'force. It was a sensational run but I can't wrap my head around how he could put away a true-to-form, hard-charging Will Take Charge like that against the backdrop of his last three outings ...he even galloped out like he was ready to do another lap of the Santa Anita track ...a 7YO gelding?

What do you think has accounted for this "new lease on life" ...the pull he got in the weight allotment for the race or that he had only light challenge on the lead? I'm interested in your points of view.

10 Mar 2014 12:53 PM

Pedigree Ann: I appreciate very much your comments on Shared Belief's distance capabilities from a pedigree standpoint. In my approach, while taking into consideration the on track performances of the distaff side of the pedigree, I put more weight on the actual bloodlines of the broodmares in my analysis since unlike their male counterparts that sire dozens of offspring, each mare can only produce one offspring per year which might not truly represent/show her potential/propensity to throw offsprings that would outperform her in class and distance. Thusly, in observing Shared Belief's performances to date, he looks like a 3YO that has already out performed his female family's on track performances in class and distance. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to factor in the make-up of his pedigree in forcasting his potential to win at classic distances.

I find that in top class individuals there's invariably more to them than a cursory look at the first three generations. Secretariat, Holy Bull and more recently Union Rags (although we didn't get to see his full potential) come to mind.

10 Mar 2014 2:25 PM


California Chrome is extremely weakly bred, so if I were you I wouldn't be trumpeting his pedigree as an obvious reason for his apparent talent. His dam finally broke her maiden for 8k, and his 2nd dam, not much of a producer, broke her maiden at Charles Town. His sire, Lucky Pulpit, was a fair runner, and a decent Calif. sire, but his stud fee tells it all. The best part of Calif. Chromes dam's pedigree is found in the fact that she's 3x3 to Numbered Account, the best female runner I've ever witnessed. But, this inbreeding didn't enable her to be anything more than just a cheap claimer. You can go back a ways in any pedigree and find real quality, but it's influence is only very rarely a controlling factor. That said, no doubt California Chrome did inherit a relatively higher proportion of the better elements of his sire's and dam's genotype. Was this enough to enable him to be a really top runner? The odds are very much against it, but it's not impossible...Forget about that underbred stallion baloney, it's ludicrous; and please dismiss that X-factor heart-line nonsense. There is no scientific/genetic evidence to support that silly theory-and I challenge anyone to offer such evidence-remember what is my "definition" of evidence. You can believe what you want, but don't offer statements of fact where none exists.    

10 Mar 2014 2:34 PM

The Bid whatI implied is that if we dont see Shared Belief in the same race as Animal Kingdom last prepped the Spiral he wont make it and just prepping in the Bluegrass wont give him the racing he needs to even attempt the KD on dirt.Animal Kingdom had two races before the KD and the first was an allowance at Gulfstream Park where he finished 2nd,I think it is you that forgot that fact.If we dont see Shared Belief in the Spiral hes not running is the gist of what I posted and you apparently didnt understand.

10 Mar 2014 4:06 PM

Rangulization RE GOD lets keep it simple  it was pace and track.When he ran at the same track SA late in the year in the two previous Breeders Cups he couldnt get the lead as easily from the horses in those fields as opposed to the one yesterday.

And if you thought Gulfstream was speed biased for the FOY SA was a freeway for speed.

10 Mar 2014 4:15 PM

The Bid: Samraat is by a Storm Cat line stallion out of an Indian Charlie broodmare. This does not promise a great deal in terms of staying 10 furlongs in the Kntucky Derby where he is most likely to be stalking a torrid pace. For this reason he is not an elite Derby contender in my view.

10 Mar 2014 4:37 PM

sceptre: Concerning weak pedigree,I prefer to trust my own judgment. I wouldn't call a colt with a Rasmussen factor, inbred to Numbered Account on the dam's side, weak, given that his sire is fairly well bred and was himself no slouch on the track.

I remember some pedigree experts suggesting that Curlin's pedigree was weak on the dam side and that his sire Smart Strike was not reputed to be a sire of sires but look at the roaring start that Curlin is having to his stud career, outperforming his old triple crown rivals, Street Sense and Hard Spun in the breeding shed.  

10 Mar 2014 7:56 PM

Ranagulzion : So when it comes to Shared Belief, you're willing to go that far back....again to Hyperion to justify his chances winning the Triple Crown but with Samraat, you stopped with Storm Cat and Indian   What a joke...

10 Mar 2014 9:45 PM


You and I must live on different planets. By your criteria almost no horse would be deemed to have a weak pedigree...Also, Curlin's pedigree-both top and bottom-offers no comparison to that of California Chrome's. Lastly, Curlin's stud performance, thus far, is far from a "roaring success". Like I said, we must live on different planets.

10 Mar 2014 10:12 PM

sceptre: I dont think that we live on different planets ...its our understanding of weak pedigree. I classify pedigree in respect of classic distance vis a vis sprinter/miler orientation firstly of the first three generations then depending on the horse's race track performance and talent I may go deeper. Also interms of breeding potential I have to look deeper. I didn't that Curlin's pedigree was weak, neither for racing nor the breeding shed. in my view he's gotten off to a very good start throwing decent triple Crown aspirants in his first two crops (Palace Malice, Top Billing and Ride On Curlin come readily to mind).

I remeber reading your assessment of Dr Fager that he was not very stoutly bred and thought that to be a most ridiculous conclusion especially in view of the impact of Dr Fager's antecedents Rough and Tumble and Aspidistra (Holy Bull, Macho Uno and Mucho Macho Man come readily to mind).

Jay Jay: You clearly are more interested in trying to ridicule my views than gain understanding of pedigree analysis. My above response to sceptre should address your skepticism about my assessment of Samraat but I'm not holding my breath. You just watch for the outcome ...patience always wins out with you. Peace.

12 Mar 2014 9:46 AM

Ranagulzion : LOL, yes, that's my only purpose on this blog, to call you out, to ridicule you.  I plan my day around it actually, I sit in front of my computer all day waiting for you to comment and pounce on it!!!

So Trinniberg is a derby contender and Samraat is not ?  I remember you touting this horse taking the Derby all the way.   Just a simple question...

13 Mar 2014 12:10 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve,Rosario won like 5 races in one single card for M.Maker did you see how strong G.A.Rod did Gallop out after the fountain of youth ?  

13 Mar 2014 10:22 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve,Leo Azpurua is 85 year's old and want to win the derby whit a horse that has run twice in his life? I hope he ran big in the Fla Derby Dunkirk did it with just 2 races like him so it is possible.

13 Mar 2014 10:45 PM

Jay Jay: Be my guest ...only, try not to rehash old skirmishes that you came up on the wrong side of by using misrepresentaion. I do appreciate fairplay and I'll respond to your comments with pleasure. Back in the 2012 Derby Triniberg ran very well and made a telling contribution to the pace scenario as I forcasted. I know that you wanted Bodemeister to get a free ride on the front end ...sorry pal. I guess you're also upset that Triniberg qualified for the Derby under the superior graded earnings system ...get over it Jay Jay.

This year I've touted your favourite colt, Samraat in both his victories over Uncle Sigh. He's a quality miler in the making and I believe that he could fare better being pointed to the Preakness but I don't see him finishing in the frame in the Kentucky Derby because of the very high probability of stamina limitations according to my reading of his pedigree. You are entitled to your views but from the evidence so far, highlighted by your unrepentant classification of Belmont Stakes winner, Union Rags, as a miler I think that you have a lot to learn about pedigree analysis.

14 Mar 2014 2:50 PM

Ranagulzion :  Let's see :

You forecasted Trinniberg to win the Derby, I said he wouldn't hit the board :   You 0,  Me 1

You proclaimed Union Rags the Triple Crown winner in January, I didn't :   You 0, Me 2

You proclaimed Union Rags to win the Kentucky Derby, I didn't :  You 0, Me 3

You said he'll win the Belmont Stakes, I said no he won't :  You 1, Me 3

For someone who claims to have knowledge of pedigrees, your record doesn't quite support it.  I'll tell you why, you don't analyze pedigrees, you see what you want to see to justify picking horses 10 years in advance to win the Triple Crown because you're obsessed in being one that can predict triple crown winners.

Yes, Trinniberg made the Derby and took a spot from another horse that probably could've run better than him.  He beat 3 horses (meaning he finished 17TH!)   This is why the new points system works , no longer a speedster can get in off of one sprint race that earns them enough graded money.  Embrace the new points system, it works.

15 Mar 2014 4:05 AM

Jay Jay: Nice try ...but you're not very smart buddy ...again its plain for all to see. Your scoring is plain hocus pocus ...firstly, If I pick a horse to win who did you pick? ...secondly, how could I have picked Trinniberg and Union Rags to win the same race? (LOL).

Honor Code was my early fancy for the Kentucky Derby since his Champagne but now that I've spotted a potential super colt in Social Inclusion I think its quite okay to make the switch and to add Triple Crown winner to my forecast. Whats wrong with that?

I like the challenge of spotting the next great horse to sweep the Triple Crown series ...its by no means an obsession, just an aspect of the game that fascinates me and for which I have the skills (eat your heart out).

I'll patiently wait for the novelty of the points system to wear off and its inferiority to the graded stakes earnigs system to become abundantly clear ...should take maybe no more than two more seasons. Peace.

15 Mar 2014 2:10 PM

Ranagulzion : LOL at "not smart"... I'm actually smart, I don't guarantee triple crown winners in January.   And what skills are you talking about ?   How can you claim you have skills at picking Triple Crown winners ?   How many have you correctly picked?  Oh, that's right, NONE.   Just so you know, winning a Triple Crown means you have to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness together with the Belmont.   Winning the Belmont doesn't equal Triple Crown winner lol.

Are you denying saying that Trinniberg will win the Derby ?   I remember you posting that this horse has the potential to upset the derby, that he'll "surprise" everyone.   And by you proclaiming UR the triple crown winner means you have to pick him to win the Derby.  It's no surprise that you would pick someone else to beat your triple crown winner, you like to switch around to save face.   I didn't say my pick won and yours didn't, I said you picked Trinniberg to win the Derby and I said he won't hit the board…I was right, you were wrong.

If Social Inclusion somehow manage to win the Florida Derby, then I'll take a look at him.   Until then, he's an allowance horse who had no one to pressure him beating an off formed Honor Code.  Funny how now you're saying you're forecasting when you clearly said you're anointing him to be the one to break the TC drought…do you know what "anoint" means ?

It's very clear that you get excited anytime a horse romps, regardless of the race, the field etc.  A behaviour commonly seen with newbies.   There's a post in the recent dozen blog about Dreaming of Julia, have you read it yet?   You told me she'll come back to redeem herself, I'm still waiting pal…

You'll be waiting a long long time, nothing in the new points systems shows any issues.  The right horses are getting in Derby, you need to stop whining about it already.  Embrace it, it works.

16 Mar 2014 3:07 PM

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