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


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

What the heck. I just wish I had the chutzpah to put him up here last week after stating back on Feb. 3 he was the most impressive 3-year-old I’d seen this year. The simple fact is, this horse has run three flawless and brilliant races in a row and just keeps getting better. In the San Felipe, he wanted out of that gate so badly he got a bit antsy in there, and then broke like one of the Quarter-Horses he’s been stabled with at Los Alamitos. He has a great mind and has proven he doesn’t need the lead or even want it. He was just so much the best and Espinoza had his hands well down on the horse’s neck as he merely cruised through fractions of :45 2/5 and 1:09 2/5 before running everyone the ground. As I stated earlier, his lead change is so smooth, you can’t even see him switch, and, down the backstretch and the homestretch, he didn’t deviate an inch off his path. You cannot ask a horse to run any straighter, and he keeps his legs under him perfectly with no wasted action. Then he coasts home from the sixteenth pole to the wire under no urging and still gets a 107 Beyer. This is a horse who paired up “1”s on Thoro-Graph, and that was going into this race. So he has no concept of what a bounce is. In summation, this horse does everything like an exceptional horse and I see no one who deserves the top spot more than him. (See pedigree comments on him in Knocking on the Door).


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

Sometimes, you can stand tall and gain in stature simply by not moving at all. It’s looking more and more like McLaughlin did the right thing by passing the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and letting everyone knock each other out. He’s now inherited the role of Derby favorite on most polls, basically by taking it easy and turning in a series of half-mile breezes, with one sharp five-eighths in :59 4/5 tossed in. During that time we’ve lost Top Billing, Shared Belief, Havana, Indianapolis, and the promising Hartford and Mosler from the Derby trail, not to mention setbacks to Honor Code, Bayern, and Mexikoma, who have to play catch-up and have only one race to secure enough points to assure getting in the Derby. And what Cairo Prince has in his favor is that the Florida Derby seems to be setting up perfectly for his high cruising speed and his ability to sit off any kind of pace and pounce on the opposition. His pedigree doesn’t exactly shout 1 1/4 miles, but if he’s good enough I don’t think it’s going to hinder his chances to go that far under the right setup.


Honor Code Shug McGaughey

A.P. Indy—Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat

I have mixed feelings about his change of plans to run in a March 12 allowance race. On one hand, I can certainly understand why McGaughey would prefer not having to ship to Oaklawn. On the other hand, I’m concerned about him getting enough out of the race to have him battle tested come the first Saturday in May. He’s already had a physical setback, which you never want to see, and is fortunate to still have sufficient time and racing to be ready for a top effort in the Derby, especially with the foundation he built at 2. But do the brilliantly fast colt, Social Inclusion, with only one six-furlong maiden romp in his career, or the hard-knocking allowance horse We’re All Set have the class to even make Honor Code work up a sweat? McGaughey said he’d love a nice easy race in case he decides to run him back in the Florida Derby. But he’ll have to have a real stiff test in the Florida Derby to toughen him up for such an arduous test on May 3. He did have an excellent half-mile sharpener in :47 4/5 Sunday in case he needs to chase Social Inclusion, so perhaps this race will turn out well in the long run.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

It’s a good thing he’s unable to watch TV, because the San Felipe certainly wouldn’t have done much to boost his confidence for his upcoming clash with California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). He continued his steady works with a 5-furlong drill in 1:01 1/5. Like Cairo Prince and Honor Code and so many others, he’ll have only two Kentucky Derby preps, but at least he has a strong 2-year-old foundation. Sorry to say, at this point, I just don’t see much competition for the big two in California other than perhaps Chitu, who ran lights out against Candy Boy in the Lewis. I can’t see Baffert subjecting the lightly raced Bayern to a clash against these two and then trying to make the Kentucky Derby off only three career starts. So, right now, the pickins are pretty slim out there.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

Keeping sharp, with a half-mile breeze in :47 4/5, third fastest of 71 works at the distance. He just keeps improving. The Louisiana Derby is still three weeks away, but as of now, it looks like he’ll have Albano to catch again, and we’ll see if Hoppertunity returns. Many of the precocious 2-year-olds and fast early 3-year-olds are not around when they run for the roses, and that is why you have to appreciate a horse like this and the patient way he’s been handled by Todd Pletcher and owner Starlight Racing. Each race has been a progression, with the colt taking baby steps forward until he was ready to hit the big important races, and now he has catapulted himself onto the list of leading Derby contenders. If his one race, one step forward pattern continues, he should be ready for a peak effort on Derby Day, especially with the foundation he’s built along the way.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

This is the kind of horse you like more and more the closer we get to the big final preps. He’s sort of like the Arkansas version of Cairo Prince, with his good tactical speed and ability to sit behind a solid pace and then kick in and open up on his opponents. He’s also made an excellent transition from 2 and 3. As an old schooler, I like the fact that the Winchell family bred him, his dam, and his granddam, as well as his broodmare sire. There is something refreshing about continuity these days, when homebreds are becoming rarer by the year. He should get a good test in the Rebel, facing the likes of Strong Mandate, Ride On Curlin, and Kobe’s Back, even though he soundly defeated the first two in the Southwest Stakes. Both should be tougher this time. Also, Asmussen is up for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year, and let’s remember that Wayne Lukas, Neil Drysdale, and Gary Stevens all won the Kentucky Derby the same year they were elected to the Hall of Fame.


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

The bottom line with this guy is, he is undefeated in five career starts, he’s fast, he’s resilient, and he has the heart of a lion. Not only has he come out on top in two gut-wrenching battles with a very fast horse, he’s given away weight and he’s made five plane flights this year totaling 5,500 miles. One of the reasons he’s been able to handle everything thrown at him is, he’s such a laid-back colt, when he was growing up on the farm his nickname was Cool Hand Luke. Not only can he beat you in an all out street fight, he can thrash lesser opponents, as indicated by his average winning margin of 8 1/4 lengths in his three races against New York-breds. It was pretty amazing to see him engaged in such a grueling stretch duel and not being touched with the whip or even having a cross thrown on him; just a straight hand ride. So far, there hasn’t been anything he can’t do. His outcross pedigree is a little too abstruse to evaluate as far as going 1 1/4 miles, so we’ll just have to play that by ear.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

The more you watch his races the more impressive he becomes. He handles dirt and Polytrack and is a very efficient mover on both surfaces. He’s had four different jockeys in four races and has run huge for all of them. He can battle on the lead or make a huge run from far back, as he did in his career debut, when he turned in a sweeping six-wide move on the turn, going from six lengths back to two in front in a quarter mile. He’s shown a lot more early lick since the addition of blinkers after his maiden score, in which he was very green, ducking in at the three-sixteenths pole. In his battle with Wildcat Red in the Fountain of Youth, there were five lead changes, and he was beaten only by the bob of a head. You’ll find classic winners or dams of classic winners from four different countries in his female family alone.


Uncle Sigh Gary Contessa

Indian Charlie—Cradlesong, by Pine Bluff

It’s amazing to find two New York-breds as brilliant as Samraat and Uncle Sigh developing such s heated rivalry on the Derby trail and dominating the New York-based horses. This colt has had the disadvantage of breaking inside Samraat in both the Withers and Gotham, and took all the worst of it in the Gotham, chasing a very fast and tough In Trouble, with Samraat breathing down his neck. Then, he was in so tight, getting bumped from both sides, in the stretch, Corey Nakatani couldn’t go to the whip even if he wanted to. I don’t think we’ve seen anything near the best of him. We should see that when he can get a clear outside trip and rate off the pace. This colt actually has a stronger distance pedigree than Samraat, at least on the dam side. His broodmare sire, Pine Bluff, won the Preakness and was narrowly beaten by A.P. Indy in the Belmont. His female family includes names such as A.P. Indy. Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Fappiano, and he traces to The Minstrel, winner of the English and Irish Derbys.


Kobe's Back John Sadler

Flatter—Well, by Well Decorated

Normally, I would be reluctant to include a horse who has not won beyond seven furlongs at this point, but his San Vicente (gr. II) victory was so impressive visually, I have to feel he will not have a problem going two turns, especially with his strong tail-female family. His acceleration on the far turn and in the stretch, and the ease with which he drew away to win by 5 1/4 lengths in 1:21 4/5 suggests he is getting really good right now. His 10th-place finish in the CashCall Futurity was a throw out, as he ducked way to the outside from the 12 post, was eight-wide into the first turn and then had to check sharply down the backstretch, dropping out of contention. I’m not crazy about broodmare sire Well Decorated for distance, but his maternal great-grandsire and great-great-grandsire both won the Travers, with the latter, Temperence Hill, adding the Belmont Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Suburban Handicap. And that tail-female family traces to Nodouble, one of the toughest horses I ever saw, who won four major stakes at 1 1/4 miles -- Santa Anita Handicap, Brooklyn Handicap, and Hawthorne Gold Cup twice -- and also captured the Met Mile, Arkansas Derby, Californian, and upset Damascus in the Michigan Mile and an Eighth as a 3-year-old.


Tamarando Jerry Hollendorfer

Bertrando—Tamarack Bay, by Dehere

It’s time he was rewarded for all his accomplishments. He’s finished in the money in his last nine starts, seven of them stakes, following a fourth in a maiden race. He’s won or place in three grade I’s and has won or placed at six different distances on dirt and synthetic. The only three horses to finish ahead of him since last November have been Shared Belief, California Chrome, and Candy Boy. In 10 career starts he has closed strongly in every one of them. After the series of setbacks to his stablemate, champion Shared Belief, Hollendorfer certainly deserves a shot to get back to Churchill Downs with a live Derby threat. Could he be an Iron Leige to Shared Belief’s Gen. Duke or a Swale to Shared Belief’s Devil’s Bag? One thing, we do know, he is a horse to be respected and admired for his consistency and versatility and for trying hard every time he steps in the gate. He turned in a solid six-furlong work in 1:14 flat at Golden Gate.


Strong Mandate D. Wayne LukasClick Here!

Tiznow—Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister

The only reason I put him back in the Top 12 is because he’s running next week in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) and he’s done enough in his career to warrant another shot. But I did not like the way he switched leads five times in the stretch and was all over the racetrack, trying to get out the whole way. Perhaps he just got tired after losing ground early and needed the race. I’ll give him that one lapse, as he did seem to find his best stride in the closing yards, finishing six lengths ahead of third-place finisher Ride On Curlin. He also worked a slow five furlongs in 1:03 3/5. Strong Mandate’s best races have been when he’s stalking the pace, where he can grind his opponents down as opposed to dropping back early and trying to catch them. His Champagne is still a puzzler, even with being taken out of his running style. But his third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile still I believe was the best losing effort in the entire Breeders’ Cup. Until this colt can develop some consistency, both in his performance and professionalism, he will remain a bit of an enigma.

Knocking At The Door

Continuing on CALIFORNIA CHROME, his consensus ranking on the Louisville Courier-Journal media poll is sixth, with only one person ranking him higher than #3. Normally, I would be among those still not sure if this is a Derby horse, based on a pedigree no one has heard of and the distinct possibility that the San Felipe was too fast and too brilliant an effort this early. I have seen horses do what he did on a fast track in the San Felipe before. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Consolidator blew his field away in 2005, winning by 6 1/2 lengths in 1:40 flat. He then was beaten 13 lengths in the Blue Grass Stakes and never ran again. Among those he annihilated that day was eventual Derby winner Giacomo. Then in 2011, Premier Pegasus won the San Felipe with an incredible move, winning by 7 3/4 lengths in 1:41 1/5 and never ran again.

But the reason I ranked California Chrome No. 1 is that he has already shown he can run multiple fast races, winning by big margins, and not regress, and he was totally geared down the final sixteenth in the San Felipe.

Regarding his seemingly unknown pedigree, his sire, Lucky Pulpit, is by Pulpit, out of a mare by Cozzene, and all Cozzene did was sire the winners of the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Breeders’ Cup Turf. Lucky Pulpit’s tail-female family traces to Prince Blessed, who won the Hollywood Gold Cup and placed in four grade I equivalent stakes from 1 1/4 miles to 1 3/4 miles. He also sired Ole Bob Bowers, the sire of John Henry.

As for California Chrome’s female family, his broodmare sire, Not For Love, is a full-brother to Travers and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Rhythm. His dam also is inbred (Rasmussen Factor) to the great Hall of Fame filly and top producer Numbered Account, a daughter of Buckpasser. And, finally, his tail-female family traces to Sir Ivor, winner of the English Derby and Washington D.C. International; Vaguely Noble, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; and Ribot, two-time winner of the Arc de Triomphe.

So, the bottom line is, I’m just not seeing any reason not to rank him on top, based on all he has going for him, not to mention a definite Derby Gods candidate in 77-year-old Art Sherman, who for those who didn’t know, used to exercise a pretty fast horse named Swaps, accompanying the colt to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby nearly 60 years ago.

Filling the last couple of spots on the Top 12 was particularly difficult this week. I hated taking CONQUEST TITAN off, because I’m not sure he handled that track, and he was making a strong run along the inside and about ready to move into contention when he had to steady briefly running up behind Vinceremos. He didn’t have a clear run until he was able to slip through on the inside in the stretch, and looked to have a good shot at getting second, but could not get by Vinceremos and Surfing USA, who actually starting easing away from him slightly nearing the wire. So, I can excuse his performance because of the trip he had and possibly the surface, but he just wasn’t able to sustain his run and pass the two Pletcher horses, and that is supposed to be his strength. I still believe in this colt’s ability and feel he’s going to have his day, but for now I’m just going to play it by ear with him and see if I get inspired to put him back in the Top 12.

I also had to drop another colt I like a lot, MEXIKOMA, who came down with a lung infection and fever and is not scheduled to return to the work tab until March 22, with another work on the 29th. He will either then go for the Wood Memorial, or if he needs another week and another work, he could wait for the Arkansas Derby. He is another I’ll just monitor to see how he’s progressing.

Two talented horses I am keeping off for various reasons are BAYERN and CONSTITUTION. Not only was Bayern forced to scratch from the San Felipe, he like Constitution can only hope to have three career starts going into the Derby and I just feel that is really pushing it. The Baffert horse I’m really looking forward to seeing run again is HOPPERTUNITY, who I believe will improve dramatically off his last troubled effort and put himself right in the Derby picture. I still feel this is a very talented colt. He turned in a sharp half-mile work in :47 2/5.

Two horses who could very well wind up in the Top 12 in the weeks to come are RING WEEKEND and KID CRUZ, both impressive stakes winners over the weekend. The only thing preventing them jumping on to list right away is the maturity factor. Both horses have a few kinks still to work out. Kid Cruz has a powerful engine and his spectacular move in the Private Terms was lost in all the hoopla of so many big races last weekend. I first took notice of him when Bill Mott put him in for a $50,000 claiming tag off only one poor grass performance and he just inhaled his rivals to win by six lengths and was claimed by Linda Rice. He is heading for the Wood Memorial next and I suspect he will be on the Dozen before then.

Ring Weekend has improved dramatically since being gelded last fall, but he still has problems changing leads. He was late switching two races back and only did so after Alan Garcia had to make him do it, and he didn’t switch at all at Tampa. In all six of his career starts he has lost ground from the eighth pole to the wire. That pattern should end as he matures and learns to put the finishing touches on his races. I do like his action, as he gets that head and shoulder low and reaches out very nicely. He, like Kid Cruz, could be ready to emerge as stars by the first Saturday in May. But for now, I’ll wait just a little bit longer before putting them in the Top 12.

VINCEREMOS may not be the fastest 3-year-old, but he continues to demonstrate his gameness every race. He has shown time and again he’s a fighter who doesn’t like to be passed, and once again he dug in tenaciously in the Tampa Bay Derby to hold off Surfing USA and Conquest Titan for second, and actually seemed to level off in the closing yards when it was too late to catch Ring Weekend.

Also coming close to cracking the Top 12 this week was IN TROUBLE, a close third in the Gotham. I just don’t know how good this horse is or if his running style suits the Derby off only four career starts. He couldn’t have run a gutsier race coming off a long layoff and never having been farther than six furlongs. Will he move forward in the Wood Memorial or was he just razor sharp for his debut. Every one of his races has been outstanding and I believe this is a very fast, talented horse who should move forward in the Wood. He does have a number of solid stamina influences, so distance shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

Some people have inquired why General a Rod is on the Top 12 and not WILDCAT RED, who nipped him in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Wildcat Red, who has proven to be one tough fighter, is by a sprinting sire, out of a classic, stamina-laden female family, so it’s difficult to figure out which side will prevail going 1 1/4 miles. General a Rod just seems to be more ratable, and once Wildcat Red can do the same going two turns he will jump onto the list. I have no doubt he’s going to run another big race in the Florida Derby. It’s just a matter of how he does it.

BOBBY’S KITTEN won an allowance race on the grass at Tampa Bay, and did it in typical Bobby’s Kitten style. He wants to go early and it’s not easy reining him in. He likely will get another prep in the Blue Grass Stakes and if he runs big will go into the Derby never having run on dirt. One horse who looked very impressive breaking his maiden on the grass was the More Than Ready colt PICOZZA, who put in a powerful run to win by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:47 4/5 for the 1 1/8 miles.

A sleeper to watch out for in the Rebel is RIDE ON CURLIN, who was forced about eight-wide in the Southwest, eventually finishing a well-beaten third. We know what this colt is capable of from his fast-closing third in the Champagne Stakes, and if he ever runs back to that race he can compete with anyone. VICAR’S IN TROUBLE has been shipped to Miker Maker’s barn at Gulfstream, and we’ll see if he stays to run in the Florida Derby. Another looking to rebound off a defeat is COMMISSIONER, who breezed a half in :49 1/5.

Smarty Jones winner TANZANITE CAT is a possibility for the Rebel, but there is a chance he’ll wait for either the Sunland Park Derby or the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn.

Nick Zito hopes to leap back on the Derby trail with Swale winner SPOT, and is thinking of stretching him out in the Florida Derby.

Tom Amoss said he will add blinkers to Delta Jackpot winner RISE UP, but has not decided where the colt will run next. COMMANDING CURVE worked six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 in company with Golden Soul in preparation for the Louisiana Derby. Robby Albarado, who was aboard for the work, will ride.


Leave a Comment:

Mister Frisky

Too bad that allowance race filled Wed.Honor Code would have been better served going to the Rebel,short horse or not.Hard to knock the # 1 horse, he has done nothing wrong,not going to see a track that juiced in Ky.Im gonna toss all the west coasters come Derby time anyway,so the more hype the better for me.Too bad about Top Billing,a perfect chance for Shug to give Mr.Speaker another shot on dirt.

10 Mar 2014 3:56 PM

I had Kid Cruz on my watch list and was waiting to see if he had the goods. Well, I was impressed, to come from some 20 lengths last and win by 4 under a hand one have to take notice. This horse might just be the one.

Still expecting Hoppertunity to make a big jump and show his talent. If he is good enough to make it in the derby, he is good enough to win it.  

10 Mar 2014 4:09 PM

Now that Top Billing is out my # 1 in now Honor Code.  To me Shug stuggled trying to keep these 2 separated and now he can focus on Honor Code exclusively. I feel this is why he is running in an allowance race at Gulfstream now instead of the Rebel.  Honor Code is better suited for Gulfstream than Top Billing because he more tactical.  He has been working brilliantly at Gulf it made no sense to ship him out.  He will probably put a show Wednesday as expected but it should sharpen him up for the Florida Derby.  Honor Code is bred all day and perhaps he is the one that gets A.P. Indy his first Derby.  

It is sad to see Top Billing get hurt but for Shug he's got a great plan B.  

10 Mar 2014 4:53 PM

Very impressed with Californa Chrome, fingers crossed he remains sound.

My top 2 are the same

Californa Chrome - Jockey had nothing to do.

Cario Prince - Hoping he gets distance.

Looking forward to the Strong Mandate and Honor Code this week.

I also think Albano will make it to the derby.

War command is not nominated for the UAE derby someone was asking last week.

10 Mar 2014 4:53 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Brilliant assessment of the Derby picture and every horse in the picture at this point although I'm sure a surprise colt or two will pop up along the way. California Chrome looked like a freak at 8.5f but will he be a freak at 10f? It certainly is possible based on his stride but only his hairdresser knows for sure. Certainly Steve Haskin knows a freak when he sees one as well as anyone does and Steve is usually right especially when it comes down to talent. I also like California Chrome's smooth and efficient action.

1. Intense Holiday- Clearly number one in my eyes at this point when you combine all factors including pedigree, stride and ability for a winning sustained drive from a stalking position.

2. Honor Code- I wish he would have gone in the Risen Star, gotten needed points which would give him more flexiblity in his next prep but only time will tell if the choice made works out. True Derby talent for sure but will he get in and be in top condition?

3. Cairo Prince- Really looking forward to seeing him in the Florida Derby to see if he is the real deal. Would like to see him really tested.

4. Candy Boy- I'm still impressed enough with him to put him ahead of California Chrome. Visually, Candy Boy's move in his last still stands out as one of the best if not the best move so far.

5. California Chrome- I have him this high simply because he has such a smooth stride. Long ways to go in my mind though before I think he's a Derby winner. But then again that is the case with everyone. It's all up to the big 100 point preps, then the final pps and post postions now.

6. Samraat- Proven to be the toughest of them all so far. If given a chance to fight back he will.

7. Constitution- I just think he has the talent, stride and pedigree for the Derby.

8. Spot- He can run. Would have to jump up from 7f to 9f and if Nick says he's ready then I think he can do it.

9. Bayern- I hope he gets a chance but it's looking doubtful. Very well could still be the most talented out west despite the great performances we've seen from the top two.

10. Uncle Sigh- The added distance in the Wood should suit him and give him time to fight back.

11. Commissioner- Still not sure he belongs here but I still believe in him unless I see another clunker.

12. Wildcat Red- I think he will prove to be a very tough competitor in his career and will run big in the Florida Derby giving Cairo Prince a fight. I think Wildcat Red will lead at some point then we'll see if he is a 9f horse or more of a miler type. He's going to win more stakes races at some distance for sure.

10 Mar 2014 5:05 PM

Steve: You are touting C Chrome as a freak, as a compliment to you, I do not take those words lightly.

I do not believe in the 4 or 5 years I have been following your blog have I ever heard you use those words on a Derby contender.

Only horse I ever saw in person I thought was a freak was Big Brown.

My#2 is Samraat very battle tested if he wins the Wood will be hard to bet against a undefeated horse ala Barbaro who was not the favorite either.

I do not like the way Honor Code is being handled a allowance race to tune up for the FL derby.

On a good note this could be lining up to be a hell of a Fl Derby..

I still have a gut about Strong Mandate and can't write him of just yet..

Were does Ring Weekend go from Tampa? He is as well bred as any of the others and looks to be improving at the right time..

Good luck to all and I still may just change my mind..

10 Mar 2014 5:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Would Top Billing have still been your number one if not injured or would California Chrome have taken over the top spot?

10 Mar 2014 5:08 PM
Steve Haskin

Johnny, I dont recall using the word freak on the Derby Dozen. If you can point it out I'll probably change it. Too early to call him a freak. But he has done some freaky things.

10 Mar 2014 5:32 PM
Steve Haskin

Good question, Dr. D. I'm not really sure. I hate taking horses off No. 1 spot if I've had them up there for a while, as I did Top Billing. Thats when they bite you in the rear end. Lets just say I would have pondered it back and forth.

10 Mar 2014 5:35 PM

I have CALIFORNIA CHROME #1 for many reasons but I rank him ahead of I'LL HAVE ANOTHER and compare the two for their apparent class and how they both seemed to build up steam after losses as two year olds.  I occasionally see trash talk about CC's pedigree but I can only go on what i see and sometimes you find a diamond in the rough.













10 Mar 2014 5:39 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?

It was a post you made after his win saturday.

10 Mar 2014 5:56 PM
Johnny D

Sorry I am not sold on CA Chrome one bit.  That race was void of talent and the track was a conveyor belt.  107 Beyer?  GOD 116? Cmon.  Also, Honor Code makes me think something is amiss.  The space, the placement "short horse."  Really, someone tell me what is really going on here...he may not be right...

10 Mar 2014 6:08 PM

I agree with you Mr. Haskin. I think California Chrome deserves the #1 spot on your list. He is a beautiful mover and seems to do everything so effortlessly. I am hoping that he stays healthy.

I also like Cairo Prince and Intense Holiday. It will be interesting to see how the names and the rankings change as the weeks go on.

10 Mar 2014 6:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thanks. Good answer. And you're right, it can be extremely risky replacing someone we believe to be a true Derby horse and has been our number one with someone else we become enamored with. I moved I'll Have Another to number two from number one a few years ago, and put Bodemeister in the number one spot after the Arkansas Derby and ended up just betting WS on Bodemeister at much lower odds. I'm not saying that who we have number one is who we have to bet on but it can influence us psychologically I'm sure. Although I still had I'll Have Another number two I basically completely forgot about him and everyone else that year after cementing the belief in my head that Bodemeister was a cinch to at least show so at least I'd win something. Often I will bet both if one is high odds like IHA was, I believe he was 18-1, or just bet the higher odds horse, and it's the first time I can remember not doing any exotics. I didn't even play the exacta which in hindsight seemed crazy. Long ways to go yet. The fun is just beginning. I'm certainly open to changing my number one at any point despite the risk. Nobody is safe yet. Always looking for a horse to key on but it isn't always possible.

10 Mar 2014 6:37 PM
Colin Kadis

Putting all these horses together is a difficult task and while I think you have outlined the class of this crop, I do not believe you are thinking towards the Kentucky Derby enough.

Here are some horses who should be on your list and I would guarantee that by the first Saturday in May, they will be.

Candy Dandy

( Candy Ride (ARG) - Saracina, by Bertrando)

Remember this guy? Favorite against Corfu in the Saratoga Special before fading and then never racing again? He's entered for a run on Thursday at Fair Grounds and has been working very nicely. Asmussen knows how to get a horse in the gate in time, and this one has not only classic pedigree, but also conformation. If he doesn't get to the Kentucky Derby, he'll sweep the Travers. That is assuming he comes back in good fashion, which I believe he will. I think they are saving this one. It all comes down to his next race. If he wins, he gets the final nomination into the Louisiana Derby and it's to the roses.

Noble Moon

( Malibu Moon - Mambo Bell, by Kingmambo)

Oh yeah, this guy. He was out with a minor hoof issue, is back to training, and is looking GREAT. He is bred impeccably for the Kentucky Derby (check out his male and female sides) and he has already shown that he has what his ancestors gave him - and maybe a little more.


( Medaglia d'Oro - Pretty 'n Smart, by Beau Genius)

Proved he was legit in the San Pedro, is bred the way he should be, and is the reason why Aiden won't be sending one our way this year. Baffert had to take his time with him, he has a virus circulating in the barn, but now this one is back and better than ever. Without California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, Indianapolis will walk over Midnight Hawk and Candy Boy. The only question is will he stop to do a piaffe on his way to victory, or does he plan to run backwards?

10 Mar 2014 6:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Maybe Strong Mandate just needed the race and will make a big turnaround in the Rebel but he looked terrible to me in his last and I will be surprised if he improves enough to be impressive. Conquest Titan looks like he's out of shape so maybe he just needed the race and won't miss a beat from here on out and do well but he seemed to have such a long ways to go in his conditioning that I had to toss him. The one I am interested in that could do well is Ride On Curlin. I don't know yet if he is good enough or not. Tamarando is interesting and his next race would be on dirt if I had him. I'm hoping for soemthing special from Hoppertunity. I just haven't seen enough yet. Bobby's Kitten is obviously very talented but would be a big surprise if he was in the top 4 in The Derby if he runs. Looks like a turf miler to me. Some of the others it's just a wait and see as to how they do in their final prep and with the added distance. One I like is Global Strike, only a maiden winner but it was at 9f and he also has a 9f second place out of three total races. I hope he can enter a prep but time is running short.

10 Mar 2014 7:08 PM

Still staying with Noble Moon until further notice!

10 Mar 2014 7:10 PM
Steve Haskin

Well, then, I guess he must be a freak :)

10 Mar 2014 7:12 PM
Sail On

Steve, I have a few questions, first, I do not understand gelding, so I wonder why Ring Weekend was gelded, and how gelding affects racing. Second, is it possible that Honor Code has some hidden weakness? lastly, I thought that Vicar's In trouble would race in LA, so I am wondering why he is back in Fla?

My current list includes, California Chrome, Samraat, Wildcat Red, General A Rod, Albano, Vicars In Trouble, Uncle Sigh, Intense Holiday and Walt, in no particular order.

10 Mar 2014 7:14 PM

Mr. Haskin, any word on Gala Award?

10 Mar 2014 7:25 PM
Steve Haskin

JorgeG, last I heard he was pointing for the Blue Grass Stakes.

Sail On, horses are gelded for various reasons. They could be unmanageable, they could be big and growthy, or they can hanve their minds on other things and are not focused in on racing, or they could have an undescended testicle that is bothering him. Ring Weekend was not focused and after being gelded he is much more focused and is now a racehorse.

10 Mar 2014 7:41 PM

Looked at DDozen  and I dont know how it would change that much in the 19 days until the final installment of the KD future wager.

Before then if all is done that has been reported then we will see inhabitants of these positions on the dozen.3,6,10,11,12.  3 Honor Code is in an allowance day after tommorrow.6,10,12 are going in the Rebel this weekend and 11 Tammarando is slated for the Spiral.From what I have read unless one of the three runs a gasser in the Rebel the DD should remain about the same.Personally I hope Tammarando runs a gasser in the Spiral ditto for SM in the Rebel.  

Even if SM and Tammarando run great, I dont see SH moving them higher than 6,because the others dont run.

The Monday after the final derby futures which is going to be between March 27-29 will be the first opportunity for major changes to the dozen but the bet will close before the running of the Louisiana and Florida Derby.

10 Mar 2014 7:51 PM
Sail On

Off the Derby Trail, (off topic) but the best example ever of a race replete with early speed, Buser, Zirkle, pressers, Lindner, King, and deep closers, Mitch and son Dallas, will finish with 4 of them breaking the speed record, sometime at midnight AKDT. This race once took two weeks, will now be won pn under breaking Bakers record of 8 days 18 hours in the thousand mile Iditarod. The field of 69 was trimmed down by 16 scratches during the race due to severe race conditions, and include many favorites.

The only thing that takes two minuets in this race is how the corsairs wolf down steak and salmon at rest stops.

10 Mar 2014 7:52 PM

Steve, nice list.  Very good eye and nice comments on the "purple blinkered chestnut" California Chrome.  Funny, in true quarter-horse style he broke like a bull out of a chute and ran a straight course to the wire!  That stablemate at Los Al must really be coaching him and a big influence!!!  Love Los Al, watch it on TVG every Saturday night.  Great track with beautiful palm trees and surroundings nestled in Cypress, California.  His third in a row, sounds like the right peaking time for the Derby too, whereas Samraat I hope will not be spent by Derby time.  Nice comments on Samraat as well.  That undefeated status deserves respect, 5-0 and could be 6-0 after the Wood.

You never know what genetics are going to translate onto the track from a less than stellar appearing pedigree as in California Chrome's pedigree.

So far I like Cairo Prince, Intense Holiday, Samraat, and California Chrome and not necessarily in that order.  Unfortunate to lose our No. 1 Top Billing.

Dr. D.,

Your comments are "Spot On!"  I have to pay more attention to Spot.  Sure are going to be funny headlines if Spot or Samraat win the Derby.

10 Mar 2014 7:52 PM

Glad to see Kobe's Back on somebody's list. Call me crazy but I have a huge amount of faith in him to get 1 1/4. He was my favorite back in July. IMO, the only reason he lost to Shared Belief is because he was off such a long lay off and was immature. Almost cried when I heard about Top Billing. Tragic to see the horse I had ranked as NO. 1 by a long shot get injured

10 Mar 2014 8:19 PM

California Chrome certainly showed another dimension but not sold on anything on the front end from out west. Agree his previous race sure looked impressive.

Love the fact that Shug found an allowance race at home. Will leave him option of returning in 3 weeks then 4 to the Derby or 4 then 3. I can't imagine the Florida Derby is even on his radar.  

10 Mar 2014 8:31 PM

Hi Steve- see I was not wrong when I questioned you about Cal Chrome. Few weeks ago you were gushing all over him-but was afraid to even put in your top 12. You may recall me taking you to the mat about Oxbow last year too. Cal Chrome deserves to be No.1 right now. I would move Tapiture up to No.2 and drop Cairo Prince to about No.4.

Honor Code is rated much too high in your dozen.

Strong Mandate is too inconsistent-does not belong in your top 12.He is not in mine. Steve I think you have made enough excuses for Conquest Titan-He is a Grade 3 horse at best. He has not improved this year, he looked good winning last year, maybe he was just beating weaker foes that caused him to look good. I agree with you about In Trouble-he will be much better next out.I also agree with you about Mexikoma.

10 Mar 2014 8:39 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Did you see Uncle Sigh after the Gotham when he went up to Samraat and did his James Cagney impression? "You dirty rat, you snuck by me again. Well let me tell you this buster, it ain't gonna happen again. You can bet your Aunt Martha's life savings on that. Dirty rat."  I can tell you this about Spot- Anyone who tries to tangle with him down the stretch will be in for a dogfight. Headlines- "See Spot Run !!!"  "Every dog has his day !!!"  "Derby winner is Spot on."  "Derby winner spots the field 20 lengths and still fetches the win !!!!"

10 Mar 2014 8:52 PM

Any chance Shared Belief would run in the Blue Grass Stakes, or has 'Dorfer declared him off the Trail ? One more dirt shot for  Mr. Speaker ?

10 Mar 2014 8:54 PM
Indian Hemp

but did you get down at 30-1?

10 Mar 2014 9:07 PM

Steve, I like your list this week, top to bottom.  I, too, am ultra-impressed with California Chrome and see no reason why he can't continue to roll along, barring injury.  Love the Swaps connection; now there was an awesome Cal-bred, and a gorgeous chestnut like CC, to boot.

10 Mar 2014 9:08 PM


Do you know where commissioner is going?

10 Mar 2014 9:14 PM

JIMF552; I'm wondering what you mean by California Chrome showing another dimension?  He did the exact same thing he did in his two previous; broke clean, ran straight and ran the competition off of their feet.  I don't think he's a "need the lead" type; he's just fast and finds himself on the lead.

10 Mar 2014 9:19 PM

The smart money says "You can't fall in love with them." I say "Falling in love with them enriches your life."

I love Samraat but I think he's too young to win in a 20-horse field at 10 furlongs after adding the Wood Memorial to the tough racing he's already done. He hasn't been asked too much on paper, but he gives so much, I'm afraid it's too much in fact.

I thought California Chrome was not my type. Too coarse. Funny how much more grace and quality he seemed to acquire all of a sudden. I can't fault him now.

I don't have much use for a horse that wanders out of the starting gate and watches the field going away with no concern. The gut instinct isn't there. Yes, I say "Wow!" if his rider gets him going and he zooms up on the rail to win, but that merely shows he is capable. The burning instinct to be first is missing. That dog don't hunt.

On looks and silky action I like Tapiture and Constitution, but I'd have to put Cairo Prince on top for what he's already proven. I thought he 'threw' the Remsen. He was thinking "Ha! Gotcha!" as he headed Honor Code. A lot of them have to learn from bitter experience to finish their races, and hopefully he did.

I seem to have the same top three as Steve, in slightly different order. I generally approve of the elements Steve emphasizes, including visual gestalt, except for his including breeders and owners as factors. I'll have to take a look at Picozza.

10 Mar 2014 9:21 PM


When choosing your nom de plume did you ever give a thought to what other things hordes of men might have appropriated it for?

10 Mar 2014 9:24 PM

Also, to elaborate on Steve's explanation of gelding... The article on Native Diver being exhumed and relocated brought back fond memories of one of my favorite race horses.  No doubt Native Diver would never have made it to the races if he hadn't been gelded.  He was virtually a savage as a stallion, and gelding made him only barely manageable.  He was still a wild one; hell-bent on having the lead and would proceed to run as fast and far as his legs could take him.  Really an amazing horse.

10 Mar 2014 9:31 PM

Steve, great Derby Dozen!  Hey you mentioned we have "lost Shared Belief" but I have not read that he is off the Derby trail....did I miss something?  He is still my number one so if he's out, I need to make a change. Have Cairo Prince at #2, Honor Code #3, California Chrome #4 and Midnight Hawk #5. California Chrome not only ran like a monster he looked fantastic and I am not ready to give up on Midnight Hawk yet.  Also still really like Rise Up and Noble Moon so waiting to see more of them.

10 Mar 2014 9:59 PM

Just saw an interview with Kiaran and was surprised that he was complaining about the points system.  He said he was penalized (giving 6 lbs.) in the Remsen and Holy Bull for winning the Nashua last year.  I thought 6 lbs was too much but that's how the game goes.  What surprised me was that he was talking like he doesn't have the best horse, like he was finding ways to get Cairo Prince without having to deal with the things that comes with horse racing.  California Chrome won the San Felipe with 118, he'll be the highweight in the SA Derby and I don't think Art cares much about how much CC carries, he has all the confidence in the world on this horse.  I'm also not sure what to make of his response when asked about his top derby horse, it was almost like " well, he's it, I got nothing else."   When asked about how he would like the points system done, he responded with there should be a "safe guard" panel, a committee that can pick and choose a horse that doesn't make it to the derby because they didn't have enough points…it was a really weird interview.  It a bit concerning when a trainer is already finding excuses or thinking of things why his horse may not make it to the Derby...I believe CP is on par with all the top contenders, there'll be enough speed in the Derby...I think Kiaran just needs to make sure he's ready to run and stop worrying about weights, points etc etc.  If he focus on getting CP ready, the horse might just surprise him.

I was very impressed with California Chrome this weekend, purely on watching him run.  It was an effortless race for him against that field which I think is probably one of the best fields he'll face in California.  I have him in the 4th spot and I can't really put him any higher specially number one.  My number one is still Samraat.  I just feel that Samraat has been to multiple battles, went head to head, got in to it with a couple of really good horses and came out on top.  The reason I can't put California Chrome any higher is that he has won his races so easily, he's never been more than a length and a half from the lead in his last 3 wins.  The races where he was more than 2 lengths from the lead, he lost.  He's never run on the lead with a good horse, Midnight Hawk is the best horse he went head to head and I don't think Midnight Hawk is a derby caliber horse.  There'll be 19 others in the KD, and I don't know how he'll react with 19 horses coming out of the gate and half are vying for a spot.  No one is going to give way to give him a good spot, he has to fight for it.  With Ring Weekend, Wildcat Red, General A Rod, Samraat and possibly Uncle Sigh all speed, I can't see him getting a spot as easily as he has in his last 3 races.   I think Samraat is still the best derby contender out there right now, just wish he's running somewhere else besides Aqueduct.


Intense Holiday : I think he'll be one of the closers that actually closes on the leaders.  I feel he'll definitely hit the board, just not sure if he can get the top prize.

Vinceremos : Hopefully he'll get the points to get in.

California Chrome

Cairo Prince : After seeing the interview, I'm not so sure with him.

In Trouble : I feel he's one that can topple Samraat as my number one come Derby Day

Honor Code : I'm losing hope…but he could really turn out to be a freak.

Commissioner : My choice for the FD

Poker Player : He needs to score the Spiral points

Tapiture : Might just be the under the radar horse that no one pays attention to until after the races… when he's beaten everyone

Spot : Florida Derby ?

Chitu : My longshot in California, not sure where he's actually going.  I'm waiting to see if Tanzanite Cat joins the Rebels...

I forgot to mention how equally impressive Testa Rossi's win in the Florida Oaks was.  My long shots Istanford and Interrupted also ran well to get the place and show.   I'm hoping they'll try her in the Ashland on the synthetic, and maybe give her a shot in the Oaks but if they decide to stick to turf, that's fine by me as well.  I think she's going to be something special…

10 Mar 2014 9:59 PM

A little of the path but this video always makes me laugh.

Its Derby Related

10 Mar 2014 10:07 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

On an earlier post I posted that I liked Top Billing, but that he had to get out of the habit of getting away slow. Now that he is injured, I'm going with Ride On Curlin, and no, not just because I'm a huge Curlin fan! These Curlin babies are good and I really think Ride On Curlin will begin to show he will be a force to reckon with.

10 Mar 2014 10:32 PM


You've taken quite a bit on here!

The task and the road to the stretch is tough.  I like the facts that you mentioned in your final synopsis of California Chrome - (a beautiful smart and striding colt with responsible and independent striking movements and force) simply indicating that in the past some ran the better than perfect time and/or came from behind with conquering power to win and then - finished!  It's a grueling trip to get this far and most 2 year olds are still developing and need time which takes me to the patience and wisdom of Shug McGaughey - cautious, controlled and caring with Honor Code who is moving along nicely and sound...Nick Zito (what can I say - Class Act)with Spot being so well tended to there is a good chase that Spot will like where he was (in front) and how he felt in his recent win.  I too, agree with you about Bayern and Constitution but I am not so impressed by Hopportunity and not quite feeling the Baffert touch here.  Intense Holiday has the perfect name for the upcoming challenges and has been going nicely under the direction and choreography of Pletcher.

We've got some good combos here - Maker always knows where to go, Sadler when to go, Asmussen is superior in his sport, Hollendorfer - the John Wayne of racing, McLauglin makes thIngs happen, Violette knows what to do, Contessa is constant and controlled, and D.Wayne will never give up "my horses are live"!...........

Lets be as patient as these trainers, as attentive as the jockeys and humble as these colts.....the Kentucky Derby "Stampede" is wide open and so is this Triple Crown ~

Wednesday's allowance is a good prep - I would do the same - into the Florida Derby - sound and safe.

There's much that can happen to surprise and your assessment and vision is much appreciated and gives great insight proving that the game is open.  I am happy that you make the changes as you see it......and as we read it!

Thanks Steve ~

10 Mar 2014 10:40 PM
Bill Rinker

Steve, Thanks again for another great Derby Dozen. I really enjoyed this weekends races. California Chrome is a very nice horse, yeah I know the track was fast, but it takes a fast horse to run a fast time, and he was very impressive in doing so. His pedigree looks pretty good to me. Pulpit is a Sire of Sires and Lucky Pulpit will probably contine to improve his get. He was real speedy on the turf and his racing record deserves closer inspection. Hind sight is always 20/20 and it's difficult to say with complete assurance, but it seems like his earning potential could have possibly improved with a different agenda. As a Sire, hopefully he'll get a good mixture of Mares with a strong stamina influence, and California Chrome's dam, Love the Chase should be an alluring case in point for future matings. Having that tactical speed with a good balance of stamina is what every one wants to see. I would think that California Chrome should continue to get stronger as he goes forward. In an unobstructed world, (which we all know almost never takes place in horse racing, for various reasons to numerous to begin to list). Atheletic stamina can improve with time, as long as everything else follows suit, baring no mental or physical impairment. I am really looking forward to his future racing campaign.                                      Game on Dude's race was a bit emotional to watch, I was so glade to see that his luster for high octane performance has not worn off, hats off to Mike Smith on a masterful ride.                              Ring Weekend's effort at Tampa bay adds nicely to the mix, and he'll be fun to watch going forward. There was also a Maiden Special Weight that was forth on the card that looked good as well,  Cheery'O!    

10 Mar 2014 11:09 PM
The Deacon

Obviously Santa Anita was faster then a roadrunner being chased by Wiley Coyote on Saturday. But lets be honest is there anything else out there that has been this impressive so far. I have liked Honor Code since day one but who knows. I agree with Steve I don't like him running in an allowance race, don't see the point.

What is Shug worried about. He sure does needs some racing under his belt that's for sure.

I'll Have Another came from the west 2 years ago as did Bodemeister so lets not discount the Santa Anita surface as being a detriment.

Still too early to really know but the gray skies have cleared a little.....

I like your picks Steve, wouldn't disagree with any of them.

10 Mar 2014 11:28 PM

I'm sitting here tonight pondering the elusive Triple Crown.  Every year it seems to get a little more elusive.  On the last Derby Dozen some were questioning if we will ever see a horse accomplish it again in our lifetime.  I for one still believe there is a horse out there today or yet to be born who can accomplish the Triple Crown.  So many have come close.  I am sure there are many factors that have contributed to the 36 year drought, i.e. training or lack thereof, medications, early retirements, close breeding, lack of solid 2 year old foundations, kid glove handling, etc.  There can't be any one contributing factor that is the sole culprit.  If Lasix was started in the 70's perhaps, as much as it is needed to monitor and help control the EIPH, it has played a role in weakening the breed, perhaps.  Perhaps that weakening has contributed to more injuries and fragile 2 year old foundations, perhaps.  Perhaps speed is being bred more than stamina, perhaps. It's all speculation until it can be proven, if it ever can be proven.  Smarty was close, Afleet Alex came darn close, just a length away from attaining it, one mere length.  I believe Big Brown could have done it had his day not gone haywire before he even got started or had he not missed some training between the Preakness and the Belmont.  But there is nothing like the excitement of being at Belmont Park, anticipating the witnessing of a coronation, with a horse attempting to win the Triple Crown.  To me there's nothing like that feeling.

I am going to briefly recount the day Big Brown tried to do that and how it felt to be there:

It was 90+ degrees and the humidity was so thick it seemed you could reach out and grab a piece of the air.  We were standing 10 rows deep near the Winner's Circle, I was in front determined not to give up my place and hold my ground,literally.  I had decided on black for the Belmont attire that year so I was dressed for a black-tie event, black designer dress, huge black hat with flowers and feathers from Kentucky, black 4" high heels, black satin suit jacket, I felt like I was melting. But I did not care, I had the chance to see the next possible Triple Crown winner.  What seemed like an eternity finally ended when the horses came out in the post parade, your heart is pounding wildly in anticipation of the race getting underway.  Unbeknownst to anyone standing there at the time, Big Brown had already freaked out in the detention barn prior to the race.  After that, his day continued on a downward spiral, and not to be outdone, Belmont Park itself followed suit.  The plumbing in the clubhouse broke and restrooms were not useable. Big Brown had Post 1 and the starter stepped out into his lane at the start of the race and probably threw him off course a bit.  Big Brown lost a shoe during the race I believe, and what Steve would later call in an article a "horror show," Kent Desormeaux pulled Big Brown up at the end of the race right smack in front of the grandstand.  I thought he was badly injured for sure, that is how it looked. Thankfully he was not.  So much for a coronation.  More like a wild roller coaster ride.

IHA's chances fell apart too at Belmont between nasal strip banning and stakes barn maneuvers and then the scratch the day before.  Maybe it's just that difficult to get a horse primed and fit and ready for all three Triple Crown races.  But 36 years is a long time and I hope this year one of these colts has the ability to break the drought once and for all.

10 Mar 2014 11:36 PM

honor code missed 10 days of training............relax! not a big deal...........people keep thinking he has a big problem.........

10 Mar 2014 11:46 PM

Steve - Do you believe that if Art Sherman gives California Chrome a pass on the

SA Derby and trains him up to the KY Derby that this would be a mistake? I am glad that you included Tamarando on this list, he could be a real sleeper pick. Still like Strong Mandate, still pulling for Conquest Titan to make it, My KDFW picks are alive with Strong Mandate 27-1 KDFW pool 1, California Chrome 30-1 KDFW pool 2, Conquest Titan 29-1 KDFW pool 2. My top 2 are California Chrome, and Strong Mandate. Like you, I really love that California Chrome runs straight as an arrow in the stretch, he is peeking at the right time.

11 Mar 2014 12:53 AM
Valiant King

California Chrome's tail female side has what seems to be a monumental amount of stamina. Princess Ribot for instance has dosage numbers 0,6,14,4,10.  Definitely a pedigree that can win the Belmont.  This horse, barring anything unfortunate, may be the one.

11 Mar 2014 1:06 AM
joseph alva

Great commentary on this week's list!

I was crushed about Top Billing.  I was supremely confident he would get the mile and a quarter and fire on Derby Day.  Although I have immense respect for Shug, I wonder if the two mile and an eighth allowance races and the Fountain of Youth he ran in a month and a half's time may have contributed to his injury?  It seems like a lot for a colt to do in his first month and a half as a three year old.

California Chrome, Steve, I agree is talented, classy and highly seasoned, but a 107 Beyer over a distance at this time is suicidal pointing towards the Derby.  Derby winners typically don't run that fast at this point.  He may have bounced back well already from top efforts, but it's not the same to come back against small fields than going a mile and a quarter against 19 other maniacs -- you need grit coupled with the right amount of freshness.  I think he is a classy colt, but will he have the needed tons in the tank on May 3?

By the way, do you have any idea where Commissioner will run next?  He could be flying big time under the radar.  His grinder style was definitely not aided by the gross track bias on Fountain of Youth Day.  He also may have bounced a little in that race after his hard fought mile and an eighth win over Top Billing -- an important feat not to forget!  Tamarando, I agree, should also not be forgotten.  He could be this year's Giacomo if the race falls apart in front of him.  He always fires and is dirt proven.

Thanks to you Steve and to all for this great stuff!

By the way

11 Mar 2014 1:30 AM
Bloodline Bob

Horses I'm considering for May 3, 2014 are Steve's #2,#3,#5,#9 and Ride on Curlin. As for Conquest Titan, he'll will be a good off-the-Triple Crown horse to watch.

11 Mar 2014 5:42 AM

I'm struggling to understand why some people (not just here either)are still reluctant to join in the excitement of California Chrome.  But that's horse racing, I guess.

I've watched a ton of videos of these preps, looking for specific signs of what I like to see in a Derby horse: a fluid stride with minimal wasted motion of the head, quickness out of the gate (essential in positioning oneself in a 20 horse field) and a strong finish that hints at ability to get the Derby distance.

With that in consideration, my list looks like this:

1) Cal. Chrome (dare to dream, I say...)

2) Honor Code

3) Candy Boy

4) Samraat

5) Tapiture

6) General a Rod

7) Hoppertunity

8) Cairo Prince

9) Intense Holiday

10) Ride on Curlin

11) Uncle Sigh

12) In Trouble

11 Mar 2014 6:42 AM
Steve Haskin

I will be away today. I will try to address as many of your questions and comments when I get back. I'll also try to have today's comments posted by Web Production.

11 Mar 2014 8:42 AM
Mister Frisky

@CassandraSays,I never really gave it much thought.Mister Frisky was the 1990 Santa Anita Derby Winner and Ky Derby favorite,not to mention HOY in PR in 1989.Wasnt really going for the double entrende,I'm not that clever.

11 Mar 2014 9:11 AM

A great field is shaping up for the Rebel Stakes this Saturday at Oaklawn.  Southwest winner Tapiture, Strong Mandate from the Lukas barn and Ride on Curlin.  A horse to watch for in the Rebel is the lightly raced Street Strategy.  This colt by Street Sense, is light on seasoning but heavy on talent.  The fact that Calvin Borel is riding him Saturday is a plus concidering he rode Ride on Curlin to a nice 3rd place finish in the Southwest Stakes.  Street Strategy is a "sleeper" that might crack the Derby Dozen next week.

11 Mar 2014 9:11 AM

There looks like this is setting up to be a great East Coast/ West Coast rivalry that we haven't seen since Rachel and Zenyatta. And who would think that California Chrome training on the same track and in the starting gate as quarter horses would possibility give him an advantage. Everything about him suggests star quality. And doesn't he remind one of the charismatic kings of the racetrack:  Big Red. And this seems to be setting up for terrific rivalries between East Coast horses:  Samraat and Uncle Sigh and Wildcat Red and General A Rod.

You certainly didn't disappoint with this well researched article. I loved your pedigree analysis of California Chrome and Wildcat Red. And you were a mensch to also finally mention Wildcat Red. For too many years there has been too much emphasis on the sire's pedigree. We cannot ignore the Queens of racing. I hope we will be here to see several generations of their progeny on the track.

11 Mar 2014 9:27 AM

Question: Steve, why do you think several of the Courier-Journal voters have Strong Mandate so high on their list?  I feel, like you, that he's barely a top 10 or 12 horse.  Comment: Watching California Chrome and Midnight Hawk hooked up down the back stretch in the San Felipe, CC looks almost robotic with his head high and his efficient motion compared to MH.  He's got that WOW factor!  Curious though after G.O.D. had a similar run in the Big Cap.  

11 Mar 2014 9:34 AM

PS What a great story about Brooklyn native Art Sherman; the last horse he traveled with to the Derby was Swaps. How can one not root for someone who has been an exercise rider, jockey and trainer for over 50 years. This is one of the great stories to emerge from the Triple Crown trails this year.

11 Mar 2014 9:42 AM
Pedigree Ann

Steve H, in re Kobe's Back: I find it difficult to judge a female family solely on the sires used in each generation - a sire's record can include distance

horses AND distance-limited horses, after all. So I look at the result when those sires are used with these particular mares. Protest, Nodouble's mate, won the Demoiselle (one-turn mile in those days) at 2 and could only win sprint stakes at 3; her sire Rash Prince may have been a son of Prince John, but he was stakes-class only at 2, when he won the Sanford, and only won sprints. Protest's best runner was Indian King, a top-class sprinter in Britain. And her Nodouble filly No Test, won her 2 races at sprint distances and flubbed her only mile try. Which parent was No Test more like, Protest or Nodouble?

No Test foaled the good sprinter/miler Notation to the cover of Well Decorated, also the sire of her granddaughter Well, dam of Kobe's Back. It seems the breeders were more interested in producing another Notation than a Derby possibility. Flatter may have to provide the 10f talent by himself, which he might do. But this is still an iffy pedigree for 10f.

11 Mar 2014 10:30 AM

Kantharos I agree with you about Strong Mandate, he seems to be too high on everyone's list.  I think he may have some distance limitations.  He doesn't strike me a to be a true 1 1/4 horse.  He seems to hang a bit in the lane and he switched leads few times in the stretch in the Southwest.  He would have to step up big time Saturday before I am sold.

11 Mar 2014 11:02 AM

sceptre - I am very curious based on genetics what you think the Top 3 bloodlines are for the KD this year?  I also believe California Chrome does not have the correct geno/phenotype that would point towards getting the classic distance...although he is quite impressive. Thx

11 Mar 2014 11:29 AM

What about Top Billing?

11 Mar 2014 12:25 PM
Terry M.

Not sure why everyone is so against California Chrome's pedigree. All the good genes are there. His dam's sire, Not For Love, is brilliantly bred, being by Mr. Prospector of a Northern Dancer daughter whose grandsire was Buckpasser. Looking at the whole pedigree you find AP Indy, Cozzene, Caro, Danzig, Sir Ivor — stamina and quality everywhere! And his action suggests he will maintain his speed after other flash-in-the-pan speedsters have wilted from exhaustion. I think he will run on and on. I like this horse very much.

11 Mar 2014 12:36 PM


Hope your day away is a positive one.  Thanks for your hard work as you now are bringing these Derby hopefuls into clearer focus.  Can't argue with your choices as they are lining up with my top five:

1.  HONOR CODE: Will keep him on top pending Wednesday's race.  I'm trusting Shug all the way.  HC needs points, is up against a compressed schedule and, listening to Shug, will have to show him in these next two races that he's moving forward.  According to DRF; P.J. Campo, V.P. of Racing for the Stronach Group, asked Shug to keep him in Florida, the main reason, according to Shug was to keep from shipping.  Sure, they're concerned about him.  Depending on how he does Wednesday, Shug's leaving the door open.  On Sunday he said the FLA Derby was a "longshot".  Originally pointing to the Wood, I think that's were Shug will take him if all goes well because the timing fits better.  I also hope he brings HC back to his Belmont base because we may then get some much needed inside don'ts and do's from the 'rooster'.  Shug is not going to rush this colt, he'll let the horse tell him.

2.  CAIRO PRINCE: Still motoring along waiting for the FLA Derby in top condition with Kiaran keeping him in top form and wishing May 3rd. was here already.  Still concerned about his ability to get the 10F.

3. CALIFORNIA CHROME:  Really enjoyed your description, Steve, of how this colt demolished the field in the San Felipe, Bayern or no Bayern.  I would add that he was playing with Midnight Hawk, ears up, flicking, attuned to the rider, running smoothly, focused and confident with the other horse pressing him.  Granted, the track was fast and there always is the concern of the reality of the added stress at Churchill Downs, but this guy has been running since last April, and looks to stand head and shoulders over his CA competition.  As the TVG crew mentioned after the race, both Kiaran and Art Sherman both wish the Derby was in a couple of weeks.  Good Luck to Art and the connections.  They have a good one, maybe even a 'freak':).

4.  CANDY BOY:  Right behind CC, and with the ability to come from off the pace.  Looking forward to the SA Derby to further give us a gauge on him, especially if CC also goes.

5. INTENSE HOLIDAY:  continues to move forward and IMHO has everything needed to progress to CD and run down and win against a lot of front running/stalking types at 10F.

Right behind:  Tapiture, Strong Mandate, In Trouble, Samraat, Uncle Sigh and....Kid Cruz:  loved how he closed into slow fractions and ran off in the Private Terms; "and down the stretch he comes".

JayJay:  appreciate your take, especially the number of front running horses that may make the derby starting gate.  I would add Albano and possibly Bobby's Kitten to the mix.  I know they all won't be there but I see a Derby setting up with a lot of early speed/stalker types ensuring a very fast pace.

For those looking for a Triple Crown horse, I would love to see it also before my foot jerks out and kicks the bucket.  At this point maybe the freakish California Chrome or Honor Code, but let's get the Derby winner first.

May 4th. HEADLINES:  "Opportunity Knocks as Hoppertunity Knocks 'em Down."

11 Mar 2014 12:40 PM
Linda in Texas

Johnny - thanks for the youtube link to Giacomo's KD win/TVG. That is about the time i found In that race my nose was right up to the computer as Giacomo won over Afleet Alex who put in a huge run, albeit a tad short. Sorry about that Alex'sBigFan.

Today Hip 139 went for a high bid of $560,000 at the OBS. Glad i wasn't there, i would be overdrawn, heck i would broke! I had mentioned earlier Hip #139 looked like a good one due to his conformation and i was not alone. And Dr. D. the auctioneer mentioned "Spot" as related to winners in one of the sales, Tale of The Cat Sired foals went for high bids as well as Unbridled Song's', and Distorted Humor's among others.   I love this sport and thanks Steve. BTW, in my little town they are advertising "Freakin'tacos" at Taco Bueno and it made me think of your comment about California Chrome.  

11 Mar 2014 1:43 PM
food fight

Of all the 3 year preps this year only a few stand out. California Chromes San Felipe win was visually impressive for all the reasons you mentioned Steve. He ran straight as an arrow and he is a very good mover.But the 107 beyer does nothing for me the track played real fast and speed was best all day.Also i was not impressed by who he beat but more by his explosive turn of foot.As i mentioned before Untapable RA stakes race at the Fairgrounds was equally as impressive and i think the field she demolished was legit. So with several key defections I hope her connections consider making the derby an option. Shes undefeated at Churcill .

11 Mar 2014 2:22 PM

I am glad to see California Chrome on the top spot.  That was one of the most visually impressive races so far this year, and the time was glorious, no matter what the track variant was.  That is serious race horse time.  As far as pedigree goes, only time will tell whether this horse has what it takes to make it 10 furlongs, but if he does, watch out.  This may well be the best horse to come around in quite some time.  Looking up the 5 generation pedigree, tail-female, one name stood out, Princess Ribot.  I thought I remembered that name from somewhere so I looked up her produce record.  She was the dam of Cascapedia.  One of my first favorites who was Champion Handicap mare.  My first issue of the Blood Horse had her on the cover making the turn in the Hollywood Gold Cup with Crystal Water, in which she finished second to that day.  If this horse inherited any of her ability, lets hope for something special.

11 Mar 2014 2:35 PM
Jersey Girl

Congrats to Mucho Macho Man on his selection as 2013 Florida Horse of the Year! He and trainer Kathy Ritvo have offered many special moments.

Bill Rinker,

I'm with you in tipping my hat to Game On Dude and Mike Smith. It was great to see Dude race into the record books in the Cap.

11 Mar 2014 3:32 PM
Smoking Baby

livewire.  That Gold Cup was the best race of 1977.  I still remember the Harry Henson call down the stretch.  "Crystal Water, Cascapedia, HERE COMES Causcasus!"

11 Mar 2014 4:22 PM


11 Mar 2014 4:31 PM

wELL i'M GLAD i GOT AN EXACTA FROM POOL 2 cALIFORNIA BOXED WITH cAIRO pRINCE AND hONOR CODE....I would be very interested in Kid Cruz in the Wood...this horse has a stride of giants. Lots of invisiblity still surrounds the trail to the KY Derby.... the point system is a tricky system and if the final preps cary enough points to put the 2nd and the 3rd horses in then it is wise to pipe it down before we cream to the heavens. Kid Cruz tho is a horse not to be taken lightly if he repeats in the Wood... Arkansas Derby seems to be the hail Mary of all preps we shall se wht Tapiture does this Saturday in the Rebel, he was my number one, but now I am as dazzled as every one else with CC. This is the one Derby that I shall not wager on any further till it is 3 minutes from post. This is a better crop than many recent years last year;s was sneaky good this year trainers approaching KY Derby differently.... Happy with my early Exactas...a heart attack or a life changing bet depends how my foolish heart reacts when they the wire on the first Saturday of May

11 Mar 2014 5:15 PM


Thanks for mentioning Street Strategy.  I think you're right.  He looks like he may have star quality.  Strong looking dude!

Those of you who know, what's the track like at Los Alamitos?  How's it compare to Churchill or Santa Anita?  I thought I heard someone say it's a deeper track than SA.

11 Mar 2014 5:54 PM

Linda In Texas,

No need to be sorry about Alex's efforts.  He was pretty much one of the closest things we've seen to a Triple Crown winner yet.  He did acrobatic heroics later in the Preakness and romped the Belmont by 7 lengths.  Steve informed us all very recently something that was not known, that Alex had a recurrence of the lung infection he had in the Rebel, his one bad race, during the Derby, as well as Tim Ritchey saying he got bumped in the Derby pretty good a couple of times but still got up for 3rd, just a length, if even or a few heads away.  If you watch replays it looks almost like a 3 horse finish from some angles.  So Alex was one of the last of the iron horses.  Had he not had the lung infection who knows if he would have won that Derby.  Giacomo is no Afleet Alex, not by a longshot.

11 Mar 2014 6:31 PM

Dr. D.,

Those were funny headlines!  Here's some more:

"Rat "Outs Spot" in Derby"  

"Spot Gets Rattled"

"Spot Makes Sham of Sam"

"Derby - A Rat's Race"

"Cairo Prince Pioneers Way to Derby Win"

"Sweet Victory"  (Candy Boy)

11 Mar 2014 7:14 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve, California Chrome first 4 dams have a combine dose profile of 22-42-82-4-22,wow may be i will have to reevaluate my opinion now but none won even a grade 3.

11 Mar 2014 7:18 PM

THEHOLZ - I'm interested to know why Raise A Native twice in Kid Cruz's pedigree is a good thing but Raise A Native twice in California Chrome's pedigree somehow makes his breeding less valid because CC is a Cal-bred?

Also, I checked Honor Code's pedigree; Raise A Native is in his dam's pedigree, so by your measure, he isn't disqualified from being a Derby contender based on his pedigree.  However, his odd's are a little long

11 Mar 2014 7:31 PM

Unfortunately Kid Cruz backers wont be able to bet directly on KC in the last derby futures bet.He has no points and there are only 23 slots available but like  others who will qualify by coming in 2nd or 3rd in the 100 pointers he will be in spot #24 ALL OTHERS.

11 Mar 2014 7:31 PM
Linda in Texas

Dear Friend, Alex'sBigFan. Never said Giacomo was better than Afleet Alex. But he did win the Kentucky Derby that day. At the time i was just beginning to follow horse racing up close and personal. And i did not know he had a lung infection until Steve mentioned it not long ago. He was a game horse that day to even be able to race in such a compromised state of health.

Respect for them all is always at the top of my thoughts.

11 Mar 2014 7:36 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Last year derby winner Orb A.P.Indy line on top and MR Prospector on the bottom,California Chrome A.P Indy on top MrProspector on the bottom let's see.

11 Mar 2014 7:37 PM

Well; my comment 'auto submitted' again, so here is the rest.

The odds against Honor Code winning the Derby are probably a little longer than they should be as trainers don't often win the Derby in back-to-back years.  I'm much more concerned about his delay to the race's this year than I am that he's trained by Shug.

Also, I wouldn't put too much weight on who ran behind California Chrome in the San Felipe.  It's not who he beat, it's not even the time, because, as several have pointed out, the SA track was very fast last Sat.  What I am looking at is the way he did it.  Any horse that can run 45 and change for the 1/2 and still show the turn-of-foot CC displayed when cutting the corner nice as you please entering the stretch, then finish with the same fluid stride and in hand?  That's impressive no matter who was behind him.

11 Mar 2014 7:38 PM

I would imagine the KID runs in NY next as that is where his trainer is stationed unless she decided to leave her assistant to watch the kids while she suns in Florida.

11 Mar 2014 7:43 PM
Matthew W

Stave I couldn't agree with you more about California Chrome--and you did "have him" before the race--yours was the highest ranking of all of the prognosticators before the 'Felipe--and your #1 ranking is truly a bold one, for "Chromey" isn't just an obscure Cal bred--his first two dams were one win Maryland breds--this guy has no "right" ti even be on any Derby list---and yet, when I try to think about who he reminds me of, he has such an easy way of going, he's such an easy goer, I mean I'm having a hard time saying what I'm thinking here! as far as the track being so fast that day, the race time was 1:40 4/5 but only HE was close to that time, and only two in the race cracked 1:44--his trainer is on CLOUD NINE---Art Sherman, what a character, he goes way, way back--he used to work Swaps, and last year he gets a call from the farm, saying they're sending him a Derby horse--what must he have felt when he viewed the pedigree? I heard about this horse before his 7fur blowout win at Hollywood Park in November, heard he was looking monstrous in the mornings--I took a look at him but did not bet him and he looked great winning---then I took Tamerando against him and he freaked again, by then I was tired of him taking my money, so I unloaded on Saturday, when he shot out of there, I knew they hadn't planned on that, but he showed he could wire a good horse---Steve, this horse is not "supposed" to be this good, and I wish I had him at 32-1, but he'll get a nice price in Kentucky, I tell you something else he'll get in Kentucky: he'll get the distance.

11 Mar 2014 8:54 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Normandy Invasion who did finish a close 4th with a premature move in last year derby set a track record at a mile on G.P this year in 1.33,1/5 he is by Tapit and out of a Boston Harbor mare with a dose index of 7,80 Steve can you compare his pedigree with Tapiture's ?.  

11 Mar 2014 8:56 PM
Matthew W

to the nay-sayers about the conveyor belt track on Sat: Game On Dude got a 116--so? he got a 117 last year, what's your point/ Chromey didn't draw up the track conditions, he just ran on it, and they gave him a 107, maybe he's not good enough, but he's a helluva story! By the way, I was all over I'll Have Another two years ago, last year I was all over Normandy Invasion, with a "plan B" on the other horse I liked, Will Take Charge.

11 Mar 2014 9:01 PM
Matthew W

I have been a huge fan of Tamarando ever since his visually impressive maiden breaker. I put him into my little green book after that blazing last 3/16, and he rewarded me in the Del Mar Futurity! Cali closers can be dangerous in Louisville! Alysheba (9-1), Ferdinand (16-1),and Giacamo (50-1)were Santa Anita closers who couldn't get there--but they got there in Louisville, so I wouldn't toss Tamarando, he has class! Sometimes you have to look beyond pedigree, or lack of it--California Chrome doesn't belong on pedigree, but his action is so smooth, it just looks like he'll get the 1 1/4---I wasn't there, but I am told he couldn't blow out a candle in the winners circle, sometimes you just have to put down the paperwork and just look at the animal, he doesn't know he doesn't belong!

11 Mar 2014 9:26 PM
Greg R

California Chrome looks as if he just runs for FUN.  I thought the same in his previous race.

Steve mentions Prince Blessed in C C's pedigree.  I saw that Strong Mandate also goes back to Prince Blessed through Cee's Song.  Unlike dear Dr D, I had the impression from Strong Mandate's last start that he was the most likely to improve out of that race.  He had forgotten how it's done and has gotten a reminder.

Honor Code was my top horse of his class of 2011 coming out of last year.  But I couldn't rank him highly at this point, until I see something.  He would have to be special to catch up to where he should be. He may be.

As a former Californian, I also have high hopes and high regard for Candy's Boy and Kobe's Back.  But I concede that Cairo Prince should share the top of the list, based on what he has done at two and three.

12 Mar 2014 12:31 AM


I agree about California Chrome.  And he has a secret weapon none of them have, he is getting training from a quarter horse at Los Alamitos!!!  He sure is giving a good imitation of one, bolting out of the gate and keeping a straight line to the finish!  I like him and he's in my top 5.

12 Mar 2014 12:34 AM
Tana Rae

Well, well, well.  Mr. Haskin, you finally got it right.  CC ascending to número UNO on your Derby picks makes me smile.  A California bred?  No way.  Hahaha.  All I have to say is, look at him.   Study his PP's.  He has been learning.  And Victor Espinoza has his number.  All wins since Victor took over.  

12 Mar 2014 12:40 AM

I gotta believe you're gonna see a 3/4 fraction of 1:08 or something close to it. Could you imagine Cairo Prince and Cal. Chrome going toe to toe for the first 3/4 ?.....they'll be "toast" by the time they get to the eightgh pole. It's fun to think about!

12 Mar 2014 1:09 AM
Baby Jane Towser

This is a good group, I really hope the NY breds are the real deal - Right now four standouts to me:

1) California Chrome – could this be the horse everyone has been waiting for?? - Instant acceleration and a fantastic pedigree – dam is inbred 3x3 to Numbered Account (each time w/Northern Dancer) combining very nicely with a sire who has The Slew, more Buckpasser and Prince John; as far as distance is concerned, his 4th dam is Vaguely Noble/Ribot/Princequillo down the line – so he probably can run all day – gotta say he didn’t beat much in the San Felipe

2) Honor Code - the best horse in the east – obviously beautifully bred

3) General A Rod - under respected - has a lot of ability and he’s tough - a terrific pedigree too – he is attempting to become the 2nd Derby winner in 3 years that is inbred 4x4 to Danzig - and each time is with Hail to Reason – just like I’ll Have Another – Danzig and Hail to Reason are a dynamic duo

4) Candy Boy - great combination of size and acceleration – an interesting pedigree, dam is 3x3 to Secretariat’s half brother Somethingfabulous

5) Tamarando – looking better and better;

12 Mar 2014 1:35 AM
Tana Rae

Surprised to see you have CC número UNO this week.  I know you've been watching him by your previous comments.  And it's good to see that you delved into his pedigree.  Thank you for that.  Let's see what he can do.

12 Mar 2014 1:48 AM

Steve, if California Chrome can repeat the same demolition in the Santa Anita Derby, if he runs, then everyone will be scared. Hope Honor Code impresses and am intrigued on how Tapiture and Kobe's Back run.

12 Mar 2014 2:23 AM

I'm not sure why people are comparing CC's race with GoD's...the only common denominator between the two races is the track, yes it was a speedway but CC's race was in every sense different.  CC faced a good field, but most if not all were exposed to be non derby calibers.   GoD's race on the other hand was a true horse race.  Everyone knew GoD was going to be  dictating the pace, HtG tried to soften him up but failed miserably.   He was running against the top two older male horses and even though only one showed up, he fought hard to win.   In my opinion, the reason CC's time wasn't as fast as GoD was because he was already geared down, he wasn't racing anyone anymore, he was pulling away from the field geared down!   GoD had a legitimate and a very very good horse chasing him home.  He showed his class and educated my horse WTC about putting the hammer down and not being denied.   I feel that's the difference between the beyer and the final time of both races…but of course, this is just my opinion.

trackjack : Thanks!  Albano ran a great race in the Risen Star.  It would be nice if he actually makes the Derby.  I think he has a better chance to beat Intense Holiday in the LA Derby going longer, I feel he can carry that speed longer and if he goes even just a tad faster, he might actually be able to wire the field.

LiT : (From the other blog)  Yes!  Even though he beat my WTC, I was almost expecting it.  It would've been nice to see WTC win but GoD is still  a top horse when he can dictate the pace.  I'm hoping that they meet again in the Pacific Classic, or the Hollywood Gold Cup (Los Alamitos Gold Cup?!?! ).  I'm thinking more of the latter as that will be on dirt.  At least we have really really good top older horses this year.  Palace Malice showed he's not the 2nd tier 4 yr old this year.  He might just be starting to get really good now.  I'm enjoying this year a lot…and it's only March !!

Dr. D : I'm havin' a good laugh at your spots...hehe.   Any idea where Zito will take him ?  I'm hoping the Florida Derby, he'll be a really juicy price in that race with a big chance to win.   He's a Pulpit horse.

Steve H :  Any news at all about Baratti ?   Just saw over at the Downey that Poker Player is going to the Blue Grass stakes, and Louies Flower will be in LA Derby (hopefully he'll help me get back up in the Winstar contest lol).   Giovanni Baldini, who was in my very early list might go to the UAE Derby, and is trained by Aidan O'Brien.

12 Mar 2014 4:08 AM

I placed five $50.00 future bets in Feb. All five are still live and looking stronger the closer we get.


2.General A Rod

3.California Chrome

4.Conquest Titan

5.Noble Moon

12 Mar 2014 8:24 AM

CC is good you cant take away his race in the San Felipe.If the KD is contested on a sloppy track, Im pretty sure that if he runs the same race he wont win.

I remember in 2010 Sidneys Candy won the San Vicente the San Felipe and the Santa Anita Derby.They ran the 2010 KD on a sloppy track and Sidneys Candy was just a pace setter he finished 17th.

12 Mar 2014 8:54 AM
Mike from Michigan

I certainly am not qualified to question Shug, but what about this scenario?  Honor Code wins today, but for some reason throws a clunker in the Florida Derby, last time I checked he has only 14 points at this point.  He misfires in the Florida Derby and gets no points, then what?  Seems like everything rides on the Florida Derby for Honor Code to make it to Louisville.

12 Mar 2014 9:38 AM
Sail On

Brontex, it's a wee bit early st speculate on track conditions, but the way Mother Nature has been bringing it this year, it's not impossible she could bring a snow derby.

12 Mar 2014 10:05 AM
Old Timer

Great list, Steve. Reading down it, it sure seems like we have a lot of talent on the trail this year. I am also rooting for Art Sherman, but also glad to see that you put Tamarando back on there. As you noted, the horses who beat him are quite an impressive lot. Plus if you are going to rank California Chrome on top, I believe that Tamarando has to be somewhere in the mix as well.

12 Mar 2014 10:15 AM
Rusty Weisner

I can't be the only one to be reminded of the "Timely Writer" overnight stakes when I see this five-horse allowance race Honor Code is in.

12 Mar 2014 10:21 AM
Mister Frisky

Never been this curious about a mid-week allowance race in a long time.The Golden Boy finally makes his sophomore debut.If points are in issue for Honor Code we will see his best in the next derby prep.

12 Mar 2014 11:55 AM
Steve Haskin

JayJay, Baratti did not run well at all and I have no idea where he's going next. Giovanni Boldini is bred for the dirt, so lets see how he does in Dubai, but dont like having just that one start.

Tjconway, where are you coming up with that scenario? Neither CC or Cairo's Prince is a speed horse. Forget the San Felipe, it was the first time he was ever on the lead and that was only because he outbroke the field and was so much the best.

Matthew W, why do you say California Chrome doesnt belong on pedigree? You didnt believe or werent impressed with my pedigree analysis?

Kantharos, I cant answer that. Let's just see how he runs Saturday.

joepo, I would not like California Chrome's chances if he skips the SA Derby, although thats probably what the Sheets say to do. But The Derby and The sheets are two different things. I would rather see him run  in the SA Derby and regress a little, something that a number of Derby winners have done.

Curlin, Ride on Curlin could surprise a lot of people on Saturday. I think he should run well.

Racingfan, we havent heard a peep out of his camp, nor a work or anything, even about how hes galloping. To me, he's out until I see him in a starting gate, and even then, he'd only have one start?. But that of course is just my assessment of his situation.

12 Mar 2014 11:56 AM
Jersey Girl

Mike from Michigan,

I think that Shug is willing to take the Florida Derby clunker risk because he has big plans for Honor Code, that may, but don't have to, include Louisville.

12 Mar 2014 12:58 PM

Rebel from rail: Jet Cat, Ride On Curlin, Tapiture, Strong Mandate, Hoppertunity, Sheltowee's Boy, Street Strategy, Kobe's Back.

12 Mar 2014 1:02 PM

I haven't chimed in before with my favorites.  I am not a handicapper.  I just love the horses.  But, these have been my thoughts:

1.  Cairo Prince - I am a HUGE Holy Bull lover.  I watch for any runner of his.  Up to now, Cairo Prince has not disappointed and I will keep my fingers crossed for him

2.  Honor Code - again, a sentimental pick because of AP Indy.  I met the grand old gentleman at Lane's End and feel in love.  I would love him to have a TC winner

3.  New pick, same as Steve, California Chrome.  I love the smooth, fluid power in his strides. Reminds me of I'll Have Another.  His pre-derby works at Churchill were beauty in motion.

4.  Also rather fond of Spot and Tapiture

On another note, watching the Big Cap on TV was an amazing thing.  This is what could bring fans back to racing.  Experienced, well matched grand older horses showing exactly what the Sport of Kings is meant to be.  It was glorious watching The Dude show his stuff.  These are athletes to cling to and support. Congrats to the whole team.  I love that Bob Baffert loves his Dude.

And Alex's BiggestFan, don't get me started on Big Brown.  I was at Belmont that day too.  My heart just broke for him.

12 Mar 2014 1:19 PM

Smoking baby

Thanks for the reminder about Caucasus. I'd forgotten all about that horse.  He was a very well bred horse, being by Nijinsky II out of Quill, a Princequillo mare.  That was an unbeleivable year to start receiving The Blood Horse and The Thoroughbred Record.  The emergence of Affirmed/Alydar,  Seattle Slew, and Forego.  

Please keep the old flame burning with these stories of great racehorses gone by.  You must have a number of them tucked up in that memory center of yours.

12 Mar 2014 1:28 PM
Carlos in Cali

I expect to see Honor Code in the Wood Memorial after he stretches his legs today.No worries.If he makes it to the Derby,he's still the one they have to beat-no matter what kind of condition the track will be in.

I'd say; Run Cali Chrome in the SA Derby for another paid work-out just to keep his mind-set on point.There's nobody there that can run with him,including Candy Boy.I don't think Baffert will try him w/Bayern either,if he continues on the trail..

Kobe's Back is very talented.Winning a graded stakes in your first outing is unheard of,so I'm expecting a big performance from him in the Rebel. He's pretty good on synthetics,but he's better on dirt. Not sure he's a Derby horse though... we'll see.

12 Mar 2014 1:47 PM
Machmer Hall

Hey Steve. I have so so enjoyed our correspondence over the years.  I cannot tell you how much I love reading the Derby Dozen and all the great thoughts behind each horse on the trail.  It makes me feel so connected to all of them really. I was at the Tampa Bay Derby to watch Vinceremos run and he is carrying such good condition and looks so good. I was thrilled for West Point's boy but thinking that "Vincie" will continue to move forward next time.  I must say that it is interesting to me that both Kid Cruz and Spellbound both have such similar running styles being half siblings.  Just reading all these posts and great responses from all the racing fans makes my case of Derby fever go into overdrive. I so appreciate all the candid thoughts and the way you connect with those of us that are breeders or owners, it is that difference that makes all the difference in your Triple Crown Coverage.  

12 Mar 2014 2:10 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskins,

Speaking of regressing in the last big prep, Bloodhorse has an article on precisely this topic:  Smarty Jones's Rebel vs. his Arkansas Derby.

12 Mar 2014 2:10 PM

Sail On It is,and its actually too early to speculate on the race itself as what handicapping really is a calculation of fair odds for each competitor taking into consideration all the coincidental occurrences which include track condition,post position,probable pace scenarios etc.

12 Mar 2014 2:10 PM
Rusty Weisner

I want to find a way to bet Ride On Curlin', too.  I have a funny feeling about this horse.  

12 Mar 2014 2:11 PM
Rusty Weisner


I think you overestimate sloppy tracks, too.  Sidney's Candy did not go on to become a classic-distance horse.  Nor did Goldencents last year, after winning the SA Derby and then fading, badly on a sloppy track. The consensus on both horses was that they didn't have the pedigree for the Derby, and that consensus was right.

12 Mar 2014 2:15 PM

BTW the post positions for the Rebel has been set.In 2,3,4 are Ride On Curlin,Tapiture and Strong Mandate.These were the 1st three across the wire in the Southwest and I hope they all get a good start and dont have bad trips because  this could be a very good preview into who will come out of Arkansas on top,barring any invaders that come for the AD.

12 Mar 2014 2:15 PM
Your Only Friend

There is no one that knows if any of these horses can run mile Quarter at this time.....on breeding my opinion you can only look back three generations.

12 Mar 2014 2:37 PM

The best time of the year, just reading your Derby dozen, wouldn't it be great if the two 77 yr old guys battle it out. Really like Lucas horse, Honor code, Tapiture, California Chrome Tampa horse got a great ride from centeno who knows that track like a book,Aqueduct horses r justhorses,Best horsse r in Oaklawn,Fair Grounds r a weak bunch See what florida derby is like some very quality horses r there

12 Mar 2014 3:55 PM
Smoking Baby

livewire.  You're EXACTLY right about Caucasus (by Nijinsky II-Quill, by Princquillo.  The same folks had King Pellinore that year if I remember correctly.  I remember that Gold Cup like it was yesterday....."And there they go.  Rajab is going to the front, Pay Tribute is second Cryyyyyystal Water is third"....."down the backstretch it's Austin Mitler in front".........around the far turn Crystal Water has the lead Austin Mitler second CAAAASCAPEDIA THE FILLY is third followed by Festive Mood, Rajab, Pay comes....Caucasus on the outside."

We were in Northern California and our announcer Todd Creed was no slouch but Henson down at Hollywood was a legend (at least to me he was).  I miss him.

12 Mar 2014 4:10 PM
Mister Frisky

Shug got what he wanted,I guess.

12 Mar 2014 4:43 PM

Social Inclusion Gulfstream Race 8 1 1/16 time 140.97.

12 Mar 2014 4:44 PM

Social Inclusion sets a new track record while holding off Honor Code.After this one you would think they might want to try the TC trail,but we will see.

12 Mar 2014 4:50 PM
Cynthia Holt

Looking forward to reading the comments concerning Honor Code's race.  

12 Mar 2014 5:10 PM

Now can we get off the HONOR CODE band wagon?

12 Mar 2014 5:24 PM
food fight

So just watched Honor Code run a distance 2nd at gulf. He looked to be washing out before the race and was refusing to load not good . Looks like he needs to get the rust off and i don't know if he has enough time to do so for the derby. He looked very nervous and thats not going to help while playing catch up and running into a large field and crowded Churchill Downs paddock. This might be why Shug didn't opt run in the Rebel figuring the colt is not ready for that competition without a start or two.The more i see of this group on the derby trail the more i like two long shots in Indianapolis if he runs in the Santa Anita Handicap and the filly Untapable if her connections opt to run in the derby.Again Gulf has a unrealistic racing surface and another huge speed bias .  

12 Mar 2014 5:39 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Social Inclusion is TC nominated so maybe he'll go to the Florida Derby and be the speed of the speed and I don't know if a closer can catch the speed at GP unless it's Spot. Honor Code is better off going in the Wood where a speed duel might set up for a closer and be catchable. Honor Code is in a pickle now but maybe he'd get in with 14 points anyway. He could very easily get shut out in the Florida Derby if he goes there. Despite all of the speed in the race they all could actually finish well and be the top three.

12 Mar 2014 5:56 PM
Mike from Michigan

@ Jersey are so right and you bring up a good point, sometimes we get so caught up in the Derby, we forget that there is life beyond the TC trail for these wonderful horses.  Thanks for reminding me of that :)

12 Mar 2014 6:13 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Social Inclusion was amazing and has a powerhouse Derby pedigree. Track record in his second career start. Wow. Pioneerof is looking like a pretty good sire. I would rank Social Inclusion ahead of the highly praised California Chrome. Woohoo, the fever is way up there, time for an ice bath.

12 Mar 2014 6:16 PM

Honor Code was a no show today..

He was a bet against with me the whole time for the Derby.

Were does he go next??

12 Mar 2014 6:42 PM

Castellano:"I'm very fortunate with the way he did it today. It was a good performance. Unfortunately we got beat. But I like to look at the big picture—his season is just starting and I'm pleased with the way he came back." I totally agree. I think it was a good return. He lost before a colt who looks like something real special. As i said some weeks before in this chat, in the road to the derby will be showing up new names, new good prospects that not necessarily were at the radar at the end of 2013. About Honor Code, maybe McGaughey should consider New York as the next stop for this popular AP Indy son. Yes, Gulfstream is not the better track for his running style. Apparently HC prefers to run at the botton of the group. But who knows, and HC is not as special as we thoguht or as we expected.

12 Mar 2014 6:44 PM

Well, Steve, is SOCIAL INCLUSION going onto the Dozen?  That performance was spectacular!  He pretty much undressed HONOR CODE.  I better start taking PIONEER OF THE NILE seriously as a sire.

Best field so far in the REBEL.  Points are important now.  These horses are about to get it on!

12 Mar 2014 6:52 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks so much, Carrie, I really appreciate the kind words. And I cant thank you enough for sharing all the wonderful back stories on your horses. I watched the Tampa Derby a few more times and each time, Vince's race looks better, especially the way he held off the other two. He hates to be passed and he was starting to come back a little at the end, and most important, he was more professional. Can only get better. Congrats on a fantastic far!

12 Mar 2014 6:57 PM
Steve Haskin

What I find unfortunate this year is the number of brilliant prospects who have run only twice and are pointing for the Derby -- Social Inclusion, Bayern, and Constitution and others. Three career starts before the Derby I feel is asking too much of a young horse. Big Brown did it, but he was a super freak and all his races were around two turns and he raced at 2.

12 Mar 2014 7:03 PM
Steve Haskin

It is worth noting that Social Inclusion's tail-female family consists of all sprinters. Interesting is that the very top of his family and very bottom trace to Dr. Fager in the sixth generation. And we have yet another from the Fappiano line. What an influence he's been this year. Between him and Tapit it's pretty amazing.

12 Mar 2014 7:15 PM

At no time in the last six years has the $1 superfecta been lower than $24,000.  Your going to leave what may very well be an undefeated horse out? California Chrome may have the best chance of any cal bred since Best Pal to hit the board.

With that being said.  Kentucky Bred 109

                      California Bred 3 (Last Swaps)

12 Mar 2014 7:17 PM

I agree with you, Steve, on BIG BROWN and it was "hit the wall" time at the BELMONT and DESORMEAUX knew it.  

12 Mar 2014 7:21 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   If Big Brown can do it then someone else can do it. I agree that it is unfortunate that some of the top talent have so few races but I'd like to just address the Social Inclusion and Big Brown comparison here. Big Brown's debut was in September as a 2yo on the turf at 8.5f. As a 3yo he just ran a mile race at GP then the Florida Derby prior to The Derby. The fact that he was on steroids may have helped to overcome the seeming lack of experience and conditioning as a 3yo but I see Social Inclusion's scenario to be far more conducive to Derby readiness than Big Brown's. Social Inclusion will have run 22 Feb, 12 March, and March 29th prior to The Derby if he runs in the Florida Derby with his pre-Florida Derby race being 8.5f instead of 8f. That is a far better conditioning base than Big Brown had, and an advantage to have had the first race as a 3yo rather than a 2yo despite the historical context. We will have a Derby winner sometime that hasn't run at 2, then once that record is broken we could have a whole slew of them winning who haven't raced at two. And I still love Social Inclusion's Derby pedigree. His stride ain't too shabby either.

12 Mar 2014 8:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I think Social Inclusion will be 2nd, 3rd, or 4th on my list. But I'll sleep on it. Honor Code will be on my list but moved down because I feel he has a ways to go on his conditioning and he may even be lucky (or unlucky) to get into The Derby. With so much talent lightly raced and short on points and having setbacks the Derby Dozen is kind of slim pickins so I have no reservations about putting lightly raced colts near the top especially when they have a good conditioning base, a lot of talent and no setbacks. And it's still early, a lot could change. It's all fun and games now but we're getting very close to getting down to business.

12 Mar 2014 8:19 PM

Very disappointed in Honor Code race today. I saw two photos of him this week and just do not think he looked in peak condition. Comparing him to the condition California Chrome is in the difference is like day and night. I just have the feeling he is not ready for the Derby. Maybe he will be ready for the Belmont. A real let down for sure.

12 Mar 2014 8:38 PM

So, what to do with Honor Code?  Shug was quoted he was satisfied with the performance but also acknowledged the winner "is a very, very special horse".  And what to do with that special horse?  Only 2 lifetime starts and already a track record holder.  At best, he will have 3 starts if he makes it to the Derby, and as Steve pointed out, only Big Brown has been up to the task. And he wasn't saddled with the "Apollo Curse".

BigTex; I don't think Big Brown hit a wall in the Belmont.  That horse was hurt and IMO should not have started.  One of the TVG analysts said he followed the horse back to the barn and blood was flowing from a damaged foot; and he wasn't talking as if it was a trickle, but something significant.

12 Mar 2014 8:54 PM

Rusty Weisner when was the consensus taken that Sidneys Candy and Goldenscents didnt have the pedigree to get the classic distances after they bombed in the actual race I presume because it certainly wasnt taken beforehand.Btw Sidneys Candy is out of Candy Ride and a Stormcat mare so Im positive that there was no consensus before he ran.Breeding just like Beyer speed figures and other angles are subjective which means in the eye of the beholder.There is nothing absolute about picking a winner before the race starts it is much more art than science.

Good try with your response I think other posters combative nature is leaking into your soul.

Alot of these colts have never had mud kicked in their face it is much different than running on a dry track not to mention the footing being a lot different.In yesteryears a sloppy track for the KD might of not meant so much but it surely does nowadays because the colts havent had that many races on a dry track and even less on a sloppy track.

12 Mar 2014 10:04 PM

Good Evening Steve ~

Hope your day went well as well deserved it is.....although it seems you have some follow up to do here only indicating how much your expertise and opinion matters and certainly all us were "hangin'without Haskin!"

I read your 3/12 7:03PM note and it confirms my thoughts in my post-note of 3/10. This is a very fragile time for these young colts and some are not quite there yet.

Cairo Prince is looking good, strong and in the hands of a very smart trainer and not being rushed along the way.  I agree with the Florida Derby test for him and it could be just what he needs.

1:40.97 new track record for Social Inclusion sizzling defeat over Honor Code today is a example of the stress put on him by Social Inclusion who showed "no sweat" at all while Honor Code seemed to lack to work one up (ref your assessment).  Guessing that Shug will take a look at his hopeful and in agreement with you (ref your assessment)that this race could make a difference in the long run.  Certainly the sizzling time here was a factor on him.  Do you think he should have been closer!

Accuracy in Assessments is like an Asset!  Thank you!


12 Mar 2014 10:05 PM

Social Inclusion makes an outcast out Honor Code.  Wow!  Did you his splits?  Machine-like.  2nd start and rain straight as an arrow.  Watch his maiden race - he wins by over 7 and went off at 9-1.  Steve - is this a master training job, a total freak, or both?

12 Mar 2014 10:06 PM

Steve Haskin Animal Kingdom only started 2 times as a 3yo before he won the Derby once on turf and then on AW in the Spiral.He had 2 other races as a 2yo and all his races prior to the KD were on AW or turf.That was in 2011 and the weather that week wasnt sunny and clear eventhough the track was labeled fast for the race.

12 Mar 2014 10:09 PM
food fight

This is for Colin Kadis i read your blog on Indianapolis working well and running next in the Santa Anita derby. But i can not find any works that say he would be ready for any race let alone the SA derby.If you have any up dates i would like to no about his progress. I think he is one of the most talented of the derby prospects.So if you got any positive news on him put it out there.Also if Assmussen decides to take a shot with the filly Untapable in the derby she could be a real threat. Ran faster than the colts last time and got a 100 beyer . Also she is [2 for 2] at Churchill including a grade 2.Distance is no factor for her being from Tapit out of a Prized mare.

12 Mar 2014 10:10 PM
Steve Haskin

Dr. D., can you tell me just what it is that you love about Social Inclusion's pedigree. I'm sure you've analyzed it and I'm just curious what that is based on. I'm not insinuating he has a bad pedigree, but I would like your take on it.

12 Mar 2014 10:21 PM
El Kabong

About Honor Code,

That was probably the best thing that Shug could have asked for in a race designed to brush off some rust. SI looked brilliant. Honor Code, who is not near the top of my list, ran very well all things considered. That was more than just breaking sweat for HC and class horses, like people, need a good ass whipping now and then to remind them to work harder :) I think HC  will be very deadly in his next prep, but for now, I have to admire what a show SI put on for everyone looking at the wrong horse. SI should be pointed to the Preakness and maybe a shot at the Arkansas Derby would be fitting for this powerful speed demon.

12 Mar 2014 10:27 PM
Steve Haskin

Brontexx, I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make comparing Animal Kingdom to Social Inclusion. Animal Kingdom had two 1 1/8 mile races, 1 1/16 mile race and a one-mile race going into the Derby. How does that compare to one 1 1/8 miles race, a one-turn mile and a 6-furlong race? I'm not getting it.

12 Mar 2014 10:35 PM

food fight;  Untapable will have to get derby points to get into the gate. Have you heard anything indicating her connections are considering entering her into a qualifying race?

12 Mar 2014 10:44 PM

Dr D

I'm with you on ranking SOCIAL INCLUSION.  The horse looked extremely fit and really light on his hooves.  Mechanically, his gallop out reminded me of SECRETARIAT'S after the Derby and he seems to have a ton of girth.  He ran that race WAY too easily not to pay attention.  

What's going on with that track at Gulfstream?  I don't buy that that was a track record by SOCIAL INCLUSION and I don't buy that NORMANDY INVASION ran a track record.  Are they "juicing" the track???  

12 Mar 2014 10:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Social Inclusion's AWD for his sire and dam's sire are 6.9 and 7.2. Those are good numbers for The Derby especially when combined with speed. His sire Pioneerof the Nile is the leading 2nd crop sire by SPI and earnings but most important to me is that he is a descendant of Empire Maker, Unbridled, and Mr. Prospector all of whom I like as Triple Crown race sires. It appears to me that Pioneerof could very well be a sire whose progeny will fairly often possess speed and endurance conducive to the Triple Crown races. On the bottom he has Halo, the sire of 2 Derby winners- Sunny's Halo and Sunday Silence. Social Injustice DI is 2.56 which is also a nice number for a horse with speed, implying that he might be able to carry that speed 10f. I know that DI might be outdated but I use it as a secondary gauge to AWD. I like to see former Derby winners or sires of Derby winners on the bottom when combined with the Mr. Prospector line on top. It's just my favorite combination when combined with other factors mentioned. I also like Social Inclusion's stride which looks like a stride that could make him a 10f horse rather than more of a miler type. If I saw his stride as more of a miler type then I might not put so much emphasis on the stamina influences in his pedigree being influential. I also like seeing Dr. Fager top and bottom, and Nasrullah and Prince John and Turn-to on the bottom. I like to think that on occasion some of these types of influences will sneak through. Of course you can find those types of influences on any pedigree but they just enhance it some for me. I'm not an expert on pedigree but I have my own personal preferences or prejudices. I do consider you to be an expert and always love to hear your analysis and try to learn from them.

12 Mar 2014 11:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Basically what it comes down to in a Derby pedigree for me is that I have a very strong affinity for the Mr Prospector sire line on top combined with talent. That is where it all stems from and then using other factors to enhance that affinity further. I love Mr Prospector as a sire on top. The closer the better but eventhough he's getting further away if he is on the page then I am attracted to it and go from there. Speed with a possible 10f stride, Mr. Prospector on top with stamina influences is as good as it gets for me. It's a biased appraisal. It's not the be all end all for picking a Derby winner but I'm a sucker for using it if I can. It creates a strong fever factor.

12 Mar 2014 11:41 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Isn't it amazing how an allowance race on a Wednesday has heated things up around here? I like it. This is what it's all about at this point before the big preps. Lots of speculation, gold miners, and day traders going for the big bucks for free. That is why this Derby Dozen tradition is so great because of all of the different speculative opinions. Risky, because you might just fall in love with a horse you have no business betting on Derby day but loads of fun. This is when we are most likely to have a Triple Crown winner again too, when we fall in love and can dream it. It's also when those dreams are often crushed by an injury or an illness. Tough business but still the greatest time of year. Thank you Steve for your continued dedication, and I'm sure everyone is happy with you spending so much time answering and asking questions. It would be a far less magical place and time without this Derby Dozen.

12 Mar 2014 11:54 PM
Greg R

I don't think the Gulfstream allowance race told us much about Honor Code, one way or the other, except that he wasn't race-sharp.  Social Inclusion may be the revelatory Johnny-Come-Lately of the week, but his speed and race-sharpness accounted for x number of lengths and the souped-up track accounted for the rest.  I would suggest that we won't know enough to judge Honor Code until after his next start, late as that may be.

Meanwhile, yes, it makes you sit up and take notice of Pioneer of the Nile.  What a story if two of his sons run well in the same Florida or Kentucky Derby.

12 Mar 2014 11:56 PM
Greg R

I also meant to say that I thought it was foolish to assume that this race would be a walk-over for Honor Code.  My rule of thumb is that I won't trust a horse coming back off a long layoff, no matter the quality of the beast, unless he/she has a proven record of running well after such a break.  In this case, nerves, heat, humidity, "shortness" in conditioning - any of these was likely to take its toll.

13 Mar 2014 12:04 AM

My math and memory are a little off.  Decidedly 1962 was a Cal bred that won after Swaps for a total of 3.  

Kentucky bred 106

Cal bred      3

New York bred 1  (Funny Cide)

13 Mar 2014 12:09 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

There is one fact that nobody can deny- Social Inclusion would leave California Chrome in his dust at any distance. I'm sure you all agree.

13 Mar 2014 12:14 AM
Mister Frisky

Honor Code was not disgraced in defeat,a short horse that needed a race, maybe two.Another front runner sets a NTR,just another day at the office for a Stronach track.My perfect scenario is HC goes to the Wood and runs 2nd or 3rd,then goes off at 7 or 8 to 1 in the Derby where I will empty out my 401k to key him in every exotic.

13 Mar 2014 12:30 AM
Bill Rinker

Steve, a good dose of Ballade's genetic contribution would probably be sufficient enough to carry Social Inclusion pretty far. As of my last entry, I'm still having some margin trouble with my postings, (I guess you could say it's a margine of error, tee-hee ha- ha). I also noticed a mild case of scriptosmearia too, I need help.

13 Mar 2014 1:03 AM
joseph alva

I think too much is being read into the Derby hopes of Social Inclusion and Honor Code based on this recent allowance race.

Social Inclusion seems highly gifted, but one-dimensional so far.  He relished the laughably speed biased track in his both starts alone on the lead.  He only has one more race to learn to rate or he will be fried on Derby Day because he will not likely be alone on the lead then.  He may indeed make some noise down the road, but the Derby seems too daunting a task too soon given his inexperience.

Honor Code, I agree with many, did not look spectacular or comfortable in the race, but so what?  The purpose of the race was to work off the rust and it accomplished that.  The race reminded me of Timely Writer's comeback allowance effort at Hialeah to start his three year old season in which he finished sixth and looked very dull.  He came back to demolish his foes in his next two starts, the Flamingo Stakes and Florida Derby, and stamped himself as the Derby favorite before coming down with colic and missing the big one.  Super Saver a few years ago also looked so-so in his first three year old start in the Tampa Bay Derby around this time.  He improved some in his Arkansas Derby in-the-money finish and then peaked on Derby Day.  I don't think  Shug would have been crazy to see Honor Code run track record time at a mile and a sixteenth a month and a half before the Derby with a prep still to go (which is what Social Inclusion did).  What the horse did seemed sensible to me given where he is at.  He will improve enough in his next start to procure points and, if able to remain sound, should be able peak on Derby Day.  Shug seems to understand the progression for Derby readiness well.  

At the end of the day, this is not at all about how horses look on March 12, but on May 3!  Shug has that clear.  

13 Mar 2014 1:09 AM
American Pegasus


As a fan of Honor Code, I hate to admit that he belongs on number 10 on your list. He had a good race at Gulfstream but he was no match to Social Inclusion's speed and stamina. California Chrome and Cairo Price are where they belong, but Samraat should be higher on your list.  I am glad you are giving the Cal Breds a chance on your blog.

13 Mar 2014 1:32 AM

Steve Haskin I never compared Animal Kingdom to Social Inclusion.I wrote that about Animal Kingdom only getting two starts as a 3yo when I read your post at 12 Mar 2014 7:03 PM.Before AK won there were unwritten rules about not being able to win with so much of a layoff inbetween, and not being able to win without a start on dirt.Thats my point all those unwritten rules are being broken regularly,and I believe the Apollo rule hasnt been broken yet because their havent enough colts that try it EVERY YEAR, and dont think that will happen until one breaks trough and wins without having raced as a 2yo.Its a catch 22 and that remains as THE LAST UNWRITTEN RULE for KD hopefuls.

13 Mar 2014 1:54 AM

Steve H : Thanks for the info on Baratti, I missed that he ran in the Private Terms.   I agree about Giovanni but I liked his run in the BC juvenile stakes, he was able to stay close to fast fractions and beat Bobby's Kitten.

I expected much much more from Honor Code today, I was going crazy at work because I couldn't watch the race live.  A lot of people have labeled Honor Code a very very good horse, some even touting him to be a triple crown contender.   Seeing him run today tells me that Shug, will most likely not have a horse in the Derby this year.  And I'm totally okay with that because Honor Code probably needs to re-learn how to race again.  I hope Honor Code is okay, I just don't think he's not focused on racing right now.   Javier was all over him even before the final turn,   I feel it's better for Shug to play the TC spoiler by preparing HC for the Belmont rather than push him to make the Derby.   I feel a lot more comfortable with Samraat as my number one, In Trouble is the only horse I'm waiting to see but I think I'm pretty much set with my top 4 until the Wood.   I think In Trouble will be one that will be able to track closely whoever the top 3 that will set the pace in the Derby.   If he runs well in the Wood and make the points, he'll be number one.   I'm so excited for him that I might actually play a $100 exacta box with him and Samraat if he makes it.

Rebel has a very short field which kind of surprises me, he'll be giving 5 lbs to Strong Mandate which is probably enough to turn the tables on him.   It will most likely be a chalky race but I'm waiting to see what Hoppertunity's ML will be.  I like the jockey switch to Mike Smith.   Most likely though, RoC will probably beat them all as Steve H says, he could surprise us this weekend.

13 Mar 2014 2:17 AM

On the topic of Social Inclusion and the next derby futures it will be nice to get Social Inclusion in the ALL OTHERS bet,because he has no points.If he is one of the top 23 wagering interests it has sucker bet all over it.

Theres no question he ran a great race, but that was more like a match race he had ABSOLUTELY NO PRESSURE on him, and he ran on the inside.You wont be able to see the Florida Derby before derby futures closes, and IMO if he is included in the top 23 betting interests on the basis of setting a track record I think it will be interesting. I dont think I will bet him except possibly a token amount if I see an exacta with him and another closer that I will continue to ad combinations that goes off at a ridiculous amount.Then maybe.I think a bet on him to win at less than 60-1 is a sucker bet,one reason is you dont get to see him in stakes competition before betting,another is he hasnt qualified to be in the race.

13 Mar 2014 3:55 AM

111 beer for Social Inclusion.  Big Brown never did that...  It reminded me of MacLean's Music's debut.  Unfortunately, we never saw him again.  Either SI bounces big time or he's true freak.  Also reminded me of Sinister Minister's Blue Grass...  

13 Mar 2014 7:12 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The AWD numbers are from Brisnet pps. The 6.9 for Pioneerof should go up even more since he is a young sire and it's early in the year.

13 Mar 2014 7:50 AM

Steve, thanks for the info on Shared Belief.  I guess it's time to take him off the list. :-(  One start will not be enough in my opinion - if he makes it at all.  About Social Inclusion, I like the sire's side of his pedigree but not overwhelmed by the dam's side so not sure I will put him on my list but will see maybe after his next start.....

13 Mar 2014 8:45 AM


Were you surprised to see Borel jump off Ride on Curlin for the Rebel?

13 Mar 2014 10:00 AM

Dr. D - I don't agree that Social Inclusion would have left California Chrome in his dust. The race time of the allowance win yesterday and CC's San Felipe were very similar and the tracks were similarly playing to speed.  For sure though, those two could put on a show.

Talking Derby, in my mind CC has the edge, due to his foundation and experience.  This is assuming SI gets into the gate.  He still needs points.

13 Mar 2014 10:06 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure the GP track has been juiced up with flubber.

13 Mar 2014 10:40 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Yes, Social Inclusion did appear to be well conditioned which bodes well for a quick recovery and to be pointed to the Florida Derby. I think he won that race without too much effort and is on his way, with speed, and a good conditioning base. Like father like son? Pioneerof the Nile won the Robert B. Lewis 0n 2-7-09 in 1:41.90, then the San Felipe on 3-14-09, then the SA Derby on 4-4-09. Everytime pressing the pace early. He then was second in the KY Derby on 5-2-09, after seeming to tire some, and floating a little in the stretch with the lead as Mine That Bird zoomed by. Clearly a tired horse after the campaign and the Derby he should have never run in The Preakness which was his last race. I don't believe that Social Inclusion is a need the lead type but we shall see. It's just that he hasn't faced anyone yet to take the lead ahead of him. Conditioning won't be an issue I don't think, it's just a question of whether he is a 9f and 10f horse or not and what he will do against strong competition.

13 Mar 2014 11:21 AM

At this point i don't care about any list, less about where has to be this or that, because is too soon. Like Castellano said, the season is just beginning. Honor Code is maturing, like other AP Indys, needs time. That's what i saw this wed. Maybe the Derby shouldn't be his principal goal and Shug must give him all the time he needs. Maybe. About Social Inclution, is too soon to say he is something special. Yes, he looked like one, but i prefer to see him in other tracks, in other conditions, against fast company (Wildcat Red or General A Rod). I insist on keeping far away from any list today.  

13 Mar 2014 12:54 PM
Rusty Weisner


I don't remember Sidney's Candy, so you could be right, but that's not the case with Goldencents.

I'm an easy-going commenter.  It's a blog, people disagree.  Take it as a positive sign when people respond to you.

13 Mar 2014 12:54 PM
Carlos in Cali

People dismissing Honor Code as a Derby threat probably forgot it was his 1st race in 14wks and after a minor set-back.He will move forward next outing in the Wood Memorial.

Regarding Social Inclusion's race: As impressive as it looked,it was only a 5-horse field,he was lone speed,set :24+/:47+ splits,then draws off and sets a proverbial new track record @ Talladega..erra..Gulfstream Park while infused with Lasix for the first time. Let's see him do that vs. Wildcat Red/General A Rod in the Fla Derby if he goes there.He will not get that type of unrealistic set-up..

Joseph Alva, you get it.

Dr. Drunkinbum,

"There is one fact that nobody can deny- Social Inclusion would leave California Chrome in his dust at any distance. I'm sure you all agree".

13 Mar 2014 12:14 AM

I whole heartedly, absolutely and vociferously disagree with you.BUT! There's some land that my 2nd cousin wants to sell for pennies on the dollar... in Chernobyl. BTW: how many bottles of beer are left on the wall?

13 Mar 2014 1:12 PM
Bryan Reed

Auburnbill : I have horses in the Morse barn and I have been watching Street Strategy since last year and this colt is solid. Lightly raced, but I think he is  certainly very talented and should be improving this Spring.

Just my opinion, but I think his upside going long is higher than RIde on Curlin.

13 Mar 2014 1:13 PM

And their of in the Derby, and on the lead pack is Social Inclusion,C.C.,General A Rod,Wildcat Red,Uncle Sigh,Samaat,Intense Holiday..

Opening 1/4mile 22.4/5, 1/2mile 46 flat..  

I ask who will be coming down the stretch catching all these tiring horses?

Who's the plodder, AKA Giacomo?

Side note other than Bloodhorse, what other sites do your get information from?


13 Mar 2014 3:02 PM
Linda in Texas

robinm - thanks for the info on Big Brown's injury. Some races stand out and one wonders, what the heck happened, not unlike Rock Hard Ten (still wondering), so too Big Brown ever since that race why he threw in the towel. Now i know. I was hopeful beyond words for his success and so disappointed.  Thanks.

13 Mar 2014 3:38 PM

Steve, not only are some smelling roses, viewing through rose tinted glasses, and have a rosy glow inside after viewing a mid week race that they are believing they have seen the second coming of Spectacular Bid. Lol!!

I thought the most interesting news this week was that TP is going to run Constitution in the Florida Derby. Honor Code needs more time, the Derby is just too soon which is a pity.

13 Mar 2014 4:44 PM

Dr D.....I respect your insight, sprinkled with humor and I assume it is also dosed with knowledge and experience.  But I'm struggling to understand your statement that "There is one fact that nobody can deny- Social Inclusion would leave California Chrome in his dust at any distance. I'm sure you all agree".

I don't agree.  But that's fine.  Disagreement is what makes blogs such as this great.

However, I am curious as to why you would assume we would all agree.

Can you elaborate as to why SI is a better Derby horse than CC?

13 Mar 2014 4:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Johnny,,,, and to a lesser degree, mainly just looking at the headlines at drf now. Those are the main ones.

robinm, Carlos in Cali, others:

   Actually I meant that statement to be ridiculous, somewhat as a poster child for Derby Fever, and to be so ridiculous as to be funny. I apologize that it didn't come across that way. That being said I do like Social Inclusion a little better than the more accomplished California Chrome, but I tend to like early high success horses a little better because of the potential for greatness even if they don't pan out. Many of the great ones do show a lot of talent and success right off the bat. I certainly respect your opinion and I don't pretend to know the answer as to who would win if they were in the same race. It does appear though that both California Chrome and Social Inclusion will be in a big prep and we shall see who looks best at that point. I really don't get serious until after the 100 point preps are over. I could change my mind and wouldn't be the least bit ashamed to do so or eat any words as regard to speculation on talent. I still think Indianapolis is the most talented until I change my mind, but these horses that are really fast are exciting prospects and there are more than a few of them. Constitution will be very interesting also, as will Cairo Prince at 9f with the layoff.

13 Mar 2014 6:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I only know one thing about The Derby this year or any other year in the future. Historical precedants will no longer be a part of my handicapping. There is no easy way out. Every horse has to be analyzed for who he is and how he fits into the picture this year regardless of what happened in the past. The future is now. Unlike in the westerns- you can't cut him off at the past.

13 Mar 2014 6:15 PM

Rusty Weisner I dont take any replies negatively,I just answer them the way I really think without trying to insult others.

Candy Ride was the sire of Sidneys Candy and also happens to be the sire of Shared Belief and Candy Boy who is ranked number 4 on the Derby Dozen.

As far as Goldencents I dont think there was any consensus on him getting the distance either before they ran the race,especially after just looking at his pedigree.Not even the trainers know if their trainees can run that distance competitively as a 3yo even if they are bred for two turn routing.As horses mature they learn how to ration their speed and not expend a lot of nervous energy and even horses not bred for long distances run those races as old claimers.

13 Mar 2014 6:19 PM

Though I was and still am a fan of his, to be honest I never bought into the super horse hype.  Like many, after his maiden win I waited for him to bust out and be authoritative and yet couldn’t understand how some could deem him the next TC champion after that one race.  Simply put, at this point in his career he’s a G2 winner in a weirdly run race in an ultra-slow time, lost the Champagne in his second start to a horse that was also making only its second start, and never had the proper short race foundation buildup that he should have had.  His highest Beyer is a 93, and this in a loss; and IMO if he doesn’t have issues then the moon really is made out of green cheese.  Take away his extraordinary finish in his maiden race and the immediate expectations heaped onto his young shoulders and he wouldn’t have had near the hype.  I hope he responds and turns out to be everything most thought he would be, but after watching that race at GP I feel that his body language said lots.

13 Mar 2014 6:51 PM

My previous post was about Honor Code of course.

13 Mar 2014 6:52 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Any pedigree can produce a "freak", an extemely talented runner that comes from a pedigree that normally or historically wouldn't be the type that would produce a Derby winner so you really need to go by talent, style and stride more than pedigree but this is an early stage in the process despite being only about 50 days from Derby day since we learn so much from the final big preps. I explained in some earlier posts about my bias towards SI's pedigree. In my mind California Chrome would havve to be a freak since his pedigree and the distance capabilities of the offspring that usually come out of his sire and dam's sire aren't conducive to getting 10f with speed. I see more in SI's pedigree as to where there is more potential in my viewpoint for him to be able to get 10f in a time fast enough to win The Derby.

   My post of 13 Mar at 6:02 explains that I wasn't serious in making a statement such as "I'm sure you all agree."

13 Mar 2014 7:21 PM
Pedigree Ann

"California Chrome may have the best chance of any cal bred since Best Pal to hit the board."

Have you forgotten the 3-horse tussle among Cal-raced Silver Charm, Cal-bred Free House, and Captain Bodgit in 1997? Free House went on to win the Pacific Classic at 4 and the Big 'Cap at 5.

I certainly hope that Social Inclusion's people don't rush him into the Kentucky Derby because it would likely destroy any future career for him. He did not debut until February 22nd! This isn't Big Brown, who started just before New Year's (with steroids), or Bodemeister, who was in race-training for quite a while at 2 but wasn't started because he didn't work fast enough for Bob (according to him).

Oh, in case you have forgotten, Sidney's Candy was "the one" of his year, who got all worked up in the paddock, was already dripping sweat in the post parade, and shot out of PP 20 like a bat out of hell. Palace Malice couldn't manage to win that way and neither could Sid.

13 Mar 2014 7:27 PM

Steve ~

re: Dr Drunkinbum - could not have said it better! and very nicely put ........

"Hangin'with Haskin" is a very special "Spot" (lets not forget him) and not only the place for many to build there own Derby but a well thought-ed and educational experience under your expertise and with your current and historical knowledge and an opinion that sparks a question and an answer practically makes dreams come true!

Dealing with disappointment is a success in this game as is the thrill of a win and all that happens in between ~ like when your horse doesn't quite finish the way you planned - the defeat can be devastating to the individual and to the horse who humblely leaves the track not quite sure what type race he may look forward to and when or if ever again.....

Coming to a conclusion or calling the race is quite a challenge and the supporting facts and bios are helpful but still - how that particular horse feels on any given day and how he gets to the Derby and comes out of it is a question we must put in bold type. It will be up to him in the field and in the long run. Most overlook this and we can never be too sure that the choice is the obvious one based on pedigree and calculations and all else we tend to come up with in our speculative views but there is always a special horse and special people that make a difference ~ like yourself and those "hangin' with you.

Honor Code deserves his name well even after his defeat Wednesday to Social Inclusion who has taken the attention of the dreamers and the media.  Yes, he is a very nice horse and certainly his swiftness did not fail him - It was clear that he enjoyed the ride and without faulter.  Does this make him the new top one to beware of?

And yes, we must not forget the media who can take the lead and the result not be the peoples choice!  The marketing part of this business is big, cunning and can be cruel and cutting.

This is the reason for our dreams and this is the place to make them happen ~

Thank you Steve for allowing to share the dreams with you and building the Derby Dozen!

I love this name for a horse "Hangin'with Haskin"!

13 Mar 2014 7:54 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. late to the party as always. My top 5 are:

California Chrome

Cairo Prince


Intense Holiday


13 Mar 2014 8:39 PM

Dr. D.  - thanks for the explanation; I had wondered if you comment was made to get a rise out of some of us.

I understand your preference for a horse who is brilliant right out of the box, so to speak, but I don't think you should hold CC's less than stellar record early on.  His first several efforts were on the synthetic surfaces at Del Mar, and Hollywood too, as I recall.  He's been a monster on dirt and is unbeaten once stretched out to 2 turns.

I don't know who will prove best if the match-up occurs, but I'm pretty sure we are in for a treat.

13 Mar 2014 8:56 PM
Steve Haskin

BelmontBarb, it is comments like yours that make Derby Dozen and Hangin' with Haskin worth it all. I couldnt have phrased it more eloquently or with more passion. Thank you very much, and thanks to everyone for taking the time to post your comments and opinions in such an intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful manner. This is what the Derby trail is all about.

13 Mar 2014 10:04 PM

Come on guys! Realistically who would you rather have the 1st Saturday in May on the Churchill oval Honor Code or Social Inclusion?  Sure SI is a nice colt and he ran a track record race, but he caught his track on a it was super fast.  Do you all really think that he would beat Honor Code on the square going a 1 1/4 with other speed horses present?  My money says no way!  Would he outrun Cairo Prince, California Chrome and some of the other speed horses and get it done? No way! I doubt it very much, he lacks seasoning and my take is that he might make the Preakness if their smart.  Beating Honor Code after 6 months rest and gaps in training on a speed favoring track does not make you a Derby horse.  Let's see him do it away from Gulfstream and let's see him do it with added pressure on him.  I will stick with Honor Code as my top pick.  That race is just what he needed and if Shug is smart he would send him to the Wood and get him away from the Gulfstream Speedway!

13 Mar 2014 10:14 PM

It looks more and more like this is going to be Pioneer on the Nile's breakout year.  Some of the Tapits are nice horses and are running well at the current distances but there is nothing indicate they can get 10 furlongs.

13 Mar 2014 10:41 PM
El Kabong

Dr Drunkinbum

There is one fact that nobody can deny- Social Inclusion would leave California Chrome in his dust at any distance. I'm sure you all agree.

Dr. Disagree, what coldfacts elixir have you consumed? Surely you jest for the sport of joust? Should you persist, let me remind you, "your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries."

Admit, you miss the fray and were just trying to stir it up! I'm sure you laughed as hard as I did when you typed that boulder dash, but I applaud your endeavor to instigate a riot. Never knew you had it in you.  

13 Mar 2014 10:46 PM


13 Mar 2014 11:00 PM

Dr D

Gulfstream went with Flubber for their juiced up surface because he was by Flubber Lang, out of Bouncing Betty!

13 Mar 2014 11:11 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The fever has subsided, down to 100 temp from 103. According to the Trakus chart Honor Code ran 1:42.67 for 8.5f, 15 lengths ahead of the third place finisher and the 3rd place finisher was 14 lengths ahead of 4th place so considering the layoff Honor Code ran well. Visually he seemed to tire a little but I think that was an optical illusion because Social Inclusion came home faster. Honor Code's last 5/16 was 30.99 and SI's was 30.27. Both are fast. There were no comparable dirt times or class for other dirt races of the day. Some of the other dirt races were slow but they were low level races. The times were much faster at SA on March 8th when California Chrome ran but also the caliber of racing was a much higher level so I don't think any comparisons can be made. The difference is that California Chrome has romped in three straight races in stakes races all since Victor Espinoza has taken over the saddle. California Chrome had faster early fractions and Social Inclusion had faster closing fractions in their last races.

  My picks for the win spot in the Rebel in order of perference are Hoppertunity, Kobe's Back, Street Strategy, then Tapiture. That is not an order of finish prediction but what I consider the odds to be for the win only. Only a few weeks left until the biggest preps is exciting. We will jump the gun on at least one horse wondering if he can win the Triple Crown even before he has run in The Derby. There sure is some speed but a closer should also emerge that we get excited about.

  robinm- That was a good reminder about the caliber of races that CC has been running

  jayjay- Thanks, I'm glad. It seems that some of them are still trying to decide between the Wood and Florida Derby.

   Stones- Thank you. Sorry about the confusion.

   food fight- I love your Indianapolis enthusiasm, it helps to keep mine alive.

   BelmontBarb- It's nice to have your eloquent and perceptive style here. I hope you stay. You add a valuable piece to what is already a very good group right now.

  Alex'aBigfan- Nice top four. Where is Spot?

14 Mar 2014 8:39 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Florida Derby is looking like the race I am most looking forward to. The field could possibly be Cairo Prince, Spot, Social Inclusion, General A Rod, Constitution, Wildcat Red, and Honor Code?  Even if just 5 or 6 of them run in the race, that is a lot of talent, and should be the deepest field as far as talent of any of the preps. Whoever emerges the winner will probably be something special and one of the top two favorites in The Derby. I'm looking forward to all of them but the Wood should be a really good one also. The other races have some strong talent but maybe not quite as deep. I'm hoping that Spot runs. Nick Zito said he is doing well and there is a possiblity he will be entered. I hope all of them run that I listed but I would still send Honor Code to the Wood if I had him. If he recovers fast and progresses he still could be factor in or even win either race since it is 9f but I would like his chances better in the Wood, and I certainly want to see him in the Derby field if possible. The Candy Boy and California Chrome matchup is a good one, and hopefully someone else will be entered that can give them a run for their money. The LA Derby should tell us more about Intense Holiday, for that alone I am excited about that one too. Some talent tryimg to play catch up hopefully will make the Arknasas Derby a good one and maybe another star will emerge from that one.

14 Mar 2014 9:33 AM
Mike from Michigan

logic and common sense say no, but I have a feeling about Hoppertunity in the 'Rebel'.  He probably will go off around 8-1.  He's a nice horse and the switch to Mike Smith is a big plus.  Ulysses on the nose.

14 Mar 2014 9:45 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Check out and and check out their trakus charts. You can go to the date, then change the race at the top. You get the actual times for every horse in the race, then you can get the fractions yourself. Keeneland probably still has trakus for their races also, not sure about any other tracks.

El Kabong

   My conscious intent was strictly humor but you never know what evil intentions lurk in the subconscious however it does my heart good to hear that it stirred up your blood. I do hope that it didn't boil your blood to too high of a temperature though. You needed something other than Geritol anyway so I actually unintentionally did you a favor.

14 Mar 2014 9:48 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I recommend using brisnet pps and reading "Handicapper's Edge" free daily at

14 Mar 2014 10:34 AM

Carlos in Cali: Trust me friend, Social Inclusion is a BIG horse in the making. All you doubters out there have got to know exceptional quality when you see it. His biggest obstacle to a Triple Crown sweep will be lack of seasoning ...and if he's a really special history making colt he'll overcome it ...I'm hopping on that wagon my friend.

I take nothing away from Honor Code ...he ran a pretty good race for his 3YO debut in March but simply ran into a buzzsaw in Social Inclusion.

Lazmanick: You're knocking down Honor Code too much my friend. You've got to realize that he's a son of AP Indy and must be quite an exceptional one to have shown so much ability so early. The so called hype is like finding a bluechip investment early ...ask KY Vet (LOL). I believe that Honor Code will vindicate his backers ...and remember that his trainer is not one to be overcome with Derby fever. The quality in this crop is now beginning to rise ...think of it, a 111 Beyer, while on a 'walk in the park' ...simply amazing, Social Inclusion, everybody ...this is the one I've been waiting for. Awesome!!!

14 Mar 2014 10:34 AM

Steve -- thanks for the nice commentary on Kid Cruz.  I will watch closely to see if we make it into your TOP 12.

THEHOLZ -- Glad you like Kid Cruz too!  Loved your enthusiasm --- I feel the same way!!!

14 Mar 2014 12:18 PM
Paul Revere

Great insight, lists, and comments!  For me personally as a handicapper,I can't see anything coming out of the New York preps, especially given the front running speed of the recent winners.  Same goes for Gulfstream, and I see Social Inclusion taking down alot of money and being a great bet against wherever he runs next.  The Fair Grounds preps seem to be producing only second tier derby hopefuls.  They Oaklawn series is a "must watch" based on recent history of horses who have come out of the Rebeal and Arkansas Derby with fine triple crown efforts, we will know more Saturday night.  But I feel ultimately it may be the year we finally see a California base horse emerge as a 3 year old champion.  

14 Mar 2014 2:08 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

"Racing Voices" is a very nice idea whoever thought of it, and the first article is very good.


   At you can do the search on the upper right and get the race record with charts and workouts for any horse for free. It also has all of his race replays but that is a subscription but is a very nice thing to have. Also "meet stats" are free there with the current and usually previous meet for any track.


   SA is a Bouncing Betty track too. I never heard of Flubber Lang but I think I remember Bouncing Betty. I used to love the flubber balls I had as a kid. We set all kinds of new records with them.

14 Mar 2014 2:21 PM

Dr D

Shame on me for not sensing your sarcasm!  I've read enough of your posts that I should have picked up on it.  I blame work for beating down my brain...

Rebel Stakes, what a juicy line-up, loaded with potential!  I'll go with Tapiture, followed by a fast closing Hoppertunity.  Trifecta 3, 5, all.  Might throw a couple of bucks to win on Sheltowee's Boy based on improving Beyer's and his sire, Nobiz Like Shobiz (but only if he's 15-1 or higher)

14 Mar 2014 2:26 PM
Linda in Texas

Hi Steve, this is sorta off topic :) but i had to let you know if you don't already. I was really stoked about the Midshipman Colt Hip 139 at The OBS. I watched every sale up to the 150's. I wondered a few minutes ago as i was reading who had purchased Hip 139? I knew he went for $560,000 and had posted it. I just Googled Hip 139 before i was about to write and ask you how i find out who bought him? I didn't have to: Guess Who Did?  David Ingordo!!!  I am in good company to have picked a horse that David Ingordo picked. I wish him well with him and will look forward to finding out Hip 139's racing name. And maybe next year or later we will all be seeing him race race!

I love this sport and happy horse racing this week end. Thanks, Steve.

14 Mar 2014 2:37 PM

I may be jumping the gun a little bit but doesn't Social Inclusion remind anyone a bit of Ruffian? A horse who is always on the leads, lengths ahead of the rest of the field. And easily goes about setting track records. But Ruffian did have much faster earlier fractions and wasn't on a speedway.

Strong Mandate is a lot like his father. Tiznow was always a touchy race horse who didn't always fire. Just like Strong Mandate.

Kid Cruz is one to watch. His stride is HUGE and he came flying through the stretch into super slow fractions. My one fear is that he beat nothing.

The rebels stakes should be very interesting to watch. Personally I have always liked Kobe's Back. Everyone sees huge potential in Hoppertunity, I've never seen what their talking about but maybe the Rebel will enlighten me. Hesitant to jump on Tapiture since his sire is Tapit.

14 Mar 2014 3:29 PM

Rebel Stakes upset special is Street Strategy with Calvin Borel.  With Tapiture and Strong Mandate probably taking back a little tomorrow, Borel probably sends and secures the rail and holds on at the wire.  He makes next week's Derby Dozen for sure!

14 Mar 2014 3:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That sounds like a good bet. They have 50 cent trifectas so you might want to do 5-3-all also so you don't get bit by a one way for a cheap price that could pay good with a longshot in 3rd and the other favorites off the board.

14 Mar 2014 3:54 PM


I hope Honor Code vindicates himself, but I didn't like the way he looked on Wednesday.  He didn't seem right.  He is also very over rated when considering what he has accomplished so far, but that's just my opinion.  As for Social Inclusion and California Chrome, who do you like best?  To be honest I like both horses but I'll go with CC though I'm still not convinced that he can do it in the Derby.  One more prep please.

14 Mar 2014 6:16 PM

Speed speed and more speed, surprised by the love showered on  Mr. Social , sure he can compete at Gulfstream with A Rod and Wild Cat, but KD, come on. Hope he gets the points, looks like a little rain will set it up perfectly for the plodders. If fast I think California Chrome is in the drivers seat.

Rebel is close, may take a stab with hoppertunity.

14 Mar 2014 7:21 PM

Very, very premature to anoint Social Inclusion as the "next coming..." The horse has had 9 workouts since mid-Jan; 6 at 3/8ths, 3 at a 1/2-all at Gulfstream. Horse was honed for speed, and then raced on a speed favoring track. Longish odds in first start. So he beat a first-time back Honor Code who, in turn, slaughtered the 3rd place finisher. What if Honor Code did run really sub-par?..Wish I could book both Social Inclusion and California Chrome in their next start. And, if either or both should win, I'd like to book them again in following start. Doubt very much I'd net a loss.  

14 Mar 2014 8:40 PM

Dr. D.,

The Derby picture is still "spotty."  I don't know where the heck to put Spot on the list.  I agree with your liking the Mr. Prospector sire line, I'm partial to it too.  He begot Afleet, who begot Northern Afleet, who begot my Afleet Alex, who better begot somebody worthwhile soon!!!!  And I agree a Derby can't be won on pedigree alone, it depends on if those pedigree genetics translate into prowess on the track.  And with the Derby field size, throw in luck and post position on who is getting themselves out of the traffic jam.  I hope we get a clearer picture after the Wood and the Florida Derby, the two I am most looking forward to.

I'll go with Hopportunity for the Rebel, unless Calvin takes it to the street again.  I liked Hopportunity's getting a bath video.

14 Mar 2014 8:40 PM

Social Inclusion is now my #1 Derby horse. In fact I'll go ahead and anoint him as the one to break the 36 years Triple Crown drought, in the hope that he stays sound.

Honor Code remains #2 and California Chrome #3 on my list. Tapiture, Kobe's Back, General a Rod, Wilcat Red, Constitution, Bobby's Kitten & Bayern complete my top ten.

Social Inclusion's pedigree is not a simple read because he has no inbreeding in the first five generations. It can become easily misleading to put a lot of weight on the race record of his female family, raising doubts about the colts stamina for the classic distances. His pedigree matrix shows some similarities to the great Holy Bull in that he has inbreeding on the dam side to Mahmoud(through broodmare sire Saint Ballado and Runaway Groom 6x6x7) coupled with Dr Fager's sire and dam (Rough N'Tumble x Aspidistra), top and bottom. Thats enough to make the competition begn to tremble. The potential for extra ordinary speed and stamina are in the bloodlines of this colt therefore he can really be a super horse. In only two starts he looks like a "special one" indeed and how he deals wih the tests ahead make for some great racing on the Triple Crown trail.

This is the kind of horse that could really scare away all the pretenders and give us a nice fair race on the first Saturday in May ...I hope they let him break out of a jog in the Florida Derby.

14 Mar 2014 9:24 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve,i was reading an article about the Kentucky Derby Winners as sires since Dr Roman invented the Dosage System in 1981 and Unbridled is the only derby winner to sire a derby winner in 32 consecutive running of this race and not only that he is grand sire of a derby winner and the only broodmare sire of a derby winner to sire a derby winner and died at 14!! what a horse won the derby like Monarchos with a 116 Bayer.

15 Mar 2014 3:04 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Kid Cruz won the nine furlongs Private Terms in 1.54 and change at 9 Furlongs? Orb did that time when he was galloping.

15 Mar 2014 3:25 AM

Rebel Stakes came up with a short field, did Tapiture or Strong Mandate scare everyone else ?   As I mentioned before, I think the 5 lbs might be enough for SM to turn the tables on Tapiture.   Hoppertunity is 10-1 ML, that's very juicy considering the top two are vulnerable favorites in this race and has Mike Smith.  I like Sheltowee's Boy as the longshot, I'm hoping he'll pick up the pieces and hit the board, morning line of 15-1.

Oaklawn Late P4 ($12.00) :  1, 7 with 6, 7, 2 with 4 with 6, 9, 10, 11

Iotapa for the Santa Margarita.    Centre Court and Kitten's Point in the Honey Fox.

Ranagulzion :  You went from Honor Code, to California Chrome, (there was another horse, but I forgot who it was) to now Social Inclusion.   Come derby day, you would've predicted 8 or 9 horses to win the Triple Crown lol.  I would like to see your Triple Crown Dozen.  I wish you luck but If you miss picking the triple crown winner this year, you might consider revisiting your handicapping angle for predicting triple crown winners and maybe try to pick the Kentucky Derby winner first.    I'll make a prediction now,  one of Zenyatta's babies will win the Kentucky Derby...someday lol.

Steve H : What's your thoughts on where Honor Code should go?  Wood or Florida Derby ?  I think he'll have a better shot going to Arkansas personally.

15 Mar 2014 3:33 AM

For those of you who didn't catch Dr. D's tongue in cheek statement of SI vs. CC, beware!  He can be wiley.  He's been treating me for Derby fever for a few years, yet even with his best treatments, the fever keeps coming back.  

Dr. D.: Be patient with me, I will pay your bill after hitting the tri in this year's Derby.

hirize:  agree with your take on HC vs SI at CD.  I trust Shug and will wait and see where and if he continues on the Derby Trail.  I'm sure everyone would agree that if both HC and SI are in the starting gate on Derby Day, HC will finish ahead of SI.

Rebel:  looks like rain, storms and an off track:   Strong Mandate on top.

15 Mar 2014 9:16 AM

El Kabong,

"what coldfacts elixir have you consumed?"

I assumed the above described elixir refers to kind concocted by me. I cannot recall posting statements on similar to those of the honorable Doc. My post on California chrome would request caution. See below:

Bellamy Road’s stunning 17 1/2-length record setting victory in the 2005 Wood was simply awesome. He rocketed to the top of every Derby list. He finished unplaced in the speed fest Derby.  

Empire Maker’s 9 3/4 lengths romp in the 2003 FL Derby was simply Awesome. He finished second to Funny Cide a horse he previously defeated in the Wood.

Consolidator appeared to be an equine cannonball when he set the existing stakes record for the San Felipe.

We have all seen these awesome performances by 3YOs on the Derby trail before and we continue to forget that they are rarely if ever replicated in the Derby.

My policy after a scintillating performance in one prep, is to move on to the next to see what additional information can be secured on other contenders.

In my opinion California Chrome does not have the profile of a Derby winner. However, there have been a few fortunate Derby winners that had less than stellar profiles. He is certainly not without hope.

The collection of 3YOs that will enter the starting gates for the Kentucky Derby will bring different strengths to contests a distance none have previously covered. Horses delivering awesome performances leading up to the big race in many instances have been defeated by a lesser amongst them.

The Kentucky Derby is an event that provides an equal opportunity for all to win and it is takes no prisoners. The horse with the ability to stay 10F, that gets an ideal trip and adapts to track conditions on the day will be the likely winner. All previous record setting and impressive performances are irrelevant when those starting gates open.

The coldfacts elixirs are normally a combination historic facts & opinions and are far too often regarded as having a splash of arrogance.

I sincerely hope the manner in which the above clarification was phrased, at a minimum meets the respect requirements of the blog.

15 Mar 2014 9:16 AM
El Kabong

Dr. D,

The day you boil my blood is the day I toss in the towel, toss out my mac and commit my time to well tilled soil. What proof is Geritol and is it found in the whiskey or Gin section?

15 Mar 2014 9:21 AM

Even though I was disappointed by Honor Code's loss, he is still my favorite. I fell in love with this colt the first time I saw him.

Honor Code was not in top physical condition going into this race. He did not have the deep, firm muscles that California Chrome, for example, has. He also appeared thin to me.

Now is this the fault of the colt or Shug, I personally do not think so.

I went back and looked at the side view photo of him and he appears to be in a growth spurt as his croup is up. Anyone that knows anything about horses knows that when a young horse is in a growth spurt, keeping good weight is not always possible. Sometimes the growth spurt throws a young horse temporarily off balance in their conformation.

Another thing that needs to be considered is that Honor Code had a long layoff after his surgery to correct his "ridgeling" issue. This was most probably an invasive surgery and one that can be complicated. It is not like a simpler gelding procedure. Even a young colt, that is gelded at nine months or so and barring any complications, can take several weeks to recover. Why would we expect Honor Code to bounce back in a couple of weeks from an invasive procedure.

Then he had the issue with bruised heels. Again, another layoff in his conditioning.

All of this in conjunction with the frigid winter on the East Coast, I, in my humble opinion, contributed to his being in less than stellar physical condition for the race.

Additionally, young horses have minds that are still maturing. Some even go through the terrible twos and terrible threes just like children do.

Someone commented on here that it did not matter what a colt's condition was at this point in time, as long as they were ready by Derby Day. I totally disagree with this. Conditioning is an on going process, whereby each step builds on the previous. If we rush a colt or a filly in the process, we risk one or two or both things happening...the horse has a physical injury or they become sour on the training. These colts are all at varying stages of their physical and mental development and at best they respond to the training and conditioning and at worst, their minds and physical development are not going to respond ideally to the training and conditioning.

This is why I stated that Honor Code might not be ready for the Derby, but rather run in one of other two races. This was in NO WAY a slam against Shug (whom I have tremendous respect for) or Honor Code.

We seem (myself included) get hung up on the idea that only great racehorses are the ones that are ready to complete in the TC races. We seem to forget that great race horses do come after the Triple Crown season. For example, Game on Dude, Mucho Macho Man, Will Take Charge, Wise Dan, Curlin, Zenyatta, just to name a few.

And one more comment, a seven year old horse in any other horse sport be it endurance, dressage, cross country, show ring jumping, eventing and barrel racing and other timed events, is not old by any standard. Many of these horses perform at a high level well into their teens and close to 20. The demands on their bodies and mental outlook is just as demanding as for the thoroughbreds. They train just as hard, if not harder in some respects. And yet thoroughbreds are pushed to their limits before they are physically and mentally mature and when they seem to fail by not being ready by race day, we are ready to toss them aside and move on to the next promising super star.

In my very humble opinion, this is one of the things that is wrong with racing today. The industry seems to have moved away from having respect and interest in the horses with long careers that go beyond the flash in the pan 3 year olds.

I loved seeing Will Take Charge, Mucho Macho Man and Game on Dude running neck to neck a few weeks ago. Now that to me is true competition, not some colt that streaks down a fast track and might prove to be a one hit wonder.

Anyway, that is just my opinion and is not meant to offend anyone or any horse or any trainer or any breeding farms or racing corporation. Just how someone who has owned horses their entire lives feels and who is passionate about all horses...for the love of the horse.

15 Mar 2014 9:33 AM
El Kabong


You took the bait. Good to know you are still here. I thought the same thing about Cal Chrome-Bellamy Road etc- but Cal Chrome seems more consistent and potentially capable of much more. Nevertheless, as you have cited so well with history, we will have to wait and see how he progresses next out or regresses, if indeed he gave us his best too soon. The "coldfacts elixir," when consumed on an empty stomach as directed, compels even the most agreeable chap to take the road less traveled, go against the grain as it were, despite the prevailing winds. Not such a bad thing at all so long as you are ready for the ride and remain respectful. Down the hatch and welcome back.

15 Mar 2014 9:51 AM
Pedigree Ann

All you folks putting Social Inclusion in your top 10 lists:

Do you remember Dreaming of Julia last year? How she was considered by some a shoo-in to win the Oaks and could win the Derby if she started? All because of a lengthy, big-speed-figure win at Gulfstream Park? How did that turn out for her? (In case you have forgotten, she never won another race.)

15 Mar 2014 10:28 AM
Drinks from a glass !!





15 Mar 2014 11:13 AM
Drinks from a glass !!


15 Mar 2014 11:14 AM

I agree completely with some of the latest comments; sceptre, Pedigree Ann, Windolin and even (gasp) Coldfacts.

I agree with sceptre and Pedigree Ann that too much emphasis is placed on the recent allowance win by SI at Gulfstream.  To be annointing this colt the Derby winner, much less the next TC champion, at this point in his short career is very premature.  He still isn't qualified to make the gate.

Windolin; excellent analysis of Honor Code's fitness level entering that same allowance race.  One thing I feel I know about Shug is, HC won't be in the KD field if he's not ready both physically and mentally.

Coldfacts comment that every horse in the derby field can jump up and have his day is right on.  We don't know how a colt will react to the huge field or handle the 10 furlong distance until the very day.  And luck plays a huge role.  The best horse doesn't always win the Kentucky Derby.

15 Mar 2014 11:55 AM

Going with Kobe's Back in today's Rebel.

Hope there is enough speed for him to close into..

Coldfact nice to see you back we should now make over 300 posts for this weeks derby dozen..

Dr.D Thanks for the reading suggestions.

After doing some D.D. is there a more forgotten about horse on this board than Steve's #4??

Still long way to go and I may change my mind!!

Good Luck to all..

15 Mar 2014 11:56 AM

Dr Roman developed the Dosage System in 1981:

Unbridled 1990 Derby winner sired 1996 Derby winner Grindstone.

Seattle Slew 1977 Derby winner sired 1984 Derby winner Swale.

within the 32 years between 1981 and 2013, there were two Derby winners that were sired by Derby winners. The difference being Seattle Slew won his Derby before Dr. Roman developed his Dosage System.

It appears Unbridled was not the only Derby winner to sire a Derby within the referenced 32 years period.


Derby winners in last 50yrs that had no inbreeding in their first 5 generations:


War Emblem


Lil E Tee

Notables with no inbreeding in their first 5 generations: Curlin, Invasor, Leroidesanimaux Candy Ride.

15 Mar 2014 12:01 PM

Pedigree Ann : I remember Dreaming Of Julia, it was Ranagulzion that said she was going to demolish the derby field except the points system didn't allow her in.  I didn't realize she has not won any race since that monstrous romp....Ranagulzion said she would come back and show the world how great she is, but I guess we're still waiting...

Ranagulzion :   LOL, your last post was a funny read, thanks for the good laugh.  You almost made me believe you were serious lol.   Good luck today with your bets in the Rebel.

15 Mar 2014 12:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That was an excellent, excellent post (3-15, 9:33). It says a lot and is a good reminder for those of us with Derby fever that the timetable for greatness is based on the horse's timetable not on the Triple Crown timetable. Thank you.


    I hope you do win the trifecta, and I am in no way rushing you to pay your bill but if you want to pay it in full you'd better take a stab at the superfecta and the Pick Six too.


   If I wore a tie I'd put a big tomato sauce spot on it, and wear it proudly.

15 Mar 2014 2:21 PM


Perhaps I missed something in the "thread" (all others' comments), but why do you mention that Seattle Slew won his Derby before the advent of Roman's work? What was your point in mentioning this; i.e. to what did it relate? As I suppose you realize, the race record of the ("Roman") sire has no influence on that sire's aptitudinal classification (should he be classified). And as an aside; while Seattle Slew may not yet have been "classified" at the time of Swale's Derby win, Swale may have had some small influence on Seattle Slew's later classification...And FYI, and some others; Roman's classifications are based strictly on aptitudinal (relative distance) dominance, nothing more. So for example; in (his) theory, should there be an elite stallion that tended to sire runners/good winners over a very large range of distances, that sire would tend not to receive a classification-but, while in theory he would agree with this, it seems that he didn't quite follow it in practice.  

15 Mar 2014 4:16 PM

I like to cross check some of the things I read, and I started to check Kentucky Derby winners for inbreeding and the 1st one I checked Orb is inbred to Nasrullah 4 generations back.

15 Mar 2014 5:13 PM

Well, I'm not sure the Rebel told us much, except Kobe's Back wants nothing of 2 turns.  The track conditions alone, make the results suspect, then you have all the bumping in the stretch, which seems to have benefited Hoppertunity.  

I'll be interested to see what others are thinking.

15 Mar 2014 7:18 PM

Sorry Steve, I know you like Hoppertunity, IMO it looked like Tapiture was interfered with by Hoppertunity, but the stewards didn't move Hoppertunity down!!! Plus, there also was a Jockey Objection against Hoppertunity.

15 Mar 2014 7:21 PM

Thanks for the fair warning, Doc.  I would have been steaming about that inquiry netting no change if I hadn't covered the top two both ways.  Gotta say that Tapiture looked to be the gamest of the bunch after getting knocked around like a pinball in the stretch and still fighting to the end.

15 Mar 2014 7:27 PM
Mike from Michigan

I couldn't believe Golden Lad was 5-1 in the Razorback,  I was all over that! :)  He is racing as well as any horse in the U.S. right now and I believe today's win makes that 4 in a row.

15 Mar 2014 7:45 PM

Steve, the day began gloomily with the news that Onlyforyou had been euthanized, then a horse collapsed from exhaustion at Santa Anita but thankfully was revived, then watched Tapiture being pinned in, then squeezed between 2 horses in the 'Rabble Stakes' - racing can be very harsh and unfair at times.

I am starting to believe more and more that the point system really needs adjusting, KM's stance is sound on one level as well.

15 Mar 2014 8:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   You're welcome, on the info. Here's my new Derby Dozen.

1- Bayern- Baffert wouldn't say SA Derby or Arkansas Derby if he thought the setback took much or anything out of him.

2- Social Inclusion- A must invite to The Derby party.

3- Intense Holiday- Knows how to drive at age three and drives the family car on the vacations.

4- Hoppertunity- Just getting started. Has a winning battle under his belt and the pedigree.

5- Samraat- Tough as nails.

6- Spot- 10f will be spot on for him.

7- Cairo Prince- Would be higher but I don't like the layoff.

8- Honor Code- Will he have enough conditioning is the question.

9- Uncle Sigh- Could bring the hammer down in the Wood.

10- California Chrome- I haven't quite taken a shine to him yet.

11- Candy Boy- He's going to have to be mentally tough to handle the teasing he'll get from the other horses about his name.

12- Constitution- We will see soon if he has the fortitude.

15 Mar 2014 8:15 PM

Now that was an interesting race...the Rebel. Be curious to see what your list looks like next week, Steve. Also be curious to hear what the rest of you guys thought of the race as well.

15 Mar 2014 8:34 PM
Steve Haskin

Derbygal, you and I were obviously watching two different races. If anyone was at fault it was Tapiture, who came out and shoved Hoppertunity out of his way, then kept coming out into him after the two inside horses came out. If there was one horse who was not at fault at all it was the winner. Watch the head-on.

15 Mar 2014 9:50 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

I just enjoyed Ride on Curlin battling with Strong mandate and not letting him get an easy lead. I'm not one for horses getting easy leads and winning off by alot, especially the ones who have had no competition in those races. Ride on Curlin may not make the KD, but if he does, he will be near the lead with all the other speeds, letting no horse get away with cheap speed.

15 Mar 2014 10:32 PM
Paula Higgins

My computer is being difficult or Bloodhorse is so I am reposting. Hoppertunity and Tapiture were very impressive in the Rebel. It was a demolition derby, so along with that and the closeness of the finish, I can't say which is the better horse. But they are both impressive.I agree with the stewards leaving Hoppertunity in first. He wasn't at fault for any of it. Strong Mandate didn't have it at the end and Kobe's Back was just that in the back. So, this gets more and more interesting. Would like to see them both back in the Arkansas.

15 Mar 2014 10:34 PM
Matthew W

had to work tosay or else wouldda given out my two pick five singles at The Great Race Place, race #1 Cronut and race #2 Morning Line Wiz, both huge odds---but what I wanted to say was how "fortunate" I was that I was beaten in deep stretch in race three by Joe Steiner's first timer--fortunate because if he doesn't get me, that it comes doen to race five, and Bejarano's horrible ride on Brave Act, which would've cost me a big pick five when he drifted over and got dq'd, so sometimes when you lose you are fortunate! Nice race at Oaklawn, good horses, Team Lukas had zero excuses while Tapiture certainly was poorly ridden, that jock seems bent on getting the easy trip, and it cost them--good no-call, Baffert at Oaklawn!

15 Mar 2014 10:52 PM
El Kabong

REBEL ROUSING in the stretch!

The stewards got that right. It is clear to anyone objectively watching the head on that Tapiture plowed over to his right while Hopportunity held his ground. If Tapiture had won, he would have been DQ'd to second in my opinion. Hoppiture ran tough but what that race tells me is what I already believe about Intense Holiday and Albano. Those two are headed to the Louisville and if they both improve off that last race, it will be those two at the finish again in the FG Derby. I wouldn't be surprised to see them flip places even though Intense Holiday seems better suited for the 10F KD.

15 Mar 2014 11:00 PM
Matthew W

Mister Friskey I was on the apron for the 1977 Gold Cup, I had Caucasus at 7-1, he was getting them but as I recall, Torl threw down his fist in frustration, and I my racing form! Tough beat! That was the race of the year in North America, as was the 1978 Gold Cup, and I was right there as well, I took JO Tobin, who drifted and hung badly, passed by Vigors the white tornado, Text, and the winner, the beautiful Exceller, with Shoe, he looked so good on the track that day, shining chestnut! I think he was like 8 for 10 that year, with SEVEN Gr 1's....and he got zero Eclipse awards for one of the all-time great snubs! I remember Harry Henson's "CASCAPEDIA THE FILLY..."...the 1977 Gold Cup was 1st Crystal Water, 2nd Cascapedia, 3rd Caucasus, 4th Ancient Title, thay don't run'em like that anymore, do they?

15 Mar 2014 11:01 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Steve, i did make a mistake as Unbridled been the only sire to sire a derby winner in the last 32 years Seattle Slew also did it with Swell but now to confirm his greatness he is the only sire of a derby winner to be the dam sire of a derby winner in more then 60 years or more he was too great for not to have an excuse. and i love the Rebel result.

15 Mar 2014 11:32 PM

I had to watch the Rebel replay as HRTV went kaput on me today.  Can someone tell me why TAPITURE didn't get DQ'd and put behind STRONG MANDATE today because if anyone got squeezed and had his race affected it was SM.

I have my own reasons for liking HOPPERTUNITY but one of the cementers for me, STEVE, is there are times when I really take heed of your instincts and HOPP… is one of them.  Also, BAFFERT really believes in this horse and was only using today's race as "seasoning" and was really looking forward to 1 1/8th to actually get HOPPERTUNITY on the map.


I'm disappointed in your ranking of CAL CHROME!  I don't know you anymore!


16 Mar 2014 12:07 AM


I forgot to mention that I was at the Southwest when TAPITURE won and got a good view of his closing speed which was eye popping so what I thought I saw of HOPPERTUNITY'S close, on TV mind you, for the RISEN STAR was what I hoped to see today in the REBEL.  Very impressive!  6 and change on the sealed sludge.

16 Mar 2014 12:24 AM

Well I had Tapiture today so I did not win but I felt like he showed some guts to keep running with all the bumping going on.  As far as that, the first bump was definitely his fault.  From the head on shot though it looked to me like the second bump was a combination of Hoppertunity coming in and Strong Mandate coming out with Tapiture getting squeezed in the middle.  

16 Mar 2014 12:30 AM


Kindly direct your attention to the submission made by cuba"s classic chef de race on 15 Mar 2014 3:04 AM.

“Steve,i was reading an article about the Kentucky Derby Winners as sires since Dr Roman invented the Dosage System in 1981”

I am not familiar with Dr. Roman’s work and accepted the above development date as factual.

“Unbridled is the only (derby winner) to sire a derby winner in 32 consecutive running of this race”

If the development date for Dr. Roman Dosage System is in fact 1981, I consider the above disclosure relating to the 32 consecutive running of the Derby inaccurate.

Unbridled was in fact the only winner of a Derby subsequent to the development Dr. Roman’s Dosage System, to sire a Derby winner. However, he is not the only Derby winner to sire a Derby winner between 1981 and 2013.

It is possible I might have misinterpreted certain portions of the submission.

16 Mar 2014 12:42 AM

Hoppertunity is a nice horse, but Mike Smith won the race, of course with a little help from his friend.   Tapiture is the one who was battle tested. My analogy:  Tapiture was driving down the freeway and got bumped around by a bunch of drunk drivers.

I don't know if Tapiture will make it to the derby,  but he really showed his class today.

It is still too soon for me to predict the derby winner.      

16 Mar 2014 1:02 AM

derbygal, Hoppertunity was to the outside of Tapiture.  The horse inside of Tapiture bumped him and caused a minor collision with Hoppertunity.  Mike Smith using the right whip did veer in a bit to prevent Tapiture from forging on.  I give this race to Mike Smith, great ride.      

16 Mar 2014 1:31 AM

Kobes Back did not stand a chance.

Broke bad and was rank the whole race..

Is this a toss for him?

Feel bad for the Pleatcher filly tough break..

Doc I think my #1 is Candy Boy he said he was not insecure with his name...

16 Mar 2014 1:32 AM

Steve is correct; Hoppertunity only held his position. Tapiture tried to bull his way into a space already occupied and late in the race Ride on Curlin came into Tapiture, pushing Tapiture into Hoppertunity.  The stewards made the right call.

16 Mar 2014 2:00 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  You're welcome. Good job. After further review I will be moving Intense Holiday back into my number one spot. He seems to be working really good. I think the Risen Star may have propelled him to a new level. Nothing is settled until after the big preps, and even then it will depend on how they are doing physically leading up to The Derby, then we'll have the post positons to deal with. It will be interesting to see who Mike Smith rides. He may have a few good choices.

16 Mar 2014 9:43 AM
Drinks from a glass !!


the 5 horse did nothing wrong... called it as the horse hit the wire...coldfacts nodded in agreement.

horse looks great in paddock and in post parade..scored 7 points in our Stroudsburg road to the triple crown contest....

16 Mar 2014 9:51 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

It would have been a horrendous decision if they would have DQ'd anyone. There was no infraction. Those are some good stewards at OP. I don't recall any bad decisions from them ever.

16 Mar 2014 9:51 AM
Drinks from a glass !!

frank miramadi at oaklawn touted kobes back for the top spot in his pre race selection..

horse looked bad in paddock   worse in post parade    then rank at start and trying to bolt during never know until you see them before race

16 Mar 2014 10:08 AM

I am just ever so thankful that none of horses or jockeys were hurt in the Rebel. This could have very easily ended up in a tragedy. I agree that Mike Smith won that race, just goes to show what a great jockey he is. I disagree that Strong Manadate did not have it it at the end. He got squeezed out, tried to come around and just had no where to go. Ride on Curlin showed that he has guts and is a talented colt. He may not make it to the Derby because he does not have points, but my guess is that he will be in the Preakness or the Belmont. Tapiture is gutsy too and I agree that Taptiture initiated the bumping. I do think that if Tapiture had not been boxed in, he would have won. These are all young horses with very few races and from what I saw watching the race replay, they initiated some of the bumping themselves. If you have ever watched a group of horses running out in the pasture, you will see that the aggressive ones will push others out of the way. While I agree that Hopertunity has talent, I think it is possible that he will prove to be a fragile colt. He has some of the thinnest legs..they almost remind me of Ruffian's legs.

Looking forward to seeing how the other races come out. Based on what I have seen, there are a number of gutsy colts trying to work their way to the Derby. At this point, I think any of them could win the Derby. Just my humble opinion.

16 Mar 2014 10:16 AM

Cuba"s classic chef de race,

Kindly do not regard my input on your historic disclosure regarding Unbridled as mischievous its merely an attempt to share information.

Unbridled is in my opinion the greatest extension of Mr. Prospector. His achievements as a sire and sire of sires are remarkable.

Being a fan of Unbridled I have compared his record to that of other great sires and sires of sires. My records reflect that he was not the only Derby winner that doubled as a broodmare sire of a Derby winner over the last 60yrs or more.

Native Dancer sired the 1966 Derby winner Kauai King and was dam sire of the 1964 Derby winner Northern Dancer. The time frame for the aforementioned occurrence is < 60yrs.

Triple Crown winner Count Fleet sired 1951 Derby winner Count Turf (62 yrs.) and was dam sire of the 1965 Derby winner Lucky Debonair (48yrs)

I have a spreadsheet that helps me to tack historic data for TC races over last 50 years.

16 Mar 2014 10:34 AM
Linda in Texas

If anyone got bumped Hoppertunity was it. HRTV ran several repeats of the 'tight fit' during The Rebel. The straight on shot showed 'Hopper' keeping a path as straight as an arrow. Just because Mike would not move over and let a horse through does not mean Hoppertunity was at fault. The Stewards had it right. That was a plain old fashioned horse race. BTW, re: Kobe's Back, he waited patiently to be loaded last,the gate was not even locked when the front one opened a half second later, he was glancing quickly to his left as he was being loaded and was caught off guard. He lost it at that moment,IMO. Strong Mandate gave a gallant effort,I thought he was squeezed. Rest in Peace Onlyforyou. She was a 2 time Stakes Winner in 2014 alone and just out for a breeze. A Malibu Moon Filly. Thanks Steve.  

16 Mar 2014 10:39 AM

Coldfacts 15 March 2014 12:01pm : In mentioning Kentucky Derby winners without inbreeding in the first five generations you also posted "Notables with no inbreeding in their first 5 generations: Curlin, Invasor, Leroidesanimaux Candy Ride".

Your glaring omissions were Ghostzapper and Cigar. Personally, I think that this is an interesting angle from which to look at the credentials and possibilities for emerging star, Social Inclusion. Not far beyond the first five generations he has significant inbreeding to Mahmoud and Blue Larkspur (shades of Sunday Silence) as well as Dr Fager, Rough N'Tumble, Aspidistra and Mahmoud (shades of Holy Bull). A brilliant young horse with this kind of pedigree profile cannot be dismissed willy nilly as a flash-in-the-pan ...he could really be the one to end the Triple Crown drought. Seriously!!

16 Mar 2014 11:54 AM

Seems to be a lot of "want the lead" types on the trail this year; with questionable pedigree.  Could set it up for a closer.    

16 Mar 2014 12:22 PM
Bill Rinker

In regard to accountability and ethical saftey in race riding, it was very disheartening to watch the stretch run of yesterday's Rebel. I fully understand the tactical implications that are exceptable in racing, and that many times oppertunities come and go very quickly. However there is a point of grey area at which time the Jockey must make a decision based on reasonable chance and safety when faced with a potentially tragic situtation. We were very lucky that nothing worse than bumping took place in yesterday's finish of the Rebel. Once again I thought Mike Smith rode heads up in placing his mount advantageously in a strategic position to achieve the victory. On the other hand I thought that Ricardo Santana Jr. seemed to have lost his racing focus early on. It appeared that he had a very game horse through out the race but was hampered by constant poor positioning. The bullish move he made while attempting to get his horse to the out side showed a lack of patience and disregard for the safety of many. The fact that he filed a riders objection of foul in this insidence further substantiates the overwheling emotions that all to often over take better judgement. In spectulating on the potential implications of disqualification one can only wonder, or at least it seems that way.  

16 Mar 2014 1:43 PM

I swear Kobe's Back literally walked a step out of the gate. To me the jockey messed the race up. He broke slowly and then was rushed up super wide. He could of rushed up on the rail

16 Mar 2014 1:45 PM
Sail On

Only For You: how very sorry I am to read what happened to you. We all need to reflect, and then take meaningful action to limit these tragic 'accidents' from happening so very often.

I for one support banning drugs, and research into prostheses for horses.

My heart is heavy just writing this, as it happens daily. We only are reminded when it happens to a star.

16 Mar 2014 2:06 PM
Sail On

The Rebel showed me 4 game horses that most likely will not be in the money in the Derby.

16 Mar 2014 2:07 PM
Sail On

Steve, is Vicar's In Trouble injured? How bad is it? Did it contribute to his fade in the Risen? Can he reasonable be expected to run in the Louisiana Derby?

16 Mar 2014 2:09 PM
Sail On

Can any of the Derby Trail colts run a mile 1/16 in 1:40 or under?

16 Mar 2014 2:11 PM

I had a feeling that jockey switch might be the key to Hoppertunity getting up.  Mike Smith doesn't get many mounts but when he rides a horse, you have to pay attention.

16 Mar 2014 3:16 PM

The breakdowns and euthanization of the horses is the hardest thing about racing for me. When I read about If Only For You on Saturday, I cried. Horses are the most beautiful and majestic creatures on this earth and seeing one down and having to make the decision to end their life is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Someone described the Thoroughbreds as million dollar horses on ten cent legs and that is so true. I think there needs to be more research into what causes these breakdowns and more medical research money into developing life saving surgeries. Not every breakdown is the result of bad inbreeding or drugs or poor training, but most are. Horses do have accidents that result in a fracture. It happened to one of my horses many years ago. She took a tumble for some unknown reason in the pasture and fractured a vertebra in her back. She somehow managed to walk over a half mile to get to her feed bucket and then collapsed and after two days of trying to save her, I had to put her down. It was heartbreaking. So the point is, accidents happen, but if there is something we can or should be doing to prevent fractures and colics and laminitis then we need research into that. And we need treatments for all three that go beyond where we have progressed in the past 25 years. I know that this is way off topic for this blog, but these losses on the track are happening way too often. If for no other reason the business should be concerned, they need to realize that many Americans have turned away from watching horse racing and in turn betting because of the breakdowns.  

16 Mar 2014 4:27 PM

Mike Smith won the Rebel Stakes for his mount, great ride, he knew Tapiture would have exploded past the pack if given room.

If the Rebel was run in France - 2, 3, and 4 finishers would all have been disqualified. It was a good, bad, and ugly race..

16 Mar 2014 4:42 PM
Sail On

Bill Rinker

I do believe that Tapiture would be well served by a jockey change. I posted as much on the story on the Rebel finish.

Today I went back and reviewed all the 'tape' I have on Tapiture, and I have observed his jockey to be immature, and make several; dubious decisions.

16 Mar 2014 5:33 PM

Hoppertunity looks to be a really nice colt. Good-looking, nice way of going, and seems to have a great mind. In only his 4th start he ran a huge race after shipping a long ways and running on a track, and off surface, unfamiliar to him. Overall, I think his performance was the best of any I've seen this year. I just wish he was by a better sire-re his chances for further improvement. Credit to Baffert for buying him, and bringing him along so well...Kobe's Back race was a toss, he'll probably later prove to be a better horse than say California Chrome, but doubt he'll be up to the Derby.    

16 Mar 2014 5:40 PM

The Rebel was probably the most interesting, revealing race so far.  Wow!  Really impressive.  First off, stewards called it right on.  But, Tapiture was raring to go and I think he would have won the race if his jockey could have gotten him out.  But this race was won, in large part, because Mike Smith is such a pro.  If I had a horse I'd want Mike on him (or Gary Stevens).  Hopportunity has emerged as a true talent but Tapiture had a really tough race and never lost his drive or heart.  

16 Mar 2014 7:28 PM
Scott's Rail

What a race..All four finishers showed grit and determination worthy of the victory.  Again, Mike Smith shows why he is th "Go to Guy".  And Bob Baffert is "The Man."  As your friend Steve Byk says, 24's, 48's....will win most KDerby's.  Hoppertunity fits that bill to a tee.  His pedigree is just how I would draw up a KD winner.  I reasoned S.Asmussen wouldn't have Tapiture wound too tight.  He just forgot to tell his horse that. (what a great performance).  And Strong Mandate may be poised for a next out monster...This is Fun...

16 Mar 2014 7:33 PM

Coldfacts - Native Dancer also sired the "unfairly" disqualified 1968 Derby winner Dancer's Image and was grandsire to 1969 Derby winner Majestic Prince.  The Grey Ghost "owned" the 60's as a direct descendant won the Derby in 1964, 1966, 1968 and 1969....not to mention he was great grandsire to triple crown winner Affirmed and...well the list is too long to mention all his other great grandsons, etc to win triple crown races.....  He was awesome!!!   As for Hoppertunity, I LOVED Any Given Saturday when he was racing, but I cannot get myself to really like this horse because I just HATE his name...!  LOL  Love his connections too, but in order for me to fall in love with a horse, I have to at least be able to stand the name....!  LOL

16 Mar 2014 10:18 PM

I love what Steve Asmussen said relative to Tapiture after the Rebel.  "He didn't seem to mind not winning; he didn't get his feelings hurt.  I wish we would have won, but we still have him, and that's a good thing."  

16 Mar 2014 11:07 PM
El Kabong


You are right on the money with Mike Smith. He has been the master of his domain. His ride on Hopportunity was perfect. He took away Tapitures lane at the head of the stretch and made Santana foul his way into the contest. He held his lane in the stretch and kept Hopportunity focused. He rode Intense Holiday with the same brilliance in the Risen Star. He is riding exceptionally well and if I owned one of these Derby prospects, I'd be greasing the wheels to get a commitment from his agent right now. I hope he stays with Intense Holiday. LIke Hopportunity, IH needs this guy. He's farther off the pace and needs the skilled judgement of Smith to get it done. Your call on the ride in the Rebel, is spot on.

16 Mar 2014 11:48 PM

The Rebel Stakes was exactly as its labeled name - what a ride Mike Smith had and shows the super ability of both the jockey and his very fresh and fit upcoming mount. Although the squeeze was on the focus was incredibly sharp and the performance of both jockey and colt professional and acredible.  I could not imagine or find a reason after replay(s)of head ons that Hoppertunity would come down and be a ""Rebel" without a Cause"! Totally in agreement with you Steve. Mike Smith held here with steady hand and guidance to the wire and well deserved.  Bravo!

A note: I was saddened too by the put down of Onlyforyou, and quite a few other recent losses, including Caixa Electronica as a result of an awful accident not too long ago. The loss of the great and beautiful Ruffian never quite leaves the heart or tongue - always mentioned in stories of recollection as I watched her hoist lifted off her legs at the back of the track....where stillness and sadness met each other and no breath could be heard...the silence of sound sweeping through every barn with broken heart ~ where only quickness of decision to put her down was expected and understood in an un-expected spectacle of a match race(I guess you can tell I disagreed with this one). I am sure we have learned much and there is much more to be learned and that there are many new discoveries and hopes in the future for our humble four-legged friends and champions they all are - courageous and willing and everyone a winner!  We must always believe that the decision being made to run or not is in the best interest of the horse and we must be sensitive and respectful enough to accept it.......and its results.

Thank you Steve for your comments,compliments and clarity on a beautiful ride from Mike aboard Hoppertunity!

17 Mar 2014 1:16 AM

Just read Havana's quarter is supposedly healed but TP said he's being pointed to the Bay Shore which is not a points race...most likely he's going to the Preakness.

Chitu is probable for the Sunland Derby, looking forward to seeing him run there.

Ring Weekend to the Calder Derby ???  What's that's all about ?

17 Mar 2014 9:36 AM

Mike Smith rode a good race even though Tapiture

17 Mar 2014 9:40 AM

Mike Smith rode a good race even though Tapiture managed to push him out and gained position but it was Hoppertunity digging in and fighting that made the difference. Remember, the jockey can never run faster than the horse but only gave the horse the best chance to win. We will see bigger things from Hoppertuniity in the upcoming weeks.

Cold Facts, questioned what people like Steve and myself saw in Hoppertunity to keep bringing him up in the derby conversation and I told him wait and see because the talent is there. And there is more improvement to come now that the switch is turned on.    

17 Mar 2014 10:00 AM


A bit "flowery", fairly nicely written, but content counts too. Couldn't disagree more with your final (aside from the "thank you" to Steve) sentence. Why must we "...always believe..."? I, for one, almost never believe...

17 Mar 2014 10:39 AM
Linda in Texas

BelmontBarb - 17 March 2014, 1:16 A.M.- Beautifully stated. Ruffian - I was so crushed, disillusioned and upset watching her last race and ultimate euthanization after she woke up from her surgery and re injured the leg 'trying to run' that i did not follow horse racing for a very long time. It is in her honor and memory that i decided to once again follow the greatest sport of all. To me Ruffian was a once in a lifetime creation never to be duplicated.  

17 Mar 2014 12:40 PM

Tapiture was by far the best horse in the Rebel, allowing weight all around and compromised by being boxed in behind horses and roughed up in the stretch drive. He's a genuine Kentucky Derby contender and the one they'll all have to beat in the Arkansas Derby.

17 Mar 2014 1:19 PM

Linda in Texas ~ Thank you so much! It was Windolins post that moved me to bring up Ruffian and the "flowery" stuff! (re:Sceptre's post). And, Sceptre ~ if you are posting your comments, facts, details and opinion, you must be believing ~ or are you "sceptical" about that? We are believing our dream of the Derby Dozen ~ are we not! I do want to thank you for your positive comment in re of my writing and appreciate your critique.  Taking the positive side always over-rides the negative.  

Steve, your thoughts......

we need you out here today!

17 Mar 2014 3:14 PM
The Deacon

Linda in Texas:  I concur 100%, Ruffian was a once in a lifetime filly. In my humble opinion not only is she the greatest filly to ever run she is in my top 10 race horses of all time.

17 Mar 2014 3:25 PM

Subject to change, and will.

(1) California chrome... The most impressive Derby prep winner yet.

(2) General A Rod ... Will unseat Cairo Prince from his top ranking after the Fl. Derby. If he can beat the one below.

(3) Constitution... Beat an field about as good as the FOY field on the undercard at GP with a 98 beyer in his first race of the year. No 2 year old foundation.

(4) Tapiture ...Looked good winning the Southwest with a 98 in first start of the year. I think his jockey got schooling by an older and much wiser jock( Mike Smith) in the Rebel when he got pinned on the rail. Still a good race for Tapiture, and maybe gave him a taste of the banging around he'll see in the Derby.

(5) Intense Holiday ... Nice beyer jump in the Risen Star to a 97, and he needed it. Hopefully he can improve on it in the La. Derby, because he'll need it also.

(6) Strong Mandate .. Expected to see more from him in the Rebel. He is hanging by a thread on my list, need vast improvement in the Ar. Derby, and he needs points. I still like him though. Out of Tiznow.

Still Looking for Improvement from : Rise Up ( really like this horse, hope to see a big improvement from him in La. Derby )....In Trouble ( I thought the NY race was weak, very weak, except maybe improvement from In Trouble since it was 1'st. off layoff.)...

Over Rated ... Cairo Prince, Honor Code ( Has lost too much critical time off, and I use to like him).. Candy Boy ( seems like a couple other " Candy " horses ran in recent Ky. Derby's and didn't pan out to be much.).

Steve Haskins, please tell us your going to pick one clear cut choice for the Ky Derby at trackside this year ? Thanks

17 Mar 2014 3:55 PM
Paul Revere

Amazed that most comments here on Rebel do not take notice of the marked improvement by Ride on Curlin.  This horse countinues to improve, and Kent D. said if he was outside instead of inside in the stretch it would have made a difference.  Gowan/Desormeaux may have a live one come derby day.  

17 Mar 2014 5:43 PM

El Kabong, I'm happy you agree with me.  I do think that Mike Smith will likely commit to Intense Holiday.  The horse is a deep closer, so with a couple of speedster's in the derby, it may set up nicely for him.

If you look at the dam's side of Intense Holiday's pedigree past the 5x, the stamina is there.

As for Tapiture, he is simply imploring his trainer to find a jockey who will give him a clean trip.  I think that Asmussen will do that.  

By the way, I have many pictures of Mike Smith aboard Intense Holiday at the Fair Grounds.      

17 Mar 2014 7:34 PM
Fran Loszynski

I say Tapiture wins the Rebel and the Arkansas Derby. So happy for Gainesway Farm with a moviestar, Birdstone the Dad on the premises with the movie of Mine That Bird 50-1 coming out. Next will be Afleet Alex's movie and believe you me I am working like a madwoman to do just that. These beautiful carte blanche racehorses of racing history deserve their legacies to be honored. Not to mention Tapit, oh Tapit.  Go Tapiture. Like you picks Steve as always you are in the know!

18 Mar 2014 1:33 PM

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