Derby Dozen - March 24, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

Good to see him bounce back with a sharp :47 2/5 work, out in 1:00 2/5 without blinkers. He just glided over the ground, cornered beautifully, and Victor Espinoza never moved a muscle on him down the stretch. He did everything effortlessly, throwing his ears around. Sherman, a bit concerned the San Felipe might have taken a little something out of him, indicated he would wait to decide on the Santa Anita Derby. But the colt quickly returned to his old self and all systems were go. With three straight monster efforts since December, and the Santa Anita Derby still to be run, will he be up to a peak performance on Derby Day? There are times when you would actually prefer to see a slight regression, because of how difficult it is to keep running these huge races and still move forward off them. So if he doesn’t dominate his opponents in the Santa Anita Derby the way he’s been doing, but is more workmanlike, that could be just what he needs at this point. He did appear to win the San Felipe under little urging in the final furlong, but when you run that big in fast time, it does take some kind of toll, especially if you keep doing it race after race. For him to keep piling up these runaway victories and huge speed figures without regressing shows what an exceptional horse he is. But no horse can keep that up over a period of time, so it may be time for him to back up just a little in order to re-energize for the Kentucky Derby.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

The Florida Derby (gr. I) couldn’t be setting up better for him, as he should be stalking three targets who want to be on or right off the lead and also happen to be the three horses to beat in what is shaping up as a six-horse field. His :50 4/5 breeze was a bit slower than McLaughlin was expecting, but at this stage it really doesn’t matter. McLaughlin is just trying to keep him where he’s at and it’s better to go a few ticks slower than go too fast. The last thing you want from a horse coming off a layoff is to be too sharp. It was about seven snowstorms ago that he last raced, so it will be good to finally see where he’s at after his nine-week vacation. Meanwhile, during his absence, the Derby landscape has changed dramatically and he’s going to wonder who all these new faces are when he gets in the paddock next Saturday. If it rains, however, and the track is off, he is booked on a flight to New York just in case. His career has been relatively brief, but he’s been like a rock – classy, honest, and dependable. If he can pull this off and win the Kentucky Derby off one race in 14 weeks, you can put another A+ on McLaughlin’s already impressive report card.


Hoppertunity Bob Baffert Click Here!

Any Given Saturday—Refugee, by Unaccounted For

Baffert would rather not have to send him cross-country for the third time and then back home and then to Kentucky, so he likely will stay home for the Santa Anita Derby. History would be against him if he tries to train him up to the Derby off a seven-week layoff and never having been farther than 1 1/16 miles. Baffert is the master at calling audibles, but at this point it looks as if he’s leaning toward sending Bayern to Oaklawn to try and pull a Bodemeister, especially to avoid a jockey conflict with Gary Stevens, who rides Candy Boy. The bottom line is, if Hoppertunity stays home and gets beat by California Chrome or Candy Boy, but runs a good solid race, there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s already had his battle test against top-class horses and passed that, so he doesn’t need to do anything spectacular in the Santa Anita Derby. If he can play Real Quiet to California Chrome’s Indian Charlie or Silver Charm to California Chrome’s Free House he’ll be just fine.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

He’s in a similar situation as Cairo Prince, coming off a rest and being thrown in against some very fast horses. He turned in a solid 6-furlong work in 1:12 4/5 in company and wasn’t messing around, coming inside his workmate turning for him and being pushed along pretty good down the stretch. His last two races were that crazy-run CashCall Futurity, when he made a huge premature move early, going from 10th to first, and the Robert Lewis, when he came charging late to run down Chitu, so there is still an unknown factor to him and we really don’t have a handle on him yet, as to how he wants to run and how good a horse he is. He seems to have all the tools, and is a powerful physical specimen. Unlike California Chrome, he would seem to need a good stiff race in the Santa Anita Derby to set him up for Kentucky, and off that last work, he’ll be ready for it.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

It doesn’t seem as if he’ll be facing many new serious challengers in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), mainly the same horses he beat in the Risen Star (gr. II). So, barring a bad trip, he should be right there again at the finish and should appreciate the extra distance more than the others. The most notable newcomer looks to be the speedy In Trouble, so that should only help him. For some reason, many horses seem to find trouble at Fair Grounds, especially those who try to come inside or through horses. With its long stretch, horses who swing wide and circle the field don’t suffer from the ground loss as they do at other tracks. This has proven to be a better-safe-than-sorry track, and he doesn’t need the points, so it’s more important to give him a good clean race than take any risks trying to win it in traffic. That’s certainly not to say he can’t, but why take the chance if you can avoid it? Just look at Palace Malice last year. Because of his horrendous trip trying to find an opening, he had to run in the Blue Grass Stakes in order to get enough points to make the Derby field. Intense Holiday tuned up for the race with a :49 2/5 breeze in company with Divine Oath.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

It remains to be seen to what extent the furor over the recent PETA video will prove a distraction. But with Scott Blasi relieved of his duties for the time being, perhaps the firestorm will begin to die down a bit. But as of now, his training for the Arkansas Derby should continue as normal. And after his performance in the Rebel, and with Hoppertunity likely staying in California, he’s going to be awfully tough to beat on April 12. It is still uncertain how far he wants to go, with a pedigree geared more for nine furlongs, but if he can settle right out of the gate and not waste energy in the first quarter mile, he does have a good chance to stretch out that additional quarter mile based on his talent and his toughness. Chances are, owner Ron Winchell will never have a better opportunity to win the Derby with a horse having this many ties to his father, going back several generations on both his sire and dam’s side. So this one will be special. Let’s just hope things run smoothly for the colt from now until the Derby.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

I still don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near the best of this colt, and the feeling here is that he just now may be approaching his peak. This could be his best opportunity to avoid the clutches of Wildcat Red, with Cairo Prince and Constitution keeping him honest enough and not letting him get too comfortable on the front end. But even if he does wind up eyeballing his nemesis again, he looks like the kind of horse who can change tactics in the Kentucky Derby and be effective as a second-tier or midpack type of horse. That’s when his female family can kick in with the stamina he’ll need going 1 1/4 miles. His 1:01 breeze for the Florida Derby was all he needs to be ready for a top effort. If you’re willing to gamble he’s going to run big on Saturday, he could be a huge overlay in the final Future Wager


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

Before shipping up for the Withers, he worked a pair of miles in 1:41 4/5 and 1:46 3/5. Before shipping up for the Gotham, he breezed a mile in 1:45. This week, he breezed a mile in 1:45 for the Wood Memorial. We’ve got some old-school training going on here. If it works, don’t fix it, and Violette obviously is concentrating on building up his stamina and putting as much bottom into him as possible. His travel itinerary looks like that episode of “Seinfeld,” where you see the moving arrow going back and forth from New York to Florida, depicting Jerry’s trips. It is safe to say he has experienced more extreme climate changes in one winter than any other horse. He actually is in a similar position as General a Rod in that, with Social Inclusion in the field, this is his opportunity to finally not have to worry about Uncle Sigh and can concentrate on running his race.


Ring Weekend Graham Motion Click Here!

Tapit—Free the Magic, by Cryptoclearance

OK, I now find this horse so intriguing I feel compelled to put him in the Top 12. What intrigues me most is that there is nothing about him that is conventional, and making his final prep in of all races the Calder Derby is so out of left field it could be inspired. He’s already handled the quirky and deep Tampa surface, as did Derby winners Street Sense and Super Saver and Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat, and there is something about the Calder to Churchill angle that fascinates me. I can’t help but think of Imawildandcrazyguy, who trained his entire life at Calder, had one 3-furlong blowout at Churchill, and then came from 20th to finish fourth in the Derby behind Street Sense, Hard Spun, and a half-length behind Curlin for third at odds of 28-1. This horse was gelded last fall because he was too playful and unfocused and has run three big races since, so who knows how high his ceiling is. The way he opened up some 7 or 8 lengths with little effort on the turn in the Tampa Derby was pretty electrifying. And now, Bay of Plenty, who he beat in his maiden victory, comes back and romps by 7 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct. He has beautiful low action (but needs to work on his lead changes), is inbred to Fappiano, and Motion always considered him his best 2-year-old. (See pedigree comments in Knocking on the Door)


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

Remember him? It’s tough filling these bottom spots, but while on the subject of taking a step backwards, perhaps that’s all he was guilty of in the Risen Star when he had to be rushed out of the gate from the 13 post, was four wide into the turn and ran up on a horse’s heels on the turn, while much farther back than usual. He then made a startling run, passing six horses in a flash on the far turn to challenge for the lead, but simply got tired and was unable to sustain his run, finishing 5 1/2 lengths behind Albano, who he had beaten by 6 3/4 lengths in the LeComte. Most feel he’s not a mile and a quarter horse or even a mile and an eighth horse, but his maternal great-grandsires won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Preakness, and his third dam, Jabot, is a half-sister to the top-class stayer Big Spruce, who defeated Forego in the Marlboro Cup and won graded stakes at 1 1/2 miles and 1 5/8 miles. Jabot also is a half-sister to Manta, a grade I winner at 1 1/4 and 1 1/8 miles who placed against colts in the Hollywood Gold Cup and 1 1/2-mile Oak Tree Invitational. It could be that he doesn’t want to stretch out any farther, but let’s give him another chance to bounce back from that defeat.


Uncle Sigh Gary Contessa

Indian Charlie—Cradlesong, by Pine Bluff

His main concern right now would have to be Social Inclusion and what kind of strategy to use against him. He certainly doesn’t want to get in a speed duel with him or Samraat or In Trouble (if he runs). What he needs more than anything is to not draw inside again, as he did in the Withers and Gotham. He needs to be outside the speed if he’s going to have an opportunity to sit and stalk, which he certainly would want to do in the Kentucky Derby. He does have stamina on the bottom, but has to be given a chance to utilize it. NYRA tweeted he was going to work Tuesday March 25, and Contessa replied that it might be Wednesday, which would mean 10 days since his last work. Whatever brief work pattern he’s been on this year has been seven or eight days, but he’s obviously doing OK, so we’ll see what he does on the track this week. He’s turned in some fast works and perhaps long gallops have been the way to go as the distances begin to stretch out.


Ride On Curlin William GowanClick Here!

Curlin—Magical Ride, by Storm Cat

The Arkansas Derby doesn’t look as if it’s going to have a large field, and likely will not have Hoppertunity, so this is his last chance to go back to the running style that suits him best, which is coming from off the pace. Running on the pace is not going to win him the Kentucky Derby and likely will not win him the Arkansas Derby. Any horse who closes the way he did in the Champagne against Havana and Honor Code should be using that same weapon in every race. His biggest concern, however, is his 0-for-3 record at Churchill Downs, where he’s been the favorite in two of those races. He hasn’t run badly there, but his third-place finish, beaten seven lengths, in the Street Sense Stakes as the even-money favorite coming off the Champagne was extremely disappointing. He did run a fast-closing second in his career debut at 5 1/2 furlongs, run in a snappy 1:03 3/5.

Knocking At The Door

Many feel SOCIAL INCLUSION should be in the Top 12, and maybe so, but if I’m going top keep BAYERN and CONSTITUTION off because they’ve had only two career starts and only one two-turn allowance race, and would be up against it having to go 1 1/4 miles in a 20-horse field with so little experience, I cannot justify putting Social Inclusion on at this time, even if he is destined to be a super horse. The other two colts may be as well. They will get their chance in the Wood Memorial, Florida Derby, and possibly Arkansas Derby to show just how special they are. Big Brown did when he easily won the Florida Derby from the 12 post. Imagine how the entire dynamics of the Derby trail would change if all three of these colts win their next start. And they certainly could. But for now I cannot separate them.

In continuing the comments about what to expect from CALIFORNIA CHROME in the Santa Anita Derby, it should be noted that Secretariat, coming off a 1:33 2/5 mile in the Gotham, finished third in the Wood Memorial before sweeping the Triple Crown. Seattle Slew, after running seven furlongs in a track-record 1:20 3/5 and 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 2/5 in the Flamingo, was only workmanlike in winning the Wood Memorial in 1:49 3/5, coming home his final eighth in :13, before sweeping the Triple Crown. Affirmed, after winning the Santa Anita Derby by eight lengths under wraps, was in an all-out drive to win the Hollywood Derby by two lengths over a 28-1 shot named Think Snow before sweeping the Triple Crown. Citation took a step backward as a 3-year-old, getting beat by the unheralded Saggy in the Chesapeake Trial at 1-5 before sweeping the Triple Crown. Whirlaway lost his final two starts, at 3-5 and 1-2, before sweeping the Triple Crown. Assault, after winning the Wood Memorial, finished fourth in the Derby Trial Stakes before sweeping the Triple Crown.

I just use these Triple Crown winners as an example that even the greatest 3-year-olds needed to take a step backward on their way to winning the Kentucky Derby, and most of them did it in their final race before the Derby. So, if California Chrome (and I’m certainly not suggesting he’s going to sweep the Triple Crown) takes a step backward in the Santa Anita Derby after running three monster races, there is no cause for alarm.

Getting back to RING WEEKEND’S pedigree, it is as unconventional as he is. In addition to being inbred to Fappiano through Unbridled and Cryptoclearance, in the first five generations of his tail-female family alone, which is all European, are the individual winners of the English 2,000 Guineas, French 2,000 Guineas, Irish 2,000 Guineas, Irish Derby, French Derby, and Irish Oaks. So, there is a great mix of mile speed and pure stamina.

The story of this year’s Derby in a nutshell – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner gone, Champagne winner gone, Remsen winner gone, CashCall Futurity winner gone, FrontRunner winner gone, 2-year-old champion gone, consensus Derby favorite Top Billing gone.

And then we come to the only grade I winner who is not gone, and he’s not even a dirt horse. There’s not much to say about the Spiral Stakes. We know WE MISS ARTIE is at his best on Polytrack, and while it’s always great having Ken Ramsey in the Derby and understand his desire to compete, this colt hasn’t shown anything on the dirt to suggest he can be competitive against grade I and grade II horses in a classic. But he is the only 3-year-old who has won a grade I and a grade II stakes. Yes, Animal Kingdom used the Spiral as a steppingstone to a Derby victory, but he was an exceptionally talented colt and had never run on dirt before the Derby, so he had the unknown factor going for him. There is nothing unknown about We Miss Artie’s form on dirt. Speaking of the Spiral, did anyone watching the race and seeing all that kickback wish all the horses had been equipped with goggles? That looked like a rough go if you weren’t in the clear, as the winner was.

You had to be impressed with CHITU’S time of 1:47 4/5 in the Sunland Derby, but I don’t know that I saw anything to suggest he wants to stretch out another quarter of a mile. He came home in :13 1/5 against a pretty strong headwind, so you can’t hold that against him. But he was trying to get out in the upper stretch and did shove MIDNIGHT HAWK out a couple of paths. And the third horse, COMMISSIONER, lost s shoe when he stumbled at the start and had to come from last to pick up a piece of it. So there no doubt are better days in store for him. His problem now is getting in the Derby with 10 points. There is no denying Chitu’s speed and talent; his record tells you all you need to know. But he is by the sprinter Henny Hughes, and even though there is stamina in his female family through A.P. Indy, Irish River, and Nijinsky II, his great-grandsire Zilzal was strictly a miler. So, his pedigree for 10 furlongs is iffy at best, but he is a very talented colt.

A few under-the-radar horses you don’t want to forget about are TONALIST, whose been getting plenty of bottom at Payson Park and could be heading to the Wood Memorial, and WICKED STRONG, who turned in a sharp six-furlong work in 1:13 2/5 at Palm Meadows. You would think this colt would welcome a one-way ticket out of Florida and try to return to his Remsen form somewhere else for one last shot at getting in the Derby. I still can’t help but feel he is so much better than he showed at Gulfstream. The other option for Tonalist is the Calder Derby, but that would mean the Kentucky Derby is not in the plan, Even if he were to win the Calder Derby he would have zero points for the Kentucky Derby.

Although I wasn’t crazy about the way CONQUEST TITAN was unable to sustain his run in the Tampa Bay Derby, I still believe this colt can compete with anyone and will chalk that race up to a combination of the deep, quirky surface and a less-than-ideal trip, in which he had his momentum stopped while making a big early move up the inside. This is a one-run horse and sometimes it’s difficult for horses like him to sustain a second long run after being asked to use his run early and having nowhere to go at a crucial point in the race. Any horse who can pass Intense Holiday in the final furlong is a good horse and a dangerous closer. He breezed five furlongs in 1:01 at Palm Meadows, and we’ll see where he shows up next. Could be the Arkansas Derby, and there’s a good chance he will be back on the Dozen before then, as soon as I know his plans for sure.

One rule of racing this time of year: Never count Nick Zito out of the Florida Derby. Zito has won the race three times and was beaten photos in a couple more. This year, he has an unknown quantity in SPOT, who will be stretching out to two turns. But his victory in the Swale Stakes was very impressive, despite not changing leads, and he is bred to go longer. And he should get a great pace setup, ,so watch out for him in the final furlong. Zito is hungry to get back on the Derby trail, especially not having taken home the roses in 20 years. He is one-for-one with Spot, who just may have found a home in Zito’s barn.

BAYERN drilled a half in :47 2/5 at Santa Anita in company and looked very good doing it. This colt has an efficient stride with little wasted action, but having only three career starts before the Derby is an extremely tall order, especially not having raced at 2 and having only two of those races around two turns.

WILDCAT RED looks to be the speed of the Florida Derby, although he has shown he can lay just off the pace. He honed his speed with a :35 2/5 drill, out in :48 4/5.

Louisiana Derby works include RISE UP, who breezed a sharp half in :47 2/5, second fastest of 67 works at the distance; VICAR’S IN TROUBLE, who breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03 3/5; COMMANDING CURVE, who turned in a solid five-furlong breeze in 1:01 2/5; GOLD HAWK breezed a half in :50 3/5; and LOUIES FLOWER, who breezed a half in :48 4/5.

A decision on IN TROUBLE will be made shortly, whether to return to New York for the Wood Memorial or go to Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby. He indicated his sharpness by working five furlongs in 1:00 flat at Palm Meadows.

CONSTITUTION breezed a half in :49 1/5 for the Florida Derby.

Jerome winner NOBLE MOON, whose status for the Wood Memorial is up in the air, breezed a mile in 1:46 at Belmont. He is another who was given a vacation in January.


Leave a Comment:


Nice list Steve.

I always look for reasons to eliminate horses come Derby Day,Hoppurtunity would be out due to the Apollo curse.

Samraat loving the mile works..

Little disappointed in how the Fl Derby is shaping up only 6 horses..

I am really liking how the Wood and the Santa Anita Derby's shaping up right now

If anyone out their is going to be at Gulfstream Sat let me know maybe meet up..

My top 5



Candy Boy


Intense Holiday

I may change my mind..

Good Luck to all

24 Mar 2014 5:32 PM

BREAKING NEWS...........scott blasi has just been hired as assistant trainer to rick Dutrow, the leading trainer at the underground rat racing facility in brooklyn's warehouse district.........dutrow, who trains the leader for rat of the year...."Cheesebiscuit", faces charges of illegally using a hamster wheel to train the big cheese.......allegedly!

24 Mar 2014 5:36 PM

In Reality, I stand in the Pulpit today and Preach to you the Sweetest Chant for the 2014 Florida Derby.  I have a Distorted Humor, yes, that leaves many of you Baffled, however, I won’t Pass the Tab on this one!  From paddock to post I’ll be leaving Moon Glitter along his path, whereby this documented horse won’t be wearing one ruby slipper but 4 Ruby Slippers.  I’ll give my command, “Tap Your Heels” for this is sure to be a Weekend Surprise!  This is not a Foggy Note I leave you, though I leave many, it is with Honest Pleasure that I announce to you my little Gold Digger, My Charmer for this race, the one and only, the amendable, Constitution!











11) CHITU - Don't know if he can get the 1 ¼ but he is still gaining his fitness, he's a big strong horse and moves beautifully.


24 Mar 2014 5:39 PM
Bloodline Bob

Steve, your comments about CALIFORNIA CHROME taking a step back in the S.A. Derby reminds me of how I picked GIACOMO in the 2005 Ky. Derby. I saw Mike Smith sitting in 4th position in the 2005 S.A. Derby and thought he would take them in the stretch to win it. I stayed with that belief going into the 2005 Ky. Derby, knowing Mike Smith had another 1/8th of a mile to pull off the win and he did just that for me + TVG's Ken Rudolph. I currently like your #1, #11 and your #12 picks for the 140th 2014 Ky. Derby.

24 Mar 2014 5:45 PM

So 3 of your top 4 are Californians, and it looks like they'll all meet in the Santa Anita Derby. Like your 3 and 4 better than your 1, but have an inkling that we'll see a different horse win that race, say maybe a Kobe's Back, should they decide to start him. BTW, the Derby Pool has Hoppertunity as a gelding. Is this accurate?

24 Mar 2014 6:06 PM

Steve, good list, but it could get weird. If Chrome and Cairo don't win their next, and Social I. wins the Wood, S.I. would go from not on the list at all, to arguably #1. Can anyone think of another recent horse who ran a 111 bsf and track record in his 2nd start? If we were picking 5 today who could win the TC, wouldn't S.I. be one of the 5?

24 Mar 2014 6:30 PM
Mike from Michigan

assuming he stays healthy, 'We Miss Artie' will be my pick in the Derby.  I think there is a lot of upside to this horse and he's got more heart than the Tin Man did when he left Oz.

24 Mar 2014 6:30 PM

OK Steve, your pedigree comments on Ring Weekend have caused me to consider a Futures Pool 4 wager on him.

Every week I look forward to reading what you have to say about Cal Chrome's works.  I can't find video of them, so your words create the scene in my mind.  

He and Candy Boy are 1-2 on my list.

24 Mar 2014 6:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Another superb analysis and presentation Steve. It's just amazing what you do week after week and all of the great information you give us. Thank you.

   My list has changed some from yesterday and so has my enthusiasm about the Florida Derby now that I am finally seeing that General A Rod is also one that could emerge as a star. Despite the smallish field this could be a great race with a star emerging and it could be anyone of five that I am seeing. I moved General A Rod onto my Derby list since yesterday after looking more closely at him this morning. He's got a good Derby pedigree. There is no clear cut number one yet. Of the lightly raced colts I think Social Inclusion has the edge. He seems to be a well conditioned athlete especially considering how lightly raced he is.

1. Hoppertunity

2. Intense Holiday

3. Social Inclusion

4. Bayern

5. Samraat

6. Spot

7. Commissioner

8. General A Rod

9. Cairo Prince

10. Candy Boy

11. California Chrome

12. Uncle Sigh

13. Tie- Wildcat Red and We Miss Artie

24 Mar 2014 6:54 PM
Ta Wee


I'll always remember you coming up with Animal Kingdom and then Palace Malice in last year's Belmont, great calls. I'm still intrigued how Social Inclusion looks somewhat like our favorite horse when in motion, and how the head is held fairly high. That being the good Dr. of course.  He doesn't seem to have quite as high of action as Dr. Fager.  

The Wood should be a good test to see if he can lay just off Uncle Sigh and Samraat and then blow by the both of them like I'm sure many are thinking.  He sure looks like he has exceptional high cruising speed which could really make him tough in the Belmont.

24 Mar 2014 6:59 PM
Sail On

Colts I like today...

1. Vicar's In Trouble has speed and can carry it the distance

2. Chitu, what a game runner, who dosen't like his performance in the Sothern lands derby?

3. Samraat, a winner.

4. Wildcat Red, another winner.

5. Social Inclusion, scaring the trainers of other colts!

6. Uncle Sigh and General A Rod, will distance help them win over their nemesis?

7 Intense Holiday and Hoppertunity, are they for real?

8. The California horses, really?

9. We Miss Arty of the poly track?

10. Chitu, Ring Weekend and Candy Boy and Spot?

11. My otta the box long shot, Walt.

Thanks, Steve, for providing us a great forum to explore the KentuckyDerby Hopfulls.

24 Mar 2014 7:11 PM

Indiana Johnny has also approved the following selections:

(1) California Chrome ... The most impressive Derby prep winner yet. If he doesn't show some regression at SA, I may be concerned come Derby. I do have him in a exacta box at 32-1 with Gen. A Rod 36-1, Strong Mandate 18-1, Tapiture 17-1 in pool 3.

(2) Tapiture .. I think he gained a ton of experience from the Rebel, the rough and tumble ride could only have done him good, and he came out great, made all the tougher. The jockey put him in a bad spot though, and got schooled by Mike Smith.

(3) Constitution ... Beat a very good field on FOY undercard day with a 98 beyer. No 2 yr. old foundation, but I look for a big race in Fl. Derby.

(4) General A Rod ... I just like this horse, and I'm really looking forward to watch him race in the Fl. Derby, and I'm itching to move him up. A member of the " Triple Digit Club".

(5) Intense Holiday ... I would like to see another beyer increase and step forward even more in the La. Derby, but he may be up against 2 others I think will rebound, Rise Up and Vicars in Trouble.

(6) Hoppertunity ... If anybody can get a horse ready for the Ky. Derby with little foundation, its Baffert. This horse has gained has taken a big step up in the Rebel, and I believe he will take another in the Ar. Derby, but Ky is asking a lot, we'll see.

(7) Strong Mandate ... I keep waiting on him to show a big improvement, maybe we'll see it in Ar. Derby, or could he be another Will Take Charge and not blossom until after the Triple Crown?

Notes: Whats Cairo Prince going to do if it rains on Derby Day ? Go to Pimilco?

I don't think the last couple " Candy" horses done much in the Derby.

Steve , are you going to make one win selection for the Derby in your report from Ky. this year ? Thanks, and good luck all!

24 Mar 2014 7:20 PM
Your Only Friend

From what you are writing,looks like there maybe some speed on the front end of derby......head to head....burns them up....time for someone off the pace.Should be real interesting

24 Mar 2014 7:40 PM
classic go go

Very good writing with strong historical references !

Good to see Vicars in Trouble' inclusion as am partial to this one yet am a bit concerned over his gulfstream works The 3/15 @ gulf was nice but hopefully the 3/23 was just for an airing . might it be , given the potential limited field for the FD he runs there instead of the trip back to FG . Either way am in on this one and have to use Albano @ Fg if VIT goes there as Albano is working very quickly leading up

24 Mar 2014 7:43 PM

To all of you breeding experts out there,I have a question.

Spot who is running Sat in the FL Derby is a very intriguing horse to me..

My question is he has Mr.Prospector and Secretariat on both sides..

Explain how this as a positive thing or a negative thing..



24 Mar 2014 7:52 PM

Chitu's dam's broodmare sire, Zilzal, a brilliantly fast horse, was never tested past 8 furlongs. Zilzal's dam's broodmare sire, Bold Lad, was out of a Princequillo mare.  So the stamina is there in Chitu's female line, top and bottom.  

With all due respect it is the same story as it was with Secretariat, no Bold Ruler colt can win a triple crown race.  I heard the same story again with Union Rags in 2012, no Dixie Union colt can win a triple crown race, so IMO it is irrelevant that Chitu is by Henry Hughes.  

In looking for stamina; I strictly look at the female lines.  

Chitu is on my list, along with others.

24 Mar 2014 8:04 PM

Well go ahead and laugh before I enter my list, but I have to stick with the underdogs.

My list is in no particular order and I am not ready to name a KD winner:

1.Wildcat Red



4.Vicars in Trouble

5. Chitu

6. Intense Holiday

7. Tapiture

8. California Chrome

9. Ride on Curlin

10. Uncle Sigh

11. Samraat

12. Midnight Hawk

13. We Miss Artie

Please note I have a Bakers Dozen and no I am not superstitious about the number 13.

Horses I like but would like to see another race is Rebranded and would love it if the filly Awesome Baby gets in. I have not seen Cairo Prince or Candy Boy race. Just not keen on Social Inclusion and Hoppertunity...not yet. Call it a girl thing.

Coldfacts is going to have a field day with me...HA HA

Hate Honor Code being pulled, but so, so very thankful that Shug picked up that issue. Shug is one of the trainers I respect the most.  I know that this colt has the talent and the speed and the endurance and the pedigree to be a winner. So hope he makes it back to track in the Fall.

Otherwise, I agree with most of your list, Steve.

24 Mar 2014 8:10 PM

So if California Chrome runs another monster race, what are we to conclude going into the Derby?  Has he emptied his chamber, so to speak?

24 Mar 2014 8:13 PM

BadSaddle; Social Inclusion would definitely NOT be one of my top 5 to win the Triple Crown.  He isn't even in my Derby top ten.  I've got to take into consideration the way the track was playing and the way the race set up; slow early, fast late.  I've heard the track termed a "conveyor belt" that day at Gulfstream.  I will withhold judging where or if SI belongs after the Wood.  Truthfully, I'm not sure I've yet seen any horse capable of sweeping the crown this year.

24 Mar 2014 8:20 PM

steve- smart comments, esp. concerning all the potential stars that have fallen this year. I may have to rethink my picks so far. could be as simple as picking a speed horse that can go all the way on top. remember 1985 derby when everyone thought eternal prince and spend a buck would burn each other out on the front end, only to have eternal prince misfire and spend a buck whistled home after setting the record mile time for the derby. after that race everyone turned to the blistering mile victory he had in the jersey cherry hill mile. as it turned out going into that race some people criticized cam gambolati et al for such an unconventional tune up for the derby. if history could repeat itself this year, your comments about ring weekend and choosing the calder derby as a tune for 5/3 become food for thought. thanks again for all the info.

24 Mar 2014 8:21 PM
Mister Frisky

I liked Commissioners 3rd place run on Sunday.He has only 10 points, but the way horses are defecting by the day that could be enough.And if Walden and Winstar say all systems go he will be dangerous at a price,and I personally could care less about the AP Indy sentimental thing.Honor Code being out just makes it that more wide open and potentially profitable.Solid list as usual Steve,not much more to add.

24 Mar 2014 8:42 PM

Badsaddle in 1996 Formal Gold had a 112 Beyer in his first life-time start at Monmouth.  Before his career was over his highest four Beyers were 122, 126, 124 and 125, the last three in his final three career races.  Fast forward to 2011 and MacLean’s Music ran only once and received a 114 Beyer at Santa Anita.  He was trained by Steve Asmussan.

24 Mar 2014 9:10 PM
Paula Higgins

California Chrome

Cairo Prince

Social Inclusion



24 Mar 2014 9:20 PM

Steve-You only mentioned Bay of Plenty in passing but he really looked great in only his 3rd start. There are many so so 10 furlong pedigree horses on the trail right now, but that's not the case for him. Given the versatility of his sire, is there any chance he'll be given a shot at making the Derby via the AR Derby or Blue Grass?

24 Mar 2014 9:37 PM

Mary; I strongly disagree that only the dam's pedigree is relevant for stamina and I think that ignoring the sire's pedigree completely is a mistake.  

Because I believe the sire's line influences stamina as well, comparing Dixie Union and Henny Hughes, Dixie Union absolutely has the edge in stamina, both in comparing their race records and considering what they have produced.

Where we do agree is, I like seeing stamina on the dam side, but of both the top and the bottom of the pedigree.

24 Mar 2014 9:54 PM

I think Commissioner ran the best race of his career in the Sunland Derby. He appeared to be the only horse that closed from far off the pace to hit board on Sunday. He again was ridden for the entire trip but still found extract in the stretch. After pulling up his imposing physical presence was on display. Wow!

Historically horses whose sires and dam sires were winner of TC races rarely feature in the Derby. Friends Lake was another son of A P Indy that was also out of a mare sired by the winner of a TC race i.e.,  Spend A Buck. Friends Lake Lake won the FL Derby @38-1 and never again ran to his pedigree.

Commissioner might turn out to be the exception and grind out a Derby victory like Giacomo. The big question obviously is - will there be a sufficient enough pace meltdown on which Commissioner can capitalize?

24 Mar 2014 10:16 PM

Steve, could you tell me of the following which you think is best to handle a sloppy track in the Ky. Derby?

(1) California chrome ( wet rating 391)

(2) Tapiture ( wet rating 413)

(3) Constitution ( 427)

(4) General A Rod ( 397)

(5) Intense Holiday ( 400)

(6) Hoppertunity (360)

(7) Strong Mandate ( 419)

Strong Mandate is the only one right off the top of my head I recall running in a sloppy mess, and he romped. We all know how sloppy some recent Ky. Derby's have been. So, its something to look at. Besides the wet rating, I thought you might have some pedigree insight on sloppy tracks runners. Thanks

24 Mar 2014 10:18 PM
Carlos in Cali

Now that my early-bird Derby horse Honor Code is out of the running,IMO, Commissioner is one of few left who will relish 10f or more.I think we will see Commissioner in either 2wks(Wood Memorial), or 3wks(AK Derby/Bluegrass) for a last stab at making the Derby. Fingers crossed: he's the immortal AP Indy's last hope to finally put the icing on his illustrious career.

24 Mar 2014 10:18 PM
Paula Higgins

I see Mr. Zayat has moved his horses to other stables. That took some courage.

24 Mar 2014 10:28 PM

mike from Michigan-WMA gave me a lotathrill for my money, what a race. I think his future is on turf based on his pedigree on the male side. I like the way the horse picks up his feet when asked and can take the long way home and still win. he might get lucky this year if the track comes up wet for the derby. his female side has some off track lineage ie.danzig and alydar. probably won't be in my 4 horse triple box, but flat bet to show might happen if it rains. good luck!

24 Mar 2014 10:32 PM

While I am a great proponent of a slight regression in the final prep before the Derby ( it helped me find Unbridled and Thunder Gulch ) I must take slight issue with you concerning Citation....He was a bit slow from the gate, wide on the turns at a bull ring and Arcaro did not see any reason to abuse him in a minor prep...I liken it more to Swale's drubbing at 1-10 in the Lexington Stks when Pincay obviously decided to save something for Louisville...Both Citation and Swale were beaten by sharp sprinters who had experience on the local surface....I remember it very well, I had a good bet on Heisagreatdeal, the only time I have beaten a 1-10 with real money on the line

24 Mar 2014 10:33 PM

If Derby history is carefully analyzed it will give some indications of the profiles of likely Derby winners. I recognize that this is a subject that few find interesting.

I am intrigued by the profiles of past Derby winners and consequently undertake comparative profile evaluations of the top contenders each year. In most instances horses with excellent pedigrees, complemented by great talent are rarely the ones that wear the roses if they fall outside a particular profile.

Extracts from previous posts:

TOP BILLING (Mr. P): Encased in Derby negatives.

TOP BILLING: All historic indicators suggest this colt will not win the 2014 Derby.

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

HONOR CODE (API): Encased in Derby negatives.

HONOR CODE: I am conflicted by this colt. His retired sire represents the strongest stamina influence in the US but has a poor Derby record. His dam sire has a broodmare band of 381 and only one progeny has featured in the Derby i.e., Bodemeister.  Honor Code’s pedigree just does not fit into the Derby winners chart but his obvious talent does.

It is in deed sad these two promising and talented colts will not be contesting the Derby. Many view the Highlighting of Derby negatives as an indictment of ability. However, Derby negatives merely represent the extreme unlikeliness of horses with certain profiles being Derby winners in particular years. The reasons for same can vary widely. There is always some occurrence that prevents a victory by horses with  profiles that run counter to a bizarre Derby winners' chart.

24 Mar 2014 10:58 PM

Steve: Your top seven, no problem but the bottm five are all stamina deficient horses IMO that will not hit the board and are not as talented as Social Inclsion, Constituion, Bayern and Wildcat Red. I can see some huge shuffling of the order coming after the final preps. I could be wrong about Samraat and Ring Weekend but am pretty certain about the others.

24 Mar 2014 11:02 PM
Bill Rinker

Thanks for another great Dozen, Steve. As always I really enjoyed this past weekends preps. Artie and Chitu looked great, they were the two I stayed focused on through out each race. I liked Artie's stretch run and last second surge, and it appears that Chitu has picked up a bit more muscle than when I saw him last. I thought Midnight Hawk looked good, and I'm not convinced that he couldn't have won, this is one of those cases where I think the whip and it's anticipation there of, impinges upon victory instead of promoting it. As you noted the kick pack in the Spiral looked pretty horrendous. Moving forward it should be really interesting to see how this upcoming weekend's preps shake out, we might have a better idea of Social Inclusion's capabilities. I find it interesting that he's going to New York, and was thinking he'd more than likely end up at Gulf Stream. Your thought's on regression in race preformance reminded me of my younger days as a distance runner. As a general rule proper fitness progression follows a similar blue print to that of a stair case. Taking a few steps up then reaching a landing and leveling off, then barring injury or other set backs, repeating that cycle until reaching the top, hopefully in this case the top being the Derby. That however is just a basic principle of physiology, and the other contributing factors that have to be considered for each individual to be successful are not always so readiliy apparent. I'm not sure if my memory serves me correctly here, but wasn't Secretariat's lose in the Wood some what questionably influenced by an abscess in his mouth, he was truly an incredible physical specimen. Looks like we have a good crop of 3yr. olds, and even with all the loses we still have alot of very talented ones in the game, as well as quite a few others coming along nicely.  

25 Mar 2014 12:27 AM
Tana Rae

As always, many thanks for your astute analysis followed by others thoughtful comments.  So much food for thought, it's hard for me to digest it all!  I love reading yours and everbody's picks and the reasoning for them.  But I just cannot bring myself to pick a winner or even the top 3 (let alone 12!) this far out.  Your list helps me narrow it down.  However, I wait til the horses get to Churchill, work over the track (important) and are assigned post positions.  Then, I make my little chart, based on about a dozen variables, and go from there.  At this point in time, the Derby Dozen helps me to identify those who might win their prep races.   Also, pedigree background you provide is extremely helpful.  But once the contenders are in Louisville, I wipe the slate clean, except for your past insights on this blog, add new data on the runners in the "here and now" and that's when it gets serious!  But my favorites so far-because of their tenacity - California Chrome, Samraat, and Wildcat Red.  These guys love to run and love to win.    They may have distance limitations but they do know it yet and neither do we.  I wish all of them the best.

25 Mar 2014 12:44 AM
Bob from Boston

I've spent thousands of hours pouring over the form and watching videos.  I have come to the conclusion that I am betting my top floor condo in Boston on whichever horse Dr. D picks on April 8th.

25 Mar 2014 1:28 AM
Ted from LA

I have studied this Derby picture for more hours than I'd like to admit.  For me, it has come down to me selling my Malibu Beach home and putting it all on the horse Dr. Drunkinbum picks on April make that the 8th.

25 Mar 2014 1:35 AM

I haven't seen a colt on the Derby trail look as impressive as California Chrome since Eskendereya. I hope CC can stay healthy because he has the potential to be something really special. The other colt I like is General A Rod who really looks to be a gritty "never say die" type competitor, even when coming up a bit short in races.

25 Mar 2014 5:36 AM
lunar spook

This fact cant be stressed enough, since 1940 ONLY 1 horse with a dosage index above 4.00 has won the derby , so you can throw out CAIRO PRINCE , VICARS IN TROUBLE & WILDCAT RED , they are toast , cross them off your list ...... more to come as we get closer to the derby !!!

25 Mar 2014 8:07 AM

Steve H : Thanks for mentioning Ring Weekend and the Calder Derby.  Has it ever been used as a major prep in the past ?  I asked you about this in the previous blog as I've never even heard of it…

I was revising my dozen and had to drop Poker Player and I looked at what's left and oddly felt like we're running out of legitimate contenders.  I won't be surprised if the same horses who are already in the Derby wins the last 6 major preps (except for maybe the BlueGrass, which I'm hoping Vinceremos wins).  I'm still holding out for In Trouble who should move forward in the Wood Memorial, I'm hoping to see a Samraat / In Trouble cold exacta.


Intense Holiday




Cairo Prince

In Trouble

General A Rod




Louies Flower

Florida Derby :  General A Rod and Cairo Prince on top with Wildcat Red, Matador for my cheap 20 cents superfecta.

Louisiana Derby :  Louies Flower, Albano and Intense Holiday trifecta box.  I'm waiting to see if Rise Up runs, I'll play him with a 20 cent superfecta box with my top three but most of my tickets will most likely have Louies Flower and Albano on top…

25 Mar 2014 9:19 AM

Claude McGaughey won his 1st Derby in 2013 after a career spanning 34 years. Many expected him win the 2014 renewal of the Derby with either Top Billing or Honor Code. Back to Back winners of the Derby are rare in many categories. The likes of Woody Stevens, Charlie Whittingham, Jack Van Berg, Barclay Tagg etc., tasted Derby success late in their careers but never won the great race the next year.

Some of the above mentioned trainers were the best at their craft and had a good supply of bloodstock each year. Bob Baffert was the last trainer to win consecutive Derbies.

The last 11 Derbies were won by trainers who were experiencing success in the great race for the first time. It appear this trend is set to continue as ten the horses above would give their trainers a breath rough victory.

25 Mar 2014 9:33 AM
Don from PA/DE

Top notch overview at this point in time, days of future passed Steve, once again I tend to differ on being that high on Hoppertunity, Tapiture should be ahead of him and I believe the next race will result in Hoppertunity hitting the wall a bit....time will tell.

25 Mar 2014 9:36 AM


I think your FL Derby selections of Wildcat Red and General A Rod will be in a battle royal with both Constitution. This could lead to their respective demise.

Cairo Prince will be in his usual position of just off the pace. He will be the first to attack. He His rider has to time his challenge perfectly as the only occasion on CP was involved in a dog fight he lost. The three mentioned above are all faster than Honor Code.

Can the expected battle royal benefit a talented closer? Spot and Matador are worthy opponents. Of the two I like Matador. Revisit his TB Derby effort and you will see he ran a far better race than the results will reflect. He was caught flat footed at the start and was last but passed several horses and was still full on run at the end.

I am not a fan of blinkers but I think their addition will help this colt. I am not a fan of favorites and always try to beat them. I like Matador to continue the A P Indy sire line dominance of this race.

25 Mar 2014 9:37 AM
Ta Wee


Great comments and great name. Sysonby the great horse seems underrated when his only loss came when his groom drugged him.  As far as Citation, imagine nowadays a top 3yo winning 19 of 20, winning a triple crown against good competition-Coaltown, and beating some of the best older horses in January.

I bet a lousy 20 bucks in Vegas on Unbridled right after his 3rd in the Fountain of Youth race where he was trapped on the rail and then finished like a rocket to just miss. I got 100-1 on the future book and was happy of course but also sad that I didn't plunge a little more.

25 Mar 2014 9:37 AM

This is the first week end when the contenders and pretenders really start to be separated. I don't think there as many really nice horses in this crop as last year's and the injuries have stopped some of the better ones. Obviously until we see how the ones that actually make it to the Derby draw for post positions it is all the most extreme speculation, but it is fun to watch the debate.  Still don't think we will see a Tapit win at 10 furlongs although he sires a lot of really nice runners.

25 Mar 2014 10:30 AM
Rusty Weisner


I don't want to see any Beyer progression out of Intense Holiday.  He's shown a distinct pattern of progression.  I picked him in the Risen Star because he was facing a class drop, a track more favorable to his style, and likely move forward figure wise.  I have a feeling I'll be liking him for the Derby.  He'll get a race against decent competition but, just as importantly, a likely big field, which is good practice for the Derby.  I'll be looking at field size and will take it into account in assessing the Florida Derby, in particular.

25 Mar 2014 11:05 AM

I have always seen Kentucky Derby Future Pool wagers those carrying far too much risk for the possible lucrative rewards. The final pool will close over the weekend. The 1st pool that closed at the end of November had 23 betting interest.

Of those 23 betting interest from pool #1 only 5 appear in the final pool. Interestingly only Strong Mandate and Cairo Prince were betting interest in all four pools. What happened to the remaining 18? The wagers featuring those horses appear to be all dead with a few exceptions. Tamarando, Rise Up and Noble Moon from the 1st pool who were excluded from the last, can still make the race. The remaining 15 cannot even be helped by a miracle.

Those in support of waging option will state that the ideal time for the option is pool #4. The final odds in pool #4 will not be significantly different from actual waging. In actual wagering refunds are made for none starters. These Future Pool wagering opportunities provide attractive odds with the obvious high risks. If the risk is weighted against the possibility of securing said attractive rewards, the wagering option has to be seen as unappealing.

25 Mar 2014 11:08 AM
Rusty Weisner

I don't trust Pletcher with the lightly raced phenoms, so I'll be wary of Constitution, for example, if he gets in.  I like that Intense Holiday was a sort of second stringer of his (though it looks like he's number one now) - he got shipped off to a fairer track with bigger field sizes, has an unspectacular but relatively long resume.  

25 Mar 2014 11:11 AM
Rusty Weisner

lunar spook,

I'm interested in hearing more about Cairo Prince's pedigree.  I feel better about horses that have run at least the last two preps, so have some reservations about this one for the Derby, even though I may be betting him in the Florida Derby.

25 Mar 2014 11:14 AM
Smoking Baby

Jay Jay.  The Calder Derby has traditionally been run in the fall at around the same time as the old Oak Tree Derby (now the Twilight Derby).  This is the first year I can remember it being run in the spring but I certainly could be mistaken.

For the record, with Honor Code now out, the new Smoking Baby top 4 are:

California Chrome


Candy Boy

Saamrat (I'm just smitten with this horse Derby or not)

25 Mar 2014 11:46 AM
Bill Rinker

Ooops, My bad, I some how lost track of time, and was thinking Social Inclusion's Allowance race was further back. I can definately see the need for that extra week between races and the implication here. Even though Gulf Stream seems to be slowing a bit, I thought it would probably fit his form better, but the timing is undoubtly prohibitive.

25 Mar 2014 11:51 AM
Monarchos Matt

Mr. Haskin,

I notice you made no mention of Tamarando, who rightfully fell out of the Dozen after he was a complete no-show as the favorite in the Spiral. Personally I hated that prep for him and would have liked to see him get another dirt race in him since two of his other recent races came over synthetic. Where does he go from here? Do you attribute this race to his wide trip, his not taking to the surface, or is he just heading the wrong direction and a clear cut below? Any chance we see him in three weeks at either the Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby?

25 Mar 2014 11:53 AM

Lazmanick,wonder what bsf Bodemeister, IHA, and Paynter ran in their 2nd starts (or 1st as 3yo) and whether those were sprints or routes ? would think Social Inclusion, Chrome , and Cairo have the best chance to be superduper  TC horses.others more speculative.

25 Mar 2014 11:55 AM

I see some comments about Commissioner's run in the Sunland.  I dropped him in favor of Hoppertunity because I don't know if he'll make enough points and if he does, I just feel he will be a tired horse come Derby day.   He will have to pretty much go all in in one of the major preps to get the points as I don't think 10 will be enough.   I would much rather see him run in the Belmont.

I'm looking forward to the Louisiana Derby, it's a better betting race than the Florida Derby.

Steve H : Do you think In Trouble's connections are re-thinking about the Wood because of Social Inclusion going there ?  I thought they were going to the Wood for sure.  If SI is the real deal and wins, they can still go for 2nd which is worth 50 points, enough to make it in.  I don't think they need to be scared of SI, but if Louisiana is where they think they can get the points, so be it.

25 Mar 2014 12:01 PM

In chasing Dick and Jane around for so long, Spot proved he has both stamina and speed. Seriously!

25 Mar 2014 12:43 PM
food fight

Last weeks 3 year old preps for the Derby left me with some clear thoughts on the performances of those that raced in the Sunland Park Derby and the Rebel Stakes. First lets cover the Rebel i thought that Santana ride was not so bad when i replayed the race and what might have developed had Santana let a rank Tapiture run into the clubhouse turn and roll through a half mile with Strong Mandate and Ride On Curlin. You would have gotten a much quicker pace up front and in my opinion Hoppertunity would have run by this group easily.Santana rode the same race early that he rode when winning the Southwest Stakes. Stalk the pace and run by them down the lane only this time he had a horse outside him that beat him to the hole. Had he gotten through and won everybody would be saying what a gutsy ride.He didn't get through and the bumping did nothing to alter the outcome of this race each of the top two finishers had ample time to win and Hoppertunity was the best horse in this race. If you watched his gallop out he won with something left.As for the Sunland Derby there was another speed bias that contributed to the top two finishers. Like Mike Smith said when winning on Awesome Baby earlier the tail wind is taking the speed horses home. Commissioner is sitting on a huge effort after running into two major speed bias races in a row.So here are my top 6 and horses to watch. 1st Commissioner is sitting on a huge effort after racing on tracks with huge speed bias. He is breed to love the distance and has learned to handle the kick back and make a run. He has beaten who i think would be one of the favorites if he didn't get sidelined in Top Billing.2nd Hoppertunity love the way he finishes he's a fighter and distance no problem.3rd California Chrome loads of talent runs straight as an arrow and effortless striding colt. 4th Intense Holiday like his where you down style and though his Risen Star race was very good , as Hoppertunity came back to win the Rebel next out.5th Bayern if continues to improve he will be very dangerous has separation speed which is what you need in the Derby.6th Ring weekend love his Tampa Bay Derby win another with what could be separation type speed. Like his pedigree being inbred to Fappiano. Horses to watch Untapable if this filly runs in the Derby and not the Oaks she will be a monster to deal with.She is Asmussens best shot to win the Derby, she is bred to run 10 furlongs and beyond. And she is faster than most of the colts if not all of them, as she showed when winning the RA stakes by 9 and running faster than the colts that daY including Intense Holiday and Hoppertunity. She's also 2 for 2 at Churchill including a grade 2 stakes.Tonalist yet another colt victimized by a huge speed bias he is sitting on a big effort. Candy Boy  love what hall of famer Stevens had to say about this colt.

25 Mar 2014 12:58 PM
It aint easy being good!

I think this will be an interesting derby. I feel like California Chrome is lightyears ahead of every other horse. High cruising speed doesnt need the lead. Breaks out like a freight train! He just needs to stay healthy! Hopefully he will get tested in 2 weeks. Also Samaraat is a fighter and is undefeated while spotting weight to his opponents. With equal weight he should crush the wood. Its chalky like my final four bracket! There are no diamonds in the rough this year.

25 Mar 2014 1:27 PM

lunar spook

This fact cant be stressed enough, since 1940 ONLY 1 horse with a dosage index above 4.00 has won the derby ,

25 Mar 2014 8:07 AM

Derby Winners               Dosage Index

2009 Mine That Bird 4.33

2002 Giacomo        4.33

1996 Charismatic    5.22

1995 Real Quiet     5.33

*1988 Strike The Gold was over a 4.0 D.I., was later revised to 2.60 D.I.

25 Mar 2014 1:44 PM
lunar spook

RUSTY WEISNER- CAIRO PRINCE has a dosage index of 7.00, that is the highest of any derby contender ive found , NO HORSE HAS EVER WON THE DERBY WITH AN INDEX HIGHER THAN 4.00 since 1940 all these folks on here need to drop cairo prince OFF THIER LIST he has ZERO CHANCE to win the derby . . . . let me repeat that people ZERO !!!

25 Mar 2014 2:25 PM

just by going with the eye test, social inclusion looks to be superior to the other prospects. physically he has those michael jordan muscles that i haven't seen since ruffian the greatest filly of all time bar none. i predict he will jog and win the wood by 8 lengths against the super new york breds. i don't see any funny cide around. great move by owner to race in new york instead of florida to prep him for churchill's cuppy track instead of that lightening strip at gulfstream. i know he has that apollo curse, but some trends have to be broken sometime. he has that freakish look. i can't believe he has 20-1 odds with the future pool. wake up everyone. he is big brown without the drugs. but a lot better. i'm old school just like my boy steve haskin. !!!!!!

25 Mar 2014 2:35 PM

Kid Cruz in the Private Terms Stakes was the best performance I have seen by any 3yr. old this year. You just don't see horses make up so much ground (20 lengths) with fractions of 49.93 and 1:14.92 on a slow and tiring racetrack. To sustain such a powerful move and finished so strong was very impressive. The last 3/8ths 36.95, the last furlough in 12.50. Kid Cruz finished with so much run its like he was just hitting his best stride the final 1/16th of the race.

1. Kid Cruz

2. Hoppertunity

3. Cairo Prince

4. Tonalist

5. Vinceremos

For the Kentucky Oaks

1. Joint Return

2. Untapable

3. Unbridled Forever

25 Mar 2014 2:35 PM
Pedigree Ann

I should like to point out that the horses who 'took a step backward' before the Derby raced every two weeks or less. In Assault's day, the Derby Trial was the Tuesday before the Derby. Affirmed raced in the SA Derby on April 2 (in which Think Snow was 3rd, by the way), the Hollywood Derby on April 16, and the Kentucky Derby on May 6 (wow! a 3-week break! going easy on him. Will he tough enough on Derby Day?).

Today's hot-house flowers get maybe one race every 6 weeks and have lost the fitness they may have gained from that race before the next. With maybe 2 or three winter/spring races before the Derby, they'd better go forward each race (not necessarily win, but improve) because they don't get much chance to recoup.

25 Mar 2014 2:52 PM
Jeffrey Simes

Steve "Ring Weekend" has something that some of the other Derby hopefuls don't have and that's a bottom pedigree that suggests he may get the Derby distance. Calder may be a smart move by Motion in that his horse will get a lot more from that race rather then the super fast Gulfstream.


25 Mar 2014 3:07 PM
Pedigree Ann

"*1988 Strike The Gold was over a 4.0 D.I., was later revised to 2.60 D.I."

Ah, yes, the magic of answer analysis. If you know what answer you want, you can always find a way of going back to show why the result should have been your "right" answer in the first place.

The DI at 4 or less was PREDICTIVE for only about a decade. The races from 1940 to about 1980 were part of the data that determined into which category the great sires of the past were placed by Dr. Roman (if Varola hadn't already done it). A sire whose son won the Kentucky Derby or Belmont was more likely to be placed in the classic or stronger category than one whose best son only won the Florida Derby or Met Mile. The DI of 4 or less was an ARTIFACT of that data set. This standard was PREDICTIVE for a very short time, relatively, just enough time for many top sires to 'age out' of the fourth generation, which is the furthest one considered by Roman dosage. (Vulliers and Varola put no such limit on the "chef" count.)

25 Mar 2014 3:21 PM

Invading Arkansas with Revolutionary & Commisioner. Mike Smith to ride both. Commish came back good.

25 Mar 2014 3:34 PM

Since the Fl Derby is only coming up with 6 horses I may take a shot with SPOT..

I am expecting a speed duel up front,with rain in the forecast all week the track may turn up a little more favorable for a closer.

He is bred as good as any other horse

Gotta see what the odds are going to be,can I get 15-1??

25 Mar 2014 3:36 PM
El Kabong

Derbygal, lunar spook,

according to my sources, Derbygal is right about DI figures.

25 Mar 2014 3:57 PM
El Kabong

Derbygal, lunar spook

Once more, it looks like it(over 4 DI) has become a twice a decade occurrence since the 90's.

25 Mar 2014 3:59 PM

Medaglia d’ Oro was sired by the Sadlers Wells stallion El Prado. El Prado’s dam was sired by stamina influence Sir Ivor. Medaglia d’ Oro dam was sired by Bailjumper a son of champion router Damascus. Medaglia d’ Oro was brilliant on the track and a lot was expected from him as a stallion based on his pedigree, performance and conformation.

His pedigree suggested that he would be a stallion whose progenies would excel on Dirt, Synthetic and Turf.  He presently stands for $100K and has sired some nice horses that always appear to have issues.

The undefeated Indianapolis recorded two ultra-impressive victories and thereafter developed issues that causes him to miss time. On Saturday last, Bay Of Plenty recorded an impressive victory at Aqueduct. This magnificent looking colt is unlikely to make the Derby despite his obvious talent. Is Medaglia d’ Oro a stallion that is synonymous with late developers? (A P Indy Syndrome)

Why are there so few of Medaglia d’ Oro progenies showing up on the radar? Why is such a brilliant stamina source not featured as a sire in the top Derby contenders each year? It cannot be due to a lock of support. He bred 170 mares in 2010 and averaged 153 mares bred in the four preceding years. Is this magnificent horse being over bred, thus depriving us of the best he can produce?

25 Mar 2014 4:04 PM

Steve, the past week has dulled my passion. I look forward to see who is running in Florida and Louisiana and then try to engage with the fever.

25 Mar 2014 4:29 PM

Correction on the what year of Strike The Gold's Derby win (1991). The 2.60 D.I.reflect the later addition of Alydar as a Classic chef-de-race.

25 Mar 2014 4:47 PM
Scott's Rail

I like to look at a "Key" prep race on the road to the KD.  Last year I felt it was a forgone conclusion that Orb was loaded for bear.   In hindsight, maybe the track helped him even more.  This year, so far, The Rebel has that feel of importance.  Two years ago it was the SA derby that solidified my pick/picks...I just think the best "Race" so far was The Rebel.  These next 2 weeks might change my thoughts...P.S.--Just looked over I'll Have Another's pegigree again (good memories), It screams distance...reminds me of that old sayin "most horses can do a mile and a quarter" just some of them do it "faster".

25 Mar 2014 4:57 PM

With rain in the forecast this week, I read a couple of posts elsewhere that if the Fl Derby comes up sloppy Cairo Prince will scratch and head to the Wood.

Wood could be a sick race if this happens..

25 Mar 2014 5:27 PM

Coldfacts: Regarding the Florida Derby, the dynamic duo of Wildcat Red and General a Rod have yet to falter in the stretch after a prolonged battle on the front end, therefore now that they are even fitter don't expect that to happen. The main question affecting the outcome of the race is whether the connections of both horses want to go all out for the prestigious Grade 1 status (thinking a bird in the hand is worth a dozen ...Kentucky derbies, five weeks away ... in the bushes).

Your choice, Matador looks outclassed in here ...Spot, trained by Nick Zito is a better option for the upset. Also, this might sound funny but Cairo Prince is in deep waters here, coming off that break since the Holy Bull with marginal points to get into the Derby.

The horse to fear in here is Constitution because 1) he is desperate for derby points 2) he's a very talented colt at a stage of rapid improvement and 3) Todd Pletcher is king of Derby preps, especially with types like Constitution.

The exactor: Wildcat Red / Constitution.

25 Mar 2014 6:00 PM
Ted from LA

I hate to make a relevant comment, but wasn't Strike the Gold 1991, not 1988?  Actually, that is sort of a question, more than a comment.

25 Mar 2014 6:21 PM

Here in Michigan, I have a 20-year-old Quiet American gelding in my backyard. He's a dark bay and is loaded with personality. I've had him for 16 years and he has a great "mind".

   This is why I'm seriously considering Spot (dam is by Quiet American). His tail female line goes way back to Never Bend. I bet you this gray gelding has a great mind and could be a great play at medium odds in the Ky. Derby...He'll be on my radar for sure.......Ok, I'm a little biased on the Quiet Americans!

25 Mar 2014 7:16 PM

robinm, let me clarify that I do look at sire lines for speed crossed with stamina (heart line) in a horse's pedigree.  I have found that the heartline traces on a zig-zag pattern to the dam, then to the dam's sire, then to his dam, and her sire, etc.  Great broodmare sires like War Admiral, Buckpasser, Alydar, and Secretariat may have benefitted from an outstanding heartline that they transmitted to their daughters, but never to their sons.

This is why I love horses like California Chrome, Candy Boy, Uncle Sigh, Vicar's In Trouble, and Chitu.  

We all know that the best horse does not always win the Kentucky Derby, so if one of my horses does not show up, I will fast forward to the Belmont, where I believe one of these beautifully bred foals will win.

25 Mar 2014 8:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I was hoping that they would run Commissioner in the Arkansas Derby. I hope he does run in it and picks up the necessary points. He should be in The Derby.


  I can envision that but I'm not sure about 8 lengths although it wouldn't surprise me too much but I think he will be facing a few tough customers that won't throw in the towel. I will be surprised if Social Inclusion doesn't run a big race.


   I was thinking Spot will end up about 10-1. I like his chances too but it's a tough race. It depends on how the track is playing that day. If it's flubberized then the speed will be tough to catch.

25 Mar 2014 9:07 PM

  Per your above article Steve, you wrote that … “Baffert’s” trained “Chitu …“is by the sprinter “Henny Hughes”, and even though there is stamina in his female family through “A.P. Indy”, “Irish River”, and “Nijinsky II”, his great-grandsire “Zilzal” was strictly a miler. So, his pedigree for 10 furlongs is iffy at best, but he is a very talented colt.” …

  LOL. The only reason I think you wrote that line was because either you wanted to awaken this sleeping lion--lol lol lol--or you didn’t look any deeper into “Chitu’s” pedigree.

  And yet, where “Irish River” was principally only a champion ‘miler’ also ??? which would have possibly supported your hypothesis further.

  Steve, although I loved the way that “California Chrome”,--your now #1,--riding nose to nose after the final turn put away “Midnight Hawk” in the stretch run of the San Felipe with a move that reminded me of “Curlin” and “I’ll Have Another” with that special seemingly added on “5th gear” that few possess, where he just seemed to take off finishing 7 ¼ lengths beyond the horse that ‘placed’ and still ran an eye popping 140.50 !!! and that all so, not being pressed, I would also venture that “Chitu’s” dam side regarding getting distance is also stronger than “Cal. Chrome’s” in some comparison !!!

  However, let’s start with “Chitu’s” sire side, where you say “Henny Hughes” was but a ‘sprinter’. In his blood lines by “Storm Cat” are “Northern Dancer”, who won the Florida Derby; the Kentucky Derby; and the Preakness; TRIPLE CROWN WINNER “Secretariat” by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner “Bold Ruler”; and of course from his “Meadowlake” line is “The Gray Ghost”-“Native Dancer”,--maybe the greatest race horse in the last century,--who in his 22 21-1-0 record lost only the Kentucky Derby by a nose or a head due to a bad trip, yet went on to capture both the Preakness and the Belmont, also winning every other race he ever competed in, and who is additionally by Preakness winner “Polynesian”; and if one looks a little deeper into his bloodline, one will also find from the “Hagely” (Va.) line, “Man O’War” who won the Preakness and the Belmont, from a line that gave us two Belmont winners in “Hastings” and “Spendthrift” !!! So where exactly is there a lack of some potential to handle a 1 ¼ ??  

  On his dam side,--the side I believe needs to be the stronger, but that being a case that is not yet proven,--“Chitu” only has “A.P. Indy”, who if memory serves, won the San Anita Derby; the Belmont; and the BC Classic, and who is of course by TRIPLE CROWN WINNER “Seattle Slew” who himself is also by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner “Bold Ruler”; is 2 Xs bred to “Northern Dancer”, through “Zilzal” and “Nijunsky” (Ont.), the latter who won the “English Triple Crown” and whose record seems it could handle some distance, and then throw in a little “Buckpasser”, who adds his additional 2 links via the “BHXFG” strains, oh boy, a way stronger dam side than “Cal. Chrome’s” in comparison to this author.

   Further, in that of “California Chrome’s” case, there is a relatively weak dam side in my eyes, BUT, his 10 links to the “BHXFG” strains,--‘big heart ‘X’ factor gene strains’,--from his dam side also have a link to “Cosquilla” that “Secretariat”,--who had the 2nd biggest heart of all horses autopsied up to his time,--got through “Something Royal” by “Princequillo”,--essentially meaning that “Cal. Chrome” could possibly also have a heart as big or bigger than “Secretariat’s”, thusly putting the distances of the Preakness and the Belmont potentially then within his range and yet where in some comparison to “Chitu”,--who has 11 links to the “BHXFG” strains,--we will find that he has 4 links to “Cosquilla” besides his 3 @ links to “Blossom Time” and “Brushup”; and his 1 link to “Mah Mahal”.

 Also take note, that a “Baffert” trained fillie getting much praise from Blood Horse,--“Awesome Baby”,-- ran that same track 4 races prior to “Chitu” and won the 1 1/16 Sunland Park Oaks in a pedestrian 1:43.80 as compared with “Chitu’s” 1 1/8 time of 1:47.88, suggesting that the track was not ‘souped up’ as ‘speed favoring’ as some have suggested.

  If there is some doubt that “Chitu” can not handle a 1 ¼ , I hope some take note by me spending my time sharing my thoughts here.

  And why, Steve, that you really think that this horse ranks below the likes of “Cairo Prince”; unproven “Candy Boy”; “Tapiture”; unproven “General A Rod”; and “Ride on Curlin”; and etc., at this stage prior to the big three Gr. I races soon to follow and is not in your top 12 at this juncture,--your so coveted ‘dozen’,--this horse’s exclusion simply baffles me.  

25 Mar 2014 9:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

random thoughts...

- the Spiral participants were correctly left out of the 12.  Only Tamarando had the look of a Derby horse.

- how about a prep featuring Bayern, Social Inclusion, and Ring Weekend ?  It's a race that would make boxing 'champ' Ken Norton proud.

- prior to Mine That Bird, when was the last time a Sunland Derby winner made an impact in Kentucky, or in any TC race for that matter ?

- Commissioner will be best served missing the Derby.  In fact,  from where I sit,  he's a great candidate to take a couple months off to grow up....simply not a mature enough to be a race horse yet.

25 Mar 2014 10:11 PM

I agree with Spades, Kid Cruz was awful impressive in the Private Terms and he is horse that is not getting in love.  He closed into a very slow pace at Laurel and still drew off like a good thing.  With all the speed running in the Wood, look out for this guy!  Also, I think Gold Hawk will run better this Saturday in the La Derby.  He had some gate issues the last 2 races that may have hindered his chances but he could upset Saturday despite the cloud around Asmussen.  This may be Winchell's best horse over Tapiture.

25 Mar 2014 10:48 PM


As I sit here and type this, I am still in tears after reading Mandy's post.

I have been waiting and praying for someone to help heal all the hurt many of us have been feeling since this past weekend. I know that I have thought of Nehro often every day and how much my heart ached for him and how I have fought back tears when I think of him.

Mandy started that healing process and she has given us the inspiration to fix our broken hearts and give them back to the racing. You must be so very proud of her and I think we all know from whom she learned such passion and love for the horse. God Bless you both for what you do for the love of horses.

25 Mar 2014 11:28 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ted from LA

   It might have been both years you know, 88 and 91. Did you ever think of that?

26 Mar 2014 12:21 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Then it rains for the Wood, and they scratch him and enter him in the Arkansas Derby, it rains there so they scratch him and he trains up to The Derby then it rains for The Derby, do they scratch then too and head to the Preakness? It would be sick alright, but I know what you mean- It would be sick, and incredible dream matchup with Social Inclusion, Cairo Prince, Uncle Sigh, Samraat and more. Plus I think it gives Spot a better chance for points in Florida and I think Spot is a Derby horse so I guess I want rain in Florida.

26 Mar 2014 12:32 AM
Greg R

Whenever I sign in, it first says "the pasword does not match" and then it goes right through anyway (?).

Anyhow, Chitu's gameness in running beyond a mile with a sprint pedigree has to remind you of his "sister by another mother," Beholder, who flashed brilliant speed, yet learned to stretch it out and win around two turns.

I agree that Vicar's In Trouble should not have been dismissed on the basis of one race, so I'm reassured that you made a case that he had good excuses.  I believe he can make a better showing next out, though the KY Derby is another matter.

The other "In Trouble" may be the big sleeper on the Derby Trail.  A minute flat at Palm Meadows?  Unhoid of!

This galaxy of three year-olds is becoming quite intriguing.....they seem to flash from every direction:  Bayern, Spot, etc.

Yes, California Chrome has run several strong efforts in a row, but it looks as though he may just be that good, so might be nothing to worry about.

26 Mar 2014 12:54 AM
Greg R

For GiddyUpBoyWhoa:  As to "Candy's" not doing much in the Derby, I was going to pick Sidney's Candy in the Derby until he drew the 20 hole, I think it was, and then the track came up sloppy.  Big Brown could win from there on a fast track, but it wasn't going to happen again, esp. on slop.  They had to gun S C to the front from the outside rail and he had no shot.  They had been trying to get him to relax, but after that race, he never recovered from speed fever.  Tremendous talent, though.

26 Mar 2014 1:07 AM
joseph alva

What a head-scratcher this year is becoming!  

The two horses that I had supreme confidence in to hit the board in the Derby, Top Billing and Honor Code, are both gone like a bunch of talented others.  In the aftermath, in who am I starting to develop some level of faith in?  . . . Candy Boy.

Watching all of his races I have been impressed with his excellent turn of foot (a quality often found in Derby winners) and very especially his ability to lay anywhere comfortably -- on the rail, between horses, on the outside -- and make a successful run from there (this is huge in a 20 horse field).  The large Derby field I believe will not phase him because he has already run in large fields on several occasions and thrived under those circumstances.  He always fires and his phenomenal gallop out in the Robert Lewis indicates to me that he wants more real estate.  I'm curious to see how he will handle the Churchill track in his workouts.

One horse I am not sold on, however, is California Chrome.  He has indeed looked spectacular recently, but that has been while exclusively racing on the outside in the clear.  Reviewing all his races I have picked up on something that I think could be a potential chink in his armor.  Whenever he has found himself behind and between horses he has hesitated to run through the gaps.  As a result, in those races (all at two) he has finished 5th and 6th twice.  Maybe he has outgrown that, maybe not.  I get the feeling he is a horse who does not like to be crowded and stalls when so.  This could be trouble in the Derby especially if he breaks poorly and has to run behind and between horses.  He may run well, who knows, but I would not be surprised to see him throw a clunker if he faces some trip adversity.

On a separate note, regarding the Florida Derby, I do not expect Cairo Prince to win since it sounds to me, from hearing an interview with his trainer, that he is not fully cranked.  Kiaran expressed they need not win although it would be nice, but just need to pick up points with a second or third to get into the big dance.  Spot could upset.

In Louisiana, I don't know what to think other than Vicar's In Trouble should get a better trip than last time, but may still not be good enough.  Intense Holiday and Albano look the class to me.  Albano will be underrated going into the Derby.  He is made for the toughness the Derby demands.  May not win it, but may make some noise at a big price in the exotics.      

26 Mar 2014 1:41 AM


As usual my knowledgeable colleague your insight is invaluable.

Constitution: He will try to emulate the feats of Big Brown and Monarchos whose two races preceding their FL Derby victories, were victories in a MSW and an Allowance races. Mr. Pletcher does not have a great record in this stakes as denoted by his one victory.

Wildcat Red: He will be attempting the FOY/FL Derby double. This double has been achieved 5 times in the last 15 years by Orb, Quality Road, High Fly, Scat Daddy and Vicar. Interestingly, the double was never achieved in consecutive years. Not a good historic factor for the chances of Wildcat Red.

General A Rod: He will be attempting a feat that rarely occurs. Only two runner ups in the FOY have returned to win the FL Derby in the last 15 years. Harlan’s Holiday and Hals Hope went one better in the FL Derby. Not a good historic factor for the chances of General A Rod.

Cairo Prince: He will be attempting the HB/FL Derby double. This double has been achieved 3 times in the last 15 years by Dialed In, Barbaro and Hals Hope. Both Dialed In and Barbaro recorded hard fought short margin victories over horses that were very tough on the lead. Is Cairo Prince a fighter? He will need to be.  

Spot: He does not give the impression he is 9F colt. A Swale/FL Derby winner is rare to the point of non-existence.

Matador: He will be attempting what Take Charge Indy achieved in 2012. Take Charge Indy entered the FL Darby off 4 consecutive losses. Matador has lost his last three races. The Gulfstream strip might not suite him but Mr. Leparoux has chosen to stick with the colt and the blinkers have been added. In 2011 Mr. Leparoux won with Dialed In. In 2010 he was narrowly defeat on Pleasant Prince. In 2012 he was a close 3rd with Union Rags. His record coupled with success of the AP Indy sire line makes this colt is a good wager.

26 Mar 2014 8:13 AM
lunar spook

derby gal- I received the new copy or the bloodhorse triple crown preview which stated boldly on the third page , only one horse had a d.i. over 4.00 and won the derby ! STEVE HASKINS , PLEASE CLEAR THIS UP , IM USING INFO THE BLOODHORSE IS SENDING OUT IN GOOD FAITH !!!

26 Mar 2014 8:26 AM

Dr.D I agree 100% I am just a messenger.

My post should say "may" scratch.

26 Mar 2014 10:38 AM
Your Only Friend

You can talk all ya want about breeding, beyer, how many races they have won , class of competition, track condition....but it all comes down too who can run mile quarter in this point in time have not seen anyone run that distance......called staying power.

26 Mar 2014 10:47 AM
Mike from Michigan

The next 3 weekends are going to be full of great racing.  Here are my picks for this weekend- U.A.E. Derby-Long John....LA Derby-Albano...FL Derby-General A Rod.  Good luck to all.

26 Mar 2014 11:13 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

I'm with you on everything except the Ken Norton reference.  He actually won a boxing title against Muhammad Ali earlier in his career and also lost to him two other times in close decisions.

26 Mar 2014 11:16 AM

Plod Boy Phil,

You are being a bit harsh on Commissioner. He ran an improved race with the blinkers added and can only move forwards off that effort. He is a magnificent looking colt who just needs a fair track to be competitive.

26 Mar 2014 11:23 AM

Coldfacts stated: "Spot: He does not give the impression he is 9F colt. A Swale/FL Derby winner is rare to the point of non-existence."

I must ask you since you are one of the bigger breeder posters here.

Spot is inbred to both Secretariat and the famed Mr.Prospector line you tout so often as being Derby winners.

Your point regarding Matador also applies to Spot since he is a descendant of the AP Indy line just like Matador..

Actually if you compare the breeding of the 2 horses they are very similar..

Your points are very confusing to me..

Good Luck to you..

26 Mar 2014 12:10 PM

Steve H : I wanted to get your take on Chitu, I saw your comments and didn't really see much negative except his pedigree and I'm curious why Candy Boy who barely got up against Chitu in the Lewis is rated #4.  They both beat Midnight Hawk and Chitu beat him again in the Sunland.   Furthermore, Chitu won at 9Fs and won going away whereas Candy Boy has yet to run one.   Before Chitu beat Midnight Hawk the 2nd time around, his pedigree wasn't a question mark.   I feel Chitu just stretched his legs in the Sunland and while I'm not guaranteeing him a win in the Kentucky Derby, I think he'll be very competitive.

Did you see something in his race that suggests he won't make another quarter ? I'm curious about your take on his stride, and wondering if that's what made you focus on his sprinter pedigree.  Thanks!

Is Spot officially in the Florida Derby ?  I can't find a lineup anywhere (looking for help from derbygal here hehe), I thought the line up would be posted somewhere by now.  If he's in, then   I'll box him with Gen A Rod, Cairo Prince for the trifecta and add Wildcat Red and Matador on the bottom for my cheap superfecta.

Also, waiting for In Trouble to see if he'll be in Louisiana or the Wood.  If he goes in the Louisiana, I'll put him on top with Albano, IH and Louies Flower for the Tri and Super.

26 Mar 2014 12:24 PM
Pedigree Ann

Zarvona - Henny Hughes was bred to be a sprinter/miler and, as usually happens, they got what they bred for. His sire Hennessy was a sprinter/miler - Storm Cat CAN sire stamina, but not when the Terlingua-Crimson Saint strain of his pedigree dominates in the mating. HH's dam was a SP sprint winner, by the hot 2yo sprinter Meadowlake (who sired a few milers, but mostly sprinters). His second dam Shortley was a 5-time stakes-winning sprinter, by the sprinter/miler Hagley, whose best runners excelled at less than a mile. The name of HH's 3rd dam Short Winded (winner of 9 of 58) seems to have been prophetic.

Distance ability is a rare commodity in the TB genetic pool and even a great stayer like Round Table or Damascus will not pass that ability on to a significant fraction of his offspring. When trying to analyze distance proclivities, you have to look at what the close-up ancestors have inherited, not what those 9 or 10 generations back achieved.

Look at the TB of 1923 named Three Bars: His sire was a sprinter/miler while his dam was a daughter of Belmont winner Luke McLuke. The 4 sires in the dam's third generation were Commando (Belmont S), the Kiwi Trenton (SW up to 3 miles), Ben Brush (Kentucky and Latonia Derbies, Suburban H, etc.), and Carlsbad (American Derby - 12f dirt). Three Bars was a front-running sprinter who became a foundation sire of the running Quarter Horse breed.

I do not see much likelihood of stamina coming from the sire-side of Chitu. It will all be on the damside.

26 Mar 2014 12:58 PM
Fan of Damascus


I'm really looking forward to the UAE Derby this Saturday from Meydan.  (With 100 Derby points to the winner.)

I see where Aidan O'Brien has culled his likely horses and has entered two - Giovanni Boldini (by War Front out of an Old Trieste - by AP Indy - mare) and Sir John Hawkins (by Henrythenavigator out of a Danehill mare.)

I particularly like G B after studying the form of Lines of Battle (the winner of last year's UAE Derby.)  Lines of Battle (also by War Front out of an Arch mare) was not the quality two-year-old that Giovanni Boldini was.  LoB had five freshman starts with a maiden and listed stakes victory, a second in a G-3 race in Ireland before finishing 7th in the B C Juvenile Turf at SA in 2012.

Despite this modest start, Lines of Battle did not embarrass himself in last year's KY Derby finishing 7th - just ahead of Will Take Charge. (Note:  Lines of Battle has since been sold by Ballydoyle to foreign interests and has been renamed "Helene Super Star".)

Giovanni Boldini, meanwhile, had four starts as a two-year-old including a maiden and listed stakes scores.  He also finished third in the G-1 National Stakes (IRE) and second in the B C Juvenile Turf last year at SA.

If Giovanni Boldini wins Saturday and makes the trip to Louisville, I feel he is a horse to watch in the Derby.

It should be a fun weekend of races.

26 Mar 2014 1:03 PM
lunar spook

OK GANG- I stand corrected on my statement about the derby winners dosage index as their have been a very few over 4.00 , HOWEVER , THE AVERAGE DERBY WINNER HAS BEEN BELOW 3.00 and with CAIRO PRINCE showing 7.00 that would have me steering clear of him come derby time ! what do yall think ? am I putting too muck stock in the dosage index ? I need a winner come derby time !!!

26 Mar 2014 1:26 PM


My quote: Spot: He does not give the impression he is 9F colt

Alpha was sired by Bernardini and is out of mare sire by the 1970 British Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. While he is bred to be effective at 10F and longer he has never given the impression he is a 10F horse despite his victory in the Travers.

Spot has made 3 starts on dirt and none have been beyond 7F. He is certainly bred for 9F and longer but I do not consider his stride pattern as those of a router. My impression that he will not be effective at 9F does not equate to him not being capable of same.

Many horses do not run to their pedigrees. Horses have to be judged on what they display on the track.

26 Mar 2014 1:36 PM


Matador has contested 3 races over 8.5F, one over 9F  and one over 8F. He enters the FL Derby with a lot of miles travelled as compared to Spot.

26 Mar 2014 1:41 PM

Question for the Experts:

The Ky. Derby quite often comes up a sloppy mess, so who do you think will do best on a sloppy track ?

Besides wet track rating, and prior experience on a off track, how would you decide this?

The only horse I can think of right off that's ran on an off track is Strong Mandate, and he romped, his best race, and has a 419 wet rating. I see a few others with a rating in the 400's, but no others that have ran on an sloppy track.

I appreciate any input. Thanks

26 Mar 2014 1:50 PM

FL Derby

1) Constitution - We'll see if he has an iron constitution

2) General A Rod - May box #1 & #2

3) Wildcat Red - I think he'll come out on fire but the extra 1/8th may cause him to fade

4) Cairo Prince - Could pick up the pieces if 1 - 3 pull a Gotham stretch run but I'm guessing he won't fire in the stretch (hunch)

LA Derby

1) In Trouble - Betting on Uncle Sigh's & Samraat's quality

2) Albano - May box #1 & #2

3) Intense Holiday

4) Vicar's In Trouble and / or Gold Hawk

26 Mar 2014 4:20 PM

Still hoping Matador swirls his red cape and gets the points.  

26 Mar 2014 5:23 PM

I might reserve my wagering to the La. Derby only this weekend.  Curious as to what people think of adding the blinkers to Rise Up, and what to make (if anything) of Intense Holiday's rail draw.

I like Albano a bit, Vicar's In Trouble some and think In Trouble might win this one.

Should be a good race, but a tough one to handicap.

26 Mar 2014 5:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Intense Holiday WP and Ex box with In Trouble in the Louisiana Derby. In the Florida Derby box Constitution, General A Rod, Spot, Wildcat Red in the exacta and trifecta. Add Cairo Prince to the 3rd and 4th positions for the super wheel while using the same 4 horses from the tri and ex boxes in all 4 positions in the super- that's a 4-4-5-5 combo. Those are my picks. Good luck to everyone and hoping the athletes and the fans all have a safe trip.

26 Mar 2014 6:20 PM
Machmer Hall

all I can say in a very biased way is... go Intense Holiday!!! I am sure they will hear me cheering in LA from KY

26 Mar 2014 7:01 PM

tj conway

I find in situations like yours you are better off going down with the ship rather than playing against it.

Karma can be positive or negative. How bad will you feel if Spot wins and don't have him? Worse than betting betting him and losing for sure.

Send it in!

26 Mar 2014 8:21 PM

See Spot Run and Wildcat Red, let that "tiger" in you show them how's it done!

26 Mar 2014 8:38 PM

Intense Holiday and Vicar's In Trouble.

26 Mar 2014 8:44 PM

Ring Weekend at 50-1 future pool.  Boy, that's tempting!  I'm getting that feeling in my gut about him like I was getting for I'll Have Another.  Plus, G. Motion, I'm thinking, is holding this one close to his vest.  I'd love to know how he compares him to Animal Kingdom.

Dr D

Why are you not calling Cairo Prince to win?  You see that KM said there was no comparison between CP and Invasor, meaning Invasor couldn't carry his j strap???  That's some pretty high praise for the Prince!


The rail is why I have Intense Holiday in the 3 spot of my super.  If he comes out firing for position and gets it, he'll have to keep it or close to it which means I don't see him closing like he did in the Risen Star.  Otherwise, he gets shuffled back IMO and has to come running down the stretch which may or may not be a good trip for him.   It's not that I don't believe in him, though.

26 Mar 2014 8:56 PM

So......the fact that Nehro's hoof went bad means what? Like someone said even the farrier said his hoof was incredibly bad.....i asked one of my people in the many many horses, nehro's hoof went bad....thats why they were talking about it........the video implied it was that way, and they were going to race anyway......they were not.....they were trying to fix the happens.....they were not gonna race what exactly the problem? They were pretty much gonna retire him, because the hoof was so bad, it takes almost a year to grow fully back.....hooves go bad.........

26 Mar 2014 9:31 PM

Wicked Strong won't go away. Worked 1:27:4 today at Palm Meadows, heads to NY Sunday. Go back to his closing Remsen performance.

26 Mar 2014 9:52 PM
joseph alva

In the Louisiana Derby, Pletcher's King Cyrus could sneak into the exotics at sure to be decent double digit odds.  I saw him in person break his maiden first time out at 7 furlongs at Saratoga last summer and was impressed.  He then ran abysmally in the Hopeful and consequently 3rd while encountering some traffic in deep stretch in a Keeneland allowance at a mile and 1/16 to cap his two year-old campaign.  He just came back from a four month layoff to run 2nd in a stakes at a mile at Calder to shake off the rust while galloping out well beyond the wire.  He should improve in spite of the move up in class.  He is from Bellamy Road out of an Empire Maker mare so his pedigree spells distance friendly.  Intriguing prospect in that race who could set the exotics on fire if he hits!    

26 Mar 2014 11:54 PM

Good Evening Steve,

Reading your analysis of the "Dozen" is a relief after the the past weeks tassled and twisted spiral of events.  It has decreased some of the stress factors and put everyone back on "track" - in perfect timing of the scheduled and outstanding billing of races and performers.  The "vacationers" are returning and the welcome committee will be waiting for them.  

In re of your review,  the very remarkable California Chrome in his upcoming race may just sit back here and it would not be an uncommon decision in plan (nor a surprise)to just let the Chrome coast without trying to crush the rest of the cast;  As for Cairo Prince, he will feel his feet upon the ground and that excitement might well work in his favor...There is a lot movement going on right now and as I absorb  all the criteria and critique the challenges of change becomes more inviting......but "slow and thorough" is the pace to retain in the speed that will succeed. In the mean time, eyes wide open, watching and reading..... Thank you Steve for your hard work and dedication that decks the halls of racing.....

A note ~

Has anyone taken a look at Ron the Greek! Magnificent specimen of athlete ~ He looks beautifully fit for his challenge of change at Dubai (coming in from Saudi) and deserves support for success ~ Thanks everyone

27 Mar 2014 12:22 AM

Excited to see Rise Up this weekend - hope he wins as I really want to keep him on my Derby list.  I think Cairo Prince is much the best in his race - only Spot worries me a little.  Good luck with your bets everyone and safe trips to all!

27 Mar 2014 1:19 AM
Mike from Michigan

Steve, I noticed that 'Vicar's In Trouble' has only had 2 published works since Feb. 16th and that last work at 5f was in 1:03.3 on a fast track.   I know he was dealing with an abscess issue and he missed some days of training, do you think that will affect his performance Saturday or is he well beyond that problem?  Thanks.

27 Mar 2014 7:49 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I don't know which quote you are referring to but Invasor is the best horse KM has ever had through today. Cairo Prince would have to win the Triple Crown for me to think anything close to what you are inferring.

   I am not saying that Cairo Prince can't win the Florida Derby. He might be that good but off the layoff facing very good horses in good form CP has to prove it to me. And CP is not the only one that could emerge from this race a star. I see talent. CP already has some points so they just want more points to help him to get in. They aren't focused solely on the win, they just want a strong race as a Derby prep and to get needed points. He still could win but I don't think it would be as good of a bet. It remains to be seen what I will think of CP's chances in the KY Derby if he runs in it. The last photo I saw CP was carrying Invasor's jock strap.

   I'm certainly not discounting CP as a 9f or 10f horse. That remains to be seen but I think his pedigree is fine.

27 Mar 2014 8:21 AM

Big 2 weekends are finally upon us. Hoping for  a few horses to pick up points to make the big dance, I discount the Arkansas and Bluegrass a bit, as I find those races a bit too close to the Derby for recovery.

Albano - Drew post 10 in the LD, no problem, a 4th place will most likely get him in, he's a fighter like Smaratt and Tapiture. Not saying he can win the derby but he will be on my tickets. I kinda like Commanding Curve in the LD, with Intense holiday drawing 1, and Albano 10. Gold Hawk has been giving lots of trouble at the gate, if he remains calm on Saturday, he also can run big.

Giovanni Boldini - Been a favorite of mine since the breeders cup JV turf, a 2nd in the UAE will get him in. O'brian will win a derby one day, and this looks his best one so far, like the pedigree, plus most importantly Ryan Moore is from my hometown.

Kid Cruz - Love the closers at KD, late pace brisnet figure of 121 at Laurel Park, didn't Linda Rice win the breeders cup last year.

Social Inclusion - if only to set the KD up for the dreaded pace meltdown, someone will get him in the final furlong, here comes Cali Chrome, Candy Boy, et al.

Cario Prince - love the horse, but McLaughlin seems so negative in his comments, he took the risk of skipping the FOY, looking for excuses, bad Karma. Still hope he makes it.

That said California Chrome and Candy Boy remain my top two. I totally agree with Joseph Alva, hoping California Chrome gets a tough crowded trip in the SA, want to see his game face, and re-action.

27 Mar 2014 9:19 AM
Mister Frisky

I'm with Joseph Alva.i think King Cyrus can hit the board in La.This son of Bellamy Road has talent and could be a force in the near future.

27 Mar 2014 10:07 AM

joseph alva-i was the guy up in J-section throwing my tickets in the air after last years hopeful. king cyrus has no apparent early speed, he will need to close strongly next out. glad to see pletcher has confidence in him. I will say he was the nicest looking horse to lose last years hopeful. thanks for pointing him out.

27 Mar 2014 10:13 AM
Rusty Weisner

joseph alva,

I will give a close look at this one, thanks.  I was just thinking that the Louisiana Derby came up indentical, but even weaker minus Hoppertunity, to the Risen Star.  King Cyrus and In Trouble are the only new ones.  I'm interested to hear if Steve Haskin has anything to say about this one, and also if he has a response to another commenter's question about Vicar's In Trouble.

27 Mar 2014 11:03 AM
Sail On

I am please the preps will be televised. I hope I can get it. I also hope the day is not spoiled by breakdowns.

27 Mar 2014 11:19 AM
Sail On

@Mike in Michigan, I too have asked about Vicar's In Trouble's soundness. I do hope has recovered.

Steve, can you find out anything about this?

27 Mar 2014 11:25 AM
Sail On

@KV, they were not gonna race Nehru because his hoof 'went bad?' When did they tell the owner that?

Did Nehru's colic attack have anything to do with all the meds and other 'treatment he was subjected to? Mind you, I am no fan of PETA. I just think we need straight answers, not defensive brush=offs.

Lets hope Vicar's In Trouble has a safe trip this weekend.

27 Mar 2014 11:31 AM
lunar spook


27 Mar 2014 11:40 AM

Fl. Derby:

6 General A Rod, I think the post draw helps him, outside of his main rivals.I don't think much seperates him and Wildcat Red, except I think the #1 post hurts Wildcat.

4 Constitution, beat a very good quality field on FOY undercard, and loves the speed favoring track at GP. I will also use him in the top spot in one tri/super, and leave him off the other if he and Wildcat burns each other out.

1 Wildcat Red, on paper not much difference between him and General A Rod. The #1 post may make him go too early and get tangled up front with Constitution.

8 Spot, I could see some improvement from him, or this could just be the "all" button. I will try to beat Cairo Prince totally out of the top two spots, long layoff, over rated.

La. Derby :

6 Vicars in Trouble, outside post and trouble in last, two upper 90's speed ratings, and a high quality jockey, I believe will redeem himself.

8 Rise up, I might be stretching it here, but his trainer has very good across the board %'s, blinkers on, said he's going to the front, good workouts. I'm looking for a bust out performance, may even use on top for an upset, and I may squeeze another in here with him for a back up in tri/supers.

1 Intense Holiday, the rail draw hurts him and may bounce off last, but he does have one of the top ranked jocks in the country who gave Hoppertunity an outstanding ride while boxing in Tapiture.But, no value on top.

3 Louies Flower and 9 In Trouble, both to come along and pick up the pieces.

Good luck all

27 Mar 2014 11:40 AM
lunar spook

DR. DRUNKINBUM , What no one on this site seems to grasp is the fact that cairo prince has a dosage index of 7.00 this is waaaaaay too high too have any shot in the derby , save your money and look else where this horse has NO shot !

27 Mar 2014 11:47 AM

lunar spook-you can use under 4.00 dosage as a guide, but combine that with the progressive beyer angle(last three races, the workout angle(must beat at least 66.6% horses w/o at the distance(bullets are nice), if betting a closer-at least 90% of time the horse improved position at every call(win or lose)and above all pick your derby horse from the list of horses that come from a winning dam(gr-1 would be nice)good luck!

27 Mar 2014 11:57 AM


As we enter these last trifecta of weekends, I appreciate all you do in keeping us informed.  I was hoping for any comments on Kid Cruz but like your inclusion of Ring Weekend and your comments on Graham Motion going the Calder route.  There's something about this gelding that intrigues me and I'll keep my eye on him especially since my wife won't let me forget she picked him in the Tampa Bay Derby.

After even more time and energy than Ted from LA or Bob from Boston in pouring over videos, comments, pedigrees, facts, figures, Steve's comments and his many bloggers, my top five are:

1.  Candy Boy:  Keep rewatching his RB Lewis closing kick and gallop out.  Besting Chitu at 8.5F only bodes well for the longer distances.  My gut tells me he's a warrior who will relish the 10F at CD.

2.  Intense Holiday:  Keeps improving and the 9F LA Derby will suit him well with all the speed to his outside.  Does not have to win, just needs to keep comimg in the stretch but this race is setting up perfectly for him.  10F at CD--check!

3.  California Chrome:  Brilliant and will be tested in the SA Derby but Steve's comments are spot on; he doesn't need to be squeezed dry.  

4.  Cairo Prince:  With his cautionary comments, his trainer is setting us up for the Florida Speedway Derby.  Cairo Prince does not need to win, just get the points and not get squeezed dry.  He needs to show me he can get the 10F at CD., not sold.

5.  Kid Cruz:  If he goes in the Wood, should see if he's for real with all the speed shaping up.  10F at CD--yes, yes, yes!

Right behind: Ring Weekend, Tapiture, Samraat.

GiddyUpBoyWhoa--I agree that Strong Mandate moves way up if the track is off on Derby Day.  I hope Steve will give us his usual "Off Track" column come Derby week.  If it looks like rain on May 3rd--bombs away!

Stones:  Intense Holiday's #1 hole is perfect.  With the speed on the outside, he can save ground on the rail and make his move when Mike Smith chooses.  I trust Mike's traffic control abilities and look for Intense Holiday to go past them all.  

tj conway:  I agree with JMF552.  I've been around this game a long time and have a lot of sore stomach pain to prove it.  Stick with your gut feeling!

27 Mar 2014 12:39 PM
Linda in Texas

I don't bet,just wish intently so big well wishes are sent to Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday and Spot. Going to stick with them but never to the exclusion of other's if they win. See why i don't bet? :) Love them all. Thanks, Steve.

27 Mar 2014 12:48 PM

Dr D

Actually KM was comparing CP to his past Derby contenders one of which was Closing Argument.  Invasor, he says, was his favorite.  Yuh!!!

My recollection sometimes is an empty plate.  Age maybe...

27 Mar 2014 1:29 PM

Should Constitution win the Florida Derby, should he run in the Kentucky Derby? Too much to ask for an inexperienced horse, but the Florida Derby could be scaled with the way the track is at present.

In the Louisiana Derby, I am intrigued on how Commanding Curve runs, he appears to be a true 10f. horse and has experience at Churchill Downs. Good luck to all.

27 Mar 2014 4:20 PM
Steve Haskin

Trackjack, Kid Cruz has a minor setback and is going to pass the Wood Memorial. Just minor. He'll be OK.

27 Mar 2014 7:01 PM

Thanks Steve.

27 Mar 2014 7:57 PM

Lunar Spook..... Discount not disregard, I always think curlin and bodeimister would of had a better chance of wining the KD if they had a week more rest.

Steve is Kid Cruz off the KD trail ?

27 Mar 2014 8:31 PM

Dr Drunkinbum: In your post 27 Mar 2014 8:21 AM this line was a smasher "The last photo I saw CP was carrying Invasor's jock strap" (LMAO). I think you just eclipsed KY Vet's "Cheesebiscuit" post 24Mar 2014 5:36 PM.

Based upon the post positions and likely pace scenario, Cairo Prince has it all to do in the Florida Derby bearing in mind that he has yet to run a 100 Beyer speed. Wildcat Red goes straight to the lead at the off with Constitution rushing up to his flank closely followed by General a Rod ..and guess what ? Joel Rosario on CP has to find a way to avoid being pinned down on the rail if he wants to win the race ...a tall order against this field in my view. Lets see if he's really that good. Cairo Prince would have a better chance of picking up the needed points going to the Wood Memorial where I don't thnk that he's be thretened for the runner-up spot to Social Inclusion ...just my honest opinion.

If Cairo Prince fails to get the points I'll bet he'll become the poster child for a hasty return to the superior Graded Earnings System. I hope that he gets the points but I like that it that the fault-lines in this qualifying system are being exposed.  

27 Mar 2014 9:06 PM

Zarvona, thank you for your analysis of Chitu's pedigree.  Distance will not be a problem for this beautifully bred colt.  

27 Mar 2014 10:27 PM

I am looking forward to the La. Derby, since I live in New Orleans.  

In Trouble, Vicar's In Trouble, and Intense Holiday are my picks.  

27 Mar 2014 10:32 PM

Lunar Spook - I still use dosage as a guide.  Although some will say it is useless, but since there have only been like 4 exceptions in all the years it has been in use, I would say it can be helpful!  In the case of Cairo Prince I take exception however because his breeding looks better to me than the dosage indicates.  I am not counting him out due to his number.

27 Mar 2014 11:00 PM

Racingfan : I too am anxious to see Rise Up's return.  I need him to win to get back in the running for the Winstar Farm's contest but for betting purposes, I have to go with In Trouble.  I hope Rise Up runs well, I don't mind losing bets if he shows what I thought he was capable of.

Took a shot at some exacta future wagers on Samraat and Intense Holiday with 5 horses.  I'm hoping they both stay healthy.  I was going to play In Trouble but decided to wait until after the Louisiana, hopefully they'll run before they close the KDFW.

27 Mar 2014 11:35 PM

Despite being such a great race horse Invasor has been a failure as a stallion. That is too bad because the breed needs some great outcross bloodlines. Candy Ride is providing some of that and this is going to be his real breakout year because his three year olds are from a much nicer set of mares than he drew early in his stallion career.

28 Mar 2014 12:41 AM

Why are trainer McLaughlin’s comments being viewed as negative?

Cairo Prince defeated Harpoon on debut. Harpoon still has only a MSW victory to his credit. He defeated Financial Mogul in the Nashua. Financial Mogul still has only a MSW victory to his credit. He gained the lead in the Remsen from Honor Code who rallied to defeat him in a race where the fractions are still baffling.

He rated just off the pace in the Holy Bull and ran by the leaders who stopped liked they were stop by a sniper. The two horses that closed from far behind, fattened out as the speed favoring track was not accommodating to them. Intense Holiday left town as it was the 3rd time he was being beaten by Cairo Prince. He is now the horse to beat in the LA Derby. Go Figure!

Cairo Prince has not run as fast a Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Constitution at Gulfstream Park. His two victories in stakes races were achieved with just off the pace moves. He ran by lesser opponents and went about his business. Is he capable of running by Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Constitution and go about his business as usual? That is highly unlikely.

Cairo Prince’s figures and performances do not indicate he is superior to at least three of the opponents he will be facing. In fact, based purely on speed figures and the quality of opponents faced, he is ranks #4 in the field. His trainer is correct to be apprehensive as he has seen and reviewed the figures. He is well aware that if Cairo Prince has not improved since his last, he will not stand a chance against a trio of fast and talented horse.

The Cat, The Prince and The General are likely to be exposed to the Constitution and all might be put to the sword by the Matador.

28 Mar 2014 2:37 AM
The Deacon

No disrespect to anyone but in my humble opinion comparing Cairo Prince to Holy Bull is like comparing Tim Tebow to Joe Montana.

Ridiculous at best...........Holy Bull should be in everyone's top 25 of all time. Just a brilliant race horse.

28 Mar 2014 3:34 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


    I can relate. I think East Hall should be added to the third position in the trifecta, and the third and fourth positions in the super. Good luck.

28 Mar 2014 8:56 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ogden Mills Phipps statement was brilliant, thoughtful, necessary, and appreciated. I encourage all racing authorities to listen to the statement carefully and make needed reforms so that racing can control itself and not face federal intervention and eventual possible extinction. If you can't provide quality care get out of the business. Racing should be in the business of providing a respectful, loving, caring home for life for the incredible horses and jockeys that risk their lives daily. You can see the joy that horses have racing by their pre-race demeanor that expresses that joy in their body language. Most jockeys love the life and competition also as do the owners, trainers and fans. We love athletic competition but owe it to any competitor to help them to the best of our ability to have a safe and healthy life without abuse of any kind.

   Without racing many horses would not have lives at all, or be raised simply to be slaughtered. This is a human world and any chance of horses surviving in it in a natural, balanced world is diminishing greatly by the second and seems impossible. Survival of the species in any large extent probably depends on horse racing but let's do it right.

28 Mar 2014 11:42 AM

I have been following Kid Cruz race and workout patterns and they to seem give him more time than usual to recover from his races and workouts. He had some shin issues when Linda Rice claimed him from Bill Mott so maybe there is some recurrence. I certainly hope the minor setback won't prevent from running in the Bluegrass or the Ark. derby because if he is healthy I think he is right up there with the best of these.

Watch out for Joint Return in the Gulfstream Oaks. This is a serious Filly with a tremendous turn of foot.

28 Mar 2014 1:14 PM


Churchill Downs' fourth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) pool that opened at 9 a.m. Thursday and runs until 3 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday.

Fair Grounds - Saturday, March 29, 2014

Post Time - 6:10 PM (CDT)    

Fair Grounds STAKES

Race 11 - Louisiana Derby (Grade II)

28 Mar 2014 1:34 PM

Ring Weekend opened at 50-1 in the final Futures Pool.  After 1 day, he has been bet down to 19-1.

See the power you hold, Steve???  

Now quick...please tell everyone that Cal. Chrome is a nag who has no shot so I can get better odds on him.

28 Mar 2014 1:38 PM

Those that think that Cairo Prince is not as good o Etter than GA-Rod, WR and Const.because his figures are lower, dont know anything about sports.In sports its ALL ABOUT WINNING,these figures were invented by humans in an attempt to game the gamble of a horseplayer.

Cairo Prince is a head away from being undefeated,he likes to win, and the figures are NOT DOMINANT for anyone in this field.BTW Social Inclusion has run top fig and his fig IS MUCH BETTER THAN THE REST OF THE FIELD FOR THE FLORIDA DERBY,I bet you dont understand why his trainer decided to bypass the Fl Derby on a track where he ran a 111 Beyer besides the time between races.

28 Mar 2014 2:00 PM
Fan of Damascus


If CP doesn't get the needed points in the FL Derby, I expect we'll see him in the Blue Grass in two weeks.  

Despite the three races in five weeks scenario I am suggesting and the issues of a potentially tired horse (by today's standards at least), I think KM would be under too much criticism of his decision to bypass the F of Y to simply point CP to the Preakness or beyond.

28 Mar 2014 5:19 PM


I saw that on Ring Weekend and I'm none too happy about that change in odds.

Dr D

Where you getting the love for East Hall?

28 Mar 2014 6:09 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

We could get another rail skimming Derby winning ride with Borel getting on the saddle of Conquest Titan. The horse's style and Calvin's style are a match made in heaven. The Arkansas Derby is getting exciting too.


    Great, glad you enjoyed it.


   You won't be disappointed if Rise Up's talent is at a mile will you?

28 Mar 2014 6:26 PM
food fight

After the Commissioner wins the Arkansas Derby he will be one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby. This is a horse sitting on a big race after running into 2 huge speed bias races in a row.Pletcher will steal the $1million purse in the Ark derby and pickup the points the colt needs to get in the derby.

28 Mar 2014 6:59 PM

I've found the discussion of Chitu's pedigree very interesting.  Gotta say, I find myself in Steve and Pedigree Ann's camp questioning his ability to get 10 furlongs.  Henny Hughes is indeed, beautifully bred, but despite some stamina influences in his pedigree, was definitely a sprinter; miler at best.  Even more important, his offspring tend to be sprinters and milers; 9 furlongs seems to be as far as they want to go.  Chitu is a beautiful colt, but he didn't seem to have much in the tank at the end of the Sunland Derby.  For sure, stamina can come from anywhere; 2 sprinters can produce a stayer, but Chitu's pedigree just doesn't scream 10 furlongs to me.

28 Mar 2014 9:12 PM

Fan of Damascus: This Florida Derby field is a very salty one in which tactical speed and mastery of the pigskin will be very critical (assuming everyone wants the Grade 1 victory on their resume). As I posted before, Cairo Prince and his jockey, Luis Saez has have their work cut out against this very talented field. Unless he's beaten by the distance, I can't see Wilcat Red, under the astute handling of Johnny V, from the #1 post, losing this race. This colt is fleet-footed, is as game as they come and he has more stamina than many think. It will be a good race ...but I hope that Cairo Prince at least gets fourth position to make the Kentucky Derby, bearing in mind that Spot, East Hall and Matador will be flying at the end for their share.

If CP doesn't get the points I think that they would skip the Derby and go to the Preakness because the Godolphin folks don't act in desperation, even though they'd be disappointed.

28 Mar 2014 9:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I wouldn't exactly call it love but he is a good closer that had one bad race, is usually in the money and could come on late to pick up a piece. If there is a fast pace and a speed duel somebody is bound to wilt some. The jockeys have some good game plans but they don't really know how horses are going to react if someone takes off, they might not be as rateable as they hope to be. It's a very interesting race from a tactical standpoint and quite a bit of talent in there I believe. It will also depend on how the track is playing. If superfast maybe all the speed will hold up but I think not. All of the big preps are shaping up to be the most exciting in memory as a group but I don't remember what I thought before about them as a collective entity in previous years.

28 Mar 2014 10:07 PM

Dr. D : Nope, not at all.  As long as he runs to his best, if he turns out to be a miler, that's great.  There is nothing wrong with being a miler, it doesn't mean it's a failure if a horse can't make 10Fs, there's not that many that can.   Some people get offended when told their pick is a miler at best, I don't know why.  

I'll be disappointed if In Trouble doesn't run as I think he will.  I think Samraat and In Trouble wins the Triple Crown this year lol.  

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

Steve, Tomorrow Louisiana Derby is the worst I'm going to watch in the last 10 years the contenders overall pedigree is horrible for the derby including Intense Holiday at that distance Gold Hawk can be dangerous but after that Honor And Glory Will appear like Boston Harbor did With Normandy Invasion, not me thanks.  

29 Mar 2014 12:37 AM


   Did you see that nasty colision at Flamboro Downs Harness the other day in Canada? Not Pretty. I hope not too many people see that replay. They should have stopped the race after the first colision....end result?...the second colision at the second turn.....enough said.

29 Mar 2014 1:57 AM

“Cairo Prince was a head away from being undefeated”

What’s the relevance of the above? Wildcat Red has contested 6 races and won 5. He was disqualified from 1st in one although he was much the best. He lost to General A Rod by a HD in the GP Derby. He was therefore only a HD and a disqualification away from having a perfect record.

Constitution is undefeated in two starts and has run faster than CP in both.

“The figures are NOT DOMINANT for anyone in this field”

Wildcat Red has been consistently the fastest 3YO male at GP and consequently dominates the field in the speed department. Can he carry his speed over 9F? That is left to be seen.

“I bet you don’t understand why his trainer decided to bypass the Fl Derby”

Eskendereya destroyed the field in the 2010 FOY and bypassed the FL Derby for the Wood. I wonder why? How many in the FL Derby field would have gone elsewhere if Social Inclusion had stuck around? Races that are perceived to be easier are deemed to be less stressful on inexperience horses seeking points. Both races carry the same number of points and Wood might have appeared easier.

Big Brown and Monarchos won Allowance races impressively and then humble their opponents in the FL Derby in their next start.


Where exactly has the importance of winning been  dismissed? Wildcat Red won 4 races from 6 starts and lost one in the steward room and one by a HD. Constitution has won his only two starts. General A Rod has won two form 4 starts. Cairo Prince has won 3 form 4 starts.

The facts and figures associated with victories are not cited to be dismissive of the ultimate objective of winning.

29 Mar 2014 8:52 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Wildcat Red should get an early lead. If the track is wet he might never be caught.

29 Mar 2014 9:44 AM

Toast of New one for the list. Maybe ?

29 Mar 2014 10:32 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Toast of New York looked great and will be on my Derby Dozen. I like everything about him. I hope he runs in The Derby and gets to CD early. Can you imagine him going for the Triple Crown at Belmont with the name Toast of New York? The horse was named after the Cary Grant movie The Toast of New York. So he's got class.

29 Mar 2014 10:42 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I'm proud of you, that is correct and and the right attitude. I don't get it either when people get offended about being a miler. I would be proud to be a great miler. Ecstatic. As far as In Trouble is concerned- I agree, I will be disappointed and surprised if he doesn't run big.

29 Mar 2014 12:11 PM

Coldfacts what you write are your edited opinions of the facts.I am not going to copy parts of your tirade and inject my opinion,the fact is you dont know how to make winning bets.Constitution and Wildcat Red are not as good ON PAPER as CP and GA-Rod in a 9 furlong grade 1 race.One is a sprinter that stretched his speed at 1 1/16 and the other hasnt beaten anyone in a stakes race.

The exacta in the Florida Derby is CP and GA-Rod either way.I dare you to make a different pick but you wont because you write a lot on here but you dont make winning bets,cmon I dare you.

29 Mar 2014 3:00 PM

Ed Kabong some people on this blog write in proper grammar but couldnt make a winning bet in a 2 horse field.IMO they should stick to writing about something they are good at, and not venture into making picks based on whatever opinions are considered facts by the writer.

29 Mar 2014 4:38 PM

Impressive race by Toast of New York today.  Clearly the Derby distance wouldn't be an issue, but I wonder how he would handle dirt.  His pedigree leans toward grass.

29 Mar 2014 6:46 PM

The Florida Derby was a better race than I expected.  I liked the way Constitution came through a narrow opening on the rail and Wildcat Red showed his guts.  Cairo Prince was disappointing, but probably needed the race.  He was definitely a tired horse in the stretch.

In Cal., California Chrome put in another fast work.  The jock said he did it easy, but I sure hope this colt hasn't peaked too soon.

29 Mar 2014 7:05 PM
Sail On

Yes! My favorite, Vicar's In trouble won his race handily!

29 Mar 2014 7:21 PM

Now we drop the Prince, A Rod, & Not so Intense Holiday. Next week we drop the Raat & the Boy. The more they run, the more Speed we get for the Big One! Looking for a Closer here! Commisioner, Gala Award & Kid Cruz for me so far. If they get in? Still have a soft spot for Noble Moon, if he ever shows up? Any word on the Moon, Steve?

29 Mar 2014 8:11 PM

Steve, I have really got to start betting on these races! I hope all the nay sayers about Wildcat Red will pipe down now. Oh I know he did not win, but wow what a race. I never took Constitution out of my sites either. And Vicar's In Trouble and Intense Holiday...just delighted!

Wildcat Red and Constitution are going to the Derby!

29 Mar 2014 8:23 PM

At this moment, Giovani Boldini and Cairo Prince are in Derby jeopardy ...qualifying points eluding them. These are two good colts with strong 2YO foundation that deserve to make the Kentucky Derby field and would've qualified under the Graded Stakes Earning system. Two year olds that perform strongly in Graded stakes demonstrate their quality and deserve the luxury of recovery time and one or two warm-up outings without the threat of missing the Derby due to lack of points (arbitrarily conjured up). Also, smart fillies like Untappable should have to option of the Kentucky Derby based upon their dominant performances in the distaff department.

I gave this points system about three seasons for the flaws to be fully exposed and they appear to be unfolding on schedule.

29 Mar 2014 9:50 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


29 Mar 2014 10:20 PM

After watching the races today it is hard for me to see any of those were horses a person could get very excited about.  I hope Social Inclusion is that super horse relative to his crop like Big Brown was because the rest of these look like a below average bunch. I can't see a horse in the whole bunch that seems to be a legitimate 10 furlong horse.  Looks to me like this is a year when there are some very nice fillies not much on the colt side.  Of this colt group, who does anyone think is a legitimate 10 furlong horse?  No doubt someone has to win but who can you get excited about?

29 Mar 2014 10:20 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


29 Mar 2014 10:40 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


29 Mar 2014 10:49 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


29 Mar 2014 11:41 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


29 Mar 2014 11:56 PM

Steve, Constitution was very impressive in winning the Florida Derby, even overcoming his own inexperience, but will the horse's abundance talent be enough to overcome his lack of seasoning? It wouldn't surprise me now.

As for Commanding Curve, how cruel a bad start can be? If not for being squeezed at the start he would be in the Kentucky Derby. At this stage, it appears that 20 points is too short this year.

29 Mar 2014 11:57 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


30 Mar 2014 12:40 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


30 Mar 2014 12:54 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


30 Mar 2014 1:54 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


30 Mar 2014 2:18 AM

Steve H : When I first saw this new derby dozen a week ago, I thought, "what?!?!?!  why is Vicar's In Trouble back on this list ?? "  This after the horse was kind of awol before showing up in the Louisiana Derby.  I don't know if you saw anything in his workout or what but I'm impressed that you had put him back before he ran a monster race in the LA derby.  I hope you cashed out on him.  

He looked good winning but Rosie was also on him a bit in the stretch so I'm not sure how he'd fare in the Derby knowing Wildcat Red who was phenomenal in defeat in the FD, and Ring Weekend as well as Samraat.  I'm quite anxious to read your thoughts on his race today.  Did he peak already ?  Once again, CONGRATS!

As for In Trouble, I thought he ran a decent race, he just looked like a tired horse.  I had high hopes but I don't think he's ready for the Derby.  I would love to see him come back in the Preakness.   Intense Holiday is the real deal IMO, I think everyone was expecting Albano to be on the lead with ViT but with no pressure, ViT was able to relax and had plenty left.

derbygal : Thanks for the info, I wish I had waited lol.

Congrats to all the winners that picks Constitution and Vicar's in Trouble.  Hope you all cashed bigtime today.

30 Mar 2014 3:31 AM
Steve Haskin

Cuba, in the future, please put everything in one or two comments instead of eight.

30 Mar 2014 4:47 AM

Steve, Giovanni Boldini had bad trip in the UAE, he finally got clear when it was too late, any chance he tries the bluegrass ?

30 Mar 2014 7:54 AM

Sail on, you know Vicar's In Trouble is one of my favorites.  I'm so happy this little man won.  Constitution is a nice horse, but the line breeding is what can I say, just a bit disturbing,IMO.  10 furlongs is going to be a stretch for him.

30 Mar 2014 10:23 AM

Is the Derby distance beyond Chitu's capacity?

Raise A Native was the 1963 champion 2YO. He was undefeated in 4 starts with his résumé reflecting 2 victories at 5F and 1 at 5.5F achieved while either equaling or setting a track records. His sire was the immortal Native Dancer that won from 5.5f to 12F. Although RAN's short lived career reflects he was essentially a sprinter, he sired Majestic Prince and Alydar. Majestic Prince just failed to become the 1st undefeated TC winner when he was denies by Arts and Letters in the Belmont. Alydar’s battles with Affirmed during the TC series are well known.

Majestic Prince had a powerful dam line. His 1st dam was sired by the Nearco stallion Royal Charger: his 2nd by Alibhai a son of Hyperion and 3rd by Mahmoud a son of influential dam sire Blenheim.

Alydar had a powerful dam line as well. His 1st dam was sired by On And On a grandson of Nearco via Nasrullah: his 2nd by Derby winner Ponder a son of Pensive who was a son Hyperion and 3rd by three times Derby winning sire Bull Lea.

While it could not have been determined  if RAN had stamina deficiencies due to his early retirement, there was sufficient stamina on the dam side of both Majestic Prince and Alydar to supplement any perceived stamina deficiencies in Raise A Native.

Chitu's sire Henny Hughes finished 2nd in the Champagne and Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was restricted to sprints after his 2YO champagne. However, there is no evidence that he would not have been effective up to 9F. He finished a close 2nd in the 8.5F BCJ to Steve’s Wonder Boy. Chitu's dam side does have a powerful stamina influence led by A P Indy but particularly in the grand dam sire column.

Mares sired by A P Indy have produced Derby winner Super Saver and Derby runner up Bluegrass Cat. Henny Hughes might be responsible for Chitu's speed but it should not be discounted that A P Indy could provide the requisite stamina to allow him to effectively carry said speed the Derby distance.

If the extremely fast Raise A Native was capable of siring two champion routers, I see no reason why the brilliantly fast Henny Hughes cannot do likewise with the assistance of A P Indy and others.

30 Mar 2014 10:49 AM

Posted 17 Feb 2014:

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

Several contributors got excited about this colt after his Risen Start victory. I had been excited about this colt long before that victory. His repeated disappointing performances subsequent to his MSW victory caused me to conclude that he was not as good as the best of his peers. His SH victory in the RS did nothing to suggest he belonged in the upper echelon of the class of 2014 as it represented marginal improvement at best.

With the above stated, he was almost on level terms with VIT at the top of the stretch and refused to change leads despite Mike Smith’s every effort encouraging him to do same. It appeared he struck the rails or at least came close to doing same. He was much smoother in the 100 meters but was a tired horse by then. If not for the trouble experienced by Commanding Curve he would have been relegated to third.

What did his refusal to change leads signify? All might not be right with the colt although he did level out after the lead change. I consider his performance consistent with his other stakes efforts with the exception being the Risen Star. He had no Cairo Prince to content with for a second occasion and he should have won the LA Derby to solidify his revised ranking

30 Mar 2014 11:53 AM

Posted 24 Feb 2014:

“CAIRO PRINCE (Mr. P): I have a love/hate view of this colt. I have no confidence in his trainer’s ability to build his stamina to a Derby level. His dam sire Holy Bull via his dam has serious potential as broodmare sire. Classy colt that I am again forced to acknowledge.”

In the 9 weeks between races Cairo Prince’s trainer failed to effectively address his stamina deficiency. This stamina deficiency was clearly on display in the Holy Bull when he was subjected to aggressive whipping in the final furlong despite being clear of field. A Derby victory now seems remote. This is a trainer that is unlikely to win the Derby with a fancied horse. His best finish was with one at 78-1.

30 Mar 2014 12:14 PM
Pedigree Ann

I think the riders on Red and the General made a mistake not to use their speed early; the fractions were rather tepid for these two and allowed Constitution and others to keep in touch. Had they been allowed to rock and roll as they did in the FoY, Constitution and the rest would have had to work hard to keep up and likely not have much kick left.

I'd like to point out once again that the ability to look brilliant at 9f does not guarantee the ability to be even on the board at 10f. Consider the case of the brilliant front-runner Olympia, Fred Hooper's second Derby colt (he won with his first Derby starter). Olympia won the Flamingo at Hialeah (much more important than the Florida Derby then) and the Wood Memorial at 9f, as well as being second in the Santa Anita Derby, plus won 4 other Derby preps now graded and was odds-on at Churchill Downs. He ran his normal brilliant fractions early - 22&2, 46&2 - leading at the top of the stretch, then 'gave way', as the chart put it. At 9f he could run them off their feet and coast home, but at 10f, he had too far to coast and was swamped by those who stayed better and faded to sixth.

30 Mar 2014 12:16 PM

hey cuba"ss classic chef de race-give me this years  derby winner. don't worry about spelling it wrong, as long as it's close I can figure it out.

30 Mar 2014 12:25 PM
KY VET word........decaf................

30 Mar 2014 12:53 PM

Did anyone see HOPPERTUNITY'S first work back 5f 1:01.20 with the GIGANTIC gallop out???  

Considering CAIRO PRINCE'S layoff and the top 3 of FL DERBY having IMO a fitness advantage going in, he performed really well.  He's going to move forward but enough to win the DERBY?  I'm skeptical but it's not like there aren't precedents from past DERBY winners right?  I'd love feedback on this.  I'll keep CP in my top 6 and hope his confidence wasn't undercut.  Don't like the position in which MCLAUGHLIN has put him.

A brilliant ride by Castellano on CONSTITUTION!  It looked as if he had to work pretty hard on the horse to get him settled, which he did, and THEN on the far turn, Velasquez takes a look back riding WILDCAT RED and after turning back around, CASTELLANO pushed the button on CONSTITUTION to sneak through on the rail.  What kind of horse is CONSTITUTION???  He's a top 6 now for me and, I think, still developing.

I can only take away INTENSE HOLIDAY and VICAR'S IN TROUBLE from that race moving forward but they'll be ranked in the 6 - 12 tier for  now.  I really thought IN TROUBLE was going to run big.

PALACE MALICE was awesome and so was UNTAPABLE!

30 Mar 2014 1:02 PM

Steve, for what it is worth, here is my analysis of this weekend’s races  and my thoughts are based on a perspective from a lifelong horse owner.

Vicar’s in Trouble - I picked this colt to do well in the Louisiana Derby along with Intense Holiday. Rosie is in love with this horse and will, if reports are true, be riding him in the Derby. There is a lot to be said I think for a horse to carry the same jockey for every race and especially if that jockey is involved in the horse’s workouts. I do not know if anyone else picked up on this or not, but Rose rides very aerodynamically. Her seat reduces wind resistance.  The other thing I like is the Ramsey racing team. Mr. Ramsey is very hands on in the training of his horses. I love his approach to breeding horses and how they are trained and how quickly he will fire a jockey who does not ride his horses the way he thinks they should be ridden.  I also like this colt's pedigree other than the Icecapade.  He is not deeply in bred to Native Dancer and he has top and bottom (as we say in my world) breeding going back to Secretariat and Affirmed and another line back to Bold Ruler on the bottom. He lead the entire way and while Rosie was getting on him at the end, he was pulling away from with either a tiring Intense Holiday or an Intense Holiday that was being hand ridden in the stretch (more on this below).

Intense Holiday - Here is another colt that is not inbred through 5 generations and I like his pedigree, goes back to Secretariat, Affirmed, Bold Forbes with a taste of Native Dancer and I have always like the Unbridled line horses. I am not able to play good quality video on my computer and therefore cannot say for sure, but it appeared that Mike Smith was not using his whip on Intense Holiday in the stretch., though I may wrong about that.  If I am right, it could be that Mike Smith eased off per instructions.  He has the points to be in the Derby with this 2nd place and hopefully came out of this race well.

Commanding Curve - I just gotta love a colt that comes from the back after being “pinched “ and make it past the pack and to be closing strong to take third. I absolutely  love this colt’s pedigree and I think his run shows he has speed and endurance.  Inbreeding has its benefits if it brings balance to a horse’s pedigree and I think that this colt has a nicely balanced pedigree. I so hope he gets in another race and can collect the points to squeak in the Derby. If not, then I certainly hope he will be prepped for the Preakness or  the Belmont.

Constitution - I had hopes all along that this colt would hit the board. He is a little too deeply inbred to Native Dancer for my tastes, but he does have two lines back to  Seattle Slew and two lines back to Secretariat. Hopefully this will serve him well in the Derby. I think he dispels the thought that Tapit only produces “milers”. I watched him trot out past the wire and must say that this colt has a beautiful hip. It is long and deep and wide. Propulsion comes from the rear end and that strong hip might be just what it takes for him to hit the board in the Derby. He also seems to be a confident horse that wants the win. Not every young horse would slide through that opening he had on the rail. That I think is not only to be credited to  the colt, but also Castellano.  

Wildcat Red - what can I say, I love this colt. He will most likely be in the Derby and I so appreciate the comment from his trainer that it will be dependent on how he came out of this race. If he comes out well and he can be back up on toes for the Derby, I do think he will be in contention. This colt clearly loves to run and fights to win and has I think proven he can go the distance.

I think that Cairo Prince’s performance lies solely at the feet of his trainer and or owners. Do not get me wrong, I think McLaughlin is a good trainer, but why would he keep this colt out of a race for almost two months?  I also found Mr. McLaughlin’s comments about the colt not needing experience. These are young horses and they  learn from being tested…sloppy tracks, being pinched, having to fight for the win, getting dirt in their face and losing. I just do not get the reasoning that some of these horses have been held back from racing. Do horses that are only raced a time or two win the Derby?  Can they go on to try for the Triple Crown?

As to Toast of New York, we will have to see what toll the trip to and from Dubai takes out of him. Can he be conditioned for another race in time to win it?

Another comment I have is in regard to a comment from someone that they are not breeding race horses like they used to. I say “thank goodness”.  I so hope that we are moving away from these horses that are so deeply inbred to Northern Dancer.

And finally, Winchell is not pulling Tapiture from Assmussen which is of course his decision and his right. However, if Tapiture were my horse and pulling him might well cost a chance at the Derby, you can believe I would be keeping a very close eye on my horse 24/7 even if it meant sending someone from my barn to stay with the colt around the clock. If for no other reason than you never know when some kook will have sabotage in mind and might try to hurt this colt so as to give credence to the charges that have been brought against to Assmussen.  Sad to say, but that is the kind of world we live in today.

The unfortunate death of the young man who had worked for Assmussen just brings more negative press to the scandal, whether it was related or not.

My deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones. There is no loss greater than that of a child.

Sympathy also to the owners of Mars who died on the track in Dubai.

Sorry this is so long and you might very well deservedly tell me to condense it down in the future.

I just had a lot of thoughts spinning in my mind after reading all the comments after the races yesterday and just felt the need to express mine.

30 Mar 2014 1:02 PM

a little off topic.......... but, really? They can't find the plane still? Millions and millions of dollars, best technology in the world? But NO

common sense.........really? Its not out in the middle of nowhere? Its just ocean trash? Really? Maybe they shouldve asked "why would it fly all the way out here?" No destination........Really? They couldnt figure out that it made no sense? Why would it fly for hours and crash way out in the middle of nowhere?  Really?  It really IS embarrassing!

30 Mar 2014 1:06 PM

Not a good day at Gulfstream yesterday gambling wise.

Took it on the chin.

My 2 cents regarding the Fl Derby.

I wound up betting Cairo Prince in a ex box with Wildcat,Constitution,General A and Spot.

I lost.

I wanted Cairo Price to win yesterday reason is he might of been the favorite come Derby day and he was a toss for me.

I thought the track was fair yesterday and it was tuned down a couple of closers actually won the 1st couple of races.

As far as betting any of these horses to win the Derby none of them will be a win bet for me..

Wildcat Red is Schakelford wont get the 1 1/4 but wont quit either.

Constitution Apollo curse and I don't bet Pletcher horses to win the Derby he will be in my exoctics though..

General A rod nice horse but I don't believe a Derby winner..

As of know my top 3 are

California Chrome 46.2 work yesterday.

Candy Boy still sticking by the Stevens comments.

Samraat love the mile works.

May be the biggest overlay in the Derby..

I may change my mind..

Good luck to all..  

30 Mar 2014 1:07 PM

Aside from the upcoming Wood, AR Derby & SA Derby this is my most highly anticipated Dozen coming from you, Steve!  

Where are we going to see BAYERN?  SA Derby would be a big mistake IMO.

SOCIAL INCLUSION is not going to get a free pass in the WOOD.  He's going to have to earn it so if he wins in impressive fashion he'll be in top 3 for me.

VICAR'S IN TROUBLE was blowing pretty heavy after his race.  Rosie actually looked big on him!

30 Mar 2014 1:10 PM

At this point, I can't think of a horse that can beat these on May 3:

California Chrome - Isn't showing any signs of regressing with a blazing 46 & change last work!

Hoppertunity - Last work was scary good!

Constitution - Each of his performances has been very impressive!

Ring Weekend - I don't think his TB Derby was a fluke and he has G. Motion and can go the distance.

Commissioner - He's begging for 1 ¼

Candy Boy - His works have been blazing!

Cairo Prince - I think it should've been more important to run in the FOY & FL Derby aiming for the best possible result on May 3 than whine about giving up a few pounds in FOY and feeling slighted by the points system but this horse can win the DERBY.

Chitu - He gave nothing to Candy Boy while carrying the pace in the Lewis and much the best in Sunland (save Commissioner).

Hoping to see big performances from:

Social Inclusion


Uncle Sigh

Strong Mandate



Conquest Titan

30 Mar 2014 1:54 PM
It aint easy being good!

At this point it seems logical that its California Chrome and everyone else. Sometimes its just that easy. Some people done like the point system I love it. Full fields and it makes these trainers think logical. You want to run your horse and give him 60 days off it might end up biting you in the end. Now what is the prince going to do with no points? I would take the keeland route like Palice Malice did. With such a long layoff 3 weeks shouldnt effect him. He needs to be in the derby since he is the only horse that has the right running style. At this point I feel like every horse wants the lead and is winning on the lead. CC is faster then any other horse breaking from the gate. Catch him if you can! Kid Cruz is a sleeper! I think the derby winner might finally come out of the wood! I think you will see some wow performances next week! Cant wait!

30 Mar 2014 2:24 PM
El Kabong


Nice call on the Vicar. I guess he had an abscess detected after the Risen. That explains his poor works, his ship to Florida in between the Risen and the FG Derby, and his improved run yesterday. I haven't bought into his ability to run 10F's, but you make a good case. Certainly if he's feeling well, he'll have to be considered on exotics. If he can run that well on a less than perfect workout tab, we'll have to watch how he trains up to the Derby. Rosie did ride smart going to the lead, I felt there was no closing on that stretch yesterday, the front end was doing quite well all day, and she went right to it despite all the front speed in that race. She's sharp that Rosie. Albano had a terrible race. Bad post, went wide and took a punch in the stomach from a NY bum. He will still make the Derby though and that is sweet justice for Larry. I have a feeling he was a little red eared after that race. That's when you need Neumeirer and a mic. :)

30 Mar 2014 5:53 PM

A Commentary on "Simmering Saturday"

Hello Steve ~

I am sure you are quite busy right now in searching and researching support for the Derby Dozen (and (I) cannot wait to see the new info and/or changes and choices and your input)but I wonder if you agree (and anyone else) that what should have been a "simmering" Saturday racing meet was a bit shy of excitement and slow to impress (and that includes Dubai). This is a problem that goes much deeper than the race day card and I get the feeling that everyone wants the answer to "whose it gonna be!" because of the lack luster perfomances.  Watching and reviewing the past several and including Saturday's races did not seem much different than looking at a race on any given day.  Although the Gulfstream handle was a record day I can not find a reason to make noteworthy any particular race other than the purse or the points.  Hey Leroy did give a little boost (my mom had this one because of his name) and his bolting consumption of his opponents showed good appetite. And, congrats to Julie and Vicar (who had a really nice day and to all the others that crossed the line with applause, safe and sound). I am surely happy for those who had a good day in winnings but disappointed in results and surprised  by responses of those in the industry that just are not getting the picture but want to get to the Derby.  We all want to get there for the glory of it; and the prestige and the purse and the bet and all else that comes along with it - It's a BIG package and the rewards and benefits are tremendous along with an unforgettable ride....the "Road to the Triple Crown" compares to nothing else for all involved.

Above all, we are desparately in need of a solid, sound and strong superstar that can take on the the trail and the crowds and leave a mark once again in the thoroughbred industry(too lengthy to discuss here at this time but certainly needs to be).

As I read here today, disappointment and anxiety reveals itself - everyone not quite sure who to follow and hoping that the answer comes from a source, a fact or just plain luck. Cairo Prince failure to support his odds and giving way to Constitution was a defeat for all including McLaughlin and Saez but still deserves credit for his effort. He's a fine colt with a fine future.  And, speaking of "Futures", it is a reality that for the past several years the choice has been "ALL" in the final as it lacks the "one".  

We are all "hangin" here.........

Thanks to you Steve - you not only give us hope but support to stay in it and never give up...

And, thank you again (and thank you all) for allowing me to share my opinion

because "I Love this Game"

30 Mar 2014 8:34 PM

ok...i will stipulate to the objection the plane story isnt horseracing.....but just watched a news conference about the great job everyone is doing looking for the plane.......does anyone know how many satellites are up obove us? wouldnt believe if i told you......but our greatest minds are on the job........its obvious where the plane's sitting right next to the WMD's!!!!!!

30 Mar 2014 8:45 PM


Once again you miss the more relevant FACTS. In comparing Henny Hughes to Raise A Native you dwell on their racing careers instead of focusing in on their stud careers-far more important to this analysis. Fact is, Henny Hughes has proven to be a dominant speed influence/ and a dominant non-stamina influence. This cannot be said of Raise A Native. Must I explain this further, or have you caught the hint?

30 Mar 2014 9:17 PM
Sail On

@Mary, yes, we are both sweet on Vicar;s In trouble, and for good reason. I hope he is fully recovered from the abscess on his hoof, and hope he comes out of this race fit and sound.

30 Mar 2014 9:22 PM

In reference to the comment that Rosie looked big on Vicars in Trouble, well he is a smaller horse as compared to the others that racing out there now. Is there a rule somewhere that a horse has to be 17H to be a winner? Not meaning to sound flip, but I do not understand why some cannot give credit where credit is due if the horse ran well or won, even though it was not your pick? As to his blowing hard after the race, please note that the Ramsey's posted on his Facebook page that he was not tired after the race and that he ate well. They even posted a video of him this morning of him playing with someone's hat. He looked bright and happy. Please pardon me Steve, I am not trying to be ugly, but sometimes it just bothers me when I read comments about how weak this field is or no depth or no talent and on and on. I look at it this way, of the thousands of Thoroughbreds that are born each year, only a very small percentage make it to this even be in contention to run in the Derby. I try so very hard not to ever find fault with the horse. As every good rider will tell you, if the horse makes a mistake it is usually the fault of the rider or the trainer. I am in this for the love of the horse and of the sport. Speaking of love of the horse, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SECRETARIAT!

30 Mar 2014 9:35 PM

Mary;  I don't see Constitution as a 10-furlong horse either, though I'm not at all worried about the line-breeding.  I just have my doubts a Tapit can get 10 furlongs unless the dam has a really strong pedigree for distance, which I don't see, looking at Constitution's pedigree.  What I do like about this colt is, that despite his inexperience, he came through a small hole on the rail, showing guts, which he'll need in a 20-horse field.  He also had a very nice gallop out, indicating there is more there than his pedigree would suggest.

On the other hand, Vicar's in Trouble looked stretched to his limit at the wire in the Ark. Derby.  I really didn't like the way he switched back to his left lead in deep stretch.  Like, Constitution, I question VIT's sire to produce a distance horse, though his dam does have a stronger pedigree for stamina.

30 Mar 2014 10:27 PM

correction to my last comment;  I believe Vicar's in Trouble's win was the LA Derby.  The Ark is still a week away?  I don't think I've heard who is headed that way.  Maybe someone can fill me in.  thanks!

30 Mar 2014 10:38 PM


You completely misunderstand my comments regarding VICAR'S IN TROUBLE.  I'm a big fan of the horse.  My comment regarding Rosie looking big on him was said in light humor because she had commented on him being a tiny horse.  I glean valuable information from our family of bloggers on here and I like to  share observations because I watch the horses in great detail and maybe an observation from me might help someone as well.  VIT was blowing hard in the winner's circle and it was just an observation and no offense was meant.  I think he has very good speed and for a little guy he looks like he has a very powerful back end (another observation).  For sure, to be clear, I'm concerned about his staying power to win 10f.  Rosie will have choices on whom to ride, if I were the Ramseys, I'd put Borel on VIT and see if they could pull off a "sit back and scrape the paint" run in the Derby.  Totally agree with your comments on McLaughlin and his handling of Cairo Prince.  I don't think his points are going to get him in!  Sad.

31 Mar 2014 2:15 AM


As usual I can always rely on you to keep me in line in the most emphatic manner. I do believe, as has been the case on many occasions that you have missed the theme of the submission.

“In comparing Henny Hughes to Raise A Native you dwell on their racing careers instead of focusing in on their stud careers-far more important to this analysis”

Below is the closing paragraph of the relevant post.

“If the extremely fast Raise A Native was capable of siring two champion routers, I see no reason why the brilliantly fast Henny Hughes cannot do likewise with the assistance of A P Indy and others.”

Surely the above indicates that I was not comparing their stud careers but rather their exceptional speed. I also highlighted in earlier paragraphs, what I assessed to be the importance of the stamina laden dam line of Majestic Price and Alydar in relation to their ability to rout.

Raise A Native stud career is long over and that of Henny Hughes is still a work in progress. I could never think of comparing their exploits in this category even in my usual deficient state of mind.

The combination of a stallion with speed and a stamina laded dam, has the possibility of producing a  effective routers who might initially appear to be stamina challenged.

In retrospect a more appropriate comparison would have been Elusive Quality or Mr. Prospector. I doubt either were expected to sire Derby winners.

As usual your insightful inputs are always appreciated despite their intents to be dismissive.

31 Mar 2014 9:15 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I appreciate all of your observations and opinions, and I remember that a year or two ago you gave me a good physicality observation that helped me.

31 Mar 2014 9:55 AM
lunar spook

I tried to tell all the cairo prince fans all week his dosage index is way too high for a derby contender , what happened ? he was a badly beaten 4th , next horse to leave alone is vicars in trouble , his index is 5.00 ,so vicars in trouble come derby time for sure !

31 Mar 2014 10:49 AM


So I guess I'll have to (attempt) to spell it out. You "...see NO reason why Henny Hughes cannot do likewise..." -because you fail to grasp that you should be comparing their (Raise A Native and Henny Hughes') stud careers and not their racing careers. While Henny Hughes has, as yet, less numbers (than Raise A Native) it's sufficiently large to strongly suggest that he is a dominant NON-stamina influence-whereas this cannot be said of Raise A Native. Try to grasp what is meant by the phrase-Dominant Non-Stamina Influence. What are its ramifications? Types such as these very rarely, if ever, sire offspring capable of winning "classic" distance races-despite the fact that they received, during their careers, a host of distance oriented mates. But it could be a bit too early to categorize Henny Hughes as such-likely it isn't-, and it is somewhat uncommon for a stallion to transmit that degree of dominance. Henny Hughes, however, appears to fit this description (when reviewing his record at stud)-and nevertheless, clearly, the record of a Raise A Native should not be cited as a reason for optimism to suggest that Henny Hughes (when bred to a stamina-laden mare) could well sire a classic distance winning offspring. No doubt, Coldfacts, even this somewhat expanded explanation will allude you-but it's not meant for your ears anyway.    

31 Mar 2014 11:42 AM

robinm and Big Tex, I must agree with you both.  Vicar's In Trouble is one of my favorite horses, but it did look like he was blowing pretty hard in the winner's circle.  That is very concerning to me.

Constitution, I agree with you robinm, there is a question mark as to distance.  Both of these horses are lovely talented foals, but their pedigrees are up in the air.  

31 Mar 2014 1:16 PM

I admit that VIT's pedigree is up in the air, although there is some stamina in his female line. It did look like he was blowing in the winner's circle, but I just read that according to the Ramseys, he was not tired after the race.

VIT does not necessarily need to have the lead.  He took the lead in the La. Derby because Rise Up was bumped at the break and was therefore out of contention.

Vicar's In Trouble will hit the board in the Kentucky Derby.  He's never been off the board in any of his races.        

31 Mar 2014 1:39 PM


This is all I've seen…Among the possible starters for the Arkansas Derby are Ride On Curlin, Strong Mandate, Bayern, Commissioner, and Conquest Titan.

Dr D

Thank you.  I glean so much from you and the rest it's a rather lopsided affair!

31 Mar 2014 2:00 PM

Will Cairo Prince fall completely off the list? stay tuned

31 Mar 2014 3:16 PM

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