Derby Dozen - March 31, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

He just keeps looking better by the week. He followed up last week’s sharp work with another brilliant move, breezing a half in a bullet :46 2/5, out 5 furlongs in :59 2/5 and did it under no urging on a loose rein down the stretch. I still cannot find a flaw in him, and it’s kind of scary how much he’s improved and how he carries his form, After running mostly double-digit Thoro-Graph numbers at 2, he has now run three straight races with a figure of “1” or lower, which is pretty remarkable. The only question now is, can he keep up that kind of pace? That is why I said last week, don’t be alarmed if he regresses a bit in the Santa Anita Derby and doesn’t blow his opponents away. The main thing is not to give him too hard a race. It’s great to win the Santa Anita Derby, but it’s not the ultimate goal. Look at what Vicar’s in Trouble did in the Louisiana Derby after losing the Risen Star, finishing a well-beaten third after two monster performances. Candy Boy and Hoppertunity are two tough opponents, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the step up in competition. If he beats them the same way he’s been beating everyone else, it could either be too much too soon or he’s a freak.


Hoppertunity Bob Baffert Click Here!

Any Given Saturday—Refugee, by Unaccounted For

Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for his likely start in the Santa Anita Derby. There’s no worry about points, so all be needs basically is a good competitive performance. He’s already crammed four races in this year alone and without a race at 2. So it’s all come fast for him. He is improving steadily with each start and now it’s all about maintaining what’s there and let him progress naturally without knocking him out chasing California Chrome and Candy Boy. It’s rare to see a horse with no races at 2 squeeze in five races before the Derby. But he’s come along quickly and looks like the kind of horse who can handle it and keep moving forward as long as he doesn’t bust a gut on Saturday.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

Yes, my top three choices are running in the Santa Anita Derby, so something’s gotta give. He continues to train sharply for the race, working 6 furlongs in 1:11 4/5. He is in a very similar situation as Cairo Prince, not having run since Feb. 8 and desperately needing points, with only 10. So, unlike California Chrome and Hoppertunity, he needs a tough race and needs to finish at least third, preferably first or second. Despite the competition, there is no reason why he shouldn’t, as he is another who is improving rapidly and at the right time. And he’s a big strapping colt who can recover from a tough race, as Silver Charm did in his Santa Anita Derby slugfest. He’s also versatile enough to handle any kind of scenario. He showed in the CashCall Futurity you can move on him early in the race and he’s going to deliver a big run, and he showed in the Robert Lewis you can wait until the stretch to ask him and he’ll deliver there as well, running down a fast, classy horse in Chitu. And he has Gary Stevens, who can get as much out of a horse as anyone.


Constitution Todd Pletcher

Tapit—Baffled, by Distorted Humor

You could not have written a more perfect script for a horse in his position. With so little experience and so much history against him, he needed a hard-fought gut check and he passed with flying colors, showing more professionalism and adaptability than most horses would have in the same situation. This is a colt who was considered something very special from day one by Randy Gullatt, who picked him out at the sale. He was so impressed with him, he wound buying his dam as well before he even started. At the start of the Florida Derby, Castellano was trying to ease outside Wildcat Red when General a Rod came in and bumped him so hard it knocked him inside Wildcat Red and put him down on the rail, which is not where Castellano wanted to be. Having already asked the horse for speed, he now had to step on the brake to prevent him from running up on Wildcat Red’s heels. Constitution, a headstrong horse in general, apparently was confused and frustrated by the sudden restraint and kept throwing his head up, fighting his rider. Many horses would have sulked in this situation, but he eventually settled right down like an old pro and just bided his time, while being trapped by General a Rod. When the rail opened up, he shot through and engaged the gritty and far more experienced Wildcat Red, who had been in a number of stretch battles already and never backed down from any of them. For him to outgame such a tough, seasoned horse having had only two easy victories under him showed just how special a horse he is. If anyone can shred the history books and put an end to racing’s oldest curse (Apollo) it is this colt.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

He couldn’t be sharper, breezing 5 furlongs in a bullet 1:00 4/5, with a powerful final quarter in :23 1/5, out 6 furlongs in 1:13. Asmussen has attempted to get back to business as normal through all the turmoil and saddled the brilliant Untapable to another sensational victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks for Tapiture’s owner Ron Winchell, who said his horses would remain with Asmussen. The main thing with Tapiture now is to show any kind of sign in the Arkansas Derby that he will want to stretch out that extra furlong in the Derby. We know how talented and tough he is, and there is no doubt he will have no problem getting the 1 1/8 miles. He will have some new competition, and how he handles them should tell us where he’s at in regard to the Kentucky Derby. All signs point to a big effort on April 12.


Ring Weekend Graham Motion Click Here!

Tapit—Free the Magic, by Cryptoclearance

This is another horse I’ve found myself liking the more I see of him. His five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5 at Calder was as impressive as it gets. I love the way he handled that surface, especially the way he changed leads and dropped his head and shoulder in the final sixteenth and just glided past the wire before galloping out strongly. Not needing any points, the Calder Derby looks like it should be an excellent prep for him, and that surface and Tampa’s surface should give him a lot of bottom. But when you take an easier route like this you better deliver and at least show something to suggest you’ll be able to handle the top horses at Churchill Downs. Calder will be his sixth racetrack, and he’s already run on four different surfaces – dirt, slop, grass, and Polytrack, so he’s pretty much seen it all. If Commanding Curve, a fast-closing third in the Louisiana Derby, can make it into the Derby field with his 20 points it will give West Point Thoroughbreds a pretty powerful one-two punch.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

An experienced pro, he pulled a fast one turning for home, appearing to crossfire, causing his stride to become discombobulated and pretty much losing his action. You can see his back legs out of sync with his front legs, as he ducked sharply to the inside, actually bouncing off the rail. Stuck on his left lead down the stretch and totally out of rhythm, he did finally switch to his right lead and level off around the sixteenth pole and galloped out strong. And this came after getting bumped around and having to steady briefly approaching the half-mile pole. So that brings up the question of what to make of all this. To be honest, I have no idea. This is not what you want to see the race before the Kentucky Derby, but fortunately he has enough of a foundation and has shown enough professionalism to suggest that this was some kind of fluke; that he just became unbalanced and it will serve as a useful prep for the Derby. He also was closer up than usual, and a big positive before all the theatrics occurred was the turn of foot he showed on the turn pouncing on Vicar’s in Trouble in a flash. But then he lost his momentum. It looked as if the winner had the better of him turning for home, but he may have already been starting to lose his action. Just another puzzler on this bizarre Derby trail.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

He’s another who I have no clue what to do with. He was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, having to chase Wildcat Red while showing restraint by not going toe to toe with him again, with Cairo Prince lurking behind. If he hadn’t come in and bumped Constitution to the inside, putting him behind Wildcat Red, the entire race scenario could have changed. He ran one paced the whole way, while shying from two right-handed whips in the stretch, and I can’t help but think back to his maiden race at Keeneland, in which he came from ninth and exploded on the turn to win going away, again shying from a right-handed whip. The addition of blinkers apparently sharpened his speed, but I have to wonder if it made him a better horse, taking away that explosive move. I also can’t help but wonder if he would be more inclined to pass horses if he could see them better. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Maker open his blinkers a little, but I’m merely thinking aloud and certainly am not audacious enough to suggest such a thing. Maker knows him a lot better than I do. It’s just that I keep seeing him run the same race over and over and also have to wonder if that kind of pace-pressuring running style can win him the Kentucky Derby. If the Derby has the kind of speed it appears it will have, that would possibly allow Rosario to get him back in the second tier and try to duplicate that move he made at Keeneland. That is the kind of move that wins Kentucky Derbys. He has the pedigree to go 1 1/4 miles, and if you see him train up to the race with slower works and a strong finish and gallop out, watch out.


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

He continued his trend of mile works, this time breezing in a solid 1:44 at Palm Meadows. The form of the Gotham took a bit of a hit when third-place finisher, In Trouble, beaten in a three-horse photo, could do no better than a well-beaten fourth in the Louisiana Derby, beaten 8 3/4 lengths and subsequently disqualified to fifth. Now comes a new challenge from the potentially freaky Social Inclusion. And of course there is his Big Apple antagonist Uncle Sigh. With all the talk about undefeated Social Inclusion and Constitution and Bayern, people forget this colt is undefeated in five starts and has proven his brilliance and his tenacity and will to win. Despite his flawless record, racing’s frequent flyer still is pretty much under the radar, but he sure won’t be if he can continue his unbeaten streak in the Wood Memorial. Come to think of it he’s been on the radar screen literally more times than any 3-year-old in memory as he hops back and forth from New York to Florida.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

The only reason I lowered him this much is because he now needs a major break to get in the Derby. At first, his race was a disappointment, especially since he now has to sweat it out just getting into the Derby; the consequences of a two-race campaign, nine-week layoff, and so few points going into the final prep. But I actually think he was striding out well in the stretch. He just ran like a short horse. But this might not be as bad a race as it first seemed. He made a strong move nearing the head of the stretch and looked ready to pounce on the leaders, but just flattened out turning into the stretch and came up empty. Still, when you break it down, it was very humid day, he was coming off a layoff, and his fractions of :24 3/5, :24, :23 4/5, :24, and :12 4/5 were actually pretty good, other than his final eighth when he apparently began to feel the effects of the layoff. So, if you give him a pass for that final eighth, which really wasn’t all that bad, his fractions and the way he was striding out indicate this actually may have been a decent prep for him. But was it enough to get him ready to win at 1 1/4 miles, and more important, was it enough to get him in the Derby? Remember, in all that time off he never worked farther than 5 furlongs. His pedigree is OK, but it doesn’t exactly shout 10 furlongs. I believe he can get it in a peak performance, but things will have to go perfectly from this point on in his training and in the distribution of points. His connections can do nothing now but hope the horses above him rake in all the points or do what Palace Malice did last year and run back in two weeks, depending on how tired he was after the race. That doesn’t seem too likely.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

Last week I said to look out for a big bounce back effort after a regression in the Risen Star. Well, actually, from a numbers standpoint, I was wrong, as his Thoro-Graph figure actually was two points faster in losing the Risen Star than it was romping in the LeComte. Give a big assist for his Louisiana Derby victory to Rose Napravnik, who took advantage of the track and the post and outran all the pure speed horses on her outside, setting an easy pace and coasting to 3 1/2-length score. But one must note the :13 3/5 final eighth and :38 3/5 final three-eighths. And the final time of 1:50 3/5 was nearly two full seconds slower than the New Orleans Handicap. Earlier on the card, Untapable romped by 7 3/4 lengths under a hand ride in the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds Oaks. If you added a slow :07 seconds to her final time, she still wins the Louisiana Derby by three lengths. But of course we know you can’t always compute things like that, and there is no denying Vicar’s in Trouble is a brilliant and talented colt who likely is a better horse coming from off the pace. His pedigree is stronger than people think, and he’s a horse you can never count out.


Uncle Sigh Gary Contessa

Indian Charlie—Cradlesong, by Pine Bluff

Breezed six furlongs in 1:15 for the Wood Memorial. He was caught in fractions :38 1/5 and :50 3/5, coming home his last quarter in :24 2/5 and galloping out a mile in 1:42 4/5. That should set him up beautifully for Round 3 against Samraat. Just once it would be good to see what this horse is capable of doing racing outside Samraat instead of being on the inside and pretty much committed to the lead or close to it. As I’ve been saying, he does have a strong female family, and it’s time he’s able to use it and see just how ratable he is and if he can settle several lengths off the lead. This year’s Derby has the potential to be a barn burner on and near the front end and it would benefit any horse if they can keep out of the fire.

Knocking At The Door

Well, one down and two to go. The first of racing’s three undefeated two-race wonders proved his worth in the Florida Derby and now it is SOCIAL INCLUSION’S turn in the Wood Memorial and BAYERN’S in the Arkansas Derby. Social Inclusion certainly isn’t your typical 3-year-old, with his owner turning down huge offers for the horse (reportedly one for $ 8 million), deciding to establish his value in the Wood. And then there was the colt having three works in the span of a week – two half-mile drills sandwiched around a three-furlong work. His most recent work was a sharp :46 4/5 half, out in :59 3/5. So, super freak or no super freak? We’ll find out on Saturday.

Bayern worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5, after which Bob Baffert gave the go ahead for the Arkansas Derby..

There were so many horses I wanted to put in the Top 12, but none of the horses on there ran bad enough to drop. As it is I had to drop No. 12, RIDE ON CURLIN, to make room for Constitution and I hated doing that because he is another I’m starting to feel is a live longshot. He has another week before the Arkansas Derby, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be back next week after the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby. He turned in a sharp 1:00 3/5 breeze to the seven-eighths pole, galloping out six furlongs in a very strong 1:13 2/5. He needs to get off the lead or anywhere near the lead and go back to his running style from the Champagne Stakes. I love Jon Court on him, a veteran rider who has had success in the Arkansas Derby. Not many are talking up this colt, but watch out for him. Now is when you can get value on him, and he could be a smart bet in the exotics. I discuss him in more detail in this week’s One for the Roses podcast.

I also wanted to put the gutsy WILDCAT RED on there, mainly because he’s a horse you have to admire and who deserves the recognition. Although this may sound odd, I think Wildcat Red may have set too slow a pace in the Florida Derby. With his natural speed and the bottom he’d built up, he could have just tried to run these horses off their feet instead of lollygagging through a :24 quarter and :48 half. That allowed all the major threats in the race to remain within striking range and make a run at him. It especially helped the lightly raced unproven Constitution. There were no real deep closing threats in here, so there was no need to be afraid of a top proven stakes horse flying late. I realize that sounds like nitpicking considering he was only beaten a neck, but if you’re going to set slow fractions like that and allow horses to breathe down your neck, you don’t want to open the rail. But in John Velazquez’ defense, he might haven been concentrating more on General a Rod on his outside than Constitution, considering their history together. Give the colt credit for another gutsy performance. He may just have been beaten by a better horse.

I realize there’s a good chance some of the horses who are Knocking at the Door will come back to haunt me for not having them on, mainly my two big sleepers, CONQUEST TITAN and WICKED STRONG, both of whom could be gotten now at a good price in Vegas. I loved both these horses way back in January and I think there’s a good chance both have been playing possum and are ready to spring back to life in the Arkansas Derby and the Wood Memorial. I hope to get Conquest Titan back on next week if space permits. When this horse is ridden properly I believe he can run with anyone, and you can bet the mortgage he’ll be ridden properly in the Arkansas Derby, which means coming from way out of it. And who better to come from way out of it than his new pilot Calvin Borel. He could be a live longshot. Wicked Strong could be one of those typical Wood Memorial horses we see every year who comes flying late to be second and establish themselves as a serious Derby contender. We don't know what to expect after his Florida campaign, but if that same horse we saw in the Remsen shows up on Saturday, you never know. He could even win the whole thing....if.

To confuse the Derby picture even more is the alien ship that fell out of the sky named TOAST OF NEW YORK, a U.S.-bred colt who ran roughshod over a talented field of 3-year-olds, including several proven older horses from the Southern Hemisphere, in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby. It was the third straight daylight victory over a synthetic surface for the English-bred, who had won two races at Wolverhampton by a combined 28 lengths before his dominating victory in Dubai, defeating the likes of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Giovanni Boldini; the Australian-bred UAE 2,000 Guineas winner Long John; the grade I-winning Argentine-bred Cooptado; and Asmar and Emirates Flyer, the one-two finishers of the Al Bastakiya, second leg of the UAE Triple Crown. He is nominated to the Triple Crown and his connections did not rule out the possibility of coming to Kentucky.

Working for Saturday’s Calder Derby over the track were CASIGUAPO, who went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5, and GIANCARLO, who breezed five furlongs in 1:03. Casiguapo has competed in some top company during his career and is one of those horses who is capable of popping a big one at any time.

VINCEREMOS, who is owned by the same partners who have Constitution – Twin Creeks Racing and WinStar Farm – showed his sharpness for the Blue Grass Stakes by breezing a half in a bullet :47 2/5 in company with his rival, the enigmatic HARPOON, who goes in the Wood Memorial.

If the big three are all going to be beaten in the Santa Anita Derby, the perpetrator could be the lightly raced SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS, who drilled six furlongs in 1:12 4/5. Also working sharply in California was stakes-placed KRISTO, who went six furlongs in 1:12 2/5.

Tuning up for a possible start in the Wood Memorial was Jerome winner NOBLE MOON, who breezed a mile in 1:45 2/5 over the Belmont training track. It seems like ages ago that this horse last ran.

One-time Derby candidate MEXIKOMA returned to the work tab, breezing three panels in :39.

It was interesting to see that COMMISSIONER is coming right back in the Arkansas Derby after stumbling at the start on the Sunland Derby, blowing a shoe, but still running well enough to close for third. Giving the son of A.P. Indy another race before the Derby actually is move that can win Kentucky Derbys. He's a big, strong, handsome colt. If he's ready for anther race, run him.

Here is a question to ponder regarding the point system: who would you rather see in the Derby, a horse who wins a graded stakes on Polytrack but has shown he’s inferior on the dirt or a horse like COMMANDING CURVE, who runs a fast-closing third in the Louisiana Derby after a troubled start, but is questionable at best to get in the Kentucky Derby because of lack of points.? That’s not to say the synthetic specialists did not earn their way into the Derby. The races were out there and they took advantage of it. The synthetic races may not attract the best 3-year-olds, but they usually are competitive events with large fields.

Situations like that of Commanding Curve are always going to come up when you’re dealing with a late-developing horse whose Derby status depends on his final prep. But it is something to think about.

We’ll see what happens with Commanding Curve, as well as Cairo Prince, who definitely belongs in the Kentucky Derby, but also is flirting with being shut out. He was, after all, the consensus favorite for the Derby on Friday and in danger of getting left out of the race on Sunday. That also is something to think about when planning a horse’s Derby campaign, knowing the risk involved if one little thing does not go according to plan. The trainers are doing what they feel is right for their horse, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

Let’s just hope both these colts wind up in the Derby field.


Leave a Comment:

Fan of Damascus

I am thrilled to see Shug has plans to enter Mr. Speaker in the Blue Grass.  

The colt's last two works have been on dirt at Payson Park.  I expect Shug began thinking Blue Grass after Top Billing then Honor Code went down.

I am looking for a good result (certainly better than the Holy Bull)from Mr. Speaker.  The distance  shouldn't be an issue as he is bred for distance and his good 2nd in the Palm Beach Stakes (on turf) was at 9 furlongs.

31 Mar 2014 4:08 PM

Interestingly, my top choice is still Cairo Prince. I remember Thunder Gulch having a similar situation back in 1995 when he lost the Blue Grass only to come back and run like a champ in the Derby.

31 Mar 2014 4:46 PM

My top 3 are

#1 C.Chrome,that was a sick work he just put in and if he blows the doors of this Santa Anita field he may be the shortest favorite since Big Brown come Derby Day.

#2 Candy Boy mostly this high on what G.Stevens said about him after his last win,he is bred to run all day.

#3 Samraat love the mile works and he is unbeaten. This horse is getting no love.  I am surprised he is at #9 on your list.. If this horse wins the Wood you still may get 10-1 on him come Derby day.. I am calling it know he is the biggest overlay come Derby day.

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

31 Mar 2014 4:47 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Once I saw that the new Derby Dozen was out I had to go make a cup of coffee, drinking coffee later than I usually do but nothing beats the new Derby Dozen with coffee, nothing I tell ya. Nothing.

   If Cairo Prince doesn't get into The Derby then he doesn't belong in The Derby. It's not like he was injured and couldn't run in the FOY. He was healthy as a horse. It was just poor management. Just because a trainer despises the point system doesn't mean he has to fight it to the detriment of getting into The Derby. I find it very interesting that some of us on this blog thought that CP would finish no higher than 3rd in the FL Derby and yet his trainer is very surprised. Physically he didn't look to be well conditioned enough to finish higher than he did either. They babied him and lollygagged, missing an important race for points and conditioning. Now even if CP does get in he will still be lucky to be well conditioned enough to win The Derby or even get a top four finish. It will be a masterful job of training from this point on if he is to run well in The Derby. CP was very lucky to get 10 more points. One more strong runner or two in the race then he wouldn't have. He had a good trip too he just wasn't ready considering the caliber of horses he was facing. This was a Grade One, not a minor prep where he might get away with that kind of layoff.

   The Arkansas Derby is the most interesting race to me now with Ride On Curlin, Conquest Titan, Bayern, Tapiture, and Commissioner probably entered. Even Strong Mandate could surprise by turning it around. It seems to be a more wide open race than The Wood or SA Derby, and quite a few of them could run well in The Derby if they can get in. Some good pedigrees in the Arkansas Derby.

31 Mar 2014 5:04 PM

The panorama for these colt and fillies is getting clearer. I am convinced that was the filly Untapable the most impressive colt or filly i saw from this intereting weekend. She looks like something special, that of the kind we were wainting for Honor Code, for just to mention a name. She not only was hugely superior to her rivals this saturday, but her performance was so impressive. It´s too sad she doesn´t count for the Derby because of the points system. And about the Florida Derby, i do believe the top 4 will be making noise in the next months. Not all of them in the classic distances. In the case of Wildcat Red, i insist on him as one of the best miler prospects in the country. I still have doubts about his ability for longer routes, but who knows and he has reserved a special surprise for the exceptics. In any case, this colt is good, good, good. Constitution showed courage and apparently disposition to get the Derby distance. For all, all these kids, thats the principal question mark, to handle a mile and a quarter. General A Rod maybe will be more comfortable with more road to run, looks like he loves longer distances. And Cairo Prince just had a bad day. He is better than his 4th place in the Florida Derby.

31 Mar 2014 5:05 PM
Steve Haskin

I also thought of Thunder Gulch in relation to Cairo Prince, but there were no points back then and Thunder Gulch had won the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, so big difference. But I havent given up on Cairo Prince, because he has big improvement in him. But with such a realistic chance of getting left out I couldnt put him any least at this time.

31 Mar 2014 5:15 PM
Kimmons Mitchell

Steve I Totally agree with your thoughts on Commanding Curve by Master Command. I just think about Unbridled Command and how good he was on turf! I watched that race over several times and he was moving after being pinched at the start. I hope he can get in too! Well at least you mentioned WildCat Red in your article today! He would have Won that race if Johnny V had been awake in the race. I understand your point about General A Rod and there history, but we are talking about Johnny V a great jockey!I have no fear that WildCat Red will make it up in your list before it is all over! He will be Right there in the End!

31 Mar 2014 5:18 PM

My New Derby Dozen: 1)Social Inclusion 2)California Chrome 3)Constitution 4)Tapiture 5)Wildcat Red 6)Bayern 7)General a Rod 7)Candy Boy 8)Vicar's in Trouble 9)Bobby Kitten 10)Hoppertunity 11)Cairo Prince 12)Gala Award

31 Mar 2014 5:30 PM

Mexikoma will be the only horse in the way (Belmont Stakes) of stopping Toast of New York from winning the Triple Crown.

31 Mar 2014 5:30 PM
Machmer Hall

Every Monday until Derby Day, my Monday is made when the Derby Dozen comes out! Thanks a million Steve!! As usual, great insight and now I cannot wait to watch this Saturday's big races!!!

31 Mar 2014 5:33 PM
Mister Frisky

For the first time got to respectfully disagree with the Dozen.Intense Holiday looks like a zero force to be reckoned with moving forward.Cairo Prince was more than a short horse.Either he is unsound or soft and can't handle the training.Shows me how wrong I was about Honor Code,another one who didn't physically have what it takes this spring.Now I'm gonna give California Chrome the eye test this Sat.Usually I'm a pedigree snob come classic time,but at least CC runs every four weeks and trains like a iron horse everyday.And even if he wins with with style points Sat.i think his modest pedigree will make him an overlay in Louisville.Have a great week Steve.

31 Mar 2014 5:36 PM
Sail On

I believe that Vicar's In trouble and Wildcat Red had Nice workouts Saturday. neither exerted their maximum effort. Neither needed more than a third place finish, even fourth place, so the pace was just right for them.

Thank you, Steve, for the nice description of Constitution's win. I wonder what would have happened if the rail did not open up? The Derby will be packed, IMO, with pressers and stalkers, so perhaps a lucky break will open up there to allow for a surprise winner.

31 Mar 2014 5:44 PM
It aint easy being good!

I agree you might see 2-1 on chrome if he runs them off the track on Saturday. Did anyone just hear what Steve said about Chromes work? 46 and change and he wasnt even running hard. The clock doesn't lie. I like the look of Candy Boy he looks like an athlete but Chromes is from a different planet. Chrome= The new tesla. Still looking for a midpack closer. Need a horse to come off the pace and run well. Anyone know if Kid Cruz is running in the wood? If so look out!  

31 Mar 2014 5:51 PM

Steve, your top 3 presents an interesting situation; if all 3 run well in the SA Derby, is it possible that they all stay in your top 3 next week?

Constitution really impressed me.  I saw him get rank early and thought "well, he's done".  And he goes on and wins in a dogfight.  Wow, I'm sold on him.  I think that with the energy he expended early, fighting the jockey and pulling the reins, and still winning a tough race at 1 1/8....he has what it takes to get the mile and a quarter.

I think California Chrome could be truly special, and advise his doubters to get on board now.  Enjoy what could be history (yep, I said it).

Can't wait for next weekend!

1) Cal. Chrome

2) Candy Boy

3) Constitution

4) Samraat

5) Hoppertunity

6) Tapiture

31 Mar 2014 5:55 PM

Well, needless to say I am disappointed that Wildcat Red is not in the top 12. But you know far more about such things than I do. So glad you mentioned Commanding Curve as one that most likely does belong.  in the Derby. I just cannot help but admire some of these colts for the tenacity and heart they put into their runs...Wildcat Red, Ride on Curlin, Commanding Curve and Commissioner just to name few. I knew something happened to Intense Holiday, I just could not tell what it was in the race replay. What you reported sounds scary, I did not know he scraped the rail. So hope he is ok and does not have a health issue. I did not mean to be insulting about Icecapade in Vicar's In Trouble's pedigree, I just see Shenanigans and I shudder, thinking about Ruffian. I was watching that race when she broke down and it was heart breaking and something I did not get over for many was the mid 90's before I started watching racing again. I read today that Rosario is riding Tapiture...that should be good for the colt.Oh well...sigh...I will keep on supporting my "underdogs" and see how the California gang does. I will pick my Derby winner out of the post parade as I do every year. Have no picks yet for this weeks races.

31 Mar 2014 6:00 PM

my derby 4 horse triple box update-1)tapiture-would like to see him circle some horses next out, win or 2nd place finish, then gallop out past wire.2)noble moon-hope foot issues don't resurface, must win or close 2nd to stay on list.3)ring weekend-needs a perfect dry run for the derby next out including the photos.4)candy boy-like the others, works say ready. have a feeling this horse doesn't need to be babied. hoping for a convincing win and gallop out.4.5)constitution almost made it on the list. was strangled, threaded needle along the rail and still won. could be a horse that knows the way home on his own. interesting!

31 Mar 2014 6:02 PM

I was surprised you didn't include Commissioner in the "Knocking at the Door" group; granted he hasn't done enough yet to be considered a good contender, but with 10 points so far, he's probably in with a 3rd in the Ark Derby. I'd like to see an AP Indy colt do well in the Derby!

31 Mar 2014 6:17 PM

Did anyone happen to see SOCIAL INCLUSION'S work?  Man, I'm telling you, and I'm only speaking of his work, this horse was an absolute bullet getting over the ground!  He's fit, he's got a long stride, he's very athletic, really stretches out.  I don't know about distance, yet, but this horse is something different!  If he stays healthy and can go a distance, we may be getting to see something special.  This could be the year we have a clash of titans east versus west a la 1973, 78, & 89!

31 Mar 2014 6:17 PM

drdr Its 50/50 he even crosses the pond and taste a mint julep

31 Mar 2014 6:20 PM

(1) California Chrome...The most impressive derby prep winner yet with a 107 beyer.

(2) Tapiture ... Has looked very sharp in his last two races, and had to gain a ton of experience out of the banging around on the Rebel which will be useful in the Ky. Derby.

(3) Vicars in Trouble...the Rodney Dangerfield horse that still gets no respect, even after beating Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday ,Albano and In Trouble who gave the Wood winner all he wanted. And, it doesn't hurt to have a top notch jockey for the Derby either.

(4) Wildcat Red ... a fighter that keeps outrunning his pedigree, or at least the distance some put on him. He makes it a race and gives his all.

(5) Constitution ... has beat two very good fields at Gulfstream, still concerns that it will catch up with him with no foundation.

(6) Hoppertunity ... He also beat a good field in the Rebel and got a very good ride by Mike Smith. Now, his real challenge at Santa Anita.

(7) Ride on Curlin... seems to be improving a little at a time, would like to see a big step forward in the Ark. Derby

(8) Samratt...still a little doubtful of the quality of the field he beat, and with In Trouble getting hammered at La. Derby, but, he is undefeated.

(9) Chitu ...Not sure how strong a field he beat at Sunland.

(10) General A Rod ... still think he is a good horse and I still will use in Derby bets.

(11) Bobby's Kitten ... Turf specialist will take a crack at the Bluegrass inorder to make the Derby field, which would give the Ramsey's three in the big dance.

(12) Strong Mandate ...I still like him, a lot, and hope to see a lot of improvement from him at Ark., I really hope he makes the cut. Don't discount Lucas just yet.

A few more big preps and its all over but the crying, or counting the money.

31 Mar 2014 6:24 PM
Gerry L

Lest we forget Secretariat ran a flat third in the Wood and we know how he turned out. So if Cairo Prince gets in, who knows.

31 Mar 2014 6:34 PM

GiddyUpBoyWhoa and MrDrunkinBum, love your posts!

31 Mar 2014 6:49 PM

The races can always have a thrilling end, Union Rags, the Belmont, if anyone recalls.

31 Mar 2014 6:52 PM

Commanding Curve really exploded down the stretch. It's a shame he got bumped at the break and had to go 4w around the 2nd turn; it may have been a different race if that had not happened.  I invite everyone to take a look at his pedigree, very nice.  I would love to see him run in the derby; it's a shame that that won't happen.  Perhaps we will see him in the Preakness.

31 Mar 2014 6:56 PM


       Will you be making any reports on which horses would do best on an off track in the Ky. Derby ? It seems quite a few Derbies come up sloppy lately, and the only horse I can think of with experience on a sloppy track is Strong Mandate. I'm not sure how they all stack up in wet track ratings.

31 Mar 2014 6:57 PM

I am surprised Wildcat Red is not getting a bit more due now. This is a really nice horse who clearly likes to race. It did not appear the increased distance bothered him on Sat. If Johnny did not leave the rail open he wins the FL Derby......and beats 3 really good horses in the process. I also agree with Steve, the pace was too slow when it didn't have to be. That again is on Johnny. It was his first ride on WR and maybe he just didn't realize what he was sitting on. If Cairo Prince does not make the Derby hopefully Luis Saez will be back on WR.

31 Mar 2014 7:10 PM

Steve-I'm very surprised to see Constitution on your list at #4. On a fast track, he basically rode the rail around and the top 4 never really changed order except by a scant nose at the wire. They ran the first 6 furlongs in 1:12 flat? At Gulfstream? Last year's  FL Derby was equally as slow but Orb found his best stride late and motored pass the field, and he wasn't really a special horse. The Florida horses this year hit the wire together in a similar time as last year. The Florida Derby horses will simply not be able to keep up with Social Inclusion and the horses from the west coast who are used to running faster earlier, and have more route oriented pedigrees.

31 Mar 2014 7:17 PM
Steve Haskin

No decaf, Dr. D. The hard stuff al the way for the Derby Dozen.

Carrie, thank you very much for the kind words. I like those Machmer Hall -- Twin Creeks type of Derbys. Battle of the young turks.

Mister Frisky, you could be right on both counts. It's that type of year where nothing can be taken for granted and you never know who is on the precipice of falling off the trail.

Aint easy, I reported several days ago that Kid Cruz was being given 10 days off, so doubt you'll see him in the Wood.

Stones, anything possible. All three could run well enough to suggest an improved effort in the Derby. I would prefer having someone else break up their little party, just for some variety, but so far no one has. If the best horses are in California so be it.

Windolin, I wanted to and tried to put him on, but I wasnt quite ready to drop anyone just yet to make room for him. Dont get me wrong, I'm a great admirer of the horse, but its a crap shoot up in those last four or five spots.

Billy, a short note on Commissioner was added, but remember, he didnt do anything this week and I have next week to go into more detail on him.

31 Mar 2014 7:19 PM
food fight

So i have a few disagreements with you Steve but for the most part i like your piece on the way the contenders have worked coming up to this weeks stakes. In my opinion Cairo Prince never looked like the front runner for the Derby he falls shot on pedigree and the approach he has taken being laid off for 60 days is not going to help either. His race in the FD was worst than it seemed, he got a perfect setup to challenge the top 2 finishers down the lane and could not match strides plain and simple he may not have been tight enough or good enough. At any rate it is never a positive to second guess your conditioning coming into the derby.As far as Vicars in Trouble is concerned he is a very talented colt but will be an also ran in the derby. He win in a very slow race and track played kind to horses on the pace all day. Last time i looked no LA breed ever won the derby.Intense Holiday has an excuse but bad timing for excuses. The way he lost his action and lugged in down the lane on his wrong lead maybe a physical problem behind.As for Untapable she was geared down through the wirer again and is the best of either sex and if she has points to get into the derby and i owned her i would not hesitate.So here is my top 6. 1st Commissioner he has run into 2 major speed bias in a row and if the track plays fair in the Arkansas derby i think he will win this race and give trainer Toad Pletcher his best shot at winning the Kentucky Derby.2nd Hoppertunity love the fact Bob Baffert is running him with frequency, he is gaining valuable experience and could be an iron horse as he has taken everything in stride to this point.3rd Samraat he has done nothing but win and horses that know where the wire is are always dangerous. I think if his trainer puts a good 5/8s into him the week of the derby and not his usual 1 mile this colt might not just grind them down the lane but explode and separate turning into the stretch of the derby.4th California Chrome looks like he is keeping his sharpness and i like the efficient stride on this colt. 5th Ring Weekend his race in the Tampa Bay Derby was very good and he might be peaking at the right time.6th Constitution his FD win was as good as it gets he gets knocked around by General A Rod and keeps his composure then has to squeeze through a narrow opening on the rail and out games a very game colt in Wild Cat Red. Still think he is up against it on experience but so far has handled everything with flying colors.Horses to watch Bayern tons of talent but another bucking the trend not racing as a 2 year old. Social Inclusion looks to have freakish talent but will have to run another big one at a different track and still has the Apollo curse to contend with.Candy Boy want to see how he runs in the SA derby he has it all and the right rider to win the derby.Tonalist another with lack of experience but one that looks to have enough talent.          

31 Mar 2014 7:21 PM
Steve Haskin

Giddyup, I most definitely will be giving a slop analysis if the forecast calls for rain. I always do, because it changes the whole complexion of the race.

As for Constitution #4, he's there because he's an extremely gifted horse who overcame trouble early on in the race. I dont like the 3 starts at all, but he is ranked No. 4 and I do think he's talented to finish 4th. Nowadays, you never know when a historical trend is going to end, and if he wins the Derby I cant be shocked by anything anymore.

31 Mar 2014 7:25 PM

Cairo Prince did not deserve the outsized hype and is doubtful to get the Derby distance anyway. As a horse who sat in his barn for weeks and weeks while we heard gushing about how well he was doing and then looked absolutely exhausted down the lane, I am surprised he remains on the list.

Fool me twice.  Thunder Gulch was almost 20 years ago and is certainly the exception. Mostly when horses lay eggs it means they aren't that good.

Also Steve, I ask this in all seriousness, do you consider yourself a horse racing journalist or more of a handicapper?  It would be hard for me to write about Tapiture without commenting more deeply on the his remaining with Asmussen.

31 Mar 2014 7:27 PM
Tiz Herself

With Calvin Borel on Conquest Titan, that sounds like a winning combination to me! (or at least last I heard or saw he was named Conquest Titan's rider)

Steve- do you see Commissioner getting enough to get in?

31 Mar 2014 7:38 PM
Scott's Rail

Not sure if was luck/skill but Constition's jockey made the difference in the outcome.   Maybe Tapiture's jock could take some notes.  Was Constitution all out??? Just read where only 2-3 KD winners passed to gain victory inside the 1/8th pole in recent memory.  Hmmm.  That crafty Lucas is waiting in the weeds-although recent work-outs by SMandate don't look that strong...11 pts. We will see.  Thanx Steve

31 Mar 2014 7:49 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

Man, if only Top Billing got to run in the Florida Derby with the way the track was playing on Saturday. I think he would of ran huge. On a separate topic; Huge fan of Palace Malice and his 114 BSF, but how did he get a 114 for his not so fast time (although he could of easily went faster if needed, was cruising home) and a horse like CC got only a 107 for his very fast stakes win time? Is it a distance thing, 1 1/8 over 1 1/16? Because he's 4 and CC is 3. Not enough credit was given to CC because the track was playing super fast that day? Forgive me for throwing what is probably inept answers out there! Haha

31 Mar 2014 7:56 PM
Mister Frisky

Spot on Steve,definitely a wild year with more surprises the next 4 weeks.

31 Mar 2014 8:02 PM
Carlos in Cali

Constitution- showed grit and mutarity while proving he can sit,pounce and finish.His gallop-out was that of a long winded individual who should be able to handle 10f. There's more improvement in him for sure,major player.

California Chrome- Has been outstanding so far,as Sherman predicted last year: "he'll be a lot better as a 3yo".Bingo!!.. one of a handful who has improved off their 2yo campaign. 1 thing about him that I don't like seeing/hearing: after his last-2 easy victories geared down,he was blowing pretty hard. The fact that Sherman thought his last race would knock him out after that walkover,eventhough he ran pretty damn fast,concerns me going longer.

Using Chitu and the distance challenged Midnight Hawk as a gauge, I think he's at least 5L better than Candy Boy and will win the SA Derby by open lengths.I'm just not that confident he wants to go more than 9f with his pedigree,..we'll see.

Candy Boy- Cairo Prince part II off the lay-off? I don't think he's in the same league as Cali Chrome,but 9f should be within his range. I don't like In Excess as a stamina influence.. unless it's @ Belmont Park on a lonely lead. ;)

Vicars in Trouble- will not get an easy pace next out,plus 10f will not be kind to him.

Ditto: Wildcat Red,General A Rod,Uncle Sigh,Cairo Prince and Samraat.

Bayern- Might be freakish like Bodemeister. I can see him blowing away the Arkansas Derby field too.

Tapiture- I still feel he's like Tapizar in which he will be best at 8.5f or less.He should've won the Rebel w/a cleaner trip though.

Hoppertunity- wasn't the best horse last time,the off-track moved him up a bit,IMO. He should keep improving and I see him running a well beaten 3rd in the SA Derby.

Ring Weekend- Intrigues me quite a bit. I like his pedigree to get the 10f,but must do it again in the Calder Derby.Could he be another War Emblem/Spend A Buck where he peaks at the right time and simply runs them off their feet in the Derby?...

Special Mention: Commissioner who I've been high on since he beat the highly regarded Top Billing back in early January. I think he wants every bit of 10f and more,but needs to finish in the money in the Ak Derby to make the field.

Social Inclusion- Is talented enough to take the Wood Memorial in only his 3rd start,but that's not saying much after In Trouble's no-show in the La. Derby.Still not convinced he a super-horse just yet.

For the rest that didn't get a mention: I don't feel they are good or fast enough to win the Derby,IMO.

31 Mar 2014 8:21 PM
Sail On

The Wood looks to be an interesting contest. Social Inclusion needs a win or second to get enough points for KD. Samraat et al don't need to win, just get a good workout. Kid Cruz is listed as probable, so we will see what he is made of.

1. Social Inclusion, 2 Samraat, 3 Uncle Sigh, 4 ?

31 Mar 2014 8:24 PM

What a terrific analysis with all the changes taking place this past weekend. I also love the toughness and grittiness of Wildcat Red. I think he gets those characteristics from his maternal great grand dam, Personal Ensign. I just looked up Lenny Shulman's interview with Daisy Phipps and visit with Personal Ensign. And Personal Ensign was her favorite horse due her toughness. Do you see a bit of Personal Ensign in Wildcat Red? I think he's going to do a Shackleford imitation in the Preakness. And I think he will hit the board in the Derby.

31 Mar 2014 8:26 PM
Sail On

Where are the speedsters? I do believe it is unfair to criticize the pressers for not setting a faster pace. If speed horses don't show up, expect a slower pace, and too bad for the closers. It very well may be that California Chrome and Social Inclusion are the speed horses, and a pack of pressers, led by Vicar's In Trouble, Wildcat Red, and Samraat make a race of it. Then the stalkers will come on, and unless a 'lucky' gap on the rail opens up, I don't see the closers in the money in the Derby.

31 Mar 2014 8:30 PM

The horse I'm most looking forward to seeing run this weekend is Social Inclusion. Is he the real deal? The offers to buy this horse in the last few weeks have been unreal. So, people who know far-far more than I must think so. We shall see.

31 Mar 2014 8:47 PM

Steve,I am surprised you are maintaining this week your "must-have-3-races to be in the DD" rule, after Constitution blew it out of the water.I guess you don't think Social Inclusion is likely to be first or second in the Wood, even with his 111 bsf.would also point out S.I. was 11-1 in the 4th KDerby pool, while Uncle Sigh is 47-1. and I don't get that General A Rod and Cairo Prince are still on the list and Wildcat Red is not,against the racing evidence.I will also go on record as saying Mr.Speaker,with smarter rides, could well win the Blue Grass and surprise in the KD.But there will be many more changes to the DD in the next 3 weeks, no doubt.

31 Mar 2014 8:48 PM

Mary, I so agree with you on Commanding Curve's pedigree and he was flat out booking it once he got free. One thing for sure, no one can say that he is not bred to go the distance!

31 Mar 2014 8:49 PM
Janis from Winnipeg

This isn't going to be a popular opinion but, the way I see it:  if they bring Toast of New York over, and if they can give him a month to acclimate and get used to the running on Churchill dirt, then he takes it.  Two big ifs though, so we'll see.

31 Mar 2014 9:07 PM

Windolin, Union Rags, the first time I saw the colt he was running in a maiden race on a hot and steamy Florida afternoon in July of 2011.  After that race, I said to myself he could be the one.  In my opinion, even though he lost by a nose to Hansen in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, he was still the best colt of the two year old crop.

When he lost the Kentucky Derby, I blamed his jockey, Julien Leparoux.  Johnny Velazquez who was on another horse to Union Rags' outside said that he could not believe that Julien did not take UR to the outside out of traffic.  It cost this extraordinarily talented horse a shot at the triple crown.

Union Rags redemption came in the Belmont.  I was right there with him in the stretch screaming "giddyup".

Many did not think that a Dixie Union colt could get the distance, even though Union Rags' female line was replete with stamina.  The same thing was said about that Bold Ruler colt, Secretariat.  

Chitu, California Chrome, Tapiture, Candy Boy, and Uncle Sigh have the stamina in their female lines.  Vicar's In Trouble is a toss up as far as pedigree. He is Louisiana bred, which is where I live, so I will be on his bandwagon to hit the board in the derby.  He is a small colt, but he definitely has heart.

31 Mar 2014 9:11 PM
Carlos in Cali

Tonalist- Spiked a fever,out of the Wood Memorial.

31 Mar 2014 9:32 PM

1) Noble Moon

2) Bayern

3) Conquest Titan

I hope they all get "in"!

31 Mar 2014 9:32 PM
Paula Higgins

Like your list Steve. I also like Samraat and would love to see Untapable against the boys in the Derby. I also still like Tapiture. But California Chrome is something special I think. Now that Gary Stevens is back, I would never discount any horse he is riding.

31 Mar 2014 9:53 PM

Mike Weglarz - I think Toast of New York would be strongest in Belmont and hope you're right about him winning the first two. I believe he is closely related to Jazil and Rags to Riches, both winners of the Belmont.

Alydar - they had an opportunity to run Untapable against colts Saturday and unfortunately opted against it. They must think they have something in Tapiture.  

GreenSplat - I think JV gave a fabulous ride on Wildcat Red and disagree with Steve's pace comment. Let's not forget Cairo Prince was the horse to beat and slowing down the race was the objective.  

Certainly agree with Steve's comments about General A Rod sitting of it rather than pressing. An outside draw in Derby could be very beneficial.

31 Mar 2014 10:04 PM

Anytime I see Big Bazinga's name, I can hear it in Mike Battaglia's voice.  I want it to go away!!!

31 Mar 2014 10:08 PM

Orb won the 2013 Derby and Lucky Debonair won the 1965 Derby. What’s purpose of citing two Derby winners separated by 48 year? Dam sires! Both Derby winners’ dams were sired by stallions that were also sire of Derby winners. Orb’s dam was sired by Unbridled who also sire Derby winner Grindstone. Lucky Debonair’s dam was sired by Count Fleet who also sire Derby winner Count Tufr. In the case of Lucky Debonair his dam was the last from a very small list of Derby winning broodmare that were sired by a Triple Crown winner.

What’s the historic relevance? The 2014 FL Derby! The dams of Constitution, General A Rod and Cairo Prince were all sired by Kentucky Derby winning sires i.e., Distorted Humor, Dynaformer and Holy Bull. Can a Derby double that took 48 years to be repeated occur in consecutive years?

For those who believe it can and one of the above three is in the #1 slot on your list, good luck. For those who believe it will not then none of the above should occupy the #1 slot on your list. This double has only been achieved 3 times in the last 49 years.

I think this double is an unlikely recurrence given the talent from CA and elsewhere.

31 Mar 2014 10:18 PM

A Tapit has never won at 10 furlongs. The only way it will happen this year is if all of the rest are that slow.  Looking forward to the races this week end because it like California Chrome and Social Inclusion are the only horses that have a chance to be freaks.  I hope Candy Boy runs well because the breed needs that great outcross pedigree. Where are the Bernadinis, Medalia d'Oros, Giants Causeways and progeny of those class of sires? Can't quite understand why this appears to be such a poor crop when those sires were obviously bred to a great set of mares.  Interesting to see how strong the claiming game is now. If you put them in a claiming race hoping to get a check from the race results you will probably lose the horse.I think that is great for racing since it shows that there are still a lot of people who want to own a racehorse. Maybe that is one of those bucket list items for the baby boomer generation.  We have always been able to have things our way.  

31 Mar 2014 10:22 PM

The grandsons of Mr. Prospector have been his most successful tail descendants as sires in the Triple Crown series with 18 victories including 5 Derbies. How many horses that remain on the Derby trail were sire by grandsons of Mr. Prospector?

Albano, Surfing UAS, Kristo and General A Rod comprise this category. Clearly the most accomplish is GAD. I have review videos of all his races and think he is a very talented colt that is probably in the wrong hands. I might attract a lot of heat for the aforementioned opinion but it just an opinion and I could be wrong.

GAD was ridden by four different jockeys in his first 4 starts that varied from 7F to 8.5F. He started his career with a victory over 7F on the synthetic track at Keeneland. He closed from 9L off the pace to win by 2 3/4L. It should be noted that for his debut he was not fitted with blinkers and closed willingly. An emphatic victory without the popular but grossly unnecessary head gear was to be short lived.

The blinkers were affixed for his next at CD. He assumed the lead shortly after breaking from PP#10 and led deep into the final furlong before being mowed down by last to first Conquest Titan. He had no response when challenged by CT. His 3rd start was in the GP Derby where he was again wore blinkers. He was again up with the leader and squeezed out a HD over Wildcat Red. Their positions were reverses by a similar margin in the FOY.  

The FL Derby would be the rubber match between the two before the big one. What were the cold facts associated with General A Rod heading in the FL Derby? He won on debut impressively while closing 9L without blinkers and was now having problems repelling challenges and passing determined opponents with them. Did the trainer of GAR make any equipment changes? Did he consider doing anything differently to induce GAD to lengthen his strides in deep stretch? Sadly there was no equipment change and the results remained the same.

Off the first 3 finishers in the FL Derby I think GAD has the best chance to win the Kentucky Derby. He has the speed to stay close to what will be a torrid pace and without the blinkers he should be able to recapture that closing kick he displayed on debut. It is unlikely that an equipment change will be considered by his trainer and if not, sadly the results will remain unchanged.

Have there been no lessons learnt from the Will Take Charge revival story?

Tony Robbins — 'If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.

31 Mar 2014 10:24 PM
The Deacon

Good well rounded remarks on all these horses. Hard to fault the top 5.

My top 5 are

1. California Chrome

2. Tapiture

3. Hopportunity

4. Candy Boy

5. Samraat

31 Mar 2014 10:31 PM
Ted from LA

Windolin, Mr. Drunkinbum is actually a doctor.  If you're ever at the track and having a heart attack, and he is coincidentally nearby, you'll be glad I gave you this information.  If he's been drinking, maybe not so much so.  Toast of New York by 3 1/2 over California Chrome.

31 Mar 2014 11:01 PM

California Chrome's performance in the San Felipe was incredible.  He's in a class of his own.

Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, and Constitution are the best of the rest so far.    

31 Mar 2014 11:30 PM

I'll take Social Inclusion either this bunch are all genius or a pack of idiots for turning down 8 mil.

31 Mar 2014 11:56 PM

FACT : The Kentucky Derby is a race for 3 year olds.

If they don't make it, it means they're not competitive enough as a 3 yr old, if change is needed, I would even push for removing points for all 2 yr old races.   Keep the races for 2YOs but remove the points, this allows the connections to run their 2YOs but not go all out trying to make the early points.  Hopefully they will use the 2YO races more as conditioning races rather than a required race to win then add more points races for 3 yr olds.   I think it's a win-win, this gives them better foundation and maturity for the real prep races as a 3 yr old.  The points systems works very well in making the road to the Kentucky Derby competitive, no more free passes, no more easy schedules.  I don't want to see a horse get in because they won ONE big purse race as a 2 yr old and can't even hit the board in any preps as a 3 yr old.   The one-offs whose connections mostly wants a win in the KD to up the breeding fees.   This point system makes every horse that starts in the gate earn that spot through racing...what a concept eh ?


Intense Holiday


California Chrome




Ring Weekend  (after reading your comments about this horse, I'm really intrigued.  I think he's the true speed horse in the Derby)

Candy Boy

Commissioner (back after learning he might go to Arkansas)

Saving the last two for whoever comes out of the last 3 major preps, Wood, Arkansas and Bluegrass.

Speaking of the Wood, Wicked Strong, will take a long hard look on him next Saturday, and curious how Kristo will take on the track.  And of course, Social Inclusion, the anointed Triple Crown winner.  The only way I'll bet him in the Derby is if the wins emphatically, demolishing this good field…anything less, I'll do a wait and see how his works look (if he makes the points) going in to the Derby.

Santa Anita Derby should be another workout for California Chrome if he's healthy.  Now that Bayern's off to Arkansas, there's absolutely no excuse for CC to lose this race unless of course he gets in to some trouble, can't see it though being on the lead by himself.  I just don't think Candy Boy can get anywhere near him if he runs the same type of race he did in the San Felipe.  His speed will take Candy Boy out of his game and will have to quicken to keep close, if he beats CC, then HE will be something special...IMO of course and no, I still will not anoint him the TC winner :)

31 Mar 2014 11:58 PM
Ta Wee

After Social Inclusion romps in the Wood like I suspect he will, and CC wins the Santa Anita Derby, these 2 will be the Ky. Derby favorites. Constitution seems like a very nice grinder but lacks the potential brilliance of the aforementioned duo. Social Inclusion's last race track record, conveyor belt or not still boggles as the early fractions were nothing special, the internal fractions, high cruising speed, and ability to separate without asking were. I haven't been  as excited about an upcoming race as the Wood since the unfortunate no show of I'll Have Another in the Belmont. History reminds us of Bellamy Road and the potentially brilliant Eskendreya to somewhat temper my enthusiasm but this one has a look that reminds me of his inbred 6th generation-Dr.Fager-the quintessential king of sustained speed that hopefully  the racing world will see. Racing could use a hero.    

01 Apr 2014 12:27 AM


I really love a couple of pics I've seen of CONSTITUTION and RING WEEKEND in their respective winner's circle from the FL Derby and TB Derby!  Do you happen to know RING WEEKEND'S height?  Both horses look incredible!

01 Apr 2014 12:32 AM

I was watching the 1989 SA Derby with Sunday Silence & I have a question?

SS is up by 8 or 9 lengths in the stretch and Valenzuela appears to be cutting him in half  with the stick.  Why?

Are these the instructions from Woody Stephens to push the horse X amount of distance so we can have him ready for the 1 1/4?

Is the horse bored once he hits the lead, let's keep him focused?

Is Valenzuela grandstanding, embellishing his role in the race?

I truly don't know. I'm just trying to figure out some whys of what the players are doing.  I can tell you I didn't like it just like I didn't like Borel doing the same to Rachel in the Travers when she'd already put the field away.  

What in the name of Ditka is going on here???

Respectfully yours,

One Who Hasn't a Clue

01 Apr 2014 1:36 AM

What do you suppose the odds are that a horse whose name begins with a "C" will win the Derby:  California Chrome, Chitu, Constitution, Commissioner, Commanding Curve, Candy Boy, Cairo Prince and Conquest Titan?  And Ride on Curlin sort-of belongs on the list too.  

01 Apr 2014 1:47 AM


I enjoy your Derby Dozen and compare it to my top 12. I agree with you who should be in that top 5 of this list. Usually by this time, I have a clear number one and wondering who will fill in the other spots. Its coming down to the Old School vs the New School

Old School: California Chrome, Samraat, Wildcat Red, Tapiture and Intense Holiday

New School: Constitution, Hoppertunity, Social Inclusion, Bayern

Who is going to win out?

01 Apr 2014 1:47 AM

Steve H : Any reason why Chitu was not added to the dozen ?  I'm just curious about your take on him as there was no mention of him at all except for that little note in Candy Boy's comments, not asking you to put him on the list.  I like your dozen and I know you can't like everyone otherwise this blog will be called something "Haskin's Derby Dozen Plus A Horse From Anyone Who Complains Their Horse Is Not On The List"... it's just not the same...

01 Apr 2014 2:20 AM

CONSTITUTION: Like Steve said. He wrote pretty much everything I was writing in my head, including the respect due a horse that outgames Wildcat Red.

I would add that this guy is a quick study; he learned so much between the gate and the wire! He was surprised and annoyed at being rated but settled and bided his time in a pocket when many of his competitors would have had to be hauled off heels. (Yes, he came from behind once, but that was because he was left at the post.) He 'maintained' through interference; cf Intense Holiday. He dived without hesitation through a narrow opening on the rail, a test which we have watched a lot of good colts fail. He was slightly behind Wildcat Red through most of the stretch, but figured out what he had to do, and did it.

The three starts aren't forbidding because of fitness. He showed he was fit in his first start. The problem is the lack of experience with the many tactics that may be required in a large field of green colts. He is not backward is this regard.

He gets a decent post and trip and he takes it.

SAMRAAT: has the same virtues as Constitution, but is not quite as good and less likely to make another move forward.

CAIRO PRINCE, unless hurt, will be right in the hunt. He's the only one I can imagine closing well.

CALIFORNIA CHROME looked terrific in his last, but there's always a flashy California horse that devours inferior fields. I'll let him beat me.

INTENSE HOLIDAY: Last one was pilot error. He was snatched up after beginning his move and was sent again before he'd regained his stride and balance.

VICAR'S IN TROUBLE: I don't do a lot of sneering at time and late pace when a runaway winner is eased up late, but this runaway winner was hit hard and often through the stretch. He faltered. So did everything else, and more so, so it wasn't obvious.

TAPITURE: I may get to liking him more at the distance, but right now I can't see him in the late stages.

CANDY BOY: He has a good move but he can't sustain it long enough.

I haven't an opinion on Toast of New York or Social Inclusion.

SPEED: There's a plethora of it; no speed horse will have a moderate first half mile.

STALKERS: Whichever of the speed horses gets a good stalking trip will be the danger.

STAYERS: Don't see any in here. Horses moving on the turn are going to need some broken-field running with lots of speed horses backing into them.  

01 Apr 2014 4:30 AM
mike brown

Steve - why not put Untapable in the top 10?

01 Apr 2014 6:46 AM
jeanne wolverton

I can't see Cairo Prince even getting into the Derby. The second place horses in the next four big races will have more points than he has. This makes me sad.

01 Apr 2014 7:09 AM
Paul Revere

I  have to agree that Steve's top three look right on.  My only thought different would be maybe to put Tapiture at the #3 spot.  He is obviously the best of the Arkansas trail hopefuls, although I can see Ride on Curlin improving, and Bayern coming in to get a top 3 finish to secure his spot in the derby.  I just can't get past thinking that all the horses in the LA derby are 2nd tier, and that Constituion passed a distance limited speedster in the FL derby that had the race go his way.  Maybe Cairo Prince needed the race, but does he need yet another race before we see his best? The rest in the southeast are just uninspiring. I can't believe that we have seen the derby winner run his final prep yet.  

01 Apr 2014 7:56 AM
Pedigree Ann

I've posted all over the place that Red and the General (their jockeys, actually) gave away the race by not using their speed to make the others work harder to keep up. Good speed horses have done it that way since time immemorial - Olympia, Bold Forbes, etc. This 'back up the pace to save something for the finish' doesn't work all that well if you are choking your horse to do it, viz Lawyer Ron in the Super Derby.

01 Apr 2014 8:33 AM

I love Constitution and the race at Gulfstream!!

01 Apr 2014 8:45 AM

Cutting to the chase, the first 4 horses in the FINAL DD seem fairly predictable and would include Constitution, and the winners of the SA Derby, the Wood and the Ark.Derby. (altho Toast of N.Y. might be a wildcard.)If the winner of the SA Derby runs a bsf of 106+, he would likely be DD #1, unless the Wood winner does 110+. The Ark Derby winner would be DD #3 or 4, depending on impressiveness, with Constitution 3 or 4. DD #5 and 6 would come from Tapiture or runners up in SA Derby and Wood. The last DD 6 will be open to a lot of debate, but will probably include the Bluegrass winner. Should be interesting.

01 Apr 2014 8:50 AM


Shouldn't you include Ride on Curlin in your analysis of the progeny of sires who are grandsons of Mr. Prospector?  I believe the great Curlin falls into that category.  This is a colt I've been watching since Top Billing fell off the Derby trail.

01 Apr 2014 9:01 AM

Why no love for Strong Mandate? His dam sire's record should make him a major contender despite his inconsistence form.

Deputy Minister mares have produced Halfbridled, Rags To Riches, Jazil, Sarava, Curlin and Kane Hekili (JPN).

Will Take Charge raced in a big pair of white blinkers from his debut up to the Belmont. In between those 10 races he scored two victories. He was a no show in the Triple Crown series and was rested for Saratoga.

He returned to the races without is customary pair of goggles and just fell short of springing an upset at a long price in the Jim Dandy. That effort signaled the reemergence of a once promising colt that had gone sour. WTC would go on to secure the Eclipse for champion 3YO with some memorable performances even in defeat.

Mr. Lukas has another promising Colt by the name Strong Mandate. He ran dismally on debut and for his next start he wore blinkers and scored an upset victory. That victory was followed by an even more impressive performance in the Hopeful. Strong Mandate has not won a race since despite encouraging efforts in the BCJ, Southwest and Rebel.

Strong Mandate will contest the AK Derby next. Will Mr. Lukas consider removing the blinkers similar to what he did for WTC heading into the Jim Dandy? The colt appears to be in limbo and a change could have a positive effect. Why not try something different?

WTC won two races including a stakes with blinkers but was a completely different animal without them.

Doesn’t experience teach wisdom?

01 Apr 2014 9:12 AM
food fight

I will keep it brief bring on Bayern in the Arkansas Derby. This will make the Arkansas derby the most competitive prep to the Kentucky Derby and will make the odds on Commissioner exceed 7/1 or better i can't wait. With a fair track and a clean race i should be cashing on Commissioner as he will be a big overlay.This race will get him the points he needs for the Derby and he will end the so called pedigree experts view of AP INDY off spring not being good enough to win the Kentucky Derby.If he gets in and has a clean trip he will be very difficult to beat going 10 furlongs for a sire that is one of our best stamina influences in this country.

01 Apr 2014 9:13 AM
Pedigree Ann

Gerry L - comparing a modern Derby candidate to Secretariat is bogus, as you probably already know. Secretariat ran 9 times at 2, won 8, dq'd from 1. At 3, he came back in March, ran in the 3-race sequence in NY of races 2 weeks apart - Bay Shore (win), Gotham (win), Wood Memorial (3rd, with an abscess in his mouth. The Wood was then 2 weeks out from the Derby, and the Blue Grass 10 days beforehand. These horses were racing into a state of fitness that modern colts can only dream about.

01 Apr 2014 9:13 AM

It's really wide open this year. Social Inclusion has piqued my interest. Just curious to see what he does against seasoned graded stakes runners. Who knows? If he does win the Wood and goes to the Derby, you will still get the longest odds he will ever be. Because it seems so open this year it should be a really nice Derby.

01 Apr 2014 9:31 AM
Proud Acres

I just love this time of year.  These prep races are so fun to watch.  I can't wait for the wood and Santa Anita derby.  May the best horse win.  I loved the story on Uncle Sigh and I love the horse California Chrome.  It would be fun to have a East vs West in the Derby.  May the Derby Gods smile on us this weekend.

01 Apr 2014 9:43 AM

Lucky we have 2 big point weeks to go, as last weekend has confused me no end, beside California Chrome and Candy Boy, I have firm poison on the others.

Constitution - Liked the way he handled the trip, he seem to be thinking/learning on the run, very good visually, and looks to want 10f. Downside he reminds me of Verranzo. Not too sure what to make of that lucky gap that opened up after HOF JonnyV looked over his shoulder.

General A Rod,- I agree lose the blinkers, he seems to be feeling out for ground and running a little scared, same goes for Strong Mandate.

Wildcat Red - You got to back this guy all heart and guts, but I don't think he gets 10F. Kind of  horse who will spoil my superfecta.

Cairo Prince - Needed that race, hope he makes it, I totally get Steve's point about the polytrack races. I do not think they should be at equal points with the dirt prep's. Ramsey fans going to hate this, I think Cairo Prince and Commanding Curve have a decent chance of hitting the board in the KD, We Miss Artie has none .

Vicars in Trouble - Great Ride and great trip, but was done after 9F, I would save him for the Preakness. Like everyone I have favorites, going to keep Albano even though also looked a 9F ceiling. Larry Jones factor I guess.

In Trouble - has me wondering how good Samratt and Uncle Sigh really are.

Commanding Curve - looks much like Golden Soul last year, he can pick up the pieces if he gets in, prob only on a wet track.

Thanks all for the great insights provided here.

01 Apr 2014 9:45 AM

A very interesting horse I fine that did made it at all in either category. The name mention "WE MISS ARTIE".  I looked closely at his performance in the Spiral, and I fine he looked awfully impressive. This horse never began his running until the final 1/8 of a mile. Understandably, he has a turf pedigree on top but bottom side says dirt. He reminds me though of ANIMAL KINGDOM. If the Derby is where he's being pointed, I think he has a very legitimate chance. All depends on his works leading up to that race.

01 Apr 2014 9:55 AM


You raised some interesting points:

I agree that the KD is a race for 3YOs. However, some do not make it because they suffer injuries as opposed to their lack of competitiveness.

I agree the points system is fine and like any other relatively new system will be fine-tuned to achieve an acceptable level of fairness.

Social Inclusion is a very nice colt but he still has to perform when it matters. Do not be too hard on him. He has recorded two impressive victories and merits the attention he is receiving.

I’ll Have Another scored a very impressive victory in the Bob Lewis. His winning time was 1:40.84 is comparable to the time recorded by CC in the SF. His next start was in the SA Derby where he met Creative Cause. He scored a HD victory over the big gray.

There is no guaranteed walk in the park when it comes to thoroughbred racing. Candy Boy Is a nice colt who has also defeated the like of Tamarando, Midnight Hawk and the speedy Chitu. Hopportunity could be a serious contender of his Rebel effort. Counting ones chicken before they are hatched can be dangerous. Just ask those that predicted a walk in the park for Uncle Mo in the Wood.

Social Inclusion was far more impressive than CC in his first two starts. Is he a walk in the park type?

01 Apr 2014 10:06 AM

datflippinrabbit The Wood is a race where Social Inclusion has a chance to produce a WOW performance.For those that like to use speed figures as their primary talent prognostigator his BSF of 111 is 10 points or more above Samarat and Uncle Sigh.I think if SI does indeed run a WOW race in the Wood his offers might double from the 8 million that has been reported before he runs in the KD.When the speed figure is 10 points more or higher I pay attention to the figures,remember these are 3yos which can improve dramatically from one race to another so IMO 5 points is no biggie.

Steve I think you might have access to the RAGS figures, if so what was Social Inclusions number in the race he ran a 111 Beyer,which by the way is higher than CCs 107 Beyer.

01 Apr 2014 10:47 AM


The most disrespected horse in all of this is Vinceremos. Never ran worse than 2nd in his career, won the Sam F. Davis Stakes G3 and was a very good 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby G2 and yet nobody thinks he's good enough. I think this horse is going to get into the derby and let his presence felt. He kind of reminds me of Palace Malice leading up to the derby this time last year but I am expecting better results in this case.  

01 Apr 2014 10:57 AM

steve-what did you think about toast's race in Dubai. I saw a horse ready to get pinched out of position on the turn, then the jockey probably yelled back to the other jockey for the infraction. next you see toast under a hand ride secure position and the other horse under the whip can't gain on him. toast never got hit until in the stretch and probably did not need as much urging as he got from his overly excited pilot. I could get excited about this horse only if he comes here soon, gets in and out of jail as required and puts in some serious works. any other thoughts or observations? p.s. great column as usual.

01 Apr 2014 11:27 AM
Rusty Weisner

I think Steve Haskin is right and the winner of the Kentucky Derby comes out of the Santa Anita Derby.  I love it that Hoppertunity is getting so many races in.  The more the better, at least better than the Cairo Prince treatment.

01 Apr 2014 11:35 AM

I rarely make reference to the alleged ‘Apollo Curse.’ I just do not believe that it is either relevant or credible. The reasons why this feat has not been repeated in such a long time has nothing to do with Apollo. Yes! I think Apollo has been getting a bum rap.

How many 3YOs falling into this category compared to the other category face the Derby starter each year?

The number of horses in each Derby field not subjected to overcoming the alleged ‘Apollo Curse’ is significantly greater than those trying to do same. Base on available records, of the 131 Derbies since Apollo achieved the feat, 39 contained 58 horses who tied to overcome the alleged curse. Verazzano was the last great hope that failed to overcome the Apollo myth. With the annual disparity in numbers, those subjected to overcoming the alleged ‘Apollo Curse are equivalent to one man against the world.

Why hasn’t there been a Derby winner that commenced its racing career as a 3YO since Apollo?

Without much research the answer to the above question can be approached from a simplistic angle. There is roster of prestigious 2YO races with lucrative purses as appealing options for the connections of fast developing 2YOs. Talented 2YOs that have come to hand early and are viewed as being capable of winning races like the Hopeful, Champagne and BCJ, their connections will undoubtedly capitalize on these opportunities.

Why wait to make 3YO debuts when the late developers are in abundance and competition is enhanced? Why delay securing a return on investment if the opportunity arises? Why not allow the animal to start paying for its keep and care as soon as possible?

There have not been enough horses impacted by the allege curse in annual Derby fields to provide a reasonable chance of repeating Apollo’s feat. Those in recent times with the talent i.e., Verrazano, Bodemeister and Curlin just found either a few better on the day or didn’t say the trip.

Assuming the likes of Social Inclusion, Bayern, Hopportunity and Constitution make it to the starting gates, can any of the four repeat Apollo’s feat? Four would be a very large number impacted by the cures in a Derby field. There is always strength in numbers. The last 11 derbies have been won by fist time trainers. Based on that trend Social Inclusion would be the one likely to topple the Apollo myth.

01 Apr 2014 11:46 AM
lunar spook

FOOD FIGHT- I couldn't agree with u more , your comments about COMMISIONER are spot on ! he reminds me a lot of will take charge  a big powerful horse whose connections have been very patient with him, and he should just now begin to blossom !  p.s. lets keep a lid on this , so his odds will stay high for more bling !  lol !!!

01 Apr 2014 11:56 AM
Old Old Cat

I like California Chrome in the Preakness, rain or shine.  On a fast track, I like CC in the Derby over Wildcat Red and the NY horses Uncle Sigh and Samaraat.  

No idea who I like in bad weather, except I would never count out Wildcat Red.

01 Apr 2014 12:02 PM
Rusty Weisner

I think California Chrome wins the Santa Anita and Hoppertunity wins the Kentucky Derby.

01 Apr 2014 12:02 PM
Linda in Texas

Well Schooled In The Gate - i got tickled watching the races this past week end. One horse was loaded first, evidently he had been a tad naughty loading the last time. Well the gate keepers put him in first and that baby stood so still and behaved so well it made me smile. I did not make note of the name when i kept score, sorry to say. But his gate trainer did a great job. Hope he got a treat after the race!

I still like Intense Holiday and Hoppertunity.  Spot i wanted to do well, but he was out sized in the race. He looked like a young pony up against his competitors. California Chrome better dust'em being listed No. 1. Thanks Steve. And Happy April Fool's Day and then following close by your Birthday. Happy Birthday to a fellow Aries, hope you are blessed with a cazzillion more!

01 Apr 2014 12:27 PM

Johnny V....

Has anyone mentioned why in the Heck he left the rail open for Constitution??? Hall of Fame Jockey, poor stinking ride on such a Gutsy Horse WR....

01 Apr 2014 12:30 PM

In no particular order: Samraat, Conquest Titan (he better get in!), Toast of New York (if he makes his flight, just because I want the Derby to truly become international) and Vicars in Trouble (gotta love another regional horse -- although I could also say that about Calif. Chrome).

I still wanna see what Bayern does next and if they let in Untappable, look out!  

(Too bad Matador didn't like Florida -- where I am going to be on April 11th: where is the nearest track to Fort Myers??)

01 Apr 2014 12:36 PM
Rusty Weisner

Commissioner faced two biased tracks?  How about adapting by showing a little early speed and staying in touch?  Maybe he's just slow.  It happens.

01 Apr 2014 12:45 PM

Steve, thanks for the comments and your list.  It's heating up now and as much as we think we see some clarity with some of these 3 year olds, we have just as much confusion with new shooters and the last two exacta weekends coming up.  Our crocuses should pop today as I can get outside and wash the salt off my car.  A great time of the year!

I would only add to your comments on Wildcat Red and Johnny V. that as much as he wanted to keep GAR and CP parked wide as they came to the top of the stretch, John peeked to his inside and SURPRISE, Contsitution was coming through.  John tried to cut him off but alas, like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube, Javier was already there and was not going to back out.  As you and others have pointed out, Constitution showed me a lot of grit and determination, gaining much needed experience with the curse of Apollo hanging over him.

Puzzled with Intense Holiday's antics in the stretch but like the way he leveled off.  Will watch who Mike Smith ends up on but still like IH at 10F at CD.  Also like the way Commanding Curve overcame his troubles and was closing best of all.  If he gets in, looks to also be able to get the 10F, especially with all the speed shaping up for May 3rd.

1.  Candy Boy:  stays on top, does not have to beat CC Saturday, just put in his strong, relentless run in the stretch.

2.  California Chrome:  His most severe test yet.  Is he for real?.  Would love to see him dominate and put some shine on some story lines on the way to Louisville.

3.  Constitution:  Apollo or no Apollo, he's for real and peaking at the right time.

4.  Intense Holiday:  Won't give up on him.  Can take it all.

5.  Ring Weekend:  A gut feeling that this gelding can take them all the way around and still be there at the end.  Needs the race Saturday at Calder.  

Right behind: Tapiture, Samraat, Cairo Prince.

Anncat--like your take on names beginning with 'C'.  

Steve, random thoughts:  

 With 25% of your Dozen sired by Tapit, what's the odds for a Tapit sired Oaks/Derby double?

 If We Miss Artie, Bobby's Kitten and Vicar's in Trouble all get in the Derby and one hits the wire first, what are the odds the Ramsey's will put on the best Winner's Circle celebration ever?  NBC better be ready with their cameras.

 What is the over/under for Pletcher Derby starters?  4?, 5?

A serious question, Steve.  Do you have any info on whether Toast of New York is coming?  Thanks.        

01 Apr 2014 12:47 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'll probably be against Social Inclusion in the Wood.  If I'm wrong, so much the better: then I'll be against him in the Derby, where it counts.

He got a 111, whatever that means, in an allowance race in a small field.  CC got it in a marquee race, setting a fast pace, and is a seasoned horse.

That said, I think Brontexx is right to look at the Beyers disparagingly for Samraat and Uncle Sigh.  Haven't these two run three straight figures around 95?  Maybe that's their ceiling.  In any case, with respect to Funny Cide, what are the chances two New York breds could figure in the Derby.  I'll be eyeing this race with extreme skepticism, especially after In Trouble was a dud.

01 Apr 2014 12:52 PM
Bloodline Bob

As of April 1st, my half dozen horses are(alphabetical): HOPPERTUNITY, INTENSE HOLIDAY, RIDE ON CURLIN, STRONG MANDATE, UNCLE SIGH + WE MISS ARTIE. These are very subject to change by May 3rd.

01 Apr 2014 12:58 PM
Rusty Weisner


I thought he was pulled up because he was lugging right into the rail.

I wasn't clear on what you were saying by "so did everyone else, and it wasn't obvious."

01 Apr 2014 1:00 PM
Bloodline Bob

As for Steve's #3(CANDY BOY) and #6(RING WEEKEND), I'm looking at them for my Belmont picks on June 7, 2014.

01 Apr 2014 1:02 PM
classic go go

Another good list and as the author has elucidated a lot can happen from now till then.

To Mary - was an enthusiastic fan of Union Rags from the get go but the first race was at Delaware Park

To Ta Wee - Love the moniker and agree we will see something special in the Wood with Social Inclusion

To Cold facts - Agree on Strong Mandate - in my estimation this horse does not belong on the front end and many trainers will take a horse out of his style to gain conditioning in order to run well next .yes was a gamble to do so considering his establishment in the hopefully to be changed point system , yet that only shows me confidence and future intent .Do expect blinkers of and a major run from off it in the Arkansas Derby at what should be a reasonable [price

01 Apr 2014 1:04 PM
Saratoga AJ

Glad to see you haven't given up on Wicked Strong Steve. Neither have I. He obviously hated the speed favoring Gulfstream surface. It's all on the line for him Saturday. Jimmy Jerkens will have him ready, but is he good enough? At any rate, the Derby prospects on both coasts will be clearer after Saturday.  

01 Apr 2014 1:04 PM

Steve, I noticed that you left out, "We Miss Artie", whose pedigree is right there with previous Derby winners.

I know his form doesn't look well on dirt, but after his last race, one of the announcers said that his dirt form could be deceptive, in regards the Derby. He said horses who like the turf have been fond of running on the Churchill strip. Do you have any knowledge to that effect?

01 Apr 2014 1:08 PM
Rusty Weisner


"STAYERS: Don't see any in here. Horses moving on the turn are going to need some broken-field running with lots of speed horses backing into them."

I agree (though it's interesting you liked Revolutionary last year).  I only picture Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday as this type, and I can't picture either as the winner; maybe Ride On Curlin resumes that profile.  I hope the track is fast, even 2012-fast.  I also wonder whether last year's results might make a lot of these potential closers underlays and speedy ones overlays.

01 Apr 2014 1:08 PM
sara futh

Steve: Toast of NY IS bred in US isn't he? you had him both ways in your comments.

If I were doing it, I would give more points for races on dirt for eligibility. stands to reason....

01 Apr 2014 1:15 PM
Johnny D

Steve, great comments all around.  I love reading your stuff.  Interesting 1-3, West Coast Bias?  4-6, Tapit Bias??  Loving Tapiture and his consistency, battle tested.  Rumor has it Rosario has the mount now.  Like having Babe Ruth pinch hit....

01 Apr 2014 1:34 PM

I have to go back and read everything, but right now I'm just catching up. Finally saw the 3 year olds run! Up until now, with a DSL connection, the horses kept going so slow they ran backward. With NBC back in the picture...nice! 3 observations after seeing only 2 races...Cairo Prince is gorgeous, but the lay-off did him no favors. I do like him however, and I'll just keep my hooves crossed. Constitution fought for his win, and earned it, but I have reservations about 10f. His dueling rival may stand a better chance. Vicar's in Trouble has a worrisome gait; instead of galloping, he skips...and that bothered me. I'd give Intense Holiday a better shot at lasting through a racing series, though I was confused about his veering into the rail.

Hi gang....finally back. (Didn't feel right about commenting since I hadn't seen these colts run before.)

01 Apr 2014 2:17 PM

Ack!!!  My brain was thinking: "We Miss Artie" but my fingers, which appear to be in one of those parallel universes that Neil Degrasse Tyson is currently explaining to us -- BTW, I love him almost as much as I love Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert -- forgot to add him to my Derby list.

So: Samraat, We Miss Artie, Conquest Titan -- Toast of New York / Vicars in Trouble -- waiting for Bayern and dreaming Untappable.

01 Apr 2014 2:19 PM

I do love how folks are discounting Samraat, claiming he is not good or fast enough, while touting horses who weren't sound enough or fit enough to win.  Samraat gave significant weight to In Trouble and Uncle Sigh and cruised to win in a hand ride,  Keep turning your nose up at him to your detriment and it will just increase the payoff.

01 Apr 2014 2:23 PM

Having watched California Chrome since he was a two year old, I'm obviously smitten.  When I see him this upcoming Santa Anita Derby , all I hope for is safe rides for all horses and riders and on to the KD for our California Golden boy.  He and Victor look positively amazing.    

01 Apr 2014 2:49 PM
Lammtarra's Arc

Toast Of New York is the one to watch. If they ship in, He gets my money.  I do have to say that Samraat and the two Ramsey horses VIT, and WMA are the other 3 I like to win the Derby if Toast Of New York doesn't show.

01 Apr 2014 3:06 PM

Rusty Weisner do you have access to the RAGS figures or Thorograph numbers because I am interested in those figures for Social Inclusion in the same race where he Beyered 111.I have asked Steve Haskin I guess he hasnt read the blog.

Those figures take into account other factors like ground loss that Beyers dont.He posted the thorograph figs for CC in his writeup of the same but not for Social Inclusion.

01 Apr 2014 3:45 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

This shindig is smokin' baby, the joint is jumpin' so I'm glad you could make it Slew. Derby Dozen fever.

01 Apr 2014 4:14 PM

Coldfacts & Jay Jay: How profound that you both agree the Kentucky Derby is a race for 3YOs (LOL). I wonder if anybody was ever confused about that fact.

Jay Jay's argument supporting the points system is ridiculous for two main reasons:

1) Any system that would eliminate two previous Kentucky Derby winners (Mine That Bird 2009 & War Emblem 2002) were it in place then, how good can it be? Change should be for improvement not simply for change sake or regression.

2) It completely overthrows the decades of tradition and ignores the history of 3YO performances built upon 2YO foundation. As recent as 2007 we had the 2YO champ, Street Sense, winning the Derby. It is significant that Street Sense's trainer Carl Nafzger expressed the opinion in reaction to this new points system, that it takes away from the trainer's ability to plot the best path to the Derby for their charges.

The imposers of the system never consulted with players in the industry. They just went about the change in a rather cavalier fashion with very shallow forward thinking.

When Jay Jay says that if a horse doesn't get the points he/she isn't good enough, who's he fooling (LOL). If Cairo Prince doesn't get in, does any knowledgeable fan really believe that he isn't good enough ...give me a break.

Performances in Graded Stakes races establishes the quality of race horses in their development from 2YOs and upwards. That's the better way to eliminate pretenders not some arbitrarily trumped up points system which also eliminates classy fillies.

I'll continue to watch this system crumble and will not be shy to say I told you so when it does.

01 Apr 2014 4:22 PM

I think Commissioner has a chance to win the Derby.  He gives AP Indy his best and last chance this year.  He is bred to run all day and giving him the extra race will help him.  I thought him and Top Billing were the best 2 colts a few weeks ago and there is no reason to look elsewhere now.  He has run on 2 speed favoring tracks and Oaklawn should be perfect for his closing style.

I also like Kid Cruz, has there been any word on him??

01 Apr 2014 4:23 PM

Do you think this might be Storm Cat's year, as he has three strong grands as viable contenders?

Not since Eskendereya has his family had such a strong field in the hunt. ( Samratt, Wildcat Red and Intense Holiday)

01 Apr 2014 4:31 PM
Linda in Texas

Slew - We have missed you. Not the same here without your commonsensical knowledge and insight. Welcome Back.

01 Apr 2014 4:40 PM
Bloodline Bob

Is it true that the owners of CAIRO PRINCE sold 49% of the horse for $3 million?

01 Apr 2014 5:19 PM

Usually the type of horse that wins a 1 1/4 mile classic is called a stayer,all of these horses I've seen so far are staying in front or just behind.I personally don't like any of them to win the derby,however I'm still looking for the stayer.

01 Apr 2014 5:22 PM
Stewart Winograd

Is it poor form to mention that Todd Pletcher is 1 for 36 in the Derby despite having a handful of what appear to be strong contenders each year, and that this year appears no different?

01 Apr 2014 6:27 PM

Ranagulzion Its called corporate piracy Churchill Downs Inc wants to squeeze every last dime outta the Kentucky Derby which includes the future wager.It was freakin easy to cover more than half the field for a surprisingly low investment in exacta combinations when they went by the graded earnings list.It was relatively easy to figure out who would make the starting gate when the 2yo earnings were included,now with the point system they change the top 23 list more in each wager, potentially leaving out qualifiers that if not listed move into the all others and subsequently pay a LOT LOWER MUTUAL.You could theroretically have 8  new shooters moving up the point list in the last 4 preps #13 Tapiture has only 42 points if a colt comes in second they earn 50 points, when before only the winner and 2nd place horse could move up when tabulated using earnings 1st place 60% of the purse 2nd place 20% etc believe me it was A LOT EASIER.With 20% of the purse for a 2nd place finish of a $600,000 you earn $120,000 which sounds like  lot but isnt compared to 50 points.Im sure a lot more players took advantage of the old graded earnings method in the future wagers to make a profit.

01 Apr 2014 6:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Not only is Social Inclusion a monster but he is a very well conditioned monster. After the Wood the 8 million frijoles might seem like a can of beans or like it would have been grand theft. 12 million plus will be more like it. I'm expecting him to stalk the early speed, pounce and draw away, depending on post position and the ride he gets and if he stays out of big trouble. The 9f will be no problem. He isn't a need the lead type and should be able to win from just about anywhere. I'm checking the "freak" box on my early ballot. I am also rooting for him, and rooting for Manuel Azpurua to stay with him. 85 years old, now that would be a Derby story in itself. Just awesome. That is 88 years between horse and trainer. With the jockey they are well over 100. And you've got trainer John Nerud in SI's lineage so you're well over 200 years right there. It may become the thousand year old story if this keeps up.

01 Apr 2014 7:23 PM

This Derby Dozen highlights why the Kentucky Derby is the most compelling and magical race in the world.  A month before the race, Steve Haskin lists 20 different horses still worth considering, not counting Strong Mandate and the Coach, who we know Steve is still rooting for.

So many aspire to greatness, so many bloodlines resonate with history, so many connections are fascinating, and few have ever run so far.  They come from six or seven directions and most have never raced against the others.

It is the ultimate coming-of-age story.  These are the youngsters growing up.  It is the college football player going into his first game in the NFL, the baseball phenom facing his first major league curve ball, the road show opening on Broadway.  At Churchill Downs, twenty enter the gate with visions of glory. Six old onto their dreams, but fourteen cross the finish line on the way to obscurity.              

The Derby might not be the biggest or the best race in the world -- every racing fan knows the races for older horses, the grownups, are the best.

The Derby is on another level.  It is national ritual.  It is the mystical annual cycle.  The turn of the seasons is not marked by change in the weather.  The visceral calendar is marked by the preliminaries: the Super Bowl, the Final Four, and the Masters.  The New Year has not settled into place until the first Saturday in May.

01 Apr 2014 7:26 PM
Scott's Rail

Paraphrasing Bob Baffert's response to local reporters when asked where his leading KD horses would run, "California Chrome worries me".

01 Apr 2014 8:01 PM
Your Only Friend

Some trainers not all do not manage their horses properly or they would have them ready for the right races to receive points for derby.....if horse has health issues so be it ....Derby is not for every horse.  Some trainer/owner thinks his horse should be there. Then run your horse in qualifying races.

01 Apr 2014 8:07 PM

Can anyone tell me who is entered in the Wood? I have searched and searched and cannot find a list?

01 Apr 2014 8:14 PM
New York Racing

Steve, you are the man, and have that ability to look, "really look" at that colt or filly, for the best it can be..! I have followed you for many many years and respect you with my play (win & lose) big time for years. You have "California Chrome" as your #1 it really concerns me..! WHY,..WHY? have you lived in CA,to long Steve.? OK you like California Chrome so it seems then why is not the most consistent "ONE" run every time "TAMARANDO" in your top twenty, he's beaten your #1 top easily more than care to say..? Why..?

01 Apr 2014 8:21 PM

The Bill Mott trained Los Borrachos is a probable for the Wood Memorial. I hope his connections take a shot as I think this colt is extremely talented.

The Pulpit colt with only a MSW victory to his credit is probably unknown to most.  While watching Bayern impressive debut victory over 7F, I caught sight of a horse down the back stretch just ahead of Hoppertunity. That horse eventually closed willingly to secure the final slot on the board.

Under normal circumstance a 4th place finisher to an impressive winner would be unworthy of notice. However, the manner in which this colt covered ground while finishing willingly was a beauty to behold. It was exceedingly clear he needed much more ground to be effective.

I lost track of him until I saw him amongst the probables for the Wood. It might appear that he is late to the dance but if he has improve under Mr. Mott, I would not be surprised if he closes for major share of the points in the Wood and jump into the Derby mix.

01 Apr 2014 9:22 PM

Constitution= reputed to be the best horse in Pletcher's barn, before the FD, so is it really a big surprise he won? Givn the pace of the race, which seemed uncharacteristically slow, given the participants, he was clearly the most talented, taking into account his trip, I would say this guy is very dangerous, especially with more experience. Seems unusual not to be hearing much about the Pletcher barn this year. Maybe this is his year to shine.

I noticed Social Inclusion to be extremely talented after his impressive MSW at GP, but had to wonder why he was making such a late start; what kind of problems had been overcoming? Turns out none. This is just the crafty results of a trainer who has more years of experience than most of us have even been alive; and that is saying alot with the aged crop of bloggers that frequents this blog, no insult intended, only great respect for the years of knowledge that are on display here. So the question, Is Social Inclusion the real deal?; I have to answer, you better believe it. I expect we are all in for lesson in horse training with this guy, and fully believe we are just beginning to see a story unfolding that will be talked about for a long time. Yeh, I like him alot!

Another horse still flying under the radar, so to speak, but one that could pick up alot of pieces if he is in the gate come May, and that is Mr. Speaker, as mentioned by some here already, and I have to agree he could be very dangerous, and shouldn't be overlooked.

01 Apr 2014 9:50 PM

My top 6 are:

1.  California Chrome

2.  Hoppertunity

3.  Samraat

4.  Intense Holiday

5.  General A Rod

6.  Wildcat Red

I dropped Cairo Prince back down too, what I fear and posted in last Dozen was a regression off the layoff and it came to be.  Something about Hoppertunity I really like, as well as the gutsy Samraat and Wildcat Red.  Wildcat Red is reminding me of a Jackson Bend or Oxbow.  Constitution was impressive, but not sold on this colt just yet.  Haven't watched much of Social Inclusion to comment on him but we shall see what he does against the undefeated Samraat in the Wood.  Samraat has a chance to go into the Derby 6-0, imagine that.


Yes indeed Dr. D is our doctor.  When we are feeling overwhelmed and in a Derby fever or frenzy we turn to Dr. D for such remedies as: watch 2 Zenyatta videos, read 3 Steve Haskin articles and call me in the morning!  He also prescribes coffee as our "riguer de jour" energy drink while reading the Derby Dozen!  When we are blue all we need do is reach out to Dr. D. and he instantly cheers us up!  And that goes for Steve too!

01 Apr 2014 9:56 PM
food fight

If Social Inclusion should win the Wood with authority he will catapult into the favorite for the derby.I think this would set up as one of the most interesting derby's in resent memory.So i will be watching with special interest in the Wood Memorial stakes. If Social Inclusion wins by open lengths he will draw a tremendous amount of interest to the sport.And setup one of the most highly anticipated derby's i have witnessed .  

01 Apr 2014 10:15 PM

Just figured out why I like Hoppertunity so much, it's the Danzig line in him, on both sides, that must be what I am zeroing in on.  Thought Soldat was one of the last representatives of Danzig progeny or progeny of progeny, but now we have Hoppertunity.

And I love the fact that California Chrome is stabled at Los Al.  He's the one horse with that secret weapon, being "secretly" co-trained by a quarter horse he's stabled with! Some of their barn banter has got to rub off!  Love it!!!!!!

01 Apr 2014 10:16 PM
Max Figueredo

With all due respect to Mr. Haskin, I can't see the three from California as the top three. What does WILDCAT RED have to do to gain respect!  Had the jockey moved closer to the rail WR would have won the Florida Derby. With his speed,he will be the horse to beat.  

01 Apr 2014 10:29 PM

I really like Steve's list this week; great analysis.

I'm really looking forward to all 3 of the big point races this week.  I'm actually hoping CC regresses a bit, because no animal of flesh and blood could reasonably be expected to run 5 awesome races in a row, the SA Derby being #4 and KY Derby #5.

In the Wood, I want to see if SI is for real and how the New York duo of Samraat and Uncle Sigh stack up against the shippers.

The Ark is interesting to see who of the outsiders looking in will become insiders.

I continue to be surprised by those that make comments about the filly, Untapable.  Someone asked why she isn't on Steve's DD, but how can she be without points or any apparent interest in getting the points?  Someone else made a comment that part of the problem with the points system is that it excludes fillies, which it does not.  A filly needs to earn her way into the Derby field the same way the colts do; earn points in qualifying races.  Fillies aren't excluded from these races, and to me, at least, it stands to reason that if a filly is good enough to compete against the colts in the Derby, she should be good enough to earn points competing with the colts in the Derby qualifiers.

Slew; like others, I am glad to see you back as well.  I'm looking forward to your exchanges with the good Dr. D!

01 Apr 2014 10:52 PM

Great analysis Steve - glad you can make some sense of this. I on the other hand am a mess.  Nearly half my original dozen is out and several of the others are not showing up even when they are in the who to choose...?  I think I am sticking with Tapiture as #1 for now, then California Chrome-2, Candy Boy-3, Intense Holiday-4, and 5 is Midnight Hawk--still not giving up on him.  Hope Noble Moon does well as I would like to put him back in.  As for Untapable, I think she is awesome but for those who keep mentioning her as a Derby prospect, she will NOT be getting in as her connections have not opted to run her in a "Derby" prep.  ColdFacts, what were you trying to say here??  -- "The 2014 FL Derby! The dams of Constitution, General A Rod and Cairo Prince were all sired by Kentucky Derby winning sires i.e., Distorted Humor, Dynaformer and Holy Bull".  None of those stallions won the Derby.  Did you mean those stallions all SIRED Derby winners?

01 Apr 2014 11:08 PM

Well! Thank you, Mr. Haskin!

This Derby Dozen makes the past "Simmering Saturday" (re: my comment on the 3/24 DD) sizzling!

The wire looks live at the Santa Anita Derby,The Wood and upcoming finals to the 1 1/4 Derby destination.....inspiring after keying in on your summary of the week ~

Some thought on these, if I may:

California Chrome upheld deservedly but he can bow out here and that could be tough on him as he enters the Derby with a defeat behind him.  His bolting and boasting fractions can be dangerous to himself unless he takes this race as a cushion just to stay in tune and in charge ~ can he be that good?; Hoppertunity still seems to be learning - without a doubt - and the "squeeze" of races (re: your summary) before the Derby seems a little much but Baffert is the boss and even though he is aware of it, Hopportunity is his opportunity to be in it to win it as confidence comes with credentials; John Sadler's Candy Boy with Gary Stephens aboard is a good reason to keep him in sight and the fact that he is so adaptable, not shy, and responds when asked is a plus; I like the toughness of Constitution and the no-fear factor that gives him an edge; Tapiture has been tapped with a load of weight before getting to the race as a result of the "regression" in those that surround him and we should understand that they all are trying to make amends, carry-on and get this colt to his Derby destination; The round-up of the West Point Thoroughbreds seems power driven with Ring Weekend and Commanding Curve; Intense Holiday very awkward;I like the idea of opening the blinkers on General A Rod and the 1 1/4 ability - I do like this one; lets hope Samraat doesn't get jet-lag; sadly our royal Cairo Prince needed a noble intercessor to give him the spirit to finish well after a lengthly lay-off and I question how this race and loss affected him ~ Steve, poor management?; still hold congrats for Vicar; and agree with you that Uncle Sigh could see the sign.  Those "Knocking at the Door" could be welcomed in at this Derby and what a surprise party it will be.

Thank you Steve for a sum of summaries that is stimulating as it satisfies the hunger on a striving trail to the Derby making the "Dozen" a success.

01 Apr 2014 11:50 PM
Paula Higgins

RobinM, yes we know Untapable needs the points and clearly, that isn't going to happen. We just think she is something special.

02 Apr 2014 12:24 AM


Where do you go to watch all the horses' works?  Various websites or is there one site in particular?

On May 1, prior to the Oaks and Derby, I'd like to see the 2014 Kentucky Derby Senior's Tour kick off, 1st Edition (horses back in training and/or resurrected with ProAm golf tourney April 30):

No post #1

2) Holy Bull

3) Algorithms

4) Afleet Alex

5) Violence

6) Eskendreya

7) Sham

8) Out of Bounds

9) Bodemeister

10) Looking at Lucky

11) Ice Box

12) Union Rags

13) Buddy's Saint

14) ArchArchArch

15) Premier Pegasus

16) Easy Goer

17) Alydar

18) Sham

19) Point Given

20) Man O' War

02 Apr 2014 12:31 AM


It would probably be good for the two-year-olds if all their races could be training races; lots of experience and bottom with little stress.

Unfortunately, it's against the law.

02 Apr 2014 2:24 AM

Here's a pedigree feature we may be seeing more of:

Toast of New York has Danzig and Sadler's Wells in his third generation and Nureyev, Lyphard and Be My Guest in his fourth.

That's Northern Dancer 4x4 + 4x5 + 4x5 + 5x4 + 5x4 + 5x5.

I don't see what people are so impressed by. It wasn't a great time for a race with an unusually good pace (for Meydan). Did some of you think it was 1 1/4 miles? And I take the tail swishing in the stretch to mean he was not looking for more distance.

02 Apr 2014 2:56 AM

Coldfacts : The also eligibles addresses the issue with horses getting injured.  I believe there are 4 also eligibles that allows horses to get in when a horse that have already qualified gets injured, if that's what you mean.

I’m not sure if the rest of your post was to me or to everyone but I’ll respond anyway.   I’m not against Social Inclusion, I just want to see if he can replicate his allowance win in a stakes race against legitimate healthy horses.    I like that his trainer chose the Wood, I think he's intent is to prove the horse can win on another track other than Gulfstream and if he's right, then he'll be filthy rich.

Ranagulzion :  What are the flaws of the current points system, your last post seems like mostly whining.  Please provide examples why it’s “failing” and how it’s flawed…what recent events “exposed” its flaws ?  

02 Apr 2014 3:18 AM
Rusty Weisner

Here's an interesting topic for conversation --

Mike Watchmaker, to my ears, insinuated John Velazquez's ride on Constitution was suspicious (it was a delight reading the comment thread).  Me, I'm agnostic, but what a great game! You try to keep track of all the manifold factors, and there's always more.

02 Apr 2014 7:28 AM
Rusty Weisner


No I don't, but how could ground loss be a factor in a 6-horse allowance field where the only contender was slow early and off anyway, and there was no one else to challenge for the lead?

02 Apr 2014 7:32 AM
Rusty Weisner

I'm against Social Inclusion if only for the name.  What kind of weird bureaucratese is this, like something from the local school board?  Come to think of it, the names are generally terrible.  Honor Code and Top Billing were the only ones who had horse names, though at least California Chrome is alliterative.

02 Apr 2014 7:38 AM
Rusty Weisner

Max Figueredo,

You're not from Floriday, are you by any chance?

02 Apr 2014 7:39 AM
Rusty Weisner

Stewart Winograd,

No, it's not poor form.  For this reason alone, remembering Gemologist and Verrazano, I'm skeptical of this horse, who was lucky in winning, to boot.  I prefer Pletcher's afterthought, Intense Holiday.

02 Apr 2014 7:43 AM

Dr D I read that you are backing SI all the way to the KD.I wont be surprised to see a WOW performance outta him in the Wood after all his trainer bypassed the FL Derby on the track where he earned all his attention in his brief 2 race career to run in a much easier spot IMO.It makes business sense as his price will probably double if he succeeds in crushing who he needs to beat Samaarat and Uncle Sigh who hold home court advantage, althougth this race wont be on the inner but the main at Aqueduct.

I thought the same way back in 2007 with a colt by the name of Curlin.I was sure his talent would overcome experience in the 20 horse field of the Kentucky Derby,but I was wrong he could only find the show in 3rd place.Out of the colts that are trying to overcome the Apollo rule,the only one I think can do it as far as the win is Hoppertunity and its because closers have an advantage in this race.What do you think about an Apollo rule exacta box if all 4 make it Constitution and Hop are in now its SI and Bayern hoping to complete the grand slam.

02 Apr 2014 8:25 AM


Social Inclusion DOB is May 1, 2010. Most May foals are considered to be late foals in many quarters. Many trainers are very careful with May foals because they are considered to be at a physical maturity disadvantage.

The trainer of Social Inclusion is not unique in the way he handled SI before his first start. Discreet Cat was an equally brilliant May foal that was sold to Godolphin after his impressive debut. He subsequently won the UAE Derby impressively and Godolphin decided not sent him to the Derby because he was a May foal.

Some trainers are more patient than other and obviously each May foal is different. Social Inclusion is very big colt and extra care in warranted when size is a factor. The prudent thing to do is to allow the big ones to grow into their frames. Zenyatta was a very big filly and her trainer was very careful with her and she made a belated start to her career.

Many May foals that started their racing careers as 2YOs have done fairly well. Mine That Bird and Thunder Gulch won the Derby. The great Northern Dancer was a May foal and he was the Canadian 1963 Champion 2YO. Place Malice and Lookin At Lucky are May foals that raced as 2YOs.

Mine That Bird, Pioneerof The Nile and Musket Man were the first three past the post in the 2009 Derby. They were all May foals that raced as 2YO.

02 Apr 2014 9:03 AM
Steve Haskin

BigTex, I search the internet. Some are on HRTV, some on Youtube, some major stables video their works and link to them on Twitter. you just have to keep looking for them. Of course, once I get to Churchill I watch all the works live.

02 Apr 2014 9:15 AM

Stewart; it is not poor form at all to mention that fact.

Year Pletcher won the Derby with Super Saver it was just his day,and that is sometimes all you need.

S.S was not the best horse that day Ice Box was but a terrible trip caused him the race.

I never play a Pletcher horse to win the Derby and if he beats me good for him..

Good Luck

02 Apr 2014 9:20 AM
Pedigree Ann

JimF552 - It is Toast of New York's SIRE, Thewayyouare, who is related to Jazil - same sire's sire and same second dam; half the pedigree (2 of 4 names) is the same, one of them on the damline, so we would call them "half-brothers in blood."

And if everybody is going to throw around titles, I should get to be called "Dr.," too. Not that trade-school M.D., either, but a full-fledged Doctor of Philosophy. In mathematical statistics. I even graduated from Caltech. See what good all that education does? I lost 3 of 7 tries in the $20 Show contest for Derby preps at TwinSpires; bet some of you did better without all the degrees.

02 Apr 2014 10:12 AM


“I think he's intent is to prove the horse can win on another track other than Gulfstream and if he's right, then he'll be filthy rich.”

I am of the opinion that no deal to sell Social Inclusion will be reached if the conditions being proposed by the sellers are not significantly amended.  

The seller wants to retain 25% of the colt and stipulate that the colt must remain with its present trainer. A 25% owner has a minority interest. How can the minority interest dictate certain terms to the majority interest? Which interested party is prepared to spent either $8M or more and sign away the option on trainers?

If I owned the colt I would sell without conditions. Thoroughbred ownership can either make or break you and when a windfall profit option is available one should capitalize.

02 Apr 2014 10:24 AM

The Josie Carroll trained Ami’s Holiday is listed as a probable for the AK Derby. He has 10 Derby points earned from winning the 2013 Grey Stakes and will no doubt be looking for more to secure a spot in the starting gates.

The first time I saw this colt his stride reminded of those seen under the great Frankel. His pedigree didn’t suggest synthetic and I was hoping to see him in the US shortly after the end of the Woodbine meet. He is by Harlan Holiday out of a mare sired by the 1998 Belmont winner Victory Gallop.

The bout of bad weather in Arkansas has severely interrupted his preparation for the AK Park series of Derby preps. This has left his connections in a tough spot having of having to contest the AK Derby without contesting the Smarty Jones, Southwest or Rebel.

Based on the glimpses of brilliance he showed in Canada, if this colt is in top shape, I can see no reason why he could not get a major piece of the 100 points and add more drama to the Derby picture.

NB: If he is competitive just take a look at his strides when he gets going.

02 Apr 2014 10:55 AM

Coldfacts: I would LOOOOVVVEE to see Josie Carroll at the Derby. Thanks for reminding me that there are still outliers out there in the running for the starting gate.

Speaking of "ami's", does anyone have any idea what is happening with Aragorn Ami?  I really like this filly and I was hoping to see her in your Oaks.

02 Apr 2014 12:02 PM


Paula Higgins: thank you for your defence of our love of Untappable

Dr. Pedigree Ann: technically, they are now changing our law school designations from LLB (Bachelor of Laws) to JD (Doctor Juris) so if I ever get off my rump and ask my law school to convert my old degree, I can be a Doctor too!  This, of course, makes me feel particularly special when I am in the line waiting to place my scientific (loser) bets.  

Finally: Janis from Winnipeg: do you have any Spring yet?  

02 Apr 2014 12:11 PM
Linda in Texas

Outofaspidistra - April 1,2014 7:20 PM, i liked your analogy of just what The Kentucky Derby means to you. To me it is also a coming of age for many, a new lighting of brilliant torches not yet in full flame.

I love this sport and i can tell you do also. I hope we all do or we wouldn't be reading Steve's great writings nor reading the postings of our fellow bloggers.

02 Apr 2014 12:39 PM
steve from st louis

This has to be one of the weakest crops of 3-year-olds in years. Wouldn't surprise me if even the Blue Grass winner (Bobby's Kitten?)becomes important again and  pulls a Dust Commander.

02 Apr 2014 12:53 PM
marilyn braudrick

HI, Just a word, Steve, I am known to you for picking up statements of yours that resonate huge with me and that eventually come true (MINE THAT BIRD looks really good on the track this am . . .)--well this year you've done another "California Chrome and his 76 year old trainer . . who exercised the famous SWAPS " . .well, steve that's the kind of quirky information that you say that attaches itself to derby winners over the years outlined in your 2 derby books that my husband skip bought me and that i just read--quirky statements that come true about derby winners SO . . . if this theory holds, Cali Chrome WILL WIN!! Im betting on him--have watched in person all of his CA. races-ALSO him training at los Alimitos is another derby winning Steve Haskin fact quirky fact.  GO California Chrome- May the Steve Haskin derby winning quirky statements of fact hold true!!!

02 Apr 2014 1:05 PM
El Kabong

Ranagulzion, Jay Jay

Jay Jay's logic is ridiculous? Lets review. Ranag, you claim the system is flawed because it would not have allowed Mine That Bird and War Emblem the chance to run in the Derby. Your logic is based on an application of todays rules on yesterdays decisions. It presumes that Chip Wooley and Bob Baffert would not have entered their horses into races with derby points, which really is a ridiculous notion, but perhaps they share your unwavering allegiance to tradition. I give Chip and Bob a little more credit than that.

You claim(Ranagulizion) that, "It completely overthrows the decades of tradition and ignores the history of 3YO performances built upon 2YO foundation," and then you make Street Sense your poster boy for such a claim. News flash, Street Sense would have made it into the Derby under the current point system, based on his 3 year old campaign alone.

I'll bet if you asked Kiarn who he would blame if Cairo Prince doesn't make it into the derby, he would be man enough to accept the responsibility for Cairo's situation and not blame the rules as they are. Perhaps more trainers and owners will use this campaign as a "how to not" get into the Derby if Cairo is left out, and learn that you should give your horse every chance to learn and progress through racing. That just might be good for competition if you ask me and thrill us all with full fields.

I'll leave you with this, did anyone left out of last years Derby emerge from the 3 year old crop that would make us doubt that we had the best field possible in last years Derby?

02 Apr 2014 1:10 PM


Aragorn Ami is part of a contingent of 10 horses that were shipped for Oaklawn meet. She won the Martha Washington in February and had to survive a stewards enquiry. She was schedule to contest the March 8th Honeybee Stakes but did not enter.

Interestingly the Honeybee Stakes was won by Euphorsyne who finished 2nd to Aragorn Ami in the Martha Washington.

02 Apr 2014 1:13 PM

Rusty Weisner Thats the point both CC and SI earned their BSFs running on the rail,the shortest distance around the track,although CC had more presure on him than SI.

Do you think either of these colts will enjoy this type of trip in the derby,I dont, even if either breaks from the rail.Now in the SA Derby and Wood its more likely as the fields are smaller so you have less colts trying to make the lead or press the pace.

02 Apr 2014 1:36 PM
It aint easy being good!

Coldfacts. I would agree to sell sell sell. How much do you think SI stock will rise when he romps in the wood? His value is going to skyrocket especially when owners start realizing that their horse wont make the derby ala Cairo Prince. I love the face that Social Inclusion is running on different tracks. I always feel horses that stay at one track are at a major disadvantage. Thats why I was on the ORB bandwagon last year. This week is by far the most important prep of them all. That FL derby was weak weak weak. Samaraat is about to meet a buzzsaw!

02 Apr 2014 1:38 PM

Keenland has announced its going back to a dirt track and I believe this is fantastic news for the track and will attract a much better quality field for the Bluegrass stakes and return it to status as one of the premier Derby preps in the country. This is absolutely fantastic news that the local horse players have been wanting to see for years.The Bluegrass has now regained its status as a big Ky. Derby prep.  Great news Keenland ! Thank you!

02 Apr 2014 2:12 PM

Wood Draw  - 1 Kid Cruz 2 Wicked Strong 3 Noble Moon 4 Harpoon 5 Los Borrachos 6 Kristo 7 Schivareli 8 Samraat 9 Efinex 10 Uncle Sigh 11 S Inclusion

Soaial Inclusion draws 11

02 Apr 2014 2:13 PM

A Happy Birthday to you Steve.

02 Apr 2014 2:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   It's a little early for me to be thinking about a 4 horse exacta box in The Derby, and too early for me to back Social Inclusion or anyone else for The Derby. I will be surprised if SI doesn't run a big race in the Wood. It's only 9f not 10f and I think there are others that might be able to compete with him but I think Uncle Sigh is the other one closest to a winning Derby horse so it would be good if he picks up some more points. Three big dirt races coming up that will give us more clues. If you like your exacta and they are all in then it's only 12 bucks so why not. I am anxious also to see what Samraat will do in the Wood. An undefeated gamer is always interesting. Will he continue to do whatever it takes to win? He will try I expect.

02 Apr 2014 2:49 PM

A few observations and opinions. As is always the case for me and I would suppose for many other punters, the difficulty of trying to separate my subjective aspirations and my objective observations is the real conundrum.

First and foremost as a sports fanatic I love this time of year, Derby, March Madness, Masters(without Tiger it isn't the same) NBA playoffs (Go Thunder), MLB (Go Cards), April is the best. As is often said the journey is is usually more fun than the destination and in the case of the Derby that is most definitely the case. Hanging on the edge of our seats for months awaiting the next prep, the next workout, the next interview, the next bit of information that fuels Derby Fever.

Some takes on the Fever:

Social Inclusion is the next coming, Constitution has it, California Chrome reminds his trainer of Swaps, Hoppertunity is knocking at the door, In Trouble is in trouble with a "10" but spells trouble for New York's poster boys, Vicar's In Trouble isn't- he has Rosie, Commanding Curve on the outside, looking in, Intense Holiday may need one after two trips to the Big Easy, Wildcat Red gets in but also gets out, We Miss Artie bounces on rubber, Candy Boy is not "Like a box of chocolates" Toast of New York will not burn, Midnight Hawk may like prey closer to home, Chitu may once again carry the warlord to victory, Ring Weekend goes south, Tapiture is in a circle of fire but riding high flying coattails, General a Rod may be demoted, Albano is in, will "BooBoo" stay on, Cario Prince may be a pauper, Vinceremos has twice and hasn't twice, Harry's Holiday could be in Louisville, Ride on Curlin goes to Court seeking damage, Kristo boards plane for cross country duck but may be Socially Included, Strong Mandate seems to be in denial, Samraat/Uncle Sigh are joined at the hip, hoping they can take on the pressure of being Socially Included after not being In Trouble in Batman's parade. Noble Moon works long into the night trying to find his way to Kentucky, Commissioner will be looking for his lost slipper in Arkansas, Bayern will try a Bode, Conquest Titan prepares to shoulder a magician who has a habit of pulling rabbits out of hats, Wicked Strong will need to be buff if he hopes to knock the Poster Boys off Big Apple mountain, Tamarando went wide and out of the picture; Did he go wide enough to catch a plane home?, and as if we might be reminded the Kitten has been purring awfully loudly lately so don't count on Bobby's being left out of the triumvirate.

A whimsical analysis if you will.

02 Apr 2014 3:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

I think I'm sitting out the Wood and will wait and see about Social Inclusion for the Derby, but I am going to have a hard time liking him off a single stakes start no matter how he performs.

I thought the whole story about his 85-year old trainer was interesting.

02 Apr 2014 3:32 PM
It aint easy being good!

Kid Cruz will win the wood. If SI wants the lead he is going to have to bolt for the 11th hole. Getting the lead wont be easy! Softening things up front will allow Kid Cruz to motor home. YES PLEASE!

02 Apr 2014 4:27 PM
Mister Frisky

Gonna put in my SA Derby pick early,Hoppertunity.Any Ca horse that can ship and win outside of Ca gets the nod.

02 Apr 2014 4:54 PM

Dr D SI has drawn the farthest outside post with 2 or 3 possible pacesetter pressers inside of him.If he is able to clear the field and set the pace and win it will be a Bodeesque performance ala the 2012 Arkansas Derby.

Looking at the post postion in the Wood Noble Moon has drawn well if he is still the same horse we saw in the Jerome.

02 Apr 2014 5:15 PM

This is a little off topic, so I will start with my pics: Wildcat Red (just for his no-quit attitude), Samraat (another fighter) and California Chrome because Victor and Art need to go all the way.  THAT would be a story. While I'm mentioning jockeys, would someone please explain to me why everyone thinks Gary Stevens is the Second Coming?  Yes, he's a HOF and he's racked up some incredible wins, but when he sniggers at dinner with a HOF trainer over using "buzzers" on horses, he just lacks class.  Makes me think again about those photo finish victories.

02 Apr 2014 5:46 PM

Race 8 - Santa Anita Derby (Grade I).

1 Rprettyboyfloyd (KY)   3/R L R Bejarano 122 D E Breuer

2 Friendswith K Mill (KY)   3/C L T Baze 122 D F O'Neill

3 Hoppertunity (KY)   3/C L M E Smith 122 B Baffert

4 Big Tire (KY)   3/C L E A Maldonado 122 M Glatt

5 California Chrome (CA)   3/C L V Espinoza 122 A Sherman

6 Candy Boy (KY)   3/C L G L Stevens 122 J W Sadler

7 Schoolofhardrocks (KY)   3/C L J Talamo 122 D E Hofmans

8 Dublin Up (KY)   3/C L K J Desormeaux 122 P Miller

02 Apr 2014 5:59 PM

Happy Birthday, Steve! My 50th was yesterday,along with my twin brother! No foolin'! Aries people rule!

02 Apr 2014 6:36 PM

Over a deeper track at aqueduct, we're gonna see what 123 lbs. feels like on these colts. No track records here!

02 Apr 2014 6:44 PM

Happy Birthday wishes are in order for Steve and Linda In Texas.  All the best to both of you.

02 Apr 2014 7:05 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   The 11 post is fine for SI. To shoot for the lead right off would be dumb unless he gets it easy because nobody else wants it, but that isn't likely. He should be able to ease his way over closer to the rail, stalk the leaders, then make his move. My fear was the 1 or 2 post where he could get boxed in. Kid Cruz is a potential closer in The Derby or Belmont so he is interesting too. This is a good race.

     At SA it is time for Hoppertunity and Candy Boy to step up and prove they are Derby horses by running strong races. CC should be the favorite. He may have to take an early lead again. He may as well since I'm not seeing any real speed in there. He could just do what he did last time so someone else will have to run big to beat him. Candy Boy needs points. Hoppertunity doesn't so Candy Boy has to run big or stay home to eat Snickers and Milky Ways and Kitkats.

02 Apr 2014 7:23 PM
Max Figueredo

Rusty I am not from Florida.  I am from New York.  Waiting for the Wood to see the New York breds and Social Inclusion.

02 Apr 2014 8:13 PM

Happy Birthday Steve!

#4  Big Tire:  Santa Anita Derby

Like Candy Boy, Big Tire is under pressure to run first or second to get points. Being a well bred(Candy Ride--Giants Firestone/Giants Causeway) recent  mdn. winner(3/7), his connections are certainly pumped-up( a 6f blowout of 1:12 4/5 on 3/29).  But putting him in the big one may just be over-inflated hope. I hope he doesn't run flat and become another lightly raced re-tread.  But we will see Saturday, on the track, against the best from the West because for Big Tire, that is where the rubber meets the road.

02 Apr 2014 9:54 PM

El Kabong: Nice to hear from you buddy ...go easy with me now (LOL). Regarding Cairo Prince's Derby jeopardy, you obviously have not read trainer Kiaran McLaughlin comments. He despises the points system ...and I don't blame him

In trying to use last years experience to bolster your preference for this system, let me remind you that your sample size is too small to be credible. Let it run for a couple more seasons (if it lasts that long) so that you could at least speak of success or failure in terms of percentages.

You need to check out Street Sense's trainer Carl Naftzger's view of the points system since he was able to successful plot the developmental path to the Derby for Street Sense. What he, as a trainer, can tell about the kind of undue pressure this system exerts on trainers' preparation of young horses should not be ignored or dismissed simply because Street Sense would have had the points based upon his Tampa Bay derby and Blue Grass performances. The fact is that the trainer was free to plot te path for his charge ... and hearing from a trainer of his calibre is as close to "hearing from te horses' mouth" as you can get.

Jay Jay: Some of the flaws of the system that I identify you don't consider flaws, such as, requiring fillies to run against the colts to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. You've previously expressed the view that fillies should not compete with colts ...which to me is ridiculous but its your opinion ...remember Rachel Alexandra who whipped the 'oys' on three occassions as a 3YO?

Another major flaw is in the arbitrary allocation of points that devalue significant and prestigeous graded stakes races for 2YOs like the Champagne and the Breeders Cup Juvenile. The Champagne especially has a long history and has produced many graduates that have been the Derby favourite and won several Triple Crown races. It is foolhardy to ignore rich tradition ...and I'm not arguing merely for the sake of being traditional ...there is wisdom in the ancient paths my friend.

Tell me, by what alchemy do you think that the creators of this system see fairness in awarding the fourth place finisher in any of the final preps the same qualifying points as the winner of any of these: The Champagne, Breeders Cup Juvenile, The Robert Lewis, The Kentucky Jockey Club, The Holy Bull Stakes, The Smarty Jones, and The Lexington. You might argue that Cairo Prince's placing in the Florida Derby doesn't aid my argument but I think that in CP's case it makes the point that the points system conflicts with the trainer's program becausethe consensus out there is that Cairo Prince is better than his placing in the Florida Derby precisely because his trainer thought his best strategy to have the colt peak on the first Saturay in May was to skip the Fountain Of Youth Stakes ...but the dreadful points system doesn't allow that kid of slack for an obviously worthy contender ...thus the Derby field that it per chance will yield would be an inferior line up.

Cutting out much verbiage, this points system will tend to yield an inferior Derby field, nine times out of ten, than the previous Graded Stakes Earning system which worked flawlessy until the current regression. Thats the crux of my opposition.  

02 Apr 2014 10:02 PM

Well, it seems like Kid Cruz is a go. Steve, I am curious to know where did you get your information saying Kid Cruz was going to pass on the Wood Memorial? I hope this is not a case of derby fever in his camp and somebody is rushing things. I know one thing, if this horse is a 100%, this is where my money will be.

02 Apr 2014 10:03 PM
El Kabong


You give us all a gift each year at this time that is immeasurable. We all owe you a sincere thanks for all your hard work on the Derby, so allow me to express my gratitude on this day Mr. Haskin. You make this event 100 times more enjoyable with your insights and love of the game. Thanks for sharing.

02 Apr 2014 10:28 PM

Cassandra.Says : Why is it against the law ?   I'm thinking there's a little misunderstanding here, probably on my part lol.

Coldfacts : I posted awhile back that SI's connections should sell (before they decided to go to the Wood.)  Either SI is a monster or they're taking a huge risk at exposing the horse as nothing but a regular's their choice.

El Kabong : Thanks for the supporting details on the points system, I posted a more direct and specific question about the "flaws" of the system.  I'm pretty sure I would get some ridiculous answer(s) again.  It's one thing to complain when you have supporting facts but to complain just to be "different" is ridiculous...I've not seen anything or seen anyone complain about it except Kiaran because I'm pretty sure he's already blaming himself for the FD loss.  He took a risk and it didn't pan out, he has to live with it and like you said, I'm pretty sure he'll own up to it.

Ashland : I'm quite excited to see Testa Rossi in the race, was hoping they'd enter her and give her a chance to run in the Oaks.  It'll be the highlight of my weekend to see her win the Ashland, but I won't be too disappointed if she doesn't.  She can go back and be a monster on turf :)

02 Apr 2014 11:03 PM
Your Only Friend

Still reading from those who are complaining about the point system....point system is fair for every owner/trainer/fans......all you have too do is run your horse /qualify.....those who fall to  the wayside because of injury...that's sports...happens everyday. Gives racing fans something too talk about.

02 Apr 2014 11:04 PM
Steve Haskin

El Kabong, thank you very much for your kind words. That's very nice of you to say and I appreciate it.

Linda Rice said Kid Cruz needed more time and probably would pass the Wood. After all, he hadnt worked since he last ran on March 8. Then he breezes 5f in 1:02 today and just like that he's entered. Trainer's decision or owner's decision? I have no idea, but hes going into the race with one slow work in 4 weeks.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, but it's not until Friday :)

02 Apr 2014 11:22 PM

I think the best thing about the points system, compared to the graded earnings system, is that it seems to have eliminated the sprinters who have absolutely no chance at getting 10 furlongs, and have in the past taken spots from colts that would have been more competitive.

03 Apr 2014 12:03 AM

Happy Birthday Steve!

Ashland : Testa Rossi with Rosalind, Macaroon and Seeking Her Glory.  I might throw in Candy Kitty in there as Edgar Prado can beat you when you least expect it.

Santa Anita Derby :   CC with Dublin Up, Candy Boy and SchoolOfHardRocks. I'm aware Dublin Up is still a maiden but I really like the way he set the pace in his last race and barely got beaten.  I don't see much speed here that would go with CC except him and something tells me he might be rabbit in the race that holds on.  I'm hoping to get at least 15-1 on him to make the exacta, tri and super a little juicy.

Wood Memorial : Samraat and Wicked Strong with Uncle Sigh, Schivarelli and Harpoon for my .20 superfecta.   Wicked Strong looks like is the only one that has run on the main track at Aqueduct and I think he will have a big race this saturday. I'll still do a reverse superfecta just in case.

Carter : Golden Ticket and Sahara Sky cold $10 exacta box.  Will probably net me $2 lol.

03 Apr 2014 12:19 AM
El Kabong


My apologies if I threw too hard. I understand your position well, and would like only to have you consider what can be. As a former athlete, I'll give you my athlete's view on the 2 year olds and 3's and 4's with a human metaphor. At two, they're like high school kids, full of potential. Some have physically matured early, some haven't but they have a mind for the game. At 3, the physical maturity is beginning to level off and the mind is becoming more important to their success. Hence my belief that the more valuable thoroughbred is really only showing us his potential at 3 when the physical and mental maturity is beginning, beginning to blend. Giving points to a 2 year old, is like giving credit for High School efforts towards the  Heisman Trophy Vote. To put too much emphasis on that phase only benefits the early maturing athletes who merely held a physical advantage under lesser conditions. That cannot be considered good for racing, or the breed. It's not just about who gets into the derby, it's more about what horses have the talent, given ample time to mature, with care, to produce the best heart and mind for the game. This system rewards a thoroughbred that is more well rounded, if his trainer accepts the perimeters. That is what I like.

03 Apr 2014 12:38 AM

Ranagulzion : Do you remember what happened after Rachel had that monstruos year ?   Her unbelievable year was the first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear a filly is trying the boys.  I'm not privy to what happened to Rachel but I wouldn't be surprised that everything that happened to her after was the result of that campaign.  I would much rather see fillies run against their own and race for years, than see what happened to Rachel.   I don't know if you can relate to that but I wouldn't be surprised if you don't.

You obviously are a traditionalist, but to me, you're stuck in the past.  You need to catch up.   History is something to learn from, the graded system allowed a Trinniberg and other one time wonders.  Horses who can't transform their 2YO form to 3YO get in because they won one of the 2YO races.   The powers that be saw that flaw and made the correct change.

The number of Kentucky Derby winners that came from those races you mentioned is not very high, I went back as far as 1999, I may have missed some.  They may be historically significant, but if we give free passes to the horses that won these races, then we will have inferior fields, you need to research the winners of those races and tell me how good they were :

Kentucky Jockey Club :   Super Saver

Champagne Stakes : None

Robert J Lewis : I’ll Have Another

Breeder’s Cup Juvenile :  Street Sense

Holy Bull Stakes :  Barbaro

The Smarty Jones :  None

Lexington :  Charismatic

As far as Cairo Prince, if we have to go with the "consensus" to decide who should be in the Derby, the change they will need to do is to expand the field to 60 because everyone will have their thoughts on why their derby dozen should all be in the Derby.  The prep races are there to identify the best horses.   You then expanded your criticisms to the Derby having inferior field…how did you come up with that ?  How do you know the field that ran last year was inferior and compared to who/what ??

03 Apr 2014 2:33 AM
The Deacon

A lot of emphasis and discussion is being said about the Wood Memorial as being a solid prep race for the Kentucky Derby. I agree many of these horses need the points to even get in the Derby but I might say that the Wood Memorial winner has not done too well in the Kentucky Derby.

You have to go back to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 as the last Wood winner to also win the Kentucky Derby.

In recent years many of the pre Derby favorites like I Want Revenge, and Eskendereya never made the big dance after winning the Wood and subsequently got injured.

Before 2000, the last Wood Memorial winner that also won the Derby was Pleasant Colony in 1981.


03 Apr 2014 4:02 AM
The Deacon

A lot of emphasis and discussion is being said about the Wood Memorial as being a solid prep race for the Kentucky Derby. I agree many of these horses need the points to even get in the Derby but I might say that the Wood Memorial winner has not done too well in the Kentucky Derby.

You have to go back to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 as the last Wood winner to also win the Kentucky Derby.

In recent years many of the pre Derby favorites like I Want Revenge, and Eskendereya never made the big dance after winning the Wood and subsequently got injured.

Before 2000, the last Wood Memorial winner that also won the Derby was Pleasant Colony in 1981.

Just saying...............omen or not but in the fateful words of NBA player Rasheed Wallace

"Ball Don't Lie"

03 Apr 2014 4:05 AM


My learned colleague I just love your spirited defense of your opposition to the Points System.

Mr. Pletcher has consistently had the most Derby starters over the last 10 years. He presently has Intense Holiday, Constitution, We Miss Atrie and Vinceremos in the top 20. Should Commissioner, Harpoon, Vinceremos and Gala Award do well in their respective final Derby preps, he is likely to have either six or seven starter if he so chooses.

The Point System has not slowed his dominance in the Derby starter’s category. If he has made a smooth transition to the new system, why can’t others?

03 Apr 2014 6:31 AM

The NY colts Samraat and Uncle Sigh have never appeal to me. Samraat is clearly the better of the two but does his undefeated record signify he is an extreme talent? The times recorded by both colts on the inner track at the Big A have been ridiculously slow. If track conditions and other factor in New York contributed to these times, how much adjustment would be reasonable to reflect times under normal conditions?

It is difficult to measure just how fast these colts are. One measure that can be useful is the performance of In Trouble against them in the Gotham. In Trouble returned from five months off and was attempting a distance beyond 6F for the first time and was beaten by < a length. He then contested the LA Derby and finished a non-threatening 4th after causing a host of trouble.

Samraat and Uncle Sigh will be joined by Social Inclusion and Kristo in the Wood. I believe the New Yorkers will be exposed to real speed for the first time. Real speed is not the only problem they will face.

Their opponents in the Withers or Gotham were beaten badly as none were able to close any significant ground. They now face some serious closers with talent i.e., Kid Cruz, Wicked Strong, Los Borrachos and Schivarelli. All the aforementioned closers have either won or placed in at Aqueduct.

Samraat and Uncle will be subjected to early and late speed and for them that a new domain. It is one I think they will find overwhelming to say the least.

03 Apr 2014 7:42 AM

There have not been many upsets in Derby preps in 2014. The two that have occurred have been at Tampa Bay i.e., Vinceremos @12-1 in the Sam Davis and Ring Weekend @14-1 in the TB Derby.

It is reasonable to assume that a big shocker is pending in the remaining preps. There will be some big favorites in the Wood, SA Derby and AK Derby so conditions are ripe for one of those races to provide a shocker.

There is an undefeated colt in the Wood by the name Schivarelli. He was unknown to me before I saw his entry. The Montbrook colt won his last by 12L in the fog. He is relatively unknown but must have been outstanding in the sale ring as he fetched $100K. He covers ground with ease and has a good turn of foot. Ordinary horses do not win races by 12L first time over a mile. It should be noted that he was foaled on May 24. Beware of those May foals they are dangerous.

It is interesting to note that Social Inclusion who is also a May foal is undefeated in two starts and won his last by 10L. He has been listed as the ML favorite and Schivarelli listed as a pretender. What a difference at NTR makes!

When was the last time a horse from the Buckpasser sire line was seen in $1M Derby prep? The sire line has been dormant for a while and needs revival. The Derby class of 2014 is dominated by three sire lines i.e., Mr. Prospector, A P Indy and Storm Cat. Could the Buckpasser line sneak one into contention?

Something crazy is likely to happen in the Derby mix with so much speed in play.

03 Apr 2014 8:42 AM

Dr D I am not so sure the farthest outside post is good for a colt that has only raced twice and both were at Gulfstream from the farthest inside post,we will find out Saturday.

BTW do you bet Derby futures and if so did you bet SI in the last pool?

03 Apr 2014 8:58 AM
Monarchos Matt


Agree about the names-- Samraat? Uncle Sigh? Candy Boy? General A Rod? Intense Holiday? (The latter doesn't even make any sense...)

However, I will submit that Conquest Titan is an AWESOME horse name. Let's just hope he makes it in...

03 Apr 2014 9:07 AM

Samraat and Uncle Sigh in the Wood and Ca Chrome and Hopper in Santa Anita.

Been researching Samraat, like his ancestry.

03 Apr 2014 10:11 AM

Other than the top three in the SA derby looks like the others were entered so the race would fill,a bunch of 20/1 shots.Hopefully i'll find the stayer this weekend otherwise this derby is a crapshoot.

03 Apr 2014 10:19 AM
Pedigree Ann

Jayjay - Ranag isn't a traditionalist - the tradition in this country and around the world was to run fillies and mares with colts and geldings if that was the right place for her. As I look back in my ARMs (American Racing Manuals), I see that fillies and mares ran against guys in stakes races and 3yos ran against their elders early in the year (they get a very nice weight break for being so young) much more often even just 10 years ago. Island Fashion ran second in the Santa Anita H at 4 in 2004, after winning the Alabama at 3. Evita Argentina beat the boys in the San Vicente in 2009; she was a 7-furlong specialist.

This idea of "protecting fillies and mares" by never running them against males is a new idea, similar to the one about 6 weeks between races for stakes horses. I would not be surprised if it gained predominance after Eight Belles, as if Go for Wand didn't break down as sickeningly while running against mares.

03 Apr 2014 10:23 AM
Rusty Weisner

Dr. Drunkinbum,

I agree, I don't see any problem with 11 post for Social Inclusion.  That's not usually a liability for a fast, dominating horse.  Unless the Aqueduct main track has an unusually short run-up to the clubhouse turn. Does it?

03 Apr 2014 11:18 AM
Rusty Weisner


Rise Up.  Sabercat.  Trinniberg.  This list could go on and on.

I acknowledge your complaints:  just make the premier 2-yo races 50 points.  And cut down the points for any non-dirt race.

03 Apr 2014 11:20 AM
Rusty Weisner

Another thing Ranagulzion is missing is that the points system makes the final preps incredibly competitive.  This Arkansas Derby is going to be great.  Last year the Bluegrass, which would have been a very weak race, got Palace Malice because he needed points.  

03 Apr 2014 11:26 AM
Rusty Weisner

Thoughts on Hoppertunity's pedigree?

03 Apr 2014 11:27 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I didn't bet any futures this year. I'd like to do Wynn some year. I played the CD futures in a few pools in prior years, mainly exactas. I'm not much of a futures guy. My projected order of finish SA- CC, Hoppertunity, Candy Boy, Big Tire. AQU- SI, Uncle Sigh, Samraat, Kid Cruz. If there is a longshot possible for a top three in either race I'm not seeing it.

03 Apr 2014 11:32 AM

Hi guys- i feel this is a mediocre crop of 3 year olds. Social Inclusion could be the exception. I see him slightly off the pace from the 11 hole. I want to see if this horse can be rated a little. if so he will jog against these new york breds. you have to be kidding me with these new york breds to take them seriously. There is only 1 Funny Cide a lifetime. That will never happen again with a new york bred. Social Inclusion will jog and win by 8 lengths. I believe he will be special with his pioneer of the nile blood and raise a native breeding. I knew cairo prince was limited with a dosage of 7. Also i am not crazy about the california horses. What did candy ride do in the derby. He did nada, just like his son will perform on derby day. Not crazy about cali chrome either. He peaked to early. The derby will be won by Social Inclusion with Constitution for 2nd. OLD SCHOOL JUST LIKE MY BOY STEVIE  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

03 Apr 2014 11:54 AM
lunar spook

I know this is a stretch , but I like harpoon in the wood & school of hard rocks in the santa anita , with the odds im gonna get I just need one or the other to win , good luck to everybody !!!

03 Apr 2014 1:24 PM


I agree regarding Samraat breeding.

I believe he is the the horse that could run a Barbaro type of race in the Derby.

If it was not for a cetain person here calling C.Chrome a freak he would be my #1 Derby pick right now..

I say Samraat will be the biggest overlay come derby day.

03 Apr 2014 1:44 PM

"Ill tell ya no respect no respect at all"..

Since the Gotham Samraat has had 3 works one 4 furlong and two mile works. Throw in their 2 races over a mile and 2 more mile works this horse may be the best conditioned horse on the Derby Trail oh by the way he is unbeaten.

If you believe Social Inclusion is going to get a walk in the park lead in this race think again.

I say their are 4 horse to his inside that are going to fire and force S.I to either rate go wide or burn his jets to get the lead.

S.I has 2 races under his belt and no workouts longer than 4f and he gets the 2-1 favorite. Is he conditioned to get the distance?

Yes his 111 beyer jumps out but lets not forget it was Gulfstream on a uncontested lead.

Samraat will be 5th tracking the leaders down the backstretch. Make his move around the turn and the conditioning will kick in as he wins by just enough to win.

Samraat is the Rodney Dangerfield of this years Derby contenders and he is 7-2 in the Wood..

Thank You sir may I have another..


For a bomber to put in the exotics Effinex at 50-1

Good luck to all..

03 Apr 2014 2:48 PM

Just got done watching Samraats last 3 races.

This horse is like a machine. He makes the same move every race and all on his own.

He has felt the whip once during those 3 races.

I believe the only negative with this horse is when he gets the lead he looses focus and hangs.

In case you cannot tell I like this horse!!!

03 Apr 2014 3:04 PM

Pedigree Ann:

What you state about early 3 yr. olds running against their elders, and fillies and mares running against colts is not true-in this country. In both instances, it's quite the rarity, particularly for most of the 20th century. Yes, it's happened occasionally-ex. Key To The Mint at 3 in the Met, and Tosmah winning the Campbell, but these are among the few exceptions. In Europe it's different, in part because they tend to run over undulating turf courses where the typical filly/mare physique may serve to advantage.  

03 Apr 2014 3:56 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

   Isn't that like telling the pitcher that he has a no-hitter going?

Rusty Weisner

   I don't recall what the run-up is, probably because I usually don't pay attention to that stuff unless someone brings up its relevance for a particular race. I don't think it is a factor here but I do think they should eliminate the one hole in The Derby and probably the 20th and have 18 horses running. The one hole is crazy. Lookin at Lucky was probably the best horse in his Derby but had no chance from the one.

03 Apr 2014 4:46 PM

Dr D I like Hop in the SA Derby, and if Noble Moon is still the same or better than his first 3 races I give him a shot in here.I dont know if I will bet on these,its more possible in the SA Derby using Hop in exactas with other probables.I would like to see Samaarat get points as he is already in and SI come in at the bottom of the tri and Uncle Sigh not even come in 4th,but that is asking too much I think.I dont think SI will romp outta the 11 hole,but wont be surprised if he does.I think this could be one of the weaker preps.SI would have run at Gulfstream if his connections thought that was an easier spot than this IMO.I am not in accord with the notion that they wanted to run at another track.Their original plan was the Preakness but now that the KD is on the screen they are going to run in the easiest spot with a colt that only has run 2 races has had millions offered for him.

03 Apr 2014 5:24 PM

Wouldn't it be ironic should this year's Blue Grass winner (or placer) just happen to win the Derby-now that Keeneland's switching back to dirt. The latest stats make rather clear that the "poly" is much safer. But, horses don't vote.

03 Apr 2014 5:43 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D: Sorry but I am not sure I understand your comparison. I was only stating factual history, telling a pitcher he has a no hitter going whether its the 1st, 3rd, or 6th inning is different. The no hitter hasn't happened yet, what I stated are historical numbers. For me and I go back a long way I wouldn't touch a Wood winner in the Derby. If I did he'd have to be special. Now if a horse runs 2nd or 3rd in the Wood and needed the race then that would be different.

Ball don't lie my friend. Now drop down and give me 20 pushups while balancing a cup of coffee......LOL  :)

03 Apr 2014 6:18 PM

Harpoon & Los Borrachos battle in a shocker!

03 Apr 2014 6:38 PM

Noble Moon looks like a 2-turn specialist to me. I know the long layoff is a concern, but he looks like 100% pure racehorse, $20 Win!

03 Apr 2014 7:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Deacon

    Don't mind me, I'm just superstitious about bringing up injured horses out of the Wood that are probable Derby winners.


   The Blue Grass will be the best race next year. This year it is actually the Arkansas Derby for me. I thought that they wanted the extra week is why SI is in the Wood instead. I think GP would have been the more logical track to try to win at since he did so well there. Maybe they did also think that GP was the tougher race, I don't know. I'm not seeing value so I'm not betting either race Saturday. Going allin with Arkansas, then The Derby. I'm hoping that SI gets into The Derby. I'd like to see he and CC as The Derby favorites with the east-west hoopla going.

03 Apr 2014 8:09 PM

The studbook propagated the idea that genetic inheritance rested with the male. Stud service became big business leading to more and more stallions from around the world being imported to North America.

Suddenly, females stopped running against males. Almost all races became segregated by gender and the entrants in the big open stakes races were mostly male. Female ability didn't decline, as the new sires were producing offspring of both sexes, but these races became significant in establishing potential sires. It was why many of these races were created at all. They were showcases for future sires and built the illusion that the significant talent that would give you an edge came from males. Fillies beating up on colts is simply bad for business.

03 Apr 2014 8:35 PM

Sceptre - Pedigree Ann is absolutely correct that "back in the day" (40's, 50's, 60's) in THIS country, fillies/mares ran against the boys regularly (obviously if the connections felt they were good enough) and 3 year old colts ran against older sometimes as early as January.  My racing manuals and books are loaded with examples.  It has been getting less and less common, in my opinion probably starting with Ruffian and then the whole Eight Belles thing I believe had a really big effect....  It is only in more recent years that trainers have begun treating these stakes horses with kid gloves, but the claimers at my local track are able to do far more for some reason....?

03 Apr 2014 9:00 PM

The addition of Social Inclusion in the race, sets up nicely for Uncle Sigh.  I expect Uncle Sigh to rate well off the pace, with Samraat and Social Inclusion in a battle for the lead.

Uncle Sigh, Social Inclusion, and Samraat, not necessarily in that order.

03 Apr 2014 10:38 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

rick violette has a horse training the old way...

samraat #1 for me ...

cali chrome  uncle sigh  general a rod   wildcat red   still high on my list ..hoppertunity improving him a lot

03 Apr 2014 11:22 PM

Pedigree Ann : I replied to your post this morning but for some reason didn't post.  I should've been clear, my thoughts were for fillies who run against the boys in one major race.   I'm familiar with fillies running against the boys overseas, I see quite a few of them in Australia races and to me, I don't see much difference when the gates open but the fillies over there are conditioned to run against the boys, unlike here where they run and win a 5 horse field and 3 of them are allowance or maiden winners but because it's a big purse race, they get in.   I don't like that because the horse does not have any experience or foundation to go against 19 other boys.

Ranagulzion :   Another point and more importantly, the "flaw" about fillies not getting in the Derby...who said they can't ?   They just need to win the right races and they can earn the points.   I can understand why you're complaining about this because you consider the example I used in my post to Ann (above) as a legitimate prep race for the Derby.   If a filly is to join the dance, she has to earn it, no free passes and she needs to be able to withstand the prep races against the boys.

It will take a very very special filly to do this and that would make it more special.   Dreaming Of Julia, the horse you said would demolish the Derby field can't even win the Oaks and I don't believe has won a race since that GP Oaks win.   You're blinded by your obsession that you miss these little facts.  

I'm anxiously awaiting your response to my questions...although I don't expect much.

04 Apr 2014 12:19 AM

Coldfacts :  Good to see you like my longshot horse in the Wood in Shivarelli.  Did you see that race he won by 12Ls ??  I watched it and couldn't see anything due to the thick fog lol.  I'm going with his maiden win race where he was kind of green, I liked his move in the last furlong where it was all horse, the jockey was just trying to guide him clear.  He's two for two and can come off the pace. I'm reversing my super because of him, he might get too far ahead for Samraat and Wicked Strong to catch.  

04 Apr 2014 1:06 AM
The Deacon

Dr. D: No worries, you are a breath of fresh air on these blogs. I enjoy every post you make. I am not the pedigree or breeding expert many are but nonetheless I love this sport. I handicap from my eye and the racing form. I just love the horses as I used to ride a lot way back in the day at my uncle's ranch. I have a buddy now who is a trainer. He does the Santa Rosa and Portland Meadows circuit. Not big time but he and I have a good time. He knows more about pedigree and breeding then anyone I ever met.

My only thoughts about this is why in tarnation is the Wood Memorial such a jinx when it comes to Derby winners. I thought Eskendereya was a sure Triple Crown horse. I don't believe I will ever see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime, the game has changed too much. We got relatively close with I'll Have Another but it always something happens and poof our dreams are shattered.

These blogs have beaten the breeding, cross breeding and pedigrees to death. Lets all just do some old fashioned handicapping and see what happens.

In case folks forget some of these prep races are pretty prestigious. I remember when the Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial, Florida Derby and even the Flamingo Stakes at old Hialeah were pretty darn big races.........times sure have changed. Now its all about the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup......

Keep those posts coming because all of us enjoy them.

04 Apr 2014 1:41 AM

A wonderful anecdote by Woody Stephens to unsettle interstate invaders that often rang true: "when you cross the Hudson, the buildings get taller...

We shall see after the Wood!!

04 Apr 2014 2:05 AM

The pace in the Wood interests me greatly.  The assumption is that SI will shoot for (and likely grab) the lead, but then what?  Run off with it?  Attempt to rate?  Which horses will feel the need to go with him?

Kid Cruz seems to be in a perfect spot on the rail.  He can settle back, save ground and make a big run at the finish.  Question is: will it be too late and too far back?  

Will SI bounce and finish flat?  I'm banking on it.

I think Uncle Sigh has a chance to stalk here.  I'll box Kid, Sam and Uncle and if the freak freaks, so be it.

SA Derby looks more chalky to me.  CC keyed over CB and Hop.  $2 investment and hope to get $25 back.

Good luck and enjoy the races, all!

04 Apr 2014 6:50 AM

Dr D since you are already proclaiming the BG the best prep in 2015, that implies you didnt like the synthetic track.

I also like the Arkansas Derby this year as long as all seven of the colts slated to run actually compete.I have wagered on Conquest Titan,Strong Mandate,Commissioner and used Tapiture in combinations.I would like an exacta with two of the first three then I would go into the Derby with a LOT of exactas already covered then I could do some additional hedging to cover more of the exactas and swing for the fence with tris or a super.

Andrew Beyer reported in DRF that Sanchez owner of SI is holding out for 15 million if that is so my thinking about choosing the easiest spot at least on paper for the colt makes a lot of sense.

04 Apr 2014 7:56 AM

History appears to be on the side of Social Inclusion in the Wood as it relates to shippers from GP. In nine of the last 13 renewals of the Wood, GP shipper have either won or finished second.

2013- Verrazano won twice at GP before winning the TB Derby and then shipping for the Wood. Most of his preparation was at GP.

2012- Gemologist won an Allowance at GP impressively before shipping to win the Wood.

2010- Eskendereya won the FOY impressively before shipping to win the Wood.

2007- Nobiz Like Shobiz finished 3rd in the FOY before shipping to win the Wood.

2005- Bellamy Road- an Allowance at GP impressively before shipping to win the Wood.

2004- Tapit finished 6th in the FOY before shipping to win the Wood.

2003- Empire Maker won the FL Derby before shipping to win the Wood.

2002- Buddha won an Allowance at GP impressively before shipping to win the Wood.

2001- Monarchos won the FL Derby before shipping to finish 2nd win the Wood.

Uncle Mo was the biggest flop shipped from GP to contest the Wood. A race was specially written for him before the Wood similar to the one that was written for Honor Code. Social Inclusion won that race. Will he suffer a similar fate? Social Inclusion appears to be a better colt than Uncle Mo at least he moves much better over ground.

04 Apr 2014 9:40 AM

Happy Birthday Steve !!! and many more.

The Santa Anita looks chalky either way, but I may take a very small bet with Hoppertunity with the thought Cal. Chrome bounces a little, but if Cal. Chrome wins again with another big beyer, does it make you more skeptical in the Ky. Derby of a bounce?

The Wood to me looks wide open and ripe for an upset. I haven't been a big fan of Samratt or Uncle Sigh, I don't think they have faced any competition yet. And, I want to see it again out of Social Inclusion on a different track w/o a heavy speed bias, running against a healthy field. I may use #2 Wicked Strong and #4 Harpoon on top of a tri/super, and might use #7 a little in the 2'nd. slot with the obvious. Looks to be multiple ways to go in the Wood. Good luck all.

04 Apr 2014 10:32 AM

Steve, what are your thoughts on Hoppertunity running in the Santa Anita Derby instead of waiting for Louisville?  It looks like he's sitting on a big race just not sure you'd want that race to be this weekend...

Is a big effort in the SA derby a good idea given how many races he's already run this year?   - Big fan of this colt  

04 Apr 2014 10:33 AM

Jayjay: speaking of fillies in Australia: Earthquake, Mossfun and the (male) ringer, Ghibellines.  I am also looking for Fiorente to bounce back now that they're going longer.

04 Apr 2014 11:10 AM

Good Morning Steve ~

  (Take) A moment in time off the track as you are wished a very Happy Birthday and with many thanks for your sharing and caring in the "Sport of Kings".  You have opened the gate to thrilling events be they historical, current, upcoming and of the future.  Your effort to continue on the trail to many more Derbys and Triple Crowns is remarkable.

It is with appreciation and admiration for you as an individual for the respect that you give (and obviously teach here)and uphold to the thoroughbred, the industry and all of us here.

Thank you......and

             Happy Birthday ~ Many More

04 Apr 2014 11:40 AM


No, fillies and mares did not compete REGULARLY against the boys in the 40's, 50's, '60s. It was a rare occurrence. What you are observing (in those books) are the rare occurrences. You, or Pedigree Ann, cite no stats, because you've seen none. What you're noticing are the cream of the mostly older female division for those years. And this topic was prompted by the inferred suggestion that early 3 yr. old fillies could/should be able to compete against the 3 yr. old colts for Derby points. You both imply that history supports this- but it doesn't. Take a look back at the Derby prep races for those decades mentioned, and count the number of fillies in those races. It was the rare filly (like Silver Spoon) who then ran against those colts. When it was decided that Ruffian would run against Foolish Pleasure in that match, it was a real eye opener-because it was considered such a rarity...In truth, early-mid 2 yr. old fillies may have an edge against many of the 2 yr. old boys, because fillies tend to mature a bit faster than their male counterparts. By the time they're later in their 2 yr. old years, though, the boys catch up, and the fillies lose that LONE edge. History shows that 3 yr. old fillies do not compete well against 3 yr. old colts. Most of what you're noticing are the few older females who managed to be competitive with the older males in some major stakes. One filly, Regret, won the Derby between her day and Genuine Risk's. What does that tell you?-and that large gap in time preceded the Ruffian and later Eight Belles tragedies.      

04 Apr 2014 11:41 AM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks, that was a nice post on Florida shippers.

04 Apr 2014 11:54 AM
Rusty Weisner

Dr Drunkinbum,

I don't really agree about the outside post in the Derby.  Big Brown: 20, I'll Have Another: 19, Nehro: 19.

04 Apr 2014 11:59 AM

I have not jumped on the California Chrome bandwagon because I think he has not faced serious competition as yet and the track at SA aided and abetted his performance in the San Felipe.

On 01/25/2014 CC won the 8.5F Cal Cup Derby by a wide margin in 1:43.22. Six weeks later he wins the San Felipe over the same distance in 1:40.59. He improved his time by 2.63 seconds in 6 weeks. Folks, that’s not a normal occurrence and it should indicate that track conditions were largely responsible for the performance and not some significant improvement in the animal. I am in no way trying to undermine either the colt's  ability or achievements.

Consolidator is the present holder of the record for the San Felipe stakes. On a super-fast track he destroyed Giacomo and Done Get Mad two deep closers who had no chance on that surface. Before his record breaking performance he finished 4th in 3 of 4 starts in stakes races and 3rd in the other. Did he suddenly improve overnight?  His next start after the San Felipe was in the Bluegrass on dirt where he finished a well beaten 5th. These exceptionally performance and fast times recorded by 3YOs do not necessarily mean that next time out facing better competition, they will be repeated.  

Who did California Chrome defeat in the SF on a track the barely had any kick back because of its hardness? Midnight Hawk and Kristo. His previous victory was against state breds, Tamarando and Life Is A Hoy. Midnight Hawk was previously easily beaten by Candy Boy and twice beaten by Chitu. Tamarando has to date been beaten by six different horses. His wide margin loss in the Cal Cup Derby to CC was normal for him. Kristo who was beaten twice by Midnight Hawk had to ship out of town to get away from the SA Speedway. Life Is A Hoy after two whippings by California Chrome tried turf and finished a well beaten 5th.

I have to see more to be convinced this colt deserves to be ranked #1 or to be the likely 2-5 favorite for the SA Derby. If he win impressive I will certainly be a believer but for now I think some of his chrome can be removed by one of his talented opponents.

04 Apr 2014 12:02 PM
Rusty Weisner


I have the same question.  For my part, though, I think it's a very positive sign: he's healthy!  A number of people said Palace Malice and Oxbow had too many races going into the Derby.

I don't like Hoppertunity to win the Santa Anita Derby, but am hoping he'll be eligible to improve at CD.

04 Apr 2014 12:06 PM

mz : I'll keep an eye out for those horses, I only knew of Fiorente as your horse.  Do you have a jockey you like ?  I've gotten lucky playing Ms. Schmidt (longshots) and I rely on Yendall and Schofield a lot.

04 Apr 2014 12:39 PM
Steve Haskin

BelmontBarb, thank you so much for those beautiful words. They are greatly appreciated.

04 Apr 2014 12:50 PM
Forbidden Apple

Happy Birthday Steve! Keep up your hard work and dedication to the sport of kings.

1)Candy Boy- I see him as a powerful stalker. He's extremely well bred to love running over a distance of ground. The KY Derby is the ultimate goal, however he can win tomorrow by sitting just behind the speedy California Chrome and then take control of the race in the final furlong.

2)Social Inclusion- A lightly raced beast that has unlimited potential. He swallows up ground with every stride, seems all business on the track, and is razor sharp. He clearly does not need the lead in the Wood. Don't be surprised when he forces his competition into defeat with ease.

3)California Chrome- I love this horse, he's speedy, professional, and built like an iron horse. He has performed very well over the S.A. surface this winter. His speed might squeak out another win tomorrow. Going forward I don't see him wiring the field in the KY Derby.

4)Wildcat Red- With a rail skimming ride he wins the FL Derby and gains respect. Either way he is a fighter that throws down in every race. He appeared to finish with plenty left in the tank for Kentucky, sneaky good. With a switch back to his speed game, he is dangerous.

5)Constitution- A lightly raced colt who is improving fast. His dream rail trip in the FL Derby must not be forgotten. I'm not sure how good he will be in a field of 20 and no dream trip.

6)Bayern- Could be any kind, AK Derby will tell a lot.

7)Cairo Prince- He might not be as good as many people thought before the FL Derby. He's now on the outside looking in. Even though he needed the race, I don't trust him going forward if he gets in the KY Derby.

8)Ring Weekend- I'm not sure what to make of this horse. I'm looking forward to his run in the Calder Derby.

9)Hoppertunity- 3rd best in the S.A. Derby.

10)Vicar's In trouble- He looked good beating up on the competition at the Fairgrounds.

11)Mr. Speaker- A talented horse who will be my pick for the Bluegrass.

12)The Admiral- An up and coming horse that looks to be all class and very professional in his maiden breaker. His future looks bright, I hope they stretch him out after the Bay Shore.

Whoever said that Rachel Alexander ran in the Travers is 100% wrong. She won the Woodward over a hard charging Macho Again, extremely lucky to hold on over a slightly above average colt.

Untapable had every chance to enter last weekend against colts. Her connections chose not to, so who cares about her not having points for the KY Derby.

The new points system is better because it forces competitive horses to line up against each other. I never liked the purse earnings being the most important criteria to enter the KY Derby. It would allow for sprinters and one hit wonders to join in the fun. I could care less about how much a horse earned at 2 or if he won a race like the Delta Jackpot.

04 Apr 2014 12:57 PM

These two big races are just perfect for me to watch and enjoy!  I'm going to sit these two out and pray for all to have safe trips!  

04 Apr 2014 1:22 PM

Steve: I forgot to wish you a happy 25th birthday for the 25th? 26th? 30th? time!  (Doesn't really matter over 30 anyways ... at least not for us old farts around as kids in the 60's -- never trust anyone over 30!!!)

(Although I find it weird that I am more liberal than those 20-somethings/ 30-somethings of today!!!!)

Jayjay: they are 2YO's and they're running in the Golden Slipper.  

04 Apr 2014 2:08 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rusty Weisner

   How about the 1 and 2?  Just the one would be good enough but an 18 horse field just sounds right.

The Deacon

   Thanks. I always enjoy your posts. I was at Santa Rosa once for the races and Portland once for the races. I especially enjoyed Portland. Nice paddock access and visabilty. I won too. That always makes it nicer. Owners have turned down big bucks before for their horses after they run a big race on the Triple Crown trail and then the horse ends up not doing much. It's risky, a big gamble.

04 Apr 2014 2:28 PM

Kid Cruz is scratched out of the Wood.

04 Apr 2014 2:53 PM


In your Gulfstream does this angle apply to Wicked Strong as well??

04 Apr 2014 3:26 PM

Welp....I land on Kid Cruz as my upset candidate and hours later he gets scratched from the Wood.  Go Uncle Sigh!

04 Apr 2014 3:39 PM
Curlin 1:53.46

I laugh at Forbidden Apple's description of Rachel Alexandra winning the Woodward. It's not who she beat, it's how she won. Not to many horses would be able to take the heat she took on the lead that day and be around at the end. Rachel Alexandra absolutely drove that field into complete submission on the lead.

04 Apr 2014 4:00 PM
Pedigree Ann

THEHOLZ - You must have mixed up Candy Ride with another horse. Candy Ride was foaled on 27 Sept 1999 in Argentina, and as a 3yo in the 2001/02 season, he won two G1 races at a mile (1600m). Exported to the US, he made 3 further starts, winning the American H (G2) at 9f and then blowing by Medaglia d'Oro to win the Pacific Classic (G1-10f dirt) going away. He came from Argentina with contracted heels and was given a rest after the PacClas to try to fix the condition, but it never responded and he was retired. As a stallion, he has had 2 starters in the Kentucky Derby: Chocolate Candy, who wasn't good enough, and Sidney's Candy, who became worked up in the paddock and post parade, broke like a rocket from PP 20, and ran out of gas after mile, like Palace Malice.

Sceptre, I take it you've never looked at the race records of Gallorette, My Juliet, Shuvee, Busher, Myrtlewood, Drumtop, Twilight Tear, and many others I can't call to mind at the moment. Have you forgotten that Althea won the Arkansas Derby in 1984? Or that Easy Goer's dam Relaxing won the Gallant Fox and Campbell and was third to John Henry in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Tosmah also won the Arlington Classic, a major, major 3yo race in those days, Sarsar won the Withers (she was ducking Ruffian), I myself saw the mare Persian Tiara win the G3 Seneca Hcp at Saratoga over the guys in 1984. Miz Clementine won 3 stakes races over colts (including the then important California Derby), was second in the San Fernando and SA Maturity (aka Strub). Typecast won the Hollywood Turf Invitational, the Man o' War,and the Sunset over colts. Melair plastered Preakness winner Snow Chief in a G2. Ta Wee won the Vosburgh and Fall Highweight. Xtra Heat won the Phoenix at Kee, was second in the BC Sprint, and 3rd in the Golden Shaheen. I could keep finding examples but I have other things to do today.

04 Apr 2014 4:28 PM
Pedigree Ann

One reason the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass have been less important Derby preps than previously:

It wasn't THAT long ago that stakes horses raced every 2-3 weeks when prepping for the Derby and the schedule allowed horses to run 3-4-5 times in the spring. After the Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, and Louisiana Derby, there would still be 6-8 weeks before the Derby, so the better horses would need another prep, usually the Wood (2-3 weeks B.D.) or the Blue Grass (10 days to 2 weeks B.D.), and for the lesser lights, the Arkansas Derby.

So in 2001 you saw West Coaster Congaree against Florida Derby winner Monarchos in the Wood. In 2003, Empire Maker won the Florida Derby AND the Wood; Peace Rules won the Louisiana Derby AND the Blue Grass; and Funny Cide raced in both the Louisiana Derby and the Wood Memorial. These horses filled out the Derby trifecta.

Nowadays, all 6 of these races are considered 'final Derby preps', 4-6 weeks BD. No longer are the better horses funneled into those two races as the final preps - they are spread out over the 6 races named. The less often the good ones race against each other, the harder it is to determine the best horse.

04 Apr 2014 4:56 PM

Pedigree Ann:

I was aware of all of them, and more. They compose a very tiny fraction, as I've said. And of those you mentioned; the vast majority had their wins at 4 and up. Tosmah was a phenomenon; among the greatest fillies ever-I witnessed almost all her races, and wanted dearly to bet her against the boys in the Campbell- but I promised my girlfriend that I'd abstain. Yes, Althea did win that Ark. Derby, I think she was favored in the KY Derby, but couldn't take the trip... My point stands, notwithstanding your tiny anecdotes-I thought you had a degree in statistics. Suggest you revisit that discipline.

04 Apr 2014 7:21 PM
Sail On

In the Wood, I see Social Inclusion falling in behind Samraat around the first turn. I see Samratt falling in behind the speedster to his laft, and Uncle Sigh just in front of Samraat, competing for the lead.

Rain overnight? Cloudy all day Sat, but in upper 50s by afternoon.

Samraat and SI best conditioned to run long and hard, not sure which colt will win, but I expect another hand ride of Samraat, hell not go all in to win this race. Perhaps Harpoon will be 4th after Sigh.

Hope the Kid recovers his form soon.

04 Apr 2014 10:03 PM
Sail On

Do Candy Boy and Hoppertunity have a chance to beat California Chrome? We will soon find out. No speed in this race, except CC, and that leaves Candy Boy to be the closer. Its hard to bet against CC. Will Hopp out duel Candy? Ill not bet this race.

04 Apr 2014 10:08 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

California Chrome's sire Stud Fee of $ 2,500.00 worry me more then the San Felipe romp.

04 Apr 2014 11:03 PM

Good luck to all Wood Memorial runners and Santa Anita Derby runners tomorrow!  All come home safely.

Go Samraat!!!!! Go CA Chrome and Hoppertunity!!!!!

04 Apr 2014 11:20 PM

Happy Birthday to Linda In Texas.  Her birthday is Saturday guys!!!!!

04 Apr 2014 11:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, a belated Happy Birthday to you! I am sorry I missed it.

MZ, back at you about Untapable:).

Sceptre, even though a female running against the boys doesn't happen every day of the week, I think Pedigree Ann made her point. They have raced in the past and recently in the Triple Crown races and won. I wonder if they would have had enough points under the new system? While I think the point system is reasonable for the boys, I wonder if it is equitable for the girls in allowing them to run in the Derby etc.?

04 Apr 2014 11:26 PM

I wish that the bloggers would do their homework before making rash statements like THEHOLZ made is reference Candy Boy stating that he would be a failure in the KY Derby just like his sire Candy Ride when it is obvious that this Argentinian born horse did not run in the Ky Derby but did retire undefeated including a final win in the Pacific Classic at 1 1/2 miles is 1:59.4.  If you know anything you know that is extremely fast.  Sidney's Candy did win the Santa Anita Derby among other races but in his KY Derby he had to break from the 20 hole when Lookin At Lucky broke from the 1.  Both of those posts pretty much eliminate you from having a chance unless you are so much better than the rest of a very poor crop of three year olds like Big Brown was when he won from the 20 hole.  He was so much superior to the rest of that crop that with a middle post he could have spotted the field 10 lengths and still won.  It is fun to debate but do so with accurate information.  This will be the first year that three year old foals from matings of Candy Ride to a very nice set of mares will compete and he will be one of the leading sires along with Pioneer of the Nile. His outcross is something that the thoroughbred breed badly needs.

04 Apr 2014 11:58 PM

Santa Anita Derby:  California Chrome looks to have it all his own way and will win.  Candy Boy will chase him home and just needs to keep coming in the stretch. Win on CC with Candy Boy in the cold Ex.

Wood:  Will toss Social Inclusion; this is New York, baby!  Wicked Strong to pull the upset win and will box him with Samraat and Uncle Sigh for the Ex.

Looking forward to Ring Weekend's Calder Derby and Testa Rossi's Ashland; she's a knockout!

Good Luck to all!

05 Apr 2014 12:15 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race

California horses class and form together are hanging In  the...      wind I'm not including overall pedigree were Cal. Crhome in my opinion in the blood has the best mixture of the three California horses for this race if you compare the historical pedigree trends of derby success with them, for example Candy Boy female line is very very suspect for the derby and Opportunity most be the new Apollo and the first winner from the Damascus female line a tall order. from florida we have one more Apollo,a miler and a horse that likes to wait on horses with out counting Meadow Lake and Silver Deputy Holly Bull was a fluke for A.Alex been short on form, in the wood we have another Apollo and two Fanny Cide go figure and the Ark.Derby we have two Dual Qualifiers a potential Borrel Mine that Bird a horse that has the first and second dam sires among the best ten in the world the four Apollo and a Pletcher plodder,so I hope after tomorrow Find some hope at the Churchill Down's gate.

05 Apr 2014 1:29 AM

mz :  I'm playing Ghibellines in tonights $3M race to beat Earthquake and Mossfun.  I like J Bowman and I like the 2 post for her.  I'm playing the 4 and the 15 on the bottom of my .20 supers.  

I don't remember the last time a 6F race had a purse of $3M...for fillies too.   Going to Australia and playing the horses for a couple of weeks is definitely in my bucket list.

05 Apr 2014 1:37 AM

Jay Jay: Here we go again wanting me to spoon- feed you with points of an issue that should be clear with some serious thought. You demand answers to your many questions but your posture isn't that of a learner. Nevertheless I indulge you for the sake of many others on here who can add their piece to a meaningful discussion.

Think about this my friend: how many really strong/ legitimate contenders are in the Kentucky derby field each year? Perhaps we can take our queue from Steve Haskin and guess ...a dozen, maybe. In what is becoming a regular feature in recent times, twenty horse fields, the remaining eight are mixture of mostly lucky strike late developers and one-hit "points wonders" under the new system that may be ousting colts and fillies of true quality, determined by time-tested Graded earnings criteria ...fillies that may need to prep in their division without being restricted from the Derby and colts that proved their class as 2YOs but need more slack in terms of time to recover from their juvenile campaign and be brought along to peak on the first Saturday in May. As things turned out last year, neither points nor Graded earnings would have made a difference to that field but this year so far Untappable (filly), Cairo Prince, Strong Mandate, Giovani Boldini and to a lesser extent (perhaps arguably so) Honor Code are imperilled by the points system.

Your position on Rachel Alexandra is totally subjective. The filly hammered the 'boys' convincingly on three occasion, end of story. Good fillies do not need to prove themselves against colts before the derby. Had Hal Wiggins allowed her, Rachel Alexandra could have won the Derby in 2009 because, like Mine That Bird she too revelled in the muddy going and was arguably sharper at Derby time than when she beat the 'boys' in the Preakness. Also your itemizing of those races that I mentioned which are treated with prejudice under the current points system show five out of seven producing Kentucky Derby winners over the last 15 years, yet you suggest the evidence is weak ...come on bro ..get real.

Pedigree Ann: Like you I think that history teaches many great lessons even in thoroughbred racing (one reason why I enjoy your posts) and have great respect for elements of tradition but prefer to think of my disposition, not as traditionalist but all for effectiveness, efficiency, practical/simple wisdom and foresight. Positive change should take into account history, stakeholders as well as the preferred future.  Yes we all enjoy exciting prep races but we must honor the prestige and tradition of the Kentucky Derby with ensuring a qualifying system that will produces the best field from the crop.

El Kabong: Your treatment of the cases of Mine That bird and War Emblem showed that you missed the point. speculating whether their respective trainers would have been able to have them qualify under the current system is a stretch/twist to suit your position because those two horses peaked right on time for the Kentucky derby, MTB running fourth in the Sunland Derby and WE winning the disenfranchised Illinois Derby.  As for your athlete's testimonial ...that was neither here nor there my friend with respect to horseracing ...but I respect your views nonetheless.

Coldfacts: You made a great observation about the king of Derby preps, Todd Pletcher, getting his charges qualified no matter the system. However, last year, had 2YO champion, Shaghai Bobby been a genuine stayer that colt's preparation would've arguably been compromised by the system since he would not have had to be rushed back for points after his hectic 2YO campaign. Enough said. Peace.    

05 Apr 2014 1:43 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

    I had the worst nightmare I ever had in my life last night. I was in an intervention for my Derby Dozen addiction. There were former Derby Dozen bloggers there that you don't see here anymore who I will not mention by name so as to protect the innocent, but they weren't there voluntarily. They were in handcuffs and shackles, "out on a day pass" from the Derby Dozen rehab facility. The interventionist said that I would no longer have to think all the time about The Derby, and the horses, and who is going to win the Derby, and wouldn't have to wonder who will be on Steve's list next week, or want to get home to read some more blog posts. That they would keep me busy shooting 500 free throws a day, and doing basket weaving, and crossword puzzles, all day, everyday.

   I yelled that I was quite happy being obsessed trying to figure out the Derby winner puzzle everyday and I ran out of there as fast as I could and went oui, oui, oui all the way home and woke up sweating like a pig, and my heart was pounding, then I realized it was all just a dream, just a terrible, horrible nightmare, and I was so thankful and my heart pounded even more when I realized that this was the day of the Wood, and the SA Derby. I was looking forward to the Calder Derby too, and I knew that the Derby Dozen would be ablaze afterward with disappointments and hopes and dreams. I was so happy to be awake and in the land of The Derby Dozen again. And now I sit here with my special espresso Steve Haskin Derby Dozen extra caffeine blend coffee looking forward to a great day of racing, glad I am awake, really awake.

05 Apr 2014 6:53 AM

Pedigree Ann Candy Ride did win the Pacific Classic as a 4yo over 3 other horses it was a 4 horse field if field is the right word.

IMO I dont think Candy Ride is a long distance sire.Sydneys Candy ran into an off track maybe thats one of the reasons he was so riled up in the paddock.If the California colts that only run there encounter an off track, I sure wont be betting them 1st or 2nd.

05 Apr 2014 8:59 AM

Tapit by sheer numbers might get a colt in 1st or 2nd this year, but Im not convinced he will turn out to be a sire of distance colts(3yos.)I think pedigree experts should research the sires of 3 yos that have won at 10 furlongs, because as horses get older they learn to rate and I have seen many old claimers that run long distances that were not bred for it at all.

05 Apr 2014 9:03 AM


You are correct as Wicked Strong finished 9th in the Holy Bull. Should he win the Wood he would be the GP shipper with the worst record to do so in recent memory. He appeared to be very tired in both the Holy Bull and the Allowance and does not appear to be fast enough to win the Wood.

That stated he must be one of those that could have a break out performance and produce a shocker. Let's not forget his trainer's dad is known as the Giant Killer.

Famous quotes such as 'Like father like son' and 'The apple does not fall far from the tree' cannot be ignore as they relate to a possible upset by Wicked Strong.

In fact I can just see the headline 'Junior Giant Killer Strikes with Wicked Strong' Just the possibility of such a headline should inspire a small wager by all.

05 Apr 2014 9:12 AM

Priceless post, Dr. Drunkinbum......even the good doctor has weak moments during Triple Crown mania.

05 Apr 2014 10:09 AM
Sail On

Steve, what are the upsides and downsides of Samraat's 1 mile workouts?

05 Apr 2014 10:26 AM

Could Wicked Strong at a ML of 15-1 be the likely winner of the Wood hidden in plain sight?

He is the only remaining horse in the Wood field that has contested a race over 9F. His form at GP has been dissapointing and it is safe to conclude that something must have gone seriously wrong at the start of his 2014 campaign.

He stopped badly in the Holy Bull @4-1 with the track’s leading rider but ran a better race against Constitution. He was previously beaten by 1/2L in the Remsen by Cairo Prince but was 2 1/4L ahead of 4th place finisher Intense Holiday. Cairo Prince won the Holy Bull by 5 3/4L with Intense Holiday 6 1/4L 3rd. Wicked Strong finished 15L & 7 3/4L respectively behind Cairo Prince and Intense Holiday. His wide margin defeat clearly did not reflect the ability of the colt that contested the Remsen.

Something appears amiss with Wicked Strong if the record of first four finishers in the Remsen is examined. Second place finisher Cairo Prince won the Holy Bull and finished 4th in the FL Derby. Fourth place finisher Intense Holiday finished 3rd in the HB and subsequently won the Risen Star. Honor Code was beaten by a NTR while finishing 2nd.  Wicked Strong failed to hit the board in two starts and the closest he finished to the winner was 6 1/2L.

The son of the Danzig stallion Hard Spun has clearly underperformed in 2014. A change of venue might just turn out to be what Wicked Strong requires to recapture his 2YO form. He now returns to Aqueduct where he fell a 1/2L short of creating a 10-1 upset over two of the top 2YOs in his stakes debut.

Using the 2014 performances of Honor Code, Cairo Prince and Intense Holiday as measure, Wicked Strong has certainly underperformed and clearly has the credentials to be the likely winner of the Wood.

05 Apr 2014 10:59 AM
Pedigree Ann

Jayjay - The Golden Slipper is NOT only for fillies. Last night, 8 of the participants were colts or geldings (including Ghibellines), while 7 were fillies. The fact that fillies filled the first 5 places just means that they are better than the boys in this field.

Oh, and did you notice that the big wfa race at 2400m (12f) went to the New Zealand mare Silent Achiever? She beat 2 Melbourne Cup winners and the AJC Derby from last fall (it's fall there now) It's a Dundeel (a neat little horse I really like). As a 3yo, she won the New Zealand Derby over colts.

05 Apr 2014 12:41 PM

Good luck to everyone today and safe trips back to the barn for everyone.

05 Apr 2014 12:53 PM
Pedigree Ann

Oops; one of the Melbourne Cup winners was a scratching, so didn't finish behind Silent Achiever.

05 Apr 2014 12:59 PM
Pedigree Ann

For the record - the results of fillies in the Kentucky Derby in the 20th Century.

1906 - Lady Navarre -2nd

1911 - Round the World - 6th

1912 - Flamma - 3rd

1913 - Gowell - 3rd (that's why they named a race after her at Turfway

1914 - Bronzewing - 3rd  

      Watermelon - 7th

1915 - Regret - 1st

1918 - Viva America - 3rd

1919 - Regalo - 9th

1920 - Cleopatra (top 2yo filly of 1919) - 15th

1921 - Prudery - 3rd

      Careful - 5th

1922 - Startle - 8th

1929 - Ben Machree - 18th

1930 - Alcibiades - 10th (yes, the foundation mare)

1932 - Oscillation - 13th

1934 - Mata Hari (yes, the dam of Spy Song) - 4th

      Bazaar - 9th

1935 - Nellie Flag - 4th (her dam won the Preakness)

1936 - Gold Seeker - 9th

1945 - Misweet - 12th

1959 - Silver Spoon - 5th (won the Santa Anita Derby)

1980 - Genuine Risk - 1st (ran 3rd in the Wood Mem)

1982 - Cupecoy's Joy - 10th (set the early pace)

1984 - Life's Magic - 8th

      Althea - 19th (won the Arkansas Derby)

1988 - Winning Colors - 1st(won the Santa Anita Derby)

1995 - Serena's Song - 16th

1999 - Excellent Meeting - 5th

      Three Ring - 19th

While not an every year occurrence, except for a few mid-century decades, it wasn't an oddity to see a filly in the Derby. (I think if Citation or Nashua or Damascus or Secretariat was in the field, I wouldn't have run my good filly, either.) 30% of filly starters hit the board, which is not too shabby, all things considered.

05 Apr 2014 1:30 PM

Jayjay, two things about the Golden Slipper:

1.  Our boy Ghibellines was the first COLT across the line.  All 7 ahead of him were fillies, but unfortunately, there does not appear to be a bet for that.

2.  I will be going with you to Australia on the Bucket List Trip.  

( I still think they gotta look out for Fiorente longer. )

On the mares racing vs. horses thing, just want to repeat: the first seven across the line in the big 2YO race were fillies.  Also, the winner of the other big race was a mare.  ha!

05 Apr 2014 2:28 PM

Just an FYI, the points system has only been in place for ONE YEAR, last year was the first time and as YOU said, the graded earnings criteria would have made NO difference to the list of entries.   I’m still confused how you can claim it’s a flawed system.    The Graded earnings is unfair because it allows fillies to run in the Kentucky Derby without having to endure a true derby campaign.  They get the money and decide or not whether they would kick someone else out, someone who could be a “colt of true quality” just because they can.

If Untappable is good enough for the Derby…she should be good enough to run in Arkansas or Bluegrass.   As many of the comments posted recently, fillies have run against the boys in the past, why can’t she do it (if she’s that good).   I’m still of the opinion that our current crop of fillies are not bred to run against the boys and more importantly, they are not trained/condition that way.    CP, SM have run in prep races, they’re not good enough to get the points.   GB was suppose to get his points in his last race, he didn’t.   You’re relying on the “maybe they are”, “what if they’re really good” to support your claim and that’s just totally ridiculous

I love how you listed each races and then combined them to get your 5 out of 7 winners.   The point of my list is to show that each individual race did not produce Kentucky Derby winners to make it a significant prep.  Again, desperation.  That’s ONE horse winning 15 runnings of EACH individual race, a couple of the races did not even produce a Kentucky Derby winner.

Your desperation again shows in your response to Coldfacts, he provided the numbers and yet you focused on Shanghai Bobby, how he “would have been affected”… you keep trying and trying and desperately trying to find something to support your view because it’s very clear you have nothing to support it.  You can try and spin things all you want but so far, the comments from other bloggers supports the new points system.  You can stop trying desperately to associate yourself with the real knowledgeable and intelligent bloggers in here, it’s pathetic.    You also need to work really hard on your spin tactics, it’s not working out.

Good luck to all betting the races today, may we all hit the big one, one way or another!

05 Apr 2014 2:43 PM

IOWay, agree with you on Candy Boy.  His dam is a really nice mare.  I like the line breading on the tail side of her pedigree, Somethingfabulous out of Somethingroyal, dam of Secretariat.  He should enjoy the longer distance.

I would like to make a trifecta wager, but after California Chrome and Candy Boy, I have no idea which horse will show up to complete my trifecta, so I'm going throw Hoppertunity into the mix.

In the Wood, Uncle Sigh, Kristo, Samraat and Social Inclusion.  My thinking is that Social Inclusion and Samraat will set a fast pace.  Uncle Sigh will stalk 3 or 4 lengths behind, and Kristo will close.  I don't know which horse will win the race, but the above is the scenario I envision.  Based solely on pedigree,  Uncle Sigh and Kristo both should relish longer distances.  

05 Apr 2014 2:47 PM

Wicked Strong made you look like a genius here!  Guess Social Inclusion and Uncle Sigh wind up on the outside looking in from a points perspective.

05 Apr 2014 5:52 PM
Sail On

Wicked Strong and Samraat come from mid pack to nose out the speed in the Wood.

05 Apr 2014 5:54 PM

1 down, 1 to go.  Wicked Strong up to win, and Samraat showed his class by closing well to nip Social Inclusion for 2nd.  I think too much was asked of SI today; his inexperience showed.  Even if he has enough points, I'd keep him out of the Derby and aim toward the Preakness.  I think he may still be a very good colt, but I'm wondering if his connections wish they'd taken that 8/mil offer.

05 Apr 2014 6:11 PM
Ted from LA


05 Apr 2014 6:19 PM
Sail On

California Chrome, 1:47:52? But he was eased up. Hoppertunity bested Candy Boy, who needed this race to qualify for KD.

05 Apr 2014 6:52 PM

Well, it's official; California Chrome will still head up Steve's list, and most any other list, I imagine.

I don't use the "f" word lightly, but how does this colt keep improving?  I was actually hoping for a little regression today, as I don't see how he can possibly hold this form 4 more weeks.  However, what I liked today is he didn't get that rocket start and was actually in a little tight early.  It didn't seem to faze him and he rated kindly off of the lead. Once again, when given the signal, he drew away with authority and finished in a canter. 147.2?  Yeah, Santa Anita is a fast track, but he could easily been under 147 had he been asked. And, he didn't appear to have even worked up a sweat.  All I can say is "WOW".

05 Apr 2014 7:16 PM

hey COLDFACTS- nice call in wood! the wind from wicked blew samraat into second place. congrats!

05 Apr 2014 7:35 PM

Steve, at this stage, it appears that the only things that may stop California Chrome from winning the Kentucky Derby are: weather, travel, draw, or injury. The ease at which he won the Santa Anita Derby while at the same time trouncing your no. 2 and no. 3 horses was emphatic. California Chrome has not even been asked yet!!

As for the Wood Memorial, I never get overexcited by the hyped "second-comings" at Gulfstream Park, especially when they haven't even won a stakes race.

For what it's worth, I believe California Chrome, Constitution, and Tapiture are the leading contenders but again, it is way to early to judge.

05 Apr 2014 7:38 PM
Tana Rae

Steve, I'm thrilled with the results of today's - 4/5/14- races!  I commented a few weeks ago that my favorite horses were California Chrome,Samraat, and Wildcat Red.  All because of their tenacity - their will to win and toughness.  These wonderful racehorses came in first, second, and second in their last preps for the Kentucky Derby.  I'm so proud of all three.  They seem to me to love to run and love to win.  Look how Samraat came back to grab second after looking like a beaten horse in the Wood.  I'm not saying they are all 1 1/4 mile Derby horses.  There are other good races at shorter distances in which these horses can excel.  I'm looking forward to their continued success.  

05 Apr 2014 7:43 PM

They would have to sprout wings to catch California Chrome ! Maybe the lowest price favorite since Big Brown, but in a 20 horse calvary charge still need a little racing luck.

I know one thing, I'm really liking my early pool 3 Derby exacta box # 4 California Chrome ( 32-1), #8 General A Rod ( 36-1), # 17 Strong Mandate ( 18-1), #19 Tapiture (17-1). I hope Strong Mandate runs big in Ark. Derby and gets the points, I would be tickled to get 4 in the gate in a early exacta box.

05 Apr 2014 7:47 PM

coldfacts,Saratoga aj,jayjay,giddyupwhoaboy and track jack as well as birthday boy steve Haskin-good job picking wicked strong. I also need to read the entire Haskin column from now on.

05 Apr 2014 8:17 PM
Linda in Texas

He dusted them all right! And i imagine he stays No. 1 on your list Steve. Hoppertunity gets some points also. That was awesome. Thanks Steve.

05 Apr 2014 9:22 PM

Good call, Coldfacts, on Wicked Strong.

"Samraat Last Ditch Lead Change Dashes SI's Derby Hopes"

I feel terrible for Uncle Sigh's trip.  He looked good finishing.

If Candy Boy gets in, today's trip will be a good race for him going into the Derby.  Congrats to Art Sherman and CC!  He's on another planet right now.

05 Apr 2014 9:23 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, California Chrome was pretty impressive. I am thinking "freak" here. Coldfacts, you were right about Wicked Strong. Good call. Samaraat did well. He showed some grit. Social Inclusion did well also but he is not in California Chrome's zip code. I don't think any of them, including Wicked Strong, are going to run down California Chrome if he stays healthy and has a reasonably good trip in the Derby. California Chrome reminds me of Big Brown before the Derby. I would love to see his 77 yr. old trainer win it. What a story that would be.  

05 Apr 2014 9:32 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Candy Boy was about to be compare with Cristo in this race wow he is like a brand new corvette.

05 Apr 2014 10:20 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

Really good job in picking California Chrome well in advance of his two authoritative victories, and in sticking with Wicked Strong.  You're doing us all a favor with this blog.

05 Apr 2014 10:22 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Do not fall in love at first dating, the horse is great but he never ran in a sloppy track before and C.D is very different then S.A if you know about class, pace, breeding etc then you have to look for the spoiler in case he do not handle the 20'S terror track.

05 Apr 2014 10:51 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

Oppertunity the perfect name to be 2d best in a million dollar race the Arkansas contenders were beaten by him but he doesn't like to travel?.

05 Apr 2014 11:07 PM

Pedigree Ann (and racingfan):

Your table does nothing but to confirm my point. Only TWO filly Derby starters for the years 1946-1979. Re-Derby starters-since that's the evidence you chose to use (and, was the original point of this topic)-I'd say that this equates to a "rare occurrence", and so much for "the 40s, 50s, and 60s." So you can see that "protecting them" (as you say) is NOT a "new idea". As a matter of fact four and a half times as many fillies (9) competed in the last 34 runnings of the Derby as had competed in the 33 runnings directly preceding it.  

05 Apr 2014 11:24 PM
Saratoga AJ

As I said earlir in this blog, I was not giving up on Wicked.

I picked him as my Derby hopeful after the Remsen, was disappointed in his 2 races in Florida (he obviously hated Gulfstream) but gave him one more chance today...had him on top in Win, Exacta ant Tri's...and hit it big.

Jimmy J. has to figure out a way for him to stop watching the race fans along the rail (notice the acceleration when finally looked forward in late stretch...he flat out exploded).

With all that early speed heading for the Derby...his closing kick looks like a 10F colt to me. He's my Derby horse for sure

05 Apr 2014 11:56 PM

Thanks Iceman, and yes, pay attention to Steve’s comments reading the “knocking on the door” horses.  Steve get me to look at this horse…so THANKS STEVE H!.  I looked at his record and he was the only horse I saw that ran on Aqueduct's main dirt track.  I knew he was going to run big as the rest of the field has been running on the inner track.   I was very impressed with Samraat's race as well, I've said in the past that my only concern about this horse is that he has been winning on the inner track but the Wood showed me that he's capable of running on any surface.  He will continue to be my definite number one for the Derby, barring any health issues, I think he will be there in the end.  This is probably my best year handicapping the KD prep races, and it would make it very sweet to see Samraat finish it off with a win.

As for California Chrome, as expect it was a workout, I was hoping that Dublin Up would hold 3rd but alas, he couldn't.  Candy Boy was all out to get past him and he's only a maiden.   CC will take a LOT of money in the Derby but I can't anoint him the triple crown winner based on the fact that he has never had to battle with anyone.  I also said that the Derby will be the race where we will see how he responds to having to battle horses.

Social Inclusion's owner should've taken that money, I said that when they were pointing for the Florida Derby and I'm sure they're thinking they should've stayed there but he might still make the derby with 20 points.  I really hope he does as I'm sure there is one person that would bet the (virtual) farm on him in the Derby...

mz : I'm thinking next year I will plan on going to Australia.  If I hit something big, I'll cover your plane ticket in exchange for some handicapping tips.  One thing about these Australia races, other than the big purse races, it seems there's like a new set of horses that runs every week.  Most have only run 5 or less races but maybe I'm just not remembering them because there's 3 different tracks every night.

Pedigree Ann : Yes, I forgot it's both sexes, only because the winners were fillies but as mz pointed out, the horse I picked is a boy.  Yes, I didn't have Silent Achiever, I played horses who didn't hit the board except Fiorente lol.  

06 Apr 2014 2:57 AM

Took a 90 minute drive down to Santa Anita for the Derby today. Thought to myself in the paddock that Candy Boy looked great and just how much bigger he looked than California Chrome.  California Chrome looks more like a three year old filly!  On the way home, a little lighter in the wallet, I remembered watching Winning Colors' Santa Anita Derby.

06 Apr 2014 3:40 AM

I'm anxious to see whether Samraat will go back to Florida or head straight to CD.  I would prefer that they go to CD and get used to the track.  I'm quite confident he will take to that track but I think it's still important to get him at least 2 workouts on the track.

06 Apr 2014 4:27 AM

What more can be said of Cal. Chrome after yesterday?  The horse just goes about his business in a fluid, push-button way.  I pray that he has no setbacks prior to the Derby.  Pool 2 win bet at 31-1 seems ridiculously fortuitous at this point (thanks again for steering me in his direction way back then, Steve!).

Does getting blown away by CC really downgrade Hoppertunity and Candy Boy that much?  

What to make of the Wood?  Did that race say more about Wicked Strong or those that he beat?  Does 10f now seem to be too much for Samraat and his running style?  Any excuses for Uncle Sigh?  

Of all of yesterday's races, the Ashland Stakes was the most exciting for me.  I'm not a fan of dead heats, but neither horse deserved to lose that race.  What a finish!

06 Apr 2014 6:41 AM

"Wicked Strong could be one of those typical Wood Memorial horses we see every year who comes flying late to be second and establish themselves as a serious Derby contender. We don't know what to expect after his Florida campaign, but if that same horse we saw in the Remsen shows up on Saturday, you never know. He could even win the whole thing....if."

Mr Haskins in his knocking at the door part of this weeks Derby Dozen. Great Call Steve.

Taking nothing from Coldfact's, in a attempt to improve my handicapping skills,I used the brisnet program this weekend for the first time instead of the DRF program. To piggy back Coldfacts angel from Gulfstream to Wood I noticed that Wicked Strong  

had the best closing figure of all involved in the race with a 109 at the Big A.. Only to loose to Honor Code and Cairo Prince.  That was why I mentioned W.S in a post to Coldfacts. Spot on Coldfact's..

I played Wicked Strong in my trifecta in place and show spots keying Samraat to win..

Even though I did not hit the Wood, I had a good over all day,and really liked using the brisnet program..

Samraat seemed to hang a little bit in the stretch when trying to pass S.I. he did not give up and got him at the end.. Samraat seems to be a bit of a plodder type.. I will see what to do with him come Derby Day..

As far as C.Chrome goes. Unless he gets the 1 hole or in watching his works Steve mentions something negative, come Derby Day he is my horse..

How do you go against a horse that a certain individual called a freak?

He will be the shortest price since Big Brown who was 2-1..

As of know the challenge is how to fill out the ex and tri..

As Dr.D has stated, I got Derby fever and the only cure is more Derby Dozen..

Great weekend and good luck to all..

06 Apr 2014 9:17 AM

Some observations from the Woods:

The dominance of the GP shippers in the Wood has been extended to 8 wins from in the last 14 rebewals.

The first real closer has emerged from the Derby class of 2014. I am disappointed with the Blood-Horse caption i. e., “Wicked Strong Charges to Wood Memorial Score’ What happen to the one I proposed i.e., ‘Giant Killer Jr. Strikes with Wicked Strong’  The winning trainer is the son of the trainer dubbed ‘The Giant Killer’ Now I know why I am not a sports journalist.

Mr. Pletcher won the 2012 & 22013 renewals of the Wood. Harpoon his entry in the 2014 renewal finished last but one. What difference a year makes.  

Three horses entered the Wood undefeated and they finished 2nd, 3rd & 4th.

Social Inclusion ran a gallant race but clearly was not properly trained for his Wood challenge. He tugged his rider to lead and appeared a bid ranked. Blinker off would have allowed him to relax a bit more. A strong 7F or 8F work would have helped as he got tired in the last furlong. They should have sold the colt as his value has taken a hit.

Previously posted:

“Samraat and Uncle Sigh will be joined by Social Inclusion and Kristo in the Wood. I believe the New Yorkers will be exposed to real speed for the first time. Real speed is not the only problem they will face. They will now face some serious closers with talent i.e., Kid Cruz, Wicked Strong, Los Borrachos and. Schivarelli. They will be subjected to early and late speed and for them that’s a new domain. It is one I think they will find overwhelming to say the least.”

I considered Uncle Sigh the lesser of the two New Yorkers and he could not handle the speed. Samraat was hard ridden to stay in touch with SI and had nothing left to repel Wicked Strong.

Big Brown- Boundary- Danzig-Derby winner

Sea Hero-Polish Navy- Danzig-Derby winner

Wicked Strong-Hard Spun-Danzig- Pending

The Northern Dancer sire line has so far produced 4 Derby winners with 2 being sired by sons of Danzig and one by Summer Squall. Hard Spun the son Danzig was mated with a mare sired a by Charismatic a son of Summer Squall to produce Wicked Strong. Wow!

06 Apr 2014 9:19 AM

S.I. was done before he got in the gate. Very nervous and was lathered up prior to the start. If he can control his nerves come Derby Day he may last longer..

Ring Weekend got the place spot in the Calder Derby..

06 Apr 2014 9:23 AM
Rusty Weisner

Dr. Drunkinbum,

I actually liked Oxbow out of the 2 post last year because I knew his style would be to go to the lead and his pedigree might allow him to hold on for a piece, at least.  Almost.  I actually think the pace won't be as unreasonable this year and a horse with early speed out of those posts might not be as disadvantaged as they often are.

06 Apr 2014 9:38 AM

Nice job by Our Caravan, but I'm not too sure who he beat. As to the Wood...Wicked Strong was wicked fast, but Samraat is fast AND consistent. Social Inclusion has an awesomely long stride, and I think he might not have been caught except for leaving half his race in the post parade. Lots of antics cost him dearly. Did anyone else notice how distracted WS was going by the crowd? Samraat, though, puts me in mind of an AP Indy style, all business, steady, and quick and agile.

As to the Santa Anita Derby (now you know I love black horses and dark bays, and I'm still waiting for a Rock Hard Ten to go 10f at was California Chrome impressive enough? Praise the lord and pass the ammunition, sign me up, and throw me on the band wagon! I haven't seen moves like that since Point Given. But in those final 3 furlongs, it wasn't Point Given that I thought was Secretariat that ran through my mind.

Four weeks to the Kentucky Derby, I've finally seen some races, and I do have a top 6.

1.* California Chrome

2.  Samraat

3.  Social Inclusion

4.  Cairo Prince

5.  Wildcat Red

6.  Intense Holiday

If Wicked Strong was consistent, he'd be on the list because I like his breeding. But if he can run well only in NY, it won't serve him well in Ky.

I can't wait to see more races, but I don't think #1 will change. (But that guy is going to be carrying a lot of weight considering the fans he's accruing.)

And thanks all, it's good to finally be back on the Derby trail.

06 Apr 2014 11:11 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank,s Rusty and Johnny. I'm glad you've been reading everything. Some people just look at the order of the horses and that's it. Sometimes, Knocking at the Door can be mpore productive and revealing than the comments on the Top 12, because they project things to come as opposed to things that have already happened.

06 Apr 2014 12:44 PM

"The only question now is, can he keep up that kind of pace? That is why I said last week, don’t be alarmed if he regresses a bit in the Santa Anita Derby and doesn’t blow his opponents away. The main thing is not to give him too hard a race. It’s great to win the Santa Anita Derby, but it’s not the ultimate goal."

Steve, he blew out the competition but was winding down at the end but with a very fast finishing time. It does not seem he exerted himself the final 1/16th. You think it's possible may regress in the Derby? He looks GREAT but flesh and blood can only do so much.

06 Apr 2014 1:11 PM
Mister Frisky

Was gonna wait till the new Dozen tomorrow to chime in, but too much good action yesterday too wait.CC very impressive, would have liked it more if Hopp was cranked instead of just out to run around the track per Blue Haired Bob.Candy Boy all out for 3rd to beat a maiden,yikes.The idea of John Sadler training 2 turn colts to win outside of Southern California was always foolsgold to me,see Kobe's Back and Kristo.One thing for certain if CC is rolling at the 1/4 pole in the Derby,he won't be looking into the eyes of maiden Dublin Up,gonna be some real horse flesh to battle with.Wicked Strong impressed and has the pedigree to figure.I was most impressed with Samraat,that horse just keeps coming and could at the least be a Musket Man type filling out the exotics in the Classics.Best thing for the hype would be a win by The Commish in Ark.You would have the powerful Winstar,Pletcher,last AP Indy vs the California horse by some stallion named Lucky Pulpit ,unknown owners,and a trainer who made most of his bones in No Cal,and stables at Los Al.Not quite Easy Goer vs Sunday Silence,but a good jumping off point.

06 Apr 2014 1:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Thank you very much. That was a very special compliment. Many are loving California Chrome like the shiny, brand spanking new silver dollars their grandfather gave them when they were kids that they spent on candy and trading cards and comic books but there is still a long ways to go to May with two big preps left and workouts and gallops reports. CC did look pretty good though. Is he another Smarty Jones or Secretariat? I'm stubborn and not convinced yet but it will be really nice if we have a big favorite in the Derby to try to beat. I agree with others that Social Inclusion wasted too much energy pre-race but I still think they tried to hard for the lead when they should have laid back a little more. Maybe the horse gave little choice in the matter. he was very anxious to run. He's more talented than we saw and will see a lot more from him.

06 Apr 2014 1:27 PM

Happy Sunday everyone. I tried posting earlier but it got lost in cyberspace.

Congratulations to California Chrome and Mr Sherman. This colt just glides when he runs and I am still in awe of the beautiful condition he is in. He looks like Secretariat to a point. He does have, I think that long Tapit back. Wise Dan also has that long back. Secretariat was more three perfect circles. Anyway, it would not hurt my feelings one bit if he wins the Derby and then on to win the Triple Crown. But I am not ready to call him a super horse yet (I just do not like that word "freak"). Mr Sherman said he was going to have him in Kentucky a week before the Derby. If he were my horse, I would have him in Kentucky earlier than that. He will, in my opinion, be pushed in the Derby, There are some speedy little horses out there and then we have a couple of very agile contenders like Samaraat and Constitution that could nip him at the end. I wonder how much exposure he has had to mud and feisty contenders like Tapiture? Steve, do I get a little gold star for picking Hoppertunity to take 2nd? Anyway, just delighted for California Chrome and Mr Sherman!

As to Wicked Strong, that was an awesome performance. Be curious to see how he came out of the race, he did seem to be a little spent in the gallop out past the wire.

Still think Samaraat is a very talented colt and he seems to be very agile and listens to his jockey. He can speed up and slow down and go around and change leads to nip Social Inclusion. His trainer said this race was an education for the colt and made no excuses, which was refreshing to me. I still have the intuition that this colt will hit the board in the Derby.

Do not know what happened to Ring Weekend.I do not think his little meltdown was the only reason he lost the reason, he was just outrun as well in my opinion. Neither Ring Weekend or Intense Holiday can afford to pull such stunts in the Derby.

Will be impossible for me to pick a winner in the Arkansas Derby. Ride on Curlin and Commissioner both have points to make it into the Derby riding on this race and I love them both. Maybe a dead heat between the two of them? LOL, would they each get the 100 points if that happened.

Unfortunately I think some really talented colts are going to get shut out of the Derby, but again hopefully we will see them in the Preakness.

Steve, look forward to your list on Monday. I always start checking my phone around 3:00 to see if it has posted. I will so interested to hear your comments as usual.

Enjoy whats left of the weekend everyone!

PS, so glad everyone made it safely back to the barn, that is always a blessing.  

06 Apr 2014 1:45 PM

I think Art Sherman is right.  Don't see any reason this horse-CC can't get an additional 1/8th.  With the Derby often won at the 1/4 pole he certainly can sit a bit and then accelerate.  Hard to find a runner that is straighter in the lane.  Crowd did not seem to bother it in either the paddock or down the stretch. Not the first time he missed the break though.  His early losses include hops in the air. Do this Derby day and your toast ala rodeo.  

06 Apr 2014 1:49 PM

Steve - That was really some show that California Chrome put on in the SA Derby. Glad that I have him in pool 2 at 30-1 and Boxed him with the field as well as with Conquest Titan and Strong Mandate. If California Chrome can finish 1st or 2nd in the Derby, I have a big chance at a strong exacta win. Wicked Strong really looked good in the Wood. Hoppertunity, getting 4 wks. rest now, should be ready to fire a big shot on derby day. My top 3 Steve. #1 C. Chrome, he's been my #1 since his romp in the S. Felipe, good eagle eye by you Steve to zero in on him. #2 Wicked Strong - in a yr. that features alot of speed horses in the derby, this one looks like a strong mid pack horse. #3 Hoppertunity - another colt that can sit mid pack and pounce, I feel both of these colts will be chasing California Chrome in the stretch and trying to reel him in, which will be no easy task. Looks like the Derby could have the first CA winner since Decidedly in 1962, my birthday year!

06 Apr 2014 2:45 PM
Paula Higgins

You go Pedigree Ann and MZ! Gosh, we need more love for the girls. On the other hand, I do agree with JayJay that they don't train the girls for the Triple Crown races. If they show promise, they may run one here and there. I think a few of them are capable of much more. I have also liked Samraat and had him in my top 5. Wicked Strong is either inconsistent or significantly improving, not sure which. I agree that they should bring these horses early to train at Churchill, especially the California horses. The track is different enough that it can effect the outcome. Anything can happen in the Derby but California Chrome will be tough to beat. I think my top 8 are:

California Chrome (Obvious reasons)

Tapiture (No reason to move him out)

Samraat (He showed grit)

Wicked Strong (Obvious reasons but he's inconsistent or improving, not sure which)

Social Inclusion (Not giving up on him yet, he was not happy going in and that could have been the problem)

Constitution (No reason to move him)

Ride On Curlin (Listening to Steve and the other regulars who like him)

Hoppertunity (He didn't work too hard and he's a Baffert horse)

06 Apr 2014 2:49 PM

Coldfacts : I like your "title" for the post Wood article but honestly, I don't think it applies.  Wicked Strong didn't slay a giant, he beat a really good horse in Samraat but I wouldn't call him a giant....oh SI, he was an over-hyped horse who some folks couldn't get past his GP performance.  I've said before there are many horses who set track records and wins by miles but it's very very very important to put it in context with regards to the race they accomplished those feats, the type of race and who he beat.

For a very lightly raced horse, he did well in the Wood.  I'm not sure he's worth 8M now though...

06 Apr 2014 3:16 PM
Saratoga AJ


I have been such a big fan of the great H. Allen Jerkens since getting into horse racing many years ago. Always felt it was too bad the Chief never had many Derby type colts. Devil His Due is the only one I can recall. So I agree with you about Jimmy Jerkens. Knowing Allen Jerkens, I'm sure it would bring tears to his eyes to see his son in the winner's circle on May 3rd. He's 85 now...and still winning races with his now reduced stable. Just another good reason to root for Wicked.

Calfornia Chrome is indeed a very impressive colt. Maybe great. But with the Derby loaded with early speed this year, more that any recent Derby, he'll have to work a lot harder than he did in the SA Derby. The race sets up quite well for the late closing kick of Wicked Strong.

Let's hope they all stay sound between now and May 3rd.    

06 Apr 2014 3:38 PM

No: THANK YOU Steve!!

06 Apr 2014 3:40 PM

Cali Chrome a 107 Beyer,Wicked Strong a 104 Beyer

06 Apr 2014 5:04 PM

The performance of Wicked Strong in the Wood Memorial was sweet redemption for the mysteriously run Remsen Stakes for 2YOs last season. In that race Wicked Strong closed furiously to be a close up third to Honor Code and Cairo Prince. Now with patience and perseverance, trainer Jimmy Jerkins has a well seasoned Wicked Strong ready to peak in the Kentucky Derby, come the first Saturday in May. Does anybody else apart from Jay Jay think that Cairo Prince isn't good enough to be in the Kentucky Derby because of a lack of points (LOL)?

After yesterdays preps, if there is any horse that is capable of upsetting California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby its got to be Social Inclusion ...and before you write me off as lunatick please remember that Secretariat also lost the Wood Memorial prior to sweeping the Triple Crown.

I sincerely hope that both Cairo Prince and Social Inclusion get into the Derby because I want to enjoy the race knowing that the best field of horses entered the starting gates than be proven right about an inferior qualifying system.

06 Apr 2014 6:05 PM
El Kabong

Wicked Strong looked great. He didn't even unload until the 1/8 pole and that was impressive. He stayed in contention and let loose at the 8F marker which is what he will have to do in the Derby. I really like this guy and I liked him going into the Wood. He has very good breeding for the 10F race and I like his timing for the Louisville party. California Chrome is just a freak. It appears that the handicapping is all about what if CC:

a. doesn't have a good trip(i.e.. 1 post etc.etc….

b. isn't freak enough to go 10F

c. has to deal with peanut butter for the first time

Plan B has to consider all of these factors for the time being. Still, I like Wicked Strong and Intense Holiday. A real outsider for now is Smart Cover. He's set to run in the Ark Derby and may be ready to light up the board.

We're getting close and it's getting fun.

06 Apr 2014 6:07 PM

I was skeptical of his talent before the Wood, but Social Inclusion has now made me a believer. He's the most talented 3 yr. old I've seen thus far. If he stays sound (and that's a big "if"), I think he'll be 3 yr. old champ by year's end. As far as the Derby, I hope that Candy Boy makes the field, as then, he's my pick.

06 Apr 2014 6:45 PM

Please do a behind the scenes story on California Chrome soon. No one can write it like you. Talk about humble beginnings for a horse and trainer and owners that are on their way to the!

06 Apr 2014 7:47 PM


Thanks for the comments on Wicked Strong.  When Kid Cruz scratched I settled on Wicked Strong.  By the way, he looked a little green or tired in the stretch as he drifted out but what was he looking at in the crowd?  Where you beating your program on the rail rooting him home? lol.  Hope you got some good interviews. Looking forward to tomorrow's dozen.  

iceman92--Thanks for words.  With all the speed in the Wood, it was setting up for a closer.  Could not go with SI with his lack of experience and coming to NY.  Wicked Strong had his problems at the Gulfstream speedway but he ran a good 4th to Constitution with a bad trip vs. the perfect trip by Constitution who went on to win the Fla. Derby.  WS also had run well in the Remsen.  Glad to get 9-1 and the ex.  

Unless Bayern pulls a 'Bode' in the Arkansas Derby, California Chrome is your Derby winner.  He has a wealth of conditioning and the experience in battling in packs of horses and has been brilliant as a 3 y. o.  As long as he takes to the CD track I don't see any one else running him down. Yes, there will be a lot of early pressure, but this colt can sit off a little and make his move.  Now I have to fill in my 5 horse tri box.  A lot can happen in the next 4 weeks, so let's hope he stays healthy and then there is post position, track condition and weather but this guy is brilliant, racing needs him to do well.  I have to find some Mrs. Pasture's cookies from Walnut Creek.  

Householder-- Like your take on CC's looks.  He is a rangy looking athlete, with a smooth and efficient way of going for his body type.  I think he even has some room to fill out a bit more.  Will be anxious to hear what Steve has to say about his development when he gets to Churchill.

Linda in Texas---Happy Belated Birthday!  I know you're enjoying this ride to the Derby.

06 Apr 2014 8:05 PM
Uncle Smiley


Was interested to read your recognition of the "Jockey Effect" with regard to Rosie N and her 3 1/2 length victory with Vicar's... In the LA Derby.

That is why I now place Vicar's in Trouble in the following ranking at this point in time...

California Chrome

Vicar's in Trouble


Candy Boy

The Santa Anita set the coast to coast shape of the Triple Crown contests.

Who knows if Cairo Prince can regroup and blow open the above mentioned super?


06 Apr 2014 8:14 PM

iceman : There will be a new dozen tomorrow but just keep in mind that in this "knocking at the door", Steve's comments about Conquest Titan should be taken seriously :)   He'll be running in the Arkansas Derby, I'm sure Steve will have more details about him in the new dozen.

06 Apr 2014 8:14 PM

The word from his barn is that CC bounced out of his SA Derby effort "perfect".  I can't help but really love this colt.  He is perfect this year and each race has been more impressive than the previous.  I believe the 10 furlongs will not be a problem.  My only concern is that sooner or later he has to regress.  After all, he is not a machine.  And luck.  Can't forget that the best horse doesn't always win the Derby.  He needs a good draw then a good start so that he gets position.  I've heard a lot of people question his effectiveness if there is a lot of speed in the race, but I believe he can lay off the pace if it's crazy. I'd prefer to see a work over Churchill, and I'm hearing he won't ship in til Derby week. If so, we'll probably only get to see him gallop before the race.

06 Apr 2014 8:45 PM

A thought;

In the last 2 weeks we witnessed 2 horses that were pampered in hopes of making the big the dance.

Cairo Prince and Candy Boy.

Now they both need a little luck to get in.

Lesson learned or bad luck??

06 Apr 2014 9:54 PM

Ranagulzion : Here you go putting words in my mouth.  I never said CP wasn't good enough for the Derby, I said he wasn't good enough to earn the points he needed to make the KD.   Here’s my exact comment :   “CP, SM have run in prep races, they’re not good enough to get the points.”

If CP doesn’t make the Derby, there’s no one to blame except his trainer, he took a risk giving him that long layoff and it didn’t work out for him.  Trainers are paid quite well with these top horses, and they need to make the right decisions.  They are aware of the new points system, they know exactly what they need to do.   I'm pretty sure I have him higher in my list than you do but all of a sudden he’s your poster boy for the “horses who got left out”?   Come on man, sometimes, you have to accept when you’re wrong, time and again, you failed to provide credible facts to support your claims.  It’s nothing but whining.   You can also work on your reading comprehension, I’ll let it go this time and chalk it up to desperation.  You should just sit back and enjoy the races.

How come you broke down Wicked Strong's performance, a horse that wasn't even close in your radar, and no comments about SI ??  How did this year's Triple Crown winner do in the Wood ?   Can you give us a breakdown and make us understand the plan to get him in the Derby ?  I'm specially curious if the owner will be spending some of the money he got for selling part of SI to pay off other connections to drop from the race so he can get in.   I believe that's the only way he'll get in the Derby.

I'm hoping you learned something about the Wood, I posted why I thought Wicked Strong had a really good shot in the race.  I got lucky and he proved me right, he ran big :)

06 Apr 2014 10:36 PM

I can't say enough about California Chrome.  He has everything going for him: the proper foundation built on short sprints with his races now progressing into longer distances (a throwback to the old days); the ability to accelerate in the closing splits after running impressive earlier sprints (his splits are very close to I’ll Have Another’s SAD splits); a trainer that understands what it takes to win a race like the Derby; and a jockey that has won a Derby and fits him like a glove.  However, I don’t feel that this is a hand it to him race.  Wicked Strong finally got away from a dreadful Gulfstream surface and had his own explosive finish in the Wood, and though CC may be the horse to catch in early stretch, Wicked Strong will be the one they’ll all have to out finish in that final furlong.  And I wouldn’t write Samraat off just yet either.  In the Wood he got his education.  He didn’t have to win it but he did need to learn a few things.  He’s a gutsy horse who doesn’t give up and even in defeat he still outduelled the so called now horse.  He’ll be tough as nails in the Derby.

06 Apr 2014 11:03 PM

Ranagulzion, yes Secretariat lost the Wood, because he had a mouth abscess. His sire, Bold Ruler, I believe had mouth issues. There is no comparison between Secretariat and Social Inclusion.  Secretariat had at least 9 races under his belt prior to the Kentucky Derby.  Like Seth Hancock said, "I have seen a lot of good horses, but none like Secretariat.  With each passing of the triple crown races, you can see how special he was."  

There is not one horse in this crop of 3 year olds that comes close to being in the same league as Secretariat.  I'm afraid we will have to wait for another day.  

I do like California Chrome, Vicar's In Trouble, and Chitu.  I believe all three are capable of outrunning their pedigrees.

06 Apr 2014 11:19 PM

All I can say is WOW to California Chrome's race!  Good call Steve picking him out as a potential superstar before he won his last two races!  I hope he turns out to be as good as he appears!  It would be awesome to have a great colt this year!

***Sceptre - when I was talking about fillies racing against colts back in the day, I personally was not referring to 3 year old fillies.  I am aware that not that many fillies have been in the triple crown races. It was usually 4-5 year olds running against the boys that I was referring to.  As far as 3 year olds, what I said was it was not uncommon for the colts to face older horses prior to the triple crown rather than near the end of the year like they do now. Can't wait for the new dozen Steve!

07 Apr 2014 1:24 AM

Now all we need is Vicars In Trouble, Wildcat Red, Constitution, Gen-Arod, and CC to all draw inside the 10 post or all but one of them, and we might get a derby like the one in 2001 and that was on a fast track.

In that case Beyer methodologists will have to play top figure closer Wicked Strong unless another closer monsters the figure calculations in the Arkansas Derby.

07 Apr 2014 7:52 AM

Dagnabit now the scribes will have to ship to Cali to pester Art Sherman in the week or two before the Derby as he has decided to ship on top of the race.I guess one reason is Churchill Downs can be thought of as a hill of red ants compared to Los Alimitos.

07 Apr 2014 7:56 AM

On the topic of scribes and figures since their work is done on PAPER I would imagine most are Beyer methodologists and cant run 100 without reaching for a cigarete.

07 Apr 2014 8:07 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Speaking of Secretariat, the damsire of Secretariat, Princequillo, is on California Chrome's pedigree four times, three on top and once on the bottom and Secretariat himself is on top in the pedigree. It appears that we indeed may have a super horse and that Secretariat jumped levels to infiltrate California Chrome's heart, stride and speed. I'm beginning to think that any pedigree bias that I or anyone has in regard to any aspect of CC's pedigree might have to be tossed out the window, but don't be a litterbug, so go pick up that trash and keep it as a momento so as to remind yourself- don't toss a horse because you initially don't like the pedigree. We may indeed have a super horse on our hands. He looks even better to me now after seeing the replay again. It's not like he had an easy trip but he did it so easy in a great time and just looked spectacular.

07 Apr 2014 8:16 AM


The three horses that made the board with Wicked Strong were previously undefeated. I have not done any research but it is likely to be an unprecedented achievement by a winner of a G1, Derby prep. That's a giant act!

Social Inclusion is not an average 3YO. I am of the opinion that if not for his pre-race issues, draw, rankness and faults in his of preparation, the finish would have been either closer or different. He looked like a short horse and based on his training reports he probably was.

He came to the top of the stretch with his rider taking a quick glance behind. When he was asked for his final effort he could not separate. That’s the sign of a horse that did not do enough endurance training. The program showed 8F works for the 2nd and 4th place finishers. It also showed a strong 7F work for Wicked Strong. Apparently his trainer felt the deeper track at the Big A  and the additional 1/2F would be a cake walk for his petted superstar.

Honor Code was a top rated 2YO. To suggest that SI defeated no opponent of quality in his TR effort is a stretch. He was also not over hyped as he is a very talented colt. In different hands the outcome would have been different.

Why use blinkers on horse with tactical speed and an affinity to lead? If he breaks badly he is obviously going to tug his rider and use himself needlessly. Why use vet raps on horse that some are seeking acquire?

A lot of folks reacted positively to the piece featuring his old school trainer. Well he received a taste of new school. His post-race comments were not those of a serious trainer. "Next time he'll win; he'll kill them." Why didn’t he kill them in them Wood?  What caused the colt to lose that gave him the confidence to make such a statement? Was it for his or his owner’s assurance?

SI is a very talented colt that needs to be relocated to a serious trainer despite the owners’ loyalty to their old school trainer.

07 Apr 2014 8:47 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

California Chrome broke his maiden in his second career start and I believe Secretariat did also. CC has ten career races prior to The Derby and Secretariat was about the same number. The biggest difference is that CC wowed us with a big performance in his final prep while Secretariat finished third in the Wood. Yes, I am comparing Cali Chrome to Secretariat but I'm not about to say that he is as good as Secretariat, but is it within the realm of possiblity? Even to be close might give him a Triple Crown but it is tougher now to achieve that feat now I believe, mainly because of the 20 horse field in The Derby. It is hard to imagine that anyone else could be the Derby favorite other than California Chrome. He's like a souped up 57 Chevy with the chrome all shined up, cruising down the highway at 110 mph with the hood down, daring any other car to tangle with him, and there are no takers yet.

07 Apr 2014 8:50 AM

Mary: Hardly anybody thought that Secretariat after his Wood memorial performance would become an immortal. That's my point. Social Inclusion also had a legitimate excuse inexperienced colt that quite evidently expended a lot of nervous energy and sweating up profusely just before the race ...part of his education. Personally I think that he should progress significatly off his Wood effort and eagerly await his next start ...heaven help the competition.

Jay Jay: What a smart fellow you are you said Cairo Prince wasn't good enough to get the points but you're not saying he isn't good enough to be in Louisville on the fist Saturday in May? you're only critical of trainer Karian Mclaughlin?

I'll tell you this much: you are trying desperately to spin your way out of talking/posting nonsense ...and don't test me now because archival evidence will once again publicly expose your folly/confusion. In a previous post you most certainly said that (I'm paraphrasing now but if you persist/take the bait I'll quote you, to your shame) if a horse doesn't get the points he's not good enough or doesn't deserve to be in the Derby. You are the one who is desperately changing your tune to save face buddy and I double dare you to prove otherwise.

Let me put this to you about Social Inclusion and the Triple Crown. This colt is in my view a very special talent. I still believe that he's capable of winning the Triple Crown and he remains my anointed one to break the 36 years drought. However, should he become a Derby casualty of your favoured points system and then go on to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes ...think now (really seriously) much of a future would your points system have for thwarting a much longed for Triple Crown winner. Think on these things my friend.

Wicked Strong was highly regarded by yours truly early on but after two lack lustre performances, particularly in the FOY, I gave up on him. If you wish I can retrieve my comments ...they are there in the 'dreaded' archives (LOL). Peace.

07 Apr 2014 9:44 AM
spooky mulder

Another impressive performance by CC. He's definitely #1 on my list. I don't think he'll have any issues going 1 1/4, and I believe he can be rated 3-5 lengths off the leader and still be fine. He needs to break better in the Derby though, that's the one thing that concerns me.          

It was refreshing to see a closer like Wicked Strong come through and win a major prep race. I'm a fan of Jerkins, so I wish them well. As for Social Inclusion, he has shown that he is a very talented colt, but I sincerely hope he doesn't have enough points to get into the Derby. I'm not confident that he can get the extra 1/8 of a mile, plus I don't feel that he is mature enough to handle 100,000+ screaming fans. He was nervous and a little washed out for the Wood, so I don't think he'll suddenly be calm in front of such a raucous crowd.

07 Apr 2014 10:22 AM

If last weekend was confusing, this one was Crystal Clear. California Chrome is by far the best 3 year old in the country, also was good he see him bumped around a little, and not be bothered by it.

Wicked Strong  was also impressive, and a pretty fast in the wood, and Samratt looks a good bet to hit the board, all heart.

Only thing that beats CC is maybe a wet track or the one hole. Will be interesting to see what Baffert does with Midnight hawk, he is on the fence right now as the owner has doubts he's a 10F horse, but I think once he goes, some race day tactics will come into play, Baffert may have 4 starters after missing out last year.

Hopportunity sure moves up on a wet track, i dont think he was opened up on Saturday. If I do try to beat CC he will be the one, once the rain falls.

07 Apr 2014 10:32 AM

Ranagulzion - I cannot see how the points system is to blame for SI not making it, SI would of not made it under the old system either, he would actually be much lower down the list.

07 Apr 2014 10:38 AM
Curlin 1:53.46

I will only be convinced with California Chrome if he can prove he can do it on the track at Churchill Downs. Small fields at Santa Anita he's been running against, against a very big field on an unknown surface on the first Saturday in May is a huge difference.

07 Apr 2014 11:19 AM

I see Tapiture has a new Jock for the Arkansas Derby Joel Rosario.

07 Apr 2014 11:25 AM


You may need to be for California Chrome what Bill Nack was to Secretariat!  "I fell asleep beside a tree outside his barn.....the fittest I have ever seen a horse!"

And is now the time to start wearing a headband and eating algae & brain food to become a handicapper Jedi???  Anyone see that guy on NBC Sports pre race?

07 Apr 2014 11:27 AM
Carlos in Cali

If California Chrome breaks with the field there's no one that can outrun him to the wire...

07 Apr 2014 12:17 PM

Ranagulzion : I have replied to your nonsense with something that made sense but every time I do, you go on and ignore it.  Go ahead and “shame” me lol, I can’t wait to see the quote where I said CP wasn’t good enough for the Derby.  Keep in mind, he was high on my list prior to the Florida Derby so one with a brain would read that as I have hopes for him in the Derby.  You notice he’s no longer in my list as of this dozen, because of two things, I don’t think he’s good enough for the Derby after watching him run in the FD, and he’s probably not going to make the field anyway.   If you’re asking me about the points system in general, then yes, if a horse does not make the points, they are not good enough for the Derby.   This is your way of avoiding to answer my questions, if would be much easier if you just provide information on why you think the points system is a flaw.  I’ve provided counter arguments to your whining and then you avoid responding or spin your way out of it with nonsense.  I think everyone here has seen your replies and the ones that replied about the “debate” supported the points system.

You really need to stop whining about the points system and leave it to the horses and their connections to get to the Derby.   You’re obviously lost in your own world, you try so desperate to get others to support your claims but so far NO ONE has come forward.  I would prefer if there are others who actually share your opinion, at least at least they’ll be smarter in responding with valid information instead of you, who avoids answering my questions and just go on and on and on about your whining.   I’m declaring this “debate” over and claiming the win since you have not posted anything credible to support the “flaw” of the points system.  I provided information to counter your claims even though I didn’t need to as I’m not the one whining about the flaw.  It the last 3 Derby Dozen articles, I’ve asked repeatedly for your proofs and you have provided nothing…nothing…and nothing.  Things you should take away from this debate, if you’re going to guarantee something, give at least some information on why you are so sure about it.   Getting all giddy and excited about one race is not enough, we see those types of horses year in and year out… the Uncle Mo’s, the Union Rags, the Quality Roads.  Learn to watch the races, understand how the horse ran and who he beat, the type of race etc, etc, etc.  Keep in mind that when you guarantee a win, you are ignoring other variables that are totally unpredictable.   How the horse gets out of the gate, trouble in the race, the jockey making the wrong move or decision on where to place the horse, if the horse takes to the track and sometimes, believe it or not, the horse may decide he/she is not going to run that day.  If you keep these things in mind instead of getting all hyped up, more likely than not, you won’t end up looking like a fool.

Again, you ignored my question, instead you glorify SI without talking much about how he will make the Derby.  To remind you (again), to win the Triple Crown, a horse must RUN and win 3 races, they are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.  Winning one of those races does NOT mean you win the Triple Crown.  

We can concentrate on your pick of SI as the triple crown winner, I’ll post the question again in capital letters, doesn’t mean I’m screaming, I just want to make sure you see and read it :   WHAT ARE THE PLANS TO GET SOCIAL INCLUSION IN THE KENTUCKY DERBY ?  

Here’s my prediction of your answer :   He won’t get in because of the flawed points system… lol

My point about Wicked Strong is that I picked him and you didn't :)

07 Apr 2014 12:53 PM
Smoking Baby

Curlin 1:53.46.  You make a good point.  My enthusiasm for California Chrome is kept somewhat in check by remembering how impressive Brother Derek looked in his pre-Derby preps a few years back.  When it came to Churchill and Pimlico it became painfully evident that he lacked the class required to win a classic.  Sidney's Candy was also impressive before the Derby and Lava Man's efforts outside California have been well documented.

I do think California Chrome is the horse to beat but as you said, he still needs to do it at Churchill on the big day.

07 Apr 2014 1:09 PM

Jayjay:  ACK!!! Fiorente is retired!!  Now I gotta review my Aussie horses again!!!

07 Apr 2014 1:51 PM

Bigtex--I saw the "Jedi" handicapper on NBCSports.  Putting CC on top, he threw out Hoppertunity from his top 3 so as to make a big score.  At least he went on national TV to explain his "Intuition".  

My intuition is NBC should show us more of the horses than the talking heads.  They did a good job from NY in the paddock and on the track showing us the horses, i.e. Social Inclusion's lathering up and bucking antics with Jerry Bailey's comments.  After the Wood they had a lot of time and did a good job with the Gary Stevens story but why couldn't the producers tie in his front running ride on Fashion Plate in the Grade 1 SA Oaks run earlier on the card?  There are other major races on these cards but NBC ignores them.  We then got only paltry shots of the SA Derby horses after the jocks were up in the paddock, very brief, as they were going to the track.  They had the time to show us the competitors, but we mainly saw fluff and talking heads.  They did do a good job, though when they were out on the track.

Call me old-school but if I'm not at the track, I want to see the horses.  

07 Apr 2014 2:52 PM

‘California Chrome is by far the best 3 year old in the country”

The above is an example of an extreme statement that should be avoided in spite the great enthusiasm for the colt. The last time I checked Shared Belief was not retired. He was and probably is still considered the most talented 3YO in the country.  He is undefeated similar to Constitution who exited an allowance race to win a G1 against the best in FL.

California Chrome was unplaced in his first G1 effort and has been beaten by three different horses to date.  He has developed into a very talented colt that has dominated his California counterparts. Why should  anyone think he is superior to the unknown quantity Constitution who possesses a superior record when their first three races are compared.

He is yet to defeat the top horses from others parts of the country and they are not exactly chopped liver. They will be meeting at neutral venue for the Derby where advantages and disadvantages are unknown. The CD surface and the distance of the Derby are and will always remain equalizers. Just ask Holy Bull, Bellamy Road and Point Given to name a few.

07 Apr 2014 4:17 PM
Sam Santschi

BigTex and Trackjack:  The Jedi, Christian Helmers is one of the handicappers on Horseplayers on the Esquire network.  Steve Haskin did a recent post on the show, which is hilarious, informative and most of all, fun to watch.  Hopefully, Team Rotondo gets on TV next!  

07 Apr 2014 4:46 PM
Saratoga AJ

It seems the preps at Gulfstream and Santa Anita always favor the front runners and thus can be misleading.

One of the reasons Gulfstream and Santa Anita favor speed and front runners...the stretch run for both tracks are quite a bit shorter (990') than any of the major tracks in the country. Compare that to CD. Big A. Saratoga, Belmot...all 1200' or more. That's a football field longer. (The longest stretch of all majot tracks is Fair Grounds....well over 1300' I believe).

07 Apr 2014 5:28 PM

Dr Drunkinbum: You're good (LOL) good that KY Vet is allowing you to have a "walkover" in the comedy derby.

California Chrome however is no joke ...the deserved favourite indeed heading into Louisville ...he's my second choice. Keep to humor coming my friend.

07 Apr 2014 5:38 PM

Jay Jay: The archives show that 03 April 2014 12:19 you posted "Wood Memorial : Samraat and Wicked Strong with Uncle Sigh, Schivarelli and Harpoon for my .20 superfecta."

Samraat has always been your #1 horse yet you say that you picked Wicked Strong to win the Wood? Enough said about that ...obviously you're trying hard not to look like a fool and projecting your own sensibilities on yours truly ...can't take you seriosly.

I'm hoping that entry to the Derby turns out like last year, rendering the points system redundant so that Social Inclusion gets in. If it doesn't happen I'll reserve my comments until after the Preakness. Peace.

07 Apr 2014 11:03 PM

mz : I guess that means we're evenly matched hehe.  I'll start paying more attention to the top horses in Australia.   Lately, I've been lucky playing the races over there than in the US, once I get used to their jockeys, it seems easier to pick horses.   I hit a $2 P3 (last 3 Australia C races) last night with a $6 investment (1x1x3).

07 Apr 2014 11:12 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs