Derby Dozen - April 7, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

There is absolutely nothing more to say about this horse that I haven’t already said over the past two months. He is simply one of the most special young horses I’ve seen in years, and if the Triple Crown drought is ever to end, this is the kind of horse who will end it. Yes, I’m getting way ahead of myself, but I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen a horse as close to perfection as this guy. For a horse to keep piling up these freakish performances for so long is a rarity in racing today and he actually keeps getting better. My apologies for a little horn tooting, but I have a reason for doing so. Back on Feb. 3 after his Cal Cup Derby victory, I wrote, Cal-bred or no Cal-bred, this was the most impressive 3-year-old in the country, saying, “This horse has such a long fluid stride and levels off so beautifully he’s a joy to watch…you can’t ask a horse to run any straighter down the stretch. He accelerates on his own at the right time, and for a long-striding horse his lead changes are so smooth you can barely see him do it…this horse has absolutely no flaws.” Two months later and nothing has changed. He has run one monster Thoro-Graph number after another without regressing; he has run the best 3-year-olds in California into the ground at the exact same spot each time and with the same push-button burst of speed; he wins under no urging at all; his works are spectacular while under wraps; he’s now won at 4 1/2 furlongs, 5 1/2 furlongs, 7 furlongs, 1 1/16 miles, and 1 1/8 miles and has been racing steadily for an entire year; he’s brilliantly fast, but has a tremendous mind and knows how to harness his speed and when to use it; and his pedigree is inundated with classic winners at 1 1/2 miles from Europe and the U.S. Can a horse possibly keep up this remarkable pace heading into the Derby? In the words of Al Jolson, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Come to think of it, I take back my apology.


Hoppertunity Bob Baffert Click Here!

Any Given Saturday—Refugee, by Unaccounted For

Remember, Baffert had toyed with the idea of training up to the Derby, because of all the racing and traveling he’s squeezed into this year, so he got exactly what he wanted – a nice long “work” into him in a $1 million race. Now this race sets him up for a peak performance on May 3. I wrote that all you wanted from him was a Real Quiet-like performance, where he wasn’t being asked, while still keeping pace with a brilliant winner like California Chrome; in Real Quiet’s case it was Indian Charlie. What is important to note is that he did keep pace with California Chrome in the final furlong without being asked (neither was the winner), but still was able to open up 3 1/2 lengths on Candy Boy and the others, while coming home his final eighth in :12 2/5. And I liked the way he rated and stalked from the inside and waited for a seam to open up. So, as a Kentucky Derby prep, you couldn’t have written a better script for him. And as the proverbial icing on the cake, he once again had a powerful gallop-out, as he has in all his races, and blew by California Chrome after the wire, for whatever it’s worth.


Wicked Strong Jimmy Jerkens

Hard Spun—Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic

It was extremely close for second between him and Hoppertunity. I nearly went with him because he was my No. 1 ranked horse in January before he freaked at the gate and ran a clunker in the Holy Bull. But his subsequent fourth, like Hoppertunity’s, was much better than it looked on paper, as he went seven-wide into the first turn and four wide on the second turn. He was now ready to return to his form from last year’s Remsen Stakes, in which he flew home in :11 2/5 and was just getting revved up in the final yards. In the Wood, he exhibited that same explosive closing kick and saw his Beyer figure soar to a 104. It did look as if the horses he ran down, Samraat and Social Inclusion, were getting a little leg weary in the final sixteenth, and he did a few things in the stretch he’ll have to straighten out, mainly ducking out, especially when Rajiv Maragh hit him left-handed, racing with his head cocked to the outside, and not doing his best running until after he changed leads at three-sixteenths pole. It wasn’t until Maragh started hand-riding him that he straightened himself out and drew away. It seemed more of a case of him being distracted than anything else. While the Wood set up perfectly for him, that should in no way diminish what he accomplished, and he sure looked like a Derby horse in the way he did it. And speaking of deserving connections, there are few better pure horsemen around than Jimmy Jerkens, and credit to Centennial Farms for remaining loyal to him after he lost several of his biggest clients and saw his barn go quiet for a few years.


Tapiture Steve Asmussen

Tapit—Free Spin, by Olympio

He gets a major jockey switch, with Joel Rosario replacing Ricardo Santana for the Arkansas Derby. You have to admire his consistency and his toughness, and he certainly got battle-tested in the Rebel. He also has three solid performances over the Churchill Downs surface, including an easy score in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He can go toe to toe with horses on the front end or sit back in fourth or fifth and he’s shifty enough to race inside or outside, and as he demonstrated in the Rebel, between horses, even when getting bounced around. So, all in all, this is a very solid, dependable horse, who definitely should have no problem getting 1 1/8 miles, and while his breeding is geared for that distance, he’s shown enough to suggest that he could stretch out the extra furlong. If he can win the Arkansas Derby or even run a bang-up second, he will help provide the nucleus for a very solid top five or six come Derby Day.


Constitution Todd Pletcher

Tapit—Baffled, by Distorted Humor

The more people I talk to about this horse the more special he looks, as everyone who has been in contact with him has nothing but glowing things to say about him, from his physical and mental attributes to the extraordinary things he’s done on the racetrack, even back to his earliest days in training. But his career has been the complete opposite of California Chrome’s as far as experience and seasoning. With so little experience and so much history against him, having had only three career starts and two two-turn races, his Florida Derby victory was a perfect race for him. We have seen time and again how tough and gutsy Wildcat Red is, and for Constitution, who had run only twice and had never been battle tested, to out-fight such a gritty competitor the entire length of the stretch was pretty remarkable. And he needed that gut check if he was going to have any chance in the Kentucky Derby.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

I know I keep repeating this, but there are only so many new thoughts I can drum up on these horses. I can’t help but feel we are not seeing the best of this horse nor his most productive running style. Somewhere beneath all that speed and stalking speed is a powerful closer who wants to revert back to his maiden race and make a big run from well off the pace. The blinkers have taken that horse away and made him sharper and more pace-driven. But that is not to say that certain adjustments can’t still be made to induce him to come from farther back and pass horses with more conviction. Sometimes, the Kentucky Derby alone can achieve that, simply by overpowering his speed with faster speed and more of it in a 20-horse field that often can swallow up speed horses and stalkers and spit them out in the middle of the pack. When a horse has the kind of closing kick he demonstrated in his debut, he doesn’t lose it completely. It’s always there if the situation arises, and the feeling here is that it will arise in the Derby.


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

The jury, at least my jury, is still out regarding his chances in the Derby. Winning on the inner track at Aqueduct going 1 1/16 miles isn’t quite the same as facing top-quality horses on the main track going 1 1/8 miles, so the Wood was a big test for him. But I feel he got enough out of the Wood to move forward, based on the learning experience he got by being in traffic for the first time and having to put Kristo away and then go all out to chase down a brilliantly fast horse in Social Inclusion, who had separated himself from the field at the five-sixteenths pole. I do feel he is going to need to change leads in the Derby to compete in the final furlong, something he didn’t do in the Wood and in some of his other races. One thing about this horse, he tries every step of the way and was determined to run down a game Social Inclusion, while the winner was rolling out in the middle of the track, which seemed like the place to be. I don’t know how the Derby is going to set up for him, but he moved up into the big leagues on Saturday and you can bet he’s going to make his presence felt. We’ll just have to see how far he can move forward after this race and how much he got out of it.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

His Louisiana Derby is still perplexing because of his antics after turning for home. If he does anything like that in the Derby he surely won’t be around at the finish. Looking at the race positively, I’d like to think of the push-button move he made right before that, when he pounced on Vicar’s in Trouble in a flash and looked as if he were going to blow right by him. That’s when it all fell apart. But the bottom line is that he did finish second and he did get his rhythm back after changing leads at the sixteenth pole and did gallop out well. He’s never really run a bad race and has shown steady improvement since being in Pletcher’s second string at Monmouth Park. The Louisiana Derby might be considered his first step backwards, as slight as it may have been, and now it’s just a question of whether he can regroup and turn his miscue into nothing more than an aberration, which it could very well be considering his body of work prior to that.


Conquest Titan Mark Casse Click Here!

Birdstone—Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft

I’m taking a stab here for old times sake, because I know the talent is there. I saw it in his allowance win at Churchill Downs and I saw it in the Holy Bull when he caught Intense Holiday for second, outclosing a strong closer. He showed his sharpness, drilling 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Palm Meadows, second fastest of 20 works at the distance and then moved to Churchill Downs, where he breezed a bullet half in :47 2/5, fastest of 28 works at the distance.. The Tampa surface is quirky enough to throw out his fourth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby, when he didn’t have the cleanest of trips. The rail might not have been the best place to be, but he did hang in the final sixteenth and Ring Weekend’s stunning defeat at 1-5 in the Calder Derby didn’t flatter the form of that race. So, overall, his performance was disappointing. But on the plus side, he has always been highly regarded, he has an explosive turn of foot when used properly, he loves Churchill Downs, and half his career has been spent being ridden incorrectly, especially his ludicrous ride in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when he set suicidal fractions. The fact he was able to make a 180-degree turnaround after a complete makeover and turn into a stone closer shows how adaptable he is. Now let’s see which Conquest Titan shows up in the Arkansas Derby, where he’ll need a win or a second in a tough field to assure a spot in the Derby, although he’d still have a shot with a third, which would give him 24 points.


Ride On Curlin William GowanClick Here!

Curlin—Magical Ride, by Storm Cat

With the Arkansas Derby next week, he’s back on the list to give him one more chance to show he can beat these horses. But like Conquest Titan, he needs to be ridden properly. I liked his 7-furlong breeze in 1:26 4/5, going off slowly and finishing fast. He needs to get off the lead or even close to the lead and run like he did in the Champagne Stakes, in which he came from eighth, 10 lengths back, to finish third, beaten less than two lengths. If horses like Strong Mandate and Bayern slow the pace down, he does have enough tactical speed to stay in contention and still be able to close. He hasn’t been off the board in eight career starts and his Beyer figures are climbing with every race since he regressed off the Champagne in the Street Sense Stakes, which bring us to one major question mark and that is whether he is as effective at Churchill downs, where he’s 0-for-3. So let’s see what he does Saturday and go from there. I’m looking at him as a live upset possibility if he puts himself in a position to win.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

Can I make it a tie for 11th between Cairo Prince and Candy Boy? I really didn’t know which one to drop for one week, because it’s only temporary until after the Arkansas Derby. These two have had carbon copy campaigns, but Cairo Prince had a slightly longer vacation and might have a little more room for improvement, considering he was more competitive and wasn’t beaten as badly as Candy Boy. Of course, he wasn’t running against California Chrome. Candy Boy looked in good shape until the top of the stretch, but had nothing to offer after that and barely got third over 33-1 shot Dublin Up. Both he and Cairo Prince ran like short horses after their lengthy hiatuses, and Cairo Prince will now have to go into the Derby off one so-so performance in 14 weeks, pretty much the same as Candy Boy. But you still can’t give up on either one for the Derby, as they have a good chance of still getting in. McLaughlin and Sadler did what they felt was best for their horse in the long run, and that was to pass their respective 50-point races. It may compromise their chances for the Derby, but may pay off for them down the road.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

I can’t knock him for stealing the Louisiana Derby. When someone hands you a gift you have to take it, and he did win the race rather comfortably. But he’s sure not going to get such a dream trip at Churchill Downs. Not that he needs it, having run well enough from off the pace in the LeComte and Risen Star. The main question with him is whether he wants to go a mile and a quarter. His pedigree really isn’t that bad, but his :13 3/5 final eighth in the Louisiana Derby suggests that may be his limit. He looks more suited for the Preakness, but no way he’s going to pass the Derby. He is a talented horse who has more than paid his way to Louisville, so if Ken Ramsey wants to try to have three in there, he every right to, and this colt has the credentials. We’ll just have to see how he can carry them.

Knocking At The Door

Another note on CALIFORNIA CHROME, who literally had the fans on their feet as he came down the stretch, according to Santa Anita racing director Rick Hammerle: The colt will not have a work over the Churchill Downs track, as he isn’t scheduled to arrive until April 28, the Tuesday of Derby week. You think there might be a crowd there to greet him?

I could easily have SOCIAL INCLUSION and WILDCAT RED on the list, but right now I do not want to overload it with one-dimensional speed horses, whether experienced or inexperienced. Social Inclusion ran a terrific race in the Wood Memorial and is going to be a major force in the division, but the way he sweated up on a cool, windy day and the way he acted going to the post, kicking and bucking, I just don’t know if he’s capable of handling Derby Day. Is there a Future Bet for the Haskell? I thought he was going to take a lot of beating turning for home, even after dueling on the lead and going wide breaking from the 11 post. But after separating himself from the field, he started shortening stride in the final sixteenth, yet still held on gamely, just getting nosed out for second by Samraat. He’s a big, imposing colt with a massive hind end and I have a lot more respect for him now than I did after his last race. I also didn’t put him on the list because it looks like he’s being pointed for the Preakness because of his points situation. The Derby hasn’t been ruled out, but right now the Preakness looks like an excellent spot for him. This was a major step in the right direction.

It appears as if they tried rating RING WEEKEND off the pace in the Calder Derby and rightly so if they wanted a Derby horse. At 1-5, this was a good place to experiment, but it blew up in their faces when OUR CARAVAN, coming off two dismal performances in the Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull, got the jump on him at the head of the stretch with blinkers added and drew off to a stunning 9 3/4-length victory. I thought the Ring Weekend of the Tampa Bay Derby was a serious Derby horse who would have no trouble handling this field, especially the way he worked over the Calder surface. But he got off to a rocky start, getting squeezed and then became a bit headstrong while under restraint. He finally got in the clear and had a clean trip, moving up to challenge the leaders. But he came under an early whip from Alan Garcia and then played bumper cars with the winner, getting knocked around pretty good. After that he was pretty much done, as Our Caravan took off and left him far back.

I still feel this horse has a lot of talent, but things just didn’t go his way on this day. I was expecting that quick burst of speed he showed in the Tampa Derby, but it never came. Considering they ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:54 1/5, crawling home the last three-eighths in :39 3/5, this obviously was a very deep, tiring track that he may not have liked all that much. With his pedigree, 1 1/4 miles should move him up, and horses coming off this Calder strip usually improve in leaps and bounds. If they still want to push on to the Derby no one can blame them.

So, with Constitution and Social Inclusion, two of the three two-race wonders, proving they are for real, it is now BAYERN’S turn, and judging from his sensational seven-furlong work in 1:23 4/5 he may prove to be just as real. He has some tough opponents to cope with in the Arkansas Derby, but we’ll see if the Baffert magic continues at Oaklawn Park. He has been in the Top 12 briefly. Now it’s up to him to get back on. One Arkansas Derby starter who everyone is interested in is the enigmatic STRONG MANDATE, who breezed five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 4/5. Who knows what to expect from this horse, who has proven he has a ton of ability.

Also heading for the Arkansas Derby is Sunland Derby third COMMISSIONER, who breezed a half in :49. Another Pletcher horse looking to earn his way into the Derby is VINCEREMOS, who breezed his half in :49 1/5 for the Blue Grass Stakes.

One horse who looks to be in love with the Keeneland Polytrack is MR SPEAKER, who drilled a half in :46 1/5 for the Blue Grass, which will draw a large field. Possible favorite, BOBBY’S KITTEN, worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at Keeneland.

Baffert worked his Sunland Derby winner CHITU a half in :46 2/5. He was one of the first horses to earn a place in the Derby field. Another of Baffert’s top horses, MIDNIGHT HAWK, went his half in :46 flat.


Leave a Comment:

It aint easy being good!

Yes I love me some conquest titan. I am glad you havent given up on him. He has the right breeding and running style for the derby and probably has the right jockey! Cant wait to see him on Saturday. I feel everyone has that sneaky horse that your gut just says he has a chance. I feel that way with general A rod. In the Florida Derby he wasnt tired at all. He is an under the radar and hope he goes off at long odds derby day.

07 Apr 2014 6:01 PM

I am still in the Samraat bandwagon. As you've been saying, horses tend to show a small regression in their final prep, which is what he did after 2 battles with Uncle Sigh. To me he seemed to get faster as the stretch went on. For what it's worth, he out galloped Wicked Strong and Social Inclusion.

07 Apr 2014 6:14 PM

What?..........."And as the proverbial icing on the cake, he once again had a powerful gallop-out, as he has in all his races, and blew by California Chrome after the wire, for whatever it’s worth".

Uhm......No Steve it's worth...Nothing!

07 Apr 2014 6:26 PM
Scott's Rail

I keep wondering when CC is going to crack.  Maybe never.  If Mike Smith waits, cuts inside, the losing margin is a couple of lengths less?  M.S. almost never goes inside.  And B. Baffert didn't have Hoppertunity cranked up at all.  I still think his pedigree screams 1 1/4 miles.  As for the Wood, Social Inclusion did very good.(Had him singled 3rd in my winning tri)  His pedigree has a lot of 1 1/4 winners up close.  His jockey kept looking back around the far turn, guess he was hoping no one was coming.  Just a little short, new environment, not enough seasoning.  With 20 pts. this weeks races will determine his next start.  Thanx Steve, can't wait....

07 Apr 2014 6:45 PM
Mister Frisky

Congratulations Steve,Perfect list and as always you spot the good ones before most.Good to see Candy Boy get tossed,all out to beat a maiden for 3rd short or not,that is not a performance worthy of one of the 20 spots in Louisville.By this time next week we will have 20 who qualify and it will be a matter of who can stay healthy till May 3rd.I will try to beat CC in Ky,will use him in some 1$ straight supers,but the big ticket I'm swinging for the fences.Hoping for a big performance from Commissioner and Mr.Speaker.Its been a long time since I've seen people get on a bandwagon like CC's.A lot can happen on the way to racing immortality.Horse doesn't want the distance,can't handle the track or off going,or some unknown physical problem.Just ask my namesake.

07 Apr 2014 6:58 PM

Great list Steve, I always look forward to reading your Derby Dozen.

(1) California Chrome ...WOW !!! Everybody else may be running for 2'nd., but, I sure wish he would work out at CD, as with all horses.

(2) Tapiture ... I like how he got in a rough and tumble and fought back, even if he did finish 2'nd., he has steadily looked tough.

(3) Hoppertunity ... also ran a rough and tumble which is good experience to have for the knock down drag out Ky. Derby. Not much separating him and Tapiture.

(4) General A Rod...  I'm no pedigree expert by any means, but I believe having Fusaichi Pegasus and Dynaformer in his blood has to be a good thing. I don't think we've seen his best yet.

(5) Wicked Strong ... seems to be improving at just the right time, maybe he just didn't take to the GP track. But he was rolling at the Big A .

(6) Constitution ... I don't know if he'll have the foundation to be ready by Derby time, but he has beaten two high quality fields at GP, and at some point is going to be awfully tough.

(7) Samraat ... A fighter that just don't give up, and one I could for sure see hitting the board in a tri-super.

(8) Vicars in Trouble ... I may have him too low since he has already beaten Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday, In Trouble and Albano, not too shabby.

(9) Wildcat Red ... and he seems too low, maybe after CC it should just be a 9-way tie, can't knock his record or ability 7= 4-3-0 is pretty darn good, and facing some good competition.

(10) TIE ...

   Ride on Curlin ... seems to be improving a little at a time, hopefully enough by Ark. Derby time. I may play him on top of Ark in a tri.

Strong Mandate ... another I hope wins/second at Ark., I really hope he gets in the Derby, out of Tiznow and trained by Mr. Lucas, who is a cool guy.

also, I'm really liking my early Derby Pool 3 exacta box with :

          4 - California Chrome 32-1

          8 - General A Rod 36-1

          17 - Strong Mandate - 18-1

          19 - Tapiture 17-1

Hopefully they all stay healthy and make it in the gate.

Good luck all.

07 Apr 2014 7:02 PM

Steve, great list here.  You can toot that horn for as long and as loud as you want!  I'm with you on California Chrome, what an impressive animal.  Seems he has the mind and maturity as well.  Wow our TC hopes set upon another beautiful chestnut.  I, for one, think great horses have come out of California the last several years so I am not surprised.  I just get a kick out of him being stabled at Los Al with that quarter horse (his secret trainer!).

Hoppertunity a game second and I like your analogy of a work accomplished in a million dollar race, not a bad performance at all.  I am stil keeping him at number 2 as well.

Now Samraat, well again not bad, he got some traffic experience in this one.  Very determined, wonder if some of the frequent flyer mileage is taking it's toll?  Nice to see a Hard Spun baby coming front and center as Wicked Strong did.  Is Wicked Strong that "closer" you have been calling out Steve???

I agree on General A Rod, the "Roman Ruler" in him has to come out and develop more.

My list so far is:

1.  California Chrome

2.  Hoppertunity

3.  Samraat

4.  Wicked Strong

5.  General A Rod

6.  Wildcat Red

7.  Constitution

8.  Intense Holiday

9.  Tapiture

07 Apr 2014 7:08 PM

California Chrome is undoubtedly the best colt right now in the west. That´s a fact, is unquestionable.  His performance last saturday was simply awesome, the most impressive for any 3yo colt so far in this country. How awesome was his race that, at this stage, I see Hoppertunity as his principal enemy in the Derby. I liked the way he moved  in the Santa Anita and something makes me think he will improve in Churchill Downs.  From the east, honestly, I have not seen a dominant force like California Chrome. I have my doubts about Constitution to handle the Derby distance, maybe because of his pedigree. I still wait for the result in Arkansas this weekend to get a clearer landscape from this side of the country.  I want to see Tapiture, Commissioner and Ride On Curlin. Yes, in the east the panorama is too confusing, it doesn´t mean that the next Derby winner is not around there. California Chrome is the huge favorite for the Derby today, but all we know how difficult is to get it. Not always the bests have smelled the roses. But is delightful to see this Lucky Pulpit son in action. CC and Hoppertunity my first and second choice, respectively, for the Derby, but waiting anxiously for the result in Arkansas and Keeneland next weekend.

07 Apr 2014 7:11 PM

If he gets in, which will be a close call, Candy Boy looks like he'll offer very good value in the Derby.

07 Apr 2014 7:19 PM
Your Only Friend

Interesting selections.... on couple of your horses you maybe reaching.,,,What do I know....another two weeks will gives us all a better idea who will be capable too run one and quarter miles.

07 Apr 2014 7:22 PM

We're less than 4 weeks away, and Candy Boy falls from 3rd to one without even a mention (unless I missed it). Hoppertunity, a horse I had always liked, didn't look too good in the post parade-ribby and gutted. Baffert has some time still to fill him out, but there will be another cross country trip and the training...It wouldn't surprise me all that much if none of your present top 10 finish within the first three come Derby day.    

07 Apr 2014 7:24 PM
Bloodline Bob

My 5 current Ky. Derby prospects include Steve's: #2, #8, #9, #10 and Strong Mandate. These are not set in stone for May 3, 2014.

07 Apr 2014 7:25 PM
Jersey Girl


Wicked Strong must have read your "Calling All Closers." It was great to see him emerge. Hoping for more closing moments this weekend. Ride On, Curlin.

07 Apr 2014 7:38 PM
NH Gal

I am mesmerized by California Chrome.  Thank you Steve for writing about him early on.  He reminds me of Wise Dan in his looks although it appears CC is not as big.  I'm also a huge fan of Wicked Strong.  A friend of mine was seriously injured in the Boston Marathon bombing and I was excited to tell her about his big win in the Wood.

07 Apr 2014 7:41 PM

If CALIFORNIA CHROME gets a decent trip with a good start from the gate then it's GAME OVER on May 3.  I love how he notices everything, very observant.  12 2/5 coming home in a gallop???  Could hardly tell if he was sweating or breathing after the race.  Yep, turn him loose.  He's a racehorse!

If he doesn't, then HOPPERTUNITY #2 is there to clean up the mess.

I loved WICKED STRONG after the Remsen but I can't consider a horse my Derby champion after he just doesn't show up in some races.  I feel like he's the horse that has to have the perfect conditions with the perfect trip for him to give his best performance.  I'm not on his bandwagon.

CONSTITUTION #3, to me, is this year's version of Violence but is still healthy.  Orb snuck up on Violence and when aware, Violence sprung to action with serious ability.

I'm not backing off of RING WEEKEND #4.  After getting blinkers, he's performed great.  I toss out Calder and think he's a dark horse for the Derby and may sneak up on everyone.  He's big and fast and I think they know how to run him now after the experiment.

I saw TAPITURE #5run in the Southwest and he's the real deal.  Tactical, tough, and lightning fast.

#6 CAIRO PRINCE, won't be the same horse on Derby Day as he was in FL Derby….IF HE GETS IN.

GENERAL A ROD #7 is sitting on a whopper come May 3.

CHITU #8 is not getting the love he deserves.  Any horse, and I mean ANY, inbred to Secretariat has the chance to be special.  He's a big, strong colt, blazing fast, and won't back down from a fight.  If you pass him, he won't give you a free pass.  He'll be at his best level fitness come May 3 and better than we've seen him so far.

After these, I can see other horses ONLY winning if stars align perfectly for them but I am anxious to see BAYERN, MR SPEAKER, CONQUEST TITAN, BOBBY'S KITTEN, RIDE ON CURLIN and COMMISSIONER run in the upcoming races.

07 Apr 2014 7:45 PM
Pat Day Fan

Steve,  Why would Baffert run Chitu in the Arkansas Derby and compete with Bayern for points?  Chitu is in and has enough points. Does he run Chitu to just get another race in him for conditioning? I guess I just don't get it.  Seems like with horse injury's that Baffert would just work Chitu up to the race and not take a chance of him missing out on the big prize.

Also, I enjoy your derby dozen,  Good stuff

Also,  Ride on Curlin sneaky longshot for the weekend and for the Derby.

07 Apr 2014 7:52 PM

Regarding Social Inclusion

I can´t stop thinking Luis Contreras did a terrible job with social Inclusion, this is a horse that can run behind the lead. He force the horse to the lead at the and after that initial effort, the horse just didn´t have a chance to settle. I think he deserves better and It´s gonna be a major force in the Preakness.

07 Apr 2014 7:52 PM

I believe your list will look a lot different next Saturday night as Bayern will prove he is the most talented colt on the Derby trail. Conquest Titan should move up with the jockey switch, and I'm glad Rosario is riding Tapiture now because Strong Mandate needed some type of change and he is one of only about 3 horses on the trail with a very solid 10 furlong pedigrees. The good thing about the Arkansas Derby being essentially the last prep before the Derby is that horses that are on the fence will undergo some type of tweak that might completely shake up their performance.

07 Apr 2014 7:59 PM
Steve Haskin

Sceptre, yes, you did miss something, please read it again more carefully.

Chitu is not running in the Arkansas Derby. HRTV reported he was booked on the plane, but Baffert just told me he wasn't, so I removed that reference.

07 Apr 2014 8:01 PM

While the horseracing community was wowed by California Chrome's performance in the Santa Anita derby, trainer Bob Baffert was ecstatic about the way Hoppertunity finished second. The intention for Hoppertunity was never to go all out, as Mike Smith never used his whip and never set him down for a final drive.

California Chrome got first jump on Hoppertunity when Hoppertunity got bottled up and was boxed in down on the rail by Candy Boy to his outside and California Chrome and Dublin Up in front of him. It wasn't until California Chrome kicked clear which allowed Hoppertunity get out but while getting out he was pushed wide by Dublin Up who drifted on the turn. At this point California Chrome was already gone and though Hoppertunity was full of run Mike Smith did the smart thing and easily guided him home. All things equal, the derby will have a different outcome.

07 Apr 2014 8:32 PM

Rest in peace, Mr Rooney. I hope tonight that you are in heaven riding "The Pie" or "The Black" and that there is a racetrack in the sky where Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Man'O War, Barbaro, Ruffian and all the racing greats are still running their races to the delight of the Angels

07 Apr 2014 8:40 PM

Bob Baffert comments after the Santa Anita derby....

"California Chrome is a really good horse. I was really happy with my race. I’m glad I ran my horse. He got $200,000 for finishing second. I got beat today but I’m really happy with my horse. Oh, yeah: he’s going to the Kentucky Derby.”

If I am reading right, I think Baffert is very confident running against California Chrome again especially in the derby.

07 Apr 2014 8:40 PM

Yep, Steve; caught now your mention of Candy Boy on the notes for Cairo Prince. I, myself, would place them both higher, but I see where you're coming from.  

07 Apr 2014 8:43 PM

GiddyUpBoyWhoa - are you looking to sell any of that exacta box? great play, hope you cash.

Steve - you have been dialed in all year with this bunch, great stuff for sure!

07 Apr 2014 8:55 PM
The Deacon

Steve your assessment is right on. What I saw from California Chrome on Saturday left me almost speechless. The Derby is his to lose. Hopefully the track conditions and weather will play out for him.

The Derby sure has a way of humbling everyone. I am very excited about him but guarded at the same time.

My next 5 are:

2. Hopportunity

3. Tapiture

4. Constitution

5. Wicked Strong

I think this years Triple Crown is actually playing itself out.

Very informative and insightful post Steve, you never cease to amaze me.

Happy Belated Birthday

07 Apr 2014 8:59 PM


Blow your horn all you want, you're to be congratulated seeing what CC had in him early on.  He had to prove it to me Saturday and he did--Outstanding!

To me the gallop-out has no consequence; Victor was gearing him down and actually pulling him up well before the finish line to save him--smart move.  CC actually picked it up agin around the turn and passed Hoppertunity only to have Victor pull him up tighter.  CC's on his game.

This weekend's races could jumble things up especially the very competitive Arkansas Derby.  But until then here's my top five:

1.  California Chrome

2.  Wicked Strong

3.  Hoppertunity

4.  Constitution

5.  Intense Holiday

Right behind:  Tapiture, Conquest Titan, Samraat.

This fever is beginning to bother me.  I may have to see the Dr.

07 Apr 2014 9:00 PM


I'm all Wildcat Red.Just because my little brother(age 3)picked him to win the Fountain of Youth,and then he did.It was the first race I ever followed,and now I'm hooked.I just love him.He made me fall in love with racing!

2.Cali Chrome

3.Vicars in Trouble.Love Rosie Napravnik.As a 13yo girl who is going to be a jockey,how can I not love her?




And that's my derby half-dozen!

07 Apr 2014 9:06 PM
The Deacon

I might add here is that if California Chrome wins the Kentucky Derby he will be the 1st Cal Bred since Decidedly in 1962. Before that it was Swaps in 1955 who amazingly enough Art Sherman was Swaps exercise rider. It's about time the great Swaps got some love. I saw Swaps run several times, you don't think of it when your young but remembering back what an incredible horse he was..........

07 Apr 2014 9:07 PM

Triple crown?  Why havent we had a triple crown winner since 78?  I would think people wouldve learned by now................but they keep making the same mistake......................

07 Apr 2014 9:08 PM

I will write my list of colts that I gained by including the all others #24 in ALL of my future exacta wheels and boxes.I dont believe that you bloggers wouldnt bet on this selection if betting exactas. With all the knowledge you have, and the experience of seeing the KD and what can happen and usually does for all of your years being witness to the great race and betting (H) opportunity.

I can say this IF CC wins the KD he has the right running style to win the TC because I dont believe he can mimic his last two in Kentucky so he will learn to rate MUCH MUCH better in the KD than he has shown.He will have much more pace and pressure than applied by Midnight Hawk, Dublin and Candy Boy.

07 Apr 2014 9:09 PM

  Earlier e-mail to my older brother…

 “I said back then, “OK, let’s wait and see where he ends up in his SANTA ANITA DERBY run”,--{{this after watching a replay of “California Chrome’s”  Dec. 22nd 7 fur. romp.}}--however, it was his San Felipe run at SA that was wow impressive if you saw it. On the lead dueling with Baffert’s “Midnight Hawk” in the stretch running neck and neck he appeared to turn on that “CURLIN-I’LL HAVE ANOTHER Kick”!!! that strange 5th gear that few horses seem to have !!! and ran off to win by near 5 or 6 lengths. I am not sure if he has enough distance in him to cover the Belmont, but so far I have left him out of my future bets, where I now think he went off around 35-1 in the last ‘CD’ pool and was like 350-1 still at Wynn’s. And, as of this moment, he is really starting to become my Derby favorite, although I don’t think I have a dollar on him. AND wow in 1:40 and change ?? vs. “Ring Weekend’s” wire to wire 1:43. plus win in Tampa… pretty friggin’ impressive…  We may have seen the future Derby winner that night during that replay we watched!!! lol …frightening … I’m telling ya, ‘He’s got the moves like jagger, he’s got the moves like jagger’. Keep him in mind anyway. I think Haskin’s had him ranked 8th last week and with “Top Billing” injured and out with a broken leg, thinking ol’ Chrome boy may move up into his top 3 !!!”

 [[note: Steve Haskin’s made him #1 in his “dozen” the following week! a day or two after that post.]]

sawrite, I said I would give ya’all my ranked horses after the BIG 3 Gr. I races, so here goes… lol… an earlier post said something about “a horse that starts with the letter “C” is gonna win the Kty. Derby.”

{{psychic ? I was thinking the same thought long before I saw that post ?? lol }}… anyhoo…

  My top three choices are: “California Chrome”; “Chitu”; and “Constitution” … and have fingers crossed that “Conquest Titan” and, or “Commanding Curve” might still find a way in…

  However, with the near 18 of 20 spots likely now filled, only a few will I play under those listed above to fill exotics, where at the moment at this juncture I am leaning towards “Hoppertunity”; “Wildcat Red”; “Ring Weekend”; and “Uncle Sigh” to maybe be my under play boys.

  Still under slight consideration are also,

“Wicked Strong”; “Vicar’s In Trouble”; “Intense Holiday”; & “We Miss Artie”; if we have to produce a ‘dozen’.  And, I will leave a spot open for anyone that super impresses from the coming next weekend results. Secretly hoping “Conquest Titan” gets in, as I think he is the best bred for distance amongst all those previously listed !!  

 Overall, this is in my opinion a reasonably weak field for horses that I rate to get the “Belmont” distance, so I don’t see any ‘Triple Crown’ winner unless  “California Chrome” continues to be the ‘freak’ that he has been thus far. In that respect, we are really missing many, many well-bred animals from the current top 20 potentially to be filled gate spots.

 Off the top of my head, those missing would include the likes of: “Awesome Sky”; “Charleymillionaire”;

“Commanding Curve”; “Conquest Titan”; “Coup de Grace”; “Divine Oath”; “El Nino Terrible”; “Empower”; “Extrasexthippzster”; “Home Run Kitten”; “In Trouble”; “Michaelmas”; “Misconnect”;

“Mr. Speaker”; “Sassicaia”; “Storming Inti”; “Surfing U S A”; and “Talent Show”; and etc., whom in my opinion are all ‘bred forever’ and in my eyes are all way better bred to get more distance than those that have qualified for this Kentucky Derby. You might take a few and look up their pedigrees if you in some way disagree. However, those latter listed above did also not measure up in the offered preliminary ‘points’ events; have not started their racing careers?--case in point “Talent Show”;-- or, I suppose, that their ‘connections’ just had, or have mapped out other plans for them other than attempting to bank on the Derby win,--which to me of course always seems a little bit strange considering the money that was laid out for many of them that were not retained privately, although I get the drift that different breeds also develop slower than others, that some are pointed to ‘turf’ only, and etc., and etc.--And, that all so, also including many others that were not ‘triple crown nominated’ that may also show up somewhere interesting in the future in some other future events outside of the Preakness and the Belmont.

 Anyway, good luck at those windows come all your trips and especially this coming first Sat. in MAY. “GO BABY, GO BABY, GO!!” --Time for me to now start studying up my top filly picks, so laterz.--    

07 Apr 2014 9:14 PM

California Chrome is the big anti-post favorite to win the Derby and deservedly so. He has done everything asked of him in his last 4 stats impressively.  However, can he conceivably be the winner of Derby 2014? Before I am accused of knocking down another top rated horse, let me make it exceedingly clear to the fans of the colt that no such attempt is being made. The colt has earned his spot at the top of Derby class 2014.

Orb the 2013 Derby winner was sired by Malibu Moon a son of A P Indy. Malibu Moon had an abbreviated racing career due to injury and made only two starts. One was a losing efforts 4.5F and the other a winning one at 5.5F. The 1969 Derby winner Majestic Prince was sired by Raise A Native who also had an abbreviated racing career due to injury and all his victories were at 5 & 5.5F. There is no doubt that both horses were bred to run further. The Derby winners sired by both stallions were 43 years apart. Why is this bid of history significant?

Lucky Pulpit the sire of CC made 22 starts and won three times. All his victories were record at 5 & 5.5F.  The way Derby history has unfolded, it is extremely unlikely that two stallions with this type of profile will be associated with back to back Derby winners. An occurrence that has taken 43 year to be repeated does not occur in successive years. That’s not how Derby history unfolds.

The unlikeliness of his victory has nothing to do with the either horse or its connections. Something always happens to prevent a horse like CC from wining. I recognize that Derby history is irrelevant to most but there is a particular horse from the last surviving line of Man O War that has the potential to defeat CC.

07 Apr 2014 9:24 PM
Paula Higgins

Loved your comments on California Chrome Steve and yes, you picked him right away. He has that Je ne sais quoi (the only French I know) that the great ones have. He is looong too. A very interesting body type. O.k. I won't use the word "freak" because Windolin doesn't like it (I understand), but he is one very special horse. If they keep him healthy, he has an incredible future ahead of him whether he wins the Derby or not. My list is as follows:

California Chrome (for obvious reasons)

Tapiture (No reason to move him yet)

Wicked Strong (Inconsistent or improving, not sure which, but he is a closer and that is good in the Derby)

Hoppertunity (I think Baffert is a genius at priming his horses for the big races and Hoppertunity did not disgrace himself at all)

Smaraat (I know he may not be able to get the distance, but I still think he ran a gritty race)

Social Inclusion (He ran well in spite of his issues and I think he is very talented)

Constitution (Y'all like him)

Ride On Curlin (Y'all like him too)

07 Apr 2014 9:25 PM
Sam Santschi

Sceptre,  I didn't like how "ribby" hopper looked either. Too much too soon?  He ran much better than I thought he would.  Steve, thanks for pointing out CC months ago.  My only KDFW to even hit the board was MMM.  Fun to be walking around with a chance on such an amazing horse!  Sure beats my American Lion future wager years ago.  Yikes!  Could CT with his RAN blood become the wise guy horse?  Too early to know.

07 Apr 2014 9:29 PM

I'm almost afraid to love CA Chrome. For all that he is, for all that he can be, I don't want to be disappointed in a less than stellar performance at the Derby. The only factor to hold him back (other than he gets up on the wrong side of the bed or perhaps the weather) is the trip. The trip holds the key. If he is successful there will be a parade out West in his honor no doubt.

07 Apr 2014 9:31 PM

I love your inputs Steve, what are we gonna do without you.... There's no two Steves in horse racing.

07 Apr 2014 9:34 PM


07 Apr 2014 9:44 PM
Sail On

:12 2/5, :13 3/5, where can I find the charts that report these figures?

07 Apr 2014 9:52 PM

Vicar's In Trouble does not need the lead.  The speed did not materialize in the Louisiana Derby, so it was his for the taking.  He does well in a stalking position.

Furthermore, Vicar's In Trouble blew an abscess a few days after the Risen Star.  So, common sense told me to throw out that race, and after careful consideration I did so.

Vicar's In Trouble is a small horse, but if I can engage everyone to look at the tail side of his pedigree, therein you will find a large heart, literally.

07 Apr 2014 10:04 PM

Bigtex, I agree, Chitu is not getting the love he deserves.  He is a beautifully bred horse, and I would be shocked if he did not hit the board in the derby.

07 Apr 2014 10:28 PM


Maybe I'm just being pig-headed about this, but I'm still not buying him. At least half the field has blown the doors off fields of less than classic calibre, and I'm still asking "Who'd he beat?"

Can not stomach the pedigree. His dam won one race, a maiden $8000 claimer. In four years of racing, his sire won three races, the sole stakes win being a $45,000 stakes at five furlongs on the turf.

". . . his great grandfather was Man o' War . . ."

Nor can I find a plethora of European and American classic winners in his pedigree. There's one in his first three generations, along with two sires who never won a stakes, 4/8 in his fourth and 4/16 in his fifth (counting horses twice who appear twice). That's including Caro who won the Guineas, not a race we look to when prospecting for stamina.

Apart from numbers, the name on paper means zip without some indication that the classic qualities of the sire have not been bred out of the line. If we want to know if a horse is grey, we don't count the number of grey ancestors it has, we look at the horse.

We'll be looking at the horse one upcoming Saturday, and maybe Sunday I'll be plucking the crow for the slow cooker.

07 Apr 2014 10:30 PM
Keep your powder dry

Great list Steve and thank you for your work. I don't know how anybody couldn't have CC #1 at this point but there's a lot of things that will happen between now and post time. Would you take 2-1 on CC in the #1, #2, #19 or #20 posts? Weather? Off track? Never have gotten the great one Holy Bull out of my head.

I think Baffert's horse Chitu is really being overlooked. If it rains buckets and they seal the track you'll be sorry We Miss Artie wasn't on your list. JMHO.

07 Apr 2014 10:58 PM

I don't know if I like the jockey switch on Tapiture.  I know, Joel Rosario is one of the best jockeys out there but I don't think Santana has done anything wrong.  Jockey switches from unknown to a known jockey doesn't usually work IMO.  A jockey switch between two well known jockeys works because it's a change of style, not skills but that's just my view of it.

CC is the now horse, and to most, he’s the IT horse based on his last race.  As it impressive as it was, it’s still in California, at Santa Anita Park.  SA is pretty similar to GP with regards to being a speed track.  The reason I can’t put him as my number one is still the same reason I stated in the past, he has never had to battle.  If he gets a good post, I might play him but it would take “luck” for him to win the Derby just like each and every one who makes the gate.   The first 20 seconds of the race is a jockey race, not a horse race.   Horses who are good will get in the position their jockey chooses.  I think Samraat has the best jockey on him and unless he gets 1 to 5 post, he’ll have a really good shot at being there in the end, as a winner ?  I don’t know but I’ll be heavily invested in him in the Derby.  This is all dependent on his post draw, and his pre-race workouts going into the Derby.

Samraat : I win big or lose big on him

Tapiture : He’s already in, not sure why there’s a jockey switch

Intense Holiday : Most likely the only closer that can close

California Chrome :  Probably one that I would let beat me on Derby day

Wicked Strong : Quite impressed with his win in the Wood

Chitu : Baffert’s top Derby horse even if Bayern romps in the Arkansas Derby

Hoppertunity : Second to Chitu

Ring Weekend : Will be the true speed in the Derby

Commissioner : I hope he gets to go to the big dance

Albano : One of the few that can chase the speed and capable of hanging tough

Vinceremos : He’ll be a mid-pack closer that I hope to move up near the top after the Bluegrass

Conquest Titan : I have no reason at all but basing it on Steve’s comments about him

07 Apr 2014 11:04 PM

The information provided in the summary for Constitution is very revealing. California Chrome occupies the top spot but does Constitution rightfully belongs there instead of #5?

California Chrome started his 4 race winning streak in his 7th start. Prior to his King Glorious victory he was unplaced at 8F and 7F. A comparison of races between the two colts could shed some light on whether CC is really more talented than Constitution:

CC - King Glorious 7F (S) 7th start - 1st in 1:22.12

Const.– MSW 7F (D) 1st start – 1st 1:23.36

CC – Cal Cup Derby 8.5F (D) 8th start - 1st in 1:43.22

Const. – AlwOC 8.5F (D) 2nd start – 1st 1:42.19

CC – SA Derby G1, 9F (D) 10th start - 1st in 1:47.52

Const. – FL Derby G1, 9F (D) 3rd start – 1st 1:49.16

The track at SA Park appears to be at a minimum 1 second faster than the one at Gulfstream Park.

What does the above comparison reveal?

California Chrome first 4 races were over 4.5 & F.5.5F. He won his 1st race beyond 5.5F in his 7th start. He won his first race at 8.5F in his 8th start. He won his first G1 race in his 10th start. His major opposition in the 9F, SA Derby was Hopportunity and Candy Boy. Both had two wins and less racing experience. Their wins were in MSW and G2 races.  He handily defeated them.

Constitution first race was over 7F. He won his second over 8.5F. His first G1 victory came in his 3rd start. His major opposition in the 9f SA Derby was Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Cairo Prince who had significantly more racing experience.

Wildcat Red is a multiple graded stakes winner of 4 races. Cairo Prince is a multiple graded stakes winner of 3 races. General A Rod has two victories to his credit and narrow defeat in a G2 race. He recorded a hard fought victory against three horses that in combination had 4 graded stakes victories and 9 victories in total. He exited an Allowance Optional Claim to win a G1.

Constitution appears to be the better colt despite his short resume. Whereas California Chrome appeared to be different horse in his 7th start, Constitution showed class from day one. From every indication he is the better of the two and despite his trainer’s dismal Derby record, his resume far supersedes that of Art Sherman.  

We know how good California Chrome is. Why shouldn't we believe Constitution is better based on the above cold facts.

07 Apr 2014 11:04 PM


ride on curlin has no shot in the derby, He cant even get 1 1/16???

07 Apr 2014 11:09 PM

What on earth does a horse have to do ?  Constitution beat Wicked Strong just a few weeks ago by more than 6 lengths and he is ranked below the horse he whipped ?  Constitution just beat Wildcat Red who almost pulled off a miracle winning the Hutcheson, FOY and almost the Florida Derby.... has a horse ever done that ?  What did California Chrome do ? He out ran Dublin Up a horse that has never come close to winning any race at any time.  Constitution won his Maiden by doing something you will almost never see.... if you haven't seen it watch it.  He then goes 2 turns for the first time in his next race and puts away the Wood winner along with Mexikoma and wins by daylight.  Constitution then steps right up to Stakes competition facing Cairo Prince and Wildcat Red and get stuck behind horses and shoots up the rail through a small opening and gets headed in mid stretch only to come back and win going away at the wire.  3 fantastic performances and now undefeated and ranked 5th behind a horse he already beat by 6 ?  California Chrome is the most over hyped horse since Pyro. I guess Constitution will not get any respect until he beats Dublin Up.... #makesnosense

07 Apr 2014 11:13 PM

steve-great analysis and fun reading! my quest for derby 4 horse triple box continues- 1)tapiture stays in with Rosario on and hope to see him circle horses for the win or decent 2nd. 2)ring weekend -I had a feeling they would practice closing with him at calder. looked good until the mystery swerve, then hand ridden home to complete his workout on this training track. will never know how he might have raced if he hooked those speedsters from the start. still intriguing to me.3)California chrome replaces noble moon. probably 5 lengths better than others this year, foolish to leave him out of triple. just think how big triple will be if he doesn't hit the board. 4)constitution replaces candy boy.will look better if derby comes up wet as my old favorite off track horse mr. leader is his relative, also see mr. leader in hopportunity ut oh! 4.5)we miss artie-lets see now, grade 1 winner, distance pedigree,  owned by ramsey and doesn't like dirt. he may be in, the one that doesn't figure, sometimes the one that bites you if left out.

07 Apr 2014 11:42 PM
food fight

Steve you deserve a lot of credit recognizing CC ability and class several months ago. And now this colt has made a believer out of me. He is so efficient a mover and so intelligent that he reminds me of Affirmed the only difference is he can separate and does not wait on competition. As far as Samraat is concerned i believe he did switch leads very late though that is when he made another move just before the wire. If his trainer breezes this colt 5/8s instead of his regular mile breeze he may just wake him up earlier and instead of grinding down the lane he may show a quicker turn of foot. I also love the gallop outs of Hopertunity he looks like a genuine 10 furlong colt.Here is my pick for the up coming Arkansas derby Commissioner if the track is playing fair to closers he will be tough to beat. Looking for a Commissioner Bayern Ride On triple.    

07 Apr 2014 11:47 PM
from the gut

Just a mention to DontHateMe Even thou they are called Derby sush as the SA. They are Preps to Ky. How a horse gallops after the wire is something to note. To tell Mr, Haskins that it means nothing after he took note to it was rude comment, If that's not how you Cap than so be it Mr. Haskin keep up the fine work. Go Hopper

07 Apr 2014 11:52 PM

What a weekend!  My current list is:  1-Tapiture, 2-California Chrome, 3-Hoppertunity, 4-Midnight Hawk, and 5-Cairo Prince.  I am not giving up on Hawk or Prince yet.  I am afraid to like Hoppertunity too much though due to his sire.  I LOVED Any Given Saturday when he was racing and was sure he would win the Derby - NOT.  Then after his impressive wins in the Dwyer, Brooklyn and Haskell (over Curlin and Hard Spun) I was sure he would win the Breeders Cup.  NOT again!  Although his breeding and dosage say he should have been fine, he failed miserably at his two attempts at 1 1/4 miles.  So can his son do what he could not?  I guess we'll see and I reluctantly put him in third on my list.....

08 Apr 2014 12:08 AM

California Chrome reminds me of Afleet Alex.  The last horse that should be a Triple Crown winner.

08 Apr 2014 12:12 AM


Listed in order of preference

The maximum number of starters for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on Saturday will be limited to 14. In the event that more than 14 pass the entry box, the 14 starters will be determined at that time with preference given to graded stakes winners (in order 1-2-3) then highest earnings.

Post positions for the Toyota Blue Grass will be drawn on Wednesday.



Trainer (Barn)

Last Race

Last Work (@ KEE unless indicated)

Bobby’s Kitten

Javier Castellano

Chad Brown (12)

Won 3/8 allowance @TAM

5f in 1:00.20 on 4/5


Mario Morales (22)

5th 2/2 AOC @GP

3f in :34.80 on 4/7

Asserting Bear

Emma-Jayne Wilson

Reade Baker (6)

4th Spiral (G3) @TP on 3/22

4f in :48 on 4/7

Dance With Fate

Corey Nakatani

Peter Eurton (22)

2nd El Camino Real Derby (G3) @GG on 2/15

5f in 1:01.40 @ SA on 4/5

Vinceremos (K)

Todd Pletcher (6)

2nd Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/8

4f in :49.25 @Palm Meadows on 4/6

Harry’s Holiday (K)

Rosie Napravnik

Mike Maker (30)

2nd Spiral (G3) @TP on 3/22

5f in 1:01.60 @Trackside on 4/5


Julian Pimentel

Michael Trombetta (19)

8th Gotham (G3) @AQU on 3/1

4f in :46 on 4/6

Coastline (K)

Stewart Elliott

Mark Casse (1)

3rd Spiral (G3) @TP on 3/22

5f in 1:00.40 on 4/4

Mr Speaker*

Shug McGaughey (33)

2nd Palm Beach (G3) @GP on 3/2

4f in :46.20 on 4/6

So Lonesome

Joe Rocco Jr.

Tom Bush (35)

9th Palm Beach (G3) @GP on 3/2

5f in :59.50 @Palm Meadows on 4/2

Gala Award (K)

Todd Pletcher (6)

Won Palm Beach (G3) @GP on 3/2

4f in :49.25 @Palm Meadows on 4/6

Big Bazinga (K)

Brian Hernandez Jr.

Katerina Vallieseva (22)

5th Spiral (G3) @TP on 3/22

4f in :47.60 on 4/6

Scotland (K)

Anthony Dutrow

Won maiden @PARX on 3/22

5f in 1:01 @Fair Hill on 4/5

Pablo Del Monte

Wesley Ward (47)

3rd Hutcheson (G3) @GP on 2/1

6f in 1:13 on 4/4

Danza (K)

Todd Pletcher (6)

3rd AOC @GP on 3/1

4f in :49.05 @Palm Meadows on 4/6

Coltimus Prime

Alan Garcia

Justin Nixon (23)

9th Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on 3/8

5f in 1:01.20 on 4/7

Divine Oath (K)

Todd Pletcher (6)

Won AOC @GP on 2/22

4f in :50.60 @Palm Meadows on 4/6

(K) = Keeneland sale graduate


Ride On Curlin, third in both the Southwest (G3) and Rebel (G2) Stakes, is one of six definite starters for the Arkansas Derby. The others are Bayern, Strong Mandate, Tapiture, Commission and Conquest Titan. Danza is possible.

08 Apr 2014 12:13 AM

Snake they stop paying out money after 4th.CC what can you say other than brilliant,however I am still looking for the stayer Wicked Strong ain't the one for shure.

08 Apr 2014 12:21 AM

I'm in total agreement with Steve's top two.  I think the SA Derby has been the best prep thus far, and at this point, California Chrome is the class of the class IMO.  My only concern for this extraordinary colt, is, how long can he keep going like a machine?

I'm not so sure about #3.  I loved Hard Spun, so I want to love Wicked Strong, but, while he had the appearance of finishing like a freight train, he is not the smoothest-moving colt and I think it was more a case of the leader stopping than Wicked Strong accelerating.  As for Samraat and Social Inclusion, Samraat again showed his competitive nature, and SI, though clearly tired, showed a lot of guts.  I think he left a lot of his race in the paddock and during the post parade, and I don't think he got the best ride.

I'm looking forward to the Ark Derby more than the Blue Grass, as I just don't think the synthetic track preps tell us much.  I heard Conquest Titan put in a fast work today and Tapiture's sounded pretty ordinary.

A final comment on California Chrome; he looked as good in the post parade as a horse can look.  He's not a big, stout horse, but he's put together beautifully and he oozes confidence.

08 Apr 2014 12:30 AM

Steve ~

No surprise as California Chrome holds the #1 spot on your Derby Dozen as he continues to take us along the Derby trail with ease.  Espinoza needs only to ride and rate as this colt shouts "I want to run and I love it". And, run he does ~ relaxed, in control, he dances across the track leaping like a ballet artist in flight ~ running, running, free with the wind as if in a pasture of green.  This is no "freak" (a term I do not like and refuse to use but must reference here); this is a "Forest Gump" of racing in Art Sherman's "Field of Dreams".

No doubt Churchill Downs is deep and tough and inside post position is like a piranha and we will have to wait and see the draw but this colt showed complete confidence in the Santa Anita and Art Sherman has much more - He'll be ready; we already know he's capable.

As I listened to your "One for the Roses" assessment I found it a reflection of my thoughts as well... Hopportunity did rate and hold up in the Santa Anita Derby and demonstrated that he is maturing in a timely manner and for his effort deserves recognition which Bob Baffert is giving him as he proclaims the Derby destination.

As I favored Wicked Strong in The Wood; I was not disappointed for I was not convinced that Social Inclusion or Samraat would be the successor in this 1 1/8. It seemed as though it was equivalent to an Allowance Race and treated as such by me.

As for Tapiture, the knowledge of Churchill Downs and familiarity could work in his favor and I like the fact that you mention he could finish second in the Arkansas Derby  ~ keeping the pressure off.

Applause for keeping General A Rod in sight but feeling Samraat will be silent;not quite sure as yet that Intense Holiday will be any less "intense".

If I am correct Steve, these few left determining races will have to be outstanding for consideration  (by yourself, myself and a whole lot of others) to consider California Chrome to drop from #1 to anything less on the Derby Dozen ~as the fittings of California Chrome and Art Sherman seems fashionable and possible and beyond the Beyers.

This Derby Dozen seems to flow in flight like Calofornia Chrome - unsurpassed, relaxed and focused as we breeze into the finals fit and ready!

As always - Thanks Steve

08 Apr 2014 12:40 AM

What is Baffert up to?  He wheels Hoppertunity back from a win in the Rebel in 3 weeks! Watch the Santa Anita Derby again, Hoppertunity is directly in California Chrome's path the whole way and actually gets a call at the top of the stretch before being fanned a little wide by Dublin Up while CC heads to the rail with a "Sunday Silence" like acceleration on the turn.  By then CC has a five length jump and the jockey just shakes the reins on Hoppertunity and keeps him straight.  

08 Apr 2014 1:23 AM

imho, any derby dozen list right now should include Wildcat Red. Hopefully he gets a good trip around CD (the key for all of them)and is not stuck starting in the axl gate 15-20. If both the trip and gate are good for WR: I firmly believe WR will be right there on/near the lead coming down the stretch.....and won't back down.  

08 Apr 2014 1:26 AM
Ta Wee

I have to agree with Steve that CC is really looking good. As far as Social Inclusion I believe he is still a talented colt who will make an impact somewhere down the line.  Aqueduct was one quirky track last Saturday as it seemed all horses running decent early fractions were being run down and the ones in front setting soft fractions were holding on. Horseracing like golf is a humbling game.  

08 Apr 2014 1:30 AM
joseph alva

You make some terrific points in this week's Derby Dozen, Steve.  Your assessment of Hoppertunity in this week's One For the Roses I think is absolutely brilliant.

While California Chrome is unquestionably talented, a very deserving Derby favorite, and a breath of fresh air for the industry, I still have some doubts about him on May 3.  If the race in question was not the Kentucky Derby I would likely not have those doubts.  He seems to have thrived on Santa Anita's speed-favoring track.  Will he have that kind of dominant impact on the Churchill surface with much superior speed than Dublin Up or a short Candy Boy challenging him?  Will he who has run pretty much in the clear in all his wins handle being sandwiched in the Derby's 20 horse field if he gets the same kind of break he got last Saturday?  Can he sustain those dominant speed figures without a bounce?  Obviously time will tell and while I would not be surprised to see him falter I also would not be surprised to see him set himself up for a Barbaro-like stalking trip and very decisive win.  If he does that, Triple Crown needs to become part of the conversation, but he first needs to pass the acid test for me.

What I have zero doubt about is that Hoppertunity wants a mile and a quarter.  Whether he can win the race may depend on a good draw and trip, but I think he will run supremely well and will be looking for more real estate when most will be spinning their wheels.  It will be interesting to see if Mike Smith stays on him or opts for Intense Holiday (I think he stays on Hoppertunity).  Baffert knows he is sitting on a loaded gun who will relish the long trip and a less speed favoring track.

Sadly, the connections of Candy Boy and Cairo Prince played it too conservative, I believe, by opting to miss a prep in order to have a "fresh" horse for the Derby.  The problem turned out to be that those horses were not fresh enough to possibly qualify.  They opted for "fresh", but got "rusty" and "short" instead.  They are both quality horses who deserve to be in the Derby, but are seeing their participation possibly compromised by suspect planning.  I have doubts if Cairo Prince can get the distance if he were to get in, but I have no doubts about Candy Boy.  I think he will be an extremely dangerous horse in the Derby if he sneaks in with Gary Stevens on his back at a price.

I also give Wicked Strong a fighting chance because he is peaking at the right time, but question whether he may be as good as he looked since in the Wood he benefited from a track that was extremely closer-biased all day (This Hard Land, a Rodrigo Ubillo trained 74-1 career plodder, actually closed to win a race earlier on the card).  I do agree with you and other bloggers who think that General A Rod has a shot if they take him back.  He is bred for distance, tough and seasoned enough.

On a final note, I found the post-race comments of Manny Azpurua, the 85 year-old trainer of Social Inclusion, to be classless and a tad delusional.  He stated, "he ran very good . . . next time we'll kill 'em!"  Well, not on May 3rd he probably won't.  His horse couldn't finish well enough to likely qualify for the Derby as he badly ran out of gas after a mile and a sixteenth in the Wood.  The horse's inability to rate or the jockey or trainer's reluctance to have him do so may have cost him the qualification.  He is a tremendously talented horse who may be dangerous indeed in the Preakness, but not great enough to "murder" top class yet.  I thought with age came wisdom and prudence.  Apparently a touch of delusion can come as well.  Thank God, 85 year-olds are easy to feel compassion for and forgive.      

08 Apr 2014 2:23 AM
The Barn Cat

I'd love to see California Chrome win the Derby, but I don't think that's going to happen.  I think he's peaked early and the Derby will be won by a horse that at this date still has room for improvement.

It is absolutely incredibly difficult to maintain a horse at the peak of physical and mental condition for an extended period of time.  We're a month away from the Derby, and I think it's obvious, if you look at the horses that have won the Derby in recent years, the Derby winner wasn't the horse that impressed the most a month ahead of the Derby.

For all that his most recent races are absolutely sterling, California Chrome's record indicates he's a horse that can be beaten when he's not at the top of his game.  And so much has to go right to keep him from regressing-- maybe the wear and tear of his recent races isn't obvious, but I know it's there.  

I'd love to see him win, but I'm going to be looking for my Derby horse from among the group that can improve their form over the next month.  I think that's where you're going to find the Derby winner.

08 Apr 2014 2:34 AM

Everyone including myself is on the Chrome bandwagon now but is that such a bad thing? If CC wins the Derby he will generate a level of excitement for the sport we haven't seen since Zenyatta left the stage. With all the problems the industry is facing currently, a popular champion like California Chrome would be most welcomed.

08 Apr 2014 6:19 AM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you tooting your horn a bit, Steve.  By doing your job, you put yourself and your reputation out there for criticism.  Your Feb. 3rd comments on CC are what caused many of us to take a look, and many of us may not only profit from it, but will also get to have shared an incredible ride on the Derby trail with an incredible horse.

In looking to fill out my Derby exotic wagers under CC, I am especially taking note of your comments on Constitution and General a Rod.  The former seems to be something special who maybe has the misfortune of turning 3 in the same year as "the freak"; the latter may be the one who puts it all together and runs huge in the Derby.

Here's hoping Commissioner runs big this weekend and solidifies my Pool 2 exacta box of CC, CB, Commish, Sam and (ahem) Top Billing.

08 Apr 2014 6:37 AM
Tiz Herself

Loving California Chrome! Steve, what do you think his chances are of handling an off / muddy track?

CC also has a distinction of being one of the last horses to win a stakes race at Hollywood Park... that's sentimental in itself, no?

I hope Uncle Sigh has enough to get in....

08 Apr 2014 8:18 AM
Old Timer

Steve no need to apologize. just a couple of observations. maybe the fate of horses like Candy Boy and Cairo Prince will make trainers in future years think twice about "training" up to races rather than running horses in the actual prep races. 2 months off is a long time. secondly, something about Conquest Titan makes me think that he may be the horse for the Belmont Stakes.

08 Apr 2014 8:20 AM

Believe he nailed it with his analysis on Hoppertunity ala Real Quiet... And this colt has galloped out strong in every race he's run this year, no exceptions.  His first time around two turns he exploded at the wire and galloped out powerfully 1 mile and 1/2.  You don't see that everyday...  and he's a May foal to boot (born derby day 2011)..  

Since early February he's been my Derby hero... so lets go "Hopp",  make me look smart for a change.          

08 Apr 2014 9:23 AM

To all of you that are looking for kinks in the armor good luck.

Tell all your friends about his breeding and he won't get the distance.

Tell all your friends that Hoppertunity just ran for fun..

Tell all your friends that he is a Cal bred and they don't win Derbie's.

Tell all your friends he is shipping in late.

Look for those kinks in the armor.

For my eye does not lie..

I will be looking[wishing] for 3-1 come Derby day..

Good Luck to all

08 Apr 2014 9:39 AM

Well CC looks pretty good but if I had a dollar for every horse that dominates a circuit and then flops when he heads east/west...

I'll definitely be looking for a closer on Derby day.

08 Apr 2014 10:15 AM

Would not count out Samraat. My intuition continues to tell me that this  colt has a big run in him. Now if this is the Derby or as a spoiler in the Preakness remains to be seen.

08 Apr 2014 10:21 AM
Smoking Baby

DRAYNAY IN THE HOUSE!  This just got more interesting.

08 Apr 2014 10:22 AM
lysa slater

Please, Derby Gods, please make sure Tapiture gets to post on Derby Day. Please make sure NBC does a video package about the allegations against Mr. Asmussen. And please, please make sure that Mr. Phipps and/or Mr. Hancock are interviewed for said package that will air on NBC's national broadcast.  It is the least Mr. Asmussen can do, (bring his colt to the race)to allow the whole country to be fully aware of the sickening cheating and abuse that he (and plenty of others) are "allegedly" participating in to ruin the great sport of horse racing.

08 Apr 2014 10:34 AM

The information provided in the summary for Constitution is very revealing. California Chrome occupies the top spot but shouldn't Constitution be running a close 2nd.

California Chrome first 4 races were over 4.5 & 5.5F. He won his 1st race beyond 5.5F in his 7th start. He won his first race at 8.5F in his 8th and won his first G1 in his 10th start. His major opposition in the 9F, SA Derby was Hopportunity and Candy Boy.  Their résumés reflected wins in MSW and G2 races.  He handily defeated them.

Constitution won his first race was over 7F. His second over 8.5F and in his 3rd start he won the G1 FL Derby. His major opposition in the SA Derby was Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Cairo Prince.  Wildcat Red is a multiple graded stakes winner of 4 races; Cairo Prince is a multiple graded stakes winner of 3 races and General A Rod with two victories  and narrow defeat in a G2 race. He recorded a hard fought victory against three horses that in combination had 4 graded stakes victories and 9 victories in total.

One colt won its 1st G1 race in its 10th start against horses that he had the racing experience and ability advantage going in. The other won its 1st G1 race in its 3rd start against horses that had the racing experience and ability advantage going in. California Chrome appeared to be different horse in his 7th start whereas Constitution showed class from day one.

It is widely believed that the Derby is CC to lose and I have no opposition to that. We have seen 10 races from CC and have been able to determine just how good he is. However, we have only seen 3 races from Constitution and his maximum potential is unknown. What is known is his short resume which compares favorably with that of California Chrome.  

All slates will be whipped cleaned when those that make the cut converge at the neutral venue at Churchill Downs. This is a avenue where moderate horses have been known to undergo miraculous transformation and brilliant and exceptional ones humbled.

The Churchill Down's surface and the distance of the Derby are and will always remain equalizers.

08 Apr 2014 10:36 AM
Sail On

Thanks, Steve, for all your insights into each of these horses. Here on Cape Anne I do not have the opportunity to observe them in real life. I was surprised Social Inclusion failed to win the Wood, and I am wondering if the same fate is awaiting California Chrome.

08 Apr 2014 10:39 AM


You saw the Santa Anita derby the same way I saw it. California Chrome got the jump on Hoppertunity because he had to wait for an opening and when he got one Dublin Up forced him a little bit wide. By that time California Chrome sprinted clear and Mike Smith did the smart thing and guided him to the finish. Can't wait for the derby.

08 Apr 2014 11:11 AM
Saratoga AJ

I picked Wicked Srong as my Derby prospect after the Remsen, and then after the Wood, my suspicions of him hating Gulfstream were confirmed. I am looking forward to May 3rd.

CC is indeed impressive, and may be a super horse as you pointed out Steve. But I am not enamored with his pedigree for anything over 9 furlongs. Maybe he can out run his distance limitations, it will be a question that certainly will be answered in Kentucky.  

Meanwhile WS's pedigree is loaded with staying power, a true 10-12 furlong bloodline.

One thing is for sure, there will be an abundance of early speed in this years Derby. And when handicapping that kind of race, you must go with the deep stretch closer. And Churchill certainly has a long, long stretch.

08 Apr 2014 11:13 AM
Rusty Weisner

The Bluegrass looks absolutely terrible, yet we could easily see three qualifiers on points out of that race (which I actually hope for, so I can handicap a 17-horse race).  Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday are the points leaders with 20 each, while Coastline has 13 and Big Bazinga and Asserting Bear have single digits.

But Harry's Holiday has won at Churchill a maiden claiming race.

Just a terrible field.  Bring 'em on.

08 Apr 2014 11:31 AM


What better pace and pressure is CC going to get beyond 45 2/5 for the half, 1:09 2/5 and 1:33 and change for the mile than what Midnight Hawk applied in the San Felipe?

In the SA Derby, 22 4/5, 1:10 & change from Dublin Up with CC coming home in 12 & 2/5 in a canter?

You have to remember that CC can rate so pace and pressure may be irrelevant to this horse.  His cruising speed is such that if he wants to, he can run them off their feet like he did Midnight Hawk.  I haven't even seen the stick from Espinosa yet either.

08 Apr 2014 11:31 AM
Age of Reason

Well, for me, this whole Derby cluster-pile was much easier when I had Honor Code as my clear pick. Since then, I’ve watched hours of races from all the contenders and it isn’t helping my confusion any: the more I see, the more confused I get. Thankfully, this year’s colts at least appear to be confusing only because of their collective depth, as opposed to 2008 for example when it was confusing because the crop was so pathetically shallow. At least we have clarity with some of the top contenders, and it hasn’t been a different horse winning every prep (Monba, anyone?). We’ve put the “Give Social Inclusion the Triple Crown Already” madness to bed, and I think it’s safe to say that any seemingly impressive winner at Gulfstream’s asphalt excuse for a horse-racing track should be viewed with much suspicion. I just can’t convince myself that we’ve seen the Derby winner yet in these final trials. So, although this isn’t a very bold prediction, it’s looking more all the time to me like that the Arkansas Derby is the prep to watch.

Right now though, amidst all the confusion I have (1) Tapiture, (2) California Chrome, (3) Conquest Titan, (4) Bayern, (5) Samraat, (6) Strong Mandate, (7) Constitution. With a slew of Ark. Derby runners on the list, I’m sure it will change by next week but at this point I’d argue my baker’s half-dozen with almost anyone short of God himself. Good luck to them all!

08 Apr 2014 11:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

If he runs those two out of Sunland he's doing it just to fill up gate space.

08 Apr 2014 11:38 AM


You are certainly pumped up. There are still two major preps to be contested. There are some very nice horses in them that could produce exceptional performances and become worthy opponents of CC.  The SA Park strip is lightning fast right now. The fast times and brilliant performances recorded by speed horses should be assessed with this in mind. The Churchill Downs surface is significantly different and much fairer to all.

The aging Game On Dude recently recorded a time of 1:58 plus for 10F at SA Park. That’s a time that one would never see at Churchill Downs for the distance by a 7YO. In GOD’s 13 attempts at the distance, his 2014 time was the fastest by far. How does one explain a 7YO horse running his fastest time for 10F at the back end of his career? The lightning fast track suited his front running style and was the major contributor to his smashing victory.

He contested the BCC in 2012 & 2013 at SA Park and finished off the board on both occasions in times of 2:00.11 & 2:00.72. In 2014 he has a new lease on life and runs 1:58 plus

CC is big, fast and possesses energy efficient strides suited for the SA Park speedway. However, at CD he will be away from the conveyor belt and will be opposed by talented horses on a fairer surface.

There was another brilliant chestnut that was voted HOY as a 2YO. He defeated his opponents in the Derby by 2 1/2L in a New Stakes Record. It appears you are predicting a demolition of even greater proportion by this big chestnut. Only two horses have won the Derby in less than 2 minutes. Will the stakes record be demolished as well?  

Churchill Downs is avenue where moderate horses have been known to undergo miraculous transformation and deliver silencing performances and where brilliant and exceptional horses are humbled.

08 Apr 2014 11:38 AM
Fan of Damascus

I think Churchill Downs needs to take a page from the Academy Awards when determining field size for the Derby.  

Up to 10 films can be nominated for Best Picture but a film must receive at least 5 % of the nominations to make the final field.  This ensures only top films have a chance to win Best Picture.

While I like the Derby points system, I feel there should similarly be a minimum number of points earned to get into the field. . . a total above 20 points (let's say 25.)

With the six big KD preps having the 100-40-20-10 point distribution, you are likely to have 12 different horses that earn at least 20 points since the schedule makes it difficult for horses to race in more than one of these races.

Then you look at the 50-25-10-5 races and you will have the first and second places horses earn likely sufficient points - with many of these likely to earn additional points in those six main prep races.

The virtue of this idea is that whatever the threshold is, horses below that will not make the field.  If only 15 horses, for example, qualify or are entered, then that is your field.  This will rewards years in which dominant horses take the lion's share of prep races limiting points available to those that don't fare as well on the track.

It is probably not difficult to find horses who would not have made the Derby field given my suggestion and that did well in the Derby.

But it will make the field smaller when good horses are winning (and stockpiling points)and see a larger field when there aren't any dominating horses.  Plus it will limit that horse that is only in the race due to the vanity of owner and / or trainer.

What do the rest of you think?

08 Apr 2014 11:41 AM
Rusty Weisner

I like Samraat for consistency and competitiveness, but he's never cracked a 100 Beyer and I don't think he can hit the board in the Derby.

I'm expecting Conquest Titan to get in, and he'll be in my "closers" slot in tris and supers (if I have the confidence to play supers).  Otherwise, box up CC and Hoppertunity and keep the best ones out of Arkansas.

08 Apr 2014 11:42 AM
Rusty Weisner


I started feeling the same way about Hoppertunity after I found out Baffert would be running him the SA Derby, and his performance there only confirmed the feeling.  CC is better, now at least, but the best horse doesn't always win the Kentucky Derby; for the odds it may be worth rolling the dice on racing luck.

08 Apr 2014 11:48 AM
Rusty Weisner

My only reservation about Hoppertunity is that now he's looking like the wiseguy horse.

08 Apr 2014 12:01 PM
Rusty Weisner

joseph alva,

"Thank God, 85 year-olds are easy to feel compassion for and forgive."

Show some sensitivity, Haskin reads all the comments.

08 Apr 2014 12:15 PM
Rusty Weisner

Ta Wee,

Sounds like a fair track to me.

08 Apr 2014 12:18 PM
Rusty Weisner


At least you're being bold with Constitution. Where'd the Pletcher factor you've always accounted for go, though?

For my part, that and the fact that it was a bad, weird, slow race is enough for me to stay away from this horse and the others from the Florida Derby, too.

08 Apr 2014 12:24 PM

I don't know what's missing in the equation C Chrome has a veteran trainer who's not going to outsmart himself but isn't afraid to do things his own way and has seen it all. Next we get Victor E a smart heady jockey who seems to know this horse so well and has been around it seems forever. And finally C Chrome, when I think of the term "push button" his demeanor screams the very essence of the term. Just take a look at the NBC telecast of the race and how after he finally pulls up on the back stretch he turns around and has a look on his face like he knows EXACTLY what he's just done. Then to top it off he looks like all he did was walk across the street to get the mail. God we need this horse in the winners circle and this trainer and this jockey standing on the podium the first Sat in May. I promise you there make us proud.

08 Apr 2014 12:27 PM
Jean in Chicago

I would feel a whole lot better if California Chrome was shipping in earlier so he would have a chance to get a feel for Kentucky & CD, but this may be a reflection of my own hatred of jet lag.  I always feel the same way after the Derby: get the horse up to the next track as soon as possible.

I was extremely impressed that CC was on a long lead line during the post parade, ears up and looking around.  I don't understand how a horse is supposed to loosen up jogging to the gate when he is on such a short lead rope that his head is practically pulled over the lead pony's neck.

08 Apr 2014 12:38 PM
Ted from LA

Why would a trainer not get a work over the track considering it is the most important race of his horse's life?  Wouldn't that be like playing a road basketball game and not shooting around before it?  If California Chrome doesn't work at Churchill, Ted from LA doesn't bet on him.  Draynay, nice Pyro reference.  Hoppertunity and Wicked Strong have my attention.  Who's going to Churchill Downs for the Derby besides Bob from Boston and Ted from LA?

08 Apr 2014 12:47 PM

it's that time of the year now for a derby gimmick. only had 2 dreams lifetime about horses. 2001 dream that #7 would win travers at sartoga and he won(point given-gary stevens aboard), last year dream that #4 would win derby(golden soul finished second. no dream this year so I have to go with #9. this was my juror # yesterday at court. of 116 people I was one of 9 that didn't get selected, not even for the interview. my friend who is the judge said I was extremely lucky and had dodged a bullet. he said i'll get you next time and I know where you live. I said just remember to sent me my $40 for showing up to your lottery(jury). the $40 will be used in gimmick bets that include #9.

08 Apr 2014 12:47 PM

When can we consider Toast Of New York? Run him against CC and you have a 2 horse race.

08 Apr 2014 12:57 PM
Rusty Weisner

Best wishes for recovery to Steve Crist.

08 Apr 2014 1:07 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

What wee needed to see before the last prep was a match race between Candy Boy and Cairo Prince to decide the last derby participant.

08 Apr 2014 1:12 PM

Thank you Steve for your efforts. Your knowledge, insight and observations make the journey to the Derby even more fun. The difficulty of prioritizing a list with one major and one minor (Bluegrass on poly) is extremely challenging and the results in Arkansas and Keeneland will certainly move some horses up and some down.

A particularly fun analysis is watching the "musical riders". Several top level and several lower tier (points system) horses are without riders. If Tapiture runs big Rosario will most likely stay put. Hoppertunity's performance in SA Derby glues Smith and leaves Intense Holiday without a rider which is further complicated by his antics in the LA derby. Wildcat Red is probably open right now, Johnny V will stay with We Miss Artie Pletcher/Ramsey regardless of how he performs on dirt, loyalty now pays dividends in the future and he has his Derby thanks to Animal Kingdom. Ring Weekend is very interesting. If indeed Alan Garcia was under instruction to take back then the ride is not an issue; however if Centeno's agent hasn't been hounding Motion for another chance he isn't doing his job. As a separate note I saw the race at Calder differently, my take: Our Caravan drifted out a path or so and Ring Weekend ducked in and was snatched to keep from clipping heels, the two horses never touched. Midnight Hawk will probably have Bejarano due to Smith going to Hoppertunity. General a Rod will probably go back to Albarado since Rosario has Tapiture (Ark Derby dependent) if Tapiture runs a clunker then Rosario jumps back to General a Rod and Albarado stays on Commanding Curve. Candy Boy and Cario Prince are both are playing the waiting game and can't really secure a rider until after this weekend. One thing for sure if Bayern wins or runs second and Candy Boy gets in by default- to many scenarios to postulate- then Stevens has a tough choice. Seaz has the same "what if" facing him. All this shuffling, strategizing and guess work may be for not if the "big horse" fires on Derby day.

Although California Chrome is on the top of most lists and will more than likely go off the favorite at odds of between 3/1 to 7/2, there are a few points that make him a vulnerable favorite.

First and foremost, his history in regard to how he breaks from the gate is a study that truly illuminates his vulnerability. As race caller Trevor Denman likes to say "caught a flyer" is one of the ways California Chrome breaks from the gate as he did in the San Felipe. Another way is a stutter step with his right front first then into stride with both fronts as he did in the Santa Anita Derby, those are the ways he breaks, that is his modus operandi, therein lies the problem. Regardless of how he breaks he is  in trouble from the start. If he gets a flyer, Wildcat Red, Chitu, Strong Mandate, and to a lesser extent Vicar's in Trouble, Midnight Hawk, and Ring Weekend all will be attempting to be on the pace or close to him and that puts California Chrome in an unfamiliar position of having to hustle from the start. If on the other hand he does his stutter start he will be behind a proverbial wall of horses which appeared to have had a negative effect on him (6th place finish and unwilling to close) when he was behind horses taking kickback in his November race on the dirt at Santa Anita. He was behind horses taking kickback at Del Mar when he finished with a flurry but that kickback was on polytrack, which riders will tell you doesn't have near the sting of dirt and to further complicate the situation, Churchill's track has a higher percentage of sand than that of Santa Anita and would likely sting even more. In his recent races he hasn't been on the lead but he was in positions where he wasn't taking kickback.

Secondly; a major point which will likely impact his race in the Derby will be post position, god forbid he draws the 1 hole, Lookin at Lucky all over again. Ideally he draws outside 12-16 where he can utilize his natural speed to gain a forward position without having to take the kickback which in my opinion is more of a concern than having to go wide around both turns as he appears to be simply faster than the horses he will be running against.

Lastly how will he handle the trip. Across town from Los Alamitos  to Santa Anita is unquestionably easier than what he will facing Derby week. I am not not sure what type of personality he has, maybe he is the type that loves the journey and the longer the better. More attention, new friends, admirers the better.

If he has his stash of Mrs Pastures everything in the world is GOOD!

08 Apr 2014 1:49 PM
Bob from Boston

Ted from LA, brilliant point.  Toast of New York not coming for Derby.

08 Apr 2014 1:56 PM
Agnete Vistar

What a pity that the three best horses - as perceived a few months ago - will not be there in the Derby to give Chrome some real competition. Top Billing, Havana and Honor Code. It seems to happen every year that some of the very best fall by the wayside. Maybe because they try harder?

08 Apr 2014 1:56 PM


The Hoppertunity who ran at SA on Saturday is the same Hoppertunity who ran on a deeper, slower track at Oaklawn & beat none other than Tapiture, Ride On Curlin & Strong Mandate.  The track at Aqueduct was deeper & slower than Gulfstream & we saw Social Inclusion come back in the stretch but he would have won The Wood if his trainer would've had half a clue to prepare him.  I buy what you're selling to a certain extent but they're all running on the same surface & if prepared properly the cream rises to the top.  I suggest other things to worry about like post #1, bad start, jock error, etc. for the horses coming from Santa Anita than the track.  Baffert has proven time & again he can bring his SA horses to Oaklawn & still show em how it's done.  

08 Apr 2014 2:06 PM

I think the Derby winner will be in the Arkansas Derby.  Tapiture and Commissioner looks like 2 horses that can make a dent the 1st Saturday in May.  Tapiture is a consistent colt that likes the Churchill oval.  He is very tactical and I would not be suprised if he wins big with the new Jock Rosario up now.  Commissioner will improve because of the change in tracks.  Sunland and Gulfstream was not good looks for him.  Look for him to run great at Oaklawn.

08 Apr 2014 2:08 PM

Rusty Weisner,

I liked Revolutionary last year and he finished 3rd. I think there is a lot of luck surrounding the connections of this colt. They are also involved in Vinceremos. Constitution is a much better bred horse than CC and has been more impressive in 3 starts. California Chrome does not have a monopoly on freakiness. His freak show start in his 7th start. Constitution might just start his freak show in the Derby. If the overbred Pulpit cannot win the Derby this year he will never sire a winner.

Mr. Pletcher’s Derby win % per starter is horrible. It stands at <3% from 30 plus starter up to 2013. Are you aware that he has a better head to head record in the Derby with Mr. Baffert?  Hopportunity is ranked #2 and if he is the best challenge for CC then Constitution wins as he is the better of the two.

Mr. Pletcher can be third time lucky. In 2012 and 2013 he was represented by the undefeated Gemologist and Verrazano. I did not give either a chance. This year he will be represented by another undefeated contender. He is a very good colt that is relatively unknown has but has passed a major test against quality graded winners in only his 3rd start.

Big Brown and Barbaro were undefeated winners of the FL Derby that went on to win the Derby. Add smarty Jones and Seattle Slew to those two and there have been for undefeated winner of the Derby than CA bred winners since Decidedly.

Do not be blinded by the fast moving  glare from the chrome?

08 Apr 2014 2:20 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from LA and Draynay nice to see you back. Draynay, I hope you are wrong about the Pyro comparison but I get your point. But something tells me that this horse is special. Fan of Damascus, ITA about a 15 horse field. Way too many in the Derby which means the best horse may not win but the luckiest easily could. Jean in Chicago, I could not agree more about wishing CC would ship sooner to get more track time at Churchill. Five days may not be not enough when going from synthetics to dirt. I worry about the track differences between Santa Anita and Churchill. Even the great Zenyatta, who loved dirt, had issues with it at the beginning of the race. But the weather will be better than when she ran and not as cold so maybe it won't effect the track as much. Saratoga AJ, I always find that your opinions are spot on and it worries me that you are concerned CC may not like more than 9 furlongs. But, I think he looked like he had a lot more in him after the Santa Anita?? I think other jockeys and trainers are going to hope CC stays close to the lead and that he doesn't have anything left to close the deal, leaving it open for a true closer. Nothing I saw indicates he can't close the deal, but he may have to fight off a closer and I hope he can do it. Maybe California Chrome is not one dimensional and also has the ability to close with his bursts of speed. I am thinking he can. I have the same feeling about him as I did with Big Brown when they said he couldn't win from the outside post. I knew he could and he did. I also hope they do not retire CC as a 3 yr. old if he stays healthy. What a gift to racing that would be, which is badly needed right now.

08 Apr 2014 2:24 PM
It aint easy being good!

Rusty Weisner you had me thinking about the "wise guy horse" In the past I used to steer clear of the wiseguy horse but feel that they have done well in the past 3 years.

2013: Normandy Invasion (5th) Revolutionary (3rd)

2012: Dullahan (3rd)

2011: Nehro (2nd)

I think this wiseguy horse will be Constitution. My three horses are Ride on Curlin, Conquest Titan & General A Rod. If Social Inclusion gets in look out! He ran a great race. He had to deal with an outside post went 4 wide on the first turn. He will learn from this and hopefully will get in with some luck!!

08 Apr 2014 2:36 PM
Carlos in Cali

"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".

Well,No more doubts or concerns from me. He's the real deal and 10f should/will pose no problem for him.This horse once again absolutely toyed with his opponents, but I'm still reading how some folks are still not convinced and are looking elsewhere.WOW!..Really?.. I read statements where people say Hoppertunity wasn't being "asked" for his best,well neither was Cali Chrome and if you really, really look back at the replay you'll notice how Smith is asking Hopp for run turning for home while Espinoza barely nudges,then CC explodes from the pack in a blink-of-an-eye.Soon after,that's when Smith stops asking knowing he has no shot of catching the runaway winner. Explosive and brilliant is the way to describe him this year. The more speed lined-up for the Derby the better his chances grow as he is a conformed push-button type of horse. He hasn't even felt the whip in his last 3 walk-overs,so imagine the separation when Espinoza really sets him down?

IMO, there is no 3yo colt that can come within 5 lengths of him. Everbody else will be running for minor awards "IF" he breaks with the field...

08 Apr 2014 2:46 PM
Fan of Damascus

Well, I remain firmly on the Mr. Speaker bandwagon, I just hope that Shug steers it to Keeneland Saturday.

I am concerned with Shug saying he doesn't want to run Mr. S in a big field - in part because the Blue Grass will likely have a full complement of runners and secondly because that makes me wonder if he'd run Mr. Speaker in the Derby should his colt finish first or second.

I hope he runs and wins Saturday then goes on the TC Trail.

08 Apr 2014 3:04 PM

Thank you Steve for your efforts. Your knowledge, insight and observations make the journey to the Derby even more fun. The difficulty of prioritizing a list with one major and one minor (Bluegrass on poly) is extremely challenging and the results in Arkansas and Keeneland will certainly move some horses up and some down.

A particularly fun analysis is watching the "musical riders". Several top level and several lower tier (points system) horses are without riders. If Tapiture runs big Rosario will most likely stay put. Hoppertunity's performance in SA Derby glues Smith and leaves Intense Holiday without a rider which is further complicated by his antics in the LA derby. Wildcat Red is probably open right now, Johnny V will stay with We Miss Artie Pletcher/Ramsey regardless of how he performs on dirt, loyalty now pays dividends in the future and he has his Derby thanks to Animal Kingdom. Ring Weekend is very interesting. If indeed Alan Garcia was under instruction to take back then the ride is not an issue; however if Centeno's agent hasn't been hounding Motion for another chance he isn't doing his job. As a separate note I saw the race at Calder differently, my take: Our Caravan drifted out a path or so and Ring Weekend ducked in and was snatched to keep from clipping heels, the two horses never touched. Midnight Hawk will probably have Bejarano due to Smith going to Hoppertunity. General a Rod will probably go back to Albarado since Rosario has Tapiture (Ark Derby dependent) if Tapiture runs a clunker then Rosario jumps back to General a Rod and Albarado stays on Commanding Curve. Candy Boy and Cario Prince are both are playing the waiting game and can't really secure a rider until after this weekend. One thing for sure if Bayern wins or runs second and Candy Boy gets in by default- to many scenarios to postulate- then Stevens has a tough choice. Seaz has the same "what if" facing him. All this shuffling, strategizing and guess work may be for not if the "big horse" fires on Derby day.

Although California Chrome is on the top of most lists and will more than likely go off the favorite at odds of between 3/1 to 7/2, there are a few points that make him a vulnerable favorite.

First and foremost, his history in regard to how he breaks from the gate is a study that truly illuminates his vulnerability. As race caller Trevor Denman likes to say "caught a flyer" is one of the ways California Chrome breaks from the gate as he did in the San Felipe. Another way is a stutter step with his right front first then into stride with both fronts as he did in the Santa Anita Derby, those are the ways he breaks, that is his modus operandi, therein lies the problem. Regardless of how he breaks he is  in trouble from the start. If he gets a flyer, Wildcat Red, Chitu, Strong Mandate, and to a lesser extent Vicar's in Trouble, Midnight Hawk, and Ring Weekend all will be attempting to be on the pace or close to him and that puts California Chrome in an unfamiliar position of having to hustle from the start. If on the other hand he does his stutter start he will be behind a proverbial wall of horses which appeared to have had a negative effect on him (6th place finish and unwilling to close) when he was behind horses taking kickback in his November race on the dirt at Santa Anita. He was behind horses taking kickback at Del Mar when he finished with a flurry but that kickback was on polytrack, which riders will tell you doesn't have near the sting of dirt and to further complicate the situation, Churchill's track has a higher percentage of sand than that of Santa Anita and would likely sting even more. In his recent races he hasn't been on the lead but he was in positions where he wasn't taking kickback.

Secondly; a major point which will likely impact his race in the Derby will be post position, god forbid he draws the 1 hole, Lookin at Lucky all over again. Ideally he draws outside 12-16 where he can utilize his natural speed to gain a forward position without having to take the kickback which in my opinion is more of a concern than having to go wide around both turns as he appears to be simply faster than the horses he will be running against.

Lastly how will he handle the trip. Across town from Los Alamitos  to Santa Anita is unquestionably easier than what he will facing Derby week. I am not not sure what type of personality he has, maybe he is the type that loves the journey and the longer the better. More attention, new friends, admirers the better.

If he has his stash of Mrs Pastures everything in the world is GOOD!

08 Apr 2014 3:42 PM

I think Motion is a good trainer,but I think having a horse like Animal Kingdom has made him think he had more to do with his success than he should.

Ring Weekend walked the dog in the Tampa Bay Derby and now he sends him to Calder to prep for the KD.Some trainers have complained in the past about their horses getting heel burns training on the Calder surface.Of ALL the colts that swept the Florida Stallion Stakes for 2yos at Calder I dont remember ANY that went on to run well in the KD,I think it might have happened a long time ago maybe in the 60s and 70s.I live 20 minutes from both Calder and Gulfstream and believe me everything about the place is second rate compared to Gulfstream.I even liked Hialeah Park better than Calder I could imagine I was back in the beginning of the century when riding the convenience cart that transported the patrons to the track from the parking lot.Now they run quarter horse races there but it is so picturesque and unique that it was used to take photographs for many different occasions.Calder is the worst of the 3 tracks in South Florida for me a person who lives here.

If Ring Weekend dosent step up and train brilliantly at Churchill hes a throwout for me, although for his backers they dont see that he hasnt really accomplished much compared to many others, especially compared to Motions last two Derby starters that I remember.

08 Apr 2014 3:45 PM

It was a beautiful sight to see.  California Chrome is the "real deal"  He and his owners/trainers/jockey.... it is such an inspiration to see, especially in person. Mr. Sherman is one happy fellow.  The fact that CC is shipping in late, I leave to those with more knowledge than I  as to its significance.  I just know  I feel so privileged that I have seen him race as a two year old and for all of his three year old races.  I am a forever fan.  I haven't felt this excited about horseracing since Zenyatta.  I wish them all good luck and safe trips, but he has my heart.  I leave all the comments to those who obviously know more about horseracing, handicapping, and all the studying of videos, charts etc.  I am "just a smitten fan"   But for many  he is a California dream come true.  Thank you Steve for your comments on your column and for your expertise.  On to Kentucky and the Run for the Roses.  

08 Apr 2014 3:54 PM

Rusty Weisner I dunno but from my recollections of the wiseguy horse, most of them have to be training at the track for the wiseguy horse to emerge.I think he arises from gossip and innuendo at the track related to the physical appearance, workouts or something else that is picked up by observers, and discussed from one person to another, and then it becomes greater than it was to begin with.

08 Apr 2014 4:14 PM

Go figure....Coldcuts, again tears the #1 horse down......then picks a horse that has reasons he tears down other horses in the past......constitution didnt run as a 2 yr old.....he always throws horses out for that reason, constantly puts down people for betting pletcher.......but now, he picks against those 2 rules.....he is just a contrarian....even to himself..........

08 Apr 2014 4:28 PM
The Deacon

Coldfacts:  leave it to you to always dampen a sunny day. In case you haven't been paying attention CC has much stamina on the damside and just because his sire or male breeding line had soundness issues that doesn't mean he will. It was said back in 1973 that no Bold Ruler colt could get 10 furlongs. Lo and behold along comes Secretariat and shatters the Triple Crown record books. So do us a favor how about leaving your negativity where it belongs, inside your head........thanks.

08 Apr 2014 4:32 PM
The Deacon

Cassandra says:  You keep thinking like this and your wallet will be getting a whole lot lighter. I believe CC is the real deal.  All you folks that live and die by the breeding and pedigree sword are missing the boat. There are throw backs in horse racing. Its not always about pedigree, sometimes great horses are just born to be majestic.

Is it a written rule or law, or universal code that just because your sire is Northern Dancer or Mr. Prospector you're going to be great.

There is some genetic code in CC's bloodline that gave him this ability. Its not for us to understand , or try to decipher. He is here for us to enjoy and marvel at. These fine horses come our way so rarely, just take a moment and breathe in this experience....

08 Apr 2014 4:42 PM
Scott's Rail

I don't think Tiznow will sire a KD winner, but I'm positive one of his son's will.   Matchem needs to be represented.   Strong Mandate needs to get back to his old style/form.   Can Lucas quit "over coaching?"   Tapiture shouldn't be wound too tight, but I still think he might win.                                                                              .

Jockey2be:)    Hope you keep after your dreams, welcome to the wonderful world of the Thoroughbred.......

08 Apr 2014 4:43 PM

Bayern's female line is incredible. Still alot to come this weekend. Still not in love with this crop. Will not be betting much on Derby Day. Patience, my freinds!

08 Apr 2014 5:58 PM

The gallop - out of Hoppertunity doesn't show anything because CC had started his gallop out a 1/16 sooner and Mike Smith seemed to be riding Hoppertunity out. CC was under a strangle hold and after Hoppertunity passed him, CC came back and caught up.

I think Candy Boy was to close to the pass because Gary was worried about CC getting away. I think his next race will be far better since the Kentucky Derby sets up for closers. He will probably go off at a nice price to.

08 Apr 2014 6:21 PM


To me their is only 1 major prep left the Ark Derby.

I will not be playing any of the horses to win the Derby coming of polytrack this year I do not see a Street Sense in their. Unless the Derby comes up muddy.

Ark Derby has a couple of horse that have my attention Tapiture is on my Tix come Derby day no matter what he does Saturday. He has won at the Downs and that is a angle I play.

How can you lay so much praise on a horse that has ran 3 races on the king of speedway tracks with a trainer that does not have the best Derby history and a horse that has history against him?

Ill take my horse that has ran 10 times at 3 different tracks and has won at all 3..

Speed figures in the 100's consistently and has not felt the whip.  

He has a trainer that has never won the Derby which you mentioned in one of your prior posts.  

Yes; my eyes do not lie,I do wish he would have one work at CD but all well as long as no negative reports come out or he draws the 1 hole he is my Derby horse.

Least of all a their is a certain blog I read and I respect the writer and his opinion of horses an awful lot this blogger has never used the word freak in any Derby Dozen in the years I have been reading.

What excites me even more as a gambler, I am going to go heavy this year on the tri and the super.

When Big Brown won the Derby he was 2-1 and the tri paid $3,445.60

Super Paid $58,737..

I hope I get 3-1 on C.C

I am more than willing to go all in on this horse just as I did last year with ORB and I did with Big Brown.. However I did not hit the Tri in either and that is a prize I want to hit.  

Good luck; look forward to reading your posts and PLEASE tell all your friends about the chinks in his armor..

08 Apr 2014 7:10 PM

Coldfacts gave you exact reasons to like Constitution over CC and instead of taking him to task you chose to attack him.  If you can't argue the facts accept them.

08 Apr 2014 7:17 PM

1.Wildcat Red!My little brother(age 3)picked him to win the Fountain of Youth,and he did.That day he made a believer out of me!Love Him!



4.General a Rod


6.Vicars in Trouble(Like Rosie ;)

08 Apr 2014 7:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

California Chrome is the best Derby horse to come out of the SA Derby in many years, and one of top 2 or 3 to come out of S. Cal in the last 15 years, going to The Derby. He does not have to have a great start or get an early lead. He is very versatile and could win from anywhere on the track assuming of course that he likes and handles the CD surface that day but he is still not a lock to win it. His best bet is to press or stalk within a reasonable distance and make his move a little after or before the mile mark. Personally I think that other than CC that a closer is more likely to win and also that if CC does get an early lead that he is the only one that could take it wire to wire. He has a lot of options and will just need clear sailing later in the race and not have to check or get boxed in when he starts to make his move. Hopefully more closers will come out of the next few preps to join other closers and potential closers already in. I think there is enough speed in The Derby already. I think if CC gets a bad start that he is naturally fast and cool, calm, and collected that he can catch up no problem without the extra exertion most horses would need to do so. I think he could be tough to beat, it all depends on post positions, how the race unfolds and what type of surface it is that day.

08 Apr 2014 7:32 PM

Coldfacts in your attempt to unpump Jonny you seem to have forgotten all about I'll Have Another,so yes he came from the conveyor belt,so according to you he should not have won the derby.Draynay HOW ARE YOU!!!! great to hear your back.Constitution yes he had a good shot,Todd Pletcher and the owners must love you now that he's doomed.

08 Apr 2014 7:55 PM
NH Gal

Steve or any of the racing experts, does the soft track at Los Alamitos help Cali Chrome better prepare for Churchill?  Baffert has said that track gets horses really fit.

08 Apr 2014 8:25 PM

Ted from LA

I would almost agree with you re: Chrome getting a work in at Churchill but he looks like he could run on eggs if he had to.  I think he could handle Churchill.  

Anyone familiar with the surface at Los Alamitos where CC trains?

08 Apr 2014 8:30 PM

I think CC is as much the real deal as we have ever seen but I have to agree with those who are worried about waiting too long to get the horse to Churchill.  I don't understand that choice.  Why not give the horse time to adjust from the travel, get use to the barn and the track.  Get some good training on a track well known to be different from what he's used to. Can someone explain why a trainer would make this decision?

08 Apr 2014 8:30 PM

DRAYNOT comes out of hiding..

I thought you gave yourself a lifetime suspension from this forum for picking a Pletcher horse to win the derby? I believe that horse did not even make the Derby..  

I gave him my FACTS.

Now you accept them and re suspend yourself..

08 Apr 2014 8:42 PM

I skimmed the column, and just have a bit of a jolt for CC fans, then I'll go back and read everything more thoroughly before I actually make a thoughtful comment.

I said I loved CC's moves, and he reminded me sooo much of Point Given not only in looks but also in style with his ability to crush his opposition. 2001 should have seen a Triple Crown won by HOY Point Given; He was the best of the crop. He demolished the field in both the Preakness and the Belmont. But no matter how much blame Gary Stevens continues to try to carry on his shoulders, it was Point Given who never really showed up on Derby Day. He just wasn't in the mood to run.

I don't want California Chrome to have an off day on the first Saturday in May....but it happens, and has happened before.

(I'm back to crossing my fingers and toes, and hooves.)

08 Apr 2014 8:55 PM

Hoppertunity seems to run the same race in the Santa Anita Derby as he did the Rebel.  He breaks well, stalks, and then in the Rebel, unlike the SA Derby, was able to get outside and go by 4 including the #4 pick Tapiture. I like the deep stretch duel, bumping, passing ability of the young colt. I think he got a lot out of the Rebel. He had enough points, still not quite sure what Baffert was doing with him on a 3 week turn aroud after traveling accross county.  Would give him the nod over CC just because he has shipped and won on an off track to boot. He certainly does not need to bring the track with him.  Maybe Baffert is truthful in saying the SA Derby was a million dollar workout.  The Santa Anita Derby has produced 37 winners of a Triple Crown race.  I always look for the also rans often tossing the winner.  He's on my super.

08 Apr 2014 9:28 PM

From the gut.......I find that horses gallop-outs are extremely Overrated!!

Maybe you missed CC's Jockey pulling him up way before the wire! Come on....Stop it!

And by the way...I like Mr. Haskins!

08 Apr 2014 9:37 PM

Every year I try to rein myself in and not get overly enthused about any one horse, reminding myself that so many things can happen between now and the first Saturday in May. The last time I really "fell in love" was with I'll Have Another, and he almost took us all the way. I've decided to enjoy the ride this time around, since when you are given a gift like California Chrome to watch and enjoy, it seems downright ungracious to not take full advantage of it. Steve, love your enthusiasm, and it is a reminder that after so many years, if you are bowled over by this horse, it is certainly OK for me to do so as well. I am enjoying re-watching his races and am having a ball being a total groupie.  Love the connections, too, and look forward to your in-depth feast as only you can deliver.  His connections seem delightful and refreshing, along with Art Sherman, who was interviewed on HRTV in a "past the grandstand" segment. Wish the Derby was this coming weekend.  I'm ready!

08 Apr 2014 9:46 PM

Coldfacts is not tearing down the #1 horse ... he is questioning why YOU are thinking he IS the #1 horse when there is one that has clearly faced much tougher competition and looked just as good if not better while beating that competition.  Constitution has done things you will rarely see and if you haven't seen his Maiden win .... you need to.

08 Apr 2014 9:50 PM

zarvona, agree with you on California Chrome and Chitu, but instead of Constitution, I'm throwing in Vicar's In Trouble.  

Vicar's pedigree is truly an enigma.  He is out of Vibrant.  Vibrant was a five time winner at sprint distances, but there are also many stayers in her sire's female line.

IMO, California Chrome and Chitu have distance pedigrees.  I'm throwing in Vicar's In Trouble because I don't know what he is capable of doing.

08 Apr 2014 10:00 PM

Just watched the Del Mar Futurity.

To finish 6th by a length and a half,their was nothing wrong with that effort.

In the Golden Stakes Juv C.C jumped at the start and lost the race their..

I must say after watching those 2 races I see the reason for the jock change and it looks like that decision it coming up roses Roses..

I can see how some have some concern on how C.C may break a bit slow..

08 Apr 2014 10:04 PM


in a comment by Old Timer (4/8) in which he states ""training" up to the races rather than running horses in the actual prep race" has prompted me to write this evening.  It is a noteworthy comment and one of "sense and sensibility". There is an enormous amount of stress and pressure on these youngsters and great expectations of where they should be at; at what distance; at what time; on which surface;in what fractions; in which race and what purse.....  Training was a slow and steady process of patience and a stepping-stone to the preps and formal races. It gave us dominant and undefeated equine engines that bypassed the stations of poles and left their names upon tongues of fans and carved theirs on barns.  Was it just another time or something of "sense" that we should pay attention to in the training format?

In the speed oriented new world of racing (in all aspects of it) we question the possibilities of the Derby Dozen list with critical views both pro and con be it California Chrome, Hoppertunity, Tapiture, Constitution, Intense Holiday or any other. These performers are taking the test of their lives before an audience that will judge them in their task ~ they are all "Wicked Strong".

Thank you Steve and thank you Old Timer for a reality "statement of sense".

08 Apr 2014 10:14 PM

Draynay - this isn't Jason's blog - remember, you both left?  But I see you haven't changed in your negative posts - especially against California horses.  ***Cassandra says - do you only look at the sire and dam in a pedigree?  California Chrome has a pedigree LOADED with stakes winners - starting from oldest - 4 crosses to the great Native Dancer (Preakness and Belmont winner), 2 to Northern Dancer (Kentucky Derby winner), Secretariat (Triple Crown winner), Seattle Slew (Triple Crown Winner), AP Indy (Belmont winner), and also Buckpasser, Sir Gaylord, Vaguely Noble, Prince John, Sir Ivor, Numbered Account X2 and the great sires Mr Prospector X2 (whose descendants have a great record in TC races) and Danzig---hope I got them all.  His dosage is a little high at 3.4 and his CD is .86, but both are within range as well for those who follow it.  Just because his sire is not top tier does not mean he cannot win. He has plenty of pedigree in my opinion but that's just how I look at it - the whole picture.      ***Really Lysa, you WANT the whole PETA thing to come up on the Derby telecast so that more people with little actual knowledge of racing can be influenced to turn away?  That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard from a so called fan of racing!  Sorry Steve.  I for one will have my fingers crossed that they don't do like they usually do and harp on whatever negative thing is going on and therefore give further black eyes to the sport with the general public.   ***Fan of Damascus, I like your idea of a minimum number of points although I do not think they would ever do that.  I like the points system but think it needs a bit of work.  I still feel the top 2 year old races should be worth more and I do not like the last of the preps being worth 100 to the winner.  That to me is unfair as that assures a horse a spot with only 1 win, whereas others may have won or placed in several at an earlier time and still not have that many points.  There is far too large a disparity in my opinion.  I would say award maybe 15 or 20 for 2 year old races, 25 for the first set of 3 year old preps, then perhaps 30 or 35 for the next set and maybe 50 for the last. I don't feel one win assuring a horse a spot is any more reliable than the old graded stakes way....    Jean and Ted, I agree - don't understand why CC would not ship early enough to get a work over the track....?  

08 Apr 2014 10:24 PM
Carlos in Cali


How can we take your posts seriously when you consistently insist that an "overbred" Stallion(according to you and only you) will not throw a Derby winner,then you choose Constitution(by Tapit) as your Derby horse?...

Did Orb's Derby victory change your mind,because as you should know by now,he's by the "overly" bred Malibu Moon. Or are you what KY Vet,et al, have been saying all-along?..  

08 Apr 2014 11:00 PM
Diego Conde

Wow! Lots of enthusiasm I see. Let me jump in.

California Chrome is the real thing. Sometimes we get so caught up on "angles" that we forget about the performances. He has been brilliant; setting the pace, stalking the pace, perfect start, poor start, whatever has been thrown at him he has manned up and raised to the challenge.

Some have question who did he beat in the last race. Well, he beat Candy Boy who Gary Stevens (a dude I have heard knows a thing or two about horse) was very high on. He beat Hoppertunity, winner of the Rebel if that matters for anything. The fact that also in that race were Dublin Up and Schoolofrock is not his fault. He beat two very good and classy horses...cantering 1:47 and change....finishing in 12 2/5....after a bad start....when he should have bounced from the San Felipe....and by the way, thanks to HD TV I think I didn't even see him breathing that hard in the winners circle.

He is a freak. Period. Put a sock on it and stop being haters....

Now, freaks can and often times get beaten in the Derby a la Afleet Alex and worse: POINT GIVEN.

Haskin is on point with Hopper's analysis. Gallop out means everything in the KY preps; even more than pedigree. Pedigree helps you project. Why project based on ink and blood, when you can project based on performance and video? Hopper was not 100%. Baffert knows better. You peak at KY. But, is Sherman a moron? Was CC peaking last Saturday?... I don't think so. Sherman is a very knowledgeable and experienced trainer. I think there is more in the tank, regardless of what the pedigree "says".

On pedigree, by the way: has anyone picked up on the Rasmussen factor to Intriguing? There is class and stamina all over. It is not the typical, commercial stamina pedigree, but it is there.... If it matters at this point.

My sleeper is General A Rod if he gets in. Please take the blinkers off. Please let him relax and be place 10th or 20th if he wants. Let him stretch those legs and warm up for half a race. Then, with 5F to go cut him loose and let us see what those giant Mucho Machoesque strides are all about.

Interesting Derby. I feel that although he will be the odds favorite CC will be running as an underdog, a blue collar horse from a blue collar trainer. And wouldn't it be great to see some red next to his white blaze?

09 Apr 2014 12:10 AM
Mister Frisky

For the fans of CC I think you are gonna get a squarer price than you think.Baffert already said he can beat CC in Ky,Hoppertunity is gonna take a lot of action, and rightfully so.Then there will be the proverbial wise guy horse.If Commissioner gets in, look for that pedigree to take massive action as well.CC will make his grand entrance 5 days before the Derby,with no works over the track.I think 9/2 is about right in a 20 horse field.

09 Apr 2014 12:15 AM
Tiz Herself

Just read that Social Inclusion's main goal will be the Preakness.... if that is the case he could be a real spoiler there...

Also read on Kentucky that Toast of New York is bypassing the Derby...

I'm all for the Tapits; Constitution, Tapiture, Ring Weekend...

I really wish the other Tapit, Untapable, would be able to enter the Derby... she is something special, too.

Wonder who Calvin Borel will be on? if Conquest Titan does make it in and Calvin's his navigator, that would make an appealing bet.

09 Apr 2014 12:16 AM

So I'm all in for Art Sherman taking California Chrome to Churchill about a week before the race.  Why lose training due to possible rain and slop?  Keep the horse at home away from the crazy media circus and whims of the local racing authority.  This is a very adaptable horse who is used to shipping in for a race.  He's run on Poly, Cushion track, and on dirt.  He's trained on a sealed sloppy track.  Take a look at Trakus for the mile mark in the SA Derby.    

20 horse field.  PP draw to face.  A fresh horse from his own track.  This horse looks at you while leaving the saddling paddock.  He looks at the crowd while in the post parade.  He is different.  As a friend of mine said, "I think I may have seen greatness."  Time will tell.  

09 Apr 2014 12:28 AM
Greg R

Cal Chrome reminds me of Point Given in looks and talent, but Point Given never looked fast, even when drawing off.  CC's stride looks more smooth and effortless. Helps so much that he has a versatile style (lead? take it or leave it) and an even temperament, too, unlike PG, who wasn't mean, but he was quirky and unpredictable.

I'd bet anything that Cairo Prince could still run  huge in the Derby, but don't know if he'll make it in after Ark Derby is run.

Credit to Social Inclusion for hanging tough in the Wood, only missing second by a short nose in only his third start.  How about Derby Trial for him?

Can't wait to see what Bayern can do in Ark.  Hope there's a fast track.

09 Apr 2014 12:46 AM
Greg R

Do you think Candy Boy would run better at another track, say Churchill?  Maybe S A is not so conducive to his natural, closing style.  I was surprised at how close up he was in S A Derby.  Maybe that went against the grain and he didn't care for it.

09 Apr 2014 1:03 AM
joseph alva

Rusty Weisner,

I offer my apologies to you or anyone else who may have been offended by my statement regarding 85 year-olds as easy to feel compassion for and forgive.  My intention was certainly not to demean the elderly, but quite the opposite.  I was merely trying to state that although I did not agree with Mr. Azpurua's perspectives regarding his horse and the competition, his age merits him respect and fondness even if thought to be wrong in his views.  Your response leads me to think that perhaps I could have articulated that better, so I thank you for your feedback.  

I defense of Steve, however, I think he does an excellent job of managing the commentary on this blog.  What appears here I find to be consistently edifying and appropriate.  He does a commendable job of allowing us to express varied opinions, even those often contrary to his own, in a competitively fun yet respectful manner.  I think the labor at hand is managed with much integrity, decency and fairness and we and the sport are all the better for it.              

09 Apr 2014 1:37 AM

Ted from L.A., TerriV and others concerned about Art Sherman's plans:  

Since he's been at Los Alimitos he's given CC his works and final works at that track, then ships to Santa Anita.  He's stated he's not going to change and not going to let anyone talk him in to anything different.  He knows his horse.  He's earned the right to do it his way.  I don't agree.  I also wish he would get to CD in time to have at least one solid work.  But it ain't gonna happen.

Johnny, Coldfacts, Draynay--

 Eons ago a horse owner was talking to another horse owner from the next valley.  He said his horse was the fastest horse in all the valleys.  His neigbor shook his head and said his horse was the fastest.  They threw a lot of "facts" back and forth as to why their horse was the fastest.  Then a lightbulb went on (these were the days before electricity) and they decided to settle who was the fastest by racing them against each other--Brilliant!

There are a lot of "facts" being thrown around about California Chrome vs. Constitution.  They are intelligent and thoughtful "facts" but they are all circumstantial, they don't prove anything, they just bolster opinions until these two thoroughbreds square off with each other and 18 others on May 3rd. at Churchill Downs.  Keep 'em coming...and Draynay, if you haven't seen California Chrome's Santa Anita Derby, you need to, over and over and over.

Johnny--I would be extatic if we get 3-1 on CC.  If things stay stable though, my guess is more like 9-5 to 2-1.    

09 Apr 2014 1:43 AM
John from Seattle

There has been twelve horses that have won both the San Felipe Stakes/Santa Anita Derby races.  Of these twelve victorious horses three have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby (Determine, Affirmed and Sunday Silence) - but none with the last five winning horses.

I look for that to change May 3rd.

09 Apr 2014 1:44 AM

Rachel Alexandra

11/29/08      Golden Rod     1st     4 3/4 lengths

2/15/09        Martha Wash.    "       8           "

3/14/09        FG Oaks            "       1 3/4     "

4/5/09          Fantasy             "       8 3/4     "

5/1/09          KY Oaks           "        20 ¼      "

5/16/09        Preakness         "       1            "

6/27/09        Mother Goose   "       19 ¼      "

8/2/09          Haskell             "        6           "

9/5/09          Woodward        "        hd         "

So now, you think California Chrome is at his peak?  Your bailing after 4 dominant performances?  I can tell you this, those people that turned down a chance of buying a share for $190,000 of Secretariat were kicking themselves in the buttOCKS!!!  How can we all not be rooting for this guy???  I'd rather go all in and hope for a Triple Crown than worry about being wrong!  It's no big whoop!

09 Apr 2014 1:53 AM

KY Vet

I've never laughed so hard at a post.  Hopefully, you know why!


09 Apr 2014 1:57 AM

Kristo was hitting the board in Stakes races in California.  He shows up in New York after a bullet work and loses by 20.  Maybe if he went to the Florida Derby he loses by .... 30 ?  What does this tell you about California racing ? Kristo worked out in California came to New York and didn't train on the surface and lost by 20.... and now CC is going to work out in California and not get a work out at Churchill ? Good luck with that...

09 Apr 2014 1:57 AM

Just so there's no misunderstanding, and believe me, I LOVE Hoppertunity, he's my #2 pick but consider the following if you feel he was robbed in the SA Derby:

Watch the replay and fix your eyes on the midpoint of the space between CC and Hoppertunity after Hoppertunity has cleared past Dublin Up.  CC is still all in and Mike Smith is shakin the reins on Hoppertunity.  Both horses are in the heat of the battle.  As you focus on the midpoint of that space, looking at neither horse, tell me what you see?  You see CC pulling away from Hopp and that space widening.  CC is faster than you think folks.  When you combine athletism and turn of foot with a HUGE stride that's very efficient, you get a four legged copper colored missile!

09 Apr 2014 2:24 AM

Johnny.  The form calls California Chrome's Golden State Juv. a "Hopped Start."  To me me it looked more like a full rear up with both front hooves 6 feet off the ground.  Even on his wins he's fractious in the gate or off slow and the Del Mar Futurity and W. Proctor disasters he just never looked comfortable running between or behind a wall of horses. I think there is a reason for the blinkers, shadow roll, and forward placement.  He certainly needs a good break come Derby day as I don't think he is capable of a "Ferdinand" type performance.  

09 Apr 2014 2:35 AM

If constitution was #1......coldcuts would be against him too.......over 6 years ive read his posts.......never ever has he liked a horse that was on top.........the has NO FACTS....he says a fact, then the next year picks a horse with same fact.......

09 Apr 2014 2:59 AM

It's funny how the "breeding people" can twist things.....make an arguement for a horse having great breeding when they's had good breeding for the derby? wow!

09 Apr 2014 3:04 AM

My comparison of California Chrome and Constitution was based on the fact the Mr. Haskin highlighted that he was considered to be a special horse by his connections. CC has done everything asked of him in his last 4 races. Constitution has done likewise in his 3 starts.

Constitution had a more impressive start to his career than CC. He won a G1 in his 3rd start against three very talented horses that had far more racing experience. He got into a dog fight with a no quit colt and prevailed. Not many horses have headed Wildcat Red. I happen to think he is ranked too low for his achievements.

On paper California Chrome is the horse to beat in the Derby. However, races are not run on paper and no one is going to hand him the victory. He has been beaten four times before so he is not unbeatable. Constitution is yet to be beaten.

Constitution is not the horse like best for the Derby as he has too many historic negatives. However, I think he is brilliant enough to overcome them with a little luck.

09 Apr 2014 6:53 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I read every word and I wasn't chewing gum but I didn't retain everything Steve so here's my Derby Dozen. I have finally come around on Cali Chrome after tossing my pedigree bias and going simply on style, performance and numbers, and tossing in the Secretariat link in his pedigree for good measure. It's hard to imagine that he won't be in the top four but not hard to imagine that someone else will win although CC certainly could win.

1. California Chrome

2. Constitution

3. Conquest Titan

4. Bayern

5. Hoppertunity

6. Wicked Strong

7. Samraat

8. Commissioner

9. Vicar's In Trouble

10. Intense Holiday

11. Wildcat Red

12. Social Inclusion- I still love him, he just has to calm down some pre-race and get a little more experience. Despite the intensity of his pre-race antics I love a horse that wants to run that badly and assumes he is going to go out there and kick butt. All he was saying is- "Let's get this show on the road!!!"

09 Apr 2014 7:25 AM

I'm not a big fan of Mike Watchmaker, but, he has been around a long time, he definitely would be in the "East Coast bias" camp, and he certainly qualifies as an "expert."  When he gets excited about a horse, which is very seldom, it is worth paying attention to.  In his most recent column, he fairly drips with enthusiasm: "We ask for clarity, so when it comes, we should acknowledge it. California Chrome is THE horse going into this Kentucky Derby. It’s as clear as day."  Jeff Siegel of HRTV, no lightweight himself, is bowled over with CC.  Kurt Hoover, who I wanted to pinch his ears off when he said he "doesn't get it" about Zenyatta, is unabashedly a CC fan. I don't depend on anyone else to form my opinion for me, but it does flatter my choice for #1 to be vindicated by such stalwarts of the sport as Steve, Watchmaker, et al. Besides, it's a lot more fun to be a fan rather than a critic any day!

09 Apr 2014 9:04 AM
The Bid

CALIFORNIA CHROME has clearly THE MOST FREAKISH TALENT of ANY 3yr. old in the country!!! BAR NONE!! CONSTITUTION will NOT be able to catch him, I PROMISE!!!

Not only has CHROME annhiliated Everything in California but he has done so with EASE and barely a breath taken! DRAY... it has certainly been sometime but THIS horse could be THE ONE to end THE DROUGHT!!!

I too do not understand why Sherman is deciding NOT to give him at least one work at Churchill, seems a little FOOLISH to me considering what is at stake! He knows best but CHURCHILL is a completely different animal, horses either take to it or they do not, there is generally no in-between!


Why are you NOW contradicting THE VERY NOTION you have been blogging since Prep season began?? All the historical data and reasoning regarding pedigree and so on, AND NOW CONSTITUTION is the one you come up with and ALLOW to DISPUTE your OWN FACTS for winning THE DERBY! He IS Special.... BUT HE IS NOT BEATING CHROME!!!

NO horse currently is as PUSH BUTTON or Professional!!

Lets not forget people....CHROME had a lot left in the tank last Saturday and he reminded me of RACHEL in the run-up to THE OAKS! Borel constantly pulling her back with in-surmountable leads and FREAKISHLY putting up astounding Figures/times. CHROME is been doing the SAME thing since The San Felipe!!! In my humble opinion...2 leading factors can upset CHROME in The Derby...1)POST DRAW and 2)SURFACE.....I hope for all of you who have CHROME in a Future Bet that Sherman reconsiders what is at his horse a chance and does NOT GAMBLE AWAY an opportunity that so few in his position rarely get! There is plenty of time and NO REASON not to, other than being stubborn and GREEN!






              5.INTENSE HOLIDAY

              6.VICAR'S IN TROUBLE

              7.GENERAL AROD

              8.WILDCAT RED


             10.WICKED STRONG

             11.SOCIAL INCLUSION

       *ON a completely different level than the rest!

09 Apr 2014 9:09 AM

I personally don't see a problem with CC not having a work over the track. The track will be very different come May 3 anyway. Why take him to a place where crowds will follow everywhere if you can stay at home?

My Derby dozen:

1. California Chrome

2. Samraat

3. Wicked Strong

4. Candy Boy

5. Hoppertunity

6. Tapiture

7. Conquest Titan

8. General A. Rod

9. Constitution

10. Bayern

11. Ride on Curlin

12. Strong Mandate

09 Apr 2014 9:14 AM

KY Vet Coldfacts should get a law degree he could probably get it before Steve Haskin or the powers that are give him a blog like Keelerman.

Vet he might even copy parts of what I am writing here and write what amounts to a legal brief disagreeing with the parts he copies.He can make an arguement for whatever he is posting about like attorneys do.He can change his opinions at will all that matters is the current topic.

BTW Coldfacts I am glad you got off the snide and picked a winner in the Wood using the stat about Gulfstream shippers,congrats

KY Vet lets see which part of this he copies and attacks.

09 Apr 2014 9:52 AM
Linda in Texas

When Draynay comes out of the closet to post against a fine horse, i know he is worried. Hello Draynay, where have you been all these months? If the trainer says he knows his horse and the horse has won his races, i sort of tend to believe him. Thanks for the list Steve and i am in your cavalcade of California Chrome cheerleaders. Anyone missing his last race needs to watch the video. If the bumps out of the gate were planned, they didn't work. He still won. He darn sure has me convinced and i am a no expert but i ain't blind either!

09 Apr 2014 9:58 AM

Wow ! we have got quite a California Chrome fan club going here, wish he wasn't so darn impressive, but looks like I'll be betting a 3-1 ( or less) horse in the Derby which just plain hurts. Who knows, maybe Bayern runs a 110 this week and people jump all over him like Social Inclusion last week, least I get better odds.

I really like 2 horses to qualify this week under CC…….Commissioner who's sitting on a big one, and is truly AP Indy's last chance, and Conquest Titan who you know is going to run well at CD.

Life's easy for CC on a fast track, but if sloppy it's a whole different race , I'll try and beat him with hoppertunity

09 Apr 2014 10:02 AM

Bigtex if they run the same fractions in a 10 furlong race that they ran in an 8.5 furlong San Felipe it will be deja vu 2013 all closers.BTW its not about the stopwatch you dont think horses know how big of a pack they are running in how many were in the SA Derby 8 how many were on the lead or pressing,I guarantee there will either be more near the front or pressing, or youll get a Palice Malice,Bodemeister pacesetter.As I stated in a previous post if CC wins the KD he will learn to rate MUCH MUCH better and thats how I see it.

09 Apr 2014 10:08 AM


I agree with what you are saying,his break does make me a bit cautious. Maybe we can get a good break like in the San Felipe?

Since the jock change he is a different horse for sure.

Trackjack; my wife will tell you that I am obsessed with picking the Derby winner.

I'll keep em coming and debating Coldfacts could lead to a case of whiplash with how much he contradicts himself.

To give him or her some credit if you throw enough of it some of it will stick.

I also believe Draynay is "Jason" from the past LOL..

Good Luck and I may change my mind..

09 Apr 2014 10:16 AM

I'd be curious to know if most commenters are assessing the Derby -- or more precisely, California Chrome -- from a fan's or from a bettor's perspective.  By which I mean, while it's only natural to be very impressed by California Chrome's recent races, and I can't blame anyone for rooting for him, does he honestly appear to be a good bet at, say, 9-5 in a 20 horse field, over an unfamiliar track, at an extended distance, in a race loaded with speed, and with a question mark of a pedigree?  

09 Apr 2014 10:22 AM

I think the decision to ship on top of the race entails more than one reason for Sherman and CC.I think if it is an off track the day of the race, that choice wont turn out so good.

CC looks unbeatable at SA but so did Point Given and he looked like the best hope for the TC even more so than Big Brown before the series started, and his post time odds reflected this 1.80 to 1.I got a feeling that CC will still get so much hype before the race that he wont go off higher than 5/2.

09 Apr 2014 10:26 AM
It aint easy being good!

Wow look at all these post CC this CC that. How about you talk about the real derby winner he is running this weekend folks. Go back and watch the film. CONQUEST TITAN! Go look at his race a churchill then watch his race at gulfstream. Rarely do you see horses with that much turbo for a long sustained drive. CT will not be tired at all come derby day. The wagon is still empty jump on board! CT IS A FREAK!

09 Apr 2014 10:47 AM
Rusty Weisner

Karma is coming for Tapiture and I get off either now in Hot Springs or in the Derby.  I might try to bet against him now, at least in the exacta.

09 Apr 2014 10:50 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'll take your point, and Brontexx's, about the "wiseguy" horses.  Actually, I think the "wiseguy" horses of the gang here are usually pretty good.


I'd forgotten you liked Revolutionary (he was my third choice, and I think Haskin's first).  It's helpful context for people's comments to know who they picked in previous years.

09 Apr 2014 11:01 AM
Rusty Weisner


I completely agree about Ring Weekend and am disappointed he lost and thus probably won't be in the Derby taking money.  Vinceremos and Ring Weekend won on a third-string circuit.  And look where Vinceremos is running now, with a bunch of horses who can't win on dirt, or even synthetic or turf very much.

09 Apr 2014 11:04 AM
Rusty Weisner

joseph alva,

It was a joke.  I should have appended this emoticon: ;-)

09 Apr 2014 11:04 AM
Rusty Weisner

To those knocking California, what short memories you have.

To me, it's obvious CC is legitimate and that his competition was legitimate (and I'm not from California).  The California second stringers came in 1-2 at Sunland.  Hoppertunity won in a strong Rebel.  We'll see about Bayern.  Kristo is a third stringer; who cares how he did.

My dice roll will be playing against the Gulfstream horses.  Orb was a natural closer who nevertheless did well at Gulfstream despite being at a disadvantage.  These guys seem to be reaping all the benefits of a souped up track with a short stretch, and I really disliked the last race.

09 Apr 2014 11:28 AM
Rusty Weisner


Hey, I used that expression last week over at Keelerman's!  It's "off the schneid", though ;-)

09 Apr 2014 11:30 AM

Trackjack ... I promise I will watch the SA Derby again where CC ran down a 33 to 1 shot in Dublin Up. The same Dublin Up who has never come close to winning a race anywhere.  I will watch that race over and over again if you promise to watch Constitutions Maiden Race where he misses the break by 8 or more lengths, gets rushed up to the leader at the half mile pole in 44 and when asked in stretch still pulls away for the lead in a 7 furlong race.  You have to then watch Constitutions 2nd race when he takes the lead going wide around the first turn going 2 turns for the first time and opens up coming home even though Wicked Strong the winner of the Wood is chasing him who Constitution beats by 6+ lengths.  And lastly you have to watch his 3rd race where he gets stuck behind a slow pace and coming home has to take a small space between the rail and the Hutcheson and FOY winner. He takes the lead from Wildcat Red who no one has been able to eye for months only to have Wildcat Red head him in mid stretch.... but Contitution fights on in the last 50 yards to beat the Hutcheson and FOY winner by a neck.  You watch that and I will watch the mighty CC whip up on the mighty Dublin Up who has never come close to winning a race.  What a contest.....

09 Apr 2014 11:30 AM

California Chrome = Bellamy Road

09 Apr 2014 11:33 AM
Rusty Weisner

Quinnbit & Diego Conde -

I really enjoy these long and thoughtful comments.

09 Apr 2014 11:40 AM

Hi guys- my opinion of cali chrome is a horse that peaked way too early. see him off the board as a cali bred and foreign track. i have not seen a pulpit win the derby. so i dont like constitution or tapiture. watch out for general a rod to run big. good luck to all

09 Apr 2014 11:40 AM
Rusty Weisner


Johnny answered that question with the perfect example of Big Brown; CC will have the lowest odds since Big Brown, but the exotics, vertical and horizontal (Johnny forgot the utterly chalky Big Brown P4 that still paid $7000-1...aaaugh.).

The other thing is that all the other horses are also subject to racing luck.  

For my part, bettors split the baby all the time (what is boxing, after all, but betting against your own win picks?).  The way things look right now I am "singling" CC and Hoppertunity on top.  That makes a 2-1 horse and a 12-1 horse an even money hedge and a bolder 6-1 shot, okay by me.  Besides other exotics, I am considering each on top over the other in keyed superfectas, with my favorite two or three closers in another slot underneath and the last spot reserved for all the non-throwouts.

09 Apr 2014 11:49 AM
Steve Haskin

To those few who send in seven or eight separate comments in the span of several seconds, please try to combine your thoughts into one or two comments. It makes it easier for me and the readers. Thank you

09 Apr 2014 11:56 AM

For those who are touting California Chrome as the winner of the Kentucky Derby, I get the excitement, I get the "WOW" factors of his last 2 races but have you all considered what happens if he gets the number 1 post ?   Do you all still feel he can win from the 1 post ?  or even the 2 post ?   What about from the 20 (Please don't compare him to Big Brown) ?  I don't get the brewing comparison between CC and Constitution, there'll be 18 others in the race.

All I'm saying is that winning the Derby is like 80% luck, 10% jockey, 10% horse.  You need a LOT of luck on your side, as I mentioned before, the first 20 seconds will be a jockey's race, those who can call an audible when the gates open and find the right spot for the horse.  Super Mario did this perfectly with I'll Have Another.  Victor is a veteran and he'll know what to do and where to go, my concern is whether CC will actually know what to do when 19 other horses come out of the gate and converge and there'll be a few that will not let him get the lead no matter what so he will have to fight and I mean fight for a spot.  I don't think neither will actually hit the board...but that's just me being a gambler.

I'll wait for the post position draws, my whole Derby Dozen can change based on the post draws of my picks, I could end up with 12 different horses after April 30.

I'm anxious to see Vinceremos in the Bluegrass, if he wins, he moves way up for me.   I said before, I think Tapiture is most likely the winner of the Arkansas but I'm not so sure about the jockey switch, I watched his last race and still can't find anything that justifies the switch to Rosario.  Santana knows this horse very well, hopefully it works out and Rosario still gets him up.

09 Apr 2014 12:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   I assess every horse from both perspectives- fan and bettor. There is no way I'm betting CC WPS but I won't leave him out of a tri or super which still could pay really good with him in any of the 4 positions in the super. I was a huge fan of Zenyatta but I don't think I bet on her more than once or twice and I watched almost every race. Her races I just didn't bet. I don't like betting big favorites so I usually pass if I think they are a lock but I love to bet against them if I think there is a good chance of an upset, and I especially love to bet WS when the show pool is out of whack. I have had a couple of show payouts in the $70 range for the $2 payout. Even with those sometimes I pass when I think the favorite is a lock, and it takes a lot of will power not to at least bet show. I will even against the lock if I am sure someone else will show even if the favorite wins, nothing lost, nothing gained. In The Derby all horses are good show bets even the favorite. Even exactas can pay big with the favorite in the top two such as 2009 with Pioneer. The best bet is the superfecta in The Derby, usually paying 40k plus. Bodemeister was the lowest odds WS bet I've made in The Derby, but going that low is a rare exception. My other WPS bets I recall that paid OK eventhough they got second were Bluegrass Cat and Hard Spun. This year my focus will be the superfecta, probably a wheel, and a box. If I get good enough odds on my upset special  I'll also bet wps. I have California Chrome number one now because he has shown the most talent. I am not a big fan of his but I like him and respect him but I don't want him to win The Derby. I want my longshot to win The Derby. If it is my longshot that wins he will also have a legitimate chance to win the Triple Crown, just as CC probably has if he wins although I would have more Belmont concerns with CC than a few of the others.

09 Apr 2014 12:03 PM
Linda in Texas

Deacon,Trackjack, Dr. D, Johnny, JayJay and our great Director of The Best Blog on line Steve Haskin - I never ever disagree with you all and many others. That said, Deacon, especially liked your two postings submitted at 4:32 pm on April 8. Indeed, you were right on when you said that Pedigree is not always the be all end all. I finally after CC's second win looked way back and worked forward on his pedigree. So i was impressed early on with him. Now, perhaps hidden genes not before tapped come forth in the most unusual of breedings and generations. My great great grandpa was 5'6" brunette and guess how tall i am, 5'6" and brunette and my brother was 6'2" and blonde. Go figure folks if you don't think the "hidden" genes will come back and make their appearance when you least expect them. They will. Just like California Chrome's shiny copper penny color he could have many other traits! And regards Mr. Sherman, watched him being interviewed on HRTV and i was reminded of sitting at a table with my dad. Down to earth, hides nothing, has a strong constitution and 'knows his horse.' Next i read he could not sleep after his horse won the race Saturday, he got up at 2 am and went to the barn to check on his trainee! That is devotion and dedication and it is very nice to know it still exists. Thanks Steve, Mr. Sherman and the owners and breeders of a very nice colt! There is nothing wrong with enjoying the ride as i said someplace today, that's the funnest part of all!

09 Apr 2014 12:08 PM
Fan of Damascus

Sorry to see Mr. Speaker was kept out of the Blue Grass.  I guess Shug will keep him on turf for at least a few more starts.


I see that Asserting Bear who you picked to win the Spiral but instead finished a fast-closing 4th has the pole in the BGS.  I hope he throws in a great performance.

Also, I like how Dale Romans is bringing back Medal Count in the Blue Grass - only eight days after his Transylvania victory.

European trainers are less leery of bring back horses in one week's time, let alone two weeks, than are North American trainers.  I hope Medal Count distinguishes himself with a top three finish.

09 Apr 2014 12:56 PM
Smoking Baby


Kristo was hitting the board in Stakes races in California.  He shows up in New York after a bullet work and loses by 20.  Maybe if he went to the Florida Derby he loses by .... 30 ?  What does this tell you about California racing ?

It's true Kristo took a beating.  However, I don't agree that it necessarily is an indictment on California racing.

What does Hoppertunity winning the Rebel say about California racing?

What does California trained horses occupying five of the top seven spots in I'll Have Another's Derby a couple years back say about California racing?

What does the one, two, three finish in I'll Have Another's Preakness by California horses say about California racing?

Fact is there is a long list of horses from California (Bertrando, Tough Tiz's Sis, King Glorious, Lost In The Fog, Colonel John, Sahara Sky, Silver Charm, Lookin' At Lucky, Paynter, Coil, Real Quiet, the list goes on and on) who have shipped 3000 miles and won Grade 1 races in the Eastern Time Zone.  

The list of horses from the East winning Grade 1's out here is much shorter.

What does all this say about California racing?  Probably not a whole lot.  I just think if you are going to indict a state's racing program because one horse runs bad you should acknowledge the long list of horses that run big.

And another thing....If California Chrome (or any of these other nice colts) can't get the 10 furlongs in the Derby and are exposed as "Milers" (as if this is such a terrible thing) where's the tragedy in that?

Most would agree Quality Road couldn't get 10 furlongs.  Drossylmeyer most certainly COULD get 10 furlongs.  Who do you think is the better horse or the horse that's worth more money?

Wow....That was a rant.  I feel better now.

09 Apr 2014 1:07 PM


I do not normally engage you directly for reasons best know to you. However, I will make an exception on this occasion. Constitution is not my pick to win the Derby and neither is California Chrome. I made a comparison of the two talented colts by highlighting certain parts of their race records.

Constitution is held in very high regards by his connections and they think the sky is the limit for him. He could be just as freaky as CC based on is three races to date. All the focus has been on CC and all others appear to be chopped liver. If the Derby won on every occasion by horses with the best record and most impressive performances going in, CC would be assured of a victory.

I have not changed my views on historic negatives and Constitution has a few. However, this does not detract from his exceptional ability.

He is the product of an overbred stallion. Dunkirk, Medaglia D’ Oro, Giants Causeway, Candy Ride, Malibu Moon and Kittens Joy all bred upwards of a 170 mares. They are unlikely to have a Derby starter. Tapit bred 169 and is likely to have 3 Derby starters and I will not use any on top.

His trainer has a dismal record in the Derby (<3% from 30 plus starters) His repeated no show and under performance in the great race suggests the fault does not lie with his charges but rather with his Derby preparation program.

Derby winning sires rarely double was Derby winning broodmare sires. This feat was repeated in 2013 after a span of 48 years. Unbridled the dam sire of Orb was also the sire of Derby winner Grindstone. Based on Derby history this feat is unlikely to recur in consecutive years. Distorted Humor the dam sire of Constitution was also the sire of Derby winner Funny Cide.

Only one horse has won the Derby without a start as a 2YO. While I think this is the least of his negatives it is none the less one.

Exceptional horses have in the past overcome overwhelming challenges to wear he roses. Despite the fact that Constitution is not my 1st choice I believe he could be one such horse.

09 Apr 2014 1:49 PM
The Bid


Well said in regards to your last post re: CONSTITUTION...I would concur on everything EXCEPT how he OR ANYBODY is going to be close to CALIFORNIA CHROME at The WIRE?????? I know you TOO have a special place in your Heart/Wallet for RACHEL!!!! CHROME may not have the middle-fractions she had nor the margins of victory, BUT there is NO denying the shear and utter Brilliance this horse has shown over his last 2 races. RACHEL would put horses away early and still display her push-button close, CHROME is doing it in the same manner! And not being asked, being PULLED-UP!!!

CHROME's Opposition

Some dismiss his dominance over these other colts as if he was racing in Allowance company or still racing v. Maidens! His TRUE test was supposed to come from CANDY BOY...that didn't materialize AT ALL! Some say HOPPERTUNITY wasn't "geared up" or he was just looking to get in a 'Work"! Well that may or not be the case but IMO, Baffert NEVER enters a horse in a race his connections believe he is really NOT trying to win!!!!!

Which brings me to my old #1....SHARED BELIEF.........


That could still happen later this Summer or maybe Fall if all things considered!!! Remember CANDY BOY, MIDNIGHT HAWK, KOBE's BACK, CHITU and others I'm forgetting ALL were squashed by SHARED BELIEF @ 2yrs. old, and now CHROME has done the exact same thing!!! What if this crop of early speed and lacking but a couple closers is JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH and CHROME is that much BETTER?? This is probably the case, especially when we are considering horses "FREAKS" I wrong??? BIG BROWN was the last BUT people diminish what he did because he raced against a "weak" crop!!! Why we even embellish such conjecture is beyond me, all I know is that BEYOND a SHADOW OF A DOUBT....CHROME has showed US MORE THAN ANY HORSE TO DATE.....and WE STILL HAVEN'T SEEN HIS BEST being ASKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09 Apr 2014 1:57 PM
Mister Frisky

The Dozen blog is on fire like never before,The Bloodhorse might need a larger server if this keeps up.Ky Vet I agree, too many people reaching on pedigree.Something tells me Jerry Moss won't be sending Zenyatta to Lucky Pulpit anytime soon.Draynay I agree with you on Constitution,very talented colt who has a very high ceiling.If a Tapit is to get the trip I think he is the one,immense confidence in Elliot Walden and Winstar.Coldfacts,I'm liking your well researched posts,espically the Raise a Native, Malibu Moon comparison.Ive gone on Mr.Prospectors wiki,and his dominance of the TC through his male line is incredible,thanks for keeping the blog lively.

09 Apr 2014 2:10 PM
lysa slater


Yes, I want the issue of Mr. Asmussen's "alleged" misdeeds to be kept in the forefront lest they be swept under the rug.  

Yes, the racing fans (like myself) who don't know all the absurd "justifications" and "reasons" for giving injured & hurting horses pain medications like Butazolidin, (which thins the blood and can lead to EIPH)should have a chance to get educated.

I am hoping that these regular racing fans will be able to learn about how horses suffering from EIPH are given Lasix (which leaches calcium from bones and makes these bones weaker)to allow those horses that bleed from their lungs to continue to race anyway.

Regular racing fans have a right to know these things.

I won't even get into all the other "therapeutic" actions that are taken to keep horses racing when they ought to be resting or retired. But fans need to know about those too.

Isn't it about time the racing industry had to answer for these actions?  

PETA has brought to light an issue that has been hidden by this industry for far too long and the public deserves to know just what this industry permits and what Mr. Asmussen is accused of.  

Sadly, I have come to learn that horse racing isn't at all pretty like it looks when you watch the Derby on TV. All Derby watchers should know the truth.  

In my opinion, acknowledgment of the truth is where change can begin. And Tapiture in that post parade will hopefully start some conversations long overdue.

09 Apr 2014 2:36 PM


Would you prefer me to reference the date and time of a particular submission when I am commenting on a part of same or would you prefer the highlighting of the particular point of disagreement?

I do not disagree with all opinions contained in submissions. Those that I have a different perspective on, I highlight and post comments. I consider it convenient for all.

The Bid

Kandy refer to my post directed to the KY VET.


Your points regarding the facts and figures associated with CC & Constitution are correct. I did not mean the ones I highlighted to be anything other than a comparison. The race still has to be contested to determine the KD champion..

Diego Conde,

“He is a freak. Period. Put a sock on it and stop being haters”

No one hates CC. Flashback was classified as freak by his trainer. Verazzano and Uncle Mo were considered freaks. The term has been used loosely by many in recent times. Caution is advised. A horse that wins 6 of its 10 starts with 2 graded victories should not be classified a freak. If the colt is retired now would he make the HOF off his impressive performances? It is  the Hall Of Fame not Hall Of Freaks.

Carlos in Cali

Kindly refer to my post directed to the KY VET.


Point Given was another big far striding chestnut that destroyed the opposition in CA. He finished 5th in the Derby. I did not state that CC could not win. The tracks in CA are hard and fast. The surface at CD is very different.


The last 3 Derby winners all won their final preps i.e., Animal Kingdom, I’ll Have Another and Orb. Look for that trend to be discontinued in 2014. Find the best from that category and go all in.

The Deacon,

I compared the racing records of two colts and gave a historic perspective on CC chances. Not once did I address stamina. Constitution has far more historic negatives than CC. I have not suggest that CC cannot win the Derby just that he is unlikely based on his profile.

09 Apr 2014 2:43 PM
Old Old Cat

The Derby /dozen is heating up, both with your analysis and the bloggers' comments.  The most exciting time of the year.  Thank you for doing this column.

In the Fla Derby, Constitution(#5)narrowly beat Wildcat Red (#5a) in the Fla Derby, who beat ARod (#6)by 2 lengths.  Had Constitution not been in the race (imagine that for a moment) would Wildcat Red have moved up to that #5 spot?  The spot ahead of ARod?  I think so.  Why then does he get squeezed out of the Dozen?

I think the reason is that he is viewed as a sprinter who can go slightly more than a mile, but who will fizzle out in the Classics.  Personally I like gutsy horses, and I think he has guts.  On a dry track, I expect him and California Chrome to set the pace, or be immediately behind the early pace, and to both hold on for first and second, with CC winning.  I would bet they do the same in the Preakness, even on an off track. The only thing that I see killing them is if they do it to each other, by trying to outrun each other early in the race, and we have a rerun of the blinkers on Palace Malice fiasco.

I think Samaraat can sneak in third.  As well as he has been running I didn't realize he was not changing leads.  Quite often that is a back or muscle issue treatable with: rest (out of the question), massage (if muscular), or accupuncture.  After fixing the cause, the failure to switch leads needs to be unlearned by the horse.  In any event I can see him cashing the show bet.

09 Apr 2014 2:47 PM
Soldier Course

So California Chrome is not doing things by the book. But he's got at least one thing in common with the eleven Triple Crown winners. He can't read but he sure can run.

09 Apr 2014 2:47 PM
It aint easy being good!

Rusty the only reason I know that is because that's who I bet the last three years. Dulluhan broke my heart when he couldn't pass Bodiemister for 2nd. I swear every year my horse runs third. I need to switch my betting tactics. Many of you make good points about the fan versus the bettor. If your a fan yippe yay good for California Chrome but I am a bettor and use this blog to get key information. So it sounds like the people that are against CC are like me and are trying to beat him. 2-1 in a 20 horse field with no track experience and 160,000 screaming fans ummm no thanks!!! Give me some an improving horse flying under the radar that has already proven he can pass a herd. That horse is Conquest Titan. Also anyone see Bayerns work of 7 furlongs at 1:23 and change........LOOK OUT!!!  

09 Apr 2014 3:03 PM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

What was the problem with Bayern?

09 Apr 2014 3:12 PM

The only thing I don't like about this time of the year is that sinking feeling when a Blood Horse email alert comes out with bad news.  i.e. I want Revenge, Quality Road, Eskendereya, Eurosilver, I'll Have Another (the day before the Belmont), California Chro--NO!!!!!

09 Apr 2014 3:45 PM
Fan of Damascus

Hi Steve,

I see from last year that your final Derby Dozen is posted the Monday before the Derby.  As a resule there were only six posts on that blog after the Derby had been won by Orb.

With all the debating, analysing, ribbing and boasting we've seen on your Derby Dozen blog this year, I think it would be fun to have one final Derby Dozen after the derby to let everyone celebrate, congratulate, vent, and whine and speculate about the Preakness and Belmont.

Also, I would love someone to devise a scoring method with points attached so everyone can enter and we can determine the 2014 Derby Dozen Handicapping Champion and all the bragging rights that go with that.  

The scoring / points has to be for more than simply picking winners in order, since someone who, for example, picks a 30-1 shot to show and the horse comes in forth should get more points than the person who picked that same horse to come in 20th.  

Anybody up for this?

09 Apr 2014 3:57 PM

I will be making money on Derby Day betting everyone I can find that Hoppertunity finishes in front of CC in the Derby.  CC is a stalker who hasn't seen any real speed yet.  He is a toss for me in the Derby. You guys think you see talent... what you see is a horse running against nothing.

09 Apr 2014 4:05 PM

steve-good comments on tapiture. if he wins or puts in an eyepopping second in Arkansas, I wonder if Rosario will keep the mount for the derby or look elsewhere for a perceived better deal. I also wonder if rosarios agent courted asmussen for this mount or if asmussen courted Rosario for this ride. go tapiture!!

09 Apr 2014 4:38 PM

Blue Grass came up rather strong-Bobby's Kitten, Medal Count, Dance With Fate, Asserting Bear, and some others may just make some impact in Derby. Medal Count looks to be serious colt-very impressive in Transylvania (off turf). Coming back off short rest, but I think he's a horse with a future. Should any of above fire in Blue Grass (i.e. 1-2-3), my guess is they'll outfinish C. Chrome in Derby. From my perspective, C. Chrome is no "freak", and no star in the making-I say this not because of his pedigree; I just don't like the look of him; not much quality about him. I see him as more the Congaree-type, only not as good. And, as far as others recent past coming out of California; Indian Charlie was head and shoulders the better horse.  

09 Apr 2014 4:40 PM

I just want to acknowledge three posts from this week that made me say “Yeah!  You tell them!”:

“I've decided to enjoy the ride this time around, since when you are given a gift like California Chrome to watch and enjoy, it seems downright ungracious to not take full advantage of it.”

Deltalady - 08 Apr 2014 9:46 PM


“…when I think of the term ‘push button’ his demeanor screams the very essence of the term.”

Ribot - 08 Apr 2014 12:27 PM


(the entire “rant”, which I wholeheartedly agree with)

Smoking Baby - 09 Apr 2014 1:07 PM


Thank you for the wonderful ride on "the trail", California Chrome.  Good luck and Godspeed on the 1st Saturday in May!

09 Apr 2014 5:17 PM

Bayern did not race at 2. We know all about the Apollo curse. He has worked strong, but is so lightly raced. As for Bayern's pedigree, his sire, Offlee Wild won at 1 1/4 miles in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, and defeated Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in the Mass Cap over nine furlongs at Suffolk Downs.

Bayern's dam side is just as impressive, if not more. His third dam, Courtly Dee, produced multiple stakes winners, including Althea, Native Courier, Twining and Aquilegia, Bayern's granddam, who prevailed at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Alittlebitearly, Bayern's dam, was unraced, but her sire is Thunder Gulch, winner of the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Bayern has a lot to prove this weekend...however, 2 year old curse or not, he is clearly one of the best bred colts in this group for getting 10 panels.

09 Apr 2014 5:54 PM
The Deacon

Dr. D;

Ky Vet:  I concur with all your posts, well said.

Linda in Texas:  Thank you and I might add that when you see all those thousands of pari-mutual tickets on the cement floor at every race track in America it tells me that the majority of folks were wrong that day. How many of those folks bet pedigree and breeding only........

We have a potentially great horse in our midst and the same naysayers are bashing him.

There are 2 bloggers on here that try and ruin it for everyone else. They know who they are........

09 Apr 2014 6:48 PM
Scott's Rail

Just went back and checked pedigree's to the last 21 KD winners.  Although I am more entry level at this, I did find it somewhat noticible that 80 to 85% HAD legitimate 1 1/4 heritage.  I didn't have/or choose to look at 2nd dam was 1/2 sister to 2nd place winner in the '79 Travers.  Most of the time, it was THERE. Horses that win the KD are bred to win the KD.  Also the average payout is 14-1, remove the 2 "Bombs", Giacomo, Mind that Bird, 10-1.  I think my math is correct....

09 Apr 2014 7:48 PM
Steve Haskin

Fan of Damascus, everyone comments on my Derby recap column that comes out the Tuesday after the Derby. Should be plenty of comments about the race on there.

09 Apr 2014 7:56 PM

Derby festivities start this weekend with Thunder over Louisville.

If you never been, just google it, a all day air show with all types of aircrafts, including the Blue Angels, and the F-22 Raptor, and many more.

One of the largest fireworks shows in the United States, put on by the  Zambellis  family. With several barges set up on the Ohio river where they set off the fireworks, and the 2'nd. street bridge closed off for the whole bridge can be used for fireworks.If you never been, its quite a show, and huge crowds, average 650,000.

And, this is just the start. Ky. Derby festivities and the Derby itself is the big event in this area. The week leading up to the Derby there are many things going on, The Great Steamboat race, Derby Marathon, and Derby eve jams at every bar anywhere near Louisville, Ky.

many local plants shut down on Derby Eve, there is no school on Derby eve, and everybody attends a Derby party at  somebody's house.

All of these activities lead up to the big event, the Derby. As close as I live, I've only been to one Ky. Derby, the year 1973, the year Secretariat won. Many of the locals go to the Oaks, but now even it is very crowded. Most just go to a friends house for a Derby party, complete with a bookie of course. Anywhere you go within 50-75 miles of Louisville, there are Derby parties. The fun is just getting started this weekend with Thunder over Louisville, and ends the day after the 1'st. Saturday in May. Good luck all.

09 Apr 2014 8:01 PM

For those of you who do not delve into a horse's pedigree; a piece of the puzzle is missing.  Please take a some time to look at the pedigrees of California Chrome, Chitu, and Vicar's In Trouble.  I have written about Vicar's In Trouble.  I'm keeping these three horses close to the vest, along with their pedigrees.

09 Apr 2014 8:19 PM

I went and watched all of California Chrome races and the one time he actually took real dirt in his face he finished off the board. I don't think he likes to be behind horses something he have to deal with in the derby.

09 Apr 2014 8:51 PM

The Deacon:

Maybe your crowd pleasing, begging the question comments should remain unsaid...Since when is one obliged to jump on the bandwagon or instead remain silent?

09 Apr 2014 8:52 PM


Did you know the last 3 Derby winners names all started with a vowel..

Question? Since you are good at bashing everyone elses horse, who is your #1 horse right now?

09 Apr 2014 8:52 PM

Have to agree with "it aint easy being good", I love the horse CC he's a beauty, but I'm primarily here as a bettor, 3 to1 or lower on derby day, no thanks, I can get that the other 51 Saturday's of the year.

I say keep the coldfacts coming, love to hear all the comments, i don't see them as negative at all, just food for thought.

Thanks all

09 Apr 2014 8:53 PM

Vinceremos is going to win the Bluegrass Stakes and he still won't get any respect. I think he runs to the level of the competition and his blue collar workman like style is not appreciated.  

09 Apr 2014 9:07 PM
Paula Higgins

Snake, (forgive me for not loving your sign on name) your post about liking the horse and liking the horse to win the Derby was one of the best. It is important to separate the two. The reality is that the Derby can be a dream killer because of the field size etc. You need a truly dominant horse like Big Brown who can overcome it all. But I think California Chrome is that truly dominant horse despite his pedigree.

09 Apr 2014 9:19 PM

***Lysa - the Kentucky Derby telecast is not the forum to "educate" fans about the problems in racing.  It is a media hype program that has never once, that I have seen, presented an issue in anything but a negatively tainted manner that will do nothing but turn away those who may be just beginning to take an interest in racing.  If you think that is "good" for racing I am sad to hear it.  Transparency is very important but there is a proper forum presented by educated people - not sportscasters with part time involvement that goes little further than reading info given to them for the telecast.

***Smoking Baby - draynay hates all things California, especially Zenyatta.  He used to use the synthetic surface excuse but I don't know what it is now.  I will say he has not picked a Derby winner in the several years I have been reading these blogs...LOL

09 Apr 2014 9:41 PM

Draynay; I see you are as contrary as ever and I can't say I'm glad to see you back. It's not so much what you say, as how you say it.  It's as if you are all-wise and the rest of us are idiots.  For many reasons, I hope California Chrome wins the Derby, not the least is to hear your reaction.

09 Apr 2014 9:46 PM

Well, that saved me a post....i knew coldcuts wasnt going to pick constitution to win the derby.....he makes sense.......ok, help me out people.....what derby contender has an unraced mare, a sire that bred 3 live foals....with seven letters in his name, has a swan blinkers,no lasix, is a maiden, has storm cat only if its a chestnut in his family,seven trainers, a stride good for 1 1/4 like TheFactor,and who was not conceived under the lights!

09 Apr 2014 10:00 PM

I've seen quite a lot of comments about the CD track, when compared to other tracks, I see a description of what the other tracks are (speedway, conveyor belt) but I don't remember seeing a description of how the track is at Churchill Downs.    What type of track is it  and what other tracks where prep races are run comes close to it ?

I always thought Fairgrounds is the closest, maybe Tampa Bay.   I'd like to get other people's opinions...if I may.

09 Apr 2014 10:11 PM

I have been reading your column for many years and always respected your views. This year while making a future bet on Calif Chrome, your words on Feb 3rd column:

"He inhaled the leaders in a flash and cruised to the lead with Victor Espinoza "

I remembered and threw a few shekels on CC . So now all he has to do is win as the favorite in the toughest race. After this race he will face less competition,,as the other pretenders will sit on the sidelines to watch him run. CC WINS THE DERBY BY 7. Triple Crown Baby.

Thanks again Steve

09 Apr 2014 10:52 PM


If you will look at most of the various bloggers' rankings on here, you will see that most of us love Constitution.  What exactly are you angry about?  We love theses horses and for various reasons we can only pick one to be on top.  

You say CC has run against nothing?  So where do you have Hoppertunity ranked?  Here's my wager for you?  To a person on here, I'll be willing to bet each wants to see that freak horse.  If it's Constitution, we all would love to see it.  You want to take that wager?

Now, exactly what has you angry?  Is Raylan Givens after you?  Did you get kicked out of Harlan, KY?

09 Apr 2014 11:23 PM
Ted from LA

Is it just me, or is there something about Mary?  We need to all get along.  Draynay is the perfect internet character. Great comments today by everyone.  Is anyone going to the Derby in person? I haven't had a chance to read all the posts, but I need to know who is going?  I'm buying......

09 Apr 2014 11:27 PM


Also, I'll buy you two tacos from Jack in the Box if CC doesn't win the Derby in Barbaro fashion!!!

09 Apr 2014 11:28 PM
Sail On

I do think there is a big difference between the tracks in California where the California horses run, and train. I also heard that the track where the KD is run is more sandy. Therefore, I am not sure that California Chrome can post the same speed in the Derby that he has in California.

In addition, we have quite a few horses that seem to be wonder horses when they run free of crowded fields, or have a clean trip, but have issues when the bumping starts. The KD will have some 20 horses, all contending, and none wanting to give up easily. The Derby is not a race like those 8 entry Stakes races. It is a different animal.

My favorits horses at the moment are:


Vicar's In trouble

Wildcat Red

These horses have demonstrated they can handle both the speed and the traffic. These horses want to win, they want to nose out the other horse. They are winners.


Intense Holiday

these two horses have shown they can keep on coming, but I do not see them as closers.

General A Rod

Uncle Sigh

These two horses have allowed themselves to be beaten by a close margin two many times for me to count on them.


Ride On Curlin

Candy Boy


These 4 horses are full of promise, but have failed to deliver when it counts.


Wicked Strong

Social Inclusion

Three horses that are still developing, and have issues to work out.

I do agree with the jockey change for Tapiture. It is the best thing for the owner and the horse. I sure hope we do not see a horse used as a battering ram in the Derby. That kind of stuff is best reserved for car racing.

09 Apr 2014 11:38 PM

I really like California Chrome mainly because he has the mind to handle the circus that is Derby day.

Constitution is too unseasoned for me.

I think Ring Weekend could rebound nicely.

09 Apr 2014 11:47 PM

If I am wrong about California Chrome and he somehow wins the Derby I will look back on many of your words by most of you and think to myself.... how come they saw it and I didn't ?  However, when he loses and doesn't even hit the board I will be back and I want you to admit you have no business handicapping the Derby and the next time you think of backing a California bred horse for the Derby you will donate it to your favorite Church Charity instead of wasting it.

10 Apr 2014 12:14 AM

Steve, what a performance by Chrome, Espinoza never moved his hands the entire race, horse LOOKS and runs like a machine, can't get Conquest Titans freak Churchill race out of mind  though, and then he has that sharp work, hope he hits the board sat. he is this derby's Golden Soul. Almost forgot he blew away General A-Rod in that Churchill race.

10 Apr 2014 12:14 AM

Linda in Texas :  First off, I'm typing your full name, I was trying to be cute with the "LiT" but I don't think it's actually complimenting you lol.  To make up for it, I will say that you ended up with the "hidden" genes rather than your brother :)

As for CC, as good as he has been in his last 3 or 4 races, he dominated a California group that has not really made an impression to me.  He is well deserved to be hyped based on his record, his races (graded stakes) and the way he runs.  Having said that though, my theme for this year's derby is "battle hardened", so I can't really get too excited for him.  I was hoping he'd get some type of competition in the SA Derby but he's just way too good against the California contingent.  I'm wondering how the SA Derby would have turned out had Chitu stuck with the campaign there.  I have a feeling things would be different.

Arkansas Derby :  I'm picking Tapiture and Commissioner with Conquest Titan, Strong Mandate and Ride On Curlin for the tri and super.

Bluegrass :  12, 11 with 12, 11, 8 with 12, 11, 8, 7, 4 - I'll play the .20 superfecta with those horses as well.  I might add the "hippster" if I have any lunch money left.

10 Apr 2014 12:59 AM
Diego Conde


"what you see is a horse [CC]running against nothing"

Who do you want him to beat in the preps to be happy?!!! Pegasus?!

Because of geographical limitations he cannot run against East-based horses. So, those are not available. He has beaten everything in the West, including Westerners that have beaten or competed well against Fla., Ky., and NY horses. He has soundly and handedly beaten Hoppertunity, Midnight Hawk, Kristo, etc... Midnight Hawk beat Commissioner (the early wise guy horse). Hoppertunity beat Tapiture and Strong Mandate. Kristo finished 16 back in the Wood Memorial with the top three finishers being ridden out. CC beat Kristo by 13 lengths under mild to no urging from Espinoza in the San Felipe. He could have beat him by 20.

I've been clear from the beginning. The KY Derby is not an easy race, even for FREAKS (Yes, COLD, I'm talking to you).

The legacy of many freakish horses is buried between the twin spires, mainly due to the circumstances of an amazingly complex race. I would never bet CC at 2-1. I wouldn't bet my own horse at those odds; in any race. I rather put place money on General A Rod, or box a trifecta with Hoppertunity and Wildcat Red and that helluva' heart of his. But to make a good gambling point you don't need to step on the horse's achievements.

COLD: Our difference is semantics, I think. I see a freakish horse as a horse that displays such brilliant ability as to make you scratch your head, look at the fractions of the race four times and then scratch your head again. Uncle Mo: Yes, his Kelso made him a freak. Point Given's Belmont made him a freak. Afleet Alex's Preakness made him a freak. Zenyatta's Breeders'Cup (actually, both of them) made her a freak. Heck, The Factor's maiden win was a freakish race (1:06 and 4/5!...for 6F)

Hall of Famers are classy, professional and consistent horses. Some were freakish, some were not. I rather have the hall of famer than the freak, that is true. But freak can easily turn into Hall of Fame if they show their class.

When CC stares an enemy in the eye down the stretch and has to dig very deep, and does...and wins...more than once...then, he will be a classy, professional hall of famer. Until then I will continue to watch the Santa Anita Derby replay, drop my jaw and root for the freak.

10 Apr 2014 1:03 AM

Two horses have run sub 1:48 mile and an eighth Derby preps. One of them does it in a contested all out stretch drive, the other in an uncontested hand ride. One of them gets all the attention, the other hardly a mention. One does it in his 4th life time start, the other in his 10th life time start. One difference, the one with 4 starts does it in the thin air of the Sunland Derby, the other does it at basically what is no elevation of Santa Anita. The one who does it in four starts, has a dam who raced once, it was at 10 furlongs and she won, the other has a pedigree that many question is suited to 10F's. Oh, the one that raced at Sunland also defeated the great Commisioner in that race. I don't know what might happen in the Kentucky Derby any more than anyone else here, but I would guess that Chitu( I always feel like I have to say" God bless "you when I hear this name),could very well be one of the top 4 horses at the finish. Chitu is training well and could be on an upward trend, yet he doesn't get in the top twelve. What am I missing here?

10 Apr 2014 1:32 AM

Is Wicked Strong a grinder or tremendous closer with a kick? The more I look at him, I think he passed tired horses as he ground out the win in the Wood. I think he is a grinder.

10 Apr 2014 1:36 AM


I remain amused at the conclusions of others regarding my posts. Which horses have I bashed?

Let me reiterate, California Chrome is the horse to beat in the Derby. He has a few historic negatives but also a lot of positives. I compared a part of his record to that of Constitutions and highlighted some of his historic negatives. It’s a stretch to consider that bashing.

Suggesting that caution be exercised is not bashing. The policy advocates a measured approach toward the contenders preparing to contest the biggest and most demanding race of their racing careers.

My #1 horse has not yet been determined but I do have a short list that I will share after the final preps. Obviously some on my list will be competing on the weekend.


One of the main reasons I have chosen not to engage you directly is largely due to the fact that you have made it exceedingly clear, that you lack the requisite maturity for meaningful exchanges. If there were any doubts as to the validity of this assessment, the nonsense contained in your last post represents a disturbing example.

10 Apr 2014 1:49 AM

The Deacon,

I think you are being grossly unfair to me regarding my posts on California Chrome. I have not bashed the colt. I have not discredited his achievements in any way. If you have examples to support your conclusion I would appreciate being provided with them.

Your quote:

“We have a potentially great horse in our midst and the same naysayers are bashing him.”

Do you recall a similar statement you made about Uncle Mo? I questioned then the over the top statements posted about him. Was I bashing him?

Is Share Belief a potentially great horse in our midst? He has likewise destroyed all his opponents, is undefeated and secured the Eclipse for champion 2YO. He is sidelined by not retired. Given the aforementioned, are you citing the correct potentially great horse in our midst? These are the types of questions that I pose and contributors classify me as bashing top horses.

Havana won the 8F, G1 Champagne in his 2nd start after a previous start in a 5.5F MSW. New Year’s Day left the MSW ranks to defeat the best and fastest 2YO in the country in the G1 BCJ in his 3rd start. The BCJ field included 5 graded stakes winners. Who would dare mention New Years Day in the same sentence with California Chrome at this time?

CC ran 4 races between 4.5f & 5.5F before he contested a 7F race. He won his 1st G1 race in his 10th start. He was always playing catch up to the above mentioned horses that have either been retired or sideline due to injury.

Constitution exited an Optional Claim Allowance to win the G1 FL Derby in his 3rd start. He is yet to be beaten. However, he is not considered a potentially great horse in our midst because he has was unable to destroy three colt the quality of which CC has not seen to date. I wonder if many recognize the immense ability it required to succeed at the G1 level against talented horses with far more experience.

You might consider CC a potentially great horse in our midst and you might be proven right. I might not share your views and I could also be proven right. Only time will tell. Why should my differing views be deemed bashing? I could easily regards your views above as over glorification.

I seek not to initiate controversy but merely to encourage a balance and measured approach to the assessment of the talents existing in the Derby class of 2014. CC is not yet the winner and the others are not yet the also ran.

10 Apr 2014 2:02 AM

Draynay--I re-watched all of Constitution's races as you requested but you have obviously not watched California Chrome's Santa Anita Derby.  You have defended Coldfacts by telling us that "Coldfacts is not tearing down the #1 horse..."  Looks like you've reserved that job for yourself.

Constitution is a well bred, highly regarded 400k yearling purchase trained by Todd Pletcher and he ran like that in his maiden win.  Sent off at 1.10/1 he hesitated at the start, then rushed up with a clear path on the rail to reach the lead and win by a length over the other maidens Juba and Greyfell in 1:23 1/5 at the Gulfstream speedway.  He broke his maiden the way he was expected to.

On 2/22 in a OC at 8.5F he broke a little slow but Javier rushed him up to the lead and chose to keep him off the rail until around the final turn, getting the dream trip and coasting home in a fast 1:42.  Did you notice Wicked Strong get fanned seven wide around the first turn, drop back to last then make his way down the backside 3-4 wide and make a good run to be fourth beaten 6 1/2 lengths on the speed biased Gulfstream strip as Steve pointed out?  By the way, the way Wicked Strong ran into that speed bias was one of the factors I used to pick him to win the Wood and help me get the Exacta.  Who did you have in the Wood?  Maybe I missed your post.

Constitution was very impressive besting Wildcat Red, General a Rod and Cairo Prince in the FLA. Derby as you pointed out.  I like Constitution, I currently have him 4th on my list.

Since you keep trashing California Chrome by saying all he did was run down a 33-1 shot Dublin Up who has never won a race, even saying it twice in one post, it's clear you didn't watch his Santa Anita Derby as you said you would.  Don't worry about going back to watch it, I'll inform you.  California Chrome had some trouble at the break, was 7th, then sent up to track the front running Dublin Up, shot to the lead as they came to the top of the stretch, was hand ridden to open up and coasted home being pulled up well before the finish line in 1:47.52 for a 107 Beyer.  CC bested the G2 Rebel(100B)winner Hoppertunity by 5 1/4; the G2 RB Lewis(96B)winner Candy Boy by 8 3/4 who also had previously run 2nd in the G1 Cash Call Futurity (95B)to Shared Belief. Then came your favorite maiden Dublin Up,9 lengths behind the geared down CC.

California Chrome has a solid 2 y.o. foundation and has improved in every race as a 3 y.o. and the way he covered the 9F in the Santa Anita Derby, geared down, beating graded winners leads me to believe he can get the 10F at CD and he goes to the top of my list.

        Good Luck with your picks.

Fan of Damascus--Re: 2014 Derby Dozen Handicapping Champ.  I like your idea.  I tried this a few years ago on Jason's blog but got little response.  I'll throw it out again.  Of course Steve would have to agree with this and/or write us up a separate blog only for the contest.

Many of us bet these races, some all the time, some here and there, it varies.  Some of us don't bet and just enjoy the banter and chatter that Steve's blog provides and I thank Steve for that.  But we all love (or like) this game and especially the thoroughbreds.  When it comes to the Kentucky Derby and and Steve's Derby Dozen we all have our opinions and as Johnny posted, most of us are obsessed with picking the Derby winner.  Who's the best Haskin Derby Handicapper?(rhetorical question,group.)  How about this:

Steve grants each handicapper a mythical $100.

1.  State your Derby winner, bet $20 to win.

2.  The remaining $80 to be bet in any combination

     of WPS, EX or TRI on any horses you wish.

3.  All bets to be posted no later than 11AM EST Derby

     Day.  Only exception would be a late scratch.

4.  Winner would be determined by:

     1. Must select Derby winner AND have highest

        total wagers payout.  If a tie(s) should  

        occur; co-champs, no tie breakers.

5.  Prize?  Bragging rights for a whole year!

How's that for starters?  I'll total them and report.  I'm open for any suggestions.  Maybe simpler?  Maybe a point system?

Steve, is something like this doable?

Thoughts anyone?    

10 Apr 2014 3:43 AM

Fan of Damascus I dont think Romans running Medal Count back in 8 days will turn out like he hoped.I have seen him overrun his horses before.I will repeat what the horsepeople overseas say about US horses good blood bad bone.They are not capable of running all the races that champions did in the 70s and before.I do believe that they run a schedule to maximize their breeding potential but everybody will not do the same thing or have the same ideas,examples this blog and the arguement for and against synthetic tracks which the powers that be thought could alleviate the other more serious problems related to the breeding,drug use etc of the American thoroughbred.

10 Apr 2014 8:01 AM

Coldfacts no I dont have any preference if you change your style when stating your case,but dont be surprised if I copy it and that might encourage other bloggers to do the same,although I doubt it, I figured this blog out years ago.Coldfacts you keep playing your character on here as well as the other more defined roles like KY Vet and the blog will continue to churn out numbers for whoever is counting.

10 Apr 2014 8:14 AM

Coldfacts; not a tough question we all understand their are more races to be run but who is your #1 right now?? By chance are you a politician?

Predict; you are missing nothing regarding Chitu actually he is my #1 under the radar horse..Lets not forget the gale force winds he closed into.

Fan of Damascus;count me in any contest..

Man how much more would I get done around the house if not for the Derby Dozen..

Good Luck to All..

10 Apr 2014 9:38 AM
Monarchos Matt


Wicked Strong finished his final 3/8 in :37.35 and his final 1/8 in :12.52 after chasing an opening 3/4 of 1:11.1, never further than 4 lengths from the leader. That doesn't sound like a "grinder" to me...

10 Apr 2014 9:47 AM
Monarchos Matt

Regarding the Arkansas Derby:

Well, well, well. This is either the single worst morning line I have ever seen, or there is going to be value all over the place in here.

First of all, did someone forget that Ride on Curlin and Tapiture were separated by a less than a half length last time out at a shorter distance, and a controversial finish at that, which looked to me like Tapiture came into Ride on Curlin? Are you kidding me with 12-1 vs 9-5? I've been on the Ride on Curlin bandwagon up to this point so if he's double digit odds there's no chance I can stay away. I don't think there's any way these odds are even close to this, but wow.

Secondly, Bayern, off all of his two career starts and towering 98 Beyer in an allowance race on a different track, as well as an injury that set him back and is unraced since February as a result, is the 2-1 second choice, vying for favoritism against this battle tested group? A 98 Beyer in an allowance race? This isn't Social Inclusion in the Wood, who was a deserving favorite off his 111 and dominating win over a highly touted colt in Honor Code. Either someone knows something I don't or this is maybe the biggest play against of all time.

Lest we forget about Conquest Titan. If you toss that Tampa Bay Derby, which is looking more and more like a complete fluke of a race following winner Ring Weekend's completely abortive performance as the odds on favorite in last weekend's Calder Derby, you're looking at the horse that closed fastest of all in the Holy Bull on the track that's been the least favorable to closers of them all. I think he stands a big chance in here on a track far more conducive to his style, with added distance and some decent pace to run at. He's juicy as well at 10-1.

Also, from a pedigree standpoint, Commissioner at 8-1 is very interesting. Thus far he's appeared to be too slow and a bit of a grinding type, but should be flying late, and is worth considering if you think he can take a step forward.

No idea how I'm going to bet this, but it looks like a huge opportunity...

10 Apr 2014 9:58 AM

Was not going to pick the ARK Derby, but have to show my support for Tapiture  to win and Commissioner and Ride On Curlin to get the needed points to be in the Derby.

10 Apr 2014 10:14 AM
Rusty Weisner


The track depends, doesn't it?  It was "peanut butter" in the 2011 Derby and Breeder's Cup, but resembled Santa Anita in 2012, which was no disadvantage obviously to the exceedingly strong California contingent, who took five of the top seven spots that year.  It's stretch is actually shorter than at Fair Grounds.  The short stretches are Gulfstream and Oaklawn; I am going to give Conquest Titan points if he is any kind of serious closing threat there.  It's interesting that Baffert's second home for TC preps is Oaklawn.  Speaking of which, I'd completely forgotten about Bayern.  You had this race last year at 27-1 - who do you like?

10 Apr 2014 10:16 AM
Rusty Weisner


You asked, "What am I missing?" about Sunland and Chitu.  

I'm pretty sure someone made the same claim about the thin mountain air there last year in reference to Govenor Charlie (who won on the same day that filly set a track record there, track records often being a sign of a suspect surface, in my opinion).  One horse, he who shall not be named, has performed well in the Derby out of Sunland.  Bob Baffert sends his second and third stringers there because he likes to win races and money, not because it's a plausible Derby prep.  I think "Isn't He Clever" was the mostly aptly named pseudo-contender out of there.  The 20-horse field forces one to make a lot of stands, but, this year at least, I'm glad I don't have to hesitate about drawing a line through Sunland and Keeneland (I'm also going against Commissioner - he's just slow, and Pletcher only runs third string horses here, too).

Hope my tone's not too abrasive -- just trying to pluck up my courage!

I'm less confident about deprecating Gulfstream, but will take the gamble.  A lot of people will say, hey, Wicked Strong, Conquest Titan and Intense Holiday couldn't win here but won or competed strongly elsewhere (I'm expecting a good performance out of Conquest Titan) -- I hope they continue to do so.  Me, I'm interpreting these closers' inadequate performances, along with the three track records at a mile or over this meet, as the sign of a compromised surface, and IH and CT performed pretty well anyway in the Holy Bull.

10 Apr 2014 10:40 AM

Hey everybody:  interesting posts but I'm still waiting to see how Conquest Titan does on Saturday.  Bayern as well; can he step up or will he disappoint?  

What I find particularly strange is the insistence by some that where you were foaled puts you immediately our of the running.  What does it matter if you are a Californian or a Louisianian (?) or a New Yorker or even a Canadian?  A good horse is a good horse is a good horse (thank you, Gertrude Stein).

Still like Samraat but I also gotta say that I always loved Hard Spun so maybe I have to get on the Wicked Strong bandwagon now.

10 Apr 2014 10:47 AM
Rusty Weisner

Monarchos Matt,

Forget the morning line.  It seems to be a lost art, if not an outright attempt to gull us.  I saw the same 12-1 and quickly realized it was meaningless.  Same for Conquest Titan at 10-1.

I reviewed Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen columns and my understanding is that Bayern was supposed to start in the San Felipe and then the Santa Anita Derby.  In other words, he was pointed for a Bodemeister type campaign, who ran San Felipe/Ark Derby.  I believe Haskin had him pegged early as Baffert's top hope.  I would ordinarily jump at the chance to play against the horse with the big figure out of the allowance (I didn't embarrass myself betting on Social Inclusion, for example).  But I may like this one.  I may just go against Tapiture for no real rational reason.

10 Apr 2014 10:52 AM
lysa slater


Okay, I take it all back, let's not have anyone say anything about the PETA video or accusations against Asmussen.  Even if he wins the Oaks or the Derby, let's not say anything.  Let's not tell the general public anything negative about our sport. Let's just handle things the way racing always has.  Yes, that's the way to go.  Not.  

Maybe if we just continue to do things the same way, this time, it will work out differently.  Maybe just maybe.

Have horse racing's regulator's been able to enact change doing it your way? Nope.

I say let's try letting the public in on racings dirty secrets.  The Derby broadcast is the perfect stage. Maybe that will force change.

10 Apr 2014 11:32 AM


Be very careful of the comparisons you make. You chose not to cite the name of the second horse, but it is obvious you were comparing Chitu’s winning time and conditions to those of the colt classified by one contributor as  California's gift’ to the TC trail. I am positive that at least one contributor will accused you of bashing the big chestnut. ‘Tough not God’s Anointed Do His Prophets Not Harm’

Wicket Strong is by no means a grinder. Is Intense Holiday a grinder? He outran Intense Holiday in the Remsen while closing with every stride on Honor Code and Cairo Prince. When Danzig most accomplished son on the track sires a colt like Wicker Strong, do not take it lightly. Danehill another son of Danzig is the first Thoroughbred in history to sire 300 stakes winners. Danehill was also the dam sire of the great Frankel.

WS is a very serious Derby horse who is in the hands of a progeny of a ‘Giant Killer.’ This giant killer used a mere onion to slay a giant chestnuts whose  résumé reflected a Triple Crown, Stakes Records and a World Record.

10 Apr 2014 11:36 AM

Monarchos Matt,

The problem I have with Wicked Strong is he was able to draft down the backside laying back behind the leaders who took the strong headwinds in their face while he laid back, waiting till the stretch, now with those headwinds reversed to a strong tailwind which he used to his advantage to pass those tired by the front running pace and backside headwinds. I'll give him a slightly better than grinder rating, but the race set up perfectly for him, and he was able to use his stamina to win. I can't get behind him for a Kentucky Derby win off that performance.

10 Apr 2014 11:57 AM


I also would be interested in peoples opinions of Churchill, I have a few of my own that I will offer up.

Your comparison to Fairgrounds is accurate. Both have long stretches. The composition of the cushion at both would likely be similar simply because they are located where rains a lot, thus a higher percent sand which dries faster and does'n't get sticky compared to clay and loam (the three materials mentioned are the major components of all dirt track's cushion).

Configuration wise, the turns are a bit tighter than most. Although it may be meaningless. it is not laid out in typical fashion geographically speaking-the entrance to the grandstand faces more north than west (which on a personal note, having had the good fortune to have been to many Derbys  and spent time in Louisville I never was able to grasp the geography of the city because of the grandstand footprint, to this day when I'm driving in Louisville I'm always "lost").

I read once that turf horses took to Churchill's dirt course rather well, the writer didn't offer any reasoning to the assertion but in my opinion it would be because of the tighter turns- most turf courses have tight turns and the horses that navigate them well would thus take that advantage with them to Churchill's dirt.

I have always been amazed by how fast it dries out after a rainstorm, not necessarily a deluge, but rains of say four tenths of an inch at 8:30 in the morning are all but forgotten by the third race, especially if nature assists with a bit of a breeze.


One factor that seems to affect all the horses is the noise, which on Derby day is obviously (100,000 plus people, many in the infield nearly inebriated by late in the day at Derby time) higher decibel than any of them have ever heard, but the noise seems to stay right there. Maybe the thick air or the long, six story grandstand and the two story portables on the clubhouse turn amplify it, but the roar after "My Old Kentucky Home" is in a word, deafening.

So where do we go with this and what do we do with it when we get there, "that my friend is the beauty of game".

10 Apr 2014 12:09 PM
Mister Frisky

Trying to make some seed capital for May 3rd.The Commish keyed with the 4 horses needing points underneath.Throwing out Tapiture because he doesn't need this race and the exotics will be much juicier without him in it.Since I liked Mr.Speaker might as well take the horse that beat him Gala Award with Medal Count on top in The Blue Grass,with several bombs underneath.

10 Apr 2014 12:16 PM

HI GUYS - the way i see things i believe cali chrome will be off the board. i cant believe all the hype he is getting going up against inferior talent on a speed favoring track. plus he is a cal bred. im telling you save your money and look elsewhere. coming this saturday in the arkansas derby bobby b will pull a bodemonster with bayern. he is ready to run the race of his life with the bobby b juice. he is bobby b's legit shot at winning the derby. he is bred to run all day. been long time between drinks for baffert. he is coming to win on saturday against mediocre talent. tapiture is the only horse with 4 legs forget about the rest. all pulpit horses that run in the derby like constitution and tapiture can only get a mile and a eighth. will be off the board in the derby. this is a very average field come the first saturday in may. last year was so much parity with 3 different winners winning the triple crown races. AS A REMINDER TO ALL DONT EVER DISCOUNT THE BOBBY B JUICE. HE HAS THE BEST JUICE AROUND !!!!!!  GOOD LUCK TO ALL

10 Apr 2014 12:17 PM


“Coldfacts you keep playing your character on here as well as the other more defined roles like KY Vet and the blog will continue to churn out numbers for whoever is counting.”

My only role in this forum is to initiate controversy and by virtue of this role, increased participation assured. Pause! Do you realize what you are implying? There must be a faculty mal-function alert flashing somewhere? Mr. Haskin does not need my input to expand interest in his Blogs. His knowledge, brilliance and insightful inputs have long been the foundation for  the overwhelming support he receives.

Sir, you have done me a grave disservice with the implication above. I might have a lot of negatives but sinister is absolutely not one of them. You continue to formulate these bizarre opinions that only reflect your confusion and inability to properly assess the  contents of my submissions. I have advised you previously to desist from including me in your gibberish.

You have clearly missed my passion for the sport of Thoroughbred Racing and the expansive lens through which I view it and the industry. Your misguided assessment is forgiven as to reach such a conclusion requires a suspension of rational thinking bordering on sheer lunacy.

10 Apr 2014 12:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm only allowed to bet horses on my Derby Dozen list so I am shut out of the Blue Grass eventhough I like Coastline. In the Arkansas I'll roll the dice for the exacta and trifecta boxes using the three on my Derby Dozen list- Bayern, Commissioner, and Conquest Titan. It's also the weekend where Will Take Charge takes charge of the older male division and starts his march to HOY. Good luck, and safe trips.

10 Apr 2014 12:41 PM
The Deacon

Sceptre: I hope as president of the Coldfacts fan club you are getting paid what you're worth.

Coldfacts:  You gave an opinion about a horse based on your assessments with regards to breeding and pedigree. Its your interpretation. Its always your black and white skewed version of reality. Post after post its usually same. You bash with tact and professialism. These so called findings are not always accurate or an end all. That's what you fail to understand.

I find your pedigree knowledge amazing, but I believe you use it to downgrade a horses chances to win a race. Thus perhaps influencing many others.

I don't enjoy your opinions, that simple. You and your fan club just don't get it. I will not direct any further comments your way, I have better things to do.

10 Apr 2014 12:41 PM

TO ALL-if you only bet 1 race a year, make sure it's the k derby. here's why-I discovered some gimmick plays over the years. some I played and won, others I discovered after the fact. 1984 derby-take the average # of horses beat for each derby horse(go race by race for each horse, get total, divide by # of races, take top three ex. 9.0,8.7,8.6.result was swale, coax me chad and at the threshold. that was the triple and it paid big. I only had $100- on swale at low odds-darn it! 2005 derby-play the horse that finished 4th in it's last race but lost the race by 2 or less lengths(always play this angle esp. turf), that was giacomo,then take the horses that broke maiden at Saratoga. that was closing argument and afleet alex. I boxed those three in a $3.00 exacta box-hugh payout my biggest ever. should have made that a triple box, it paid over $133k, duh!!! moving on to 2008-big brown/eight belles exacta paid $141+ could have hit this if you noticed both horses had at least a 3 race win streak coming into derby, both horses had great workouts, both met the progressive beyer angle ex. last 3 races 99,91,96. both horses lost no position in at least their last 3 races.(big brown broke maiden at saratoga). I only bet big brown to win for a small profit. discovered this gimmick after the race upon 2009 the easiest $2074.80 you could ever make was to play a $2.00 exacta box using the horses in the field that had the longest win streaks some time in their career-that would be mine that bird and pioneer of the nile(I think both had 4 race win streak)-discovered this gimmick play upon review,i only caught pioneer to place. so you see, sometimes the big payouts are right in front of you. just use sound handicapping principles and look for similarities in the derby field it could pay off. what will this years gimmick be???

10 Apr 2014 12:57 PM

Diego Conde,

I concur with parts of your definition. There are freakish performances from time to time. Does a freakish performance make the performer a freak for a particular day or for life? Do certain conditions give rise to freakish performances that would otherwise not have been possible under normal circumstances? Are performances assessed as freakish viewed objectively or subjectively?

You classified Zenyatta’s two performances in both BCCs as freakish. Clearly your assessment was emotionally driven. She won the BCC contested ay SA Park in a similar manner to the other 16 victories she recorded there i.e., closing from off the pace. She was defeat in her 2nd attempt and consequently to assess her performance as freakish because she closed from so far a back lack objectivity.

Shared Belief blew by Candy Boy in the Cash Call like he was glued to the ground and simply disappeared. Is he a freak? It was not the first time Candy Boy was being dusted. Candy Boy has a horrible gait and I doubt is the soundest of animals. Hopportunity was previously dusted by Bayern and Intense Holiday. California Chrome demolition of these horses on a superfast speedway does not rise to the level of freakiness. The mile was completed in 1:35 and nobody was close. When Bayern disappeared on the front end in his victory over a mile in 1:35.77, he won by > 12L with no one close. Is he a freak? Wildcat Red and General A Rod have been involved in battles  where miles in 1:35 plus have been recorded and there was not quit either.

10 Apr 2014 1:14 PM
Carlos in Cali


That's exactly what I was thinking watching him in the post parade.


Chitu is about 1-1 1/2L better than Midnight Hawk and look what CC did to MH... he also would've gotten a shellacking(the action of annihilating,destroying,or otherwise whopping your opponent in an abusive,sadistic,or embarrassing manner).Courtesy of The Urban Dictionary...


I believe you proclaimed Tap It Rich as being the top 3yo a few weeks ago, you shouldn't be so bold when stating: "not much quality about him" re- California Chrome.

10 Apr 2014 1:43 PM

Started to handicap the Ark Derby and I gotta say the weight difference really bothers.

10 Apr 2014 2:08 PM
lunar spook

PREDICT- Your comments on wicked strong are way off , you will find out how talented he is come derby day !  my pick for the Arkansas derby is COMMISIONER reminds me a lot of will take charge , big strong late blooming colt who pletcher will have ready !

10 Apr 2014 2:08 PM

***Cold Facts -  I for one love your posts! You provide a ton of statistics and historical references that I truly enjoy. Does that mean the Derby winner will come from one of those historical notes?  Who knows, but it could happen as well as it could not. Just because you make a historical reference does not even mean that is who you are picking to win. I for one am in love with all things Native Dancer and I would love nothing more than a male line descendent to win everything out there.  However unfortunately, my top 2 favorite Derby horses so far come from the Bold Ruler line. Point being, just because that is what I would LIKE to see, I will not pick a horse just for that reason - I look at the whole picture.  I feel you do the same thing - giving us all the history but deciding based on your own personal criteria. I do not take your posts as bashing and you should ignore those who say such things.  There are posters out there who truly DO bash horses and also bash those who support them, but you are not one of them.  Would love to hear all the Native Dancer line info you have on triple crown race winners!

***Lysa, I guess we have to agree to disagree.  You will be pleased I'm sure when the Derby telecast rakes Mr Assmussen over the coals -  it's just a good thing we will never know how many potential new fans will then shut off the tv never to return....

10 Apr 2014 2:09 PM
Smoking Baby

Are you a California Chrome hater?  Don't understand what all the fuss is about?  Maybe you like him but just aren't sold on him as a good Derby bet.

I understand and feel your pain (I really do).  I mentioned in an earlier blog that I feel he's the horse to beat but that I'm tempering my enthusiasm because I remember how impressive Brother Derek looked (a better two year old than California Chrome to boot) a few years back and how painfully outclassed he was when at Churchill and Pimlico.

I feel your pain if you just don't see it or get what the fuss is about.  I felt the same when colts like Uncle Mo, Verazzano and others were rammed down my throat.

Some have all but guaranteed that California Chrome will not win the Derby. With a foal crop of 30,000 or more it seems to me that it's pretty easy to pick one of the 29,999 who will NOT win.  Not exactly going out on a limb there.  Just saying.

10 Apr 2014 2:10 PM

After re-watching several of the prep races, a few things I noticed: Hopportunity's race was very impressive and the gallop out was wow! Candy Boy looked like he needed the race but galloped out well too. I'm not a Samraat fan. He should have been DQ'ed for wiping out the three horses to his inside at the start of the Wood. Uncle Sigh broke three lengths behind the field and had to race wide and near the back of the pack. He closed well for 5th in the Wood. He's still learning, has not had much luck in his prep races but there's some talent there. Commissioner is much better than he's shown. His Sunland race was impressive. I think he may surprise in Arkansas Derby. Chitu is a chiseled running machine and underrated in my book. I'm still intriqued by Midnight Hawk. Breaks slow, runs wide, makes big move turning for home then flattens out. He's still right there at 1 1/8 miles despite thoughts he might have distance limitations. Jock's comments were interesting I thought. Really thought Stewart was going to throw a curve ball in Louisiana Derby....Commanding Curve....trouble at start, too bad. Dallas knows when to crank them up. Really hope he gets in Derby and runs like Soul.

10 Apr 2014 3:10 PM

Coldfacts so you are calling me a lunatic ok its time to play coldfacts advocate.Let me copy one line from you and one line from me and if im not mistaken its very close to the same thing.

My only role in this forum is to initiate controversy and by virtue of this role,written by coldfacts

Coldfacts you keep playing your character on here by Brontexx

Your role is to initiate controversy I agree with that more than anything you have ever written






Remember you have called me a lunatic Sir

10 Apr 2014 3:13 PM
Monarchos Matt


I'll give you that, he did have a nice ground saving trip near the rail and the pace set up for him, but should have been no surprise to anyone handicapping that particular race, and will be even more favorable in the Derby...the headwind/tailwind argument I have trouble giving much attention to though; these are giant animals, and I'm not sure this is as impactful as say, a human miler using draft in a race.

The point that I think many may be missing is how fast he ran early in that race. This wasn't a performance where he dawdled along close to a slow pace and then had a ton of gas left in the tank. He ran fast early fractions and still finished with impressive come home times. Here are the internal fractions for Wicked Strong's Wood:

:24.69, :23.58, :23.69, :24.83, :12.52

So, you're right that he wasn't running faster at the end than he was in the middle, but still, a :12.5 final 1/8 is nothing to scoff at and will be highly competitive in the Derby, especially in a year where so few horses have shown ability to duplicate such strong closing ability.


Agree about the Morning Line to an extent, but, it does still carry some psychological significance to the betting public. That said, I'm happy that the ML is where it is. I'm going to write some of my thoughts on the race over on the Keelerman blog, but regarding Bayern, I'll let him beat me at 2-1 odds. He is not going to be lone speed in this race, as Strong Mandate will have no choice but to go with him from the outside, and I doubt Tapiture's connections want to let him get too far ahead especially with all of the ridiculous hype surrounding him.

10 Apr 2014 4:29 PM

I haven't posted anything in a few years but I see some of the people who were regulars back then still posting.  Paula and Draynay I'm glad you're still aroumd and JayJay was a new poster back in 2009.

I was totally taken with I'll Have Another 2 years ago.  I still think he would have won the TC had he not been injured.  What a horse!

I haven't followed as closely as I used to but I see there are several who are potential Derby winners but being a California resident, I really like California Chrome.  We missed with IHA but maybe we'll get another Derby winner this year and maybe a TC.  Everyone is right with the doubts they have about the track, the weather and the competition but I remember a horse in 1989 who was going to run the derby against the annointed winner Easy Goer and Sunday Silence won against all odds.  I realize it was a track not to Easy Goer's liking as I had been at the

BC the year before when he lost the juvenile but the track was to SS's liking.  California Chrome's SA derby reminded me of SS's SA derby.  Just sprinting away from the field and doing it so easily.  This is what makes horse racing fun....trying to figure this out.  Looking at pedigree, race stats, weather, track conditions all the other stuff.  At the end of the day it's the horse who gets a good trip and has the will to win and the ability or just the greatest luck.

I'm rooting for California Chrome for a number of reasons.  I think he's terrific and I love to watch him run, he's from California, his owners are working people and his trainer is old school and he used to be Swaps' exercise rider.  That's enough to get me excited about him and his chances.  I think he has a great chance and California needs to be represented again.  I am so looking forward to this TC season as I did with Sunday Silence, Smarty Jones and I'll Have Another.  This is why I love this game!  I wish you all luck with your bets but I have chosen my horse and I hope they all remain healthy and sound.

10 Apr 2014 4:31 PM

Carlos In Cali:

Reading comprehension doesn't look to be your strong suit-never said that about Tap It Rich.

The Deacon:

My point was about the principle; not a defense of your messengers inferred.  

10 Apr 2014 4:36 PM

A few thoughts on this weekends Arkansas Derby.

Danza- only his second start in 8 months, obviously is a big concern, the rail is probably not good, and tangling with tough proven stakes horses leads to a toss, without much impact insofar as causing traffic problems due to being on the rail.

Knock Em Flat SCRATCHED, opted instead to run earlier in the card

Tapiture- I'm not necessarily a rider switch type of handicapper but the rider switch here is huge, Santana is not a big time money rider like Rosario. This horse gives an honest effort every race and will again, remember he already has the points so a Hoppertunity may be the plan, if he does win he moves way up on my Derby list because the remainder of the field are in a "must" situation.

Ride On Curlin needs to finish 3rd or better to get the points for a Derby spot. He is batting .500 for third and will take his percent to .560 with another third in a less than ideal trip keeping those on his band wagon with hopes for roses.

Thundergram will be a pace presence to the middle of the far turn and fade from there to the finish, blinkers on included.

Commissioner won't bobble at the start or lose shoe but will invent a new reason for finishing 5th, how about, "got outrun",yes Oaklawn is a different surface than Sunland, but Sunland is different than Gulfstream, you get it if you pick-up that I don't like this horse in this spot.

Now to the really challenging portion of this field.

Conquest Titan has a plan. Drop back and make a run which looks like might be the way he wants to run and giving a leg up to "Borail" is perfect. The races sets up beautifully for the horse and rider to get through on the inside of Thundergram who has a known tendency to drift and will do so especially if you consider Casse might be using Thundergram as a rabbit (not sure how well that the rabbit theory works in same trainer different owner scenario) but he has speed so why not use it.

Bayern is the winner. Baffert owns these Oaklawn preps.

Strong Mandate has been unlucky thus far at Oaklawn and I don't see that ending here. The switch to Saez is a forced move as Rosario hopped ship to Tapiture, Joel and his agent know lots more than I do so I let that speak for itself.

Race shape:

Bayern will hook up with Thundergram into the first turn with Danza,Tapiture and Strong Mandate sitting behind the front pair, Ride On Curlin will take back with Commissioner lapped on him and the magician Borel will tuck into a trailing position fully prepared to go through six sets of goggles. The positions will  go unchanged down the backside (no early movers on young colts that are unproven at the distance). Once they switch leads into the turn Bayern will begin to draw away from Thundergram who will  be backing up fatigued from his early efforts. At this juncture, nearing the quarter pole Danza will be tiring and Commissioner will be spinning his wheels, while at the same time Tapiture will beat Strong Mandate to the punch on the outside of Bayern which forces Saez wide (Will Take Charge) which will force Ride On Curlin four or five wide with lots left to do.  Since Bayern is not a "loafer" he wins by five, Conguest Titan finishes strong on the inside in second a half length in front of Ride On Curlin, who nips Tapiture by nose with Strong Mandate another half length back. Danza, Commissioner and Thundergram up the track.

So you now have it, exacta, trifecta, superfecta, if only it were that easy! Funny thing is it took me an hour to dream it up and will only take this group of young,  beautiful, wonderfully talented colts only around 1:50 seconds to make a liar out me!

"Listen closely, a horse is whispering..."

10 Apr 2014 4:39 PM
Jean in Chicago

How much time NBC spends on the PETA-Asmussen controversy will, I expect, depend entirely on how they figure it will affect their ratings (or how much time their talking heads have to fill).  I doubt they have any interest in what might be best for horses or for racing fans.  The "dirty little secrets" of racing have been around a very long time--the only obvious changes have been newer drugs and electronics better suited to secret taping.

Art Sherman coming to the Derby brings up what the great Swaps went through. As Swaps' exercise rider he was probably aware of how bad the horse's feet were, but was certainly in no position to argue with his trainer.  At least match races have stopped so the excuse of 'so much money has been spent promoting this that you MUST run your horse, even if he can barely walk' can no longer be used.  (As an aside, how many fans at the Swaps-Nashua match race had any idea how badly infected Swaps' foot was?  Bill Shoemaker said Tenny & Ellsworth made a point of not telling him about it.)

All that aside, I hope California Chrome can do it.  I wish he had a chance to get used to the track, but since thats out, I just hope his rider has a mount earlier in the day to feel out the track.   And he gets a good post, and gets a good start, and doesn't get bumped, and doesn't get blocked, and so on and so forth...

10 Apr 2014 5:12 PM

bluegrass-my angle appeared on asserting bear's last race.(always play the horse that finished 4th in most recent race, but lost that race by 2 or less lengths). I might combine asserting bear with coastline in exacta box. coastline has raced a lot lately, but must be sound and probably due.

10 Apr 2014 5:54 PM

Arkansas derby setting up to be an exciting race. hope tapiture prevails with something left in the tank.

10 Apr 2014 5:59 PM

You CC fans choose to ignore his breeding, his poor competition and his lack of a single work at Churchill before the Derby. After the Derby you will notice the window will ignore your win ticket on the horse as well.

10 Apr 2014 7:53 PM

Churchill Downs and the Fairgrounds have similar heartbreak alley stretches.  That's why I have no doubt that Vicar's In Trouble will hit the board in the Kentucky Derby.  I really like his pedigree.  The stamina horses are Chitu and California Chrome.  California Chrome may not hit the board in the Kentucky Derby, but his pedigree says that he will.  I expect to see Chitu and Vicar's In Trouble settling off the pace.  On this day, I love all 3 of them, and if one of them shows up, I will celebrate.  

10 Apr 2014 8:44 PM

Got a feeling Bayern will be in the top 12 next week.

Strong Mandate Blinkers off.

Knock em Flat was a interesting horse at 20-1.

I'm saying he will be in the Preakness.

Good Luck and I may change my mind

10 Apr 2014 9:00 PM

Toast of New York officially not coming to the Derby.

Good news for all you Cairo Prince fans.

Sorry for the quick double post Steve.  

10 Apr 2014 9:03 PM

Coldfacts, don't you beat up on Zenyatta.  At some point, you may have made derogatory comments about Union Rags.  Leave these two beautifully bred horses alone.  They are both in a league of their own.    

10 Apr 2014 9:41 PM
Tiz Herself

Hope that Strong Mandate has / does enough to get him a spot in the gate. Am forever a Tiznow fan and he tries hard every time. He has the pedigree to succeed as well, seeing as Tiz was 2000/2001 Breeders Cup Classic winner at Churchill, broodmare sire Awesome Again sire of 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow along with Breeders Cup winners, etc.

Deputy Minister's daughters have produced Triple Crown race winners...

Curlin - 2007 Preakness (dam Sheriff's Deputy)

Jazil - 2006 Belmont Stakes (dam Better Than Honour)

Rags to Riches - 2007 Belmont Stakes (dam Better Than Honour) - Better Than Honour also produced Breeders Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron, Breeders Cup Dirt Mile Tapizar, Multiple G1 To Honor And Serve, etc.

Being third behind New Year's Day, Havana in the Bc Juvenile, second to Tapiture and ahead of Ride on Curlin in the Southwest and he was behind the chaos in the Rebel... I do like him a lot.

And I like Wicked Strong, too... Hard Spun was my pick the year he was runner up to Street Sense and Wicked's broodmare sire is 1999 Kentucky Derby / Preakness victor Charismatic. Hard Spun brings Danzig and Turkoman (sired by Alydar)

Open Mind, Deputy Commander, Go For Wand, Go Deputy, Miss Shop, Dehere, Keeper Hill, Salt Lake... Deputy Minister was Curlin's broodmare sire also,

10 Apr 2014 9:47 PM
Tiz Herself

btw rest in piece to Dr. Fager's namesake Dr. Fager

10 Apr 2014 9:48 PM

Hello race fans! I am not new here, I have been a reader and blogger on bloodhorse for many years, but I needed a break from all of the hating and negative comments and attacking of certain bloggers. This is supposed to be a forum for everyone to express their thoughts and opinions, and I used to get a lot of great info here. I know there are always going to be those few bad apples in the bunch, but toss me in the trash and move on. You can't change what you can't control, but you sure as heck can can chose to ignore those things. Anyway, just wanted to say I really appreciate all the hard work that Steve does with his dozen!

Ok, I've read most posts, and I laugh that people are still hating on Dray.... I am in agreement with Dray, and Coldfacts for that matter. I really am hi on Constitution. Don't get me wrong, Cali Chrome is an nice horse. He will be the favorite on May 3rd, but Constitution has been exceptional as well, he's stepped up to every challenge, and he is lightly raced. Will he win the triple crown? I doubt it. His foundation needs some work and he may be whooped after winning the Derby, but he has a great shot on the first Sat in May!

I also love Conquest Titan, Tapiture, General a rod, and Wicked Strong, in no particular order. Cali chrome will get the 1 hole and pull a looking at lucky and wheel back to win Preakness. I have a magic 8 ball. I can see the future!

I'll be at the track in the mornings. I'll see if I can get some good info on some prices leading up to the best week in racing.

For those going to Oaks, there will be a tweet up for all twitter race fans in the paddock at 1pm by the statue. Come by and meet some cool folks

10 Apr 2014 10:19 PM

The Deacon, Coldfacts looks only at sire lines.  We all know that sires are only as great as the mares they are bred to.  Secretariat inherited sprinter speed from his sire, Bold Ruler and stamina from his broodmare sire, Princequillo, one of the greatest long distance runners of all time.

10 Apr 2014 10:19 PM

Also, I changed my screen name from Billy's Empire to Weekend.  Fresh starts are good. Lets stay positive people.

With that said, what's up Carlos in Cali, Dr drunk, it ain't easy, Mary, dray, Bob, Trackjack, Paula, Householder and my pal Jayjay. If I missed anyone, sorry. I had an epidural today for a herniated disc and they gave me some god stuff..

10 Apr 2014 10:39 PM

The last two horses mentioned, CHITU and MIDNIGHT HAWK seem underrated to me. I've moved them higher than the horses I liked earlier with the exception of CALIFORNIA CHROME who remains in a class all his own.  As for the Blue Grass Stakes , I'll go with Vinceremos at great odds. Same thing applies to Conquest Titan or Commissioner in the Arkansas Derby.      

10 Apr 2014 10:51 PM
Sam Santschi

Mary...Are u trying to bait Draynay to repeat his "she lost. Get over it!" speech? Lol. Some California girl must have broken his heart.    

I don't what to think of WS.  I did not like the way he looked in the Wood. Was kind of shocked by his bsf of 104.  Might throw the race and runners out due to the history of the Wood. Looking for somebody else to rise up from Arkansas. Maybe SM will figure it out? Will Cairo Prince make it in?  That would be interesting. Ted from La.  I will be there. Yes, it would be fun to meet some of the people from out here. Will be watching them stretching their legs Thursday morning from the backside somewhere.

10 Apr 2014 10:57 PM
Paula Higgins

Monica V, back at you and good to see you! Draynay/Jason? is back in full force after a couple of years at charm school.

Lysa, I understand your point. The issues at Asmussen's barn need to be looked at and horse racing needs to address other problems, definitively. But highlighting those issues at the Kentucky Derby in a major way is probably not a good idea for obvious reasons. For one thing, more viewership and a larger fan base might have the effect of getting people to do the right thing. It's called peer pressure. When you operate within a small group or in isolation of the general public, that's when you have the potential for violations.

11 Apr 2014 12:21 AM

Union Rags!  How many California horses finished in front of that one?  including the 6th place Santa Anita Derby runner.  Probably the most hyped horse in recent memory to do nothing in the Derby.  

Monica V.  Yes it is a good thing that Sunday Silence was in the paddock saddling for the Santa Anita Derby and did not get a chance to watch Easy Goer's Wood.  He also first had to get by the 3 million dollar wonder horse Houston.  He had the "freakish" ability while switching leads to accelerate on the turn.  CCs turn the other day reminded me of this. Easy Goer meanwhile from that Alydar line took for ever to get going.  Sunday Silence was no Cal bred but I also think like Zenyatta that he was a horse that no one wanted to buy.  His breeding wasn't royal, he had knocked knees, and he wasn't very big.  To think his trainer trained him up to the Preakness in a bar shoe due to a bruise and then go 2-0 over Easy Goer still ranks as one of the top 5 training jobs of all time!!!  

11 Apr 2014 1:08 AM

Rusty : My question was pretty much in general, not just on Derby day, which track would be closest to CD as far as the type of surface, and how “fast” or “slow” it is.

Quinnbit : Thanks, really enjoyed your response, as I said to Rusty, I was more curious about the surface but your comments about the configuration was very very interesting.   Didn’t even consider that until you mentioned it.

Carlos In Cali :  Curious how you came to the conclusion that Chitu will get a “shellacking” from CC in the SA Derby.   Where did you base it from ?  I did a double take looking at who that post was from to make sure it wasn't Ranagulzion.   Seems very much like what Ranagulzion would say.  I've stated why I'm not too excited about CC, I just think he still has a lot to prove outside of California.  His supporters might be right in picking him without having seen him eat dirt and behind horses early on and if so, I will congratulate each and every one of them (you).

All the discussions about CC made me re-shuffle my Derby Dozen, plus Albano has already been declared out of the Derby.



Intense Holiday



California Chrome

Wicked Strong

Ring Weekend



Conquest Titan


11 Apr 2014 2:19 AM

The Deacon,

You always seem to take offence where none is intended. I remain amazed that a contributor with your level of intelligence offend so easily. You have provided neither the bashing examples nor the answers to the questions I posed. Disparaging me is a common practice and I expected better from you.

“You gave an opinion about a horse based on your assessments with regards to breeding and pedigree”

I specified that historic trend suggests that it is unlikely that two stallions with only 5F & 5.5F victories on their résumé will be associated with consecutive Derby winners. What part of my specification addressed pedigree and breeding in any in-depth manner?

“It’s always your black and white skewed version of reality”

You were over the moon with your black & white and realistic assessment of Uncle Mo. I specified that Street Sense was the 1st BCJ winner to win the Derby and it was unlikely that the feat would be repeated in the short term. I was maligned and accused of bashing and having a black and white skewed version of reality. Was the feat repeated?

“These so called findings are not always accurate or an end all.”

If the above relates to historic trends, I challenge you to disprove the ones I have highlighted.

“I find your pedigree knowledge amazing, but I believe you use it to downgrade horses’ chances to win a race.”

What your regard as the down grading of a horse’s wining chance, I regard as the historic negatives it has to overcome. I did not see your post opposing the mention of the Apollo Curse. Are you remotely aware that it’s based on history?

“I don't enjoy your opinions, that simple.”

You are not alone in this respect and you are at liberty to enjoy the opinions of your choosing. My opinions are not posted for enjoyment. They are a collection of what I consider to be measures views that I share. Some might find them interesting and other will find to be gibberish.

You give me far too much credit for influencing others with my posts. I gather you like Sceptre you believe I provide misinformation to the vulnerable less informed. Amazing!

The lines of communication are always open Sir as quite enjoy your posts even those containing views not so flattering about me.

11 Apr 2014 2:33 AM

Coldfacts, there are several horses that you simply will not get away with bashing and Zenyatta is one of them. Just because her running and winning style does not meet your criteria does not give you the right to criticize her. She was an awesome champion and will forever be in horse racing history as one of the greatest mares to have ever raced.

11 Apr 2014 5:15 AM

Tough handicapping this weekend.  Blue Grass tends to be a quirky race, so I'll bet against Bobby's Kitten (with reluctance) and go back to Asserting Bear, who I liked in the Spiral.  I'll show Rosie some love as well with Harry's Holiday and key those two over Bobby's Kitten, Coastline and Gala Award.

In the Arkansas Derby, I want to like Ride on Curlin, but can't overlook the opportunity he missed in the Rebel.  I like Bayern and Commissioner, keyed over Tapiture, Conquest Titan and Ride on Curlin.

But honestly, I have zero confidence in my picks in these races this weekend.

Note to Coldfacts: you be you.  I am one of those who enjoys what you bring to this forum and I always pluck some tidbit out of your analyses on the Trail.  I just hope I pluck the right tidbit!

11 Apr 2014 7:04 AM
lunar spook

MARY- Your statement to coldfacts was leave UNION RAGS alone he is in a league of his own , well 5 career wins and a Belmont victory hardly puts him in that category , decent colt ? yes, great ???  uh . . . .no !

11 Apr 2014 8:06 AM
Smoking Baby

Draynay, you make a good point when you mention California Chrome "Fans" ingnoring three big reasons he will not win the Derby.  I'll grant that two of the three are even valid reasons.

Sports fans have been ignoring facts for quite some time now and still hoping for the best.  Should Denver fans have not supported their team in the Super Bowl?  The facts were there for all to see that Seattle would win and win big.  If fans didn't ignore facts there would BE NO Raider Nation (I kill myself).  Kings fans have been ignoring facts for decades now.  Ignoring facts is why there are still Cubs fans in the stands.  All this is not a bad thing me thinks.

My point is that many of these nice folks posting on this blog are just that, FANS, who like California Chrome for reasons of their own (one mentioned she likes his color and markings) and may or may not have a ticket to tear up after the race as many may or may not even place a bet.

Racing can be about more than gambling sometimes.  California Chrome may or may not win.  His "fans" hope he wins.  Shoot....His "fans" may even cash a gamble on another horse.  Who made the rules?  It's all good.

11 Apr 2014 8:20 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Good to see you here. Yhat would be very nice of you if you can post here everyday when you have physicality and other observations when you are at the track. Thank you in advance. I'm sorry to hear about your herniated disc. Be safe.

11 Apr 2014 10:06 AM

You can be a fan of California Chrome all you want but making him the favorite come Derby time is laughable.  Competition matters and pace makes the race right ?  California horses this year are horrible.  Kristo made that very clear with his performance in the Wood. And is everyone comfortable with Dublin Up having 10 Derby Points having never come close to winning any race ever ? Constitution beat a very tough horse in Wildcat Red if you think there are more than 3 horses that will be tougher and finish ahead of Wildcat Red leave him off your tickets and let me know what they are worth after the Derby. A very talented and undefeated Constitution beating Wildcat Red does not make Wildcat short for the Derby... it means those two will again battle it out for an extra 200 yards and if you think there are 3 or 4 horses that are going to go past the Hutcheson, FOY and Florida Derby winner dream on.  To suggest horses like Hoppertunity and Wicked strong should be on any list ahead of Wildcat Red or Constitution is just plain silly.  Wildcat and Wicked could race for 2 miles and Wicked is never ever going to pass Wildcat Red.  Only in your imagination does that horse beat Wildcat in a race.  There will be one horse undefeated going for the Roses in May and his name is Constitution.  Good luck beating him you're going to need it.

11 Apr 2014 10:26 AM
Smoking Baby

Coldfacts.  I'm a big fan of Hard Spun (a fan of yours as well truth be told).  You mentioned him as Danzig's best son on the track.  Wouldn't you agree that distinction should go to Chief's Crown?  Curious to hear your thoughts.

LOVE your stuff (whether I agree or not).  Keep it coming bro.  I like your style.

SAM SANTSCHI.  I enjoyed your recent coment.  I've often thought there simply MUST be something more going on there because the hatred seems far out of proportion.

A California Girl broke his heart?  Shoot, DOZENS have broken mine (not exaggerating)LOL.  You pick yourself up, you dust yourself off, you find the next heartbreaker.  Hope springs eternal.  What you DON'T do is stay so angry forever.  I'll never understand some folks.  It's probably just me.

11 Apr 2014 10:26 AM

Palm Beach winners that have contested the Bluegrass on synthetic:

How great (1:46.56) finished 5th

Paddy O Prado (1:45.40) finished 2nd

Rydilluc (1:48.18) finished 4th

Gala Award (1:46.19) ???

Whereas no Palm Beach winner has won the Bluegrass, Gulfstream Park shippers have won four on the lasts six renewals:

Dullahan 2nd in Palm Beach to How Great

Stately Victor - Unplaced in an allowance.

Monba – Unplaced in FOY

Brilliant Speed - 3rd in Hallandale Beach

There are 6 GP shippers including the AE Divine Oath in the Bluegrass field. What are the chances of the Todd Pletcher trained Gala Award? Based on the past failures of previous Palm Beach winners, it might appear his chances are remote. Five of other shippers are more likely to win. Despite the historic evidence, I think his chances are excellent based on what I perceive to be the race set-up.

The 2014 renewal of the Bluegrass has a ton of speed that will ensure a strong pace. Gala Award has left the gates efficiently and displayed tactical speed in all 3 starts. With Gala Award’s tactical speed he can be handily placed to pounce on the leaders turning for home and hold off the deep closers with the determination he displayed in his two previous victories. His victory should similar to that recorded by the 2009 winner General Quarters.

Obviously projected outcome of the race will be contingent on the talented Bobby’s Kitten not producing a freakish performance.

Messer’s Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier & Derrick Smith are well overdue to have serious Derby contender. This son of Bernardini is replicating the tactical speed, stamina and effortless motion of his sire. Although he appears to be at his best on turf, the strip at CD has been very kind to turf types. Barbaro and Animal Kingdom can attest to same.

NB: Tampa Bay shippers General Quarter and Street Sense finished 1st and 2nd in their Blue grass efforts. This should be encouraging new for the fans of Vinceremos.

11 Apr 2014 10:31 AM


Sunday Silence legacy as a stallion in Japan is almost as legendary as that of Mr. Prospector. interestingly he raced on dirt but produced some world class turf horses. Japan’s gain was definitely our loss.

When was the last time we produced a horse like Deep Impact?

11 Apr 2014 11:07 AM
Smoking Baby

ESPN used to always have a "Budweiser Longshot" during their racing telecasts.  I'm certainly no handicapper but right now my Bud Longshot is Ride On Curlin.  I can't shake a gut feeling he's going to make waves at some point this year (Derby maybe?).  I see nothing in his form to really back this up, it's just a feeling I can't shake.

11 Apr 2014 11:08 AM

Lets be honest about C.Chrome not getting a work prior to the Derby..

Yes,I would like to see a work, however horses a plenty have won Grade 1 races without a work over the surface.

Prime example Breeders Cup..  

Bayern may be the one to really throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing..

This Derby could be a Bodiemiester part duex.

Good Luck and I may change my mind..

11 Apr 2014 11:10 AM


"Coldfacts; not a tough question we all understand there are more races to be run but who is your #1 right now??"

OK! My #1 right now is Wicked Strong. It was widely believed that Hard Spun would turn out to be the best stallion from the Derby class of 2007. That class included Street Sense, Curlin, Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun. Curlin beat all to the punch with Belmont winner Palace Malice.

I know a lot of the focus has been on California Chrome and rightfully so. He is an impressive, exciting and explosive horse. Interestingly he was 2nd on debut and won his next start. Wicked Strong had a similar start to his career. He finished 2nd over 6F on debut and won his next start over 8F.

CC recorded one victory from his next 4 starts. Wicked Strong recorded a 2nd place finish in his next 3 starts. The rest is history for CC as he has captured the hearts of many with 4 effortless victories resulting in the demolition of all opponents.

His breakout race after a promising start occurred in his 7th start. It took Wicked Strong one less race for his breakout performance that occurred in his 6th start. We have seen what CC has done since and I eagerly await what Wickes strong has in store for his follow up performance.

NB: Since steroids has been removed from the diets of horses in the US, Wicked Strong final time in the Wood has been the fastest. Eskendereya was geared down so he probably would have run faster than 1:49.97.

“By chance are you a politician?”

Most politicians are articulate and are masters of spin. I possess no such talents or attributes. I find it interesting that chose to directed such a question to me. I am a primary school drop out with no academic achievements to boast and one who multitask to survive.

11 Apr 2014 12:00 PM

Tiz Herself,

You missed Belmont winner Sarava who was produced from the Deputy Minister mare Rhythm Of Life.

I have my eye firmly on Strong Mandate. I might have seen a post highlighting that the fact that the blinker have been removed for the AK Derby. If this is a true I will be parting with some of my cash. There is no guarantee that his performance will improve but why not try something different.

His sire Tiznow is from the sole surviving line of the great Man O War. It appears the last time the Man O War sire line scored a Derby victory was in 1937. Closing Argument sired by Successful Appeal came close in 2005 at 78-1. Strong Mandate is a much better horse than Closing Argument but has to overcome a few Derby negatives.

He was foaled February 8, 2011 and his dam died 11 days later. Has there ever been a Derby winner that lost its dam so closely after birth. The fact that he is even racing is a testament to the toughness inherited from his sire. Derby winners are rarely produced by high profile mares. Clear Mandate was G1 winning millionaire.

I expect a strong performance from Strong Mandate in the AK Derby and sincerely hope he secures the additional points necessary to make the cut. Tiznow did not get a chance to represent the Man O War line in the Derby as he made his 1st start in the month preceding the Derby but still secured Champion 3YO honors. Lets’ hope his son can get and give it a shot.

11 Apr 2014 12:40 PM

I used be interested and look forward to Coldfacts' posts because I thought there are some things in there that are, well, interesting.  My interest stopped after I engaged him about the Classic last year and found during our "debate" he has tends to find only the "cold" facts to support his point and that's fine but to me, that pretty much told me that his cold facts are just for his benefit, just what he sees.   They are his "facts", it's just how he handicaps the races / horses.   I don't believe in his handicapping angles and I don't think I can learn anything about his pedigree analysis and his historical angles but there's nothing wrong with his angles, there are NO right or true way of handicapping a winner.   It's also an option for you to choose to ignore responding to his posts.  I understand though, I was on Ranagulzion's case about the Triple Crown BS for about 3 blogs lol, didn't get anything except a lot of spin to avoid the questions.   At least Coldfacts will respond to your challenge/objection with his "cold facts".

KY would demean or bully him like it's HS all over again and some really enjoy that but he himself can't provide any facts on his own, all questions instead of providing his "facts".  What's even more interesting is that his posts are mostly questions, but very rare if ever you see a question mark, but's ALL OVER the

11 Apr 2014 12:45 PM

Draynay : Why do you get so mad about CC being the favorite in the Derby ??   If you're a true gambler and you think your angle is the best then CC being the favorite should be something you should be happy about.  I don't understand why you keep trying to stop people from betting him.

11 Apr 2014 12:51 PM
Smoking Baby

Coldfacts.  Hard Spun IS the best stallion to emerge from the 2007 Derby crop.  Street Sense has heated up a bit and I believe he's the second best at this stage.  Curlin has all of four stakes winners from his first three crops (1 or 2%).  Granted, siring the Belmont winner is not too shabby but try to name another good stakes winner by Curlin.

Hard Spun sired a CHAMPION (3 year old filly Questing)in his first crop and has sired many stakes winners (several GRADE 1).  Curlin didn't get the jump on anyone.  In my opinion, he's got quite a bit of catching up to do to be considered as good a sire as Hard Spun.  These are the Cold Facts (Sorry bro, couldn't help myself.  ZERO disrespect intended)and they do not lie.

11 Apr 2014 1:19 PM
Fan of Damascus

Hi Trackjack

Thanks for adding your support my idea of a Derby Dozen Handicapping Championship.

I was thinking more in line of having everyone submit their final dozen in order (more like an NCAA bracket than mock wagering.)

Points would be given out inversely to the horse's finish (that is: first place horse earns 12 points, second earns 11, third earns 10 . . . twelfth earns 1 point.)

I also suggest we give out points for a finish one away from where selected.  For example, if I pick Hopportunity to finish second (worth 11 points) and instead he comes in first or third (one spot away from my selection) I would earn 5 1/2 points (half of 11).

For a tie breaker, you identify the person who had the most correct placings of the actual finish - regardless of which placings those were.  

For a "Prize" I thought Steve might be willing to somehow prominently acknowledge the winner in one of his blogs.  Maybe even a blog title.  Something like: "Dr. Coldjayrangal wins 2014 Derby Dozen Handicapping Challenge"  Maybe BH would be willing to award a one year subscription to the winner!!!

This would not only be great for the ego but it would create interest and buzz in next year's Derby Dozen blog and challenge.

I am willing to volunteer my time to tabulate the results.  (I am an adjunct marketing instructor - I am used to grading "exams")  Once compiled I would post all of the results to allow everyone to double check my math.

All suggestions on tweaking this are welcome.

What do you think Steve?  What can we do to make this happen?

Wishing you all a great weekend

Greg (Fan of Damascus)

11 Apr 2014 1:28 PM

A GRAIN OF SALT is what its worth from the same bshtter that stated boldly that Union Rags would win his KD by 10.Keep those picks coming as they are ALL PLAYS AGAINST.

11 Apr 2014 2:44 PM

Smoking Baby - I am one of those clueless fans but would like to inform you that we may not have the "handicapping" expertise, we do know horses and some of us own horses. You see a tbred is a horse just like any other horse, it just runs fast at a longer distance.

11 Apr 2014 3:07 PM

Smoking Baby - I am one of those clueless fans but would like to inform you that we may not have the "handicapping" expertise, we do know horses and some of us own horses. You see a tbred is a horse just like any other horse, it just runs fast at a longer distance.

11 Apr 2014 3:07 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Why does Dubai get all of those points and they don't even come over here and the Illinois Derby gets zero. Illinois should get 50 for the winner, and they could give Dubai 50 to the winner and the winner could still come over here. If the Illinois Derby had points it could give improving horses needed points. Dubai is hogging up points for nothing. It's ridiculous. There really aren't enough 9f points races to go around for all of the good horses here. Somebody really good is going to get shut out. Or two or three at least are going to get shut out that would have a legit chance to hit the board in The Derby. Horses coming out of the Illinois Derby have hit the board before in The Derby. They've done better than any from Dubai I think.

11 Apr 2014 3:18 PM
Smoking Baby

Windolin.  Good post.  I too am a card-carrying "Clueless Fan".  I've often found myself wondering if one or two of these folks even LIKE horses.  Maybe I'd be a better handicapper if I didn't like them.  My problem is I tend to like ALL of them.  NOT good from a betting standpoint. :)

11 Apr 2014 4:12 PM
lunar spook

COLDFACTS , JAY JAY , BRONTEXX ,SMOKING BABY ,THE DEACON ,PAULA HIGGINS I hope all yall have a great weekend ! and take this to the bank  COMMISIONER WILL WIN THE ARK. DERBY TOMMOROW !!!!!

11 Apr 2014 4:35 PM

Coldfacts assuming that someone who writes well has superior intelligence is defineitely not the case,  but maybe in the Coldfacts world it does.

Are you sure you picked a winner I think someone else was writing for you lets see you pick another in the two this weekend or just ignore this or attack it.

If you are a real person and we met  I guarantee you wouldnt think I was a lunatic or maybe you would just to wanna be right.Are you too old to pursue a law degree instead of throwing good money away playing the ponies hit the books and get a law degree there you will find many like you that think ALL Lawyers have superior intelligence.

11 Apr 2014 4:53 PM

Brontexx.  Good memory.  Seems like the same crap each year.  JayJay is spot on.  It's para-mutual!!!  I take your money, you take my money and the track takes its cut off the top. I'm glad when no one likes my horse.  Better for me.  So you don't like CC good, because he is projected to be the favorite.  You may get 7-1 or 10-1 on the Florida Derby winner.

11 Apr 2014 5:37 PM
Tiz Herself

Yes, Sarava too.

11 Apr 2014 7:28 PM

hi fan of Damascus- good idea- I would would only grade the entries of those who pick the derby winner.

11 Apr 2014 7:52 PM

Jayjay-- Dray Nay is probably negative about California Chrome for the same reason he was negative about Zenyatta. The California horses don't have as much competition as East Coast horses. However, Zenyatta was still a freak and California Chrome is a freak no matter on what coast and continent they have raced on.

And no horse performed like Zenny did prior to and after a race; she really put on quite a show.

If Dray Nay discourages anyone from betting California Chrome maybe his odds will pay more.

By the way, I will be including Wildcat Red in my bets; with his toughness, I think he will hit the board at the very least.

11 Apr 2014 8:16 PM
from the gut

to Ted from LA I will be at the Derby section 119 I Will be the guy with the racing form in hand just yell at my name and have a cold one waiting. To DontHateMe my bad if caused you grief its good to banner at each other if you do not agree and one interesting note there are two owners that have a horse in the Derby and live in the same small town of 8 thousand what are the odds of that

11 Apr 2014 8:22 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Bayern

At this time, while not supporting him on Saturday, I will be removing my 'downgrade' of his most recent win. In my zest to topple the wagon from the axle, I failed to note that Bayern was not a length clear at the first call - an important distinction in Flow analysis.  He is neutral along with the entire Arkansas Derby field.

I'll bet a few bucks on Medal Count to improve another few lengths in the Blue Grass.  

11 Apr 2014 8:23 PM
from the gut

to Ted from LA I will be at the Derby section 119 I Will be the guy with the racing form in hand just yell at my name and have a cold one waiting. To DontHateMe my bad if caused you grief its good to banner at each other if you do not agree and one interesting note there are two owners that have a horse in the Derby and live in the same small town of 8 thousand what are the odds of that

11 Apr 2014 8:38 PM

jayjay-to compare tracks to Churchill I found the following route speed ratings for the following tracks in the april American turf magazine page 42. Churchill(90),fairgrounds(87),gulfstream(92),oaklawn(90),Presque isle downs(89),laurel(94),Remington(90),Saratoga(91),turfway(89),turf paradise(92),santa anita(101),sunland(93). scale =each point=1/5 of a second. ex.churchill has a route speed rating of (90)and gulfstream has a(92)so gulfstream Is believed to be 2/5 of a second faster than Churchill in routes. pick up a copy of this magazine because it goes into greater detail than I can provide here. hope this helps.

11 Apr 2014 9:00 PM

Coldfacts with how much you tout the Mr.Prospector line.

Wicked Strong has no Mr.Prospector in him at all.

You do realize that..

11 Apr 2014 9:01 PM
Paula Higgins

Weekend/Billy's Empire good to see you back too!!

Terri Z well said. I think Draynay has a such a severe phobia where California horses are concerned, that it could be a new psychiatric diagnosis.

11 Apr 2014 9:43 PM

Draynay;  Unless California Chrome shows up 3-legged for the Derby, he will be favorite, whether you like it or not.  Like who you like and dislike who you like, but don't bash people for not agreeing with you.

11 Apr 2014 9:46 PM

I will try to monitor the lunar cycle and record my betting patterns to see if there are any discerable differences in my betting patterns when its full as opposed to the early cycle bets.

11 Apr 2014 10:29 PM

I think I could make a figure for this but I will have to make adjustments when my neighbor wont let me use the telescope.

11 Apr 2014 10:34 PM

Coltfacts.  Sunday Silence...turf makes sense, I think Halo was better on sod once he made the switch.  

Both Sunday Silence and Easy Goer probably would have been scratched and retired after the Kentucky Derby if they were running today.

Sunday Silence came up lame 7 days before the Preakness and Easy Goer had bad ankles (calcification and fluid) his entire career.  

Great vets and training kept them going long after this.  Easy Goer rattled off like 4-5 straight wins in grade 1 races some against older after the Belmont

unheard of today...they would take the 2 year old champ straight to the farm.  

11 Apr 2014 10:44 PM

Steve ~

reviewing the postings - noted was the coverage of the Asmussen spot NBC has in its plan to broadcast~

At a time when racing is at its best as it leads into the first leg of the Triple Crown and the excitement builds it is inappropriate that NBC would have to focus on the Asmussen/Blasi case to gain ratings. Most are aware of the seriousness of the accusation(s) and it should not be part of the racing broadcast during ongoing investigation or thereafter.  It is a dark and lurking issue that sends out a negative and disturbing message and not a platform to use to gain viewers - especially during these performances.  We are all well aware of the details and it is unfortunate but the media responsibility should first and foremost be to the racing industry,our horses,fans and viewers by illuminating respect.  There are many (both young and old)who will be watching that are "clueless" about the industry and to present them with the shadow of its downside can only be disenchanting and disappointing when racing needs more positive "points" than gained by Graded Stakes.

Derby Dozen is a dominant design that needs no challenge! Thanks Steve

Enjoy Saturday ~ everyone

11 Apr 2014 11:06 PM

I love Cal Chrome but have not shaken the fact that I missed Barbaro in the Derby.  He ran down a tough horse on the lead in the Fla Derby , Sharp Humor to win by a half.  Sound familiar,  have to learn from history and take Constitution.

11 Apr 2014 11:18 PM

Householder and Lunar spook, with all due respect, what planet were you two living on in May and June of 2012. LOL.  Did you listen to what Johnny V. and Gary Stevens said after the Kentucky Derby, and again after the Belmont.

Come on, Union Rags passed the test of a champion in the Belmont.  In the Kentucky Derby, unfortunately Leparoux steered him into a wall of traffic, and after Union Rags finally got clear, he ran the last furlong faster than any other horse in the field. I would like to encourage you to go back and watch the derby. Do some reading about this beautifully bred horse.

Weekend, so sorry about your herniated disk.  I had the same problem last year.

Chitu, Vicar's In Trouble, and California Chrome are at the top of my list right now.  

11 Apr 2014 11:20 PM

Dr. D : Agreed on your dubai/illinois post.  I think the reason Illinois Derby is not a points race is because of the conflict between Churchill Downs and Hawthorne, it seems political/drama.  If it was a Graded earnings system, they probably would find a way to not count the earnings from that race.   It's bad blood lol...

I think Dubai gets a "sure in" points system because CD is trying to make the Kentucky Derby as international as possible.  I would guess there will be some points races added in the UK / APAC in the future if it works out.

Good luck this weekend Doc !

12 Apr 2014 2:05 AM

lunar spook : And good luck you too, hopefully one or some of us hit it big this weekend.  The Bluegrass has a weak field and that makes it a good opportunity to play the shots, but it’s not like it’s already paying huge there already lol.  I like Commissioner too, hopefully he’s starting to come around, I’ll be happy if he gets second and gets to the big dance.

Householder gets it, as much as we all like to root for our horse, at the end of the day, we bet our hard earned money so I’m always happy when my horse is under the radar.   I don’t spend hours at the track trying to hit a $100 trifecta, I go there to try and hit it big so playing favorites is like a waste of time for me.  The only time I play favorites is when I’m not hitting anything at all and I do that to see if it’s a bad day.  If I bet the favorite and I still don’t hit the exacta or tri, I just go home lol.  There are days where it doesn’t matter who I pick, they always find ways to not hit the board.  I’m sure some of you can relate.

TerriZ : I no longer defend Zenyatta on these blogs because she already proved what type of horse she is.  Those who still questions her has a totally different view of horse racing as I do, and that’s fine.   They can berate her until hell freezes over, there’s nothing that can be said about her that would change my opinion of her.  She was the epitome of a great horse.  You and I know it and no one and nothing can take that away.   Her racing years were the best, great memories.  Good luck this weekend !

iceman92 :  Thanks! interesting that GP is not that much faster than CD specially in routes.  I may have to take a deeper look at Terri’s horse Wildcat Red, he might actually hang on for a piece of the super, this horse is like a nag to me.  I always try to beat him and  every time, he beats me….maybe if I throw money on him, he might not hit the board (sorry Terri!) just to spite me lol.

12 Apr 2014 2:58 AM

Weekend : Missed your earlier post, hope things are going well healthwise, not sure what you had but hopefully nothing serious.   I want some of that god stuff, I may need it on May 3rd and the days after...

12 Apr 2014 3:02 AM

Steve, the Bluegrass Stakes appears to be wide open but it's just unfortunate that Gala Award has a poor draw as he may have the best upside of all the runners. Nonetheless, if he's good enough...

I am hoping that the racing gods are smiling on Commissioner in the Arkansas Derby and he seems to be skipping over the track which is a good sign. Mind you, it's hard to fault Tapiture. Bayern is an enigma at this stage.

12 Apr 2014 4:35 AM

Blue Grass:  Very tough to handicap.  Will box Dance with Fate, Vinceremos and Medal Count for the Ex. and Go with Medal Count to win.  

Arkansas Derby:  Conquest Titan is sitting on a big one and I look for him to close on the expected quality speed that Bayern and Tapiture will carry into the stretch and win it all.  Will box all 3 for the Ex.

     Good Luck to all!

Fan of Damascus-- Agree with Iceman92; only count those who have the winner.

Weekend--good to have you back.  Look forward to your comments.  Hope the back heals quickly.  This Derby Fever has a way of healing some physical maladies.

12 Apr 2014 7:46 AM

Coldfacts - Keep 'em coming.  Your posts are always based on historical fact and statistics.  You put the information out there and it's up to the individual to draw conclusions.  While I don't always like the cold facts, it's hard to argue them.  Facts are facts.  Thanks for being the resident "Fact Checker."  

12 Apr 2014 8:45 AM


I am aware that Wicked Strong’s pedigree does not feature Mr. Prospector. There are many Derby winners whose pedigrees do not feature him on either side.

Big Brown, Animal Kingdom, Giacomo, Charismatic and Go For Gin are a few.

While Mr. Prospector might not appear in the pedigree of many Derby winners who were foaled in a certain period, his grand sire Native Dancer is featured in just about all.

Wicked Strong’s pedigree suggests he will be very effective at the Derby distance and could prove to be a worthy contender for the Derby’s top spot.

His sire Hard Spun needs no introduction as his exploits on the track are well known. His dam sire Charismatic could have been claimed 3 months before becoming one of the 12 horses that failed in their bids to win the TC since Affirmed achieved it in 1978.

While Charismatic has not distinguished himself as either a sire or dam sire he should have the potential. He is a tail descendant of Northern Dancer whose broodmare line is amongst the most successful in TC history. He was sired by Derby runner up and Preakness winner Summer Squall who like his half-brother A P Indy was a Ridgling and both won TC races and were also sires and dam sires of winners of TC races. Go figure!

Wicked Strong’s 2nd dam was sired by champion router With Approval who was sired by Derby winning sire Caro and out of a Buckpasser mare. Caro was also dam sire of two very influential Stallions i.e., Unbridled Song and two times Derby winning sire Marias Mon.

Wicked Strong will be rolling in the final quarter when others will be decelerating rapidly..

12 Apr 2014 9:15 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Good luck. My pick for the win is Commissioner. Superfecta is box Commissioner and Bayern in the first two spots with Conquest Titan, Ride On Curlin, Danza, and Tapiture boxed in the last two spots.

12 Apr 2014 10:00 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That's a good idea about the lunar betting technique possiblity however I'm sure you have noticed that your neighbors are wearing more clothes in the house and the curtains are drawn more since they noticed the telescope and hear all of the yelling and screaming on racedays. They think the yelling and screaming is when you are using the telescope, they don't know that you are screaming at the TV during the races.

12 Apr 2014 10:04 AM


“The Deacon, Coldfacts looks only at sire lines. We all know that sires are only as great as the mares they are bred to”

I always appreciate a bit of education.

For the records I also keep data on dam sire line as well.

The dams of the horses listed below either lightly raced or unraced:

Invasor - Dam unraced

Curlin – Dam Unraced

Candy Ride  - Dam unraced

Mine That Bird – Dam unraced.

Zarkava – Dam unraced

Black Caviar – dam unraced

Phar Lap – dam (1 start unplaced)

Secretariat - dam (1 start unplaced)

Can anyone accurately specify why the above horses were so great? I guess the answer is their sires were bred to unraced and lightly race mare that enhanced their progenies. Are you are that Secretariat had a full sibling that raced?

The talents displayed by exceptional horses go far beyond the immediate their family such is the mystery of Genetics Science.

I have chosen to focus on one or two parts of a horse’s pedigree. The line the sire is a tail descendant of and likewise the brood mare sire.

I am not oblivious to the fact that there are other generation's in a horse pedigree.

12 Apr 2014 10:29 AM

lunar spook,

I specified early that Commissioner appeared to be a grinder. He validated my assessment in the FOY. With the blinkers added for the Sunland Derby he closed willingly. This suggested that the equipment had a positive effect on his performance. He is an imposing physical specimen and certainly has the looks of a classy horse. Will he be a late developer like so many of A P Indy’s progenies? I hope not as he is ideally bred for the Derby. He will have some of my support in the AK Derby.

Dr. Drunkinbum,

“Why does Dubai get all of those points and they don't even come over here”

The question above is legitimate but the conclusion in incorrect. Lines Of battle won the 2013 UAE Derby and made the trip to the Derby and finished a late closing 7th. He finished ahead of the Wood Memorial, SA Derby, AK Derby and Bluegrass winners.

Master of Hounds finished a close 2nd in the 2011 UAE Derby and made the trip to the Derby and finished 5th.


“Coldfacts, there are several horses that you simply will not get away with bashing and Zenyatta is one of them.”

You had me laughing uncontrolledly when I read the above. I responded to a post citing both of Zenyatta’s Breeder Cup Classics efforts as freakish. I disagreed with the assessment. That’s all! If the horse that finishes second is a freak, what exactly is the winner? A super freak!  If my disagreement equates to bashing then I am guilty as charges.

The word ‘Bashing’ has been used quite loosely on this blog on numerous occasions. Its definition is listed below.

Bashing: The act of beating, Whipping, or Thrashing

Can you or nay other contributor in all honesty state that my posts fit the definition above?

12 Apr 2014 10:33 AM
El Kabong

Regarding CC not working at Churchill

Lets say Mr. Sherman brought CC out two weeks early, worked him, and CC didn't care much for the surface. Does anyone think that any trainer then has the ability to make a horse change his mind or whisper in the horse's ear, "Look Pal, this is for all the marbles so you better get used to it and run your fanny the way you do back home!" Of course they can't. CC is going either perform or he is not. I see Mr. Sherman's point, he and CC have nothing to gain by changing their routine and we all know how animals, even some human bloggers, love their routine. Let's face it, handicappers want that info on CC for their own selfish reasons. Mr. Sherman and his connections are living a dream that doesn't include us folks wanting more investment information. Why would they not just let the horse do what he has been doing, keep his routine and just accept his effort, regardless of the outcome. It has been a pretty good show so far.  If there was a way to make a horse like a surface, then ship him early, but there is not. So if you are Mr. Sherman, why? Why would want to wake up early, from such a thrilling dream ride like this?  

12 Apr 2014 10:36 AM

Steve, all this bashing of Cali Chrome reminds me of something from years ago.

We had an Appaloosa gelding that we wanted to send for some additional training beyond what training he had received from me.

We visited the training facility of a man named Dooley Phillips. Dooley was one of the best trainers in Virginia in those years for Appaloosas and Quarter Horses, not racing mind you, but rather other western riding disciplines.

He also managed an Appaloosa stallion named High Thunderbird.

I had seen many of High Thunderbird's get in the horse shows and was so impressed by not only their true Appaloosa coloring, but by their abilities across all events, but I had never met High Thunderbird.

When we finished our discussions about training for my gelding, Dooley offered to introduce me to High Thunderbird.

As we walked down the wide aisle way in the barn when gorgeous Apps in stalls on either side, I would guess that this horse is High T or then maybe it was this one.

As we got to the end of the aisle,a big head popped out of the last stall on the left.

I recall Dooley telling me that here he is, High T, but be careful, he does bite.

Needless to say, my heart dropped in disappointment. This well known stallion that I had wanted to meet for several years was nothing like what I had expected.

He was big and raw boned as we call it out here in the other horse world. He had a skimpy rat tail and mane and his head was ugly by my standards and his eyes looked mean and cold. The only thing I saw that he had going for him was his loud Appaloosa coloring, which I loved.

Well, the disappointment must have shown on my face as Dooley laughed and told me that it was ok, that I was not the first one to have that reaction to this stallion that had sired some of the most beautiful Apps in the state, and all with great ability in whatever discipline one was riding in.

He then said something that I have never forgotten:

"You might not like him, but you have to pay attention to him".

The moral of my little story?

For all those who bash and berate and downgrade California Chrome, you might not like him, but you are going to have to pay attention to him.

12 Apr 2014 10:47 AM

A weak Bluegrass field is unlikely to contain the following contenders:

Asserting Bear has contested 3 graded stakes and finish a willing 4th in the Spiral.

Pablo Del Monte has contested 2 graded stakes while finishing 3 in the G3 Swale

Harry’ Holiday finished 3rd in Spiral.

Bobby’s Kitten won the G1 Pilgrim and was 3rd in the BCJ turf.

Casiguapo finished 2nd G1 Hopeful, G3 Delta Jackpot & 4th in the G1 Champagne.

Dance With Fate has contested 4 graded stakes and finish 2nd in three.

Big Bazinga has contested 4 graded stakes and finish 2nd in one.

Coastline has contested 3 graded stakes while finishing 3rd in two.

Vinceremos has contested 2 graded stakes with 1st and  2nd place finish.

Medal Count has contested 4 graded stakes with one victory.

Gala Award won the G3 Palm Beach

12 Apr 2014 11:05 AM
Smoking Baby

Lunar Spook.  What a nice thing to say. Back at you. Having brekky with a couple old buddies, going to the movies to see Bad Words, than home to watch some racing for me (I call that a good day).  I'll be happy for you if Commission wins down in Hot Springs.  The Arkansas Derby is one of my favorites each year.  This year I look at it and "I got nothing" I feel real strongly about.  I'll go on record with Ride On Curlin/Tapiture in an exacta box (I know, I know...really going out on a limb there).  If they come in MARK YOUR CALENDAR. LOL.  Good luck and have a GREAT weekend.

12 Apr 2014 11:11 AM

Coldfacts. What is your opinion of Genral A Rods breeding, being inbreed to Mr.P and Native Dancer in their as well..  

12 Apr 2014 11:31 AM

Mary, I think we all have a favorite horse that didn't quite live up to expectations.  Union Rags was one of mine.  So was Quality Road and even Verrazano.  We can say "shoulda, coulda, woulda' all we like, but the fact is, at least in the case of the three I've mentioned, they didn't quite.  I was really happy to see Union Rags redeem himself to some extent in the Belmont, but it was a very slowly run race. IMO, this win, which I believe was his last race in a fairly short career, does not put Union Rags in a league of his own.  I reserve that description for the truly great ones.

12 Apr 2014 11:40 AM
Smoking Baby

Adding some stats to an earlier post (I incorrectly posted that Curlin had four stakes winners).

HARD SPUN (2014 Stud Fee $39,538): 562 foals, 26 Stakes winners (4.6%)

STREET SENSE (2014 Stud Fee $40,000): 491 foals, 19 Stakes winners (3.9%)

CURLIN (2014 Stud Fee $25,000): 264 foals, 8 stakes winners (3.0%)

ANY GIVEN SATURDAY (2014 Stud Fee $5,000): 418 foals, 11 Stakes winners (2.6%)

None of these numbers indicate to me that Curlin got the jump on any of these horses at stud. One could actually make an argument that he's been a disappointment so far.  His stud fee is less than half of what it was in 2010 ($60,000) as is Any Given Saturday's ($25,000).  Street Sense's 2014 fee is down a bit from the $50,000 fee in 2010.  While none of this is unheard of (it's actually normal)Hard Spun's 2014 fee is actually HIGHER than it was in 2010 ($35,000).

Of the "big four" I'd say it's pretty clear Hard Spun is the best.  Having said this, one could actually argue that SCAT DADDY (343 foals, 26 SW or 6.4%) is a better sire than all of them from that 2004 crop.

12 Apr 2014 1:43 PM

Wicked Strong looks good on many fronts one negative is that he hasnt run well outside of NY,although he has run well at Aqueduct and Belmont.There are many top contenders that have never run well outside of their state or have only run well on ONE track.I personally like horses that TAKE THEIR TRACK WITH THEM.Beyer could talk himself silly, the fact of the matter is that some horses running action just dosent provide the same results on some surface as it does on others,or it might be mental in some cases.

12 Apr 2014 1:46 PM
Pedigree Ann

Lysa - did you re-read your first post before you posted it?

"all the absurd "justifications" and "reasons" for giving injured & hurting horses pain medications like Butazolidin,"

If I were injured or hurting, I would certainly want pain medications like Bute (an NSAID like ibuprofen). I regularly take an NSAID for my arthritis, or I would not be typing this message. It is compassionate to give injured and hurting animals pain-relieving meds.

I think what you were TRYING to say it that you objected to is such horses being then asked to work or race. Am I right?

The original reasoning to allow Bute on raceday was to allow horses with arthritis, like I have, to continue to race. Yes, I remember, I was going racing back then. And it seemed that Bute use was restricted largely to horses of that sort for several years.  Then trainers started to treat horses who would get muscle-sore after working or racing BEFORE the work or race, so that the horse wouldn't become sore. And other trainers, even though their horses might not have arthritis or get body-sore, would see those horses improve (because they weren't hurting anymore), so think that treating with Bute would give them "an edge". It mushroomed from there until every trainer was giving Bute to all of their horses, medically appropriate or not, so as not to be at a disadvantage.

Lasix was originally available only to horses who had been observed to bleed from the nose. That restriction got into trouble when horses who were approved in one state weren't eligible in another state, because they hadn't bled THERE. Suits were filed and state commissions caved. Then the fiber-optic bronchioscope came into use, which showed that horses could "bleed", usually a few drops, in their lungs or throat after exercise. Instead of telling the trainers that TBs had probably ALWAYS bled a little bit in the lungs without it affecting their form, the vets went along with the trainers in demanding access to Lasix for all runners, confirmed bleeders or not. The diuretic effect of Lasix also allowed trainers to experiment with illegal drugs, since the evidence would be diluted below detection available at the time and eliminated quickly.

State racing commissioners, often filled by politicians, not horsemen, see racing as a cash cow, since the state does nothing more than grant a license - they neither build nor maintain the facilities nor hire the workers nor buy the horses. Racing expanded with new tracks and longer racedays and longer meetings in the 1970s and '80s, approved and sometimes demanded by the states. Foal-crops could only expand to fill the need on a 4 year delay (conception to 3yo year); keeping arthritic horses and horses who have bled racing helped keep the races filled, which means more handle and more tax-money for the states. The future welfare of the sport or of the animals was not something they worried about.

This is how we got where we are. Many trainers today, 40-45 years after Bute was first allowed, don't know how to train without drugs, even if they are only using legal ones. They are scared about losing their livelihood, of having to learn a new way to train without the crutches they have always had. Frightened groups close ranks and fight change tooth-and-nail; it is not because they are evil or cruel by nature. They may not look or act scared, but they all saw what happened to Dick Dutrow - banned from the sport that has been part of his life from birth (his dad was a trainer). Demonizing every trainer in the business who is working on the current paradigm, even if we think it wrong, will accomplish nothing. Racing commissions, vets, and track managements have all had a part of creating the problem and all will have to change as well if we are to find way out of this mess.

12 Apr 2014 2:17 PM

OP :   Will play a $5 DD, $1 P3 and .50 P4 starting at R9 for a total of $22.00 :

09 : Midnight Eclipse

10 : WTC, Golden Lad

11 : Tapiture, Commissioner

12 : Signature Event, Wajir On Me, Dr. Jajo, Precipice Trail

KP :   .50 P4 and $5 Double for a total of $14.00

09 :  Apropos

10 :  Fitful Skies, Stephanie’s Kitten, Centre Court

11 :  Coastline, Vinceremos

12 :  Brilliant Comet, Perfect Timber, Avie’s Quality

My $5 DD “ECO” Special :   Coastline with Brilliant Comet

12 Apr 2014 2:41 PM
Paula Higgins

El Kabong, I think what you said holds true only if the horse doesn't like the surface at all. More time before the race won't make a difference. But if it is just a matter of getting used to the difference in surfaces, it matters a lot. But I am sure Mr. Sherman has given it plenty of thought, so I am not going to worry about it. If he's as good as we think he is, it won't matter.

12 Apr 2014 4:02 PM

I'm going with Ride on Curlin, hoping he can replicate his sire's triumph in the Arkansas Derby.  Steve had good things to say about him, just as he did for Palace Malice last year.  Gotta love the Curlins!

12 Apr 2014 4:44 PM
Smoking Baby

Not for nothin', but add Dance With Fate to the long list of California horses to have shipped to the eastern time zone to win a Grade 1 stakes. Does this say anything about California racing or is that just a one way street?

"Look West for your better three year olds" - Todd Schrupp TVG Bluegrass coverage

"Kristo placed in stakes in California and got beat 20 lengths in the Wood Memorial.  What does that say about California racing?" - Draynay

Who to believe?

12 Apr 2014 5:59 PM
Smoking Baby

Hard Not To Like.  Another Grade 1 winner for Hard Spun.  

We'll see if Curlin can get his second grade 1 winner (and ninth staked winner) later this afternoon with Ride On Curlin.  He's my pick so I have reason to doubt.

12 Apr 2014 6:10 PM

A California horse ships in to take the Toyota Blue Grass;  I think I'll take Bayern for the Ark. Derby as I'm thinking Cali horses may be a bit better than certain posters on this blog may think.

12 Apr 2014 6:11 PM

Medal Count looked great in defeat. Dance with Fates' bloodlines cannot be taken seriously. Bobby's Kitten will now be exiled to Arlington's grass course, where he belongs.

12 Apr 2014 7:00 PM

Hard to tell how good C. Chrome is.  Very much not impressed with the horses behind him in Ca.  Anytime a horse is eased at the wire like that means the competition is weak.  But that isn't a knock on C. Chrome.  He will have to carry that form east and remain versatile.  Very much not a given but possible.  Wicked Strong looks like he likes the distance but does he just pass tired horses like he did in the Wood?  Too many questions at this point to anoint a clear standout.

12 Apr 2014 7:22 PM

Well, I sure never saw Danza winning the Ark. Derby.  Bayern looked like Social Inclusion in the Wood.  He's probably a really good colt, just not quite ready for prime time.  I know Tapiture didn't need any points, but I can't imagine his connections are feeling a lot of confidence after his poor 4th.  Ride on Curlin did his grinder thing again, and got up for second.  Could be he is the closer Steve was asking about in another blog.

Bottom line for me?  These two last big point races haven't changed my top picks.  Dance With Fate was impressive winning the Blue Grass but may not even go to the Derby.  Danza looked good winning the Ark but he is too lightly raced for me.  I'll stick with California Chrome.  It's a bit of a minus for me that he won't be getting a work over the CD strip, but we should get to see him gallop.  If he stays healthy and looks good in his gallops, he's my boy.

12 Apr 2014 7:39 PM

Box all Pletcher horses in the Derby and hit the Tri !!! Throw in Wildcat Red and cash the ticket !!!

12 Apr 2014 7:48 PM

Woohooooo !!!!

12 Apr 2014 8:41 PM
Tiz Herself

Definitely some twists today- congratulations to Danza and his connections... he was not on my radar but I will be watching him closer now.

Also I am more and more drawn to Ride on Curlin every time he goes out. He put in a solid effort in the Arkansas Derby behind Danza - that closing kick of his may find him well down Churchill's stretch- and the more video replays I watch... he tries everytime and has faced Tapiture, Havana, Honor Code, Intense Holiday, Bond Holder, etc. and stayed out of that mess in the Rebel... always seems to be right there. Should he get a decent post position in the Derby.

Read somewhere his owners turned down offers of up to $1 million after he set a track record at Ellis Park... maybe he'll avenge his father's 3rd in the Derby?

Danza looks like a fantastic colt as well. Though Street Boss was a sprinter, sire Street Cry is no stranger to Derby with Street Sense. I also like Ogygian being represented, too. Met the grand old guy at Old Friends in 2010 and Ogygian had one of the best rumps I'd ever seen on a horse. Machiavellian, Damascus, Halo, Blushing Groom, Deputy Minister, Mr. Prospector, Bold Ruler, etc. all rolled up into a gorgeous chestnut package. Mr. Pletcher is loaded with Danza, Constitution...

Even without the champion two year old, the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner, the Derby is taking shape...

Congratulations to Dance With Fate too... although his connections have hinted that he is likely not going to the Derby, he still put in a fine effort. Love the Dynaformer babies!  

12 Apr 2014 8:51 PM

According to the latest point standings it looks like Candy Boy is #19 and Cairo Prince is #20..

12 Apr 2014 9:02 PM

Took a nap through the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby.  Woke up and it appeared that the Derby picture was about the same.  Most notible news...I learned that Twin Creeks Randy Gullatt co-owner of Constitution had horses at the now defunct Bay Meadows in the late 80s and early 90s.  

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think the superfecta over the last 6 runnings has been under $26,000 on a 1.00 bet.  

Even with favorites like Orb, the trick is who also hits the board.  Take CC, Constitution, or Hopportunity for the still has to fill out the card with horses like Wildcat Red, Intense Holiday, Insert Something, Chitu, and Wicked Strong.  

After today, I think we can start to toss some also rans.  Don't think that Tapiture will do much.

At this point the field looks so ho-hum I would be carefull not to leave anything off that has actually WON a grade 1 race.  

Gotta see what the "Big Brown" super paid.

12 Apr 2014 9:07 PM

Well I can't complain too much. Sad that Commissioner is not going to the Derby, but I think he has winning races in his future. So proud of Ride on Curlin. I think this colt is getting better and better. He appeared to have gotten bumped hard by the 5 horse at the start, but he seem to have recovered nicely and was running strong to nip Bayern for 2nd. He has gotten a lot of experience for sure leading up to the Derby. Just elated that Wise Dan and Will Take Charge won. Revolutionary getting 2nd was wonderful to see. I so loved this colt and so glad he his still racing. I really like his sire War Pass, who sadly died with just one foal crop. The Ramsey's were so gracious about Bobby's Kitten,they are just first class all the way.

Heard that Samaraat was back at the track after a few days off for R&R at Fair Hill. Love hearing that his trainer gave him a mini-vacation before heading to Churchill Downs.

Looks like (to this novice) that the Derby field has jelled. I guess it is now a wait and see game as to who goes and who decides to bypass for the Preakness or Belmont. Hopefully no one drops out due to any injuries.

This has been a hoot following these preliminary races. First time I have done so and I have learned quite a bit about handicapping or at least how you guys think.

Steve, look forward to the Derby Dozen and your thoughts and comments about this weeks results.

Hope everyone has a nice Sunday. It will be another gorgeous Spring day here in the South.

12 Apr 2014 9:07 PM

The "Big Brown" 1.00 super paid $29,383.90 on a $6.80 to win horse!  3 out of the 4 had won thier last race, a grade I or in the case of Eight Belles a grade II.  The ticket "killer" placed 5th in the Illinois Derby in his prior start.

So even with "Chrome" on top there still is a lot of value.  With as bad as some of these are going there may be 1-2 "ticket killers" if one still has faith in them.

But then again it may be a Mine that Bird year.  

12 Apr 2014 9:30 PM

Oh no!!! Lil E Tee and the Arkansas Derby just popped into my head.

Patrick Valenzuela commenting to reporters prior to the Derby regarding Arazi's chances..."This race is over."

12 Apr 2014 9:37 PM
Linda in Texas

"A little known colt ships into Oaklawn, 41-1 shot, blows away the known colts, is in The Kentucky Derby

with a G 1 win." Well it is rub it in time for those like me who don't bet. :) I looked through all the 335 plus postings here, and i don't think i saw the name Danza once! Except 'he might race' and paired with Ride On Curlin paid out over $800. Two names i do find in many posts are California Chrome and Constitution with the latter mentioned several times being defended by, oh well, it doesn't matter. He lost, get over it. In 3 short weeks from tonight we will be talking about The Kentucky Derby winner.

Looked at Danza's pedigree and way back there is Mr. Prospector on both sides, Deputy Minister and way way back Native Dancer. Back to the comments by Deacon, about pedigree, one just never knows and boy did Danza's win prove it. I did not even find Danza's name in the 40 plus Points Standings List i wrote down to be able to refer to.

Judy The Beauty won, like i hoped she would do and Better Lucky showed rather than placing like i mentioned. Didn't win anything but i didn't lose either, just bragging rights for 5 minutes! I hope someone won something today. And regarding Constitution, i think he is a magnificent looking horse. Something upset him terribly today, that is when one wishes they could talk! That is heartbreaking and so disappointing for the connections. Thanks good posters/bloggers for putting up with me, i am not 85 yet but will be in 11 years so cut me a little slack if i sometimes appear delusional! I love this sport and so glad i am not alone. Thanks Steve, your next list will be interesting.

A loud hush came over Oaklawn today as Danza won, i thought it would lift the roof right up and off the stands with all that air being exhaled.  

12 Apr 2014 11:32 PM

Steve, after today's races I find it hard going beyond California Chrome and Constitution, in ability they appear to tower of the rest. I'm not convinced that Tapiture really wants 10 f. and that goes for most of the rest as well.

I have a whimsical hope that Commanding Curve may get in but it will be sheer luck.

12 Apr 2014 11:54 PM

Earlier I said that this was a below average bunch but not I think they are below below average.  WOW!!!!  It was nice to see a Two Step Salsa win the Bluegrass.  I think when his book of mares increases in quality he will be a stallion whose progeny are highly sought after.  Once again the Tapits fall by the wayside on the triple crown trail.

13 Apr 2014 12:07 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


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


13 Apr 2014 12:21 AM
Linda in Texas

Correction - I meant Commissioner not Constitution in my post. Sorry about that Constitution. He has enough points at 100. He is doing just fine.  

13 Apr 2014 12:24 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


13 Apr 2014 1:07 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


13 Apr 2014 1:47 AM


What was your payout for the Danza / ROC exacta?  

13 Apr 2014 1:57 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


13 Apr 2014 2:09 AM

Linda In Texas;  I enjoy your posts, but I think you got a couple of horses with similar names confused today.  Commissioner flopped in the Ark Derby today; Constitution will go into the Derby undefeated.

There is a lot of comparison between California Chrome and Constitution on this blog.  I'm firmly in Chrome's camp, feeling strongly that Tapit is unlikely to sire a Derby winner.  Of course many people felt Bold Ruler couldn't either, and along came Secretariat.

13 Apr 2014 2:11 AM

Is it too much to ask to use paragraphs or periods ?  I ran out of breath while screaming reading Cuba's post.  I now have a headache on top of my already bad headache from a lousy day.  It's like a bad B movie, I couldn't stop reading even though I was getting dizzier and dizzier.   The only thing that made sense to me was "Home RUM" but I can't read it again to figure out in what context it was used...maybe it's the god stuff Weekend has ?

My “woohoo!” was a fakey, it was a totally bad day for me.   I did put Dance With Fate on top of my tri and exacta and supers but with the 13 coming in second, there was no chance for me.  I never bet Albarado, ever.  I'm still confused how Bobby's Kitten got to be the morning line favorite in this race.

I'm just glad that the Derby field is set.  I think we have a really good group of horses, and before someone claims a problem with the points system, I think we have the right 20 horses in the field.  If Tiz Herself is correct, then Uncle Sigh gets in.  I'm anxious to see Steve Haskin's new (and final?) dozen.

Now on to the waiting game, nothing but watching out for the workouts...then the post draw.  It'll be an interesting 3 weeks reading everyone's opinion on their picks.  Looking forward to it !

On a different note, just witnessed something I’ve never seen before in thoroughbred racing, Australia C race 6 had a false start but instead of declaring it a no contest, they ran the race again!   I don’t know why it’s not done here in the US ? Anyone know anything about this rule ?  Really weird…

13 Apr 2014 2:49 AM
cuba"s classic chef de race


13 Apr 2014 2:50 AM
Paul Revere

Congrats to Danza and Pletcher, but if Ride on Curlin gets a better trip he wins.  I foresee a new jockey agin come derby day. Borel in SW, Desormeaux in Rebel, Court in AR Derby, ??? in KY.  Guessing Calvin will be back aboard.  This horse looks like he will relish the extra distance, and I will key him in my exotic plays.  Maybe he doesn't want to win, but he continues to rack up top 3 placings.

13 Apr 2014 7:08 AM

I have said it over and over again that COMPETITION matters.  Danza came in and destroyed the field and finally put to rest the so called talent of Tapiture.  So now you can Toss Tapiture, Hoppertunity, and Ride on Curlin. Danza may beat them by 10 if he improves at all going  2 turns a 2nd time. That leaves the undefeated Constitution on top where he belongs because CC beating Hoppertunity isn't such a big deal now is it.  Constitution is your Derby favorite and if the Arkansas didn't make that very plain.... you're just being stubborn.

13 Apr 2014 7:23 AM

Linda in Texas, I read on another site that Commissioner was being fractious while being saddled, then somehow his bridle came off in the outer paddock and had it not been for quick action by the outriders, it could have evolved into a serious incident. My question is how did that bridle come off? W

13 Apr 2014 8:02 AM

Bayern wins by 15 in California and everyone is thinking wow what a super horse... Danza down in Florida doesn't come close to winning his OC 75k and crushes the field in Arkansas.... now who do you think has the better racing ?  Florida or California ?  Competition matters....

13 Apr 2014 8:37 AM
Linda in Texas

Please pardon my faux pas, in my post i mentioned Constitution not winning when it was Commissioner who was having a bad hair day, his owner was even assisting with the bridle. On The Points Standing List lots of C's: Conquest Titan, Constitution, Commissioner, California Chrome, Cairo Prince, Coastland, Commanding Curve, Candy Boy, Chitu, Cleburne, Casiguapo, Classic Giacnroll and Can The Man, abbreviated they all look the same at 12:30 at night!

And Dr. D did indeed have Danza listed in his bets.

13 Apr 2014 8:58 AM
Linda in Texas

Hi robinm - please know i corrected myself shortly after i submitted my post last night. And i sent another one early this morning. is the first thing i read in the morning and the last thing i read at night before shutting off my computer. I always appreciate your posts as i do everyone's, usually. I am now looking forward to the new Points Listing after yesterday. It may be back to square one since some will be dropped, but for me that One Spot is still reserved for California Chrome. I am very loyal.

13 Apr 2014 10:45 AM

Well bloggers the trail has come to an end in regards to the prep races that count for points towards a position in the starting gate in the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Now that the competitors are known, the real deciding factors come into play as circumstances that will affect the animals and humans involved in the preparation and decisions regarding the same.

That is of course unless you think a colt such as California Chrome towers over the field and will win weather rain shine or trip inconviences come into play.

Even those that know that all the tracks are made of dirt an unstable surface that is constantly changing minutely depending on the wind, sun and mositure or humidity affecting it, have to be impressed by the speed figures that CC has compiled.When you are all in and perscribe to speed figures, you also maintain the idea that all of these surfaces can be measured by using speed figures no matter the other small details that are involved.

13 Apr 2014 11:17 AM
Max Figueredo

May the true contenders please step forward to the starting gate.

The fact is that pedigree matters, athleticism counts, workouts tell conditioning.  However, you still got to run the race.  Show me what you can do when the bell rings and the gate opens.

The fact remains that KD is seldom won by the favorite.  It is a cavalry charge usually won by the one with less bruises, unless you are talking super horse as the triple crown victors.

In my opinion winner comes from the Florida Derby or the winner of the Wood. I still like Wildcat Red if he gets the right post and gets an easy lead.  Let them come and get him.  As Mr. Haskin says, where are the closers.

13 Apr 2014 11:27 AM

Okay, so I did place a $5 bet on Danza at the last minute, and here's why.  First, I looked at all of their pedigrees.  Danza's pedigree in my opinion stood out among the others.  I really like his broodmare sire, the combination of Blue Larkspur (large heart) and Bold Ruler(speed) running through his broodmare sire's female line sparked my interest.

But before looking at all of their pedigrees, I questioned why Todd Pletcher threw Danza into the race along with Commissioner.  I know that he has done this many times before, but in this case I was intrigued by the addition of a little known horse showing up in the Arkansas Derby.  He knew the horse was ready to run his race and a good shot at winning.

Danza has a beautiful running style.  He has a thick neck and looks like a short cannon bone which reduces the weight of the lower leg so less muscular effort.  He runs so close to the ground that I thought he was going to tip over.  All of this is just IMO.

For once, I read Pletcher's mind.  I'm just so mad at myself for not putting more money on him.    

13 Apr 2014 11:27 AM

Draynay; You are the won being stubborn.  Constitution's 3 win streak is not going to trump California Chrome's 4 win streak, particularly considering  Chrome's total domination of his opponents.  Yes, competition matters; so does race time and ease of winning.  

I got a bit of a kick over your comparison of California and Florida in dismissing Bayern after his loss on Sat.  Bayern did not lose the Ark because he raced previously in Cal.  He lost because of inexperience.  Reminded me of another fine colt named Social Inclusion who was being hyped as the second coming after 2 massive wins in Florida, only to just get nipped for 2nd in New York's Wood.

13 Apr 2014 11:49 AM

steve- will be waiting for your expert analysis this week. nice time for danza, it came close to will take charge's time in the oaklawn handicap. danza raced exactly the way he did in the Saratoga special last summer by going up the rail, this time he was racing longer and wasn't facing a sprinter about to set a stakes record(Corfu). what the hayles goin on here? did not expect to see this horse surface.

13 Apr 2014 12:24 PM
El Kabong

Cairo is in at 18, Midnight Hawk is out. His connections are not going to head to Louisville, per my sources.

13 Apr 2014 12:28 PM
El Kabong

Weekend a.k.a Billy's E,

a hardy welcome back! Looking forward to your posts again. No doubt your new role as Pappa Billy took up most of your time and energy. As for the bad energy posted, just skip over them. We need posters like yourself filling up the screen.


CC should have ample time to jog the track if the weather is decent. Hopefully that feel between his toes will be enough for him. He's a super talent for sure. I think I'm more concerned about how he'll handle the kick back and not the surface of the track. He's going to have to take some sandy spray for sure with all the speed.  I hope Steve gets a chance to tell us a thing or two about his demeanor, coat, cookie supply:) etc.

13 Apr 2014 12:47 PM

Wait and see; some of these derby prep losers will become the best of the crop-ex.: Bayern, Social Inclusion, Medal Count, and even Candy Boy-if they remain sound. I think it's a better crop than we've had in years. Also, no question that the California contingent has most of the cream...Bayern appears to be an outstandingly good-looking colt/pure athlete. Probably wasn't quite ready for Ark. Derby, and Stevens' ride, as usual, didn't help. Had both Bayern and Candy Boy been given different jocks, we may very well have witnessed improved results.

Pedigree Ann: The fiberoptic bronchoscope enabled us to see the true picture, and enables us to understand the cumulative effects of EIPH-it tends to increase with repeated insults. It may begin as a trickle, but-without Salix-rarely remains as such. Your comments imply that epistaxis should be the only concern, and that aside from frank nose bleeds, Salix has no place. Science and technology sometimes do have their place. It's fine to be a traditionalist, but not when it's detrimental to the well-being of the horse. Same goes for your outdated training/racing ideas. What's better for the horse should be #1; not what's better for racing.  

13 Apr 2014 1:06 PM

Everyone jumping on the California Chrome bandwagon is a huge red flag to me. Sure, there are horses that look dominant going 9 panels. But it's a different story and atmosphere when going these particular 10. Look at Verrazzano for example. Absolutely obliterating the competition at 9 furlongs. Sound familiar this year? It looks juuuuuust a bit "too easy" for California Chrome, even though he is the most battle-tested of the bunch. A very deserving favorite. Maybe even to the point of being a prohibitive favorite.

There is one in the current points standing that has shown tenacity and gives no quarter when crunch-time comes around. Any horse that has run against him will feel it the next day. Always game and has a LOT of heart. Runs pretty angry, too. That horse is Wildcat Red. I like the fact that he lost by a small margin last race. Very game.

13 Apr 2014 1:06 PM


     “…let’s start with “Chitu’s” sire side, where you say “Henny Hughes” was but a ‘sprinter’. In his blood lines by “Storm Cat” are “Northern Dancer”, who won the Florida Derby; the Kentucky Derby; and the Preakness; TRIPLE CROWN WINNER “SECRETARIAT” by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner “Bold Ruler”; and of course from his “Meadowlake” line is “The Gray Ghost”-“NATIVE DANCER”,… who is additionally by Preakness winner “Polynesian”; and if one looks a little deeper into his bloodline, one will also find from the “Hagely” (Va.) line, “Man O’War” who won the Preakness and the Belmont, from a line that gave us two Belmont winners in “Hastings” and “Spendthrift” !!! So where exactly is there a lack of some potential to handle a 1 ¼ ??

  On his dam side,--the side I believe needs to be the stronger, but that being a case that is not yet proven,--“Chitu” only has “A.P. Indy”, [[a Belmont & BC Classic winner]],… who is of course by TRIPLE CROWN WINNER “SEATTLE SLEW” who himself is also by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner “Bold Ruler”; is 2 Xs bred to “Northern Dancer”, through “Zilzal” and “Nijinsky” (Ont.), --the latter who won the “English Triple Crown” and whose record seems it could handle some distance,--and then throw in a little “Buckpasser”, who adds his additional 2 links via the “BHXFG”--{{big heart ‘x’ factor gene}}--strains, …[[and, with Chitu’s own]]… 11 links to the “BHXFG” strains,--[[with]]…4 [[of those]] links to “Cosquilla”, oh boy, a way stronger dam side than “Cal. Chrome’s” in comparison to this author.”

    [[Again]], …“…why, Steve, … you really think that this horse ranks below the likes of “Cairo Prince”; …“Candy Boy”; “Tapiture”; … “General A Rod”; and “Ride on Curlin”; and etc., …[[this horse’s exclusion]]…[[from your dozen]]…simply baffles me.”

13 Apr 2014 1:09 PM


Mind That Bird comes to Churchill and destroys the field what does that say about the racing world outside of New Mexico?

13 Apr 2014 1:23 PM
Jean in Chicago


Chill out about 'Cuba'.  We finally got KY Vet to stop posting ALL CAPS, but it took awhile.  Is your spanish good enough to post in a foreign language?  I'm just glad that mz posts in english instead of french since I have about as much french as Miss Piggy.

Happy belated birthday to Linda in Texas (yes, we will still love you when you're 84) and hello to mz, Paula Higgins and our mutual heartthrob Ted from LA.  Hello also to Dr. D--did you say you were running again?  

13 Apr 2014 2:17 PM
Pedigree Ann

"Are you [sure] that Secretariat had a full sibling that raced?"         -Coldfacts

Secretariat had two full siblings, the fillies Syrian Sea (1965) and The Bride (1969). Syrian Sea won 6 out of 26 starts, most of them at 2 (5 of 14), winning the G1-type Selima S, plus placing in the Matron(G1). At 3, she was not as accomplished, but still managed to be 2nd in the Black-Eyed Susan and third in the CCA Oaks. The Bride raced 4 times and never earned a dime; both produced SWs.

Do you mind if I list some top racers who had dams who were well-tried racemares?

Sea the Stars, Galileo, etc. - Dam won the Arc.

Nearco - dam Italian classic winner and top 2yo.

Ribot - dam champion 2yo

Grindstone (KY Derby winner) - dam won G1 Spinaway

Personality (HotY, Preakness winner) - dam champion older mare and sprinter

Sunday Silence - dam won G2 (later G1) Gamely H

Easy Goer - dam champion older mare who was SW vs. males

Dahar - 5-time G1 winner, dam was DAHLIA

Roberto - dam won CCA Oaks

Bold Lad, Successor (champion 2yos) - dam 3yo champion filly, beat males in the Gallant Fox H (NTR) AT 3.

Lady's Secret - dam won A Gleam S before grading, etc.

Rhythm (BC Juv + Travers) - dam G1 winner (at 4) out of champion Numbered Account

My Flag (champion), etc. - dam Personal Ensign

Risen Star - dam G3 SW, raced 27 times

Silver Charm - dam won 11 of 63 starts

Buckpasser - dam won Alabama + Suburban H & Saratoga

Cup (twice) over males

Allez France - dam won Futurity S over Buckpasser, ran 15 times

Shuvee - dam won CCA Oaks, Beldame, etc.

Animal Kingdom - dam won G3, raced 24 times 3-5

Orb - dam raced 23 times, 4 wins

Street Sense - dam won 4 of 22

Barbaro - dam won 6 of 25, G2-placed

Sea Hero - dam won Diana H (G2, now G1), won 9 of 24

Strike the Gold - dam CD SW, ran 15 times.

Winning Colors - dam won 7 of 17, all at 3, 3x SW

13 Apr 2014 2:18 PM
Mister Frisky

@Coldfacts,Curious on your opinion of Ride on Curlin.A Mr.Prospector special if there ever was one.

13 Apr 2014 2:19 PM


Since it appears I am the second member of a two member bashing club, I though it appropriate to advise you that although your views may not resonate with members of the over glorification club, they provide a refreshing opposing perspective

I have notices with disturbing regularity contributors being accused of bashing horses if they provide what is perceived to be not too flattering facts about either a horse or its performance.

The members of the over glorification club are never receptive to dissenting views. They see things through lens that are compromised by emotions.

Stay strong to your beliefs and convictions as those that opposing them are doing so the with similar strengths.

13 Apr 2014 2:24 PM
Paula Higgins

Few saw that coming. I still like California Chrome with a decent trip. Then Hoppertunity, Wicked Strong, Danza and Constitution. Personally, I think if California Chrome doesn't dominate, it's anybody's race. Draynay, you are right that competition counts but in the Derby so does field size/trip. It's not like any other race.

13 Apr 2014 2:32 PM

Hoppertunity wins the Rebel stakes then gets smoked by C.Chrome.

Danza comes in and basically beats the same horses that Hoppertunity did in the Rebel.

What does this say about Hoppertunity?

What does this say regarding the Arkansas horses?  

So many questions,we will have all the answers in 20 days..

Good Luck..

13 Apr 2014 3:02 PM

No one can dispute that California Chrome is an exceptional talents. If a contributor should post any bit of information that is factual but perceived negative that contributor is accused of bashing. Why?

I do not believe CC's performances in his last 4 races make him unbeatable in the Derby. If the Derby was being contested at SA Park, I would not oppose him as he seems to be in a Game On Dude zone there. A lot of his supporter seems to forget where the Derby is being contested.

The great Native Dancer entered the Derby with an 11 race undefeated record. He was unquestionably the best of his generation. For reasons unknown a Dark Star decided to shine on Derby day and capitalized on his misfortunes. His undefeated record was unfortunately ended through no fault of his own. The best horse on the day lost. An immortal talent bit the dust at Churchill Downs

Mr. Frisky entered the Derby with a 16 race undefeated record. That remains the record to date for undefeated horse entering the Derby. His last victory was in the SA Derby after which he was considered the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. He finished eighth as the post time betting favorite. Another exceptional talent bit the dust at Churchill Downs.

Bernadini was considered the best of his generation scoring victories in the Preakness JCGC, Jim Dandy and Travers while his rider remained motionless in the irons. He shipped to CD as the overwhelming favorite to win the BCC. Invasor had other ideas and wore him down in the final furlong. Another exceptional talent bit the dust at Churchill Downs.

Zenyatta entered the BCC with a 19 race undefeated record. She shipped to CD as the overwhelming favorite for a repeat victory in the BCC. Although the blame for her loss was the victor Blame, he did not get the blame. Despite the blame that went around the real culprit was Churchill Downs where another exceptionally talented horse had bitten the dust.

Churchill Downs has claimed the scalps of a lot of exceptional horses and it appears the more high profile the horse, the more likely its scalp will be taken. It is a venue where moderate horses are miraculously transformed and deliver breathtaking performances en route to victory and where exceptionally talented horses suffer unexpected defeats.  

California Chrome carries a heavy burden as the overwhelming favorite for the Derby. His profile does not fit that of a derby winner but neither did that of Goto Del Sol. He can easily overcome his profile negatives with his talent but Churchill Dows is a different historic hurdle to overcome. Just refer to the exception ones above the fell victim to the venue.

13 Apr 2014 3:16 PM

Well, got to see more horses this weekend. How about that Wise Dan? The guy's still got it!

In the Blue Grass, the commentators for FS1 had a virtual bankroll (proceeds to charity) to bet. While they didn't discuss him, everyone included #8 in their Exactas and Trifectas. I picked #8 just because he was so very handsome. Dance With Fate goes on my top 7(?) list. My only question, can he duplicate that performance on dirt?

As to the Arkansas Derby, Commissioner was handsome and a son of AP Indy, but did he leave his race in the paddock? I expected more from him and Bayern...neither proved up to the task.

Not ready to add sneaky Danza to my favorites list, but he really did well.

And I carry my prejudice into this year again as I still believe the bullet speed of Tapit progeny wanes after 9f, which is why I'm not leaning on the gutsy performance of Constitution in the Fla. Derby.

13 Apr 2014 3:43 PM

Quinnbit, I have enjoyed your postings on the most recent Derby Dozen blog.  Very interesting and I hope you continue sharing your info/opinions here.

13 Apr 2014 4:56 PM

I watched Danza's previous race and his Saratoga Special race where he closed real big.  He looked great closing but I chalked it up more to the sizzling fractions up front than to his great closing.  I got it wrong!

13 Apr 2014 5:08 PM

Bayern beat winners in California by 15 lengths.... why? Because the talent in California is poor at best.  Bayern didn't lose because of lack of experience he lost because he lacked the talent.  Constitution after just 2 wins beat the Hutcheson and FOY winner. Bayern lost to Danza a loser of OC75k and Ride on Curlin who hasn't come close to winning anything this year.  Social Inclusion ? Lost to Wicked Strong and some horse named Samraat that was undefeated and the winner of the Gotham and Withers but credit Castellano on Schivarelli for the undoing of Social Inclusion.  The problem is most of you refuse to consider just how bad the competition is that California Chrome has faced.  Remember CC had to run down Dublin Up and Constitution had to run down Wildcat Red.  COMPETITION MATTERS....

13 Apr 2014 5:15 PM

Way to go Draynay.  You just wiped out (eliminated) all those Florida horses.  Just don't start chirping about the Wood, please.

13 Apr 2014 5:19 PM

Pedigree Ann

Thanks for the post on the great horses with highly active dams.  Good for future reference!


There's a MAJOR difference in the way you post with competitive differences, historical references, etc….done respectfully.  Calling other bloggers who analyze differently "idiots" such as Draynay does is juvenile and immature!

13 Apr 2014 5:20 PM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

You are not being paid for your hard work, but it is much appreciated. Your Facts thud like a led ball dropped from the Empire State Building. Keep it coming.

13 Apr 2014 5:54 PM

Steve, can't wait to read your analysis of Danza and the Ark. Derby.  Looks like a serious horse and beautifully built.

13 Apr 2014 6:09 PM
El Kabong


Come on now, no one here is against opposing viewpoints, but what you and draynay fail to understand is that style counts. You both have a very insulting way of presenting your facts and opinions. Sorry, but that is my opinion, and I don't think I'm alone. Lighten up, both of you, and tactfully present your opinions without the air of absolute knowledge of the past, present, and future. It's folly and it's rude. Again, we are all grown ups capable of hearing the opposing view point. Several bloggers here have opposing viewpoints but not the record of discord that you and Draynay foment. I appreciate  your efforts believe it or not, just not the format. I leave it to you to figure out the fix.

One love Bro, looking forward to the respectful discord. It's healthy and I will be checking my own posts for the same. Let's take it up a notch.

13 Apr 2014 6:14 PM
Paula Higgins

Coldfacts, you are right, no horse is unbeatable. But there are those of us who believe some horses are special. We think California Chrome is one of them. It doesn't mean he will win every race. But even when you factor in all the negative variables that you and Draynay point out, California Chrome still may be dominant enough to overcome all of them. It is a matter of hope, not of blind faith. There is nothing wrong with hoping for greatness and pulling for a horse. It gives the sport energy and passion. Pure bettors are a different animal and may not get that. But ultimately, there is enough room in this sport for both kinds of people.

13 Apr 2014 6:17 PM
Mister Frisky

Coldfacts glad you brought up the Mister Frisky example.16 for 16 and 7/5 at post time in 1990.HOF trainer that won the TC with Affirmed.Future HOF jockey Gary Stevens.Already won outside California before getting to California and proven on a off track.Broke records set by Derby Belmont and Champion Bold Forbes.Defeated horses like Tight Spot,turf champion of 91 set world record for a mile on turf.Farma Way dual G1 winner and track record holder at Pimlico for 1 3/16.Finished 8th in the derby, spitting it out at the 1/4 pole.Then finished a distant 3rd at Pimlico.He almost died the week after The Preakness when an grapefruit sized abcess was discovered in his throat which definitely compromised his chances in Ky and Md.So while I'm warming up to CC I've been around long enough and seen enough that anything can happen on the way to racing immortality.

13 Apr 2014 6:34 PM

Mister Frisky,

Curlin is undoubtedly Mr. Prospector best grandson to have graced the track. Unbridled and Street Cry are probably the others that come close. The grandsons of Mr. Prospector have been his best of his tail descendants in the Triple Crown series of races. They have sired 13 horses that have won 17 TC races.

Curlin is a magnificent specimen of a horse. He is off to positive start in his stud career with a winner of a TC in his first crop. He will be represented by his second Derby starter in Ride On Curlin. His progenies seem to perform well on dirt as well.

As a stallion he has a long way to go before he can be compared to Unbridled and Street Cry. Unbridled is the last stallion to sire a winner of each leg of the TC. Street Cry has sired two Breeder Cup Juvenile winners, a Derby, BCC and Melbourne Cup winner.

If Curlin is not overbred each season he should continue to be a great ambassador for Mr. Prospector sire line for years to come..

13 Apr 2014 6:38 PM

If the race were today.

$10 win on Ring Weekend

- He was out for a stroll last time

- Cryptoclearance was awesome and RW has some very unorthodox breeding

- He's bound to off at 45-1 or higher!

$10 win on Medal Count

- Good effort in crowded field

- Not "married" to polytrack

- 35-1 or higher!

13 Apr 2014 6:59 PM
Sail On

Well done Mary, putting $5 on Danza, I must say i didn't see him as the winner. But the fact is, I could not see the results of either race.

Well done, Coldfacts, posting the dams that did not win big races! I do enjoy many of your posts.

I am not enthralled by those who quibble about the posts of others, its enough to have the horses contending, without dealing with the posters contending.

Notice, I really cannot read long posts that have no paragraphing, or are all caps. Please, be considerate.

I am not sure what we learned from this weekends races. The winning horses are fast enough, but not faster that other winning horses in other preps we have watched. I still do not see real speed in any of these preps. My guess is that fast horses are no longer entered now that we have a point system.

We will see how these horses recover from their races, and how they train up in the next weeks. My money is still on Vicar's In trouble, Wildcat Red and Samraat. The horses that have shown recent closing ability are simply not faster that those three.

It would be silly, therefore, to pick Derby winners until post position draw.

Questions to ponder; did Tapiture do his very best? Will some of the horses who qualified for the Derby not start? Will Social Inclusion be racing in the Derby?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fastest of them all?

13 Apr 2014 7:01 PM
Ted from LA

Hello Jean from Chicago.  I'm glad you noticed that I've been lifting weights  Are you going to the Derby in person?  mz?  Dr. D?  trackjack?  I get in Thursday.  It's going to be a big year for Ted from LA.  I still can't get past Wicked Strong and Hoppertunity.

13 Apr 2014 7:03 PM

Paula Higgins,

“But there are those of us who believe some horses are special. We think California Chrome is one of them”

I have seen the accolades and I still cannot understand how the above conclusion was reached.

Is Shared Belief a special horse? If California Chrome was mentioned in the same sentence with him after his CashCall demolition, it would have been considered ludicrous. Share Belief secured the Eclipsed for Champion 2YO without even facing the top colts in the country and without making a start on dirt. His talent was deemed to be of such, that none of those pertinent facts mattered.

New Year’s Day was retired after his Breeder Cup Juvenile victory. That victory was achieved after exiting a MSW race and against five G1 winners. Was he considered a special horse after his improbable victory? Certainly the magnitude of his achievement was consistent with that of a special horse.

Four months later a colt that won his 1st G1 in its 10th start and not considered good enough to contest either the G1 CashCall or the G1 BCJ is a special horse. Interesting! Share Belief will miss the Derby due to injury issues. Is California Chrome either as good or better than Shared Belief? If the answer to the question is yes, what parameters were used to compare them? Who has the more impressive record? Who is the Champion 2YO?

Constitution like New Year’s Day won a G1 exiting a MSW race and against graded stakes winners in his 3rd start. His improbable victory has not received the credit it deserves. He is undefeated and his first three races are certainly better than California Chrome’s first eight.

If California Chrome is considered to be a special horse, how should the undefeated Shared Belief and Constitution be viewed?

13 Apr 2014 7:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jean in Chicago

   Yes I am. I've had a few injury setbacks but I'm perservering. Are you? Except for California Chrome it's looking wide open to me. Is this a Big Brown type year or a Mine That Bird type year? It's an interesting puzzle as usual. Commissioner is disappointing. Last time he lost a shoe, this time a bridle problem along with the antics pre-race. I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I'd be tempted to give him a break and regroup despite the fact I think that he is a great Belmont Stakes prospect, he just might not be ready right now, or maybe he really doesn't want to race anymore? He showed a lot of talent in his first three races.

13 Apr 2014 7:52 PM

Coldfacts, I really enjoy reading all the stats and info you provide in your posts.  I am always amazed.  It's clear you really look at things with a clear logical mind.  All those facts are fascinating but the thongs that attract most of us to racing and horses is not primarily logic and facts.  Horses and horse racing are very emotional.  We all "like" a horse for our own very emotional reasons.  And it's all good.  No matter how much you rationalize these horses, their ability and their experience, in reality any one of the 20 could win.  We all have the one we "want" to win and can come up with reasons to convince ourselves.

When we start off the derby trail there is very little to rely on but pedigree.  Reminiscing about our favorites from the past and how they might have passed on their best qualities, is great fun.  Now we have a little more to go on. I can't wait to start rewatching all the races looking for more details.  Still I know myself and my choices will be emotional come derby day.

And one more comment - what a joy to see favorites from last year.  I love Revolutionary!!  And yea Wise Dan and Will Take Charge.  I wish we saw more of our old favorites still at the races.  I almost enjoy these races the best.

13 Apr 2014 8:59 PM

I only recently started wagering on races this year after following this sport for the past 28. I get too emotionally drawn in which leads to bad decisions.

The sport needs another star, and since California Chrome looks poised to fill that role, I am pulling for him.  If it turns out to be Constitution or Wicked Strong, I will be excited for them too. Of course it helps that I live in So. Cal...

Here's a new topic for this blog - does anyone ever consider the name of a horse to be significant?  I really feel like a champion horse, particularly if they win the triple crown, should have a name suitable for a champion.  An owner with a potentially promising horse should name him/her properly.  When I'll Have Another won the Preakness, I asked "can I see a name like this alongside racing's super elite"?  Nope...

13 Apr 2014 11:23 PM

Coldfacts; you asked this of Paula Higgins, but as she and I are of a like mind regarding California Chrome, I'm adding my 2 cents worth to your query.  And I'll put it very simply.  2 year olds don't run in the Derby.  In fact, very few 2-yr old champs have won it. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many more knowledgeable than I, CC has been the most impressive colt in this years Derby preps.  Draynay may ask, "who has he beat", my answer is, who could have beat him in any of his last 4 races?

14 Apr 2014 12:11 AM

Jean In Chicago : I'm sorry but I'm not really sure what you mean by chill out about Cuba's post, I also don't understand your reference about KY posting in CAPS before.  I've seen cuba post in the past with proper english and in small caps so I'm not sure what the deal is with his recent posts.  I don't speak spanish but I can speak CAPS and it gave me a headache.

I've read Ring Weekend's connections are thinking about whether to go or not.  Tiz Herself reported Dance With Fate's connection are also thinking about not going and El Kabong just reported that Midnight Hawk may not go.  Also read an article that Toast Of New York's connections are shopping him here in the US and if someone buys him, he'll probably go to the Derby.  Lots of things happening that can still impact the Derby, for me, it’s Ring Weekend as I feel he is the true speed (rabbit?) of the race and my handicapping will be based mostly on him setting a fast pace.   I have to wait until the post draw, then the weather forecast before I can decide who my top 4 will be.  I know Samraat will be in my top four regardless of the weather, only way I won’t bet him is if he ends up in the 1 to 5 hole.  I will take a long hard look at Cairo Prince now that he’s back in the mix.

I like CP because it gave Kiaran a 2nd chance and knowing that he most likely made a mistake giving him that much layoff, he’ll do the right thing this time and get him ready to race.  I'd be even more happier if Vinceremos makes it.  The Bluegrass is a throw out race for him, he's much better than he showed, I don't think he took to the track at all, he looked like he was struggling.

I'm not sure if anyone is already in CD but read that Danza is shipping there tomorrow.  He'll probably be the first one to get there and get used to the track.  I'm anxiously looking forward to Steve Haskin's workout reports, as well as Weekend's.  It's going to be a long long 3 weeks...

I 2nd El Kabong regarding Pedigree Ann's posts, always an interesting read.  Thanks Ann!

14 Apr 2014 12:32 AM

Mr. Frisky dominated the Santa Anita Derby.  Brought his 13-13 Peurto Rican record to Santa Anita where he reeled off 3 straight wins in the states.  Once again, look for the "also rans" to fill out the ticket.  Second place Santa Anita Derby runner Video Ranger a deep closer runs 4th to Unbridled in the Kentucky Derby.  

Another great Stevens' SA Derby was the dominate ride on Winning Colors a few years earlier.  She simply ran them off their feet after being wheeled back in just weeks from her Santa Anita Oaks score.  Ships and does it again at Churchill.  

Probably one of the top 5 training jobs of all time.

But I back to figuring out this nonsense.

14 Apr 2014 12:45 AM

Pedigree Ann and Coldfacts ,

Could you tell me what you think of the following colts pedigree, and your top 3 based on pedigree? If you previously posted, I could not find it. Thank you

Constitution, Hoppertunity, General A Rod and Ride on Curlin

If anybody that knows about pedigree would like to jump in that would be great.

14 Apr 2014 5:52 AM

I know talent when I see it and what Constitution has done in just 3 races should amaze everyone.  This is a very fast horse. Remember he ran a 44 half mile split AFTER missing the BREAK ! If he choses to on or near the lead at the half mile pole in the Derby no on can stop him.

Bayern beat California WINNERS by 15 lengths.... and then faced 2 horses from another state that haven't won anything all year and he lost big.  The facts are there....

14 Apr 2014 8:03 AM


At least your input was delivered in a civil manner and I wish otheres would adopt this approach instead of demonizing those who are of different opinions.

“2 year olds don't run in the Derby.”

I am not sure how to interpret the above since the Derby is a race restricted to 3YOs. I cited two brilliant 2YOs and enquired whether they should have been considered special? That had nothing to do with the Derby

In fact, very few 2-yr old champs have won it.

Street Sense is the only BCJ winner to win the Derby. However, several 2YO champions have won the Derby. Count Fleet, Citation, Needles, Riva Ridge, Secretariat, Foolish Pleasure, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid and Street Sense achieved Derby victory. Many other 2YO champions won Triple Crown races as well..

“In my opinion, and in the opinion of many more knowledgeable than I, CC has been the most impressive colt in this year’s Derby preps.”

I concur that he has been the most impressive and I have posted no opposing views to the contrary. However, does this mark him special?

“Draynay may ask, "who has he beat", my answer is, who could have beat him in any of his last 4 races?”

Obviously none of those that opposed him who were largely unknowns! The answer to your question would be Constitution who happens to be Draynay selection. Why Constitution? He is undefeated whilst CC has been defeated by lesser on 4 occasions. Constitution remains undefeated whilst facing significantly better opponents.

Was Constitution expected to destroy Wildcat Red, General A Rod and Cairo Prince in the FL Derby similar to CC destruction of lesser in the SA Derby?

I concur with CC impressiveness in his last 4 starts. I have in no way tried to discredit him. I have just question the rationale behind a colt that had a break out race in his 7th start and won 3 subsequent races impressively against lesser and labeled special. Look at the 2YO champions above it will be clear the CC has been impressive but it's premature to label him special.

14 Apr 2014 8:30 AM

Mister Frisky,

I intended to specify that Curlin's progenies perform well on Turf as well. Kindly note the correction.

14 Apr 2014 8:36 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kaabong and Keelerman,

Thanks for the help with the Bluegrass. I hit the tri and exacta for $2 each. In the black for the Derby.

14 Apr 2014 8:39 AM
Sail On


Yes, some of the horses's names leave one scratching one's head. Poor horses, at least they are able to feel embarrassed.

Horses contending for this year's derby with the best champion names: (short list)




Medal Count

Cairo Prince




Strong Mandate

Noble Moon




Conquest Titan


But, the only one of the above that I believe will be in the money come Derby Day is possibly Danza. So, just like the colours that a horse carries, names are not a factor in winning, but they do influence the odds.

Steve, 412 comments, looks like you've enthralled quite a few of us with your tremendous blog, and awesome descriptions of the colts that are contending.

14 Apr 2014 9:14 AM

I am on Constitution as you all know... and I could care less about some 2 year old curse.  It doesn't mean a thing to the horse and he has shown grit and an unwillingness to lose.  But the even bigger mistake is to dismiss a very tough and talented Wildcat Red.  If you suddenly think Wicked Strong or Danza are better and tougher than Wildcat Red because he may not like the extra 200 yards ? Trust me when I tell you there are not 4 horses better than Wildcat Red.  So far I am only willing to believe there is 1.

14 Apr 2014 9:51 AM

"Mind That Bird comes to Churchill and destroys the field what does that say about the racing world outside of New Mexico?"  I have to once again point out that "Mine That Bird" was the Canadian 2 y/o Champion.  He was a MADE horse.  A horse that should have been overlooked as the information was readily available.  The only reason he was a longshot in the Derby is because the media made it sound like a rags to riches story about 3 old boys and a horse from New Mexico.  So how can Mine That Bird say anything about New Mexico racing?

14 Apr 2014 10:07 AM


When I was comprising the post I initially noted Mine That Bird, Northern Dancer and Sonny's Halo. They were all Canadian 2YO champions that won the Derby. For reason unknown I omitted them and focused on the US based 2YO champions.

For my indiscretion I beg your forgiveness.

14 Apr 2014 10:56 AM

Correction:  Should NOT have been overlooked.

14 Apr 2014 11:10 AM


Lets start with your obsession with Mr. Prospector.  He won 1/2 of his 14 career starts.  Mr. Prospector was a great sire of speed (he was a sprinter) and class, but he did NOT kick out cookie-cutter versions of himself.  In fact, many of his best runners throw back more to their DAM'S pedigrees in looks and aptitude, in particular his greatest sire son Fappiano, who has created his own dominant branch of the Mr. Prospector sire line.  This is the branch that has produced more of the STAYERS.

You said that California Chrome's profile does not fit that of a derby winner, WHY?  When you make such remarks, it is important to give an explanation of your findings.  Tell me about his profile, please.

You also said "stay strong to your beliefs and convictions, as those that oppose them..."  Please understand that beliefs and convictions are based on ones MORAL compass, and therefore your quote makes no sense.  What you should have said is "stay strong to your opinion, based on careful study and analysis of the horses that you consider derby quality.

TerriV, Revolutionary, Wise Dan, and Will Take Charge are such lovely horses and all three are beautifully bred.  I know you likely have checked out their pedigrees.    

14 Apr 2014 11:36 AM

zarvona, I very much agree with your analysis of Chitu.  He is a beautifully bred colt.  At this point, I can't leave him out of my top picks.  I don't know if he is going to the derby.

14 Apr 2014 11:45 AM
The Bid


You are certainly correct in referring to CONSTITUTION as "special" the facts you laid out would certainly deem him the label. Your questioning of CALIFORNIA CHROME in comparison to SHARED BELIEF is well noted BUT....Is there a possibility that as a 2yr.old CALIFORNIA CHROME was learning & dealing with a trainer before Sherman who had no clue in what he had and that CHROME was "still green as ever" as the majority of 2yr. olds are????!!!!!!! Then comes Sherman and some equipment adjustments and then the hose turns 3, light goes on and Sherman realizes potential and all the while CALIFORNIA CHROME becomes professional and PUSH-BUTTON when called upon (hasn't been called on YET!)! We will never know regarding SHARED BELIEF until he takes to the track again! BUT we do know how "Special" he was @ 2yrs old but that is NOT the question, we want to know how "special" he is @ 3yrs. old!

There are still a number of "special" colts in this crop heading to The Derby, we just don't know HOW SPECIAL yet!!! We shall see, but if we can take anything away from the past 4 months, is THIS.....There's A TON of early-speed and most seem to be able to carry it to the wire (WILDCAT RED, GENERAL AROD,SAMRAAT,CHROME,CONSTITUTION) with only a few legit closers (WICKED STRONG, INTENSE HOLIDAY maybe HOPPERTUNITY). IMO all the above mentioned are tested unlike some want to argue that fact, and given certain undeniable facts that WILL certainly diminish them on Derby Day ( Post draw and track condition), there is a lot that can happen between now and the next 3 weeks!

14 Apr 2014 11:54 AM

Terlingua, thanks. I enjoy posting, and acknowledgement is always a bonus.

I'm really looking forward to Steve's post this afternoon.

14 Apr 2014 12:20 PM


“Beliefs and Convictions are based on one’s MORAL compass, and therefore your quote makes no sense.”

MORAL COMPASS: used in reference to a person's ability to judge what is right and wrong and act accordingly.

BELIEF: An acceptance that a statement is true of that something exists! Trust, faith or confidence in someone or something!

Does Draynay believes his statements represent truth? Who do you think Draynay has confidence in? I would conclude himself. What thing do you believe he has confidence in? Try his ability to evaluate thoroughbreds objectively based on their performances.

CONVICTION: A formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense!  A firmly held opinion!

Which of the above definitions is applicable in my advice to Draynay?

I am not a very good student of English but I do not believe the two words were used inappropriately. In thoroughbred racing the ability judge what is right and wrong and act accordingly rest with the owners and training staff of horses not with the handicappers and fans.

14 Apr 2014 1:08 PM
It aint easy being good!

This blog sounds like its a 2 horse race for the derby. Beware of the forgotten horse. That horse is the cairo prince. The horse had a long vacation and ran like one in his first race back. Expect a different result in 3 weeks!!

14 Apr 2014 1:18 PM


“Let’s start with your obsession with Mr. Prospector.”

Mr. Prospector has been long gone. His male tail descendants have dominated the TC series of race in the US and have sired the winner of all the major International races.

It is surprising that anyone would attempt to diminish Mr. Prospector’s stature as sire and sire of sires. Such was his contribution to the breeding industry in the US, that he was buried between two Triple Crown winners from different continents i.e., Nijinsky and Secretariat.

He is one of only a very few stallion that have sired a winner of each leg of the TC. Nine of his son and 10 of his grandsons have sired 24 horses that have won 35 TC races in the US.

What I highlight are cold facts. If you have a desires twist same into an obsession be my guest.  

14 Apr 2014 1:46 PM
Jean in Chicago


Yes, some of us have commented on the horrible names some horses have been saddled with (pun intended).  Just remember The Green Monkey.  And who thought Carry Back's parents should be named 'Saggy' and 'Joppy'?  I figure the horse is just too embarrassed hearing his name called and wants to hide in the back where he won't be noticed.  

Obviously, a noble sounding name isn't actually going to increase a horse's talent and he will probably have a 'barn name' like Mickey, Spike, or Red, but come on, owners, show a little effort (and don't drink too much before filling out those Jockey Club papers.)

14 Apr 2014 1:56 PM

Cold Facts: Do you think Constitution "destroyed" Wildcat Red and General A Rod in the Florida Derby???? He sat off the lead on the rail the whole way ala Super Saver in the 2010 Derby, let Wildcat Red and General A Rod do all the work on the front end and then slipped through the rail and beat Wildcat Red by a short neck and General A Rod by about a length.  Hardly destruction of those two!!!  He may be the real deal but you are way overselling him.

14 Apr 2014 1:56 PM
Smoking Baby

Draynay, you could be right about Constitution.

I'm sure few will complain if Constitution wins the Derby.  He's worthy and it would be great for WinStar.  It wouldn't hurt racing to see Pletcher (first class act & represents the sport well) win another one and I'd personally like to see a son of Tapit win one of these Triple Crown races.  It would be one more Derby "curse" erased (Apollo) as well.

Make no mistake, he's one of the two or three to beat.  I'm thinking at this point my top 4 are:

California Chrome

Wicked Strong


Ride On Curlin

14 Apr 2014 2:20 PM

Coldfacts, what I highlighted are cold facts.  Mr. Prospector was a sprinter, not a stayer, and that is a fact.  Many of his best runners throw back more to their dam's pedigrees in looks and aptitude; this is another fact.  It is so unfortunate that you did not read everything I wrote.    

14 Apr 2014 4:32 PM


Horses are living creatures that have intelligence and personalities. They are not just so many statistics, paper pedigrees and Beyer speeds. A colt or filly is the result of its sire and dam, but not a carbon copy or clone of them, but rather a unique individual just like you and I and all other humans are.

I do not doubt for a minute that if Secretariat were running in this year’s Derby, that you would be critiquing every aspect about him based on “paper” and decide and argue that there is no way he could win the Derby, much less win the Triple Crown.

I am one of the people who has been made fun of and ridiculed  for comments I have made on this post and my selection of  horses and although I have not clearly come out and stated yet that California Chrome is my pick to win the Derby, I am sure I will be subject to harsh criticism by you and several others on this site.

There are several factors that I think that you either do not understand or do not believe or cannot find written in a pedigree or cannot determine statistically and therefore you leave them out of your analysis.

Pedigree is important and is a baseline that I use in making a determination on the feasibility of the horses’ success. It is something I take into consideration when I am thinking about breeding a mare or purchasing a horse. We all have bloodlines that we prefer. I have to be honest and say that the reason I was not on the Cali Chrome bandwagon early on is his pedigree, but not for your reasons, rather, I am bothered by how deeply inbred this colt is to Northern Dancer. You see, I am one of those people who think that Northern Dancers weakness in bone has been genetically passed down through all the successive generations of progeny and especially holds true when there is multiple generations of inbreeding.  

But then I started studying his pedigree and found it to be quite impressive: In addition to Secretariat of course, I found Caro, Narrate, Honest Pleasure, Buckpasser, Man O War, Numbered Account, Sir Ivor, Something Royal (twice) and even Swaps. And what impressed me additionally was that so many of the horses in his bloodline came from Claiborne Farm. If you have never visited Claiborne’s website, you really should, their history is an almost surreal read on all the racing greats…back in the old times..when a decision to breed was based on knowing the stallion and the mare. Old school breeding says that you breed to improve the mare.  In other words, since a foal is usually 60% of the mare, the mare is bred to a stallion that will improve upon her shortcomings for a foal that will hopefully take the best from both parents. This was long before like True Nicks and blood horse consultants. And since I am firm believer and know first hand that certain qualities can be passed down from many generations back, not just the first five as some believe, I started thinking that this colt, despite his humble beginnings is royally bred and no doubt has benefited from his royal ancestors.

The other factor I take into consideration is the trainer. God bless him, I just have to love Mr. Sherman. He has actually ridden a champion racehorse. His experience and love of horses goes back a lifetime. He is not the head of a huge training conglomerate like the Bafferts, the Assmussens and the Pledgers,  rather he is hands on trainer and  knows everything about California Chrome there is to know. He again is “old school” and the type of trainer that we need more of.

Another factor is the that this colt was bred and still owned by the same people. He was not sent off to be prepped for the sale ring. He was given love and care from the day that he was born in the same home. Horses thrive on consistency. They respond to love in ways that might be beyond your comprehension.

They know when you believe in them, much in the same way that Penny Tweedy believed in Secretariat and the Mosses in Zenyatta. Horses pick up on this from their owners. I am in no way saying that the big breeders do not love and care for their horses, there is just a difference. The owners even have a picture history of Cali Chrome from when he was born through his childhood.

Then the owners…people with a dream. A stallion with a $2500 stud fee and a mare that was bought  for $8K and one of the owners is a press operator in a factory. Humble beginnings away from the glittery high dollar horse breeding industry. You just cannot not ever rule out a horse just because he had humble beginnings.

The jockey, Victor Espinoza, has consistently been the one to ride this colt. I even saw a picture of him riding the colt in a training session this past week. This colt trusts Victor and Victor trusts and truly likes him. In a high stakes race with 19 other runners, you want and need this advantage.

Then there is California Chrome himself. I have watched the replays of his races. He literally glides across the track, seemingly effortlessly. He runs to win of his own doing and responds to what Victor asks of him. Not once have I seen the whip raised, rather he is hand ridden every step of the way. I do not think he hardly breaks a sweat. His running style reminds me of Secretariat’s. He does not waste a lot of energy getting into that easy relaxed run and fighting with his jockey.

When he popped up on the screen, I commented on this very site of how impressed I was with his conditioning. His muscles were deep and long and firm and he seems to have maintained this great conditioning during the racing season.

Then there is attitude. I call Cali Chrome a “honest” horse.  In my world, that is a horse that is consistent every day, he gives the same 110% effort every time. An honest horse is not going to let you down by doing something stupid like some of the colts did this prep season. If he does have an off day, there is probably a very good reason for it, like Secretariat with the gum abscess.

Cali Chrome is a very laid back horse. He knows his job and he relishes doing it. Someone attended the Santa Anita and made the observation that he was so calm, so relaxed, that he loved the crowds and that after the race was over he turned and looked back down the track as if to say , WOW, I did that!. He is very very confident in himself and takes pride in his work.

Oh I know that some of this sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus but if you truly know horses and have spent years observing them and getting to know them, you would not call it hocus pocus.

Then there is his conformation. On another site there have been  photos of Cali and Secretariat. Granted he is not conformation perfection that Secretariat was, but he has a deep, long hip that gives him great propulsion off the back end. He has a longer back than Secretariat, which seems to run in the Pulpits. But, keep in mind that Wise Dan is a very long bodied horse.  He has a long reaching stride like Secretariat that eats up ground very efficiently.

Then there is something that you and others on this site will laugh about….but go ahead and laugh…it is intuition. Intuition tells me that there is something special about this colt that goes beyond being a flashy chestnut that looks like Secretariat. Over the years, when I allow myself to do so and trust my intuition about a race horse and not be swayed  by “professional” opinions, I am usually right and more years than not  I pick the winning horse in the Derby right out of the post parade.

Do I live in the Easter Bunny and Peter Pan world that leads me to believe that Cali is a shoo-in. Nope, I do not. I know that his post position is important. Do I know that there are other horses and jockeys that will try to run him down or box him in, of course I do. Then there are the track conditions to consider and will he ship well? But these challenges  face all the colts.  It will simply boil down to which colt can handle these challenges the best on that particular day and which one the great racing legends that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge will smile down upon.

And there is one more thing…it is something called “heart” The heart of the horse, the trainer and the owners.  And heart, Cold facts (and a couple of others like you on this post) is something I think you do not seem understand or have any appreciation for. You will not find “heart” on paper or in a Beyer speed is something that you have to look into the eye of the horse and the trainer and the owners to see.  Anyone who has any experience with horses will tell you, that a horse has the tremendous capability to did down deep and  accomplish the seemingly impossible from their “heart”.

I doubt very seriously if any of this has made an impact on you and will not change your mind about Cali or any other horse that I like, but perhaps it will open your eyes to the fact that there is more than one way to pick a favorite, that there is more than one methodology out there and that we are not all a bunch of blathering idiots who are totally uneducated about horses.

Racing has some big black eyes…the break down of Eight Bells, the doping charges, the PETA video and all the Thoroughbreds being sold for slaughter. It is a sport and an industry that will surely wither up and die if something does not reverse the trend of what the American people think about racing as of recent years.

Racing needs a hero, a champion that the American people can wrap their hearts around. Racing needs a Secretariat, a Seabiscuit. This country needs a hero, a champion that the country can wrap its heart around. We need a “people’s horse” Is this the year? Is California Chrome the horse?  Is this the year that the long drought of Triple Crown winners ends? Is this the year that turns the corner for racing and starts erasing those black eyes?

Maybe, maybe not. But in my book, California Chrome is the best thing we have going this year and there is nothing that  you or anyone else can say that can sway me from him. Only time will tell here in just a few weeks.

Greatness can come from anywhere and in ways I kind of feel sympathy for you and a couple others on  this site for not being able to recognize that.

14 Apr 2014 5:01 PM
Jean in Chicago


Some years back KY VET used to post in all caps and he got the same complaints, hard to read and felt like yelling.  If Cuba has suddenly gone to all caps and strange english, its a shame.  Its too hard to pay attention to the message if the medium gets in the way.

14 Apr 2014 6:50 PM


I got lost reading your last post. My only issue with CC is the fact the he is being classifies as special. I have not criticized his pedigree. I think his sire is moderate son of Pulpit but I have not focused on that. You have taken it step further by classifying him as great. Have you evaluated the potential of Shared Belief, Constitution and Wicked Strong?

The issue I have with the supporters of CC is the fact that they have gone all in on a colt that has not yet faced the best of his peers. His performances in CA are being used to forecast his likely performances at a CD, Pimlico and Belmont. That crazy!

CC could be a special horse but so could Share Belief, Constitution and Wicked Strong. Share Belief and Constitution are undefeated and have recorded three impressive victories. They both had more impressive starts to their careers than CC. He has made 7 more starts then they have. What will unfold in their next 7 starts? They did not wait for their 7th start for a break out performance and consequently could get better with more experience.

You appear to be so paranoid about this colt that you have determined that doubters COLDFACTS and DRAYNAY need sympathy for not recognizing that he is either special or great. Wow!

14 Apr 2014 10:43 PM

Jean In Chicago : Thanks for the explanation, was confused because your initial post sounded like you wanted me to "chill out" about cuba's all caps, no period posts.  I was interested in reading but like I said, it was just too hard to understand without getting cross eyed.  See you in the latest dozen! :)

14 Apr 2014 11:37 PM


WOW!  An extremely beautiful piece! It is absolutely, unequivocally the best. Your to be admired for your outstanding understanding of the horse and the theater they operate in. Thanks for sharing

15 Apr 2014 2:00 PM

Recent Posts

More Blogs