Derby Dozen - April 14, 2014 - Presented by Shadwell Farm


California Chrome Art Sherman

Lucky Pulpit—Love the Chase, by Not For Love

Yes, his speed and overall brilliance has been established, but his mind plays a huge part in his success. He has a wonderful relationship with people and knows exactly what he has to do, whether racing or training. Part of that is due to the amount of contact he had with people as a foal. His dam had a difficult time foaling him, suffering lacerations, and she and her foal had to remain in confinement for an extended period of time until she recovered, and he got to interact a great deal with people, while developing quite a personality and becoming very independent. Because he wasn’t able to socialize with the other foals in the beginning, he became more focused on people than he was on horses. To this day, he still has maintained those close ties to people. In his early days on the track at the farm he loved to go out and train every day and always enjoyed what he was doing and learned his lessons like a pro. And he was never sick a day while he was there; not even as much as a slight fever. The quote of the week goes to co-owner Steve Coburn, who had turned down a reported $6 million for the horse before the Santa Anita Derby. When a significantly higher offer came in after the Santa Anita Derby, Coburn’s reply was, “My answer last week was “no” and my answer now is “hell, no.” Some dreams are priceless.


Hoppertunity Bob Baffert Click Here!

Any Given Saturday—Refugee, by Unaccounted For

It’s not every day you can collect $200,000 for a workout, but that’s pretty much what Baffert and Hoppertunity’s owners did when the colt ran second in the Santa Anita Derby without raising much of a sweat. He was able to get dirt kicked in his face racing on the inside and then drew clear of the others by 3 1/2 lengths without any urging whatsoever from Mike Smith. Baffert reads his competition as well as anyone and he knew it would be futile and counter-productive to bust a gut trying to chase down California Chrome, so he got exactly what he wanted – a good solid Derby prep without taking anything out of the horse. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be ready for a peak performance off that race. And for all those concerned about the Apollo curse, remember, he was entered last Nov. 22, but was scratched the morning of the race because of a fever. So although he didn’t debut until Jan. 4, he was ready to run a month and a half before that. The Apollo curse can be interpreted in two ways. One is the maturity and development factor. It’s not only about when they debut but when they’re ready to debut, and he was developed enough, fit enough, and sharp enough to run well before Jan. 1, as evident by the five races he’s crammed in this year in three different states, while moving forward each time.


Wicked Strong Jimmy Jerkens Click Here!

Hard Spun—Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic

It’s hard not to root for a Jerkens family Derby victory, just to watch Allen bawling after the race, unable to speak. Jimmy has had some tough luck on the Derby trail, losing such talented and promising 3-year-olds as Iron Deputy, Quality Road, and Corinthian. This could be his year, considering it was Centennial Farm, owner of the volatile and unpredictable Corinthian who remained loyal to him during his recent dry spell after losing several of his main clients and a good portion of his stable. There is also the Boston karma regarding the colt’s name and Centennial donating a portion of his winnings to the Boston One Fund to assist those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. This colt’s two best races have been at 1 1/8 miles and he definitely is one of those who looks like he should relish 1 1/4 miles. And here is my New Jersey trifecta box for the Derby – Hoppertunity, Wicked Strong, and Ride On Curlin, whose sires (Any Given Saturday, Hard Spun, and Curlin) finished first, second, and third in the 2007 Haskell Invitational. All are powerful closers coming off super efforts in their final prep. It is also interesting to note that the owners of Hoppertunity and Wicked Strong both won Breeders’ Cup races at Monmouth Park in 2007. And Curlin won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, with Hard spun second. Are you reading this, New Jersey?


Constitution Todd Pletcher

Tapit—Baffled, by Distorted Humor

If you could gauge a horse’s ranking on a scale, on one end of this colt’s scale you have three career starts and 99 years and 132 years of history to overcome. On the other end you have the colt’s raw talent, which appears to be limitless at this point. The question is which end of the scale will be weighted down more on May 3? He had his first work since the Florida Derby, breezing an easy half on his own in :50 3/5 at Palm Meadows. Like all the Pletcher Derby candidates training at Palm Meadows, he is scheduled to work one more time next week and then ship to Churchill on April 22, where he’ll have one final work over the track. Watching the Florida Derby, he couldn’t have had a more perfect ground-saving trip and then finding an inviting opening on the rail, but give him credit for going through and showing his competitive spirit by out-battling a gutsy and far more seasoned Wildcat Red in only his third career start. Now comes the question of how he’ll handle a 20-horse field with plenty of expected speed and pace pressure having only three starts under him. It’s not going to take much to tip that scale one way or the other. Talent vs. history?


Danza Todd Pletcher Click Here!

Street Boss—Champagne Royale, by French Deputy

Yes, like everyone else, my first thought was, “Where the heck did that come from?” Talk about crashing the party at the 11th hour. I had watched this colt’s other races beforehand and still couldn’t see it. And a son of the sprinter Street Boss no less. But then I saw something that I have to admit provided the vision of sanity I had been looking for, at least to some degree. The colt was bred by Rob Whiteley’s Liberation Farm in partnership. Rob, sadly, no longer is in the Thoroughbred business, but his impact on the breed remains. I admit to not being objective, as Rob and I have known each other for 42 years, back when he was a professor at Rutgers University and I was a lowly librarian at DRF. Not only has Rob bred 20 grade I stakes winners for Liberation and Foxfield, I know his philosophy well, and he breeds for toughness – old school, strong boned and muscled milers with speed who can carry it a distance of ground. This colt fits his m.o. to a tee. He has gotten more out of mile pedigrees than anyone I know, and he actually is responsible for the breeding of Danza’s sire and dam. I still don’t know how this colt did what he did coming off only one so-so seven-furlong allowance race (beaten 7 1/2 lengths) in the last eight months. To not only beat all these seasoned stakes horses, but to crush them with a stunning :12 1/5 final eighth and running the 1 1/8 miles only .13 one-hundreths of a second slower than Will Take Charge the race before was nothing short of amazing. Visually, I love his action, the way he drops his shoulder, and the reach and efficiency of his stride. And as remarkable as it may seem, he found another gear in the final sixteenth and was running through the wire as if he was just getting started. As far as him being a major Derby threat, my brain is still trying to compute what we saw on Saturday. I have no idea what we’re dealing with, but that was as impressive as it gets and he sure looked like the real thing to me.


General a Rod Mike Maker

Roman Ruler—Dynamite Eyes, by Dynaformer

This colt continues to intrigue me. Mike Maker has been tinkering with his blinkers, which were put on after his career debut to suit Gulfstream Park’s style of racing, and as I mentioned last week, there is a lot more to him than what he’s shown so far. Also, it was learned that Joel Rosario lost a stirrup going into the first turn in the Florida Derby, which certainly didn’t help. It could very well have happened when he bumped hard with Constitution. These are important factors to consider going into the Derby, where I expect to see a totally different style of running, reverting back to his career debut at Keeneland, when he turned in an explosive move from the back of the pack to win going away. Between the blinkers tinkering (or removal?) and the likelihood of him getting sucked farther back off the pace with all the expected speed, we could see a different horse on Derby Day. To touch on his pedigree once again, his sire, who won the Haskell, is by Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus; his broodmare sire is major stamina influence Dynaformer, sire of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro; his third dam is a half-sister to French Derby winner Caracolero; and his fourth dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince. He is stabled at Trackside training center near Churchill Downs, so he likely will be out of sight, out of mind. But it wouldn’t be wise to put him completely out of your mind.


Cairo Prince Kiaran McLaughlin Click Here!

Pioneerof the Nile—Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull

Now that the dust of the Florida Derby has settled and he is in the top 20, I am moving him up, based on several factors. I’ve watched the Florida Derby numerous times, and each time it hits me a little more how that race was stacked against him, especially coming off a nine-week layoff, no long works, and obviously being a bit short for such a top-class competitive race. He wound up farther back than he’s used to after getting a bit intimidated when General a Rod bumped Constitution right in his path going into the first turn. He then had to be put under pressure early off such a slow pace and make a big four-wide move on the turn to reach contention and then lost ground circling horses turning for home, while the winner cut the corner, gaining a big advantage. I put a watch on him several times from the half-mile pole to the quarter pole and each time I got him in :23 1/5. That was too taxing a next-to-last quarter move going so wide, and he had every right to get tired in the final quarter. But even so, I thought he was striding out well enough and just simply got outrun. In 2005, McLaughlin had Closing Argument go into his final Derby prep, the Blue Grass, off a similar layoff after winning the Holy Bull and off a similar work pattern of four- and five-furlong works. He, too, came up short, finishing third, beaten nine lengths, and then finished second, beaten a half-length, in the Derby at odds of 71-1. And Closing Argument was by a sprinter/miler, out of a mare by a sprinter, so McLaughlin is treading over the same ground, but with a more talented horse with a stronger 1 1/4-mile pedigree. And let’s not forget, he was giving away a good chunk of weight in the Holy Bull and his beaten foes in that race came back to win the Wood Memorial, Risen Star, Bay Shore, and Calder Derby. He is another who could come back to haunt you if you dismiss him off the Florida Derby.


Intense Holiday Todd Pletcher Click Here!

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

I’ve been waiting to see his first work since the Louisiana Derby and he did everything the right way, working a half in :48 4/5 at Palm Meadows in company with We Miss Artie. Like the beaten horses from the Florida Derby, if you liked him before, you cannot give up on him off that second-place finish at Fair Grounds. I wish he had pulled his dipsy doodle sidestep in his start before the Louisiana Derby, so he’d have a chance to get a nice clean final prep in and show that was some fluke occurrence, which it likely was. You never want to see a horse that discombobulated and making a left turn into the rail just when he had his sights set on the pacesetting eventual winner. I keep mentioning the push-button acceleration he showed just before he messed up his action. It wasn’t the first time he’d shown that kind of turn of foot, so it wasn’t a fluke. I also want to think of all those fast closing and middle fractions he’s thrown in before. Those were the kinds of fractions you want to see in a Derby horse. Yes, the horse he barely defeated in the Risen Star didn’t run very well in the Louisiana Derby, but Vicar’s in Trouble, Hoppertunity, and Commanding Curve all came out of the Risen Star and ran huge in their next start, so we can call that a wash.


Samraat Rick Violette

Noble Causeway—Little Indian Girl, by Indian Charlie

I was really debating where to put this horse, because I still don’t know how I feel about his chances in the Derby. Other than Uncle Sigh I’m not sure just what he’s been beating, and he just barely nosed out a tiring Social Inclusion for second in the Wood Memorial after having clear aim at him in the final furlong. He also has a tendency not to switch leads and seems to alternate races changing and not changing. But that said, he is such a hard trying horse and is such a fighter, you can’t help but give him a shot wherever he runs. Can he take back and rally from midpack in a 20-horse field if that’s where he finds himself? That’s one of the questions we won’t have an answer to until the Derby. But you have to admire what he’s accomplished so far, and he’s one of the horses I really want to see train at Churchill before assessing his chances. But it looks like he won’t be shipping in until Derby week, so we may have to go by gallops and overall appearance.


Ride On Curlin William GowanClick Here!

Curlin—Magical Ride, by Storm Cat

Well, he delivered by presenting his connections with an invitation to Churchill Downs, and that’s all you could ask of him, especially under the circumstances and such a freaky performance by a 71-1 shot. He at least did the one thing I was hoping to see and that was come from off the pace and make one late run. Even though he lost valuable ground fanning wide at the top of the stretch, this was a huge step forward, and he now seems as if he’s reverting back to the horse we saw fly home from eighth in the Champagne Stakes. He has the bottom and the experience, and I hope they stick with Jon Court, who has had some tough luck getting to the Derby, despite winning two Arkansas Derbys and getting beat a neck in the Santa Anita Derby. He deserves this shot. So now this colt means business and can take his consistency and his strong pedigree, and his closing punch to Churchill with a live shot at the roses. He’s been first, second, or third in eight of his nine stakes, and was a close fourth in his other race, the grade III Iroquois. He’s run big from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and has been second, third, and fourth in his three starts at Churchill Downs, so he knows the track well.


Candy Boy John Sadler

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

He is back on the list now that it looks like he, too, doesn’t have to worry about points. Although he’s still dangerous, it’s difficult to get as excited about him as one did before the Santa Anita Derby. Like Cairo Prince, he looked to come up short off a layoff, but he lacked any punch from the quarter pole home and had Hoppertunity pull away from him while under restraint the entire length of the stretch. Should he improve off this effort? He should, but can he improve enough to be a factor in the Derby? He would need quite a form reversal. I do like the fact that he’ll have a work at Churchill Downs and I’m still partial to horses that do, only to get a true feel of the track and how they will handle it in work conditions. Other California horses have shipped in Derby week and won the race without working over the track, but Giacomo did it in a bizarre year when all the favorites peaked the race before the Derby and I’ll Have Another’s gallops were as close to actual works as you can get. So, we’ll just wait and see if he makes a great impression once he gets to Kentucky.


Vicar’s in Trouble Mike Maker

Into Mischief —Vibrant, by Vicar

He has settled into his new quarters at the Churchill Downs’ Trackside training center and got his first feel of the track, breezing a sharp half in :48 1/5. Although he won the Louisiana Derby by open lengths, he’ll have to improve on that :13 3/5 final eighth. His best running style most likely is laying off the pace, but as he showed at Fair Grounds he can take advantage of whatever is handed to him. He’s had his regression after two monster efforts and is now back on an upward spiral. How far he can take that is anyone’s guess. He’s probably more inclined to excel at 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles, but he has enough pedigree to carry that farther under the right conditions. Like his stablemate, General a Rod, he won’t be seen much at Churchill Downs, so a drive over to Trackside once or twice is about all you can hope for.

Knocking At The Door

The only reason Blue Grass Stakes winner DANCE WITH FATE was not considered for the Top 12 is because his connections have not yet decided whether he is Derby bound, and in fact have shipped him back to California. A decision is at least a week away, so he’ll float around down here until we hear something definite. This is a very solid horse who obviously prefers a synthetic surface, but he did finish second in the grade I FrontRunner Stakes on dirt last year, although that hasn’t proved to be a strong race. His sire, Two Step Salsa, was effective from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, but a mile seemed to be his best distance. This colt has an excellent closing kick, but can he duplicate it on dirt going a mile and a quarter.

MEDAL COUNT validated Dale Romans’ decision to run back in eight day when he rallied for second in the Blue Grass to earn a spot in the Derby at No. 18, which likely will become 17 after Bob Baffert decides whether to run. It was his big move on the far turn that stood out, but he didn’t have enough to hold off the charging Dance With Fate. He did lose a lot of ground on both turns, so that is something to remember if you’re looking for a betting angle. The son of Dynaformer has run three times on the dirt, breaking his maiden at Ellis Park, finishing up the track in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and running a respectable fifth of 12 in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, beaten 9 1/4 lengths. His form suggests that Polytrack and grass are his preferred surfaces.

PABLO DEL MONTE looks to have a bright future after stretching out in the Blue Grass and putting all the stalkers away and then hanging in there gamely to finish third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. The son of Giant’s Causeway has good dirt form and was competitive against the best 3-year-olds in Florida in January and Febuary. The four horses chasing him in the Blue Grass wound up finishing 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, so this was a big effort for him.

Bob Baffert likely will decide to run either MIDNIGHT HAWK or CHITU in the Illinois Derby. Both have the points to get in the Kentucky Derby. Chitu worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5, while Midnight Hawk went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5.

West Point Thoroughbreds and Graham Motion will have to make a decision soon on whether to point RING WEEKEND to the Derby after his disappointing well-beaten second in the Calder Derby. West Point no doubt would love to get COMMANDING CURVE, a fast-closing third in the Louisiana Derby, in the Kentucky Derby, but there still a few horses ahead of him who are tied in points but have more non-restricted stakes earnings. Two of them, HARRY’S HOLIDAY and VINCEREMOS, finished 13th and 14th, respectively, in the Blue Grass Stakes, so their status is questionable.

UNCLE SIGH, who didn’t have the best of trips in the Wood Memorial, breaking slowly and losing early position, is sitting at No. 21, but likely will make the cut. He should be heading to Kentucky in the near future.

TAPITURE, sent off as the 2-1 second choice behind BAYERN in the Arkansas Derby, had no apparent excuse, finishing fourth, beaten over seven lengths, and it’s very possible his distance limitations were exposed. Bayern, with only two career starts and not having run since Feb. 13, came up short and had to settle for third, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. STRONG MANDATE never has looked like his old self this year and it finally caught up with him, as he brought up the rear, beaten over 21 lengths.

Still waiting for WILDCAT RED to have his first work since the Florida Derby.


Leave a Comment:

Fan of Damascus

Hi Steve,

While I agree with your assessment that Uncle Sigh will likely make it to the Derby as the first alternative, I was wondering why his connections don't enter him in the Lexington Stakes for insurance since all he needs is a single point to pass Cairo Prince for a guaranteed spot in the Derby.

14 Apr 2014 4:42 PM

Steve, California Chrome at this stage appears the likely wiener on paper anyway. If he were to draw the no. 1 hole then...

With all his inexperience I believe Constitution is the main danger, he appears to be a special horse and has delivered when it counts.

Like yourself, I am hoping that Commanding Curve can make it into the field at least he appears to be a true 10f. horse. I can see a massive retreat after a mile of fast running.

Let's hope for some sun and war mush weather, Churchill is a pall of gloom when it rains.

14 Apr 2014 5:17 PM


14 Apr 2014 5:27 PM

After the first four, it looks like a crapshoot. The Preakness could be more interesting if Shared Belief and Social Inclusion and a couple others run, along with the top few finishers from the KD.

14 Apr 2014 5:31 PM

Good assessments on all the horses.   Good stories don't win the derby, good horses with good rides do.  I would be on Ride on Curlin if they would switch jocks.  

14 Apr 2014 5:44 PM

Steve, very nice write up and info on each horse, will you do pedigree reports on each Derby horse soon ?

(1) California Chrome, the most impressive Derby prep winner hands down. I wish he, and all, Derby horses were working out at Churchill. Now if he can get lucky, and I mean stay out of trouble, not get boxed in, or roughed up too much and run like he has been, its all over.

(2) Wicked Strong .. Seemed to be screaming out for more distance in the Wood, and will get it at Churchill. What a move.

(3) Hoppertunity ... Baffert is the best on getting a horse ready for a big race  with so little foundation. Gained some valuable experience in the Ark. Derby and proved he can take a rough and tumble ride and still keep going. If CC takes a bad step, or gets boxed in, look out for Hoppertunity.

(4) Constitution ... Has probably beat the most quality horses as any other horse in the Derby, Wildcat Red, General A Rod, Cairo Prince, Wicked Strong, Mexicoma and others in the F.O.Y. undercard race. But, with no foundation, will it all catch up with him in the Derby 1 1/4 miles?

(5) General A Rod ... The long forgotten horse, will probably be 35-1 or better, and I've liked him for some time, and I'm glad to see Steve likes his pedigree.

(6) Ride on Curlin ... He has been slowly improving with each start, and may be peaked and primed up at just the right time. He for sure is one I'll be using from the #2 slot down in tri's and supers.

(7) TIE : Vicars in Trouble and Intense Holiday ...I need to look at closer and decide who I like best out of the Fairgrounds race, I think last year, 4 horses were in the top 5 finishers in the Derby from the Fairgrounds, or La. Derby race.

(8) Samraat ... Almost made it to Ky. with a perfect record.

(9) Wildcat Red ... Has a very good record and will be another that is overlooked at big odds.

(10) Harry's Holiday ... I would like to see him make the cut, but, don't think it will happen.

Does anybody have any insights on any of the horses pedigree? Good luck all.

14 Apr 2014 5:47 PM

Hello Steve, This is a heck of a puzzle .  I fell too much in love with Uncle Sigh in the futures and just read they are putting blinkers on him for the Derby.  you think that will put him  up too close to a hot pace ? Hate  to 2nd guess the trainer but fun to discuss .

14 Apr 2014 5:48 PM
It aint easy being good!

Steve I liked this derby 12. Now is the hard part tossing some horses that you really dont want too! I really like horses 6 and 7. Dont sleep on the prince he is a champion and has waxed some really good horses! 2nd off the long layoff should be ready to fire big! Love General A rod. Too me when I go back to the tape he just seems like a horse that can run all day. He never looks tired! I like wicked strong but he was beat after his wood win. Everyone on here loves breeding. General A rod has the best breeding for the derby on the list! 3 weeks to go!!!!!! Cant wait!

14 Apr 2014 5:55 PM

Steve, thanks for giving the insight on Chrome's "childhood".  I love getting the inside story on any thoroughbred I follow during their careers as well as the connections' relationship with the horse.

14 Apr 2014 5:55 PM
Tiara Terces

Once again, Steve, you show us a remarkable insight into and fondness for the participants, horse and human, that we don't often find anywhere else.  I loved the part about California Chrome's closeness to people coming from his dam's birthing problems.  I also liked your comment that the Jerkins' deserve success at the Derby after missing out with some top notch horses.  Wicked Strong looked just that as he galloped past the others.  I noticed how oddly low he carried his tail as if it were loaded down with mud from running on a wet track and your explanation of the breeding of the bafflingly impressive Danza, whose breeder, Rob Whitely, was a former professor at Rutgers whom you have known since you were a "lowly" librarian (there's nothing "lowly" about that) at DRF. I could go on, but the point is, you make us admire so many that it really lets us be happy whoever wins - except for the money we bet if it's on the wrong ones. Some dreams are priceless, as you stated about the $6 million offered for C.C.,  and mine is of one day winning the Derby superfecta . I'm thinking right now a combination of your first five plus Ride On Curlin might turn the trick.  Time will tell. Good luck to all.

14 Apr 2014 6:23 PM
classic go go

Whoops had to go and lost the comment  . In quick summation a very thorough run down . Lots can happen between now and then , including some possible interesting workouts . Not that anyone really cares because everyone bets who they like ,but the comments and insights from Haskin are always important in the evaluation process and could be right on the money as is evidenced by prior .

As an aside although not really from a betting standpoint am very likely to single Unbridled Forever in the Oaks with whomever I choose in the toughest race of the year to handicap - the Kentucky Derby

UB ran faster than anyone of the 2yo on 11'30 on that 2yo day at churchill . Likes this surface ran well at Fg .Throw out last as had a minor setback in the work pattern leading up  

14 Apr 2014 6:35 PM
Curlin 08

Hi Steve,

I like your top 12 is similar to mine after this weekend final two big preps. Im totally agree with you on Hoppertunity, General a Rod and my number one horse for the derby CAIRO PRINCE which I know he will be at good odds. Those horses have the perfect preps and they should be ready for a peak performance comes Derby day. And also I agree that Wicked Strong is really moving in the right direction at the right time and he really looks like he can run all day. Not to say that the horse to beat is California Chrome but how long he will going forward without regressing at least once. But I will be rooting for him because like the story and the people behind the horse. Here is My Top 12:

1)Cairo Prince

2)California Chrome


4)General a Rod

5)Wicked Strong


7)Wildcat Red

8)Intense Holiday



11)Candy Boy

12)Ride on Curlin

14 Apr 2014 6:37 PM

I liked Danza from his attempted G2 stake attempt.

I mad a mortal sin; didn't cover him straight up.

Tri boxed him with Tapiture, Commissioner,and Bayren.

Then ran exacta boxes with those three.

He does look really good!

14 Apr 2014 6:44 PM


Thanks for your Dozen and especially for your comments on the early days of California Chrome.  Art Sherman had also said he received California Chrome healthy with no leg problems.  Let's hope everything remains stable; knock on wood.

It's now white knuckle time and, no pressure Steve, but I depend a lot on your comments from Churchill Downs to finally settle on my 5 horse tri box.  Danza is an enigma right now, have to sleep on him for awhile.  Did have the ex. in the Bluegrass, parlay now to the Derby.  I may change my list but as of now, after this past weekend my top 5 remain the same:

1.  California Chrome: all systems go.

2.  Wicked Strong:  his Wood remains a devasting run and sets him up as the #1 closer at CD, could take it all.

3.  Hoppertunity:  agree with your analysis of the Santa Anita Derby, hope he's chasing CC home also at Churchill Downs.

4.  Constitution:  has accomplished much in his 3 starts, concerned he's done too much too soon; bounce?  Will keep a close eye on him.

5.  Intense Holiday:  Another who could take it all if CC falters but should be coming at the wire.

Right behind:  Cairo Prince, Ride on Curlin, General a Rod, Medal Count, Danza???????

Pedigree Ann--Right on with your comments from the last blog re: drugs.  I hope this industry has the guts that some of these thoroughbreds have to get this cleaned up.  If not, we're looking at Federal intervention.

Ted from LA--won't be there this year, will have to have my Mint Julep(s) at home but will take a rain check on your offer to buy.    

Bob from Boston--Will you be going?

14 Apr 2014 6:52 PM
Johnny D

Steve, you dropped Tapiture out of the dozen.  A couple things on watching the replay, Rosario (new jock) strangled him coming out of the gate and took him back which he obviously didn't want to do, no Tapit's want to do that.  He was 4 wide on the first turn, raced wide on the 2nd turn and was 5 wide coming for home and never could make up the ground.  I am not disagreeing with you on possible distance limitations, I am just saying I can forgive the performance.  For people that still have faith in Tapiture, the price is going to be that much better on the first Sat in May.

14 Apr 2014 7:00 PM

I usually play a Derby Trifecta with 2 on top, 6 in the middle, and 9 in 3d.  Pending track conditions, Churchill works, and weather, I'm considering the following: Chrome,Prince over Constitution, Chitu, Hoppertunity, Ride on Curlin over Wildcat Red, Wicked Strong, and A Rod

14 Apr 2014 7:00 PM


14 Apr 2014 7:11 PM
Sam Santschi

Very interesting group especially when you think of the different training styles.  Starting to warm to the idea of Cairo Prince. It all seems to depend on how you value these preps. The BG is a throw out and I think the Ark Derby is too.  That leaves the two horses from Santa Anita, two or three from FL and two from the Wood. Then throw in Chitu for fun.  Look forward to your reports from CD. More excited about this group than last year!!

14 Apr 2014 7:19 PM
Tiz Herself

best beyer speed figures by the contenders...

California Chrome - 109

Samraat - 108

Dance With Fate - 108

Wicked Strong - 107

Uncle Sigh - 107

Intense Holiday - 106

Wildcat Red - 106

Medal Count - 106

Chitu - 105

Tapiture - 105

Hoppertunity - 105

General A Rod - 105

Vicar's In Trouble - 105

Cairo Prince - 104

Ride on Curlin - 104

Constitution - 103

Danza - 103

We Miss Artie - 100

Midnight Hawk - 100

Ring Weekend - 100

Candy Boy - 97

14 Apr 2014 7:35 PM
Tiz Herself

Hey Steve,in your opinion, do you think the DI is still to be considered? The DI and CD of the past winners going back to 2000...

Orb = DI 3.21  CD = 0.75

I’ll Have Another = DI 2.11  CD = 0.50

Animal Kingdom = DI 1.67 CD = 0.50

Super Saver = DI 3.00 CD = 0.75

Mine That Bird = DI 4.33 CD = 0.96

Big Brown = DI 1.67 CD = 0.36

Street Sense = DI 2.14 CD = 0.68

Barbaro = DI 2.41 CD = 0.70

Giacomo = DI 4.33 CD = 0.94

Smarty Jones = DI 3.29 CD = 0.87

Funny Cide = DI 1.53 CD = 0.46

War Emblem = DI  3.40 CD = 0.95

Monarchos = DI 1.40 CD = 0.28

Fusaichi Pegasus = DI 3.67 CD = 0.96

It was written that any horse that had a DI over a 4 would not be able to win the Derby however Mine That Bird and Giacomo are exceptions.

DI's of the top 20 (if they were to line up in the gate today)

California Chrome DI = 3.40  CD = 0.86

Samraat DI = 1.22 CD = 0.20

Dance With Fate DI = 1.91 CD = 0.63

Wicked Strong   DI= 2.27  CD = 0.50

Uncle Sigh DI=3.00 CD = 0.67

Intense Holiday  DI = 3.80 CD = 0.83

Wildcat Red  DI = 5.67  CD = 1.20

Medal Count DI = 2.13  CD = 0.53

Chitu  DI = 2.56  CD = 0.56

Hoppertunity  DI = 2.64 CD = 0.60

Tapiture  DI = 3.00 CD = 0.72

General A Rod DI = 2.00 CD = 0.56

Vicar’s in Trouble  DI = 5.00 CD = 1.17

Cairo Prince  DI = 7.00 CD = 1.00

Ride on Curlin  DI = 3.44 CD = 0.85

Constitution DI = 3.00 CD = 0.75

Danza  DI = 3.00 CD = 0.88

We Miss Artie DI = 3.00 CD = 0.85

Midnight Hawk DI = 0.71 CD = -0.17

Ring Weekend DI = 3.36 CD = 0.79

Candy Boy DI = 1.67 CD =0.38

14 Apr 2014 7:38 PM
Junie Wise

Steve, As we get closer to The Derby can you put out a List with the Horses Dosage...I always used to like to see which Hores had the "Right Dosage:...Keep up the "Good Articles"

Let's Get Lucky!!!!!

14 Apr 2014 8:08 PM

Hi Steve,

Your list is about what I thought it would be.

I had posted on the April 07 Derby Dozen shortly before the week of the 14th came across in response to some repeated requests from some as to why many of us have California Chrome at the top of our lists. I will not bore anyone with a repeat of that post on this weeks installment (unless provoked by Cali’s retractors, HA HA).

Thank you for the insight on Cali’s early days when his dam had a birthing injury. It certainly explains why he is such a people oriented horse.  I had initially been worried a bit about his coming to Kentucky so  late, but now feel that as long as he has his human family with him, he will be just fine. I also read that he is going to a farm close to Churchill Downs for a few days rather than directly to the track.

California Chrome is at the top of my list, followed by Ride on Curlin, Constitution, Hoppertunity , Vicars in Trouble (in no particular order). I am as not as big a fan of Intense Holiday as I was since his little stunt and while I have no way of knowing if it is true or not, Samraat spent time in the hyperbolic chamber while on R&R at Fair Hill, if true, I find that a little bothersome. Am also curious about little Wildcat Red.  

I would love to see Commanding Curve earn a spot in the Derby. Heard that he is running in the Lexington, which if he wins, I think he will get a spot for sure.  I am still holding out hope for Uncle Sigh as well.  

Danza turned in quite a performance for sure. I am following him now as well as Wicked Strong.

For anyone who has not read your piece on Mr Sherman and Mr Erb, they really should take the time to do so.  

Hope everyone has a great week and just a side note, Zenyatta is close to giving birth to her foal by War Front.                          

14 Apr 2014 8:14 PM

Pied Piper Steve, calls for closers, they emerge from the woodwork, and . . . he snubs them!


I'd like the bet more if he'd just lurk in the bushes until the Belmont just in case he's the type of stayer who lacks an admirable turn of foot but just keeps on keeping on. Dance with Fate had more quick, but didn't outstay or outfinish him. If he was a bit dull only because he was coming back so soon, he's The One. He also breaks well and gets into stride quickly, is insouciant about being boxed in heavy traffic, is unintimidated by contact and is willing to make his own path if he has to.

I already had him tabbed as the horse that was going to break my heart if he wound up at stud in Korea, as he could rescue mares inbred to Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer. He himself is the closest thing to an absolute outcross we're likely to see coming down the pike nowadays, and is unlikely to sire many inbred foals, with one cross of Mr. Prospector in the foal's sixth generation and one cross of Northern Dancer in the fifth.

His dam is a California sprinter with one graded placing and several listed, earning over $200k. She has already produced a graded stakes winner. She's not a likely classic producer with sprinter-miler (most) sires, but a good thing with Dynaformer. It's a solid running and producing family which has produced no superstars but quality stakes horses in every generation.

14 Apr 2014 8:18 PM

1 and 2 are a toss Steve but take 3 through 7 and throw in Wildcat Red and you have the Tri. if you box them.

14 Apr 2014 8:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Well, people who call this a crap shoot after the first four are right. Frankly, I think it's a crap shoot after the first one, California Chrome. My revised list is as follows:

California Chrome

Wicked Strong





General A Rod

14 Apr 2014 8:22 PM
Mister Frisky

As of last week I was gonna try to beat CC with my large box bets,and use him straight in some exotic savers.Gonna have to make room for one more on the bandwagon.After the efforts or lack thereof of Conquest Titan,Strong Mandate,Bayern, and Commissioner,horses bred for a route of ground who wanted no part of 1 1/8,I'm a convert.As I see it if CC gets a decent post and a fast track very few of the other 19 can a legitimate case be made for winning in Louisville.

14 Apr 2014 8:27 PM

my revised 4 horse derby triple box-1) progressive beyer angle(PBA) while going up in class. lost no position in any race since December. 2)hoppertunity-meets PBA while going up in class. only lost position in one race, but came back to win it. 3)vicars in trouble-risen star did wonders for his maturity. note the DUD w/o on 3/23 (5f-103-2/5ths-23/25. must have been in superb shape to follow that up with win and best beyer next out, in La.derby. looking for similar w/o pattern at Churchill. 4)intense holiday-consistent, hits board often. derby trending vowels in recent years. thanks STEVE  for "feelgood" comments on hopper and the curse. I threw out tapiture and ring weekend for obvious reasons and constitution at my own risk.

14 Apr 2014 8:31 PM

Terrific stuff,Steve. Being a New Jersey guy, I love your three horse box of Hoppertunity, Wicked Strong, and Ride On Curlin. All three are sired by tough, hard-knocking horses who thrilled Monmouth Park fans back in 2007. Maybe a little deja vu this year?

14 Apr 2014 8:32 PM

Great list Steve.  Nice comments about Rob Whiteley, Liberation Farm and Danza.  It just proves to me more and more that our friend Rob belongs in the business.  I can say about Rob Whiteley exactly what Danza's trainer, Mr. Pletcher, said of Caixa Eletronica, "he is all that is good about racing."  Rob is a brilliant man with the love of the thoroughbred paramount in his heart.  As a matter of fact he also bred General A Rod's sire, Roman Ruler.  Roman Ruler won the Haskell G1 in 2005, I am looking at the photo on my office wall I took of Roman Ruler that day at Monmouth in the WC as I type this.  The industry should stand up and bring Rob in as its Commissioner.  His exit thesis on TDN was brilliant and listed all that needed to be done to fix racing, i.e. eliminate drugs and whipping, etc.  

My list looks something like this now:

1.  California Chrome

2.  Hoppertunity

3.  Samraat

4.  Danza

5.  Wicked Strong

6.  General A Rod

7.  Constitution

8.  Wildcat Red

9.  Intense Holiday

10. Ride On Curlin

11. Candy Boy

12. Cairo Prince

14 Apr 2014 8:34 PM
Sam Santschi

Tiz herself. Funny how war emblem and cc's DI are identical.   Forgot to mention earlier taking a pass  on FG's  horses too.

14 Apr 2014 8:46 PM

Wildcat Red and Cairo Prince are very good horses.... very good !  There isn't 3 better horses better than these two and if you think there is you have no chance of cashing a Tri ticket. The talent in Florida has clearly been superior to NY or California.  Wicked Strong couldn't come close to beating Constitution in Florida and had to leave for NY to get a win.  Florida was brutal and Danza proved even the B team was tough to beat.  After viewing all the evidence Florida horses are clearly a cut above the rest and I will not have Hoppertunity or CC on any of my tickets.  I can not see a way or path for either to hit the board.  Both are simply not good enough.

14 Apr 2014 8:51 PM
Jersey Girl

I AM reading this, Steve, and smiling while reading.

14 Apr 2014 8:52 PM

Tiz Herself-- Where did you get those Beyer figures?  They don't agree with the list on DRF.

14 Apr 2014 8:57 PM

People, ignore Medal Count at your own peril. He went at least 5-wide on both turns in the bluegrass and finished "full of run". Great "prep" in a crowded field. Dynaformer and Northern Dancer in bloodlines. I'd keep the accolades coming but I want 37-1 on Derby Day.......Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

14 Apr 2014 9:02 PM

Interesting reading the opinions as always.  A few weeks ago I challenged anyone to name one Tapit that has won at 1 1/4 miles.  I am not picking on him, I think he is a great sire, but they don't get the Derby distance.  Constitution is a Tapit out of a Distorted Humor mare.  DH has sired some 1 1/4 mile horses including Funny Cide and Drosselmeyer but not many.  When you combine the two in Constitution's pedigree I can't see him getting the distance, although I think this is a very weak crop of still healthy three year old colts, so maybe this will be the year a Tapit gets there.  We'll see, but I am not going to bet on it.

14 Apr 2014 9:05 PM

NEED HELP from ALL esp. breeding experts-take a good look at the videos of "we miss artie" in the bc juvenile and FOY both on dirt. I see a horse that got out, rated when told, then accelerated when asked before throwing out the anchor. I've heard comments from many sources that this horse doesn't like dirt. in his 1st race he came in 2nd on dirt and in the 2 races just mentioned I saw no indication he was ever fighting the rider or the surface. he looks like a big lean horse with a great stride as evidenced in his last race when he ran his longest race so far and took the scenic route to victory. I know he's in shape and he owns a GR-1 and GR-3, but can he get the distance and hit the board? p.s. I know he's slow, but beyers improved from last year.

14 Apr 2014 9:14 PM

Windolin, I just read your long post on the 4-7 derby dozen.  All I can say is WOW!!!!  You wrote not just from your heart but mine also. Thank you.  There is such obvious love and respect for horses in every word you wrote.

14 Apr 2014 9:17 PM
John from Seattle

Steve, I'm starting to get this feeling that California Chrome is going to mirror Affirmed and Sunday Silence in their three year old racing careers.  Like those two horses that swept the San Felip/SA Derby then dominate the Triple Crown races and onto more glorious victories I also see CC dominating as well.  Whereas Affirmed had Alydar and Sunday Silence had Easy Goer there is no horse out there that can measure up to CC.

I believe that for others running in Derby it's more like who can get in CC's way rather than who can beat him.

14 Apr 2014 9:18 PM

Excellent dozen, Steve.  Cairo  Prince was my first choice and I hope he does well. But California Chrome is a truly deserving #1 and I love Wicked Strong.  Now Steve I can't wait to hear all the news from Churchill.

14 Apr 2014 9:27 PM

Steve, two things:

1.  Tapiture was out run by three horse carrying four less in Arkansas, similar to the Rebel where Hoppertunity was spotted seven.   He will do better when the field is level.  

2.  When they reach the top of the stretch in the Derby, Red will be in the lead.  Don't know if he got enough pedigree to get home, but he will not need to worry about a bad trip like the other nineteen.

I don't know if anyone is better than Chrome, but Tapiture and Red have a chance on heart alone.  

14 Apr 2014 9:31 PM

Number 5 is another to be added to the all others selection in derby futures.I think the best deal for all others is #3 in every pool.

14 Apr 2014 9:54 PM
Your Only Friend

Your first four I can agree ....but after that think its all guessing game.....  but that makes it so much fun.......but when the twenty leave the starting gate and hit the first turn many good horses will be left out of contention, all of our hopes will be lost.

14 Apr 2014 10:02 PM

Thanks for the early look at CC's existence....I've never considered lacerations on the mare in my Derby handicapping

14 Apr 2014 10:06 PM

Tiz Herself

Thanks for posting the Di and CD info

14 Apr 2014 10:15 PM

I would drop off the list any of the colts that didn't race at 2 and would put Samraat right behind California Chrome and Wicked Strong.

14 Apr 2014 10:21 PM
Age of Reason

If California Chrome runs to his best at Churchill Downs, there isn't another three year old on this planet that will be able to catch him. Danza is incredibly intriguing at this point; he ran very well but not so fast (by the numbers) that he should regress in 3 weeks. Scary to think of what he might be able to do in his second 2-turn start! Medal Count is one I can see as a potential Dullahan or Paddy O'Prado, honest turfers who came on late for a piece of it. It'd be foolish to ignore a Romans/Spendthrift/Dynaformer combo. Constitution is a dead man walking of course, not only because Gulfstream form has constantly been upended everywhere else but also because he's become the third member of an unholy Draynay/Cold-"facts" trio. That kind of potent curse is one I doubt even the Derby gods could overturn. Let's see, Wicked Strong might also be developing at the right time but will have to watch his works. Same with Samraat. If those are my favorites, Cairo Prince is my longshot. His last Derby prep was similar to Unbridled, Thunder Gulch, Mine That Bird and a host of others. Just shake the rust off, and get to Louisville. There's my Derby (half-)Dozen!

14 Apr 2014 10:25 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ted from LA

   No, I won't be at The Derby but I'll be eating mint julep donuts at home. I think Todd Pletcher might be at The Derby though, and probably a few other people will be there too.

14 Apr 2014 10:53 PM

Depending on his starting gate, I firmly believe Wildcat Red is going to be a major contender at the Derby. I feel sorry for any horse that gets stuck in the aux gate (15-20). It's just not fair.

The owners of California Chrome had reported 6 million $$ offer and the owner of Social Inclusion had a reported 8 million $$ offer.....and both were turned down. With CC I understand, not so much with SI. Just imagine what CC is worth now.

14 Apr 2014 10:59 PM

Steve; overall, I really like this list.  I definitely agree on CC for the 1 spot.  He's been #1 on my list since before the San Felipe, which sealed the deal for me.  The SA Derby was icing on the cake.  I'm not terribly concerned about shipping into CD so late.  Personally, I think horses do best when either shipped in very early, so that they can get very familiar with their surroundings, or keeping them in familiar surroundings as long as possible. While, as a bettor, I'd like to see a work over the track. The fact is, horses either like or don't like the CD strip. If they don't like it when they work, they'll likely not like it when they race either.

If you like California Chrome, you've got to like Hoppertunity, so I also would keep him #2.  Wicked Strong finished fast in the Wood, but he isn't a particularly pretty mover.  I'm reserving judgement on him, though I loved Hard Spun and would love to see success for him as a sire.  Constitution is probably a deserved #4; in fact, if he wasn't sired by Tapit, I might have him higher, but I really don't see a Tapit getting 10 furlongs.  I read somewhere that no Tapit has won at 10 furlongs.  Personally, I haven't done the research, but I don't know of one off of the top of my head.  However, if it can be done, I think Constitution could be the one.

I was really curious to see where you would put Danza.  Was the Ark Derby just a freaky performance, or is this colt as good as he looked?

From 6 on down, it's a toss up for me.  Nobody jumps out at me as either  a keeper or tosser.  I guess I'm just not savvy enough to pick more than 5.

I will say that I was super impressed with the looks of Dance With Fate.  He is a beauty.  I saw some footage of him headed back to the barn after the winner's circle awards and he looked raring to go again.  Usually, I wouldn't look twice at a synthetic specialist, but he ran on dirt as a 2-yr old with some success.  I'm not sure what I'll do with him if his connections decide to run him in the Derby.

14 Apr 2014 11:01 PM

Derby 2014 appears to be a battle between four sire lines.


There are 8 contenders sired by tail descendants of Mr. Prospector. Dance With Fate, Danza, Hoppertunity, Ride on Curlin, Midnight Hawk, General A Rod, Candy Boy and Cairo Prince.

This sire line produced the winners of two 9F Derby preps i.e., Dance With Fate and Danza. Hoppertunity, Ride on Curlin, Midnight Hawk were all runners up in 9F preps. General A Rod, Candy Boy and Cairo Prince all secured minor placing’s in 9F preps.

There have been 11 Derby winners sired by tail descendants of Mr. P. It appears the line’s 2014 reps are not as good as the reps from opposing lines. I consider Danza, Hoppertunity and General A Rod the top reps.


There are 7 contenders sired by tail descendants of Northern Dancer. Intense Holiday, Vicar's in Trouble, Wicked Strong, Samraat, Wildcat Red, We Miss Artie and Chitu.

This sire line produced the winners of four 9F Derby preps i.e., Vicar's in Trouble, Wicked Strong, We Miss Artie and Chitu. Intense Holiday and Samraat were runners up in 9F preps.

There have been 4 Derby winners sired by tail descendants of ND. It appears the line’s 2014 reps are the best collection in years. Four wins and two runner-up finishes suggest the Derby winner will emerges from this sire line. I consider Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday and Chitu the top reps.


There are 4 contenders sired by tail descendants of A P Indy. California Chrome, Constitution, Tapiture and Ring Weekend.

This sire line produced the winners of two 9F Derby preps i.e., CC and Constitution. Tapiture and Ring Weekend secured minor places in 9F preps.

There have been 9 Derby winners sired by tail descendants of Bold Ruler. It appears the line’s 2014 reps though small in numbers, contains two of the top Derby contenders in CC and Constitution. Although the line has produced 9 Derby winners, two have been in the last 26 years. The two top colts from the line could easily win the Derby but history suggests it will be an unlikely occurrence.


There is 1 contender sired by tail descendants of Turn -To. Medal Count who finished 2nd in the Bluegrass will be carrying the flag for this sire line.

There have been 5 Derby winners sired by tail descendants of Turn-To with Barbaro who was also sired by Dynaformer being the last. Medal Count quick return to contest the Bluegrass denotes his toughness. He has not been great on dirt but performed well enough to have a chance on a turf/synthetic friendly surface at CD. He should not be overlooked.

14 Apr 2014 11:15 PM
Tiz Herself

I read that Borel has been named as Ride on Curlin's rider... with that, ROC is my choice.

14 Apr 2014 11:33 PM

I have to admit I only read what you wrote about Danza, cause that bugger been bugging my mind!

I have been in this business for many mny years... I remember back in 1994 a horse called Lammtarra, a Godolphin horse trained by Saeed El Suroor, he was by Nijinsky out of a Blushing Groom mare. He had one race in July 1993 as a two year old he won a listed race, his next race came on June 10th 1994, it was the Epsom Derby and he won that race hands down going away. Street Boss is no Nijinsky,and French Deputy is no Blushing Groom(however, Blushing Groom was French) in any case my point here, is there is one common denominator with these two champions, Im saying Danza is a champion cause he ran like one, and probably better than many chmpions of late. The common denominator is this, both trainers have lots of excellent horses that Danza or Lammtara could train with, and simulate races and get education in a different manner than the rest of the commoners can..Pletcher had 41 triple nominated 3 year olds last Jan 2014. I don't know what Pletcher has been with the horse, but i know it has been done, the only difference is when Lammtara won it for mr/ Bin Suroor, there were no point qualification to start in the race, here Pletcher's job is a bit more complicated since he had to pull the trigger three weeks prior to the target date and can Danza do it gain in thre weeks? From the way that bugger ran and finished I say he has been training for longer distances for quite a while and a repeat is very possible and at very excellent odds, 12-1 up to 16-1///maybe 20 if everyone gets drunk on the nfirst Saurday of May... Steve, It has been a pleasure following your Derby Dozen week after week...and you are a gracious host... good luck and see you at the windows, and that's not a gun in my pocket :)

15 Apr 2014 12:13 AM

I think it's time......that jockeys should disclose all medical records......every injury, medications taken, and procedures they've had done...........what kind of diet they are on........all of this, for the good of the sport.......we should make this public record.......if i wager on a jockey, i feel it's important to know how he is likely to perform.....the story about laffit pincay eating half a peanut for dinner for example......i think it's important to know WHAT kind of peanut it was.....for the good of racing.....was it salted? roasted? coated in something? These are things i think the public has the right to know It's time for TRUE TRANSPARENCY!!!!!!

15 Apr 2014 12:38 AM

Steve Haskin : I'm not clear why Baffert would consider sending Midnight Hawk or Chitu to Illinois Derby since they're both in.  Is it just another prep race ?  Illinois is 2 weeks from the Derby, I'm not sure I get it.  Why risk running either of them if they're going to the Derby, so I'm guessing one of them will not make it...I though for sure it would be Midnight Hawk but maybe Baffert doesn't think highly of Chitu if he's considering the Illinois for him.  Also, when will you be at Churchill Downs ?

Lastly, a huge thank you (I know I don't say it much) for all the Derby Dozen blogs, it was truly fun to read your picks every week and a lot of fun reading people's thoughts and opinions on your picks as well as their own.  It's the best "prep" for us crazy fans of horse racing.  I feel bad for those who haven't discovered your derby dozen blogs as they are missing out a lot.   And since honesty and fairness is no longer the norm (was it ever?) to journalists, you have been just that in all your blogs, honest and fair.  THANK YOU!  Looking forward to your workout reports.  One favor to ask if I may, please make sure it doesn't rain.

I have a good feeling about Cairo Prince (as I posted in the previous blog), I just hope Kiaran sticks to his normal routine and not do anymore experiment.  If he stays with his training style like before the Remsen, I think CP will be fit and ready for the Derby.   Can he get the distance ?  I'm willing to put some money that he can.

Your very last statement is intriguing, that's over two weeks now but maybe I’m reading too much into it.  It’s intriguing because Wildcat Red is the new "buzz", people are starting to talk about him again which is interesting.  I don't get it but it's interesting, we've seen horses who ventured out from the speed track called GP to other tracks and I can't say they have been successful.   WR has never run anywhere except GP.  I can't get on a horse that has been running in one track and take the risk that he will do the same, specially at Churchill Downs.  Iceman2 did show data that CD and GP aren't that much different going longer but still, it's a different track, different atmosphere, climate.   WR is very used to GP, the change in his routine would most likely affect it, whether it’s good or bad effect, we’ll have to see when he ships in.  So as much as I hate it, I can't get to liking Wildcat Red, if he hits the board, I'll cry like a little baby knowing everyone else had him lol.

No change in my dozen until the post draw, then it's crunch time shuffling which horses I'm going to play.   Rain or Shine Samraat will be in my tickets unless he gets the 1-5 hole.  The rest I'll have to wait.  I'll have two sets of bets, one for fast track/sloppy and one for the track being kind to closers.  I like the Derby field, if I have to break it down, I see about 20% deep closers, 50% midpack closers and 20% speed and 10% cruise missiles (Ring Weekend and Wildcat Red)

10% :   Ring Weekend / Wildcat Red

20% :   Chitu, California Chrome, Uncle Sigh, Vicar’s In Trouble

50% :   Samraat, Tapiture, Danza, Ride On Curlin, General A Rod, Cairo Prince, Constitution, Candy Boy, Hoppertunity, Wicked Strong

20% :   Intense Holiday, Medal Count, Dance With Fate, We Miss Artie

That’s how I see the field… now try and figure out from there who will have the right post draw for their style…it’s just my opinion but if you like it, I’ll have to charge you $5.99 to use this info.

15 Apr 2014 12:40 AM
Native Dancer

Thanks Steve for this excellent pre-Derby evaluation

You are genuinely adept at capturing the human dimension of this great sport.  Your account of California Chrome’s affinity with people and how he  ” loves” to do his job is another testament of the  symbiotic nature of horse racing. Every horse lover, in one way or another, pays tribute to that indissoluble man-horse heritage. Jockeys and Horses as one athlete cheerising the act of flying without wings and sharing the risks and joys equally.... (this a message to the excessively zealous "animal protectors" who are trying to abolish the SYMBIOTIC SPORT OF horse racing ... and sorry for the diversion but I had to say something about this nonsensical campaign against our beloved past time....!!!)

Coming back to our pleasant matter,  It is indubitable that the “Red Thunder” California Chrome is the one to beat in this year triple crown and there is nothing much that one can add to his feats.

Steve, I really appreciate the level of detail and the “reading between lines” you put forward when analyzing every race.  You are more than right about Cairo Prince’s performance in the Florida Derby. He needed that race...  If the son of Pioneer of the Nile is able to enter the Derby he will be a force to be reckoned with.  I just hope that Kiaran McLaughin learned the lesson of Soldat peaking too early before Derby day back in 2011. By the way, a DI of 7 for Cairo Price seems to be a bit exaggerated if we recall that Empire Maker won the Belmont and that Pioneer of the Nile was a resolute second in the Derby. His maternal grandsire, Horse of the Year,  Holly Bull was also able to successfully carry his speed to the mile and quarter distance of the Travers.

I must also say that your analysis on General A Rod is so compelling that I will be considering him in my exacta.  I can now easily visualize him using his proved swiftness to rate behind Wildcat Red, Vicar’s in Trouble, Ring Weekend and California Chrome, and then deploy his stamina oriented pedigree to emerge as a spearhead in the stretch of glory. The son of Roman Ruler, who by the way, is the sire of Ruler on  Ice, winner of the Belmont in 2011, seems to be the most suited to the distance from the lineage angle. So any Dynaformer stamina is more than reinforced by the Roman Ruler lineage as well…

As per Danza, your insight about Rob Whiteley talent to extend a mile horses to the classic distance is very convincing. Danza, as Super Saver, is the ideal example of a good horse peaking at the right time. Danza showed some brilliance as a two year old and is just regaining a lost trail just on time…

Thanks Steve again for your Derby Dozen which is certainly the most enlightening tool we can use to frame the Derby. Now, we need to foresee how the traffic will play out during the run for the roses… I imagine what a Jockey has to overcome when I try to walk quicker across a crowd coming out a subway and flocking in pelotons to their office.

Good luck to every warrior in the run for the roses!

15 Apr 2014 1:45 AM
Tana Rae

Steve, thank you for all of your information, as always.  I'm a Cali girl who has followed California Chrome from the get go and loved the background information on this horse.  You can just tell, he wants to

please his people.  And now we understand why.  Hardcore handicappers may discount my comment.  But those who have lived with horses will not.  

15 Apr 2014 1:52 AM

I'm a newbe for sure. I was introduced to greyhound racing by my father as a youngster. He taught me how to read a program, and encouraged me to develop my own handicapping ideas. It's been, along with golf, the bond that keeps us in touch regularly with all that life does to separate us. But for the last 10 years I've been taking a buddies golf trip to Mesquite, Nevada during the first Saturday in May and as the only one who has the slightest idea about how to bet, It's fallen on me to lead the way for the group's derby bet.

I discovered the website and have been reading and loving Steve's posts ever since. I read Richard Engh's book: Horseracing for dummies! Why not admit my status and go from there? To quote RE " one thing good handicappers have in common is the ability to forgive a bad performance". So that said, here's my top 5:

1) Chrome: the best quality I've ever seen in a racing animal is the mind to know that he's RACING!

2) Hopportunity: It didn't take me too long to realize that in horse racing the trainer is a key factor, and Baffert is clearly one who excels beyond the others when given talented horses like Hop.

3) Cairo Prince: Here's my " forgive a bad race" pick. To me, I sure as heck loved the move he made in his 2nd to last on a track everybody says favors the frontrunners.

4) Tapiture: Bumpercars in the Risen Star and then mediocre in the Arkansas Derby. I see a tough horse that didn't need to do much in his last and will bring home the cabbage for us with a rebound race at much higher odds than had he won on Saturday.

5) ALL We love the all button! Will use it with Chrome on top and the others in 3rd and 4th, and 2nd and 4th.

If it happens Mesqiute, Nevada will see a party like never before!

15 Apr 2014 1:53 AM
Tana Rae

Hey, a CALIFORNIA horse goes into the 140th running as the favorite?  Oh, you east coast guys must be laying a big one.  But secretly, I think some big names must be hoping it is so.  Lucky Pulpit, Pulpit.  

15 Apr 2014 2:10 AM

Draynay; other than the fact California Chrome is a Cal-bred, what is your beef against him?  I have a funny feeling that if he were a Ky-bred or Fl-bred and had been racing lights-out in Florida as he has in Cal, you would like him just fine.

15 Apr 2014 3:18 AM

I'm drinking the Kool-Aid on Danza.  His finishing form in the Ark. Derby looked smooth and powerful, so I'll buy into the idea that he is a horse who is peaking at the right time.

But CC remains on top for me.  After that, it gets a little murky.

I can't help but think "Gemologist" when I think of Constitution.  Wicked Strong doesn't have the consistency I like to see.  Hoppertunity does.

So my list looks like CC, Danza, Hop, General (just have a feeling about him...)

15 Apr 2014 5:14 AM

COLDFACTS - in reference to your comments regarding my "lengthy" post about California Chrome, April 7. You seemingly had thrown down the gauntlet several times last week wanting to know why some of us were so up on this colt. I simply listed "my" reasons. I think that most that know me would describe me as being passionate about horses, but "paranoid", LOL, hardly.

TerriV, I humbly thank you for your compliment on that same post.

15 Apr 2014 5:19 AM
Don from PA/DE

Oh now Steve, can't believe you wrote the term "lowly librarian", impression these skills knowledge-based skills only enhanced your current top of the line thinking and writing....nice list but I tend to differ on Hoppertunity, Tapiture should of beat him in Arkansas was not for a bump and for that reason I am not that high on your #2 slot, am thinking leaving him out of the exotics with CC may be my bet at this point.

15 Apr 2014 6:39 AM

Hello Steve,

I love keeping up with your Derby Dozen each year. I am particularly interested in the Man O War line. Do any of your dozen come from his bloodline or any of the top 20 who have the points to get in this years Derby gate?

15 Apr 2014 7:46 AM

Very nice assessment, Steve.  It's nice to see Candy Boy still on your I wrong for thinking that he is better than his performance in The SAD?  My feeling is that GS knew he could not let CC too far out of reach on that track, at that distance, in that field.  Pressing is not Candy Boy's game, and now he can revert back to a mid or rear pack placement  and try to grind them down over the 1 1/4 mile distance and Churchill stretch run.

15 Apr 2014 7:59 AM
Smoking Baby

IOWay.  Tapit has sired at least three horses to win at 1 1/4.  TESTA MATTA won the Japan Dirt Derby, CARELESS JEWELL won the Alabama Stakes (Gr.1) by something like 11 or 14 lengths and HEADACHE won the Hawthorne Gold Cup H. (Gr.2). There may be more but I was too lazy to dig.

15 Apr 2014 8:33 AM

Age of Reason,

“Constitution is a dead man walking of course”

If you can spare a moment and scroll upward you will note that Constitution is the #4 ranked contender by the moderator. Are you suggesting that there is some kind of flaw in Mr. Haskin’s evaluation of the only undefeated top 20 contender?

“Gulfstream form has constantly been upended everywhere else”

Shippers from Gulfstream: Intense Holiday won the Risen Star and finished 2nd in the LA Derby; Wicked Strong won the Wood; Medal Count won the Transylvania G3 and finished 2nd  in the Bluegrass; Commissioner finished 3rd in the Sunland Derby; We Miss Artie won the Spiral; Coup De Grace won the Bay Shore G3;

Are you sure you do not want to revisit your conclusion above?

“He's become the third member of an unholy Draynay/Cold-"facts" trio.”

Are you aware that the word ‘Unholy’ means wicked and sinful? Are you suggesting that Draynay and I are wicked and sinful for our opposing views? That’s not right! That Not right! It also not funny.

“That kind of potent curse is one I doubt even the Derby gods could overturn”

You choice of words denote the contempt and deep repugnance you have for two individuals who have done no harm. It is the sort of statement that would never leave the keyboard of progressive mind. This forum provides an opportunity for all to express their views irrespective of how unappealing they might be viewed as long as they meet the terms and conditions set by the moderator. You are liberty to disrespect the contributors of your choosing but you are not at liberty to disrespect the process.

15 Apr 2014 9:07 AM

Let's not forget in recent year (the past 8) the winner of the Florida Derby has produced the Derby winner 3 times.  Can you imagine how many years you would have to go back for the winner of the Wood, SA Derby, or Arkansas to match the 3 wins ?  Again Florida is loaded this year and most of the horses hitting the board will come from Florida.

15 Apr 2014 9:34 AM


“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.”

Paranoia: A serious condition in which the person loses touch with reality.

California Chrome’s last four races have led many to believe he is special and great.

COLDFACTS and DRAYNAY believe Constitution has displayed talent that could translate into greatness. We are not on the CC bandwagon but firmly on the one for Constitution and somehow we need sympathy for not recognizing that a great horse can emerge from anywhere.

California Chrome emerged from California and Constitution emerged from Kentucky. The last time I checked both places are on the map.

We are probably equally passionate of the thoroughbreds. However, the difference between us lies in the fact that I do not allow by passion to crossover into paranoia.

15 Apr 2014 9:43 AM

Always enjoy your analyses.  The info on Chrome's early life is very interesting.  I admit I'm in the school that Chrome lays over this bunch, although racing luck is always an element with the Derby.

A few more reasons to like Chrome:

1. He has 10 lifetime starts.  Too often people fall in love with inexperienced colts.  Unlike so many he has the foundation to handle the rigors of the classics.

2. He has 6 wins.  I like horses who know how to win.  How often is the Derby favorite someone with 2 or 3 lifetime victories?  Give me someone who has already done it time and time again.

3. The Cal Cup Derby.  Everyone overlooks this race because it was for Cal-breds, but he utterly dominated an outstanding colt in Tamarando, who by the way has twice defeated Dance With Fate, including after his thumping by Chrome.

4. He has three wins around two turns as a three year old.  Obviously everyone is doing something they've never done before in trying 10 furlongs, but I like colts who limit the number of other new experiences.

As the sayings go, you never know what is going to happen until they run around the track, and there's no such thing as a sure thing, but I feel that Chrome clearly checks far more boxes than anyone else this year, and given a clean trip, I really believe he will sail home in front.

15 Apr 2014 9:56 AM
Pedigree Ann

My friend, agent, and the owner of the farm where I board my mare, Janeen Oliver, says I am snakebit. Last spring I lost my beloved Emma and her Include foal and this year, I nearly lost my new mare Milly. I know that buying older mares opens me up to this sort of thing, but still...,

  Fortunately, the Notional colt was delivered before the trouble started; he is big (possibly too big, causing Milly's problems) and straight and awake on all suits. Janeen and the vet worked like champions to keep Milly from bleeding out and they seem to have succeeded, but she's not yet out of the woods. She won't be bred this year, obviously. Whether she can ever be bred again is yet to be determined.

15 Apr 2014 10:02 AM

Steve, Has Phipps become the elephant in the KD room, with his call for all contenders vet records to be released for 14 days of public viewing? Two questions: do you see any contenders dropping out rather than releasing the info? and 2) how many contenders will actually release the info vs. simply ignoring Phipps? I applaud  Phipps.

15 Apr 2014 10:12 AM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

One of the many things I like about this column is that even when the places of your top twelve aren't changing much, you find something new to add each week.  The additional information about Hoppertunity's debut was useful, for example.

You've been right on the money about Ride On Curlin.  If I see those blinkers come off General A Rod your endorsement of the horse will be uppermost in my mind.

15 Apr 2014 10:18 AM


The Auxiliary gate is not as bad as it seems. It's two furlongs (24 some odd seconds) until they hit the first turn. Post #15 it a pretty good spot - he has that gap to the left so he has more breathing room at the gate. The worst post is #1 - it goes right into the bend. The horse needs to break good and fast. Otherwise he will have to drop back, get into position along the back stretch, then make his move in the final turn.

15 Apr 2014 10:21 AM
Ta Wee

To TJ Conway,

I fully agree with you on Medal Count.  Synthetic types seem to do well on Churchill's quirky dirt surface with all the clay content-Animal Kingdom, Dullahan,and Went The Day Well among the most prominent.  Right now I'm looking at a straight CC-Medal Count exacta with a smaller reverse saver.

15 Apr 2014 10:23 AM
Linda in Texas

Steve, regarding your No. 5 Pick, Danza, outstanding. Simply outstanding. The bloodlines run deep in this creature like 'being famous for his finishing kick' and what a delight to see it all come together in an amazing win.

It should be Rob Whiteley's to choose to be involved in racing in a hand's on capacity to convince the public things are not all bad with horse racing. I will toot Mr. Whiteley's horn and not be reluctant whatsoever. That was a jaw dropping performance. There must be more hiding from view someplace.

Horseontherun - Native Dancer - Alex'sBigFan - Age of Reason - Windolin and too many to list, all great words of wisdom. And lastly it will be Churchill Down's loss that Dr. Drunkinbum will not be there. Thank you Steve.  

15 Apr 2014 10:24 AM
Melissa P

I have been watching Danza in my "Stable" since the Saratoga Special. My note is "Came running in Saratoga Special. More distance? Has a shot." Did I back it up with a nice wager on Saturday? Nope. That's probably why he won. Talk about a "curse." I haven't bet on a pure winner since my old pal, Perfect Drift.

15 Apr 2014 10:38 AM

Great list Steve. Bring on the sun and let the Chrome shine.

Who's Rosario riding.  Tapiture or Arod ?.

15 Apr 2014 10:47 AM

Post Times & Wager Menu

Spring Meet Post Times

OAKS DAY - FRIDAY, May 02, 2014

Race Post Time Wagering

1 10:30AM WPS EX DD P3

2 11:00AM WPS EX DD P3 P4

3 11:30AM  WPS EX DD P3

4 12:05PM  WPS EX DD P3 P4

5 12:43PM  WPS EX DD P3

6 1:26PM WPS EX DD P3 P6

7 2:08PM WPS EX DD P3 P5

8 3:02PM WPS EX DD P3 P4

9 4:02PM WPS EX DD P3

10 4:52PM WPS EX DD P3

11 5:49PM WPS EX SH-5 (O/D-DBL) (O/W/D-P3) (Kentucky Oaks)

12 6:21PM WPS EX


Race Post Time Wagering

1 10:30AM WPS EX DD P3

2 11:01AM WPS EX DD P3 P4

3 11:31AM WPS EX DD P3

4 12:04PM WPS EX DD P3 P4

5 12:38PM WPS EX DD P3

6 1:19PM WPS EX DD P3 P6

7 2:08PM WPS EX DD P3 P5

8 2:59PM WPS EX DD P3 P4

9 3:46PM WPS EX DD P3

10 4:44PM WPS EX DD P3 P4 (Woodford Reserve Turf Classic)

11 6:24PM WPS EX DD P3 SH5 (Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands)  

12 7:20PM WPS EX DD

13 7:50PM  WPS EX

NOTE:  Trifecta and Superfecta wagering on all races that qualify under Kentucky statutes.  Daily Double and Super High-5 wagers are $1 minimum straight bets.  On Oaks Day and Derby Day the Superfecta is a $1.00 minimum wager.  Trifecta, Pick-3, Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers are $.50 minimum straight bets.  The Pick-6 is a $2.00 minimum wager.  The Exacta is a $2.00 minimum straight bet with $1.00 boxes and wheels.

15 Apr 2014 10:50 AM

In the 2012 Derby the following horses entered the starting gates:

Rousing Sermon sired by Lucky Pulpit

Hansen sired by Tapit

El Padrino sires by Tapit

Prospective sired by Malibu Moon

Take Charge Indy sire by A P indy

The Lucky Pulpit sired Rousing Sermon had the best finish in 8th position.

The 2014 Derby gates will contain:

California Chrome sired by Lucky Pulpit

Constitution sired by Tapit

Tapiture sired by Tapit

Ring Weekend sired by Tapit

It’s the battle of the A P Indy grandsons. Tapit recorded the best finish for an A P Indy grandson with Normandy Invasion’s 4th place finish in the 2013 Derby. Constitution represents the best Tapit progeny to contest the Derby and California Chrome represents the best Lucky Pulpit progeny to contest the Derby. The undefeated against the anointed! What a race it will be.

15 Apr 2014 10:50 AM
Age of Reason

An open letter to Coldfacts

Dear Sir,

Thank you for addressing me directly. I will do the same.

You do realize, of course, that when taking issue with my statement “Gulfstream form has constantly been upended everywhere else” and citing a list of horses, you directly contradicted your own argument in an obvious way? Every single colt you named who won or placed in a major Derby prep (you gave me Intense Holiday, Wicked Strong, Medal Count, We Miss Artie, and Coup de Grace; I would add Danza to that list) all finished up the track at Gulfstream! The one colt on your list who DID win at Gulfstream, Commissioner, was badly beaten in New Mexico by a couple of Baffert’s second-stringers! Gulfstream Park this Derby prep season has been a pathetic joke for a horse racing track, with so many blazing times and blatant track biases that it makes the old dirt track at Keeneland look fair by comparison. As YOU admitted, there have been many runners in 2014 who looked bad there but regained their true form elsewhere, and also more than one who looked like world beaters in Florida but couldn’t win elsewhere without the aid of that asphalt highway. I don’t trust any impressive-looking performance at Gulfstream because of all this, and Constitution has the misfortune of falling into that category such that I have no reason to trust his performances will translate to any other track until I at least seem him breeze at Churchill.

“Are you suggesting that Draynay and I are wicked and sinful for our opposing views?” Do you seriously expect me to answer Yes? It was tongue in cheek, gosh darn it. I don’t know what corner of our great land you live in, but everywhere that I’ve been it was common to jokingly refer to any 3-sided alliance among mortals as an “unholy trio”, so as to avoid any potentially blasphemous comparison to the Holy Trinity.

As to my reference to your “potent curse”. I can’t recall that you have ever picked the winner of a single Triple Crown race, at least not before the fact. Nor, for that matter, any graded Derby prep. “The cold facts”, as you might say, “clearly show that Coldfacts has a very strained record with handicapping winners of the Derby preps and Triple Crown races themselves.” If I am incorrect with my impression that your ability to discern a true contender on the Derby trail is abysmal, don’t get mad. Prove me wrong! Tell me: what are your top 6 Kentucky Derby contenders, and why (consistent with your own previous statements—I don’t want to hear about Constitution’s pedigree if you’ve been harping on so-called overbred stallions for months) do you logically think that your six have the best chances in the potential field to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby?

15 Apr 2014 10:53 AM

In the 2012 Derby the following horses entered the starting gates:

Rousing Sermon sired by Lucky Pulpit

Hansen sired by Tapit

El Padrino sires by Tapit

Prospective sired by Malibu Moon

Take Charge Indy sire by A P indy

The Lucky Pulpit sired Rousing Sermon had the best finish in 8th position.

The 2014 Derby gates will contain:

California Chrome sired by Lucky Pulpit

Constitution sired by Tapit

Tapiture sired by Tapit

Ring Weekend sired by Tapit

It’s the battle of the A P Indy grandsons. Tapti recorded the best finish for an A P Indy grandson with Normandy Invasion’s 4th place finish in the 2013 Derby. Constitution represents the best Tapit progeny to contest the Derby and California Chrome represents the best Lucky Pulpit progeny to contest the Derby. The undefeated against the anointed! What a race it will be.

15 Apr 2014 10:58 AM
Rusty Weisner


I think the consideration of Chitu and Midnight Hawk for the Illinois Derby confirms something obvious: they're Sunland second stringers; Commissioner is further evidence.

I am staying away from all three of those synthetic horses you list as "closers".  That Dance With Fate is not even likely for the Derby should tell you something.  Haskin's comment about Pablo Del Monte's strong performance on the pace (I had the Bluegrass tri, by the way - dumb luck!) should also tell you it was the typical closer setup for Keeneland; witness Java's War last year.

I think Wildcat Red will get no respect at the windows.  I will actually consider him to get in the money, just because he is likely to stay out of trouble and have the lead; a lot may depend on the track.  Steve Haskin's comparison of Cairo Prince to Closing Argument also makes me strongly reconsider that one -- like Closing Argument, he won the Holy Bull and then, in his final prep, on a similarly fast track, he was "empty".  I had compared his dull performance to Union Rags' Florida Derby, but this comparison to McLaughlin's previous horse seems more apt.  I like him better than Constitution, and not just for the odds.    

15 Apr 2014 11:00 AM


I so enjoy your Derby Dozen. There's only one thing I like better and that's your reports on the works and the horses looks at CD. That is so very interesting.

I also love reading everyone's comments and I marvel at the amount of input there is on this column.  So many avid race fans.  I'm a race fan but more of a horse fan.  It's a life-long romance for me.  I go to the races and I bet but that's not the center of my interest.  It's the horses themselves. I started going to the races with my grandparents when I was teenager and that was a loooonnnnng time ago!  I just love the horses!  I loved Secretariat and visited him at Claiborne the year before he died.  Also, Alydar, Affirmed and Slew.  There have been so many.  I have loved Sunday Silence, Smarty Jones and I'll Have Another.  I'm so hoping for a TC winner I can't stand it!  We've come so close!

Coldfacts, don't worry about any comments someone makes about you.  You provide a great deal of information and you have a right to your opinion and I don't think that particular poster meant anything bad by that.  As for Draynay, we go back a long way and he really enjoys slamming horses, makes him happy to put down any California horse.  He's really a good guy though it's hard to tell! All of you posting have great input and it's so interesting to read after we have read Steve's wisdom and his love of horses as well.

My boy is California Chrome this year although, I am hoping Ride On Curlin does well too.  I am hoping for a TC because I cannot imagine the thrill, it's been so long now.  I know, I know, I know CC's sire line only produced two Derby winners but sometimes all the analysis in the world and the scientific data does not include a horse's heart and his will to win against all odds.  This is where the romance comes in.  Yes, it's a game of facts, stats and analysis but it goes beyond that, way beyond that.  Sometimes there is a horse who refuses to be beaten and he digs down and finds more....Tiznow comes to mind in the BC Classic 2001.  This is what makes me keep coming back every year to witness these kind of horses.  Say what you will about Califoria Chrome, Coldfacts, I know you have done the research and your facts are correct and a very valuable tool for handicapping but sometimes a horse has a spirit and heart that refuses to give in and that's something you can't define and that's what we mere mortals are in awe of when we witness it.  The finding more and refusing to lose.  It's beautiful and it's inspirational and yes, it's romantic.  I love this and I love the Triple Crown season.  Good luck to you all, even Draynay!

15 Apr 2014 11:05 AM

When I saw Pletcher's amazing horse, Danza, win the Arkansas Derby it reminded me of another horse he had who won the Donn Handicap. Graydar was sensational in the Donn but I had never heard of him. Pletcher is like a magician who pulls horses instead of rabbits out of his hat. He really kept Danza and Gaydar under wraps.

15 Apr 2014 11:05 AM

Hi GUYS - just by going with the eye test, i was very very impressed with wicked strong. he is so muscular similar to last year with orb. they both have that same running style. he is my solid derby pick at maybe 8-1 hopefully. i don't like any pulpit or tapit horses. will only get 1 1/8 not 1 1/4. no pulpit has even come close to winning the derby. that eliminates cali chrome and constitution from winning the derby. must watch the wood memorial again and see what i mean by wicked strong being so muscular. i feel he will be flying in the stretch. im hoping the early fractions with wildcat red and a few others go 6 furlongs in 1:11 flat to set my horse up. come on my bandwagon everyone. forget about cali chrome !!!!!!!

15 Apr 2014 11:07 AM

Unless nobody wants the lead,I do not see C.Chrome on the lead.. This horse can rate and I am expecting him to be at the back of the lead pack or the front of the second pack..

Good Luck to all..

In the Suniland Derby was their not a 30knot head wind they all had to close into??

Chitu still got a 102 buyer..


15 Apr 2014 11:14 AM
from the gut

To KY VET  Ok I will bite I truly hope that your comment on jockeys was to get a laugh and rise out of someone because that's just so far out there. REALLY  GO HOPPER

15 Apr 2014 11:17 AM
from the gut

To KY VET  Ok I will bite I truly hope that your comment on jockeys was to get a laugh and rise out of someone because that's just so far out there. REALLY  GO HOPPER

15 Apr 2014 11:18 AM

Robinm let me tell you what I have against California Chrome.  He has been facing terrible horses.  I haven't seen horses so many bad horses since I spent a weekend at Beulah Park in Grove City.  Watch the California Derby and you will see what I mean.  The home stretch in that race is just sad.... very sad.  Let me remind you it is the CALIFORNIA DERBY and horse are all over the place and running into each other.  That one race told me all I needed to know about California racing this year. California Chrome is a decent horse running against very bad horses.  Many of you are excited to see him chase a 36 to 1 shot and are amazed when he blows by them.  Many of you here are impressed by that.  Many of you here are claiming to see amazing talent.  But what I see is a decent horse beat very poor horses and nothing more.  California Chrome will see a large field for the first time in May and to be up front he will have to run with real speed horses which is something he has never done.  From what I have seen California Chrome is clearly overmatched and will have his best results staying in California. California legends that come East like Lava Man, Zenyatta, and Game on Dude have not done well coming East.  There is a reason for that !!! If California Chrome hits the board I will be shocked for that very reason.

15 Apr 2014 11:29 AM
Rusty Weisner

Steve Haskin,

For the Jersey connection you're forgetting Jersey Joe Bravo on Danza.

15 Apr 2014 11:33 AM

Thank you Steve for sharing.  

This game we love and the athletes were revere is rarely more feverishly followed than on the trail to Kentucky. My take on Derby doings is very light, could be likened to polytrack kickback, with my tongue tied to my cheek.

As if the puzzle wasn't already difficult enough the weekend prep results served to muddle the Derby picture even more. What to do with a longshot winner from the Pletcher barn that blows the field away and a polytrack prep points race whose winner flew back to California before the "fibers(dust) had even settled" ? Be baffled! Although the objective-pick the winner is clear-the puzzle is is still missing pieces, some of the pieces are metamorphosing right before our eyes. The warlord is flying his Hawk to the south side of the windy city seeking a pointless victory, CaChing$$$. The Prince is back from Cairo, vacation's over. All the egg is off Kiaran's face and the crow goes unconsumed, leaving his palate clean, ready to savor mint juleps. Chrome reserves the playground for himself while basking in the California sun/smog, all the while getting "fat and sassy" munching out on his favorite cookies. Joel and Tapiture visited the spa on their way around the far turn in Hot Springs. Ride on Curlin went to Court and got a ticket-to Louisville. Commissioner found yet another excuse. Bayern flattened out like a overcooked pancake. Thundergram offered an early rumble but wasn't really heard from after that. Strong Mandate weakened in denial. Danza showed "Who's The Boss" with his walk in in the park, piloted by none other "Jersey" Joe Bravo. Bravo!

The Bluegrass Toyota was backwards, looked like a European turf race run the wrong direction, complete with slow early fractions, covering up, drafting and the winner is Dance With Fate, who reportedly will or won't depending his fate. Medal Count got a silver and now will try for gold, the remainder of field was sent packing in their Atoyot's.

15 Apr 2014 11:37 AM

If the Derby Dozen contenders are assessed based on the success of category in which their sires fall, how would their rankings be rearranged?

1&1A General a Rod/Ride on Curlin: Both colts were sired by grandsons of Mr. Prospector. Grandsons of Mr. Prospector have the best Derby record with 5 winners. Ride on Curlin would be 1A as his sire Curlin sired a prior year winner of a TC race. Historically Curlin is not expected to be the sire of the winner of a TC race in 2014.

2 Wicked Strong: Sons of Danzig and grandsons of Northern Dancer have combined for 3 Derby winners. Wicked Strong was sired by Danzig most accomplished son on the track. His explosive finish in the Wood make him the candidate to capitalize on the expected strong pace.  

3/3A/3B/3C Danza/Hoppertunity/Cairo Prince/Candy Boy: These colts were sired by great grandsons of Mr. Prospector. Great grandsons of Mr. Prospector have sire 2 Derby winners. Danza is the only on to win at 9F. Danza would be #3 as the Mr. Prospector/Deputy Minister cross has been very successful in the past. Hoppertunity would be 3A as his dam is from the Damascus line. Although this broodmare line has been dormant its stamina implication cannot be ignored.

4/4A Intense Holiday/Samraat: No great, great grandson of Northern Dancer has ever sired a Derby winner. However, the Harlans Holiday sired Denis Of Cork finished 3rd to Big Brown. Interestingly, Denis Of Cork’ dam was sired by Unbridled who was the sire on Unbridleds Song the dam sire of Intense Holiday. Samraat is a grandson of Giants Causeway one of the most overbred thoroughbred stallion currently serving. I have been so critical of management of Giants Causeway that if Samratt wins the derby my keyboard should be confiscated.

5 /5ACalifornia Chrome/ Constitution: The best finish by a progeny of a grandson of A P Indy was Normandy Invasion 4th place in the 2013 derby. Like Normandy Invasion Constitution is the product of an overbred stallion. Their progenies seem to find 10F overwhelming. California Chrome is the product of 35 mares bred and is likely to be the better candidate for the sire lin. However, Constitution has been pure class from day one. He could score one for the overbreds.

6 Vicar’s In Trouble: His sire is a 5th generation tail descendant of Northern Dancer. His dam sire Vicar is a son of Icecapade’s best progeny Wild Again.  The profile of this colt is difficult to fit into any chart I maintain. This colt is good but will be cremated by the early speed expected in the Derby.  

Base purely on the historic Derby success of stallions falling into a particular category the best 5 would be: General A Rod, Wicked Strong, Danza, Intense Holiday and  Constitution.

If were only that simple!

15 Apr 2014 11:51 AM

Bob Baffert have done a tremendous job getting Hoppertuity to this point. He has managed to race him five times at three different racetracks in four months, shipped him twice outside of California and still leave him four weeks to get ready for the Kentucky derby. No other horse in this race will be more prepared and I am expecting a peak performance on derby day.  

15 Apr 2014 12:18 PM

If I didn't know any better I'd say DrayGoose is trying to drive down the prices on Chrome & Hopp.  I'm gonna box the tri on Dray...CC...HOPP for a secret love affair!

15 Apr 2014 12:43 PM
Ted from LA

Is it just me, or is Coldfacts defending Draynay starting to feel like Ted from LA defending Bob from Boston?  IOWay, are you from Iowa? If so, I ride my bike across your state each year.  Ted from LA is sad to see so many cyber-friends not attending the Derby.

15 Apr 2014 12:48 PM
Bob from Boston

I'm with Ted from LA on this one.  California Chrome is a toss for me.  He'll burn it up and be leading by 4 lenghs coming out of the final turn only to have Wicked Strong and Hoppertunity take over deep stretch.

15 Apr 2014 12:55 PM
Rusty Weisner

My problem with Ride On Curlin is that it seems he's just not good enough.  He seemed erratic and unlucky in the past so I put a fair amount on him in the Rebel.  And now he comes soundly beaten out of a race where three of the supposed contenders - Tapiture, Strong Mandate, Conquest Titan -- seem off form.

15 Apr 2014 1:37 PM

Draynay, keep on dreaming.  You talk about Wicked Strong not handling the Florida horses and yet Social Outcast, the so-called now horse, (at least he was until he went to New York), dudded out when he ran on an honest race track and against honest competition.  You’re right about Cairo Prince.  He’ll be much tougher from here on in.  Constitution still has much to prove, IMO.  No more Gulfstream for him and no more 9F horses either.

15 Apr 2014 2:04 PM
Needler in Virginia

Steve, many thanks yet again for your thoughts on the Derby hopefuls. Watching California Chrome has given me goosebumps for the first time in a loooooooooooong time. The hair stands up on the back of my neck as I wonder if he could be, might be, can be the one.

Won't jinx him, but I'm hoping and absolutely blown away by how professional this colt is. He's beginning to look like a true freak, and I mean that in the very best sense of the word.

As to his owner's reply, I say "RIGHT ON!!" DO NOT SELL THAT HORSE TO ANYONE. DO NOT MESS WITH HIS CONNECTIONS OR HIS TRAINING". Sorry for yelling, but this is serious and we've seen what happens when a hopeful gets sold with no thought or regard for what got him there in the first place. Don't mess with success, Mr Coburn, and if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Cheers, cheers, cheers!

15 Apr 2014 2:15 PM

Robinm, your statement that two year olds don't win the Derby was one of the most intelligent posts I've read lately.  How true it is.  Too bad it was lost on some.

All these stats that Coldfacts spins out don’t mean much in a race like the Derby.  Mine That Bird won four races on synthetics and only one on dirt, the Derby.  I’m sure he was at the bottom of Coldfacts’ Derby list in 2009.  Historical stats mean something when you look for a 25% win rate in a series of races.  A one shot race like the Derby depends on many factors led by class, condition, proven abilities against like competition, important split times; and even that doesn’t mean much at times.  I would far rather bet a horse that was geared down in his last 16th in a 9F race and won so easily in a good time than a horse that was struggling (even in winning) to get the 9F.  

15 Apr 2014 2:15 PM

Sincerely hope Mike Maker gets the blinker business right as I believe General a Rod to be a top Derby contender.

15 Apr 2014 2:38 PM
Rusty Weisner

Some are going to want to compare Medal Count favorably with Dullahan and Paddy O'Prado, two other grass/synthetic horses of Romans who also ran in the Bluegrass and hit the board in the Derby.  My problem with Medal Count is that he's shown bad dirt form already, unlike the other two.  

15 Apr 2014 2:44 PM

Not being the breeding expert that so many bloggers here display, I am of the opinion though, that if a horse's sire raced well at Churchill, there is a pretty good chance that his offspring will do well there too. It is an old angle in handicapping that certain horses can throw offspring that do well at certain tracks, and not so well at others. With this in mind I will begin the arduous task of trying to figure out this top twenty group. One problem so far is with two horses I like, Danza and Califonia Chrome. Neither of these two's sire (is that good English?), ever raced outside of California. So, will these two horses take to the Churchill surface or not? That is the $2 million dollar question. Looking one more generaton to the grand sires, we see Street Cry, who did have an affinity for Churchill, but in the case of Pulpit, we have a horse that raced only once there, and ran a fair race, coming in fourth in the 1997 Kentucky Derby, behind Silver Charm, Captain Bodgit and Free House. If any of our astute facts bloggers care to chime in on this task, please do, as it would be greatly appreciated. Other's points of view on this angle would be a big help.

15 Apr 2014 2:52 PM

I really like CC, and he seems to just cruise at a high speed and then accelerate so quickly going for home. Seeing as he's been in hand for at least the last 70 yards of his last races, and he needs to get another 1/8 at the KD, what makes people so unsure he can't get that last 12secs of running?

Seems to me that the biggest risk is not taking to the track? Wish he'd do a work over it.

15 Apr 2014 3:00 PM

If you do not have your own opinions and are easily mislead by others into endorsing their opinions,let me make a small suggestion dont bet too much money on one race youll probably lose it ALL.

15 Apr 2014 3:35 PM
Old Old Cat

Thank you again for providing this wonderful format.  The Derby Dozen is something I look forward to each year, maybe moreso than the derby itself.  Your comments are intelligent and deeply penetrating into the ins and outs of the derby chase; not bad for a librarian.

California Chrome has been my number one for a while, and your recanting his childhood has made me outright love him.  I will be betting on CC and rooting for him in the first two TC races.  In a similar manner, I spent a lot of time with my foal and mare when the mare was stall bound.  I think it has helped the baby, now 3, adjust to the racetrack life, and accept many situations that otherwise would prove scary. With happy horses you don't worry as much about ulcers, or shipping.

15 Apr 2014 3:50 PM


“If you are a real person and we met I guarantee you wouldn’t think I was a lunatic”

I just saw your post containing the above statement and I could not stop laughing.

I did not specify that you were a lunatic. I would not post such a statement even if you left no doubts. My statement cited the fact that your bizarre opinions and conclusions share a border with sheer lunacy? That does not equate to you being a lunatic.

There have been some very unflattering quotes directed toward me on these blogs. In fact, I have not been spared wrath of many who find my views repulsive. However, no one has ever questioned whether I am real or not. You should not take offence if the word lunacy is used in any statement directed you as the above declaration also border on lunacy?

The last time I checked I was neither partially nor wholly comprised of electromechanical parts. What could have possibly led to your uncertainty as whether I am a real person? What will you think of next?

15 Apr 2014 4:04 PM

Steve, I often disagree with your top picks but this time we are in agreement. I also have your top 3 as my top 3. I have hit the derby tri a couple of times in the past few years by using a format of choice/choice/all and choice/all/choice. With 20 horses running this costs 36 dollars. So here are my tris as of now..subject to change: CC/Wicked/all, CC/all/wicked. Also CC/Hopp/all, CC/all/Hopp. finally Wicked/Hopp/all, Wicked/all/Hopp.  My gut is telling me CC will be brilliant or off the board. I have more confidence of Hopp and Wicked hitting the board, hence my combos. Total investment, unless I cull some horses from my all, will be 36x3 or $108. Good luck all!!!

15 Apr 2014 4:11 PM

Rusty Weisner,

Medal Count was scheduled to make his debut on turf but the race was switched to dirt. He encountered a lot of traffic problems and showed a lot of grit to win handily. I was very high on him going into the BCJ but the speedway at SA Park just did not suite him.

He is definitely better on turf/synthetic. However, his FOY effort was not bad. He finished non-threatening 5th but his gallop out was very good. There is no question about his stamina to effective get the derby distance.

How has Dynaformer’s progenies performed in the Derby?

Barbaro was better on turf but won the 2006 Derby by 5L

Perfect Drift raced exclusively on dirt and finished 3rd in the 2002 Derby.

Blumin Affair raced exclusively on dirt and finished 3rd in the 1994 Derby.

I consider Medal Count a top 5 candidate to win the Derby if he is not adversely affected by two races in in 8 days covering 17.5F. Place Malice had a crammed schedule heading into the 2013 Derby and he weakened badly in the last 2F.

15 Apr 2014 5:38 PM

***** TOP 3 Finishers of the LAST 14 Ky. Derby's *****

( including the track of their previous race )

2013 1'st. Orb 104,( previous race GP Fla. Derby 1'st).

   2'nd. Golden Soul ( FG La. Derby )

   3'rd. Revolutionary ( FG La. Derby)

(* note: Mylute finished 5'th., 3 of top 5 from FG)

2012  1'st. I'll have another 101 ( SA Derby 1'st.)

     2'nd. Bodemeister ( OP Ark. Derby 1'st 108)

     3'rd. Dullahan ( Kee. Bluegrass 1'st.)

2011 1'st Animal Kingdom 103 ( TP Spirial 1'st.)

    2'nd. Nehro ( OP Ark. Derby 2'nd. 98)

    3'rd. Mucho Macho Man ( FG La. Derby 3'rd 93)

2010 1'st Super Saver 104( OP Ark. Derby 2'nd. 98)

    2'nd. Ice Box ( GP Fla. Derby 1'st. 99)

    3'rd. Paddy O'Prado ( Kee Bluegrass 87)

2009 1'st. Mine That Bird 105( Sunland 4'th. Sun. Derby)

    2'nd. Pioneer of the Nile ( SA Derby 1'st)

    3'rd. Musket Man ( Haw. Ill. Derby 1'st.)

2008 1'st. Big Brown 109 ( GP Fla. Derby 1'st. 106)

    2'nd. Eight Belles ( OP Fantasy G-2 1'st.)

    3'rd. Dennis of Cork ( Haw. Ill. Derby 5'th. 88)

2007 1'st.Street Sense 110 ( Kee. Bluegrass 2'nd. 93)

    2'nd. Hard Spun ( Sar. King Bishop G-1 1'st.)

    3'rd. Curlin ( OP Ark. Derby 1'st. 105)

2006 1'st. Barbaro 111 ( GP Fla. Derby 1'st. 103)

    2'nd. Bluegrass Cat ( Kee. Bluegrass 4'th.)

    3'rd. Steppenwolfer ( OP Ark. Derby 2'nd. 94)

2005 1'st. Giacomo 100 ( SA Derby 4'th. 95)

    2'nd. Closing Argument ( Kee. Bluegrass 3'rd.)

    3'rd. Afleet Alex ( OP Ark. Derby 1'st.)

2004 1'st. Smarty Jones 107( OP Ark. Derby 1'st. 109)

    2'nd. Lion Heart ( Kee. Bluegrass 2'nd.)

    3'rd. Imperialism ( SA Derby 3'rd. 100 )

2003 1'st. Funny Cide 109 ( Aqu. the Wood 2'nd. 110)

    2'nd. Empire Maker ( Aqu. the Wood 1'st.)

    3'rd. Peace Rules ( Kee Bluegrass 1'st.)

** Funny Cide ran 38 times 38= 11-6-8

** Empire Maker won the Fla. Derby, the Wood, 2'nd Ky.)

2002 1'st. War Emblem 114 ( SP Ill. Derby 1'st.)

    2'nd. Proud Citizen ( Kee. Coolmore G-2 1'st.)

    3'rd. Perfect Drift ( TP Lanes end G-2 1'st.)

2001 1'st. Monarchos 116 ( Aqu. Wood 2'nd. 103)

    2'nd. Invisible Ink ( Kee. Bluegrass 4'th.)

    3'rd. Congaree ( Aqu. Wood 1'st. )

2000 1'st. Fusaichi Pegasus 108 ( Aqu. Wood 1'st. 111)

    2'nd. Aptitude ( Aqu. Wood 3'rd.)

    3'rd. Impeachment ( OP Ark. Derby 3'rd.)

In the last 14 years Oakland ( OP ) has produced 9 top 3 Ky. Derby finishes, Keenland ( Kee) has produced 9 top 3 (win/place/show) in the Ky. Derby, Aqu. 6, SA 4 and GP 4. and a few at misc. tracks.

Good luck all

15 Apr 2014 5:40 PM

Guilty as charged, or shall I say, chahged, I am an unabashed Boston native and of course I'm rooting for Wicked Strong to win the Derby.  Aside from sentimental reasons, I think Wicked is a logical contender: A nice 2yo finale behind Honor Code & Cairo Prince in the Remsen, improving form as a 3yo including a Wood where he ran down two unbeatens and won in the process running the last eighth in sub :12 (better than most if not all his adversaries); From a pedigree point of view, he has TC breeding all over with his hard-knocking dad Hard Spun on top as well as Alydar among others, Charismatic on the bottom as well as Canadian TC champ With Approval; and who wouldn't love to see the name Jerkens attached to a KY Derby winner? With all the said, he's my top choice.  Here's hoping Wicked wins the Roses and single-hoovedly helps Suffolk Downs stay in business for the long haul.

California Chrome, definitely the one to beat, and a Chestnut horse winning the SA Derby and his classy trainer Art Sherman with a chance to set a record for youngest-at-heart winning trainer of a Derby winner held by the late, great Charlie Whittingham who saddled a SA Derby winner himself in the late, great Sunday Silence, at age 76.  But I'm not completely sold on California Chrome and his distance abilities and his toteboard value will not be the best but he is still a very, very nice horse with an equally compelling story.

Who will fill the toteboard underneath Wicked Strong? Looking at Wildcat Red - intangibles abound on this one - he has crossed the wire first five times out of seven, finished a neck back in a Grade I and head behind in a $100k race - that's darn good, if you ask me, Personal Ensign on the dam side of his pedigree - wow! Aside WR, I like Hoppertunity, must respect those ketchup and mustard color silks of Mr. Pegram with a SA Derby runner-up trained by Mr. Baffert, Pletcher's contingent is nothing short of talented: Danza looked real good in Hot Springs plus a Spa background helps, Constitution an undefeated guy with Slew on both sides of family tree: respect, Intense Holiday: consistent closer, We Miss Artie loved his will to win at Turfway and has back class and breeding to boot with FuPeg on the bottom.  Those are my thoughts for now... Keep up the great work, Steve Haskin, and good to luck to one all!

15 Apr 2014 5:43 PM

Coldfacts how long ago did I post that,you must have ran outta of material.I mischose my words I shouldnt have asked if you are real,I should have asked if you really act like you do on this blog in your life.

My statement cited the fact that your bizarre opinions and conclusions share a border with sheer lunacy? That does not equate to you being a lunatic.BY COLDFACTS

Thanx for clearing that up for the blog just between us I already knew.As far as bizarre opinions and conclusions I will let the bloggers decide WHO is the one that is guilty of this.

15 Apr 2014 5:47 PM


“Robinm, your statement that two year olds don't win the Derby was one of the most intelligent posts I've read lately”

You are obviously kidding. It is impossible for any 2YO to win a race restricted to 3YOs. Stating the obvious does not denote intelligence. An irrelevant or unnecessary statement makes a post longer than necessary.

“All these stats that Coldfacts spins out don’t mean much in a race like the Derby.”

Are you suggesting that providing a list of 2YO champions that have won the Derby is meaningless? Robinm implied that very few 2YO champs win the Derby. I provided a list that even excluded the 3 Canadian champion 2YOs that also won the Derby. The facts I provide can be easily ignored if one finds them useless.

I dedicated a thread to Mine That Bird heading into the BCJ where he finished last and I became the laughing stock of the MSNBC Message Board. Six months later he salience CD.

I agree with the majority of your post.

15 Apr 2014 5:55 PM

Danza boderline toss weak race ROC was the only colt that was running for something that belonged in the race.If you think Tap showed his distance limitations in an extra half furlong I disagree why run all out here when the big prize is in 3 weeks.If Tap has distance limitations he wont be the only one gasping with an extra FURLONG not half.

I dont have to make things up for each competitor I dont write a blog.I admit my mistakes Conquest Titan and Commissioner were not good enuff,glad I didnt bet that much on them.Bayern did show he was not ready for this race so Danza earned a high speed figure,so what we will see whos right in a few weeks.

15 Apr 2014 5:57 PM

Chrome may get beaten, but I wouldn't bet against him, even with your money. I guess for exotic bettors the rest is relevant.

The last time I picked my derby horse before Xmas, and stuck with him (or he didn't get injured) it was Smarty Jones.

Has Wildcat been working at all, or is he hurt?

15 Apr 2014 6:25 PM


I like your Tri strategy..

I do something very similar to that wagering strategy come Derby Day.

I usually will wheel my top 3 with 10 other horses.

so mine is 60x3=180..

However if I did it your way I would of hit a couple of more tris.

I have not been this high on a horse since Big Brown so I may modify my tri this year..

However I will always do my standard up and down Exacta.

Good Luck!!

15 Apr 2014 6:41 PM
Uncle Smiley


Can you please publish the recipe for Mint Julep Donuts.

If we feed them to Vicar's in Trouble's connections we will have a shoe in the first Saturday in May!

Just don't let ViT get near them.


15 Apr 2014 6:57 PM
Scott's Rail

Thanx to everyone for their comments and opinions.  Really, the best is yet to come.  And the last 7-9 days may really tell us who might win.  Some horses are going to blossom, some are not.  Pay attention to reports, comments and innuendo's from sources you are familar/confident with.  Reminds me of Bob Baffert being interviewed during morning workouts before the Belmont Stks.  A horse cruises by, and BB catches a glimpse of him while looking towards the camera.  He asks "Who was that horse?".  Off camera someone says Victory Gallop.  BB mutters, "That's a nice horse."

15 Apr 2014 7:18 PM
Uncle Smiley


Thanks for summing up the last 14 years of Derby contenders.

I am drawn to the years, 2004, 2005 and 2006.  Yet still no triple crown either.

We need a list of near winners who drew much attention for whatever reason.

Some recents I recall are:  Staythirsty, Big Brown, Hansen and Trinniberg.

Just a thought.


15 Apr 2014 7:19 PM

Age of Reason,

Unholy alliance! Unholy used as an adjective describes the alliance. Why use such an adjective if you do not intend to offend? Insulting other might be a joke to you but not those being insulted. I certainly would not use such an adjective to describe a perceived alliance. For your information Draynay and I have never exchange pleasantries prior 2014 so to conclude that there is some alliance between us is blatantly incorrect.  

“As to my reference to your “potent curse”. I can’t recall that you have ever picked the winner of a single Triple Crown race Nor, for that matter, any graded Derby prep”

The title of the blog is 'Derby Dozen' it’s not 'Pick The Derby Winner'. That stated, how many years have you been monitoring my picks? I rarely provide picks as I have a policy of viewing posts parade before I wager. The appearance and demeanor of a horse can provide a lot more information than its PPs and exercise reports if one knows what to look for.  

I liked Wicked Strong in the 2014 Wood and I was high on Orb against Violence in the FOY. I advised a lot of my friend that Giacomo was going relish the change from the SA Speedway and was a good wager. My first post on a Blood-Horse blog was to highlight that Summer Bird would be the Belmont winner. I cannot recall few selections I made over the years.

“Tell me: what are your top 6 Kentucky Derby contenders, and why”

Wicker Strong: Wood victory makes him best of the closers. He enters the Derby with the best 9F record. Sired by Danzig’s most accomplish son. Dam line is loaded with stamina to complement tracking style. He is from a barn that contains a giant killer as a consultant.

General A Rod: FL Derby effort better than it appeared. Has the speed to track leaders and stamina provided by Dynaformer to close the deal. Blinker off is will be a major plus; Trainer overdue for a win. Sire is a grandson of Mr. Prospector.

Constitution: Has done everything asked in 3 starts. Undefeated, possess tactical speed and stamina. He has the most potential of any horse in the field in three starts. Sire and trainer are negatives but has the potential to overcome negatives.

Hoppertunity: Ideally bred for the Derby distance. Nt suited the SA Speedway. Trainer has tremendous Derby and TC record. Has the class to capitalize on the expected strong pace.

Medal Count: Turf/synthetic sort who has come to hand at the right time. Will stay the Derby trip; Dynaformer progenies Barbaro, Perfect Drift & Blumin Affair finished in the top three in their Derbies. Trainer has an affinity to strike with longshot in big races.

Intense Holiday: One of three horses that enter the Derby with two 9F starts. Good but inconsistent. He will get the Derby trip and will benefit from the expected strong pace. Has never been in a race where the pace has come back to him. The Derby might just provide that likelihood.

15 Apr 2014 7:55 PM

I don't expect any 99-1 or beyond shots in this derby.....but one would have to look at Ring Weekend or Uncle Sigh at 70-1 or higher!

15 Apr 2014 7:57 PM

If California Chrome wins, this would be the estimated payout: $7.80 $5.20 $5.00. As Dick Vitale would say "take the show bet, BABY!"

15 Apr 2014 8:01 PM
Jersey Girl

Horses, horses everywhere...each very special in their own way.

For me the closers bring it to another place in time, especially if they come thundering out of nowhere, raging down the stretch. And just when I'm SURE none of the front runners will prevail this year, Wildcat Red battling his heart out dances across my mind.

So who will set the stage on May 3rd, and who will upset the apple cart? Will California Chrome show the world that he is indeed the real deal? (Hope so.)

I'll be enjoying the ride over the next 2 1/2 weeks until it's time to step up to the window. I'll be mixing it up, and will include the Jersey Trifecta. And I'll wish upon a star that Ride On Curlin, Wicked Strong, and Hopportunity circle Monmouth Park's paddock on Haskell Day, when Christmas comes early to New Jersey.

15 Apr 2014 8:03 PM

Ta Wee,

   You must be one fast Mare?! I love colts that have raced in crowded fields. Can't ignore Northern Dancer in his bottom female line! Hope we get 35-1! MEDAL COUNT!

15 Apr 2014 8:11 PM

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

15 Apr 2014 8:29 PM

Pedigree Ann, I am so so very sorry that you lost your mare and foal last year. I will keep your Millie in my prayers for a full recovery and that your foal will  grow healthy and strong. I so feel your pain. Last year we had a Storm Cat granddaughter that was leased and outcross bred to the sire of my Arabian colt. She had twins and the filly, born first and the larger of the two only took a few breaths and all attempts to revive her failed. The colt, though tiny, fought bravely to live for 10 days, then had to be put down. It was just a heartbreaker that took many weeks for me to get over and I just had to come to the realization that was just not meant to be, at least not this time.  Do not be hard on yourself about the older mares, these things can happen to a mare of any age. I will keep you in my thoughts.

15 Apr 2014 8:30 PM
The Peacock

Jersey listening. As should Baffert fans, as he's owned the Haskell in its recent history. Hoppurtunity more than likely headed there this year. If Chrome shines brightest. Can the top two be this easy...this year? Can they? All things being equal today. Two and half more weeks to get through. And the "draw." But...can they? Screws being turned near Clocker's Corner.

15 Apr 2014 9:01 PM
The Peacock luck best be mentioned. But, all things being equal. I'll refrain from asking again.

15 Apr 2014 9:05 PM
Linda in Texas

Uncle Smiley, that was funny! Cannot wait for Dr. D to answer you. Apr. 15, 6:57 pm.

15 Apr 2014 9:13 PM

Scott's Rail

You're exactly right!  I caught comments, in particular, from Baffert about Animal Kingdom that made me sit up and take notice.  Lot of good info in the coming couple of weeks especially from one Steve Haskin.

15 Apr 2014 9:32 PM

Lazmanick; thanks - yes clearly my comment was lost on at least one.

Draynay;  thanks for explaining your position.  Personally, I don't care who California Chrome has defeated, though actually, I like Hoppertunity quite a bit too.  I am much more interested in the way a horse performs on the track. What I like about Chrome, aside from the obvious; speed, and the ability to carry it, is his consistency and professionalism.  He seems very push-button and very honest.  I've always been partial to a horse with a high cruising speed who can still display a nice turn of foot and gain separation from the pack.  California Chrome gives me the impression he can rattle off 12-second or better furlongs as long as he's asked to then spurt away at the top of the stretch.  Maybe he won't like CD; maybe he gets a poor start or a poor pp and finds himself in unfamiliar territory.  But based on what I've seen, he has a better chance than most in this year's Derby.  I predict that his odds will reflect that I'm not the only one with this opinion.

15 Apr 2014 9:33 PM


Robinm’s post hit the nail on the head when she said that two year olds don’t win the Derby.  I’m sure what she meant was that just because a horse has a stellar two year old campaign, it doesn’t mean a thing when it turns three unless it can carry that form on.  For example, how many last fall proclaimed Honor Code the next TC winner?  How many were totally in awe of Arazi?

I’m not doubting your facts, intelligence or anything related to the sport.  In fact, I find your knowledge and dedication extremely impressive and am amazed with the depth of your knowledge at times.  All I’m saying is that historical facts for a single race pretty well don’t mean much, though that is just my opinion.

As you stated, you provided us with a list of some two year old champs that have won the Derby.  Without naming every horse, here’s a list of two year old champs (excluding Canada and other countries) that DIDN’T win the Derby in the years going back to Spectacular Bid in 1978.  It is EVERY CHAMP with the exception of Street Sense in 2007.  Without doing research (I have every Derby chart during that stretch) and determining which of the Eclipse winners actually even ran in the Derby, the sum total that won the Derby in the past 34 starts is ONE.  And if you eliminate the period from Riva Ridge the 72 winner to Spectacular Bid the 79 winner (eight years) when we had six winners and one second, before that the pickings were slim as I believe you have to go all the way back to Needles in ’55 and Citation in ’48.  Two year old form is a poor barometer.

As for California Chrome, the one thing that he has going for him that actually stands out IMO, is not the way in which he has been running roughshod over the competition.  It is his foundation.  He was brought along old style with a series of two 4.5F and two 5.5F races before graduating to longer distances.  I’m sure that many originally thought of him as a sprinter, but he’s much more than a sprinter.  I’m sure that you have these facts, but when we look back at some of the great 10F horses of the past like Buckpasser, Carry Back and Affirmed it is important to note just how many sprints they ran in before being entered into routes.  In Carry Back’s case it was 17 straight before running a mile, and all this while he was still a two year old (and not a very successful one at that).  With Affirmed it was seven and with Buckpasser it was ten.  Even Citation ran in 8 sprints before a route and with Man o War it was ten.  The foundation when young is important, not necessarily the winning.  Now that its time to step up and win CC is absolutely at the top of his game.  Some might worry about form cycles and the possibility that he has been too good for two long, but I say that with the really good ones you can throw that fact out the window.  That’s one of the things that make them good.  The other thing is the time.  In the SA Derby his early splits weren’t lights out fast.  They were controlled and when he hit the mile he ran the final quarter in 12 2/5 basically geared down.  IMO, he is as legitimate a favorite going in as we have had in several years and the only horses that I think can give him a scare are Wicked Strong and Samraat, who IMO ran in the Wood for an education, not necessarily to win.

15 Apr 2014 9:35 PM


Robinm’s post hit the nail on the head when she said that two year olds don’t win the Derby.  I’m sure what she meant was that just because a horse has a stellar two year old campaign, it doesn’t mean a thing when it turns three unless it can carry that form on.  For example, how many last fall proclaimed Honor Code the next TC winner?  How many were totally in awe of Arazi?

I’m not doubting your facts, intelligence or anything related to the sport.  In fact, I find your knowledge and dedication extremely impressive and am amazed with the depth of your knowledge at times.  All I’m saying is that historical facts for a single race pretty well don’t mean much, though that is just my opinion.

As you stated, you provided us with a list of some two year old champs that have won the Derby.  Without naming every horse, here’s a list of two year old champs (excluding Canada and other countries) that DIDN’T win the Derby in the years going back to Spectacular Bid in 1978.  It is EVERY CHAMP with the exception of Street Sense in 2007.  Without doing research (I have every Derby chart during that stretch) and determining which of the Eclipse winners actually even ran in the Derby, the sum total that won the Derby in the past 34 starts is ONE.  And if you eliminate the period from Riva Ridge the 72 winner to Spectacular Bid the 79 winner (eight years) when we had six winners and one second, before that the pickings were slim as I believe you have to go all the way back to Needles in ’55 and Citation in ’48.  Two year old form is a poor barometer.

As for California Chrome, the one thing that he has going for him that actually stands out IMO, is not the way in which he has been running roughshod over the competition.  It is his foundation.  He was brought along old style with a series of two 4.5F and two 5.5F races before graduating to longer distances.  I’m sure that many originally thought of him as a sprinter, but he’s much more than a sprinter.  I’m sure that you have these facts, but when we look back at some of the great 10F horses of the past like Buckpasser, Carry Back and Affirmed it is important to note just how many sprints they ran in before being entered into routes.  In Carry Back’s case it was 17 straight before running a mile, and all this while he was still a two year old (and not a very successful one at that).  With Affirmed it was seven and with Buckpasser it was ten.  Even Citation ran in 8 sprints before a route and with Man o War it was ten.  The foundation when young is important, not necessarily the winning.  Now that its time to step up and win CC is absolutely at the top of his game.  Some might worry about form cycles and the possibility that he has been too good for two long, but I say that with the really good ones you can throw that fact out the window.  That’s one of the things that make them good.  The other thing is the time.  In the SA Derby his early splits weren’t lights out fast.  They were controlled and when he hit the mile he ran the final eighth in 12 2/5 basically geared down.  IMO, he is as legitimate a favorite going in as we have had in several years and the only horses that I think can give him a scare are Wicked Strong and Samraat, who IMO ran in the Wood for an education, not necessarily to win.

15 Apr 2014 9:39 PM


after reading your post ending with "Churchill is a pall of gloom when it rains" I recalled my lasting take on the weather at Churchill. Since Louisville Kentucky is right across the river from Indiana the local television stations refer to to their broadcast area as "Kentuckiana" certainly clever and encompassing; that however seemed contorted to me. Having spent time in Louisville and been privy to the "pall of gloom" when the rain keeps falling for hour after hour after hour I thought a more apropos lexicon would be "Indiucky".

"Kentuckiana" please!


15 Apr 2014 9:40 PM

Cold Facts

When considering two year old champs, I didn't include two year old filly champs like Genuine Risk and Winning Colors simply because there will be no fillies running in the Derby this year.

15 Apr 2014 9:44 PM

predict-we all have to be patient and see how the horses w/o over the Churchill track. look for trainers w/o patterns that produced success with their horse in the past. I was told many years ago to pay attention to a closer that turns in a bullet work a few days prior to raceday. it's been good advice more often than not. good luck!!

15 Apr 2014 9:49 PM

Coldfacts aka Oracle

Can you find a precedent for each horse in Steve's dozen to win the Derby?  I'm going through the process of elimination right now.

What I mean, can you find a precedent for each horse given:

1) Style of running

2) Pedigree

   * Dam / Sire side

3) Experience

    * 2 yr old

    * 3 yr old

    * Races

         > # overall

         > Graded stakes

    * Tracks

4) Intelligence

5) Trainer

6) Whatever you think I'm missing here

What say you, Oracle???

15 Apr 2014 11:41 PM

Look its past midnight dont get caught thinking the way most pari-mutual bettors think,the idea that studying a piece of paper PPs you will single out the one factor out of many that leads to the one winning horse.

Think about this as if you are making an investment. In not looking to single out anything or anyone all I want to do is make good bets and yes its bet with an s.You could get lucky some years and pick ONE key horse and  construct all your bets on this one number but making winning bets is about covering as many numbers and combinations economically possible within your bankroll so that if any of these bets wins you win more than you lose.

PPS are only as good as the person using them if you dont combine whats on the paper with your own angles you have NO EDGE you are using the same data as many others who have the same piece of paper in their hands.

I think a lot of you are dreaming about singling out CC and throwing in a lot of longshots underneath for the super and it will be the easiest money you ever made.This game especially a race with 20 betting interests will almost always never be that obvious or easy.I dont know how I will bet CC yet because there are still decisions and circumstances to be determined when everything  is in then I will formulate a betting plan not a handicapping plan because if the favorite doesnt win and dosent do what he is supposed to do by whats already history on paper I want a contingency plan or simply I want to still have a chance to win even if the favorite losses.

16 Apr 2014 12:34 AM
Greg R

I have kept Cairo Prince in my top five, because I think we'll see the colt that romped in the Holy Bull, come Derby day.  That should put him within four lengths of California Chrome's tail!

The story about Cal Chrome and his relationship with humans reminds us very much of Afleet Alex, who was bottle-fed and remained a "people person" ever after.

Even though Danza has emerged very late in the game, his win looked very legitimate to me.  I could say the same thing about Wicked Strong.  They strike me as solid Derby-type contenders.  Meanwhile, I remain skeptical of the other NY horses and Louisiana horses.

Constitution leaves me scratching my ample head, but he might be developing fast enough.

Still hoping for Candy Boy to improve....believe the potential is there.

16 Apr 2014 12:34 AM
Greg R

GiddyUp:  Thanks for the interesting info.  I don't think I see any Fair Grounds before 2011, but maybe that's because they rescheduled their derby.  It used to be the next-to-last, rather than last, prep for many horses.

16 Apr 2014 12:58 AM

Based on Kentucky Derby's current leaderboard, if we're still in the Graded Earnings system, the cutoff will be at $345K and the following 4 will be in (ranking) :

Rise Up (1)

Tamarando (14)

Strong Mandate (15)

Giovanni Boldini (20)

Replacing the following four :

Midnight Hawk  (21)

Ring Weekend  (22)

General A Rod  (23)

Medal Count     (24)

Notable horses ranking in graded earnings :

Vinceremos (25)

In Trouble (26)

Uncle Sigh is ranked  (27)

Harry’s Holiday (28)

Bayern is ranked  (32)

Social Inclusion (34)

From that, I think we have the 20 best horses going into the Derby except for Midnight Hawk, I think Uncle Sigh and Vinceremos are better than him.

Source :

16 Apr 2014 1:21 AM

Uncle Smiley, Here are a few close calls for TC

       *** Triple Crown close calls ***

2003 Ky. Derby: Funny Cide 109

        Preakness Funny Cide 114

        Belmont Empire Maker 104( Funny Cide was 3'rd.)

2004 Ky. Derby Smarty Jones 107

    Preakness Smarty Jones 118 ( won by 11 1/2)

    Belmont Birdstone 100 ( Smarty Jones 2'nd. by 1)

1998 Ky. Derby Real Quiet 107

    Preakness Real Quiet 111

    Belmont Victory Gallop 110 ( Real Quiet 2'nd. nose)

1999 Ky. Derby Charismatic 108

    Preakness Charismatic 107

    Belmont Lemon Drop Kid ( Charismatic 3'rd.)

1997 Ky Derby Silver Charm 115

    Preakness Silver Charm 118

    Belmont Touch of Gold 109 ( Silver Charm 2'nd.)

1995 Ky. Derby Thunder Gulch 108

    Preakness Timber Country 105 ( Thunder Gulch 3'rd.)

    Belmont Thunder Gulch 101

2008 Ky. Derby Big Brown 109

    Preakness Big Brown 100

    Belmont Da'Tara ( I can't recall what happen to Big Brown, if he didn't finish, or hurt, maybe somebody remembers?)

16 Apr 2014 5:53 AM
Mike from Michigan

Here are the foal dates of the CURRENT qualifiers for the KD: (2011 year of birth)

Cairo Prince- Feb. 17th    California Chrome- Feb. 18th

Candy Boy- Mar. 31st       Chitu- Mar. 18th

Constitution- Feb. 11th    Danza- ??

Dance With Fate- Feb. 16th Genral A Rod- Feb. 26th

Hoppertunity- May 7th      Intense Holiday- Apr. 20th

Medal Count- May 1st       Midnight Hawk- May 14th

Ride On Curlin- Feb. 16th  Ring Weekend- Apr. 27th

Samraat- Apr. 18th         Tapiture- May 3rd

Vicars In Trouble-Mar 31st We Miss Artie- Mar. 30th

Wicked Strong- Apr. 28th   Wildcat Red- Mar. 29th

POSSIBLE derby runners foal dates:

Uncle Sigh- Mar. 31st       Vinceremos- Mar. 20th

Harry's Holiday- Apr. 4th   Commanding Curve- Mar. 23rd

So, it looks like Constitution is the 'oldest' 3 year-old and Midnight Hawk would be the youngest.  Of the 20 CURRENT qualifiers, Hoppertunity and Midnight Hawk technically would still be 2 year-olds if they make the starting gate.  Tapiture's birthday would the day of the Kentucky Derby. (good omen?)

16 Apr 2014 6:20 AM

It is not true that a Pulpit has never come close to winning the Derby. Ice Box was second in 2010 and many believe he was the best horse that day. That is my favorite Derby finish over the past few years and the ride that Calvin gave Super Saver shows why many just automatically wager on whichever horse he is riding.  He parked Super Saver on the rail but was much closer to the front than with Street Sense in his first Derby victory and his horse ran the shortest distance of any. At the end he only had to leave the rail to pass one horse.  Ice Box on the other hand was either last or 19th and was still far back coming out of the final turn and made an incredible stretch run having to bob and duck around tiring horses and was flying at the end.  In my opinion Calvin won the race more so than Super Saver, and it is not often the case that the jockey makes that much difference in the outcome. A masterful ride.

16 Apr 2014 6:51 AM

Age of Reason,

“I can’t recall that you have ever picked the winner of a single TC race, at least not before the fact. Nor, for that matter, any graded Derby prep”

I have done so on several occasions but to provide names without evidence would only fuel further discredit. The postings by contributors below provide a few verifications:

Forbidden Apple: posted, 12 Mar 2011 11:47 PM

Even though I don't always agree with what you write, I do read all of your comments and take out which parts interest me. I always tell you that I appreciate your hard work and research. I thought back to your post earlier this week when you talked about Premier Pegasus. "If the blinkers are removed from Premier Pegasus the race is over before it begins". I had a $40 WP ticket on Premier Pegasus and it pulled back the cash that I lost earlier in the day on Keertana and then some. I just wanted to say thank you

Ranagulzion: 28 Mar 2010 9:08 AM

Congratulations on the positive outcome of the "brain-tickling" math problem you set us regarding the LA Derby.  Mission Impazable's win makes you look like Professor Coldfacts

If you were a regular reader of the coldfacts you would have made a bundle on Done Talking in the 2012 IL Derby ($27)

Bernardini, Giacomo Summer Bird, Tapit, Tiago, Consolidator are a few I can also remember.

Your assessment regarding by capability to pick winners is grossly incorrect. I rarely make pick as that not what I do.

16 Apr 2014 8:09 AM


Thanks for posting the top 3 Derby finishers from the last 14 Derbies.  Since the tri is one of my goals, this info is very helpful.  Would add that in 2007, Hard Spun's last start before the Derby was at Turfway Park (Poly), Lane's End II, 1st.  It was also six weeks out from the Derby.

At this point, I'll have  Wicked Strong in my tri box.  Hard Spun out of a Charismatic mare--classic breeding with the on-track performance to boot!

16 Apr 2014 8:59 AM
Steve Haskin

For those who havent heard, Constitution will miss the Derby with a shin fracture.

16 Apr 2014 9:40 AM


Unless you post something different I have you saying Wicked Strong is your horse..

He is my current #2 so I will be rooting for him..

Just remember as you banter every comment made on this forum Wicked Strong is your horse..


Please do not respond to this post unless you have a different #1 horse..

16 Apr 2014 9:48 AM

“Hoppertunity and Midnight Hawk technically would still be 2 year-olds if they make the starting gate”.

I am sure you meant not fully 3YO. There is no such age as technically 2YO when that age has been surpassed by several months. All may foals would be either just shy of being be 3YO or fully three after the derby.  They are all closer to being three years old and further away from age two.

16 Apr 2014 9:56 AM

Ted from LA

If we happen to see you on tv how will we know it's you?  Will you have a Derby Dozen cap with a propeller on top or a t shirt that says "I'm Ted & I'm a Derby Dozen addict"???

16 Apr 2014 9:57 AM

Brontexx:You could get lucky some years and pick ONE key horse and  construct all your bets on this one number but making winning bets is about covering as many numbers and combinations economically possible within your bankroll so that if any of these bets wins you win more than you lose.

This use to be my attitude as well but I gotta ask if you cover so many horses what will your return on your investment be??

By the time you use so many horses you may be better of playing your key horse across the board for the better ROI..No Yes Maybe??

This conversation interests me so much more than breeding and damn sires..For anybody that pays attention to nature will know that the gods at any time can give any horse some freak ability..

No matter what month they were born no matter what his Damn sire is no matter if he races at 2 is Cali Bred or has a white tail.

16 Apr 2014 10:02 AM
Rusty Weisner

I had my first Derby dream last night.  A longshot I didn't have beat two I did have.  The longshot was a Tapit called "Tapped", I think, and was number 5, though he had a brown saddlecloth.  He beat the 8 & 9.  


Thanks for the wagering menu.  I love the overlapping p4's.  Unfortunately, the Woodford Reserve has been my nemesis three years in a row and looks likely to ruin that p4 again with Wise Dan entered.

I'm sorry to hear about Constitution and hope for the best, but I think this was predictable.  I'm doubly sorry because of all the money he was going to take; sorry for the avaricious perspective.

I think Draynay is on more solid ground arguing for the Florida horses this year.  The Holy Bull featured four Derby horses, and it would have been five with Top Billing.  The Florida Derby also featured four.  Meanwhile, Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday and Social Inclusion flattered the circuit.

I'm still mostly against, though.  I just don't think the track was fair, and Wildcat Red and General A Rod (if on the lead) will not have an optimal surface with a short stretch any more.  I'm giving more consideration to Cairo Prince than I was in light of the comparison to Closing Argument; we'll see if it's an apt comparison.  I just think there might be really great odds on the horse that was the best (remaining) Derby horse at 2.  Closing Argument, by the way, did not just pick up the pieces to get second in his Derby, despite his name.  He was actually super sharp and right up on the pace, closer than Afleet Alex.    

16 Apr 2014 10:10 AM

Well, there's the first Blood Horse bad news update of the post prep Derby season.  Constitution out...  Bummer.

16 Apr 2014 10:13 AM
Pedigree Ann

Age of Reason gets the "Prescience" award for his "dead-man walking" remark about Constitution. Not enough bone built up by racing at 2 plus rushed to make the Derby equals injury. Thank goodness it isn't a serious one; he just needs to go out of training for a time for it to heal up. Curse of Apollo? Well, for one thing, the Derby has become a lot harder to win than it was in 1882, when it was a good local, Midwestern race and not a national classic. Matt Winn and his publicity smarts made the Kentucky Derby what it is today and he was still a youngster back when Apollo won.

16 Apr 2014 10:14 AM

Constitution: Some time ago I post that my concern regarding overbred stallions had nothing to do with the talent of their progenies but more to do with fragility. I have long viewed Tapit’s progenies as being very soft.

I have consistently cited that horses from very large book as having a historic negative as it relate to the Derby. They always develop issue that interrupts their preparation. Those that make it into the Derby are always out performed.I could supply a list but it would be too long.

Top mare breeders for 2010:

Giant Causeway 217 – No Derby starter

Dunkirk – 186- No Derby starter

Kittens Joy – 173 – No Derby starter

Candy Ride – 172; One questionable Derby starter

Malibu Moon– 172 - No Derby starter

Medaglia d'Oro– 170- No Derby starter

Henrythenavigator 169 -– No Derby starter

Tapit – 169 - Two likely Derby starters unlikely to be winners

Pollard's Vision – 165 – No Derby starter

Harlan's Holiday – 162; one likely Derby starter

Smart Strike – 160 – No Derby starter

Street Cry (IRE) – 159 – No Derby starter

Tale of the Cat – 152 - No Derby starter

The monster 3YO California Chrome was produced from a book of 35 mares bred. The previous monster and champion 2YO Shared Belief was produced from a book of 169 mares breed. Will he be in the Derby field?

16 Apr 2014 10:20 AM


I hope you direct a similar statement to all contributors. You seem to always relish every opportunity to ridicule me. I am no different from any other contributor.

Nothing is set in stone and if by further review I determine that another horse is more worthy of my #1 ranking I am a liberty to change. Wow!

16 Apr 2014 10:26 AM
Rusty Weisner

I don't get why Coldfacts bugs people so much.  So he's eccentric and opinionated.  He clearly loves the game.  And he gave us the immortal Footbridge.

A couple of my opinions on some horses people have mentioned.

Wildcat Red -- people rightly like the toughness, competitiveness and foundation.  They liked the same thing about Itsmyluckday last year.  For my part, I'll always give the likely frontrunner a chance to hit the board just because it means he'll stay out of trouble.  But the questions of pedigree and whether he can export his form make me want to keep away.

General A Rod,

If I see the blinkers come off I will put my trust in Steve Haskin and make a spot for him.

Coldfacts --

You say Intense Holiday is unpredictable.  I think he's the opposite.  I had good predictive abilities about him in the Risen Star and La Derby based on his previous progression; I thought he was due for a pause in his last.  I think he'll have really big odds and still give him a chance to hit the board (I define "hit the board" specially for the Derby as the top four).

If you like Medal Count, don't hold the races against him; it's the babying I'd hold against horses.  People (you) said that about Palace Malice and Oxbow last year in the Derby and they were sharp, and game; the latter was the biggest pace survivor, and the former just bolted with the blinkers.  It wasn't a question of being empty.

16 Apr 2014 10:33 AM
Your Only Friend

Steve ...I am reading many writers referring too breeding ....not an expert but do not think you can count on genetics further back than 3 generations....what you say?

16 Apr 2014 10:40 AM
Rusty Weisner


You are right.  Even it's the favorite the super and tri can be gigantic.  And it's not irrational to take some big longshots in those bets.  It's typical of the Derby.

I was very eager about Hoppertunity starting before the SA Derby.  CC's dominance gives me pause, though.  Regardless, I feel like if you take one you should take both.

16 Apr 2014 10:46 AM
Smoking Baby

Laz.  Niether Genuine Risk or Winning Colors were champion two year old fillies. Smart Angle was the 2 year filly champ in 1979.  Not sure who it was in Winning Colors' year.  Someone help me.  Maybe Goodbye Halo?

16 Apr 2014 10:52 AM
Linda in Texas

Thanks for the news on Constitution. What a shame for him and for those of us who love the sport of the competition. He is such a handsome and talented horse. Just hate it. But so thankful the injury wasn't life ending.  Highs and Heartaches go hand in hand with this sport of giants.

16 Apr 2014 10:57 AM
Smoking Baby

EPITOME was the champion two year old filly in 1987 (Winning Colors' year)!!!  Now I'm embarrassed.  I was at Hollywood that day and saw her win the Breeder's Cup under Pat Day.  Shoemaker was on the big favorite (some Golden Eagle filly as I remember).  Should've remembered that one.  

16 Apr 2014 10:57 AM


“Robinm’s post hit the nail on the head when she said that two year olds don’t win the Derby”

Kindly forgive me if I lack the capacity to understand what is inferred as opposed to what is written. I responded to the statement as written. It did not specify that classy 2YOs or 2YO champions don’t win the Derby. It just said 2YOs. Even is the statement was worded correctly, it would still not be inaccurate.

Not all classy 2YOs or 2YO champions go on to win the Derby but enough have. Several have gone to be Triple Crown champions. To suggest that my highlighting 2YO champion Shared Belief is unworthy is not supported by the cold facts.  

You endorsed what amounted to a misstatement and classify same as intelligence. What must an uneducated bloke such I think? You never specified that you were in agreement with the inference but rather the statement.

I am well aware that the frequency of 2YO champions winning the Derby has declined. This does not mean that they do not win the derby as indicted in the statement.

California Chrome has many positives. Thos you have highlighted are real. His talent is without question. His profile just does not fit into Derby history. History will always be made and I am sure he can make his own bit.

The colt most likely to win the Derby is Wicked Strong. His two raced at 9F saw him closing relentlessly. He has a much classier pedigree than CC. He might not be as fast but neither was Giacomo against his CA counterparts. The sons of Danzig have been stellar at producing champions. His son Danehill sired 13 Champions. Another son Green Desert was the sire of Cape Cross who sired of Sea The Stars and Ouija Board.

I have a lot of regard for Northern Dancer line horses that exhibit exceptional talent. Jimmy Jerkins lost his chance with Quality Road and with Wicked Strong he has an equal if not better candidate.  

16 Apr 2014 11:17 AM

Good Morning Steve ~

 So pleased by your recap and review of the Derby Dozen.  Your supportive facts that keep California Chrome holding the top spot is a call for a celebration. I think Art (Sherman), Steve (Corbin) and "The Chrome" must be having a Mint Julep right about now.  I am sensing you are feeling the same.

 The results of this past weekends' racing performance did not seem that we were headed for a Churchill challenge, rather a grab-bag and trainers hoping to pull out the gift they wanted. (I myself, do not like grab-bags). No one particular horse shows that he is on solid ground or focused as jockeys battle with leads(except for CC).  

Did you ever think or even imagine that Graded Stakes would be like Allowance races into the Derby and onto the Triple Crown Trail?!!

Yes, Hopportunity deserves a degree and Baffert is confident with his stress-less effort still there is that BOLD ? for this colt that never ran as a 2yo.

Wicked Strong and the Jimmy Jerkens Story is another representation of the emotional stress that comes with heart,soul and love in this game and for the facts you identify it's understood that he is right up there; Ground saving Constitution gained his appearance but this path is tight with a field of fliers, his task will be a fight.

Ah, Danza! Onward, Onward! A nice surprise to all that were rewarded.  This Tod Pletcher colt in addition to Joe Bravo coming to Oaklawn Park and just wait on this race was a given - unsuspected by all as this Danza baffled everyone and his opponents who looked like they were in another race.  Pletcher, Joe, knew what they had and BRAVO! but Ah, Danza the Derby horse?

Intense Holiday had an uncomfortable trip, true and able to regain his balance and foot as you mention but surely has to be focused on this upcoming ground for fear of slip-sliding away; General A Rod, I like that you mention "reverting back to his career debut", coming from the back of the pack and with all that behind him in this chase, the General could take charge. A plus for him is that he is not in the media front and and being kept in a serene state storing up his energy for 20 opponents;Happy that Cairo Prince has regained a place on the Derby Dozen list and seems McLaughlin is quite happy also that he is getting the chance to surprise at Churchill with a very nice horse whom was out of it for a bit - in the "Game of Chance"........

to take place at "Churchill Downs" will be memorable race and every thought you have posted here will be part of a decision that made a difference because of you!

Thanks Steve

16 Apr 2014 11:19 AM

Sorry to hear about Constitution happy to hear he will be all right.

Now if somebody feels like getting Jason/Draynay of the roof before he jumps.

Then again

16 Apr 2014 11:27 AM
Rusty Weisner


(Where'd the extra "N" go?)

Great post in response to Coldfacts about California Chrome.  Very persuasive.

16 Apr 2014 11:29 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


   That's good, I like it. I think the t-shirt should say Ted from LA on the front, and Bob from Boston on the back. He should wear the fake glasses with fake big nose and fake moustache. The propeller is a great idea. Is twenty propeller blades possible? Or the hat could be polka dot with the 20 jockey colors on the dots. And he could dance the Steve Haskin Derby Dozen Polka Twist.

16 Apr 2014 11:47 AM
Mike from Michigan

@coldfacts......well, yeah, but thank you for pointing out my incorrect way of stating it.  I hope everybody knew what I meant.  Sorry.

16 Apr 2014 12:01 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Who wins the tie breakers on the twenty pointers? I think at least two will get in. Social Inclusion may be running after all.

16 Apr 2014 12:06 PM


I hope you direct a similar statement to all contributors. You seem to always relish every opportunity to ridicule me. I am no different from any other contributor.

Coldfacts you are a very elegant writer much better than I.

However reading your posts for better than 3 years I must say with how much you contradict yourself is like having a conversation with someone who is bi-polar..No matter what you say you are always right..

Good Luck to you..

16 Apr 2014 12:14 PM
El Kabong


Midnight Hawk is not going to Louisville for the Derby. Like you, his connections believe it is not a race for him. Nice work on the Point/GEarnings stats. The Point system out performs again. How many years did Ranag give it to fold? 3? Not gonna happen. Bad Strategery. Bush League.

16 Apr 2014 12:23 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Uncle Smiley, Linda in Texas

    The donuts are just whiskey, mint, milk, flour, sugar, water, olive oil, but be careful they are wicked strong so you'll be dancing with fate, though they will give you the hopportunity for social inclusion at any party when you turn into a red wildcat.

16 Apr 2014 12:26 PM

You hate to see the most talented 3 year old go down but that is part of horse racing isn't it.  This is a very talented horse and if you believe everything happens for a reason you look forward to seeing him race and win again.  The injury is slight ... so a little rest, a little training, and maybe we see him in the Haskell.  With Constitution out that leaves the king of the mountain to beat and that is Cairo Prince.  You cannot ask for a better trainer, who will have him ready to roll first week in May.  Cairo has a great foundation, has faced large fields, comes from just off the pace and has won on 3 different tracks.  Cairo Prince is the horse to beat in the Kentucky Derby and the horse Wildcat Red will have to hold off to the wire.

16 Apr 2014 12:27 PM
Rusty Weisner

Dr. Drunkinbum,

The tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races, whether or not they are graded.

16 Apr 2014 12:47 PM
Rusty Weisner

Here are the 2014 (2014 only) stakes earnings for the 20-pointers:

Vinceremos: $194,000

Commanding Curve:  $104,000

Social Inclusion: $90,000

Bayern: $100,000

Harry's Holiday: $152,000

Pablo Del Monte: $100,000

I'm glad to see Commanding Curve likely to get in:  a gigantic longshot I'll give a chance to hit the board.  

16 Apr 2014 12:54 PM


You are right.  Even it's the favorite the super and tri can be gigantic.  And it's not irrational to take some big longshots in those bets.  It's typical of the Derby.

Yes Rusty, that is my whole attitude is who to play underneath.

So far my leading horses are in no particular order are.

Wicked Strong,A Rod,Candy Boy,C.Prince,hop,Ride on Curlin..

Some reason I cannot discount Chitu..

Any way still have 17 days and decisions to make..

Starting to think their may not be as much speed in this race as originally thought.

I may change my mind..

Good Luck..  

16 Apr 2014 1:01 PM

Rusty Weisner,

Do contributors bug me?  When contributors post their opinions they are likely to get comments especially if the comments contains inaccuracies. It’s part of the process. When I am attacked I do not regard it as bugging.  I suspect you are an adult and therefore you have passed the stage of childishness. Footbride is one of many horses that I have highlighted. My specific quote about the colt was “If he runs to his pedigree the Derby is over” He clearly has not run to his pedigree as have many other thoroughbred. Why the triviality?

I am not holding the two quick races against Medal Count or he would not be in my top 5. I had Don’t Get Mad in my Derby wager and he contests the Derby Trail 8 day before the Derby and eventually he finished 4th.

I do believe I stated Intense Holiday was inconsistent. I have in the past stated that he is predictable. This colt won a very slow MSW. His next victory was achieve by a HD. He closed willingly in the Risen Star and was expected to do likewise in the LA Derby. He came to the top of the stretch with VIT and when that one quicken he was left standing. What do you expect of him next? A Derby victory!  He is supposed to be a closer and he wouldn’t even change his lead. He is also the product of an overbred stallion (162 mares) who was dusted by the progeny of stallion that bred 44 mares. If Vinceremos get in I will drop Intense Holiday from my top 5.

16 Apr 2014 1:03 PM
Smoking Baby

Bummer about Constitution.  This may wind up being a blessing in disguise though.

16 Apr 2014 1:31 PM

Darn! They scratched my pick for the derby......must rethink........of course i get 5200 if my nov bet cairo prince wins...........

16 Apr 2014 1:49 PM
calico cat

I have a bad case of California Chrome Fever. After that one, total confusion.

16 Apr 2014 1:55 PM
Mister Frisky

Too bad about Constitution.Hopefully no more defections between now and post time.From a gambling angle it makes things slightly easier.No Apollo thing or a Tapit getting a mile and a quarter issue.General A Rod now takes his place on my exotics,much more comfortable with his distance potential.

16 Apr 2014 2:09 PM
Rusty Weisner

What happened to Constitution, Pletcher's lightly raced prized horse, was predictable.  I prefer Pletcher's afterthoughts going into the Derby, the ones he has to run hard to get in the race:  Palace Malice last year, maybe Intense Holiday this year.  I would have preferred Danza and Vinceremos to Constitution, if only for the odds.

16 Apr 2014 2:29 PM
Sail On

Constitution off Derby trail due to a leg fracture.

One requirement of a Derby winner is that they be sound.

16 Apr 2014 2:37 PM

Wonder where Javier Castellano lands now , i hope Danza, as I can't see Vinceramos having any chance in this group. Only horses I like below 20 on the points list are Commanding Curve and Gio Boldini, would add some spice if SI gets in.

Read somehwere on twitter Baffert will send Chitu in the derby trial, if his workouts don't improve.

I also have Medal Count if my top 5, he will be on my tickets, somewhere.

16 Apr 2014 2:37 PM
Rusty Weisner


As things stand I want to put CC and Hoppertunity in my exotics, one on top, one underneath, and vice-versa.  Another slot will be favored closers, the last slot will be "ALL contenders to hit the board" (minus throwouts).

So far the ones (not all will start) I will throw out of any tri or superfecta are:

Vicar's In Trouble (don't like pedigree)

Wee Miss Artie (Spiral was a joke)

Samraat (not good enough)

Uncle Sigh (not as good as Samraat)

Chitu (second stringer)

Midnight Hawk (other second stringer, but not as good)

Harry's Holiday/Pablo Del Monte

Ring Weekend (no)

I'm inclined to throw out Medal Count but Romans gets them on the board somehow after all these non-dirt races.  I'm also inclined to bet Wildcat Red to fade badly, but he's a tough one. And I'm leaning against Ride On Curlin; couldn't come close when he had to have the race and three of the main contenders were barely running.  I don't think Social Inclusion will make it in.

Anybody know if Baffert will run Bayern if he's in?  I don't like him.  

My top 5 are:


California Chrome

Prince of Cairo (odds will be long on the horse that seemed like #1 at one point)

Intense Holiday (I predict improvement, odds will be long, pedigree and experience charging down a long stretch)

Wicked Strong (best closer, but will be one of the favorites)

the rest of my top 12, in no particular order:

Danza (who knows - I prefer one Pletcher pulled out of the bad and is running three weeks back)

General A Rod (pedigree a plus)

Candy Boy (could improve, but doesn't seem that good)Tapiture (form, pedigree?)

Commanding Curve (purely odds off his bad-luck third place)

Medal Count (I should stick to my guns and hate the Bluegrass horses, but Romans has done it before)

Ride on Curlin (I liked this horse for a while and I'll be throwing a lot of money around; what's one more cost)

16 Apr 2014 3:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

There's a decent chance that Social Inclusion and Bayern will both get in making it a faster pace scenario and a more interesting race for sure. Don't finish handicapping yet. I won't be handicapping until the posts are drawn but I am watching replays, looking at numbers and pedigree and will have my eyes open for information. Anxious for Steve to get there. His reports while at CD is as good as it gets. Derby Dozen Dessert Deluxe. 4D.

16 Apr 2014 3:46 PM
Forbidden Apple

TerriZ, Pletcher is no magician, he simply trains hundreds of well bred and talented horses. What happened to Graydar? And to Constitution, and to Eskenderaya, and to all the rest of his magical stars? I just finished reading how his record at Churchill Downs for a 10 furlong or longer race is 1/56! And the one victory was simply because Super Saver loved the super sloppy track.

Draynay, Zenyatta came east and dominated the Apple Blossom. A race in which your beloved Rachel Alexandra was completely afraid to even enter the starting gate in. She was also a fast closing 2nd by a nose in the Breeders Cup Classic after winning the Classic the year before. While your Game on Dud has been a bust in two runnings of the B.C. Classic.


1)Wildcat Red His FL Derby was a prep and he would have won the race if he hugged the rail. His speed will go a long way at Churchill Downs, the horse to catch and beat. It's interesting that Bejarano called and wants the mount.

2)Cairo Prince He is far better than his FL Derby effort suggests. If he trains well at Churchill, then he will move to #1. He's more logical than my top choice for getting the distance.

3)California Chrome This gritty gelding has done nothing wrong at Santa Anita in short fields. He will have to transfer his brilliance to Churchill Downs. I just don't see him getting another dream trip on May 3.

4)Candy Boy This guy was flat after the long layoff and needs a complete turnaround to make any noise down the lane. He was far to close to the early pace in the S.A. Derby. I'm anxious to watch him train up to the KY Derby, he could easily jump to #1 by May 3.

5)Hoppertunity He's a solid horse and deserves his share of respect. The KY Derby has been his goal all along, very dangerous going forward.

6)Wicked Strong This guy was well hyped in FL and was no match for top competition. I do not see him circling the field again on May 3.

7)Social Inclusion I'm not sure why Contreras kept looking under his shoulder in the Wood. He was extremely hot and bothered before the race, still no excuse for missing the place photo. I like this horse, but I would like to see him skip the KY Derby and wait for the Preakness.

8)General A Rod A tough competitor, just a cut below the top five on my list.

9)Dance With Fate I needed this horse in the El Camino Real where he hung like a broken garage sale lamp. A nice horse, completely unproven on dirt.

10)Danza He looked good beating a group of grade III foes in the AK Derby. His trainer is 1/56 going 10 furlongs or more at Churchill Downs.

11)Vicar's In Trouble Indeed, I believe this guy is in serious trouble in the KY Derby.

12)Ring Weekend He is better on the front end, but still not good enough for Grade I competition.

16 Apr 2014 4:09 PM
Bloodline Bob

I like Steve's: #2(HOPPERTUNITY) because of his broodmare sire(Unaccounted For), #6(GENERAL A ROD) because of his sire(Roman Ruler) + his broodmare sire(Dynaformer); #8(INTENSE HOLIDAY) because one of the owners tipped me about him before the LA. Derby + I'll be betting him in BC31 in Nov.; #10(RIDE ON CURLIN) because he's my only future bet + Ultra Class sire and broodmare sire--maybe too much class for a Ky. Derby winner. LAST BUT NOT LEAST: I'm hoping COREY NAKATANI WINS HIS 1st KENTUCKY DERBY!!! By the way, I'll be 60 yrs. young on April 24th and on Derby Day(5-3-14), I'll be 28 yrs. SOBAAH(that's my Baahston accent), lol.

16 Apr 2014 4:11 PM
Age of Reason

"I have consistently cited that horses from very large book [sic] have a historic negative as it relates to the Derby…Those that make it into the Derby are always out performed.”

I did a review of the top 6 finishers in the 2013 Kentucky Derby (Orb, Golden Soul, Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion, Mylute, Oxbow) and looked up the Report of Mares Bred for each of their sires in 2009, the year they were all conceived (sires being Malibu Moon, Perfect Soul, War Pass, Tapit, Midnight Lute, and Awesome Again respectively). These six stallions, in the year which they would sire a Top 6 finisher in the Kentucky Derby, bred an average among them of 115 mares. This includes three stallions (Malibu Moon, War Pass, Tapit) who each bred upwards of 150 mares each.

A further review of the year before that shows 2013 was not an aberration; in 2012, the Top 6 finishers in the Kentucky Derby (I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, Dullahan, Went The Day Well, Creative Cause, Liaison) were sired by stallions who, in the year these top 6 finishers were conceived, bred an average book of 127 mares (Flower Alley, Empire Maker, Even the Score, Proud Citizen, Giant’s Causeway, and Indian Charlie respectively). Three of these six stallions bred a book of 145 or more.  

The “cold facts” clearly show that, for a potentially Derby-winning sire, “Over-breeding” is nothing more than a contrived fairy tale. All the arguments which have been made to support the myth that “Over-breeding” is a Derby negative, rely not on an objective analysis of the facts (see the numbers above) but on cherry-picking only select pieces of information which agree with the commenter’s pre-determined conclusions, and conveniently ignoring all the facts which contradict his argument.

16 Apr 2014 4:42 PM
Old Old Cat

In response to the question about Big Brown:  BB was a push-button horse in the Derby breaking from outside (20?? maybe), taken back to the rail immediately, rated nicely got in stride, swept the field.  Trainer Richard Dutrow JR was cited for drugs (himself a reformed user) and steriods for the horse (maybe something like windstrom or windstroll??).  Even though he was not required to under the then existing rules, he changed BB's medication for the Belmont, horse acted up in the paddock, thought he had already won the race, by the time he reached the track he was lathered up, washed out.  Ran too soon, gave out quick, was pulled up, DNF.

As best I remember it.

16 Apr 2014 4:46 PM

With Constitution out there is no one left to battle Cairo Prince except maybe Wildcat Red.  We don't know PP's yet but there seems to be only 5 or 6 horses with a legitimate shot at hitting the board.  Wildcat Red and Cairo Prince are clearly the best 2 horses in the race with General A Rod and Wicked Strong a step behind.  To finish my six horse box I will have Ride on Curlin and Danza. W/P on Cairo Prince.

16 Apr 2014 5:14 PM

It must be hard putting a positive spin for the connections of Constitution but the break will allow the horse to develop and return stronger than ever, just shocking timing though.

Perhaps there may be room on the 'ark' for Commanding Curve?

16 Apr 2014 5:17 PM
Sail On

Lots of nice horses here, but no standouts. It is still too early to 'pick' derby winners, but it is fun to speculate.

16 Apr 2014 5:19 PM

Right now, my plan is to box:

1) Cal. Chrome

2) Whoever Zarvona lands on

3) The horse that makes Steve go "wow!" when he is reporting their works on the track.

Or I may just bet whoever Bigtex likes.

The top 3 finishers in the Derby always seem to contain one that makes you say "well, I didn't see THAT coming!".  Unfortunately, there are a lot of horses that fit that profile this year.

16 Apr 2014 5:47 PM


I like your strategy..

I also like a lot of the same horses you do..

All the horses you threw out I did to except for Samraat.. Still on the fence about him.

Cairo Prince is the overlay and will be on my tix in all 3 spots.

Hoppurtunity is definitely the hype horse so far. Do not know if I will play him in the win spot,for sure in place and show..

Still have a lot of time good luck

16 Apr 2014 5:53 PM

Well, all I have to say is that if the theory that the large number of mares covered by a stallion has a negative impact on Derby winners is plausible then Cali is a shoo in for sure.

16 Apr 2014 7:17 PM

Johnny I cover them in derby futures at relatively high odds and I get free additions when I play the all others with all my exactas.Wicked Strong is a freebee but depending on the pool there are many more.

16 Apr 2014 7:17 PM

Forbidden Apple.... for the record East is East of the Mississippi River the West is everything West of the Mississippi.  Zenyatta did finally come east and meet males for the first time on a bias closing track where the winner of the mile closed from 20+ lengths back.  She lost by a head... not a nose.  She never came close to passing Blame not even 100 yards past the wire he was still in front.  However, we do seem to agree on who the best two horses going into the Derby are.  Cairo Prince and Wildcat Red.... they are 5 lengths or more ahead of anything outside of Florida.

16 Apr 2014 7:36 PM

At what odds would Draynay and Coldfacts be willing to put a few bucks down on Cal. Chrome? 7-1; 9-1; 12-1; 25-1/?

16 Apr 2014 7:40 PM
Sam Santschi

Forbidden Apple....very well said.  If CP can rebound, why not CB?  

16 Apr 2014 7:49 PM

Based strictly on pedigree:

California Chrome

General A Rod

Vicar's In Trouble

Ride On Curlin


Wicked Strong

Candy Boy


Danza's pedigree is an enigma IMO, so I need to do further research.  

16 Apr 2014 8:44 PM

The cement hard surface at Gulfstream claims another.  It would be nice if they got rid of this need for speed mentality and took on an attitude of need for longevity.

16 Apr 2014 8:49 PM

Where were you guys,when i was accused of "picking" on coldcuts? For years, nobody was calling him out for his wackyness.....for years, his wacky theory #147 about overbred sires......he doesnt "get" that it has nothing to do with the foals, it only means the sire might be overworked,might have problems......he somehow thinks the sperm is weakend.......or that a chestnut storm cat foal is better than a bay......he actually thinks because it's a chestnut, it had more of the sire in him!.......because i pointed this out, i was a bad guy....."the Factor" has a perfect stride for long distance".......or for months saying how can anyone pick a horse from dubai, and the very next year pick a horse from dubai......or all these great horses he lists.........somehow puts them down for losing 1 race............or this year comparing 2500 sire lucky pulpit to tapit? really? If you come on here, pretending to be an expert, or open yourself up to critics............

16 Apr 2014 8:53 PM

Rusty Weisner, I guess I need to buy an N.

16 Apr 2014 8:53 PM
Jersey Girl

The Derby will make 3 races for Medal Count in a very short space of time. Steve, do you think he has that in him, especially on dirt?

Mike from Michigan, thanks for the foal info. Appreciate that.

Best wishes to Constitution and his connections.

16 Apr 2014 9:15 PM

It is a real shame about Constitution.  If any of these colts has a triple crown name, it's him.  I wish home well and hope he recovers completely and we see him later this year.  Just wondering, anyone out there who has access to this type info... How many colts and fillies in these lead up to the derby and oaks have come up injured.  I have this vague feeling that I hear this often with his horses.

16 Apr 2014 9:28 PM

Sad Steve ~

On news of Constitutions' shin fracture and quite upsetting to Pletcher (and everyone) as he was counting on Constitution to make a big move in the Derby but there are things in this business one should never overlook ~ one being the stress factor which goes beyond the training. These horses have the keen ability to know they are partcipating in big challenges, they are naturally fired-up and so they work real hard and some times over work and we expect perhaps a little too much, a little too soon.  The injury is unfortunate yet understood in this forum and Constitution needs repose and rehabilitation; and applause for his past performances and wishes for a sound recovery.

16 Apr 2014 9:45 PM
Pedigree Ann

Forbidden Apple - Please check horses' PPs before you make inaccurate comments about them.

Game on Dude has run twice at Churchill Downs and been second twice, once by a length or so in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic and once by a nose/head in last year's Clark Hcp. He has also run a couple times at Charlestown, both wins, and he won the Lone Star Derby at 3, which while not east of the Mississippi, is not in California. He was also a close 4th in the Belmont S. at Belmont Park. The idea that he won't come east because he doesn't run well there is bogus; his worst races in the US have come on his home ground. He comes east when the money and the race suits him and the schedule is right.

Look carefully at Dance with Fate's PPs and you will see that he ran second in the G1 Norfolk S on the dirt at Santa Anita last October. It wasn't a great renewal, but SA is the last track (well, maybe GP is, but it's a toss-up) that one would expect a turf/AW specialist to run well on.

16 Apr 2014 10:57 PM

In looking closely at the entries for the upcoming Charles Town Classic, I wanted to find out more about the horse who has finished first or second in 20 of 23 starts at this track, Lucy's Bob Boy.  Amazingly, he is bred on the exact same cross as California Chrome (AP Indy/Not For Love mare).  And like CC, has dominated his races, and also happens to be a flashy chestnut with lots of chrome.  His competition may not have been much but the comparison is interesting. I'm sure this comment just sets up more negative remarks against CC, but just wanted to share anyway.

I still want Game On Dude to get his 17th win.

And California Chrome to take the Derby....!!!

16 Apr 2014 11:16 PM

Your Only Friend : I had a long discussion about this part of the pedigree analysis.  Ranagulzion was insisting that Union Rags' ability to go the classic distance is purely from Hyperion (about 5 or 6 or 7 generations back).   I believe Footlick was the one that posted the percentage of the DNA  have an effect in today's horses, hopefully he'll come back and re-post it.

El Kabong :  YES !  I don't see any flaws at this point, the posters that responded to that "debate" mentioned about the distribution of the points for the different prep races.  It made me think and something I would suggest for a "change" is that the last 6 preps which has 100 points should really be a "win and you're in" type race...and award 50, 40, 20 for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place horses.   I say that because 100 points is literally a sure IN, there's no logical situation where 21 horses will ever score 100 or more before those 6 races so it doesn't make sense to have those last big preps to have 100 points.  If the 4th place finisher in any of those big preps gets 20, it does impact the standings and that will need to be considered by the connections who gains 50 points and decides to sit it out.   It makes things much more competitive in my opinion and will make the Derby a more "Best of the best" race.  I need someone to find a flaw on that as I didn't think about the negative impact of it…

With Midnight Hawk out, my Vinceremos is IN!!!  I'm happy about that.  Bluegrass is a throw out race, he's back on dirt and will be forwardly placed.  I shouldn't get too excited, I don't want anyone else betting him...although I'm 100% sure he's a toss for most of ... well, everyone here lol.  Good to see Uncle Sigh in there as well, he's going to be under the radar and might surprise.  He's the type that shows little signs of being a good horse in the preps but could very well wake up on Derby Day and finally realize he's actually a really good horse...I'll keep an eye on him during post parade and his odds.  I’m anxiously awaiting the decision on Ring Weekend, my handicapping will rely a lot on him being in the race, I hope he’s okay.

It's hard for me to handicap these horses based on the pedigree, because pedigree analysis is open to interpretation.  There is not one factual evidence that a certain horse produces classic distance horses.  I've seen all types of arguments about pedigrees, and even saw comments about hidden genes that could produce a super horse.   I'm not putting down pedigree analysts, they are good with how to use that information, I'm not so I can't rely on it.  I'd go back about 2 generations if I need to but more than that, I can't see it having any effect.  I just rely on watching the horse run, how they run, how they react to their jockey etc.   And that's a lot to research for me.

Rusty :  In your 04/16 3:02 post, you said you’re leaning against Ride On Curlin but then you had him listed last and said you’ll throw money on him.  Did you decide that towards the end when you were writing that post ?  Also, would you bet money on Social Inclusion if he was going to get in ?

16 Apr 2014 11:18 PM

If anyone is persuaded that daddy having lots of sex debilitates his offspring, there is an easy choice in this Derby. Three and only three of Steve's 'Dozen' are sired by horses who bred fewer than 100 mares in the year they were conceived: California Chrome, Vicar's in Trouble and Samraat. In fact, these three studs were so unpopular that their books look olde timey, fewer than 50 mares bred (36, 44 and 48 respectively).

On the other hand, if, in the past fifteen Triple Crown races, you had tossed all contenders whose sires had covered more than 100 mares the year they were conceived, you'd have missed Orb, Animal Kingdom, Super Saver, Mine That Bird, Shackleford, Lookin at Lucky, Rachel Alexander, Palace Malice, Ruler on Ice, Drosselmeyer and Summer Bird.

I'll Have Another's sire Flower Alley was bred to 95 mares, and Union Rag's sire Dixie Union was bred to 88.

Rachel Alexandra's sire was bred the most heavily, getting 156 live foals from 184 mares bred. Figures on how many mares got pregnant but failed to carry to term are not available. The figures I've given you are available for all stallions on the Jockey Club website. You need to explore the drop down menus in the Facts section to find all stallions for many years.

16 Apr 2014 11:28 PM
El Kabong

Johnny, Rusty

I'm with you both in the quest to pin down the exotics. I have tinkered with several betting strategies as handicapping has it's limitations when pursuing the exotics deep, tri and super on a 20 horse field. One thing rings true, you are in the zone or you are not, so go for the exotic. I have found in the past ten years of seriously thinking I could hit a good exotic that when I'm right, I am right down the line. In 2007 I had Hard Spun, Street Sense, Curlin but not I'm A Wild and Crazy Guy. I did have Sedgefield who ran 5th(he raced tough against Hard Spun before the derby). In 2010 I had Super Saver and really liked Lookin at Lucky to at least hit the board so I keyed Super Saver 1st and 2nd. Keyed lucky 1,2,3,4. Added in Paddy, Ice Box, Mission, Jackson and if Lucky hadn't been so unlucky, I would have had my first super. In 2012, I Keyed Dullahan. 1 and 2 on most of my tickets. Then after watching the first 6 races, I made a few plays with the pace holding on and the closers picking up pieces. Bingo. So I hit it big by imagining my horse getting beat. Humility is a good thing. Point is, you have to find your horse to key, surround him with the scenarios that could play out, including him finishing 3rd or 4th. It's not as expensive as it sounds. If you like a closer, imagine the scenario where he wins and fill in with the other that are most likely to be there. If you like a stalker, imagine the best scenario if he succeeds and so on if you think a speed horse will win. I think it is important to lock in on a horse you like, imagine who is there if he wins and who is there if he gets beat. If you really like a horse, find his supporting cast. If you are right about the one horse, I think you will be able to support him with the right company win or lose. Good luck to you both.

RominM, Lazmanick, nice posts.

Draynay, sorry about Constitution, but I like your new choice much more. Good luck with that one. He better start showing some decent works or you'll have to abandon ship for General A Rod.


wasn't it Bono who said, Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug you." I'm dying over here.

16 Apr 2014 11:56 PM


“I must say with how much you contradict yourself is like having a conversation with someone who is bi-polar. No matter what you say you are always right.”

Interesting assessment! In one day I have been labeled Bi-polar, eccentric and opinionated. I even recall you classifying me as an ass. I still think my favorite description is ‘Hanging Ornament.  One contributor is even uncertain whether I am a real person.  

I must be the most repulsive contributor on this blog. The psychoanalysis is brutal. You guys should be happy you are all wonderful individuals worthy of emulation.

I leave you with a question you might find thought provoking. Are you aware that a stranger is friend you haven’t met?

Always endeavor to treat all with respect as it denotes a strength of character.

17 Apr 2014 12:15 AM

Of course, after posting my excitement with Vinceremos, I read an article about the Lexington next week and Divine Oath actually can push him to 21st...hopefully Dance With Fate's connections decides not to run, or maybe California Chrome decides to go to the Illinois Derby instead lol

17 Apr 2014 12:17 AM

From the description of Constitution's injury, he has done what is less formally described as "bucked a shin." And had he raced at two it wouldn't have happened now.

When the young horse starts experiencing longer, faster runs on a harder surface than his pasture, the body gets the message "stronger bone needed here." The bones grow longer, from their ends, under genetic control but the thickness and density increases in response to training. The process is hazardous: a delicate lacy scaffolding is laid down on the surface of the bone and then filled in, calcified and otherwise mineralized. The location of bone thickening is determined by the precise stresses on the bone and is therefore specific to a particular gait and pace and to the angle adopted on turns -- you can't substitute more and slower work to get the same remodeling. Before this process is complete the new bone is highly vulnerable to minute stress fractures that heal quickly, rarely repeat, but are very painful.

You can't avoid bucked shins by backing off horses in training and waiting for them to mature because it is not a part of maturation but a response to training itself, and can reverse to square one if the horse is rested. Some researchers suggest that regression begins within a few days of a breeze and once a week is too long between brief fast work.

When trainers say "Oh, the usual baby problems," bucked shins are often what they mean. The majority of horses buck in early training, at least in North America. In the good ole days, thought by some to have been a kinder, gentler time, when a horse bucked in one leg some trainers would run it until it bucked in the other to "get it over with."

17 Apr 2014 12:19 AM

Steve, I want to like Hoppertunity since I was a HUGE Any Given Saturday fan.  Since you have him at #2 you must think he can get the 1 1/4 distance.  Can you tell me what makes you comfortable with that (not being sarcastic or anything, just trying to figure this all out...)?  His sire failed miserably at his two attempts although I felt his breeding was there for the distance.   Also, do you think the points system is turning out to be as fair as they intended?  I am not liking the fact that a horse winning one of the last preps automatically gets in.  It reminds me of when they used graded stakes and any horse winning a big pot automatically made it also...  Thanks!

Pedigree Ann, so sorry to hear of your loss last year!  Hope your mare recovers well this year and glad to hear the foal is doing well!  Do you race your babies or what do you do with them?

17 Apr 2014 12:58 AM

Jay Jay, excellent idea on giving the major preps a 'win and your in title,' it gives them more prestige as well. I think the points for winning prep races for the major preps are a little too high as well, they basically equate to a 'win and your in' as well. The point system could be used more effectively as a means of promoting racing as well.

17 Apr 2014 3:33 AM
Mike from Michigan

@ Jersey are welcome.  The only foal date I couldn't find was Danza's, maybe somebody else would have that info..  

17 Apr 2014 6:33 AM
Mike from Michigan

@coldfacts.....your knowledge of thoroughbred racing is astounding and amazing.  But I bet you didn't know that GEICO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and the owner of Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffet, who started purchasing GEICO stock in 1950 when he was 20 years old.

17 Apr 2014 6:43 AM

Pro's and Con's and trying to sort them out.

California Chrome :pro: Wow! visually very impressive. 107

cons: who has he beat, besides Hoppertunity?  Bad pedigree reports. price.

Hoppertunity: pros : Baffert is the best at getting one ready for a big race.Two very tough races.

cons: foundation. price.

Wicked Strong: pros: coming like a freight train in last.

cons: in other races just seems average.

Cairo Prince: pro's: Looked good last year.

cons: that was last year.

Danza: pro's: where did that come from? wow!

con's: show me it again.

General A Rod: pro's: Determination, pedigree, toughness.

con's: hasn't ran the bust out race.

Samaraat: pro's: his record.

cons: little increase of speed ratings. who has he beat?

Intense Holiday: pro's: The competition he faced. The Risen Star

cons: all his other races.

Tapiture: pros: Won at CD., tough. increasing beyers. Top 3 before the Ark. Derby.

cons: Yuck! Bounce? Distance limited? What happened?

Wildcat Red: 7=4-3-0 including Hutchinson, F.O.Y., and 2'nd. in G-1 Fla. Derby. A big price.

cons: Distance limited and pedigree?

Ride on Curlin: pros: seems to be peaking at just the right time.

cons: Hit the board type. And with Bo-Rail on him, probably the 2'nd. favorite in the Ky. Derby.

Candy Boy: pros: ran 2'nd to Shared Belief last year.

cons: Who has he beat? I keep thinking of Sydneys Candy and Capt. Candyman can.

Vicars in Trouble: pros: Rosie Napravnik. 2'nd. time out 98.

cons: Dosage. Pedigree.

Medal Count: pros: Dynaformer. Keenlands record of hitting the board in the Derby.

cons: Dirt form a question.

Uncle Sigh: pros: Runs second to Samaraat.

cons: Samaraat is in the race too.

Ring Weekend: pros: He will be the longest shot in the Derby.

cons: there is a reason for that.

We Miss Artie: pros: won the G-1 BrdrsFut at Kee. & won the G-3 Spirial at TP.

cons: The Ky. Derby is raced on dirt.

Now all we got to do is sort this out and figure out not only the winner, but the top four placed horses for the supers. And, we're all looking for Steve to guide us thru this with his reports from Churchill Downs. Not to put any pressure on you Steve. Good luck all.

17 Apr 2014 6:57 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

McLaughlin just might be a genius. Some of us thought he should have run Cairo in the FOY, and when it looked like Cairo might not get into The Derby after his 4th in the Florida Derby McLauhlin was looking like he could be a goat. (not that there is anything wrong with goats unless you happen to live next door to them and they eat your shrubs and flowers.) Constitution ran all three of his races at GP on the hard surface and is injured. Cairo Prince has run two races at GP, both graded stakes, hard races. Three could have been too much. He's training at Palm Meadows so he only had to run twice at GP. This Derby is wide open and it looks like Cairo is one of many contenders and he should be sound. The path McLaughlin took could end up being just right. I accept that I am the dummie for believing that Cairo should run in the FOY and McLaughlin is the smart one. If Stronach is serious about reforms then why doesn't he do something about the hard surfaces?

17 Apr 2014 7:23 AM
Forbidden Apple

Draynay, I know what you mean, Secretariat and Zenyatta were average horses in your mind. There is no shame in winning the classic and then running a fast closing second by inches the next year.

Pedigree Ann, By no means was my previous post directed towards you. And Draynay is the person who mentioned Cali horses coming east, not me. Read more closely, I simply stated that Game on Dud was a complete bust in the last two editions of the B.C. Classic on his home track. That's a fact! Dance With Fate ran second on 9/28 in the newly named Front Runner stakes, so what. They ran the mile in 1:38 1/5 and finished the 1 1/16 in 1:45. Even his trainer says that the horse is better on turf and poly. Thanks for your lecture, but I don't need it and I never asked for it. The horse is unproven on dirt and most likely not going to Churchill. I think he's quite talented, his connections might want to consider the July 5 Belmont Derby at 1 1/4 miles on turf. It's worth $1.25 million!

17 Apr 2014 7:50 AM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks for the vote of confidence.  The exotics I usually play are horizontal, and that Woodford has ruined my day the last three years.  Last year I was left holding a bunch of near-worthless winning P3 tickets, on some of which I expensively tried to beat Wise Dan on that soggy turf.  I will have at least one P4 ticket where I try to beat him.  It's not an ordinary day -- Ordinarily I would skip the race, but crazier things have happened, and there's just too much money being thrown around (Sound like I'll have lots of tickets, right?  -- my Derby Day budget is about a third of my yearly betting budget and could go to four figures). I may play against Wise Dan in the P4 and "hedge" with him in the P5.  

Forbidden Apple,

You like Wildcat Red this year, but I'm going to remind you that you were all over Itsmyluckday last year.


Re: ROC -- I'll throw in horses I'm ambivalent in the last slot (I don't know if I'll be able to afford the superfecta tickets I describe, which will be between $240 and $360).  

El Kabong,

Where have you been?  They disappeared that very fruitful Keelerman thread where we discussed the Bluegrass.  Remember my picks?

17 Apr 2014 8:03 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

I never considered the super in the Derby until 2012.  I think the ticket I wrote up was about $250, where I had Dullahan as a prime closer underneath, Bodemeister on top or underneath of all tickets, and IHA, Gemologist (lesson learned; see Constitution) and TCI as potential winners and underneath, and WtDW as one of my "ALL remaining non-throwouts".

I chickened out, though.  So that's my "one that got away" horseracing fish story I'm making it a tradition to trot out every time this year.

Last year I played big Orb/Palace Malice exacta and had Revolutionary as a third choice, Oxbow as a distant fourth choice in exactas and tris; no super bet.  No Golden Soul on any tickets, pity.

17 Apr 2014 8:10 AM
Rusty Weisner

Since you've all asked for it, here are my thoughts on pedigree:

I am better for knowing nothing about it, because I'm disinclined to concoct cockamamie theories.

Instead, it's pretty easy to find what the consensus is on various horses and take that into account.

Once that's gleaned, you can lean towards tossing horses with suspect pedigrees that need to improve to win, particularly ones that seem to need the lead.  Falling Sky, Goldencents, Itsmyluckday and even Verrazano had suspect or at least ambiguous pedigrees per the consensus.

Ones that have solid pedigrees, per the consensus, are haveable if they are good closers, or if they just need to hold form, or even if they need to improve.  The consensus was that Orb, Palace Malice, Revolutionary and Oxbow had good pedigrees last year.

Sometimes you don't know what to do.  CC is sui generis in this bunch, right now the superior horse despite the cheap breeding.  Why invent pedigree arguments pro or con?  Maybe his supposedly weak pedigree costs him a length in the stretch.  He's still the best; there's no invisible brick wall in the Churchill Downs stretch.

17 Apr 2014 8:23 AM

El Kabong,

         on 4-16 you posted about how you imagine the race being ran and make your super plays accordingly. I liked your post and advice towards playing the exotics.

I'm curious when you play your Ky. Derby supers, since they are $1.00 min., if you break them up into several smaller ones, and lean more bottom heavy, i.e.

1x2x4x4 ? Thanks

17 Apr 2014 8:29 AM


I consider 140 is a reasonable total although I would prefer less. Any total over 150 I consider overbred. Therefore when I reference the term overbred it relates to stallions who are annually breed 150 mares and upwards.

Kindly refer to my list from a previous post and you will note the stallions listed are all above 150.

17 Apr 2014 8:37 AM


Lets not forget I also asked if you were a politician..

People here have better things to do than to read this none sense,like try to hit tri's and supers..

Take it as a compliment I engage in conversation with you.

Unless other stated you are on Wicked Strong..

Good Luck to you.

Steve when do you arrive in Churchill?

17 Apr 2014 8:59 AM

For the sake of discussion:

Say C.Chrome gets the 1 hole his odds go to 8-1.

I ask do you think he could pull it of IF he breaks like he did in the San Felipe??  

17 Apr 2014 9:16 AM


“I must say with how much you contradict yourself”

I am tempted to ask for an example of the above but it is unlikely any will be provided.

I have some long held convictions. I have often challenged them because they to some extent lack objectivity. Let use Constitution as an example.

I have always seen the progenies of stallion that breed 150 mares or more as having a minute chance of winning the Derby. Many will classify such a conclusion as ludicrous and they would most likely be right as there is no scientific evidence or research to support said conclusion. My conclusion is purely based on historic data.

I would never consider the progeny of a stallion I consider to be overbred as my #1 choice. Why write such flattering things about Constitution if I am convinced he is unlikely to win the Derby? I made it clear that I liked Constitution a lot but he was not my #1 choice. Is this a case of my contradicting myself?  I hardly think so. Despite whatever convictions I might hold, they do not blind my eyes to the talents of certain horses.

Constitution is obviously very talented but his sire and trainer’s Derby records leaves lot to be desired. The sire is constantly overbred and the trainer has a  dismal Derby win ratio to number of starters. How does one balance the colt’s Derby negatives with his talent? In my opinion the historic negatives associated with the trainer and sire is weighted above his talent. Despite his immense talent and my appreciation for same I could not view him as my #1 choice.

I liked Honor Code, Havana and Top Billing but from day one I specified that they were encased in Derby negatives. That translates to highly unlikely to win the Derby. Is it logical to like certain horses, despite an unlikely Derby victory for any? Is this an example of contradiction? My conclusion regarding aforementioned colts was based on historic data. Can a talented thoroughbred defy historic trends? Yes! It has certainly happened before and consequently it is not bad to hope.

I use historic data to eliminate certain horse from the Derby top spot but not necessarily from hitting the board. I constantly challenge my long held convictions because I am not sure they are realistic but each year nothing occurs that influences me to change them. No one has to agree with them as I am sure methods of evaluation and selection are  plentiful in this forum.

17 Apr 2014 9:32 AM

Mike from Michigan,

All of the foal dates can be found at

And coincidentally enough, Danza's foal date is . . . .  TODAY.

Happy Birthday, Danza!

17 Apr 2014 9:38 AM

I forgot to mention Uncle Sigh in my last post.  He also has a very nice pedigree.

17 Apr 2014 9:57 AM

Cassandra.Says thank you for a very informative post it was very Coldfacts like.... and that is a complement.  tjconway... at what odds would I bet CC for the win ? I wouldn't. I believe he has as much chance of winning the Derby as Denis of Cork did. El Kabong.... thank you ... you sometimes get wrapped into these horses and the talent of Constitution had me very excited for the Triple Crown.  An injury sometimes hurts the fan and it really was a sad day. Forbidden Apple... this is what I believe... Secretariat was a great horse but Citation was the greatest.... with Spectacular Bid a close 2nd.  The most overrated ? Belongs to Zenyatta and Sham. The measure of any filly or mare is what did she do vs. males on dirt ? Sham never won anything after the SA Derby.... Pioneer of the Nile did more.

17 Apr 2014 10:01 AM

Cairo Prince has only lost 1 race and that was the Florida Derby and he wasn't looking to win there anyway.  Yes... I know he technically lost to Honor Code according to the picture but don't let that cloud your judgment. McLaughlin will have him ready to go and if you need to know how good he is watch his Holy Bull again.  Do I see CC beating Cairo Prince or Wildcat to the wire ? No.  Do I see CC beating General A Rod or Wicked Strong to the wire ? No. Do I see CC beating Danza or ROC to the wire ? Maybe but the odds will be better with Danza and ROC and with Borel on board.... I am not leaving him off my ticket.  If the so call "favorite" somehow hits the board I lose but I just don't see it.  And I only see one horse giving Cairo Prince a race and that is a very tough Wildcat Red.

17 Apr 2014 10:13 AM

I'm not surprised to see Constitution come up with a shin problem.  They pushed him hard against top competition in a short period of time.  I hope with rest he can come back at his top level.  WinStar certainly has the facility and staff to nurse him along.

Dance With Fate:  connections weighing whether to go, probably not.

Chitu:  Rumors are he's not training well, Baffert considering the Derby Trial???  Does anyone have any definitive information on Chitu?

Midnight Hawk:  going in the Illinois Derby, highly unlikely Baffert will wheel him back in the Derby.  He would need a break-away, empty net game-changing performance with Coach Q cheering him on to get Derby fever.

Ring Weekend:  owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, owners are reportedly deciding whether to go in the Derby.

Assuming Dance With Fate and Midnight Hawk drop out; Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday get in.  This puts West Point Thoroughbreds in an interesting position.  Since they also own Commanding Curve (next in), do they and St. Elias Stable stick with Ring Weekend or does Commanding Curve get in?  Would like to be a fly on the wall in those discussions.

Other unforseen changes may also be down the road before entries and post positions are taken.  Then the real handicapping starts.  Enjoy these next two weeks and:

            Good Luck to Everyone!  

17 Apr 2014 10:16 AM

Mike from MMM...that state up north:

Danza's foal date:  according to Equibase, April 17, 2011.  Happy Birthday Danza!

17 Apr 2014 10:32 AM
Smoking Baby

Regarding the current points system and former Graded earning system.  Fair warning, this is a little outside the box but bear with me.  I suggested this to some of my friends a few years ago when we were under the graded earnings system to determine the 20 lucky horses to get into the Derby gate.  At that time the Derby always seemed to include at least couple horses who accumulated graded earnings at two but no longer seemed to be among the 20 best suited for the Derby.  The Derby also always seemed to include at least one or two Kitten's Joy turf/synthetic horses who may or may not have belonged as well (thank you Bluegrass & Spiral Stakes).

What if the Churchill Downs racing secretary (or possibly a committee) were to assign theoretical weights to all the Derby contenders as if it were a handicap.  The Derby field would be limited to the 20 "theoretical high weights" (not to worry, all would still carry 126 in the race itself)assigned by the racing secretary or committee.  This system  could possibly be better at actually putting the 20 best horses, in the best form, best suited to 1 1/4 in the Derby starting gate.  This system is not without flaws of it's own to be sure but may be an improvement.  


17 Apr 2014 10:48 AM

Giddyupwhoa - Thanks for your analysis on the top 3 finishers per track. Had no idea Ark and Bluegrass where so well represented, and GP and SA so low, I guess I only had the winners in my head. I am thinking Superfecta/Tri so good info.

Was going all in on CC keying him to win only, I see him winning big or not hitting the board, but as I start to over think that may change. On a wet track I will have to shoot from the hip and play a few longshots.

CC - Pros - Great mind, always seems un flustered in control, almost regal presence. Cons - California shipper buyers beware, also he has never had dirt in his face, but I think he will be fine. Distance ?

Hoppertunity - Great distance pedigree, traveled and tested, slim build may help him beating Apollo curse (bulky horses seem to breakdown more often), great jockey, trainer will probably have a rabbit to set him up. Cons - Can he catch CC ?

Wicked Strong - Danzig Stamina, on his day he can run down anyone - Cons was pretty worked up before the Wood, and shied away from the crowd noise down the stretch, not sure how he will handle the huge crowd at CD, he's one you need to look at in the parade ring. Jenkins's also said he didn't like the GP kickback.

Cairo Prince - Sneaky good, trainer has him right where he wanted him to be, another one with a great mind.  Cons was surprised how physically small he is live at GP, not a good thing for 20 horse field,  distance ?

Intense Holiday - Battle tested never run worst than 5th, sort to pick up the pieces, with the expected pace set up. Cons Johnny V has been riding a little sacred since his BC fall, or maybe that's just me.

Candy Boy - I am going to forgive his last effort , trying to stay with CC is impossible. KD is a different race, I see him coming around the final bend like Orb and WTC last year, if he gets the distance. Maybe I'm dreaming.

Medal Count - Highest Dosage in the field (36), if you count those things. CD top trainer. Another one of the few true  10F horses in the race.

Danza - Form horse, refuse to let him spoil my Super. This is Castellano's year, if he end's up here.

ROC - Bo rail factor. CD experience.

General A Rod - Lose the blinkers, I'll take a chance. Also has CD experience.

Pablo del Monte will be my speed that sticks around if he gets in, never leave team coolmore out. I will have to fit Commanding Curve in as well.

Yeah, I have a couple weeks to toss a few horses……

Thanks for the great blog Steve.

17 Apr 2014 10:49 AM


“There is not one factual evidence that a certain horse produces classic distance horses.”

Do you consider historic evidence factual evidence? A stallion that is bred to 100 plus mares annually is likely to various type of runner with a few exceptions.

How many of A P Indy’s progenies won at 6F? I can recall one. How many won at either 5F or 5.5F? Probably only Malibu Moon! Most of his runners are routers.

Unbridled is amongst an elite group of stallions that have sired a winner of each leg of the TC. Did he have an affinity to sire classic distance horses?  His son grindstone sire Belmont winner Birdstone who in turn sired Derby and Belmont winners Mine That Bird and Summer Bird.

His Belmont winning son Empire Maker sired Derby runner up Bodemeister and champion female router Royal Delta. His 2YO champion son Unbridles Song sired Derby runner up Eight Belles.  Unbridles Song’s son Even The Score sired Dullahan 3rd place finished in the Derby.

Is there enough evidence to indicate a classic distance dynasty associated with Unbridled?

17 Apr 2014 10:52 AM
Pedigree Ann

Speaking of pedigrees - most of the time you get what you breed for and the foals will reproduce the talents and failings of the parents (which, of course, they inherited from earlier generations of their pedigrees). But there have been horses who won the genetic lottery in inheriting the talents of more removed ancestors, skipping over their moderate parents. Phar Lap was one, Carry Back was another. Daryl's Joy (some of you may remember him) came from a dreadful damline, and the sires down the damline of Dr. Fager's mum would make you gag. Lava Man's damline behind his sturdy if modestly-talented dam, is dire.

California Chrome has already outrun anything his parents were capable of. Is he another Best Pal, by a stallion of modest accomplishments at stud who nicked marvelously well with his female family? Like Cee's Tizzy did with Cee's Song? (That's Tiznow, whom many expected to fail at stud because of his modest breeding.)  

When one of the exceptions come along, you can't just parrot 'but he has no pedigree' after he wins big races. One must accept that the probably distribution tails off, doesn't cut off to zero, so that outliers do happen.

17 Apr 2014 11:03 AM
Your Only Friend

JAYJAY........5 or 6 generations removed....gimmie a break......look at other animal genetics....they all say 3 generations ...why would horse breeding be any different.......sure there can be throw back from previous generations but extremely rare in my opinion.....Still gets down too breeding the Best with the Best at time of mating.

17 Apr 2014 11:44 AM

Age Of Reason

I am sure you can verify the number below:

Orb: Malibu Moon – 136

Golden Soul: Perfect Soul - 65

Revolutionary: War Pass  - 90

Normandy Invasion: Tapit  - 170

Only Tapit bred upwards of 150 mares for the quartet above.

Do you know at what number I consider a stallion overbred? You clearly do not. Based on the record I have been keeping I consider 140 reasonable although I prefer a maximum of 100. Any number above 150 I consider over breeding.

Maria Mon was the last stallion to have Derby winner form over 150 mares bred. I am sure you will agree Super Saver’s victory was due to Ice Box’s misfortune. Tapit’s Normandy Invasion is the next to his the board from a book over 150.

Unlikely to win does not equate to cannot win.

17 Apr 2014 11:44 AM

Cassandra.says  17 Apr 2014 12:19 AM

Well said and accurate in regard to bucked shins; however you never referenced the mental aspect that bucked shins have on horses. They are living animals and have "thought" processes peculiar to their species and very different from from ours I'm sure you would agree, so please take no offense.

Bucked shins or sore shins depending on the severity are rated by veterinarians, trainers, or any diagnostician on scale of 1 to 5, as is done for the many different injuries or otherwise debilitating conditions that are prevalent in racehorses. A 1 rating would be denoted by slight inflammation in the front of the cannon bone probably very little swelling and only slight response to palpation. A 5 on the other hand would be denoted by extreme inflammation, obvious swelling and likely merely pointing ones finger at the area much less palpating it would trigger a response. With that said it is the mental aspect that accompanies the pain and the individual horses response to it is what cannot be over looked. Should a daily routine of exercise be continued, the horse will change its gait to compensate or relieve the pain from the area affected i.e. "limp"-on an infinitesimal scale when in motion and be "off". The mental aspect affects different horses in different ways and their response might be manifested in locomotion by "getting out" drifting to the right or the opposite " lugging in" or the case of Constitution, an off step while jogging and the resulting discovery, although I would think by the time they were jogging him in hand to ascertain soundness prior to riding exercise (a daily routine in many stables, especially the Pletcher stable) they were already aware something was wrong because inflammation would have been detected prior. When researching the workout pattern of Constitution there are some gaps in the spacing of his published workouts last summer and only one published workout from the gate in his entire repertoire (23) of published workouts, which is one way shin soreness can be exacerbated. This might indicate there may have been a shin problem. His hesitation at the break in his first start lends credence to the postulation that his shins may have indeed been sore if breaking from the starting gate is agreed upon as an action that places additional pressure on sore shins.

Another noteworthy aspect with sore shins is that anti-inflammatory medications such as bute have a relatively minimal affect in relieving the pain when compared to the affect they have in pain relief from arthritic conditions common to racehorses.

If horses are persevered with while having sore shins they can develop some bad habits i.e. as already alluded to above "lugging" in or out, or  worse yet they sometimes associate the starting gate with the pain and become difficult or unwilling to load or fractious in the starting gates. Worst case scenario they respond to the pain by trying to and/or unseating their rider, worst case because once they unseat their rider they are loose on the track putting all the other riders and horses in extreme danger. California Chrome's designated training time (he is the only horse on the track from 7:10 to 7:30) was the response to having multiple riderless horses loose on the track Trainer Pletcher can surely relate to the loose horse on the track, with the terrible demise his horse Caixa Eletronica suffered when colliding head on with a loose horse. Many young horses develop bad habits that can never be corrected resulting from their response to being shin bucked.

I am saddened by Constitution being "off the trail" because I thought he was a very legitimate contender.

I hope he heals completely and comes back to the races to show us more of his talent and bravery!

17 Apr 2014 12:20 PM


“Take it as a compliment I engage in conversation with you.”

Conversation: The informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.

From the above definition it is abundantly clear we have never engaged in a conversation.

I wonder why I should feel honored regarding our exchanges. The opposite would be true.

I try to engage all contributors even those who have exhibited obvious limitations. If one has been participating in this forum for an extended period and has fail to recognize that it is not a one in which exchanges are verbalized, that individual’s ignorance is inexcusable.

“People here have better things to do than to read this none sense”

Many people classify as nonsense the thing they lack the capacity to understand. You have clearly exhibited your limited capacity and even more disturbing is your ignorance regarding your deficiencies.

The cure for your condition lies within seek and you will find it.  

Good Luck.

17 Apr 2014 12:22 PM

Genius: A person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect.

What part of Mr. McLaughlin resume as it relates to the Derby makes his methods consistent with that of a genius? His best finish was with a 72-1 runner up who disappear thereafter. I do not consider Cairo Prince as having the requisie stamina to be effective over 10F against the best of his peers.


You have confirmed that I have succeeded in driving you crazy. LOL.

My rough around the edges contributor you are something else.


I would prefer to wager a few dollars on Hopportunity than CC. Speedy Bob’s Derby record speaks for itself.

17 Apr 2014 12:32 PM

Mike from Michigan;

Danza; Foaled Apr. 17,2011.

17 Apr 2014 12:47 PM
Mike from Michigan

@ steamboatwille $ trackjack.....thanks for the foal date on Danza, I appreciate that.  Happy Birthday to Danza!

17 Apr 2014 1:02 PM

To all-probable list of derby horses that score highest in average number of horses they beat per race lifetime.1)vicar's (9.6), gen a rod(8.6), viceremos(7.8), tapiture(7.3),wildcat(7.7),ring weekend(7.0),hopper(7.0),cairo(7.0). shows horses that did ok in larger fields, although nothing can compare to the size of derby field. just another way to qualify a horse to hit the board or break tie with horses your considering in exotics. average for all horses I had for the sample was 6.8-6.9. good luck to all 5/3.

17 Apr 2014 1:10 PM

A racehorse has few spare parts. Nothing can go wrong. For instance, Uncle Mo demonstrated the importance to racing performance of good liver function.

Genes don't skip generations. But the race record is not the horse. Two horses with poor race records may have wonderful genes except for a single fatal flaw (or sheer bad luck). You need only breed out that one flaw, not toss the entire first generation. Any breeder will give a look at a well-made unplaced filly with a superstar half sibling or take a flyer on a stud with no black type but a story. There are Danzigs and Malibu Moons out there, injured before their talents could be fully displayed.

A foal gets half its genes from each parent. Back of that, it's not determined. Pedigree mavens talk as though a foal gets a quarter of its genes from each grandparent. That is possible, but not more likely than it getting none of its genes from one of its grandparents. The segregation of chromosomes in the production of sperm or ova is not on a bell curve, it's like 32 coin flips.

Lucky Pulpit had enough races and has had enough foals that we can have some confidence that we've seen what he's got and throws. It's speed.

CC skeptics, like myself, think he has yet to demonstrate that he's not a Social Inclusion, who was also looking limitless and being called a freak off an astonishing performance against entry-level allowance horses. Then he went further against better horses.

"Not proven" doesn't mean the same thing as "proven not." But so far, CC is not proven.

"Many are called but few are chosen." At the odds . . .

17 Apr 2014 1:24 PM
El Kabong


I remember quite well, I think I even posted something wondering if you had cashed in on your play which was posted. Lots of time. I'm spending more time watching film and configuring my custom form. I use Brisnet, I determine the style of running pattern for each horse, Pace, Front Stalkers, Mid and back of pack deep closers, then I copy paste the past performances so that I have the front end horses together 1 page(11 x 17), Stalkers together and so on, on one page. It helps me keep in mind what mix I have on a ticket once I start to formulate my bets. Lots of work between now and May 3 so too early to  spend much time posting. Should be lots of time for that closer to the big day. As always, good luck to you.


I like the idea of rewarding more points underneath in the last big races and granting a win and your in to the winner. Small tweaking will definitely help get us the horses who are peaking now and that is what we want. Plus, with that push of points available at the end, fewer horses would skip races hoping to  make one good effort or just be lucky to slip into the back door. Not going to name names, but the more these 3 year olds race and learn prior to May, the better for them and us.


I'll do my best to explain. The shape of the ticket depends on how many horses I key and how I imagine the finish. For example, in 2010 when I was keying SS 1st, Lookin at lucky 2,3 or 4th,  It could look like 1x1x4x6 or 1x4x1x6 or 1x4x6x1. Ideally you want to be keying 2 horses. But if you have only one, then It depends on several factors. In Dullhans year, he was a closer. My biggest ticket with him, had Dully winning, catching the pace and stalkers (Bode, IHA, TCI, Gem, Hansen, Alpha-running 2 &3) with another closer getting there for 4th-WTDW & Rousing Sermon. This was a derby finish pattern similar to what happened in 2007 in terms of how the race finished when a deep closer won. So 1x6x5x2=60. Another ticket where Dullahan was keyed 2nd illustrated a pace melt down with a stalker getting the win(IHA, Gem, TCI) with Dully 2nd and other closers getting 3 and 4th(WTDW, Optimizer, Rousing Sermon.) This was a pattern of finish displayed in 2010 that I used. 3x1x4x4=48. I then banged out some tickets where the pace held. I felt Bode was the only pace horse who could run first or second all the way around. So I keyed him first and second. I played IHA, Gem and TCI-Stalkers with Bode. Keyed Dully 3 and put WTDW, Rousing, Opt 4th. 1x3x1x3(Bode Wins, dully 3rd) and 3x1x1x3(Bode 2nd, Dully 3rd). So, the shape doesn't reflect giving yourself more options necessarily down the ticket, but instead where it is needed to complete the type of finish I see my horse getting. It helps to categorize the runners into to groups, The Pace setter, the stalkers, the mid pack and the deep closers group. Figure out who is the best in those groups and start imaging how the race plays out around your key horse. I hope your still on the horse after that. It's kind of hard to explain my madness.

17 Apr 2014 1:25 PM
Mike from Michigan

@ derbygal.......thank you also for Danza's foal date.

17 Apr 2014 1:28 PM

El Kabong……thanks for the kind words.  Actually there are a lot of really nice, informative and well thought out posts on here including yours, all this in spite of Draynay’s tiresome rants.  It might seem like I am trying to give  Coldfacts’ a hard time, but he is a wealth of knowledge and one of my favorite posters and I am simply amazed at times, especially with his attention to detail.  He is a true student of the sport.

Draynay…………actually the 2010 Breeders Cup dirt track was basically speed favoring and the mile winner, Dakota Phone, the only other horse beside Zenyatta to come from well out of it, came from 13 lengths back after a quarter, not the close to 25+ lengths back Zenyatta was early in the clubhouse turn.  It’s too bad you can’t appreciate what was simply a magnificent effort on her part.  I actually think you do, you’re just aren’t humble enough to admit it.

17 Apr 2014 2:57 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  I think blinkers on for The Derby is a bad idea but I have no problem with blinkers off and for General A Rod that is exactly what I'd do. He seems hesitant to change the path he is on, he needs to see. Absolutely 100% no hesitation in taking those blinkers off if I could. Steve has talked about altering or removing the blinkers at least a few times. The only time the General has closed was his debut and he won, and that was his only blinkerless race. Since then he has raced even while it seems as though he could do more. He acts like a mature horse so he sould do better without the blinkers and who wants to be half blind in a twenty horse field? Seems more scary to me. There is no doubt at all that the General will have to close in The Derby which includes altering his path at least twice.

17 Apr 2014 3:10 PM


Great post great strategy..

I just started to use the Brisnet form a lot of information their along with the DRF.. So far I like it..

FYI: the up and down EXACTA keying 1 horse has treated me very well..

I am very curious about the thorograph sheets..

Looked thru them do not understand them maybe one day..

Good luck to you and please tell us what you come up with.

17 Apr 2014 3:14 PM

Smoking Baby    17 Apr 2014 10:48 AM

Thinking about your system of entry and trying to see the "Good Bad and Ugly" in it while comparing it to what is currently in place-points system.

Good: Keeps out sprinters, keeps the possibility open that a filly could get in without having had to have run with the "boys" I point to Untapable, and would definitely force trainers to ask a little more of their horses-is that good or bad is a different subject.

Bad: The simple fact that it is horse racing says a lot. Let the horses performances get them in, no politics, cronyism as would be the case with a selection committee. All of the decision makers managing the horses understand the rules and their choices can be right or wrong, but let's give the points system a few more years to see how it shakes out.

Ugly: Committees by their nature are ruled by majority and as can be seen specifically on this blog there are many opinions, very educated may I say and a committee would be no different. Most members of the committee would be in agreement of the top "Derby Dozen", after that it would take them weeks maybe months to give us a top 20, it  could be time for the Travers before they decided.

No Derby at all, would be UGLY!

WAY OUT OF THE BOX: How about let's make a rule that a horse must have started in the Derby in order to start in the Preakness and must start have started in the Preakness to get in the Belmont, playoffs like the NFL, NBA, NHL. The current criteria only apply to the winner.

I am sure the statistical wizards on this blog can come up with some interesting findings with that equation. I'm guessing but we might have had a default Triple Crown somewhere along the line since Affirmed last got the job done, and I must pay homage to the great Alydar who is the only horse to ever that finished second in all three behind Affirmed, no less.


17 Apr 2014 3:23 PM
Sam Santschi

El Kabong: your apr 17 1:25 post is just the kind of help the "ticket constructing challenged" people like me need.  Well done and good luck!

17 Apr 2014 5:19 PM
Carlos in Cali

A lot of posters on here like to piggy-back and/or are easily influenced by others' thoughts. Stop being lazy.

On paper and ability: It's California Chrome on top... and then there's everybody else. I had the obvious Orb last year so you can't say I'm "biased".

BTW: California Chrome is not a "gritty gelding", he's a brilliant COLT.

17 Apr 2014 6:46 PM

Cassandra.Says as per your 1:24 I hope you can convince the casual fan that comes out to the track for the event days and inflates the pools,because I would rather hedge with a higher price favorite than with one that goes off at odds like like Point Given did in 2001.

BTW on that same topic I wonder how much the casual bettor ads to the pools on Kentucky Derby day Im pretty sure a corporation like Churchill Downs Inc collects that data and much more.I heard they were increasing the takeout rate I guess this starts when the meet starts.

17 Apr 2014 6:47 PM

Heres a suggestion all the trainers that have at least one colt running in an event the Kentucky Derby have to provide vet records otherwise a clever PETA proponent will use that negatively in a smear campaign in the 2014 race.We all know about Assmussens issue Im pretty sure with all the horses he runs hes had infractions before as well as many others that have trainees in the race.

17 Apr 2014 7:00 PM

I'm still seeking out the horse or horses who are capable of giving "2" or more "moves" in a race. Samraat is one of those horses. Is there anybody else? Medal Count?

17 Apr 2014 7:04 PM

Dr Drunkinbum Gen A-Rod is not at CD but to use another sport has closed workouts to the public or am I getting ahead of myself.

17 Apr 2014 7:08 PM

I just have to go with my "baby boy," Curlin, and that of course is RIDE WITH CURLING. When I saw Curlin scramble out of the pact at the Derby and accelerate I knew he was special,and of course he proved me right. We all bet for our own reasons; mine are sentimental and in a field of 20 it is as good a reason as any. I also have to go with DANZA, Old School is always a good bet. Thanks for telling us about his breeding and "strong bones," Steve.  

17 Apr 2014 7:13 PM

Lol... Lazmanick I have no idea what you are selling but I am not buying. I was there and saw it all with my own eyes.  The track was a closing track and the horses placing on the tickets were coming from well off the pace.  Big Drama holding on and being a much better horse doesn't change the fact over 6 furlongs.  The horses that finished 2nd 3rd and 4th all came from the clouds.  It was a closing track all day.  No matter what you say you cannot change history. It was a tiring track and the longer you went the tougher it was on the speed horses.... those are the facts.

17 Apr 2014 7:28 PM

Tap might have more than distance limitations he might have come up with medicATION LIMITATIONS BEFORE THE aRK dERBY.

17 Apr 2014 7:36 PM

Pedigree Ann:

Allow me to clarify, a bit, your recent post, modify, and offer more-

Per your point about C. Chrome's pedigree, it may help to substitute, or add, the term genotype for/to the term pedigree. The genotype is the true genetic makeup (of, in this case, the horse(s)) in question, whereas its pedigree (the names on the page) are merely a faint reflection of relative genotypic potential. Mere observation of names in pedigree cannot tell us what specific genes were inherited from each "name", nor in the case of grandparents and earlier, the amount of genes inherited (although from a statistical standpoint, due to its large number, the amounts are distributed fairly uniformly). So, in the case of California Chrome, while he may be rightfully deemed to have a sub-average pedigree, his performances strongly suggest his possessing a far above average genotype (genetic composition). So, yes, one could say that he has beaten the odds with respect to his pedigree, but some question does remain on how far he has beaten those odds. It's far from a black or white situation, i.e. it's not as if we can yet say that his paper pedigree-its apparent weakness- does not have some reflective (negative) significance to what is his true genotype.-that it may still impact on his ability to improve more or, in this case, succeed well at 1 1/4 M in May, etc. So, again, he has certainly beaten the odds, but it remains to be seen just how far he has beaten those odds. Consider a hypothetical 3 yr. old colt on this date with identical observed performance, looks, etc., but far better bred (better pedigree page) than C. Chrome. I'd submit that this colt would have the better chance for attaining greater success (than C. Chrome).    

17 Apr 2014 7:43 PM

Quinnbit, I really like your statement about requiring all Preakness runners or have run in the derby and the same for the Belmont.  Every year the horses I most admire are those who have shown the courage and stamina to actually run the triple crown.  Run all three races and show the spirit of what the true crown is all about.  It has never seemed right or fair for a newbie to show up at Belmont to try to steal that race.  Maybe I'm not looking at it the right way but it just feels wrong, like cutting in line or driving on the shoulder to avoid backed up traffic. (Sorry about that last one, too much DC traffic)

17 Apr 2014 8:13 PM
Pedigree Ann

Cassandra - genes may not literally skip a generation, but TRAITS certainly can. One obvious trait that can skip several generations until it meets up with another of its kind is the chestnut coat, viz Secretariat - closest chestnut on sire's side was 3 generations back, and closest on the dam's side was 4 generations back. Recessive genes and those that need a certain 'trigger' to be be turned on can lurk in the genotype without being expressed in the phenotype.

17 Apr 2014 8:24 PM

Lamanick,  I'd like to thank you for you observation about Zenyatta's 2010 BC.  I was there, sooooo excited to finally get to see her race in person, and when she was so far back the voices in the crowd could be heard all over. Oh my God, she's so far back, she's never been so far back.  It was simply extraordinary to see the power and determination in her effort to close that distance. And close it she almost did.  And I remember Mike Smith in his emotional despair as he blamed himself for her one and only loss.  It was all heartbreaking but Zenyatta lost no respect for that loss.  It was the most  valiant, moving race I have ever seen.

17 Apr 2014 8:25 PM

My 2 cents on building a tri and Super tix on the Derby is you must eliminate at least 8 horses..

Also you must have at least 2 bombers in there history has shown that at least 1 horse comes in the super at over 20-1..

In 2007 the favorite Street Sense won at 5-1 2nd Hard Spun at 10-1 3rd Curlin 5-1 the $2.00 tri still paid $440.00..[that is the only tri I ever hit in the Derby]

Now we add in the 4th place finisher Imawildandcrazyguy who went of at 29-1 the $2 Super jumps up to $29,046..

Find the Bomber and win a prize..

Good Luck

17 Apr 2014 8:39 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, Zenyatta and Sham the most overrated? First of all Sham wold have been a Triple Crown winner any other year. He just happened to run into the greatest horse of all time, Secretariat. His heart size was only slightly smaller than Secretariat's. Zenyatta, overrated? Take your medication Draynay and then get back to us on that one. She doesn't need me to defend her especially after Lazmanick has already done it so beautifully.

17 Apr 2014 8:48 PM

To Coldfacts:  Since you have a lot of knowledge concerning the overbred stallions and Derby winners, I was wondering if you know about the dams?  Were there any Derby winners foaled by mares who were bred every year and into their 20's?

17 Apr 2014 9:04 PM
El Kabong


Love you like a West Coast Brutha, but you have to construct a ticket where CC gets beat. Better to have a back up winner then a I should have had it if only………….. CC is not unbeatable. Imagine a situation where he has bad luck and don't miss out on an otherwise good effort by a colt who should have won. These pools don't come along often enough for us to be so confident and we all know the best horse can have a bad trip. Back up Back up Back up can save you some reflective time after the race. I had no problems collecting on my horse finishing 3rd in a winning super. Still think Dully is my Derby Hero and he didn't win. I will never forget his effort. RIP Dully. Carlos, be inclusive.

17 Apr 2014 9:18 PM

Rusty Weisner

Your post on pedigree......I loved it.

17 Apr 2014 11:14 PM
Jeffrey Simes

Steve if the Derby was going today my bet would be on General a Rod. He has never finished out of the money.His female side is really long winded and if his trainer can get him to drop back like his first race he should be rolling turning for home.

CC is a really nice horse and will be a strong favorite.He has distance on the bottom also but his daddy was a sprinter. My guess is that CC likes to be on or very close to the lead and that he will be tested for sure with a herd of speed balls.

That is why Iam looking for the General to come rolling on the outside.


17 Apr 2014 11:16 PM

Davids : Thanks, I thought the tweaking of the points system should be to go forward and improve it and this is one way to move it forward.  I agree that it can also be used to promote more racing, give our babies better foundation.   While the Triple Crown is the ultimate goals for these colts, it shouldn’t be the end all be all of their careers.  I would like to see them race a full season as a 4 yr old at least.

Rusty : Yikes, I can’t imagine myself betting that much on Superfecta but the Derby is a big race with big payouts.  Good luck with your bets.

Your Only Friend :  I’m not a breeding expert, I can’t get into it much because it’s very complicated.  Like I said I use 2 generations back at most if I’m struggling but that’s as far as I can go.  The other part of it is I can’t remember the horses 3 generations back, I remember the names but I don’t remember how they did when they were racing lol.   I do pretty well with my handicapping angles, that’s not to say I’m getting richer from horse racing but I can spot some winners based solely on my angles which is enough for me.

El Kabong Thanks as well, yeah, I would like the major preps to be even more competitive and I think that will give some hope for some late starters to try and get in.   What I really like about it is that connections have to plan for that scenario from the get go, the trainers and owners will really have to think about how they plan their road to the Derby and that makes it exciting.   The winners of those major preps whether they got lucky or not, earns a spot in the Derby.

Coldfacts :  Do I consider historic evidence factual evidence ?  Yes.   Do I consider “your” historic evidence as factual evidence?  No.   Your cold facts and historical evidence are bits of “facts” that you choose to extract to support your opinion.   How many has Unbridled sired in total and how many of those have won a leg of the TC ?   Same question for the other two examples you have.   Using 1 or 2 examples is not enough to prove a point.

Have you looked at the numbers for the stallion that was NOT bred to 100 plus mares ?  What’s the story on that side ?  I’m not questioning your way of handicapping your horses, it’s your money that you’re betting.   I just don’t get it why you question other people’s picks based on YOUR way of handicapping.   People have their own way of handicapping, just because you don’t agree with their picks, doesn’t mean yours is the better way.    For the record, when you break down the picks of the other people based on your handicapping, you’re not educating them, you’re just offending them :)   I actually can’t honestly tell you whether you’re doing well with your picks or not because it doesn’t seem clear who your picks are.   You comment on just about all the horses and it’s hard to determine which one you actually bet lol.

17 Apr 2014 11:53 PM
Tana Rae

Hi Steve!  Many thanks for this super fun blog.  I have the right to reserve my opinion until post positions are drawn, but at the moment, my picks are:  California Chrome, intense Holiday, Cairo Prince and Samraat.  

18 Apr 2014 2:09 AM


Here you go, maybe you can put it to rest.  In the 2010 Breeders Cup here’s where the dirt winners were at the quarter and half mile pole in every dirt race:

Race 1 – Allow 6F – 3 by 1/2L; 2 by 1 1/2L

Race 2 – Dream Supreme Stakes 6F – 1 by 1L; 2 by hd.

Race 3 – Chilukki Stakes 8F – 3 by hd; 4 by 3/4L.

Race 5 – BC Sprint 6F – 1 by 1 1/2L; 1 by 1L.

Race 7 – BC Juvenile 8.5F – 2 by 2L; 2 by 1 1/2L.

Race 9 – BC Mile – 12 by 13L; 12 by 12 1/4L.

Race 11 – BCC – Blame - 7 by 7L; 7 by 10 1/2L

Race 11 – BCC – Zenyatta – 12 by 16 1/4L; 12 by 15L.

Zenyatta ran great in spite of a very tardy disinterested start; Quality Road stopping in front of her in the far turn; and then having to wait in early stretch for Lookin At Lucky to clear so she could swing out and run down the center of the track.  At one point when entering the clubhouse turn if you look at the overhead and then actually measured it, you can see how far back she really was.

Zenyatta was great.  Get over it.  Come to think of it, so was Secretariat.  Get over that too.

18 Apr 2014 3:11 AM

Steve - A Horse from California will win the KY Derby this year. California Chrome is a cut above the competition, he is untouched and undefeated as a 3 yr. old, his beyer speed figures are stellar, he runs straight as an arrow down the stretch. Gotta love that Victor Espinoza retains the mount. Art Sherman knows his stuff. Hoping for decent weather and decent PP and Cal. Chrome should bring home the roses on the first Saturday in May. #2 Wicked Strong #3 Hoppertunity #4 General A Rod #5 Danza #6 Ring Weekend or Commanding Curve if he gets in #7 Saamrat. Cairo Prince won't hit the board. He will hit the "wall" after 1 1/8. Good list Steve. Go CC Chrome!

18 Apr 2014 7:29 AM


It was never my intention to upset you. I appears irrespective of how my views are present there is just no tolerance for them. There will always be others with opposing views.

I believe there are some stallions that are more likely to produce routers. Would you breed to A P Indy if you wanted a sprinter knowing the history of his progenies? I just disagree with the suggestion that there are no stallions with the affinity to produce classic distance horses. Sadlers Wells produced a large number of classic distance horses and few if any sprinters as he was selectively bred to produce classic distance runners.

"How many has Unbridled sired in total and how many of those have won a leg of the TC ?"

Unbridled sired 292 runners that produced 183 winners (38 of those stakes winners) out of 437 foals. The second part of your question has already been answered. Unbridled was used as the primary example because he and his tail male descendants have produced classic distance runners. There is an obvious trend. You surely didn’t expect me to bombard you with a litany of examples.

The number that everyone keeps missing is 150 mares bred. That the level at which I consider a stallion being overbred and although my preference is a maximum of 100.

“I’m not questioning your way of handicapping your horses”

I must be the worst writer on this blog and it wouldn’t be surprising given my limitations with English and grammar. The issue of progenies from stallions I classify as overbred has nothing to with handicapping for wagering purposes. It’s more in line with handicapping the horse’s chances making it through to strenuous Derby preps unscathed.  

“just don’t get it why you question other people’s picks based on YOUR way of handicapping”

The above statement has left me baffled as it bears no truth. Who am I to question handicapping methodology? It’s not what I do. Clearly there is some misinterpretation. I do not give handicapping advice and I certainly do not question handicapping methodology. I have my own handicapping and wagering model which I have not shared. I consider evaluation methodology and handicapping methodology separate issues.

I fault myself for sharing my views on the issue you cites. Clearly my understanding of the process is flawed as providing another perspective is not allowed.

18 Apr 2014 7:59 AM


My focus on mares has been different. I would have been able to provide an age comparison but I lost the file with that information and I have just been too lazy to recompile it.

My record indicates that lightly races and unraced mares are the major producers of exceptional horses. Leading Derby contender California Chrome was produce from a lightly raced mare. Strong Mandate was produced from a G1 millionaire and he his is on the outside looking in.

It would be interesting to know if a Derby winner was ever conceived in a mare foaling heat.

Foaling Heat: First time a mare comes into season after giving birth, about nine days afterward.

18 Apr 2014 8:17 AM
Rusty Weisner


I liked Oxbow with the inside post last year because I knew he would have to go for the lead but that was his winning style.  Had Palace Malice not freaked out, he might have hung on for something or even won.

18 Apr 2014 8:47 AM
Forbidden Apple

Draynay, Who would win a match race between Dublin and Strong Mandate? Since you also like Cairo Prince and Wildcat Red, what about General A Rod?

Carlos in Cali, My mistake, I was thinking of a different horse when I wrote gritty gelding.

Rusty, You are correct, in 2013 I was all over Itsmyluckyday. And yes Wildcat Red is a speedy colt from south Florida. The thing is that so many people were very high on Constitution. He barely beat Wildcat Red after getting a dream rail trip in a race in which Wildcat Red did not need to win for the points. It's far to easy to sit here and listen to people write about how California Chrome is the best on paper. The KY Derby will have a large field, it's a far cry from the speed favoring Santa Anita surface, and it's not run on paper. I felt like Barbaro, Street Sense, and Big Brown were way ahead of their competition and would win the KY Derby easily. I like California Chrome, I just think he is in for his first ever true battle on May 3.

18 Apr 2014 8:57 AM
Forbidden Apple

Why no love for Wildcat Red? I see people crazy over Constitution and also liking General A Rod.

Ben Ali: Norumbega just put in a 47 workout before his second start of 2014. He will have to work hard to get past Newsdad. I'm playing a double with Mr. Speaker.

Lexington: Mr.Speaker is set for a peak effort to complete a McGaughey double.

18 Apr 2014 9:18 AM
Pedigree Ann

For whomever asked:  Emma was my first mare, purchased with my legacies from my late parents. She was a half-sister to G1SW Schossberg and other stakes horses, had won her maiden and n1x before she hit her ceiling - she tried n2x many times, placed 3-4-5, but never got through. They should have dropped her to upper claiming, but she was a $510K yearling, so I guess they didn't want to lose her. She'd had foals and winners regularly, but no black-type runners, so I got her at the bottom of the market for $5500. She foaled a Majestic Warrior filly for me, then I bred her to Include because (duh!) Schossberg was by Include's sire Broad Brush. I sold her weanling filly for $11K - she appears to have gone to Korea - and I've already mentioned what happened last spring; she was 15. Sigh. I was so keen to exploit her second dam's close relationship to Deputy Minister and now Touch Gold is back in Kentucky; he would have been perfect for Emma (Our Majestic Cat in the Stud Book).

So I came back to Kee Nov and bought another mare last fall - American Heiress, aka Milly (check your Henry James). She had been a SW at Prairie Meadows in her racing days and, again, produced winners (3 won over $100K), but no black type. She looked younger than her 18 years when I bought her; hoping this experience doesn't age her too much. I know I felt like garbage after a difficult birth - a boy with a big head from his dad's family.

18 Apr 2014 9:29 AM
Sam Santschi

Carlos in Cali:  Part of the game is listening and appreciating others' comments. Otherwise, why read Steve's blog?  Call it "piggybacking" or cheerleading or whatever but taking what you like off here and leaving the rest is helpful.  That said, I'm happy to have CC at 32-1 in Pool 3 but I would be foolish not to build some tickets around the possibility that he finishes off the board.  With workouts, PP's and weather still to come, it's too early and probably unwise to fixate now.  I'm probably throwing out the La Derby, BG and Ark Derby horses though.  Anybody know about Wildcat Red?  Another sore horse from FL?  Hope CP and the General are ready.

To the Zenyatta detractors, I was lucky to be there at CD and my last memory of that truly special mare was the way she stopped as she was being walked around the test barn area and cocked her head to pose each time she came around to the opening where people could look in at her.  Presence, personality and aura.

18 Apr 2014 10:15 AM

Brontexx II I think what you meant to write in your April 17 7:00PM is that all the trainers that have prior medication infractions that are running in this years Kentucky Derby have to abide by Denny Phips new volutary vet disclosure rules of disclosing all vet records in the 14 days before the big race.

A race like the Kentucky Derby is a world wide event and clever proponets of PETA could use the prominent trainers that have runners in this years race and have not volutarily agreed to disclose as proof that the sport dosent care about the animals that are the sport itself.

18 Apr 2014 10:29 AM

sceptre 17 Apr 2014 7:43 PM post it seems someone is finally admitting that pedigree analysis is the same as speed figure analysis and all the other methodologies used for picking winners are ALL SUBJECTIVE none are absolute in any way nor should they be considered scientific.

18 Apr 2014 10:46 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Now I remember why I didn't bet that 2012 super.  It was a "winning" 3x(1x2x8) $288 ticket, but it didn't make any sense, because it only had Bodemeister underneath.  It was simply too much, and a Bodemeister on-top sup to complement it would have been even more.  I ended up scrapping the super and singling Bodemeister on top in tris, no boxes.  This year I can afford the super if I have a single on top and a single underneath.

18 Apr 2014 10:49 AM

Johnny as per your 17 Apr 2014 8:39 PM post I can simplify it If you bet exotics in a twenty horse field without playing a lot you need a lot of luck.

18 Apr 2014 10:54 AM

derbygal Wicked Strong foaled April 28 same as Bodemeister.

18 Apr 2014 11:14 AM

I think Cairo will beat a tough Wildcat Red but I will box them for the exacta for sure. Throw in General A Rod, Wicked Strong, Ride on Curlin and Danza for your Tri and Super and call it a day.

18 Apr 2014 12:00 PM

Thank you, Coldfacts, for your response to my question.  If I just had the resources, I would research it myself. I am having a hard time accessing the 5 generation pedigrees that give the age of the dam when she was foaled so I could figure out her age when a Derby winner was foaled.  Somethingroyal was 18 when she foaled Secretariat.  Was mainly interested in how many 20 somethings foaled a Derby winner.

18 Apr 2014 12:26 PM


I see where you're coming from (with reference to my last post), but feel you've gone too far with your conclusion. Mere pedigree (page) can often be instructive-depending upon who is the observer. So if a pedigree page CAN be instructive it does have the potential to be a tool in a "scientific" thought process. While this thought process cannot yield absolute truths, it is wrong to suggest that what may be derived is meaningless/without relevant value. These blogs seem to be inhabited by two large "schools"- One school prefers to believe that pedigree has no relevance; The second school is composed of those who lack the knowledge and/or facility to properly evaluate a pedigree, thereby gaining nothing from it.  

18 Apr 2014 1:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

El Kabong,

I definitely will have a "savior" ticket(s) as always,but will key Cali Chrome on the vast majority of them simply because I think he's heads-above the most talented and accomplished colt/gelding this year going into the Derby,as was Orb and IHA/Bode recently. We/You just have to get lucky and place the right horses underneath to hit it big... i.e,who had Golden Soul last year?

True, anything can and probably will happen during this particular race but I've never heard of anyone handicap a race were they take a "troubled trip" into account,like many on here are doing/wishing.

IHA,Super Saver,Big Brown,Barbaro,Smarty Jones,Funny Cide,War Emblem,Charismatic?,Silver Charm,Thunder Gulch,Go For Gin,Strike The Gold,Sunday Silence,Winning Colors,Spend A Buck,Swale,Sunny's Halo,The Bid,Affirmed,Slew,Bold Forbes,etc,etc... were all either front running or front-stalking types,the kind that rarely encounter traffic trouble in large fields.And then you have the likes of Point Given and Snow Chief, 2 horses that were dominate in their class and were a no-show in the Derby for whatever reasons,but it wasn't for lack of a clean trip. It happens...

18 Apr 2014 1:27 PM
Sail On

Samraat just posted an easy work. Trainer says he will work a mile next time out.

Q: Is there any advantage to working a horse for a mile? Disadvantage?

18 Apr 2014 1:29 PM
Carlos in Cali

Sam Santschi,

I was commenting on those who change their views w/out hesitation whenever someone else brings up a different angle.. All I'm saying is do your own research/handicapping and don't rely on other people. Stick to your guns, sorta' speak.But,then again that's just the way I am. Good Luck.

18 Apr 2014 1:39 PM

Draynay CP will finish 2nd like closing arguement if those are the only ones that have a shot dont forget to press the BOX KEY and then you wont have an excuse to rant about for the indefinite future when you are right BUT MAKE THE WRONG BET

18 Apr 2014 2:02 PM

Draynay with only six out of 20 for all the marbles you are starting from behind the 8 ball.You got to start with at least half 10 to have a legitimate chance for even the trifecta not to mention the super.

The exactas your best shot with 6 outta 20 cost $30 for the one dollar exacta 60 for the whole enchilada.

18 Apr 2014 2:08 PM

I agree Brontexx

Facetious says "Man who scratches butt wakes up with stinky finger."

18 Apr 2014 2:44 PM
Age of Reason


Your efforts in giving a remedial course on greatness to those who still haven't gotten it yet is greatly appreciated. As Thomas Jefferson said in his second inaugural address, "Let them stand undisturbed as monuments to the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it."

18 Apr 2014 4:36 PM

Coldfacts : You almost made me cry in your post to me lol.   Ok I'm KIDDING.  So if what you've been posting is not handicapping, what is it ?  When you research the history and the pedigree and identify who the horses are that are best bred and has the best chance based on historical evidence, do you not bet the horse in the preps?  I mean, once you identify those horses, do you then do another way of handicapping who you'll be betting in the race ?   I don't get it...

So there's the other half of the story ....  “ Unbridled Unbridled sired 292 runners that produced 183 winners (38 of those stakes winners) out of 437 foals “    When you asked me about historical evidence as factual evidence, you used Birdstone (then he produce two) and Empire Maker…that’s two out of 232 runners…I guess that you can claim “well, he produced two… “   If that’s not the case, you don’t have to bombard me with the names, just the numbers.   How many of those 232 runners so far has proven to be good at classic distances ?  my point of that statement was more of consistency.   Any horse can produce a horse that can make the 10Fs.  So let me rephrase my statement :   I have not seen a horse consistently produce classic distance horses, so to me it’s hard to rely on the pedigree to spot who can or cannot go the distance.  I just rely on how they run.

So when you “evaluate” a horse, what does that mean and how is that different than handicapping ?  Are these observations that you throw to the side after posting it on the blog ?  I’m a little too lazy right now but I’ll find some examples and quote it.  I’ve seen you respond to someone who has picked a horse, then looked at the horses pedigree and/or historical information and say something about the horse’ chances winning a race.  

Lastly, there’s no way, ever, that you or anyone can upset me in these blogs.  I enjoy a good and lively banter specially if it’s informational and both parties are posting good retorts.  It seems that it was I that upset you and it seemed like I hurt your feelings when I posted about your “handicapping/evaluation”, if that’s the case, that’s not my intention.  You have been frank and honest about your opinion so I hope you understand that I’m just posting my opinion, and it’s not to say that you’re wrong or you’re a mean person.   This is all for good chats, and laughs, healthy debates and conversations ... right ?  Everyone agree ?

18 Apr 2014 4:56 PM

Steve, in reality there are 19 horses that have a 'snowball's chance in hell' of winning the Kentucky Derby - unless there are deadbeats etc; however, just going over the present 'chosen' 20 I would say more than a quarter of the possible field are already 'sacrificial snowballs,' while on the 'outer' I can see at least the same number who would have a reasonable chance. Derby fever.

18 Apr 2014 4:58 PM

I did my little research on the age of mares when they foaled Derby winners.  Since 2000, there have been 6 winners whose dam was 7 yrs old when they foaled it. 2 9yr olds, 2 ll year olds and 2 12 yr olds.  1 5 yr old and 1 6 yr old.  Of this year's competitors, 3 have dams who were 7 when they were born.  General A Rod, Ride on Curlin and Intense Holiday. So just on a lark, I may bet on those 3.

18 Apr 2014 5:21 PM

sceptre I think I must have not chosen my words correctly, because I didnt intend for anyone to think that I wrote pedigree is worthless, ditto for speed figures, I just think some proponents of their respective methodologies for picking winners actually believe this skill is more science than art when I believe it is more art than science.

If I was a pedigree expert I think Its use would be more practical in the business of owning or breeding horses or as an agent for others as a consultant of sorts.

18 Apr 2014 5:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

They're sending Dance With Fate to The Derby and he has already beaten California Chrome (Del Mar Futurity). If it was a beauty contest then Dance With Fate would be one of the favorites if not the favorite but as it is he'll probably be 20-1, maybe 15-1 ML but could go off higher than 20-1. Too bad about the extra shipping. They should have left him in Kentucky. He's doing well and likes to run, been closing well. I've liked him for a long time. He was actually my wps in the BC Juv. CD dirt isn't SA dirt so you never know.

18 Apr 2014 6:04 PM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

Trust me when I wasn't being insulting, but no love for Wildcat Red because of pedigree, because of one-dimensional style, and because it's a gamble whether he can reproduce, much less improve on, form out side of the track he's been running on.  A lot of people here like General A Rod because he's won at CD with a different style.  I'm one of those people who will take an equipment change seriously.  Especially after last year, which featured two notable/notorious equipment changes.

18 Apr 2014 6:32 PM
Carlos in Cali

Are they adding blinkers to Uncle Sigh for the Derby? He already has enough speed,if so.. can you say "pop and stop" like Palace Malice did last year...

Just as well, even more speed for Cali Chrome to sit off of.

18 Apr 2014 7:09 PM
Rusty Weisner

Dr. Drunkinbum,

That is a big surprise to me about Dance With Fate.  I really wanted to hate all these Bluegrass horses, but this one has some dirt form.  The Frontrunner effort was good, he did not inherit the place by closing, his Bluegrass style, and still got second.  The BC can be tossed because of tough luck at the break.  And the other try on SA dirt, bang, cleared Alw level.  Doesn't seem one-dimensional.  I was considering Medal Count underneath - it's hard not to consider this one, too, obviously.  Interesting!

18 Apr 2014 7:21 PM
Forbidden Apple

Rusty, W.Red is most likely the fastest colt on the trail. Yet he did slow it down in the FL Derby and his swift jockey left the rail open. Watch the replay again, he finishes with good energy on the outside of a horse. And that was after his trainer said before the race that the horse likes to be on the inside. I'd prefer to see him running 1st or 2nd with a quicker pace this time. The other true speed horse is C. Chrome! I agree that he needs to run well  outside of FL. The same is true for California Chrome, he needs to prove himself outside of CA. The change for W. Red is another new jockey.

Who else do you think has early speed?

So you like General A Rod because of blinkers off? From what I could see, it looked like only two horses fighting to the wire in the FL Derby.

18 Apr 2014 9:27 PM

El Kabong,

            I appreciate your reply on 4-17 regarding the Derby supers. If I was going to play a super something similar to 1 w 2,3 w 2,3,4,5 w 4,5,6,7,8 which is a 1x2x4x6, and I was going to play a couple of these using a different horse in the top spot. Is it best to carry 2,3 all the way down, or should I turn it around various ways like 2,3 w 1 w 2,3,4,5 w 4,5,6,7,8, and do this several ways? I can figure out who I like, I'm not sure what is the best way to construct the super ticket, if I should drop horses down or flip it around. Thanks for your help.

18 Apr 2014 10:09 PM
Paula Higgins

Quinnbit, I agree with you regarding having to run in the Derby to get into the Preakness and Belmont. It levels the playing field in a sense. But I am sure there would be plenty of owners and trainers who would nix that idea.

Sam Santschi, thank you for your wonderful comments about Zenyatta. I have seen several videos of her doing exactly what you described: stopping as she came around a turn and then surveying the scene and people. She was a very, very smart horse and didn't miss much.

Draynay, let us know when the next horse, male or female, comes from 20+ lengths behind the field to close and almost win in the Breeders Cup Classic. You will never see that again, count on it. Zenyatta's race that day was the stuff of legends and you know it.

18 Apr 2014 10:31 PM
Paula Higgins

Pedigree Ann, I am sorry about Milly. You should not blame yourself. There is no way to forsee everything that can happen, even with your expertise, which is considerable.

18 Apr 2014 10:36 PM

Anyone know the deal with Wildcat Red ?   Has not had a workout since 03/22... it's been almost 3 weeks since the Florida Derby.  Are they waiting to get to CD before a workout ?  

Illinois Derby :  4-5 ML on Midnight Hawk, not sure I want to play that...will probably box 5-8 in my .20 super and that's all I'm betting in that race.

Lexington :  Divine Oath / Poker Player with Divine Oath, Poker Player, Solitary Ranger and Mr. Speaker.   I think Global Strike will stay in the Illinois Derby.

Good luck to all betting this weekend!  Hope you all hit the big one.

18 Apr 2014 10:45 PM
Ta Wee

To TJ Conway,

I got fast chasing my older half brother Dr. Fager at Tartan Farm whom nobody could catch unless it was at least a mile and a quarter with rabbits trying to run him into the ground.  After 6 furlongs he was gone.

18 Apr 2014 11:22 PM
Forbidden Apple

JayJay, I thought Wildcat Red was going to have a workout today. He's been such a tough little guy all year long. But I also wonder if he is game or lame?

18 Apr 2014 11:34 PM

Jay Jay,

According to Bloodhorse, Wildcat Red was to work the 18th at Gulfstream but results show it didn't happen-- sloppy track.  He is then supposed to ship to CD 4/22 and work on 4/25.  I read another report that WR would work at the Gulfstream speedway on 4/20, ship on 4/22 and work at CD on 4/27.  Good Luck!

18 Apr 2014 11:39 PM

Chitu, his broodmare sire needs no introduction.  His dam's female line top and bottom explodes with stamina past the 5x.  Chitu is a beautifully bred horse, so I expect him to show up on derby day.

19 Apr 2014 2:02 AM

I have not really focused inept on California Chrome. I have posted a few historic points that have been taken totally out of context. It appears that stating that a Derby contender is unlikely to win equates to unable to win. I hardly believe unlikely is an absolute determination.

I join others and hail the brilliance CC has displayed in his seemingly effortless victories. Will his brilliance be transferred to Churchill Downs? That is left to be seen.

CCh’s sire Lucky Pulpit neither won a grades stakes nor does a race beyond 5.5F and that put him in the category of Malibu Moon. Malibu Moon sired Derby winner Orb so there is precedence. Lucky Pulpit has been a grossly underutilized stallion despite his modest stud fee of $2,500. He had 94 named foals from four crops between 2008 – 2011. CC is one of the foals from the 35 mares he bred in 2010. Big Brown was a foal from a book of 37 mares bred by sire Boundary. He was also freakishly brilliant.  

CC’s dam that was sired by a son of Mr. Prospector was lightly raced with only 6 starts. Big Brown’s dam was also lightly raced with only 2 starts. Whereas only one tail descendent of A P Indy has sired a Derby winner, three of Mr. Prospector’s sons have been broodmare sires of winners of TC races i.e., Barbaro, Mine That Bird and Union Rags.  

CC is from a small book of mares and out of one that was lightly raced and consequently fits the Derby winner’s profile I have been advancing for years. Why then do I dislike his chances of winning? It is a question I have been struggling to answer and my quest has led to more questions.

Is it conceivable that two stallions that have not won beyond 5.5F can be the sires of consecutive Derby winners? Can the previously unsuccessful A P Indy sire line account for consecutive Derby winner?  Will the dominant Mr. Prospector sire line with 7 likely starters rebound from its shut out in 2013. Will the Northern Dancer sire line with 7 likely starters four of whom won 9F Derby preps improve on Golden Soul’s 2nd place finish in 2013? Will the Medal Count the single representative from the Turn-To sire line emulate Barbaro’s effort who was likewise outnumbered?

California Chrome’s ability has been on display and its scary good. However, I see a collection of horses around him whose running styles combine to create a Tag Team scenario. At least 5 horses have enough speed to keep him honest upfront. Another 8 will be closely tracking the leaders ready to pounce. Assuming he disposes of the leaders, he has the challenges of the intermediate group to repel and then has to hold off the deep closers.  

The surface at CD has proven to be tiresome for many with tactical speed who were not allowed a breather. How many lengths is CC better than the others? Let’s assume 8L which is the record for largest margin of victory in the Derby. A Tag Team comprising the best of his peers can easily neutralize this advantage ensuring continuous pressure.

Secretariat's margin of victory was only 2 1/2L in his stakes record effort. Interestingly, Sham whom he defeated had won the SA Derby in 1:47 and subsequently finished 2nd in the Wood completed in 1:49.80. A different track and different conditions and he was defeated in a time almost 3 seconds slower.

I hope CC wins as he fits the small book, lightly raced mare profile that I have advanced. However, he is unlikely to be the 2014 Derby winner as victory by him runs against historic trends.  

19 Apr 2014 7:47 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Rusty Weisner

    It's a quandary and too early for me to make any betting decisions. DWF should be well conditioned and I don't think he will give up very easily. How far that will take him I don't know. There is a lot of unknowns especially with the poly horses in here, and a lot of parity except for CC, but even he may join the parity group if he doesn't like the CD surface as well as SA. Why didn't they gallop or work DWF over the Churchill surface before they shipped him Back home? I wouldn't take that shipping business and the toll and risks involved very lightly. I didn't bet the Bluegrass this year but I sure will be next year and it being on dirt might make things a little easier to figure out for The Derby. Maybe. I also don't believe in the theory, "he either likes the surface or he doesn't" for the horses getting to CD late. I think it helps a horse to get used to a surface. I'd be there at least 2 weeks ahead of the race if I could get a decent stall and have familiar people there to work with the horse.

19 Apr 2014 7:48 AM
Mike from Michigan

I know they both are going to be chalk today, but I like both Mr. speaker and Midnight Hawk to win in their respective races.  Got a feeling that Midnight Hawk will run in a very good time of 1:49 and change.  Today is the day that Midnight Hawk grows-up.

19 Apr 2014 8:03 AM
El Kabong


I can't answer your question about carrying down #'s because as I mentioned, in my madness, the ticket reflects who I think will surround my key horse. Let's use this year for an example. We will key  California Chrome. In the first ticket, CC wins with a clean, Big Brown style of stalking trip thus we will use 2008 as a model guide of who will finish with him. In second, someone with tactical stalking speed who was near him the whole way, lets use Danza and General Arod second. Since we're using 2008 as our model, I like a deep closer to finish 3rd. I like WS, Dance with Fate, and WeMissArtie. On the bottom part of the ticket we will need someone who traveled mid pack and there are going to be many from this group, but lets use Intense Holiday, Hopportunity, Cairo Prince, and Ride on Curlin. I'm not carrying down numbers because I'm looking for a different style horse in each finish position. (that's the answer to your question but only in this scenario)

Now let's build a ticket where CC gets beat. Here's where it gets real difficult because I think he is such a good horse he will hit the board regardless of a bad trip(this may prove a bad idea if his trip is as bad as Lookin At Luckys- but I will risk it.) So let's say one of our speed horses gets the lead and has a Shackleford trip. Our model is going to be 2011. Let's use Wildcat Red and Vicar. Now we have 2 horses who will be keyed 4th. We have CC who will be keyed second, now we need to find our Animal Kingdom. WMA, Wicked Strong, DWF will do. Now all that is left is finding a mid pack runner to get third. That's our biggest group so we are going to bulge here. IH, Hopp, ROC, CP, MC. So lets look at our ticket. 3x1x5x2. Remember now, Nehro got second by a neck so lets include a ticket where CC  runs third. Just flip third and second. 3 x 5 x 1 x 2. It's all about imaging the race and filling in with historical precedence and the running style of the other horses. If you follow what I'm saying, then your madness will only get worse from here on, but don't blame me. You asked for it.

19 Apr 2014 8:47 AM

Steve, I do not know if you have been following California Chrome's workouts or not, but I would guess that you are. He looks absolutely great. Mr Sherman said something recently that I think is so relevant and that was that Chrome is "America's Horse". I have no idea who will win the Derby, but I can tell you this, there will be millions cheering him on to victory and if all that love for this horse means anything, he will have the wings of Pegasus on the first Saturday in May.  

19 Apr 2014 8:47 AM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

Don't get me wrong -- see my comments above; Wildcat worries me as the obvious candidate for the lead.  I think the lead itself is an advantage, even in the Derby.  But we've all seen this type of horse fail badly in many Derbies, and this one's name marks him as such a horse.  I think Steve Haskin and others have explained their thinking on General A Rod.  I'm not sold, but will take a stab with the equipment change, given the gigantic odds.

I've seen the replay of the Florida Derby several times.  The conspiratorially minded sure believed Wildcat Red had plenty left in the tank, too much, in fact.

19 Apr 2014 8:52 AM

“And I remember Mike Smith in his emotional despair as he blamed himself for her one and only loss.”

It’s always very touching to see a grown man cry. “I blame myself for her loss”

If I might be allowed to make what I consider to be some objective statements without the usual backlash I would appreciate it.

Zenyatta defeated 10 of her 12 opponents. Mr. Smith took credit for defeat of those 10 but blame himself for the loss to one? That does not compute! The strategy he employed to defeat 10 opponents was perfect but the one he employed to defeat Blame was flawed. That does not compute either.

Lost in the emotion of Kenyatta defeat was the determined effort by Blame. He was the top rated older male in the country and had the added advantage of home court. A year earlier Zenyatta had home court advantage and she capitalized on same with a history making victory. The horses that made the board with her either had limited or no synthetic track exposure. The tables were turned a year later when she entered the domain of top rated horse with similar home court advantage and she was narrowly defeated.

Zenyatta was skillful managed to preserve her unbeaten record. She was not directed to the 2008 BCC to face the likes of Curlin, Ravens Pass and Henrythenavigator. Ravens Pass in victory recorded the 3rd fastest time for the BCC. A year later Zenyatta recorded a time one second slower for her victory.

The BCC has never been won by a horse older than 5. Zenyatta was a 6YO when she contested the race. The race has been dominated by 4YOs and Blame just happened to be a 4YO. History has an uncanny way of repeating its self in some races with no regards for superstars.

Zenyatta produced her signature stretch run to draw level with Blame long before the wire. She had every opportunity to pass but on this occasion she found an opponent who was unwilling to surrender like the leaders in her 19 previous races.

If Mr. Smith had won the race his timing would have been seen as impeccable. Blame’s determination was the reason for her defeat. No amount of tears from a grown man can wash away this cold fact.

19 Apr 2014 9:01 AM


I agree Brontexx

Facetious says "Man who scratches butt wakes up with stinky finger."

Im not hip on chinese philosophers nor from any other part of the universe including " The Derby Dozen Dude"

19 Apr 2014 9:20 AM

Rusty Weisner you are the one that mentioned consensus and breeding in the same sentence.So what do you think this blogs consensus on California cHROMES BREEDING AS IT RELATES TO 10 FURLONGS.

19 Apr 2014 9:31 AM

CC has been impressive and has the huge following but beating Hopper' who had to turn Tap sideways to beat him and then Tap got thumped by Danza, is that good enough? WS beat Sam by 3 and Sam beat In Trouble by 3/4 and IT got thumped in the LA derby so toss Sam &US. VIT ran slow 1:50:33; however, Palace Malice also ran slow just a race earlier, don't like go by time but do you toss VIT? Chitu distance challenged toss? 6 weeks between starts might be a plus, ditto with WR- distanced challenged?  CP was the hot horse after Holy Bull then dropped from radar without points now is back in and if he trains/works well at CD his loss in Fla derby will be forgiven. MH is in a NW3L $500K in Chicago this weekend at 4/5 ml and should he win he and come back in Derby he will be lone entrant on two week spacing, edge or asking too much? Leave it up to BB to know how to win these, rabbit for Chitu. Intense Holiday won't run any better for JV than he did for Mikie, the horse will cost more than 1 horse a placing with a new antic WMA is dangerous especially if Castellano ends up there. GAR is dangerous,blinker tinker. DWF ran his career race in BGrass and will bounce, MC is a now horse peaking at the right time Tap won't run, RW cheap speed, Vince no thanks, ROC 3rd maybe but that's all but still playable,  CB taking up gate space Danza- need to know who is riding, if Castellano ends up here extremely dangerous. If VIT is a toss do we also toss Commanding Curve or will he keep closing? Lots of possibilities and questions but until post positions, and weather/track conditions are known any betting decisions are futile.

19 Apr 2014 10:56 AM

There are 8 horses from dominant Mr. Prospector sire line that are likely to be Derby starters. Two have been the winner of 9F Derby preps i.e., Dance With Fate and Danza.  

Hoppertunity and Ride on Curlin both finished 2nd in their Derby preps but were easily defeated. General A Rod and Candy Boy finished 3d in their preps with latter struggling to hold off a lesser opponent. Cairo Prince finished 4th and Vinceremos was an also ran in the Bluegrass.

The majority of 2014 representatives from this dominant line have not been overly impressive with most giving glimpses of brilliance without dominating opponents. Which of the representative is mostly likely to either win or feature seriously in the Derby?

2004 Smarty Jones won the AK Derby - 1st, KD.

2005 Afleet Alex won the AK Derby - 3rd, KD

2007 Curlin won the AK Derby - 3rd, KD

2009 Papa Clem won the AK Derby - 4th, KD

2010 Super Saver 2nd in the AK Derby - 1st, KD

2012 Bodemeister won the AK Derby - 2d, KD

2014 Danza ????

In the last 11 renewals of the AK Derby horses from the Mr. Prospector sire line have won 6 and finished 2nd once. Those victories have translated into two KD Derby victories; one second, two third and a fourth place finish. Can Danza be the Mr. Prospector sire line best chance of 2014 Derby victory?

Well he has certainly won the right prep to qualify. He is also bred for the Derby distance. His sire Street Boss is son of Street Cry who credentials need not be refreshed. Street Boss’s dam was sired by Ogygian a son of great router Damascus so although he was restrict to sprints and middle distances he was bred to be a router.

Danza’s dam was sired by French Deputy a son of mega broodmare sire Deputy Minister. French Deputy’s dam was sired by Hold You Peace who is a tail descendent of three stallions that were leading broodmare sires on numerous occasions i.e., Speak John, Prince John and Princequillo. French Deputy is the dam sire of Overdriven and FL Derby runner up Smooth Air.

If Daza's victory was not aided and abetted by high octane this colt could represent the best of the Mr. Prospector sire line contingent and based on the history of success associated with the line, He could be right there at the death.

19 Apr 2014 11:09 AM
It aint easy being good!

The Draynay curse hits again with constitution. My Top 5 horses.

1) General A Rod..... He is a grinder, look at the florida derby again he wasnt tired at all. If you watch the tape he was just along for the ride. He should have won that race and going longer and already raced at churchill will do him wonders.

2) Wicked Strong......Only horse I can visually see that has an explosive turn of foot. His closing speed reminds me of Orb last year.

3)Chitu......Dont sleep on the other baffert horse. Should be close to the pace... He ran almost as fast as CC. From a pedigree prospective should be a front runner that should last the longest. Watch the sunland derby again he has horses on both sides of him and kicks for home in a great time.

4) Ride on Curlin. Never been off the board wont be getting a slice of pizza in the derby. Talk about good preps. This horse has been 7 and 8 wide in his last 2 out of 3 races. He should be well conditioned.

4) Danza....... First time 2 turns and crushes the field in a good time and had plenty in the tank!!

5) Intense Holiday....I got a baddddddd feeling this horse will show up. Pletcher knows how to make adjustments and get horses ready. Out of all the horses running this horse has the most experience going a mile and longer. Johhny V has been very quiet but is a great jockey.

Go back and watch some film tells you alot. Also remember pace makes the race. I think CC is a great horse but he is no big brown. There is no big brown anymore because horses arent juicing anymore.

19 Apr 2014 11:10 AM


If I may say, El Kabong is giving some very sound advise here..

I have used similar strategy in the past..

You can use this strategy for the tri as well not as expensive of a ticket.


19 Apr 2014 11:12 AM

Steve, I wish to make a correction..The People's Horse, not America's horse.

I apologize for the mistake.

19 Apr 2014 11:29 AM

Ky Vet, Draynay;

With Cairo Prince out of the Derby, where are you going to use now???

19 Apr 2014 12:45 PM
Bloodline Bob

I did not pick CAIRO PRINCE because when I found out that the Sheik paid $3 million for 49% and the rights to decide where and when he races in the future. This is not a serious injury. CAIRO PRINCE will be racing in New York this year.

19 Apr 2014 12:46 PM

Cairo Prince out of derby..

C.Chromes work out

19 Apr 2014 12:56 PM
calico cat

First he was on Constitution's bandwagon, then on Cairo Prince's. Please racing gods, keep him off of Chrome.

Sad news this morning. Hopefully, CP's injury is not too serious.  

19 Apr 2014 12:56 PM
Age of Reason

I take absolutely no delight in Cairo Prince's injury, as I myself was beginning to fancy him more every day. His defection from the Kentucky Derby is truly a pity! However, did I not say that a curse was hanging over any horse which Draynay and Coldfacts touted? I know the kiss of death when I see it. For heaven's sake, you two, please don't say a word about California Chrome between now and Derby Day...

19 Apr 2014 1:02 PM

I just heard on TVG that Cairo Prince is out of the Derby with an ankle injury.  I haven't heard the details, but I hope it's slight.

Now two of Draynay's picks have defected.  I'm actually pretty happy right now he has no love for California Chrome.

19 Apr 2014 1:13 PM

Forbidden Apple / Trackjack :  Thanks, hopefully we'll see him workout soon, waiting until CD seems like not a good plan but yeah, he has run a lot so he's already fit.

Is the Draynay curse still in effect after all ?   First it was Constitution, now Cairo Prince.   Wildcat Red has not had a workout...

It's very unfortunate to hear about Cairo Prince, I thought he had a good chance hitting the board but he was also one of the horses I'm not sure where to put.

trackjack :  You commented about Commanding Curve / Ring Weekend's connection's dilemma until DFW decided to join the party, now the dilemma is back with Cairo Prince being injured.   WIth Midnight Hawk out, Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday are in and CC next in line.

19 Apr 2014 2:49 PM
Ted from LA

Cairo Prince out.  Draynay, I'm beginning you to not mention Wicked Strong again for the rest of your life.

19 Apr 2014 2:53 PM

I hope and pray that Cairo Princes's injury is not serious.

19 Apr 2014 3:09 PM
Linda in Texas

Wow Steve, 323 comments as i post a comment, but problem is by the time i scroll back to make a comment i forgot what i was going to say! :)

Some would say, then it must not be worth saying. But some would be wrong.

Re: Windolin's comments about California Chrome i will add, just heard Art Sherman on HRTV say CC is a Rock Star as there were over 100 people at Los Alamitos watching him breeze. (he really said 3 Deep). The owner is really adding interest by having 3 sets of colors made for each of his races. Why not? No matter his standings/winnings, he already has a fan club and for me Art Sherman is Vice President behind California Chrome's Owners. It is fun to watch people with their heart's filled with admiration and anticipation and a little emotion thrown in there also. Two weeks 2 hours from today.

And to Cairo Prince, speedy recovery with no after affects please Racing Gods.

19 Apr 2014 3:11 PM
Carlos in Cali

As long as Draynay stays clear of California Chrome...

Draynay= Schleprock

Here's what a finely tuned machine looks like.

19 Apr 2014 3:50 PM

Another headline of bad news--Cairo Prince is out.  Hope they can figure out what's wrong and if not too serious, bring him back.  

#10.  Supermonic in the Lexington.

Good Luck to everyone today.  

19 Apr 2014 4:01 PM

What a terrible day for the Derby Trail.  Now Cairo Prince is out and poor Bond Holder lost his life.  Is it just me, or is this year an extra bad year for horses off the Trail?

19 Apr 2014 4:36 PM

Steve, great moments all the people who loves racehorsing are leaving!...those are signed by the unexpected defections from  great runners as Constitution and Cairo Prince, for your selection numbers 4th and think that this impact certainly in the analysis that all fans might have to do it in this stage. Even two great jockeys without mounts now on...could be as in the pass a sort of fishermen in troubled waters...remember John Velazquez as rider in the the time two horses become more powerful Danza and Wicked Strong, without forgetting the tremendous option that Californians invaders have!....I sincerely deeply appreciate your contribution to the world of horse racing through his various columns and blogs...from my country Venezuela...and always I expect the best from your horse paraphrase.  

19 Apr 2014 4:43 PM

Steve Haskin can you provide the last 3 sheets figures for the Derby Dozen.If you have access to both Rags and Thorograph that would be great, otherwise whatever you have.

19 Apr 2014 5:08 PM

Draynay picked Constitution and CP lookout he also picked Wildcat Red and General A Rod, Wicked Strong, Ride on Curlin and Danza

19 Apr 2014 5:10 PM

"Zenyatta defeated 10 of her 12 opponents. Mr. Smith took credit for defeat of those 10 but blame himself for the loss to one?" [Coldfacts]

Let this be a lesson to you. Ignore any statement by Coldfacts that contains numbers.

19 Apr 2014 5:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Coldfacts, I can't believe we are still debating the 2010 Breeders Cup Classic with Zenyatta. You are not wrong that Blame was a gutsy horse who held on to win. He did, racing on his home track. But when you compare trips, one was very problematic (Zenyatta's) and the other was a piece of cake (Blame's). You are not acknowledging that very significant fact and it absolutely determined the outcome. So while we are talking about coldfacts, let's point out that one. In any other race where she had a decent trip, she would have run by him. She was his superior in every respect and you are knowledgeable enough to know it. Whether Jerry Moss and John Sherriffs campaigned her carefully or not is irrelevant to that discussion. It ensured her longevity in racing through age 6. You should be thankful instead of viewing it as a negative. She saved racing for 3 years straight, another coldfact.

19 Apr 2014 6:25 PM
Rusty Weisner


Regarding pedigree and CC, I think I said it clearly.  He's "sui generis".  He is clearly the fastest horse, right now at least and pedigree is therefore less relevant.  He's cheaply bred.  There's no argument.  But he's ahead of the others right now.  If his breeding catches up with him, he can still win, because he can lose a length or two and still be superior.  I'm more inclined to consider betting against him hoping for bad racing luck than considering his pedigree, though as an additional factor it makes the stab against him more appealing.  And, as I say, I'm willing to bet both for and against him to win.  But overall, I like what I see; I was convinced with the San Felipe, and the early accurate endorsement by Steve Haskin, even before the San Felipe, gives me that much more confidence.  I think our host "visualizes" the horse well, to use El Kabong's language.

By the way, why no crowing about Dance With Fate?  You had him.  

19 Apr 2014 6:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

Here's what bugs me:  crowing about Zenyatta getting beat.  I stand in awe of that kind of valiant failure.  And I bet Blame in that race (straight Blame-Fly Down exacta for $20, Blame in horizontals broken up by Dakota Phone, sigh).

19 Apr 2014 6:31 PM
Rusty Weisner

...I mean she was playing an idiosyncratic game, not the same one we humans were playing.  Or, to put it in our terms, she was like a boxer fighting with one hand tied behind her back.

19 Apr 2014 7:26 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

General A rod, Intense Holiday, Vicar is in Trouble, Wild Cat Red, Danza, Opportunity, Wicked Strong, Cairo Prince, Candy Boy They can be in your exacta what do you think?.

19 Apr 2014 9:27 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

If California Chrome bounce the answer will not be in the east it will be in the class learn trips.

19 Apr 2014 9:43 PM

Carlos in Cali; thanks for the link to Cali Chrome's work today.  Yes, he is a finely-tuned machine right now.  Smooth, effortless lead changes, ears pricked the whole way looking like he'd just love to be asked for more.  It's hard to understand how someone can have no love for this colt, but like you, I'm sure glad Draynay is not on his bandwagon!

19 Apr 2014 10:04 PM

ColdFacts - this time I must disagree with you.  In regard to Zenyatta's BC defeat you stated she was beside Blame well before the wire but could not pass and that is simply not true.  As they approached the wire she was gaining on him with every stride and a stride past the wire she was in front.  At no time did they race neck and neck and he "held her off".  She simply ran out of room!

19 Apr 2014 11:09 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


19 Apr 2014 11:09 PM


Seriously it is time for you to find another sport.  That is very hard for me to say because I have  loved/LOVED being in the same parimutual pool as you. But, I am willing to put my own interests aside here for the good of these beautiful thoroughbreds.  Look, the NFL is exciting..give it a try  and I could not give a heck if Desean

Jackson broke his shin. Thank you for your consideration.

19 Apr 2014 11:42 PM
Pedigree Ann

When a horse outruns his pedigree, there is no knowing where it stops until you see it. Usually the pedigree gives a template, but if the template doesn't seem to fit, how can you know WHAT the horse's limitations are?

The poster child is Carry Back. He was a good 2yo, winning the Garden State S, the richest race for 2yos at the time. At 3, he won the Everglades, the major prep for the Flamingo, which he also won, then added the less-important Florida Derby. In the Kentucky Derby, he faced Crozier (My Babu-Miss Olympia, by Olympia), Sherluck (Correspondent-Samminiato, by Dante), Globemaster (Heliopolis-No Strings, by Occupation), Four-and-Twenty (Blue Prince-Sixpence II, by Ballyogan), Flutterby (Noor-Blue Butterfly, by Blue Train), Ampoipoise (Ambiorix-Bull Poise, by Bull Lea), and Jay Fox (Double Jay-Variation, Gallant Fox), among others. Every one of them was better bred than Carry Back, some of them MUCH better bred, but all of them finished behind him in the Kentucky Derby.

The son of Saggy and Joppy went on to be champion 3yo male of his generation. At 4, he won the Met Mile, the Monmouth H (10f) and the Whitney, while placing in many top races under high weights; he even went to Paris to run in the Arc(!) but finished off the board. Back home, he placed in the Washington DC International (also 12f turf) for the year's finale.

Carry Back was bred to be a moderate regional sprinter; instead he became a top 2yo, then a champion and classic winner at 3, and a top older horse at 4.

19 Apr 2014 11:48 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race


19 Apr 2014 11:52 PM


The 2010 BCC field contained 12 starters. Ten of those starters finished behind Zenyatta and one finished ahead. That amounts to 11. When she is added to the total all 12 starters are account for. Kindly accept my apology for the bad arithmetic and wording.

Zenyatta finished ahead of 10 opponents and a NS behind one.

20 Apr 2014 12:44 AM

Coldfacts :  "  Zenyatta defeated 10 of her 12 opponents. Mr. Smith took credit for defeat of those 10 but blame himself for the loss to one? "

Where did you find that quote that he credited himself for beating the other 10 horses ?  I want to see that "cold fact"...if I remember correctly, he blamed himself for Zenyatta's ONE loss, not losing to ONE horse, there's a big difference.  He was talking about the race, not Blame.  I can't remember if EVER a jockey took credit beating the other horses after coming in just seems ridiculous lol.  I'm not trying to defend Zenyatta to you, just correcting your "facts."

20 Apr 2014 12:53 AM

CONGRATULATIONS ZENYATTA! Filly by War Front, born at 12:03 Easter Sunday and on my birthday.

20 Apr 2014 1:24 AM

El Kabong,

      I appreciate the advice, your madness sounds very logical, thanks for sharing. I'm still trying to figure out which spot I'm playing each in, and various ways to adjust it if the race unfolds a different way as I see it. I like CC and Hop., with Gen. A Rod, Wicked Strong with V.I.T. and Danza with Ride on Curlin, Wildcat Red. And maybe add in a couple long bombs. We don't have long now, its down to watching the workouts, the draw, and paying attention to the backside talk. Good luck.

20 Apr 2014 1:58 AM

Age of Reason,

I appreciate a bit of humor when it's fair and balance. Are you an equal opportunity curse accuser? Mr. Haskin had Top Billing ranked #1 and Honor Code ranked just below. Both suffered injuries and are off the trail. Whose cure impacted them?

Below are some extracts from previous posts:

HONOR CODE: Encased in Derby negatives. I am conflicted about this colt. His retired sire represents the strongest stamina influence in the US but has a poor Derby record. His dam sire has a broodmare band of 381 and only one progeny has featured in the Derby i.e., Bodemeister. Dialed In and Nobiz Like Showbiz were talented colts but failed in the Derby efforts. His pedigree just does not fit into the Derby winner chart but his obvious talent does.

HAVANA: Encased in Derby negatives. He has many negatives – Trainer’s <3% Derby win record; no runner-up in BCJ has ever won the Derby. He is the best colt from the crop of 2011 so far. Dam line has a powerful TC history and this could help him overcome his negatives.

TOP BILLING: Encased in Derby negatives. All historic indicators suggest this colt will not win the Derby. Curlin sired Belmont winner Palace Malice. Sires of winners of TC races in a particular year do not normally repeated the feat the following year.  However, this colt is talented enough to break this historic trend.

CAIRO PRINCE: His Remsen performance indicates he is unlikely to effective at 10F. I have a love/hate feeling for this colt. I have no confidence in his trainer’s ability to build his stamina to a Derby level. His dam sire Holy Bull via his dam has serious potential as broodmare sire. A classy colt that I am again forced to acknowledge.

CONSTITUION: He is not my pick to win the Derby and neither is California Chrome. He is the product of an overbred stallion. 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)Derby winning sires rarely double was Derby winning broodmare sires. This feat was repeated in 2013 after a span of 48 years. Based on Derby history this feat is unlikely to recur in consecutive years.

I highlighted that 4 of the horses above had significant historic Derby negatives. They are now off the trail. My assessments had nothing to do with there abilities. In the case of CP he did not give any indication he would have been effective at 10F against the best of his peers. His Remsen and HB were indicators.

20 Apr 2014 9:03 AM

Every horse Draynay mentions seems to get knocked out of this Derby for some reason or another. Wildcat Red is the tough nail I have been keying on to ursurp California Chrome - the 3rd or 4th contender mentioned on Draynay's list.  

If by some miracle Social Inclusion gets in, it might compromise the chances for Wildcat Red.

I might end up keying CC on top with General A Rod, Tapiture, Medal Count and Chitu to add to the exotics. Ring Weekend and Tapiture should figure prominently if the track comes up wet.

20 Apr 2014 9:07 AM

Rusty Weisner you answered the consensus of the blog breeding of CC by going out on another branch stating hes the fastest colt.But you should have stated hes the fastest colt at SA and in California.I hate to repeat myself because I think you already know speed figures are summations of what a horse ran at that distance and at that track,they are not universal as advertised.He ran those figures at home on a track that is speed favoring and in weather that is very dry.When he gets to Kentucky and spends those 4 days leading up to the race the weather will be much different the place where he is kept will be different there will be a whole lot more people around etc.In sports he will not be in his confort zone.

Theres no way in the world they bred this horse for classic distances it dosent mean he cant out run his pedigree.I remember this blogs comments on Bodemeister who WAS bred for classic distances and the excuses created by the bloggers for why he wouldnt get the distance.In the end its all subjective,auto suggestion you convince yourself and then TRY to convince others.

20 Apr 2014 9:25 AM

Rusty Weisner the reason the blog was against Bode was because it was for Union Rags and now the blog is for CC so they figure out positives for him like you did and overlook the obvious that this horse was not bred to run 10 furlongs.

20 Apr 2014 9:28 AM

Rusty Weisner By the way, why no crowing about Dance With Fate?  You had him.  

If I spent my time congratulating myself for picking winners I would have much time to write about much else.I played three races yesterday and picked Mr Speaker in one of the only three.

20 Apr 2014 9:34 AM


     I agree that El Kabong is giving good advice on the Derby supers. Now I just have to sort the horses out that I like and decide where to play each under a couple ways that I could see the race unfold. I will play the tri a little more than the super due to cost, but plan on playing a couple supers. I just won't be able to have as many selections in my supers, but hopefully the right one's. Besides the obvious, CC, Hop., Wicked Strong, I also may use Gen. A Rod, V.i.T., and might even slip Medal Count, Ride on Curlin in somewhere. I like to include a long bomb, or a forgotten horse in on each one somewhere. Good luck.

20 Apr 2014 9:40 AM

Paula Higgins,

My post focused on the tears of a grown man and his emotionally driven statement. The mare finished ahead of 10 of her opponents and felt short of passing the final and somehow he is to be blamed. The running styled that was on display was the one she employed throughout her career.

Paula, you need to be reasonable for a change! The same strategies he used to defeat 10 opponents were in play when she drew level with Blame. She just could not get by because she had nothing additional to give.

Blame produced a powerful stretch run two races earlier in the Whitney to collar Quality Road. Despite the ferocious urging of Johnny V, Quality could not sustain his advantage close home. Zentatta had never met a horse the caliber of Blame. When a ferocious closer such as Blame gets the jump on an opponent it is unlikely he will be caught.

I am not bashing the mare. I am not declaring which of the two were better. Horses do not always need effect trips to win races. If Zenyatta experienced problems they did not prevent her from beating 10 opponents so why highlight them because she fell short by a NS.

As for Mr. Smith he is an experience rider who should have been gracious in defeat and give credit to the winning horse and rider. Instead of crying like child and making emotionally driven statements, just state we came up short against a very talented horse. I guarantee if he had won the race, he would not have said I almost lost it with my bad decisions.

He closed from the clouds with Drosselmeyer a year later to deny Game On Dude close home. If he had come up short would have cried and blame himself. He simply cannot have it both ways. The winner got no credit and I will welcome the day when the litany of excuses for Zenyatta defeat ceases.

20 Apr 2014 9:46 AM

robin... I will wait for PP's to be drawn but right now off his last work I am liking General A Rod.  Yesterday we got a chance to see California Racing thanks to Game On Dude and Midnight Hawk.... and as usual we see how it turned out.

20 Apr 2014 10:03 AM
Gary D.

Coldfacts you said in your April 19th comments the following:

I hope CC wins as he fits the small book, lightly raced mare profile that I have advanced. However, he is unlikely to be the 2014 Derby winner as victory by him runs against historic trends.  

Since, "historical trends" are 'cold facts', does this mean you will not be betting him to win....or betting him to place, show or not betting him at all?  

20 Apr 2014 10:06 AM

Midnight Hawk has made it very clear .... California racing is just not very good this year.  Um... wasn't Game On Dude beaten by a claimer ?

20 Apr 2014 10:11 AM
Linda in Texas

Happy Birthday Windolin. And in the same week, Zenyatta's and Tapit's chestnut colt has been named Ziconic!  While Champion Zenyatta awaits her next foal

at Land's End. And Special Blessings no matter your religion on this special day and week.

20 Apr 2014 11:37 AM

Gary D.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, despite the fact that historic trends suggest a horse is unlikely to it dose not mean it will be off the board. So yes I will includingCC in my wagers.

20 Apr 2014 11:45 AM
Linda in Texas

Just now reading additionally, Zenyatta just foaled and her War Front foal is a beautiful filly?  Hope they call her Z's Easter something. As Paula Higgins is defending her champion status, she continues to do her job as a wonderful mare. Congratulations to the Mosses and all at Land's End who have been so good to Zenyatta, and may i mention Charles Campbell especially. Thank you Steve.

20 Apr 2014 11:50 AM
Sail On

Just heard the news this morning, about Cairo prince and Honour Code. How very sad for these horses and for horse racing.

@Windolin, I read your comments on laminitis on the news story re Honor Code, and it was very informative. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us.

20 Apr 2014 11:51 AM

Draynay; I fail to see where the loss of Midnight Hawk by a nose in the Il Derby or by Game on Dude at Charlestown, prove that horses that race primarily in Ca are not good horses, and more specifically, why California Chrome is not a good horse.  In regards to Midnight Hawk, his loss in a photo actually flatters Cali Chrome as Chrome demolished him.  Furthermore, I think you'll agree that by all indication, Midnight Hawk really doesn't want the distance.  In regards to Game on Dude's race, have you never heard the adage "pace makes the race".  Dude didn't get beat because his home base is Ca., fast early fractions for that bullpen race track is what beat him yesterday.  I give the horse credit for continuing to try after Imperative blew by him.  He is still a very good horse in my book.

20 Apr 2014 12:24 PM


“if I remember correctly, he blamed himself for Zenyatta's ONE loss, not losing to ONE horse, there's a big difference.”

I am requesting your help in deciphering the above.

Zeyatta’s one loss was in one race to one horse. I am sure you are familiar with the term ‘By Extension.’ If Mr. Smith blamed himself for her one loss he by extension is also taking the blame for the one horse to which she lost. Further, the fact that he assessed blame on himself is evidence that he believed he could have beaten the one opponent that finished ahead if not for his errors in judgment.

There were ten horses that finished behind her. The errors in judgment that he believed led to her defeat, did not prevent her from defeating ten others. If one takes blame for the loss to one opponent that individual is by extension taking credit for the defeat of others.

He did not have to make such a statement and in retrospect I worded the point incorrectly. The wording should have been, he is to be given credit or commended for the 10 opponents she defeated as his error in judgment only allowed one to finish ahead.

“I can't remember if EVER a jockey took credit beating the other horses after coming in just seems ridiculous lol”

Yes! It does seem a bit ridiculous if one is not familiar with the term ‘by extension’ and its meaning. If a jockey either takes or is given credit for winning a race, that jockey is by extension also taking or is being given credit for defeating all other opponents.

“I'm not trying to defend Zenyatta to you, just correcting your "facts."

I appreciate the opportunity to put into context what my post actually meant. If you are still of the opinion that my context is inappropriate, then the issue will remain one of context and we will move forward to address others..

20 Apr 2014 12:28 PM


My recollection was based on what I saw in 2010. I have revisited the video and you are correct. As the commentator sated Zenyatta ran her heart out but could not peg back Blame.

Mr. Smith did not have many good options. He came to the top of the stretch and had to save ground and then switch to the outside while Blame saved ground. She had every opportunity to catch Blame when she got clear but found him to be resolute.

He was the top rate older male and she the top rated older female. It was a race for the older sexes and she came up short. Mr. Smith could have piloted her 8 wide but she would have lost by a bigger margin. Mr. Smith had to encourage her to take closer orders early and in so doing used her a little earlier than he wanted.

20 Apr 2014 12:50 PM

All you California haters, keep on hating.  That's OK by me.  It might help the tri payout.

For me, its looking like CC, Hop, Intense and ROC.  If Commanding Curve gets in, he'll be tossed in the mix somehow.

As for the rest of them, the more I look at the PP's, the less I like them.

20 Apr 2014 1:55 PM
Paula Higgins

Coldfacts, you are right, I love Zenyatta. But I am also a realist in every respect. I am not Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I call it like I see it. It was very clear to me what happened that day. If she had not come from 20 back (and that was not her usual race at TWENTY back, I mean really) and come from within a nose of beating Blame, we would not be having this discussion. If it was her typical race and she was a length or two back, I would concede your point. If she didn't have problem after problem once she got into traffic, I would concede your point. If Blame hadn't had the trip of a lifetime, I would concede your point. It was clear who the better horse was in that race. Blame was a great closer and he showed real grittiness when he hung on to win. Blame was a very, very good horse. No argument. But he was also a lucky horse in the way the race played out. She has had races before where she came very close and just nosed out her competition at the line. Take a look at her races. But, had she ever come from that far back in any of her races? No. John Sherriffs thinks she got confused because there were two groups ahead and she thought there was just one. I think he is probably right. Horses have a brain and some are smarter than others. Zenyatta is smart. She always seemed to know where the wire was relative to the pack placement/pace etc. This time, she missed it by a nose. It all mattered in the outcome. As for Mike Smith, he was devastated. He loves Zenyatta as much as anyone and he felt responsible for coming in second (he wasn't responsible IMO). So, he was heartbroken. I love it that Mike has a heart and he isn't a bloodless machine when it comes to his horses. He wanted her to go out with a perfect 20-0 and he knew a lot of people were very disappointed that he couldn't make it happen. Think about how you would feel in the same circumstances. He DID comment on what a gutsy win Blame had and so did John Sherriffs and Jerry Moss. They congratulated Al Stall and Blame's connections. As for Blame not getting the credit he deserves, I understand your point especially as he came back to the stands. But the air was sucked out of the place because she lost by so little. If he had won by several lengths, I think the response would have been better for Blame because it would have been clear she had no chance. But I think people felt the best horse did not win and that was why people did not respond to him the way they usually do after a win. I felt bad too. He deserved better and I thought that at the time, not just in retrospect.  Coldfacts, I love reading your comments, whether I agree with them or not. You are a real personality on this blog. But you need to take another look at what happened. You are perspective is skewed about Zenyatta, who by the way just had Her Princess :). Happy Easter everyone and a belated Happy Passover too.

20 Apr 2014 2:20 PM

Windolin :  Saw the news as well, Happy Birthday to both of you!

I just checked for news today and glad to see NOTHING about a contender being injured or off the trail...have to keep a close eye on General A Rod now though.

Game On Dude cost me a nice exacta, tri and super.  He had to deal with Moreno, Long River and the local horse (6).   Still, he should've won that race, even with giving 5 lbs to the field.  His game wasn't on last night lol.   I heard someone said Mike Smith was crying in the jockey's room because he felt he gave GoD a bad ride by not putting away Moreno much earlier, but one of the other jockeys said "Hey!  You beat Clubhouse Ride again!  You own him!" and the tears went away.   I'm KIDDING, that didn't really far as I know, there were no crying after the race.

Wildcat Red finally had a workout and looks to have Luis Saez back  :   " Under a motionless Saez, Wildcat Red breezed four furlongs in 48.69 (11/62), out five furlongs in 1:02.30. "

With Luis riding Wildcat Red, Bejarano is again without a mount.  I'm sure he'll end up with either Danza or Vinceremos.  I hope he takes Vinceremos.  I can't imagine Pletcher taking Danza away from Joe Bravo.

Still waiting for the news from Ring Weekend's connections...

20 Apr 2014 2:50 PM
El Kabong


Happy Birthday to you and the amazing new princess from Zenyatta. Zenyatta is without question a gift to racing. Let's hope this filly runs like her Mom. Windolin, you are going to have to follow this filly very closely for all of us and keep us posted. She's obviously connected to you now.  Boy, that picture by Kyle Acebo is worth a million words.

20 Apr 2014 4:40 PM
Rusty Weisner


What is this "the blog was against Bode and for Union Rags?"  I don't think Haskin's blog Union Rags on top, and I think Bodemeister was first or second.  I can't remember anyone "hating on" Bodemeister, unless maybe Draynay was commenting at the time.  I don't understand your strangely combative tone.

As for CC, sure, I have reservations.  Who doesn't have reservations about the favorite in a 20-horse field.  But this idea that horses can't ship from California is overstated.  How is it that Bob Baffert owns one of the premier TC prep circuits, Oaklawn?  

By the way, I love the logic of a certain person who thinks second stringer Midnight Hawk's second in the million dollar Illinois Derby is evidence of the weakness of the circuit he shipped from.  And the jab at Game On Dude, who just lost coming off a lifetime best.  He was beaten by a horse from...California.  Brilliant.

20 Apr 2014 6:27 PM

Coldfacts :  So that’s not a “fact”, that’s your interpretation.  “By extension”, I’m familiar with that term…but…my bad, I was under the impression that you only post “cold facts”.   So if your “cold facts” are surrounded by theories or open interpretations, then it’s no longer cold facts, it’s called opinion.   We can move forward as I see it’s your opinion you are posting with regards to Mike’s reaction after the race and not actually cold facts.   I’m still curious what the difference is between your “evaluation” and your “handicapping” (sorry to re-hash an old discussion) but I’m really genuinely interested.

Anyway, back to the trail… who are your top 4 horses at this point in time ?   I know you said Wicked Strong is your top horse, who’s the other 3 ? or who’s your “dozen” right now ?

20 Apr 2014 8:43 PM
Jersey Girl

Happy Birthday Windolin,

The lovely photo of Mama Zenyatta and baby reflects the tender moments you often write about.

20 Apr 2014 8:57 PM


It was very clear to me that Zenyatta lost the 2010 BCC in the stretch run……the first time, not the second time.  In all your worldly knowledge it appears that you don’t realize that when she began to make her run it was two thirds of the way down the backstretch, which means that she was in an all-out drive for the final 5/8ths of a mile, this after already having run 5/8ths and on a track that was starting to get pretty sticky.  You make it sound like she wasn’t good enough.  That’s a laugh.  The fact is that with having to slow for Quality Road and then having to wait for Lookin At Lucky to clear so she could switch, out she lost valuable ground, and at two points valuable momentum.  She lost by half a head after that long drive, ground that she would have made up if, (A) she had commenced her run two steps earlier, (B) not have had to slow for Quality Road, and (C) not have had to wait to switch out.  If you don’t want to give this great mare credit fine, but at least get your so-called facts straight.  Blame saved ground all the way, Zen didn’t.  If you are familiar with TRAKUS you can see in terms of seconds and feet just how important that is.  Those art real facts.

20 Apr 2014 9:11 PM
Mike Relva


Still doing the CA horses hate deal,right? Wasn't it fun watching Seth's expression when HOTY went to Zenyatta instead of Blame? A better moment to see  the look on your friend Jason's face. lol

20 Apr 2014 9:33 PM
Arch the phoneman

I appreciate when the bloggers give out some winners. Last week, Trackjack gave out a nice exacta. A couple of weeks ago, Coldfacts gave out Wicked Strong at a nice price in the Wood. I read that Mary hit 40-1 Danza. Mary, is it possible that the next time you like a 40-1 shot, maybe you could give us a little taste here on the Derby Dozen? I'm not so sure that Danza was a fluke. I'm taking a hard look at him. I know Todd P's record in the derby is horrible,but,maybe he's due. Look forward to reading what the bloggers think the next two weeks. Thanks Steve. I can't get enough of your stuff.

20 Apr 2014 10:00 PM

Pedigree Ann,

What you state is obvious, and in no way refutes what I had offered. As said, the paper pedigree offers a faint reflection of what is the true genotype. Most horses, to one degree or another, fail to perform (+ or -) as one might have predicted their pedigrees indicate. In the case of California Chrome, however, it's too early to completely discount the potential downsides to his pedigree. He does not as yet have the body of work of that RARE example, Carry Back, or a John Henry, etc. Also keep in mind, that while Carry Back's genotype was such as to afford him a first rate phenotype (by the unusually great luck of the "draw" for one of such pedigree), he, like so many others, "underperformed" that phenotype at stud due to "latent" deficiencies in that same genotype-a circumstance occurring more commonly in those with "weaker" paper pedigrees. Since California Chrome is still a work in progress (unlike  the retrospective Carry Back), don't yet be too certain that should these relative deficiencies also exist in C.C. they cannot manifest phenotypically...As an aside, I followed closely-in real time- Carry Back's generation. Globemaster was my favorite back then, but Carry Back proved to be his better-although Preakness was very close. Carry Back was a very good colt, far from a great, but beautifully put together, a real quality-looking colt (as was Mister Frisky), unlike C. Chrome in my estimation.  

20 Apr 2014 11:54 PM

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. It was very exciting Saturday night when I was following the chatroom on Zenyatta's site when the twitter notification came across. I looked down at the clock on the computer and it was 12:25 or so. When the announcement came that the filly was born at 12:03. Then those of us on the chatroom were waiting for the first picture. She is just gorgeous, a mini-zennie. The Easter Bunny stopped at Lane's End first!

20 Apr 2014 11:59 PM

Sail On--Are you talking about Bond Holder? Honor Code is off the Derby Trail, he's still on the planet.

A friend just pointed out that Z14 shares a birthday with a certain infamous painter from Austria--what a thing to say about such a lovely new filly.

Happy Birthday Windolin.

21 Apr 2014 1:50 AM


Zenyatta came from 20 back of horses who all stopped dead in the stretch; she was only five back of Blame.

21 Apr 2014 4:12 AM

Rusty Weisner The consensus on this blog is that CC romps so his not so good classic breeding is overlooked and posters find the positives as they are already convinced this favorite will win.

After its over just remember the consensus for CCs breeding was that he WOULD GET THE DISTANCE.

Orb was the favorite last year and he won,the consensus was correct that he would get the distance but it should have been obvious even to you a self proclaimed non expert when it comes to breeding.In 2012 Bodemeister was the favorite and finished 2nd the consensus on this blog was tepid as if he would get the distance eventhough I knew he was bred to run all day.The blog liked Creative Cause and Union Rags so they found ways to depreciate Bode.In 2011 the favorite was Nehro and he finished 2nd I dont recall any consensus on the blog.In 2010 the favorite was California speedster Sidneys Candy and there was NO CONSENSUS if he would get the distance.He finished near the bottom of the field.

The favorite has finished 1st or 2nd the last three years,the last time the KD favorite finished out of the money was 2010 with Californian Sydneys Candy.

21 Apr 2014 7:35 AM
Gary D.


Thank you for the clear and concise answer to my question. It will be used and factored in when I construct my wagers for the Derby.

21 Apr 2014 7:59 AM

12 days from the Derby and where are all the horses ?  Is there magic in keeping your horse away from the track in Kentucky ? It's just not smart and hurts your chances not running on the track. Paula I hope you understand there are people out there that loved watching Blame run as much as you liked seeing your California horse run however, those people have to wonder how on earth you can win the biggest race on the biggest day in racing along with everything else he had done and not win HOY.  I feel sorry for the horse and all that loved him to get something taken from him.

21 Apr 2014 8:44 AM
Pedigree Ann

I find the denigration of California form bemusing. Especially the reaching some have been doing.

Like in the Charleston Classic - both the first two home were shippers from SoCal, but because GoD runs second to a horse **who had already beaten him with a pace assist in the San Antonio**, this is a negative for SoCal form? The 'Eastern' horse Moreno, who trained at SA all winter, finished behind them; this is the same Moreno who was beaten only a nose by Will Take Charge in last year's Travers.

Then the Midnight Hawk, Bayern, and Kristo thing. Midnight Hawk and Kristo finished first and second in a 1 mile, 4-runner G3 early in the prep season. Since then, as the distances have lengthened, neither has improved their form. Midnight Hawk was 7 lengths behind California Chrome in the San Felipe - Baffert knew then that this one wasn't his Derby horse, so he sent him on the G3 path to pick up some more money and perhaps some cred as a stallion prospect. Kristo was even further back in the San Felipe behind CC - 13 lengths; the extra 1/16th of the Wood allowed him to fall yet further behind. The Sham was indeed a sham of a race this year.

Bayern went into the Arkansas Derby without having faced any of the top 3yos out in California. Yes, Baffert thought well of him, but he always thinks well of the colts he sends out of town to avoid the big guns in SoCal. Bayern had missed training due to a foot problem so is behind the curve for Derby horses and Baffert knows it, just as he knows how poor the Arkansas-based contingent is this year. After all, he beat them with Hoppertunity, who was beaten open lengths by California Chrome last out.

21 Apr 2014 9:42 AM

Someone here asked when we would ever see a horse almost win the Classic from nearly 20 lengths back. Doesn't anyone remember Concern in 1994? He was at least 15-20 behind on the backstretch and had 8 to make up rounding the far turn. He had to go really wide and he won! I remember Durkin's call of "and Concern from out of the clouds!" It was awesome. Then the next year we got to see the best horse of the 90's -- "The incomparable, invincible, unbeatable Cigar!" Great memories of when racers were campaigned like champs!

21 Apr 2014 10:00 AM
Rusty Weisner


I'm not talking about the "consensus" on this blog.  I'm talking about the consensus from among many sources of horceracing coverage.

21 Apr 2014 1:54 PM
Rusty Weisner

Arch the phoneman,

Keelerman gave out the Illinois Derby trifecta, and not the boxed kind, over on his blog.  

21 Apr 2014 1:57 PM
Mike Relva


Zenyatta overcame alot in her last race to narrowly lose. Let's don't dilute what she accomplished. She didn't have the best trip by far. Bottom line,Blame is a nice horse,but what did he generate for bringing new fans into racing compared to Zenyatta? Waiting on you response.

21 Apr 2014 2:55 PM

California form will receive downgrades from me if it is raining if it is a hard track holding speed good for CC backers.

Hoppertunity takes his track with him he has run in 3 preps one at home and two on the road.If Bayern gets in, I think BBs will send him and CC will be downgraded some.I wont be surprised if he sends Chitu BBs plays to win and he has the colts to get another W at CD.

21 Apr 2014 3:00 PM

So Wildcat Red has never run except at Gulfstream Park, he's only faced mostly horses from Gulstream Park.  He never recorded a fast time in any of his races.  

California Chrome has raced at 3 different tracks and two different surfaces.   He demolished any fields that he ran against and recorded super fast times while not breaking a sweat.  

How is Wildcat Red any better than California Chrome ?  Wildcat Red has not beaten any horses that is above par.   I don't get why Wildcat Red is such a superstar...Social Inclusion at least set a track record on that conveyor belt.   All I've seen is "he's a tough horse", but I don't know if his toughness will get him to hit the board in the Derby.

Windolin:   Are you a painter from Austria ?

21 Apr 2014 3:32 PM

Hey Paula Higgins

How are you?  That was a beautiful post you wrote about one of the greatest mares to ever step foot on a race track.  As far as feeling that we have to defend Zenyatta to a shrinking few, it is probably best to let those few ramble on.  They are just attention seekers anyway and like to upset people have who have true passion, not only for a particular horse, but for the sport in general.  I say who cares what they have to say.  What we see with our own eyes and the actual facts, not something made up and distorted, those are the things that count.  Have a good one.

Now on to the Derby.  It is interesting that Mike Watchmaker, in rating the key preps, rated them as follows:

Santa Anita Derby:  A

Wood Memorial:  A-

Arkansas Derby:  B+

Florida Derby:  B-

Louisiana Derby:  B-

Sunland Derby:  C

Blue Grass:  C-

Spiral:  D

Calder Derby:  D-

We all know that California Chrome is the current horse to beat, but two that I like are both coming out of the Wood, Wicked Strong and Samraat.  CC has been exceptional so far this year and is not over-raced or under-raced with his last 4 races spaced out 5-6 weeks apart.  He is back on the work tab after being given a bit of a breather and based on his last work looks like he hasn’t lost a step.

Wicked Strong has the demeanor of a Derby horse, allows the jock to rate him, has a good kick, and drew off nicely ion the Wood.  He too is back working after a two week break and with two weeks to go to the Derby, should gain in strength and stature.

My favorite (though not necessarily the one I think is best) is Samraat.  This guy is honest as they come, gutsy, and always tries his hardest.  I still maintain that his race in the Wood was for a learning experience, even in a $1M race.  I love the way he dug in and outran Social Inclusion for second.  That tells you lots about the horse.

21 Apr 2014 3:41 PM

Here's a question for everyone :    None of these colts have ever had to carry 126 lbs during their prep races, how would that affect your handicapping or does it ?

I know each horse will carry 126 so one can say "it's all even" but I think that some horses can take the extra lbs and not affect their running style and some horses don't.   My question has to do more with how do you handicap that for the Derby at 10Fs ?   Does the impact of the weight get felt in the middle of the race, or towards the end ?  or even from the start ?    Some horses are bigger than the others, which to me, might be able to handle the extra lbs...but like Vicar's In Trouble, would he be affected by it more since he's smaller ?

There's no true answer to the question as we don't know how the horse will feel but I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on that.   I've always ignored the weight increase...

21 Apr 2014 3:59 PM

Wicked Strong

Medal Count

General A Rod

California Chrome




We Miss Artie

Ride on Curlin

Intense Holiday


Uncle sigh

21 Apr 2014 4:19 PM

Pedigree Ann.... Bayern didn't face any top 3 year old horses in California ?  Who do you consider a top 3 year old Dublin Up ?

21 Apr 2014 4:30 PM

Jayjay.... I can only imagine that you must be joking.... excluding a head win by a super horse Constitution the KING of Florida racing is Wildcat Red. Florida horses that have raced in OC75k races at GP in their next race won the WOOD, THE ARKANSAS DERBY and FLORIDA DERBY. Need I say more ?

21 Apr 2014 5:33 PM

Draynay : No I wasn't kidding and I was specifically talking about Wildcat Red, what does the O75K winners winning those preps have anything to do with Wildcat Red ?   Is this like a Gulfstream / Florida team where if one horse wins a race, they all "win" it ?   As far as I know, Wildcat Red has only won the FOY....

Don't get me wrong, bet the farm on him!  Wasn't trying to persuade you as I know he's your number horse.  I don't like neither so it's better for me that those two will most likely get a lot of action.

Also, did you know that Bayern had raced twice in CA, one maiden and one Allowance race.   So he did not face any of the top stakes horses IN California as correctly stated by Ann.

21 Apr 2014 6:05 PM

Draynay : and furthermore, Wildcat Red never beat Wicked Strong, nor Danza and the one time he faced Constitution, he lost to him.   Wicked Strong won a G1 and so did Danza and so did Constitution so how can WR be the KING of Florida horses when he has only a G2 win and was beaten by a very inexperienced horse ?   From your post, seems to me, it's pretty evident that he's the 4th stringer in that group lol...are you sure he's the king??

21 Apr 2014 6:13 PM


“They are just attention seekers anyway and like to upset people have who have true passion, not only for a particular horse, but for the sport in general.”

I have on occasions posted comments regarding Zenyatta. Let me assure you that said posts are not done to attract attention. My most recent posts contained nothing that discredited the brilliant race mare. They contained views that brought into context the reality of her defeat.

There has been so much spin placed on her defeat that is has become annoying. Many people selected Blame to defeat her and he did. Many people selected her to win and she lost. Those who do not engage in her glorification should not be seen as any less passionate about the mare or the sport in general. It not a fair assessment and you should be aware of same.

“That was a beautiful post you wrote about one of the greatest mares to ever step foot on a race track.”

The above is clearly your opinion and it appears it's the driving force behind your passion for the mare. There is nothing wrong with harboring such a belief. However, if cold facts are presented to challenge said belief the challenger should not be seen as engaging in bashing.

If you ask an Australian who is the greatest mares to ever step foot on a race track, Black Caviar would be the answer. She was undefeated in 25 starts and she travelled thousands of miles to contest one in Europe. Zenyatta rarely left CA.

If you ask a Hungarian who is the greatest mares to ever step foot on a race track, Kincsem would be the answer. She won a reported 55 races from 55 starts.

Zenyatta’s supporters are at liberty to believe that she is greatest mares to ever step foot on a race track. However, it does not make it so. What is being achieved by demonizing those who think otherwise by classifying them as horse bashing, passion lacking,  upsetting attention seekers?

21 Apr 2014 6:33 PM
Mike Relva


How are things going for you? Do you ever hear from phony jj?

21 Apr 2014 8:11 PM

Jayjay again.... my point I see went right by you. If either trainer thought Wicked Strong or Danza were good enough to win the FOY or Florida Derby you would have seen them in there instead of traveling a 1000 miles.  They left seeking a little easier competition. Constitution beat Wildcat Red by a head..... Constitution beat Wicked Strong by 6+ lengths.  Wildcat minus Constitution is the King of Florida based on the Hutcheson, FOY and Florida Derby. If you remember Wicked Strong lost to Cairo by 15+ and Wildcat BEAT Cairo!!! Pletcher himself will tell you Constitution is a super horse, a freak and it took all of that freak to beat Wildcat. Constitution is not running in the Derby so someone else will have to step up and take him on and no one else has been able to do it..... General A Rod has been close and I will be betting he is one of the few with any chance to do it.  Danza and Wicked Strong had to leave Florida... Wildcat Red stuck around and beat up all comers.  Good luck passing him on Derby Day.

21 Apr 2014 8:59 PM

Draynay : lol, that was a good try at spinning this...I'll give ya that.  You say they left GP to avoid Wildcat Red...pls try again...    Wicked Strong as we all know now did not like GP, not because of WR but the track, that's quite clear.  Danza was not ready to run until the Arkansas Derby so that leaves us with Constitution, a very inexperienced colt that was running his 3rd start in the FD... and WR can't hold him off.   Like I said, put your money on him, but seeing your post in the new blog, sounds like you're already regarding him as 2nd best to A Rod.    I'm not sure who the "comers" you're talking about that WR beat up on...any of them in the Derby ?  If i'm to rank your top four it'll be Wicked Strong / Constitution / Danza then Wildcat Red.

See ya in the new blog...

21 Apr 2014 11:06 PM

Hey Mike, still waiting for your email.  I'm doing fine and I hope you are too.  I was thinking about Phony the other day and wondered how he was doing myself.  

22 Apr 2014 1:14 AM

Hey Weisner now that this is off central blog who is your REAL PICK for the Derby?

22 Apr 2014 5:32 PM
cuba"s classic chef de race

a blogger said my comments are boring or something like that but according  with his or her comment I do not see a person that wants the bloggers to win but that is okey if you want to be rich me too but if you need a tablet to sleep the derby is next week, if you don't like my comments then keep dreaming, I do not waist my time thinking about derby dreamers.

27 Apr 2014 3:29 AM

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