Old Fashioned Thoughts and a New Top 10 Derby Watchlist

There has been a lot of talk on this blog about Old Fashioned's performance in the Southwest. Considering what he did in the Remsen, was it all that we expected out of his 3-year-old debut? Were the relatively average final splits (:51 1/5) too slow for a legitimate Derby favorite? Was his victory just an average showing based on a) less than stellar competition and b) a track that had an obvious speed bias?

While all of the above are legitimate questions, one thing that cannot be denied is that Old Fashioned is our early Derby favorite after one full round of Derby preps. There is no way of getting around that. The colt is undefeated in four starts with his victories coming by a combined 26 lengths. He is a push-button horse, has already proved he can go two turns and the Southwest proved that he can rate (something Larry Jones already knew).

You're not in love with his pedigree? You want to see him face better? You are reserving judgment until a horse looks him in the eye in the stretch? Not crazy about his 93 Beyer? Ok. I'll buy all that. Just don't tell me that there has been a more impressive horse from October through now. If you want to make the argument of one horse, and one horse only - Pioneerof the Nile - I will listen. But he has not raced on dirt and that cannot be understated.

In closing, Old Fashioned did exactly what I needed to see in the Southwest. Did he blow me away? No. But considering he was coming back from an 11-week layoff and was making his 3-year-old debut, the effort was good enough. As we all know, the Derby is not won in February. But until round 2 is complete, Old Fashioned is your unquestioned Derby 135 favorite.

Below is my unscientific top 10 as of Feb. 17.

1. Old Fashioned

2. Pioneerof the Nile - The unquestioned best of the West. He has the right running style, right connections and has done nothing wrong. It will be interesting to see if Baffert gives him a prep on dirt.

3. Chocolate Candy - He is probably higher on my list than many, but I like what I see. All he has done is win four of his last five, and the one loss was by 1 1/2 lengths to Pioneerof the Nile in the CashCall. The El Camino was a nice effort, despite what some are saying about his running style. It was his first time going nine furlongs and his splits were more than adequate. I loved his heart and this colt will only get better. Looks like the San Felipe will be next. Like above, lack of dirt experience is major question.

4. Friesan Fire - Can't knock the colt even though I'm not in love with his turn of foot from a visual standpoint. I thought he would take a minor step back in the Risen Star but he only got better. The blinkers have done wonders for him and that means he's likely to keep improving. I still remember my conversation with Larry Jones last summer when he told me this was the most talented horse he ever had in his barn. The A.P. Indy colt is clearly the best of what looks like a very average Louisiana group.

5. Mr. Fantasy - You guys all know I fell in love with this colt a couple weeks ago. Nothing to report since then and no logical reason to have him this high on my list or ahead of Haynesfield other than my gut feelings. Can't wait until the Gotham. I'll either look like a genius or an idiot.

6. Hello Broadway - Speaking of an average group, the Florida contingent hasn't blown me away either and he looks like the best of the bunch. Tagg will try him at Tampa Bay it looks like and then we'll find out if he is for real. Not a bad move considering the way Gulfstream has been playing. I expect bigger things from this guy.

7. Stardom Bound - There is nothing you can really say negative about her. I don't care what her Las Virgenes Beyer said. She dances the dance every time out and has that killer instinct that all the great ones have. I hope they keep her on the Derby trail.

8. West Side Bernie - I'm not ready to give up on this guy yet. The Holy Bull could not have set up any worse for him considering his post and the deep track. He'll rebound next time.

9. Haynesfield - Hasn't faced much of note but his speed numbers are solid and he showed he's getting better with every race. Asmussen factor cannot be underestimated either.

10. Midshipman - It kills me to put a horse on this list that isn't even in the country but I always felt he was better than Vineyard Haven anyway. We'll just have to wait and see.

As for some of the popular ‘now' horses I left off my list - Patena, Desert Party, General Quarters, Imperial Council, Giant Oak, Capt. Candyman Can - I'm not impressed as some. I need to see more before they crack my list and many may be too far behind to catch up. I'm big on experience.


Leave a Comment:

Matt Converse

What do you think of Rachel Alexandra running a full second faster than Old Fashioned the day before on the same track?  She also closed in 11.94, while he closed in 13.18.  She looked more like a 10f horse to me than he did.

17 Feb 2009 10:00 PM
Jason Shandler

Matt and others regarding Rachel Alexandra. Granted, she looked great and her time/Beyer was better than OF. But Im not one to get all crazy about one race - against fillies. I'm reserving my judgment until I see more.

17 Feb 2009 10:04 PM

Well I can't say I agree with the list at all but I have to smile and thank the horse Gods that the Triple Crown Run is upon us.  There is no better time of year and I wish you all the very best of luck.  Now for the list... What does Desert Party have to do to make the list?  Old Fashioned is No. 1 ?  Does it matter that his times have been very average and he has beaten NO ONE? I guess not.

What more does Stardom Bound have to do?  Can she make the top 3 if she wins the Santa Anita?  Hello Broadway No. 6 ? Tell that to Vineyard Haven I am sure he will get a good laugh at that.  Imperial Council you will know his name for sure after he stretches out in a few weeks... just ask Prado.

Current Top 3

Stardom Bound

Vineyard Haven

Pioneer of the Nile

I list them on top because they have actually beaten top horses.

Mr. Fantasy in the top 5 ? I will take Imperial Council... lets see which one is running the first Saturday in May;-)

17 Feb 2009 10:12 PM

Matt you will notice that no one really mentions Rachel Alexandra and what she did that day before because it makes their placing of Old Fashioned No. 1 on their Derby list look a bit strange. You will not even find the video of her race anywhere on this website.

17 Feb 2009 10:16 PM

I feel that old fahioned is he top of leaderboard for the derby. I also like friesan fire, pioneer of nile, giant oak and beethoven with midshipman still in the mix until he debuts in dubai. I can't wait for two weeks for the fountain of youth to give us the front runner for florida. General quarters was impressive in Tampa but I feel he still not the caliber of horses down at gulfstream. Also I reserve my right to choose between Mr Fantasy and Haynesfield until the gotham. I go back and forth with them. The scary thing is that the girls are impressive. Rachel Alexandra, Stardom Bound and Evita Argentina could give us a couple of ladies to the party.

17 Feb 2009 10:17 PM
Jason Shandler

Dray: Last year you were right on with Big Brown (after I gave him to you). But this year you are throwing darts at a board and hoping something sticks. You were all over VH and he got whipped last week. You had no excuse. You were also all over Indygo Mountain and he is gone. Now you're on Stardom Bound, Imperial Council, Desert Party, Rachael Alexandra, or whatever other horse you can find in your limited research. The last 2 months your Derby winner was VH and that was that. It was over, remember? Now, you are backtracking like A-Rod or a bad politician. Do yourself a favor and take a step back. You dont have to pick the Derby winner in February.

And by the way, you want to bet who will be running May 2nd, Imperial Council or Mr. Fantasy? You're on. Name your price.

17 Feb 2009 10:22 PM

Please be patient while I roll up my sleeves... Vineyard Haven is still my choice and yes I like a couple of others but this year I will not make my final pick until I see the last 2 workouts at Churchill.  Last year was easy because of the awesome talent of Big Brown.  I still have not seen a horse as good as Vineyard Haven and him getting beat first time out on soft dirt that Desert Party loves was no surprise.  We will see what happens on a dry fast track.  You and I both agree Churchill is  often like a parking lot on Derby Day. My love for Stardom Bound is obvious she is going to the barn with Big Brown so why wouldn't I cheer her on to the Derby.  The one horse that has captured my fancy is Imperial Council.  Prado loves the horse and stretching out will only show the talent of this horse.  Does he have enough time? If he is as good as I think he is he will make it to the Derby.  You just better hope he goes to the Florida Derby and not the Wood.  I would hate to see him spank your Mr. Fantasy a few weeks before the big race.  Name my price... when Imperial Council whips up on Mr. Fantasy and his slow fractions you have to grow a mustache and change your blog picture for a month.  LOL

17 Feb 2009 10:47 PM

On march 7th you will witness Haynesfield fading like an old shirt as Mr Fantasy throws down the gauntlet on him, then maybe they will add him to pool 2..All he has to do is stay in N.Y he will have more than enough earnings..As for Old Fashioned no way he gets a 1 1/4 his dosage is 5.22 .........Imperial Council has had 1 sprint race this years did he forget its almost march?

17 Feb 2009 11:08 PM

Smarty Jones earned a 95 Beyer in the Southwest with half mile and final times the same as Old Fashioned's race.  Smarty Jones won by 3/4's of a length.

17 Feb 2009 11:27 PM

The only horse that really gets me excited is Stardom Bound because she's done everything right so far and Tapit's siring a good number of classy horses. I'm not too crazy on the boys right now, but I am waiting to see what becomes of Mr. Hot Stuff. Hard to root for horses stateside because all our tracks are synthetic!

Hello to Matt from a fellow TBC member!

17 Feb 2009 11:29 PM

Boys boys boys...we all know Vinyard Haven and Patena in the Derby its a lock

17 Feb 2009 11:50 PM


Nov. 29th to Feb. 16th is eleven weeks, not 6 weeks layoff for Old Fashioned.

18 Feb 2009 12:13 AM

General Quarters, Rachel Alexandra, and Pioneer of the Nile in my opinion have the best performances this year. So, I'd say they are my top picks as of now. General Quarters being my current favorite, after toying with a deep field in the Sam F. Davis and coming close to Street Sense's track record with little effort on his part. I'm interested where he'll go after the Tampa Bay Derby. Hopefully it'll be on conventional dirt.

18 Feb 2009 12:16 AM

I count 10 weeks for Old Fashioned's layoff, not six weeks, which makes his performance just that much more impressive to me.

I doubt he was at the top of his form yesterday, yet he won pulling away and with ease. Larry Jones is too smart a trainer to let his star peak this early in the year.  He will improve off this race, just you watch. So far he's done everything that's been asked of him. What more do people want? He didn't have to run any faster than he did to win.  Why would anyone want to push him more than necessary? Ramon is too smart to do that unnecessarily. I don't get the doubting Thomases, but that's okay.  Doesn't shake my confidence in him one bit.

18 Feb 2009 12:24 AM

Does anybody think there is any chance three fillies could be in the Derby this year? Two? If so, wouldn't it be neat if Old Fashioned would win and the girls come under 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in no particular order.


18 Feb 2009 12:45 AM
The Rock

Desert Party -2 Vineyard Haven -1

Nuff Said.

18 Feb 2009 12:47 AM

Could not agree more with your 2 and 3 spots.  Both Pioneer of the Nile and Chocolate Candy have done nothing but win after stretching out and both are well bred.  I think an additional 1/16th to 1/4 mile will favor Chocolate Candy over Pioneer and Candy has run well on Pro-Ride, Tapeta, and Cushion Track.  His daddy ran well on both Turf and Dirt at classic distances.  He is going to like dirt, mud, or grass.

18 Feb 2009 2:03 AM

  Congrats! at least YOU included "Midshipman" on YOUR list?--a Haskins' deficiency! so far, which I have never understood him leaving him off!--And with your top 4 and "Midshipman" YOU have a great box for some Derby play, that is, IF THEY ALL RAN TOMORROW!! ...and that’s of course assuming that they all take up one of the 20 post positions !! We didn't have any leg injuries this week did we??? However, someone like "Mr. Fantasy" or "American Dance" or "Bear's Rocket" or "Dunkirk" (15.4 breeding rating!!) is going to POP UP!!! Just take a look at Race #8 GP 1 1/8 $42,000 Alw. -2/19's winner if you really want to find a sleeper off the radar so far, because there are some greatly bred horses in that race alone!!  As to “Pioneerof the Nile”, I’ll take anyone off the turf to run on dirt!!!

  And ‘as to “Old Fashioned” thoughts’, I was also greatly impressed by "Imperial Council"'s (Highly rated breeding numbers!!!) and "Old Fashioned"'s (already proven at a 1  1/8) overcoming fast fractions and putting their opponents away handily. However, I wish "Chocolate Candy" would soon run on dirt somewhere! (damn California horses!! all,--like "Colonel  John",--have killed me at the Derby window over the years!) "Patena" and "Papa Clem" are greatly bred and we are all awaiting hearing from them again!! I, apparently like you, think that "Capt. Candyman Can" has a lot to prove and I like "West Side Bernie" a little, but am not sure yet he's the Derby winner or should even be included in a the top 10 ten list!—he may prove me wrong!-- As to "Hello Broadway", well he is Nobiz's brother, and that may say it all!!!,  as "Nobiz Like Showbiz" was the most erratic young 3 year old runner I remember seeing over the last several years!! And as to "Haynesfield", he has yet to face

A N Y O N E!! although his 1 70 run was impressive! but until you have someone look you in the eye, who knows where you stand!! Also repeatedly unmentioned and even his trainer isn't high on his distance capabilities, is "Big Drama", whom may just grind through this entire bunch and take some big strides down to the Church Hill wire! And, I CAN'T wait for the Fla. Derby!, the Illinois Derby! and the Arkansas Derby! just to see who we are really suppose to be looking at!!! Anyway, GOOD LUCK  !!  Isn't it fun tracking these magnificent animals!! awaiting "the greatest 2 minutes in sports?"

  And forget trying to figure FILLIES with the boyz, as we have needed a separate fillies "Dozen" for a long long time already... In fact, I would like to see the Derby closed to fillies all together!! as they mature faster than the boyz at this stage in their development anyway!! How about they just raise the purse in the "Kentucky Oaks" and make it as big a deal as IT SHOULD BE!!! Why should tennis be the only sport where Males and Females separated compete for Big relatively even Dollars!?  and they already do have a W-NBA!!  

18 Feb 2009 2:13 AM

I really like Old Fashioned (who wouldn't)...he's all the above, plus his connections, plus he's beautiful & correct...but I had a feeling 4 years ago Candy Ride babies would be special, that breeders who supported him at his give away $12,5000 fee would go on the "ride" of their lives, so I am sticking with all 3...have been crazy about CC and EA since their debuts, and have come to really like CCC. Maybe we'll EA really can hang with the boys, if she can't, well, she lost twice to her but she did beat Stardom Bound once...;-)

18 Feb 2009 7:12 AM

I am a Old Fashioned fan, but was really pleased to see Silver City in the money. He is my co pick for the Derby for exacta bets.

And oh yea, of couse as a woman I love Stardom Bound. Could we see a Filly win the triple crown.

Maybe a great exacta for the Derby would be Stardom Bound and Evita Argetina.

18 Feb 2009 9:10 AM
Flat Out

One horse that seems to be overlooked in this quest for a legitimate contender for the derby is Flat Out. After his unprepared

start and 15-1/2 back the 1st quarter, he finishes only 4-1/4 back and just over a length back for 2nd, he definitely finished best of all.


18 Feb 2009 9:26 AM

Jason, I know Draynay can get fixated, however, in his defense I believe he’s right on the money with Imperial Council. I’ve followed this horse since his first start and it’s very rare for Shug to get this high on any horse. He wrapped him up and shipped to Florida early to set up his three-year-old season. I watched this horse work at Palm Meadows and he’s a very impressive colt with big potential, plus his first out at 6 ½ was exceptional for a horse that is bred to go out. That being said, he would appear to be behind the curve for the Derby with only one start at this time of year especially for an old school horseman like McGaughey. Reports indicate he may not run again in Florida, which would point to him heading home to New York and maybe the Wood as his next start – a tough task for a two turn debut, so even that would be in question. Considering the circumstances and Shug’s past methods it doesn’t look like a May 2 start is in the cards. Therefore your bet challenge to Draynay is kind of slanted in your favor, which I might add, is the sign of a very sharp bettor.

By the way, you must really be in love with Mr. F since you indicated at the end of your column that many may be too far behind to catch up, which would seem to include IC, and that you’re big on experience, yet you list Mr. F at #5 – strange reasoning – must be one heck of a gut feeling.

p.s. As things a subject to change with three year olds at this time of year, if Mr. Fantasy and Imperial Council both make to Louisville for the first Saturday in May I’d be more than happy to take you up on that bet if Draynay doesn’t want it.  

18 Feb 2009 9:34 AM

What do you think about Evita Argentina? Was the San Vicente a one-time thing or do you think she's a possibility on the Derby trail?

18 Feb 2009 9:36 AM
belles forever

old fashioned has been my pick since october..i am sticking with him.he has not done anything except improve.4 races and getting stronger.fresian fire has shown he knows how to fight and brawl..hoping jones wins..yes i am sentimental!

18 Feb 2009 9:46 AM

Horse that hasn't been mentioned at all but just keeps winning is Taqarub. Anyone like him? Did you see the way he exploded in the Jwinkfield race? 103 beyer!! Only a few of your top 10 has a triple beyer and Garcia didn't even touch him. That's the horse I'm sticking with and when you see him crush the speed in the Fountain of Youth you'll change your tune also. And look at the female side for stamina.

18 Feb 2009 9:47 AM

I have to agree with Draynay on Imperial Council and Mr. Fantasy. I've never seen Mr. F. run only heard great things are expected of him. Imperial Council I felt was very impressive in his win last weekend. Being a son of Empire Maker I can only see him getting better as Dray said.

I do agree with you on O.F. getting the number one spot at this point in the game. If he's as good or better than Eight Belles as Larry Jones has compared him to saying he eeriely reminds him of then maybe he will get to wear the roses May 2. As I stated in a previous blog I believe I need to see one more race from all the contenders to start to get a cleared picture.

18 Feb 2009 9:53 AM

This has nothing to do with analyzing Old Fashioned or anyone else's prospects for the Triple Crown really.  I did click on his name to see more about him and when I looked at his photos and saw Larry Jones exercising him I thought of Mr. Jones and Eight Belles. I admire Larry Jones more than any other trainer out there and to see him ON his horse made me smile.  I've noticed many gray/roans are doing a lot of winning lately, which warms my heart.  They are so beautiful and classy looking to me!  Just a word from a perspective of one who simply loves the horses and their amazing characters.

18 Feb 2009 9:53 AM
Jason Shandler

DerbyFan: Thanks for the correction. It's been a long week :) Yes, it was an 11-week layoff for Old Fashioned.

18 Feb 2009 10:00 AM
Jason Shandler

mg: Yes, Mr. Fantasy is behind the 8-ball as well, I admit, but he has run a two-turn race and done it very well. Im not knocking Imperial Council at all. He may very well be a special horse and Shug is one of the best. We'll have fun following both.

Toral: I have not heard any plans on runnin Evita Argentina against the boys again. She ran in the Vicente b/c there was nowhere else for Sadler to run her. I would be surprised if he put her on the Derby trail.

Comicozy: You're right about Taqarub. He is one to keep a serious eye on.

18 Feb 2009 10:12 AM

Thank Heavens, you all dislike Old Fashioned! I'm thinking he would go off in the derby at even money or maybe less. It's good to know I maybe able to get 2-1 or even 3-1 on him May 2nd.

I have a question I bet Old Fahioned in Pool 1 over the W-end I didn't get to do it until Sunday and the odds had changed to 6-1. Whats up with that? I didn't realize the pool odds move. I thought if it was listed at 10-1 You got 10-1? Doesn't seem right.

Any thoughts?

18 Feb 2009 10:29 AM

mg... let me first say Jason never bets me unless it is slanted in his favor.  I give into him because I am taller and better looking.  And Donna since you agree with Jason that OF deserves the top spot could you please explain to me and others how he gets that spot over Stardom Bound and Desert Party ?  I can't believe anyone really believes OF is a better horse than Stardom Bound.

18 Feb 2009 10:29 AM

The one reason I like Old Fashioned better the Stardom Bound is because O.F. can do a much better job of getting position out of the gate than S.B. can. He's shown in his last two races that he can place himself in the position he wants to be in at the first turn. S.B. can blow by fillies after spoting them 8 lengths but I just don't see her moving past males after spotting them position. (IMHO)

18 Feb 2009 10:45 AM

I'm in the same boat as you,when it comes to Mr. Fantasy(I was more than likely one of the ones who tipped you on him?),even if he doesn't turn out to be the Derby winner he has a lot of quality. Thats something I can see. As for Old Fashioned he is a good colt trained by a a good trainer. He looks to be tough. As always we shall see in the coming months.

18 Feb 2009 11:00 AM

Draynay, you certainly have a point there with Stardom Bound. I do like her immensly,as I was a huge fan of her sire Tapit and feel she is something to be reconded with. I would like to see her race against the boys and bet someone who is viable in order to concede a top spot to her.

18 Feb 2009 11:06 AM

I don't think 5 is too high for Mr. Fantasy. He will definatley be running on May 2nd. He will win the Gotham and place in the Wood which will give him enough earnings. Haynesfield is improving as well but it's not like his stakes win have been against good company. He just doesn't have the speed to stay with Mr Fantasy.

draynay, Mr. Fantasy's easy fractions in his last with such a big lead shows a horses that relaxes on the front end. If he was struggling in a duel your critism we would be correct but when he just gallops around and isn't blowing enough to blow out a match it's the sign of a relaxed profesional horse. The only chink in his armor I see is his gate behavior.

18 Feb 2009 11:10 AM
Free House


In pari-mutual gambling, you get the closing price, generally not the price you bet at.  Similarly, if you bet a horse in the Derby, you do not get the price you bet at, but at the final price after the pools have been closed and final calculations are made.  I believe you may be thinking along the lines of a Vegas-style (or European) of advance wagers, where you do receive the odds at which you bet on.  

Hope this helps clarify things.

As for the Derby, sign me up for Friesan Fire.  Lots of potential here folks, and many are dismissing him strictly because he is prepping at FG.  He is talented and improving, and Larry Jones is due to win this year.  I like Old Fashioned, but not particularly fond of the way he seemed to hit a wall at the top of the stretch.  There was no explosion, and he seemed to be one paced through the stretch.  That may be because of the layoff and early fractions, but he will have to deal with more than that to win the Derby.


18 Feb 2009 11:15 AM

Jason what a flip flopper you are between Old Fashioned and Mr. Fantasy.  Come on show some conviction about your choice.  you said that the list was unscientific so why jump ship so quickly ...what did Old Fashioned show you in the Southwest that you didn't already know?

18 Feb 2009 11:15 AM
Jason Shandler

Ranagulzion: What is your deal? My top 10 is based on where I think horses stand right NOW. OF deserves No. 1. Anyone can see that. Mr. Fantasy cant be any higher b/c he hasnt faced open company

But I told you my actual MONEY is on Mr. Fantasy. I have a $100 Derby future to prove it. Is that good enough for you?? Why must I select my Derby winner in February?

If you want, I can give out my Derby superfecta and Pick 4 from May 2nd also. Would that satisfy you?

18 Feb 2009 11:24 AM
Pam S.

Don't know if he is my top pick, but I am intrigued by Papa Clem, an improving horse with ascending Beyers.  I saw the Bob Lewis at SA (during Vegas signal blackout) and picked him to upset POTN.  He was close.  Papa Clem is out of Miss Houdini, a G1 winner for one of the older Stute brothers.  He is headed to LA Derby to answer dirt question.  

I also was attracted to Big Drama when I saw the Delta race on TV.  Since his setback was minor, does anyone know if he will run in FOY?

Must comment on the fillies.  Evita A. has beaten Stardom Bound to the punch, winning over males at SA!  Just watched the video of the San Vicente, and this girl looked like 'Bound with a brown dye job.  As Draynay noted, no video of Rachel Alexandra to be found.  But if there are three such outstanding fillies this year, I would sooner see tham all compete in the Oaks, and I too would urge a purse increase for this classic American race.  It's overdue.

18 Feb 2009 12:20 PM

    I have to agree with Jason on the whole Mr. Fantasy/Impreial Council arguement. I think Mr. Fantasy has a much better shot at being in the starting gate come Derby.  It's not because Impreial Council is not as talented as Mr. Fantasy, but mg said it, when he stated his trainer is Shug.  Shug is known for not getting Derby fever and with the horse only being a 1st level allowance winner and not even trying stakes company yet, Shug won't run him in the Derby.  Now the Belmont, that might be a different story.  Couple that with the fact that Mr. Fantasy is owned by a syndicate and he will most definitely run in the Derby if he has enough graded earnings.

    As for Rachel Alexandra, not only did she run a full second faster than Old Fashioned did at the same distance just a day earlier, don't forget she ran about a full second faster than Capt. Candyman Can did back in November at CD at the same distance and on the same day no less.  She's the real deal and she's my Oaks pick regardless if Stardom Bound runs in the Oaks or not!

    Now back to the TC, I really like Capt Candyman Can.  I know some people are questioning his ability to run a route of ground, but I think his only start around 2 turns back in November was not as bad as everyone thinks.  His inexperience got the best of him that day, not any distance limitations.  He was dodging shadows.  He moved way forward from the race at CD to the Hutchenson and with a few more races under his belt I think he will have the seasoning to take the Roses.  I do want to see one more good 2 turn effort out of him though and it looks like I'll have to wait until the FL Derby for that.  It's still early and he could prove me wrong, but if I had to chose just one horse, it would Capt. Candyman Can.

    As for other contenders, I like Patena, but I don't like the layoff that he will have heading into the LA Derby.  However, Dutrow has a tendency to move them way up so I look for him to have a say in the Derby picture for sure.  I obviously like Old Fashioned and Pioneer of the Nile like just about everybody else.  Old Fashioned appears to be the most talented at the point and it's time for Baffert to make his presence felt in the Derby once again.  As for Vineyard Haven, I believe this is the 2nd time Desert Party has beaten him pretty good.  Didn't he beat him in the Sanford as well?  Also VH has never been 2 turns to my knowledge so that will definitely be a factor.  Now for my longshot, I like Flying Pegasus quite a bit.  That was a nice 2 turn debut and 3 year old debut he had in the Risen Star.  He may bounce a little off that big effort in the LA Derby next out, but after that, he could be tough with any move forward, which I think he will do.  By the way, anybody know the status on Charitable Man?  Haven't heard much about him recently.  

18 Feb 2009 12:23 PM
Pam S.

I just read the DRF story about Evita Argentina.  So she is a late-running sprinter and not suited for Oaks or Derby.  Well, maybe later in the year we will see her try to run down Indian Blessing.

18 Feb 2009 12:24 PM


I'm impressed with your convictions. Not the picks but the fact that you keep coming back day after day when people like draynay sit in the weeds waiting to argue and ridicule what you say. He's a great guy if you agree with him but heaven forbid you have an opinion of your own that differs from his. It's one thing for us bloggers to get under each others skin and do the back and forth thing (I do my share) but I think more respect is due you for opening an opportunity for us all.

That being said I want to extend my personal thanks for giving us all the opportunity to participate in whatever way we choose. Keep it coming.

Your new top 10 list is not going to match perfectly with anyones but it is some very inciteful information. I agree totally with you that there is no need to pick a Derby winner this early in the game. To me "bragging rights" mean nothing, it's the winning tickets cashed that I want to see. Maybe it would be less tramatic for some if you just listed as many contenders as you can come up with in alphabetical order and wrote a little ditty about each one. Maybe that would please the masses. Personally I don't want you to change anything.

18 Feb 2009 12:24 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for the comments Wiz. You're right: It's all about giving out info, exchanging ideas and who our final pick is on May 2. Then we can have bragging rights or eat crow. Throwing out 50 different horses means nothing, unless we are just trying to share information. We all have our favorites. That's what makes this game so fun. Some take it too personal.

18 Feb 2009 12:35 PM
Jim Coarse

Old Fashioned is the real deal. There is no secrets in his game. Head shots you want to see? Go here:


or here fairhilltrainingcenter.com/oldf.html

18 Feb 2009 12:37 PM

To All,

Pool# 1 / OF closed at 7/1. They would have been around 5/1 if he had run before Monday. For the record, I would not have bet him at less than 5/1.

Freehouse and anyone else thinking the same thing.

If OF hit the WALL at the top of the stretch, why was he pulling away at the wire. If you get a chance, check the "Gallop Out". This is heresay, but the jock commented that he thought OF would be blowing a bit after attending that pace and coming off a layoff - He couldn't blow out a match.

Let's see who shows up next time, and wants to get buried. My feeling is the fields are going to start getting pretty small in the AR. preps.

18 Feb 2009 12:45 PM

If you guys are so smart bet your horse in the futures take a chance.Who do you want.Old Fashioned at 100-1 Like i have or 22-1 on STARDOM BOUND. No thanks.

18 Feb 2009 2:00 PM

Don't forget as we go on watching who's going to be the "Top 20", it's really only top 19...remember the British "win and your in the KD"....

18 Feb 2009 2:05 PM


I see draynay named YOUR price to pay in a showdown between Mr. fantasy and Imperial Council but failed to name his. Might I suggest that since he chose your end of the wager you choose his. Maybe something like him not mentioning Big Brown for a week. On second thought that might just prove to be too much for him to handle.

18 Feb 2009 2:18 PM
Maltese Falcon

This year belongs to Jerry Jones

I will bet both of his horses on top.

18 Feb 2009 2:26 PM
Jason Shandler

Wiz: I've already whipped Dray in a handicapping competition (last Preakness). He knows he is overmatched. The Big Brown silence bet is enticing though...

18 Feb 2009 2:26 PM

my favorite is still square eddie and i hope he can make it back. but as of right now if he doesn't make it pioneer of the nile tops my list then old fashioned and stardom bound. chocolate candy and capt. candyman are also ones to look out for. can't wait for derby 135!=]

18 Feb 2009 2:41 PM


I don't know where you made that wager, but - SWEET. Sitting down here in GA. I only have off-shore wagering to bet horses. But fortunately, I have friends in betting districts that allow wagering. So, I had to settle on 7/1. Wich will still be a gift when all is said and done.

18 Feb 2009 2:57 PM


I like Haynesfield very much in the next race. What do you think of his chances of getting more distance? Also,very hig on my list is Pioneer and Stardom Bound,VH.

18 Feb 2009 2:58 PM


You make interesting point regarding Stardom Bound. Her style is similar to the great Zenyatta. Looks as if both of us is on her.

18 Feb 2009 3:02 PM


Why are you attempting to pin Jason down on his pics? People can change their minds,it's called a democracy!

18 Feb 2009 3:07 PM

MIKE RELVA: I'm not suggesting which horse Jason should pick or even remotely trying to influence his choice.  I just like to get a feel for the conviction of an opinion leader like Jason based upon his own previous assertions.  His position is now clear, unsettled though it may be.  No problem.

18 Feb 2009 3:48 PM
Driftin Sage

Last couple of years the top 3 yrs olds seems to have been those that DID NOT RACE as 2 yr olds for one reason or another.  Saving their young under developed bones must be a good thing.  Hello?  Anybody hear that?  Again?  They are stronger, sturdier, bigger, more mature.  So...I am pulling for Mr. Fantasy to get to the Derby or at least one of the big three races, although, at present, I am also favoring Old Fashioned.  Who knows at this point?  There could be another one pop up soon to blow our minds once again!  

18 Feb 2009 3:49 PM
Jason Shandler

Driftin Sage: I like your thinking, but you are incorrect. The Derby winners from all the years past raced as 2-year-olds. You need at least some foundation as a juvenile to win the Derby.

18 Feb 2009 3:59 PM

I've been waiting to comment to see what is unfolding out there, but So far I like Pioneer, Evita, and am very curious to see what Mr. Fantasy can do. (thanks for that J) I also think we may have yet to see the Derby winner make his/her big splash yet.. Can't wait for the comming weeks!

18 Feb 2009 4:08 PM

A-Roid..err,Draynay: I'm the 1 who said that Stardom Bound is the "best in her class regardless of gender" right after the Breeders Cup,so stay "off my jock" and stick to your VH will you..lol

She's still my top pick if she's entered in the Derby,but if she's not,I'll hold out on my alternate choice til' all the important preps are ran.(last years dumb move by Asmussen to run Pyro on synthetics right b4 the Derby still irks me,he ruined that horse).

To whoever thinks that Stardom Bound can't mow-down the males,think again..if Evita Argentina can do it(granted it was at 7f),then Stardom Bound is that much more explosive.Stardom Bound OWNS her!

Here's my Derby List for the week of 2/20/09.

1)Stardom Bound: Like I've always said,she's the most accomplished 3yo out there,hands down.SA Oaks to KY Derby seems ideal,she's solid.This Amazon should have no problem facing males.

2)POTN: Has done everything right so far,Baffert knows what he's doing.He's a fighter.

3)Friesan Fire: Looks like he's FINALLY figured it out and has improved by leaps and bounds.I'm hoping he's not a 1 track pony(FG).Would prefer to see him prep somewhere else b4 the Derby though.

4)Old Fashioned: He's got the talent and is undefeated,but still not quite sold on him just yet.His Remsen win was made to order(lone speed),and his comeback was ok,considering that track favors front runners and he was cranked-up to win judging by his "bullet works".I have a feeling he might regress next out,we'll see.

5)Flat Out: To me,he was best in the Southwest Stakes,considering he missed the break badly and was the ONLY one making up ground in the stretch,in fact he was flying.His stride is awesome and has loads of room for improvement.Watch him closely.(my sleeper choice).

6)Beethoven: His Holy Bull 4th was better than it looked off the lay-off.Had the outside post(11),raced 5-wide all the way around and made a strong move on the far turn.He should be set for the F.O.Y next out.Remember he's already been 2-turns and won at Churchill Downs.Ward knows how to get them ready.

7-10) Toss-up between---General Quarters: The more I watch his Sam F.Davis win,the more I like him.His performances and Beyers keep improving as he stretches out.

I Want Revenge: His last race wasn't as solid as his previous(nose loss to POTN),but is still improving.

Chocolate Candy: He's consistent,but I don't like the fact that Hollendorfer HAD to ship him to NOCal to avoid the Big Guns in SOCal.That speaks volume.Now he's set to return to SA,but his narrow win last out against a weak field STILL isn't good enough.Must improve another notch.

You've noticed that I didn't mention any of the Dubai horses,and I won't!..until I see them here in the States for a prep and run well,then the point is moot.

Also,to those who are high on impressive/lone speed horses like Mr.Fantasy,Haynesfield,Taqarub,etc.,etc...1)Lets see them face tougher competition,adversity and have some dirt kicked in their face first,and 2)This year's 3yo's seem to be LOADED with speed types,which makes me think that the KY Derby winner will be a Stone Cold Closer..hmmm,who can that be?...

PS...Thursdays 1 1/8 mile race at Talladega..err,Gulfstream should produce a couple of Derby players..I'm looking forward at seeing how Pletcher's (2) Derby hopefuls do(American Dance,Dunkirk)...to be continued!

..come get u some....

18 Feb 2009 4:27 PM
Driftin Sage

Don't believe I said "won the Derby."  I said "top 3 yrs olds"...Curlin, Big Brown,etc...And did they race as a 2 yr olds?  Articles on this web site & the other one said they didn't compete in a race due to hoof problems..so they had to be out of it for awhile and wait til age 3 to actually compete in a race, right? Sure, they had to be trained, worked, run for some foundation, but If I remember correctly....all the buzz when Curlin was in it...was talk about all the reasons he shouldn't run in the Derby and one of those reasons was...he didn't race as a 2 yr old and no, he didn't win it but look what he has done since that day. I read the same things about Big Brown and said to myself...sort of sounds familiar, think I'll root for him this year, and bingo, he did win it!        

18 Feb 2009 4:36 PM

Oh Yeah,almost forget to mention the rest of so-called contenders like,-- Break Water Edison,Westside Bernie,Hello Broadway,Capt.Candyman Can,Patena and Giant Oaks: They have to show more next outing,or you can toss them out the window..Imperial Council: I'm a big fan of Shug,but I've seen plenty of his highly regarded charges look like world-beaters one race,then they run so-so the next and OFF the Derby trail they are.Wait and see with this one.

18 Feb 2009 5:10 PM


Here's a newsflash! I was already thinking of stardom bound for the Derby possibly last Oct. Hate to break it to you,other people out there were on her,too!

18 Feb 2009 5:10 PM


Whats' comical is remembering this time last year when Pyro was being touted as the"homerun" horse. It's way too early and impossible to predict who wins the Derby. Last Feb.. nobody hardly even spoke of Big Brown. Things can and usually will change. I remember in '02 War Emblem coming from nowhere.

18 Feb 2009 5:16 PM

Driftin Sage,

    You are right on Curlin not racing as a two year old, but BB did. BB raced once on turf as a two year old but was sidelined due bad feet. Though, BB and Curlin both only had three races b4 the derby and made their forth start in the Derby. So, though you are wrong, you are pretty close. Nice memory on your part otherwise.

18 Feb 2009 5:34 PM

POINT NO POINT: Before Pool #1 you might recall that I took a minor poll of what the Sportswriters (Internet Sportswriters?) were sporting as their top 10 picks. I stated that such would maybe be ‘much along the lines of what the bettors might choose’. SO, let’s go back and take a look!

The “POLL” had :    

“Old Fashioned” #1          the  “POOL” had:  

“Old Fashioned”  #1

“Pioneerof the Nile” #2

“Pioneerof the Nile” #2

                                  “Vineyard Haven” #3    

“Vineyard Haven” #16 !!

                                  “Patena” #4        

“Patena” #5

                                  “Midshipman” #5  (Steve!!!!)

“Midshipman” #4  (Steve!!!!)  

                                  “Friesan Fire” #6        

“Friesan Fire” #3 !!

“Capt. Candyman Can” #7    

“Capt. Candyman Can” #8            

                                  “Giant Oak”: #8        

“Giant Oak”: #7

                                  “Hello Broadway” #9    

“Hello Broadway” #12  

“West Side Bernie” #10      

“West Side Bernie” #17

“Stardom Bound” (f)T#11  

“Stardom Bound” #6   !!?!!

"Flying Pegasus” T#11    

“Flying Pegasus” #10  

                                     popping in ...              

“Chocolate Candy”  #9”

“The Pamplemousse” #11

   At this point the “Mutuel Field” players are getting a wide and varying lot, with the likes of potential qualifying runners: “Desert Party”;

“Red Ransom”; “Mr. Fantasy”;

(the other Godolphin possibilities!): “Dunkirk”;

“American Dance”;

“General Quarters”;

“Imperial Council”;

“Charitable Man”;

“Break Water Edison”;

“Uno Mas”;

“Bear’s Rocket”;

“Flying Private”;

“Danger to Society”;

“Lyin’ Heart”;

“Captain Cherokee”; “Dubinsky”;

“Masala”, “Russell Road”,

“Shafted”, “Fitzaslew”;

“Smokey Lonesome”;

“Alma d’oro”; “Toby The Coal Man”; and “Nowhere to Hide”, and , etc., and that host of those other sprinters we are all still awaiting distance stretch runs from, such as: “Theregoesjojo”,

“Notonthesamepage”; “Rockland”;

“Southern Exchange”;

“Haitian Sensation”;

“Herr Mozart”, and, etc. ...

(Ok, I admit, I threw in a few off of the wall possibilities considering there are only 20 gates we are vying for here, but you may have been one of those ‘field’ players and I am just adding to your hopes!!!)

 Conclusion, I think that the sportswriters do have an effect on the public’s way of thinking, as I suppose we have a ‘lil on them, maybe?!!! SO, you writers be careful, be honest, and do Please Keep keeping us Informed!!

 And thank you bloggers for your insights also! Your comments are actually appreciated and sometimes widely eye opening. Just remember though, criticism of another’s thinking is good if constructive and if handled in a polite manner!!! And, this is all about fun and predicting the future at this point anyway right?, because I ask you, “Who other my brother actually had 100-1 shot ‘Gacimo’ (spell check) as his true first choice”?, way back when!!!

18 Feb 2009 6:05 PM

TO: Mike Relva

Funny..I don't recall YOU mentioning Stardom Bound as your Derby pick last year..thinking and proclaiming are distinctly different..Yeah,I know some people fell in love with her last year,but NOBODY said anything about the KY Derby UNTIL this TC Talk started..nice try though!

In fact,if she wins the Derby,I'll gladly take the credit for jumping on her bandwagon from the get-go..Shoot!,If your boy Draynay hogged all the credit for picking BB last year,(thx to Jason),then likewise.

18 Feb 2009 6:25 PM

To Slem.em.All,

    Stardom Bound needs to run on dirt before I think anyone can crown her as the best in this class regardless of gender.  I was big on Colonel John last year even though he hadn't run on dirt before the Derby.  He had a big work at CD the week of Derby and looked like he was going to love the dirt there, but we all saw what happened.  I had to eat some crow on that one.  I said this in an earlier post and I'll say it again, my pick in the Oaks is Rachel Alexandra regardless if Stardom Bound runs or not.  I've liked this filly since her Debutante run last spring at CD and she just keeps getting better.  She will give Stardom Bound a run for her money, no doubt in my mind, if they both run in the Oaks.  I'm not saying Stardom Bound isn't necessarily the best in her class, she just might actually be, but I think it is very important that a horse have at least one start over a dirt surface before running in the Derby and it doesn't look like you will see that from Stardom Bound (at least I don't think she has ever run on dirt).  As for Evita Argentina making Stardom Bound look that much better, I don't know about that one.  Stardom Bound is very talented, but just because Evita Argentina beat a field of subpar males going 7f, that doesn't mean she flatters Stardom Bound by any means in my opinion.  Now if she had beaten the top California 3 year olds at 2 turns, then I would agree with you, but she beat nothing around one turn.  Just my opinion, I've been wrong before.

 As for other TC contenders, leaving out any horse at this stage is a mistake.  With how young these horses are, they mature at different rates so anything can happen.  Then you have the unfortunate "off the Derby trai" to contend with due to reason other than poor performance.  Horses like The Pamplemousse might eventually make us all look bad.  I just wish that horse wasn't trained by a nut job like Canani.  Also, if Friesan Fire is so high on your list, why wouldn't Patena or Flying Pegasus be on there as well?  Patena was racing 1st time on dirt against FF and ran a pretty decent 2nd.  He seemed to finally look comfortable on the dirt at the 1/4 pole, but by that time he had too much to do.  He galloped out past FF before they hit the turn as well.  Flying Pegasus ran 5w into the 1st turn and 4w down the backstretch in the Risen Star and was making his 3 year old debut so I thought his 2nd was a good one.  I think horses like Patena, Flying Pegasus and Capt. Candyman Can are going to emerge as legitimate Derby contenders.  Remember, IEAH owns both Patena and Stardom Bound and Iavarone has went on record and said that if Patena develops the way both he & Dutrow think he will, they won't run Stardom Bound in the Derby.  She'll run in the Oaks.  Now I'm not a genius by any means, but with egos like Iavarone and Dutrow have don't you think they would run any horse they could in the Derby to try and capture the roses again and not possibly leave Stardom Bound to run in the Oaks if they weren't that confident in Patena or thought she was the best in her class regardless of gender?  Seems like they would already be claiming their spot in the starting gate in the Derby

    Finally, as for Pyro, I don't think Asmussen ruined him by running him on the polytrack before the Derby.  For some reason that horse just looked to me to prefer nothing more than 1 1/16 or maybe 1 1/8 if he was facing lesser competition.  Regardless of his pedigree, he seemed to be more of a mile to 1 1/16 horse.  To me, he seemed to peak in March in the LA Derby.  Everybody thought he was going to continue to move forward, but he didn't.  He still came back and won the Northern Dancer at CD on Foster day going 1 1/16 against Visionaire, Racapturetheglory and My Pal Charlie so I wouldn't say he was "ruined" by any means, I just don't think he wanted anymore distance.  In 2007, Nafzger ran Street Sense in a polytrack prep right before the Derby and Jones did the same thing with Hard Spun and they seemed to fair pretty well.

18 Feb 2009 7:41 PM
Tracy W.

Interesting top 10. Some of them I would move off or further down the list, but that's just me.

I think Vineyard Haven still deserves a spot up there. He hasn't done much of anything in his 3yo campaign yet, true, but he looked incredible as a 2yo and I feel as if he still has a bit to show us, though I'm not sure he'd be a Derby winner.

I'm happy to see Old Fashioned as number 1. It may be early in the TC season but that horse is the only one besides Pioneer who's shown some class. Call it bias, but part of me is rooting for either him or Friesian Fire just to see Larry get the Derby trophy he deserves.

Still, I can't ignore Pioneer. Not sure about Stardom Bound, either. She's exceptional, no doubt about it, but last I heard her trainer doesn't want her in the SA Derby and would rather throw her in the Oaks. Not sure if that means he doesn't want her in the KD, but we'll see. I'd like to see her run against males, though, so let's hope for the SA Derby.

I don't have any "ultimate" picks yet. I usually don't find any until March anyway, but I need to genuinely fall in love with a horse for it to click. 2007 it was Curlin, and last year it was Belle. Ironic that it went from third place to second place. Maybe this year I'll pick a winner?

Oh well. It'll be an interesting TC this year, that's for sure.

18 Feb 2009 7:52 PM
Matt Converse

Re: Rachel Alexandra.  It's not just one race she's outrun the boys.  She's actually done it two races in a row, the last time she ran faster than Capt. Candyman Can and other colts that ran the same distance that day at CD.  She broke a stakes record that day, and it was a race Silverbulletday had won.  This last stakes record was a race won last year by Eight Belles.  She's outrun the boys two races in a row now, and quite easily, under a hand ride.  By Medaglia d'Oro, she's bred to go 10f. She looks better than any of the colts to me and faster than Stardom Bound too.  

18 Feb 2009 7:55 PM
m palmer

“Just don't tell me that there has been a more impressive horse from October through now” You must be joking. I assume you are referring to Old Fashioned Remsen and the Southwest performances. Did you see Rachel Alexandra in the Golden Rod Stk.(G2) and Martha Washington Stk. In the Golden Rod Stk on a dead Churchill Downs track she clocked 1:43 and change for 11/6M winning by day light. On the same day Silver City ran 1:15 plus for 61/2F. Shortly after Golden Rod Stk, Beethoven, Capt Candyman Can and Giant Oak clocked 1:44 and change in The Kentucky Jockey Club stk. Her mile split was 1:36 plus theirs was 1:37 plus. She obviously ran faster than the colts. In the Martha Washington she clocked 1:36 plus in hand from the 16th pole winning by day light. It was her 3YO debut. If you can seriously state that Old Fashioned 3YO debut in the Southwest in 1:37 plus was better, then you are doing your supporters a disservice.

Mr. Fantasy has won his two races by a combined 191/2 lengths. Old Fashioned has won his four by 26 lengths. Are you aware that Old Fashioned was foaled on 27th January and Mr. Fantasy was foaled 24th May? He is four months older than Mr. Fantasy who won his debut by 10 lengths. Are you seriously stating that a late foal who wins his first two races by 191/2 is less impressive than his older counterpart who has him by four months?

Did you see the last races for Life is Sweet and Evita Argentina? It is evident you are allowing for love for Old Fashioned to block your judgment.

18 Feb 2009 7:58 PM

Mr Fantasy's races are on You Tube - pretty impressive. Maybe Friesen Fire will turn out better at  1 1/4 miles than Old Fashioned a la Thunder Gulch. Sometimes a trainer's other horse lower in the limelight gets the job done.

18 Feb 2009 8:18 PM


I'm not going to waste time debating who the hell had Stardom Bound first,all I'm saying is her win last Oct. made an impression for sure. If you wanna pat yourself on the back as if you are the only reader that pics her,go for it! Like I said last week,if Haynesfield wins next mo. I'll be waiting for your spin since you didn't select him and I have.

18 Feb 2009 8:22 PM

Mr. Fantasy has beaten no one and until he does he is just a good looking NY bred who ran average splits last time out.  I hope Imperial Council goes to the Gotham and puts all this Mr. Fantasy talk to an end.

18 Feb 2009 8:46 PM
Jason Shandler

mpalmer: You do realize Rachel Alexandra hasnt faced males yet, dont you? Big difference there, wouldnt ya say? It's not ALL about splits and fractions. That is only part of the equation. Plus, OF has run 4 races - all of them winning ones. Take the whole body of work into account.

As far as Mr. Fantasy, you know I am on board but he hasnt faced open company. So I repeat, in his 4 races Old Fashioned has looked better than anyone from October through now. Give us a break with all your splits, month they were foaled, final times, Beyers, etc. Look at your TV screen and watch the races. Watch the Remsen again. Watch his Southwest off an 11-week layoff. It was very good too.

I have no bias whatsoever for Old Fashioned. I could care less if he wins the Derby. I have ZERO money on him. What I am is objective and I report what I see. He has been the best of this class through now and that is why he closed at 7-1 on the Future Pool. Im am not alone, obviously. Case closed. Doesnt mean he'll win the Derby, only that he has looked like the best UP UNTIL THIS POINT.

Most of the horses you have thrown out are fillies. You want to take your fillies vs. my males on May 2nd? Name your price.

18 Feb 2009 8:48 PM

Evita Argentina's win not only flatters Stardom Bound but she can take Stardom Bound at 6 1/2 to 7 furlongs (Sorrento!).  Since starting the Candy Ride fan club I have also discovered Candy for Paseana who saw a squirrel coming out of the number 1 hole Feb 7 and jumped straight up in the air.  With Paseana on its female look for her next start.  

18 Feb 2009 8:58 PM
Fire Slam

TO ALL, but Please CURLIN take notice.

The gallop out is nothing. Horse who cross the wire are being pulled up. Hell, I could run by one of them.

Fresian Fire was pulling up since he had won. My 90 year old grand ma could have galloped out past him.

The real concern is how crazy Bob Baffert is. To have a horse that is bred to run all day, and who comes from off of it, and will not have a prep on dirt before the Derby. Pioneer of the Nile refuses to lose. He knows where the wire is, and will keep closing until he gets there. Should be given a start over dirt to prepare.

18 Feb 2009 9:11 PM
Abbie Knowles

Well this has got very heated and there is still about 3 months to go!!!!

Still horse racing is all about opinions and everyone is entitled to their own but maybe some could consider the fact that others do not have to agree with them!

My old boss Phil Bull who started Timeform and was passionate about horse racing still described it once as a great triviality.  Who wins the Kentucky Derby is not a matter of life and death is it?  I love horse racing very much and have strong opinions as you all know but feel maybe there could be more tolerance shown for each others views here.

I am pleased to see Chocolate Candy, Friesan Fire, Stardom Bound and Midshipman on your list Jason. Re the latter we will know more after his first race in early March and Simon Crisford has been quoted as saying he may then come back to the US to prep in the more traditional races. It depends how he runs at Nad Al Sheba.  I hope he does go back to the US as I would love him to win the Kentucky Derby, but then at present there are a least 20 horses that I have a reason for wanting to see win the Kentucky Derby!!!!

God Bless

Best wishes


18 Feb 2009 9:16 PM
m palmer

My emphasis was on impressive performance and the fillies have the most impressive performances year to date. RA is built like a colt and has high cruising speed and good acceleration. That’s a formula for derby success. I am amazed each time I read that a particular horse did not beat anybody. Have any of the horses OF beat in the Remsen past the post in front as yet? If Midshipman, Square Eddie, Coronet Of A Baron or Vineyard Haven met the same bunch in the Remsen, what would have been the outcome? When Curlin won his debut by twelve can you recall who defeated? I am sure you are aware that an impressive in not contingent on caliber of horses in a field.  If RA had won in 1:38 plus her performance would not be classified as impressive irrespective of the competition. Those who make this statement should stop trying to discredit impressive performances with silly statements. A horse can only compete against the field assembled. Are you implying RA's connections should have scratched her because they were not enough quality starters?

18 Feb 2009 9:24 PM
Matthew W

If Baffert's horse dirts--I think he'll win the Derby impressivly!

18 Feb 2009 9:35 PM

"Mr. Fantasy has beaten no one and until he does he is just a good looking NY bred who ran average splits last time out."  You know Dray, remember thinking the same thing about Funny Cide 6 years ago.  Ouch!

18 Feb 2009 9:57 PM



18 Feb 2009 10:19 PM


We all have our own opinions,but tell me what 3yo is more accomplished than Stardom Bound(4 Gr.1 wins),since last Sept.?.nobody,so that makes her the best in her class..having a "prep" on dirt is overrated,there's been plenty of California horses shipping to dirt tracks for the 1st time that have ran lights-out.As long as they train well over it and have time to adjust,I really think it won't matter.The dirt track wasn't Col.Johns undoing,it was all the trouble he had during the race..About Evita: I was responding to someone mentioning that SB can't pass males in a race,which is ludicrous.Thats why I said if Evita was that much better than that bunch,imagine what SB would have done to them,considering SB is much better.

And I have Friesan Fire ahead of Patena and Flying Pegasus simply because he's already beaten them both,and Patena has had a physical setback since the LeComte race,so he needs to prove that he's healthy again,while Flying Pegasus ran well,I feel he needs to step up his game to compete with the tops..I agree IEAH/Iavarone have egos,but remember Bobby Frankel is training SB as of now,and he'll do what is best for her,trust me.He's nothing like Dutrow,where he's running his mouth.Between you and me(sshh)..he absolutely thinks she can hang with the boys.His stance is that the Females perform better against the Males first time out,and they must have a dominant/studdish attitude,ala SB.This is coming from one of his "peeps",who I consider a close friend.But,ultimately it'll be up to the owners on where she runs come May.I'm sure they wouldn't mind the Oaks/Derby double though..Rachel Alexandra seems like a very good filly,but she's faced/beaten nobody as of yet.Until she does so,I can't see her in SB's league.

Finally..yes I think Asmussen ruined Pyro by over-training and letting him Peak way to early b4 the Derby.His disastrous run in the Bluegrass proved it,he had nothing left by then.And I'm sure that didn't bode well for his confidence he had earlier.

To: Mike Relva

you can keep Haynesfield in your TC stable Bud,..as I mentioned in another blog,he and Mr.Fantasy are going to run each other into the ground during the Gotham.Resulting in a no show for the Derby.There's Way too much speed this year lining up for the Derby.But,it's still early,so who knows who'll be there.

Just my opinions....Hoo-Rah!!!

18 Feb 2009 10:31 PM

I've been touting Mr. Fantasy since his debut because if you read the charts he won his debut while being geared down and still pulled away with each stride and ran faster than his stablemate Charitable Man did in his debut and Charitable Man was under urging and then comes back and wins a grade 2. So there's no telling how good Mr. Fantasy is. People shouldn't judge him by his competition because that has nothing to do with how fast he is.

18 Feb 2009 10:33 PM

  As to someone’s  inquiry re: "Taqarub" (another of the Godolphin hopefuls),

Taqarub: Kty.;  

Aldebaran/Honor Bestowed-Honor Grades;

Tr. K. McLaughlin;

 3        3      0      0    

a ** $150,000 $$ ** FTS (Fastig-Tipton-Saratoga) **  

winner 6 fur. 1:09.26; + 8 ¼   103 Beyer;

probable to the Fountain of Youth Stakes I have in notes somewhere !?!

  In my own case, I prefer to reserve all rights to commit on "Sprinters" only after they stretch!! As, as we have seen so far, "Silver City" a whiz at 5 ½  fur. couldn't tackle a mile in under 1:35.50; !!! and he made Pool #1??? WHY? ask those that make up the Pool list!, I have little idea!! Ok, he has been touted as 'a great athlete', but we are talking 1 ¼ here!!! And right now, I would take "Saint Reade" to take on "Silver City" at a 1 ¼  !!! At this stage comparing "Sprinters" to the rest, it's like comparing apples and oranges as to which might be the best apple!!

18 Feb 2009 11:00 PM

I must say I have been more impressed with the 3 year old fillies than the colts. Evita Argentina may be a very good late running sprinter but I think that

Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound have what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby.

I hope to see one of them win the derby this year. Eight Belles beat 18 colts last year - A filly winning the Derby this year not be a stretch.

18 Feb 2009 11:23 PM
Jason Shandler

mpalmer: Maybe I'll start a blog called "Kentucky Oaks Talk" and we can start debating about all the 2009 Oaks favorites. Because as far as anyone knows that is where Rachel Alexandra is heading. Her next race will be the Honeybee or Fair Grounds Oaks, not the Arkansas Derby or La. Derby. Moot point to start throwing out every good performance by a filly if they arent being pointed towards the Derby, no matter how good they looked in one race. Heck, One Caroline won an allowance by 7 last time and if she beats fillies and mares by the same in the Sabin on Friday should we include her too?

If and when Hal Wiggins tells me RA is running on May 2nd and not May 1st, we can start to include her on top 10 lists.

Again, times and Beyers are not the end all, be all. If they were Notonthesamepage would be everyone's Derby favorite right now. He ran the fastest figure EVER for a 3YO. You think he's your Derby winner?

18 Feb 2009 11:33 PM

Man, what does Old Fashioned have to do play the banjo while running to get respect?  He has done everything right.  He deserves to be in the #1 spot.

18 Feb 2009 11:35 PM

Dunkirk needs to start getting some respect on here. This horse is my pick to win the Derby. Impeccable breeding and coming out of the Pletcher barn I like the connections here.

I imagine after he makes a mockery out of some stakes competition then everybody will jump on the bandwagon.

18 Feb 2009 11:54 PM

Someone wrote about Smarty Jones scoring a 95 Beyer speed figure in his Southwest effort.  Go back and look at his times for the 1st and 2nd halves..nearly identical to the time of Old Fashioned.  Larry Jones knows how to time a horse.  If Old Fashioned ran a 110 Beyer I'd be worried he'd already peaked.

19 Feb 2009 12:03 AM
Matt Converse

There's quite a difference between earning a high Beyer in a sprint and earning them in back-to-back two turn races.  And I'll put One Caroline on my Derby list when she outruns every Southwest Stakes winner ever going the same distance on the same track, including Smarty Jones.  That's what Rachel Alexandra just did.  And she did it easily, but more than a full second.  This is the same race people started noticing Eight Belles last year, and this filly is faster. They have already gotten an offer on the filly.  And it's probably from someone who wants to win the Derby.  

19 Feb 2009 1:34 AM

GaryinSL - I agree about The PM - I find that horse very interesting.  Not a facts/figures sort of thing - I just like the way he moves/looks.  I know it's sacrilege, but he reminds me a little of SkipAway without the full blown power yet.  It will be interesting to see how the next race falls out.

19 Feb 2009 1:55 AM

lol... If Old Fashion can play the banjo he is more talented than we deduced!!

19 Feb 2009 2:17 AM

I agree that these blogs are for discussions not arguments. Far too many people get upset when the whole world does not agree with them.

19 Feb 2009 3:28 AM
m palmer

jshandler, I think you are missing the point. The most impressive performance does not have to come from a horse on the derby trail. I was not aware that I should have limited my focus to colts. The decision to run Eight Belles in the Derby was not made after M. Washington victory. Calvin B. has used every adjective in his vocabulary to describe RA. He is an experience rider and that speaks for itself.

Notonthesamepage is on my derby list. My decisions not mention  him or Taqarub was due to the distance of their races. Are you aware that his second and third dams reflect the same sires and grandsires as 2008 derby winner Big Brown and he is was sired by a great grandson of Northern Dance? Big Brown was sires by a grandson of Northern Dancer. He is therefore one generation removed from being Big Brown ll. He has the speed of Big Brown but I am awaiting his longer races to pass final judgment. NB: Storm Cat and his over 100 sons are overdue to hit the top spot on the derby board.

19 Feb 2009 6:48 AM
m palmer

jshandler, if you are a wagering man you can make some easy money today on a colt that is not on your list. He is bred to run all day and twice on a Saturday.

The colt is Stately Character. He should get a good price as he is in an allowance Gulfstream Park against Todd P. $3.7M colt Dunkirk and Warrior's Reward both recent impressive maiden winner.

This colt is the best bred of the current crop. He was sires by Pleasant Tap Breeders Cup Sprint & Classic runner-up and third place finisher in his derby. The pedigrees of his first three dams contain nuclear power. His first is a granddaughter of TC winner Seattle Slew. His second was sired by Derby & Belmont winner Riva Ridge. His third was sired by Belmont & Preakness winner Damascus.

He won the Foolish Pleasure Stakes as a maiden and is none in none winners of two Allowance. He is running against maiden winners. It should be like taking candy from a baby.

19 Feb 2009 7:33 AM

All you Rachel Alexander bandwagoners,  dont forget that this Martha washington performance is not the first time shes bettered males timewise.  In her closeout race last year her time was 1 sec better than Beethovens

19 Feb 2009 8:50 AM

I can't take it anymore... let me give you a real top 10.

1. Stardom Bound  To date she is more impressive than any colt. And has won against top talent again and again.  More distance is only going to help this girl.

2. Desert Party  He just beat a 2 time G1 winner name another who can say that?

3. Pioneer of the Nile  Has done nothing wrong and looks rock sold at 6 furlongs notice riders hands are not moving

4. Vineyard Haven  Still my choice to win the Derby loves it hard and fast and will see that at Churchill

5. Rachel Alexandra last performance was a FULL SECOND faster than OF on the same track.

6. Old Fashioned Has not lost yet but has not beaten anything yet. Waiting for him to face real competition.

7.  Imperial Council Why is he in this spot? Talent, Breeding and only lost was a narrow defeat to Hello Broadway first time out.

8.  Midshipman  Watch the Breeders Cup to see why he is in the top 10.

9.  Chocolate Candy ran close to Pioneer of the Nile.

10. General Quarters looked great in Tampa and can't wait to see more. This colt could move way up with another win.


19 Feb 2009 9:20 AM

    Fire Slam, please forgive me if I seem brash, but you're crazy if you think gallop outs mean nothing at all.  Hell, even Larry Jones was talking about how he was pleased with how Old Fashioned galloped out after winning the Southwest.  If it didn't matter, why would he say something like that so who am I to believe, an accomplished trainer like Larry Jones or you?  Don't bother answering, we all already know the answer.  By the way, watch the Lecomte again. Saez was still pushing on Friesan Fire when they hit the wire so it's not like he was standing up in the saddle.  Yes he did ease up after the wire like most jockeys do, but Albarado did the same on Patena.  Give Patena his 2nd start over dirt and with the fact that Dutrow tends to move horses way up, he's a legitimate Derby contender.  He may actually regress a little in the LA Derby due to his time off since the Lecomte, but come Derby Day, he'll have a say in the race.

    Slew, points taken and all valid points.  As for why Patena and Flying Pegasus weren't on your list and Friesan Fire was, I noticed you had Chocolate Candy and I Want Revenge on your top 10 list even though they have been beaten by POTN, but didn't have Patena and FP on your list after being beaten by Friesan Fire.  I know Patena and FP have some issues, but doesn't I Want Revenge have issues also?  They're still toying with whether to run him in blinkers or not and he probably needs to step it up a notch or 2 himself.  That's all I was saying.  Just an observation.

    As for the whole Pyro thing, I don't think Asmussen overtrained him.  Asmussen never blows his horses out and you'll never see fast times on their works so it's not like he guts them in the morning.  Pyro had 3 preps like many horses do and only 7 lifetime starts heading into the Derby which isn't a lot all things considered.  Like I said, Pyro did come back to win the Northern Dancer and pick up a few more on-the-board finishes in stakes company after that so I don't think he was ruined.  You say he was ruined or overtrained, I think it was more distance limitations, so we'll have to agree to disagree on him.  For Colonel John, yes he had trouble, but you can say that for at least 1/2 the field in any given year in the Derby.  Notice how well he moved forward his 2nd start on dirt in the Travers.  If it was only the troubled trip he received that cost him the Derby, then why didn't he do better in his 2 polytrack starts after the Derby?  I think he finished 3rd of 4 in one race and ran up the track in the Classic.  When facing the best of your class on dirt, dirt preps do matter.  There might be more exceptions to this, but Zenyatta is the only one who really comes to mind and in all honesty, she beat Ginger Punch who wasn't the same horse in 2008 that she was in 2007, not to mention that fact that they were older fillies and not 3 year old colts and fillies.

    Now back to the 2009 TC, while I agree SB is the most accomplished of the 3 year old crop to date, that doesn't make her the best of her class.  Big Brown was the best of his class without a doubt and as we all know Big Brown didn't even try graded stakes company until the FL Derby so having the most G1 victories doesn't mean you're the best of your class.  Same thing can be said for Smarty Jones.  There were at least 6 horses who ran in the Derby who had more G1 wins heading into the starting gate than he did.  I think Stardom Bound is talented as does everyone else, but I still think having a dirt prep at some point in their career is important before running in the Derby.  That's another one we'll have to agree to disagree on.  Besides, you say Frankel says the  fillies run best 1st time against the males so why is she more than likely running in the SA Derby?  Wouldn't that make her Derby start her 2nd against the males?  Seems to me, Frankel would run in the SA Oaks to keep her against the girls or run her in the Ashland then try the Derby if he really thinks fillies do best when running against the boys 1st time.  It might be Iavarone's ego, but I guess we'll find out.  

19 Feb 2009 11:44 AM

Householder: Do ya think somebody planted that squirrel?

19 Feb 2009 11:57 AM

Jason, Congratulations on your comments regarding "Times & Beyers" not being an end all. They may well be useful tools in the handicapping process but are far from definitive. Anyone that has spent time on the backside of a racetrack realizes how a surface can change from day to day, many times simply due to the daily maintenance performed or weather conditions that add moisture to the surface. Beyer numbers are supposed to reflect time ratings for a specific day, yet I'm sure we have all seen Beyer numbers posted that are ridiculous and end up altered. In an era of synthetics and their derivatives, and changing dirt compositions throughout the country, those that continue to compare times as though they are gospel should be cautious. There has always been a lot more to good handicapping. Best of luck to all.

19 Feb 2009 12:08 PM

Jason: You should wait until after the Fountain Of Youth takes before taking liberties with NOTONTHESAMEPAGE.  This horse as of now threatens to leave you with "egg all over your face" when he blows away a contentious field on February 28.

19 Feb 2009 12:19 PM


I ranked, I Want Revenge and C.Candy ahead of Patena/F.Pegasus simply because POTN is higher ranked than Friesan Fire.IWR has finished right behind POTN the last 2 races,while C.Candy has won his last 2 races.My theory is about what have you done for me lately and process of elimination,with a little hope sprinkled in there.

We can go at it forever,so OK,lets agree to disagree on our many points..but,as of now their aiming SB towards the SA Oaks then if all goes well,straight to the KY Derby.I guess they feel she has a solid bottom underneath her.But things might change IF Patena turns out to be a real contender for the Derby..An Oaks/Derby double isn't that bad after all.

19 Feb 2009 2:04 PM


Good solid selections!

19 Feb 2009 3:12 PM

Well Wanda now that you mention it...

19 Feb 2009 7:20 PM

Here's a solid as a rock top ten

1. Big Drama

2. Midshipman

3. Old Fashioned

4. Vineyard Haven

5. Desert Party

6. Hello Broadway

7. Notonthesamepage

8. Chocholate Candy

9. Capt. Candyman Can

10. Friesan Fire

Flying Pegasus, Silver City and Dunkirk are knocking at the door and Breakwater Edison and Jose Adan I'm sure will be back.  No one race wonders should topple proven talent.  

19 Feb 2009 7:44 PM
Jason Shandler

Ranagulzion: Wow. And you have the nerve to give me grief me with that top 10 list? Comical. Good luck with that...

19 Feb 2009 7:55 PM

Not sure if anyone paid attention to my comment last night, but what I said was Dunkird needed to get more respect on here and that he was my pick to win the Derby...Well, he destroyed an Allowance Field at Gulfstream today in impressive fashion, and he will point next for the Florida Derby. After he wins that race, he will go into Kentucky on the 1st Saturday in May as the favorite.  At that time I guess he will start getting the respect he deserves...

19 Feb 2009 8:42 PM

I'm backing The Pamplemousse.  He has that high action like Barbaro, and his head looks a lot like Curlin.  All the good California competition is ducking him in the Sham, if you look at it closely.

19 Feb 2009 9:06 PM


I can't believe you left Pioneer off the list,wait a sec..... yes I believe it,typical!

19 Feb 2009 9:36 PM


Too funny...he deserved it though.Boo-yah!

Looks like Dunkirk is a pretty good one.Lightning in a bottle?..

willie: I seriously don't think any "top" Cali. contender is ducking The Papp..they're just gearing towards the San Felipe/SA Derby races,that's all.

19 Feb 2009 9:44 PM
Jason Shandler

Slew: LOL. Yes he did.

As far as Dunkirk, he looked great but will have to finish 1 or 2 in the Fla. Derby to make the starting gate. All or nothing - kind of like Big Brown last year. Hard to tell what's in his future.

19 Feb 2009 9:51 PM

Topsy Ten:( as good as any- featuring those with potential)

1. Imperial Council-this year's Curlin?

2. Chocolate Candy- will turn them back when they come to him.

3. Captian Cherokee- this little guy is all RACE HORSE!

4. Fierce Thunder-the THUNDER is back.

5. Dunkirk- this one's a warrior

6. Patena- most likely to be in the top three in the DERBY.

7. Flat Out- right there with Patena

8. Perfect Song- hits all the right notes.

9. Mr.Fantasy- potential, potential, potential

10.Friesan Fire- the fire is starting to heat up now.

There it is a top ten as of 2-19-09, save and compare it to any other top ten here, after the Derby and see who's selections run best.

19 Feb 2009 10:28 PM

The following is Larry Jones' comment about Old Fashioned after the Southwest.  This is what I was talking about when responding to comments made by someone else that gallop outs mean nothing:

"They were very quick fractions, and he would have had every reason in the world to have backed down," Jones said of Old Fashioned. "And they were starting to slow it down, don't get me wrong. But he did gallop out well and nobody was making a close on him. I thought it was a very good race."....

And just for good measure, here are the comments made by his jockey Ramon Dominguez after the Southwest

"I thought I could get the jump on the other horse and get the lead," Dominguez said. "As a consequence, we end up going very quick. I was very pleased with his response down the lane and very impressed with the way that he galloped out."

Anybody else have thoughts on whether gallop outs mean nothing or if they can be significant?

19 Feb 2009 10:38 PM
Pat O'D

West Side Bernie is my pick. He has closed well, and I bet him at 40-1 in the futures pool. The extra 1/8 should help fim

19 Feb 2009 11:51 PM
CB Man

JUst wanted to say what a year its seems Unbridled's Song is going to be having in 2009 ( Midshipman, Old Fashioned,Silver city, Dunkirk)

20 Feb 2009 12:44 AM


Hold your breath for this.

I like your top 10 list. I'm assuming it will change some in the next few weeks but not bad at all. Can't argue with your top 3 and I like seeing General Quarters there, we'll learn more about him very soon.

20 Feb 2009 8:10 AM

Victor 81,

Don't get to high yet. I remeber falling in love with one of Pletcher's late bloomer's in 2005. Does anyone remember the monster - BANDINI - he ran "Dead Last".

One of these years maybe one of these high priced yearlings will win the Derby. It never seems to happen tho, where's the "Green Monkey"?

20 Feb 2009 8:41 AM

Of course you want to see them gallup out, in fact the trainer may request the rider to do so. Off a long layoff it tells you that the horse has trained well up to the race. An tired horse will pull themselves up at the wire and if they are rubber legged may take a bad step. It's a training tool that helps if the horse is going farther next time. No trainer wants to see a horse pull up short.

20 Feb 2009 11:07 AM

Oops! That was me minus the rest of my first name.

20 Feb 2009 12:03 PM

3YO's improve, but I haven't seen

any that average 12 seconds/furlong

yet. Let's wait until March before

we see an worthy contender more

consistent in his overall and fractional times. I'll be back after I watch the Fountain of Youth

20 Feb 2009 3:51 PM

Dunkirk didn’t run 1-1/8 miles in the 8th race at Gulfstream 02-19-09.  He ran almost 1-1/4 mile.  If he had the 2 or 3 path all the way around and a clean trip he would have won by 17 lengths in 1:48 and change.  Two races, same results, same way, from behind to go away easy when asked.  Might need an extra race to get enough graded money to get in.  Dunkirk is a true dirty bird, don’t trust those polly plodders until they prove themselves.  Last year only dirt horses hit the board.  I still like Old Fashioned until he falters.

20 Feb 2009 4:24 PM


20 Feb 2009 5:28 PM

   Yeah,  as to only 3 preps and then a Derby try, I too used to be of the ‘old school’ class of 5 or 6 races starting as a 2 year old, 1-2 major preps as required for earnings, and then a slot into the Derby myself. But, ‘new school’, ala “Vineyard Haven” and “Dunkirk”, of ‘oops I have a live horse, let’s hold him back’ seems to have taken hold in the last several years. I don’t understand Dutrow’s thoughts ala “Patena” yet, but I am guessing that he thinks he learned something from his “Big Brown”’s trail and success, although, had “Big Brown” not had hoof problems, it looks like we’d have seen him a bit more often. BUT, there is the money angle of just getting a healthy horse to ‘the dance’, probably why several prefer to run the relatively new synthetic surfaces during the developmental stage, which keeps me excited about “Chocolate Candy”. And, if a trainer who has seen his horse and worked his horse and knows what he has already and then holds him back a bit, which may be what we’ll see happen with “The Pamplamousse”, yep, it might scare away some bettors, but it also makes us in the ‘public’ eye have to take a more serious and stronger second look.  As to “Dunkirk”, you lay out that kind of money, you do what’s necessary and be careful ,I suppose. But personally, I’d love to see him tackle more competitors or get to see more competitors attempt to take a shot at him, as that way we in the public would get to better gage potential of both he and rest of the others going into the Derby!!

20 Feb 2009 7:17 PM

Yep me too, getting a 'lil nervous about "Warrior's Reward", "Patena", and "Imperial Coucil" being so lightly raced. Seemes their connections must be thinking they are going to run 1 or 2 down the road in some major prep and gain enough earnings!, so good luck with that strategy! Maybe their connections are figuring that if they don't win a major prep, forget the Derby!!

20 Feb 2009 7:47 PM

Willie I hope the Pamplemousse is back for the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby because we need something to run at (Chocolate Candy, Stardom Bound, Pioneer of the Nile).  While I like Cherokee Run's high cruising speed he seemed better suited for distances of about a mile and Kafwain seemed to falter on the same path that his son (Pamplemousse) has taken.  If they can stretch that speed over a distance he will be scary.  This is a big if...and do we really want a Kentucky Derby winner who in named after a restaurant?  What's next "The Sizzler?" His mama's side seems turf...perhaps Breeder's Cup Turf Mile?  He's got the speed.  The next Lure?  

20 Feb 2009 7:57 PM

And, I must amit, that "General Quarters", whose chances I don't personally rate high, is my feel good "National Velvet" storyline so far.

21 Feb 2009 7:41 PM

This is the first time in decades I've picked a Derby choice this early - not even Derby 133 when my choice was Hard Spun - but this time I have. Old Fashioned all the way - with Fresian Fire or Stardom Bound at his heels! I'd have to include Capt. Candyman Can in my list of horses chasing Old Fashioned - but hey, it's only February and as they say, "Many a slip twixt the cup and the lip!" But I'm standing for Old Fashioned all the way home.

21 Feb 2009 7:53 PM


What you will see on March 7 is Haynesfield blowing by the others'.


23 Feb 2009 7:16 PM
Matt Converse

Matt's Derby Dozen

1. Pioneer of the Nile--keeps improving, bred for distance.

2. Rachel Alexandra--might be the best horse out there.

3. Dunkirk--impressive win going 9f despite being 10-wide early.

4. Take the Points--ran 100 Beyer going a mile last out, now heading West for Sham.

5. Freisan Fire--slowly improving.

6. The Pamplemousse--speed that rekick when challenged, a huge horse but pedigree is iffy for 10f.

7. Old Fashioned--three-year-old debut was his slowest race ever, not the best of signs.

8. General Quarters--100 Beyer last time but it's a track that can be a bit quirky.

8. Chocolate Candy--slowly improving but will have to run faster.

9. Capt. Candyman Can--distance is the question for this Candy Ride.

10. Desert Party--looked back in form in Dubai debut.

11. Patena--coming around and should like distance.

12. Stardom Bound--debut was a bit subpar for her level.  

23 Feb 2009 10:13 PM


Did it ever occur that maybe Larry Jones is trying to leave something in the tank for down the road for OF?

23 Feb 2009 11:08 PM
Matt Converse

Yes, it has, that's why I haven't tossed him from my list. He also ran other races where he wanted something left in the tank, and ran faster.  He could step up in his next, run a 105 and be at #1 on my list, I know that's possible given his two-year-old season.  But I also think he it's possible he is flat-lining; a top two-year-old who matures fast and never gets much faster.  They still win their prep races but don't improve.  The best recent example I can think of is Scat Daddy.  

24 Feb 2009 2:32 AM
Matt Converse

P.S.  Also, I liked his gallop out.  I noted that before I even read what he said.  Old Fashioned and Flat Out were the only two that looked good in the gallop out. If I believed he couldn't run faster than that I'd have tossed him completely.  

24 Feb 2009 2:35 AM


   You talk about OF being slow, yet you put Dunkirk #3 when in his last race he ran 1.50 for a mile and and eighth and got a 78 breyer number in his debute. Tracks seem to be slower this year in some areas, so maybe you shouldn't use that as you be all end all. OF had plenty in the tank according to LJ, and was barely blowing. He is a proven stakes horse, and already answer the dist ? as a two year old. This was his first race back against a very tough horse in silver city and he passed. Dunkirk is a very nice horse and looks to be the real deal, but until judgement time in FL Derby he should not be rated that highly.

24 Feb 2009 6:11 AM
Kentucky Derby Psychic

I could relay which horses I like, but the truth is I like a few and it's still too early to commit in detail. Some may make the race, some may not. I'll pick and publish my winners on race day.

What I can relate are those horses that don't have the slightest prayer. Horses that are hyped, will take a ton of money and will run far up the track if they get to the starting gate. Here is a brief list of the hopeless:

Stardom Bound - Never in the annals of horseracing has a filly been so over her head. Take it to the bank, this filly will not hit the board. If you can get odds on her finishing last, it may not be a bad bet.

Dunkirk - Another that the unknowledgeable are going bananas over. A late starter without a dime of graded earnings, who is pointing for the Florida Derby. That race is your chance to score against him. Don't miss it.

Pioneerof The Nile - He could win the Santa Anita Derby and I hope he does. When the footing comes to Kentucky Terra Firma he is going to finish so far from the placing horses binoculars won't even make him look close.

The Oracle has Spoken

24 Feb 2009 8:45 PM
Mike Relva


I think you may need to re examine your "crystal ball" expecially regarding Stardom Bound and Pioneer,you are way off!

25 Feb 2009 7:48 PM

Kentucky Derby Psychic,

    POTN is by empire maker, he is bred to handle dirt. As you saw last year many of the horses from cali could handle dirt, the just weren't good enough to win or just had bad trips. Gyeago won the AK Derby, on dirt when he came over, and CJ may not have won the derby, but he redeemed himself on travers day. IMO it is easier for horses to come over from synthetics to dirt, because thats what they are bred to run on, and the reason most dirt horses going to synthetics for the first time don't do well is because they weren't bred to run on it. With that being said, the fact this horse is by empire maker, and IMO he's better than both of the top cali horse that successful last year on dirt, his chance of taking to dirt and winning the Derby are extremely high. like Mike i think you should check that crystal ball again.

26 Feb 2009 6:12 AM
Mike Relva


Hope you are feeling better. Thats' cool,you didn't have to give your email add.

26 Feb 2009 2:38 PM
jerry lillard

Being a old fashioned handicapper has anyone noticed that Old Fashioned has a dossage of over 5 ? Let me be the first to tell you I told you so when he finishes way up the track on derby day.....

26 Feb 2009 6:05 PM

Hey Mike,

    Feeling much better now, i still have a little bit of a scratchy throat and i'm still a bit stuffed up, but overall i feel much better.

Jerry lillard,

    dosage indexes, beyers and times don't mean everything. OF has alread, unlike most horses answer the distance question when he won the Remsen last year. He also proved he can rate, which will even further help his chances at being able to get the 1 1/4. Why does this horse have blow everyone away? Right now he doesn't have to which is good, considering he needs to have something left, not just for the Derby, but the whole triple crown. Horses aren't suppose to run their derby, or preakness or belmont in their preps, they need to save what they have so they can have something left in the triple crown, and if we want a TC winner, then save what you have for the belmont.

27 Feb 2009 10:00 AM
Mike Relva


You make great sense! Some of the readers' are crying cause as if OF should be running 115 beyers. Jerry knows exactly what he has with this horse and OF hasn't done anything wrong,yet!

27 Feb 2009 3:32 PM
Mike Relva


I intended to say Larry not Jerry,lol.

27 Feb 2009 3:33 PM


    Hey, thanks. It just gets on my nerves so much that everyone critisizes a good horses who does everything that is asked of him so far in his career, just because in his last race he didn't run the race in 1.34 and have a 120 beyer fig. A lot of people did that with curlin last year, and now with OF. When you are coming up on the triple crown, you need to make sure your horse is in the best possible form they can be, and that does not mean having them run their TC races during their preps. Every horse is differnt, but you don't win the TC by running your horse into the ground before hand. That is the exact reason why most of these horses coming in with three starts or running big breakout performances now won't win the Derby. BB won last year because he was not only good, but because he did not have to run to his full ability before had, and even in the FA Derby, he had five weeks to recuperate. Dunkirk is a very nice looking colt, but so far he's had to work pretty hard even though he's won by at least 9 lengths in his first two, but especially in his last, no ordinary horse can run three big races, assuming he runs big again in the FA Derby and recuperates 100% for the biggest race of their life against some of this years talent. I think he's a fantastic looking horse, but he'd have to be the biggest freak in the world to win the Derby. Just think of how big of a freak he'd have to be to win the triple crown too. If he could do something like that he'd be deserving of a place amoung the elites, IMO.

27 Feb 2009 10:28 PM
Mike Relva


I agree with what you are saying. Many people are simply cry babies and finding anything and everything to slam the racehorse. Thats exactly why I make it a point to tell some of them a"thing or two". You possess great knowledge and insights regarding racing.

27 Feb 2009 11:53 PM


    Thanks for the compliment. As i said i try to sound as smart as i can, and the way i feel, if i'm gonna make a good owner or trainer, i need to know everything i can now. I used to want to be a jockey, i'm not overlly tall, and i'd have no trouble keeping my weight down, i can eat anything i want pretty much and still stay a stick, lol. The only thing is i have so many bodily issues, like a bad back and shoulder, which are essential to riding, and especially race riding, that i wouldn't be hold or control a racehorse well. I try to learn all i can. So far there are a few horses that look like they could be breakouts,or flame outs, Mr.F and Dunkirk are the two that stand out to me. Mr. F to me has a better shot, because in his races he hasen't had to overcome that much, so he should be fresh for the Gotham which should show us if he's for real. If he is i still think he'll have enough gas in the tank because he won his last two so easy. Dunkirk looks fantastic, and i'd love for him to be that next superhorse, but he's had to overcome a lot in his last two, then he's gonna have to go in a tough spot again in the FL Derby, and then the Triple Crown. This horse in my oppinion would need Curlin's ressiliance in order to be able to win the Derby. I am going to keep an eye on him though just to see what he's got. I still have OF at the top of my list, and want to see him run his oppenets into the ground on rebles day. The next thing i'd want him to do if i were larry is win the Ak Derby as easily as possible, that way he'd have one real good prep, but he'd also have enough left in the tank for the triple crown. Desert Party looks intriguing and it be great if he could pull off the Dubia Derby jinx. I for one think if he stays sound and health has a very good shot. His sire is SC who has been hot as fire with Street Boss, SS, and more recently Zen. He also has the talent and ability. Lastly i like, no love POTN. He's guttsy talented, and seems to be peaking at the right time. I love his sire, and believe if empire maker had not been boxed and had not bruised his foot a few days before he'd have won. He should have no trouble with the distance, and in my oppinion it's easier for a synthetic horse to cross to dirt. The reason being is because technically that's what they are truley bred to run on. On the other hand a horse going from dirt to synthetic may have a harder time because they are bred to run on dirt, not synthetic, so basicly i think he'll take to dirt. Those are my top few and my reasons, what about yours?

28 Feb 2009 5:24 PM

Mr. Fantasy is my pick in the Gotham Stakes.  He reminds me of Lost In The Fog the way he plays with and crushes the field.  Both of his Beyers figures were in the 90's and he won't offically be a 3-year old until late May, so there's plenty of upside potential.

On a side note, Secretariat won the Gotham Stakes in 1973.


03 Mar 2009 10:11 PM
Matt Converse

1.The Pamplemousse--best 9f race of the year, finished strong.

2. Pioneer of the Nile--will have the top one to chase in Santa Anita Derby.

3. Dunkirk--how many lengths will he lose in the Derby going wide?

4. Rachel Alexandra--some of the colts are starting to run similar numbers.

5. Friesan Fire--improving, moving forward, must run faster.

6. Chocolate Candy--see above.

7. Old Fashioned--next race critical to see if he's improved at three.

8. Quality Road--returns to list after big win, but two-turns will be much tougher.

9. Patena--same boat as #5 and #6.

10. General Quarters--can he run like that on other tracks?

11. Imperial Council--like Quality Road, still hasn't gone two turns.

12. Stardom Bound--inches back on due to others dropping off.

just missed: Flat Out, Giant Oak,Big Drama, Haka, Desert Party, Mr. Hot Stuff--nice gallop out in Sham.  

04 Mar 2009 2:12 AM

From Bloodhorse:

Looking at the Thoro-Graph numbers for Saturday’s Gotham, there is one horse whose numbers stand out far above the others. That’s not to say someone won’t make a big move forward and he won’t regress, but for speed purposes right now he stands alone, and is “the most likely winner,” according to Thoro-Graph’s Jerry Brown.


06 Mar 2009 4:17 AM

I you look @ my comments on the dosage of Old Fashioned on 2/26 you will find that finishing up the track was @ 1 1/16 distance to @ 56-1 shot with a clear lead....Do you thing this colt can get 1 1/4 now ????

15 Mar 2009 2:10 AM

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