March 14 Derby Preps Could Be a Chalkfest

If you are Thoroughbred racing fan and an avid handicapper, it doesn't get much better than what's on tap this weekend.

In addition to the four Derby prep races, there are 12 other graded stakes - nine of the coming on Saturday. Fair Grounds' card is spectacular, led by the $600,000 Louisiana Derby, which we covered earlier in the week. Exciting filly Rachel Alexandra will be in the Fair Grounds Oaks, and the Mervin Muniz and New Orleans Handicap also came up very strong.

Before we briefly go over the Rebel, Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe, another reminder to join me right here for a live blog from noon-1 p.m. EDT on Saturday. I've lined up professional handicapper "TopTurfTeddy", who had a documented $73 winner in the 8th race at Gulfstream on Thursday. Teddy will not only have his selections for the four prep races, but will also give his top 10 Derby horses, based on his unique mathematical formula. Looking forward to you joining us.

Now to the races...

As most of you who follow this blog know, I am a relatively small player who looks for value. Rarely do I go with the favorite, but on this particular weekend I am going to get a little bit chalky - mainly because the fields for the Rebel and San Felipe came up very week.

In the Rebel, Old Fashioned faces only a single stakes winner and that is Silver City, who he beat easily in the Southwest. The San Felipe should be even more of a cakewalk for Pioneerof the Nile, especially since the original field of seven will probably be reduced to only three or four with some expected scratches.

Now, your choices are trying to beat Old Fashioned and Pioneerof the Nile, who are probably the top two Kentucky Derby betting favorites at this time, play them in exotics or just sit and watch. I'm probably going to sit and watch these two races, but will offer my opinions a couple horses that look playable for exotics.

In the Rebel, Wise Kid seems like the most likely candidate to upset Old Fashioned. The well-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid is a late-bloomer who did not start as a 2-year-old. He has won two of three starts this year, including a pretty impressive 4 1/4-length optional claiming win Feb. 27. That was over the same ground and at the same distance as the Rebel. Wise Kid, who is trained by Tim Ritchey, is a horse that has rated nicely in his two wins and that running style might be favorable here. His should only improve off his 89 Beyer last out.

The way I would play the Rebel is to key Old Fashioned and Wise Kid in the first two spots of a trifecta and play "all" underneath. Asmussen's Captain Cherokee, who won an allowance at Fair Grounds impressively last month, might also be worth using in a small exacta with Old Fashioned - at a big price.

In the San Felipe, it looks as though He's Really Big and New Bay are definite scratches, and Feisty Suances and Kelly Leak might also not go. If that's the case, don't even bet this race. If Kelly Leak should go, I like him to fill out the exacta. He comes off a nice allowance win on the turf and has faced the likes of Midshipman, This Ones for Phil and Flashman's Papers - all pretty good horses. He looks to be improving.

The Tampa Bay Derby is best betting race of three, but even here I am leaning towards chalk. I loved Hello Broadway's effort in the Hutcheson, as he dueled through a :46 half-mile and was still game in the stretch when battling eventual winner Capt. Candyman Can, who had the perfect trip. Barclay Tagg shipped up north so he could go two turns, which was a smart move. He looks like he might be a legit Derby horse.

I also like the second choice General Quarters, who looks as if he's a horse-for-the-course. In talking to his former trainer Mark Miller and current trainer Tom MCCarthy, General Quarters loves the track at Tampa. Miller said the Sky Mesa colt, who was a former $20,000 claimer, wasn't even breathing hard after the Sam Davis, where he set a new stakes record and was 1/5 of second off Street Sense's track record. All of this with the jockey never completely asking him. McCarthy said he is in tip-top shape going into this race.

I willl use Musket Man to complete my trifecta box, based on him having beaten General Quarters two starts back and his terrific works the last couple of weeks.

Again, sorry for the chalky picks this week. It's not my usual style, but sometimes there is no other way around it. I'll probably take some shots on the undercard races, including 20-1 Star Guitar in the New Orleans Handicap. This Louisiana-bred goes in open stakes company for the first time but was once a legit Derby prospect who Jess Jackson nearly bought for $1 million as a 3-year-old. He has won four in a row.

Good luck and let me know who you like!


Leave a Comment:


Agree on the Rebel and San Felipe but in the Tampa Derby I like Sumo. Musket Man is going to finish up the track.

13 Mar 2009 2:36 PM

Recent history has taught us it just doesn't matter who wins these races.  The Derby winner is not coming out of the minor leagues.  California has to prove they can produce a winner on that poly stuff and the minor league races down south just don't matter. The races in Florida and NY matter the rest is just window dressing.  By the way .... GO RACHEL A. !!!!!

13 Mar 2009 2:47 PM
Jason Shandler

Dray: You have heard of the Arkansas Derby, right? I would say that race is every bit as important as NY or Florida

13 Mar 2009 2:55 PM

Yeah ignore Oaklawn races after all who's ever heard of Afleet Alex, Smarty Jones or Curlin...

13 Mar 2009 3:23 PM

Dray, Recent History? Smarty Jones won the Rebel. Street Sense won the Tampa Derby. The last Wood Memorial winner to win the Derby was Fug Peg in 2000. Before that you have to go back to 1981.

13 Mar 2009 3:31 PM

The pamelmousee will win it all so all of this is irrelevant!

13 Mar 2009 4:01 PM

I think that the results of the San Felipe and the Rebel will tell us little if anything. Even if the heavy favorites do end up getting beat, the winner will most likely never make the Derby! On the other hand, the Tampa Bay and LaDerby may offer more promise. I think Nowhere to Hide has a huge upside and should run a big race in Tampa. I liked the way he fought on last out even though appearing to race a bit greenly in mid-stretch. I am looking for Flying Pegasus to be a bit tighter this time and move forward off his last effort. Soul Warrior and Free Country look to rebound off marginal efforts. PVal got Soul Warrior in poor early position and had to take up sharply inside and lost all chance. He might be worth a look if you are playing exotics.

Terrain has met better but made need one! Would like to see a nice late run to set him up for his next start.

13 Mar 2009 4:04 PM

My goodness, Draynay, you sure do miss out on some pretty impressive horses if all that counts is FL and NY.  A great horse can come from anywhere.  But your statement was a great way to stir the pot from the very beginning.

13 Mar 2009 4:09 PM
Lady Ruffian

wow. really Draynay? I'm pretty new to the whole wide world of thoroughbred raacing and even i know the arkansas derby is a major stepping stone leading to the k.d. lmao whatever. I'll agree with 2/3 of the Tampa Bay picks mentioned but will have to throw out Musket Man and go with Warrior's Reward. Good luck everyone this weekend!

13 Mar 2009 4:10 PM


13 Mar 2009 4:12 PM


Oh I wish I was in the land of cotton.............didn't War Emblem (Risen Star) do ok in the Derby coming out of the "minor leagues"? How about Grindstone? Didn't he run in the..........let me see here........Arkansas Derby (I almost forgot the name of that obscure race Jason)prior to winning the KY. Derby. Smarty Jones came from AA ball in the south to win the KY. Derby as well.

Lil E Tee gave Pat Day his big Derby win coming from the Arkansas Derby too (there's that pesky unknown race again Jason). Funny Cide was a NY Bred nutless wonder who ran in the LA. Derby before he made the jump to the "big leagues" and won the KY. Derby as well. I'm not much of a history buff but it seems to me that is a good representation from the good ole south and the "minor leagues". Heck even Jimmy Carter came from the south to win the big one. He did flop however in his biggest challenge just like Big Brown (Belmont)did last year. Just like the Lynyrd Skynyrd lyrics proclaim The South will rise again!! Don't count them out.

13 Mar 2009 4:34 PM
Karen in Texas

So, the races "down south" just don't matter? The excellent horses coming out of Arkansas since 2004 notwithstanding, I guess that means that Rachel Alexandra is also minor league and her wins do not and will not matter. After all, she ran at Oaklawn and now at Fairgrounds. There are some good horses and astute people "down south"! Why not publish the name of the state where you are from, Draynay? Then we can all belittle your heritage as well.

13 Mar 2009 4:43 PM

With the proliferation of graded stakes, changes in the calendar for the various preps., changes to surface and track configurations, the regional arguments just do not hold water.  It does not matter.  Connections are going to chart their course given; - home track, graded earnings and most importantly what's best for the horse.  So, the paths to the Derby are many.  Separation really begins when they go a mile and 1/8 in solid company.  Those races are in front of us, not in the rear view mirror.  In terms of this w-end, look for Papa Clem and Hello Broadway to come away with wins along with PO-Nile (no opinion on the Rebel).  I'm a big fan of Papa Clem; tactical speed, great work-out line (reasonalbe fast and more importantly often), an excellent jockey and a Smart Strike over a Danzig broodmare sire (Belong to Me).  Jason, OAK puts it together here and continues his progress to the Derby, just not in the number one slot this w-end.

13 Mar 2009 4:50 PM

QR and the pamplemousse are the truth and well be in the top 3 when the derby is off. Watch the pample closely he is sooo smooth and who says syth. horses cant run on dirt, IWR or albert maximus ring a bell? CJ last year was just a bum! I hate the name pamplemousse by the way!

13 Mar 2009 4:57 PM

Man, I love the fact that no one seems high on Friesan Fire.  It will be fun to keep cashing nice tickets on him along the way!

13 Mar 2009 4:58 PM

SLYDER, War Emblem was basically unheard of till he wired the Illinois Derby and earned a huge beyer, I beleive it was 117. Then went on to wire the Derby field to win.

13 Mar 2009 5:09 PM
The Rock

Draynay is the poker prick of the bloodhorse blogs. Just blasting away begging for someone to call him out. Undermining everyone. Ironic how he singles out the two states where Imperial Council has run in as the places you need to run if you want to win the Derby. You keep riding that Imperial Council wave buddy. Eventually you'll wipe out and jump on another band wagon. I see you've got Rachel Alexandra waiting on the On Deck circle for just the occassion. And she's been running in the south all spring.... Gee, what will you say then. Can't wait.

Btw, how's Vineyard Haven doing?

13 Mar 2009 5:09 PM

I love Freisan Fire for the LA Derby with Giant Oak chasing him for second.

13 Mar 2009 5:13 PM
The Rock

Funny how the subject was suppose to be about this weekends races and then Dray drops a bomb and turns it into something else. Jason, can't you just ingore his posts? He's becoming less sane as the Derby draws nearer.

13 Mar 2009 5:16 PM

LOL ROCK, Mr. V.H. is caput and so is his buddy Midshipman. Oh well for the Dubai horses that should have stayed in this country any way.

13 Mar 2009 5:17 PM
The Rock


TB Derby: If anyone has heard anything about the track at Tampa Bay Downs, it can get a little tricky. Just ask War Pass. Here's a situation where we have a bunch of talented horses making their first run into stakes competition but haven't trained at all on this surface. I loved Warrior's Reward against Dunkirk last time, so you'd figure I'd love him in here. The fact is though, there's a good possibility he'll be the favorite and it's the first time against graded stakes competition and race over the track. Three negatives in my eyes. I'm going with the horse for course. General Quarters. Looking for him to sit off the speed and make a run. He's proven over the course and his beyer and speed rating tower here.

San Felipe: Well, I don't think there needs to be much said in here. The field will probably scratch to four. You've got a graded stakes winner against most who have never tasted stakes company. Pioneer of the Nile all the way.

Rebel: Things could get interesting here. It's been raining all week @ Oaklawn. With more rain expected saturday. It shouldn't hinder Old Fashioned much, but his post with the speed to the outside of him could make it dicey for him. And who knows how deep that rail is gonna be. Which leads me to Captain Cherokee. He relished the off going last time out and won very nicely against a good field. He'll be in the clear stalking Old Fashioned the whole way. If OF gets bottled up turning for home, this brother to Midnight Lute will come a runnin' and he won't get caught with first run.

LA Derby: In this case, best horse is on the outside with the speed directly to the inner. Feel as the Fresian Fire will have a bullseye on his back with everyone trying to float him wide the whole way, which leads me to the horse who'll be saving ground the whole way at a price... Free Country. Throw out the Tampa race. That track is tough to handle. Won a good nx1 at GP. Puts the blinkers on and has been working well with them. Speed ratings above a ten variant fit and Beyers are right up in the neighborhood. If the speed floats out just enough, he could get a seam on the rail turning for home while all the closers tip wide.

Couple of other spot plays I'll note:

Gulfstream: Race 1: Polished - No less the 4/5.

Race 9: Lime Rickey - Could be a decent WP play. Gets weight and had trouble last time.

Race 10: Cool Coal Man: Loves the strip. should get first run on the closers.

Santa Anita:

Race 8: EXB Life is Sweet/Santa Teresita: More with the latter on top as she'll get first run on the fave in what should be a moderate pace.


Race 8: Proudinsky - The outside post SUUUCKKKSSS....but! There's no speed and there should be some give on the course, which is exactly what he won on last year. If he can cross over to about the 3 path before the turn laying close to the front, he should be tough to pass.

Tampa Bay Downs:

Race 10: Backseat Rhythm - G1 winner against G3 types, sans Communique, who needs further ground. Should be ready to roll in here.

Race 12: Chamberlain Bridge - If the course is producing fast times early, don't be suprised if this one brakes the track record. Super fast. Can't get the lead or lay right off the pace. Super impressive win last time.

13 Mar 2009 5:19 PM

Rock guilty as charged... I have been watching all these races and have figured out finally that the more things change the more they stay the same.  Its nice to blog and express your thoughts but when it comes right down to it the talent is in Florida and New York....again.  California is a waste of time and playing with horses in New Orleans or at the Fairgrounds is a waste of time. The only thing Louisiana is number 1 in is rain fall not Derby winners.  The minor league races are just filler for what will happen in New York and Florida.  The horse that wins the Santa

Anita will not matter and the horse that wins the Louisiana Derby will matter even less.  Recent history tells us where the winner is likely to come from.  See you at Gulfstream in a few weeks and yes ROCK watch out for Imperial Council.

13 Mar 2009 5:27 PM
The Rock


That's what I thought I heard. Maybe it's because its the extra weight that Dray's putting on there backs that making them crumble when the going gets tough! lol

13 Mar 2009 5:27 PM

The pampelmousse is bringing high stepping back like marcus allen did in the early 90's

13 Mar 2009 5:31 PM
Mike Relva


So you take amusement in others' bad luck!

13 Mar 2009 6:02 PM

LA. DERBY  :  Free  Country , Patena  &  Friesan Fire

Tampa Bay :  Sumo

Rebel          :   Old Fashioned over  Wise Kid

San Felipe  :  POTN

13 Mar 2009 6:06 PM


And your point about War Emblem is? My point was that he raced in what nay nay calls the minor leagues just like the others I mentioned and won the Derby. It's not been unheard of to do that.


13 Mar 2009 6:24 PM

Maybe they should just shut down all the tracks in the south since nobody any good runs there anyway huh draynay? Your comments on southern racing were maybe the most ignorant you have made and that's saying alot!! I put them right up there with VH is a lock to win the Derby (file that under where is he now); Notinthesameleague (or whatever his name is) will blow by them all in the Ftn. Of Youth; Watch Imperial Council's "coming out party in the Gotham (you did try and backpedal out of that statement AFTER the fact); etc. etc. etc. There have been so many I should stop now. Maybe you hit happy hour a bit early today or just need another argument to make your weekend. In any case (this is nothing new) you are dead wrong. There will be another to race in the south and go on to win a Derby somewhere in the future.

13 Mar 2009 6:42 PM


What about Dubai?  Isn't that all that counts?

I'll take Larry and his horses.

13 Mar 2009 6:54 PM

Patena is the live horse in the LA. Derby.  He's fresh and Dutrow is scaaaaaary with a new horse.

13 Mar 2009 6:56 PM

Sumo looks primed and ready to win the Tampa Bay Derby.  Has the pedigree to make a statem the first Saturday in May.

13 Mar 2009 6:57 PM
Mike Relva


So whats' your deal? You spend half your time bashing Draynay. If you don't like his opinions don't read them. You never have anything constructive to say. Seems like your objective is running down either a horse or someone on this blog. Nice not to let knowledge get in the way,right? lol

13 Mar 2009 7:15 PM

Wood winners who did well in the Derby most likely wintered at Santa Anita and shipped in.  You can add IWR to this list pretty soon.  

13 Mar 2009 8:01 PM

POTN...sit back, have a beverage, and watch it all come together.  Take it easy and safe stepping Saturday Pioneer.

13 Mar 2009 8:14 PM

Tampa:  Dont think GQ will get the ground saving dream trip like last time.  Sumo was 4 or 5 wide out of the 10 hole last time and now he moves inside of GQ.  The flip flop in post may turn the tables this time.

13 Mar 2009 8:21 PM

Bushwacker you make my point for me.  A couple of months ago Vineyard was number 1 on my list.  The horse is ill so it seems to make sense to take off a horse that is injured or ill.  Its best just to wait and see who wins the Florida Derby or the Wood and pick the winner of the Derby.  Recent history tells us the winner is not coming out of a small track in crawfish town. 

13 Mar 2009 8:29 PM

I've got four with prices in Louisiana. First is Terrian. His works say he's ready and he has back class.Second is Papa Clem.Yes,his second to POTN and Revenge's race last week are positives.More than that,I like the set of works they put in him since his last out.Check em out. Then I think Free Country may be a sleeper who will relish the off going.And finally,did you notice Giant Oak's worst races were with Prado riding? Maybe Oak just doesn't like him or something weird like that.

13 Mar 2009 8:49 PM

Slyder,Bushwacker,The Rock,Draynay you guys made my day! After working 68 hours this week I get home and turn on the computer and start laughing! Thanks!

Serious I really like the front end at Tampa Bay in the form of Bear's Rocket. It is a tricky funny surface and I think he'll go to the front and stay there but is General Quarters for real? I don't think so but we'll know by Sat if he is. As far as California I agree with Jason, kind of a no-brainer. I'm also going to just watch that race.

If I hear one more sentence with the word "curling" in it I'm going to kill someone!

13 Mar 2009 9:07 PM

Dray is one of those people you just wonder and wonder about.........

13 Mar 2009 10:49 PM

Here is the way I see it for what it’s worth:

Louisiana Derby (G2) – Don’t know the track conditions or changes but I like Terrain, Giant Oak, and Papa Clem.  I would box those three.

Rebel S. (G2) – I believe the rebel will be a Southwest repeat, so I would play a straight exacta Old Fashioned over Silver City.

San Felipe S. (G2) – Again another straight exacta here, Pioneerof the Nile over Jeranimo.

Tampa Bay Derby (G3) – This race is a little tougher but I’m going out on a limb and box Nowhere to Hide, Hello Broadway, and Warrior's Reward.  I like em in a row like that, 3, 4, 5.

A little info on the Pamplemousse, He was breathing very hard in the circle after the Sham. My opinion, his feet hit the ground too hard for the dirt tracks, and Canani can’t control him, the horse is training Julio.  Wonder how he ships?  There are some other negatives but I’m going to wait until after his next race before I comment.

13 Mar 2009 11:03 PM

Jason, when was the last time all the chalks won the Rebel, Tampa Bay Derby, LA Derby and San Felipe?  The morning line favorites for these races are by all accounts beatable. I do not have to remind you that the winner of a race is not determined before it is run. Based on past performances, Old Fashioned, Friesen Fire, Hello Broadway and PoineerOf A Nile should turn out to be easy winners. While past performances are history and not subjected to change, these developing 3YOs are not shackled by them. Consequently, I am guided by what I know to be true i.e., the horse with the best PP in not always the eventual winner.

I think Silver City will turn the tables on Old Fashioned in the Rebel.  On the 5th February, Silver City breezed a mile in 1:42 3/5 in preparation for the February 11th Southwest Stakes at mile. Well, we all know he got beat by 31/4 lengths in his first attempt at a distance beyond 61/2F. On March 7th Silver City breezed a mile in 1:39 flat in preparation for the March 14th Rebel. He was a full three seconds faster in the March 7th mile breeze for a mile. It appears the one mile gallop of the Southwest has improved Silver City significantly. With that type of work, he will be able to carry his speed much further this time around. Anyone that has been involved with thoroughbred training knows that one race is more beneficial that a dozen exercise gallops. Silver City will go all the way.

Giant Oak is going to drop on Friesen Fire and the rest like a ton of bricks in the LA Derby. This giant chestnut colt has started in three races in six months and he was only able to fully extent himself in one because of traffic problems. It is unlikely that he will be three times unlucky. They are already showers of blessing at the Fair Grounds.

The focus is on a Sky Mesa colt by the name General Quarters in the Tampa Bay Derby. His interesting story has made him a darling on most blogs but I guarantee he will not be in the top four. He has to the rest of the field six pounds and this he is incapable of doing successfully. Hello Broadway is the class but appear to be one pace in the stretch. I believe Bear’s Rocket and the unknown Justdontcallmejeri are interesting and will take some of my cash.  I am also focused on a Sky Mesa colt but his name is Join In The Dance. This colt returned from a 41/2 months respite and ran into Imperial Council and Z Day in a scorching mode(21 4/5, 44 3/5, 1:09 3/5)  at 61/2 furlongs. He was only beaten 3 3/4 lengths. If Imperial Council was entered TBD he would be no worst than second choice. This colt’s first dam was sired by the Halo stallion Devils Bag. His second and third dams were sired by Danzig and Buckpasser respectively. He has no right being entered in sprint races. His dam line has an abundance of stamina and he clearly has speed. Elvis need only to cover him up early and unleash him in the stretch.

The Mineshaft colt Shafted has never run two bad races in a row. His last race was inexplicably bad and I expect him to rebound with a victory in the pace less San Felipe. POTN has been winning his races by small margins suggesting he needs a strong pace upfront. He will not have that luxury on Saturday.

Jason, you have clearly chosen the wrong time to go chalky.

13 Mar 2009 11:14 PM


Anytime. Glad to make your day.

Enjoy the races this weekend, that's what its really all about.

14 Mar 2009 6:12 AM

Karen In Texas,

I believe draynay come from the state of confusion. That's the only way to explain why he changes his mind like the direction of the wind. One minute it's nobody from the south can be taken seriously outside of Fla. then its RA is a superhorse from way down somewhere but not racing in Fla. Blah Blah Blah, Yak, Yak, Yak, some just like to hear themselves make noise.

14 Mar 2009 9:24 AM

Hey Mikie,

I was being as positive about you......oops I meant draynay as I could. I was literally biting my tongue and not saying what I really felt. In some cases that's as positive as you can get.

On the other hand maybe if you didn't have an attention deficit disorder you could have finished what I wrote. In a very positive statement I said somewhere in the future another Derby winner will emerge from the south.

14 Mar 2009 9:30 AM
Jason Shandler

Coldfacts: Read all my posts before you comment. I picked Giant Oak to win the La. Derby. And go ahead, waste your money trying to beat POTN.

14 Mar 2009 10:32 AM
Mike Relva


You are correct,POTN will prevail,nothing more than a workout for him. I've been on him from the beginning.

14 Mar 2009 11:58 AM
Mike Relva

TO: gw_bushwacker

You are fooling yourself if you think Draynay and myself are the same person. Here's a tip,fire your comedy writer,it's not working!

14 Mar 2009 12:00 PM

knowing the surface at Tampa is tuff to figure, Warriors Reward will certainly be of interest...connections very high on runner, and with his clear 2nd vs Dunkirk, may give us an idea of the laters' abilities!Tampa box ex. 3-4-5.

14 Mar 2009 12:02 PM

Does anybody know what happen to Ryehill Dancer....I expected him to run in California this week....

14 Mar 2009 12:15 PM

Bushwacker hey if nobody else thinks your funny I sure do. You don't need nobody writing your stuff and as far as biting your tongue buddy I've got a piece missing on mine!

Jason I got registered on the live chat but I'm having trouble getting on. You know me I'm not computer friendly. Will phone a friend and get the down low on what I'm doing wrong. Later Dude.

14 Mar 2009 2:48 PM










7/1/5 - 1/7/5/8 - 7/5/8 - 5/8/6 FIRST LOOK


14 Mar 2009 3:47 PM

General Quarters wins the TB Derby going away. Nowhere to Hide shows up in here instead of the La.Derby. Smart move by Zito considering it's raining in La. and he would've had a terrible PP there. He NEEDS Graded money so Zito should have him pretty cranked-up in here. I'll use him underneath to pick-up the pieces. Join In The Dance is interesting.Pletcher shows up outta' nowhere with this one,he must think highly of him.Ran a nice 3rd in his comeback against Imperial Council(i think),has been training good,2nd race off that lay-off and should enjoy this distance.Will also use in my exotics at a nice price,with Bear's Rocket rounding-out my live long-shots underneath GQ.I think HB is a play against in here.First time 2-turning and will have to see if he takes to that track,as with a couple of the shippers.

Friesan Fire all the way in the LA.Derby. Papa Clem for 2nd,with the closers Patena and Giant Oak completing the exotics..Thats the only way I'll make money in these 2 Chalky races,by keying GQ and FF on top.

BTW:  Jason...Bernardini would've had Point Given for lunch any day of the week.  :)   Peace!!

14 Mar 2009 5:15 PM
CB Man

It seems the pundits were just all waiting for old fashioned to slip up.

As soon as he does, they start saying "pedigree.

I'm very sure anyone watching the race was wondering what on earth was

Dominguez doing.

He had the horse on a loose rein through a quarter in 22+

and a half in 46+, chasing a horse he knew was going to fade.

I don’t know if he was instructed to do so, but from where I sit

Old fashioned  could have been handled a lot better.

He showed allot oh heart trying to battle in the stretch, but that

Break  neck( dear i say "suicide") pace did him in. I wonder if  

Dominguez  fell asleep and lost hold of him.

I still think he has what it takes to be the Derby champ. He

just needs to be ridden like he should be.

14 Mar 2009 9:14 PM

Anybody have Win Willy? My god did Patena run bad I'm in shock. Never expected that.

14 Mar 2009 9:28 PM

With the San Felipe win, POTN should become the Triple Crown leader in earnings.  I thought Papa Clem ran well for just his second start after breaking his maiden. No disgrace taking second to FF. He appears to be Cali's second or third string right with Feisy Suances (fourth to Chocolate Candy, second to POTN).  POTN over came a slow pace and just took command at the 1/2.  Looking forward to Chocolate Candy, The Pamplemousse, POTN.  It looks like FF is the only one who can hang with these top three based on his win against Papa Clem.

14 Mar 2009 10:39 PM

I believe Ryehill D is injured.

14 Mar 2009 10:40 PM

JERRY.  Ryehill Dancer had a training accident at Hollywood preparing for the Sham and underwent surgery (I think seismoind).  

14 Mar 2009 10:53 PM

Ryehill Dreamer...fractured pastern.  He was training well for the Sham.

14 Mar 2009 11:01 PM

First off, FF, let me just say wow. That was one heck of a performance, and to all those who called it, congrats. This horse is getting good at the right time, and deserves to be considered right along side of the top Derby prospects now. Next off, POTN showed he doesn't need to close, that he can stalk a pace and still win. This one is a very good horse, and in my oppinion will be the one to put the pamp in his place. Lastly, i know it wasn't OF break out performance, as it was expected that he'd blow the field away, but the pace was way way way to fast on a heavy track, and he was only two lenghts off it. Another thing is though he lost, the third place horse was eight lenghts back. Had Win Willy not ran the freak of a race he did or not even been in this race OF would've won by eight. Ramon i think did move too soon on him, kinda like HS in the Preakness, and on a heavy track and splits like he had was just too much to ask him to run so soon. This horse is still one of the top derby candidates, and should not be thrown out because of one loss. Remember he still has the AK Derby to run in.

14 Mar 2009 11:37 PM

The Kentucky Derby bubble just burst for a whole bunch of horses!

Friesan Fire was much best in the La Derby. Kudos to him. But dont expect a huge fig like IWR or Quality Road. Amazingly, Rachel Alexandra ran the same time (as the La Derby) a few races earlier in the Fair Grounds Oaks geared down! Borel didnt ask her the entire final sixteenth yet she ran just as fast as FF!

As for the La Derby also-rans, how can anyone really feel good about how they ran? Perhaps a few didnt like the slop, but that cannot be the excuse for all of them. And even for the horses the excuse does fit, what did they get out of the race? Alot of disappointments in the race, and like I said, Friesan Fire's Beyer is not going to be super high. Hard to see any of the horses behind FF being much of a factor in Kentucky. They just seem too slow. By this time, horses need to be running Beyers around 100. None of the La Derby also-rans had done so before the race, and they certainly didnt do it today.

The Tampa Bay Derby horses also seem too slow. Alot might be made of the fact that Musket Man's final time for the TB Derby was a few ticks off Street Sense's record. However, a few races earlier on the card, the filly Dont Forget Gil, ran the same time Musket Man did. Long shots ran 1-2 in the TB Derby, with Join in the Dance 2nd. The two top K Derby contenders going into the race, Hello Broadway and General Quarters, offered little. The early Florida stakes, like the Hutcheson, have not been very productive. It's hard to think any horse from the TB Derby will be anything more than a longshot in Kentucky.

I think Old Fashioned's performance in the Rebel has to be considered a disappointment. For a horse ranked #1 on most Derby lists, alot more was expected, particularly since it was his 2nd race off a layoff. Of course, Jones doesnt have him fully cranked up, and Dominguez gave him a curious ride, giving far too much respect to a sprint horse, Silver City, in the early part of the race.  Dominguez had OF just off a quick pace of 22 and 2 and 46 flat. However, for those trying to excuse the performance based on the pace, recognize that Dominguez gave him a breather on the turn, running the fourth quarter in 26 and 2. That's really slow. So, he should have been able to hold on and beat a horse like Win Willy. On the positive side, Win Willy came home the final sixteenth in a little over 6 seconds, so he, and to a certain extent, OF, finished fairly strong. However, OF is going to have no chance to win in Kentucky if he runs like this. Putting the fact he lost aside, there is no way a horse with his breeding is going to get 10 furlongs if he's that keen early and ridden that aggressively. OF needs to show that he ran rate and finish alot better than he did today. As for the other horses in the Rebel, what is there to like? I just dont see how the horses behind OF (OF was about 8 clear of the 3rd place finisher) can be considered Kentucky Derby material.

Finally, Pioneer did what he had to do. It certainly wasnt spectacular, but Gomez asked Pioneer to move out of his comfort zone by moving much earlier than usual, and the horse went about his business well enough to win fairly easily. To a certain extent, it was reminiscent of Chocalate Candy's win in the El Camino. Pioneer should keep moving forward, although he will be at a serious pace disadvantage vis-a-vis The Pamlplemouse in the SA Derby.

15 Mar 2009 3:30 AM

In my opinion, the best performances of the day were Rachel Alexandra in the La Oaks and Life Is Sweet in the Santa Margarita. Friesan Fire also ran very well, but Rachel ran the same time he did after being pulled up approaching the wire by a ridiculously confident Calvin Borel. Life is Sweet has turned into a Pro-Ride terror at Santa Anita, sweeping the El Encino, La Canada, and Santa Margarita with stretch runs rivalled only by her stablemate in the Sheriffs barn, Zenyatta. Fortunately for those fans who want to see Zenyatta's unbeaten record extended, the two should be kept apart until the Breeders Cup.

15 Mar 2009 4:23 AM

so much for the chalk

15 Mar 2009 10:37 AM

So much for those who say take a horse back to a mile after they have already one at a distance.  It looked like OF wanted that mile back.  He not only slowed but stopped the last 1/8.  3/4 and mile fractions were nothing out of the ordinary and he certainly did not get hooked by the speed.  Perhaps there is some physical cause...he did not look good at all and will be in tough against the West Coast winning machines who have already fired at a variety of distances.

15 Mar 2009 2:02 PM

Papa Clem's performance may tell us that the whole synthetic to dirt "disasters" are largely a myth.  He ran fine as did IWR but was just over matched.  A lot of dirt horse also hate Churcill and for many dirt horses it is their worst peformance of their lives.  Did Col John actually dislike the dirt, get a bad trip, or like dirt horses, just not like Churchill? Bob Black Jack seemed fine last year through some easy splits. We have a Kafwain, Empire Maker, and Candy Ride left.  All seemed poised to LOVE the dirt.  

15 Mar 2009 2:10 PM

Papa Clem didn't seem to improve particularly on the dirt (like IWR), but he didn't seem to mind it, either.  At least not running on it.  He didn't have to deal with dirt in his face though.  I thought that was one of the issues with turf/syn to dirt?

15 Mar 2009 3:51 PM


I did not have Wee Willy but can say I was at lil ole CBY Park the day he broke his Maiden back in August. I'm still in shock that a horse from our "minor league" track pulled that one off(although there have been others who ran here to go on to much bigger and better, most notably Unbridled who finished 3rd in the CBY Juvenile as a 2 yr old.). I can say there was a huge buzz going around CBY yesterday and Willy was all the talk. I wonder where his connections intend to race next. If he picked up 180K in Graded earnings that may be enough to take him to the big dance. He'd most likely be the longest shot on the board.

As for Old Fashioned, let's not forget that this race was on a track labeled "good". He clearly did not like the heavy going. Although he drops down considereably on my list, on a fast track things can be very different.

16 Mar 2009 8:00 AM

Yo slyder I was at Canterbury Park the first year it opened, were you there way back then? Racetrack with miles of corn fields in the middle of nowhere!

16 Mar 2009 10:37 AM

That was me again "W".  Brain dead today!

16 Mar 2009 2:33 PM

win willy ha how about that trip - slow till the end.

16 Mar 2009 3:23 PM


I was there on opening day when it was called Canterbury Downs. I was there when they re-opened it as Canterbury Park as well and many days in between and since. The cornfields are pretty much gone, given way to "progress". The track is in good hands although I am sure the economy being the way it is won't help. If they would only let the voters of Minnesota decide in a fair election whether or not to add a casino things would really pick up. The card club they added has helped to increase purses but we still are a relatively small player in the grand scheme of things.

17 Mar 2009 7:48 AM

slyder: Hey were you on the frontside or the backside as it were? We were stabled miles from the track and had to be in the indoor paddock before the previous race was run. I rubbed 5 head and had 2 winners, Secret Discovery and Front Money and a little mare named Snow Deer lite the board a few times. Man that was a fun time and the backside kitchen was pretty good or maybe I was hungry  so it tasted all right. I had to look up those win pics cause my memory isn't what it used to be! I remember ponying a horse one morning and the fog was so bad you couldn't see 5 feet in front of you. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

18 Mar 2009 12:33 PM

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