The Fastest 3YO You Haven't Heard of Yet

Through five weeks of the 2010 season, there have been only three 3-year-olds that have posted a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or more, and only one of those has done it around two turns. Any guesses on who the horse is? Didn't think so.

Admittedly, I had also had some research to find out more about Tempted to Tapit, a gelded son of Tapit, out of the Editor's Note mare Tempting Note. Tempted to Tapit earned his 100 Beyer on Jan. 18 in the mud at Aqueduct in his 3-year-old debut, going one mile in 1:37.88 for an 11 1/2-length romp. It was another 10 1/4 lengths back to the third place horse. The gray led every call of the way while posting impressive fractions of :22.95 and :46.78, which were equal to the stakes splits later that day.

Watch the Replay.

At first glance, the fact that Tempted to Tapit needed four tries to break his maiden is a red flag, but there are a couple of factors that gives him a legitimate excuse. First, trainer Steve Klesaris said he was not yet gelded when he tired to finish fifth in his debut last September at Delaware Park.

"He was completely unmanageable before we gelded him," Klesaris said. "He had zero focus with anything that related to racing. He was climbing on top of any horse he could."

Tempted to Tapit ran well in his next two starts--both at Philadelphia Park--finishing runner-up in both after setting the pace. But he lost focus at the end of both races which cost him, not to mention the fact that he was beaten by a couple of talented 2-year-olds--Schoolyard Dreams, who came back to win an optional claimer for Derek Ryan and is pointed toward stakes races at Tampa Bay, and Laus Deo, winner of the Count Fleet on Jan. 2 at Aqueduct.

"He looked like a winner in those last two races," Klesaris said. "He looked like he couldn't lose either one. But he just hadn't put it all together by then and he faced a couple of pretty good horses."

Perhaps the biggest change in the Jan. 18 romp was the addition of blinkers, which seemed to keep Tempted to Tapit focused on the job at hand.

"It definitely helped," Klesaris said. "He didn't put forth that focus in the two races before and that is what got him beat. He's starting to put it all together."

Since the maiden win, Klesaris has sent Tempted to Tapit down to Gulfstream Park to train. In his first work back, he ripped off five furlongs in 1:00.20, handily. Klesaris will find out just what he has in the next race, which will either be the Risen Star at Fair Grounds or Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream--both on Feb. 20. Another big effort will have the connections dreaming of the Kentucky Derby. Temped to Tapit is owned by Gainesway Stable, who bought him for just $18,000 at a yearling.

"The fact that he did it around two bends, running the fractions that he did, and the 100 Beyer, all of that is exciting," Klesaris said. "Any time you have a young horse win like that you think (of the Derby) in the back of your head. Everybody hopes and dreams about having that kind of horse. But we certainly have a lot of steps ahead of us."

From a pedigree standpoint, Klesaris says "there is no reason to think he shouldn't relish whatever distance we throw at him." Tapit won the 2004 Wood Memorial, Tempting Note won twice around two turns, and Editor's Note won the 1996 Belmont Stakes.

Tempted to Tapit, who is an April 1 foal, will be ridden by David Cohen in all of his future starts, according Klesaris.

** As a reminder, we will begin our fun and popular live chats this Friday, Feb. 12 at noon EST. We will focus on this weekend's key preps, the Sam Davis, Robert Lewis, and Southwest, as well as talk about anything else on your minds. The live chats will be hosted by myself and Tom LaMarra, and will occur most Friday's though the Triple Crown season. Look forward to chatting with everyone.


Leave a Comment:


Hehehe.  Sounds like his name suits his nature, pre-gelding that is...

09 Feb 2010 4:27 PM

Back then he wasn't Tempted to Tapit, he was I'm Gonna Tapit Period.

Now he's merely Tempted.  hee hee

09 Feb 2010 5:20 PM
Ann in Lexington

The Aqueduct Inner Track is a lousy testing ground for Triple Crown candidates. Yeah, Smarty Jones won a stakes on the inner, but he broke his maiden and won a stakes race elsewhere earlier; his was a fly-in/fly-out win.

09 Feb 2010 5:38 PM
Ted from LA

He might still be Tempted to Tapit, but less motivated.  I really like his story and his dad was my losing Derby horse in 2004.

09 Feb 2010 5:41 PM
Lil Darlin

Any thoughts about his slow final quarter? I guess he really didn't have to run too fast at that point given his lead, but I'd rather see one coming strong at the end than a speedy frontrunner when thinking Derby.

09 Feb 2010 5:59 PM

Jason - the entries for the Sam Davis are named tomorrow. Will you guys be doing a video on the race?

From what I can piece together looks like the following so far:



Middle of the Nite

Schoolyard Dreams

Gleam of Hope

Hear Ye Hear Ye

Tristan's Mombo

Lets see how close I am.

09 Feb 2010 6:14 PM
Don from Delaware

I recall seeing him run his first race at Delaware Park, nice looking horse, I hope he improves and stays focused with SK....I loved his Dad.

09 Feb 2010 6:29 PM

Love to see Tapit get a high class runner that is a colt, he is getting the reputation as a filly sire at the sales. That can change quickly with a colt on the Derby Trail.

09 Feb 2010 6:36 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Either way great name for a derby horse. I dont care if he wins another race every again!

09 Feb 2010 7:29 PM

Going a short run into a two - turn mile , a 22 3/5 first quarter then a 23 3/5 second quarter is solid.

He was clearly under no urging whatsoever the last quarter with the jock looking around every which way, so to slow down is normal.

I'd much rather have speed - to stay out of trouble and within striking distance.

That was a very good race.

09 Feb 2010 7:42 PM
Jason Shandler

LilDarlin: It was a fast first half-mile so I dont think the slower final quarter is a big deal. Like Klesaris said, he is still learning and he wasnt asked for too much late. Let's see if he can handle stakes company and we'll know a lot more.

09 Feb 2010 7:58 PM

Jason - definitely an impressive win by the Tempted to Tapit.  The Tapits really are speedy little creatures.

But what happened to Freefourme, the colt that broke down and fell at the top of the stretch?  He stood up but looked very shaky.  What a horrible fall...please say he survived it?  (The jockey, Gabriel Saez, is ok)

09 Feb 2010 8:32 PM
The Rock

Big Beyers accomplished on off goings are tricky to read. If I'm handicapping a race, and a horse has registered a big Beyer on an off track, I tend to throw that Beyer out if they're running on a fast surface. A good case n point is in the Fair Grounds Oaks last year. The filly that ran second to Rachel Alexandra whose name slips my mind right now but is out of the great race mare Lakeway, had an average of 70 BSF's on a dry main track and registered a 90 or so on an off going when breaking her maiden.

I'd like to see what this horse does on a dry main track first before placing some bucks on him against some top company. Not only that, this horse will be overbet due to the big beyer and after everyone else has read this article. =)

09 Feb 2010 8:51 PM

Thanks Jason for the heads up on this guy.

He definitely looked good, and appears to be well built and have a pedigree that offers hope of stretching out.  In general, I agree that I look for speed in most promising dirt horses.  Given most races are between 6 and 9 furlongs, a horse with speed and that can get at least 9 furlongs can make alot of money.  

As it concerns the Triple Crown races and BC Classic, however, stamina does become so important.  Typically, horses with tactical speed dominate the Derby prep races at a mile and 9 furlongs.  Then, the Derby field ends up full of talented speed horses, but the sheer number of these speed horses damages the chances of each one individually.  The all too common result is a brutal Derby pace, with the first quarter in sub-23 and a half in sub-46.

The inner track of Aqueduct is something that remains kind of a mystery to me.  I've been to the races at Aqueduct just once for the 2004 Gotham day(the top 3 finishers  all ended up being gr.1 winners, with Saratoga County 1st, Pomeroy 2nd, Eddington 3rd), and I have watched just a few stakes on the inner track over the years, so I don't have alot of context with which to place Tempted to Tapit's performance.  

Some of the stereotypes I have of inner track Derby prospects is that they often seem to flash and burn.  Every year there seems to be a few 3 year olds that run a monster race on the inner track and become overnight Derby sensations.  Often times the thing that first draws attention to such horses is a huge Beyer.  The inner track seems to produce some unusually high figures from unlikely horses.  In addition to Tempted to Tapit, this year's inner track revelation has been the 5 year old Understatement, who ran a 115 Beyer winning the listed 8.5 furlong Evening Attire on Jan 16th.  Prior to that race, Understatement's previous best Beyer had been a 101, and of his 4 career victories, 3 have come on Aqueduct's inner course.  

It seems like Aqueduct can produce some unusually strong performances by certain horses, and that particular horses REALLY love it, leading to some true horses for courses.  Typically, the 3 year old prospects that jump out of nowhere and run huge races on the inner track fail to live up to the subsequent hype.  However, some of these inner track wonders have gone on to do some good things elsewhere.  Smarty Jones won the Count Fleet Stakes early 2004, Sweetnorthernsaint broke his maiden on the inner track, and both Concerto and Noble Nashua won some big stakes races after winning the Whirlaway, but those big wins came after not being factors in the Triple Crown.  Last year's winner of the Whirlaway, Haynesfield, returned from a brief injury and won the Empire Classic for NY breds and just won the graded Discovery Cap' easily on the Aqueduct main track.  And Jason's hype horse from the inner track, Mr. Fanatsy, did bounce back from his drubbing in the Gotham to win the Withers Stakes.

By far the most accomplished recent Aqueduct inner-track runner was Prarie Bayou.  After running 2nd in the Ricco, and winning the Count Fleet and Whirlaway on the inner track, he won the Jim Beam(Lane's End), Blue Grass, and Preakness and was named 93' Champion 3 year old.  

09 Feb 2010 9:57 PM

Rule heads Sam Davis probables

By Doug McCoy

The field for Saturday's Grade 3 Sam Davis Stakes could be as small as six or as large as 12, according to Tampa Bay Downs stakes coordinator Mandy McKeever.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Rule, winner of the $750,000 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes, is slated to make his 3-year-old debut in the Davis. Uptowncharlybrown, who has turned more than a few heads here winning his first two starts, is also pointing for the Davis, and signaled his readiness last Friday when he breezed six furlongs in a solid 1:14.80.

Another locally based runner, Schoolyard Dreams, worked a half in 47.40 seconds Sunday morning, the best move of 78 at that distance on a busy work tab. Schoolyard Dreams has won 2 of his 3 outings. Others pointing for the Davis are Tristan's Mombo, Hear Ye Hear Ye, and Middle of the Nite, African Moon, Call Shot, Domonation, and Lucas Brady are possibilities.

09 Feb 2010 10:07 PM
Jason Shandler

I agree GunBow. The inner track at Aqueduct is tricky and sometimes can be misleading. Im glad Steve shipped him to Florida so we can tell what we really have with this horse. New York doesnt tell us much--at least not lately.

09 Feb 2010 10:22 PM

Tempted to Tapit ran a great race - too bad he is gelded!  However, I would like to know which horse went down during the race.  As you watch the spill the horse gets up, but it looked like his right front hoof was dangling.  Did they put him down?  What was his name?  Who was the jockey and is he okay?

09 Feb 2010 10:26 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks,great read!  What's your opinion on Jackson Bend?

09 Feb 2010 10:27 PM

Yawn. He ain't no Christine Daae.

09 Feb 2010 10:52 PM

@Sherpa & Nancy

Sadly, the New York Post column "Through the Binocs" says it was a fatal breakdown.

Here's the entry:

"SECOND RACE: Impressive maiden victory by 3-year-old gelding Tempted to Tapit was overshadowed by fatal breakdown of Freefourme, who shattered his left front leg top of stretch and fell; jockey Gabe Saez hit the ground hard but was not injured...

09 Feb 2010 10:53 PM

This is out of context but as a fan of racing for over 20 years I am getting sick of racing.  There are NO excuses for RA and Zen to not race at OP.  Both horses have had enough time to recover and train for a 2 and a half million pot. Prep? Hello Azeri stakes  150K paid workout. To all of you who say rich people do not care about a 5 mil race and do not need the money like us. They are the most greedy people on earth they only want more.  Then you get classic Dr. J who fires a trainer (as usual) when a horse won what SB  won?  Dr. J is the idiot who wanted to go to Japan (greed) and got the horse hurt. This game is hurting bad.   Oh as for a 3yo  Dublin!!!!!

09 Feb 2010 11:04 PM
Greg J.


     Good Story, What a great looking colt. I also love the name, If he gets to the Derby, The name alone will turn some heads, lol. On a side note, The Sam Davis should be an interesting race, I want to see the full field, But, Can't wait to see Rule make his three year old debut! Looking forward to the live chat Friday, Also...


   The name of the colt who broke down was "Freefourme", Sadly, He had a horrible break to his left front leg, Very high on the Canon bone and was euthanized.  He was trained and owned by Michael Maker.  His jockey, Gabriel Saez, Was very lucky and fine afterwards...

09 Feb 2010 11:27 PM

Thanks for the visual on Tempted to Tapit. Visually he looked impressive. I just worry about horses that go out to the lead uncontested this early is the season. One mile with no real horses behind him do not help the cause. I would love to see him go out like this in the Risen Star against Maximus Ruler close to him on the lead. We might have an idea who is the true derby candidate between the two.

10 Feb 2010 12:47 AM


10 Feb 2010 12:48 AM
Matt Converse

I've had Tempted to Tapit in my Derby Dozen the last few weeks since this race.  But Ann is right about the inner at Aqueduct, there are a lot of high Beyers run on that track every year, especially with rail front-runners, and they often can't repeat those races elsewhere.

I'm hoping Tempted to Tapit is the exception.  I like Editor's Note as damsire balancing Tapit in the pedigree; he wasn't very fast but he could run all day.  I also like that Tempted to Tapitran big around two turns and seems to have improved quite a bit.  But his next race, at a different track, will be a truer test.  

10 Feb 2010 1:01 AM

Tapit is really producing some nice horses, I always pay attention to his offspring when they are running.  I'll be watching to see how this one does next out.

10 Feb 2010 2:35 AM


This gelding has merely beaten a group of overmatched colts and does not merit a thread for this effort. I could be judging him harshly but I have seen these runaway victories on the Big A inner track before. I am a fan of his sire Tapit who has been siring some nice runners. Although the dame line of Tempted to Tapit is loaded with stamina, there is no derby history associated with it. It appears his dam sire Editors Note didn’t hang around long enough to establish a broodmare band and in any event he was very slow horse. The sire of his second dam Devil Bag had a 20 year stallion career and none of his broodmares have hit the derby board. Halo was an excellent sire but neither he nor his sons have distinguished themselves as broodmare sire of TC horses. It is unlikely that Tempted to Tapit will in contention for the roses on the first Saturday in May.

I have seen what is shaping up to be the likely field for the Sam Davis on couple of posts. I must admit I know very little about most of the likely starters. However, in doing my usual pedigree research one colt captured my attention. Let me state for the records that I am very big on inbreeding to siblings. It is one of the reasons why I am high on Vale Of York and Concord Point. The pedigree of likely starter Hear Ye Hear Ye who won the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes at 20-1, reflect an inbreeding to siblings. Who are the siblings? None other than the great Mr. Prospector and his relatively unknown brother Search For Gold both by Raise A Native/Gold Digger. There is something unique about the pedigree of this colt. His dam I Am Nifty is also inbred to Mr. Prospector and his relatively unknown brother Search For Gold. It can be concluded that Hear Ye Hear Ye has a double dose of two full sons of Raise A Native.

Hear Ye Hear Ye was settled in fourth position along the rails in the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes before being angled three wide for his wining move. The fractions for the Jack Price were 22.3, 47, 1:12 and 1:25.1. On Calder track that is known to be deep his final time was excellent. Is this colt a derby horse? Well he was sired by Hear No Evil who happens to be the sire of the highly regarded Jacksons Bend. His dam was sired by Unbridled Song who hails from the Mr. Prospector line. The Mr. Prospector broodmare line has suddenly come to life on the dirt in recent time. It had always done well on the turf. Does anyone remember Daylami? The broodmare line has produced derby winners Barbaro and Mine That Bird. HOY Rachel Alexandra’s dam was sire by Roar a grandson of Mr. P. The #1 horse in the world for 2009 Sea The Stars is part of the Mr. P broodmare line. His dam was sired by Miswaki a son of Mr. P. Daylami’s dam was also sired by Miswaki. If Jacksons Bend whose dam is from the non-performing Strom Cat broodmare line is a derby contender, I would not dismiss Hear Ye Hear Ye. He was produced from a hot broodmare line; his sired was not abused as he only bred 15 mares in 2006 and both he and his dam are he is inbred to sibling.

10 Feb 2010 3:13 AM

Only 80 days to go until the big one. Draynay do you have your pink dress and hat picked out and fitted yet as per your promise?

We'll likely be hearing many names like Tempted To Tapit pop up as possible Derby Contenders. It's great information to share Jason and I'm sure we can count on the nay nay to let us know how terrible and unworthy they are to even be considered.

10 Feb 2010 7:45 AM

I know they listed the track as muddy but to me it didn't seem that way.  Did I miss something or are there different levels of muddy tracks?

10 Feb 2010 8:37 AM
mike rullo


inner dirt at the big A, speed fig's always not a true measurement.

10 Feb 2010 11:07 AM


I would like to let you know how much I appreciate the details you put into your posts. I think people often overlook the vaulable information pedigrees provide.

10 Feb 2010 3:51 PM
Lil Darlin

Thanks for the input, Jason. I guess I always get a little hesitant with a frontrunning horse for the Derby. I agree with GunBow regarding a horses ability to make a lot of money at 9F or less, but the TC races are just a whole different monster from everything else in racing. Speed is good, in fact, it's generally necessary. But right now I am looking for a horse that I think can let that speed loose at the right time. It will be interesting to see his next race.  Thank you for bringing him to our attention.

10 Feb 2010 7:34 PM

Bushwacker I know talent when I see it and to watch that horse struggle at the end did nothing for me.  Not only that but when was the last time a horse that ugly won the Derby?  Christine Daae showed more speed and talent and I believe we will see 3 fillies in the Derby for the first time ever.  Rachel would have won it last year and there is no reason not to believe one of the talented fillies will do it this year.  No male has really impressed me yet.

10 Feb 2010 9:46 PM
Mike Relva


Now among other things,you're calling MTB "ugly". You still harbor a grudge cause you got burned last yr,same thing w/ Zenyatta.

10 Feb 2010 10:48 PM

I never thought Zenyatta was ugly. I just think she is the most over hyped horse in history.  A poly specialist that benefited from races being run on that garbage.  Mike who is MTB ?

11 Feb 2010 12:50 AM

I'm looking forward to the TC starting in May and I sure hope that the Zen/RA 3 race series culminating in the BC becomes a reality...did you see Mr. Moss's response...sour grapes or what...the more he talks the more "Mr Nice Guy" goes out the window...still love Zen, though.

I hope that they run against the boys, can't wait to see them face QR...and at longer distance I can't wait to see if SB improves from last year...

It will be a good year if all agree to play!!

11 Feb 2010 6:56 AM


The only talent you know is the 2/5 favorites everybody knows. I have yet to see you tout a horse BEFORE they run a big race or fast time. Now you are on Christine Daae but you sure didn't

"discover" her. Everybody who follows the sport closely sees the same thing you did after her last race and many knew it before. If you don't stop patting yourself on the back for what everyone else can see you are going to break your arm someday.

11 Feb 2010 8:06 AM

Rachel- why are you so biased?  What is so great about Jess Jackson deciding this?  Why could he not have contacted the Mosses and tell them that he was speaking to Mr Waltrip about this and he would like their input as to what races would be appropriate?  Instead, he springs this like he is being the big sports magnate, that he's doing this and that the Mosses should just follow what he says like sheep.  I would be pissed off too.  Mr Shirreffs was told about it by a reporter!  Then asked to give a comment on something he or the Mosses knew nothing about.  The press knew about this before the other horses connections did.  What does that tell you?  I hope the Mosses tell him where he can put his series of races.  If he wants to meet Zenyatta, he can come race against her.  All agreeing to play obviously means doing what Mr Jackson wants, as usual.  I guess that's sour grapes to you.  But to me, it was just another headline and ego stroke for him.  If he did it correctly and told them about it before he told the press, I would applaud him for it.  The fact that he did it this way is just a way to say look how great I am.  I hope they turf her.

11 Feb 2010 11:59 AM

Jason- sorry about commenting on a topic that isn't relevant to this blog.  I will keep myself under control-lol!

11 Feb 2010 12:00 PM
Greg J.


    Great piece on Thorn Song and his whole ordeal, Cleared alot of the details up!  Bravo to Dr. Doug Herthel, Who knows?  Maybe down the road this will be THE cure for Laminitis, Thanks again...

11 Feb 2010 12:14 PM

I am a fan and supporter of Rachel Alexandra.  But frankly I'm getting a little sick and tired of Jess Jackson and Steve Ausmussen's little game.  It seems like they will not run Rachel unless they can control everything and that every situation is 100% ideal for them.  So what if Rachel isn't at her absolute best by the Apple Blossom.  Horses rarely fire their best race every time they run. I'm sure Zenyatta will not be fully tuned for that either, having not raced since the Breeder's Cup and only having a prep 3 weeks out.  Horses in the past ran in important races when the situation is not ideal for them or when they were not completely tuned for it (I can name plenty of examples). There is certainly time for them to get a prep and run her back without risking her health.  Hell, agree to try and run in a number of races and if the horses are healthy, show up and run.  Is the $5 million purse not good enough?

Up until recently I always thought that Zenyatta might be ducking Rachel but it seems to me that Rachel is the one that might be ducking Zenyatta. Something has got to be rotten in Denmark if you can't get your horse to a $5 million dollar race on two months of preparation at an acceptable fitness level.  I still love Rachel and will root for her but I just had to vent on my frustrations.  Sorry, I could be completely off here.

11 Feb 2010 12:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Greg. It's nice story. Dr. Herthel will be a guest at a conference on stem cell next month and will talk all about the subject of treating laminitis with this procedure. He says it will be the future of medicine. Exciting news. He is a true pioneer in equine medicine.

11 Feb 2010 12:18 PM


My thoughts EXACTLY regarding Mr. Jackson jumping the gun and talking to the press before consulting Zenyatta's connectons FIRST.

I completely understand Mr. Moss' reaction. If this is sour grapes to some, so be it... RACHEL, are you Mary in VT? You seem to be of the same mindset.

11 Feb 2010 12:35 PM


Good post and right on the money.  You're not the one that should say sorry.......maybe some of these prima donna owners should start paying attention to what's going on.  Some people say that Jackson's good for racing.  Is he?  Jackson's good for Jackson and he doesn't care about anything else, especially, so it seems, the industry.

11 Feb 2010 12:48 PM

Footlick, I'm not biased, well, except Rachel and I share our first name and my last name starts with "A", LOL...I love Zen and last year I thiought she may have beaten Rachel at 1 1/8 or longer...if Rachel carries her form and grows into herself, well, it'll be a horse race...3 I hope...from 1 1/8 to 1 1/4!!

I hate match races but I love rivalries...this has all the makings of a beautiful rivalry if both parties race all year, and not just one race and whoever wins first "retires", especially with QR factored into the equation.

Someone had to start doing more than talking about it...Mr. Moss could have just as well been the first to actually put something into motion, fact if I remember, it was HIM who said we'll be everywhere she (Rachel) is, everytime, so what's the big deal?

Jason, thanks so much for someone finally giving an "official" Thorn Song update. I had emailed the clinic yesterday to just ask if he was alive, they were so nice.

11 Feb 2010 12:48 PM


Ditto on Greg J.'s comment re: your much needed and much appreciated article on Thorn Song. This story is turning out to be quite positive instead of the lurid scandal it could have been. (Sigh of relief!) Horseracing does not need another ugly turn of events. Here's to a full recovery for Thorn Song and Bravo to Dr. Herthel for still trying when all hope appeared lost.

11 Feb 2010 12:54 PM

Rachel- After I posted I thought I shouldn't have stated it that way-lol.  Sorry.  

11 Feb 2010 1:41 PM

Ditto to all the other props to Jason for the article in Thorn Song.  This is a huge step in the treatment of laminitis.

11 Feb 2010 1:42 PM

That is a very interesting article about Thorn Song, Jason.  I have so many questions about the use of this procedure.  Dr. Herthel said they have treated only a handful of laminitis cases with stem-cell therapy.  Is this because it is generally ineffective against laminitis?  I wonder if there is a way to use this therapy as a preventative measure for horses at risk of developing laminitis.  I remember that Barbaro, just like Thorn Song, was afflicted with a foot abcess prior to the laminitis taking hold.  Could that be signaling the onset of laminitis, and used as a cue to administer stem-cell therapy as a prevention?  

11 Feb 2010 2:00 PM
Jason Shandler

Helsbelles: I think that is exactly what Dr. Herthel was saying--that there is tremendous hope that stem cell will in the future be able to be used to fight lamintis. As I said earlier, there is a conference next month in which he will speak about this very subject. The Blood-Horse and The Horse will have coverage of this event. Stay tuned...

11 Feb 2010 2:03 PM

I just took a peek at Tempted To Tapit's pedigree, and YIKES!  He's inbred to Mr. P three times.  Of course he is fast, but he ain't built to last...

11 Feb 2010 3:07 PM

Yes, thanks Jason for the excellent story on Thorn Song.  Some crazy, and hopeful stuff.

As for Rachel-Zenyatta, I concur with Footlick and 2:24.

The fact Jess Jackson has decided not to run Rachel in the Apple Blossom hardly surprises me.  That's something I did predict(lol referrence to last thread).  As I commented about a week ago, I really think Rachel could be ready to run in 2 months.  However, I just thought that Jackson would be hesitant to run her under such circumstances AGAINST Zenyatta.  And to Jackson's credit, he has as much as admitted this. He commented that Rachel would not be ready to run in two months against a horse the level of Zenyatta, suggesting that if the Apple Blossom had a $5 million purse but no Zenyatta, Rachel would be much more likely to run.

As for Jackson "announcing" the series of 3 races, it was just another salvo of many to come in the "Cold War" that has yet to turn hot.  Until Rachel and Z actually meet, the "war" will remain just propaganda, and as we saw with the debate over HoY, propaganda can really get people fired up.  

Given that Moss/Sherriffs had already announced that Zenyatta would be running in the Apple Blossom, Jackson knew that in making the announcement that Rachel would not run, it would be Team Zenyatta 1 and Team Rachel 0  in the 2010 propaganda war.  Jackson had to respond someway, and he did it with the proposal for the series of races, even though neither Jerry Moss nor anyone connected to Zenyatta had been consulted.  I hate to say it, but it really does come across as mostly spin on Jackson's part.

In my opinion, why should we suddenly jump to a series of 3 races when we have thus far been unsuccessful in getting the two horses into the starting gate just once?  When you have two sides that will only run if their horse is 100%, I just don't see how a series of 3 races is going to come about.  Most likely, the 3 race proposal will only lead to more and more negotiations and debate; which races will be designated, when, what happens if one of the horses is not 100% for one or more of the races, will the side that withdraws be forced to forfeit?  And there will likely be dozens of more points of contention.  

Right now, both sides should be thinking about baby-steps.  Let's plan one race at a time, and make sure we get at least 1 race with both horses.  Then, maybe there could be discussions about more meetings, and setting the conditions for those races.  I just see alot of talking and little actual racing if the two sides start getting into specifics about 3 races.  Instead of discussing the 2nd and 3rd races in the series, if the sides could even agree to 3 races, and making plans for some race 4 months from now, let's get 1 race into the books. Unless one side just concedes to the other's demands and announces that they will show up wherever and whenver the other runs, the "series" may take months just to get out of the planning stages.  

11 Feb 2010 3:13 PM

draynay makes a good point about how Tempted to Tapit finished.  folks have already been discussing the relatively slow finishing fractions, but as Jason points out Tempted to Tapit had run very fast early fractions and had the race well in hand.  

However, in viewing the race I noticed that Tempted to Tapit was being asked strongly, and was even whipped repeatedly, deep into the stretch.  I think it was only inside the sixteenth pole that the jockey put away the stick.  So, while Tempted to Tapit was winning by a large margin, I really think he was giving his all most of the stretch drive, so I really don't think he could have finished much faster.  

So, I am one that definitely has concerns about the slow final fractions and how that translates into Tempted to Tapit getting more ground. Yet, as I and others have mentioned, his bredding does suggest he should get at least 9 furlongs and possibly more.

11 Feb 2010 3:19 PM


Must you always be the voice of reason? :) I agree that orchestrating ONE race at a time is all than we can hope for at this time. Common courtesy on the part of Mr. Jackson would be a good starting point.

About Tempted to Tapit, he didn't look, to me, like a horse "who was struggling" as Draynay wrote. I believe he also called him "ugly". Obviously, I didn't see the same horse you guys saw! Maybe this beautiful grey gelding is smarter than his jockey and knew he had the rest of the field beat by several lenghts. :)

11 Feb 2010 4:49 PM
Mike Relva



11 Feb 2010 5:18 PM


Like your top pick in the Sam Davis, I'll be using him in my exacta,but not with the 4 OR the 6.

11 Feb 2010 7:38 PM

In just a few hours my earlier post has become irrelevant.  And I'm sooo happy!  Rachel-Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom, April 9th, a week later than originally scheduled!

As I wrote in both my post earlier today and my post when the Apple Blossom purse hike was announced, I seriously doubted that Jess Jackson would run Rachel against Zenyatta in the Apple Blossom, on April 2nd.  While I have continued to believe that Rachel could be ready to run in a grade 1 race on April 2nd, with or without a prep, I felt Jackson would be hesitant to run in a race against the horse the caliber of Zenyatta(or a Quality Road) in any April 2nd race. And Jackson as much as admitted this in his announcement yesterday that Rachel wouldn't make the Apple Blossom.  

For those that still don't believe Zenyatta to be a great horse, it is clear that the connections of her competitors , like Jess Jackson, do view her as a great one.  Jackson knows Rachel needs to be at her best to beat Zenyatta, and thus his reluctance to run Rachel against Zenyatta as early as April 2nd.

Although I have been doubtful of an Apple Blossom showdown, last week I did suggest that Oaklwan could perhaps think about moving the Apple Blossom back a week to the 9th, Arkansas Derby day (as well as the last day of the meet).  Yesterday, it was reported that Oaklawn was strongly against moving the Apple Blossom back a week.  At first glance, this seemed to me to be very shortsighted by Mr. Cella and the folks at Oaklawn.  However, their stubborness was based on some valid reasons.  Most importantly, Oaklawn wanted to separate the Apple Blossom and Arkansas Derby for financial reasons.  The Arkansas Derby has become a monster money-making day for Oaklawn, and they knew it would be so again this year with or without a Rachel-Zenyatta showdown the same day.  As for the Apple Blossom, it has traditionally been a big day as well, but nothing close to Arkansas Derby day. However, the possibility of a Rachel-Zenyatta meeting in the Apple Blossom promised to make Apple Blossom day as big or even bigger than the Arkansas Derby day, virtually guaranteeing the track TWO mondster days.  While pushing back the Apple Blossom to the 9th would have made Arkansas Derby even bigger, it likely wouldn't have the financial impact that it would have if it was the feature race on a separate day.

In a wonderful turn, however, it appears Cella and Oaklawn have reconsidered, and placed the larger picture, and the overall industry, ahead of their own bottomline.  For this, Mr. Cella and those at Oaklawn deserve much credit and thanks.

And while I didn't like Jes Jackson's unspecific proposal for a 3 race series, and viewed it as a propaganda response to announcing that Rachel wouldn't make the Apple Blossom, I must offer him my sincere gratitude for agreeing to the change in schedule.  In contrast to how some have portrayed him, Jess Jackson ultimately proved himself amenable to negotiations and comrpomise.  Even with the extra week, Jackson knows that Rachel still might not be 100% or as fit as he would like her.  But like Cella, Jackson has put these small worries aside for the betterment of the sport.  

For those that criticize Jackson for being all talk when it comes to sportsmanship, Jackson's decision to run on the 9th is a bold rebuttal.  As an aside, I never understood the criticism concerning Jackson's sportsmanship in handling Rachel last year.  The man put Rachel through a series of races that had not been successfully accomplished by a 3 year old filly since Busher in 1945. I do understand how some could be turned off by how it is often Jackson himself who draws attention to his sportsmanship, and how he can come across as being a self-promoter sometimes.  All in all, though, I think he has been extremely sporting as it concerns his two best horses, Rachel and Curlin.  That fact he brought both back to the track AFTER Horse of the Year honors speaks volumes.  

I also respect Jerry Moss' sportsmanship.  While he has not  been nearly as ambitious with Zenyatta as Jackson has been with Rachel, but he did take Zenayya to Oaklawn to face defending older female champ, Ginger Punch(6 time career gr.1 winner), in just Zenyatta's 4th career start, run Zenyatta 7 times in 2008 from January until the Breeder's Cup and 9 times from November 07' to November 08', accepted 129 in the 09' Vanity, and then accept the challenge of running Zenyatta in the Breeder's Cup Classic.  

Given Rachel's historic series of wins over the boys, the decision to run Zenyatta in the Classic does not appear necessarilly adventurous.  However, had there been no Rachel, Moss' decision to run in the Classic would have been looked at as extraordinary, especially considering that Zenyatta had a 13 race winning streak.  In the year's BR(Before Rachel), few would have been critical had Zenyatta defended her title in the Distaff facing the likes of Life is Sweet, Music Note, Careless Jewel, Proviso, Mushka and others.  Instead, Zenyatta became just the 3rd female to even try the Classic, and, obviously, the only one to win it.  

It's not like alot of people look back at Personal Ensign and criticize Ogden Phipps and Shug McGaughey for running in the 88' Distaff rather than the Classic.  On the contrary, the 88' BC Distaff has become revered as one of the greatest races in the series' history(perhaps eclipsed only by Zenyatta's Classic), made even more memorable because Personal Ensign was 12 for 12 and trying to become the first thoroughbred since Colin eighty years earlier to retire from racing (at the elite level) undefeated.  However, given the Horse of the Year had basically been narrowed down to Alysheba and Personal Ensign prior to the BC, couldn't one criticize Phipps and McGaughey for not going for it all and challenging Alysheba in the Classic to determine HoY on the track and elevate even further Personal Ensign's place in history?  Just something to think about.  

Jess Jackson spoiled us by running Rachel so many times against gr.1 males, and changed the male-female paradigm in the United States, so it's easy to lose perspective of just how brave Jerry Moss' decision to run Zenyatta in the Classic really was. And, one should not underestimate the courage of Jerry Moss(and his wife) to bring Zenyatta back at age 6, risking her unbeaten record.  Ultimately, Moss brought Zenyatta back to silence those critics that still remain, and to do so, challenge Rachel, run some more races against males, and run outside of California on dirt surfaces.  How many owners would have brought either Rachel or Zenyatta back this year?  With the Apple Blssom now apparently on, let's give Jess Jackson and Jerry Moss their due.  Let's hope both of these all-time great females stay healthy and are able to perform at their best in the Apple Blossom and thoughout the year.  Much can still happen over the next few months.

11 Feb 2010 8:44 PM

My apologies for confusing some of the dates.

The original schedule for the Apple Blossom was for Saturday April 3rd, not the 2nd like I wrote above.  The new date for the Apple Blossom is for the 9th, which will be a Friday.  The Apple Blossom will not be run on the same date as the Arkansas Derby.  The Arkansas Derby will be run on the 10th.

So, Oaklawn still gets to have the Apple Blossom and the Arkansas Derby on separate days, maximizing the financial potential of both.  The drawback for Oaklawn in having the Apple Blossom on Friday the 9th instead of Saturday the 3rd is that it will now be run on a weekday rather than a weekend.  I assume that Oaklawn believes that having the Apple Blossom on a Friday is better than putting both of their big draws on the same day.  

My point in giving Cella and Oaklawn some props still stands.  While the 3rd would have been best for Oaklawn as a track, getting Rachel and Zenyatta together is best for the game(and having a Rachel-Zenyatta meeting on the 9th is better for Oaklawn than an Apple Blossom with just one on the 3rd).

11 Feb 2010 9:34 PM

All I have to say about Rachel and Zenyatta on April 9th:


12 Feb 2010 1:07 AM
Forbidden Apple

Zenyatta is far from overhyped, she gets less respect because her owners love Santa Anita and chose to run her at her home. It's not their fault that the mindless Breeder's Cup folks chose the same race venue 2 years in a row. Her power and stride are unmatched by any horse in North America.

As far as Rachel Alexandra goes, enjoy her while you can. I am pretty certain that this will be her last year of racing, if she even completes the racing season in the Breeder's Cup at Churchill Downs. It's too bad that her arrogant owner wants her to be a preciuous little piece of history. I want to see her run at 4 and 5, to see her full potential, she is lightning fast and has a huge heart. Can you imagine a race with these to ladies versus Curlin. Why did Curlin retire, he could still be racing today!

14 Feb 2010 3:05 PM

Everybody else has a top 10, I might as well toss my two bits in.

I'm in a private fantasy stable group. I have been in it for years.

I've owned some good ones over the years, too. Azeri was one. I also jumped all over Giacomo when he came up in our auction. Yeah, he was a grinder, but everything that year was a front runner except him.

Ok, Pletcher has a barn full of front runners. I happen to like one not in his barn, and hopefully he runs true to form and doesn't manage to get one to run far enough.

My list:

Tempted To Tapit, mainly because he isn't trained by Todd. Todd's great in the preps but somehow can't get them to go 10 furlongs in early May.


Conveyance Looked very nice last out.

Lookin At Lucky

Discreetly Mine... at least he's bred for it, in my opinion.

Concord Point


Noble's Promise... looks like he's developing.

Aspire, I loved him before he got hurt... he had a decent return.

Mission Impazible

Bank The Eight

I like longshots. Can you tell?

06 Mar 2010 10:43 AM

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