Hurry Hurry, Get Your Future Bets In!

Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. I don't like the fact that they only allow 23 betting interests (plus the mutuel field) when it would seem fairly easy to expand the pool to 40 or 50 choices.

But more to the point, I am someone who likes to get huge odds when I place a future bet, and that is why I always find a way to get to Vegas (or have someone go for me) in November or December to put some money down on promising contenders while the gettin' is still good.

As I've written before, I placed three bets through a friend in November: Interactif and Middle of the Nite both at 225-1 (neither one is on Pool 1 of the official Kentucky Derby Future Wager and therefore are part of the field that is currently 5-2), and Buddy's Saint at 40-1 (who is currently the second choice behind Lookin At Lucky at 10-1). Now you see why I make the bets in November. That's when you get the really big prices.

Despite the aforementioned, in taking a look at the current pool (which ends on Sunday at 6 p.m. EST) I do think there are a few horses worth a shot at big odds. Depending on what the odds on the following horses look like on Sunday afternoon, these are the ones I will consider playing:

Jackson Bend: He is currently at 35-1 (up from a 12-1 morning line) and I think that is very generous. He has already beaten some very good horses as a 2YO in the Florida Stallion Stakes Series and his Holy Bull effort was superb. There is no reason to think he won't keep getting better and he's in the barn of a guy who knows how to win the Big Dance.

Maximus Ruler: I've written about this colt before. He is an excellent worker and I thought his Lecomte effort was very underrated. People seemed to get all hopped up about the winner, Ron the Greek, but it was Maximus Ruler who ran the better race in my opinion. He took all the heat through a grueling half-mile and still had something left at the end. If he gets a better draw and better set up in the Risen Star he will be tough to beat. Folks, he is currently at 93-1. He's worth a few bucks.

Dublin: He is currently at 21-1, which at first glance isn't all that great, but if he wins the Southwest on Monday (a day after the pool closes) it will be a steal. The horse already has enough graded earnings to make the dance thanks to his Hopeful win and all indications are that he has improved since his surgery. He is a big horse with good tactical speed. And I don't need to remind you of his trainer's success in the Derby. Might be a good time to get on him now before his odds plummet. Or, you could hope he loses the Southwest and try to get better odds in Pool 2. Tough call.

Drosselmeyer: I was at Gulfstream for his allowance win on Jan. 13 and let me tell you, I was impressed. He's a colt who looks like he'll have absolutely no problem with the distance based on his pedigree and what he has done so far. Remember, he has already gone two turns four times. And he seemed to really turn a corner once he was switched to dirt. I know WinStar is loaded this year, but when all is said and done he may be the best of the lot. He's currently at 28-1. Might be worth getting him while he's still a price.


Leave a Comment:



 I'm watching Eskendereya. Currently at 25-1, if he stays at those odds I'll put a few bucks on him. I like those odds on JB too.

 Why didn't  C. Valasquez press Rule more than he did? I couldn't believe he hung off his backside with those fractions. Played my usual WPS bet on Schoolyard so at least I didn't get killed.

13 Feb 2010 7:32 PM

Thought Dave in Dixie looked good today with first start back off short layoff and hats off to Rule and Winstar doesnt matter where you line him up at he finds away to get it done.

13 Feb 2010 7:42 PM

I spent the afternoon at Santa Anita. What an absolutely perfect day it was! The temperature was ideal. The air was clear. And the racing was very exciting.

Blind Luck gave us all a heart attack by winning by a nostril over Evening Jewel. I wasn't giving EJ a chance because she was kind of undone in the walking ring. She really surprised me. Blind Luck almost didn't get it done... but as very good horses do, she found a way.

Caracortado was amazing. American Lion did ok but the real dissapointment was Tiz Chrome. I hope you're right LDP and that the 2 Tiznows improve on the dirt.

I was really impressed with St Trinians. In the walking ring she looked the part and ran like it.

Jeranimo's win in the Strub came as a complete surprise to me. I will pay more attention next time when the program says that a horse has upset potential.

Very happy with Rule's rule in the Sam Davis and that Munnings put it all together very nicely.

It was a great day for horseracing fans, especially at Santa Anita, we needed it after last Saturday's cancellation.

Now if I could only figure out who will win the Kentucky Derby...

14 Feb 2010 12:56 AM

I was at Santa Anita today, enjoying the 5 stakes(4 graded, all of them at least gr.2) and the near 80 degree weather(then watched the simulcast from Northfield harness in Cleveland and was reminded of the last 10 winters in Detroit.


Since this is a blog about the Triple Crown, first, the Robert Lewis.  I agree with LDP's comment from the previous entry that I wouldn't throw out American Lion and Tiz Chrome just yet; and this has nothing to do with the fact I was a big Tiz Chrome supporter.  The Santa Anita Pro-Ride is BRUTAL to speed, and believe it or not, the first quarter of 23 and 1 forecasted doom for both Tiz Chrome and American Lion. I've seen few horses go that fast early and survive going 2 turns.  Throw in the fact that both Tiz Chrome and American Lion were lapped on each other the entire race, and that perhaps Garrett Gomez on Tiz Chrome and Julien Leparoux on American Lion were riding as if in their own personal matchrace (with Garrett perhaps reliving Eclipse night), and the fate of both was sealed.

Gomez and Leparoux tried to  slow it down a little after that first quarter, but the half in :47 flat and 6 furlongs in 1:11 and 1 were still quite quick for the Pro-Ride(this does show just how different the Pro-Ride plays from conventional dirt). As a comparison to the Lewis fractions, good older females running the same 8.5 distance in the Santa Maria went the first quarter in :23 and 4, the half in :48, and 6 furlongs in 1:12 and 2.  Grade 2 older males in the 9 furlong Strub went :24 and 1, :48 and 1, and 1:12.  In the grade 1 Las Virgenes at just a mile, the fractions were :24 and 1, :48 and 2, and 1:12.59.

Given Tiz Chrome ran so well at both Churchill and Hollywood Park's cushion track, which is the synthetic that plays most like dirt, my guess is that the Lewis is the last we'll see of Tiz Chrome on the Pro-Ride.  I would assume Baffert will give him another shot on the Triple Crown trail and that he finds a spot on dirt.

Although by Tiznow out of a Woodmare mare, I  think it is fair for some to be worried that the Lewis exposed some distance limitations in Tiz Chrome.  We'll see. I haven't given up on him yet.

American Lion won the battle with Tiz Chrome but lost the war.  If Gomez and Leparoux had to do it all over again, they would likely try to back the field up behind the ridiculously slow fractions I expected; in a 5 horse field, those two were not receiving any pressure from anyone else.  American Lion flashed some good speed, but again that closing kick that he demonstrated breaking his maiden at Keeneland was absent. I wasn't particularly keen on him before the race, and the Lewis left me still looking for that spark.  I will say this though, American Lion is an absolutely beautiful animal.  He is tall like his father but he also carries good weight and has a sharp head and always had his ears pricked.  By the way, the other Tiznow, Tiz Chrome, is also just as fabulous a looker.  Man that Tiznow produces good looking offspring!  Tiz Chrome is not as tall as AL, but he is so powerfully built, with muscle atop muscle.  Does this suggest sprinter?

Now to the winner.  Caracortado ran like I thought he would(picked him 2nd).  As I wrote Feb. 5th before the Lewis was originally scheduled, Caracortado would have won the 8.5 furlong Cal Breeders Stakes on opening day by 5 with a clean trip; he still won that day easily, drawing away.  The public response to the Caracortado win in the Lewis was very strong, Caracortado being a Cal-bred gelding, his jockey Paul Atkinson a well-liked journeyman, and owners(an older couple along with a small-time syndicate with many partners) that come across as "commoners".  

However, make no mistake, Caracortado is a serious Derby prospect.  The Lewis now makes him 5 for 5, he is proven twice around 2 turns and his final time of 1:41.75 was just .02 off the time of St. Trinians in the Santa Maria(pace makes the final time and the Beyer on Pro-Ride. Faster early paces will usually still prodcue faster final times on the Pro-Ride and when horses are given a fast pace to run into, think Life Is Sweet and Zenyatta in the Distaff and Classic, big figs can be produced. The problem is that few 2-turn races ever produce anything resembling a fast pace, with the Lewis coming far closer than any other race on the day).  

I expect Caracortado's Beyer to be well into the 90s.  Although the final fractions of the Lewis were slower than those of the other graded stakes today, Caracortado did run a final sixteenth in 6.37.  

In terms of negatives, Caracortado did receive the absolute dream trips of all dream trips.  He sat behind the two dueling favorites knocking each other out, and then openend up before Dave in Dixie got into the picture.  As for other negatives, of course the Lewis came on synthetic, so there is still a question whether he can reproduce such an effort on dirt.  Caracortado has won over dirt, but in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Fairplex, a long way from the Kentucky Derby.

Dave in Dixie did look decent in the stretch, but he had a (relatively) fast pace to run at and had the track bias working for him.  He is definitely a threat for the San Felipe and/or Santa Anita Derby, but he would be exactly the type of horse that would have the synthetic skeptics out in numbers at Churchill.


Blind Luck barely got the job done in the Las Virgines, but she was able to win her 3rd gr.1, to go along with a 2nd and 3rd in gr.1s(in both she lost by less than a length).  After her dominating Hollywood Starlet victory, some may conclude that Blind Luck was disappointing today.  While I agree she wasn't as good as she was on the Hollywood cushion track that day, the Las Virgenes could not have set up worse for her.  

For some reason still unknown to me, Rafael Bejarano dropped Blind Luck 7.5 lengths behind the lead and into last after a first quarter in just :24 and 1.  After a half in :48 and 2, Blind Luck was still 6.5 lengths behind in last.  Blind Luck remained 5 lengths back after 6 furlongs in 1:12.59, even though it was only a mile race.  4 back with an eighth of a mile, Blind Luck was remarkably able to save Bejarano's face, and make up 4 lengths on fillies that had been coasting on a ridiculous pace for a flat mile.

I rougly calculate that Blind Luck ran her final quarter in :22 and 2, so she was absolutely flying in the stretch, even though she was brought wide into the stretch.  Blind Luck was absolutely on the muscle for this race and was in prime condition; Jerry Hollendorfer had her so fit that he ribs were faintly apparent under the muscle. Keep in mind that Blind Luck is proven on dirt, breaking her maiden at Calder by 13.

As for Bejarano's ride, perhaps he thought the fillies in front were going much faster. Going in, I certainly thought the pace would be more legit.  Even though the pace was very slow, Evening Jewel and Switch still faced the tough task of being near the lead and winning around 2 turns.  Evening Jewl ran a huge race, and almost made it a monster day for Cal-bred 3 year olds.  She's as honest as they come and James Cassidy is an excellent horseman(The Usual QT).  

Crisp was the big disappointment for me.  An absolutely elegant looker, tall and stately, Crisp looked like a winner fanning into the stretch, but then for some reason faded.  Yes, the pace scenario was not favorable for her next-to-last run, but she overcame a similar pace in the Santa Ysabel when easily handling Evening Jewel. As for Switch, who ran her heart out to finish 3rd and then dumped Tyler Baze after the race(he was fine), it looks like a mile is at the outer reaches of her distance capibilities.


I thought St. Trinians was the real deal, as did many others(she went off favored), and she more than delivered in winning the Santa Maria easily over the very good Life is Sweet.  The excellent young jockey, Joel Rosario, had St.Trinians further off the pace than expected, but it only helped to make her late kick even more explosive.  Rosario was able to get the jump on Garrett on Life is Sweet, and St.Trinians just didn't let her gain in deep stretch.

The Santa Maria marked St.Trinians 4th easy win, all on synthetics, since coming to the US.  I have full respect for Zenyatta, but as I wrote before the Santa Maria, I really think St.Trinians has a chance to upset her in the Santa Margarita, or at the very least give her a real run for her money.  Perhaps this is why Santa Anita is considering running the Santa Margarita as a level-weights race instead of a handicap as it has traditionally been run; wouldn't want to spoil the showdown at Oaklawn?

Some may point to the fact St.Trinians' time was basically the same as Caracortado's in the Lewis.  Remember, Caracortado's final time had the benefit of a much faster pace.  St.Trinians was forced to make up 7 lengths into a :24 and 2 3rd quarter(putting in an individual :23 quarter), make up a little more gound into a :23 and 2 4th quarter, then finish the final sixteenth in 5.89.  Any time a horse can finish a 8.5 furlong race in sub-6 seconds is big-time; and St.Trinians is big-time.

I know St.Trinians still has alot to prove, but she MAY end up being the best SYNTHETIC FEMALE that Zenyatta has had to face.  Zenyatta has beaten far more accomlished fillies and mares on a synthetic track, the likes of Music Note, Cocoa Beach, Hystericalady, Ginger Punch, Tough Tiz's Sis, and others, but for most if not all, their preferred surface was something other than synthetic.  Zenaytta has also defeated Ginger Punch on dirt, but that doesn't count in the comparison, and she has also beaten males the likes of Gio Ponti and Summer Bird, but they too are outside the comparison.  Zenyatta, of course, has owned Life is Sweet, an outstanding synthetic performer far more accomplished than St.Trinians.  Yet, we saw today that St.Trinians can definitely run with Life is Sweet, so the comparison isn't such a stretch now.

Again, I want to repeat that I believe St.Trinians MAY end up being Zenyatta's toughest female opponent on synthetic.  St.Trinians is not there yet.  However, there hasn't been as exciting of an older female prospect in California since Zenyatta emerged 2 years ago.


I thought the Strub would be the race to make some money.  I just had a feeling that Misremebered is not at his best on Pro-Ride and that someone would come and nail him in the stretch.  I thought that horse would be Massone, and while Massone ran well, finishing 4th, it was Jeranimo that ran down Misrembered.  

Jeranimo was making his 4th start of the metting and was coming off just a 2 week break following a troubled 4th in the Sunshine Millions Classic at 9 furlongs (by the way, what an emotional win by the team of veterans, Bold Chieftain, Russell Baze, and William Morey in the Sunshine Classic).  Another Sunshine Millions Classic also-ran, Acclamation, who was also making his 4th start of the meet, ran 3rd at big odds.  

With Richard's Kid going to Dubai, the Big Cap is going to be without a well established gr.1 horse. Even with Richard's Kid, it would be shaping up as one of the weaker Big Caps.  Without Dubai, one would also think that Gio Ponti would be pointing for the Big Cap'.  Not so anymore.  With the Dubai World Cup now at $10 million, the Big Cap, truely one of America's greatest races, is being made increasingly irrelevant.

Wow, this is a ridiculously long post, even for me.

14 Feb 2010 2:23 AM

Believe it or not, I forgot a few things.

1) Macias looked good winning the listed Baffle Stakes.  I don't think Baffert would be thinking Derby if running a horse at 6.5 furlongs on turf, but Macias is a nice colt and has now won two straight stakes(listed Eddie Logan at a mile on turf earlier in the meet).  Decent turfers, Ace of Aces and the other Baffert, Marcello, also ran well and will have an impact in smaller stakes.

2) St.Trinians is not a big filly and as an eggbeater running action, really kicking her right front leg out.  Hopefully, it will not compromise her health.  That's one thing about Zenyatta, she has remained healthy and ready to run whenever asked over the last 2 years.  Let's hope it continues.  I also wish Rachel the best of health.

3) Life is Sweet did alot of posing in the saddling area, with some onlookers commenting about how she probably picked it up from her stablemate, Big Z.  Life is Sweet is a big filly herself, and it is unfortunate her career has been so overshadowed.  She's top-class.  Note she was giving St.Trinians weight and was coming off a layoff while St. Trinians had a prep in the listed Paseana Stakes.  Horses have simply been having trouble winning at Santa Anita off a layoff, especially on the Pro-Ride.

4) On that subject, Blind Luck was giving up a lot of sharpness to both Evening Jewel and Switch.  Evening Jewel was making her 3rd start of the meet and Switch was coming off a good 3rd in the highly rated gr. 2 Santa Ynez. Expect Blind Luck to improve alot off the Las Virgenes.

5) Line of David looked good breaking his maiden at one mile on turf in the closing race, the 10th.  The son of Lion Heart is a massive horse, about twice the size of his sire.  He took the field of well bred 3 year old maidens wire to wire in a solid 1:35 and 3.

14 Feb 2010 4:02 AM
Don from Delaware

Always enjoy your comments after what I saw yesterday, and now that my hopeful, Winslow Homer is out for a while, I would have to go with RULE

this horse is a combat veteran and win/place/show bet in KD if he stays healthy, and remember the sire and the trainer...I didn't do any future wagers this year.....but if he is 15-1 or less right now...that is good.  Don

14 Feb 2010 7:30 AM

Marktoothaker...I agree with you...I was duly impressed by Dave in Dixie too.  Anxiously waiting for the Risen Star to see Ron the Greek do it again.  Still in a holding pattern on the rest of the possibles for the Derby.

14 Feb 2010 8:45 AM

Hello, Jason, I would like to do a small bet on one of the horses, I have only ever wagered before when I was at the track.  I only want to bet $5. across ($15.), is there a way for me to do this. I'm a huge racing fan but usually for the roses not the betting. Thanks for your help.

14 Feb 2010 11:19 AM
Jason Shandler

Cardiganjack: Sorry, no across the board wagering in the future pool; just win and exactas. If i were you and only wanted to spend $15 (or $16), I would put $8 to win on two different horses. Give yourself two chances.

14 Feb 2010 11:22 AM
Alex PB

Don from Delaware - Rule IMO is the least impresssive of the group that ran on the weekend. He had his own way with the pace and could manage only a 7-second final sixteenth. At this stage, his sire Roman Ruler forcasts good speed but a large negative on stamina.

14 Feb 2010 12:04 PM

Gun Bow and Zookeeper - thanks much for your excellant reporting from Santa Anita. I got a real feel for what happened yesterday. I watched all the races on the Cal Racing website but this fills in the gaps. I agree with Gun Bow - Why did Bejarano let Blind Luck drop so far back in a male race with little pace. That was an amazing strech run she had to win.

14 Feb 2010 12:31 PM
Matthew W

The Cal-Bred looks like he's for real---it's early, but he's 5 for 5 and has first passed the two turn test and now he has passed the class test--nothing has exactly blown me away so far--and I'm sure you'll get a good price on him--Dave In Dixie also looks I said, it's early, but I do have a soft spot for a good Cal Bred--Catacortado is that, a Cal Bred who just keeps on running good races--Cavonier, anyone?...

14 Feb 2010 12:53 PM
Matthew W

Gun Bow, Freaky, the white faced freak, next Sat (?) at Los Al---ya going? Mehopes to be there, if I go i'll be right at the entry gate to the winners circle---I have seen, in person, Kaweah Bar, Charger Bar, Easy Date, Dash For Cash, Denim'n'Diamonds, Vespero, Town Policy, Sgt Pepper Feature--some of the fastest horses of all times--and I even saw Freaky once (cashed a longshot that beat him that day) the quarters--I like to go out to old Los Al every now and then, to see horses run on dirt! I Don't get out there much these days, but am hoping to be there to see the great Freaky, who is the fastest horse in the world! Thanks for the Saturday update, your posts are never stale, never short, either! You can always count on Big Z's kick--and Gun Bow's blog-length!

14 Feb 2010 1:34 PM
Matthew W

Dave In Dixie, Joel Rosario--jockey Rosario is going to be at the top of the heap for a long, long time! He's a "must use"! Moves up a horse, a real good finisher...

14 Feb 2010 1:37 PM

Is this Cal bred gelding for real? Nice win running at a 1:35 and change mile and he looked really good down the lane lengthing his stride. Looks to me like he will like to go farther. But what's up with the clip job? Has it been that cold in northern Cal?

14 Feb 2010 1:41 PM

Matthew, I thought Caracortado's win yesterday was very impressive.  He rated patiently and didn't get involved in the speed duel, but was ready to fire when Atkinson pulled the trigger.  I went back and looked at the video of his Cal Breeders' race on 12/26 and he ran much the same.  Lots left in the tank at the end, I think. He's definitely on my watch list.

Adding my thanks to GunBow for the first-hand reportage!

14 Feb 2010 1:53 PM

Save your money and do not bet the worst value wager in the entire game

14 Feb 2010 1:56 PM

Matthew W:

Yes, definitely will be at Los Al for Freaky this Sat.  I always stand and watch the races by the winners circle gate as well(me and my buddy even made it into the winners circle when Freaky won the Champion of Champions).  I'll be the tallest white dude there.

14 Feb 2010 3:17 PM


In Novemeber, I also placed some future wagers and 4 still look good. I have Interactif at 200 to 1, Rule at 100-1, Jackson bend for 35-1, Aikenite 100-1 and the program for 250-1. Each still on the trail. I will spend 10 each on 2 horses that might appeal for me at a price. I just can't decide yet. Right now William's Kitten and Maximus Ruler. I can't beat those prices.

14 Feb 2010 3:47 PM
Greg J.

     I just pulled the trigger and took Rule(24-1), Dublin(20-1) and All Others(3-2) for a $30 Exacta Box, Total Cost $180.00...

We shall see...

14 Feb 2010 5:02 PM


Ron the Greek ran the most impressive race of any 3YO colt or gelding. He is listed at 30-1 and represents the biggest value for value for money. Do not forget that RTG is a May foal that should be at the stage of rapid improvement. He has been defeating older competitors in spite of his maturity disadvantage.

14 Feb 2010 5:47 PM


I am surprised that Jeronimo’s win in the Strub came as a complete surprise to you. I wagered him in the Sunshine Million and the reason he lost was because his rider made bad decisions. Misremembered is not as good as Jeranimo. When I heard that Misremembered would be tilting the board I saw it as manner from heaven.


Macias is a very colt horse who I think should be given a chance in the derby. His dam line is similar to that of the #1 stallion in the US Street Cry. Street Cry was very good on the dirt and I think Macias could be as well.


Caracortado’s prospects of winning the Derby are remote in spite of his impressive performance. His sire was retired after his only start which was a wining effort in a maiden race. The only derby winning stallion in the last 70 years that comes close to Cat Dream is the imported and unraced Alibhai who sire the 1954 Derby winner Determine. All other derby winning sires have been graded staked winners. Alibhai was son of the great Hyperion whose sire line has done very well in the Triple Crown races. Cat Dream is a son of Storm Cat whose 100 sons at stud in the US have not sired the winner of a Triple Crown race to date. Nice gelding but unlikely to be the 2010 derby winner.

14 Feb 2010 5:48 PM


What's with you and Westpoint horses?  Last year it was Mr. Fantasy and this year Middle of the Nite.  Middle of the Nite had no right running yesterday, after tiring last time out.  

14 Feb 2010 5:52 PM
Mike Relva


Difficult to argue with any of your selections. Great insight,thanks! I've liked Jackson Bend for awhile, Maximus Ruler is impressive.

14 Feb 2010 5:53 PM
Jason Shandler

Trebloc: You could do worse than back West Point horses. I didn't say Middle of the Nite was my Derby pick. I just put $20 on him at 225-1. It's no big deal.

Coldfacts: Good luck with Ron the Greek. If you think his Lecomte win was the most impressive race for a 3YO this year, more power to you. What I saw was a horse closing off a hot pace on a track with a long stretch. We'll see what happens next weekend.

14 Feb 2010 6:22 PM

Sorry Jason, Drosselmeyer, Maximus Ruler, Jackson Bend, Middle Of The Nite represent money down the drain. Drosselmeyer is class-deficient and the others are stamina deficient.  No realistic shot in the Kentucky Derby. Jackson Bend could turn out to be very good up to 9 furlongs and may even have a shot in the Preakness but that last furlong of the Derby will do him in.  I warn you.

14 Feb 2010 7:12 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for letting me know Ranagulzion. I didnt play Drosselmeyer or Dublin after their odds dropped but I'll be sure to rip up the rest of my tickets now. Just do me a favor and let me know who is going to win the Derby so I can get some money down on him (or her) now. Thanks in advance.

14 Feb 2010 7:16 PM

Coldfacts - I didn't say Caracortado IS my Derby Horse - I don't expect to settle on a Favorite (or 2 or 3!) yet.  I'm going to be watching him closely, tho.

In any case, I enjoy your posts and I certainly pay attention..and I look at the pedigrees quite closely as well; but I don't think you can judge an individual's potential on that alone.  One of the aspects I LIKE about Caracortado's pedigree is that it's "unfashionable."  Wouldn't it be fun if one of Stormcat's least-raced sons was the one who got the lion's share of Bold Ruler's genes to pass along?  I think so.. ;-)

14 Feb 2010 7:27 PM

If Pletcher can get him to relax even a little bit Super Saver wins the Derby if he's sound.

14 Feb 2010 7:31 PM


What can I say... the obvious often escapes me. My only consolation is that I wasn't alone in my ignorance. If I remember right he went off at double digit odds, didn't he? I'll probably bet him next time and watch in utter amazement as the jockey makes another series of bad decisions. That's the way it usually goes for me... Too smart, too late! :)

14 Feb 2010 8:16 PM


“What I saw was a horse closing off a hot pace on a track with a long stretch.”

I did some fact check to evaluate the validity your comment above. Below are the results:

LECOMTE SPLITS                             23.42, 46.80, 1:12.27,1:37.76

Average splits last 11 Derbies           22.85,   46.42,   1:11.04, 1:36.55

The average derby splits above have been adversely affected by the Smarty Jones and Mine That Bird derbies that were run on sloppy tracks. The derby pace in normally hotter than the one recorded in the Lecomte. It does appear the derby will present Ron The Greek with a hotter pace and a stretch just a long. What do you think will be the result? Both Street Sense and Mine That Bird closed from 19th to win. They did the same thing in their respective derbies that RTG did in the Lecomte. Pyro closed from last to win Louisiana Derby and rocketed to the top of every derby list.

Let me reiterate no ordinary horse closed from so far back and win. Maximus Ruler was hanging tough and this colt ran by him without breathing hard. I have watched all the preps so far and I not seen any other colt displayed the sort of finishing speed displayed RTG. I am obliged to give credit where it is due.

14 Feb 2010 8:19 PM

Jason, If i were to tell you the name of the Derby winner the odds are even money that you wouldn't believe me.  Therefore based on the realistic level of your confidence in my forcasting genius I'll give you seven good picks and five others worth contemplating: The Todd squad trio, Eskendereya, Super Saver, Rule, D.Wayne Lukas' Dublin (I wasn't knocking him), Rick Dutrow's D'Funnybone, Ron The Greek and Fly By Phil (a great under the radar longshot).

There are a few other enterprising ones out there with the necessary pedigree and improvement trajectory to reward handsomely such as Tony Dutrow's Laus Deo, Uptowncharlybrown, Worth A Buck, Barbaro's brother Lentenor and Eightyfiveinafifty (questionable stamina in the pedigree but too much class and exciting speed to ignore).  Happy hunting Bro (LOL).

14 Feb 2010 8:30 PM


I desperately want Todd P to win a derby because I want to stop eliminating his contenders. I like Super Saver because of Marias Mon. However, I just get the feeling that the  big three stallions i.e., Mr. Prospector, Storm Cat and A.P. Indy will never appear as broodmare sired of a derby winner. Are you aware that up to 2006 the big three had a combined 1,000 broodmares that produced 2,902 runners and none of these runners have won a Triple Crown race? You can understand why I am pessimistic. It appears being the broodmare sire of a derby winner is a difficult task. The great Danzig sired 392 plus broodmares and only one is associated with the winner of a Triple Crown race. Can Super Saver break through for A.P. Indy? Well, Bluegrass Cat who was produced from an A.P. Indy mare came close twice. He was beaten by Barbaro in the derby and Jazil in the Belmont. Is Super Saver as good as Bluegrass Cat? I doubt it.

14 Feb 2010 8:58 PM

Dick Francis passed away today, what an amazing writer he was. His novels were a great read as most of them were set on the racecourse. What an ambassador he was to the sport of kings.

14 Feb 2010 9:28 PM
Jason Shandler

That's 7 horses you gave me Ranagulzion. Since you were so confident I had the wrong tickets, I was hoping you would give me the WINNER. Way to go out on a limb.

Coldfacts: Like I said, best of luck with Ron the Greek. I wish you well.

14 Feb 2010 9:40 PM
Ted from LA

If Caracortado stays healthy, he will be the next triple crown winner.  Lookin' at Lucky will be lookin' at Caracortado's rump on March 13th.

14 Feb 2010 9:42 PM
Jason Shandler

Ted: Take a deep breath and have a cold one. The next Triple Crown winner? Settle down my friend. The horse (gelding) ran a nice race but he was facing four horses who had never gone two turns before. I hope he continues to do well, it's a nice story, but we must not get too excited about any one horse in February. I was under the impression that you were not new to this game.

14 Feb 2010 9:47 PM

LOL, Zookeeper!

14 Feb 2010 9:58 PM
Greg J.


     Unlike Ranagulzion, I will give you the Derby Winner, If Lentenor goes to the Derby, He will win it, I have not wavered from my thoughts on him since day one.  While he is behind the eight ball as far as experience and earning's(He has $0), I expect him to show all the naysayer's out there in his allowance race at Gulfstream on Wednesday, What a great colt he is.  I see him stalking the leaders then easily pulling away in the 1 1/8 distance for an comfortable victory, Love the fact that Johnny V. has the mount.  Then if that comes true, He should go for the first time on the dirt in the Florida Derby on March 20th.  He needs to place 1st on 2nd to qualify for the Derby, Maybe an outside chance if he finishes third.  Then I expect the Derby as his next race, Yes, It will be six weeks to the day since the Florida Derby, But, I don't see Mr. Matz racing him three weeks before the Derby.  If they decide he isn't ready for the Derby, Then the Preakness it shall be.  There you go, At least I went out on a limb and made a prediction, Could be completely wrong, But, I honestly think that is exactly how it will play out...

Finally, The world lost a great man, Mr. Dick Francis, He lived an amazing life and to all that aren't familiar with his work, I encourage you to seek it out and read, You will be glad you did...

Here is a great article on this amazing man:

14 Feb 2010 10:26 PM
Ted from LA

Caracortado.  If I were new to the game, Jason, I would not have called him to win this most recent race.  He is a lock to win the Derby and I love him.  How is that for testing the racing gods?  It's fate.

14 Feb 2010 10:44 PM


I agree that WinStar have a few in their stable, (but not all) that has a chance to make some noise in the Derby.


Macias seems to have some distance limitations to achive a 1 1/4 on  the 1st saturday in May.

14 Feb 2010 10:57 PM

Greg J.,

Thanks for the link to the article about Dick Francis. I devoured quite a few of his books and really enjoyed them. He had quite a life didn't he? Did you see the bit at the end of the article about his nose after a horse did a number on it? Great sense of humor.

I have to admire your devotion to Lentenor. I'll keep my fingers crossed that he develops into the great horse you predict he will be.

14 Feb 2010 11:31 PM

RIP Dick Francis.  Jockey and author.  Bravo!

14 Feb 2010 11:51 PM

At Santa Anita today there were a couple of decent performances by 3 year olds. In a Cal-bred maiden at a mile on the Pro-Ride, Leaving New York did what few have done, and that is go wire to wire at 2 turns.  I thought he had lost all chance with a first quarter in :23 and 3(absurd that a :23 and 3 first quarter would keep baking horses at a mile, but that's the reality), but then his excellent young jockey, Martin Garcia, slowed the next quarter to :24 and 3, and then the third quarter in :24 and 2 for 6 furlongs in 1:12 and 3.  Garcia's handling was the difference, and Leaving New York had just enough left to hold off Tiz Argent by a head.

The final time of 1:37 and 1 is nothing special, and well off the mile splits run yesterday in the big stakes, but in overcoming the track profile Leaving New York did well.  Leaving NY is a big, robust chestnut that is Triple Crown nominated, so obviously his connections think he has some potential.  His trainer, Carl O' Callaghan, is relatively new to the Santa Anita training ranks, but he's good, having trained Kinsale King to wins in the graded Vernon Underwood and Palos Verdes at sprint distances.  Runner-up Tiz Argent ran well too, and is also a good looking athelete, but he was simply beaten by the better horse.  Look for Leaving NY to be tough in NW1x or even listed Cal-bred stakes.  Tiz Argent should be a heavy favorite to break his maiden next out.

The 5th race was a $62,500 claimer for 3 year olds also at a mile on the Pro-Ride.  Mr. Saturdaynight, a Triple Crown nominee owned by Team Valor, looked very sharp in the paddock walking ring and ran to his looks, easily winning the race in 1:37 flat, a tick better than Leaving NY.  Again, the time was not great, but Mr. Sat was coming out of a stakes race and just might be able to work his way back into some listed stakes again.  He won with alot left.

Speaking of a horse possibly finding his way back to stakes was the 4 year old Leedstheway, winning a $50,000 claimer at 6.5 furlongs down the hillside turf course by over 2 lengths.  Back in the Jeff Mullins barn after a failed experiment at Turf Paradise, Leedstheway has some back-class, running 2nd to Evita Argentina and ahead of the impressive recent winner Gato go Win in the gr.2 San Vicente last year.  Mullins should be able to make some money with Leedstheway at the high claiming/allowance or even listed stakes level sprinting.

As for the gr.2 La Canada, it would be hard to envision any horse emerging from this race and really challenging the likes of Zenaytta, St.Trinians, Life is Sweet, and Proviso in the gr.1 Santa Margarita.  Striking Dancer, mainly a turf runner before, won the La Canada with a solid late burst under Alex Solis to give the Ken McPeek barn a rare win at Santa Anita.  

McPeek left a string of horses out West following the Breeder's Cup, but overall they have been struggling.  This was a good breakthrough from a filly that hadn't suggested she was capable of winning a gr.2.  However, she is well bred, by Smart Strike out of a Danehill mare, and is well built.  In her more recent races, riding luck had not been on her side, but Solis kept her in the clear and she provided a nice burst.  She proved she can win stakes, but I don't think she belongs with the elite "girls".  A Euro transplant sporting very mediocre overseas form, Gripsholm Castle, ran 2nd, perhaps underscoring that this probably wasn't a true gr.2.

The 2008 2 year old filly champ, Stardom Bound, ran a lackluster 7th.  I was able to get up real close to her in the enclosed saddling area, and while she is an attractive filly, looked extremely fit, and appeared to be quite mentally sharp with her ears pricked and taking notice of her surroundings, she just isn't very big.  I didn't get to see her when she was rolling off 5 consecutive gr.1 wins, but I would assume that she probably isn't much bigger now than she was at 2 or early in her 3 year old season.  Her generation of fillies has grown and caught up with her from a talent level.  The performances that were making her a champion at 2 just don't cut it anymore.  And I'm saddened by this.  I was really hoping she would move up off her El Encino runner-up effort, but she went the other way.  I wouldn't completely write her off, but she's a long, long way from Zenyatta or even St.Trinians.  

15 Feb 2010 2:20 AM


In every Kentucky Derby history is either created or repeated. The 2010 derby will be no different. Since history was repeated in the 2009 Derby, I am expecting history to be created in 2010. I do not expect any of Todd Pletcher’s horses to win the derby. I do not expect any of the first crop sires to be associated with the winner. The history I expect is will be unthinkable and it could start in the Southwest Stakes. The 1990 Derby could play a role in the history I am anticipating. That derby was won by Unbridled.  The runner up was Summer Squall and the third Place finisher was Pleasant Tap. Unbridled went on the sire 1996 derby winner Grindstone. Summer Squall went on to sire the 1999 derby winner Charismatic.  Pleasant Tap now needs to sire a derby winner to seal the triple. I do not believe the winner and runner up in the same derby have ever gone on to sire derby winners prior to Unbridled and Summer Squall.  

There is a Pleasant Tap colt in the Southwest that appear to be a serious route horse. In his most recent start he finished second in the Smarty Jones to Dryfly. I have found some information on him that I wish to share with your supporters.

“Pleasant Storm remained undefeated in two starts when he closed from 10th to win the $60,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile on Nov. 22. He covered six furlongs in 1:10.80, one start after winning a maiden special weight at the same trip Oct. 17. Both races were at a distance less than optimum for Pleasant Storm.

"He's definitely going to be all two turns," said Joe Petalino, who trains Pleasant Storm. "I'm looking to stretch him out."

Petalino said Pleasant Storm's first distance test could come at Oaklawn. The track's initial route stakes for 3-year-olds is on Jan. 18, with the running of the $100,000 Smarty Jones at a mile. From there, the stakes build to the Arkansas Derby.

Pleasant Storm races for his breeder, Vickie Fixley. He is a son of the Pleasant Colony stallion Pleasant Tap.

"He's so big," Petalino said of Pleasant Storm. "He's almost 18 hands tall. He's a big 2-year-old. He towers me on level ground. I've got to look up at his withers. And he's got such a big stride to him”.

If this colt id really 18 hands and is capable of running 6F in 1:10 plus he is a potential monster. His sire Pleasant Tap remains one of the only horses in Breeder Cup history to run the Breeders Cup Sprint and Breeders Cup Classic. He was runner up on both occasions. Pleasant Tap destroyed Strike The Gold and A.P. Indy in the 1992 Jockey Gold Cup. A.P. Indy reversed the placing in the Breeders’ Cup Classic of the same year. Pleasant Tap best derby hope was Tiago who finished 7th and was 3rdin the Belmont. Could this Oklahoma bred colt he hiding in plain sight? Look for him to be closing hands over fist in the last furlong. It is unthinkable that the first three finishers in a derby could go on the sire a winner of the great race. It a long shot but strange history is made in the derby. The 1933 derby winner Brokers Tip became the 1st and possible only horse whose only win was the Derby.

15 Feb 2010 2:52 AM


Macias dam sire Tropular is a son of the great Troy won the Epsom Derby G1, Irish Sweeps Derby G1, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond S. G1 and Benson & Hedges Gold Cup G1. His second dam was sired by Miswaki dam sire of Daylami and Sea The Stars. His third dam was sired by Forli who sired 3 times HOY Forego.

Purge was a good miler but I consider  Macias'dam line to be  loaded with stamina.

What am I missing?

15 Feb 2010 3:01 AM

The Soutwest Stakes shapes up as the most intriguing Derby prep so fat, at least to me.  It features 3 horses from Cali, the 4th place Lecomte finisher, the returning gr.1 winner Dublin, and the locals emerging from the Smarty Jones.

I'll start with the Cali contingent given I was at Santa Anita for the San Rafael.  There's no easy way to interpret the San Rafael.  The pace was slow which favored Conveyance, but in going wire to wire he was running against a very strong anti-speed bias.  It's possible he gets to Oaklawn and just rolls, but it's also possible that when he's challenged by other speed and forced to run a :46 half, he folds.

My initial impression after the San Rafael is that I was hardly overwhelmed by Conveyance's performance but that he was going to be much better on dirt.  Conveyance is capable of running faster than he did in the San Rafael, turning in a :44 and change half and :56 and change 5 furlongs while winning a sprint on the Hollywood Park cushion track and earning a 99 Beyer.  Hollywood was playing much closer to dirt than Santa Anita has been, so I am sure Conveyance will post much faster fractions in the Southwest than in the San Rafael.  By Indian Charlie out of a Holy Bull mare(where he gets his grey coloring), there has been some concerns about distance, so I think he may get just a little tired facing some good dirt speed and not quite last. But I do think he will run decently.

Cardiff Giant and Domonation have received little hype even though they continue to push the most highly touted prospects out West.  Cardiff Giant was forced to make a premature move in the San Rafael just to speed the tempo up, but Conveyance responded well to the challenge and kept going.  I expect Cardiff Giant to be in the mix at the top of the stretch, but his pattern does not suggest a win.  He's likely more of an exotics horse.

Domination is a late runner that just got no pace to run at in the San Rafael.  However, he did have the track bias on his side, so he did have a shot.  And, he came running hard in the last sixteenth.  A son of Maria's Mon out of a Mr. Greely mare, there is a possibility that Domonation is a late-running middle distance type, but the Southwest is at a mile.  Given his consistency, I do think Domonation will try hard, and he's trained by one of California's best, John Sadler, but I'm not sure he's fast enough to win this.  He'll certainly see more speed, but he won't have SA's track bias to aid his rally.

Overall, the pace of the Southwest should be legit, with Conveyance, Mission Impazzible, and Dryfly all possessing sharp early speed.  That should suit the only gr.1 winner in the field, Dublin, just fine.  If we are to believe Wayne Lukas and supporters of the son of Afleet Alex, Dublin should roll in this spot.  Lukas certainly seems to have given him the proper foundation, with 4 straight strong works and 2 bullets.  Dublin should be favored, but simply returning to his Hopeful form will not be good enough.  In the 7 months since his Hopeful win, other 3 year olds have gotten bigger and faster, and Dublin has yet to demonstrate that he has kept up, or that he can get 2 turns.  A deserving favorite, but with some key questions.

Of the locals, Dryfly won the Smarty Jones but the pace for the Southwest will be much less favorable.  He looks to be in tough.  Kitty's Turn ran 3rd in the Smarty Jones, making a big move from 11th, but he was outkicked by the runner-up, Pleasant Storm, who should be very tough once again.  With a good early pace expected, Pleasant Storm is my tepid pick, but I really could see it going a number of ways.

Finally, Cool Bullet is coming off a decent 4th in the Risen Star, rallying to lose only a few lengths to Derby contenders Ron the Greek and Maximus Ruler.  

As an aside, I do agree with Jason that Maximus Ruler ran a more impressive race than Ron the Greek in the LeComte.  And overall, I think Maximus Ruler is the better horse and is likely to make more money.  However, he might be making this money at 9 furlongs and shorter.  Every year the Derby has so many horses that have brilliant early speed or are pace pressers, but they often just nullify each other.  Already, there is Maximus Ruler, Jackson Bend, Rule, Super Saver, Conveyance, Noble's Promise, Eskendereya, Thank U Phillipe, Dryfly, D'Wildcat, Eightyfiveinafifty, Tempted to Tapit, Tiz Chrome, and others.  A horse like Ron the Greek, perhaps less gifted in any other race, will have certain advantages in the Classics.  We'll see.  Ron the Greek still has much to prove.

15 Feb 2010 3:07 AM

Now that I'm in Cali, I feel the need of highlighting when a horse goes from the Cali synthetics and wins back East on dirt.  A few weeks ago it was Bickersons, and on Saturday it was the Mike Mitchell trained Kays and Jays taking the gr.3 Hurrican Bertie at Gulfstream.  Mike Mitchell also trains St.Trinians.

Kays and Jays was coming off a 5th in the gr.1 La Brea(which only produced a 93 Beyer compared to the 101 Beyer for the Hurricane Bertie).  Prior to the La Brea, Kays and Jays won the listed Cascapedia Stakes Nov 8 at Santa anita w/ a 87 Beyer.

15 Feb 2010 3:57 AM
Billy's Empire

Scarface looked good in the Lewis. Let's get him on dirt and see what he can do....

15 Feb 2010 9:39 AM


Interesting that they added exactas to all three future pools this year. What I want to know is with the majority of the horses in "the pool" why is there no way to bet 24 over 24 (pool over the pool)? If pool horses run 1 and 2 in the Derby nobody wins. Sounds like a potential ripoff to me. Or perhaps they will go to the 3rd place finisher in that case to payoff. That's just not right either. Please correct me if I am wrong but I see nowhere in the potential payoffs one that shows 24 over 24. With the huge majority of horses in the pool it should be a bet one can make.

15 Feb 2010 10:27 AM

Greg J

look at that fella's web site that was on the Barbaro site.  Seems his name was Eaves, he has picked numerous winners, if, one has an inclination to bet...good odds too...I think it was

( with out looking it up )

very interesting...

15 Feb 2010 10:27 AM

I'm still finding Ron the Greek impressive.  His Risen Star duel may not come from Maximus Ruler...who didn't look as impressive as you state(but he is a gorgeous colt)...but could very well come in the debut of Backtalk (by Smarty Jones out of an Affirmed mare) whose workouts have been stellar.

15 Feb 2010 12:07 PM
Greg J.

     Southwest Stakes should be interesting later today at Oaklawn, I will stick with one of my favorites, Mission Impazible, Even though this will be very tough for him to pull off!  Will box him with Dublin, and Dryfly for the Tri, Will add Kitty's Turn for the Super, Leaving out Conveyance at my own peril...

15 Feb 2010 12:46 PM
Jason Shandler

Greg: The Southwest looks like a very good race and tough to 'cap. All the DRF guys like either Dryfly, Dublin and Conveyance. Something tells me one of the longshots will sneak into the exotics. I'm leaning toward Dublin or Conveyance, and then also using Kitty's Turn and Pleasant Storm to fill out my exactas and tris. The odds board will be very telling.

15 Feb 2010 1:40 PM
Ted from LA


15 Feb 2010 3:22 PM


 What is going on at Oaklawn? Was watching and wagering on race 5 then it came up on the screen that the rest of today's live racing has been canceled. What happened?

15 Feb 2010 4:14 PM


Subject: Macias.

This is from one you're posts.

dam sire A. P. Indy who has a horrible record as a derby sire and derby broodmare sire.

Coldfacts 03 Feb 2010 12:35 AM

15 Feb 2010 4:38 PM

longwaytomay....the cold weather messed up the track, and created unsafe conditions.  Southwest will be run Saturday, drawing new post positions.

15 Feb 2010 5:40 PM

Jason. I'll go out on a limb with a derby winner at a price and he didnt have the best of perfrormances either in the sam f. davis. I like uptowncharlybrown......yeah rule beat him handily and he will have to jump up and win a fair amount of graded money to get in yet, but I wont throw in the towel on him. First i think he was a bit far back in the sam f davis....he also went pretty wide heading into the stretch. He is a young colt with only three starts under his he will gain expierience in everything he does. The thing i saw positive out of his last race was he was running on pretty well at the end. I remember a horse named summer bird who was in the same situation in the arkansas derby (running on finished 3rd) and darned if he didnt go on to be a classic winner! I realize its a long limb to go out on......and alot of really good horses will fall out between now and then with arent the odds stacked against us all in this game???? Not to mention im a sucker for seeing the little guy in racing do well like happened last year. Great column you have here.

15 Feb 2010 5:42 PM

Looks like Backtalk won't be in the Risen Star....but it looks like plenty of good competition.

15 Feb 2010 6:19 PM


 Thanks, I watched two races and had placed a bet for the 5th when all of sudden they posted a sign saying racing was canceled for the rest of the day. It never crossed my mind that it was too cold. 32 degrees where I'm at would be a heat wave.

15 Feb 2010 7:04 PM

Dublin is still the one I am interested in at the moment. But the horse that is the most talented I have seen so far is Christine Daae. Anything from California will be a toss for me.

15 Feb 2010 8:22 PM

I made the drive from Lexington to Oaklawn yesterday to watch the Southwest, was sad to see the race card cancelled. Jockeys were getting a lot of kickback and felt the track was frozen in some spots. Feel terrible for Cal shippers get cancelled last week and again this week. Spoke with some of the Mission Impazible connections and they were sick, Johnny V. flew to Memphis but flight to Little Rock was cancelled so they hired a private jet to bring him to Hot Springs ant a crazy price to only have him land and find out the card was done. The only person all smiles was Wayne Lukas who said he was glad to get a new draw for Dublin and would hope to draw better for Saturday. I wish all the connections best of luck and hope somewhere down the road this setback turns into a blessing.

15 Feb 2010 9:29 PM

Sidney's Candy was awesome in the gr.2 San Vicente at Santa Anita.  It was only a 7 furlong race, and expected pace-presser Quiet Invader didn't break well, but Sidney's Candy won like a horse that can be a major factor in the Derby preps.

In the paddock, Sidney's Candy looked fantastic.  He's a robust but not stocky chestnut without any white on his body, except for his lower legs.  He clearly takes after his sire, the sensational Candy Ride, with good height, and a longer body which suggests he should be able to stretch out.  In the winners circle after the race, Sadler commented that he believes Sidney's Candy should get at least 9 furlongs.  Physically, I just love his combination of strength/muscle and length/height.  This is one imposing and impressive colt and out of a Storm Cat mare, he is bred in the blue by Jenny Craig.

As for the actual race, Sidney's Candy quickly demonstrated his last race disappointment was an abberation.  Sidney's Candy broke his maiden at Del Mar in a performance that many locals commented was the best at the meet by a juvenile(I wasn't in Cali at the time).  The hype around his return was huge, but in his 6 furlong allowance January 30th, he broke flat and then never picked it up(I wasn't on track for that race).  I was really excited to see just which performance represented the true Sidney's Candy, and by the end of the San Vicente the answer was clear.

Sidney's Candy did what few horses I have seen do at Santa Anita, go to the front and then actually widen in the stretch.  At one turn, the anti-speed bias at Santa Anita is not nearly as severe, so it wasn't remarkable that SC went wire to wire.  However, even at one turn, the frontrunners that do win usually go out and establish clear early leads and then just barely hold on for the win; the wire-to-wire sprint winners almost invariably lose ground in the stretch.  Not Sidney's Candy.  This horse had a bunch of competitors breathing down his neck on the turn, but then just powered away, stretching his legs out beautifully before being geared down within the final sixteenth to win by over 4 lengths.

The time of 1:20 and 4 was the 2nd fastest in the 50+ runnings of the San Vicente at 7 furlongs.  It should be mentioned, however, that the track was producing some fairly quick sprint times, but Sidney's Candy still ran his 6 furlong split faster than the final times at that distance.  If there's anything to critique about the performance(beyond it not being on dirt) it is that Sidney's Candy did not run his final eighth in under :12, something which happens relatively frequently on the Pro-Ride.  However, a :12 and 1 final eighth isn't bad considering the solid early splits and the fact he was being geared down.

Sidney's Candy has just thrown his name into the Derby hat, and he should be taken very seriously.  He will be extremely tough in the Santa Anita Derby preps, and is perhaps the most brilliant of the SoCal prospects.  John Sadler was grinning ear to ear after the race.

Another strong stakes performance was turned in by Tuscan Evening in the gr.2 Buena Vista at a mile on turf.  Tuscan Evening has developed into one of the most consistent stakes horses on the circuit, having won the gr.2 Las Palmas on Day 1 of the Breeder's Cup, running 2nd to the brilliant Ventura in the gr.1 Matriarch, and winning the gr.3 Monrovia at SA going 6.5 furlongs on the downhill turf course.  Tuscan Evening has excellent tactical speed and once in front, she fights as hard as possible to keep the others at bay; you can really see the effort she puts in.  Hats off to a gutsy competitor that just hates to lose.  The Buena Vista may have been her best effort yet.

Finally, on a sad note, RIP Next of Kendra.  The 5 year old gelding fell coming down the downhill turf course and never got up.  I assume he was put down, probably breaking his neck.  Michael Baze, his jockey, appeared ok but did have to icepack his back (I was sitting out by the fountain after the race, near the First Aid room) before returning to ride Eissoai to 2nd in the Buena Vista.

15 Feb 2010 10:35 PM
Greg J.


  From DRF: "The reason for the cancellation was that the track was starting to ice up," said Terry Wallace, spokesperson for Oaklawn.

Wallace said the surface was "balling up" and the material began hitting jockeys. Wallace said one or two riders said their goggles were breaking as a result, and at that point management and the jockeys made the joint decision to call off the balance of the card Monday.

15 Feb 2010 10:43 PM

longwaytomay, 32' is downright "balmy", have to take the horses rugs off so they don't overheat in the February sonshine!

GunBow, I wouldn't worry about SC final 1/8th, ;-), like you said he was gearing down. I think he can get 10, I mean look what his Daddy did at 1 1/4! He looked like he could go around again...he looks like CR's best so far.

Wouldn't it be "sweet" if the colt named after Sidney was the one who got it done for the Craigs?

There was a horrific spill at Aqueduct yesterday, too. I haven't been able to find out about Thousand Excuses, but I don't see how he could have survived, Jockey Dominquez got up on his own power, but I haven't heard if he was OK, either. Does anyone know?

16 Feb 2010 5:28 AM
Billy's Empire

The Risen Star has come up as a great race. Drosselmeyer, Hotep, Ron the Greek, Letsgitonmon, Tempted to Tapit, and Wordly are all nice, and this race will show us a lot with these 3yo. Saturday is going to be a great day for preps. Southwest, FOY, and the Risen Star. I will be looking forward to discussing the race's later in the week.

16 Feb 2010 9:49 AM

Apparently 32 was complicated by a wind chill, taking the temp down 10 more degrees.  As the track balled up at Oaklawn, it was also getting into the horses' hooves, and causing discomfort running.

Longwaytomay....I know what you mean...I've been looking at snow and ice for so long...May cannot come soon enough.  The great Northeast...ain' the winter.

16 Feb 2010 10:08 AM

I am beginning to believe this is one of the most dangerous sports for man and eguine that there is. Every week some poor innocent horse and jockey takes a spill costing the horse his life and the jockey broken bones or has fatally, his life. this is the most depressing part of this sport. If you love horses then you will never get used to this.  It's sad for horse and jockey. Other than the horses stature and being so well recognized, and being missed , the only one who comes out of this is the owners, because they get to collect that big insurance payout...

16 Feb 2010 10:41 AM

The plot thickens... Sidney's Candy has the look and the run of a very good horse. The way things are going I'll never be able to choose THE ONE...(like I ever can!) :)

Oh the irony of the California horses shipping to Oaklawn for better conditions! Santa Anita was at its best this weekend and they're halfway across the country with a cancelled card. Can they get anymore unlucky?

16 Feb 2010 11:45 AM
Tim G

Yes it was a bummer. Wayne was putting a good spin on the 10 hole and the colt may have been okay, here's hoping he gets lucky in the re-draw.

He was cranked up and ready to go. Lets see what the wait does. Wonder too if everyone will still hang out?

Only thing, Wayne was on a bit of a roll.....

16 Feb 2010 11:52 AM

Sidney's Candy has thrown his hat into the Derby race ? You have to be kidding ? Anyone know when MTB is running again ?

16 Feb 2010 12:45 PM

Rachel, Thousand Excuses was euthanized on the track.    Reports say Dominguez "appeared to escape injury" but that's all I've heard about him.  

16 Feb 2010 1:19 PM

I told you Candy Ride fans to watch for this one (Sydney's Candy).  

The top 3 year old filly Blind Luck wants no part of a mile and a slow pace.

We all know that Life is Sweet wants to go further than 1 1/16.  I could not find her last win at this distance.  

Baffert still has some undefeated...Conveyance.  Can't wait for this one.  Let the Holy Bull blood roll.

16 Feb 2010 1:21 PM


Ramon was OK His Agent Steve Rushing reported.  Ramon rode the next race. Don't know about 1000 Excusews.

16 Feb 2010 1:29 PM
Tim G

A little more research Carolyn.

This was no Thorn Song.

16 Feb 2010 2:38 PM
Tim G

MTB scheduled to resume training in March aiming for a stakes at CD.

Everyone spoke of Rachel's tough schedule and the need for a rest? MTB eclipsed her in that respect by a mile.

16 Feb 2010 2:44 PM


Since you keep bringing him up, it is plain to see that Mine That Bird is your all-time favorite race horse. I don't blame you, his Kentucky Derby win was pure delight! :)

16 Feb 2010 2:55 PM

Tim G, I was stating "all" horses and accidents, I dont know much yet on the accident over the weedend, but I will appreciate it if you know more than you please explain it to me, What happened?

And what do you mean 'a little more research, this is no Thorn Song', I know about TS, please explain?

16 Feb 2010 4:14 PM


What does Mine That Bird have to do with Sidney's Candy?

As for Sidney's Candy putting himself in the Kentucky Derby conversation, I think he most certainly has.  I am aware that you and a few others are committed to ignoring all of the Derby preps in Cali and any horse running in them, but the majority will be paying attention, and professional turf scribes like Jason will most certainly be covering the Cali preps.

I understand those that are skeptical about how the Cali prospects will transfer their synthetic form to dirt.  Until a horse proves that it can win on dirt, then I agree that a certain amount of skepticism is warranted.  However, I just don't think that a person can throw out every horse running in California or every horse exiting a particular race.  

If I'm not mistaken Draynay, your mantra last year was that the winner of the Derby would come from Florida Derby, and speciifically the Florida Derby.  Well, the winner came from Sunland, the runner-up from the Santa Anita Derby, the 3rd place finisher from Tampa/Hawthorne, the 4th place finisher from SoCal/Oaklawn, and the 5th place horse from the Santa Anita Derby. Obviously, Quality Road's injury severely hurt the chances of a Florida Derby horse winning at Churchill, but the injury to I Want Revenge hurt the SoCal contingent as well.

In any event, it appears that we won't have to wait until the first Saturday of May to find out if Sidney's Candy can handle conventional dirt.  His trainer John Sadler is planning to send him to Aqueduct for the Gotham and/or Wood while keeping Dave in Dixie at Santa Anita and Domonation at Oaklawn.  I love all 3 decisions.  Dave in Dixie's late running style is perfect for 2 turns at Santa Anita, and I think Domonation, the least regarded of the trio, should be fine at Oaklawn.  

As for Sidney's Candy, I think Aqueduct is an excellent spot, with the only drawback the weather change.  As Sadler has repeatedly commented, Sidney's Candy is a free-running horse, and the style that won him the San Vicente is not going to translate as well around 2 turns on the Pro-Ride; however, on conventional dirt, particularly Aqueduct, speed is a major positive rather than negative.  Last year, I Want Revenge made the Santa Anita to Aqueduct trip, and demonstarted much more early speed in the Gotham, ultimately running Mr. Fantasy into the ground and winning by 8 w/ a 113 Beyer.  I think Sidney's Candy has the potential to be another I Want Revenge, Congaree, Irgun, Fusaichi Pegasus, or Bob and John and relocate from Cali to win the Wood Memorial.  

Of these horses, Sidney's Candy reminds me most of Congaree(well known w/ 5 career gr.1 wins) and Irgun(swept the Gotham + Wood while easily beating eventual Derby winner Go For Gin in the latter  before suffering an injury).  Like the other 2, Sidney's Candy is a strong but atheletic chestnut with excellent tactical speed.  Hopefully he remains sound and has a chance to demonstrate his full ability.  I don't think a mile should be a major concern, and his breeding suggests that anything up to at least 9 furlongs is quite reasonable. I'm sorry he's leaving SoCal, and would love to see him run in person again, but I think Sadler is on the right track.  As I have repeated, I will not throw out every Derby contender that has prepped EXCLUSIVELY on synthetics, but I do think a prep on dirt is more informative to bettors and horsemen alike.

16 Feb 2010 4:23 PM
Jason Shandler

Well, since Dray brought up MTB, I think it is only appropriate to say at this point he was right on about him. Take nothing away from his Derby win, he earned it. But Dray said he wouldnt win another race after that in the 2009 season, and he didnt. I'm not so sure he will win another graded stake this year either. I wont go so far as to bring up the F word, but ...

16 Feb 2010 5:25 PM

I am going out on a limb here, but to me the reason MTB doesnt' win races is because he is much smaller than the other horses, they have longer and bigger strides, this is my opinion, I know some of you who are more knowledgable of horseracing can shed more light on this than I can. Thats just my opinion.

16 Feb 2010 6:03 PM
Jason Shandler

Nah Carolyn. He doesnt win many races because he's not good enough.

16 Feb 2010 6:08 PM


 I'm not positive, but I believe Draynay said MTB would NEVER win another race. I don't remember him limiting it to just 2009. I could be wrong, unlike Dray I have been wrong before.


 I was very impressed with Sidney's Candy yesterday. When he switched leads he really leveled off and pulled away. I really like the fact that he is going to ship east and see how he looks on dirt before the Derby. Once again I have to wonder what Andy Beyer and his crew are smoking. I thought the BSF was on the low side but since the race was on synthetic it doesn't suprise me much.

16 Feb 2010 6:23 PM
Mike Relva

If MTB doesn't win another race ever,HE STILL WON THE DERBY,something many will never experience!

16 Feb 2010 7:16 PM

MTB is good enough to be Canada's juvenile champion, to win the KD by several lengths, to place in the Preakness and show in the Belmont. No other horse of his generation has accomplished that much in the 2009 Triple Crown series. This may not be good enough for some but, it's good enough for me and his fans.


Thousand Excuses was probably not as highly insured (if at all) as Thorn Song, so his owner(s) are unlikely to receive a large amount of money from an insurance company.

16 Feb 2010 7:21 PM

Gunbow, you have a problem with being wrong most of the time. S. Candy showed good speed but there wasn't much speed in the race and had his own way with a average group.

S. Candy can clearly run on plastic and it appeared the others were a bit of trouble. When the horse wins something on dirt then you may have a Derby contender.  What you have now is a good plastic runner.  From time to time a Derby dark horse can come out of no where to win the big race but it was clear to me AT THE TIME that his talent was limited.  I doubt this years winner will catch the luck MTB did.  S. Candy would have to be the only horse in the race to win it.

16 Feb 2010 7:28 PM

Thanks Jason, it's nice for someone to admit that from time to time I am dead on baby !!!

16 Feb 2010 7:29 PM

Remember when the debate on this blog was not Rachel vs. Zenyatta but Rachel vs. Mine That Bird?  Remember after the Preakness, all of the MTB apologists that insisted that Rachel had "stolen" the Triple Crown from MTB and how MTB would've won the Preakness 1)had he not gone so wide, 2)had  he not carried 5 lbs. more than Rachel; 3) had Borel been on him and not Rachel; 4) had the race been longer(as if Pimlico officials could have changed the length of the Preakness mid-race and as if the 9.5 furlong distance was not known to all beforehand); and 5) that MTB was gaining on Rachel in the stretch and thus this moral victory should've resulted in an actual victory.

I respect MTB; any horse that does what he did in the Derby is a good horse.  And, he did run well in the Preakness and Belmont.  But I was strongly of the opinion that Rachel deserved to win the Preakness, and that she was the best horse in the race.  I truly wish MTB the best in 2010, but 2009 did not have a pretty end for him.

16 Feb 2010 7:41 PM

A sad goodbye to Betty Mabee, who, along with her husband John, owned Golden Eagle Farm in SoCal.  Best Pal was the first big horse I really followed from the beginning of his career, and was such a big fan.  I was rewarded with seeing him in person win the 92' San Fernando(121 Beyer), 92' Big Cap(123 Beyer), and 93' Hollywood Gold Cup(117 Beyer and the biggest crowd response until Tiznow's 2001 BC Classic and Zenyatta's 09' BC Classic).

When Best Pal died prematurely at the age of 10, I wrote a letter to the Mabees expressing my gratitude for breeding and racing my absolute favorite horse.  I was taken aback when I received a response from Betty Mabee, a response written in hand on a special Best Pal postcard.  She thanked me for sharing my feelings, told me that it would go in the scrapbook of memories they were making, and commented that she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from his fans.

Much like with Lava Man, fans outside of Cali never understood how beloved he was in his home state. Unlike Lava Man, Best Pal won a gr.1 outside Cali(Oaklawn Cap') and won over $5.6 million in the days before the Dubai World Cup and without running well in the Breeder's Cup.  If one includes his 91' Pacific Classic(ungraded in its 2nd year), Best Pal won 7 gr.1 races and 13 graded stakes.

Betty and John campaigned many, many other outstanding horses, most homebreds, and greatly elevated the status of the California breeding program.  Racing in California, and everywhere for that matter, owe a debt of gratitude to Betty and John Mabee.

By the way, as owners of Del Mar, I'm so glad Betty and John changed the name of the Balboa Stakes to the Best Pal. I will also never forget that the horse leading the post parade for the 96' Pacific Classic, with Cigar going for 17 in a row, was their baby, Best Pal. It was a tradition that sadly only lived for 2 years until Best Pal's heart gave out.  RIP Best Pal, John, and now Betty.

16 Feb 2010 8:03 PM

I must admit I got bit by the Chocolate Candy bug last time around.  I'm a little more sceptical now. Fact of the matter is, that Sidney's Candy, American Lion, Conveyance, and the Cal bred gelding are going to have to "come around" quite a bit to take on Lookin and Lucky.  Let em stick around for the San Felipe and try to catch the 2 year old horse of the year coming off a 3 month lay off.  I just don't see it.  Lookin at Lucky has won sprints to routes.  These are just now stretchin out.  Tiz Chrome?  Come on.  Where do you put that one?  American Lion...loved him but can't picture him against a proven Grade 1 winner.  

16 Feb 2010 8:40 PM


That was a beautiful post about Betty Mabee, her husband John and the great horses they bred and raced. By the time I got interested in horseracing, Best Pal had left the scene and I will always regret that I never had the privilege to see him race in person. Thank you for your tribute to some of California's best.

16 Feb 2010 9:38 PM

Jason, do you think a new trainer could do better with MTB, or do you think he will always be the little gelding that tried?

16 Feb 2010 10:14 PM
Greg J.


      Question, When is the field announced for the Fountain of Youth?  Is it before noon tomorrow?, Thanks...

16 Feb 2010 10:20 PM
Tim G

Carolyn, not every horse is insured at least not for exhorbitant sums. It's very costly.

Like Mike Said, MTB won the Derby and that's the way it is and will always be.

Sad that people continue to denigrate the horse, I think we know the reason for Draynay at least. He lost his Derby bet and he's a bad sport about it, that's racing, move beyond it.

The horse won a lot of money for his owners.

16 Feb 2010 10:30 PM


On this weeks THS will you be touching on all 5 3yo preps?

Fountain of Youth

Risen Star

El Camino Real


Turf Paradise Derby

16 Feb 2010 10:45 PM
Jason Shandler

Sorry for the delay, was watching UK pull out a thriller.

Carolyn: Chip Woolley has done a very nice job with the horse. He's done everything a trainer is supposed to, IMO, other than run the horse in the BC Classic. He was spent by the end of the year and it was easy to see.

Greg: Gulf usually draws around 2 or 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

tcc: Dont have time for all 5 preps, I wish we could. We'll focus on the FOY and Risen Star. All of them look very tough to 'cap. Devil May Care is the lock of the week in the Silverbulletday, IMO. She'll be odds on though, probably. But I think she's a beast.

16 Feb 2010 11:46 PM
Tim G

Miss St got jobbed on those last calls. Wall is good enough that isn't necessary.

Bad refs are going to start causing riots in college basketball.

17 Feb 2010 12:25 AM
Mike Relva


Well said,thanks.

17 Feb 2010 7:45 AM

I think the reason the SoCal horses are not yet considered Derby is not that they are SoCal.  They simply need to show their style at dirt tracks around 2 turns at a minimum a 8.5 furlongs. Many have not yet done that. The horses that have already done that, are the horses presently most seriously considered contenders.

Rachel, I watched that Aqueduct race 9 looks as though Thousand Excuses took a bad step, went down, and also tangled in the rail. Sadly, he was euthanized on the track.

17 Feb 2010 9:23 AM
Jason Shandler

Stop your whining Tim. There were a couple calls that could have went either way--the blocking foul on Patterson and the block by Wall that could have been goaltending. Other than that it was a well called game. Riots? What a ridiculous comment to make.

17 Feb 2010 10:50 AM
Tim G

Not the only one saying this.

Riots? On the court violence is what I mean. Violence against the refs and the players/coaches. Well, that's what the announcers and Cal were crying about.  Bottles being thrown in this game, players flipping off the crowd. coins hitting coaches in the face in the WV/Pitt game?

Hmmm. figured you'd be a Nova fan being from Philly??

I'm a Louisville fan, but that's not the main team I focus on.

Just agreeing with myriad of coaches, players announcers and fans alike saying the refs are taking away from the game with their desire to be in the center of it all.

Like the games with 58-75 fouls that one particular ref calls all the time.

17 Feb 2010 12:31 PM
Jason Shandler

Fans throwing items on the court has been going on for decades. We were just talking in the office how KY fans did it frequently in their old arena. Nova fans did it against G-Town all the time. That doesn't mean there are going to be "riots." This is America after all, not Europe or South America.

Anyway, my brother graduated from Nova and I covered them as a reporter when I lived in Philly. I wouldn't mind seeing them win it all. I have no alleginace with UK, but I live here so I root for them. My comment to you wasn't so much about the teams, just that I cant stand when people blame refs for a couple calls that could have gone either way. That happens every game, in every sport. The NFL and all the pass interference calls? Talk about calls that effect the outcome of many games.

17 Feb 2010 12:48 PM


Good point. When the ref's call favors one's team, it's a good call, when it favors the other team the ref is a blind idiot. I do it all the time... in the privacy of my living room, where nobody can hear me. :) Don't you?

17 Feb 2010 1:18 PM

Ah yes...Best Pal.  Since it is Triple Crown season, I thought it fitting to note another Santa Anita Derby runner (not winner) who faired well in the Kentucky Derby (Second Place).  Didn't he also take the Pacific Classic at 7 or 8 years of age?  Another Cal-Bred gelding who got little respect in his place in history.  

Thanks for sharing Gunbow.

17 Feb 2010 2:16 PM

Greg J.

 Looked at the PP's for Letanor's race today. He has got his hands full. There are several nice horses in this race. If he wins today he will deserve a shot on the dirt to see if he is Derby material. I'm going to box Letanor with Doubles Partner for the exacta.

17 Feb 2010 2:19 PM
Greg J.


     Very Tough field for an Allowance!  I also like Double's Partner with Lentenor.  Just watch, Lentenor wins going away, Florida Derby next up :)

17 Feb 2010 2:38 PM
Tim G

I don't even LIKE Miss State, just ribbing you for placing precedence on an OT Bball game with the #2 company over our astute and profound comments. You rise to the bait on schedule.

Just from reading on here, watching games and society in general seems like a lot of people act out as opposed to the good old days when we'd throw coins at the refs to try and give them more money than the opposing coach had.


17 Feb 2010 3:23 PM


It seems when Todd Pletcher has some derby prospect's, he wait's to long to get them some graded earnings, he then has to rush them at the last minute to try to get into starting field of the derby.

17 Feb 2010 3:24 PM

Beau Choix is will romp in the derby.

17 Feb 2010 3:34 PM

Greg J.

 Nice!! I don't think Letanor disgraced himself in anyway by finishing second. I want to see him on dirt, if it's the Florida Derby that fine with me. Only problem is he would probably be going against my derby horse Eskendereya. Nice run by the Saint Liam horse, all three showed alot of guts in the last furlong.

17 Feb 2010 5:00 PM
Greg J.

      An exciting race!  Those last five strides of Doubles Partner were impressive!  Nice ride by Chris DeCarlo, Impressive for his first race since November. While I would have been more excited with a victory, Still ran a gutsy race, He beat the colt he was looking at, Just didn't see the inside colt.  I think it is a coin toss if Mr. Matz and the Jacksons point him to the Florida Derby.  Mr. Matz said prior to the race that if Lentenor won "Nicely" and came out of the race fine, Then the Fla. Derby it would be.  Tough call to make!  Whatever happens, He is a damn good colt and will be a factor in the Triple Crown Races.  Exciting Race(And, Got lucky with the Superfecta!, Which eased the pain a little)...

17 Feb 2010 5:36 PM
Greg J.

Mr. Matz after the Race:

Matz said he was unsure what would be next for Lentenor although he didn't rule out the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 27 as a possible option.

"We'll see how he comes out of this one," said Matz. "All these other horses have more experience than he does. It's just hard to play catch up at this time of year."

Alright Jason, I will be sitting down when I next read your Blog, Question, What is your honest opinion on Lentenor and your thoughts on the Florida Derby?  Thanks in Advance...

17 Feb 2010 5:57 PM
Jason Shandler

Greg: He's a nice horse; has good tactical speed and looks like he'll have no problem with distance. We'll see what Matz does next. I would guess he'll enter him in the Florida Derby of he comes out OK.

17 Feb 2010 6:57 PM

Longwaytomay.  I don't know what Andy Beyer and is crew are smoking either but with full page editorials on how Pioneer of the Nile would fall flat in the Derby, and how Zenyatta was too slow and regressing, I wouldn't touch the stuff.  

17 Feb 2010 7:23 PM

IMHO I would rather see him go through his conditions before running in races like the Florida Derby.  There are many opportunities for him down the road and he needs the experience.

17 Feb 2010 8:10 PM

Householder- I'm not a Beyer fan, but Ragozin sheets also thought she was regressing, even though they said her figures were very hard to read because of the slow paces in her races last year.  Thoro-graph echoed the same thoughts.  But at least they realized that the pace was hampering their figures and tried to find an accurate way to adjust them.  They both said that if she ran a top race, she would win.  They just didn't know if she would or not.  Beyer flat out said she had no chance, as many on here did-lol!

17 Feb 2010 8:14 PM

What an incredible day of racing coming up Saturday! So many exciting events and not just KD preps. Thank goodness for this website where I will be seeing all the replays. I'll miss watching live because it's my best friend's birthday and I'll be doing other things with her. (She's not a horseracing fan.) It's her day and we'll do what she wants to do. So thank goodness for the BH website!

I wonder how much clearer the KD picture will be on Monday morning.

18 Feb 2010 1:43 PM

Where's Conveyance going?  Is it this weekend?  Baffert says he reminds him a lot of Holy Bull.  Could he be our legitimate speed of the Derby of just the "set-up" for Lookin at Lucky?

18 Feb 2010 1:57 PM

College hoops now? Refs and riots? If tea-partiers take a big interest in college hoops then the possibility of riots after bad calls goes way up. Otherwise the odds remain low.

18 Feb 2010 2:06 PM
Mike Relva


I agree with you. Andy Beyer lives in a "never never land" where he feels he's never in error. Wished I could seen his expression after Zenyatta dismantled the boys last Nov. Wonder how that worked out for him? lol

18 Feb 2010 5:07 PM


I grew up loving Beyer speed figures and have been taking notes of the Beyers of top horses going back 19 years when they first started appearing in public in the Racing Times(shortlived rival to the Form).

Over the years, I have realized that Beyers are far less effective for turf races than they are for dirt races.  Since the dominant variable in creating a Beyer fig is the final time(with track variant placing the final time in perspecttive with how fast the track was playing on that day), Beyers are almost invariably going to be lower for races with slow early paces; a slow early pace usually results in, at best, a mediocre final time.  On dirt, the problem of very slow early fractions are largely limited to races with small fields.  On turf, however, slow paces are much more common, which helps to explain why Beyer pars per class level are lower for turf races(the highest dirt fig over the last 25 years is 128, while the highest turf Beyer is 119).  Even in Europe with world class turf horses, the final times for gr.1 turf races can be incredibly slow.

For turf stakes, particularly gr.1 races, Team Beyer will sometimes give increased weight to the closing fractions when the early pace of a race was slow.  The exact amount of weight is determined primarily by just how fast the closing fractions were, although there is a good deal of subjectivity involved as well.  The basic premise of these adjustments is to reward horses that can close in :11 and change for a final eighth or :23 for the final quarter when the final time does not suggest a good Beyer.  I agree with such attempts, but it does make turf Beyers far less "scientific", and far more "fuzzy".

The introduction of synthetic surfaces has meant that Beyers are not "fuzzy" for an even larger percentage of all races.  Although there is significant variance among synthetic surfaces, races on the synthetic Pro-Ride at Santa Anita, for example, unfold much more like turf races than dirt races.  If anything, the early pace on Pro-Ride is slower than typical turf races per class level.  Thus, even if Blind Luck could have closed her last quarter of the Las Virgenes in :21 flat instead of "just" :22 and 2(an amazing final split), her Beyer would have just barely hit the 100 mark, given the extrememly slow first 3 quarters.

In general, when comparing a horse moving from dirt to synthetic or vice versa (as with turf to dirt) I give the synthetic horse at least + 6 Beyer points (or the dirt horse - 6 points) assuming a perfect transfer of form(which is a big assumption- whether a horse can transfer its form across surfaces is a big handicapping question).

While I have not abandoned Beyers, out here in Cali they simply do not have the value they would in other regions of the US.  In many ways, Beyers have as much relevance in Cali as they would in Europe; there is a reason why Beyers have not caught on in Europe like in the US and why most European handicappers use the more subjective Timeform or Racing Post figures.  For Timeform and Racing Post, the key is class, and the margin of victory and the ease with which the victory was achieved(with weight, final time, and track variant factors as well).  

Beyers were made to reflect speed, particularly early speed given how pace so greatly affects final times.  When horses in a particular race basically show no speed for the first half of the race, then the Beyers are simply going to be low.

Of the recent stakes races, the one which I have the biggest problem concerning the Beyer it was assigned is the Buena Vista(gr.2 one mile on turf), won by Tuscan Evening on President's day.  Although Tuscan Evening won the Buena Vista by over 2, broke the stakes record(a stakes with 20+ runnings), and ran 6/5ths of a second faster than a horse that won an allowance race the day before(at the same distance) and received a 98 Beyer(weather did not affect the turf course from Sunday into Monday as there were sunny and dry conditions on both days and throughout the preceeding week), Tuscan Evening received only a 94 for the Buena Vista.  

In general, I find the Beyers for stakes at Santa Anita to be lower than what is deserved.  The Beyer par for just about every stakes race has dropped about 7-10 points, and litterally just two handful of horses have been able to break the 100 plateau(on Pro-Ride or turf).  The highest fig run at Santa Anita so far is the 103 for Jeranimo's Strub while St.Trinians' Paseana victory is the only other over 101.  

The Strub used to consistently get well over 103 when it was run on dirt, with winning horses like Flying Continental(90'), Defensive Play(91), Best Pal(92), Siberian Summer(93), Dare and Go(95), Silver Charm(98), Event of the Year(99), General Challenge(00), Mizzen Mast(02), Medalgia d' Oro(03), Rock Hard Ten(05), and High Limit(06) all running Beyers of 110 or higher over the last 18 runnings on dirt(12 of 18 Strubs with a Beyer of 110+).  The Strub has not earned a Beyer of 108 since Pro-Ride was installed 3 years ago.

19 Feb 2010 1:49 AM

GunBow- I agree.  Beyer is pretty accurate for dirt races.

19 Feb 2010 1:48 PM

Thanks GunBow!  I think adjusting the Beyer "band" + or - 6 is keeping in line with what some trainers like Hollendorfer have said with the likes of Hysterical Lady moving from synthetic to dirt.  She wasn't any better on dirt although her Beyer jumped 10.  He assigned Blind Luck an A- for her performance in the Las Virgenes so it would appear that he continues to hold to this philosophy.  The first 3 quarters were painful (slow) to watch and one knew she was kind of in trouble at that distance.  

19 Feb 2010 7:36 PM

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