Not Your Ordinary Top 10

With nearly two months of the Derby prep trail completed, quite honestly I have not been blown away with the 3-year-old crop as a whole. Maybe that's why the horse I have ranked No. 1 on my list doesn't even have any graded earnings yet. I'm hoping my outlook changes in March.

Admittedly, Eskendereya's Fountain of Youth performance was superb and if he can follow it up in the Florida Derby he will be a legitimate favorite on May 1. But I have learned my lesson over the last couple years. That is, I don't get overly excited about one win. I need to see a horse repeat the performance.

It seems that every time a horse wins a prep race, the following week many people automatically vault them to the top of their Derby lists. Not that my list is any better than others, but I tend to look at potential rather than what-have-you-done-for-me-lately. It's a long road to Churchill Downs and many factors are involved--pedigree, speed figures, running style, times, connections, etc. So, when I see a horse wire the field in a prep after setting dawdling pace, I don't get too cranked up.

My list may be a little unorthodox, but it is made with an eye focused solely on May 1. Feel free to agree or pick it apart.

1. Odysseus: The most visually impressive 3-year-old I have seen up this point, and that is why he makes the top of my list. I know he's only won a maiden sprint and a first-level allowance, and hasn't faced anything yet, but his turn of foot in the Tampa allowance race was spectacular. It reminds me of Big Brown's allowance win at Gulfstream two years ago. I like his pedigree and his running style. Can't wait to see him in the Tampa Bay Derby next month.

2. Caracortado: Too high? Well, he demolished a pair of colts (Tiz Chrome and American Lion) that many had ranked in their top 10 before the San Rafael, so I don't think it's a reach. This guy may be a California-bred gelding, but he shouldn't be considered a sleeper any longer. He is undefeated in five starts, earned a solid 97 Beyer last out, and also has a win on dirt when breaking his maiden at Fairplex (I know, it was only four furlongs). I guess people will start to take him seriously if and when he beats Lookin at Lucky.

3. Eskendereya: There is no doubt his Fountain of Youth effort was the best 3-year-old prep all season. He looks like the real deal and if he wins the Florida Derby he will give Pletcher his best chance at a Kentucky Derby to date. I will caution, however, that it was just one win. How many times have we seen a horse win a prep in commanding fashion and regress next time out? Again, he looks legit, but let me see it again.

4. Dublin: I was very impressed in a losing cause. He broke terribly in the Southwest and had way too much ground to make up in a one-mile race, especially going wide. But he was flying at the end in his first start of the year and I believe he will improve in the Rebel. Watch out.

5. D' Funnybone: I may be in the minority here, but I think this colt has Derby potential. I know the Hutcheson was only a sprint, but it was the way he did it--professional and easy while making his first start of the year. He has good tactical speed too. Getting 10, or even nine furlongs, is a legitimate concern based on pedigree and his failure in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but I give him a chance. His next race will tell the story.

6. Interactif: Ok, it may seem like I'm still reaching with this colt, but I'm not giving up on him yet. I see talent. I still believe he is better from off the pace and if ridden that way, can be a force. We saw it last year. I'm hoping for a rider change. Pletcher still undecided on his next spot--turf or dirt--but the Santa Anita Derby is the one that matters anyway.

7. Drosselmeyer: I didn't think his first stakes effort was bad at all. He was chasing a slow pace and was making up ground at the end. Mott knows 1 1/16 miles was too short for him. The colt relishes extra ground. I expect him to improve in the Louisiana Derby. We will hear from him again.

8. Super Saver: Like everyone else, I am anxiously awaiting his return. He's had a long time off. I don't expect his next race (either the Rebel or Gotham) to be his best; its his final Derby prep that I will be watching closest. Time will tell with this colt.

9. Christine Daae: I know, she hasn't routed, faced stakes company, taken on colts, or done anything worthy of making a top 10 Derby list. It's a hunch, folks. But like Odysseus, I saw an incredible talent in her maiden win at Gulfstream. I hope she confirms it in the Davona Dale. Her works say she will. If not, call me an idiot. If so, don't be shocked if she winds up facing the boys in March.

10. Lookin At Lucky: He's the 2-year-old champ and has done little wrong in five starts. So why is he so low on my list? Quite simply, I'm not sure he is fast enough. His Beyers have been average and he hasn't beaten anyone by more than 1 3/4 lengths. And he hasn't raced on dirt yet. But he is a champion and he does have Baffert in his corner. If he keeps winning, I will have to change my mind. By the way, what is up with his work on Monday-six furlongs in 1:15.40?

Best of the rest:

Conveyance: He probably deserves to be on this list. But I just have doubts about his ability to carry his speed 10 furlongs. His style isn't going to change.

Rule: Also deserves respect. His Sam Davis win was very solid. I can't help think he is one-dimensional though. His next race will tell the story.

Discreetly Mine: How many front-running contenders does Pletcher have? The pace in the Risen Star was embarrassingly slow.

Noble's Promise: Almost forgot about him its been so long.

Buddy's Saint: The Fountain of Youth was not his fault. One of the worst riding errors you'll see. But I also question the spot he was thrown into off his layoff. Next one will let us know how good his 2-year-old wins were.

Jackson Bend: An honest and tough colt. I just don't think he wants to go any further.

Sidney's Candy: Not getting too revved up about a sprint on Pro-Ride.

Dave in Dixie: Was coming on very well in the Robert Lewis.

Tempted to Tapit: Good try in his first stakes effort. But it will be tough to win route races with his style. He wants the lead.

Cardiff Giant: Was also making up good ground on Conveyance.

Connemara: Might be too slow.

Fly Down: Zito horse turned in a solid nine-furlong allowance effort in his first start of the year. Intriguing.

Maximus Ruler: I felt like I needed to add him; hope he makes his next work. I still like him.


Leave a Comment:

Billy's Empire

So Tiz Chrome, American Lion, and Ron the Greek are no where in sight? not even a mention? Dang, that is harsh. I thought your pick was Tiz Chrome in the Lewis, and now he is gone into triple crown obscurity.

I just want to see those Cali horses run on dirt, especially Dave in Dixie and Tiz Chrome. They both could be a solid type in furure races.

23 Feb 2010 2:29 PM
Jason Shandler

Billy: I never was a backer of either American Lion or Ron the Greek. Tiz Chrome could have been mentioned, but you cant write about them all. I didn't write about Maximus Ruler either and I certainly like him.

23 Feb 2010 2:37 PM


 You are a gambler aren't you! lol

1. Eskendereya

2. Dublin

3. Caracortado

4. Super Saver

5. Nobiles Promise

6. Lookin at Lucky

7. Fly Down

8. Connemara

9. Rule

10. Discreetly Mine

23 Feb 2010 2:50 PM
Billy's Empire

I know Jason, picking 10 horses out of 75-80 is not an easy task. You left off Hotep, and a slew of other horses. Even Bim bam. Like yourself, I am a big fan of Odysseus, and thought he had great action and a nice turn of foot. I like the fact that you threw the filly in there, and D'Funnybone. Even though I dislike Dutrow, he is a good trainer.

The anticipation of the next few preps is high grasshopper!

23 Feb 2010 3:20 PM

Do you work for Pletcher? Interactif really? #3,#6,#7,#8???? Did you see how Drosselmeyer got trash this weekend......And he is #7. When Conveyance won the Southwest over dublin is not even on your Top Ten.......Pletcher must have you on his payroll..

23 Feb 2010 3:42 PM
Jason Shandler

Josh: First of all, #6 Drosselmeyer is not trained by Pletcher, he is trained by Bill Mott. Get your facts straight next time you come back here. Also, in case you didnt notice, I dont have Rule or Discreetly Mine on my list--both Pletcher horses that most have in their top 10. I only have 3 Pletcher horses on my list. Any other words of wisdom from you?

23 Feb 2010 3:54 PM

Drosselmeyer was an overlooked on my part. My bad. But Interactif? over Conveyance? Cmmon get your list straight. Dont just write stuff just for the sake of writing and favoritism. I know Pletcher has a strong Barn right now but a Turf Horse over a Horse who just won on a dirt track 6 furlong 1:10 and change? Really?

23 Feb 2010 4:05 PM
Ted from LA

Nice list.  Flip #s 1 and 2 and replace #10 (who will get drilled by the new #1 March 13th) with Noble's Promise.  The only way Caracortado loses the Derby is if the trainer or owner decide to go Hollywood and replace his rider with Kent Desormeaux.  Jason, I suggest a yellow leisure suit for your show this week.  They are all the rage again.  White belt and shoes too.

23 Feb 2010 4:05 PM
Jason Shandler

Josh: Let me explain something to you because you are obviously new to the game: Just because a horse wins a one-mile race in wire-to-wire fashion doesnt mean he is suited to win a 10-furlong race in May. Winning prep races in February dont mean all that much. The trainer of Conveyance will tell you that. The true tests come at 1 1/8 miles and beyond.

As for Interactif, yes he has run his last few races on turf, but he broke his maiden on dirt and has a dirt pedigree. I know he is a longshot, but I think he has a chance if he improves on dirt because I know distance is no limitation. It would be easy to put all of the recent prep winners in my top 10, wouldnt it? I hope this helps you.

Ted: Thanks for the wardrobe tip. What's the old lady eating, I mean making, for dinner tonight?

23 Feb 2010 4:12 PM
Billy's Empire

Josh, his horses did win 3 preps last weekend, so I see no issue with Pletcher having that many horses in the top 10. Interactif is a bit of a stretch, but can be replaced by Rule, Connamerra, and Discreetly Mine.

Drosselmeyer wants to go longer and will be better in the LA Derby

23 Feb 2010 4:20 PM
Billy's Empire

Jason, I think you should go with the Dumb and Dumber tuxedos, a nice Peach and Perriwinkle blue tux for you and your partner this week. Don't forget the ruffles. If not, there is a website, and you can order a leisure suit and personalize it. ted from l.a can get one that says, Al Davis Ruined my Life!!

23 Feb 2010 4:32 PM
Carlos in Cali

I guess Odysseus caught your eye as he did mine when I touted him last week on Haskin's Derby Dozen.He looked like a machine rolling down the stretch and should only improve w/racing and more distance.To me he reminded me of Bernardini in one of his many blow-out races,but heck,I'll take Big Brown too.

23 Feb 2010 4:44 PM

JoshS-You have no point. Give up.

I find it odd how many of the legitimate horses for the Derby are going into it unprepared.

I like Dublin and Eskan. a lot after this weekend. Toss the horse that won the SW and don't look back. Dublin was REALLY far back and he made a long sustained run. I also like that about Eskan. who ran well the last 3f.

I don't think leaving out Tiz Chrome/ALion is out there. They pretty much got swallowed up regardless of the pace. American Lion looked like the race may have set him up but Tiz Chrome looked out matched. With that being said, Baffert is showing why he actually wins Derbys. He now has the opportunity to bring Tiz Chriome back on dirt at 9f and rate him to see if that improves him. Time allows teaching.

23 Feb 2010 4:48 PM

It will be fun to go back to these lists after the TC races are done.  Chances are most of us will be saying "What was I thinking??!!"

But your list is a nice departure from the slightly more traditional ones.  

If I had to pick the Derby winner today, I pick DUBLIN.  But ask me again next week and it might be someone else.  Such is the way the wind blows this time of year.

So, how much does Pletcher pay you anyways and how do I get on his pay roll?!  I say nice things all the time about his horses, Eskendereya is even my current #1, but I have yet to receive my check.

Something tells me you aren't on his payroll anymore now that you've put Eskendereya behind a former Fairplex maiden winner and a horse that hasn't even seen stakes company yet! :-)

23 Feb 2010 4:57 PM
Virgil Fox

Nice sustained bid from Connemara.  Has a nice stride.

As you hinted, final time was a few ticks more than desireable.

- Peace

23 Feb 2010 5:01 PM
Jason Shandler

Runfast: Big Brown didnt win his allowance race until March. Just because you win these early Derby preps doesnt mean you will have success at Churchill. Mr. Pletcher knows that all too well. Now, if Eskendereya does it again in the Florida Derby, I will probably be sold.

23 Feb 2010 5:06 PM
Lucky Bob

Nice to hear from an original

source. You'll look like a genius

if Odysseus comes through.

I think you need to give Lookin at Lucky more credit. Bad start yet

fast closing 2nd in Breeders Cup.

Eskenderaya's race was the most impressive,not just because of how much he won by, but his time.

So.. I like him & Lucky 1-2 for now.

Conveyance might be talented enough to last; in his previous it

seemed he was running just hard enough to win it.

I guess we'll all know better in about 2 months.

23 Feb 2010 5:14 PM
Mike Relva


Your goal obviously is trying to get an argument going! Why don't you bring something solid to the table?

23 Feb 2010 5:15 PM
Mike Relva


Great point about people getting excited about horses' winning a race and placing them on the top ten Derby watch. I'll bet hardly anyone in the country,including myself had MTB winning the Derby last yr.

23 Feb 2010 5:20 PM

I totally expect to get drilled for this, but, i really am impressed with Uptowncharlybrown. Or should i say impressed with his pedigree? Either way, he blows the barn door off in the Tampa Derby. Super Saver and Buddy's Saint round out my top three. btw, have not seen a nicer stride on a horse since empire maker, and i'm refeering to Buddy's Saint.

23 Feb 2010 5:21 PM

Oh I know Jason....

That's the fun part of these discussions.  We have just as much chance of looking back on these early lists and finding out the Derby winner not only wasn't on the list, he wasn't on the "list after the list" if you know what I mean.

Hint: I like Odysseus too.  He ran an 85 Beyer breaking his maiden and then a 91 while under wraps.  Nothing to sneeze at!    

23 Feb 2010 5:25 PM
Brian Appleton

I started reading your list and was getting ready to start writing: "Are you nuts?!" when I remembered that you said you are looking more at the potential which, when I thought about it, seems quite logical.

Lookin At Lucky already beat Eskendereya and D'Funnybone (albiet on synthetics) so I was surprised to see him so low on your list. Speed really doesn't turn me all that much in making a Derby choice. It's all about ability and the desire to win which Lucky has in huge quantities. His potential showdown with Caracortado should be very exciting. Even though I pegged Caracortado as the horse to beat in the Lewis, I still think Lucky will win when they meet.

23 Feb 2010 5:29 PM

I have to say that Odysseus is the MOST over hyped horse this week.

I saw the race - he beat nothing. The move was impressive but looked like 'nothing special' to me going under the wire. We'll see.

I also don't think Pletcher trains to win the Derby. He just trains.

Bruce Levine changed his whole life around just to try to get Buddy's Saint to the dance. Pletcher doesn't change anything.

Think its a coincidence that trainers saddling their 1st Derby starter have done so well lately?  Their whole life revolves around their Derby horse.

It just doesn't seem that important to Pletcher and now has 10 days off to ponder it.

23 Feb 2010 5:36 PM

I will need to see Odysseus prove his worth in graded company. I believe Drosselemeyer is overrated, His alw win at Gulfstream was a perfect trip. Buddy got absolutely nothing conditioning wise from FOY, will need to really step up next start, and i believe he is talented enough to do just that. Dublin wins the Southwest with a smoother trip. Doesnt matter of its synthetics or dirt, Conveyance has proved himself on both and is now a multiple graded stakes winner. Lookin at Lucky  cant rest on his 2 yr old laurels forever, he better be ready to run, because Carcortado AND Dave in Dixie will prove to be formidable opponents. Rule is a battler and has many gears to use when he needs them. Its unusual for a 3 yr old to have such a HUGE race on the Derby trail in February, but Eskendereya should have plenty of time to recover from it. He may be too slow, but, Connemara reedemed himself with the El Camino win, but he needs to get his starting gate woes eliminated. He will sternly tested for class in the Santa Anita Derby. Super Saver accomplished alot as a 2 yr old. Training sharply in Fla. It' show time soon for him. Christine Daae probably isnt being pointed to the Derby at this point, however, that could change because she is something really special!!

23 Feb 2010 5:39 PM
Ted from LA

Brian Appleton,

Richard Simmons has a better chance of beating Usain Bolt in a race than Lookin' at Lucky does of beating Caracortado.

23 Feb 2010 5:55 PM
John Asher

Like your thinking, Jason -- and I'm as intrigued with Christine Daae as you appear to be.  I would add Stay Put somewhere on your list as I thought his late-running effort in the Risen Star was way better than it looked, but he'll get another chance.  Good luck on the road to Derby 136!

23 Feb 2010 6:05 PM

Here's one:  Don't over look Collizeo, another T Pletch colt.  His allowance race was a throw, with that horrific start, almost tumbled; made Buddy Saint's FOY look like a good trip.  I think you mentioned before his pedigree is fabulous.  Let's see if and where Pletcher fits him in.

23 Feb 2010 6:17 PM
Jersey Josh

Well, you will look very good if these 10 are even in the gate!  I have to agree with GoldenGiven.  Uptowncharlybrown.  Will makeonly his 4th start in the TB Derby, and if you go back to the Sam F Davis, he was well past Rule 1/16th after the wire on the gallop out.  Suggests to me that Rule with real pressure will fold and Charley really wants more distance.  I am looking forward to the TB Derby and hope that Charly shows the way to the wire!  Esken was visually impressive.  Seems that mostof this crop wants to be on the lead and we all know that it is VERY hard to win the KD on the front end.  Too much of a speed battle up front, and they will be done turning for home setting it up for the closer>>>who is UPTOWN!

23 Feb 2010 6:25 PM

I am new at this, so I have a couple of questions?  I don't know if I am spelling it right, but what about eightyfivenafifty?   He blew his race, but does that completely discount him? Or, what about Lentenor?  I am not a particular fan of being crazy about a horse because his brother or sister was good, but I am just curious of all opinions who know what you are doing.  

23 Feb 2010 6:32 PM


I did not see Odysseus performance but it must have been mine blowing for you rank this colt #1.  If you were not the knowledgeable individual I regard you to be I would think you are plum crazy. If his final time of 1:44.37 was not achieved gearing down then his #1 ranking is even more bizarre. Below are some times recorded for the distance at the track:


Any Given Saturday 1.44.97 (easy) (8th Derby)

Fierce Wind 1:44.13 (did not start in the derby)

General Quarters 1:43.54 (Stakes Record) (10th Derby)

Rule 1:44.15 (pending)

Tampa Bay Derby:

Street Sense  1:43.11 (1st Derby)

Big Truck      1:44.25

Musket Man   1:43.67 (3rd Derby)

The horses that won and that showed in the derby recorded far better times at Tampa Bay than your # ranked colt. Are you aware that Odysseus is a January foal? With his maturity advantage and only three races on his resume, he definitely has soundness issues. When January foals have soundness issues they should never be #1 on any list. Remember the celebrated January foal Dunkirk. He was deemed so impressive and was place in the top five on every list. I have every confidence that reality will return to your compilation criteria.

NB: Which of A.P Indy’s 54 plus son that have passed through the breeding shed have sired the winner of a Triple Crown race? None! Who was the last derby winner to be broodmare sire of a derby winner? Count Fleet who was dam sire of 1965 Derby winner Lucky Debonair (44 Years) Your #1 ranked horse has to many historic hurdles to cross along with his soundness issues.

23 Feb 2010 6:41 PM


“Connemara: Might be too slow”

Slow horses do not get bumped at the gates and close from15 lengths last to win the lengths to spare. Connemara is the only Pletcher horse that has a chance of winning the derby. Be guided by the grinder Giacomo. Connemara has just as much stamina but a far better mover. Did you see the post race interview with Russell? He said he would go anywhere with this colt. Connemara is a serious contender and not a overrated pretender.

23 Feb 2010 6:48 PM

I believe Eightyfiveinafifty is off the trail. Mr Contessa said his return to the races would be a sprint race, not a much needed route.

23 Feb 2010 6:52 PM

I like UptownCharleybrown..still coming at the wire..and lately..Derby wins have not come from the top stables..maybe he has the connections that can take him there..also Scar Face..would be nice to see an overlooked regional sire get a nod..good story line...

23 Feb 2010 6:53 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for weighing in John. I saw your lists as well and took note that you have C. Daae ranked second on your Oaks list. I hope she runs big for us this weekend. Talk to you soon.

Wendy: I'm not sure when Eightyfiveinafifty will run next. I would be surprised if he was ready to go anytime soon. Lentanor did impress me in his allowance try. Matz has not yet committed to the Fla. Derby though.

Coldfacts: I respect your pedigree analysis as always and you do your research, but don't you think it would be wise to actually watch Odysseus' race before you question him? He absolutely was geared down in the Feb. 17 race. He could have run much faster. Go to click on racing, click on race replays, then Feb. 17 and race 9. Then come back with your analysis. Sometimes actually watching the races helps you pick winners :) BTW, who is your top 10?

23 Feb 2010 6:53 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Does 2009 mr. fantasy ring a bell to anyone on here. I have been on long enough to not hop on the odysseus bandwagon. Jason I know that the clash of the titans movie is coming out in april but #1 come on either way it gets people to post and thats all that matters. I agree though about interactif and he only lost his last turf race by a nose...suprise lentenor didnt make the no so top 10 list!

23 Feb 2010 7:00 PM
Jason Shandler

Fair enough it aint easy being wrong, you don't like my selections. But at least post your list so I can pick yours apart too :)

23 Feb 2010 7:27 PM

being a huge Giant's Causeway fan you know I have his two sons on my list.

Christine Daae has been looking like a good one, I love her.

Another Giant's Causeway to watch is Northern Giant, He may not be ready for the Triple Crown races but I think he will be a real nice one as he gets older.

23 Feb 2010 7:38 PM

Sure Caracortado may push Lookin at Lucky perhaps up to 1 1/8, as did Bob Black Jack did with Col John.  I don't see him beating a proven Graded stakes winner the caliber of L at L.  Were not talking American Lion and Tiz Chrome who both had layoffs and were going around two turns for the first time.  Lookin at Lucky has won sprints to routes and is way ahead of this curve.  I say he dirts in New York and using Gubow's +- 6 Beyer "standard error of measurment" blows a 110 I Want Revenge Style.  But if he stays, Interactif is welcome to the Santa Anita Derby party.

23 Feb 2010 8:04 PM


 You say that Connemara is the only Pletcher horse that has a chance in the Derby. What would you base that statement on? Not being a smart a--, I'm curious what would have you throw out so many other colts. By the way, Jason said Connemara MIGHT be too slow.

23 Feb 2010 8:07 PM
Tony Bada Bing

Right on with D'Funnybone! He breezed by his competition at the three-quarter mark in 1:09. All but one of his recent works was either five or six furlongs, so you know Dutrow had the Florida Derby in mind, even before the Hutcheson, and is busy putting some bottom in his colt. We all know Dutrow knows how to get horses to outrace their breeding. Big Brown's pedigree didn't exactly scream 10 furlongs...

23 Feb 2010 8:10 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Haha I am giving you praise and crap in the same email come on! I looked at the race and it was ok it wasnt jaw dropping though. Good turn of foot but not the WOW factor like when you saw IWR run last year. What the point of a top 10 when you can only make money for the top 4!

Top 4

1) Dublin......Surgery,oldschool trainer, not peaking ....daddy had game.....LOCK!!!

2)Connemara....coldfacts said he was good! lol

3) Conveyance....bob baffert, hasnt lost won on dirt what else do you want!

4)  FlyDown.....SLEEPER....Bracketbuster...reminds me alot of UTAH STATE in mens bball!

23 Feb 2010 8:22 PM
Jason Shandler

It aint easy: About the only thing we agree on is Dublin, though by no means do I think he is close to a "lock." What an overused term in gambling.

Connemara: Yeah, those Golden gate shippers really have shined in the Derby!

Conveyance: Im sure he'll wire the field while running a :22, :46 and 1:10. Come on.

Fly Down: Like him a bit, but that 1:50 on Gulfstream's cement is really scaring people!

Lol, stick to colege hoops. Speaking of which, cant wait for the tourney.

23 Feb 2010 8:38 PM

great list!! asher has super 2nd on his list. Looking is the only other horse (1st),matching your're right on about this group. maybe a filly fits. boxcar derby payoffs again!!

23 Feb 2010 8:50 PM

My top 3 are

1. Lentenor

I`ve seen all his races, and the way he`s going, he`s got great potential. He`s been running greenly, but that`ll straighten out with experience, and then he`ll really go.

He`s also Barbaro`s brother, so that gives me a sentimental reason to root for him, lol

2. Buddy`s Saint

One bad run doesn`t throw him off my list, even Secretariat had bad runs. Bussy`s Saint still has potential in my opinion.

3. Dublin or Afleet Express

A mix of skill, potential, and just flat out

They`re both talented and have greqat potential.

Also their sire, Afleet Alex, is the horse that brought me to racing with his Preakness run.

23 Feb 2010 9:08 PM

I do not often agree with Jason on his blogs, but i do agree with his assesment of ODYSSEUS.  His race was a paid workout at Tampa and I think we will see a similar display in the Tampa Derby and then either the Wood Memorial or the Arkansas Derby on the way to Louisville. Regarding the issue of ODYSSEUS being unsound as Coldfacts says - he is very incorrect in his uneducated and factless based comment.  ODYSSEUS came out of a 2yo sale (purchased in late march), he was given a break by his owners after the sale for 30 days(which is part of their program) and then shipped to NY.  He took a little while to come around and Padua had another colt that they let loose first (Global Force - who won via DQ over Buddy's Saint in his first start and might even have more ability than ODYSSEUS)and then ODYSSEUS was up and ran in a madien special weight on Oct. 31 (he was 2nd.)  He was set to run again, but got a little sick and that set him back to the race on Jan.14.  He ran back on the 17th at Tampa.  So coldfacts, despite your screen name, your facts are not correct here.  I have seen Odysseus in the flesh and he has tremendous bone, correct knees and a great strenght to his body.  He has never taken a bad step in his life.  If he is an unsound horse, i would like to have a whole barn full of those.  Coldfacts, you know nothing about this horse, so don't say something so foolish.

23 Feb 2010 9:32 PM
Mike Relva


Have you heard any news about Buddy's Saint having an ankle problem? I haven't.

23 Feb 2010 9:33 PM


Christine Daae

D Funnybone

Enough said.

23 Feb 2010 9:38 PM
It aint easy being good

Now that dray is back and agreeing with the skills of Dublin. Jason Dublin is a lock if he makes to the gate on derby day he will hit the board!! Dublin=lock! I will put money up that dublin hits the board on derby day any takers....jason ....get the pay pal account ready! LOCK IT UP!

23 Feb 2010 10:15 PM
Tim G

Think the stumble cost Dublin the race, that and going 4 wide, acting out and being off a long layoff.

He had a pretty rough trip as well, yet was running hard at the end. A little more distance and he gets up.

As long as the negatories don't jinx him....

23 Feb 2010 10:27 PM

Dang it, Dray, why did you just put the voodoo on Dublin? I really liked that horse. Shoot.

D'Funnybone and Christine D. won't get the distance, IMO.

23 Feb 2010 10:35 PM


Rebel possible for Lookin At Lucky

23 Feb 2010 11:19 PM

I like Caracortado for the Derby right now, with Super Saver, Eskendereya, Pounced, and Hot Dixie Chick some of my other choices. This is rather off topic, but has anyone here heard of a horse named Derby Cat? She's nine years old, and she is still winning stakes while carrying higher weights than any high-profile horses nowadays. I know she is just an Idaho bred, but she is definitely a sturdy and game performer and I look forward to any offspring she may have.

23 Feb 2010 11:24 PM

Tiznowbaby, is that an insult to Storm Cat, by any chance? If so, then remember Giant's Causeway, Cat Thief, Tabasco Cat, and Bluegrass Cat. If not, if you think they won't get the distance because of some factor that isn't their shared grandsire, then I apologize.

23 Feb 2010 11:31 PM


I follow you close enough to know that you are not a "chalk" guy, so I understand that you are trying to think "out of the box".  However, having an unproven horse at #1 is a little hard to stomach. Having a filly who has not faced stakes company in the top ten over Rule is a little hard to stomach.  The rest of the list I don't have much of a problem with.

As requested my top 10 is as follows:

1. Rule

2. Eskendereya

3. Caracortado

4. Conveyance

5. Lookin at Lucky

6. Dublin

7. Super Saver

8. Interactif

9. Jackson Bend

10. Discreetly Mine

I am willing to give Buddy's Saint, Tiz Chrome, and American Lion one more chance.  The Tiznow boys greenly ran each other into the ground in their first race around two turns, and Buddy's Saint was doomed after the first time he was slammed into the rail.

I want to see more out of Ron the Greek and Drosselmeyer next time out, with a more respectable pace.

If I am looking at a special filly, Blind Luck does the trick for me coming home her last 1/4 in 22 and change.  

My out of the box pick is Tiz the One who ran on 2/13 @ GP and ran 6F in 1:10.79, which was not too far off the two major sprint stakes times that day.

Love the blog!

23 Feb 2010 11:41 PM
It's been 31 years and is still 31.5 furlongs aways

I'm not sold on the Cal horses for the most part (aka Lookin at Lucky and Catacordo)

For me at this point:

1. Eskendereya - looked a class above in the FOY - opened big

2. Buddy's Saint - yes he wasn't his usual self, but i'm still high off his fall races, and lets face it, it was not a easy debut, even before hitting the rail

3. Discreetly Mine

Others: Interactif (still like him from the BC), Christine Daae (surprised so many others are high on her, but i'm a believer), Tempted to Tapit, and Dave in Dixie

24 Feb 2010 12:15 AM


2)Super Saver




24 Feb 2010 12:22 AM


I appreciate the time you have taken to enlighten us about ODYSSEUS. As for your attack on me, you are forgiven as I am attacked regularly.

Subject to correction the following are the January foals on my spreadsheet:

Rule (6 Starts)

Hear Ye Hear Ye (9 Starts)

Aikenite (6 Starts)

D Funnybone (6 Starts)

Fly By Phil (5 starts)

Aspire (4 strarts)

American lion (4 strarts)

Kettle River (3 Statrts)

Now the above horse might have started more times but not less. Now, ODYSSEUS just made his 3rd start on 02/21/2010. A colt that does not have soundness issues makes his third start 7 days before his 3rd birthday (Jan 28 2010). Do you realize he is fully four month older than Lookin At Lucky who has made 7 starts and will not be fully three until May 27 2010? Soundness issues do not have to be physical they can be mental. So he was not unsound, he was backward. I assume Dunkirk was not unsound he was backward as well.  Malibu Moon bred 136 mares in 2006. There is only one horse from this stallion on my list and it’s a January foal that has made three starts in spite of his maturity advantage. Where are the others?

I will hold my opinion about this colt. Opinions are not facts.  I provided a lot of facts in my post you merely focused on my opinions. We all have those.

24 Feb 2010 12:45 AM


Most of Mr. Pletcher’s pretenders are horses that are always forwardly placed. Now the average splits for the last 10 derbies is 22.85, 46.42, and 1:11.04, 1:36.55. The last two furlongs are run on average in 25.28. Base on his winner of prep races so far they have been on or around the lead with the exception of Connemara. They will be cooked in the derby pace as they are not very classy horses. Do not be fooled by Eskendereya. He defeated the midget Jackson Bend. In all seriousness, Connemara is bred along the same cross as derby runner up Lion Heart. Lion Heart’s sire Tale Of The Cat is a son of Storm Cat. Connemara’s sire Giant’s Causeway is a son of Storm Cat. Now, Giant’s Causeway is a far superior racehorse and stallion to Tale Of The Cat. Satin Sunrise is the dam of both Lion Heart & Connemara. This time around she was bred to one of the best sons of Storm Cat. Satin Sunrise is from a broodmare line that has had a lot of derby success. In fact, he has the best dam line of the Pletcher squad.   What Connemara did in the EL CAMINO REAL DERBY is nothing short of sensational. He was slammed by two horses and found his strides late. He made a Monarchos like move to pass the leader for an easy victory. If Eskendereya was knocked  around at the start and found himself 15 lengths last could he have recovered? No! He was knocked around in the Breeder Cup Juvenile and he folded like a cheap suitcase. He will have no problems in a 20 horse field from any post as he will run all day. Russell base has never won a derby and he has stated that where Connemara goes he goes. I wonder why.

24 Feb 2010 1:32 AM

Know its early on but in agreement that thus far this year's Derby crop looks a bit weak.  Top 10:


Super Saver


Lookin At Lucky





Dave In Dixie

Vale of Yok

24 Feb 2010 2:51 AM

Christine Daae is the most talented horse I have seen all year.  How talented is she?  I guess we will all know on Saturday but my money will be on her nose for the win BIG TIME.

24 Feb 2010 2:59 AM

If Odysseus ranks then why not Moojab?

What will happen when all of Pletcher`s front runners are in the same race?  He`s done a good job of keeping them separated while building up graded bucks, but something`s gotta give when they get together.  I`m thinking another Giacamo finish this year and wouldn`t discount the 4th - 6th finishers in the Risen Star which is a throw out race for me.

24 Feb 2010 5:08 AM
Mike Relva


What do you have against Buddy's Saint? The rider cost him the race,not the horse!

24 Feb 2010 6:56 AM

This past weekend, I was most impressed by Dublin.  Right now, he's at the top of my list...but there are 2 more months to watch.  Everyone is concentrating so hard on which horse can go 10 furlongs; I'm concentrating on which horse can make 12 furlongs (growing desperate for another Triple Crown), and because of that, Ron the Greek stays high on my list, with Dave in Dixie close by.  Buddy's Saint stays on my list, even after pinballing between Aikenite and the rail.  Eskendereya and Conveyance have also been noticed...but I'll wait and see with them.  Hot Dixie Chick is back in training...I really want to see where she goes.  There are some nice unsung 3 year olds we have not yet seen in action (running fast in their works...but then ...Silver Foot had a bullet work of 5 furlongs in 59.6...then forgot to show up for the race). ( Mike..I believe the concern about Buddy's ankle arose when his trainer conceded he had been hosing it down every morning...which speaks to some swelling).  

24 Feb 2010 7:41 AM

Catacortado- Get him back on dirt!! LA Derby would be the ideal race as a final prep.

Dublin- Nice race last out. Thought the was the most impressive to come out of that one.

Eskendereya- Most impressive Sat. A 106 Beyer makes him tough with any improvement.

D'Funnybone- I just like this horse.

Christine Daae- Can't wait to see her go again. May just blow them all away. Could very well move up after Sat.

Lookin At Lucky- Has to get faster and off the fake crap.

Super Saver- If he comes back improved will move up.

Rule- Another horse I just like.

Conveyance- I don't think he's the best of the frontrunners. Has to be able to stalk.

Dave In Dixie- If you like Catacartado you have to like this one. Want to see him on dirt before the Derby. LOL If I had my way nobody would be running on the fake crap in the SA Derby. Get them on dirt!!  

24 Feb 2010 8:40 AM
Billy's Empire

dryfly out of the derby!

24 Feb 2010 8:59 AM

When is Lukas going to put Borel on Dublin. Now that Dryfly is off the trail and who knows about Supersaver, this would make sense.Thompson is good but he is no derby jockey.

24 Feb 2010 9:45 AM

Jason, You are right about Conveyance. He is going to Dubai. That tells me Baffert has already decided he cannot get the 1 1/4

24 Feb 2010 9:57 AM
Smoking Baby

Jason, I LOVE that you've got Odysseus ranked #1.  Some friends and family of mine play a game where we "purchase" yearlings from the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August select sale. We get to spent $1 million each year, then we see whose stable wins the most money.  My buddy who seems to win each year "purchased" Odysseus for $110,000 so we've been watching his progress the whole time.  He's a monster.  My buddy is trying to be cool about it saying "It's a long way 'til May" but there's no denying the colt can run.  Will he win the Derby or even a stakes race?  Who knows?  But I'm stoked he's on your radar.  Thanks so much for providing us regular fans an opportunity to weigh in.  I appreciate it.  GREAT work.

24 Feb 2010 10:13 AM

I like Dublin.  The reasons are that I loved his sire, Afleet Alex.  I also like his trainer.  And I like his two year old foundation.  I also like the road he is taking, two year old foundation, plus three Derby preps as normally spaced out in time as you can get nowadays.

Pletcher has some very good looking horses.  Obviously the man is a huge success and knows what he is doing but I can't help but feel, howver unjustified that it is, that he does not really know how to have a horse keyed up to win on the first Saturday in May.  He's had some close finishes, but with the quality of horseflesh that comes into his barn, he should have way more success in the Triple Crown races by now.  Again, I may be way off here but it is just my opinion.

I also don't like trainers, like Pletcher, who I feel completely baby these horses and run them 4 to 6 times a year max, always with a ton of time in between races.  I know breeding has alot to do with today's fragile horse, but might these Pletcher-like trainers have contributed to it as well?  

Keep up the good work on the columns.  I like Odysseus too.  Hope he pans out.

24 Feb 2010 11:08 AM

I am hoping Eskenderya does not race in the Florida derby. Too long a layoff and Pletcher is considering some other race I read somewhere and I sure hope so.

24 Feb 2010 11:11 AM


 If you read this blog regularly as I suspect you do, then you know that I told Jason that I was watching two horse in particlular for this years Derby. They were Connemara and Eskendereaya. This was before the Breeders Cup. I had watched Connemaras maiden win and watched Eskendereya's Pilgrim. After looking at their pedigree's I liked what I saw. I have no idea how you can make a statement that Eskenderya has no class. He is as well bred as they come. Both of them are in my opinion, but I have never claimed to be a pedigree expert. Jason is correct when he said that Connemara MIGHT be too slow. Has he run fast enough to win the Derby? Not that I have seen. Can he run fast enough? Don't know the answer to that question yet, but I suspect he might.

24 Feb 2010 11:14 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

First list so far that's made my heart pound. Good job. Dublin is most impressive so far. Interactif is on my list. I'd run him twice on the dirt, not AW. Not giving up on Buddy's Saint. Needs a new rider and two strong preps. I see Discreetly Mine as a presser. Not an E type. Needs speed in front of him. I also see D'Funnybone as still having a shot. Jackson Bend is done. Will have to go look at Odysseus.

24 Feb 2010 11:42 AM

For a young writer, your article shows far more wisdom than just about everything else I've read this week, and that's stuff from seasoned (meaning older) writers.  It's refreshing to have somebody say "don't get overly excited about one win".  Amen to that.

I'm not familiar with some of the horses on your list yet, but the ones I know about I pretty much agree with your assessments.  

The only serious disagreement is D'Funnybone.  I think he has no shot to win the Derby.  It's not just his pedigree.  He looks way too much like a sprinter, meaning he has that "almost quarter horse" look (big butt, etc).  I think even if he wins the Florida Derby he won't get the 10 furlongs in May.        

24 Feb 2010 11:45 AM

Citation, it's more about D'Funnybone's sire D'Wildcat and grandsire Forest Wildcat. Storm Cat is his great-grandsire. It's also his "look" and build for me. With Christine Daae, it's more about her broodmare sire Dehere.

But it's not like I'm never wrong. :)

24 Feb 2010 11:51 AM
Jason Shandler

Thanks to everyone for weighing in, whether you agree or disagree with the list. It's just a list. We won't know what we really have with many of these horses until the end of March. But I still think people get too worked up over wins at 1 mile or 1 1/16 miles in February. They really dont mean too much, especially when horses do it by wiring the field.

24 Feb 2010 11:56 AM
Tim G

"Thanks to everyone for weighing in, whether you agree or disagree with the list. It's just a list. We won't know what we really have with many of these horses until the end of March. But I still think people get too worked up over wins at 1 mile or 1 1/16 miles in February. They really dont mean too much, especially when horses do it by wiring the field.

jshandler 24 Feb 2010 11:56 AM"

This +1

The connections? It's unavoidable, the rest? Not even a good bet yet other than to track your futures.

Abulldog? Not sure Borel's style fits Dublin. Wayne will have it figured out, not to worry.

24 Feb 2010 12:03 PM
Billy's Empire

My top 10

1. Eskendereya

2. Dublin

3. Caracartado

4. Odysseus

5. Rule

6. Dave in Dixie

7. Super Saver

8. Tempted to Tapit

9. Stay Put

10. Uptowncharleybrown/Drosselmeyer

I have Esky at number 1 for 2 reasons. He has been the most visually impressive winner so far this year, and after reading Pletcher's and the Jockey's comments regarding the race, "he does not get tired" and "the horse was not even sweating or blowing at all" just tells us he will have no problem with 10 panels and is dead fit.

Dublin needed a race, started terrible, and was closing all the way down the stretch. He will win next out.

Scarface is undefeated and is only getting better. He beat 2 solid horses in his last

Odysseus has that look of greatness, and a god like name. Hope he keeps it up. reminded me of Ghostzapper running away in the lane.

Rule is a horse with many dimensions, and I think the best is yet to come. Would be higher on the list if we changed his tactics and rated, althouh I know he got an easy lead last out.

DID, he was flying home in the Lewis. get him on the dirt in the gotham, can you say I WANT REVENGE

Super Saver, after watching race replays, could be a freak. needs a race, but could be the best in the barn.

The others, TTT, SP, DROSS, and UPTOWN all have a ton of upside, and they all want to stretch out. Is it May yet??

24 Feb 2010 12:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

Looking at Lucky going to the Rebel?...

Odysseus vs. Rule in the TB Derby should be a good one.And maybe Buddy's Saint will show-up too.

24 Feb 2010 12:25 PM
Billy's Empire

Tim, Calvin can ride em on the front end, or he can take way back ala Street Sense and MTB. calvin know's CD track better than any other jockey and I would love to see Calvin on Dublin, but I have a feeling Wayne is going with Theriot or Julien Leparoux in his next. My neighbor works with Wayne, I will try to get the inside scoop.

24 Feb 2010 12:26 PM
The Rock

Dublin will be this years version of Dollar Bill on the derby trail.

24 Feb 2010 12:45 PM
The Rock


I find it quite odd that Baffert would send Conveyance to Dubai as he sent him to Oaklawn b/c he thought Conveyance wasn't getting over the Pro-Ride very well. Then again, the owner is the eldest son of the ruler of Dubai, so its his call.

24 Feb 2010 12:51 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Will mr. fantasy oops I mean odyssues have enough earnings to get into the derby this year? I hope C. borel doesnt go on Dublin when has any jockey won back to back kentucky derby's? Its time for russel baze to get a derby win especially since he is won of the best that doesnt get much credit!

24 Feb 2010 12:53 PM


In my post I stated that the horses in Pletcher ‘s leading pack are not very classy. They appear to be overly impressive because that have been meeting subpar competition. Do you consider the following speed performance classy?

Rule - Sam Davis:  23.71, 47.72, 1:12.36, 1:37.25, 1:44.15 (Final time not close to Street Sense’s time for his Tampa Bay derby victory)

Discreetly Mine – Risen Star : (Uncontested lead) 24.60,48.75, 1:13.44, 1:38.17, 1:44.88( Pyro’s final time closing from another ZIP Code was faster)

Eskendereya – FOY: 23.72, 47.92, 1:12.41,1:36.54, 1:48.87 ( The first 6F in his race were the slowest in the last three years) Scat Daddy(1:09:89) Cool Coal Man (1:11.52) Big Brown (1:09:40) Does anyone believe he will get those easy fractions in the Derby? He gallops very low to the ground and 10F at the derby pace will leave him structurally damaged.

Super Saver seems to be the classiest of the leading group and should have been excluded as he has the speed figures that denote class.

His 46 half mile in the KY Jockey Club was classy.

Connemaras, too slow to win derby. Interesting!

Street Sense and Mine That Bird closed from 19th to win their respective derbies. Unbridled,  Fusaichi Pegasus and a number of other derby winners closed from below 10th to win. They all displayed devastating finishing speed. Giacomo was never colt with tactical speed and was considered too slow to win the derby. In fact he had only a maiden victory to his credit going in. Connemaras has 3 wins and a runner up finish. and is way ahead of Giacomo.

Connemaras is not being assessed properly by the folks who are fixated on tactical speed. He is always allowing ground at the start because of his gate issues. He is not expected to be in the pace if he is always last from the gates. Horses can allow weight and win but rarely win when giving away tons of ground out of the gates. Races are won and lost at the gates. Only a horse with stamina, mid race and serious finishing speed could have done what Connemara’s did  in the EL CAMINO REAL DERBY.

What will happen when this colt starts breaking properly? Scary!  

24 Feb 2010 1:12 PM


Have you really learned your lesson over the last couple of years not to go by one impressive race?  Doesn't add up that Odysseus and Christine Dae are high on your list while you are still in doubt about Eskendereya (he has shown his ability more than once). Last year it was Mr Fantastic.  This year it is Odysseus ...good luck Jason.  If he can't beat Uptowncharlybrown in the Tampa Bay Derby you might as well get some classes for next year.  Cold Facts may be admitting new students (LOL).

24 Feb 2010 1:24 PM
It Aint Easy being good

So coldfacts you cant jump ship on a horse so your horse is Connemara? I am sticking with dublin, jasons got odysuess. The only way you can jump off the bandwagon is if your horse gets injured. Deal? Deal! I agre with coldfacts that the gate will make or break you in the derby look at dunkirk even though he was a pretender he fell out of the gate and was done!

24 Feb 2010 1:32 PM

Still like Dublin.  One race wonders always move up on lists.

Waiting to see how Buddy's Saint rebounds; also want to see if Lookin at Lucky is moving forward off his two year old campaign.

24 Feb 2010 2:06 PM
Tim G

Billy, go ahead and try. More like reading his mind at this point.

But he does have a plan.

24 Feb 2010 2:33 PM

i agree with you and john a i have the same top 2 but in 3rd stay put is moving up.

24 Feb 2010 3:13 PM
dr fager01

ha ha ha ha! this list is a joke, some of the horses you mentioned likely wont even make the gate in the derby.

   MY TOP 5

1] conveyance

2] looking at lucky

3] dublin

4] eskendereya

5] sidneys candy    [longshot pick]

my list looks more legitamate.

realistically in the southwest DUBLIN came from far back and has a nice running style for the derby, what i like about DUBLIN is not just his running style, but simply because D WAYNE LUKAS is back. but even in the runout dublin never passed CONVEYANCE ever at any point, from what i saw at the 1 3/16 CONVEYANCE was still 2 lenghts ahead.SERIOUSLY

24 Feb 2010 3:25 PM

1.  Eskendereya-obviously a serious horse but reminded me of Bellamy Road/Sinister Minister for some reason.

2.  Odysseus-simply awesome but needs to face some class.

3.  Dublin-showed serious versatility and should win next time.

4.  Lentenor-I'm not giving up on him.  Deserves a shot at the FL Derby.

5.  Conveyance-undefeated on dirt AND synthetics.  Distance?  Will wait and see before tossing him.

6.  Uptowncharlybrown-adding blinkers should help.

7.  Tiz Chrome-another one who deserves another shot before tossing.

8.  Worldly-might surprise some people come April.

9. Connemara-his pedigree is awesome-want to see more from him.

10.  First Dude-waiting for this one to blossom.

24 Feb 2010 3:39 PM

Alright Tiznowbaby, that makes sense. I knew about Storm Cat being D'Funnybone's great-grandsire, it just slipped my mind as I posted. Sorry. Do you agree that Pounced has a good shot if he takes to the dirt? I love the Storm Cat/Rahy cross, and he has it in reverse.

24 Feb 2010 3:59 PM

I don't have a top ten so kudos to you for managing to scrape one together. I haven't been able to get excited over this 3 YO colts crop.

Eskendereya looked good in the FOY but after ten years of watching Pletcher fail I've come to believe that no horse is good enough to overcome the Pletcher barn Derby curse.

It's funny that some are mocking you for putting horses like Odysseus on your list.  Chalk that up to short memories.  NOBODY had Mine That Bird last year.  If anybody had put him on their Derby list they would've been mocked like you're getting mocked now.  

IMHO throwing out some unorthodox names in a crop like this one is a smart move.  You'll look like a genius come May 1 if this crop proves to be as mediocre as last year (and I think it is).

24 Feb 2010 4:07 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Great post mary and true but remember bombs usually win once a decade so I expect chalk city to come May 1st. The reason bombs usually come in is the unexpected happens such as favorites getting scratched the day of the race! Pouring ran opennig splits of 22 and change will do it. I expect whoever the favorite to be this year will do very well! I agree though that there are no world beaters out there and racing experience goes along way ......DUBLIN!!!!!

24 Feb 2010 5:29 PM
The Rock

Well Jason, based on your article, I guess its pretty clear who you'll be leaning towards in the Davona Dale. lol. Although your top 10 gave it away as well.

Quick question. I've noticed that Julien Leperoux* has not ridden for Patrick Biancone since he shipped a group of horses out to south florida. What's the story behind that? I know before the trainer was suspended he was riding for him regularly. I don't really like the switch to Nakatani on your horse. Biancone could've picked out many other quality riders there in the GP jocks room instead of going to Nakatani whose been in a funk and doesn't know the Gulfstream surface well.

24 Feb 2010 6:41 PM

Last year on the blogs some of the bloggers were proclaining it the "Best. Crop. Ever."  They said that until the day MTB won the Derby.  Then the Best. Crop. Ever. was washed up after the Preakness.

Sadly, this crop looks somewhat worse than the guys from last year.   More sadly, it appears that many of the training methods that spectacularly failed last year are being repeated again this year.

So unless something changes between now and Derby Day, I'm ignoring all the "orthodox" top ten lists and spending all my betting money on the long shots.    

24 Feb 2010 6:48 PM

Boy this list sure shows how racing has changed and not I think for the better. It is almost March and your No. 1 horse has only 2 wins and No. 9 Christine Daae has only a maiden win. Remember the the great horses from the 1970' Affirmed was 7 of 9 as a two year old, Spectacular Bid was 5 of 7. A few years ago a horse that didn't run at two or only had 2 or 3 races before the Derby was an automatic throwout. I think the old trainers had it right, many times I have wondered what Charlie Whittingham or Woody Stephens could have done with some of the horses we have seen in the last few years.    

24 Feb 2010 7:00 PM

Citation, I agree the breeding is lovely, and I like the speedy over stamina, but that's a really, really grassy pedigree.

24 Feb 2010 7:09 PM
Jason Shandler

The Rock: Wow, pretty tough spot for my girl Christine--3 grade II winners in her first stakes try. We'll see what she's all about in a hurry. As for Biancone and Leparoux, good question. I dont have the answer. I'll try to find out. The switch to Nakatani also seems odd to me. Not sure why he didnt pick a local rider. Hmmm...

24 Feb 2010 7:20 PM
The Rock

Well, I hope all goes well with her. I'll be attending the races that day. I'll get to see what she's all about in person. Hopefully with those graded winners in there you'll be able to get a decent price.

BTW, I was at the Cadillac Ranch, which is a new sports bar that just opened a few weeks ago at GP near the Valet & I saw Wayne Catalano ride the mechanical bull inside. Caught a few pics with my camera phone as well. Lots of people from the backside at GP hang out there. Funniest thing ever when he got thrown off. He was twisting in the air and it looked like it was going to be a bad fall. At least he held on for awhile before he was tossed.

24 Feb 2010 7:34 PM

Aaaargh.  Maximus Ruler is off the Derby trail......

24 Feb 2010 7:41 PM


Lookin At Lucky



Christine Daae

Noble's Promise

King Rock


Laus Deo



Super Saver / Buddy's Saint

Some of them have catching up, but the pedigrees are there. Did anyone happen to see the replay of the filly Tia's race at Gulfstream Park Feb 24? she is a Giant's Causeway - La Reina, by A.P. Indy filly owned by Mercedes Stables and Bill Mott trained. She looked really good.

24 Feb 2010 7:56 PM

Jason and Rock,

Leparoux is on Biancone's horse Nownownow tomorrow at GP in race 7

24 Feb 2010 8:12 PM


Just for fun.(Derby-Hoops Title)

Derby March Madness

Horses you named above.

shouldn't mind 10f.






Super Saver

Lookin at Lucky

Discreetly Mine

Noble's Promise

Buddy's Saint

Jackson Bend

Tempted To Tapit

Cardiff Giant

Fly Down

On the Fence(bubble).




A little below the Fence(bubble).


Christine Daae


Sidney's Candy

Maximus Ruler

Just trying a distance thing only.

24 Feb 2010 8:51 PM

Don't know it for a fact, but I would assume that Leparoux thinks he has a better chance on Amen Halleluja. Don't like the post for her so maybe he made a bad call on that one. I think your girl is up against it but you should get good odds on her. I'll definitely be watching that race and might have to throw a few fun tickets on your girl.

24 Feb 2010 8:57 PM
Ann in Lexington

Dublin's pedigree problem is his dam, the top-class one-turn mare Classy Mirage. She won at up to 8.5f but only around one turn, at Belmont. The whole female family are one-turn horses; Classy Mirage hasn't had a 2-turn winner yet (as of my 2007 APR). Now maybe Afleet Alex can overcome that tendency. But it is a worry.

24 Feb 2010 9:34 PM


Backtalk is running at Delta Downs on Friday,26th. His first race back this year.

24 Feb 2010 9:52 PM


Sorry, I forgot to include Dave in Dixie.

A little below the Fence(bubble).

24 Feb 2010 10:04 PM

tcc, yes I am looking forward to his return. It would be great to have both a Smarty Jones and an Afleet Alex among the others in the Starting Gate in May!

24 Feb 2010 10:36 PM

I agree with many of the people  here that this years crop isn't very strong.  Perfect time for a filly or a Godolphin horse to come in and kick a$$.  Here's my list as of now.

1.Vale of York- I hear he'll have his first race on 3/4/10 and then the UAE Derby three weeks later.  If all goes well I hope they ship him here early like they did last year when RR and DP both arrived for the party on 4/8/09. That should give him time enough for a few good works over the track etc.

2. Dublin-  I hope he doesn't run into the multiple traffic jams his Dad did in the Derby.  Very dangerous if he has clear lanes.

3.Make Music for me- lol ya I know he still hasn't won a race.  I hope he finishes well in his next few preps for them to give him a shot.  He's been finishing well against the 2yr old Champ.  I'm just looking for a long shot for my Tri's etc.  The maiden when Afleet won the Belmont worked, it could happen here also!

4. I may hit the all button!

24 Feb 2010 10:59 PM

Mike, I agree.  Dublin and D Funnybone have the seasoning you want going into the Derby but it is hard to ignore pure talent. Christine Daae seems to be all that and a bag of chips.  The splits she ran were amazing and the way she did it was even more amazing.  Two horses passed her on the inside and she didn't flinch. I expect her to romp this Saturday and throw her hat into the Derby ring. Mike Relva, there is no reason to ever bring up Buddy's Saint's name again.  Let it go.

25 Feb 2010 12:40 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I hope Lentenor is not on the Triple Crown trail. He is a physically late maturing turf horse. I want him to have the chance to develop into a great turf horse like Barbaro would have been. As great as Barbaro was on dirt he would might have been in the top 10 grass runners ever. Turf action that attacks the ground is more susceptible to injury on dirt. Lentenor does have class. These Derby lists are simple HTW lists that will change weekly. A monster will come out of the Sham on 2-27 that will be on many lists next week. Someone might dominate at GP also this weekend. Without the late injuries to Revenge, Pamplemousse, and Quality Road last years crop would be considered a great one. Quality Road will be a superstar this year.

25 Feb 2010 1:25 AM

Like many of us, i've seen alot of on the lead, need the lead, and pace pressers.

Where is my stone cold closer? First time going a 1 1/4 does not bode well for the upfront runners.

25 Feb 2010 7:05 AM

I think Super Saver may be pointing to the Tampa Derby.  

25 Feb 2010 7:10 AM

What happened to Western Smoke? He is not on the list of nominees, and I have not heard his name mentioned this year.

25 Feb 2010 10:32 AM
Pam S.


Is Make Music for Me still around??What's in the plans for him?

25 Feb 2010 11:20 AM
The Rock


I completely forgot that Draynay is on the Cristine Daae wagon.......that usually doesn't have a positive

25 Feb 2010 12:35 PM


If Christine Dae can handle a red hot Bickerson in the Davona Dale then she's really all o' that. The Rachel Alexandra types don't come along every day so beware.

25 Feb 2010 1:54 PM
Mike Relva


OK,we will see!

25 Feb 2010 2:25 PM

Mike.  Charlie "The Bald Eagle" Whittingham would have run them on the beach in Del Mar!  I still remember him showing up for the Derby or Preakness with a big horse shoe bruise on the side of his head where Sunday Silence had reared up and kicked him.  This would have probably sent most 70 year olds to their death.  He just wore it like a badge.  Speaking of which, I do believe Sunday Silence trained up to the Preakness in a bar shoe due to a bruised foot.  The ferrier just clipped the end and he went out and beat Easy Goer.

25 Feb 2010 2:48 PM
joe schmoe

On a different note I see the Ohio Derby has been reduced again for this year in purse and length. Last year it was reduced from a G2 to a G3 race and almost cancelled because in 2008 Smooth Air almost embarassingly huffed and puffed and hung on for a win in a very subpar field. That was one G2 that has been highly overated for some time. They wasted alot of purse money that could have been distributed and they were not getting their money's worth of competition in the race.

25 Feb 2010 3:13 PM
Billy's Empire

treboc, Super Saver to the Rebel, not Tampa and not Withers.

25 Feb 2010 3:41 PM

I will be out at Santa Anita for the Sham, but think the Davona Dale is the most intriguing stakes on Saturday.

If Christine Daee wins the Davona Dale then she truly is something special.  Going from a maiden to facing 3 quality gr.2 fillies(Bickersons, Amen Hallelujah, and Sassy Image) is a huge jump.  Christine obviously has talent; in the Davona Dale we'll find out about heart, class, and the extent of this talent.

Bickersons and Amen Hallelujah exited the best juvenile race of 2009, the Hollywood Starlet, to win the gr.2 Forward Gal and gr.2 Santa Ynex respectively.  The Starlet also produced Blind Luck, next out winner of the gr.1 Las Virgines, and Rose Catherine, next out winner of a listed stakes.  Amen Hallelujah ran a strong 3rd in the Starlet, and then beat a very good filly in Fanny Freud in the 7f Santa Ynez with a strong synthetic Beyer of 93.  The main question concerning Amen Hallelujah is the dirt.  However, she does have excellent speed, and her style would seem better suited for dirt around 2 turns than Santa Anita's Pro-Ride, so I understand why she was trasnferred to Florida.

Bickersons finished behind Amen Hallelujah in the Starlet, but has proven dirt form having romped in the Forward Gal.  I'm not exactly sure how far Bickersons wants to run, but a one-turn mile should be fine.  Her Beyer for the Forward Gal, a 97, is 5 points higher than Christine Daee's maiden Beyer at the same distance.  However, one would think Chrisitine has more upside.

Throw in Sassy Image, who won 2 graded stakes at Churchill during the Fall and a listed stakes at Gulfstream last out, and Mott/Juddmonte's Comic Marvel, a perfect 2 for 2, and the Davona Dale makes for a fantastic race.

25 Feb 2010 6:31 PM

Pam S.

He's been working at Hollywood every week.  That's all I know right now.   I hope he races soon!

25 Feb 2010 7:31 PM
Matthew W

I like Eskendareya #1 and Caracortado #2---for now--very impressed with Eskendareya! Looks like it might be an East/West battle of the 11 letter funny named horses--to me, Sydney's Candy's 94 beyer is a joke! I haven't seen a better one-turn race this season, the Beyers on pro ride are a joke--no one ever has been able to figure them out, believe me, he looked great! Not to blame Beyer--I blame pro ride, the ever changing track!...also like Dublin--I like Lukas's Northern Giant, as well--has speed and stay...

25 Feb 2010 8:44 PM

OK sorry guys, I'm still all confused about the Derby.  But at least with respect to the Kentucky Derby of Women's Hockey:  YAY CANADA!  (It just happened and I had to bring it up, considering you guys have already brought up the Stupid, er..Super Bowl during these blogs)

And let's see what happens when our guys, who have suddenly woken up and decided to play real hockey, do.  Look out you Yanks!

(p.s. also because I'm Canadian, I have to say that your ladies did a wonderful job and I felt sorry for them because they worked hard and only got silver...but not too sorry)

25 Feb 2010 8:51 PM
Matthew W

Both Eskendareya and Caracortado have high cruising speeds and both can finish--Caracortado sat off a fast pace (for that day, very fast), but he wasn't far off--and he still had big kick---I like him to beat Lookin At Lucky and all the rest of them in his next race! As for Eskendareya, I think he's the Derby Fave, deservedly so....question: Having ridden Caracortado perfectly, thus Paul Atkinson your Derby Jock?...If he's my horse--he's "in", money wise, all the way--but he's not on top of the horse in the Derby...

25 Feb 2010 8:58 PM

Rumor has it that they are so high on C. Daae that they may skip racing Saturday and instead prep for the Florida Derby by racing Sunday in a Allowance race going 1 1/8th.  Frankly, I think the move is brilliant and expect Daae to romp forcing them to enter her in the Florida Derby !!!

25 Feb 2010 9:10 PM

If the rumor is true, Draynay, could it possibly mean that the line up is a little too stiff at this stage of the game? I know she ran brilliantly in her last race... but look who she is facing on Saturday. If she runs in the Davona Dale, I'll be rooting for her but I'll not bet her to win.


Who do you like in the Sham? Do you give Nextdoorneighbor(what a name!) any chance?

How about the rest of you guys, any comment on the Sham? Or are your minds set on the horses who ran the last few weeks... paying no attention to the ones who have not peaked YET?

25 Feb 2010 10:41 PM

When Jason did the piece on Christine Daae and asked the question if she was the next Rachel and responded with an emphatic NO! Christine Daae does not cover ground as effortlessly as Rachel and is therefore not as energy efficient. In fact, I am of the opinion will not have a long racing if she is not switched to a synthetic track. What I observed in her impressive victory was how hard she hit the track. My observation validated by her trainer remark in a recent interview. He stated that her last race was very hard on her. Horses that hit the track those hard are very susceptible to injuries.  With her speed and pounding strides any race beyond a sprint distance will be a problem.

25 Feb 2010 11:06 PM
The Rock

Looking forward to the races @ GP on Saturday. Lots of 3 years olds to watch with the possibility of any one of them capable of jumping into the derby picturesomething special. Hopefully I'll be able to check out the morning workouts as well. :)

25 Feb 2010 11:35 PM


    The Pamplemoose and FF come to mind from last years crop that do not have an energy efficiant stride and both a pretty decent stakes horses. Seabiscut ran the same way and look what he did to War Admiral. Also a great horse that had the same strid you talk of and is considered one of the greatest of all time was Native Dancer. Just because the horse had a funny way of going doesn't always mean that they won't go long or do well. Native Dancer won the Preakness and Belmont with that stride.

26 Feb 2010 5:53 AM

Odysseus is #1 on my Derby watch list, he is a machine and can't wait for him to get into serious Stakes company.   I am still backing Dublin as well and think that he will improve off this last race.  Looking forward to Super Saver since he intrigues me by name alone:) Those are my top three for now, if Lookin At Lucky does well on dirt he will be added to my list but I want to see a dirt effort.  It seems like those who have a 2 year old season like Lucky tend to fall a little flat as a 3 year old.

26 Feb 2010 6:58 AM

Where is Lentenor? Even though he finnished 2nd in his last start he still has a good chance in the derby. We can't forget about him.

26 Feb 2010 7:49 AM
mr. pibb

I think Bickersons will bury Christine Daee on saturday. When draynay jumped on Jason's Christine Daee bandwagon that was the kiss of death. Given more experience I think she'll be ok but this saturday with the draynay curse and her inexperience she's going down. If she does overcome the curse then Jason will really have something to brag about since he was the one who brought Christine Daee to our attention.  

26 Feb 2010 8:05 AM


I'd congratulate the canuk women on their win but the totally classless display they put on in public after the win was disgracefull to say the least. The canadian hockey fereration should act quickly and decisively to suspend the underage women who were witnessed drinking in public and also investigate and suspend any others who provided the alcohol and encouraged underaged drinking.

It was a great game to watch with both sides having their chances. In reality though a gold medal in women's hockey only comes down to two teams so it's not like they had to kick and scratch their way to the final. The sport is in danger of being eliminated from the Olympics because of lack of competition and to tarnish the victory with a public display of drinking and smoking was not what the sport needed.

26 Feb 2010 8:15 AM
Mike Relva


Can't wait for your spin when Dublin doesn't win the Derby.

26 Feb 2010 8:27 AM
Billy's Empire


if you are looking for an opinion, I thing that Setsuko has a great shot at winning the Sham. Bejarano stays on him instead of Nextdoorheighbor, he has the fastest time at the distance, and all have his races have been going a route of ground.

Kettle River apparently got sick and missed training, otherwise he would be my top pick. He may get scratched.

Nextdoorneighbor is breaking from the outside, so that could make it difficult to win, but this horse has worked in company with Scarface when they were younger, and he held his own, so he could be a nice colt.

What do you think Shandler?

26 Feb 2010 8:58 AM
Fire Slam

Soaring Empire looked awesome at GP yesterday!!

I had been waiting on him, and he delivered. Next up the Tampa Bay Derby????

26 Feb 2010 9:24 AM

At last, people are noticing the fillies.  Hot Dixie Chick is due for a debut soon.  Can't wait to see Backtalk's 2010 debut, his workouts have been great.  2 months to the Derby, and lots of horses to watch (colts and fillies).  I watched Odysseus and was not impressed.  It looked as though the others stopped running once he made the lead.  I would need to see more.  

26 Feb 2010 9:48 AM

I've been checking out the horses for the Florida Derby. I think Rule has a good chance in this race. His numbers are headed in the right direction and he wins on any track. He showed in the Sam Davis that he can rate, also he was a second off the track record in that race at Tampa (Street Sense). Do I think he can win the Derby...stranger things have happened. But I like him in this Derby.

26 Feb 2010 10:22 AM
Billy's Empire

Darnit, looks like Dave in Dixie and Sidney's Candy are staying in Cali on the Pro-Ride for a race on the 13th.... Super Saver racing in the Rebel, but no Calvin Borel since he will in N.O with Rachel. Who the heck is going to ride him for Todd?

26 Feb 2010 10:22 AM
Jason Shandler

Billy: Kettle River was my pick on THS. Didnt hear anything about him being scratched. The race really doesnt interest me all that much, to be honest. Nobody from there is a viable Derby threat.

As for Christine Daae, she was also entered in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on Sunday. Not sure what they will do with her. Maybe the want to see her stretch out more right away.

26 Feb 2010 11:19 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Mike Relva get off your west coast horses they never show up in the derby I dont know why you like these synthetic pretenders that you speak of... I guarantee you loved C john a couple of years ago when he chocked in the derby. Dublin is a beast like quality road they run on the real stuff and are monster horses. I cant help if I like beast that run hard and punish there oppenents! Dublin is a beast and will only get better! Sounds like the florida derby is going to be awesome!

26 Feb 2010 11:36 AM
Mike Relva


I say she wins!

26 Feb 2010 11:38 AM

Billy's Empire,

Thanks! I'm also not thrilled with Nextdoor's post. Mr. Haskin mentioned him at length in 2 articles and his pedigree is intriguing because there's no inbreeding going 5 generations.


I noticed the lack of enthousiasm on THS. I'm hoping that you will be surprised to find "a viable Derby threat" in there...but I'm not holding my breath. :)

26 Feb 2010 11:51 AM

Billy, it won't matter who he puts on Super Saver because their may not be any other speed in that race. I am suprised that Dublin is coming back so quickly. I think the added distance might help him but it may be tough to catch the Sup.

26 Feb 2010 11:57 AM
Billy's Empire

Jason, I read on Dick Downey's report kettle river got sick and missed two works and that harty might scratch if he does not think he is ready. I guess he is running at this point. if so, that is my pick as well.

26 Feb 2010 11:59 AM


 If Christine runs on Sat., what kind of odds are you looking for?

26 Feb 2010 12:11 PM
Forbidden Apple

If these early prep races mean little or nothing, then why are so many people in love with Eskendereya? He only had to run fast for 3 furlongs. And since when is finishing the last 1/16 of a mile in 13 considered flying?Dublin was coming on at the end, but he sure was not flying. Odysseus is a bold number one pick based on a turtle like performance at Tampa. He does have the potential to improve, just like any other horse. Drosselmeyer and Jackson Bend have been extremely overrated. Interactif is best on turf and D'Funnybone is a sprinter. Christine Daae makes the list and Vale of York is nowhere to be found? I would like to see her beat Bickersons and take it from there. But in the end, I have zero respect for Biancone! The one horse that I am interested on your list is Super Saver, where is he?

People do not seem to understand that Martin Garcia had to gun it from the 9 post to get in position at Oaklawn. He ran 1:10 3/5 versus 1:12 2/5 for Eskendereya. A different track and different disatnce I understand. Anyway you slice it, he ran faster than any other 3 year old last weekend. I do not believe for one second that he will ship to Dubai. I was thinking that his next start would be in the Santa Anita Derby. IF Conveyance can save energy and settle in, he sure does have a chance to win the KY Derby. Just because he ran 1:10 3/5 in his last race, that does not mean that he will always be gunning in every race. Keep an eye on Buddy's Saint, Vale of York, Connemara, and Lentenor. They at least deserve some respect.

Here is my bakers dozen, pick it apart.

1-Buddy's Saint 2-Conveyance

3-Lookin At Lucky 4-Vale Of York

5-Lentenor 6-Connemara

7-Eskendereya 8-Caracortado

9-Super Saver 10-Uptowncharlybrown

11-Dave In Dixie 12-Nobles Promise

13-Ron The Greek

26 Feb 2010 12:43 PM

Buddy's Saint was not going to beat Eskendereya on that day, his numbers were going in the wrong direction and off a long layoff. After the turn Johnie V new he had them beat and wrapped up on the horse to save him. Eskendereya could bounce in the Fla. Derby but I doubt it. He is breed to run all day, right now his is on top of my list with Dublin 2nd. Rule can suprise some people and all he keeps doing is winning. Super Saver 3rd and Rule 4th. Thats about as far as I've gotten.

26 Feb 2010 1:35 PM


Many thanks for the information provided.

Both the Pamplemoose and FF broke down. FF in particular appears to have shoulder issues for which he is compensating resulting in an absolutely awful action. I predicted that FF with his funky action would break down after the derby. Well, I was wrong he broke down after the Preakness. When I watched Old Fashioned Remsen, I posted that he had issue that would lead to him breaking down. I predicted that if Barbaro was kept on the dirt he would eventually breakdown because of how hard he was hitting the ground. I recently watched HRTV feature on Native Dancer and I did not detect the heavy pounding of the track. He was a very big horse almost 17 hands and what I saw a horse laying out beautifully. Eskendereya gallops very low to the ground for a big horse. If they are not careful with him he might not make the derby. With CD’s I have major concerns for her on a hard dirt track.

NB: Some thoroughbreds are very tough and some are very fragile.

26 Feb 2010 1:47 PM

I stopped trying to pick the KD winner outright a long time ago.  It's futile.  Instead I use an elimination formula.  

For the win I eliminate all Pletcher horses so Eskendereya, Interactif, Super Saver, Rule and Discreetly Mine must go along with anybody else he may enter in the KD.

I also toss horses that have never raced on dirt so assuming they stay on synthetics Lookin At Lucky, Dave in Dixie and Sidney's Candy gotta go too.

Also toss horses that didn't race at 2, but I don't know if any horse fits that factor this year.

I also use several other elimination factors but the trail isn't far along enough yet to discuss them.

I've used the formula for ten years and it's only eliminated the winner one time = I tossed Big Brown because he broke from the 20 hole.  But I'd say a 90% accuracy rate isn't bad.  Unfortunately, I haven't always played the winner, so I missed MTB and Giacomo even though I had not eliminated them.  So this year I'm playing all left standing and that's usually 3 to 5 horses.

This elimination formula works for the win only, NOT exotics, and I should mention that I added the "toss Pletcher" factor in 2006.    

26 Feb 2010 1:48 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Elizabeth that is a great way to eliminate horses and what you will find after you eliminate most horses is that Dublin will be standing tall when there are 3-5 horses left! Mike revla one word buddy ......DUBLIN! Elizabeth the only reason you missed big brown was the fact he was on the juice!!  

26 Feb 2010 2:01 PM


    Since when did a bad race and a lesion on a tendon qualify as "breaking down?" My term is if a horse either breaks a bone or is eased before the race is finished, neither happened to FF or the Moose. FF, also was slammed around in the derby, which they said was probably the cause of the injury. Also, read some of the books, Barbaro did not break down because of the way he ran. If you read some of the books you will read that he took a mistep or had extra stress caused by the gate. You read the book Native Dancer the Grey Ghost and they talk about his action and how hard he hit the ground. Like you I do my research and a whole ton of reading.

26 Feb 2010 2:43 PM

The most overrated angle(and one that pops up way too often on this site) is the run-out after the wire. It literally means NOTHING 99.9% of the time. I suggest that if you regularly use this as an angle that you drop it from your tool bag. You'll def. cash more often basing your opinion on what happens between the start and finish.

26 Feb 2010 3:00 PM
Jason Shandler

longway: If she goes, I would say she will be 5 or 6-1 at least

26 Feb 2010 3:02 PM

Not a bad Top Ten, but from what I've seen so far, here's how it goes!

1. Eskendereya- Can run all day long. I don't think they've gotten to the bottom of him yet.

2. Lookin at Lucky- Forget about slow times and Beyers, this horse is all heart. Wait til the son of Smart Strike gets on dirt.

3. Caracortado- A.K.A.- Scarface. This son of Cat Dreams, has been a pleasant surprise for punters on the West Coast. 5 for 5, and it looks like Lucky may ship to Oaklawn for the Rebel Stakes. Perhaps to avoid an early conforation with Tony Montana?

4. Connemara- This is my longshot and the horse I believe will win the Kentucky Derby. If not for a really bad trip in the California Derby, this horse would be undefeated. Keeps improving everyday, and I have a feeling Russell Baze is going to have his first legit Kentucky Derby contender since Event of the Year!

5. Dave in Dixie- I think the So.Cal contingency is strong this year, and red-hot trainer John Sadler finally has some talented 3-year olds on the Derby trail. Ultra-talented horse looks like he wants and needs more ground. Love the way he finished 2nd to Scarface, in the Bob Lewis GII, after being away awhile. Should continue to improve and will likely run in the San Felipe, and then the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

6. Buddy Saint- Put a line through his last race.  Its time to kick Lezcano off, and put Eibar Coa in the saddle. This horse is much too talented to write off just yet. I think he should skip the Florida Derby, Eskendereya is just way to tough right now. It would be wise to run in the Tampa Bay Derby, and then the Wood Memorial. He needs more than one more prep before the Kentucky Derby. We'll see.

7. Discreetly Mine- Another Pletcher runner, who looked dominate in victory. Love the way he galloped out after race. My only concern is how he'll deal with real pressure on the front end. And does he have the ability to rate if things dont go his way early on. We'll find out soon.

8. Sidneys Candy- Promising two year old threw in a clunker in his 3-year-old debut. But more than made up for it in the San Vicente. He carved out fractions of 22, 45, 1:08, and galloped out in hand at a 1:20 & change, romping home a five-length winner. This horse looks like he wants to run forever and ever. Watch out, East Coast!

9. Nobles Promise- Game horse who tries hard everytime. Has a great stalking style and have seen worse sires carry their speed the classic distance. Only thing I don't like is how long it's taken him to get into the season. I think he's one who'd be better served with three preps leading to the Derby, but what do I know.

10. The Program- Runs this weekend in the GIII Sham Stakes. Likely favorite has run well and finished gamely behind LAL and NP. I have a feeling this horse could be this years version of The Pamplemousse.  

26 Feb 2010 3:09 PM

I flat out do not believe Elizabeth when she says her her formula narrows the Derby canidates down to 3-5 horses and has only missed the winner once in ten years. If that is the case, you should have hit some insane payouts($10,000's) The hardest one to hit would have been MTB but if you had it narrowed down to three horses, how do you miss him? Giacomo/Closing Argument exacta? If you had Giacomo in the top three, how do you miss that score? The top three finishers should have been at least in your top ten. So baloney to your system.(Not to mention that the winner of the Derby the past five years has broken some tried and true deby picking method) No horse since needles, no 20 post, no JBC winners, no less than 5 races, etc) How did you escape those anomalies?

26 Feb 2010 3:10 PM

LDP, FF went to the sidelines after the Preakness with a stress frature in the left front and a non-displaced chip in the right front fetlock.

26 Feb 2010 3:29 PM


If you tossed Big Brown because of the 20 hole, then who would be you're 3 to 5 horse's that made it in?

26 Feb 2010 4:11 PM
Mike Relva


Think it's comical you left out the fact that Buddy's rider COST HIM ANY CHANCE to win last weekend. Guess you were watching a different race!

26 Feb 2010 4:16 PM
Mike Relva


Speaking of "west coast" horses',I recall you didn't give Zenyatta any chance last Nov. Like I said,I'll wait for your "spin" after Dublin folds! At least you have a full two months to find an excuse! lol

26 Feb 2010 4:20 PM
Pam S.

ValeofYork, thanks for the answer.  I thought Make Music would turn up in the Sham.  Maybe he's being pointed to the San Felipe?  If so, that's a tough spot.

I'm interested because he reminds me of Giacomo.  Giacomo got his maiden win by DQ so the Derby was his first "real" win, if I remember.  

26 Feb 2010 5:20 PM
It Aint Easy being good

MIke R its good to find you in different areas of topics I just commented on your overrated Z horse in the other blog but this is about Dublin and your west coast horses. At the end of the day your west coast horses cannot win on derby day throw out lucking at lucky, buddy saint all of them they will never win the big one and never will unless they are smart and get off the plastic early enough like conveyance! You like buddy saint what a joke! You like Caracortado too huh that horse is an instant toss! Toss Toss Toss! Dublin, Conveyance and RULE super and  throw in a west coast horse for 4th place it might get there! haha!

26 Feb 2010 5:39 PM


   My point is did FF not get those because of the way he runs. He go bumped around very hard in the Derby, which is why he finished second to last. All the horses Coldfacts brought up had did not actually "break down" or had another reason for their injury. FF runs funny, but it was the extreme gate rough housing he received during the derby that caused his injuries.

26 Feb 2010 6:09 PM

Splitsof12.  One has got to like the Smart Strike side of things on dirt.  All systems go for Lookin and Lucky.

26 Feb 2010 6:39 PM

Would love to see some ladies in the Derby preps ala Winning Colors style.  More power to C Daae.

26 Feb 2010 6:42 PM

I dont think there is any system that will determine who will win the Kentucky Derby. First off, you have 20 three-year-olds which have never run the classic distance. Next, the horse must break well and avoid contact, to have any shot at winning. Next the jockey has to make a split decision on where he/she wants to put the horse. Finally and most importantly the jockey will need some racing luck and hope he's sitting underneath a rocket. I've been betting on the Kentucky Derby since 1994, when Chris McCarron and Go for Gin, wired em in the mud. In my sixteen years of betting the Derby I have only selected the winner two times. Funny Cide and Giacomo. And trust me, those two wins made up for my other fourteen losses, but my point is 2/16, is not a very impressive statistic. So forget about systems when it comes to picking the Derby winner, instead go with your gut, you'll have better luck.  

26 Feb 2010 8:48 PM
Mike Relva


Grow up! I'm not from the west coast. Be sure of the fact,I'll make it a point of reminding you after Apple Blossom and Derby how wrong you were.......again!

26 Feb 2010 9:47 PM
Mike Relva


You must really feel good about your "feeling" certain horses would breakdown. That's something to be proud of!!!!

26 Feb 2010 9:49 PM
It aint easy being good

I am grown Mike R and I cant wait to hear you disappear in april and in may! Then I can come back in November and talk about how Quality road is unstoppable! Going to be a great year for the true champions of dirt racing! See you in the next blog Mike R!

26 Feb 2010 11:33 PM

Since everybody else is chiming in here's my two cents on the 2010 Derby.

Buddy's Saint can't handle getting slapped around.  That's not a horse race on the first Saturday in May, it's a friggin 20-horse rodeo.  Buddy's Saint ain't rodeo material.

Baffert will tell his rider to block the rail in the Derby.  No way he's letting Borel steal another one from him.  That's not to say a Baffert horse will win, but Borel ain't pulling off another rail win if Baffert is in the race.

Probly goes without saying that Pletcher will load the field again and embarrass himself again.

27 Feb 2010 2:33 AM

Greg J.

Grand Slam Andre is running the Mountain Valley Stakes at Oaklawn on Saturday, not sure if that means anything, but that's the route the Afleet Alex to the Rebel

and Arkansas Derby.

27 Feb 2010 4:58 AM
Fire Slam

Just looked the SHAM Stakes over. There is nothing in this race.

Usually a nice pedigree stands out. But Im looking at sires such as Spinelessiellyfish, Strive, and Tribal Rule????

Other then The Program (Harlans Holiday out of a Deputy Minister mare), and Setsuko (P-Perfect, our of a Mr. Prospector mare), there really isnt too much in here.

Kettle River looks ok. As does Outlaw Man.

I know a KY Derby starter/winner can come from anywhere. I dont see how a serious horse comes from the SHAM.

I like The Program, but think he will be placed on the lead. Got a feeling Outlaw Man and Setsuko will sit a perfect trip and come rolling. Same for kettle River.

27 Feb 2010 9:36 AM

Watched Backtalk win at Delta Downs last night.  If I ever saw a horse begging for blinkers and a gelding...he was the poster child.  In the slop, absolutely no focus...stopping and starting over and over again.  I simply don't know how he won.  His works have been great, but his race was just plain weird.  Can you imagine what he might be able to do with some focus?  Looking forward to his next start, and hoping to see a colt ready to get down to business.

27 Feb 2010 10:53 AM
Mike Relva


Believe it or not,I like QA alot. If he remains healthy,he's very special.

27 Feb 2010 12:41 PM
Forbidden Apple

I am going with Outlaw Man in the Sham. He should sit just off the pace and get the first chance to make a move to the wire. I also like Nextdoorneighboor and Kettle River underneath in the exacta.

27 Feb 2010 12:57 PM


You and Dray put the hex on Christine Daae.  How do you feel about her being your #9 Derby Prospect.  I doubt she will run against the boys in March for sure, or ever.

More hyper-analyzing and knee-jerk reasctions to come I am sure.

Here comes Radiohead!

27 Feb 2010 5:51 PM
Jason Shandler

TJluvsTizs: C. Daae is running in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race on Sunday. I'd rather see her there than a one-mile race at this point in the year, even though there are no earnings to be had.

27 Feb 2010 6:03 PM
Mike Relva


Must be nice to pic winners a hundred per cent of the time like yourself! lol

27 Feb 2010 6:26 PM

I find it interesting you have Christine Daae up there, but no Blind Luck. They both seem have the looks of rising stars. Can't wait to see what happens!

27 Feb 2010 7:30 PM


My bad, I am an idiot! I misread an article about this race...  

This would have been a good class check for her, and given the pace and final time, could have been a great stakes purse to take home.  


No I don't pick winners all the time, I was just trying to be sarcastic relating my comments to Jason's article on how people make knee-jerk reactions to each weekend's races.  

I gave my top ten earlier in the blog and will stick to it.  Most of which are chalk, but I still like some outsiders looking in.

28 Feb 2010 12:33 AM

Ted,Kent has won 3 Derbies,2 Preakeness',and a Belmont. It doesn't get any better than that. Getting Desormeaux gives you the best chance of winning the Derby but the people who aren't fans of the sport and only watch the Triple Crown hate on him because Big Brown had bad feet. Amazing!

28 Feb 2010 1:18 PM
Jason Shandler

Christine Daae looked great. She made 1 1/8 miles look easy. Lets see what they do next. Im hoping they try the boys.

28 Feb 2010 3:58 PM


Christine Daae is nowhere near ready to tackle the colts.  It would be foolhardy to throw this nice looking filly in at the deep end so soon. Let her prove her quality among her distaff rivals.  From what I've seen this week-end the connections of "Christine" should have sung Amen Hallelujah in church today in thanksgiving for the wisdom of scratching from the Davona Dale yesterday.

28 Feb 2010 6:07 PM

Final eighth for Christine Daae, 12.5, and she did it in a hand ride. Jason, I'm hoping the same thing, and I would do it in the Florida Derby. However as an owner, I would probably go to the Oaks the do a Preakness Belmont run. As a fan I would like her to try all three, but she would have to be another Genuine Risk to run well in all three.

28 Feb 2010 6:45 PM
Jason Shandler

Ranagulzion: You have no idea what youre talking about. If you watched that race an werent impressed you have no eye for talent. Like LDP said, she got the last quarter in a little over 12 seconds in a hand ride. The final time was average but if she was asked could have gone much faster. We'll see what the connections do, but she is every bit as good as any colt Ive seen going two turns so far. At the very least, she is a legit Oaks horse.

28 Feb 2010 7:21 PM
Mike Relva


I agree,but don't like C.D.'s trainer.

28 Feb 2010 7:56 PM
Fire Slam


Go ahead and Marry K. "sleepy" Dsx, if you love him that much!

We wont ride him. We learned the hard way you cant trust him. Love his acting too. I have lost count how many times he has gotten a short price horse in trouble, and then acts like he got cut off or something, and then claims foul.

Sure he has won some big races. Dont forget he has lost some big races. Or lets say BLOWN some big races. Real Quiet and Big Brown in the Belmont---it was his riding that cost those races. Dutrow and the entire world will tell ya.

I will stick with C-Bo, Jesus Castanon (very underrated), and Robby A (even though he tends to get horses in trouble, he still gives an honest effort).

28 Feb 2010 8:44 PM

Beautiful win by Christine Daae today! I liked the way she rated in 2nd and did not appear to fight her jockey trying to go faster. I was very impressed. Very happy also that her connections weren't eager to throw her to the wolves too early in her career. One step at a time. Now they know that she can rate, go two turns and win with plenty left in the tank. Looking forward to a very bright future for this beautiful and talented filly. Thanks Jason for bringing her to our attention.

Another win for Presious Passion was also pure delight. Now let's hope he does the same thing in Dubai and leaves them scratching their heads. :)

28 Feb 2010 8:58 PM

Jason, it was a week ago, so who knows what the track variable is, but Eskendereya did his last quarter in 11.93. Christine did hers in 12.53 (which is a half second over 12 -- not "a little" :) ).

I think they'd be asking an awful lot.

28 Feb 2010 9:03 PM
Jason Shandler

Tiznowbaby: She coasted the last furlong in :12.53. Coasted. And it was her first start around two turns. Think she has room to improve a little?

28 Feb 2010 9:16 PM
Steve Stan

Fire Slam. What's this 'we' all of a sudden? You go from knowing grooms to riding jocks on your horse? You have to be an owner or a trainer to make that call and from what you say I don't think you're either.

28 Feb 2010 10:22 PM

Jason, yes I think she has room to improve. Do you think Eske does to?

01 Mar 2010 12:24 AM


CD did look very impressive on Sunday. It must be tempered with the fact she did have weak competition (although there is something to say about just doing what it takes to win).  With no graded earnings, I doubt she is on the Derby trail, but what prep race would she likely choose if she were to point to the Oaks?  I think Bickersons and AH would give her the type of class test needed to make the judgement on whether or not to try the Oaks-Preakness route.

Good looking Giants Causeway Filly though!

01 Mar 2010 9:14 AM
Billy's Empire

Plethcer is going to have the Derby Trifeca this year.


01 Mar 2010 10:52 AM
Jason Shandler

TJLuvsTizs: Don't forget, Big Brown did not have any graded earnings until the Florida Derby either. It only takes one race. I'll try to find out where the Christine Daae connections are leaning this week, but I wouldnt be surprised if they were considering a run against the boys. The Florida Derby and the Oaks prep race, the Bonnie Miss, are both March 20, which may be a bit soon for her--only 3 weeks. So maybe the Sunland Derby or Illinois Derby are options. We'll see. She was very professional. The filly rates so naturally for a horse with her speed. Impressive.

01 Mar 2010 11:17 AM
Truth be Told

That smallish filly would get crushed if she faces colts now,tomorrow or whenever.She's no Zenyatta,Rachel or any of the other large females that have beaten males in the past.Let's be realistic now shall we and not think that females beating males is the norm nowadays.This isn't Europe.

01 Mar 2010 1:28 PM

Billy's Empire,

 I don't know if he has the trifecta this year, but he is loaded with actual talent like no other year.

01 Mar 2010 1:47 PM

Biancone said after the race that CD will be headed to the Bonnie Miss.

The Bonnie Miss being $200,000 would give the winner $120,000.  That would put CD right on the edge of Derby contention.  I am not familiar with Kona Stables, so I don't know how abitious they will be with her.  If she puts up a time competitive with the boys Florida Derby time they may think twice.

01 Mar 2010 1:48 PM
Fire Slam

steve Stan--

If you dont like what I say, dont respond. I posted my opinion of K-Dsx, and its based on first hand experience of dealing with him.

You obviously have a problem with other people who are in the horse racing business. I guess your the only one who is allowed to know anything about horse racing.

Dont have to explain nothing to you or anyone else.

Not sure what your problem is, and dont care. Leave me alone.

01 Mar 2010 2:25 PM

Truth Be Told- maybe if we thought more like Europeans, we would run more fillies against colts.  One thing I have noticed though, is that they rarely run 3 yr old fillies against colts this early in the year.  Maybe food for thought.  But they have never let the size of the filly matter- it's the talent and whether she can handle being surrounded by colts.  Not every filly reacts well to running with colts no matter how talented.  Since they do gallops, they can put the filly in that situation and see how she does.

01 Mar 2010 3:14 PM
Mike Relva


Why don't you like K.D.? I thought him pulling BB up in the Belmont was almost heroic. Did you know Gary Stevens stated in that situstion the best measure was to take care of the horse.

01 Mar 2010 3:24 PM
Billy's Empire

Fire Slam, Steve Stan might as well be Jockey Club President, b/c apparently he knows everything about horse racing, the industry and everyone in it, and we are not allowed in his club. Don't let him bother you. He has never had one positive thing to say on this blog.

01 Mar 2010 3:27 PM
The Rock


I was at GP this weekend and Christine did not disappoint. I was really impressed on how she relaxed just outside the leader on the first turn, as horses stretching out would be somewhat of a handle going slower than normal fractions. I hear she's pointing towards the (Bonnie Miss), which is where Amen Hallelujah is supposed to enter. Personally, I thought the latter's race was more impressive. I mean she had Bickerson's at her mercy turning for home, and just kicked on with it like a really special horse. In my opinion, Christine has a bigger challenge ahead of her againt AH and I think the latter will prevail in less than 3 weeks.

I was able to attend a paddock party on Saturday night there at GP and I was able to mingle with the top jocks & trainers that night. I've been seeing Christina Oliveras at GP a lot lately. Is she all done at TVG?

01 Mar 2010 6:28 PM
The Rock

I'm not a big KD fan, but I made a good chunk of change on him on his 3 bagger saturday. ;).


What did you think of MSW's and allowance races at GP on saturday? Anyone catch your eye? I thought Zito's horse was pretty impressive and ran a second faster than the other MSW race.

01 Mar 2010 6:31 PM
Tim G

Billy, you're defending the guy who has tried to trash everyone in racing from Hal to any jock he doesn't like?

Steve is right. Just last month Fire slam was claiming to know grooms, just from talking to them. Earlier he was hearing gossip from a groom that Hal stiffed his groom, leading Renee to come on and defend Hal.

Steve is absolutely correct. No one but the owner or trainer can make a decision regarding a jock, you should know that.

Now suddenly this person is saying he won't put a jock on his horse when he said earlier he was a groom and walked hots?

I cannot appreciate anyone who consistently badmouths people in racing that I'd wager he knows nothing about. It's counterproductive.  We get it that he/you like Borel. But not at the disrespect of Johnny V, KD and anyone else that I'll bet he knows nothing about.

01 Mar 2010 6:48 PM


I wouldn't venture to defend my eye for talent but I'll say this, which you should know (but may be too awe-struck to factor in): those splits were very soft hence her "impressive" last quarter.  Might I remind you of a similar situation only a year ago with two horses, Old Fashioned and Mr Fantasy.  Both cruised around two turns in soft fractions looking like world beaters until reality struck in a quality field.  Christine Daae is talented but on evidence she is not ready to beat the top fillies around two turns, much less the colts.  Let's watch and see.  Let the connections point her to the Kentucky Oaks but it would be a serious error to aim at the boys this early. Only my opinion Bro but I've seen this situation many times before.  Sobering up from being drunk on "Rachel Alexandra vintage wine" is proving to be difficult, isn't it?

01 Mar 2010 7:01 PM
Mike Relva


Please excuse my misspellings from earlier post.

01 Mar 2010 7:10 PM
Jason Shandler

I'm not predicting she is going to win anything or beat anyone. But in my opinion she has looked as good as nearly every two-turn colt Ive seen so far this year. Eskendereya would be the exception. I simply have not been impressed through 2 months of 2010 with this group. Biancone said she might go to the Bonnie Miss, but my first instinct tells me he doesnt want to bring her back in 3 weeks. I think he prefers to wait 4 or 5, and if he does, the only races available those weekends are against colts on different tracks (Illinois Derby, Sunland Derby, La. Derby, etc). Just food for thought. They did nominate her to the TC after all.

And BTW, since when is :23 and change and :48 and change "very soft" for nine furlongs? They are at least average splits.

01 Mar 2010 7:14 PM
Steve Stan

FireSlam, excerpts:"Someone told another person he was not being staked. If thats true, then Wiggins and previous owner should be ashamed of themselves.

Fire Slam 12 Jun 2009 5:37 PM"

"I HAVE RUBBED HORSES for numerous trainers, such as Steve Flint, Bernie Flint, Neil Pessin, and a few others.

I rubbed Degenerate Gal years ago for B. Kessinger. Anybody on here who feels its wrong of a groom to expect to be staked for the hard work they have done with the horse 7 days a week through sickness, rain or shine, has NO CLASS and should be ashamed of themselves.

Fire Slam 14 Jun 2009 10:17 PM"

"EVERY TRAINER I WORKED FOR did.  They don't feel the need to ignore the folks below them, because they can. They care. Thats a class act.

fire slam 15 Jun 2009 11:26 AM"

Not even going to copy what he has said about jocks and other trainers.

Now Billy if you think that's positive and not worth calling out,  then you aren't a friend of racing.

I've made plenty of positive comments, but the constant negativity of someone like Fire Slam, who suddenly claims to be someone who could even PUT a jock on his horse? Well I just wanted to clear up that trainers and owners have that responsibility and don't go on public boards and call out jocks. If you think that's negative then I'll question you too. I train horses for a living, what do you do?

01 Mar 2010 7:30 PM
Steve Stan

"I cannot appreciate anyone who consistently badmouths people in racing that I'd wager he knows nothing about. It's counterproductive.  We get it that he/you like Borel. But not at the disrespect of Johnny V, KD and anyone else that I'll bet he knows nothing about.

Tim G 01 Mar 2010 6:48 PM"

Borrowing your words, this is the way it is.

01 Mar 2010 7:32 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Mike R cant see true talent and also cant spell either!

01 Mar 2010 7:48 PM
Tim G

IAEBG, pot meet kettle.

CAN'T or cannot.

Like your support of Dublin, but Mike has some decent picks as well.

01 Mar 2010 8:30 PM


Honestly, I wish for you to be right and prove me wrong this time because I like that filly also (thanks to you for highlighting her truly impressive debut). However Christine Daae's race yesterday revealed nothing new to me.  Her pedigree already suggests that up to ten furlongs in good company should be no problem when she has matured some more. Her final time yesterday was pedestrian and she didn't separate herself from that moderate field until late (albeit without urging) therefore I am not yet sold on her as the next filly-sensation.

01 Mar 2010 8:46 PM
Jason Shandler

Once again, Im not calling her a sensation or predicting anything. You love to put words in my mouth. I think what we disagree on is what we see in her races. You say it was a pedestrian time and she didnt seperate. I say she ran 1:50, which is average not pedestrian, and she was hand ridden to the wire. She easily could have run 1:49 and won by 5 or more. Let's just wait and see what happens.

01 Mar 2010 9:16 PM
Mike Relva


You've never made a spelling error when you were in a hurry? No,of course not!!!!!

01 Mar 2010 10:24 PM
Tim G

CD is a nice filly. Lets see how she progresses. Could be a nice Oaks entry.

01 Mar 2010 10:30 PM

billy E. is a know-it-all. Havent you all figured it out by now. He thinks he is god almighty, Me thinks he is crazy and don't know jack smack about horseracing.

01 Mar 2010 10:32 PM
Billy's Empire

Thanks for your kind words Joe Schmo. By you saying "me thinks" gives you a lot of credibility on this blog. As far as me not knowing anything about horse racing, that is comical. I will admit, I knew nothing about horse racing prior to 2002, but after I won the Derby with War Emblem, I was hooked. I have 2 passions in life. Golf, I am a 6 handicap,  and Horse racing. I would blow your doors off at the betting window. Hell, we have a betting syndicate every year for the Derby. 100 bucks entry fee. We get together as many people that want to handicap, and we throw all of our money at Derby day, and roll it over to the Preakness and Belmont, if we win. Last year my team was the only to cash tickets, to the tune of over $8,000, but I know nothing. Keep up the good work.

Tim, Steve Stan. I just want to say that I did not go back and look at other blogs from last year, and was not aware of the comments that Fire Slam has made, but I do know that Steve has personally attacked me, and he has no reason to. The horse industry would not survive without the $2 bettor or the the LLC or racing syndicate you start with friends and family on a small scale with hope's of the next Funny Cide or Uptowncharleybrown. Do I have an owners pass. Yes.

Do I own shares in horse or two yes.

Did I have K1's and 1099's this year.


I guess that is why I was defending Slam.

Everyone is entitled to say what they want, and it is up to us to figure out how much smoke they are blowing. I personally do not know any of you, but I will invite you all to Churchill Downs on derby week. Come watch the works, see some horses, meet some jockey's and trainers, and have fun with horse racing.

02 Mar 2010 9:02 AM
Billy's Empire

by the way, Hal trained for our syndicate last year. Great horseman.

02 Mar 2010 9:03 AM

With all this bashing going on, can we puleeze concentrate on the horses and their races rather than each other?

I liked Christine D.'s win, but I was duly impressed by Amen Hallelujah's romp in the Davona Dale.  She's a big and competent filly who I can see challenging the colts.

As far as size're all forgetting Lady's Secret much too quickly.  900 pounds of Dy-No-Mite!

02 Mar 2010 9:08 AM
Fire Slam

Steve Stan--

Where did I say "I dont ride K-Dsx?" I said we. Once That could be the trainer I work for, maybe an ownership group, or possibly both.

You assume too much, and have way too much time on your hands.

You are obviously one of these people who always feel the need to prove you know more then others, and feel threatened when someone else knows more.

Do feel sorry for people like you.

Dont like what I post, dont respond.

02 Mar 2010 9:51 AM
Fire Slam

Thanks B--Empire. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I post some very negative thoughts.

Stan and a few others try to twist them around and really hammer me.

They really have security issues with others who might actually know something about horse racing. Then again, they are the only ones who are allowed to know anything.

02 Mar 2010 9:55 AM
Forbidden Apple

The general public knows very little about life on the backstretch and how trainers treat some of their employees. I tried posting some comments on the It's Pletcher Time blog, but they were not posted. What would trainers do if grooms and hotwalkers did not show up 7 days a week? Do you think the exercise riders and jockeys would come in to groom and walk horses? I am not defending or trashing anyone here, I just wanted to say that this sport is not all about the red roses in May.

I am not sure why some people are so against Conveyance and in love with Eskendereya and Dublin. Anyway, Conveyence is not going to Dubai, so now he can prove that he is a horse that can rate and win races beyond 1 mile.

02 Mar 2010 9:59 AM
Fire Slam

Billys Empire--

I almost agree with ya on the Trifecta.

Eskendereya will be there, but Dublin and Soaring Empire will be charging late.

I have been following Soaring Empire since his maiden win. Was lucky enough to see him run at Churchill Downs last fall. Got some really nice photos of him walking over. Love him.

Empire Maker out of an AP Indy mare, Soaring Empire will run all day. And he is very athletic, as the majority of Empire Makers tend to be.

02 Mar 2010 10:02 AM
Billy's Empire

You know I love all Empire Makers. That is who my namesake is after. I loved wathcing him roll down the stretch in the Belmont while getting 3-1 odds. I was at Arlington Park wathcing on the big screen. I had 200 across that day I was so confident. Biggest ATB bet of my life...

The more I look at Pletcher's gaggle of horses, the more I can see him taking the top thee spots. Baffert better have more than just Conveyance running on the dirt.

Super Saver is a freak

Rule is Lebron James on 4 legs

Esky is Pesky, and will be running at the end. Todd said he does not get tired.


02 Mar 2010 11:42 AM
Billy's Empire

Fire Slam, I have talked to a few other people that have started to feel that way about Todd this year as well. I guess we have to just hurry up and wait until the next set of preps are run in the next two weeks... Vale of York running on Thursday, does he win???

02 Mar 2010 11:51 AM
Ted from LA

Since I started this Kent D. fight, I'll finish it.  I don't like him for personal reasons... it has nothing to do with Big Brown.  I don't like him because when I bet on him, he loses.  When I don't, he wins.  It's a simple issue of economics.  I don't like my ex-wife either.

02 Mar 2010 12:13 PM
Steve Stan

"Go ahead and Marry K. "sleepy" Dsx, if you love him that much!

WE WON'T RIDE HIM. We learned the hard way you cant trust him. Love his acting too.

I will stick with C-Bo, Jesus Castanon (very underrated), and Robby A (even though he tends to get horses in trouble, he still gives an honest effort).

Fire Slam 28 Feb 2010 8:44 PM"

Uhh, this Fire Slam. Selective memory?

Billy I dare you to find where I've ever insulted you the way Fire Slam insults those in racing?

Calling people liars, cheats, etc. THAT has no place on these blogs, Jason has called him out for it and you don't do it or condone it if you really care about racing.

I do, it's my life and livelihood. I will basically guarantee it isn't Fire Slams.


My Security of knowing about racing because YOU know something is threatened? No you've proven over and over that you take gossip and heresay and try to preach it as the gospel. It's very detrimental to racing and NO you really can't say anything you want without any type of proof. It's defamation and slander. I don't pretend to know more, I'm in the industry and I know what I know.

There are a lot of pretenders on here, most who are negative about what they 'THINK' actually goes on in racing. The grooms etc are paid to do a job. Do they make what a corporate officer makes? Well no. Do they risk financial ruin every day training or owning horses? Well no, same way people who work for a company are paid employees.

I have no issue with people discussing horses, giving their picks, arguing about which horse they like best, or even discussing owners and trainers. When those outside the game or at least those who know nothing of other outfits start carrying tales and spewing venom and inflammatory comments? THAT is what I object to.

02 Mar 2010 12:14 PM
Steve Stan

PS Fire Slam? I don't have to 'twist' your words. It's there in black and white for anyone to read.

As I said, no, you who do it cannot say whatever you want about people. Freedom of speech only goes so far and then the libel laws kick in. Bet you wouldn't say this stuff if you weren't under the cover of anonymity.

Just like you're picking Dublin after you bad mouthed Wayne in several comments.

I may not have commented, but I've been reading this for a long time.

02 Mar 2010 12:31 PM
Billy's Empire

let's just move on. I like talking about racing, picks and betting angles. This bickering is starting to remind me of 8th grade all over again. Can't we all just get along. I am not going to go back thru blogs and try to find what was written, it is pointless. You just questioned me being in the game b/c of different ownerships and interests I have in horse's, and you had no right to. I don't question if you are really a trainer, who you train, where they train, and who your owners are. If you do, great, that is awesome. Good luck with everything

02 Mar 2010 2:07 PM

I agree with you Jason.  C. Daae looked as good as most colts I have seen at 2 turns and she won with such ease it was hard not to be impressed.  That was just her 3rd race ever and I see nothing but upside for this talented filly.

02 Mar 2010 2:19 PM

"I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school... I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy..."

And there's your Mean Girls movie reference on the TC blog. The world is coming to an end.

02 Mar 2010 2:53 PM
Mike Relva


I enjoy your posts and for most part you seem level headed and the voice of reason. Dublin isn't one of my favs cause although his trainer is brilliant I don't care for him.

02 Mar 2010 3:13 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Mike R just giving you so crap about your spelling. So what horses do you like for May 1st? Let me guess they run on synthetics! Dublin baby here we come! Also do like connemara for some reason I think it the fact that he runs alot different then the 10 other pletcher horses ....hate the fact though he is a golden gate horse!!! Either way Russell Baze is due!

02 Mar 2010 4:17 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Ted from La here is a simple run when it comes to Kent D. When Kent D is running in a turf race bet him win place he always hits the board when he is on dirt dont bet him he is overrated! I think Kent D is one of the most consistent turf riders out there! RULE=Lebron james and has a good story behind it I hope rule wins but we all know May 1st belongs to Dublin!

02 Mar 2010 4:23 PM
Tim G

Actually Billy I questioned you on that as well. Maybe like me, Steve was just curious. Looking for you in the paddock or backside since you always invite folks.

Or in the paddock at the Derby, hopefully I'll be there too.

Mike, you should get to know Wayne, think you'd find out he's a nice guy, interesting and very willing to talk to just about anyone.

Like Steve said, Fire Slam questioned his ethics and training so why would he jump on the horse that Wayne says is his best, maybe of all time?

02 Mar 2010 6:08 PM
Tim G

Plus Billy, we're all wondering who we're talking to in the industry. Nosiness is a quality because we all want to know what the other guy has under wraps. LOL

02 Mar 2010 6:10 PM
Fire Slam

Mike R.

I see your point about K.Dsx. pulling Big Brown up. Had he kept riding and something happened to the horse, he would have been blasted.

Jocks have it pretty bad. You know its bad when an ambulance follows you around while you do your job.

We have gotten some pretty bad rides from K.Dsx. It is MY OPINION, and let me say that again, MY OPINION that he tends to get horses in trouble and dont always give his best effort to be competitive in a race. This is an opinion of mine, and numerous times other folks I have spoke with who train, or own horses have shared this opinion.

This dont make it right or wrong. Just an opinion.

03 Mar 2010 12:02 AM

nay nay,

Let's take a jog down memory lane. First off I want to point out Christine Daae's fractions on Sunday:

1/2 mile in 48.6

3/4 mile in 1:13

mile in 1:37.8

1 1/8 in 1:50.2

Now lets' take a look at what you said over and over and over about those type of frations in the past. I could have come up with many more examples but hey you get the point.

A horse running a 149.49 doesn't scare ANYONE !!!

Draynay 08 Apr 2009 1:12 AM

Like I have said before... no one is afraid of a horse that runs a 1:50 +

Draynay 24 Mar 2009 2:48 PM

TIMES MATTER... the fact that no contender has run a 1:11 or better at two turns matters !  Dunkirk runs a 1:37 mile in a allowance race and some have him in their top 5....huh?  

Draynay 16 Mar 2009 5:24 PM

Old Fashioned his mile time was a VERY slow 1:38.09.

Draynay 16 Mar 2009 11:07 PM

Here comes the typical nay nay flip flop when he decides he likes a horse. All the bashing for even better times means nothing all of a sudden. You should be a polititian nay nay. It fits your split personality.

For the record I like Christine Daees potential. She's just not there yet. I just wish the nay nay would stick to touting who he likes without the constant bashing of others who like something different. All the above is just evidence that he gets off on doing that.

03 Mar 2010 9:01 AM


"C.Daae looked as good as most colts I have seen at two turns..."

Ha Ha Ha. It is high time that you also recover from the intoxicating and hallucinating effects of Rachel Alexandra's vintage performances last year my friend.

This filly needs time to develop. Measuring her against colts right now is plain ...let's be mild and call it youthful exuberance.

03 Mar 2010 9:05 AM

Santa Anita as a permanent host for the Breeders Cup? If they don't make good and get rid of the fake crap what a disaster. We've already seen the reluctance of connections sending their top dogs to run over fake crap. Is this another dumb decision in the making based just on money?

03 Mar 2010 10:43 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Slyder I agree 100% get rid of the synthetics its like the WNBA a total disaster....true champions want to run on dirt, I hate synthetics it has really hurt the sport and has hurt us fans that want to see true matchups!

03 Mar 2010 11:46 AM

I thought I read that Stronach was keeping the Pro-Ride or installing the surface he installed in Austria which seems a hybrid of dirt with some synthetic, although it didn't say whether it would be removed completely and installed properly or not-lol.  I can't imagine them making a synthetic track the permanent site if the BC unless it was a ploy to try to force him into installing dirt.  Hollywood's surface would be better but it seems doubtful it will be saved.  Too bad.  

03 Mar 2010 12:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Footlick: I think that was just posturing on Stronach's part. I believe Santa Anita will be dirt by the end of the year. And you're right, it certainly wont be a permanent host site if it remains synthetic.

03 Mar 2010 12:20 PM
It Aint Easy being good

I think it should be a permanent hosting site. Santa Anita is the most exciting track in the country but they have to go back to dirt so they can make sure they get the best of the best. Last weekends races were weak when are the good races???

03 Mar 2010 1:02 PM

Nothing would make me happier than to have the BC here @ SA every year. I know it would make some of you gnash your teeth but you must admit that the weather here in late October or early November is without equal.

As far as what type of track will be installed or NOT, don't hold your breath for dirt. Mr. Stronach left the CA horsemen scratching their head with all his talk about free enterprise. I hope you're right Jason and that he is just posturing... but, with more rain predicted this week, we are facing the possible cancellation of one of the best days of racing @ SA. Yet, Mr. Stronach could only posture and rant? Hmmm!

An article in the Daily News quoted: "Free enterprise, free enterprise, free enterprise, (Bruce)Headley said. And he's never going to get it. Of course there won't be a horse left (in California) by that time." Is that frustation or what?

03 Mar 2010 2:30 PM
Tim G

It won't happen. Satish is already backing down. If it does happen? He might as well outsource it to Mumbai like he does everything else he's involved in because it will become irrelevant, Dirt or not.

Cal is in too much trouble financially to support the BC year after year. Five years in it'll be like every other ho hum event.

03 Mar 2010 2:58 PM
Forbidden Apple

The good races are scheduled for this weekend, but wait the rain is coming again so we should scratch every race. Santa Anita should be shut down and have the racing surface returned to old fashioned dirt asap. With dirt or synthetic, the Breeders Cup should be a revolving event. Other racing venues should be given the chance to have history in their backyards too.

Steve Stan, do you think it is okay for backstretch workers to have to work 7 days a week with no day off? Do you think it is okay in 2010 for some trainers paying hotwalkers $5 an hour to work and for 7 days a week? And do not say that they have a choice to quit. Many workers are here on visas or illegaly and do not have many other options. Or what about americans who love horses and horse racing, should they also be subjected to $5 an hour and 7 days a week? I have first hand knowledge here, I am not spitting hot air.

03 Mar 2010 3:22 PM

Satish Sanan let the cat out of the bag. I believe what he said on that radio show. No back pedalling is going to erase what Mr. Sanan candidly let us know about the way the BC is headed.

Tim G,

Please tell me what you mean by "Cal is in too much trouble financially to support the BC year after year." Am I mistaken in thinking that the BC brings money in, not the other way around? If I am, i'm sure you will set me straight. :)

03 Mar 2010 3:59 PM
Tim G

Well, I'll be nicer than you are zookeeper, but if you read his comments that Satish said the BC can't make money at CD? Well CD has said they don't make money off the BC. Read up on it. Then insult the powers that be.

Find out how much money SA made off of it.

Then wait and watch whether the government in CA can subsidize it. The new will wear off, the horsemen won't go to a track that they don't ever train at and I think they proved that didn't they?

03 Mar 2010 5:59 PM

Oak Tree who host the BC is a "Not for profit organization". They are in a better position to offer a more lucrative deal for the BC than CD who is a public company and must answer to its stockholders. The whole of California benefits from the BC being held here. Sacramento included, although they haven't done a thing for racing in this state.

Tim G,

I'm devastated that you you don't find me nice. :)  The powers that be insult us constantly although I'm unsure how I have insulted them in my prior post.

03 Mar 2010 7:17 PM

What has happened to "Brother Bird"?  He ran at Saratoga last summer a decent 3rd and has disappeared!  Pletcher was his trainer and Dogwood Stable owns him.

03 Mar 2010 9:13 PM

gw bushwacker did you not watch the race ?  I guess you did not notice that she was never asked for her best and won being eased at the wire. Also, it was her FIRST attempt at 2 turns.  Geez.

03 Mar 2010 10:57 PM
Tim G

Zookeeper, I'm not a power that be, unless the owners/trainers are classified as that?

The powers that be are the BC committee and the BC doesn't go off without input from the state.

I'm terribly sorry that you're so bitter against owners and trainers that try to give you some insight, much better to speculate and make up your own stories, eh?

04 Mar 2010 12:21 AM


    I checked on DRF and Brother Bird worked five furlongs in 1.01.3, I think, at Palm Meadows. It was the 12th fastest of 33 works.

04 Mar 2010 5:56 AM


 The people knocking Cristine saw what they wanted to see. They looked at the final time and that was it. They didn't pay attention to the fact that she was going two turns and stretching out to 1 1/8 for the first time, or that she was never asked for her best. It was nothing more than a paid workout. Now they know what she can do and her next out will tell the tail.

04 Mar 2010 9:44 AM

Tim G,

Where have I expressed bitterness against owners and trainers? I apologize for whatever I have said that offended you so deeply that you feel the need to misconstruct my statements or my attitude towards them. I asked for an explanation of your comment and now, I find myself confronted with a level of hostility that is truly puzzling.

I appreciate any insight given on these blogs by people within the horseracing industry. If you disagree with what I have posted, please respond with a valid argument. A personal attack doesn't qualify as one. Peace!

04 Mar 2010 11:05 AM

gw bushwacker did you not watch the race ?  I guess you did not notice that she was never asked for her best and won being eased at the wire. Also, it was her FIRST attempt at 2 turns.  Geez.

draynay 03 Mar 2010 10:57 PM


Did you not read what I said? My point was how ridiculous you are. With one horse those fractions are terrible but now they are ok depending on the color of the sky in your world that day.  

Here's what I said about CD. I was not knocking her in any way or knocking her times. I fully expect het to improve fast.

For the record I like Christine Daees potential.

gw_bushwacker 03 Mar 2010 9:01 AM

Come join the real world sometime nay nay. If you can't handle that at least don't go putting words in my mouth just so you can vent.

04 Mar 2010 11:13 AM
Billy's Empire

Medip's just won in Dubai. 3-0 lifetime, Vale of York was 5th, 8+ legnths back, and made a 1 pace run to finish the race, nothing like the B.C when he came flying up the rail. Is mendip that good? Are Vale of York and Looking at Lucky overrrated?

Maybe Vale of York needed a tightener, but I can't imagine anything different from looking at lucky. Recency is a big factor with 3 yo colts. I will stick with Scarface, Dave in Dixie, or Sidney's Candy before I bet LAL for that reason alone.

04 Mar 2010 11:16 AM


No way was I knocking CD. I was pointing out that it's been the nay nay who has bashed horses in the past for those type of fractions and how stupid I thought it was to do so. He's constantly changing his sorry tune just so he can argue and vent here. This time he likes the fractions, all last year he didn't.  

I like CD and her potential. Get that straight. I saw the same things you saw.

04 Mar 2010 11:17 AM


Any news on how Vale of York performed this morning?  I am not counting on him to score in the derby, but I was just curious.

If Blind Luck destroys her field on Saturday, would her connections consider a run at the SA Derby?

I am going out on a limb by saying none of the 3YO boys this weekend will finish in the top 10 in the derby.

04 Mar 2010 11:19 AM

"Come join the real world sometime nay nay. If you can't handle that at least don't go putting words in my mouth just so you can vent".


Re: "OUCH"

04 Mar 2010 2:58 PM


    I think it may have been the distance of the race. It was his first race back going a distance most horses don't even try until May, so he could've been a bit short.

04 Mar 2010 3:15 PM


 I wasn't refering to you in my post. It just happened to fall where it did. There were alot who were saying Christine didn't impress them at all on two different blogs.  Sorry about that.

04 Mar 2010 3:34 PM
Mike Relva

I think Christine has nothing but "upside" in her future.

04 Mar 2010 5:42 PM

Billy's Empire- Godolphin already stated before the race that Vale of York was behind in his preparations.  He ran how I would expect a short horse to run.  Red Desire ran a great race.  Vodka ran a disappointing one also, but she may have needed the race.  They want them to peak at a certain time.  Dettori seems to like Medip.  Said he just keeps improving.

04 Mar 2010 7:03 PM

Or is it Mendip????  Sorry about the typo.

04 Mar 2010 8:00 PM

Christine looked good to me in her race.  Blind Luck has looked excellent in all her races, but I`m always leery of poly runners.  Amen blew them away and my Sassy Image didn`t run a lick.  All that being said, 4 out of the last 5 Ky. Oaks winners have gone through the Fair Grounds.  This year a filly named Jody Slew has won both the preps for the FG Oaks and has the running style that fits for CD. Odd thing is she was purchased with the hope she`d be a decent turf horse.  The lack of available turf races for her let her connections take a shot on dirt.  It`s worked out quite well.

05 Mar 2010 4:39 AM
Forbidden Apple

It is Mendip and he ran a very slow race of 1:59 2/5 for 1 3/16. Regardless of the time, he sure does have the look of a runner. He should be on everyone's radar for the run for the roses.

05 Mar 2010 7:53 PM

For the first time, the KY derby has no clear favorite.. it is soo sad when the hopes of the TC are pinned on one ESKANDEREYA alone.  

Where have all the Affirmed's and Spectacular Bid's gone?  

Christine scratched in her last race.  Dublin and all the others have failed to separate themselves from the pack.

I think that Rachel vs Zenyatta grudge match at the AB is garnering more interest than the TC this year!

08 Mar 2010 5:57 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Here's my Derby Super High Five-Straight. Mine That Bird, Musket Man, Papa Clem, Pioneerofthe Nile, Dunkirk. OOPS, that was last year at this time. This year's is Setsuko, Sidney's Candy, Lookin at Lucky, Eskendereya, Conveyance. Merry Christmas.

10 Mar 2010 11:37 AM

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