Eight in the Gate?

In 2007 Todd Pletcher saddled five Kentucky Derby starters. Though none of them would wind up hitting the board, Pletcher was the main focus of attention in the week leading up to the classic with his horses occupying one quarter of the field.

Three years later, it is starting to look like five starters will be the absolute minimum Pletcher will bring to Churchill Downs. As crazy as it sounds, there is a possibility that he could bring as many as eight to the big dance.

Yes, I said eight.

Ok, the chances that Pletcher would actually saddle eight Kentucky starters sounds absurd, and it is remote. But with less than five weeks until the race, there is a chance it could happen. Follow along.

As of Saturday, Pletcher already has three horses that seem to be locks for the Derby: Rule, Mission Impazible, and Discreetly Mine. All three are done prepping and have plenty of graded earnings to get in. Mission Impazible punched his ticket with his Louisiana Derby upset and Discreeetly Mine ran a good enough fourth to merit a trip.

Pletcher has four other horses with one Derby prep remaining: Interactif and Aikenite in the Blue Grass, Super Saver in the Arkansas Derby or Wood, and Eskendereya in the Wood. Both Interactf and Aikenite have plenty of earnings to get in. Pletcher would need to see solid efforts from both in the Blue Grass, especially from Aikenite, but if both hit the board there is a chance both will earn a bid.

Super Saver is still one of Pletcher's biggest guns. He ran a good third in the Tampa Bay Derby in his first start of the year and figures to improve at Oaklawn or Aqueduct. With $163,000 in earnings he probably already has enough, and if he earns any money in his next he is a shoe in. Simply put, if he hits the board he is going to Churchill.

Eskendereya is Pletcher's No. 1 contender. He has $150,000 and might need a bit more from the Wood. But if the Fountain of Youth winner runs even an average race next weekend he is going. Book it.

The eighth and final horse is Connemara. His third place finish in the Lane's End Stakes was just Ok. He lacked a powerful finishing kick in the stretch and was well beaten by the top two. The $50,000 he earned for third gives him $140,000, which might wind up being enough. Time will tell. But Pletcher said even before the race that Connemara was not a lock to go to the Derby, even with a win. I would have to think he is a longshot to go now, in Pletcher's eyes anyway. But that final decision will be up to the owners, not the trainer. The owners certainly have the money to go. It just depends how much Derby fever they get during the next month.

My opinion is that Pletcher will likely wind up having six: Rule, Mission Impazible, Discreetly Mine, Interactif, Super Saver, and Eskendereya. Unless Aikenite runs huge in the Blue Grass he probably won't go. I don't see Derby horse in Connemara and I don't think Pletcher does either. Of course, this is all just my opinion and is only if they all stay healthy. That is a big 'if'.

If I'm right, six is still a ridiculous number for one trainer to have in the world's biggest race. Ridiculous in the sense that it is an embarrassment of riches. It sure would put a lot of pressure on Pletcher to get his first Derby win. And it sure would give us a lot to talk about in the week leading up to the race.

346 Comments

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LAZMANNICK

Ranagulzion:

You must be beside yourself with joy.  I can only imagine your disappointment when they finish 3 thru 10 in the Derby behind the nose winner Lookin at Lucky over Alphie's Bet.  LOL

27 Mar 2010 10:20 PM
LDP

This group of his is actually pretty strong this year. LaL, IMO will get the win though. His first race back, at only eighty percent was nothing short of spectacular. Horses are just now supposed to do what he did in the Rebel. Personally, I think Baffert is making the right decision, or should I say best decision, in keeping him at SA. We know he likes dirt, so why try to squeeze another trip out of him, when you could race him out of the barn? Both field would probably draw some tough horses, but LaL would be much the best in either senario. Some may question a horse's ability to win the Derby with a synthetic prep, but as I mentioned before, we've already seen that he likes dirt, and what the trends are showing are that horses move up in their first dirt start after running on a synthetic. If there is a horse who can do it, that horse will be Lucky.

28 Mar 2010 12:32 AM
ALB

I'm gonna call it right now, and say that Pletcherls, however many it might be finalists, will not hit the board on Derby day! Sorry, but you think that he might have had a clue by now on conditioning his 3 year olds for the Derby trail. This year belongs to Baffert and he has just as many contenders that belong in the Derby in his barn. Go Lookin at Lucky and Conveyance!!!

28 Mar 2010 12:37 AM
Aluminaut

The year is 2012.  Pletcher actually has 19 horses starting in the derby and is expected to win this year--barring an upset by the lone Zito horse.

Pletcher is confident that he  has a good chance at a Stephens Triple Crown.

28 Mar 2010 1:03 AM
GunBow

While acknowledging that handicapping the Derby 5 weeks out is inexact(or even handicapping the day of the Derby, as Mine That Bird demonstrated), I really  believe that the top contenders did not run Saturday.

The Louisiana Derby was a competitive race, and Mission Impazible showed improvement, but the top 6 finishers (Ron the Greek in 6th) were separated by just 3.5 lengths, and the final time was a second slower than what Battle Plan ran in the New Orleans Cap'.  Battle Plan is a promisisng handicap horse for Pletcher, but he does not have much stakes experience and would be rated out of most people's top 10 older horses.

California shipper The Program was only beaten 5.5 lengths in 7th even though he was sideswiped in the stretch.  The Program is not rated close to Baffert's other big prospects, Lookin at Lucky and Conveyance, and The Program was basically beaten the same margin when he was 3rd behind Alphie's Bet and Setsuko in the Sham Stakes.  And no disrespect Laz, but I rate even Alphie's Bet and Setsuko a couple of levels below the top SoCal prospects Lookin at Lucky, Sidney's Candy, and Caracortado.  And what does Mission Impazible's win in Louisiana say about Conveyance and Dublin, both of whom finished well ahead of Mission Impazible in the Southwest Stakes?

As for the Lane's End, Dean's Kitten and Northern Giant were clearly the two best, but outside of 3rd place Connemara, I have serious questions about the quality of horse behind them.  Although Dean's Kitten appeared to be powering away in the stretch, the final eighth was a far from spectacular :12.78 and the final time of 1:50 and 2 is only marginally better than the 1:44 and 2 time posted for the 8.5 furlong Rushaway Stakes.  Pushing aside the synthetic-to-dirt questions, I think Dean's Kitten, like Connemara and the NoCal horses as well as horses from the Sham, are a step below the top synthetic prosepcts in SoCal.

One interesting note about Dean's Kitten is that his win in the Lane's End continues the successful spree for horses that ran in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Turf.  Dean's Kitten(6th) now joins Awesome Act(4th)and Interactif(3rd) as Derby prosepcts that ran in the BC Juv Turf.  As for prospects that ran in the BC Juvenile Dirt(Synth), that would be Eskenderya, Lookin at Lucky, Noble's Promise, Aikenite, and D' Funnybone.

28 Mar 2010 3:30 AM
GunBow

Slow day at Santa Anita, although the Great 8 games and the Tokyo/Japanese cultural exhibits were interesting.  

Mike Mitchell, once just a claiming trainer, has developed a keen eye for marathon horses, and over the last decade has exploited the weak state of the marathon division in California and won a number of important stakes.  Saturday, Mitchell won the 12 furlong gr.3 Tokyo City Cup on synthetic with the tall, long-striding 6 year old, Tap it Light, a California-bred gelding by General Meeting that he claimed in 2008.  In winning, Tap it Light beat Rendezvous(2nd, after running 5th in the Big Cap), Eagle Poise(3rd, almost beat Cloudy's Knight in a marathon race at Woodbine late last year), and Philatelist(4th, after being 3rd in the San Antonio).

The race was rather unspectacular.  However, I must bring attention to the Doug O' Neil entrant, High Court Drama.  In all honesty, O' Neil should be ashamed, or at least embarrassed for having even entered the horse.  High Court Drama had run just last Saturday in the 12 furlong San Luis Obispo and was beaten almost 30 after having to be eased to the wire.  In the Tokyo City Cup, High Court Drama led for the first 5 furlongs, was eased out of the race, and then vanned off.  The horse did not appear to be in great distress, but clearly he had no business running in the race.  Hindsight is easy, but I questioned this move last week in the last blog topic.

28 Mar 2010 3:44 AM
GunBow

Any doubts about the quality of last year's Arlington Million?

1st- Gio Ponti(4 gr.1 wins)

3rd- Just as Well(won gr.1 Northern Dancer next out)

5th- Einstein(5 gr.1 wins)

6th- Mr. Sidney(gr.1 Maker's Mark)

7th- Gloria de Campeao(gr.1 Dubai World Cup, gr.1 Singapore Airlines Cup)

8th- Presious Passion(3 gr.1 wins)

4th - Cime de Triomphe(gr.2 winner in Europe)

2nd- Stotsfold(gr.3 winner in Europe)

28 Mar 2010 4:19 AM
GunBow

Sorry for another off-topic post, but I just saw the results for the $1 million turf sprint in Dubai and want to give props to California Flag for a good 3rd.  He and Kinsale King represented California well in the Sprints.  I guess there still are some fast horses in Cali (lol).

28 Mar 2010 4:25 AM
Slew

"I know you're smart, and I know you can read, but wearing a #6 saddlecloth does not mean you're supposed to come in 6th, Ron" I woefully exclaim as I climb off my favorite Greek and head out looking for Lucky's barn.

Was the track souped up at the Fair Grounds?  Cash Refund did the 6f sprint in 1:09.13, making Backtalk's work of 1:09.6 seem normal. I still have more questions than answers.  Maybe  horse players are like experimental mice, running through a maze constructed by some outrageous comedian who giggles as he blocks off one pathway after another, keeping us from finding that tidbit reward until May 1st.

28 Mar 2010 8:02 AM
2:24

He may start 8, but in my opinion he only has 1 horse with a legitimate chance to win (Eskendereya) and 1 horse that maybe can get into the superfecta (Interactif).

I think the winner of the Derby comes from the group of Eskendereya, Lookin at Lucky, Awesome Act, Noble's Promise, Ice Box, Dublin and Odysseus.

I wish Fast Alex hadn't gotten injured.  He would have cleaned up on that LA Derby field.

28 Mar 2010 10:11 AM
draynay

Third place shows California speed? Really?  Mr. Pletcher may have 6 to 8 horses in the Derby and I will still be betting against him and scratching everyone of his horses for the win.  None of them dazzle me yet and I am still liking Noble's Promise and Dublin.  The Wood and Arkansas will really tell us who is ready for 1 1/4. The La Derby was so slow I almost fell asleep watching it.

28 Mar 2010 10:16 AM
Michael P.

I still think that Caracortado will redeem himself in the Santa Anita Derby and will earn his birth into the K.D. His last race where he chased dwadling frections (come on, 113 2/5?) will not happen again in the S.A. Derby. This horse is as real as they come and I pressed my Derby Future at 20-1 in the 3rd pool. Another to watch is Alphie's Best. Hes a very strong stretch running horse and still improving. In the end it will boil down to which horse is peaking on the first Saturday in May and what kind of trip they get. Good luck to all....M.P.

28 Mar 2010 10:27 AM
Slew

Terry Thompson is back on Dublin...this looks very promising.

28 Mar 2010 10:34 AM
TJLuvsTizs

Am I missing something or is Steve Asmussen comspicuously absent from the derby trail this year?  Kensei was his sole hope last year, and I am not sure he has any this year.  

Pletcher has done a very good job of juggling his barn to separate most of his runners, and if one of them wins he may take that formula to next year.  I would like to root for Pletcher, but it is hard for me to cheer for someone who may have 1/3 of the entire field running.  It is like cheering for the Yankees, just can't do it.  I guess I would be happy if Winstar (who to me is more like the Red Sox so I can justify rooting for them) would win.  If Rule or Super Saver win, I could still be happy for Pletcher.

28 Mar 2010 10:54 AM
Ted from La

All Pletcher horses are tosses for me.  It's extremely difficult to bring one horse up to the Derby.  Trying to bring 6 up is ludicrous.  Caracortado will be second to Lookin' at Lucky next out and then turn the tables on May 1.

28 Mar 2010 11:02 AM
Rocker

I thought the Florida Derby was was bad last week and then I see this race this was a garbage race.... There is a song by rapper Ludacris called how low can you go...  If he was into horse racing he  watched this race he would of written a song called  how SLOW CAN YOU GO! Look how slow these splits were... 23.2 ok then 24.4 3/4 25.1 the mile 25.2 finish 13.1.... They were all struggling to come home maybe with the exception of Drosslemyer who had a little trouble from breaking from the 13 hole. Kent gave him a crafty ride but he found trouble for room down the stretch he was a little unlucky.... However does it really matter none of these are good enough to win the Derby...  Its all about the horses who are running in  Next week preps with the  Wood & SA Derby... There's a couple next week who we will be focusing on May 1...

28 Mar 2010 11:11 AM
Ann in Lexington

Since Turfway went All-Weather so that it could race all winter, the only Spiral/JimBeam/LanesEnd winner who has made any noise in the Derby has been Hard Spun, who was a proven dirt horse already. This year's winner is a turfer who is more likely to go back to the grass than be a Derby contender.

28 Mar 2010 11:14 AM
Ted from LA

While I am ranting, I would never bet on a horse named "Dean's Kitten."  That's the best you could come up with to name a horse?  Is there a requirement to name Kitten's Joy offspring _____'s Kitten?  If Dean's Kitten or any other unoriginal _____'s Kitten ever wins a Derby, I will be drinking my mint juleps out of a plastic cup from that day forward.  Ode to Joy, Here Kitty Kitty, Fur Ball Cough, Cat Scratch Fever, etc. are all better names... and I took 6 seconds to come up with those four.

28 Mar 2010 11:27 AM
The Rock

One thing is for sure about Pletcher....  he does consistantly rake in the money for his variety of owners. He quietly stole the last 3 graded stakes on the Fair Grounds card with Battle Plan, Blues Street & Mission Impazible and the Rushaway with Exhi at Turfway. Winning the Derby is one of the toughest training accomplishments. But if I'm an owner, I'd be happy if my trainer can make some money with my horses, even if that goes without a Derby trophy. He's still a young trainer. If not this year, it will be just a matter of time until he wins the derby, IMO.

28 Mar 2010 11:32 AM
Ted from LA

By the way, if "Dean's Kitten" was named after some Dean who is sick or died, I take back my venom.  Is Mendip being pointed to the Derby?  If so, he could be an interesting play.

28 Mar 2010 11:40 AM
Max

It pains me when I see average jockeys jetting all over the place picking good mounts having double calls for mounts and a Hall of Famer like Mike Smith not being sought after by Connections who may have Derby contenders.

28 Mar 2010 12:03 PM
SoCalRacer

Pletcher horse is Top on the list, with a win or without in KY Derby..point is anybody can win the derby best trainer or never heared trainer, it's all about having the right horse at the right time...beware of Pletcher horse he has a sleeper waiting for the Kentucky Derby..

28 Mar 2010 12:17 PM
Forbidden Apple

I am waiting to see how Super Saver and Interactif run again before the KY Derby. I am not crazy about either of them, but they still have a chance to improve. Pletcher's only shot in my opinion is with Eskendereya. Connemara and Discreetly Mine were awful yesterday, slow and overrated. It seems to me that a lot of owners go with Pletcher for all of the wrong reasons. He has way to many horses to really focus on one good horse. I would love to see some of Pletcher's stock moved into the hands of Christophe Clement, Jonathan Sheppard, or Graham Motion. These three trainers have kind of been labled turf trainers, but that is the stock that they have to work with. They are all brilliant trainers with lots of class!

GunBow,

I always enjoy your posts, thank you for your input on these blogs. Do you live in CA? Ever been to Saratoga Race Course? If you see John Shirreffs, ask him to please send the Zenyatta train here for a race. No more silly security barn to deal with. Do you know if Just As Well is still in training? I ran into Christophe Clement after the Arlington Million one day at Saratoga. I told him that his horse was brilliant and that I hoped he won the Breeders Cup Classic. He said thank you and I said you deserve it. After yesterdays race I am convinced that he likes the turf much better.

28 Mar 2010 12:23 PM
BigWill

Even though I'm probably gonna be the biggest TP supporter here, imagine this: A starting gate at Churchill on May 1st containing: Rule, Super Saver, Aikenite, Eskendereya, Mission Impazible, Connemara, Discreetly Mine, Interactif, and possibly Exhi. Usually when he's brought over multiple runners there were 2 or 3 with a really good shot and the others were just there because they had the earnings and shown they were capable of running respectable. HE HAS A LEGIT 7 HORSES THAT ARE NOT ONLY SERIOUS THREATS TO WIN THE DERBY, BUT POSSIBLE TRIPLE CROWN SWEEPERS! I know it sounds optimistic but aside from Lookin at Lucky I really don't see any other horses that can threaten the Pletcher army. Sidneys Candy is not going to get 1 1/4. And the other prep winners like Awesome Act, Deans Kitten, and Odysseus aren't really impressive enough to top any from the TP barn.

28 Mar 2010 12:31 PM
El Kabong

Impressed by top two in LD. That was ALW's first 2 turn race and that was very bold to try to go wire to wire at LDowns with pressure from a top horse like DM. Gotta like the finish on winner and he looked like he could have gone around again. Peaking at right time and style has to have Pletcher relieved he has a confirmed stalker. These 3 year olds can show dramatic improvement in a short time and MI has done that. This is a far better showing than the Southwest. To me that does not mean that  Conveyance or Dublin rise with his tide. They did not face THIS(MI) horse in SW. Doesn't look good for Drosselmeyer's chances of getting in Derby and that is a shame. He ran well but won't have enough GE to get in.

Conveyance should get some company with Tempted to Tapit and maybe Classical Slew. That will help us all to see if he can handle company and keep off closers like Nacho, Stormin Saint and possibly Endorsement who can rate(came home better than Northern Giant in Mdn back at FG.) Not sure what to think of Classical Slew. He may opt to go out front like A Little Warm did in LD. IF he does I love NACHO. Classical Slew is the wild card whose running style could very well decide this race. I know Tyler does his best work on the lead.

28 Mar 2010 12:32 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

Good read! I stated  couple months ago if a Pletcher horse wins the Derby,I'll take a self imposed exile from your blog for three months. Don't care if he has a dozen entered I'm not worried.

28 Mar 2010 12:36 PM
sremel9

Well I for one am sticking with my first two picks Eskendereya and A Little Warm.  I liked what I saw from A Little Warm yesterday and know that he doesn't need the lead to turn in a good performance.  Also was still just figuring things out on Saturday.  Look for him to grow up a lot in the next 5 weeks and become a serious threat.  Esendereya....I hope he gets in.  I hope both these horses get in.  Eskendereya need to at least hit the board in the Wood or he'll be on the outside looking in. I'm not a fan of Lookin at Lucky but admit he is a good horse.  I'm still waiting to see if Make Music For Me can pull something out and while American Lion was one of my favorites I don't think he will be mature enough to even earn a spot in the Derby much less go.  I also really like Ice Box and wish I had bet him last race but I generally don't be so oh well.  I hope when it comes time this colt will give them a run to the wire with that closing kick of his.  But we'll see.  All my boys are growing up and finally proving they're potential on the track! Can't wait to watch them run!

28 Mar 2010 12:36 PM
El Kabong

I should correct myself, Pletcher should be relieved he has another stalker. Esky can rate and I hope Super Saver tries to rate in 2nd or 3rd next out, even though he probably won't need too in the Ark Derby to get the win.

28 Mar 2010 12:45 PM
shesfast

I am a little disappointed that a trainer can put that many horses in the derby. I understand that they are mainly for different owners, but still I don't think it makes for a good honest race in the end. I don't think that it is good for the industry personally. I am sure there are plenty of good horses out there that deserve a chance more that some of Pletchers, but those trainers/owners obviously cant afford to get there. I am kind of viewing this like Walmart taking out the little guys.  

28 Mar 2010 12:45 PM
Karen in Indiana

I'm not one who usually goes for favorites, I'd rather find an underdog with a good chance and go with them. But this year, I have to say that Luckin at Lucky is too impressive for me to ignore. He had a tough campaign last year and learned a lot from that. His win at Oaklawn was very impressive - he showed he has heart and determination, he has the earnings and he hasn't been burnt out this year just trying to get in the Derby. He's a rested horse compared to the rest of them and I hope he can get the whole enchilada - the Triple Crown. I loved Big Brown (still do), but there were feet issues and experience issues with him. LAL has none of that and he does have experience. Todd Pletcher's training and racing methods have not been proven to produce a Derby, let alone TC, winner so the only way I could support him is if he trained every horse in the gates.

28 Mar 2010 12:50 PM
Dollars & Sense

Because of more graded money up for grabs and the way the races have and will shake out any horse will need more than $180,000 to be guaranteed a spot in the gate.

28 Mar 2010 12:51 PM
Karen in Indiana

Gunbow, thanks for that on the Arlington Million. The only things I remembered from that race were Gio Ponti first and wondering what happened with Einstein. While watching the Dubai Classic, I kept thinking Gloria de Campeao sounded familiar, but couldn't place him.

28 Mar 2010 12:56 PM
Karen in Indiana

Gunbow, I have to second your comments about Doug O'Neil. His handling of Lava Man indicated to me that the welfare of the horse came second. Not that they were considering bringing him back, but that he let Lava Man get so bad in the first place. He commented himself that LM was hobbling around because there was little to no cartilage left in his ankles. Well, who is responsible for that?

28 Mar 2010 1:06 PM
Ted from LA

The Arlington Million is one of the great days of racing in America every year.

28 Mar 2010 1:11 PM
David

I thought Drosselmeyer looked like the best horse in the LA Derby.  I hope they run him in the Arkansas Derby or Blue Grass to try to get enough earnings to get into the Derby. That is if he came out of the race well enough.

28 Mar 2010 1:12 PM
Paula Higgins

I don't think anyone of Pletcher's have a chance except Eskendereya. Lookin At Lucky and Eskendereya are it for me. As for a Triple Crown Winner, I don't see that happening either. Would like to see Caracortado in his next race before I say he's a real contender.

Ted from LA, you are hoot. I am sincerely hoping that NO ONE named their horse DEAN'S KITTEN after someone who has passed away or is severely ill. You're right though, the name does not have the same ring to it as say Man O'War, War Admiral, Secretariat, or Citation or Zenyatta. But then again, we did have the great Seabiscuit and Cigar.

28 Mar 2010 1:17 PM
Jason Shandler

I agree with you on Drosselmeyer David. But the Blue Grass and Arkansas are only two weeks away--that would be a stretch. If anything, they would run him in the Lexington Stakes, which is 3 weeks away. Could happen.

28 Mar 2010 1:22 PM
El Kabong

Rocker,

Final time in Florida Derby was slow this year, but  LD was much better. You have to consider track variance. When you look at the times at FG and CD for example, there is a full 1 second difference for the final running time of a race at 1 1/16 and at 1 1/8. FG has always produced slower final times over the years. Something else to consider, I prefer to see races such as the one we saw at FG where the best horses in the race, ran the race not to give us the best 9f time, but to give themselves the best prep for a 10F race. A little Warm rated well on the lead and did not burn himself out even with Discreetly mine on his tail. I have them coming home in final furlong in 12.8 (150.32-137.52)which is not bad when you consider a street sense Derby finish from the mile to 9f in 2007KD  was 12.5. Again, this track runs slower. IF you have your form from  yesterday, they have the 3 year  best times for all tracks for last 3 years listed. Very valuable info. I would watch it again, I don't think MI looked like he was struggling at all. Quite the opposite, and Rajiv commented on that too. Don't give up on FG group. Good bunch.

28 Mar 2010 1:27 PM
LAZMANNICK

GunBow

I agree about High Court Drama.  Sometimes you wonder what people are thinking.  I saw it on TV and thought that it might be serious. Actually it's been bugging me because I absolutely hate to see any animal suffer severe pain. Thanks for reporting that he was vanned off.  That is much more encouraging.

I disagree with you though about Alphie's Bet.  He's showing improvement and his running style is more encouraging to me than a front runner or one that likes to be too close to a fast pace which we'll see in the Derby.  I think he'll be in the top three or four West Coast challengers come Derby day, but once again that's just my humble opinion.  Have a good one.  LOL

28 Mar 2010 1:27 PM
LAZMANNICK

TJLuvsTizs

Show me where Asmussen has ever developed a Derby horse (a serious one).  There might be one, but if there is it completely skipped my mind.  Remember, they bought Curlin before the Derby.  They didn't develope him.  The same scenario for Rachel before the Preakness.  LOL

28 Mar 2010 1:34 PM
Ray Jay

Don't forget to include the 3 year old with the best Beyer at two turns this month,also trained by Pletcher.

Devil May Care has a 100 Beyer fig,and she is a grade 1 winner. Maybe he will try to pull a Rachel with the Ky Oaks - Preakness exacta.

28 Mar 2010 1:43 PM
snow

Max,

Mike Smith may be in the Hall of Fame but he is just an average jockey who happens to be riding a superstar horse.  I wouldn't ride him on my Derby Horse and its obvious that other owners and trainers feel the same way.

28 Mar 2010 2:06 PM
JerseyBoy

Pletcher also has the filly Devil May Care. He could pull a clean sweep if he entered her.

She ran faster than the colts on Mar 20, while carrying the same weight as the colts and gawking around at the finish. In the Derby she would carry 5 pounds less.

But she would most likely run the day before which I would welcome since my Future bet is on one of his colts..

28 Mar 2010 2:07 PM
Pam S.

Ted from LA, you are in rare form today and I have to say I agree with you, both on the Kitten horses and the number of Pletcher-trained starters in the Derby.  Obviously there are no rules against it, so if he would somehow acquire enough earnings for 20 horses, then he would start 20.  And if that were the case, I wouldn't even watch it.

28 Mar 2010 2:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The best way for a trainer to win the Derby is to have one entry. Pletcher is a great regular season trainer but until he proves he can win a Derby I'm going elsewhere especially since I don't think any he has this year will win. However, the only thing that will ever shock me is if a sprinter type like Bob Black Jack or Gayego wins. But I love having the speed in the Derby to insure a fast pace. I'm a closer fanatic. That's why I love Zenyatta. It's impossible for a horse to win that many in a row from that far back.

  It looks like Drosselmeyer is done. Another prep would take too much out of him for the Derby anyway. He needs his rest. It's highly unlikely that the Derby winner will come out of the Tampa, LA, or FL Derby. Unless one from Tampa improves a lot and kicks butt in their next prep.

 Gunbow. Thanks for the posts. I love Setsuko-pedigreewise and his looks, but he is a 5-8-07 baby. He will show a lot later and would have a shot for a top 4 in the Derby but the problem is getting there. I think he should be in the Arkansas Derby. A top two finish in the SA Derby is going to be very difficult. He'll have to start his run sooner.

28 Mar 2010 2:21 PM
anne

Forget about Looking at Lucky! Baffet's horse is over rated.  The win may come as a suprise from one of Nick Zito's horses - do Not count him out!

28 Mar 2010 2:36 PM
Ike

I wouldn't get to cocky Laz, this is horseracing anything can happen.

28 Mar 2010 2:48 PM
draynay

Lol.  Everyone is on the Devil bandwagon.  Bet her big in the Oaks for me please.  I will take Christine Daae for the win.  The chance of her running in the Derby is 0.  And she is no match for D'Funnybone who will be waiting for the Derby champion.  My money right now will be on the bone !

28 Mar 2010 2:49 PM
Mark

So if Mike Smith is just an average Jockey(guess his other mounts didn't matter, Holy Bull etc) then Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey, Edgar Prado, Shane Sellers etc are just average too because they rode superstar horses...

28 Mar 2010 2:54 PM
tcc

Jason:

Drosselmeyer did run pretty good seeing he had the 13th post, I was hoping they would have used the Sunland Derby instead. A Little Warm did alright for

1st time in a route. Depending who gets the grading earning's and who will wan't to run these horse's in the Kentucky Derby, there could be a (lot) of pretender's in this year's Derby.

28 Mar 2010 3:03 PM
GunBow

Karen and Ted:

Yes, the Arlington Million is truly one of America's best races and one of its few international races.

Ted:

Funny and true about the "Kittens".  Don't the Ramsey's stand Kitten's Joy or still own at least part of him?  If so, maybe they want people to be immediately reminded that he is the sire of those horses.  Maybe it's all about money.

Forbidden Apple:

I grew up in southern California, lived in Michigan from 99-09(October), and have been back in SoCal for 5 months.

I did make it to Saratoga once, in 2004 for the Personal Ensign Handicap.  That was a 10 furlong race in which multiple champion Azeri set a blistering pace and was run down by the 02' 2 year old filly champ Storm Flag Flying.  The Personal Ensign was run the day before the Travers, but I couldn't stay the extra day because I had a committment back in Michigan.  Saratoga was great, and I loved the history that lingered in the air.

28 Mar 2010 3:03 PM
CraigJ

It doesn't matter how many horses Pletcher has in the Gate, it matters who wins.  The horses arent coupled as long as Eskendreya loses I'm happy that means a price.  Plus they have different owners.  I know for a fact is Eskendreya runs 2nd to another pletcher horse, he won't be happy.  Plus Pletcher will be able to dictate the pace.  He can mysteriously have a horse set 109 fractions, or he can pull all his speed horses back and let a horse slow down the pace.

28 Mar 2010 3:21 PM
TonyC

Jason, thought I would weigh in here with a few observations. Pleasant Prince appears to be progressing nicely and he looks to have a lot of upside given his pedigree and limited experience. I hope he gets a chance to run on 5/1. Also, Awesomw Act to me looks to be progressing nicely and he should handle the distance. Noble's Promise continues to outrun his pedigree and wouldn't surprise me if he hit the board or wonit all.LAL reminds me a little of POTN last year who never ran a fast race and couldn't get the job done. Finally, Eskenderya may end up the one to fear if he hasn't peaked too soon. Love your blogs!

28 Mar 2010 3:33 PM
winwinwin

Well, Well, Well..all is Well!!!

I am still awaiting the remainder of the prep races,for this year Kentucky derby, 2010..and as I had said, my Animal, the one I believe can win the thing will be posted to this blog the week of the Derby, by the Wednesday! as I am making sure that there are no excuses, and that I do not want to jump on any bandwaggon, and then the waggon is empty, and the horse left the gate after the waggon..I so far have seen all of the prep races ran so far, I know it's tempting to favor a few horses seen so far, however I will only deal with the starters, and do my homework, any horse could win, but over the Years, there is always true good runners, and some who got the opportunity, and made good, but it's always for me to try and find the horse I believe is legitimate.I am not in anyway saying anything until then..I however do have a question to all Analysts. there are some trainers who have many horses under their care, and those horses are stabled not in their barn! I view this as a form of business to the trainer,to make money, as a true trainer have all his horses in his barn,but it's a new way of training

I call it absentee training, the trainer only shows up on raceday, saddles the horse, if that horse wins, the trainer gets his part of the purse for training fees, and pumps his chest acting as if great!!we do know only a few trainers like Asmussen, or Pletcher .how could a trainer trains 500 horses every month, while they are all over the state,and yet claim his fame? you will argue that because his stable is large he cannot  have all his horses with him, this is really true, but the trainer gets money once any horse he signs for hits the frame, so apart from the purse moneys, he gets paid no matter what. this is why some smart owners take away their horses from certain trainers, as they said their horses were not getting the personal attention which they are paying for, eg..the trainer sending an assistant to saddle in a stakes race and when the horse wins, the trainer is missing from the unsaddling enclosure?but some owners accept this?one great owner did not like that arrangement,Eugene Melyncyk, so he went away from a guy who he helped put on the map!THE kENTUCKY STEWARDS ARE KEEPING THEIR END OF THE BARGAIN..MR. JOHN VEITCH, is doing a great Job, he will again test all starters again this year Derby,2010! so all the HGH,Juice guys, your horses will be tested, in kentucky, so dont expect to win any Derby with Juices, the stewards said test on the Monday , and then the Friday before the kentucky Derby, will only ensure that the Juice is not a factor in a win, but.. on the horses merit!SO BYE BYE ,juice guys, go and cry, cry cry

28 Mar 2010 3:34 PM
Mike Relva

SNOW

Smith "JUST AN AVERAGE JOCKEY",right! I'll bet he does his job better than you do yours!

28 Mar 2010 4:09 PM
max

Snow a word of caution....Sky Beauty,Lure,Inside Information,Skipaway,Holy Bull,Azeri,Agina,Heavenly Prize and Zenyatta,Vindicaion to name a few Champions, go check the Breeders Cup stats....best average of any jockey in 26 editions....need i

I say more. Tell me whose riding now can match those figs.C'mon Man.

28 Mar 2010 4:19 PM
TripleCrownCoug

Good info El Kabong.  

The other thing to remember is that all the LA Derby horses were carrying 122 lbs which is the most of any prep so far.  Also MI was a good 2 lengths behind at the 1/8th pole so after finishing 3/4 lengths ahead it means he ran the last eight in 12.2 or 3.  This colt appears to have issues accelerating off the turn (Southwest he went from 3rd to 6th before coming on again through the short stretch) but once he gets rolling can really close, his maiden win and the 2 year old stakes are good examples.  The quarter mile stretch at FG really played to his strength as should the CD stretch.

28 Mar 2010 4:21 PM
TripleCrownCoug

Jason,

IF Uh Oh Bango goes to the Derby someone needs to be ready to do a feature on the Owens' Triple AAA ranch in Glendale, Arizona.  In addition to breeding Uh Oh Bango they also bred La Paz the dam of Mission Impazible as well as Forest Camp.  If Forest Camp's son Quiet All American makes it in also then they will be having quite an impact on this year's Derby.  Not bad for a family operation from Arizona!

28 Mar 2010 4:27 PM
gw_bushwacker

The LA Derby may have been a very slow race but the Superfecta I hit was good enough for me!! Thanks Mr. Pletcher, as much as some here like to belittle you I continue to make serious cash off of your  perceived "lower level" 3 yr olds. Your second, third, fourth, fifth, stringers or wherever they fall on your list are better than almost all of the others 1st stringers when it comes to these prep races. The best part is one can find some great value in them. Keep railing on Pletcher nay nay and I'll keep bringing in the cash from his races.

28 Mar 2010 4:30 PM
LDP

Yes, a horse who is bothered at the start, clips heals, get's hooked wide and still comes on to win is overrated. I guess his other five wins were just flukes too. How silly of anyone to think a horse who is six for seven, with his only loss being by a head after a horrible trip, is anything but an overrated piece of junk.

28 Mar 2010 4:38 PM
joe schmoe

Drosselmeyer Smosselmeyer he's had his chances and showed little. Mott would be wise to leave him home on Derby Day and concentrate on a more realistic goal like the Ohio Derby which has been seriously downgraded in the last two years because they haven't been able to attract serious talent or perhaps an even lesser race.

Dean's Kitten is way too slow to be a real contender.

The only horse from Saturday who may have a chance to sneak into the very bottom of the exotics at Churchill is Mission Impazzible and he's a longshot to do it.

I haven't seen such weak 3 yr olds since the days of Big Brown.

28 Mar 2010 4:45 PM
2:24

"Fur Ball Cough" still has me laughing.

28 Mar 2010 4:52 PM
Rachel Fan

Did the DWC open up everyone's eyes to just how weak the field was that Zenyatta beat in the Breeders Cup Classic? lol 4th, 6th, 7th & 9th, wow what a stellar field lol.

28 Mar 2010 5:01 PM
Mike Relva

JOE SCHMOE

Do you really believe the jumk you always shovel?

28 Mar 2010 5:06 PM
red4268

How can you take anything out of the LA Derby.. Fair Grounds was so much a speed track... If you look @ how the field came out of gate this was how they finished.  Drosselmeyer ran a great race as he closed about 5 in the lane down on the part of the track you don't want to be (inside) I hope he enters 19 I bet on the winner #20  

28 Mar 2010 5:23 PM
redandblacksilks

The BIG QUESTION in this Kentucky Derby is, "Will the other jockeys in the race finally be smart enough to figure out that Calvin Borel is ALWAYS going to come through on the rail if they let him?"  Why in the world they come off the rail when the rail is open is beyond me.  Borel would not have a derby win if the rail didn't open up for him.  

Pletcher will win a KY Derby!  I'd say he has a very good shot this year, despite what the West Coast racing fans on here are saying.  Sidney's Candy has no shot at a mile and a quarter with an honest pace and the pace in the KY Derby this year will be HOT.  The Florida Derby, Lanes End, and Louisiana Derby will not produce this year's KY Derby winner. The biggest problem in predicting the winner of the KY Derby is the size of the field.  There is so much traffic and bumping that it is hard for a horse to have a clean trip.  Don't be surprised if Aikenite runs a big race in the Blue Grass.  Interactif last race was VERY BIG and was much more impressive than Sidney's Candy as he closed into a very unfavorable pace.  Odysseus ran very greenly in the Tampa Bay Derby and still won.  He has a lot of upside.  The question is will he iron out his problems by Derby day.  Awesome Act ran very well in his last race but the field wasn't the best.  The Wood should answer a lot of questions.  I can't help but feel that Eskendereya going to the Wood is the reason that Baffert ruled that race out as Lookin At Lucky's last race before the KY Derby.  He was seriously leaning that way before that development.  

It's a little far out to pick the KY Derby winner.  I thin you can narrow it down to:  Awesome Act, Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky, Interactif, Aikenite, or Odysseus.  It's hard to imagine any speed horse winning due to what should be a very hot pace.

28 Mar 2010 5:27 PM
Ranagulzion

LAZMANNICK,

I'll say no more until after the Wood Memorial at which time I'll begin to console Mike Relva regarding his avowed self-imposed 3 months hiatus, as well as remind Coldfacts and Forbidden Apple that a large pot of "Crow stew" seasoned with exotic red hot Eskendereya sauce is being prepared for them.  I tell you, May 1, 2010 will be a day of reckoning for all those irrational and unrepentant Pletcher bashers (not applicable to Coldfacts 'cause he's rational and repentant ...sometimes (LOL)).

Last year I heckled and ridiculed Todd Pletcher on these blogs because of his lame duck excuse about track bias when Quality Road (trained then by Jimmy Jerkens) walloped the much hyped Dunkirk in the Florida Derby) after he had bluffed about entering a "rabbit" to neutralize QR's awesome cruising speed.  There was no malice or ill-will in that, just fair and honest criticism, unlike what I detect from some Pletcher detractors on here and Ranagulzion is not playing "holier than thou".  I too am of the view that he is carrying a monkey on his back that looks more like an Orangutan, by not winning the Kentucky Derby, while his charges run last or second to last of the big fields each year.  

This year is different however.  The trainer has a star studded stable like never before IMO and the determination to get the job done.  He's no fool.  He knows what winnig the Derby and having the HOTY mean for his career. Shame on all those who can't read the writing on the wall.  You might realize by now that I get a huge thrill out of spotting the excellent ones from early and being among the first ones on the soon-to-become-band-waggon.  This post is growing into a "Gun Bow" length treatise (minus the Gun Bow profundities) so I'd better stop, but I'd be very happy for Mr Todd Pletcher to sweep the Triple crown, saddle the HOTY and take his place in the Trainers Hall of Fame this year ...then I could brag on my good friend Professor Coldfacts and say I told you so.  Not bad eh?  

28 Mar 2010 5:37 PM
Freetex

Thanks, to those who put their two cents in favor of Mike Smith.  For heaven's sake, the guy can ride!

I think we will all be shocked by what horse wins the derby.

I thought Drosselmeyer was just boxed in and couldn't find a way out.  Kent had him moving but couldn't get through the other horses.  Mission Impazible was fantastic and he ran a great race.

Every single year, someone always says this is the worst three year old crop.  Please.  Oh, and watch out for a California horse to take the Kentucky Derby this year.

28 Mar 2010 6:01 PM
LAZMANNICK

Ranagulzion

See......great minds think alike (sometimes).  I too like to pick them early and then wait for everyone else to jump on the bandwagon.....that's why I'm touting Alphie's Bet though I think LAL and a couple from Pletcher's stable are the one's to beat.  No doubt Todd probably has his best chance ever to win the big one and if he does, I'll applaud......Going back to the QR Dunkirk race, I'm on his side.....There is often too much of a bias at GP in big races and if you don't have speed you don't have a chance.  That being said, the track played fairly for Ice Box last week.  LOL

28 Mar 2010 6:32 PM
Criminal Type

Karen, I gotta agree with you about Lava Man, he should never been allowed to get that bad. I for one am very happy they retired him again, hopefully for good this time. I had a really bad feeling about him racing again, thankfully they came to their senses after one race and didn't run him till he injured himself.

It's pretty harsh to blame the trainer exclusively for these types of things, because certainly the owners are dictating where they want the horse to run. The trainer doesn't always have options. Input and advise, yes, but if the owner wants to run the horse, even against the trainers wishes, he must do it or take the risk of losing the horse(s) and perhaps getting a reputation that he wont comply with owners wishes. Perhaps causing more owners to pull their horses out of his barn. It's a double edged sword. I know the owners wanted to try Lava Man again so the entire weight of the situation does not fall on Mr o'Neill.

Ted, very funny names, especially the furball one..lol, and your right, no imagination at all. Flying or Hurling Furball would be cute too.

I am liking Awesome Act, Eskenderaya & Conveyance for the Derby. particularly Awesome Act. His last win appeared effortless. I gotta see the last set of preps first. I had the trifacta box in 07 & 08. Didnt bet it last year because not a single horse stood out to me, good thing too, after MTB won. I wouldnt have had him in a million years.

28 Mar 2010 6:35 PM
tcc

Drosselmeyer Smosselmeyer he's had his chances and showed little.

joe schmoe 28 Mar 2010 4:45 PM

If Drosselmeyer had run in the Sunland Derby today instead of the LA Derby yesterday, he would have had a great chance of winning against this field.

28 Mar 2010 6:40 PM
Mike Relva

RANAGULZION

Continue to talk ok? Just DON'T make any excuses when your pal Todd fails you. I won't be in the mood to hear alot of spins. You seem so certain that I'm going to be off this blog for three months why don't you put something up like I'm doing? Go ahead,step up to the plate unless your afraid! Talk is cheap! lol

28 Mar 2010 6:49 PM
LAZMANNICK

SUNLAND DERBY

I hope this gets posted in time.  The NTRA site is showing the Sunland Derby and offering free PP for the race beginning at 7:30 EST.

28 Mar 2010 6:49 PM
joe schmoe

Drosselmeyer fans watch the race closely. You too Relva. If this horse was good enough he would have won. He got a dream trip from the 13 hole. Was able to drop down through a hole a semi could have made it through b4 the first turn with no effort at all. Rated all the way around the track without a horse near him. He saved ground the whole way and have every opprotunity to go by in the stretch but just isn't that good. He was never "boxed" in at anytime. He could not have gotten a better trip from any post. He's not good enough, period. That's not "jumk" (whatever that is Relva) it's fact.

Dean's Kitten will not win the Derby, he's too slow. That's fact not "jumk" either.

Yes I believe Mission Impazzible has a chance to finish 3rd or 4th in the Derby. That's not "jumk" either.    

28 Mar 2010 6:50 PM
papillon

I am not so sure that the results are as clear as many are making them out to be.

Eskendereya may have "looked" great in the FOY, but he would have been 8 lengths behind Rule at 3/4 and still 2 lengths back at a mile. Looking at Lucky would have been almost three lengths behind Rule at the mile, while School Yard Dreams, Super Saver and Odysseus would have been 7 lengths back, with Mission Impazible 7 1/2, and Dean's Kitten almost 8.

The horse closest to Rule at the mile would have been Sidney's Candy, but still a full 1 length back, followed by Noble's Promise, at 1 1/2 lengths back (Sidney's Candy would have been more than 10 lengths back at 3/4). That really puts into perspective how fast Rule was going before he hit the wall at the 16th pole.

Of the horses listed, the only ones I've seen make up serious ground with daylight between them and their targets, besides the two straight up closers, Ice Box and Pleasant Prince, who bested Rule of course, are Looking at Lucky and Odysseus (with his weird re-rally in the stretch--which I am not sure he will ever replicate).  

What would the Florida Derby pace have done to all of these other horses? Some of them would surely have been cooked by the turn for home just like Pulsion et al were if they tried to keep up with Rule, the only one I feel confident would have been challenging Rule at the mile is Looking at Lucky--but in the derby, I don't think Rule will hit the wall like he did a few weeks ago, and I think a lot of these horses, including Eskendereya, are going to be exhausted by his pace by the turn for home--so it looks to me like Rule's challengers will be Looking at Lucky and Pleasant Prince, and maybe Ice Box if he really is ok (I'm not sure I believe he came out of the Florida Derby ok; despite tiring in the stretch, it looked like Rule galloped out better than Ice Box to me). But these three, Lucky, Ice Box and Pleasant Prince, are going to have a lot of tired horse traffic to get through to catch him--so I predict Rule wires the derby, despite Steve Haskin saying its not possible with this year's crop of "speed" horses.

Looking further ahead, Rule's speed is perfect for the Preakness (as long as D'funnybone can't hang on past the 7th furlong), so then the big question mark for me is the Belmont--but I think he's got it in him.

28 Mar 2010 6:54 PM
joe schmoe

If Drosselmeyer had run in the Sunland Derby today instead of the LA Derby yesterday, he would have had a great chance of winning against this field.

tcc 28 Mar 2010 6:40 PM

So what? He's still got no shot being a Kentucky Derby winner!!

28 Mar 2010 7:04 PM
Forbidden Apple

Ranagulzion,

What happened to Connemara and Discreetly Mine? They both remind me of The Green Monkey. I thought Connemara had some talent, but he ran like a turtle.

With $800k on the line, how did bobblehead Pletcher forget to enter at least 2 horses? Pay close attention to Conveyance , he will make you cry on KY Derby day Gulzion(Pletcher Jr.).

28 Mar 2010 7:07 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Smith is not an average jockey. Look at his ride in the Santa Margarita and Breeders Cup. He always finds a way to get Zenyatta clear to run her race.

28 Mar 2010 7:12 PM
Greg J.

Lazmannick,

    Thanks for the heads up on the PP's.  I think it is all chalk though, Conveyance, Tempted to Tapit, and Nacho Friend as the top three, I will throw in Classical Slew to round out the top four, We shall see...

28 Mar 2010 7:32 PM
predict

I have to say that the kitten names are bugging me too, but if there is another name I haven't liked it has to be Mission Impazible (choke,cough), it's hard to even write it. But, what really is bothering me, I'm beginning to think that this is going to be our Derby winner if he stays healthy ( and that's a big if, you know what I mean).

28 Mar 2010 7:56 PM
El Kabong

I hate it when 55-1 shot gets beaten across the line to take away a good super. So long conveyance. You didn't belong anyway and Endorsement proved it. Baffert was aware of it too that's why he went for big fish in small pond.  Bob's got lucky and that's all he needs for a great shot.

28 Mar 2010 7:58 PM
OLD TIMER

Max, Don't feel too bad for Mike Smith. He still gets to ride the greatest horse in the world, Zenyatta!

28 Mar 2010 7:59 PM
Virgil Fox

I'm here to take my lumps for Connemara.

28 Mar 2010 8:04 PM
John T

If indeed Todd Pletcher saddles eight horses in the Kentucky Derby

it proves only one thing,how much confidence his owners have in him.It does not matter that he has,nt trained a Derby winner yet,his record in this sport speaks

for itself.How many great Baseball

players never won a World Series,how many great football players never won the Super Bowl.Pletcher has been a great player in thoughbred racing,his record speaks for itself.

28 Mar 2010 8:05 PM
tcc

Jason:

Winstar Farms adds another horse to their Derby list.

28 Mar 2010 8:07 PM
LAZMANNICK

Things are starting to sort themselves out a little bit.  Conveyence had no response to Endorsement in a race run in 1.48.2.  Robby only had minimal use of the whip and the horse was running hard at the end....Good win for Winstar especially since their Drosselmeyer missed second money and import graded earnings by a neck in the LA Derby.  Tempted to Tapit didn't impress.

28 Mar 2010 8:09 PM
The Rock

Well, I think the Sunland Derby showed that Convenyance had distance limitations at this time in his career. He had it really easy up front and Endorsement just ran him down. The rest of the field didn't show much. The track was playing a little fast than usual today, but I'd keep an eye on the winner nonetheless.

This is a confusing early part of the year leading up to the derby. As of now, i'd say the most impressive horse i've seen in Eskendereya, even though his style was favorable given the nature of Gulfstreams surface. His Wood performance will tell more. That horse that Chad Brown has is pretty nice. I think his name is Tiz the One, but he only has an allowance win to his credit. I think they're pointing him towards the Withers against D'Funnybone. If they do, I'll be looking for him for the upset, and hopefully at a possible tilt at the Preakness. But the earnings can be a problem.

The Dubai World Cup night was very interesting. I don't believe Gloria De Campeo was a stretch to find. Speed was playing well that night, and he had the back class to perform well. West Coast speed of Kingsale King prevailed in the Golden Shaheen. California Flag didn't benefit from the straitaway 6f's. If it was around a bend, I believe he would've won. That's how he gets seperation from the field.

Less than two weeks until Zenyatta goes after another Apple Blossom victory....

28 Mar 2010 8:23 PM
Citation

Hey Draynay, I like Hot Dixie Chick for the Oaks, and I have liked her for the Oaks since her third start. I think she'll beat every horse lined up against her, and if a horse is to beat her I don't think it will be Christine Daae, though she is probably betyter than her last start would indicate.

28 Mar 2010 8:31 PM
Footlick

Rachel fan- you are really lame.  If that's where the BCC entrants finished, where do you think the vaunted Woodward field would have finished?  Didn't you note the pace?  Did you watch the race?  Did you read the comments of the trainers and jockeys?  The horse that won wasn't competitive in the Arlington Million.  He wasn't expected to win, unless they let him go with very slow fractions.  And they did.  The other horses were huge odds.  Maybe the race wasn't as formful as you are trying to make it be?  Look at where Precious Passion finished in his race.  Does that mean that he is very overrated?  Maybe it was a day of big upsets.  But no, in your infinite wisdom the BCC field was weak.  Again, where were the horses that ran in the Woodward, and where do you think they would have finished?  

28 Mar 2010 8:31 PM
Forbidden Apple

Sure Conveyance lost, but he looked okay running second to a new track record time. I was expecting a much bigger effort, maybe next time. He had what appeared to be an easy lead, no excuses.

28 Mar 2010 8:34 PM
Pam S.

Based on the favorable trip Conveyance had and how tired he seemed at the end, I don't think he will get another 1/8 at CD unless he hails a cab.  Tempted to Tapit just didn't look like he's good enough.  But the winner might be getting good at an opportune time.

28 Mar 2010 8:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I don't see how they can run Conveyance in the Derby despite having the graded earnings. He would have no chance. He still might be a good miler in the future so why ruin him. I say scratch another one off the list making room for legitimate contenders. Good post Papillon, and I'm glad you escaped from Devil's Island. I do like Pleasant Prince but I don't like the six week layoff. I still think that the Derby winner is coming out of the Wood or SA Derby but not necesarily the winner of one of those races.

28 Mar 2010 8:43 PM
Mike Relva

JOE SCHMOE

Guess you've never had a spelling error? Your style of posting is ALWAYS slamming some horse. Nice work!

28 Mar 2010 8:43 PM
Robin from Maryland

Pletcher couldn't win a Derby if he had 20 starters!!  Good luck to any other entry.

28 Mar 2010 9:02 PM
johnny d

It dosent seem many of these horses want a 1 1/4. I predict lucky will finish second in the derby, dont know who will beat him but think someone will.

28 Mar 2010 9:04 PM
GunBow

The final eighth of the Sunland Derby was telling for Conveyance.  If he goes to Kentucky, his only impact will be as a pace presser; he has little chance to win at 10 furlongs against a number of quality speed types.  Baffert is now down to just one legit Derby prospect(Lookin at Lucky), with the others having been exposed as sprinters/milers.

Tempted to Tapit and Nacho Friend also look like Derby pretenders and do not flatter the Aqueduct and Louisiana horses.  Tempted to Tapit just missed when 2nd in the Risen Star and Nacho Friend was a solid 3rd in the Gotham.  After all the hype about the Sunland Derby being graded for the first time, the "big" horses were a big letdown.

The winner, Endorsement, did run well however.  He is a wonderfully bred Win Star horse, by Distorted Humor out of an AP Indy mare.  I'm not familiar with his trainer, Shannon Ritter, but I like that Endorsement showed speed, accelerated when called upon, and finished up nicely.  I think the Sunland Derby turned out to be a minor leagues race, and feel Endorsement will be making a HUGE jump in class if he goes to Churchill, but there are some things to like.

Wasn't at Santa Anita today but saw that Tanda won the Santa Paula impressively.  I saw Tanda break her maiden on the turf Jan 3rd and was really taken with her.  She was a tall, lanky filly but had a definite touch of class, and I had a feeling she was still growing into her frame.  I think she could be running in some big races in 3-6 months.

28 Mar 2010 9:14 PM
It aint easy being good

Finally I can stop hearing about how great ron the greek is at closing that horse is a joke! This weekends race where like watching womens basketball thank god for next weekend where we can see the cream of the crop sidneys candy and awesome act. Endorsement was impressive yesterday though!

28 Mar 2010 10:12 PM
David

RACHEL FAN

You are right about the Dubai World Cup and the weak field in the 2009 Breeder's Cup Classic - Zenyatta only beat the 2009 Eclipse Award Winner for Champion Older Horse and 2009 Champion Turf Horse; 2009 Champion 3-yr Old Colt; 2009 Kentucky Derby Winner; the 2009 Belmont Winner, 2008 and 2009 Travers Winner, 2009 Jockey Club Gold Cup Winner, 2009 Arlington Million Winner, 2008 Santa Anita Derby Winner; plus other Multiple Grade I winners.

WEAK FIELD FOR BC - GIVE ME A BREAK - DO YOU WATCH HORSE RACING??????

28 Mar 2010 10:13 PM
LAZMANNICK

Greg J.

Looks like you had the wrong color chalk.  LOL

28 Mar 2010 10:16 PM
David

JOE SCHMOE

Apparently you saw a different race than the most of us.  Drosselmeyer looked good enough for Gary Stevens to drop Ron the Greek and add him to his Top 7 and Jeff Siegel of HRTV said that the best horse did not win the race(meaning Drosselmeyer).  Drosselmeyer probably will not make it to the Derby now but he has a lot of potential.    

28 Mar 2010 10:19 PM
LAZMANNICK

Hey Footlick

Calm down my friend.  I think Rachel fan already knows how lame he/she is.  Rachel fan also neglected to look back at the Arlington Million results.  Who won that race and which horse finished sixth or seventh.  Zenyatta is what she is.....SIMPLY THE BEST.

28 Mar 2010 10:22 PM
tvnewsbadge

I think everyone is missing the point... if Pletcher has one winner, he's ALSO going to have 7 losers.

Are THOSE owners going to be happy, especially if a couple of their horses come in dead last?

And which horse is he going to do the TV walk and talk with?

28 Mar 2010 10:28 PM
LAZMANNICK

I agree with GunBow.  I can see Conveyance going in the Derby if only to run the pacesetters like Rule and Sidney into the ground and set it up for LAL.  Of course, the owners have to agree to those tactics, but it could happen.

28 Mar 2010 10:28 PM
LAZMANNICK

David

Great post.  It shows what a true RACING FAN you are.  Hear that rachel fan.

28 Mar 2010 10:33 PM
Mike Relva

ROBIN FROM MARYLAND

I agree w/ you totally. Todd isn't winning the Derby this yr.

28 Mar 2010 10:35 PM
LAZMANNICK

Endorsement got quite an endorsement from Bob Baffert after the Sunland Derby.  “I think we saw a star born today,” Baffert said of the winner.

Closer examination of the colt makes me think he might be right.  He was a 450K yearling making only his fourth lifetime start, but third this year.  This was his first start against winners and though the field couldn't be considered strong, his performance was.  His time (1.48.2) was just off a 49 year old track record (1.48.1). Robby only used the whip several times and only a couple of times did he use it in succession.  The colt had a very strong finish and looked determined in doing so.

This is the kind of guy that JJ may take a serious look at if he wants a good shot at a Derby.

28 Mar 2010 10:49 PM
Ted from LA

"Max,

Mike Smith may be in the Hall of Fame but he is just an average jockey who happens to be riding a superstar horse.  I wouldn't ride him on my Derby Horse and its obvious that other owners and trainers feel the same way.

snow 28 Mar 2010 2:06 PM"

Snow, I don't know if you're a Snowman or Snowwoman, but either way, I am guessing you weigh at least 100 pounds.  If you rode Mike Smith on your Derby horse, your horse would have no chance due to the extra 100 pounds.  Additionally, it would be very difficult and unpleasing to the eye for you to ride Mike Smith for a mile and a quarter on your fictional Derby horse.

28 Mar 2010 10:50 PM
Mike Relva

RACHEL FAN

You've got to be kidding! Prior to the Breeders' you,as well as many gave Zenyatta no chance to win,cause she wasn't good enough. After she beats the males' your spin is the field was weak. You can't have it both ways. Stop being a sore loser!

28 Mar 2010 11:01 PM
weatherbird

Aikenite is owned by Dogwood, who are in business of selling racing experiences to their owners.  If Aikenite finishes strongly at Keeneland, you can bet that Dogwood will be all signed up for the big race.

28 Mar 2010 11:18 PM
max

Hey TEAM ZENYATTA after the Apple Blossom its time for a road trip East,you have nothing to prove on the West Coast, so lets go kick some butt!!

28 Mar 2010 11:21 PM
Footlick

Laz- My bad.  I sent the response before thinking and deleting it.  I'm just so tired of the BS.  At least we have more winners of more Derby preps.  I still think LAL is the top prospect.  We'll see what happens in Arkansas and New York.  I know people were expecting big things from Mission, but it still is only one race.  Endorsement had been touted.  Conveyance isn't Congaree, but still a nice horse.  What do you guys think of Streaker?

28 Mar 2010 11:22 PM
trackjack

joe schmoe:  You may have been looking at another video if you think Drosselmeyer had a dream trip from the 13 hole. After breaking to the outside, KD tried to hustle him up only to find himself about six wide.  He eased him into the rail before the turn and yes, did save ground down the backstretch but I think KD wanted him out a few paths off the rail.  He tried to do just that at the top of the strectch, looking for any room between or to shoot outside those front runners but he was blocked, lost a couple of lengths and finally had to jerk him back to the deep rail where he was gaining. It was no where near a "dream trip." Drosselmeyer does not have a quick turn of foot, but given a clear path, he will wear them down at a 1 and 1/4. If he gets in, he's got a chance.

Pletcher's best hope is Eskendereya.  History means nothing in any horse race.  If a trainer has the best horse it doesn't matter how many times the trainer's been there or how many other horses he's ever run.  

28 Mar 2010 11:22 PM
draynay

Zenyatta tries to win a race she has already won.  Yawn.  Citation I still think Christine Daae is the horse to beat in the Oaks.  The jockey eased her home.  She has to be ready in 4 weeks there was no point in making her give it her all. It was just a mere stretch of the legs.

29 Mar 2010 12:16 AM
karen

I think Looking at Lucky, Ice Box, and Endorsement will be factors in the KD!

29 Mar 2010 12:34 AM
Runfast159

What a yawner this weekend of Derby preps were.

We are seeing, as expected by many, the front running horses starting to fall by the wayside, ie Discreetly  Mine and Conveyance.  I'm sure both will move on to the Derby, and along with Rule will at least ensure a good pace.  

I'm going to stay with the horses that can come from off the pace; Lookin At Lucky, Dublin, Noble's Promise, Odysseus.

I liked Drosselmeyer's run in the LA Derby but he could easily not make it to the gate because of graded earnings.  While Dean's Kitten, who probably shouldn't be in the gate will be.  Frustrating.

Pletcher may start 6 or 7 horses, but only Eskendereya and Interactif have a shot the ways things look right now.  So really, it may as well be like he's starting 2.

29 Mar 2010 1:22 AM
RJPPDP

I do not understand the Pletcher hate. I mean if I had a two year in training I would love to have him as a trainer> yes I understand he has not won the derby but he has almost won everything else. The man consistantly places owners with an opportunity to win a derby. Only a handful a trainers can say that.

But to get back to Pletcher's chances:

Eskendreya: Right now he has not shown any flaws in his racing. If he comes in 2nd to Awesome Act in the wood he is still a major player.

Super Saver and Mission Imapazible bot have run at Churchill prior to the Derby. Mission in the Kentucky Juvenile and Super Saver in Kentucky Jockey Club.

Rule had a good race in Florida and he might have a chance in all flows well in the beginning.

Discreetly Mine did rate off A little warm and did not finish well but Pletcher said he ran too fast in his work so I have no reason to doubt him. The LA Derby is 5 weeks away.

Interactif: a decent top 3 in the SA derby with him closing against three tough competitors SC, LAL and Cara could be beneficial.

If connemara gets in and actually breaks well, he could be tough.

Finally, Pletcher said he was going to work his horses at Churchill this year and that is huge step for him.

Does this guarantee him winning. NO WAY but I would never throw him out. MTB and Giacomo won remember.

29 Mar 2010 1:37 AM
CV

Snow,

I don't think "average" jockeys are voted into the Hall of Fame. Just because you obviously don't like the guy doesn't make him "average."

29 Mar 2010 1:42 AM
joe schmoe

JOE SCHMOE

Apparently you saw a different race than the most of us.  Drosselmeyer looked good enough for Gary Stevens to drop Ron the Greek and add him to his Top 7 and Jeff Siegel of HRTV said that the best horse did not win the race(meaning Drosselmeyer).

Drosselmeyer probably will not make it to the Derby now but he has a lot of potential.    

David 28 Mar 2010 10:19 PM

David,

My point was Dross has no chance of winning the Derby period. I don't care if he replaced Ron The Greek on somebody elses list. I had Ron The Greek a non factor months ago. Nobody out of the LA Derby will win the Derby, not even the "best" to come out of that race no matter who you believe it was. That's not knocking any horse, it's what I believe is fact. I'm entitled to my own opinion, at least I have one of my own and am not relying on someone else to tell me what to think.

JOE SCHMOE

Guess you've never had a spelling error? Your style of posting is ALWAYS slamming some horse. Nice work!

Mike Relva 28 Mar 2010 8:43 PM

Mike,

I apoligize for the "typo" knock but not for my opinion of the horses I saw run Saturday. Once again I am entitled to express my opinion, don't take it personal that I may not like the same horse as you. Stating what I believe to be a fact about those horse shouldn't be twisted. If I think a horse is too slow to win the Derby why say I am "slamming" it? I never said the horses s***, I just said I think they are too slow. Chill brother.

29 Mar 2010 8:16 AM
Fran Loszynski

Well looks like Dublin wins the Kentucky Derby and Harissa wins the Kentucky Oaks!

Terry Thompson will ride Dublin and if Mr. Lukas feels Terry makes Dublin relax then on we go! So those are my Oaks and Derby picks. I recently received a "Seabiscuit" stamp and being the sentimentalist I am- This is the year of "DUBLIN"

29 Mar 2010 8:16 AM
slyder

GunBow,

Shannon Ritter was a former Jock who did some riding here at little ole Canterbury Park. Didn't win much. She's just starting her career as a trainer and is mostly based out of the Midwest. Must be a thrill to get on this good early in her career as a Trainer.  

29 Mar 2010 9:15 AM
CB man

hey all

I think Pletcher is holding a very strong hand for the big dance. His big problem will be pleasing all the different owner.

He will have to go about this in a practical way, se what his best options are,and plan to put them in the best position.

I think Baffert holds the strongest hand though with Looking at lucky, that. He is a competition horse

29 Mar 2010 9:28 AM
aspradling

I think six is his lucky number. This is the year of Pletcher.

29 Mar 2010 9:31 AM
Footlick

Conveyance is owned by Sheikh Rashid, so I don't know if he would want his horse to be a sacrificial lamb for LAL.  But he might want to go for the Derby anyway on his own.  So far he seems to be taking advice from Baffert though.  I liked Dutrow's candid comments about A Little Warm for the Derby.  I hope the owners listen to him.

29 Mar 2010 9:38 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Itainteasy:  The Greek didn`t show up Saturday nor did Stay Put for that matter.  Still not sure if it was track bias or just plain old lack of talent, but still believe some horse with their kind of running style will prevail in the derby.

As for Drosselmeyer, I`d take another shot with him if I were Win Star.  He ran second over Keeneland`s play doh surface so perhaps the Lexington.  The Derby Trial @ CD would be another option, but that`s only one week before the derby.  Then again, Pletcher would likely find another sprinter to wire that race to keep him out.

Congrats to Shannon Ritter and Robby Albarado in winning the Sunland Derby with Win Star`s 4th stringer in only his 4th start.  He got drilled in his debut, but has 2 wins and a place in three starts for Ritter.  I still hope Conveyance does the derby, but just to add even more pace.

29 Mar 2010 10:33 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Anyone have the probables for the Wood?  Awesome Act, Esky and Jackson Bend are three that I know of.  Any other "decent" horses plan on running?

29 Mar 2010 10:35 AM
draynay

This is the year for Pletcher ? You have to be kidding.  He has no idea how to get a young colt ready for Triple Crown races and this year will be no different.  The winless streak will continue. There is no reason to believe he has figured anything out.

29 Mar 2010 10:59 AM
LAZMANNICK

Hey anybody got the results from Wrestlemania last night?

29 Mar 2010 10:59 AM
Voice of Reason

Every year, most of the horses that walk into the starting gate at the Derby do so with a marginal chance of success.  Granted 18 chances to pick the winner of last year's Derby, I would venture a guess that most of us would still would have missed the winner.

I don't understand the anti-Pletcher venom.  He seems to do a very good job with the horses he's given, and I'd like to know who thinks he did a poor job with Invisible Ink or Bluegrass Cat?  

Eskendereya has run the most impressive race of the year, and if he survives the cavalry charge to the first turn, he stands a very good chance to win it.  It takes talent and a generous measure of luck to win the Derby, and while it doesn't hurt to have a half dozen in it, those spots are earned in graded stakes, which are open to any horse with talent last time I checked.  

29 Mar 2010 11:08 AM
The Rock

Lazmannick,

It would have to be a serious sum of money to take Endorsement off of Winstar's hands. If he still has his marble's, I don't think they would want to sell a potential stallion prospect.

29 Mar 2010 11:10 AM
Forbidden Apple

I think it's interesting that Baffert is calling Endorsement a star. He knows talent, so I believe him. If he is a star, Conveyance was 3 lengths behind him and finished the 1 1/8 in 1:49. They should still run him in the KY Derby, maybe he had a bad day and can run better next time.

29 Mar 2010 12:08 PM
steve from st louis

Jason: I'm shocked at your love for Drosselmeyer. He doesn't appear to have the quickness to find a good spot or avoid trouble. Awesome Act and Lookin At Lucky in a photo.

29 Mar 2010 12:41 PM
April

Ugh. I dunno, there's something tacky about the way Pletcher continually enters multiple horses in races.

Btw, there's some funny comments on here!

29 Mar 2010 12:45 PM
El Kabong

-footlick-

I missed Dutrow's comments about ALM  and KDerby, and I am very curious. Can you paraphrase his remarks?

29 Mar 2010 12:51 PM
draynot

Zenyatta tries to win a race she has already won.  Yawn.

draynay 29 Mar 2010 12:16 AM

nay nay,

I guess there is no point in running Zenyatta in the Breeders Cup Classic if it comes to that too since she already won that race huh? I can hear you now whining like a little kid if Zenyatta and Quality Road make it through the year unbeaten and she skips the Classic. I bet you would forget your silly claim that it's a yawner if you try to win a race you already won. Get a clue.

29 Mar 2010 1:01 PM
joe schmoe

JOE SCHMOE

I really believe the jumk you always shovel.

Mike Relva 28 Mar 2010 5:06 PM

Thanks Mike!!

29 Mar 2010 1:20 PM
Dave

Hey Draynay, I like Hot Dixie Chick for the Oaks, and I have liked her for the Oaks since her third start. I think she'll beat every horse lined up against her, and if a horse is to beat her I don't think it will be Christine Daae, though she is probably betyter than her last start would indicate.

Citation 28 Mar 2010 8:31 PM

Citation,

I also love HDC, but I don’t think they are going to send her to the Oaks.   She just ran on the 20th, and don’t think they will have her go from 6 furlongs to 9 furlongs without another prep, and I don’t see them running her twice in 6 weeks.  If I was mapping it out, and this is my guess what they will do with her, I would run her in the Eight Belles at 7 ½ furlongs, on the KD undercard.  Then bring her back and run in the Acorn, on Belmont day.   And then the Mother Goose.  

Had they got her back to the track earlier I could have seen them running in the Fantasy, and then the Oaks, but at this point it would be to late.  Still think she is the best 3 year old filly in the US.

29 Mar 2010 1:24 PM
Capper

I've been researching Derby handicapping angles that have at least a 10-year consistency rate.

Since 1995, no trainer has won the Derby if he'd already lost more than 3 Derbies without a win in between his losses.  Pletcher, Baffert, Lukas & Zito have all lost at least 4 without a win in between.

So I really hope Pletcher enters 8 so I can automatically narrow the field down to 12.  It sure makes handicapping easier.

I also really hope you writers finally get off the Pletcher Derby bandwagon when he blows it again this year.  The ad nauseum articles about his embarrassment of riches are really tiresome.  The only thing that's an embarrassment is his continually blowing it and turf writer's jumping on his bandwagon in spite of it.  It's like you guys have an en masse man-crush on him.  

29 Mar 2010 1:38 PM
Jason Shandler

Capper: yeah, I guess us turf writers should just ignore Pletcher every time he wins a prep race. Maybe we can just omit each of those prep races from our magazine and web site just because Pletcher wins them all. The heck with reporting the facts!

If you keep losing money by throwing out Pletcher horses, dont get mad at us. Learn to 'cap better.

Come back with something better next time.  

29 Mar 2010 1:51 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Jason, my gripe with Pletcher horses is that so many of them seem to have the same running style on or very near the lead.  If I had to pick one of his in the derby it would most likely be Interactif who at least shouldn`t be anywhere near the front @ CD.

I`m sure I`m in the minority, but to me the Blue Grass has become a lucrative irrelevant race since Keeneland switched to play doh.  I figure we`ll be getting another Dominican to come out of the race this year.

29 Mar 2010 2:33 PM
Footlick

El Kabong- Dutrow said if it was up to him he would not run A Little Warm in the Kentucky Derby.  But he said it's the owners decision ultimately.

29 Mar 2010 2:40 PM
Footlick

Jason- who is Interactif's jockey now?

29 Mar 2010 2:43 PM
Qrich3

Rumor has it schoolyard dreams to wood

29 Mar 2010 3:09 PM
El Kabong

Sheiks spend Millions trying to increase their odds of winning the race, and still they miss. It's the trainers job to give the horse a shot. The horse has to win it, and he has to be the best or at least the best under the circumstances(Giacomo-no need to elaborate). Pletcher  has done a great job getting his horses to the dance, better than anyone, and that is all he can do. If he doesn't have the best horse, he won't win, but who really knows till the race is run. It's a tough,tough, racket and the best horse can come from anywhere as we have all witnessed over the years. Bet against him all you want based on whatever reason you want, but don't imply that a trainer like Pletcher is the reason a horse is not going to win, or that a horse in his barn hasn't got a chance. Focus on the horse.

29 Mar 2010 3:14 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Lazzmanick you just asked about wrestlemania and go no response and are losing alot of credit after that comment. Wrestlemania what are you like 12? lol! Anyone know endorsements beyer from sunday? I guess my bed looks great right now with all these horses losing.....DUBLIN baby!

29 Mar 2010 3:20 PM
Jason Shandler

Rivercity: I like Interactif and Eskendereya best as well.

Footlick: Bejarano is the rider on Interactif.

Qrich: Schoolyard Dreams going to Illinois Derby.

Good post El Kabong

29 Mar 2010 3:22 PM
papillon

Lazmannick said: "I agree with GunBow.  I can see Conveyance going in the Derby if only to run the pacesetters like Rule and Sidney into the ground and set it up for LAL.  Of course, the owners have to agree to those tactics, but it could happen"

I don't think so. If they run like they have in the past, then Sidney's Candy and Conveyance won't be anywhere near Rule to push the pace.

Out of all the major derby preps so far, Sidney's Candy's splits were the 7th, 7th, 8th, and 3rd slowest behind Rule (up to the mile) while  Conyevance's  were the 6th, 6th, and 3rd slowest to Rule, though he did overtake Rule's time at the mile (but it is debatable whether he would have been able to do that had he been keeping up with Rule's pace all along).

And it looks like Dean's Kitten and Mission Impazible don't have a chance--they where 11 1/2 and 10 lengths behind Endorsement at a 1 1/8 miles. Endorsement really impresses me-- he was 2 lengths faster than Eskendereya at a mile and an eighth(though they both ran pretty pedestrian splits for the first 3/4 of their races:

Endorsement was 6th, 6th, and 3rd slowest to Rule for the first 3/4, while Eskendereya was lollygagging along at 5th, 5th, and 6th slowest to Rule for the first 3/4, and  kept lollygagging along to the mile were he was still 5th slowest to Rule (whereas Endorsement had bested Rule by the mile marker, and has the fastest mile split so far--beating Rule's mile split by almost 2/5 of a second).

This is how it stacks up so far based on finishing times:

Endorsement

2 lengths back to Eskendereya

3 lengths back to Conveyance

4 1/2 lengths back to Ice Box and Pleasant Prince

5 1/2 lengths back to Rule

However, except for Ice Box and Pleasant Prince, it is likely that all the others would be cooked by Rule's pace by the turn for home just from trying keeping him in sight, although Endorsement looked really strong closing, so maybe  not him.

Rule, Looking at Lucky, Pleasant Prince, Ice Box (if he's really ok--which i doubt), and Endorsement are the one's that look the most likely to be in the money at the derby to me at this point.

I think the best lesson that Rule learned from the Florida derby was that the race wasn't over at 1 1/16 miles. I'm pretty sure that failing to rate is red herring with Rule--and I think think Pletcher and Velásquez know that. It's hard to tell from the video if Rule was rank or not, but JV said he didn't even try to rate him, which tells me Pletcher wanted to learn something else about Rule--if my hunch is right, then look for JV to choose to ride Rule over Eskendereya in the derby.

29 Mar 2010 3:45 PM
Capper

jshandler;   I made a mistake.  No trainer has won the Derby with more than 3 losses without a win between since at least 1989.  It might go back even farther than that but I haven't had a chance to check yet.  

Try reporting that sort of fact once in a while and maybe you writers will have more credibility on the first Sunday in May.  

Or is it too much trouble to report the less-than-flattering facts about Todd?  If not then how about reporting his Derby finish last or second last rate in your next blog.  It's a whopping 70% of the ten Derbies he's entered.  Or report his failure to finish in the Derby superfecta rate is an embarrassing 79% of his 24 starters to date.  

Hint:  Both those rates are much, much worse than the average Derby trainer.  And here's another fact:  he has the worst Derby record in history.  

29 Mar 2010 3:55 PM
tcc

Jason:

A little read from Kent D.

In all likelihood, that means third-place finisher Drosselmeyer will be left out of the first U.S. classic despite a strong third-place finish in which he was beaten by a length under Kent Desormeaux.

“I had tons of trouble. I think I was the best,” Desormeaux said. “Now, I might not even get him into the Derby. If I get through, I win by three and we’re the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Instead, now I won’t even get to ride him. Tough beat.”

29 Mar 2010 3:59 PM
Zookeeper

El Kabong,

Very good post! I'm not a Pletcher fan, I prefer smaller trainer with one horse in the Derby, but I agree with you completely, the horse is doing the running, not the trainer!

29 Mar 2010 4:19 PM
CV

Is Blind Luck entered in the Fantasy Stakes this weekend? Assuming she does well, I like her in the Kentucky Oaks.

29 Mar 2010 4:20 PM
Billy's Empire

Does anyone else think that Backtalk is going to dominate the Illinois Derby with a 105+ beyer, or is it just me?

I have been thinking about Street Sense losing the Bluegrass, but remembering how fit it got him for the Derby. Can Odysseues follow his path?

Or is Aikenite following the footsteps of Giacomo, a few ITM's, and then win the big one after a quick pace?

Will Dublin show his back class and contend?

Is Esky this year's Barbaro. Stalk the pace, and run off, or are we looking at a real deal horse in Awesome Act?

Can Lucky go any faster than a 97 Beyer on dirt? Will Sidney's Candy make his daddy proud at 1 1/4?

Will Noble's Promise outrun his pedigree?

There are so many damn question marks this year. Good thing we have a few preps left, or I would have no clue how to bet the race.

Getting excited.

Wrestling is lame. St Mary's got waxed. UK could not hit the side of a barn on Saturday. I hate Michigan State, only b/c of thier fans!

Just for Dray, I am rocking a Cream and Pink Fidora on Oaks Day!!

Have a good week! Friday can not come soon enuf!

29 Mar 2010 4:32 PM
GunBow

slyder:

Thanks for the info on Shannon Ritter. I read today that she was a former assistant to Elliot Walden.

Itainteasy:

Endorsement got a Beyer of 101 for the Sunland Derby.  In many years that would only make him a marginal contender, but this year it is one of the biggest Beyers for any 3 year old.  Even if one accepts the likelihood that synthetic Beyers are underestimated, this has still been a down year in terms of Beyers; the Beyer for the Louisiana Derby was only a 94, the Florida Derby a 99, the Rebel a 97(although Lookin at Lucky had that stumble).  

Eskenderya's 106 is a clear #1, but it still pales in comparison to the figs of Bellamy Road(120), Easy Goer(118), Sunday Silence(116), Holy Bull(115), Unbridled's Song(114), Indian Charlie(112), Free House/Silver Charm(110), Point Given(110), Fusaichi Pegasus(111), War Emblem(112), Funny Cide(110), Smarty Jones(112), Sinister Minister(116), Millenium Wind(114), Serena's Song(114), Skip Away(113),  Winning Colors(111), and is either below or equal to the top Beyer of most recent Derby winners like Charismatic(108), Real Quiet(108), Street Sense(108), Go For Gin(107), Lil E. Tee(107), Big Brown(106) and the aforementioned Smarty Jones(112), Funny Cide(110), War Emblem(112), Fusaichi Pegasus(111), Silver Charm(110), Sunday Silence(116), and Winning Colors(111).  

The recent Derby winners who had not yet run a 106 Beyer or better prior to the Kentucky Derby are Barbaro(103), Giacomo(98), Monarchos(105), Grindstone(102), Thunder Gulch(105), Sea Hero(99), and Strike the Gold(103). I do not have Unbridled's 1990 Forida Derby Beyer, but it probably was around 106.  Last year, Mine That Bird's career best Beyer going into the Derby was an unprecedentedly low 81.  Of the last 19 Derby winners, 16 had run a Beyer of at least 100 sometime in their career, 15 had run a Beyer of at least a 100 in their final prep, and 13 had run at least 2 Beyers of 100+ sometime in their career.

Interestingly, from 1991 thru 2004, only 1 of the 14 Derby winners did not run a Beyer of at least 100 in their final prep.  In the last 5 years, 3 Derby winners have not run a Beyer of at least 100 in their final prep(Mine That Bird, Street Sense, Giacomo).

One big change over the last 4 years is the number of preps now run on synthetic.  Given that the Beyer scale for synthetics is closer to the turf scale than the dirt scale, we should expect the Beyers for synthetic preps to run lower than historical norms; and this is exactly what has happened.  This year, the perfromances of Sidney's Candy(95 Beyer twice this year, a 99 last year), Caracortado(98), and even Interactif(94) and Dave in Dixie(94) would translate into dirt Beyers of 100-104.  Dean's Kitten's Beyer of 93 for the Lane's End would roughly equal a 99 on dirt.

Endorsement's 101 for the Sunland Derby puts him 2nd to Eskenderya for highest Beyer in a dirt prep race.  Endorsement was always supposed to be a good horse, but he has become good in a very short time.

29 Mar 2010 5:06 PM
Footlick

Thanks Jason.  I'm glad they are sticking with him.

29 Mar 2010 5:36 PM
GunBow

It's official, Lookin at Lucky is staying in Cali for the Santa Anita Derby.  For selfish reasons, I am very happy with the decision, as I will get to see LaL in person for a 3rd time.  Without him, the SA Derby field would have had only 4 legit Derby contenders(including Alphie's Bet and Setsuko) and just 2 top tier contenders in Caracortado and Sidney's Candy, and Sidney's Candy might not want anything to do with 10 furlongs.

This will be my first SA Derby since 1999, and with Lookin at Lucky the field will better resemble the strong fields of the 90s than the weaker fields of the past decade.  The first SA Derby of the 2000s was strong, featuring grade 1 stakes winners The Deputy, War Chant, Captain Steve, Anees, and the filly Surfside.  The 2001 SA Derby showcased one of the best horses of the decade in Point Given, but beyond runner-up Crafty CT, the field was not deep.

The SA Derby over the last decade has had some solid, already well-established winners like Came Home(3 gr.1 wins), Brother Derek(2), and Pioneer of the Nile(2) as well as late bloomers that launched their careers winning the SA Derby like Tiago(2 gr.1 wins) and Colonel John(2).  Of those winners, however, only Pioneer of the Nile(2nd) and Brother Derek(a very troubled 4th, probably 2nd best) ran well in Kentucky.  Also worthy of mention is the 3rd place finisher from the 2004 SA Derby, Rock Hard Ten(2 gr.1 wins).  

However, the last decade of the SA Derby was defined by upset wins from the likes of Buddy Gil, Castledale, Buzzard's Bay, and the aforementioned Tiago.  While Castledale did win the gr.1 Shoemaker Mile on turf in 2005, Buzzard's Bay won a couple of graded stakes races as an older horse including the Oaklawn Handicap, and Tiago won the gr.1 Goodwood Stakes later in 2007 and the 2008 gr.2 Oaklawn Cap'(and ran 3rd in the 07' Belmont and 08' BC Classic), none of the 4 upset winners were well regarded in Kentucky, and only Buzzard's Bay placed in the top 5 in the Derby.

The Santa Anita Derby only produced 1 Kentucky Derby winner the last decade, that being Giacomo, who was 4th in the SA Derby.  This is in contrast to the 90s when the SA Derby produced 3 straight Kentucky Derby winners with Silver Charm in 1997(2nd in SA Derby), Real Quiet in 98'(2nd in SA Derby), and Charismatic in 99'(4th in SA Derby).  All 3 of these horses also won the Preakness and ran either 2nd or 3rd in the Belmont.  

In addition, Free House came out of the SA Derby in 97' to place in all 3 Triple Crown races, and Indian Charlie came out of the 98' SA Derby to run 3rd in Louisville.  The 1999 SA Derby winner, General Challenge, would go on to win the gr.1 Pacific Classic and gr.1 Santa Handicap was well as 4 other graded stakes races.  Throw in the fact that 96' SA Derby winner Cavonnier lost the Kentucky Derby by the shortest of noses, 95' SA Derby 4th place runner Timber Country ran 3rd at Churchill and won the Preakness, 94' SA Derby runner-up Tabasco Cat won the Preakness and Belmont, 92' SA Derby winner AP Indy won the Belmont, 92' Sa Derby runner-up Bertrando was the Eclipse champion older horse of 93', 92' SA Derby 3rd place horse Casual Lies placed in the Derby and Preakness, 91' SA Derby runner-up Best Pal ran 2nd in Kentucky(and won 7 career gr.1 races), 91' SA Derby 4th place horse Mane Minister ran 3rd in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown, and that 01' SA Derby Point Given bounced out of his debacle at Churchill to win the Preakness and Belmont, and the quality of SA Derby fields between 1991 and 2001 is beyond dispute.

The following multiple gr.1 winning horses ran in the SA Derby between 1980 and 2009: Codex, Desert Wine, Precisionist, Prince True, Fali Time, Life's Magic,

Skywalker, Tank's Prospect, Ferdinand, Snow Chief, Variety Road, Temperate Sil, Winning Colors, Mi Preferido, Tejano, Ruhlmann, Sunday Silence, Flying Continental, Hawkster, Mr. Frisky(includes Puerto Rico), Best Pal, Scan, Sea Cadet, AP Indy, Bertrando, Eliza, Brocco, Tabasco Cat, Afternoon Deelites, Timber Country, Free House, Silver Charm, Sharp Cat, Real Quiet, Artax, General Challenge, Charismatic, Captain Steve, Surfside, Point Given, Came Home, Castledale, Rock Hard Ten, Sweet Catomine, Brother Derek, Tiago, Colonel John, Pioneer of the Nile, and Take the Points.

By decade, hers is the number of multiple gr.1 winners to have run in the SA Derby:

1980s- 19

1990s- 18

2000s- 12

The SA Derby has clearly been down over the last decade.  However, from 1980 thru 1982, those 3 running of the SA Derby only had 1 multiple gr.1 winner, Codex.  From 1983 until 1989, the 7 runnings of the SA Derby feautured 18 multiple gr.1 winners. Hopefully, the SA Derby this Saturday is the start of a resurgence; at least Lookin at Lucky is already a multiple gr.1 winner(3); LaL is the first horse to enter the SA having already won multiple gr.1 races since Sweet Catomine in 2005 and the first male since Timber Country in 1995.

29 Mar 2010 6:32 PM
ZJ

To the one who mentioned Streaker. I do like the horse, very much. Her dam Matlacha Pass produced one of my favorite distaffers and that was Pine Island and I would love to see the family still do well.

Over the weekend another made a real nice move in allowance (definitely too close to Derby to get in) but his name is King Rock (Rock Hard Ten - Queen Mindy, by King of Kings). Would love to see him make some noise in Classics too as he is a homebred for Mercedes Stables who raced RHT.

29 Mar 2010 6:52 PM
Lil Darlin

The thing that I'm not liking about the Pletcher horses is the fact that they have very similar running styles - Rule, Discreetly Mine, Eskendereya, and Super Saver all like to be on the lead or pretty darn close. Mission Impazible doesn't like to be too far back, and Interactif has been close as well (though I think he SHOULD be farther back). I don't really think the other two are good enough for the Derby (I guess Aikenite could change my mind this weekend, but not likely).

On the other hand, it seems relatively safe to say at this point that Pletcher will be in the driver's seat when it comes to the pace of the Derby - that could very well work in his favor. I think it will go one of two ways for him - either his horses burn each other out on the front, or he keeps the pace in check, turns it into a sprint, and cleans house on Derby day.

29 Mar 2010 7:17 PM
RiverCitySmitty

What if Interclitif makes the money list and Esky doesn`t?

29 Mar 2010 7:28 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

Keep on knocking Wrestlemania and the Undertaker's gonna pay you a visit.  And how do you know I'm not twelve?  Just because I forgot more than you know doesn't mean to say I'm old.  LOL

29 Mar 2010 7:57 PM
zarvona

  If Pletcher had all the gates filled one would eventually stumble over the finish line... in his case... 8 is NOT enough!!!

29 Mar 2010 7:59 PM
David

JOE SCHMOE

How do you know Dross has no chance of winning the Derby? If he gets in he has as good a chance as anyone else.  Are you psychic???  Just so you know I think for myself but some pretty smart people agree with ME not YOU.

29 Mar 2010 7:59 PM
LAZMANNICK

Footlick:

I agree about LAL.  I've been on his bandwagon since before the BC.  I really think he's the real deal.  Almost every week most of the so called contenders show that they're not really contenders at all.  Endorsement is definitely one to watch and I think that Dublin is ready to fire a big one......third off his layoff.  If he does he's top three in the Derby.  My longshot is Alphie's Bet and I really don't think that this guy is a longshot at all.  The next eleven days is going to tell us a lot.  LOL.  

29 Mar 2010 8:07 PM
Tim G

Yes Capper and it was 7 years between wins for Lukas 1988-1995.

There goes that theory out the window and as you can see, anyone can come up with some bogus angle.

Whereas, for selfish reasons, I wouldn't want to see Todd with 8 in the gate, if he chooses to do that he's earned it.

Unless he sends a rabbit or sacrificial lamb, I'm sure each horse gets the same attention. Can a trainer be really high on one horse? Yes. Will they stack the deck to make sure that ONE horse wins? Not if they have a brain in their head and want to keep their owners. I seriously doubt Todd is going to squander or risk his entire career to win the Derby. I'm pretty sure owners aren't complaining and instructing him to NOT run in the preps because a purse is a purse.

Every time someone posts something like that it shows how VERY little they know about our game.

El Kabong, good post, you seem to GET it.

A lot of it is the training they get, a lot is the jock, and a WHOLE lot of it is luck. Luck in the draw, luck in getting a clean trip (a big factor with 20 horses in the race), the right ride and having the horse live up to his potential on a given day.

Pretty much proven with the NCAA basketball games that anyone can beat anyone else on a given day. Even the bluebloods can get beat, if the stars align correctly.

29 Mar 2010 8:27 PM
Mike Relva

JOE SCHMOE

I didn't say I "believe anything". Not even funny! How old are you,ten?

29 Mar 2010 8:45 PM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

I have to give credit when credit's due,very clever for you to already DOWNPLAY Zenyatta running in the Apple Blossom. I've heard you crying about dirt tracks,now she's shipped to run on dirt and you want to belittle it. If she beat your new pal QR on dirt you would find an excuse.

29 Mar 2010 8:49 PM
Jason Shandler

I stand corrected. Schoolyard Dreams is going to Wood, not Illinois Derby like they first said. Very risky decision by Derek Ryan. The Wood is coming up a lot stronger than Illinois. They still needs earnings. Not sure I agree, but then again, Im not the trainer.

29 Mar 2010 9:12 PM
Citation

Yeah Dave, that is probably what they'll do with her. If it were me, i'd get her a long prep like the Fantasy and then run her in the Oaks, but considering my ideas are rather unorthodox on this matter, I'm sure they won't do that.

29 Mar 2010 9:17 PM
GunBow

I just want to clarify that I was not suggesting that Baffert would enter Conveyance in the Derby just as a rabbit for Lookin at Lucky; the two horses have different owners.

My point was that if Conveyance is entered in the Derby he is unlikely to win the race, but he would significantly affect the pace.  This is why I wrote "If he goes to Kentucky, his only impact will be as a pace presser; he has little chance to win at 10 furlongs against a number of quality speed types."

29 Mar 2010 9:31 PM
Ted from LA

Great information as always GunBow.  Papillon, time only counts in prison.

29 Mar 2010 9:38 PM
Auburnbill

Jason,

Any word yet on Biancone's plans for Christine Daae? Also, if Blind Luck rocks in the (Fantasy), do you think there is a chance they will point her to Derby (hoping not, cause big future on her in Oaks, but curious)?

29 Mar 2010 9:40 PM
Citation

Sorry if my last post sounded sarcastic, I wasn't meaning it to.

29 Mar 2010 9:42 PM
Jason Shandler

Auburnbill: Sorry, no word from Biancone yet. Regarding Blind Luck, I highly doubt she would point toward the Derby, even with a big win Friday. Hollendorfer has already said as much.

29 Mar 2010 10:03 PM
azeri77

anyone else feel that this appears to be a very weak bunch this year?  The only horse really to be impressive is Eskendereya and while LAL is almost unbeaten, he has beaten nobody and run slightly faster than a great dane!  I the winner will be Eskendereya or box cars.....maybe dave in dixe or american lion...maybe sidneys candy but its not gonna be LAL.

29 Mar 2010 10:18 PM
It aint easy being good

Besides Big brown when is the last time a derby horse won his final prep? Jason dont sleep on school yard dreams! I like the trainers thoughts lets go face the best horses now and then they can make a decision on either the preakness or the derby. Schoolyard dream won the tampa derby I dont know how they gave it to my boy Odysseus either way Odysseus is a beast!

Mike R: Zenyatta wants no piece of Quality Road I guarantee that he could be Zenyatta with shaq as his jockey!

29 Mar 2010 10:26 PM
LDP

It ain't Easy, 2006 Barbaro, Florida Derby. 2004 Smarty Jones Arkansas Derby, were the most recent.

29 Mar 2010 10:41 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY

You live in  a fantasy world.  That's a laugh!

29 Mar 2010 10:45 PM
LDP

I believe the announcer actually said that LAL ran the fastest Rebel since Smarty. How is that slow? Especially when considering he clipped heals and was caught wide? This horse was not even fully cranked, and has won most of his races throttled down, which would account for slower times. He always finds a way to win, and he has ZERO questions left to answer. We know he can duplicate his form, but we don't know that about many of the others, including Eskendereya. He has done everything right, why can't you people just stop trying to pick him apart? It is pathetic to see how much ppl have to dig in order to find something only a little off with this colt.

29 Mar 2010 10:47 PM
GREAT GUS

A star is born , ENDORSEMENT , by pedigree , an stalker and last performance is the horse to beat in K D . The enemy is ESKENDEREYA , if he makes a decent race in the WOOD , not necessary a victory.(I hope his earnings are enough).   In SANTA ANITA DERBY , the horse to beat is SYDNEY'S CANDY over LOOKIN AT LUCKY , but not like him for the KENTUCKY DERBY .LOOKIN AT LUCKY could be third in LOUISVILLE , like all californian champs.

29 Mar 2010 10:57 PM
GunBow

A maiden filly, Nicky's Boy is planning to ship in from Sunland to run in the Wood.  She was beaten 120 lengths in her only 2 starts, according to drf.  Is this some sick joke?

I read that Dave in Dixie is going to the Illinois Derby.  He had no pace to run at in the San Felipe when 6th, but had everything go his way in the Bob Lewis yet was no threat to Caracortado when running 2nd.  While Dave in Dixie is a fine looking horse, and has a rangy build that suggests he should be able to get a distance, I think he is a clear step below the likes of Lookin at Lucky, Sidney's Candy, and Caracortado.  It will be interesting to see how Dave does on dirt, but typically the type of synth horse that has success transfering to dirt is a speed horse that has been setting legit fractions and then fading somewhat in the stretch while fighting the track profile(Bickersons, Amen Hallelujah, Conveyance, Zardana, Freedom Star).  Lookin at Lucky is an example of a mid-pack runner that appeared to move much better on dirt in the Rebel than he had on synth.  On class and looks alone, I think Dave could be a factor at Hawthorne, but I've never really been that high on him.

30 Mar 2010 12:01 AM
GunBow

Itainteasy:

Derby winners that won their final prep- Barbaro(06'), Smarty Jones(04), War Emblem(02), Fusaichi Pegasus(00), Charismatic(99), Strike the Gold(91), Sunday Silence(89), Winning Colors(88), and Alysheba crossed the wire first in the 87' Blue Grass but was dq'd to 3rd.  Spend A Buck and Sunny's Halo also won their final preps,and in the 70s it was quite common with Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Bold Forbes, Foolish Pleasure, etc.

30 Mar 2010 12:07 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jason

  Odysseus is in the wrong race !!! He's going to get thrashed by Paddy O'Prado !!!! Romans has his Derby horse. Paddy will like a mile and a quarter  more than Odysseus anyway. Still, Odysseus might pick up 3rd and have enough earnings. What's wrong with the Arkansas Derby for Odysseus??? I think 3 weeks would work for him on dirt. I think Arkansas is an easier spot than Wood.

30 Mar 2010 1:25 AM
papillon

Ted said:  "Papillon, time only counts in prison."

Really? You really believe that? So you think Secretariat's 2:24 Belmont is the same as Thunder Gulch's 2:32 Belmont? Suuurrree yyoouu ddooo.

It seems to me that a lot of people here, the pros included, are judging quality based on who wins and how flashy they look doing it, good luck with that.

Time is what distinguishes real gold from fool's gold. Until horses race each other, it's the only truly objective measure of their respective performances.

30 Mar 2010 2:06 AM
trebloc

It is being reported that SChoolyard Dream is running in the Wood so, Ramon Dominguez can ride.  Pretty bold move.  Maybe uptowncharlybrown should run?

30 Mar 2010 9:00 AM
LAZMANNICK

It aint easy being good

Mike R: Zenyatta wants no piece of Quality Road I guarantee that he could be Zenyatta with shaq as his jockey!

It aint easy being good 29 Mar 2010 10:26 PM

Is be Zenyatta as in BE (we know a lot of horses would if they could, but unfortunately there is room for only one GREAT MARE), or do you actually mean beat.

As far as Shaq, Zen could win with him or with a real shack on her back, it doesn't matter.  LOL

30 Mar 2010 9:08 AM
2:24

It aint easy - Big Brown (2008), Barbaro (2006), Smarty Jones (2004), War Emblem (2002), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000).  I'd say in even number years this decade, the Derby winner typically wins his final prep.

30 Mar 2010 9:31 AM
The Rock

Didn't Summer Bird handle Quality Road twice already? And what happened to Summer Bird when he faced Zenyatta.............?

30 Mar 2010 10:00 AM
draynay

Azeri I agree with you !  I have not seen a bunch this week since 2005 or in the early 1970's.

30 Mar 2010 11:06 AM
Tim G

"Mike R: Zenyatta wants no piece of Quality Road I guarantee that he could BE Zenyatta with shaq as his jockey!

It aint easy being good 29 Mar 2010 10:26 PM"

Is that statement a Freudian slip?

LOL

I guarantee QR couldn't BE Zenyatta EVER.:)

30 Mar 2010 11:13 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I don't know what Desormeaux is talking about. The rail opened up in plenty of time for Drossel to make a move and he didn't have enough, but first of all what is he doing taking him inside behind a wall of horses rather than going outside? Who does he think he is-Borel? Don't give a questionable ride then complain that you had a troubled trip on the best horse. Overrated jockey to begin with. There are a few up and comers who could be great but I don't see any today in the same league as Shoemaker, Bailey, Stevens, Pincay etc.

30 Mar 2010 11:52 AM
Jason Shandler

Dr. Drunkinbum: He already has enough earnings. That is not a concern to the connections.

30 Mar 2010 11:55 AM
Pam S.

Jason, I agree on Schoolyard Dreams.  I would like to see this colt in the Derby, and it seems they have not chosen the path of least resistance for him.  Maybe they know something we don't, like that he is going to run huge.  But what you want is for him to run huge on May 1.  But again, he has to run well enough to get earnings.  I guess you do have to admire Todd P. for managing to get so many to the Derby, because I see how hard it is.  

30 Mar 2010 12:02 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Odysseus could have enough earnings but it's not a certainty yet. I'd be just a little concerned. Pletcher-How does he do it? It's like a maze. I'm going to be quite suspicious when I see him saddling a horse at the Blue Grass AND The Arkansas Derby. Could there be two Todd Pletchers or more? You know what they can do with cloning nowadays.

30 Mar 2010 12:24 PM
Zookeeper

This last weekend 3 horses who weren't on anybody's list won their respective race. Mission Impazible was highlighted by Coldfacts on Mr. Haskin's blog, but that's the only place I've seen him mentioned. Wonder if the same surprises are waiting for us this coming weekend...

I found the Beyers figures on 2 of the winners:

Endorsement   101

Mission Impazible   94

There wasn't a figure for Dean's Kitten as only the highest ones were posted.

GunBow,

If the filly's entry in the Wood is a joke, my opinion is: it is NOT funny. I'm sure you agree.

30 Mar 2010 12:25 PM
LAZMANNICK

papillon

If time is virtually the only thing that matters like you say, then why do claimers or cheap allowance horses set track records that legitimate G-1 horses can't break?

Time is important but it is only one of the factors to consider when handicapping.  

The be-all end-all is class (and condition).  This is a fact that has been proven over an over again.  How many times have you seen a claimr or allowance horse with faster times than a better horse, race against that horse nad get hopelessly trounced?

Secretariat's Belmont time is one of the greatest benchmarks in racing.  However, if Secretariat would have raced in Thunder Gulch's Belmont do you still think he would have run that fast?  What about Citation's Belmon run in 2.28.1.  To this day many experts consider Citation as being better than Secretariat.  According to the times of their Belmonts Citation isn't even in Secretariat's league.

Something to ponder.  Even though it might not sound like it, I enjoy your posts.   LOL

30 Mar 2010 12:29 PM
MGM

No one trainer should be allowed to have more t han one entry.having more than that makes this a monopoly.

30 Mar 2010 12:30 PM
LAZMANNICK

Azeri

I agree with you that this year's crop is weak, but I also think it might be wise to reserve judgement just yet.  There are a few nuggets out there.  LAL who has done virtually everything asked of him, Endorsement, an up and comer that looked awesome on Sunday in his first race against winners, and maybe something out of Pletcher's barn.  I still think back to Seattle Slew.  If I can remember correctly, that three year old crop was pretty weak and outside of Slew, what did the others accomplish?  What validated Slew's three year-old greatness was his ability against the older horses.  To me that showed he would still have been the dominant three year old champion he was no matter what.  LOL

30 Mar 2010 12:43 PM
The Rock

Derek Ryan's reasoning to have Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood was to pick up Ramon Dominguez, as he is racing Musket Man in the Carter the same day. He says he wants to secure Dominguez should Schoolyard Dreams runs well. Let's face it, if he can't cut it in the Wood, he shouldn't be in the Derby. As with other Pretenders out there.

30 Mar 2010 12:57 PM
Zookeeper

MGM,

A monopoly? What an amazing statement!

30 Mar 2010 1:09 PM
draynay

Endorsement was very impressive but the speed is cheap this year and the Derby will be won by a mid pack closer.  Endorsement just doesn't have the foundation needed to win a Derby but it would not shock me he may be the horse on the rise but I am still looking at Noble's Promise and Dublin for the win.

30 Mar 2010 1:17 PM
Zookeeper

Jason,

Just read your article on Drosselmeyer possibly taking one more shot at enough graded earnings. I'm wondering if it's worth it. What's the use of getting in the gate with a horse that is already exhausted from trying to get there? I may be completely wrong here but, there's more racing after the TC season. I think Drosselmeyer has a lot of potential and it may be a blessing in disguise to miss entering the KD. Winstar Farm is a wonderful organization and I will give them the benefit of the doubt if they choose to try again. They certainly know their horse more than I do...

30 Mar 2010 1:34 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Mike R and the rest of the cali lovers. Quality Road is a beast lets face it. Big Z is a great mare but cannot and doesnt want any part of Multi record holder Quality Road. Lets face it neither of them can call themselves HOY. Its good that the owners grew a pair and are finally running Z in harder races!

I agree with Dray that you need a foundation of high beyers and experience to win the derby expect Awesome Act to destroy this weekend and be in the top 3 come May 1st.

Hey Mike R you love my post admit it! Lazmack how was monday night raw last night did you shed a tear on the retirement speech??

30 Mar 2010 1:52 PM
Matthew W

Draynay: I regard your Derby Picks with much respect--your picks are usually "live".....I love Esky, Lucky, Interactif, Noble's--and Alphies Bet, the Cali Closer who kicks like a mule! Leave him off at your own peril, he needs to step up this weekend, Santa Anita Derby is "cheaper" than Sunland (!!!), but I think he's the real deal! I am impressed with the crop, usually I am fixed on two, maybe three horses--right now, Lucky is my #1, he's a beast and a brawler! Esky was terrific, Interactif has a beautiful stride/very correct...Noble keeps firing bullets....and then there's Alphie! Go Alphie, beware of the improving horse! I'm quite SURE he's the real deal.....

30 Mar 2010 1:55 PM
LAZMANNICK

To me, Endorsement is the real deal and if Dublin fires in his next, he'll be in top four or five.  I don't think Noble Promise belongs with the top group.  It's true he has a G-1 win, but since then he's been shadowing winners with no excuse for not wracking up the win himself.  Don't forget he had a length lead deep in the BC Juvenile and couldn't hold it.  He backed up in the Cash Call and in his last he was nipped at the wire by a LAL that looked like he could easily go another 1/4 of a mile.

30 Mar 2010 1:57 PM
Matthew W

Todd Pletcher, "The King Of The Derby" (preps).....

30 Mar 2010 1:58 PM
Matthew W

Caracortado will not come close in the Ky Derby--Alphies Bet is the 1 1/4 horse--if he gets in--look out! As far as Caracortado--really nice horse! Not at 1 1/4....

30 Mar 2010 2:02 PM
The Rock

Dray,

On the contrary, the speed is pretty classy this year. I'd say that the come from behinders lack the class. Most of the winners are coming from on or just slightly off the pace (From 3rd or 4th). Besides the horses from the Florida Derby, what else is there?

30 Mar 2010 2:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   Mr Hot Stuff had a 48 flat workout on AW today. Setsuko had a 46.40 !!!! A bit fast. But at least he's ready and I suspect he's going to make his move much earlier than normal since this is his last shot in a very strong race.

30 Mar 2010 2:21 PM
Matthew W

Ky Oaks--Get Crispy! Big, beautiful Sadler filly--Crisp--you'll laugh, all the way to the bank!!

30 Mar 2010 2:23 PM
Matthew W

Draynay--ya mean '72, right??!! Cuz '73 had Big Red II, Sham, Forego, Mr Prospector, Ancient Title, Linda's Chief---all TOP thoroughbreds, my man! No--I think this year looks pretty good---Lookin At Lucky looks as good or even better than Silver Charm---but the Silver Charm year was tough, no?

30 Mar 2010 2:29 PM
draynot

The countdown to the KY. Derby is on,

"If Zenyatta runs and wins the Classic I will wear a pink dress with a bow in my hair to the Derby next year".

draynay 13 Jul 2009 7:57 PM

"If Zenyatta wins ANY race Breeders Cup week I will wear a pink hat to the Derby that says, "I WAS WRONG"".

Draynay 25 Oct 2009 12:40 AM

I can't wait!! Take some pics nay nay, we all want to see you in your "glory"!! LMAO!!

30 Mar 2010 3:23 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

The Drosselmeister has $94500. I'm not certain but I think he could pick up more in the Arkansas Derby which is the same date as Blue Grass. I understand the traveling time problem but he'll have 3 weeks. Two weeks to the Derby from the Lexington would be sick. Get your two weeks done now if he's ready. If he's not ready then how do you think he's going to be ready to run in the Derby two weeks after the Lexington? If he isn't ready for April 10th then wait for The Preakness. DO NOT throw a horse to the wolves just to be at the carnage.

30 Mar 2010 3:25 PM
The Rock

It Ain't Easy,

Its too bad Quality Road can't take his racetrack (Gulfstream) with him all the time. Otherwise he'd be undefeated.

30 Mar 2010 3:46 PM
draynay

Rock I am not impressed with speed at all this year the splits are average and the best splits all year came from Endorsement?

Matthew yes, 1971 and 1972 were not exactly sparkling years for 3 year old horses.

Jason, get ready here I come !  See you for opening day at Keeneland.  I will be the tall good looking one with the beautiful wife.  Have my lunch ready for me see you at 12:30.

30 Mar 2010 3:59 PM
draynay

Rock, Quality Road is a monster and I believe he has a record at Saratoga.  Remember he has never lost a stakes race on a dry track.

30 Mar 2010 4:00 PM
Matthew W

It's ALL about the big two: Quality Road and you know who---just think they should duck him at Saratoga--HOPE the track is dry at Churchill, and at 1 1/4, go get her---and good luck!

30 Mar 2010 4:26 PM
It Aint Easy being good

The rock: Dray said everything for me so eat it. LOL you cali lovers just love a closer and I hear the same thing every year. THis years alphies bet is last years MR. Hot stuff a closer that wont get it done in the derby!

Synthetic horses for the derby:

Alphies bet: Toss

Cantararo: Toss

Conveyance: I did like him but toss

Looking at Lucky: Toss...might get 3rd though, tough runner but reminds me of musket man!

*The winner of the derby will come from an explosive runner

1)Eskayndra

2)Odysseus

3)Sidneys candy

4 Endorsment

5)Awesome Act: box it up and send me a thank you card in the mail!

30 Mar 2010 4:33 PM
Matthew W

72 had Riva Ridge, Key To The Mint, and Quack--any of those could have won The BC Classic---it was 74, the year of Judger/Cannonade/Little Current that was weak--AND the Big Brown (the GREAT) year (08)...and the Genuine Risk year...and the War Enblem year....too early but I think there are MANY future Gr I stars in this crop...

30 Mar 2010 4:33 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Setsuko is in for it at the SA Derby. Not only is he facing Alphie's Bet AGAIN, but now he has Lookin at Lucky, Interactif and Sidney's Candy to contend with also. Mandella has pulled some pretty surprising rabbits out of a hat before and Bejarano is hot, hot, hot at SA this season.

LaL doesn't need the earnings, that's for sure, so I'm thinking that his connections may want to save something for the KD. However, the horse is very competitive and will try very hard to win. I think it's going to be a very good race. IF (and that's a big IF) LaL doesn't win, it could open the door for a NEW face in the KD picture. Could that be Setsuko? Why not?

Thank you (I think) for bringing up Mr Hot Stuff, another Winstar Farm, gorgeous son of Tiznow who hasn't figured out what he's supposed to do. I still love him though... Some day his running MAY match his looks. :)

I like how you keep us guessing (LOL) about your feelings for Drosselmeyer's chances of making it to the KD and how he will fare in it, if pushed too hard, too soon.

30 Mar 2010 4:37 PM
The Rock

Dray,

You mean a lightning fast dry track.

30 Mar 2010 4:38 PM
The Rock

Dray,

If you're talking comparitively to years passed, then yes. But as far as this year goes, there are not quality closers that will be part of the Derby field this year, unless you consider the Florida Derby performers to run on if there is a hot pace. At least they've proven that they can close in to hot fractions.

30 Mar 2010 4:54 PM
The Rock

It aint easy,

I don't really care for BS. So no thanks.

Anyway, who said I was praising West Coast 3 year olds? I'm a West Coaster, but I'm a realist as well. This Derby picture is so muddled, I won't be making my decisions till the PP's come out the week of. Its funny how you bash the West Coast, but thrown in Sidney's Candy in to your top 5. Way to go Dray's clone.

30 Mar 2010 5:03 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY

I've told you before I like and respect QR alot,but don't think it's an automatic conclusion he would beat Zenyatta.

30 Mar 2010 5:10 PM
Zookeeper

Uh! Oh! Bejarano was riding Interactif in the San Felipe! Whom will he choose! Interactif or Setsuko? The plot thickens...

30 Mar 2010 5:13 PM
It Aint Easy being good

The Rock: Its funny how easy it is to spot a west coaster! What BS are you referring too? I am not bashing all synthetics horses I just think Sidneys Candy is for real. I thought the same thing about the pamelmousse last year until he vanished like LT's career....was that to harsh??? How is a saratoga record a lighting fast track BTW??

Again this weekend will solve most of the derby picture!

30 Mar 2010 5:30 PM
Zookeeper

Oops! Another mistake: Interactif in the Blue Grass not the SA Derby.

Boy! I can't get anything straight today... I'm gonna go hide now!

30 Mar 2010 5:32 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  I think Mr Hot Stuff is just a model for Horse's GQ and is a follower and doesn't like to over exert himself. I don't see him winning races. Yes, it is a very tough task for Setsuko. I didn't like the decision to run Lucky at SA. He is the class of the 3yo division. I don't think they could hold him back if they wanted to. He should win or place. I expect Alphie to have a tough time, Setsuko to improve and win or place, Sidney to be his usual self but come in 3rd. Carcortado to try hard as usual but not crack the top 3. But I'm going to just be watching this one as a fan and haven't seen the pps so don't listen to me. More just hoping Setsuko can get in The Derby where I think he can excel than knowing what I'm talking about for the SA Derby because I'm just rooting. Probably just a wacko, fanatical fan of Setsuko talking.

30 Mar 2010 5:40 PM
tcc

Zookeeper:

Interactif might be headed to the Bluegrass.

30 Mar 2010 5:57 PM
tcc

Talking about sticking with you're

horse.

stick with your guns buddy stop jumping ship like draynay! I have to stick with dublin even though he is this years dunkirk actually worse since he hasnt won a race yet!

*The winner of the derby will come from an explosive runner

1)Eskayndra

2)Odysseus

3)Sidneys candy

4 Endorsment

5)Awesome Act: box it up and send me a thank you card in the mail!

It Aint Easy being good

30 Mar 2010 6:17 PM
tcc

Jason:

What race's will you be doing on THS this week?

30 Mar 2010 6:46 PM
tcc

Jason:

Illinois Derby entries.

1 1 American Lion (KY)   3/C L* D R Flores 122 E G Harty 7/2

2 2 Stephen's Got Hope (TX)   3/G L* J A Garcia 122 D F O'Neill 8/1

3 3 Boulder Creek (FL)   3/C L* C A Emigh 122 C Dollase 10/1

4 4 Yawanna Twist (NY)   3/C L E S Prado 122 R E Dutrow, Jr. 4/1

5 5 Turf Melody (KY)   3/C L J Rose 122 H G Motion 6/1

6 6 Dave in Dixie (KY)   3/C L* J Valdivia, Jr. 122 J W Sadler 9/2

7 7 Backtalk (FL)   3/C L M Mena 122 T M Amoss 3/1

8 8 Game Ball (KY)   3/C L W Martinez 122 M E Casse

30 Mar 2010 7:51 PM
Forbidden Apple

Endorsement did run a good race in a pretty fast time. Conveyance had an easy lead and just looked like he was not going all out to win it. It is hard for me to believe that Conveyance is a complete toss after his Sunland effort.

Dr.Drunkinbum,

You are right on with your comments about hot headed Desormeaux. He has a tendency to quit riding before the wire or making mistakes and then looking for the stewards to rescue him later. A few summers ago he wanted to fight me after a loss at Saratoga. He was on a horse owned by Lebron James, he ran into another horse and then quit riding. After the race he made a jockeys objection against the winner. After a long delay, I simply asked him why he quit riding? He flipped out and had to be restrained by two security guards. He still acts like a teenage boy in my opinion.

Quality Road will not face Zenyatta at 1 1/4 miles, he is a miler at best. That is why he is being pointed towards the Met Mile. And yes, the last time I checked he was beat down by Summer Bird twice. His record at Saratoga was at 6 1/2 and it was timed in error.

Graham Motion trains a talented filly by the name of Apple Charlotte. She is by Smart Strike and out of a Chief's Crown mare, look out! She ran at the Gulf on turf and is now headed to the Keeneland synthetic track. She is my early KY Oaks pick for sure.

30 Mar 2010 8:03 PM
Pam S.

Zookeeper,

I saw Mr. Hot Stuff when (I believe) he ran in something during BC weekend.  He IS a handsome son of a gun!  I was going to say something about an equine male model but Dr. Drunkinbum beat me to it.  So how about an equine Chippendale's dancer?? They certainly wouldn't have to change his name.  But seriously, could he have a future as a show horse?

30 Mar 2010 8:45 PM
Zookeeper

Pam S.,

You may be on to something here with Mr Hot Stuff. His looks certainly qualify him, but the question is: can he figure out what is expected of him? If Dr Drunkinbum is right and Hot Stuff doesn't like to exert himself, dressage would be too complicated, jumping too tiring and the breeding shed too exhausting. I sure would be happy to have him tough, even if it's just to look at him through my kitchen window. :)

Will you be at SA for the SA Derby? You do you like to win it?

30 Mar 2010 9:20 PM
The Rock

It Ain't Easy,

I'm not a Chargers fan, so you can bash LT all you want. He might not the same player as before, but he's a hall of famer anyway. With regard to your Quality Road's stakes record at SAR, the track variant was 06, that's a lightning quick track in anyone's book.

30 Mar 2010 9:26 PM
The Rock

I think American Lion has a great shot in the Illinois Derby. He gets a little relief in class as he's not facing any hard hitters in here. I'm not sure if Harty took the blinkers off, but there looks to be a lack of speed there, and if I were Flores, I wouldn't be too far away from the front. I think he's the winner at a fair price.

30 Mar 2010 9:28 PM
draynay

Any money put on Conveyance for the Derby is a complete waste of money.

The Wood and Arkansas should be very telling and so should the works at Churchill.  This year more then ever I will be looking at the works 2 weeks before the Derby.

30 Mar 2010 9:29 PM
papillon

Lazmannick said "if Secretariat would have raced in Thunder Gulch's Belmont do you still think he would have run that fast?"

I've no reason to assume Secretariat would have run the Belmont in any other time than he actually did run it in, esp. since he didn't need to run it that fast to win, he just...wanted to.

At the very least, I know Secretariat could run a mile and 1/2 in 2:24, I cannot say the same for Thunder Gulch.

But anyway, you misunderstood me--my point wasn't that time was all there is to consider, but when comparing horses that haven't raced each other, the only objective measure is their times at given distances. That's what Beyer's are trying to do after all--figure out who is fastest at a given distance.  

Class is basically moot when all the horses under consideration are all the equivalent of 1st cousins, if not out right siblings. Heresy I know, right? lol.

Right now we don't know if any of these horses can go 1 1/4, their breeding can't say they can, it can only say their relatives could--or not--which is by definition just subjective speculation and bias. It never fails that handsome fathers sometimes have ugly daughters and smart mothers sometimes have stupid sons. Go to any mall an people watch for any hour if you doubt me!

I was at the track watching Eskendereya's win, and I admit I was impressed--it sure "looked" pretty special. I was also at the track watching Rule come in third, and I admit I was disappointed, it sure didn't "look" very good. But then I compared their fractions and couldn't help but wonder if Eskendereya would have been able to finish like he did after running Rule's 1:10 mile, which is the fastest at that distance of the top derby contenders so far--maybe he could, maybe he couldn't--the times can't tell me that, but they can put the races into perspective, so that they can be compared a little more objectively than how they "looked."

Rule's third comes off looking a little better, while Eskendereya's first, comes of looking a little less special.

As for the claimers having better times but not being better horses, well it depends on the claimer--there are solid gold claimers and $1million duds. If the claimer consistently races at certain distance at a certain time, then he's the real deal. If the best bred, million dollar horse can't challenge a turtle, then he's not.

Citation vs. Secretariat: I don't think times in a single race tell you which was the "better" horse, but I do think they tell you who was better at a given distance or a give race. But who knows, had Citation not stumbled, maybe he would have made up those 4 seconds.

Wactching Secretariat's Belmont on youtube is to me what church is to others, a way to remind myself  that there is divinity in the universe. However, personally, I've always though Seattle Slew was better horse than Secretariat--but in the end does it really matter? glad I give you reason to chuckle =)

30 Mar 2010 9:49 PM
It aint easy being good

Stop making excuses he has 3 track records so live with it. He owns more records then jerry rice! Until someone beats him this year I wont stop talking when he does you guys can unleash the fury but until then he is the best horse around this year. Last year is over he is 1 and 0 like Zenyatta. He runs on dirt where real champions run on!

I am not jumping ship on dublin I just stated there are other horses that can round out the trifecta or superfecta for you guys Dont take my advice but I will be running my mouth May 1st at 8pm when I am drinking free beer all night thanks to my superior handicapping skills because ......IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD!

30 Mar 2010 10:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Forbidden Apple

  The other hothead is Nakatani. He's the wrong jockey for Dublin. Horse's can sense the tension and uncaring attitudes and some horses will run to death for some jockeys and barely run for others. Desormeaux has some terrible rides but never accepts responsibilty. Some I like are Rajiv Maragh, Joel Rosario, and Alan Garcia. I like Mike Smith's personality and sometimes he rides really good and sometimes not !! Quality Road is a phenom, extremely talented and I believe he will show that away from GP this year barring injury. And I do believe he is pointed to The Classic at 1 1/4 unless he shows them along the way he can't get the distance. He is talented enough to pull it off in peak condition. People forget how much his injury set him back last year. One thing is certain though-He hates AW tracks and he doesn't like to run on tracks he doesn't like. He's a smart horse and wants to control his own destiny and safety. I also believe his preferred distance is a mile.

30 Mar 2010 10:10 PM
GREAT GUS

I would like to read from this column of experts some comments about the SANTA ANITA DERBY , and the chances of SIDNEY'S CANDY over LAL and CARACORTADO . PLease give the first 3 in orden of preference and which horse is going to take the lead.Thanks

30 Mar 2010 10:15 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

10,000,000 people tuned into the WWE websight in the first 24 hours after Wrestlemania.  Of course, they were all twelve year olds.  Come to think of it, most of them said that you were their best friend.  LOL

30 Mar 2010 10:18 PM
Matthew W

ANY hoss who can get 1 1/8 like Quality Road--is not a "miler at best"! 1 1/4 is not his best distance---but 1 1/8??? I'll take that any day...but if I own Big Z, and she's still unbeaten---it'll be 1 1/4, thank you very much--if I'm gonna take on Quality...

30 Mar 2010 10:40 PM
Matthew W

Great Gus--I like Alphies Bet over Sydneys Candy and Caracortado on Sat--box with LAL and play to win!

30 Mar 2010 10:42 PM
draynay

Mr. Baffert you seem to often make the right decisions but what are you doing with Looking at Lucky?  You are going to run him at Santa Anita on the plastic and then ship him across the country?  You are making a big mistake and have cost your horse a chance at winning the Derby. Trainers make mistakes but this one is hard to believe.  What has winning the Santa Anita done for any horse in the Derby the last 20 years?  Silly.

30 Mar 2010 10:58 PM
draynay

1 1/4 is not Quality Roads best distance ?  What total nonsense.  When he catches a dry track no one can catch him at ANY distance.  Did you all forget he was coming off injury last year ? Geez.

30 Mar 2010 11:00 PM
It aint easy being good

LAZMANNICK your jokes are weak kinda like your posts! No one cares about wrestling hence why no one has responded to your wrestling post let it go! Just go back to my post earlier if you want to win $$$$$$$$$$.

30 Mar 2010 11:03 PM
Matthew W

Sydneys Candy will make the lead--LAL will be close--Alphies will be flying and will fin 1st or 2nd...will box with LAL and also with Sydney (whom I believe is a miler at best)...you'll hear it now and later from me--that Alphies Bet is the real deal.....also if American Lion can relax he'll win for fun and "you'll laugh--all the way to the bank"...and why NOT on the lead, Mr Flores...(in Illonois)....lots to like about this year--in the shadow of racing history (Zenyatta),Precisionist-like quality (Quality Road), and, oh yes, the reigning (spectacular) HOY-- there's a nice group of three year olds beginning to come around--it's what it's all about!

30 Mar 2010 11:06 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Great Gus

   I don't know about the expert part and the pps aren't even out yet !! But it will be a shock if Sidney's Candy doesn't get the lead right away or at least by the 6F point if there is some nut gunning for the lead just to have the lead, then Sidney might have to pass him. LAL will drop back then make a run-where he takes off will depend on the pace. Caracortado could either press or stalk. Don't quote me yet because I haven't even seen pps. And I will also be surprised if those 3 are the top 3. I'm still hoping Setsuko has developed enough since his last, and somone else could too. Setsuko needed a little more speed and his recent workouts show speed. They can make dramatic progress at this stage in short periods of time race to race. LAL is the horse to beat but I believe he prefers dirt over AW. I seriously doubt if they will try to change Sydney's style so you can count on him leading. And you can count on LAL flying late. Anything else is not assured.

30 Mar 2010 11:10 PM
Matthew W

They may try Zenyatta---they WON'T try Quality--I heard rumors--weeks before they lost to #2 Z filly...

30 Mar 2010 11:12 PM
Ted from LA

Santa Anita Derby Complete Order of Finish:

1.  Lookin at Lucky

2.  Caracortado

3.  Sidney's Candy

If the first two flip-flop, it would not bother me at all.  Caracortado needs a big day.  I want him second by a length and ready to reverse his fortune on Derby Day at a price.

Endorsement is a whole new adventure in Derby handicapping...

30 Mar 2010 11:18 PM
GunBow

The Santa Anita Derby looks like a promising race, but I also wouldn't be shocked if on Sunday it looks like only one horse from the field appears to be a legit Kentucky Derby prosepct.

Lookin at Lucky is the known commodity and a legit Derby horse; the only thing that gets him beat this Saturday is the synthetic surface.  The Lookin at Lucky I watched in the Rebel moved so much smoother than what I've seen from him on synthetics.  His Rebel performance was superior to any race he ran last year, even though it was his first start in 3 months and first time outside California.

In addition to the surface change, I think there are 2 other reasons why LaL run better in the Rebel than in Cali.  Although I can't be certain until I see him upclose Saturday, from what I saw on video it appears Lookin at Lucky filled out over the winter.  While LaL looked sharp and alert when I saw him run in the Breeder's Cup and Hollywood Futurity, he wasn't exactly a physically imposing horse and if anything was on the skinny side.  For the Rebel, LaL appeared much thicker.  

Another key difference is that LaL ran in blinkers for the Rebel.  In his wins in the Norkolk and Hollywood Futurity, LaL flipped his ears up and slowed down slightly once he made the lead.  While LaL only made the lead in the Rebel at the wire, I loved how focused he was in making his sustained run to nail Noble's Promise.  If that was LaL at 80%, he's a much better horse than when I last saw him in December.

However, I do not believe LaL will be quite as explosive on synthetic this Saturday.  For this reason, I do think he can get beat, although it's probably a little more likely he'll find a way to do just enough to win.  Either way, I'm not expecting a monster performance from him.

Based just on talent, the major threats to LaL in the SA Derby are Sidney's Candy and Caracortado.  From the time I saw him in the San Vicente, I have thought that Sidney's Candy is the most talented 3 year old I have seen this year at Santa Anita(LaL hasn't run at SA this year).  Sidney's Candy's win in the San Felipe demonstrated he can successfully go 2 turns, something other frontrunners have struggled to do at Santa Anita.  

By Candy Ride, the sire of frontrunning Misremembered, the winner of the 10 furlong Santa Anita Handicap, Sidney's Candy has the pedigree to suggest 9 furlongs should be within his capabilities.  However, in the San Felipe he was allowed to sit on a brutally slow pace, and though there is not alot of quality speed in the SA Derby, I think one or two horses will come out of the woodwork to keep him honest upfront.

While I do think Sidney's Candy can probably get 9 furlongs, it wouldn't shock me if he fades the final sixteenth like Conveyance did at Sunland.  The fact is, I'm not yet sold on Sidney's Candy's ability to get even 9 furlongs let alone 10.  I do think he is very talented, and believe he should have little problem running on dirt(Misremembered is a gr.2 winner on dirt), but if he's not meant to get 10 furlongs, talent can only carry him so far.

Caracortado demonstrated he has an explosive turn of foot and that he can run 8.5 furlongs when winning the gr.2 Bob Lewis.  The San Felipe was a definite step back, but he was given a tough task in the race.  After laying mid-pack behind Sidney's Candy, Interactif, and American Lion through tepid fractions, Caracortado made a big middle-move to reach contention on the far turn.  However, to do so, he had to make up 3 lengths  running into a sub-23 second quarter.  While he did tire in the stretch, and Interactif eventually re-rallied past him for 2nd, Caracortado was the only mid/late-runner in the race to make any impression, and to his credit he finished ahead of American Lion even though that one was up near the slow pace.

With a larger field for the SA Derby and at least a somehwat fater pace, I think Caracortado's middle-move will be better flattered.  However, it's not like his pedigree jumps out and says 10 furlongs either.  While I have less doubts about his ability to get 9 furlongs, I'm not convinced Caracortado is a true "classic" horse.  The final sixteenth of the SA Derby will tell us alot about his ability to get 9.5 furlongs+.

Given these concerns, I wouldn't be shocked if both Sidney's Candy and Caracortado came up just a little short in the final furlong of the SA Derby.  If they do, that would open up the door to the less talented but more long-winded 1-2 Sham finishers, Alphie's Bet and Setsuko.

While comparing synth Beyers to dirt Beyers is tricky, I think there is less room for error when comparing dirt Beyers to dirt Beyers or synth Beyers to synth Beyers.  Therefore, I do think Team Beyer had it generally correct when they rated the Sham about 10 points below the Bob Lewis, San Vicente, and San Felipe.  The Sham field featured no graded stakes winner and horses from the Sham like Outlaw Man(4th in the Sham, 6th in the Lane's End) and The Program(3rd in Sham, 7th in Louisiana Derby), have not impressed since. And if I've learned anything about handicapping synth races, it's that class matters, and matter alot.

While Alphie's Bet and Setsuko are giving up alot class-wise and talent-wise, I already know both can get 9 furlongs and think both should do fine at 10 furlongs and beyond.  Both are big framed, strong, almost massive horses, and both were running very fast at the end of the 9 furlong Sham.  Of the 2, Alphie's Bet seems the more atheletic and explosive, which is why he got the jump on Setsuko in the Sham.  Setsuko is like a big train car in that it takes him a while to get going, but once he does he can cover alot of ground.

To sum, in Sidney's Candy and Caracortado we have two talented prospects that may not want a classic distance while in Alphie's Bet and Setsuko we have 2 long-winded runners who just might not be talented enough to run in the Triple Crown.  In a perfect world, the SA Derby proves Sidney's Candy and Caracortado can get a distance, and that Alphie's Bet and Setsuko are rapidly developing prospects who had yet to display their true talent.  Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it's also possible that the SA Derby could produce only one legit Triple Crown prospect.

30 Mar 2010 11:32 PM
LAZMANNICK

papillon

No one can argue against Secretariat.  However, it would be interesting to know why you think Slew was the better horse.

30 Mar 2010 11:43 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

How did you know that Shawn Michael's had tears in his eyes during his retirement speech on Raw?

30 Mar 2010 11:45 PM
GunBow

Itainteasy:

You actually undersold Quality Road; he's 2 and 0 this year.

31 Mar 2010 2:07 AM
TripleCrownCoug

Papillon,

Time comparisons only have value at the same track on the same day, and sometimes not even then.  

There are just too many variables that make up the speed of any given surface.  This is why I give almost no credence to speed figures.  They try to account for all of the variables but it is impossible.  A perfect example is the Beyers handed out at the Fair Grounds for Battle Plan and Mission Impazible.  Battle Plan ran the 1 1/8 miles about a full second faster than Mission Impazible so on the surface BP's Beyer of 103 against MI's 94 looks reasonable.  But analyze a little more.  Battle Plan is a 5 year old and he was carrying 5 lbs LESS than Mission Impazible.  If you consider what the weight for age scales says a 5 year old should carry vs a 3 year old this time of year I think we know who ran the more impressive race.  Yes, Battle Plan ran faster but the CONDITIONS were different.

Another thing I always look at when I see a really good time is the times for other races at that track that day that were run at similar distances.  

Many are making a big deal about Endorsement running within 1/5 of second of a 49 year old track record.  Well, there's a reason that track record has lasted that long.  First, the horses that usually run at Sunland AREN'T VERY GOOD.  Also, races there are rarely run at 1 1/8 miles.  So, lets look at some of the other distance races run that day.  Bang, right off the bat we see that $25,000 claimers ran the mile in the first race in 1:35 1/5,  within 3/5 of the track record.  Wow, those must have been some undervalued claimers!  2 races later we see $10,000 claimers carrying the same weight as the derby horses run the mile in 1:35 4/5.  The Oaks was also run in very fast time.  Bottom line, the Sunland Park strip was lightning fast on Sunday.

Lastly, I was at Belmont for the 3 days leading up to the 1995 Belmont and by Saturday everyone who knows anything about racing knew that the that Belmont would be one of the slowest ever.  Did we think the horses were that bad?  No. The reason everyone knew was because the track was insanely SLOW all week.  When the 7 furlong graded Riva Ridge is run in 1:25 and change you know the track is really slow.  I'll tell you right now, even if Secretariat duplicated his 1973 effort on that race track he wouldn't have broken 2:28.

31 Mar 2010 2:08 AM
Aluminaut

Until LAL does something wrong, he's the top horse.  Esk looked great winning, but I need to see more from him first.  I'm still looking for that longshot.

Found 1 last Fri 26.  Bet a lot, but should have bet more.  Tribalicious Race 4 SA.  Texted my brother 2 hrs before, he gave out but did not bet.  28-1.  Does this mean I should pick Alphies Bet? (Also by Tribal Rule)

Apologies to Winstar, but Mr. Hot Stuff might do better if he had more in common w/Caracortado.

31 Mar 2010 2:47 AM
GunBow

One other reason I'm not quite sold on Caracortado is that in the Bob Lewis he did get a perfect pace setup with Tiz Chrome and American Lion running each other into the ground and Dave in Dixie too far back to really threaten.  Further, the horses behind him that day haven't run well since.

While Caracortado is probably not as good as he looked in the Bob Lewis, he isn't as mediocre as he looked in the San Felipe.  As I wrote earlier, he was forced to make a premature move into blistering mid/late fractions(around the far turn).

31 Mar 2010 4:03 AM
LDP

FYI they corrected QR time in the Amsterdam and it still was a track record. Also, the track may have been fast, but if I recall correctly, QR was making his first start in six months, i think, plus he got caught extremely wided on the far turn. The track may have been fast, but no other horse could come off a layoff, go as wide as he did and win, let alone in track record time.

31 Mar 2010 5:48 AM
draynay

Watch the Rebel again. I think the Derby winner is in that race and Noble's Promise really sticks out. Some horse named Bango or something like that shoots through on the first turn and forces NP really wide into the first turn.  NP is wide all the way around and has to take on a charging Dublin because Nakatani pushes the button WAY too early on Dublin costing him any chance for the win but also forcing NP to take off before he is ready.  After putting away Dublin NP comes within inches of holding off Lucky.  NP is a better horse and will prove it next Saturday. Lucky got Lucky look for Noble to turn the tables in the Derby.

31 Mar 2010 7:53 AM
draynot

Jason, get ready here I come !  See you for opening day at Keeneland.  I will be the tall good looking one with the beautiful wife.  Have my lunch ready for me see you at 12:30.

draynay 30 Mar 2010 3:59 PM

Jason are you going to get a prieview of the pink dress, hat, and bow the nay nay will be wearin at the Derby? If so don't spill any beer on it, you wouldn't want to give him an excuse to not wear it as promised.

31 Mar 2010 8:12 AM
the_wiz

Quality Road at 1 1/4? Are you all forgetting he was entered in the Classic and ready to tackle a new surface at that distance before his meltdown at the gate? Seems to me his connections have already made the determination he can go that far. I have to think that if they were willing to go that far on "fake crap" then on dirt it makes it more likely. Don't count him out of anything, he is very very good. Against Zenyatta? I'd love to see it but give her the edge.

The SA Derby and Wood this weekend are very intriguing. LAL, Caracortado, Sydney's Candy, and Alphies Bet makes the SA Derby a must to watch. All four have great potential. I am most interested to see Schoolyard Dreams go in the Wood simply for the fact that he could have had it his way in the Illinois Derby but chose to take on much better. Give his connections credit for seeking out better competition to see where he stacks up. Esky will be more than a handful in that one and Awesome Act is no slough either.

The Illinois Derby is relagated to third string on the list of races this weekend once again. American Lion should be tough here and I feel for Dave In Dixie who had to escape California in hopes of finding a race he has a shot in. Backtalk is the one I'll be watching most closely, his last work was off the charts and if it didn't burn him out he could win in a War Emblem like rout.      

31 Mar 2010 8:36 AM
The Rock

It aint easy,

If Quality Road was 15 for 15, you'd be throwing that at everyone's faces. Not just his record this year. Look, he's a very nice horse. There's no doubt about that, but what Zenyatta has done is really something special. She's won at the top of the class level for the past 2 going on 3 years. Her style, in which to most horses that adopt to it is more conducive to a fast pace, is irrelevant to her, which makes her performances even more impressive. Forget the East Coast West Coast crap, everyone should appreciate what she's done and what she'll be doing for the rest of the year, b/c we most likely won't see it again for a long long time. Sure, you'll throw in the fact that the majority of her wins are on a plastic, rubber, waxy, synthetic surface, but its done at the top level. Too bad we couldn't see them go up against each other in the biggest stakes race in the country besides the Kentucky Derby, but QR couldn't handle the pressure of the big stage.=)

31 Mar 2010 9:16 AM
mr pibb

Let's face it LAZ, the WWE is immenently more popular than Horse Racing can ever dream of. Sad but true.

31 Mar 2010 10:38 AM
Pam S.

Zookeeper,

Would love to be going to the SA Derby, but since we went three weeks ago, we're skipping it.  Also, it's on TV!  I'm going with the chalk to win.  I just think LAL is the very definition of a horse that has done nothing wrong.

As far as Mr. Hot Stuff, it's OK, we can't all be over-achievers!

31 Mar 2010 11:00 AM
Slew

If I remember correctly, QR broke a track record at Saratoga in a 7f sprint.  That does not tell me he can go 1 1/4 outside of Gulfstream. Even he did not want to go 1 1/4 in the BCC. I think we have a great crop of 3 year olds...if we didn't, we would not still be so utterly confused by the Derby preps.  Every week, another colt steps into the spotlight.  I remember Citation and Arcaro..awesome.  I remember Shoemaker and Hartack.  Enjoyed Secretariat and Affirmed, but I loved Seattle Slew...my hero.  Why would anyone sit at a keyboard criticising their wins 32 years later when we remain in a Triple Crown drought?  Enjoy what we do have now...and leave past champions' records in tact.  I'm still waiting for another Slew.  I haven't seen him yet.  

31 Mar 2010 11:56 AM
Matthew W

Quality Road had a better trip in JC Gold Cup than did Summer Bird--1 1 /4 NOT his best distance--beat the best at 1 1/4 if ya want the respect--until then I'm right! I love this game!

31 Mar 2010 2:40 PM
Matthew W

LAL/Noble's are the two most consistently good horses from this crop.....one of them always beats the other.....

31 Mar 2010 2:41 PM
Matthew W

3yo full sis to Hot Stuff almost won and will win next start

31 Mar 2010 2:46 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Slew it was not a dry track when QR lost and who cares that was last year thanks to my buddy updating me he is now 2 and 0 this year and will be a force all the way until the breeders cup and hopefully will see the showdown of the ages! I say Sidneys Candy this weekend by a nose, that horse is a smooth operater.....SMOOOOTH OPERATER! loL!

31 Mar 2010 3:28 PM
Zookeeper

The "anti-Zenyatta" fanatics have dropped their former lethal weapon (Rachel Alexandra) and are brandishing a new one (Quality Road) who, they claim, will certainly beat the living daylight out of Zen, no matter the distance. Isn't it amazing? Tell me, Zen-haters, if Quality Road fails to live up to your expectations, will you also drop him like a hot potato and reach for another imagined threat to the Queen? Your lack of loyalty towards RA is as astounding as your lack of respect towards Zen. With fans like you, beautiful Rachel Alexandra doesn't need any detractors and QR deserves better than your short-lived support. Amazing!!!

31 Mar 2010 3:59 PM
The Rock

Draynay,

Watch the Rebel again with the Blinkers off. LAL got Lucky? He clipped heals down the backstretch and still caught Noble's Promise, who hasn't beaten him in 3 tries.

31 Mar 2010 4:08 PM
The Rock

If Sidney's Candy gets to stroll on the front end again, he may be tought to catch, even with an additional 1/16th. Looking at Lucky has enough earnings to get to the Derby, so I'm sure Baffert doesn't want to empty the tank in this race. But this horse has such a nack for finding the wire before his competition, that his turn of foot might be too much to handle for Sidney's Candy.

31 Mar 2010 4:10 PM
El Kabong

Dr. Drunkinbum,

I watched LD over and over and I think Kent thought  ALM and DM were going to open up so he pointed Drosselmeyer that way. They didn't so he jerked him to the rail with 1 furlong to go. You would think that would be enough time but it may have caused the horse to lose his momentum and confidence. He did pick it up at the end though. Gary Stevens also mentioned the bad luck in the stretch(For Drosselmeyer) on TV. Kent did not seem like he wanted the rail at all because it was open when he made his decision to look for a split by the other two horses. While there is no one to blame but Kent, he may have been aware of a rail bias he was trying to avoid. Hard call, but I for one do not think Drosselmeyer should try to make the Derby. This is just another reason why the current system must change to a graded stakes point system instead of a cash system.

31 Mar 2010 4:12 PM
draynay

Does anyone really take Awesome Act seriously ?  He has no shot in the Wood.

31 Mar 2010 4:23 PM
Mike Relva

THE ROCK

Agree totally on your remarks of Zenyatta/QR. Some people don't wanna face reality.

31 Mar 2010 4:27 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

That was funny,well down my friend.

31 Mar 2010 4:28 PM
Tim G

Did I miss something? Sleep through a time warp? Zenyatta, QR and RA are running in the Derby?

One of the potential eight in the gate for Todd?????

Seems like we need to drop this nonsense and talk about the Derby which is a little over 4 weeks away and is getting down to crunch time.

(the only thing I'm waiting for re those horses is waiting to see QR BE Z, sex change???)

31 Mar 2010 4:30 PM
Mike Relva

ZOOKEEPER

That's what I ALWAYS say. Some of these people(if they can be classified as such) have no loyality. Some already have forgot RA.

31 Mar 2010 4:39 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

   Nice post. Some tunes will be changed after they see how fast Zenyatta runs at Oaklawn. She will be better than ever on dirt. But there still will be detractors. If nothing else then they will say she stinks because she couldn't have beaten Secretariat in the 73 Belmont Stakes. Yawanna Twist and Turf Melody in the Illinois Derby. Will post SA and Wood picks after studying the pps. Did you know that Brisnet has free charts from 1991 now? Me-I think Zenyatta, Quality Road and Rachel are all phenominal. But I love Zenyatta. And I'm a Setsuko fan eventhough I think very highly of LAL. If Eskendereya romps in the Wood they will be talking about a Triple Crown threat and he will be the Derby fav. I already expect LAL to not be quite as impressive since he doesn't really like pro ride that much. But his class will prevent him from slacking too much.

31 Mar 2010 4:41 PM
El Kabong

SA Derby is a dangerous race to wager on and here's why. LAL does not need to win, he just needs a good prep for the real prize. Baffert's own words about the SA Derby recently, " I want to get through this, and go to Kentucky." Now I know Bob loves to win this race and the horse loves to run and compete, but I will not have him singled up top for that reason alone. I like LAL with a fresh horse, Who's Up and a hot one, Alphie's Bet. Sidney will be on the 3 and 4 level of a superfecta.

31 Mar 2010 4:46 PM
HBK

Laz,

I wish Vince McMahon would get into the business of racing horses. We need some more "color" to draw new fans. I'd like to see Zenyatta and QR in a no holds barred race. Hornswaggle could ride one and draynay wearin his pink dress the other. I'll be standin at the finish line to land some sweet chin music and knock nay nay off his mount.

31 Mar 2010 5:37 PM
Zenyatta_The Peoples Choice as HOY 2009

"If Zenyatta runs and wins the Classic I will wear a pink dress with a bow in my hair to the Derby next year".

draynay 13 Jul 2009 7:57 PM

"If Zenyatta wins ANY race Breeders Cup week I will wear a pink hat to the Derby that says, "I WAS WRONG"".

Draynay 25 Oct 2009 12:40 AM

Tic Toc, Tic Toc, Tic Toc,

times running out. Man up to your word if you have the courage.

31 Mar 2010 5:46 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

El Kabong

   I agree entirely that the SA Derby is a dangerous race to wager. I may either stay out or take a WPS stab on Setsuko as a fan of his. And I agree with your LAL comments but he loves to win so who knows. Your other post about the LA Derby was very interesting, and I agree entirely that they must come up with a better system to determine Derby entrants. And I also believe that Drossel should pass the Derby and point to the Preakness. He has already proven that even 3 weeks is not enough when he couldn't do much the race prior to LA Derby. I also wonder if he wants to go past 1 1/8 but he might be able to pull it off as a fresh horse in The Preakness. I'm also thinking he just may not be good enough. Your analysis of Kent's ride is very intriguing and I should look at it again. And it's true that sometimes it doesn't take much to disrupt a horse's momentum. Thanks for the posts.

31 Mar 2010 5:49 PM
draynay

Rock, you bet LAL in the Derby and I will bet Noble's Promise and do me a favor and come back here and tell me how you did.  Don't count on Dublin to help you the next time they see each other.  Baffert has ruined any chance LAL had by having him run out West in a meaningless race is a huge mistake.

31 Mar 2010 6:02 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Time out you Z lovers....Draynay was on the RA bandwagon just running his mouth how great she was and comparing her to secrateriest I am on the Quality Road bandwagon and have been on it even before the derby last year and also when he waxed Dunkirk and sent pletcher crying foul! Z is a great Mare and has some above average accomplishments  but the king is Quality Road and he will have his chance to shine! IF QR loses to Zenyatta which will never happen I will never say anything again about Queen Z.

I watched 2 minutes of Raw laughed of how bad wrestling is then turned on womens bball to watch the biggest (chokes) in sports history. youtube the womens xavier/stanford game!

This weekend looking at lucky wont win because he doesnt need to. Draynay awesome act is smooth and should do well ..with 6 horses in the field how can he not!

31 Mar 2010 6:22 PM
LAZMANNICK

It aint easy being good

Tell us again who you like for this weekend so we can all get an early laugh.

31 Mar 2010 6:49 PM
winwinwin

Hello, I am asking if there is anyone who can send me the times that was posted for the race that Eskendereya won in Florida, I mean the splits quarter, half-mile three quarters, and mile, and the mile and furlong, I am doing my home work for the Wood Memorial, and just need these times to proceed, please could anyone help me?

31 Mar 2010 7:00 PM
LAZMANNICK

Papillon:

Thunder Gulch’s 1996 Derby winning time of 2.02.2 was the fastest since Spend-A-Buck’s 200.1 in 1985.  Before that you had to go back to Affirmed’s 201.1 in 1978 to see the next fastest.  In other words it was the second fastest Derby in 18 consecutive additions of the race which proves Thunder Gulch’s class when compared to the other winners of the race during that time period.

Thunder Gulch’s Belmont time of 2.32.1 was the slowest Belmont since Bounding Home ran the race in 2.32.1 in 1944 (this taking into account that several Belmonts were contested at Aqueduct in the 60’s because Belmont Park was being renovated (Aqueduct is a slower track at 1-1/2M).

Do you not realize that there was a radical variance in 1996?  I know that Secretariat could walk on water (at least I believe he could) and his Belmont was one of the signature races of the century,  but the track was playing at least four seconds slower for Thunder Gulch’s running.  If Secretariat’s Belmont was run in 1996 instead of 1973, the results and the winning margins might be the same, but the time wouldn’t have been.  His race would have been 3 to 4 seconds slower when adding in the variance, which is what TripleCrownCoug stated in his post.

31 Mar 2010 7:33 PM
The Rock

Dray,

Like I said before, I'm not making my choice for the Derby till the Past Performances are out and Post Positions are drawn. The only time I'll make a prediction on a horse is if I'm fairly confident in them. The last time I did that was back in 06' when Barbaro won it. To be quite honest, LAL looks a lot like Pioneer of the Nile from last year. But its tough to go against Baffert, a 3 TIME KY DERBY Winning trainer, who placed 2nd last year. I think he knows a crap load more than you do on how to get a horse to win the KY Derby.

Boom Roasted

31 Mar 2010 7:52 PM
winwinwin

I completed my homework for the

WOOD Memorial Aqueduct Racetrack

on 3rd April 2010!

I believe Awsome Act will win!!

I will not get into specifics, however I like his fractions, and he showed me that he can prompt a fast pace,and close early, and is that type of horse, who can hurry-up, and await the calvary charge, or he can take the race to who-ever

and fight off to the finish, Eskendereya..main threat, pletcher will try to prove his presence, but

Awsome,is awsome, and it will be an ACT!!!

31 Mar 2010 7:58 PM
draynay

Eskendereya is much the best in the Wood this will not be much of a race. LAL wins the Santa Anita but who cares the winner for the last 20 years has done nothing in the Derby. The more I watch the more I like Noble's Promise for the win.

31 Mar 2010 7:58 PM
odelay

Hey Ted, how about joyride?  probably already been used.

Sunland Park-endorsement...mine that bird?...altitude?

31 Mar 2010 8:12 PM
It aint easy being good

Just for you lazmannick:

SA Derby: Sidneys Candy

Wood: Eskeyandra he has to win or get 2nd to get in the derby so due to that fact I think this horse will win.

Lazmannick come back on here on sunday and call me the messiah!

31 Mar 2010 8:30 PM
Zookeeper

winwinwin,

Here's the fractions and the splits for the Fountain of Youth:

23.72 47.72 1:12.41 1:36.24 1:48.87

  24.20  24.49  24.13   12.33

You can get charts on any race at Equibase.com  Click on Results and make your choice of date and tract.

It's free. Good luck!

31 Mar 2010 8:38 PM
The Rock

Dray,

In the last 20 years, how many Wood Winners have taken the Derby?

31 Mar 2010 8:44 PM
GunBow

For those dismayed that Lookin at Lucky is making his last prep on a a synthetic surface, I believe Baffert is simply running a play from the Carl Nafzger playbook.

Like Lookin at Lucky, Nafzger's Street Sense was a 2 year old champion and prior to his final Derby prep had run only once in his 3 year old season(Street Sense won the 07' T.B. Derby in a photo after a long stretch battle with Any Given Saturday).  Nafzger already knew Street Sense could handle dirt(and knew he could handle Churchill specifically), and didn't have to worry about not making the race dure to a lack of earnings.  After the gut-wrencher in Tampa, all Nafzger was looking for in Street Sense's final prep was a tightener, a race that would have Street Sense peaking on the first Saturday in May.

Typically based out of Keeneland during the spring, Nafzger eyed the Blue Grass as Street Sense's final prep, even though the Blue Grass would be run over polytrack for the first time.  And though Nafzger was certain Street Sense was better on dirt than synthetic, the Blue Grass was appealing because he could keep Street Sense at his home base and avoid shipping.  In addition, Nafzger knew Street Sense at least tolerated polytrack and knew Street Sense could handle moving from synthetic to dirt for the Derby because he had used Keeneland's Breeders Futurity(over poly) as a prep for Street Sense's monster 10 length BC Juvenile romp.

There is probably another reason why Nafzger chose the Blue Grass for Street Sense.  Nafzger was looking for a race that would not be too demanding.  Because synthetic route races frequently have very slow paces, horses often just have to exert themselves strongly over the last half mile or so.  As a closer, Street Sense wasn't going to be asked to run a demanding first 5 furlongs even if his final prep was on dirt, but by running on synthetic, Street Sense's task would be even easier.  

All Nafzger really needed Street Sense to do in the Blue Grass was finish up well, win or lose.  In fact, Street Sense did lose, but only by a nose and after chasing a very slow early pace.  Even though Street Sense had been compromised by the Blue Grass pace, he still came with a stretch run that tightened him up perfectly for his smashing win in the Derby.

My best guess is that Baffert wants to see Lookin at Lucky run like Street Sense did in the 07' Blue Grass.  Lookin at Lucky will probably be closer to the pace than Street Sense was in the Blue Grass, but the main goal for Lookin at Lucky will not be to win, but to finish well.  As long as Lucky looks good the final eighth, Baffert should be pleased.  However, winning a race like the Santa Anita Derby in the process would be an added bonus.

31 Mar 2010 8:50 PM
The Rock

Don't know? 1,  Fu-Peg (2000).

31 Mar 2010 9:14 PM
Greg J.

Draynay,

    As usual, You logic makes no sense?  You say the winner of the Santa Anita Derby has done nothing in the Kentucky Derby in the last twenty years while comparing it to the Wood. If you use the twenty year cut-off, Santa Anita is one for twenty(Sunday Silence), And, The Wood is only one for twenty(Fusaichi Pegasus)!  Going back twenty one years, Santa Anita is two for twenty-one(Sunday Silence, Winning Colors), While the Wood still has only one winner,  So, Your argument is meaningless with such low win percentages for both, A bad comparision.  Using your argument with winners of their previous prep before the Derby, Then, The winner of the Kentucky Derby should be Ice Box, The winner of the Florida Derby, Which, In those same twenty-one years, Has produced five Kentucky Derby Winners, The most of any Derby prep race before the Derby!  My point is, It is a bad argument, No matter the prep, There is no logical pattern to predict the Derby winner off their previous prep to the Kentucky Derby...

31 Mar 2010 9:29 PM
GunBow

The Illinois Derby looks like an interesting regional showdown.  There's 4 horses from Cali giving dirt a shot, 3 horses from the East led by the Gotham runner-uo Yawanna Twist, and 1 Midwesterner, the 3-1 favorite Backtalk.  I attended the Illinois Derby from 2003-2005 and in 2008, and found Hawthorne to be friendly to horses from all over North America.  Ten Most Wanted and Greeley's Galaxy won from Cali, Pollard's Vision and Recapturetheglory won from Louisiana, Sweetnorthernsaint and Cowtown Cat won from New York, and Musket Man won last year from Florida.

I'll get to the SoCal horses first because I've seen all of them run in person.  Of the 4, I think Boulder's Creek is the least likely to win even though Stephen's Got Hope is still a maiden.  Stephen's Got Hope ran a decent 5th in a strong San Felipe(Sidney's Candy, Interactif, Caracortado, American Lion, Dave in Dixie) while Boulder Creek was 5th in the weaker Sham Stakes.  Two horses that finished ahead of Boulder Creek in the Sham, The Program and Outlaw Man, disappointed last week in the Lane's End and Louisiana Derby.  And while both are closers, I think Stephen's Got Hope has a little more speed.  Thus, I rate Stephen's Got Hope slightly ahead of Boulder Creek although I don't like either to win.

American Lion and Dave in Dixie are clearly the class of the Cali shippers.  Both are wonderful looking athletes and have been well thought of from the beginning; Amercian Lion is by Tiznow out of a Storm Cat mare while Dave in Dixie was a $310k purchase.

Although not universal, the trend I've noticed in horses moving from Santa Anita's Pro-Ride to dirt is that the most successful ones were horses that showed good speed on Pro-ride but came back to their fields in the stretch, struggling against the track bias.  Some of these speed horses also became rank when trying to settle behind the typically placid paces that two-turn races on Pro-Ride produce.  For closers, the disadvantages created by these slow paces are usually nullified by a track bias the favors mid-pack and late-running horses; thus, it is not uncommon to see horses close successfully on Pro-Ride even when the early pace is slow.

Given this, I give American Lion a btter shot in the Illinois Derby than Dave in Dixie although I remain skeptical about both.  American Lion has decent speed, which is why he was up near the pace in the Bob Lewis and San Felipe.  However, because the track bias at Santa Anita is well understood by the jockeys, Julien Leparoux took a strong hold of American Lion and ran as slow as possible early.  In both races American Lion did not respond well to this restraint, displaying signs of being rank, and then coming up empty in the stretch.  

My guess is that American Lion is likely to run better when allowed to settle behind legit fractions or, if the pace is too slow, dictate things himself.  Unlike on Pro-Ride, David Flores(American Lion's new jockey) will not need to strangle American Lion early due to the fear of the track bias.

As for Dave in Dixie, he hasn't been able to win on a track that typically flatters his style.  in the Bob Lewis, Dave in Dixie could not have received a more perfect set-up with Tiz Chrome and American Lion slugging it out on the frontend.  Still, Dave was just barely able to tag American Lion on the wire for 2nd.  In the Illinois Derby, Dave in Dixie will likely have to be used more early than he is accustomed to; while on Pro-Ride jockeys can take their mounts back knowing the frontrunners are likely to come back to them(around 2 turns), on dirt such a strategy is much more risky.  Throw in the fact that there is little speed in the Illinois Derby field, and that pace-pushers have dominated the Illinois Derby since the move to Hawthorne in 2003(only Ten Most Wanted in 2003 came from the back to win), and the likelihood of Dave in Dixie winning is not high.

So, American Lion is may choice of the Cali shippers.  However, having seen him run 3 times in person, I am certainly not head over heels about him.  Frankly, he hasn't shown any brilliance or explosiveness since his maiden win at Keeneland.  While AL probably will perform better on dirt, I just think that he is off mentally or overrated physically.

Yawanna Twist is the best of the Eastern horses having run 2nd in the Gotham.  In the Gotham, Yawanna Twist turned what looked like an Awesome Act runaway into a competitive race, closing furiously down the stretch.  Yawanna Twist has not carried the expectations that AL and Dave have been carrying, but clearly Dutrow believes he has the talent to at least be considered for Kentucky.  He enters with a strong last-out Beyer, and Gotham runners have had success in the Illinois Derby(Sweetnorthensaint and Cowtown Cat won in 06' and 07').  

Yawanna Twist obviously needs to demonstrate that the Gotham was not a fluke, and the field he faced that day has not been flattered by recent prep results.  Additionally, there does not appear to be alot of speed in the race, and Hawthorne has traditionally played to speed on Illinois Derby day.

My choice is the favorite Backtalk.  This was a highly rated juvenile, although many thought he had distance limitations.  While the jury is still out on that, Backtalk did run nicely stretching out at Delta Downs in his comeback.  Of course, the big talk is about his 1:09 and change work at the Fair Grounds.  Obviously, a horse has to have talent to work that fast.  We'll know how good Backtalk is if he can win after working so fast.

The really good ones are able to bounce back from blistering works, but most horses leave beyond race after such a work.  If Backtalk does win, it just may signal the emergence of a legit Derby contender.  I'm not sure Backttalk truly is an elite talent, and think it's possible he will have nothing left for Saturday.  But in a race with so many questions, he's probably worth the risk.

1. Backtalk

2. American Lion

3. Yawanna Twist

Make no mistake, however, even the favorites are not, as of now, top tier Derby contenders.

31 Mar 2010 9:59 PM
Matthew W

Whomever said LAL doesn't have to win is right on---Setsuko got the draw/Bejarano--Alphie got hung out again--would expect to get 8-1 (on Alphie) and will pounce on that! If Esky can hold his form then it's lights out in NY...love American Lion in Illinois....Interactif easy in Kentucky...Sydney may run big but don't think he's Derby timber....

31 Mar 2010 10:01 PM
GunBow

Itainteasy:

The Standford women choked?  That girl went baseline to baseline in 4.4 seconds, weaving through the Xavier defense, while making a tricky layup.  Yes, without the Xavier choke the fullcourt play would have been for OT, but regardless it was massively clutch!

31 Mar 2010 10:04 PM
GunBow

The weird thing about the Santa Anita Derby is that the winner of the SA Derby hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since Sunday Silence in 1989, but over those 20 years, 4 SA Derby also-rans bounced back to win in Kentucky(Giacomo, Charismatic, Real Quiet, Silver Charm).  Over the last 20 years, SA Derby horses have won 4 Derbys, 6 Preakness, and 3 Belmonts.

Over the last 25 years, the Santa Anita Derby has produced 7 Kentucky Derby winners, 9 Preakness winners, and 3 Belmont winners.  In almost half of the last 25 years, a Santa Anita Derby horse has won a Triple Crown race.  

However, the most recently concluded decade was not good for SA Derby runners, with only Giacomo(05' Derby) and Point Given(01' Preakness and Belmont) coming out of the SA Derby to win a Triple Crown race.  However, for the period from 1985 thru 1999, SA Derby particpants won a Triple Crown race in 10 of those 15 years.

31 Mar 2010 10:16 PM
draynay

Rock, I was at the Derby when Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 won after that crazy pace.  What is your point?  By the way that was just 10 years ago and his win in the Wood was just as good.

31 Mar 2010 10:32 PM
The Rock

I think the Wood Memorial is pretty straight forward. Eskendereya - Schoolyard Dreams - Awesome Act - Jackson Bend. I'm torn on swapping the last two, so I might do a hammer Super equally with them 3rd & 4th, if AQU offers it. Otherwise, hammer EXA on the top two. Velasquez will have position on the rest, and the pace most likely won't be hot. Schoolyard Dreams has that quick burst of speed to where if Eskendereya tries to get away, he can stick with him, leaving the others spinning their wheels.

Illinois Derby - American Lion. Once again, slow pace scenario and he should get the jump on everyone.

SA Derby - I like LAL, but i wouldn't be surprised if he got beat.

Bayshore - This race really came up light. I wish I had pp's for the race. I know Eightyfiveinafifty has a huge Beyer off his maiden win, but idk about him. I'm sketchy about big beyers in maiden races. TBC...

Excelsior - Goldsville. Banking on Dominguez to have a big day.

Carter - There doesn't look to be a lot of speed in here. Maybe Digger can steal it...

31 Mar 2010 10:32 PM
LAZMANNICK

It aint easy being good

What Sunday are you talking about, this Sunday when you will be congratulating me?  I could take the easy way and go with LAL, but I'll cut you some slack and go with Alphie's Bet.  I'm sure they'll both finish ahead of Sidney anyway so what does it matter?  You've got my luke warm choice in the Wood.  I could go with Awesome Act but I wasn't very impressed with his competition in the Gotham.  Again I'll cut you some slack, in fact, a whole lot of slack.  I'll go with Jackson Bend. LOL

31 Mar 2010 10:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

 Wood- Eskendereya in a powerful performance to take over from LAL as the probable Derby favorite. A very disspointing, small field when at one time it looked like it could be a great race.

 Illinois Derby- Two Horse Exacta Box- Yawanna Twist and Turf Melody. Backtalk ain't no Smarty.

 SA Derby-The tough one but that could be because I'm fan driven by Setsuko. Trifecta Box-Setsuko, Lookin At Lucky and Sidney's Candy.

31 Mar 2010 10:37 PM
Tiznowbaby

oooh, I'll answer for you Rock: FuPeg in 2000. That's it!

So, to recap, the Wood winners are 1 for 20 and the SA Derby winners are 0 for 20. I can see where the Wood is the king maker.

31 Mar 2010 10:41 PM
draynay

I respect Baffert but he is making a very big mistake many make.  He believes what worked for him before will work again but running LAL in Cali on the poly will do him no good. Noble's Promise will beat him when it counts in May.

31 Mar 2010 10:43 PM
LAZMANNICK

HBK

I think that if Nay Nay loses the Derby (already a cinch) then he should go out to Fairplex and ride the mule races.  He can wear his pink silks.  BTW, were those real tears the other night on Raw.  I've got a feeling It Aint Easy thinks they were.  I wonder how he knew about them to begin with seeing as he never watches wrestling.  LOL

31 Mar 2010 10:58 PM
LAZMANNICK

Papillon:  Correction

Thunder Gulch’s Derby was in 1995 not 1996 and his time was 2.01.1 not 2.02.2.  LOL

31 Mar 2010 11:06 PM
Aluminaut

Notes from the San Felipe:

Sydney's Candy with a front running performance on Pro-Ride; granted, the early fractions were slow.  He was impressive.  I agree that he may not be as effective at a longer distance.  I think someone else mentioned that Candy Ride didn't have a problem with the Pacific Classic distance.

Caracortado--I watched the race from the finish line stage left of the winner's circle.  CC looked like he really hung at the top of the stretch.  Watching the replay and head on, you could see that he moved early and the momentum caused him to run wide on the turn.  This cost him at least 3 lenghths.  He seemed to be improving a bit at race end.

31 Mar 2010 11:15 PM
draynay

Jason, when Eskendereya leaves Schoolyard Dreams in the dust will there be ANY point in talking about Odysseus anymore?  

31 Mar 2010 11:30 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

Messiah,really? At least you spelled it correct. Who was the "messiah" picking Zenyatta last yr. in the Breeders'? lol To be honest I don't buy it for a second if Zenyatta beat your new friend QR that you wouldn't speak badly of her again. But,unlike some on here I'll keep my word and refrain from posting on here for three months if Pletcher wins the Derby. Not gonna happen! lol

01 Apr 2010 7:51 AM
Slew

Historically, 2 have gone on to a KY Derby win from LA Derby, 1 from Illinois, 2 from AR, 6 from Santa Anita, and 11 from the Wood (includes 4 TC winners).   The Wood

in the past 20 years....1..

..Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000.

Three things past Triple Crown winners have shown is speed, stamina, and consistency.  How many colts have exhibited those traits this year?  So far, I see 3, and they were all in the Rebel, in the $$.  Noble's Promise and LAL remind me of the duels between Affirmed and Alydar. Terry Thompson has the ride on Dublin...I expect to see progress. Will just one prep show us a star...could happen...it has been done.

01 Apr 2010 10:26 AM
Matthew W

I played the Santa Anita Derby winner across the board last year and more than doubled my $$ in the Derby! Hate the track surface ifya must--don't hate on the horses--or that place--the greatest Summer meet I ever spent--was a Winter at Santa Anita, the great race place! Too bad Alphie drew outside! That's "ok"--Alex likes to go wide--Alex Solis! The "forgotten jock"! He still runs those "Majestic San Gabriel Mountains"--as Joe Hernandez would call them...he had his big chance, some 24 years ago with Snow Chief...maybe the forgotten jock can get his roses with another Cal-Bred....

01 Apr 2010 10:29 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Mike R where have you been buddy. Its good to be back huh!

Laz: wrestling it brutal I made a mistake and watched raw for 2 minutes.(I want 2 minutes of my life back!!!)

The rock: I was referring to Xavier missing 2 point blank layups under the hoop.

Laz: again yes sunday you can call me the messiah when I get both winners right in the wood and SA.

Everyone else out there Quality Road is a super freak like randy moss!

Dublin is making a comeback like brett favre! I will hit the derby tri ....follow me through the fields of babylon!

01 Apr 2010 10:32 AM
Ted from LA

Draynay,

Where are your seats for the Derby?  I'll be in the 3rd floor clubhouse, but I will come see you and your dress no matter where you're sitting.  I also have a lovely little pink rose/baby's breath corsage I'd like to give you to accentuate your dress.

Caracortado second in the Santa Anita Derby.  American Lion winner of the Illinois Derby.  Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood.

01 Apr 2010 11:02 AM
Ted from LA

It Aint Easy being good, I think you mean "babble on."

01 Apr 2010 11:04 AM
Zookeeper

Ted from LA,

"babble on" ... Your mind works in a unique way! I like it and it couldn't be more fitting. lol!

01 Apr 2010 11:15 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

El Kabong

  I watched the LA Derby again. Heading to the half mile pole Kent took him inside into a wall of horses when it would have been clear sailing outside (I was yelling-"what are you doing, swing outside you idiot" live and I haven't changed my mind.)Then he wanted to take him outside a short time later after a wall of horses were closing and had him blocked so he veered back inside. The path was too narrow for either the horse's liking and or the jockey's so he stalled until A Little Warm moved away from the rail enough for them to feel comfortable shooting through. By then it was too late. Maragh won with his ride, Kent lost with his ride. It is my opinion that Drossel would have won the race if Kent swung him to the outside when it was wide open heading to the half mile pole. Despite the fact that he would have lost lengths running outside he had plenty of horse to overcome that but not the shifts in momentum.

01 Apr 2010 11:38 AM
draynay

Ted I will be at Keeneland for opening day but will not be able to make it to the Derby this year because of work.  But I am sure Noble's Promise will win so it's not really that important that I make it to Churchill this year since I already know how it will turn out.

01 Apr 2010 11:54 AM
Ted from LA

I like Nobel's Promise a lot.  I know his breeders too.  The bad news is whenever I bet on one of their horses, it loses.  I bet on Stellar Jayne every race she lost... and none of the races she won.

01 Apr 2010 12:14 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Draynay there is still time to get off the Nobles Promise bandwagon that horse is small and has no chance your one year off on that horse it happened last year with mine that bird! When is my boys dublin and Odysseus running next??

Ted from LA & Zookeeper do you want to win money or do you want to go home? The messiah is here!

01 Apr 2010 12:15 PM
Zookeeper

It ain't easy,

We all need a messiah in here... to save us from YOU. lol!

01 Apr 2010 12:43 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Zookeeper I am the chosen one dont question my picks!! just make the bet and shut it and thank me later! I do take thank you cards in the mail.

01 Apr 2010 1:25 PM
Forbidden Apple

Since when is the SA Derby of any less importance than the Wood or the AR Derby? That is simply a stupid comment, but I understand who it is coming from.

Awesome Act has no shot. Another stupid comment, go figure it is from the same person. With or without a win on saturday, Awesome Act is a serious player on this year's KY Derby trail.

And who cares about a record setting performance at 6 1/2 in the Amsterdam. What does that have to do with the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles? It was on a lightning fast track, just like the surface at Gulfstream Park. Elusive Quality holds the world record at 1 mile on turf. Quality Road holds a track record at Gulfstream Park, big deal. I would not call beating up on Dry Martini, Mambo Meister, Past The Point, and Delightful Kiss any great accomplishment. Everyone knows that Quarter Crack Road has talent, but he is not the best horse in North America!

01 Apr 2010 1:34 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Forbidden Apple you just convinced yourself with QR when you said that Elusive Quality owns the world record. You can run Quality Road on gravel and he dust anyone in north america this is his year he is a monster and no one will beat him.

01 Apr 2010 3:18 PM
Tim G

Hmm, I see a pattern here. Dray makes buckshot picks on the Derby, then if one of the 47 picks gets in and wins, he brags. If one of the longshots comes in then they are a fluke or whatever other name he chooses to call them.

Then he makes promises on 'bets' he makes and SUDDENLY can't make it to the event.

Hey Dray, I'll be at Keeneland opening day, I'm sure that Jason will be there and probably a lot of others who frequent this blog. One of us (preferably Jason) could take a picture of you in your pink dress, pink hat and 'I was wrong' sign.

01 Apr 2010 3:30 PM
draynay

I will be there Tim but the only one wearing a dress will be my beautiful wife !  Tim if you need a winner stop by Jason and I will be happy to help you tomorrow.

01 Apr 2010 5:02 PM
winwinwin

Thanks Zookeeper, I will go to the equibase site you sent for me, you are sharp..have a great weekend of Racing, and all the best things for you!!

01 Apr 2010 6:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  Raise the Bridle was nominated to the Triple Crown for 6k on 3-27. They must have something in mind. Either a Derby Prep or Preakness ?? I wish Setsuko had a shot at a dirt prep.He's a dirt horse. But if somehow he can get the earnings from the SA Derby he will be a force at CD. There are way too many pollywog preps for my liking. It's really a shame. Get the 'ell outta Dodge like Papa Clem did last year and LAL did this year. But it really is a bummer that LAL is back at SA to try to prevent my Setsuko from getting the earnings. They know he would be a force at the OK Corral and are trying to keep him sloshed in the saloon. I think they paid off Slew to keep buying him Molson's.

01 Apr 2010 6:53 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Well, we're on the same trajectory but on different tracks. I posted the info about Raise the Bridle on Jason's new blog. See you there!

winwinwin,

You are welcome! and best of luck to you also.

01 Apr 2010 7:30 PM
Tim G

Thanks but no thanks Dray. Maybe Jason can tout me but you? ROFLMAO

At least one member of your family has some honor. Sending a lady to do a man's job?  Stop making these insane bets and promises to do whatever.

As for taking a tout from you??? I've forgotten more about horses than you'll ever know. I KNOW more people in racing who know more about horses than you'll ever know.

Plus, to make one of your bets? All chalk and sell the homestead to bet 95% of the horses running.

Think you made that statement last year about being at Keeneland, the Derby, Saratoga blah blah blah. My bet is you've never been to any of them. Pipe dreams and a little man with big talk?

Hey show up at the Ark Derby a week from Saturday. Know a few people who'd like to have a 'conversation' with you. Tried to tell them it's like talking to a door knob but.... they need a good laugh.

Jason, think I'd sue for defamation since he utters the name of an ACTUAL handicapper (you) in concert with his own name.

01 Apr 2010 9:05 PM
It aint easy being good

Damn Dray Tim G is calling you out son! lol! Sidneys candys is going to get burnt out you say huh. He is going to crush this overrated field. Laz: I am the messiah!

01 Apr 2010 9:38 PM
Matthew W

LOVE the Lookin At Lucky/Noble's Promise duels--the Hol Futurity convinced me that LAL was the real deal--cuz Noble's Promise is the real deal--the trend is set--LAL will beat Noble's most if not evert time cuz he is better! And, yeah, to the Quality Road=Ghostzapper guy--maybe Quality Road is all that at 1 1/4---it's nice to hear the talk--I love to speculate about horses! It's just that sooner or later we need to see it--we need to see if he can stalk a fast pace like Missremembered did in that very strung out field--and win at 1 1/4...or dominate like Rail Trip at 1 1/4 in the Hol Gold Cup--Rail Trip, the forgotten gelding with the good record....or win the Classic, like the unbeatable mare! Beat the best and the = sign you use, with Ghostzapper, another who kicked it hard at 1 1/4---I get that you think that--I think maybe you're right-- but I'll bet against Quality Road winning the Classic/like Ghostzapper...he lost a one turn 1 1/4 race/was crushed in his two turn 1 1/4 race--I get the excuses, but his prep was a track record, I have seen many horses who would have won last year's Travers Stakes--Quality Road, a brilliant horse, not his best at 1 1/4.....

01 Apr 2010 11:52 PM
Matthew W

Sydneys Candy will be lucky to hit the board....

02 Apr 2010 12:35 AM
Aluminaut

It Ain't Easy--

Should we send those cards to Bloodhorse magazine, or is it ok to drop them off at Keeneland on opening day?

02 Apr 2010 1:20 AM
Slew

Actually, Dr Drinkinbum, they were paying me with Tequila shots, so I really don't remember what they served Setsuko.  I think Dublin will make his statement in the Ar Derby, LAL at Santa Anita, and ? in the wood.  Backtalk, Dave, and Yawanna Twist in Ill.  How's the funny farm?

02 Apr 2010 4:03 AM
Forbidden Apple

No Itsoeasybeingwrong, I am not convinced of anything when it comes to Quality Road. I think you should be asking yourself why this horse has not had a workout since his last race on Feb. 6. And his recent workout was 38 4/5, super. He will have other fast competition in the Met Mile, no easy leads at Gulfstream.

Elusive Quality was a real monster, professional and classy!

02 Apr 2010 9:56 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Quality Road is just eating and enjoying life he is just hanging out in the barn and waiting for the other horses to get some training so he can have a closer race next time. Plus pletcher has 10 horses to train for the derby! loL!

Final Picks: Wood: Schoolyard Yard Dreams

SA Derby: Sidney Candy aka the superfreak!

Illinois Derby: Who cares but I will take Turf Melody!

02 Apr 2010 1:06 PM
Mike Relva

TIM G

I agree with you.

02 Apr 2010 5:08 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

Just for you lazmannick:

SA Derby: Sidneys Candy

Wood: Eskeyandra he has to win or get 2nd to get in the derby so due to that fact I think this horse will win.

Lazmannick come back on here on sunday and call me the messiah!

It aint easy being good 31 Mar 2010 8:30 PM

Final Picks: Wood: Schoolyard Yard Dreams

SA Derby: Sidney Candy aka the superfreak!

Illinois Derby: Who cares but I will take Turf Melody!

It Aint Easy being good 02 Apr 2010 1:06 PM

Just who are you taking in the WOOD?  You're running out of time.

03 Apr 2010 11:25 AM
papillon

TripleCrownCoug and Lazmannick,

I doubt you'll see this, but oh well. I take your point about track variations (and never was contesting it, actually), however, I still choose to evaluate horses that have not raced each other the way I do by comparing their times at given distances. It works for me--if not for you, it's all good.

For the record, my point about comparing Secretariat and Thunder Gulch's Belmont times had nothing to do with their respective times and the comparative merits and worth of either horse, (you guys hooked that red herring and wrestled it for all it was worth).

I was simply calling out the poster who said time only counts in prison; in sport won or lost in 5ths of second that is a patently absurd comment.

The fact that both of you felt the need to lecture me on the fact that there was a valid explanation for why Thunder Gulch's slow Belmont time, proves just how much time does matter in horse racing (or else you would not have got your feathers all ruffled and felt the need defend Thunder Gulch's honor in manners flirting with incivility), so I thank you for making my point for me. =D

PS: BTW, I misunderstood your question when you asked about Secretariat and Thunder Gulch racing, probably because I read it too fast and because there is no quote feature here--I assumed you just meant a hypothetical match race, each horse racing as fast as he could, not a time traveling Secretariat. But if it makes you feel better, I'll happily concede that you both likely know more about horse racing than I ever want to know about. I wasn't posting to get into a pissing contest, I was just posting to share my thoughts--mostly because almost every comment I have read here about why Eskendereya is this year's jesushorse is because he "looks" like a monster, which I find unconvincing since he runs like a turtle.

PPS: Just curious, if time really is irrelevant, how would Secretariat's Belmont be viewed historically, everything being exactly as it actually happened, except that the final time winning was 4 minutes, not 2:24? Would it not go from being one of the most sublime moments in history to one of the most absurd--all because of the time?

cheers

06 Apr 2010 12:42 AM
LAZMANNICK

papillon

I'm not trying to offend you and you obviously know a lot about horse racing.  BTW I enjoy reading what you have to say and getting your slant on things.  LOL

07 Apr 2010 12:11 AM
Vale of York

I'll

BE

BOCK!!!

08 Apr 2010 3:40 AM
LAZMANNICK

Vale of York

BOCK as in bock beer.  Actually it would be nice to see this guy come back and bring his jockey with him.  LOL

08 Apr 2010 11:43 PM
Vale of York

Lazmannick

BOCK as in the way the California Governor would say back.  lol  

I hope he comes back also.  Maybe in time for the Breeders Cup?  Who knows.

09 Apr 2010 11:13 PM

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