One Month To Go

Remember my blog post last week when I wrote it might take $150,000 to make the Derby? Well, that might need to be revised. Here is the current graded earnings list. While at least four in the top 20 are not pointing toward Churchill, it still looks like it may take at least $150,000, and maybe as much as $180,000 or more to get in the starting gate.

There are still six important preps remaining (if you count the Lexington Stakes), and if there are a couple more upsets in those, there could be some very talented and high-profile horses left out. The plot thickens...

Let's take a quick look at the big 3 this weekend. At the very least, we should know who the favorite for Derby 136 will be after Saturday:

Wood Memorial

Only a field of six in here but four of them are top notch. The race is being billed as a showdown between Eskendereya and Awesome Act, and it may very well come down to those two, but I also look for a big run from Schoolyard Dreams.

I would like to be able to pick against Eskendereya, who will almost certainly be an odds-on choice, but I just can't do it. He looks too tough in this spot. He has had a full six weeks off since his Fountain of Youth romp and has trained very well since then. He should get a perfect set-up from the inside horse, Most Happy Fella, who should provide some pace. Eskendereya needs to get some additional earnings, and while a third-place finish will likely get him in the Derby, Pletcher won't play any games. He is in this race to win.

Awesome Act was explosive in the Gotham and it would be no surprise if he ran another big one. But I'm going to take a chance that he bounces a bit off that race, as many Euros do in their second start off a layoff. I'll use Schoolyard Dreams instead. He ran a winning race in the Tampa Bay Derby, showing a big turn of foot to gain the lead. Derek Ryan chose the Wood over the Illinois Derby, which was a bit of a gamble, but he was able to secure top New York rider Ramon Dominguez--a huge bonus. He had a very sharp work on Sunday, posting four furlongs in :46 4/5.

Jackson Bend wouldn't be a shocker to finish in the top two either, but you have to take stand somewhere. I'm not sure he wants to go this far.

Eskendereya/Schoolyard Dreams exacta box.

Santa Anita Derby

The angle I've been hearing from many is that they will take a stand against Lookin At Lucky in this spot because they don't feel Baffert will have him fully cranked. It's a legitimate angle and I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish second or third as the 3-5 choice. That being said, I'm not confident enough in any of the others, so I'll go the exotics route.

The horse I like to improve the most is Setsuko, who ran second to Alphie's Bet by a couple lengths in the Sham. It was the stakes debut for the son of Pleasantly Perfect and he was closing well. He shows a bullet work on Wednesday and gets Bejarano back while making his third consecutive start at this distance. He needs to improve, but at a price of likely 10-1 or more, I'll take my chances.

I also like Carcortado to run well. He closed well into a slow pace in the San Felipe last out during a wide trip. He should enjoy the added sixteenth of a mile and he better because the gelding likely needs at least a third-place finish to make the Derby.

Thomas Baines is my longshot to fill out exotics. It's just a hunch bet, but I liked his optional claiming win over this track on March 3. He failed in his only other try at 1 1/8 miles, but maybe he can improve and get a piece at a huge price. I'm gambling that Sidney's Candy will tire and Alphie's Bet will regress.

Illinois Derby

I like the second choice here, American Lion. The well-bred WinStar colt make his first start on dirt after disappointing in his last two in California. The connections think that may make the difference. I like him more than anything because he will likely be on or near the lead in a race with little pace. We have seen horses wire the field often during recent runnings of this race.

Backtalk is the morning-line favorite and could certainly run a big race. But his work on March 25 was enough to scare me away: six furlongs in 1:09.60--which was almost as fast as the stakes winner a couple days later. Not usually a good sign.

Yawanna Twist will also be included in my exotics, as will longshot Game Ball, who won an optional claimer impressively at Tampa Bay on March 5 despite a bad start.

Good luck to everyone this weekend. Who do you like?

311 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Ted from LA

American Lion, Schoolyard Dreams and Caracortado 2nd... (and I don't care who gets first).  Backtalk ran an outstanding last race.  Too bad it was in the early morning by himself.  1:09 and change?  I hope Eskendereya ends up short on the money list.  

01 Apr 2010 11:48 AM
Karen

I would like to see Backtalk take the Illinois Derby for sentimental reasons, his sire.  For the same reason, I hope to see Dublin, because of his sire, in the Kentucky Derby.  I will never, ever forget Afleet Alex's stumble in that triple crown race & his perserverance to still win it!  What a horse!  While common sense tells me that Eskendereya & Lookin at Lucky, etc. should probably be favored in the Run for the Roses, here's hoping the sentimentals come through!

01 Apr 2010 11:55 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Sidneys Candy hands down he is a machine!

Wood: Eskendereya in a yawner this wont even be close.

Illinois Derby: The JV race who cares no horse has a chance to hit the board May 1st!

01 Apr 2010 12:12 PM
Jason Shandler

To recap: Since January, Dray has already picked Dublin, Super Saver, Christine Daae, and Noble's Promise to win the Derby. Give it a couple more weeks boys and he will break his record from last year when he picked 7 horses to win before he settled on Dunkirk in the 11th hour. Pretty comical...

01 Apr 2010 12:20 PM
It Aint Easy being good

haha good one jason way to go back to the record books from last year! Haha he has picked 6 horses he will def. have a new one after this weekend and then will continue his bashing on LAL!

01 Apr 2010 12:33 PM
Zookeeper

It's OK if Dray stays on Noble's Promise to win the KD. If he switches, I'm afraid he'll land on my choice and totally obliterate that one's chances of winning it.

01 Apr 2010 12:38 PM
Ghostzapper

How do you pronounce Eskendereya? People who don't follow racing ask me who are the favs but I don't know how to say his name. We'll see how good he really is this weekend.

01 Apr 2010 12:48 PM
draynot

Good one Jason. The more horses nay nay picks the more likely he takes the winner at some point. I'm guessing that he wants to increase his chances then go back and be able to say I picked the winner on this day and you should all have listened. Disregarding of course all the ones he picked that didn't win. If it ends up like last year he will just call the winner a fluke if it isn't one of the many he named.

01 Apr 2010 12:49 PM
Jason Shandler

Esken-DEAR-E-a

01 Apr 2010 12:50 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Obviously I like American Lion in the Illinois, as my wish finally came true that they will put him on the dirt.  I still want to see him react more to the jockey's handling, but this track my not require as much.

I get the feeling that Jackson Bend is just like Theregoesjojo from last year, I want him to win, but don't think he will get there.  I want to play against the Big E, as many of these preps have not gone the way of the favorite, but I think he will run a big one. If I were to pick an upset it would be Schoolyard Dreams.

As for the SA Derby, I will not take a stand against LAL, as I tried to do that in the Rebel and paid the price for it.  Sidney's Candy to Place.

The hex is on!  Two favorites, and a second favorite, can this weekend please go chalky for me just once?

Thanks,

01 Apr 2010 12:50 PM
Steve

Your Thomas Baines is an interesting hunch because it plays with a recent dream I had that a Johannesburg colt made it to the Derby on a long shot win.   I'm not betting the SA but I'll sure be keeping my eye on him now!  Word of warning, every horse I ever dreamed won a race ended up finishing last.

Hawthorne has been playing to the inside lately and it's been playing against closers.  So Backtalk has the wrong running style and the wrong post if the track plays to its bias again tomorrow.  Ditto for Game Ball.  Not sure who I'm playing to win that race yet but it won't be those two.  But I will play Backtalk in exotics.  

Track bias aside, I really like Tom Amoss so I'd be happy if Backtalk won tomorrow.  

01 Apr 2010 1:01 PM
2:24

I like Awesome Act/Schoolyard Dreams exacta in the Wood.

I like Yawanna Twist (awful name) in the Illinois although I will be rooting for Backtalk.  Would not be surprised to see Backtalk win by daylight like Sweetnorthernsaint and then be totally overbet on Derby day because of his sire.

My handicapping angle for synthetics is simply to look for value bets and go with win place wagers.  It worked for the Dubai World Cup for the win and place but it's just a shot in the dark.  I really have no real great qualitative angle.  I suspect Lookin' at Lucky will win but I will likely be playing Setsuko.

01 Apr 2010 1:02 PM
Karen

I picked Boulder Creek as my Derby horse when he was a yearling and I'm sticking with him in the Illinois Derby. He should have juicy odds.

Sidney's Candy/LAL in the Santa Anita Derby.

Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood.

01 Apr 2010 1:04 PM
Frank J.

Hi Jason,

I thought when I heard it on tv it was esken-dare-e-a... close enought I suppose. Anyways, for my future Vegas bet I am praying American Lion/Backtalk 1-2 in Illinois, Setsuko in the SA Derby and the Wood will be rather interesting..Could just getting in the Derby by winning the Wood take everything out of Eskendereya??

01 Apr 2010 1:12 PM
Kevin

I like half of your Wood Memorial Exacta "Schoolyard Dreams".

Not saying anything about his derby prospects, but for the Wood, he is cranked, ready to go, ready to upset and win.

Interested in your picks for the other stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. They have a half million dollar stakes pick four. Sometimes one can handicap better when one sees another person's picks. (Reason for picks).

As for the derby, I was a Buddy's Saint fan. Right now I'll wait and see how the money earned list goes, and then pick over the next few weeks. I am kind of "narrowed" down to four/five, but two might not make the cut.

Always enjoy your column, respect your opinions, and get a good kick out of the stir it sometimes (all the times?) can create.

01 Apr 2010 1:27 PM
carolyn

Lookin at Lucky, all the way... He will win this race.

I will also go with Esken-day-re-a, thats the way its pronounced,(not spelled) Right?  Well, everyone knows who he is...his name is tricky to say correctly,

Jason, the way the races have been going , you are almost better to go with the longshots..

01 Apr 2010 1:36 PM
Mary

On HRTV Lafitte Pincay (sp?) says per asking Zayat it's Esken-DRAY-a.

Speaking of Drays, I wish Draynay would pick 16 horses in the KD so I can win the superfecta by picking the 4 he doesn't like.  

I like a Yawannna Twist over Backtalk exacta in Illinois if it rains like it's supposed to.

Most Happy Fella in the Wood because his name is goofy so it will fit right in with the other goofy names in the KD this year.

Sidney's Candy in the SA because I just like that horse.

01 Apr 2010 2:01 PM
draynay

Very funny Jason.  I mention a few horses that I like and now they are stuck to me ?  My choice for the win is Noble's Promise.  I have seen all I need to see.  LAL going to California has sealed his fate and Eskendereya may be all that but Pletcher has proven again and again he has no idea how to get a colt ready for the big dance. By the way Musket Man beats Munnings with ease.  Eskendereya wins again and earns his way as the favorite for the Derby.  But my final pick for the Derby win is Noble's Promise.  Write it down !

01 Apr 2010 2:13 PM
draynay

Nice deflection Draynot but I have chosen my horse to win the Derby Noble's Promise have you ?  If you're not willing to post your choice move along.  We all look at many horses in January, Feb., and March and find a few we like but one month out and I have seen enough.  NP is your winner.  Watch the Rebel again and you will see why.

01 Apr 2010 2:23 PM
Ted from LA

I want to take over being in charge of approving the names of racehorses.

Village Idiot:  "I'd like to name this horse Eskendereya."

Ted from LA:  No.  Get out of my office before I have security shoot you and your horse.

Village Idiot Place Winner:  My name is Dean and I'd like to name my horse Dean's Kitten.

Ted from LA:  I haven't liked anyone named "Dean" in my entire life and you're not changing that streak.  When you were a kid, did you name your first German Shepard "Shep?"  Because something tells me your originality is based on a lifetime of experience.

01 Apr 2010 2:26 PM
MRO

Since people are asking: What does Eskendereya mean?

01 Apr 2010 2:29 PM
Jason Shandler

I hear ya Ted, but your horse, Caracortado, does not exactly roll off the tongue either. I dont care if it means "coolest name ever" in Spanish. In English, it is weak.

01 Apr 2010 2:31 PM
Jason Shandler

Eskendereya means Alexandria in Egyptian, I believe. Not as in Rachel Alexandria, but the ancient city. lol

01 Apr 2010 2:33 PM
RiverCitySmitty

I`ll take Posse Power in the SA Derby who might be able to rally into it at long odds.  He had a very bad trip in his last and looks like he`ll love the extra distance unlike his daddy.

Schoolyard Dreams, who I still think won his last, gets a new jock as does Jackson Bend with Borel.  Hoping they run one two and pissoff all the Esky bandwagon peeps.

Not much speed @ Hawthorne which will play against Game Ball, but he should at least be running late and I need some closers for the KD after I toss all the speed types.

01 Apr 2010 2:44 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Thought it was Cacataco?

01 Apr 2010 2:47 PM
draynot

If Nobles Promise wins the Kentucky Derby I'll buy a pitcher of Mint Juleps and pour them over nay nay's head. Then I'll strip him of his pink dress, hat, and bow all right there at Churchill Downs. Heaven knows in that outfit he won't be hard to spot.    

01 Apr 2010 2:50 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Draynay: 2009: Dunkirk lol (finished what 12th????)

2010: Nobles Promise ( I say he gets 6th!)

Cant wait for his preakness picks!

The one thing Dray does know is that Cali horses have no business running in the derby and cant prove they can get it done for the big dance!!!!

01 Apr 2010 3:12 PM
Venceremos

Count me as another hoping Esken-da-whatever is out of the money to piss off his annoying bandwagoneers in the media.  Some self-appointed "expert" doofus on another site is already calling the Belmont for him.  

I'm going with all long shots this weekend just for the heck of it.  Carnivore in the Wood, Posse Power in the SAD, Boulder Creek in the ILD.

01 Apr 2010 3:34 PM
Dave

I love dray so i will defend him here.  He would have gone with QR last year had he not got injured (i remember him talking about him for a while.)

Secondly, how many of you have changed horses a couple of times already.  I know i have, and i still don't know if i have made my final pick.  

And lastly, he already did pick his preakness horse (IAEBG), D'funnybone.

01 Apr 2010 3:40 PM
Jason Shandler

Kevin: Thanks for the compliment. I dont really have a strong opinion on the other Aqueduct races. They have $1.3 million for four graded stakes with a total of 24 horses. New York racing is beginning to lose my interest.

Venceremos: Can I hold your bets for this weekend?

01 Apr 2010 3:48 PM
2:24

Love Ted from LA's name post.

I'll pick my Derby horse the week of the Derby after I see the final works.  Doesn't make sense to pick one now.  

I know I will be rooting for Odysseus, Dublin and Endorsement.

01 Apr 2010 3:58 PM
Pam S.

Jason, this year the subject of your first TC blog was, what name did we like best for a Derby winner.  There was a fair amount of agreement on both "good" names and "bad" names (and names that are "ugly" to spell and pronounce).  I am watching the news, the earnings list and of course the horses themselves, and I am growing fearful that the "good" names might be squeezed out of the starting gate or at least out of the money!

Win: Dean's Kitten

Place: Yawanna Twist

Show: Esk. (I never spell it out if I don't have to)

4th: Super Saver (should be a grocery store, not a horse)

Sure would be funny to see the above results.

01 Apr 2010 4:09 PM
It Aint Easy being good

2:24 your right but its fun to crack jokes and make fun of people! Like the Ron the Greek lovers that have now vanished in thin air! 2:24 love those three horses and they will look good as part of my tri box in the derby!

You guys like 20 horse field...I wish it was larger personally, most people want it cut down to 12 or 15 which I think is dumb. How often can you watch a 20 horse race with such excitment?? I watched the breeders cup all the time but nothing gets your blood pumping like the derby!!!

01 Apr 2010 4:12 PM
Pam S.

Heck, I forgot Uh Oh Bango in my earlier post.  I suppose he could crack the top four in place of Esk.  Fun bet, a bad-name superfecta.

01 Apr 2010 4:20 PM
Zookeeper

Draynot,

Good luck finding Dranay at the KD. He's already said that he's not going due to work... You'd think that with keen handicapping skills, the betting window would be his only source of income.

01 Apr 2010 4:21 PM
draynay

2010 Quality Road = 2004 Ghostzapper

01 Apr 2010 4:26 PM
The Rock

Jason Jason,

Its pretty scary when we see the races almost to the "T". Let's see how that plays out this weekend.

Speaking of pronunciation (Hope I spelled that correctly), that horse SETSUKO has been having his name butchered all winter/spring long. Its pronounced (SES-KO), not SET-SU-KO. The only reason I know that is because I worked with a japanese woman with the same name and I pronounced it by the latter. Be back with picks for the other undercards.

01 Apr 2010 4:46 PM
draynot

Zoo,

nay nay's all talk and no backup. If this happens I'll do this, if that happens I'll do that, etc. etc. etc. Nothing new there.

01 Apr 2010 4:48 PM
draynay's better half

My man's word is as good as gold. If he said he was going to wear a pink dress he will, if he says he'll never handicap another race again in his life if so and so wins he won't, if he says he will walk the dogs he will, if he says he take out the garbage he will, if he says RA will go undefeated this year again she will, if he says whatever believe it.  APRIL FOOLS YOU ALL!!!!!

peace out  

01 Apr 2010 4:53 PM
draynay

Zookeeper I am going to opening day to help Jason improve his handicapping skills and talk him into picking Noble's Promise for the Derby before he makes himself look bad with this damn Odysseus thing.

01 Apr 2010 5:06 PM
Gladiator

Hey Draynot,

Instead of working off Draynay's posts, how about coming up with a thought on your own. Be honest Draynot, the only reason you want to strip Draynay's pink dress is so you can wear it!

01 Apr 2010 5:12 PM
steve from st louis

Wait, didn't Dray sufficiently prove his lack of knowledge last year?

01 Apr 2010 5:15 PM
Gunbow

Sorry to repost, but this got caught at the end of the last topic:

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(12 out of 25), 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.

The above statistics are only for horses that ran in the SA Derby.  It doesn't include horses that wintered at Santa Anita but used a prep other than the SA Derby, horses like Rags to Riches(SA Oaks), Empire Maker(Sham Stakes), Fusaichi Pegasus(San Felipe Stakes), Touch Gold(maiden, allowance), Grindstone(maiden, allowance), and Alysheba(San Felipe).  

Including them, a horse that wintered at Santa Anita and/or ran in the Santa Anita Derby won a Triple Crown race in 17 of the last 25 years.

01 Apr 2010 5:26 PM
GunBow

Illinois Derby(further analysis on last topic page):

1. Backtalk

2. American Lion

3. Yawanna Twist

01 Apr 2010 5:28 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Dray,

I will go out on a limb and say that Winstar will have three colts finish ahead of NP. NP had a perfect trip, and LAL who was checked still found a way to beat him.  

I think Caracortado has met his match and the class of the field has caught up to him, he will not finish in the top two in the SA Derby.  

Tiznow's last hopes for the KD will be with AL and Tiz the One next week.  I hope both get in, but if not, one would suffice.  Tiz the One needs to come in at least 2nd in the Ark. Derby to run for the roses.  Hope he does.

Can't wait to watch some more races!

01 Apr 2010 5:31 PM
Lil Darlin

Jason -

Didn't Smarty Jones have a fast work the week before the Derby in 2004?  I think it was something like 5f in 58 and change...not that it means anything for his offspring.

01 Apr 2010 5:49 PM
Citation

Hey Jason, I believe Eskendereya is pronounced es-ken-DEAR-ya, with four syllables, not five.

01 Apr 2010 5:51 PM
Citation

But, I may be wrong about Eskendereya's pronunciation, I just thought that was how his connections said to pronounce it.

01 Apr 2010 6:04 PM
Zookeeper

Dr Drunkinbum,

Did you read the article on BH about the latest nominations to the Kentucky Derby? Raise the Bridle's owners (same as owners of MTB) have put up the $6,000. dollars needed to nominate him. Now, the question is: Where do they intend to run him so that he has enough graded earnings to make it to the gate at CD? Interesting!

01 Apr 2010 6:19 PM
Venceremos

Jason, I'll buy the house here a round if all 3 of my long shots win Saturday.  That's real wins, they have to cross the wire first not win by DQ.  You watch, 3 long shots will win but it won't be mine.  That's the way it goes for me.

01 Apr 2010 6:49 PM
Paula Higgins

ITA with everything you said Jason. Ted from LA continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. In my opinion, the only name that rolls trippingly off the tongue is ZENYATTA.

01 Apr 2010 6:51 PM
draynay

TJ you can't be serious.  You didn't watch the race did you?  NP was forced 4 wide into the first turn because of a rushing Bongo.  He was 3 wide all the way around the track and then had to fend off a rushed Dublin coming from the outside in the backstretch and into the turn.  Lucky got lucky to nab him at the wire but after the Arkansas there will be little doubt who the horse to beat in May will be.

01 Apr 2010 7:21 PM
The Rock

Jason,

Doesn't Les Instone sound like "Cleaveland" from Family Guy? LOL

01 Apr 2010 7:24 PM
Runfast159

It could be a pretty chalky weekend, but with what we've seen this year with horses that fall off after a big win there isn't a single thing that would suprise me.

I can't pick against Lucky, even though Baffert talks like he's going to let the horse go out there and get a glorified workout in him.  I just can't see him losing this race.  I think Sidney's Candy gets a bit cooked in this one.

1 - LOOKIN AT LUCKY   2 - CARACORTADO

If I don't pick against Lucky, how can I pick against my #2 Eskendereya?  But I think this is a sneaky good field of horses.  I just think he's the best.

1 - ESKENDEREYA 2 - SCHOOLYARD DREAMS

I think the Illinois Derby drew a surprisingly quality field, though these horses would have to run huge to really be considered Derby prospects.  I love Backtalk, but you are right about that work.  It was insane. This race is anyones. I wish Jackson Bend was here instead of in the Wood.  I really like that little horse....

1 - YAWANNA TWIST  2 BOULDER CREEK

I heard speculation that Rachel may be targeting a race on Oaks day. It would be great to see her come back to the scene of her great Oaks triumph.  Ok.  I know that was off topic.  I couldn't resist.

01 Apr 2010 7:36 PM
Zookeeper

Pam S.,

Here's a new addition to the ugly name list: Carnivore! For crying out loud, what were they thinking?

01 Apr 2010 7:48 PM
Justin Zayat

Just clarifying Eskendereyas name is Es KEN dereya. If you listen to the Fountain of Youth it was pronounced correctly. Eskendereya is the Arabic word for the ancient city of Alexandria in Egypt.

01 Apr 2010 8:02 PM
Ted from LA

Paula Higgins,  "The gift that keeps on giving?"  I am humbled and worried by such laudatory comments. On the one hand, it makes me feel unique and entertaining.  On the other hand, I've heard several STDs described the same way.  

01 Apr 2010 8:14 PM
Zookeeper

Runfast159,

If the race you heard about is the La Troienne on Apr. 30th at CD for Rachel Alexandra... I read that this is the race Zardana's owner is considering for his mare. Oh the irony!

01 Apr 2010 8:19 PM
Freetex

This handicapping business is tough for an amateur like me.

For the Wood, I agree with Jason.  Eskendereya is well rested and the win would increase his earnings to run in the Derby.  I also like Schoolyard Dreams, but he just ran on March 13th.  Also, he's had a lot of different jockeys.

I'd like to see Alphie's Bet move up the ladder, but I do believe it will be LAL to win the Santa Anita Derby even if he doesn't need the win.

01 Apr 2010 8:50 PM
L.Stein

Caracortado means scarface in Spanish. Eskenereya is the name of a middle eastern dance, but I hope he wins or places in the Wood because it would be a crying shame if that horse doesn't get into the Derby. My derby pick is Interactif. I hope Bejarano stays on him.

01 Apr 2010 8:56 PM
tcc

To recap: Since January, Dray has already picked Dublin, Super Saver, Christine Daae, and Noble's Promise to win the Derby. Give it a couple more weeks boys and he will break his record from last year when he picked 7 horses to win before he settled on Dunkirk in the 11th hour. Pretty comical...

jshandler 01 Apr 2010 12:20 PM

Jason:

Wasn't there a horse with the name of Don't Blame The Cat also mentioned? He finished 5th  out of a 7 horse field in the Private Terms Stakes @ Laurel, a one mile race on dirt, btw he was the chalk in the race.

01 Apr 2010 10:21 PM
RJPPDP

With a month away from the derby I feel I cannot narrow down one choice for derby but if I was too select someone it would be Eskendereya. I mean he has the highest beyer so far and if he comes in a strong 2nd in the wood he would be  alock for me on derby day. Knowing myself, I will have 5 to 7 horses winning the derby on May 1st.

My predictions:

Wood:

Eskendereya-Awesome Act-Schoolyard dreams

Santa Anita

Sidney's Candy-Lookin at lucky-caracortado tri box

Illinois

Backtalk-american lion box

Backtalk

01 Apr 2010 11:15 PM
Matthew W

I'm lookin to beat Lucky, as well---Setsuko? Bejarano is riding lights out, but I really think the SA Derby came up tough this year, so I will leave him alone as the wiseguy pick--opting instead to take a long long look at the Cal-Breds---maybe like Best Pal/Sea Cadet, 2nd/3rd to Dinard, both Alphies Bet and Caracortado are deserving contenders in the West Coast Derby--my pick is Alphies Bet to roll right on by from the back---Caracortado/Lookin At Lucky will be battling it out over a tiring Sydneys Candy--Setsuko won't be 10-1, you'll be lucky to get 8-1...Alphies Bet will be 8-1 and he just smoked Setsuko, and has improved along the way, while Setsuko has been a bit of a plodder--I do note the fast works...lets just say Alphies Bet has intrigued me as an improving horse--I'm in...American Lion? If Mr Flores doesn't try to fight him--IF he does not get riled up at/in the gate--see-ya! If he wants to go--LET HIM!...Esky in NY....Interactif in Blue Plastic Stakes--take it to the bank...

01 Apr 2010 11:31 PM
Jason Shandler

Good memory tcc. Dray did spout that nonsense about Don't Blame the Cat for weeks. Bafoon.

01 Apr 2010 11:43 PM
Citation

These are probably all wrong, but I'll try anyway.       My picks:

Wood Memorial: Jackson Bend, Eskendereya, Carnivore, in that order.

Santa Anita Derby: Sidney's Candy, Lookin at Lucky, Caracortado, in that order.

Illinois Derby: American Lion, Dave in Dixie, Turf Melody, in that order.

Also, I think Tidal Pool has a decent chance in the Fantasy.

01 Apr 2010 11:46 PM
Tiznowbaby

OK, must be the time of night, Jason. I first read that as baboon.

01 Apr 2010 11:54 PM
Runfast159

In all fairness, early Derby picks by nature will fall by the wayside the closer you get to May 1.

Horses have so few races anymore prior to the Derby that you don't have as much to go on.  Of course, that is also why some of us tend to be shall we say "less emphatic" about who we think will win the Derby.

A month ago I said if I had to pick the winner right then, it would be Dublin.  I liked him that much. Then I saw the Rebel and today I think it is Looking at Lucky. Even though Lucky is leading my list, I still very much like Dublin and Eskendereya, Noble's Promise and Odysseus!

But we still have 2 more weekends of preps, and then 3 long weeks before the derby so I'll tell you the day before the who I really think will win!

02 Apr 2010 12:44 AM
Runfast159

I want to mention that I think the very best thing that is going to take place this weekend, amidst all of the exciting stakes racing, is the "retirement" parade for 13 year old Cool N Collective before the 6th race at Aqueduct on Saturday.

Hats off to his owner Mike Repole who said:

"I’ve owned over 300 horses in my life, running the spectrum from graded stakes runners to low level claimers, and at the end of their careers, they all need to be treated the same. Horses are the stars of our sport, and it is the owners’ responsibilities to take care of all of them once they are ready for retirement, whether they are 3 or 13. We owe all of the incredible rescue organizations a debt of gratitude and all the financial support that we can afford.”

I am looking forward to seeing Cool N Collective getting his very deserved send off to Old Friends.

02 Apr 2010 12:58 AM
shuttleworth

I'm very excited about the TC season... here's my two cents worth of 'prediction': I think one horse (don't know who yet) will really step up and make a big splash in the TC series... I think it's possible that by the Belmont, there will be that one horse that will have everyone talking Triple Crown, and all the contenders and pretenders will have fallen off the radar... (hmm... take all this with a grain of salt)

02 Apr 2010 1:51 AM
AMY ROONEY

I have like Nobles Promise since he won at Presque Isle with Willie Martinez.

02 Apr 2010 9:13 AM
TJLuvsTizs

Dray,

He was 4 wide into the first turn, but was able to get back to only two wide mid turn.  He was on the outside in the two path the whole backstretch.  Began moving three wide into the far turn, passed his rival and moved in on to the rail coming in to the homestretch.  Aside from Bango's early move, NP had a perfect trip.

Rule, Super Saver, and Endorsement will all finish ahead of NP in the derby, and if American Lion makes it to the gate, he will finish ahead of NP as well.  

He does not get the distance.  The other four will relish it.

02 Apr 2010 9:41 AM
It Aint Easy being good

Just for you Dray:

NOBLE'S PROMISE (Ken McPeek) worked a slow 5F in 1:02.80 at Oaklawn last Friday, raising some suspicion that his tough comeback try in the Rebel might have knocked some starch out of him. His next workout will be critical in evaluating his chances in next weekend's Arkansas Derby. He's normally a pretty rapid workout horse.

Bottom line Dray's derby horse is weak and he will switch his pick again that is a pink stamp guarantee.

02 Apr 2010 10:00 AM
LAZMANNICK

Runfast159

Well said and very classy.  LOL

02 Apr 2010 10:40 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bloggers, bloggerettes and other assorted characters: Draynay is the Timex watch of this site-he's been stomped on, run over by trucks,thrown to the bottom of the pool, baked in the oven at 450, and he just keeps on tickin'. 1st-Eskendereya, 2nd Schoolyard Dreams. 1st-Yawanna Twist, 2nd-Turf Melody. 1st-Setsuko, 2nd-Sidney's Candy, 3rd-Lookin At Lucky. Next week-Noble's Promise gets thrashed but still goes to THE DERBY to embarrass himself. Odyseuss-You better pick up a little earnings.

02 Apr 2010 11:30 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Runfast159-Nice post-thanks. I love the old claimers. If I could, I'd claim all of the old, run down, beat up horses that I could and give them the best home possible. I'd go track to track looking for the worst looking losers, claim them and take them home. The horses are often overlooked. I'm thankful for the retirement ranches-at least we've developed that. We need more.

02 Apr 2010 11:39 AM
silverscrngirl

I say that Eskendreya will not win the Derby just because nobody can pronounce his name! :P  

I am still liking LAL, but that Ice Box is still interesting to me I think I need to look at him a little more before I decide that I like him:)  I have to agree with some on here that I am waiting to see how the stakes earnings shape up a little more before I get my heart set on my top 3 choices to bet.  

Hope all have a wonderful Easter!

02 Apr 2010 1:23 PM
RiverCitySmitty

I read about Drosselmeyer possibly having another prep in an attemp to get into the starting gate, but are there any others on the bubble or below who might take an extra shot?  They`re only 3yo`s once ya know.

02 Apr 2010 2:00 PM
Runfast159

Zookeeper: Yes, I also heard that Zardana is pointed to the La Troienne as well as Careless Jewel, who I absolutely adore.  

02 Apr 2010 2:01 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from LA I rest my case. STD's LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just so you know, it was a compliment. You make me laugh out loud, literally.

02 Apr 2010 2:45 PM
TerriV

Schoolyard Dreams

Lookin at Lucky

Backtalk

And I have to say that I am the unluckiest person when it somes to being able to watch any races on TV.  I raced 3 hours home, (leaving early) from a Pat Parelli clinic in Lexington, VA to be in front of my TV to watch the March27 Derby preps on NBC - never found a race to watch.  Just read that they ran on USA.  I swear - there better not be a mix-up on Derby Day!

02 Apr 2010 3:41 PM
GunBow

The Fantasy is an interesting race because with only 4 horses and just one frontrunner, All Due Respect(Tidal Pool is a presser), Blind Luck is severely compromised once again.

Frankly, I wasn't all that impressed with Blind Luck, and the rides Bejarano gave her, in the Las Virgenes and SA Oaks.  I thought Blind Luck had at least a little early speed, but she lagged behind extremely slow paces in both races.  Is she devoid of speed, or was Bejarano too cautious and overconfident?

Physically, Blind Luck did not seem to develop between the Hollywood Starlet and the SA Oaks, and her two perforfmances so far this year have been well off that Starlet romp.  I do think she has more speed than allowed to show this year, but she's still a late-runner facing a likely glacial pace in the Fantasy.  

All Due Respect has some speed, and did well to hang on for 2nd in the SA Oaks, finishing ahead of Blind Luck.  However, she set a ridiculously slow pace that day.  While she should be sitting on a slow pace again today, Tidal Pool and No Such Word will be breathing down her neck, and I think both will get by her.  I actually like the the local girls, No Such Word and Tidal Pool, to run 1-2.

02 Apr 2010 5:12 PM
Matthew W

John Forsythe! That name says a lot in this game! Gonna win one for the Batchelor Father: Oaklawn Park: Dakota Phone....Santa Anita: Alphies Bet/and will also play Solis on two other closers on the card: Exclamation in race #7 and Hot Citizen in Providencia...American Lion to win/box with the NY Bred in Illinois...like Sadler's horse in NY....Esky gonna roll....

02 Apr 2010 5:20 PM
Steve

I'm near Chicago and heavy rains are just now blowing in.  I'd suggest handicapping the Illinois Derby for a very sloppy track because it's supposed to continue through to tomorrow evening.  

02 Apr 2010 5:20 PM
Mike Relva

GLADIATOR

I agree with with DRAYNOT.

02 Apr 2010 5:21 PM
Keelerman

Hi Jason!

I really enjoy reading your blog. This is a great post. I agree that Eskendereya looks tough to beat, but I think that he can be upset. I think that Jackson Bend may run the race of his life tomorrow with Calvin Borel in the saddle.

As for the Santa Anita Derby, there's no way I can go against Lookin at Lucky, but I'm hoping that Caracortado runs well.

In the Illinois Derby, I'm hoping Backtalk wins, but I think that the California invaders will put in good runs and that Yawanna Twist will finish in the top three. Game Ball might have a shot as well.

Finally, does anybody else think that Blind Luck can win the Kentucky Derby?

-Keelerman

 

02 Apr 2010 5:32 PM
tcc

Jason:

PLEASANT PRINCE arrived at Keeneland from South Florida on Wednesday night. The sophomore has $162,500 in graded stakes earnings, which may not be enough to earn a spot in the starting gate for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1). Thus, the chestnut could possibly show up in the Blue Grass or the Lexington S. (G2) on April 17 for a chance to boost his bankroll.

"That decision is up to the boss (owner Ken Ramsey) ultimately, "I would rather train my horse up to the Kentucky Derby," Ramsey said Friday morning. "We are keeping our options open."

02 Apr 2010 5:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

That's a real nice haircut you got for the Keeneland meet Jason. Probably good enough to last you through The Derby, maybe even The Preakness !!!! Schoolyard Dreams has been gnawing at my brain for days. Could it be that he is going to do something special? Or something awful ???? Or it could be a meaningless thing. It's difficult to tell sometimes what the sub-conscious is up to. I can't get a handle on what it means. The year of difficult to pronounce names. Are you sure it isn't "deer" and not "dear" ?? (Eskendereya). I think I can finally spell it now anyway. The tension is thick preceding these next two weekends. Big impact on determining if some very strong Derby type horses will be left out of the top twenty. THE SYSTEM MUST CHANGE. Will give my input as to how later. I think I heard that homeboy will get a prep after all but if he doesn't and runs in The Derby I predict that Rick Dutrow will be arrested.

02 Apr 2010 7:21 PM
Mike Relva

JASON:

Good luck this weekend. Have you heard any news/rumors when RA might race again and how she's progressing? Thanks!

02 Apr 2010 8:06 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Good points. I'm flying to CA on the 7th. Can't wait.

02 Apr 2010 8:08 PM
GunBow

Now that was more like it from Blind Luck!  

No question she prefers dirt over Pro-Ride.  Although Blind Luck won 2 grade 1 races on Pro-Ride, the Oak Leaf and Las Virgenes, by far her best performance before today had come in the Hollywood Starlet, over a cushion track that plays more like dirt than most synthetics.  And Blind Luck had actually broken her maiden on dirt at Calder by 13 lengths.  Her Fantasy performance was light-years ahead of her 2 earlier runs at Santa Anita this year, and should solidify her status as the favorite for the Kentucky Oaks.

In her romp in the Hollywood Starlet, Blind Luck had been given a solid pace to run at.  I certainly didn't expect her to receive anything close to that set-up in the Fantasy, given there were only 3 other horses in the field.  Although the Fantasy pace was far from fast, with a first quarter in :24 and change, the half mile time was quite fair, being run in :47 and 4, with that second quarter being run in a little over :23 and 3.  The 3rd quarter was run in :23 and 4, for 6 furlongs in 1:11 and 3; for a 4 horse field, that's a decent pace.

In the Santa Anita Oaks, All Due Respect was able to sit on a pace of :24 and 4, :49 and 3, and 1:13 and 4.  Even though Pro-Ride typically does not play to speed, with a pace that slow All Due Respect was able to hang with both Blind Luck and eventual winner Crisp through the stretch and finish 2nd.  

The Santa Anita Oaks produced a number of questions, questions quite common for route races on Pro-Ride.  The central question revolved around pace and the bias of synthetics(Santa Anita's Pro-Ride specifically); was the pace of the Santa Anita Oaks slow enough to counterbalance a track profile that generally favors stalkers and closers?  The answer from the Fantasy is that the slow pace of the SA Oaks actually outweighed any track bias, and by alot.  And the Fantasy demonstrated that no matter how strong the bias on Pro-Ride(against speed horses), if the pace is very slow, the speed horses will be advantaged and the closers disadvantaged(think also Sidney's Candy in the San Felipe).

Faced with legitmate speed horses and forced to run quality fractions, All Due Respect was completely outclassed, and folded badly in the stretch. The fact All Due Respect was moving from synthetic to dirt was unlikely a significant factor because All Due Respect had run a close 3rd, beaten just 2, in the Pocahontas on dirt at Churchill and entered the SA Oaks off a win on dirt at the Fair Grounds.  In the Fantasy, All Due Respect simply could not handle the pace of a quality speed horse like Tidal Pool.

At the top of the stretch, All Due Respect spit the bit as No Such Word loomed 3 wide to challenge front-running Tidal Pool, as the 2 Oaklawn based horses appeared set to dominate.  Tidal Pool was coming into the Fantasy off an allowance win over older fillies and mares which received a high 101 Beyer.  No Such Word had just won the Honeybee easily over top filly Beautician, in a time just a few ticks off of Lookin at Lucky's Rebel.  Thus, in Tidal Pool and No Such Word, Blind luck was being asked to spot two very good fillies about 5 lengths entering the stretch.

As the field straightened away, Tidal Pool began to spurt away from No Such Word and a moonwalking All Due Respect.  Bejarano, who justly received criticsm for his overly patient rides in the Las Virgenes and SA Oaks, once again did not ask Blind luck for much speed early on.  However, he was quicker to push the button on her; in the 2 Santa Anita races Bejarano had waited until the top of the stretch to ask her, but today he started getting busy as the field left the backstretch and entered the turn.  Blind Luck began to gobble up ground, and by the time she hit the top of the stretch, she had already paased All Due Respect and was within a length of No Such Word.  

Tidal Pool, however, had alot more run for Calvin Borel, and opened up what appeared to be a safe lead.  Blind Luck, who had made that nice move to reach contention, looked briefly to be flattening out, left only to fight for 2nd.  However, Bejarano had yet to really shake her up, and when he did she responded like she had in her 2 previous races this year.  Today, though, Bejarano had given her an extra sixteenth of a mile to run down the frontrunners, and it proved decisive.

While Tidal Pool still had the lead with a sixteenth to go, Blind Luck was really covering ground.  In the SA Oaks and Las Virgenes, Blind Luck had only been able to get into full stride within the shadow of the wire.  With Bejarano moving Blind Luck earlier in the Fantasy, she hit full speed at the sixteenth pole, and just enhaled Tidal Pool in the final yards, drawing off to a surprisingly large 2.5 lengths win.

The fantasy was a complete slamdunk for Blind Luck.  She demonstrated that she could run at the highest level on dirt(that she didn't need synthetics to flatter her late run), that she could finish with the same ferocity around 2 turns after chasing legit fractions, that she could ship outside of Cali, and that she could run fast.  The final time for the Fantasy was 1:42 and 2, just about 3/5ths faster than Lookin at Lucky ran in the Rebel(I know, different days, different variance); Oaklawn wasn't playing particularly fast today, with the fastest 6 furlongs(allowance) in 1:09 and 4, and the only two-trun race run in 1:40 and 1 for the mile.  

I expect Blind Luck to receive her highest Beyer, something at least a few points higher than her Starlet 95.  Tidal Pool, who Blind Lucky just zipped by, was coming off a 101 Beyer while No Such Word, beaten 9 lengths by Blind Luck today, was coming off a 94 Beyer at the same distance.  Even if one assumes No Such Word bounced, Tidal Pool probably ran close to her 101 figure in the Fantasy, which would put Blind luck in the 100-105 range.

Blind luck has now won 3 gr.1 races and the gr.2 Fantasy.  Blind Luck very easily could be undefeated for her career and have won all 6 of her gr.1 races.  Blind Luck's only losses came when she was 2nd by a length in the gr.1 Del Mar Debutante, 3rd by 3/4ths of a length in the gr.1 Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies, and 3rd by a neck in the gr.1 Santa Anita Oaks.  1 length here and 1 length there, and we're talking about Blind Luck being one of the greatest young fillies in history.  Blind Luck has already done two things Stardom Bound(who Blind luck has often been compared to) hasn't; she has won a race after the Santa Anita Oaks, and won a stakes race on dirt.  The Fantasy should vault Blind Luck past All Due Respect for Oaks favoritism.  

02 Apr 2010 9:32 PM
GunBow

Assault:

Good call on sticking with Blind Luck on the live blog today.  Did she really outwork Dakota Phone by 5?  Dakota Phone is a solid gr.2 older male, losing the gr.2 San Antonio by a nose and running 3rd in the Big Cap.  

No question, Blind Luck is better on dirt than Pro-Ride.  And that's saying alot because Blind Luck has won 2 gr.1 races on Pro-Ride.  Her two best races, however, were clearly the Hollywood Starlet and today's Fantasy.  On dirt and the dirt-like Cushion Track at Hollywood, Blind Luck can accelerate so much quicker than she does on Pro-Ride.  In that sense, she reminds me of Lookin at Lucky.

I find it really interesting that all of the East Coast dirt horses failed on Pro-Ride at the last 2 Breeder's Cups, but horses like Lookin at Lucky and Blind Luck, multiple gr.1 winners on synthetic, appear to actually be best on dirt.  Whether California horses are as "fast" as the dirt horses in the East is open to debate, but at the very least Cali horses deserve some respect for being so versatile, able to run well on synthetic and dirt.  The list of Cali horses that have won a stakes first time on dirt thus far this year is getting too long to repeat.

It's not like I predicted that Blind Luck would today though.  I really thought the pace scenario would play against her, and I had serious doubts whether she had improved over the last 4 months; her two races prior to the Fantasy suggested she was not any better, and maybe worse, than she had been for the Starlet.  I thought I could be looking at Stardom Bound II.  Good thing I was no where near a racetrack to bet the Fantasy!  No more questioning Blind Luck.  If she remains healthy, she is my choice for the Oaks.  

02 Apr 2010 9:56 PM
GunBow

It's like the 80s and 90s with the SA Derby and Wood being the key Derby preps.

In the Wood, I have to side with favored Eskendereya.  Unlike Lookin at Lucky, Eskendereya needs to run well to ensure he has enough earnings to get into the Derby starting gate.  

While Eskendereya is my choice, his Fountain of Youth has been overrated.  In the FoY, Esky was allowed to set a moderate pace, with the first 6 furlongs going in just 1:12 and change; the pace was nowhere near a performance like Quality Road in the Donn, with a 6 furlong split of 1:09 and change.  Combine the slow fractions with the typical Gulfstream speed bias, and it's not a shock Eskenedereya ran like he did.  Closers like Ice Box and Pleasant Prince were given a tall task in the FoY.

I'm not certain that Eskendereya can be nearly as effective if forced to go faster than he did in the FoY.  Fortunately for his connections, it doesn't appear he will have to answer this question in the Wood.  The Wood drew a small field and not much speed.  Eskendereya should be able to coast early, put away the cheaper speed, and sneak away on the far turn.

However, I don't think Esky will romp.  In Awesome Act and Schoolyard Dreams, Esky faces 2 horses that have enough tactical speed and acceleration to maintain touch with Esky at all times.  I think both Awesome Act and Schoolyard Dreams will make strong runs at Esky on the far turn, but they will likely have to make these runs into quick 3rd+4th quarter splits, something which could take the starch out of their stretch runs.

Although the Gotham field has not been flattered by recent results, I was visually impressed with the move Awesome Act made in the race and believe he had alot more in the tank.  Awesome Act was respected enough to run in the BC Juvenile Turf, and good enough to run 4th.  I just feel that in the last sixteenth he will be a little stronger than Schoolyard Dreams.

I respect Schoolyard Dreams, but believe his "explosive" move in the Tampa Bay Derby was somewhat of an optical illusion.  The main reason Schoolyard Dreams appeared to moving so fast on the far turn of the TB Derby is because the other horses in the field were basically going up and down at that point.  The 4th quarter of the TB Derby took :25 and 4, so Schoolyard Dreams was running by horses that were not running that fast.  To top things off, Schoolyard Dreams wasn't able to build on that move, and in fact lost ground to Odysseus and others through the stretch, resulting in a blanket finish. If he does that again in the Wood, he's running for 3rd.

I think Jackson Bend is a nice, gritty little horse, but he just doesn't appear to be a gr.1 horse at 9 furlongs+.  If Jackson Bend was spent after pushing the 1:12 pace of the FoY, how can he handle a pace like the 1:10 he would get in the Derby?  As I wrote, the pace for the Wood should be slow like the FoY, but it probably won't be slow enough to give him a shot against Esky or even Awesome Act.

02 Apr 2010 10:59 PM
CV

I can only imagine the race caller for this year's Kentucky Derby struggling as he announces..."And now Caracortado moves up to challenge Eskendereya...it's Caracortado in front, now Eskendereya takes the lead, now the jockey asks Caracortado for more..."

He's probably praying for the win, place and show to be easy names like Lookin At Lucky, Ice Box, Dublin and so on.

03 Apr 2010 2:39 AM
Footlick

Runfast- even though she's a whackjob, I love watching her run too.  And on dirt, she'll be a threat.

03 Apr 2010 3:35 AM
Footlick

This is very off topic, but I usually drink Guinness, but I'm drinking Old Speckled Hen- and it is absolutely one of the top class beers of the world.  Very round, full-bodied and rich.  Just in case anyone wants to go out and get some........ it's not a dark beer- sort of a copper colored beer.  Very classy.

03 Apr 2010 3:38 AM
Footlick

Just a comment about Dray- he is who he is.  I know that and so most comments he makes don't even phase me.  He's a little obnoxious in his comments about Zenyatta, but that's who he is.  There are more obnoxious people than Dray.  He takes his stand, and then takes another, but that's his right.  So as far as I'm concerned, he can post until the cows come home.  And you knew he wasn't going to wear the pink dress-lol!

03 Apr 2010 3:51 AM
GunBow

Sorry, meant to write that Blind Luck should be a clear Oaks favorite over Devil May Care (not All Due Respect).

03 Apr 2010 4:18 AM
GunBow

On the SA Derby undercard, I'm excited to see Fluke and Compari in the Arcadia, and Ventana in the Potrero Grande.  Ventana has run his heart out finishing 2nd to Kinsale King and Bob Black Jack in 2 successive gr.2 sprints; he has no excuses not to win.

03 Apr 2010 4:20 AM
GunBow

Blind Luck's Beyer for the Fantasy is 104.  

That puts her right there with Eskendereya, a horse Steve Crist, Mike Watchmaker, and other speed fig gurus are gushing over.  

Unlike Esky, Blind Luck is well proven, having won on a variety of surfaces and tracks, as well as 3 gr.1 races.  This is not to imply that Blind Luck should be pointed to the Derby, but she is classy and she is fast.  Also keep in mind that she ran the final sixteenth of the Fantasy in 6 seconds flat, possibly the fastest closing fraction we've seen on dirt this prep season.

By the way, the 104 Beyer is 9 points higher than her previous best, and almost 20 points higher than what she ran in the Las Virgenes and SA Oaks.

03 Apr 2010 4:41 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Gun Bow: Blind Luck was 1-2 and won as she was supposed to do.  She will likely be a prohibitive favorite in the Ky Oaks which may resemble the KD with the number of pace horses likely to enter.  That scenario should play to her strength.  I still think Jody Slew rates a chance if she goes and wonder when my girl Biofuel is ever going to run again.  She got slammed by Negligee in the BC Juvy Fillies and may have won that race with a better trip.  When you take a horse 6 or 7 wide you don`t expect to be cut off as she was.

As for the 3 KD preps today I`m thinking off the radar (not just under) will surprise many.  Posse Power & Alphie @ SA.  Game Ball @ Hawthorne and either Jackson Bend or Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood who both get new jocks.  I think Esky may be another Bellamy Road which I`m sure will PO a bunch on here. `Lucky doesn`t need any $ and I don`t think this will be any more than a workout for his next.    

03 Apr 2010 8:33 AM
Slew

I don't know...at least us Ron the Greek fans know when to climb off a losing horse...it's Drosselmeyer fans that remain obstinate.  I just can't see anyone from the LA Derby taking Kentucky.  

Santa Anita...LAL and Sydney's Candy.

Illinois..Backtalk, Dave in Dixie, Yawanna Twist.

Wood Memorial...I'll be damned if I can point to the winner there.  For a short field, it seems very deep. Awesome Act, Esky, Schoolyard Dreams.

Kentucky Derby...I'll let you know after he crosses the finish line.

I'm so confused....I think I need another Mint Julep.

03 Apr 2010 9:00 AM
Ted from LA

Great job once again GunBow.

Didn't anyone catch this little gem from Dr. Drunkinbum?

"Are you sure it isn't "deer" and not "dear" ?? (Eskendereya)."

I almost LOL, but I very seldom really LOL.

03 Apr 2010 9:09 AM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

I've been betting Draynay's and It Aint Easy's picks and now I'm so broke I can't even afford to walk down to the corner.  You get to fly to CA (to see your girl friend I suppose).  Have a good one.  LOL

03 Apr 2010 11:31 AM
Junie Wise-Rocky Road Farm

I am using the "DUE" factor tday at Santa Anita....Setsuko...will be a price!!!!....Plus Mandella is "DUE" to get to Churchill Downs with a Horse that has a "SHOT".....I also like Schoolyard Dreams in the Wood....I hope everyone "Gets LUCKY" today!!!!!

03 Apr 2010 11:33 AM
Jason Shandler

Footlick: I am a big fan of good beer too. I especially like the English ales. Old Speckled Hen is tasty, but favorite English beer is Tetley's Pub Ale. Creamy and smooth.

I cringe when I see people drink Miller Lite, Bud Light, etc at good pubs. Its not even beer...

03 Apr 2010 12:27 PM
Ted from LA

This is a blog about horseracing so I find it offensive that Footlick would refer to "beer" and call it "very off topic."  Beer and horseracing go together like Sarah Palin and stupidity.  You can't have one without the other.

03 Apr 2010 1:02 PM
draynay

TJ I have a word for you.  Foundation.  This Derby is between LAL and NP it will be fun to talk about Eskendereya but it's a 2 horse Derby.

03 Apr 2010 1:22 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Ted From LA

   Thanks for the complement. I enjoy your eloquent, witty, and insightful posts, and I'm with you on the Kitten names. It has driven me nuts from the very beginning and has cost me money because I refuse to bet on them. Fillies-fine, colts-no way. Where they read that it's a law that you have to have "kitten" in the name just because some idiot made the mistake of naming a colt Kitten's Joy in the first place is beyond me. Why follow a sick tradition? I see the name and I think it's a filly race. Oh well, I guess I should get over it.

  Jason-I agree on the beers. American beers stink-(speaking of things that should be illegal). One of my favorites is Elephant Malt. The best I ever had was a German beer-Parkbrau.

03 Apr 2010 1:59 PM
Paula Higgins

I swear this is the most entertaining blog going. First we have Ted from LA and now Dr. Drunkinbum and CV. Love it. Ted for LA you need to start laughing out loud more. It's really good for the heart. Literally.

Without Draynay there would be a huge hole here. I agree that he is the TIMEX of the blog and love that analogy. I am not sure the color pink would suit him.

Gunbow love your posts. They are exercises in Hore Racing 101-110. For people like me, they are like the Enyclopedia Britannica of horse racing.

03 Apr 2010 2:39 PM
Matthew W

Blind Luck figured to like dirt--her Hollywood race was bigtime and the cushion has sand fill and plays like dirt...Baffert likes his chances (LAL)....heard him on the Stein Show this am...he commented about Blind Luck/suggested they'll all "suffer the wrath" of Zenyatta back there on dirt...cuz dirt enables a good horse to separate from the not as good---synthetics can conceal a horse's brilliance...and my favorite beer/ale is Rogue Red....

03 Apr 2010 3:07 PM
snow

Dr. Drunkinbum,

Kitten's Joy is named after the owner's wife.  If you know their story then you wouldn't be making such idiotic comments.

03 Apr 2010 3:34 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Paula Higgins

   You are our shining star. So bright and positive. I always read everyone else first then Gunbow last because I know it's going to take awhile but I also appreciate his top notch posts and many others here- I'm not going to name everyone because I'd leave someone out. I like everybody's posts actually. This is the only site I've ever blogged at and probably ever will. I'm glad I decided to read it. And my opinion matches yours on Draynay. It wouldn't be the same without him. And EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions. I kind of like his fanatic nature when it comes to touting the horses he likes eventhough he hasn't got a clue on Zenyatta. He still needs to do his homework assignment and watch her Breeder's Cup win 100 times.

03 Apr 2010 3:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

It's funny how now Mr. Pink Dress is starting to include LAL in his Derby GROUP.  I say group because he seems to add to his list of Derby horses every week or so.  I wonder how he's going to react after the SA Derby. A LAL win and to Pinky he'll be the next Big Brown.

03 Apr 2010 4:04 PM
Mike Relva

I like Jackson Bend today for the win.

03 Apr 2010 4:46 PM
LAZMANNICK

What's with all these harness racing names......Most Happy Fella a boss pacer in the early seventies and Boulder Creek a handicap star just a couple of years ago.

03 Apr 2010 5:00 PM
The Rock

I think we just saw the Derby winner in the Wood. Very very impressive.

03 Apr 2010 5:25 PM
Runfast159

Wow, Eskendereya. He won in the easiest of fashions over what I thought were pretty decent horses.  He is either THAT good, or the rest of the field is very, very ordinary.

And how about Jackson Bend?  What a nice little work horse he is.  I'll be happy to see him running a little shorter distances down the road.

Awesome Act, first time I've really seen this colt.  He is a beautiful one.  I knew he was a bit short on training going into the race and I'm sure it will be disappointing to his connections if he is out of the Derby on an earnings basis.

Schoolyard Dreams looked like he was poised for a big run, a disappointing finish for him.

I wonder if anything Lucky does today will compare to Eskendereya??

And, kudos to Blind Luck who took her California synthetic self to Oaklawn and blasted away at the competition yesterday!

03 Apr 2010 5:26 PM
Paula Higgins

Thanks Dr. Drunkinbum. Don't know about shining star, but these blogs are wonderful. Witty, passionate and thank you GOD, adult (even the teenagers write like adults). If you love horses America, come here.

Hey Ted from LA, Sarah is laughing all the way to the bank. She has a relaity show about Alaska on TLC this season and they paid her $8,000,000 plus. Please GOD make me stupid like Sarah.

Eskendereya just ran lights out. Maybe he is a Triple Crown possibility. There is hope.

03 Apr 2010 5:34 PM
The Rock

Interesting Santa Anita Derby. From the blimp view it looked like LAL would get the slip and range up to Sidney's Candy and somehow he got in tight quarters with Who's Up, who looked like he was backing up. I wonder if he drifted in on him or something.

03 Apr 2010 5:54 PM
carolyn

"WOW", 85 in a 50 was great, Esky, was terrific and LAL would have won had he not got pinched up.  Can't wait to see these two in the derby.

Congrats to Joe Talamo and his great ride on Sydney's Candy...Way to go, Joe.....

Thank goodness, LAL didn't need the first place win to go to the derby...

03 Apr 2010 6:03 PM
LAZMANNICK

Jackson Bend ran a good race but let's face it he belongs in the second tier now.  The Wood winner is a monster.  The time wasn't all that fast but Eskendereya would have won no matter what the time was.  LAL got screwd, went from being well placed to almost last on the turn then made a nice run to be third, without being pushed.  Sidhey's Candy wasn't on my list before, but he is now.  They can't give this guy any room while on the lead because he has the ability to bury top horses.  I feel bad for Alphie's Bet but as Jason said before, he doesn't belong.

03 Apr 2010 6:24 PM
Runfast159

I'd like to clock Espinoza for that.  But it makes me wonder, if Lucky continues to be so darn unlucky (going back to the BC Juvenile now)how is he going to fare in a 20 horse field? At least he'll have more ground to get it sorted out with.  

I admit, I'm one who keeps thinking Sidney's Candy is going to stop running, but he sure didn't today and now I don't see any indication that he will at a mile and a quarter.  If Lucky gets through at the rail today I don't know if he would have caught Candy, but it could have been a hell of an exciting finish. I like to see Talamo getting another chance to go to the Derby after what happened last year.  Hope the horse stays sound and healthy for at least 28 more days!

That said, Lucky is still my Derby pick.

03 Apr 2010 6:33 PM
draynay

Geez.  It took a whole 5 minutes to get that great review from Rock.  There was no doubt that this was going to be a blowout and I told anyone who would listen Eskendereya would win by 6 or more.  Who did he face ?  Was there any pace in the race ?  He faced one horse going to the big dance in Jackson Bend and there is no one who believes he will be a threat in the Derby.  The pace in the race ?  What pace ?  There was none because there was no real speed in the race.  The pace will be much hotter in the Derby.  Awesome Act was nothing but I told all of you that already.  And Sydney's Candy went wire to wire just as I predicted ( didn't I Jason).  LAL is a very good horse but when things don't go perfect for him look what happens.  The only other horse that matters is my Derby choice Noble's Promise.  Notice my guy fired a BULLET today!

1. Noble's Promise

2. Eskendereya

3. LAL

4. Who cares there is no other horses that matter.

03 Apr 2010 6:35 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

 Please remind everyone that I have been on the Eskendereya bandwagon since beford the BC. I don't want to hear any crap about me jumping on the chalk. Eskendereya has all the tools you could ask for in a three year old. I don't want to hear any of the Pletcher crap either. This is the BEST horse Pletcher has ever had for the Derby. If he can get a good post, he is your Derby winner.

03 Apr 2010 6:47 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Nice going,very funny with the NEW NAME for Draynay. I knew he wouldn't honor the bet. Isn't LAL a plastic horse? lol

03 Apr 2010 6:51 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It's time for the Derby Graded Earnings Top Twenty scrubs like Awesome Act and Radiohead to step out of the picture to make room for real Derby horses like Setsuko that are on the bubble.

 Snow-You might be right, if I knew the story but since I don't know the story- I don't like boys named Kitten. What kind of a name is Snow anyway?

03 Apr 2010 6:56 PM
Mike Relva

PAULA H

Are you joking? I hope so,cause for anyone to make statements like that. "Timex" of this blog. That's ok,I wear Movados'. lol

03 Apr 2010 6:58 PM
CV

Wow, did Eskendereya look impressive or what? Wasn't even running flat out.

I was happy to see my home state horse, Jackson Bend, come in second. He seems like such a game little guy.

About the Santa Anita Derby, I wonder why G. Gomez took Lookin At Lucky into the pack again.

If your horse has gotten squeezed and had to check in the prior race, wouldn't you try to get him into clear air even if you had to go a little more outside?

Just asking, since I'm no jockey and couldn't play one if I tried, but this is the second time Gomez had traffic trouble with Lucky. Unlike the Rebel, this time the poor horse never had a chance to recover.

03 Apr 2010 7:11 PM
Mike Relva

THE ROCK

Really? Guess you don't in the saying,"anything can happen". Let's  go ahead and stamp him the winner next month. lol

03 Apr 2010 7:23 PM
Ranagulzion

RiverCitySmitty,

Now that the Wood has been run, your underating and miscalculating of Esky's brilliance should be done.

I tell you again this is not a year for some "hell-for-leather closer to upset the Kentucky Derby applecart.  This is a year to relax and enjoy racinging's finest ...'cause 3YO colts like Eskendereya do not come along frequently.  Watching this colt strut his stuff should give you flashes of "Big Red" himself ...if you are old enough to recognize what that looks like.  Any way you will begin to see, starting on the first Saturday in May 2010.

03 Apr 2010 7:42 PM
Ranagulzion

Professor COLDFACTS,

Your theory concerning Eskendereya's galloping action at Aqueduct did not hold and I am not about to let you off the hook Bro.  Please come here and have a bite of "crow".  The colt was powering away from his field with every smooth-flowing "Secretariat-esque" stride, giving a confident Johnny V an armchair ride.  Come on here and say WOW to Esky as a demonstration of your credibility and integrity otherwise it will be difficult to take you seriously.

03 Apr 2010 7:52 PM
carolyn

Goodness, I just love Esky's bio, Damn, all good bloodlines in my boy. I like him and Lucky and don't want to see the two compete  against each other that is. I know, this is racing and thats the name of the game..

03 Apr 2010 7:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Eskendereya is going to be tough. He looks like he could run all day at that pace. A definite Triple Crown candidate if he can win The Derby. He will be The Derby ML favorite at 2-1 or 5-2. I'm hoping the top two or three next weekend are those that already have a lot of graded earnings. Go- Noble's Promise and Dublin and Uh Oh Bango !!! Go Interactif and Aikenite !!! I hope that you're starting to understand that barring injuries that this is a strong Derby field. There are monsters in there that would scare the bejeezus out of any hardened horror movie fanatic.

03 Apr 2010 7:59 PM
sherpa

Awesome Act lost a shoe at the gate, a helluva thing to overcome, but still got home 3rd.   I don't believe there's any way Eskendereya could've been bested today, but AA certainly wasn't "nothing" as dray says.  sheesh..  

03 Apr 2010 8:15 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Finally!!!!

I am so glad they put AL on dirt!  I have been begging and pleading on here for them to do it. He ran a great race.  It will be interesting to see how he does with a hotter pace, but I am glad he is getting a shot.  

Now I am anxious to see how Tiz The One does next week.

Dray,

It took you all of 5 hours to say "It is going to be nice to talk about Esky, but it will be a two horse race between NP and LAL" to your top three having Esky as your second favorite over LAL.  I am still confident that four Winstar horses will finish in front of NP in the derby.

03 Apr 2010 8:15 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Somebody mentioned WWF or some kind of wrestling on one of these bolgs then someone said "what does that have to do with horse racing?" Well now we know. Gomez went after Espinoza, then Espinoza tagged Baffert who threw Gomez to the mat for his ride, then Gomez tagged Lookin At Lucky who went looking for Who's Up in the barn who said "what the hay do you want Lucky, are you talkin to me, well I don't see anyone else here." Then Lucky said "you wanna piece of me!!" And they went at it.

03 Apr 2010 8:27 PM
LAZMANNICK

CV

I agree with you.  I love Garret Gomez as a jockey.  However, this seems like the third race in a row that Lucky has been in serious trouble.  Something has to give.

03 Apr 2010 8:40 PM
Draynay

Ranagulzion you have to be kidding me.  You compared Eskendareya to Secretariat ?  Maybe you better look at the clock again.  He ran a 150 big deal and got the mild pace that a strider like him likes.  He won't see that pace in the Derby. Before you get too excited about a horse that won against a small cheap field check out the time Noble's Promise runs next week.  Foundation wins a Derby and Eskendareya is going to be a Fools Gold.  Noble's Promise is the horse to beat come May.  Todd Pletcher is 0 for 24 and claims to have never had the horse.  Well I am here to tell you he doesn't know what to do with the young horse so throw out all his horses and the winner of the Santa Anita.  If you do that it has to lead you to Noble's Promise.

03 Apr 2010 8:42 PM
LAZMANNICK

Maybe the best three year old running today at the Big A was in the Bay Shore, though Ramon doesn’t think he’s much more than a miler.  If not the best, then maybe second best.  Eightyfiveinafiftie’s fractions:  :22.3  :45  1:08.4    1:21.4    Warrior’s Road’s fractions in the G-1 Carter:  22.4  :45.4  1:09.3    1:21.3.  The difference between the two…..Eightyfive ran green and won very easily and in spite of drifting out a bit looked like he could go on……..Warrior charged from way off a hotly contested pace and just got up at the end.   The one-turn races seemed to be much faster than the two-turn races.  Maybe Eightyfive will pass the Triple Crown races and take on Quality Road in the Met Mile…….Interesting.

Apparently Awesome Act had issues this week…..a sore shin and missed training time and apparently he lost a shoe at the start.  I still don’t think he’s a Derby threat.

03 Apr 2010 9:02 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, yes "he gets a lickin and keeps on tickin." That's Draynay and he was right about Sidney's Candy by the way. However, he is dead wrong about Eskendereya. That is one impressive horse. So the list changes. I do think LAL got a bad trip. He came back pretty strong at the end. Still also like Odysseus. But Esky is the one to beat, no doubt about it.

03 Apr 2010 9:09 PM
Lil Darlin

Wow, harsh words from Baffert at Gomez today...I don't think anyone was catching SC, but LAL didn't have a chance to make it close which was disappointing. It will be interesting to see what Baffert does now...he seemed pretty peeved.

I give LAL credit, there is no quit in him.  He had no business winning the Rebel after a rough trip and definitely had no business hitting the board today after that disaster, but somehow he just grinds it out. I love his determination, but not his tough racing luck.

03 Apr 2010 9:24 PM
Mike Relva

PAULA HOGGINS

If we are gonna do the "who's right/wrong " I was right regarding Zenyatta last Nov.

03 Apr 2010 9:30 PM
LAZMANNICK

Gee Draynay……..Maybe Eskendareya isn’t the second coming of Secretariat like Ranagulzion thinks he is, but his Wood Memorial time was 1.49.4 was the SAME as Secretariat’s Wood Memorial.  The difference is that Eskendareya won the Wood and Secretariat didn’t. …..It’s also interesting to note that Eightyfiveinafifty won the Bay Shore in 1:21.4…….Secretariat won his in 1.23.1……That doesn’t make him a better horse than Secretariat the same as Eskendareya’s slow time in the WOOD doesn’t make him the ordinary horse that you’re trying to convince yourself and everyone else that he is.

03 Apr 2010 9:36 PM
Tim G

No Footlick, Dray is the obnoxious talker who has his little clones on here.

Jason you should be in seventh heaven in KY with all the pubs. Boston or Dublin it ain't but still not shabby.

For those of you talking about LAL? He's gotten in a bind the last two outs, clipped heels in the Rebel. Anyone think it'll get any easier in the Derby? Not hardly. He doesn't seem to be learning from his precarious situations (or rather GoGo isn't). Don't be surprised to see Baffert replace him with someone who has POSITIVE Derby experience.

GO BUTLER!!!!

03 Apr 2010 9:37 PM
draynay

TJ that is the difference between an expert like me and you.  Esky did exactly what I thought he would do against that weak bunch but he has yet to see any G1 winners.  Jackson Bend made his name as a Calder sprinter... BIG DEAL.  Esky saw a 113 for 6 furlongs do you think he will see that again ?  What happens when he is looking at a 110 or 111 in the Derby ?  The pool is a lot deeper when you face G1 winners for the first time.  Esky is going to have a big Bullseye on him just like Bellamy Road did and we all know how things worked out for him.  Noble's Promise has been to war vs. the best and will show his stuff next week.  Get off the Esky bandwagon he is a suckers bet with limited experience against very average fields.  Stick with an expert like myself to help guide you on the correct path.

03 Apr 2010 9:53 PM
snow

Baffert would be foolish if he took Gomez off of Lookin at Lucky.  Nakatani and Espinoza both use to ride 1st call for Baffert.  I don't think that its such a coincidence that the trouble that Gomez has found in the last two races has been caused by Nakatani and Espinoza.

03 Apr 2010 9:59 PM
draynay

It ain't easy being good maybe you better check out Noble's Promise bullet work today.  Keep talking.  GunBow are you still thinking Backtalk is going to win the Illinois Derby ?  You may know a lot about horse but next time you think about handicapping a race just go for a walk.

03 Apr 2010 10:00 PM
LAZMANNICK

I just read Jason’s article regarding Baffert’s comments about Gomez’ ride.  I have always had a lot of respect for BB and I have always considered GG as one of my favorite riders.  Obviously GG went against BB’s instructions and had LAL where he shouldn’t have been.  However, I think that the way Baffert called Garrett out in the press and in such a ridiculing manner is pathetic.  Garrett dealt with a lot of personal issues at one time in his life and has worked hard to overcome them.  He is a champion jockey and disrespectful comments should be made behind closed doors.  It seems to me that Baffert used to treat Espinoza in the same condescending manner years ago when he used to ride for him.  Maybe he should take a look at himself.

03 Apr 2010 10:06 PM
PMAC14

Eskendereya's pedigree is as blue as they come.  He reminds me of Big Brown. Brown's pedigree was one of the best I have ever seen.   These types are monster at 1 1/4.  I hope I can get 7-2 on Esky in the derby.  I know he and lucky will be the "keys" on all of my exotics.   And one more thing.  Zenyatta could very well go down as the greatest race horse ever if she has a undefeated year and wins the cup again.  Im just glad I am alive to witness her greatness since I wasnt alive to see secretariat!  

03 Apr 2010 10:07 PM
tcc

Today exposed some more of the prentender's, although there will be quite a few more making it in the Kentucky Derby starting gate's because of their graded stake's earnings.

03 Apr 2010 10:38 PM
Ranagulzion

DRAYNAY,

The references to Secretariat is meant to preview what Esky is capable of, and what he's about to show the racing world beginning May 1, 2010.  You were a doubting Thomas but I notice that you are grudgingly coming around.  Having been so enamoured with a green/inexperienced but obviously talented Christine Daae, one that you said was better than any 3YO colt you have seen this year, it was predictable that in due course you would recover from the "Rachel Alexandra hang-over" and see the brilliance of Esky (he compares very favourably with our mutually admired Big Brown at this stage of their careers in terms of towering over rivals with the aura of invincibility & domination).  I know that in spite of your "forked-tongue" ramblings on here you have an eye for the excellent ones as I do and was always confident that you would see the light ...even if you don't admit it openly.  Anyway there is plenty of room on the waggon and Fire Slam and I will welcome you with open arms.  

BTW Noble's Promise is as genuine and game as they come BUT he wont hit the board in the Derby ...his stamina limitationss will be exposed in the final furlong.  I can't envision him outrunning Esky, Interactif, Rule, Super Saver, Mission Impazible, Sidney's Candy, Looking At Lucky (beating him in all three meetings is confirmed superiority), Awesome Act, Ice Box, Jackson Bend or even the big-on-talent-short-on-seasoning Endorsement.  Believe me NP has a mountain to climb to get a share.  In Grade 1 company he'll be competitive as a miler but I'm not saying that he doesn't belong in the Derby ...he is in that class but not competitive enough at 10 furlongs IMO.

Trusting that he remains healthy, I'm very confident that Eskendereya cops the Triple Crown, breaking the 32 years long drought and throws down the gauntlet in the race for HOTY with His Royal Highness Quality Road and Queens Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra. Then at last Mr Todd Pletcher will have shook off that Orangutan off his back by winning all three legs of the Triple Cropwn and waltz his way deservedly into the trainer's hall of Fame.  Now you can sit back and enjoy the rest of the year without the stress of all the drama.  Ranagulzion's advise is sound advise.  Take your pick Buddy.  

03 Apr 2010 10:53 PM
2:24

Esky looked extremely impressive and won with ease.  He certainly looks like the class of the crop.  However, it's tiresome that after every ultra great performance someone compares the winner to Secretariat.  Please stop.  Let's see if the horse can get through the Derby than the Triple Crown before we start comparing him to the greatest racehorse of all time.

03 Apr 2010 11:02 PM
Sharon

After watching the video of the Wood, how could you not st least consider ESKENDEREYA the horse to beat in the Derby?  I thought the race caller pronounced his name Eskendraya.  Perhaps it is time for Pletcher to finally have his Derby win.

04 Apr 2010 12:25 AM
Paula Higgins

Yup, Baffert is livid with Gomez and Gomez is livid with Espinoza. Not a good situation. Good horse, good trainer, good jockey, but having some issues. I might change jockeys about right now.

04 Apr 2010 1:38 AM
goodwin

Gomez was right behind Sid's Candy all the way down the backside - not a poor place to be, because the pace was slow enough that S. Candy was not going to back up. Espinoza DID NOT have the room to get through, and he was almost responsible for a horrible pile up. He ought to get days out of the saddle for his behavior. As Gomez was pelting him with fists after the race, I was yelling that Victor sure deserved it. And Baffert should save his comments for a private conversation with Go-go. No class: Baffert and Espinoza!

04 Apr 2010 1:58 AM
GunBow

The Santa Anita Derby prodcued something very rare on Pro-Ride, a frontrunner winning in an absolute runaway around 2 turns.  Of course, as brilliant as Sidney's Candy was, the victory is tempered by the fact that Lookin at Lucky lost ALL chance on the far turn when forced to check twice.  Although Caracortado might have the earnings to make the Kentucky Derby, I really believe only the top 3 finishers at Santa Anita today should be in the starting gate at Churchill.

After the San Vicente, I wrote that Sidney's Candy was the most talented 3 year old I've seen at Santa Anita this year, and he did nothing between that race and the SA Derby to change my mind.  The only question was distance.  Well, Sidney's Candy had absolutely no problem with 9 furlongs, and like he did after the San Felipe, he galloped out strongly today.  Aside from Lookin at Lucky getting into trouble, Sidney's Candy won the race with a brilliant :23.22  4th quarter, a move that propelled him to a half-dozen length lead at the top of the stretch.  Although Talamo wrapped up the final sixteenth, Sidney's Candy still put in a :12.45 final eighth, for a very strong final 3 furlongs in :35.76

The pace that Sideny's Candy is likely to face in Kentucky will be significantly more demanding; he will not be able to get away with 1:12 and 1. Sidney's Candy will also be running on dirt for the first time in the Derby, so there are still more questions left than would be expected from a dominant SA Derby winner.

Personally, I don't think dirt should be a huge issue for Sidney's Candy.  He's by Candy Ride, a graded stakes winner on dirt and turf, and a horse that has sired versatile runners like Misremembered, a graded stakes winner on dirt and synthetic.  And, as a frontrunner, Sidney's Candy has a style that has produced the most success for horses moving from synthetic to dirt; Sidney's Candy is not Colonel John or a Dave in Dixie type, horses whose late running style is flattered by Santa Anita's Pro-Ride.  Although Sidney wouldn't have romped had Lucky not encountered trouble, a horse hasn't dominated a two turn stakes at Santa Anita in such a fashion since The Pamplemousse last year.  Make no mistake, only a supremely gifted horses can romp the way Sidney did on Pro-Ride, and on the frontend.  And it's not like the track was speed biased, given Setsuko came from last to get 2nd.  This was a fairly run race (except for Lucky's trouble), and Sidney was just too good.

So, for me, the only question about Sidney is pace.  How will he react when forced to contend with 4 or 5 others on a 1:10 and change pace?  Working in Sidney's favor is that he is one cool, laid back horse.  For a horse so brilliant, Sidney always seems so relaxed, and seems to do things so easily.  In the paddock, he was as cool as the other side of the pillow(Billy D. Williams), and he looked relatively fresh in the winners circle.  Given that it is typically much more difficult to go wire to wire on Pro-Ride than dirt, I think Sidney could be long gone in Kentucky if they let him go 1:11 flat or slower.  However, that's probably unlikely.  Even going faster, Sidney definitely has a shot.

Not much really to say about Lookin at Lucky.  As others have written, he did well just to get 3rd.  Thank goodness he didn't need earnings!  My biggest concern with him now is that he does seem to be finding alot of trouble.  The issue could be that he gets a little too keen at inopportune times during a race, perhaps moving a little too soon and too fast onto the heels of retreating horses; he's almost too explosive!  Even so, I still really like him for the Derby.  I love his versatility, and think he can be placed anywhere during a race.  As I suspected from seeing the video of the Rebel, Lucky has really filled out since I last him in person for the Hollywood Futurity.  Then he was a teenager, now he's a grown man.  Do not confuse him with Pioneer of the Nile; Pioneer had never won on dirt and didn't have Lucky's explosiveness.  He's still my choice.

Setsuko, a big son of Pleasantly Perfect, came running well for 2nd.  He's one of the few horses I feel certain will just keep getting better as the distances get longer.  However, while a 2nd in the SA Derby looks good on paper, and his late move to get 2nd was pleasing to the eye, we can't just ignore the fact that Sidney absolutely thumped him.  I really believed going into the SA Derby that there was a significant talent gap between Lucky and Sidney on one side and Alphie's Bet and Setsuko on the other.  The running of the SA Derby did nothing to change that opinion.  

Even if Sidney's Candy ultimately proves not to be a 10 furlong horse, I believe there will be a couple of other horses, whether Lookin at Lucky, Eskendereya, Noble's Promise, etc that will like 10 furlongs enough and are too talented for Setsuko.  I really feel Setsuko would only be running for 3rd in the Derby, although that wouldn't be bad at all.  However, the Belmont could be another story. He is a wonderful looking horse, very similar to his daddy.

Outside of the top 3, I didn't see another legit Derby horse.  Caracortado does not carry much weight, and he looked drained(wet, skinny) when walking through the paddock after the race.  Caracortado never spit the bit in the SA Derby, and did ok to finish ahead of the longshots in 4th.  Yet, he was all out to barely beat a group of also-rans light on accomplishment and slow in terms of speed figures.  Right now, his earnings are probably not going to be sufficient, and in my opinion that's a good thing.  I think Caracortado might need a little time and some more realistic objectives.

The same is true for Alphie's Bet.  Alphie's Bet was lathering badly at the mouth before the race, and then didn't receive much help from Solis who kept him wide for most of the race.  However, Alphie had been good enough to overcome a similar trip in the Sham.  Problem was, he was meeting significantly better today.  I had strongly believed the San Felipe was superior to the Sham, and while Setsuko did come from the Sham to run 2nd, he was well beaten by Sidney's Candy and would have been running for 3rd had Lucky had a clean trip.  Not much sense discussing Alphie much more, because he doesn't have the earning to get to the Derby.

In short, I think we saw two top tier Derby prospects in Sidney's Candy and Lookin at Lucky.  Sidney's Candy might be the most impressive frontrunner I've seen on the Derby trail, but of the SA Derby horses, I still rank Lookin at Lucky 1st.  Setsuko is moving in the right direction, but he still looks to have a ways to go to be among the elite contenders; he has an outside shot at 3rd or 4th in Kentucky.  I doubt any horses outside of the top 3 even run in Louisville.  

04 Apr 2010 2:19 AM
GunBow

On the SA Derby undercard:

Gr.2 Arcadia Cap: Compari held off Fluke and Battle of Hastings in a thrilling 3 horse finish.  5 weeks ago I wrote extensively on this blog about the Crystal Water Stakes win by Compari, a Cal-bred I thought had a good chance to make a splash in graded stakes on turf and synthetic, going 6 furlongs or 9 furlongs.  In the one mile Arcadia, Compari was able to set moderate fractions, and then responded with class and determination.  After running 3rd in his debut, Compari has now won 6 straight races, including 4 stakes.  The Arcadia was his first graded stakes however.

Fluke ran very well for a 3rd straight race.  After having set the pace in the gr.1 Kilroe, only to lose a photo to Proviso, Fluke was taken back to midpack in the Arcadia.  He was hurt by the slow pace, and then had to go wide on the far turn.  It looked like Fluke was going to settle for 3rd in midstretch, but he showed alot of heart to get by Battle of Hastings late.  Having already won the gr.1 Citation in November, Fluke is a threat in top level turf races from 8-9 furlongs, and should get back to the winner circles soon.

Battle of Hastings ran well again, but he just keepts finding one or two horses that are a little faster.  I've personally seen Battle of Hastings run his last 4 races, and he's finished 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, and 3rd, all in gr.1 or 2 races.

Potrero Grande: Without Kinsale King or Bob Black Jack, Ventana was the class of the field, but he had to really dig deep to hold off Gato Go Win and stablemate EZ's Gentlemen.  Vetana has had a solid meet, but this was his 4th race in a little over 3 months and he wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in the Palos Verdes in late January.  At least Mike Pegram, Bob Baffert, and Garrett Gomez made it to the winner's circle of a stakes race today.

Providencia:  City to City proved her upset win in the listed China Doll was no fluke(no pun intended), using a strong late run to win the gr.2 Providencia.  Andina, 3rd in the China Doll, ran well to shadow City to City through the final sixteenth and nab 2nd.  Favored In the Slips, 4th in the China Doll, had her late run fall short again, although she was gaining on the leaders and was just narrowly beaten.  Pacesetter Camille C, 2nd in the China Doll, completed a 1-2-3-4 sweep for the China Doll horses.

The race was marred when longshot Warren's Skater fell down an eighth of a mile after the finish.  From what I could tell, she was euthanized.

04 Apr 2010 3:00 AM
GunBow

Some thoughts on out-of-town races:

Wood: Eskendereya is going to be the Derby favorite.  He clearly is a top talent, but I'm not sure how much we really learned about him.  Like with Sidney's Candy, I'm still not totally sure how Eskendereya will respond to a legit pace.  In the Fountain of Youth he set a 1:12 and change pace, and today he sat the garden spot on a 1:13 and change pace.  Yes, he responded with professionalism, and yes he looked good striding out in the stretch.  But he has had perfect setups in these two races.  And with Awesome Act losing energy wrestling Julien Leparoux and with Schoolyard Dreams validating my lower opinion of the Tampa horses, Esky was again left with Jackson Bend being his nearest competitor at the wire.  Jackson Bend is as tough as nails, but I do not consider him to be a legit Derby horse.

Some may view the results of the Wood as verification that the Fountain of Youth was the best prep race. And maybe it was.  It seems fairly clear to me it was well above the Tampa Bay Derby and Gotham.  Although not helped by the pace, Schoolyard Dreams should have been able to get by Jackson Bend if he was a top prospect, and the fact he didn't doesn't flatter Odysseus.  And while Awesome Act probably spent himself fighting his jockey, it doesn't change the fact that the horses he beat in the Gotham have been getting beaten wherever they go.

In short, I think Eskendereya is an exciting prospect.  However, he has had 2 tailor-made preps, and I question what he beat in both, but especially the Wood(with Awesome Act freaking out).  Personally, I have him 2nd behind Lookin at Lucky, but completely understand those who have him on top.  The time for the Wood, even with the slow pace, was 7/5th faster than what Goldsville ran winning the Excelsior (Goldsville is a 94-96 Beyer horse, so Esky should get another 106).  Esky also deserves credit for delivering a :12 and 1 final eighth; the inverted pace was more like a synthetic race.  

As for Awesome Act, he probably deserves another chance, but such rankness is not a good sign for the Derby, with its 19 other horses and 150,000+ spectators.

Illinois Derby: Was happy to see American Lion respnd well to the dirt and slightly easier competition.  In California, David Flores up is usually a sign that the trainer wants to send a horse, and I am glad American Lion was sent to the front in Illinois.  Finally, AL was given his head, and without Flores having to worry about a synthetic surface which often punishes speed.  AL looked good the entire trip, running with his ears pricked, and for a horse that had been lackluster in his last 2, he showed surprising grit and determination.  It took a while, but Winstar and fans finally got that breakthrough performance from AL.  

While excited, I know some perspective is needed.  With Backtalk floundering, the Illinois Derby field was iffy, and probably deserving of no better than the grade 3 it was given.  American Lion, and Yawanna Twist for that matter, look like nice horses, but I would rate them midpack at best in terms of Derby prospects.  Dave in Dixie, unable to win at Santa Anita on a surface that typically plays to his late run, was simply not good enough to overcome a Hawthorne track that usually plays to frontrunners in the Illinois Derby.  No surprise there.

The wins by Sidney's Candy and American Lion suggest the San Felipe could be a key race.  Look for Interactif to be tough in the Blue Grass.

Ashland Stakes: Evening Jewel and James Cassidy suffered an agonizing loss when Blind Luck's nose got in the way of winning the gr.1 Las Virgenes.  On a day when Cal-breds Caracortado and Alphie's Bet did not run well at Santa Anita, Evening Jewel did the Golden State proud winning the gr.1 Ashland.  After dictating the pace, Evening Jewel looked home-free in midstretch, but almost let another gr.1 slip away.  8.5 furlongs is probably as far as she wants to go, but she does have 3 wins and 4 2nds in her last 7 races.  It capped a big weekend out of town for the Las Virgenes horses(Blind Luck winning the Fantasy).

It was also good seeing She Be Wild return to form.

Skip Away Stakes:  Congrats to Arson Squad.  I saw Arson Squad win the gr.2 Swaps Stakes way back in 2006.  I then saw him beat Midnight Lute(champion, multiple gr.1 winner), Brother Derek(multiple gr.1 winner), Spring at Last(gr.1 winner), and Awesome Gem(millionaire, gr.2 winner) in the 2007 gr.2 Strub Stakes.  However, Arson Squad won those races on dirt, and turned out to absolutely hate synthetics.  After trying synthetics for over a year, Jay Em Ess stable finally transferred Arson Squad from Bruce Headley to Dick Dutrow back East.  The horse promptly won the gr.2 Meadowlands Cup first out.  After a new 6 race drought, mostly in gr.1 races, Arson Squad got back in the win column in the gr.3 Skip Away.  In winning, Arson Squad became a much deserved millionaire.

Excelsior: Speaking of moving from synthetic to dirt, Goldsville, 5th in the San Pasqual, won his 2nd straight race at Aqueduct in the gr.3 Excelsior.  Do people still question the talent of the horses racing in California? If so, how many have to go back East and win stakes on dirt?

Carter Handicap: Certainly not a vintage field, but Warrior's Reward and Musket Man put on a good show.  After being the wise-guys' horse over last summer, it appears Warrior's Reward is finally living up to the hype, although at middle distances.  Musket Man ran his usual gritty race; he and Warrior's Reward could be interesting challengers to Quality Road in the Met Mile.

Bay Shore: Eightyfiveinafifty ran only 1/5th slower than Warrior's Reward, and after setting a much faster pace.  Forget the Classics, and keep this horse sprinting; he could be a star around one turn.

Oaklawn Handicap: Duke of Mischief runs 8th between 20 by Quality Road in the Donn.  Now he wins the gr.2 Oaklawn Handicap.  This wasn't a vintage Oaklawn Cap', but it does flatter Quality Road.

04 Apr 2010 4:12 AM
GunBow

On 3rd viewing, and after reading Jay Privman, Caracortado didn't run nearly as poorly as I originally thought.  Following Lookin at Lucky around the turn, Caracortado was forced to take up when Lucky checked.  Caracortado dropped back to last, was angled 3 wide, and then split horses to get up 4th, just ahead of Skipshot.  I don't know if Caracortado had it worse than Lucky, because Lucky was running stronger at the time of the incident, but Caracortado was definitely superior to those horses in 5th, 6th and 7th that he finished next to.  Caracortado probably won't have the earnings, but like I wrote earlier, he didn't look great physcially after the race(although I'm no expert), and missing the Derby might be for the best.

So, the only thing the SA Derby proved conclusively is that Sidney's Candy towers over Setsuko, Alphie's Bet, and the longshots in the SA Derby.  The race would have been much closer had Lucky and Caracortado not had trouble.  Class really showed.

04 Apr 2010 5:33 AM
Trebloc

Winstar Farm holds all the cards in the Derby.  I think Winstar's Elliot Walden should give the jockey instructions in the Derby. A little cat and mouse game with Eskenderaya (sp).

04 Apr 2010 8:09 AM
Rachel

Sydney's Candy can run all day...ask his daddy...

American Lion looks like a classic horse.

04 Apr 2010 8:53 AM
berttheclock

What an ultimate putdown by Baffert - Telling Gomez he needs to watch Jerry Bailey DVDs - Yeah, Garrett go to your room and sit all day in the corner with JB videos streaming.

I thought for years that a future HOF trainer referring to a future HOF rider as a "little monkey" for getting boxed in during a ride in the Sunset H with a very short field topped the putdowns, but, this BB comment is a gem.

04 Apr 2010 9:13 AM
Mike

Eskendereya looks to be the real deal. As long as he can get a stalking position on a good track I dont see how he will not win the Derby. I feel as strong about this horse as BB.

04 Apr 2010 9:50 AM
Slew

It seems as though Baffert threw Gomez under bus.  Maybe I would have too...in private.  Didn't Espinoza win a derby for him on War Emblem?  Espinoza's explanation seemed to be a round about way of saying...I know, I wanted to cut him off.  Still LAL would not have caught Sydney's Candy...who will need better fractions to win the derby..but will probably get them on the dirt.

LAL is a brave horse...can't believe he got back into the race that quickly after checking...and kudos to Setsuko who was sensational.  Eskendereya has now earned my respect.  Will 85ina50 show up in the Preakness?  Maybe...still too green for the Derby.  American Lion surprised me, but Backtalk desperately needs blinkers or he's out of everything.

04 Apr 2010 10:21 AM
TJLuvsTizs

Lil Darlin,

I don't know what Baffert said, but I would agree that this is two races in a row where Gomez has put LAL in a bad spot.  It was early enough in the Rebel for him to overcome it by a head.  This time it was on the far turn and it was too late for him to gain more momentum.  

I would blame Gomez however, we knew going into it that LAL might prefer dirt anyways.  It would be hard to take Gomez off a horse, but Martin Garcia has been climbing Baffert's good list.  He is still my favorite over Esky regardless of which jockey he will pick.

04 Apr 2010 10:49 AM
brettzky99

I guess if any horse was flattered this weekend it was Interactif.  I would look for him to run big @ Keeneland next week.  His pedigree has tons of awesome names, but could suggest he is a touch fragile.  Granted, Sid's Candy (or Eskendereya, for that matter) aren't going to get those modest half mile splits next month, not with Conveyance and Rule, in the mix.  Still, I thought Interactif would have fared real well if he had another 1/16, in the San Felipe.

On another note, Baffert is waaay out of line; look for Ron Anderson to ask for those comments to be somewhat retracted.  The ride wasn't world class, but Gomez got him up at Oaklawn, and not to mention did wonders with a brutally rank Pioneer of thenile last season.  Jerry Bailey DVDs to Garrett Gomez....WOW.

04 Apr 2010 11:29 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

There's Eskendereya, then there's the rest. He does it so easy with a beautiful, powerful stride. But he hasn't gotten into trouble yet. If he stays out of trouble in The Derby-watch out. This could be Pletcher's first Derby win with a Triple Crown added for a little added emphasis. Lookin At Lucky has had nothing but trouble and has shown a lot of class but if Eskendereya gets a clean trip in The Derby it's all over. This is the most talented colt we've seen since Barbaro. His breeding value is going to be astronomical even in these hard times.

04 Apr 2010 11:48 AM
RiverCitySmitty

Ranagulzion:  I did underestime Esky and he did look great winning the Wood.  Likely post time Derby chalk.  He just strolled around and left the little guy Jackson Bend in his wake again.  Will I bet him in the KD?  Doubtful since I never bet derby favorites.  Two more speed types added with Sydney and Amer. Lion.  Somethings gotta give in a 20 horse field.  Setsuko closed well @ SA, but he won`t get in.  As TJ has said all along American Lion stepped up big time in @ Hawthorne.  Backtalk currently #20 @ 225K in updated earnings list which still includes the filly and D`Bone.  There are quite a few running next week who are lower than Backtalk and need a 1st or 2nd to get to the dance.  I`m still looking for a closer, but there may not be any in Louisville.  Lucky would still be at the top of my list after a bad trip/ride yesterday.

04 Apr 2010 11:54 AM
goodwin

Didn't like my opinion about Baffert and Espinoza? Well its true - Gomez didn't do anything wrong, Victor did. And Baffert should keep his big mouth closed, or put the blame where it belongs.

04 Apr 2010 12:14 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Anyone willing to take a guess on the opening 6 furlongs in this year`s derby?  Mine is 1:10 2/5.  I don`t think we`ll see another Top Avenger first 1/4, but most of the potential derby entrants seem to be either on or near the lead and their prep races usually had the 6 split in 1:11 and change or higher.  Sometimes much higher.  Being in front of 135k screaming drunks and in a 20 horse field seems to take its toll more on front runners than closers and tends to get them even more keyed up.  Factor in an outside post and the jock will need to hustle him early to avoid the race being immediately over.  Something`s gotta give in this derby with virtually all the horses having similar styles.  Maybe there`ll be NO closers in the race this year and the last quarter will be run in 30 with everyone gasping down the stretch.  

04 Apr 2010 12:33 PM
Fire Slam

Ranagulzion--

I know we disagree about everything, and have had our battles.

After watching Eskendereya in the F--of Youth, I said this horse would win not only the KY Derby, but the TRIPLE CROWN.

Got blasted for a bold statement. I stand by it. If he gets by the KY Derby, this will be year.

04 Apr 2010 12:43 PM
Fire Slam

Eskendereya is awesome!! I do hope Johnny V. realizes they went 49 and change for the half, which is walking. Its easy to stick close to the pace and then draw away with those fractions.

They will go 46 and change for the Derby. If Eskendereya is that close to those fractions, he might be in trouble in the long Churchill Downs stretch.

He will have first asking at the leaders, just like Barbaro did.

04 Apr 2010 12:45 PM
It aint easy being good

The messiah has returned man I am good. Got both races right. Told yall that Sidneys candy is a beast. I dont like talamo but that was impressive. The horse can run for days and this derby should be interesting. Dont sleep on the illinois derby winner he should be getting better by next race american lion is a sleeper!

04 Apr 2010 1:01 PM
Paula Higgins

The Lookin at Lucky plot thickens. Apparently Espinoza was mad that he was taken off a Baffert horse and allegedly (according to Gomez) he was trying to get even. The powers that be are looking into it. Bob and Jill Baffert both had words with Espinoza. Gomez punched Espinoza in the jockey's room. If Espinoza did push him into the rail, they should suspend him for a good long time. It's not just about the people, it's about the horse's safety too. They are at the mercy of the people riding them. If this is true, they can't ignore it.

04 Apr 2010 1:10 PM
2:24

Anyone have the beyers for yesterday's races?

04 Apr 2010 1:13 PM
datflippinrabbit

Now that these preps are over i see a whole bunch of speed horses headed for Kentucky,and i'm betting they are going to be beat.Esk was impressive for shure but i haven't forgotten Bellamy Road and Pletcher's ongoing flop derby day.My gamblin picks are Endorsement who ran a really good race, Looking at Lucky and Awsome Act both of whom need thier jocks to go watch Baileys DVD according to Baffert,Gomez rode like an apprentice and Julien really strangled the other one who did'nt run bad considering he lost a shoe.

04 Apr 2010 1:26 PM
Matthew W

Esky will not get the dream trip in the Derby--he's an inside post from having a bad trip--Lookin At Lucky cannot get more bad luck than he's been getting---Sydney's Candy is not cheap speed--and he relaxes--legit pace player this year makes this years Derby very interesting....

04 Apr 2010 1:36 PM
Matthew W

Lucky was sittin the trip--not sure ya wanna get lucky when you have the best hoss--that's on Gomez---LAL will perhaps creep up to 5 or even 6-1!!! I'm there! Esky cannot keep getting the trip--but wow! I'm thinking he'll come from a few lengths off/think the choppy striding Sydney is for real, and a wild card if I ever saw one...love to see the Tiznow win in Illinois---right now it's three really nice ones--with room for more--Interactif?...Noble's Promise?....

04 Apr 2010 1:43 PM
The Rock

I find Baffert's comments to the media refreshing. There's too much BS in the world. It's about time that these guys say what other people at the track, watching online, are thinking. As the late great comic George Carlin once said "It's all BS folks. It's all BS and it's bad for ya".

04 Apr 2010 3:06 PM
ALB

Sidneys Candy ran almost 2 seconds faster on the synthetics than Eskendereya on dirt! I think Eskys due to bounce next in the Derby!!!!

04 Apr 2010 3:16 PM
Tim G

Seeing people talking on here like a Jock who screws up is immune to a public calling out? These guys win or COST an owner and trainer big money. They have a lot of personal demons and battles with each other. Watching that race? We were all sitting there saying 'you're getting that colt into a bind' a trained horseman could see it coming. Baffert saw it and called out the rider, he's called out others, there aren't too many trainers who wouldn't have done so and in fact HAVE done so. He tried to go where there was no place to go, figured he sneak up the rail. Remember all the instructions to jockeys after the MTB Derby win? No I guess you wouldn't. Well it was 'don't let Borel sneak up on the rail'.

Frankly think back to the BC Juvenile, GoGo didn't give the colt a great ride then. WHAT do you guys know of what may have been said after either of those two previous races? NOTHING, because, once again, the majority of you have no insight as to how racing works.

These guys are contract employees, what do you do with a contract employee who doesn't perform?

As far as retribution for Baffert taking Victor off of horses? He hasn't ridden him much, if at all for several years.

As for Jill? Well.......

The Stewards had the final word and they apparently saw what the rest of us saw.

Eskendera?  Not sure I want a horse to win the Derby and have the bank repossess him in the winners enclosure.

Also, how many front running, win by lengths winners have we seen in the Wood in the last several years? They've done what in the Derby?

These horses are going to have it a lot tougher in the Derby. That race is usually a ROUGH race. Many times the winner is the one who stay out of trouble the best. Can Lucky get into WORSE trouble? Heck yes, far easier in a 20 horse race, particularly as competitive and equally talented as these horses seem to be this year.

04 Apr 2010 3:19 PM
TripleCrownCoug

Gary Contessa intimated this mornig that Eightyfiveinafifty was only at 75% for his Bay Shore win yesterday.  Um....that's a scary thought.  I think he should go Derby Trial (to prep for either the Dirt Mile or the Sprint in the fall) and then come back in the Met Mile to see how he stacks up against top competition.  By that time, hopefully Gary will have him at 100%.

04 Apr 2010 3:33 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY

I admit you had it correct for this weekend,nice going.

04 Apr 2010 3:48 PM
Mike Relva

GOODWIN

Why don't you call Baffert? lol

04 Apr 2010 3:52 PM
Mike Relva

PAULA HIGGINS

Sorry for the spelling error,was attempting to multi task.

04 Apr 2010 3:58 PM
Ranagulzion

2:24,

Your comfort zone maybe in the realm of the hindsighters but some of us are quite comfortable with the views of seers.  Esky's performances, pedigree, colour, aura of invincibility and fluent galloping action sparks flashes of the Great Secretariat in those of us who can see.  That may make you uncomfortable but there's no pressure on the horse ...he's just gonna keep on being his brilliant self ...the 2nd coming of Big Red ...and happily, as a fan of the Great One you'll enjoy it.  Fear not friend.

04 Apr 2010 3:59 PM
sodapopkid

We sit here watching these horses that ran great races yesterday, and we wonder which one of them will win all three legs of the crown.

My guess is the one that doesn't get caught up in traffic and the one that will be able to take on the grueling schedule of the 3 legs, I for one dont' see neither one of these being able to hit the board and win all three legs back to back , They start to wear down between races,  they are not bred  with that much stamina anymore.

Now, I hope in June , You all can call me out on this and one of these colts make me eat my words, and I will do so with pleasure, because after 32/33 years , I will eat whatever you put in my face that we call "crow" as if we ever witnesss another triple crown win.

We are WAY over due for one...We have completely skipped three generations for this....

Alot of these colts show the potential, but cannot withstand  the grueling three legs of the crown.....

I think they wear them out before they even begin the first leg of the crown, gosh then by the second and third, damn they are exhausted.

04 Apr 2010 4:14 PM
CV

Lazmannick,

After he raked Garrett Gomez over the coals with harsh public crtiticism of his Santa Anita Derby ride, I see Bob Baffert said this after Gomez won the Potrero Grande Handicap for Baffert on Ventana..."Garrett Gomez was on his belly there. I’m telling you he’s like riding to keep his job."

You don't often hear a trainer talk like that. I wonder if he had a "Come to Jesus" talk with Gomez, and maybe has decided to keep him on Lookin At Lucky.

04 Apr 2010 4:39 PM
sodapopkid

Jason,  Have you heard  the field lineup for the Apple Blossom this friday?

Who's running against Zenyatta?

04 Apr 2010 4:46 PM
2:24

Would love to see greatness Ranagulzion, would really love to see it.  Very impressed with Esky.  However, have heard people in recent years compare Big Brown, Barbaro, Smarty Jones and Rachel Alexandra to Secretariat and it gets frustrating.  Would love to see Esky win the Triple Crown in grand fashion.  That happens and I'll likely be right beside you proclaiming the second coming.  

04 Apr 2010 4:48 PM
LDP

2:24,

I don't know the rest but Eskendereya ran a 109, three points better than his last. If you go to DRF, the will show you the top ten beyers. I didn't see Sidney's Candy on the list, which is BS, IMO, because even though he set a moderate pace, Eskendereya did the same thing in his last two, and just like SC, sprinted away in the stretch to win by open lengths. Synthetic beyers have always been BS though.

04 Apr 2010 4:54 PM
papillon

I'm really surprised at how people are now proclaiming Eskendereya as the second coming of jesushorse (whoever jesushorse may be for them) because of the Wood--those fractions didn't raise eyebrows for you?

All the Wood did for me is confirm that Eskendereya is as slowwwwwwww as turtle and that Jackson Bend is beautiful, game, and woefully overrated.

Oh boy, Eskendereya can run all day...that'll really be beneficial in races where the winner has already finished the race by the time he's just getting to the mile and 1/16 marker. What happens if he tries to keep up with real pace early on? Maybe we see that he isn't jesushorse but just another overrated, gets-tired-like- everybody-else, beater-of-nobodies horse....

Eskendereya might be a threat for a slow winning Belmont, but he's got a snow ball's chance in hell at winning the Preakness with those kinds of fractions, and only a slightly better chance at winning the Derby with them (so long as the truly fast front runners show up). Eskendereya's winning time in the Wood wouldn't even have caught the tiring Rule for third place in the Florida Derby. Its pretty clear why Pletcher didn't won't these two to race each other before the derby...

Sidney's Candy's win was much more impressive to me, he may have lollygagged till the mile but then he accelerated very sharply to finish with the fastest mile and 8th run by this year's derby hopefuls; it'll be interesting to see the front end duel between he and Rule and Conveyance--esp. since unlike Sidney, Rule starts out lights out--can Sidney find his second gear if he's already at red line?

I agree with those saying that the Derby is going to be a lot faster than the Wood for the first 6 furlongs--I think it could easily have a 1:09 mile if Rule,  Conveyance, and Sidney's Candy push each other at the front. And so far, of the horses likely to be at the Derby, only Rule, Endurance, Conveyance, and Odysseus have been exposed to sub 1:12 miles this year, and only Rule has put in a sub 1:11 mile (not counting the sprinters, like D'Funnybone--who isn't planning on being at the Derby).

It's a real shame about School Yard Dreams-- he has showed that he can handle that kind of early pace too, but unfortunately, he got sucked into tar pit that is Eskendereya's slowness. sigh...

My prediction, assuming Rule is on form: An opening sub 23 first 1/4 fraction, followed by sub 1:10 mile, and a winning time around 2:00 1/5. Rule, Conveyance, and Sidney's Candy will set the pace--exhausting all of the horses who sit just off the pace and who rely on plodding opening fractions to give them their closing kicks by the mile marker (this may include Sidney too, BTW, but he looks like he would try at least to challenge for the lead early--but if he does, it may do him in). It'll come down to whether either one of these front runners--Rule, Conveyance, or Sidney's Candy can hang on; how clear a path Ice Box has to close (since right now he seems to be the only genuine closer with the earnings to qualify for the Derby); and whether Endorsement and Looking at Lucky will have conserved enough energy over the first 6 furlongs, and have clear enough paths, to catch them. I also agree that the likelihood of a closer winning again this year seems low.

Right now I'd say Rule, Ice Box, and Endorsement (in any order), followed by Conveyance and Lookin at Lucky (in any order). Eskendereya is going to look like Big Brown at the Belmont.

Final thought: You can't discount that Endorsement and Conveyance trained and raced briefly at altitude--that could make a big difference in the final 1/4 mile.

04 Apr 2010 5:00 PM
snow

TripleCrownCoug,

Don't believe anything that Gary Contessa says.

04 Apr 2010 5:16 PM
marktoothaker

Dray,

Great video of your Noble's Promise crew at OP watching the Rebel on www.thederbydream.com/ whether you like Drays pick or not this is why everyone needs to have a horse on the Derby trail. Thought Esky just keeps getting it done like a monster. Anyone seen any numbers from the big 3 races yesterday yet?

04 Apr 2010 5:16 PM
maltese falcon

Byers Esken 109 Sidney 100

04 Apr 2010 5:25 PM
Runfast159

I heard today that Espinoza has been suspended for his ride in the SA Derby.

I watched the race back a few more times, and of course from the angle I saw it you can't tell much.  However, from the beginning I thought Espinoza must have moved right on over into Lucky because he (Lucky) had nearly headed Who's Up when he suddenly pulls out of the spot.  That tells me that Lucky was there, he had position.

Now, whether Gomez was wise to take to the rail like that is to be debated. Had he gone on through and won the race, he's a hero.

04 Apr 2010 5:41 PM
Runfast159

GunBow - thank you for your thoughts on all of the weekends racing.

I heard that Warren's Skater was injured and also suffered a heart attack. Not sure which occured first. Very sad.

Loved seeing Musket Man back in action and a great race between him and Warrior's Reward in the Carter.  And the almost blanket finish in the Arcadia. Everyone gets so excited about the 3 year olds we forget about all of the other good racing going on around us.

04 Apr 2010 5:46 PM
TJLuvsTizs

Dray,

Everyone on here knows how great of an "expert" you are...  In you comment to me you are contradicting yourself.  If you are giving Esky little weight, then why is he 2nd on your list?  I still have Lookin at Lucky as my favorite (as long as his Jockey keeps him out of trouble).  Eskendereya has dominated his fields like he should and deservedly is in the conversation as the favorite or at least 2nd favorite.  

Watching and paying attention to workouts is pointless!  If I bet on bullet workouts I would be in more debt than you!  Who has Noble's Promise beaten?  He is a tough horse and is in the top ten, but he is not a Derby Winning horse.  Please put your money on him Derby day and I will gladly win my share of it.

The Arkansas Derby will be a great race, but don't be surprised if Tiz The One takes the money with Uh Oh Bango or Super Saver finish ahead of Noble's Promise.  

04 Apr 2010 5:53 PM
Tiznowbaby

Interesting. Espinoza got three days, GoGo got fined $750 for his punch, and Baffert says Gomez still has the mount.

And Beyer needs to just give up assigning a number to synth races.

04 Apr 2010 5:55 PM
Mike Relva

SNOW

You make an outlandish comment regarding Contessa. Why don't you back it with facts?????

04 Apr 2010 6:03 PM
tcc

I agree with those saying that the Derby is going to be a lot faster than the Wood for the first 6 furlongs--I think it could easily have a 1:09 mile if Rule,  Conveyance, and Sidney's Candy push each other at the front. And so far, of the horses likely to be at the Derby, only Rule, Endurance, Conveyance, and Odysseus have been exposed to sub 1:12 miles this year, and only Rule has put in a sub 1:11 mile (not counting the sprinters, like D'Funnybone--who isn't planning on being at the Derby).

My prediction, assuming Rule is on form: An opening sub 23 first 1/4 fraction, followed by sub 1:10 mile. papillon 04 Apr 2010 5:00 PM

Wow, if these are the times at a Mile,these horse's must be ROADRUNNER'S!!! or have a 500hp +

engine under the hood.

04 Apr 2010 6:08 PM
Ranagulzion

PAPILLION,

Your scenario is very interesting but what you don't get about Esky is that he is very tractable, runs his own race and is not phased by negotiating traffic (go back to his 2YO Pilgrim Stakes performance).  The trainer said that the horse is getting better all the time and he won his last two races "pulling a train" with consumate ease.  Buddy, this colt can sit off the speedballs or stalk them closely like Barbaro or Big Brown and be kicking away up the lane.  I tell you one thing, his margin of victory at the Derby if Johnny V ever cracks that whip will be a record (I guess about ten lengths) but I hope that he continues to save the horse until the Belmont.  What a sight that's going to be ...all the big news networks should be on spot for that bit of history.  Peace.

04 Apr 2010 6:19 PM
Runfast159

One more weekend of stakes to go before the Derby and it does look like it will take more than $150,000 to get in unless some horses start dropping off. That means Odysseus (unless he runs well in the Blue Grass), Caracortado, Setsuko, and Super Saver (without a good run in the Arkansas Derby) may be watching from their stalls.

I left D'funnybone on the list, but I believe he is not pointed for the Derby.

Graded Stakes Earnings* through April 3rd:

1. Lookin At Lucky $1,480,000

2. Noble's Promise $708,000

3. Rule $645,000

4. Sidney's Candy $630,000

5. Eskendereya $600,000

6. Mission Impazible $473,434

7. Ice Box $457,500

8. D'funnybone $420,000

9. Endorsement $400,000

10. Conveyance $386,000

11. American Lion $378,000

12. Discreetly Mine $340,000

13. Dean's Kitten $326,475

14. Dublin $273,208

15. Interactif $270,450

16. Homeboykris $250,500

17. Awesome Act $247,500

18. Jackson Bend $230,000

19. Backtalk $225,916

20. Aikenite $218,000

21. Make Music for Me $215,000

22. Uh Oh Bango $187,952

23. A Little Warm $180,000

24. Odysseus $180,000

25. Setsuko $180,000

26. Super Saver $163,832

27. Pleasant Prince $162,500

28. Tempted to Tapit $156,000

29. Caracortado (g)$148,000

30. Yawanna Twist $147,000

* Blind Luck and Devil May Care I assume point to the Oaks and are not shown above. Neither is Mendip who suffered a condylar fracture in the UA Derby.

04 Apr 2010 6:44 PM
draynay

Lazzmanick you go ahead and suck on that chalk with Eskendereya.  Last year Noble's Promise ran by him like he was standing still and he will again in the Derby.  He soft races did nothing to impress me.  He beat a sprinter from Calder BIG DEAL.  Noble's Promise is your Derby winner.

04 Apr 2010 6:54 PM
Ted from LA

Eskendereya has zero chance in the Derby.  He will not hit the board.  His owner has way too much bad karma built up over the years.  I hit the superfecta in the Santa Anita Derby.  I wish I bet it more than once.  Does anyone else go to the track and after a race wonder what Draynay or Paul Higgens think about what happened?  I find Endorsement very intriguing.  I assume Caracortado won't get in.  If he does, he is my longshot and I will be doing a rain dance on Oaks Day.  Paula, NOBODY, including Sarah Palin, has ever gone broke underestimating the ignorance of the American public.

04 Apr 2010 7:15 PM
Jason Shandler

Forgive me if I dont put too much stock in your Derby picks Ted. You said as early as February that Caracortado would win the Derby. He wont be in the gate.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you do need to be in the gate to win, dont you?

This is why people who know what they are talking about dont pick their Derby winner until they have ALL the facts. It is hard enough picking the winner, let alone making a guarentee in February.

You should at the very least came back here today and ate some crow Teddy. I liked Caracortado too, but I didnt go all in on him.

04 Apr 2010 7:28 PM
Tim G

GoGo is still on 'for now'. Victor getting a suspension for rough riding?? I know the stewards meeting when the jock is on the list can change the stewards mind but I sort of think BB had more to do with it. Don't want to make THE guy in Cali mad.

I know Wayne once told Pat Day that it was time to get on the stick, (well actually it was fish or cut bait) and Pat went next out and won the Preakness.

I also know this isn't the first time and doubt it'll be the last that GoGo has had/will have an altercation..

Seems like he has a lot different personality than Louie.

Mark, which of Dray's picks are you talking about? Last week, last month, two months ago, two minutes ago, they change so frequently I can't keep up with them.

If NP doesn't win the Derby he'll come up with someone else that he touted us on. We still have almost 4 weeks to go and several more preps, plenty of time for 6-10 more selections.

04 Apr 2010 7:33 PM
Tim G

Wow Jason, I was typing that at the same time you were...

By the way Dray, we never heard how you liked your first time at Keeneland, or did I miss that. LOL

04 Apr 2010 7:35 PM
Jason Shandler

All: Just so you know, Ted did respond but it was not printable. To paraphrase, he wrote some excuse about "being a gambler,"  did not admit he was wrong about Caracortado, and went on to bash Eskendereya's owner for some reason, even though I'm positive he does not know the man personally..

04 Apr 2010 7:47 PM
Tim G

Although we all have to admit that Ted and Dr Drunkinbum as well as draynay's better half are great comic relief on here, right?

04 Apr 2010 7:48 PM
LAZMANNICK

CV

I have no doubt that there is more to Baffert and Gomez than meets the eye.  Gomez has had some rough trips with Lucky going back to the BC Juvenile.  There were also lots of problems with Espinoza and Baffert years ago.  I think that saying that so and so gave a horse a bad rid is okay, but to ridicule that person is in public is bush and as much as I like Baffert, I lost some respect for him.   LOL

04 Apr 2010 7:50 PM
helsbelles

CV:  About your suggestion that the "pretenders" bow out to make room for the real contenders - not very likely after a longshot named Mine That Bird, who nobody gave a chance to, made history.

Yesterday at Santa Anita was not one of my favorites, given that I am a Lookin at Lucky fan and a Caracortado enthusiast.  But, I am most definitely impressed with Sidney's Candy, and in fact I suspected he would win.  I remember all the hype about him after Del Mar, followed by his hiatus, and he has more than lived up to it.  I wouldn't mind if he goes on to win the Kentucky Derby, but am hoping it's Lucky's and GoGo's year;  they both deserve it.  

I am very proud of Caracortado.  It was his misfortune to draw just inside of Lucky since Garrett, for whatever reason, decided to apply a strangle-hold leaving the gate resulting in both horses being trapped on the rail with nowhere to go the entire race.  It looked to me like Garrett came in on Caracortado on the backstretch, causing him to take back and lose further ground.  Then, when Lucky got bumped into the rail Caracortado, normally a stalker, found himself at the back of the pack and in the situation where he had to circle the field to the far outside to make his stretch run.  He even got pinched out by Setsuko who was making his late run at the same time.  But ultimately this gritty little gelding never gave up and came flying home to get 4th.  Maybe it is best that he doesn't have enough earnings to make the Derby field (153K) because he is smallish and a stalker (not the best combination in a 20 horse field), and would most likely get pinched back bigtime in the Kentucky Derby.  I did go up to his groom afterwards, who was preparing the eventual winner for Machowsky in the very next race, to offer my support.  As to be expected he was fighting back tears of disappointment.  And, I thought I saw tears of joy in John Sadler's eyes over Sidney's Candy.   And then, I shed tears for the 30-1 longshot, a beautiful chestnut filly, who suffered a heart attack during the gallop out in the Providencia Stakes.  I really wish that people would know their horses's limitations and place them accordingly, i.e. in level-appropriate races.  If not for the horse's sake, then for the spectators' sake.  Lastly, 3 out of the last 4 Santa Anita Derby Days have been marred by fatal injuries, all occurring on the turf.  In '07 it was Hendrix in the Aracadia, in '08 it was a gray Freehouse colt (whose name escapes me), and '10 it was the beautiful 3yo chestnut with the big white blaze Warren's Skater who literally gave her life to get 5th in her first, and last, stakes attempt.  

04 Apr 2010 7:54 PM
LAZMANNICK

LDP

Look at the Beyer figures that are posted every week.  The pro-ride Beyers are always pathetically low so I'm not surprised that Sidney didn't get a good number.  I still believe that the rule of thumb for converting synthetic to dirt is a plus twelve in routes.  Keeping that in mind, if Sidney got say an 88 Beyer, it would convert to 100.  LOL

04 Apr 2010 7:55 PM
LAZMANNICK

papillon

I get your point regarding Esky's slow time in the Wood.  However, the Aqueduct main track was at least a couple of seconds off for 2-turn races.  It appears that the track is dead around the clubhouse turn portion of the track, and believe it or not, the Escelsior and the Wood were the first 2-turn races since the outer track opened.

As far as Esky's time comparing to Secretariat's, Esky's Wood was run in exactly the same time as Secretariat's and as I mentioned earlier, he won the Wood, Secretariat didn't.  Once again, don't make too much of the time.

04 Apr 2010 8:07 PM
Tim G

Yes Laz, maybe you think that, but in the heat of the moment watching your best horse get a bad ride 3 times in a row, like I mentioned earlier? I noticed it in the BC Juvy, several of us did.

Maybe a public tongue lashing is better than getting fired?

There weren't a LOT of problems, just similar situations like this. Trainers and jockeys seem to be natural enemies....LOL

I'm not sure that Zayat is all that great for the game either, just from a bad pub point of view.

Whether you like or dislike someone is a personal perspective, or maybe things people hear or read about?? But, there are some people in racing that those of us who know them, don't particularly care for, or care for the way they do things or their personality.

Then you have the great people in racing that we all love, a lot of whom have passed from this earth. Sure miss them even more..........

04 Apr 2010 8:07 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

I lost respect for Bffert yrs ago. I know what a great trainer he is,but as a person that's different. As for class,there's some trainers' I respect more.

04 Apr 2010 8:11 PM
Mike Relva

TED FROM LA

Didn't you foolishly state in Feb. Caracortado would win the Triple Crown?

04 Apr 2010 8:13 PM
LAZMANNICK

Draynay

Eskendereya isn't my Derby horse.....LAL is.  I'll tell you one thing though, Noble Promise might contest the early part of the race, but once the real running starts he'll plummet through the field faster than your knowledge of horse racing.  LOL

04 Apr 2010 8:14 PM
Greg J.

     Well, I don't have time to catch up on all the comments, But, I am sure Draynay has probably named his tenth Derby favorite by now, lol.  I was thrown by the Horse I was riding yesterday(Lucky I am alive!) on some nice painkillers!, So, I missed all the races yesterday, Just catching up now.  A shame on Looking at Unlucky's bad trips, Still one helluve a colt!  Eskendereya is a beast and those two should be the two favorite's for the Big Dance.  Still holding onto Mission Impazible,Backtalk & Jackson Bend to have a outside shot, But, Then again, Anyone in the gate has a shot!  Just read that Dray still thinks Noble's Promise will win the Derby, Too Bad, Now he has no shot, Please Dray, No more picks for the Derby, Stick with Noble's promise, I beg you...

    Curious on who everyone has has their top five as of this moment, Smart, Sensible people only respond(That leaves out Dray and It ain's being No good), I am behind a little, So, They would be appreciated, Thanks...

04 Apr 2010 8:40 PM
Tim G

sodapopkid, maybe Jason has heard scuttlebutt, there's a few saying they'll enter.

But entries close Tuesday at 10 a.m. CDT I believe.

Greg, I have just two on my Derby list. One is in and one may try another race. Can't be unbiased in this though.

04 Apr 2010 9:13 PM
sherpa

helsbelles, your 7:54PM post was post was a true gem.  

04 Apr 2010 9:33 PM
longwaytomay

Greg J.

1. Eskendereya

2. Lookin at Lucky

3. Sydney's Candy

4. Interactif

5. Ice Box

Schoolyard Dreams was my biggest dissapointment of the weekend. Had no excuse other than the fact he wasn't good enough. Hope you feel better soon.

04 Apr 2010 9:35 PM
Zookeeper

Well! It's been quite a weekend. Saturday at Santa Anita, family stuff on Easter and then finally sitting down and reading all the comments on this blog! Everything has been said about everything that happened on Saturday... My personal comments are:

As a Tiznow maniac I'm very happy that American Lion was allowed to RUN in the Illinois Derby. Do I think he's the next KD winner? Probably not, but it was nice to see him relaxed on the lead and hold on for the win without being driven crazy by his jockey. David Flores did everything right. Bravo!

Eskendereya was very impressive in the Wood. Do I think he will win the Derby? IMHO it's a very strong possibility.

The SA Derby left me scratching my head. I'm not a fan of Sydney's Candy but if he wins the KD, I'm sure he'll grow on me very quickly.

GunBow,

My friend, who doesn't know much about horses and racing, commented during the post parade that Caracortado looked very thin. You could clearly see his ribs. Pushing him further may not be the best thing for this horse.

I didn't see the incident with Warren's Skater. My friend had bet for City to City to win and we left shortly after the race, before she was tempted to lose it all back in the next race. I'm very grateful that I didn't see what happened but I have a few thoughts about this Warren person. He must have about 100 horses and everyone of them has the name Warren's something or other. Very few of them can even run and I mean very few. Yet the man keeps breeding and running horses of questionable pedigree and ability and there doesn't seem to be end to the pleasure he gets at seeing his name attached to every horse he owns. And you guys thought the Kittens were annoying... at least they usually can run and are named after their sire not after some irresponsible owner/breeder. Last year, I contributed to the rescue of about 50 of his "unwanted" mares who found themselves in a feed lot in Arizona, most if not all of them in foal, most of them without papers. They were brought back to California by a rescue operation to find them good homes. The situation was ugly, very ugly. And yet, this man continues business as usual. Unbelievable! Every time I see a Warren horse listed in a race, I cringe and expect the worse. RIP Skater, your fate could have been worse, you could have ended up in a feed lot on your way to the slaughter house or to Canada to become a hormone factory for menopausal women. Some people in this sport are despicable! That's why I'm so grateful to the ones who treat their horses with great care and do the right thing when their racing careers are over. OK! I'll get off my soapbox now. Sorry!  

04 Apr 2010 9:38 PM
It aint easy being good

Gunbow great post about sidneys candy this horse is the real deal and all the bashing I do on Cali horses I love this horse and is def. a contender may 1st. You just dont romp on synthetics like he does the races are not even close when he runs. The dirt is a big question but I think he will be fine he is a great closer. I think that is going to be chalk city in the derby and we are less than one month away....cant wait! Hey dont hear anyone talking about alphie bet anymore what a joke .....Thanks bloggers on setsuko that paid me bank ....bling bling! The top 12 should be interesting tomorrow!

04 Apr 2010 9:46 PM
2:24

Don't know if I qualify as smart or sensible but my top 5 at this point is:

1) Eskendereya

2) Ice Box

3) Lookin at Lucky

4) Odysseus

5) Endorsement

I also like Dublin and Noble's Promise but want to see them run again.  I also like Sidney's Candy but for the fact that he has never run on dirt.

04 Apr 2010 9:49 PM
Paula Higgins

Ted from La, I wish if you were going to knock me, you would at least spell my name right. It's PAULA HIGGINS, not Paul Higgen. Geesh, have another drink Ted.  No, I am sure no one wonders what I think before, during or after a race. That's o.k, I don't care. I am here to learn and I guess to be gratuitously insulted when the mood strikes you (my husband says I shouldn't use big words with you, sorry). As for caring what Draynay thinks, yes I do care. While I often disagree with him, he loves horse racing or he wouldn't be here. As for the American people being stupid, yes and no. They may make a mistake intially, but they get it pretty quick, and fix the problem. Wait until November.

My picks TED for the Derby are still:

Eskendereya

Lookin At Lucky (bad trip doesn't change anything)

Odysseus

Sidney's Candy

04 Apr 2010 10:18 PM
CV

"CV:  About your suggestion that the "pretenders" bow out to make room for the real contenders..." --helsbelles

Uh, what? I don't recall writing that. I think you meant someone else.

On another topic, for those who insist Eskendereya is a sure bet to take home the Triple Crown this year, I think D' Funnybone might have something to say about that at Preakness time.

And assuming he can live up to his name, I still think Lookin At Lucky will do well on the first Saturday in May.

P.S. Does anyone know if a network beyond HRTV is planning to televise the Apple Blossom even though Rachel's not coming? Or did that deal fall through, too?

04 Apr 2010 11:44 PM
TJLuvsTizs

I will reserve my right to publish my top five until after the Arkansas Derby.  There are a handful of colts in that race that I like and will be interested in the result. As for right now, Lookin at Lucky and Esky will be in my top 5, but I will wait until next Saturday night to fill out the rest.

05 Apr 2010 12:05 AM
GunBow

Helsbelles: Well said.

Zookeeper: Wow! The guy's name is Benjamin Warren.  I've been annoyed by all the Warren's____ horse names, but what you report he did to his horses is unforgivable!  How is he still owning and breeding?

Laz: I would say add 6 or 7 points to synth Beyers.  I'm done even being concerned about the difference between synth and dirt Beyers anymore.  I know when I see a good performance.  This is not to say I think Beyers are worthless; I think they have some value comparing dirt to dirt, synth to synth, and turf to turf.  However, they get dirt figs wrong too, usually by inflating them.  The Gotham with a 98? How have the Gotham horses done since?

Itainteasy: I know you're hard on Cali, but unlike some you don't let it blind you from seeing real talent.  Good call on Sidney.

05 Apr 2010 12:28 AM
Tim G

Looks like one of mine is going to try and earn enough to get in...

We'll see.

Paula, I'm not sure I believe that Victor getting replaced by Martin on Misremembered would cause him to target GoGo on LAL... Baffert has taken Victor off horses before and as I said there is a real love/hate relationship between a lot of trainers and jocks. Re-watching this race it more or less looked like Victor's horse just got tired and came in, Gomez took up, a little overreaction, maybe.  In fairness to Ted it looked like Caracortado did take the worst of that, stopping dead almost.

Even though American Lion won, it looked like they were crawling. Eskendereya, I just can't get past all those speedburners who jet in the Wood and then fizzle in the Derby.

05 Apr 2010 12:34 AM
ALB

Since when do Beyers count anyway!? Anyone who counts EsKENdereyas beyer above Sidneys Candy, is completely crazy!! And is it just me, or is the name Dr. Drunkinbum absolutely brilliant?! Awesome!!

05 Apr 2010 12:43 AM
SlewYou

Don't make to much about the time of the Wood. Eskendereya is a Good horse who may become great. He can go faster early if need be and still keep going. Have been on him before BC. Hell I got 22-1 on him in first future. Times are for Planes and Trains,sometimes Buses.

05 Apr 2010 2:18 AM
LAZMANNICK

For those who are high on Eskendreyea and Sidney’s Candy, think back to 1995 and a colt named Talkin Man (the sire of Better Talk Now).  This guy was all the rage in New York after dusting a good field in the Gotham (7-L ...1.36.4) and then coming back even stronger in the Wood Memorial (7-3/4L...1.49.1).  The New York Times called that race “perhaps the most impressive performance by a 3 year old so far that season”.  The fallacy was the competition and easy trips.....the horse that finished second in the Gotham was Da Hoss (grass horse), and the Wood (Knockadoon....nice horse but not top class))......Talkin Man then went off as second choice in a tough Derby field to the entry of Serena’s Song and Timber Country, was second turning into the stretch and then was dusted by another Lucas trained horse, Thunder Gulch, and never ran an inch in the States again......Another reason to think twice about horses facing less than stellar competition and having uncontested trips (remember Bellamy Road?).....the truth is, the real racing begins when all the boys and girls show up to the party.....That is the time to start think about Triple Crown winners.

05 Apr 2010 3:01 AM
RiverCitySmitty

TED FROM LA

Didn't you foolishly state in Feb. Caracortado would win the Triple Crown?

Mike Relva

I guess Ted makes the list of "...ignorant American people" that he keeps throwing out.  Paula is correct.  See ya in November.

Will the Blue Grass provide us with another Dominican this year?

05 Apr 2010 5:39 AM
Rachel

Ranagulzion, I love yah♥, but those of us who actually saw the last 3 earn their crowns tend to not want to annoint the next TC winner until they actually are one.♥

I'm having a hard time with a jockey getting suspended for "letting a horse drift toward the rail" while another jockey who commits assault gets a pittance fine...maybe it's the LE family in me...

SC ran the best 3 year-old race this year (Derby preps)... he reminds a bit of Lawyer Ron's fire, but I think (hope) he'll rate more kindly in his 3 year-old year than LR did...

05 Apr 2010 8:05 AM
berttheclock

"pretenders dropping out"?  Perhaps, more should view the videos of some of Cordero's rides.  He refused to give way on anything he rode.  Plus, he would often "duel" another horse and rider to his detriment.  He, also, caused injuries to horses by "race riding" them into the rail.  Consider the race riding of Pat Day under instructions of Woody Stephens by forcing Winning Colors wide.  However, if Gomez were really a "man", he would not have swung on Espinoza in the jocks room, he would have stood in the irons like a "Man" ala Vicky Aragon at Longacres as she struck Victor Mercado about the head and shoulders with her whip for Stewards, Patrol Judges and fans to see her wrath.

05 Apr 2010 9:02 AM
Fran Loszynski

Garrett Gomez may have saved Lucky's life- nothing against Bob Baffert but Gomez was the one holding Lucky between his ankles. The punch was from frustration he may have lost his horse and his own life. We forget these horses are running at tremendous speeds and a jockey is balancing his horse and himself on ankles that are the size of a girl's wrist!

05 Apr 2010 9:10 AM
CV

Re:

"Paula, NOBODY, including Sarah Palin, has ever gone broke underestimating the ignorance of the American public."--Ted from LA

(and)

"As for the American people being stupid, yes and no. They may make a mistake intially, but they get it pretty quick, and fix the problem. Wait until November."--Paula Higgins

Everyone, could we stop this political stuff cold before it starts up? Please don't let this blog degenerate into the slugfest elsewhere on the Internet.  

05 Apr 2010 9:21 AM
Mike Relva

DRAYNAY

You could be right regarding your newest Derby selection. My question is are you now off the RA bandwagon just because she lost? I look for her to rebound. Also, it's your nature to forget about a horse that doesn't win a hundred per cent of the time. I've seen this movie before.

05 Apr 2010 10:27 AM
helsbelles

Thank you Sherpa.  And sorry CV, I meant to respond to Drunkinbum.

Everything Zookeeper said about Warren is absolutely correct.  Thank you Jason for allowing us to speak our minds here.  I too cringe when I see his entries, and expect the worst.  It is one of racing's disgraces that Warren is allowed to continue.  

One "positive" thing about the incident with Skater is the touching way jockey Brice Blanc stayed by her side stroking and comforting her while she lay dying on the turf course.  

05 Apr 2010 10:30 AM
Slew

I am really getting saddle sores climbing down OFF horses I liked.  Bye Ron, you've lost your kick, bye Dave, you don't even want to run, bye Backtalk..you need to be gelded!  But I did hit a trifecta in the Bay Shore???  I think 85ina50 may still be too green for the Derby, but I tink he might show in the Preakness. As much as I like Dublin and Noble's Promise in the AR Derby, a new kid may show up.  Rock Hard Ten's fillies have been awesome on turf...but his colts have been running so-so except for New Madrid (probably his top son) may be stepping into the AR Derby.  I hope so.  Loved Rock Hard Ten almost as much as the Slew.  Don't know if this colt has the same class, but sentimentally he may be my favorite. We'll see.  Have to go and tend to my wounds now. Ouch..

..ouch.

05 Apr 2010 10:58 AM
datflippinrabbit

I love to see everybody on the speed horses bet them to the hilt at your own peril.

(1)Endorsement

(2)Looking at Lucky

(3)Awsome Act

05 Apr 2010 11:56 AM
average joe

This has nothing to do with the topic and only being commented here as bloodhorse does NOT have a way for people to respond and give feedback to articles published...

I am commenting on the article this morning by Lenny Shulman discussing the increase in TV ratings for the wood and sa derby... THE INCREASE WAS DUE TO THE FACT THE RACES WERE SHOWN ON "FREE" TV WHICH BY THE VERY NATURE, REACHES ALL RACING FANS ! ... TO ATTRACT AND KEEP FANS, ALL IMPORTANT RACES AND EVENTS SHOULD BE ON REGULAR FREE TV !

05 Apr 2010 12:10 PM
RiverCitySmitty

Why not Blind Luck?  She seems quite capable of beating most of the top 20 earning horses and with a good trip may beat them all.  At least her running style would be attractive in the derby.

05 Apr 2010 12:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Very Interesting-Tiznow (sire of American Lion) beat Giant's Causeway (sire of Eskendereya) by a neck to win The Breeder's Cup Classic 2000 at CHURCHILL DOWNS. Both were 3yo !!!! Jockeys in the news today- from that day, November 4th 2000. V Espinoza won the 3rd race, Breeder's Cup Distaff on Spain at 55-1. JR Veazquez won the 4th race The Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies on Caressing at 47-1.

05 Apr 2010 12:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Cuvee, the sire of Nobles Promise was sent to Turkey this year.

05 Apr 2010 1:05 PM
The Rock

RiverCitySmitty,

Its been decided by the connections of Blind Luck to run her in the KY Oaks. As of now, no fillies are being pointed for the Derby.

05 Apr 2010 1:09 PM
draynay

Mike you think I am off the RA bandwagon ?  You mean the 2009 HOY ? She lost a tune up race and you want me to be upset ?  Maybe you should look up the start the great Affirmed had at 4 and how it turned out.

05 Apr 2010 1:12 PM
Pam S.

My comment on the Warren's ____ horses and Zookeeper's revelation:

For years, it has appeared to me that overproduction of Thoroughbreds is a problem.  But I am merely a racing fan, not an industry insider, and I have no idea how many people are breeding irresponsibly and who they are.  Zookeeper possibly has identified one of them.

But what about the fact that Calif. has a horse shortage and short racing fields?  Probably, Warren's entries are welcomed, even though the downward trajectory of the individual runners is sad.  Very sad.

05 Apr 2010 1:17 PM
Vic S

I love Conveyance but he had no excuses last time out. I had him for my early derby choice and said I wouldn't back off him but something about Sidney's Candy is drawing me to him.  Based on past races and how easily he dismantled yesterday's top Cali prep I won't look past him.  No horse in this years crop has been able to run as fast as him for as long as long.  If he gets an easy lead in the Derby he will be extremely tough to chase down.  Setsuko closed nicely, but Candy was already being geared down.  Had he been asked we would have definately seen 1.47 and change (went 1.48.00).  This is why I have to eat my words and for now at least eliminate Conveyance as my top derby contender, he just couldn't hold the pace he set unlike Sidney's Candy and didn't beat as tough as a field.  Lookin At Lucky would have been at least 2nd yesterday but it's hard to say that he would have caught Candy.  Once he got straightened out he took off like lighting but was already out of steam.  Lookin at Lucky has a heart of iron, he never ever throws in the towel and gives it his all every time he runs.  Eskendereya, has had two very very easy preps before the Derby which I don't like.  Heck, in the long run it doesn't really matter what will be is what will be.  Great horses don't need excuses.  So if Esky is all that many think he is he'll be fine.  Best of luck to all.  My Derby Top (Eight) as of today.

1. Sidney's Candy

2. Dublin

3. Lookin At Lucky

4. Eskendereya

5. Endorsement

6. Conveyance

7. Setsuko

8. Interactif

This is a very good quality of three year olds this year (so it seems) I thought last years' crop was slightly above avg., 2008 crop was horrendous, and the 2007 crop was spectacular.  So it's nice to see that we may have a very nice crop this year.

05 Apr 2010 1:22 PM
Mike Relva

TIM G

I agree with your comment regarding Zayat a hundred percent!

05 Apr 2010 1:32 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It seems as though it's pronounced Es-ken-DRAY-uh as in Draynay. That's straight from the horse's mouth.

05 Apr 2010 1:33 PM
Zookeeper

helsbelles,

There isn't much anybody can do about Benjamin C. Warren and his breeding operation. We live in a free enterprise society and sometimes the price is very high, usually paid by the defenseless. The only weapon, those of us who care have, is public opinion. Where are the turfwriters who have a much more powerful voice then an obscure blogger? They are nowhere to be found. They would much rather talk about dirt versus synthetics, jockeys exchanging blows and whether or not Pletcher will finally win the KD. Until THEY start reporting abuse and lack of responsability, the sport will continue to allow the likes of this man to go on as if nothing is wrong. And there are only so many horses the rescue operations can save, no matter how hard they try. Turf REPORTERS, do YOUR job, REPORT!!! Only then, will public opinion force the ugly participants out of the industry.

Sorry to be so passionate about this issue, but this is a wonderful sport whose image is badly tarnished, to the average person; horseracing needs to clean up its act before it can attract new fans and keep the ones it already has.

05 Apr 2010 1:54 PM
Ranagulzion

RACHEL,

I love ya too honey ...although I have to tell you that I was feeling jealous the other day over your comments that you "liked Mike Relva" (LOL).  Right now he is preparing for his self-imposed 3 month long hiatus after being terrified by Esky's romping of the Wood Memorial and the certain coming of a Todd Pletcher Derby victory ...we'll both miss him, even if for different reasons.

Sidney's Candy is one classy colt because its no easy task to dominate races wire to wire on that Pro-ride stuff.  He seems to be this years version of The Pamplemousse, except that his pedigree is much more stamina-fortified.  However I think that his prep races might have been a bit taxing on him and that four weeks may not be enough for him to recover and be at his best in the Derby, although he will again try to make all the running.  Good luck Sis.

Sorry if I make you nervous with my visionary confidence about Esky being the next Triple Crown winner but I'm very very very confident of this colt, and the good thing is ...that wont affect his performances at all ...he'll just keep blowing away the opposition and we'll all have some fun, barring all the drama.  Its the Belmont that I'll be anticipating more than any other race with this colt.  Stay sweet my dear.

05 Apr 2010 2:03 PM
Ranagulzion

Dr Drunkinbum,

You are a riot on here ...plain hillarious ...esken-DRAY-uh as in Draynay?...Uh oh!

I'm pretty sure the horse must be going "Neigh ...no way!!

05 Apr 2010 2:12 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Does anyone know who calvin borel is going to ride in the derby? If so make sure he is on your tickets that guy is a guru at churchill...turns water into wine! lol! BTW Sidneys Candy is a a beast I have a keen eye for talent and Sidneys candy is it. I dont like Joe talamo but its good to see him get into the derby!

05 Apr 2010 2:18 PM
draynay

Esky wins 2 soft preps and now he is the second coming ?  What a joke. Sidney's Candy trots around Santa Anita and now he is a Derby favorite?

Esky is trained by Pletcher so you can toss him even though I hear he is doing everything different this year.  Until he wins I don't think he knows how to win.  Sidney you can throw out for having no experience on dirt and we all know the winner of the Santa Anita Derby is a 20 year toss.  Jason, can you explain to me why Mr. Haskin has Lookin At Lucky 2nd in his top 10 and Noble's Promise who got beat by inches is not in the top 10? Crazy.

05 Apr 2010 2:47 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Dray your noble promise is a bum I dont know why you like that horse. You usually have a good eye for talent but you are way off this year buddy nobles promise is not that good. If he gets smoked this weekend find a new horse! What happens if Dublin romps on saturday are you going to go back to him???? Sidneys candy is a beast people get on the bandwagon while there is still time!  

05 Apr 2010 3:06 PM
Zookeeper

helsbelles,

Thank you for telling us that Brice Blanc showed compassion to the dying Skater. I've always liked him very much, especially in turf races.

Pam S.,

You make a very good point. There is a shortage of horses in California. The answer though is not increased poor breeding but decreased amount of races. There were over 40,700 people in attendance at SA on Saturday. A beautiful sight to see. Less racing days and bigger, better fields seem to me a much better solution to the problem. But heck! what do I know? I'm just an insignificant voice in a sea of uncaring shouters. Very few on this blog responded to my post. I'm very grateful to the ones who did, but the majority could care less and there lies the crux of the problem.

Maybe Jay Hovdey of DRF will write a piece on this. He often talks of the less palatable side of this industry... Maybe he will break the code of silence so many adhere to. Am I holding my breath? YES!!!

05 Apr 2010 3:32 PM
draynay

G1 winner Noble's Promise is a bum? Yes the two horses I was talking about last year RA and Quality Road have been pretty good huh.  So you would think you would be smart enough to listen what I am saying this year.  Noble's Promise will win and post a 106 Beyer setting himself up perfectly for the Derby.  Noble's Promise has been to the big dances again and again and has ALWAYS been right there at the wire.  To think that he won't be there in the Derby is just plain nuts.  The Arkansas will prove my point.  He is simply a notch above these horses.  Look at the races he has been in and who he has faced and compare that to Esky and then tell me how you can place Esky ahead of him when he has already beat him by 30 feet when they met last?

05 Apr 2010 3:38 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Yes NP is not that good buddy and remember you took Dunkirk for the derby last year! lol! You know in college bball they refer to the eyetest dray....I am sorry I just dont see it with Nobles promise but maybe I can eat crow on saturday but instead I think I will be eating steak after NP gets third in the arkansas derby!

05 Apr 2010 4:09 PM
It Aint Easy being good

BTW Sidneys Candy beat an excellent field on saturday and beat Lucking at lucky easily! I hate california horses but Sidneys Candy is your 2010 derby horse people!

05 Apr 2010 4:10 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jason, Steve Haskin, Bloggers

  This is my belief and proposal as to how to establish The Derby twenty entries. It is simple and fair. If you finish first or second in the G1 preps-The Wood at AQU, The SA Derby at SA, The Florida Derby at GP, The Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland, The Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, you are in The Derby. The other ten spots revert to the Graded Earnings list for the horses that aren't already in from a top two finish in the G1 preps. To be eligible to be drawn from the Graded Earnings list you must have raced in a Graded race as a 3yo. This will eliminate legitimate contenders from being left out or have to scramble for earnings in races they should not have to be racing in.

05 Apr 2010 4:27 PM
helsbelles

Thank you GunBow.

Zookeeper, I'm not convinced that free enterprise pertains to horse racing which seems to exist within it's own world.  Just like they did with Gill in Pennsylvania, they could take care of Warren.

05 Apr 2010 4:34 PM
Ranagulzion

DRAYNAY,

Esky had the ideal kind of preps that you want for a superior 3YO colt getting ready for the most gruelling 3 races series on the planet.  He was well within himself each time, winning with the proverbial "ton" in hand and Johnny V took good care of him up the lane.  Pace and traffic wont phase him and you know it.

What you may not know is Holy Writ ...and according to the good Book the second coming will be more glorious than the first ...think on these things ...and have a laugh if you must, but pay attention Bro ...its what happens on the track that matters.  See you all after Super Saver romps the Arkansas Derby for the Todd Squad. Blessings.

05 Apr 2010 4:50 PM
Zookeeper

No disrespect intended towards Sidney's Candy, but he did not beat Lucky in the SA Derby. The jockeys, the ride, the racing gods and everything else you might think of were major contributors to Lucky's defeat. Sidney's Candy looked very good but he had little to do with the way the race unfolded for LaL.

Setsuko closed very nicely which must have made you very happy, Dr Drunkinbum. He needs a lot of defections to get in the gate at CD, but he belongs. He's an incredibly good loooking horse and has a lot of presence. Plus, he can run a little bit. LOL!

Caracortado tried his very best once again but he needs a vacation and time to regroup and gain weight. He's a Cali bred gelding and will be much appreciated here for, hopefully, a very long career. We love these hard trying horses and he already has a lot of fans.

I never thought much of Jackson's Bend but you have to give the horse credit for refusing to cede 2nd place in the Wood. Gutsy little horse. Got my heart with his gritty performance.

BTW, no horse is a bum or a joke, but some people show a definite tendency towards these titles.

05 Apr 2010 4:55 PM
tcc

Jason:

Caracortado will target Preakness,

Tiz the One out of Arkansas Derby.

05 Apr 2010 5:22 PM
tcc

Jason:

Calvin Borel will be back riding Super Saver in the Arkansas Derby.

05 Apr 2010 5:33 PM
Fire Slam

Cant blame Esky for his owners. Enjoy him. Got a feeling he is special, and will prove it. Only Johnny V. can mess this up.

They will go .46 for the half in the Derby. Since Johnny V. is considered a champion jock, he should realize he needs to take back a little more. Not too confidant he will.

What about SOARING EMPIRE?? Any word??

He had a horrible trip in the Florida Derby. Maybe the Derby Trial, since it is $200,000 in graded earnings???

05 Apr 2010 5:40 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

You're simply a genius.....we all bow to you.....LAL was so dominated by Sidney that if Sidney goes in the Derby LAL will probably look for a race on the undercard.  LOL

05 Apr 2010 5:54 PM
GunBow

My Derby top 10:

1. Lookin at Lucky

2. Eskendereya

3. Sidney's Candy

4. Interactif

5. Noble's Promise

6. Ice Box

7. Rule

8. Odysseus

9. Setsuko

10.Dublin

I like Noble's Promise in the Ark Derby and Interactif in the Blue Grass.

05 Apr 2010 5:56 PM
GunBow

I know seeing horses in person can make one biased in favor of those horses.  

This was my first Santa Anita Derby since 1999.  Between that SA Derby and this past weekend's running, I did not closely follow the SoCal preps/allowance races and wasn't nearly as informed about the top Triple Crown contenders.

Even so, it does seem that the field for this year's Santa Anita Derby was considerably stronger than the fields the previous 2 or 3 years.  In fact, I have to go back to 2000(The Deputy, War Chant, Captain Steve, Anees, Surfside) to find a field as good as the one this past Saturday.

For those that either lived in SoCal or followed the Santa Anita preps closely the past decade, am I biased or was this year's SA Derby field the best of the last decade?  The field this year wasn't deep, but I really like the top 4 horses, Sidney's Candy, Setsuko, Lookin at Lucky, and Caracortado.

Like I wrote earlier last week, the SA Derby was a little down the past decade.  Not one of the 10 fields for the SA Derby this last decade couuld compare to the fields I saw in person in 1997(Silver Charm + Free House) or 1998(Real Quiet + Indian Charlie).  I even think the 1995 field(Timber Country, Afternoon Deelites, Larry the Legend, Petionville, Jumron) was better than any last decade.

Over the last decade, when the SA Derby did draw a top level talent, there usually wasn't much else in the field.  This was true of Point Given(01'), Came Home(02'), Brother Derek(06'), Colonel John(08'; next best horse was the sprinter Bob Black Jack), and Pioneer of the Nile(09', with only Chocolate Candy a legit contender; did have turf star Take the Points).

05 Apr 2010 6:30 PM
GunBow

On the subject of good SA Derby fields, I forgot the last one I had seen in person before this past Saturday; the 1999 field featured the winner, General Challenge(3-time gr.1 winner, earned around $3 million), and 4th place finisher Charismatic(99' Horse of the Year + Derby/Preakness winner).

05 Apr 2010 6:36 PM
It Aint Easy being good

Thanks LAZ give credit where credit is due. Look for Dublin to have his coming out party this weekend! He has been teasing us with these performances and I expect hime to put it all together at the Arkansas Derby. Who ever wins this race will probably be my other derby horse! I pray its Dublin so I dont have to hear about Dray's Nobles Promise horse anymore!

05 Apr 2010 7:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

It Ain't Easy

  Now that he's got the right jockey back I might have to agree on Dublin.

   Zookeeper

Yes, Sesuko did make me happy, but I still wanted his run to start sooner, knowing that Candy would be very difficult to catch and because I thought having only 180k in Graded Earnings would be too risky. I'm not saying he could have caught Candy but he didn't get the opportunity either. Since I believe he can run all day I do think they were too far back. Go For it !!!!  Still, I needed him to be in second or first for the two horse exacta, but I boxed the Tri. My exacta paid more than the Tri so I was a bit lucky that Lucky had a bit of trouble. I find it disgusting that a second in The SA Derby and 180k may not be enough. THE SYSTEM MUST CHANGE. And thanks for your wonderful response to helsbells about the plight of horses, the need for change there, that writers need to speak up. The only saving grace is that many owners and trainers give their horses great, and healthy lives they otherwise wouldn't have had. Pletcher is one of those whose horses always look healthy and happy. I'm traumatized by breakdowns, drugged, pitiful looking horses, and malnourished horses. Many breakdowns are bad luck, but some are because that horse had no business running in that race in the first place.

05 Apr 2010 8:01 PM
sodapopkid

I hate to be the "bad news guy" here, but I have to say this,  

None of these will win all three legs of the crown.

There will be a fresher horse coming in at the Preakness or the Belmont that will make the upset.

Probably one of the ones' you like that won't make it to the derby, and will come back fresh for the upset in one of the other two TC legs......

05 Apr 2010 8:14 PM
LAZMANNICK

It Aint Easy being good

Hey Genie.....does that mean that I can bet the bank on Dublin this weekend?  

I like GunBow's top two in the Derby.  However I think that Sidney either goes all the way or he finishes a lot further back, I'm betting a lot further back.....I still think that Endorsement might fly in a little under the radar.  His showing up at the end wouldn't surprise me at all.

05 Apr 2010 8:32 PM
Mike Relva

IT AINT EASY BEING GOOD

No horses are "BUMS",just some people that I know and some on here I wouldn't give the time of day!.

05 Apr 2010 9:15 PM
Aluminaut

Zookeeper:

This is a blog about the Triple Crown.  This is a time of hope, optimisn and looking toward the future.  To use this blog to judge may be politically correct, but is it right?  I don't know Mr. Warren, do you?  hellesbelles has a good point--racing is not exactly free enterprise. Right now the economy is squeezing the life from a lot of smaller operations. Even some larger operations have been affected. Some people are forced to sell their horses and have no choice where they go.  Should we blame them for owning the horses in the first place?  According to you, that may be the case.  Life is a learning process.

Ideally, lessons should not be at

the expense of a person or horse.

About the reporters and the Media, many of them have LOST their jobs.  Racing does not have the coverage that it used to...Remember Murray et all?

We don't hear about bleeder's anymore because almost all horses race on Salix (Lasix).  Vets recommend this medication along w/Bute and owners and trainers go along so all horses have an equal race advantage.  Racing horses without Race Day medication, along with pre-race Vet inspections at ALL racetracks would go a long way toward standardization and racing Safety.  Some countries do not allow horses who are bleeder's to stand at Stud.

I enjoy most of your posts, but you should not use this blog for your platform.  You just might be wrong sometimes.  Without cheaper horses, racing would not survive in this country.  John Henry himself cost $1,100 as a short yearling.  You never know where the next champion will come from.....

Horses in retirement:

In the mid sixties, I bought a 17 hand Caliente claimer as my first riding horse and he lived a long and happy life.  Whenever he heard the local Elementary School bell ring, he broke as if from a gate.  Sometimes I was on his back.  Our  broodmares would run back and forth.I was lucky to grow up with Thoroughbreds.

I am fortunate that my company is doing well and expanding in hard times.  

Let's all focus on the future getting better.

05 Apr 2010 9:17 PM
Paula Higgins

First, a "thank you" to RiverCitySmitty. CV, I have no intention of getting into a political discussion. Just defending the American people.

Tim G, I am sure you are right, that it wasn't one issue that set off Gomez and Espinoza. Ditto the issues between Baffert and Espinoza. I can imagine that it must be very tough to get work if you don't get along with the trainer, for whatever reason. I am sure all the jockeys don't love each other either since they are competing for the best races/horses. But when a horse and rider meld like Mike Smith and Zenyatta, it is a beautiful thing to see. She has been in some tight spots and he always works their way out of them.

I don't think we can tell anything about Lookin At Lucky from this race. It was a bad trip and he did well to place third. I still like him in the top 3 for the Derby. I don't think Noble's Promise is out of contention. A very solid horse. But obviously Eskendereya and Sidney's Candy are in the top three as well. I also like Odysseus.

05 Apr 2010 9:19 PM
Paula Higgins

Mike Relva, you are so right, "no horses are bums." Well said.

05 Apr 2010 9:21 PM
Zookeeper

GunBow,

I think you're right, the field in the SA Derby this year had more legitimate horses than the ones in preceding years. I've only been following horse racing since the KD in 1999 and I spent the first several years in ignorant bliss. In fact, this is my first attempt at trying to unravel the puzzle. In the past, I would root for the local star and be content with that. I had little knowledge and appreciation for the horses from other parts of the country. This year is very different for me, thanks to this blog and Mr. Haskin's. The blinkers are off and I'm enjoying the fuller view.

Dr Drunkinbum,

I agree that many owners take wonderful care of their horses, and that all racing accidents are not due to irresponsible breeders, owners or trainers. It's the bad apples that need "to be taken care of" to borrow Hellsbelles phrase. Thank you for your support of my posts, it means a lot to me.

05 Apr 2010 9:23 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Hey buddy,less than forty eight hrs to go and will be heading to the airport. lol  Great posts on your part,too bad  others' can't follow your example. lol

05 Apr 2010 9:27 PM
tanaka

fire slam

I dont remember you ever posting a Derby winner

There was 1 Secretariat. No 2nd coming is otw.

Big Brown Smarty Jones and others who won the Derby had preps of questionable quality. The great make it look easy.

05 Apr 2010 9:34 PM
Matthew W

Blind Luck is small--for a filly---no way does she belong with colts at 1 1/4--especially when you have three really nice ones,factor in The Blue Grass/Interactif in the shadows--and American Lion, calling on his inner Tiznow to repel the challenge in Illinois--This I know--that Esky won't get the soft pace to stalk in Kentucky--if he goes with Sydney--he loses! Lucky will get the closing trip he wants--and if they don't go out and challenge the Candy Ride? He may just find himseld all alone at the 1 1/16 pole--again!

05 Apr 2010 10:06 PM
Matthew W

Gun Bow thanks for mentioning Jumron--he Beyers 73...then 78...at Portland Meadows...goes to Bay Meadows, whatttaknow, 109 Beyer, wow! (shows ya how the Beyers are messed up) 2nd choice in Kentucky Derby, carreer ending injury 4th...Not bad for a horse who ran at Portland Meadows/Hastings Park for several races....

05 Apr 2010 10:10 PM
Matthew W

Right On Mike Revla---no horses are bums! Every horse has a story....and a purpose/(I hope)

05 Apr 2010 10:12 PM
Greg J.

Zookeeper,

    Bravo!  Keep talking, No need to ever get of you Soapbox, Again, Bravo! Never feel like you need to say your sorry to be so passionate about this issue.  Spot on about Benjamin Warren.  Thank you for caring and helping with the rescue of the 50 of his "unwanted" mares who found themselves in a feed lot in Arizona.  

Aluminaut,

     You say this is a blog about the Triple Crown?  Yes, But, This is also a blog about this sport, And, Sadly, There are some very dark areas in this sport that should always be mentioned or they will continue, Until they are stopped, They should always be mentioned! Do me a favor, Why don't you follow this year's contenders, Say, For the next five years, See where some will end up!  If everyone did this, Well, They would be shocked at where their once promising careers end up. I wish you would educate yourself before making a remark like this, "Some people are forced to sell their horses and have no choice where they go".  That is utter nonsense, I would love to inform you of many owners and trainers that have the option to sell their horse to a rescue with NO questions asked when they are injured or just not good enough on the track, Instead, They bypass this option and go the route of back door deals and their horse disappears and is later found at a killpen on route to Canada, Mexico, or even to the illegal slaughter houses in Florida.  This is the Truth, Like it or not.  I could easily name names, But, That would defeat the purpose and the cause of certain rescues that work behind the scenes. Certain people like to look the other way and that is their right, Thank God I am not one of those people!  Don't get me wrong, A huge majority of owners and trainers are amazing people and do right by their horses, I am talking about the ones that treat them like garbage and throw them away.  

    You ask, "Should we blame them for owning the horses in the first place?"  Blame?, No, How about being responsible for the life of a horse that depends on these owners and trainers to do right by them?  

    Your last line, "Let's all focus on the future getting better", That is exactly what Zookeeper is talking about, Just wish you and others would see that and not take Zookeepers remarks as negative, If anything, It is positive to expose the weakness of this great sport so it changes...

05 Apr 2010 10:37 PM
Greg J.

Mike Relva,

     How are You?  Spot on, I believe only the ones that call the horses bums are exactly that, Bums...

05 Apr 2010 10:44 PM
papillon

tcc said "Wow, if these are the times at a Mile,these horse's must be ROADRUNNER'S!!! or have a 500hp +"

lol, sorry those were the 3/4 times

05 Apr 2010 11:03 PM
Zookeeper

Aluminaut,

Thank you for responding to my post, even if you did not agree with my position. I do not intend to argue with you but I would like to respond to some of your observations.

This blog, although titled Triple Crown Talk, does not limit itself to the TC races and the horses pointed to it. If so, the names of Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, Quality Road, etc... would never appear in the comments.

The concept of free enterprise doesn't mean that it has no cost. I am well aware of how tough things are all over. Some people find a way to do the right thing in spite of how difficult it is, because they are responsible.

The reporters still have the obligation to report, even if their numbers have diminished.

I am a member of this racing fan community and my opinions are based on FACTS on the matter I have discussed earlier. If my stating my opinion on certain events constitute using this blog as a platform, so be it. I would rather speak out than remain silent and hope (as you do) that things will get better in the future. They will not, unless people do something about the problems.

Hoping for the next John Henry doesn't excuse poor, irresponsible breeding.

I find your adoption of a thoroughbred claimer very admirable. I'm glad for him and for you that he lived a long and happy life in your care. Kudos to you for doing a very good thing! Considering this, I'm a little puzzled by your objection to my post. But it's OK! Differences of opinions is what blogging is all about.

Wishing you continued success with your company and since we both like American Lion, I think we have more in common then your post suggests.  :)

05 Apr 2010 11:06 PM
Mike Relva

RANAGULZION

I won't be in exile,cause your friend Todd will fall short....again. But,if for the unlikely chance I'm wrong will begin my exile from this blog for three months. BTW what are you putting up? Oh,that's right a big fat zero on your part,wow! lol

05 Apr 2010 11:14 PM
papillon

Ranagulzion said "what you don't get about Esky is that he is very tractable, runs his own race and is not phased by negotiating traffic"

What about his Breeder's Cup trip?

What I don't get about Eskendereya is why everyone thinks he's all that.

05 Apr 2010 11:16 PM
The Rock

Jason,

A little bit off topic, but would you happen to know how Informed Decision is coming to her 2010 debut on Thursday? I'm wondering if she'll be able to fire her best shot off the bench. If not, I'm looking to beat her with a very talented filly in Witty. I've been waiting for her to ship out of California as I think she could be something to follow later on this year and give Informed Decision a run for her money in the sprint division. I like that she gets 6lbs from ID as well.

05 Apr 2010 11:34 PM
Ted from LA

Does anyone know the plans for Mendip?

05 Apr 2010 11:53 PM
Zookeeper

Greg J,

Thank you for your support. I'm not surprised that your opinion is similar to mine. Your posts are always respectful of horses and caring connections. Sorry about your riding accident. How are you doing? Hope the aches and pains have lessened and that you won't miss anymore exciting KD preps. Thank goodness for replays, right?

05 Apr 2010 11:57 PM
Greg J.

The Rock,

     How about a Julien Leparoux double in race 7 & 8 on Thursday? That's all I will say...

06 Apr 2010 12:23 AM
Aluminaut

Zookeeper,

Thank-you for your kind, thoughtful response to my post.

American Lion is a beautiful horse, yes?  I have a wonderful picture I took of him heading toward the tunnel at SA from the saddling area a couple races back.

I bought my gelding for $125 at the Joe Hernandez auction at Del Mar.  A stallion named Grey Tower was sold at the same time for the same price.  My father almost bought him, but was concerned about keeping an aging stallion.  This was way before Old Friends.  I still wonder what happened to him.  I think I read somewhere that he had been a sucessful sire of jumpers.

About overbreeding:

There are way more Quarter horses than Thoroughbreds, and they us AI for breeding.  At least real cover limits a stallion's book.

One thing the economic situation may force is more breeding for racing.  The high end horses have always retired early.  Now some are running longer.  A new sire is not so desirable right now.

Greg J,

What can I say to you?  Ferdinand.

Exceller.  We can't even take care of our "big" horses.  Do what you can w/the rescues, but be careful you don't blame anyone who is innocent.  This isn't Salem.

You should try to do something about all the mustangs stuck in pens in the midwest.  They weren't bred, they increased their population on their own and need a place to be free.  Quality of life is important, as you would probably agree.

06 Apr 2010 12:55 AM
Aluminaut

Back to the Trail:

Today I watched Candy Ride on Youtube.  The Pacific Classic w/Medaglio de Oro was the best.

Sydney's Candy looks so strong when running, and I have watched him run twice in person.  He didn't look tired and I bet he can go 1 1/4, no problem. I wasn't sure he could get the distance until the SA Derby.  Hope he can run on the dirt.  

06 Apr 2010 1:05 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm only going to make a few comments about this little controversy here then get back to The Triple Crown-the greatest time of the year. I hope the day I die is not between the day the preps start in January and the day after The Belmont Stakes. Both Aluminaut and Zookeeper had good things to say. Zookeeper-you know I always like your posts. Greg J.-I was blown away by the excellence of your post 5 Apr 10:37 pm. There are issues we have to deal with. There is no doubt whatsoever about that. The biggest issue to me is what happens to the horses when their careers are over. They need health, safety, food, shelter, and dinity. If I was a billionaire like Bill Gates-that's where all of my money would be going. This issue has to be talked about so we can continue to strive for solutions. The best venue to do that in-I don't know but I have no problem with anyone that does it here, and no problem with someone complaining that they don't like it done here !!!!!! I'm OK with freedom of speech. If I don't like someone's blog, I just won't read them.

06 Apr 2010 1:16 AM
Tim G

I agree with Aluminaut. I would like to see ONE blog about the TC or the positive side of horse racing without the Debbie Downers bringing up a breakdown or the tragic things that COULD have happened.

Greg, I often agree with you, but I really don't see it as a necessity to 'bring up' or expose your or others perceived weakness of the sport. RARELY do any of you who point this out all the time, give equal time to the 99% of owners and trainers who DO care for their horses. It's ALWAYS that one fatality or negative jab that has to be thrown by people who have NO financial or true direct emotional involvement with ANY of the horses.

06 Apr 2010 1:33 AM
datflippinrabbit

I just love the talk,Esk-ken-Dray runs 9 furlongs in just under 1.50 and gets the highest beyer of 108 and becomes the new coming of big red.I cant wait until derby day.

06 Apr 2010 8:55 AM
LAZMANNICK

Mike Relva

I nominate you as a BLOG COP.  One slip from some of these characters and you're on them like white on rice.  Good going.  Hope you have a great trip to Cali.  Once again my e-mail is screwed up so I haven't been sending or receiveg for about a week now.  Take care and have a good one.  LOL

06 Apr 2010 10:47 AM
CV

"Blind Luck is small--for a filly---no way does she belong with colts at 1 1/4--"

Smaller than Jackson Bend or even Mine That Bird? She may be small in stature Matthew, but both of these horses I mentioned also are smaller than most of their peers.

Perhaps it's the horse's demeanor that matters the most, whether they tend to be assertive or more cautious.

06 Apr 2010 11:14 AM
CV

"...But when a horse and rider meld like Mike Smith and Zenyatta, it is a beautiful thing to see. She has been in some tight spots and he always works their way out of them." --Paula Higgins

You're right; you can really tell how close Mike Smith is to Zenyatta. His face just lights up when he talks about her.

Shortly after the Breeders Cup Classic I read a column by turf writer Jay Hovdey. It talked about how Smith sings a little Spanish song to her each time they walk to the post.

Here's the link: www.drf.com/.../108841.html

I think that article totally captures the special bond you mentioned.

06 Apr 2010 11:34 AM
Forbidden Apple

Eskendereya is a nice horse, he is not the next coming of Secretariat. He has had 2 very easy races so far where he only had to run the last 1/8 of a mile. The KY Derby will have a serious pace and then we will get to see what he is made of.

Lazmannick, you can not compare times from 1973 to times in 2010. Are you trying to convince people that the racing surface is the same after 37 years?

Ranagulzion, your triple crown winner this year is only a fantasy in your own mind. It is good to dream, but wake up already. I was in the paddock for the Wood and Eskendereya is not a very attractive colt, he looks pretty average to me. I have him third on my list with many question marks next to his name.

Awesome Act however was a very attractive colt that was on the muscle even in the paddock. Breaking slow and losing a shoe are definite reasons to not run a huge race. Julian was standing up on him until the last 1/8 of a mile and at that point the race was over. It was a prep race and I am expecting him to be much improved in the KY Derby. He was tugging his way down the backstretch and wanted to do more. He is far from a throwout, he still seems dangerous to me.

Lookin At Lucky and Endorsement also appear quite dangerous come May 1.

The pace should be hot if Conveyance enters and runs fast with Sidneys Candy.

06 Apr 2010 11:38 AM
Mike Relva

MATTHEW W,GREG J, PAULA

TTHANKS!

06 Apr 2010 12:27 PM
LAZMANNICK

Forbidden Apple

I'm not trying to compare times from 1973 to 2010.  I'm just saying that the scenarios are similar.  Secretariat's Wood was 13 lengths slower than Sham's SA Derby but when the two met in the KD Sectretariat dominated.  People are making too much of Esky's 1.49.4 and Sidney's 1.48 for the same distance.  LOL

06 Apr 2010 1:36 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

CV

   Thanks for that link for the Smith and Zenyatta article. Very nice.

06 Apr 2010 2:40 PM
Mike Relva

LAZMANNICK

Appreciate the kind words.

06 Apr 2010 5:53 PM
Ruffian

Ted from LA

Mendip won't be in the Derby.  I believe he hurt himself .  I can't remember exactly what happened, but I do know he won't be in the Derby.

08 Apr 2010 3:48 AM

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