Matz Ready for Another Derby Run

Despite the fact that he lost the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by a head and may not be named 2-year-old champion as a result, Union Rags entered 2012 as the no-doubt-about-it early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

On Jan. 11, his Triple Crown quest officially got started, as he turned in his first official breeze of the year at Palm Meadows. As trainer Michael Matz said, it was a non-eventful work--three furlongs in :38 1/5--but it was an official work nonetheless, which means the hype has officially begun.

Matz, who certainly does not enjoy the spotlight, received enough media attention to last him a lifetime in 2006 after Barbaro's Kentucky Derby victory, his subsequent Preakness breakdown, and his ensuing struggle for life that captivated the nation. From the day that Barbaro was injured on May 20, 2006 until the day he lost his battle against laminitis on Jan. 29, 2007, Matz was expected to do daily interviews and make himself accessible to everyone. And for years afterward he was forced to talk about not only Barbaro's legacy, but to compare him to every one of his siblings that stepped onto the track. If Matz won't say it I will: It was draining and tiresome. After a while, he just didn't want to deal with the media anymore. And I don't blame him.

But years removed from all of that, Matz seems like he is refreshed and ready for the onslaught of hype that will follow him and Union Rags for the next five-plus months. Don't misunderstand, he will never be Bob Baffert or win any open mic nights at his local comedy club, but Matz knows he has a horse that can take him to the promised land again and is grateful to have the opportunity. He seems ready to embrace what lies ahead.

On Wednesday morning, Matz talked a little about Union Rags' heartbreaking Breeders' Cup defeat, his road to the Triple Crown, his split with the Jacksons, and yes, even made a comparison to Barbaro. He even got a good laugh when I suggested that "I squeezed as much out of him as I could after only one three-eighths work."

JS: Are you ready for the hype?

MM: Do I have a choice (laughs)? It is what it is. It's wonderful to have this kind of horse. I mean, it's a horse you get excited about waking up and going to the barn to see. He's the kind of horse you work 365 days a year for.

JS: We talked a little last year about when you parted ways with the Jacksons and how painful it was. So to lose a client like that and to get a horse like this right around the same time, it must been good timing for you I'm guessing.

MM: It was certainly helpful at the time. Like I said, it was a funny situation with the Jacksons and I still don't know exactly what happened. But it's over with now and I just look forward to these horses I have now. There's nothing I can do about that situation and I just have to make the best of what my situation is now.

JS: The Breeders' Cup was obviously a heartbreaker and might have wound up costing Union Rags the Eclipse Award. How much of that sting is still there?

MM: The circumstances just didn't go our way. Whatever the circumstances were...whether (Hansen) got a good trip or we got a bad trip, human error happens in these things. There is not much we can do. We got an outside post, Javier (Castellano) did the best he could and it wasn't good enough. We're looking forward to a new season. Whether it cost him the 2-year-old championship or not I don't know. That will depend on what the voters use as a criteria. If they use the Breeders' Cup result as the ultimate criteria, it's a clear cut case. If they look at what else they did the rest of the year I think it will be close.

JS: Looking ahead, you've already stated that you're pointing Union Rags for the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby as his preps. If everything remains the same, that's still the plan?

MM: Of course. At this point, after only one breeze and if you can have a plan, we'll try to do those two races. If we have to go to plan B somewhere along the line then that's what we'll do. He'll be nominated to other races and if we have to do something different where we feel he needs another race, we'll just make a little detour.

JS: I know you don't like doing comparisons to Barbaro, but at this point can you compare the two in any way?

MM: Well, they are both on the same track. Of course, Barbaro was undefeated at this point. Barbaro was obviously a terrific horse and Union Rags has to get there yet. But I don't see any distance limitations with him and everything else is encouraging. They are both big, athletic horses with lots of ability. And they both seem to like to win.

Union Rags has kind of done everything so far, from running close to the pace to off the pace. His temperament is such that you could really do almost anything with him. Personality wise, he even has a little bit easier temperament than Barbaro. But once you got the saddle on Barbaro he was all business.

207 Comments

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Mike Relva

Michael is a class act, unlike some with oversized egos he keeps things in perspective. Good luck to him and UR. Still believe UR will prevail for the Eclipse.

11 Jan 2012 1:29 PM
josh

It's hard not to root for someone like Matz and Union Rags. All the best on the Derby trail Mike and Rags!

11 Jan 2012 1:57 PM
Smoking Baby

 I'm with Josh.  Whether you like Hansen, Union Rags or whoever, it's hard not to root for a guy like Matz.

11 Jan 2012 2:16 PM
Karen in Texas

Thank you for this interview, Jason! Michael Matz seems to be an exceptional trainer and horseman. Regardless of the spirited debate over the Eclipse award, I hope Union Rags moves forward and remains healthy on the Triple Crown trail.

11 Jan 2012 2:27 PM
Wrensflight

I have the utmost respect for Michael Matz, both for his former career as an Olympic rider and for his current position as a trainer of racehorses. His obvious attitude and ability in working with horses is exemplary. I wish both him and Union Rags all the best in their future endeavors together.

11 Jan 2012 2:30 PM
Debbiek

I have a lot of respect for Michael and think he is very good for our sport.  Good luck to him and Union Rags.  I really like this horse and hope they will go far together.  And if i could vote UR would get my vote for the Eclipse!!

11 Jan 2012 2:30 PM
Melissa P

I've been a fan of Michael Matz since his show jumping days. When he brought Barbaro along, I realized he was a horseman's horseman. Now, I wish him continued good luck and great health with Union Rags.

11 Jan 2012 2:55 PM
smartysgal

I wish nothing but the best for Michael Matz and I hope Union Rags gallops to victory in the Kentucky Derby.  I don't understand the split with the Jacksons, after all he said and did with Barbaro and the siblings that trained under his name.  Perhaps the Jacksons wanted another Barbaro out of Nicanor or Lentenor, but let's face it, that would have been a one in 20 million chance!  He did the best he could with what he had.  Good luck, Michael!

11 Jan 2012 3:12 PM
mwill

I agree with the above writers. Michael Matz is a class act.  He deserves to win; this is proven by his demeanor during the sad days with beautiful Barbaro. (And, how many trainers have saved a life in a time of crisis?) Best of luck to Michael and to Union Rags.

11 Jan 2012 4:06 PM
tanzab

I knew Michael way back when (as kids) and as a Jr. rider all those years ago, however while I was a fair rider on Jr hunters/jumpers, no where near the talent of Michael.  His success as a race trainer comes as no surprise.  He and his crew are class act and does right by the horses in his care!  All the best for 2012, would love to see him back in the winners circle at Churchill again!

11 Jan 2012 4:16 PM
Draynay

Year after year I am known throughout the horse racing world as being the best Kentucky Derby handicapper in the USA.  I can tell you this year will be a easy year.  Even Jason can pick the Derby winner this year.  The race is tough and Union Rags is simply too far ahead to be caught in a few short months.  Write it in stone Union Rags is your Derby winner.  I am never wrong.

11 Jan 2012 5:26 PM
beknighted

Matz has always been a class act and a world class horseman. I hope to see him in the winners circle with this horse in the spring..... he is good for the horse, the sport and the business

11 Jan 2012 5:50 PM
Freetex

Refreshing to know Michael Matz has another great horse.  There are so few trainers with such class and integrity as Matz.

Michael Matz and Barbaro will always be connected in our memories.  Hopefully, Union Rags will become another one of the greats under Matz's care.

11 Jan 2012 6:30 PM
Rachel O

No, the Barbaro brothers are no match for Barbaro, and who thought they could be? But it is amazing that they all made it to the races and have all won.

11 Jan 2012 6:34 PM
grandma bea

Barbaro lost his fight for life from laminitis on Monday, January 29, 2007, not February 13, 2007. I can't believe no one noticed or commented on this error.

Grandma Bea

11 Jan 2012 6:39 PM
smartydeb

Very nice article - one with one correction. Barbaro was euthanized on Jan 29, 2007, not Feb. 14.

It is really unfair to comare the two horses, but I guess it is inevitable.  Best of luck to Michael Matz with him - he is local for me and I used to watch him jumping horses at the Devon Horse show!

11 Jan 2012 6:54 PM
monkeymaple

I am a huge Michael Matz and an even bigger Barbaro fan.  I wish Michael great luck with Union Rags.  I must correct the blog, Barbaro lost his battle with laminitis on January 29, 2007 not Feb. 13, 2007.

11 Jan 2012 7:17 PM
Jason Shandler

Ok, the day Barbaro died has been corrected. Relax. Let's not turn this into a Barbaro blog please. There are other sites for that.

11 Jan 2012 7:20 PM
longwaytomay

Draynay all over the early Derby favorite. I'm stunned.

11 Jan 2012 7:26 PM
skyfire

What a gentlemen, Michael is!  He has had quite a journey in is life:  Show jumping champion, plane crash survivor, Kentucky Derby winner, the loss of Barbaro, and now Union Rags!!! I hope that Michael has continued success this year....he is easy to root for!!

11 Jan 2012 7:32 PM
Jason Shandler

Dray told me to let everyone know he took a few months hiatus because he was temporarily homeless. He lost so much on the BC that he lost his rent money for his mom's basement. But he's back on his feet now; he has landed an apartment at a housing project in Columbus, Ohio. He is very excited about 2012! Welcome back Dray!

11 Jan 2012 7:34 PM
Tiznowbaby

It would be nice if Union Rags won the Derby simply so that Michael  Matz will be questioned about something besides  Barbaro in the future. He has and continues to handle all of that attention with so much calm and class.

11 Jan 2012 7:51 PM
ZORRO

Good luck with Union Rags, and we will see if he's the best 3yo.As far as any comparison to Barbaro,IMO Union Rags has run in more graded races on dirt as a 2yo but,if they ran head to head in a two turn route as two year olds Barbaro would have defeated Union Rags.Barbaro will have a mystique surrounding his career because he was undefeated when he broke down as the Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness.

11 Jan 2012 8:12 PM
Stevebiscuit

Draynay, please don't put the curse on Union Rags. He's a nice horse, he deserves better. He certainly has a better shot at MAKING it to the Derby than Uncle Slow. Wasn't he "too far ahead to be caught in a few short months"? Don't worry, none of us expect you to own up to your mistakes. Let's see how he does against my Derby pick Liaison. Welcome back Dray, the worst handicapper we've ever seen!

11 Jan 2012 8:15 PM
NASCAR PRO

Proceed with caution when heeding Draynay's stone cold locks.He was the same poster who bet $2000 on Uncle Mo in the classic and according to him all of it was bet on him to win.

11 Jan 2012 8:16 PM
Paula Higgins

Love this post Jason. Nice interview. It made me smile. I have been a Matz fan for awhile now. He is not flashy but he is pure class. A horseman's horseman. Thanks for doing this interview with him. I wish him the best with Union Rags. I think both he and Hansen are something special. I am sorry he parted ways with the Jacksons. I hold them in vey high regard as well. Talk about pure class.

11 Jan 2012 8:24 PM
Greg J.

Jason,

Hope all is well and thank you for the nice article and interview with Mr. Matz.

Wishing nothing but the best for Mr. Matz and Union Rags.  Just hope Union Rags and Hansen both stay healthy, if so, I think we are about to witness one heck of a rivalry this spring and beyond with these two talented colts.

I do believe Union Rags work today was :38.35 not :36 1/5 though.

Nice to see some things never change regarding Draynay(Dray, glad you have landed back on your feet!).

11 Jan 2012 8:37 PM
Jason Shandler

Nice to have you back Greg.

11 Jan 2012 8:57 PM
Convene

It would be wonderful if this quiet, unassuming, top-class man found success again at the highest levels. He proved himself a special human being long ago. Now it's time he got a reward he actually had a chance to enjoy to the fullest. Good luck to Michael Matz and Union Rags both.

11 Jan 2012 9:27 PM
Mike Relva

Greg J.

Hey, how's it going? Enjoy reading your comments.

11 Jan 2012 9:37 PM
Chris K

All the best to Mr. Matz.  It's so good to have a trainer with such class and integrity who puts the well being of his horses first. Union Rags has a lot of potential and talent with the best trainer to get him to the Derby.  I have the utmost respect for both the Jacksons and Mr. Matz.  Both parties went through  some very difficult times.  

11 Jan 2012 10:16 PM
Sylvester

Draynay I encourage you to go read some of Jason's earlier blogs. Bisquick, Mike, Higgins and Schmucky have been full of it. It got DEEP.  Anyway, Hansen beat UR straight up at CD already. Until UR beats Hansen, Hansen is the better of the two.  Meeting on the track is a better indicator than opinions on the web.  Isn't that right Bisquick?

11 Jan 2012 10:43 PM
Windy City

Jason, with all due respect, asking MM to compare Barbaro to UR is little bit tacky and can be compared to asking a guy to compare his current and ex girlfriend...What did you expect to hear? He can't say anything wrong regarding any of those two.

Loved your other blog about EA but did you really mean to disregard Shack? He raced in best races, showed up every time and even managed to keep his blaze clean. Don't you think he deserved 3 yo honors?

Dray - just KD pick?? Won't he win TC this year? What bout Preakness and Blmt? Don't be so shy, you can share with us....I'm sure your Ego knows it, oh I'm sorry, I meant you know it ;-)

Best to MM and I hope UR and the rest on the trail will stay sound. Happy New Year everyone!

11 Jan 2012 11:40 PM
Sugarfoot

Union Rags is my favorite for the Derby, but whoever wins, this looks to be the most exciting group of 3 year olds to come along in a long time. I can hardly wait!

11 Jan 2012 11:43 PM
Paula Higgins

Nice to see you back Draynay. Laughed my head off at Jason's explanation for you being MIA. I am not picking Union Rags or anyone else for the Derby winner. Learned my lesson last year with Mo, GOD Bless him. But I would love to see Michael Matz back on the Derby road.

11 Jan 2012 11:56 PM
Coldfacts

Mr. Shandler,

You deserve commendation for securing yet another fine interview with a true gentleman of the sport.  You also secure similar interview in latter part of 2011 with another gentleman of the sport Bill Mott. I wish Mr. Matz lots of luck and Union Rags the best of health for the Triple Crown series. I have every confidence that Mr. Matz will immaculately prepare UN for his Derby effort. It would be nice if he ends up winning the 2012 Derby as this would certainly ease the lingering Barbaro pain. As much as I would like to see this become a reality, I have my doubts that Union Rags is the one for 2012. The colt’s ability is without question but his BCJ performance indicated to me he is not a 10F horse. He unleashed a powerful gallop in the best part of the CD surface and was bested by another colt that raced on the more tiresome part of the track.  He had every opportunity to get by Hansen and appeared one pace. The fact that he did not get by Hansen is not entirely surprising as he gallops with lot of power.  Horses that exert that amount of energy in motion will always fine 10F challenging as oppose to those that float over ground with less energy sapping motions That said it’s the Kentucky Derby and if a horse is good enough to make the cut, there is always a possibility it could wear the roses..  

The conclusion of the opening paragraph of your blog captured my attention:

“Despite the fact that he lost the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by a head and may not be named 2-year-old champion as a result, Union Rags entered 2012 as the no-doubt-about-it early favorite for the Kentucky Derby.”

Your conclusion would be deemed reasonable if not for the extreme portion i.e., ‘no-doubt-about-it early favorite.’  What about one of the favorites? Union Rags lost the BCJ and is projected to be runner up in the voting for Champion 2YO and this leave no doubt that he is the early favorite for the Derby. What about the colt that won the BCJ and is projected to be voted Champion 2YO? Why are there doubts about his favoritism for the Derby? Those must be legitimate questions. Neither Union Rags nor Hansen has made a 3YO start. Is there colt or filly seen out so in  2012 that can be labeled the favorite for the Derby? Mr. Pletcher unleashed a grey daughter of Giant’s Causeway who appears capable of running all day. Discreet Dancer ran a track record on debut and followed up that effort with an impressive mile win. Like Union Rags his dam was sired by Gone West. There are the two Bernardini colts Consortium and Algorithms. Consortium’s dam sire Machiavellian sired two Dubai World Cup winners and was dam sire of another. Algorithms dam sire Cryptoclearance was sire of Belmont winner Victory Gallop and Breeder Classic Cup winner Volponi. These colts have shown tremendous speed but have tons of stamina in their pedigrees. Then there is also the regally bred Alpha another Bernardini. The most intriguing colt seen in 2012 has to be Out OF Bounds. He defeated the fastest 2YO from 2011 and by extension the fastest 3YO in the nation with only a maiden victory to his credit. His time of 1:34.56 for the Sham was achieved minus lasix and reports of greenness. We have seen all the aforementioned colts fully extended. However, Out Of Bounds rider the top class Mr. Gomez is on record as stating he only got into him a little. With further improvement, the additions of lasix and under a more vigorous ride how fast will this colt be run? Both Union Rags and Hansen will be facing some serious colts when the contest the preps.

Very few will support your the no-doubt-about-it early favorite claim regarding Union Rags as the COLD FACTS do not support same.

12 Jan 2012 12:11 AM
Ranagulzion

Jason,

Very good interview with Michael Matz. You can be sure that Union Rags is in very capable hands. you should've asked him if Edgar Prado will be replacing Javier Castellano as UR's jock. Castellano is a very good rider but he may not be the best fit for 'Rags'. I'm pretty sure that Edgar Prado wouldn't make the same mistake twice muchless three times. The Prado and Matz combination once again in the winner's circle on the 1st Saturday in May looks good from here. What do you think Jason?

12 Jan 2012 12:25 AM
Coldfacts

Draynay,

Welcome back from your self-imposed respite. I trust you’re  fully reenergized and ready to advise the board on which horses are on your shortlist and by extension those that should be avoided. I hope you have regained full function of your faculties that were so badly damage by Uncle Mo. Some experiences can be humbling and I trust you have learnt a lesson in humility. I have my doubts that any such lesson has been learnt. However, I am optimistic that you will at least be more measured in your posts. I remain a firm believer that there is no man beyond redemption.

12 Jan 2012 12:27 AM
GunBow

It's hard not to like Matz.  My only critique is that he might be a bit on the conservative side.  But, the conservative handling of horses appears to be the norm now.

Speaking of conservative, I am not encouraged to hear that even though Out of Bounds came out of the Sham bucking, Harty plans on keeping him in the barn 2 months and await the San Felipe in March, skipping the Bob Lewis in February.  

I guess Harty would rather go Sham-San Felipe-SA Derby than the Sham-Lewis-SA Derby path he followed last year with Anthony's Cross.  But I have a novel idea, why not try to make all of them, or at least run when you have a healthy horse?  I've seen too many horses forced to skip races as trainers search for the "perfect" schedule, only for the horse to then get injured early in the campaign. I guess 4 starts during the Santa Anita meet would be alot of racing for a horse with Kentucky Derby aspirations, but there is still so much time before the Derby and no guarantees that Out of Bounds will make the race.   In general, I've always felt that too much signifcance is placed on the Derby.

I find it interesting that we spend so much time on the Derby, and I'm as guilty as the next person, but when we get a winner like Mine That Bird, Super Saver, or even Animal Kingdom, we then retroactively minimize the importance of winning the Derby.  If the Derby truly is our(North America's) greatest race, then how can we so easily dismiss the impact, talent, and achivement of a horse like Mine That Bird?  Or is the Derby only our greatest race when a Big Brown, Street Sense, Barbaro, or Smarty Jones wins it?

In my opinion, and I've felt this way from the beginning of my involvement in the sport, the Kentucky Derby is our most FAMOUS race, and the most important race for 3 year olds, but ii pales in quality and Eclipse significance to our GREATEST race, the Breeder's Cup Classic.

Great to see Dray hasn't lost his humor.

12 Jan 2012 2:13 AM
GunBow

Jason:

Working out of Kentucky, you are more familiar with the Steve Asmussen barn than I am.  How would you assess the performance of the Asmussen barn at Santa Anita last year and through two weeks this year?

How does Asmussen's Cali contingent compare with his other strings?  In know that relative to Baffert, Sadler, and O'Neil, Asmussen's Santa Anita string is fairly small, with a heavy concentration on stakes, allowance, and open maiden horses; he hasn't brought over the claimers and day-to-day horses necessary to compete for a training title.  

Last year, Asmussen won 4 stakes at the meet, 2 with purses of $100k +(Tapizar and Regally Ready I believe).  So far this year, he's struggling a bit, with just a maiden claiming win(did get 2nd with Rothko in the Malibu) and some noteworthy flops in stakes and maiden events.

12 Jan 2012 3:00 AM
The Deacon

Draynay threw out the bait and everyone bit, the more you respond to his insanity the more he throws out at us and then he will never go away. He just thrives on an audience to validate his ego.

C'mon folks, ignore him, let him drive himself insane instead of us......geesh

12 Jan 2012 3:28 AM
Kevin

What are the odds that someone like Draynay actually exists.  Jason, are you posting under an alter ego just to get dialogue going?

12 Jan 2012 6:53 AM
JerseyBoy

Excellent trainer. His  Union Rags is the early Kentucky Derby favorite based on his record. No one can argue with that. I hope he stays  favorite.

However, those who want to get rich quick can look at the Las Vegas odds on Out of Bounds. Today he is available at the Wynn Casino Future Book  at 30-1.  Good luck but I will not take 40-1.

12 Jan 2012 7:03 AM
smartydeb

I am not sure that pointing out that the date Barbaro was euthanized was "turning this into a Barbaro blog", just correcting a statement of fact. Facts are generally what reporters are concerned with, aren't they?

12 Jan 2012 7:44 AM
steve from st louis

Dray: Telling the big lie over and over does not make it true. If people think Saratoga is the "Graveyard of Champions", they ought to get a look at your backyard.

12 Jan 2012 9:59 AM
Ida Lee

I admire Mr. Matz, not just because of his connection to the beloved Barbaro, but because his whole life appears to be a testament to what a gentleman should be. I'm very happy that he has such a special horse in Union Rags (who is presently my #1 equine crush) and despite his BC loss, he's still my favorite for the Kentucky Derby. P.S. Please don't be too hard on the Barbaro fanatics like me. We still have a huge hole in our hearts where Barbaro used to be.

12 Jan 2012 10:24 AM
Linda in Texas

Very nice interview Jason with an above reproach Trainer Mr. Matz.

He is one of the most low key bordering on quiet reserve trainers there is today and i truly believe that wonderful characteristic is passed on to the horses he trains. I have been a Union Rags fan since the first time he raced.

And hello to Draynay. I sent you best wishes for a Happy New Year and will do so again. Nice to know you are okay.

Thanks Jason.

12 Jan 2012 12:19 PM
Jason Shandler

GunBow: I think Asmussen has about 30 horses at Santa Anita. I think it would be tough to compare him to larger Cali barns of the guys you mentioned. And it's a bit early in the meet to assess his numbers. I think, only in his second year out there, he is still experimenting a bit.

Thanks for those that offered the compliments.

12 Jan 2012 1:36 PM
Zen's Auntie

Matz is and has always been a true horseman and sportsman. I wish Union Rags and all his other horses and connections all the best. They are lucky to have Him.   Really nice article thanks Jason, refreshing. All the more reason to plan a well timed trip to Gulfstream this spring.

12 Jan 2012 1:37 PM
longwaytomay

Jason, I know it's California, but I think you should take the time and watch the 2nd at Santa Anita today. Should go off at about 4:30 Have a beer and enjoy.

12 Jan 2012 2:01 PM
SACK THE SECRATARY

Kevin Ive always thought that there are regulars on this blog,that post under, I will use the term you used alter ego's.Take the veterinarian posters KY Vet and Keeneland Vet,Do you actually

think vets would take the time and trouble to blog about gambling.

12 Jan 2012 2:12 PM
Stevebiscuit

Sylvester,

Much like the result of the 2010 Classic, the runner up of the 2011 Breeders Cup Juvenile was clearly the better horse. The best horse doesn't always win. I figured even you would understand that basic concept. I guess I overestimated your racing knowledge, but then again I should have expected as much considering that you align yourself with the likes of Draynay. Don't worry, you'll get it eventually!

12 Jan 2012 2:44 PM
Zen's Auntie

Hey speaking of Asmussen horses in Cali where the heck is Mcleans Music? He was scintilating ...then nothing? What can you tell us Jason?

12 Jan 2012 2:47 PM
Weekend

Gunbow, Asmussen has horses all over the world. He has a sting in China. CHINA!! They race for yen over there. I also think he has some in South America.

12 Jan 2012 3:02 PM
Weekend

Happy New Year to Jason and the Blog! Should be a fun year. My parents moved to Hot Springs, so I will get to visit Oaklawn for a few prep races this spring and play some golf.

12 Jan 2012 3:02 PM
Weekend

In the last few years, the Eclipse awards have been a crap shoot. Does the BC matter? Sometimes it does. Other times, it is irrelevant. With that said, I would of voted for Hansen. He won on the track, and Rags had the stretch to catch him. So until they race again, I like Hansen for the award. I know many people that voted the other way, but talk is cheap. Line em up, and race em.

I want to end by saying I hate TIM TEBOW.

12 Jan 2012 3:04 PM
Katie L.

Seriously guys, why do you keep answering back to Dray? He clearly just want attention, let him be and he'll disapear if no one is answering

For Rags, I have some doubt if he can handle the distance, he looked really tired in the BC, but we never know :) I just hope he can do it for Matz, this guy totally deserved it

12 Jan 2012 3:09 PM
LAZMANNICK

Billy

Give Tebow a break.  He helped rescue a floundering ship in a city where football is paramount.  Happy New Year to you too.    

12 Jan 2012 3:31 PM
Carlos in Cali

Happy New Year to all!

Still mourning the tragic loss of my 23yo nephew & father of 2 young boys,Mark Anthony Trujillo. R.I.P.!

However,the match-up between Tapizar and Prayer For Relief should lift my spirits.Looking forward to an exciting year of racing during this important & mystical year of 2012! Peace!

12 Jan 2012 4:45 PM
Tiz Herself

I hope that Union Rags does stay healthy and gives Mats another Derby. I know May is a ways off yet, however I like Union Rags or Out of Bounds at the moment. Am developing my top 12. O'Prado Again's is a reminder that anything can happen between now and then.

Crossing fingers for Rags that he stays healthy.

12 Jan 2012 4:58 PM
longwaytomay

Jason,

The 2nd at Santa Anita looked like nothing more than a paid workout. I didn't learn much from the race other than what I already suspected. That horse will have no problems going long. Hope he stays healthy. Only time will tell if he is fast enough.

12 Jan 2012 5:03 PM
Slew

I doubt there is enough praise to heap on Michael Matz.  Leading show jump rider for most of his life, he has become an excellent trainer.  I admire him, and find him to be a true gentleman of the sport.

He has trained so many fine horses, it's difficult to understand why people key in on only Barbaro. Does the name Chelokee ring any bells?  Trained by Michael Matz, he won the inaugural Barbaro Stakes.  A later injury forced him into retirement. Anyone remember the brilliant work he did with Round Pond?  Somali Lemonade? Kindersley?  etc..etc.  I do expect him to get the best from Union Rags.  He is a brilliant colt, and a live TC Contender.  Michael Matz has had over 500 winners.  Can't someone ask him about his other winners, rather than just droning on about Barbaro?  

I wish him the best of luck with Union Rags, and all of the horses in his barn.  It's definitely time good fortune smiled on Michael Matz.  He certainly has deserved it.

12 Jan 2012 5:54 PM
Rolling Thundar

So some of you are saying that if we address ( Draynay ), then it will feed his Ego.  Then let me give him a little food for that Ego.  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Haaaaaa Haaaaaa Haaaaaaaa, Draynay --- Once A Fool, Always a Fool. Shooting off his Mouth about a Lock on the Derby. LOL LOL LOL LOL. And just as a Fool that he is, He didn't learn the lesson of: A Fool and His Money is Soon Parted.  Ha Ha Ha

12 Jan 2012 6:50 PM
GunBow

Carlos:

So sorry for your loss.

But on the lighter side, I too am pumped up about Tapizar vs. Prayer for Relief.

On the subject of Asmussen, he has finished 2nd a bunch of times to Baffert in either stakes or promising maiden/allowance races.  The San Fernando should be another exciting clash of the two trainers.  Can Tapizar help Asmussen reverse the trend.

12 Jan 2012 7:23 PM
Mary

Coldfacts, Castellano, after he worked Union Rags for the first time, said he had ridden some good horses, like Bernardini and Ghostzapper, but they did not compare to how Union Rags felt underneath him.  

12 Jan 2012 7:27 PM
Mary

Slew, you are right, MM has trained many fine horses.  Somali Lemonade is a really really nice filly.  And Why Not is another good filly with a spectacular pedigree.  He has trained some fine horses.  Union Rags is out of the Gone West mare Tempo.  Gone West is out of the Secretariat mare, Secrettame.  Union Rags has the pedigree to go the distance, and he also has three white stockings, like his great great grandsire, Secretariat.  This horse reminds me of Secretariat.

12 Jan 2012 7:55 PM
skyfire

LAZMANNICK, you are right..here in Denver, Arapahoe Park and the Rockies are fun and entertaining, but the Broncos are it...no need to feel threatened by Tebow, Billy.  Most of us would like him to be our son-in-law.

12 Jan 2012 8:32 PM
Ranagulzion

Carlos in Cali,

Welcome back my friend. Please accept my condolence over the loss of your nephew ...gone too soon? We'll never know. When we enter and when we exit is not our prerogative, but how we spend our time and what legacy we leave behind, these are the 'choice' blessings of life whether our years be many or whether they be few. May all of us remember to choose well in this 'mystic' year of 2012. Blessings.

12 Jan 2012 8:57 PM
woodshade

Michael Matz is a class act. I talked too him one day at Delaware Park, and he was very nice. He's better off not dealing with the Jackson"s. They are not class act people.

12 Jan 2012 9:03 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thanks Gunbow,much appreciated.

Re: The San Fernando,I doubt both Tapizar & Prayer for Relief will be cranked for it.Tapizar will grab the lead from the start and should be tough to collar nevertheless.The improving First Strike should be in the mix as well but it really looks like a 2-horse race on paper.

BTW: I remember when the Strub Series really meant something and it gathered top-class 4yo's from all over the country... what happened?

12 Jan 2012 9:34 PM
Paula Higgins

It's Mrs. Higgins to you Sylvester. Everyone else can call me Paula, including Draynay. Billy what is it with you and Tim Tebow? Give the kid a break. He's a nice guy. Lets hope Union Rags and Hansen stay healthy. This could be quite a year. The male versions of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.

12 Jan 2012 9:53 PM
Paula Higgins

Carlos in Cali, I am very sorry about the loss of your nephew.

12 Jan 2012 10:02 PM
Tiznowbaby

Skyfire, I don't know about son-in-law, but he's got to deliver the goods better than Romo.

13 Jan 2012 12:26 AM
RJPPDP

Thanks Jason for the wonderful interview. I think Union Rags is a great representation of Michael Matz. He is a hard worker who can overcome adversity. I hope that the op 3 from the breeders cup and Alpha do well this spring so more horses can get a little more seasoning during the summer months and early fall. I love rooting for horses that I can follow for more than six months. I also think horses like algorithms,out of bounds and sky kingdom can make it to the big dance.

13 Jan 2012 12:30 AM
LAZMANNICK

Carlos

Sad for your loss.  All the best.

13 Jan 2012 12:33 AM
trackjack

Excellent interview Jason, thanks.  Very helpful to hear an extended discussion witha top notch trainer.  Michael Matz is a consumate horseman and does what is best for the horse.  Good luck Michael with Union Rags, I hope he stays healthy and progresses well for you.

Billy's Empire:

Tim Tebow is a winner; that's all that counts in football.

Speaking of football; Draynay, welcome back.  Since, according to Jason you're now in Columbus, OH-IO, you've probably heard of the Buckeyes.  Since you've already crowned(jinxed) Union Rags as the Derby winner, save up all that cash.  Art Sclichter has a package deal for you to see the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis and the Rose Bowl in Pasedena this season.  And while you're in CA next January you can spend a day at Santa Anita scoping out you're Derby pick for 2013.

13 Jan 2012 1:15 AM
erz213

Michael Matz is a good man, and a wonderful horseman.  He's got class, style, and common sense.  I wish there were more like him in the industry.  He's also a great humanitarian.  After that terrible plane crash he, and his now wife, was in; and to go back into a burning plane and save 3 children. That really tells me what this man is all about.  I loved Barbaro, and still am not over what happened to him.  I was there that day at Pimlico, and it forever changed my life.  But for the future, Michael Matz and Union Rags; I hope they bring the trophy home on May 5.  I think it would be good for horse racing, because these two are class acts.

13 Jan 2012 8:15 AM
Sue MacGray

Although Hansen's my horse right now, I have tons of respect and admiration for Michael Matz and wouldn't mind it at all if Union Rags turned into the Real Deal in May. Thanks for the great article. I'm happy that Matz has something so positive in his life after everything that happened with Barbaro. He's a good man.

13 Jan 2012 8:49 AM
Weekend

Skyfire, he is a fine young man, but all of the hoopla that follows him is nuts. I wonder how he will play on a Saturday without miracles and acts of god on his side.... Plus, he killed my parlay

13 Jan 2012 8:53 AM
2:24

trackjack - fantastic Art Schilchter reset.

Draynay - awesome to have you back.  And I mean it.

Rolling Thunder - if your handle is an homage to the 1977 William Devane/Tommy Lee Jones flick of the same name, color me impressed.

13 Jan 2012 10:22 AM
longwaytomay

Billy,

That was no miracle or act of God last week. Pittsburgh was beat up beyond belief. I think they thought that all they had to do was show up and move on to the next round. Made my weekend watching them lose.

13 Jan 2012 11:50 AM
trackjack

Carlos in Cali:

My sincere condolences on the loss of your nephew.  May God be with you and your family.  We may disagree with each other on this blog at times and that's OK, but at times like these we are with you.  Peace!

13 Jan 2012 12:31 PM
Tiz Herself

Am looking forward to seeing how it works out with Also Eligibles allowed now for the Derby. A full field of 20 this year will be something, won't it? The last few years with scratches and everything, should be something. And the Preakness to have a full 14? Can't wait for that.

I think the fillies will have another fantastic year. My Miss Aurelia, Grace Hall, On Fire Baby (who takes on the males in the Smarty Jones @ Oaklawn), Stopshoppingmaria, Weemissfrankie, Disposablepleasure, Candrea (hope she gets the Santa Ynez), Killer Graces, Queen Drama (sister to Big Drama), Believe You Can, Captivating Lass, Raffle Ticket, etc.

13 Jan 2012 12:56 PM
Carlos in Cali

Ranagulzion,Paula & Lazz- Thank you,I appreciate it.

13 Jan 2012 1:15 PM
Romantina

Michael Matz deserves to finish what he could not finish in 2006 with our dearest Barbaro.  He deserves (like Mike Smith and Zenyatta) that his story has a happy ending!!!

13 Jan 2012 1:31 PM
Paula Higgins

woodshade, I am not sure why you said that about the Jacksons. I remember a couple who were absolutely devastated by Barbaro's death, who sat in front of the t.v. cameras and gave an interview. Choking back tears, they thanked everyone at Penn Vet who tried to save him. They then answered questions from the reporters. THEN they set up a foundation in Barbaro's memory at Penn Vet. That's class in my book. Michael Matz is wonderful also. A man of great character and class. I wish the Jacksons were still with him. I don't know what happened but I don't think knocking the Jacksons is really fair.

Good luck to Tim Tebow and the Broncos tomorrow. He will need it against Brady and Co. Billy's Empire, how do you know he won't have miracles or acts of GOD on his side? I don't know that he does, but I sure don't kow that he doesn't :).

13 Jan 2012 2:22 PM
Mike Relva

For those that cry about Tebow ruining their bet, guess it's their problem if they had the wrong team.

13 Jan 2012 2:52 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thank you trackjack, Amen to that!

It's times like these that humble us and puts life and free will into perspective.

13 Jan 2012 3:01 PM
Carlos in Cali

Jason, so has BBaffert conceded the TOY award by his skipping of the Eclipse Awards?..  Who would you vote for?..

13 Jan 2012 3:08 PM
It aint easy being good!

Cant wait for the big prep races next month should be exciting. If anyone wants free money take the gaints +7.5 this weekend. LOD=Lock of the day baby!

13 Jan 2012 3:30 PM
KY VET

Kevin......Ive thought the same thing for months!

13 Jan 2012 3:50 PM
Jason Shandler

Carlos: Yes, I think Baffert knows he didnt win and that's the reason he's not attending.

It Ain't Easy: I like the Ravens this weekend. Over 53 in Giants game too. Good luck.

13 Jan 2012 4:03 PM
Alex'sBigFan

A big Happy Birthday to Bob Baffert today, Jan. 13!!!!!

How do I know this?  He shares the same birthday as me and I think another blogger's son today!!!

Great article Jason on Mr. Matz.  I am glad he is back in the Derby run and TC trail.  He is one of my top 10 trainers as well as Mr. Baffert.  Award or no award Baffert is a great horseman and trainer if he attends or not.  Enough of the awards, on to the preps with us and out of the winter!!!!

13 Jan 2012 6:57 PM
datflippinrabbit

Where my pick is Hansen hands down for 2yo HOY,Union Rags is a very talanted colt who had every chance at winning the derby until Draynay came along,now this poor horse is blighted.

13 Jan 2012 7:50 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Carlos in Cali,

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your nephew.  I am just reading this blog now as I have had my own family crisis going on and you have my deepest, deepest sympathies.  So young and to leave little children like that but it is not for us to question.  I almost just lost my sister who is 49 and has Down Syndrome and is battling Alzheimer's desease.  She was in critical condition all during the month of December in the hospital and put on a ventilator.  She pulled through but is left permanently with a feeding tube and will no longer be able to eat normally and still has a risk of aspirating into the lungs again.  On top of this my father was rushed twice to the hospital and he is in his 80's.  December has been horrific but I am still standing as you are.  All you can do is be there for your nephew's kids when you can.  And all I can do is make sure they are being taken care of in the two respective nursing homes and speak for those that cannot speak for themselves.

Ranagulzion,

Perfectly stated comment to Carlos.  We cannot choose when we go but we can choose what we do in life and how we act to others.  A man in not measured only by his wealth but by how he lived his life and interacted with others.

13 Jan 2012 7:57 PM
Stellar Jayne

Hi Jason,

Happy New Year to you and all of the above bloggers!  May it be healthy and prosperous for the two legged species and most essentially for all of the horses.

To Carlos in Cali - I'm sorry to read of your young nephew's death.  It is never easy to lose someone so young and so much to live for - his family.

Jason, Thank you for the interview with MM.  He is a wonderful human and takes good care of the athletes in his care.  History has shown any number of owners and trainers part over time - I don't think anything negative should be read into the split between the Mr. & Mrs. Jackson and Matz.  It is business, unfortunately.

In my humble opinion, it is up in the air as to who will be the front runner in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes races, as well as G1s.  If I have learned nothing else in the past several years it is that many of the 'knighted athletes' don't make it through the TC campaign or to the races at all sadly due to injuries, illness or growth/greenness issues.  Not since 2008 when Big Brown won two legs of the TC has a horse captured two legs of the three races.  I have learned it is premature to talk of who will win what, who is better than the others!  Each year since 2008 injury and illness has knocked out the 'anointed one(s)'.  However, as I have done every year since following racing, I will read every column in the B-H and DRF to keep track of the top contenders and long shots.  Both Union Rags and Hansen have excellent breeding, both having Secretariat blood so that means speed and stamina, but Hansen has a double dose of Secretariat.  There are also many talented females who may give the colts a run for the money.  They are not to be counted re: Rachel, Zenyatta and Havre de Grace.

To me the hoopla around the Derby is over rated because it is the first of TC races, has a gigantic field that looks like a cavalry charge that makes it difficult to really pick a winner plus the huge crowd with its high decibel level and circus atmosphere that would unnerve the four legged and many two legged species.  Many of you will disagree  and that is fine, but personally, I regard the Belmont Stakes as the real deal in racing.  Maybe it should be run first while the horses are at their freshest instead of last when they are feeling the effects of the close timing.  But then again given the light training and racing before hand, they are not seasoned enough to with stand the rigors of 1.5 miles.  Anyway, our magnificent thoroughbreds are not seasoned enough for the schedule as it stands.

So that is my two cents worth.  Each year I just pray that they come home sound and healthy and live long happy lives.  In the meantime, with all its ups and downs, I look forward to the mental challenge of picking a winner.

Good Luck to all - two legged and four legged!

13 Jan 2012 8:47 PM
Chris K

I agree with Paula Higgins.  The Jacksons are a class act.  They were so stoic during the Barbaro saga. They showed incredible strength and were so nice to the fans.  They publically shared Barbaro with us and kept us updated on his progress when he was at New Bolton.  I can't think of any other horse owner that has shared their horses like the Jacksons.  Whatever happened between them and Mr. Matz is confidential.  I am hurt that they split because I wanted them to have a Triple Crown winner together. I'm praying that U.R. and all horses stay safe and healthy for the races.  

13 Jan 2012 8:57 PM
TerriZ

Thanks Mary, I had never looked up Union Rags pedigree before.

I love the Gone West line that has produced Elusive Quality, Smarty Jones, and Quality Road.

Two currently running undefeated horses have dams from Gone West: Awesome Feather (mare) a grade one winner of 8 races and Juvenile Breeders Cup winner and the new boy on the block, Discreet Dancer. Discreet Dancer is the powerhouse in Pletcher's barn. He won his first race by 8 3/4 lengths (5 1/2 furlongs. And in his second race, he stretched out to a mile and won by 5 1/2 lengths. And he wasn't even tired after a mile. He looks like a smaller version of Big Red without the socks. They had a wonderful article in the Saratogan about his female line.

One year, I hope, one of Secretariat's progeny will win the triple crown.

13 Jan 2012 9:39 PM
TerriZ

PS Jason I thought that Draynay was cleaning up Rachel's and Zenyatta's horse poop to pay his bills.

13 Jan 2012 9:39 PM
Paula Higgins

Alex'sBigFan, very sorry to hear about your sister and your father. I hope they both make a good recovery and you have a more peaceful 2012.

Stellar Jane, I totally agree with you about the Belmont. Along with the Breeders Cup, it's the acid test in horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is flashier, but not the toughest of races by a longshot. The Breeders Cup is also important because you get some of the really good overseas horses as well.

14 Jan 2012 2:35 AM
Bellwether

"THE RAG MAN" COMETH???...JACKSON HOO???...ty...

14 Jan 2012 2:40 AM
rorschach1992

Nice interview, kudos.

Union Rags isn't my top pick thus far for the Derby, but certainly top 3. Since they're targeting the same races, I think a rivalry could develop between him and Hansen, which would be intriguing. We'll see what happens in the coming months.

Off topic; I was just reminded about Overdriven, any news about him? He won the Sanford in July then went to New Bolton for R&R I think. He fell off my radar these past couple months but I was just reminded of him.

14 Jan 2012 2:42 AM
Slew

I notice they named a horse after Dray....CHALK PLAYER came in 3rd at Aqueduct yesterday,

14 Jan 2012 9:16 AM
Giddyup

The industry needs to do something to ensure the top prospects actually get to the Derby. Don't want to jinx Matz but UR might miss out just as War Pass and Eskendereya did.

14 Jan 2012 9:49 AM
Pedigree Ann

Carlos, sorry to hear of your loss.

The reason the Strub series has become a minor deal is that SA management has cut the Strub distance to 10f to 9f. It has happened to many other G1 races around the country - the Suburban H, the Monmouth (Amory L. Haskell, Iselin) H, the Gulfstream Park H, the Super Derby - as soon as they cut the distance, the race starts losing caste. And if you ask the track managements, they will say they cut the distance to attract bigger and better fields!

14 Jan 2012 9:59 AM
-Keelerman

trackjack;

I was just looking back at my guest blog about the newly-turned four-year-olds and happened to notice your comment regarding Premier Pegasus and Secret Circle. I'm afraid that I didn't see it when it first came up, and thus never replied. Sorry about that!

I'm not quite sure what's up with Premier Pegasus. On September 30th, DRF.com stated that Premier Pegasus was back in light training and was expected to make his comeback sometime this winter. But he has not recorded a workout since then, which surprises me. Perhaps he's still just jogging around, but I do wonder if perhaps he has suffered another setback.

As for Secret Circle, we saw him finish a good second in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) last Saturday, which can be taken many different ways depending on how good a horse Out of Bounds turns out to be. For the moment, I see Secret Circle being a better route horse than The Factor was last year, but perhaps still not capable of winning at a mile and a quarter.

-Keelerman

14 Jan 2012 10:06 AM
Smoking Baby

 Carlos In Cali....I've been meaing to post for days but have been a little busy.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  Hang in there bro and keep the good memories of your nephew close to your heart.  Things will get better.  2012 is going to rock.

14 Jan 2012 11:02 AM
-Keelerman

rorschach1992;

Overdriven had some minor issues after the Sanford that required some time off, but not surgery. He is now in training with Todd Pletcher down in Florida, although he hasn't returned to the work tab yet. I expect to see him back sometime in March -- perhaps for the Tampa Bay Derby.

-Keelerman

14 Jan 2012 11:45 AM
Carlos in Cali

Alex's BigFan: Thank you and right back at you,hang in there. BTW: Happy belated Birthday!

Stellar Jayne: Thank you,I appreciate it!

Smoking Baby: Thanks! I agree 2012 will be unique!

Pedigree Ann: Thank you! Yeah,I noticed they shortened the distances so maybe they should lengthen the Malibu to a mile so the winner(s) and also rans can contest the rest of the series?  

14 Jan 2012 12:39 PM
Carlos in Cali

Jason, thanks for the postings! And thank you for "unintentionally" mentioning my B-Day of Feb.13th on here. BTW: My Paypal account will be available to all you generous bloggers on here with open hearts & wallets who want to contribute to my bad habits of fine Scotch & gambling. Feb.13th..

14 Jan 2012 12:58 PM
robinm

Nice interview Jason.  Michael Matz will be forever linked with the great Barbaro but he has had other successes and deserves to have another good colt in his barn.  Nice as Union Rags appears to be, recent history tells us it is way too early to pick our Derby horse.  I'm definitely taking a "wait and see" attitude.  I'd certainly like to hear woodshade explain his comments about the Jacksons.  Like Paula and Chris K, I believe the Jacksons showed nothing but class throughout the Barbaro breakdown and unprecedented attempt to save him.  We don't know why they chose to remove their horses from Mr. Matz and frankly, the fact the reasons have not been made known further attest to the class of both the Jacksons and Michael Matz.

14 Jan 2012 2:30 PM
Linda in Texas

Alex'sBigFan - i had missed you almost the entire month of December and wondered if there were issues.

I read now you had/have several. Our hearts and hopes and love are with you and your family members who need extra well wishes for better and brighter days.

Be strong.

And to Carlos in Cali, i too send my deepest condolences to you for the loss of your nephew. Some of us learn at younger ages than others just how thin the line is between living and losing someone  forever.

My best to you both.

Linda R. (Linda in Texas)

14 Jan 2012 6:06 PM
Linda in Texas

And Happy Birthday yesterday Carlos!

Is that Johnny Walker Red, or which one is your choice of distinction??

Did you have a bet on Jackson Bend

today, Nick Zito won today with him. Nice win at GulfStream Park, Race 1, The Hal's Hope Grade III. I still like Jackson Bend. Sangaree came in second, and the name from last year some of us mentioned, me included, Cool Blue Red Hot came in Third.

14 Jan 2012 6:12 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Happy New Year. 2012.  Nothing has really changed. Draynay locks suck, Tapizar is extremely talented, Pletcher has 3 super Derby prospects and Baffert has 2. Ted From LA is the number one hit in England, and Frankel is coming to America. Either to the Ed Sullivan Show or the Breeder's Cup.

14 Jan 2012 7:35 PM
Carlos in Cali

Thanks Linda in Texas,I appreciate that!

I think you meant Happy B-Day to Alex's Bigfan,mine is next month.

BTW: Glenfiddich or Glenlivett thank you very much.

14 Jan 2012 8:15 PM
Carlos in Cali

Tapizar looked really good today @ Santa Anita,he'll be tough to beat if he goes in the Strub and beyond as it seems like he's more mature & manageable.He looks like a Pitbull out there on the track,a well built SOB. I'm sure Game On Dude will be licking his chops waiting for him in the SA Handicap though,as Tapizar hasn't been 10f yet.Game On Dude is used to being in dog fights. I'd say he beyers at least a 108?..

Prayer For Relief made a pretty good run at him but looked a little short,he'll improve a couple of lengths off this and will be tough to beat in his next start, especially going longer. The runner-up Balladry is steadily improving and ran solid but IMO,I can't see him being effective going more than 9f vs. these types.

I don't know but the Older Male division should be pretty solid this year for once.

14 Jan 2012 9:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Carlos in Cali, my father loved Glenfiddich!  O.k. the The Brady Bunch are running up the score against poor Tim Tebow. Enough already. I am rooting for anyone but the Pats this year. Loved the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans game. THAT was one for the ages. Dr Drunkinbum, would love to see Frankel here at the Breeders Cup. Too much to hope for probably.

14 Jan 2012 11:07 PM
Footlick

Laphroig for me......

14 Jan 2012 11:17 PM
Footlick

Alex's Big Fan and Carlos- sympathies and prayers are with you both.

14 Jan 2012 11:21 PM
Linda in Texas

Well Carlos, you have a whole month to celebrate then, starting yesterday all the way thru to midnite of FEBRUARY 13TH.

So it is Happy Birthday yesterday to Bob Baffert and our own Alex'sBigFan. In my next life i will learn to think when i read.:)

I was just so happy to see ABF post that i took leave of my thought processes.

And Dr. Drunkinbum graces us with his presence. Another favorite that

i was worried about. How are tricks Bumster??? And Ted and Bob have been hiding out also.

Hopefully they all check in soon.

And i have missed Zookeeper and hope Needler in Virginia is okay.

And so sorry if i have missed anyone.

The 49er's game with the Saints

was unbelievable. Most exciting

last 4 minutes of a game i have seen in multiple decades.

And the Patriots are eating the Broncos breakfast, lunch and supper and snacks in between.

Being a Cowboy fan i know exactly how they feel.

Bring it on Game on Dude, cannot wait to see him on the track again.

Thanks Jason.  

14 Jan 2012 11:22 PM
Stevebiscuit

What's funny is that I recall Draynay telling everyone how good his eye was for quality horses after saying Tapizar couldn't run a lick.

14 Jan 2012 11:36 PM
predict

I was surprised to read that someone felt the abbreviation "vet" meant to them veterinarian and not veteran. I'm now confused. Something I will not be able to get out of my head.

Something else that will ring in my ears this year? That is what Mary blogged here: that Castellano said that Union Rags felt like more horse than Bernardini or Ghostzapper! Are you kidding me, that is a alot horse! I may have to join Draynay in the Union Rags corner based on that statement alone. I just wish I knew for sure how much importance I should put  on something that comes out of

Castellano's mouth. If he is accurate in this statement, then Union Rags is a very scary horse to bet against. Thankyou, Mary, I hadn't heard this before and what you have shared with us is exactly the kind of information for which I love reading these blogs.  

15 Jan 2012 12:16 AM
Tiz Herself

Good to see the four year olds off to a nice start; Tapizar and Silver Medallion. Nice race from Jackson Bend as well. Nice effort from Yummy With Butter.... I was rooting for him. Like that horse a lot. There is real nice things ahead this year for the older division!

15 Jan 2012 2:52 AM
Tiz Herself

or not so good from Yummy... hopefully he straightens out for the next one.

15 Jan 2012 2:53 AM
Tiz Herself

Poor Flat Out. Didn't seem like he liked the grass.

15 Jan 2012 2:54 AM
Tiz Herself

Game on Dude's work January 14, 2012:

Date: January 14, 2012

Track: Santa Anita Park

Distance: Six Furlongs

Time: 1.12:60

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: Dirt

Rank: 1/19

He's ready for whatever this year has in store for him! Also good to see Soldat back on the work tab... can't wait for his 2012 debut as well. Amazombie Worked, Ruler On Ice had a nice work at Palm Meadows as did Redeemed at Gulfstream. Awesome Feather worked...  As much as I am looking forward to more from the three year olds this year, cannot wait for all these older guys and gals to return!

15 Jan 2012 3:07 AM
Tiz Herself

Can't wait for Mucho Macho Man to make is 2012 debut as well. Can't wait for more from Boys At Tosconova, Mr. Commons, Shackleford... even Nehro's back on tab from the 12th. Caleb's Posse and Morning Line, Dialed In in the last week as well... can't get any better than that.

15 Jan 2012 3:08 AM
GunBow

Not quite sure what to make of Tapizar's San Fernando.

First, congrats to the horse and his connections for winning a grade 2 race with a solid history.

Like many racing fans, within minutes of a stakes race I'm already putting the performance(s) in historical context or trying to project how the winner would fare against the elite runners in the game.  Too often, I forget to recognize what an accomplishment it is to win a stakes race, let alone a grade 2 or 1.  Just last week I was very quick to push aside the San Pasqual as one of the worst runnings in the history of the race without giving proper credit to the efforts of Uh Oh Bango and runner-up Tres Borrachos(who has become surprisingly consistent in his old age).

With this said, my first thought after the San Fernando was that Tapizar's performance does not equal the winning efforts from past San Fernando heroes like Best Pal, Wekiva Springs, Silver Charm, Dixie Dot Com, or even Awesome Gem.  Those horses all earned Beyers of at least 105 when winning their San Fernandos, with Silver Charm getting a 112, Dixie Dot Com a 114, and Best Pal a 121.

My second thought was to question how Tapizar would stack up against the elite classic horses in North America, and my initial conclusion was that a repeat of his San Fernando effort would not be good enough.  But then I thought about it further and asked myself, who's out there that's so good? There was only one horse I could think of that I could confidently pick against Tapizar at 9 furlongs+, Game on Dude, and it's not like he's a win-machine.  

Tapizar had alot go his way in the San Fernando.  He was able to set an uncontested lead, and do it through moderate fractions.  Then, through the stretch, he really wasn't forced to show whether he had another gear because everyone behind him was just going up and down(Baffert is going to have to start tinkering with Prayer for Relief because it's clear his development has stalled).  

Although the track continues to slow, Tapizar's time of 141 and 4 was a few ticks slower than Uh Oh Bango's San Pasqual, leading me to expect a Beyer in the 98-102 range for the San Fernando, hardly spectacular.  And I certainly don't come away from the race certain Tapizar can get a classic distance, particularly if he's forced to deal with the speed and toughness of a Game on Dude; last year, Game on Dude beat up on a horse in Twirling Candy that, like Tapizar, had a ton of natural talent but could get rank and had distance questions.    

But thinking about how Tapizar  would fare in the Bc Classic or even against Game on Dude in the Big Cap is getting too far ahead.  The San Fernando was Tapizar's first start of the season, a starting point.  As such, it was an ideal performance.  Tapizar was able to rate kindly for Nakatani, and cruised through fractions that scared off the other jocks in the race.  And when Nakatani pushed the button at the top of the stretch, Tapizar responded with a solid final sixteenth in 6 and change.  Yes, the runner-up, Balladry, was making his stakes debut, and yes, Tapizar was being asked some by Nakatani through the lane, but he did win rather easily, with the race never appearing in doubt.

In addition to Tapizar's kindness in rating, what impressed me most was to see how much Tapizar had filled out.  When I saw Tapizar last year in the Bob Lewis, he was somewhat of a lanky, gangly, delicate colt.  But Tapizar has put on alot of muscle and bulk over the last year; he's a big dude now, a full man and not that teenager I saw last year.  And mentally, Tapizar was all business before, during, and immediately after the San Fernando, alert yet calm, his ears pricked and eyes taking in his surroundings the way so many of the good ones do.  

Tapizar still has much work to do if he is to prove he belongs alongside the likes of Best Pal or Silver Charm, and he'll probably need to take another step forward if he's to beat Game on Dude and establish himself the top older male in training out West.  However, for what it was, Tapizar's effort in the San Fernando was a complete success; he won a gr.2 race by over 3 lengths, and did it without having to dig deep in his reserves.  As such, the San Fernando should set up Tapizar perfectly for the Strub and/or the Big Cap.

15 Jan 2012 4:38 AM
JerseyBoy

One should be wary of comparing times on different days at a racetrack but the following times look interesting for the dirt mile at Gulfstream:

Jan 7  3yo Unbridled Minister (122)

           1:37.75 all out

Jan 7  3yo Discreet Dancer (116)

           1:36.32 ridden out

Jan 14 5yo Jackson Bend (123)

           1:38.19 alt course

15 Jan 2012 7:25 AM
Forbidden Apple

The muscle mass and overall fitness of Union Rags as a 2 year old was simply amazing. It will be intersting to watch him mature and develop into a KY Derby contender.

ColdFacts,

I hope that Out Of Bounds never gets injected with Lasix. Why does he need it? If he is not a bleeder, then why force the drug on him? KY Vet stated that Lasix is no big deal. I disagree, Lasix is a performance enhancing drug that should be banned from racing. Do you think Dutrow's recent blunder in MD invloving Lasix was for a horse that was a bleeder? Or are trainers simply injecting Lasix because it's legal?

15 Jan 2012 10:34 AM
El Kabong

Jason,

Well done. The Derby gods have seen fit to smile on Mr. Matz before the Jacksons. Order has been restored.

Billy,

You don't hate Tebow, you just feel better when he's not around.

Looking forward to the Derby Trail with all of you and good luck along the way. Sitting at my desk looking out as the snow falls in Seattle, yep I said snow not rain, I am reminded that we are a long way off and much will happen. I'm going to  keep an open mind this year unlike last year. Something tells me we're in for a ride.

15 Jan 2012 1:41 PM
trackjack

-Keelerman:

Thanks for responding.  I agree about Secret Circle.  Although I was hoping he would fill out more, he's a smallish colt, especially when next to Out of Bounds. Will keep on eye on him but feel he isn't a 10F colt, even with his breeding. But he sure is a competitive, gutsy runner.

Was very impressed with Russian Greek winning the CAL. Derby at GG. A good looking son of Giant's Causeway who can relax well off the pace and put in a big run.  Will be watching him. Any one else in the NoCal area have any comments on Russian Greek?

And the more I watch Discreet Dancer's races, the more I think this guy is something special.

Enjoyed watching Tapizar dust his field.  What a good-looking four year old.  I, like others, am looking forward to the competition with all these coming back.

Alex'sBigFan:

My thoughts are with you.  Taking care of those close to us is always a challenge.  Do what you can and what you are able.  When you need to "get away", get recharged with your love of thoroughbreds.

15 Jan 2012 3:50 PM
MonicaV

Carlos,

I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew.  There are no words that can ease your pain but you have my sympathy as I have suffered losses like that as well.

As for posts concerning Tim Tebow, I think he's to be admired, not only for his athletic abilities but for standing up for what he believes and let's face it, any type of religious belief does not seem to be popular these days.

15 Jan 2012 4:44 PM
skyfire

Wow, I'm still trying to recover from that brutal Bronco game. Talk about ugly right from the start!! Back to reality:    On to the Triple Crown trail!

I would love to see Union Rags give Michael a good triple crown run, but does anyone think that Darley may reap the rewards of their mega investment in stallions this year ie. Alpha and Out of Bounds, etc.?

Would love to see Tapizar and The Factor hook up this winter.

15 Jan 2012 8:55 PM
Coldfacts

GunBow,

Listed below is the closing sentence of your (15 Jan 2012 4:38 AM ) post.:

“As such, the San Fernando should set up Tapizar perfectly for the Strub and/or the Big Cap.”

I am in agreement with most of your comprehensive review of the performance of Tapizar in the San Fernando with the exception of your forecast cited above. I am of the opinion Tapizar does not want and inch over 8.5F. The colt that finished second is average at best and was still able closed from another zip code for his 3L defeat.  Tapizar had an uncontested lead.  Most classy route horses would have drawn off for a decisive victory.  Tapizar’s San Fernando victory is similar to his victory in the Sham. In the Sham he enjoyed an uncontested lead and was unable to extend it significantly as he was one tiring badly the last 50 meters. I cannot see him hitting the board in the Strub and/or the Big Cap. Tapizar is a nice horse but will not be a major player in the significant route races in CA.. He has excellent speed but lacks the stamina to be a top class router.

You might have seen my numerous posts citing the number of TC races won by horse sired by RAN line stallions. You asked for thoughts on the Smart Strike colt Spring Hill Farm. The 47 TC races won by horses sired by RAN line stallions were produced from 34 broodmares. Interestingly, none of these broodmares were sire by a Ribot line stallion.  Spring Hill Farm’s dam sire Pleasant Colony was a grandson of the great Ribot.  Pleasant Colony broodmares have not been associated with many top class horse. In fact, broodmares sired by Derby winners have a strained relationship with Triple Crown races. The last time a broodmare sired by a Derby winner produced a derby winner was 46 year ago. It could be argued that a broodmare sired by a Derby winner is well overdue to produce a derby winner.

15 Jan 2012 10:39 PM
KY VET

GOOD LORD! RENEESGOTZIP brought back memories of LANDALUCE! Amazing display on turn for home.....how good is this filly? I know what a freak looks like, and this filly is it....But.....unfortunatly, bad sign#1 bear out.......#2 change leads late......running fast hurts horses.....enjoy her now.....

15 Jan 2012 11:13 PM
KY VET

Does it occur to anyone else?  Many of you love UNION RAGS, which is fine...saying how good he ran,in his preps....his muscular build........anyone realize he was more prepared than HANSEN? Hansen ran 2 races with a top beyer in 80s? So,why the loss? I mean really. did hansen run a great beyer? No! 94 thats very low.....14 points slower than Uncle Mo......do you realize how far 14 points is? So why did a big fav disappoint? He had good form.....? anyone? Too many muscles?......Also, why do you people think muscular horses are what you want for derby? just askin.....

15 Jan 2012 11:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Monica V, right you are about Tim Tebow. He is not in Brady's league as a QR and probably never will be, but as a human being, he is pretty darn impressive. I think the media likes to set him up because of his religious beliefs i.e if GOD is on his side why doesn't he win nonsense. Of course this is rubbish and Tim, himself, never said anything remotely along those lines.

15 Jan 2012 11:30 PM
Tiz Herself

Eagerly awaiting the results of the Eclipse Awards tomorrow... cannot wait to see if there will be surprises or confirmations. The sure fires (if you can call them that) I don't see anyone other than Royal Delta getting the 3 yo female crown. My Miss Aurelia for 2 year old female. Horse of the Year will finally be answered and it will be history for Havre de Grace, being the third consecutive race mare if she should take that crown. Wonder if the training title will go to Bill Mott?

From what I see on other sites, votings between Union Rags and Hansen are very close... I can't wait to see these horses meet each other again this spring (hope!) A good rivalry in the making?

It is exciting!

15 Jan 2012 11:53 PM
Tiz Herself

Not sure how acurate these poll results are, but was able to find:

Horse of the Year:

Havre de Grace – 4,249

Rapid Redux – 2,213

Drosselmeyer – 1,236

Two-Year-Old Colt or Gelding

Hansen – 1,082

Union Rags – 718

O’Prado Again – 82

Two-Year-Old Filly

My Miss Aurelia – 1,269

On Fire Baby 708

Stephanie’s Kitten – 194

Three-Year-Old Male

Animal Kingdom – 1,119

Caleb’s Posse – 717

Shackleford – 453

Three-Year-Old Filly

Royal Delta – 1,166

Plum Pretty – 188

Awesome Feather – 179

Female Sprinter

Hilda’s Passion – 992

Turbulent Descent – 459

Musical Romance – 351

Turf female

Stacelita – 479

Winter Memories – 316

Perfect Shirl – 193

Male Sprinter

Caleb’s Posse – 652

Amazombie – 640

Smiling Tiger – 566

Turf male

Cape Blanco – 668

Gio Ponti – 367

Acclamation – 282

Older female

Havre de Grace – 1,507

Blind Luck – 328

R Betty Graybull – 57

Older Male

Drosselmeyer – 560

Tizway – 513

Game On Dude – 438

Steeplechaser

Black Jack Blues – 456

Mabou – 343

Tax Ruling -- 297

Jockey

Ramon Dominguez – 214

John Velazquez – 127

Javier Castellano – 55

Trainer

Bill Mott – 110

Graham Motion – 96

Todd A. Pletcher – 86

Owner

Ramsey, Kenneth L & Sarah K – 84

WinStar Farm LLC – 77

Midwest Thoroughbreds – 53

Can't wait for Monday! To officially close the book on 2011 and to pass the torch for 2012... there is lots to look forward to this year!

15 Jan 2012 11:56 PM
Convene

Speaking of Chelokee ... anyone know what eventually happened to him? Last I heard, he had been slated for a stud career, fused fetlock not an issue any more, but I never see his name anywhere. I'd love to know if he's out there making little Chelokees!

16 Jan 2012 12:14 AM
rorschach1992

Keelerman,

Thank you very much for that update on Overdriven. Glad to hear he'll most likely be coming back soon. Look forward to that.

16 Jan 2012 1:39 AM
Slew

Dr. D: So good to finally hear from you.  Waiting for a giggle.  Congrats to San Fran and a great game.

Jackson Bend: I loved it!

Now...my pet peeves for this New Year.  The news media presents us with nice news, but seems to ignore or hide other hard hitting news.

1) Why weren't the nominees for HOY ever announced prior to tonight?  (Could Rapid Redux have made a hit?)

2) Why was Veitch fired because of a situation that Pletcher walked away from unscathed?

3) Why is Dutrow allowed to consistently flaunt the rules of the sport...and get away with it?

4) Tom Durkin (who I greatly miss) hasn't called a race since the day Chavez went down.  Is he on vacation?  Or has the stress had too great an impact?  Everyone seems mum.

5) HRTV appears to be covering Tampa Downs rather than Oaklawn.  Why?  Doesn't HRTV usually cover Oaklawn?  I was so looking forward to hear Frank Miramati calling those races; he's done so very well in the Cali fair circuit.

6) Why did they move the Pro Bowl to before the Super Bowl?

7) When in my lifetime are the Cowboys going to get their act together.  C'mon 'Boys, it's been 17 years, and I ain't getting any younger!

16 Jan 2012 9:33 AM
Weekend

Tapizar was impressive. Let's hope he can keep moving forward. He was my Derby horse before the injury...

Now that this weekend of games is behind us, who moves on? The Super Bowl MVP's, or the team's that play the best D? It should make for some good football.

16 Jan 2012 10:20 AM
Forbidden Apple

Skyfire,

Darley is absolutely loaded with young talent this year. It's nice to see them spreading their talent around to McLaughlin, Albertrani, and Harty. The days of Godolphin high priced private purchases like the $12 million Vineyard Haven are over. And no more cherry picking of the U.S. stock being sent to winter in Dubai. Keep an eye on Consortium, Steele Road, In Step, Captivating Lass, and Lake Superior, they all look promising.

16 Jan 2012 10:38 AM
Coldfacts

Mary,

Some comments on the information you provided below:

“Coldfacts, Castellano said after he worked Union Rags for the first time, said he had ridden some good horses, like Bernardini and Ghostzapper, but they did not compare to how Union Rags felt underneath him.”

I am not surprised at Mr. Castellano’s statement as Union Rage exuded power. Listed below are two extracts from my initial post to this blog:-

“He unleashed a (powerful) gallop in the best part of the CD surface and was bested by another colt that raced on the more tiresome part of the track.”  

“The fact that he did not get by Hansen was not entirely surprising as he gallops with a lot of (power).  Horses that exert that amount of energy in motion will always fine 10F challenging as oppose to those that float over ground with less energy sapping motions.”

I have bracketed the word power to highlight the fact that I have observed the power Union Rags possesses.  This is one of the reasons I am of the opinion  that he will not be effective at the Derby distance against the best routers of his class. Power is useful for sprints and to a lesser extent middle distances. However, it requires energy efficient strides to excel at the top level in rout races. A horse with such a powerful galloping style uses far more energy than one that literally floats over racing surface. I was sure Uncle Mo would not get the Derby distance for this reason. His supporters failed to recognize that although he was very impressive at 8 and 81/2 furlongs he did not have the requisite energy efficient strides for the Derby distance. Uncle Mo is colt that hits the ground very hard with a lots of shoulder motion. That sort of galloping action will drain a horse of its energy reserve much quicker than another that floats over the surface. Some horse caress the surface while others rasp it. Union Rags gallops with a lot of explosive power and although he has a much better action than Uncle Mo I place him in the category as a power runner who is not suited for the derby distance.

Revisit the video of the BCJ and focus on Hansen on the rails and Union Rags in the middle of the track. Hansen appears to have a less powerful gallop than Union Rags. Based on the galloping action of both colts, it appeared Union Rags was going to run by Hansen. However, because of the power Union Rags uses in motion he was losing energy at a faster rate than Hansen thus he was unable to get by him. In short he was tiring at a faster rate than Hansen although he appeared to be more powerful in flight.  I know my legion of critics will be all over the aforementioned assessment.

Both Bernardini and Ghostzapper did not gallop with power and therefore Union Rags should not be compared to them. Bernardini covers the 10F of the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2:01 while his rider was motionless. It takes fluent energy, efficient strides to run that fast while appearing to be in a canter. In any event neither Bernardini nor Ghostzapper were defeats by a horse who was not a graded stakes winner when they came to prominence. Mr. Castellano is correct with his power assessment claim for Union Rags. However, he should mindful of the fact that power not efficiently sustained over a distance of ground can render a horse powerless when it matters most

16 Jan 2012 12:20 PM
Coldfacts

GunBow,

Kindly ignore the last paragraph of my (15 Jan 2012 10:39 PM) post as it was not intended to included. It is related to an issue raised by aother contributor.

16 Jan 2012 12:23 PM
Karen in Texas

Convene----Chelokee is at the University of Arizona Equine Program. Their Facebook page says he's doing great and they have pic's of his current new foals as of last week.

Slew----Oaklawn Park only just began racing this past weekend. I thought I saw a couple of races there on HRTV on Sat. P.M. It's anyone's guess when the Cowboys are going to perform to expectations. I  thought Jason Garrett would make a big impact, but...they have hired two new coaches apparently.

Tiz Herself----Thanks for those poll numbers. The few writers I had seen were showing essentially what you posted, with the exception of two-year-old male. Most I saw were for Union Rags, including our local turfwriter, Gary West. Tonight will indeed be exciting!

16 Jan 2012 12:27 PM
SACK THE SECRATARY

Forbidden Apple take whatever KY Vet says with a grain of salt.He was touting Uncle Mo before the classic with his numerous rants,and now he says he told his friends not to bet him.Any veterinarian that says lasix dosent make a differnce is illustrating in words why he is no longer a vet and now claims to be a professional gambler.

16 Jan 2012 1:45 PM
Karen in Texas

Slew----I thought HRTV was going to show the Dixie Belle at Oaklawn on Sat., but I did not actually get to see it. Their website stakes schedule shows that they had three races to be broadcast this long weekend, beginning on Fri., the 13th, with the Fifth Season Stakes. Then, there was the Dixie Belle on Sat., and the Smarty Jones today. The ESPN calendar for February and March also shows HRTV to be carrying the usual--the Southwest, Honeybee, Razorback, Rebel, etc. I am glad 'cause our cable company doesn't have TVG.

16 Jan 2012 3:07 PM
El Kabong

They are lining up in the Smarty and boy does that filly On Fire Baby look awesome. I hope she crushes them. Going to put her on top of 1,2,6, 9 for a super.

16 Jan 2012 5:44 PM
Forbidden Apple

Criminal Typewriter,

I never thought that KYVet was an actual veterinarian or an expert handicapper. Uncle Mo's B.C. performance was laughable at best. He is the most hyped up horse in my lifetime. He won two grade I races against inferior two year olds, big deal.

KY Vet,

Union Rags was not a bust in his B.C. race, he ran just fine. I'll take a fit muscular horse over a chunky out of shape horse any day of the week. What is your point about the physical presence of Union Rags? If you thought Reneesgotzip was fast, then you must also watch the performance by Izzy Rules on saturday. He was equally impressive in front running fashion.

16 Jan 2012 5:48 PM
Mary

Coldfacts, I respectfully disagree with some of what you said.  UR was not tired at the end of the race; he was ahead of Hansen right after the finish, and galloped out great.  UR is a little green, i.e. spazing out.  

If you look at the tail-female line of Union Rag's pedigree, you will see that distance should not be a problem for him.  If you look at the same side of Hansen's pedigree, you will see speed, but no distance.  IMO Hansen is a sprinter and there is a big difference between 1 1/16 mile and the Kentucky Derby 1 1/4 mile.  Unless Hansen can learn to rate, distance is going to be a serious problem for him.

Actually, UR has the body and running style of his dam's great  grandsire, Secretariat.  He also has Secretariat's 3 white stockings.  His trainer says that distance will not be a problem; that the horse can run all day long.  Michael Matz knows the horse, so I have to believe what he says.  

16 Jan 2012 5:55 PM
Tiz Herself

Don't know what I'd do without the Blood Horse as a comfort during the cold seasons lol. Not sure if winter has hit anywhere else, but it certainly has around me in Alberta. -40 with windchill during the day tomorrow, -35 overnight tonight and tomorrow night a ripe -50. Seeing sunny pictures of racing in Cali makes me want to relocate almost.

Especially warming to see that Awesome Maria is also returning for 2012.

16 Jan 2012 6:49 PM
Mary

Stellar Jayne, Hansen does have Secretariat in his pedigree, but unfortunately he is not located in the tail-female side of Hansen's pedigree. Like I have always said, a sire is only as great as the mare he is bred to.  When looking at a colt's pedigree, please look at the dam's line.

TerrlZ, thank you.  Those Gone West mares have produced some great horses.  Of course, Gone West's dam is a Secretariat mare.  I will keep my eye on Discreet Dancer.

predict, that is what Castellano said, and further, Castellano said that he was very grateful that his agent called him and encouraged him to go to Fair Hill and work out a few horses; Union Rags being one of the horses.  Castellano met Union Rags for the first time on a Tuesday, which was his day off, and the rest is history.

Stellar Jayne, that is why the best horse does not always win the Kentucky Derby, cavalry charge; so much can go wrong.  The Belmont is the true test of a champion.  

16 Jan 2012 6:53 PM
Mary

Katie L, I don't think Union Rags was tired inthe Breeder's Cup juvenile, just green.  Michael Matz said that the horse can run all day long.  According to UR's pedigree, he should be able to get the distance.

16 Jan 2012 6:58 PM
Tiz Herself

On Fire Baby put in a good run to be second in the Smarty Jones.

Am loving that Corinthian is having some nice young talent coming up, whether is enough for Derby remains to be seen. Junebugred seems to be improving with each race.

16 Jan 2012 6:58 PM
woodshade

Paula Higgins,

Of course the Jacksons thanked the people at Penn Vet, it was what anyone would do. And then to set up a foundation with their money was pocket change for them.

You seem to forget their main reason for keeping Barbaro alive, was to get him to the breeding shed. Where they would make millions and millions of dollars off of him.

My beef was how they treated the FOB with the brothers. Mrs Jackson even said they don't have the time to inform or even a picture of them, every now and then. I'm sure that thousands of people would have loved that.

Some times people like that think of their horses as machines that make or lose them money only. Thats pretty sad. Just my opinion.

16 Jan 2012 7:11 PM
El Kabong

Tiz Herself,

On Fire Baby did well. I think she ended up 3rd. She ran off the pace, not her usual out front, banged it up a bit with the boys down the lane in a 5 across charge and hopefully she gained a little experience for next out. Nice looking filly. We haven't see the last of her. I hope she continues to run with the boys.

16 Jan 2012 7:54 PM
Paula Higgins

woodshade, I appreciate your point of view but I really don't believe it was just about Barbaro's value as a stud that was foremost in the Jackson's minds. I think they were emotionally invested in him. They were in tears at the press conference. People with their wealth don't cry over money, but they do cry over loss of a beloved family member or animal. It was a very tough thing to do, showing up to take questions from reporters. Many people would have left it to Dr. Richardson to talk to the media. As for the foundation/fund, they didn't have to do that either. It was a way to show their appreciation I think. I do understand what you are saying about Barbaro's brothers however.  

16 Jan 2012 8:10 PM
Coldfacts

Forbidden Apple,

I join CRIMINAL TYPEWRITER in advising you to ignore comments from Mr. More Stupider. “Lasix is no big deal it just makes a horse urinate” What some of us fail to realize is that it is better to  be thought of being SOS than to engage the keyboard and remove all doubts. When Mr.  Obrien take his string of top class Euros to the Breeder Cup he advises the racing authorities that they are having  problems  urinating so he wishes Lasix to be administered to them. I guess this problem occurred as soon as they landed on shores of the US. I guess the majority of the horses in the US have problems passing urine. The old proverb is appropriate in this case. “He who knows not and knows not he knows not he is a fool shun him’

I have no doubt that lasix will be administered to Out of Bounds. Alpha made his first three starts without lasix. It was administered for his fourth. As soon as Out Of Bounds runs a sub standard race the gloves will be off and he will be juiced. If he is capable of running a mile in 1:34.56 with his rider taking him in hand at the line, he should be capable of running faster with whatever benefits lasix provide. I watched an interview with Mr. Harty and he mentioned that OOB lost only 9lbs after the Sham and he regained it in two to three days. When asked how much weight horses normally lose after a race he advised 20 to 30lbs. Horses do pass a lot of urine after the administration of lasix. In my opinion this is one of the primary reasons for the excessive post race weight loss. I am of the opinion that lasix should not be administered to Out of Bounds. If it’s not broken it requires it required no fixing.

16 Jan 2012 8:34 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Linda in Texas, Paula, Carlos, Trackjack, Footlick, Karen, etc.,

Thanks you guys!  You are the best, you and the thoroughbreds help a lot.  Nothing I can do except know that I took care of my father before this point in the last 20 years.  Doctor is not optimistic and thinks it will not be long.  He had the best care and it is up to a higher power now.

Be well all and let's all have a great TC run together this year.

16 Jan 2012 8:37 PM
CHIEF PICAWINNA

KY vet anyone that was touting Uncle Mo as a lock in the classic under the guise of being a professional gambler is to put it mildly a crock.You say you want to teach but you have a lot to learn,you repeat that horses cannot run as fast in one race as the next.You overlook the basic handicapping fact that not all horses are running every race to win,thats why we handicap the races.The trainers know this a lot better than you, it is after all their livelihood.Do you think they run their horses all out over and over, you dont know much about the sport.I think you rely on speed figures too much, only the BEST horses run within a narrow range of their top figure over and over, their were not any of those in the us in 2011.Dont try to lie you picked Uncle Mo to win the classic,to me you sound like a beginer you dont know much.

16 Jan 2012 8:42 PM
SACK THE SECRATARY

Ky Vet wins a couple of daily doubles and he imagines that he is a professional gambler.As such a knowlegeable professional he gives the board Uncle Mo as his pick in the classic.That was one of the top sucker bets in stakes races of 2011.KY vet you should get into another sport.I think nascar racing would be perfect you could drink beer all day and stamer out your salutations to your buddies in the grandstand.

16 Jan 2012 8:50 PM
Ranagulzion

Coldfacts,

Your 'power gallop' theory sounds fancyful but is lacking substance. A horse's stamina has little to do with galloping action.  Stamina for 10 furlongs is about fitness/heart rate, lung capacity/oxygen intake and the rate of lactic acid build up. These are affected more by genetics/pedigree and good training than by the horse's galloping style.

Secretariat was a big muscular horse with power packed strides, so was Point Given, and they scored big wins in the 12 furlongs Belmont Stakes. Barbaro was also a big fella: go back and look at his stretch run in Kentucky Derby 2006.  How do you explain that?

Listen buddy, Union Rags will make a hash of your theory proving that he stays healthy. Mark my words.

16 Jan 2012 9:07 PM
Convene

Karen in Texas - thank you so much! I was so afraid something bad had happened to him. You just took a huge load off my mind. Good for Chelokee!

16 Jan 2012 10:27 PM
KY VET

Well...the point im making is why did union rags lose? why only a 94 beyer? People point out all the good races he ran....but he disappointed.....he had huge conditioning edge right?...COLDCUTS is a wackjob talking about powerful strides, swan necks,...Union rags drifted out....not a great sign.....also if you pay attn. i thought the best horse (uncle mo) would not run good in classic....

16 Jan 2012 10:36 PM
KY VET

LASIX is not a stimulant! It makes you pee!!!! Lowers blood pressure....if you ban it.....it no big deal....just dehydrate horse up to race.....The only reason it was a big deal, was years ago when it might mask another drug....testing better now....its no big deal........YOU PEOPLE KEEP TALKING ABOUT THINGS YOU DONT HAVE A CLUE ABOUT ok?

16 Jan 2012 10:42 PM
Coldfacts

I see my selection for 3YO Champion Shackleford received only 12 first place votes. I recognized he was long shot with only one win from his 10 starts. However, to only receive 12 first place votes represents an insult to the colt’s grit and determination.  Stay Thirst received only 4 votes for his body of work and that also is an insult. Shackleford defeated 9 different G1 winners; participated in six G1, $1M graded races, wining one and placing in three others; defeated every top 3YO and participated in all the top 3YO races. How can he be deserving of only 12 first place votes. He did not win and that is OK but to disrespect this colt effort in such a fashion signified a lack of understanding of what he did. Shack you are my champ!

16 Jan 2012 10:47 PM
KY VET

Excuse me....i never said anything bad about union rags.....i bet on him........i said its funny how these people talk about muscles and girth, on and on.....it really is a joke....the point i made is who wants a big muscular horse for distance races?

16 Jan 2012 10:47 PM
Tiz Herself

So far no real big surprises on the awards.

Congratulations to

Royal Delta

Animal Kingdom

Adena Springs

The Ramseys (I would love to meet them some day. As a person who would love the opportunity to shadow someone in the sport and see it from the owner's side, etc. I look up to them for sure. I have been keeping up with Roses in May, too, hope he does just as well as a sire as Kitten's Joy. They alone with the Hines, the Chapmans, the Lewis', the Jacksons, and the Mosses would be amazing to speak to)

Congrats for Havre de Grace... maybe two awards tonight? Am waiting for HOY... can't wait to see her race again

Congratulations Acclamation - this is real good for Unusual Heat as well. Like Kitten's Joy, he was one that was given the chance to blossom and he has. He is a stallion that I really like. Turf, dirt, synthetics... it don't matter. The Usual Q. T., Unusual Suspect, Lethal Heat, Tucked Away, Golden Doc A, Bel Air Sizzle, Pretty Unusual, and of course Acclamation.

Congratulations Amazombie! I love this gutsy guy!

Wasn't sure what would come of the Filly sprinters, but congratulations to Musical Romance. Anyone know if she is racing or if she retired?

Congrats to Bill Mott! Another guy I would love to talk to sometime.

Congrats to My Miss Aurelia

16 Jan 2012 10:57 PM
Tiz Herself

And congrats to Hansen as well. Whether it had been Union Rags or Hansen, I had a hard time choosing. Hansen showed up when asked as did Rags. Hansen won the Breeders Cup Juvenile, with a bloody lip and he just did not surrender that lead.

I am rooting for both horses this spring and that they both stay healthy and sound and that they meet several times and maybe we'll see a new, exciting rivalry?

16 Jan 2012 11:02 PM
Tiz Herself

Congratulations My Miss Aurelia as well! Can't wait to see her back!

16 Jan 2012 11:06 PM
Tiz Herself

And congratulations to Havre de Grace for Horse of the Year! I can't believe that it was seven years ago at this same time that Saint Liam was the one being crowned Horse of the Year (it is forever a shame that he was never with us to see more of his babies running), however Havre de Grace (who kind of looks like him, has his star and color) certainly helps to keep his legacy alive. It is unfortuante that Buddy's Saint is no longer with us as well. Perhaps through some of his daughters (including Havre de Grace) that Saint Liam will also have a stamp on the bloodlines. His sire Saint Ballado was also with us for an unfortunate short time as was another Saint Liam son Sunriver. Bless you Havre and congratulations to Larry Jones, Fox Hill Farm and connections. Thank you for sharing her with all of us.

16 Jan 2012 11:12 PM
Tiz Herself

RIP to Purim. I really liked him both as a racehorse and for a stallion prospect. I really like Gold Megillah and hope that he makes papa proud!

16 Jan 2012 11:14 PM
Tiz Herself

Having the track being like "peanut butter" probably didn't agree with Rags when he was launching his run. I can't wait to see him in his spring campaign!

16 Jan 2012 11:17 PM
Tiz Herself

And congratulations to Tapit as well as he had a lot of very good fillies Stardom Bound, Laragh, Careless Jewel, Tapits Fly, Zazu, Joyful Victory, Tell a Kelly, Hightap...

I am so happy to see that his sons are showing their mettle as well. Hansen of course, Concord Point, Trappe Shot, and perhaps we'll see Headache and Rattlesnake Bridge show us something in 2012? Of course Tapizar as well.

Am happy for him as he has been a fav of mine for a long while.

16 Jan 2012 11:20 PM
predict

trackjack,

Being from northern CA I still like to watch what is happening at Golden Gate Fields, but I seldom play the races there anymore due the declining quality of local racing. I was very much aware of Russian Greek running in the Calif.Derby and had him picked to win that race. I loved the fact he was trained by Hollendorfer and had great breeding for a route of ground, sired by Giants Causeway and broodmare sire, Grindstone. I think this horse could prove to only get better as distances increase. I was looking for someone to put in an exacta with him as he was too  much of a favorite for my preferences, so I was lucky to take Cahill

Chrome based on his breeding mostly; being a son of the late Cahill Road(a full brother to Unbridled). I am looking forward to seeing Russian Greek take on better horses, I think he is going to win some important races and could be still improving, we haven't seen his best yet.

16 Jan 2012 11:50 PM
Forbidden Apple

ColdFacts,

Darley/Godolphin seem to really care about their horses and long term investments. I hope that they start a trend of eliminating lasix from being injected into their horses. Here in NY people were saying we need to allow lasix to increase field size. That was a weak argument back in the late 80's and early 90's and it still is today. With VLT dollars flowing in, the purse money should be enough of an incentive to stable/ship a horse to NY.

KY Vet,

Would you rather have a small skinny horse for a distance race? I do not see Union Rags as a powerlifting muscle freak(sprinter), he simply was well built and fit. What exactly was Uncle Mo the best at in 2011? He won one graded race and then ran like a turtle on championship day. Testing may be better now than it was 10 or 20 years ago, but there are still illegal drugs being administered to horses. Your defense of lasix is common, it's legal so go ahead and use it. No, it's not okay. I do not believe that you were or are currently a veterinarian. So why should I believe a beyer speed figure nitwit like you.

16 Jan 2012 11:54 PM
Linda in Texas

Coldfacts - re Shackleford, i am with you on the fella only garnering 12 first place votes. And Stay Thirsty no more than 4.  I guess we are in the boat pretty much alone and i ain't gettin' out neither!!! :)

I love him anyway and so also Union Rags, Blind Luck, Dullahan and i could go on.

Especially in my thoughts and obviously no one else's is Blind

Luck. What a good sport she is. I

certainly appreciate her wonderful

talents and wins. I believed she deserved an award.

And i was somewhat taken aback, heck i was flat everyday stunned when mention of Rapid Redux was made at the awards, very little applause so i was glad when the last presenter referred to him again.

What the heck with that silence??

More uppity stuff?

I think i can see said the blind man, but he never did see. Me thinks it is something called

blue blood that did not want to

give too much credit to Rapid Redux. And i do not understand why. His sire was no slouch.

Also Slew, my word has it really been 17 years?? Since the Cowboys won a Super Bowl?? Seems just like yesterday that i watched the parade in Dallas on TV with Micheal Irvin No. 88, Troy No. 8 and Emmett No. 22 on the back end of the float! Those were the best days and we didn't even realize it.

Alex'sBigFan, we are not with you  in person, but know we are all with you in mind and spirit.

Lastly i will say again, I love all thoroughbreds. Without them none of us would be writing this blog and life would be pretty unexciting to say the least. So i second the person who won Handicapper of The Year Award when he said without them there would be

no racing. And he thanked every single person who has the least little job having to do with the welfare of horses. That was nice.

And i was glad for Proud Delta.

Thanks Jason.  

17 Jan 2012 12:24 AM
GunBow

Coldfacts:

I tink Tapizar will be ok for the Strub.  It's 9 furlongs and he won't have to beat much.

As for the Big Cap and other important gr.1 classic races, I too have serious reservations about Tapizar.  The San Fernando proved little concerning Tapizar's ability to get 10 furlongs, given he had zero pressure and that no one came running late.  Right now, I believe Game on Dude would run him into the ground in a race like the Big Cap.

17 Jan 2012 12:32 AM
GunBow

Good day for Don Warren and Bud Johnston.  Their consistent Cal-bred Norvsky upset Jeranimo in the gr.2 San Gabriel and then their other Cal-bred Acclamation wins the Older Male Eclipse.

I'm surprised, but happy for Acclamation.  He was the best horse to race out West all year, but I thought he would get punished for not having success outside California.  I guess voters went for wins(as in Acclamation's 3 gr.1 and 2 gr.2 wins) over Game on Dude cross-country campaign that netted just 2 stakes wins.  I would have been pleased with either winning.

No surprise about Hansen or Musical Romance.  Mildly surprised about Animal Kingdom over Caleb's Posse in a squeeker.  I would have voted Caleb, but I get wanting to reward the horse that ran in all 3 classics and won our most celebrated race.

2 Eclipse awards for Cal-breds, Acclamation and champion sprinter, Amazombie.

I thought Acclamation would be the forgotten horse, but it ended up being Caleb(also 2nd to Amazombie for sprinter).

17 Jan 2012 12:41 AM
CHIEF PICAWINNA

KY vet I give more credibility to a trainer than a poster on a web blog.Lasix just like you stated in your post makes you pee.The problem is since it is an artificial substance not found in a race horses body it overstimulates a horse causing him to urinate more liquid than he should which causes dehydration.Just like all those beers you drink at the racetrack.Ken Mcpeek, everyone has heard of him the trainer has publicly been interviewed and talked about the negative aspects of lasix.You tell us it dosent matter well you just exposed another reason horses dont run the same way race after race some of them are dehydrated.Tell me that dosent matter to people who post on this board when the horse they bet on doesnt run a lick.

17 Jan 2012 3:56 AM
Bob from Boston

KY VET,

In answer to your question, Penny Chenery.

What do Billy's Empire and Jesus Christ have in common?

17 Jan 2012 4:07 AM
JerseyBoy

Nice to see the awards are in. Congratulations to Animal Kingdom. He won the big one.

Maybe now more of us will focus on trying to identify possible winners rather than looking at history and other matters of marginal relevance.

17 Jan 2012 7:44 AM
Slew

Considering Hansen has bloodlines that include Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Unbridled, Mr. Prospector, and his tail line includes Native Dancer, I'd say he has an excellent heritage for TC races.  What I've still yet to see is what happens when he's behind a wall of horses as Jackson Bend was last weekend.  Can he stop and restart?  If he's anything like great grand pappy Slew, he'll run over or through them.  If not, ..

I always noted that Uncle Mo had a sprinter's stride...high knee action, hard-stomping, energy consuming, not efficient.  The most efficient stride I saw last year came from To Honor and Serve, just like his daddy, low knee action, gliding over the surface, conserved energy.  I agree with coldfacts on that.  I'm still going to be watching these colts and fillies before I pick my favorite.

On dirt I like to see a big, muscular horse.  Secretariat,(16 hands 2)  Seattle Slew (16 hands 1)and Curlin were all big and muscular. Rock Hard Ten was the largest colt to race at 17 hands 3).  Point Given was 17 hands. Affirmed was more refined, and had perfect conformation.  (Even though I loved Alydar more.) On turf, I prefer to see a more refined horse, a bit smaller.  They seem to glide over the surface much better.  Goldikova is a perfect example....but her best was a mile.  When a horse has to go longer, then I'll consider a more muscular horse...and Acclamation leaps to mind along with So You Think. Of all of the above horses, the one everyone consistently points to for sheer strength and power is Slew at 16-1.

Lasix is a diuretic, and like all diuretcs, it can cause dehydration.  When too much potassium is lost, a horse will begin to tie up.  Remember Life At Ten?  It's a delicate effort to maintain the proper electrolyte balance when Lasix is used.  Lasix has also been used to dilute other drugs in the system, masking their presence.  That's why they are seeking to ban it.  Lasix has also been used to help horses who tend to bleed into their lungs excessively during a race.  My question would be...if a horse cannot run without lasix, why do you run the horse at all...or breed it?

I did get to see the Samrty Jones at Oaklawn.  According to an announcement on HRTV, they will be carrying all the stakes races from Oaklawn.  (But I really wanted to hear Miramati calling the other races because he is a very funny man with an excellent ear and can mimic any West Coast race caller fluently.)

And I really hated to see Caleb's Posse get shut out of the Eclipse awards because I still feel he was the most consistent 3 year old of 2011.

17 Jan 2012 8:37 AM
Tiz Herself

My mistake, yes On Fire Baby was third. This -40 and -50 degree weather has frozen some much needed brain cells lol.

17 Jan 2012 9:00 AM
Linda in Texas

Jason, I did not mention The Ramsey's and i was remiss in not doing so.

It goes without even having to say this in words, but the family to me absolutely represents the epitome of caring 'horse people' and sensitive and genuinely gracious on top of that. As Paula Higgins i believe it was said about something else, they make me smile. And i admire all their kittens, especially 'the one who started the kittens' Mrs. Ramsey.

I am now seeing that Caleb's Posse only lost by 3 votes to tie Animal Kingdom for votes. That is reassuring.

Thanks Jason.

17 Jan 2012 9:21 AM
trackjack

predict:  

Thanks for your input.  Russian Greek carries the same coat color as Grindstone (through Sand Dollar) and exhibits the same out of the clouds closing style as Grindstone.  I had the exacta in the '96 Derby with Grindstone coming from way out of it as was his style.  Went back and looked at Russian Greek's previuos races.  He has no problem closing into a hole on the rail, going up in between horses or being shifted to the outside.  Some youngsters have a fear of being between horses and need a clear path on the outside, not this guy.  Let's see how he progresses.

I'm glad the voting is over and we can move on to 2012.  Congrats to Havre de Grace winning HOY AND she's coming back to the races. Will the ladies make it four in a row in 2012?

We had 24" of snow over the weekend.  It's now in the 40's and raining hard as I look out my window.  I'm getting this fever again.  What to do?  What to do?

17 Jan 2012 10:57 AM
Carlos in Cali

If Hansen is a sprinter,then I'm a 6-1" dwarf... ridiculous.

17 Jan 2012 11:26 AM
Carlos in Cali

Thank you MonicaV and Footlick,I appreciate that.

17 Jan 2012 11:27 AM
Karen in Texas

Although I am a big Hansen fan, I was really surprised to see his 194 to 52 margin of victory last night. The 2-year-old male category seemed the most equivocal to me. Now the work begins for those on the TC trail--may they all stay safe and healthy.

It's unfortunate that Caleb's Posse did not win an award. Not only was he consistent, he appeared to become stronger as the year progressed. He should be fun to watch in 2012.

17 Jan 2012 11:32 AM
Mike Relva

They got it right regarding Mott winning. He deserved it.

17 Jan 2012 11:34 AM
papillon

coldfacts and linda--i feel you pain RE: shack's measly 12 votes =(

i knew he wouldn't win, but 12 votes?! in a sport once dominated by war horses, now dominated by glass ponies, horses like shack need to be acknowledged and respected.

mary--if you think a dixie union is going to win the belmont, you really need to put down that crack pipe your smoking.

rags doesn't look a thing like big red--and he doesn't run like him either--he doesn't have red's stride, his speed, his determination, or his stamina--all he's got are 3 used socks...

have to say that i am very pleasantly surprised about hansen and accalamation--never saw that coming.

17 Jan 2012 11:51 AM
Shutterbug

Question:  Do you think Bill Mott plans to run Royal Delta in the Woodward??  No brainer answer, I know.  The Rachel team set the blueprint for any filly to win HOTY.  The key race is the Woodward Stakes.  As we have seen recently, the Breeders' Cup races count for far less.  When Zenyatta was 2 for 2 in BC races, she held zero HOTY titles;  Havre de Grace is currently 0 for 2, and is the reigning HOTY.  It is within reason that Royal Delta could make it four consecutive fillies to garner the honor, since all she has to do is beat males in the Woodward.  BUT, with a trip to Dubai on the agenda for her, she might not be the same filly when she returns.  And this goes for many horses who are also being considered for Dubai, for example Baffert has mentioned the possibility of Game on Dude making the trip, which in all likelihood would knock him out for most of the year.  Animal Kingdom as well.  

Many observers were saying that Havre de Grace was at her peak at Saratoga, and showed a visible decline at Churchill Downs.  I disagree with the people that say her connections did the gutsy thing by running her in the Classic.  In my opinion, she had little chance of defeating Royal Delta in the Ladies Classic, so the smart strategy was to run in the Classic, a race in which she was not expected to win but would win HOTY year anyway.  Once again strategy wins the HOTY title.  Personally, I don't care for this new trend.  Fillies should be judged on the same level as males, period.  Why some people are so excited that we have 3 straight females winning the honor is beyond me.  When did that become the goal?  

17 Jan 2012 1:56 PM
Forbidden Apple

ColdFacts,

The January 14 edition of Bloodhorse had a short article on Out Of bounds. Harty said,"If he doesn't bleed, I'm not going to put him on Lasix". And in the letters section a woman wrote in about breathing problems in horses. She sighted inadequate ventilation, dust, and urine smells as contrbutors to overall lack of lung health. I agree with her, horses deserve better living conditions. At the Greentree training facility(Darley) in Saratoga Springs,NY the barns are new and very clean. The bottom of every stall has drainage so that a groom can easily hose out the stall and keep it clean. For me I hate all of the dust in the air when a bad dried out batch of straw comes in. It's horrible for the horses and the human workers. Good luck at the races this week.

17 Jan 2012 3:25 PM
KY VET

Again.....i really dont care what a horse looks like...i was laughing at the out of control "he is muscular, huge,big strapping,huge stride,blah blah....." It was out of control.....hey, if a horse can run, i dont care.....and this "cant go a mile and quarter" stuff is crazy.....it matters who they are running against right?.....Tapizar is a nice horse, but no one mentioned his biggest flaw.....HE IS RANK!  Hard to rate against top speed....this is why he runs bad against top flight horses.....

17 Jan 2012 3:26 PM
predict

I agree with those here that have mentioned a strong muscular horse is better suited on the dirt, while a less strong appearance might indicate turf would be a better choice, but I think this will change with the age of the horse , with those precocious two year olds dominating early on in their careers(-v.i. To move with a swift, free, and headlong motion[ interesting meaning of career], and then things evening out as they grow older, with the late developing three years olds catching up later on in the season. I find this to be the case in one of the three yearolds I am watching, that being Summer Front. His trainer ,Clement, has kept him on the turf, feeling he hasn't developed the strength yet for the dirt. This horse moves with a very smooth evertless motion and has dominated his competion so far on the turf. Clement, being a very conservative trainer will not rush this horse, but I am hoping he gets a chance to try the dirt, as I feel this might be a special horse, that could be a factor in the triple crown races.

17 Jan 2012 6:06 PM
Alex'sBigFan

Forbidden Apple,

Interesting, the thoroughbreds do seem to develop various lung infections.  Even Afleet Alex's one bad performance in the Rebel was due to guess what, a lung infection.  The dust has to be a contributing factor as well as maybe the kickback of dirt on the track in a race, they have got to be breathing in some of it. I wonder if harmful molds are playing a part too in the barns?  They have such fragility in bones, colic and gastrointestinal disorders, and lung ailments.  As for the bleeding, I am trying to keep an open mind about the Lasix as much as I do not want 2 and 3 yr. old animals on it either, it may be the one med they need that is getting the bad rap because of all the other meds.  It may or may not be the one beneficial med that monitors (not cures, there is none - yet) EIPH.  Horsemen and trainers seem to be more for it than for banning it.  They have to closely monitor side effects and the dehydration though, not to mention if bone calcium is being depeleted.  I was recently watching Jack Hanna on tv and he was visiting a top equine hospital in the U.S. and they said they are close to stem cell research whereby they will be able to inject calcium or cartilage into the bone plasma (or something close to that, I'm not going verbatim from the show). But as for the Lasix I still like what the Betfair guy from England said on TVG recently, "sometimes you have to bow to medical science."

17 Jan 2012 6:38 PM
Ranagulzion

Bob from Boston,

You're the best (LOL). Your answer to KY VET was hillarious. Great to see you back on the blog. Give our regards to Ted from La.

17 Jan 2012 8:13 PM
Mary

papillon, what in the world are you talking about.  Look at the tail-female line of Union Rags' pedigree.

Obviously you don't know a whole lot about a horse's pedigree.  Everyone was saying back in 1973 that no son of Bold Ruler could go the distance in the Belmont.  Well, his son Secretariat did it in record time.  If you look at the tail-female line of Secretariat's pedigree, you will see why he was able to do that.  

People put way to much emphasis on a colt's sire, with disregard for the mare.  Most of a colt's genetics comes from the mare, the X-chromosone.  I suggest that before you start with all the rhetoric, do a little research.

Distance will not be a problem for Union Rags.  

17 Jan 2012 8:23 PM
Mary

Ranagulzion, excellent comments.  It is about genetics and training, not to mention a little luck.  I keep saying that Secretariat is placed perfectly in Union Rags' pedigree, tail-female side of his pedigree.  Conformation wise, Union Rags is just about perfect and he is built like Secretariat.  

I wish people would do a little reading about genetics.  Like I have always said, a sire is only as good as the mare he is bred to.

Thank you for your comments, great.  

17 Jan 2012 8:36 PM
Mary

Bob from Boston, great comments to KY vet.  Thank you.  LOL  LOL

17 Jan 2012 10:38 PM
Ranagulzion

Bob from Boston,

You answered the "VET's" question with a lot of wit but I'm not sure that KY VET can answer your question about Billy's Empire and Jesus Christ ... unless Billy was taking lasix to run his empire.  You'd do better directing your question to Tebow and I believe he'd tell you (as a Christian patriot) that JC doesn't care too much about who moves on to the Super Bowl but rather who goes to heaven and who escapes the wrath of hell. No joke this time my friend.  

17 Jan 2012 11:44 PM
KY VET

BOSTON............THEY ARE BOTH SONS.............JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD...........BILLY IS A SON OF A..............

18 Jan 2012 10:36 AM
Weekend

I would like to finish KY Vet's sentence in the form of a question.

What is a biscuit eater?

19 Jan 2012 9:15 AM
Bob from Boston

They both obviously hate Tim Tebow.

19 Jan 2012 6:14 PM

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