Three of a Kind

In the last couple of blogs we've talked about the plethora of Kentucky Derby contenders in the barns of Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher. Let's continue with that theme and take a look at the contenders from another mega-trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Asmussen may not have as many contenders as Baffert and Pletcher, but he has three pretty good ones in Daddy Nose Best, Sabercat, and Z Dager. None of them are at the top of anyone's Derby list right now, but that doesn't mean they won't be by May. All of them have potential to be major factors, especially with Asmussen, who regularly wins meet titles at Churchill Downs and sent out runner-up Nehro a year ago.

Daddy Nose Best won the El Camino Real on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. It was an impressive victory from a couple different perspectives. He didn't have the most ideal trip, as he broke from the rail and was stuck on the inside for most of way. As usual, Julien Leparoux did an excellent job of finding an opening as they came off the final turn and gave him a chance to run after patiently rating. Once he found room, Daddy Nose Best dueled for the entire final furlong with a salty colt, Lucky Chappy, and somehow found the wire first even though his rival had more momentum. To get a 1 1/8-mile win on his résumé and bank $120,000 of graded earnings was key.

Most people still consider Daddy Nose Best a turf horse. He made his previous five starts on turf and the Tapeta at Golden Gate certainly plays more like turf than dirt. But don't forget, he ran a good second in his career debut on the Churchill Downs dirt, his sire (Scat Daddy) won the Florida Derby, and his broodmare sire (Thunder Gulch) won the biggest 3-year-old dirt races around, including the Derby and Belmont. Here are the thoughts of Scott Blasi, Asmussen's assistant who takes care of the colt in California.

"We've just been waiting to run him longer. He broke his maiden on the grass and put himself in position to keep running on grass in the Breeders' Cup, so that's what we did. We're very excited about getting him to (win) at a mile and an eighth, and I think he'll only get better as the he goes longer.

"He had a pretty good race on the dirt at Churchill, but that was sprinting. I think the Animal Kingdom thing was last year throws all that (turf/synthetic) stuff out of the window. I don't know what we'll do with him yet; there are several options. He came out of it great. You have the Spiral, the Blue Grass, the Sunland Derby, the Santa Anita Derby. There are so many options for him, especially now that he has $120,000 of earnings. What Steve usually does is work him back after the race and then plan from there."

Perhaps the more logical Asmussen Derby contender is Sabercat, who won the Delta Downs Jackpot in November and will make his 3-year-old debut next month. Sabercat, by Bluegrass Cat, took four tries to break his maiden, but has won three in a row since. He is a colt who clearly wants more ground and has shown an exceptional turn of foot in his victories. Even with its lucrative purse, the Delta Jackpot certainly has not been an important race on the Derby trail but it does give the connections a chance to map out their road without having to worry about earnings.

Blasi has been working Sabercat steadily at Santa Anita, and the colt will most likely make his next start in the March 10 San Felipe, with his final prep coming in the Santa Anita Derby. Sabercat has had six starts with a different rider in every one, so don't try to predict who will get the mount in any of his future races.

"I thought the Delta Jackpot was pretty impressive as far as the way he got stopped into that short stretch and kept going on," Blasi said. "It's a hard thing to do at Delta when you lose your momentum at that point in the race. The horse is coming around nicely. I don't think we're looking for a lot from him in his preps; we're looking for the Derby to be his third off a layoff.

"We were waiting for the races to get long enough for him as a 2-year-old. That's why we tried him on the turf at Saratoga because it was at least two turns. He wasn't going to do any good sprinting and you could tell that early on. We knew he had talent, but he needed the races to stretch out for him.

"He had a little break in December where we didn't do much with him, but he hasn't lost much fitness. He hasn't been out of training very long. In the three works I put in him (in California), his energy level has increased in every one. I think he has potential to fit with this group of 3-year-olds. He just has to get back in the game and do it."

The third Asmussen horse, Z Dager, will be getting back in the game this weekend in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds where he'll face the highly-regarded El Padrino, as well as the Larry Jones pair of Mr. Bowling and Mark Valeski. It was Mr. Bowling that defeated Z Dager by a head in the Jan. 21 Lecomte, but Mr. Bowling certainly had the better trip of the two horses. Z Dager was inside most of the way and after weaving his way through his traffic, was making up ground on the winner until the very end.

That was the stakes debut for Z Dager, a son of Mizzen Mast who broke his maiden in December. Unlike Daddy Nose Best and Sabercat, the colt is based at Fair Grounds with Asmussen's assistant Darren Fleming. He's had four works there since the Lecomte--none of them earth-shattering--but that's not Asmussen's style. The Risen Star should tell us what kind of horse he is.

Finally, don't forget to check out this year's edition of's Triple Crown Preview, which goes on sale Wednesday. It's a downloadable report that takes a look at 40 of the top Triple Crown contenders. We've made some improvements from last year, and the new one includes a full page devoted to each horse, Steve Haskin's ratings and comments, my analysis and evaluations, complete BRIS past performances for each horse, a 4-Cross Pedigree Chart for each one, TrueNicks pedigree ratings, dosage profiles, and helpful facts and stats to know about each contender and their connections.


Leave a Comment:

steve from st louis

Talking about a trainer putting his horses in the right spot, how about Steve A. saddling two horses all time at Golden Gate and winning graded stakes with both! And don't fall asleep on Sabercat, either. If the Derby falls apart, he's the kind to come from the clouds under "G. Money".

21 Feb 2012 3:59 PM

For me, the question now is which one will finish second behind Discreet Dancer.....Union Rags or Algorithms?  My current top three derby horses include Discreet Dancer, Dullahan, and a tie between Creative Cause and Empire Way, with an honorable mention to Alpha.  Of course a lot of lists are going to change over the next few weeks (except for one opinioned Draynay’s), but it will take some improvement to go by any of these.

21 Feb 2012 4:13 PM
Bob from Boston

I am getting ready to join the Run for the Roses contest and need to eliminate some horses.  Dray, do me a solid and list your Derby Dozen.  Thanks.

21 Feb 2012 5:01 PM

Union Rags is a big strong horse standing 17 hands already.  Julien knows when to put it a late run look for Union to run by them all late and cementing himself the one to beat in May.  I agree Jason Sabercat is one I have my eye on and may be this years Nehro.

21 Feb 2012 5:36 PM


You could literally have 45%-55% of the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby comprised of horses from just 3 trainers.  I don't know if this is good or bad or just the way things are nowadays.  Your thoughts?

21 Feb 2012 6:26 PM

I saw Daddy Nose Best in the Logan at Santa Anita, and he's a real smart looking horse, long-legged and rangey.  I only expect to him to fill out and get bigger with maturity.  

Daddy' was disappointing in the Logan as a big fave, but he just didn't have enough zip for the flat mile.  Given an extra eighth in the El Camino Real, I thought he ran a real solid race.

I agree Jason, Daddy didn't get the smoothest of trips.  While he was able to save ground, he had to wait to swing out coming into the stretch, and gave up momentum to Lucky Chappy.  Daddy did very well to "nose" out a quality horse in Motion's Lucky Chappy.  Those 2 deserve to move on to the next round of preps.  Handsome Mike should be tough when run in softer spots.

21 Feb 2012 7:39 PM

I like Union Rags and Secret Circle. Although I have respect for Algorithms. I have noticed that the trainer for Shackleford Mr. Romans has some nice young horses as well. Jason is correct except for these trainers go through young horses like we do beers at half time and rarely do you see many make it to the classics.

21 Feb 2012 7:57 PM

Steve Asmussen is way overdue for a KY Derby win.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if one from his stable wins this year or within the next few.  If John Shirreffs of all trainers has a title, Asmussen should win one who is a much more talented trainer.

21 Feb 2012 8:22 PM
Jason Shandler

Snow: If Pletcher, Asmussen and Baffert had half the field I dont think it would be good for the race. But it's possible this year. Pletcher might have 4 or 5 alone.

Sylvester: I agree. Asmussen is way overdue. As much as he owns CD and as many quality horses as he has, it wont be much longer.

21 Feb 2012 8:32 PM
Karen in Texas

Even with Curlin's late start in Feb. of 2007, he might have given Asmussen a win in the Derby if not for a #2 post draw. He was shuffled so far back during the race that I was surprised he managed to come in third. Steve A. will win one soon.

21 Feb 2012 9:10 PM
Paula Higgins

You know, I hope Steve Asmussen has great success this year. Amazingly, I managed to say that without making a dig at another trainr Sylvester. You should try that sometime. It's much classier that way, don't you think?

21 Feb 2012 10:00 PM
an ole railbird

i remember seeing young steve racking the shed row with a toy rake, when he was still in diapers. if there was ever a trainer ,who has a pedigree to win the kentucky derby. it is steve .

21 Feb 2012 10:54 PM

No matter how talented Asmussen and Pletcher horses seem to look, this one monster "Union Rags", just seems too tough to beat, at least for now, or unless another AK appears on the scene in the last 10 seconds in the Derby. My instincts say, he will win every race up until the Derby, because I have no faith in the Derby favorites any more. But, UR has a great year ahead of him.

Paula the more I dislike Sylvester's approach, the more I agree to his statement.

22 Feb 2012 2:23 AM

Let me make another statement at this point. I hope and pray that UR remains healthy throughout the year, there is no doubt in most of the minds, he is going to inhale his competition in lesser than 1 1/4 mile distances. But...... UNLESS HE WINS THE KD or another classic, doesnt matter he wins how many graded races, he aint going to have an easy time come eclipse awards. The Poor Posse.....a shame on voters !

22 Feb 2012 2:26 AM

I thought about switching Out Of Bounds for Sabercat for my RTTR (for the San Felipe race) after reading this article, then I read the comments and saw that Draynay has his eye on this horse... I think OOB definitely wins the San Felipe lol.

SA might be due but I don't think it's this year.  Sylvester just jinxed him, much like Draynay jinxes his picks.  I think they're twins.

22 Feb 2012 5:16 AM

Dray, this years Nehro is Z Dager! Watch his last race where he just missed to Mr. Bowling. His dosage is 1.00, so you know he will like the added ground. Asmussen trains him, and he is running this weekend in the Risen Star. I am still liking the long shot Afford, another son of Street Sense. I do not know much about his trainer Geier, but he likes to close and there should be good pace.

Also, the duo of Mark Valeski and Mr. Bowling have been working well, and I like Mark Valeski with Rosie riding to be in the mix. Rosie tweeted after she worked him last week that he felt great and she would not trade places with anyone. The way she is tearing up Fair Grounds, you have to use the entry in your picks. El Padrino will round out my super. The Godfather is the real deal, lets see if he can keep moving up the ranks.

22 Feb 2012 9:20 AM

I don't have a Derby Dozen I only have 4 that I like.  

1. Union Rags

2. Sabercat

3. Creative Cause

4. Gemologist

22 Feb 2012 9:49 AM
Age of Reason


Right on! Steve Asmussen has done a lot for the sport, and I would be very glad to see him get his due in the Derby. This fan of Street Sense was a little miffed at him in '07 when Curlin spoiled Street Sense's TC bid, but of course that's horse racing. No sour grapes here! Which reminds me...


Do you have no class at all? Your idea (or lack thereof) that Asmussen's failure to win the Derby is somehow John Shirreff's fault is both incredibly condescending and logically repulsive. John Shirreff doesn't owe Steve Asmussen a thing! If all the trainers and horses you tout are half as good as you say they are, they should be able to stand on their own two--or four--feet in an argument without taking snarky shots at others. Let's see if you can make one, genuinely complimentary post on anything, without making random verbal potshots at any- and everything "west coast". All bets are off!

22 Feb 2012 10:11 AM
Jason Shandler

Spring Hill Farm going to Tampa Bay Derby. Try to follow along Jayjay.

22 Feb 2012 10:29 AM

Should I cry like a baby and declare Spring Hill Farm doomed since Jayjay likes him....

22 Feb 2012 11:53 AM
Rolling Thundar

Jason, Another fine article, on another Class Act Trainer. Never discount Steve Asmussen's entrys in the gate. He always finds the right kind of races for his horses.

Jason, I hope that you can continue to stay on this line of trainers.  Maybe Doug O'Neil, will get a write soon.

22 Feb 2012 12:19 PM

Age of Reason it's obvious your SAT scores left a lot to be desired.  Where did I say it was Shirreff's fault Asmussen hasn't won the KY Derby?  Nowhere. I was making the point that Asmussen is a far superior trainer than Shirreff and he (Shirreff) has won a KY Derby.  Therefore Asmussen is due to win a KY Derby soon. You seem to have the same simplistic thought process that Stevebiquick and Lazmannick constantly display here.  Even Higgins got the point I was making and she is the most challenged one here (except for Mike Relva).  Shirreff is a third rate trainer and Asmussen is a top notch trainer.  He's almost as good as Pletcher. I wouldn't hire Shirreff to train a lemming.

22 Feb 2012 1:03 PM

I'm trying to but it's hard to keep up with all the draynay and sylvester garbage and the popularity of Zenyatta, the greatest mare ever to race in this planet on your blog, even YOU can't avoid commenting about her :)  

I'm glad SHF is on the KD trail, just added him back to my RTTR, had to give up Alpha but I think it's a good switch.

22 Feb 2012 1:04 PM

Check out this up and coming horse.....SIR BOND....he is not on anyones list but look at his leg speed compared to everyone else in his last race....big closer!.....

22 Feb 2012 1:40 PM

BE : Please do, and stick with Handsome Mike or better yet, do a Draynay and bet on Julien Leparoux to win the Derby lol.  Don't worry, I'll probably jump off of SHF depending on how he runs in the TBD.  I'm not like Draynay, I prefer to watch the horses actually run their races before making my picks for the derby.  It's all a guessing game up until they're loading in the gate.   Just so you know who are "doomed", here's my early derby dozen ( I really like the Tiznow's in this year's crop ) :

El Padrino, Algorithms, Gemologist, Out Of Bounds, Castaway, Hansen, Union Rags, Tizanexpense, Spring Hill Farm, Fed Biz, My Adonis, Dullahan

22 Feb 2012 2:29 PM
Bob from Boston

Thanks, Dray.  You’re like an illegitimate brother to me.

What's the word on Wrote?

22 Feb 2012 2:56 PM
Age of Reason


I never took the SAT. I took the ACT once, and scored in the Top 13% nationwide. :) The rest of your last post is not only insulting (shocker), but also self-contradictory. Third-rate trainers don't win Derbies. If by calling my logic "simplistic" (i.e. straightforward and down-to-earth), you meant that my reasoning does not twist itself into incoherent knots as yours does, then I plead guilty. Good day!

22 Feb 2012 3:19 PM
Smoking Baby

 Say what you want about Steve Asmussen but his horses alway walk into the paddock looking like a million bucks.  He clearly takes good care of them.

22 Feb 2012 3:25 PM
Carlos in Cali

Talk about "Three of a kind"...

Sylvester,Draynay & AAF- your lifetime passes to Disneyland have been revoked as of yesterday. No more Cinderella teacup rides for you guys. Cali is watching..

22 Feb 2012 3:30 PM
Carlos in Cali


Just remember who put you up on The Godfather's game at the beginning of this year.. ;}

And don't wear an eye-patch. Don't throw things when you get mad.But most importantly,don't grow a scraggly beard. Just sayin'..

22 Feb 2012 3:42 PM
It aint easy being good!

I agree with most post that Steve A is a class act and hasnt recieved much love as Pletcher and Baffert. Seems like every year a new trainer wins the derby I think its time for Steve A to get his due. Having said that I think Street life is one to keep an eye on. Do you really want a horse named daddy nose best to win the derby? There are some bad names out there right now!How about a horse named maximus decimus meridius or pimp juice! haha!

22 Feb 2012 3:45 PM

Ahh Jayjay, missed you bud....I was joking by the way! Shandler knows I am quite fond of the Farm!

As far as those picks this weekend, I just looked at Rag numbers. Ugly Mike, Handsome Mike, they were both losers. Handsome Mike at least has a chance to redeem himself! Have a good night you crazy kids.

Thanks Carlos. I will keep those words of wisdom in mind.

22 Feb 2012 4:28 PM


I'll bet Shirreffs didn't major in chemistry and pharmaceuticals when he went to college.  When it comes to BCC,s BC Lady’s and Kentucky Derbies it appears to me that he has accomplished a lot more with a lot less than your boy Stevie.  He has also won many more major stakes than Stevie has so far also and this by always operating with a modest stable.  He didn’t have to have the luxury of his owners buying already established stars to get his biggest wins.  Guess what?  He trained them to their abilities himself.

As far as my thought process, when it comes to you believe me, I totally get it.

In fact, you along with your boy Draynay and AAF really do give meaning to three of a kind.

22 Feb 2012 5:21 PM


“Sorry, but the greatest race mare of all time has never lost.  Black Caviar 19 and 0”

Fact check reflects Kincsem the Hungarian super mare 54 and 0

35 to go. Keep it real!

22 Feb 2012 7:43 PM


Do some math and let me know, how many major stakes did Sherrifs won outside of Cali as compared to Steve ?

How many horse of year did Sherrifs trained compared to Steve ?

Steve started his career in 1986, and John started in 1978.

Tell me how many awards have Johny boy won compared to that of Stevie ?

Compare their Classic races wins outside their respective home towns ?

Compare the campaigns of their significant horses

22 Feb 2012 8:19 PM
Jason Shandler

Neither Sherriffs or Asmussen will be coming over to the Shandlers for Thanksgiving dinner any time soon (and I'm sure they be inviting me either), but there is no comparison between the two as far as accomplishments. Asmussen has a much more complete body of work and is simply the more skilled horseman. End of story.

22 Feb 2012 8:34 PM

100 percent correct jason on asmussen.......Zenyatta would have beenmuch faster.......of course she would have lasted about a year!    so, if faster is better.....

22 Feb 2012 9:57 PM
Paula Higgins

You know Sylvester, I would feel positively slighted if you didn't mention my name at least once a blog. Look, comparing a trainer with a smaller barn like John Shirreffs to Steve Asmussen, who has a larger set up, is unfair on every level. They are both very fine horsemen. To trash any of these trainers is very declasse (accent over the e). sharjyl, comparing John Shirreffs stats to Steve Asmussen's is an exercise in futility and irrelevant. They have different qualities and strengths. One of John Shirreff's strengths was not pushing a certain big horse too fast before she was ready. Then letting her settle down after a big race, and then, bringing her back up for the next one. He kept her healthy, wealthy and happy for a long time; a difficult thing to do with a horse that large. He kept her in racing and raised the sport's profile in the bargain. That alone puts him in the Hall of Fame. Just as a side note, he won the Kentucky Derby with a HUGE longshot. I would let him train any horse I owned. He is a hands on trainer who knows what's going on in every corner of his barn. He also did something no one else in the sport had really ever done. He opened up his barn and top horse to the public, which had the net effect of bringing in thousands of new fans into the sport. He made it a more accessible sport. Other barns/owners are following his lead, to raise the profile of their horses. As for a trainer having a body of work, come on, we are not talking arts and letters here. Lets talk about that when they hit 70. It's a little premature, and frankly, it isn't all about the trainer. It's also about the cards you are dealt i.e. the horses that are sent to your barn. I know John and Jason are not best buds and I am sorry for that because I like Jason's blogs/Jason and because I like John Shirreffs. But I can find reasons to like almost every trainer. As long as they have the horse's best interests at heart, the rest is gravy. When they deviate from that path, that's when I have a problem.

22 Feb 2012 10:43 PM


Without getting into another argument with you that I know you will lose I will just say that last year John Shirreffs had 132 starts with 24 wins (18%) and earnings of S1.855M.  Asmussen had 1681 starters with 348 wins (21%) and $16.9M in earnings.  Steve started 12.7 times more horses than Shirreffs and even though he won a lot more money, if you extrapolate Shirreffs’s numbers to compare with Asmussen’s he would have won more money per start and more money per win and that’s the bottom line these days in horse racing.

Shirreff’s overall numbers are modest against Asmussen’s, but mainly because he operates on a much smaller scale and races mainly in California because that’s his home base.  He’s also a hands on trainer who likes to be with all of his horses, every day.  I’m not saying that Steve A. isn’t a good trainer.  Of course he’s good, but on an equal scale he’s no more horse knowledgeable and accomplished than Shirreffs.  He just has a bigger stable and he races on many fronts.  Yes he starts probably more horses than any other trainer year in and year out.  Yes he wins the most races.  And yes he has the most assistant trainers stationed at most of these fronts actually seeing to the day to day training of the horses and saddling them.  And when they race and win, guess who gets credit for the win even though he isn’t even at the track.  You do the math.

And if you think that California is beneath the world of real horse racing try explaining that to the Bob Bafferts and Ron McAnallys and Richard Mandellas of the world, all of whom are Hall of Famers.  They are based in California and annually send horse east to win stakes races with those lousy Cali horses.

22 Feb 2012 11:43 PM


You hit the nail perfect !!! Fully agreed

23 Feb 2012 3:03 AM

BE: Good to know hehe.  I can't say I'm fond of any right now, I can only go by pedigree at the moment.  When they start racing as 3 yr olds, that's when I start looking for my picks.

Jason : Not quite end of story, accomplishments does not equal being a skilled horseman.  If SA hits his head and let Draynay (or even Sylvester, Draynay's doppelganger) take over his operations for one month.  He will probably win more races than any other trainer out there in the east coast except Pletcher.  Would you then call Draynay/Sylvester a skilled horseman ?  (something tells me you probably will LOL)

23 Feb 2012 4:35 AM
Jason Shandler

Such a moronic and baseless analogy Jayjay. By using your same example, if Draynay took over Apple for a few months, the company would still make billions--for obvious reasons; it already has its successful business in place and a unique brand of products. But how did Apple (Asmussen) get to that point? They worked their way there over many years by using their talent, skills and leadership. It took Asmussen years to earn the trust of his owners and as a result of his success he now gets the best horses. Same with Pletcher. I love how people say 'Oh, Pletcher only wins because he gets the best horses every year.' So stupid. Why do you think he gets the best horses? Because he wins, year after year afer year! And he has the knack for getting the best out of every horse he trains.

Sherriffs has had a handful of good horses in his many years of training, and he has done well with those select few. He did a nice job with the mare on many levels and he got lucky with Giacomo one year in the Derby. But he is not in the same league as the aforementioned.

23 Feb 2012 8:48 AM

Let's not get into a pissing contest about who's the better trainer Amussen or Sherriffs. It will turn into a Zenyatta debate.

Plus everyone knows that the Shandler family spends Thanksgiving with the Pletchers! :)

Where is Motor City running?  Yes, I am trying to follow along!

23 Feb 2012 8:52 AM

jason i am not sure if you have any input on the road to the roses contest but if you do maybe next year you could suggest that they add a stallion section where we pick 2 stallions and score them just like they do the trainers and jockeys just a suggestion

23 Feb 2012 8:56 AM

Lazmannick I agree that some modern day horsemen in the US are as skilled in alchemy as in watching workouts.Is it a coincidence of lower beyers and banning of steriods, I dont know and neither does anyone I know of.

23 Feb 2012 10:18 AM
Age of Reason

"When what to my wondering eyes did appear"...Lo and behold, it's Coldfacts! Great to see you back, buddy!

23 Feb 2012 12:11 PM
steve from st louis

Speaking of modern day horsemen, I never liked the changes the "Coach", D.W. Lukas, brought to the training game 30 years ago with his corporate approach to running a huge, national stable, an approach perfected and advanced by Pletcher and Asmussen. I'm not inferring they all aren't great horsemen, just that I found much more romance in the game when a trainer had 35-50 head,  tops, which he vanned around the country dictated by the weather--Florida, New Orleans, Hot Springs  or California in the winter and either Kentucky, Chicago or either coasts in the summer.

These huge, corporate stables have been instrumental in training the "blooded" horse predominately for speed, to fill the abundance of six-furlong races in this country. Among them, only Pletcher has been successful in developing any routers or grass specialists. Yes, both Lukas and Asmussen had champions of all kinds in their stables, but it is far easier to typecast their runners than Pletcher's.

23 Feb 2012 12:14 PM
Old Timer


Please don't scare me like this. Your top 4 exactly match my own this year. I have one other tentatively keeping an eye on ... Dullahan. Paddy O'Prado came very close and Romans is a sharp horseman. To paraphrase your earlier post, perhaps Sabercat may be this year's Bluegrass Cat. :-)

23 Feb 2012 12:18 PM

Jason Shandler, With all of the horses that Pletcher trains, he has a horrible triple crown record.  IMO he does a poor job of conditioning the horses.  Remember, Algorithms had a hock fracture in June of last year; luckily Pletcher didn't ruin the horse.  He and Michael Matz are tied for a Kentucky Derby winner, both have had one; and as you know, Michael has a much much smaller barn.  

Union Rags IMO is the best horse out there; he looks spectacular right now, 17 hands, and has filled out a lot.  He is ready to rock and roll.    

23 Feb 2012 12:27 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Last Thanksgiving at The Shandler's:

Draynay is cooking the turkey. He stuffed it two weeks ago, boasting, "With that pedigree, and the way I stuffed him and with my expertise in basting this will be the best turkey ever !!!"  Mike Repole is making sure everyone has a fresh drink. Jayjay and Jason are arguing about Todd Pletcher's training abilities as Todd Pletcher is sitting to Jason's left. Billy's Empire is sitting to Todd's left and is telling him how great he is, and Todd is getting tired of saying, "thank you Billy" over and over and yells for Repole to bring him a double Scotch on the rocks but Repole has gone out into the backyard for a best out of five hoops 1 on 1 with Draynay as the turkey burns in the oven. When Todd gets up to make his own Scotch, Ted from LA swoops in and puts a whoopie cushion down on Todd's seat. A fun time was had by all as they all took a limo out to eat except Draynay who disappeared. Ted from LA couldn't stop laughing and everytime he brought up the whoopie cushion again, Todd turned beet red again. But we all know that Todd will have the last laugh this year in the Triple Crown races.

23 Feb 2012 2:00 PM

Regarding the contest; with all the knowledge, insight and handicapping success shining forth from Jason's blog, and with an initial 15 horse stable followed by a total of 20, spreading picks over 3 separate stables, I will not be surprised if one of you finish second to me in the contest this year.

jayjay: Good to hear from you again. You don't have to drop Alpha, unless the connections have changed their plans, he's running in the Wood on 4/7.  You can add him in in the first add-on period after 3/19.

Trebloc:  Last I heard, Motor City is going in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Coldfacts:  Good to see you back.  Any insight on Dullahan vs. Exothermic vs Howe Great on the Derby trail?

Discreet Dancer will take the FOY.  Have to wait and see if he's a 10F colt, but he'll cook 'em all this weekend.

23 Feb 2012 2:18 PM

Dr Drunkinbum

I thought they would all be eating crow for their Thanksgiving dinner.

23 Feb 2012 2:23 PM
Paula Higgins

Oh for goodness sakes Jason, Apple is a non-living product. We are talking apples and oranges. It's much easier to control the quality of the product if it isn't living, breathing and having a mind of its own. Sure, Pletcher had to build his business, no argument. No one is saying he isn't a great trainer. Our issue is that some of you feel compelled to trash other

trainer(s) to make that case. ITA with the points made by Steve from St. Louis and especially, Lazmannick. Todd Pletcher has very good asst. trainers in place to help manage the numbers. Without them, his percentage drops like a rock. Is that a smart business strategy? Yes. Does that make him a better horseman than John Shirreffs. I don't think so. They are both good.

23 Feb 2012 2:35 PM
steve from st louis

Dr., do you come by your moniker naturally or have you gotten into Rick Dutrow's medicine cabinet? My third choice is potent mushrooms.

23 Feb 2012 2:42 PM
El Kabong


Mr. Pletcher does the very best job of getting horses in a position to go to the Derby. It takes a great conditioner to win the prep races that allow a horse to have the earnings to make it to the Derby. The owners have the final say as to weather or not the horse will go, regardless of the advice that Mr. Pletcher gives them about their horse's chances. Can you blame most folks in that position for wanting to give their horse a chance? The reality is that in most years, 15 of the 20 horses entered finish 10 lengths behind the winner simply because they were not capable of getting the distance, not because their trainers are terrible. Most horses are not capable of getting the Derby distance no matter what their trainers do to condition them.   Your argument that Pletcher is not a good conditioner because of his derby record does not stand up when you consider the factors mentioned above and his entire record. I'm looking forward to watching Algorithms take on Union Rags. IMO, I'll be surprised if both Pletcher horses don't finish ahead of Rags in the FOY.

Jason, I have been a big fan of Asmussen. I thought Private Vow was going to get it done for him but no such luck. I'm not writing him off this year because he is too shrewd but I don't see the horse in his barn yet.

23 Feb 2012 2:53 PM
Bob from Boston

Dr. D,

Did you mention Ted from LA?  That version of Thanksgiving is mostly accurate.  Snookie and Jwow were really the story.  Jason sure has an eclectic group of friends.  Does anyone know anything about Wrote?

23 Feb 2012 3:22 PM

The San Carlos came up very interesting this year. The reigning Eclipse winner and BC Sprint champ returns in a race where not only where he won't go favored, I don't believe he'll hit the board. Amazombie drew the 2 post and, unless  Mike Smith gets aggressive early, may suffer a boxed trip on a surface where early position is crucial. This is in addition to returning at a distance he is questionable at, faces three others who have more talent than him (and the remaining two are close to him), and the pace scenario works against him. If a bridge jumper goes down on him it's a prime play against. It is a situation that makes one wish Betfair was available now. Rothko is the up and coming Asmussen and Sway Away has been chomping at bit since his ALW scratch a month or so ago (as evidenced by a 1:10&4 work at Hollywood.)  

23 Feb 2012 3:32 PM

Hit the submit prematurely.

So Amazombie will be completely up against it come Saturday. I like Rothko quite a bit as a racehorse but with The Factor in there he will be running for second, which will be the slot I single him in. Sway Away, A, and Canonize will be keyed in the show slot and they with Mensa Heat will round out the Super.

Forbidden Apple- Ultimate Eagle will face a full field, including Game On Dude, in the Big Cap. Have you been building the bankroll for the showdown?

23 Feb 2012 3:45 PM

Jason : I thought you were a lot smarter than that.  The point of the discussion is that you and your cohorts are saying Steve Asmussen is a better horseman because he's won more races than John.  My point is, since it was too hard for you to comprehend is that John is a much better trainer because he can train horses from scratch.  He doesn't get expensive horses that can win from the get go.  Do you know how much Zenyatta cost ??  Anyone who can train a Zardana to beat a monster like RA deserves his due.  Steve Asmussen probably  trains less than 10 percent of the horses in his operation, it would be impossible for him to train ALL of them.  I never questioned the fact that he's a good trainer, but to say that he's a better horseman than John S is MORONIC.   The fact that JS has won the Classic with a mare, the derby whereas SA with all the expensive horses he trains has NOT says a lot.  In fact, I don't think he'll even have a horse in this year's derby but I hope he does.  I just don't think he's that great of a trainer is all.  RA did all the work herself with the help of Scott B, I think everyone here agrees, he was a puppet to the owner when she was racing.

trackjack : Thanks, good to see you here too.  I thought Alpha might run in the Gotham even though they said they were planning on going straight to the Wood M.  I hope that is the case and yeah, I'll add himafter 3/19.  For the jockeys, I have Javier C, still deciding between Martin Garcia and Rafael Bejarano.    Good luck to you and everyone in this year's RTTR!

23 Feb 2012 4:28 PM
Jason Shandler

That exceptional win percentage for JS year after year has the rest of the trainers shaking in their boots every time he runs a horse.

23 Feb 2012 4:37 PM


Your preview of the super FOY made good reading. Here are my exactas for the FOY and Risen Star respectively, for what they are worth:

FOY: Union Rags, Fort Loudon. I greatly respect the Pletcher duo but "Rags" to me is simply untouchable, and he's omly just getting started.  I'm expecting Fort loudon to be the surprise of this race. Why? Because this is going to be a tough one and in races like these so early in the season, foundation counts and can trump talent. That's what I see happening. Fort Loudon is no slouch and he should've come on a ton since his 3YO pipe-opener in the Holy Bull.

In the Risen Star, El Padrino is simply "money for jam" but look for the Lukas trainee, Optimizer to perform big and fill the exacta spot. Happy hunting folks.  

23 Feb 2012 5:03 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bob from Boston

  Well I'm sure you heard your buddy Ted from LA's version but this is what I heard about the basketball game. Repole won it and Draynay owes him four million bucks. They started off at a million, chump change to Repole but Draynay is a million bucks shy of being a millionaire, however Draynay was 100% certain he would beat Repole and set the bet at a million bucks a game. Repole won the first game and they went double or nothing for the next two, both won by Repole, for the  sweep. We thought Draynay disappeared because he burned the turkey but actually he was sitting in the emergency room with a dislocated kinniption, a heavily bruised ego, a lump on the noggin, a kicked butt, a sprained discombobulation and a cauliflower ear. Draynay says he isn't paying because "I didn't agree to your no harm no foul rules Repole !!"  That's the way I heard it anyway.

23 Feb 2012 5:03 PM
Age of Reason

Jason, do you know where I could find the statistic for the percentage of times a trainer's horses start as the favorite in a given race? That would be a very interesting figure. Obviously some would say that Shirreff's stat would be skewed because of Zenyatta, but Asmussen experienced the same thing when he had Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Just wondering!

23 Feb 2012 5:11 PM

As of Tuesday at the Santa Anita meet both JS and SA had started 29 times and each had 3 wins.

23 Feb 2012 5:43 PM

I dont own any horses,farms,am not a bloodstock agent or have a blog or get paid to write about horseracing.I am a horseplayer,hello everyone I am new to your blog and for the purposes of posting here my name is ZORRO.

23 Feb 2012 6:04 PM
Stellar Jayne

Never a dull moment in this blog! LOL!  Bar room brawl or kindergarten?

Bravo Paul Higgins, I could not have written a better response to Sylvester than you did 22Feb2012 at 10:43pm!

Kudos to you also Lazmannick for your response to Sharjyl 22Feb2012 at 11:43pm.

23 Feb 2012 6:16 PM
Carlos in Cali

Asmussen's 3yo's look pretty weak to me,I don't see them being a factor on the way to the Derby or beyond,IMO.

I also think Baffert's charges are not up to par for the Derby this year. Liaison & SC will be less effective the longer they go.Castaway is too slow and Fed Biz will have to be rushed in order to make the Derby field,not good.

Pletcher's best shot is with El Padrino,IMO. Algorithms,although he's by Bernardini,will probably take after his siblings and be better at distances less than 9f. Gemologist is too slow,plus he's way behind the 8-ball. And he's saying exactly the same things about Discreet Dancer that he said about Uncle Mo and why all know what happened when the latter tried 9f+ twice....  

23 Feb 2012 6:57 PM
Carlos in Cali

Zito might surprise the big-3 in the FOY if they go too fast early on.I'll use him in the exotics that's for sure.

El Padrino looks like a standout down in Louisiana,but we'll see if he takes to the surface, he's a good one that's for sure. Reminds me of Pletcher's best 3yo of all-time,the filly Rags To Riches. I think he'll run all day and he has the right mind according to Pletcher.

23 Feb 2012 7:06 PM
Jason Shandler

Age of Reason: I have no idea where you could find that info. Sorry.

Thanks for that stat Laz. Now check Asmussen's win percentages at CD, Fair Grounds, Sunland, Lone Star, and Keeneland during the last 12 months. And his win percentage overall. And then compare his win percentage to JS over the last one, five and 10 years. Get back to us when you do.

23 Feb 2012 7:14 PM

Carlos and Laz,

 I would think twice about going all in on El Padrino this weekend. How many times have you seen a horse come off a layoff and run like he did in his last? Couple that with the fact that it was on a sealed track makes me wary. It won't suprise me if he wins but it wouldn't shock me if he bounces to the moon either. He will have to show me twice before I am as impressed as most are. Mr. Bowling is my pick. I know he is not bred for the classic distance, but I think he can get a 1 1/16th. Larry Jones is high on this horse and his last work was impressive. JMHO

Good luck to all who wager this weekend.

23 Feb 2012 7:55 PM

Part of being a professional handicapper, is not only being able to pick which horse is going to run good......but also being great at being able to predict horses that will run bad....ive been waiting for THE FACTOR to be entered, and now the wait is over....on paper, he is the only speed, coming off a great effort. How can he lose?   WATCH AND LEARN! poor race predicted for the factor.......

23 Feb 2012 8:01 PM
El Kabong


Going with the speed. Discreet runs away, Algorithm will close like a rocket for second. I'm going to hit all in 3rd. Not to disrespect URags, on the contrary, I don't think Matz has to worry about winning and I don't think he will have him cranked.

Like El Padrino over Mark Valeski, Afford, Z Dager. I'll probably flip those 3 over Padrino because we are talking 3 year olds and $_it happens.

Line em up!

23 Feb 2012 8:09 PM

Forgot to mention that I think Discreet Dancer will win the FOY. 3-1 is acceptable but I am hoping for 4-1.

23 Feb 2012 8:21 PM
Paula Higgins

Thank you Stellar Jane! Jay Jay, good points!!  

You know, go to Wikipedia and look up John Shirreffs. He has won plenty of races in his career. Maybe not as many big stakes/classics as the trainers with the huge barns, and with the the number of asst. trainers that could fill a football stadium, but he has done just fine. I mean lets be fair about this. We are not talking about a trainer who can't get the job done when he has a good horse or a trainer that drugs his horses into first place. As JayJay said, he can get the job done with a not so great horse. He can take a potentially great horse, realize her potential, and not ruin her. Pletcher, Asmussen and Shirreffs are all excellent trainers. Also, Matz, Romans, Baffert of course, and on and on.

Welcome Zorro. I had a dog by that name. He was a great little guy.

Jason, I think you should have a blog where we get to pick the trainers we would send our top 5 horses to, if we owned them.

23 Feb 2012 8:47 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Steve from St Louis

  First time Lasix.


  All racing fans do that. Crow, feet, money. Some people had to eat crow to survive in the great depression. I heard it is really nasty. There are people that seem to like it however. But I liked your joke. Funny. I do like those Black Crows that they sell in the movie theatres. Or they used to anyway.

23 Feb 2012 8:58 PM


OK, I'll bite. I see The Factor as getting an moderate to easy first quarter and then, if that occurs, following it up with his typically wicked half mile, effectively closing out the race. I'll venture you see something physically askew with TF, as each loss of his can be explained, at least in my eyes. As you say, on paper he's the only speed. Each time he's got his feet under him he's spread-eagled the field.

One thing we can agree on, it's a helluva race.

23 Feb 2012 9:02 PM

for FoY dancer,neck,union. give longview drive another chance and hope he doesn't run towards the parking lot next time.  

23 Feb 2012 9:19 PM

Carlos in Cali, you are so right about the Pletcher horses.  I live in New Orleans, so I'll see El Padrino run.  He is likely the best that Pletcher has.  IMO

23 Feb 2012 9:24 PM

Ranagulzion, I so agree with you.  Union Rags is the best 3 year old right now.  I live in New Orleans, so I'll be at the Fair Grounds on Saturday to watch El Padrino run, and also to ask Castellano what he was thinking when he gave up the mount on Union Rags.  Okay I know what he was thinking, "show me the money", whatever.  Bad call on his manager's part.  

23 Feb 2012 9:35 PM

Ok math.....nothing physically askew seen......i can see the future....if he runs like he did last time, he will he CAN saying im expecting a bad effort.....i cant give my secrets out.......we will see ok?...

23 Feb 2012 9:37 PM

EL better throw shared property in the risen star in your exotics.

23 Feb 2012 9:39 PM
Carlos in Cali


I hear what you're saying. IMO, should El Padrino regress a little off his last he still should be too much horse for that field. Pletcher sent him down there to get the graded $$ vs. lesser competition instead of going thru the tougher FL/ AR route.. good move. I'll use your Mr. Bowling underneath straight- up with Z Dager to show. Also,El P. is toting 4lbs less than Mr.B...

23 Feb 2012 9:46 PM

jayjay, I was at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans when Zardana beat Rachael Alexandra.  John did a great job with Zardana; she beat the Horse of the Year.  I love Rachael, though.

23 Feb 2012 9:53 PM

El Kabong, point taken.  I will be surprised if Union Rags loses the FOY.  Discreet Dancer is a sprinter, and Algorithms, I don't think so.  He beat Hansen, but Hansen is the better horse, so I threw out that race. Pletcher's record is poor in the triple crown races, with the number of horses that he trains.  I'm just saying....

23 Feb 2012 10:10 PM

Thanks Jason.  I respect Asmussen whenever I see his horses going.  Hierro, have you heard anything on him?  He's been back on the workout tab after the disappointing Sham. I was hoping for better things from him and he still may have some time and the Sunland race is out there in March with sizable graded stakes money.

23 Feb 2012 10:54 PM

With Johnny V pre-selected to ride Discreet Dancer they are definitely sending him to wire the field but I don't think that other rivals are going to play dead to that strategy. Discreet dancer will feel that he's in a race for the first time and i believe that seasoning will determine the outcome of a competitive affair.  union Rags doesn't have to be fully cranked to win.  He'll run very well off the lay-off.

23 Feb 2012 11:00 PM

Dr Drunkinbum

Ever get a crow's claw stuck in your throat?  Man they're persistently annoying and almost impossible to get rid of.  If you look it up in the dictionary that’s what they call a Draynay.

23 Feb 2012 11:26 PM


You might get your wish with Discreet Dancer.  I would say that he’ll probably be 4-1 as the top two will definitely be very heavily bet, especially Algorithms because it is still Union rags’ first start since the BC Juvenile, almost four months.

I am extremely high on Discreet Dancer and think that he just might potentially be the most talented three year old at this time.  I do have a concern with only two starts and a minor setback in his training schedule.  His possible distance limitations might also be a concern, especially for the Derby and TC races.  He is from his sire, Discreet Cat’s first crop, and so far there is not much to report on any of his offspring.  Discreet Cat himself, though awesome at middle distances (he ran the fastest Cigar Mile yet in 1.32.46; and his UAE Derby at 9F was the second fastest of 8 runnings of the event), failed miserably at 10F in his only try at the distance.

I am a firm believer in using Dosage Index genetics as a guide to whether a horse can get the Derby distance of 10 furlongs, but also realize that there have been many exceptions.  Discreet Dancer’s Dosage Index of 3.44 is considered too high for the Derby and TC races and yet Smarty Jones DI was 3.40.  In recent years the average Dosage Index of the Kentucky Derby winners is rising, (2.27 since 1940; and 2.94 since 1998).  Since 1940, only five winners of the Derby have had a DI of more than 4.00 (7% of the 71 winners), but two of those, Giacomo and Mine That Bird, came in the past 7 runnings so anything is possible.  And Giacomo and Mine That Bird came from way out of it.  Smarty came from 4th.  None of them tried to set the pace or pushed it close up.  War Emblem, like Smarty a Derby winner with a DI of 3.40, did lead all the way, but set very controlled and moderate fractions early and closed his final quarter in 24.43 seconds

My concern with Discreet Dancer is his running style of either being on the lead or very close to it and pushing the pace.  If he relaxes on Sunday and they get maximum potential out of him, this race could be a no contest.

24 Feb 2012 1:22 AM


Thank you so much for the wonderful article on Steve A. He is an excellent trainer and someday he will win the derby. I think he best hope is Sabercat. He already has sufficient graded earnings which allows him to take a two prep race schedule that will allow him to progress in a manner that could make him peak on the first Saturday in May. The San Felipe is looking like an extremely tough race. He could come in third and still be progressing nicely. He could not win and still be a live longshot in the derby.  

24 Feb 2012 1:54 AM

I love Union Rags but we certainly do not know that he is the best 3-yr old out there because he hasn't run since he was 2.  We'll have a much better idea after this weekend and I can hardly wait.

The Steve Asmussen/John Shirreffs debate is pretty silly because the two trainers are disimilar in many ways that matter.  That said, it's hard for me to call Mr. Shirrefs a "great" trainer on the basis of a Ky Derby win and because he campaigned Zenyatta. The Derby win was a fluke with a 2nd rate horse in a race that fell apart; no credit to John.

I will concede he mapped out a very carefully planned campaign for Zenyatta that was successful on many fronts, but... and this is a BIG but, there would be nary an argument about the greatness of that mare if only she had been given more opportunity to show what she was capable of.  Because she seldom met tough fields and tough challenges, her "greatness" will always be a little suspect to me and to many others.  A shame, I think, because she probably could have proved herself to be a truly great horse if given the chance.

24 Feb 2012 4:05 AM

In the Risen Star, I am going with Afford and Shared Property.  I like Afford's post position and I expect Shared Property to get a better trip then last time.  El Padrino ran his best two races on wet/sloppy tracks, so I am hoping for a fast track.

I like Union Rags in the FOY.

24 Feb 2012 8:13 AM

TY for the welcome Paula Higgins.I think UR will hit the board,but if he is the favorite and he IS the highweight I wouldnt bet him to win unless it was to cover an exotic bet where I had him underneath.On paper El Padrino is the best,lets see what the odds read at racetime.

24 Feb 2012 8:22 AM
Matthew W

Dont bet on Amazombie not hitting the board--he runs well fresh--inside post not so bad cuz he takes himself back--Mike will likely get him out from back there--that's a very classy horse, a former claimer who got good and has been good for a long time....

24 Feb 2012 9:06 AM

On my way to the gig this morning, Clint Glasscock(algorithm owner) was on the radio discussing the FOY. He feels the main threat in the FOY is Pletcher's other horse, Discreet Dancer. If he goes out and get's an uncontested lead, it will be a game of catch me if you can. That is his main concern in the race. He respects Union Rags, but took a jab about how they already beat Hansen. He also said that the horse they fear most is El Padrino. Javier has ridden Algo, Rags, El Padrino, and Hansen, and he said he would not trade places with anyone, so read into that if you will...

last, he also mentioned Zito's horse in the FOY is the pace falls apart. good luck. A lto of big races this weekend

24 Feb 2012 9:20 AM
Karen in Texas

Billy----When did Castellano ride Hansen? I'm only aware of Victor Lebron and Ramon Dominguez having ridden him.

24 Feb 2012 11:17 AM

he never did, my bad. I was thinking about Algo beating him. Thanks for catching that

24 Feb 2012 11:51 AM
El Kabong

KY Vet,

Will do. Thanks.


Check, check and check in FOY.


Enjoy the FG this weekend. I'm expecting some pre race, race and post race observations from you on Sunday. This would have been the year to travel to The Big EZ, take in Mardi Gras, and stay for the race. Why o why did I not see the dates falling into place? C'est la vie.  

24 Feb 2012 11:51 AM


Afraid to give away your secrets? LOL. You need to convince us of your prowess as a handicapper before most on here would be interested in your secrets. So far you haven't showed us anything special.  Carlos in Cali could teach you a thing or two Bro, even though he's still kinda stuck on those AP Indys.


Javier Castellano doesn't seem to realise that a potential Triple Crown winner is something money can't buy. I believe he'll regret his decision no matter how much he earns from his association with todd Pletcher.  It is interesting that after many years in the service of Pletcher Johnny V fortuitously got his Derby breakthrough last year with a chance ride on Animal kingdom for Graham Motion. Sometimes it pays to just go with your instincts.

24 Feb 2012 1:13 PM

Ranag.....i do this for a living. If you only the track i go to people come up to me for picks, and ticket tellers always ask who i like.....and yes the factor looks like hes alone on the lead....looks like a cinch, and i predict he will lose....if he wins, big whoop...just another race! i am having one of my best years ever so is the way, quote of the year-COLDCUTS" the factor has great 1 1/4 stride"  wow!

25 Feb 2012 1:00 AM

Ranagulzion : He will only regret his decision IF Union Rags wins.  Otherwise, everyone will see him as a smart businessman.  

KY VET : 95% of the time I have no idea what you're talking about (sometimes I wonder if you even know what you're talking about) but it would be nice if you actually pick a horse and post here just so we can see how great a handicapper you are.   Who do you like in the FOY ?  Risen Star ?  Let's start with that...

I'm going with El Padrino / Tizanexpense / Shared Property in the Risen Star.  I'm hoping for Tiz to hit the board at big odds.

FOY will probably go with Algorithms / Union Rags / Casual Trick.  I'll let Discreet Dancer beat me, which he probably will as I don't think anyone can go with him but I just can't bet all 3 favorites, there's no money in it.

Good luck to all !

25 Feb 2012 3:04 AM

I guarantee that if I was at the track with Kentucky Vet and we had differing opinions I wouldnt be convinced to change my opinion.Before I started posting on here, I remember he was boldly touting Uncle Mo as the best horse in the classic,and anyone that follows horseracing on a regular basis had to know that the owner made the decision to run in the classic off a mile prep.As far as the Factor losing today I will see if Kentucky Vet is right about that.Its not all about the horses they are animals, it also has to do with the humans involved in managing and training the horses.These races arent run on paper things happen in the actual races that NO ONE can predict and it leads to unexpected outcomes.IMO any professional horseplayer knows there are very few locks,relative to all the races that are studied,its all about getting the right odds on your bets.No player that makes a profit does so by playing all favorites or all long shots,and its all subjective.(all about opinions)one of the ONLY known factors are the ODDS before the race starts.

25 Feb 2012 9:00 AM

Well just watched the Factor dig in and hold on to win.This wasnt as easy a win as the Malibu but he still won,sorry KY Vet wrong again.EL Padrino at less than even money didnt run that hard but won by a nose.He didnt try to run to his last race just used enough energy to win, but I bet if you asked his jockey he felt he had it as soon as they turned into the stretch, thats what they get paid for perfect timing.KY Vet I think thats what they wanted an easy win to get $180,000 in graded earnings.I think the Factor worked a lot harder in this race but he still won,these horses are not machines they cant run at their peak every race.

25 Feb 2012 7:28 PM

Why does everybody keep thinking i liked uncle mo in the classic? I said uncle mo was the best horse. And he was the best horse . I didnt like him in the classic....The factor didnt run as good, and my horse scratched...not a big shock...thought he would regress a little more...waiting for beyer fig. And i shall show you all some of my choices....upcoming

25 Feb 2012 9:22 PM

Well the FOY will be run on a wet track,it is raining harder now.It has been overcast here since yesterday evening so I think they had time to seal the track after racing was completed as long as they could do this without any daylight.A lot of bloggers even the host of this blog are picking Discreet Dancer because they think this one will control the pace,in a race that starts almost on the turn the inside horses and their jockeys will want to TAKE what is given to them if they are on the inside.I dont think Discreet Dancer will get anything close to his last trip if he does the jockeys are giving in too easy.

26 Feb 2012 9:03 AM

IMO Beyer speed figures are not as valuable a tool at picking overlays as they were when Andrew Beyer made a tidy sum using them himself,before he sold the rights to the form.If you read what Baffert stated in an interview,they didnt have the screws tightented for this race,as they did for the Malibu,so unless you keep in mind that the connections have certain goals for their steeds and they work their horses with those plans in mind the figures are not going to give you anything more than what a complete neophyte with a reasonable amount of intelligence can get by reading the form.I will say that the figures are more useful for sprints than routes because their is only one turn in a sprint as opposed to a route where there are two turns and a runner is more at risk of a bad trip,ground loss,stopping etc,also weight becomes more of an issue the farther they run and if it is a race on turf the condition of the ground.

26 Feb 2012 11:17 AM

I think this weekend proves I know everything.

26 Feb 2012 10:00 PM

UR won the FOY like if it was a maiden training race at the dog track without a purse just as a learning race.He schooled the depleted field by 4 lengths and becomes the undisputed leader in the KY Derby futures at least on paper.If he gets the same trip in the derby the rest are running for 2nd,of course there will be 13 more competitors for the derby.

27 Feb 2012 7:30 AM

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