Five Under the Radar Derby Hopefuls

With less than two months now remaining until the Kentucky Derby, we are starting to get a pretty solid picture of who the top contenders are. Right now it's Union Rags at the top and everyone else trailing, but horses like Alpha, El Padrino, and Hansen have to be considered serious second-tier contenders based off of their last races. The final preps will give us our best indicators of what to look for in Louisville, but the next two weekends could be quite telling as well.

This weekend's two Kentucky Derby preps take us to Santa Anita for the San Felipe and Tampa Bay Downs for the Tampa Bay Derby. Next week it will be the Rebel from Oaklawn. The San Felipe, especially, will be a key race, as most of the top West Coast 3-year-olds should be in the gate. Even with Out of Bounds off the trail, it still looks like a formidable group with Baffert's pair--Fed Biz and Liaison--as well as Creative Cause, Empire Way, Midnight Transfer, Rousing Sermon, and possibly Sabercat. The Tampa Bay Derby is a wide-open affair with Todd Pletcher's Spring Hill Farm the likely favorite leading the charge.

With Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager having ended last Sunday, I think there are still several horses flying under the radar. Some of them weren't even individual betting choices in the pool, others were at odds of 30-1 or higher when betting ended. Here are five horses that I think could jump into the picture--either after this weekend is over, or by the time the final preps are run. Not included on this list is Sabercat (he'll either go in San Felipe or Rebel) who I still like and who ended the pool at 30-1, but I don't really consider him a true under the radar horse. After all, he does have $600,000 of earnings.

Empire Way (37-1): Creative Cause is still the more highly-regarded 3-year-old from Mike Harrington's barn, but I'm more inclined to look in this direction. What he did in the Robert Lewis was pretty impressive, considering all of the other horses were staggering to the finish on Santa Anita Speedway. No, he was never going to get to I'll Have Another, but he at least looked like a horse that wanted to finish, and it was his first start on dirt. A full brother to Royal Delta, added distance should only help him. I'm not really expecting him to win the San Felipe, and actually I wouldn't be surprised in Harrington shipped him somewhere else for his final prep--somewhere that was less speed favoring.

Liaison (39-1): Show of hands, who thinks this horse will turn in another clunker similar to the Robert Lewis? Not me. Baffert is the master at getting horses to improve off of bad outings and he's done some interesting stuff with this one since then. On Feb. 22 he worked him a calculated mile, teaching him to settle through a reported first five furlongs in a very slow 1:08, and then letting him finish in :35. He thought the horse was rank early and too fresh in the Lewis, so he's removed blinkers and tweaked a few other things. He came back with a Baffert-like four furlongs in :47 on Monday, which should set him up perfectly for the San Felipe. I expect Liaison to be much better in the San Felipe, perhaps putting himself right back in the mix as a serious contender.

Prospective (not in KDFW): We all have horses that we seem to gravitate toward on the Derby trail (what fun would it be if we didn't?). This is one of mine. I really like how this horse finished races, even when he doesn't have the cleanest of trips. In the Sam Davis, it looked like he was through approaching the stretch, but he somehow found more and edged Reveron for second, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths. If you throw out the Breeders' Cup on a heavy track he's never run a bad race, and I'm expecting him to run well again in the Tampa Bay Derby. He's already got $160,000 of graded earnings, so he just needs a solid, on-the-board finish to keep him on the track to Louisville.

Take Charge Indy (38-1): Finished a good second to El Padrino in that Jan. 29 optional claimer at Gulfstream in his season debut after leading into the stretch. He's been working very well for Pat Byrne at Palm Meadows heading into the Tampa Bay Derby, which is his make-or-break race. He's a versatile type; has shown the ability to come from off of it as he did in the Arlington-Washington Futurity as a juvenile, and has shown tactical speed too. The big question is if he can handle distance. We'll find out more this weekend.  

Our Entourage (not in KDFW): Ok, Ok, get the you're-kissing-up-to-Repole jokes out of the way now. I happen to like this Street Cry colt, especially after the way he accelerated in the stretch in his Feb. 25 optional claimer on the Gulfstream turf. This is a talented horse, and guess what, he's rapidly improving. Is he better on turf than dirt? Yes. But that doesn't mean Repole/Pletcher aren't going to give him one chance to make the Derby, and he just might do it. Don't forget, he was a highly-regarded juvenile with a solid pedigree when they paid $350,000 for him. He'll either go to the Wood, Illinois Derby, or possibly Florida Derby for his crack Louisville.  

Any under the radar horses that you guys like?


Leave a Comment:

Bob from Boston

I want to be first so badly, that I am posting before I read the article.  Who was talking about being "master of his domain" in the last blog?

06 Mar 2012 12:47 PM
Bob from Boston

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Winning!!!!!!

I need to learn more about Wrote and Heavy Breathing.

06 Mar 2012 1:06 PM

Empire Way and Take Charge Indy are not flying under the radar.  They're both on my top 10.  Both because of what they've done...and their sires.  

Just how many progeny has Unbridled put on the TC races winner's circle?  Grindstone, Empire Maker, Red Bullet, then as grandsire to Shackleford, Eight Bells, Birdstone, Mine That Bird, and Summer Bird.  Darn Good odds.

And AP Indy?  One of the best. Indian Charlie? No Way...shades of Uncle Mo.  

Prospective...great run in the Sam Davis.  Looks like a great closer. He's interesting.

Our Entourage...very much off the radar...well bred.  But dropped after 2 graded stakes into allowance company...regressing.  Would prefer Swag Daddy .  

06 Mar 2012 1:14 PM

Secret Circle

Howe Great


Midnight Transfer

Thunder Moccasin

I think this list of horses who are being overlooked right now, that could have an impact on Derby day. I would add Lucky Chappy, but he is headed to the UAE Derby.

06 Mar 2012 1:26 PM

I've got a couple under the radar horses that I have my eye on for a late derby push.

Went the Day Well - Looked good in a decent maiden special weight  field on Saturday at Gulfstream.  Bred to run a long way and his stalking style is great for a derby run.  He was originally pointed to run in the Gotham stakes as a maiden but Graham Motion decided to give him a much easier spot.  I would not be surprised at all to see Motion send him to the Wood for his next start to give him a shot at the derby.

My other "under the radar" horse would be Najjaar.  He is the ultimate closer and with Borel likely sticking around, you can bet he will be flying up the rail if there is a whole there.  Peitz may try to get him ready off only 2 weeks for the Rebel stakes and he will be dangerous.  Should have no problems getting a mile and a quarter.


06 Mar 2012 1:28 PM
Frank J.

I think My Adonis will turn the tables on Hansen next time, added distance for him will only help.

06 Mar 2012 1:29 PM

I'm watching Adirondack King. Has a good chance to improve as distances increase. I like his upside if he stays healthy.

06 Mar 2012 1:31 PM
El Kabong

Bob from Boston,

I commented to Billy's Empire that Hansen's trainer, Maker, had "mastered his domain"  with small changes to Hansen's gear and his routine(which allowed Hansen to take his 4 hour nap on race day-in which he must have slept soundly) which resulted in a better effort. Credit Maker for knowing his horse and keeping his eyes focused on the task, and out of Glamour:)

06 Mar 2012 1:36 PM
Jason Shandler

Slew: Well then, it's official. Since they are both in your top 10, they are not under the radar. You are, after all, the consensus when it comes to official Derby lists.

Also, whether or not you like Our Entourage for the Derby is one thing, but the horse is certainly not regressing.

Beebs4201: I saw the maiden race with Went the Day Well (and had him). He looked Ok. I suspect he'll get one shot at the Derby.

06 Mar 2012 1:41 PM
Minnesota Kid

How about this for a long-range prediction?  Sabercat will run 2nd in the Derby and then, a few months later, will win the Haskell.

Just like his sire and damsire.

06 Mar 2012 1:48 PM

Prospective: I liked from last year.

Exothermic: I loved his dam.

Bob from Boston:  I haven't been moving fast enough recently to be the first poster.  I will do better.

06 Mar 2012 1:55 PM

OK, hit "enter" too fast.

Beebs4201: I love Najjar's sire as well.

06 Mar 2012 1:56 PM

Keeping an eye on Dullahan, Exothermic and Howe Great if they all go in the Palm Beach on Sunday; who will stand out?  Next stop the Bluegrass.

Will be at the Tampa Bay Derby and I've liked Take Charge Indy all along.

Check my last post on the previous blog.  Any thoughts?

06 Mar 2012 2:00 PM

I pretty much just agree... 4 those above are in my top 10 are Sabercat, Empire Way, Liason, and Take Charge Indy.

Sabercat is the most intriguing to me, I am looking forward to his first start. I hope to see a good race from Empire Way, and expect Liason to show his last race was a throw out. I hope Take Charge Indy is good enough to run with this group, and if he isn't, he's a dangerous horse when he finds his niche.

06 Mar 2012 2:13 PM

I believe the horse that hits every top ten list after this weekend will be Blingo! Sherriffs doing right by not rushing this long striding monster. Will it translate to dirt and the Santa Anita speedway...only time will tell.

If it does, look out because this guy will be craving a mile and a quarter.

06 Mar 2012 2:14 PM
El Kabong

Jason, Great topic.

Agree with you on Empire Way, but I will be rooting for Fed Biz if he runs in San Felipe. If he goes, I think he will get it done. Still, Empire Way is perfectly bred to go the distance and he is improving gradually. He doesn't need to win. Wins are only necessary when a horse needs the earnings(Like Fed Biz). I would add Exothermic(all others) and  Dullahan(26-1)  to that list. They will do all the explaining  this weekend in the Palm Beach. That race is going to be outstanding since Howe Great will be in there too. Spring Hill Farm(All others) and Battle Hardened (59-1)also are on my list of possible future contenders who more than likely will make themselves known this weekend in the Tampa Bay Derby. I was impressed with Kenneally's scrappy colt walking into that race a maiden and throwing down. What Next? You have to like his nerve and his breeding screems stretch it out son.

06 Mar 2012 2:16 PM


Watching Secret Circle in that Southwest Stakes was brutal. It was hard to watch. He was flailing in that last 1/8 of a mile (...all over the track - exhausted)

This colt wants no part of a mile and a quarter.


06 Mar 2012 2:21 PM
Jason Shandler

As I said on Twitter last weeek, if Secret Circle wins the Derby I'll become a Jehovah's Witness. If he even makes the Derby field, I'll let Jayjay write a blog. The thought of the latter is even worse.

This horse is a sprinter/miler. Baffert knows it.

06 Mar 2012 2:36 PM

Mark V. is under a lot of radars but won't be when he wins his next out.  El Overrated will not win again this year.  Sabercat is one to watch for sure.  Liaison ?  Not seeing it.

06 Mar 2012 2:36 PM
It aint easy being good!

Wow the San Felipe is loaded. My sleeper horse is Street Life he has the breeding, the class, the backing of me and closes like a freight train and is running tomorrow in an allowance race at money btw, if he wins get ready for his stakes debut then off to the derby!

06 Mar 2012 2:48 PM

ALGORYTHIMS OUT, OUT OF BOUNDS OUT.....2 down from the top 10....MY FUTURE BETS-200 EL PADRINO AT 12 to 1.....150 creative cause at 17 to 1.......50 on NEWS PENDING at 45 to 1.......OVER 2 grand if any win

06 Mar 2012 2:50 PM
Mary Zinke

I was impressed by Our Entourage's recent turf win. Hopefully, he's  like Animal Kingdom that can transition well from one surface to another. Under the radar? How about the Team Valor maiden winner, Went The Day Well? This is the one that Mr.Irwin said is their Derby hopeful. Based on his breeding and running style, Empire Way is one I've liked for a while, so I understand how he might not be considered under the radar, but he doesn't have a stakes win yet and, like the others listed, needs to add to his gse.   He's in my early KD picks, moved up after Out Of Bound's injury. Empire Way's stablemate is my top pick, but I think with EW's breeding and running style, he'll be one to watch out for in the Belmont.  

06 Mar 2012 2:53 PM

Street Life runs tomorrow in the 8th race (?)at Aqueduct and the race should set up well for him.  But, then again what do I know.

Heavy Breathing is my dark horse.

06 Mar 2012 3:08 PM
Bob from Boston


I like the idea.

mz, you have to get up pretty early in the afternoon to get one over on me.

KY Vet, so what you're saying is you spent almost $500 on future Derby bets.  And IF you win, you hope to get 4-1.  I'd suggest going to any track in America and betting $500 on a horse 4-1 or above.  At least you know they are likely to show up in the starting gate that day.  It is the biggest sucker bet in horseracing.  The only way to do it is go big on one horse on which you have a hunch.  The BEST way to double your money on a Derby future bet is to determine how much you want to bet, fold it in half, and put it back in your pocket.  

06 Mar 2012 3:13 PM
Jason Shandler

To follow up on what Bob just wrote, this is a perfect example of why KY Vet has no clue what he's writing about or doing. He spent $500 on future bets and one only will probably make the gate at 12-1, which you might get on race day. Nice work there, pro. Please keep feeding us your wisdom.

06 Mar 2012 3:17 PM

I'll go with Midnight Transfer as an Under the Radar horse I am looking at and to win the San Felipe.

So bummed out about Out of Bounds.

06 Mar 2012 3:20 PM

Josh, of the 5 you listed, 2 are sprinter/milers, 2 are turf horses, and then Midnight Transfer may have a shot if Carla has him ready this weekend. Howe Great and Dullahan are both turf horses and the owners are reaching, and Secret Circle and Thunder Mocassin are sprinter/milers. I think Thunder Mocassin is going in the Swale next and Todd is not going to strecth him out. Like Jason said, Secret Circle will be short at 1 1/8, let alone 1 1/4. As someone mentioned above, I am interested to see what Wrote does in the UAE Derby. I also like how Najjaar finishes races. The one horse I am most interested in and  much anticipating a return this year is Gemologist. I know he is not under the radar, but he is not being talked about very much at all...

06 Mar 2012 3:24 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks Billy. Appreciate that. I'll make sure to have two reubens, a double order of cheese fries, a bag of popcorn, and a diet coke for you upon your arrival. Will that be enough to hold you over until the first?

06 Mar 2012 3:37 PM

Billy's Empire,

Who won the derby last year? Oh yeah the son of a turf miler.


I'm sorry you live in your mom's basement. Don't disrespect me, understood?

06 Mar 2012 3:45 PM

Billy's empire,

And wrote isn't a turf horse?

06 Mar 2012 3:49 PM

Draynay, while I agree with you that El Padrino is overrated, let's not forget that in March 2010 you predicted Zenyatta wouldn't win another race, see how that worked out, genius? And dismiss Liaison at your own risk.

Jason, I see you have your Pletcher/Repole pom poms out once again, but I'm glad to see you've toned it back a little. Secret Circle winning the Derby seems about as likely as Drill winning the Belmont.

06 Mar 2012 4:08 PM

I was thinking the same thing... but couldnt not have a bet on NEWS PEENDING....For the record, you are wrong. its 400 dollars..2550 if creative cause wins/2400 if el padrino wins/2250 if news pending wins....6 to 1...on the 2nd and 3rd picks on haskins list...i also think they all are coming into the derby perfect, will make the field(except news pending a reach)...... How many Quality horses are not speed horses? Not many...i have 3......Wait and see...if i win only 2 grand, then ill suffer....I can lose every DERBY the rest of my life, and ill be way ahead in that race. Its what i do best. So who doesnt know what they are talking about now? 6 to 1!!!!!!! did you even add it up? i said over 2 grand! You people dont know who i am.....and i cannot tell you, but 3 words.....WATCH AND LEARN!

06 Mar 2012 4:09 PM

ok 5 to 1.........How ya LIKE ME NOW!

06 Mar 2012 4:16 PM
It aint easy being good!

Billys Empire its hard to talk about a horse that hasnt run yet this year. Get Gemologist a race its fricken March people. I like the third start off a layoff but hurry it up! I have heard he has been working well find that horse a race!!!!!

06 Mar 2012 4:22 PM
Bob from Boston

KY Vet is Toby Keith.  I can take hints really well.

Went the Day Well?  I could never bet on a horse with that big of a syntax problem.

06 Mar 2012 4:56 PM

Jason, you better throw in that bread pudding they serve at Keeneland, a Bar B Que sandwich, and make it a Makers and Diet. I am wathcing my figure... Keep the popcorn for Dray to throw at all of his groupies... HA

06 Mar 2012 5:04 PM
Carlos in Cali

So I take it Billy's Empire is big-bonededed and has thyroid problems?...

06 Mar 2012 5:10 PM

I predicted the poly state champion would NEVER beat males on dirt and I was right.  I also said she would NEVER win east of the Mississippi and I was RIGHT.

06 Mar 2012 5:14 PM

Hi Jason,

I think you are underestimating Secret Circles derby participation.

I say JayJay gotta a chance for taking over this blog. (sarc)

I think ANY trainer or connections who can fill up the starting gate should.  

Think about it.

You gotta take your shots.

Besides, What is the worst case scenario for Baffert? He runs 20th but he still keeps another opponent out of the starting gate. More likely an also-eligible N1X with cheap speed. The cheap speed might as well be yours. If Secret Circle can't sustain his run(I see it that way), it will still setup a horse like Liaison.  At the end of the day, The connections still have a great time because its the Kentucky $&*#!^ Derby!!

06 Mar 2012 5:20 PM

I'm not convinced that HOWE GREAT and DULLAHAN are just turf horses, yet.  I'm also keeping one eye on AMERICAN ACT, BLINGO, and ENDER KNIEVEL.

It wasn't unexpected that AMERICAN ACT beat BODEMEISTER in a maiden sprint race but comparing the two, AA was a bigger horse with a longer stride and I think he's pretty athletic.  WINDSURFER may have something to say before it's all over, too.

06 Mar 2012 5:47 PM
Paula Higgins

Bob from Boston, I want you to host the next Academy Awards ceremony. I love Billy Crystal, but dare I say that you are even funnier?

Jason, here is hoping Secret Circle does not win the Derby because as a Jehovas Witness, you cannot accept blood products even to save your life. Contrary to popular belief, there is a certain point when only human blood can save you if your drop low enough. Makes me crazy as a R.N. to see people sign blood refusals but Jason, you will have to do that. So pick another religion you will convert to if Secret circle wins, just to be on the safe side.

My two picks for sleepers are Sabercat and Liason.

06 Mar 2012 6:48 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bob from Boston

  Betting a few thousand on futures is nothing if you're a gazillionaire, or even a multi millionaire. It's all relative isn't it? Even if it is a sucker's bet, it's still fun if you hit it. It's kind of like the lotto. You waste money playing for "just in case." "I'm expecting a big race this weekend from either Midnight Transfer, Empire Way, Spring Hill Farm, Ted from LA or all of the above. I have small futures bets on all of them except Spring Hill Farm. I got a juicy 20-1 odds that Ted from LA will rise again from hitchhiking, drinking, and youknowwhating his way across America and blog again, before 2015. Word on the streets is that he's holed up day and night at Barney's Tavern for the last two weeks but will soon be on his way again step by step, thumb by thumb back home to LA, from Bangor, Maine where this little escapade started. He plans on a book about his travels. "Bob and Ted's Excellent Adventure." Is the Bob you, or another Bob? Or does it represent bobbin' and weavin' ? I heard he's gotten into a few scraps along the way. "You ain't nuttin but a lowdown, dirty, nogood, blogger !!!"  "That's ex-blogger to you Mister."  That's all it took for the barroom brawl in Ft. Lauderdale to get started. Anyway, my money's on Ted, Empire and Midnight for my under the radars.

06 Mar 2012 6:50 PM

Jason...I noted "my" list because the horses on it have shown up to race this year...and most everyone has seen their wins in graded stakes.

Our Entourage...

10/8/11 G1 Futurity 5th

11/26/11 G2 Remson 5th

2/25/12 won an allowance/claiming race against no one.  To me, that's regression.  

Wrote is a top of the line Euro under Aiden O'Brien.  I doubt he'll come for the Derby.  By High Chaparral out of a mare whose grandsire is Danzig, he's turf and we may not see him until the next BC.  

But also under the radar is Howe Great.  By Hat Trick, son of Sunday Silence, how could you not feel something special about him?

06 Mar 2012 7:20 PM
quiet american

I really think Gemologist and I'll Have Another both will have their say on the triple crown trail..immense talent just waiting to be let loose.

06 Mar 2012 7:26 PM


If your pick Quality Road didn't cough up his lungs at the 1/4 pole. She would've won.

You 'hemorrhaged' money that day. Man up and admit it.

06 Mar 2012 7:50 PM

Jason, I'm glad someone else is singing Prospective's praises.  I've been praising that horse on other blogs.  Think he is set to make the Derby field already and is definitely going to be juicy odds to fill out the bottom of the exotics (don't think he can win).

06 Mar 2012 8:04 PM
Jason Shandler

Kevin: There are other horse racing blogs?

06 Mar 2012 8:26 PM

Even though it's an enormous uphill battle considering the Santa Anita track profile, Blingo is a huge talent who, if he is fortunate enough to make it to the Derby, would be a contender @ long odds come May.


Future book punters- Keep in mind that a new trend, although extracted from a small sample, has emerged concerning the odds on Derby day since Mine That Bird. Absolute throw outs that previously were pushing 50 to 100/1 have been held in the 20's by, I can only surmise, The First Saturday in May Heroes looking to claim John Edward insight by spreading thousands over 4-8 horses that would be 10/1 in the Lone Star Derby.


Gunbow, FA-

Frumious had a setback and will miss the Golden Shaheen.

06 Mar 2012 8:35 PM

Street Life is scratching out of tomorrow's race and is going to run on the 17th at Laurel.  

While Jason and the gang are enjoying the sun in Tampa, I'll be in Lake Placid.  Maybe I will bump into Ruler On Ice's owners.

06 Mar 2012 8:41 PM
an ole railbird

am i the the only one who saw bodemiester. did you not read the fractions that he ran,& him as green as daddys money. i guess hes under the radar. i havent heard anyone say that they are as high on him as i am.& mr. bob b. is awful close mouthed about this colt. i think hes a big fat sleeper, that will blow somebody away.

06 Mar 2012 8:45 PM

Arm Force

06 Mar 2012 9:27 PM

Bob from Boston and KY VET, You guys are hillarious.

Hey VET,

Tell me something, you boast that you last won a Futures bet in 2007 on Street Sense. What happened in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011? Are you still ahead with that 5 grand (LOL)

I hope that you're really a pro and not an addict, seriously.

06 Mar 2012 9:38 PM

The Jazil colt Najjaar is one of member of my Derby Dozen. Why would I have a colt with a maiden, allowance win, zero graded earning and who has not broken 1:44 in his five starts at 8 1/2F? Well my insanity knows no bounds. On a more serious note, this colt’s pedigree has a significant overdose of stamina and will have absolutely no problems with the Derby distance.  Najjaar’s sire Belmont winner Jazil is known for his stamina and the habit of closing from far off the pace. Najjaar appears to be a replica of his sire in size and running style. If Jazil has deposited a strong dose of stamina in Najjaar, his dam sire Darshaan has deposited an even a bigger proportion.

Darshaan was the 1984 Champion 3YO in France and Champion 3YO stayer in Europe. He was sired by Shirley Heights who belonged to what can be considered an Epsom Derby dynasty. Shirley Heights won the Epsom Derby and was sired by Epsom Derby winner Mill Reef. Shirley Heights went on to sired Epsom Derby winner Slip Anchor.  This is an amazing sequence.  Father, son and grandson won one of Europe’s premier races.  In addition to being a champion stayer, Darshaan is an excellent broodmare sire. Below are few of the graded winners produced by Darshaan’s broodmares:

• Ebabyia  - winner of the 1997 Prix Royal-Oak and Irish Oaks;

• Zainta - winner of the French Classic, Prix de Diane

• Enzeli - winner of the 1999 Ascot Gold Cup;

• Edabyia  won the 1998 Moyglare Stud Stakes;

• Marienbard - won Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe;

• Sendawar - winner of the 1999 Poule d'Essai des Poulains;

• High Chaparral - won Epsom Derby(2002), Irish Derby Stakes (2002), Breeders' Cup Turf (2002, 2003);

• Darsi - winner of the 2006 Prix du Jockey Club.

Clearly all the above races were contested on turf. Is Najjaar better suited to turf? Well, his action lacks smoothness and it can be described as ugly. In spite of the lack of smoothness, he is able accelerate rapidly from very far off the pace to get into contention. Najjaar’s stamina is not complemented by any form of tactical speed. As mentioned above he has not broken 1:44 in five starts at 8.5F. His times in those races were 2 to 3 seconds slower than those of the top 3YOs. Is it realistic to even consider Najjaar as a serious Derby contender? Yes! The 2012 Derby is shaping up to speed fest similar to that of the 2005 renewal. Most of the top contenders have tactical speed and will be very close to the pace. This is likely result in a pace meltdown. This was what occurred in 2005 and that gave stamina laden grinder Giacomo the victory in one of the slowest final quarter in the last 20 years. Najjaar is not a grinder but is more in the mode of Mine That Bird. If he secures the graded earnings to make the Derby he will be the one finishing best of all and he will have a major advantage. It is likely that Calvin Borel will partner Najjaar and how can it be forgotten that two of Mr. Borel’s three Derby victories were achieved with colts that closed from 19th.

06 Mar 2012 9:47 PM

WOW ...with all you "experts" in here, I'm almost fearing offering an opinion ...My Adonis improves with each and every start ... perfect running style for the Derby ....wants distance.........Take Charge Indy has shown moves as a two year old that would project him into the big picture, if he continues to move forward ...Saturday is a key race for him ....Ky Vet ....are you serious??? ...a Pro ???? hedging ???

06 Mar 2012 10:11 PM

Empire Way: Sire and dam sire were Belmont winners. Based on this fact he should be an ideal Derby horse. Derby history suggests that he is unlikely to win the Derby. Super Saver’s victory in the 2010 Derby represented the fifth time in the last 80 years that a Belmont winner was broodmare sire of a Derby winner. Will it occur twice in 3 years? Not Likely.  In addition none of those Derby winners were sired by the winner of a TC race. . His pedigree profile and speed figures make him a Derby pretender.

Liaison: Another colt whose dam was sired by a Belmont winner. He has a better chance of winning the Derby than Empire Way. However, he has been beating second stringer in CA. Rousing Sermon spotted him 15 lengths and lost by a head. No exceptional colt gets this type of advantage and only wins by a head. He does not have the class to be a serious Derby contender and is therefore is a pretender.

Prospective: He was beaten by an average maiden in the Sam Davis. This is not a stellar endorsement for the Derby contender under the radar. He has been disappointing and clearly does not have the class to be a serious Derby contender and is therefore is a pretender.

Take Charge Indy: Does not appear to have inherited his sire stamina. He had not excuse for his losses to El Padrino and Shared Property. He has not displayed the will to win and at 10F it is a requirement. He will likely lose the Tampa Bay Derby. Pretender!

Our Entourage: Turf victory was very good and he should remain there. His stride extension on turf suggests it is his preferred surface. The Derby is contested on dirt and to regard him as being under the radar for the Derby reflects a devotion to the owner and barn.

06 Mar 2012 10:21 PM

People say futures is a stupid bet....probably because they dont ever win.  Its not just picking the top horse, it is knowing the connections...i went somewhat conservative...betting 2 main horses with a third as a saver. Why did i bet those horses? Forgive me if i make sense...didnt algorythims and out of bounds both run a couple races in the winter? How many races has creative cause run? 1.....i like how he is coming into the derby. El padrino ran the best race of ANY 3 YR OLD THIS YEAR......then just a good one.....perfect! he has that race to come back to.......these 2 look pretty strong....who else is out there besides rags, and all the close to the pace horses? Are there any high quality closers? besides these ? other than rags? not really....bafferts speed horses? all of them dont look like derby horses....shandler thinks only el padrino will run? let me like rags huh?

06 Mar 2012 10:22 PM

Ranag...after street sense... i bet big brown derby bet future.....lost mine that bird derby.....had super saver.....lost last year....the year i bet super saver, i bet ss and another in futures

06 Mar 2012 10:27 PM

Empire Way: Sire and dam sire were Belmont winners. Based on this fact he should be an ideal Derby horse. Derby history suggests that he is unlikely to be a Derby. Super Saver’s victory in the 2010 Derby represented the fifth time in the last 80 years that a Belmont winner was broodmare sire of a Derby winner. Will it occur twice in 3 years? Not Likely.  In addition none of those Derby winners were sired by the winner of a TC race. . His pedigree profile and speed figures make him a Derby pretender.

Liaison: Another colt whose dam was sired by a Belmont winner. He has a better chance of winning the Derby than Empire Way. However, he has been beating second stringer in CA. Rousing Sermon spotted him 15 lengths and lost by a head. No exceptional colt gets this type of advantage and only wins by a head. He does not have the class to be a serious Derby contender and is therefore is a pretender.

Prospective: He was beaten by an average maiden in the Sam Davis. This is not a stellar endorsement for the Derby contender under the radar. He has been disappointing and clearly does not have the class to be a serious Derby contender and is therefore is a pretender.

Take Charge Indy: Does not appear to have inherited his sire's stamina. He had no excuse for his losses to El Padrino and Shared Property. He has not displayed the will to win and at 10F this is a requirement. He will likely lose the Tampa Bay Derby. Pretender!

Our Entourage: Turf victory was very good and he should remain there. His stride extension on turf suggests it is his preferred surface. The Derby is contested on dirt and to regard him as being under the radar for the Derby reflects a devotion to the owner and barn.

06 Mar 2012 10:29 PM

Thanks Kevin and everyone else who likes Prospective.  I am a big fan of him and I adore his sire Malibu Moon.  I think Prospective could be the complete package to do very well in the TC.  And me being a huge fan of trainer Ron Ellis and loving him and his humour on TVG, he is also a huge fan of Malibu Moon.  And off the subject shame on the owners of Rail Trip, taking him from Ron Ellis, shipping him back east to Dutrow, and ruining the horse.  He has never been the same.  Ron you were robbed!

06 Mar 2012 10:42 PM

Hi Josh Thunder Moccasin won't be pointed toward the derby says his owners...I love Liaison, Midnight Transfer and yes i;m with RP BLINGO! He has been under the radar big time...its sad that A and OFB are out..wanted so bad to see UR Hansen and those 2 go at it..I think Mark V will become a big threat just like Eight Bells was..oh and off subject i have to say i am soo excited to know that in 2yrs we will see Curlin N Rachel's colt go against Zenyatta n Bernardini's colt WHOA !!! one last note Sabercat..never count Steve A out....Fight nicely kids lol..

06 Mar 2012 11:13 PM

POOR COLDCUTS..........his OUT OF BOUNDS got hes down to 174 horses.........

06 Mar 2012 11:41 PM

Jason, what do you think about Inflation Target ?  Any chance he goes to the Wood ?  He is very much under the radar.

06 Mar 2012 11:54 PM


Tiger Walk:  Finished 3rd in the Withers and 4th in the Gotham. He drew post #13 in the Gotham and just missed being third. Why is this significant when Hansen won from post #12? Well, Hansen has far more tactical speed than Tiger Walk and was able to get into a better position. It has been reported that post positions 9 and out are a combined 8-for-77 in route races at Aqueduct since November 30, 2011. Tiger Walk was the only colt that closed on a very tiring track. He has not been off the board his last four races and appears to be improving steadily. The 9F Wood is his next stop and he will be better at the extended distance. This colt is extremely well bred and his sire Tale of The Cat sired the 2008 Wood winner Tale Of Ekati.

Neck ‘N Neck: Ran an encouraging 4th in the FY with a trouble trip. He had a similar troubled trip in the Sam Davis where he finished 21/2L fifth. His sole victory came at Churchill Downs and it was spectacular. If he is able to secure the graded earning to make the field he will be dangerous when he returns to the scene of maiden win.

The Lumber Guy: It is likely that this brilliantly fast colt will tackle the Wood Memorial. Who is The Lumber Guy? Well, he has recorded two wide margin victories at Aqueduct and Laurel over six and seven furlongs. He was sired by Grand Slam out of an unraced Unbridled Song Mare. He is being regarded as a sprinter but his pedigree and running style suggest otherwise. Unbridled Song is proving to be an excellent broodmare sire. The Lumber Guy’s second dam was sired by Buckaroo a son of the great Buckpasser. Grand Slam belong to the elite group of Triple Crown stallions i.e., grandsons of Mr. Prospector. I would not for a moment underestimate Grand Slam’s potential as a Derby sire as the Mr. Prospector sire line is king of the Triple Crown. In 2011 when it appeared the Mr. Prospector sire line would have been shut out of the TC, his grandson Roman Ruler was responsible for Belmont winner Ruler On Ice. This colt could be another monster produced by an unraced mare.

Najjaar: He has won his last two races at 81/2F closing from another zip code. His last victory was achieved against older horses. His most impressive performance came at Churchill Downs under Mr. Borel where he closed 17 lengths to get within 1L of second place finisher and eventual Sam Davis winner Battle Hardened. This colt has the ideal running style to win what is shaping up to be a Derby that will be dominated by speed merchants. He has no graded earning but can easily earn a ton in one of the big dollar 9F preps. He has the performed on all surfaces and would be an ideal candidate for the Bluegrass as he finished second in his only start at the track.

Tizanexpense and Tiz point two Tiznow colts are extremely well bred and their next starts should give some insight into their potential.

07 Mar 2012 12:00 AM
Bob from Boston

KY VET, do you specialize in cats or dogs?  What do you charge for spaying a cat?  Thanks in advance.

Paula Higgins, you make it happen and I will be there with bells on.

Dr. D.  It's good to see you again.  Don't be running off before the Derby.  We need your (cough cough) wisdom.

07 Mar 2012 12:31 AM

you guys aren't trying hard enough--think mine that bird...was he even in the futures pools? (seriously, i have no idea).  the real dark horses can't be someone you already like. they have to be WTF horses, with money, and (usually) stupid names....daddy nose best =)

tonight there shall be no maligning of z--she is labor.  

07 Mar 2012 12:33 AM
Forbidden Apple


What's wrong with Frumious? It's incredible how many horses keep coming up with injuries.

He's not under the radar, but I don't see anyone mentioning FED BIZ. After he wins the San Felipe I can see his bandwagon filling up quickly. I recently turned into a Fed Biz believer, he moves like a stepping razor.

Alpha is also not under the radar, yet he gets little respect.

Arm Force looks promising with only a maiden win under his belt.

What month are Sabercat and Gemologist planning on running? Someone should tell both trainers that the KY Derby is the first saturday in May, not July.

07 Mar 2012 12:45 AM
It aint easy being good!

Coldfacts get off the najjaarr obsession he doesnt have any earnings closes from the clouds is not what you want from a derby contender especially with a jenky running style! Where is the love for alpha his bandwagon is empty. Come on people he is a grinder with a smooth running style when the speed collapses he will get first crack!

07 Mar 2012 12:47 AM

Jason : I think I'll do well writing an article for your blog:  "KY VET called Draynay a chicken" - I'm guessing about 520 comments - 400 from Draynay re-posting "I'm not a chicken" and 100 from KY VET posting "I'm the king of the village!".  The last 20 comments from 20 different bloggers posting "idiot".

Another article I can write :

"Zenyatta is the best horse in history"

I think this one, you'll have to take a year off before it dies down.  I'd say about 1000 comments minimum, and 400 will be from you re-posting "She lost, get over it".

Under the radar :  

Castaway (45-1) : This is my other Baffert horse, at 45-1, I think someone might actually cash out big come Derby day.  A lot are saying his time was slow in the Southwest but if he makes it to the Derby, I don't think the final time of the race will matter at all.  I think just like El Padrino, he'll get better as the race gets longer.

Exothermic : I've been waiting for news on this horse, I mentioned his last 2 races on turf (in the other blog) with excellent times. I just hope he makes it.

Empire Way : I think this horse is actually not under the radar, I think there's a lot of people who has this horse as their pick, they just like to keep it quiet so Draynay doesn't pick him.

Tizanexpense : He was my top pic for the Southwest and I haven't given up on him, hopefully his connections haven't either.

Coldfacts : Do you know where Tizanexpense will run next ?

07 Mar 2012 3:58 AM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks for asking....can't say "Gemologist" is "under the radar" but to me at this point he is the only legit horse who can beat Union Rags, undefeated, ran big, as big if not bigger than UR in Nov, won all races "driving",

just needs to stay healthy and run a good race in Rebel, expect him to win, but in the money will do for now....he deserves favor! Don

07 Mar 2012 7:07 AM

The Kentucky future bet for the win is not a good bet because where is the place and show wagering.When there is no place and show wagering the house will win a lot more.The one thing I like about the bet is the field bet and its use in covering more options for the exacta.

07 Mar 2012 8:20 AM

Rousing Sermon could turn out to be a very good colt but in his last if you watch the replay he was able to get thru on the inside to gain 2nd.In that same race the only impressive runner was Ill have another the winner, all the others ran so-so races.The San Felipe is on Saturday a lot of the runners in the Lewis will run again.

07 Mar 2012 8:42 AM

Correction I wrote Rousing Sermon actually it was Empire Way that got thru on the inside to get 2nd to Ill Have Another.Lets see how they run on Saturday.

07 Mar 2012 8:45 AM

Forbidden Apple, Gemologist and Sabercat are both running in the Rebel

07 Mar 2012 10:29 AM
Dave R.

Afew that I like who are under the radar.  Battle Hardened - really like his trackability in a crowded field and his strong finish in the Sam Davis.  Ridden by J. Leparoux.

Mark Valeski - never worse than 2nd and showed great heart losing to El Padrino by a nose in Risen Star under R. Napravnik.  Castaway - seems to be coming to hand for Baffert as a 3 yr old.  Ran great race winning division of the Southwest, finishing very strongly after being close up throughout and breaking from outside post at Oaklawn.

07 Mar 2012 11:46 AM
CarryBack 61

Papillon - here's your horse - Fly Lexis Fly.  You can thank me later - LOL.

07 Mar 2012 12:02 PM

If I have to hear about one more Baffert horse I may get sick.  HE HAS nothing of interest for the Derby NOTHING.

07 Mar 2012 12:18 PM
Forbidden Apple

It aint easy,

You are correct, Alpha does not have flashy speed, he has endurance and plenty of ability to run with Grade I competition. And Kiaran is a classy guy who deserves a KY Derby victory. I thought for sure that he was headed back to NY. He is much improved since his 2 year old campaign, look out!

KY Vet,

You sound happy that Out of Bounds is off the trail. You deserve many losing tickets and unhappiness throughout the year for that comment.

07 Mar 2012 12:28 PM

I found Rousing Sermon interesting early on, but I now have several concerns.  He raced well on the all-weather and I can’t see where he lost any ground in any of his races on the surface.  His first race on dirt, after a six race two year-old campaign, was the first time he actually lost ground and he did it when it mattered most, in the stretch.  His sire, Lucky Pulpit, was essentially a sprinter and he has not shown where he has a good record with routers.  His dam, Rousing Again, was essentially a sprinter also although she did win, I believe once, at 8.5F in an allowance at Philly Park.  I also believe that Rousing Sermon is much better on the all-weather and will probably develop into a good grass horse.

07 Mar 2012 12:30 PM


Expert analysis re:  Draynay vs The Vet.


07 Mar 2012 12:33 PM
Rolling Thundar

Did I miss reading if anyone else had mentioned::: REVELO'S BOY ::: as flying under the radar.

Maybe one of you kind pedigree folks could enlighten me a little more on this colt.

07 Mar 2012 1:10 PM
Jason Shandler

Rolling Thundar: Forget about pedigree, all you need to know is that Ravelo's Boy has raced 12 times already, and won twice--in Calder sprints.

07 Mar 2012 1:26 PM
El Kabong


Sad but true, there are other blogs. But they do not feature two, count them two, masked avengers taking time out of their benevolent exploits to exchange wagering strategies and guide handicappers to the cashing window.

Hey Zorro, lets give Sarah Palin a call on Derby Day and tell her we're Vladamir Putin and we're interested in buying back Alaska.

07 Mar 2012 1:39 PM

Forbidden Apple

I have a feeling that Ky Vet, like Draynay, will have plenty of losing tickets this year without anyone wishing him so.  Maybe you should wish that the Vet has a winning ticket.  That would probably upset daily routine.

07 Mar 2012 1:50 PM


Bonde said Frumious "aggravated himself" after his Feb 2nd half mile and will be off for 60 days. It looks like they'll target the Bing Crosby later this year.

07 Mar 2012 1:57 PM
Rolling Thundar

But Jason::: You mentioned Prospective. And if you watch the replay of the Sam F. Davis, Ravelo's Boy was right there at the Wire gaining ground and actually galloped out better than Prospective.

07 Mar 2012 2:01 PM
Jason Shandler

I know Rolling Thundar, he ran a good race. That can happen from time to time. But after the TBD he will drop back down to the level he belongs at.

07 Mar 2012 3:02 PM
Rolling Thundar

Jason:: I did just want to say that as a Novice who is just learning how to play this Game, I do respect the Advice and Wisdom that you freely give. I consider You more of an Expert Handicapper, that the Commenters who Claim to be.

So I will heed your Advice, and save my little $12.00 wager on the Tampa Bay Derby.

07 Mar 2012 3:13 PM

Fed Biz not going in the San Felipe according to Brad Free

07 Mar 2012 3:13 PM
Jason Shandler

Rolling Thundar: I am by no means an expert handicapper. And please, go with your gut and play the horses you like in the TBD. I'm not telling you how to bet the race and would feel awful if I ruined a big ticket for you. All I was really trying to say is that he's not a KY Derby contender. No, I wont be picking him in the TBD either, but that doesnt mean he wont run well.

Nobody is an expert handicapper, except maybe the people on the inside.

07 Mar 2012 3:42 PM

San Felipe S.  

1 1/16 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds |  G2  STAKES |  Purse: $300,000  


1  Blingo  M. Smith

118 Lbs  J. Shirreffs     -  L  

2  Bodemeister  R. Bejarano

118 Lbs  B. Baffert     -  L  

3  American Act  M. Pedroza

118 Lbs  J. Carava     -  L  

4  Midnight Transfer  V. Espinoza

118 Lbs  C. Gaines     -  L  

5  Groovin' Solo  A. Quinonez

118 Lbs  M. Cho     Blk-Off  L  

6  Liaison  M. Garcia

123 Lbs  B. Baffert     Blk-Off  L  

7  Creative Cause  J. Rosario

123 Lbs  M. Harrington     -  L  

8  Rousing Sermon  J. Talamo

118 Lbs  J. Hollendorfer     -  L  

9  Tiz Point  G. Gomez

118 Lbs  R. Mandella     -  L  

10  Empire Way  B. Blanc

118 Lbs  M. Harrington     -  L  

07 Mar 2012 3:57 PM
Indiana Johnny

I like several allready listed by others, Take charge Indy, Empire way, My Adonis. A couple others that I haven't heard much from are Fly Lexis Fly and Excaper that I'll watch for, not sure what their status is.Fly lexis fly being pointed towards the SA Derby? Is Excaper even being pointed towards triple crown races?

07 Mar 2012 4:07 PM
El Kabong

Fed Biz will go to Rebel and that makes sense. 500,000 vs 300,000 means even a second place finish there and a second or 3rd in the Bluegrass or AK derby and he's in. Needs the earnings so I would suspect he will run out of State the whole way. You don't spend $$ and time to ship the weaker horse in your barn do you? Just a thought.

07 Mar 2012 4:34 PM
El Kabong


Maybe Baffert sends Fed BIz to Sundland Derby for the whole enchilada and 9F's?

07 Mar 2012 4:38 PM

Here are five under-the-radar colts that the radar will pick up after their next outing:

1)Summer Front


3)Spring Hill Farm


5)Got Even

It feels awkward pitching colts (3&4) trained by Pletcher and Baffert respectively as under the radar but compared to where these colts are going to end up in their ranking among the current crop they are really under the radar. Watch them good.

07 Mar 2012 4:50 PM

Tampa Bay Derby  

1 1/16 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds |  G2  STAKES |  Purse: $350,000  


1  Prospective  L. Contreras

120 Lbs  M. Casse     Blk-On  L  

2  Golden Ticket  M. Cruz

116 Lbs  K. McPeek     -  L  

3  Twin  D. Centeno

116 Lbs  P. Maestre     -  L  

4  Chief Energy  P. Lopez

116 Lbs  J. Toner     -  L  

5  Tell All You Know  L. Goncalves

116 Lbs  C. Stewart     -  L  

6  Cozzetti  J. Lezcano

116 Lbs  D. Romans     -  L  

7  Battle Hardened  J. Leparoux

120 Lbs  E. Kenneally     -  L  

8  Ravelo's Boy  J. Sanchez

116 Lbs  M. Azpurua     -  

9  Spring Hill Farm  J. Castellano

116 Lbs  T. Pletcher     -  L  

10  Take Charge Indy  C. Borel

116 Lbs  P. Byrne     -  L  

11  Fox Rules  H. Villa-Gomez

116 Lbs  M. Ferraro     -  L  

12  Cajun Charlie  T. Hebert

120 Lbs  B. House     -  L  

Swale S.  

7 Furlongs | Open | 3 Year Olds |  G3  STAKES |  Purse: $150,000  


1  Quick Wit  A. Solis

115 Lbs  D. Romans     -  L  

2  Trinniberg  W. Martinez

115 Lbs  B. Parboo     Blk-Off  L  

3  Silver Menace  R. Dominguez

117 Lbs  K. Ritvo     -  L  

4  Motor City  E. Prado

121 Lbs  I. Wilkes     -  L  

5  Hello Prince  J. Garcia

121 Lbs  D. Pita     -  L  

6  Bahamian Squall  L. Saez

115 Lbs  D. Fawkes     -  L  

7  Ever So Lucky  J. Bravo

115 Lbs  J. Sheppard     -  L  

8  Musical Flair  J. Leyva

121 Lbs  S. Santoro     -  L  

9  Seve  K. Desormeaux

115 Lbs  D. Romans     -  L  

10  Good Morning Diva  R. Maragh

115 Lbs  J. Braddy     -  L  

07 Mar 2012 4:56 PM

Did someone ask for a handicapping expert ?  How can I help ?

07 Mar 2012 6:36 PM

Perhaps Bodemeister and Paynter are under the radar because they haven't run farther than a sprint.  Sorry Fed Biz is out of the San Felipe.  I was hoping to see more from him.  

Bob from Boston: Are you assuming "Vet" stands for veterinarian?..I sort of picture a drunk who snuck into his local VFW for free WiFi.  

07 Mar 2012 6:53 PM

Bob Baffert owns the San Felipe.  I think Bodemeister will do well in this "acid" test.  He seems pretty talented.

Union Rags wins, Hansen wins, Creative Cause will win a prep and not much will seperate the top 3 finishers in the Breeder's Cup Juv.

I'm just not sure this is far enough for Creative Cause.  He's got stalking Belmont kind of speed and certainly may pop at the 1 1/4 Derby distance.  

I don't see him passing much in the lane at shoter distances.

I like him, but later on.

07 Mar 2012 7:36 PM

The San F is coming up and here are my thoughts.

There is going to be plenty of speed in the race and we may even have too much so I am looking off the pace for my winner.  I like Creative Cause but he doesn't need any money to get into the Derby and his best running is a race away.  He will blow by the speed in the final turn for home but he will have to hold off 2 horses for the win.  Empire Way should be coming late but I expect him to fight all the way with Blingo.  Mike Smith has been very quiet about this Gelding and he has been working bullets.  The race will have to fall just right but I am going with Blingo for the win.  I will box Empire and Creative Cause with Blingo for the exacta but my WP money will be on Blingo for the upset.  Go Mike go.

07 Mar 2012 8:22 PM

Darn! just lost by a head at 16 to 1 at delta.....10.80 place but that takes about a 105 beyer or higher to win the derby! how many horses are even close? good luck with all those 80 beyer horses you are mentioning....its too late to catch up...only a handfull are capable of improving to 105.......REALITY CHECK!

07 Mar 2012 9:21 PM

Bob from boston....i dont nueter dogs.......but somebody did DRAYNAY because he is running away from the challenge! By the way people.....kidded them today...bought beers, and breakfast for people around my table..........I LOVE THIS GAME!

07 Mar 2012 9:27 PM

Forbidden Apple..........Why the injury? Try looking at how great that horse ran!  OONE DAY you people will get it....good races hurt horses......Out of bounds best race ever race ever........etc......

07 Mar 2012 9:30 PM

Midnight Transfer

07 Mar 2012 9:51 PM
Karen in Texas

El Kabong----Fed Biz is going to the Sunland Derby and Castaway to the Rebel according to HRN.

07 Mar 2012 10:00 PM

KY VET I accepted the challenge.  Opening day Kenneland.  I handicapped the San F for everyone to see and you did not.  You haven't handicapped a thing on here until you do just shut it please.  Step up or shut up.

07 Mar 2012 10:06 PM

American Act:

He decisively defeated the highly regarded Bodemeister when breaking his maiden. He was defeated by a nose by G1 winner Drill exiting the aforementioned maiden race. Drill was making his 9th start in the San Vincenti while AA was making his 4th start and graded debut. Drill was making his 5th start in a graded race in the San Vincenti. American Act defeated multiple Graded stakes winner Creative Cause who was making his 6th start and 5th in a graded race. American Act displayed excellent speed in his last two starts but can he carry his speed over 81/2F?  He broke his maiden at 51/2F in 1:02.39 being pressed by Bodemeister. He returned to lead the San Vincenti field in his graded stakes debut and was pressured by Drill in fast fractions of 22.78, 45.83, 1:09.27 leading to the final time of 1:21.27. This colt has not had a chance to relax on the lead.  He appears to be the fastest colt in the field but he is not a sprinter. He was passed by Drill in the San Vincenti and fought back to lose by the shortest of margins. In the gallop out he separated himself from Drill by a significant margin.

American Act was sired by Quiet American sire of Derby winner Real Quiet and dam sire of Breeders Cup winner and runner up and Saint Liam and Bernardini. He also sired champions such as Hidden Lake and Warrior Queen.  Quiet American displayed exceptional speed while racing but also had stamina to complement. He won the NYRA mile in 1:32 4/5 and the San Diego H 8 1/2F in 1:40 2/5. He also won at 1 1/4M and 1 1/8M. Based on the aforementioned it is not surprising that American Act displays good speed. His dam was sired by Boston Harbor the 1996 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion. Boston Harbor was sired by fellow BCJ champion Capote who was sire by TC winner Seattle Slew. His second dam was sire by Miswaki who was broodmare sire of two Arc winners. His third dam was sire by Arch winner Alleged. His dam line is loaded with stamina to compliment his speed.  This colt should have no problem carrying his speed over a distance of ground. The 7F San Vincenti should have opened his jets and he should be ready to launch in the San Felipe. He is the one to beat.

The grandsons of Mr. Prospector have distinguished themselves as sires of top class Triple Crown horses. They have combined to sire the winners of 16 TC races. Horses that show exceptional ability and are sired by stallions from this elite group should not be taken lightly. The very speedy Mark Valeski is one such horse. With only two 6F starts to his credit, the more seasoned El Padrino had to pull out all the stops to narrowly defeat him. American Act was narrowly defeated by the more seasoned Drill. They should both return as better colts.

07 Mar 2012 10:16 PM
Forbidden Apple

KY Vet,

I understand your logic, but I completely disagree that the Sham race hurt the horse. Harty had been saying how well the horse was training. He did not get injured during the race. It was an unfortunate accident during his latest workout. One bad step is all it takes. Plenty of horses run hard and do not come up injured. How great he ran? Most people were not nearly as impressed as I was with his Sham victory. Santa Anita is producing incredibly fast times every race day. This is simply a case of bad luck and bad timing. Alpha and Union Rags just ran the best races of their careers last out. So should I be expecting both of them to come up lame?

07 Mar 2012 10:25 PM
Matthew W

Everyone knows one, a guy who is wrong 80% of the time, yet gloats about it when he's (rarely) correct in his predictions....they're called Draynays...

07 Mar 2012 10:53 PM
Matthew W

Bad post and all, Empire Way Sat, after Bodemiester turns back Creative Cause and the real racing begins--Empire Way, speed favoring track and all, this horse packs a huge finish!

07 Mar 2012 10:56 PM
Matthew W

I too, think Baffert is late for the Derby--but he is loaded with three year old talent! Loaded!

07 Mar 2012 11:24 PM

Bodemeister in the San Felipe means all others are running for minor placings.  Midnight Transfer to fill the exacta spot.

07 Mar 2012 11:39 PM

LOL Laz, yeah it's fun playing master to the two puppets.

It's unfortunate that Fed Biz got hurt, hopefully it's nothing serious.  Trainers always seem to downplay injuries then we come to find out later how bad it is.  Hopefully Fed Biz does make the Rebel if he's fit but if BB has to wait until Sunland, that's fine too.   If Feb Biz does make it to the Rebel, I wonder if Baffert takes Castaway somewhere else...

Now I'm all discombobulated, I'm going to let Bodemeister beat me.  I think he'll probably end up as the mild favorite over Creative Cause but without Fed Biz, I'm going to have to go with the Harrington duo.  I think CC will win this race easily over his stable mate.  I'll probably use American Act, Rousing Sermon, Liaison and Bodemeister on the bottom.  American Act went toe to toe with Drill and barely lost in that 7F race, I think he'll end up on the front with Bodemeister tracking him and ping ponging with him at the top of the stretch, then comes CC zzzzzzzzooooming by.

Draynay : This is the 2nd straight longshot pick in a california race from you.  At least this time, it's not a 30-1 and the horse actually has a shot.  You do know the San Felipe is run in California right ?  AND Blingo is going to be 15-1 or higher ?  AND he's trained by John Shireffs ??  AND ridden by Mike Smith ?? AND owned by Jerry and Ann Moss ??   I know you missed Zenyatta a lot... I always knew you're a fan of Zenyatta and her connections.  The TRUTH comes out.    You tried and tried and tried but I always knew you're a closet Zenyatta fan.  How does it feel to be out of the closet ?? :)

Goodluck on Blingo, don't forget to post a pic of your WP bet on Blingo, and your group pic with Zenyatta's connections in the winning circle (if Blingo wins.)  

08 Mar 2012 5:10 AM

Currency Swap soon.

08 Mar 2012 8:56 AM

Your going with Creative Cause the favorite jayjay?  Wow.  Great analysis I don't know what we do without you.  Rookie.

08 Mar 2012 10:47 AM
Rolling Thundar

Jason:: Once again, thanks for putting it in perspective. And I will go ahead and make the Wager. It's nobody's money but my own.

Draynay:: I would like to say that You too have Enlightened me within the Game.  I can see that you Don't get much respect on here. But I would like to say, That how can people NOT respect the fact that You do Step Up to the Plate. Win or Lose, You put it out There. That does deserve respect.

KY Vet:: Yes YOU issused a challange. And Draynay has Answered. NOW it's Time to see if You Can Man Up. Draynay gave his assesment of the San Felipe, How about if You give Your assement of the Tampa Bay D, or the Swale S. and let us all see, Who has the better Picks.

08 Mar 2012 11:14 AM

Jason, as one of the guilty ones who called you out for kissing up to Repole, I like Our Entourage as well. I'll make some money off him somewhere. I also like Howe Great as an overlooked talent. I'll cash on him later too.

"If I have to hear about one more Baffert horse I may get sick."

Draynay 07 Mar 2012 12:18 PM

Baffert horses, Baffert horses, Baffert horses, don't just dismiss them. I had to throw that in here because I'll jump at any chance to make draynay sick, lord knows he makes plenty of people sick with his juvenile comments.

08 Mar 2012 11:35 AM
Forbidden Apple

I would not consider muscle cramping an injury, Fed Biz will be just fine in the Rebel or Sunland Derby. Sunland makes more sense to me, less travel time and free money.

08 Mar 2012 11:43 AM
El Kabong

Karen in Tx

AHHHAH! Sunland is it? Thanks for the inpho! It's off to get the whole enchilada and train up to the Derby or run in Bluegrass. I would love to see him go to the Bluegrass. Say what you will about Synthetics, but the horses come out of those races in pretty good shape and ready to run again much sooner than dirt. That would give him two 9Fs and in my mind,  a great foundation to win the Derby.

08 Mar 2012 12:04 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, and I know you will =)... wasn't Bejarano Liason's jockey? I see he has chosen to ride Bodemeister instead. Might want to re-think putting Liason over Bode. Bajarano may have a clue...

Is there any word out there on Declaration of War, Pletchers War Front colt, purchased and imported from France after 2 wins by ??? Repole? I had thought we would see him.  He had dark horse written all over him.

My picks

TBD - Battle Hardened

Swale - Ever So Lucky

San Felipe - Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Midnight Transfer.

Fingers and toes crossed... KHAT

08 Mar 2012 12:13 PM

BTW, I vote that Draynay and KY VET handicap the race card for the first Sat in MAY @ Churchill. The biggest day in our sport, 2 professionals head to head, how exciting!

That way, we can watch all the races and maybe make a few $$ while we keep score...

Sorry but the opening day at Keeneland doesn't cut it for me.

Your thoughts?

08 Mar 2012 12:22 PM
Carlos in Cali

Prospective finally gets a ground saving post(1),so he's the one to beat along with Take Charge Indy who ran a good 2nd to El Padrino in his comeback.These 2 are the proven class of the field,I'll key them on top and use the improving Battle Hardened for third w/Cozzeti rounding-out the exotics. Because of the Pletcher-factor the unproven and hyped horse Spring Hill Farm will get overbet bigtime.I think he's up on the pace for 6f then throws-in the towel.

Speaking of Pletcher: Does anyone know why Thunder Moccasin is not going in the Swale?.. Injury or did they change their minds and will stretch him out for his next race?..

08 Mar 2012 12:50 PM

DRAYNAY! why wait a month? after you lose, we can do that day too....lets do this now.........

08 Mar 2012 7:15 PM

Forbidden apple and everybody.....many of you say things like, only run a horse when they are sound...or that trainer runs hurt horses......please get this thru your head....MOST HORSES HAVE PROBLEMS.....who told you that they dont? Why do you think they run once a month? Alot of you still cant get this thru your head....they break their legs every time they run! tiny microfractures....bone chips in knees, ankles....they still run with these problems! Managing these problems, is the trainers job. And yes the faster, the more stress.......not hard to figure out what happens....

08 Mar 2012 7:22 PM

Someone already mentioned this Grade 1 winning as a two year old ,yet to be seen this year, but pointed for the Florida Derby, who will be dismissed as a sprinter, but is really just the perfect blend of stamina and speed; who?, why Currency Swap, flying under the radar and to another Grade 1 victory?- Can't wait!

Also, mentioned and flying way under the radar and  probably running next in the Wood, this guy is a big grey beauty with natural race horse instincts, and the ability to throttle-up with push button accuracy; we haven't seen his best yet, but belongs with any horse out there when compared to those at top of most lists, with the perfect name for The Wood, looking forward to The Lumber Guy!


Loved your post about American Act and think he is defintely a good long shot play at what will probably be odds of 20-1 or a little greater.

08 Mar 2012 10:08 PM

Draynage : I think you either need glasses or you need to learn how to read :

" I'm going to let Bodemeister beat me.  I think he'll probably end up as the mild favorite over Creative Cause .... "

That means I think Bodemeister will be the mild favorite, get it now ?  Damn you're dense.

And yes, I do bet favorites but to prove I'm smarter than you, I don't bet favorites ALL the time.  If you study the races, you'll find that favorites DO NOT come in all the time.  It's common knowledge... but I guess for someone like you, it takes time.  Rookie. LOL

How does it feel to be out of the closet ?? You.. you... Zenyatta fan you.  :)

08 Mar 2012 10:41 PM
Dave R.

I also was very surprised that Thunder Moccasin was not in the Swale field.  Pletcher has been saying for several weeks that he was pointing for that race.  Strange.  Not a word said.  

09 Mar 2012 8:50 AM
Dave R.

Ever So Lucky my pick to win the Swale by open lengths.  Has class, speed, and could be stretched out in his next start.

09 Mar 2012 10:36 AM
Forbidden Apple

Bodemeister seems talented, but this is not a maiden field that he is facing. Creative cause is the horse to beat, I'll just be watching at 5/2 ml odds.

09 Mar 2012 11:58 AM
Karen in Texas

Today HRN reports Fed Biz is now going to the Wood Memorial, not the Sunland Derby. (?)

09 Mar 2012 12:56 PM

KY Vet you speak the truth paleface,one of the reasons most horses are running hurt in the US is the hard ground they train and run over.Most horses are used to running on grassy surfaces,except those that come from areas such as deserts etc.

09 Mar 2012 5:32 PM

Creative Cause owns this Derby at longer.  Good Luck Union Rags.

10 Mar 2012 7:54 PM
Forbidden Apple

The San Felipe effort by Creative Cause was impressive and he will only be sharper for the SA Derby. Even when he went very wide, he looked like he was going to win. Then he drifted and was a bit green, but he took off after the wire. Creative Cause will only improve as the distance of his races increase.

11 Mar 2012 10:59 AM

HOPE HOUSE AND APPLE ARE RIGHT!  150 at 17 to 1!!!!!!!!!! creative cause!

12 Mar 2012 5:02 PM

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