Why They Can/Can't Win

It's a wide-open Kentucky Derby 138 folks. You can make a legitimate case for more than half the field. Here's an analysis of the pros and cons for each of the top 20 horses, pre-final works and post positions of course.


Why he can win: He's earned 100+ Bris speed ratings in his last three starts. He has the right running style, which we saw in the Wood Memorial when he made a big move on the turn before gamely battling Gemologist to the wire. Breeding-wise, he should be fine at 10 furlongs. With the exception of the Breeders' Cup, he has been a very consistent colt.

Why he can't win: I'm not sure there is a horse in this Derby with more controversy surrounding him. First it was the indecision of where he would run his final prep. It turned out that they got it right, but now there is this latest infection issue which everyone is still trying to figure out its severity. At the very least, it has altered his shipping and training plans, so instead of having his final work at Churchill it will come at Belmont. He'll also need a new rider, as Dominguez has chosen Hansen. That decision might not come until the weekend, or beyond.


Why he can win: Also with three consecutive Bris speed ratings over 100, he turned in the most dominant final prep of anyone in the Arkansas Derby. The colt has brilliant natural speed and might get a good setup while running behind Trinniberg and/or Hansen. For my money, Bob Baffert is the best trainer in America, especially in big races.

Why he can't win: The obvious negatives are that he is lightly-raced and didn't start as a 2-year-old. The whole Apollo thing. His natural speed also might be a detriment, especially if he tries or is allowed to go with Trinniberg early or stays too close to a quick pace. As good as he looked in the Arkansas Derby, he was facing very little. And now he adds eight pounds. If you're into the whole karma thing, Mike Smith switching to this colt after verbally agreeing to ride Daddy Nose Best before the Arkansas Derby doesn't "bode" well for him.

Creative Cause

Why he can win: Other than Gemologist, he's about as consistent as they come; he's never been off the board in eight starts. The colt hasn't missed a beat since last summer, with Harrington's plans going exactly as he drew them up. He ran a big race in his only start at Churchill in the BC Juvenile. He also has the right kind of running style and is always finishing at the end of races.

Why he can't win: The removal of blinkers and his dislike of the whip has scared some people away. He never seems to run a straight line in the stretch. In his four losses he's been beaten a length or less in each. If he's in a stretch duel, he's shown he doesn't like to win.

Daddy Long Legs

Why he can win: He looked awfully good in winning the UAE Derby, which came off a long layoff. He's the only horse in the field that has won beyond nine furlongs. Aiden O'Brien is one of the best trainers in the world.

Why he can't win: His poor effort in the BC Juvenile can't be overlooked. There is an obvious question about whether he likes dirt, especially this dirt. He'll be shipping a long way and won't be arriving until Derby week. He's lightly-raced. O'Brien probably isn't even going to make the trip to Kentucky.

Daddy Nose Best

Why he can win: He has a lot of bottom, having raced 10 times with four wins. He's the only horse in the race who has won twice at nine furlongs, and they came in his last two starts. In both of those races--the El Camino Real Derby and Sunland Derby--he had to overcome a lot. In the El Camino he was stuck on the inside the whole way and prevailed after a long stretch duel. His stalking style of running might be perfect for this race. He earned a career best 101 Bris speed rating in the Sunland Derby. He's been stabled at Churchill since the beginning of April and therefore knows the track as well as any horse in the race. Asmussen is a perennial leading trainer at Churchill. He is due to win a Derby, as is the colt's rider, Garrett Gomez.

Why he can't win: He only has the two grade III wins, and hasn't exactly beaten the top horses in his class in either of them. His average Bris speed ratings are consistently below the top contenders. Gomez will be riding him for the first time. Most of his racing has come on turf and he has run a few clunkers, including a maiden start at Churchill last July.

Done Talking

Why he can win: He showed a lot of grit in running down Morgan's Guerrilla in the Illinois Derby. If the race falls apart and someone comes from the clouds, he's a candidate. If you throw out the Gotham when he had a terrible start, he's a pretty consistent horse.

Why can't win: He's too slow. He ran 1:53 4/5 in the Illinois Derby. That's sundial-like slow.


Why he can win: His Blue Grass stretch run was breathtaking. The horse is one that obviously appreciates more ground and if he stays out of trouble you know he'll be coming at the end. He doesn't win every time, but he hasn't missed a beat since he started racing last summer. He's in great form. Desormeaux has won three Derbies and nobody except Bill Mott has won more races as a trainer at Churchill than Dale Romans. He is the only two-time grade I winner in the field.

Why he can't win: He's made three starts as Churchill and lost them all. They were his only three starts on dirt. Is he a better turf/synthetic horse? His record says he is.

El Padrino

Why he can win: He has run three consecutive Bris speed ratings of at least 100. He's never run a bad race in six starts. He's a stayer, grinder type and has the ability to keep coming in the long stretch.

Why he can't win: His stayer, grinder type style can also be a detriment, as he doesn't have that explosive turn of foot. Like Pletcher says, he's a lazy kind of colt. He'll be getting a new rider for the Derby (Bejarano).


Why he can win: He's undefeated, which nobody else in the field can boast. He can stalk the pace under a great rider in Javier Castellano. He showed that innate intangible in the Wood that not every horse has--he's a fighter. He has a graded stakes win at Churchill as a 2-year-old. Pletcher/WinStar have been there, done that with Super Saver.

Why he can't win: He's never been worse than third at any call in all five of his starts. With all the speed in this race, he won't be that close this time. Will that affect him? How will he handle a different type of trip? Hard to find any other faults with an undefeated horse.


Why he can win: He won the BC Juvenile over this track. He has incredible speed and can carry it. He has a world-class rider who more often than not judges pace correctly. He should get to follow Trinniberg, and when he followed speed in the Gotham he was very successful. He's a cool-looking horse.

Why he can't win: Ten furlongs could be beyond his scope, especially with his running style. He can follow Trinniberg, but if he is too close to a hot pace he might get cooked anyway. If he draws inside he might be in trouble. Post position will be key.

I'll Have Another

Why he can win: His Robert Lewis win is still the most impressive prep victory I've seen. And he came right back to outduel Creative Cause in the Santa Anita Derby, which proved he could run consecutive top-notch races. Talent-wise, he ranks right near the top of this class.

Why he can't win: There are lingering rumors about his soundness, especially after the shock wave therapy story came out and given his light schedule this year. Can he run three huge races in a row, the last one coming four weeks removed from his last start? He won't have a work at Churchill before the race, only a couple of gallops.


Why he can win: Baffert has considered him a Derby contender ever since he won the CashCall. Apparently, he is training much better at Churchill than he raced at Santa Anita.

Why he can't win: If Baffert knew he didn't like Santa Anita, why did he run him there three straight times? Tough to buy. He comes into the race off three below average starts--not exactly a confidence builder. Hard to believe a change of surface is going to move him up that much.

Mark Valeski

Why he can win: He can stalk and carve out a good trip under Rosie. He's gotten really good in a short amount of time. He got a lot out of his last two preps, dueling with El Padrino in one and chasing down a pacesetter in another. Larry Jones knows how to prepare a good horse.

Why he can't win: Not being able to run down 109-1 longshot Hero of Order in the Louisiana Derby didn't exactly flatter him, especially given how Hero of Order ran in the Blue Grass. He tries hard every time but looks like a one pace kind of horse. Might not be fast enough or explosive enough to beat 19 other horses.


Why he can win: He's pretty consistent, having hit the board in six of eight starts. He took advantage of a hot pace in the Tampa Bay Derby and showed a lot of determination in the stretch.

Why he can't win: His speed numbers say he's too slow. And he disappointed in his final tune-up in the Blue Grass. His only start at Churchill was the worst race of his career.

Rousing Sermon

Why he can win: He was making up a lot of ground late in the Louisiana Derby. Like the other deep closers, Trinniberg's presence in here will only help him. Jerry Hollendorfer is a Hall of Famer who has won a lot of big races.

Why he can't win: He's too slow; has no tactical speed at all. Has never run a Bris speed rating over 94. He's winless in his last five starts and was soundly beaten in a couple of them. He needs the race to fall apart to have any chance.


Why he can win: The aforementioned Asmussen factor. Asmussen has said from the beginning of the year that he planned to have him peaking in his third race off a layoff. Well, we're here now. Again, he'll need a pace meltdown to have any chance.

Why he can't win: Hasn't shown the kind of speed needed to beat most of these. His Delta Jackpot win is long forgotten by now after being soundly beaten in his last two. His speed numbers are just too low to make a logical case for a victory.

Take Charge Indy

Why he can win: He just beat Derby favorite Union Rags, and did so with something left. He's no fluke, as he's been highly thought of since he was a juvenile and has faced many of the top horses in this field. Ran fifth in the BC Juvenile in his only start over the track; it was a solid effort considering his trip. He seems to be peaking. Calvin Borel.

Why he can't win: He won't get an easy front-running trip like he did in the Florida Derby. Yes, he's proven he can rate, but his two best races were when he stayed close to the pace. I'm not so sure how effective he'll be when further back early on. He's been competitive in all of them, but has been beaten by a number of horses in this race.


Why he can win: Because he's in the starting gate and any horse theoretically has a chance to win.

Why he can't win: Would take too long to name them all. Let's just start by saying he's never gone two turns and he'll run too fast early on. If this race was a mile, I'd give him a decent shot.

Union Rags

Why he can win: He's the most talented and physically imposing horse in the field. He's been beautifully managed by Matz since he was a juvenile and hasn't missed a beat in training. His last work was a thing of beauty. He ran a huge race in his only start over the track. Leparoux is as good as anyone riding at Churchill. He should carve out a stalking trip and should have learned a lot from the Florida Derby. The colt had a legitimate excuse in that race. His Fountain of Youth was more telling than the Florida Derby.

Why he can't win: He didn't show the explosiveness we expected in the Florida Derby. He had excuses, yes, but he also had a chance to run down Take Charge Indy late and couldn't do it. Maybe 10 furlongs is beyond his comfort zone. Maybe he's not as good as everyone thought.

Went the Day Well

Why he can win: I'm pretty sure Motion had a horse win the Spiral and go on to take the roses before. I can't remember who it was. He's not necessarily a synthetic specialist like that other horse, as he won on the Gulfstream dirt in March. He looks like a horse peaking at the right time, kind of like that other horse...oh yeah, now I remember--Animal Kingdom.

Why he can't win: He's still learning; he didn't break his maiden until March 3 and he really didn't beat all that much in either of his wins. This might be too much, too soon. Decent pedigree, but doesn't scream 10 furlongs like Animal Kingdom.

For analysis on the pedigree side of things, check out Derby Pedigrees Examined on the TrueNicks blog.


Leave a Comment:


Oh, man!  What a beautiful jumble of runners!  Regardless of the outcome, we all can have fun making our picks. Looks like a good set of 3YO's this year.

(still wondering about Optimizer.  Does he have any chance of getting in?)

26 Apr 2012 10:54 AM

"Why he can win: Because he’s in the starting gate and any horse theoretically has a chance to win."

26 Apr 2012 11:06 AM
quiet american

what a great and interesting article! Definetly some of the best 3yr olds in a long time! I think hansen could have it in the bag if he doesnt set the pace & run blistering fractions & gemologist definetly have staying power and a real fighter ...hope Rags isnt a disapointment.  The Derby will certainly be exciting , cant wait :)

26 Apr 2012 11:18 AM

After watching every horses last 3 races it is obvious that Union Rags is simply a much better horse.  If it comes up sloppy he may win by the largest margin in Derby history.

26 Apr 2012 11:24 AM

Hope Optimizer gets in he would have a shot closing into the speed if he runs his race.Truthfully at this point i have'nt got a clue who will win it,i'll wait for the PP draw and play some longshot.If Bodemister runs like that again there all dead.

26 Apr 2012 11:26 AM

Bode adds 8 pounds and has to follow a faster Trinni ? People, do yourself a favor and donate win money on Bode to the poor.  Furlongs could use the help.

26 Apr 2012 11:26 AM

It appears to me that we have more talent than ever in this Derby.  It promises to be exciting...and any one can win it.  The post position draw will be the most telling aspect of who our favorites will be next week.  In the meantime, all the research that everyone keeps doing just might fly out the window with a bad post....but we'll keep scratching our heads and our notebooks trying to figure out the odds.  The enchantress known as Lady Luck is the only one who holds the key....so Good Luck everyone...I think I remain as confused as I was in January...maybe more so now.

26 Apr 2012 11:34 AM

Hi Jason,

Were you there when Union Rags worked and was the work at CD?

Steve Haskins said last 18 of 20 winners had a least one work at CD. Also what are your thoughts about some of these horses not having a work at CD, Gemologist comes to mind?

Jason, I have read a lot of comments about the added weight that Bode will have, I believe 8 pounds will be added. Do you really think a horse feels the extra 2,3 or 8 pounds of weight to make a difference on how a race turns out?

Kind Regards,


26 Apr 2012 11:36 AM
Jason Shandler

JR: Union Rags worked at Keeneland last time but will have his final work at CD on Saturday. His work at Keeneland was a thing of beauty. watch it on Youtube.

Eight pounds is significant, yes.

26 Apr 2012 11:42 AM
Don from PA/DE

Thanks JS, nice, informative and interesting reading, which I took some notes on, still not sure which

ones to eliminate from exotics, next weather and post positions,

"Gemologist" is my key most any bet

26 Apr 2012 11:57 AM
the artist

I think this field reminds me of the 2007 field with hard spun, any given saturday, curlin and street sense.

26 Apr 2012 12:27 PM

Good analysis, Jason.

Union Rags works was awesome, but it was at Keeneland. I still think this horse is head and shoulders above everyone else. Matz has followed his plan for him since day 1, and nothing in his ind has changed about his horse, that shows a lot of confidence.

Some longshots I am considering:

Daddy Nose Best is a seasoned horse, and has a lot of bottom on him. I expect him to improve a lot come derby day.

El Padrino, Trakus said he traveled the furthest in the Florida Derby, that is something everyone should consider.

Sabercat, he'll be his sharpest 3rd off the layoff and he'll be at juicy odds, it would be hard not to put some money on him.

Prospective, throw out his bluegrass, and BC races and you have a solid horse at nice odds.

Went the Day Well, I don't know what his price will be, but you can't deny the fact that he is an improving horse and the whole Motion, Johnny V., Team Valor win from last year.

Everyday I seem to float between horses, especially long shots.

26 Apr 2012 12:31 PM

Did I actually read this>>> El Padrino.....Why he can win: He has run three consecutive Bris speed ratings of at least 100. He's never run a bad race in six starts. He's a stayer, grinder type and has the ability to keep coming in the long stretch.

One Thing El Padrino is NOT is a stayer.  You can't be by Pulpit, who does not through stamina, and inbred 3x3 to Mr Prospector and be a stayer.  This horse won't get a step past 1 1/16th.  He did not show a thing in the Florida Derby and barely won in Louisiana.  He is a nice miler, but he is No Stayer.  I sure hope he does not make the Derby field as he has no shot.  Much like Trinniberg.  These trainers really need to take a course in genetics.  1/2 this field will never again run 1 1/4 miles...and they shouldn't.  They can't get the distance.  Every year the shouts for limiting the Derby field to 14 runners get louder and louder.  The 20 horse field is why it has been so long since we have had a Triple Crown WInner.  I guess I could be wrong though??

26 Apr 2012 12:55 PM
Criminal Type

Hierro is out to spoil Paynter's party in the Derby Trial.   Other then that I got no comment except.....GO RAG'S !!!!!!

26 Apr 2012 1:11 PM
Jason Shandler

Thanks for the pedigree lesson Southbendfarm. Let me give you a little gambling lesson. If you don't like a horse and believe they have NO chance, that is a GOOD thing for you as far as wagering. The idea is to ELIMINATE horses that you don't like and then focus in on ones that you do. If El Padrino takes money, it makes the horse you DO like an even better price. Hope this helps.

26 Apr 2012 1:14 PM

this is ROLO Jason,  hey  nobody talks bout DONE TALKING  having to STOP  as he was starting to roll on backside, watch replay off last race 13 horse he had to stop sunndenly.  re rally and ran big. he runs  ALOT FASTER if not for the trouble. not saying he going win but the horse  was rolling/stopped and cam again.   ohh i pick D TALKING in ur blog remember in that race.  I wish i change my name to rolo so everyone know it me.

26 Apr 2012 1:28 PM
Smarty Jones Jr.


Another great article, and you may be the ONLY columnist to not reference the term "Beyer", when writing about the Derby!!!  

Draynay-  Ur observations are spot on this years Derby, having seen Union Rags in person the colt is a "man among boys", and is in great hands, to "pop" May 5th, not in some pre-season, unnecessary, conditioning prep race.  (last 2 works have been his FASTEST EVER)

Also -  "Union Buster", distasteful screen name to go along with skewed facts to bash a horse, and to sound big, offering to bet $$ against 1 horse while taking 19 others? And leave the comedy to people that are funny, ur attempt at humor via 'union on the rags' is equally embarrassing unless you are a teenager.

Another thing, first it was "hasn't won a 2 turn race, now its hasn't won a 2 turn Grade 1 race",  Really?, When did that become automatic "throw out" for Derby horses?

Coldfacts- Unlike Barry Irwin, I'm glad Bloodhorse gives a forum, however, if you could just refrain from addressing everyone as Mr. this or Mr. that, first names are fine on this informal blog

26 Apr 2012 1:30 PM

BODE willbe on lead in stretch but  he not winning,  URAGS/DONE TALKING 1-2.

26 Apr 2012 1:33 PM

Your post, to God's ears, SOUTHBENDFARM! I hate the 20 horse field! It's a damn cavalry charge! The jocks might as well wave swords in the air as they pass the grandstand! We could end up with another joke of a Derby winner like Giacomo!

26 Apr 2012 1:36 PM

JR, I really can't believe you don't think eight pounds make a difference. We need more handicap races run in this country so people like JR understand the effect weight has on speed and distance. Best of luck to all the horses. I hope Union Rags gets a good trip and is able to show how good he really is.

26 Apr 2012 1:49 PM

As someone who rode, showed and trained my own horses for many years (too expensive now) I am always amazed that these three-year-olds and their jockeys can survive the post parade at the Derby with all the surrounding insanity.  Then, the start looks like a cavalry charge...I am always relived when everyone arrives at the finish line uninjured.  I honestly believe that unless you have a Seattle Slew or Spectacular Bid in the field, luck plays a HUGE part in who wins.  This looks as if it is a fairly close bunch, all with good trainers and jockeys, so the luckiest horse, not necessarily the best will win.  Let's just hope they all cross the wire to race another day!

26 Apr 2012 2:03 PM
Indiana Johnny

Hi Jason,

         Nice write up and insights into the contenders.This looks like the most evenly matched field in a long time, I'm not sure about the most talented, I guess we'll know that down the road.Some of the top contenders seemed to have " peaked" beyer wise, got to a point and flattened out, Hansen and Union Rags, to name a couple.

Do you pay any attention to their beyer/Bris. progression, prefer a horse that is steadily improving in beyers,( Bodie, Dullahan, DNB) or do you don't think its a big deal? Maybe the others just got more left in the tank? And, a other tough one is Creative Cause, he has bounced all over beyer/bris wise, a 98 beyer in his 1'st race, and a 95 in his last, and thoughts on this? Thanks, Johnny

26 Apr 2012 2:09 PM

I agree with Smarty Jones Jr. Thank you Jason for NOT using the term BEYER, which is a complete joke. Brisnet all the way!!! Trakus is very helpful, but only at select tracks, and thorograph is pretty good too.

26 Apr 2012 2:22 PM

I've been following Creative Cause since Del Mar last yr & must disagree that "he doesn't like to win" when he's involved in a stretch duel.  He did, after all, defeat Bodemiester after a stretch duel in the San Felipe.  From my observations, the horse is his own worst enemy  due to his eratic behavior & shying from the whip.  He gets himself into a lot of unnecessary trouble which has cost him.   This appeared to be the case in the Santa Anita Derby.  To the horses credit he did fight back after being passed.  I do agree that CC's behavior makes him a bet against for the win.  

26 Apr 2012 2:22 PM
Rusty Weisner


I love this post because it gives everybody a chance to give unsolicited opinions without putting their money where their mouths are.  Count me among those people!

A question, first.  My understanding was that Alpha will actually have missed a planned workout, getting only one before the Derby instead of two.  Was I wrong?

26 Apr 2012 2:25 PM
Rusty Weisner

I was looking at equibase.com and they had a poll up for the Derby winner.  Creative Cause wasn’t one of the five listed.  I hope he gets this kind of disrespect at the windows.

26 Apr 2012 2:27 PM
Rusty Weisner

A propos of nothing  -- best name of a horse in the last year:  Pretty Boy Freud -- by Freud, out of Themidnightrobber.

26 Apr 2012 2:28 PM
Jason Shandler

Indiana Johnny: Thanks. I do look at Bris progression but in general only use speed figs as a tool. I don't put too much stock in them.

Rusty: Yes, Alpha will only have one work coming into the Derby. That will be on Saturday at Aqueduct. Not a good sign if you ask me. But then again, I'm not the expert, Coldfacts is :)

26 Apr 2012 2:30 PM
Rusty Weisner

And to pile on some of the horses most people are already throwing out anyway:

Prospective:  not only did he do badly in the Bluegrass, he had previously shown an affinity for synthetic tracks.  In the TB Derby he beat Golden ticket, who had taken six tries to break his maiden.

Optimizer:  Also taking 8 more pounds

Liaison, Rousing Sermon, Mark Valeski:  questionable pedigrees?

26 Apr 2012 2:32 PM

That's a nice article, at least you didn't put any spin on the horses' "Why they can't win" on you and Draynay's pick to win the Derby.  My respect for your opinion/handicapping just went up .05%  to .05% lol.   Thanks for your insight on the derby list.

I also remember our "discussions" about Beyers last year, did you stop using it ?  I think Smarty Jones Jr is right since I don't remember you ever mentioning beyers at all this year anymore, in any of the prep races.  Funny that.

Draynay : After watching all the races, you still don't know anything.  Stop trying and bet the quarterhorses instead.  This game is for the big boys.  If you can't win other than picking chalks, it means you can't handicap and if you can't handicap, you don't belong.

26 Apr 2012 2:37 PM


Trinniberg deserves more consideration and a well thought out comment regarding his winning chances. This is a very classy colt and you certainly don't know how far he will carry his speed. I assure you and all those who regard him as 'cheap speed' that you'll be very surprised.

I'll post my pace scenario of the Derby once the post positions are drawn.

26 Apr 2012 2:39 PM
Jason Shandler

Jayjay: Be sure to tell us how all the pretty horses look in the paddock before the race. We're on pins and needles.

26 Apr 2012 2:43 PM

Jason, Lucky Baldwin is turning over in his grave regarding your mere mention of the Santa Anita Derby winner.  ..."Most impressive prep victory I've seen."

Could this be the year?  

26 Apr 2012 2:55 PM
Rusty Weisner


CC's behavior could suggest an upside, too:  if he corrects it he will improve.  A gamble worth taking at the odds he'll get.

He's beaten the best horse in here, Bodemeister (even if it wasn't Bodemeister's top race) and raced very well at CD.  I'll also take the gamble he's on an upswing vis a vis Bodemeister, who may be facing a downswing (and who I think will be something like a 9/2 favorite).  

26 Apr 2012 2:56 PM
Carlos in Cali

So what if Bode will be picking-up 8lbs for the Derby,they'll all be carrying the same weight of 126lbs for the first time anyways so it all evens out.I'd be worried if Bode or anyone else carried 8lbs "more" than the rest.Much ado about nothing!

26 Apr 2012 2:59 PM

Alpha - Jockey jumped off, so will I.

Bodemeister - Maybe 3rd like Curlin for that is who he reminds me of but not a win...thinks he fades in the stretch.

Creative Cause - Second start no blinkers, likes the track and likes to try to win....waiting for the post draw to decide.

Daddy Long Legs - Toss until someone from Dubai comes close

Daddy Nose Best - Has taken the easy path to earnings, i'll pass  

Done Talking - I will be able to pass him on the final turn with rollerblades, pass.

Dullahan - will come running late, I'm not sure how many will have already passed the wire by the time he does...but I estimate 3

El Padrino - Some say he hasn't beaten anyone...the Louisiana Derby result and his run in Florida proves it. I think he has sore legs and should be shelved for the Haskell but what do i know.

Gemologist - will be involved with a silly pace, not on the lead but right behind it....will make a move on the turn but then toss anchor

Hansen - Will have Trinniberg to deal with but maybe he hangs around longer than expected if Ramon rates? I doubt it .

I'll Have Another - he is on the Cali vet list! He should not be allowed to run. D Wayne get the big O ready.

Liaison - Let him watch the race on TV....Bobbie B may enter him just to eat up the gate space and then scratch....not the first time.

Mark Valeski - am I the only one that watched the Louisiana Derby? Enuff said.

Prospective - The money they pay for the Iowa Derby is pretty good. Do you hear me owners?

Rousing Sermon - See Mark Valeski

Sabercat - Has a closers chance in Kentucky but I think too many races too short a time.

Take Charge Indy - love both of his races this year sort of like they were both training runs...the breeding says WOW, lets hope they are hiding him in Florida as not to scare the others off...if the post is OK, he gets some of my moolah

Trinniberg - The poor horse almost passes out at 7F....I hope he runs and does well, by that I mean finish in the top 15

Union Rags - All Hype? He ain't Barbaro but he is 2 better trips from being undefeated. I think he is ready to go.....Mr Asher please tell me his post #.....and not 1,2 or 20

Went the Day Well - Best of luck, but not twice in a row? right?

Fire away at me people, I love to hear opinions

26 Apr 2012 3:06 PM
Karen in Texas

Nice article on the contenders, Jason. Your point/counterpoint format works well with such a wide-open group. I wondered when someone was going to mention that all of Dullahan's dirt starts/losses actually occurred at Churchill, yet he supposedly likes the track. He looked fantastic in his stretch run at Keeneland, but I can't help believing he may just have an affinity for that type of surface.

26 Apr 2012 3:08 PM
Rusty Weisner

Here's another gamble I'm willing to take.  I want a single closer underneath and it won't be Alpha any more.  

I'm looking at El Padrino.  I didn't like him before (maybe I have a prejudice against Pletcher because I've lost money on some of his chalk over the years, whether betting for or against it).  My gamble, though, is that I think he will prefer CD.  He didn't like chasing in his last off a slow pace, biased track and questionable ride, and he had a hard time catching the respectable Mark Valeski on what I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) was a speed friendly track.  Meanwhile, his most impressive race was when he blew by TCI (who ran a good race and got better) on an off track.  I don't know if off-track affinity translates into success at CD, but maybe it will; CD has its quiddities.  

26 Apr 2012 3:10 PM

Great article, Jason.  I appreciate the details about each of the horses.  Also glad to see a couple more on here agree with my dislike of the 20 horse field, one even repeating my opinion that it is responsible for no Triple Crown winners.  They limit the field in the BC races, Preakness, why not the Derby?  Also, who are the mudders in this bunch if enough have even attempted to run on it.  Long range forecasts are calling for rain for the Oaks and Derby.  I will wait for the post draw before I make my choice.  At least they have gone back to tradition with that but it is still a joke with 20 running.  What is it going to take a catastrophic accident in the first turn for them to change this?

26 Apr 2012 3:24 PM


Ever heard the saying "weight will stop a train"? Eight pounds more going ten furlongs is significant relative to the other top colts that have been toting more weight all along. Bodemeister is a brilliant colt but he has a lot to overcome to win this Derby coming off that great performance only three weeks from the Derby. Ideally, he should skip the derby and point to the Preakness to be sure of rpeating the Arkansas level of performance but that sounds like blasphemy. I can't fancy his winning chances at churchill Downs. He's gonna be sapped of energy trying to cope with Trinniberg and the monster closers Union Rags, Gemologist, El Padrino and Daddy Nose Best

26 Apr 2012 4:12 PM

If you were to lump Liaison, Prospective, Done Talking, Trinniberg, Rousing Sermon and Sabercat into a "Field" bet, would it be any better than 15-1?

I am inclined to key Gem and Union Rags into my tri bets.  I believe that one of these two, if not both will hit the board derby day.

I may have to bet big to win big, but I am not seeing a result in this derby without one of those two hitting the board.

26 Apr 2012 4:19 PM
Rusty Weisner


I love that laconic list.  That's a clever observation about Liaison.


Gemologist is not a closer.

26 Apr 2012 4:39 PM
Rusty Weisner

I'm thinking about playing hooky, and the Oaks day card.

26 Apr 2012 4:40 PM
Rusty Weisner


Why does Pletcher prefer to train his two down there? Also, do you know when their next workouts are scheduled?

26 Apr 2012 4:42 PM
Jason Shandler

Both Pletcher horses will work Sunday at Palm Meadows. He likes to train down there because they are comfortable there and there is less chance of bad weather.

26 Apr 2012 4:46 PM

This is great: "Another great article, and you may be the ONLY columnist to not reference the term 'Beyer' when writing about the Derby!!!"

Indeed, indeed, indeed.  

26 Apr 2012 4:55 PM


Great article, thanks for putting some things in perspective.  Will wait for PP's but in the meantime will be sharpening my 5 darts, a gift from Bob from Boston, to throw at my board with 12 numbers.  I can't recall a Derby where there are so many who actually have a chance and would be no surprise if they won.  Since Derby day is Cinco de Mayo, I'll be looking very closely at the #5 horse.


I agree with you and others that the Derby field should be limited to one gate, 14 entrants. As far as a muddy track; El Padrino, Union Rags and Take Charge Indy move way up.  Can you imagine a quagmire and Take Charge Indy with Calvin Borel slipping through on the rail for a win?

Still like Bodemeister on top with Union Rags, Gemologist, I'll Have Another, wavering on Alpha now, looking for my 5th horse.

26 Apr 2012 5:02 PM

Ain't politics grand? An Amendment to the MN Vikings Stadium Bill calling for a Racino at Canterbury Park was added last night by a repug Senator. He then procedded to vote against the bill stating that he only added the Racino Amendment so the bill would fail. The guy is twisted.

Speaking of twisted, I see nay nay is in full bloom again this spring ridiculing others while he touts the probable favorite. I don't pay much attention to his rants but I'm willing to bet somewhere before the race he'll be touting a "box" of 5-6 horses and if one of them finishes in the money he'll declare victory.

As always I'm going to wait until all the works, gallops, and post draws are over before I committ my money. I do like what I am seeing and hearing about Daddy Nose Best, Dullahan, and Take Charge Indy for now. I'm hesitant to back Creative Cause or Alpha at this point because neither seems to be coming to the race at their best.

One last thought: The one thing Jason forgot to add to why Union Rags can't win is the dreaded draynay jinx. Sooner or later it always catches up.

26 Apr 2012 5:19 PM

Rusty Weisner,

Gemologist will be closing from midpack in the Derby.

26 Apr 2012 5:43 PM
Carlos in Cali

I've always liked him,but Take Charge Indy is looking better and better as we get closer to the Derby.IMO,he's probably the most improved out of last yr's BCJ race.Love the way he's going into the Derby,his last work according to Byrne was crazy good.

26 Apr 2012 5:46 PM
Pedigree Ann

Finishing second (or worse) in the Santa Anita Derby seems to be preferable to actually winning the race, as a Derby prep. Sunday Silence in 1989 is the SA Derby winner to win the Derby. But Silver Charm, Real Quiet, and Giacomo were within a length or two of the winner and went on to win the Kentucky race.

26 Apr 2012 5:58 PM

Nice article Jason.  Great, succinct pros and cons of each horse.  I'm not going to even entertain picking horses until the draw.  But this was like a Derby Cliff Notes!  Thanks.

26 Apr 2012 6:01 PM
Rusty Weisner

Do we all have to include a standard disclaimer ever time we comment (workouts, post, weather, track condition, etc.)?  We're all killing time shooting the bull until all those remaining elements are finalized.  Nothing wrong with that (unless you're a productive member of society).

That said, more bull.  Another couple horses I think of in tandem, besides CC and Bode, are UR and El P.  One of the reasons I'm looking more at El P is that I was always willing to look past UR's Florida Derby non-performance, and El P shadowed him with a similarly tentative ride.  The trainer's method in preparing UR is pretty obvious now that he's working again.  He looks like a potential winner.  Good luck to those who love him.  For my part, he'll be underneath, as I like CC's odds better for the top spot and there are shades of reservations out there about his pedigree (too abstruse a subject for me to form my own opinions on).

26 Apr 2012 6:12 PM

Jason I actually like the article---Comments usually saved for Mr Haskin. Good Job.

Too early, but thoughts for 4/26 not exactly what I might be thinking on Cinco De Mayo.

Alpha—Nice horse but –scrapes on hind or not he had every chance to pass in the Wood and didn’t

Bodemeister—No knocks, I bet Curlin a few years ago –same type of idea--contender for it all.

Creative Cause—again hard to find knocks against as he always shows up has bottom and ran OK on track----definitely expect in top 4 finish but I just don’t like him to win

Daddy Long Legs---personally loved his win on TV from the Middle East—just seen too many like him not show up

Daddy Nose Best—well managed, will get the distance, but I just don’t think he is good enough

Done Talking----Not all these will be walking to the finish like in Chicago so I can’t see it

Dullahan---My gut tells me this is the winner but of course looking at the form it is harder to explain my gut feeling and I don’t know how the track will be playing or if muddy. Just strikes me that Kent lucked into another Derby horse. I really don’t like him on form because of the dirt---will be using on top but not exclusively.—AGAIN DEPENDING ON FINAL WORKS AND TRACK CONDITION.

El Padrino---Possible, but never have liked this horse and that won’t change before Derby

Gemologist---ABSOLUTELY no knocks and loved the way he picked it up when he saw Alpha and could have gone around again and wouldn’t have let him go by---again this is just a gut feeling—I don’t think he will win but I have no good reasons logically to say why I  think he won’t. Definitely couldn’t knock those thinking he will.

Hansen----Think he will rate in Derby—but don’t think that will be enough to get him there first

I'll Have Another---This horse has put a LOT of money in my pocket—caught $5 tri in SA Derby when stuck over a G note plus $75 to win to refresh my bankroll and lead to a good winning day. (Much more if CC ran 3rd instead of 2nd) Had him in previous race for a token bet. Would love to go to the well again---but no muddy conditions necessary. Vet list people? Seriously can’t you read why?---He will be fine. Loved him at SA not so sure on the 5th.

Liaison---Jock and most have bailed---I will too

Mark Valeski---can’t see it—my pick for last which if I could bet it I get long odds. On paper he looks better than some but I don’t like period!—Aaron V. likes him on HRTV---he’s more of a death nell than Dray

Prospective----Mark Casse will win a Derby someday—not this one

Rousing Sermon---Too slow I’m picking Mark Valeski for last so how could I like this one?

Sabercat----Here is my weird longshot to hit the ticket although form says no—--bottom on supers and tri

Take Charge Indy---Interesting, as I think he can win and won’t be shocked if he does, but won’t be in my tickets. Won't knock those who like him. (Note, I really trust his trainer as he is one of the best --not mentioned enough-- to have him peaked--still can't bet)

Trinniberg---Sad, I really believe this was going to be the summer horse if brought along---as mentioned before I actually thought-- he of the horses I’d seen for 2 to 3 had improved the most---not impossible if that much improved, but can’t really see it happening. Too much too soon. Hope this doesn’t break his will (heart) to win.

Union Rags----Certainly a top horse—definitely can win—might do better than most in off track conditions---but comparing him to Barbaro is not wise—the latter was a better horse.  A must use but in all positions but I don’t think he is a bargain at 6-1 and you will get less.

Went the Day Well---Not as impressed by win at Turfway as some—again not impossible but not on my list.

26 Apr 2012 6:21 PM
Bob from Boston


You're welcome for the darts.  Don't forget to close your eyes before you toss them.  Great article Jason.  Who wrote it for you?

26 Apr 2012 6:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

I don't like this idea of boxing a superfecta in this race.  That seems like an impossible bet to me in a 20-horse field.  Pick a winner, cover a wider range of horses underneath, and live with the consequences.  A multi-race bet seems a better way to cover multiple horses in the Derby.

26 Apr 2012 6:33 PM
Rusty Weisner

I don't fault people who want to stick with UR after last year.  I remember Street Sense opened his 3-year old campaign as the favorite for the Derby, which he won as a legitimate favorite.  I think he's comparable, as Bodemeister is to the horse who proved better that year, Curlin.

26 Apr 2012 6:40 PM


A real gambler looks at a horse he thinks is much the best and if he saw 5-1 which Rags will be and he would empty there wallet on the horse. Not box him and when he runs 3rd comes on these blogs bragging about how much he killed them! If you think Rags is really that much better then what you waiting for step up be a man and single him on top... Mr. boxes 4 horse in a 7 horse field and the odds of his horses are 3/5, 5/2, 7/1, and 25/1... and tells everyone the 3/5 should roll on these and called the 5/2 horse Overrated! You need help dude for real. Take your 360 bucks and get some professional help instead of burning it up on Derby Day. By the way where you sitting at this Derby, what section?? I would think a guy that has all the money you have would be on hand Derby Day right... I will be in Section 314 Row C both Oaks and Derby. Come on anyone who has enough money to waste betting $2K on Uncle Mo in the Classic has to be on hand at the Derby, right???

26 Apr 2012 7:55 PM

Jason : Nah, everytime I post my picks, you copy it and jinx it.  From Shared Property, to Neck n'Neck to My Adonis, all ran poorly lol.  I "Blame" you!

Anyway, unlike Draynay the rookie, who posted his 6 horse box with the guaranteed winner UR 2 weeks before the derby, I'm smart enough to wait until the post position draws.  Lookin At Lucky is just one example of how PP affects the race.  I'll bet you, if UR gets the rail, he'll suddenly change his bet and remove UR but will deny it.  I'll guess that by Friday next week, Draynay will be all over Gemologist.  That's what folks who doesn't know how to handicap does.

26 Apr 2012 8:01 PM
Mike Monarchos

Bodemeister carried 121 in his first two races. I'm sure he carries more than 126 in his works and gallops. The horse that will have no problem with 126 is Mark Valeski since 180 lb+ Larry Jones is on his bace alot of the time.

26 Apr 2012 8:03 PM

I watched CC fall asleep in the paddock while being saddled for the Santa Anita Derby.  The 25,000-35,000 crowd didn't seem to phase him.  Have liked him a lot before and since the Breeder's Cup. Unfortunatly the jockey will have to hand ride him as he won't take the whip.  Doubt he will be that clear. I think he also has a bad habit of switching leads back and forth.

I thought Union Rags looked awful prior to the Florida Derby.  Kind of "washy" in the post parade and with the huge crowd screaming I see him doing his typical bolting mid-stretch, jumping at shadows, running from birds.

I think these are both negatives for the top 2.  

26 Apr 2012 8:21 PM

bohemiastable- I can read very well, thank you.  I remember a horse I liked alot, Nijinsky's Secret.  He had back problems and they used a chiropractor.  He was a major stakes winner and ran well with enough spacing between his races.  He wasn't the same horse without that spacing he needed to feel good again.  Whatever the trainer says, I will still let him beat me.  But if you are using him, I hope he comes in for you!  Good luck.

26 Apr 2012 8:24 PM


Once again you write a great article. I love the pros and cons of each horse. It gives me a small foundation on what I bet next week on the derby. The only thing I am thinking about is if I really want to be the big risk taker and not play Union Rags on top of tickets. I have a feeling he is going to find trouble in a 20 horse field. Right now I feel like the connections of Trinniberg and 85% sure I am not playing him on top. I have learned from last year not to be locked in on my favorites. Things can change day to day and also race to race. Right now my top 5 are:

1. Bodemeister

2. Creative Cause

3. Gemologist

4. Daddy Nose Best

5. Dullahan

26 Apr 2012 9:01 PM
Paula Higgins

Really good article Jason. I am sticking to my three picks:


I'll Have Antoher

Creative Cause

But if they lose to Union Rags, I won't be unhappy.

26 Apr 2012 9:44 PM
Mike Monarchos

Will Draynay jinx Union Rags into the 1 post? That's the big question. Even with the 1 if Union Rags is a man amoung boys as the "Derby Master" says, Rags should still win. Yeah right! Secretariat could do it, but not Rags.

I'd like to see Trinniberg get the 1 hole. If he doesn't get forced into the turn rail he could get an easy lead. And the other horses that have a chance to win won't get stuck there.

It takes alot of luck to get around that first turn with good track position. I wouldn't want to be a jockey in a 20 horse field. Actually I wouldn't want to be a jocky in a one horse field. Much more fun to watch! I hope they all make it around OK.

26 Apr 2012 10:06 PM

WELCOME TO THE Rusty weisner blog!

26 Apr 2012 10:57 PM
Matthew W

Nice piece!

27 Apr 2012 1:59 AM

SUPERRONREC :  LOL at your comments about UR :

" Union Rags - All Hype? He ain't Barbaro but he is 2 better trips from being undefeated. "

Seriously ?? Come on now, stop with that crap.  He lost twice because he wasn't good enough to win the race.  I said it before, this horse only wins when there's not a lot of horses,  I don't think he likes to be crowded.   If a horse gets close to him, he'll stop running.  Throw in Julien in the mix and you'll see him stuck on the rail.  Julien knows that the only way UR will get 10Fs is if they stay on the rail where it's the shortest distance.  Fans of UR claims he had a bad trip in the Florida Derby when there was EIGHT horses...that's right, EIGHT.  Now look at the field of the Derby.  I'll say it again, he has a MUCH MUCH better chance of getting in trouble than winning the Derby.

I'll let him beat me if he's really that good.  Again, nothing against the horse, I actually like Matz.  He did a great job with Barbaro, more so after he got hurt but I just think this horse should be running the Met Mile, and have BC Mile as the goal this year.  He might get 9Fs if there's 5 horses in the race.  He's the one that needs to be managed right, he has a lot of fans and it would be nice to see him back next year in shorter races.  Nothing wrong with that.  We all saw what happened to hyped up horses running in 10Fs... I don't know if anyone still remembers this horse.  Quality Road, ring a bell ?

Gemologist is undefeated because he found ways to win, that's what a good horse does.

27 Apr 2012 3:31 AM

tomorrow morning, 830, big works begin! Rags is working, I can't wait to see him, but it will be in the slop, supposed to rain.

Carlos, the more I look at this race, the more I keep seeing TCI being a factor. There are a few that are peaking at the right time, and he is one of them.

Weather report as of today for Oaks and Derby is 78-80 and Sunny, 10% chance of rain. that could change, but I like it.

Derby Trial, Hierro looks strong as someone noted, I think Householder. So does Saint of Saints, Bourbon Courage, Motor City, and Paynter. Can't Ignore the 108 BRIS SPEED FIGURE of Bourbon Courage, plus his name is awesome...

27 Apr 2012 9:29 AM
Age of Reason

Bob from Boston,

I can't remember the last time I actually agreed with one of your opinions expressed about horse racing, but your one-liners never cease to crack me up. Yep, there must be good in everybody. Keep 'em coming!

27 Apr 2012 10:16 AM

I love how people here talk themselves into a horse.  If you are hanging onto the Florida Derby as the reason Union Rags won't win the Derby you are in big trouble and no nothing about racing.  Julien won't be saving anything in the Derby and Union peaking is not a horse I want to try and beat.  The question is not if Union will win but by how much is the question.  Now let's see those last works and pp's so we can get to work.

27 Apr 2012 10:23 AM

People are flocking away from Alpha like it's winter migration.....GOOD!...I'll take 19-1 on him. Thanx betting public!

27 Apr 2012 10:45 AM
Rusty Weisner


Your comment about Gemologist has focused my mind.  He’s never “closed from mid-pack”.  It’s a question mark what will happen if he has the misfortune to find himself in that situation in a 20-horse field.  Hardly a disqualifying question mark, though:  he doesn’t find himself in that situation in smaller fields because he’s so good.  My only reasons for not putting him on top are that I think he’s got too much competition up front where he wants to be.  Meanwhile, as far as Pletcher’s other horse goes, I’m half hoping for someone to talk me off of him.

27 Apr 2012 10:49 AM
Rusty Weisner


Householder has a better eye for Union Rags’ weaknesses when he says, “with the huge crowd screaming I see him doing his typical bolting midstretch, jumping at shadows, running from birds.”

UR’s problem in the BCJ was not that a horse “got close to him”.  Meanwhile, he had no problem muscling through in the Champagne.  In the Florida Derby I think it was more the ride and a lack of sharpness more than any traffic.

27 Apr 2012 10:51 AM

jay jay,

Prepare to eat a lot of crow after the Derby for all the baloney that you've been spouting about Union Rags.  You might begin to post a little less after his next work out (LOL)

27 Apr 2012 11:02 AM
Rusty Weisner


On second look, you're right about the BCJ.  I thought he had cleared CC when he started wandering, but he hadn't.  He actually shied from him.

27 Apr 2012 11:03 AM

Jayjay, I find your comments ironic. For someone that watches the horses in the post parade, and picks his horses by looks, you must have bad vision if you can't see how much of a beast Union Rags is. Everyone on the backside this morning was amazed about how long his stride was, and how he covered the ground with little effort. to each his own, but he will be the best looking colt in the post parade...

27 Apr 2012 11:04 AM

Have a look at how the 3rd Baffert horse just dropped out as Mamma Kimbo is now not running in the Oaks. Add her to Secret Circle and Princess Arabella and you will see it is too much too soon for Bodemeister. It says the owner decided not to run her but Baffert can sometimes be like Lukas and not do what is right for the horse and do too much too soon.

27 Apr 2012 11:44 AM

I LOVE the fact that absolutekly no one here gives Alpha a chance in the Derby.  He was a quality horse at 2 coming in a good second in the Gr. 1 Champagne before having a very bad race in the Juvenile as many good horses in the past have done.  In fact, that was his only bad race.

At 3 he won the CountFleet and the Withers and despite clipping heels and being injured ran a terrific second to Gemologist in the Wood closing fast at the wire to lose by a neck.

Yes, I hate the fact that he's had lingering physical issues resulting from that injury in the Wood which have set back his prep. for the Derby.  I also hate the fact that he doesn't currently have a jock.  But he has done everything right in the traditional way racing well at a graded stakes at a route at 2 and exactly 3 preps at 3.  He's a great example of an improving 3-YO and has the best distance pedigree in the race.  7 -6-19-4 -0 36 TOT 1.67 0.44.

The training setback and choice of a jockey are big obstaclesw but this horse reminds me a great deal of my greatest Derby handicap ever, Funny Cide (Future bet, Oaks/Derby Double/Win.Place/Exacta/Trifecta).  I'll consider his work and jockey but this horse is a very good horse that could go off at 25-1 or higher.

27 Apr 2012 11:59 AM
Rusty Weisner


He's pointing her to the Blackeyed Susan, I believe.  Doesn't that indicate the opposite of what you're arguing?  It's also hard for me to find fault with what Baffert's done at Oaklawn the past two years, particularly this year with Secret Circle.

27 Apr 2012 12:37 PM

anddownthestretch- she is running in the Black-Eyed Susan instead

27 Apr 2012 12:40 PM
Smoking Baby

 I've got to say this may be my favorite of all your work I've read so far Jason.  Good job sir.  

Say what you want about Union Rags (for the record I believe he'll disappoint his backers and be off the board in the Derby) but I agree with Billy's Empire.  Union Rags is extremely easy on the eyes and simply OOZES charisma and class.  If you think all horses look the same you haven't seen Union Rags yet.

27 Apr 2012 12:54 PM

Ranagulzion : LOL @ baloney.    My baloney has merit and is based on his races in 2012.  Your claim of TC winner based on him getting stamina from Hyperion, a horse from the 1930s sounds very very credible..yeah right.   I'm not going to eat crow because I didn't declare him anything, I posted what my thoughts are about Union Rags, if he's that good, he can beat me but unlike you, I never proclaimed him Derby and TC winner so if either one doesnt come true, you'd have to  prepare a 10 course crow meal for your proclamations.  I never said he will not win, I posted my opinion on why "I" think he will not win, but it doesn't mean he won't.  Get it now ?  Big difference.   You really believe his workout is what will get him to the board ?  Really ?  If it's all about workout, Baffert should be dominating and winning every G1 race out there.

Billy : When I watch the post parade, I look for how the horse is acting, not by looks (contrary to what Jason says lol).  I promise after this weekend's much anticipated workout, I'll look for your opinion on how well he does it.  I know you won't put any spin on it so I'll take your word for it.

Draynay : If he gets the 1 hole, would you honestly still put $200 WP on him ?  Be honest, at least once lol.  You have no idea what you're doing, we all know you'll change your 6 horse bet after the post position draws.  All you've said about this horse is "he's the best, he's head and shoulders the best", all crap talk.  You watch his races and you'll see what I'm talking about.   What else do you base his performance on besides the Florida Derby ?  Everyone in the horse racing world was expecting that to be his blowout race.  Not ONE here blogged any concerns about his works prior to the FL Derby, not ONE said anything about him not 100%.  It was all, yeah, he'll blow this field away, he towers over them.  When the gate opened...well, I'll let you finish the story.  After the race, everyone was using his workout, Javier, traffic problems.  Like I said, if he's that good, I'll let him beat me but I won't put money on him to win.  It won't be the first time I get beat in the derby but at least I won't lose because someone said he's the best.  Even Jason said it's possible he's not that good (I know he'll put a lot of his money on him though) lol.

27 Apr 2012 1:18 PM

Glad to see you've admitted that Daddy Nose Best is slow and hasn't beaten anyone.

27 Apr 2012 1:46 PM
Jason Shandler

James: Have the Pens made their summer gold plans yet?

27 Apr 2012 2:36 PM
an ole railbird

if this kentucky derby, were running in the texas bush raceing days. all the books would be taking bets on who is ahead @ the 1/4 pole, 3/8s pole & the 1/2 pole. if we still made those old crazy, off the wall bets. i would like to bet, that, the horses laying 3rd & 4th @ the 1/2 mi. pole, will run 1 & 2 in the finish. have some fun with 1. ill go back to being "an ole railbird"

27 Apr 2012 2:45 PM

blah blah blah jayjay... put up or shut up.  100 bucks says Union Rags finishes in front of your horse.  Go ahead and pick one.  Put up or shut up.  Come on pick one.  Cluck cluck cluck

27 Apr 2012 3:08 PM
The Deacon

Wow, all comments are right on except for the last one on Went The Day Well.

Unless I am reading a different pedigree then you are his lineage is a who's who. No stamina, you're kidding, right!

This is a very nice colt, I expect him to fire. The question here is,

"is he good enough".......

27 Apr 2012 3:17 PM
Pedigree Ann

I used to write a column about California breeding, so I have to side with Creative Cause, who is one of the few horses in the Derby bred top and bottom to handle the Derby distance. Both his sire and damsire won at 10f in G1s and both have sired class SWs at 10f.

Also, being an official Geezer, I approve of the Old School campaigns CC has had. Started in the summer as a 2yo, then raced at the highest levels thru November, 5 races in all. Came back in a 7f race, gradually increasing distances to have 3 preps. A proper preparation, IMHO.

27 Apr 2012 3:17 PM

I hope Rags works tomorrow morning. Weather now is only 20-30% chance of rain at 830, or else he works on Sunday. Dullahan is working tomorrow, so is Went the Day Well, Prospective, and Hansen (trackside). This could all change to Sunday weather permitting, but I will be too hungover to make it to the track Sunday morning after night racing. 1 week away folks, this is going to be fun.

Who is going to Oaks/Derby? Anyone on here?

27 Apr 2012 3:25 PM

Basedon what I observed during all the prep races and on what each horse bring ro the race on his ability to stay the distance,determinati on to win and all other things being equal I expect the top ten finishers in order to be 1 gemologist 2 i'll have another 3 dullahan 4 el padrino 5 creative causeway 6 union rags 7 bodiemeister 8 alpha 9 take charge indy 10 hansen

27 Apr 2012 3:43 PM

Union Rags has a real nice Barrel racing pedigree.  Not to mention other pre race bad habits like rearing up, getting hot, etc. etc.  Wait till he can't breath because the crowd is so thick and there are heads bobbing up and down in the infield.  There will be plenty to gawk at and run from.  His Breeder's Cup stretch run was pure disaster.  Now he has to listen to another 15-20 seconds of that crowd in the stretch.  These races are very hard on horses.  Remember Quality Road and Santa Anita during the Classic.  He later "refused" to load onto the plane in Burbank and had to be vanned across the county he was so messed up from the poor handling.  At least Draynay knows to stick with the head cases.    

27 Apr 2012 4:42 PM

"O'Brien probably isn't even going to make the trip to Kentucky."

Are you suggesting he has found a more prestigious race to attend than the Kentucky Derby Jason? That sounds like crazy talk to me.

27 Apr 2012 5:44 PM

Great post. Very interesting, insightful rundown of all the possible contenders. Also nice to see and unbiased opinion of just about all of the 20 contenders.

27 Apr 2012 5:51 PM


I see you are now backpedalling with the following disclaimer "I never said he will not win, I posted my opinion on why "I" think he will not win, but it doesn't mean he won't".

jay jay, you're just a bag of wind my friend. Union Rags hasn't even put in his final work yet and you are getting stage-fright (LOL).

After the draw for post positions I get more specific about the pace scenario. Stay tuned and learn a thing or two buddy. I'm not backing down one iota about my forecast the U/Rags will cop the Triple Crown and rubbish all the 'trash analysis' posted about the stamina limitations his deceased sire Dixie Union.  

27 Apr 2012 6:17 PM

Giddyup- he is staying in England to saddle Camelot in the 2000 Guineas.

27 Apr 2012 6:48 PM

Of course, Giddyup, maybe you were being tongue in cheek.  I wasn't sure so I will acknowledge both scenarios just in case.

27 Apr 2012 6:52 PM

Until the post position draw we just won't know how the race will set up, and as we've seen post position can absolutely obliterate the best horses in the field if they draw poorly.

The horses I like best are the ones I liked best at the end of 2011 and they have not disappointed me along the way: Union Rags and Creative Cause.  A classic East vs West rivalry.

I recognize that there are alot of other horses to like, with upside to most of them in fact. When ever have the top 5 finishers of the BC Juvenile come back to run in the Derby? Never?  When did 9 Juvenile runners make it to the Derby?  Never!

That said, I'd also love to see Hansen win because he's so dang pretty......  

27 Apr 2012 7:28 PM
Pedigree Ann

Giddyup- I hope you were being facetious. If not, you are being hopelessly insular.

The first legs of the English Triple Crown (the original), the 2000 Guineas (open) and 1000 Guineas (fillies only) take place on May 5th and 6th of May. O'Brien trains the ante-post favorites for both races, both unbeaten - Camelot in the 2000 and Maybe in the 1000. These horses are far more important for his business and reputation than a longshot in the country where the horses run "drugged to the gills." My guess is that the O'Briens will be setting up camp at Newmarket on that weekend.

27 Apr 2012 7:58 PM
Tiara Terces

Post Position 1 is tied with 5 with the most Derby wins.  If Hansen got that post and he has great ability to break fast. That means he will run the shortest distance around the track.  Trinni might pass him, of course, but if he stays his inside course, he just has to look out for horses coming on the far outside.  He did not see Dullahan until it was too late to accelerate out of cruise control.  With his breeding he probably does not have the stamina, but he might hang on from sheer determination.  

27 Apr 2012 8:20 PM

Rusty Weisner,

Gemologist has very good tactical speed and is quite a versatile sort. He runs very much like his sire Tiznow and has the finishing kick and gameness to gut out a victory against any horse. He is my fancy for the runner-up spot in the Derby and one point of interest for me is to see how he confronts Union Rags down the stretch.

I believe that Javier Castellano will again be fixated on U/Rags (because he probably doesn't want to live with the regret of betraying his first Kentucky Derby winning ride for 'thirty pieces of silver'), trying to steal a march on him turning for home. However post positions will play a big part and Julien Leparoux has a score to settle over Castellano's Florida Derby tactics on El Padrino when he boxed U/Rags in down the backstretch, costing him the Grade 1 race. I tell you this is one of the most absorbing Derby build ups I can remember.

Gemologist is a sure shot to make the frame.

27 Apr 2012 8:41 PM

We will see if Mamma Kimbo runs in the Black eyed susan. Also Secret Circle is exactly the proof of too much as i do believe he is injured is he not? Go back to how fast Bellamy Road was before the Derby and it is too much for to ask of Bode.

27 Apr 2012 10:45 PM
Mike Monarchos

I really don't see what's so great about Union Rags. Yeah he's big and muscular, but so are El Padrino and Gemologist. Rags' speed figures simply have not improved as a 3 year old. El's and Gem's both have. They both are better bred for a 1 1/4 race than Rags is. Gem was wide most of the way in the Wood, but all ya hear is what a horrible trip Alpha had! Same with El Padrino in the Florida Derby. He was wide all the way around and ran 60 feet further than Take Charge Indy, and probably Rags too, since he was riding the rail most of the way. What did we hear from Dray and others? What a horrible trip poor little Rags got! Here's the truth: good horses overcome trouble and still win. Gem did. Rags didn't. El bounced a little, ran 60 feet more than Take Charge Indy and Rags, and still only lost by 3 lengths. His thoro-graph number was a 2, which is the same as TCI and Rags.

I just can't see Rags avoiding trouble in a 1 1/4 race with 20 horse. Plus he has the dreaded "Draynay Jinx". I rest my case.

27 Apr 2012 11:00 PM

Barring disastrous post position draws, I like Union Rags and Creative Cause to finish 1-2 in the Derby.  I will wheel all the other horses who ran in the BC Juvenile in 3rd (Dullahan, Take Charge Indy, Hansen, Alpha, Prospective, Daddy Long Legs & heck if Optimizer gets in, I'll add him as well).  It doesn't happen often if ever, but I still believe 6 months later, the BC Juvenile is the key race for the Derby.  Has there ever been a BC Juvenile race that has produced this many actual Derby starters (8 of 13 BC Juvenile starters, maybe 9 if Optimizer gets in)?

28 Apr 2012 12:23 AM
Ted from LA

Age of Reason, I am glad I can entertain you, but I am a very serious clown act.  Please respect that part of my work. As for Matthew's post...

Nice piece!

Matthew W 27 Apr 2012 1:59 AM

Matthew, obviously you're standing behind mz in a betting line, but please show more restraint in your comments.  Some more human type people might consider that sexist.  I have NO IDEA who is going to win this Derby.  It is either going to be Done Talking, Went the Day Well, I'll Have Another, Hansen,or Gemologist.  Union Rags has ZERO chance.  He will finish 20th, and that is a lock.  I just hope he beats the Draynay curse and makes the starting gate.

28 Apr 2012 12:45 AM
Matthew W

Union Rags, Hansen, Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best (wiseguy horse), Gemologist (cause he was rushed into the Wood and looked like America's Horse in late stretch), Dullahan (he's a specimen!), and last but not least, my pick to win, I'll Have Another--that's seven, I think you'll find the winner there as well as the exacta, and I think Doug O'Neil will smell the roses on May 5th, and I think I'll Have Another will win big....

28 Apr 2012 2:13 AM
Matthew W

Holly Race #9 tom, #7 Joy Boy outruns his odds over and over, not saying he's gonna win, but at 15-1, I will use him...will try to pad my wallet in race 5 on #13 On My Honor, 12-1, will box with #3 Caffeine High and play win/show, have a feelin about this one, workin like a nice thing, Dan Hendricks can horse train....

28 Apr 2012 3:03 AM

Ranagulzion : LOL at backpedalling.  This coming from you who calls UR the 2012 TC winner, guaranteed!  As the derby gets closer, posts a list of "elite" horses.  You're no different than Draynay.   I think you hyping Quality Road as a superhorse still haunts you.  You're an expert at making excuses, if UR doesn't win the TC, you'll find 10 million reasons why he didn't to try and save face.  Your post to Rusty, you're already making excuses and the derby is over a week away, man that's sad.  Your obssession with UR is way way out there man, to the point where you have lost all sense of reality.  If you think Julien is the only one that learned a lesson in the Florida Derby then you really need to go back to handicapping 101.  I'm serious about that.  You think Javier is so dumb that in the Kentucky Derby, the KENTUCKY DERBY! he will compromise Gemologist because he wants to "box" Union Rags ??  I mean it's laughable, the fact that you say he doesn't want to live with the regret of screwing up El Padrino… seriously ???  You should read your post to Rusty again and maybe it'll make sense to you the 2nd time around.  I've already learned a lot about you and your handicapping skills, it's at least 40 years behind but more power to you.  You're still looking at Hyperion, it's 2012.  Man, what happened to you ?

I'm not telling you not to bet UR, in fact I want you to sell your house, your car and put it all on UR.  All I've been saying is that UR will not take my money.  I really believe he is a sucker bet, the more people bet on him, the better for me.  If he proves me wrong, I'll probably be down $300 but if I'm right, I have a shot at a big payout.  It's called handicapping, ever heard of it ?  I think your handicapping is limited to your blogging, I doubt very much that you actually make bets.

Draynay :  Show proof that you even have the money to bet, send it to Jason, once Jason confirms, I'll take the bet.  I'll let you know who my horse is after the post position draw.  I've heard all your "put up or shut up" bets before, you never keep your word.  Jason knows I'm good with my word.  BTW, did you really bet $2000 WP on Uncle Mo in the Classic ??  Be honest.  LOL

28 Apr 2012 4:42 AM

They thought 10f could be beyond the scope of another almost white gray progeny of Tapit from the same Tapit/Storm Cat cross. A headstrong filly with tons of speed won this grade 1 at 10 panels sitting just to the outside of the speed and drawing away by 11 lengths:


28 Apr 2012 5:21 AM

Mr. Shandler,

I have no reallocation of either inferring or specifying that I was an expert in any area of the Thoroughbred Industry. Mr. Irvin accused me of using Mr. Haskin’s Blog as a platform to launch my own. It was obviously a figment of his imagination as I am not bright enough to harbor such an aspiration. He went on further to advice that I was peddling absurdities. Another gentleman advised that I was peddling misinformation for the less informed. These were clearly attempts to discredit and ridicule. Should I conclude that by classifying me as an expert you are attempting to likewise?

There are two experts on your blog that have not spared any opportunities to remind us of their status. One has a severe case of keyboard in mouth disease. Happily we are occasionally spared his expertise due to his self imposed suspensions. The other expertise lies in insults and disrespect and it appears he will remain SOS indefinitely.

Done Talking:

“Why can't win: He's too slow. He ran 1:53 4/5 in the Illinois Derby. That's sundial-like slow”.

You continue to refer to the time he was credited with for his IL Derby victory. What was the time of the Remsen in which he closed from last to finish 1L 4th and 1/2L behind El Padrino. That race was run in 1:52.07 a full 1 & 4/5th faster than the IL Derby. Bluegrass Cat won the Remsen in a time of 1:52.20 and he went on to finish 2nd in the Derby. To evaluate the colt’s ability off the time associated with one race and ignore his body of work makes no sense. He is the only colt in the field that has not been fully extended. That I am sure will occur in the Derby with possibly shocking effect. If he is the slowest in the field he should finish last. Speed is not the only component required to win the Derby.


“His speed numbers say he's too slow; he disappointed in his final tune-up in the Blue Grass.”

How have you arrived at the above conclusion? If his Tampa Bay Derby effort is compare to those of Musket Man, Street Sense, Super Saver and Bluegrass Cat, the above conclusion is wrong. Prospective time in the TBD was second fastest in the history of the race and is only bettered by the track record effort by Street Sense. Super Saver and Bluegrass Cat were runner-pus in times that were much slower. SS won his Derby and BC was runner up in his. You were high on Odysseus who won the TBD in 1:44 a full second slower than Perspective’s time.

Who is Bluegrass Cat? Well he was my selection to win the 2006 Derby. It took Barbaro to deny him. He was runner up in the TBD and 4th in the Bluegrass. He left the starting gates at 35-1 despite his 4 wins and a runner-up finish form 7 starts. Prospective finished 6th in the Bluegrass and will enter the Derby with 4 wins and a runner-up finish form 8 starts. He is a dangerous colt.

28 Apr 2012 7:17 AM


You have been on Union Rags for longtime and he is a worthy contender. However, I cannot see how Gemologist is your second choice:

Two 1 1/16m races at CD1:44.46 & 1:45.24; One 1m GP 1:35.95; one 1 1/8 1:50.96

His efforts at two were extremely slow. His 3YO debut was his fastest time. However, a goat could be trained to run 1:35 at GP. His Wood victory was workman like against Alpha who was handicapped by a lack of race fitness and an unfit rider. If you really like Gemologist I beseech you to take a look at Alpha. He is the better of the two.

Smarty Jones Jr:

“Coldfacts- Unlike Barry Irwin, I'm glad Bloodhorse gives a forum, however, if you could just refrain from addressing everyone as Mr. this or Mr. that, first names are fine on this informal blog”

Kindly accept my apology for the annoyance caused by the salutations I used when addressing the Bloggers who moderate comments submitted. The comments we submit are posted at the discretion of the moderators. We enter their domains at their pleasure and they clearly have dominion. I am aware that the forum is informal. However, neither Jason nor Steve has objected to being addressed as Mr. Shandler and Mr. Haskin. However,  if it is source of annoyance to the supporters of the fine gentlemen I will be guided accordingly.

28 Apr 2012 8:01 AM

I never thought I would see a filly/mare go a perfect 20 for 20 in my lifetime.  Black Caviar is simply unreal.

28 Apr 2012 9:09 AM

Union Rags 5f 59.97 bring on the Roses !!!

28 Apr 2012 9:35 AM
Rusty Weisner

Since no one here has helped talk me off El Padrino as my main horse underneath, I'll just have to do it myself.  I just can't be enthusiastic about this horse when he couldn't make the money in the Florida Derby when he needed it.  And I don't feel solid about any of the other closers (Dullahan, DNB, WtheDW, Done Talking) to pick one above the rest.  I'll go back to my original pick for a horse underneath CC, the one with heart, Hansen, who will have enough to hold on.  

28 Apr 2012 10:31 AM

Great read!  Every year one of my favorite things to do is read the comments. I'm going to have trouble keeping my ticket affordable this year. :(

I'm ready for my vacation to Louisville next week, and if a crazy longshot that I don't bet has to win...

Please let it be sabercat. I've got a bluegrass cat filly that would be thrilled.

28 Apr 2012 10:48 AM

Draynay for once I agree with you totally, She is unreal! Btw Draynay see where rags went 59.4 this morning at Churchill and galloped out in 1:13 looks like all systems go for Rags.

28 Apr 2012 11:15 AM

I have always been on the fence with Union Rags based on his two races this season but after seeing his work this morning I would have to say other then the 4 horse I have not seen work CC,I'll Have Another,Gem,ElPadrino he is without a doubt the horse to beat in this years Ky Derby! I do not think Dullahan nor Bodemeister can beat Union Rags. I am not sold that Daddy Nose Best as well as Went The Day Well has enough class to win the Derby.

28 Apr 2012 12:33 PM
El Kabong


You are putting on the "shackles" pal.

In a response to Ranag's choice of Gemologist  you stated:

"I cannot see how Gemologist is your second choice:

Two 1 1/16m races at CD1:44.46 & 1:45.24; One 1m GP 1:35.95; one 1 1/8 1:50.96

His efforts at two were extremely slow. His 3YO debut was his fastest time. However, a goat could be trained to run 1:35 at GP.

But on a different topic(Trinniberg factor) you stated in defense of Done Talkings slow running of the Illinois Derby:

"Slow times do not mean that a particular horse cannot run faster at a different track and on different surface. Handicappers are shackled by times but horses are not."

Are you being selective or shackled? :)

28 Apr 2012 12:47 PM
Betty S

Smoking Baby,you are right they do not look the same.  Living proof is Hansen---they said he couldn't win the BC Juvenile either.  My pick and my love---Hansen.

28 Apr 2012 1:27 PM

Coldfacts : Who is Mr. Irvin and who is the mouth in keyboard disease ?  I'm curious lol.

28 Apr 2012 1:59 PM
Mike Monarchos


I know you watched Union Rags work today and he may have looked goodbut you're forgetting the Draynay curse. He CAN'T win because of it! LOL! Alot of horses work faster than 47 1/5 anyway. How in the world can Rags avoid trouble with Draynay on his back in a 20 horse field? He can't!

28 Apr 2012 3:26 PM

My man Union Rags had a 4f workout, but was credited with 5f, since he galloped out so strongly.  That tail side of his pedigree is spectacular.  He's built like Secretariat, and has Secretariat's three white socks.  He looked fantastic this morning.

28 Apr 2012 5:09 PM

Mike Monarchos, can you please just leave Draynay alone.  You are losing credibility and the respect of others every time you make such ridiculous remarks.  Please just talk about the horses.

28 Apr 2012 5:11 PM

Nice work Alpha!......Just Sayin'. But let's not make a big deal about it.....I want his odds to be solidly in the double digits!As Dick Vitale would say..."It doesn't matter who the jockey is baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!

28 Apr 2012 5:23 PM

To Honor and Serve.  I guess he was ready, eh Ranagulzion?

28 Apr 2012 7:11 PM
Terry M.

With such a deep field, I think I will go with a longer shot and say Mine That Bird's half brother will win. One thing you didn't factor in is what happens if the track is muddy, like it was in 2009. Does Dullahan likes the mud? Does anyone else?

28 Apr 2012 7:36 PM
Mike Monarchos


Just having a little fun. Dray always bashes horses I like, or haven't you noticed?. Why would you defend him?

28 Apr 2012 8:04 PM
Ted from LA

Ted from LA has been unlucky in love.  It has taken my keen insight regarding the Derby away.  The moment she said, "Get out of my life forever", I knew it was over.  Went the Day Well is my new Derby horse.

28 Apr 2012 10:32 PM


To Honorand and Serve was awesome, I have to admit. The Met mile is goig to be quite a race, it seems. I'm staying in Caleb's Posse's corner however. carlos in Cali must be licking is chops (LOL).  We'll see how this one goes.

How do you like that Union Rags has thrown down the gauntlet in his latest pre-derby works? Can you see the Terpsichorist / Hyperion genes kicking in (LOL)?

I give half the credit to Dixie Union for bring a lot more Hyperion blood into the mating with the Gone West mare Tempo ...but I'll refrain from getting ahead of myself on this one. I know from reading a lot of your posts that you're very conservative and measured in your assessment of these races but surely you must agree now that the proverbial "writing is on the wall" where this year's Kentucky Derby is concerned. Just one more week and a third of the job will be done ...can't wait.    

28 Apr 2012 10:45 PM

Ranagulzion, it's the Tempo genes.  The tail side of Union Rags pedigree is full of stamina.  Here comes Secretariat.  I have been waiting for a horse like Union Rags for over 30 years.  Secretariat will be running with his great great grandson in the Kentucky Derby.  Keep an eye on those three white socks.  Good luck to all of these lovely horses.

28 Apr 2012 11:43 PM

Ted,  re your 12:49 am comment, I can't tell if I should be flattered or yelling at you so I'll just change the subject.

Just wanted to say that my friend suggested a restaurant for dinner Sat. night and when I checked its menu online, I saw that it had horse, daintily called "chevali" as an entree.  I made him change the reservation to another place. IMO, every little step helps.  Up the Revolution!

(wow!  Almost took me back to the 60's there!)

And although I agree that we must wait for the PP and the weather, I'm sticking to Prospective, Dullahan, Alpha and Union Rags and hoping that Optimizer gets in.  (I also have a sneaking hankering for the Euro, just because I am an internationalist)

Maybe we should just all do what my friends last year did: $2 on each and every horse.

29 Apr 2012 12:17 AM

Ranagulzion- If he beats me he does.  It was a sharp work, but it was also a short work.  A good horse will work well and will be strong.  There are many factors in handicapping the Derby.  I read the Foreign press and read the Thoro-graph blogs all the time.  I'll take all that info and then analyze it accordingly.  I think I'm going to take some horses who I feel are better bred for the distance and use them, as they will be better odds.  I will use him underneath certain horses, as he does have talent, but I won't put him on top.  But good luck to you and I hope your faith in him is justified.  As far as which bloodlines I will credit his stamina, it will not be the Dixie Union part.  Sorry.  But, you can believe what you wish.

As far as the Met Mile, it looks to be shaping up as a great race this year.  I think Mott is probably saying "Bring it on!" right now..........

29 Apr 2012 12:30 AM

Draynay / KY Vet : Here's a couple of new additions to my album.  I tell you, these .50 P4s are awesome :)


I missed the tri in that belmont ticket by a nose, I played 13, 10 / 13, 10, 15/ 13, 10, 15 and didn't put the 8 horse.  oh well.  The .50 super still paid nice.  I got my derby money!

Draynay : Have you sent that $100 to Jason yet ??  Are you backing off now because I called your bluff ?  I won't take that bet unless you can show proof that you have the money to bet, none of this "put up and shut up" then run away from your bet.

29 Apr 2012 12:34 AM


Excellent and succinct analysis. You pretty much captured my thinking on each horse.

Cali wintered horses ran 1-2 in the Derby Trial.  Hierro either didn't like Santa Anita or he only likes Churchill.  His style was disadvantaged at Santa Anita, but he ran so poorly in both races that track bias alone could not account for the results.  He clearly didn't like Santa Anita.  The question is, can he run really big outside of Churchill or was it JUST a Santa Anita thing?

Paynter ran well in defeat.  In retrospect, he was probably too close to a solid pace.  Although he was coming out of the SA Derby, keep in mind the Trial was just his 3rd career start.  He goes from 5.5 furlongs to the Santa Anita Derby where he's 4th, then comes back 3 weeks later, ships cross country, and run in a one turn mile.  And he has to deal with a sloppy track.  He's been asked to do a lot these last 2 races, and he's acquitted himself well.

29 Apr 2012 1:53 AM
Mary Zinke

Terry, I may be beating two of his most loyal fans to this answer, but as Mr.Nay(that was for Coldfacts) and the other Mary can tell you, U.R. won the Saratoga Special in slop.  Dullahan has raced only on fast dirt and firm turf other than in the BCJ, when the track was still labeled "fast".  El Padrino has won twice on off tracks, with the uniqueness of his Belmont win while it was snowing. Hansen, placed in the sloppy(sealed) Holy Bull. Maybe there are more mudders to add to these few? I have a couple of Cali horses in my top picks, so I'm wanting a nice dry, fast track for the Derby.  Creative Cause is my favorite.

29 Apr 2012 2:20 AM

Looking at the past performances, tomlinsons, sire and damsire AWD's and beyers, along with visual impressions of past races, if I had to bet right now, I'd box Bode and El P over Alpha, CC, IHA and would consider DNB, TCI and Dull underneath as well.  I'm still taking a stand against Rags, at a risk, I realize.  I see Hansen and Rags fading in the stretch.  Can't shake that impression, despite every argument being made for them.

29 Apr 2012 5:30 AM


“Coldfacts : Who is Mr. Irvin and who is the mouth in keyboard disease ?  I'm curious lol.”

Mr. Irvin - Who is Animal Kingdom?

Key board in mouth - Uncle is better than Secretariat.

The above does not relate to my sparring partner Ranagulzion in spite of the fact that he was a big Uncle Mo fan.He has an acute case of Passion Gone Wild.

29 Apr 2012 7:26 AM
Criminal Type

Horseholder, Really ? Rag's acting stupid in prerace ? I believe you mean he kicked the wall in the saddling enclosure at Gulfstream. Big deal ! at least he is not dragging his handlers around and nearly under him. See CREATIVE CAUSE. Yea, Union Rag's gets hot. but no where near as hot as Shackleford did in the Preakness pre race...oh yea, He won too because he always gets hot, Rag's always gets hot. If you would like to see scary antic's pre race or just while schooling, again, see CREATIVE CAUSE.. His actions while schooling a few days ago were bordering on dangerous.

Oh yea, What was I saying a couple days ago about Hierro ruining Paynters Party ?  Called that one straight up.

29 Apr 2012 7:33 AM
Criminal Type

RANA, I love the fact that the MIG is along for the ride on the Union Rag's bandwagon. On HRTV yesterday, one of the guest (a professional handicapper) who watched Rags unload at Churchill said he thought he would win by a pole...then he ammended that after the work and said TWO poles. I'll be exstatic if he just wins and comes home safe.

29 Apr 2012 7:36 AM
Criminal Type

Terry, if the track is muddy look for Union Rags, El Padrino and Went the day Well to score. Rags EP LOVE the mud.

29 Apr 2012 7:38 AM


‘Do not count your chickens before they are hatched’

I think the above quote is relevant to address your Passion Gone Wild syndrome. You posted similar statements about Union Rags preceding the FL Derby. Well, we all know how that turned out. Let me caution you again to be more measured in your predictions. Thunder Gulch was the last Derby winner that finished 3rd in a final Derby prep. Although that occurred 16 short years ago, it was the only time it occurred in the last 25 years. Not a good recurrence interval.

‘One swallow doesn't make a summer’

An idiom I consider relevant. One impressive work doesn’t make a Derby winner. Hard Spun worked 57 and change and finished second to Street Sense who never broke a minute in his final spins. Friesan Fire worked 57 and change and finished 18th. If Union Rags could not get by Reveron whom I consider stamina challenged, it’s a serious indictment of his capabilities to effectively get 10F. Reveron exited the Sam Davis with a 3rd place finish. He finished ahead of UR in the FL Derby. Do you know who finished ahead of Reveron in the Sam Davis? It was Prospective who went on to win the Tama Bay Derby in the second fastest time in the history of the race. He has better 10F pedigree than both Reveron and Union Rags. I think it is worthwhile mentioning that you favorite rider Mr. Bridgmohan had a ton of horse in his final work. Caution my friend no one wants to see you go to RAGS.

29 Apr 2012 8:00 AM
Criminal Type

Jayjay, after last years breeders cup (2010) NOTHING Javier does would surprise me. His performace in the Florida Derby was sour grapes because his selected ride was injured and wont be in the gate. Too bad for EL Padrino. I don't think he will finish in the top 5 next Saturday but he deserves better. You stick with Pletcher Javier, ask Johnny V how that worked out when he won the Derby on someone elses horse. How many rides is JV getting from Pletcher these days now that Javier is first call rider ? Not nearly as many as he did in 2010 and early 2011.

29 Apr 2012 8:12 AM

For those that have been ridiculing Done Taking because of his 1:53.88 clocking in the IL Derby, below is a quote from his trainer Hamilton Smith.

"I am looking forward to a great race out of him, I really am," Smith said. "If we get pace up front that should help us. Naturally you need to have a good trip with all those horses in there. With his running style you worry about getting shut off but if we can be mid pack early, about eighth or ninth and relax, we might shock everybody."

There is consensus that this colt is slow and I mean very slow. Why is Mr. Smith harboring thoughts of him being midpack? Could it be that he is not as slow as his races suggest? I specified in a previous post that Done Talking had the best Derby prep. I was advised to refocus and stop the nonsense as his IL Derby time was 6 seconds slower than those for the Bluegrass and SA Derby. Well, the math is correct but also is the assessment. Subject to correction the IL Derby field of 14 was the largest for any Derby prep. I think the Bluegrass is next with has 13. Done Talking bobbed and weaved his way from third last with no pace upfront to record a decisive victory.  The Derby will be a field of 20 and he is the only colt that has had a perfect simulation race for the big Derby field.

Done Talking is a long shot to win the Derby but he has a Derby story that makes for interesting reading. He might not be as flashy as the top five colts but if there are any chinks in their armors he will be there to exploit them. He is better than most think.

29 Apr 2012 8:44 AM


I will agree with you that Prospective is a dangerous colt. He will be on my tickets, doubtful to be on top though. I must strongly disagree with you on your statement that Gemologist ran slow as a two year old. Opening quarters in 22 and 1 is NOT slow, especialy at Turfway. I know it was his maiden win, but 1:11 for his first race is an indication that when asked, he has tactical speed and has already shown me that he will have no problem getting the distance of 1 1/4.

29 Apr 2012 8:56 AM
Pedigree Ann

I liked the looks of Archarcharch and made the mistake of sticking with him after he got the #1 post. After I made the same mistake with Lookin at Lucky. <Pounds head on desk.> Sometimes it takes more than one lesson to learn.

Post positions are a major factor and one can't make final assessments until one knows them. All those #1 post position winners? Those happened with smaller fields and before the 10f 'bump' was shortened (Central Avenue was widened), making it impossible to set the two gates so that all 20 horses have a straight path at the start.

29 Apr 2012 12:29 PM
Rusty Weisner

Is Done Talking too slow?  As they say in his neck of the woods:  Fear the Turtle.

29 Apr 2012 1:03 PM

Big work by Bodemeister.  Guess another horse can have an impressive work also, eh?

29 Apr 2012 1:57 PM

With a majority of the works done, I'm leaning toward Bodemeister for the win, Creative Cause, Union Rags in 2d; DNB, GEmologist, Alpha, TCI, Sabercat, Dullahan, and I'll Have Another in 3d and 4th.  

29 Apr 2012 2:00 PM

Bodemeister is going to bounce in the Kentucky Derby (...bounce right back into the winners circle).

Baffert is laying the hammer down on this colt.

29 Apr 2012 2:01 PM

My selection in the 2011 Derby was Master Of Hounds. My rational for selecting the horse was the ambitious endeavor undertaken by world class trainer Aidan Obrien. MOH finished off the board in the Breeder Cup Juvenile Turf in November, 2010. He returned to the races on 03/00/2011 in the 1 3/16F UAE Derby where lost by a nose. He returned to Ireland to be prepared for the Kentucky Derby. He finished a willing 5th in what turned out to be a pace less race. He contested two races on two different surfaces on two different continents in six months. Was I being overly ambitious with my selection of Master Of Hounds? No! He got beat 41/2L and finished ahead of 14 horses.

Daddy Long Legs will take the same route that MOH took for the 2012 Derby. However, the result could be different because of pedigree. MOH pedigree top and bottom screamed turf/synthetic. His sire Kingmambo and dam sire Sadlers Weld were turf sires. Daddy Long Legs has an overwhelmingly dirt pedigree that appears suspect for the Derby distance. However his three victories were achieved on turf and synthetic surfaces. His only start on dirt was in the BCJ where he finished just ahead of last place finisher Prospective. Interestingly both DLL and Prospective were making their dirt debuts. Prospective has since won two of three dirt starts and placed in the other. Like Prospective, could DLL have better fortunes on dirt second time of asking? Yes! He has a dirt pedigree and the video of the BCJ indicates he was not enjoying the peanut butter track at CD on Breeders Cup day. His 1 3/16F UAE Derby was visually impressive and the gallop out was even better. It was his first start in 146 days and third on a different continent.

It is not known how this colt will perform. However, his world cass trainer is known and it must be assumed has been prepared to be competitive. I am one that likes a gamble and if I was prepare to take a gamble on Master Of Hound, then it has to extend to DLL.  He will join three other colts in my exotics. Alpha remains my top selection and a 5th is to be determined. My wager will be comprised of leaders, mid packers and closers.

29 Apr 2012 5:16 PM
Scott's Cause

Late to the Party... Think I'm gonna stick with a few tried and true...Dual qualifiers, Raise a Native on top, throw in Hail to Reason on the bottom, La Troienne anywhere and a dart board with 20 names on it...

29 Apr 2012 7:13 PM

Really on To Honor and Serve? Durkin said the same thing about Uncle Mo last year after a ridiculously easy trip He's back and look what happened. That race was way too much of a set up in a 4 horse field so let's wait and see what is lined up before declaring this guy is the goods against a real grade 1 field.

29 Apr 2012 8:47 PM

And coldfacts you better check your facts as Thunder Gulch and Giacomo both came in 4th in their preps as well as Mine that Bird.

29 Apr 2012 8:49 PM

Criminal Type : I'm not concerned what Javier did in the past but I think you totally missed my point to Ranagulzion.  My comment was in reference to Rana's comment where he said that Javier will again be fixated on Union Rags.  I mean, come on, you're a smart person right?  Do you really believe that Javier is so dumb that he will compromise Gemologist's and his chance at a Derby win because he's got this thing for Union Rags ??  It's also tiring to keep hearing about what Javier "did" to UR, it's like he's the reason UR lost that race lol.  Seriously.

There's only a week left although it seems like forever just to get to Wednesday.  I'm anxious to see the post draw to see who gets number 1.  I hope your UR doesn't get it, but then again, Rana and Draynay already declared him the winner so it really doesn't matter if he gets the 1 hole or not right?  Good luck on your bet with UR, bet big! ;)

29 Apr 2012 9:22 PM
Paula Higgins

You go mz! I would also call them and tell them why you won't be eating there in the future. Some of us are still fighting the horse processing plants that were approved by congress and signed by our President in this country. Everyone who signed that bill should be voted out of office.

29 Apr 2012 10:19 PM

Thanks for this piece and all comments above. I appreciate the input. The Derby is always a crapshoot with 20 horses in there. It's always a "spread race" if you're looking to cash in the super pools. Last year I got sucked in the Dialed In hype, will not make the same mistake again. This year, I've altered my game plan to account for the unexpected bounce and horses on the upswing. Will have horses on the lead, mid pack, and dead closers. Bode, TCI and Went the Day Well will be prominent on my super. I'm also intrigued by Done Talking. Will wait for the post draws before finalizing ticket.  

29 Apr 2012 11:15 PM

Coldfacts- I agree on taking a chance on DLL, but his breeding is significantly more suspect for distance.  But, given his connections, I will put a wager on him.  I'm still leaning towards CC right now, but I want to hear how he gallops on the Churchill surface.  Glad Bodemeister worked as impressively as UR or better.  People need to realize that many horses are going to work impressively.

30 Apr 2012 12:13 AM

Just warning everyone- slop at other tracks may not translate to slop at CD.

30 Apr 2012 12:17 AM


This was a very good blog: your next one should be entitled "How do they win", inviting posters to explain how their picks will win the Derby.  I believe that many of my fellow posters would come to realise that their selections have no realistic shot.  The pace-police, Trinniberg is the only horse capable of copping the race wire to wire ; others with such ambition will get arrested and surrender in the homestretch. Those want-the-lead types that try to avoid tangling with the pace-police, trying to stalk or become a wanna-be closer will get a reality check when they find that they cant outclose the strongest stretch runner in the field that wont be coming from the back of the pack. Lets face it: "Beauty and the Beast" has already sounded the warning that he is coming to inhale anything infront of him, turning for home. 'Bode' is a class act on the rise but I tell you all right now, that Union Rags is coming to make "mince meat" of the 'meister'. Tell me, how can you get past the 'police' and survive the 'beast'(LOL). How do you win?


How can Creative Cause win? Will he outclose Union Rags? Really, are you serious?


What about Alpha and Done Talking? are they going to run past U/Rags in the stretch ...or do you think that either of them can steal a march on him?

jay jay,

Come on bro, tell us how do you win ...lol?

Carlos in Cali,

How about you mi amigo? Como y cuando ...lol? Can Take Charge Indy put away the 'cheap speed' without being 'charged' by the pace-police, Trinniberg? You gotta be kidding.

Be my guest folks ...how do you win?    

30 Apr 2012 1:16 AM

Criminal Type,

This is going to be a Kentucky Derby to savor, my friend. The writing is on the wall: some will only be able to read and understand it after the race is run ...thats all part of the fun-of-it-all.

30 Apr 2012 1:23 AM

OH MY GOD!  Bodemeister worked 59 and change in the MUD !  Forget the Derby, he's the TRIPLE CROWN WINNER,  HOTY!!!  He'll win his next 40 races (all GRADE 1) because he's a beast, did you see that workout ???!  HOLY CRAP!!! HE'S THE BEST IN THE WORLD!!!!  I'm about to pass out just reading how fast he went in the mud.  This is so exciting, he's guaranteed to win the derby!!!  Now I just have to figure out the other 5 horses I'm going to box my superfecta with.  But HEY, I said it FIRST, he's the derby winner!!!

Sorry folks, I was trying to see how a draynay and ranagulzion post would look like if it's merged together.

As I said before, if we're basing the winner on workout.  Baffert will dominate and win every G1 race out there.  Baffert's horses always, always have a great workout.  I take it as a sign that the horse is ready and fit, doesn't necessarily mean they'll win.  This workout by Bodemeister is a little different though as he did it in the mud.  I don't recall the last time Baffert worked his horse in the mud.  Do they seal the track for workouts ?  Regardless, that was a pretty good workout for an "apollo" horse.  It won't sway me in putting him on my tickets just yet, at least not until after the draw and also unless my one of my picks ends up in the 1 hole.  I'll keep a close eye on him though during the post parade and see how he reacts to the crowd.

Like Footlick said, there are 20 horses in this race and I can't imagine only one would have an "impressive" workout.  Having said that, I'm still irked at TP not sending Gemologist to CD at least a week before the derby.  Just to acclimate him and have one workout on the track.  I know Gemologist likes CD but the atmostphere and weather is different this week than when he last ran there.

Agree with Paula on mz's comment about that restaurant, having a horse for dinner is like cooking my own family.  I just can't imagine myself even thinking about trying it.  I get a little sick just typing it.  Although the best part of the post was the "Up the revolution!"

30 Apr 2012 2:02 AM

Nice to see the Kentucky Derby is almost here.

I just got tired of reading endless recitation submitted as analysis.

30 Apr 2012 6:38 AM

I have mixed reviews from the works. If Motion is saying that was Went the Day Well best work ever, than I am not to impressed with the colt. He was barely jogging when he got to the backside. Prospective is a smallish colt, he did skip over the track, but like Went the Day Well, his gallop out was not that impressive. Dullahan had a decent maintence work, and you could tell he wanted to go a bit faster, but they had him wrapped up pretty good on Saturday. He has high front leg action. Mark Valeski looked good, he jogged a few laps with Larry up, and Trinniberg did 3 really slow laps with the pony. The three best lookers of the day were Eden's Moon, Nate's Mineshaft (bullet for the day) and Union Rags. Eden's Moon is a big filly, she made Bodemeister and Prospective look small. She was dappled out and looked great. Union Rags, compared to the other workers that morning, galloped out by far the best and quickest when he went by me at the 6 furlong pole. Nates Mineshaft was awesome, so look for him in the Alysheba.

Back to Bodemeister, from what I saw, you guys that like this horse better pray for rain, b/c he looked good in the mud, but he was real choppy and looked unhappy when they sent him to the track on Saturday morning. Many people talked about that. I thought he may have been body sore, but it must not of been too big a factor after his work. Still wondering how he will run once he gets dirt in his face, but have to like his work. Can't wait to see everyone in the morning, Alpha, Gem, El Padrino should all be in by today.

30 Apr 2012 8:53 AM
Union Buster

What happened to the 46 4f in the work for union on the rags draynay? You repeatedly stated that's what he would work and he came nowhere near that. Once again you were wrong.  

Man up and accept my wager. rags wins I leave the blog, he loses you leave.  

union on the rags will not win the Ky Derby!!

30 Apr 2012 9:01 AM
Terry M.

Okay, after reading everything posted here, I know how to bet this Derby. It's very scientific. It's $2 to win on every horse. An extra $2 on Prospective because he's based at Woodbine (I'm Canadian). An extra $2 on Hansen because he's pretty. An extra $2 on Union Rags because I want Michael Matz to win. Another $2 on Dullahan because of his half-brother. And $2 on Daddy Long Legs because I am a Fred Astaire fan. Nearly forgot, an extra $2 on whoever is the longest shot on the board. Makes as much sense as anything else when trying to pick a winner out of this field! It will be interesting to see who is still around at BC time.

30 Apr 2012 11:59 AM

That work on Union was almost 7 lengths slower than your prediction Draynay. And if it is only a question of how much in regard to Union Raqgs winning, why the 6 horse box? Excuses, excuses, excuses....Every Derby. Every Year. Always the seed is planted BEFORE the Derby. You are AMAZING as you protest - but only in the way you blog. Amazing!

Alpha worked out faster than Rags, go God's sakes. I'll go $100 that the rail horse beats Rags.....WHOEVER it is!

30 Apr 2012 1:12 PM

If weight was really the factor handicappers (the weight-setting kind) imagine it to be, why are the vast majority of speed records held by horses carrying high weight?

Riders report that the difference they notice is at the break -- it takes a noticeable effort to get that weight into motion. After that, it adds to momentum.

30 Apr 2012 2:06 PM

Ranagulzion- because Creative Cause never gives up.  Even you should be able to see that.  Even with your Union Rags blindness.

30 Apr 2012 2:09 PM

Terry M.

Last year after the Breeders Cup we were saying "We'll see who's around for the Triple Crown."

Now it seems the answer is "many" and you want to raise the bar again. I'll give you the 2012 Breeders Cup and raise you the 2013 Haskell.

30 Apr 2012 2:09 PM

Billy- thanks for your reports.  It is nice to hear from someone there.  Baffert said, for whatever reason, that he told them to shut Bodemeister down early in his first work.  This work was much more impressive.  

30 Apr 2012 2:12 PM

Billy- I love Nate's Mineshaft.  He and To Honor and Serve are my two older males right now.

30 Apr 2012 2:13 PM

Good !  Send the 100 to Jason to hold so he can send it to me after the race.  Jason will be waiting.  Why a 6 horse box ?  Why not ?  If DNB nips Union at the wire because Union lost 2 shoes I WIN BIG MONEY.  My horse is UNION RAGS and I will have WP money on him.  To me he is by far the best and should win with room to spare.  From a betting stand point if one of my 5 other horses beat him so be it.  You bet the way you want and I will bet the way I want.  Please send in the 100 so Jason can send it to me after the race.

30 Apr 2012 2:14 PM

JerseyBoy- hope I wasn't one of them.  I try to keep my comments short-lol.  I do agree though.  There is too much, I want to call it axing poetically, except it isn't poetic.

30 Apr 2012 2:15 PM

Jayjay Bode ran fast on wet hard track.  It won't be like that on Saturday.  I will be a DRY FAST TRACK and he will not hit the board.  A top 8 performance if he is lucky.  Just let us all know how much you are putting on Bode for the win.

30 Apr 2012 2:16 PM
steve from st louis

Draynay, Mr. Mensa, do you "no" nothing?? Try "know". Next, you'll tell us it was a "typeagraphical" mistake.

If you scored a 1240 on the SAT (yes, we belive everything you say) and still went to Bumf*** University on a football scholarship, (wait, do they give scholarships in Division III? Not.), "your" not that "convinsing" (Ed. note: mispellings used to communicate with bucket-headed "jeanus"QB).

30 Apr 2012 2:20 PM
Age of Reason

Thanks, Alpha. Just when I manage to start scratching Derby contenders off my short list, they start jumping back on.

One word of dissent, if I may: It seems like I've heard a lot this year from people discounting the deep closers (those with legitimate chances--forget Done Talking, think Dullahan, Alpha)with the old mantra about the Derby being won by the eighth pole. Go back and watch all the major Derby preps. You have races like the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby, where at the eighth pole they were just getting started, and races like the Blue Grass and Florida Derby where the closers really came running at the 1/8th pole. It has already been pointed out that this may be one of the "best-matched" fields in a long time, and many of the preps have borne that out by going down to the wire. It's for this reason that I predict the race will not (necessarily) by any means be over at the eighth pole. The Run for the Roses looks to be taken by a horse with true 10f stamina who can really pick 'em up and lay 'em down late in the race. It's for this reason that I discounted Hansen long ago; and forget Trinniberg, sorry Ranag, but I'm afraid that poor colt might not even be conscious at the eighth pole. I'm looking for the stalkers and closers who can make a sustained run and fight down the stretch like...well, y'know. The fun and the challenge is figuring out which one that might be. :) Giddyup!

30 Apr 2012 2:22 PM
Indiana Johnny

Will anybody from Bloodhorse be making daily reports from Churchill, or will Steve, Lenny, or Jason be making any selections from the track?

30 Apr 2012 3:21 PM

Kevin.  Did you see Creative Cause's work today?  His ears were pricked and he galloped out nice. He loves Churchill!

30 Apr 2012 3:21 PM
Carlos in Cali

Now that Mary thinks Secretariat will be running alongside UR,you can blame him for "crowding" UR and not the 20-horse stampede.

30 Apr 2012 3:37 PM
Old Timer

I do not understand the knock on Bodemeister because of "8 pounds". Can anyone do the math? They all will be picking up some weight from their last preps. Some will increase 3 or 4 pounds and Bode will carry +8. That is a relative weight disadvantage of about 4 pounds and the horse won the most impressive prep of the season by almost ten lengths!

Box Bode; Rags; CC and Gem. There it is.

30 Apr 2012 4:11 PM


Nice.  I love the way you described the gallop outs and the dispositions of the horses when they were on the track.

30 Apr 2012 4:29 PM
Rolling Thundar

Glug, Glug, Glug,.......


I'm sticking to my Pick,..Hic"up..

and I'll Have Another.....Hic"up..

30 Apr 2012 6:54 PM
El Kabong


Went the Day Well is notoriously lazy in the am works if you believe Mr. Irwin. Don't put any stock in his lazy demeanor he is a pm runner. Not one good work in PP's that I can see, which backs up Mr. Irwin's comment.

30 Apr 2012 6:55 PM

Damn Steve from St.Louis ... you love me you really love me !

30 Apr 2012 7:46 PM


No, you are not one of the reciters.

The reciters live to say what happened years ago will determine what happens on Saturday.

30 Apr 2012 7:48 PM
Paula Higgins

I'm sticking with Gemologist, Creative Cause, and IHA. If any of you are going to the Ferdinand Ball, bid on the antique mesh purse and book a the auction. Your wife/girlfriend will love you (yours too Ted from LA).

30 Apr 2012 8:28 PM
Mike Monarchos

Billy's Empire,

Nice works report. Baffert said Bode usually doesn't look very good during gallops. He worked well in the mud because he's bred for it. He has a Tomlinson mud rating of about 450.

Please let us know how Gemologist and El Padrino look compared to Rags. They are as big and muscular as he is. I read somewhere that Dullahan is 17 hands to. Did ya see him.

* For all of you out there in blog land that are critisizing poor, innocent Draynay BEWARE or Mary thr "Blog Czar"

01 May 2012 12:10 AM
Mike Monarchos

Wel I hit the send button by mistake again! I was trying to say that if ya criticize Draynay, Mary the "Blog Czar" will get ya! LOL! She said that I'm losing respect by bashing poor Dray. As if I had any respect on here to begin with! Mary I'm to no respect since I'm  Vietnam vet and a retired cop. Please lighten up, some of us are not mensa members or pedigree experts. We're just giving our humble predictions and observations on the Derby prospects. We're also trying to have a little fun while doing it. If you have no sense of humor and I offended you, I'm sorry. And I usually talk about horses. That is unless Jason changes the subject to another sport, or favorite beer or something.

01 May 2012 12:25 AM


Your cold facts are correct Thunder Gulch finish 4th in his final Derby prep. The colt I actually wanted to referenced is Unbridled who still remains the only Derby winner in the last 25 years that finished 3rd in a final prep.


Your unbridled enthusiasm regarding Union Rags has not gone unnoticed. The 1990 Derby winner Unbridled was the last to finished 3rd in a final prep in 25 years; whereas 20 of the last 25 Derby winners finished either 1st or 2nd in their final preps.  If this trend holds, Union Rags has to overcome winners of 10 final preps and 4 runner-ups. I suggest you switch to El Padrino as he is the only colt in the field that finished 4th in a final Derby prep.  Four 4th place finishers have won the Derby in the last 25 years. Is there a Todd Squad switch in your future?

Alpha was beaten 5L by Union Rags in the Champagne. Who do you think has improved more? Let me help, the one with the Late Development Syndrome. When a trainer abandons the comfort of a commercial flight to sit next to the container housing his charge in a cargo plane, such action should not be taken lightly. Alpha will finish ahead of Union Raga. He has more credentials for the 5th quarter.

I will continue to defend Done Talking. He a more of a Derby pedigree than Union Rags and will be finishing best of all in the 5th quarter. Is he fast enough to get within striking distance? Yes! A colt that records a time of 1:52.09 for 9F as a 2YO, does not return three months later and record a time of 1:53.88. Based on those times DT is 1 3/4 seconds slower as a 3YO. None of this makes sense. The IL Derby was run on a very deep track and I expect DT to improve significantly off that race. He has a faster stride turnover than UR and if he gets into contention he will be running by a lot colts in the 5th quarter.  

Calm down as no one wants to see you go to rags.

01 May 2012 1:48 AM
Matthew W

I'll Have Another is my 2012 Derby Horse! Last year's was Mucho Macho Man but did finish 1-2-3 in my (six horse) exacta box...interesting to note works, I picked Forego in '73, huge price on the giant horse who worked :57 flat going into the race, but Secretariat and Sham were too good--way too good for old #10, (well, not so old in the Derby!)

01 May 2012 1:48 AM
Ted from LA

Paula Higgins, I just want to hug you.


01 May 2012 2:14 AM
Criminal Type

JayJay, NO, I get your point and while Javier may not be fixated on Union Rags in the KD, He will almost certainly be aware of where Rags is at all times.  Believe what you like but Javier comprimised El Padrinos chances at a win in the Florida Derby just to keep Rags pinned down. This is also the guy who would have had his head handed to him by Calvin Borel at the 2010 Breeders Cup had not people intervened. I actually like Javier, but believe his actions in the Florida Derby were dirty. If a horse loses it should be because another horse is better, not because the jockey rode a tactical race. Julien will not let that happen again. Of course much depends on the post draw. I would like to see Rags in the 8-12 hole, that would be almost perfect. Guess we will know tomorrow.  

I dunno why y'all are so hard on my buddy RANA. I think it was I who actually made the first TC comment in relation to Uion Rags, But I will let him have the credit...lol. I think I said if we are lucky and the racing gods smile and the stars line up we are going to see something spectacular happen this year. I still believe that. Maybe I am on the wrong horse. I don't think so but if I am, I will own it. I've been on Rag's wagon since last July and won't be getting off of it now.

Kevin ?? a Nine horse superfacta box ?  That's gonna cost ya. As for me, im down to 6 horses.

Union Rags


I'll have Another

Went the Day Well

Creative Cause


Will be putting some money on Prospective based on his condition and I am done.

01 May 2012 7:12 AM

Ok, so I'll Have another and Alpha are going to be back on my short list. This race is making me crazy.

01 May 2012 8:35 AM

Still waiting for the draw but I also just got through watching Hansen roll in the sand. I am probably making something out of nothing but if I saw one of my horses repeatedly rolling in the field, I's be concerned, of possible colic.  Now I realize I dont train or know Hansen and that maybe they were letting him get relaxed but not sure I would be letting him roll quite that much.  Not sure what it might cause.  Ok I am not betting on him anyway, just an overly concerned horse owner.

01 May 2012 8:51 AM
Union Buster

C'mon draynay man up and accept my bet. union on the rags wins and I leave the blog, he loses you leave. Straight up mano y mano. Back your big words for a change.

01 May 2012 8:53 AM

Does this Derby seem difficult,

really difficult, to handicap?

At this time it might seem so. As

you peruse through the PPs everyone

notices the little things. Maybe

all those little things matter to

you. Or maybe they don't matter

so much. Then the second guess

ugliness begins. You can make a

case for every contender. But you  

know that there can only be one.

Sometimes you just have to roll the

dice. It's not easy and those who

insist otherwise are delusional.

Can one be singled out? Possibly.

Knowing is only half the battle.

01 May 2012 9:08 AM
Mike Monarchos

The draw is on TV tomorrow, right? I'll be glued to the tube. It will be very interesting. Who will get the dreaded 1 hole? I hope it's Trinniberg. Then the rest of the entrants will all have, at least, a fair chance.

Post positions are important to my scientific betting strategy. Because I make bets on things like birthdays, phone numbers, etc. Does anyone else make bets like that? I'd say that I have a better chance of hitting a bet than all the Derby Futures exacta bets I made this year.  Those payoffs could be big though. I forgot about the throwing darts at the dart board handicapping method. I'm sure that will be very popular this year.

01 May 2012 10:26 AM

Mike I saw Dullahan on the track and in the barn. He is a big ole boy, but like I stated, I don't like his high leg action. He will be better on synth/grass. I am going Thursday morning, so I will try to take notes on all of the contenders I see and the energy level they are carrying, how they are carrying their weight, the attitude, etc. I was impressed with the stride of Ill have another. He has a low stride that covers a lot of ground. I also want to see Summer Applause, Believe You Can, Grace Hall, Hard not to like, Edens Moon, and Aunt Jemima!!! I love some pancakes

01 May 2012 10:48 AM

Billy : I agree with Footlick and Laz, thanks for the detailed reporting of the workouts, as I said before I look forward to your reports from CD because you tell it like you see it.  I really don't like reading the trainers thoughts on their horses' workouts.  Your comments about Bode's matched up perfectly with what Haskin thought so I'll be looking at him if it's a wet track and ONLY if it's a wet track.

Draynay : I figured you'd run away from the bet.  Learn to stick with your horse.  For all the babbling and yapping and garbage you spew on here on how he's the best horse in the field, you don't have the cajones to back him up without any doubt.  Send the money to Jason and prove you actually have the money to bet.  Stop this wishy washy crap, trying to avoid the bet.  For someone who likes to challenge everyone, you can't back up your bets.

BTW, what did you think of DNB's workout ?  It wasn't in a muddy, sealed track.  You said it will be dry.  I'm looking forward to your spin on this one.   I'm calling it right now, by Friday, your 6 horse superfecta box will be totally different.  Either different or you'll box 12 horses with your virtual money.  In blogs, your bets are sky's the limit so you can claim the day after that you hit the big one.  In reality, I'm 100% sure, no doubt, that you bet dime superfectas.  HAHAHA

Ranagulzion : I pick longshot winners.  How do you win?  I'm serious, by the time you finish handicapping  the right pedigree from 30 years ago, the race would've run.  LOL

Weather.com shows there's a 30% chance of rain, forecast is Isolated Thunderstorms.

01 May 2012 10:59 AM

Criminal Type : I posted my thoughts about the race, UR had a lot chances to be in a good position in that race but Julien made his decision to pull back the whole time, watch the race again.  Please stop blaming Javier, yes, he made a tactical decision at the top of the stretch and who wouldn't, at some point in the past, I'm quite sure Julien has boxed other horses to gain advantage, it's horse racing.  But Javier's ride is not the reason UR lost that race and it wasn't the reason that El Padrino lost that race.  You can run the race again and EP will not win that race, he just wasn't himself that day.    I just can't imagine Javier, who's riding one of the favorites and has a legitimate chance will compromise Gemologist and his own chance at winning the KD because he has it in for UR.  He'll be aware of the horses who are behind him, if UR is one of them then yes he will be watching for him.  I don't think he'll get out of the gate and find his way around UR just to "pin" him down.

On the TC topic, there's a difference between hoping and wishing and rooting for a horse to win the TC (it's called being a true fan), and when someone proclaims a horse the 2012 triple crown winner with no facts to support it except "hype" and "I want to be the first to say it" reason...and then ridicule people who questions it like they have no idea what they're talking about...like it was already set in stone.  He can't produce one credible proof that UR is a superhorse because you know what ?  he's not a superhorse, unless we see him win the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont, UR is just one of 20 horses running in the Kentucky derby.

How about you and I wager, if UR wins, you tell me how your got your name and if he doesn't, you earn the right to tell the blog how you picked that name. Just don't hurt me.

01 May 2012 12:16 PM

Union Buster you and Jayjay are chickens.  100 bucks says Union finishes in front of any horse you guys pick.  Step up or shut up .... Jason has my $ where is yours ?

01 May 2012 12:54 PM
Mary Zinke

Anyone know who the 1990 HOTY was? LOL

01 May 2012 12:55 PM

Coldfacts please stop with the Done Talking nonsense... please.

01 May 2012 12:56 PM


You shouldn't be mentioning trends to me while you're still touting Alpha and Done Talking.

The cold facts of Derby tremds are:

1) No son or grandson of AP Indy has ever won the Derby

2) Whenever a Raise A Native line colt doesn't win the Derby as happened last year, they are shut out two years in a row. Therefore the trend suggests that nieither Done Talking nor any other RAN line colt will wear the garland of roses this year.

Look to a Northern Dancer line colt my friend: Union Rags, Daddy Nose Best or Trinniberg.

01 May 2012 1:25 PM

Billy:  Add my thanks for your updates.  I appreciate your input.  I hope you get a good look at Gemologist, El Padrino and Take Charge Indy when they get in.  

After watching many replays(too many according to my wife) Gemologist looks like the only contender that will put himself in a forward comfortable position and wait for the rider to call on him.  If the pace is slow, he'll take it or lay off the speed.  Even if he gets knocked around in traffic and pushed out as in the Wood, he will put himself back into a striking distance and wait on the rider. He seems to have the other horses around him measured as he showed against Alpha.  Gemologist actually shifted gears twice at the end of the Wood.  First, when Alpha came up next to him, he extended his neck and pushed forward a stride or two and, realizing he needed to do more, he quickly accelerated and in 3 or 4 strides as they came to the wire, he pulled away by a 1/2 to 3/4 of a length.  IMO he is unbothered by the others around him, will run his own forward cruising style no matter the pace and wait for the rider to call on him to accelerate. With his Tiznow breeding and two wins over the track, this is a winning Derby style.  I just wish Pletcher would have had him at CD earlier.

Bodemeister has the numbers and speed but he was bothered running in and with others in the San Felipe and finished up looking washed behind Creative Cause.  His Arkansas Derby was spectacular and his last work shows me he is still on his game but I have my doubts with his inexperience as to how he will handle the rush with the others with similar running styles.

Union Rags is coming up to this in perfect form for Michael Matz and certainly deserves respect and would not be surprised if he runs past them all.

I'll Have Another looks super in his gallops and would not surprise if he does it.

Creative Cause has been right there in all his races and he would not surprise but I have some doubts with his antics in the stretch and changes in equipment.

Daddy Nose Best is training superbly at CD and would not surprise if he runs them all down.

Of course all this may change after PP's.

I offered this idea back in early March during the Draynay vs. KY VET challenge (BTW how did that work out?) with little response.

How about Jason stakes us all with $100. in play money for the Derby.


1. Minimun $20 win bet on YOUR Derby pick.

2. Balance on any combination of WPS/Ex/Tri.

3. Bets to be posted by noon on Derby Day so we have the rest of the day to agonize over our real bets.

 The winner would be the blogger who has the winner AND the highest total winnings.  This puts everyone on here on equal footing. The winner would have bragging rights as the true BEST Derby handicapper on this blog.

Any thoughts? Any takers?

01 May 2012 1:40 PM
Criminal Type

JayJay, LOL !  Don't you worry, I wont hurt you. The origins are no secret to long time racing fans. I am sure there are a couple dozen people who frequent this blog who could tell you. No bet necessary. Go back to 1975 when a gorgeous Chestnut colt was born at Calumet Farm and went on to finish second in all three triple crown races in 1977 (the only horse ever to do that) That horse was Alydar. Continue on until 1985 When a lovely bay colt was born from the mating of said Alydar and a mare by No Robbery called Klepto. He was later named TA DA ! Criminal Type.

He started his career on grass in Europe but returned to the states and into the barn of D Wayne Lucas after a lackluster career there. At age four, Criminal Type began to show promise on U.S. dirt tracks, then at age five he won seven of eleven races and earned two Eclipse Awards including the most prestigious award of all, the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. Criminal Type won four consecutive Grade 1 races: The Pimlico Special, the Metropolitan Handicap, the Hollywood Gold Cup, and the Whitney Handicap. In his wins, Criminal Type defeated 1989 Horse of the Year, Sunday Silence, eventual 1991 Horse of the Year, Black Tie Affair, U.S. Outstanding Sprint Horse Housebuster, and winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male Horse and Hall of Famer, 1989 Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer. Other quality horses vanquished by Criminal Type include Opening Verse, Lively One, Ruhlmann, and Flying Continental. Criminal Type was the last champion to run in the Calumet Farm devil's red and blue color. (I plagerized this paragraph from Wikipedia because its easier to copy and paste then type it all out)

Of the many talented sons of ALydar, He was my favorite. Sadly, This was the same time period as the debacle that caused the bankruptcy and auction of Calumet and all of its horses. Criminal Type was eventually sold to the japanese for stud. In 2005 after being pensioned at age 20 he was all set to return to the US to live out his life at KHP when he ruptured stomach and died. There you have it. It has nothing to do with a violent or nefarious past on my part.

Criminal Type is also known for being the broodmare sire of Travers winner Ten Most Wanted.

01 May 2012 4:37 PM
Criminal Type


01 May 2012 4:38 PM

trackjack, I have Gemologist and Rags on the top of my ticket, waiting for the posts to put a third on top, but it will be between Alpha, Ill HAve Another, and Hansen, with DNB, Sabercat, TCI, El Padrino and Liason Underneath. I am only using 8 underneath for the tri wheel, so 2 will have to be tossed when posts come out....

I am tossing CC, Dullahan, Went the Day Well, Trinniberg, Prospective, Done talking, Optimzer, Rousing Sermon, and Daddy Long Legs.

Bode is the only horse I am really stumped on. Is 3 weeks too short? Can he win while being behind horses? I hate the way he looks in the morning

01 May 2012 4:39 PM
Criminal Type

I cant believe I said Criminal Type was a Bay when I know damn well he was a chestnut like his sire. I saw him win the Pimlico Special in person. My bad, it's been a long ass day.

01 May 2012 4:51 PM

Jason : Do you have Draynay's money, it should be $100, not $10.  Please confirm so we can get this thing going with Mr. Yap.

Draynay : So you're taking Union Buster's challenge, if UR doesn't win you'll go away forever.  It's official.   Once Jason confirms he has your money, I'll post my horse that will finish ahead of UR in the Derby, on Thursday.

Ted From LA : That video was interesting, no, it was fascinating.  I couldn't figure out what the wings are for on his shoulders though.  I wonder if he was a pilot.

01 May 2012 5:27 PM

jayjay you and Union Buster step up and pick a horse.  My money is in you picked the great Dialed In last year step up and choke again.

01 May 2012 7:49 PM
Greg R

Like the pros vs. cons format of this article.  

Can't help wondering whether Take Charge Indy will take big step forward in Derby.  His FL Derby has been sniffed at by most, but he only needed to do what he had to do to win and he couldn't help that it was a speed-favoring track, etc.  Doesn't mean he wouldn't have won with a different sort of trip or different surface.  He was just ready.  Now, he'll be even more ready with that under his belt.  Isn't he the one that is inbred to Secretariat?!  You don't see that very often!

02 May 2012 1:01 AM

Criminal Type : Oh duh.  I should've known it was a horse's name, was before my horse racing career started (Gamblin' Engineer).  Thanks for the explanation.  I still think UR will not hit the board though hehe.  If Gemologist wins, I may change my blog name to TizJay.  Klepto sounds like a good name...for Draynay, he keeps stealing the hyped horse as his pick.

Jason : Thanks for the confirmation.

Draynay : I'll post my horse that will finish ahead of Union Rags on Thursday after the draw.  Just to be clear, it's whoever's horse finishes higher.  Now it's time for you to step up and stop being a hen and ignoring Union Buster's challenge.  BAWK!

02 May 2012 1:56 AM

Draynay : STOP AVOIDING UNION BUSTER's CHALLENGE.  If Union Rags doesn't win, you leave, if UR wins, he leaves.  It's a simple bet.  You're still yapping but ignoring his challenge.  GET SOME CAJONES and back your horse like he's the real deal.  You do nothing but yap about nonsense lol.

02 May 2012 2:21 AM

dumb bet, 1 horse v 20, give it a rest

02 May 2012 2:42 PM
Mary Zinke

Why would anyone want these blog comments to be boring after U.R. loses?

02 May 2012 7:37 PM

Draynay : Okay, I'm happy with 15 hole, I'm picking Gemologist to finish ahead of Union Rags.  Good luck to UR.

03 May 2012 5:35 AM

Gemologist ahead of Union ????  Jayjay you know nothing and prove it over and over again.

04 May 2012 12:02 PM

Draynay : Just like you picked Grace Hall right ?  You prove over and over again, you have no idea what you're doing.  Stick to quarterhorses, thoroughbred racing is a man's game.

05 May 2012 1:46 AM

Billy : Not if someone is claiming UR as the best and winner before the race.  It's called having the balls to back his words...which Draynay doesn't seem to have.  He bets me $100 not for UR to win, but to place higher LOL.  What a joke.

05 May 2012 2:47 AM
Ted from LA

The last word.

23 May 2012 5:33 PM

Recent Posts


Recommended Links



More Blogs