Post Derby 138 Thoughts

Congratulations to Paul Reddam, Doug and Dennis O'Neill, Mario Gutierrez, and breeder Harvey Clarke on winning Derby 138. They were deserving winners, as Reddam puts a lot of money into the sport, Doug O'Neill has spent nearly two decades building a winning barn, Dennis not only has one of the sharpest eyes for horse flesh in the business but has recently overcome non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Gutierrez was flawless and unusually cool in his first Derby ride, and Clarke has been in the Thoroughbred racing business for more than 30 years.

Unlike some of the recent post-Derby press conferences, the winning connections seemed genuinely thrilled to be sitting on that podium. You could tell it was a life-changing moment for them and they were going to enjoy every bit of it. They talked about O'Neill's barn being a blue-collar operation, but also made sure to point out that they have fun doing what they do. That was refreshing.

O'Neill is by no means Mother Teresa; he has been fined, suspended, and investigated several times for milkshaking, and actually faces another possible suspension for a violation that allegedly occurred in the summer of 2010. For his part, he has admitted to his mistakes over the years and has taken responsibility for the medication violations. This is not to make an excuse for him, but if we focused on the rumors and violations of every trainer/owner who has won classic and Breeders' Cup races over recent the years, the negativity would be overwhelming. O'Neill is not and will never be an ambassador for racing, but he isn't the devil either. He outwardly supports a California children's hospital at UCLA and did wonderful things for a little girl who was at the Derby for the Make a Wish Foundation, even allowing her to come up to the podium at the post-race press conference. He also supports CARMA, a retired racehorse foundation in Southern California. I always say, take the good with the bad.

As for I'll Have Another, I considered him in the weeks leading up to the race, but have to admit that the shock wave therapy and post 19 scared me off of him. Congrats to anyone who had him. I wrote before the race that he ran the most impressive Derby prep all year in the Robert Lewis, and came back to run a huge race in the Santa Anita Derby. Like many, I questioned whether he was sound enough to run the biggest race of his life off a four-week layoff when he had always had much more time in between his best races. As it turned out, O'Neill had him sharp as could be and he had the perfect trip all the way around the track. We'll analyze his chances in Baltimore in the next few days.

Bodemeister, Dullahan, and Went the Day Well all ran huge races in defeat. Even with the speed-favoring Churchill Downs track, when Bodemeister set those fractions for six furlongs I thought he was toast. To run like he did, as inexperienced as he is, was truly remarkable. If Smith had slowed things down on the backstretch just a little bit more, he would have won. There is no doubt that he let him go just a little too quick.

Dullahan ran huge too. We all expected him to close well, and he made his run on the final turn. But Desormeaux took him seven-wide into the stretch and that was the difference between winning and losing. That's two of the last three Derbies where if things had gone just a little bit differently, Dale Romans would have collared his long-awaited Derby win.

Went the Day Well also ran big. He had a bad start after being bumped and was four-wide in the early going while racing in 17th. He also made his move on the turn, but like Dullahan, was seven-wide entering the stretch. He closed very well to get up for fourth under a less than ideal trip.

I hope all of the top four return for the Preakness, as each of them showed they have bright futures. Forget about what the Beyer numbers say, this is a good crop and the rest of the Triple Crown should be exciting.

I hope Union Rags comes back for the Preakness too, but it looks as though they are leaning toward the Belmont. Obviously, he never had a chance to show his talent after a terrible break. I hope they leave Leparoux on him too, as I can't blame him for this one.

Those without excuses included Hansen, who sat in perfect position before tiring, and Gemologist, who faded terribly when turning for home.

On to Baltimore!


Leave a Comment:


Jason, What about a no excuses ride for Daddy Nose Best? I put a lot of money on him too, but it seems like he didn't fire at all?

"Forget about what the Beyer numbers say, this is a good crop and the rest of the Triple Crown should be exciting."

Thank you!!!!

It is refreshing to hear this from a writer in the industry. All anyone heard about was that 101 BSF that IHA got for his derby win, it was completely unjustified. IHA bris # was 111, the highest since War Emblem (I think, someone correct me if I'm wrong.)

I had IHA, the shockwave therapy was, from what I read, just to do it cause the owner can afford it. I hit the Exacta, and got more money from IHA and Bode WPS. Overall all though I spent a lot but got little profit in return because most of my money was on UR. UR had THE worst trip, I don't care what anyone says, Julian should be taken off because he is the Tony Romo of this sport, he chokes when he is in the spotlight.

I was never on the Gemologist of Hansen bandwagon, I was stupid to not include Dullahan, because I had the Went the Day Well in a super with IHA, Bode, and CC.

Congrats to those who had winning tickets!

08 May 2012 12:25 PM

Jason.  Like I said "Lucky Baldwin was turning over in his grave" with your mere mention of the Santa Anita Derby winner.  You had him cold.  I thought his post was awful with some unknown jockey to boot!!!

I almost did a super box, Creative Cause, Bodemeister, Dullahan, and I'll Have Another.  Now I'm glad I did not as CC just got nailed for the 4th spot.  I thought Dullahan was out closer as well as some other "synthetic/turf type."  

08 May 2012 1:02 PM
JJs Rocket

It was a great race with the best horse and jockey winning the derby. I was really glad for Mario and wish him the best. I would of had the triple twice if Bode could of held on, but that wasnt in the cards. My horse was Bode and played him to WPS which helped my day.

Also agree that Mike Smith made a huge mistake by going 45 and change for the half. The best finish any horse had ever had going under 46 for the first half in the derby is 10th. That sealed Bode's fate and the best horse won the race. Hope the top ones go on and come home happy in the preakness.

I think the best horses came in the top group so you cant ask anymore than that. UR had an excuse again but he always has an excuse. It might be the jockey or it might be the big fields and him not getting through holes very quickly. I vote for the latter but couldnt really argue with anyone that wants to change the jockey either.

Hope for a Triple Crown this year and will root that way. My bets will be on others but my heart really wants a TC. Good luck to all.

08 May 2012 1:05 PM

I was one of those who liked IHA but ended up tossing him because of a combination of post position, rookie jockey, and recent Santa Anita Derby winner history.  Oh well, he looked great, was galloping great and I should have known better!  Either way, congrats to the barn with the deserved success and to Mario Guitierrez who may turn out to be the most affable of all charactors in this Triple Crown season.

I agree that Hanson didn't have any excuse, except for the fact that we all know he's not a 10 furlong horse.  He spent alot of his energy in the post parade and a whole lot more fighting in the early going. Still I thought he was fairly game in defeat and I hope now that the Derby is over they will spot him in more appropriate races.  There is no shame in trying and there is no shame in accepting that your horse isn't a mile and a quarter horse.  He can be brilliant at shorter distances and I'm looking forward to seeing that in the future.

Dale Romans has come close in the Derby for sure, and maybe he can lament the trip Dullahan got.  But he had a great day overall showing that he's got phenomonal talent all up and down his barn with Tapitsfly, Little Mike, Shackleford and Dullahan all performing well on the big day.  Who else was that consistant?  Job well done by his team.

Lastly, I still can't believe how different Bob Baffert is and how it brings a smile to my face to hear him talk about what really matters, and how emotional he was when his greatest concern on Derby Day seemed to be in the disappointment his son experienced when Bodemeister was defeated.

Overall the Derby didn't disappoint, though it did produce some unexpected results.  Can't wait to see what happens next!  

08 May 2012 1:11 PM

would it be too much to ask to include somewhere on the page whose "thoughts" these r?

08 May 2012 1:11 PM

Was the low beyer speed figure due to the 26 4/5 seconds last quarter mile? It seems like the race should have fallen apart after those blazing fractions Bodemeister set, but not many horses were finishing in the stretch. After watching that race, looks like Bodemeister could really develop into a special horse. Hope he runs back in the Preakness.

08 May 2012 1:21 PM

Thanks for all the insight this year.  Worst part about the Derby is it lasts only 2 minutes, now we have to wait another year for a betting opportunity like that.  As mentioned in a previous post, I actually bet on IHA because of his post, thinking it was the easiest for the rookie jockey to navigate (given IHA's natural speed).  Unfortunately, I spread out too much (mostly on UR) and only made a small profit. Another jump either way (Bode winning or Dullahan coming in 2d) I would have hit the tri.  But one of those "how did I not do that" moments, I realized I didn't have any 5, 6, 19 boxes even though I had them on all of my tickets.  I don't see IHA winning the TC.  If Bode runs in the Preakness, he wins.  

08 May 2012 1:33 PM

We usually seem to agree on most issues but the leaving of Julien Leparoux on this horse is the last thing I would ever want to see. I think this has to be more for the horse and his healthy as compared to the jockey and his inability to even remotely follow the instructions of a trainer.  From the moment the post positions were solidified Matz was saying "He will have to ride him away from there" looking at the replay of the race over and over again and see that if Leparoux had hustled Union Rags out of the gate as requested by the Trainer, or even remotely attempted to ask him to pick his feet up he would have been able to secure a spot between 6-10th not 18th.  But Matz words make it very clear when he was quoted as saying. “Yes, he didn’t break good, but he made no initiative to run him up into that spot where he’s sixth, seventh or eighth,’’ Matz said. “From 18th to be seventh, he still covered a lot of ground. I don’t know what to say to [Leparoux]. I’m sure he tried.’’

Well Matz was trying his best to be politically correct but there was Little to No effort from Leparoux on Saturday when it came time to ride this colt with confidence.  Therefore he should be replaced ASAP, and again i say this not as a detractor of the jockey, but as someone who wants to see the horse have a chance to run and someone that doesnt want to see him get injured due to a rider that wont follow simple instructions.

08 May 2012 1:38 PM

Congrats to the "Ill Have Another" team..

I thru out Hansen,Creative Cause and Union Rags never felt good about them.

Speed was playing the whole weekend and nothing closed to win.

So with that said the last horse I got of was Ill Have Another

I was on Gem and D.N.B. In exactas and Tri's


If Union Rags runs in the Preakness I am all over him.

Went the Day well was charging at the end and could be a nice price for the Preakness.

08 May 2012 1:38 PM

Congratulations to I’ll Have Another and his connections.

I was convinced that Creative Cause was the horse to beat. I bet Creative Cause to win in the Future Pools, but because  I’ll Have Another was so close to  him , I had  covering bets on I’ll Have Another in the Future Pools, just in case.

Because of the wide draw, I would never have backed I’ll Have Another on race day. I came out great but more out of caution than conviction, though I did write that I’ll Have Another  and Creative Cause were the only two horses who had run fast enough to win.

08 May 2012 1:52 PM
Bob from Boston

would it be too much to ask to include somewhere on the page whose "thoughts" these r?

fb0252 08 May 2012 1:11 PM

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that since it is Jason's blog, they are Jason's thoughts.  The writer used mostly monosyllabic words, so it has to be.  My sherpa didn't show up so I spent most of the day accidentally lighting my tickets on fire with my cigar.  What a great Derby weekend.  Is anyone going to that armpit Pimlico for the Preakness?  I have seen trailors in the backwoods of West Virginia with more ambiance.

08 May 2012 2:06 PM
Sam Santschi

When I saw the splits, I got excited for my off the pace horses, Alpha and DNB, but then I thought we might be seeing Spend a Buck and I really got a jolt of adrenaline. He seemed to be pulling away...(Not mad I tossed IHA, would have bet him with a better post but just could not justify it.)  For Bodemeister to still get second...amazing.  Such a gentle guy but runs with abandon. I hope he is around for a long time.  Really glad DLL got out of the 1 for his sake and the safety of the field.  

08 May 2012 2:29 PM

to everyone: the more I look over the results, the more I get mad at myself for not being 50k richer. The superfecta was right there, looking us all in the eye, and I am sure none of us bet it. The top 4 horses all won their last and final prep race, so if you did a 6 horse box with the winners of the SA Derby, Ark, Bluegrass, Spiral, Wood and Florida Derby, you hit the super.  I wound up tossing Dullahan b/c of the speed bias. I actually used Bode in a lot of my tickets b/c of the speed bias, but threw out IHA for the same reason as Jason, even though I said he looked great on the track. Oaks was a great day, I had 6 winners, Derby day I had NONE! Licking my wounds and regrouping for Baltimore

08 May 2012 2:34 PM
Minnesota Kid

Congratulations to the connections of IHA--it's always good to see genuine enthusiasm in the winner's circle.

JJs Rocket,

  You might want to stop quoting Andrew Beyer. You posted, as he recently wrote, about the lack of success any "sub :46" leaders have had in the Derby.

What about 1977?  Seattle Slew breaks poorly, elbows his way to the lead crossing the wire for the first time, and is head and head w/ For The Moment after a 1/2 mile in 45 and 4/5.

I'm sure you remember who won--and, FTM finished 8th.

Maybe Beyer forgot about him because he didn't pick him for the Derby and, incredibly enough, he picked Cormorant for the Preakness.

08 May 2012 2:44 PM
Jason Shandler

My name is in the upper right hand corner under the BIG photo of the three horses.

08 May 2012 2:44 PM
Anne in SC

fb0252 - the "thoughts" are from Jason Shandler (look to right at top of page).

08 May 2012 2:47 PM

Sure, Union Rags did not have a great trip but I can't stand all the Julian Leparoux bashing.  Other than Johnny V., Ramon or Rosie, I would take Leparoux on my horse any day of the week.  Matz' comments to me were those of a sore loser who was supposed to be a classy guy.  He definitely threw Julian under the bus with his comments.  Hey Mike, did you ever think that maybe your horse wasn't good enough to win?  Not every Derby runner you have is Barbaro.  Matz has done many things in his life that are fantastic and by all acounts he is a good person.  But his post race comments knocked him down a bit in my eye.

08 May 2012 2:52 PM
Minnesota Kid

The chumps at DRF have corrected Beyer's article to read 45.4 seconds or faster for a 1/2M.

As previously stated, I am trying to ignore that website, but a few people have told me the original article stated 45 4/5.  As we all know, the DRF will edit, delete, censor, blah, blah, blah.

Sure, some might be saying, "What's the big deal?", or,"Who cares?"

Well, it's just another small example of what people are realizing more and more:Beyer and Crist are chumps and need to be ignored.

I will be the first,

08 May 2012 2:57 PM


There's a Derby slide show on this site. Take a look at slide 3 and see Dullahan breaking sideways and smashing into Union Rags.

Then look at slide 2 and see where that left Union Rags.

It had nothing to do with Leparoux.

08 May 2012 3:06 PM
Tiara Terces

Like many of you I am just getting over "coulda, woulda, shoulda" shock. With so many good horses on paper this year, it was hard to choose.  I was very disappointed in El Padrino (didn't break), Take Charge Indy (rank early) and Alpha.  I don't know what happened to him.  I was moved by Mario's emotional reaction and happy for the connections.  Went The Day Well was really moving at the end.  Look for him in the Belmont.  Dullahan did dirt, just as he did in the BC Juvenile.  Bodemeister was better than I expected. I hope he recovers from a superhorse effort. All of you who think the Derby field is too large have good ammunition from this one, but it would end up with many complaining they shouldn't have been left out if it were restricted to fewer.  

It was a great spectacle and I especially liked the way they brought the blankie of roses in in a crystal coffin.  Maybe airing international pomp and ceremony at their big races is encouraging this, although it probably does not please everyone.

But then again, nothing does.

08 May 2012 3:14 PM
Sam Santschi

Sort of off-topic, but last year my mobile Xpressbet blackberry app worked fine. This year, my mobile android xpressbet app didnt work nor would that POS At&T I-pad 3G!  A pain to wait in line and get shut out but luckily, both times it happened I would have lost anyway, lol.

08 May 2012 3:30 PM

Just posted basically the same thing on Haskins blog:

1) Bodemeister impressed me.  Thought he would die with the fractions he set, but still held on for a game second.

2) Union rags isn't what everyone cracks him up to be.  Have said it on here before that he doesn't possess the tactical speed to keep himself out of trouble.  Don't blame Julien for the horses shortcomings.  he got beat out of the gate by a dead closer.  

3) Dullahan is going to be a beast at a mile and a half.

4) Take Charge Indy's injury might be the biggest non-story of the race.  He was sitting in the same spot as I'll Have another before the injury.  Would have been a great stretch run between those two I think had he not injured himself. Looked like Calvin was getting ready to split hansen on the inside.

5) Gemologist was probably the most surprising horse that didn't fire.  With his trip I thought he would have fared better.

6) I didn't respect WTDW at all.  he was a LOT better than I thought he was.

7) 101 Beyer for I'll Have Another?  Please.  That is a joke.  If Bode had wired the field it would have been 108 - 110.

It will be interesting to see where history ranks this Derby.  I thought it was fantastic, much better than the previous years IMO.

08 May 2012 3:37 PM


Julian could have elbowed his way between Dullahan and TCI. In fact, that's what the trainer told Julian to do, rush him out of the gate. Julian is too timid in clutch situations.

08 May 2012 3:39 PM
The Rock

Congrats to IHA, Reddam, team O'neill, and Mario Gutierrez. It was definitely a great race to watch on Saturday. My money was on Bodemeister, and I honestly felt the same way that Baffert did afterwards. It was the only time where my horse finished 2nd and I wasn't upset about it (I keyed Bode with 9 horses top and bottom of the exacta, including IHA) after the way Bode set those fractions. I was saying to myself "way too fast". And then that little window opened up at the 3/8th's when Trinniberg was backing up and everyone else was 5 behind and I said "cut him loose Mike". And he did. And he almost stole the race. But man, what a race he ran.

On a personal note, many kudos to Dennis O'Neill for picking this horse out. I was diagnosed with cancer in March and currently going through Chemo therapy, and for this guy to go through what he did and have a piece in a horse that just won the KY Derby puts a big smile on my face. And I'm sure he and his brother are just having a ball of what just happened, and it has to be an inexplicable feeling to share it with someone that close to you that has that passion for horses. I'm lucky to share the same passion for horse racing as these guys with my brother. Hopefully one day we can go through what these two guys just did.

08 May 2012 3:40 PM

My post Derby thought:

This is one of my favorite times of the year, the days after the Ky Derby. Why? Because draynay is never anywhere to be found.

08 May 2012 3:40 PM
steve from st louis

In all, it was a great Derby for the top three horses although I was focused in on Bodemeister. I'll Have Another had the proper Dosage (2-4-7-1-0 for index of 2.11 and Center of Distribution of .50 but I just wasn't very high on Flower Alley. And Blue Grass winner hasn't won the Derby since Strike the Gold in 1991, so I tossed Dullahan. Big congrats to Reddam who has put a lot of money into the sport as has Zayat Stable. Just what the TBOB needed.

Looking forward, it's going to get harder and harder to cash a winter book bet when everyone is so lightly raced. Apollo curse will fall soon. And Santa Anita switch back to dirt indicates it should be a great Breeders Cup this year. Also, maybe Draynay will finally disappear forever after another bout of remarkably pathetic handicapping. As horse players, we all can only hope.

08 May 2012 3:43 PM

to everyone: the more I look over the results, the more I get mad at myself for not being 50k richer. The superfecta was right there, looking us all in the eye, and I am sure none of us bet it.

Billy's Empire 08 May 2012 2:34 PM

I beg to differ with you Billy but I hit it big on Saturday:

Slyder had his best day ever at the track on Friday and Saturday. The 25 futures bet on Believe You Can at 36/1 along with my 60 futures bets (20 in each pool) for I'll Have Another went nicely with my 2.50 tri in the Derby and my $1 super!! Don't say I didn't try and help you all, here's my early predictions from an earlier blog:

"One rule of thumb that almost always seems to apply to the Derby is look for an improving horse especially from age 2 to 3. That rules out top contenders such as Union Rags, Gemologist, and Hansen, who haven't run much if any faster than they did at 2. Each has run at least twice this year and I would have expected marked improvement over last year but it didn't happen. Those who have stepped it up include Dullahan, I'll Have Another, Alpha, Daddy Nose Best, Bodemeister (who may have had his "bounce" in the San Felipe and now be poised to run another high), and to a lesser extent maybe Creative Cause. It's still a long way to May 5th, I'll be watching works, post draws, etc. before I make my final choice. One thing for sure, Post 1 is a automatic toss no matter who."  

slyder 19 Apr 2012 3:40 PM

The one two and three finishers, add Went The Day Well who was a no brainer for a piece and you had the super as well as the tri. Your'e welcome to those who listened.

slyder 08 May 2012 9:36 AM

Two years ago I gave everyone the top two as Super Saver/Ice Box, I wonder if anyone listened then?

08 May 2012 3:53 PM

Trakus has IHA winning the Derby in 2:01.48, via their website. That's way off from the 2:01.83 equibase website has posted.

08 May 2012 4:00 PM
Union Buster

Nobody should be surprised that "rags" got whipped in the Derby. I have been emphatically telling you all he had no chance for months. To date he has not improved from where he was at 2. It pains me to think that people bet millions on a horse with no chance to win. Those who saw him enter the track from the barns should have been racing to the windows to cancel their tickets, he was overheated long before entering the paddock. At least the young lady sitting next to me at CD listened and was able to cancel her ticket and save some money. She even bought me a beer as thanks.

08 May 2012 4:02 PM
Rusty Weisner

Billy's Empire,

None of us had it?  You forgot "slyder", who, by the way, refers to himself in the third person.

08 May 2012 4:08 PM

Billy's Empire..

Yep it sure is easy to Monday QB..

I hade 2nd 3rd and 4th in my Super.

Had 2nd and 3rd for my Tri..

Had the Tri for $6.00

Had the Super for $2.00.

I was down to 3 horses DNB was my #1 pick struggled with #2 either IHA or Gem went with Gem do to his 2-2 at the Downs and IAH getting the treatment..

Yes winning oppurtunities come along like this once a year..

That is why it is so SWEET if you hit..

Good Luck to all in the Preakness.

08 May 2012 4:13 PM

This was also on Trakus website about the Derby.

"Fastest closing stretch in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands: Union Rags averaged 35.6 MPH in the final sixteenth going one and one-quarter of a mile."

08 May 2012 4:15 PM
Rusty Weisner

Bob from Boston:

But they really keep the riff-raff out of the paddock at Pimlico.

08 May 2012 4:15 PM

Well, at least I had Dullahan.  Although in a tri with others who finished some time on Sunday.

Never mind.

Congrats to I'll Have Another and his connections.  (And I CAN'T believe that once again, I missed the Canadian-connected angle!  If I had paid attention in 2009 and this year, I would have been retired by now)

May I also state my objections to the use of letters for words when you are able to use a keyboard: "...whose thoughts these R"?  Although I am fighting a losing battle, I yell at the kidlets all the time about this and using punctuation.  Oh well, at least Bob still loves me.

08 May 2012 4:19 PM

If you actually look at the Slideshow and then watch the aerial view you will see that the jostling takes place 3 or 4 jumps from the starting gate, that would be the reason Matz is upset because instead of riding the horse out of the gate as requested JL sat on him calmly and didnt hustle him at all.  So to have a slideshow and video and not look at went wrong compared to what was requested of the jock does you very little good. Use discernment, it would be different if JL hustled him away and found trouble, but he DIDNT. Key word there is he "DIDNT" he was asked to hustle him away from the gate and he "DIDNT", here is the quote again.  Yes, he didn’t break good, but he made no initiative to run him up into that spot where he’s sixth, seventh or eighth,’’ Matz said.

He made "NO INITIATIVE" none, just grabbed ahold of the colt and tried to run another turf race.

On a surface that the California horses were loving due to being speedy like Santa Anita you werent going to win a race like that from dead last with 1/4 mile to run.

08 May 2012 4:19 PM

The Rock: as they said when Joey was ready to commence his cavalry charge in War Horse: BE BRAVE.

08 May 2012 4:23 PM
Rusty Weisner


Re: Pletcher.  I second that.  Gemologist was very disappointing.  He had a great post, a style conducive to a speed-favoring track, and no excuses.

08 May 2012 4:32 PM

The thing that makes me most upset is after the Santa Anita Derby I said to myself "I'll Have Another is just a winner, he does whatever it takes to win, and it doesn't have to look flashy, he just closes the deal."  I vowed not to discount him, but couldn't get past the post position.  Kudos to a great horse who ran a great race!

08 May 2012 4:33 PM
Karen in Texas

I agree with 2:24's comments regarding Leparoux and Matz. A DRF post race interview with Matz quotes him as instructing JL to "have UR 3rd or 4th coming out of the first turn." (Not 18th) Regardless of the bumping/jostling at the break, I don't think that horse has shown enough maneuverability to attain such a position quickly, especially with the blistering pace we saw Saturday. Indeed, not every horse is Barbaro. When Castellano opted off Union Rags and was replaced with Leparoux, many bloggers lauded him as a better fit for the horse. Now that he has had two questionable rides he suddenly needs to be replaced. Really? Will a third jockey make a difference, or did Castellano make a telling decision originally?

CassandraSays---Unless there is more than one Derby slide show on this site, I believe slide 3 shows El Padrino bumping into Gemologist(?)

08 May 2012 4:45 PM
Rusty Weisner


Winning opportunities like this actually come along twice a year, once in May, once in October-November.

You know that expression "scared money never wins"?  These two days are the exceptions.  You have to cover the horses that give you second thought.

Out of seven horses I singled Saturday I only got one, where two would have been enough to for me to come out ahead.

Misery loves company and I had the pleasure, though, of sitting with a good, experienced handicapper who also, like me, nearly exclusively plays multi-race bets, particularly the Pick 4, and sometimes the Pick 5.  I liked Shackleford and he didn't.  He liked Little Mike and I tossed him.  I was willing to cover Hungry Island in R8 on one of my tickets; he was willing to single Groupie Doll in R9 where I wasn't.  Had we pooled our bets, which otherwise pretty much overlapped (particularly on the Derby), we would have won both sequences.  I'll consider that as an option for the Breeder's Cup or the Kentucky Derby, particularly the superfecta.

08 May 2012 4:46 PM
Smoking Baby

 mz.  I couldn't agree more.  It's not a text message it's a blog.  Unless you're illiterate there's no reason to not SPELL OUT YOUR WORDS!  OK...(counting to ten)I'm good now.

08 May 2012 4:47 PM
Karen in Texas

Here's a link to the DRF interview with Matz's quote.

08 May 2012 4:54 PM

Well said Jason!

08 May 2012 5:01 PM

Alfeetalexforever, don't delude yourself. Union Rags was never gonna catch I'll Have Another or Bodemeister, even with a better trip. Had he finished within striking distance maybe you could have made a case for him. Playing like Santa Anita? Well if that was the case, Liaison(who hates Santa Anita) would've finished up the track again instead of a decent 6th in front of Union Rags. The West Coast 3 year olds are simply better than the East Coast 3 year olds this year. The Derby result proves it. Which reminds me, Draynay, do you remember what I said back in January regarding Rags and Liaison? I'll refresh your memory:

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

-Stevebiscuit 11 Jan 2012 8:15 PM.

My 50-1 shot beat your chalk Draynay. You lose!

08 May 2012 5:07 PM

"To run like he did, as inexperienced as he is, was truly remarkable. If Smith had slowed things down on the backstretch just a little bit more, he would have won. There is no doubt that he let him go just a little too quick."

Thanks for stating the obvious, Jason. Unfortunately, you are one of the few with a bully pulpit to say Smith went too fast. Everyone else is praising Smith's "courageous ride" and blaming Trinniberg (who never was an issue).

BTW, Hansen did clip heels with Prospective and got dirt all over him in the backstretch. They raced the horse not to lose and they lost. Strong rating holds on an eager speed horse will sap that horse's energy as quickly as torrid fractions. So, to that extent, team Hansen got what they asked for...

08 May 2012 5:17 PM

Josh et al.

My bad. I just noticed no yellow on the rider in the slide I've been looking at -- it's not Rags and Dullahan.

08 May 2012 5:40 PM

Union Buster.  Not really suprised that Union Rags did nothing.  I thought he looked awful before the Florida Derby.  He was washy, dull, and acting up.  

08 May 2012 5:46 PM
Mike from Michigan

I bet that Bodemeister goes off at even money in the Preakness.  I kinda got a hunch about Cozzetti.

08 May 2012 5:50 PM

I skipped all the foreplay and tuned in when the horses were going onto the track and was shocked to see they had managed to dye Hansen -- then I realized the red, white and blue was caused by him being so drenched we were looking at his skin. I thought he would be a vet scratch.

When did this meltdown start? Anybody there to see him come over from the barn? Did something happen in the paddock?

08 May 2012 5:53 PM

I think this was a hell of a derby. Very exciting. Bodie showed he could be a great horse in the making. Just following him fried most of the field. For the few that were left all that sand that flies in the lungs and stings the eyes had alot to do with the way positions three through eleven were all over the place. I had both horses and am happy with my bets. Rags and Julien are just not a good match. Julien is a great jockey someone I have the most respect for. Many times I have bet on a horse he is on only because he is riding it. This is not the horse for him and a change would benefit both. Why not Edgar Prado? When I was at last years Preakness the under card was all Edgar and Kent D. those guys are good jockeys. Good luck to all in Baltimore run safe and bring home a check.

08 May 2012 5:54 PM

I am more than a little surprised at the lack of respect being paid to I'll Have Another.  The horse is undefeated this year! He has won more races THIS year than Mine That Bird, Super Saver, or Animal Kingdom did their entire 2 year career!  Now Churchill is too much like the fast tracks of California?  Unreal.  Bodemeister ran well?  I does not matter. From the 19 post he wins the Derby!  Think about that.  This was no fluke.  For once in a long time the form actually held.  Grade 1 win in a Derby prep translated to a Derby win.  That's how it should be.  

08 May 2012 5:58 PM
El Kabong

Billy's Empire,

The IRS took exactly 12,011 out of my 48,046.40 hit. Spent $70 chasing it, but opened up the safe on a stalker/Pace/closer/closer combo that I fashioned when I realized the speed might hold on as it had been doing all week and on the under card that day. Put my Dullahan and WTDW under the fastest horse and the one who had been chasing the speed out west and doing it quite well. I was amazed though, at how many times, even with a majority of the right horses in my combos that only one other ticket, one with Dullahan and WTDW getting past both of those two up front would have paid. Gem, TCI, and Alpha mixed in really effed up most tickets, but I'm over it.

08 May 2012 6:12 PM
Bob from Boston

I love mz.  I wore a hat Derby Day that said that.

08 May 2012 6:31 PM

Congratulations to Team ONeill!!! I thought IHA legitimately won and even though I did not have my money on him, I am happy for his victory.  Everyone involved with IHA seems to be deserving.

On a lighter note..... my "cable guy" told me (not once..but several times) "don't overlook that horse (meaning IHA) !

Ha!  Maybe in the future, we should all listen to my "cable guy"!....I know I will.

08 May 2012 6:47 PM


Thanks for making me spit my drink onto the computer screen..

Too Funny..

08 May 2012 6:47 PM
It aint easy being good!

Draynot that is so funny Draynay will hide under the ground until the preakness and then start talking about how great UR is. He got smoked Cali horses went 1,2 and Dray and Jason are feeling the derby hangover right now! At least my boy Dullahan hit the board or I would be hiding too!

Coldfacts Done talking is sooo slow he should run at canterbury this summer!

Preakness should be an exciting race since speed holds at that track and we have alot of frontrunner this year.....

Things to remember for next year never bet on pletcher horse he is so overrated when it comes to the derby its painful! Jason praises him year and year out and pletcher never gets it done in the triple crown races!

08 May 2012 7:27 PM

Michael Matz may have gotten a little frustrated with Julien Leparoux after two troubled trips, but he did say repeatedly after Union Rags drew the four hole that he was going to have to be hustled away from the gate with that draw. Off slowly and bumped by Dullahan from the outside UR was then pinched back by that colt and Take Charge Indy to his left when he tried to advance. Matz says he doesn't know what to say to Leparoux.  He acknowledges Union Rags did not break well, but then chastises Leparoux for making no attempt to hustle UR forward as instructed. Running 18th at the back of the field, UR was then victimized by Daddy Long Legs stopping badly in front of him before being eased with Leparoux having to steady the colt and angle outside so as not to clip heels with DLL. When UR finally was able to run - Matz said later he'd run only a half mile in his last 2 1/2 miles of racing - the Derby favorite advanced to 13th at the head of the stretch and finished well in 7th only seven lengths off the leader.  Certainly showed no distance limitations as an offspring of Dixie Union as some feared the colt would.  AfleetAlexForever says Leparoux, after the slow break, took no initiative to follow Matz's instructions to hustle UR forward to 6th/7th/or 8th, took hold of the colt, and rode him like it was a turf race - a strategy doomed to failure with CA horses ahead of him, loving a speed-favoring track that played like Santa Anita. There seems to be validity to his argument and he's not trying to come down on Leparoux. When all is said, it may come down to a situation like Baffert faced a couple of years back with Lookin At Lucky and Garret Gomez. After three bad trips at Oaklawn, Santa Anita, and Churchill, he decided that his colt needed a different rider to try to break out of the string of bad trips, went to Martin Garcia, and won the Preakness. Baffert wasn't down on Gomez, but just felt the situation necessitated a new rider to break out of the rut of bad trips the horse had suffered. It worked and maybe that's what Matz needs to do with Union Rags as well.

08 May 2012 7:28 PM

I think the media also missed an opportunity to talk about the whole Lava Man thing.  It's pretty cool in the world of racing to get your start at the Stockton Fair, go on to earn back to back Hollywood Gold Cups and millions of dollars, and then end your career as a pony for the Kentucky Derby winner.  That's a pretty good "feel good" story.  NICE JOB LAVA MAN!

08 May 2012 7:28 PM
Rolling Thundar

Hic'up.......See what you get when you don't know Noth'n......Winners for the ( Newbie ), ( Rookie )....

Ok......I don't want to be like Draynay.....Bragging about My Win....We'll just Call it Begginers Luck........

But I never knew what a fortune could be made in this game......

Whoo.....Hoo......I think I'll have Another.

08 May 2012 7:49 PM

Jason, I enjoy reading  your column because you are so good at getting to the essence of the race or situation:  I was rooting for Michael Matz, Dale Romans, and the connections of Take Charge Indy.  I was less than enthusiastic about IHA, but you are right:  Doug O'Neill is humble and affable.  Your good points about his pluses have made this result more acceptable to me.  No doubt, it was a great training job, and the horse is a beautiful mover.  Good luck to IHA.

08 May 2012 7:54 PM

Hansen looked like he was going to jump out of his skin.  He was washy and just looked awful. I know it was a little warm...but he was not handling it well at all.  

The 5.2 Million Dollar, 3 Time Gold Cup Winner and I'll Have Another are best buds.  They go with each other everywhere.  Lava Man, now 11, reportedly gave O'neal some trouble during the pre-Santa Anita Derby races.  Apparently he pushed himself against the front of the stall like he was going out to the track to race.  I guess they had a plan B for Derby day but he did fine.  Now Lava Man and I'll Have Another will have a lot to talk about on their walks between now and the Preakness. Can't wait to plant myself in front of the TV and look for Lava Man.

08 May 2012 7:56 PM


keep leparoux on union rags??

What race did you watch?? He needed to get that horse into the race, He has good tatical speed. leparoux rides good on synt/fake surfaces. If gomez was on that horse in the preakness he wins by 3 lengths.

08 May 2012 8:03 PM


Not to split hairs, last years BCC were the best finish of a favorite was 4th the Super paid $47K and change..

This year the Derby Super paid 96K with the favorite placing 2nd.

Yes, the Breeders Cup pays nice but not Kentucky Derby Nice..

If Bodie was not in the mix the tri and Super would of been huge..

Look at some of the TRI and Super payouts on the undercard.

Sometimes I think im my own worse enemy by getting greedy on Oaks/Derby days just betting Tris and Supers.

Even though I hit two Tris on Derby Day..


Schackelford and Groupie Doll.

I thought Little Mike would be short no pun intended.

If Union Rags runs in the Preakness he WINS..

08 May 2012 8:06 PM

AfleetAlexForever and I have not always seen eye to eye, but I do agree with him as far as the Leparoux situation is concerned.  Something clearly is not meshing in the last two races with horse and rider.  Leparoux is a talented jock, but I think Matz does need to make a change.

08 May 2012 8:34 PM

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo DRAYNAY, Noooooowhere to be found !!!

I'll have to admit, I was high on UR from his first race, and I talked many people down. But, I have to agree, the best horse that day won. Fair n Square. Actually all the best horses hit the board. I never considered IHA a serious contender, but his strides in gallops gave me goosebumps. I was also high on Alpha, but he disappointed as well. I was damn sure about Hansen's failure. Hats off to IHA, and hats off to Bode. What amazing two athletes these are. Hats off to West coast 3 yos this year. I think UR might give them a run for their money soon assuming a better trip, but I don't think he's way better than them. He is probably the strongest colt, but not the most versatile. Can't say enough good things about the first two finishers. And can't say much about the Draynay phenomenon lol.

08 May 2012 9:12 PM

Any idea on what had Hansen so agitated when he came onto the track?  He looked like he'd just stepped out of the shower, he was so wet!  I know that sometimes colts are bothered by all the band from the singing of My Old Kentucky Home, but Hansen was too wet by that point for it to have been that?  Seems to me he left his race in the barn - used up all his energy before he got to the track...

Also, a question for someone who knows - with Hansen loving to jet off and run, isn't it better to just let him run off and run his own race?  I know he rated beautifully in the Gotham, but it seems to me, if he's fighing Ramon, he's using his energy in the wrong place...Can anyone help?

I'm still thinking Hansen might be able to carry his speed - after all, Slew sure could.

08 May 2012 9:15 PM

As talented as IHA is, I would still doubt his Preakness for some reason. I think with a shorter distance, speedy horses have a better shot than IHA. But his win won't surprise me at all. But, one thing is for sure, If IHA happens to win Preakness which I hope he does, watch out people. In that case we have one of the most legit triple crown contender in decades. What a beautiful stride, almost magical. I can't see anybody beating him in Belmont. The only one I can consider is Dullahan or may be Went the Day well. But its highly doubtful he's beatable in Belmont

08 May 2012 9:16 PM
nate the great

Hello everyone, new to the blog, have read it for about the last 18 months, interesting comments always. Congrats to IHA and the team, very deserving.  Agree thet Leparoux is not a good fit for UR.  Waiting to hear from the legend Draynay

08 May 2012 9:23 PM
Ted from LA

Ted from LA hates when people talk about themselves in the third person.

08 May 2012 9:34 PM
Paula Higgins

I had IHA in my tri from day one (look at the older blogs). I also won $100.00 from my husband because of it (yes, I know it's like paying myself). I always liked IHA and thought he was solid, consistent and overlooked. Disappointed in Gemologist, who I thought would do better. Union Rags did exactly what I said he would do-not much.  Bodemeister was a nice surprise though. I thought he would bounce and he didn't. Nice, nice horse. If he is in the Preakness it will be interesting. A good Derby all in all. Bob/Ted I laughed my head off at your post. However, I think the words "trailer" and "ambiance" are mutually exclusive. Yes mz, you always have Bob/Ted, never worry, U are the best (sorry, only joking I had to do that). As for Michael Matz's comments, sometimes I don't think he filters his thoughts, and he should. I am not saying he is wrong (they should get another jockey, horse and rider are not sympatico), but it doesn't play well. I loved Bob Baffert who was pure class and never blamed Mike Smith for anything. I love Bob Baffert, one of the best trainers ever and a true gentleman. So glad he is doing well and he looks great.

08 May 2012 9:47 PM

Kudos to IHA & the young, inexperienced jock who got the job done when more experienced riders were not giving their horses the best chance.  I love Mike Smith, but he should have realized he was going too fast.  Brilliant as Bodemeister is, no horse is going to get 3/4 in under 1:10 and finish up in a 1-1/4 mile race.

Leparoux may be a great jockey, but he is not the right jockey for UR.  A horse only gets one chance at the Derby so I can't blame Mr. Matz if he was frustrated with Julian's failure to follow instructions.  I agree with AfleetAlexForever and Will; UR needs a new jockey.  I think Julian has lost faith in the horse and likely the horse has also lost faith in the jockey to keep him out of trouble.

This is going to sound kind of silly, but I'm saying it anyway; I was worried when Draynay picked UR as a sure thing.  It seems if Draynay has picked a horse, he is cursed and doomed to failure.  Draynay; quit picking the horses I like!

08 May 2012 10:39 PM

This was my 36th derby. I used Bloodhorse's pedigree profile to help me pick my winner as I studyed it day and night with my form and videos.  I played 5 horses boxed in the TRI with Bodemeister being my number one pick. I used I'll Have Another, Dullahan, Bode, Gemologist and Daddy Nose Best (Because of Thunder Gulch blood and form). I had a nice win bet on I'll Have Another because I heard somewhere that California Beyer numbers were too low and visually I thought he ran a great race (I had to get off Creative Cause because I heard the trainer say on HRTV he lost a piece of a foot on the plane losing shoe and he had a unusual derby week). I had the trifecta for $1 three times and the exacta a whole bunch of times as I loved Bodemeister. Could get the super though as I did not respect Went The Day Well and he almost blew up everything. But it was a BIG Day. Watching I'll Have Another's great gallop out I think he will win the Preakness if he came out of race as good as he looked. Thanks Bloodhorse for your pedigree profile. Best $10 I ever spent!

08 May 2012 10:47 PM

I do not like to blame jockeys for poor performances by horses.

I never thought much of Union Rags. In fact, I once referred to him as the big mule.

I believe he is an overrated horse who is difficult to ride. He gave Castellano problems.

Now he is giving Leparoux problems.

The trainer does not need my advice, but I think he should put Elvis Trujillo on that horse. Elvis seems to find a way out of trouble with horses. He seems to have little difficulty  staying in the lead pack.

08 May 2012 11:29 PM

Shock wave therapy is used for treating  tissue injuries. It is a good adjunct treatment. Won't cure. Not that expensive, not at this level. The razors edge they keep theses horses at, speaks well for the trainer. Didn't think IHA could it done from the 19 hole but did have note the trainer had him set up to move forward this race. He is fresh. Think he will have more trouble in the Preakness, more suited for Belmont, but hopeful.  Racing could use a hero.

08 May 2012 11:31 PM

Waiting to hear from the legend Draynay

nate the great 08 May 2012 9:23 PM.

It seems if Draynay has picked a horse, he is cursed and doomed to failure.  Draynay; quit picking the horses I like!

robinm 08 May 2012 10:39 PM.

Be patient,maybe Draynay is taking some blog time off to PREPARE his acceptance speech for his INDUCTION into the Hall Of Fame of not being able to pick the Kentucky Derby Winner in a LONG time!!!!!  

09 May 2012 12:50 AM

Congrats to IHA and their connections. It was a great race and the beyer is the least of my concerns when it comes to figuring out what I am doing. I did hit the tri but left IHA off of first because of the 19 hole. It was a great race. I did have bodemeister, dullahan on top along with Gemologist and Union Rags. I was going to leave him off of first but his works made it difficult. If I would have done it I would have made some more cash. Oh well, time to get ready for the Preakness.

09 May 2012 1:02 AM

Oh, but Hansen DOES have an excuse, the poor pony has to put up with Doctor Hansen 24/7. I still love him, but I think he's more of a miler. No shame in that, some magnificent horses were milers. Hansen's front running style is an Achille's heel in my book. The gorgeous pony just can't seem to relax. The Kentucky Derby rabbit chase came with a cost for Hansen and Bode. I really think Trinniberg was a game changer, just my opinion, not to take anything from the winner who ran a brilliant race. Some food for thought Dr. Hansen, don't try to fit your horse to the race, choose a race to fit your horse. Translation, skip the Belmont.

09 May 2012 1:25 AM

I'm glad other people saw what I saw about Julien's ride on UR.  I don't think it's all his fault, UR was just too slow and if he hustled him out of the gate, he wouldn't have any gas left.  After watching the replay and focusing on UR, I was surprised to see Julien take him to the rail and just pretty much stayed there.  I didn't see him looking out to his right to see if there's any room to move him out of the rail.  I posted in the other blog that he rode UR like he didn't have any plans, after he got shuffled back, he didn't look like he knew what to do.

Julien is a great jockey, but these things happens in the Derby.  I spend a lot of money on him whenever I bet a race that he has a horse in.  This guy wins for fun regardless of whether he has the odds-on favorite or a 10-1 horse.  I just don't think he is the right jockey for UR.  I would take Nakatani over him to ride UR but I think Matz should've bribed and bought a new car for John Velasquez to ride UR in the Derby.  He may have won his only and first derby last year but in big races, I think JV has the better experience and would've given UR a chance to at least hit the board.

Is Matz really considering the Belmont for UR ?  If so, I think Parbhoo should consider Trinniberg for the Belmont too.  Let's run these good horses to the ground trying to win a Triple Crown race.  If UR wins the Belmont, it would take an all out and I mean bottom out to get him to the wire first.  What is wrong with the Met Mile ? and the BC Mile ?

Melanie : I agree with you about Hansen.  He rated for a good few seconds in the Gotham and I don't even consider it rating.  This horse is like Bode, he wants the lead and they need to let him get the lead, if he hits a wall then he hits a wall but I don't believe they can rate the horse and shouldn't.

robinm : I really believe that Mike Smith was concerned about what Trinniberg was going to do, I can almost hear his thoughts... "Are you coming or not ?  What are you doing behind me ?? "  When I saw Trinniberg didn't go for the lead, and saw :45, I was thinking the same thing.  Slow down Mike, Trinni is not going to go.  It's easy to make these comments after the race though.  I'm sure there were a million things going on in Mike's head at the time.  At the end of the day, I think he rode Bode the best way he thought he should ride him and they almost made it.

I have to say, this is probably the best and most enjoyable Derby in awhile.  I normally expect Baffert to be in the Derby but this year was special because of what happened in Dubai.  I was dead wrong on Gemologist but it's not like I was picking derby winners every year lol, this is normal for me lol.  I'm still waiting to hear that he's okay.  I'm not off his wagon, and there's has to be some reason he ran so poorly.  Coldfacts called him big and slow but I know a certain horse that is big and slow but runs like a freight train in the stretch.  I guess I just thought he would be like her.  

Speaking of which, CONGRATS to the new (2nd) member of the family, with Tapit genes.  I'm looking forward to seeing him (or her) on the track.  2014/2015 will be a fun year.  RA and Zen's babies !  I'll be rooting for both mamas for their babies to do well and I hope they end up with the right trainers and owners.  I will, however, be rooting for Zen's baby to break the Apollo curse so we may have to wait until 2014 ;)

09 May 2012 3:40 AM

For the last 3 Derbys it had been hard to figure the winner based solely on what had happened in actual races.  Mine That Bird and Super Saver each entered their Derbys 0 for the year, and Animal Kingdom had never even run a race on dirt.

This year, it was all about form.  The top 3 finishers had all won a grade 1 in their final prep, and 4th place finisher, Went The Day Well, had won a grade 3.

09 May 2012 3:47 AM


How come no one is talking about the fact that Creative Cause went 8-wide on the 2nd turn, even wider than Dullahan and Went the Day Well?

I'm aware of it because Creative Cause had been my pick for months.  What's interesting is that though Creative Cause is considered a stalker, he was actually alongside Dullahan for much of the race; more specifically, Dullahan was to the INSIDE of Creative Cause.

I mention Creative Cause not out of sour grapes or the belief he could have won.  Rather, I think CC, Dullahan, and WtDW received trips about par for the course for the Derby and that I'll Have Another was a deserving winner.  

However, given the top 5 finishers were 4 lengths clear of Liaison in 6th, and that Creative Cause in 5th was only beaten only a half length by Went the Day Well, I don't understand why the latter's trip is being written about but CC's isn't.

09 May 2012 3:58 AM

I'll Have Another has already won more grade 1s(2) and more graded stakes(3) so far this year than either Animal Kingdom, Super Saver, or Mine That Bird would end up winning their entire 3 year old seasons.  

09 May 2012 4:05 AM

For those complaining that Churchill was too fast on Saturday, would you rather have it like it was on Breeder's Cup weekend last year?

09 May 2012 4:06 AM

"Also, a question for someone who knows - with Hansen loving to jet off and run, isn't it better to just let him run off and run his own race?  I know he rated beautifully in the Gotham, but it seems to me, if he's fighting Ramon, he's using his energy in the wrong place...Can anyone help?" -Melanie

Maker said after the Derby "we just weren't good enough. We did not have the best horse." If only it were that simple. A horse like Hansen does not wash out like that and become agitated for basically the entire week and then run like that with the now trademark cocked head and tight rating hold without some outside help...

I am not sure I "know" for sure but I have been handicapping since 1980 and was a hand at a stable in Maryland years ago. First, as to your question of him fighting, yes; they need to just let the horse run at his own cruising speed. He always seems to come back to the jockey once he is given his head, so fighting the horse is misguided at best and it saps a TON of energy from a horse. It is also one of the great fallacies of horse racing; that choking a horse off of the lead saves energy. And besides, it is horse "racing", not horse "rating." Horses like Hansen relax when given their head. He has ALWAYS been rating. They have never let him just run free like Bode did in the Derby. I just went back and watched the BC Juvie...Hansen is always under a hold early and basically pulls the rider to the lead...(which expends energy as well).

The key is getting a horse like Hansen to relax. Some horses relax better on the lead or simply being allowed to run. Hansen is what he is. BTW, Hansen was not "in the perfect spot" in the Derby. The spot Hansen was in was the perfect spot for a stalker. Hansen is NOT a stalker any more than Bode is a stalker. In fact, the only way a horse like Hansen has a chance to beat a horse like Bodemeister is to BEAT Bode to the lead and force Bode to run someone else's race, or engage Bode on the backstretch. Bode does NOT like company and has not run as well when pressured or pinned in with a horse. This is why they wanted to clear Bode once he made the lead. This has not yet dawned on Ramon or Maker, who seem to think Hansen is a stalker--he is NOT. He may be able to stalk a cheap speedball--that makes sense--but not quality speed like Bodemeister. If they plan on rating Hansen behind Bode again and not gunning for the lead they should do everyone a favor and point to the Haskell or even a grade 1 mile instead of the Preakness. He has zero chance rating behind Bode. Bank on it.

So, once Bode broke so well and went to the lead it was over for Hansen. Period. He was racing to finish behind Bode unless he went up there and pressured him. They chose to sit back and wait. And Ramon got what he bargained for. Nothing...

Give up the ghost on the choke holds is uncomfortable to watch. Just give the horse his head, please. Some horses are better with minimal jockey interference. Hansen is obviously one of them.

As for his washed out appearance, who knows? Anything can spook a horse and stress them like that. Hansen is a high strung, aggressive alpha type. His type needs to be worked hard and jogged the way IHA was jogged around the Derby track (often, long, fast and hard). Instead, they seemed to want to back Hansen into the Derby. He had a slow breeze (for Hansen) and slow jogs. The result was the last couple of days Hansen was kicking the barn down with energy and refused to settle under his exercise jockey. But that was not Hansen's fault. Even Mike Weslch said he needed to have the edge taken off of him and did not.

I think Hansen beat the other horses as 2 year olds because of his talent, class and speed. However, this crop has grown up. They need to "figure out" Hansen. And if they are going to try and rate him like he is a horse fond of running down horses in the stretch they are wasting their time. A complete waste of time IMO.

He needs the lead, or his head, or both. He is clearly fast enough to get the lead early. Unfortunately, the only trainers with any guts to SEND his horse and let him run his race is Larry Jones and Baffert. Once the distances got longer they got cute with Hansen. And, he was not really fit his first race back this year, either. Team Hansen wants to force square peg Hansen into a round hole. He is a Hard Spun, Shack, Bode type. He needs his head.

Maker is a good trainer. However, some are better than others with a true speed horse that is headstrong. Ask Billy Turner, Larry Jones or Bob Baffert: these types you have to just give them their head and let the chips fall where they may. Even in the BGS Hansen was pulling hard and asking for his head. He gets more agitated the longer the hold is on him and he expends more and more energy. Look around his neck back to the bridle; this is a horse that FIGHTS the holds put on him (you can see where the hair has worn away from cocking and flailing his head).

It is not rocket science: leading up to the Derby Bode had much better late pace figures and lower early speed. The moment Hansen fell behind Bode he had ZERO shot to run Bode down tracking him 3 back and still feeling a good bit of that pace fighting for his head and being washed out. When I saw him in the post parade sopping wet I wished I could take him off of my exotics and when I saw Bode rush to the lead and Hansen fighting for his head in 3rd a few lengths back I turned to my wife and said, "Hansen will be lucky to finish 10th." He finished 9th. Makes sense, right? The horse is washed out and does not look good but it makes since to fight him for his head in a 10f race, right? Not...

Hopefully they will work him hard and let him run his race in the future. He should be able to get 9f or maybe even 9.5 being handled to run his race and not sitting off of someone else's pace. The horse is not a stalker any more than Seattle Slew was.

Back in the 60s and 70s, they used to take horses back and rate them when they were eager but lacked the speed and stamina to go to the front and not cook themselves or encounter trouble. It was NEVER intended as a way to run further or save energy of the true speed horses with stamina, UNLESS THE HORSE COULD RELAX OFF THE LEAD AND COME WITH A RUN. For instance, Ronnie T said he never rated Secretariat during the T/C races. Big Red broke slowly but put himself in the race with Ronnie along for the ride. Go back and watch the first turn in the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes. They let Secretariat run his own race.

Back in the day no one thought anything about horses like Slew, Riva Ridge, Bold Forbes or Affirmed wanting the lead or having to be up on it. These horses were allowed to run, it was their style. They could not win being rated off the pace and horses like Slew would throw a rider if they tried to put a rating hold on him. These days, you get a nice speed horse that can carry that speed and the first thing people do is start getting cute and trying to rate off the pace. It does not work as much as it does work. It is very tricky.

Seattle Slew needed the lead, was going to get the lead, and run your behind into the ground if you went with him and was going to win anyhow. That was Billy Turner's attitude...and if Baffert can relax Bode just a bit on the lead that one could be dangerous as well. Hats off to Baffert for at least allowing his horse to run!

If Hansen is even half of what Maker and Dr. Hansen have been saying they will either figure out they have to let him run his race or have his head or they will never truly allow this horse to thrive...if he cannot get 9 or 10f this way...great. He is a miler! Let him run as a miler! But milers DO NOT win route races under strong rating holds...

Just my two cents.

09 May 2012 5:11 AM
El Kabong

Paula HIggins, Pedigree Ann, Matthew W

Congrats to you all. Off of memory, I do believe all three of you posted very well for IHA, especially Matt who flat out singled him as the Rose Bandit. I hope you all made a tidy little sum on that guy. He got no respect, but that's a betters dream. Obviously, dray hasn't figured that out yet but you three did for sure. I used him as a back up to my pick Dullahan. It's ok to hug a horse on your ticket, but you can't smother him at the window. To many things can happen and the best horse doesn't always win. IHA was the best horse Saturday, but those 3 behind him will challenge him for the next 2 legs. I like this class we have this year and I think we're in for some more thrilling races. Good luck to IHA and good luck to those who believed in IHA from the start.

09 May 2012 6:43 AM
Rusty Weisner

El Kabong,

Congratulations.  Nice to see a regular here win big.  Somehow the real winners don't come here crowing and taunting.

09 May 2012 7:39 AM

Oh man...that whole spiel about Doug O'Neill was really depressing. Is there a way we can look at the positives of the man without making it sound like the rampant transgressions in the sport aren't a big deal? It's that permissive attitude that gives tacit permission for such transgressions to continue, and it's that vicious cycle that puts such an enormous target on racing's back. We've got to change the way we think, or we will go extinct at the hands of the morons at PETA. It's not a fate I want for racing.

09 May 2012 8:06 AM

Julien will never ride Union Rags again.  It's a shame that all the prep for that race was ruined in the first few seconds of the race.  But that is how the Derby can go and now is the time for the connections of Union Rags to look forward and find a jockey who will forwardly place the horse.  Julien is not the guy.

Bode did what I thought he would do and tossed anchor 300 yards before the finish line.  But average horses couldn't catch a very tired Bode.  Dullahan just missed beating him at the wire but he had no excuse.  Churchill was playing a lot like the speedway at Santa Anita which helped horses from SA.  However, Belmont will be dryer and deeper so look for a much different race when Belmont comes around.  Bode has no business running in the Preakness.  Let this horse rest and save him for the Haskell.  He is a 9 panel horse no point in running him any further.  I want to thank all the Gem fans who bet me he was better than Union.  Jayjay your funds along with others will help stray dogs find homes.  Thanks again.

09 May 2012 9:28 AM

The final time for the Derby was just 2:01.83 and Bode ran 2:02.13.  This compares to Monarchos in 1:59.97 (114 Beyer, -75 PF) and FuPeg in 2:01.12 (107 Beyer, -57PF) - other years with very fast tracks playing almost identical to this year's Derby.  For those who say horses don't do what Bode did, recall Congaree (never more than 3L behind Songandaprayer's record splits).  

Congaree's Line:

:22.65  :45.46  1:09.55  1:35.00  2:00.92

Bodemeister's Line:

:22.31  :45.39  1:09.80  1:35.19  2:02.13

Congaree faster at 6f and 8f and still closed in :25 3/5. He ran about 6-7 lengths faster than Bode.  I don't remember anyone declaring Congaree a superhorse, though he race was clearly superior to Bode's by a wide margin.

09 May 2012 9:59 AM
Age of Reason


Your concerns about the Preakness being the most difficult of the remaining two Triple Crown races for I'll Have Another to win (on paper) are very legitimate, and I've heard others say the same things; however, I think a definite case can also be made for I'll Have Another winning the Preakness easier than he did the Derby.

First, some have said that the speed-favoring track at Pimlico will be less likely to favor IHA's closing style. Two points: One, I'll Have Another is not a "closer"; in fact, before the Derby some were expressing concern that he would be too close to the lead because of his near-the-pace running style. The only reason I'll Have Another looked like a deep closer in the Derby is, as we know, that many seeming close-to-the-lead types are conveniently forced farther back in the Derby with very large fields and typically an unusually fast pace (this year that's an understatement). Think of Super Saver, Big Brown, Smarty Jones, etc., all of whom ran with the pack in the early Derby pace but were otherwise known as basically front-runners in one sense or another (Smarty Jones could've wired the Preakness). And second, because of this, I'll Have Another is likely (in my opinion)to revert to his previous, more speedy style in the Preakness with a smaller field guaranteed and faster pace unlikely (could it be much faster?). This reminds me also that many Bode supporters--all due respect--have predicted Bodemeister's upset of IHA in the Preakness because Bode will get a slower pace and be fresh for the stretch, but it's unrealistic to say that IHA will fall prey to Bode's slow pace: if Bodemeister goes in, say, 1:11 or more, I'll Have Another won't be a helpless victim sitting 7-8 lengths back like the Derby; he will be riding Bodemeister's bumper a la Blueskiesnrainbows in the Santa Anita Derby. Then IHA won't have to contend with the other horse getting the jump on him in the stretch. He's already shown his versatile ability to adapt to different pace scenarios, and has proved himself in the last two to be arguably the grittiest and most tenacious horse in the crop. If he is within two lengths at the top of the stretch at Pimlico, I humbly predict "game over". :)

09 May 2012 10:00 AM

it ain't easy bein good,

We'll welcome Done Talking with open arms at Canterbury. Mgmt. pretty much gave up on the legislature allowing a racino but the Mgmt. at Canterbury finally did get smart and negotiate a deal with the Indian Casino that will give them more revenues.

09 May 2012 10:08 AM

draynay you are full of crap. You said Bode would not finish in the top 8, if you thought he'd run on until 300 yds left he'd have been in your box. Spin it any way you want but we aren't foolish enough to believe anything you say. The facts speak for themselves. You were dead wrong as usual only this time one of the 6 horses you boxed didn't happen to finish 2nd so even you can't spin a "victory" out of that.

Hats off to "slyder" and "el kabong" you guys made draynay look like a pre-schooler in a graduate level class.

09 May 2012 10:18 AM

More food for thought:  The chart from 2001 shows Point Given ran roughly the identical time as Bode at 6f, 8f, and final time (and barely behind at 1st and 2nd calls).  Point Given lost by 11 1/4 to Monarchos.  He got 6f in 1:09 4/5 and 8f in 1:35 1/5, final time 2:02 1/5, same as Bode.  Point Given was trashed for his poor performance. His 100 Beyer exceeded Bode's 99.  Point Given was also very wide on both turns, while Bode lost no ground and had a clear trip.

09 May 2012 10:24 AM
Pedigree Ann

El Kabong -

Thanks for remembering. What I said was that in a logical world, I'll Be Another would be the Derby favorite, since he beat the horse who beat Bodemeister, the horse with the most visually impressive prep win. This was the year when comparative form told you most of what you needed to know; and it told you to toss the horses who raced in the LA and FLA preps or trained in ARK.

Unfortunately I spent the week on prednizone so that I could get retested for my allergies (breathing being a priority; allergy season has been BRUTAL in the Bluegrass this year) and my decisions with my betting money were not the best. Fortunately I am only a $2 bettor. I got my amusement from it.

09 May 2012 10:37 AM
Age of Reason

Then: "Getting Julien [Leparoux]is ideal for the Derby because there is no better rider at Churchill than Julien."  (--Draynay, 14 Feb 2012 1:44).

Now: "Julien will never ride Union Rags again. Julien is not the guy."  (--Draynay, 09 May 9:28 AM)  Add this latest installment of Backpedaling 101 to all the "rookie" name-calling, "Derby master" and "I am never wrong" and "Write it in stone", and "Union Rags wasn't so bad because he finished ahead of Gemologist (so did Done Talking and Optimizer)"...

Draynay, you've been the laughingstock on both Haksin's and Shandler's blogs for going on a week now. It was hoped that you and your psychotic delusions of grandeur would at least leave us in peace for a few weeks, but our fate is even worse--we have to put up with an egomaniacal babblemouth who can't post a single snide comment without malicious snark being directed at respectful adults minding their own business. If you can't actually say something relevant and respectful, go away. Otherwise, I vote you should be banned from the blog until after the Triple Crown. Do I hear a second? :P

09 May 2012 11:01 AM

I think that JL is a very good jockey, however not every jockey fits every horse.  This IMO is the case with UR.  

09 May 2012 11:05 AM
steve from st louis

Draynay: You should have more respect for yourself than to continue to give your "thoughts" on this blog. Bullying is never a good exercise, but just face it, absolutely no one cares anymore what your opinion is.  How sad so many total strangers see you as a total buffoon. Maybe try your luck at, under an assumed name.

09 May 2012 11:13 AM
Rusty Weisner


That was more like twenty dollars, not two cents.

I've really liked your comments about the Bodemeister and the way the race was run.  I like Bodemeister a lot in the Preakness and I hope Hansen (papillon felt the same way about him) gets a rest because I consider him more of a threat to Bodemeister than anyone else, not to win, but because he might throw him off his game by getting the lead.  In any case, if Hansen doesn't run IHA will be much closer to the pace (Bodemeister) than in the Derby.

09 May 2012 11:43 AM
Point Given

Draynay UR is a freaking sprinter at best.I took your advice on Grace Hall & UR and now I'm broke.I want my money back.Even Liaison beat UR.UR should try starter allowance races to regroup.

09 May 2012 11:48 AM
Rusty Weisner


The track was a relief after last year (particularly last year's Derby).  It was nice to see fast, classy horses formfully run their races. Creative Cause would have had a better chance over last year's track, though.  IHA's bid in the stretch might have wound up like Nehro's, and going wide, which CC seems to need to do, actually would have been an advantage.

09 May 2012 11:50 AM

Who said 2 cents doesnt go very far.............thanks geronimo!

09 May 2012 12:12 PM
Karen in Texas

Geronimo2123----I appreciate your well-thought post on Hansen. Your mention of Larry Jones as an example of a trainer doing well with speed horses is very true, plus he has the advantage of actually riding and feeling the nature of those horses. If only Team Hansen can figure out how to help him thrive; he has so much ability and desire to run.

JerseyBoy----Yes, I think Union Rags is going to be difficult for any jockey who rides him. A new rider will face the same problems as Castellano and Leparoux.

09 May 2012 12:13 PM

ONLY DRAG NAG could come out and say he was right about BODEMEISTER! The horse runs like a freak! 45 and 2 and almost wins......the stupid gets stupider!

09 May 2012 12:16 PM

Rider fault seems to dominate the blog--- I posted previous to the race both Oaks winner and Derby Tri but what is lost is a short snippets of previous post

Instead of complaining about bad rides, what about calling out trainers/owners that enter that get into way of horses that can win.” If a mother/father uses bad judgement--(recent tanning news comes to mind quickly) we are all over them in the press.

Why would you put an average fighter who loses against local competition in the ring with Mayweather to get his brains knocked out?

Why this thing about riders? Bodi was 5 to the good turning for home and still there at the 1/16--you either show his greatness or not---Smith did nothing wrong--he ran great and just lost. Dullahan went super wide---it was Kent's call---I don't challenge Mike or Kent they have been the elite for years for a reason. Winner got a perfect trip---great ride---maybe this kid is the star on the rise-----but next week and say your "life" depended on winning a race and you had a pick of the three---who do you pick---the Hall of Famer's or the new kid on the block? Trainers find these riders for a reason--their talent and decision making. Sometimes they are wrong going fast as cars went earlier in the century with much less control available. Yes I have been on a racehorse on a track,  and they sometimes have minds of there own but never in race which would be hundreds of times tougher. Those complaining should try it. The fitness, skill, strength and awareness needed in race was far beyond me---and I am a lot bigger than 114 pounds.

Johnny V's horse was flying---he got in trouble---his fault? I certainly rank him top 5-10 in the world.

Anyone watching Super Saver's Derby knows the race set up perfectly for a closer and the place horse--- Ice Box must have lost 10 lengths with trouble he encountered--- THE WAY THE RACE WAS RUN----should have won--- not Super Saver---- giving Nick another Derby --what if's-- don't count---Neither horse proved anything after that race----what you guys/and sometimes girls should complain that the Derby is often filled with horses that don't belong that get in the way or change the dynamic of the race.

Yes this is why I think it is sad to see a genuinely nice horse like Optimizer (I shouldn't really single Lukas out but he is a legend and should know better) run and a maiden in the Oaks---they are not going to win going into the gate. (Optimizer again won't if he goes to the Preakness as well. Yes we all saw Mine That Bird and one of a thousand “will surprise”, but this is far from the norm. (Don't give me the LA Derby as an example he really had a chance on paper--not that I bet him but there were far worse looking). I just see so many great pots all over the country for 1st AND 2nd tier horses that are available when a horse is 3. Why invest serious money on lottery tickets at millions to one---trust me racing a TB is serious money.

Julian will win a KY Derby someday I suspect as Javier will if they continue to be top of the class---but on Cinco of this month they were not on horses that could.

Just another thought—Todd Pletcher or not, “nobody” or any loyalty to a barn would pull a rider off a horse he thought was unbeatable in the Derby--the most important race of making any rider's career in NA-- that he had first call—Javier jumper ship on Union Rags ---

Does that not speak volumes?

09 May 2012 12:20 PM

I've seen more talent in Bodemeister than I ever saw in the overhyped Uncle Mo and Big Brown. Running those kind of fractions against this crop of three year olds deserves all the praise in the world. Enough with the excuses Draynay, Union Rags was not good enough, never was. Let me guess, if Bodemeister wins the Preakness by 5 does that means Pimlico plays exactly like Santa Anita right? Lol! And if a West Coast horse wins the Belmont, then what? Same excuse? Your excuses are growing more pathetic by the minute. Face it, this year the West Coast is the Best Coast. Please bet on Union Rags in his next race against Bodemeister, I'm begging you! I'll gladly take your money...again! Lol!

09 May 2012 12:31 PM
Frank J.

Poor, poor Drayton Nay..if Bode is just a 9 panel horse, what does that make UR? Typical you putting down other horses efforts and can't man up to your pre-race talk. Hey, how'd those Cali horses do btw?

09 May 2012 12:54 PM
Union Buster

blah blah blah draynay. your horse just wasn't good enough. despite dawdling through a mile in 137.4 he could only come home the last 1/4 in 26. he should have finished much faster than that if he was any good. the real shame is you can't admit when you were so wrong about your entire "box". you will always remain a terrible handicapper until you admit how bad you are and sit down and try to learn something. I don't ever see that happening so you are doomed to continue to make a fool of yourself with your outrageous predictions. at least when I do that i'm right.

09 May 2012 1:06 PM
Bob from Boston

To Draynay is human.

09 May 2012 1:09 PM

Churchill has not been kind to Mike Smith.  He mis-timed the ride on Zenyatta and now allowed Bodemeister to freak on the front end "Careless Jewel" style.  He needed to just walk around the track and take note before the Derby.  It's 1 1/4 Mikey.  

But by sheer luck he got the mount on Bodemeister as Baffert does not use him.  

Look for Baffert to switch him out and move forward with this one.

Watch his San Felipe, he's perfectly situated in behind the cheap speed rating pretty well and gets the jump on Creative Cause.  

Looks like the Breeder's Cup is shaping up well in California.  As usual, you have the crack sprinters like The Factor and Amazombie, some classic horses who do not lose at Santa Anita like Game on Dude, I'll Have Another, and even some turf stuff like Mr. Hot Stuff.  

09 May 2012 1:17 PM
Criminal Type

Apparently the parting of the ways of Matz, Leparoux and Union Rags is a fate acompli. Julien is named as rider for Hierro in the Preakness for Steve Asmussen. Put Rosie, Alex Solis or Edgar Prado on Union Rag's. Hell, Put Mario Pino on him, no one knows Pimlico like he does.

I knew Rag's was toast 100 yards out of the gate. I was very disapointed. I had a trifacta box with IHA, WTDW, Dullahan and Bodemiester on it (rags was on it too) It wasnt a big bet but I came home with around 800 in my pocket versus the 100 I left with. I had Little Mike in the Woodford also. I am going out to Pimlico on Friday morning to watch works and up to Fair Hill on Saturday. I really hope to see Lava Man, I'll Have Another, Rag's, Teeth of the Dog and WTDW. If im lucky I will get to see Animal Kingdom too.

09 May 2012 1:23 PM

I was a little nervous when I saw them work Creative Cause in the "cheater blinkers" at Hollywood Park and then the blinkers came off for his final work at Churchill.  I think I would have left the blinkers on.  He has a habit of going wide and does not like to be inside  horses.  Just too much to overcome with a talented group like this.  Then there is the late lead changes or switching leads back and forth through the stretch.  Someone earlier pointed out that the trainer is better with "Swiss Yodeler" sprinter types.  I'm wondering what this horse is capable of in someone elses barn.  He was close to Union Rags as a two year old, he's beat Bodemeister and was a nose off the Kentucky Derby winner in the Santa Anita Derby.  Would really like to see him try turf.  

09 May 2012 1:24 PM


Quit with your garbage and for once publicly admit that you’re a perennial Derby loser.  Dullahan out ran Rags by 4 ½ lengths from the mile pole home.  He came from 11th.  Went the Day Well outran Rags by 3 lengths from the mile pole home.  He came from 17th.  They both had trouble to deal with at the start and they both had to run on the outside around the far turn.  And of course only you knew all along that Bode would run some of the fastest early splits ever in the Derby.  If he would have gotten away with the first 6 furlongs in a more legitimate 1.10 and change no one would have caught him.  

09 May 2012 1:30 PM

SteveBiscuit you seem to talk a lot but you aren’t saying much other than announcing to the world that you have very little knowledge of horse racing and the fundamentals needed to play the game. Running those type of fractions against what crop of 3 year olds are you speaking of, we are in May of the year and the shake down in the rest of the classics the mid-summer derby and the other races that dictate 3 year old championships have not even been run yet, but somehow Bodemeister off 1 win and a second place finish on a track that surrendered 2 track records and 3 stakes records is some type of crowning accomplishment.   Are you also the personal driver for Bob Baffert? Those with comprehension of how a full season of 3 year old racing recognize that you can’t crown a horse a champion on May 9th as you seem to want to with Bode.  Let me guess, if Bodemeister had started off 18th in this field there would be no reason at all the fault the jockey correct. CLUELESS.  Also could you identify the last time this many track records were broken at Churchill downs over 1 weekend.  Don’t worry I’ll wait for you to do the research.  Its obvious that Churchill was playing like a freeway, otherwise the west coast horses would have all finished as they normally do, off the board and tucking tail heading back on Tex Sutton flights. Let me ask though Biscuit in your opinion was Churchill playing really slow for the day and Bode and the rest of the track record setters just supremely talented athletes.  That may be your assumption but you know what they say about misguided opinions.  West Coast is the best coast after 1 race huh, wow did you get the from Tupac’s Hologram or was it that you didn’t recognize that its been almost a decade since that Best Coast had a meaningful runner in the Kentucky Derby.  The Naïve keep spinning their wheels and basking in the glow of the first west coast victory in the Derby since 2005.  Many congrats to you west Coast Best coasters, maybe we’ll see you gloating again in 2020

Again congrats to the WEST Coast horses that made a significant run in the derby for the first time since 2005.  Remember the great Giacomo trounced by 40 lengths in his next two starts. LOL Laughing at you gets old, but some of you are hilarious.

09 May 2012 2:14 PM
Rusty Weisner

Age of Reason:

I think that's exactly how the race will look, the only difference being the outcome.  If Bodemeister doen't run I don't see anyone other than IHA.  The Preakness is usually full of also-rans and upstarts who get left in the dust on the turn, unless you're talking about years when wet track flukes or pure closers win the Derby.

Yes, some people don't seem to understand the terminology "closer".  7 lengths means something different than virtually any other race.  He had a "forward position."  That's what was so good about the ride:  the jockey appraised the race correctly and didn't interfere with his horse's ability (the descripition is nice how he "eagerly pulled his rider up between rivals").  That said, the riders of TCI and Gemologist got their horses into contention like they needed, too -- they just had no horse under them.

09 May 2012 2:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

Shackleford is an eight-panel horse (if that) and he won the Preakness.  There's something to be said for current form -- not to mention speed -- over pedigree, particularly in the second jewel.

09 May 2012 2:28 PM
Rusty Weisner


I liked CC and was looking forward to singling him somewhere at those odds, but luckily for me the foot thing, and, worse, Harrington's almost fatalistic comments about him spooked me.  Someone on this blog was really dismissive of Harrington; don't know anything about him.  I'm really down on Pletcher, though -- he had a good horse with a perfect setup who just wasn't ready.

09 May 2012 2:37 PM


Thanks so much for explaining.  If I'm following what you're saying, then my hunch has been right:  Hansen is more like his great, great-granddaddy, Slew, then.  I went back to watch Slew's Derby run again, and he shoved his way through till he got to the front, but any time Slew ran, he was like that - had to be on the lead and it seemed that Billy Turner and Jean Cruget seemed to know that.  They never tried to change his running style, so why are Maker and Ramon trying to do that?  

If Hansen runs best on the lead and once he's there, can relax, that why not let him run that way?  Who knows what he can do then?  After all, Slew relaxed on the lead and he quieted all his naysayers when he took the Belmont...

What I saw in Hansen's running as a 2-year-old was Hansen running for the sheer love of running.  I don't see why he can't do that again and be successsful.  He's still my favorite.

Oh, if we can see what Hansen needs, why can't his connections?

Thanks again for the explanation.  It helped so very much!

09 May 2012 3:06 PM

Baffert has had more than a few bad rides on the Triple Crown Trail.  Gary Stevens "gone wild" on Point Given who then comes back to take the Preakness, even better in the Belmont with a faster time than Seattle Slew or Affirmed, the Haskell and Travers (4 million dollar races in a row).  

Kent D moving Real Quiet too soon in the Belmont and then literally getting nosed out of the Triple Crown.

One thing is for sure though.  Take the horses who ran in the Derby right back in the Preakness.  Also, look for a man who pretty much "owns" the Preakness...Baffert.

I doubt it will be anything other than I'll Have Another, Dullihan, Creative Cause, or Bodemeister in the winner's circle.  

09 May 2012 3:17 PM

PLEASE; if I may ask, do not respond or even acknowledge that DRAYNAY exists on the board..

Its obvious he gets of on the bantering...

We all know if it was a match race he would pick the loser and complain the sun was in his horses eyes and blinded him.

09 May 2012 3:17 PM

Hansen got washed out because somebody flashed him a picture of DRAYNAY..

09 May 2012 3:22 PM

Who would want to ban Draynay from the blog?  Not me.  I find Dray to be fascinating.  He is a necessary evil kind of like Skip Bayless on ESPN.  Everyone knows Bayless is an opinionated blowhard who often speaks and writes things that are completely baseless.  Draynay is similarly opinionated and often wrong.  Although I still hold him in higher regard than Bayless.

09 May 2012 3:27 PM
Age of Reason


I should have used a more clear figure of speech. My bad. When I said "game over", I meant that I'll Have Another will have the race won and it will be over for everyone else. So we actually agree lol.

09 May 2012 3:36 PM

Age of Reasons:

I agree with you completely. I do not have a doubt in IHA anymore. Not because he won the Derbey so well, but because this horse has honestly impressed me like none other. If he is within two to three lengths, when they turn for home, FORGET IT people....lights is doubt. he's a pit bull. All i am saying is, IF there's a doubtful race among the three triple crown races, that can be preakness. I hope the sharp turns don't bother him. But, as versatile of a horse as he is, I don't think he should have a problem. And I agree, he is not a closer. And that is the best thing about him, he doesn't depend upon a fast pace scenario. He can work around anything if he is at the top of his game, which he seems like he is.

As I said earlier, i believe we have one of the most legit triple crown contender here in decades, Considering he is at his "A" game throughout

09 May 2012 4:15 PM

Well at least we had a couple days without DRAYNAY running his mouth.

09 May 2012 4:16 PM

UNION RAGS = VERY COMMON and the FL Derby as well as the KY Derby proved it. When the race conditions read Grade 1 around two turns, the horse just doesn't have the breeding or foundation to truly complete. It doesn't make him a bad horse at all. He just isn't a classic Grade 1 winner... Maybe he will be ready for the BC Classic and DRAYNAY can bet another $2000 to win on him like he did Uncle Slow... Now that's Classic!!

09 May 2012 4:22 PM

Figured Draynay would be one of the ones complaining of the Jock in the Derby. This is good as long as there is an excuse in his mind he was never wrong and that means he will continue to make the same mistakes... and in turn we get to laugh!!!

09 May 2012 4:24 PM

"Went the Day Well also ran big. He had a bad start after being bumped and was four-wide in the early going while racing in 17th. He also made his move on the turn, but like Dullahan, was seven-wide entering the stretch. He closed very well to get up for fourth under a less than ideal trip."

I bet big and lost big on him. I was hoping to score big before he made 'noise'. Looks like a lot have now noticed. That's okay because I'll never see odds like that on him ever again. Looks like his late kick came through customs after all. But he also has tactical speed. I think he will be up closer this time in a not-so-crowded field.

Congrats to I'll Have Another and all the bettors and drunk Cinco de Mayans who bet on him!

09 May 2012 4:26 PM

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I apologize for the length of my 2 cent post! I went back and saw it today and I about hit the floor...that is Blog length stuff. Sheesh!

I think there is a culture in racing that says you are not doing your job just letting a horse run without a rating hold. Now that Baffert and Smith did it on Bode,  and everyone is basically saying it was a great move since Baffert and Smith did it, maybe team Hansen will wake up because they are never going to beat a horse like Bode running like IHA runs (but IHA may)...again.

Think about it...horses like Smarty Jones and Hard Spun and even Big Brown only became fatigued or ran poorly when they were fighting rating holds (or being pulled up by Kent D fighting a rating hold). SJ actually never ran poorly. Where is the proof they ran any better or ran one step further because they were under a strong hold? Smarty's Belmont is a case and point, the horse was rank and wanted his head. After two races of being rated he said, "enough!" Maybe he knew the easiest way for him to win on that track?

And, if you think about it, the last several Triple Crown winners we had all went wire to wire in the Belmont Stakes. According to what Billy Turner said, it is the easiest way for a horse that has run hard in the first two legs to control the pace and win that race-- galloping around the track. There are no big late moves in the Belmont Stakes (ask Mine that Bird and Borel!) So maybe Elliot did not "move" Smarty too soon, maybe the mistake was bringing him back to the pack with the slower horses so they could race-ride him? Hmmm...He did waste a lot of energy fighting that hold early on...

BTW, I could be wrong but Hansen looked like he was kicking the barn down all week, had some slow works (for that horse--allegedly to relax him), but sometimes slow works agitate a horse like Hansen. Maker did a good job before the lead up to the Derby...but maybe they just over thought things. Then, that and the heat appear to have done the horse in like Donna B. said on NBC before the race.

On a related note, what is this about Trinni's connections saying he is in the preakness if Bode skips it? Otherwise, to the S. Foster. Are they kidding?

09 May 2012 4:26 PM

IHA trainer when asked:

What did you do differently with this horse...?

"With the other two horses we brought here (to CD)in 2007 we kind of backed off a bit and did not work them very hard or fast. I was just excited to have got them here. a result they came into the race too fresh and could not relax...

With IHA we worked him hard and galloped him hard and did not back off. And, as a result..."

See Doug O. Interview here on video.

Like I said, with most horses, you do NOT want to back off or work them slower going into ANY leg of the T/C, especially the Derby. You saw what happened to certain horses that had slower or lighter works and came to CD late. They did not run their race or were rank.

09 May 2012 4:37 PM

Draynay: You should have more respect for yourself than to continue to give your "thoughts" on this blog. Bullying is never a good exercise, but just face it, absolutely no one cares anymore what your opinion is.  How sad so many total strangers see you as a total buffoon. Maybe try your luck at, under an assumed name.

steve from st louis 09 May 2012 11:13 AM

FYI steve,

He's been there (drf)and done that as drayton nay.

09 May 2012 4:46 PM

This blog Jason should be Dray's World---They certainly seem to speak to him more than you and your work. (Note he has only posted once on this particular blog yet has many, many replies to it) I liken him to Hannity on Fox or a Rush Limbaugh or to be fair to both sides Bill Marr or a Rachel Maddow--make outrageous statements that any sane person would discount when stating their points. Does get reaction---of course,------------ they get paid, as do you Jason, and don't pimp themselves for nothing.

Honestly I am jealous—it’s true, I admit it---I illustrate a good point and my thoughts about running horses that bog down real contenders and get no yeah or nay’s or nary a comment but we have had full 20 horse (or 19) fields the last number of years and many nightmare trips to good horses no matter who rides them every year, boring stuff. Then of course then again most probably watch American Idol and Dancing With The Stars as "must see TV when not replying to Dray –I’m guilty too---at least mocking Dray, I don’t watch karaoke . My Bad.

When my just turned 5 yr. old son watches Pokémon or Bakugans  I tell him why can't you at least watch Johnny Test (He has super smart sisters) if not Cat in The Hat Knows a lot or other PBS programs---I tell him his brain will go dead if he doesn't use it and watches dubbed Japanese cartoons.

You are the best Dray and it brings people out Jason, you owe him.

09 May 2012 5:00 PM
steve from st louis

Melanie, to paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas: "I saw Seattle Slew run. I watched all of his races, three of them live. I know Seattle Slew. Hansen, you are no Seattle Slew."

09 May 2012 5:34 PM

How can you talk sense on a blog where 90 percent of the people think this was the best crop in years? HISTORIC low beyer for the breeders cup 2yr old championship.AND a 101 beyer for a KENTUCKY DERBY? Alw horses 3 yr olds run  avg 98 beyer.......yet the SUPERHORSE union rags never ran better than 96? Why was it a 101? because the best horse that day was bodemeister....ran way too fast early, and tired....killed off other speed. and horses having trouble, going wide etc. it was hard to get to 101 beyer.......only bodemeister ran great....unreal performance.... why cant you people on here know what you are seeing? these recent crops have been weak...really weak....we are really due for a good crop next year......cant wait for preakness though....i have a horse.........

09 May 2012 5:45 PM

BTW........All of you that picked bodemeister....i feel for had way the best horse......and you have to listen to this bull......

09 May 2012 5:48 PM

People keep saying Churchill hasn't been kind to Mike Smith but I'm pretty sure Mike won the sprint and the classic there last year. Those would both be Breeder's Cup races by the way. Correct me if I'm wrong.

09 May 2012 5:50 PM

Geronimo, you are dead right about Hansen and his running style.  However, I do want to point out that Hansen was scheduled to work on the morning of the Derby but could not because they closed the track due to rain. Maybe if he could have gotten out there he would not have been so worked up and washed out in the post parade.  But either way it probably wasn't going to change the results of the race.  

09 May 2012 6:04 PM

Great news Draynay. Union Rags just crossed the finish line. Wednesday, 6:08pm. Not too good for a mortal lock, romp, huh? As for the next two races, i see you are already off to a weak start. Should Bode run in the Belmont and get away in 1;12 and change, he ROMPS. Pace.... One day you will learn it. As for me.... I boxed 5-11-12-19-20 & 6-11-12-19-20. I ended up on Liason, who ran a big one, but albeit a wide one. Maybe next year. Back into hibernation, only to hear your gibberish next season.

09 May 2012 6:13 PM
Carlos in Cali

LOL.I see the usual suspects putting their spin on a race when their horse gets trounced.UR is simply not as good as they think he is,plain and simple.

09 May 2012 6:41 PM
Carlos in Cali

The Rock,

Thoughts and prayers going your way.

Go Dodgers!

09 May 2012 6:46 PM

Perhaps Smith was just having a bad day.  He also lost on the Breeder's Cup Sprint winner.  

09 May 2012 6:49 PM

From watching these comments on Draynay these last few months, I find that I agree with him on the jockey. If Matz went back to Castellano, Rags would be in better position to win given Javier's aggressive riding. I am not in Draynay's corner on a lot he says but think he's got this one right. Castellano should be put up on Rags again, maybe it wouldn't work but Matz has nothing to lose by trying.  

09 May 2012 6:51 PM
Linda in Texas

The Rock - just had a little time to read all of the posts and want to send my greatest happiest strongest super charged positive energy and wishes your way hoping that you will whip your issue into the ground to never raise it's ugly presence in your life again.

The best advice i can offer is always stay positive. Never let a negative thought come into your mind. Negativity is Cancer's favorite playground.  

You will wire it and be the victor. Just stay the course sir and eat all natural foods, nothing highly refined, like sugar and eat more fish, less beef.

I am not a doc but my dad was and had cancer,so also my mother, my brother and my sister. All smokers and imbibers occasionally and barbeque eaters and all that equaled too many Chemicals, not good.

Jason if you would like to send this to The Rock and not post this here, please do. I have been there and done that. And it is the scariest thing i have ever gone thru. Ever. So The Rock hang in there we are all pulling for your quick recovery.


09 May 2012 7:24 PM
Mary Zinke

That one guy is kinda hard to take, but he's one of the characters. How was Bode the best? The best loose speed. Hansen's chances were shot before the race ever started,the way he was drenched, leaving Bode as the lone speed. Trinni, the sprinter, wasn't cheap enough rabbit speed to go in tandem with Bode. For the next leg, I'll consider the winner, IHA, and ones that ran well despite their trips, like my fav, CC, and WTDW, maybe Dullahan, then figure out which speed will last better in the Preakness, Hansen, if not a mess mentally and physically, or Bode.

09 May 2012 7:54 PM

It's too bad we seldom get to see one year's Derby winner meet a prior year's. Who thinks an uninjured Animal Kingdom would dominate a fresh and healthy I'll Have Another. I'm not sure we can say what would happen. I just say this because it is amusing to see someone compare race times from one year to another, and make statements of fact based on those observations. I think people who compare race times as the only measure of a year's crop of horses  should stick to quarter horse races, their observations have no validity in thorobred racing. If everything could ever be equal, such as weather, track condition, trips by the horses themselves, size of the field, how the horses have been brought up to the race, etc, then maybe it would be possible, but it is not possible, and the whole comparisons are absurd at best. The final time is what it is, the final time for that race, on that day, and nothing more. No one knows what a horse from another year would have done in that race because it is not possible to know, they can't time travel from one year to another, so I feel that yes the time of a race can indicate something about the quality of that horse, but to say that this whole crop of 3 year olds is mediocre compared to crops from other years has no basis whatsoever, and really why would anyone really care.

09 May 2012 8:30 PM
Betty S

Geronimo, appreciate your posts regarding Hansen.  I love this guy and whatever they need to do to restore his faith in himself, they need to do. It almost hurt to see him not being able to run in the derby.  I've seen some tight holds but this was too much.  He's a lovely boy and I hope he can return a winner soon.

09 May 2012 8:37 PM

A certain person on this blog points out that while California horses dominated the Derby, it doesn't really prove anything because it's only one race.

Then the same person goes on to criticize Caliofrnia horses of  other recent crops  because they fared so poorly in the Derby.  But wait, I thought the Derby was just one race?

This person downplays the performance of the Cali horses this year as just one race, but then slams Cali horses from past crops because of poor Derby performances.  So, the Derby is only inconsequential when Cali horses do well, but the Derby correctly speaks to the balance of talent when Cali horses do poorly?  Yep, that makes sense.

And by the way, one of those Cali horses that fared poorly in a recent Derby, Lookin at Lucky, was champion 3 year old just a mere two years ago.  Yes, a Cali horse was 3 year old CHAMPION 2 years ago!

For champion Lookin at Lucky and the Cali horses of 2010 it was all about their poor Derby results, but this year the Derby is just another race?  Classic.  What contradictory bs.  

09 May 2012 8:57 PM

I've watched the Derby replay and it seems to me no horse made up more ground in the last quarter mile than Union Rags.  But people are still saying things like he is "common" or a "pure sprinter".  While I agree that truly great horses find a way to win despite trouble, I think it would be a mistake to underestimate this horse next time out; though I hear it won't be the Preakness.

09 May 2012 9:07 PM
Rusty Weisner


You are a great commenter, and a useful complement to your great comments is that you are a winner.  

Keep it coming.  I love learning from people who know a lot more than me.

09 May 2012 9:13 PM
Rusty Weisner

Union Rags in Belmont.  I hope no one thinks that because he was closing ground on TCI, and made up ground in the stretch at the Derby, that he's going to do any better here.  This race is even better for Bodemeister.

09 May 2012 9:15 PM
Rusty Weisner


I agree:  there's way too much energy responding to idiotic provocations and taunts.


A propos idiotic provocations and taunts, why respond?  On a different track only three or four California horses would have been in the top seven, as opposed to five.  I mean, why respond?

09 May 2012 9:18 PM

Reading the expert analysis of the Kentucky Vet and Draynay is like slowing to see the wreckage of an auto accident as you pass by. I admit it, guilty as charged!

09 May 2012 9:25 PM

The Rock- hang in there and use all the positive energy pointed your way.  We are all in your corner.

09 May 2012 9:32 PM

Run159 and betty s,

Thanks, I agree. I did see where Hansen was scheduled to do something the AM of the Derby. I think by that time Maker knew he had to do something and it is a shame  things worked out that way...sometimes with these horses it is trial and error and Maker does seem like a good horseman. Dr. Hansen I am still warming up to but he seems to care for this horse a good deal.

It is hard watching a very nice horse wash out and struggle for his head. I predict Ramon may step back and re-assess his strategy and just swing for the fences.

BTW, Union Rags out of the Preakness and to the Belmont Stakes? Any thoughts anyone? Will there be a new rider, or is Julien okay for a race like the BS?

09 May 2012 10:18 PM


Yes, and Smith won with Giacomo. I guess to some (at DRF?) that may not count, but its still a Derby in my book as well.

He almost won the Preakness first time up on MTB as well. A little traffic but he came running late with Musket Man and Coa. Not sure what happened to the rest of that field. RA was the best that race, although she was fortunate Big Drama had the issues he did at the gate...he could have really pushed her much faster, longer. Especially if they had not removed the blinkers...

However, Smith's ride was a bit too much on Bode although I applaud the decision to go to the lead. I may not be 100 percent objective because if Bode holds on I am looking at the tri and super because I had every other of the top finishers up behind him on my wheel tickets.

That is why I was screaming to slow down at the 6f mark.

09 May 2012 10:25 PM

"If he would have gotten away with the first 6 furlongs in a more legitimate 1.10 and change no one would have caught him."

Lazmanick, please do not rub it in anymore...I almost had the tri AND super if he runs like that and holds on instead of leaving his race on the front end at the mile mark. We all know THAT is why Bode hit the wall and got rubber legged inside the final 1/8th. I would agree.

Perhaps he is best at 9f, but a more controlled pace and he wins IMO. That said, perhaps a super horse WOULD have won. I still like him running slower on the front end of the Belmont Stakes where Hansen will not be going...

IHA may be tough at Belmont, and now we know Union Rags will be there.

09 May 2012 10:39 PM

Mary Zinke,

Interesting thoughts on the Derby and Preakness...

09 May 2012 10:40 PM
El Kabong

The Rock,

We are all behind you. Positive energy check, good food check. I would only add that whatever makes you laugh, bring in a dump truck of it, and feed your funny bone. Laughter is good medicine. (Dray's back so read his posts over and over)

09 May 2012 11:13 PM

THANK YOU!! I couldn't believe such a modest Beyer, and then reading his blog post on trying to defend the numbers was just flat out pathetic. Saying that this group is WORSE than last year's??? Last year's was the weakest class in a while. I definitely detected some sour grapes on Beyer's part looming from the fact that his selection was run down. This is an immensely talented deep class.

Damn no comment from sylvester, I was really hoping to see what he thought about California horses taking 4 of the first 6 spots in the Derby. Couple other horses that impressed me besides the top 4 were the two right behind them, Creative Cause and Liaison. Cause is a very honest horse, tries his heart out every time and ran a respectable race again in the Derby, didn't hit the board, but was there. And Liaison I was proud of him for stepping it up a lot. A couple weeks ago people were saying there's no way he'll come close, and probably be far back, his 6th isn't bad considering his prior disastrous form at Santa Anita. Perhaps Baffert was right and he just plum did not fancy Santa Anita, which if the case doesn't help his BC chances. He's one of those horses I'm married to, I like him, he's a good looking horse, so I was glad to see some improvement from him. Ok now the winner, I'll Have Another ran a great race, he was one I had my eye one but just didn't bet, my grandfather did however. Had Bodemeister won, he'd would currently be labeled a freak, his effort was terrific, and he stands a big chance in the Preakness, should he run. Dullahan has great stamina, hopefully he stays sound, and eventually can pass on that stamina to his future foals. Went the Day Well is definitely one to watch, his run I thought was somewhat similar to Animal Kingdom's last year which speaks to how good this class is, he couldn't get it done. Great Derby, great group, looking forward to the next two legs.

09 May 2012 11:16 PM

Geronimo2123- IMO, it was a decision he had to make in a split second, and I really think he did not want to disrupt the horses flow.  Sometimes, you just don't want to do anything that might disrupt the horse when they are in a zone.  When it works, the jock is a genius. When it doesn't, the jock gets criticized.

09 May 2012 11:31 PM


I just read your earlier post and must say I am totally in your corner.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you for sure.

09 May 2012 11:31 PM

I,m going to take some of my winnings, and claim a horse....ive owned many in the past......i'm going to name my stable THE GLUE FACTORY.....i really want peoples it a good name? or is it offensive in some serious....

09 May 2012 11:41 PM

Reading Marz comment about U.R not being able to win the Triple Crown so why run him in the Preakness..

I ask, if U.R wins the Preakness and the Belmont doesn't it say something about his horse and a good chance of being champ 3 year old??

Don't like his attitude about it at all..

If you feel like your horse is the best run him!!

09 May 2012 11:45 PM

COME ON PEOPLE! Give DRAY a he lost a couple grand on that happens.....whats WORSE, he invested in 10,000 UNION RAGS BOBBLEHEADS!!!!!Hows he gonna get rid of those?

09 May 2012 11:54 PM

As difficult as it was to pick one winner in this 20 horse field, I settled on Gemologist because IMO he had the best running style to settle and move in the stretch.  I was wrong and am still waiting on some word from WinStar/Pletcher.  I can gaurantee that if WinStar has another contender in the future with Pletcher, that horse will be in Kentucky 2 weeks out and have a work over the track.


Union Rags: who was dead in the water a few jumps out of the gate.  That's exactly what I feared but got caught up in the hype.  Julien had no alternative than to tuck in, save ground and hope for the best which was not going to come.  Rags will be back and at a good price. A rider change would be for the best.  

Bodemeister:  My only concern was would he be able to repeat his Ark Derby and the answer was yes.  Mike had his instructions and Trinniberg did him no favors dogging him down the backside.  Smith and Baffert both know that this horse is going to run HIS race, not the jockey's race. Bode gave it his all and came up just short.  For those criticizing Mike for going to fast, if he had tried to give him a break on the backstretch, Trinniberg would have been right along side and Bode would have nothing of that. He had Trinniberg measured the whole way, on his terms.

Dullahan: Put him in near the end because all reports were he had maintained his edge and was training exceptional.  I also needed a closer and he was the best IMO, especially with the added furlong.

I'll Have Another:  Had him to win the SA Derby and he also was maintaining his edge as was evident from his gallops.  Only concern was the 19 hole, kept me from putting him on top. He had the perfect trip including taking his SA Derby rival Creative Cause way wide coming to the top of the stretch (with Dullahan following even wider).  Super Mario knew he still had a lot of horse and after riding out CC, angled I'll Have Another back in and set sail to catch Bode. IHA, in a relenting charge, ran down the classy pacesetter to win.  Congrats to team O'Neill.

As I posted before the race, had all five in a $1 ex box and 50 cent tri box which will pay for our trip to the Belmont Stakes.

Did not use:

Hansen: After his Blue Grass, did not feel he was a 10F horse. His headstrong, heated style was not conducive to this 20 horse field.  Some are saying they should have let him go.  There is NO Way Hansen was ever going to head Bodemeister(and Trinniberg), his jockey and trainer know that, they did their best.  He's not a 10F horse in that field with his temperment.

Creative Cause:  too much jicking around with blinkers on/off, changing training tactics and CC's antics in the morning.  He did run well, though after a very wide last half of the race.


Concern about Bodemeister and how much is in the tank.  He has had 5 races in 15.5 weeks and now only a two week break?  At some point he will regress.  With no Triple Crown on the line , Baffert will let the horse tell them.  

I'll Have Another, IMO has a lot left in the tank and, even if Bode goes, will be much closer, his more natural style. This guy, taken out of his normal running style in the Derby, was able to overcome it and score, granted with the perfect trip.  He is versatile, can adapt and, if the track is fast, has a big chance to win the Preakness.   Besides, we need a Triple Crown Winner.    

09 May 2012 11:57 PM

The Rock:

My prayers and thoughts are with you.  It may be overused at times but take things one day at a time. There are no gaurantees in this life but there is always hope.

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Peace!

10 May 2012 12:18 AM

The Rock,

Best of luck. You can do this. More positive thoughts sent your way.

10 May 2012 12:58 AM

I've just watched Union Rags' six races preceding the Derby, with three different riders, and he broke well and ran honestly in two of them, his maiden, where he made a move on the rail, and the Fountain of Youth where he had an outside post.

If they go to yet another rider, the colt's fourth rider, it will be that much longer before they send him to a horse shrink to work on his magnetic attraction to the outside rail and his refusal to run between horses.

So Leparoux was told him to hustle him out of the gate and didn't, is that the official story? Reminds me of an old joke about a jockey being berated for not following orders to go to the lead coming off the final bend. His reply, yours for free if you want it, Julien, was "What, and leave the horse?"

10 May 2012 4:04 AM
The Deacon

Why do all of you let Draynay get under your skin, ever stop and think that he does this by design.

It isn't his fault he can't walk and chew gum at the same time, it's a birth defect..........

10 May 2012 4:12 AM

The Rock : Be strong man, wishing you the best !

10 May 2012 7:33 AM
Union Buster

Good choice in not running "rags" in the Preakness, he's not good enough to contend. I hope they don't waste him in the Belmont, the Ohio or Iowa Derbies are a better fit. He might be able to contend at either of those.

10 May 2012 9:06 AM
Jason Shandler

Rock: Like everyone, I share in well wishes for you and hope for the very best for you in the future.

10 May 2012 9:45 AM


1973 Secretariat over Riva Ridge in the Marlboro Cup

1978 Seattle Slew over Affirmed in the Marlboro Cup (not just KD winner vs. KD winner but TRIPLE CROWN winner vs. TRIPLE CROWN WINNER)

Ah...the good old days.  When race horses actually raced against each other.

On to Pimlico!

10 May 2012 10:11 AM

Union Buster and others; Matz is passing on the Preakness for UR because he believes running back in 2 weeks, when there is no Triple Crown on the line, is not in the best interest of the horse.  I applaud that decision because a fresh UR is going to have a better chance in the Belmont if that indeed is his next start.  Anybody who leaves him off of their ticket in his next start does so at their own peril.  Saying that he is not good enough to compete with the best of his crop is foolish.

10 May 2012 10:18 AM

Rock best wishes stay strong..

10 May 2012 10:27 AM
Rusty Weisner

Matz:  "Why run him in the Preakness?"


"Baffert will let the horse tell him."

This is why Baffert is the best trainer for the Triple Crown series, even if he hasn't won it yet.  He has them ready and even if he loses the Derby he strikes while the iron is hot in the Preakness.  He didn't "have to" run Point Given or Lookin' at Lucky, for example.

Meanwhile, there was some question about how much time IHA needed between races.  I don't believe it.  Horses don't "bounce" out of the Derby.

10 May 2012 10:34 AM
steve from st louis

Rock: You're not named The Rock for nothing. Godspeed.

10 May 2012 10:54 AM

Geronimo, Oh I agree, at the half I thought Bodemeister was so done.  Who goes 45 in a half in the Derby?? It seemed suicidal but Baffert at least publicly thought the ride was fine and that the horse ran his race. I think Baffert was willing to let the chips fall where they may and let him run which is what happened.  And he almost stole the whole show.

I'm still concerned that he wasn't swallowed by the field.  I'm not sure what that says about the horses behind him.  Time will tell.

10 May 2012 10:56 AM

I like the Belmont for Union Rags. Alot of people think he won't get the distance but I think he has the bottom in him to do it.  He seems to like to run late.  However, horses don't typically come from the very back of the pack to win the Belmont so breaking alertly and getting good early position will still be crucial for him.  

10 May 2012 10:59 AM
Age of Reason

The Rock: Best wishes in your battle with cancer; I have no doubt you will soon overcome and emerge victorious. My grandmother recently ended her fourth bout over the last 20 years with lymphoma, and my heart feels for you. Forgive me for being so argumentative in rushing to rebut other's statements that I missed your post. Best wishes!

Now back to the arguing!(lol)...

Gun Bow: Brilliant rebuttal of more ignorance on the part of someone with the brass to call themselves by the name of a horse possessing far more class than they will ever have. Maybe I don't always agree with you (though I can't remember the last time I disagreed) but I have a great deal of respect for your opinions which are both logically sound and well thought out, as well as beautifully articulated. Sometimes after reading your posts I could kiss you but of course it wouldn't be appropriate, lol. I've never really taken a side in the East-vs-West coast debate (as a Tennessee native and lifelong resident, I frankly tend to despise both Kentucky and California on the college sporting and political/economic levels, respectively), but rather I think there's too much snark from both sides at times. If I may say so, however, I've noticed recently that many of the commenters on this blog with the most notorious East Coast bias are playing into the exact stereotype the West coast people have cast for them--snobby, arrogant, disparaging and mocking of horses other than their own (AfleetAlexForever are you listening?), holding on to their own establishment's horses with aadmirable but blind loyalty (Draynay are you listening?), etc. With the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita again this year but on dirt, expect the rhetoric to heat up again before too long. I'll actually be rooting for the East this year; maybe they can search around and come up with a filly or mare who can actually hit the board in the Classic! (Yep, I just stirred the pot--sorry, Jason!) All in fun, of course. :)

10 May 2012 11:09 AM

The Rock - be strong my friend.

KY VET - I'll just say that Ted from LA and Bob from Boston have some company in the "funniest blog post" category.  Union Rags bobbleheads, classic.

Folks, I wish the best for Union Rags but those of you on him for the Belmont will be greatly disappointed no matter what horses run.

10 May 2012 11:17 AM
steve from st louis

Off topic, 2,000 Guineas (Group 1)winner Camelot (Montjeu-Tarfah by Kingmambo) has a sick dosage profile of 6-1-17-8-0 (32) for an index of 0.94 and center of distribution of 0.16. The only DI and CD comparison that comes close is   from superhorse Frankel, whose numbers are 5-2-15-7-1 (30)for a dosage of 0.94 index and a CD of 0.10. The lower the better for the numbers which express the number of top-class ancestors a horse has. In Frankel's background, I've never seen a like dosage with representation in all five classes of chef de race backgrounds (Brilliant--Intermediate--Classic--Solid--Professional). By comparison, I'll Have Another has a terrific DI and CD of 2.11 and .50 respectively with a profile of 2-4-7-1-0 (14).

10 May 2012 11:22 AM
Rusty Weisner

The Rock:

I never liked hearing people tell cancer patients to "fight".  On a horse-racing blog I think it's probably better to wish you good luck.  Good luck, and good health!  Being around horses can't hurt.

10 May 2012 11:27 AM

To Rock

Of course my best, it puts into perspective those crying for a horse that breaks down how misguided some horse players taking this game so seriously in the scheme of things.

I am blessed to have healthy late in life 5 yr. old son. A workmate and good friend has the same who is being operated on as a write this. He was born with one eye defective and has previously had it removed after the first attempt failed to correct it. Now this morning he is in op in efforts to have his spine re-adjusted so he can walk normally--sometimes we just don't think how lucky we are to just be losing a bet. At five, and 3 operations in, it hardly seems fair nor do those like you with cancer ills. I love horse racing but there are far too many things more important.

My best to a speedy recovery

10 May 2012 12:18 PM

Geronimo 2123, interesting assessment of Hansen. Even the commentators didn't think he looked his best before the Derby. In his workouts, he runs with his head and body somewhat contorted to the side, very awkward. Something isn't right with him. Is he so difficult that they need to geld him? Would appreciate your thoughts on the matter. I really like Hansen and haven't given up the hope that he'll come back the champion he was last year. I tend to think a mile is a better distance for him, but if he has other issues they need to address, who knows? He's a nice horse, I hate to give up on him.

10 May 2012 12:36 PM
Fran Loszynski

To Afleet Alex Forever:

Didn't the last stride of I'll Have Another remind you of Afleet Alex's stride and kick in speed. Ah, sweet memories. I don't think there is going to be a Triple Crown Winner this year however I do like I'll Have Another he is spunky and wants to race. I'll still feel Hansen is going to overwhelmn us either in the Preakness or Belmont, just watch. and the reason we probably won't have a Triple Crown Winner is because next year Afleet Alex's kid whoever he or she is will win all three. Forget superstition saying this, Belief and Faith are in Afleet Alex fans' pockets. My picks for the Preakness: Hansen, Bodemeister, I'll Have Another in that order.  Good Luck everyone. Isn't horseracing grand!

10 May 2012 12:46 PM

steve fron st louis- we used to breed horses like that.  They still do over there.  They value stamina.

10 May 2012 1:25 PM
Paula Higgins

The Rock, I will keep you in my prayers for a speedy recovery. Hang in there.

El Kabong, thank you!

10 May 2012 3:35 PM
Mary Zinke

One yes vote for the name of your stable. I guess you like to tick people off, dude, but I like it because if you use it, it will make it easier for me to stalk you. LOL

10 May 2012 4:03 PM
steve from st louis

Footlick: You are 100% correct. Stamina means nothing in the United States. In 50 years, I predict we'll be breeding horses to go nothing more than a half-mile so that they can stay in training and turn a profit for their owners.

After doing some more research, I discovered Bold Ruler, Secretariat's sire, also had representation in every chef-de-race category, although the Wheatley Stable sire had a dosage tipped obviously toward speed. His numbers were 26-8-8-11-1(54), while his Triple Crown winning son had a DI of 3.0 and a CD of .90. Secretariat's profile also displayed his high cruising speed with his profile at 20-14-7-9-0 (50). His damsire, the chef-de-race Princequillo, was expressed at a remarkable 0-0-21-1-2 (24), with no representation in the speed wings, the  Brilliant or Intermediate groups. Matching Bold Ruler, with his extreme speed representation to the stamina-laden Princequillo mare, Somethingroyal, was indeed a match made in heaven.

10 May 2012 4:34 PM

This was my first derby since 1960, it was the biggest thrill i have ever had,wspent whole week and watched horses every morning, was stupid though, IHA looked awesome jogging and galloping as did UR, Dullahan, Creative Cause acted like a wild horse schooling in paddock, Hansen was a runaway galloping, Dale Romans outfit looked best of all, really on their game plans, Pletcher looked stressed and horses raced that way, Baffert was a pleasure to watch in paddock, schooling Bode he talked to every one, wish Matz would race UR in Preakness, horse certainly had excuse in derby. Came home with a lot of great memories, less money but that was no big deal. Derby is one thing everyone should do. Had a seat but for two days stayed right by paddock fence, so great to take everything in and be so close.

10 May 2012 4:52 PM


Maybe we should get Geronimo 2123's take on this...  I've seeen Hansen work that way as well, and I'm just wondering if they have that tight of a choke hold on him - that's what it reminds me of...

I just love that white horse and honestly think he could be something special, but I'm thinking Hansen just needs to be allowed to do what Hansen does best - run! in order for that to happen.  

Geronimo 2123, what do you think?  Any insight on this one?

10 May 2012 5:23 PM

It was a great derby and the best horse came on to win. I do wish draynah would stop giving us all his knowledge. He is wrong more than anyone that I know. It does give us horses to bet against so I shouldnt really be complaining. I was a Bode fan and did use UR in third with everyone in second. So I guess you can say that I used him too. The thing that makes me question UR is not the troubled beginning. A lot of horses had some trouble at the start. It is how a horse that went slow for a mile still went slow for the last 1/4th of a mile. You would of thought he could of went 24 to 24 and change after a slow mile.

Hansen is a bet against at anything over a mile and an eigth. Watch the Blue Grass and count how many times they hit him coming down the stretch. I think I counted 14, that tells me they tried to win that race and it wasnt just a workout. He is a wonderful free running horse and will have many more great races.

My Preakness picks are are Bode, Creative Cause and I'll have Another. I will use Liason as a long shot if he runs.

10 May 2012 7:31 PM

The Rock:

As with so many others, I wish you the best.  

10 May 2012 7:50 PM


Congaree is one of the most underrated horses of the last dozen years.

He won 5 grade 1 races, from 7 to 10 furlongs, from California to New York.  He also won the Wood when it was a grade 2, ran 3rd in the Derby and Preakness when he missed the runner-up spot in each by a nose, and consistently ran Beyers in the 112-120 range.  His run in the Derby was remarkable.  When he won the 2003 Hollywood Gold Cup he turned in some sensational internal fractions, with a mile in 1:34(or around there).

10 May 2012 7:54 PM

Age of Reason:

Thanks for the nice words.

Rusty Weisner:  

Why respond?  Well, I wanted to. Second, I tried not to make it an attack on the poster.  By saying an argument is bs is not saying the person that presented it is bs

10 May 2012 8:07 PM

I think the article written by Geronimo2123 tells quite a bit, everyone here thinks Bode will jog in this race, I think this will be quite a different race, for one thing I believe they will let Hansen do what he wants not what they want,let him run, second jockeys here will pay much more attention to IHA, they will plan to be a lot closer and if possible be right on him,Union Rags got smashed leaving gate because that is the one spot a jockey can get away with hitting another horse, and he was kayod by Dullahan. I can't believe Matz is not running him here, If you don't get on the dance floor you can't dance. Not like you can race in these triple crown races again.

10 May 2012 8:58 PM

The Rock

Get Well and stay strong man!!!!!

You know i think baffert should think about bode and compare him to congaree and think was it worth it to run him in the preakness after a tough derby? obv it wasn't for congaree. IMO  call me crazy but i think they should go for the Belmont. Yea he's speed but you know he's bred to go long and he'll have plenty of time to rest. And if anything try and work with the horse and try to get him to relax during that time.

10 May 2012 9:12 PM

steve from st louis- Camelot's win was bittersweet given the recent death of Montjeu.  You don't usually expect a Montjeu to win at 8 furlongs.  He should be massive as they stretch him out.  I'm interested in seeing if there might be any interest from US breeders in Deep Impact, given his Sunday Silence blood.  He has representation in all 5 classifications also.  He has Lyphard on the bottom.  Would be a nice injection of stamina into the US gene pool.

10 May 2012 11:52 PM

this is the most confident i have ever been about a derby race...and i was still wrong. had bodemeister over 4 5 8 went the dau well-gemologist...i had the same feeling about IHA...quick comeback and the perfect trip in the SAderby that only led to a victory by a head. going into the stretch i was just counting on my other horses to do well and one of them get second.

11 May 2012 12:34 AM

"In his workouts, he runs with his head and body somewhat contorted to the side, very awkward. Something isn't right with him. Is he so difficult that they need to geld him? Would appreciate your thoughts on the matter."

For starters, take the rating hold off of the horse. When they did this as a 2 year old at TP along the backstretch his head straightened dramatically. He is an intelligent sort and likes to cock his head during works to check things out around him. They do not work him in a hood, usually.

Some horses you can not rate. Many here think it was a great move not to interrupt Bode's "flow" by rating hin or slowing him down on the lead. The same applies to Hansen who seems as much (if not more) of a free runner as Bode.

Its time to do what is right for the horse. Let him run. Gallant in a frontrunning defeat beats a whimper after the rating.

"He (Hansen) was never going to get a head in front of Bode or Trinni (trackjack)"

trackjack, you have know idea whether what you say is true or not. None of us do. He has had a rating hold on him every race. What you say above is sheer conjecture and surmise.

His pace figures said otherwise, however,before that race. Maker and Ramon are simply following the cooke cutter way to try and stretch a horse out. It is painful to watch with Hansen. Regardless, what does that have to do with letting the horse run? Give him his head, if he cannot get a head in front looks like he will be rating on his own, doesn't it?

Just let the horse run. You have zero shot to win tracking Bode. Period. It is your contention that Hansen should rate BEHIND Bode? Why, his late pace figures are weaker and his early pace figure are stronger going into the Derby...that makes ZERO sense, IMO.

Hansen was not rating off of Bode in the Gotham and never would have "caught" him there, either. For Hansen to beat Bode at any distance he has to try and pressure him up front or beat him to the lead. IMO.

11 May 2012 5:01 AM

The Rock,

My mother is dealing with cancer now...she is older so they elected to do surgery (lung cancer). She seems to have come out of it okay.

Stay positive and I wish you the very best in your battle. You have many supporters here!

11 May 2012 5:02 AM

"Hansen is a bet against at anything over a mile and an eigth. Watch the Blue Grass and count how many times they hit him coming down the stretch. I think I counted 14, that tells me they tried to win that race and it wasnt just a workout. He is a wonderful free running horse and will have many more great races."


No horse has ever wired the BGS on poly, Hansen is the closest. It is a tiring poly track, so if they were trying to wire and win on that track it was a huge strategic error. That is not Maker's doing, however. Dr. Hansen "had" to see his horse run at Keeneland.

If they were just using the BGS as a conditioner, I "get" it.

Rating off of a machine like frontrunner with more stamina bred in him in the Derby, before that trying to wire the BGS field (never been done). What is next for Hansen? Climbing Mt. Everest? C'mon, give the horse his head and let him run free and stop screwing with his head, connections...

11 May 2012 5:07 AM


It should be interesting, I agree.

I do not even believe rating Hansen off of Bodemeister should be an option anymore than rating Relaunch off of The Bid was ever an option. If you have speed, you use your best asset and make them run you down. It may not work, but at least you are taking to race to the horse he has the stronger late kick (to this point).

And, if Bode is a need the lead type, pressuring him up front is the only way he is coming back at Pimlico unless he bounces. And that wait and see if he bounces or comes back routine is insane...imo.


I agree...Congaree was a racehorse. And a very underrated one at that.

11 May 2012 5:17 AM
Rusty Weisner


I hope Baffert feels he can run him in both.  I think if he runs him in the Preakness he will also run him in the Belmont (like he did Point Given that same year), which would be nice, because everyone will say, oh, if Dullahan and Union Rags only had a little more ground...

Along the same lines, I'm picking against WthDW for any chance to win.  He might have had a difficult trip, but he also had advantages in that race that he won't have at the Preakness:  a too-hot pace, the longer distance, and the longer stretch.  He might catch Bodemeister if that one tires and yields to IHA, or pass I'll Have Another if Bodemeister bests him and holds on in the stretch, but he's not going to beat both of those two, even though, like the obvious point of comparison, Animal Kingdom, he'll fly at the end.  If I were betting the exacta, which I don't tend to do, I would pick against one of the top two (in my case, I'll probably pick against IHA if Bodemeister runs). Liaison might be a decent bet.  He was one of the only horses with a "forward position" to come close to hitting the board.  Then again, those are the obvious picks underneath.

11 May 2012 7:43 AM
Rusty Weisner

I think WthDW is good as or better than Animal Kingdom.  I don't think AK would have won on this year's track (Nehro would have).  And he faced weaker competition, too.

11 May 2012 8:21 AM

Rock, nothing but positive thoughts for you dude.

11 May 2012 9:09 AM
Rusty Weisner


Not crazy at all.  The Belmont distance will just magnify the superiority of a horse like Bodemeister, who is not pedigree-challenged, over one like UR, and, I'd bet, even Dullahan (inferior on dirt, at least).  I would look forward to that.  I like him in the Preakness, but I would look forward even more to his odds and chances in the Belmont.  

11 May 2012 9:31 AM
Rusty Weisner


It looks like UR can't dance.

I agree about Hansen.  He worries me most as far as Bodemeister's chances go.  I think he would set it up better for IHA and even have a chance himself of winning.  He's not The Lumber Guy, who Bodemeister and IHA can just sit off comfortably till the turn.  But I don't think they've said he'll run yet, and they may not after his last two closely spaced efforts.

11 May 2012 9:35 AM

Wow, no Dullahan in the Preakness.  Now, in my opinion, there are only three horses with a realistic shot to win, IHA, Bode, and WTDW.

11 May 2012 9:37 AM

Am I the only one who was appalled by what took place at Churcghill Downs last Saturday in what will come to be remembered as the Kentucky Derby?  When you assemble such horses as Union Rags, Bodemeister, Hansen, Take Charge Indy, Went The Day Well and Gemologist in one race, your heart quickens, because you anticipate a really great race.  What we witnessed, instead, was the worse recorded traffic jam in the history of the city of Louisville.  I found it nothing short of disguesting.

Have the organizers of the this race never entered a barn, never stood in the presence of a three year old colt, in racing condition, with fire in his eye?  What could possibly, then, be the reason for running twenty such animals in the same race, at the same time?  Other then the issue of safety, comes the question, why offer a horse a race if you can't offer him a track to run on, or the opportunity to do what he is bred to do?

In 1973, Secretariat overcame twelve opponents in the Kentucky Derby, five contested the Preakness and five entered the Belmont Stakes,  In 1977, Seattle Slew battled a large field of fourteen in the Derby, eight in the Preakness and seven in the Belmont.  Affirmed, our last Triple Crown winner, in 1978, engaged ten other horses in the Derby, six in the Preakness and four in the Belmont.  The immortal Citation, in 1948, bested a field of six in the Kentucky Derby.  We haven't had a Triple Crown winner in past thirty-three yeats, not because these athletes are poorly bred or less well-conditioned but because we, as the keeper of the gate, are stifling them.

I suppose that it was inevitable that these three classic horseraces should go the route of the NBA, the NFL and the MLB in that the more players, the more games the greater the profit line.  That is, after all, what sport is all about.

I find it truly sad.

11 May 2012 12:16 PM

Leparoux's ride in the Derby or Smith's on Zenyatta in last year's BCC? Hard to choose which was the poorer. Yes, Rags is a little big and awkward, so he finds trouble; that's why he needs a rider with the stones to keep him out of it.

11 May 2012 12:39 PM


Not that should be viewed as Nostradamus or genius but a few posts said the following:

A) I mentioned that when posting my correct Tri for the Derby on the morning of the track was playing super quick

B) Not to worry about I’ll Have Another would be fine on Derby day when he was on the Vet’s list although I was told I was wrong by a blogger

C) I though Hanson would rate but wouldn’t make the him the winner or a serious contender

D) Union Rags was no Barbaro

E) Alpha was basically a non-contender for the Derby

Here is the thing—I would wait, as advised before the Derby until the Preakness field is set---track condition known.  Those should note I’ll Have Another did poorly on an off track, his only bad race.

First thoughts about the Preakness

Those in the Hanson camp –very good 2 yr. Breeders Crown Champ winner of his division—no one can take that away from him—Maybe he would have won the Wood had he gone that way but he went in the Bluegrass. Note Gemologist did not show up in the Derby. So that may have been the way to go but at the same time can’t knock an owner that wants to run in his home state in front of friends and family.

I don’t see Union Rags making up the difference in the Preakness---ALTHOUGH a very nice horse and is possibly going to run much better but will it won’t put him over the top in my humble opinion—even though I note especially since I see him fitter now—I also posted I wish he had one more race before the Derby and might be a “short horse” as an easy no count victory and a merry go round race is which he was boxed did little for his fitness. Great trainer, and I am not the one to challenge his skill but from a bettor's view the Derby is a bumper car race and you have to be at your best and totally fit as well as lucky. Unlucky or not he wasn’t that close in the Derby. Better race coming if he runs. Enough??????

I like the 1st, 2nd, and 4th place horses in the Derby as the most likely contenders at Pimlico at first glance although since I play the track regularly I have seen great difference in the track from day to day---One day speed can battle three across the whole race and somehow run 1-2-3, the next day a loose on the lead horse can come back to the field----Very important to watch how the track is playing before picking/betting. An obvious thought many forget in their rush to be brilliant before everyone else.

Also although Ancient History those with great memories will note I selected Shackleford last year in this race, but I certainly didn’t have Animal Kingdom picked in the Derby or the Belmont winner. For what it is worth I also did not have Super Saver or Mine That Bird. I am wrong far more than I am right, the nice thing if you really gamble and not just post, you don’t have to be to show a profit.  Take note some!

Finally and I must put this in again Dwayne ---Optimizer---really????? I would fear a Jamie Ness recent claim more. Think W. Virginia or Indiana, although I do not think MV will win the Peter Pan, but he is in the right spot. Kudos to those that are realistic and run horses where they belong rather than get undeserved press.

11 May 2012 12:48 PM

I've decided to let the horses do the talking.

11 May 2012 1:03 PM

The Rock, I read but rarely comment, however I want to join in and wish you a speedy recovery and the best in your treatment. Most of us here will be here for you to commiserate, console and encourage.

As for about 90% of these posts, what a load of waffles.

One person commenting about who should or shouldn't run and then telling people how expensive this business is?  I think it was bohemianstable or something close to that.  One horse you questioned? His owner is a billionaire and has no concerns about the funds involved. He's trying to build a breeding business up for the long term and is trying to put the spotlight on one of his excellent studs. The colt in question is physically fit, has talent and as someone said they only get one chance at the TC races before they find their niche in the sport, whether that's on grass or shorter distances, allowances, G2/3 or whatever.

As long as they have no fitness issues or physical ailments and they have shown promise, can make it into the race then it shouldn't be an issue. If a person doesn't like them as a betting interest don't bet them. Some of the horses certain people are questioning performed better than the ones they were hyping going into the race.

As for the Preakness I think this race would have been the race for Hansen, not so sure now after his semi-meltdown in the sweltering humidity at Churchill Downs Saturday.  I think Bode will like this distance as well.  I feel it's probably a good idea that Dullahan isn't going, I believe he will like a longer distance like the Belmont.

In closing I'm extremely happy to see that the great majority of you are just as lousy at handicapping as I am.

Most breeders, trainers and owners are terrible handicappers.  Strange that we can pick out nice horses for our barns, one of the great mysteries.

11 May 2012 1:22 PM

MZ You forgot to mention that Seattle Slew faced off again with Affirmed in the Jockey Gold Cup which was 1 1/2 miles back then. Alydar was scratched.  

Affirmed's saddle slipped and Seattle Slew ran off in 45 2/5th which left Whittingham and Shoemaker aboard Excellor to pick up the pieces!

Union Rags in the Belmont=first toss.  I thought long ago that Bodemeister would be my Belmont pick based on breeding.  Not sure now.  If they can contol him pace in the Belmont typcially does well.  

Pretty gutsy move by team I'll Have Another to not work before the Preakness.  I seem to recall most of his work was done in California before he hit Churchill.

That horse was one big mystery for handicappers.  No longer...

He may win right back.  What was the Derby, his 3 start of the year?  

11 May 2012 2:01 PM

"Note Gemologist did not show up in the Derby. So that may have been the way to go but at the same time can’t knock an owner that wants to run in his home state in front of friends and family."

Then this contradiction:

"Finally and I must put this in again Dwayne ---Optimizer---really????? I would fear a Jamie Ness recent claim more. Think W. Virginia or Indiana, although I do not think MV will win the Peter Pan, but he is in the right spot. Kudos to those that are realistic and run horses where they belong rather than get undeserved press.

bohemiastable 11 May 2012 12:48 PM"

Sounds more like a personal opinion with no real basis, just a personal bias when there's no personal knowledge or reason for a bias involved.

A word of advice, don't try to analyze motives which you have no idea on. Just stick to the handicapping angle, if you really did have the winner etc as your picks then good for you.

By the way it's HANSEN and it's D. WAYNE or Wayne to those of us who actually know him.

As for the Derby being a traffic jam and congested, this actually was better than it has been for years.  The first turn wasn't bumper cars or roller derby but a lot of horses did get stopped at various points.  From observation and just my take on it, it seemed that Julien tried to hustle UR and the horse caused most of his own issues away from the gate. He just didn't have the jets that a few others had so as someone said you can't get something that isn't there.  Michael showed a side that wasn't real flattering, but the pressure without the big client and the expensive buyback may be getting to him.  Not sure, but he didn't come across as his usual self from the past.

I agree with someone who said maybe the horse peaked at 2?  IDK.

11 May 2012 2:50 PM

Richard Gross.  We don't see many rides like Shoemaker gave Ferdinand from the one hole.  He broke bad, got the typical one hole "pinch" and then wound up dead last going into the first turn.  

11 May 2012 2:54 PM

Best of luck to you Rock !  I went through Chemo twice last year and took 70 stitches to the face and I am still absolutely beautiful.  You're at least half as wonderful as I am and believe me that is enough to beat strong !

11 May 2012 3:26 PM

Gemoligist hurt..

Really don't know what to believe from Pletcher anymore,BCLC proved that..


11 May 2012 4:21 PM

Money available aside, as a minor owner of racehorses and not a millionaire, I actually like them.

I am not a PETA member but ----horses actually do have, for the lack of a better word feelings or ego if you'd like.---- Getting beat up when you are trying your best does not help a horse. A long time saying in the game "only horses that try get hurt not those who don't". Why destroy a horse’s confidence and risk injury? I practiced what I preached when racing my own in my small scale. If a horse I owned couldn't win at $10K I raced them for 5K. I could have raced them in $50K or allowance or even stakes--but why? What would I have proved? I could or can?

Even if they are in front by ten the whole race they still get a bath after the race--great logic to use for running them over their head.

I would love owning a horse like Optimizer, and barring incident and a little luck he would hopefully have $500K on his card at the end of his 3yr. old season running in big pot races available to them at that age. (Would you rather breed to a horse that is 9 for 25 and $700K or or non winner of 3 that has $200K looking from the outside) I certainly would not challenge Mr. Lukas's talent or history as a trainer---but the ones that ran well in major Triple Crown races for him had a good reason to be in the field. Maybe it is the owner as you state--I don't claim to know--then I question them and their logic. Have you or anyone bred to a really nice colt Dublin---Oh, did he ever win a race AFTER the KY or Preakness---and he was a really nice colt. I could even make a case for the Derby and Preakness -Didn't think he'd win but it was possible-but where did he go?--is he breeding?

All those screaming about bad rides on here--what if the dead wood wasn't in the way? Does anyone besides me be thrilled to watch a 10 horse Derby or Preakness of well-matched contenders rather than the max allowed in a clean race? Maiden in the Oaks---great. Somebody got press horse got dirty and tired.

The Jamie Ness (and he is at Pimlico with a stable) comment is only a general thought of some trainers who seem to improve every horse they claim and how bad they go after they go to someone else no matter how long in the business and their track record of success. I'm old school I don't believe in 1000 starts and hitting at 30%---but that's different topic that doesn't belong here in this talk but I just had on my mind so threw it in. It is like commenting on different religions----until proven different; all may be right and legit.

Everyone, including you has a right to their opinions. I stated mine and I agree to disagree with yours as you did mine.

11 May 2012 5:14 PM

How about the guy from NY who won the $100,000 contest and bet something crazy?

Breeder's Cup "Pre-Sale" tickets go on sale Monday 5/14.  I think "Pre-Sale" means anyone who has ever attended before!  

11 May 2012 5:28 PM

Melanie and other Hansen fans, good news! I underestimated the good doctor Hansen, his "derby fever" has broke and reality has set in. He realizes that Hansen has distance limitations. I think there is still hope. Once they find the colt's comfort zone and don't allow him to lose heart, he should be in the winner's circle before you know it. He is sound of mind and body after the Derby. That alone, is a big plus. Keep him happy and healthy doc, he's not through yet. Guess this means I can rest assured the pretty pony won't be in the Belmont? Oh, thank you!

11 May 2012 5:49 PM
Ms Easy Goer

I adore Mike Smith and I mostly think he can do no wrong. Bode was pushed all the way by Trinniberg- a horse who IMO had no business being in the Derby. He was a speed ball who has never gone more than 7 furlongs and once he hit his distance wall, he backed up like dead weight. Why would Smith strangle a horse who WANTS to be out there running and that BOTH the trainer and jockey agreed he should? Bode needs a little more bottom but is almost at where his stamina should be. Ever look at his pedigree? Purple top and bottom. What a well bred animal.

Go Mike Smith and whoever you ride!

11 May 2012 8:17 PM
Ms Easy Goer

Hansen needs to back up to distances like Shackleford has. I like Shak a lot and glad he is off the "route" trail. Hansen may do better with a distance like the Preakness but never the Belmont. He is not an Easy Goer! LOL

I do like Hansen but his owner is just too freaky for me.

11 May 2012 8:20 PM

G1 winner Dublin was purchased by Spendthrift and B. Wayne Hughes is standing him in NY for the 2012 breeding season, part of that trend or attempt to bolster that market. He is well bred and a gorgeous specimen. He was injured.

Homebred Optimizer's breeder and owner Brad Kelley is the money-man behind newly purchased Calumet which everyone hopes is brought back to it's former glory.  He also owns Hurricane Hall and Bluegrass Hall.  The sire I'm talking about is English Channel who is owned by Brad. He is getting into both the breeding and racing market in a big way.

The horse performed well in the Rebel and then threw in a couple of clunkers. Sort of like UR, but was making a move after being stopped. He wasn't distanced or embarrassed in the Derby.  Him winning a prestigious race is more to show the versatility of the sire, who is already proven in some areas, that's why the attempt is being made, plus he's a talented if headscratching colt.

It's much like the people who dismissed Mine That Bird, now on the Dullahan bandwagon.  Their mama is doing pretty well for herself.

Just remember these are the big boys with the big money.  Yes it's a business but they take excellent care of the horses.

What I stated about the Preakness, Hansen, UR, Julien was opinion.

Your attempt to discredit someone for running a horse the same way Pletcher ran Gemologist, who despite being undefeated wasn't suited for this race imo, ahem bruised foot or not, is just opinion. My comment regarding Optimizer is not.

I don't agree with bashing horses. However, if you want to pick on someone look at the connections of Trinniberg, DLL (what an embarrassment to a great trainer) or the much hyped Sabercat or Alpha, can't believe that guy bet 100g on him.

Next rumor that will be floating around is Doug did something with IHA. Chocolate, strawberry or vanilla? LOL

11 May 2012 8:43 PM
Pedigree Ann

Those of you who look at post position stats, remember this for next year ...,

Up until some time in the 1930s, all races used walk-up starts, so 'saddlecloth number' had nothing to do with 'post position.' The horses circled around at a walk until the starter had them brought up to the tape, rarely in any numerical order, then the tape sprang up and off they went.

So if a horse in the 1904 race had a #1 on its saddlecloth, it doesn't mean it necessarily started from the rail.

11 May 2012 8:51 PM

ksweatman9, I think the distance of the Preakness might suit him.

Dr Hansen said he looks good but Mike is somewhat tightlipped, not unusual for him though.  

I agree that the Belmont would have been a big mistake for him, would have hated to see him in there. Not sure about it being Bode's ideal distance but Dullahan surely seems like he would get the distance. After that there were a few making moves, after somewhat tough trips.

11 May 2012 8:56 PM
Paula Higgins

Kat/HrseLvr, I totally agree with you. There were way too many horses in the Derby. I think that is one reason we haven't had a Triple Crown winner in a while. The best horse can easily lose due to having a bad trip/ getting caught in traffic etc. I also think that the fact that they breed for speed and not so much for stamina, is the other reason. They need to trim the Derby field down. Too much luck required to win the Derby these days. The fact that a horse like Trinniberg, who hadn't run at that distance, was in there was ridiculous. Feel bad about Gemologist. I agree with Michael Matz about not racing UR in the Preakness.

11 May 2012 11:31 PM

I had a feeling that something wasn't right with Gemologist.  A good horse like him and he never ran a lick.  Something had to be up.

It's time to put Hansen on turf and concentrate on the BC Turf Mile.  He can get there by pointing to the Woodbine Mile, two million dollar plus races and a chance to carry on Lure's legacy.

11 May 2012 11:40 PM
El Kabong

Pedigree Ann,

Your understanding of the history of this sport never ceases to amaze me. I really enjoy your input. Thanks. Stats can be bent like light to shine on what ever the holder of the mirror wants to expose. A magicians act, and I have never, even as a boy, appreciated "magic." Not that there's anything wrong with magic.

12 May 2012 12:17 AM

"if" "would have" " should have"- my god, you sound like an amateur bettor instead of a "professional" journalist

12 May 2012 1:15 AM


My complete sentence was; "There was NO Way Hansen was ever going to head Bodemeister(and Trinniberg), his jockey and trainer knew that, they did their best."  Taken in full context, my point was they were never going to even try it.  That was their plan.

Mike Maker was quoted in two articles how he intended to run Hansen.

from notes 5/3: "I think Trinniberg, probably coming off those sprint races, has to be the speed of the speed...Stranger things have happened but we won't handcuff Ramon and whatever happens when they leave the gate we'll leave it up to Ramon."

from Barn notes 5/3: "I would say on paper that Trinniberg and Bodemeister will be sitting there and hopefully we can sit behind them."  

In another article, Mike Maker suggested that Bodemesiter and Trinniberg would go out and run a 44/change and that Hansen would be 10 lengths off and pick up the pieces.  He then said the alarm went off.(Dreaming?)  

It was clear what his intentions were.  He was not going to put his horse in a suicidal speed dual with those two.  Hansen had rated in the past(Gotham) and considering his competition, Maker decided that was his best chance.

It is not and was not my contention that I know what is the best way to race Hansen and I did not offer an opinion.  The trainer gets paid to do that.  I try to assess what the trainer and jockey may do to help me handicap the race.

You may be right, maybe that's exactly what they need to do is let him go and let the chips fall where they may.  I do agree with you that Hansen is not going to beat Bodemeister by rating off him.

IMO it all depends on which Hansen shows up; the calm and relaxed Hansen of the Gotham or the hot and heady Hansen of the Derby.  And now, as others have posted, even the owner has realized that the Preakness and even 9F may not be his best.

I appreciate your insight and knowledge on this blog.  


WinStar Farm and Elliot Walden also released their own statement regarding the diagnosis of the bruise and a tentative timetable for Gemologist's return.  I lost WP money on Gemologist, but feel a little better now that he may not have been at his best.  Hope he heals well.      

12 May 2012 1:28 AM


I respect your opinion, and your reasons may well be true. Doesn't make them right. Long and short he was run and probably will again in MD.. MV/Jones took the high road, which he now runs in a race where he will be favored even if I don't think he will Saturday. That would be my move if in position. My opinion, I don't say I'm always right.

Notes about MTB who honestly I couldn't see winning the Derby--he was 2yr old champion in Canada not a small title as he won a number of races against the best in that country he was not in against Canadian Breds in restricted races as he was not eligible. That Derby was not nearly as tough as this year and in his last race before the Derby in weak field or not---- at the 1/4 pole of a big pot race he was in a position to win and he ran well.

In the Ark Derby the winner won off by himself and the race was not in doubt--OPT was not close to being 8th-- he was 9th 22 lengths or more behind and beat 2 40-1 shots ever involved or close. The 2 he beat were closer at most points than him in the race. He got in due to scratches to the Derby. I can even live with him running in the Derby because it is the Derby but why go back into the Preakness? Start again in his conditions, let him win then try when confident.

Trinniberg I agree I as mentioned thought he was the most improved 3yr in the country on a post----but I thought it was the wrong thing to do since he never ran a 2 turn race--but he was coming off 2 easy wins in stakes--big difference. Still hated the move and he won't come back in the Preakness. He is re-grouping. DLL obviously doesn't like real dirt, 2 tries, and two really bad races. Side bet-- he shows 5 times the earnings his card or more at the end of the year than Opt. and wins more races. Remember I am taking a horse that was outdistanced. That should be an easy bet for you to win, I'm a sucker.

Hope Dublin does well, but I don't think running in the Triple Crown lengthened his career or drew attention to his talent AND as you mentioned ---he got hurt. I don't think that helped your argument.

I'm all for a 12 horse limit and a truer run Derby. Shoot me.

As to Mr. O' Neal comment--horses claimed from him are not automatic throw outs. Maybe not a great betting angle, but if they look like they can win they usually run well even on the trainer change. Hardly as dramatic as claiming off some people in the game where they go first to 12th. He's not an angel, but not blatant. Note from someone who has actually seen a horse shaked  and then run (not mine)---yes it works and certainly not in all horses as some not all improve even hard trying good horses, but a slow horse shaked is still a slow horse. It's not a miracle producer FYI. There are more things around and unfortunately always will be, that work and will not be caught. Most trainers are not that bright at inventing drugs if still dishonest enough to take an edge--not a move to be admired BUT--blame the chemists and vets first, the true villains. In horse racing the dealers get off. What is worse? A crack dealer and/or producer the one who uses.

Too much

Good Luck to you and all.

12 May 2012 2:07 AM
Matthew W

El Kabong Thank you, I did hit The Derby! I saw The Oaks line up, and noticed how the big three were in the 1,2,4 posts, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a bite outta the all-burger, in the Oaks/Derby Double---that was some juicy burger---over $700---I had it more than a couple of times, if he wins The Preakness---and that's a big if--he'll win The Triple Crown--big!

12 May 2012 2:54 AM

I knew something went wrong.  I'm just glad to hear (or read) that Gemologist is progressing along.  I hope we get to see him run again this year.    I don't feel so bad losing money on him now.  There was no way he would run like that after his performance in the Wood.  I still wish TP had moved him to CD at least a week or two before the race.

12 May 2012 3:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

El Kabong,

As my graduate degree was in mathematical statistics (theory tied to data), I am well aware of how statistics are misused. Unstated assumptions, non-normal populations, incomplete data, confounding factors ignored, leading questions..., there are so many ways that even simple studies can be distorted. Many medical studies are so poorly designed that I take them all with a pinch of salt.

Then there are the people who know the result they want and try to badger you into saying the study agrees with them, even if the error bars are so big they take in nearly the entire range of the data. G-r-r-r.

12 May 2012 9:35 AM
Smoking Baby

 bohemiastable.  I like the way you think.  There's a ton of money to be made if you will just run some of these nice colts where they belong.  If you've got a moment check out the campaign they mapped out in the early 90's for the three year old Olympio.  It's an inspiration.  After that year was over I'm betting he banks almost as much money as Strike The Gold, Best Pal, Hansel or Mane Minister (just talking about the one year).  More folks need to take advantage and run these colts where they can be successful.  

12 May 2012 11:24 AM
Smoking Baby

 Draynay.  Am I tripping or did I catch something somewhere that said you help homeless dogs?  I can't seem to find the post I'm looking for so if I'm imagining things I'll be embarrassed.  If that is something you do all I can say is WAY cool bro.

12 May 2012 11:28 AM

Smoking Baby I am the biggest schnauzer lover you will ever know.  I donate to and help out the local dog shelter and have for years.  Wow.  Did you see Black Caviar ?  21 wins in a row !  Who thought we would ever see a mare win 21 ?  Nothing like her...

12 May 2012 12:27 PM

"IMO it all depends on which Hansen shows up; the calm and relaxed Hansen of the Gotham or the hot and heady Hansen of the Derby.  And now, as others have posted, even the owner has realized that the Preakness and even 9F may not be his best."

trackjack, I agree. I think 8-9f is Hansen's sweet spot. He has never really sprinted so who knows about 6f or whatever? However, until you let the horse have his head and run you do not know how far he can go. If you rate a horse that really is on the muscle and wants to run 9 times out of 10 you choke the race out of the horse.

Just because someone is paid to do something does not mean they are doing it well or beyond criticism. I hope they leave the next race up to Hansen, wherever he runs. In other words, the jockey and trainer need to just let the horse run. If he backs up point him to a nice low level stakes race at 1 mile and then point to the big late summer races at 9f and under. But he is absolutely wasting everyone's time with this rating nonsense at 2 turns unless the horse is rating behind cheap speed that is ultimately coming back...(and even then, like you said, it depends on what Hansen shows up).

If he ever wants to win a classic, he is going to have to go up against Bode and get the jump. Just my opinion. I think Maker is a good trainer but has been too conservative with Hansen since the BGS. The horse's biggest weapons are his speed and his heart. Why choke it out of him?

Can someone please explain to me what would get into a trainer or a jockey to think their horse can win doing something he has never done before(rating in a distant 3rd and running down a horse BRED to go longer)in a grade 1 classic race going longer than he has ever gone before given the speed and willingness to run early Hansen has displayed? It makes no sense from a logic standpoint, and it appears while most of us were cringing and saying Hansen had no shot along the second turn Ramon and Maker thought he had a beautiful position (as if he were Barbaro and not Hansen).

12 May 2012 12:45 PM


Maybe we should get Geronimo 2123's take on this...  I've seeen Hansen work that way as well, and I'm just wondering if they have that tight of a choke hold on him - that's what it reminds me of...

I just love that white horse and honestly think he could be something special, but I'm thinking Hansen just needs to be allowed to do what Hansen does best - run! in order for that to happen.  

Geronimo 2123, what do you think?  Any insight on this one?"

I know some disagree, but with some horses you just have to let them run. And you certainly do not GELD a horse because he does not want to rate (there are many other behavior issues that need to go into such a decision). Hansen is merely aggressive.

Hansen is who he is...IMO. Sometimes you have to play to your biggest asset instead of playing it down and being overcautious. Hansen may well be best at 1 mile, but they are going to have these choke hold issues at 1 mile and a faster pace at that distance to deal with as well...

12 May 2012 12:59 PM

Melanie, to paraphrase Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas: "I saw Seattle Slew run. I watched all of his races, three of them live. I know Seattle Slew. Hansen, you are no Seattle Slew."

Steve from St Louis, there was only 1 Seattle Slew. Her point was he likes to run and resents being rated like Slew. Now, Hansen is the 2 year old champion and won the BC juvenile wire to wire. What is wrong with treating him like a champion instead of racing not to lose?

One thing I have noticed being around this business for decades is that trainers tend to be followers (of trends) and tend to complicate that which does not need to be complicated.

It is what it is. Baffert is an exception to that rule and that is one of the reasons Bob is where he is...

12 May 2012 1:04 PM

"Hansen needs to back up to distances like Shackleford has. I like Shak a lot and glad he is off the "route" trail. Hansen may do better with a distance like the Preakness but never the Belmont. He is not an Easy Goer! LOL

I do like Hansen but his owner is just too freaky for me."

Ms Easy Goer, I agree Hansen has no place in the Belmont Stakes, although Bode could do well there if they can settle him a bit on the lead...

As for Shack, I love that horse. However, in the last year Shack has won two races--and one was the Preakness Stakes at 9.5 furlongs. He just won his first mile or under race in the past year (7f)! He actually has run better at 9 and 9.5 furlongs believe it or not.

12 May 2012 1:14 PM

bohemiastable : Need a favor, when you're posting, do you mind finishing one thought and then going on to another.  I think that's what's happening when you're posting these long comments.  I would like to read your posts and read your opinion but it's hard to when it seems like you're in a race trying to type all your thoughts.  

Smoking Baby : That post was to me, he was saying that the money he won from me will go to help out stray dogs.  But I believe he was talking about himself, he bet the house on UR and now he needs to find a place.  At least that's how I interpreted it.  Or maybe he moved on to betting dog races... who knows.

12 May 2012 2:19 PM

Skip : I'm not a Todd Pletcher defender, I think he's a good trainer, not great but good.  He has the numbers because he gets good horses.  I've said it before, he can't train all of them with focus so his team are probably the ones that does all the work.  He focuses on the horses that's doing well, a good example is El Padrino.  Prior to the Wood, EP was his "horse", he failed to fire in the FD and Gem wins the Wood.  Guess what, Gem became his "horse".  I don't think EP was prepared well for the Derby and I think he was overconfident on Gem.  I still think it would've helped a lot if Gem and EP were given the chance to work on the CD track and just get more familiar with the derby atmosphere.  I think Barclay Tagg could have done a better job preparing Gemologist or EP for the derby because he would only have one derby horse to focus on.  It's the price TP pays for getting all the good horses in the east coast.

Just like you though, it's just my opinion.

12 May 2012 2:30 PM
Smoking Baby

 Draynay. (quoting Dumb & Dumber) Just when I think you can't be any dumber.....You go and pull something like this......AND TOTALLY REDEEM YOURSELF!!!  And yes, Black Cavier is all that.  Can't wait until Royal Ascot.  I do wonder if everyone would still like the exact same mare if she was from California ("let's see her win on the dirt, let's see her win around two turns, etc.).

12 May 2012 9:31 PM

Correct you are Draynay.  Black Caviar is absolutely phenomenal. Imagine a mare winning 21 races in a row AND shipping to different venues. Easily the best older mare since Personal Ensign.

12 May 2012 9:51 PM

I'm looking forward to the Zen and RA babies.  I think one of their babies will be the one to break the drought, at least I hope so.  Zenyatta has the foundation to keep running all day and to run for years, not just one year.  I specially like the Tapit baby as that will put a little bit of speed into her baby.  I'm hoping he takes after her mom, the greatest mare that ever raced.  I doubt any mare will be able to do what she's done unless it's her baby :)  No horse (m or f) has come close to her records and I don't think any one will.  Her record will stand the test of time and I'm sure we'll all be blogging about it in our afterlives.  I laugh at the haters, because of their ignorance, specially the ones that pretends to know anything about horseracing.  :)

12 May 2012 11:25 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, I totally agree with you about schnauzers. I have had 4. They are a wonderful, loyal, loving and intelligent breed of dog. Our Ralphy is 14 years and 3 months. As for Black Caviar she is a truly great horse. It will be interesting to see what she does at Ascot. Too bad she will never meet Frankel. That would be a race for the ages. Black Caviar is not the greatest older mare ever. If she won 21 races at the longer distances, or even won some of her races at the longer distances, you could make that case. But she is a sprinter. The greatest older mare ever resides at Lane's End.

12 May 2012 11:55 PM

Draynay and Sylvester

It must really gall both of you when you look at the Derby chart and discover, to your horror I would imagine, that of the first six finishers, four were Cali horses and two were Poly specialists (that like the greatest mare ever can run on dirt too).

Both of you can also try and figure out just how tuff Black Caviar’s latest group of push overs was.  Every one of them was coming out of either a listed stake or a G3 stakes and only two won their last races.  In fact the field was so over matched that based on North America’s 269K bet to win, Black Caviar’s odds were 5 cents to the buck while every other one of her competitors was 99-1 on the board, ranging in actual odds from 161 to 1 to 293 to 1.

You’re right about one thing though Sylvester.  Personal Ensign was a great mare, easily the second best filly or mare behind Zenyatta, going all the way back to Ruffian, with Go For Wand and Lady’s Secret battling it out with Melair for third best.

13 May 2012 2:55 AM
Pedigree Ann

Sylvester, Black Caviar has run in and won most of the top sprint races in Australia. All but two of her races have been in open company, i.e. versus all comers including males. As a 3yo filly, she was running with older males, just like the 3yo filly Sea Siren who won the G1 BTC Cup last Saturday. She is more like Allez France or Dahlia or Sunline or Makybe Diva, mares who rarely ran in races restricted to their sex. Personal Ensign only ran one race versus the guys.

We are the only country where it is believed that the best fillies and mares can't compete in open company. An absurdity.

13 May 2012 8:02 AM
Jason Shandler

I thought the discussion was about dogs, not rats?

13 May 2012 11:14 AM
Ted from LA

Smoking Baby I am the biggest schnauzer lover you will ever know.  I donate to and help out the local dog shelter and have for years.

Draynay 12 May 2012 12:27 PM

Dray, it is obvious you love your schnauzer from this photo.  Long time.

13 May 2012 11:34 AM

“After the race he was fine,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We sent him to WinStar as planned to give him a week off and then prepare for the Belmont (gr. I). But then he came up lame in his left front and diagnostics revealed a foot bruise. He’s making good progress and is 50% better today than he was yesterday."

The above extract from Pedigree Ann (12 May 2012 9:45 AM) post has validated what I highlighted in just about every post I made about Gemologist. I saw the colt for the first time in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. What immediately captured my attention was what I subsequently described as a flopping front left. I posted that the colt appeared to have serious issues in this area and his long term soundness was in question. I was not surprised that subsequent to the KJCS he went off the radar. When he returned to the races at Gulfstream Park his action was no different in spite of his impressive victory. After his Wood Victory I advised my sparring partner Ranagulzion that the 10F of the Derby would not be kind to a colt his size with s defective running style.  

Subsequent to the Derby it was discovered that he was lame on his flopping front left? Why I am not surprised?  Did Mr. Pletcher not see what was blatantly obvious? This colt will be retired shortly and that will be a wise decision. Based on his sized he will not hold up to racing.

13 May 2012 12:40 PM
Paula Higgins

JayJay and Lazmannick, good posts. Jason, GRRRRRRRRRRRR. If you ask the Aussies themselves who they think is better, Sunline or Black Caviar, many will tell you Sunline. I think Black Caviar is capable of winning at somewhat longer distances but I don't think we will ever see that happen. I bet they retire her after Ascot. She would never have beaten Zenyatta at 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 and Zenyatta would never have beaten her at 5-7 furlongs. But in my book, the classic distance is the trump card. The greatest male sprinter of all time would never be considered greater than Secretariat, Man O' War or Sea The Stars. Pedigree Ann, I agree that very good or great females can beat good males. If you put two equally great horses, male and female in the same race, I think the male wins the majority of the time. Having said that, I do not think Blame was greater than Zenyatta, not by a longshot. He was a very good horse, that got the trip from horse heaven, to beat a truly great horse.

13 May 2012 1:56 PM



BLAH BLAH BLAH Done Talking..


BLAH BLAH BLAH Done Talking..



14th I believe

13 May 2012 5:11 PM

Black Caviar has faced the very best turf horses and mostly in OPEN company.  Comparing her to another mare that rarely raced in open company is silly and distance doesn't matter.  The California horse never won at 1 1/2 and her record at 1 1/4 wasn't perfect either.  Winning sprint after sprint is harder because a missed start can mean disaster.  You are seeing something special and something you will never see again.  Black Caviar is the greatest mare any of us have seen.

13 May 2012 5:23 PM


Your repetition syndrome cannot be addressed in this forum. There are numerous adjectives that can be used emphasize the points you wish to make.  My selection in the Derby was Alpha he finished 12th. If you read most of my post you would have been alerted to this fact. I defended Done Talking against unreasonable ridicule because I made a lot of money off his IL Derby victory.  There are enough comics supporting Mr. Shandler your ambitions should not be to eclipse them.

13 May 2012 8:43 PM
Paula Higgins

Draynay, stop. I like Black Caviar and have a ton of respect for her and we all know how I feel about Zenyatta. My issue is this: I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who tries to raise one horse up by tearing another one down, no matter how subtle they think they are about it. Let it go. No matter how hard you, Sylvester and Jason rail about Zenyatta, her reputation will survive anything said on this blog.

13 May 2012 10:28 PM
The Rock

Footlick, Linda in Texas, Mz, Carlos in Cali (Go Giants), El Kabong, Laz, Dray, trackjack, Tiznowbaby, jay jay, 2:24, Rusty Weisner, Johnny, Skip, thomas, Geronimo123, Sylvester, Paula Higgins, Gunbow, Steve from St. Louis, Age of Reason, Bohemiastable, and last but not least.... Jason Shandler,

Thank you all for the well wishes, positive vibes and the personal stories you shared with the rest of the blog. My apologies for the late response. I wish you all the very best.

Linda, I'm staying on a low sodium diet for now, and eating foods I don't usually eat. It's different, but so far so good. My condolences on what you and your family had to go through.

El Kabong, great derby score. At least you got to keep some of your winnings after taxes.

Age of Reason, wow, four bouts with lymphoma over 20 years... Its safe to say that's a strong woman you've got there. My very best to you and your family.

Bohemiastable, All the best wishes to that 5 year old having a smile on his face. No child should ever have to suffer through that. We due tend to lose ourselves in the moment with this game. I'm definitely a victim to it at times. It's funny though. I wonder where this game would be without people like us. All the best to you and those you are connected with.

Geronimo123, that's great news about your mother. I hope she never has to go through such a thing ever again. Best wishes that the docs were able to get 100% of that cancer out of her. I enjoy your passion for the game. Keep it up.

Draynay, just reading your posts tells me how positive of an outlook you have on life and everything in it...even though you have an unorthodox of displaying it. lol. We all have our opinions and who knows where this or any blog would be without people like you. All the best to you my friend.

If I missed anyone I'm very sorry but I hope I didn't. If I don't post before the Preakness (5 straight days of treatment resumes 5/17) good luck to all on your plays. Preliminary play is IHA, Bodemeister hammer exacta box. Just like Ventura & Informed Decision in the 09' F&M Sprint. With all the money in the pool, I hope I at least get the parlay payoff for those two. I really can't find a danger for those two except for Went The Day Well. I saw his run in the Derby and he had tons of trouble. But his numbers are still below the top two.

May the horse be with you all!

13 May 2012 10:53 PM


We're trying to have an intelligent discussion about post Derby thoughts and it seems we may be getting back to the Blame/Zenyatta blame game which seems to be evolving into a Zenyatta/Black Caviar battle.  This blog is going to the dogs.

Let's get back to reality:

Rachel Alexandra's foal is better looking than Zenyatta's foal and will win the Triple Crown in 2015.

You can all thank me later.


Alpha's leg scrapes and subsequent infection were not caused from his rough trip in the Wood.  He was attacked by a couple of schnauzers when he got back to his stall.

13 May 2012 11:35 PM


Sorry if I offended you.  We all know that when it comes to horses you know what you're talking about.  You're the best litle feller.

13 May 2012 11:56 PM
Mary Zinke

I thought these Shandler blogs were Queen-proof. I think it's unfair to the expectant mom to add to her burden by placing her in a glass stall. That reminds me, has B's E's newest horse racing fan arrived yet? Best wishes to the bundle of joy and family. Good luck to champion Black Caviar at Ascot.

14 May 2012 12:01 AM

Paula- well said.

14 May 2012 10:17 AM

Female turf runners compete against males more often than female dirt/ synthetic runners.  And on dirt/ synthetics, female sprinters run against males much more often that female routers.  You guys can tear down Zenyatta all you want.  Havre de Grace's 4th place finish should have told you how difficult a BCC is to win.  That she won one on synthetic and narrowly lost one on dirt is all that you need to know about Zenyatta's talent.  Until another American filly/mare surpasses that, she still will be considered one of the greats.  And that must really irk Dray an Sylvester, who expend so much energy tearing her down as much as they can.

As for as Black Caviar, she has been nothing short of brilliant and wish them the best at Ascot.

14 May 2012 11:12 AM

Sylvester : I'd respond to your Zenyatta bashing but you might take offense at the truth and the last thing I want to read on here is a grown man whining lol.  It seems other than whining, you post nothing but zenyatta bashing.   Who was your pick for the Derby ?  Yes, the Kentucky Derby just ran, did you know that ?  Preakness, which is the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown is coming up next week.  You aware of that ?  How about you tell us who your pick is to win the Preakness and why ?

What about you Draynay ?  Any sure winner from you ?  Give it a rest with the Zenyatta bashing, she WON (the HOTY) and there's NOTHING you can do about it lol.

14 May 2012 12:00 PM

The Rock : Good luck on the treatment and looking forward to your posts after.  Who's your pick for the Preakness ?

trackjack : The Moss' paid $60K for Zenyatta because she didn't look that good and nobody wanted her ;)

14 May 2012 12:32 PM
El Kabong

Matthew W,

That Oaks/Derby Double is a great play if you strongly believe in your Derby Horse. You have the results of the first half of the bet by Derby day so you know what you'll win if your horse does win, even if all your other bets fail-exotics- on Derby day. Unfortunately in 2010, all I got back was a $20 O/D double, Blind Luck to Super Saver. I came up with an idea that Derby. Most of my tickets had super saver winning. Then, I singled Lookin at Lucky 2,3,4 on all my tri/super tickets. I was certain he would hit the board and I even had him beating Super Saver on a few back ups. My plan went up in smoke when Lucky was so unlucky at the start. Good strategy that would have worked if lucky had gotten just a little better trip. He did finish 6th and of course won the Preakness. But I had my O/D double so I didn't have to hate myself for that strategy. This is a tough game. You can be so right, and get nothing for it. Betting is the tougher half of handicapping and cashing.

15 May 2012 12:53 PM
Ted from LA

The final word.

23 May 2012 5:30 PM

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