Ratings Generated in 2014
Featured Stallion

Derby Pedigrees Examined

In terms of depth, this year's 3-year-old crop is shaping up to be the best since 2007, which gave us Street Sense (TrueNicks,SRO), Curlin (TrueNicks,SRO), Rags to Riches, Hard Spun (TrueNicks,SRO), and Any Given Saturday (TrueNicks,SRO). Nine days out from the Kentucky Derby, the field looks to be highly competitive with most of the top contenders bred to excel at the added distances of the Triple Crown races. Here's a brief rundown of the top 20 contenders with links to their TrueNicks reports to assist in your analysis.


It would be hard to find a more classic-bred pedigree than Alpha's. Not only is he from an excellent family (Kamar, Square Angel), but he's by Preakness (gr. I) winner Bernardini (TrueNicks,SRO) out of a mare by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, who as a broodmare sire gets winners averaging 8.27 f. Colts on the A.P. Indy/Nijinsky II cross average 8.82 f. TrueNicks


Bodemeister might get the award for most exciting stallion prospect in the field—a fast son of exported Empire Maker who can carry his speed nine furlongs, as seen when he romped in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). He's out of a juvenile grade III-winning, grade I-placed Storm Cat mare, which helps to explain Bodemeister's speed, and colts on the Empire Maker/Storm Cat cross win at 8.38 f on average. Empire Maker has already sired Pioneerof the Nile (TrueNicks,SRO), another Baffert-Zayat runner, to be second in the 2009 Derby. TrueNicks

Creative Cause

Talk about a rags to riches story. Creative Cause's second dam was a $7,000 broodmare purchase and was bred to $3,000 stallion Siberian Summer to produce grade I winner Dream of Summer. She didn't make it to the races until she was 4, but won the 8.5-furlong Apple Blossom (gr. I), five other stakes, and over $1 million in purses. Bred to leading sire Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO)—whose progeny win at an average of 8.61 f—she produced grade I winner Creative Cause on the potent Storm Cat/Siberian Express cross. TrueNicks

Daddy Long Legs

One of two Scat Daddy (TrueNicks,SRO) colts in the field, Daddy Long Legs has more of a miler's pedigree, and the presence of Meadowlake (6.60 f broodmare sire average winning distance) certainly isn't an endorsement for getting the Derby trip. While the second dam did win a Canadian stakes at 10 furlongs, the dam, Dreamy Maiden, has produced exclusively sprinters aside from Daddy Long Legs. Relishing the Kentucky Derby distance will be unlikely. TrueNicks

Daddy Nose Best

The other Scat Daddy colt, Daddy Nose Best, is out of a mare by Derby-Belmont winner Thunder Gulch (TrueNicks,SRO) and is much more likely to appreciate the Derby trip. Colts on the cross win at an average of 7.31 f, and Daddy Nose Best enters off two graded wins at nine furlongs. TrueNicks

Done Talking

Done Talking beat a weak field in the Illinois Derby (gr. III), so he'll have some class questions going into the Kentucky Derby. On pedigree, he'd seem better off cutting back in distance rather than stretching out, but his dam did have a fair amount of class (she won the grade III, seven-furlong Cicada Stakes). Notables on the Broken Vow (TrueNicks,SRO)/Dixieland Band cross are sprinter/miler Cotton Blossom and sprinter Sindy With an S, and colts on the cross win at a 6.86 f average. TrueNicks


Being a half brother to Derby winner Mine That Bird gives confidence that he'll appreciate the distance, but the big question here is surface. Sire Even the Score (TrueNicks,SRO) ran well on dirt and turf, but his best runners are turf/synthetic specialists, such as his other grade I-winning son Take the Points. Furthermore, the second-best runner on the Even the Score/Mr. Prospector cross is turf mare Enjoy the Score. TrueNicks

El Padrino

Pedigree and running style suggest El Padrino won't have too many issues with the distance. The Pulpit/Storm Cat cross produced 2010 Derby runner-up Ice Box (TrueNicks,SRO), whose dam is by distance-oriented Storm Cat son Tabasco Cat, just as El Padrino is out of a mare by distance-oriented Giant's Causeway. The real question is whether El Padrino will be sharp enough for a race like the Kentucky Derby, so his final work will be telling. TrueNicks


Undefeated Gemologist, like his sire Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO), is gritty, speedy, and seemingly unfazed by added distance. His pedigree is in line with many recent Derby winners, who are ideally bred for 8-9 furlongs but get the extra furlong on class. TrueNicks


2-year-old champ Hansen enters Churchill off a strong effort on synthetic, just as he did last year for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). The son of Tapit (TrueNicks,SRO) has already overcome a modest female family, but he's still a speed horse going 10 furlongs in what is almost always a strongly run race. If the pace scenario works out for him, keep in mind that Careless Jewel, another Tapit/Storm Cat cross, stalked the early leader in the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (gr. I) before drawing off by 11 lengths. TrueNicks

I'll Have Another

I'll Have Another, by Travers (gr. I) winner Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO), comes from a very stout family, even if it's not loaded with class. The dam won her only start in a maiden special weight at Belmont. The second dam was a turf allowance mare who raced almost exclusively beyond a mile (regularly at 10, 11, and 12 furlongs) on the NYRA circuit. TrueNicks


The late Indian Charlie, who almost had a Derby starter last year in Uncle Mo (TrueNicks,SRO), has longshot Liaison this year. Indian Charlie is primarily a sprinter/miler sire, though Liaison's dam is a cross of two Belmont winners, Victory Gallop and A.P. Indy. She was a turf stakes winner at 8.5 furlongs and placed second in the Alcibiades (gr. II) on Keeneland's dirt. Barring a complete pace meltdown, though, it's difficult to picture Liaison returning to form in a 10-furlong grade I on dirt. TrueNicks

Mark Valeski

Mark Valeski is one of two Proud Citizen (TrueNicks,SRO) colts in the Derby field, adding to the banner year for the Airdrie stallion. Mark Valeski comes from a very fast Gone West/Fortunate Prospect cross, although his dam was a multiple stakes winner at nine furlongs and hails from the family of Silver Buck, sire of Derby winner Silver Charm. Still, failing to run down Hero of Order in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) makes it hard to imagine he'll appreciate more ground. After the Derby, look for this colt to point to the seven-furlong King's Bishop (gr. I). TrueNicks


This Malibu Moon (TrueNicks,SRO) colt will be a longshot on Derby day, but on pedigree he probably has a good chance to outrun his odds. Out of an Awesome Again (TrueNicks,SRO) mare who was a stakes winner at 8.5 furlongs, Prospective's closing style should benefit him in the likely event of a strong pace. As a point of interest, his third dam is 1987 champion older mare North Sider. TrueNicks

Rousing Sermon

Credit second-crop sire Lucky Pulpit (TrueNicks,SRO), a sprinter, for siring a Derby runner. Like Prospective, he's out of an Awesome Again mare, which is a positive in the stamina category, but overall his pedigree doesn't come close to what you'd expect in a Kentucky Derby winner. TrueNicks


Yet another closer in this year's Derby, Sabercat has an interesting pedigree profile. Sire Bluegrass Cat (TrueNicks,SRO) was second in the Derby and Belmont, and broodmare sire Forty Niner was also second in the Derby. The dam is closely related to promising sire Awesome Gambler (TrueNicks), sire of this year's Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) winner, Willa B Awesome. Colts on the Bluegrass Cat/Forty Niner cross average 7.03 f winning distance—not bad for such a young cross. Sabercat will probably appreciate the added distance more than most and could threaten to get in the exotics. TrueNicks

Take Charge Indy

By A.P. Indy out of multiple grade I winner Take Charge Lady, it's safe to say this mating was aimed to produce a classic horse. Sure enough, the Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Take Charge Indy has, at least on paper, what looks to be an excellent shot. But Take Charge Lady is putting a lot of speed into her foals—first with the classy Seeking the Gold filly Charming, and now with Take Charge Indy—so it doesn't seem that this colt is begging for 10 furlongs like a typical A.P. Indy would. TrueNicks


Young sire Teuflesberg (TrueNicks,SRO) looks like he could make quite a useful sire, but so far all his best runners are sprinters. The dam, by sprinter Goldminers Gold, was stakes-placed going six furlongs at Finger Lakes. Along with Mark Valeski, Trinniberg looks like another candidate for the King's Bishop. TrueNicks

Union Rags

We've already asked the question "Can Union Rags stretch out?" The Dixie Union colt comes from a very classy female family, and similar to Gemologist, he has what you'd call an 8-9 furlong pedigree and would have to get the extra furlong on class. He's not crying out for 10 furlongs, but could be the one to beat if he continues to train well leading up to the race. TrueNicks

Went the Day Well

While the other Proud Citizen colt, Mark Valeski, probably wants no part in 10 furlongs, Went the Day Well has a more encouraging distance profile. His dam is by Tiznow out of the Roberto mare Sweet Roberta, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Like Animal Kingdom last year, Went the Day Well enters off a win in the Spiral (gr. III) for Team Valor and Graham Motion. However, Went the Day Well raced greenly in the stretch and might be too inexperienced to best this year's strong field. TrueNicks

For handicapping analysis, check out Why They Can/Can't Win on the Triple Crown Talk blog.

Filed under:


Interesting insights.

John 26 Apr 2012 9:16 PM

nice article! i narrowed down the field to 8 horses that can win the derby and or hit the board, based on the criteria of tracing their lineage to BOTH bull lea and bold ruler. they are as follows: alpha,bodemeister,creative cause,el padrino,hansen,saber cat,union rags and went the day well. i"ll further narrow the field based on post, pre-race w/o's and jockey. if i had to bet today my exacta and triple box would include creative cause,union rags and went the day well.

iceman92 26 Apr 2012 9:32 PM

Best data/analysis I've read for this year's Derby. Yes, for a change this is a fairly exciting Derby. For example, I think that Hansen is a better horse than Bold Forbes-even at 10f-, but his task appears far more difficult. Also, feel that Holy Candy may have been best in the Blue Grass and is, perhaps, better than any in Derby field. Rooting for Liaison.  

sceptre 26 Apr 2012 10:40 PM

Great piece, great info! I especially like your Take Charge Indy remarks noting his classic breeding. Prehaps he will vindicate his dad who was on the verge of winning the Triple Crown, before his untimely injury. Although I have no love for his soft schedule this year, I must give the benefit of doubt to his handlers who may have a larger score in mind - all three races.  

timely writer2 27 Apr 2012 8:57 AM

Great piece Ian but I wish you offered stronger opinions on each colt.  I've been doing this for a long time and appreciate those who know pedigree.  My late friend Leon Rasmussen was the best when he was writing for the Daily Racing Form.  I have never claimed to be anything close to an expert in the area of bloodlines, so I'm always looking for opinions that I might apply to my process in seeking the right horses in exotics.  I fully realize you don't want to be wrong on an opinion.  At the same time, I think that's what separates one expert from another.  Thanks for the article.  

Warren Eves 27 Apr 2012 9:47 AM

Warren Eves,

Thanks. The truth is that most of these colts, on pedigree, could handle the 10f distance. Then you have to temper that with their form and running style and how they're training.

The easy pedigree tosses are Mark Valeski, Done Talking, Daddy Long Legs, Rousing Sermon, and Trinniberg.

The ones I'm very suspect of at the distance are Bodemeister, Hansen, Take Charge Indy, and Liaison.

The remainder should handle the 10f just fine if they're good enough: Alpha, Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best, Dullahan, El Padrino, Gemologist, I'll Have Another, Prospective, Sabercat, Union Rags, Went the Day Well.

Top 3 pedigrees that will love the distance: Alpha, El Padrino, I'll Have Another.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 10:07 AM


You said Bodemeister might get the award for best stalloin prospect, but then said you question him as far as the Derby. Why? I like him alot andwant to key him in some Derby bets.

Mike Monarchos 27 Apr 2012 12:31 PM

I notice you named Siberian Summer's fee rather mentioning than his racing and stud accomplishments. Siberian Summer won the G1 10f Charles H. Strub S and sired Summer Wind Dancer, winner of the 10f Delaware H-G2. Siberian Summer's most important statistic is the amount by which he moved up the very modest books of mares he received.

Pedigree Ann 27 Apr 2012 12:55 PM

Daddy Long Legs romped at 9.5 furlongs in march. Not sure why he would be a Toss?.  Surely out of the horses you tossed he stands out as opposed to Trinniberg , Mark valeski etc..  Great Article none the less. Cheers.

Physically Imposing Fifty Proof 27 Apr 2012 1:31 PM

Mike Monarchos,

Bodemeister is a nice stallion prospect because he (along with Pioneerof the Nile) fills a void left by his sire being exported to Japan. He has a blend of speed and stamina that you could expect him to sire a range of talented runners, from precocious juveniles to classic horses. These are the best sires, not necessarily those who themselves were able to win the Derby. Take Medaglia d'Oro, Tapit, Harlan's Holiday, Pulpit, Indian Charlie, Unbridled's Song...all horses that didn't get the 10f on Derby day but ended up exceptional sires.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 1:44 PM

Nice write up. I kinda of like longshot Prospective. Very interesting pedigree.

His dam, Spirited Away, is 3s x 4d to Blue-hen mare Square Generation (1-c), 3rd dam of Awesome Again and 5th dam of Prospective.

The 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th dams are all stakes winner including the older champion mare North Sider.

The 2nd dam, although winless in 8 tries has produced 6 winners out of six with two blacktypes. Awesome Again of course, as everybody knows, has won the Breeders Cup Classic and his half-brother, 2-year-old colt champion Macho Uno, the Breeders Cup Juvenile. To me, that's CLASS.

The sire, Malibu Moon, given the right mare can sire a staying types. He has already sired Malibu Moon and Static Memory, winners of the 2400M Russian Derby.

With several speed in front, the race might just suit Prospective's running style.

Eddie C 27 Apr 2012 1:47 PM

Pedigree Ann,

Dream of Summer was from Siberian Summer's first crop, so he was an unproven $3k stallion at that point. Siberian Summer and Giant's Causeway brought that family way up in just two generations.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 1:49 PM

Physically Imposing Fifty Proof,

Yeah, Daddy Long Legs romped, but it was on Tapeta in a slowly run race. They went the first quarter in :26, about 20 lengths slower than they will run the first quarter in the Kentucky Derby. These are completely different disciplines, and his pedigree suggests he won't adapt to the strongly run 10f dirt grade I.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 1:57 PM


Actually I disagree with you. I think that it more likely that none of them are truly bred for elite performance at 10f. From what we have seen, American breeders stopped breeding for that horse about two decades ago coinciding with the rise of the quarter horse trainer. There is the odd exception from time to time, like say Tiznow, but I think that it is more the likely that every one of these horses, genetically speaking, is probably a mile to a mile and an eighth horse. If they go slow enough any horse can run 10f. You only have to beat what turns up on the day.


Byron Rogers 27 Apr 2012 2:26 PM


I don't think we disagree. I'm speaking in terms relative to the field, which you have to do when handicapping the Derby. I agree likely none have 10f as their ideal distance, but surely there are runners who will embrace that distance better than others.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 2:30 PM

"Siberian Summer and Giant's Causeway brought that family way up in just two generations."

Let's see - the fifth dam won the Santa Susana S (aka Santa Anita Oaks) before grading, equivalent of a G1 race. The fourth dam was a SW, won races at sprint and mile distances, also won on turf, SSI greater than 3. Third dam won 3 stakes races, at lesser tracks it is true, but she was a 2-turn dirt and turf winner, with a SSI greater than 6; moreover, she was a half-sister to a G2 winner. Said third dam had only 2 foals and one presumes that the first, CC's second dam, was retained to replace her dam, since she had her first foal at 3. This was not poor family that was far below graded standards before Dream of Summer arrived.

Pedigree Ann 27 Apr 2012 2:31 PM

Pedigree Ann,

I'm not bashing the family. The fact is that the 2nd dam was a $7k broodmare at auction, and look what happened in two generations.

Ian Tapp 27 Apr 2012 2:41 PM

"You only have to beat what turns up on the day." ... Very true; the challenge is picking the one that will beat what turns up on the day. ... But there have to be a few in there that will embrace the distance more than others. It's tough when not one horse has raced 1 1/4 miles; this isn't a 2-mile starter race for horses with proven marathon form.

JerseyTom 27 Apr 2012 4:28 PM

Another thought: Imagine the outrage and pandemonium that would occur if a track with a major Derby prep changed the distance to 1 1/4 miles. ... Would anyone enter? Would the grade for the race be pulled? ... I'd love to see it for entertainment purposes if nothing else.

JerseyTom 27 Apr 2012 4:43 PM

Dear Ian

Lovely article. I'm a huge fan of I'll Have Another so really appreciate any positive comments regarding him ( Hope he loves the track and relishes the distance- and no mud please)

Also,I'm a big fan of Mining My Own ( the dam of Mine that Bird and Dullahan) Any information of her other foals would be appreciated. ( I know that Brother Bird didn't quite make it so to speak but she had a beautiful Roman Ruler foal I believe)

Thanks again and best of luck to all the fans of this lovely group of horses

Mookie's Hero 27 Apr 2012 4:54 PM

I've never been a Giant's Causeway admirer, but Creative Cause did impress me last year-his looks and running style. So I then examnined his pedigree-relative to stallion potential- and was left somewhat disappointed. The bottom half was a bit too weak overall for my liking, so I agree with Ian's position.

Byron- If your gauge for elite performance-at a specific distance-is how it compares with elite performers over all time periods- then it's doubtful that you'll find any today that would be considered elite performers at 10f.

sceptre 27 Apr 2012 5:02 PM

Nice analysis but it may all be in vein. The Derby is a great race to watch but the best horse doesn't necessarially win. In a 20 horse field it's who gets the best TRIP not the best Horse. JMO.

Louie 27 Apr 2012 5:31 PM

I swear I've been scouting the DRF and BLOODHORSE website hoping that someone will write such an article as this detailing the Pedigree and or dosage numbers, this will indeed be an awesome handicapping tool, thank you... OH! and I do like that you actually take the time to respond to some of your readers/fans.

Julien 27 Apr 2012 5:39 PM

Dullahan's dam sire, Smart Strike, is making quite a name for himself as a broodmare sire. Although relatively early in his broodmare sire career he already has several winner's at classic distances. Shared Account, First Dude, Inglorius, Eye of the Leopard, not to mention Mine That Bird.

Jim 27 Apr 2012 6:48 PM


If we reject as breeding material all outstanding male performers whose pedigrees do not include the usual suspects, the breed will continue to be narrowed to a very few strains, to its detriment. Superior performance in the chosen activity for the animal indicates which males (and females) should be used for breeding future performers; that is the basic rule of stock-breeding. Yes, some 'off-bred' champions fail at stud and others are solid sires rather than list-leaders, but this is the fate of many 'well-bred' ones, too. Only consider Secreto, Personality, et. al.  

That is why the great old-time breeders like the Belmonts and Hancocks imported stallions with bloodlines different from the predominate American strains of the day. Rock Sand, Sir Gallahad III, and their ilk provided outcross material for Domino/Ben Brush/Fair Play/Hanover/Lexington dominated bloodlines. Then they needed to import from different sources to cross with THOSE strains - Nasrullah, Royal Charger, Ambiorix, etc.  And in the next round they sought out Le Fabuleux and Forli, with yet different strains.

Creative Cause's family reminds me of that of Dr. Fager's dam Apisdistra, in that the females used in the direct female line (with the exception of the one that was bred at 2) were all performers at the stakes level. Bet you would have found the Good Doctor's female side a bit weak for a stallion, too.

Pedigree Ann 27 Apr 2012 7:42 PM

I can't for life of me understand why anyone would think that Union Rags may not be able to run 10 furlongs.  The tail side of his pedigree says that the distance will not be a problem for this lovely colt.  I place much more importance on his dam's pedigree, than I do his sire.

Mary 27 Apr 2012 8:06 PM

Nice article Ian...having bet the Derby's over the years and cashed winning tickets on Giacamo, Thunder Gulch & many more, i believe the way to bet a 20 horse race is to bet the logical ( what we usually see in the form) and the illogical..if the Derby was a perfectly formful race, horses like Invisible Ink, Closing Argument & several others would never be near the finish line..they didn't win but played into some wonderful bottom wheel exacta bets....from a form standpoint, Gemologist & Hansen are fine, but i will only use them in exacta keys over a few bombs...i'm lukewarm on the race but will take a long look at the AP INDY horse with Borel...& the two California closers Liason & Rousing Sermon, along with  Sabercat not because they're  wonderful specimens but because they will both be closing into a race that could easily fall apart..i usually put about $100 dollars into this race so i'll be spreading my bets on those names mentioned bove & all keyed under the top two picks....

morris99 27 Apr 2012 8:42 PM

Pedigree Ann:

I catch your point, and in most respects-re your 1st paragraph-you're preaching to the choir. But, re-Creative Cause-I wasn't suggesting that his female half was too weak to afford him a chance at stud, but only that I couldn't recommend him for purchase (as a stallion), and would be leary to breed to him until seeing his foals perform. Choosing potential stallions is relative to what's available, and price/stud fee. No one buys or breeds to all stallions-they weigh the pros and cons and select accordingly...Your 2nd paragraph has no relevance to the 1st-it begins "That is why..." but its message is wholly separate and does not support your 1st paragraph's. A lesser bred horse is not necessarily an outcross by the mere fact that it is lesser bred-just as a Creative Cause wouldn't be considered an outcross. As an aside, I doubt that Forli was chosen due to his outcross potential (may have been an outcross today, but not back in 1967). The reality is that Forli was a phenominal runner, very well bred, ended his racing career in the US and, perhaps of equal importance, was inbred to the great Lady Juror which allowed multiple linebreedings to the great foundation mare Lady Josephine when mated to the various Munmtaz Mahal strains that, by then, already existed in the US. Check out his sire record and you'll notice how well it worked. I remember Forli well, visited him often-he was of near ideal type-, and wish that his sons had achieved more success at stud...Can't say that Aspidistra would come to mind when analysing Creative Cause's dam, or her line, but I suppose there are some similarities. I suppose similar comparisons could be made for countless female lines, but there are very few Aspidistras, and even fewer Dr. Fagers-I doubt very much that Creative Cause's dam is an Aspidistra in the making, and I'm certain that Creative Cause is no Dr. Fager-so this potential loose comparative doesn't sway me into changing my mind re-Creative Cause's chances for stallion success. And lastly, one could easily argue that Dr. Fager would have achieved greater success at stud had he too been better bred. But in his case, retrospectively, the concern and focus would be directed more to his sire and male line.      

sceptre 27 Apr 2012 9:24 PM

I think most people are placing way too much of Bodemeister's talent on the sire side.  In my view his greatest influence is from the dam side where Untouched Talent is a double copy (i.e. from both sire and mare side) for a large heart from Princequillo (Secretariat).  Only one other horse has a better chance of a big heart---Take Charge Indy (through Take Charge Lady). Maybe neither have inherited the trait, but Bodemeister was not breathing hard at all after the Arkansas Derby, which tells me he could turn out to be a little freakish.  If any horse has a shot at blowing away the field he is the one.  I'll fill the exotics with Alpha, Sabercat, Take Charge Indy or Prospective.  

Robert 27 Apr 2012 10:16 PM

throughbred breeders need despertly to look for outcross stallions. if i were able(dollar wise), i would experment with the old "bred opposits". take short sprinting mares,to be bred by well bred steeple chase& large horses in the breed who were not quit well enough to race in world class. granted i would be washed out in the top sale rings, but it may take a cross of cold blood to get the breed back on track& overcome some weakness that we have created with our gene pool being closed for so many generations. now ill go back to being "an ole railbird".

an ole railbird 27 Apr 2012 11:37 PM

Favorite pedigree is I'll Have Another - 4x4 to Danzig - each time crossed with Hail to Reason via Danzig's Beauty & Arch  - HTR and Danzig are a potent combo - This is the best offspring so far by Flower Alley and I am not surprised it took inbreeding to Danzig to get it done, especially with Flower Alley being 3x3 to Mr. P - IMHO you need to inbreed to something else in that situation and going 4x4 to a force like Danzig is always a good way to go, especially with HTR involved.  

2nd fave - Went the Day Well who is by Proud Citizen out of a mare by Tiznow. - The 4th dam of Proud Citizen is Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer and Tiznow is 4x4 to Norther Dancer  

Baby Jane Towser 28 Apr 2012 12:39 AM

Whoa, there. "They" will be going 22? Trinniberg may be going 22, but "they" will not be lapped on him.

O'Brien says Daddy Long Legs had a sort of "brain freeze" in the Juvenile -- startled at the speed of the break. I imagine he's done something about that, don't you?

In the UAE Derby, he was cruising all the way. You seem to be handicapping him to wire this field as he wired the Derby field. He had so much left at the finish that he can step it up quite a bit from the break and still finish. Wrote can finish with the best, and Daddy Long Legs was going away from him in the stretch.

Cassandra.Says 28 Apr 2012 3:41 AM


C'mon. Thoroughbreds are the soundest horses on the planet.

Do you really think you could train a standardbred or a saddlebred a mile a day at a two-minute clip (or as close as they could come) without them breaking down forthwith?

The gene pool doesn't matter -- we select. Heredity is not on a bell curve and we can cull or emphasize whatever we choose. Suppose you had a Sheltie mare and a thoroughbred stud on a desert island. Breeding their offspring selectively, you'd find in five or so generations you'd have some you couldn't tell weren't purebreds of whichever breed you selected for.

We select for a few top races -- three G1 wins mean more than 20 wins in a year. And for some reason, despite the number of midgets who have been iconic breed shapers, we breed and feed for size, which is the number one enemy of soundness.

Your quest for soundness and outcross pedigrees should look for fillies--no matter how sound and outcross-bred a stud is, if his offspring can't beat the unsound offspring of unsound stallions, even though they're making their third and last starts, nobody will breed to him, buy his yearlings, race his foals, breed to his daughters, or win any purses.

Cassandra.Says 28 Apr 2012 5:04 AM

Do you know if there is a "buy back" contract for Empire Maker in the event he should no longer be productive in Japan? His fate would most certainly not be good. Gee, I hate to see our thoroughbreds get shipped off to a destination unknown. Empire Maker is a good horse too, all these race horses deserve a decent retirement, not a trip to the slaughter house.

ksweatman9 28 Apr 2012 5:05 AM

Excellent informative article & also enjoyed the reader comments. As a "senior citizen" and racing fan for only 10 years I'm still learning & studying. My "top 4" (no order yet) are Alpha, Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best, and Dullahan - and will mix-in some others (like the positives in the Tapp / "Nicks" article) and will only bet the "exotics". In a 20-horse race like the Derby, remember the "dart throw" or "favorite name, #, color" or a "family connection". My 15-yr-old in ballet and an annual "Nutcracker" with Herr Drosselmeyer - prompted me to bet Drosselmeyer in the Belmont Stakes and BC Classic - and he won at 15:1 odds, under the radar, but still had handicapping merits. Thanks, good luck to all re: $$ and fun!!  

Sunset East 28 Apr 2012 8:54 AM


Daddy Long Legs stalked one horse in the UAE Derby going :26, :50 2/5, and 1:15. That's why he was "cruising all the way" and "had so much left at the finish." If he runs that slow in the Ky Derby he'll be behind 19 horses...good luck to him!

Ian Tapp 28 Apr 2012 10:04 AM


“On pedigree, he'd seem better off cutting back in distance rather than stretching out”

Your statement above has captured my attention. I am very interest in you specifying how such a conclusion reached. I am high on this colt as his victories in the IL Derby provided me with a substantial bankroll for the Derby. In fact I wagered him heavily at 25-1 in the 9F Remsen where he had a less than ideal trip and finished 1L 4th closing from last. Who was 1/2L ahead of DT in the Remsen? El Padrino who was at least 7L ahead of him at the top of the stretch - “Pedigree and running style suggest he won't have too many issues with the distance” He got sick after the Remsen an disappeared from radar and reemerged in the Gotham. He did not raise a gallop. He closed from 3rd to last to win the IL Derby. A running style similar to that employed in the Remsen was in operation. How can you then justify that this colt warrants a cut back in distance?

“The easy pedigree tosses are Mark Valeski, Done Talking, Daddy Long Legs, Rousing Sermon, and Trinniberg.”

I have no complaints with the tossing of Daddy Long Legs, Rousing Sermon, and Trinniberg. However, you cannot justify the tossing Mark Valeski, and Done Talking. Mark Valeski was sired by a grandson of Mr. Prospector that finished second in the Derby. The grandsons of Mr. P are amongst the most successful sires in Derby history with five victories. Mark Valeski grand sire Gone West sired Belmont winner Commendable. It cannot be disputed that there is Derby stamina on the sire side. Mark Valeski dam sire Fortunate Prospect was also the dam sire of Derby third place finisher Musket Man and recent G1 winner at 10F Ron The Greek.

Done Talking was sires by a son of Unbridled the most successful extension of Mr. Prospector. The Unbridled arm of Mr. Prospector is also represented by Dullahan, Bodemiester and, Went The Way Well.  Done Talking’s sire Broken Vow was bred to run 2 miles as he was produced from a Nijinsky mare. His dam sire Dixieland Band is the most successful Derby broodmare sire in the last 50 years. Monarchos, Street Sense and Eights Belles represent evidence of his success. Add Delta Blues a Melbourne Cup winners and the quality of this broodmare sire is further enhanced. A victory by Done Talking would cause Dixieland Band to draw equal with Blenheim who was broodmare sire to three derby winners.

To suggest that Mark Valeski, Done Talking represent an easy toss cannot be justified. I guess that’s why I am not a pedigree expert.

Coldfacts 28 Apr 2012 10:32 AM


I agree with you that Smart Strike has emerged as a great broodmare sire. I have identified two negatives with Dullahan. I have no record of a mare that has produced two Derby winners. Can if occur? Certainly! Mine That Bird was a Canadian champion 2YO who was sire by a Belmont winner. Dullahan’s sire is not as classy. Dullahan action is not very smooth and 10F on the Churchill Downs surface will drain him of energy very quickly. I could be worng.

Coldfacts 28 Apr 2012 10:43 AM


Right, on pedigree I doubt more distance is going to improve Done Talking's form, especially in grade I company. True, I could've said that about many of these.

Running style, he's devoid of tactical speed and his best races are passing tiring horses in slow-paced races. None of that spells Kentucky Derby success to me. He'll be improving his position late, but improving from 19th to 10th?

Ian Tapp 28 Apr 2012 11:16 AM


jeff m 28 Apr 2012 11:25 AM

Poor Ian. You pen a very proper/EDUCATIONAL piece on this year's Derby starters and then-because your subject matter is the Derby- receive, and are forced to publish some of the nonsense that pervades your colleagues' blogs. As a consequence, it's rather unfortunate that the broader message you have tried to convey may be lost or misunderstood by those who desire to learn. There's no simple solution, as to retort it all could require far too much of your time. For example, some of the usual suspects are at it again- those who profess the bogus "large heart" theory; the absurd overfocus/overemphasis on the maternal side; and the statistical neophyte who stubbornly holds to the belief that if something-no matter how small the sample-hasn't before occured, it, by that fact alone will be causative of likely never occurring (ex.- no dam has produced two Derby winners). This same "expert" also posits, by implication, that the sprinter (and sprinter sire), Fortunate Prospect, is a source for stamina in pedigrees.    

sceptre 28 Apr 2012 12:19 PM


Done Talking is usually taken back by design. If you revisit the race that Rosie won on him he was heading for the lead and got checked badly. The colt has contested two 9F races and won one and was 1L 4th in the other. Both races were on the slow side. El Padrino exited the slowly run Remsen to run much faster in his other races. Our Entourage was 5th in the Remsen and has recorded a 1:40 plus for 8 1/2L on Turf. Done Talking has contested two races in almost 5 months and absolutely no one expect him to improve significantly off his IL Derby gallop. He runs fast enough to win races based on how the pace unfolds. He can run much faster if required. He will be carrying some of my money as the speed is going to come back.

Coldfacts 28 Apr 2012 12:39 PM


If you have found my request for you to justify some of the points raised in your piece irrelevant or nonsensical, kindly delete my submissions. The agent of intolerance that posted comments regarding my request is at his nasty best. He must realized that there are sufficient bridges in the country that can accommodate his weight before he does mankind a favor an jump.  

Coldfacts 28 Apr 2012 1:12 PM


I would breed to Creative Cause in a heartbeat if I had a mare that matched up with him. I breed to race not to sell. Nobody knows how a stallion will perform until he has been tested. How many millions have been lost on "potentially" great stallions.

big john t 28 Apr 2012 1:39 PM


You and Sceptre add flavor to the blog, keep it up.. You've got your unique opinions--don't let Sceptre discourage you! He's a challenge to debate.

Ian Tapp 28 Apr 2012 1:43 PM

OK, Ian, I'll add a bit more "flavor":

big john t-

You profess to be one who breeds to race (" not to sell"). You also acknowledge the uncertainty of unproven stallions; those with no foals yet to race. So, why then would you breed to Creative Cause "...in a heartbeat..." ? A bit of a contradiction, wouldn't you say?

sceptre 28 Apr 2012 4:31 PM

Hansen better than Bold Forbes???  I like Hansen. I had him in the Breeders Cup, but Bold Forbes was a really good horse and was extremely courageous. He prepped for the Derby by taking the Bay Shore in 1:20 and 4/5 and the Wood in 1:47 and 2/5 while breaking Bold Ruler's stakes record. Hansen never did anything like that. The horse he went on to beat in the Derby was being hailed at the time as a superstar and did go on to break the track record in the Travers. No way Hansen outruns Honest Pleasure the way Bold Forbes did!!!

Baby Jane Towser 28 Apr 2012 4:47 PM

Uh oh, Ian, they're all starting to attack.

Baby Jane Towser:

I'm sympathetic to your position, agree that Bold Forbes was courageous and, for that matter, tend to respect horses of Bold Forbes' era -those accomplished over a distance--and even moreso, those of a generation prior- ,far more than runners of this era (distance runners). But-and you knew there would be a but-, Bold Forbes was a memeber of a fairly weak crop, and while it's true that Honest Pleasure had a big rep prior to the Derby, I then considered him overrated, and he later proved to be nothing so special. I happened also to be at Bold Forbes' Belmont, and can say with certainty that Bold Forbes beat nothing that day...I mentioned Bold Forbes as a comparative for Hansen since they both are (were) front runners and share speed oriented pedigrees. I don't see Hansen as a great in the making, but at this time, now, feel he has a bit more ability than did a Bold Forbes (compared from the perspective of his entire racing career).      

sceptre 28 Apr 2012 6:10 PM

Hi Sceptre - I am not attacking - I love your posts and I think its neat you were at the 76 Belmont- we all can't agree on everything - That's makes it more fun!!!

Baby Jane Towser 28 Apr 2012 7:55 PM

HOLY CANDY, THE LUMBER GUY and COZZETTI may not run in the Derby but this trio may be heading for the Preakness. Alas their earnings are relatively low, because these are sort of auspicious late bloomers. Would like to suggest a pedigree analysis on each one.

JM 28 Apr 2012 8:19 PM

WOW!  Will you look at all the Native Dancer blood in here!  Once again the Grey Ghost will be haunting Churchill Downs!! Love it!!!

Racingfan 28 Apr 2012 9:28 PM

From Caracas, Venezuela: Nice piece of analysis folks. KD is always a tough race both to run and to handicap. Flashy pedigrees are about the norm but I've thinking that one of the main factors in the last few years has been the kind of -more favorable- trip a horse may make in an often crowded pack often on a sloppy track. This again could be so this year when the most comfortable traveler -probably a longshot- will probably cross the line first.  

Charlie White 28 Apr 2012 9:31 PM


This is an interesting discussion. I disagree with your conclusion about U/Rags pedigree. Like others that have commented on this colt's breeding you perpetute the notion of stamina deficiency due to his sire Dixie Union. This is so wrong because firstly, Dixie Union had the pedigree to produce any kind of horse and he suffered a relatively short stud career. Secondly, in pedigree analysis it is proper that you consider what the combination of the sire and dam produces if either or neither is dominant in the traits of the offspring. Also the analysis should look at the overall pedigree matrix to see the distribution and recurrence of significant Classic influences in respect of the Triple Crown. None of the "reputed" pedigree analysts that I've read have done this in regards to Union Rags, while they continue to shed doubts about the colts stamina when there is so far, no evidence of such in his performances. The story of his class and long-windedness is right there in his pedigree for all who care to look. in many debates on this issue I've referred to the very dominant presence of Hyperion blood throughout his pedigree, contributed in equal measure by both his sire, Dixie Union and dam, Tempo. My conclusion is that Union Rags is bred to go the distance of the Belmont Stakes as much as any of his rivals yet nobody else "in the know" seems to think so. This colt is going to make a fool of many "pedigree analysts" and I'm watching to see them spinning their way out of the pre-Derby ignorance.


"one could easily argue that Dr. Fager would have achieved greater success at stud had he too been better bred"(Sceptre April 27, 2012 9:24PM adressing Pedigree Ann)

(LOL) What a an absurd notion. Dr Fager "better bred" would not be Dr Fager, arguably one of the greatest horses ever to race on American soil. A poster so impatient with what you call the "nonsense" of other blog posters should know better than to post such nonsense. Most thoroughbred breeders aim at producing a kind of "Dr Fager" with each mating. If the product of a mating becomes a "Dr Fager" on the track but is a "dud" at stud, that is not necessarily the fault of breeding since many full siblings of successful sires and broodmares flop not because of their pedigree. Therefore to suggest or "easily argue" about improving Dr Fager's pedigree is not the kind of idea one would expect from an "erudite" pedigree connoisseur as you posture yourself to be (based upon how you selectively scoff at some of the opinions of others).

I trust that this post adds a littl more flavour to the debate.

Ranagulzion 29 Apr 2012 12:43 AM

I still get the feeling that Hansen is going to go further than most people think. That being said, alot of the others would have to encounter some traffic problems for Hansen to pull this off. He's worth looking at a win price at 17-1.

tjconway 29 Apr 2012 2:08 AM

I've examined the pedigrees, looked at their profiles, and I've decided, I'll have one of each. Seriously, this Derby is anybody's to win and everybody's to lose. It's too tough to call, and the Derby almost always has a surprise in the box, kind of like cracker jacks. One thing I would bet with confidence would be this, each leg of the triple crown will have a different winner, and I'm not hoping for that. I'd love to see one pony win the crown. I just don't see it happening, not this year.

ksweatman9 29 Apr 2012 6:14 AM


No contradiction. I'm saying that if my mare matched up with Creative Cause my chances would be as great with him as with any other first year stallion. By the way, if you think the dam doesn't contribute as much to the foal as the stallion  you mut be in the business of selling stallion shares.

big john t 29 Apr 2012 8:22 AM

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

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

Based on consus that this colt too slow to be competitive in the Derby, why is Mr. Smith harboring thoughts of him being midpack? Could it be that he is not a slow as his races indicate. I specified in a previous post that Done Talking had the best Derby prep. I was advised to refocus and stop the nonsense as his IL Derby time was 6 seconds slower than those Bluegrass and SA Derby. Well, the math is correct but so too is my assessment. Subject to correction the IL Derby field of 14 was the largest assembled for any Derby prep. I think the Bluegrass is next with has 13. Done Talking bobbed and weaved his way from third last with no pace upfront to record a determined victory.  The Derby will be a field of 20 and he is the only colt that has had the perfect simulation forthe large the Derby field.

Done Talking will be a long shot to win the Derby but he has a Derby story that makes for interesting reading. Owned by firends of 35 years and trained by gentlman. He might not be as flashy as the top five colts but if there are any chinks in their armors he will be there to exploit them. He is better than most think.

Coldfacts 29 Apr 2012 9:05 AM


jeff m 29 Apr 2012 9:49 AM

Right Coldfacts: After all sorts of analyses based on pedigree, distance, looks, campaign, preps,trainer, jockey, post position, track-type and condition, and so on, it might all at the end boil down to "a nice trip". And perhaps that's what makes classic racing at its best (the KD) as exhilarating as it is.

Charlie White 29 Apr 2012 11:43 AM

I'm glad no one is paying any attention to Went the Day Well. He does have some pedigree for distance, but what I like is that he was trained for stamina early in his career. Hopefully he would stay above 20/1.

Rinzler 29 Apr 2012 11:44 AM


I think Union Rags has enough pedigree for the classics on paper, but individually is he a Dialed In or Lookin at Lucky type who gets dull beyond 9f? That's my only concern, but my gut tells me he'll get the Derby distance fine.

Ian Tapp 29 Apr 2012 1:18 PM

I have no wisdom to impart here but I do enjoy reading all these posts, for which I thank you all. There seem to be a number of entrants with Secretariat blood in them - exclusively from Secretariat daughters.

I pick Bodemeister or Take Charge Indy or Union Rags. This seems to be a deep crop with no standout - yet - which probably means that we'll go another year w/o a Triple Crown winner.

One thing I can promise - the winner will have Nearco blood.

terry 29 Apr 2012 1:34 PM

big john t-

YOU may not see the contradiction in your statements, but it's apparent to me. Your 2nd, 3rd, and last sentences (28 April 1:39PM) appear to be offered in support of your 1st statement (sentence). Fact is, they accomplish the contrary...All not too surprising after reading the last sentence of your reply (29 April 8:22 AM) to me. It was in response to my phrase"...the absurd overfocus/overemphasis on the maternal side..." (directed at Mary's earlier post). I assume english is your primary language? If it is, how then do you interpret my statement to connote that I believe the mare doesn't contribute (genetically) as much to the foal as the stallion? Did you simply disregard the words "OVERfocus"..."/OVERemphasis"? Another example why politicians are loathe to stating anything of meaning.

sceptre 29 Apr 2012 2:28 PM

Union Rags will get the distance.  Look at the tail side of his pedigree.  That is where you will find the stamina to go the distance.  He is a serious race horse.  I love the Union Rags.

Mary 29 Apr 2012 2:41 PM


I must assume then that you are (besides being an "expert" on horse racing, race horses and pedigrees) also a politician. The next time I breed a mare I would like you to pick the stallion for me. I have never bred a grade 1sw.  

big john t 29 Apr 2012 5:20 PM


Your remarks addressing my statements about Dr. Fager's breeding place you head and shoulders over those I alluded to in my earlier post which began "Poor Ian". I must say, it's difficult to know how to respond to it-as it's difficult to know what are the depths of your lack of understanding/knowledge or ability to reason. My statement did not imply that if given the opportunity I would change (in any way) the pedigree (or, more precisely, the genetic makeup) of Dr. Fager-for, to do so, could in fact change (perhaps negatively) the racehorse he was. As many of us know, however, a phenotypic superstar does not automatically or necessarily equate to a genotypic superstar (stallion, etc.). When I used the term "better pedigree" this phrase was shorthand for "better genotype", but, all else equal, while what we regard to be a better pedigree more often signifies a better genotype, it can also be otherwise. Even the notion "better" may be relative rather than absolute, as the genotype must interact (stallion with mare, etc.) with the breeding population of that time...Dr. Fager was an exceptionally gifted racehorse-among the greatest ever. His record as a stallion, while quite good, was far below his merit as a racehorse. Recall that my statement to which you objected was within the context of a discussion on Creative Cause's chances at stud-his pedigree vs his performance- and the implied observation that his female line might mitigate against  his success at stud. This is how stallions/mares are evaluated when they go to stud/breeding. Their chances for success are weighed and fees/values set based upon many factors including, but not limited to, race record (performance and perceived ability), pedigree and conformation. Why, because past history tells us that race record alone is not suffciently predictive. Again, pedigree (names in the pedigree) is far from a true mirror of geneotype, but history tells us that it does offer some clues-better than if we were blind to it. You may posit that it was Dr. Fager's genotype that made him a Dr. Fager-the racehorse he was- that it is this very genetic material within him that he would passe on to his offspring-so why then shouldn't he be considered (predicted) to be a near best stallion candidate possible? The simple answer-which I've tried to convey, above-is that phenotype is only a partial reflection of genotype. There is a longer, more complex explanation-and not all yet is fully understood-, but I'm not willing to go there. Dr. Fager was sired by a comparatively weak sire-relative to Dr. Fager's prowess as a racehorse- and from a relatively immediately weak male line. Yes, despite this he could have become an extremely influential sire, but he didn't, and I theorize that his sire and male line may have been somewhat responsible. Secretariat also was a great racehorse, and most would hold that Secretariat had a top pedigree which did not appear to detract from his chances for great sire success. Fact is (and let's not get into later arguments about this) he was a disappointment at stud relative to his prowess as a racehorse. Yes, the annecdote of a Secretariat could be offered to refute my Dr. Fager hypothesis, but history-the total breadth of breeding data- seems to suggest otherwise-that pedigree more often than not matters...And yes, you are mistaken- Should a stallion, any stallion-that receives sufficient opportunity-go on to prove to be a dud at stud, it is due primarily to the "fault" in his "breeding"-more precisely, his genetic makeup. By the way, don't delude yourelf that all this was written for you, rather I was attempting to bathe away the potential harm/misinformation your post may have conveyed to others.          

sceptre 29 Apr 2012 5:46 PM

The dam contributes far more genetic material to her sons than the sire.  That's why I focus more on the tail side of a colt's pedigree.  Union Rags has the stamina to run all day long. I am so tired of hearing about how a Dixie Union colt cannot get the distance.  What are these so called pedigree specialists thinking.  Whatever, people were saying that no Bold Ruler colt could get the distance; and along came Secretariat to run the fasted 1 1/2 miles in the history of the world.  

Mary 29 Apr 2012 5:48 PM

big john t-

Are you familiar with the sentiment-It would require a cold day in hell-?...And, about the last thing I'd desire to be would be a politician. Imagine trying to befriend or please the likes of so many here.

sceptre 29 Apr 2012 6:00 PM


Your last statement about the dam contributing more genetics than the sire is false. Sire and dam each contribute equal amounts of genetic material.

Ian Tapp 29 Apr 2012 6:21 PM


You're preaching (to Mary) to deaf ears. She's hard this time and time again (other blogs), but would rather talk (write) than read. Mary-there's such a thing as Google. Why not try it some time?

sceptre 29 Apr 2012 6:41 PM


I share your two concerns about Dullahan. He probably is better on syn/turf and you certainly don't think Derby winner with Even The Score as the sire. I happen to be one who puts a lot of empahsis on the broodmare sire and have made good money betting offspring of Smart Strike mares, as well as Broad Brush, In Excess, Saint Ballado, etc. Handicapping off of past performaces only, he is not my first choice, but I have learned not to under estimate certain broodmare sires in certain situations.

Jim 29 Apr 2012 7:15 PM

With regard to the genetic contribution of sire and dam. It's 50/50 regarding nuclear DNA, but that doesn't take into account the mitochondrial DNA which of course is inherited through the direct female line. Steve Harrison in England has produced evidence for the relationship between certain female lines and distance capacity, and there is similar for various human lines of descent.

On the unproven stallion debate, I'll go with Sceptre and say that race-record and pedigree are only the fuzziest guide to stallion potential, else we would have seen Saint Ballado outperform his brother Devil's Bag, or Vice Regent being so much better than his brother Viceregal, both starting with far inferior mares.

As far as Creative Cause is concerned I wouldn't be particularly concerned about his female line negatively impacting his stallion potential - Gulch was out of a very good mare, but had very little immediate family, and Shirley Heights in England had a very weak immediate female line at the time he retired to stud. On the other hand, Golden Fleece, an unbeaten Derby winner, by Nijinsky II, and closely related to the very successful stallion Be My Guest, and from the family of Storm Cat and Royal Academy, was horrible.

Although I don't think many breeders in the U.S. actually aim to produce a dirt horse whose optimum distance is 10 furlongs or further - I know I don't when planning matings, unless specifically asked as the big problem is if you have a dirt horse who is best at ten furlongs plus, but doesn't make the Derby, Belmont, Jockey Club Gold Cup or Breeders' Cup Classic standard, their are few chances to run at his best trip - I think there are still horses who are better at ten furlongs on dirt than at shorter distances. I'll Have Another is one who you would think should be better at ten furlongs than shorter; Alpha is by a horse who won a Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup out of a mare by Nijinsky II, winner of the English Triple Crown. El Padrino is by Pulpit, who won over nine furlongs, out of a mare by Giant's Causeway, who won over 10 1/2 furlongs, and the next dam Too Chic won the Ashland and was second in the Alabama at ten furlongs. Whether they are good enough or fast enough to beat the stretching out nine furlong horses in the Derby, they do all have (as far as pedigree theory is concerned, anyway) the potential to be better at ten furlong than shorter.

Alan Porter 29 Apr 2012 7:42 PM


Except if you consider mitochondrial DNA which is only passed on from the mother. The exact measure of that influence on athletic performance isn't known. It could be a large influence on the outcome, it could be nothing.

Equally it is a misnomer to say that a sire and dam each contribute equal amounts of genetic material. They have the OPPORTUNITY to each contribute an equal amount, but it is a genetic spin as to what the actual percentage inherited from a sire and dam is in any given mating.

Byron Rogers 29 Apr 2012 9:03 PM

Went The Day Well can run all day, says my gut.

JerseyTom 29 Apr 2012 9:10 PM


Went the Day Well is a nice colt. I tend match the pedigrees of Derby contenders to a past winner chart that I have compiled. I use it to eliminate certain contenders from the top spot. It’s not terribly scientific but it works for me. What does my chart reflect in relation to Went the Day Well? His sire is grandson of Mr. Prospector. Grandsons of Mr. Prospector have sired five Derby winners. I consider that a major Derby positive. Went the Day Well dam was sired by Breeder Cup Classic winner and HOY Tiznow. HOYs and BCC winners are notoriously poor Derby broodmare sires. Kindly note I specified Derby broodmare sires. Only A P Indy and Smile have been successful in this department. I consider this a Derby negative. Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas are the two trainers that won consecutive Derby in the last 16 years. Their consecutive wins were for different owners. Meadow Stable were the last owner’s to win consecutive Derbies. That was 1972-1973 when Secretariat followed Riva Ridge. Team Valor Animal Kingdom won the 2011 Derby and it is unlikely that Went the Day Well will repeat as he is no Secretariat. I consider this a Derby negative. I would not put Went the Day Well at the top of my ticket but that does not mean you should not. The NB: The Mr. Prospector sire line has produce 10 Derby winners and 25 other winners between the Preakness and Belmont.

You neve know!

Coldfacts 29 Apr 2012 9:33 PM

Should Dullahan win the Derby not only will he be the 1st ½ brother of a previous winner to do so, he will be the 1st ½ brother to have a shot at it I believe. I can’t think of any others, in fact the only ½ brothers that ran in the Derby I can think of were Demons Begone & Pine Circle. Can anyone Identify any siblings that have both run in the derby ?


cw 29 Apr 2012 9:46 PM


“You've got your unique opinions--don't let Sceptre discourage you! He's a challenge to debate.”

The contributor you referenced above is an extremely disturbed individual. I project he will be advising you shortly as to which contributor’s submission you should not display. He is a self appointed Blog Tzar whose terms of reference is to expose those he consider to be providing misinformation to those he considers less informed. His sickness is consistent with one that has a superior complex. To classify the supporters of various blogs as less informed takes a pair and he certainly has pair of collector’s items. It is clear he is excluded from the category of the less informed. The appropriate language that should be used when engaging such an individual is not allowed in these forums. If I allow such an individual to discourage me I deserve to be put to sleep.

Coldfacts 29 Apr 2012 9:58 PM


“You've got your unique opinions--don't let Sceptre discourage you! He's a challenge to debate.”

The individual referenced above has a Superiority Complex and not a superior complex as previously stated.

Coldfacts 29 Apr 2012 10:02 PM

Oh, Ian:

Obviously duplicating his UAE race will not win the Derby for Daddy Long Legs. There is no horse in the field who will win by duplicating one of their past races.

Daddy Long Legs' time was 1:58 and a bit. Add 6 seconds

and you are within striking range of a Derby time (there have been slower Derbies but this is unlikely to be one of them.) My eyes tell me DLL can cruise faster than he was going in the UAE and finish faster and further. That puts him in the frame.

He has one of the top five trainers in the world. I don't think O'Brien would send him if he didn't have him ready for the adaptations he needs. He's not sending Wrote after trying him against DLL. Maybe that's because he wants to keep him on grass, but he held up the decision until after DLL demolished Wrote in the UAE Derby on Tapeta, so I'm thinking he made it comparing horse to horse.

And at the odds, I only have to catch one of these every few months to wind up ahead. If he isn't an exceedingly long price, watch out: O'Brien has bet the farm.

Cassandra.Says 30 Apr 2012 12:04 AM

I really didn't want to comment, because there are very hyper-critical posters on here.  But, when I look at a sire I look at his race record as the most important thing, and it doesn't matter whether it is actualized or showing promise before injury.  If a stallion showed nothing, I don't care what bloodlines he has, I wouldn't breed to him.  In a dam, I look at the produce record of the family, period.  Other than that, it does not matter.

Footlick 30 Apr 2012 12:06 AM

Byron Rogers:

As delighted as I am to see a student of breeding think it's good to know the biological facts, you've got it wrong.

Sire and dam each contribute a chromosome to each chromosome pair. The guesswork lies in which grandparent was the source of the chromosomes sire and dam contributed to sperm or ova.

It's not on a bell curve: in the production of sperm or ova, the 32 chromosome pairs line up in pairs, one of each pair goes left and the other goes right, randomly, and the cell pinches off making two 'seed' cells. The distribution is a coin flip, 50/50 chance. Sometimes all the chromosomes from the grandsire will go right; this is not an outlier but is equally as likely as any other assortment.

Colonel Bradley was right: War Admiral was a Sweep.

Cassandra.Says 30 Apr 2012 12:14 AM

Dear CW

I believe Giacomo and  Tiego ( both names that mean James) are from the same mare and are half brothers. Both ran in the Kentucky Derby and both ran in the Breeder's Cup. Both had the same connections ( breeders, owners and trainers- The Mosses and John Sheriff)

So you never know. I could happen and maybe Mining My Own could be the mare to do it.

Best of luck to your picks in the Derby ( as long as I'll Have Another wins)

Mookie's Hero 30 Apr 2012 3:38 AM


I think we meant the roughly same thing and I probably should have clarified my earlier statement. What I am referring to is dominance and recessive characteristics for performance. The sire and dam each give a copy as you stated but depending on what was sent, and if it is dominant or recessive, a horse could subsequently share a lot of the same alleles as its sire, or not much of it at all.

Byron Rogers 30 Apr 2012 11:46 AM

A good female line does give a boost to the genetic make-up of a foal, that is why Dialed In, could not reasonably be considered for last year's Kentucky Derby -although fools made him the favourite- he just didn't have the female background to win such a high class race.

Families TWO and FOUR are larger in numbers, but why does Family ONE produce more Group One winners.. it's the mDNA.

Hal Dane 30 Apr 2012 1:27 PM

Hal Dane,

The Bruce Lowe family #1 (not of all which share the same mtDNA haplotype mind you!), is about 10% of all the thoroughbreds born each year, it is getting to closer to 15% of the commercial population, those that appear in the premier yearling and two-year-old categories. That said, it does outperform its representation slightly with this years KY Derby being no different with 4 representatives - Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Prospective and Sabercat in the field of 20. Of course the #1 family was also responsible for last years winner Animal Kingdom and Super Saver the year before that.

Byron Rogers 30 Apr 2012 3:10 PM

Well, Alan, you ventured into territory I was trying to avoid. Too many already believe that the maternal contribution far outweighs the male, so they latch upon any excuse (piece of data) to support their position. For this reason I deliberately avoided the mention of mtDNA. But, what also wasn't discussed is the barr body (unfunctioning X chromosome), so one could argue that an X - constitutes less functional genetic material than an XY. Since the Y chromosome can only be inherited from the male, the male contributes more genetic material than the female re-this dynamic. There is then the question-which contains more genetic material, mtDNA or Y chromosome? Both, as I understand, rather minimal-and while some of mtDNA genes code for proteins in the oxidative phosphorylation scheme, many more (genes for these reactions) are found in the Nuclear DNA.

Wish to discuss a few of your other observations:

Breeders today tend not to breed for the distance horse which results in a far more competitive sprint/middle distance playing field. It is, therefore, rather likely that the elite sprinters/middle distance types today are superior to their counterparts of the past. By this logic the reverse should be true re-the distance types of today when compared to those before, but the population as a whole is larger (at least for now). This larger population-re-mainly the sprint-middle distance bred types- may be of sufficent number and ?"quality" to by chance create enough of the occasional distance-type to equal the number and quality of those distance-types bred in the past. Re-this thought, if true, the cause may be more than simply a weight of numbers, but also the by product of selective breeding. For as the breed evolves (theoretically) through selective breeding-albeit aimed mostly toward the sprinter/miler-this "selectivity" is not confined simply to that characteristic. We are also selecting for general athleticism, as well as other non-aptitudinal related attributes. Impossible (for me) to know what is the net result, but it seems at least possible that we could be breeding distance-types of a number and quality similar with the past. The stats and my sense don't suggest that we are, but who knows?

I've saved my disagreement with you, Alan, for last. I don't want to overstate your position, but it appears that you are more flexible than I re-female-line "pedigree" in evaluating potential stallion prospects. My instinct tells me that this is a particularly complicated matter, and among the issues may be how, if any, pedigree could be more predicitive of broodmare success than stallion. You've cited some anecdotes and I similarly could cite mine to the contrary. You will accknowledge, I'm sure, that the vast majority of expatriated American stallion PROSPECTS (rather than "re-treads) that later became successful in their new lands would be considered as quite well bred (top and bottom). You could posit that they were chosen (expatriated) and given their chance in part due to their relative lofty pedigrees, but I would then retort- looks like they agreed with me. Fact is that pedigree, top and bottom, is a consideration in the selection of all untried horses, and in maiden broodmares as well. Yes, these markets could be mistaken, but if not, then why should the unproven stallion prospect be evaluated any differently? As, said, I think there may be more to this when pondering the stallion, but for now the weight of evidence seems to refute your position.          

sceptre 30 Apr 2012 6:12 PM

Wish to correct my remarks about barr bodies. Should the offspring be female (XX) then the genetic contribution of sire and dam would be equal (but for mtDNA)-as the barr bodies in each cell are randomly selected (some from the sire's X, some from the dam's). If, however, the offspring is a male the genetic material contained in the Y chromosome is less than that contained in the X (here from the dam). So, in a nutshell, one could say that the dam contributes SLIGHTLY more than the sire-but it is relatively very slight. On the other hand-and this continues to confound me- In any male (horse, etc.) we know for certain that its Y chromosome is inherited essentially as the same Y chromosome as all possessed in his (top) male line. This cannot be said for any other chromosome wherein they have a 50/50 chance of being inherited either from the sire line or the dam line. While this observation (if valid) has no impact on the % of genetic contribution from the direct sire or dam to their offspring, it may somewhat alter the % contribution of the male lines vs female lines further removed. I know, it seems counterintuitive, but I can't resolve it any other way. Ask, perhaps, your geneticist.    

sceptre 30 Apr 2012 8:46 PM

SCEPTRE, there is a gene found on the x chromosome of horses that causes a larger than average heart.  It was first documented in Eclipse, a great broodmare producer.  A large heart was seen in Phar Lap, Sham, and Secretariat.  It is thought that Pocahontas was homozygous for this gene.  Large hearts have been traced back to four lines, Princequillo, War Admiral, Blue Larkspur, and Mahmoud.  Because the gene is found only on the x chromosome (sex linked), it can only be passed to a stallion's daughters, or to a colt or filly via his dam.  

This might explain why Secretariat had better performing daughters than sons, except Risen Star, his greatest son.  That being said, training, conformation, or attitude can make even the most talented horse perform poorly.

sceptre you are not posting comments on this blog to learn anything.  Your remarks are unbelieveably condescending.  Good luck to you, I wish you well.  

Mary 30 Apr 2012 9:12 PM

Hi Sceptre,

It's a little difficult talking about genetics, and particularly the stuff that is only just appearing, on a general racing/breeding forum as one tends to use generalities that are broadly true to avoid posts that are going to be so complex that they are going to make little sense to those who are not focused on this particular area.

In doing so, we probably do run the risk of over-simplifying - it's a bit like discussing relativity while trying to avoid quantum mechanics. As far as mtDNA and it's inter-reactions with nuclear DNA, and even whether there is sometimes some influence for the mtDNA of the sire, there is a lot we don't know yet! The same might go for why some stallions make sires and some don't!

As far as female lines and stallions - I think that high-quality ancestors in general are a positive, but there are enough examples that make me think that a weak family isn't neccessarily a disaster for a sire.

Alan Porter 30 Apr 2012 9:18 PM

The female half of any pedigree contributes two X chromosomes to the male's single X chromosome which is inherited from his dam line only.  The female half of a pedigree contributes more genetic material especially mRNA, the santum santorum of genetic transmission, than the male y chromosome.  All good stallions require good mothers.  Broodmare sirelines are a case in point as well.  Broodmare sires carry the dominant X chomosome.

Obmar 01 May 2012 5:58 AM


The"Large Heart - X Factor" is a complete myth. There is no evidence at all for a single gene on the x-chromosome that results in a large heart. In fact those who measure hearts for a living will tell you that they frequently see similarities among hearts by specific stallions. Cardio function is the result of the inter-action of many genes.

What is also worth noting is that from the athletic performance standpoint, a large heart is not always the best heart - what is required is a heart that is appropriate for the indivisual horse and it's aptitude.

Alan Porter 01 May 2012 10:45 AM


Agree with everything you said.

To Everyone-

Unlike many but not all blogs on the BloodHorse site, it was my sense that the main purpose of the TrueNicks blog was to educate. I grant that there are far more important topics in this life than thoroughbred breeding, but apparently some do take it seriously and want to learn. Learning, though, can be impeded when one is exposed to misinformation. For that matter, some of the misinformation posted here (most recently Obmar, Mary, etc.) derived from their authors' receipt of misinformation, or their inability to properly integrate pieces of data. So, if you are interested in these topics I suggest that you accept nothing here as gospel, but use it as a stimulus for further exploration. I could stop here, leave it at that, and most would smile and see this as a pleasant ending. But, it would be less than fully honest. Too many here speak with conviction on subjects in which they are insufficiently versed. I suggest that each of us, prior to posting, should ask ourselves if we truly believe(and are equipped with sufficient knowledge) the assertions we are about to offer. I agree that occasionally one simply doesn't know what they don't know, but most often, in their heart of hearts, they can distinguish relative certainty from the other.      

sceptre 01 May 2012 11:50 AM


Where did you find this nonsense that broodmare sires carry a dominant "X"

Two of today's top broodmare stallions are.. Sadler's Wells and Danehill..

No one in his right mind, will say that they were better at siring fillies than colts...

Hal Dane 01 May 2012 12:12 PM


Has the "large heart" theory been (positively- scientifically) disproved? I know you have looked at many more pedigrees than I have (I think you're the best in the business) but I have looked at hundreds and I see patterns that may support that theory. I have bred and raced horses for years and know that there are so many variables involved that it is hard to prove or disprove almost any theory.

big john t 01 May 2012 12:20 PM

I have a question for any/all of the Truenicks writers--Alan Porter, Ian Tapp, or Byron Rogers. As a healthcare practitioner for humans, I have a pre-clinical background in biology, biochemistry, etc., and have always thought that the single gene X-factor heart theory in equines was fairly unlikely. I understand that Dr. Matthew Binns addresses this idea as a true myth in his book, "Thoroughbred Breeding: Pedigree Theories and the Science of Genetics". Have any of you read this book, and if so, can you recommend it as an educational tool for those who need to understand the science behind pedigree analysis? Thanks.

Karen in Texas 01 May 2012 2:46 PM


I agree with what you just posted. I attended the symposium (thoroughbred horse) in Lexington ky. last year and listened to a lot of (what I presummed to be) "experts" in their fields. I detected a significant amount of disagreements among some of the speakers on some of the topics of discussion. How could I discern who was right and who was wrong about their theories or beliefs. As in most cases, (when someone is trying to sell you something) they offered proof of what they were trying to sell us but how could we be sure-after all each one was going to profit (financially) from his or her presentation and most of us were novices, compared to them.

big john t 01 May 2012 3:43 PM


I quote you:

"When I used the term "better pedigree" this phrase was shorthand for "better genotype", but, all else equal, while what we regard to be a better pedigree more often signifies a better genotype, it can also be otherwise ...

By the way, don't delude yourelf that all this was written for you, rather I was attempting to bathe away the potential harm/misinformation your post may have conveyed to others."          

sceptre 29 Apr 2012 5:46 PM

It is okay to esteem yourself as a smart dude, no problem ...but your arrogance betrays your ignorance when you assume that others whom you know next to nothing about are stupid and less informed than you.

To understand somthing profoundly is to explain it simply, my friend, so that the neophytes among us can comprehend, but your verbose ramblings about genotype/phenotype (supposedly meant to show how conversant you are with the topic) did nothing to alter my first response to your nonsensical notion of improving Dr Fager's pedigree.

Ranagulzion 01 May 2012 6:04 PM

Karen in Texas,

I have read the book you mention, authored by Tony Morris and Dr. Matthew Binns. It does a good job of covering most of the topics that one at least try to understand in breeding racehorses. It certainly is a good point to start to understand the genetic basis for some theories in thoroughbred breeding and I am sure that in years to come we will start to build on this type of knowledge. As you point out, Matthew also rather delicately puts the "X-Factor/Large Heart" Theory in its place, nothing more than a well crafted myth.

Big John t,

I thought the onus was on Marianna Haun to prove her theory in the first place! As far as I know, none of her theories made it into peer reviewed scientific papers, yet she passed of what she had 'discovered' as science. It was nothing of the sort. Equally, while technology has now allowed her to test her theory more fully, nothing is forthcoming. In fact, as Alan posted a little earlier, most of the people involved in heart measurements, as it relates to performance have either their own evidence to suggest that it is more likely to be something that the sire passes on (that is a consistent heart morphology that results in elite performance), and those that have both cardio and genomic data have also found that heart size/performance does not appear to be related to a gene(s) on the X-Chromosome. That is not to say that there are not genes on the X-Chromosome that have variants within them that may be an influence on performance, there are, they are just not related to heart size/performance. It was a great story, weaved back in time to a maternal figure, but it wasn't an accurate portrayal of how the X-Chromosome or Cardiac morphology relate to athletic performance.

Byron Rogers 01 May 2012 6:22 PM

big john t:

Not sure if you were asking a question-no question marks-or simply making a statement, but since it was directed to me I'll try to respond...Your question could apply to almost any discipline. Finding what are the accepted "truths" requires time and careful research. I should add that blogger posts should be taken with a large grain of salt. It's my opinion-but, I too am but a blogger-that much, if not all offered by Ian, Alan, Byron and Scot, is quite accurate and very informative. Also, various relevant topics will be introduced and you can then explore them more deeply should you desire. Eventually, if you work at it, you'll generally find consensus. Lastly, I'd be wary of any absolute statements when the topic is horseracing/breeding.  

sceptre 01 May 2012 6:23 PM

sceptre said "one could say that the dam contributes SLIGHTLY more than the sire-but it is relatively very slight."

Obmar said "The female half of a pedigree contributes more genetic material."

sceptre than said "For that matter, some of the misinformation posted here (most recently Obmar, Mary, etc.) derived from their authors' receipt of misinformation, or their inability to properly integrate pieces of data.


"A woman ceases to be a beginner in any given science and becomes a master in that science when he has learned that

he is going to be a beginner all his life."

 ~ Robin G. Collingwood ~

Obmar 02 May 2012 9:07 AM

First time reader. Whew! Thanks, Ian & all

Tombino 02 May 2012 4:52 PM

The dam is critical, and much more important than the sire, in one sense: she supplies the prenatal environment.

If you look at production records of stakes-producing mares a few decades back, they almost always look like this: first five foals, 2 SWs, 1 Spl; last five foals, 2 unraced, 2 unplaced, 1 4Mcl winner.

Great strides have been made with pregnant mare husbandry very recently. I don't know what they're doing, but I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the flood of ridglings we seem to be experiencing.

Cassandra.Says 02 May 2012 9:37 PM


I was fortunate to grow up around race horses, trainers, jockeys, exercise riders,  (I rode some myself when I was a teen)farriers and etc. I made my living as an industrial engineer and was vice president of engineering and research and development for  manufacturing companies and learned a lot in both worlds. Unfortunately, some of what I learned was, completely, false. Most of the ones who talked "the biggest game" knew the least. It took expierence and a lot of research (thousands of hours) to learn the true facts (many have never been proved or disproved). I agree with you that there are few absolutes in breeding/horseracing. I know of one absolute and that is "TALK IS CHEAP".  

big john t 03 May 2012 8:56 AM

Steve Roman, in his detailed Derby Preview (chef-de-race.com/.../2012_derby_preview.htm) makes a novel point about Bodemeister: "... daughters of his broodmare sire, Storm Cat, have never produced a major winner on dirt beyond nine furlongs from about 2,500 foals over two decades." That was news to me and worth remembering.

patuxet 03 May 2012 3:57 PM

Congratulations, Ian, I see this (your) topic received more than 100 responses. Can't recall another (TrueNicks) receiving more. Well, aside from commercial considerations, one wonders if it yielded a net gain re-informative value. Who knows, more may derive benefit if in the future these articles accepted no reponses or were limited to questions only-pure questions, and not statements/opinions guised as questions.

sceptre 03 May 2012 5:02 PM

Give me Prospective all day long baby!.  

Lammtarra'sArc 03 May 2012 7:04 PM

Which 2012 Kentucky Derby horses will be on lasix on Saturday? What about the Oaks? Where can I find this info??


willow 03 May 2012 8:11 PM

I disagree with Union Rags not "crying out' for 10 furlongs.

In his defeats in both the Florida Derby and the Breeders Cup he was coming on strong at the end and would have caught the lead horses if he had had just a bit more distance.  The K-Derby distance may be just what he needs!  

dledford1 03 May 2012 11:23 PM

CW and Mookie's Hero:

Since 1950, the following mares have had more than one Derby runner (sorted by number of runners, then alphabetically):

Mares with 3 Derby runners:

Bali Babe (1980): Tossofthecoin, Ran in 1993; Place: 19; Charismatic, Ran in 1999; Place: 1, Millennium Wind, Ran in 2001; Place: 11

Mares with 2 Derby runners:

Anne Campbell (1973): Desert Wine, Ran in 1983; Place: 2; Menifee, Ran in 1999; Place: 2

Belle Jeep (1949): Jewel's Reward, Ran in 1958; Place: 4; Triple Crown, Ran in 1974; Place: 17

Bottle Top (1981): Strodes Creek, Ran in 1994; Place: 2; Corker, Ran in 1996; Place: 11

Brown Berry (1960): Unconscious, Ran in 1971; Place: 5; Avatar, Ran in 1975; Place: 2

Double Zero II (1964): Twice A Prince, Ran in 1973; Place: 12; Play The Red, Ran in 1976; Place: 8

Doublene (1957): Second Encounter, Ran in 1967; Place: 10; Navajo, Ran in 1973; Place: 7

Fall Aspen (1976): Timber Country, Ran in 1995; Place: 3; Prince Of Thieves, Ran in 1996; Place: 3

Golden Shore (1971): Golden Act, Ran in 1979; Place: 3; Majestic Shore, Ran in 1984; Place: 20

Her Honor (1954): Prego, Ran in 1962; Place: 15; Dr. Behrman, Ran in 1970; Place: 12

Kelli's Ransom (1999): Regal Ransom, Ran in 2009; Place: 8; Devil May Care, Ran in 2010; Place: 10

Koubis (1946): Determine, Ran in 1954; Place: 1; Invalidate, Ran in 1956; Place: 15

Lady In Red (1966): Bedouin, Ran in 1984; Place: 15; Ragtime Rebel, Ran in 1993; Place: 9

Lalun (1952): Never Bend, Ran in 1963; Place: 2; Bold Reason, Ran in 1971; Place: 3

Larklyric (1946): Black Metal, Ran in 1954; Place: 13; Ebony Pearl, Ran in 1958; Place: 10

Lurline B. (1945): Lurullah, Ran in 1960; Place: 12; Roman Line, Ran in 1962; Place: 2

Lutza (1947): A Dragon Killer, Ran in 1958; Place: 7; The Chosen One, Ran in 1959; Place: 14

Marozia (1994): Andromeda's Hero, Ran in 2005; Place: 8; Stay Thirsty, Ran in 2011; Place: 12

Misty Morn (1952): Bold Lad, Ran in 1965; Place: 10; Successor, Ran in 1967; Place: 6

Never Knock (1979): Pleasant Tap, Ran in 1990; Place: 3; Go For Gin, Ran in 1994; Place: 1

Old Goldie (1970): Lot O' Gold, Ran in 1979; Place: 9; Golden Derby, Ran in 1981; Place: 21

Rowdy Angel (1979): Demons Begone, Ran in 1987; Place: 17; Pine Bluff, Ran in 1992; Place: 5

Royal Puzzler (1951): Royal Tower, Ran in 1963; Place: 9; Fleet Allied, Ran in 1969; Place: 7

Set Them Free (1990): Giacomo, Ran in 2005; Place: 1; Tiago, Ran in 2007; Place: 7

Space Angel (1980): Pendleton Ridge, Ran in 1990; Place: 13; Lost Mountain, Ran in 1991; Place: 12

Sweet Damsel (1995): Colonel John, Ran in 2008; Place: 6; Mr. Hot Stuff, Ran in 2009; Place: 15

Tularia (1955): Honest Pleasure, Ran in 1976; Place: 2; For The Moment, Ran in 1977; Place: 8

Winver (1972): At The Threshold, Ran in 1984; Place: 3; Zabaleta, Ran in 1986; Place: 12

aethervox 04 May 2012 1:28 AM


Not crying out for it based on his pedigree, but partly for reasons you mentioned, he's my pick to win the race.

Ian Tapp 04 May 2012 10:55 AM

It's funny how some people are tossing out contenders on the basis of a sprint-bred pedigree.

I can remember how in 1973, there was a pretty good horse that a lot of know-it-alls said might have stamina limitations.  After all, his sire had never gotten a Derby winner in spite of being bred to some classically-bred mares with stamina in the pedigree, and was more known for siring runners with brilliance than staying power.

Now didn't all those people look silly when Secretariat became Bold Ruler's Derby winner?  And even sillier when Secretariat cruised by 31 lengths to win the Derby?

And don't tell me sprinters can't win the Derby.  Bold Forbes was nobody's idea of a classic horse, but he "stole" the Derby and the Belmont when he got an easy lead and could just cruise.  If one of the sprint-bred speed horses in this year's Derby gets to set an uncontested lead, you just might see a sprinter winning at boxcars.  

...Especially if the horses with more stamina are caught in traffic and can't get a clear run, have to go seven wide to find a path out of traffic, or are forced to check behind tiring horses that are backing up through the stretch.  After all, between Cannonade and Little Current, who was the better horse in 1974?  

In a big field, sometimes it isn't the best horse that wins.  It's the horse with the best luck.

Cat Whisperer 05 May 2012 12:19 AM

I loved your article fortunately I came across it by googling 2012 belmont entries that have Domino bloodlines.   I read an article recently that tied the winners of the Belmont to the Domino bloodline. Is there truth to this and could you tell me which horses in this years Belmont have the pedigree.

howiethehorse 04 Jun 2012 2:42 PM

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted. The blog author reserves the right to edit or omit any comment.

  (Appears with your comment) (required)
  (Will not be published) (required)