Breeders' Cup Classic Rankings

With the Triple Crown over, the road to the Breeders' Cup begins. I thought I'd take an early shot at ranking the candidates for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

My #1 ranked horse -- the 4-year-old Empire Maker filly Royal Delta -- is currently being aimed for a repeat victory in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, but there is plenty of time for Besilu Stables owner Benjamin Leon to change his mind.

Leon showed he is a gambler when he bought Royal Delta for $8.5-million last fall and subsequently sent her to Dubai to compete in open company in the Dubai World (UAE-G1). Chalk that 9th-place finish up to an odd trip and a less-than-true synthetic surface. If Leon and trainer Bill Mott thought Royal Delta was good enough to ship to Dubai and compete in the world's richest race, then they'll probably consider her for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Royal Delta's return in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2) on June 16 at Churchill Downs should give them plenty of confidence. Her time was a full second faster than older male horses ran in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) on the same surface, the same night. Royal Delta ran the the final three furlongs in 37 seconds. Stephen Foster winner Ron the Greek, a stout stretch runner, covered that same ground in 37-3 (while carrying 119, to Royal Delta's 123).

If they ran the Breeders' Classic tomorrow, here's who I hope would be in the gate:

1) Royal Delta:  Ran full second faster than G1 older males at CD. Loves 10f

2) Game on Dude:  Returned on top of his game. 2nd in last year's BC

3) Ron the Greek:  The more distance, the better. Rock solid stayer.

4) Successful Dan:  Not sure which 'Dan' is better, but excited to see this one

5) Wise Dan:  Not surprised he came back to earth in Foster.

6) Bodemeister:  Still improving, could be tough on Santa Anita's speedy strip

7) Union Rags:  Classy 3yo a major threat if he has another fwd move in him.

8) Paynter:  Showed ability when asked to set all the fractions going 12f.

9) To Honor and Serve:  Has some things to prove at 10f, but potential is there.

10) Mucho Macho Man:  Looked great at GP this winter, but well beaten at CD.

11) Richard's Kid: Yet another who looked good on return. Long-winded. 

12) Rogue Romance: Was live at a big price in Foster; all sorts of trouble

13) Neck n Neck: 3yo took a big step forward in the Matt Wynn. One to watch.

14) Endorsement: Wasn't sure who to put in 14-hole, but always liked this horse. 5-2-2-1 without Lasix.

Also eligible: Stay Thirsty, Went the Day Well, Creative Cause, Alternation, Nate's Mineshaft, Nehro, ???


Leave a Comment:


How about Acclamation? Has a good record at longer distances.  I forget how old he is though...

19 Jun 2012 7:10 PM

I think Bodemeister is a lock on a speed favoring track.  Also think Trinniberg will be a lock for the Dirt Mile.  

19 Jun 2012 8:15 PM

Royal Delta’s win on Saturday was impressive, but so was her Alabama last year.  What happened when she ran against Havre de Grace in her next start, the Beldame?  She was a fast fading second and HDG’s next start after that was the BCC and in that race she was a non-factor.  One thing about Royal Delta stands out to me and that is the fact that on Saturday she defeated basically a non G1 type of field.  In her other two starts this year against the type of company she can expect to see in a good G1 race, she was never a threat to win either race.  Then there is the fact that since 1968, no filly or mare has defeated males in an open G1 10F race on dirt.  Princessnesian did it that year and the last filly or mare to do it previous was Two Lea in 1952; both those races being the Hollywood Gold Cup.  Since then two have come close.  In 1977 Cascapedia was second in the HGC to Crystal Waters by a neck and Zenyatta came closest when a nose loser to Blame in the 2010 BCC.  It’s true that Zenyatta won the 2009 BCC on synthetics, but technically it was not on dirt.  For a filly or mare to win this race on dirt is one of the more difficult feats to try and accomplish in N/A horse racing.  IMO Royal Delta still has some convincing to do.

Richard’s Kid seems out of place on this list.  His last meaningful win on dirt was when he beat a mediocre field in the John B. Campbell at Laurel in 2009.  Since then his record on synthetics has been unquestioned, but to think that he even belongs in this race at this point in his career, especially with it being run on dirt, is reaching IMO.

Bodemeist and Paynter are near the top of the three year old group so far this year.  However, even though Paynter got away with cheap fractions in a slow, low quality Belmont, I think it would be asking a lot for him to get those same type of fractions in a BCC, especially with Bodemeister in the race.  My feeling is that the two are like oil and water, not meant to be together in the same race because their similar styles will nullify the other’s strong points.  By saying this I’m not suggesting that they will not get 10F.  I think for both it is possible, but it would have to be under the right conditions and the BCC with an abundance of speed and close up stalkers is not the race to expect to get those conditions.  It is also interesting to note that the three main speed types on the list are Paynter, Bodemeister and Game On Dude, all trained by Bob Baffert.  Would he dare run them all in that race with a potential speed disaster staring him in the face?

Even though I was glad to see Union Rags win the Belmont, I still will not give him credit as a true distance horse.  To me this Belmont field struggled to get the 12F maybe even more than Da’ Tara did in the 2008 Belmont.  Da’ Tara won it that year and in a time about a second faster than Rags.  By winning it people can say that he is a true 10F type horse.  But was he?  His only other win in a 19 race career was when he broke his maiden.  Rags benefited from a weak field and I believe still has to prove himself against the best horses in his division and ultimately in the handicap division.  Now if he should win the Travers or say a JCGC then I will do an about face.

The Dans, Greek, GOD, and MMM I think definitely belong in the race.  I am a huge fan of To Honor and Serve and thought that he might be a BCC threat until the Met Mile.  Now I’m hesitant to believe he can get the 10F against a salty group and might be better suited to the Dirt Mile, which on paper is shaping up to be a much better race than the BCC IMO.  And there is also the fact that both THAS and Royal Delta are trained by Bill Mott, another reason why they might run in different BC races.

In any event there is still a long way to go and a lot can happen to alter the picture as it stands now.  It makes for an interesting summer and fall.

19 Jun 2012 9:59 PM

This'll be the year Bob Baffert gets his Breeders Cup Classic. Paynter, Bodemeister, Game On Dude...take your pick!

19 Jun 2012 10:15 PM
Pete Denk


I thought about Acclamation, who I think is a nice horse. But it looks like they've been keeping him off of dirt for quite a while.

He'd be an interesting addition if they decide to go to the Classic.

19 Jun 2012 10:23 PM

Not sure where to post this but I want to say congrats to Penny Chenery and all involved to restore the Preakness record to the great Secretariat.  I remember this debate back in the day even though I was only 13.  And have followed all the stories.  He truely deserves to hold the record in all Triple Crown races and I'm thrilled all the Maryland officials did the right thing.  Congrats to you the "Great Secretariat".  You are very deserving and thank you Penny for fighting for this awesome horse of yours.  What a great thing to achieve track records in all 3 Triple Crown races that still  stand 39 years later. What a gem!!!

19 Jun 2012 10:23 PM
Pete Denk


I agree Baffert is loaded. Plus, when the BC is held in SoCal, the homefield advantage can be very strong.

19 Jun 2012 10:32 PM


Early days yet my friend. No mention of Stay Thirsty? Alternation runs one bad race and he falls off your radar? In the older horse category Successful Dan is head honcho, not Royal Delta nor Ron The Greek. Watch and see.

In the 3YO Dept. you should look out for the sons/grandsons of AP Indy this time of year. Alpha, Algotithms, Casual Trick could re-enter the fray. Others from the Pletcher barn such as Gemologist and Discreet Dancer are going to make some noise once Saratoga gets going.

Also look for a big move forward for the Belmont Stakes winner next time out. This years Jockey Club Gold Cup is setting up to be a memorable one and could determine HOTY before the BCC.

19 Jun 2012 11:00 PM
Reesie Girl

Boy, if Shackelford could get this distance-would love to see him in it.

19 Jun 2012 11:04 PM
Pete Denk

Reesie, I'd immediately put Shackleford on this list if I learned they were considering the Classic. Stay tuned...

20 Jun 2012 12:12 AM
Pete Denk


Good call on Stay Thirsty. I have added him to my AE list. He could be a player.

20 Jun 2012 12:23 AM
The Deacon mention of Animal Kingdom?

20 Jun 2012 1:50 AM

Which of the three Baffert horses will learn to rate?  

20 Jun 2012 8:14 AM
Pete Denk


Animal Kingdom is a personal favorite. He'll be on the list if it looks like he can make the race.

20 Jun 2012 10:21 AM
Pete Denk


Of the three Baffert horses, Paynter seems the most comfortable sitting off horses. Although, he is probably the slowest of the three right now.

20 Jun 2012 11:53 AM

Rogue Romance based on what?  A G3 win on synthetic as 2yo, and allowance optional claimers at 3 and 4?  Have to disagree.

All three of Neck 'N Neck's wins have been at CD.  In his five races away from CD he has hit the board once.  No way.

Nate's Mineshaft - multiple graded stakes winner

Alternation - multiple graded stakes winner (wins at 2 and 3)

The crazy thing about that list good as those horses are, there is only one divisional champ (Royal Delta) in the race.  And IHA will be the 3yo winner this year, so no..Bode and UR will not be either.

20 Jun 2012 12:54 PM
Pete Denk

James, evaluate Rogue Romance strictly on his 5 career dirt races, and I think he fits as an outside contender in this division.

At 2:

-Distant 3rd in BC Juvenile behind Uncle Mo and BoysAtTosconova

At 3:

-3rd behind Mucho Macho man in Risen Star. Race was 3yo debut and Rogue Romance was giving winner 4 pounds

At 4:

-1st by 3 lengths in GP NW2, one-turn mile on dirt. 100 Beyer. Looked great.

-1st by 5 lengths in CD NW3 1 1/16 miles on dirt. 99 Beyer. Again looked great.

-Troubled 4th in Stephen Foster. Rank early and traffic late.

Anything I listed beyond my top ten was a reach, but there are worse stabs than RR.

Plus he's by Smarty! Smarty Jones fans, anyone out there?

20 Jun 2012 1:20 PM

There's monster taking some time off in California...I expect to see him in the Classic - Ultimate Eagle baby!

20 Jun 2012 2:36 PM
It aint easy being good!

Good list Pete if I were the connections of Shack I would head to the classic Shack is a beast and is off to a great start. Also dont sleep on alpha he will make some noise 2nd half of the season. I wish the classic was at churchill again love that long stretch run there is nothing like it!

20 Jun 2012 4:07 PM

Dude Hansen???? where is he??

20 Jun 2012 7:02 PM

Lazmanick, please understand this, Union Rags would have benefited from a quicker pace.  When the pace slowed, Union Rags switched off.  Do you understand what I am saying??  

20 Jun 2012 7:15 PM
James Behan

"Ran full second faster than G1 older males at CD"

Yeah but she was also a full second slower to 6 furlongs. Totally different race shape. There is no way she will get to comfortably gallop out in the Classic the way she did Saturday.

I still am giving Nate's Mineshaft a long look. Obviously it's way too early to even guess at the field, but he certainly would relish the SA dirt, and there very well may not be much other speed signed on.

Ok, Bodemeister is out there, but after a hard TC campaign and probably the Haskell is he really going to be still in form come November?

20 Jun 2012 8:44 PM
Pete Denk


Different race shape yes, but compare Royal Delta's internal fractions to any of the Foster runners, and you will see she was superior.

Yes, she was 6 lengths behind Nate's Mineshaft's time at the 6f mark. She then blasted home in 37-1 in a  hand ride. Nate came home in 40-1. That's about 15 lengths of ground in the stretch (!) Plus she was carrying 123 to Nate's 118. That's not even close. She'll be getting weight from these guys if she goes in the Classic.

21 Jun 2012 12:39 AM
steve from st louis

I hope Romans keeps Shackleford primed for the Breeders' Cup Mile. He already has a Grade 1 win at a mile and three-sixteenths but  American breeders favor milers at stud. If he validates his Met Mile win at Santa Anita's eight furlongs, they'll beat a path to his stud stall.

21 Jun 2012 12:13 PM

Mary-what was that lightning fast last quarter your distance-bred favorite ran in the Belmont?  I do not look at the Belmont Stakes as a distance proving race anymore as it has become more of a jockey's race now, a tactical anomaly.  It merely proved that none of these horses really wanted anything to do with 12 furlongs.  I'm not sure it would have helped Union Rags if the pace were faster, but it wouldn't have helped Paynter either.  If Union Rags proves me wrong, good for him.  But, he will have to show me he can win a true 10 furlong race.  I know Ranagulzion will go on and on about the Hyperion blood, and he is entitled to do so, but in my and many other people's opinion, and I stated this before, it is the Nijinsky II blood that would give him the stamina as he is more immediate in the pedigree and is a true modern stamina influence.  But, we will see.

21 Jun 2012 12:39 PM


Welcome back from your brief hiatus. I esteem your views highly and wouldn't argue further on the stamina source of Union Rags ...its really splitting hairs. However I'm surprised that you're not convinced that the colt truly stays 10 Forlongs. I guess you'll be convinced in the Travers and JCGC and BCC (LOL).

21 Jun 2012 1:11 PM
Mary Zinke

Laz, about RD, a filly I sort of like, lol, she hasn't run well after a longer layoff such as between her maiden win and the Suncoast or after her post BCLC rest, or after she missed some training and the Mother Goose, then was a well beaten third in the CCAO last year. I thought about the Beldame for quite awhile and did not comment immediately after the race as to why I thought she finished 8L. back in second that day. In that race and in her 2012 debut, the Gulfstream race that Awesome Maria won, she rushed up near the pace too early, for her, then was taken back. In the Sabin, that early move occurred after a stumble. That's my "diagnosis" of those two situations. I cannot find a replay of the Suncoast, but I remember thinking, early in the race, that's not where she's supposed to be,but the chart does not reflect what I remember. Dubai? I don't know, surface, traffic, the ride? She looked magnificent going into the race. She came out of it with a jockey change, and so far, that hasn't hurt her, and she's recovered from the travel. Well, hope that doesn't seem like a bunch of excuses, just observations. I don't expect her to win every race she runs. She's no streak setter, but when she's on, she is to me, reminiscent of some from long ago. If she does wind up running in the BCC against the fast G.O.D. on his favorite track, he better keep pouring it on, because she's no speed demon, but she will keep coming to get him.  

21 Jun 2012 1:34 PM


If you think that Union Rags would have benefited with a quicker pace then so be it, Rags would have benefited if the pace was quicker.  I really don't see how seeing that it was a 12F race, not 9 or even 10F.  He had plenty of time to make his own move earlier instead of waiting for the front runner to wilt and move off the rail.  He also ran his final half in 50.87 seconds and his final quarter in 25.83, not all that fast, and at point in the race when he wasn’t at the mercy of the pace, just his own abilities to run that far.  Compare those splits to Summer Bird’s final half and quarter of 48.48 and 25.18 (a true distance horse) and that is what I’m basing my statement on.

21 Jun 2012 5:39 PM

Mary Zinke

I hear you and I probably haven’t given Royal Delta the credit she deserves.  Excuses can be made for her losses for sure, but the simple fact is, she did lose those races.  At the top of her group?  Even with Awesome Maria and Groupie Doll I would have no hesitation in putting her ahead of them.  Her chances of defeating a salty group of males in the BCC?  That’s still a tough nut for her to try and crush IMO and might get even tougher if one of those handicap males takes control of the division.  The simple fact though is, it’s asking a lot for a F or M to win a BCC.  In going on 60 years now they’ve only won two 10F G1 races on dirt and it’s been tried many, many times.

21 Jun 2012 5:49 PM

Here’s a number I look at when comparing the Royal Delta’s Fleur de Lis and Ron the Greek’s Foster.  Royal Delta might have had the more impressive numbers the last 3F, and her race was about a second faster, but when comparing the two final times, but when timing the the final 7F times for both, Royal Delta came home in 1.25.18 and Ron the Greek in 1.25.15, 3/100’s difference.  I believe that this is a key number when trying to equate their abilities in a 10F race.

21 Jun 2012 6:09 PM
Mary Zinke

How do you factor in the ease with which she won as compared to how not just Ron The Greek but Wise Dan and Nate's Mineshaft closed, Laz? I mean, she could have gone much faster, but she'd already put the field away.

21 Jun 2012 6:49 PM
Pete Denk

Mott told DRF today that he "has not ruled out running Royal Delta against the boys." :)

21 Jun 2012 7:04 PM

Mary Zinke

There’s no simple answer when it comes to factoring in the ease in which Royal Delta finished her race and how Ron the Greek seemed to have to work so much harder.  The numbers state that Royal Delta ran her final 3F in 37.26 and RTG in 37.66, a 2 lengths differential.  However, RD ran her final 7F in 125.18 and RTG in 125.15, 3/100’s differential in his favor.  Other things can be factored in too like RTG being squeezed in that opening quarter and the fact that after 2F he was 8 1/2L of the pace and Royal Delta 3, after 5F he actually fell back to 9 1/2L off the pace and remained that far back after 6F to Royal Delta’s 2 1/2L back at the half and one length back after 6F.

I’m not trying to say that I’m an expert, I’m just stating my opinion and many times my opinion is way out to lunch.  But one thing’s for sure, the Foster was a much deeper field than the Fleur de Lis and therefore much tougher mentally on a horse which had to compete against a stronger field.  That might sound like I’m reaching, but seriously, I don’t think so.   Horses use much more energy when running against stronger competition than they do when running against weaker competition.  A horse being able to maintain its proper energy level in a race is vitally important.  

When comparing these two races, go back to Rachel and Blame in 2010.  Rachel won the FDL eased up in 1.48.78, winning as she pleased against a mediocre field.  Blame won the Foster in 1.49.37 against a much tougher field.  Everyone was saying that Rachel should have run in the Foster and they were also ready to concede her the BCC.  From the Foster, Blame won the Whitney defeating Quality Road and eventually the BCC.  Rachel continued to take the easy route in the Lady’s Secret and couldn’t beat a non-stakes winner in the Personal Ensign.  So much for times.  All I’m saying is that Royal Delta must have a really good showing against the best in her division or a good group of males to convince me that she is capable of winning the BCC.

21 Jun 2012 10:04 PM
Mary Zinke

Oh my, I almost hate to comment further as a new blog may be needed, lol. Laz, wonderful to see your comments. The thing is, I've seen that Foster that Blame won described in a completely different light. Remember that injured horse that finished 2nd, Battle Plan? I've seen his injury being given as the reason Blame won that race. Now, I don't necessarily agree with that, but the comment was made, and I try to take all of this information in. I also appreciate all of the figures you posted. I'm not kidding, I do take those closing fractions and individual times into account especially after, your extrapolations. I love that word. Now, I'm being sincere, not bratty, but I just think RD had a lot more in the tank so to speak  and those 3/100's don't favor RTG much, and he was my win pick. I like him and I thought he'd benefit from the speed tiring. He was back further at the 1/2 at the 10f Santa Anita H'cap., but I agree he had no choice but to be way back in the early going of the Foster, and at the 3/4 he was 9 1/2 back.  Tough race. No way did it look like RTG could get to the wire in time. Did you see, in the head-on, all the drifting, not just by Nate's Mineshaft in the stretch? Even RTG drifted.  As you said, RD will have a much tougher task ahead when facing males and a larger field again.I'd rather see her go around than fight through traffic or try to squeeze in at the rail, although she's won filly races doing both of those runs. How I'd love for all of her races to be such a breeze as the Fleur De Lis was, but then, that wouldn't be much of a horse race, so she'll have to come up to the tests. Hopefully she's improved from age 3 to age 4, which doesn't always happen after a championship season, but RD looked stronger to me than she did in the BCLC, then again, I'm so biased, even I would seek another opinion on her.

I just think her goal should be the 10f race. I'll comment more about that as the BC nears.  

21 Jun 2012 10:57 PM
Mary Zinke

Nice to see CC make the also eligibles, at least. Fame is truly fleeting, or it must be forever since he was in that Santa Anita photo with IHA. I kinda hope the proposed trial on the turf doesn't work out as I think he's one of the best 3yo's on dirt.  

21 Jun 2012 11:56 PM

Mary Z.

I don’t believe that Blame would have won the Foster if Battle Plan hadn’t broken down during the stretch run.  At the 6F mark he was 2 3/4L behind him and then Battle Plan then opened up in the upper stretch and stretched his lead to 4L when all of a sudden he was finished, which was probably the point that he broke down.  We’ll never know for sure, but the simple point is, Blame was all out and couldn’t have run the race any faster.  Ron the Greek was all out too and couldn’t have run any faster, but I would be willing to make a bet that if he had an easier field to deal with and not too much traffic, he would have run his race faster.  Just my opinion of course.  I also remember thinking at the time that he might have surprised JV and Wise Dan by coming up the inside.  I think that JV was too locked in on Nate to notice him until it was too late.  Just conjecture.

I have no doubt that Royal Delta will defeat males.  I just am not convinced that it will be in the BCC.  Last year many people thought that HDG would win it given her races leading up to it and her victory over Flat Out in the Woodward.  She could do no better than 4th.  It’s a really tough race for fillies and mares.

21 Jun 2012 11:58 PM

Ranagulzion-thanks.  My reasoning is that American horses are not bred to go 12 furlongs anymore, and my proof would be the finishing splits which were turtle-like.  You cannot extrapolate that to winning a 10 furlong race.  But, as I said, he can prove me wrong in those races you mentioned.  Or he can prove me right.  We will see.

Hi Laz!  Hi Mary Z!

22 Jun 2012 3:55 AM

Some of the comments about the times in which races are run just boggle the mind.

Imagine two older horses run in 9-furlong races, on the same day, at the same track, carrying the same weight. One completes the distance in 109 seconds, the other in 110 seconds. Further, both horses are bred to stay.

In a subsequent race over 10 furlongs, the horse running the faster time carries less weight than the one running the slower time. Which horse is expected to win?

According to some of the comments on this blog, it depends on the gender of the two horses.

The only greater illogic I have read is someone maintaining that horse X inherited his characteristics from an ancestor born in 1930 but the descendants of a horse born in 1989 inherit their characteristics from him.

I must have just come in from Mars.

22 Jun 2012 6:52 AM


How was or maybe still is your trip through Spain?

22 Jun 2012 11:46 AM


Here’s a quote from Ben E. Jones one of the great trainers all time that might help shed some light on the importance of time versus class.  Citation’s fastest one mile race up to 1949 was 1.36 though in 1950 he would run a mile in 1.33 3/5.  Jones trained both Citation and stable-mate Coaltown (HOY in 1949), and had no hesitation in commenting after some said that Coaltown, after winning the 1949 Whirlaway Handicap, a mile race run in 1.34 while carrying 130 lbs., would have beaten Citation if he was in that race.  Jones didn’t hesitate when he stated:

“There was no comparison between the two.  Citation would take him (Coaltown) by the head at any point during that race and run away from him.  Possibly the time would be 1.35 or 1.36.  Citation doesn’t need to run that fast.  He just looks them in the eye, goes on by, and the race is over.  Class is what makes a good horse.  Time makes little difference.”

22 Jun 2012 12:20 PM
Mary Zinke

Laz, Sunny Spain is lovely, but footy misses me, uh, I mean us.  

Hey, footy :) Sweet siesta dreams!

22 Jun 2012 12:48 PM

Mary it won't be so lovely over there if Spain gets knocked off in Euro 2012.  Nothing scarier than an angry soccer mob.

22 Jun 2012 1:22 PM


I judge horses by what they have done. I go with the results achieved under similar circumstances.

For me, history has nothing to do with horse racing. All a horse needs to do to win a race is complete the distance faster than the others in the field. If the horse has proven he or she can do so, that is all that matters.

22 Jun 2012 1:30 PM


True, but judging a horse by what it's done is in a way history.  Everyone has their opinions.  That's what makes the world go round.  I just though I would restate what a trainer who trained two HOY plus multiple other award winners stated.  Have a good day and I hope that THAS gets back on track.

22 Jun 2012 1:49 PM

It doesn't take more than simple logic to boggle the mind of someone who amits to having come in from Mars wonder he doesn't comprehend the meaning of ancestors or ancestral traits whether from the 1930s or 1989.

The reason for pedigree charts is obvious to those who care to figure out the quality of a thoroughbred.

22 Jun 2012 3:13 PM

Mary Mary, you ROCK! I love that our opinions overlap so frequently (makes me feel like I know what I'm opining about.) I'm with you about the pace; after seeing the slowdown in the 2nd 1/4, I remember thinking that CC would have had to take the lead to keep from using up all his energy trying to run that slowly. I started daydreaming about a Belmont showdown with Rags right after the BC Juvie last year. Maybe my dream was just 5 months early!

  I'm not sure that Turf-CC means no more Dirt/Poly-CC. He could run with his left legs in cement and his right in quicksand and it wouldn't faze him much. Even though I can't claim to be well-schooled (ha) in all of the horses on the above list, I think CC's record speaks for itself.

 [Also---I can't BELIEVE you went to Spain and didn't take me with you!!!! I'll let you make it up to me, I guess--you can start by bringing back a breathtaking Andalusian or two {horse AND/OR horseman}]! Hope you're having the time of your life!

23 Jun 2012 12:05 AM
Mary Zinke

Hi irishbrave, I miss your CC comments at that other site. I don't know if this is another Mary identity mix up, because I didn't mention the pace, if you mean in the Belmont. That might have been other Mary. She's the UR lover. I'm CC's most loyal fan, after you and your dad anyway. Also, footy ran off to Spain without me, darn it. I'm still here in the states. No offense intended about CC's trying turf with who his daddy is, I just think he's better than some horses that made the BC list while he's on the AEs. Looking forward to your great updates on CC.

23 Jun 2012 2:05 AM

No EU horse on the list?  I wonder if Frankel's first race off turf and over a mile will be the Classic.  I don't know really know much how to analyze switching from turf to dirt specially EU turf.  I also don't know if Frankel can handle 10f but he has Hyperion in his blood so he can probably run, swim and run again from EU to California considering he has a lot of stamina.

Footlick : When you take a break from the boring trip in Spain, maybe you can comment on potential EU horses that might make it to any of the BC races. :)

As for RD, I enjoyed reading Mary and Laz's comments and I have to agree that RD should probably stay with the girls.  This year's Classic field is looking tough.  If Bode, Paynter, WTDW, and the resting 3 yr olds mix up with the Dan horses, RTG, Nate and Zenyatta, it can be a lot of fun.  I hope they all stay healthy until then.  I'm looking forward to a Trinniberg / Shackleford match up in the BC Mile, throw in Jackson Bend and THAS and we have ourselves another fun race to watch and wager.

23 Jun 2012 3:50 AM

Laz- still in Spain until July 12th.  It will be an interesting evening with the bonfires (Noche de St Juan) and me seating France's colors for the futbal  game!

Mary Z- gracias amiga!

JayJay- too early to think about that, though I would love to see Moonlight Cloud in the Bc Mile no matter how she runs against Black Caviar today.  She always runs huge at 7f and has been one of my favorites.

23 Jun 2012 9:03 AM

I think my iPad changed wearing to seating?  Can't tell until my post shows up, but if it did, I meant I will be wearing the Blue tonight.  Allez France!

23 Jun 2012 9:05 AM

Also that was the Turf Mile that I meant for Moonlight Cloud.

23 Jun 2012 9:10 AM
Mary Zinke

Hey Solano Beach, I know you miss the lakes, flowers,and your girl, but you didn't really mean to say that the distaff side should only face weak males, did you? ;) just razzing ya a little since you seemed to like one side of the conversation better than the other. p.s. gotta show some losing picks, too, for a well-rounded view of yourself.    

23 Jun 2012 10:27 AM

Black Caviar is a true champion. There's a lot to be said for horses like Black Caviar, Curlin, Cigar, Pebbles etc.that take their "A- game" overseas and outside their home circuit to triumph over international competition. The "Peppar's Pride" type of campaign takes away from the horse's credits IMO.

It would be nice to see if the connections of Frankel will follow suit at the Longchamp-Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meet or Breeders Cup later this year.  

23 Jun 2012 3:56 PM


Sorry France doen't have a prayer against Spain.

Tomorrow Italy should pack too many guns for an overly optimistic England.

23 Jun 2012 4:03 PM
El Kabong


You're on the right track. Time to laser in on BC runners and with all the talent that got benched early, Algorithms and Fed Biz(another Baffert talent), we are in for an exciting summer of surprises.


Great story about Citation. I have to admit, I have been focusing more on  Euro 2012 than TBreds lately, but Spain has no worries until they meet up with the Panzers which will happen. Going to be a great match.

23 Jun 2012 10:28 PM

Black Cavier is like a shrine in Australia. Whenever she races the fans come out in droves and they bring their kids with them. It's like a family outing and I think that that is sensational. In a way it would be a shame if she ever did get beat because it would be a real let down to the Ausie people in general, many of whom probably never go to the track or haven't seen her races live. She was fortunate today that Moonlight Cloud was crowded by the horse outside him. I think he would have nailed her for sure if he could have swung out a little sooner. Moonlight Cloud was coming out of a G3 win in France in his only start this year, but won the G1 XXX-Goldikova stakes in France last August. I think though that we've seen the last of her. She looks like she's wearing down and it's time to go and make babies.

23 Jun 2012 10:57 PM

El Kabong

You were right on about Spain.  I'm divided tomorrow.  I have always been a fan of the Italians and the English too, for that matter, with my favorite UK team Arsenal.  I'll hate to see one of them go out.

24 Jun 2012 12:21 AM


No way a 3 year old male, or even an older male, wraps up Horse of the Year over I'll Have Another BEFORE the BC Classic.  No way.

There are ways that I'll Have Another can lose the HoY and even the 3 year old male Eclipse, but the latter occurring absolutely demands some other 3 year old male putting together a string of victories that culminates in the BC Classic.  

Bode winning the Haskell and Jockey Club Gold Cup will not be enough to make up for his 0-2 deficit vs. I'll Have Another.  Even if Bode were to win the Travers in between, that still wouldn't be enough even though it would give him 4 grade 1s.  Union Rags adding the Travers and JCGC to his Belmont also would not be enough.  Throwing in the Jim Dandy wouldn't tip the scale.  

No, the BC Classic has to be on the resume if some other horse is to deny I'll Have Another the 3 year old male Eclipse, and it most likely will be needed for some older male to pass I'll Have Another for HoY.

This doesn't necessarilly mean that Bode or Rags have to accomplish the above and then add the BC Classic.  Maybe if you replace one of the hypothetical victories with the BC Classic it will be enough.  So, for Bode it's winning the Haskell, Travers, and then BC Classic with a solid 2nd in his BC prep.  Or for Rags it would be winning the Jim Dandy, Travers, running 2nd or 3rd in the JCGC, and then taking the BC Classic.

To sum:


Haskell/Jim Dandy-Travers-JCGC= Not Enough

The JCGC simply will not be enough to put either over the hump.  But a Haskell/Jim Dandy-Travers-BC Classic triple puts either right there.

The one scenario where the JCGC could be decisive in determining HoY is if Royal Delta were to win it after also taking either the Whitney or Woodward.  But in any event, I don't see that happening.

24 Jun 2012 12:37 AM

Royal Delta is a really good filly, a filly that just exudes class.  And she can run 10 furlongs, no doubts.

She clearly delivered the performance of the night at Churchill last Saturday.  However, I'm not certain we can infer that she would have won the Foster by 5 as a comparison of the final times suggests.  

First, the Fleur de Lis set up perfectly for Royal Delta.  She was able to sit in a pocket behind a solid pace, and then simply met no resistance when she made her move to the lead.  For the length of the stretch she was out on her own, completely without mental or physical pressure.

Had she been in the Foster, Nate's Mineshaft and Wise Dan would have stuck with her for a much longer time.  And the mere presence of other horses, particularly classy males, places increased mental and physical stress on a horse.  It's why a horse on an uncontested lead can go 22 and 44 and win by daylight but then when hounded in a duel folds after 23 and 46.

Just as important as the fact that Nate's Mineshaft and Wise Dan wouldn't have allowed Royal Delta to open up on them uncontested is that they would have pulled her along a 3rd quarter in 23 and 3(I believe, off hand- I know it was sub-24).  Particularly for mid-pack runners and closers, it's much easier to run steady fractions of about 24 and 3, or slowly build up steam than to have to throw in a quick quarter in the middle of the race to remain in contact.  For races at 9 furlongs+, often internal sub-24 quarters are decisive, and allows a horse to blow a race upon.  And typically, if a horse can string toghether two consecutive sub-24 internal quarters, like what Game on Dude did in the Claifornian, you're looking at a romp.

Would Royal Delta have been able to handle the quicker 3rd quarter of the Foster?  Probably, but there are no guarantees.  At the least, it's a safe assumption that Royal Delta likely would not have finished as well had she been in the Foster.

For me, it's just such a huge jump from a grade 2 race against females to the very best older males in the world.  Huge.

And unlike when Rachel was challenging the boys, or even Zenyatta and Havre de Grace, it's not like Royal Delta has won a bunch of super fast races.  Long-winded, and more of a grinder(a positive use of the term), Royal Delta has only broken the 100 Beyer mark a few times.  

The performance Royal Delta delivered in the BC Ladies Classic made me wonder, for the first time, whether Havre de Grace was actually the best female in training; prior to BC weekend, Havre de Grace appeared at least several lengths faster than Royal Delta.  But the Ladies Classic wasn't good enough to make me think Royal Delta could beat the best males, something even Havre de Grace failed to do.

The Fleur de Lis was the first time that Royal Delta got me to really think about how she stacks up with the very best males.  So, Royal Delta is moving in the right direction; she getting better, and faster.  But I'll need to see this type of effort more than this one time before placing her above all of the males.  

Last year, Havre de Grace already had a grade 1 win over older males and I still didn't like her chances against the very best of the older males in the Classic.  Royal Delta has 2 grade 1 wins to her name, and both times the toughest horse she defeated was It's Tricky.  That's a nice filly, It's Tricky, but running her down is miles from running down a horse like Game on Dude.  Both the older males and 3 year old males are stronger this year than they were last year, and I'm not certain Royal Delta is any better than Havre de Grace was when she failed against that softer group(although Royal Delta is better suited than Havre for 10 furlongs).

Finally, while the 10 furlong distance should be perfect for Royal Delta, one has to have concerns about shipping out to run at Santa Anita.  Not only will she have to beat horses that have a home track advantage, but there are no guarantees she will like the surface, and even if she does one has to wonder how her late run will look on a track that often plays to early speed?

24 Jun 2012 1:48 AM

Home track advantage is a huge factor for me in trying to rank the BC Classic hopefuls.  

Looking at the best finishes by North American based horses in the BC Classic, the last time the top finishing North American horse in the BC Classic was running outside its time zone(home base time zone) was Ghostzapper in 2004 and that was because the BC was held in a part of the continent(Texas) where few of the top horses were stabled.  Thus, if one excludes Lone Star in 2004 and Arlington in 2002, the last time the top finishing North American in the Classic was running outside its time zone was Tiznow in 2001.

11'- Drosselmeyer(same Eastern time zone)

10'-Blame(home track)

09'-Zenyatta(home track)

08'-Tiago(home track)

07'-Curlin(same Eastern time zone)

06'-Invasor(same Eastern time zone)

05'-Saint Liam(home track, or at least same Eastern time zone)

04'- N/A

03'-Pleasantly Perfect(home track)

02'- N/A

01'- Tiznow(Western based horse in NYC)

The only horse based back East to win the Classic when it has been held out in California was Skip Away in 97'.  And that just happens to be the 2nd or 3rd best horse in the Breeder's Cup era.  Wild Again won the inaugural Classic at Hollywood from his Midwest base.  And even if one looks at the 2 Classics run at Santa Anita won by Euros(93' and 08'), the best North American finishers were Cali-based Bertrando in 93' and Cali-based Tiago in 08'.

We can poke fun at John Sherriffs for over-dramatizing his "over the Rockies" excuse for not shipping Zenyatta, but his premise is actually correct-  Shipping makes winning races more difficult.  We saw that today with Black Caviar.  Is it any wonder Cigar's streak ended when he shipped out for a second time to California, or that when Zenyatta finally did lose it was outside California against a horse running at his home track?

Understanding this, one has to recognize that Game on Dude is 4-for-4 at Santa Anita, with 3 graded stakes wins, 2 being grade 1s(including one at 10 furlongs).  Game on Dude's style doesn't allow much room for adaptation(to pace scenarios), but Santa Anita is his track and assuming he's healthy even if he loses the Classic he will take all the other speed with him; at Santa Anita I just don't see another speed horse running with Game on Dude early and then past him late.

The second thing to remember is that Ron the Greek has already proven he can ship out successfully to Santa Anita and that he can beat a full field of stakes horses in a grade 1 at 10 furlongs.  The fact Ron ran well at Gulfstream, then shipped out to win the Big Cap, then went to Arakansas and ran 2nd despite getting no pace, and that he most recently beat the best field of older males thus far this year in the Foster makes him a strong #2 for me.  

No way I can rank Royal Delta over Game on Dude and Ron off of just the Fleur.

#3 Wise Dan

#4 Bodemeister(home track)

#5 Successful Dan

#6 Royal Delta

#7 Union Rags

24 Jun 2012 2:14 AM

Congrats to Black Caviar for going to Royal Ascot and taking a legit group 1.

Certainly, had she lost, it might have gone down as the costliest piece of rider error in recent memory.  But rider error or not, Black Caviar was never winning the Jubilee easily or by more than a neck or half a length.  

Unlike her races down under, Black Caviar was just never able to get separation from the field today.  Was the pace too fast and did it dull her kick?  Maybe.  Was the competition better than she is used to? I would think so, but according to most international observers the horses she faced in the Jubilee actually weren't any better than her Aussie foes.

Two things are more clear.  First, unlike her recent Aussie races, Black Caviar faced a nearly full field in the Jubilee.  This wasn't a 5 or 6 horse field where she could stalk an overmatched speed horse and then open up with no one around her.  Like most any grade 1 race with a full field, there were going to be more quality horses running alongside her early, in the middle, and then late.  And having horses close by, even if they are different horses at each stage, adds stress to a horse, and makes them have to work harder mentally and ultimately physically.

In the Jubilee, once Black Caviar put away the speed, there were immediately two more challengers to take her on, and had the race gone on further there were late runners starting to bear down.  Again, Black Caviar just wasn't able to open up on that field, and this fact likely took some starch out of her.

Second, and most importantly, Black Caviar was having to ship literally around the world.  While she had time to adjust, the travel undoubtedly had to take something out of her, at least initially.  Then, she was forced to adjust to a different barn, different environment, different weather, different track, different just about everything.  And this all matters.

How many lengths does shipping account for?  It's hard to say, but most likely if a Euro ships over here and wins a race by a length, if these same horse were to face each other again in Europe the Euro wins by open lengths.  North American horses can run competitively with Euros when facing them on our home ground, but there is a reason why they repeatedly come over here and win grade 1s and why we don't do anything over there.

Thus, to all the Frankel fans asserting their horse's superiority over Black Caviar, slow your roll a little.  While ultimately I do believe Frankel to be the superior horse, I think using this week's races as validation is unfair and misleading.  Reverse roles, and have Black Caviar running back in Australia and have Frankel shipping down under for a big mile race, and the narrative is probably much different.

The Jubilee was always going to be the toughest test to date for Black Caviar.  For me, the quality of the competition didn't matter much. It was more about the demands of intercontinental shipping, the pressure of running at Royal Ascot, and having a giant bullseye on her rear(with her competition running for European pride).  In the end, Black Caviar won, and that was enough.

24 Jun 2012 2:37 AM


I thought that Zenyatta was retired and is now in the baby making business.  I'm sure that all those other males wouild be only too glad to mix it up with her when their racing days are over.

What about Game On Dude and Caleb's Posse?  DId you forget to add them in or are you already throwing them out.  That BC Mile could turn out to be the best race on the BC Card.

24 Jun 2012 2:46 AM

Great posts GunBow.  I am wide awake for some reason tonight and your posts have made for some enjoyalbe and informative reading.

24 Jun 2012 2:55 AM

GunBow : Don't forget that Bodemeister is also based in Santa Anita.  Although he didn't seem to like the SA surface, I think come Classic time, Bode will be much much more mature and would've had enough experience.  I'm quite sure Baffert has the Classic as the ultimate goal for Bodemeister and I'm sure he'll win some other races before then.  Even if Bode doesn't win the Classic, he'll be tough on the lead.  There's also Nate's Mineshaft who seems to be a natural speedball regardless of the track or surface.  We'll see who makes it but I'm hoping all the legit horses stay healthy and make it to the Classic.

I'm dreading the summer races, I don't really like the summer races here in Cali except for Delmar.

24 Jun 2012 3:03 AM

Black Caviar ran well, but I don't like the trainer saying she wasn't 100% when he just stated she was in the best shape of her life.  Also, remember Moonlight Cloud is not a 6 furlong horse.  It is admirable for them to ship, but lesser sprinters from Australia have done it well before her and won more impressively.  And the Euro's ship to Australia for their distance events and win, so it is not uncommon.  There is talk that she was injured and may be retired.  Hope it is just talk.  Would hate for that to have happened.  She did not seem comfortable anytime in the race.

Ranagulzion-cheap shot.  I thought we were done with that subject.

And yes, I knew Spain was a better team, but I could not abandon France even when I am in Spain.  Now, I'm torn on Italy-England.  It is the Diamond Jubilee so England is going to be super fired-up.  But, Italy is probably just too good.  Do they still strip to their underwear on the field after their games?  I know they used to do that, but that may just be at home games.

24 Jun 2012 3:33 AM


That's why I had Bode at #4 and even put a (home track) next to him.

I think Bode likes Santa Anita just fine.  In the San Felipe Creative Cause just ran really well.  Also, they tired to rate Bode off of American Act, and it just appears that Bode is best now ehn allowed to roll from the beginning.  

I was at Santa Anita for Bode's maiden win and it was a thing of beauty.  He was just bouncing off that surface, striding out effortlessly.  

My biggest conern is what Baffert is going to do having both Bode and Game on Dude.  There's still a lot of time before they would have to face each other, and it's impossible to know if both will be healthy then.  But if they are, they have exactly the same style; they're not just frontrunners, they are blazing speedballs.  

Prior to the Derby I would have thought Game on Dude was quicker, but after Bode outsprinted the best 3 year old sprinters in the country for 6 furlongs and just kept on going, I don't know.  I have always felt that Bode has the potential to sit and pounce, but he just hasn't been successful yet doing that. Game on Dude could rate as a 3 year old, but his speed has actually been getting sharper and sharper.

If those 2 as well as Paynter were all in the same race, Paynter is being taken back.

24 Jun 2012 3:39 AM


Always appreciate your kind words and opinions.

I have to admit, I hadn't read through all the comments before posting.  You artciulated a lot of strong points, points which I then repeated.  I strongly concur with your points about how class, race shape, and the presence of other horses can affect the outcome.  

Even if the fractions are the same, it is much more difficult and taxing for horses to do it while lapped by other horses than to do it off by themselves.  

Does it make any sense that when Eden's Moon doesn't make the lead she quits, but when she makes the lead she fight like heck to the wire, and with pace of the scenarios having no bearing?

Or, how about Rock and Glory in last week's grade 1 Vanity.  She was coming off a 8.5 furlong allowance win at Hollywood, a race she won by 11.25 lengths.  In that race she set a pace of 46 and 4, 111 and 2 and finished in 144 and 1.  In the Vanity, she set a pace of 46 and 2, and 111 flat.  I recognize she was running a sixteenth further in the Vanity, but the pace in both races was very similar.  So, did she win the Vanity by 11.25?  Nope, in fact she didn't even finish, having to be eased out of exhaustion, even though the winner took 151 to run 9 furlongs.

What could explain a horse winning by 11 and then being eased running similar fractions?  Is it class?  Well, maybe, but more tangible to me is that in that maiden she was out in the clear on the lead, and had a 5 length lead at the top of the stretch.  In the Vanity, however, she was being pressed by Caelis and Atlantic Swing to her outside and Include Me Out on the inside; she was under PRESSURE the entire way, and the presence of these challengers ultimately caused her to fold mentally and physically(don't know which folded first, the mind or body?)

Then again, on the other side of the coin, in today's Hollywood Oaks, Potesta goes from a maiden win where she set a 49 and change and 113 and change pace to pressing Eden's Moon in 47 and 111, and then has to survive a rough stretch run with that rival, but wins anyways.  What a game.

24 Jun 2012 4:03 AM

For those that haven't watched the Hollywood Oaks, treat yourself.  

It was quite a stretch battle.  It's rare to see the lead change hands 3 times between two horses in a stretch battle.  Eden's Moon had the lead, Potesta passed her in early stretch on the way to an apparent victory before Eden's Moon re-rallies.  Surely, Eden's Moon will win, having delivered this second effort?  No, Potesta makes one final dive at Eden's Moon and tags her at the wire.

The California 3 year old fillies aren't much, but they are evenly matched and because of this produce great theater.  The last 4 major stakes for 3 year old fillies out here in California(SA Oaks, Melair, Railbird, Hollywood Oaks) have been thrilling affairs.  Just don't expect fast times or big Beyers from this group.

24 Jun 2012 4:09 AM

Gun Bow,

I quote you: "No way a 3 year old male, or even an older male, wraps up Horse of the Year over I'll Have Another BEFORE the BC Classic.  No way."

It may be a tall order but if Union Rags were to win the Haskell, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup, he would have eclipsed I'll Have Another's HOTY bid IMO ...unless it becomes something political and you have some inside information to which I'm not privy. The BCC would be gravy my friend. Think about it Bro.

Bodemeister has no shot, having already been twice humbled by IHA. I do believe however, that he'll be a "yardstick" for others attempting to eclipse IHA. Whoever can beat Bodemeister in the Haskell will definitely take a chunk out of IHA's lead. If and when Bodemeister is successful he will only fortify IHA's position therefore the Haskell is going to be a very important race for IHA in absentia.

The Breeders Cup Classic becomes crucial for the older horses making a bid or to compensate for any hiccups in the above scenario for Union Rags. Realistically I don't see any other 3YO with a shot unless that colt/filly breaks a couple of track records or really hammers some older horses into the ground en route to the Breeders Cup.


Cheapshot? You're getting hyper-sensitive on me here. Its hard to get away from such thoughts in considering the feats of horses like Black Caviar and Goldikova. Plain and simple. I didn't berate anybody ...only suggested that beating upon local competition alone takes away somewhat from the glitter of a great racing career when looking at the broader picture. Why is the truth a cheapshot ...and at whom? I said that I'd like to see Frankel compete outside his home situation and thats very current.

About the Euro 2012, got it right again ...Italy looked so dominant against England. I fancy them to go all the way to the final. Sorry I hardly notice the stripping down to underwear on the field at the end of their games ...that's a bit too exotic (not erotic) and hard on my eyes but I'll allow you each his/her own ...not my philosophy.  

24 Jun 2012 11:37 PM

Laz : Yeah, she's in the baby making business now, just sounded nice to say her name in the Classic field, just seems like she deserves to be there every year lol.  I did forget about Game On Dude but remember it when I saw GunBow's post.  I don't know about Caleb's Posse, do you think he can get 10Fs ?  I haven't checked his pedigree but if he has even a pin drop of Hyperion in him, he definitely will get the 10Fs.   I'm pretty sure CP will probably try the Mile which is going to be another very tough race and I agree with you, the Mile will most likely be a tougher/better race than the Classic.  

GunBow : I don't like Baffert's dilemma with this horses, as you mentioned, Bode and Game On Dude are both speedballs.  I don't think they can or should be rated but we' ve seen how fast Nate can set pace, I'm sure that has to play in Baffert's game plan.  It almost like a suicide run for both Baffert horses.  They both have the home field advantage.

What do you think of Bode going to the Turf ?   With his speed, I think he might actually steal the race.  I think he can run Acclamation to the ground.  

Ranagulzion : I'll go ahead and say it.  UR beat a very very very weak field in the Belmont.   It wasn't the "test of champions", far from it.  You can spin it anyway you want, you've gotten very good at it.  Let's see how UR does in the Haskell and the Travers, then you can start talking about championship, if he wins both that is.

25 Jun 2012 2:21 AM

Ranagulzion-the "Pepper's Pride" comment was only used with one horse, as you well know.  That is why I said cheap shot and that I thought we were done with that subject.  Why would anyone take that comment for a comment about Frankel, who drubbed Excellebration, who is the second highest ranked miler this year, twice so far and twice with ease?  He also defeated the three conquerors of Goldikova last year with ease, Canford Cliffs, Immortal Verse and Dream Well. How could anyone in any way, shape or form think you were talking about Frankel? You act like he is running against claimers, not legitimate gr 1 horses who he is dominating.  Why does he need to go anywhere when the second ranked miler is in his backyard already?

25 Jun 2012 6:56 AM
Mary Zinke

The Read will hopefully be be fast enough for your liking. Meanwhile, the third paragraph was amusante.

25 Jun 2012 7:04 AM
Mary Zinke

How'd you sneak in there footy? Oh well, I don't have my pass yet to play w/some of these boys. lol.

25 Jun 2012 7:07 AM

Mary Z- you do not need a pass.  You are already a member as far as I'm concerned.

25 Jun 2012 7:41 AM


You wrote:

“How many lengths does shipping account for?  It's hard to say, but most likely if a Euro ships over here and wins a race by a length, if these same horse were to face each other again in Europe the Euro wins by open lengths.”

I am always wary of making excuses for horses.

How do the following two horses fit into your analysis about the effects of travel?

Americain and Duneden.

They both travelled from Europe to Australia and won the last two Melbourne Cups. They were not much in Europe.

On the other hand, So You Think has turned out to be an overrated horse in Europe. He was a champion in Australia.

Is not possible that the current Australian horses are overrated?

For me, horses are what they do until proven otherwise and Black Caviar has not shown that she is in the same league as Frankel. The Timeform update will be released today. She would be ranked about 11 pounds below Frankel.

25 Jun 2012 8:08 AM

JerseyBoy- I agree.  As far as So You Think is concerned, O'Bfien admitted  he didn't train him correctly.  But, he has not been the dominant horse they thought he would be, you are also correct in that statement.  

25 Jun 2012 9:12 AM


I do not doubt that So You Think was not being trained the right way but the fact remains that he was beaten in Australia by Americain before he was sent to Europe. Admittedly, it was in the Melbourne Cup when he was conceding weight and he might not have liked the distance.

Ortensia, another Australian sprinter finshed 9th at Royal Ascot last week.

I judge them by what they do.

(By the way, the name of a horse I mentioned earlier is spelt Dunaden, not Duneden.)

25 Jun 2012 1:36 PM


Lets face it, Peppar's Pride is the poster child for an ultra-conservative restricted campaign to protect a winning streak. Any other horse's campaign closely resembling Peppar's Pride's may come into view but thats up to the reader ...dont blame me 'Footy' (I'm taking queue from Mary Zinke)LOL.

25 Jun 2012 2:38 PM

Jay Jay,

Union Rags answered the stamina question loud and clear in the Belmont. I'll let him continue to embarass you with his speed and class on the track. Talk to me about him after the Haskell. Okay?

25 Jun 2012 2:42 PM

I agree that "home field advantage" is a plus for the local horses.  However, now that Santa Anita is back to dirt, it's not the "slam dunk" it was when the good dirt horses were not only traveling, but having to run over an unfamiliar type of surface.  

I too am wondering what BB will do to keep Bodemeister and Game on Dude separated.  Dude loves SA, so I'd give him the edge in the BCC.

As for 3-yr old championship; no way does IHA have it sewn up.  Too many opportunities still out there  and remember, this is a good crop of 3-yr olds; it's not like IHA was the lone "stand out" coming into the TC series.  I think the key will be, can a 3-yr old beat older horses?

No matter how you shake it, the 2nd 1/2 of the year is going to be very interesting.

25 Jun 2012 2:57 PM

Ranagulzion; I may be as big a fan of UR as you are but I have to agree with some of the others here; his race times and resulting numbers have NOT been fast.  He is definitely going to have to step it up to beat the likes of Bodemeister, especially at anything less than 10 furlongs.  That said, there is nothing I would like better than to see Rags run the table the rest of the year.

25 Jun 2012 3:01 PM
Mary Zinke

LOL, yourself Ranagetc., I don't use near as many words as footy to say I'm bored.  

25 Jun 2012 3:52 PM
Minnesota Kid

Gun Bow,

Excellent posts, as usual. You mentioned the difficulty in shipping and then winning. It made me think about all these East-coasters whining about the connections of you-know-who for not flying her all over the country.

I am trying to remember all of the Eastern-based horses that shipped out to CA to win big races. I am not sure of the precise answer to that question, but I do know the general answer is "not very many".

Jay Jay,

I was wondering if you have heard about any plans for the rest of the year for Trinniberg. You mentioned you were looking forward to a match-up w/ Shack in the BC Mile. Did the connections announce that as a target race, or are you just thinking they will bypass the Sprint in favor of 8 furlongs?


I refuse to poke fun at anyone for falling head over heels in love w/ a particular horse.

That being stated, has MM even hinted at entering your boy in the Haskell? If you owned 51% of UR, what would the rest of his 2012 campaign look like?

If it were me, the big fella would never see New Jersey.

25 Jun 2012 4:00 PM

jay jay,

It pains to quote you on this "UR beat a very very very weak field in the Belmont.   It wasn't the "test of champions", far from it.  You can spin it anyway you want, you've gotten very good at it."

I don't use 'spin' when my selection wins. I leave that to losers trying to save face when their rantings about the horse being a miler falls flat on the ground. I posted my analysis on Union Rags ability and pedigree and the horse duly obliged ...why do I need to put spin on it?

I'm also a believer in speed figures but they are only a guide and Zenyatta famously proved that whith her consistent low BSF inspite of her undeniable class.  Give it a break 'til after the Haskell jay jay. Enjoy some more crow for the time being Bro were dead wrong about U/Rags.

25 Jun 2012 4:31 PM

Minnesota Kid,

Are you new on here? I think that I have a pretty good record at spotting a class horse from early in his/her career and being vindicated most of the times. Union Rags vindicated my posts about him in the Belmont Stakes ...poke fun all you want my friend ... you'll only end up laughing at your self. Stay tuned.

25 Jun 2012 4:35 PM
Karen in Texas

Minnesota Kid----Matz is leaning toward the Haskell over the Jim Dandy for Union Rags according to a Brisnet report today.

25 Jun 2012 5:35 PM
Minnesota Kid

Karen in Texas,

Thank you for the update. I also enjoyed your various posts on the need for more facts and less opinions when it comes to breeding. The horse racing world, and the world in general, could use more facts.


I laugh at myself quite a bit, actually, so if I wager vs. UR in the Haskell and he wins by daylight, laughter definitely will be the best recourse.

You seem to be a fan of sarcasm, more ? about UR---When is he going to run fast?

25 Jun 2012 6:37 PM

Karen in Texas,

You're as sharp as a razor and more current (currant) than that from the grapevine LOL. Glad you're here Sis.

Minnesota Kid,

The answer to your question is: when he needs to. U/Rags finished a mere five lengths off Bodemeister in the Derby after losing all chance at the off therefore you need to analyse properly and beware of one-dimensional thinking. Watch and learn my friend.

25 Jun 2012 7:55 PM


Here are my current top five in the older horses and 3YO category respectively with the BCC in view: 1)Successful Dan 2)Wise Dan 3)Mucho Macho Man 4)Ron The Greek 5) Game on Dude.

Stay Thirsty, Buffom and To Honour and Serve (all sons of Bernardini) could break through at Saratoga. I'm not convinced that Royal Delta is a colt-beater.

3YOs: 1) Union Rags 2) Bodemeister 3) Gemologist 4) Alpha 5) Discreet Dancer.

Neck and Neck, Atigun, Paynter, Dullahan and Creative Cause cannot be left out of calculation.  

25 Jun 2012 8:34 PM
Minnesota Kid

One sarcastic, marginally humorous question about UR and I get the old "watch and learn" insult-wow.

Watch and learn what? How to be real, real obnoxious when you get home a $7 winner by a neck? Jimmy Crack Corn, man.

25 Jun 2012 9:09 PM


Thanks for the kind words.  I am running short on time but would like sometime to respond to your posts.  I'm glad that you didn't disappear when Jason left.  Have a good one.


I wasn't thinking about the BCC when I mentioned Caleb's Posse.  My bad.  Some times I wonder though if a horse with his early patience and late closing abilities couldn't be trained to get 10F.  Probably not or they would already be running him in the longer races.  His participation in the Dirt Mile will ensure that it will be a great race.  I would also love to see Hansen run on grass and possibly point for the Turf MIle.

25 Jun 2012 10:20 PM

Ranagulzion :  A spin is when you talk about how tough that Belmont field is, and right after you start talking about championship.  The only times you were right about Urags was about winning the Belmont and that's only because no one ran in the Belmont except Paynter and .

The fact is I was right about Urags more than you were, I knew more about this horse than you did.  I said he won't win the FL Derby, I was right.  I said he won't win the TC, I was right.  I said he won't hit the board in the Kentucky Derby, I was right.  I said Johnny Velasquez was the best fit jockey for this horse and I was proven right in the Belmont.

You said he'll win the Florida derby, you were wrong.  The Kentucky Derby, again wrong.  You wanted Edgar Prado on this horse, I'm sure that was wrong.  You declared him the Triple Crown winner, guaranteed, it's all said and done, set in stone.  WRONG.

How about you let the horse show it himself without you trying to use him to show you're excellent pedigree analysis, which if you asked me is way way way off.  I say take a hint from Dr. Hansen, he's going to back off and let Hansen do the talking before he does.   I'm done with my crow :)

Your respond to Minnesota kid is an excellent example of you spinning things.  You're the only one that has yet to see that he has NOT improved from his 2 yr old form.  He's winning against WEAK fields, let me say it again, WEAK fields.  When he runs against legitimate colts, he's not showing any superhorse abilities.

"a mere 5 lengths" - the horse loses by 5 lengths and you downplay it, he wins by a nose hair against a horse that threw a shoe and you talk about him like he's a superhorse... that's a SPIN.

Laz : I thought it didn't make sense, but yeah, I'm looking forward to the Mile.  I just hope all the big shooters stay healthy.  I'm  always checking for news to see if there's any plans for Frankel to ship over.  I'd love to see him run here.

25 Jun 2012 11:41 PM

Minnesota Kid : No, I have not heard any plans for Trinniberg.  I said I'm looking forward to it but maybe I should've said "I'm hoping".  I think Trinniberg has nothing to prove running in sprints.  The horse can take his speed to a Mile IMO.  He's a talented horse and I for one am glad that the trainer took one chance to see how far he can go and now he knows.

As Laz said, the Mile will be a much much tougher field this year compared to the Classic.  Unfortunately, I have to go through major withdrawal with the summer fair races.  It's like playing the south america races (covered by Laurel and Calder)...  the odds changes so much I get dizzy following who will be the favorite when the gate opens.  I guess I'm a sadist in some form because I still play them lol.

26 Jun 2012 12:35 AM

Looks like Gemologist is back, had a workout yesterday at Belmont and went :49 for 4F.  I'm glad to see him back.

26 Jun 2012 2:22 AM

Jersey Boy- yes, Ortensia was a flop, but at least IMO an expected flop

26 Jun 2012 3:27 AM

So You Think has won, what, 4 or 5 European group 1s and he's a bust?  C'mon folks.  He has 2 group 1s this year.

26 Jun 2012 5:06 AM


The problem with Union Rags is that he has 2 losses on the year.  The excuses for why, don't erase this fact.  At 2 for 4 on the year to date, with just one grade 1, he has sooo much left to do.  

And I still totally believe he needs to win the Classic for the 3 year old Eclipse.

I will give Matz credit, with his comments about needing the grade 1 status of the Haskell for divisional honors, his head is in the right place.  Frankly, I thought he would go the conservative route and use the Jim Dandy, the traditional Travers prep.  And I'm still not convinced he won't.

My above posts were written under the assumption Matz would run him in the Jim Dandy.  And a Jim Dandy-Travers-JCGC would not be enough to put Union Rags over I'll Have Another.  It would give Union Rags the same number of grade 1s as IHA, but he would have lost the head-to-head and would also have that Florida Derby loss while IHA was undefeated.

Going in the Haskell and winning it and then also taking the Travers and JCGC would make it interesting, I'll give you that.  It would give Union Rags one more grade 1, something absolutely vital if he's to compensate for the head-to-head loss and the Florida Derby.

But saying, and I highly doubt he will actually do all this, that Union Rags does sweep the Haskell, Travers, and JCGC, do you really think he can then dodge the BC Classic?  You really think voters will allow Team Rags to not run in the Classic?  Because in this scenario, there will still be a lot of support for IHA; this scenario only makes the voting close, but I certainly don't think it will CLINCH anything for Rags.

No, Union Rags will need to run in the Classic.  Maybe an "injury" could get them off the hook, and then we get a close and controversial vote that could go either way.  But if Rags is healthy, I do believe voters will punish him if he's a Breeder's Cup no-show; this isn't like Holy Bull who had a HUGE lead going into the BC.

So, if Rags needs to run in the Classic, won't he need to run well to still keep himself alongside IHA?  A loss in the Classic would be the third loss on the year.  Maybe if he'a close 2nd a loss wouldn't damage his Eclipse chances, but what if he were to run 4th or worse, and be beaten open lengths?  Then, his Eclipse chances go down the drain.  Thus, the Classic will be decisive.

26 Jun 2012 5:24 AM


Only because you have been patting yourself on the back, I feel the need to remind you that you most certainly were not totally correct about Union Rags, and that the Belmont fell far short of validating your opinion of him.

Because not only did you predict he would win the Kentucky Derby, you were writing about a Triple Crown.  I warned you that you were stepping way out on a limb, that you were seriously underestimating the competition he would face and the difficulty of winning all 3 races.  I advised you to take it one race at a time.  But you were insistent.

You can't now claim that because he won the Belmont you were validated.  You were validated as it concerns the Belmont, and you were validated vis-a-vis the equally biased anti-Rags folks who predicted he would do nothing in the Triple Crown and had no shot in the Belmont.  However, those people were in the minority.  Most people, including myself, gave Rags a big shot in the Derby and then the Belmont, which was why he was second choice in both races.  You make it seem like you were on an island supporting Rags, but he had plenty of support.

So, I'm not going to judge and then validate your words in comparison with the anti-Rags fanatics.  No, instead I'm going to judge your words on the basis of your words alone.  You predicted a win in the Kentucky Derby.  Wrong.  You predicted a Triple Crown.  Very wrong.  After your Triple Crown prediction crashed, you then predicted he would win the Belmont.  Correct.  

I'll give you credit for sticking with Union Rags in the Belmont and for believing he could get 12 furlongs.  You won that round versus the doubters.  But it most certainly didn't validate your expectations of Union Rags because you had set the bar in the stratosphere.  I debated with you before the Derby not because I thought Union Rags wasn't a good horse, but because you were placing far too great expectations on him.  And ultimately, Union Rags couldn't meet those expectations.

There is more racing ahead, and Union Rags hopefully will get the chance to validate your belief that he's the best 3 year old and an elite, all-time great horse.  However, your prediction of him winning the Triple Crown can never be salvaged.  And since the Triple Crown is considered by most the toughest and biggest accomplishment for a thoroughbred, particularly 3 year olds, it's hard to imagine Rags doing anything that would reach the level you originally predicted for him.

26 Jun 2012 5:51 AM


And I want to make it perfectly clear that I disagree with those who write that Union Rags proved nothing in the Belmont, and that he didn't prove he could go a classic distance.  My response is that he won the race, successfully negotiating 12 furlongs.  He can get a classic distance, and he deserves credit for winning a classic race.

However, I will point to the slow time and the narrow margin of victory(over a horse with one start to his name at the beginning of April, with the unheralded Atigun a close 3rd) in so far as it relates to the incredibly high standards you set for him.  You have claimed Union Rags to be a superstar, and while he was victorious in the Belmont, I didn't see a superstar performance; that was not the effort of an all-timer.

My point isn't that Union Rags is not a very good horse, because I do think he is.  Yet, I can't go so far as saying that his neck win in 2:30 and change validated your opinion that he's a superstar.  So, again, for me it's only because you placed the bar so high that I have trouble seeing full vindication for you.  

Ultimately, in the larger picture, you were correct about Rags winning the Belmont, and winning is what's most important.  However, since your opinion of his talents is so great, I don't know if merely winning is enough for total validation(of your opinions).  

26 Jun 2012 6:22 AM

GunBow- I love So You Think, but he did not live up to his hype.  He is a very good horse, and was an Iron Horse in Australia.  But, he is not the second coming of Ribot, which is almost the way he had been hyped.  But, he is a very good horse.  Any race he is entered, he certainly is a threat.

So, in a sense he has been a bust, a successful one, but still not what was anticipated.

26 Jun 2012 7:31 AM
Karen in Texas

I'm not sure who was asking about Trinniberg's plans, but he is going to the King's Bishop next apparently.

26 Jun 2012 10:49 AM

Minnesota Kid,

My apologies for the offence ...guess its all the push back that I'm constrained to do against the Union Rags detractors. Peace.

26 Jun 2012 1:24 PM
Minnesota Kid


Fair enough--I get it, you have definitely been taking some heat.

I am not really a detractor of any horse, let alone a classic winner.

If he goes in the Haskell, he will be a play vs. for me, but so what?

On another subject, I was wondering if you, and anyone else, would be willing to share your personal wagering menu, that is to say the "types" of wagers you make.

We all like to talk about who,who,who--maybe we should spend more time talking about how,how,how.

For example, I go through long stretches where I only make win bets. That stretch usually ends when a few of my picks run 2nd and pay $12+ to place.

Currently, my personal wagering menu looks like this:

Win-Place-Exactas-Doubles-Pick 4's.

Any advice?

26 Jun 2012 1:58 PM

Gun Bow,

I'll conceed on the Triple crown predictions and the Florida Derby. However the colt had major excuses in both Derbies, for those who'd be honest enough to admit. He recovered and finished the Kentucky Derby well enough from the Cajun-double-team shut-out at the off (Kent Desormeaux & Calvin Borel on Dullahan and Take Charge Indy respectively) to confirm that my confidence was not misplaced, and thats why I stuck to my guns about him for the Belmont Stakes. He duly obliged with a bit of late fortune, under a brave ride from Johnny V, displaying qualities that many said he didn't have. Yes the race was slow but there's no doubt in my mind that he could have run faster if the pace of the race demanded it.

Now that he's got a solid race under his belt he's going to be very hard to beat cutting back in distance for the Haskell against the very formidable Bodemeister.

There's plenty of time left in the season for everything to play out. I'll have no problem admitting that I over-rated this horse if that turns out to be the case but so far I still believe that I'm right about him. BTW your response seems to suggest that I intimated a ducking of the Breeder's Cup Classic should Union Rags win the Haskell, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup. Let me categorically dismiss that suggestion. I do not subscribe to any horse opting out of the Breeder's Cup. I posted my vehement objection to the late Jess Jackson's decision to side step the race with Rachel Alexandra (although in hindsight he seemed to have made the prudent decision based upon the Pro-Ride bias against dirt horses at Santa Anita back then). I was merely making the point that Union Rags can gain the ascendancy over I'll Have Another in his bid for HOTY before the Breeder's Cup. In such a case IHA's abscence should not redound to his(IHA's) advantage simply because U/Rags could run and not win the race.

I always appreciate exchanging views with you. Peace.  

26 Jun 2012 2:24 PM

Minnesota Kid,

You're on the right blog site for the 'how-to' wagering advice but I'd have to refer you to our host Pete Denk (the specialist in Unlocking winners) and I mean that sincerely.

Perhaps my friendly adversary JAY Jay could also give you better advice than I.

Haven't heard from the redoubtable Carlos in Cali for a while. He used to be a hot tipper but you'd have to beware of his sentiments for the sons and grandsons of AP Indy and toss them during Triple Crown season.

Failing the above, KY Vet is a last resort (its hard to keep a straight face while typing this) ..but he's the real pro of all posters that ever posted picks on here (LOL). Oh, I remember his partner in crime Kingcapper (LOL) who admitted investing and hedging bets with the Kentucky Derby futures. I wonder how he fared out with outsider, IHA winning the Derby ...we all know the fate of "the Vets" investment in Creative Cause (LOL). Fare ye well Pal.

26 Jun 2012 2:54 PM

For anyone who cares, here are the latest Timeform Global Rankings:

26 Jun 2012 6:23 PM

Gun Bow and Jay Jay, you two go on and on about the slow Belmont Stakes.  Do you understand that a quicker pace would have benefited Union Rags.  No other horse was pressing the pace, so Paynter had it his way.  This happens.  

The amazing thing about Union Rags is that when the pace slowed, he switched off.  Do you two understand that?  It takes an extraordinary horse to be able to adjust, no matter the pace.  Dullahan, when the pace slowed was cooked.

You two must have lost some money, otherwise, I don't think you would ranting about this horse and the slow pace.  You guys need to do some research,      

26 Jun 2012 7:54 PM

Oh and another thing, Mike Smith was slowing the pace to try to cook both Union Rags and Dullahan.  Unfortunately, he did not know that he was dealing with an intellectually superior horse; he didn't think that Union Rags would switch off like that.  Union Rags was the man in this race, running aginst the boys.

26 Jun 2012 7:57 PM

Jay Jay and Gun Bow, another thing, go back and watch Union Rags in the Champagne Stakes, he was a closer in that race.  He was shuffled back just like Dullahan in the Belmont.  Union Rags showed his class in that race.

Thankfully, no one is talking about his inability to get the mile and a half anymore.  I know I posted many times that distance would not be a problem for Union Rags.  No one bothered to look at the tail side of his pedigree; a colt's mare is so very important when looking for stamina and soundness, for that matter; to me much more important than the sire.

26 Jun 2012 8:07 PM

Jersey Boy,

Good work with the Timefor statistics. I'm not convinced that Frankel should yet be rated higher than Sea Bird, Brigadier Gerhard, Ribot, Mill Reef, Shergar, Sea the Stars and Dancing Brave. A very special one he is indeed but ...Excelebration and Canford Cliffs the main yardsticks? I don't get it.

Lets hear your take.


What are you saying about this?

26 Jun 2012 8:24 PM
Mary Zinke

No comment tonight, just she's not me.

26 Jun 2012 10:23 PM

Mary Z, ?? I don't think anyone mistakes me for you, whatever.

26 Jun 2012 11:17 PM

Hey Mary Z.

26 Jun 2012 11:22 PM
Mary Zinke

Oh yes they have, other Mary. The banana boys,soft banana and rotten banana; you know one of them, and just recently on this blog the trainer's daughter was mistaken. My favorite 3yo male Is CC. I did have your fav in a super though. He passed one of those screeners for the Belmont, so I had to include him, otherwise, I wouldn't have.  whatever, too, OM. Thank you though, we all now know more about the bottom of UR's pedigree than we do about our own ancestries.

26 Jun 2012 11:34 PM
Mary Zinke

Hey to Laz. What,do the blogs need some huge controversy for spice? How bored are you?  I'm thinking about just posting numbers only until there's a resurrection. LOL, I'm getting skilled at pulling teeth though.

26 Jun 2012 11:38 PM
Mary Zinke

No way would I ever type "intellectually superior horse" or "man against boys". That's not me. I have my own overboard horse infatuations and worshiping.

26 Jun 2012 11:52 PM

Mary Z.

I'm not really bored.  I like a good back and forth as long as it makes sense and we can all learn something form it.  I like it when someone stands up for their favorite(s).  I sure did enough of that when Zenyatta was racing and I'm sure a lot of people wished that I would pack it in and disappear.

27 Jun 2012 12:07 AM

Just Plain Mary

Union Rags still has half a year to prove himself.  I for one hope that he wins several 10F races and then goes to stud and actually stays in America.  That would be a treat for sure.

27 Jun 2012 12:09 AM
Mary Zinke

Laz, there just aren't enough 10fs for 3yos or open company for UR to win several this year, if you meant he'd do that in 2012, for my favs to win their share at that distance. JPL, I agree w/Laz, good for you sticking with your fav if you really believe he's the best. You may have made some errors, but I've been reading the ganging up comments and that was getting dickish. Some of that may have been from the previous mistaken identity.

27 Jun 2012 12:32 AM

Mary Z

There’s enough 10F races for Rags or any three year old whose connections might consider a HOY candidate to compete in.  I think that the only one left strictly for three year olds is the Travers (colts that is), but there are others that three year olds have won in the past.

Came Home, General Challenge and Best Pal were three when they won the Pacific Classic.

Since 1976 ten three year olds have won the JCGC with the latest being Summer Bird.

The HGC is a little more difficult because it is earlier in the summer and I don’t believe a lot of three year olds are entered in it against older horses, but Island Whirl in 1983 and Quack in 1972 both won it at three.

The Hawthorne Gold Cup is also at 10F and is a prep for the BCC.  Back in the day three year olds like Round Table, Kelso, Admiral Vic, a hard hitter, and Dr. Fager in 1967 won it, but none since Nodouble (1968) and I wonder just how many three year olds have actually been entered in it since that time.  One reason is that it’s a G2 and I don’t think many want to run a horse in a 10F G2 that close to the BCC.  If they enter a 10F race it will more than likely be a G1.

At last count, 9 of the 28 BCC’s have been won by three year olds.

It’s my feeling that dirt horses three and up that are HOY candidates should be entering a lot of these races and that includes Union Rags.  You would think that breeders that wish to breed for stamina would be encouraging the owners to do so especially if these owners plan on selling their horses to breeding establishments when it is time for them to go to stud.

27 Jun 2012 1:43 AM

Mary :  You see it how you want to see it.  I didn't see anything amazing or extraordinary in UR's win.  There were two horses running and UR managed to nose Paynter who threw a shoe during the race.  Regardless, the Belmont field is probably the weakest in its history, as I said to Ranagulzion, this year's Belmont wasn't the test of champions.  We'll see how he does in the Haskell and Travers.  I'm not a UR hater, I'm just realistic.  I think UR can be a good horse, but not a superhorse with his record this year.  If he wins the 3 races that Ranagulzion mentioned, then yes, he will probably the champ but we'll have to wait and see.

I did lose money in the Belmont but that has nothing to do with what you call "ranting".  I'm sure you won some money with UR's 5-2 odds.  I just hope you got your money back from betting UR's sure win in the Florida and Kentucky Derby.

Minnesota Kid : My wagering menu is mostly P4s and P5s but only the .50 cent.  I'm a longshot player, in that, I always play odds of 20-1 or longer on my P4s and I don't try to buy the wager.  I stick to my longshots and would sometimes single them if I know there's a good chance the other race would be won by a favorite.  It's all about taking chances on the odds for me.  I just don't believe in going and spending hours at the track betting favorites to win.  I look at the track as a chance to make money, not just to play.

I also play .50 trifectas and superfectas, again with longshots on top with the favorite.  I've done well so far this year with my cheap bets.  

Ranagulzion : I applaud  your last post to GunBow.  Glad to see you're back down to earth.

27 Jun 2012 2:11 AM

Ranagulzion- a Timeform rating is for one race.  IMO, Brigadier Gerard on the whole is still a better horse, as was Ribot, Sea Bird, Dancing Brave and controversially Zarkava.  I know I may get some flack for adding her, but she did it all and won all her races fairly easily without ever even seeing the whip.  But, I do not consider myself as knowledgable as the Timeform people.  I will not ever say that Frankel is the greatest of all time, but I will say I would have no problem ranking him among the best.  You have to rank him within his category and he is an extremely dominant miler, possible the most dominant since Blushing Groom.  As far as Excellebration, he is the co second high weight this year, tied with Cirrus des Aigles.  I don't know what he has done to be treated like a second class horse. His only losses are basically ti Frankel.

27 Jun 2012 12:41 PM

Mary; you have stated over and over that UR would have benefited from a faster pace in the Belmont, but you have never said in what way would he have benefited.  Usually when it is said that a horse would have benefited from a different pace (faster or slower)it's because the horse lost and someone is looking for an excuse.  But UR won for Pete's sake, so in what way would he have benefited from a faster pace?

27 Jun 2012 12:42 PM
Minnesota Kid

Jay Jay,

Thank you for letting us in on your wagering menu.

Hypothetical ? about P4's:

   If you get through the first two legs and have a 20-1 shot singled in the third, while only 2 or 3 deep in the finale, do you then play the single individually to win?

It seems to me that it couldn't get much worse than a longshot that you loved wins, pays $40+, but you go 3/4 in the P4 and end up - for the day.

27 Jun 2012 4:40 PM
Age of Reason

Ranagulzion, Footlick et al,

As others have pointed out, the fascination many seem to have with Frankel is less about what he has done (spectacular though that may be) and more about what he will or could do, since imagination and possibilities are endless. People are never satisfied, and even the greatest and most popular equine athletes are subjected to what-could-have-been speculation for decades after retirement. "If only Secretariat had raced at 4, if only Zenyatta had raced in the East, if only Spectacular Bid hadn't found the literal needle in a haystack", etc etc ad nauseum. Frankel's case is particularly intriguing for us American racing fans since Frankel's appearance at the Breeders Cup remains unlikely (why, I cannot fathom; never in the history of sport has a $2,000,000 purse i.e. the BC Mile looked more easy for the taking; but I digress). I find it particularly interesting that Frankel's trainer Henry Cecil publicly predicted his next start would be at ten furlongs, naming July's 10-furlong Coral-Eclipse (Eng-I) as a possibility; but after So You Think stormed home in the Prince of Wales' (Eng-I) and trainer Aiden O'Brien declared his next aim to be the Coral-Eclipse, Cecil insisted that Frankel would stick to a mile next time out. This would have been an extremely fascinating matchup, as no horse in the world has a better chance of beating Frankel at 10 furlongs than So You Think, in my opinion (at least on a European course). Though at this point Juddmonte surely has no great amount of fear for any one opponent of Frankel, it might do well to keep a healthy amount of respect for O'Brien's horses, since the rivalry between Coolmore and the Maktoum family runs deep. O'Brien isn't used to losing very often, or at least getting slaughtered as his charge Excelebration was in the Queen Anne, and has thrown all he can at Frankel before with Excelebration, Zoffany and others; he might not stop challenging Frankel until he beats him or is convinced he cannot. I've already read O'Brien is considering sending Camelot against Frankel in the Juddmonte International, so that seems to confirm my hypothesis. Agree or disagree on these points?

27 Jun 2012 4:48 PM

Age of Reason-Cecil actually did not commit to the Coral-Eclipse.  After the Queen Anne he said that he would let the horse tell him which race he would go in.  In regards to which horse has the best chance at 10f, I might disagree with you and pick Cirrus des Aigles.  But, Frankel has proved a tough customer to pull up after his races, and his internal fractions can be wicked, so it may not matter which horse he runs against.  Cecil has always maintained that his reluctance to run Frankel 10f has to do with his mental maturity, not ability.  He needs to see that he is ready to rate kindly enough and be patient, as that usually spells success for a distance event in Europe.  Anyway, that is my opinion.

27 Jun 2012 5:50 PM

Age of Reason,

I'm a bit disappointed with the apparent timidity of Sir Henry Cecil in planning Frankel's 4YO campaign. I thought that he was quite a brave sport when in 1994 he brought Eltish to run a game and enterprising runner-up to Timber Country in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile and returned with the colt for the Kentucky Derby, won by Thunder Gulch the following year. Now he seems to be shying out of a confrontation with So You Think in the Coral eclipse and casting doubt over a trek accros the pond for the Breeder's Cup. If Goldikova could do it successfully multiple times, why can't arguably the most talented European thoroughbred since Sea Bird (according to Timeform) do it once?

Frankel is a beast, no doubt but it would convince many who are skeptical out of due deference to the past greats, if he would be allowed to strut his stuff against the likes of So You Think going 10 panels or make a trip out of his comfort zone to humble all comers at the Breeder's Cup.

27 Jun 2012 9:06 PM

If we go back to Brigadier Gerard we have a similar situation to Frankel.  Many people still consider Brigadier Gerard a miler especially after he only went as far as 6F when a two year old and of his 6 races (all wins) at 3, 5 were at 8F and one, the Champion Stakes, at 10F.  At 4 he won two races at a mile giving him 7 lifetime victories at the distance; but he also won 4 races at 10F making him 5 for 5 lifetime at the distance, and won his only start at 12F.  His only loss was when 2nd at 10 1/2F to Roberto in a race where he broke the track record.

I can see Frankel getting 10F no problem and I hope they let him try more than once at that distance.  He has the demeanor and the stride and the patience to go along with the breeding.  His full brother, Noble Mission, won a 10F stakes this year and was recently a close 2nd in the G2 King George at 12F.  His half-brother, Bullet Train, only won only 2 career races but one of his wins was a G3 at 11F.

27 Jun 2012 9:50 PM

Minnesota Kid : I tried, but I think it's a jinx for me.  I've pick longshots in my P4 and my natural instinct is to load up on that if I'm really feeling good about that horse's chance but every time I play WIN, PLACE or SHOW, the horse doesn't hit the board so I stopped betting them on those types of wager.   I don't even play exacta on it, I just leave the ticket alone and let it play.  When I go to the track, I set a goal of winning 500 or more, if I get lucky to do that, then I go home.  I use to have to really really bad habit where I would chase my loses until I have 20.00 left in my pocket.  I'm learning that if I give up, I hit more the next day.

The one wager I'm still trying to hit is the P6 and P9, if I can hit those, I'll die happy lol.  Those are expensive bets though so I rarely play them.  I don't know if anyone knows this but at Monmouth, they have this wager of Place P6 with a minimum of .50 bet starting with the 4th race.  I tried it twice and the closest I got was 3 out of 6  lol.

Nice read on the Frankel discussion.  I'm wondering how our american turf horses would do in EU races.  I think we've done well with the Dubai races but I'm intrigued to see if our turf horses can win in EU's turf.

28 Jun 2012 12:28 AM

JayJay-  I think Whittingham summed it up best when asked about sending a horse to the Arc.  He said if he was going to do that he would transfer the horse to Europe and let him/her have a full season there.  Racing is so different there than here.  The courses are different, the pace and dynamics are different.  Even though Euros win a lot here, they really are at a disadvantage with the size of the tracks and the pace dynamics.  And not all of them adapt well to our style of racing.  Maybe some our horses who are being trained at farms could adapt better, but it still would be a stretch, IMO.

28 Jun 2012 5:09 AM

I was pleased to see the exploits of Frankel are being discussed on this blog.  Count me as one of the sceptics. How can we know how great this horse is when he continues to race at the same distance against the same horses?  Yes, he wins impressively, but his race times have not been impressive, at least not by American grass mile standards.  I suppose this may be attributed to the slower European tracks which seem usually to be rated "good" rather than "fast".

I would love to see Frankel reach his potential, but fear that his connections are mapping a tepid campaign, similar to that employed by the connections of Zenyatta.

I was critical of her campaign as well and would dearly have loved to have seen her put her considerable talents up against the best in the country on a regular basis. Instead, we had the pleasure of seeing the best of her on only a few occations because the majority of her races were run against less than stellar competition.

Frankel appears to be a horse that can stretch his speed, but it sounds as though rather than risk his perfect record, he will continue to beat up on the same bunch of milers in England unless they can find a 10-furlong race in a field with no significant competition.  Likewise, it sounds as though they will not bring him to America to meet the best milers in the world.  I am bummed.

28 Jun 2012 12:35 PM

robinm : I really really would not like to turn this into a Zen blog but I think her connections did the right things with her campaigns of the last 3 years.  I think people wanted to see her potential but I think she already showed it.  I don't think it's fair that she be asked to constantly run against the boys to prove how good she is.   I don't think it's natural for a female horse to run against the boys (at least here in america).    Other than Goldikova and BC, there's really not that many ForM that runs against the boys all the time.  Both also runs on turf which makes a big difference.


28 Jun 2012 12:50 PM

robinm-Excellebration is the second co-highweight on the Timeform list this year.  He is running against the best that can face him unless Cirrus des Aigles drops down to a mile.

28 Jun 2012 4:12 PM

Thanks for that info Footlick, I kinda figured that it would be hard for American horses to try EU since the races there are mostly stamina races.  I was playing on xpressbet the other night and played this one track in UK, forgot the name of the track, it started with a W.  They showed  a head on shot of the track and it was rolling hills.  I was like what the heck !?  I wonder if that becomes part of handicapping there in the UK.  SA has the downhill turf but nothing like a rolling hill.

29 Jun 2012 1:45 AM


If anyone is still reading this posting:::

Your response was very well articulated and well reasoned.  Much respect.  It will be interesting the rest  of the year.

Should Hansen go in the Haskell, Bodemeister's walk in the park becomes a scramble.  And Union Rags could be the horse to benefit.

I've come to call Union Rags the Tim Tebow of horse racing.  The supporters think Union Rgas is up to all challenges while the doubters think he can't win a grade 3.  As it concerns football, I lean towards Tebow more than against, and as for Union Rags I do lean slightly more towards the supporters than the doubters.  But to believe he's a champion, I'll need to see more.  But I'm not someone who claims that Union Rgas can't win another big race.  

Opinions aside, hopefully all the questions will be answered on the track.

02 Jul 2012 3:34 AM

Attending the BC races is on my bucket list and I have tickets! I check the "Contenders" page every day and it changes every day. Game On Dude is the only fish left in the Classic pond now, unless Royal Delta moves over from the Ladies'. Personally, I would love to see it. Too bad Chantal isn't still riding 'Dude!

11 Oct 2012 6:19 PM

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