Travers Weekend: Mid-Summer Derby bears little resemblance to Kentucky

The retirement of Hansen earlier this week further gutted this crop of three-year-old males and left us with a largely paceless field of 11 in the Travers Stakes (G1).

The mid-summer Derby will be a far cry from the Kentucky Derby, where we had Bodemeister ripping along in 45-2 and 1:09-4, with a field of pursuers that included I'll Have Another, Went the Day Well, Union Rags, Creative Cause, Hansen, and others. It appears only sixth-place Liaison and 12th-place Alpha will make the gate in Louisville and Saratoga Springs, along with Derby 17th-place finisher Trinniberg, who goes in the King's Bishop Stakes (G1).

The Travers, a 1 1/4-mile dirt race for three-year-olds, is the highlight of Saratoga's 13-race Saturday card, which includes four graded races. The Ballston Spa (G2), Test (G1), King's Bishop and Travers were carded as races 9-12 and make up a competitive all-graded stakes pick four, which carries a $1-million guaranteed pool.

I see six of the 11 entrants in the Travers as win contenders: Street Life, Alpha, Atigun, Neck 'n Neck, Liaison, and Nonios. Alpha is the deserving morning line favorite, and the more I dug into the race, the more I pictured him hitting the exacta, and probably winning.

Alpha goes second off the layoff for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who wins 33% in this scenario with an ROI of $2.42, according to DRF stats. Alpha showed a new dimension when he went right to the lead and took control of the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) back on July 28. Neck 'n Neck had clear run at him, but Alpha finished with great energy, running his final three furlongs in 36-2 to draw off by two lengths. By Bernardini and out of an English grass stakes winner at 12 furlongs, Alpha is bred beautifully to handle 1 1/4 miles. A clean trip on or near a soft pace appears to be there for him again, as there is hardly any speed in this field. If Alpha moves forward even a little, he will be very tough for the other members of this field to handle.

From a figure standpoint, Neck 'n Neck regressed a bit in the Jim Dandy from his pair of sparkling wins at Churchill Downs. Possible excuses for that loss include a bounce or the sloppy track. Or maybe he just wasn't on Alpha's level.

Street Life finally stayed in touch with a field early, and the result was a nice 1 3/4-length win in the Curlin Stakes. Perhaps it just took him three races to learn how to run with blinkers on. He climbs back up the class ladder here and is playable off the confidence-building win, his first since March.

Atigun can be excused for his sixth-place finish in the Jim Dandy. He was hard held in traffic behind a slow pace and was covered in mud. If he can run back to his third-place finish in the Belmont, he can certainly compete in here.

Liaison also faced a tough pace scenario when he rallied for third in the Jim Dandy. He is in good form, but he is winless in seven starts at age three and will have to run the race of his life to get top honors.

With just six lifetime starts and an ascending speed figure pattern, Nonios could still have some upside. He finished a distant second in the Haskell behind Paynter, who might be the most gifted member of this crop still in training. Nonios gets a positive rider switch to John Velazquez, who won this race in 2005 aboard Flower Alley.

Del Mar has not drawn the full Pacific Classic card as of this writing, but Sunday should be a great betting day too.


Leave a Comment:


Alpha, Liason, Nonios, Street Life, neck and Neck atigun in that order....

23 Aug 2012 4:28 PM

Atigun will run big...look for delta in equipment. McPeek tried blinks in AM last, and don't think Smitty comin in for the water!

23 Aug 2012 7:55 PM

As a professional handicapper, may i point out, this is a good alw field.......weak!.......of these alw horses is a stick out.....unlike the person that doesnt use a form,(jay jay) i know what im talking about....300wp NECK N NECK!!!!!

23 Aug 2012 8:53 PM
Pete Denk

Welcome back KY Vet. Your Belmont horse Dullahan is in the Pacific Classic on Sunday vs. older.

23 Aug 2012 9:43 PM
Monarchos Matt

I don't usually like to play the chalk. But if Alpha actually goes off at 5-2, that looks like pretty good value to me. I've been on him since early in the year and he certainly has a big 10f race in his future, and I believe his time is now. From a pedigree and form standpoint he is leaps and bounds above this field. He probably deserves to be closer to even money. We'll see...

23 Aug 2012 10:03 PM

Playing the Pick 4.  Singling Liaison; not sure what else yet.  

23 Aug 2012 10:10 PM

Alpha looks tough in this race and he's 2 for 2 at Saratoga, not sure how this horse can be beat.  I'll be using Stealcase for 2nd, troubled last start coming out of the gate left him about 12 lengths behind Gemo and Paynter.  I thought he had the best run in that race, he closed really well for third from way back.  I'll be using Neck N' Neck, Five Sixteen, Street Life and Liason to complete my tri and super.  

In the Pacific Classic, there's a good article about Suggestive Boy and I'm intrigued by this horse.  Dullahan should be a nice price (probably go off at 8-1 or even 10-1) and he's back on the surface he last won on, There's also enough speed for him to run at so I'm looking for him to be a major player against the big boys.  He'll be in my trifecta and superfecta bets.  I'm going to find SB's previous races before I decide on him.  GoD also looks tough in this race, so I'll have to drop RK from my tickets, can't have both favorites.  

KY Vet : If I remember correctly, you're 0 for many many races in the prep and triple crown races.  How did your Future Wager do ?  LOL

23 Aug 2012 11:31 PM
Matthew W

Just seconds before the start of the 6th race at Emerald tonight, the #2 horse, Lonely And Free, had 102k on him in the win pool, lowering his 6-1 morning line to 1-9, and rendering everyone else to at least 45-1!...100k was pulled from him, and it did not post until after the race was run--he ended up going off at 50-1, and he finished 2nd in a 7 horse race! Something stinks!.....tom at The Spa I love a fer--race 2 I love the #7 Go The Distance (4-1)...race & I like the #'s 1 Forever Vow (5-2) and the #3 Frivolous Alex (6-1)...race 8 the #1 Silver Timber (3-1)...Turbulent Descent in the Ballerina (she looked awesome collaring Izzy Rules at the 1/16 ploe at Holly)...and race 10, #3 Picture Book looks tough (7-2 but she'll drop down from there) and I LOVE the #10 filly, Bluegrass Rumor (5-1), as the speed has been hanging on well at Saratoga....Where The Turf Meets The Surf I like, no LOVE: race 4: #9 Christmas Candy (6-1)....and race 6 #3 Left A Message,(3-1), even with GoGo not making the 110, that's live weight and she'll be coming like a runnaway train! I'll use her to close my pick 3 of the day, Del Mar, race 4: 6,7,8,9/2,4,6,7/3= $`16...good luck!

24 Aug 2012 12:16 AM
Dr Drunkinbum


24 Aug 2012 12:38 AM

Here are my Travers Weekend trifecta fancies:

Test Stakes: Contested is hard to oppose and should be followed home by Yara and Book Review.

King's Bishop: Trinniberg is coming to this race in a no-nonsense mood and will therefore not be denied. Fort Loudon, now in receipt of 2lbs from "Trinni" is his primary danger and should rebound from his poor effort in the Amsterdam to be runner-up. Currency Swap (much improved) is tipped for the show spot.

The Travers: Alpha is the one to beat and I'm going to beat him with Nonios, piloted by Johnny V. Street Life may be compromised by the lack of pace and is therefore part of a desperate scramble with Atigun and Neck and Neck for the show spot. His furious closing kick could win the show spot but the top two are firm selections.

The Pacific Classic: There should be no stopping Chantal Sutherland aboard Game on Dude in here. Richard's Kid should follow him home with Dullahan picking up a piece late. This one is plain chalk IMO.

24 Aug 2012 4:40 AM

Thanx now I know who to leave out of the exacta.I have done this with this poster for at least 4 or 5 races.Good luck maybe you can hit the place spot on the 5th or 6th try.

24 Aug 2012 8:34 AM
Mary Zinke

Alpha is one I thought would be right for the Travers since there was a discussion about this race even before he had to miss the Belmont. I threw out the Derby and I don't think he'll  be on the lead early  as he was in winning the Jim Dandy in the slop. I went back to the Wood and the Withers, and Count Fleet, and I like his style in those races, a style I think will get him the win on Saturday. Except for his maiden win, Dominguez has been aboard for all of his other wins. Best jockey on the best horse in the race. No question about his long-distance breeding. I like that Alpha has been training at Saratoga all summer. Intangible: He loves winning. 6/5,8,10/5,8,9,10/4,5,7-11.

24 Aug 2012 11:21 AM
Rolling Thundar

Sometimes it just seems so difficult making any kind of decent money betting on chalk, But hey..........picking winners is picking winners........and it's sure better than losing money trying to beat the favorite........I guess I'll just have to put a few dollars more than my usual $2.00 to Win on.......ALPHA........

24 Aug 2012 11:29 AM
Mary Zinke

Personal Ensign:

Royal Delta

followed by: It's Tricky, Love And Pride, Tiz Miz Sue.

24 Aug 2012 11:42 AM
lunar spook

street life/ nonios exacta box ! alpha is the most over rated horse since stay thirsty and trust me thats sayin sumthin !

24 Aug 2012 12:15 PM
Mary Zinke

Speed fix requested. Contested in the Test.

Del Mar Mile: Jeranimo, Obviously, Norvsky.

24 Aug 2012 12:16 PM
Pete Denk

I like reading all the dissenting opinions on Alpha. Some people like him. Others can't wait to bet against him. I hate being on a favorite that everyone loves.

24 Aug 2012 1:09 PM
Mary Zinke

Ballerina: Nicole H, Turbulent Descent, Derwin's Star.

24 Aug 2012 1:27 PM

Street Life, Neck 'n Neck, Nonios, Alpha in that order.

10f is going to hit Street Life right between the eyes.  There seems to be just enough pace for a 10f race with Speightscity apparently being sent and two talented horses with tactical speed in Neck 'n Neck and Nonios being drawn outside with an adequate run to the first turn.

Neck 'n Neck and Nonios will stalk or set the pace, hook up around the 2nd turn and try to seperate themselves, with Alpha chasing them.  Street Life will close past them all in deep stretch to win with Neck' n Neck outgaming Nonios for place and Alpha running an even 4th.

I have always been a little skeptical of Alpha since McLaughlin had him doging Hansen in the spring.

I am not a speed figure handicapper, although I always take them into consideration.  However, based on Beyers, there are several horses in here that have run a faster than Alpha.  I would also be interested to see what the Ragozin sheets say about this race.  I think Alpha is a nice horse and he could very well win, but I do not think he is worth a wager as the favorite, as there are other horses in here that are likely as talented as him.

24 Aug 2012 1:51 PM

Alpha will be favourite in the Travers but I like Street Life. Fort Loudon is one of my favourites and will take the Kings Bishop. Ballerina It's Tricky.Pacific Classic Game On Dude.

24 Aug 2012 2:03 PM
lunar spook

CHIEF PICAWIENEE , you always have a wise reply to eveyone elses choice , so whom do you like "great annoited handicapper"

24 Aug 2012 2:29 PM
Pete Denk

Nice posts by Mary, Ranagulzion and Big Bux Bill. I like to hear the reasoning behind plays. Good luck everyone. Big money in the pools this weekend.

24 Aug 2012 6:08 PM
Carlos in Cali

Travers: Alpha seems best vs. this rather lackluster field,similar to what Stay Thirsty beat last year. I also think he'll be on or near the soft pace... catch him to cash cuz' he'll have the lead turning for home. He's solid in NY. I'll key him on top w/9,10- w/5,7,8,9,10- w/same.

Pacific Classic: I'm thinking Game On Dude and (home is where the heart is)Rail Trip will go 1-2 all the way,followed by Richard's Kid,Dullahan and Jaycito.

Personal Ensign: Royal Delta and It's Tricky should be too much for this field,but the 90+ days since the latter's last race is somewhat of a concern. Royal Delta will be extra tough in here mainly because of the expected solid pace and It's Tricky settling right off the pace from the #1-hole. Not a good betting race,IMO. Unless you're trying to beat the heavy favorites.. good luck with that.

Pat O'Brien: Paceless field- it's Camp Victory's race to lose.Coil should round-out the chalky exacta vs. the other overmatched entrants.

King's Bishop: The pace should be blazing! Trinniberg,Doctor Chit(posts 9,10) and probably Gun Boat(blinkers on) will carve-out a hot pace setting it up for the stalkers/closers like Currency Swap(2 for 2 @ Saratoga),Ever So Lucky(shortening-up in distance which he prefers,IMO),Fort Loudon(2nd start for Zito)and Unbridled's Note. I'll go with Currency Swap on top w/ESL,FL,Trinni- w/ESL,FL,Trinni,UN- w/same.

Test: A lot of these fillies are cutting-back in distance and the pace should be swift. Contested is the class of the field-stalking from her outside post would be ideal. She should win this easily,followed by Book Review who ran a solid 2nd to Questing in an allowance(good enough for me)and Amie's Dini,Yara.

Good Luck Y'all.... the Kid is back!

24 Aug 2012 7:08 PM

@ lunar spook- while i dislike this stable, i do believe that stay thirsty won the traver last year.  in fact i know he did- i was there.

alpha, 5-16, atigun tri

24 Aug 2012 7:34 PM
By a long nose

Liaison. Easy play in a bad field.

24 Aug 2012 7:46 PM

As a professional handicapper, may i point out, this is a good alw field.......weak!.......of these alw horses is a stick out.....unlike the person that doesnt use a form,(jay jay) i know what im talking about....300wp NECK N NECK!!!!!

as a professional tb horse owner/breeder and an amateur gambler i am finally gonna say this: KY VET- WOULD YOU PLEASE GO DUNK YOUR HEAD IN BOILING WATER ALA THE RABBIT IN FATAL ATTRACTION??? We are all so sick of your BS

24 Aug 2012 7:52 PM

BTW KY VET- Did you hit my filly yesterday @ 46/1???

24 Aug 2012 8:13 PM

Turbulent Descent is an example of a horse that has been very well managed.  Now, it's up to Pletcher and the Coolmore folks, but before it was Mike Puype and Blinkers On.

As the winner of the Hollywood Starlet and Santa Anita Oaks, Turbulent Descent could have been thrown into the big distance races for 3 year old fillies.  But they kept her at one turn, and she's since added the grade 1 Test, grade 1 Ballerina, and grade 2 Beaumont.  She's won big races in California, New York, and Kentucky, is 8 for 12 in her career, and owns 4 grade 1s.  

24 Aug 2012 11:12 PM

I'll take a chance with Amani and Suggestive Boy for the Pac Classic.  Not excited about the Travers, but will make a lukewarm stab with Street Life and Nonios.  I like Book Review for the Test.

24 Aug 2012 11:12 PM

Street Life



Neck n Neck

I think this race could set up great for Street Life.  His main problem in the past is coming out so slowly and his race is done before it starts.  Two things I think remedy that here.  One, last time with blinkers he seemed to get it a little bit, and was closer to the pace.  Also, while often a hot pace can help a deep closer, I think a mild pace helps him as it allows him to conserve early and not be too far behind with too much ground to make up.  I think there may just be just the right amount of pace in here for him.  Not too hot to get left behind, but hot enough to close into.  And he should love the distance. Also if I'm not mistaken he got a bigger figure winning the day before Alpha did.  

Think the jockey switch on Atigun suits him well.  Julien isn't for every horse, as he's just way too patient for his own good sometimes.  

Paynter would be a clear favorite if he were here, and Nonios' 2nd to him puts him in here I think.  And throughout the spring the California horses have fared well.  

I'm torn on Alpha and NNN.  I have no real knock on Alpha, and he could move forward 2nd off a layoff and likes the track.  But the SPA is the graveyard of favorites and he doesn't look clearly better than several of these.  Seems like a good scenario to play against a favorite to me.  And NNN should be better on a dry track and with a better trip could turn the tables.  

24 Aug 2012 11:21 PM
Matthew W

I love a horse tom in the Test: #10 Amie's Dini, 3k yearling purchase, gets the one turn she wants--classwise, she fits, and you'll get every bit of the 8-1, probably a bit higher!...Liason in the Travers, with Five Sixteen my bomb (on the improve)...over at Del Mar, I love a few prices! Race 31 it's Arias time! Boxcar winner of several in recent weeks, Magic Mama, just ran a :17 and change last 3/16, gets extra 1/2 furlong, gets 6fur/the distance of her two wins! 12-1 and I am biting!...Race 7 #8 Charlie Company (9-2) repeats last/wins!...and race 8 I like #2 Temple's Door (10-1) will play to win and will box with #4 Interaction...good luck to all--me too!

25 Aug 2012 1:14 AM

KY Vet : Here's my latest addition to my winning cheap tickets.  Yes, that's without reading the form :

25 Aug 2012 2:28 AM


1) Street Life has had had a steady diet of 4F and 5F breezes since the Curlin with his latest 4F work picking it up a bit, and yet not too fast so as to leave his race on the training track.  His win in the Curlin and subsequent 99 Beyer, though against fairly moderate field, was awesome when considering he was four wide and probably in about the 8 path when turning for home.  His individually timed quarters were 24.84; 23.89; 24.01; 24.90; with a final 8th in 13.04 when he drew clear with very moderate urging under a confident ride by Lezcano.  His final 8th extrapolates to a final quarter of 26.08, which is not that great, but the ground he lost coming into the stretch and the ease of his victory suggests that he had lots left and that the additional furlong won’t be a problem.  He’s an improving sort who was unraced at two.  He’ll have to be good because Alpha is going to be tough to beat.  My only concern is a lack of suitable pace, especially if Alpha is taken back.

2) Alpha: a logical bet and a horse that should always be there with this group.  The question is, is he ready to step up as he has failed continuously to find success against the upper echelon three year olds losing to Union Rags, Hansen, a fit Gemologist and I’ll Have Another.  He wired the field in the Jim Dandy, taking the shortest way around the track and scoring a 96 Beyer over a sloppy surface with quarters of 24.40; 24.90; 24.73; 24.16; and a final 8th in 12.28 (extrapolates to a final quarter of 24.56).  This is a statement that he was getting stronger in the stretch and his close should be considered a super finish for this group.  I was impressed with the way he accelerated when under pressure in the third and fourth quarters and continued to carry on that acceleration through the stretch while the others struggled.  He was the easiest of winners in the Jim Dandy, but I’m betting he’ll be looking over his should at about the 8th pole in the Travers when Street Life powers up on the outside.  

3) Nonios: not much to say.  I like his last, but it was on the fast Monmouth dirt and his works since, though good, have been at Del Mar making his lone experience on dirt that one race, a nice second in the Haskell, but a race that basically fell apart for Dullahan and Gemologist.  He will have to overcome that Saratoga dirt and if he does I can see him pressuring the top two, but I think they have too much class and the best I can see for him is third.

4) Liaison:  He got away slowly in the Jim Dandy and was never able to overcome that or maybe his problem was that he just couldn’t handle the slop.  After the Cash Call he looked like a real bonafide Derby contender, but failed miserably after that when running on dirt and only picked it up in the Affirmed and the Swaps, which leads me to believe that he is best on synthetics.  His third in the Jim Dandy was definitely non-threatening and he actually lost ground to the winner in the stretch.

25 Aug 2012 3:14 AM

2012 Horse of the Year, that will be a tough call. This has been a year to forget, one disappoinment after another. Hope Danedream closes out the year well, would be great to see her take the ARC again, and ofcoarse Frankel is  Great Britain's "Zenyatta". Enjoy him, when he's gone racing will be lackluster. Trust me, we know. Miss you big Z.

25 Aug 2012 4:17 AM

Lunar Spooky I am not so stupid to believe I can pick EVERY RACE.When I share my pick its not so I can be complemented on making a good pick its because I believe its one of my better picks(bets)Whenever you want to have a contest let me know.

25 Aug 2012 8:14 AM
Pedigree Ann

Am I crazy for thinking Five Sixteen could get a piece? I have a feeling that he's one who is only now maturing, a bit behind the others, and distance shouldn't be a problem, as it probably will be for some others in here.

25 Aug 2012 8:35 AM

Not to drag this article off topic,having watched many good races on the replays with enjoyment i notice that with the shorter whips when the jockeys are in a drive the horse gets the blow right around the stifle or the belly rather than on the buttocks,shurley this cant be helping them to run faster.

25 Aug 2012 10:11 AM

Travers will be a tough call, appears to be Alpha's to lose, but I'm just not feeling him. Think his last , the Jim D., was partly his relishing the wet surface, which he won't get today. I'll go with two others in here; I hate to say it but the KYVet, might have it right with Neck N' Neck, he could improve today in my opinion and surprise with a top two finish. The other, more to my liking today, is Atigun. I think he is ready for a big run today, been working very well and they make a jockey change, so he is my winner today.

25 Aug 2012 10:21 AM

My plays for saratoga.  

Race 1 Pick 3) 3, 13/1,4,6,8/2,4,5

Race 3 Pick 3) 2,4,5/2,11/9,10,13

Race 4 Pick 3) 2,11/9,10,13/1,3,6

Race 6 Pick 3) 1,3,6/2,9/4,10

Race 8 Pick 3) 4,10/2,4,5/3,8

Race 9 Pick 4) 2,4,5/3,8/3/8,9,10

Could bring myself to single Liaison. Went with a lot of chalk but that is how Saratoga has played so far this week. I like rolling Pick 3s, but tend to miss the a leg that throws me out of two bets at one time.  

25 Aug 2012 10:56 AM
Pete Denk

Race replay of the day. (watch the 9 horse Which Market, light blue and yellow blocks)

25 Aug 2012 11:13 AM

Nonios is my pick to win the race. I"ll play him on top of Neck n Neck and Alpha. Laison will be on my tri tickets. Taking a stand against Street Life. Think there will not be enough pace for him.

25 Aug 2012 12:09 PM
El Kabong

Travers..................Street Life over Nonios, Alpha, Neck n Neck and Five Sixteen.  Chad learned from one of the best about the one two punch. I think that last win was not his best effort and he pulled away without much asking. We will see better today. Street Life wins the Travers.

KBish.............Like Gun Boat. Currency and TrinniB will duel it out for a stalking GB to get them in the stretch. Going to toss Ever So Lucky into the mix under for exotics.

Test.........Too easy to go with favorites, and they do look good but I like two surprise horses today. Yara and Beautiful but Blue. I'll box all 4 in a try and use all four in my pick 3 and 4.

BLST SPA.........Tough to go against Zagora but I'm going to with Summer Soiree and Hungry Island. Starting my pick 4 with these two. Use Ruthenia under in this race to fatten up a tri or super.

Jackpot! Hip hip hurray, yeah, yeah

Goodbye everybody,

good luck everybody.....

25 Aug 2012 12:45 PM

Kings Bishop:

1) Gun Boat: This guy got a 99Beyer (I believe) when winning a N1X allowance at Hollywood two races back.  Back in May he finished a nice third to Drill (beaten 1 length) in his first stakes race and only second start this year.  One of a only a few horses that jumped to a G1 race in his second lifetime start after breaking his maiden and in that race, the Del Mar Fut, was beaten by a length by Drill and finished only a nose behind Creative Cause.  His last, the Amsterdam, was a complete throw out when he nearly went down at the break.  What struck me was that he was 4-1 on the morning line in a very good field and yet opened as the 2-1 favorite and was still the betting favorite with 5 minutes to post before going off as the third choice.  Baffert has kept him in the east when he did have an option of running him in the O’Brien at Del Mar this weekend.  He has worked extremely well including a 5F breeze in 58 2/5.  It’s now or never for this guy and I think he might be a major player through the balance of the year.

2) Currency Swap is coming in here as the horse to beat IMO.  Was very patient in winning his last in fast time.  Though Trinniberg beat him in the Woody S. I believe he has moved forward off that race and he should be full of confidence.  Undefeated (3 for 3) at Saratoga including G1 and G2 wins, he will have to be dealt with from the 8th pole home.  My concern is his lack of steady works.

3) Trinniberg.  Will have to be dealt with early with his front end speed, but I believe that Doctor Chit will soften him up.  Zero for two in his races at the Spa though these were early in his career.  I believe he is a much better 7F horse than pure sprinter.  Has been working well.

4) Doctor Chit.  Someone has to finish 4th.  I think that Fort Louden is a horse for course type with all of his 7 wins at Calder.  Besides, Doctor Chit is a speedball who hasn’t done anything wrong in his career except refuse to rate and he always runs lights out fractions.  What if he gets in front and forgets to stop?  

25 Aug 2012 1:27 PM

Good to see some of the regulars coming back :)  

KB : Probably a chalk race but Trinniberg at 7-2 morning line ? I'll probably play Ramon Dominguez here with the 3 and 9 and throw in Leparoux to make it a nice superfecta.

Test  :   Contested.  I like Irad's horse here as a long shot.  Boxing 1-3-8 for the trifecta.

Ballston Spa : Tapitsfly back to a manageable distance.  I'll play her and Zagora on top with Hungry Island, Ruthenia and Heavenly Landing for the tri and super.

Pacific Classic :   GoD and Dullahan on top with Suggestive Boy, Jaycito, Amani and Rail Trip.  I'm still intrigued by Suggestive Boy just not sure if he'll actually transform his kick to synthetic.  I'm sure I'll have tickets with him on top, just not sure how much I'll play on him.

Pete : I think Which Market hid at the 1/8th pole while the others went around the track and started running as the field hit the 1/8th pole lol.  I was watching the 9 horse and I thought how did he win the race from way over there.  Nice morning line at 5-1.  Keep an eye out for Irad's horses today, this kid can hit the board at nice prices.

Good Luck to all playing today!  

25 Aug 2012 1:39 PM
Carlos in Cali

Tapitsfly gets a firm turf course and a favorable distance today.. I don't think they get to her today. Playing her on top w/2,4- w/1,2,4,5,7- w/same.

25 Aug 2012 2:42 PM

First 4 winners, then two 2ds.  Can't believe I left Rigby off my tickets in the 5th. Don't mind getting beat by the 7 in the 6th; a horse I wouldn't bet if i went 5 deep.  But leaving off an obvious horse like Rigby hurts.  

25 Aug 2012 2:43 PM
Mary Zinke

My girl, Tapitsfly over Zagora, even though I like 1m better for Tapitsfly. 6,2,5

25 Aug 2012 3:14 PM

Having kept an eye on the early races at Saratoga this afternoon, I have come to notice a trio of interesting points:

1. There is no noticeable track bias on the main track.

2. Speed is doing well on the turf, but not so well that the closers can't make up ground.

3. The turf course is very (very) fast. Case in point: In the just-concluded seventh race, Joel Rosario put Optimizer on the lead, ran the half-mile in :48-and-change, turned for home with a commanding advantage, and stayed on in brilliant fashion to win a 1 3/16th miles allowance race in 1:53.16. I have a feeling we could see something really spectacular in the upcoming Ballston Spa Stakes.

In the Travers, I really like Nonios and Neck 'n Neck. The first-mentioned colt ran a really great race in the Haskell Invitational, making a strong but perhaps premature run along the rail to reach contention before getting left behind by Paynter turning for home. Nevertheless, Nonios ran on well to finish second, 4 1/2 lengths clear of the third-place finisher, and from a Beyer speed figure perspective, he could be considered the horse to beat. Plus, the jockey switch to John Velazquez won't hurt either, as Velazquez has been riding extremely well during this meet.

Neck 'n Neck also warrants respect off of his dominating victory in the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) two starts back, and while he did regress a bit in the Jim Dandy (gr. II), his loss can be attributed to the unusually slow pace set by Alpha, who understandably had more than enough left in the tank to turn back Neck 'n Neck's homestretch bid. A fairer pace scenario, coupled with a dry track and added distance, should help Neck 'n Neck turn the tables on his rival.

As for Alpha, he should certainly not be counted out of the mix, as his Jim Dandy victory was very good and he could improve in his second start off a layoff. But what worries me is that he fell to pieces mentally on the two biggest days of his life, performing dismally in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby. It seems that large crowds upset him, and the possbility exists that the large Travers crowd could upset Alpha and cause the favorite to leave his race in the paddock. I will be watching the post parade closely for any signs of distress from the Goldolphin runner.


25 Aug 2012 4:11 PM
Pete Denk

Great ride by Bejarano on Contested.

25 Aug 2012 4:42 PM
Pete Denk

Willy Beamin puts me live to Alpha in the p4...

25 Aug 2012 5:15 PM

Hey I'm having a great day today.  Two picks, Gun Boat and Street Life......both dead last.  It doesn't get any better than that.

25 Aug 2012 5:56 PM
Pete Denk

Saratoga p4 pays $247 for 50-cents. Way better than Alpha in the win pool. The DH turned out to barely affect the payoff for Alpha. Will pay was $265! -$18

25 Aug 2012 5:59 PM
Mary Zinke

I hope Street Life will be okay, Laz. the chart says he was vanned off.  I thought they'd both run better, too.

25 Aug 2012 7:37 PM

Mary I read where a vet was summoned to the barn.  Appartently he suffered some kind of leg injury.  He looked terrible when he crossed the line.  This is the bad side of racing for sure.  

25 Aug 2012 9:16 PM

Lazmannick & Mary Zinke;

Street Life suffered a soft-tissue injury that is considered non-life-threatening. Not knowing the extent of the injury, it's difficult to say whether or not he will be retired, but at the very least he will be out for several months.


25 Aug 2012 9:27 PM

Congratulations Pete! That was a good hit! I didn't really care for Willy Beamin's chances, mainly because of his poor post, but Alan Garcia gave him a great ride, and Willy Beamin responded with a great effort. Good job!


25 Aug 2012 9:28 PM

Thanks Keelerman.

25 Aug 2012 9:48 PM
Mary Zinke

Thanks for the updates, Laz and Keelerman. I hope Street Life can come back. Such a shame that an injury occurred during this race that turned out to be exciting,especially with the dead heat, after all.

25 Aug 2012 11:26 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Thanks Keelerman. You remain a gentleman and a scholar. Good to hear that Street Life will make it.

26 Aug 2012 12:16 AM

ksweatman9 - Frankel is the greatest turf horse I have ever seen and, in my opinion, one of the two or three greatest racehorses I've ever seen.  The great thing about Frankel is the way he wins his races and the fact that he is always in races with great competition.  The horses he has vanquished are a who's who of European racing.

26 Aug 2012 11:41 AM
Mary Zinke

Pacific Classic: I went with The Dude to win. His "running badly at Del Mar last summer" was finishing fourth behind a track record set by my bf, Acclamation. I would have said fiance, but it's too much trouble to figure out how to add the accent on the e. Richard's Kid to place, even with the changes in connections. Personal like in the race is Where's Sterling, my Donn pick. 9/3/1,2,4,5,8/1,2,4,5,7,8. 7 might wind up in the third spot, too. I don't see Akkadian or Riveting Reason sneaking into fourth.

Personal Ensign:  One of the rare times I get nervous before a race is any time my Royal Delta runs. Time for her to start on those 2012 grade 1 wins. 4 Royal Delta, followed by 1 It's Tricky, 3 Love And Pride, 6 Tiz Miz Sue.

26 Aug 2012 12:01 PM

Back again for another butt kicking.

Personal Ensign: To keep Royal Delta on a level playing field and to probably continue my losing streak this weekend I’m going to bet against her.

1) It’s Tricky: Her gutsy win in the Ogden Phipps was impressive making her three for three this year.  In 12 career races she is 8-3-0 and her losses since finishing out of the money were to only Royal Delta (twice) and Plum Pretty (Kentucky Oaks), but those losses were last year.  The distance won’t be a problem as she has won at 9F and on this track when defeating both Plum Pretty and Royal Delta.  She has been working steady, but that quick 4F breeze in 46.3 is a concern though it was fully eight days ago, and she did fire a 59.4 breeze about ten days before her last, the Distaff H. and still won that race easily, pulling away with a 12 second final 8th.  I’m not suggesting that she’ll be the one to beat, but if she gets a good tracking ride and Castro shows patience, I think that she’ll be the one to catch in the stretch run, and the way she’s been strong in the stretch runs of her races this year suggests that she won’t be stopping, she’ll have to be run down.

2) Royal Delta is very definitely the one to beat.  She is undefeated at 10F (N/A), which is probably her best distance, not because she is so dominant, but because none of her competition seems to be able to cope with that distance.  IMO she is every bit as good and possibly better at today’s 9F distance and she has shown in recent races that she can race much closer to the pace, which might be important on a track that can sometimes be tough to come from behind on.   Her works have been solid and on a weekly basis.  Weight shouldn’t be a problem as she is carrying only one pound more than It’s Tricky, but if Tiz Miz Sue is on her game, she’ll have to give her the same 9lbs. she did in the Del Cap.

3) Tiz Miz Sue is the pick for third though if one of the balance is going to upset, she’s the logical one.  A favorable weight and good and consistent 2012 form make her scary.  Definitely a threat to maybe finish in front of one of the top two, but IMO not both.

4) Love and Pride has the best early speed and is representing top connections.  Johnny V has a penchant for getting more out of horse when in their biggest races.  He is good on front runners and if he rates her speed properly she has a chance to make the board for a minor placing.  The concern is, can her get her to relax.  

26 Aug 2012 12:58 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

As an unprofessional handicapper I have to go with R Gypsy Gold, third off the layoff and Castellano/Pletcher. At those odds I'm not going to monkey around with any exotics, just WPS- 10/10/20 format. For KY Vet and jayjay that would be a 300/300/600 format except for that jayjay it won't be wps, but included in the exotics. It seems R Gypsy may have had some physical problem she was dealing with but now may put it all together closing against some that don't survive the speed duel to at least pick up a piece. I don't remember seeing two horses in a G1 from the Pletcher barn with both being at long odds. What's going on in Pletcherville?

26 Aug 2012 1:25 PM

Take a look at Sir Hollister in the 11th at Saratoga.  Been tracking that horse for a while.  Maybe underneath in the exotics.  

For Pacific Classic:

Tri:  2,3,9 over 2,3,9 over 1,2,3,7,9

Super:  9/2,3/1,2,3,7/All

26 Aug 2012 1:35 PM

He is a favorite of mine but I’m also hoping he wins if only to give some sort of credence to our three year olds.

26 Aug 2012 1:58 PM

The Pacific Classic:  A tough race or an easy one?  I don’t necessarily think that we should hand this to GOD.  New competition and a track that he hasn’t won on are concerns.

1) Dullahan.  I’ve always been a fan of his and though he has disappointed much lately, he is finally returning to a surface that should see him move up.  True, all synthetic tracks play differently, but to his credit he has two career wins on the Keeneland polytrak and both happen to have been in G1 races.  The three year old male crop has been vastly depleted (maiden winners finishing first and a close third in the Travers and a horse claimed for $25K earlier this year winning the King’s Bishop), but he is a favorite of mine and I’m hoping he wins, if only to give some sort of credence to our three year olds..  His works have been sharp and consistent and he has a jockey change to Rosario who certainly knows his way around this track.

2) Amani.  Another shot for sure, but this filly might surprise.  She only finished third in her last (first start in N/A and first start this year after at least proving that she can get this distance in her final three races last year).  In her last she gained 6 1/4L in her final 16th and certainly looked like she was just getting warmed up.  Her works have been steady and she is coming into this race off a nice 7F breeze in 1.26.4.  Garret Gomez is having a resurgent type meet and he fits come-from-behind horses like a glove.

3) Game On Dude.  Definitely the one to catch, but like I mentioned above, he hasn’t won on this track and he is facing a new cast of competitors.  Has been working extraordinarily well coming off 7F and 6F works in good time.  Possibly the lone speed although I can see someone stepping up and pushing him.  I just have a feeling that it’s not going to be so easy this time.

4) Richard’s Kid.  It’s logical to expect him to be there having won this race twice and practically owning this track.  It’s also possible that 10F is his best distance.  His works are excellent, but the one concern is his recent ownership change.  New barn, new surroundings, new trainer and new jockey.  I think though that Victor will be a good fit on him and can certainly see him in the mix.  

26 Aug 2012 2:11 PM

Del Mar's P6 is a freakin' nightmare, big fields and the first leg is a baby race with too many who has a shot at winning the race.

Pete : What's your take on the first 3 legs of the P6 at Del Mar ?

26 Aug 2012 4:52 PM
Mary Zinke

Pat O'Brien: Camp Victory looks best. Too bad he's not a long shot like he was in the Triple Bend.

26 Aug 2012 5:04 PM

2:24 I certainly don't doubt that Frankel is a great turf horse. I'm just a bit surprised he hasn't set any track records. He appears to be flying. Ofcoarse it's not imperative that a champion horse set records in order to achieve greatness, but most of our's have, with a few exceptions. I consider Zenyatta one of the greatest mares of all time. She didn't set any track records due to how she ran her races. I also think it comes down to the caliber of competition to some degree. Mighty Sham pushed Secretariat into becoming the legend he is. That being said, I think Frankel is quite capable of setting records. I don't believe "Europe's best" has required him to do so. I doubt he'll go to the ARC. He would not only be expected to beat the little mare Danedream, but her record time as well. I'm sure most believe he could do just that, but this is horse racing. Need I say more?

26 Aug 2012 5:05 PM

Forgive me queen Z, you did set track records, don't know why I keep thinking you didn't. Well, there's no excuse for Frankel now.

26 Aug 2012 5:21 PM
El Kabong

Thanks to everyone about the street life updates.

Looking to score some quick spare cash to throw at the Del Mar pick 6 so here it is. 25 exacta Royal Delta to Brushed by a Star.

26 Aug 2012 5:52 PM

Dr. D : I don't play WPS, but probably should lol.  I can't drop 300 WP on one horse in real life betting but I can do it on blogs.  It's easy.

Pacific Classic :

$1.00 Trifecta Box ($6.00) :


$0.50 superfecta $25.00 :

5,8,9 with 5,8,9 with 5,8,9,2,3 with 5,8,9,2,1,3

26 Aug 2012 6:06 PM

Very tough break for Miss Tricky at the start.  With a clean break I honestly believe that she was the winner.  Congrats to the winner for relaxing and letting John V perform his magic.  Royal Delta today again gave credence to that old saying that Saratoga is the grave yard of favorites.  A concern is that this is the second race in a row in which she struggled against a horse that she would nortmally have tgrounced (not counting Miss Tricky).  I wonder if something is wrong.  

26 Aug 2012 6:08 PM
Matthew W

Today at Del May I went with two big hunch plays, in the 8th and 9th races...if I hit the pick 4 I will get paid, that is for sure! Race 8: While Baffert has the big fave, (two time loser), and there are several well-breds in there, I couldn't help but notice the #9 Just Fishin---first, I love the writing style of leavin the G out of fishin--so I'm playin him! I also couldn't help but notice how well bred the colt is--bred for speed/for sprinting/and for winning early--also couldn't help noticin (!) those works--you just never see a Beau Greely horse workin that fast--check out his horse Memphis in the 10th--THAT'S how Greely's horses usually work--among the bottom 1/2 of the day's works, usually the bottom 1/4---certainly not the top 1/4! Just Fishin, (20-1), race 8--single!....race 9, the Pacific Classic, I went 7 deep! Rail Trip, Amani, Richard's Kid, Where's Sterling, Dullahan, Suggestive Boy and Game On Dude, and I think McAnally has a big chance with Suggestive Boy, as that man knows how to train a good horse! Race 10 is the best betting race of the day, and I went 8 deep--Adriatic Moon, Runaway Bandito, Warren's Knockout, Memphis (Greely has only saddled 13 horses all year and today, in the late pick 4, saddles 2!), Tribal Jewell, Depth, Night Wind, Classic Bobby...and race 11, I love another single: #3 Splendiferous Moon,(8-1), who was compromised in her racing debut by the snail like opening quarter, and yet she ran on...I think she is very live (notice Paco Lopez, in to ride Where's Sterling in the 'Classic, stays two races to ride this maiden for Sadler!)...prognosis: if my two singles, the boxcar Just Fishin and Splendiferous Moon both win, I should be performing a cashecktomy at Del Mar in a few hours!

26 Aug 2012 6:23 PM


I don't have a very good feel for the first and third legs of the Del Mar pick six, but I do have a thought on leg two, the Del Mar Mile Handicap. Jeranimo and Mr. Commons may be the big names in this race, but I really like the chances of Obviously. Trained by Mike Mitchell, Obviously has spent the vast majority of his American racing career sprinting on the turf, with mild success I might add. But when stretched out to a mile earlier this month in an allowance race, the gelding absolutely dominated. With Joe Talamo aboard, Obviously went straight to the lead and rattled off stiff fractions of :22.30, :45.73, and 1:09.52. He then excellented his seventh furlong in a brilliant :11.58, then somehow managed to top that by closing his final eighth in a practically unheard of :11.31 while under "a snug hold late". His final time of 1:32.41 missed the track record by just a fifth of a second.

Furthermore, he beat some very nice horses that day. The runner-up, five lengths behind, was Bob Baffert's useful stakes horse Racing Aptitude. Finishing third was Thirtyfirststreet, winner of last year's Lone Star Derby.

There is no reason to think that Obviously will not repeat his last performance. There isn't really any other speed in the race, unless you can't the lightly-raced Tale of a Champion, so Obviously should be able to secure the lead without a lot of trouble. But if Tale of a Champion should try and secure the early advantage, it shouldn't bother Obviously, who has drawn the outside post position.

My only concern is that on the day of Obviously's allowance victory, there was only one turf race on the card -- his. So it's impossible to say for certain if the track was blazingly fast, thus making Obviously's effort more impressive than it really was, or if it was normal and Obviously simply ran that fast.

Nevertheless, I envision Obviously going straight to the front again and taking this race in gate-to-wire fashion. Jeranimo and Mr. Commons appear to be pretty evenly matched for second, but I'm not sure either of them possess the turn-of-foot to catch Obviously if the latter repeats his allowance effort.


26 Aug 2012 6:31 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   Once I saw how good Love and Pride looked physically I figured I chose the wrong Pletcher horse, and I wasn't impressed with R Gypsy's looks so instead of betting both I chose not to bet. I doubt if I'll be posting anymore picks before seeing the horses. Physicality is just as important as what's on paper most of the time. Nothing wrong with just playing exotics although if you have a great longshot, sometimes you miss out by not playing wps and missing the exotic. I usually play both. Good luck.

26 Aug 2012 6:40 PM

For anyone who remembers Fed Biz from earlier this year, the Bob Baffert-trainee has been entered in the El Cajon Stakes on August 31st at Del Mar. The one-mile race is the sixth on a rare seven-race card. Here are the entrants:


1 Tribal Tribute/Kevin Krigger

2 Fed Biz/Joe Talamo

3 Shaun Washington/Corey Nakatani

4 Private Zone/Martin Pedroza

5 Unusual Heatwave/Rafael Bejarano

6 Jimmy Creed/Garrett Gomez


26 Aug 2012 6:43 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Jeranimo !!!!!

26 Aug 2012 7:07 PM

Thanks Keelerman, although it was one race short of posting hehe.  I had already decided on Mr. Commons.  I know he hasn't been running well and quite frankly been very disappointing.  I'm hoping he'll run to his old form this time and at 7-2 morning line, I thought he's a really good price bet.

Dr. D : Yeah, I've been playing exotics for a long time and the WPS bet just doesn't work for me, I do try it every now and again and it's frustrating because when I play WPS on my longshot, i lose, if I don't, the horse wins.  The only time I got it right was when I played the 10 horse ridden by Angel Serpa to start the P5 that I hit back in January.  He went off at 60-1 and I had a $5 win on him.  I think for me to break my WPS bets curse is to go all in on one of my longshots but then I if I lose, I'll have to go home early lol.

With regards to Royal Delta, I thought she was a sure win but then again, I posted here before that Grace Hall was a sure win and we know what happened there.  I didn't have Love and Pride, I had Brushed By A Star and It's Tricky to try and beat RD.  Sucks to be me today lol.

26 Aug 2012 7:14 PM
Linda in Texas

LAZMANICK - agree totally with you on It's Tricky, watching on HRTV John said she stumbled went down to her underside and made her first stride on her belly tripping again.I think it was her turn to win and had she not bobbled, think it was hers to lose.  Hope nothing is wrong with Proud Delta.

Being a Seattle Slew Forever Fan, i am glad Love and Pride won carrying Slew's memory thru A.P. Indy the sire. And Johnny V. always a perfect ride. He has scored some nice ones in the last month.

Two great days of racing. And Willie Beamin,($25,000 claimer with 6 wins) Zagora and Contested just superb. If those were not enough and exciting to top it off Alpha and Golden Ticket whom no one had, i read every pre race post here, were awesome making history after 134 years. Most went scrambling for their books saying Who the bleep did they say? Golden Ticket??? Loved it he went off 33 to 1.

Since Jason has been gone i pretty much have not posted here, but i enjoy so many and glad to see Carlos in Cali, longwaytomay, El Kabong always fun, Pedigree Ann and Mary Zinke always educating us, PomDeTerre, couldn't agree more with your suggestion for KY VET (what kind of problem was he trying to solve with that equation he posted?), Keelerman, ksweatman9 and i know i am missing many and no, i didn't forget Dr. D. always a treat whatever he says.

And Jason, time to run for high ground and cover and I don't mean a thatched roof island hut.

Thanks Pete, read this very early this morning and had a chortle or two!

26 Aug 2012 7:18 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Wow, obviously Obviously is exceptional. BC mile fav??? Just too good for that bunch he faced today. I'm impressed.

26 Aug 2012 7:20 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  All you have to do is bet $2 to win on your longshot or just not worry about it and stick to exotics. Whatever works. Either way you'll miss out on something but it doesn't matter since you get a good score once in awhile on your exotics that covers everything. Just keep doing what you're doing.

Linda in Texas

    This is a great blog. I just hope it is a long term thing for Pete rather than sort term. I like his style. Thanks for your compliment. Good to see you here. I'm just starting to post here myself but usually have been reading it. I thought PomDeTerre's comment was ghastly and a bit overboard. Ky Vet is either a wannabe pro or throwing red herrings out there hoping people will bet on his toss outs that he pretends are his picks, to increase the odds on his true picks. At first his arrogance bothered me a little but I've grown fond of it and consider it entertainment in an over the top way like Gallagher. Can't you just see KY Vet smashing watermelons and breaking glasses. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. One of these days he'll post a winner or not if it is a red herring plot. You have to admire his tenaciousness. I'm picking lousy myself but I think I'll give it one more try today in The Classic after I see the horses.

26 Aug 2012 7:55 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

WPS($20) on Dullahan, and a 2,3,5,6,8 exacta($1), tri($1) and super(10 cent) boxes. Hoping tough cookie Game On Dude is Game On Dud today.

26 Aug 2012 8:15 PM

I still think that that trip to Dubai has had its effect on Royal Delta.  She won the FDL by 8 but that wasn't against the top fillies in the division.  Other than that she seems to be racing far below what her abilities are.

26 Aug 2012 8:17 PM


Thanks for the update.  I've been waiting patiently for his return.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, injury free this guy might have been the best three year old this year.

26 Aug 2012 8:19 PM


26 Aug 2012 8:23 PM

A good win in a devasting close and in track record time.  Now do us a favor guys, put him on the turf and take aim at the 12F BC Turf.....PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!!

26 Aug 2012 8:26 PM
Mary Zinke

Laz, You've been saying Dullahan for a while now. Good call!  Hope that was cha-ching for you..

Unspeakable ride on my Royal Delta. I may be able to comment in 10 years, but not on a moderated blog.  

26 Aug 2012 8:41 PM
Matthew W

Not sure why they decided to use Espiniza instead of Bejarano for Richard's Kid--I know Victor had a big falling out with Baffert over the Big Cap "no dq" last year, when Baffert practically got on the phone to the stewards--The O Neill Camp went with Espinoza, and when they went around the far turn, Rosario went wide, while Victor stayed inside, and he was stopped foe at least 1/16 of a mile--when they finally did get out they hugged the rail but it was too little, too late, Dullahan had the jump and the race! Chantal moved a bit early, but they always do that, the best horse won, Dullahan looked great! No doubt they'll be gunning for the Dubai World Cup next Spring! He's a synthetics horse....

26 Aug 2012 8:49 PM


Great call on Dullahan! That was a stunning performance, and the final time was the second-quickest in the history of the Pacific Classic. But I think that you're right in that he might be better suited to the Breeders' Cup Turf, rather than the Classic, as he is clearly a better horse on turf and Polytrack than he is on traditional dirt.

Once again, good job!


26 Aug 2012 10:43 PM

As a professional handicapper, i have had a great much so i have begun to claim far my 1st horse ran 3rd..1st...1st..came out with a slightly puffy ankle..but we are moving up again in class...should run in a week or 2.....then just claimed a horse on thursday.......he won.....things looking good...............and yes i know horses.....yes had dullahan in belmont....beat way better today...thought 5 to 1 was low but i took i stated before- will challenge pick two cards any track...most winners....loser leaves blog for three weeks....any day........never any takers........

26 Aug 2012 11:37 PM
Linda in Texas

Good Dr. Drunkinbum, PomDeTerre is

very patient. I am sure he like the rest of us tried to find something pertinent to handicapping or racing in the blurb KY VET posted. It looked half Greek Hieroglyphics and half something else maybe The Rorschach Test,

Gallagher was probably the first person i ever realized was not playing with a full deck, not in a straight jacket and on T V for everyone to see on top of it. I worried about him. And read just recently he had a heart attack and had to cease smashing watermelons.

Mary Zinke, i am sure Pete will post whatever you write, just use the first letter of the words you feel may not pass the cuss test!

I bet we can figure them out.:)

Royal Delta must be affected by the muggy/humid weather like i am. Had to leave right after the race, but plan to go back and watch the video. I call her Proud Delta, because when she is on, she is beautiful.

Dullahan was rolling. Game On Dude i have always been a fan of and he will win more races, he just 'gave' that one to Dullahan for coming to the West Coast! I thought it was quite hospitable of him myself. But he won't do it again.

26 Aug 2012 11:43 PM

Royal Delta lost because she gave 10 lbs to the winner.

27 Aug 2012 7:34 AM
lunar spook

POM DE TERRE- hope you relished stay thirstys win , cuz he hasnt won since and likely never will again !

27 Aug 2012 8:27 AM
Pedigree Ann

WHen did they cut the Personal Ensign (aka John A. Morris) down to 9f? The grading committee is asleep at the switch - cutting a 10f race down to a 9f race is substantial change to the race, yet they let it keep its grading. Same with pseudo-CCAO.

Thank you Jersey Boy for recognizing the importance of the weight concession. People scarcely talk about weight as a factor in races anymore, but it does make a difference.

27 Aug 2012 9:16 AM
Linda in Texas

i know lunar spook isn't Draynay, because Mr.Draynay and i both liked Stay Thirsty and remember Quality Road? Likewise. To me Stay Thirsty was not necessarily overlooked, but he was over powered by the high hopes placed on Uncle Mo.

I must say i am overly impressed when trainers go out and take a chance on claimers and i think to myself, thank you, not for me but for them. Willy Beamin still on my mind today. Great race.

JerseyBoy i did not hear that about the extra 10 pounds for Royal Delta, interesting. That is a 5 pound bag of sugar hanging on each side of her saddle. At least her owner and trainer didn't start complaining and threaten to pull her out of the race! Good sports. And i did not hear that as an excuse either. To me, that is pure class.

Thanks Pete. I go along with Dr. Drunkinbum, i think your blog is great. And so must some pretty successful handicappers which i guess you have realized from my posts.  Hope you get to continue. I leave all the numbers and ratings and furlongs up to the smart ones. I just love a great race especially when they are evenly matched and every horse knows it and tries to win. You can see it in their determination written all over their muscles and length of their strides and ears flat down on the top of their heads. That is how i read them and i don't watch the one in front, i go back and see who is gaining mid pack fast and that is the one i pick to win. Usually right.  

27 Aug 2012 10:44 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

I didn't even know they had two dollar claiming races. KY Vet- "Has a puffy ankle but running him in a week or two and moving up in class" !!!! Sounds like your handicapping. Take good care of your horses !!!!!!  Don't run unsound horses. Let a professional make your decisions. I'll take you on handicapping anytime but I often don't bet until a few minutes before post time and I don't do a whole card anymore. I'm not a pro but successful pros don't do a whole card. They play select races. And the prize won't be a measly few weeks off of the blog. It will be 6 months off of bloodhorse blogging.

27 Aug 2012 10:54 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

KY Vet

   Saturday Sep 1st. Woodword day at Saratoga. Three races-Woodward, Forego, and Bernard Baruch. Loser is off of bloodhorse blogs until 2013. It's not 6 months but it's good enough. One $100 WPS bet per race. Winner is most money made from the three races.

27 Aug 2012 11:05 AM
lunar spook


27 Aug 2012 11:08 AM
Pete Denk

Linda in TX-

Thank u, I am enjoying doing this blog and look fwd to developing it more.

Judging by what you said about how you watch races, you might enjoy some of the stuff I do in conjunction with Kerry Thomas, a pioneer in equine communication and herd dynamics. It's got nothing to do with speed figures or numbers. It's all about the horses, how they move, and how they communicate (the ears tell u SO much about a horse).

Here's what we said about I'll Have Another before this year's Ky Derby.

27 Aug 2012 12:15 PM
El Kabong


If Fed Biz is half of what he was last Feb. he will destroy this field. I was wondering if we'd ever see the likes of Fed Biz or Algorithm. Glad we have one back.

27 Aug 2012 12:44 PM

Pedigree Ann and Linda in Texas:

I supplied that information because I read reports on the race by turf writers who made no mention of the weight difference.

Under the Timeform scale, those 10 lbs. are equal to 5 lengths.

Love and Pride will eventually enter the breeding shed as a Grade1 winner.

This is the reason I have always maintained that all Grade I races should be run at weight-for-age or be reduced to Grade 2.

In my handicapping system, every pound counts.

27 Aug 2012 1:02 PM
lunar spook

EL KABONG- totally agree with you about fed biz , giants causway just keeps cranking em out , what a sire hes become !

27 Aug 2012 1:15 PM

KY vet your record of picking on these blogs intact.Neck and Neck out of the money in Travers.

27 Aug 2012 2:28 PM
lunar spook

And once again the monday morning quarterback , chief piccalosa is at again ! never daring to make a pick BEFORE the race !

27 Aug 2012 2:39 PM
lunar spook


27 Aug 2012 2:44 PM
Age of Reason

Wow, if that Pacific Classic doesn't finally convince Dale Romans to keep Dullahan off of the dirt, nothing will...I was really rooting for Richard's Kid (his connections being irrelevant to me) as a sentimental favorite, and though losing he ran as well in a top-level race as any 7-year old could be expected to--though more than likely it's a case where the proverbial old gray mare ain't what s/he used to be. Meanwhile in another part of Del Mar, Mr. Commons appears to be regaining his earlier form. Give all credit to the winner who ran a screamer all the way 'round, but as a post on DRF noted, the Del Mar turf has generally been kind to blazing front-runners; those turns are a bit tight and the length of the stretch is what, slightly over a furlong? Lol. As an old Zenyatta fan I've still got lots of love for Shirreffs and Smith, but it seemed obvious long ago that Smith just wasn't getting it done on Mr. C., and the switch to blinkers seemed an obvious choice. It is possible, as Lazmannick noted, that Royal Delta is not the same horse post-Dubai, but methinks that she is one of many who has wilted somewhat in the heat of a summer campaign but will resurrect herself from Saratoga's Graveyard of Favorites as the fall season begins. The 3 year olds may be dropping like flies, but there's still plenty of exciting races left in this bunch of horses, and it gets more riveting every weekend!

27 Aug 2012 3:10 PM
Mary Zinke

I expect another rider change for Royal Delta. Although her trainer was his usual diplomatic calm self after that s ride given to his champion filly, her owner has no problem with making changes to ensure success.  

27 Aug 2012 3:22 PM
Pete Denk

Royal Delta looked awful before the race. Sweat was dripping down her front.

27 Aug 2012 4:41 PM

Dont run hurt horses? This is why i make money.....almost all of you on here dont even understand this game.........i said he came out of the race w a puffy ankle, didnt say he was hurt...this is the whole game people! you would have never seen ill have another win the derby , if you only ran horses with no problems....they almost all have problems...especially my 8 yr old.....this is the game! and yes, we are moving up in class because he is improving. I bet on 50 races a day, trust me.......i make a living at this game

27 Aug 2012 4:43 PM

Lunar spooky I won the 9-7 exacta in the Preakness but I never posted that on here.The last pick I posted on here was on Locksmiths blog.If you like to compete I will have a contest with you.

27 Aug 2012 8:06 PM


27 Aug 2012 8:11 PM
lunar spook


28 Aug 2012 11:24 AM
lunar spook

in case anyone dosent know it yet KY VET is a pro handicapper and he knows horses if you dont believe it check out his last 50 posts, hes a legend ! ( eyes rolling )

28 Aug 2012 12:06 PM

The Woodward ok LUNAR SPOOKIE

28 Aug 2012 1:14 PM
Linda in Texas

Pete i had no idea there was anything like you and Kerry Thomas are into. Thank you so much for the link. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, truly. Amazing. Here all along i thought i was peculiar.

It has opened another door for me to help clear some cob webs out of unused parts of my brain and fill them with new ways to study and  parallel my admiration of and for horses.

To read some of Kerry's statements about I'll Have Another is like rehashing thoughts i have

often when observing horses. When i saw Lava Man and I'll Have Another together it was like watching two old friends walking side by side with a common understanding of what they are and what was expected of them and they never said a word to each other. It was just a given between them.

Thanks Pete. Awesome.

28 Aug 2012 6:08 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Oh yeah, thanks Linda for reminding me. Forgot to thank Pete for that special link. Best new site I've seen in awhile. I have always been into the physicality and readiness to race even before I read Bonnie Ledbetter, and Joe Takach, two that I learned from. I am really looking forward to kentuckyconfidential for The Derby. Sorry I didn't know about it before. Thanks for the link Pete. I knew from the beginning that this blog would be special. Will have to get the Kerry Thomas book sometime. Linda- Check out and read the physicality mini-course on the left.

28 Aug 2012 7:29 PM

Here we go again... it's like a broken record.  He's been sent to the "clinic", who wants to make a bet that Paynter will be retired before Friday next week.  What is up with these horses ??  They can't even survive one full year of racing.  

They should all be gelded!!!! lol or a new rule that they can't breed unless they run 3 full season.  That's not much to ask is it ?

29 Aug 2012 1:03 AM

JayJay Baffert seems to be having it particularly tough.  Fed Biz, Bode and now Paynter.  At least the Biz is coming back and maybe he can set things straight.  Many think he was Baffert's best three year old this year until his injury.  Looking forward to his return even if it is on synthetics.

29 Aug 2012 2:01 AM

Laz : Yes, I too am looking forward to his return, I'm hoping he's all fine and continues to race next year.  I was really excited when Gemologist came back but one big race, and seems he's MIA again.    I'm still waiting for Went The Day Well, El Padrino and Creative Cause to come back.  Hopefully we'll see them run next year.  I'm excited at your horse Dullahan, if he stays on sythetics or grass, there's a good likelihood they'll run him as a 4 yr old to win the Dubai World Cup :)

29 Aug 2012 3:28 AM


Gemologist came out of the Haskell Invitational with a lung infection, but he is already back in training and is pointing toward a potential start in the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on September 22nd.


29 Aug 2012 8:45 AM

Kellerman......good news about Gemologist in what has been a devastating year (health wise) for what was originally a pretty good three year old crop.  He was always one of my favorites as was Discreet Dancer.  Any news about him?

JayJay I think that the World Cup is the long range plan for Dullahan.  When you think about his prowess on synthetics, it’s actually pretty amazing.  Here’s a horse that has never won a maiden race, allowance race or even a low level stakes race.  He has three lifetime wins and they are all in G1 races.  I see now that in spite of the fees paid BCC invitation they earned with their Pacific Classic win they’re contemplating trying him on turf and, if successful, maybe running him in a BC Turf race.  I always maintained that he would be exceptional in route races on turf when he matured and I hope that they at least try him on it, if not to get it out of their system, at least to get it out of mine.

29 Aug 2012 1:24 PM
Pete Denk

Linda and Dr. Drunkinbum, thank you for the comments, I am glad you guys liked the link. It's a bit esoteric for some, but I think the horse's mind is so important to athletic performance.

Maybe I'll have Kerry on the blog sometime this fall. He is a mad genius for sure.

29 Aug 2012 1:37 PM


I'm afraid I don't know much about Discreet Dancer. He was officially taken off the Derby trail in late March and sent to Ocala for some rest, but I haven't heard anything about him since then.

Here is a link to a article on the subject:

One colt that I do know something about is O'Prado Again, winner of last year's Remsen Stakes. He has been back in training for a while now, most recently breezing a half-mile in a bullet :59 4/5 at Churchill Downs on August 25th.

Trainer Dale Romans stated a while back that the long-term goal was to send O'Prado Again and Dullahan to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup. While this might seem like a bold plan for a colt that hasn't even raced since November, Romans also stated that he felt O'Prado Again was more talented than Dullahan. Only time will tell what kind of colt O'Prado Again turns out to be, but I am anxiously awaiting his return.


29 Aug 2012 1:51 PM


It’s funny you mention O’Prado Again.  I know all about this guy.  I remember betting him in that Remsen.  He was something like 12-1 in the morning line and immediately opened at 2-1 and stayed there for quite a while (the reason that I bet him) before finally going off at 7-1; and this with El Padrino, who was coming off a win, the favorite (Speightscity ran also).  I remember when he made his move he ran right past El Padrino and won fairly easy, going away.  And then, forever what reason, that was it.  I think that he was on Haskins Derby Trail for a while, but then he was taken out of training.  Like you, I’m waiting for his return.  He was pretty impressive in that Remsen.  His time wasn’t all that fast, but it was a full second faster than the Demoiselle run on the same day.  The question now is, what is his best surface.  

29 Aug 2012 2:55 PM
Matthew W

Late pick 4 today at Del Mar---two favorites won and it still paid 63k!

29 Aug 2012 10:25 PM

Thanks Keelerman!  That's good to hear, looks like the rematch I've been waiting for might actually come to fruition.  Alpha and Gemologist, I'm not counting the derby which is where they last met.  Now I'm not so opposed to Alpha running in the Penn Derby if Gemologist will be there.

I don't recall O'Prado Again at all but then again, I normally don't pay much attention to the baby races other than betting them because we all know what happens.  They start their 3 yr old season and someone declares them the TC winner before they even run one race, the horse doesn't perform and the excuses comes flooding.

I will challenge myself and will try and keep an eye on the baby races and see if I can pick the next IHA or even a Shackleford, a good solid horse.

30 Aug 2012 12:46 AM


I think that O'Prado Again could prove fairly versatile in regards to preferred racing surface, given that his sire is El Prado. This is a stallion that has sired major dirt stars Medaglia d'Oro and Borrego, as well as turf champion Kitten's Joy and Breeders' Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller.

O'Prado Again has already shown some versatility, having broken his maiden going nine furlongs on the Keeneland Polytrack before winning the Remsen on dirt. I think he will end up like Dullahan; brilliant on one surface, excellent on another, and good enough to handle some variations of a third. But which surface he likes best -- synthetic, turf, and dirt -- is open to question. What do you think?


Following the juveniles is a lot of fun, especially if you happen to witness the debut of a future grade I stakes winner.

You might want to take a look at today's third race at Saratoga, where Todd Pletcher has entered the highly-regarded Archwarrior. During this Saratoga meet, Pletcher has sent out a number of super-promising two-year-olds, but this one is supposedly the very best of his group. And being a son of Arch out of a Seeking the Gold mare, I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see this colt's best until he gets older and the distances stretch out. If he stays sound, he could be a legitimate classic contender next year.


30 Aug 2012 12:34 PM


O’Prado Again’s time in the Remsen wasn’t all that fast, 1.52.07 for 9F, especially when compared to other stakes on the card: To Honor and Serve winning the Cigar in 1.33.89 and Awesome Feather the Gazelle in 1.50.01.  But we can’t forget that these were older G1 winners and O’Prado Again was just starting his stakes career.  Even so his Remsen was better than a second faster than Disposable Please in the Demoiselle, and he won rather easily.  His DRF caption states that he was three wide around both turns (which I remember from watching the race) and that he was bumped hard at the start and that he drew away with his final individual 8th in 12.26 and final 3/8ths in 36.72.  What does this suggest?  To me it suggests that he is going to be very good on dirt and with all his recorded works going back to July 7 (8 works) at Churchill I think that his connections realize what his best surface is.  Even so, he appears to have the talent to be good on multi surfaces and if their long range plans are a Dubai World Cup then we can expect to see him on Poly at Keeneland.

30 Aug 2012 1:23 PM

Keleerman, Lazmannick & jay jay,

I like the discussion on 2YOs. Archwarrior is all the rage among railbirds but so far he'll have to be the real deal to win me over from the Saratoga Special winner, Spurious Precision. This colt has lots of qualities that I like and saw in Union Rags last. SP has incredible speed, lots of stamina in his broodmare's family and multiple crosses of Hyperion top and bottom. Keep watching this colt because his schedule takes him to the Champagne next and then the Breeder's Cup Juvenile.

30 Aug 2012 2:20 PM


Mike Watchmaker really likes Spurious Precision.  He has him rated at the top of his two year-old listing.  So far his immediate sire and dam show sprint.  His dam, Scarlet Combo, won 4 of 7, but with no stakes wins; and her sire, Scarlet Ibis, was a four time stakes winner, but three were in sprints and in the New York Stakes program.  His sire, High Cotton, is a G3 at winner at 8.5F and is a relatively young sire.  So far his best has been Currency Swap (G1), also a sprinter.  There is lots of stamina in his pedigree and his DI and CD suggest that he will be able to stretch out, but the one thing that I’ve always been leery about with early season two-year old sensations is that in their early races they blast out of the gate and run as fast as they can.  No rating tactics are applied at a time when a horse should be taught how to rate properly to conserve his speed and energy.  Consequently most of them don’t reach the same level when they stretch out at three.

Spurious Precision might have some of the same qualities as Union Rags, but if you go back and check Rag’s first three races you’ll see that in the first he came from 7th place and in the Champagne he came from 5th, no 44 halves or 109 three quarters.


30 Aug 2012 4:22 PM


Based upon your comment "one thing that I’ve always been leery about with early season two-year old sensations is that in their early races they blast out of the gate and run as fast as they can" it seems you should be quite impressed with Todd Pletcher's 2YO Archwarrior, in his winning debut. I thought that it was a good winning effort for a 2YO son of Arch but I dont see him as a sensation at this stage. I will concur with DRF's Mike Watchmaker that Spurious Precsion is top dog among the 2YO ranks and if he stretches out successfully in the Champgne the sky's the limit.

30 Aug 2012 10:40 PM

I've decided to follow Know More and Palace Malice, I like Know More's only win in the Best Pal.  That was a nice grinding run.  Reminded me of IHA, same connections as well.

I haven't seen any of Palace Malice's race(s) but I like his pedigree...

Spurious Precision is another Dixie Union horse, never thought his babies can get the 10F and I still believe it.  I think this horse will probably be another miler that will run in the TC crown because he'll win a bunch of 2 yr old races.

31 Aug 2012 3:33 AM

I love when an "unknown/underdog" wins. Good going to the connections of V.E. Day! And on that note, I truly enjoyed your article on 'Dark Secret'. Let's champion him for inclusion to the Hall of Fame. Let me know what to do , how to start, etc. I'm certain he'll get in.

24 Aug 2014 3:57 PM

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