Leading Astray, Gary Stevens

Newly turned four-year-olds facing older horses for the first time can be in for a rude awakening. With that in mind, I still like Leading Astray in the Marshua's River (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

Carded as the 10th race, going 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Marshua's River drew a field of 10 fillies and mares. Chokurei (Ire) and Heavenly Landing look like the older horses to beat, and I would consider using them in the exotics with Leading Astray.

Leading Astray has a 5-2-1 career record from eight starts and showed solid improvement throughout the year. She is coming off of a better than it looks 2nd-place finish in the Mrs. Revere S. (G2) at Churchill. She was in tight stalking a moderate pace and didn't get an open lane until the winner Centre Court was gone. Centre Court pressed that pace in the clear, and she is a solid Grade 2 horse, maybe more. Not only did Leading Astray show improved grit battling for space behind Centre Court, but she was trying in vain to run that one down too.

Leading Astray's final 5/16 in :29-2 was very good, and both that closing fraction and the final time match up well with what the three-year-old males did in the Commonwealth Turf (G3) earlier on the same card (won by Lea, King David 2nd). The jock switch from EE Perez to Jose Lezcano also is an upgrade. Leading Astray is probably my most confident play that I did not put on this weekend's Locksmith Smart Plays.

In other stakes action...the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita drew a short field of six. Goldencents has serious speed and can get a mile. He'll control the pace, with impressive maiden winner Manando stalking him. Manando finished fast & strong last time when allowed to set moderate fractions. He'll need to improve a little to run Goldencents down. I think the race is between those two.

We analyzed the newly rescheduled Jerome Stakes (G2) on That Handicapping Show this week. I meant to take additional shots at the new Kentucky Derby qualifying system, which looks even more poorly devised by the day. (The Grade 2, two-turn dirt race in New York, for newly turned 3yos, is not worth any points)

I picked Long River, a well-bred A.P. Indy colt with a classic distance profile. He's probably going to be 2-1 or 5-2. This probably isn't the best betting race, but it is worth watching for Ky Derby implications and entertainment.

Gary Stevens Returns

Like most racing fans, I was glad to hear Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens is attempting a comeback. Stevens is a great competitor and horseman.

It has seemed to me for a couple years now that we are in between eras in terms of the great jockeys. I'd love to see Stevens back in top form, riding in graded stakes.


Leave a Comment:


Gary! You didn't  give the details of how you got down to 119 lbs so easily! ...... as someone wanting to lose a few and with a New Year's Resolution to do so, I would love to have a tip or two!

and Welcome Back! We are all great fans of yours!

04 Jan 2013 12:46 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: G3 Marshua's River

Two modest upgrades here,

1 Leading Astray closed well despite the speed friendly Flow from an early position behind the eventual race winner.

7 Frontside who set the clear lead of a Closer friendly Flow in the South Beach. She also impressed last April with her runner-up effort despite setting the pace of a Closer favoring Flow.

Best of racing luck.

04 Jan 2013 12:52 PM
Mary Zinke

Sham Stakes: Goldencents(should wire), Manando, Den's Legacy, Dry Summer, Greeley Awesome, Dirty Swagg(only 6 so I did the full order of finish--for fun. 2,6,1.

San Pasqual:  Ultimate Eagle(was thinking Hoorayforhollywood could go with him for the lead, but no, now think UE can steal)Coil, Tres Borrachos, John Scott.  Of the terribly inconsistent ones, Jaycito and Bank The Eight, considering using Bank The Eight. 4,6,3,5.

Jerome: I like the mainly turf colt, Notacatbutallama, but would use Mudflats, Amerigo Vespucci and Long River. Like 5,6,4 best.

I appreciate the feedback on these picks at the last blog from KY and El K, and others.

04 Jan 2013 1:38 PM
El Kabong


If Gary's return meets with good results, you can bet he will be the poster boy for Pro Sports Club, a health club facility run by Dr. Mark Dedomenic. Dr. D is also behind the Equine Rehab Center, Pegasus,  also up here in the Northwest. Dr. D and his family have always been great contributors to Horse Racing and if Gary is able to show some of his old brilliance, it just might be one of their greatest contribution yet. Check out the Pegasus Rehab on line, it is heaven for any injured horse.

www. pegasustrainingcenter

04 Jan 2013 4:04 PM

I remember a line in the movie, "Seabiscuit", that the George Woolf character, played by Stevens, said to Mr. Howard, when confronted with whether Howard would let Pollard ride, after Pollard's injury: "Better to break a man's leg than to break his heart!"  As long as Gary is excited and wants to ride, then he should go for it. Regret leaves a bitter taste, and it sounds like he has to do this for his own reasons.  He has missed it, he loves it, and why the hell not!  

04 Jan 2013 5:17 PM


I agree that the new points system to qualify for the Kentucky Derby is greatly flawed by discouting 2YO form and overrating the later prep races. I stick by my prediction that in about three years they'll be under pressure to return to the far superior Graded Earnings system. Look for many unpredictable outcomes this year. In my view the thing that mostly needs changing to improve the Derby is the post position draw. The present system allows for the chances of the best colts to be compromised by the luck of the draw. They should either abandon the gate #1 or allocate priority of choice in the final starting gate position based upon the graded stakes earnings of the qualifiers. Such a system would afford the top qualifying colts favorable chances in the draw for post positions and avoid as far as possible the disadvantage suffered by horses like Looking At Lucky and Union Rags in the past. One of the rewards/motivations for high ranking in the qualifying process should be priority of choice in gate position. this has become more crucial in the now normal twenty horse Derby fields.

Goldencents is a cinch in the Sham and Vegas No Show should steal the spotlight in the Jerome. In the Marshua's River Stakes I like Frontside ahead of Heanenly Landing, Fantasy of Flight and Channel Lady.

Happy Hunting.

04 Jan 2013 5:32 PM

marshuas river....i actually dont like the 3 favs..#1 astray#2chokuri#6 channel lady..........looks like a slow race, which means longshot race to me........be careful

04 Jan 2013 5:49 PM

I think the Apollo rule will be broken many times in the decade to come, and I am not surprised that two yo form has been discounted in the new Derby point system,although I dont have any opinion on the rule itself.That is my thesis moving forward that colts that plan on hitting the board in the Derby will not race as two yos,and if they do will have a long break in between their last race as a two year old, and the first as a three year old.Ill Have Another used that last year.I pay more attention to recent history than past because things change eventhough some people dont want them to.

04 Jan 2013 6:41 PM

In 2013 and beyond, I think that colts that train too hard and run equally hard races like the grade ones for two year olds will hit their peak early with this very taxing schedule for an animal that is still growing and maturing.If you run as a two year old they should tread lightly.We dont live in an era where the most talented two year olds do not have much competition at every stage in their two year old racing career.We live in an era where there are many more competitors to start with, as foals that are born yearly, then in bygone decades.The races are much harder for a talented two yo and if they were to make it to the Derby just to hit the board would be overcoming a lot.

04 Jan 2013 6:50 PM
Mary Zinke

Marshua's River: Hard Not To Like, Heavenly Landing, Leading Astray--hope it rains a little.

04 Jan 2013 7:26 PM

Sham Stakes : Sticking with Den's Legacy, lots of pace here to run down.  I think Dirty is the play here, back to blinkers and smaller field.  Will have Goldencents, Dirty Swagg and Manando under DL.

San Pascual :  John Scott and Jaycito boxed.  I think John Scott can run down UE.  Leparoux may be the jockey Baffert was looking for to get Jaycito going the right way.  I'll box the two with UE for the trifecta.  I'm going to let UE beat me if he's anything like 4-5 or lower.  I doubt he'll run at 5-2 so I won't bet him on top.

Jerome : Amerigo Vespucci with Vyjack, Long River.  I'll have a separate ticket boxing Vyjack with Notacatbutallama  just in case Amerigo doesn't like this track or is not good enough.

Marshua's River :  Frolic's Revenge for the upset.  Playing with Chokurei,  Channel Lady, Leading Astray and Hard Not To Like.  

04 Jan 2013 8:51 PM
El Kabong


Goldencents is not a cinch. Manando is the horse I think will prove you wrong but it might be some one else. Talent is blooming at this phase not proven. You like what you know in a industry that rewards those who look beyond at this point. Good luck with that. The new system is better than the old one. I appreciate the emphasis on 3 year old performance. 3 year olds are far different from 2 year olds and their efforts as a 2 year old are not comparable and rarely carry over. Look to the future I say. Goodnight to the sleepy heads that hold on to the past. I'm not one of them.

04 Jan 2013 8:56 PM

I'm with El Kabong here, she nailed it.  Let's break that Apollo curse if it means we'll have healthy 3 yr olds throughout the year and as a bonus, we might even see them race at 4, imagine that!   The Kentucky Derby is a race for 3 yr olds, not 2 yr olds so I don't understand why they even count the races when they were 2.  Here's a bold idea, move the Derby to be the last leg of the triple crown, move it to July 3rd (my bday lol).  The Preakness being the first leg.  To win the first 2 legs and have the Kentucky Derby as the race that  potentially crowns you the triple crown winner ??  That would just be absolutely amazing.

The new points system also makes it more legitimate, to have the winners of prep races get a much better chance at making the race.  We've seen it many times where the winner of the Delta Jackpot gets in because of the big purse.  How many Delta Jackpot winners have won the Derby ?  or even hit the board ?  IMO, the only flaw right now is that they should remove the points for 2 yr old races, and add more 3 yr old races (like the Jerome) to the list.  I would also like to see more overseas races be added so that we get a chance to see the best 3 yr old from other countries.  

Ranagulzion : The new points system does include some 2 yr old races, so I'm not sure what you mean by discounting the 2 yr old form.  They have 10 Two Yr Old races where horses can earn points.

04 Jan 2013 10:02 PM

El Kabong,

Attempting to engineer or design a future based upon discounting the wisdom of the past does not lead to a bighter day. New does no necessarily mean improved, my frioend.  2YO seasoning has always counted bigtime when it comes to the Kentucky Derby hence to rarity of the "Apollo" occrrence. Over the years Graded Stakes peromances /earnings have been a reliable guide to the quality of the horses of all ages. Why put such a artifcial bias in the "new" system that militates against classy 2YOs, stakes quality speed horses and stakes races at certain tracks? Also the freedom of trainers to develop or design a path according to the peculiarities of their charges s straight-jacketed. I did not hear of any proper debate or consultation with stake holders before this new system, did you?  I tell you one thing, the contrivers of this "new" thing will reap what they have sown ...inferior and less cometitive Derbies (one example, no Trinniberg last year and Bodemeister wins easily).

I'll agree with you that talent is blooming right now but I think that it will take a good one to stop Goldencents in the Sham. We'll see.  

05 Jan 2013 4:51 AM


There is one flaw in the new Kentucky Derby selection system that I think must be addressed before it becomes a headache. It is this.

A horse who was a top 2yo is scheduled to run twice before the Kentucky Derby.

In his first start as a 3yo, he finishes first but is disqualified for interference and placed 4th. In his second start he unseats the rider as he is interfered with when making a winning run. This occurs too close to the Derby for the connections to run him a third time. However, on performance, he is clearly a top 3 prospect. What happens to such a horse?

05 Jan 2013 9:14 AM

Not a big fan of Pletcher in may but its early january and as history shows he dominates the early prep season and for that reason i will take a shot with NOTACATBUTALLAMA. Pletcher/Ramon/10-1 ML......

Jay Jay, hope your right about Jaycito, funny that Baffert is playing musical saddles with the jocks and when its all said and done Stevens lands on Bob's big horse.......JUST A THOUGHT

05 Jan 2013 10:00 AM

Hope "The Iceman" brings the rain($$$)down on me!!!...Happy Trails to Him...ty...

05 Jan 2013 10:14 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Racing Flow Bold Upgrade for Saturday -

Gulfstream,  Race 4

2 Sweeter Turn (6-1):  impressed with steady run behind an Extreme Race for Speed last out at Mth.  

05 Jan 2013 10:26 AM

Can anyone please give info on best online horse betting sites?

05 Jan 2013 10:26 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Sandy -

Try Twinspires.

05 Jan 2013 10:33 AM

I am very disappointed that the #1 colt in my Derby Dozen was not entered in the Jerome Stakes. If Long River is so well fancied, this colt would certainly have a real shot at winning with a better trip than the one he had in his last race. He is a son of Pulpit via Quiet American that was second to Long River in his last start. He had to be steadied going into the first turn and had to be guided 5L wide heading into the final turn. Despite his troubles he galloped resolutely in the stretch but found Long River taking no prisoners. He as a smooth action and appears to be a genuine router.

The Devil of misfortune robbed Pulpit of a Derby winner in Ice Box. The recently deceased stallion has a legitimate shot at a Derby winner posthumously. I have an abundant amount of respect for Quiet American as a broodmare sire. Why? His mares have produced Derby/Preakness winner Real Quiet; Preakness winner and Breeders Cup Classic runner up Bernardini and Breeders Cup Classic winner Saint Liam.

This colt is therefore a product of a brilliant son of A P Indy regarded as the perfect horse and a mare form a broodmare sire with an impeccable record. I will no doubt labeled crazy for placing this colt as #1 in my Derby Dozen but what alternative did I have when the colt  goes by my official name.

05 Jan 2013 10:38 AM

No love for Greeley Awesome in the Sham. His last start was a 9L maiden claiming victory was nothing more than a paid workout. If his PP is correct it appears he has only one start on dirt and that resulted in a 2nd place finish. He does not appear to be fast enough to trouble the top contenders but he is well bred and should have no problems with the distance. He has to be live exotic wager horse.  

05 Jan 2013 11:02 AM
Pete Denk

JerseyBoy- There are many flaws in this new KY Derby points system.

Coldfacts, or should I call you Mr. Palmer?, I bet you get a huge price on him in Vegas. I agree he is on the improve and underrated.

05 Jan 2013 11:16 AM
El Kabong


nice try at reductio ad absurdum. Those of us who like the new system do not deny the need for a 2 year old foundation(your cheap apollo remark was unnecessary and unfounded). I do not deny the importance of history, or for that matter, a successful 2 year old campaign. I just don't want to base the selection of the Heisman(in this case the Kentucky Derby) off the performance of some High School effort. If a 2 year old performs well and continues to improve he will be rewarded at 3. But if a 2 year old builds a base without winning, and continues to improve as his/her body changes into that of a champion, he/she will not be left on the sidelines because some snot nosed punk won the Delta Downs Jackpot on a bullring track which has no business deciding who gets into the Kentucky Derby. Money deciding who runs is as foolish concept and does not produce the best candidates in horse racing or politics. Oh and by the way, Trinniberg was not in the Preakness, and Bodemeister still lost to the same superior horse on a track that rewards speed and was shorter in distance. Trinniberg had no business running in the Derby. Thanks for making my point. The new system will flush horses not capable of 9 panels, from influencing/ruining a race at 10(Spanish Chestnut). Some of us have learned from the past my friend:)

05 Jan 2013 12:24 PM

koufax : Try xpressbet.com, no fees to register and even better, no fees to bet unlike TVG.  It covers all of CA tracks, as well as the major tracks in the east coast and anything in between.

I'm with El Kabong on the new derby points system.  The Kentucky Derby has always been for 3 yr olds so I don't even know why they're counting the races when they were 2.  I say let's break that Apollo curse and have healthy 3 yr olds throughout the year, and as a bonus, we might even get to see them run as a 4 yr old.  The only flaw of the system at this time is that they should totally remove the points for all 2 yr old races, and add more 3YO races to the list, it's ridiculous that the Jerome which is a G2 is not included in the list.  Add some overseas races to it to so we get a chance to see the best 3 yr old from other countries.  I'd rather see these horses run longer than prepare for 3 races for their lifetime before they're even 3.

Here's a bold idea :  Move the Derby to be the last race of the triple crown.  Imagine winning the first 2 legs, then have the Kentucky Derby as the race that potentially crowns you the triple crown winner ... that would just be absolutely amazing!

Ranagulzion : I'm not sure what you're harping about discounting 2 yr old form when they have 10 2YO races where horses can earn points?   I also don't understand how you determine that there will be less quality horses due to this new system.   With the graded earnings rule, there's always one spot that's taken by the Delta Jackpot winner (guaranteed), how many Delta Jackpot winners have won the Derby or even hit the board ?  This new system will give the winners of the prep races the best chance at actually getting in, that means we'll have a field that comprises of prep winners and horses that hit the board.  Not a one time wonder that managed to sneak in because they won one race with a big purse.  

You can see the list of races here : www.kentuckyderbyinfographic.com

05 Jan 2013 12:34 PM

One of the many differences in the 2yo of now is the breeding in the US.The vast majority of breeding is for early developers not colts bred for stamina or a strong constitution as in being able to run every two weeks.This was a trait of good horses in past decades but not today.The use of performance enhancing drugs is IMO a lot more prevalent just to keep the horses bred today racing.I dont think Lasix should be singled out,but I do think it is used to mask other drugs.

 These are more reasons that what was true in years past is no longer the case,and I continue to believe that 2yo form is not as valid as it once was.

05 Jan 2013 12:58 PM

ROBBIEJOE25 : I hope I'm right too as Jaycito will have a very juicy price in this race even if it's a short field.

05 Jan 2013 1:17 PM
Pedigree Ann

How is the Jerome still a G2? When it was in the fall, at Belmont, during the fall championship season, it attracted top-class 3yo milers so the rating was justified. But in January, on the Inner (which is a hybrid dirt/AW surface), it has no chance to attract that kind of horse. This is not a significant alteration in the race, requiring a loss of grade?

It seems so long as they keep a time-honored name on it, the NYRA and GP can change their races however they want without the Graded Stakes Committee batting an eye. Change tracks, cut off a furlong or two, nothing matters. The grading system is broken.

05 Jan 2013 2:04 PM

While the Sham Stakes and Jerome Stakes are going to be exciting, the race I'm most looking forward to this afternoon is the ninth at Gulfstream, a one-mile, main-track maiden special weight for three-year-olds. This race marks the debut of Pontiff, a son of Giant's Causeway out of Preach, making him a half-brother to the recently deceased Pulpit. He is owned by Donegal Racing, trained by Dale Romans, and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. I have a feeling this colt will be a really nice one in the future, regardless of whether he wins today or not.


05 Jan 2013 2:39 PM

Jay Jay & El Kabong,

Under the new system there is less chance of the Derby being a truly run race from start to finish as stakes quality speed horses are eliminated. My point about Trinniberg was that colts like Bodemeister not be gifted the Derby by stealing the race with a false pace. In the past there have been presumed sprinters (now prejudiced by this system) such as Bold Forbes that wired the Derby field.

You guys are knocking the Delta Jackpot unreasonably hard, not reckognizing that it is a fairly new race (only ten renewals since 2002), compared with say, the Breeder's Cup Juvenile that has only produced one Kentucky Derby winner in decades (39 years since 1984). The designers of this new system however do not agree with you guys since they've allocated points to it (rightly so in my view).

I'm not saying that there wont be quality horses in the Derby. My peave is about the quality of the race which is affected negatively in ways alluded to in my previous post.

05 Jan 2013 3:09 PM
Pete Denk

Locksmith Smart Plays hits $13.80 winner Font in Tampa Race 7.

05 Jan 2013 4:00 PM
El Kabong


Nice call on GP 9th. Lots of talent in that race. Eton Blue ran really well last out and might step up but you have a Curlin(Air Squadron) and a Hard Spun colt(Hard to Handle) in there too. I do like the connections on Pontiff so I will root him on for big daddy dale and the donegal clan.

05 Jan 2013 4:02 PM


Americo Vespucci seems like he doesn't mind the strecth-out at all, the 140.67 time wasn't too bad at  for the mile seventy distance.

05 Jan 2013 4:06 PM
Pete Denk

Locksmith Smart Plays hits $5.80 winner Za Approval in Gulfstream Park Race 8.

05 Jan 2013 4:30 PM
El Kabong


Hogwash. The designers of the new system agree with us. The winner of the Delta Jackpot will not get an automatic ticket punch to the Derby. That was my point, they addressed it, they agree.....with me. As far as the BCJ is concerned, they agree with us again by not punching an automatic ticket for the winner of this race which is still far more important and shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as the DDJ. The BCJ may not produce the winner, but they always produce several of the eventual competitive runners. The 2011 BCJ had 8 eventual starters in the Derby and Fort Loudon to boot. The 2011 Delta Downs Jackpot produced Sabercat. I don't think I am being hard on DDJ, I just don't think any race that early in the development of Derby Horses should result in an automatic placement in the Derby. Small recognition in the point system yes, but not a place in the gate.

05 Jan 2013 4:44 PM

Ed Kabong the BCJ of 2011 had 9 Derby starters(unprecedented in history)and out of almost half the field the top finisher was Dulahan in 3rd.

05 Jan 2013 5:21 PM
Pete Denk

Locksmith Smart Plays nails $8.40 winner Classy Prayer in the nightcap at Tampa:

4 Classy Prayer (3-1 ML odds) was bumped at the start in his debut at the MSW level. He was pushed hard into a solid pace and understandably tired late. He should hold a pace advantage here on the class drop.

05 Jan 2013 5:28 PM

Ed Kabong just rechecked the 2011 BCJ, and I see why you added FL,I know there were 9.My point is that it is almost like there are two different paths to go with a two yo that is expected to be good.1 You wind him up early and win the two yo races of importance(grade 1s)2 Or you race him lighty or just work him, and begin to tighten the screws at the beginning of his three year old campaign.

05 Jan 2013 5:28 PM

BTW Animal Kingdom had two races as a 2yo in September and October and broke his maiden in the 2nd try.His next race was in March of the following year,so he probably had more than a three month break before he even worked following his two races as a 2yo.Last year Ill Have Another raced at the Spa,and wasnt seen in a race again until February of the following year.Bodemeister only trained in his 2yo regimen,he started racing in January of his 3yo campaign.

05 Jan 2013 5:39 PM

I not only think the Apollo so-called rule that reads that a colt that didnt race as a  2yo cant win the Derby is no longer true,I also expect to get good odds because the Apolloers will overlook competive colts that have not raced as 2yos.I remember all the flack Bodemeister got on this blog last year.I been betting the Derby for more than 2 decades and I remember the rules were valid but they started slowly falling yearly, and its only a matter of time for the last one to fall.

05 Jan 2013 6:12 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re:  Sham Stakes - Manando

If you liked him going into this stake race off his downgraded MSW score, you have to be happy with his race today.  Manando was game in the lane despite setting big boy splits today,  nothing like his w-w win under favorable Flow on a track thst was playing kind to speed.

As noted on earier threads, we are waiting for Curly Top and Persuasive Paul, as each got the upgrade out of Manando's win on the 13th.

05 Jan 2013 6:21 PM

JAYCITO...........still lame..................listen next time......

05 Jan 2013 6:51 PM

manando............look for this one to be sidelined soon/ or off form....................maybe they will listen this time.......

05 Jan 2013 6:55 PM
Pete Denk

Klisz, 5-to-2 winner of Santa Anita Race 8, finishes off a 4-win day for the Locksmith Smart Plays.

4 wins from 8 plays, plus a nice second from Magnificent Shirl at 8-1 in Santa Anita Race 4.

Time for dinner, then Packers-Vikings. Good luck all.

05 Jan 2013 7:19 PM
Mary Zinke

Hard Not To Like............used to run good............been training at Fair Hill/horse paradise/good place to build strength............my only non-chalky pick............who knows when to listen to me; I surprise myself.......Mom, lol. (Saving these pennies for Lady Of Fifty)

05 Jan 2013 7:23 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Pete -

Nicely done.

05 Jan 2013 7:38 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -


Now pair it up.


05 Jan 2013 7:41 PM
Forbidden Apple


Only 29 years have past since 1984. Also, what is a false pace?

The 2 year old form of Uncle Mo was clearly not helpful to his racing career. I can't wait to see how many Pletcher runners make your top 10 list this year. The new system might just give a break to some 2 year olds and produce longer racing careers.

I vote for a new jockey on Ultimate Eagle.

05 Jan 2013 8:03 PM

Nice race by Goldencents today, shows a new dimension laying off the pace, but I am most impressed by Den's Legacy, and feel he is the one that will improve when they race longer. I don't think he was asked for his best today, and he is developing a strong foundation which will show strongly when the big point races begin. Speaking of which, I think the new point system is going to help match the most talented horses against each other, before they get to the Derby, not allowing for as many horses avoiding each other, as in the old earnings system.

Welcome back to Gary Stevens, you have been greatly missed from racing. You bring an intelligence to riding that has been greatly missed, not to mention the integrity which has been so greatly missed too. Now if we could just convince McCarron and Bailey to silk up.

05 Jan 2013 8:16 PM

mary zenkie....good job....i liked that horse too....i told you you were one of the few on here that knew sumthin.......

05 Jan 2013 10:01 PM
Age of Reason


I haven't had time to read all the comments here yet, but first I've got to tell you that, although Pontiff ran a perfectly miserable race today in the 9th at Gulfstream, you should still go back and watch the race! The winner, Nick Zito-trained Eton Blue, is a Giant's Causeway son of Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town (half-sister to Birdstone), a very exciting Derby prospect indeed! It was his second start--first coming in mid-December, so at least if this one makes it to the Derby he won't have to worry about contending with the (gasp!) Apollo Curse, about which so much on this thread has been written! :)

05 Jan 2013 10:10 PM
Mary Zinke

KY, that's very nice of you. My losing Aqueduct pick will return to turf, $.30 and $5.20 profit from the super-chalk SA stakes' supers. $10 to win only on Goldencents, so the Marshua's River filly was truly hard not to like, obvious pun. I'll try to come up with more like her. It's impressive how often you have such "finds".

05 Jan 2013 11:06 PM

El Kabong,

I'm impressed by your passionate support of the new points system but I think that if you honestly consider the facts of history you might receive a bit more light and generate less heat on this issue my friend. Can you tell me what problems exactly were they fixing by switching from the Graded Stakes Earning system (itemize two or three if you can, that justifies the change).

I say that the new system is downright arbitrary and flawed, and that it creates more problems than it purports to fix.  Consider this: over the last fifty years of American horseracing, The Champagne Stakes for 2YOs have produced 5 Kentucky Derby winners, The Hopeful Stakes for 2YOs have produced 3 Kentucky Derby winners and the number of 2YO champions to win the first jewel of the Triple Crown has been 6. This statistic ties the Kentucky Derby victory spot to 14 top 2YO accolades over the last 50 years (dating back to 1963). When you comare the top rated Derby preps, namely, the Santa Anita Derb, Wood Memorial and Florida Derby, there are 18 3YO accolades, 9 of which are Florida Derby winners (only 4 S.A. Derby winners and 5 Wood Mem. winners) over the same 50 years span.

Now what does that say about points allocation for qualifyin oenter the Derby field? Tell me Buddy ...and be honest about it. Are the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial more valuable pointers to the Kentucky Derby than the Champagne Stakes or than the designation of 2YO champion?  Give me a break!

Tone down on the hogwash reaction and look at the 'cold facts' (LOL).


05 Jan 2013 11:37 PM

Forbidden Apple,

You should by now be acquainted with the adage "pace makes the race". Thusly, a false pace occurs when a horse with superior cruising speed is allowed to dictate his own pace, slowing down on the front end and reducing a stamina test to a homestretch sprint to the wire. Thats what this new points system threatens to do to the Kentucky Derby. I think thats appalling ...don't you?

05 Jan 2013 11:45 PM
Karen in Texas

Ranagul---I truly think you are being overly negative regarding the new Kentucky Derby points system so soon after its inception. The Champagne, BCJ, and several other 2y/o stakes are there as "building blocks" toward the more heavily weighted phases beginning after February. I think they should probably have included the Hopeful as well, but it doesn't meet the one mile criteria; maybe it will be added in time. The Churchill Downs, Inc., original statement allows for adjustment if indicated. Let's give the new process a couple of years to demonstrate any actual benefits or detriments it may contain.

Pete----I'm watching and liking Klisz; glad you won with him. Do you know where he is going next? Is he staying in California?

That 9th at GP was a good race, as others have noted. I thought the Curlin colts, Air Squadron and Dyker Beach, did well.

06 Jan 2013 1:19 AM

Ranagulzion :  LOL, the last 50 years ???  Come on man, you're reaching.  Sometimes, it's hard to take you seriously.   You're arguing about what you personally want to see, the change is not about what type of horse can/should be in the Derby.  The change is about HOW they get there.  If a speed horse wins all the preps because they run the competition to the ground, then they have earned that right.  A horse that got lucky because they won a race with a big purse, needs to prove that it's not a fluke.  It's not fair to win one race and be guaranteed a spot in the Derby.  Do you get it now ?

If they were really good as a 2 yr old, but they're not good as a 3 yr old then they don't belong in the Derby.  This is why they shouldn't even have points for the 2 yr old races like I said.  The derby is a race for 3 YEAR OLDS, I'm not sure if you get that part.  You can check the Kentucky Derby official website and it'll tell you it's for 3 yr olds, I promise, I'm not making it up.

tcc:  Yes, I agree and he will be right at the top of my list.  I do think he needs a new rider, I'm not sure what was going on on the rail but I thought he was full of run on the final turn and really thought he was going to catch Vyjack.

06 Jan 2013 1:48 AM
El Kabong


As you have all along, you are missing the most important point. It's not just about winning, and it is no longer just about winning at two. Horses who run great, lose by a head or a nose in the main races at the end(SA, FL derby or Wood) will qualify as well they should. I would rather have a 3 year old who ran his heart out in The Wood, SA Derby or Fl Derby qualify to run in Louisville, then to have a horse who won one race as two year old, and then failed to improve after that, weasel a budding competitor out of his or her chance to run for the roses.  That is the future this system will bring us. Horses that are better qualified to run 10 furlongs as well. As for your factual demonstration I would simply advise that instead of just cherry picking winners of races, examine the fields, as I demonstrated to you by comparing the BCJ and the DDJ. The difference is clear. Same with the races you sighted in your one dimensional look at the champagne, the hopeful, etc and comparing them to the big three. IF you looked at how many horses from those races eventually competed in the Derby, I'm sure you will see that value of those later races are far more important than those races at two. I leave it to you to do your homework on that, but I'm sure you will see what I'm talking about. It's not just what race you won, it's who you beat. The horses running in those last big preps are running against the best. They deserve the points and the credit they are getting and they deserve to run in the derby if they hit the board in the major preps. And I'll bet some of those horses just might be front runners who got nipped at the wire:) Sit back and enjoy this and remember the words Frank used to sing,  "the best is yet to come, and won't it be fine. You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine"

06 Jan 2013 8:57 AM


Based on Americo Vespucci performance in the Jerome, how do you rate Whiskey Romeo's chances of chances stretching out? I believe he would have beaten this bunch.

Long River had no excuse and appears to be a grinder. That said the race was very fast and he held his gallop throughout. I will not be writing him off as yet as there are several 9F preps that will be more suitable to his style of running.

06 Jan 2013 9:15 AM

Regarding the new Derby points system. Why not wait until the preps are over and see how everything unfolds before declaring it a sucess or a failure?

No 3yo impressed me much yesterday. Way to early to pick your winner. Time to sit back and watch as many races as you can and look for improvement or regression.

06 Jan 2013 9:26 AM


I am still puzzled as to why Goldencents was excluded from your initial top 20. He was second to Shanghai Booby in the Gl Champagne after only a 5 1/2F maiden victory. He finished ahead of Fortify who subsequently finished 4th in the BCJ. He was also an impressive winner of the Delta Jackpot. I know the DJ in not a race with major significance but its the manner in which he won it.

06 Jan 2013 9:48 AM

Coldfacts : Honestly, I don't know.  Vyjack went fast and still had some left in the tank.  I don't know how good Vyjack is and the pace scenario would've been different.  WR and Vyjack and Mudflats probably would have set a suicidal pace.  We can speculate but until we actually see him run past 7Fs, we'll never know.  Now I'm really anxious to see his next race.   I hope they run him longer, and eventually race Amerigo because I think my horse can beat him at 8F+ :)

I think Amerigo will keep improving and hopefully he'll peak at the right time.  I also thought he lost focus when he got into traffic on the rail.  Hopefully I'm wrong or if not, that he learns from it.  Those types of things are when you need a good jockey, to guide the horse to a path and hopefully remembers it next time when he's in a jam.

What do you think of Mr. Palmer's 2nd to Long River now ?  I saw that race awhile back and was going to put him on my watch list but thought I'd wait until Long River runs because I wasn't really sold on his maiden win.  Now I'm not sure what to think of Mr. Palmer.

06 Jan 2013 10:12 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Pete -

I'd be interested in reading your thoughts regarding jockeys guiding horses to spots.

I've always believed that horses in peak form take the jock for a ride.  Sea Hero's Derby win was the race that embedded the notion for me,  as Bailey was nothing more than a passenger.  Mine That Bird's Derby win was another great example, as Borel did nothing more than put him on the rail.  The horse took care of the rest, including choosing and executing the run inside the last obstacle.

06 Jan 2013 10:33 AM
Forbidden Apple


Again, I have never heard of a false pace. In my world I call it an easy lead or a slow pace. Don't worry, there is always speed lined up for the biggest race in KY. I was never a fan of the purse earnings as a way to get into the KY Derby. And I will not miss horses like Trinneberg who never had a chance anyway. Last year Sabercat had huge earnings just because of the Delta Jackpot. I'm looking forward to more competitive 3 year old races. Look back at Uncle Mo, he was able to jog in the Timely Writer and avoid any serious competition. I am a fan of horse racing, not one time jackpots.


I hate to give up on Long River, but he was unproven before the Jerome and he had zero excuses yesterday. He just might not ever be fast enough to do any damage on the triple crown trail. So far he brings back memories from last year of Captivating Lass, big and slow. The Jerome was nothing more than a high priced allownce race.

06 Jan 2013 10:35 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Ranag -

I can honestly say I've never heard the term 'false pace'.  

Drug and pregnancy tests may yield 'false positives',  but the pace of a race already run is never false.  It may be slow, fast, or fair, and is undoubtedly often misinterpreted,  but describing it as 'false' seems, well, false.

06 Jan 2013 10:42 AM

Mr.Gary Stevens in riding in race 6@Santa Anita/race 6-#3-"jebrica"

one question,does MR.STEVENS ride speed horses well? Its been so long since ive seen him ride, i cant remember!!!(lol)And it looks like hes on one today.

Best of luck!.... And hope to see you getting your picture today!

06 Jan 2013 10:58 AM

Received a Stable Alert Reminder today about Colorado Daydream, entered in the 11th at GP.

Notes I wrote from 28 Dec:  35K Maiden Claiming.  1 1/16th on turf.  Started wide (15 post) Huge middle move cut off at rail and faded to last.

Today entered for Maiden Claiming 35,000, 1 1/16th on turf just two weeks later.  ML 20-1. #5 post.    

Playing WPS.  

06 Jan 2013 10:59 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Racing Flow Sunday Upgrade

GP R6 - 6 Fine Silver:  last out at Crc, made widest of all turn move into an Extreme Race for Speed.  

06 Jan 2013 11:00 AM


I appreciate the evaluation and I agree with the conclusions. Take close look at VyJack's head. It is as big as that of his sire. He will not effectively get the Derby distance with that added weight.

Amerigo's performance left no doubt in my mind that WR would have won the Jerome had he been entered. At this point he is is a superior talent than all that were entered in the race.

Forbidden Apple,

Cast your mind back to a Derby winner named Ferdinand. Well bred but moderate heading into the Derby. He won handily. I love Long River's action and he might very well be a grinder now but he is still young and could improve in the speed department by Derby time. Keep an open mind and do not give up on pedigree.

06 Jan 2013 11:11 AM

Here we go again......whacky stuff is back....."head size"? wow.....knew it was a matter of time before the coldcuts would come...secrtariat/unbridled/easy goer/dullahan....etc.etc....big head horses.com

06 Jan 2013 11:29 AM

coldcuts is all about breeding this, stamina that......and choses this horse? isnt derby 1 1/4 m?

06 Jan 2013 11:31 AM


Any colt that goes by my name will sentimentally be place at the top of my list. That said he is not without ability.

All contributors should be aware by now of my preference for youngsters produced from unraced mares. Mr. Palmer is one such colt and even more interesting is the fact that his second and third dams were also unraced. It should be noted that both his first and second dams were sired by stallions have Derby history. Real Quiet was sire by Quiet American and his dam was sired by Believe It.

In his three starts to date he has close from near last on each occasion. Although he was steadied shortly after the start of his last race, he was much closer suggesting he is improving. Long River has always been a close to the pace colt but lacks the acceleration of Mr. Palmer. Revisit his runner up finish to Long River and carefully look at how he strides out in the stretch and then think improvement. A colt with that type of action blessed with stamina is a serious Derby horse if he has the class.  

06 Jan 2013 11:35 AM

I follow trainer Mclaughlin and eventhough Long River has time to win a prep on the NY circuit such as the Withers or the Gotham, and qualify for the Wood,I dont think he will.Mclaughlin does most of his business in Ny,and I think we will see Long River be brought along slowly, and appear ready to run his best at the Spa.He will also have good spots at the spring Belmont meet to prepare him to peak at Saratoga.

06 Jan 2013 11:36 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Kevin -

Best of luck with Colorado Daydream today.  

We have that one downgraded as he was in an Extreme Race for Closers last out.  Trouble or no trouble,  it doesn't get much easier in terms of turf Flow than the 12/28 race.

06 Jan 2013 12:25 PM

aqu race 1   shezaclassylady figures to go off form(#4)....that leave 125....go w #2 to wake up

06 Jan 2013 12:27 PM
Karen in Texas

COLDFACTS----Please show us where in the biomedical literature there are studies/controlled research into the detriment or benefit of head size in regard to racing thoroughbreds. You have made a subjective declaration without objective evidence as far as I know. However, I have an open mind and would like to see the proof.

BTW, one of the only references to head size that I can recall was Frankie Dettori's exclamation that Tiznow had a head "like a dinosaur", which obviously did not deter him on the track.

06 Jan 2013 12:36 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Karen -

Surely one is not required to show statistically valid support for a hypothesis.  After all,  this is horseracing,  where subjectivity rules the roost.

06 Jan 2013 12:58 PM

I understand why Gary Stevens, who is one of my favorite all time jockeys, wants to do what he's doing, I don't think it's a good idea. While you don't have to be young to be a jockey, witness Mike Smith, riding is still a young man's sport because of the wear and tear on a jockey's body. Gary's knowledge and experience will give him a heads up over many of the other jockeys, if he gets hurt the recovery time will be longer and because of his age injury might be more severe. If he can pull this off, I say go for it. As it stands I can only, regretfully, say, "Be careful out there."

06 Jan 2013 1:07 PM

yea appaloosa.....russell b.......hang em up!!!!!!54yrsold

06 Jan 2013 1:24 PM

nailed on wire at aqu...nosed! good pick...

06 Jan 2013 1:25 PM
Karen in Texas

PBP---I have a background in biology/medicine. He made a statement in regard to the anatomy/physiology of racing equines, and I simply asked him for any proof he may have. He isn't "required" to do anything and is entitled to any "opinion" he may have.

06 Jan 2013 1:29 PM

Age of Reason;

I agree, Eton Blue looks like a good one! I had him on my watch list prior to the race, since performed better in his debut than most Nick Zito first-time starters do, but I didn't realize he was a son of Bird Town. That makes him all the more intriguing!

I was also very impressed with Air Squadron, a son of Curlin that might have won if not forced to steady sharply late in the race. Trained by Chad Brown, I'm looking forward to seeing how Air Squadron progresses in the future.


06 Jan 2013 1:29 PM

SA r-7, 1-3-9, floating feather,luckarack and coo cachoo

06 Jan 2013 1:31 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Karen -

Thanks,  but we already discussed your background.

Clearly, the written word is a difficult medium in which to use sarcasm.

06 Jan 2013 1:56 PM
steve from st louis

Why is the run-up different for races at the same track? Why is is necessary? Why do I care?

06 Jan 2013 2:00 PM

I have met Mike Tyson he has a big head.

06 Jan 2013 2:01 PM


Russell Baze happens to be a home boy. I'm only saying what I'm saying because I know his his history of problems, he hasn't ridden for years. If he can pull this off he has my support, but for the majority, racing is easier on a younger body.  Gary's smart, he knows what he's getting into, but I'd be happier if he'd made a different choice. I understand jockeys, just don't always agree with their choices.

06 Jan 2013 2:05 PM

Why is Belmont Park out of the Breeders Cup rotation?

06 Jan 2013 2:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

StL Steve -

Run up matters for those measuring absolute speed. The further away the gate is from the 1st timer,  the faster horses will be going when the clock 'starts, thus long run-ups lead to faster first quarter times than do short run-ups.

That said,  if measuring relative speed,  as we do at Racing Flow,  the run-up becomes insignificant since we are concerned with how the splits work together as well as with the relationship between those splits and the final time.

06 Jan 2013 2:18 PM

It would make sense that if a horse's head is too big, the horse would need to compensate in some way to keep balanced.  Some horses are able to do that.  But it could lead to other conformational weaknesses to come into play and eventually cause problems down the road.  It would not be a physical attribute I would consider a positive, but I could not just dismiss a horse because of it.  

06 Jan 2013 2:24 PM
Karen in Texas

PBP---I predicated my remark to you for relevant context. I'm truly sorry for missing the sarcasm!

06 Jan 2013 2:29 PM

I may have a BIG head......but coldcuts must have a SMALL brain.........

06 Jan 2013 2:36 PM

does anyone realize how good the seahawks are?   redskins? good luck!

06 Jan 2013 2:38 PM
Karen in Texas

Footlick---Yes, absolutely, but how big is "too big"? That's my question/point. What are the anatomical parameters? Who's to say? Is it a subject equine veterinarians consider?(These just seem like salient questions to me.)

06 Jan 2013 2:45 PM
steve from st louis

Thanks Phil,I understand that nuance but why are run-ups necessary? Why not time horses from the bell? Why differ the run-ups? What does that achieve from an absolute sense?

06 Jan 2013 3:07 PM


You've been warned about the sons and grandsons of AP Indy. Long River will not be ready for the Kentucky Derby but he might have a shot at the Belmont. As for Mr Palmer, its OK to book him for the Travers. I tell you, stay off of these types for the Derby ...they just don't mature enough in time for it.

KY Vet,

your "bighead.com" comment was hilaious ...good to see you and Coldfacts engage each others ideas for a change but it would be better if you respected his moniker and quit the "coldcuts" stuff.

Jay & El Kabong,

I'll rest my case for now regarding the arbitrarily contrived points system and wait patiently for a return to the superior GSE system, once the novelty has worn off and the chinks are clearly exposed. Have fun Pals.

06 Jan 2013 3:09 PM

Karen In Texas- I think that would have to be decided from horse to horse depending on the conformation.  I think you can tell by looking at the horse if the head  looks too big, but there would also be other considerations, I suppose, such as the length of the legs and back and neck.  Just as an example, a stronger thicker neck, in theory, could support a bigger head and maybe not alter the running style as much as a thinner elegant neck might.  As I said, I think it would have to be a horse by horse thing, not a general rule.  As far as Tiznow, he was a massive animal all around.  A big head might not have had as big an impact because his body size and mass could support it.  I haven't looked at pics of him in awhile to see whether I felt it was out of proportion or not.

06 Jan 2013 3:42 PM

I just looked at some pics of Tiznow, and though at times it did seem a bit big, I don't think it was truly out of proportion.  And he had a massive neck which had the strength to hold the head where it needed to be held.  I could be totally offbase though.

06 Jan 2013 3:46 PM

Greg Gumble has a big head.

06 Jan 2013 3:49 PM
El Kabong

KY Vet,

When you look at how bad the Redskins defense is on 3rd down, and how efficient Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense are on 3rd down, you will know how correct you are in predicting a Seahawk victory. GO HAWKS.

06 Jan 2013 3:58 PM

It's hard to root for a team coached by Pete Carroll.

06 Jan 2013 4:34 PM
Pete Denk


I didn't list Goldencents because I didn't think he could get 1 1/4 miles. Nice to see him rate yesterday.


Jockeys make a difference.

Borel was far from a passenger on Mine That Bird. Few jocks would have executed that ride.

06 Jan 2013 4:35 PM

Ranagulzion : Thank you for resting your case.  Have a great day.

KY Vet : How BIG is your head, you might be able to help out with the discussion on what is too big for a horses' ..... head, yeah, they're talking about head.  Help out the bloggers...

06 Jan 2013 4:37 PM

Karen in Texas,

I had a feeling my reference to the size of Vyjack’s head would not go down well with knowledgeable thoroughbred enthusiasts.  I made a similar reference to Dialed In’s neck after his Holy Bull victory. I predicted that he would not able to carry that size neck and 126lbs effectively over the 10F Churchill Downs strips. I also suggested that his connections should find the nearest equine swimming pool and train him there as he was a prime candidate for breaking down if he was not gelded. He just had too much weight upfront for his small body and laborious galloping action. I was ridiculed for making what was regarded as nonsensical statements. Well Dialed In did not win either the Derby or Preakness that he contested. He has never been sound since and this led to his early retirement. Big Neck!

When the head of a horse is visibly large and by this I mean conspicuous it means the remainder of his body is playing catch up.  For the benefit of the Ky Vet who remains SOS, conspicuous means easily noted or stand out. There have been many excellent thoroughbreds that have large heads but have the equivalent body type and consequently their large heads are not conspicuous.

There is no science to what I have concluded. What can I say? I do not like horses with large heads unless their necks and rest of their bodies are consistent with head size. It’s not important.  

06 Jan 2013 4:44 PM


The Ky Vet is SOS and void of substance. Let me request again that you do not associate us.

There are 16 colts under my A P Indy sire line. Of this total I think Normandy Invasion, Power Broker, Dewey Square, Orb and Long River are currently the sand outs.

Normandy Invasion is a great grandson on A P Indy so I guess he is excluded from you LDS theory. Interesting! You were very high on Dialed In a grandson of A P Indy. I guess you are just very selective.

06 Jan 2013 4:57 PM
Karen in Texas

Footlick---Yes, all the things you say are reasonable, and my quip about Tiznow was mostly anecdotal. However, if the assumption that head size and weight prohibit a given horse from running a given distance, as though he suffers from "large head syndrome", is valid; then there should be some veterinary literature to back it up. Maybe there is--I haven't looked, but would gladly read it if someone else wants to find it.

Speaking of heads, I am now going to bang mine on the kitchen table...

06 Jan 2013 4:59 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Stick to horses.

Seattle 2-6 on the road travels 3K miles to play on grass against a team that has won 7 straight games.


06 Jan 2013 5:12 PM

Head case.

Head to head it does not matter, except in a photo finish. However, that statement is not a hypothesis. It is just total nonsense, even though some people I know are impressed by head size.



06 Jan 2013 5:15 PM
El Kabong


That's pretty lame considering Washington was up 14-0 when you make your comments.

06 Jan 2013 5:30 PM

Seattle needs to stabilize this game.

06 Jan 2013 5:38 PM
El Kabong


Hang tough. There are 4 quarters to this game. Now 14-10.

06 Jan 2013 5:43 PM

Any ideas for FG 10th 12,500 maiden race 6f?

06 Jan 2013 5:46 PM

People betting sentimental money on Stevens in the 6th race ?  or does the horse really have a shot... 5-1 morning line currently at 5-2...

06 Jan 2013 5:53 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Just stating facts - facts that will not change during the entire game.  Facts that were in evidence last Sunday night when the line came out.

Nothing from you on Manando the great ?

06 Jan 2013 5:54 PM


Your first assessment of Goldencents is still the correct one.

06 Jan 2013 5:59 PM
El Kabong

KY Vet,

He's good when he's ahead. Let's see how his medal holds up in the 4th quarter.


Manando ran well. It was asking the alot to pull of a G3 but nothing to be ashamed of with that race. He'll get alot out of it. Great is not a word I would use to describe any horse at this point, but this horse still has the potential to make some noise and so do the Hawks. Good luck with those Redskins facts in the second half P-BOY-P.

06 Jan 2013 6:06 PM

Nice run by Stevens, got caught late.   Now he's really hooked lol.

PBP : Speaking of jockeys, if they were just along for the ride, what's the point of having them on the back of the horses ?   You said horses finds their own path right ?  Are you suggesting we have horses run around the track and bet on who will run towards the finish line ?    I'm so glad I didn't spend $175 on your product lol, you really worry me.  You're stuck so deep in your statistics that you don't even care if the horse has a jockey or not.  Just an FYI, if a horse loses its jockey during a race, even if the horse hits the finish line ahead of the field, it doesn't count.  I hope your users know that.

06 Jan 2013 6:31 PM
Plod Boy Phil

El -

Budding superstar was your description.

06 Jan 2013 6:33 PM
Plod Boy Phil

JayJay -

Give me any of the top 10 jockeys in any room on any major curcuit and put them on the best horse.

Did you know that Willie Martinez and Brian Hernandez each won a BC race ?  

Horses win races.

Jockeys ocassionally lose them.

06 Jan 2013 6:47 PM
El Kabong


That's correct now lets take a look at the word budding.

Webster Dictionary

budding: being in the early development stage.  

I know you won't be rooting for him, but I will.

06 Jan 2013 6:48 PM
Plod Boy Phil

and now Superstar:

a performer or athlete who enjoys wide recognition, is esteemed for exceptional talent, and is eagerly sought after for his or her services.

06 Jan 2013 7:01 PM
El Kabong


I'm going to downgrade PBP Football Picks on the next round of playoff action based off a cheap shot after the game had started, with the home field advantage, and a 14 point flow in his favor, the how about you?

06 Jan 2013 7:22 PM

Karen in Texas,

I am a mere Dish Washer that loves thoroughbreds. I am therefore likely to post stupid statements and for this I must be forgiven. A horse with a size head that is disproportionate to its body is likely to be head heavy.  His prospect of defeating the cream of the crop is extremely remote. VyJack had to work overtime to defeat 41-1 opponent. He was 2-1. My statement is meaningless.

06 Jan 2013 7:33 PM
Karen in Texas

Coldfacts----You addressed my original request at 4:44 P.M. by saying there was "no science to what you had concluded". That's fine. So you have an opinion. I don't know if Vyjack will continue to win races or not; but if he doesn't, it may or may not be due to his head size. Thanks.

06 Jan 2013 8:29 PM

The seahawks left 11 points off the board.....still won......the best team in nfl except for lack of pass rush.....if they had that, they would be champs.....wasnt worried......rg3 lost that game.....horrible....his arm wasnt hurt.....ugly stuff......plod tried to take cheap shot.....its ok.......ive proved myself over and over.............i actually respect what he does....its an ok tool.....just goes too much on that tool.......pace flow only 1 thing....it does nothing really to tell you how a horse runs today.....coldcuts is just embarrassed.....he should be......listen, its called a blog....you should point out when people say things that are wrong....thats all i do...........

06 Jan 2013 8:38 PM

The thing about coldcuts is....he is a contrarian......he knocks horses on top.....vyjack has had a big head his whole life........and, dialed in was hurting...always had problems...he wasnt the same because he tore himself up....then the horse goes bad.....and we have to hear..."see? its because he had a big neck!"..............COME ON MAN!!!!

06 Jan 2013 8:42 PM

JayJay- a horse is DQ'd when it loses it's jockey because it is not carrying the proper amount of weight.  The jockey makes up a certain amount of the weight the horse is required to carry.  If all the horses were allowed to run around the track without a jockey, one would inevitably find the right path and win.  And trainers as great as Charlie Whittingham didn't have much use for jockeys.  As many have said, there is a reason they need to give them instructions.  Reminds me of what many directors have said about actors.  You have your elite, but you have so many non-elite.

06 Jan 2013 9:00 PM

Coo Cachoo, Floating Feather, boom,boom. Not sure what went wrong with Luckarack, foo,foo,flop.

Horses that descend from Nearco, tend to have what I would describe as less than regal looking, rather homely looking large heads, as opposed to those more attractive, regal looking RAN descendants. Clever Trick was one homely hombre. Si,Si?

06 Jan 2013 9:16 PM

Footlick :  That's what I meant (DQ'd) when I say it doesn't count.  I don't think it would be wise to have horses run loose on the track without jockeys, I'm quite sure that's an injury waiting to happen.

07 Jan 2013 12:57 AM


Another member of the most successful sire line in Triple Crown history has been added to my list. The last addition to my RAN/Mr. Prospector sire line list was Foot Bridge a colt by Street Cry. My latest addition is Avie’s Quality. He is a son of former WR holder, Derby and Breeders Cup Classics winning sire Elusive Quality. His dam was sired by the recently deceased 1980 Campion 2YO and FL Derby winner Lord Avie.

His 4 starts and two victories have been at Woodbine. All except one were on the track’s synthetic surface. In his sole effort on turf he finished a trouble 2dn to Sky Command. In fact, if not for being SOB on his debut and the troubled trip in his turf effort, he would have been unbeaten. The shortest race he has contested has been a 1m 70yds, the other have been at 1 1/6m.

He is amongst the nominees for the Kitten’s Joy Stakes to be contested on turf. This will be a tough race as a number of top turf 3YOs are also nominated including impressive second time out winner Bold Dance who is a half-brother to Saint Liam. This colt has the pedigree and running style to be a Derby winner. Elusive quality needs no introduction as he is the sire of your beloved Quality Road. His dam was sire by stamina influence Lord Avie a son of Lord Gaylord who is a half-brother to Secretariat. Lord Avie’s dam was sired by KD runner up and Belmont winner Gallant Man. Avie’s Quality second dam was sire by the Sea Bird stallion Artic Turn and his third by Pretense.

I am hoping the connections of this colt give him a chance on dirt. However, if they choose to keep him on turf/synthetic I hope he is able to secure sufficient points to make the Derby field as the Churchill Down surface is very favorable to turf/synthetic types. I think he is better than Uncaptured and worthy of being placed on watch.

Check him out!

07 Jan 2013 9:53 AM

I am retracting the section of my post regarding Vyjack' head.

07 Jan 2013 9:55 AM


Here's my top 2yo like right now: Avie's Quality.

Elusive Quality X Fly For Avie, by Lord Avie. Not sure if he'll be pointed to the Queen'splate or the Derby, but hope it's the Derby. What I like: won at 8.5f in a decent time with a good final fraction. Four starts over 1 mile, all itm. Would like to see him close-stalking as he did in his maiden win. Distance breeding. Won over winners in a big field in the Display. Has trained on dirt. Hope he comes south.

Mary Zinke 20 Dec 2012 6:25 PM

07 Jan 2013 10:41 AM
Forbidden Apple

Jersey Boy,

If you watched the 2012 Cotillion at Parx, you would have seen My Miss Aurelia winning a photo over Questing because of her large head. And then off from a nose victory some people were mentioning My Miss Aurelia as a possible 3 year old champion filly. What a joke! Questing is the 2012 filly champion and I hope that she returns in 2013 to romp again.


Regardless of what others may say, I do believe that Dialed In's large head and neck cotributed to his front ankle problems.

As far as Long River is concerned, he already reminds me of Captivating Lass, big and slow. He might turn it around later in the year. It's his lack of fire down the stretch that bothers me. The same goes for Fortify, he was lacking a late punch last year. Breeding a champion to a champion does not always work out well. But at least they don't go Green Monkey crazy at the sales. There is another Darley colt named Valid that just broke his maiden recently, I like him alot. North Slope is another good looking colt, he looks like he might be a grass horse to me. And then there is Carnival Court, an unraced filly that I believe is a half sister to Royal Delta. Plus Dance Card has a bright future too, she's a monster. I could go on and on about the Darley horses, I'm just thankful that they train right here in Saratoga Springs,NY.

07 Jan 2013 10:48 AM
Mary Zinke

Who is tcc?   Are we an item now?  :)

07 Jan 2013 10:57 AM

JayJay- how many horses run into each other in herds?  Why would there be more injuries if they were running as a group around a track with no jockeys?  If left to it's own instincts, I don't think a horse will put itself in an uncomfortable position.  But Pete could answer that better than I.  I think that horses are trained to obey the rider, and for the most part they do that.  If there is no rider to tell them to put themselves into an uncomfortable place, they will not go there.  But, I could be wrong.

07 Jan 2013 11:23 AM

Mary Zinke;

Just letting Coldfacts know that Avie's Quality name has already been mentioned as a horse on somebody's Derby list. His mention is not the first mention of this horse.  

07 Jan 2013 11:28 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Footlick -

Must concur.

I might be mistaken,  but when Kerry Thomas and Pete were guests on TrackFacts LIVE (capitalotb), I'm sure Kerry made a statement along the lines of how little the jockey is really doing when t'breds are on the move in a herd (race).

At the risk of being predictably repetitive, watch replays of the any Derby,  especially those of Sea Hero, Street Sense,  Mine That Bird, and even Giacomo,  then tell me the horse was not in complete control.

I know Pete disagrees, as he previously posted,  but I'm more interested in what the science (Kerry T),  than with an opinion based in handicapping.

07 Jan 2013 11:40 AM
Rusty Weisner

Who's this sire Into Mischief (Vyjack, Goldencents)?

I have to say the misuse of Robert Griffin III really horrified me.  He should have been taken out after the first injury, or at least after the interception.  I didn't like it that Shanahan cited Griffin's "stubbornness" as the reason for his bad executive decision, either.

07 Jan 2013 12:00 PM

Footlick : You have to clarify what you mean by letting horses run without jockeys.  As you mentioned these horses were trained from a very young age to have a rider on their backs.  If they were born in the wild, yes I would agree because there's a lot more space.  I'm not an expert though but I've seen enough horses coming out of the gate and getting into trouble, I doubt very much that when all of a sudden they go without someone on their back that they would know exactly what to do.   You've seen horses who got loose from the gate without a rider, they don't necessarily run the course of the track heading to the finish line...now imagine that with a full field.

I actually don't even know what the point of this discussion is, are we discussing letting horses run without jockeys ?  Or only when their in peak form ?  And how does one know that a horse is in peak form ?  When they get out of the gate and they look like they're going to win easily, do they tell the jockey to jump off because he's not needed ?   I don't think PBP has provided any explanation as to what his point was.  Easy to say the jockey is not needed for a horse that is in peak form but you won't know that until the horse demolishes the field in hand...maybe he's got some data he's collected over the last decade that tells him when exactly a horse will peak.  Now that, I will pay for but he needs to prove it works 100%

07 Jan 2013 12:10 PM

Plod boy.....i barely even consider the jockey....unless its a very bad one.......but dont be silly, the do have a big affect on how a horse runs.....at a big track, most jocks are all good....but at bad tracks, there is a bigger gap.....pretty logical....ever watch gomez in the stretch....he makes horses run faster...period...he throws cross after cross, the guy can ride the hair off a horse..............boy....dont be silly.........why not say the trainer doesnt matter too........wacky stuff!

07 Jan 2013 12:17 PM

Heres a tip......horses run much better relaxed....jockeys have skills to make them relax.....to say a jockey doesnt matter is IGNORANT.....that is the stupidest post youve ever posted.......even stupider....that the head topic.......whats wrong with you people!!

07 Jan 2013 12:20 PM

While jockeys cannot carry a horse across the finish line, they can certainly make a difference.  Anyone that is in disagreement should watch a replay of the 9th race at SA on 1/6/13.

I will agree that horses do communicate with each other during races; however, moreso the horses are responding to to the rider's cues, as they have been trained to do for centuries.

07 Jan 2013 12:22 PM
Plod Boy Phil

JayJay -

In the words of Dan Akroyd to Jane Curtin....

Peak form was not the emphasis of the post,  nor was the idea that there should be races without jockeys.

My point is this:

The role the jockey plays is grossly over-valued. Making one's betting decisions based on the rider is not seeing forest through the trees.  

Horses are picking up stimuli during a race that jockeys are not privy to,  since it is the T'bred that instinctively runs in herds without falling all over each other.

Maybe you should read Kerry Thomas' work.

07 Jan 2013 12:24 PM

There have unfortunately been several occassions where horses in pasture or loose on the track have run into each other, typically with deadly results.  I guess those horses need to work on their communication skills???

07 Jan 2013 12:33 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Your opening statement supports my view,  "I barely even consider the jockey...'

I also covered the topic of major circuits vs minor circuits.

To summarize for those that can't actually read a post and process the information contained there-in without subjective filters:

-Jockeys need to be on the horse.

-Give any top 10 jockey in the room the same mounts as the top rider and that boy becomes the top rider.

07 Jan 2013 12:34 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keymaster -

I watched the race, again.  I saw a jockey riding an 8/5 shot on the wrong lead to a win.

Am I to conclude that the Candy Man was responsible for that win?

Would any of the top 10 riders in the SA colony been incapable of getting the win?

Would Jaclyn Davis have gotten the win ?

Unfortunately,  there are no answers to the questions above,  only speculation.

07 Jan 2013 12:45 PM

Rusty Weisner;

Into Mischief is a young stallion whose first crop of foals are three-year-olds this year. By Harlan's Holiday out of Leslie's Lady, Into Mischief is a half-brother to the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Beholder.

During a very brief racing career, Into Mischief was first or second in all six of his starts, including victories in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) over Colonel John, and the Damascus Stakes over such talented sprinters as Dancing in Silks, Gayego, and Georgie Boy.

In addition to Goldencents and Vyjack, Into Mischief is the sire of two-time Louisiana-bred stakes winner Sittin at the Bar. He ranked third on the 2012 freshman sire list, and will stand for $20,000 this year.


07 Jan 2013 12:52 PM

" Making one's betting decisions based on the rider is not seeing forest through the trees.  "

I can understand how you can make that comment because your handicapping / tool is purely based on statistics.  There's nothing else in your world except numbers.   I do handicap based on jockeys.  Why ?  Because I know that top trainers with the potential top horse will pick the top jockey.  So yeah, given the choice in a race between a horse that Bejarano is riding vs a horse that David Flores is riding, I think it will be an easy pick for me.  Does it work all the time ?  Nope, but it works more often than not.  I think I do pretty well with my handicapping because I'm not limited to one tool.  I may not pick winners left and right but I can spot a longshot that pays huge.  In the end, handicapping is all just guessing, and yes, whether you like it or not, the info you give to your users are all a guess.  Even the PRO is guessing when he handicaps.   What matters to me is not how many winners I pick but how much I take home.

Your tool only lets you see the forest...and there's so much more to it

07 Jan 2013 1:06 PM
Rusty Weisner


Anecdotal support for your point of view:  go to the track and listen for the most common excuse people make when they rip up losing tickets.

Also, you're forgetting a memorable case of a horse taking a jockey for a ride:  last year's Derby.

Regardless of that, the jockey matters, particularly when you've just seen a horse ridden badly and there's a jockey switch that indicates a change of tactics for the better.  To, wit, Union Rags last year.

07 Jan 2013 1:11 PM
Rusty Weisner


I saw your horse actually went off 39-1 and put in a nice performance.  I took it as a positive sign that they rode him on the rail after his previous two efforts.  I had was wondering if it indicates anything about a young, healthy horse (as opposed to the jockey) when it always goes wide on the turn.

07 Jan 2013 1:15 PM
Rusty Weisner


I saw your horse actually went off 39-1 and put in a nice performance.  I took it as a positive sign that they rode him on the rail after his previous two efforts.  I had was wondering if it indicates anything about a young, healthy horse (as opposed to the jockey) when it always goes wide on the turn.

07 Jan 2013 1:18 PM

PBP I disagree on your empirical statement on jockeys.They help a horse decide when to move,and there is a level of timing involved. When any jockey is in a zone they can win 3,4,5 even 6 races on a card.You can argue all you want, but it is not coincidence.The top jockeys have muliple wins on different cards because they are the best at what they do.Stick to your stats you dont know much about sports.You thought that it a smart move picking the Skins when they were ahead,but that was only the 1st quarter,25% of the game.

07 Jan 2013 1:34 PM
Plod Boy Phil

JayJay -

You really have no idea what, why or how we do what we do.

A handful of new subscribers in the last week have us on the way to our 5th consecutive year of growth.

Carry on.

07 Jan 2013 1:40 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Rusty -

Well said.

You are correct regarding the favorite excuse of the loser - the bad ride.  These people think riding a horse is comparable to driving a car - just hit the gas pedal.

I'm not sure that comparing the start woes for Union Rags in the Derby and his subsequent cleaner trip in a smaller Belmont field is a great example of a jockey switch making a difference.  

I would be remiss if I didn't admit there are times when a jockey matters to me.  For instance,  I'm never pleased when an upgraded runner gets a switch to one of the top riders from a capable journeyman.  With that switch comes the inevitable drop in odds,  which is not favorable in the long run.

07 Jan 2013 1:56 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Chief -

Good thing KY VET gave you an opinion.

07 Jan 2013 2:04 PM

PBP:  Good for you.  As much info you post here as far as what, how or why you do what you do, I can honestly say I really don't get it but your paying users are the ones that needs to worry about that, not me.

I got what I needed to know about how you do what you do and it's not for me.  I've done better with my "guessing" / handicapping odds and jockeys than your upgrades / downgrades.   I hope you get more users using your tool,  I always welcome more bets, larger pool.... means bigger payout.

07 Jan 2013 2:05 PM
Plod Boy Phil

JayJay -

You are not a number driven handicapper,  thus accurately assigning a single value to a race and handicapping runners exiting that race based on it's running line and that of the winner,  would be another language to you.

Perfectly understandable.

This is a rhetorical question (no answer necessary):  If you discount your two scores, how do the numbers for the year look?  The factual answer may provide a more accurate assessment of the methodology.


07 Jan 2013 2:20 PM
Pete Denk

In response to PlodBoy, Kerry Thomas definitely thinks jockeys matter.

He thinks they are important in terms of the race outcome and as a "coach."

07 Jan 2013 2:26 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Pete -

Works for me.

Coaches rarely win games,  but they lose plenty.


07 Jan 2013 2:28 PM


If you could not recognize the bad ride on the #4 horse in the 9th at SA on 1/6/13, then I'm not even going to waste my time in any further discussion with you.

There was some discussion as to what simuli the horse responds to during a race, and anyone that does not think the horse responds to the rider and that the rider does not matter needs to try riding a horse.  If the jockey doesn't matter, then why isn't everyone using a 10 pound bug?

It is obvious in the aforementioned race that the #4 is confused and not responding well to the jockey, mainly because the jockey is not asking the horse correctly.

While you are correct that the winner and favorite was on the wrong lead, I have seen many horses win races on the wrong lead.  That could be the result of soundness issues and/or if you have ever ridden a horse before faster than at a trot, you may have noticed that some horses switch leads better than others, and most horses are either right-handed or left-handed (that is most horses switch leads more fluently going in one direction than they do going the other direction).

More importantly, you missed the bad ride on the #4.  First, it took everything the rider had to keep the horse from blowing the turn.  The jockey pops the horse in the mouth several times with the inside reign and is tapping him on the right shoulder with the crop.  While the #4 horse fortunately does not blow the turn, all the other actions of the rider cause horse to throw his head up a few times, which effects a fluid forward motion.  Then the #4 horse does straighten out into the strech and switches leads well, which he probably has done successfully in training on a daily basis.  However, you can tell the horse is confused about what to do next... the horse never lowers and extends himself, pins his ears back, and lays his body down like a race horse is supposed to do in the stretch when being asked the question.  This was because the #4 horse was not responding to his jockey, as the jockey was not giving the correct cues (or stimulus).

Rather the horse is looking around, because the horse feels the rider doing the same, resulting in the horse drifting around the stretch and letting the favorite catch him.  The jockey on the #4 horse never even scrubs on the horse, and cannot pull the crop through for most of the stretch.  By the time the jockey pulls the crop through, it was too late as the #4 was still going in an up and down motion while the favorite was laying himself down and extending with forward motion.

Jockeys certainly cannot make a horse run faster than the horse's natural ability allows it to do.  However, horses most definately respond to the stimuli that is in direct contact with them, which is the rider.  A good rider will be in unison with the horse, and will get the most out of the horse with proper stimuli.  A bad rider will get in the horses way and confuse the horse with improper stimuli.

While it is my subjective opinion and could be left up to spectulation as there is no way to quantify it, I think it is safe to say that had the #4 horse got a better ride and was focused, that he probably wins the race.

I will continue to use subjective and speculative thinking while handicapping, and I will continue to catch a few winners based upon these observations.  You and the flow machine can continue to tout several bold upgrades with your quantitative data, most of which do not even hit the board.

07 Jan 2013 3:27 PM

ok....THIS IS GETTING CRAZY! Doesnt anyone have COMMON SENSE? you have the breeding guys going ALL on breeding....the pace flow guys going all on that,,,,he even says he doesnt handicap, just gives flow grades....these are tiny parts of info....sure its good to have good breeding,,,,sure its good to see a horse run good against a flow....but its such a small part of the deal! you people are nuts...........dont ever change....

07 Jan 2013 3:30 PM

Enough of thr KERRY THOMAS stuff! Why is he the expert? lets go head to head with that clown.....ill cut his chicken head off.....i dont wanna give out how im so good. but i will prove to you how 90 percent of this herd thing is bunk...........

07 Jan 2013 3:34 PM

PBP          KY Vet are you kidding, even if we were at the track together,I wouldnt bet any of my money on his opinions on horses,dogs,football or Jai Alai.Someone could mistake me for a pro,or at least someone with a big head.

07 Jan 2013 3:39 PM

On paper, some horses are more dominant than others...every horse is different..some are calm, some dont relax...sounds like a book huh? Genius kerry!! BIG PROBLEM! Who doesnt know, or hasnt seen the same group of horses race together over and over.,with a different winner? Did their instict change? their disposition? NEWS FLASH! horses change every time they race!!!! look at the triple crown preps a couple of years ago.....diff winner every prep......did the herd thing inside them change?  Its really pretty stupid the things you people go on............races change horses...good and bad....................class dismissed!

07 Jan 2013 3:41 PM
Karen in Texas

I like Kerry Thomas's work because it is based on the zoology and study of natural behavior(s). If he considers jockeys as coaches for their mounts, then I would think Jerry Bailey's ride on Grindstone in the 1996 Derby serves as an exceptional job of coaching. What do you think about that ride--PBP, Pete, Keymaster, anyone? Thanks.

07 Jan 2013 3:54 PM
Pete Denk

KY Vet-

Kerry Thomas is not a handicapper or a bettor. He is a researcher of herd dynamics, equine communication, and behavioral genetics.

He would agree with you that horses (can) change every time they race.

07 Jan 2013 3:59 PM
Pete Denk


Jerry Bailey was great.

I'm at the Keeneland January sale and they block youtube here on their wireless network, so I can't review the '96 Derby right now. Will try to remember later.

07 Jan 2013 4:01 PM

PBP : My two scores are just the main highlights of my last year, I have multiple tickets posted that shows my other smaller hits (smaller meaning 1k / 2k hits).  I know, you wouldn't know this because you don't do facebook.  I am a number driven handicapper, but I see it as a dollar number.  I'll try anything and everything that will help me win big enough to take home but I'm not paying for it unless it's proven.  I learn quite a few things just in this blog, how others do their handicapping, and it's free :)

Just curious, how did you do in 2012 ?

07 Jan 2013 4:08 PM

Top jockeys get top horses which is why they win multiple races on a card.  If I think a horse is going to win, I don't care which jockey is riding unless that jockey is incompetent and going to get in the way of the horse.  There are always exceptions which everyone loves to point out, but if you look at the big picture, you will see.  Top jocks get top horses and ride for the best stables.  They win because of that.  They are talented athletes, but if they do not have the horse, then they lose.  When a jockey consistently brings home 20-1 shots multiple times a day for the length of their career, then I will change my mind.  Otherwise, I will bet the horse.

07 Jan 2013 4:18 PM

That Triple in the 96 Derby was one with almost a dead heat between Grindstone and Cavonier.Coming in third was Prince of Thieves.It was considered a jockeys race in retrospect as the 1st 4 jockeys in order were Bailey,Mccarron,Day and Delahousee.Numbers were either 3-4-7 no I think it was 4-3-7,dont remember the 4th place number I only bet the tri.

07 Jan 2013 4:19 PM
Karen in Texas

Thanks, Pete, that would be great. I will say, though, that the replays of that race on youtube do not do it justice. You almost need an aerial view (there was one the  day of the broadcast) to appreciate what happened. Jerry/Grindstone had to weave in and out of traffic as though they were "pole-bending". He finally got clear and caught Cavonnier precisely at the wire. Many, including Lukas, believed it was a most extra-ordinary ride.

07 Jan 2013 4:29 PM
Pete Denk


I love those aerial views of the Derby. I use it every year as part of my trip handicapping.

07 Jan 2013 4:32 PM

How many jocks have ever claimed it is their skill that got the horse home?  And how many top jocks have said they were just a passenger?

07 Jan 2013 4:35 PM

Footlick I agree with you without the horse the jockey cant win,but on a day when lets say Dominguez is in a zone after he wins 3 races all his mounts are bet down into single digits, and he keeps winning with horses that were double digit morning lines.In the lower condition races not including claiming races, the high percentage trainers win most of the races on the big circuits,thats why they have a high percentage.

07 Jan 2013 4:42 PM

Inotherwords Footlick discounting the ability of the people behind the horses is not very reasonable.In all jobs there are some that are better than others thats just the way it is.

07 Jan 2013 5:11 PM
Pete Denk

The ability to win on less-than-the-best horse is the sign of a great jockey.

07 Jan 2013 5:38 PM
Pete Denk

Bad jockeys LOSE despite having the best horse.

07 Jan 2013 5:45 PM


If you missed the bad ride on the #4 horse in the 9th at SA on 1/6/13, then I really shouldn't waste my time with further explanation.  However, I will provide some further explanation for those who have a greater understanding of horse racing than the flow machine.

You are correct that the winner was on the wrong lead, but that just shows you missed the point.  Rather than focusing on the winning ride given by the jockey of the #8, focus on the losing ride given by the jockey of the #4.

But first, further to leads, I have seen many horses win on the wrong lead before.  I don't know how much riding you have done, but it is my experience that most horses (like humans) are either right-handed or left-handed.  That is, most horses are typically more willing and fluent while switching leads going one direction than the other.  That is why LH, RH, or Str are published in PPs for European races, as sometimes they run clockwise, sometimes counter-clockwise, and sometimes straight.  Training and soundness are also important factors when taking into consideration why or why not a horse may or may not have switched leads.  A sound, well-trained horse will often switch leads automatically with little to no cue from the rider.

At any rate, back to the aforementioned race.  It is obvious that the #4 horse is confused because of the poor ride (stimuli) given by the jockey.

First, the #4 horse wants to get out around the turn, so the jockey starts tapping the horse on the right shoulder with the crop while popping the horse in the mouth with the inside reign.  The result... the horse's motion goes up and down.  A good jockey would have been able to steer the horse with an open reign and kept the horse's motion going forward, rather than up and down.

Next, the jockey of the #4 horse does not get down and start scrubbing (hand-riding) the horse, which is a cue for the horse to lower and extend itself.  Rather the jockey is sitting tall and looking around.  The result... motion of the #4 horse continues to go up and down, and the horse starts drifiting and looking around.

Finally, the jockey of the #4 horse had a very difficult time pulling the crop through, and by the time this was accomplished, it was too late.  Also, the manner in which the jockey went to the whip was a poor experience for the horse.  The horse was already confused at this point in the race because the jockey didn't previously ask the horse to extend by scrubbing, and the jockey basically went straight to the whip.  The horse extend a little once asked with the whip, but the motion of the horse at that time was still going up/down and side to side due to the poor ride (stimuli).

I agree that it is more important to bet on the horse than the jockey.  However, while jockeys are not doing the running, they are indeed part of the race.

There seemed to be discussion of what stimuli the horse responds to during a race.  It is my opinion that horses respond most to the stimuli that it is direct contact with them, which is the jockey.  I would certainly respond to stimuli coming from someone on my back and pulling on my mouth more than I would people running around me.  I don't know why horses would be any different.

Horses can indeed communicate with each other during a race, but any over emphasis on this makes it seem that races are run like the one in Mary Poppins.  Most horses will run over the top someone or something if the rider asks it to do so.

07 Jan 2013 6:09 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Pete -

'Great jockeys' (your words, not mine) lose when on the best horse too. Just ask Cigar following the Bailey death trip in Toronto,  or Dominquez aboard Summer Front in the Jamaica on Oct 6, 2012.

Who determines the best horse ?



The weekend warrior?

The odds board ?

07 Jan 2013 6:19 PM

Chief- you are discounting the fact that those horses may have been overlays.  You are crediting the jockey, but maybe the horse was an overlay in the first place. As far as people behind the horse, I don't discount the trainer.  And I listen to what most trainers say about jocks.  The amount of musical saddles that goes on seems to support my view that any of the top jocks are interchangeable on the best horses,  And I do agree that if the jock is incompetent he can alter the race. But, if people think that some jocks can consistently get no chance horses home, then good luck to them.  Without the horse, I don't care how talented a jock they are.  But, a good horse can overcome a bad ride.  And I have never seen a jock who can consistently get a less than best horse home first.  But I guess that depends on what your definition of less than best.  My definition would be a horse who obviously seems at a lower level, but some might think it means the second choice in the race.  Anyway, obviously some put more importance on the jockey than others do.  I don't bet many US races, but I do well in foreign races and I do not ever bet a jockey if, in my opinion, they do not have a horse who can get the job done.  That is not the public odds, but how I perceive the horses chances.

07 Jan 2013 6:31 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keymaster -

We've all seen hundreds of cases of jockeys sitting snug as a bug until it's too late.  Heck,  even KTs favorite all time jockey was famous for such things.

Yes, horses win on the wrong lead often.  Of course Arazi being the most famous of all winners,  with Alydar being the most famous loser,

Are you really going to compare a 10lb bug on a 6 time bottom level MC failure with Maldonado an experienced rider ?

I wish you had a better example - if you do please share - because 6x time failures at the bottom don't really inspire confidence or a realistic bar from which to measure .

Given the accomplishments of the horse in question, Tiz Lovely, upon whom Bejarano failed,  how are we to learn from this example?

The basis of my argument is that the top 10 riders in a major room are all interchangeable with extended sample size.  Period.

07 Jan 2013 6:39 PM

Good horses overcome bad rides, as I have said.  Yes, bad jockeys do lose on the best horses, but horses like Spectacular Bid overcame bad rides his whole 3 yr old year.  He did lose, but he overcame more than he lost.

Also, I am not taking potshots at anyone's knowledge.  This is my opinion and I have seen much evidence to support it in my 50+ years of watching it.  But, I will not say that anyone who disagrees with me has no knowledge.  I don't blog much anymore because I am tired of people taking potshots at other people's knowledge or understanding of horse racing.  I respect everyone's opinion and I hope I do not come off like I don't.  But, I also do not support contributing where everyone's opinion is not appreciated and respected, no matter how much you may disagree with it.  (This has nothing to do with Pete, who is tolerant of everyone's views.)  Anyway, I think I'll just stop and hopefully my knowledge of horse racing will not be questioned.  Have a good time, everyone.  Hopefully you all can learn from one another.  Thanks Pete.

07 Jan 2013 6:41 PM

Footlick : When you decide the jockey is incompetent and you decide not to bet the horse, wouldn't that be considered handicapping based on the jockey ?

07 Jan 2013 6:44 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Footlick -

Your wisdom is missed already.


07 Jan 2013 6:52 PM
Plod Boy Phil

JayJay -

That's not what he wrote.

07 Jan 2013 7:00 PM

Footlick : Never even thought of you as someone who would disrespect anyone.  You're one of the bloggers I come here for, to read what you post.  

07 Jan 2013 7:04 PM
Pete Denk


Of course great jockeys lose on the best horse sometimes. No one is perfect...

And to answer your question, it is up to each individual handicapper to determine who the best horse is.

Yes, it is subjective. But you have to be willing to make judgment calls in this game.

07 Jan 2013 7:13 PM
Pete Denk

BTW, I'll be reviewing all my Locksmith Plays after each weekend...(to follow)

07 Jan 2013 7:14 PM
Pete Denk

As stated earlier, on the Locksmith Smart Plays last Saturday, I went 8: 4-1-1, with a $4.38 ROI on win bets and solid profits across the board.

07 Jan 2013 7:18 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Racing Flow Notes:

The Derby preps all came back 'fair for all' in terms of Flow and Bias.


- The main track was played very favorable to speed on Saturday.

- Pete's Locksmith winner Za Approval impressed with a 'vs Flow' Win - worthy of playback.  Deep closers Hyper and Silver Rock get the other clear-cut upgrades.  


Saturday winners Hold It and Moonshine Bay will be unlikely to get perfect front end trips again any time soon.  

07 Jan 2013 7:21 PM
Pete Denk

All hese plays are from 1/5/12


Race 1 12:30 ET

Maiden Claiming $25,000 3yos (One mile on dirt)

"7 Bellardo (5-2 ML odds) drops in class and I think he’s better than he looks on paper. He was bumped at the start when he faced $35,000 maiden claimers two back, and those were quick fractions he chased. Note the winner ran off by 8 ½ lengths. His most recent try, a 4th-place finish going two turns on turf at the $50,000 tag, was solid. Think he will like two turns and dirt. Could roll here vs. easier."

Off odds: 1.90

RESULT: Finished third and may be better on turf. One of the horses he beat on turf caught him. Race was won by a NY-bred MSW dropper. I still like Bellardo, but he was an underlay here. Tough when you are submitting plays 36 hours in advance, but I probably shouldn't have touted the race.

07 Jan 2013 7:23 PM
Pete Denk

Tampa Bay

Race 7 3:26 ET

Optional Claiming $32,000/NW2X F&M (1 1/16 miles on turf)

"3 Font (5-1 ML odds) is a pretty talented turf mare with an explosive late kick. She has hit the board against a few strong allowance fields. I was at Keeneland when she came back off the six-month layoff in October, and she didn’t look good in the paddock that day. She had some run, but lacked room for much of the stretch. She needs to be outside in the clear to take advantage of her turn of foot. The works look steady since she shipped south for the winter, and note she is not being offered for a claiming tag. Her best should win this."

Off odds: 5.90

Result: Font rolled home a winner, paying $13.80/$8.20/$4.60. Juicy.

07 Jan 2013 7:25 PM
Pete Denk

Tampa Race 10 4:52 ET

Maiden claiming $25,000 3yos (6 furlongs on dirt)

4 Classy Prayer (3-1 ML odds) was bumped at the start in his debut at the MSW level. He was pushed hard into a solid pace and understandably tired late. He should hold a pace advantage here on the class drop.

Off odds: 3.20

Result: Wire to wire 2-length winner at a surprisingly solid price ($8.40). I thought he'd get bet down off the ML for sure.

07 Jan 2013 7:28 PM
Pete Denk

Gulfstream Park

Race 6 3:05 ET

Optional claiming $75,000/NW1X 3yos (One mile on turf)

12 Exploring (10-1 ML odds) didn’t run a step in his last when shipped to Remington for a $300,000 stakes race on the dirt, but he is interesting here trying turf for the first time. His maiden win on Polytrack was very impressive. He inhaled the runner-up Gunderman (who recently ran a second in a strong allowance race here at GP) with a final three furlongs in :36-flat, showing off a quick turn of foot and a turfy stride. Need value due to the bad post, but there is plenty of pace here, so he should settle and make one big run. May look to box him with stablemate  6 Rei, who also looks as if he will like the move to turf. Rei drew a better post and rider (Castellano) but he wasn’t as dynamic as Exploring on polytrack."

Off odds: 9.90

Result: Finished last. Bad decision by me to tout this horse. I blew this race. I liked the 9-2 winner Rydilluc, and used him in a 3-horse ex box with the two Casses I mentioned.

My mistake here was that I drilled too deep on multiple levels.

Exploring was a bad play, because I was projecting off his three-back msw effort, going one turn on the poly. And he clearly went off form on the ship to Remington. The work at OTC should have been my clue.

Rydilluc's MSW win on the Aqu turf was excellent, and I knew it. But I went against him b/c he was speed and there was a stretching out Wesley Ward horse in the field (who wound up SCR on raceday) taht figured to set a very fast pace.

It was a contentious race, and I just overthought it. Rydilluc's win  was way above par (compare with the other races that day at AQU) and came going two turns on turf. I either should have touted him or passed.

07 Jan 2013 7:36 PM
Pete Denk


Race 7 3:35 ET

Maiden 3yos (One mile on dirt)

5 The Candidate (6-1 ML odds) ran a decent 5th in his debut for trainer Nick Zito. He looked like a horse with some talent who would benefit from a tightening race. Zito improves second-out, and the workouts have been noticeably faster. Could see a good, pace-stalking trip. By Bernardini, he should like the added distance. He’ll probably need to run down the likely favorite 7 Moro Tap (who ran pretty fast in his Calder debut). I’ll consider a 5-7 exacta box along with a win bet on The Candidate as long as his odds reflect the speculative nature of a second-out improvement play.

Off odds: 2.90

Result: The Candidate did not move fwd. He ran a non-threatening 4th at underlaid odds.

When projecting improvement, always demand a price. And if u feel too much weight on a horse like this, get off. It's a speculative play. Demand value.

To add insult, Zito ran 1-2 in the second half this split maiden heat for a $93 exacta. I tweeted after the race that I can never tell when Zito will run big or rat.

07 Jan 2013 7:39 PM
Pete Denk

Gulfsream Race 8 4:05 ET

Optional claiming $80,000/NW3X (1 1/16 miles on turf)

6 Za Approval (3-1 ML odds) has a 5: 3-2-0 record on firm turf, with the losses coming against graded winners Corporate Jungle and Big Blue Kitten. Za Approval came home in a withering :22-2 last time. He’s lightly raced for a five-year-old and his half-brother (Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Miesque’s Approval) was a late bloomer.

Off odds: 1.90

Result: Won a photo

Not great value, but I have a good win% when I can identify the fastest closer on turf, so I play/tout these horses whenever I see an edge. This is one of my wheelhouse plays (late speed on the turf).

07 Jan 2013 7:42 PM
Pete Denk

Santa Anita

Race 4 5:03 ET

2 Magnificent Shirl (6-1 ML odds) took a nice step forward in her second career start. She advanced into a pocket, had to wait, then rallied wide to get second in a $75,000 maiden claiming race that was probably every bit as good as straight maidens. Her final quarter in :23-3 was very strong for the way the course played that day.  Think she could get underestimated on the ship out West.

Off odds: 8.90

Result: Ran a good second (very fast final 1/4) despite not the best ride from JJ Hernandez.

Nothing on the win bet, but Shirl keyed an $80 exacta if u used her under both Wertheimer horses. This was actually my biggest cash of the day.

Note to our Pedigree Experts, I love this female family, going back to Illinois-bred great Lady Shirl (dam of Shakespeare).

Magnificent Shirl is a potential play next time, but we won't get 8-1 again.

07 Jan 2013 7:47 PM

locksmith! good picking!

07 Jan 2013 7:48 PM
Pete Denk

Santa Anita

Race 8 7:07 ET

Allowance NW1X (One mile on turf)

5 Klisz (7-2 ML odds) showed a dynamic turn of foot when splitting horses through a :23-flat final quarter last time. Two-for-two lifetime, there is still upside here, and the extra ground should suit him. Should stalk the pace and pounce.

Off odds: 2.50

Result: Impressive winner. I previously touted this horse on this blog, and he did not disappoint. Loved this first effort going two turns and note the strong gallop out. Klisz stays in my stable mail.

07 Jan 2013 7:49 PM

those were 4 perfectly sized headed horses!

07 Jan 2013 7:50 PM


07 Jan 2013 8:55 PM

Footlick I have tried betting jockeys,the very first time I ever bet on the horses,it dosent work.The best jockeys at the particular meet get the best mounts and they get a lot of mounts at low odds.But in horseracing the differnce between winning and coming in the money in a lot of races especially turf races, and races where the field front to back for the majority of the race is not spread out and the lengths behind the winner that a lot of the other horses in the field is three or four lengths, is partly because of the jockeys steering the horse and urging the horse to stop or go.I wont disagree that the top jockeys are interchangeable for the most part,but the top jockey at any contentious meet like Saratoga,Keeneland or Gulfstream is just at the top of his or her game and the decisions on where to steer inside or out and when to go for the lead take back or try to squeeze in the hole can be very differnt for a top jockey that is having a great meet and one that is having a terrible meet.Yes the top jockeys do have prolonged periods when they would lose the race even if they were on the best horse in the race.

07 Jan 2013 9:01 PM

Remember a racehorse can cover a length in one jump.I dont believe like most that only the top finisher in a race was the best,he was the best that day but in a rematch he could lose to the same horse he barely beat in second third and even lower depending on the trip he got and the trip the horses behind him got.The trip involves more than traffic,pace or ease of win it involves how confortable the horse ran within the body of the race that is an intangible that I dont think can be quantified.Also horses are  not machines they have days where everything is right such as energy level mental state etc and they have bad days.

07 Jan 2013 9:09 PM


The jockey on the #4 was not sitting chilly... she was all over the place just trying to steer the horse.  Just watch the jockey's body and hands compared to all the others in the race.

I don't think the class of the horse matters when comparing jockeys, so this race is a fair comparison and a very good example of how an inexperienced rider vs. a journeyman make a difference in the race.  Yes, it is speculation, but I would bet that if the #4 and #8 had switched jockeys in the aforementioned race, that the outcome would have been reversed.  Also, Bejarano rod the Tiz Wonderful at a different class level.  Had Bejarano been aboard Tiz Wonderful in the last, I speculate that he would have won.

There are several examples of jockeys making a difference in high class races... One of my most painful was the 2010 KY Derby.  I was on second place finisher Ice Box, who got a horrible ride by Lezcano, and was beaten by Super Saver who got an ideal trip under Borel.

Not to miss your point, I would agree with you that top jockeys can be interchangeable with large sample size; however, only under certain conditions.  For example, some jockeys are better in dirt races than turf races and vice versa.  An example of this would be John Velasquez... In 2012 he had 24% winers on dirt/synth vs. 14% winners on turf.

07 Jan 2013 9:12 PM

Pete : How many races do you cover for that $5 report ?  

07 Jan 2013 10:25 PM

I believe jockeys cannot only make a difference whether a horse wins a race, but also more likely if the horse loses the race; why would a jockey purposefully lose a race?...Maybe because he was told to by the trainer or owner. How many Maidens make a living at the maiden level?..this would be a case where a jockey might be told to not win with this horse yet, let him run second or third. Or maybe the jockey has some personal reasoning for not winning. What? Well I hate to bring it up, but there was a jockey in So.Cal. who stiffed a favorite in a Maiden race where the horse was clearly the best horse and should have won, but the jockey made sure the horse looked very poor in the race, and then the next day sent his agent over to purchase the horse from the owners, thinking they would be willing to sell him at bargain price for how good a horse he really knew the horse to be. This jockey still rides in the SoCal jockey colony! What the heck is going on?

A long time ago there was a very good jockey who rode in the Northern Calif. area by the name of Ron Hansen. He was found dead, floating in the San Francisco bay. It was reported that two men, driving a Cadillac were seen throwing something off the San Mateo bridge shortly before his body was found. I don't know about you, but this makes me wonder if

Ron didin't follow instructions someone gave him.

What I'm saying here is that there is money involved in horse racing, and to naively think that everything is always on the up and up when people are involved is absolutely foolish. Jockeys are the most closely involved person in any race.

Forget all the statistics as to who the best or worse jockeys may be, for when someone is cheating the system for personal gain, this is when a jockey can make a big difference. Does anybody really trust that horse racing is absolutely always honest? I would love to know what someone with the experience of Footlick thinks about this....

07 Jan 2013 11:26 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Keymaster -

I did not go back to re-watch the replay. Apparently, I failed to read your description closely enough to get a feel for the ride by the bug.  I will take a look again at some point.

Bejarano did ride this horse on 11/17 in a bottom level Mc race.  This seems like something that is not a matter of debate.

As you pointed out, there is no telling what happens if the jockeys are switched, but I'd be inclined to agree with your assessment.  That said, anyone understanding the physics of 'work',  understand that 10lbs is significant.  In a sprint,  it may be most important in a horse's ability to break sharply.

They were all bugs once.

I guess I can sum it up by saying that I will not pass on an upgraded runner I believe is an overlay just because of the jockey.  Perhaps if I played this game once a week, I may have a different view,  since 'the long run' will be mucgh slower to arrive,  thus each result takes on greater significance.  

08 Jan 2013 12:01 AM

Phil -

You are right about Bejarano riding the already at the bottom level... for some reason, I incorrectly recalled the horse dropping out of Cal bred maidens, but the horse is indeed a KY bred that ran at the same level many times before.

At any rate, I can agree with your latest.

Good luck!

08 Jan 2013 9:23 AM
Pete Denk


I usually come up with 7-8 plays every Saturday.

While BloodHorse will be happy if we sell more reports, my main reason for posting my plays here are that so people can see the reasoning behind them.

And I also think it will help me to review my plays, learn from my mistakes, etc...

I appreciate all the sharing of insights on this blog. Keep them coming.

08 Jan 2013 10:38 AM

Over the years I have seen hundreds of posts from a particular contributor engaging in self-glorification off his gambling exploits. It is overwhelmingly clear that this individual has no clue as to who is a real gambler.


I would appreciate you allowing me to tell a brief story of a real gambler.

I was not always a Dish Washer and in my previous life I owned a few thoroughbreds. There was one in particular that I named Freshly Minted. He was sired by Dales Folly a son of Key To The Mint. His unraced dam was sires by a brilliantly fast great grandson of Graustark who could not run beyond 5F even with the assistance of an oxygen tank.  Freshly Minted was inbred to Ribot in the 4th generation via sons His Majesty and Graustark. I theorized that since he was a grandson of champion sprinter Key To The Mint and his dam sire was so fast, I would at least end up with reasonable sprinter. I acquired him as yearling and my colleagues advised that since I had acquired a mule I now need a cart for him to pull. Yes folks I am been the subject of ridicule all my life.

Freshly Minted was burning up the track in training as I suspected he would. The Devil of misfortune just had to intervene as after a brilliant piece of work he sustained a serious injury. The prospects of my recovering either my input cost or a portion of same were very remote. I was force to remove him from a front line trainer and team up with an experience groom to see how best he could be patched up for racing.

He was confined to swimming daily as this was the only option to get him fit enough for racing. When he was fit enough we gave him a test race and he got beat 20L and came back lame. He was a prime candidate for a donation as a pet. However, we persevered and got him reasonable sound and made another start. He got beat 20L but came back not as lame as his previously race. That race was very useful in boosting his track muscles and we were cautiously optimistic for his next start.

His rider told us he was blowing very hard after the race and he was a bit heavy. We cut back on the pellets and added more oats to his feed and gave him longer more aggressive swims. Before his net race he was looking like a freshly minted coin. His eyes were bursting out of his small head and his coat looked like Batman’s bat mobile with a double coat of wax.

From my experienced eyes he was ready for a maximum effort.  This was my opportunity to secure a ROI and it would probably be my only chance.  This colt had been beaten a combined 40L in his starts. His ML was 99-1 and I would not see those odds again if he hit the board without actually winning. I visited my bank and withdrew $10,000 and placed on him to win. Now this money was not wagered on track and consequently had no impact on the starting odds as he left the gates at 99-1.

The Devil of misfortune that robbed this colt of a normal racing career was again at work. He stumble out of the gates but recover to get within inches of the 3-4 leader before he had to be steadied around the turn for home and ended up second. In a 5 1/2F race there are very few opportunities to recover from one incident and two eliminates all hope of a victory. He paid $43 to place; the Ext $1,773 and Qn $770 with the 3-4 favorite. The colt would have paid $600 to win and I had $10K in win bets only.

If a dog is a man’s best friend, arrogant is his worst enemy. In wagering the $10K on a maiden at 99-1, I had dreams of having the last laugh at those who disparage the colt and me. This decision haunted me for months.

Who wager $10K on a 99-1 maiden that lost its previous starts by a combined 40L? A real gamble! The king of gambling self-glorification does not know what is a real gamble is as he has never been faced with one.

The last horse I owned I named Due Diligence. His story is even more interesting. He won with my $20K wager but a loosing effort would have been better result.

08 Jan 2013 10:40 AM
Pete Denk

Karen in TX-

Kerry Thomas txt'd me in response to your question about the '96 Ky Derby:

"The film quality was not great, but it looked to me like a strategically brilliant ride. Also, jockey and horse looked to be in perfect tune (very important)."

08 Jan 2013 10:42 AM
Pete Denk

Usually I don't like to see posts that long, but your's was an interesting read, Coldfacts.

Thanks for sharing.

08 Jan 2013 11:01 AM

wow coldcuts.....tell us another story.......how bout......the 3 big headed pigs?...or  the itsy bitsy headed spider......

08 Jan 2013 11:14 AM
Your Only Friend

Gary Stevens is like so many other great ones of athletics,entertainment business....cannot leave the stage.....donot  realize "Father time has caught up with them"......good luck.

08 Jan 2013 11:42 AM
Karen in Texas

Pete----Thanks so much to you and Kerry Thomas for spending time to review footage in order to answer my question! As I said, the replays available don't do the race/ride justice.

08 Jan 2013 12:22 PM

Pete : I really do appreciate your posts of your plays and how you picked them.  I asked about the number of plays because I think that's a very good price for a measly $5.  I also appreciate you posting your failed picks, I'll check out your Jan 12 analysis.  It's nice to see a true PRO post compared to the pretender.

08 Jan 2013 12:42 PM
Pete Denk

Thanks JayJay-

Public selecting is not easy. I respect anyone willing to put their picks out there.

I am starting to learn what types of horses work best for plays like this.

I certainly have my good and bad weeks. Hopefully I can start 2013 with a hot streak.

08 Jan 2013 1:41 PM
Mary Zinke

I get that there's a point to the story of the gambler with the large wagers, but Coldfacts, would you please explain something that is confusing to me?  Freshly Minted's sire was Key To The Mint. I cannot find the one whose pedigree you stated. Also, I remember Due Diligence(with that spelling of only one l). He was owned by Louis Wolfson/Harbor View Farm. That horse raced in and won NY sprints. Raced 45 times 1975-1976. No wonder he sounded familiar.  

08 Jan 2013 1:48 PM
Rusty Weisner

Mary Zinke,

Me, too.

08 Jan 2013 2:07 PM

A couple of interesting names showed up on the Santa Anita work tab this morning -- Secret Circle and Take Control.

Secret Circle, winner of the Rebel Stakes and Southwest Stakes last year, had not breezed since injuring a sesamoid prior to the Kentucky Derby. Likewise, the delicate Take Control was forced out of training after being "a little off" while training toward the Pacific Classic last summer.

Both horses breezed three furlongs in :37.20, the ninth-fastest time of the morning at that distance.


08 Jan 2013 2:52 PM

Mary Zinke,

The Freshly Minted referenced in my post was not a US horse. He was not sires by Key To The Mint but by Dales Folly who was a son of Key To The Mint. This horse was bred and raced in Jamaica. The exchange rate between the US$ and JA$ at the time was about $5 to $1. The $10K highlighted in my post is Jamaican dollar that would be equivalent to $2K US. Due Diligence likewise was bred and raced in Jamaica.

08 Jan 2013 3:26 PM

Secret Circle just had a workout !  He was my derby horse before he got hurt.  Glad to see him back.   3F in :37 Handily, typical Baffert horse workout.

08 Jan 2013 3:40 PM


I enjoyed your "freshly minted" story. You deserve a lot more respect than you are given for your knowlege of this game, fashioned in the crucible of real life experiences. You're no "armchair quarterback" my friend.  Thanks for sharing.

08 Jan 2013 3:52 PM
Mary Zinke

I see the Jamaican Freshly Minted now, Coldfacts.  

08 Jan 2013 4:08 PM
Carlos in Cali

In the immortal words of the late,great Johnny Carson:

" Really wacky...wacky stuff!"

08 Jan 2013 4:25 PM

KY Vet,

Here's a suggestion for you this Triple Crown season: why don't you post your picks for each of the Derby preps along with your rationale for selection, in order to convince those of us who still doubt that you're the pro you claim to be. Give us a break from your tiresome blog-congestion postings on insignificant races and show us how much you really understand Classic thoroughbred racing. I'm not trying to be offensive here but you're so dismissive of others viewpoints while failing so far to deliver the goods in races where everybody's attention is focused. Man-up this Triple Crown season and strut your stuff so that we can all acclaim you the biggest pro on the blog when your picks are winning or losing for reasons that your expert/professional forsight can spot. You owe us this courtesy for having to endure your (so far, empty) egotism. If a challenge will motivate you, I'll post my selections and I promise you this my friend, you'll take a good respite from the blog when I whup your ..."horse" good and proper. Will you take up my challenge or will you chicken out?

08 Jan 2013 4:35 PM

Happy New Year. Just wanted to add that jockeys 100% do matter. Just ask the connections of Mizdirection and Zenyatta. Mike Smith is a superb race rider. He recognizes horses on easy leads and will send a horse early or press the pace, and he recognizes a quick early pace and will sit way off. Mizdirection should of lost her 2nd Monrovia, but Smith had a fantastic ride on her to win and beat a very good filly. And Zenyatta, she is not 19-1 without Smith, I can guarantee you that.

Some jockeys are great at certain tracks, and some suck. There is a reason why Calvin won a few Derbies. Yeah, the horse matters, but race riding is equally important. Pace, the positioning of the horse, knowing the horse and their tendancies, etc, all come as the responsibilty of the jockey, that is why there are great ones, and not so great ones. You get good horses if you are good, but you only get good by starting out in the lower level circuits and making a name for yourself.  

Pete, thanks for hosting the blog. I have a feeling things are going to get a little crazy here in the coming weeks. BTW, the new derby format is turrible. Who made it up, the BCS?

Go Louisville!!

08 Jan 2013 4:37 PM

Carlos in Cali,

Happy New year buddy!!! Where've you been ...you ol rascal (LOL)

Would you endorse and even get in on my challenge of the "Vet"?  I'm convinced that he needs his ..."donkey" properly peppared by some folkes who are conoisseurs of this game. What do you think Bro?

08 Jan 2013 4:42 PM

Carlos,Footlick, Mary, Ranag, Jayjay, Keelerman, Coldfacts, the usual suspects, I salute you. Keep up the good work. It's bourbon 30, I am out

08 Jan 2013 4:43 PM

if replying and challenging wacky stuff like swan necks, too large of heads, too thick of necks, jamacian well bred horses, people that go just on pace...just breeding, dont even read a form.....is dismissing peoples opinion is not nice. then im that.............its a blog....im not rude....dont say anything wrong, and i wont challenge it......remember THE FACTOR has a perfect stride for long races? I can post 100s of wacky things...................you just think its rude..........its not

08 Jan 2013 5:14 PM

what counts as a 3 yr old prep? these 3 yr olds are alw. horses.....weak, weak...weak.....

08 Jan 2013 5:15 PM

Hey Vet, you're chicken.

08 Jan 2013 5:42 PM
Mary Zinke

I'll put in picks, with a reason for the top pick, for every 3yo graded stakes "Derby prep".   I think some posts are whack, like the one that said my favorite mare was overrated, but I don't know the emoticom for wth? so, I just make a face and mostly ignore those. Some rebuttals weren't posted. I let the horse prove them wrong.

Billy's Empire, Looking forward to your Derby works at Churchill updates.  

08 Jan 2013 5:58 PM

calm down ranag....ill try to post prep winners of course......but wont give reasons....spent lifetime learning how.....cant give secrets away......im sure you understand....

08 Jan 2013 6:26 PM
Carlos in Cali


Sounds good to me. In fact,I think we all should get in on the action. Get in,where you fit in...

Then Bombard him with our handicapping until "He's Had Enough"!

Happy New Year to you and everyone else on here,buddy.

Release The Hounds!!  


Let's hear it for the lead singer of Queens Of The Stone Age.. I mean Pete, for maintaining this quirky blog while quoting lines from "Martin". LOL

Jason,don't be a stranger. You still owe me 1-Scotch,1-Bourbon and 1-Beer for Zenyatta's BCC victory!

08 Jan 2013 6:31 PM

KY Vet, I'm easy but you're bordering on delusional by thinking that folks care so much about your "secrets" (LOL)

Show us the beef KY ...you do make my laugh, I have to tell you.

08 Jan 2013 6:39 PM

KY VET : The problem with you is that you fail to provide reasoning for what you posts.  Proclaiming yourself to be a pro is not enough.  You haven't actually posted anything that's worthwhile, or anything that indicates you know anything.  Your handicapping is based purely on whether the horse will wake up or not.   You're always hoping the horse will wake up.  Just like your last post, why do you call these horses allowance horses ?  why "weak" ?  You dismiss everyone's post but you don't really contribute anything except to say "I'm a pro".  Your daily picks (thank God you stopped), didn't even hit 30%, that's embarrassing and if you were really betting money, you'd be in the red.

I don't post my reasoning because my handicapping is based on wacky stuff but I also don't proclaim myself a pro or an expert.  I don't know how long you've been in this game but any true horse racing enthusiasts know that there's no such thing as an expert handicapper...  

Looking forward to you posting something that we can all learn from.

08 Jan 2013 6:43 PM
Forbidden Apple


Is Out of Bounds still in training or has he been retired?


Thank you for another story, I always enjoy your posts.

If Wise Dan and Royal Delta are pointed to the Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles, then why did they both skip the breeders Cup Classic? Both horses can run on dirt, I don't get it. Fort Larned showed up in the Whitney and B.C. Classic and ran 2 monster races. I love Wise Dan, but if I had a 2013 HOY vote, it would go to Fort Larned.

08 Jan 2013 7:09 PM


I am but a shadow of the man I once was.

I have noted that your short list does not include any horses from the Raise A Native /Mr. Prospector sire line. This sire line has 50 victories in TC races. Pete’s initial list of 20 included only four. I do believe that before any Derby list is compiled, horses from this sire line should be carefully evaluated and those that show signs of ability should be included first. This sire line accounted for the first four a cross the line in the 2012 Derby; first two across the line in the Preakness and the 3rd and 4th place finishers in the Belmont.  Of the combined 12 spots available on the board for the Triple Crown races the Raise A Native /Mr. Prospector sire line accounted for eight. This sire line accounts for 20% of Pete list and O% of your list. Is this a reflection of your collective lack of respect for the sire line's achievements?

Let me take this opportunity to help you both with some additional colts from this sire line that merit watching.  Footbridge, Boundless Heart, Mountain Eagle, Little Jerry, Avie’s Quality and Melvin. From this group Footbridge and Avie’s Quality are very serious thoroughbreds and are likely to extent the TC record for this sire line.

08 Jan 2013 7:23 PM
Karen in Texas

Forbidden Apple----Out of Bounds is in training.


08 Jan 2013 7:26 PM
Pete Denk


Good to see you back. I get the Queens of the Stone Age/Josh Homme reference (I like some of their stuff, and guess there is a slight resemblance), but not the "quoting lines form Martin."


Coldfacts, all-

All gambling stories to be in American dollars, not Jamaican, unless specified! Still, it was good stuff. Keep sharing.


Your Itsy Bitsy Spider and the three-headed pig remark got a chuckle. More humor, less sociopathy please.

08 Jan 2013 7:36 PM
Pete Denk


Thanks for the horses.

I like Mountain Eagle, wrote about him in earlier blog. He is on the outskirts of my top 20.

I liked Footbridge's 3rd-place debut (It came after I published my December list). He is a horse to watch for sure on the stretchout.

Avie's Quality is now on my radar. Mary Z gets cred for mentioning him first on here. I like him.

I think Little Jerry might be too slow.

Boundless Heart and Melvin (sp?) not on my radar at this time.

08 Jan 2013 7:49 PM

Youre kidding right? wasnt that enough proof? i killed for 2 weeks straight....random races....want to see more? I can keep busting you all night teddy....

08 Jan 2013 7:50 PM

I know pete....im a comedian......its a blog pete.....havent done anything wrong....just proved to people im a pro......by posting any race any where, any day.......results matter pete.............can i call you pete?

08 Jan 2013 7:54 PM

anyone.....what do i mean by alw horses? weak? the 3 yr old crop is a total embarrassment.....they have run alw horse pars.....period.......deal with it.....yes, some will improve......but to be educated, you must know where they are at this point....last year weak too....have had alot off weak years lately........

08 Jan 2013 7:58 PM
Forbidden Apple

Karen in Texas,

Thank you, I see the article was posted today. I was thinking about Out of Bounds yesterday. I hope he runs well and turns into a monster.

08 Jan 2013 8:00 PM
Carlos in Cali

"You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here".

Pete Denk 04 Jan 2013 12:45 PM

Somewhat similar to what Martin Lawrence constantly said on his show. Nevermind though...

08 Jan 2013 8:57 PM
Carlos in Cali


Since you're @KEEJAN2013, any insight as to why the siblings of last yr's KY Oaks winner sold for so cheap?(hip #s 74-75)..

Scope and or conformation were that bad?..

08 Jan 2013 9:57 PM

KY VET : LOL, seriously ?   That's your explanation ? That's what makes you a pro ??  You're definitely a comedian...although, I don't know if your audience is laughing with you or at you.  I give up...

Forbidden Apple : No love for Little Mike ?  I actually thought he had the best year, he won the biggest races against better competition.

09 Jan 2013 12:48 AM


My Bad. Kindly note that the colt referred to as Melvin in my post is actually Belvin.

09 Jan 2013 6:35 AM


I endorse your views on Little Mike.

09 Jan 2013 6:39 AM

There are those who like to classify each crop of 3YOs as strong, weak or otherwise. What is the true measurement of the each 3YO crop? Is it Beyer/BRIS figure? Is it times recorded for particular races?

Well the Gulfstream Park Derby and the Jerome were competed in times that were rarely seen for the distances in 2012 and previous years. What time have members from these weak crops been recording in the Derby? Let view a few examples:

2012 - I’ll Have Another 2:01.83

2011 -   Animal Kingdom 2:02.04

2010 -  Super Saver 2:04.45 (M)

2009 - Bine That Bird 2:02.66 (M)

2008 - Big Brown 2:01.82

2007 - Street Sense 2:02.17

2006 - Barbaro 2:01.36

With the exception of the Super Saver's Derby the times has been between 2:02 and 2:01 in the last 7 years. Which winners were from weak crops?

Street Sense was from a crop regarded as the strongest in years and he ran 2:02.17. Mine That Bird has been regarded by many as the worst Derby winner ever and probably from the weakest crop in years. He ran 2:02.66 on a muddy track and won by the biggest margin in 40 years. Was Mine That Bird crop weak? Quality Road that accounted for three NTR was from that crop. Dunkirk who set possibly the fastest 10F fraction in the Belmont since Secretariat was from that crop.

He who is in the habit of making wild unsubstantiated statement and projecting himself as knowledgeable should try to familiarize himself with some cold facts. Then again it is an empty barrel that makes the most noise.

09 Jan 2013 7:18 AM
Pete Denk


I too noticed those hips u mentioned (hips 74-75, out of Liszy, dam of Plum Pretty) sold really cheap.

Raut LLC, the buyer of the 2yo Ghostzapper filly for 27k, that's trainer Gennadi Dorochenko, of Hero of Order fame. He often hangs out in the back ring and buys the stuff the market shuns, so you can be sure there was a major issue with the filly's physical conformation and/or her breathing passage.

09 Jan 2013 11:41 AM
Mike Relva

Mary Z

Nice you've found another site to post your "expert" opinions. While your time is spent doing that, I visit and contribute. Last weekend, visiting The Tin Man in Calif. See you at the Derby,then again probably not.

09 Jan 2013 11:57 AM
Forbidden Apple


I do think that Little Mike is a talented horse. In the B.C. Turf he had a comfortable lead and was not the best horse on that day. It was crystal clear to me that J.V. was sleeping a bit and let little Mike get away from him. Point of Entry was the best horse in the race and would be the 2012 turf champion if not for J.V.

KY Coldcuts,

I have 3 plays today at Gulfstream, all win bets. Since you are the PRO on this board, let me know who you like in these races. Or I should say, who do you think will wake up today.

Gulfstream Jan. 9:

Race 3- #1 Put it All In 5-1

He is first time turf, stretches out, and gets a major jockey switch.

Race 7- #8 Pistoria 6-1

A cheap Calder horse that has won 2 in a row, the trainer is 25% at the meet.

Race 9- #1 Spun Cap 4-1

She is 2nd off from a layoff, Rosario sticks with her, and she ran a 1/81 sharp workout since her last start, all systems go.

09 Jan 2013 12:28 PM
Mary Zinke

Mike, I'm sorry that you and I didn't work out. Please break it to him gently, but it was your monkey. Think of me fondly.

09 Jan 2013 12:30 PM
Mike Relva

Mary Z

Like stated I actually do something, unlike a few living in a world of illusion. Whatever works for you, I guess.

09 Jan 2013 1:09 PM
Forbidden Apple

Mike Relva,

Do you live in Saratoga Springs?

09 Jan 2013 1:33 PM

KY Vet dont worry if they will wake up or not,Im gonna sell alarm clocks for horse stalls online at sites where trainers buy their feed.I will let you know which trainers buy them,and then you know WHO is probably awake,then all you gotta figure out is which ones dont pay attention to the alarm.

09 Jan 2013 3:13 PM

BTW Vet I dont think you should play offspring from TURNBACK THE ALARM.

09 Jan 2013 3:17 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Forbidden Apple -

re: Little Mike:

He did not make the lead until the top of the lane.  It was the first time since Dec 11, 2010 that he did not make the lead at the first call -  a string of 11 straight races.

Do you really think John R 'fell asleep' in a BC race,  or maybe the best horse on that day won the race with a better turn of foot ?

09 Jan 2013 4:08 PM
Plod Boy Phil

One more note on the BC Mile -

For what it's worth,  we at Racing Flow had the race modestly closer favoring, in which case any horse behind the winner after the half mile may have actually had a better scenario in which to run it's best race.  

Little Mike deserves every accolade that comes his way.

09 Jan 2013 4:25 PM
Plod Boy Phil


not the 'Mile' of course, but the 12f 'Turf'

09 Jan 2013 4:26 PM

IMO Little Mike let the pacesetter do the dirty work for him, and he just cruised right behind, he got the first jumpandPOE didnt have enough ground left to catch him.If thats Little Mikes new running style, 2013 will be a good year for him.

09 Jan 2013 7:49 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Chief Pic-

Little Mike did enjoy a nice trip,  but the fact that he opened up off the turn and held the two deep closers (the top two favs) at bay despite a favorable set up for them as well, makes it a solid race.

Speed is a wonderful thing.

09 Jan 2013 8:06 PM

PBP I not disagreeing with the fact that that was HIS BEST RACE OF THE YEAR(Little Mike)and if he can sit that relaxed with a lot of run in him,like I said 2013 will be a very good year.Little Mikes other big score the Arlington Million was using a different running style, his usual race is to run on the lead.

09 Jan 2013 9:04 PM

good job apple you got one! 6.80

09 Jan 2013 9:28 PM

why cant the people on here understand figures ARE the time of a race? brisnet or beyer! why does colcuts STILL keep posting times of races? COME ON MAN!  people say i go on beyers.....i go on either beyer or brisnet figs...someone explain to him why...........make no mistake, i dont go on the highest fig....thats not how i pick......but it shows who ran the fastest that day...............enough of the no variant times! geez

09 Jan 2013 9:34 PM
Forbidden Apple

I should have written Little Mike stalked a comfortable lead, my mistake. Yes, I think J.V. was a bit dull, Point of Entry was the best horse. He'll have to prove me right in 2013. Little Mike was lucky to hang on for the win.

Again, I don't think the 3 year olf filly championship should be close at all, Questing is the deserving champion.

KY coldcuts,

I also had Tapicat in the 5th, but I did not post it as I was expecting heavy favoritism. She looks like a stakes caliber horse to me. My 2 cheap Calder horses were slow, they need to ship back to Calder. Not horrible for a wed. card.

09 Jan 2013 10:10 PM

PlodBP I guess you didnt get to read my reply to your last with my name,it confirms what Ive known about this blog for a long time.

09 Jan 2013 10:15 PM

Coldfacts : Don't pay attention to the vet.  Appreciate that post as it brought back memories for me.  I do feel the 2007 crop were the best in the last decade, not because I think they were the best horses in the last decade but more of how evenly matched they were that year.  I thought 80% of the field had the same chance at winning the derby.  I was an anti Hard Spun and lost a lot of money not betting him.  I didn't like speed horses and handicapped him in every race to fold but he never did.  Now I keep an eye on his babies and maybe I can get some of the money I lost by betting his babies hehe.

09 Jan 2013 10:33 PM

Forbidden Apple : I don't think it matters how LM won the race but compared with Fort Larned, I thought LM won the best races and the horses he beat are much much better than the horses that Fort Larned beat all year.  People will argue about the speed bias in the Classic that I personally thought affected the outcome of the race.  It sure didn't work out for my horse RTG but putting those aside, I think race for race, LM just had better competition in the races he won.

09 Jan 2013 10:46 PM

I think any KD list now is more of hope list than anything else,sure if you got twenty on yours maybe one or two will come in the money, as far as the winner I doubt it,but the 3yo races have hardly begun.This isnt the same derby that it was ten or twenty years ago,and in the next decade it will be clear, but I hope everyone dosent take that long to realize and except it.

09 Jan 2013 11:06 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Chief Picawiina -

Perhapsn your post just got lost in cyberspace.  Guessing most here have had a similar experience.  You should resend if it was w/in the boundaries set by the host.

In any event,  did not intend to disagree or start an argument.

It was indeed a terrifically successful change of tactics for the LM team.  

No need for me to go into the details of the Racing Flow description of the move LM made and it's significance for us,  as such would likely fall on deaf ears.


09 Jan 2013 11:14 PM
Mike Relva

Forbidden Apple

No, actually from Miami, (where Shandler boasts of currently living). lol At present, living a little east of Nashville. I've enjoyed your comments over the past few years.

10 Jan 2013 12:51 AM
Mike Relva

Forbidden Apple

No, actually from Miami, (where Shandler boasts of currently living). lol At present, living a little east of Nashville. I've enjoyed your comments over the past few years.

10 Jan 2013 12:52 AM
Lise from Maine


Watched the race on TVG with Gary Stevens return to racing, and it was an exciting race to watch.

He came so close to winning.

Best wishes for next time.

At least you, Mr. Stevens, made it exciting to watch.

Thank you!

10 Jan 2013 6:57 AM

PlodBP I can see you were predictive of what I wrote in my post,so for all the other posters(not screen names)there is no need to repost.BTW Little Mike ran his best race on the right day,similar to Mine That Bird.I think his race in the Arlington Million was against a weaker field than the Turf Classic.I will see if he also got a great trip right behind the pacesetter,or if this will be his Modus Operandi going forward.

10 Jan 2013 7:25 AM


I agree with you regarding the 3YO class of 2007. Street Sense, Curlin, Zenyatta, Rags To Riches Hard Spun, Dreaming Of Anna and Tiago combined for about $50M in purses.


When horses are referred to as allowance horses it can be inferred that they have not reached stakes standard. What differentiate a stakes horse from an allowance horse? Does one record a faster time than the other?  If a horse wins all the allowance condition races available but cannot win a stakes race is it an allowance horse or a stakes?

Giacomo qualified for a NW2 lifetime race. He won the Derby without winning either an allowance or stakes race. Was he a MSW, allowance or stakes horse at the time of his Derby victory?

He who feels he has the authority of label young developing horses as merely belonging to the allowance ranks, is highlighting overwhelming ignorance.

10 Jan 2013 9:43 AM
Pete Denk

KY Vet is correct that raw times are not the best way to measure speed.

That's why we have speed figures.

10 Jan 2013 9:53 AM

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