The herd dynamics and emotional conformation of Eblouissante

With everyone talking about undefeated Eblouissante's second career victory, I thought it would be interesting to analyze her from the standpoint of herd dynamics and emotional conformation with help from my friend and cohort Kerry Thomas.

For those not familiar with Kerry, he is the founder of The Thomas Herding Technique (THT), author of Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes, and a pioneering researcher in the fields of equine communication and herd dynamics, among other things. I am THT's director of equine services. Our company specializes in the study of herd motion (aka a horse race), the minds and emotions of horses, and behavioral genetics.

Kerry emphatically states Zenyatta is the highest level herd dynamic mare he has ever seen, on all levels. So when we talk about how Eblouissante lacks the vision and mental proficiency of her famous half-sister, keep in mind she has nearly impossible shoes to fill.

While no doubt there are some similarities between Zenyatta and Eblouissante, there are vast differences between them when viewed through the lens of emotional conformation herd dynamics. In fact, they are quite different horses.

When Eblouissante bounces out of the gate, she is in the individual dynamic zone. She is immediately looking for another horse to match rhythm with. This is in contrast to Zenyatta, who would break out of the gate in the group dynamic zone and immediately start sizing up the entire herd of motion.

After Eblouissante finds comfort with the nearest horse, she realizes she is in a race. A slight hesitation follows as she transitions to the group dynamic and begins to grasp the bigger picture.

But unlike Zenyatta, Eblouissante relies on the individual dynamic for most of her forward movement. Zenyatta only exerted her individual dynamic when she had to (when she encountered a talented and stubborn foe).

But most of the time, Zenyatta viewed the entire field as a unit to overcome. She could project herself to the lead horses, even when she was a dozen lengths or more behind. Eblouissante has thus far reached the desired destination in both of her starts, but she does it mentally by passing one horse at a time. She is a point-to-point mover.

Eblouissante has been outfitted with blinkers in both of her career starts. Blinkers restrict a horse's ability to take in the big picture. Throughout both of her races, Eblouissante spends a considerable amount of time trying to recognize what is behind her or to either side.

Her head movements in close proximity situations (when another horse is in her space but she cannot see it) indicate she is using her sense of feel to compensate for her restricted vision. She sometimes is confused in terms of what the other horses are doing, and where they are in her space. The result is a drag on Eblouissante's point-to-point releases and forward motion.

Watch Eblouissante's win on Thursday. It is good that she doesn't go backwards when she is unsure of a situation, but notice she idles at various points of the race because she is concerned with a horse next to her, or wonders if there is one coming from behind. Eblouissante has considerable physical ability, and she moves strongly into space when she can clearly see her targets or when she is confident where she is at. But note how she shows lateral motion almost everytime she passes a horse. It is to her credit as a physical athlete that she can overcome that inefficiency.

Now watch Zenyatta's amazing debut race. The distance of six furlongs is far too short, and she has never been in a race before, but notice how quickly she grasps the big picture and how seamless her transitions are. When the field turns for home, she is still in traffic. There are seven horses in front of her, but Zenyatta quickly zeroes in on the horse that is leading the front pack. She is unconcerned with the horses in her immediate proximity. That is the sign of a huge herd dynamic and a strong distance focus ability.

I get chills watching Zenyatta. She shows amazingly clear and smooth transitions from her very first race, and absolutely no lateral or compromised motion. She is in complete control of her environment, because she is interpreting everything perfectly. Instead of matching the rhythm of a horse in her immediate circle, she looked to match and surpass the rhythm of the horses way out in front. That allowed her to overcome huge deficits.

Eblouissante is far more affected by the rhythm of the horse that is closest to her. I asked Kerry why horses, in the wild or in a race, look to match rhythm of motion. 

"Rhythm is a matter of herd movement, kind of like a flock of birds. Moving in unison with a partner makes you less likely to be an individual target for a predator. That's instinct, a naturally occurring pattern of motion in all horses. There is comfort to them in mimicking rhythm. High-level horses like Zenyatta can break free of the rhythm of the horses around them and move forward."

So what lies ahead for Eblouissante? Improvement, for one. Her delayed release points will matter less the further she runs, and Kerry thinks 1 1/16 miles is the low end of her stamina range. He profile is indicative of a sweet spot in the 9-10 furlong range.

Eblouissante is a talented athlete. She has probably run speed figures similar to what Zenyatta ran in her first two starts and has room for considerable improvement in her patterns of motion.

There is no reason she won't continue to improve. But as she faces higher dynamic horses, her inefficiencies could hurt her. Because she is an individual dynamic, point-to-point mover, she needs to be efficient in her target-and-release skills.

Eblouissante doesn't have the long-distance, forward focused vision of Zenyatta, or the amazing group dynamic. But few (if any) horses do. Zenyatta had an incredible way of seeing the entire race, knowing what every other horse was doing, and feeding off the herd.

Eblouissante is a graded stakes talent with a bright future, but she has some work to do.


Leave a Comment:


Interesting read. Thanks Pete.

On a different topic, Spring Hill Farm is running Sunday v Ever so Lucky... I really loved SHF last year

18 Jan 2013 3:05 PM
Paula Higgins

This was great. Very interesting and informative. I see exactly what you are saying. Yes, Zenyatta's movement was like nothing I have ever seen before. I think people have a tendency to want Ebby to be like Zenny. But they are different and you just have to apperciate them both for who they are.

18 Jan 2013 4:02 PM

And here the whole time i thought Zenyatta was just faster......GOODLUCK convincing ky vet lol....rolled with a twenty doller 2/8 ex race 4 santa anita

18 Jan 2013 4:42 PM

Very interesting.  Thanks for this information.  I was wondering if Kerry has ever studied Zarkava, the French filly superstar?  I would be interested in reading his thoughts about her.  Thanks again for this article.

18 Jan 2013 5:25 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Curly Top - $11.00

Really ?

18 Jan 2013 5:43 PM
Plod Boy Phil

I guess all the 'key race' guys will be on board now to the strength of the runners BEHIND Manando.

Too bad it's too late.

If only there was a way to get 'key races' before everyone else....

18 Jan 2013 6:03 PM

Thought about you as I saw that result, Phil

18 Jan 2013 6:11 PM

How did Sea the Stars measure? He seemed like he took in the herd, too and worked his way forward to the front--always his target in view--the front.

18 Jan 2013 6:47 PM

Santa Anita:

R7 2,6,7,5

18 Jan 2013 6:54 PM
Karen in Texas

Very nice profile on Eblouissante, Pete. As I said before, I really like the herd dynamics approach.

PBP---I thought about you after watching the Curly Top win on HRTV this P.M. as well. I am rooting for all the Curlin offspring, but realize you had him as an upgrade. Nice!

18 Jan 2013 7:32 PM

Hi Pete,

No doubt you're quite schooled re-how to rebuff those naysayers who question the validity of Kerry's theories/observational deductions, so in this limited space I doubt we'll get very far. So, let me briefly simply raise the issue of what concrete (scientific/controlled study) proof have you for making such assertions about the racehorses' (or any horse, for that matter) mentation during a race? Yes, you offer a "poetic" scenario-one easily and wishfully embraced- but where's the true evidence to support it? My strong guess it that what you may call evidence, I do not. Anything I might offer here could well be oversimplification and, perhaps, poor example, but I'll give it a try. Horses are "herd" animals, so all else equal (and, perhaps, unlike some other species), this type of animal prefers to be among the herd. So, let's say, as you seem to imply, that some horses are less herd oriented/less resistant to being separated from the herd. This capacity alone, however, doesn't appear to translate into the dynamic you propose for a Zenyatta, etc-this "desire" to be at the head of the pack, as opposed to adjusting its gait to just one in the herd (I know, an oversimplification). You seem to imply that, at least, some racehorses have an INNATE desire to be at the front (of the pack). Where's the evidence for that? Let's take racing greyhounds. They are less considered pack animals, but they also race sans jockey. And surprise, surprise, their racing requires a mechanical rabbit to chase. One wonders, minus the lure,and minus training, how many of the greyhounds would alone display the desire to be out fromt?

18 Jan 2013 7:41 PM


18 Jan 2013 9:34 PM

" in the gate....whoa! what was that? running!.....get me back to my stall!...ouch! damn...whats that stuff hitting my face?! on the backstretch.....hey!  my stalls over there! where are we going? Darn! i gotta crap! I knew i shouldve crapped! Why didnt i crap?!...i love peppermints! ok...ok.....what are you asking me to go? Let me run! why are you holding me? Ouch! what the hell was that? Hey! whats that smell?....Lets go! GO! GO! Hey! im fast! Whyd you just hit me with that stick? im running dammit! ok! we're done.....where are you taking me?.....................I knew i should have crapped before i got in that gate thing!................

18 Jan 2013 9:56 PM

Zenyatta best herd dynamic? Wouldnt you want a horse that wants to separate away from herd? Zenyatta ALWAYS pulled herself up! She didnt like being away from others....She hardly ever tried .....she would relax....then had so much ability,when jock would ask her, she would catch up,then play after she got to the lead.....horses that play are looking around....not focused.....that can be used as a definition for "not the brightest bulb".......some horses pin their ears back and run as hard as they can, until they are pulled up...wouldnt Those kinda horses be considered smarter?....The rhythm thing? ZENYATTA had huge stride.....different slower rhythm......Does anyone understand that sherriffs brings horses along slower than most? That he beleives in being patient? in training, AND in races? His horses usually are closers....he likes his riders to hold horse early.....point being, his horses under this herd tech are mostly gonna be labled the same way.....point being,wesley ward, bob baffert,and such, their horses will be labled speed crazy! Point being, the SAME EXACT HORSE will be labled with a diff dynamic, depending on who trains them , who rides them.......which is only a couple of reasons, including many others....that this is a very very flawed science......NO COMMON SENSE!....lets say a horse starts off a world beater....he smokes everybody....then he slows down because of injury...he starts getting beat by horses he was beating easy a few months ago.....isnt his herd dynamic the same? IT's really just a guy writing a bunch of generalized things that sound good, on paper.....why not just say "smart" horses are better than "dumb" ones?...If you really understand horses, youd know that most are pretty stupid....some learn things quicker than others.....some, the light never goes on..(see COLDCUTS)......To say a horse that had so much ability, that all you had to do, is take her way wide, and just let her talent flow, but hardly ever gave her full effort is the best, smartest mares laughable......and i loved zenyatta.....she was better than we ever saw........

18 Jan 2013 10:30 PM

2 races....on a horse not even fully cranked....and they know how she thinks.....this is funny!

18 Jan 2013 10:31 PM
Mary Zinke

Thanks, KY. My headache went away :)


18 Jan 2013 10:45 PM
Dancer's girl

It seems like Secretariat's Preakness is a clear example of an animal with a high level herd dynamic. He wanted the lead. He went for the lead. And he took the lead in a move that, I believe, is one of the most unprecedented and impressive moves in racing history. And his Belmont - which I think is the most impressive race in history - is also incredible considering he completely left the herd altogether. Is it possible to make these type of posts more frequently after observing video of racing greats (Secretariat, Man O' War, Seattle Slew, Ruffian, Rachel Alexandra, to name just a few)? Also, I'm curious about the "almost famous" horses who could have been spectacular, but kept coming against that one foe they couldn't seem to beat when it mattered (namely Sham and Alydar - although Alydar found his fame in the breeding shed). What does that indicate? This is so fascinating to me as a racing fan and horse owner. Please share more of your insight with examples of analysis on racing legends like those listed - it'd be super interesting and certainly a post I'd want to read. Thanks for the post and the food for thought. And now to analyze my horse in a herd. hahaha.

18 Jan 2013 11:07 PM
Not as Afleet Alex

Interesting piece!  The only question I have is in regards to the blinkers.  If blinkers inhibit a horse's ability to take in the big picture (Eblouissante wears them and Zenyatta didn't),  and the critique of  Eblouissante's motion is based on her not seeing the big picture,  could the removal of the blinkers change this analysis?  

19 Jan 2013 12:01 AM

Pete :  Thanks for the info, very nice read.  What are the likelihood that these "dynamics"  will show in Zenyatta's offsprings ?  Does it get passed on ?  Pardon me if these are stupid questions lol.  It's great to read someone who knows something about horses agree with what I knew before, Zenyatta is one of kind :)

El Kabong : Read your response in the other blog, thanks for the details about Tesseron.  Even if he's not a 10F horse, I'm keeping him in my derby dozen as I'm hoping he'll make some noise in the prep races.

ROBBIE :  LOL, KY is desperate for attention and it shows.  I'm looking forward to this year's RTTR, I made a note last year of how I'm going to play the contest this year.  I'm going to pick my stable focusing on the earlier prep races, and won't worry about the derby.  I think that's the only way to win this contest lol.

19 Jan 2013 12:18 AM

Gulfstream Park has a $344K carryover, is that for the dime P6 ?  I checked the results today and there was a payout for it, I guess I'm missing something...

Looking forward to the the races tomorrow.  Palace Malice, Jay Eye See, Gound Transport, Big Sam.  On Sunday, looking forward to seeing Champion Boy and Pass The Hat.

19 Jan 2013 12:38 AM
Mike Relva


Interesting points regarding the these two horses. Well done.

19 Jan 2013 1:18 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Thanks Footlick and Karen.

19 Jan 2013 7:38 AM
Forbidden Apple

Zenyatta was a freak of nature and it's not worth compairing other horses to her, they will never match up. Her little sister is getting far to much attention. Remember what happened to all of Barbaro's brothers, they could not match up to him either.

I'd rather be talking about what horse Zenyatta should be bred to next, my vote would go to Einstein.

No surprise that KY Coldcuts just called most horses dumb.

I wish Ramon Dominguez a healthy and speedy recovery.

19 Jan 2013 8:10 AM
Forbidden Apple

Wow, Kent Desormeux finally won a race. I just read that he only had 37 wins in 2012, that's ugly. It's funny, the one day that I walked past him at Saratoga he was holding a coffee cup full of a weak light beer. He was in street clothes, now I know why he can't get a good mount anymore.

19 Jan 2013 8:17 AM
Forbidden Apple

Purim's Dancer scorched the Santa Anita turf course last night, winning in a faster time than Mizdirection. I'd like to see her stretch out to a mile and try graded company next.

19 Jan 2013 8:49 AM
Susan from VA

Forbidden Apple - I LOVE Einstein - but nobody breeds to Einstein.  He's just not in demand.

19 Jan 2013 9:56 AM

By definition, emotions are subjective, so the attempt by some to discredit this approach makes me think they have another agenda. You state in the headline this is an "emotional conformation".  It's always up to the individual bettor as to what they use to reach their betting decisions.  A quick "google" of the term, "herd dynamics" easily confirms how important the ability to "read" animals, including horses, is to the professionals whose jobs are to manage and care for them. An interesting visual of how powerful Zenyatta's persona is was the photo taken by Steve Haskin showing Zenyatta in a paddock the winter she went to Lane's End with her 3 other broodmare buddies.  Zenny is the clear leader of the pack.  Whether they actually consciously apply "herd dynamics" to their jobs, I daresay every trainer is aware of it. If you watch Monty Roberts' training videos, you will see how important this knowledge is in working with horses.  My point is, it makes perfect sense to extend this knowledge in the area of handicapping to uncover subtle differences in horses on the track, to not only observe their physical capabilities but their mental and emotional capacity, as well.  We sub-consciously apply this same dynamic when we talk about a horse's "heart", his "will to win", etc.  It is a very interesting technique, whether used for handicapping races or in training environments.  Great topic, Pete.  Thanks for presenting it in the context of Zenyatta and Ebby.  Whether Eblouissante proves to be successful on the track or not, her presence has injected the sport with some welcome excitement and "buzz".  Can't wait for Ebby's next race, which looks to be the Santa Margarita in March, and then if all goes well, on to the Apple Blossom in Hot Springs.  If she does go to Oaklawn, I will be there, as that is the track nearest to me.  I missed seeing Zenyatta when she went in 2010...I don't intend to miss her baby sis, if she is able to get that far.  Here's hoping she does!

19 Jan 2013 10:17 AM
Forbidden Apple


I don't get it, why not breed to a horse with stamina, soundness, and one that could run on any surface. Team Stronach was smart enough to buy him, I'm sure they will get him the quality mares that he deserves. I see they just purchased a majority interest in Point of Entry too, another wise purchase.

19 Jan 2013 10:22 AM
Forbidden Apple

Fairgrounds Saturday:

Race 8- #3 Infrattini 5-1

Ex.W/ Mark Valeski & Self Control

Race 9- #1 Seaneen Girl 5-1

Ex. W/ Flashy Campaign & Finding More

Race 10- #7 Golden Soul 5-1

Ex. W/ Avie's Quality & Malibu High

Gulfstream Saturday:

Race 3- #2 Elmutahid 10-1

Race 5- #1 Emma's Encore 5-1

Race 9- #5 Picou 6-1

Santa Anita Saturday:

Race 6- #7 Pussycat Lips 5/2

Race 8- #3 In The Stars 3-1

19 Jan 2013 10:53 AM
Bill Rinker

Interesting artical Pete, I'm not sure I completely agree with everything you have to offer here, but then again I'm not sure that I completely agree with most things people have to offer about horses, myself included. I think it's good your searching and analyzing so closely, it's important to have that confidence and focus. The one thing that I feel is definitive is that we should do everything we can to promote a safe and assuring enviroment for these horses we love so dearly. After all we have confined them to a space and regiment that is far removed from from what is innately natural. Keep searching!

19 Jan 2013 10:59 AM
Mary Zinke

It was the voice of E that was amusing. The herd dynamics and the upgrades and downgrades are of interest. I don't win enough to discount anyone else's methods. LeComte: Avie's Quality(Why? My early Derby pick that needs points, but I don't want him peaking here.I don't think the surface change will be a problem.)  Circle Unbroken,Heitai,Oxbow.

Sunshine Millions Turf: Slew's Answer, Bad Debt, Doubles Partner, Teaks North.

Palos Verdes: Justin Phillip, Comma To The Top, Private Zone, Sahara Sky. Sentimental pick would be Apriority.

19 Jan 2013 11:07 AM
Linda in Texas

Pete, started reading this and felt so at home and comfortable. This is my kind of article. Then i read who wrote it. I should have known.

The psychology of how to win and winning seen through the actions of  a horse. Some would not believe this, others like i do.

This is great. And Deltalady gets it for sure.

Thanks Pete. I feel the subject of your article is a gift to those who can and it is not something you learn from a book or in a classroom. You either have the ability or don't. Those that do should feel blessed.

I look for this in every race. Not all horses 'have it' either. You know when you see it in the ones that do.  


19 Jan 2013 11:31 AM
Linda in Texas

KY VET - Of all the people only you would show the height or should i say depth of your ignorance by claiming something 'isn't the brightest bulb."

You don't get it and you have no shame on top of it.  

19 Jan 2013 11:38 AM
John from Baltimore

Your telling us you know what a horse is thinking in a race. Is this some kind of joke.  They asked Angel Corodero when he was riding Bold Forbes if the crowd on the rail would bother him. He replied a couple cracks from the stick and he won't be thinking about.  To bad you weren't around back then to explain things.

19 Jan 2013 12:09 PM

KY Vet doesn't get it because his only focus is to put focus on himself.  The only thing that's 100% sure on this blog is that KY wants to be the king of it... why?  who the heck knows lol.  I will never understand his desperation to be recognized in a blog, that just seems really sad.

Mary Zinke : If you're a true friend to KY Vet, you should take him out of the house, away from the computer, don't you see the desperation?

My picks for today :

GP :  

01 : 8, 6

03 : 1

08 :  2

09 :  2, 5

10 :  5

11 :  12, 6, 11

FG :

04 : 12 (AE), 1

08 :  1

09 :  8

10 :  5, 6

11 :  8

12 :  5, 3, 4

19 Jan 2013 12:22 PM

Any chance of getting John Sherriff's comments on this article? He is the one that has spent the most time with both Eblouissante and Zenyatta.

19 Jan 2013 12:35 PM
ned williams

Come on. . .  who is kidding who? This is way over baked. Let's cut to the chase. Some horses do like to be out front. Some horses do like to lag or prefer to be in the pack. Some horses will dig down and try to win. Some horses simply are not fast enough to do anything on the track.  Everyone knows this.  To turn this into some sort of  psuedo scientific analasis is comical. Septre you are right on target

19 Jan 2013 12:50 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Racing Flow Upgrade Exacta

FG - Race 6

1 Rafaelini: made our 'Quick to Zip' move with an early rush to contention and the lead only to be run down by a deep closer in a Closer favoring race (more detail on the site).  The original play if 'on'.

13 Alluring Lady: made a near identical 'QtZ' move into an Extreme Race for Closers, only to be run down late by a very deep closer.

19 Jan 2013 1:12 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Re: Zenyatta

As one who is clearly driven by figure methodology,  my understanding of appearance, and certainly herd dynamics, is far behind many here,  though I do respect the science and the art of each.

That said, I made some effort in my early years to learn some basics via books and instructional videos by the standard 'names'. The one thing that I have always paid attention to is the 'pawing' of the ground by horses going to the gate - as I understand it, it is a sign of great confidence.  As a non race going daily player, I rarely see this sign,  but when I do I will almost inevitably bet on the runner, regardless of any other factors.

On that note, has anyone ever seen a horse do this to the degree that Zenyatta did?

19 Jan 2013 1:22 PM
Mary Zinke

I don't believe we've broken the ice yet, Jay Jay.

19 Jan 2013 1:31 PM
Age of Reason

This was truly the most fascinating and original article I've read anywhere, on any subject, in a while! (though I can't say the same about many of the somebody-please-notice-me commenters) Well done, Pete et al.  

19 Jan 2013 1:31 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Forbidden Apple -

Well done in the 3rd at GP

19 Jan 2013 1:50 PM

ned williams:  Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.   I'm wondering why you think Kerry's analysis is comical.  Let me ask you, how do you know that horses likes to lag or prefer to be in the pack ?  Where's the proof of that ?    Zenyatta is the only horse I know that can win where ever she is at any point in the race, I think she knows where the wire is, and knows how to get there first.  Is that true?  I dont' know, but watching her run makes me think that way.  I tend to believe Kerry because he's been studying horses for a long long time, but even if I didn't, I wouldn't dismiss it as comical.

GP is crappy sloppy today...I'm not playing it anymore lol.  I thought Palace Malice ran great being this his first race back and I'm not sure he liked the sloppy going.

19 Jan 2013 1:57 PM

Mary :  All I can say is make him bet the 12 horse at GP Race 4...might help.

19 Jan 2013 2:02 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

I'd like to see the parameters of the research and what type of assessment the research is using to demonstrates results. Do you use only observation as assessment and if so, what are specifically looking for that supports your analysis.  I'm guessing you are using some sort of functional behavior assessment but exactly what behaviors are quantified.  

Also, while I agree with   Sceptre's response, using a greyhound as an analogy is really stretching.  Pack dynamics and herd dynamics are very different.  Greyhounds are predators vs. horses that are prey.  In pack animals, the purpose of gaining the front results in getting the prey first. When the pack is hunting small, non-threatening game, the dominant animal will lead.  When hunting large, dangerous prey, the dominant animal allows submissive animals to test and bring the prey down.  Very different from a prey herd, where safety in numbers is critical.  

Very interesting theory about thoroughbreds.  I wonder, do the best race horses lack the critical instinct to stay with the herd?

19 Jan 2013 2:05 PM
quiet american

Of course no two horses will ever be the exact same! But this sounds like a bunch of HOG WASH! the filly is young & inexpierienced, shes got some learning to do. .This guy sounds like a know it all , that knows nothing. BLinkers dont restrict the whole picture , it aids in concentration.

19 Jan 2013 2:07 PM
Jean in Chicago

 I've often wondered if dominant mares in a herd produce dominant foals.  Or maybe dominance develops while a group of weanlings or yearlings are running around a paddock together.  Some horses just don't want others in front of them and take it very personally (check out the picture of Dr.Fager reaching out to  bite In Reality.  I'm sorry, I don't remember the race.)

 Do you think Ebby would do better without blinkers?  I know they're supposed to keep a horse focused on what is up ahead, but if she's distracted by who is next to her or might be coming up behind because she hears what she can't see, she'd be unlikely to concentrate on the big picture of the whole field.  Maybe she just has to learn that she doesn't have to stay in the safest, middle part of the herd;  that the big, bad predators won't eat her if she runs ahead.

  As for Zenyatta, when she came out of the gate she was so far behind, of course she saw the whole field.   When she started really running, it was just a matter of go into top gear and run past anything breathing.

19 Jan 2013 2:18 PM
John M

Not sure I understand this whole herd dynamic stuff. I just thought Zenyatta was much much slower early and faster late, than her competition. Now you're telling me she is a master Herd dynamicer.

 Here is something to think about. What about all the other silky sullivan types out there that lag early and come from behind, are they also masters?  Or do they not get it either because they are not undefeated?

Give me 100 examples of this theory in an article with zero mention of Zenyatta and maybe then I would be intrigued.

19 Jan 2013 2:23 PM

An interesting article. Having raised horses in a natural herd environment that being a stallion turned out with his mares I noticed that when called up the lead mare was usually first and the Stallion brought up the rear. Before any jumps on me these were not Tb's but QH's. I also know and appreciate that this cannot be done in large commercial breeding operations with very valuable horses. I was just curious if early herd ranking could have an effect on a horse's track performance. Thank you for the article and something else to ponder over.

19 Jan 2013 2:24 PM

Fair Grounds: LeComte Stks.

R10 6,3,4,2

Ex.bx.,Tri.bx.,& super bx.

19 Jan 2013 2:55 PM

Going small today.

FG Race 8 Pick 3) Mark Valeski, Brethren/Ciao Bella Luna, Smitten/Fear the Kitten, Avie's Quality, Circle unbroken.  If the 9th race works out, should pay well even if faves take the other legs.  

GP Race 8 Pick 4) Star Harbour, Bernie the Maestro/Bad Debt, Picou/MMM/One Mint Julep, Big Sam.  

19 Jan 2013 3:17 PM
El Kabong

FG race 6

Liz Pendens Rate Change, Cidaq Rafaelini Tri box.

19 Jan 2013 3:47 PM

people.....dolphins are intelligent.....but i dont want one doing my taxes........people think im saying,there is no validity to herd dynamics.....or instinct, or diff emotional make ups.......i'm not.........its the very flawed science applied to these guys grading, putting biased ideas,calling it what a horse is thinking.....(see my race thinking post)....of course some horses get "it"....yes, smarter horses run better.....this stuff is nothing new....its why horses who relax run better.....jUST SAY SMART HORSES ARE BETTER THAN DUMB ONES.......

19 Jan 2013 4:09 PM

Ah, Warlaine! A comment from someone who has actually seen horses in a field!

I agree with quibbling over whether horses "think" -- I think they are creatures, like cats, of very little brain -- all impulse and instinct. We anthropomorphize when we ascribe their instinctual or learned behaviors to "thinking" but it's the easiest way to express our own thoughts.

Horses are only slightly less hierarchical than cows. Their dominance displays include outrunning their herd mates. More of us used to know this, when we used the expression "ran rings around him." I once turned a lathy little late gelding off the track in with an ancient but apparently still alluring mare and a draft-cross pinto who was herding and guarding the her. Left the itty bitty TB trying to approach the mare and being charged by the tank, at which he would flatten out and circle him. When I went back the next day, the little guy had the mare.

A provocative feature of dominance behavior for racing observers: when a lead mare is displaced, she often does not become number two, she falls back to last. We honor the courage of those beaten horses who come back again and again to get whipped by the same horse, but won't give up and stop trying.

I'm not so sure Zenyatta "pulled herself up" -- I had the feeling that she focused on the front and measured how fast she was going to need to close. This left her vulnerable to a very good horse waiting on her with something left.

19 Jan 2013 4:11 PM

Does it occur to anyone on here......that horses run diff. every race? for example, a couple of years ago, there was a diff. horse won Every prep going towards the triple crown....just like every track, everyday...a diff horse wins, even when the field is mostly the same.....THIS is whats wrong with theorys like people study the wrong things....why horses run diff. each time, is MOSTLY physical.......

19 Jan 2013 4:22 PM

Speaking of physical.....some horses can run with injuries better than others......which leads us to COMMATOTHETOP.....sure he went off form, but he got sharp again.....been waiting for this horse to go bad.....predict he will go off form......starting today......why? take your pick.....drifts lead changes in stretch......4 leg wraps.....etc...............lets see how he runs...

19 Jan 2013 4:26 PM
Paula Higgins

KY Vet, I understand your point about different factors appyling to the end result and not just one i.e herd dominance. But I do think it is a factor. You just can't throw it out. In some cases it may be the dominating factor. I think in Zenyatta's case it was huge and in Secretariat's, Man O' War's and John Henry's case too.

19 Jan 2013 4:51 PM

Good #1 is healed....goes back in training in 10 days......ready in couple #2 back in training soon....

19 Jan 2013 4:51 PM

Plod Boy Phil,

Horses paw the ground likely because they dislike being restrained while standing still. You don't have to be a thoroughbred, or a racehorse for that matter, to display this. My riding horses would often display the same thing. So, I don't think it' a good wagering tool...the best breed- good observation, and I agree that the greyhound isn't the best analogy. But, I did say that greyhounds are LESS considered to be herd animals. This isn't an all or nothing phenomenon, i.e., you're either a herd animal or a prey animal. Some species can display both-they aren't always mutually exclusive. My point was, that if a less herd oriented species (ex. the greyhound) wouldn't necessarily "on its own" desire to be out front (of the pack), why would the more herd-oriented species (the horse)-or some of them- possess that latent desire?  

19 Jan 2013 4:56 PM

The last season Zenyatta raced they never had her run through the finish line, unlike the season before.  They allowed her to nip her rivals at the wire instead of letting her win by a length or so, like the season before.  That is what hurt her in the BCC, IMO.  If she hadn't been allowed to get into the pattern of just getting up in time, she would have won the BCC at Churchill.  She was not ever made to drive through the wire, and it became habit.

19 Jan 2013 5:08 PM

palos verdes sa race 5....only 2 speed horses.....drill is good horse, but how ya gonna get up when they are not gonna quit?  justin philip is my pick wp....check out fast work a couple weeks ago....1:11 for 6f    the horse NEVER works fast...whats up w that? i say big race from just off pace......

19 Jan 2013 5:33 PM

palos verdes sa race 5....only 2 speed horses.....drill is good horse, but how ya gonna get up when they are not gonna quit?  justin philip is my pick wp....check out fast work a couple weeks ago....1:11 for 6f    the horse NEVER works fast...whats up w that? i say big race from just off pace......

19 Jan 2013 5:33 PM

wow! longshot wins palos verdes....107 3/5.....21 to 1...justin philip 3rd and showed bad lead in stretch....commatothetop ran very bad.......

19 Jan 2013 5:39 PM
El Kabong



avie' Q, Fear the Kitten

Avie's Q, Fear the Kitten


Avie looks the best on paper if he likes the surface, Fear the Kitten has been racing against quality. Should enjoy this group. Could make a case for too many to run  third so I'm opening up under.

19 Jan 2013 5:43 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Sceptre -

Perhaps my use of the word 'confidence' should be replaced by 'readiness' and/or 'willingness'.  Both of which are desirable qualities in horses going to the gate.

Of course, as stated originally, it's just a fun bet I make on occasion.  I don't keep records on it,  but it has led me to some decent mutual.  Maybe 'lucky vs good' best summarizes.


19 Jan 2013 5:45 PM
Age of Reason


Wow! Zenyatta's been retired for 3 years now, and your post suddenly hit me like the cliche but metaphorically appropriate ton of bricks. You may well have just nailed the explanation as to why she didn't go out immortal instead of leaving us all in tears (spiritually if not literally). I know you're well read so this may have been postulated before and elsewhere, but it makes perfect sense to me. The reasons I think are obvious; to name only one, Mike Smith obviously adored the 6-year-old mare like his own daughter and probably didn't want to push her too hard, or at least anything more than necessary to get the job done, and it backfired on them both at the worst possible moment. As intelligent as we know Zenyatta was, perhaps she took it for granted that once she swooped down on the prey, the hunt was over and the quarry had nothing left. What she didn't expect that cold November--what none of us, including Trevor Denman who obviously fully expected Zenyatta to get up in time--was that Blame would fight back. Excellent food for thought, Footlick (much more intellectually provoking than "she lost, get over it", I must say).

19 Jan 2013 5:50 PM

Plod Boy Phil the 13 won the 6th at FG and the 1 came in 4th.Here are the numbers and superfecta payoff for $2.00 13-8-5-1 $449,752.20,it was an 11 horse field and the 11th and 10th choices came in 2nd and 3rd thats why this payoff in an 11 horse field will pay more than this years Derby $2 superfecta with a 20 horse field.BTW in your post you didnt state if both the 1 who was the favorite and the 13 who left the gate at 6.90-1 were BOLD upgrades.

19 Jan 2013 6:05 PM

best bet of race 6....#9 jubliant girl wp........

19 Jan 2013 6:05 PM

Glad I went small today.  No winners in 7 races.  I was very impressed with Smitten's run in the 9th at Fairgrounds.  only horse I saw that closed ground.  Rest of winners were on the lead or within 2 lengths of the lead. Added Smitten to my tracker for future bet possibilities.  

19 Jan 2013 6:09 PM

its like stealing!!!! jublient girl easy!   big big they hammered my odds down!....oh was me!

19 Jan 2013 6:11 PM

cheif......dont be didnt pay that paid 22 grand...thats an extended 10 cent payoff........common sense might tell you on a sat. that the pool isnt anything close to a quarter million at fg........but keep trying......

19 Jan 2013 6:53 PM
nathan mccauley

Pete, excellent read!  Using Zenyatta and her sister as examples is a great way to teach us about THT.  It makes a lot of sense.  Look forward to seeing THT theories put into practice on the racetrack!

19 Jan 2013 7:06 PM

Kevin after watching all of trainer Jones entrants at FGs (their were 3) one of them of course was Mark Valeski. I think Hard Aces has more upside than Smittens.This was Smittens 4th race after breaking his maiden in his last, 1st in stakes competition and it was Hard Aces 2nd lifetime race and he ran very well in his 1st race at Keeneland(I also watched that race).Keep in mind Smittens was purchased at the Keeneland sales for $280,000 while Hard Aces is a homebred for Dreamchaser Thorobreds(thats how they spell it).I think Smittens is a one run closer and I think Hard Aces can run right off the pace which is a more advantageous running style for the majority of races in the US,especially on dirt. From what I have seen so far Smittens will be at the mercy of the others in the races he runs, while Hard Aces can take the race to the others.Hard Aces is a 3yo colt and Smittens is a 3yo Filly.Jones does better with his female stock than his males throughout the course of a FULL year.But I think Hard Spun was his best horse EVER even better than his horse of the year in 2011 Havre de Grace and his filly runner up in the Derby Eight Belles.Hard Spun is of course Hard Aces sire.

19 Jan 2013 7:29 PM
Mary Zinke

I'll have to watch the replays, but from the results, the LeComte was disappointing.

 The big guy had a very nice win with Sahara Sky and Blind Luck has a filly!  Boxed super :)

Suit day tomorrow, too, with LoF.

What happened to MMM?  

19 Jan 2013 8:41 PM

KY VET- those Henrythenavigators should love the firm turf of California.  

19 Jan 2013 9:15 PM

KY Vet,

Sometimes you're smart (I like your views on the psychoanalysis of Eblouissante and Zenyatta) and sometimes you post dumb things in a flamboyant manner that's off-utting to some folks, but most times you make me laugh Pro (LOL).

19 Jan 2013 11:11 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Guessing those holding Avie's Quality Future Book tickets can use them for 'post its'. That is if they have some glue handy.  Maybe buying real Post Its was a better use of money.

19 Jan 2013 11:49 PM
John M

What about Palace Malice? Looks like a runner to me. Give me more runners to prove your theory.

20 Jan 2013 12:09 AM

Thanks Age of Reason.  I just remember thinking it was not a good idea to let a horse get into that habit.

20 Jan 2013 9:00 AM
Pete Denk

John M.-

Here is what we had to say about I'll Have Another before last year's Kentucky Derby:  

20 Jan 2013 10:43 AM
Pedigree Ann

In the Lecomte - fractions of 24.44, 48.58, 1:13.34 6f. The lone speed loped along with 12+ second furlongs, then sprinted home in isolated glory. Closers had no shot. Especially Avie's Quality - the comments reads "bumped break, 3-5 wide 1st turn." As Harvey Pack always said, "Never bet on a favorite trying to do something for the first time." (Trying dirt.) He could be a decent sort yet; Hard Spun got stuffed at Oaklawn, after all.

20 Jan 2013 11:03 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Bold Upgrade

Gulfstream - Race 3

11 Leave It to Bern (6-1):  has been on the 'wrong side' of back to back Extreme Races.

- Two back he made a middle move and finished well enough behind the w-w winner of an Extreme for Speed

- Last out, he pressed and briefly led the contentious early pace of an Extreme Race for Closers.

20 Jan 2013 11:50 AM

I absolutely was fascinated with this article!

Having been around horses all of my life (although they were NOT Thoroughbred race horses) I am quite familiar with "herd dynamics" and this information made PERFECT sense.

And yes, Ebby does have to improve her racing mind and skills and there is no better horseman (notice I didn't label him just a "trainer")than John Shirreffs to assist her in doing that.  He has that rare "gift" of being able to get into the "mind" of his horses and treat them all like the individuals that they are.

20 Jan 2013 12:03 PM
Golden Gate

I'm in love with Eb. just as I am her sister. She looks highly intelligent and sure enjoys running. DCongratulations to Corey N. for his ride on her. I hope she gets to race at Oaklawn sometime

20 Jan 2013 12:16 PM

Plod boy phil apparently is one of those I TOLD YOU SO GUYS...why is it people go out of their way, to knock a horse that goes off form? Like the avies quality...quality road....bellamy road....people....are you saying avies quality was never good?  He was one of the best 2 yr olds last year.........that last race last year was awesome.....people, please understand horses go off form........plod spelled dolp!!!!! look it up!

20 Jan 2013 12:43 PM
Plod Boy Phil


A.Q. did nothing to warrant all the hype and betting action here or anywhere else,  never mid a future book bet at 125-1, or 250-1.

From our perspective, he did nothing last year was remotely special. They were just races within the normal range. I don't know what parameters you use for classifying him as 'one of the best 2 yr olds' ?  I'm guessing it's some sort of final time based speed figure.

20 Jan 2013 1:05 PM

PBP : Yeah, same goes to all the paying subscribers that loaded up on the 1-13 exacta at Fairgrounds Race 6.   They should start collecting their tickets and make a post-its collage, maybe they can sell it as an "art" someday and get their money back.

Nice discussion all around on this herd dynamics.

RTG looked really good yesterday!

20 Jan 2013 1:07 PM
Pete Denk

I was really happy to see Ron the Greek back in top form yesterday.

(picked him on THS and said Mucho Macho Man was a bet against with the blinkers going back on)

For those wondering more about herd dynamics and specific horses, Ron The Greek is a classic (rare) group dynamic male with a slow emotional energy burn and a strong time-in-motion profile.

He is one of my favorite horses currently in training.

20 Jan 2013 1:11 PM

aqu race 3....#3 unbridled logic is huge fav...unbeatable on paper....but i'm the chalk killer...6/5.......ill bet #7 intoddwetrust wp

20 Jan 2013 1:26 PM

boo! unbridled logic passes todd pulls away by horse comes back loses by neck.....kinda right, kinda wrong......hmmm.

20 Jan 2013 1:30 PM

Plod AND pete........How much did avies quality lose by? AND pete...come on man....blinkers? THATS why mmm lost?   Unreal comments by you two.....something went wrong with both horses....2 horse race, 1 eases....come on man!  part of being a handicapper, is knowing what happened....

20 Jan 2013 1:36 PM
Pete Denk

KY Vet-

I said MMM was a bet against, and he finished last at 2-to-5. Plus I picked RTG to win.

Watch MMM's races with blinkers and without blinkers, and tell me which races are better. My evaluation was that he was a better horse when they took the blinkers off early in his 3yo campaign.

Adding them as an older horse was a strange move. Can't say for sure how much the blinkers affected him yesterday, but they sure didn't help.

He's a big tall long horse. He needs to be in the clear and feeling comfortable.

20 Jan 2013 1:52 PM

race 4 aqu....bunch of firsters...3y old str. mdn.....#7 mr beuregaurd,3 outs , lost by 12/6/19 lengths...he figures to jump up and improve.....but will it be enough...a first timer could win....ill bet #7 wp.....4 to 1

20 Jan 2013 1:53 PM

no wake up....4/5 firster wins...

20 Jan 2013 1:57 PM

tam race 4 #1 El cebilete 9/2 upset....worried about #3....

20 Jan 2013 2:03 PM

This entire article is an interesting work of fiction.  Not up to Janee Smiley's "Horse Heaven" but entertaining.   No basis in fact, nor provable on any level.  Horses run where they feel most comfortable.  Zenyatta was no more "sizing up horses" from her position than a front runner does.  Zenyatta was a grinder, with a better turn of foot than most.  She had to work several times to win by short margins against moderate fields, and was bested when she strayed from her synthetic Cali home.  Her Eboulissante has yet to prove she's the equal of another half-sister, Balance, but she might prove better than all.  Far to early to crown or toss her out.    Just hope Sherriff's isn't as afraid to run her as he was Zenyatta.

20 Jan 2013 2:06 PM


Isn't kinda right and kinda wrong the same as being kinda pregnant?

20 Jan 2013 2:09 PM

tam...3 wins....1 3rd.....

20 Jan 2013 2:12 PM

VETKY you need to study herd dynamics so you can anticipate a horse waking up without any stimulus like an ALARM CLOCK.

20 Jan 2013 2:27 PM

so did i have ron the you can even think the blinkers made mmm ease is really embarrassing..........the plods comment was pointed at people who liked avies mary was a wuss move....

20 Jan 2013 2:28 PM

KY VET :  For someone who keeps questioning people, you don't provide anything except "something went wrong", "something is wrong with the horse"... it's always "something" etc etc...

Quoting your last comment :

"something went wrong with both horses....2 horse race, 1 eases....come on man!  part of being a handicapper, is knowing what happened...."

So what happened ??  Seriously, I'm really curious if you know what happened to MMM.  He looked good pressing the pace but then looks like he just stopped running...  

I'll give you credit for Jaycito, looks like there's really something wrong with the horse but again, you didn't say what it is...easy to say there's something wrong with the horse because they already lost.  I'm just curious what you see that tells you there's something wrong with the horse vs. the horse was just off that day, lazy, didnt' want to run, didn't like the track surface, etc etc....

20 Jan 2013 2:45 PM

aqu race 6.....longshot play...#5 youngwildandfree.....should improve...wp

20 Jan 2013 2:46 PM

Can Oxbow run on dirt? Yes.

Can Oxbow run on synthetic? Not so good. Does a Lucas trained horse jump up and bite you when you least expect it? Yes, he still can do this, just when your so sure he can't.

What good did herd dynamics have on predicting Oxbow? Probably none. What does herd dynamics call it when one horse says, " come on dummies follow me, and I will blow you away in the end".

What to take away from the Lecomte? Oxbow is one very dangerous horse on the dirt at a route of ground. Does anyone know if he has stopped running yet? This guy can run all day long, he didn't even start really running till he had run a mile. Oxbow destroyed the Lecomte field!

20 Jan 2013 3:13 PM

betting against 1/2 shot....#3 aqu bet of day...#5 night manuever

20 Jan 2013 3:43 PM

jayjay...we get you disagree with anything i say......the fact the horse eases might be a clue....the fact he stopped running, usually means something isnt right....horses are brittle....understand that...

20 Jan 2013 4:23 PM

race 3 sa...#7 honour family wp

20 Jan 2013 4:24 PM

sa race 4 best bet of card...#9 top kisser......

20 Jan 2013 4:41 PM
Pete Denk

In the 3yo turf stake at GP (Race 10), I've been waiting to bet Fire Guard back off the strong Tampa run.

Originally tabbed him off the debut at Saratoga.

Here is the herd dynamic report from his debut: "Runner‐up Fire Guard (First Defence) is very interesting. He got out of the gate poorly, but he settled into a

beautiful group dynamic. He shows the best classic mentality in this field. For a young colt, he showed a lot of grace and presence to rally for second. Watch for him next time."

Zito's Flying Bird is the other horse of interest for me in this field. Let's see what the board says...

20 Jan 2013 4:47 PM

wow! left the 6/5 horse in the nailed at wire by first timer......that came from 12 behind 2nd last horse! freakish!!! no justice!

20 Jan 2013 5:10 PM
Pete Denk

Fire guard looked pretty sweated up. Misses break. Rank....

20 Jan 2013 5:27 PM

sa race 6 tough wide open race....i like 2 and 4....ill go with #2 seattle ruler to show speed today on rail...wp 5 to 1

20 Jan 2013 6:01 PM

liked 2...4.....picked wrong...#4 ivanho wins.....that kinda day

20 Jan 2013 6:10 PM

sa race 7....biggest bet of day on #3 book review...

20 Jan 2013 6:19 PM

VETKY Us non-professionl gamblers who actually make some money betting every now and then, will all pitch in and buy you a jug of moonshine to be consumed before your appearance on That Handicapping Show,that way you have enuff time to WAKE UP before the Derby.

20 Jan 2013 6:19 PM

2 horse race sa race 7....2 and 3......the way i pick, i dont like the 2...lady of fifty......that makes #3 a 1 to 5 shot in my book....8/5 a steal....

20 Jan 2013 6:36 PM

come on man......raffie...bad ride....fav.lady of fifty runs off good huh? but i get 2nd again.....unreal....picked pretty good today...but just little off....2nds...3rds...pick wrong between 2 horses....this is the game....

20 Jan 2013 6:42 PM

ok....always another race 8...#3 include the cat big fav.......i dont like wp bet #7 VAN BRIT......

20 Jan 2013 6:45 PM

VETKY your horsey comments might be a bit gruff for That Handicapping Show,Lamatta will have to produce a radio show for your type with no chance of catching a hungover bloodshot eyes banned Kentucky Vetenarian.

20 Jan 2013 7:06 PM

wow...bad ride day....#3 off the board...but my 7 got a julen l...trouble ride.....had the horse, but jock killed me.....weird day...

20 Jan 2013 7:11 PM

sa race 9 upset....#10 deal em wp....

20 Jan 2013 7:21 PM
Mary Zinke

I didn't have a future wager on Avie's Quality, so that part of the comment could not have been directed to me, although I did make a future wager on Creative Cause last year, and for the same reason I like AQ.  First, I'm not the only person who likes the horse. I picked him very late last year because he was the only 2yo that had run 8.5 f in a decent enough time AND with a decent closing fraction. I also consider pedigree. The surface change was a big question. Not sure if that's been answered since I have not read any comments from his trainer about his post-race condition. About getting ticked at any little jabs, like amusing horse names or horses that lost a race? Forget it. There are only a few 3 yos that I like so far. Maybe I can come up with a list of 5. One is due to run again on February 2nd. You know, Hell hath no Fury(Kapcori) like . . .

20 Jan 2013 8:18 PM
Pete Denk

I appreciate all the feedback and comments on this blog, especially those encouraging us to further our research.

We have never said emotional conformation or herd dynamics are the end-all, be-all of handicapping. But I think they are a valuable tool to help understand horses. Remember, they aren't just chiclets or racecars.

20 Jan 2013 8:24 PM
Pete Denk

To those people saying blinkers don't restrict a horse's vision....remember, horses see the world in a circle. Without headgear, their peripheral vision is close to 360 degrees.

20 Jan 2013 8:31 PM

KY VET : The only reason I disagree with everything you say (btw who's "we"?) is because you don't provide any other info except you seem to just like disagreeing with anybody's comment.  We all know horses are brittle etc etc, but giving the info on what you saw that made you think something's wrong with the horse makes the difference, otherwise, it looks like you're just guessing.

Are you now saying MMM is hurt ? What is it ?  Is he a bet against next time ?  I'm wondering if MMM just didn't like the slop at GP but hey, I just guess.

Mary : The comment was directed to Pete as he is the only one that posted a future bet on AQ.  I thought it was a ridiculous comment since the Derby is over 3 months away.  I personally don't think AQ will win the derby but then again, I didn't bet Mine That Bird either.

Pete : When are you posting your derby dozen update ?  You said you were going to try and post them once a month.

20 Jan 2013 10:42 PM

LMaris- she barely lost.  Give her credit.  Grinders do not have a turn of foot and she had an amazing one.  Give credit where credit is due.  You are so typical.

20 Jan 2013 11:16 PM

Mary Zinke- lol

20 Jan 2013 11:17 PM

I love how you have that Freya spirit confronting those who oppose you.  Keep it up!  You know I will have your back always.

20 Jan 2013 11:23 PM

Pete- of course you are right.  Blinkers are there to focus a horse.

20 Jan 2013 11:24 PM

My watch list had a winner yesterday in Ground Transport, nice win pulling away at the end.    Champion Boy came in 3rd in his debut.  Going to keep a close eye on Ground Transport, a nice looking Big Brown colt :)

21 Jan 2013 12:46 AM

I would like to see pics attached to all the screen names that post on this blog.

21 Jan 2013 10:01 AM
Mary Zinke

thanks footy i will google freya remember talking like this no caps no commas?

21 Jan 2013 10:42 AM
Mary Zinke

Chief, I'm on fb and google.  I freed my page because I am no longer afraid of insane stalkers. I have cujo :)

21 Jan 2013 11:12 AM

Mary Zinke- lol again.  Freya is a Norse goddess, their equivalent of Venus but Freya is also a Warrior goddess.  You have a warrior spirit.

21 Jan 2013 11:29 AM
Mary Zinke

i thought it was because shes halfnaked all of the time and cuddles with that boar lol footy

21 Jan 2013 12:15 PM

Well, that too.

21 Jan 2013 12:51 PM
Mary Zinke

3yo stakes: Jimmy Winkfield: Winning Cause, In The Fairway, Clawback.

Smarty Jones: Always In A Tiz, Brown Almighty, Officer Alex, Will Take Charge.

21 Jan 2013 3:02 PM
Mary Zinke

Winning Cause: good boy after that stumble.

21 Jan 2013 3:32 PM
Forbidden Apple

Gulfstream Mon. Jan. 21

Race 9 #7 Kadaya 3-1

Race 10 #12 Daddy Likes That 4-1

Santa Anita Mon. Jan. 21

Race 2 #4 Hear The Ghost 9/2

Race 7 #3 Dawn's Charm 5-1

21 Jan 2013 3:48 PM
Mike Relva


Regarding your "wise" comments on Zenyatta and Ebby I can now sleep better. LMAO Do you own a horse anywhere like these two? Of course you do. lol

21 Jan 2013 4:30 PM

Pete- Just missed getting the Locksmith plays for the 19th by 20 min. How did you do ?

21 Jan 2013 5:30 PM
ned williams

Jay Jay

Have you ever ridden a horse? If you have, you know that many horses are predisposed to where they want to be when in a group. If you have ever ridden  a race you know that some horses like to be covered up while others do not like to be inside or outside of other horses. This is the basic point being made by the author. However, turning these simple facts into  pseudo science is way over the top in my opinion.

21 Jan 2013 6:05 PM

Mary what do you mean your on Google?

21 Jan 2013 6:11 PM

Bloggers I dont believe their is an actual person behind the screen name KY Vet.He is too much of a cartoon character(to repeat what another blogger called him).Thats why I kid around with him all the time,he dosent exist.If you are a person post your pic on one of the social media sites so we can see who we are dealing with.Also the original Ky Vet poster when J Shandler was running this blog was very different,in his writing style as well as his content.He posts way too much now compared to before.Also screen name KY Vet you were the one that started rearranging the letters of a posters screen name, so it gave me the idea to do it with yours.I will now address you as VETKY,a one word screen name.The old VETKY swore that Uncle Mo was going to romp in the Classic by open lengths, and in the next sentence declared himself the all knowing entity of this blog,sort of like someone else who no longer posts since J.Shanler left.

21 Jan 2013 6:21 PM
Pete Denk


U didn't miss much.  Locksmith went 1-for-6 this week.

I got live to the last leg of the p4 at GP singled to classdropper/top fig Big Sam, whom I loved when I wrote up the analysis. But he showed up in the paddock in front wraps and dead on the board. My 50-cent will-pay was $3700. He never got a call...

21 Jan 2013 7:39 PM

Get em this Saturday Pete. Good luck.

21 Jan 2013 7:46 PM
Mary Zinke

Chief, I meant the Google circles site that you get to from gmail. I forget how I signed up. It's very easy to post photos there. That's why I like it, otherwise not so much. Also, those two people that you think are the same are not. How do I know? For one, I do very rarely communicate with the former blog writer. Some do not wish to have that type of correspondence with basically strangers. Another thing is that they do not sound alike at all.

21 Jan 2013 7:56 PM

When I came back to see if I had any replies to my last two posts,the name of the blogger that left when Shandler departed came to me, it was Draynay.He was another bragadoccio poster similar to the old VETKY.He non-chalantly proclaimed that Union Rags would win last years Derby by 10 lengths,coincidently that was VETKY's(pronounced VET-KEE)same margin of victory prediction for Uncle Mo's classic victory in 2011.BTW another piece of circumstantial evidence in regards to the real identity of the old Ky Vet, was that I know J Shandler liked trainer Pletchers trainees, and bet on them regularly.Uncle Mo was trained by Pletcher.

21 Jan 2013 8:25 PM
El Kabong


a conspiracy? I think you're giving that other jamoke way too much credit.

21 Jan 2013 8:29 PM
KY VET dont get to look at me....sorry.......i cant tell you all who i keep saying i liked mo in the classic.....i was the Best horse that year though....118 beyer....he went off form.........if i bet him, i would tell you............i am a professional horseplayer, horse owner, and other things.....and i only post negative things when people dont say smart things.......have a nice day....

21 Jan 2013 8:36 PM

Does anyone else on here wonder why there are about 100 PROACTIVE commercials on tvg? Is this the demographic? how many 16 yr old girls, watch tvg all day?............i dont get it.....just wonder if anyone else thought this......

21 Jan 2013 8:41 PM
Mary Zinke

Not him either.

21 Jan 2013 8:44 PM
Age of Reason

You begged for an insult on that last comment, Vetky.

One can only assume that you knew TVG wasn't catering to your demographic anymore when the Proactive ads replaced the ones for Viagra and "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!"...

21 Jan 2013 10:29 PM
Mary Zinke

That would be Dos Equis, AoR  :)

21 Jan 2013 11:03 PM

Im sure  you did like Uncle Mo because I remember posting that I wouldnt bet him as the favorite in the classic off of a mile prep in response to your touting him.There was no way he was ready off of a mile prep and a sprint that he ran.He ran the 118 speed figure in the mile prep.Shandler defended Pletcher and Mos owner Mike Repole.I knew he was running him because it would be his last race and he was hoping that Mo with his speed would help his other entrant in the race Stay Thirsty.Repole anounced a breeding rights deal with Mo not long after I began my back and forth banter on this blog with you KY Vet(VETKY).I knew that believing that you were a professional gambler would be almost impossible because of your adamant beleif that Mo would romp in a race against elders running at a distance of a mile an a quarter for the first time in his life.No professional or expert would bet a 3yo colt as a morning line favorite under those circumstances.VETKY you have yourself a good TC season because you didnt have one last year,at least according to what you post on here.Except of course Creative Cause hitting the board in 3rd in the Preakness.

22 Jan 2013 12:14 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

I agree with you about the Oxbow splits but there's also a saying to the effect that you should never punish a horse for winning.  Oxbow will face comparable competition in the Risen Star and probably the same track conditions.  

22 Jan 2013 10:10 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pete Denk,

I like to see the Locksmith recap with ROI.  

22 Jan 2013 10:12 AM
Rusty Weisner

Speaking of punishing winners, anyone ever notice how no one wants to bet a longshot winner the next time out?  Like Texas Bling, who lost by a nose in the Smarty Jones at 19-1?

Of course, this angle doesn't always work.  I had bets with Hero of Order to show in last year's Bluegrass.

22 Jan 2013 10:20 AM
Pete Denk

Coming right up Rusty...I wanted to let the herd dynamic discussion play out.

22 Jan 2013 10:21 AM
Rusty Weisner

That Remington Park race was a key race.  I just went to see if Worldventurer, who had finished third after contesting the pace, had run back yet and he had already, winning a race at LS.

22 Jan 2013 10:25 AM
Pete Denk


That's a good point. I see it all the time, a horse talked down because, "he was 25-1 when..."

That's a bad reason to knock a horse. It's very important that handicappers review the race and decide on a horse's merits themselves. Maybe the bettors made a giant mistake letting the horse go at 25-1 last time.

22 Jan 2013 10:28 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pete Denk,

I personally find it more interesting to see how the herd dynamic plays out with bettors ;-)

22 Jan 2013 10:34 AM
Pedigree Ann

Rusty -

Oh, I agree on Oxbow. If he had won only because he set soft fractions (like Take Charge Indy last year in the FLA Derby), he would have just have held on. Instead, he sprinted clear. He's by Awesome Again out of a full sister to Tiznow, so distance ought not to be problem, either.

22 Jan 2013 10:43 AM
Pete Denk

Locksmith went 1-for-6 this week.

I should have put my THS Ron the Greek on the sheet. As mentioned earlier I singled him in the P4, but due to my ticket structure and a couple big prices winning early in the sequence, I was only live to a single in the last leg, with a will-pay of $3700 for 50 cents. My pick Big Sam ran crappily, see below...

22 Jan 2013 10:44 AM
Pete Denk

Locksmith Review:

Gulfstream Park

Race3 1:41 ET

Maiden 3yos (1 1/8 miles on dirt)

If the morning line is right on 5 Boundless Heart (6-1 ML odds), then he is the play here. He exits a very strong maiden race at Churchill Downs that came back faster than a pair of graded stakes later on the card. Boundless Heart made an early advance and tried matching strides with the winner Bradester, who returned to win a very fast NW1X here at Gulfstream. If Boundless Heart goes off at a price, I foresee a prime win bet and an exacta box 5-6 for multiple units.

Odds: 5.70

Result: 8th. Looked like he either didn't handle the slop (as trainer Kenny McPeek tweeted after the race) or he wasn't ready. The workout pattern worried me slightly coming in, but not enough to scare me off the play (I went to the window strong here at 5.70-to-1).

More on the workout pattern for future reference...Boundless Heart ran 3rd in the key Bradester/Proud Strike race at CD on 11-24. That race was faster than the Kentucky Jockey Club S (G2, Uncaptured-Frac Daddy-Dewey Square) later in the card.

The return work was 12-8 at GP. That's good. Although note the H designation.

Then there's a 21-day gap in his published moves. That is an additional sign that the 12-8 work was not good.

Spacing is good on the two subsequent works (6 days, 7 days), however notice they both received the H notation, meaning he was asked to run.

Most of the time when a horse is going really well, the rider won't need to ask much, and except for in California where they grade workouts differently, the work will receive a B notation (breezing).

I'll keep this pattern in mind in the future, especially with McPeek trainees.

22 Jan 2013 11:03 AM
Pete Denk

Race 8 4:05 ET

Sunshine Millions Sprint (6 furlongs on dirt)

12 Bernie the Maestro (6-1 ML odds) looked stellar last time, stalking the pace in hand while 3-wide all the way around the track. He put away the speed, brushed inward, and kicked home in fast time. Some might question shortening up to six furlongs, but if he runs like last time, it should be no problem.

Odds: 4.30

Result: Had nothing, either hating the slop or more likely bouncing off the huge effort in the Claiming Crown (when a bunch of Maker trainees jumped up with huge performances)

22 Jan 2013 11:06 AM
Pete Denk

Race 11 5:35 ET

Maiden Claiming $75,000 3yos (1 1/8 miles on turf)

12 Big Sam (6-1 ML odds) drops down from the maiden special weight level, where he ran a pretty solid race to finish 5th, beaten 6 lengths by an impressive winner (who won by 4). That was Sam’s first two-turn race and first turf try, and I liked how this Big Brown colt moved over the surface. His internal fractions from that effort should make him really tough on the class drop. Pedigree is very good, and hopefully he’ll get a chance to get over from a difficult post. There isn’t much pace in here on paper, and I wouldn’t take one from the 12-hole on this track unless I thought he was much the best.

Odds: 7.00

Result: Horse showed up in the paddock with first-time front wraps, was dead on the board early, and didn't run a step.

A note about the 12-post on the GP lawn. It is now 1-for-52 at the current meet. Statistically it looks like you want to be no wider than the 8-hole going two turns on the GP turf, with the inside 5 posts being best.

22 Jan 2013 11:11 AM

The last horse to come in first or second coming from FGs was Grindstone in 1997 also trained by Lucas,but that was when Lucas was the Pletcher of yesteryear.There have probably been colts that ran at the Fairgrounds and then at another track as a prep before the Derby, like 2nd place finisher Nehro in 2011, but those that are stabled at and only run at Fairgrounds for the last decade or more are a cut below those prepping in Florida,California and New York.Mine That Bird was an exception but he was a one win wonder on the triple crown scene and therafter in his career.I am relying on memory so I welcome any coments on anything that I didnt recall when posting this.

22 Jan 2013 11:13 AM
Pete Denk

Oaklawn Park

Race 7 5:09 ET

Maiden 3yos (1 1/16 miles on dirt)

4 Incognito Bandito (6-1 ML odds) is likely to get overlooked in this seemingly wide open maiden race that drew 11 entrants. He’s run on firm turf, slop, wet fast dirt, and good turf in his last four starts, and he has been competitive against some decent fields. Bandito looks like a good horse to key to hit the board at a price. I could see a back-weighted, win-place-show wager  or keying him in the exacta and trifecta.

Odds: 10.90

Result: Finished 4th after a slightly trafficy inside trip. I wheeled him 2nd and 3rd in the trifecta, and would have hit a big tri if he gets up for third.

22 Jan 2013 11:15 AM
Pete Denk

Fair Grounds

Race 10 5:55 ET

Lecomte Stakes (G3) 3yos (One mile and 70 yards)

Expecting this to be a coming out party for 6 Avie’s Quality (5-2 ML odds) as a legitimate Kentucky Derby prospect. He goes first-time dirt here, but the way he moves on synthetic and turf, I don’t think the surface will be a major issue. Has improved his speed figure every time he runs, and he’s always finishing very strongly. There is plenty of pace in this race, and Avie should like the long Fair Grounds stretch.

Odds: 1.70

Result: Tons of weight on Avie here and not just from this blog. Marcus Hersh and Byron King, two of DRF's best handicappers, made him their best bet of the day.

Avie was horribly overbet and either didn't handle the dirt or was not ready for this race, as he finished a dull 8th.

I still love this pedigree for 10f, and my advice for those who thought Avie was talented is to stick with him. The price will be much better next time.

22 Jan 2013 11:19 AM
Pete Denk

Santa Anita

Race 6 6:05 ET

Optional Claiming $80,0000/NW1X 3yo fillies (6 ½ furlongs on the downhill turf)

9 Jubliant Girl (3-1 ML odds) was an easy winner first out when debuting on this course back in November. She showed excellent tracking speed and smooth transitions when taking advantage of an inside opening turning for home. Her final 5/16 in :28-2 is very good for a horse with tactical speed. Workout pattern looks strong, and she could get a similar trip first-time vs. winners.

Odds: 2.20

Result: Winner (took heavy action late after floating around at 4-1 early). Another beautiful run from this Henrythenavigator filly. She pressed the pace and came home in :28-2 again, winning off by 3 lengths. This filly stays in the stable mail.

22 Jan 2013 11:23 AM
Pete Denk

For the year, the Locksmith analysis is 20: 6-3-2.

30% winners.

$2 win bet ROI stands at $2.46.

$6 WPS ROI is $6.43.

Looking forward to next weekend.

22 Jan 2013 11:29 AM
Rusty Weisner

Pedigree Ann,

Something close to Paynter's pedigree.

22 Jan 2013 11:53 AM
Rusty Weisner


It's "Lukas".

His other horse, Take Charge Will, ran a nice race, too, after going very wide on the first turn.

He's got better stuff -- with some early speed -- than last year, when he misused Optimizer so badly.

22 Jan 2013 12:02 PM
Rusty Weisner


Mucho Macho Man came in third behind Nehro (and Pants on Fire) that year in the Louisiana Derby and went on to come in third in the Derby; that was a good year for this circuit.  Louisiana was really poor last year (a negative key, in retrospect, when you look at Mark Valeski and El Padrino), but Oxbow really ran away from the field and probably deserves to be appraised on his own merits.  By the away, which is the horse that skipped the Lecomte and will run in the Risen Star?

22 Jan 2013 1:00 PM


“mo was the Best horse that year though....118 beyer”

A horse with a calendar year race record that reflects (4Start 2 wins-1place-1show) cannot be regarded as the best horse in any year unless it is the best of a pack of paraplegics. One race with a Beyer of 118 does not a HOY year make.

“i only post negative things when people dont say smart things”

You are a naturally rude and disgustingly offensive individual that has no regard for the views of others.

Who appointed you prosecutor, judge and jury of what is smart?  Who convinced you that you are a smart individual? I have never seen any of the supporters of these blogs use the term ‘More Better’  You are the only person to distinguish yourself with the usage of this term.

No one capable of using such a term is in a position to rule on issues of smartness.

22 Jan 2013 3:37 PM

cheif...that years classic was horrible time...thats how that crappy horse won......again, uncle mo could win at 1 1/4m.....just not that beleive uncle mo wasnt good...i get it......everyone around the horse knew he was special......pletchers' trained over 100 grade 1 horses...........i will obviously take what you think , over them.......................all of you uncle mo haters, are ignorant.

22 Jan 2013 3:37 PM


Two 1 1/6M races against substandard fields that were completed in 1:44.89 and 1:45.27 respectively and this mare gets a blog dedicated to her. What have I missed?  It is unlikely that any amount of management will allow her to find fields that will allow her to match her big sister’s record.  Nice Bernardini mare but time would be better spend on another Bernardini horse i.e., Demonic.

22 Jan 2013 4:07 PM

Cold one....relax....i know what isnt smart......someone who dropped out of grade school, trying to debate anything with a person that does this for a living......and its mo' betta'...not more better.........lets just say yo' no' nutin' 'bout 'notin'.......youve posted on these sites for 6 years, and picked 1 winner that i can remember..........its ok....its your thing.....youll post 20 horses with no chance.....all obscure boxcar horses,,,,,then pick a horse from dubai......when the previous year, you told someone dubai horses never win the derby.................think about what you say......then tell me ANYTHING that i say that isnt right.......................................see spot run.....good book....

22 Jan 2013 4:18 PM

tup race 5 wp #5 carlotta del sol

22 Jan 2013 4:22 PM

uggg! #5 carlotta looked in....lost by neck....#4 4/5 out.....ran good again.....alot of 2nds lately on here...

22 Jan 2013 4:28 PM

Vet I thought Mo was the best 2yo in a long time,but after his ailment and scratch from the Derby he was never as good, eventhough it goes to show you that he wasnt 100% but he could still run a monster race at a shorter distance(mile)He wasnt going to get a mile an a quarter unless they let him get the lead on his own or if he got the first jump on the leader from right off the pace, and opened up after the turn.BTW that is what I posted back then or something similar.To get a mile and a quarter against just turned 3yo colts is a lot different proposition than to do it against older handicap horses that have been conditioned at a distance in their races for more than a year,for 4yolds and two years for 5yolds.

22 Jan 2013 4:46 PM

Rusty Weisner I dont know which colt you are hinting at that missed the Leconte and will try the Risen Star.BTW I hope the shippers come in from Florida like they did last year with El Padrino and in 2011 with Mucho Macho Man.Larry Jones had a colt that stabled there and did well in the series of preps at Fairgrounds Friesan Fire in 2009,but he was no match for the Derby field.He was the post time favorite for the Derby at 7-2.

22 Jan 2013 4:56 PM

Im surprised nobody remembered that the most recent colt that didnt stable in Florida,California,or New York and win the roses was Animal Kingdom.Graham Motion preped him in the Spiral at Turfway as he did Went the Day Well last year.I bet he tries that same route this year,why not it has worked pretty well in 2010 and 2011.California broke a long slump last year with the top two in the Derby,could it be that the change back to dirt for Santa Anita that helped them by prepping on it.Dont forget Pioneer of the Nile prepped on AW before he ran a great race in the Derby on the pace only to be beaten by Mine That Bird in his best race and his last win in his life I think.

22 Jan 2013 5:10 PM
El Kabong

Age of Reason,

Nice drive on that last one. I think it traveled 400+ and landed on the green. You won't get me to tee you up like that. Former adman who plays golf. I know better, and will consider myself warned.  

22 Jan 2013 5:18 PM
Mary Zinke

Maybe he meant Mylute.

Bunch of ad hominem. I hope after a nice lunch there will be a new blog.

22 Jan 2013 5:21 PM
El Kabong


Friesan Fire and Hard Spun. Poor Friesan sustained a nasty injury, after getting plowed into by the three horses to his right leaving the gate, he grabbed a quarter and bled pretty hard. He was out from the start, and too bad. He was a mudder.

22 Jan 2013 5:27 PM
Plod Boy Phil

A couple of points if I may -

The FG dirt track played completely fair on Saturday. There was a post indicating a speed bias of some nature - not the case according to our work. Again,  it's important to understand the impact race shape may have had on all the races on a surface before calling a track 'biased'. In addition,  the 2nd and 3rd place finishers should also be accounted for in any calculation or analysis.

The Flow of the Lecomte was modestly Speed friendly,  a result of the winner drawing away late. The early splits were not unusual.  The race shape was not enough to either downgrade the winner or upgrade those that were a length or more off the pace at the first call (everyone).

22 Jan 2013 6:15 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Pete -

Any feedback on how THT is impacted by changes in class levels?

We've all seen examples of horses than dominate claimers yet fail to perform at anywhere close to the same level when facing legit Alw foes? One time may be due to changes in form cycle, but a consistent pattern of such races implies something else.

Does the EC change or does it remain the same with less effectiveness?

22 Jan 2013 8:04 PM
Karen in Texas


After reading your 11:13 A.M. post several times.... Grindstone ran in the Louisiana Derby in 1996. He did win that race in March, but then went to Arkansas where he finished second to Zarb's Magic in the Arkansas Derby in April, before proceeding to the Kentucky Derby in May. Besides the horses mentioned by other posters, there is Funny Cide, who finished second in the Louisiana Derby in 2003. He then went to the Wood, finishing second, before winning the Kentucky Derby. Hard Spun won the 2007 Lecomte; was second in the Kentucky Derby that year.

I believe (but am not positive) that Grindstone, 1996, and Black Gold, 1924, are the only horses to win both the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby.

22 Jan 2013 8:28 PM
Pete Denk


Good question.

It's easy to look good vs. weak horses. Who the horse faced is a helpful part of the read.

The best test is an overall look at what a horse does during a race, such as traffic, how it moves into various spaces, individual dynamic battles, finishing energy. High-level herd dynamic horses have a pretty rare skillset.

Herd dynamics and emotional conformation profiles are very good at seeing through one-dimensional front-running victories. Herd dynamics agree with the traditional handicapping view that a lone front runner is the easiest trip a horse can have.

Herd dynamics sometimes disagree with the view that saving ground is always the easiest path. Generally speaking, rallying up the rail, inside of horses, requires a more well-rounded psychology than passing outside of horses, especially when the physical skills are in the same ballpark.

We also have learned to temper our reads when a sustained pace horse gets to run at tired horses. "Pace makes the race" definitely applies to our system, but it's more than just the fractions.

22 Jan 2013 8:54 PM
El Kabong

Karen in Texas,

You are correct. But oh how I wanted Friesan Fire to join their company. His injury was later discovered to be much worse than a grabbed quarter. The irony  is that FF's connections had the choice to grab the 9 or the 6 hole in the draw. They chose the 6. It was the horse leaving the 9 hole, Join in the Dance,  that veered to his left and forced Mine that Bird and Papa Clem into FF who then took the brunt of that calamity by trying to stand his ground. Larry took it hard obviously with his misfortune the year before and I can't blame him. Hopes were pretty high on Friesan accomplishing much.

22 Jan 2013 9:06 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Thanks -

Interesting, especially in the context of Fire Guard.

We had a very high opinion of him off his debut as well for closing impressively despite a very speed favoring Flow. However, the view rapidly changed with the failure on dirt (understand it's not where he belongs) despite a favorable Flow as well as a very Speed favoring set-up in his win at Tampa (even though we do not make figures there).

He was very dead on the board.  Personally was never a fan of 1st Lasix off a win - no empirical data to support or deny - just something I (think) I've observed.

22 Jan 2013 9:10 PM
Pete Denk


To answer the second part of your question about if an emotional conformation profile changes when a horse fails/succeeds on the class rise...

The templet of who a horse is, is who that horse is. Each race adds a layer of experience. But how a horse sees the world does not change very much.

Emotional conformation is a good indicator of a how a horse is likely to react to additional challenges and stimuli, and how likely they are to grow from those experiences. That potential to grow is a key.

22 Jan 2013 9:13 PM
Pete Denk

In one of his half-right, half-misguided diatribes, Ky Vet pointed out that horses change every time they race.

That is true in part. Horses very rarely dramatically change who they are. But each race experience adds a layer to who a horse is.

The classic turn-back move, in which a horse shows speed and fades going two turns, and then comes back at one turn and runs through the finish line powerfully to win is a great example of how the race experience can change a horse's Time In Motion Profile.

22 Jan 2013 9:25 PM
Karen in Texas

Yes, El K, Friesan Fire swept that series in Louisiana. The Kentucky Derby must have been a huge disappointment for his connections, especially Larry J.

22 Jan 2013 9:35 PM
Pete Denk

The Holy Bull Stakes, which looks like the first great Ky Derby prep of the year, will be this week's feature race on THS and the subject of my next blog.

22 Jan 2013 9:38 PM
Plod Boy Phil

For example Prize Informant...

Yes, horses do change.  Some of the positive changes, or forward moves, are a direct result of displays of speed at different parts in a race.  The ability to recognize those moves through otherwise non-descript running lines is one of the keys to big priced winners.

Another much needed day of rest tomorrow.


22 Jan 2013 9:38 PM
Forbidden Apple

Uncle Mo was not a 1 1/4 mile classic horse and he should be standing for no more than $5,000. A weak horse that would be destroyed by Blame, Zenyatta, or Fort Larned at 1 1/4 miles.

I was very impressed by Let Em Shine in a Santa Anita maiden race on saturday. Sprinting looks to be his game, maybe he can stretch out to a mile, nice horse.

Hear the Ghost was much the best yesterday, I can't wait to see this son of Ghostzapper stretch out in his next start. KY Derby trail?

Elmutahid was also impressive in his maiden win, still learning what his job is. KY Derby trail?

I finally made a small score on Ron the Greek, so much for Mucho Macho Donkey. Macho Man was a solid hanger at Saratoga, every chance to get past To Honor and Serve, very weak.

22 Jan 2013 11:05 PM

Pete....half right?  Tell me ANYTHING ive said, that you think is wrong........i know what i speak.......

23 Jan 2013 1:44 AM

CONTRARIAN......ive read , for about 5 yrs now.....3 yrs on msn chat, couple of years on here....COLDCUTS always a critic of any horse on top....every year, same old thing....he will talk about 20 unheralded young horses, and tell you how the top 3yr olds cant win....any division...always has an off the wall reason, why the horse of the year, shouldnt win hoy.....even thought shackleford shouldve won top 3 yr know? the shack that always got beat.....he loses like a champion!, he takes a shot at zen's lil we think she is a champion or something...................tired of the same old story.......get ready people.....every winner of the derby prep will be demeaned in some way.......but that horse at fonner park.......

23 Jan 2013 2:20 AM

Karen in Texas,

Revisit the video of the  final race of that series and pay careful attention to Friesan Fire’s action upfront. He appeared to be moment away from falling over. His discomforts appeared to be in his shoulders. I wrote about what appear to be lameness upfront and that his prospects of hitting the board in the Derby were extremely remote. He had the added handicap of being the overwhelming choice of the K Vet.

He was not a sound colt.

23 Jan 2013 7:00 AM

Horses have a very good memory when it comes to traumatic experiences, which can certainly change the horse.

Was Rachel Alexandra ever the same afer Borel whooped on her through the entire stretch of the Woodward?  Rachel's subsequent race record would indicate that she was not.

23 Jan 2013 9:34 AM

Karen In Texas thanks for the information,so then we can agree that any of the colts that have run well in the Derby at least in the modern era, have also preped at another track before the Derby,or can we? If you had to read my 11:13 post several times then it is not written well,my bad.

23 Jan 2013 10:38 AM
El Kabong


I watched the video of Friesan in the LD and I don't see any issue. Tell me, how can a colt who you say was unsound at that point, turn in a 57.4 workout at 5f at CD, 1 of 26,  one week before the Kentucky Derby. You should watch the start the Derby. That  is where he was injured, and his grabbed quarter was the least of his issues that day.

23 Jan 2013 12:04 PM
Karen in Texas


I was sympathizing/empathizing with El Kabong in my statement about Friesan Fire. (Maybe read his last comment)


I was unsure of your focus. We can probably agree on what you say in your 10:38 A.M. post today, but that would include Grindstone. It seemed to me that you were only asking about horses AFTER he ran in 1996 in your previous comment. He, too, went on to prep elsewhere.

23 Jan 2013 12:13 PM

so now we can talk to horses and know how they guys just amaze me,what was the herd dynamics for mucho macho man this week his uncle's brother got sick so thats what was on his mind and making him run bad.there are 50 thousand horses running and thats your analogy of only the good ones. i tell you what these horses are taught as soon as they come out of the gate to run and try to get to the wire first. There is humans on their backs making judgements for the horses based on their talents and luck of the trip. IN order for these studies to be correct you would have to find true movement on these horses out in the wild or no jockey on their back.This is just my opinion of course but  i think its a waste of ones time.          

23 Jan 2013 12:22 PM
Pete Denk


The herd dynamic stance going into the Sunshine Millions was that Mucho Macho Man was a better horse without blinkers, and the trainer was probably making a mistake putting them back on. Ron the Greek, a herd dynamic favorite because of his excellent group dynamic and time-in-motion profile, was the play.

23 Jan 2013 12:30 PM
Pete Denk

Ky Vet-

You would actually agree with a lot of the herd dynamic/emotional conformation stuff if you were a little more open-minded.

You talk about how every race changes a horse, which tells me you understand what Keymaster referred to -- that horses have good memories. That is the layering experience I am talking about.

But then you say because each race has the potential to change a horse, it is pointless to study them...

I have been studying herd dynamics with Kerry for two years. It is extremely promising, and we are still learning.

23 Jan 2013 12:43 PM

Coldcuts.....good memory!...i didnt love fresian fire....i had a early derby wager on early wager, is the wager, that gives you big odds, in the hope, that your horse progresses leading up to the derby..........HE WENT OFF THE FAVORITE! thats kinda what youre looking for!  Sometimes horses get youre saying what a bad pick that was? Didnt he run great to be the fav?  This is what im talking about! Just a guy that knocks horses on top.......same old story.......and, by the way.....the connections didnt know why he ran wasnt the quarter......the stupidly ran him back again........and got drilled......trainers cant always tell when horses get hurt...........did the coldcuts really say shoulder issue? from his stride?  he had that same stride his whole life...

23 Jan 2013 12:45 PM
Mary Zinke

I knew of a guy who was present for the saddling of Friesan Fire. Can't remember which Derby prep that was. Could look it up, but not now. Nice record before the Derby. What's Friesan Fire doing now? Merryland Farm?  The trips down memory lane/ a rabbit hole are "interesting".  I liked Mo, too. Didn't bet on him in the Classic, but it would have been a great story if he had pulled it off. I can't say which routers he could have beaten had he been healthy for all of 2011.

23 Jan 2013 12:45 PM

Karen In Texas My focus was stating that horses that are stabled at the Fairgrounds and ONLY run in preps at the Fairgrounds have not been successful in the Kentucky Derby.Friesan Fire according to posts on the blog was injured during the race so eventhough that is a circumstnce that didnt allow him to run his best race he is included in the statement.

23 Jan 2013 12:50 PM

Two more short term trends are that trainer Romans has been in the money in the Derby(including 4th)for the last three without winning the race.

Trainer Motion has prepped in the Spiral the last two years and has finished 1st(Animal Kingdom) and 4th(Went the Day Well)in the Derby.

I try to find these trends and others before making an exotic wager on the Derby.

23 Jan 2013 12:58 PM

pete....did you miss me earlier say, its common sense...i dont disagree with just call it something else......i just call it horses are better that dumber ones.....its way to general.....common sense....horses relax away from rail....away from others...alone on the lead....they can smell horses fighting for lead that are going to fast.....they tense up in tight quarters, when they fight the rider, when they try to go up rail......common sense.....been using it for would be easier if you could give I Q test before the race huh?  .........what most on here have a problem with, is the projecting of these traits on a horse after watching it it one or 2 races.....and the extreme small percentage it is on how fast a horse runs.....more important things...................

23 Jan 2013 1:05 PM

PETE.....and others...............ever ask yourself why horses run once a month?   why is that?.......if you understand will understand the game better.......and understand what the most important things are.........

23 Jan 2013 1:09 PM
Pete Denk

Ky Vet-

It's not nearly as general as you think. (You'll never hear us say Horse A is "smart" or horse B is "dumb.")

The high-level horses in nature have specific psychologies, that are expressed very well on the racetrack.

Herd dynamics and emotional conformation are not the end-all be-all of handicapping. But they are a valuable tool. (if two horses are not in the same league physically, herd dynamics won't make a difference)

You mention liking Shackleford. Here is what I wrote about him before his KY Derby, using an integrated approach that blends traditional handicapping with an assist from herd dynamics.

Shackleford was a close contact, high individual dynamic horse. He fed off the battle. A true warrior. (And a big overlay in the Derby 23-1 and Preakness 12-1)

23 Jan 2013 1:22 PM

tampa bay 3rd....random race....conterders #1 4/1  #6 4/5  #7 7/1.........#6 look ok, might win...but ill go with #1 prima dee wp...

23 Jan 2013 1:23 PM
Pete Denk

"Why do horses run once a month?"

I assume you are referring to the physical stress racing puts on a horse.

No doubt it is a very serious test of their physical constitution.

But to ignore the mental part is to overlook a big part of it. Mental and physical come together in performance.

23 Jan 2013 1:27 PM

hows THAT for handicapping....#1 prima dea...wins!!!! #6 3/5 fav 2nd....#7 3rd......9 to 1.........cold tri!.........thats how we do!!!!

23 Jan 2013 1:34 PM
Mary Zinke

Recovery from Salix dehydration/change in electrolytes?

23 Jan 2013 1:43 PM
Karen in Texas


You're doing a good job with explanations and questions about THT/herd dynamics. Hang in there! Are you aware that UPENN's veterinary program maintains a herd of feral horses for behavioral study? Apparently, herd study is now a requirement for graduation. If interested, here's a link.

23 Jan 2013 2:05 PM

coldcuts loved shackleford....not me...thought it was funny how he was the game horse that tried so hard....but almost always lost......i did win alot on him the last time he won, but coldcuts thought he would win 3yrold......pete keep up the work on your thing....there is a place for it......knowlege is power....

23 Jan 2013 2:16 PM

claimers are interesting races.......tampa race 5 #8 morethanreason has made over half a million....dropped down to 15000 last year...claimed from repole for out won for 16000......been sliding in for6250.....obviously big problems....had 2 months off,got81 brisnet losing by 7...then next race, really should improve....but ran little worse....kinda no i bet against today...hes 9/5 fav......2nd fav looks to go off form also......ill go w #2 bless the soldier wp

23 Jan 2013 2:23 PM

wow! right about the fav. more than board! its what im best at....2nd fav #5 off board!  so i get cooked in speed duel with 28 to 1 #1 horse quit......right idea, wrong horse.....sometimes you can be right about most horses, and still lose..........but know you handicapped race in some ways well.....

23 Jan 2013 2:32 PM

good point mary........but not the amazes me the misinformation, about lasix.....somehow youve all been sold, the lasix is way, way, more of a problem than it is......who told you this stuff?  it keeps going, and going......

23 Jan 2013 2:37 PM

Holy Bull S. (Grade III).

1 Shanghai Bobby (KY)   3/C L R Napravnik 122 T A Pletcher

2 Frac Daddy (KY)   3/C L D Cohen 116 K G McPeek

3 Clearly Now (KY)   3/C L L Saez 116 B A Lynch

4 Bern Identity (KY)   3/C L P Lopez 122 K J Breen

5 Sr. Quisqueyano (FL)   3/C L J Rosario 120 L Olivares

6 Dewey Square (KY)   3/C L C J Lanerie 116 D L Romans

7 Itsmyluckyday (KY)   3/C L E Trujillo 120 E Plesa, Jr.

8 Tulira Castle (KY)   3/C L J Castellano 116 J P DiVito

9 Fredericksburg (KY)   3/C L J R Velazquez 116 M R Matz

10 Joshua's Comprise (FL)   3/C L K J Desormeaux 116 B R Rose

23 Jan 2013 3:05 PM

Should have put Race 10 - 5:05 PM      STAKES Holy Bull S. (Grade III)

23 Jan 2013 3:11 PM

Mary I think that is a part of the reason but I think it is only a part.What about breeding and the predeposition in the US to breed early develpers and speed at the sake of animals that are bred for conformation and durability.IMO there are other reasons thoroughbreds in 2013 cant run every two weeks like it has been posted on here the breed raced years ago.This also ties into my theory that for the Derby I am looking more for colts that race briefly or not at all in their 2yo campaign.It goes against conventional wisdom but I think going forward we will begin to see this more and more.

23 Jan 2013 3:24 PM
Plod Boy Phil


Please elaborate on the THT term 'Time in Motion'.

23 Jan 2013 4:28 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Forbidden Apple -

Please elaborate on how you saw Hear the Ghost as 'much the best' in Monday's 2nd at SA?

Distinctiv Passion wired them with blazing speed (he's now 3-3 for us) while geared down late.  He did it despite a track that was very Biased for Closers.

Hear the Ghost now has a MSW win that was aided by a very favorable Flow for a closer and now a Biased aided closing run.  We look forward to betting against this Ghostzapper gelding when next seen, even if it is in a small field of Alw1x horses.

23 Jan 2013 4:37 PM
Mary Zinke

KY, No one "sold" me information on Salix. I find out about subjects that interest me and make my own determinations.  I didn't say that was the only problem or reason for , on average, less starts per year for stakes horses. Another thing is that I personally rarely comment about that subject, so I'm not part of the going and going, not on any kind of basis that would impact the masses. One more thing, to me, being plain with your words is better than the "I've got a secret", but, whatev.

23 Jan 2013 6:27 PM
Mary Zinke

BUT, since the Salix subject was brought up (by me this time), why give an athlete that is expected to perform at its best a strong diuretic? I do realize that the pre-Salix way was to deny the horse water pre-race, but I'm not for giving the horse a medication it does not need that affects the kidneys,causes calcium to leach from the bones, and here's what, talk about it keeps going and going, the horror stories of young girl fans shrieking from the scene of their beloved favorite with blood streaming from its nostrils? How often does that happen? Or is it a minute amount of blood found only by post-race scope, and any time a horse is said to bleed one should ask to what degree, and if they bled, with 90+% on Salix, chances are that they bled THROUGH Salix use. Hey, it's not like I'm saying let that interfere with handicapping, though, KY.  But, hey, I'm a housewife and for some reason the graded stakes committee wanted it gone from 2yo stakes. I never even wrote to them.  

23 Jan 2013 6:37 PM
Mary Zinke

And(not done yet--hope you think I should be!!!) Not judging you KY, or any owner, on their horses being on that drug, Salix, because most of my favorites are on it, and why give up the edge when there are only so many races in a horse's career, it's a business, and others aren't dropping its use, so who goes first, you know? I'd love for  U.S. horses to run well in Dubai to show that they don't need Salix.

23 Jan 2013 6:41 PM
Pete Denk

A positive time-in-motion profile means a horse will like 9f and above.

Horses with good time-in-motion profiles don't seem to mentally tire. They are still sharp at the wire.

We sometimes say they get stronger with distance, but the reality is they stay the same while the other horses are tiring.

Good time-in-motion horses feed off of herd motion. They can travel in a herd (often covered up) without expending much energy at all.

23 Jan 2013 7:20 PM
Forbidden Apple

Hear the Ghost is not a sprinter, Distinctiv Passion had zero competition up front. Next time out Hear the Ghost will win, he needs more ground to work with.

It's funny that for the Breeders Cup you say that a speed bias did not exist. Yet now the track is closer biased, I don't buy it.

Itsmyluckyday will be sharp in the Holy Bull, I'll be boxing him up with Frac Daddy.

Does anyone know if Violence breezed on sunday?

23 Jan 2013 7:40 PM
Forbidden Apple

Mary Zinke,

Salix masks the use of illegal drugs, enough said. The problem here is that KY Vet thinks that he is a doctor and expert on everything equine.

23 Jan 2013 7:43 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

I have a question Pete that I will surely be slammed for.  However, why did Zenyatta ALWAYS have cotton plugs in her ears?  It wasn't just when she was racing but all the time she was stabled at the track.  How does this reflect in her emotional conformation?  We used to use cotton plugs in horses' ears at shows if they were spooky and reactionary to noise.  This was not something you wanted to have to do with your show horse. Those animals that needed it were quickly sold to owners who didn't want to show.  It is something I would have wanted to avoid when purchasing show stock or looking at an animal to breed. I just never understood why this mare that had a documented docile temperament needed to have her ears blocked all the time.

23 Jan 2013 7:47 PM

Thursdays Race 9 at Gulfstream.  Take a look at Target Sighted.  Have him on my stable alert.  Last run was up close, shuffled back on far turn, then came back to finish 4th.  12-1 ML odds.  Betting big at 10-1 or higher.    

23 Jan 2013 8:56 PM

cool discussion would be damaging if it was used everyday......horses run once, or twice a month.....not really a big health problem.....probably why everyone uses it huh? bute too....everyday, it would be bad for the horse.........look, people are so against it nowdays, its silly........not the big deal people make it into.....

23 Jan 2013 9:00 PM

Mary : I'm hoping he'll listen to you...

"  One more thing, to me, being plain with your words is better than the "I've got a secret", but, whatev. "

KY VET : It's amazing how you can't provide one straight answer about what you know about horses, your responses are always a question... yet you have a lot to say when your pick loses.

23 Jan 2013 9:31 PM


the Holy Bull stakes looks like a good race, can't wait to see THS's picks on this race. I hate the name Shanghai Bobby, or any name that uses a common name found in society, like Bobby, mainly because it usually distorts the odds because everyone named Bobby and everyone who knows a Bobby, bets on him for that stupid reason. I will be letting everyone know later who is going to win this race, I already know, but will wait to share.

23 Jan 2013 10:30 PM

Ky Vet,

Please check with your wife, and then let us know who is going to win the Holy Bull.

23 Jan 2013 10:33 PM

DraY NAy,

iF YOU'RE out there, let us know who's going to win the Holy Bull.

23 Jan 2013 10:35 PM

derbygal : Thanks for posting the lineup for the Holy Bull, who's your early pick ?

23 Jan 2013 11:37 PM

Flow or no try to downplay hear the ghost's performance on monday, is not very smart.....nice obsevation forbidden apple........the much the best comment was foolish for sure......but the observation of seeing something special, was spot on.....why? WATCH THE RACE! i know the p-boy doesnt like to watch races......but this is surely a race you need to see.......someone said once, horses have a 3 furlong mondays race... youll see the jock asking ghost 4 furlongs out, pretty much for the goods, all the way....then down the stretch.....the horse was running hard, then when he switched from the left handed whip, to the right......boom! the horse had a gear out of nowhere.....this is very very rare....not that a horse can close fast, but a horse being asked so hard for over 3 furlongs, can hit a gear out of nowhere......i actually was watching the rerun because of apples comment...and thinking..."what the heck was apple talking about?" when the last 16th! probably meant ghost might go longer....poss derby prep. horse....when distinctive passion is too speedy to win the derby type horse......

24 Jan 2013 12:55 AM

Track bias? ENOUGH! For the science to be accurate....there must be facts or reasons......Plod boy.....why would the santa anita track have major differences every day/week? The weather is in an area that doesnt change much right? that would be the biggest factor right? you think they dont care for the track, pretty much the same EVERY DAY? do you suspect its on purpose? Truth is, it doesnt change as much as a multi weather region.......You have BIAS ON THE BRAIN.........Now, race shape....thats a better arguement....try that one more.....but in the ghost race, you dont understand forb. apples comment....wasnt it a 4 horse field? who does that help? speed huh? how about lone speed? passion got clear relaxed lead, how do you expect ghost to catch him? losing by 2 was a pretty good effort then huh?.......youll say they came home slow. that he wasnt moving that strong in the stretch huh? well how ya like 11 4/5 for last eighth? Again, after being ridden hard for 3 furlongs?   really?   You cant see why apple liked this horse?

24 Jan 2013 1:13 AM
Mike Relva

Yeah! A housewife with obviously too much time on your hands.

24 Jan 2013 1:22 AM
Mike Relva

M. Zinke

Lecturing Kentucky Vet on plain with words when your past time is writing in riddles. Too funny, kinda like pot/kettle isn't it?

24 Jan 2013 1:28 AM
Pete Denk

The best breed-

I heard (second hand) that Shirreffs added the ear plugs to Zenyatta because of the plane traffic over his barn at Hollywood Park.

I guess he chose to block the stimulus, and then stuck with that approach for the rest of her career.

24 Jan 2013 8:26 AM

Zenyatta's dam has thrown hot-blooded horses.  From what I have read, Shirreffs worked very hard to calm Zenyatta down and keep her calm, from the earplugs to the standing alone before her races to keeping her routine the same everyday.  

24 Jan 2013 9:19 AM
Forbidden Apple

Moving forward I think Hear the Ghost will keep on improving and possibly be on the SA Derby trail. Distinctiv Passion does have blazing speed, but how many times can he run 43 and change for the half and win? In my mind hear the Ghost was up against lone speed and he's not a sprinter. I had zero dollars bet on him in a short field, I like him next out even more.

Itsmyluckyday is ready to run hard and win now, the Holy Bull is not a prep race for him. Shanghai Bobby and Frac Daddy will be sent out for conditioning, I don't see them being cranked up to high gear in January.

24 Jan 2013 10:30 AM

Forbidden Apple,

I think the focus should be on Major Affair instead of Hear the Ghost. He closed from 20L last to be only beaten a couple of lengths. He ran a similar race against Demonic a highly thought of Bernarndi colt. He is probably one of the most talented Officer colt I have seen. His dam sire Black Tie Affair is rarely seen in pedigrees. You are aware of my love for Miswaki as broodmare sire so this love extends to his son.

Both his sire and dam sire had tactical speed but he seems to be silky Sullivan type. Interesting colt who is begging for a distance of ground and is one to watch.  

Holy Bull

It is unlikely that Frac Daddy will finish ahead of Dewey Square. Revisit the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Itsmyluckyday was badly beaten by Bern Identity in the Delta Jackpot. What makse you think he is likely to reverse positions? I would not discount the chances of Tulira Castle and Fredericksburg. At $575K Dewey Square did not meet his reserve and was not subsequently sold privately. He must be deemed special.

24 Jan 2013 11:00 AM
Mary Zinke

It won't be a problem for me when Salix use is not permitted, and why not first start with the stakes races? Aren't claiming and lower-level allowances a majority of a card, or no? So, say your bread and butter isn't touched, KY, and the claimers can get their Salix? Any problem, for you with stakes horses not allowed that drug? You understand that there is the perception that horses are running and winning because of the Salix edge. How many times do I see comments about a horse being first time Lasix, so it should improve--no other reason given for that improvement?

About the phenylbutazone,its use combined with the use of Salix should be studied by those it affects, meaning for instance Thoroughbred owners. Can phenylbutazone cause ulcers and kidney damage? It is administered alongside a drug that is already working upon the kidneys. You may be very hands-on and observant of the dosages and frequency of the use of these medications on your horses, KY. Any thought as to the long-term effects of these drugs, even after the horse leaves the track? You're okay with the several days it takes for a horse to "recover" from the calcium loss? You are aware that even when the blood calcium level has returned to normal(post Salix use), that the bone calcium level may not have. Like I said, their banning or regulation won't immediately be any problem for me, but for you, in the business?

Mike, I saw the comment about your visit to the Tucson rescue. Very, very good cause. I will send another donation this coming month. How was Here Comes Frazier(if he's still there)?  Anyway, Mike, you should weigh in on the Salix/bute/nsaids issues as this subject pertains the the well-being of the race horses.

P.S., KY and all, the necessary national standardization of rules for drugs allowed, levels allowed and consequences for infractions of these rules is long overdue. I'll write to the commissioner of racing after the good ole boys are gone.      

24 Jan 2013 12:02 PM
Mary Zinke

Bobby, Lucky, Dewey, Daddy. Joshua's Comprise is by a gelding. It happens.

24 Jan 2013 12:19 PM

Mary Zinke-and the rest of the anti-Lasix mob:

Why not read today's Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN) article on the recent symposium on EIPH and Lasix/Salix, and other matters. See what REAL scientists have to say on the subject. I think it will change your opinion.

24 Jan 2013 12:41 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Forbidden Apple -

'Buy' whatever you wish.  I was merely providing a more complete analysis of the race clearly dominated by the best horse at the distance the event was run. It had nothing to do with which would get on the Derby Trail or which would accomplish more.  Unlike most people here, I have no interest in the Kentucky Derby until the first Thursday in May.

For some perspective on Monday's main track, it was the most Closer Biased SA dirt track that we've seen since February 19. 2012. Between then and Monday, only four cards there have come up even remotely close to the figure we attached to the two 'extreme' days.

24 Jan 2013 1:42 PM
Rusty Weisner

I haven't appropriated my 2013 betting money yet, so to speak, but I've got a few bucks left over in a wagering account and am going to play an exacta in the Holy Bull.

Anyone have an opinion on the Kentucky JCS?  I am tempted to bet against the horses in this race in favor of Bern Identity.  I am not eager to bet against Shanghai Bobby.  Pletcher won this race last year and he always has his horses ready to fire big...until the Derby.

24 Jan 2013 2:05 PM
Pete Denk

Blog on Holy Bull S. coming up...

24 Jan 2013 2:22 PM
Rusty Weisner

I like Itsmyluckday, too.  That was an extremely fast second quarter.  

24 Jan 2013 2:36 PM
Mary Zinke

Re-sending my longer post of this morning.

24 Jan 2013 2:40 PM
Mary Zinke

sceptre, Thanks for the grouping generalization, whoever the heck you are. We're strangers to each other, so I don't know what group you're in.

Anyway, I had sent a longer comment this a.m. about the Salix subject and the nsaids. I'll check out that article you mentioned at the now defunct Thoroughbred Times. You do consider if someone, real scientists included, have a vested interest in keeping the diuretic, Salix, in use?  Of course you understand that the drug is not a cure nor a prevention for EIPH. You are satisfied with not considering any long term effects these drugs may have? Happy with the increased recovery time between races due to the fluid loss, since the diuretic does its work in that area, and you are okay with the calcium loss from bones to replenish the blood calcium levels? My earlier comment ,which was not posted, to KY concerned the use of Salix which acts upon the kidneys alongside of administering phenylbutazone which can have side effects of causing ulcers and kidney damage. Also, with most of a card being made up of claiming and allowance races, why not start with disallowing Salix for stakes races? This would affect a small percentage of overall racing, but it would affect the races that get the most new fan/tv attention. Understanding that the perception by those against Salix use  and those who don't feel as though it is a problem(and then there are those that are pro-Salix, stating that it is actually cruel to  run a horse without the diuretic) is that Salix gives an edge because of the weight loss through fluid loss, pre-race. The comments that since it is a first-time Salix user horse will improve, usually with no other reason given for that improvement. So, a perception that U.S. horses must be medicated to win, and not for health reasons.  sceptre, it would take some persuasion, and yes, scientific evidence, and long-term effects studies to change my mind about the administering of a strong diuretic to approximately 90% of U.S. racing Thoroughbreds. Tell me why I should think that's okay.

Uniform rules, nationwide, for drug usage and consequences for infractions are of course long overdue. Possibly that was the part of the comment that did not pass the moderator earlier.

To Mike, I saw your comment about visiting the Tucson rescue. How is Here Comes Frazier(if he's still there)?  Very, very good cause; will send another donation. Maybe you would weigh in on the Salix/nsaids issues as these concern the horses' well-being.

Copied, sent elsewhere also.

24 Jan 2013 3:24 PM

From the #1 hole and going the mile and sixteenth at Gulfstream, Shanghai Bobby should take home the bacon here.  Itsmyluckyday and a couple others (Bern Identity, Dewey Square and Frac Daddy) in the race should test his mettle. If "Bobby" fails to win here it could be the end of the Triple Crown road for him IMO ...but I think that he's equal to this task.  

24 Jan 2013 4:39 PM

The world gets by without Lasix.

24 Jan 2013 4:53 PM

Finally!   Sceptre steps up with the truth! much misinfo out there......someone just posted it "masks" illegal drugs! They read, or here this stuff, and spread untrue things...of course, ya gotta know how to read..........maybe coldcuts can get it on audio..........

24 Jan 2013 5:18 PM
Mary Zinke

sceptre,if you noticed KY, just grouped me with some mob I don't know. Also, sceptre might have no idea if that well-published veterinarian who authored that article sceptre mentioned adminsters Salix to race horses and charges for their after-care, having a vested interest in giving its use a positive angle. Also, the S.African study, which was never duplicated was mentioned. What proof was in that article, sceptre?  What was I supposed to gain from that? Since you, yourself, KY, said that it was not that big of a deal, can you live without it(figure of speech, not meaning actually be able to breathe)if Salix were to be banned from use in stakes horses? Love the taking the opposing view to get me to think. Amusante.

24 Jan 2013 5:50 PM

Are European horses less healthy?  They use our bloodlines, but somehow have no need for race day meds.  And I am supposed to believe that it is necessary for the health of the horse?  European horses seem pretty healthy to me.  When a Euro wins a race here on Lasix, Euros are very skeptical of the form unless that form can be reproduced there.  Otherwise, rightly or wrongly, there will always be a stigma associated with Lasix.  

24 Jan 2013 6:18 PM
Mary Zinke

Yah, read it, sceptre, this anyway, at Thoroughbred Daily News since you failed to post a link. (In response to your once again, ad hominem, at the new blog.

You don't address the percentage of U.S. horses on this diuretic, nor the fact that when horses are seen to bleed from the nostrils, not just the minute amount detected in a scope that they likely bled THROUGH Salix use. You don't discuss the leaching of calcium from the bones to return the blood calcium levels to normal.  If you want to cite a source, post the link. Thanks.

You are a bit heavy with the personal comments, but that's expected when one attempts to take a pacifier from someone else's baby's mouth. And I wasn't the one who said that this drug masks others.  It's a strong diuretic. That is its intended purpose.

24 Jan 2013 8:11 PM
El Kabong


For what it's worth, I think the KJC horses are very talented. I am happy to see two in this race and hope the others will spread out and give me a gauge. I much prefer them to the others and expect them to run well. Have to respect Shanghai and Itsmyluckyday, but I'll probably box the 4 of them in a tri for sure, maybe a super. 1,2 6,7.

24 Jan 2013 8:30 PM
Mike Relva

Mary Z

Frazier is well,but limited regarding what he's able to do as result of the injury.

This time around, was twenty lbs lighter.

24 Jan 2013 11:06 PM
Mary Zinke

Mike, I found out, by chance a few months ago, looking up something about Currency Swap, that the winner of the Bourbon in which Here Comes Frazier was injured, Animal Spirits, died in his sleep, so to speak. Remarkable that the badly injured horse could have surgery and he has been recovering at the rescue. Maybe one day he'll have another home, meanwhile, he's at a great place.  

25 Jan 2013 1:48 AM
Mike Relva


A decision hasn't been made regarding Frazier, my feeling is he will be there for awhile.

That's good you're going to send a donation, they can use it.

25 Jan 2013 11:35 AM

This is quite interesting and I have not yet finished the entire article but the first question that comes to mind is: When doing this very detailed comaparison, was the analyst using Zenyatta's FIRST TWO races only, or at her racing style in general. We all know that Z was a late-maturing filly and that was the reason she did not race as a 3 yr old. Rather than look at the amazing mare Z matured into, I think it would be a more fair comparison to compare Ebby to the Z that she was at the very onset of her racing.

26 Jan 2013 12:06 PM

Oh, never mind. I do see that more than half way thru the article it's mentioned that Z's "debut race" was looked at.  I thought that would have been made clear earlier, but my fault for posting before finishing the entire article.

26 Jan 2013 12:18 PM
Pete Denk

Hi Monica, thanks for reading and commenting.

Yes, Zenyatta showed her amazing emotional conformation and herd dynamic from race 1.

26 Jan 2013 12:26 PM

This is such a load of fluffy, crystal clutching crap. KY VET, you got it right. Horses are motivated by two things: food and fear. PERIOD. They are simply not capable of complex, analytical though.

20 Apr 2013 12:00 PM

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