A Racing Weekend of Stars

By Ed DeRosa

If you’re the type who thinks that racing needs its stars to keep racing to increase interest, then this is the Saturday for you!

The one-two finishers and beaten favorite in America’s richest race all make the second start of their season on Saturday at Santa Anita Park in the Santa Anita Handicap, and last year’s Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday and Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice make their four-year-old debuts in the Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Mucho Macho Man won the Breeders’ Cup Classic over Will Take Charge, but the latter went on to defeat the aforementioned Classic favorite Game On Dude in the Clark Handicap, a win that gave Will Take Charge champion three-year-old male honors—a distinction for which Palace Malice was a finalist. And though Game On Dude is on a three-race losing streak, he is a back-to-back Big Cap winner and Southern California’s most famous horse since Horse of the Year Zenyatta and dual classic winner I’ll Have Another.

The exciting part about all this isn’t necessarily that these horses are racing this weekend, or even against each other this once—it’s that they’re all around to earn a championship, and that will mean facing each other again down the line.

Throw in the Kilroe Mile, which features horses more used to seeing the backside of two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, and there is plenty to look forward to both in the short-term of great racing on Saturday and long-term on what could happen the rest of the year.

For a complete list of handicapping products for Big Cap day, including PPs, data files, analysis, and workout reports, visit Brisnet.com.

These dream races never happen (e.g. Rachel Alexandra versus Zenyetta), but the thought of a Woodward Stakes with Itsmyluckyday, Mucho Macho Man, Palace Malice, Will Take Charge, and Wise Dan plus whoever else shows up (Alpha, probably) is the type of race we’ve all waited a long time for.

And all this discussion doesn’t even address racing’s glamor division, the current three-year-old males who are blazing the Triple Crown trail in a pair of 85-point races on the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby Championship Series: the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

Both are part of the TwinSpires.com Road to the Kentucky Derby SHOWdown with 255 players still live to the $1-million with 14 races to go, including these two. After starting with the first four, I’ve missed the next two (Rise Up in the Risen Star and Harpoon in the Gotham), and if I were playing would be one of 422 players tied in 671st behind the 415 players with five and the aforementioned group live to the $1-million.

My picks for this week are Hy Kodiak Warrior in the Tampa Bay Derby and California Chrome in the San Felipe. The former race features a bunch of horses all capable of Brisnet.com Speed Ratings in the low 90s, and I refuse to take a short price on equal talent. Hy Kodiak Warrior is a “P” type in terms of running style, and he’ll have plenty of targets here while his bullet workouts at Calder Race Course tell me he’ll be tractable and put in a good position.

The San Felipe trio of California Chrome, Kristo, and Midnight Hawk easily cover the most likely winners of this race, and I’m hoping California Chrome is third choice against the Sham Stakes exacta, as he’s comfortably my top pick and would be value for me at 3-to-1 or better.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the big-time action actually starts Friday night in the States with the simulcast of three Group 1 races from Australia, including the Darley Australian Cup featuring last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorentine in a rematch with top three-year-old Shamus Award plus the Newmarket and Norton Stakes as well.

For analysis of all three races plus information on TwinSpires.com Lucky 7s $21,000 promotion throughout the Autumn Carnival Down Under, click here.

by Brisnet.com Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa


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I have become a major fan of Aussie racing and I now feel better about previously screwing up the spelling of It's a Dundeel's name.  Fiorente (flowery), not Fiorentine (from Florence).   Doesn't matter because it's still good racing altogether.

07 Mar 2014 9:23 PM
Pedigree Ann

A bay colt by High Chaparrel started racing in New Zealand as Dundeel and won his 2yo debut at Auckland in April of 2012 (yes, I know we would consider him 3 then, but the seasons are opposite from ours and the breeding and racing year down there follows the seasons, not our artificial Northern Hemisphere-based calendar). But when he showed up in Australia in August, as a new 3yo, he had been re-christened It's a Dundeel. I have no idea why the Aussies augmented his name - there are no other horses with the name 'Dundeel' in their stud book.

This has happened many times before when Kiwi horses went to Oz after racing at home - Good Lord became My Good Lord, Poetic Prince became Our Poetic Prince, and so on. I used to think it was because there was another horse with the same name in the Australian Stud Book (a separate registry from the New Zealand Stud Book), but now I'm not sure.

07 Mar 2014 11:20 PM
Pedigree Ann

The new sprint star in Australia is the 4yo Lankan Rupee, who has blossomed since he was gelded. The Aussies aren't afraid to geld horses they feel aren't giving their best as entires. A lot of US colts would probably run better as geldings, but over here, stallion value is more important than it is down there.

07 Mar 2014 11:31 PM

Mucho Macho Man fancied to maintain his superiority over the classy and dependable Will Take Charge in the 'Big Cap". There should be none getting between these two. Blingo to steal the show spot from Game on Dude.

The San Carlos shoud also be a very exciting stretch battle with Shakin It Up out finishing Sahara Sky and Winning Prize.

California Chrome will make a big announcement of his Ketucky Derby threat in the San Felipe ...should be a runaway victory.

Conquest Titan to trample rivals at Tampa Bay.

Lochte to upset the apple cart in the Kilroe and it could be your lucky day at Gulf Stream ...if you get my drift.

Good luck folks.

08 Mar 2014 7:45 AM


If nothing else you are true to form and remain the biggest fan of MMM. He defeated WTC by diminishing HD the last time they met. He had the advantage of contesting races on the SA Park superspeedway on two previous occasions. He defeated a 4YO at GP whose regular function is to chase the emergency vehicle.

WTC has contested two G1 races since they last met whereas MMM has raced against substandard competition in his two subsequent starts. WTC was beaten by a NTR at GP by a horse that is going to be making a lot of noise in the senior ranks going forwards.

“California Chrome will make a big announcement of his Kentucky Derby threat in the San Felipe”

Revisit the profiles of the last five winners of the San Felipe and see if that of California Chrome fits. The only horse that had a chance to beat him in the Cal Cup Derby was Tamarando. He is yet to win a race on dirt but has won several of synthetic.

California Chrome figures are no better than those of Midnight Hawk and Kristo. No one knows how good Schoolofhardkrocks is. This colt could have his chrome removed later today and it would be surprised me if he wins let alone does so commandingly.

“Conquest Titan to trample rivals at Tampa Bay.”

No love for the Pletcher barn entrant? Have you abandoned that ship? The TBD will not be won by a deep closer as that is not the MO of the race. The horse I expect to take the lead and be very difficult to catch is Tuscan Getaway. despite the 15 weeks between races he appears to be fit, unless the bullet: 57 3/5 he worked at GP on 02/18/2014 is incorrect. Coltimus Prime is also another unknown that could surprise. My first choice is the rail loving Vinceremos. I will be mixing him with the two aforementioned unknowns, East Hall and others for maximum return.

08 Mar 2014 9:21 AM
Forbidden Apple

S.A. Race 4- daily double #5 Ferocious with #4 California Chrome.

S.A. Race 5- win bet on #4 California Chrome. He drops 6 pounds from his last start and has appeared to be toying with his competition of late. A rapidly improving colt that will take over at the top of the stretch and run away from this filed.

S.A. Race 7- #1 Sahara Sky loves 7f and he should have plenty of pace to run at, look out!

S.A. Race 8- #5 Za Approval is coming back after nearly holding off Wise Dan in the B.C. Mile. This guy fires every race, look for him in the winner's circle.

S.A. Race 9- #1 Will Take Charge gets plenty of pace and his revenge on Mucho Macho Man today. Late daily double with #4 Got Even, who could go gate to wire on the front end with Bejarano up.

08 Mar 2014 11:02 AM

My Bet of the day is #16 in the 8th race at GP: Trecastle. He finished 4th on debut. He was so far behind the field he appeared to be in different zip code. He made up of a lot of ground to secure the last slot on the board. With an additional 1.5F to travel and Lasix added he has a chance to mow them down in the last furlong at a big  price.

08 Mar 2014 11:59 AM

Forbidden Apple,

Can Foorbridge make all today? If not, can he close with a flourish at a price?

08 Mar 2014 12:22 PM
Mike Relva

Please someone say Game On Dude isn't a top tier horse.Difficult for anyone to spin. He BEAT QUALITY TODAY,not mentioning he's the oldest horse in the race.

08 Mar 2014 8:48 PM

Coldfacts: I've got to rub this one in my friend ...please read it out loud ...on top of your voice "Ranagulzion predicted California Chrome will make a big announcement of his Ketucky Derby threat in the San Felipe ...should be a runaway victory ...and it happened just like he said" LOL.

Please pause when you think of challenge yours truly next time.

08 Mar 2014 9:44 PM
Rusty Weisner

Forbidden Apple,

Good to see you back and glad you had a good day.  I loved California Chrome.  It looked like a strong pace and he separated himself from a good horse who ran a good race.  

09 Mar 2014 10:32 AM

Ranagulzion ,

Congratulations are in order as you called it exactly as it unfolded.

With that stated, I must confess I live for challenges. I saw Steve Haskin's comments and his intention to promoted CC to the #1 slot.

I often laugh when a scintillating performance propels one on the Derby trail to a cant loose Derby status.

I made a ton on consolidator when he set the existing stakes record for the San Felipe. I doubt he won another race. I witnessed Bellay Road record setting victory in the Wood and his promotion to #1 on all Derby lists.  

Do you realize that Ring Weekend's performance in the Tampa Bay Derby was more impressive but is not getting the Buzz?

CC is a nice colt with a lot of ability and speed but he has a lot of hurdles to cross to win the Derby so do not go overboard. One of the horses he has defeated has far more Derby positives and that is the one on which you should focus after you return from cloud nine.

10 Mar 2014 12:24 PM
Rusty Weisner


You're putting words in Ranagulzion's mouth.  He never said California Chrome "can't lose".  He said he's a Derby threat.  Which he seems to be.  Look at the figures for the race.  The last scintillating performances I remember on the SA 3-yo circuit were Bodemeister and IHA.  This little horse also has something going for him you usually claim to appreciate - a foundation.  

I'd like to know opinions on the pedigree of this horse.

10 Mar 2014 1:38 PM

Mike Relva: I'd never say that Game On Dude isn't a top tier horse ...he's been an outstanding  Grade 1 performer over several season but I don't understand the dramatic reversal of form and a seeming turning back of the clock on a 7YO gelding, running a stakes record over 10 furlongs and appearing to want to run another lap in his gallop out ...unbelievable ..after pulling away from an in-form 4YO Will Take Charge that comprehensively beat him twice fairly recently. Please explain that to me my friend.

10 Mar 2014 5:02 PM

Rusty: Check Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen blog March 3 and the one of even date for discussion on California Chrome's pedigree. Sceptre engages yours truly in that discussion in the March 3 blog and Steve gives his perspective in the latest Derby Dozen post. Enjoy.

10 Mar 2014 5:06 PM

I am probably not the best person to evaluate pedigree as I focus exclusively on the sire line and dam sire line of horses. It’s a very simplistic approach but pertinent history can be cited from these categories.

California Chrome was sired by a grandson of A P Indy who stands for $2800. The grandsons of A P Indy have not featured in Triple Crown in general and the Derby in particular. If not for the Tapit sired Normandy Invasion 4th place finish in the Derby, the grandsons of A P Indy would be non-existent on the Derby chart. This a big negative for CC as Derby history takes no prisoners

The Nasrullah sire line was dominant in the 70s; won two derbies in the 80s and then went dormant for a period of 23yrs until Animal Kingdom broke the drought in 2011. Orb followed in 2013. The line has won 2 Derbies in the last 25 years. What are the chances of the line winning consecutive Derbies off its record for the past 25yrs? The A P Indy sire line is very strong this year but I cannot see it producing consecutive winners.

California Chrome dam was sire by Not For Love a son of Mr. Prospector. Three sons of Mr. Prospector have been dam sires of winner of Triple Crown races i.e. Smart Strike- Mine That Bird, Carson City –Barbaro & Gone West – Union Rags. This represents a positive for CC.

I happen to think that Tamarando is the most dangerous horse on the Derby Trail. He is from the sole surviving line of Man O’ War via his most successful siring son War Relic. The 78-1 Closing Argument almost gave the Man O’ War surviving line its first Derby victory since 1937. This colt will stay 10F and has the closing speed to get himself into contention when it is being decided.

10 Mar 2014 9:39 PM
Mike Relva


Wasn't trying to imply you were knocking him. How have you been? Yes,it's like Dude looks as good as ever. Bet this will suprise you,I'm a fan of Havana.

11 Mar 2014 10:29 PM

Mike Relva: Its good to see you back in blogland. I'm having fun on here Bro.  Game on Dude's performance in the Santa Anita Handicap was the best of his career IMO. I was just surprised at the reversal of form ...especially with the way he put away Will Take Charge and galloped out like he was wanting to run another lap of the track after running a stakes record for 10 furlongs. It still amazes me that a 7YO gelding can bounce back like that against a really good 4YO that beat him comprehensively only recently.

Havana is a good 3YO but not a Derby horse. He lacks stamina but has the class to surprise in perhaps a race like the Preakness ...in the mold of a Shackleford IMO.  

13 Mar 2014 9:25 PM

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