Secretariat

Nysos One to Watch Despite Baffert Derby Ban

You can’t bet on Nysos in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager because of Churchill Downs’ extension of the Bob Baffert ban, but he is one not to be overlooked whether or not he gets to the Derby with another trainer. ~ Steve Haskin

Nysos One to Watch Despite Baffert Derby Ban 

By Steve Haskin

 

Who is Nysos you ask? Well, he could very well turn out to be the best classic prospect in the country. Of course it is way too early to talk about such things and we do have a potential superstar out there in Fierceness and some exciting maiden winners who are just emerging as top prospects for next spring.

But as we have seen the past couple of years, Churchill Downs will not acknowledge the existence of any horse trained by Bob Baffert when it comes to the Kentucky Derby Future Wager even though several top Baffert 3-year-olds have found their way into the Derby by way of the Tim Yakteen barn. So far it just hasn’t worked out. As a result, Nysos was missing from the latest Future Wager field, and as of now will not receive any points until he is listed under the name of another trainer. For the purpose of this column, however, who cares? This is about the horse, and the rest will take of itself.

Instead of looking ahead to the Derby I am just going to focus on what defines perfection in a young horse and the excitement of discovering potential stars in maiden races. When you see a 2-year-old run off the screen in a maiden race how do you judge his performance in regard to how he will move on when he faces winners, then stakes horses, and finally Grade 1 and Grade 2 horses at longer distances.

Although we have had spectacular maiden victories by Nash, Knightbridge, Booth, Carbone, Dornoch, Merit, and Mystik Dan, among others it was Nysos who looked as close to the perfect horse as you could hope for when he broke his maiden in spectacular fashion and then followed it up with a sensational score in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes.

By perfect we don’t just mean times, speed ratings, margins and other statistics. We have seen brilliant numbers before in maiden blowouts and many of them amount to little or nothing when they face winners. It is more important to look for other factors and qualities that it is hoped will project long-term success. It is not until those are addressed that you can start looking at pedigrees to determine how far a horse will go. Nysos, a son of Nyquist, has checked off every box in maiden and stakes company and is now ready to stake his claim as a major star.

It is those other factors and qualities that caught our eye when we watched Nysos’ two starts, mainly his mechanics, smoothness of his lead changes, temperament, intelligence, and just overall demeanor. Combine all them with his brilliant stats – six furlongs in 1:08 4/5 at Santa Anita and seven furlongs in 1:21 3/5 at Del Mar; margins of 10 ½ lengths and 8 ¾ lengths; breaking his maiden wire to wire with blinkers and winning  the Bob Hope coming from fourth in a four-horse field without blinkers. That last fact demonstrates his versatility and ability to adjust to changes in equipment and running style. In the Bob Hope, he was last seen galloping out some 20 to 25 lengths ahead of the others.When he returned to the winner’s circle it looked as if he hadn’t even run and stood like an old pony having his picture taken.

As for his mechanics he has such an easy-going flawless stride and ran straight through the stretch without any inclination to drift off his path. I always watch the head-on to assess a young horse’s stride and with many of them their legs are all over the place. Watching him, his stride and balance were so perfect you could not see his back legs behind his front legs; that’s how straight he was and how perfectly he carries his legs under him.

Looking back, Nysos has seen it all. As a weanling he went through the Keeneland November mixed sale, selling for $130,000. As a yearling he went through the Fasig-Tipton October sale, selling for $150,000. And as a 2-year-old he went though the Ocala April sale, selling for $550,000.

“He would have gone higher in the 2-year-old sale if he hadn’t sold two from the end of the sale; that hurt us,” said Tom Fackler of Best A Luck Farm, who bought him as a yearling, broke and trained him, and pinhooked him at the 2-year-old sale. “He was just a plain brown horse, but he did everything so effortlessly and whatever we asked him to do he did it. He had great balance, a good hip, and a super mind. You can’t beat his mind, he’s so laid back. There was so much going on around him but he just stood there looking straight ahead. He just floats over the ground and is so light on his feet. He worked an eighth in :09 4/5 before the sale and galloped out very fast. He still does everything easily. After the Bob Hope, someone who was there in the winner’s circle told me he wouldn’t blow out a match.”

It was Donato Lanni, who teams up with Bob Baffert at the sales, who signed the sales slip. Baffert said he “worked really well for the sale and was a beautiful mover.” Even now, Baffert says “he stands like a pony; you could put a child on his back. I took the blinkers off for the Bob Hope and told Flavien Prat to school him; I don’t want him on the lead. It was good that he drew the outside post and took right back to last. Before the race, Prat, who was on him for the first time, thought he was too quiet. But as soon as he got away from the pony and approached the gate, all of a sudden he lit up and got his game face on.”

With Nysos having been flawless in every department we can now look at his pedigree. There is enough top and bottom to suggest that distance won’t be a problem and I love that he is a complete outcross through five generations. He is not lacking in classic-winning representation with his sire Nyquist having won the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist’s sire Uncle Mo also having sired a Belmont Stakes winner in Mo Donegal, Nysos’ broodmare sire Bernardini having won the Preakness and being a son of Belmont winner A.P. Indy, and Nyquist’s tail-female family tracing to Hall of Famer Arts and Letters, winner of the Belmont, Woodward, Travers, and two-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup.

In addition, Nysos’ third dam, Unbridled Elaine, won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and is a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, the sire of Travers, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate. And Unbridled’s Song, of course, is a son of Unbridled, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

So, all in all, Nysos, who was bred by Susie Atkins and is owned by Baoma Corp, definitely is one to keep an eye on regardless of what path he takes next spring.

Photos courtesy of Benoit Photography

Racing historian, author, and award-winning retired journalist for the Daily Racing Form and The Blood-Horse, Steve Haskin was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame’s Media Roll of Honor in 2016. Known for his racing knowledge and insightful prose, he has been an exclusive contributor to Secretariat.com since 2020.


Newsletter

Signup for the Secretariat.com newsletter For new announcements, merchandise updates and other excitement here at Secretariat.com, please enter your email address in the popup window. Our mailing list is never sold or viewed by anyone other than Secretariat.com

Leave a Reply

108 Responses to “Nysos One to Watch Despite Baffert Derby Ban”

  1. Bigtex says:

    Nysos was poetry in motion and the way he took back so professionally in 2nd race was just so impressive. Amazing to see a great time, huge gallop out and no evidence of any exertion in the winners circle.

  2. Matthew W says:

    I know Mandella ran one-two-three in The Big Cap, and that was a bigger race then …but top four in a gr1 is something I have not seen till today … Matriarch only $300 K but it’s always been a quality gr1…it would have been a great win, for Fluffy Socks….the winner, a three year old who rallied inside, and it’s hard to pass on the inside, on turf—Surge has done it numerous times…..she could be a star….

  3. Lynda King says:

    The only silver lining in this entire JustifyJimsonweedgate is that Justify and none of the other horse’s who were fed hay or given bedding contaminated with Jimson Weed got sick.

    8 ounces of Jimson Weed can result in symptoms raning from dry gums, dialted pupils and lack of coordination to organ failure (liver), paralysis and death.

    Correction to some of the comments below from others, Jimson Weed is common in the Southeastern States including Georgia and the Deep South including Alabama and Texas.

    The difference between here and California I guess is that we rid our pastures and hayfields of this deadly weed and others and check our hay for mold, toxic weeds, dead animals.

    Would be curious to know if there was any sort of corrective action plan put in place that hay and bedding suppliers be required to certify their products as weed, blister beetle, mold free and low nitrate. My suppliers do.
    Having worked for years in quality control and quality assurance I know from experience that contaminated foods for both humans and animals is one of the leading causes for food borne illnesses that can be fatal.

  4. Bill Dawson says:

    Sierra Leone, who closed from 10th to finish 2nd in the Remsen, is a full brother to Locked who was closing like gang busters, finishing 3rd in the BC Juvenile. Both of these colts should relish going the classic distance.

  5. Blake says:

    RIP Sun King! He was euthanized yesterday. He was my favorite retired horse at Old Friends and the one i looked forward seeing when I visited. I raced him down the fence line a few years ago. He was very friendly and probably was one of the most energetic horses on the farm. He acted like it was race day lol. He will be missed!

    • Gloria S. says:

      Jeez, I check this site regularly to get a feel of why betting is such a part of racing as opposed to the sport itself. Always, there is a tale like this that ruins everything.

      SMH

      • Blake says:

        He was 21Yo and at a retired farm for race horses. He had cancer, that was the reason he was pit down. He had a good life

        • Gloria S. says:

          Thank you kindly! I usually do searches, but confess I didn’t want to see/read of yet another tragedy. I’ll be more attentive in the future.

  6. Matthew W says:

    I can’t stand these sealed tracks ..Santa Anita had one on Sept 29th, Slow Down Andy got hurt, and Dr Schivel and Bob’s sprinter both showed little, in the Breeders Cup—biggest day in the Fall meet and they give you THIS—Hope nobody emerged hurting, at Los Al Quarters I avoid horses that ran in the “wet fast” surface (they sometimes have them)…wet-fast is code for “We took out the cushion ..”

  7. Betsy says:

    Steve, what did you think of Honor Marie? Thanks!

  8. Steve Haskin says:

    The horse I’m most looking forward to seeing in the Remsen is Sierra Leone and if he can unleash that big turn of foot he showed in his debut. He looks to have a bright future.

    • Davids says:

      Sierra Leone might not have won but he was very impressive in defeat.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      I am sure that Thoro-Graph figure for Sierra Leone will be very telling about his huge effort in only his second start… bright future indeed awaits the son of Gun Runner…!

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Steve, you were bang-on about Sierra Leone. That said, Dornoch’s comeback was one of the most impressive runs I’ve seen from this crop so far.

      Did you see El Capi’s win in the second race, and if you did, what did you make of it? Yes, the track was speed favoring and sealed, but his fractions were better than 3YO allowance horses later on the card at the same distance.

  9. Steve Haskin says:

    Leonard just informed me there have been some mentions of Parchment Party. Just to let you know he is the subject of Monday’s column.

  10. Matthew W says:

    Steve…..What if…this track has it in for this trainer, and that trainer was just DQ’d from his Derby qualify race, which was run in 2018….could or WOULD they disqualify him from THEIR race?

    • John Goggin says:

      Matthew W, to ban Justify in 2016 from the Kentucky Derby because of a DQ in the Santa Anita Derby is mistaken on at least two accounts…Baffert was given the positive test just 12 before the KD and asked for a split sample to be tested which the CHRB did just 4 days prior to the Derby which would have “created an unrealistically compressed timeline to adjudicate the case and DQ Justify” especially in light of the fact that Baffert had already won 5 KDs and a Triple Crown just 6 years earlier.
      But, most important, at the time scopolamine was listed in California as a Class 3b substance which means a horse is to be disqualified. But the CHRB failed to update its rules from December 2016 by the Association of Racing Commissioners International to lower scopolamine to a Class 4c substance and thus under California rule 1859.5 disqualification only class 1-3 substances were to be disqualified and Justify shouldn’t not have been DQ’d.
      The biggest thing here is that the CHRB failed to be transparent to the public.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Churchill is capable of doing anything, but they cant do that. I’m sure they are not thrilled that Baffert won the Derby with a horse who would not have qualified for the race had the stewards and commission been on the same page in 2018 and not buried this from the public. But Baffert would have appealed so they couldnt keep him out until that was settled.

      • Matthew W says:

        If…Bob gets to keep say, Nysos, and then they win the Preakness and Belmont—which could happen, with a horse like this …then Churchill would have messed with the Triple Crown—They PUNISHED him…..but they won’t let things go, this might be one of those crops, 1:41 and change was FAST, by Fierceness, and Nysos looks real good….they need to stand down NOW…..

  11. Lynda King says:

    I have always been bothered by the claim that Justify tested positive for scopolmine as the result ofjimson weed being found in the bedding.

    Horses will only eat jimson weed if they are starving. It has a very unplatable taste to horses.

    Almost every county extension agency, university and vet lists jimson weed as being highly toxic to both horses and cattle. Consumption of a half a pound of the weed can cause paralysis and death.

    It is one of the toxic weeds that I watch for in my horse pastures and in my horse hay. Granted I do not use straw bedding, rather I use pine shavings, but I do not think any conscientious hay farmer would put up straw (probably oat straw) that has jimson weed or any other toxic weed and sell it for horses.

    It just has not been logical that Justify tested positive for the drug because the presence of jimson weed. Furthermore I question any trainer, stableowner, horse boarding facility or in this case, race track management or any other entity would purchase bedding straw that had jimson weed on it.

    • Matthew W says:

      It’s not uncommon in western hay,and does not take much to test poz. . Several others tested poz that same day ….so I guess that means we are in disagreement, letter of the law states the Derby winner (Triple Crown winner) be disqualified, is that what Lynda wants? Spirit of the law says leave it alone, that’s what Matthew wants, give Ruis his money and enough—All racing needs is another black eye, I guess if there were twenty starters, Justify bumped #21….but if there was nineteen would THAT mean Justify’s Derby was OK? It appears to me, at least— in efforts to “clean up” the sport—damage is being done to reputations, but that’s always what happens, when men decide everything is all black and white..

      • Matthew W says:

        I believe five others tested poz, but that’s only horses that raced, there probably were much more, who got that hay…

        • JanBer says:

          All others tested positive for quite minute amounts. Justify tested positive for three times the amount allowed at that time, which was several times higher than the other horses. The anomaly has never been explained as far as I know.

        • JanBer says:

          The others tested positive but not at as high a level as Justify, which was quite a bit higher than the other horses.

      • Lynda King says:

        No Matthew…disqualification of Justify is NOT what Lynda wants.Lynda also does not want CDI to ban Baffert for 5 more years from the Kentucky Derby.

        What part of jimson weed being toxic and deadly to both horses and cattle do you not understand. What part of a half pound…8 oz of jimson weed being consumed by a horse or a cow can be fatal do you not understand? No horseman, horse woman, owner, trainer that I know or have ever known would RISK the safety, health and well being of their horses or cattle or other livestock by using bedding that is contaminated with jimson weed or any other toxic weed! Only ignorant people would or people who do not care.

      • Lynda King says:

        Justify had ZERO points going into the SA Derby. No way he could have bumped anyone.

        • Matthew W says:

          My point being IF there were say…19 runners then wouldn’t that have been OK for him to run? With zero points?

  12. Nelson Maan says:

    Nysos is one of the most exciting future stars rising from the West since Flightline. I am not saying that Nysos will be in the same league as the 2022 Horse of the Year but only noting some uncanny early similitudes. Both showed scintillating early speed in their first starts clocking a tad over 68 and 81 seconds for 6 and 7 furlongs respectively. Perhaps a bit more impressive is that Nysos got those top speed ratings as a two-year-old while Fligthline started to astonish everyone in April of his 3-year-old campaign.

    Both Fligthline and Nysos have pedigrees built for the Classic distances and still they ran eye-catching 21 and 44 seconds for the first two quarters of their early races.

    I always believed that Flightline, with his stamina laden pedigree, was able to extend his exceptional speed over any distance. This could also be the case for Nysos if he remains sound and is able to stand the natural selection of Baffert training regime.

    Among the other impressive 2-year-old newcomers mentioned by Steve, I am excited to follow Godolphin prospects Knightsbridge and Nash. Knightsbridge got the same cross as Nysos. Both are sired by Derby champion Nyquist out of a Bernardini mare.

    I don’t remember any Godolphin two-year-old being more impressive in his debut than Knightsbridge. Just watch the replay of Churchill’s 7th race on November 4th and you will likely concur… Nash was also signaling better things to come with his 10 length win 8 days later at Churchill for Brad Cox.

    Seems like Godolphin got its best Triple Crown cards (in Knightsbridge and Nash) since Essential Quality in 2021; and Bill Mott is more than able to win the first ever Kentucky Derby for the international powerhouse.

    For Bill Mott I also see Parchment Party as one of the most respectable deep closers among his peers so far. The Hall of Fame trainer got another good prospect in this son of Constitution and maternal grandson of Tiznow (like the Champagne, Florida Derby, Travers and Belmont winner Tiz the Law). Parchment Party is training brilliantly at Churchill getting ready for good showings in the upcoming Triple Crown trail.

    Bill Mott and Brad Cox share the rare distinction of winning the Derby by DQ and would love to win it the right way… but they have to contend with Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher contingent first…

    • Davids says:

      Nelson, Mott’s Parchment Party is one of my major hopes for next year as well while Nash’s pedigree is full of intrigue. Nash’s dam, Sara Louise, defeated Rachel Alexandra in the Pocahontas Stakes then Rachel Alexandra reversed that decision in the Golden Rod Stakes. As everyone knows, Nash’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, is the sire of Rachel Alexandra.

      • Ms Blacktype says:

        Davids, Parchment Party also has three crosses of Seattle Slew in his first five generations, a solid stamina influence. That’s pretty unusual.

      • Nelson Maan says:

        Yes Davids. In his two wins at 1 1/6 mile Parchment Party looked like a typical 10-furlong-horse with really big strides. The quintessential closer who “knows where the finishline is” and seems to always catch the frontrunners regardless of the early pace…

        There are a lot of nice pedigrees among the main 2-year-old prospects. Knightsbridge’s second dam is the dual Grade 1 winner Round Pond.

        The $2.3-million colt Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) will be making his case today in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes in 10 minutes from now. His three first dams are Stakes and Grade 1 winners.

        Dornoch and Moonlight are his most serious contenders …

        • Davids says:

          Agree with you Nelson. Moreover, I prefer the time these colts are being given rather than rushed into early stakes races. They don’t appear to have the same ‘constitution,’ forgive the pun, as horses of the 60s, 70s, 80s once had.

          Good call on the Remsen Stakes as well.

          • Nelson Maan says:

            Talking about patience … remember Signator (Tapit – Pension by Seeking the Gold) the 2-year-old in our A list of Tapits last year.

            He seems to have regained top form with two-win streak at a mile and 1 1/8 mile. His last win came after a 3-furlong blowout (35.4/5) the day before… pure old school …!

            Signator is ready for a rather good 4-year-old campaign for Shug and Castellano…

            • Davids says:

              My thoughts as well, Nelson. I still have faith in Signator becoming a black type performer next year. The Tapits appear better 4 year olds than 3 year olds overall but keeping good ones on the track at that age is nigh impossible these days.

              Tapit Trice should make an impact next year and Charge It needs to be managed better.

              Did you catch Patriot Spirit’s win in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay today? Another Constitution colt that may make some noise next year.

              • Nelson Maan says:

                I did not watch Tampa today… Aqueduct was my focus…I was glad to see a phenomenal debut there by El Capi winning by 10 lengths in 1:21 4/5 for 7 furlongs. Rick Dutrow has a super fast prospect in his hand but might be trying going long with the son of McLean’s Music and maternal son of Flatter. Dutrow continues to build great momentum for his comeback.

                • Nelson Maan says:

                  *maternal grandson of Flatter

                  • Davids says:

                    Yes, Nelson, El Capi gave an audacious display and Rick Dutrow has had phenomenal success on his return. Distance may be a question but we’ll see as 7f is not easy on debut. Let alone win by 10 lengths.

  13. Davids says:

    Does the disqualification of Justify as the 2018 Santa Anita Derby winner now presuppose that other owners/trainers et al of horses who were placed in the 2018 Triple Crown races believe they have a chance to ‘legally’ change the order of those Classic races?

    Does CDI now have the ‘legal’ power to disqualify Justify from winning the Kentucky Derby in 2018 considering CDI’s animosity towards Bob Baffert? This looks like another mess that US racing could definitely live without.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Giving the way CDI hates the silver wizzard that scenario is not at all farfetched… CDI will take the opportunity to silence him forever.

      • Davids says:

        Nelson, the first thing I thought of when reading about this skulduggery was “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”. Bob Baffert has nothing to do with it but may end up as suffering the greatest damage in the long run.

        Justify has already established himself as an up and coming sire.

        • Jiffy says:

          Justify certainly has established himself as an outstanding young sire. Revisiting 2018 because of these news items, I realized what a good year that was for producing sires. In addition to Justify, there was Good Magic and Bolt D’Oro, both of whom are off to an excellent start, and also Mendelssohn, Audible, and Vino Rosso. I usually think of 1957 as the year whose three-year-olds turned out to be the best stallions, but in time 2018 could rival it.

          • Davids says:

            You had me running back to the 1957 result, besides Bold Ruler of course, you get the elephant stamp and a gold star. They were the marks of excellence given out by teachers. Ha ha

    • Jiffy says:

      I would never attempt to predict what Churchill Downs might do because nothing they do makes any sense. Taking away a well-earned Triple Crown because of a point system whose only purpose is to limit the size of the Derby field would certainly not be in the best interest of racing. I don’t know what legal rights might come into play, but there ought to be some sort of statute of limitations on this kind of nonsense. It took nine months to take the Derby away from Medina Spirit, nine months to take the Hopeful away from Forte, more than five years to take the Santa Anita Derby away from Justify, and who knows where it goes from there? Maybe nothing in the record books is safe any more.

      • Davids says:

        Not to forget the ‘running sore’ that became Dancer’s Image disqualification in the Kentucky Derby. I always felt that Peter Fuller and Dancer’s Image were ‘unlucky’ in this debacle.

        • Jiffy says:

          They were unlucky. At that time disqualifying a Derby winner was unthinkable–nobody could believe this was happening. Now it’s getting to be almost routine.

          • Davids says:

            You’re right Jiffy, you get the result then you hold your breath as to whether the result will stand. Spoils everything, especially the moment.

      • Lynda King says:

        Jiffy, the big picture is not what happens to trainers or owners or titles or records but what it is doing to the sport and the racing industry as a whole.
        These repeated scenarios of sudden horse deaths, breakdowns, lawsuits, illegal drugs, overages of legal drugs etc all is killing the sport.
        This past week a graded stakes winning colt by California Chrome collapsed and died on the track in California after a work out. A filly by California Chrome refused to enter the starting gate, reared, fell over and suffered an injury that resulted in her being euthanized. I have not watched the video but an animal rights group has posted a video of her laying with her legs under the gate and being dragged out of the gate. There was another story that made news recently. A colt by American Pharoah was found in a bad abuse situation…nearly starved to death and slaughter bound when he was rescued. Then the CBS expose on horse racing.
        These are the images that the public sees and why there is a growing demand for the sport to end here in the United States.

        This latest fiasco with Justify is front page news everywhere. It really does not matter at this point how the scopolmine got in his system. Special interest groups will demand that the horse is disqualified because he did not have the points to run in the Derby.
        His success as a breeding stallion means nothing. The only matter at hand now is what will CHD Inc do?

        • Jiffy says:

          The big picture includes all these things–the good, the bad, the large, the small, the significant, and the insignificant. No one wants horses to die or break down or be drugged or be abused. That goes without saying and every effort must be made to prevent these disasters. But they will never be totally eliminated. There will always be something for the media and the special interest groups to grab onto and publicize, and they will do it because it fits their agenda. The average person only knows what the media chooses to tell him, and sadly the dark side of anything is what makes news. There’s not much any of us can do about that. But what we can do is speak out for the good side of racing; if we don’t, who will? I’ve had friends thank me for getting them interested in the sport when actually I didn’t do anything. They just saw how much I love racing and the pleasure it gives me and they wanted to look into it. So we can at least be an example. We can’t ignore the problems, but we mustn’t ignore the good things, either. Justify has been good for racing, his Triple Crown was good, and his success at stud is good. I celebrate all of that. I’ve never lost my interest in the sport because of bad things that happen, and I’ve never needed time away from it to recover from those things. I mourn every horse who dies, but I thrill to those who are alive. And there’s always something good to keep you going if you stop to think about it.

          • Lynda King says:

            The unfortunate thing Jiffy is that those looking in from the outside do not see the good things.
            They do not know what I know as horse owner all my life that tragedies happen to horses all the time.
            I could list all of thd heartbreaking tragic things that have happened to my horses over the years but I will not bore you with that information.
            The biggest problem in the horse racing industry today ( It has ceased to be a sport) is that no one wants to accept responsibility. No it is not the track says the track owner. No, it is not me says the trainer. No, it is not me says the owner. No, it’s not me days the breeder. No it is not me says the track vet. And so on and so on down the list. Everyone cscreams for change, but when push comes to shove, no one wants change.

            I personally could care less about Baffert, Churchill Downs, the betters, and all of the mega elites in this industry.

            I care about the horse and the Jockey who sits on their backs and that is always what I will care about.

            You are right about one thing though. The industry is not very good at promoting the sport. The best thing to come along in a long time is the story of Cody Dorman and Cody’s Wish.

            Just take a look at Japan. That country has fans of all ages who celebrate the horse. They hold a horse in the park t u pe event several times a year where they can actually meet their favorite race horse as in horse that is racing.

            And just as an FYI to you and others, I do not get my information from the horse racing wrongs or animal rights activist groups or PETA. I have broad group of horse racing fans from all over the world and I either belong to or follow multiple groups that discuss horse racing.

            Some of the things others in foreign countries that have racing say about American dirt racing might shock you. Quite often I spend time defending American racing, tell them you cannot judge the entire basket of apples by the few that are rotten to the core.

          • Todd Vaughn says:

            Very compelling post, Jiffy. In racing, and any human endeavor, there have always been really good and really bad people, with a lot of gray in between. The methods and awareness may have changed, but there always were people in racing who would resort to cheating or cruelty. Simple human nature at work. What may be different now are the outside activist agendas and the means to promote them. The best we can do is to recognize, promote, and support all the good in horses and racing.

            • Jiffy says:

              Thank you. The activist groups have been around a long time, but you’re right–now they have the Internet, and that gives them a lot more reach.

  14. Davids says:

    Equinox has been retired, no Arc attempt for 2024, off to stud instead.

  15. Matthew W says:

    My brother clocked, back in the day….he was gaga about John Henry’s stride! So fluid! Along comes Snow Chief, and his stride looked like he was riding a bicycle! When we saw A P Indy in his debut race —there were four of us watching, he ran a very slow final time….all four of us thought we had viewed the Derby Winner! American Pharoah had a fluid stride …Honor Marie’s stride looked fluid, as well ….a fluid stride enables a horse to get more distance—that’s just my opinion, but it seems true ..

    • Matthew W says:

      Extremely early…but maybe this is a good crop..a very good crop..

      • Davids says:

        No to forget the Coolmore wunderkind, City of Troy, whom A. O’B. can’t drop enough superlatives to describe. The ‘lads’ are thinking the English Triple Crown then the Travers Stakes and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

        Next year could be when a racehorse – ‘boldly goes where no racehorse has gone before’ – warp speed, Mr. Sulu!!

        • Todd Vaughn says:

          In the US, it seemed like we spent the year trying to create a special 3 yo, but they were all found wanting. I hope some of the excitement i am seeing here is fullfilled. It’s been awhile.

          • David says:

            European turf tracks are much more forgiving than US dirt tracks and the style of racing is easier on the wear and tear of young horses who are still developing.

            The dominance of the Mr. Prospector line in the US over the past 50 years has resulted with blinding speed for a few along with soundness problems for the many. I’ve read that Mr. Prospector is in 70% of all present US racehorses.

            Something has to give, breeding to unsound horses whose progeny will run on an unforgiving surface doesn’t make a great deal of sense but ‘the money’s so good just get a grip on yourself’ – somewhat flipping the line from The Strangler’s song “(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)”.

            • Todd Vaughn says:

              The days of the “gentlemen breeders” (and women) are long gone and greatly missed. Maybe this is why modestly talented horses like Rich Strike can win the Derby and second tier Europeans dominate our turf horses.

              • Davids says:

                Northern Dancer in his lifetime had 645 named foals with a stakes winners percentage of 22.8%. Into Mischief at present has 1,568 foals of racing age with a stakes winning percentage of 9%.

                There’s your problem – mass production. Northern Dancer had 147 stakes winners total, at present Into Mischief has 140 stakes winners.

          • David says:

            European turf tracks are much more forgiving than US dirt tracks and the style of racing is easier on the wear and tear of young horses who are still developing.

            The dominance of the Mr. Prospector line in the US over the past 50 years has resulted with blinding speed for a few along with soundness problems for the many. I’ve read that Mr. Prospector is in 70% of all present US racehorses.

            Something has to give, breeding to unsound horses whose progeny will run on an unforgiving surface doesn’t make a great deal of sense but ‘the money’s so good just get a grip on yourself’ – somewhat flipping the line from The Strangler’s song “(Get a) Grip (on Yourself

  16. Bill Dawson says:

    The G2 Remsen Stakes, at 9 furlongs, is coming up Saturday, 12-2. Dornoch, an impressive maiden winner, last out, is listed as the favorite, at 5/2. However, the colt I like is Where’s Chris, by Twirling Candy, out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare. He out dueled Book’em Danno in the Nashua Stakes, going a mile in 1:36.75, and should relish the added distance of the Remsen.
    He’s inbred to the Mr. Prospector line, and I like the fact that the stamina packed Lemon Drop Kid is his broodmare sire.
    Sold at auction for $20,000, Where’s Chris could turn out to be a bargain.

  17. Jeff says:

    Thanks Steve for providing feedback on Nysos. His size was impressive as well, he towered over the Bob Hope field. I replayed the race multiple times including the aftermath destruction. It’s way early but I walked away with these thoughts: best horse I’ve seen since flightline (doesn’t have a high enough BSF yet), and I think he can be versatile on turf or dirt at a distance. Agree with Matthew below, hope he stays with baffert, pencil out a plan for horse of year.

  18. Bill Dawson says:

    My current top ten 2yr. old colts, in preferential order.

    1) Fierceness
    2) Nysos
    3) Honor Marie
    4) Real Men Violin
    5) Bentornato
    6) The Wine Steward
    7) Locked
    8) Muth
    9) My Boy Prince
    10) Where’s Chris

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Nice list, Bill. I have a similar one, with a few different horses after the top three, but it’s still so early. I was burned by Booth in the Ed Brown Stakes, so I am wary of including recent winners. I do have Nash at #13. My list, in an order that probably means nothing:

      1) Fierceness
      2) Nysos
      3) Honor Marie
      4) Muth
      5) Locked
      6) Rhyme Schemes (hope springs eternal, at least until they’re retired)
      7) Prince of Monaco (gets a pass on BC Juv)
      8) Timberlake
      9) The Wine Steward
      10) Real Men Violin
      11) Just Steel
      12) Normandy Hero (always gets a piece; hoping he improves at 3)
      13) Nash (Brad)

  19. Gloria S. says:

    One of the striking things I read about Secretariat was that he had two strides, which he used flawlessly. one as a sprinter and one as a stayer. This was discussed after his stride was measured at Pimlico, and, of course, compared to Man o’War. Ron Turcotte agreed with this assessment by Dr. Manuel Gilman published in a NYRA press release. Turcott said Secretariat changed strides like no other horse he’d ridden, although it wasn’t the length, but the quickness that really mattered.

    This is all referenced from Raymond Woolf’s Secretariat book.

    • arlingtonfan says:

      That is fascinating! In another note on strides and adaptability, I also read in Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit that at some point while he was recuperating from the injury that nearly ended his career, Seabiscuit “develop[ed] a new stride. No longer did he stab out with a foreleg as he ran….He now…direct[ed] all of his motion forward and back, not side to side. It was a beautiful, smooth gait, and probably a sounder one” (p. 299).

  20. Derek Manthey says:

    Steve, one of my favorite things about the sport is that everybody has an opinion. I miss the days of the railbirds and track hounds and touts. Old men smoking cigars a racing form in one hand and a stale beer in the other. I ‘ve always trusted your eye and analysis you probably would of been a great spotter for a sniper. Thanks for the tip!

    • Steve haskin says:

      Thanks very much Derek. I remember my first grade teacher asking the class what they wanted to be and I said a spotter for a sniper.

  21. Matthew W says:

    Steve you don’t often see a horse win by ten and then get an equipment change—If I had Bob pick out my horse, then train him—-the way Churchill has made their rules, the horse cannot run in PREPS at OTHER TRACKS…..I’d seriously think about going for Horse of the Year, or Eclipse Award, and keep him in Bob’s care, sending to Pimlico then Belmont—so many horses don’t survive the Derby—if they don’t want Bob then so he it, but keep Nysos where he is…. and please don’t stop “Haskinizing” the Derby Trail, we want your opinions, about everything —including stride mechanics….well most of us do…

    • Matthew W says:

      Steve it’s too early to talk about Nysos ‘s stride, he’s only two….but Fierceness’s stride is fine—-nnnnyyOOOKAY??!!

      • Discopartner says:

        He’s stridden longer, for sure.

        • Matthew W says:

          And he’s #1 right now, for sure …but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about other two year olds, Steve DID write about Fierceness, in another posting …Nysos looks pretty good to me—I also liked Honor Marie, who looks pretty small in size, but maybe that’s because he reaches so far out, in his stride…

          • Matthew W says:

            And I’d be remiss, to not mention Locked….I thought the BC Juvenile set up perfectly for Fierceness, who hit it out of the park ….Locked Sat way back, but he came running late, and being a Gun Runner there’s cause to be hopeful he will improve —

            • Matthew W says:

              If… Fierceness goes 6.31 mewonders what Locked did, he seemed to be struggling and then he comes running, not sure if he closed on Fierceness, but if he did then he would have shaded 6.31….We are due for a good crop!

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Even if they did go for the Derby Baffert would get him back after the race anyway.

  22. Discopartner says:

    You see so many big stakes winners who didn’t have a perfect stride and there are so many different winners’ physiques. I think it’s too soon to say what Nysos’ stride is, let alone that it will win him races. The camera wasn’t on him for long, same with Fierceness, who has a notable physique, all angles and slim. His stride was fine as he came down the stretch in 6:31 compared to Nysos’ 6:51 at a shorter distance.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Dont ever be an NFL scout Lol. The fun is finding and analyzing these young horses now and trying to find the future stars. I can do it next April but what fun is that and who would care? Please feel free to come back then and analyze Nysos’ stride in case it should change for the worse. And being Fiercenesss came home his final sixteenth in the BC Juvenile 20 one-hundedths of a second faster than Nysos in the Bob Hope Stakes I better reevaluate Nysos.

      Btw, just to prepare you I plan to write about another potential up and coming star next week and because stride means so little now I will not mention it. I just hope all the bloodstock agents and trainers who watch the breezes at the 2-year-old sales heed your warnings about stride.

      • Discopartner says:

        It would be interesting to see what comes of the 2 yr. olds whose strides the bloodstock agents and trainers admired the most.

        • Steve Haskin says:

          Well then the owners should save their money and get rid of bloodstock agents. Why even buy young horses at all? Just wait until they are 3 and buy them Derby week.

          • Discopartner says:

            Sorry, I must be expressing my thoughts poorly. I have nothing against bloodstock agents. I didn’t know they studied stride, I thought they looked at conformation, speed, pedigree, but I don’t know much about them. There is very little written about stride on horse racing websites, please keep it up.

  23. Beth Koch says:

    Great analysis, Steve. I’m definitely going to follow his progress, and I love his pedigree. Anytime I see Bernardini (and therefore A.P. Indy and Secretariat) in the pedigree, it gets my attention. His Bob Hope really impressed me. And when I read the comments of Tom Fackler, referring to him as a “plain brown horse”, I remembered somebody saying that same thing about American Pharoah. At this point, I wouldn’t presume to compare the two, but you never know. This is an exciting time of year, I love watching the youngsters showing what they can (or can’t) do.

  24. Ms Blacktype says:

    So enjoyed reading this, Steve. So much wonderful information to digest, especially the part about watching the horse from the head-on view and seeing perfection in his stride! Nysos is definitely a keeper for next year’s classics. Too bad Bob won’t get to train him for the Derby.

  25. Davids says:

    Steve, please write more about the colts you feel may make a noise next year on the Derby Trail. I really enjoyed reading your impressions of Nysos. Nysos did impress in the Bob Hope Stakes and the pedigree should find 10f of no consequence. That both Zetta Z and Seresa’s Spirit never raced may be problematic but considering who bought the colt and who is training Nysos soundness shouldn’t be a concern.

    I have a list of colts that have caught the eye as well but these days the heart doesn’t overrule the mind until they have performed well in stakes races with points attached. So much fun reading everyone’s opinions on the Derby trail.

    Thanks again, Steve and good luck with Nysos.

    • Betsy says:

      David, from previous thread….

      I think HAP can be a very good sire if he’s given a chance, but he’s ice cold – probably due to his sire- and he only bred 44 mares this year. He’s going to have to get off to a good start or he’s done for.

      Hopefully Japan learned from Lane’s End and will breed speedy mares to HC

      • Davids says:

        Yes Betsy, you’re right. Coolmore are the exemplar of promoting a new sire, besides their advertising. Ha ha Coolmore have a raft of Classic oriented broodmares for sure but they have the precocious, speedy type broodmares that can enhance the opportunity of new sires. Moreover, they breed in voluminous numbers. From there it’s up to the sire himself – cutthroat and businesslike but also extremely successful. Not that I’m enamored with the production.

        All Honor A. P. needs are some early winners plus a few stakes winners with a vision of roses and the mares will come. Hollywood Story might just provide those essential ingredients in his make up. Plus these quite a lot of turf in his pedigree so there’s another angle.

        As for Honor Code, Japan’s delight could be America’s regret. It’s happened before.

      • Davids says:

        Betsy, I just checked with Epicenter who stands at Coolmore/Ashford. There were 262 mares bred to Epicenter in 2023. It’s all about quantity these days. Just shocking really.