More Champions: Just the Facts Part II

To close out the holiday season, we go back into the annals of American champions with the hope of once again enlightening racing fans with facts they may not be familiar with. ~ Steve Haskin

More Champions: Just the Facts Part II 

By Steve Haskin

If you thought after last week’s column you now know all the facts about our champions, well, we have more for you. And let’s start with some of the filly champions who were able to defeat the boys in major races.

Of course we will only briefly go back to pre-World War I when fillies beat the colts on a regular basis. Some of the more well known were Ruthless, Tanya, Beldame, Artful, Pan Zareta and Imp.

Imp, known as the “Coal Black Lady,” ran an incredible 171 times, 50 of those starts as a 3-year-old, and became the first filly to win the Suburban Handicap, followed a few years later by Beldame. One of the greatest upsets came in 1904 when Artful shocked the racing world by beating the undefeated wonder horse Sysonby In the Futurity Stakes, his only career defeat. Then in 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby, and the publicity she received launched the Derby into national prominence. What most people might not realize is that when Regret won the Derby she had made only three career starts and her previous start was in the six-furlong Hopeful Stakes 8 1/2 months earlier.

Fillies’ success continued throughout the 1920’s, which brings us to our first fact.

** To demonstrate the high esteem in which fillies were held, C.V. Whitney’s undefeated Top Flight was made the 8-1 winter book favorite for the 1931 Kentucky Derby, despite the fact that the race was still more than five months away and she hadn’t yet been nominated?

** The 1940’s saw a resurgence of fillies’ success against colts following a slowdown in the ‘30’s when new and lucrative stakes for fillies were added. But in the ‘40’s, top colts such as Citation, Armed, Stymie, Devil Diver, Pavot, Hoop Jr. ad Better Self all fell victim to fillies. The queen of them all was champion and Hall of Famer Gallorette, who competed against males in a amazing 42 stakes races, and in 1946 won two legs of the Handicap Triple Crown.

** In 1948, fillies ran first and second in the Brooklyn Handicap, with the 17-hands giant Conniver beating Gallorette by a head. It was three lengths back to champion and Hall of Famer Stymie.

** In the 1940’s, Calumet Farm twice defeated champion males with fillies when Bewitch upset stablemate Citation in the Washington Park Futurity and Twilight Tear crushed handicap champion Devil Diver by six lengths in the Pimlico Special. And in 1951 their 5-year-old mare Wistful defeated eventual Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year Counterpoint in the Ben Ali Handicap.

** What champion filly defeated a Kentucky Derby winner and a Horse of the Year, and in two different years? It was Tosmah, who beat Derby winner Lucky Debonair in the 1966 John B. Campbell Handicap and Horse of the Year Roman Brother in the 1964 Arlington Classic.

** Last week we mentioned champion Gamely. Did you know that not only did she finished second to the great Dr. Fager in the Californian Stakes and the leading older horse Nodouble in the Santa Anita Handicap, she had the distinction of winning at Saratoga and Hollywood Park carrying over 130 pounds each time?

** What Suburban Handicap winner was bred to a Suburban Handicap winner and produced a Suburban Handicap winner? Busanda was bred to Tom Fool and produced Buckpasser, all Suburban winners.

** What filly ran in the Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Handicap? C.V. Whitney’s Silver Spoon won the Santa Anita Derby easily defeating eventual Preakness winner Royal Orbit and then finished a respectable fifth in the Big Cap the next year, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths.

** Speaking of Buckpasser, he was upset at odds of 3-5 in the 1965 Futurity Stakes by Priceless Gem, who would produce the great Allez France, who defeated colts in eight stakes in France, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

** There was a Hall of Fame filly who was upset by a 10-1 shot in the Test Stakes who also would be elected to the Hall of Fame. Can you name both fillies? Yes, none other than Filly Triple Crown winner Mom’s Command who was upset by the great “Iron Lady” Lady’s Secret.

** Champion filly and Hall of Famer My Juliet not only defeated Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes in the seven-furlong Vosburgh Handicap, she also finished ahead of Preakness winner Master Derby when finishing second in the Omaha Gold Cup and defeated Jockey Club Gold Cup winner On the Sly in the Michigan Mile and an Eighth.

** Last week we made several references to the Washigton D.C. International. You may not be familiar with the 1975 winner Nobiliary, who won wire-to-wire and like Dahlia was owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt. But it is worth noting that earlier that year she became the first filly since 1916 to finish second in the Epsom Derby when runner-up to the great Horse of the Year Grundy.

** It wasn’t until the 1980’s that fillies made a major impact on the Kentucky Derby when Genuine Risk and Winning Colors captured the roses in 1980 and 1988, respectively. Genuine Risk would become the only filly to place in all three Triple Crown races, finishing an unlucky second in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

** What is the greatest family connection in Breeders’ Cup history? Whitney winner Personal Ensign won the Distaff. Personal Ensign’s daughter My Flag won the Juvenile Fillies. My Flag’s daughter Storm Flag Flying won the Juvenile Fillies.

** When discussing the great filly champion sprinters who defeated colts, mention must be made of Xtra Heat, who won 26 of her 35 races, 34 of them sprints, and finished in the money 33 times while competing at 13 different racetracks including Nad al Sheba in Dubai. In her final 19 starts she earned 17 triple-digit Beyer speed figures, with the other two being a 99. Along the way she ran a remarkable 120 Beyer, a 118 and a 117. Racing against colts, she won the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, finished second, beaten a half-length in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont, and was third in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai.

 Let’s Get Back to the Boys

** What two champions and Hall of Famers were deprived of unbeaten championship seasons by losing to their own stablemate? The first we gave you earlier, and that was Citation losing to Bewitch, his only defeat in nine starts at 2. The other was Buckpasser, who was beaten by stablemate Impressive in a seven-furlong exhibition allowance race to start his 3-year-old campaign. Buckpasser went on to win his next 13 races that year. But Impressive, who became a rabbit for Buckpasser, made it up to him by setting up his world record mile in the Arlington Classic by setting blazing fractions of :43 3/5 ad 1:06 4/5.

** Did you know that Assault is the only Triple Crown winner who did not go off as the favorite in the Belmont Stakes? The favorite was Lord Boswell who closed fast in the Preakness and just missed catching Assault by a neck.

** Did you know that trainer Elliott Burch won three Belmont Stakes with horses who competed in the first two legs of the Triple Crown and then ran in the Met Mile in between the Preakness and Belmont? They were Sword Dancer and Arts and Letters, who both had hard races in the Derby and Preakness and then won the Met Mile with ease, and Quadrangle, who finished second in the Met Mile to Olden Times. To show how much that took out of them, all three horses went on to win the Travers, with Sword Dancer and Arts and Letters named Horse of the Year en route to the Hall of Fame.

** Name the only horse to win the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on dirt and Grade 1 Hollywood Invitational on grass, and did it in back-to-back races. That was Exceller, who later that same year won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on dirt and Grade 1 Oak Tree Invitational on grass in back-to-back races.

** Name the greatest three-horse rivalry hardly anyone is aware of. First the appetizer. In 1996, Will’s Way won the Travers with Skip Away third. Early in 1997, Formal Gold won the Donn Handicap with Skip Away second. Now the action begins. In the Mass Cap it was Skip Away first, Formal Gold second, and Will’s Way third. In the Suburban Handicap it was Skip Away first, Will’s Way second, and Formal Gold third. In the Whitney it was Will’s Way first, Formal Gold second, and Skip Away third. In the Iselin Handicap it was Formal Gold first and Skip Away second. In the Woodward it was Formal Gold first, Skip Away second, and Will’s Way third.

** Now we come to the greatest two-horse rivalry hardly anyone is aware of. We’re talking about champion and Hall of Famer Precisionist and the grossly under appreciated Greinton. Seven times they finished first and second, all Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes, with Precisionist holding a 4-3 edge. It actually ended 4-4 with Greinton winning the Santa Anita Handicap and Precisionist finishing sixth. Their crowning achievement came in a three-race span in 1985 in which Precisionist beat Greinton in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap covering the mile in a blazing 1:32 4/5. Greinton came right back and beat Precisionist in the one-mile Californian Stakes in 1:32 3/5 and then beat him again in the mile and a quarter Hollywood Gold Cup in 1:58 2/5.

** If you want an excellent example of how racing has changed over the years, Carry Back at 2 raced 14 times before stretching out in distance…to six furlongs. He actually began his career on January 29 going three furlongs, and then raced three times in February alone, all at three furlongs. He closed out his 2-year-old campaign with victories in the Garden State Stakes and Remsen Stakes in his 20th and 21st starts of the year and then went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and a number of other major stakes until his retirement at age 5, having made 61 career starts.

** Even workouts have changed dramatically over the years. In the 1967 Woodward Stakes, called the “Race of the Century,”If there was a concern about defending Horse of the Year Buckpasser it was that he was coming into the race off a two-month layoff (Now who doesn’t?). To compensate, trainer Eddie Neloy worked him a mile in 1:38 2/5 17 days before the race. He came back four days later and worked him five furlongs in the slop in :59 flat. Four days after that and nine days before the race he worked him a full 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 1/5. Five days later he was back on the track working six furlongs in 1:11 flat four days before the race. And how about the victorious Damascus, who in a 10-day span before the race worked  seven furlongs in 1:27 2/5, then three furlongs in :36 1/5 four days later, then another seven-furlongs in 1:27 the next day, and then blew out three-furlongs the day before the race in :34 4/5. Again, this is four works in the 10 days leading up to the race.

** What 2-year-old champion and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby with decisive victories in the Flamingo Stakes and Florida Derby ended his career at age 9 racing at Lincoln Downs and Narragansett Park, both in Rhode Island? It was Top Knight, who scored impressive victories in the Hopeful, Futurity, and Champagne Stakes at 2 and twice defeated future Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Arts and Letters at 3. He lived to a ripe old age at a small farm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

** What 3-year-old champion was named after a song his owner and breeder heard through the walls of Saratoga’s Reading Room where he was staying and decided because it was so catchy to one day use the name for a horse? The owner and breeder was Hirsch Jacobs and the song was the Lloyd Price hit “Personality.” The colt Personality that Jacobs named after the song would win the Preakness, Woodward, Jersey Derby, Wood Memorial, and Jim Dandy Stakes.

** Name the champion who is the only American horse to run in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice and actually finished a good fourth behind the legendary Ribot. It was C.V. Whitney’s Career Boy, who first ran in the Arc the year before, along with his stablemate Fisherman.

** As a follow-up, name the only two American classic winners to run in the Arc. The aforementioned Carry Back in 1962 finished 10th of 24 starters, but was beaten only 5 3/4 lengths. In 1965, Preakness winner Tom Rolfe finished sixth behind the great Sea-Bird under Bill Shoemaker.

** Name the Horse of the Year who ran four triple-digit Beyers in his last five starts, all at different distances. It was Ghostzapper, who ran a 120 in the seven-furlong Tom Fool Handicap, a 122 in the Met Mile, a 124 in the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic, and a 128 in the 1 1/8-mile Iselin Handicap.

** Animal Kingdom is the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby in his first start on dirt.

** Big Brown was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby with only three career starts since Regret 93 years earlier and the first horse to win from post 20.

** Name the horse who began his career at Philadelphia Park, Meadowlands, and Garden State, then was sold after losing eight straight races, and two years later was voted Horse of the Year? It was Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Black Tie Affair, who closed out his career with six consecutive graded stakes victories at five different tracks for little-known Chicago trainer Ernie Poulos.

** This last one is from far out left field, but worth mentioning. What Hall of Famer was from an unplanned mating when two paddock mates, one female and one male considered infertile, mated and produced a colt who  would toil around in cheap claiming races in West Virginia? Here’s a better hint. He was turned into a jumper and became the first horse owned, bred, and ridden by an American to win England’s Grand National Steeplechase. His name is Jay Trump.

This is the last column for 2023, so Merry Christmas to those reading this on Monday and to all a Happy New Year. All your wonderful comments throughout the year are greatly appreciated.

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 since 2020.


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176 Responses to “More Champions: Just the Facts Part II”

  1. Davids says:

    “American racing is going through rough times, a good part of it due to its image following several high-profile fatal breakdowns in Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup events. The inability to determine whether those injuries were caused by the racetrack or unsoundness or overuse of medication hasn’t helped, opening the door for fanatical organizations to condemn racing and demand its abolishment.” – Steve Haskin

    This could have been written today but was actually written over 14 years ago.

  2. Nelson Maan says:

    Steve’s reference to the 4th place of Career Boy in the 1956 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe prompted me to check the participation of other American-trained horses in the top European Stakes. It turns out that this 4th place is the best performance of any American-based horse in the Arc.

    Career Boy piloted by Eddie Arcaro missed the third place in a photo finish with Tanerko after his stablemate Fisherman led the field until entering the final stretch and fading to 9th at the end.
    I gathered that there were only four other American-based horses competing in the Arc after 1956.

    Tom Rolfe was 6th in the 1965 Arc, Cunning Trick finished 23rd in 1977, Noble Dancer was 16th in 1979 and the last one was El Senor who finished 9th out of 14 in 1991 ahead of Miss Alleged who won the BC Turf that year.

    The Arc has become a well-timed European preamble to the Breeder’s Cup turf but its winners (with the exception of Enable) has not been successful in the American Championship grass race.

    Horses who participated in the Arc without win it were more successful and you may recall the following such BC Turf winners:
    ln the Wings, Miss Alleged, Pilsudski, Fantastic Light, HIGH CHAPARRAL (two-time BC Turf winner), Shirocco, Conduit (two-time BC Turf winner), St Nicholas Abbey, Highland Reel, Talismanic.

    This upturn in forms from Longchamp to American grass comes to prove how critical is going from heavy to fast footing even for elite horses.

    Back to Career Boy’s performance in France. It was really remarkable specially for a 3-year-old foaled on May 11… no wonder that feat earned him the title of champion grass horse in 1956 despite winning just one turf race in the US (the United Nations Stakes).

    In the United Nations Stakes Career Boy’s stablemate, Fisherman, serving as his rabbit was a big help to the win. In this 1 3/16-mile Stakes on the grass the champion Swaps was the odds-on favorite but had to be scratched the same day due to an injury in his right foot which ultimately triggered his retirement. The brilliant Summer Tan was also a late scratch in that marquee Stakes of the Atlantic City racetrack.

    You may say that luck was on the side of Career Boy in his grass debut but he got all the respect reserved to an American champion after his memorable performance at Longchamp behind one of the best horses of all time and against the best European horses of his time.

  3. Lynda King says:

    One to watch. Crimson Light, Aqueduct Race 4.

  4. Matthew W says:

    8yo Two Emmys, multiple middle distance turf stakes winners…came back in late December to easily win a Fairgrounds stakes .. sideswiped in work and suffered a catastrophic leg injury—-mornings can be dangerous, a recent rider death and Edwin Maldonado AM injury—Two Emmys was a favorite of mine, and many, he wanted to beat you and if the lunk-head on top would just figure it out—Two Emmys wanted to beat you, abd he beat a place in my heart….

  5. Bill Dawson says:

    Maymun, by Frosted, out of an Indian Charlie mare, could be the fastest colt in the Bob Baffert barn. After he tied the fastest time at Ocala with a 9.3 furlong, he was sold for 900K to Zedan Racing. He’s been working lights out for Baffert and could be close to his first start at Santa Anita.
    Maymun could be a freak in the making. Stay tuned for his initial start.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Wonderful Arabic name…! I just watched Maymun’s last workout yesterday and he really looks like one who would love two turns…

      I will include the son of Frosted in my virtual stable for close monitoring…

      There is a son of Good Magic (out of a Distorted Humor mare) owned by Calumet named Good Money who is getting ready at Payson for his debut… his female family goes to the marvelous broodmare Better than Honor (4th dam)… Not the fastest workout horse but you will certainly like his pedigree for long distances eventually…

  6. Ms Blacktype says:

    Of the two preps, the San Vicente was more impressive in my opinion. There’s no question Muth is a legitimate horse. He turned in a very professional performance. Not sure what to make of the Gotham, although Drum Roll Please, the favorite (and reasonably close relative of Holy Bull) won. The Gotham may be the peak of his career; that’s been the fate of most recent Gotham winners. The time was glacially slow (1:41 and change for a MILE? Are we in Colorado???)

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Hi Ms Blacktype… The Gotham Stakes will be run on March 2nd… You must be refering to the Jerome Stakes today …

      Drum Roll Please will most likely be in the Withers Stakes on February 3rd. He has already ran the 1 1/8-mile (Remsen) and then he might very well go to the Gotham… You might have a premonition there …LOL

  7. Nelson Maan says:

    Drum Roll Please wins the Jerome rather easily with Castellano in the irons. The son of Hard Spun was third in the Remsen behind the highly regarded Dornoch and Sierra Leone. Today he looked very comfortable against lesser… his time for the mile is not that encouraging but Aqueduct dirt is super heavy today…

    Mind Control and Firenze Fire were notable Jerome winners but they turned to be brilliant sprinters instead of Triple Crown aspirants. However, Brad Cox will be plotting a suitable route for Drum Roll Please since he is already proven at two turns…

    Let’s see how Muth performs in his 3-year-old debut in three hours from now … I am really curious about how Pilot Commander is measuring against his top barn mate.

    • Davids says:

      Muth looks more a brilliant miler than a Classic contender to me while Drum Roll Please may have had his day in the sun already this year. Time will tell.

      • Nelson Maan says:

        Yes … Drum Roll Please will find his next races much more challenging specially if Dornoch, Sierra Leone and any Pletcher prospect take the path to the Wood Memorial…

        I also agree with your early assessment of Muth. However, I am never prepared to overlook Baffert’s ’empire of speed’. War Emblem, Authentic and Medina Spirit are testaments to the power of pure speed even for the Classics.

        Perhaps War Emblem and Medina Spirit had a decent reservoir of Stamina in their families but Authentic was mostly speed over speed genetically and on the track. Medina Spirit was so solid that one of the most convincing Champions of the last decade, Essential Quality, was never able to pass him at 10 furlongs…!

        If you push me to pick only two Baffert horses in route to the Triple Crown I would choose Nysos and Coach Prime… but no one knows if any other of his prospects could evolve to become an elite sort… Wynstock , Imagination, Pilot Commander might end up being another Real Quiet… and of course now we can never dismiss any other Justify appearing on the scene at the last minute…

        • Davids says:

          Nelson, Medina Spirit was placed last in the Kentucky Derby and be assured Essential Quality’s future was not going to be put at risk by trying to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic when Knicks Go had the race won at the start.

          Not sure what to think about the Baffert runners anymore with the CDI ban it’s not as though they shine u def other trainers’ handling. Hopefully, Maymun is not aimed for the Derby, the horse could be special if handled with care e.g. Flightline.

          • Nelson Maan says:

            You are right about the risk of disruption with any former Baffert horse going to the first leg of the Triple Crown… in my mind it is about the last two jewels when it comes to those horses I named above.

            BTW I see that Mission Beach was the first handed over horse. He is with Brittany Russell at Laurel where the son of Curlin reapeared with a good win at 6F.

            The trainer had a great success with another former Baffert horse named Doppelganger. She took the son of Into Mischief to win the prestigious Carter Handicap… but then again the Triple Crown is a more serious proposition… perhaps Tim Yakteen learned two or three key lessons to ensure a smoother transition for the horses comming from the empire of speed …ha ha

            • Davids says:

              Nelson, don’t forget to monitor City of Troy next year for the European Classics. Coolmore think they have an English Triple Crown winner and, moreover, may attempt the Travers Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic with him.

              The champion US three year old colt for 2024 may in fact end up being an European runner. Hold on to your hat!!

  8. Nelson Maan says:

    On the topic of 2023 Championships I foresee the following winners:

    Category Eclipse probable winner
    Horse of the Year Up to the Mark
    Older Dirt Male White Abarrio
    Older Dirt Female Idiomatic
    2-year-old male Fierceness
    2-year-old filly Jusf F Y I
    3-year-old male Arcangelo
    3-year-old filly Pretty Mischievous
    Turf Male Up to the Mark
    Turf Female In Italian
    Male Sprinter Elite Power
    Female Sprinter Goodnight Olive
    Breeder Godolphin 
    Owner Godolphin 
    Trainer Brad H. Cox
    Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
    Apprentice Jockey Axel Concepcion

    I see that the brilliant Auguste Rodin is being considered for 3-year-old title, Turf champion and perhaps even for HoY honors…we are accustomed to see European based horses taking the title of Champion Male Turf Horse; but there are no European named Horse of the Year with only one run in America…

    Steve mentioned All Along as a European HoY but she had won three Grade 1 races in America the year she was voted.

    I feel like Up to the Mark should have a lot of votes for HoY …

    • Nelson Maan says:

      … but can Up to the Mark be named HoY if the 3-year-old Auguste Rodin is voted Champion Turf Horse? what is your take on this play-off?

    • Davids says:

      Nelson, I found the inclusion of Auguste Rodin, Inspiral, Mawj, even Master of the Seas in the Eclipse Award nominations a bit of a stretch. Why not include Aidan O,’Brian and Ryan Moore in the mix as well? It’s the silly season I guess. lol.

    • Davids says:

      I’d give White Abarrio the Horse of the Year Award but expect Cody’s Wish to get the nod.

      • Nelson Maan says:

        Thanks for the replies Davids… Vox Populi winner Cody’s Wish would have been named Champion Miler in South America but this title has not been implemented in US yet… the son of Curlin is now gravitating between champion Sprinter and older dirt champion since his defeat in the Whitney.

        I see Up to the Mark above White Abarrio in terms of Grade 1 wins and by the fact that no local horse was able to defeat the son of Not this Time in 2023 … let’s see what happens with the balloting there

        • Davids says:

          Yes, Nelson, the lack of a miler Champion Award has always mystified me, both dirt and turf, especially as there are Breeders’ Cup races for this distance. Moreover, especially as Sprinters do not get the cache as milers do in other parts of the racing world yet they have Eclipse Awards for both genders in the US.

  9. Lynda King says:

    Stronach is turning Pimlico over to State of Maryland for extensive remodeling.
    Some are saying that will result in closure of Laurel Park.

    • Discopartner says:

      It seems like a big risk for the state to take that on and who would they find to run it and deal with today’s issues, like betting platforms, filling races, attracting fans to a dangerous neighborhood, etc.? It’s a shame about Laurel.

    • Matthew W says:

      Plan is for Preakness to be run this year at Pimlico, and the following two years at Laurel…

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Weird. Laurel has a legitimate racing program, and everything I’ve heard (never been to either Pimlico or Laurel) is that Pimlico is a total disaster. Sounds like the gorilla in the room is calling the shots if the tide turns toward Pimlico. Probably depends on which track is more valuable as real estate.

      • Lynda King says:

        According to people who live in the NE, Laurel Park is experiencing short fields and is in need of remodeling.
        There are doubts that the State of Maryland can wffectively run the Pimlico racetrack.

        I honestly do not know. All I am doing is repeating comments from people who follow horse racing more closely than I do, ,any of whom live in Maryland.

        Pimlico has already lost acerage to some sort of development. It is in a high crime area of Baltimore and the refurbishing will be very expensive.

        On the flip side, Maryland wants to keep horse racing.

        Just does not bode well for the sport in my opinion, another track closure.

  10. Matthew W says:

    No Sham this year…..

    • Bill Dawson says:

      Have you heard way the Sham has been cancelled?

      • arlingtonfan says:

        Looking again at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune article I cited earlier, the one that indicated the race would be run on Sunday, I noticed that the date on it was January 2023, not 2024. My apologies for the mistake. I just emailed Santa Anita to ask why the Sham was cancelled and will let you know if I hear anything.

      • Matthew W says:

        They said they had too many stakes for three year olds, and the Sham and San Vicente don’t draw well….so they eliminated The Sham, with the Lewis coming in early Feb……

  11. Matthew W says:

    Speaking of name origins, there was a little horse that cost next to nothing—a 1939 foal named Alsab— whose name derived from the first two letters of his owner’s first name, with the first three letters of his last name….Cost under a thousand, won $350,000 the hard way— in three years he started 51 times, 25—11—5 ….a real peoples’s horse….

  12. Larry Buzby says:

    Hey Steve: What a fabulous Holiday present!. Coming along at the same time as you, I remembered almost all of the horses and races, and read about many others. In the first column you mentioned Dr. Fager and Ta Wee. I was sitting at my desk in the 70’s, jumbo-sized Racing Form open, and told a friend “this full horse is running for 45K at Aqueduct. I’d claim him in a minute! His mom is Ta Wee, champion sprinter and sis to the Doctor.” With your Tartan background I’m sure you recognize Great Above, sire of the great Holy Bull. I think the S. Somer/Pancho Martin stable claimed him.
    Happy Holidays and keep the great memories coming! Eagerly anticipating the ’24 Derby Dozen.


  13. Bill Dawson says:

    After years of absence, let me be the first to welcome back our old friend Coldfacts. He simply changed his user name from Coldfacts to Counter Point.
    Welcome back Coldfacts. 🙂

    • Steve haskin says:

      Watch out who you welcome back. His return may be short depending on what Leonard wants to do.

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Hi Steve

        In a comment posted today, Counter Point mentioned that he is not “Coldfacts”. He fooled me, the composition of his writings, (style, if you will) are almost identical to those of Coldfacts.
        Any thoughts on the similarity of their posts?

        • Bruce says:

          Hi Bill, you beat me to the punch, I was going to point out the same thing, that Counter Point is indeed Coldfacts!! LOL!!
          The writing styles are very similar, and Coldfacts use to love to use DOB as a reference point! So yes, Counter Point is actually Coldfacts!!

          • Bill Dawson says:

            Thanks for the input Bruce.

            I’m inclined to take a person at their word, but as we both pointed out, the similarity of their writings are hard to differentiate. We’ll see how all this turns out.

            • Steve Haskin says:

              Leonard will find out for sure. After he does if CP still lies about who he is he will be banned again.

              • Bill Dawson says:

                Hi Steve

                It was not my intention to open up a can of worms, but it appears that’s what I’ve done.
                My apologies to all.

  14. Counter Point says:

    As we continue to evaluate and assess the KD class of 2024. Amongst the pertinent questions has to be the following. Are you thinking at the highest level possible?

    Many engaged in the assessment of potential Derby prospects follow the traditional path. Prospects assigned high Beyers and Brisnet figures are immediately flagged from inclusion in watch list. Likewise, wide margin MSW and stakes winners are automatically viewed as potential stars in the making. Many assessors are always on the lookout for prospects from high powered stables that have experienced repeated KD success.

    If the above fully captures the traditional criterions use in the identification KD prospects. A spinoff question has to be. Are the traditional ways in which KD prospects are identified limited in scope?
    The KD has a history of being cyclical. For a cycle post time favorites will dominate and without notice longshots and unlikely winner will enjoy a run.

    In the five years span from 2013 to 2018, post time favorites emerged the winners. In the five years since, the winners that have emerged whether directly or via disqualification, left the gates at the following odds,65/1, 9/1, (12/1-25/1), 80/1 &15/1.

    The on slaught of longshot and unlikely winners in the last 5 yeas has left many wondering if here will ever be another pastime favorite to win the KD. But we cannot forget the KD’s cyclical history. 

    Did the traditional ways in which KD prospects are identified, inhibit the evaluators form focusing on the winners over the last 5 years?

    • Bill Dawson says:

      Pointing out the cyclical pattern of past Derby winners, (favorites vs longshots) is redundant to say the least. Any serious follower of horse racing is well aware of that pattern. Pointing out potential longshots from this crop of 3yr. olds, moving forward on the Derby trail is the key.
      After being lambasted by you for omitting Parchment Party from my top contenders list (dated 12-31), I challenged you to post your top 15 contenders. I’m still waiting for that list. In addition, I would welcome a list of your longshot contenders.
      Bottom line, by not posting your list of contenders and/or longshots, it appears you fear ridicule.

      • Counter Point says:

        Which of the following colts was more impressive debut winner?

        Fierceness (DOB March 28) – 6F in 1:09.56 by 11 1/4L (Gate to wire winner) Equibase figure – 101

        Parchment Party (DOB June 5) – 8 1/2F in 1:45.47 by 1 1/4L (Trailed by 11 1/2l won by 1 1/4L) Equibase fig – 88

        Sierra Leaon (DOB March 31 ) -8F in 1:36.94 by 1 1/4L (Bobbled at start, 5W; won by 1 1/4L) Equibase fig – 87

        The above requires a high level of thinking to determine which of the above colt was the most impressive. From a speed figure perspective, Fierceness would be the unanimous choice. But he wasn’t the most impressive if high level thinking is employed.

        The KD isn’t a 6F race. Further, it isn’t a race exclusively for the swift.

        A June foal that appears to be devoid of tactical speed trailed a field by 11L and erase the gap to win by 1 1/4.

        A number of things occurred:

        The very young colt had an immediate introduction to the effects of the buildup of lactic acid due to the distance of his debut. He displayed no sign of fatigue.

        The manner in which he covers ground indicates energy efficiency over a distance of ground. This is an important characteristic for being successful in the KD.

        He appeared very professional winning as he responded to his rider commands to engage the leaders and he extended his stride in the stretch.

        He is June foal and nowhere near full strength. Yet he was still able to display the stamina to close an 11L gap with the minimum of fuss.

        With 4 months for this colt to gather more strength. He will be a totally different animal come Derby Day. This is assuming he isn’t one that flatters to deceive.

        • Bill Dawson says:

          On December 3rd, Steve Haskin devoted an entire column on Parchment Party, entitled “An Early Party Favor for the Derby Trail.
          Please do not try and take credit for pointing out Parchment Party at this stage of his career.
          Plagiarism resulted in the firing of two Ivy League University presidents, I suggest you avoid same.

  15. Bill Dawson says:

    Crushed It, by Dialed In, out of a Harlan’s Holiday mare, is a Klein Racing homebred entered in a one mile MSW race at Oaklawn Park, on Friday, January 5th, (R7). Trained by Brad Cox, it comes as no surprise that Crushed It is the morning line favorite at 6/5. The Brad Cox barn is loaded with several top contenders on the KD trail, Crushed It could be yet another colt to keep an eye on moving forward.

  16. Discopartner says:

    I’d like to know if Dornoch was named after a place – the town in Scotland, or the village in southwestern Ontario which was named after the town in Scotland.

    • John Goggin says:

      Don’t really know. However, I was wondering about the name of Nysos (three year old colt)…was it named after the Greek demi-god, the eye group of New York, the perfume group, the musical association of New York, or the place (mountain)?

      • Discopartner says:

        I would guess the Greek demi-god, I don’t think Nysos is associated with New York state in any way. Unless he runs in the Belmont stakes. Dornoch interests me ’cause it’s a village near my home town in S. Ontario. However, I suspect the Scottish version, the original town of Dornoch, is the source.

  17. Bill Dawson says:

    It’s good to see that Muth is entered in the G2 San Vicente, on Saturday, January 6th, at SA. After finishing 2nd to Fierceness in the BC Juvenile, he’s been working lights out, the most recent going 4F in 47.20 (5/89). A small field of 6 will contest the 7F San Vicente, which appears to be nothing more than a paid workout for Muth who towers over this field, IMO. I suspect Baffert is using the San Vicente as a stepping stone for the 8.5F, Robert B. Lewis, scheduled for February 3rd.
    Having secured close to 600K in earnings, he has a long way to go for Zedan Racing Stables to recoup the 2 million dollar purchase price. Time will tell if Muth was worth that investment.

  18. Bill Dawson says:

    My current top 15 colts on the KD trail.

    1) Fierceness
    2) Nysos
    3) Dornoch
    4) Muth
    5) Locked
    6) Catching Freedom
    7) Otello
    8) Carbone
    9) Merit
    10) El Capi
    11) Sierra Leone
    12) Honor Marie
    13) Track Phantom
    14) Snead
    15) Otto the Conqueror

    After being lambasted by Counter Point for not including Parchment Party on my top 15 contender list (dated 12-31), I challenged him/her to post a top 15 contender list. I wouldn’t hold my breath that we’ll be seeing that list any time soon.

    • Counter Point says:

      You are correct in asserting that a list of 15 isn’t forthcoming from my end. In a KD field of 20, probably 5 or less can effectively tote 126 pounds and completed 10F in 2:02.49, which is the approximate average winning time for the last 20 KDs. I consider compiling a list of 15 not as effective use of my time.

      Below are the prospects that have captured my attention.

      Parchment Party 1 – No prospect has exhibited so early that 10F will be a cake walk. A clone of Tiz The Law who can certainly go one better despite being a June foal.

      Sierra Leon 1A – An extremely talented colt whose Remsen performance under adverse conditions was breath taking. A million-dollar baby is overdue to win the KD. Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) was the last to so do.

      Liberal Ats – The winner of the Street Sense in similar conditions (Sloppy/Seal) to the ones Two Phils experienced whilst wining the 2021. The son of Arrogate is likely to be as good as another son of Arrogate i.e., Arcangelo. NB: No works in 0 days a cause for concern.

      Gergen – A son of Liam’s Map trained by Brad Cox who is flying under the radar. He has a double dose of Unbridled the most dominant male line in recent KD history. Longer will be better for this grey/roan colt.

      Generous Tipper – Big strong colt by the disappointing Street Sense. Possesses an energy efficient stride and cover ground effortlessly. Street Sence is overdue to produce a serious KD contender and this colt could be the one. NB: No works in 0 days a cause for concern. The 2007 KD class is featured in this colt’s pedigree as Curlin is dam sire.

      Domingo – Son of AP out of a Thunder Gulch mare’ It’s full time a KD winner emerges with a pedigree that reflects sire and dam sire as KD winners. The Brandon Walsh trainee seem to be a turf type that could take the Jeff Ruby route to the KD.

      Snead – The Nyquist colt is out of a full sibling to mega broodmare sire Bernardini. If Bernardini has emerged as such an exceptional broodmare sire. His full sister should be capable of producing a KD winner. Further, the AP Indy broodmare like has come to life. The dams of 7 of the either 18 or 20 entrants in the 2023 KD were from the AP Indy broodmare line. A P Indy has been broodmare sire of 1 KD winner i.e., Super Saver. Given his stamina laden pedigree he is overdue to be associated with another.

      The dams of Nysos. Knightsbridge and Fierceness are from the AP Indy broodmare line.

      I am focused on a mix of on radar and under the radar prospects.

    • Counter Point says:

      Fierceness -Ranked#1

      I suspect the subject colt is ranked #1 on just about every KD list except the short list that I have compiled. Traditionally an impassive BCJ winner deserves to be ranked #1. But when tradition is matched with a historic trend, the revelation should influence decision making.

      Historic trend of BCJ winners from the barn of Todd Pletcher:

      2010 – Uncle Mo- impressive undefeated winner of the BCJ- did not start in the KD
      2012 – Shangahi Boby – Workman like undefeated winner of the BCJ- did not start in the KD
      2023 – Fierceness – TBD
      2022 – Forte – Impressive winner of the BCJ- did not start in the KD

      ‘History is more than the path left by the past. It influences the present and can shape the future.’ The person associated with the quite escapes me.

      Tod Pletcher KD Record:

      64 starters in 23 KDs:

      1st – Two
      2nd – Two
      3rd – Four
      4th – Two
      entrants didn’t hit the board in 14 KDs.

      Given the above. How it is possible that Fierceness can be the #1 rankled contender on any list. Further, a BCJ winner who romps after a last out efforts that was 2nd to last by 20L, is unprecedented. Such a form reversal raised a Red Flag. Timberlake defeated Fierceness by 20L in the Champagne, and he finished 8L behind him in the BCJ. Can a dry fast surface make such difference?

      I have to take a stand againt Fierceness. he has no place in my list.

      • Bill Dawson says:


        The style of your writings is practically identical to Cold Facts, who used to post on this blog several years ago.
        You’ve just changed your user name from Coldfacts to Counter Point. Am I right? 🙂

        • Counter Point says:

          Mr. Dawson,

          I am not Coldfacts.

          Facts are not kept in secret scrolls. They are available on various site on the Internet. How they are presented can differ or they can be similar. The important issue is not the identity of presenter but rather their accuracy and their usefulness in the decision-making process.

          • Bill Dawson says:

            Counter Point

            Please except my apology for mistaken you for Coldfacts. As I mentioned, the composition of writings, (style if you will) are very similar to his.
            Peace Brother.

      • Nelson Maan says:

        It is really uncanny that your writting style is so similar to that of the polemic Coldfacts… and you are also consistent in your alias as it suggests being a bit of a contrarian… I just hope you don’t “stir the pot” to hard here…LOL

        Anyway, one of the most compelling aspects of horse racing is that every single horse is entitled to re-write history. The seventies were like an unforgettable caress with the champion 2-year-old colt typically writting golden pages of racing history… the Golden Era got us spoiled … we don’t see those durable champions anymore…

        However, it is only natural that the 2-year-old champions are the focal points in their odyssey to the Triple Crown. From Street Sense to American Pharoah there was a 7-year-gap. It will be 8 years since Nyquist… If a historian believes in cycles then history suggests we are close to a lasting 2-year-old champion.. who knows?

        BTW lists encompass the group of horses that ‘captured our attention’ and we intend to follow closely the next four months…so your time is wasted writting a simple list but not writting long-winded paragraphs about the detailed traits and of a lot of hopefuls… so I am wasting my time and presenting to Bill Dawson my first 15 TC hopefuls in my virtual stable…

        • Counter Point says:

          Why do I detect unfriendliness is your reply.  I came in peace.

          I am not sure if you do me an honor or dishonor by comparing my writing style to that of another you regard as polemic. I am of the opinion that absolutely no one has a monopoly on any writing styles. However, if a style is appealing it can be adopted by those to whom it appeals. 

          I find brief paragraphs to be easier on the eyes and more suitable for reading particularly the font in which submissions are displayed at the site. As are bullet points.

          I am not sure what is meant by stirring the pot. There will always be points and counterpoints in these forums. I am of the opinion that if they are kept respectful, it is to the benefit of all who support this space.

          I never inferred that Bill was wasting his time in compiling a list comprising 15. I merely stated it would waste my time to focus on 15 horses if only 5 captured my attention. How many is a KD field of 20 have a realistic chance of winning?

          Given the years I have been evaluating young talent. I am of the opinion that I have developed a mechanism to eliminate contenders from the pretenders very early. This doesn’t mean that a prospect classified as a pretender cannot have its classification reversed. 

          Regarding the brief details of the reasons those on my list have captured my attention. It merely did so out of courtesy to Bill as he is likely to be wondering the rationale for their inclusion. You do have my sincere apology if you found the same to be offensive and not to your liking. Even the most brilliant mind could not have envisaged that such an approach would displease another. But a precondition mind as opposed to an open one, can find offence where there is none.

          You are at liberty to support your colleague who is a regular contributor here with a similar list of 15 prospects that have captured your attention. I do not find same distasteful.

          You will notice my response is in no way unfriendly. I certainly acknowledge that you are at liberty to be unfriendly where you deem fit. However, it behooves you recognize that a stranger however perceived, is a friend one has not yet met.  

          Despite Bill’s declaration, I am not Coldfacts. Your obvious hostility has ended my submissions. Let peace and harmony prevail.

          • Nelson Maan says:

            Mr Counter Point

            I join Bill Dawson in the apology for our associating you with Coldfacts.

            My post was not unfriendly or hostile … I just wanted to respectfully express my counterpoints to your preference of discarding Fierceness of all chances to prevail against their peers… and also indicate my surprise to see such similar patterns of writting…

            Peace … and please don’t forget to seek fun when sharing your passion for horse racing…

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Here are my top 15 horses to follow closely the next 4 months…

      Horse Trainer Sire Broodmare sire
      1. Nysos Baffert Nyquist Bernardini
      2. Muth Baffert Good Magic Uncle Mo
      3. Fierceness Pletcher City of Light Stay Thirsty
      4. Sierra Leone Brown Gun Runner Malibu Moon
      5. Locked Pletcher Gun Runner Malibu Moon
      6. Track Phantom Asmussen Quatlity Road Into Mischief
      7. El Capi Dutrow Maclean’s Music Unbridled’s Song
      8. Dornoch Gargan Good Magic Big Brown
      9. Parchment Party Mott Constitution Tiznow
      10. Resilience Mott Into Mischief Smart Strike
      11. Snead Walsh Nyquist A.P. Indy
      12. Honor Marie Beckman Honor Code Smart Strike
      13. Catching Freedom Cox Constitution Pioneerof the Nile
      14. Otello Clement Curlin Eskendereya
      15. Liberal Arts Medina Arrogate Tribal Rule

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Hi Nelson Maan

        On January 3rd, I posted my top 15 contenders list, 12 of which are on your top 15 list. The three that are missing from your list are as follows:

        Merit, by Mastery, out of a Vindication mare. First out winner, going 7 furlongs in 1:25.21, drawing off by 10 1/4 lengths. He’s a Peter E. Blum homebred colt with an abundance of stamina on his dam side. There are two Triple Crown winners in his 3rd generation, (dam side), Seattle Slew and Secretariat. Merit is worth watching moving forward, I wouldn’t be surprised if his connections point him straight to the Holy Bull on February 3rd.

        Carbone, by Mitole, out of a Street Sense mare. Undefeated in two career starts, he wired the field in his maiden win, going 6 furlongs in 1:09.84, drawing off by 8 lengths, earning an Equibase Speed Figure of 96 in the process. In his 2nd start, Carbone was again wired the field, in an 80K AOC, going 1 mile in 1:38.63 drawing off by 4 lengths. He’s a Heiligbrodt homebred colt, in the capable hands of Steve Asmussen. The Southwest Stakes, scheduled for January 27th, could be where Carbone is pointed.

        Otto the Conqueror, by Street Sense, out of a Shackleford mare. In four career starts, he’s won 3 out of 4, beaten by Liberal Arts in his first maiden start back in August. In his 4th start, he won the Remington Mile, going 1 mile in 1:39.91. Keep in mind the race was run over a track that was labeled “muddy”, which could have resulted in the slow time.

        Just as a suggestion, keep an eye on those three colts moving forward on the Kentucky Derby Trail.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Thanks for the reply Bill… Merit, Carbone and Otto the Conqueror are also in my virtual stable.

          Also I am surveilling the following prospects:

          Lightline trained by Brad Cox. The son of City of Light and maternal grandson of Maria’s Mon made up 7 lengths against Carbone at and Oaklawn’s mile. I feel like more distance will make him even more competitive.

          Pilot Commander a Baffert prospect by Justify. With Prat up his (last) workout hints he will make Muth run hard for the money this Saturday in the San Vicente. It takes a good one to finish in 11.96 in his debut …

          Coach Prime another Baffert prospect by Quatlity Road out of a Street Sense mare also looks to get some headlines in future
          two turn races…
          Completing my virtual stable are:
          Billal, Mott, Street Sense, Bernardini
          Legalize, DeVaux, Constitution, Unbridled’s Song
          El Magnifico, Desormeaux, Street Sense, Bernardini
          The Wine Steward, Maker, Vino Rosso, To Honor and Serve

          Anyway, as you know, we are watching out for late bloomers as well … that is the beauty of the weekly rankings

          • Bill Dawson says:

            Hey Nelson

            From my perspective, Muth towers over the San Vicente field. Pilot Commander was impressive breaking his maiden, but going from a maiden win to a G2 Stakes race is a tall order, IMO.
            I’ve had The Wine Steward on my watch list for quite some time. Thanks for the heads up on Billal, Legalize and El Magnifico. I’ll be sure to check the progress of those three.
            Good luck down the road.

  19. Matthew W says:

    Speaking of Beyer Numbers…..I heard that a two year old last Friday ran the fastest Beyer of the year? Does that mean faster than Fierceness ? Or…the fastest debut Beyer? Horse in in the Bob B stable, won by over seven lengths, 1:09 2/5 I think …I didn’t see the race/don’t know the horse’s name….

    • Matthew W says:

      OK it’s Kinda, a filly—she ran like Taiba did, in his debut—drew away once they straightened out in the stretch….1:09.79, not all that fast but SA playing not all that fast….she looked good….

    • Ms Blacktype says:

      Maybe the fastest for a filly. El Capi got a 99 on his debut. BTW, Born Noble earned a 93 for his win Dec. 31 at Gulfstream. Personally, I’m still mad about the low Beyers for the Mucho Macho Man.

    • Counter Point says:

      it’s grossly incorrect to state that a particular horse runs a particular Beyer. Horses do not run Beyers. These figures are assigned after a performance.

      How do you know that horse dop not run Beyers?

      A Beyer is a performance and/or speed figure. Timeform, Equibase and Beyer will assign figures for a performance that are unlikely to be the same. The 3 platform are use the same data to arrive at different figures. Are the figures comparative? That is unknown.

      Further, Beyers have been occasionally adjusted with no change in the time of a race and conditions under which it was run.

  20. Ms Blacktype says:

    I thought the 87 Beyer for the Springboard seemed low, but when I saw the figs for the MMM, my jaw dropped. A 76 for the winner?

    • Counter Point says:

      Andy Beyer the mastermind behind the development of the Beyer Speed figures, stated ahead of the 2022 Breeder Cup Turf Classic that Rebel’s Romance was a fraud. His reason was the colt won races in Germany against lesser opponents than he would facing in the Turf Classic.

      Mr., Beyer seemed to be unaware that the last two winner of the Arc were based in Germany. Rebel’s Romance won the 2022 Breeder Cup Turf Classic in a NTR. Not bad for a fraud. Given the egg that was on Mr. Beyer’s face after the Turf Classic I wouldn’t be interested in system he developed.

      On the subject of speed figures. Were you aware of the following-

      2022 –

      Epicenter – L A Derby win -Equibase figure -102
      Zandon – Bluegrass win- Equibase figure – 104
      Rich Strike -Jeff Ruby 3rd -Equibase Figure – 99

      The winner of the 2022 KD and the runner-up were separated by 3 points in their respective final KD Prep. They were separated by 1/2L in the KD. Yet many folks regard Rich Strike as being the beneficiary of a perceived pace meltdown.

      The Equibase speed figures suggested Rich Strike had as chance to win as any of the top 3 finisher. It just depended on who was better on the day with a clean trip. Rich Strike had the worse draw and trip of all three.

      • Matthew W says:

        Beyer also said before Zenyatta’s first Classic…the one she won …that she was a step slower….she won six of her next seven races, with a head 2nd.

      • Ms Blacktype says:

        Beyers are a tool measuring relative performance, like other systems. I know the figures are based on relative speed and a track variant (some sort of plus or minus or multiplier). That said, in races for younger horses where there’s not much form to go by, it looks like they base figures on the number from a particular horse’s previous race. For example, in the MMM, Sea Streak ran a 75 in his last race. He “earned” the same number in the MMM. Arguably, the numbers for the winner and second place finisher were worked out from there. Will be interesting to see how the Thorographs come out.

      • Davids says:

        Good point, (Counter). Just with the Arc, the two German horses that won the race were Danedream in 2011 and Torquator Tasso in 2021. Alpinista winner in 2022 had a Swedish owner/breeder who was UK runner mostly but did win major races in Germany. Ace Impact, Arc winner of 2023 was a French runner. Nonetheless, German breeding has been quite influential in Europe over the past decade as you implied above.

  21. Bill Dawson says:

    Since finishing 2nd in the BC Juvenile, Muth has been working exceptionally well for Bob Baffert. On New Year’s Day, he worked 4F, in 47.20 (5/89), and prior to that he fired a couple of bullet works on 12-9 and 12-16. He’s listed as a possible for the G2 San Vicente Stakes, at 7 furlongs, on January 6th, at SA. I’m anxious to see if he can improve off his 2nd place finish in the BC Juvenile. There are no KD points in San Vicente, but the winner could move on to the Lecomte or the Southwest.
    BTW, is there anyone out there that can shed a little light on why the Sham Stakes has been cancelled?

    • arlingtonfan says:

      According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, it will be run this Sunday.

    • Doc Jr says:

      Does anyone know if there is an online service that lists odds on individual horses past the “all others” stage? I really would like to make some plays on Magic Grant, who has impeccable pedigree (TrueNicks A++), was flying late in the Springboard Mile (or maybe running well into a few horses who were in reverse – one of whom is an individual odds horse still, Otto the Conquerer)?

      Magic Grant had a 5F workout this morning as well – fastest of 12 at the distance, and the second fastest was a full second slower. I expect him to be entered into the Lecomte or Southwest later in January.

    • tom jones says:

      According to Jason Egan in Brad Free’s DRF article about the San Vicente, the Sham Stakes has benn scrapped as the first dirt race for three year olds at Santa Anita and bascially replaced with the San Vicente. The Robert Lewis, San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby will follow as usual.

  22. Davids says:

    The two Constitution colts in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Catching Freedom and Gettysburg Address both impressed with more distance seeming to be a positive at this stage. Catching Freedom won but, with a better break, Gettysburg Address may have been the victor. The next race always answer the question for you. Still, both colts appear to have the ability to line up in the first Saturday in May.

    Otello won the Mucho Macho Man but I’ll wait on him at a longer distance to convince me further. Nonetheless, fingers crossed for Christophe Clement to have a runner in the Kentucky Derby.

    Steve, do you have an opinion in your next column?

    • Todd Vaughn says:

      Catching Freedom did stride out at the end, but the pacesetters were staggering. I was very impressed with the acceleration of Otello. Long way to go, but i am following Otello.

      • Davids says:

        Yes too true, I’ve been fooled early by the results of both these races but it’s hard not to get too excited so early in the year. Then again, nothing is static in horse racing. When the precocious ‘big hitters’ start piling up in the major races at Gulfstream Park et al you start to get a better picture.

        Fierceness’ return should be more than interesting, presumably at Gulfstream Park. Nonetheless, good luck with Otello. Following these 3 year olds with Steve Haskin and crew makes the Derby twice the fun,

  23. Bill Dawson says:

    Since winning his maiden race, on November 4th, Knightsbridge has not recorded an official work. I’m not sure if there’s cause for concern, but if doesn’t return to his training regimen soon, you would think there’s something amiss.

  24. Bill Dawson says:

    Otello lived up to my expectations in the MMM Stakes. If it were not for traffic issues, I believe the winning time (1:37.76) would have been faster. I hope Christophe Clement will continue to use Luis Saez as his regular rider aboard Otello.
    I suspect Clement will point Otello to the Holy Bull Stakes on February 3rd.
    His sire line leads directly to Mr. Prospector and his broodmare sire line leads directly to Northern Dancer. That cross has been very successful in Triple Crown races. In addition, he’s a Siena Farms homebred which is a plus, IMO.
    More than likely, I’ll move Otello up several spots on my next top 15 list.
    Happy New Year to everyone