Derby Rankings: Week 12

The big weekend of final preps that was supposed to clear up the Derby picture hardly accomplished that as we lost several of the old faces and added several new ones, including a megabomb that no one saw coming. So, now with only four weeks to the Derby here is the roster that has been assembled…with even more question marks. As you will see, I am not taking the conventional path when it comes to who reigns atop the Rankings. This is not the year to be boring. ~ Steve Haskin

Derby Rankings: Week 12, Apr. 5

By Steve Haskin

1. Rock Your World (John Sadler, Candy Ride – Charm the Maker, by Empire Maker)
In the 22 years I’ve been doing Derby Dozen and Derby Rankings I have never had a tougher time deciding who to put No. 1. It all comes down to this: Essential Quality is an undefeated champion who is the most logical No. 1. Known Agenda has already had the top spot and is a horse I have been high on from day one. But despite having only three career starts, Rock Your World is the one horse who possesses freakish qualities you rarely see. I am looking at him as a horse who has had more than three starts because I have never seen a horse gallop out after a race the way he does and comes back as if he wants to go around again. He possesses a remarkable engine with numerous gears. In the Santa Anita Derby he used one gear to run his opponents off their feet early, another to quickly separate himself from the stalking Medina Spirit and Parnelli on the turn, and several more in the stretch as he kept changing leads and surging forward each time. After setting a wicked pace, he seemed to get stronger the farther he went, running through the wire and opening up at least 15 lengths on the gallop-out. After returning, jockey Umberto Rispoli had to tug hard on the reins to get him to pull up. And he still is raw, as he demonstrated when he needed Rispoli to help him change leads, and then when the rider hit him right-handed and looked back over his shoulder, he jumped back to his left lead and surged again as he did in the Pasadena. It’s as if he uses lead changes to find another gear. This horse is just different, which is why I have had him ranked so high off two starts and never having run on dirt. Physically, he is a beast and he’s doing things ordinary horses just don’t do. As I concluded in last week’s comment, “He could be special and we very well may be seeing a huge breakout performance on Saturday.” That we did. And for those who follow it, he is now the only one among the Derby hopefuls to earn a 100 Beyer this year.

2. Known Agenda (Todd Pletcher, Curlin – Byrama, by Byron)
It was tough dropping him to No. 2, but it’s almost a dead-heat. When a horse has been running Thoro-Graph numbers of “11” and makes a giant leap to a “3 1/2″ there are several factors to consider. In this case, making such a dramatic improvement you have to ask, was it due to the addition of blinkers? Was it due to the addition of Lasix? Will he regress coming off Lasix in his first Grade 1 stakes? Will he simply “bounce” off a figure that he’s never come close to running before? Well, all those questions became moot when he not only didn’t regress he took another jump forward running a “1 1/2.” So now we know this horse is on a strong upward trend. As for his pedigree, in this day and age where speed rules, he is a rarity with points in both the stamina categories of his Dosage Profile. His granddam comes from one of the strongest European sires lines of modern times, from her sire Darshaan, who won the French Derby and was a champion sire and broodmare sire in three countries to Darshaan’s sire Shirley Heights, who the English and Irish Derby and sired a French Derby winner and English Derby winner in back-to-back years to Shirley Heights’ sire, the legendary Mill Reef, winner of the English Derby, King George, and Arc de Triomphe, whose record of six consecutive Group 1 victories stood for 30 years and who sired eight classic winners and a Breeders’ Cup Turf winner. Known Agenda also is inbred to the English Derby winner Sir Ivor, and his tail-female family traces to Nijinsky II, the last horse to sweep the English Triple Crown. With Curlin on top the mile and a quarter should be a piece of cake. Think of him as Antares, one of the four white Arabians in the movie Ben Hur. The sheikh who owns him acknowledges he’s not as fast as the other three, but “he will run all day without tiring.” It is time for a resurgence of stamina on the first Saturday in May and this is the guy to do it.

3. Essential Quality (Brad Cox, Tapit – Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality)
I am fully aware it is sacrilegious to have him ranked No. 3, especially considering he is an undefeated champion and his Blue Grass victory was exactly the prep he needed for the Kentucky Derby, where he no doubt will be favored unless Concert Tour does something exceptional in the Arkansas Derby. With only one easy victory in the slop in five months he needed to have a tough race, and what made this a perfect prep is that he fought hard to beat a very good horse by a neck and most important there was a 5 1/2-length gap back to the third horse. His closing fractions of :23 4/5, :23 4/5, and :12 2/5, with a final three-eighths in :36 1/5 were very strong. The bottom line is that he is the logical and deserving Derby favorite, but this just isn’t the year I want to put a favorite on top, so I am just looking to latch onto something special and stand by my early convictions regarding the merits of the Top 2 horses. Essential Quality is still the only 3-year-old to run a negative Thoro-Graph number and I would expect to see another fast number in the Blue Grass. And as I have been mentioning all year, he has proven to be a horse you can put anywhere depending on the pace, whether on the lead, stalking the pace, or six or seven lengths back. In short you cannot plan strategy against him. But it has to be mentioned that no Blue Grass winner has won the Derby in 30 years.

4. Concert Tour (Bob Baffert, Street Sense – Purse Strings, by Tapit)
Judging from the prospective field for the Arkansas Derby he should be another going into the Kentucky Derby undefeated. He does need to continue to move forward and improve his Thoro-Graph numbers, but I doubt there is anyone who believes that won’t happen. He definitely is still a work in progress. He turned in another strong work, going six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 in the fog and working alone. He had his ears up the entire length of the stretch with the rider way up in the saddle and really poured it on after the wire, putting his ears back and picking up the pace. Baffert has always been very high on this colt and we will see how he adapts if they change tactics with the speedy Caddo River and let him roll this time. This not a horse who needs the lead and I am looking forward to seeing how he runs sitting off the pace, just as I was when American Pharoah ran in the Arkansas Derby and showed he was capable of winning that way. This is not the Derby you want a one-dimensional horse with so many tactical speed horses in there. After next week everything will be sorted out and we should have a better idea where all these horses should be ranked.

5. Greatest Honour (Shug McGaughey, Tapit – Tiffany’s Honour, by Street Cry)
Yes, he’s down to No. 5 for now, but we’re talking five-horse photo and he is still the horse I will be betting, but now as an overlay instead of a favorite. I just can’t rank him above the top 4. What I don’t understand is all the panicking over one defeat. Horses have bad days for various reasons. I mentioned last week he had run at least one race in every month since September, including a mile and eighth race last fall over a deep tiring track, and this year ran too fast, too good, too early. There was no way he could keep moving forward every race after the Holy Bull. If you believe in blessings in disguise, consider this: if he had won the Florida Derby he would have gone into the Kentucky Derby off three consecutive two-turn graded stakes victories on dirt as a 3-year-old. The last time a horse did that and won the Derby was 42 years ago and his name was Spectacular Bid. Heck, four of the last five Triple Crown winners didn’t do it. Do you know how many horses have swept the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth, and Florida Derby? That’s correct, none. I think we need to take a deep breath and give this horse a break. I am not saying he is going to win the Kentucky Derby and I’m not saying he isn’t regressing, but losing the Florida Derby with a poor ride is not a reason to dismiss him. Does anyone remember when Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby winner Thunder Gulch finished a dull fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes as the 6-5 favorite? He also was dismissed and the result was a $51 payoff at Churchill Downs on a horse who was the Derby favorite one race earlier. As Aaron Rodgers spelled out a few years ago after the Green Bay Packers lost several games: “R-E-L-A-X.” There is a reason he was ranked No. 1 for eight straight weeks and if you liked him before you’re going to feel awful foolish if he wins the Derby at a big price and you went off him.

6. Highly Motivated (Chad Brown, Into Mischief – Strong Incentive, by Warrior’s Reward)
I’m still not positive a mile and quarter will be his strength, but he ran a sensational race in the Blue Grass Stakes in his two-turn debut, setting all the pace and holding on doggedly to make Essential Quality work like he’s never had to work before. But this was a wacky race with the first three-quarters run in 1:12 and the deep closers Rombauer and Keepmeinmind running third and fourth only two lengths off the lead. But when the pace quickened, he and Essential Quality left the others far behind. It looked like only a question of how far Essential Quality would win by as they hit the top of the stretch. But Highly Motivated wouldn’t quit. He kept battling back and switched back to his left lead at the sixteenth pole, just falling a neck short. It might have been different if he didn’t drift out from left-handed whipping forcing Essential Quality out. Instead of being inches apart with Essential Quality unable to get by him, they were now several paths apart with Essential Quality no longer having to look him in the eye. With Highly Motivated now on his wrong lead he just failed to hold off the champ, who got his neck in front right before the wire. He is another horse who I believe doesn’t need the lead, but coming off one-turn races and with no pace at all it was the right move.

7. Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O’Neill, Oxbow – Ind1an Miss, by Indian Charlie)
He breezed a half in :49 2/5, staying busy before the serious training begins. Does anyone else feel as if the Louisiana Derby was a long time ago? It’s pretty amazing how many horses who really aren’t need-the-lead types have set the pace in Derby preps, including him, Rock Your World, Concert Tour, Highly Motivated, Medina Spirit, Soup and Sandwich, and Midnight Bourbon. Who knows who is going to set the pace in the Derby? Maybe UAE Derby runner-up Panadol. This colt has proven his versatility and was 94-1 when he came from seventh and put quite a scare in Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He has proven that was no fluke, and like Essential Quality he can beat you from anywhere on the track. And his trainer has proven on more than one occasion he knows how to win the Kentucky Derby. Whether he is a true mile and a quarter horse we won’t know until the first Saturday in May, something I guess you can say about a lot of them. But he gives 100 percent every time and you know you’re in a race when you go up against him.

8. Midnight Bourbon (Steve Asmussen, Tiznow – Catch to Moon, by Malibu Moon)
He had his first work over the Churchill Downs track, breezing five furlongs in a sharp 1:01 1/5. Of the possible Derby pacesetters mentioned above, who is the one most likely to be ignored and left alone on an easy lead? It would have to be him, as his wire-to-wire victory in the LeComte Stakes has been long forgotten by most people and in his last two starts racing just off the pace he didn’t have the closing kick to get the job done. So in my opinion there is little strategy to discuss. You have to go for the lead either at the start and lull them to sleep or get the lead fairly early in the race. I have seen so many horses who cannot catch anyone in the stretch, but are hard to pass once on the lead. He is maturing physically, and being by Tiznow, his most powerful weapon appears to be tenacity and the ability to not let horses get by him in the stretch. One thing is for sure, he will be forgotten at the windows and will be a huge price for a horse who knows how to battle and has never finished out of the money in seven starts, five of them in graded stakes. He’s just a good horse to keep in the back of your mind on Derby Day.

9. Dynamic One (Todd Pletcher, Unon Rags – Beat the Drums, by Smart Strike)
You can bet he’s going to get a faster Thoro-Graph number than the winner in the Wood Memorial, which he appeared to have won, but just got nipped on the wire after losing a lot of ground on the first turn and racing wide throughout. According to Trakus, he ran 43 feet farther than the winner, indicating that with a ground-saving trip he would have won by many lengths. He still showed a good turn of foot sweeping by horses on the far turn to reach contention. He kept on determinedly, but all that ground loss eventually took its toll. And it didn’t help that the track was so ridiculously slow. That takes a lot out of a horse, which is why I believe several of the favorites ran poorly. It is not an ideal way to prep for the Derby and can very well dull a horse. Aqueduct in early April often is slow, but not this slow. As for Dynamic One, I fell in love with him off a fourth in a maiden race, in which he had a horrendous trip but showed me all the signs of a top-class horse. I was just waiting for him to get that maiden win out of the way, which he did on a similar slow track, and I felt he had a big shot to move forward several lengths in the Wood. He has a tremendous pedigree, but it’s just a question of whether he is fast enough now to win the Derby. He surely has the bottom under him and is dead fit. He may be more of a Belmont horse, but I still feel with a good trip he can make his presence felt in the Derby.

10. Soup and Sandwich (Casse, Into Mischief – Souper Scoop, by Tapit)
He is yet another work in progress and another Into Mischief. His sons are running amok on the Derby trail and you just never know how far they want to go. Like several of the lightly raced horses this year he is doing things he shouldn’t be doing for a green horse who hasn’t figured it out yet. He showed that with his powerful runner-up effort in the Florida Derby coming off two races in which he made enough mistakes to last an entire career. But Casse got him to run much more professionally and he was able to carry his speed farther than one might have thought at that point in his career. The Derby might be a race or two too early for him, but he has to be respected. I believe once he becomes more polished we will see a very good horse who will win his share of stakes. His owner Charlotte Weber is old school and a true sportswoman and next year it will be 40 years since she finished second in the Derby with longshot Laser Light.

11. Bourbonic (Todd Pletcher, Bernardini – Dancing Afleet, by Afleet Alex)
So he was coming off of Lasix, and coming off a $50,000 claiming race and a starter allowance optional claimer for horses who had run in a claiming race and he wins the Wood Memorial at 72-1 coming from far back with an powerful stretch run after trailing the field until inside the three-sixteenths pole. Does that sound like a Todd Pletcher-trained horse to you? I believe part of it is that many of the leading contenders were spinning their wheels on that deep track and never fired, resulting in a :39 1/5 final three-eighths, the slowest mile and an eighth stakes on the card, which earned him a slow 89 Beyer speed figure. But to his credit he did come home his final three-eighths in a respectable :37 1/5. Don’t ask me what to make of this horse or this race, but one thing is certain and that is he has an amazing pedigree with a ton of class and stamina, and his sire and broodmare sire are remembered for scoring two of the most impressive Preakness victories we’ve seen in a long time. He also has improved dramatically with blinkers. Who knows, maybe he was just treading water until he was able to stretch out to a mile and an eighth. If that is the case, what is going to happen when he stretches out to a mile and a quarter? We can just envision the list of Derby winners that bore the name of Calumet Farm: Citation, Whirlaway, Iron Liege, Tim Tam, Bourbonic.

12. Medina Spirit (Bob Baffert, Protonico – Mongolian Changa, by Brilliant Speed)
He is certainly consistent and he has been running in top company all year, but he has yet to show he has enough weapons to win the Kentucky Derby. He has excellent tactical speed but not much of a closing punch, so I’m not sure what tactics he would use. But he has earned his way into the big race and deserves a shot at it, especially considering he has never finished out of the money and has proven he is a fighter on the lead. He was always in perfect position in the Santa Anita Derby, stalking a fast pace set by Rock Your World, but when the winner accelerated on the far turn he could not match strides with him, and like in the San Felipe he got the best of Dream Shake in the final furlong for second. Look, there is nothing wrong with running hard in big stakes and picking up a check each time. His victories will come; it just doesn’t have to be in the Kentucky Derby.


Getting back to ROCK YOUR WORLD, it has to be mentioned that his was bred by Ron and Debbie McAnally. Here is a Hall of Fame trainer who had the legendary John Henry 40 years ago and is approaching his 90th birthday with a leading Kentucky Derby contender that he bred thanks to his breeding right to the brilliant Candy Ride, who he saddled to a track record-breaking performance in the Pacific Classic. “This is so incredible to be able to breed a horse like this,” Debbie said. “But all the credit goes to my man. He picks out all the matings.” They knew this colt could be special before they sold him because he was such an imposing individual whose measurements revealed an outstanding physical specimen, as we saw on Saturday. “Even at age 89, Ron is out at the track every morning unless I’m able to lasso him in,” Debbie continued. “But it’s in his blood and keeps him young. This is all about hopes and dreams and we certainly have both.”

One other statistic regarding the Santa Anita Derby: Rock Your World set fractions of :22 3/5, :46, 1:10 3/5, and 1:36 1/5. By comparison the fractions of the Santa Anita Oaks run earlier were :24 1/5, :49 1:13, and 1:38. That those fractions took nothing out of him and he galloped out in another area code tells you all you need to know about this colt.

HELIUM – Can we call him 13A as part of the Derby Baker’s Dozen? He belongs with the others mentioned in the last five spots, but I have been saying for a while he has so much history to overcome with the eight-week layoff, having only one start at 3, and never having run farther than 1 1/16 miles He will be attempting something that has not been accomplished in over 100 years. But I do have to say I love his works, especially his most recent five-furlong drill in 1:01 2/5 at Palm Meadows in which he was strong from the beginning. He runs hard and always seems very determined, which no doubt helped him battle back in the stretch to win the Tampa Bay Derby going away. We’ll keep monitoring his works closely and leave it up to Mark Casse to figure out a way to pull this off.

MANDALOUN – Despite his dull effort in the Louisiana Derby, he is at Churchill Downs and worked a half in :49 4/5 for the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Brad Cox could offer no excuse at Fair Grounds saying he simply ran out of gas. After talking it over with the Juddmonte brass they are going to throw the race out and if he continues to train well he will run in the Derby. They have always been very high on this colt, which makes his performance even more puzzling. Might as well give him another shot with six weeks to regroup.

CADDO RIVER – While on the subject of throwing a race out, Brad Cox will also be doing it for Caddo River after his disappointing effort in the Rebel Stakes when he wasn’t asked to challenge Concert Tour for the early lead and fought his rider, eventually fading out of contention. He will get another chance in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby and certainly is still sharp, working five furlongs in company in 1:00 1/5, galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5. Expect different tactics this time.

PROXY – Mike Stidham said he’s been a puzzle and he had to make a positive visual move forward to continue on to Kentucky, which he didn’t. So his inclination was to not run in the Derby. Although his Ragozin and Thoro-Graph numbers were career bests and he is progressing in his overall development, Stidham doesn’t want to force him into the Derby. He did turn in a swift half-mile work in a bullet :46 4/5, fastest of 64 works at the distance. He probably will need points if they do want to give him a shot, so watch for him to show up in Saturday’s Lexington Stakes, which would also give him one last shot to get his act together and stop lugging out in the stretch every race.

O BESOS – He looks to have little chance of getting in with 25 points. Although there is still the Lexington Stakes with enough points to possibly get him in the Derby, they have decided to sit pat, with the worst case scenario being a start in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day as one of the favorites. Greg Foley and his son and assistant Travis were thrilled with his performance in the Louisiana Derby, where he got the fastest Thoro-Graph number in the race, a “2 3/4.” They realize he is still immature physically and growing and improving every day. He certainly belongs in the Derby off that performance, which came up a head short of putting him in the starting gate. But it’s a long year and he has a bright future.

Four horses definitely in the Derby if their connections wish to go are REBEL’S ROMANCE and PANADOL, one-two in the UAE Derby, and LIKE THE KING and SAINTHOOD, one-two in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. Panadol, who was a late Triple Crown nominee, would be the natural pacesetter.

HIDDEN STASH with 32 points continues to run well, but not quite well enough, and the same can be said of ROMBAUER with 34 points, although it was a surprise to see him so close to the lead in the Blue Grass. It was no surprise to see a brilliant but lightly raced and untested PREVALENCE struggle on that deep track in the Wood. He will move on to bigger and better things. But there seemed to be no excuse for RISK TAKING, who was never in the race. CROWDED TRADE and WEYBURN ran OK, but below expectations. Crowded Trade had every chance in the stretch, but couldn’t sustain his run. In California, DREAM SHAKE picked up another piece of the purse, but doesn’t seem quite ready to move forward in the Derby.

In addition to Concert Tour and Caddo River, the Arkansas Derby will have Rebel runner-up HOZIER along with other California invaders GET HER NUMBER and possibly ROMAN CENTURIAN, who scratched from the Santa Anita Derby. Also expected are SUPER STOCK and the Dallas Stewart-trained LAST SAMURAI, who is taking a wild shot to try to get a small piece of it.

Leave a Reply

660 Responses to “Derby Rankings: Week 12”

  1. Blake says:

    Steve…You should do a column about the most disappointing Derby winner careers. Always Dreaming comes to mind

  2. Bruce says:

    Well here we are, the last of the Derby preps, where does the time go?!

    Steve, I’ve been following your Derby Dozen/Rankings for several years now, and I have to say, this group of race fans has been by far the best ever! The positive vibe that everyone has has truly been refreshing! Just a bunch of race fans exchanging thoughts, opinions, and sometimes some excitement! The research that some of these fans do is remarkable, and actually quite interesting! I just get the feeling you’ve got some really sharp people contributing this year. Unlike some years when we see a select few who border on blah blah blah. And no one has bashed/criticized an opinion of others just because they disagree with that opinion, they just calmly voice their thoughts and move on, nobody has the need to stroke their ego by pounding the table with “listen to me, my opinion is best”!! And the humor that’s been flying around has been great! EddieF has thrown several laughs out there, and I think you gave us a funny reference to Gone With the Wind!!? So Great!

    Three more weeks!!

    Thanks again for all the time you put in!

  3. Jeff says:

    Projecting KD odds:

    Known Agenda 10/1

    Correct me if this isn’t close.

    • Jeff says:


    • EddieF says:

      Hey, Jeff. Tough to say at this point, before the Ark Derby and before the entries and PP draw. But there always seems to be a contender that’s bet more heavily than you figure (e.g., Improbable, My Boy Jack) and one that isn’t bet as heavily as you figure (e.g., Roadster).

      Your numbers seem reasonable, but my guess is with a win today that Concert Tour will be the post-time favorite–due mainly to the Baffert Effect, but also because he has plenty of early speed and is undefeated. If he scores big–that is, a big margin and high figure–he could be 3-1. A more ordinary win will get 7-2 or 4-1. But lots of things can happen in the next few weeks to change these predictions.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Sounds good and I’ll take the 10-1 on Known Agenda. I wouldnt be surprised if RYW gets bet, depending on the pre-race hype.

    • Blake says:

      If RYW is training well he will be your Derby day favorite

  4. Matthew W says:

    Rooting for Concert Tour, if he wins big that will help Rock Your World’s price…

  5. EddieF says:

    Hockey Dad…very good effort from outside post in first ever AW race….competitive speed figure…Coming back in two weeks…This colt is fit fit fit….look what he did when coming back in ONE week..$1 trillion on the nose…GOAL!!!!!

  6. pro vet says:

    provet4 • a minute ago
    oK… starininmydreams first race…….pretty good….for that time of year….he comes back , wins an avg race…….both races this year were a nightmare….went ranker than rank crazy, lost by 30+ bad signs….trouble in last…….expecting huge wake up in lexington….
    this race is about as hot of a pace that you will ever see……
    Proxy on paper is a cinch….but i have him regressing…..

    Either Star has problems, or he is ready to fire his best race……he didnt run in both races this year……
    100wps 6-1………..rate him one run…..hope proxy regresses……….

    point about his first race?……he showed he had talent……then has not been able to show it……

    • pro vet says:

      have you seen a faster pace?………it will be blazing…… track too…..probably

    • EddieF says:

      “provet4 • a minute ago”

      What is that? A re-post from another website? Are you trying to inflict pain on as many people as possible?

      • Steve Haskin says:

        It i s indeed a re-post from another site…word for word. But thats OK, he can post as many places as he wants. No law against it.

        • EddieF says:

          What’s worse is that it’s ellipsis for ellipsis.

        • Mary says:

          Mr. Haskin, obviously my head has been in the clouds for quite some time; I didn’t know you had a derby dozen website. On another note, I am pretty sure people are tired of my verbiage relative to Dynamic One on the Horse Racing Nation website. A couple of weeks ago I informed everyone that this special horse was going to hit the board in the Wood. Finally people responded with “thanks for the tip” and “I’ll keep an eye on him”. So I kind of enjoy people posting the same thing over and over; I’m amused.

  7. King Barbaro says:

    This could be a year for a major longshot like Mine That Bird. Don’t see Rock running well. Don’t think Known can win. Like Essential but not a lock to fire. We’ll see how good Concert looks in the Ark.

    • Mary says:

      I have been watching Dynamic One from the moment he stepped on the track in his first maiden race; it was his 2nd race at Gulf Stream that really caught my attention. I was surprised that Todd Pletcher entered him in the Wood off of a maiden win, but then I thought perhaps the horse was showing him something special in the mornings. So I put him in an exacta wager and of course I lost; Bourbonic showed up. All I can say is Dynamic One has a spectacular pedigree; the Union Rags/Smart Strike cross is producing some nice foals. I hope Todd Pletcher saves him for the Preakness and/or Belmont

      • Steve Haskin says:

        I told several of his connections that this was a major stakes horse after he finished fourth in a maiden race and wrote it up in Knocking on the Door.

        • Mary says:

          Mr. Haskin, I didn’t know you had a derby dozen website until this morning, I thought you were gone forever after leaving Bloodhorse. Obviously, my head was in the clouds for the past couple of years.

  8. EddieF says:

    I like the chances of graded stakes-placed Super Stock getting in the exacta — and earning more than enough points for a Derby start. After a hard summer/fall campaign (5 races Aug-Oct, including a 3rd to Essential Quality), he was given 4.5 months off. He returned in the Rebel Stakes and finished an even 4th.

  9. JC says:

    Rock galloped 1 1/2 miles today. Sadler said he “looks great”… he plans on working 2 times before the Derby… next weekend and then the following ….

  10. Matthew W says:

    I THOUGHT they would send Rock to the front the other day, not wanting the kickback, and they did. He broke near the back and was RIDDEN to the front….I think they will do the same in Louisville, and that’s why I’m looking for closers….Rock and a couple of closers..

    • Terri Z says:

      I am so glad that Greatest Honour has such a fine horseman caring for him. Shug detected a problem before it became something worse and sent him to the best orthopedic equine surgeon in Kentucky and perhaps in the world.
      And how wonderful it is that Ron and Debbie McAnally have bred Rock Your World. I really hopes he rocks everyone’s world on the first Saturday in May. I am sure that the spirit of John Henry will be watching at Churchill Downs; John Henry really loved and connected with Ron McAnally and was despondent when he was sent to Kentucky to retire at the Kentucky Horse Park.

      • Matthew W says:

        From what I heard John Henry didn’t live anybody! Ron could never enter his stall.

        • Terri Z says:

          John Henry loved his groom and Ron McAnally. He and Ron shared a bond, as John Henry was unwanted and Ron was an orphan.
          I could understand their bond, as I was an orphan and was adopted.

    • Sally says:

      But boohoo Greatest Honour the main closer-midpacker is out. Who to bet on now?

  11. El Kabong says:

    A little off topic Steve but this is something I knew would happen since I started appearing on your blogs. Today, in the 3rd race at Keeneland, the 4 horse, a scrappy bay colt of impeccable breeding is going to grace or disgrace, a distinguished handle. May the force be with him. It’s like answering the door and having some strange kid who doesn’t even look like you smile and greet with HI DAD! instead of the usual, “we’re collecting money for yada yada yada and were wondering if you could help?”

  12. EddieF says:

    I’m always looking for a “value” horse in the Derby, and despite my picks running well, they rarely win. In recent years favorites have had a distinct advantage. This year, I’m going with the horse that I think in the days before the race has the best chance of winning. Period.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Known Agenda likely will be fourth choice. That is my value bet. I have a few longshot picks in mind.

      • EddieF says:

        I look forward to your selections! I’m guessing that the favorite/longshot bias will continue to hold true in the Derby. The odds on any longshot you may like won’t be favorable. Let’s say you like Midnight Bourbon and he’s 20-1. Do you think he has a 5% chance of winning, particularly considering that 16 runners combined may have only a 10-15% chance?

        As of now, Essential Quality and Known Agenda are the only potential starters that have no knocks in EddieF’s Derby Profile (available at your local dollar store). If Concert Tour wins tomorrow, I think he’ll be the favorite at about 7-2. You are right about KA’s odds. He could be as high as 12-1.

      • Tom’s Kid says:

        I think I’ll be using Like The King (closer) and Midnight Bourbon (front runner) with the Essential World Rock Concert Tour Agenda on my tickets. The reality is if my tickets hit anything other than the floor it will be luck.

      • Sally says:

        I’m leaning toward Known Agenda also. I think we may very well see the return of Giacomo or Animal Kingdom this year. Like the King has few knocks against him at this point except synthetic for his graded stakes win, and think what the odds will be on Sainthood. Or how about Highly Motivated for a romp?

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Medina Spirit will be forgotten but he also got the genes for the 10 furlongs… his odds could be as high as 20 to 1 on Derby Day.

      The son of Protonico was the 4 to 5 favorite in the Santa Anita Derby but he was beaten by a truly special horse… he ran 40 feet more than the spectacular Rock Your World but never was a match for that bundle of pure energy.

      If RYW or any of the big horses is bumped, checked or has to run very wide he can be in the mix especially with a clean run…

      • EddieF says:

        He’s a nice colt that could definitely be in the money. But he doesn’t have much stretch punch, and he looked fatigued late in the SA Derby.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Fatigued were Parnelli and The Great One…

          I believe Medina Spirit did very well considering that he had lost a month of training before the SA Derby… he was not 100%.

          Rock Your World finished in 12 4/5 and MS went 13 1/5 for the last furlong… and MS separated further from Dream Shake in the final 2 F.

          Let’s see how all these horses move forward …

          • Nelson Maan says:

            Correction: Medina Spirit lost effectively like two weeks of training after undergoing surgery to correct entrapped epiglottis … in any case there was a disruption in his conditioning for the SA Derby….!

          • EddieF says:

            I agree that he wasn’t in peak form due to the lost time in training.

    • pro vet says:

      that’s funny……

  13. JC says:

    We are all getting excited and playin our game… this is fun! Closing in on the best day of the year (Derby Day) ! and Spring in the Adirondacks !!!!

  14. pro vet says:

    Havent picked Lexington……Proxy is much the best on paper……but i have him regressing…….good race to bet….

  15. pro vet says:

    IT IS TIME TO …….change the triple crown……maybe make it a month and a month, instead of 5 weeks……..TRAINING has changed. We are so much smarter than back in the day. The PREAKNESS is IRRELEVANT. Only the winner should run. rUNNING BACK IN 2 WEEKS IS BAD for the horse.
    It is therefore EASIER to win the crown.

    The only OTHER CHOICE. Is to increase the purses ALOT. These races should have bigger purses anyway already. Make the DERBY 6-8 million, Preakness and Belmont 4 million…….

    These classic races should be CLASSIC.

    • JC says:

      Let’s not forget about the horses well being first … as Mott does …

      • Matthew W says:

        2 weeks to the Preakness means nobody who wins the Derby puts horse first ..nobody except Ed Gregson, who didn’t run Gato Del Sol back because of the 2 weeks, and he said that….

    • EddieF says:

      I agree. The schedule doesn’t make sense in the 21st century. But I’d be fine with 3 wks/4wks. And I’ve never liked the turn-back distance of the Preakness. How about an 11f Preakness?

      What do you mean by “Only the winner should run”?

      • Davids says:

        Guess the English had the right idea in the first place.

      • pro vet says:

        No trainer should run a top horse back in 2 weeks…….ever………only the derby winner should run….why?… win the triple crown……..for a long time it has pretty much been like this…..

        • Davids says:

          Stretching out the Triple Crown would help the Preakness no end, it’s always been just an afterthought for a long time.

    • Matthew K W says:

      I said that years ago and almost got my head chewed off! Or course, I said month, month–and turf last race–cuz who runs 12 furlongs on dirt anymore!

      • Matthew K W says:

        The grumpy Chrome owner was right about how nowadays, the 20-horse Derby winner goes in the Preakness—but hardly any other Derby horses go anymore—and they are fresher for the Belmont–it used to be they all came back in the Preakness, or most came back….

    • Bruce says:

      Just my opinion, and I’m old school, so I say keep the triple crown schedule as is, it’s tradition and I like tradition. Makes the achievement more meaningful….IMO.

      • Matthew W says:

        Much harder today….20 horses AND the Derby also runs skip the Preakness, come into the Belmont fresher…what Bob has done is amazing

    • Laura Lanham says:

      Leave it alone! Pretty sure in the past and mean way back they ran the Preakness a week after the Derby. I disagree smarter, just different. The purses depend on the sponsors and you can’t force them to ante up more then they want to. Changing the challenge to make it easier takes away from the ones that have done it. Why the Triple Crown is special. Why all 3 races are special, all of them including the Preakness.

      • pro vet says:

        the preakness is irrelevant……its a race most skip……how is this good?……it is time…….like i said………..only other option…..RAISE THE PURSES…….WAY UP

        • Laura Lanham says:

          All these TC winners are special because they ran all 3 races, including the Preakness. Some of these traditional TC races were at even longer distances then what we see today. Why do you want to just forget the Preakness that has been around just about as long as the Derby? Some trainers skip all 3 races! Even Man O War skipped the Derby! Sure they as in the owners, trainers would love to see bigger purse money. Maybe in the future when things calm down a bit they will. The horse and the team behind them are either up to it or not. The TC defines the horse as a great one.

        • Matthew W says:

          After Gato del Sol skipped the Preakness, and then Spend a Buck skipped the Preakness…VISA offered up a $5 million bonus for winning the Triple Crown, because they didn’t want Derby winners to skip the Preakness….they kept the bonus for around 20 years, I think….

  16. JC says:

    Steve I have no idea how you can do this. How exhausted you must be… not only trying to monitor ALL the training and racing and then find time to answer ALL of us, and work the garden ?
    I can’t even monitor what I’ve sent …lol…Your a breath of fresh air and when you SEE a horse that could be special you say it. That’s what you do. Your old school. Have a beer and shut your computer and phone off !

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Thank you very much, JC. I appreciate it. It is a lot of work that actually starts immediately after the Monday Rankings appear. But I love doing it and love looking for new hidden gems. Its almost sad in a way when the maiden and allowance races no longer are important and its just stakes. I also love the freedom I have here to write as long as I want and my comments are much more informal and conversational than at Bloodhorse. Also I try to answer as many people as I can. I appreciate everyone’s comments and the way to make their comments feel important is to respond to them, and most people on ere very sharp and I enjoy responding.

  17. Laura Lanham says:

    Just wanted to add saw clips of Soup and Sandwich, Essential Quality arriving at Churchill. SAS looked thin. He was tearing into his haynet, eyes bright but you could see his ribs walking off the van. Is that normal for him? EQ looked great and was full of himself in that stall. Seems to be a camera ham.

    • Bill Dawson says:

      Wow, ribs showing is not a good sign. That’s not normal for any horse. Maybe Mark Casse will give him an extra bag of oats for the next few days. 🙂

      • Laura Lanham says:

        See if you can find it, might be from Churchill. Was on my FB feed. I wasn’t the only one that saw it either in the comments. It was dark out so maybe shipping stress. He was hungry tearing into what looked like alfalfa in the haynet. If was just from the shipping and not sure how they did it they have time to get the weight back on

    • EddieF says:

      He needs some New England clam chowder and a Reuben.

  18. Mary Ellen says:

    Steve (and all you veteran bettors who post) what do you make of the Lexington Stakes? Will Proxy come through, or will another fresh face like Swiftsure or Noble Reflection steal the show?

    (FYI: Tonight’s porch entertainment is a local band playingthe recurring theme from “Red” and other assorted mellow tunes, wafting up from the valley below at just the right sound level. It’s great to live in the hippest town in the Catskills.)

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Proxy is by far the class of the race. Hockey Dad is getting good right now and Doug O’Neill is always Dangerous. Noble Reflection is the fastest horse but never been over 6f. Unbridled Honor is a nice colt and can get a piece of it; could even win. But I see Proxy and Hockey Dad as the two horses to beat.

      • JC says:

        What about Bezos Steve. He obviously ran out of gas in his first race but then broke his maiden next out. He’s impressive in size, appearance and he can move… may take some time to fully develop those lungs ! Not a Baffert fan but think Bezos could win this race. If he does and there are e few more defections from the Derby…. could he sneak in with 20 points ! Points to qualify may be lower than normal this year …I know you indicated he may be aiming for the Preakness …. but if he could get in?

        • Steve Haskin says:

          I dont know what to make of Bezos. In that first dreadful start he got a dismal 13 Thoro-Graph figure. Know what he got in his second start? Another 13. That is absurd to get the same fig on a 4 1/2 length victory as he got in that first start finishing up the track. you have no idea how slow a 13 is for a horse running in a stakes. So I am clueless with him.

        • pro vet says:

          he should not be running in this race……..thats why it is shocking…..and i think he has ability…he looked awesome in work… i said he will be a long price…..6-1 or so, if another trainer?….30-40 to 1

    • Bill Dawson says:

      Proxy is certainly the class of the field, but offers very little betting value. Swiftsure has shown exceptional speed in both career starts, and was drawing away in the late going. From a speed perspective, Swiftsure is much faster than Proxy, the only question, can he carry that speed over the 8.5 furlong distance. His dam sire, Speightstown, was a sprinter, but his sire, Uncle Mo has produced a few quality routers. I plan on keying Swiftsure (5-1) and Proxy (6/5) in the first two slots, with Noble Reflection, Bezos, It’s My House, Hockey Dad and Ultimate Badger in the 3rd and 4th slots, in my Superfecta wager. That is: 2,7/ 2,7/ 1,3,4,6,8/ 1,3,4,6,8
      Cost: $40.00
      Good luck Mary Ellen

      • Mary Ellen says:

        Nice analysis, Bill (and a lot of value for $40 — hope you hit!) Speightstown is such a superstar that some of his progeny outrun their sprinter pedigrees, Should be an interesting race.

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Trifecta Box: Swiftsure, Proxy, Unbridled Honor, Bezos

  19. Nelson Maan says:

    Imagine the story of Luis Saez trying to emulate Joel Rosario in winning the Dubai World Cup and the Kentucky Derby the same year… and even better if Joel Rosario defeats Luis in the Derby…!

  20. Nelson Maan says:

    The scenario of Essential Quality facing two laudable challengers in Rock Your World and Concert Tour represents also the clash between a conventional progression of young horses and a new trend in the path to the Derby.

    On one side, Essential Quality has been developing from an adequate two-year-old campaign to a well-planned transition to his 3-year-old career. On the other corner we see two gifted prospects whose raw talent is so exceptional that they can carry the day without needing a 2-year-old campaign.

    Essential Quality is steadily becoming faster with every race and the new prospects are fast from the get-go. The assumption is that they will improve or at least keep their form in the Derby.

    Few people are daring to write off Rock Your World and Concert Tour due to their lack of 2-year-old experience (courtesy of Justify). After all, both horses have by now proved to be fast and resilient enough to be top contenders… so, they are able athletes by nature and by nurture as well.

    Starting a horse career when he is ready is a wise decision by the trainer.

    Essential Quality began his serious training in June 2020 and debuted 3 months later. Concert Tour also started training in early June 2020 but he had a break from August to early November. The son of Street Sense did not run last year but you could say that his 17 workouts kind of built some foundation in him … specially knowing that Baffert pushes his horses hard in the mornings…!

    The same can be said about Rock Your World with 19 workouts in 2020 starting in late June rendering 2.8 workouts per month.

    It takes a special horse to endure the rigors of the Derby Trail and win the Derby and in these modern days, not running as a 2-year-old does not preclude being that elite horse.

    • EddieF says:

      I’m late to the Essential Quality fan club, but I’m now convinced he’s at the top of the class. His speed figures improved with each race as a 2yo (Brisnet 84, 92, 101) and his Blue Grass (102) was a 4-point improvement from the Southwest (98). Everyone knows that he’s versatile, as he’s vied for the lead and stalked, and he’s closed on a fast pace. And what I like most about him is that he’s never given up an inch from the stretch call to the finish in any of his five races/wins, including four graded stakes at 8.5 and 9 furlongs. He’d be the first grey/roan to win the Derby in 16 years. He’s trained by a future Hall of Famer who’s never had a Derby runner. Lastly, if he’s up a river, he’ll have no worries.

        • Paula N Higgins says:

          Mike, I have concerns about EQ also.

        • Jeff says:

          I like baffert’s handling of CT with the 7 furlong San Vincent. I remember Steve saying he likes a 7 furlong race as a foundation for bigger and better. EQ got his top figure at his home track. CT two top figures are from different tracks. I’ve said it before I am not an EQ fan…

          • Jeff says:

            Forget to say, good stuff Nelson.

          • EddieF says:

            Jeff, I don’t think it’s fair to compare EQ and CT that way in regard to having a sprint race. I believe that Steve referred to 2yos returning for their 3yo campaign. CT began his 3-race career with two sprints. EQ had a most successful 2yo season, including a maiden sprint win at Churchill Downs. Anyway, how many contemporary Derby winners have had a sprint (7f or otherwise) to start their 3yo campaigns? Nyquist is the only one that I can remember, and he had just the 7f race and the Florida Derby following his championship year. That may have been the first time in 50 years that a Derby winner had a penultimate prep of less than 1 mile.

            I’m also not sure what relevance there is in your second point. Is there a historical argument to back it up?

      • Davids says:

        Only a bad post will stop Essential Quality, the professional racehorse in the pack.

        • Jeff says:

          EQ competition has not been good, and in fact running in the Blue Grass, in my view, Cox was “hiding” EQ against the CT of the world at his home track… Blue Grass winner hasn’t won a KD in 30 years. OUCH!

          • EddieF says:

            Where a horse runs isn’t a performance factor. And does it matter whether a horse WON the Blue Grass? Street Sense lost the 2007 BG by a nose and won the Derby. Also, I believe that EQ’s “home track” is Fair Grounds.

          • Mike Relva says:

            lmao Cox wasn’t ” hiding” EQ!!!!

          • Davids says:

            Did you take notice where Steve Haskin has placed the colt that came second to Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes? Highly Motivated is at No. 6, that is the highest position of any of the beaten colts. You might want to start rethinking on who beat who.

            Greatest Honour at No. 5 is out of the running so is not in the conversation.

          • Mike Relva says:

            How did CT do today?

  21. RobinM says:

    I like your top choice, Steve. I believe this colt has more upside on pedigree alone, than many of the other colts. I could say the same for Dynamic One and Concert Tour. I’m just not convinced that the Into Mischief’s want 10f. And while his pedigree is also a little short, I’m keeping my eye on Hot Rod Charlie who has proven to be a tough customer when on the lead.

  22. Matthew W says:

    So….Ron McAnally gets one last great one, Candy Ride, who won his three races in Soyth America…wins his first race up here, wrong lead….then wins the American, chasing a very good turf horse and then his final race, Pacific Classic, where he easily beats Medaglia d’Oro…Ron loses his sugar daddy owners, and yet he’s albe to stay relevant in the game with his one free mating with Candy Ride, quite a story…..

  23. Bill Dawson says:

    Hi Steve
    Please allow me to re-post a comment that I addressed to you on Feb. 26th (one prior to the running of the Pasadena S.)

    Feb. 26th, 3:11 pm
    Rock Your World is a Candy Ride clot that won his debut, on turf, so impressively, I was hoping John Sadler would try him on dirt, in a Derby prep race. However, he’ll remain on turf for the one mile Pasadena, at SA, on Saturday 2-27. He’ll probably be up against it with Cathkin Ppeak (Ire) going for his third straight win, 8/5.
    BTW, Rock Your World’s time in that 6F MSW race was 1:08.47. He is one fast colt. In the event RYW were to win the Pasadena, there’s still time for Sadler to consider a Derby prep race down the road.

    Your reply to me was: “You mean yet another with only 3 lifetime starts going into the Derby?
    I was somewhat puzzled by your reply, on the face of it, you seemed to be concerned about RYW’s lack of foundation.
    However, subsequent to his win in the Pasadena, I was pleasantly surprised that you included him in your KOTD segment,
    Week 7. In Week 9, he made it to #12, Week 10, you moved him to #7, in Week 11 he remained at #7, then after his impressive win in the Santa Anita Derby you shot him up to #1, which pleased me very much.
    You’ve probably noticed in a prior comment, I placed a $100.00 win wager in Pool 5, at 31-1, and boxed him with ALL, in my $2.00 exacta wager, (cost: $88.00).
    IMO, Rock Your World could be another Triple Crown Winner. We’ll see.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      I saw all I needed to see in the Pasadena, mainly his sensational gallop out and turn of foot, which made me contact Kosta Hronis and ask him if was going to put him in the SA Derby. He looked that special. I certainly couldnt get excited about him off one 6f maiden race on grass. At that time on the face of it, that was what I felt at the time, based on one 6f maiden turf race. I’m glad you pointed him out. You spotted him before anyone.

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Thanks for the Reply Steve

        Occasionally, all of us have a gut feeling about a horse. As I mentioned previously, RYW got my attention in first out maiden win, so I started digging into his pedigree, which is top notch for stamina influence, top and bottom. His dam’s sire Empire Maker tracks back to Toussaud, El Gran Senor, S– Appeal, Buckpasser, Busanda and War Admiral (one of the modern day carriers of the large-heart gene). RYW could very well be a carrier of the gene as well, IMO. RYW’s high cruising speed, and his abundance of stamina have the makings of a KD winner, and possibly the Preakness and Belmont as well, IMO.
        Bottom line, RYW checks a lot of boxes, moving forward. Your placement of RYW, at #1, in your Derby Rankings: Week 12, is spot on. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the post time favorite in the Derby. 🙂

        • Steve Haskin says:

          Oddly his Thoro-Graph number wasnt great, so i have to figure out what bearing that has because the pure speed figs…beyer, brisnet, and timeform were all fast. Go figure.

          • Bill Dawson says:

            Speed figures aside, we know RYW has a high cruising speed, with the ability to carry that speed over a distance of ground.
            As you mentioned on several occasions, his gallop outs have been over the top. It certainly appears 10-12 furlongs are well within his range. Here’s hoping he draws well, he clears the gate in good order, to be well positioned going into the first turn. I’d love to see RYW go gate to wire in the Derby, and move on to the Preakness and Belmont. First things first, but could we see another Triple Crown winner? Fingers crossed.

    • Deacon says:

      Bill: I liked your post, you have a good eye for horses. When I think of Rock Your World I also think of Animal Kingdom, who turned out to be a very nice race horse. Steve has mentioned many times about the foundation of these race horses. Back in the day trainers would race these budding 2year olds many times in sprints. I remember all of the 3 furlong races at Santa Anita in Feb, March & April. Once Hollywood Park opened these horses ran in 4 1/2 or 5 furlong races. They had the Hollywood Juvenile Championship at 6 furlongs also. Past winners of that race were Tomy Lee, Affirmed, Desert Wine, King Glorius, Terlingua, & Squirtle Squirt. I know that all through the late 1950’s & all of the 1960’s we never missed this race.
      My point is I guess is that these lightly raced horses are running in longer races right from the start. Whatever one wishes to dissect from this is their own. I know that Mr. Haskin knows horses & knows his stuff. He is the E.F. Hutton of horse racing journalism.

      • Bill Dawson says:

        Thank you for the kind words Deacon.

        What I know about the sport of horse racing, I owe to people like you, Steve Haskin, Laurie Ross and several others on this blog and the regular contributors on the HRN blog, and yes even Coldfacts, who has been on a hot streak of late, picking out bombers like Bourbonic, at 72-1, in the Wood, Weyburn, at 47-1, in the Gotham and Helium, at 15-1, in the Tampa Bay Derby.
        We can all benefit from each other if we keep an open mind, and avoid being critical of others who are entitled to their opinions.
        Best of luck moving forward Deacon.

        • Deacon says:

          That is very kind of you and I thank you.

          Coldfacts strikes me as a very analytical person. Sometimes he makes it personal with a blogger although maybe that is not his intent.

          The best longshot I ever hit in a horse race was way back in the 1960’s (I think it was the 60’s) with a horse names Quilche.
          He was a turf horse who liked going to the lead.
          Robert Wheeler trained him, I think he was Chilean bred. My dad knew Mr. Wheeler so as a result I knew a little as well. Wheeler also trained one of my favorite fillies, Silver Spoon. She won the Santa Anita Derby and was 4th in the Kentucky Derby.

          Back in 1964 or 1965 or both, I had George Royal in the San Juan Capistrano, Johnny Longden rode him. He paid a pretty good price.
          Ah the memories.

          • Bill Dawson says:

            Your quite welcome Deacon

            Judging by your comments, relative to the years you’ve been involved in horse racing, it appears we’re about the same age.
            I turned 81 this past January, but as they say, age is just a number. With respect to Coldfacts, he and I have been exchanging comments for several years on these blogs, and truthfully, we’ve never had a problem. Sometimes he likes to yank on someone’s chain, but all and all, I believe he’s a decent person, at least from my perspective.
            You mentioned your favorite filly, (Silver Spoon), my all time favorite filly was Landaluce, who was undefeated (5 for 5), as a 2 yr. old. She was one beautiful specimen, and was faster than greased lightning. Trained by D. Wayne Lucas, she came down with Colitis X, and died before she could race as a 3 yr. old. There’s no telling what she could have accomplished in her sophomore campaign. You have to admire those that are closely involved in the horse racing business, (owners, trainers, ect. ect.) this sport is certainly not for the thin skinned.

            • Deacon says:

              I remember Landaluce very well, saw her amazing races at Hollywood Park. I used to say what if she and Ruffian ever hooked up in a 6 furlong race. That would have been something. Silver Spoon was a long time ago, 1959 was her Santa Anita Derby win. She was my 1st love for a filly.
              I also loved Moccasin, Susan’s Girl, Azeri, Songbird & Dreaming of Anna. I guess my heart has a special place for the greatest filly I ever saw run and that was Ruffian. All these equine champions are beautiful animals, hard not to love all of them. I am not quite your age, I’m still clinging to the 70’s but time is so fleeting. My first horse race was the 1955 Santa Anita Derby in which Swaps won. I never forgot that race. We could probably talk for hours about horses. My uncle owned a farm in Southern California. He had horses as his daughter used to ride all the time. Back when there were horse trails. She taught me to ride. I was always going over there to ride a horse. Great memories, my uncle was a minister and also worked for Lockheed. Thanks for all your posts.

              • Nextbonus says:

                I’m mostly a lurker. But when I saw that your first race was Swaps’ S A Derby I had to comment. I have a few strands of hair from Swaps’ mane. A dearly departed friend got a lock of his mane from his groom while he was in Chicago for the match race with Nashua. She gave me a few strands. If cloning ever becomes legal, I can race Swaps II. LOLOL!

                • Deacon says:

                  That is pretty cool. Swaps is my dads all time favorite horse. Swaps was truly a great race horse, he never has gotten the respect he deserves.
                  Have a great weekend.

              • Mike Relva says:

                Didn’t appreciate the manner in which owner treated Azeri….. not even a little!

      • pro vet says:

        He liked him because his breeding…… is THAT a good eye?…..Bill certainly is on a victory lap…….all over……

        • Bill Dawson says:

          Fortunately, I have you blocked on HRN. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to block your rude, disparaging comments on this blog. I see you haven’t changed.

          • Mike Relva says:

            And he/she never will. Suffers from the “Walter Mitty” complex.

            • Bill Dawson says:

              Hey Mike, the “Walter Mitty” complex is a great analogy; Stronger than Superman, Wiser than Solomon and Handsomer than Clark Gable. BTW, I noticed you referred to Provet4 has a “he/she. Someone on the HRN blog said that Provet4 is indeed a female. If true, that would be a real shocker to me. Go figure. 🙂

  24. King Barbaro says:

    I really think Medina Spirit is going to surprise in the derby. Up close on that early fast pace in the Anita, widest both turns, love the quickening move into the stretch to get up close to Rock, then lived to fight another day the last eight. Steve saying he’s “tough” and has a “sneaky good pedigree” only adds confidence. Solid price play imo.

  25. pro vet says:

    I am shocked Bob entered BEZOS in the Lexington…..he didnt really run fast….he won with more to give but………i mentioned his work the other day was amazing…….it must have really impressed Bob…….he would not put him on plane if he didnt really like him……….i’m really shocked he is doing it……interesting