Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 KY Derby Trail

Hey guys, back again! I'll try to put as much info as I did last year as we had some very good discussions. Hopefully we can come up with the tri and super this year and have a good 138! We weren't far off last year.

Right now, I think Creative Cause is your horse to excel at the Derby distance and therefore is my top one. However, there's plenty of time left for horses to mature and to be peaking by the first Saturday in May and the big ones are coming up in the next couple weeks (e.g Wood, SA Derby, Bluegrass and Arkansas). Here are the Derby contenders I like and keeping an close eye on: TCI (who I've been touting since last Oct.), Alpha, Prospective, Gemologist, Bodemeister, Went the Day Well

And of course Union Rags is still very tough and will most certainly be a factor..Not big on Hansen nor Secret Circle for the KY Derby distance of 10f.

Will post a more detailed blog soon, in terms of their pedigrees and analyzing figures. Hope y'all enjoy! - Brent A. Neikirk


  1. So glad you're back doing this!!!

    Couldn't agree more about Hansen and Secret Circle. I don't think they'll like more than the 1-1/16 they both did last time out, but I love that they both may be in the Derby Field. They'll take alot of money, it just won't be mine.

    My top Derby prospects as of today are: Union Rags, Creative Cause, Dullahan, Gemologist (maybe), and Went The Day Well.

    I know WTDW is unconventional, but he's already won on dirt, and has a GoneWest and Tiznow pedigree.

    I'm not sold on Gemologist yet, we'll see after the Wood, and same goes for Alpha and Bodemeister. Take Charge Indy will have Borel, but he won't get loose on the lead like he did in Florida.

    What are your thoughts on front running pace in the derby? And what do you think of the UAE Derby horses coming back over?

  2. Glad you like my blog, Brian. Hope this helps you!

    First, not a big fan of UAE Derby horses coming back over and running in the 10f grueling Derby, but that's just my opinion. Obviously, anything can happen.

    And as far as my thoughts on the front running pace of the Derby, it depends on how much speed there is in the race and what kind of horse you have up there like War Emblem did back in '02. That's why I like TCI right now. Will he do that again? And especially in the Derby? Probably not, but he's well bred and AP Indy's tend to be late-bloomers anyway, so he's definitely one to watch! I've been following him since last October and think he could be a dangerous horse. Love his pedigree being out of TCL.
    But as far as the Derby distance and all, I think C Cause is your horse right now. U Rags is tough, but I'm not so sure he's a 10f horse. However, he did look good coming to the wire in the Fla Derby. Not dismissing him whatsoever! Gemologist is another I like for the Derby in terms of getting the distance. Has the pedigree, but will he have enough money? We'll find out today! Bodemeister is another I like because I've always been a fan of Empire Maker, probably cause he won me a lot of money in the Belmont!:)
    But we'll know more after today and I'll put up a blog either tomorrow or Monday and start getting down to the nitty gritty of analyzing figs and pedigrees! Good Luck!

  3. Gemologist, alpha go 1-2 in Wood! 2 that I really like! Looking good so far!:))

  4. Wow...ok, I'm on board with Gemologist now. He did that easy, and had some left in the tank. Very impressive. We're gonna have a very balanced field for the derby. Post position and the ride they get are gonna be big factors.

    I'll Have Another was impressive as well. I thought he'd be a bust.

    I can't wait to evaluate pace figures (especially late) to narrow our group, and then post position will narrow it further.

    Gonna be fun.

  5. My preliminary Top 10(w/ a few preps left)

    1. Union Rags
    2. Gemologist
    3. Creative Cause
    4. Alpha
    5. Dullahan
    6. Take Charge Indy
    7. I'll Have Another
    8. Bodemeister??
    9. Went The Day Well?
    10. Hansen

    My 8 and 9 choices may not even make the field based on earnings, but they've certainly shown potential. And there was no real science here, just visual impressions, plus immediate breeding.

  6. Looks good to me, Brian! Here's my top 10 as of today:

    1. Creative Cause
    2. Gemologist
    3. Union Rags
    4. Alpha
    5. Take Charge Indy
    6. Bodemeister
    7. I'll Have Another
    8. Went The Day Well
    9. Hansen
    10. Daddy Nose Best

    I like the fact that my top 2, their sires, went at it in the '00 BC Classic which took place at Churchill. I really like these two for the Derby, in terms of form, pedigree, figs. And I really like Alpha as he was one of the first horses, along with TCI, that I started following last October. Alpha keeps improving with every start and has an outstanding pedigree. I think U Rags could be vulnerable, but no way can you leave him off any tickets. There are some quality horses here and you could make a case for any of them, especially the top 6 or 7.

    I'm going to start posting some new blogs with figs, earnings and things like that this week and after the Bluegrass and Arkansas Derby, we'll delve deeper and really get into handicapping the big one!

  7. Our lists are very similar... I guess thats a good thing?!?!

    I've gone back and watched the '00 BC Classic a few times since you mentioned it.. what a great race! Tiznow is all heart!

    I've watched last years derby a few times too, and I hate how Shackleford was able to dictate the pace, and make it so slow (1:13) for the first 2/3 of the race. Based on the field shape now, I'm afraid of getting the same scenario. I'd much rather a few fliers that will burn up, and we can toss out early.

  8. Yeah, Shack had the PERFECT trip, but AK was just a freight train coming down the lane and my pick was Nehro who almost had it. I just thought the jock moved him a bit early.
    If that were to happen again, I can see TCI getting out there and doing something similar, but as of now I don't see him winning it, maybe getting a piece though. My top ones are C Cause, Gemologist and Alpha who have the pedigree to excel at 10f, improving at the right time/in good form and have the figs to back it all up. But obviously, we have a few more preps remaining (BG, AD and Lexington) and 3 1/2 weeks away, so anything can happen.
    Sounds like DNB took to the CD track well. I think he could be an x-factor. But narrowing down the field will be hard. I'm sure the next couple weeks will help us out though! And I have a funny feeling that Bodemeister will impress in the AD which would move him into my top 4 or 5. LOVE his pedigree and he's a fresh horse. Would definitely be one to watch out for if he has a good showing in the AD. Remember, Curlin was lightly raced coming into the TC trail.
    Check out some of the sites I follow, too, if you don't already (they're located in the top left-hand corner of this page.

  9. Brent- Is there a link you use to get the Brisnet pace figures(1st call, 2nd call, Late Pace, etc.)?

    I loved Curlin. He was my pick in the 2007 Derby. Had him one race too soon. Also had Barbaro in the 2006 Derby, but both of those picks were based entirely on visual impressions, no science. They both just looked like Studs! Union Rags has that look to me. Like he exudes the "How dare you step on MY racetrack attitude". LOL. We'll see.

    I wanna see Optimizer this weekend too. He has that one run, late kick style, that is always dangerous in the Derby. And he's certainly bred for it. Wouldn't expect him to win, but if he performs well this weekend, he is a threat for the bottom of exotics.

  10. Yeah, I think there's a couple I use, but one that I know off hand is the link that I have above. If you click on the contenders then click on a horse it will say download past performances (using adobe I believe) and that has the brisnet E1, E2, late pace and speed figs on there.

  11. So just for fun, here are my picks for today's races...

    Blue Grass Stakes: Hansen and Dullahan boxed

    Arkansas Derby: Optimizer and Isn't He Clever w/ Bodemeister 3rd and left out of the Kentucky Derby w/ a lack of earnings. Secret Circle pulls "The Factor".

  12. I like Dullahan, Hansen, Prospective


    Bodemeister, Secret Circle, Optimizer

  13. Two good exacta scores by you!!!

    Bodemeister certainly makes this more difficult. That was impressive.

  14. Thanks, but it was chalky. But I still believed they were the best horses.

    I had Bodemeister in my top 6 before the race and now I'd put him at #3 behind C Cause and Gemologist, in terms of who I like on Derby day as of today. My revised top 10 are as follows:

    1.C Cause
    6.Union Rags
    7.I'll Have Another
    8.Daddy Nose Best
    9.Take Charge Indy
    10.Went The Day Well

    I think Bodemeister is the best 3yo as of right now. He has the speed which will help him stay out of trouble in the 20 horse field, the pedigree, peaking at the right time (although, he could regress, but it wouldn't be by much since he paired 101 Beyers before the AD and he's lightly raced which means he'll learn more with every race.), no doubt the 10f is in his wheelhouse and he has the trainer and jockey to get it done. And Mike said that he could sit and rate off the speed if he wanted to, but he reminds me a lil of Ghostzapper, one of my faves all time. He also flatters C Cause which I like since he's my top one and I think we'll see a strong performance from him come Derby day. But I can also see Gemologist taking an even bigger step forward and running very well in the Derby. He has everything you look for as well.

    I think we nailed Hansen/Secret Circle..10f will be too much for them. Alpha keeps on improving and should be a factor coming down the stretch. He has a good turn-of-foot to navigate the 20 horse field. Not sure about U Rags yet, I think he could be vulnerable at 10f, but that doesn't take away from the fact of how good of a horse he is. He's one of my question marks right now, although I'm sure he'll be in my tickets somewhere. Dullahan will love the long stretch in the Derby 'cause he keeps on coming and will definitely be passing some horses. I'll Have Another is another question mark for me. I don't think he puts 3 very good races together, that's hard for a young 3yo to do, but he's very talented. DNB is another horse who I like and is a bit like Dullahan and he's improving with every race and could surprise on Derby day, though I don't see him winning, maybe getting a piece. More and more now, I'm not liking TCI as much as I did. Mainly because I think there are better horses and I don't see him duplicating his FL Derby win. WTDW - we'll see what he does in the Lexington and get a better read on him. So as of today, I really like my top 7-8 horses, but we have a lil under 3 weeks to go and anything can and usually does happen. Gonna be fun and VERY exciting! A good group of 3yos this year!

  15. Scratch that..I said WTDW was running in the Lexington, but they're training him up to the Derby. Don't think he's another AK, but we'll keep a close eye on him and see how he takes to the CD track. I do like his pedigree though. I'm just not sure he's going to improve THAT much in terms of being better than the top 6-7 horses on my list and the 6-week layoff doesn't work with every horse (AK was special and the track conditions most certainly helped him out last year), but as you know, anything can happen!

  16. Ok, our lists are still very similar...slightly different order, with one very notable exception. I still LOVE Union Rags! I can't shake the Barbaro comparison. I keep second guessing myself though because you have him at 6, and I can't put him lower than 3(and even that pains me).

    My Top 10 are:

    1. Union Rags
    2. Bodemeister
    3. Gemologist
    4. Creative Cause
    5. Dullahan
    6. I'll Have Another
    7. Alpha
    8. Take Charge Indy
    9. Went The Day Well
    10. Hansen

    Post position will probably start to clarify it for us.

    As I said in my first post, I'll be interested to project pace scenarios. TCI, Bode, Hansen, and Secret Circle all seem willing to be on the lead, with Gemologist not far behind. Will any of them burn themselves out? Will a potential winner like Bode, or Gem, or TCI ruin their chances? Will be interesting.

    As far as my selections and the order, I still have Rags #1 because I think he has the best tactical speed, can rate, and turn it on in the stretch. Creative Cause is more of a grinder to me. I haven't seen that Explosive turn of foot from him that I'd like to see from a KD winner. My 1,2,3, and 5 all have that I think.

    Can't wait to analyze these figures! And please note, I'm VERY novice, so be patient with me. :)

  17. Go back and watch the San Felipe when CC beat Bode. He went like 5-wide and was erractic in the stretch and still won. I just think his style and pedigree suite him well for the 10f Derby that has that long stretch run. He has a better turn-of-foot than one would think, but you're right, I do like Bode's, Gem's and a few others TOF. It's a good group of 3-yos. It just all depends on who gets the trip. I can say this, it will be a much more honest pace than last year. There's some speed this year. And I do think CC bounces back from the SA Derby and runs well. He will be primed and ready.

    And don't 2nd guess yourself on U Rags, I like him and he'll be on my tickets and could very well win the thing. I just think he could be vulnerable in a 20 horse field and at 10f, but I could be wrong. If this wasn't a good group of 3yos like it is this year, then I would be high on him, but there are some awfully good horses that match up well with him. I also don't think he has progressed all that much from 2 to 3, but with that said, he's still a very good horse and I'm not dismissing him whatsoever. I think that would be a mistake.

  18. I just watched both of CC's last two races and no doubt he will be there at the end of the Derby. He ran on AFTER both of those races too.

    I do have a crazy question for you... At the end of the SA Derby, you can see CC's tongue wagging for the last furlong while IHA, and BSR don't appear to have their tongues out. What does this signify if anything? Told ya it was random!!!

  19. Good question! lol..I'm not an expert on this, but I think some trainers tie the horse's tounge to the side 'cause some horses tend to ball their tounges up in their mouths when running which could block the airway a bit. And also to keep in from sliding over the bit. Nothing to be concerned about though.

  20. Here are some stats/figs to mull over if you like that kind of thing:

    One horse that is growing on me is IHA. This guy looks tough and will be a factor on Derby day. I'm dropping a lil on Alpha, WTDW and TCI mostly because I think the other horses like CC, Bode, UR, IHA, Gem and Dullahan are better and well suited for the upcoming Derby, but we still have a couple weeks left so we have plenty of time to handicap.

  21. Thanks for the link Brent. I'll be honest, I have no experience with PFs, I've always looked at Beyers and Speed Figures (1st, 2nd, Late, Final). In trying to educate myself, I came across this link,

    It has an interesting comparison of the 2001 Derby horses, and the corelation between PF's and Beyers. Only one example, but not sure if that level of analysis is useful for us.

    I also made a chart with the PFs of the last two preps for the derby horse this year, and it came out pretty much as expected, with one exception, Union Rags paired -35 and -36 over the last two preps which puts him in the bottom half of the field for each!

    This list is sorted in order of the last prep...

    Last Prep Prev Prep
    DaddyLongLegs -65 13

    Bodemeister -59 -47

    Dullahan -57 -51

    Gemologist -57 -38

    Alpha -56 -49

    Hansen -52 -55

    Creative Cause -45 -50

    I'llHaveAnother -45 -43

    Mark Valeski -43 -53

    Done Talking -42 23

    TakeChargeIndy -40 -41

    Rousing Sermon -37 -19

    Union Rags -35 -36

    WentTheDayWell -34 3

    Daddy Nose Best -33 -41

    Prospective -31 -50

    El Padrino -28 -49

    Secret Circle -21 -37

    Sabercat -20 -12

    Liaison -8 -28

    How would you suggest comparing PF's, Beyers, and Speed Figures?

  22. Brent Austin NeikirkApril 18, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    PFs are something I've used for the past 5-6 years and they are just another fig to add to the handicapping for the Derby, but I don't use them as a top indicator mainly because the Derby is a crapshoot. You can handicap it all you want and usually get pretty close, but then you have horses like AK (who had like a -9PF in the Spiral last year coming into the Derby). You also have winners like MTB and Giacomo and many others that finished ITM. So, you really do need some luck, but I think it all depends on the trip the horse gets (which pp draw comes into play, although with some horses it doesn't matter, like the speedier horses that can get out of trouble and closers that can hang back and make one big run near the end.) and the pace of the race is a big factor. Honestly, right now I could see Bode run away from the field like War Emblem did and you know who his trainer was...Baffert. He could also do a Big Brown and stalk the leader(s) which could possibly be TCI and then just pull away winning by maybe 4-5 lengths. I think he's the real deal though!

    So yeah, I look at PFs, but I like to put more emphasis on their preps/works (form coming into the Derby), do they look ready to have a peak performance in the Derby (are they progressing?), pp draw and what kind of running style they have, pedigree (does the 10f distance suite them well?) and of course I do like to use BSFs and Brisnet figs. A lot to go through, but I'll have a detailed analysis on each horse (like I did last year's field), it'll probably at the beginning of Derby week when it's final, but I think I'm gonna start working on it next week. Would like to see what happens with who's in for sure and how they're doing, works and those such things. Gotta good feeling about our chances though!

  23. Recent Notes:
    Union Rags, Gemologist and El Padrino's trainers pulled audibles today, breezing ahead of announced plans. In each case, connections were looking at weekend rain forecasts.

    At Keeneland, Union Rags worked furlongs in :47.50, breezing. Keeneland reported in a tweet that his splits were :12.06, :24.03 and :35.81. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 and six in 1:15.12.

    Keeneland clocker Stephen Skaggs said Union Rags "covers a lot of ground, (has a) huge stride and did not get hot."

    At Palm Meadows, Gemologist went five furlongs timed by Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form in 1:00.84, breezing. Welsch tweeted that Gemologist went in company with Overdriven and was out six furlongs in 1:14.13.

    The same report has El Padrino going five furlongs at Palm Meadows in 100.48, breezing in company with stakes winner Hudson Steele, and out six furlongs in what is described as a "strong" 1:13.24

    I was really hoping not to have to worry about El Padrino, but the recent defections put him in. One more to worry about!

  24. Trinniberg!?!?!?! What an ego-maniac that owner must be!

    So how does this impact our pace setup? I'm getting so itchy...May 2nd and the PP draw can't get here soon enough!

  25. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you..been out of town this weekend..went to Keeneland on Friday (which is about an hour and a half from me (Ashland, KY), and my brother lives in Lexington, go there every April and October..GREAT times!!) and then I went to Atlanta where all my relatives live, but anyway, on to the important stuff...

    I hear ya, I've got Derby fever!!! There will definitely be no lack of pace in this one, so we should keep a close eye on the mid-pack/closers. Could set up very well for Dullahan and CC as well as a few others. But those 2 ran their best races with a HOT pace up front. And I think Bodemeister can hang even if he doesn't win, he'll be there like a Hard Spun. It's gonna be hard to narrow down these horses, but hopefully we can get it down to about 6-7 and play those. Obviously, things can change and pp draw/works at CD will help us to do that. But right now, I think Bodemeister is a freak and could take them to the house and I agree with Mike when he said that Bode can rate, so I could see him sitting off of Trinniberg and/or Hansen and doing something to what BB did in '08. I really think he's THAT good!! Go back and watch Derby '08. But I'm also liking CC, Gemologist, Dullahan, IHA, UR and DNB. That's probably my top 7 right now. We'll start analyzing some figs/preps/works and so on this week and really start to delve in deep.

  26. So DNB has cracked your Top 7.. He's gone from 10 to 8 to 7 over the last two weeks. I watched his last two races, and he has definitely been running at the end, but who has he beaten? Have you seen something you like at Churchill from him?

    My top 4 to win are (no order): CC, UR, Bode, Gem
    Followed by (no order): IHA, Dullahan, Alpha, ElPadrino
    And with a shot to hit the board: TCI, WTDW, DNB, Hansen

    Now, that's 12, and that's too many!!! :) This is gonna be tough.

  27. DNB had a very good work at CD today! No, he hasn't beaten much but I like his figs, pedigree and he's progressing at the right time. However, I like others better at this point, but I will probably use him on the bottom.

  28. I'd say my top 3 to win, as of today, are: Bode, CC and Gem
    Next I would put UR, Dullahan, DNB
    And I still like Alpha but there are so many good horses that now i'm trying to find a way not to like him lol
    Also, I had a dream that IHA would bounce in the Derby, for whatever that's worth lol...told ya I have Derby fever!! Hahaha
    UR is growing on me tho and there's no way i'll dismiss him..i'm just not big on him for the win, but he IS a badass and should bounce back in the Derby..but of course, it's all gonna depend on pp draw and who gets the trip cause there will most certainly be a hot pace to run at and should run true. Gonna be fun!!:))

  29. El Padrino scares me. Even though he didnt run in the Florida Derby (too focused on UR), his pedigree is nasty!

    I see him ruining my tickets if I don't use him.

  30. I liked El Pad a lot before his poor Fla Derby showing. He could very well bounce back and run well in the Derby. He has good figs and the pedigree to run well with this group at 10f. He might move into my top 7 by the end of next week. I'd like to see what he does in his work at CD and of course pp draw will be important. We'll see what happens...

  31. Bode had a good work at CD this morning getting 5f in 1:00.80 and galloping out 6f in 1:13 and change. Looks like he's on point and still in good form!

  32. Yep, I liked what Baffert's assistant said about Bode "being full of energy, and bucking in his stall", only 3 days after the Arkansa Derby. He seems poised to explode further.

    El Padrino, ran neck-neck w/ Rags in the FL Derby, until the turn when Rags went in, and EP out. He didn't kick like I wanted to see, but I think that was more a function of the track and the pace that day.

    His pedigree is seriously impressive though. I agree, let's see his final work.

  33. Here's a look at the LP (late pace) and SPD (speed figure) for our top 12 Derby contenders in their last prep:
    LP, SPD
    Alpha - Wood(2nd) 97, 101
    Bode - ARDerby(1st) 105, 105
    CC - SADerby(2nd) 112, 97
    DNB - SunDerby(1st) 103, 101
    Dulhn - BGS(1st) 93, 102
    ElPad - FLDerby(4th) 107, 100
    Gem - Wood(1st) 96, 102
    Hansen- BGS(2nd) 79, 100
    IHA - SADerby(1st) 109, 98
    TCI - FLDerby(1st) 110, 104
    U Rags- FLDerby(3rd) 113, 102
    WTDW - Spiral(1st) 101, 103

    Most of these preps are gonna have slower fractions than what is expected in the Derby, other than the BGS which had a fast pace and set up well for Dullahan and he had a nice LP and SPD, so he looks very promising for Derby day. I'm gonna give a final analysis on these horses next week and the pp draw should help us to determine what kind of trip each will get, though you never can say for sure. I can say this, it's gonna be VERY interesting!!

  34. This article pretty much sums up most schools of thought...

    One interesting note..only 3 horses have triple digit Late Pace AND Speed Fig in BOTH of their last two races.. Union Rags, Bode, and El Padrino.

    The other top contenders (CC, Gem, Dull, IHA, TCI, Alpha) just missed.

  35. Good article! I think it will depend on pp draw and kind of mapping out the trip each horse should get because right now I can see 10 horses that could possibly win.

    The horses that I think are peaking for the Derby are Dullahan, Gem, DNB, TCI and WTDW, but that's not to say they'll win or that the others we like won't win. I just think these 5 horses improved the right way in their last race and should be primed and ready for their best efforts to date. But do they get the trip and a good pp draw? Anything can happen in a 20-horse field! I'd say my top 6 right now are Bode, Dullahan, CC, Gem, UR and DNB. But we'll see what happens with final tune-ups and pp draws before I make a final stance on these. It's gonna be tough, but you have to kick someone out and they're not all gonna hit the wire at the same time.

  36. So, riddle me this....

    If you had to pick 1 horse that you'd guarantee will be in the Top 4 (doesn't have to win, just guaranteed Top 4)...who would it be?

    Who would your 2nd and 3rd choices be, as a horse guaranteed for top 4?

    Last year I did that to help formulate my wagers, and I had Dialed In, Nehro and MuchoMachoMan... as locks, in that order. Ouch!

  37. And btw... I of course realize that "guarantees" are bogus. Just trying to talk it all through.

  38. That's funny cause I do the same thing in my head. I tell myself who would most likely finish in the top 4 and go from there. My "guarantee" pick would be Bodemeister. I think he's the best horse in the field and even if he regresses a little and runs like a 103/104 BSF, that should surely be good enough to finish in the top 4, probably top 3. My 2nd choice would be Dullahan. I love his running style for this race as he's a strong stretch runner and there will be plenty of speed in the race to set him up. My 3rd choice would probably be CC, I guess. That's a hard one! But he has good figs and has great LP numbers and I see him rebounding from that SA Derby loss with a big effort in the Derby. Those are my top 3 right now, but that could change with a week to go. DNB keeps growing on me and he has that running style as well to where he'll be coming in the stretch and picking off horses. Another horse that has that kind of running style is WTDW and he scares me a bit. Don't see him winning it, but he could show up for 4th. It's gonna be tough narrowing down these horses we have in our top 10-12, but I think we're on the right track and I have a good feeling about our chances.

  39. 5 days away!!! Ok, I think I have it down to my top 7 horses, but this isn't anything final. Still waiting on pp draw and see how everyone is doing by the end of the week.

    3.Creative Cause
    4.Union Rags
    5.Daddy Nose Best
    7.Went The Day Well

    Obviously, you can make a case for and against any of the top 10-12 horses, but you have to draw the line somewhere. I look for the Derby to have a hot pace up front, so I like closer types this time around, but I also like a speedy type to stay and finish in the top 4 like a Hard Spun and that horse would be Bode. I also like a stalker/mid-pack type up there and that would be UR. Anything you want me to put on here as far as analysis goes?

  40. Ok.. Great news! I have the same Top 4! My order would be Union Rags, Bodemeister, Dullahan, Creative Cause, but we're on the same page!

    I also agree with you (and most others) about the pace situation. The only thing I wonder is if this group has such good quality, that very few will be falling back as the closers are making there run. I could see Gemologist and IHA make a big run around the final turn, but keep grinding, even as DNB and WTDW are making their runs. Dullahan is the best closer by far, so I think he makes his run no matter what. Thoughts?

    Also, going back to an earlier post re: "keying" horses. You mention Bode as your "guarantee" horse. Does that mean you think he has no shot to be burned up by the pace scenario? I would think Bode has a high risk-high reward style, whereas a horse like CC, is the more reliable "hit the board" finisher.

    Hope you don't mind me playing devil's advocate. Again, just trying to talk it all through, so we have the best plan possible. I'm learning a ton from this too!! :-)

    As far as future posts...lets discuss race set-up and pace once we see the draw, and then ultimately different types of tickets.

    This is awesome!!! Can't wait for Wednesday! Won't be able to sleep after that!

  41. It's hard to say who will stay around, but the thing to keep in mind is that this is the first time these young 3yos will be running at 10f. So, I believe that you have to look at those with a pedigree and running style to stay especially with a hot pace up front. IHA does worry me and he would be my 8th horse and Gem my 9th. These 2 do scare me! PP draw should help us though.
    As far as Bode goes, if you watch his races he runs 23 and 46s by himself and still runs the last eighth in under 12 at 9f. So I don't think he gets burned up on the front end and he could possibly rate and blow this field away, believe it or not. He IS the best horse in here, imo. And he looked awesome in his final work. If Baffert doesn't see any regression then neither do I. Which means that he could "pair" his AR Derby performance which would lead me to believe that that would win the Derby OR he could move forward off that effort and put in one hell of a performance! So yes, he would still be my "guarantee" pick as far as finishing in the top 4.

  42. That all makes sense. What have you thought of the workouts at CD so far?

    DNB does nothing for me, but everyone else seems to like him, and I also have read how the his 100 Beyer at Sunland was totally legit. Hard for me to believe watching the other horses from that race. You seem to like him too. Why?

  43. There hasn't been any works, out of our top contenders, that I disliked, but there have been some works to like. I liked UR and Bode's last works and CC had a good work this morning. And it looks like DNB had a typical work.
    If you go back and look at my 2011 KY Derby analysis, I nailed Nehro in terms of how he works and he was my pick last year. He had slower times in his works but I went back and looked at his past works and he had always worked like that, so I wasn't concerned. As with some people, they would have said that a horse with that type of work doesn't like the CD surface. So a key thing to look at is how each particular horse works and compare his own times.

    I like DNB for a few reasons. One is that I like how he is progressing and how seasoned he is. I also like his running style and the fact that he has won 2 times this year at 9f. Has good figs that are right there with the rest of the field and has a good pedigree with which he gets stamina from the bottom side and Thunder Gulch. I also like how the Derby should have a similar pace to his Sunland Derby win...FAST! No, he hasn't beaten much and I don't see him winning, but he could pick up the pieces coming down the stretch. Oh, and he should be a good price as well!:)

  44. Just watched a few old derbies.. Any chance this year's version looks like 2003 or 2004? Funny Cide-Smarty Jones.

    Seperate note... I haven't gotten myself narrowed own to 7 horses yet, in fact I'm working backwards. :-) Fair to say these 6 horses are the first to be tossed from consideration for the exotics... Trinniberg, Liaison, Done Talking, Sabercat, Prospective, Mark Valeski? Any you'd change?

  45. LOL! That's funny! I had Funny Cide pegged in that one and made some people some money that day and I also had the tri with Smarty/Lion Heart and Imperialism, no joke!! But yeah, I can see a similar pace to '03 more than '04, don't think Trinniberg and/or Hansen slowing it down that much and getting away with it like Lion Heart did.
    I used to like Sabercat and could see him running late and not sure about Mark Valeski, but put it this way, I think our top ones are better than these. PP draw should help to sort out some of these if you're having a lil trouble. I mean, I have 10-12 horses that could be in the top 4, but there's no way I can manage a ticket like that, lol! I always try to get it down to 6 horses, but this year there's some real talent, so I'm trying 7, I guess. Might even do 8. Really tough, yet exciting!!

  46. Cool..Thanks! Check this out.. Best video I've seen of Bode!!! That got me excited....

  47. Love it!!! He's my pick to win!!

  48. I've had a decent record, since '00, for picking the Derby winner. Had FuPeg, Monarchos (was at the Derby for those 2), Funny Cide, Smarty, Barbaro, Street Sense, BB, Super Saver...missed on War Emblem, Giacomo, MTB and AK. 67% is not bad

  49. Are you serious???

    Does anyone else know that??? And why aren't you getting paid professionally?!?!? Or....are you, and this is your alias??? :-)

    No, that's incredible! Congrats..and KEEP IT UP!!!! I like all of our top 4. If I had to drop one from the win poistion it would be CC, just based on turn of foot, but I really hope the Draw helps clear things up for us.

    1. Brian & Brent.....u make some excellent points and cogent observations. I have been following the great thoroughbreds since my fav...Easy Goer in 89.
      Of course like Empire Maker who is fast becoming a great modern sire {Grace Hall as well as Bode} he did not smell the roses but romped in the
      Belmont. Great stamina from the Unbridled line. He was my first winner.
      I too have honestly selected 8 Derby winners since that time so my % is not quite as good as yours. I particularly enjoyed your repeated refrains re: not dismissing UR. that would be a mistake as HE CAN GET THE 1.25m. He along with Bode appear to be very special indeed. U r right in that the post draw, pace, & trip figure so prominently in this cavalry charge we call the Derby. I'm sticking with the ragster BUT BODE DOES SCARE ME. EZGR89.

  50. I AM serious, Brian. And there are a few of my close friends and family that know that, but no I don't get paid professionally, though I've heard several times that I should. I'm starting to back off of CC for the win as well and Dullahan for that matter. Reasons being, CC's trainer said that he doesn't like Crowds of horses and he'll be getting a big dose of that in the Derby and he has been a lil erratic in the stretch in his races, so that concerns me about him for the win spot, but not dismissing him for 2nd, 3rd...And I wonder if Dullahan is just a better turf/poly horse. Hasn't shown much on dirt and his last work at CD wasn't anything special. So, I might put a ticket together that has Bode and UR for the win and then the others in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th slots. Thoughts?

    Thanks, EZGR89. We're trying to put a winning formula together!:)..The first Derby that I really remember was '89, I was 8 1/2 yrs old. I was hooked after that and the times I spent at Keeneland as a kid. What a great sport with some of the most beautiful animals in the world. Love it!!

  51. Brent- I think Bode and UR on top is most likely. I'm afraid to leave Dullahan out, as Romans is due, and he really seems to think the distance is gonna favor his horse. I'm more concerned with who to leave off the ticket... I don't want to have some 40-1 bomber come from out of the clouds and blow things up like a Make Music for Me did.

  52. Ok, pp draw is done, ml odds made and we have 2 days to go!! I have to say, I REALLY REALLY like my top 7 horses right now. I think IHA in post #19 will have to use up more energy early in order to get into good position which, if you look at his brisnet figs, he doesn't normally do that and has big lp figs. Gem does scare me a bit and he's a wildcard for me, but I'll take CC at 12-1 over Gem's 6-1 ml all day long!!! I like how my top 7 horses have worked, I like their pp and I have analyzed their figs and like them as well especially when this should be a hot paced race. I don't think I'll be changing much of anything. I might add Gem to some ticket, but I REALLY don't like his ml odds.

  53. HERE WE GO!!!!!

    I don't think any horse was really hurt or helped dramatically by the post position, but I agree, if I had to choose one, it would be IHA. That being said, all On-Site reports, have said all week he's the most energetic horse every day. Does that bode well for him???

    What are your thoughts on keying 1 horse? Or even 2 horses?

    My top 4 win contenders are the chalk: UR, BODE, DULLAHAN, and GEM. Thoughts? Although I think CC has a better chance to hit the board than GEM and BODE. He's just so consistent. Does that make sense?

  54. I don't think it matters much that IHA has been the most energetic in the morning. Some horses are lazy in the morning, but run well in the afternoon/evening and others are like IHA and work good in the morning. So either way I don't think it matters much there.
    In one of my supers I'm going to key Bode for the win and then play like 3 horses in 2nd, 4 in the 3rd slot and 5 in the 4th spot. I hit the super in '08 by doing thst with Big Brown. Paid me just under $30,000, NO JOKE!!! My ticket may look something like this:


    I don't have anything set in stone yet.

    Your top 4 looks good. Though, I'm still not sure about UR now that he didn't get the greatest pp draw. I might take a stand against him. And Gem does scare me so I might add him in somewhere. I will say that I might knock Alpha down a bit cause he drew the 11 post which means he goes in first along with the 1 DLL and Alpha doesn't like the gate and might expend a lot of energy waiting in there that long. And yes, I like CC a lot cause I think the distance will help him out. The fact that his trainer says he doesn't like crowds of horses worries me a bit though. We'll see what happens! CAN'T WAIT!!!

  55. Ok, Race Day, and I've settled on Keying both UR and Bode in the Super w/ a mess of horses around them. They just seem like the two best horses in the field. Now they just need the trip!

    Any thoughts on track condition impact?

  56. How about some derby selections? Many of us are waiting for your selections.

  57. After painstakingly analyzing this great 138 field, I'm going to play these 7 horses...Bode, UR, Dullahan, CC, DNB, Alpha and IHA

    I think Bode wins 138!!

    My super bet:

  58. Tough Beat. Hard to say Bode wasn't the best horse in the race.

    Two years in a row you picked #2

  59. after a bad beat in the Derby...What better to cure the hangover, but a Preakness score. You ready???

  60. I know man, the Zayat horses are killin' me! haha! I had Bode, Nehro and Pioneerof the nile and they were all 2nd. Oh well, that's horse racing. I did throw IHA back in cause he scared me and I was right about some and wrong about others like Alpha, CC didn't have a bad race tho and DNB didn't do much. I did hop off of Gem which was good, but at the same time I hopped off of WTDW. If it weren't for that and keying Bode, I had the super, but we can if, if, if all day long on that race, lol! If Bode would have slowed to a :46 and a 1:10, I think he would have gotten it tho, but that's not the way it went. On to the Preakness!!!

    Right now, if they run, my early picks are Bode, Union Rags, IHA and CC. I also like Dullahan coming into this one, but we'll see. That's my first inclination. Obviously, I'm subject to change my mind after I see who's in it and how they're doing coming up to the race. Looks like it could be a good one!

  61. Yeah, obviously we don't know for sure who is in the race yet, but based on what I've seen, none of the newcomers jumps out at me. Bafferts Paynter could be in there, but he's got early speed, so you probably won't see both him and Bode. I'd consider using the top 4 or 5 finishers from the Derby in the top spots, and then maybe a few newcomers to round out the bottom. So far though, even though it'll be a full gate, I'm not impresssed by it.

  62. So far I only like the Top 4 returning from the Derby.. IHA, Bode, WTDW and CC. Wouldn't use anyone else in my top 2 spots.

    Any idea where to find pace figures for all the newcomers? Prekaness page isn't quite as accomodating as the Derby page.

  63. No Preakness Chatter??

  64. Yeah, I don't think there's much to it. I like my guy Bode and CC, IHA and WTDW. They are the best horses, but it wouldn't surprise me if DNB showed up somewhere in the mix. Everyone is hopping on the Bode bandwagon now lol.

  65. My Picks for the 144th running of the Belmont Stakes

    $1 Superfecta box


  66. Let's get the 2013 chatter started!!!! 1 month to go!!!

  67. I can't stand the suspense.... Let's get 2013 chatter going!!!

  68. Ok guys, sorry I haven't been able to post anything, been really busy. But yes, I am excited for this year as there are some very nice horses heading to the derby. Off the top of my head, I like Verrazano, Orb, Revolutionary, Will Take Charge and Normandy Invasion, but I know there are several more that I could add to this list. So here we go again!! I'm getting Derby fever!!!