Showing posts with label 2009 KY Derby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2009 KY Derby. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2010

That Wasn't the Real Mine That Bird on Conan Last Night

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

Not that I thought the KY Derby winner was just sold to NBC, but I was curious about whether or not that was the real Mine that Bird, or if the mink was real. This answers one of those questions. It was NOT Mine That Bird.

That's how I roll.

Monday, May 4, 2009

*Sigh* My Derby Recap

By: T.R. Slyder,

I got humiliated. I admit it. At least my misery has a ton of company on this one.

While I have noticed an inverse proportion between how much you follow horse racing and how much you enjoyed this Derby, I can't really call this Derby a fluke.

It's a fluke in that there was ABSOLUTELY no way one could have bet on this horse, and was impossible to see coming. But it was not a fluke in how it won. That may sound obvious, but horseplayers know what I mean. There wasn't a pace meltdown, the top 5 horses didn't all get boxed in or interfered with, there wasn't a horse that ran into tons of traffic early on but was running the faster at the end, but just ran out of room, etc. What I don't enjoy admitting is that Mine that Bird was the only horse running at the end. No one ran remotely as well as he did, and no other horse has an excuse. Sure the sloppy track conditions were a hinderance, but every horse was hidered equally, and a horse like Friesan Fire would have preferred the slop.

A few other things worth noting: Mine that Bird covered the mile and a quarter in 2:02:4/5 (two minutes, 2 seconds and 4/5ths), for which he received a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. In 2004 Smarty Jones, regarded as a borderline superhorse won the Derby over a sloppy track in 2:04 and received a Beyer of 107. 1994 was the next-most-recent Derby over a sloppy track, it was won by Go For Gin in 2:03:3/5, for which he received a Beyer of 112. In order for Mine that Bird to be assessed a Beyer of 105 indicates that the track was running faster on Saturday, than it was for the 2004, and 1994 Derbies, but the raw time itself lends credibility to the Bird's performance.

Taking away from Mine That Bird's glory is that Rachel Alexandra's Kentuck Oaks race the day before was given a Beyer Speed Figure of 108. This Steven Crist Blog article compares the two very nicely. Comparisons like this have several horseplayers lining up to point out that Rachel Alexandra should have raced against the boys in the Derby, and she surely would have won if she had. The brilliance of Rachel Alexandra shouldn't cast a shadow over MTB's performance, nor is she obligated to race against boys, but the discussion of "What if Rachel Alexandra ran in the '09 Derby" will probably remain a footnote in Derby lore for years to come.

Plenty of race fans are admiring Calvin Borel's masterful ride, and rightfully so, but many also assert that his ride was so good that he could have won with any horse on Saturday. That's taking things much too far. Mine that Bird was the only horse running at the end. As fantastic as Borel's ride was, I don't think he is responsible for all 6 3/4 lengths that MTB won by. Unquestionably, Calvin Borel was the best jockey in the Derby, but even though I don't enjoy admitting it, he also had the best horse that day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Steven Haskins Admits to Being a "Hopeless Romantic", Picks Derby Winner

By: T.R. Slyder,

Here's my final installment of Haskin plagarism. A few things to note: at the bottom of the article he mentions how the Derby betting began today (friday) at Churchill, and notes the shifting odds on a few notables.

Whoever Steve selects as having the best derby workout and who looks the most impressive visually is always worth noting.

He didn't give my homey Regal Ransom much of a shot, which I didn't mind because it will keep his odds nice and high. I also think that a sloppy track makes picking even more of a crapshoot, I think it favors horses on or near the lead. The slop takes a way a horse's turn of foot (i.e. acceleration) and it's hard for a closer to make a bold move. With all of the traffic in the Derby, a turn of foot is almost always required to win (it wasn't with Giacomo and Big Brown didn't have to use his). While Regal Ransom doesnt show any experience in the slop, I don't think it will hinder him more than it would any other horses, and it may even help.

Here's the article:

Haskin's Derby Report: The Picks

Updated: Friday, May 1, 2009 3:14 PM
Posted: Friday, May 1, 2009 2:36 PM

To start, this is as tough a Derby as I have ever had to decipher, with a case to be made for at least dozen of the horses. I will break the race down in several categories and then put it all together and come up with something that resembles a wagering strategy.

I cannot remember a Derby where the morning line favorite has received so little buzz. I have had I Want Revenge as my No. 1 pick for a couple of months and I’m not going to desert him now. He looks great, he’s been acting great and cleaning his feed tub every day, he’s had one of the more impressive works, and he’s bred to run 1 1/4 miles, so what’s not to like?

But you don’t hear him name mentioned much, and very few handicappers and media members are picking him. As I mentioned in a previous column, I do not pick favorites in the Derby when it comes to actual betting. The potential overlays are too enticing, especially this year with the prospect of a sloppy track and the uncertainty of the synthetic track horses switching to dirt.

From a looks standpoint, no one is thriving here more than Pioneerof the Nile, and Friesan Fire looks dead fit, with his pronounced muscle tone. But these are all short-priced horses, with Friesan Fire the buzz horse. Don’t be surprised to see him get a ton of action, despite his seven-week layoff and never having been farther than 1 1/16 miles. And if the track does come up sloppy, which is a good possibility, he could very well go off as the favorite after his seven-length romp in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in the slop.

Going by their potential odds, I would bet Pioneerof the Nile as my value horse, based on what I’ve observed over the past eight days. I have not seen a single negative, and you can’t ask a horse to be doing any better. From a handicapping angle, he still has to answer the synthetic to dirt question, and a number of speed handicappers feel he’s not fast enough, but he gets my vote for best work and overall physical appearance. If he should win the Derby, then my colleague Jon White could be right; this horse is more than capable of sweeping the Triple Crown. He would then meet my criteria of what it takes to accomplish racing’s most difficult feat. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

The horse I’m really struggling with is Dunkirk, who I believe to be the most naturally gifted horse in the field, and who turned in the most memorable prep race of the year – his second-place finish in the Florida Derby, a performance I was crazy about. Strictly based on those factors he would be my selection. But I just haven’t seen enough of him in the mornings to pick him based on looks and training, which is the intent of this column. I did, however, pick him on our video “And They’re Off.” The final good sign with him was Warrior’s Reward, who he crushed in a Gulfstream allowance race, winning a seven-furlong allowance race impressively at Churchill Downs on Friday

That pretty much is where I stand with the horses who likely will go off at lower single-digit odds.

Now, let’s get to the real business at hand. I admit to being a hopeless romantic who cannot resist the lure of a great story. But I never allow that cloud my judgment when it comes to observing a horse. In the case of this year’s Cinderella horse General Quarters, however, I am seeing a horse who is primed for a big effort, both physically and mentally. He is galloping out of his skin and is getting tough. He is bright and alert and appears to be in the zone. He just needs it all to come together on Saturday. I have no idea how good this horse is or if he’s fast enough; I’m just getting the signs he is sitting on a big race. And remember, he did turn in a sensational work over this track before the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (I can’t believe I’m liking another horse coming off the Blue Grass). There is no guarantee he’ll handle a sloppy track, but he has enough slop influences (A.P. Indy , Unbridled's Song , Danzig, Affirmed, and Round Table) to suggest it won’t be a problem. His third dam, Royal Honoree, is a half-sister to Dona Ysidra, the dam of Hall of Fame turf horse Manila.

As shocked as I am about liking the winner of the Blue Grass, I am doubly shocked that I also like the runner-up Hold Me Back, who is another who has been tearing around the track in the mornings as if he means business, and I loved his most recent work in company. I normally wouldn’t like a big, long-striding horse like him in the slop, but I think he’s getting good right now and he’s coming off an excellent prep that should set him up for a big effort. If he doesn’t win I still think he’ll be flying late, as long as we don’t have a pronounced speed-biased track.

The third horse at a price I like is Chocolate Candy, even though I wasn’t crazy about his getting hot and bothered when Jerry Hollendorfer changed his schedule and brought him later in the morning when there was more acitvity. This is one of the most easy-going horses in the field, so that was surprising. He’s done well since, so you just have to hope whatever was bugging him won’t be an issue on Derby Day. What I really like about this colt is the way he has improved physically since he arrived here. And one of his best mornings was when he galloped over a sloppy track and was loving it, according to his exercise rider Lindsey Molina. Also, if you like Pioneerof the Nile and I Want Revenge at 3-1 and 5-1, then you should like him at 20-1 or higher. Finally, Hollendorfer has had so much bad luck at Churchill he certainly is due to have some good luck come his way.

The other horse I am struggling with is Desert Party, who I was all set to pick as my best bet at a price. I still will bet this horse to win, because he’s had a number of terrific mornings, including an eventful, but overly impressive work. He is all class with an air of nobility about him, and he will be Godolphin’s best chance to win the Derby by far. His stablemate Regal Ransom is very strong on the Thoro-Graph sheets, and has done nothing wrong here, but he’ll likely have to overcome pace pressure. Drawing post 19 is not going to help Desert Party, as he’s more than likely going to get parked wide, but there is no way of knowing if it’s going to hurt him.

For a 50-1 shot who could hit the board, Flying Private has been looking and training super.

So, in a nutshell, my main win bet will be General Quarters, woth possible savers on Desert Party, Chocolate Candy, and Hold Me Back, depending on their odds.

My exotics would be to box General Quarters and Desert Party in exactas and trifectas with the favorite or favorites of your choice (I Want Revenge, Friesan Fire, Pioneerof the Nile or Dunkirk); General Quarters and Hold Me Back with one or more of the four favorites, and General Quarters and Chocolate Candy with one or more of the four favorites.

If you want to try for a monster score and toss the favorites altogether, how about a four-horse exacta or trifecta box of General Quarters, Desert Party, Hold Me Back, and Chocolate Candy?

Friday Odds

There are some surprises in the odds as of 2 o’clock Friday, as this is being completed, such as Chocolate Candy at an unappealing 8-1 and Hold Me Back at a so-so 11-1. I am hoping those odds go up. Dunkirk is an enticing 8-1, as is Pioneerof the Nile. General Quarters also is 8-1. So far, I’m not crazy about the odds. If Dunkirk is 8-1 tomorrow, you can be sure I’ll be betting him. Also, Desert Party is a surprising 26-1 (you have to love those odds), as bettors apparently are not crazy about his post. As expected, Friesan Fire is the 4-1 favorite over I Want Revenge at 5-1. Also getting some play is Papa Clem at 14-1.

Watch tomorrow for any updates in the column, as we get a better idea who the best bargains will be. But right now I’m still sticking with General Quarters, despite his sentiment-driven odds, and Desert Party as the best overlay at 26-1, despite his post.

Whether or not you pay any attention to these ramblings, don't forget about the best work/overall appearance (PIoneerof the Nile) and the slop and fitness factor (Friesan Fire) to include in any exotics.

This Is Kinda Awesome

By: T.R. Slyder,

That artist does all the cover art for the DRF. His website his here.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Horse Racing Yoda Speaks

By: T.R. Slyder,

My title/headline is correct. Accept no substitutes. He talks, you listen. Or as Ludacris says, "Nicka, shut yo' ass up when you hear a pimp talk.". Same thing.

Let it be known that this guy is something special. He is better at his job that basically anyone else is at theirs. He revolutionized his profession 30 years ago, and is still the best at what he does. On top of all of that, it's plain to see he is a transcendentally intelligent individual just by reading his transcript. I just hope he gets a sculpture of his bust somewhere after he dies (not that he's close to that). He's great.

Here it is.

Talkin Derby: Is Regal Ransom Really my Derby Pick?

By: T.R. Slyder,

Here is Regal Ransom winning his last race, the 2009 UAE Derby where he holds off the favored stablemate, Desert Party.

This was the third meeting betwixt these two foes and Regal Ransom's first time getting the better of Desert Party.

There are a few things to like about Regal Ransom, and not just his price (30-1 morning line).

  • His bulleted work on 4/25 at Churchill. He faster than the other 29 horses that attempted that distance that day, and three other Derby foes (including Desert Party).
  • His work on 4/18 was 4th best of 28 that day, but was not bested by any Derby foes.
  • His pedigree suggests he can win this one. Regal Ransom is half-brother to Funny Cide who won the 2003 Derby, and also half-brother to Flower Alley who won the 2006 Travers and was nosed in the Breeder's Cup Classic by Horse of the Year Saint Liam. Clearly, this family isn't afraid of a little distance over a dirt surface.
  • He is one of two horses that are widely accepted by everyone to be on the lead at some point during the race. The other being the much less talented Join the Dance, who is thought to get out to the early lead, before relinquishing it to Regal Ransom somewhere toward the middle of the race.

Those are my main, bulleted points. He likes the local surface, appears to be in top form, he has the pedigree, and he is less likely to incur traffic problems than all of the favorites.

The way I see the race playing is very similar to how everyone else does, at least for the first mile. Something like this: After all the bunching chaos getting to the first turn, Join the Dance (from the 9 slot) will be in front, with Regal Ransom (from the 10) not far behind. They're the only two horse who appear, 1) to want to be on the lead, and 2) who have a post-position to be able to do so. So behind them is anyone's guess. It oughta be helter skelter behind them. The less-talented horses from the 1-5 slots will be clinging to the rail, hoping to save ground. Friesan Fire and Papa Clem from the respective 6 and 7 posts will be doing something similar, not trying to fan out too wide, but also not wanting to get shuffled back either. Mine that Bird from the 8th post may get left in the dust, paving the way for our friends Join the Dance and Regal Ransom to cut right to the front of the line from the 9 and 10 spots.

So that's the first, and inner-half of the horses as they break to the first turn. After them I expect the 11, 12 and 14 (Chocolate Candy, General Quarters and Atomic Rain, respectively) horses to sprint in along the rest and follow suit with all the horses to the inside. While you are probably thinking to yourself, "Ok, moron, I get it. Every horse sprints out to try to get a good spot along the rail. Duh." But I think Big Brown's performance last year changed the thinking of a lot of talented horses with outside posts- which we have a lot of this year, which I don't find to be a coincidence. When Big Brown won from the 20 post last year, he basically told the horses, "Ok guys, my talent towers over you all. The only way I lose is if one of you numskulls in front of me at the beginning boxes me in or cuts me off. If I have room, no one has a chance. The only way I can assure myself of that is to be in my own lane- 6 wide. So I'll beat you suckers from post 20 and not even try to get over toward the rail."

And surprisingly, he did just that.

So with the big names being in posts 13 (I Want Revenge), 15 (Dunkirk), and 16 (Pioneeer of the Nile), and to a lesser degree 19 (Desert Party), and emboldened by Big Brown's new Derby blueprint of success, I think those guys will all hang back, or hang outside I should say. They are gonna roam the outside like a pack of hungry cheetahs eyeing some gazelles and wait to pounce. But these are patient Cheetahs and they won't pounce until their prey get heavy legs, say around the quarter-pole.

This is where my theory differs from those of many others.

At the quarter-pole, most people see this pack of hellcats- IWR, Dunkirk, PON, and maybe DP all letting loose their run and picking off horses one by one until one member of that pack wins and possibly three of them completing the Trifecta, unless some other lucky scoundrel clunks up for third. In all honesty, that is also what I expect too. The problem though is a financial one. Those 4 horses, along with Friesan Fire and Hold Me Back, will the the 6 top betting interests. While I can't get excited about the traffic that FF and HMB will encounter, I also can't put much between the Cheetah Hellcats- IWR, Dunkirk, PON and DP. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if any of them won, or any combination of them finished or didn't finish in the money. So what should I do? Box the top 4 horses? No thank you. Especially not with such other juicy prices on the board.

So what DO we know? Regal Ransom is going to get a good, ground saving trip near the rail and he'll try and hold off (maybe FF) and the Cheetah Hellcats whom, some of them, may have gotten caught 5,6, or 7 wide around the entire track. These Hellcats are some of the most talented 3 year olds in the world, but freaks they are not. They'll have some heavy legs and some work left to do to catch our boy Regal Ransom.

Regal Handsome Ransom is my pick. As far as exotics go, I think you can just go shopping after that. Exacta choices including putting him above and/or below any of the Hellcats, maybe mixing in Papa Clem for a huge potential score.


Q: What if that scenario doesn't pan out? What if the first half of my race prediction is 100% correct, but Regal Ransom just comes up empty and gets swallowed up by the hellcats with 5/16ths of a mile left? Then who wins?

A: Again, that one is anyone's guess. You know who it WON'T be. The tosses are: West Side Bernie, Musket Man, Mr. Hot Stuff, Advice, Mine That Bird, Join the Dance, General Quarters, Atomic Rain, Summer Rain, Nowhere to Hide, and Flying Private. That is 11/20 of the horses. Then of course, the premise of this question asserts that Regal Ransom is out of the money. So that's 12/20 gone.

That leaves: Hold me Back, Chocolate Candy and Papa Clem who I BARELY didn't include in the "toss" pile, they have only slightly more than 0% chance of winning. So that's 15/20 who just aren't gonna win. Who does that leave? You guessed it. Desert Party, Friesan Fire and the Hellcats. The only value in that would be to have Deserty Party on top, which is possible but coming from the 19 post, and asking him to run past Dunkirk, IWR and PON is a tall order. So then who do you like? The three favorites, or FF who will have miserable traffic, and may need a clear path, mud AND a killer pace to win?

So if you think/agree it will come down to the top three favorites it's STILL hard to put anything between them. As I've said before, you can't just box those three in trifecta or exacta, and call it a betting day.


Q: If RR or a Hellcat doesn't win, who will?

Here's a visual hint:

A: Desert Party. Or maaaybe Friesan Fire. Apart from RR and the Triumverate of Hellcats, I don't think anyone has a chance, except MAYBE Papa Clem. I like Desert Party more than I like Friesan Fire, but I think Friesan Fire has a great running style to win a Derby. FF offers far less value, and again, I think he'll have a nightmare trip.


Q: So who is the best Hellcat?

A: I hate to say it, but probably I Want Revenge. Granted, that's not taking a huge stand because his odds reflect that. He just has so many fewer question marks than the others, and that distinguishes him from the field for me. Chief among those distinctions is that he has had dirt kicked in his face in a Grade 1 AND he has won that race. Not say fast, Pioneer of the Nile, I said "dirt kicked in his face" not "synthetic running surface kicked in his face". Which brings me to my final question

Q: If every horse magically gets a perfect trip and they all run to the best of their potential on dirt at this distance, who wins?

A: Dunkirk.


Q: Do you have a lucky t-shirt that you wear to big horse races? Specifically, a shirt that you took after the 2004 Travers when, after a race in torrential downpour 3 drunk kids (and the only three people watching the race on the rail) took their shirts off, hopped the fence and ran onto the track, appearing briefly on ESPN behind the winner's circle then were arrested, and upon seeing them get arrested you realized that they wouldn't be coming back to claim their discarded shirt, so you went down in the downpour to grab a salmon-colored shirt from a newly arrested drunken degenerate?

A: Funny you should ask. I do have a shirt obtained by those means. It appears below.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Talking Derby: Link Dump

By: T.R. Slyder,

Since I have a lot of research to do before the Derby now that my future's exactas are rubbish, I figured I'd pass along what I'm reading. It's worth noting, and I think you'll read it a few times if you read all these links, that Derby workouts sometimes foretell the winners. You'll read that Barbaro and Street Sense's worked leapt off the track and screamed "I'm going to win!" to the likes of Steve Haskin and Mike Welsch. Big Brown didn't have any off-the-charts works, but was the best horse by far, and his win was not shocking. So we'll be on the lookout for any jumps off the page of course, but we'll also be looking for any works that seem to defy a horse's poor odds. Last year Denis of Cork went off at 27-1, but finished third. I was not nearly as surprised by this as were many others, not because I detected this on anything I read in his Past Performances, but because I read Haskin oogling his recent Churchill works.

Another thing to think about when handicapping this race is where the pace will come from? Quality Road was the presumed pacesetter in this race, or at least the class of the speedsters. Now that he is gone every other favored horse will be in the same spot in the race- coming from just off the pace. There are no legitimate speedsters and no legitimate deep closers, only stalkers. Being difficult to differentiate between the stalkers, and financially, lacking any incentive to, it may be worth looking for a longshot to go wire-to-wire. IF a long shot wins, I think he'll do so leading throughout the race and getting away with slow fractions, and still having enough stank in the tank to fend off the late running stalkers. I can't foresee a 30-1 shot out kicking Dunkirk, Friesan Fire, I Want Revenge, Pioneer of the Nile and Desert Party, but I could see one getting loose on the lead end fending them off like happened in the 2008 Arlington Million. So far I think only Regal Ransom has that capability, but I'll be looking for more. It may also happen that a stalking-style horse is sent to the lead and surprises everyone. Pace makes the race, so deciphering that is square one.

The Derby Field

Derby contender Past Performances (this was done before the field was drawn. So the Post Positions are not listed and not every horse listed is running. If you use this, you'll have to cross-reference it with the above link).

This chat transcript from last night They will have another chat on Wednesday and on Thursday will have one with Andrew Beyer, who is basically the Yoda of handicapping.

Wednesday's chat (here's the transcript) is with this guy, that the NYT did a piece on. Untrue to NYT form, this article is not 87 pages long. It's one webpage long, informative and good. Short, sweet, but complete.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report. If you've ever wondered why I call him the Bob Ross of Horse racing, you'll see why here. Its how he describes the horse's strides, body language and their coat. The "human" element of the horses themselves as animals is what makes horse racing unique. Gotta love it.

Same goes for his Derby Dozen report as of 4/27

DRF's EIC Steve Crist showing why he's among the very best.

This is me After Quality Road's Defection

By: T.R. Slyder,

That's a self portrait. I took the pic myself after my makeover. I thought if I denied QR's Derby Defection long enough that he would eventually run in the Derby. Turns out that was incorrect. He is not running.

While I knew there was a legitimate chance he wouldn't be running, I didn't bother to approach the race as if he were NOT running. I'm going to do that in the next day or two and get my findings posted.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Talking Derby: Plagarizing Steve Crist

By: T.R. Slyder,

Taken from here

Crist Blog | April 22, 2009

Early Pickin's

123b I don't have to make my 1-2-3 picks for the Derby Day newspaper until a week from tonight, but I'm already pretty sure who the three horses will be: Dunkirk, I Want Revenge and Quality Road, though not necessarily in that order.

Go ahead, call me a chalk-eating weasel. I know they're three of the five favorites, but I just think they're not only the best horses out there but also good enough that they've separated themselves from the rest. My feeling 10 days out is that all three would have to misfire for someone else to wear the roses.

If I were making out a Derby Day pick-6 or pick-4 ticket, they'd be my three A's. At the moment I'm not loving anyone else enough to have any B's. My C's would be Friesan Fire and Pioneerofthenile, out of slightly grudging respect for their records and their handlers; I'll probably talk myself into one more backup, some crazy longshot, if only because it seems you're obliged to like one crazy longshot in the Derby.

While I feel obliged to use Friesan Fire and Pioneerof the Nile defensively as win candidates, I'm also willing to play against both of them in the intrarace exotics. While both of them are obviously talented and admirably consistent, Friesan Fire's only fast race was on a sloppy track, and Pioneerof the Nile has never raced on dirt. I have no quarrel with the opinion of clockers that POTN is training superbly on dirt at Churchill, but I seem to recall that's what everyone was saying about Curlin before he tried a synthetic track for the first time in last year's BC Classic. You just don't know until they race on it. To speculate that Pioneerof the Nile will not only handle dirt as well as synth, but also improve several lengths, I'd want at least double his likely odds of around 8-1.

Some may say it's folly to be coming to conclusions this far out: What about final workouts, and the post-position draw, and listening to other people's opinions, and watching more replays and studying more charts? We'll all do all that, and enjoy it, but I'd be surprised if my opinion changes radically. I have no longstanding loyalties to anyone in the race, no future wagers, no weekly Top 10 Picks List to justify my selections against. May the best horse win, and here's hoping that turns out to be one of my three -- preferably, whichever one I end up putting on top.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quality Road has ANOTHER Quarter Crack in different Hoof

By: T.R. Slyder,

I couldn't find my picture of Quality Road, so I'm putting this one up instead.

First Rod Blagojevich won't be on reality tv, now Quality Road, my boy, may miss the Kentucky Derby. Here is my plagarism relating to Quality Road. I took it from here. You can also read about it here.

Another quarter crack for Quality Road

By David Grening

ELMONT, N.Y. - After getting over a quarter crack on his right hind foot, Quality Road has developed a quarter crack on his right front foot that puts his status for the May 2 Kentucky Derby in doubt.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens canceled Saturday's scheduled workout at Belmont Park and said Friday morning that if the horse could not breeze by Monday "then it looks like we won't be able to go."

Based on victories in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, Quality Road figured to be one of the Derby favorites.

Jerkens said he noticed the quarter crack Thursday morning as Quality Road was about to be get new shoes following his morning training session.

"We always pull him in the middle there to dry his legs off, look everything over and there it was," Jerkens said. "It didn t have any blood or anything but it was there. We pulled him into shoe him; it wasn t something you could see too easy unless you got real to close to it."

Quality Road had his wrapped in animalintex, which contains a mild antiseptic plus natural poultice agent designed to draw any heat or infection from the area. Jerkens said he did not think there was any infection. On Friday, Quality Road remained in the barn.

Ian McKinlay, the noted hoof equine specialist, saw the crack Thursday and was scheduled to examine Quality Road Friday afternoon, Jerkens said.

"If he's able to lace it today, he could gallop tomorrow and if he comes back without any problems then he can patch it right away," Jerkens said. "He ll have to determine if it'll need another day of drying out or not."

Jerkens said he would like to be able to gallop Quality Road on Saturday and work him on Sunday. "More realistically, I'm thinking it would be gallop him Sunday and work Monday."

Quality Road is scheduled to leave for Kentucky on Tuesday.

Quality Road suffered a quarter crack on his right hind foot while winning the Florida Derby on March 28. The original patch that was put on by a farrier in south Florida did not hold, and Quality Road had some blood coming from that foot following a routine gallop on April 6. McKinlay put a new patch on the hind foot April 8 and the horse has twice worked without any incident.

UPDATE: After giving it some thought, I decided that if Quality Road does not run in the Derby I am going goth. Black hair, black fingernails, black jeans, the whole nine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talking Derby: Odds and Ends

By: T.R. Slyder,

I was too lazy to get into my my folder to find a horse racing pic and that one was on my desktop, so I just posted it. I like it, but feel bad for the Orangutan. But any Orangutan willing to wear a life-preserver is a good sport in my book.

Fun's over, lets get down to biznass.

Dr. Kevin- please note that your boy is currently in 33rd.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Talking Derby, Plagarism Style: Steve Haskin Back in the Habit

By: T.R. Slyder,

This is Steve doing what he does when he isn't snubbing TR Slyder.

Anyway, this article is proof of why he's an indispensable read come Derby time. Next week he'll be trackside at Churchill giving us masterful reports of the Derby workouts.

Taken from here

Ky. Derby Trail: Derby Dynamics

Updated: Monday, April 20, 2009 4:53 PM
Posted: Monday, April 20, 2009 4:53 PM

This final Derby Trail column before departing for Louisville is more of a potpourri of thoughts, scenarios, angles, trivia, and a touch of nonsense.

Before the major works start up, let’s take a preliminary look at the different aspects of this year’s Derby, beginning with historical trends. Although they will be prevalent this year, should take them as seriously as we used to?

Dunkirk has a double whammy to overcome, including the mother of all whammies – the dreaded Apollo curse of never having raced as a 2-year-old. The other – only three career starts – was shattered last year by Big Brown after 93 years. This year’s field, however, is much more talented and deeper from top to bottom. It is interesting to note that in those 93 years, only eight horses attempted it before Curlin and Big Brown, and all of them were obscure longshots. So, in this day and age of handling horses with kid gloves, and with more and more talented horses paying little heed to this trend, it might not be as big an obstacle as one would think.

It is ironic that the three-career-start whammy has been broken, but four career starts still exists, with Exterminator in 1918 being the last to accomplish that. Quality Road will try to break that one.

As for Apollo, the last favorite to attempt to win the Derby without racing at 2 was Air Forbes Won in 1982 in what was a very weak Derby field. And he was not a strong favorite. Since then, the average price of the horses who have tried it is 25-1, not including the six horses who were in the mutuel field. The lowest priced horses at 5-1were Curlin and Pulpit, and Curlin had a troubled trip and came back the win the Preakness, and Pulpit came out of the race with career-ending injury. Is it an ideal way to go into the Derby? Certainly not. I am still a firm believer that a horse needs a good foundation for the Derby. But so many trends have been broken in recent years that we should at least keep an open mind about it, especially if the horse involved is as gifted as Dunkirk.

In 2006, Barbaro took care of the theory that you couldn’t win the Derby off a layoff of more than four weeks. That hadn’t been done since Needles in 1956, and now it’s been done twice in the last three years off five-week layoffs. And Hard Spun finished second in 2007 off a six-week layoff. The horse trying to make history this year is Friesan Fire, who comes from the same barn as Hard Spun.

Remember when you couldn’t win the Derby with only two starts as a 3-year-old? Sunny’s Halo (who had 11 starts at 2) was the only horse to accomplish that in 61 years. Well, Street Sense and Big Brown have done it the past two years. Since 1986, Bold Arrangement, Best Pal, Victory Gallop, Lion Heart , and Closing Argument all finished second coming off only two starts.

Let’s also remember that Funny Cide single-handedly destroyed two other so-called curses – being a gelding (Clyde Van Dusen in 1929) and a New York-bred (first-time in history).

So, even if you’re a believer in historic trends, as I have always been, remember that times are changing, and quickly. Who knows what a horse can accomplish nowadays.


There have been several comments recently, claiming that the Derby is a two-horse race between I Want Revenge and Quality Road, based on their superior speed figures. But let’s look at two possible scenarios that could result in potential upsets from opposite ends of the field.

The big question at this point is, who will be the pace factors? We know Papa Clem has early lick if they want to use it, but he came from fifth to win the Arkansas Derby. Will Godolphin run Regal Ransom, the front-running winner of the UAE Derby? If they do, he likely will be the pacesetter. And will the speedy Join in the Dance make the starting field? He currently is at No. 22, and his owners have said they will run if he gets in. And you can bet that his trainer, Todd Pletcher, would love to see him in there to cut out a good pace for Dunkirk.

If Godolphin wanted to use a little sly strategy, they could enter Regal Ransom to possibly keep Join in the Dance out. If they succeed, they could have the only true speed in the race with a legitimate shot to wire the field or help set it up for Desert Party. If Join in the Dance makes it into the race anyway, then they can scratch Regal Ransom if they want and save him for the Preakness.

For those jockeys who would tend to pay little attention to Regal Ransom on the lead, remember War Emblem. Regal Ransom is a horse who earned a spectacular “2” Thoro-Graph number in his career debut last year, so he has a strong foundation to fall back on.

The other distinct possibility is that if the pace is soft, Quality Road could go to the front. He probably has more natural speed than anyone in the field, and who in their right mind is going to want to take him on and pretty much kill their chances of winning?

If Regal Ransom and Join in the Dance both run there should be an honest pace. If the fractions are testing or start to pick up noticeably after five-eighths of a mile, remember that I Want Revenge, Quality Road, Friesan Fire, General Quarters, Musket Man, and Desert Party (although he could take farther back) all should be fairly close together and will be making their moves at around the same time. Most of those horses have registered triple-digit Beyers, including highs of 113 by I Want Revenge and Quality Road.

But, keep in mind the 2005 Derby, when the slower horses were supposedly no match for Wood Memorial winner Bellamy Road (120 Beyer), Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex (108 Beyer), Blue Grass winner Bandini (103 Beyer), Louisiana Derby winner High Limit (105 Beyer), Illinois Derby winner Greeley's Galaxy (106 Beyer), and Florida Derby winner High Fly (102 Beyer). All, with the exception of Afleet Alex, had similar running styles to the 2009 horses mentioned above. They all made their moves at the same time after a wicked pace and all were cooked by the three-sixteenths pole, setting it up one of the so-called slow closers, Giacomo , at 50-1. No one knows what kind of pace we’ll have this year. It likely will not be as fast as in 2005, but you can be sure all those aforementioned horses will be moving together, making for a contentious cavalry charge approaching the quarter pole.

On the move behind them should be Pioneerof the Nile, Dunkirk, Hold Me Back, Chocolate Candy, Win Willy, Mr. Hot Stuff, Summer Bird, and West Side Bernie. That’s a lot of classy, well-bred closers to contend with in the stretch.


If Quality Road wins the Derby, here is a question: When was the last time, if ever, a father and son owned and bred different winners of the Kentucky Derby? Edward P. Evans owns and bred Quality Road. His father, Thomas Mellon Evans, owned and bred the 1981 Derby winner Pleasant Colony? If it has been done, it was a very long time ago.


When Dunkirk and Regal Ransom step on to the track for the Derby, take a close look at them and think of this: Dunkirk is four months older than Regal Ransom. Dunkirk was born on Jan. 23 and Regal Ransom was born on May 26 and won’t turn 3 until 10 days after the Preakness. That means that Regal Ransom was a mere baby in Dubai competing against several Southern Hemisphere 4-year-olds who were some 10 months older than him.

If Regal Ransom doesn’t run, then you can look next to Musket Man, who was born on May 10, followed by Pioneerof the Nile on May 5. Ironically, Pioneerof the Nile is one of the most experienced horses in the Derby with eight starts, while Dunkirk is the least experienced horse with only three starts.

Dunkirk and Musket Man have an interesting comparison. The more physically mature Dunkirk sold as a yearling for $3.7 million. Musket Man sold at the same sale for $15,000. In other words, you could have bought 246 Musket Mans for the price of one Dunkirk. Will the pauper wind up wealthier than the prince come Derby Day?


Do you remember the Fighting Sullivans? Well, meet the Scrapping Smart Strikes. When was the last time you saw four tougher, grittier sons from the same stallion than Papa Clem, English Channel , Curlin, and Fabulous Strike? Can you name the only American horse to win Japan Cup Dirt, who did it by battling it out tenaciously to score by a nose at odds of 48-1? It was Fleetstreet Dancer, a son of Smart Strike . Don’t mess with these guys.


Now that WinStar Farm’s Advice has won the Lexington Stakes and could be headed to Louisville, try to find the last time an owner had three horses in the Kentucky Derby with three different trainers?


On the lighter side, I must admit I have not been to the windows to collect on a Derby ticket since 2001, which is due in most part to poor betting practices and looking for a killing rather than focusing on the obvious. If I had gone with my observations in the mornings based on works and physical appearance it would have been a different story. I gave my “best work” endorsement in my final column to Fusaichi Pegasus (2000), Monarchos (2001), Smarty Jones (2004, calling it the best Derby work I have ever seen), Barbaro (2006), and Street Sense (“by far” in 2007). And I didn’t do too badly with Denis of Cork in 2008. The 2003 and 2005 winners, Funny Cide and Giacomo, did not work at Churchill Downs.

As an example of my inability to turn these observations into cash, instead of going with the 6-1 Barbaro, I selected and bet on A.P. Warrior, despite his having no works at Churchill, and he wound up going off at only 14-1. Even worse was taking a pass on Smarty Jones (way too low for me at 4-1) and betting on Castledale, again with no works at Churchill, only because I loved the way he looked physically. I can’t even believe I am confessing to such stupidity after five years. To demonstrate what a “big-time” bettor I am, my $2 exacta of Monarchos and Invisible Ink ($1,229) in 2001 was the biggest ticket I have ever cashed.

Have I learned from my blunders? Probably not. I still cannot bet or pick short-priced horses in a 20-horse Derby field. So, the big-score sirens once again will lure me into another Monba-like wager and selection. But, hey, this is supposed to be all about fun, right? To me, fun and favorites do not co-mingle when it comes to betting the Derby, and there are so many mouth-watering overlays to choose from this year. Call it the Ralph Kramden get rich quick syndrome. When Ralph was a contestant on the show “The $99,000 Answer,” Alice implored him to just answer the $600 question and then call it quits. Ralph’s response: “Peanuts, what am I gonna do with peanuts?” Well, that’s me at the Derby, which is why I usually go home with nothing but the shells.

(This has been a public service announcement. Bet responsibly).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Garrett Gomez to Ride Pioneer of the Nile in the Derby

By: T.R. Slyder,

Jockey Garrett Gomez made his Sophiesque decision today and picked Pioneer of the Nile. Gomez was the regular rider for both Pioneer of the Nile and phenom Dunkirk, meaning he was forced to pick between the two for the Derby. Both will be among the top 4 favorites at the Derby, so this choice was difficult and could eventually lead to a lot of regret for Gomez.

It was kind of a case of, "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" for Gomez, since P.O.T.N. has won his last four starts, whereas Dunkirk is lighly-raced but seemingly has a much higher ceiling. Ultimately it seemed as though his decision was made mostly out of loyalty to the connections of P.O.T.N., in essence, thanking them for all the money he's made with them. The logic being, "I like both horses, but one's paid me a lot more."

Decisions choosing between two mounts in one race is nothing new to racing, and bettors love to keep an eye out for them. Ideally, bettors hope that the jockey has some kind of inside information regarding the two, and his decision is a prescient one. Jockeys choose "incorrectly" all the time, so it isn't enough to base your bet solely on a jockey's decision, but it's always worth noting.

My guess is that had Dunkirk and Pioneer of the Nile made Gomez equal amounts of cash, he would side with Dunkirk. Or maybe Gomez knows something I don't.

UPDATE: Edgar Prado will now ride Dunkirk in the Derby.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Talkin' Derby

By: T.R. Slyder,

Don't worry, I plagarize yet again today. This document is much easier to decipher here than it is below. It's a juxtaposition of the Derby Prep races from 2008 to 2009, and was compiled by Daily Racing Form editor-in-chief, Steven Crist. He took the data from this useful page. (sorry this chart looks like crap, I had a super difficult time with it. I'd recommend just clicking the first link)

2009 winner BSFRaceBSF2008 winner


Friesan Fire93LeComte95Z Fortune


The Pamplemousse96San Rafael98El Gato Malo


Saratoga Sinner96Holy Bull88Hey Byrn


Pioneerof the Nile94RB Lewis93Crown of Thorns


Friesan Fire96Risen Star90Pyro


General Quarters100Sam Davis85Fierce Wind


Chocolate Candy90El Camino Real88Autism Awareness


Old Fashioned93Southwest96Denis of Cork


Quality Road113Fountain of Youth98Cool Coal Man


The Pamplemousse103Sham86Colonel John


I Want Revenge113Gotham98Visionaire


Friesan Fire104Louisiana Derby95Pyro


Pioneerof the Nile90San Felipe92Georgie Boy


Win Willy102Rebel99Sierra Sunset


Musket Man90Tampa Bay Derby93Big Truck


Hold Me Back97Lane's End92Adriano


Quality Road111Florida Derby106Big Brown


Musket Man98Illinois Derby102Recapturetheglory


I Want Revenge103Wood Memorial93Tale of Ekati


Pioneerof the Nile96SA Derby95Colonel John


Papa Clem99Arkansas Derby103Gayego


General Quarters95Blue Grass92Monba



Point being that this year's crop is much faster than last year's. Last year's trifecta was Big Brown, Eight Belles and Denis of Cork. Eight Belles is not featured on this list (being female, all of her Derby preps were against other females). Denis of Cork beat his 2009 counterpart, whereas Big Brown, the Derby winner and overwhelming favorite "lost" to his 2009 counterpart, Quality Road, who likely be the second or third favorite this year. Colonel John, the winner of the 2008 Santa Anita Derby and (if my memory is correct) was about the 2nd, 3rd or 4th betting favorite in the Derby finished way back. The Derby was his first race on dirt, much like it will be for the 2009 Santa Anita Derby winner, Pioneer of the Nile. One of my biggest knocks on Pioneer of the Nile is my fear that he is the 2009 Colonel John.

Should be a great Derby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Just got Snubbed by the Bob Ross of Horse Racing.

By: T.R. Slyder,

Wow. Talk about feeling low! That's like having Mr. Rogers tell you that you're queer or something. Check this out. Steve Haskin, my favorite KY Derby Reporter is having a live chat today on It was funny timing because I visited the website randomly, and noticed the chat was to begin in like 1 minute. (This is eerily reminiscent of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber when he sees the sign in the bathroom stall to be there at a certain time for Hot, Manly Love, and as he checks his watch, he realizes it's exactly that time, then he almost gets BF'd against his will in the restroom.)

So I log on and ask the first question, which I thought was clear and legit. Seabass Mr. Haskin viewed it differently.

BH Staff: Steve welcomes everyone to this live chat. He will be responding to your questions and comments shortly.
[Comment From Willliam Coyle]
Hey Steve,
[Comment From Jeannie]
Hello Steve,
[Comment From T.R. Slyder]
Steve, where do you draw the line in your Derby Dozen separating the top tier from the second tier? Thanks, and keep up the great work! -TR in Chicago
SteveHaskin: T.R. Not sure what you mean. I draw the line at No. 12, unless I do a baker's dozen on that particular week

And there you have it. Thanks for coming out, Steve. Now I know how Dr. Kevin felt when his uncle hilariously snubbed him at Thanksgiving.

So I learned that, though you rank 12 and oftentimes 13 horses in your "Dozen" the talent discrepency separating each is precisely uniform, even if you can't separate 12 from 13. Got it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Talking Derby

(pictured above is my Derby favorite, Quality Road as a baby. Note that he is standing what appears to be a quality road. Crazy, huh?)

By: T.R. Slyder,

I've got some odds and ends to mention.

1. Old Fashioned was just retired.

2. Terrain will be running in the Derby. TR Slyder scholars will recall that he was my highest will-pay exacta-mate with Quality Road at $1,034. That leaves Papa Clem as the new highest will pay with QR at $1,016.

3. Another Derby defection means better odds for my homey Dunkirk to get into the Derby. Let's have a look at the earnings list, shall we?

4. Sorry, I insist. And again, the top 20 are Derby-eligible.

Kentucky Derby Graded Earnings for Major Contenders (through 04/13/09)
1 Mafaaz John Gosden N/A
2 Regal Ransom Saeed bin Suroor $1,200,000
3 Pioneer of the Nile Bob Baffert $1,193,250
4 Square Eddie Doug O'Neill $774,981
5 I Want Revenge Jeff Mullins $774,000
6 Papa Clem Gary Stute $760,000
7 Desert Party Saeed bin Suroor $641,667
8 Quality Road James Jerkens $600,000
8 General Quarters Thomas McCarthy $595,645
10 Friesan Fire Larry Jones $570,465
11 Musket Man Derek Ryan $485,000
12 Terrain Albert Stall, Jr. $448,330
13 Hold Me Back William Mott $438,000
14 West Side Bernie Kelly Breen $385,160
15 Chocolate Candy Jerry Hollendorfer $370,000
16 Win Willy McLean Robertson $230,000
17 Giant Oak Chris Block $169,256
18 Dunkirk Todd Pletcher $150,000
19 Charitable Man Kiaran McLaughlin $150,000
20 Flying Private D. Lukas $124,000
21 Mr. Hot Stuff Eoin Harty $114,000
22 Summer Bird Tim Ice $100,000
23 Join in the Dance Todd Pletcher $90,000
24 Just a Coincidence Nicholas Zito $75,000
25 Hello Broadway Barclay Tagg $63,860
26 Jeranimo Michael Pender $24,000

So that moves Dunkirk up to 17th/18th with basically, with 3 races left for the currently-left-out horses to try and win some quick cash. Most horses running will be horses that are ranked 21st and higher, since most eligible horses are opting not to race this close to the Derby. Conversely, the more a horse races, the higher the chances are that something can go wrong and send him off the derby trail. So we'll just have to wait and see about Dunkirk.

With the above list in mind, we'll take a look at Steve Haskins' latest installment of his Derby Dozen. You may notice that Mr. Haskins has listed two horses in the #12 slot. He must do some freelance baking, thereby authorizing him to utilize the baker's dozen. I'm sure whatever he bakes is delicious.

Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen

Updated: April 13th

1. I Want Revenge Jeff Mullins, Stephen Got Even—Meguial, by Roy

He's arrived at Churchill Downs for what promises to be an interesting two weeks leading up to the Derby. People are still talking about his Wood Memorial adventure, and at this point he looks like your Derby favorite.

2. Pioneerof the Nile Bob Baffert. Empire Maker—Star of Goshen, by Lord At War

Pioneerof the NileHe keeps being flattered by his vanquished foes' performances back east. Now all he has to do is go out there and show he's as good on dirt as they are. We should get some kind of clue from his Churchill works.

3. Quality Road Jimmy Jerkens. Elusive Quality—Kobla, by Strawberry Road

Quality RoadHis quarter crack problem at this point looks to be behind him after a solid :48 3/5 work. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Jerkens will give him one more work about a week before the Derby, then ship to Kentucky four days out.

4. Dunkirk Todd Pletcher. Unbridled’s Song—Secret Status, by A.P. Indy

The results from the past two weeks could not have worked out better for him, and he should have no problem making the Derby field. Thoro-Graph shows him pairing up negative 3/4's, which makes him a major threat.

5. Chocolate Candy Jerry Hollendorfer. Candy Ride—Crownette, by Seattle Slew

Chocolate CandyHe's on a strong pattern and Hollendorfer has him primed for a peak performance on Derby Day. But again, he still has to duplicate or improve his form on dirt. Only General Quarters will have more starts going into the Derby.

6. Friesan Fire Larry Jones. A.P. Indy—Bollinger, by Dehere

Friesan FireHe is now Larry Jones' only hope following the injury to Old Fashioned. Once again, there's not much you can say about him, going into the race off a 7-week layoff and no 1 1/8 miles races. But Jones is confident that's the way to go. Look for some big works from him.

7. Desert Party Saeed bin Suroor. Street Cry—Sage Cat, by Tabasco Cat

Desert PartyWith the Derby shaping up to be one of the deepest and most contentious in years, one way to eliminate confusion is to go to the horse who has existed all year in a different realm from the others and take a shot he's for real. He arrived early enough to acclimate and should be coming into the race in peak form.

8. General Quarters Tom McCarthy. Sky Mesa—Ecology, by Unbridled's Song

General QuartersThere is no denying this is a serious horse who is peaking at the right time, can handle any kind of surface, and should have no problem with the 10 furlongs. His tactical speed and ability to be placed anywhere make him dangerous. Will Coa go with him or his Tampa rival Musket Man?

9. Hold Me Back Bill Mott. Giant’s Causeway—Restraint, by Unbridled’s Song

Hold Me BackAny fans of his before the Blue Grass should still be fans after his strong runner-up performance, trying to close off a dawdling pace. He did come home his last eighth in :11 4/5. He was expected to regress slightly off his big comeback victory and now is ready for a big effort. Only question mark is the one dirt blot on his record.

10. Musket Man Derek Ryan. Yonaguska--Fortuesque, by Fortunate Prospect

Musket ManThe only reason he's behind General Quarters, despite having beaten him two out of three times at Tampa, is the difference in pedigree. While it looks like he'll continue to outrun his pedigree, his rival is almost a sure thing to stay. But it's hard to like one without the other. This is a potent Tampa one-two punch.

11. Papa Clem Gary Stute. Smart Strike—Miss Houdini, by Belong to Me

Papa ClemNo one was expecting him to rally from fifth in a race with only one true speed horse, but he showed a whole new dimension, aided by Old Fashioned's fast pace and a slow 1:03 come-home time for the final five furlongs. Third horse was coming off only two lifetime starts and recent maiden score, in which he earned a 78 Beyer, and was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths for all the money. So, it's hard to get a good gauge on this race.

12.West Side Bernie Kelly Breen.Bernstein—Time Honored, by Gilded Time

West Side BernieHe merits respect off his second-place finish to I Want Revenge in Wood Memorial, and he should be coming into the Derby in top form. But this is an exceptionally strong field with several closers more explosive than him.

12. Win Willy McLean Robertson Monarchos—City Fair, by Carson City

Sorry, once again I can't separate the bottom two. Although he didn't run badly in Arkansas, more was expected of him, and having a recent maiden winner with only two lifetime starts out-close him wasn't what you wanted to see. But a regression off a big effort going two turns for the first time wasn't that surprising; deserves another chance.

(TR's note- I accidentally deleted Win Willy's picture. I could have went back and copied, then pasted, but I know you don't care. If you do care, just click the link/headline)

Lastly, I'll post Mike Watchmaker's Top Ten 3-year olds. This list is slightly different because he ranks all three year olds, whether they are in training or not (e.g. retired, deceased, etc.)., and disregards whether they are heading to the Derby or not. Here is his list as of April, 8th.

1 - I Want Revenge (5)
A major revelation since moving to dirt
2 - Quality Road (1)
Handled 2 turns, a top rival in Fl. Derby
3 -Dunkirk (2)
Might be every bit as good as top two
4 - Friesan Fire
How much did slop help in La. Derby?
5 - The Pamplemousse (3)
6 - Pioneerof the Nile (7)
7 - Old Fashioned
8 - Hold Me Back (10)
9 - Chocolate Candy (new)
10 - Musket Man (new)

So it looks like Watchmaker has Pioneer of the Nile ranked much lower, as well as Chocolate Candy. I tend to agree more with Watchmaker. The rationale employed by Haskins is more historical- since Pioneer of the Nile beat I Want Revenge twice a while ago, and Papa Clem once, (on a synthetic surface) he must be pretty impressive. While, Watchmaker feels that Pioneer of the Nile had the advantage since they raced on a surfaces that IWR and PC relatively dislike, and when they meet on dirt, IWR will humiliate PoN.

So that's like if LeBron James' 30 year old cousin said that when he was 20, and Lebron was 11, he used trounce LeBron in 1-in-1. But since LeBron is now arguably the best player in the world, LeBron's cousin also has to be in the discussion for best player as well, since he beat him a couple of times a while ago.

Point being, Quality Road is the best. And Papa Clem is second best.