Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook

     As 2012 draws to a close its time to take a look at the 2-year-old Thoroughbreds to see which ones may have the potential to be a factor on the trail next year leading to the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
    The Derby Outlook has been a staple of this blog since I started it in 2009. Analyzing pedigrees and reviewing the races of as many 2-year-olds as possible is always a daunting task and this year seems especially difficult. 
    Overall, there have been some good races but I’m not overly impressed with any of the competitors in this crop of Derby qualifiers. The implementation by Churchill Downs of a point system to determine the eligibility of horses entering Derby starting gate could also be a factor making it more difficult to evaluate this crop. 
     I like the new system but the points earned next year are higher and a lot of owners and trainers may wait until then to enter their lightly-raced horses in hope of earning enough points necessary to get into the Derby starting gate.
    So far, Trainer Todd Pletcher tops the leaderboard with three colts – Shanghai Bobby, Violence and Overanalyze – in the top five of the list of 2013 Kentucky Derby qualifiers. Pletcher also has a fourth colt – Capo Bastone – in the top twenty. Here’s a look at the Churchill Downs top twenty Derby qualifiers:

Individual Leaders ranking, total points, Trainer
1 = Shanghai Bobby, 20, Todd Pletcher
2 = Goldencents, 14, Doug O’Neill
3 = Violence, 10, Todd Pletcher
4 = Joha, 10, Mike Maker
5 = Overanalyze, 10, Todd Pletcher
6 = Uncaptured, 10, Mark Casse
7 = Power Broker, 10, Bob Baffert
8 = Steeler, 10, Mark Johnson
9 = River Seven, 10, Nick Gonzalez
10 = Tesseron, 5, Josie Carroll
11= Bern Identity, 4, Kelly Breen
12 = He’s Had Enough, 4, Doug O’Neill
13 = Capo Bastone, 4, Todd Pletcher
14 = Know More, 4, Doug O’Neill
15 = Fury Kapcori, 4, Jerry Hollendorfer
16 = Dynamic Sky, 4, Mark Casse
17 = Artigiano, 4, Mahmood Al Zarooni
18 = Normandy Invasion, 4, Chad Brown
19 = Frac Daddy, 4, Kenny McPeak
20 = Fortify, 3, Kiaran McLaughlin

    Whether Pletcher continues to dominate the trail next year remains to be seen. Of his current Derby quaifiers, I like Shanghai Bobby and Violence the most and I think that they have the potential to be competitive on the 2013 Derby Trail.
     Shanghai Bobby is undefeated in five starts and he most likely will be selected as the 2012 champion 2-year-old colt.
      The success of Shanghai Bobby is somewhat similar to that of his sire, Harlan’s Holiday, who was 4-2-0 in six starts as a two year old winning the Iroquois Stakes (G3), Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes, Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes and the Hoover Stakes.
     As a 3-year-old, Harlan’s Holiday finished second in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1). He followed up with a win in the Florida Derby (G1) and Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and went into the 2002 Kentucky Derby as the 6-1 favorite but finished seventh in a field of 18.
     The distaff pedigree of Shanghai Bobby is not as strong as I’d like to see in a potential Derby prospect and that was evident in his narrow win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes to He’s Had Enough.
    The damsire of Shanghai Bobby, Orientate, was a champion sprinter that won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) as well as the graded stakes Forego Handicap (G1), the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G2) and the Aristides Handicap (G3). Orientate was also able to stretch out his speed to win the 8½-furlong Indiana Derby. Carson City, the sire of the second dam Steel Band, also adds speed influence to the distaff pedigree.
      I’ll be watching to see how well Shanghai Bobby performs at 9-furlongs.
     Violence is undefeated in three starts including a 2-length win in the Nashua Stakes (G2) and a 1¼-length win in the CashCall Futurity Stakes (G1). Violence, my pick in the CashCall, has a nice turn of foot and speed that I like to see in a young colt I believe may have classic potential.
    Violence’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, was a pretty good middle-distance runner with seven wins and five second-place finishes in 14 route races. He finished second in his only start as a 2-year-old but as a 3-year-old he won the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) en route to the 2002 Derby where he finished in fourth place.
     Gone West, the damsire of Violence, also was a competitive middle-distance runner. As a 2-year-old, he won a 7-furlong maiden race at Belmont Park and finished the season with a 1-1-1 record in four starts.
    As a 3-year-old, Gone West won the one-mile Gotham Stakes (G2) and Withers Stakes (G2). He finished second in the 7-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (G3) and finished third in the 8½-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G3).
      If Violence continues to improve as a 3-year-old, he should be competitive on the Derby Trail.
     One colt trained by Pletcher that I’m very interested in is Revolutionary. He’s yet to run in a stakes race or earn any Derby points but he recently broke his maiden, after his fourth attempt, by an impressive 8½-lengths.
     Revolutionary is a descendant of the Cherokee Run sire line and in my July 3 blog of 2009 I noted the importance of keeping track of colts from that line when they stretch out to route racing.
     Over the years, the Cherokee Run sire line has produced a lot of good middle- distance runners such as War Pass, the sire of Revolutionary. Other good runners from that line include: Yonaguska, Kafwain, Sir Cherokee, During, Chelokee, Zanjero, Recapturetheglory, Musket Man and The Pamplemousse.
     In addition, the distaff pedigree of Revolutionary is very strong and the tail-female line is reinforced with the stallions A.P. Indy, Hoist The Flag, Herbager and Court Martial.
     The tail-female line descends from the outstanding foundation mare La Troienne (Family 1-x) and that line has produced eight Classic Champion Thoroughbreds: Super Saver (2010), Smarty Jones (2004), Go For Gin (1994), Sea Hero (1993), Prairie Bayou (1993), Easy Goer (1989), Personality (1970) and Bimelech (1940). 
     Whether Revolutionary has any classic potential remains to be seen. But, if he continues to improve as a 3-year-old he could be competitive on the Derby Trail.
   Trainer Doug O’Neill has three colts in the top twenty list of Derby qualifiers – Goldencents, He’s Had Enough and Know More. Of those three, Goldencents (ranked second) is the best performer and I like him the most.
    Goldencents won his maiden debut with an impressive 7¼-length romp at Del Mar on September 2. He followed that performance with a respectable second-place finish in the Champagne Stakes (G1) to Shanghai Bobby who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Goldencents capped off his 2-year-old racing season with a 1¾-length win in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3).
     The sire of Goldencents, Into Mischief, finished second as a 2-year-old in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) and won the 8½-furlong CashCall Futurity (G1) in a time of 1:40.82 – just a few ticks off of the record time of 1:40.74 set by Afternoon Deelites and the second fastest time of 1:40.78 set by Valiant Nature.
     Banker’s Gold, the sire of Goldencents’ dam Golden Works, was a pretty good sprinter that was able to carry his speed to victory in the 9-furlong Peter Pan Stakes (G2).
     Goldencents has the breeding and turn of foot to be competitive but I’m not sure if he has the ability to be a classic 10-furlong horse. The distance of the Preakness Stakes may be more to his liking.
   At the present, Goldencents is the best competitor for O’Neill and if he continues to improve as a 3-year-old, he should be competitive on the Derby Trail.
   Pletcher’s other horse, Overanalyze, and trainer Mark Casse’s Uncaptured could, perhaps, be competitive as 3-year-olds but I’m not too keen on them as Derby prospects. He’s Had Enough (ranked 12th) was my long shot pick in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) but he’s very immature and he’ll have to improve quite a bit to be a factor.
    Of the current Derby qualifiers, Shanghai Bobby, Violence and Goldencents are the three that I like the most. The other qualifiers may have an impact on the 2013 trail but they will have to improve considerably.
    Revolutionary has not qualified as a Derby horse but I’m very interested to see how well he fares as a 3-year-old. Let’s take a look at some other horses that I’m very interested in but they have not earned any Derby points yet.
     Trainer Bret Calhoun’s Tour Guide is a fast son of Broken Vow who’s yet to run in a route race but in five starts he’s posted a 3-1-0 record including a 3½-length win in the Sugar Bowl Stakes at the Fair Grounds.
    Whether Tour Guide has classic potential remains to be seen. But he has good speed and his breeding suggests that he should be able to stretch out in distance and be competitive on the Derby Trail.
    Broken Vow, the sire of Tour Guide, did not race as a 2-year-old but he was a pretty good middle-distance runner that only finished out of the money once in 14 starts and compiled an 8-2-2 record in 12 route starts.
    At the age of three, Broken Vow won the Sir Barton Stakes. As a 4-year-old, Broken Vow won the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G2), Ben Ali Stakes (G3), R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Stakes and the Skip Away Stakes.  
    Broken Vow’s best runners to date on the Derby trail have been Interactif, Private Vow and Done Talking.
    Tour Guide’s damsire, Came Home, was a pretty good sprinter and router that compiled a 9-0-0 record in 12 lifetime starts. He was a perfect four wins in four starts sprinting while he won five of eight route races.
   As a 2-year-old, Came Home won the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3). At the age of three, Came Home won the San Vicente Stakes (G2), San Rafael Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) en route to a sixth-place finish in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.
    The tail-female line of Tour Guide traces back to Turk Mare (Family 23-b) and that line produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds I’ll Have Another (2012), Mine That Bird (2009), Lil E. Tee (1992), Winning Colors (1988), Affirmed (1978), Tim Tam (1958), Zev (1923). Byrn Mawr (1904) and Kingman (1891).
     Tour Guide’s fifth dam, Patelin, is also the fifth dam of I’ll Have Another.
    If Tour Guide can carry his speed to 10-furlongs, he’ll be tough on the trail and most likely one of my Derby picks. Time will tell.
    Winstar Farm LLC’s colt General Election has only raced twice. He won his maiden debut at Churchill Downs by an impressive 3-lengths and he finished second in his last race going one mile and 70 yards at the Fair Grounds.
    His maiden debut was pretty good but his last race, despite the second-place finish, was lackluster and he’ll have to improve in his next start to be a factor on the trail. And he has the breeding to be competitive but I’ve seen a lot of horses fail to live up to their breeding.
   General Election’s sire Harlan’s Holiday was a tough competitor on the Derby trail. He also sired Shanghai Bobby and he’s the grandsire of Goldencents.
   The tail female line of General Election traces back to Hilarity (Family 1-p) and that line produced the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Pensive (1944). The tail-female line also is reinforced by the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Kingmambo, Spectacular Bid, Northern Dancer and Caro.
    Time will tell if General Election is a factor on the trail.
    Trainer Bob Baffert’s War Academy looked good in winning his maiden debut at Betfair Hollywood Park and although he’s only raced once, I like his pedigree and if he lives up to his breeding he could be a factor on the Derby trail.
    War Academy’s sire, Giant’s Causeway, was an outstanding competitor that won from 7- to 10-furlongs and he was the 2000 Cartier Racing Awards European Horse of the Year. 
   Giant’s Causeway was undefeated in three starts at 7-furlongs as a 2-year-old winning the Group 3 Futurity Stakes and the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre Stakes.
    At the age of three, Giant’s Causeway was 6-4-0 in 10 starts and won the 10-furlong Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1), International Stakes (Group 1) and Eclipse Stakes (Group 1). He also won the 8-furlong Sussex Stakes (Group 1), St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) and the 7-furlong Gladness Stakes (Group 3).
    The distaff pedigree of War Academy is pretty strong with the Classic Champion Thoroughbred A.P. Indy as the damsire. I also like it that the tail-female family of War Academy and A.P. Indy are the same tracing to Mayonaise (Family 3-l) and that line produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Silver Charm and Triple Crown winner Citation.
    In addition, Reine-de-Course mare Missy Baba is the fourth dam of A.P. Indy and the fifth dam of War Academy and that branch of Family 3-l produced, in addition to A.P. Indy, the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Summer Squall and Lemon Drop Kid.
     Time will tell if War Academy is a factor on the Derby Trail.
    Two Lion Heart colts that I’m interested are the Purple Egg and Falling Sky. The Purple Egg is undefeated in three races, at three separate race tracks, while Falling Sky’s only loss in three races, also at three separate race tracks, came to Purple Egg in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on December 1.
    In his maiden debut at Monmouth Park, the Purple Egg: “dueled outside, took over for home, responded when asked and drew clear, driving” in a 5-furlong maiden special weight to win impressively by 4¾-lengths.
    In his next race at Parx Racing, Purple Egg: “stalked the pace outside, bid to the front nearing the stretch then drew away handily in an impressive score” to win a 6-furlong sprint by 6¾-lengths.
    In the Inaugural Stakes, Purple Egg: “raced well placed for a half [in fourth-place] bid four-wide into the furlong grounds then wore down the leader late” to beat runner up Brave Dave by one length.
    Purple Egg has good speed and he’s looked good in all his races. If he can carry that speed to route races he should be tough on the trail. And his breeding suggests that he should be able to stretch out in distance.
   Purple Egg’s sire, Lion Heart, was a tough competitor and good middle-distance horse that won the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (G3) and Hollywood Futurity (G1) as a 2-year-old. As a 3-year-old, Lion Heart finished second in the San Rafael Stakes (G2) and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) en route to a second-place finish to Smarty Jones in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
     Purple Egg’s form is very similar to that of his sire Lion Heart who also was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old and I look for Purple Egg to be competitive on the Derby trail.
    Falling Sky won his maiden debut by an impressive 4-lengths at Calder on November 1. He then followed that with a disappointing fourth-place finish to Purple Egg in the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on December 1. Falling Sky rebounded from that loss to win a 6½-furlong sprint by 1¾-lengths at Gulfstream Park on December 15.
     Like Purple Egg, if Falling Sky continues to improve, I look for him to be competitive on the Derby trail.  
     Honorable mention goes to Powerful, Encode and Good Fellowship. All three have yet to race but they have good pedigrees and if they live up to their breeding they could, perhaps, be a factor on the 2013 Kentucky Derby Trail.



  1. WOW Calvin! Now that's a great comprehensive list of Derby candidates.

    This post is a definite Keeper for the coming months.

  2. Calvin,
    Before the With Anticipation I questioned on your blog regarding Balance The Books. You seemed to think he had a good chance, and he went on to win. Do you consider him a decent prospect on the Derby trail from a pedigree standpoint?

  3. Anonymous,

    I've been out of town since Sunday and did not have any internet so I'm sorry for the late response.

    Despite the third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf I think that Balance The Books could be competitive on the trail but I don't know if he will be given a classic campaign.

    As you saw from my blog, Balance The Books was not on my list but if he runs in a classic scoring race, I think he will need a good look and comparison with the others entered in the race.

    Derby Fever is beginning to spread. Thanks for reading my blog.

  4. Gary,

    Thanks for the kind words and for following my blog.

  5. Hi Calvin,

    Looking forward to reading your blog during another Derby campaign.

    Here are five I am looking at:

    1) Gulfport - might not get the distance but after the brutal trip in the Futurity, he has been the most impressive 2-year-old from Halloween through the end of November.

    2) Avie's Quality - Was dominant in the Display. Mr. Prospector line on top and a solid route pedigree underneath. (Doesn't there seem to be an exorbitant number of either Canadian-bred or Canadian runners this year?)

    3) Golden Soul - Could wind up being No. 1 when all said and done. Love his pedigree and he has come home just as fast in his two starts as any other top horse.

    4) Mountain Eagle - Has Mr. Prospector on top and a great tail-female line. Very similar PPs as Golden Soul.

    5) Normandy Invasion - Don't like the fact he's sired by Tapit and his dam side isn't impressive. But he seems to have a tremendous running style. I'm sure if he didn't break from the outside in the Remsen, he would have won.

  6. Jeff,

    Thanks much for following and contributing to my blog with your insightful commentary.

    I was not aware of Avie's Quality and Golden Soul - they have promptly been added to my watch list.

    I, too, like the pedigree of Golden Soul and look forward to his races.

    Again, thanks much.

  7. Calvin , its always fun and informative to read your thoughts on the derby trail. Purple Egg looks like a nice horse but he has a couple of significant obstacles to overcome to win the Derby. He has Zero 1s in his five gen. That's almost insurmountable !( off memory 1 winner since '70 ) His BSBs are 4* 8 * 2,10 . 3 out of 4 derby winners have 1s or 2s in the 1st or 2nd slots. Never say never but he'll be up against it even if he's unbeaten going into the gate. Shanghai Bobby is 4 * 8 * 16 and he also has Zero 1s in his 5 gen.Put a line through him ;-)Best of luck in all your endeavors and thanks. You've given me some more prospects to do the numbers on.

    Your ardent admirer

  8. BSB,

    It's always good to hear from you and miss your posts on Dan Illman's DRF Formblog.

    Thanks for your contribution to my blog and input on the Purple Egg's family numbers.

    As you know, I think that Family numbers are significant but they are not the only factor that I look at.

    Only a few of the current Derby qualifiers have several female lines that are descendants of Family 1.

    As we get closer to the Derby, I may do a blog on just the Family numbers of the Derby qualifier.

    Thanks for your input.

  9. Calvin,

    You are correct to point out that family numbers are not the only thing. The horse has to be a runner and work out a semi-clean trip as well.

    The nice thing is that they are fairly often under appreciated on the board so you can bet multiple horses.

    As you know bsb numbers sometimes flip the tail and that has a significant impact on the overall stats when tallying winning family numbers. The impact of the dams of the reinforcing stallions in the pedigree looms large. Larger than coventional wisdom gives it credit for .

    There are quite a few MKBs that may show up on the points list pretty soon . My Name Is Michael , Shakin'it Up, Delhomme,Capo B, Vyjack, Long River,Fortify, Revolutionary, Normandy Invasion, Itsmyluckyday,Dynamic Sky, Hightail (TT),Really Sharp (TT). They're 1s.

    Check out the pedigree on Pataky Kid !! I haven't seen him run but he's more [loaded] than any horse of any number I've ever come across. He's more loaded than Grindstone & Spend A Buck !

    I took another look at some of your previous posts & links . Interesting stuff. Keep up the good work and good luck.


  10. BSB,

    Thank you for the compliment. Thanks for your insight and contribution to the blog.

    Derby Fever is taking hold and I look forward to your further analysis of Family Numbers on the trail.

  11. Calvin,
    I'm waiting to catch the fever at the moment. I haven't been this unenthusiastic about racing since I got the bug when I was 11 years old.

    My results have reflected my lack of enthusiasm lately. As the old coaching sayings go-- You gotta want it-- You get out of it what you put into it.

    I'll be back with some more #s when I get the will to do the work.

    Good luck

  12. Calvin, I forgot to mention that I appreciate that you allow me to comment without having to know every bit of personal info about me or making me be a tweeter or facebooker.

    You don't ask for my e-mail, SS #, or any other BS. That makes you a very exceptional and reputable internet spot in my opinion.

    Every place else ( DRF, Bloodhorse , Paulick etc.) want your life story so they can sell it to some other party. (shysters)

    Thanks again

  13. Well I put in some extra effort today but I wasn't very good anyway !! LOL. Two of the three BSB 1's Oxbow & Golden Soul did make the exacta in the LeCompte at least.

    I was looking at True Nicks and found it interesting .

    Also enjoyed the Herd Dynamic piece on Eblouisante on bloodhorse. Big Z definetly could Herd them all up :)

    I've been going back to the early Derby results even though the race was a regional race with no real relation to todays race. There wasn't all that much of the real good female blood in America back then. There was a fair amount of 2s floating around and a little bit of 1-a,1-t, 1-o & 1-s . (Those Brits didn't need the cash yet I guess ?) There was a lot more of the A-female lines in the pedigrees in those days than you see now and a lot more stallions with multiple winners.

    BSB 12s won 6 of the 1st 19 derbies. Most of that was 12-b. Modern American runners have very little 12 in the 5 gen and almost all of it comes through Brameala 12-b / Roberto.

    I'll be back Champ with some more to talk about.

    I saw a post you made somewhere telling somebody that said the Derby is a complete crapshoot because its too unpredictable blah blah blah that you had most of those :) He probably didn't believe you but I knew it was true :) Smarty ,Giacomo,Animal etc. Nothing flukey about it !

    Looking forward to your next trail post .


  14. BSB,

    Thanks for the commentary and I'm looking forward to your perspective on family numbers.

  15. Hey Calvin, how ya doin' ?

    Here's some of what I found out.

    Derby 1875- 1929 by BSB numbers.( there are some tied tops ** . I count all numbers in case of ties)

    1s = 7 Morvich, **Exterminator, Regret, Ben Brush, Baden Baden, Day Star, **AZra.

    2s = 5 Montrose, Buchanon, **Agile, **Whiskery,Reigh Count .

    3s = 7 MacBeth **Spokane, Kingman, Wintergreen, **** Stonestreet, Pink Star, ** Exterminator

    4s = 7 Manuel, ** Halma, ***Alan-A-Dale,Donau, Black Gold,** Whiskery, Clyde Van Dusen

    5s = 3 Sir Huon, **Worth, **Elwood

    6s = 2 Lookout, ** Worth

    7s = Zero

    8s = 1 Bubbling Over

    9s = 7 Sir Barton , Omar Khayaam ,Flying Ebony, ** Zev, **Meridian, Aristedes , **Spokane

    10s = Lord Murphy, George Smith

    11s = Zero

    12s = 9 Typhoon, ****Stonesteet , His Eminence, Apollo, Hindoo, Fonso, Vagrant, Joe Cotton, Ben Ali

    13s = Zero

    14s = 8 Leonatus , Riley, ****Stonestreet,
    ** Halma , **Elwood ,**Judge Himes,***Alan-A-Dale, **AZra

    15s = 1 Old Rosebud

    16s = 1 ***Alan-A-Dale

    17s = Zero

    18s = 1 lieut. Gibson

    19s = Zero

    20s = 1 **Meridian

    21s = 1 ****Stonestreet

    22s = 1 Donerail

    23s = 1 **Zev

    24s = 2 Paul Jones,**Agile

    27s = 1 Behave Yourself

    36s = 1 **Judge Himes

    When I put up 1930 to present you will see quite a bit of difference .

    12s Dominated the early derbies (pre 1900) .

    14s were more prominant back early on as well. Interesting that the 14s were mostly tied tops. The 14s will rear their heads a lttle later in the 20th century as well.

    1s, 3s, 4s & 9s were on pretty even terms not far away from 12s & 14s .

    Everything was more openly spread as far as the numbers. Big numbers were not as impossible . One hit wonders were more common back then I think.

    1930 - 2012 the times they are a changing.

    Se ya later

  16. Calvin would like to hear your opinion on Proud Strike and Treasury Bill


  17. Rudy,

    Sorry to take so long to respond as I've been very busy.

    Proud Strike has been on watch list and, of the two, I like him the most. I can't remember exactly why he was not included in my 2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook but it may have been because I was not able to see any videos of him.

    His time of 1:46.18 in his debut as a 3-year-old at the Fair Grounds on January 12th was not very impressive and he'll have to improve his game considerably if he is going to be a factor on the trail.

    I am looking forward to see how he fares in his next race. His pedigree suggests that he could have classic potential but I've seen a lot of young horses that did not live up to their breeding.

    Time will tell.

    Hope that helps you.

  18. With that last race under his belt shanghai is gonna be tough even though i dont like his style derby speaking,this is his race to lose. Read more