Thursday, June 6, 2013

Belmont Stakes Racing Roundup: Orb Looks To Rebound From Preakness Stakes Loss

© 2013, Calvin L. Carter
A field of fourteen Thoroughbreds has been drawn for the 145th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. Kentucky Derby champion Orb, trying to rebound from his disappointing fourth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1), will go to the starting gate Saturday as the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
Derby runner up Golden Soul (10-1) and third-place finisher Revolutionary (9-2) are also entered and they will try to earn Classic Champion Thoroughbred honors. Incognito (20-1) and Freedom Child (8-1) are new competitors on the Triple Crown Trail and round out the top five. Here’s a look at the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profiles of this year’s Belmont Stakes:

Horse, Odds                            Tesio     Ancestral   Classic Champion    
                                                         Index    Herd              Thoroughbred
                                                                           Index            Profile

1. Incognito, 20-1                    61.88     141.25 =         203.13
2. Revolutionary, 9-2            55.63     128.75 =         184.38
2. Freedom Child, 8-1            40.00    144.38 =         184.38
4. Orb, 3-1                                   35.63     144.38 =        180.01
5. Golden Soul, 10-1               48.75    130.00 =        178.75
6. Unlimited Budget, 8-1      48.75     128.13 =         176.88
7. Midnight Taboo, 30-1      43.75    125.00 =         168.75
8. Will Take Charge, 20-1     55.00    110.00 =        165.00
9. Frac Daddy, 30-1               50.63    105.00 =        155.63
10. Oxbow, 5-1                        36.25      118.13 =         154.38
11. Giant Finish, 30-1            44.38     108.13 =        152.51
12. Overanalyze, 12-1           49.38       96.25 =         145.63
13. Palace Malice, 15-1         43.13    101.88 =          145.01
14. Vyjack, 20-1                      49.38      91.88 =          141.26

Like an intricate puzzle, the pedigree contains many secrets of what champions are made of and the proprietary key puzzle pieces, the Tesio Index and Ancestral Herd Index, comprise the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile. The Ancestral Herd Index is a new feature I recently added to calculate the profile and that was included because of my study of the late Federico Tesio, a world renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses who bred closely to the Ancestral Herd. During his lifetime, Tesio bred an incredible 21 Italiano Derby winners.
The profile is tool I use to measure potential and it does not take into account other factors such as the horse’s will to win. Another thing to keep in mind is that horses, for many different reasons, sometimes fail to live up to their potential.

Since the 1970’s, the Bold Ruler and Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herds have produced the most Belmont Stakes winners.
Overall, the Ancestral Herd of Bold Ruler has produced eight Belmont Stakes (G1) winners:  Secretariat (Triple Crown winner, 1973), Bold Forbes (1976), Seattle Slew (Triple Crown winner, 1977), Caveat (1983), Swale, (1984), Risen Star (1988), A.P. Indy (1992) and Rags to Riches (2007).
Runners in this year’s Belmont that are descendants of the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd include: Orb, Freedom Child and Incognito.
The Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd has dominated the Belmont Stakes since 1990 and has produced a total of 15 winners: Conquistador Cielo (1982), Hansel (1991), Thunder Gulch (1995), Editor’s Note (1996), Victory Gallop (1998), Lemon Drop Kid (1999), Commendable (2000), Point Given (2001), Empire Maker (2003), Birdstone (2004), Afleet Alex (2005), Jazil (2006), Summer Bird (2009), Drosselmeyer (2010) and Ruler On Ice (2012).
Runners in this year’s Belmont that are descendants of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd include: Unlimited Budget (8-1), Palace Malice (15-1) and Will Take Charge (20-1).

I liked Orb in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) and I like him in the Belmont, too. With wins in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby, Orb is the class of this race and a return to his previous form will make him tough in the Belmont.
A.P. Indy, the grandsire of Orb, won the 1992 Belmont Stakes and sired the 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches. Orb’s great grandsire is the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.
Unbridled, the damsire of Orb, won the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic and he’s a descendant of the Fappiano branch of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd which is a powerful influence in the pedigree.
Classic Champion Thoroughbred descendants of the Unbridled Ancestral Herd include: Grindstone (1996 Kentucky Derby), Red Bullet (2000 Preakness), Empire Maker (2003 Belmont), Birdstone (2004 Belmont), Mine That Bird (2009 Kentucky Derby) and Summer Bird (2009 Belmont).
Orb’s victory in the Kentucky Derby smashed a 29-year draught since Swale won the Kentucky Derby in 1984. However, in recent years the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd has had better success in producing Belmont Stakes winners and I look for Orb to run a good race.

Revolutionary was my Kentucky Derby pick. I profiled him last December in my 2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook, and his pedigree indicates that he may have classic potential. However, he’s yet to live up to that potential.
Revolutionary is a descendant of the Cherokee Run Ancestral Herd 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 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.
Revolutionary’s dam, Runup The Colors, was a graded-stakes winner of the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (G1). Up The Flagpole, the second dam of Revolutionary, won the 9-furlong Delaware Oaks (G2) and was a Reine-de-Course mare and second dam of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and Tomisue’s Delight.
Revolutionary’s third dam, The Garden Club, also was a Reine-de-Course mare. His tail-female line descends from the outstanding foundation mare La Troienne (Family 1-x) and her 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).
Revolutionary is a versatile, tough colt who possesses the will to win – he’s demonstrated that in his come-from-behind victories in the Withers Stakes (G3) and Louisiana Derby (G2). In the stretch of the Louisiana Derby (G2), Mylute briefly took the lead from Revolutionary who dug in and fought back to win by a neck in the final strides.
His maiden win last December was also a key race as it highlighted the talent and versatility of Revolutionary. In that race, unlike his last two races, Revolutionary ran just off the pace, tracking the early leaders until the stretch, then he drew away to an easy 8½-length romp.
The ability of a young colt to win coming home from dead last or just off the pace is the kind of versatility and talent I like to see in a young horse I believe may have classic potential.
Javier Castellano regains the mount on Revolutionary and in previous races they are a perfect two wins in two starts.

Freedom Child and Orb were both sired by Malibu Moon and are descendants of the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd. Unlike Orb who races off the pace, Freedom Child’s best success has been when he raced on the lead.
In his fourth start, Freedom Child led from gate to wire and finally broke his maiden by an easy 5¼ lengths. In his next race, he was declared a non-starter in the Wood Memorial when he became tangled in the hands of a gate crew worker. Freedom Child followed up on that fiasco with another gate-to-wire romp in the slop to win the Peter Pan Stakes by 13¼ lengths.
I like it that Freedom Child is engaged early in the race and if he can carry that speed for 12-furlongs, then he could be tough to beat in the Belmont Stakes (G1). His pedigree indicates that 12-furlongs should not be a problem.
His grandsire, A.P. Indy, also won the Peter Pan Stakes en route to victory in the 1992 Belmont Stakes. Deputy Minister, the damsire of Freedom Child, sired the 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and he’s also the damsire of the Belmont winners Sarava (2002), Jazil (2006) and Rags to Riches (2007).
It looks like Freedom Child is improving at the right time of year and another move forward will make him competitive in the Belmont Stakes.

Like Orb, Incognito is descendant of the Bold Ruler Ancestral Herd and he has similar breeding to Orb and Freedom Child. Incognito is the best-bred horse in the Belmont field. However, he’s yet to live up to his breeding.
His sire is the Classic Champion Thoroughbred A.P. Indy and his grandsire is the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. In the distaff pedigree, Incognito’s second damsire is the previously mentioned Classic Champion Thoroughbred, Unbridled, and his damsire, Unbridled’s Song, finished fifth in the 1996 Kentucky Derby – just 3½ lengths shy of victory.
A horse like Incognito is difficult to handicap in classic races. Even though he’s yet to live up to his breeding, his pedigree indicates that, on a given day, he could run a good race. That’s how I picked Da’ Tara to upset Big Brown in the 2008 Belmont Stakes (G1) for a $79 payday on a $2 wager. So, if you’re feeling lucky, you may want to include Incognito in a few small wagers.

          Honorable mention goes to Golden Soul and Unlimited Budget.  I don’t like either of them for the win but they could, perhaps, be a factor in the bottom of the exotic wagers.
Belmont Stakes 145
Post Position, Horse, Odds, Jockey, Trainer

1. Frac Daddy, 30-1, Alan Garcia, Ken McPeek
2. Freedom Child, 8-1, Luis Saez, Tom Albertrani
3. Overanalyze, 12-1, John Valazquez, Todd Pletcher
4. Giant Finish, 30-1, Edgar Prado, Tony Dutrow
5. Orb, 3-1, Joel Rosario, Shug McGaughey
6. Incognito, 20-1, Irad Ortiz, Jr., Kiaran McLaughlin
7. Oxbow, 5-1, Gary Stevens, D. Wayne Lukas
8. Midnight Taboo, 30-1, Garrett Gomez, Todd Pletcher
9. Revolutionary, 9-2, Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher
10. Will Take Charge, 20-1, Jon Court, D. Wayne Lukas
11. Vyjack, 20-1, Julien Leparoux, Rudy Rodriquez
12. Palace Malice, 15-1, Mike Smith, Todd Pletcher
13. Unlimited Budget, 8-1, Rosie Napravnik, Todd Pletcher
14. Golden Soul, 10-1, Robby Albarado, Dallas Stewart

Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time knows that my study of Thoroughbred pedigrees and the late Federico Tesio, a world-renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, has had a tremendous impact on my analysis of classic champion prospects. The result of that research is what I call the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and it is a powerful tool I use to determine if a young colt has to potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred.
In addition, the behavior of the horse or Emotional Conformation is the final piece of the breeding puzzle. Behavior was the key puzzle piece Tesio relied on to breed his numerous champion Thoroughbreds and, during his lifetime, he bred an incredible 21 Italiano Derby winners.
The Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and the Emotional Conformation of the horse are important tools that have enabled me to pick the classic champions Orb, I’ll Have Another, Animal Kingdom, Pour Moi, Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, and Summer Bird.

If you would like to get involved in horseracing, please check out my website:

Classic Champion Thoroughbreds is a unique, innovative bloodstock consulting firm, dedicated to helping clients make informed decisions, eliminating doubt and guesswork, in buying and breeding Thoroughbreds.
Classic Champion Thoroughbreds provides its clients with the important information necessary to achieve their goals and realize their dreams of competing at the highest level. Every evaluation includes a detailed pedigree analysis and a Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile of young horses that may be classic racing prospects. Each analysis and profile draws upon the time-tested breeding theories of great Thoroughbred breeders as well as those of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds owner Calvin L. Carter.
(Upon request, clients can receive an Emotional Conformation Profile behavioral analysis of the horses they plan to buy or breed from Kerry Thomas, Founder of the Thomas Herding Technique.)
In the spirit of Federico Tesio, Classic Champion Thoroughbreds serves the needs of its clients – helping them to eliminate the doubt and guesswork in buying and breeding Thoroughbred Champions. Whatever your need, if you already own horses or if you are new and want to get established, please feel free to contact me and Classic Champion Thoroughbreds will work with you to realize your goals and dreams.


  1. I concur with your opinion Calvin, that Incognito is the best bred horse in the field. Very strong damside breeding for distance, and as Kiaran noted Octave won the Coaching Club American Oaks at a mile and a quarter, despite stumbling sharply coming out of the gate.

    How good was Incognito's April 13th race? He was bumped around in the stretch trying to get to the outside, in which he was denied, clipped heels almost falling when he was shut off, persevered when clear, and still managed to win. Incredible victory, and shades of Afleet Alex's Preakness!

    Incognito's Peter Pan? I was shaking my head afterwards, because at the time, it made absolutely no sense. He's 5th after the break, and makes a steady retreat for more that three-quarters of a mile, with Mike Luzzi making no effort whatsoever to do anything, except sit on the horse, contrary to every single race that the horse had been in --- is my opinion. Incognito is now dead last at the top of the Belmont stretch, when all of sudden, Luzzi starts shaking Imcognito's reins. Incognito takes off, weaves in between horses then, Luzzi has him dart to the rail (the deepest/wettest part of the racetrack. He's making making up a tremendous amount of ground on everybody, except Freedom Child (Freedom Child has separated himself from the field completely at that point) but, Incognito is moving the fastest of anyone in the field (including Freedom Child), at the end of the race. And me? I'm just shaking my head, wondering what the heck, I just witnessed. It was a race, I think, that made no sense, unless they weren't trying to win, or be competitive in the race (That didn't sink in until, he was announced was annnounced as the late entrant, last Wednesday. Kiaran's been low key. No strong workouts for Incognito, keeping him on the training track, while everyone else is on the main track, putting in rather strong workouts. Kiaran saying that Incognito is used to working on the training track. Horses can get lost being on the Belmont main track. We worked on lead changes, and everything went smoothly. We like his breeding. We think he'll like the distance.

    Now, it makes total sense to me!!!

    1. August Song,

      Thanks for following my blog and especially thank you for your input about Incognito.

      Of course, not every horse can be a champion. But, my hope is that all of these talented athletes that give us so much pleasure when they compete on the racetrack will be able to reach their full potential.

      It's disappointing when a horse like Incognito with his outstanding breeding falls short. Here's hoping that in the Belmont, Incognito will be able to run a career best and live up to his impeccable breeding.

      Thanks for contributing to my blog.

  2. Now you guys are scaring me....I have Revolutionary (my Derby pick often wins the Belmont) followed by Freedom Child, Orb, Incognito and Perfect Soul. Assumes they are able to work the track all day to make it fair. Good luck and thank you for the affirmation on the chances of the long shots. I hope I break even....I need the money! JBALL

    1. JBALL,

      It's always good to hear from you and get your input on key races.

      Thanks for contributing to my blog and good lucky on Saturday!

  3. I can really appreciate the amount of work that goes into your pedigree handicapping. Believe it or not we are both on the same page in many cases but we also disagree at times.
    I have had a lot of success with my pedigree handicapping over the years and have produced many long shots on the triple crown trail.
    I am also a consultant to a group that buys a lot of horses from over seas.
    The part you won't believe is that it only takes me a few minutes to read and judge a pedigree using my pedigree pattern method. I go into very few details of the horses in a pedigree and don't place much weight on any one horse, especially the sire.
    If you have the time, you might want to read my blog sometime....

    1. Backstretch,

      Thanks for the compliment and thanks for contributing to my blog.