Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ancestral Herd Influence Could Determine Outcome Of Kentucky Derby 139; Revolutionary Tops Competitors List; Mylute, Orb, Lines Of Battle Looking Good

© 2013, Calvin L. Carter

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 how I determine if a young colt has star potential.

Since the creation of my blog in 2009, that intensive study has helped me pick the classic champions I’ll Have Another, Animal Kingdom, Pour Moi, Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, and Summer Bird. And last year, all five horses I profiled in my Kentucky Derby blog finished in the top five.

Like an intricate puzzle, the pedigree contains many secrets of what champions are made of and Tesio was the master at putting all the puzzle pieces together. In addition to pedigrees, past performances and the horse’s behavior, will to win, are also important factors I look at.

Tesio was keenly aware of the importance of behavior in determining champion Thoroughbreds. In Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes, published by Trafalgar Square Books, Equine Behaviorist Kerry Thomas and I wrote that the horse’s Emotional Conformation, will to win, 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.

For some time now, I’ve been working on a way to classify and define my study of Tesio and pedigrees. The result of that research is what I call the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile which is a numerical scoring system I use to determine if a colt may have the potential to be a classic champion. 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.


I was not surprised to see Revolutionary (10-1) at the top of this list. He is a colt I profiled last December in my 2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook, and his pedigree indicates that he may have classic 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 comes into the Kentucky Derby (G1) undefeated in his last three starts including wins in the Withers Stakes (G3) and the Louisiana Derby (G2). In six career starts he’s never finished out of the money, however, he struggled as a 2-year-old and did not break his maiden until his fourth start going a mile over the inner track at Aqueduct.

Revolutionary is a versatile, tough colt who possesses the will to win – he’s demonstrated that in his come-from-behind victories in his last two races. 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. With three-time Kentucky Derby-winner and Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel in the irons – he, too, possesses the will to win – I look for the pair to be tough competitors on the first Saturday in May.


 In his gritty second-place finish to Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby (G2), Mylute (15-1) also showed that he has the will to win. His sire, Midnight Lute, was an Eclipse champion male sprinter and two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

Midnight Lute had breathing problems, so he was raced mostly in sprint races and it is unknown if he could have had any classic potential. However, his grandsire, Real Quiet, was an outstanding Classic Champion Thoroughbred who won the 1998 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) and lost by a nose to Victory Gallop in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Real Quiet is a perfect example of the Ancestral Herd influence of his grandsire Fappiano who was one of the most influential sons of Mr. Prospector at stud. In Horse Profiling, Kerry and I wrote that Real Quiet had conformation flaws but he possessed a high herd dynamic and Emotional Conformation Profile which was the key puzzle piece necessary for his success as a Classic Champion Thoroughbred.

Since 1990, the Mr. Prospector line has produced 11 Kentucky Derby winners and four of those winners are descendants of the Fappiano Ancestral Herd: Mine That Bird (2009), Real Quiet (1998), Grindstone (1996) and Unbridled (1990).

Other descendants of Mr. Prospector that won the Kentucky Derby include: I’ll Have Another (2012), Street Sense (2007), Smarty Jones (2004), Funny Cide (2003), War Emblem (2002), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Thunder Gulch (1995).

Both Mylute and his grandsire Real Quiet are bred on the Mr. Prospector, Man o’ War nick and that is the same breeding nick that produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Smarty Jones.

In the distaff pedigree, the second dam of both Mylute and Real Quiet are descendants of the Ancestral Herd of Raise A Native and the tail-female line of Mylute descends from Reine-de-Course mare Golden Apple (Family 23-b) which is the same family that produced the Classic Champion Thoroughbred I’ll Have Another.

Altogether, Family 23-b has produced nine 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).

The form of Mylute, with a 2-3-2 record in nine starts, reminds me a lot of his grandsire Real Quiet who compiled a 2-2-5 record in 12 starts going into the 1998 Kentucky Derby. En route to the Derby, Real Quiet posted a 103 Brisnet Speed Figure – his best at that time – finishing second to Artax in the San Felipe Stakes (G2). In his next race, Real Quiet finished second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to stablemate Indian Charlie and recorded a 107 speed figure – four points higher than his previous best.

Fast forward to the 2013 Louisiana Derby (G2), both Mylute and Revolutionary posted a top speed figure of 105 and the pace figures of E1-97, E2-109 and LP-96 are above par for the pace figures for this year’s Kentucky Derby (E1-94, E2-103, LP-93). If Mylute follows the same pattern of his grandsire Real Quiet, his next race will be a career-best and could be in the range of 109 or 110 which makes him very competitive in the Derby.

The Fappiano Ancestral Herd is a powerful influence in the American classics and that makes Mylute very attractive in the Derby. With nine career starts, Mylute is one of the more seasoned colts in this Derby and he picks up the services of the outstanding jockey Rosie Napravnik who guided him to a 10¾-length win in the last race of his 2-year-old season.

Mylute has room to improve in his third start of the season. He’s been working out good at Churchill Downs and a recent bullet work on April 14 could have him ready to run a career-best race at a very good price.


 Orb, the 7-2 morning-line favorite, has consistently shown the will to win in all of his races as a 3-year-old, and despite the fact that his profile is not in the top five, he is a descendant of the Ancestral Herd of both Bold Ruler and Fappiano and those Ancestral Herds have produced numerous Classic Champion Thoroughbreds.

In the decade of the 1970’s, the Ancestral Herd of Bold Ruler produced seven Kentucky Derby winners: Orb’s grandsire, Seattle Slew (1977), Bold Forbes (1976), Foolish Pleasure (1975), Cannonade (1974), Secretariat (1973), Dust Commander (1970) and Spectacular Bid (1979).

The 1984 Kentucky Derby winner, Swale, was the last Kentucky Derby winner from that line and that is the one knock against Orb going into the Derby. A.P. Indy, the sire of Orb, was scratched on Derby day in 1992 but he later went on to win the Belmont Stakes.

To date, the best competitors from the A.P. Indy Ancestral Herd to finish in the top four of the Kentucky Derby include: Nehro (2011), Ice Box (2010) and Aptitude (2000) who finished in second place, Steppenwolfer (2006) finished third, Don’t Get Mad (2005), Atswhatimtalknbout (2003) and Pulpit (1997) finished in fourth place. However, A.P. Indy did sire the 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches and the 2006 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini.

Unbridled, the damsire of Orb, won the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic and he’s a descendant of the Fappiano Ancestral Herd which is a powerful influence in the pedigree (see my write up of Mylute).

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).

As a 2-year-old, Orb finished third in his maiden debut and continued to struggle, finishing out of the money in his next two starts – defeated by a combined 28 lengths. Finally, last November Orb posted a 2-length maiden-win running a mile at Aqueduct in a slow time of 1:38.73.

As a 3-year-old, Orb is undefeated in three starts including a half-length win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and a 2¾-length win in the Florida Derby (G1). The finish times in all three of his races this year have been slow and Orb will have to pick up his game if he is going to win the Derby.

Despite the slow times, however, Orbs gritty will to win and his breeding make him competitive in Kentucky Derby 139.


Lines of Battle (30-1) is a descendant of the Danzig line of the Northern Dancer Ancestral Herd and he’s one of the best-bred British Isle invaders we’ve seen cross the pond in search of Derby Glory. His sire, War Front, was raced almost exclusively in sprints, compiling a 4-5-1 record in 13 starts. However, War Front did win the 8½-furlong Discovery Handicap (G3) by eight lengths and I believe that if given the chance, he could have been competitive in route races.

Worldwide, numerous Classic Champion Thoroughbreds have been produced by the Danzig Ancestral Herd and Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, is a descendant of that line. Danzig sired the 1992 Preakness Stakes winner Pine Bluff, the 1991 Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly, and the 1986 Belmont Stakes winner Danzig Connection. Danzig also is the broodmare sire of Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby, and the Canadian Classic Champion Thoroughbred, Dancethruthedawn.

Thirteen Danzig line horses have competed in the Kentucky Derby since 1990, and four of them – Big Brown (2008), Hard Spun (2007), Imperalism (2004), and Sea Hero (1993) – finished in the top four for a 31% on the board finish.

Lines of Battle’s damsire, Arch, was a tough competitor and multiple graded-stakes winner who never raced less than 7-furlongs, compiling a 5-1-0 record in seven career starts. In August of 1998, Arch won a 9-furlong allowance race by nine lengths and a month later he won the 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) at Louisiana Downs by three lengths.

As a sire, Arch sired the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame and the 2006 Canadian Horse of the Year, Arravale. He’s also the damsire of I’ll Have Another, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and the 2010 Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Colt Uncle Mo.

Black Speck, the dam of Lines of Battle, raced in France and was not a stakes winner. However, she compiled a 1-1-2 record in six starts. Andover Way, the second dam of Lines of Battle, was a multiple graded-stakes winner and she is the dam of Dynaformer.

In the tail-female line War Front and Black Speck, Lines of Battle has a double dose of Family 4-r (Cub Mare) and that is as powerful family influence to have in the pedigree. Family 4-r produced the Kentucky Derby winners Monarchos (2001), Black Gold (1924), Donau (1910), Manuel (1899) and Halma (1895).

The tail-female line of Black Speck traces back to the fourth dam Golden Trail, a Reine-de-Course mare and Matriarch of the Turf, and she is the ancestral dam of multiple graded-stakes winners Brian’s Time, Sunshine Forever and Memories of Silver. Golden Trail is also the fifth dam Monarchos and the third dam of Dynaformer. The tail-female line of War Front traces back to Sunny Vale in the seventh generation and she was the dam of Golden Trail.

With victories in the European and Asian continents, Lines of Battle enters the Kentucky Derby battle tested with a 3-1-0 record in six starts. Last May, he broke his maiden, winning by a head, in the Big Bad Bob Stakes at Curragh racetrack in Ireland. Here’s the chart call:  

Tracked leaders, 3rd halfway, headway to dispute 2f out and led narrowly 1f out, pushed out and kept on best inside final furlong, snugly (op 11/2)

In July, Lines of Battle finished second, narrowly losing by a neck, in the Tyros Stakes (G3) at Leopardstown:

Raced in 3rd, upsides winner and every chance final furlong, kept on well but no extra close home

Last October, after a two-month break, Lines of Battle won the Star Appeal Stakes by 2½-lengths:

Raced in 3rd, pressed leader inside final 2f, led approaching final furlong and pushed clear, comfortably (op 13-8)

In his debut as a 3-year-old, Lines of Battle traveled to Dubai where he earned his best victory yet at Meydan racecourse, winning the UAE Derby by 1½-lengths:

Tracked leaders, led 2f out, ran on well, comfortably (op 8-1)

In all of his victories, the one common denominator of Lines of Battle is that he likes to run just off the pace, tracking the leaders. His draw of post 11 in the Derby is almost perfect. It should allow Lines of Battle to get away from the gate with a clean break and puts him in a good stalking position to track the early leaders.

The connections of Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith are serious about the prospects of Lines of Battle in the Derby. Veteran jockey Ryan Moore will have the mount and with wins in the Epsom Oaks (2010), Epsom Derby (2010), Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2010) and the 1,000 Guineas, he’s well acquainted with what it takes to be victorious in classic competition.

Lines of Battle has room to improve in just the second start of his 3-year-old racing season and another big move forward will make him very tough in Kentucky Derby 139.


When past performances indicate that a young colt on the Derby Trail is not at the top of his class, sometimes his pedigree can be an indicator that he may have the potential to step up and run a good race. That’s why I’ll be using Will Take Charge (20-1) in some of my wagers on Saturday.

 Sure, he’s a crazy long shot who hasn’t raced since March and he’s never ran 9-furlongs. But, Will Take Charge has compiled a 3-1-0 record in seven starts including wins in the Smarty Jones Stakes and the Rebel Stakes (G2). And, most important, he’s a descendant of the Fappiano Ancestral Herd on the top and bottom of his pedigree.

His grandsire is the previously mentioned Classic Champion Thoroughbred, Unbridled, and his sire, Unbridled’s Song, finished fifth in the 1996 Kentucky Derby – just 3½-lengths shy of victory. Unbridled’s Song has had six runners in the Kentucky Derby and his best finisher to date was the ill-fated Eight Belles who broke down after finishing second to Big Brown in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Will Take Charge is nowhere near as accomplished as Eight Belles was but the two have similar Ancestral Herd breeding.

Take Charge Lady, the dam of Will Take Charge, was a multiple graded-stakes racehorse who compiled an 11-7-0 record in 22 starts. Her most notable victories were in the 8½-furlong Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (G2), Silverbulletday Stakes (G3), Fair Grounds Oaks Stakes (G2), Ashland Stakes (G1), Dogwood Stakes (G3), the 9-furlong Arlington Matron Handicap (G3) and she was the two-time winner of the 9-furlong Overbrook Spinster Stakes (G1).

D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of Will Take Charge, knows what it takes to be competitive in the Kentucky Derby and he’s the master at flying under the radar. When he was big winner in the 1990’s, Lukas had several horses that had nice payoffs for a $2 bet: Thunder Gulch ($51.00), Grindstone ($13.80) and Charismatic ($64.60).

Honorable mention goes to Verrazano (4-1) who’s a talented, undefeated colt trained by Todd Pletcher. In some ways, Verrazano reminds me of other talented, high-profile colts that Pletcher has trained in the past that failed to reproduce that talent in the Kentucky Derby.

Verrazano comes into the Derby undefeated in four starts. In his first two races, he crushed his opponents by a combined 24 lengths, but in his last two races, he beat Java’s War by three lengths in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and he barely defeated Normandy Invasion by three-quarters of a length in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1).

With his front-running style, Verrazano will probably need to be forwardly placed early if he’s going to be competitive in the Derby. I think that Verrazano could be competitive, but I don’t like him for the win.

Last December, I profiled Revolutionary in my 2013 Kentucky Derby Outlook, as a young colt that could, perhaps, have classic potential. So far, Revolutionary has lived up to my expectations and he’s my top pick to win Kentucky Derby 139. However, Mylute, Orb and Lines of Battle have outstanding pedigrees and a win by one of them would not be a surprise. Don’t forget Will Take Charge if he looks good in the paddock and post parade.



Kentucky Derby 139 Presented by Yum Brands

Post Position, Horse, Odds, Jockey, Trainer

1. Black Onyx, 50-1, Joe Bravo, Kelly Breen

2. Oxbow, 30-1, Gary Stevens, D. Wayne Lukas

3. Revolutionary, 10-1, Calvin Borel, Todd Pletcher

4. Golden Soul, 50-1, Robby Albarado, Dallas Stewart

5. Normandy Invasion, 12-1, Javier Castellano, Chad Brown

6. Mylute, 15-1, Rosie Napravnik, Tom Amoss

7. Giant Finish, 50-1, Jose Espinoza, Tony Dutrow

8. Goldencents, 5-1, Kevin Krigger, Doug O’Neill

9. Overanalyze, 15-1, Rafael Bejarano, Todd Pletcher

10. Palace Malice, 20-1, Mike Smith, Todd Pletcher

11. Lines of Battle, 30-1, Ryan Moore, Aiden O’Brien

12. Itsmyluckyday, 15-1, Elvis Trujillo, Eddie Pleasa, Jr.

13. Falling Sky, 50-1, Luis Saez, John Terranova, Jr.

14. Verrazano, 4-1, John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher

15. Charming Kitten, 20-1, Edgar Prado, Todd Pletcher

16. Orb, 7-2, Joel Rosario, Claude McGaughey

17. Will Take Charge, 20-1, Jon Court, D. Wayne Lukas

18. Frac Daddy, 50-1 Victor LeBron, Ken McPeek

19. Java’s War, 15-1, Julien Leparoux, Ken McPeek

20. Vyjack, 15-1, Garrett Gomez, Rudy Rodriquez

Also Eligible:

Fear The Kitten, 50-1, Alan Garcia, Mike Maker


  1. Calvin, really appreciate all the information you have passed on these past few months. Your insight is truly invaluable.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the compliment and thanks for following my blog. I appreciate it.

  3. Addendum to the comments on Orb:

    A.P. Indy is the grandsire and Seattle Slew is the great grandsire.

  4. In racing, it's reasonable to "follow the money", how the wagering is going, but prudent, often, to "follow the jockeys". In the case of Revolutionary, jockey Castellano bailed in favor of an up-and-comer, Normandy Invasion. While that move is significant, add to its importance that the bail-out was from a Pletcher trained contender.

    Orb and Normandy Invasion should be head-bobbing deep stretch, the slight edge to the more professional runner, who is.......

  5. Excellent profiles on the Derby starters, Calvin. I am with you on Revolutionary. As you may recall I was posting about Cherokee Run and his stamina lines (being from Runaway Groom out of Blushing Groom) as far back as when War Pass won the BC Juvie. I think he will also relish a wet track. Orb seems to be getting over the track well and looks nice, as does Itsmyluckyday. My top 3 are Orb, Revolutionary and Verrazano.

    I like some value horses underneath in my tri wheel, and I will post my pick at DRF or here before the Derby. Where I do disagree slightly is Verrazano. You know I am not a big fan of supertrainers or trainers who bring multiple horses to the Derby. I bet against Pletcher, except when I landed on Super Saver and that was because of Borel and the slop. This year, however, Revolutionary is the real deal, and so is Verrazano.

    V is not the typical brilliant Pletcher colt. For starters, he has run 4 races this year, and has not peaked at age 2 like many of Todd's other runners such as Uncle Mo. Second, his last two races he was under a hand ride purposefully, as they wanted him fit but not to leave his race at the Wood Mem. Lastly, I think he is bred to get a route of ground underneath:

    Verrazano also gets plenty of class from the maternal side of his pedigree as he is half-brother to 2012 Risen Star Stakes winner El Padrino. His damsire is Giant's Causeway, who excelled at classic distances. Verrazano’s dam (mother) has gotten off to a great start with Verrazano and El Padrino as her first two starters. Verrazano’s second dam (maternal grandmother) is 1987 Ashland Stakes winner Chic Shirine, a full sister (same sire [father] and dam [mother]) to champion Queena. There are plenty of standout stakes winners from this maternal family, including Verrazano’s Grade 1-winning third dam (maternal great-grandmother) Too Chic. Other graded stakes winners from this family include Grade 1 winner and sire Brahms and Grade 1 winner Serra Lake as well as Al Khali, Hungry Island, Cappuchino, Coal Play, Soaring Empire, La Reina, and Regal Engagement. Many of the top runners from this family enjoyed success in distance races, which bodes well for Verrazano’s chances as the races get longer. So, I think he drew well in post 14, and I think they have not gotten anywhere near the bottom of this horse. Johnny V joked that he has never even raised the whip to him or even ridden him out.

    So, I think Verrazano is dangerous here as well. If he is sitting in a good spot going into that first turn, he may be on the lead by the 1/8th pole, and then it will be up to Rev. or Orb or another closer to run him down. I do like Goldencents but unlike Beyer I wonder if he can get 10f, especially if he is pressed to run fast fractions by Falling Sky or Oxbow.

    Stuart (Vicstu)

  6. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your contribution to my blog.

  7. Vicstu,

    Excellent points about Verrazano. I think he'll be competitive and looking forward to see how well he runs.

    1. He's 11-1 now, Calvin, and his sometimes training partner just set a stakes record.

    2. After Verrazono's workout partner set a stakes record in the La Trioenne:

      "This is a huge win for us on a number of fronts," Pletcher said. "This mare has been working in company with Verrazano. That goes a long way toward solidifyng what he's been doing. It's also Johnny's first win back in only his second ride (since being injured last month). And we're winning a good race against a good mare, so it was good, good, good."

      A lightly raced 6-year-old mare by Quiet American out of the Deputy Minister mare Court of Appeal, Authenticity was bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Stables. She was making only her seventh career start in the La Troienne, but it marked her fourth start of the year. She broke her maiden in her second outing back in late June of 2011 at Churchill, then was away from the races healing from a condylar fracture until January of this year.


  8. Jak: There was a perceptable "stir" concerning V's last workout, in company with a quality mare (I think). Disinterested? Note the jockey's activity and virtually no response from V. And when V. did go by the workout horse, he was urged to do so, and seemingly did so, reluctantly.

    What to make of all this "subjectivity"? For one, V's last race is troubling. A slow pace, a diminishing finish, and would have been caught and trounced in a few more feet by Normandy Invasion. "All out" is not, perhaps, too far off the mark. If so, then he has virtually no chance in the Derby. None.

    (All subjectivity, of course, since handicapping is often the "art" and not science.)

    1. V finished his last race much faster than either Revoluntionary or Orb. How much faster was that final 3/8 supposed to be?

    2. You don't know horse racing if you think V was "all out" in his last race. He was under a hand ride. Johnny V has yet to raise the whip to him or really ask him. He said as much after the Wood.

    3. But that's what makes "horse racing", the differences of opinion. I've watched the Wood several times. JR was urging him big-time throughout the stretch; and yes, he did use the whip, albeit sparingly, but V. does not appear to need a whip in order to do his best. The "hand ride" you describe was an extremely entergetic pushing in rhythm. Your opinion: No whip. Not true. Watch the mid-stretch. Hand ride. Not true. A real hand ride is without much motion, certainly not frenetic urging.

      Not trying to take anything away from V. but handicapping is seeing and understanding nuance--right or wrong--and, of course, it all is wrapped up in subjective opinion.

    4. Jak: Watched the Wood again. JR hit him once in mid-stretch with the whip, the remaining time, push hard. Also, Jr "threw the reins" at V. an obvious message to go, go, go... Lots of "urging" while seemingly backing up late; unless Normandy was really rolling. More likely, a combo of V. getting tired and Normandy coming on. But? Tough business, this handicapping. :)

  9. Calvin,

    Any changes to your thoughts if the track now comes up muddy?

    1. I still like my picks - rain or shine.

    2. Calvin I too thank you for your dialog since Dec., it certainly makes a fun journey. Win or lose I'm sticking with my Pool 2 bet Revolutionary with Orb a close second. Glad I got 15-1 on Rev so I don't need to worry about him being bet down. I also have exacta box in pool 2 with Normandy at a handsome price. Mylute longshot for third. I'm sticking with picks regardless of track condition. No regrets here...until perhaps after the race. :=}

    3. JBall,

      Thanks for the compliment and your contribution to my blog. I appreciate it.

  10. Some such as I, are old enough to recall when tracks were, sloppy--muddy--heavy--slow--good--then to fast. And back then, it did make a difference, big-time, even the general wisdom suggested to the betters, "stay home".

    But, that was then, this is now. The manicuring processes have so vastly improved that, in general, as Calvin opined, like your picks, rain or shine....

  11. Hey Vicstu, longtime no read.

    I know you take a lot of enjoyment out of the Derby no matter how busy you are. Let me try to make the derby a little more enjoyable for you in the future.

    Don't bet on a stand alone BSB 13. Verrazano was a straight line throwout for the Derby the day he was concieved. :) I'm smiling but I'm not joking Vicstu. Just trying to help you out.

    Hi Calvin :) That other guy Calvin couldn't quite make it for us.;) Oh well, I don't have any expectation of winning every year. Just half :)

    A BSB 8 has to win one every once in a great while so it might as well be Orb.

    I guess it came in 8 - 1,5 TT- 1 - 1 - 16,23 TT . I would have been more pleased if Goldie & Rev would have switched positions :)

    Here is a joke on me Calvin ;) I put Golden Soul on top 3 straight times in the PH contest *a way down thar in New O'leans* . Today I abandoned him because he only had 5 1s so I figured he would only run 4th-8th and then the little bugger pulls a Desert Wine :)oops

    I'm still pleased because even without the win the top 5 finishers shows my angle continues to put me on the contenders and eliminate the pretenders.

    The 3 with Zero 1s ran 7th 12th 13th I think. The high numbers that weren't 23 were nowhere near sniffing a check.

    A little word to the wise on that . Since '70 Little Current & Red Bullet are the 16's that have won the Preakness. The 23s are IHA 4,23 TT & Elocutionist 2,23 TT. Thats it. Mylute might have had his shot today ? Little Current is the lone 16 Belmont winner and there aren't any 23's in the Belmont.

    We'll gett'em next time big fella :)

    Keep up the good work Calvin. I like your style.

    Vicstu, good luck in the future .


    1. BSB,

      Again, thanks for following my blog and adding your insightful contributions.

      That's right! we'll get them next time.

  12. Best horse won the Derby. However, as an interesting sidenote, what about the ride on Normandy Invasion by Castellano? Either Castellano thought he had a ton of horse, or he simply misjudged the optimum time to put the pedal to the metal. Why start so early, picking off horses one by one, when sitting chilly may have done the trick. Normandy can shift gears at will, and a little more patience may have made for a different outcome. Sure hope he's pointing to The Preakness.....

  13. Anonymous,

    Orb has excellent breeding and right Emotional Conformation to be the deserving champion.

    According to Churchill Downs notes, Chad Brown is pointing Normandy Invasion to the Travers Stakes and it is not known where he will run between now and then.

  14. Hi Calvin,

    Once again, another fantastic Derby and if I may say so myself, another great year of reading all you have to offer. I hope you did well on Saturday.

    My buddy has been a huge Phipps fan for over 35 years and wrote to me the day of Orb's debut saying he will win the Derby. I got to hand it to him. Unfortunately, Orb cost me big time since, as you know, I was all over Golden Soul back in January and would have won close to $5,000 with a win. At least we have a legitimate Triple Crown contender who keeps on improving every single race.


  15. Jeff,

    Thanks for being a faithful follower and contributor to my blog - I appreciate that.

    You've been a big follower of Golden Soul and that faith paid off. Orb is looking right now and maybe this will be the year for a Triple Crown winner.

    With his win in the Kentucky Derby, Orb ended a 29-year drought of a colt from the Bold Ruler line - a line that gave us two Triple Crown winners - having an impact on the Derby and it would be fitting if Orb was the colt that filled out the trifecta.

  16. Normandy Invasion's trainer is "mulling" concerning The Preakness. Hope he goes.

    Another that I had eyed for the Derby was Governor Charlie, but tough to know if he'll be ready. I believe he's missed a lot of training. His last race was a dandy, setting, I think, a new track record. The only thing worrisome was it seemed it took a lot, and I mean a lot, of jockey urging to get Governor Charlie rolling.

    All in all, if quality counts, it's Orb and Normandy duking it out.


  17. JR V. 's replacing Elvis on Itmyluckyday...but I don't think it'll matter.

    And Governor Charlie worked at CD, 1.11.4...

    The Preakness machinations have begun....


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