Posts Tagged ‘I’ll Have Another’

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

This is my first in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders. Once again I am getting an early start in September and there will be many twists and turns in the months ahead.

Kentucky Derby 2013

Eight of the last twelve Kentucky Derby winners graduated by October 4 including six of the last seven. Kentucky Derby 2012 hero I’ll Have Another captured his career debut at Hollywood Park on July 3 of his juvenile season.

My list below is based on a combination of promise shown and distance breeding. Stay Thirsty occupied the top spot at this stage two years ago and Alpha was my early top dog for Derby 138. They finished up the track on the first Saturday in May but both blossomed in the summer with wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga. Maybe I should call this the Travers 2013 contenders blog!

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders

1. Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Reminds me of Stay Thirsty and Alpha. Love the long winded pedigree. He graduated in 6.5f bow and finished solid 2nd in G2 Hopeful. Sprinting is probably not his game and he should continue to develop for McLaughlin/Godolphin. The G1 Champagne on 10-6 is his next target. Breezed 5f in :59 (1/3) at Greentree Training Center on 9-22.

2. Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero continues to train well and will probably show up in Keeneland’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity. Garrett Gomez rode him last time for Tom Proctor. Fired a 5f bullet in 1:00 (1/13) at Arlington Park on 9-24.

3. Know More (Lion Heart) – From same connections as I’ll Have Another. Debuted a winner in G2 Best Pal and rallied for the place in G1 Del Mar Futurity. Entered in the G1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on 9-29.

4. Archwarrior(Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He is listed as definite for the G1 Champagne. Breezed 5f in 1:00.22 (3/23) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24.

5. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga debut on 9-1. Yet another exciting prospect for Pletcher. Breezed 5f in 1:00.22 (3/23) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24. He could show up next in the G1 Champagne or Dover Stakes at Delaware.

6. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 3-for-3 with a decisive win in the G2 Hopeful (88 BSF). Not sure how far he wants to go but he is off to a flying start for Pletcher. The Champagne is probably next and he breezed 4f in :49.47 (16/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24.

7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation in his second lifetime start for Chad Brown. He has only run on turf so far but seems like the type to run all day. Brown is considering the Oct 7 Pilgrim at Belmont on turf or the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on synthetic ground. Brown also has sharp debut winner Noble Tune for the Pilgrim.

8. Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8 (exciting prospect Orb was 4th). Todd Pletcher trainee breezed 4f in :49.48 (17/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 9-24. He might be headed to the Breeders’ Futurity.

9. Gabriel Charles (Street Hero) – Game nose victory in Del Mar bow and ended up a troubled 6th in Del Mar Futurity. He looks to rebound in the FrontRunner for Jeff Mullins.

10. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed smartly in Del Mar sprint bow and followed that up with an even 4th in the Del Mar Futurity. He goes next in the FrontRunner for John Sadler.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad rolled a pair of 3’s to begin his career at Del Mar. Baffert runner owns a promising route pedigree and is entered in the 1st race at Santa Anita on 9-29.

Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. He is expected to contest the G1 Champagne at Belmont on 10-6. Worked 6f in 1:16.20 (2/3) at Hollywood Park on 9-26.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Blew the break and rallied to finish a strong 3rd in his bow. McGaughey’s promising colt flopped at low odds (fractious gate) going a flat mile at Belmont second time out. He has raw talent but lacks maturity at this stage. Breezed 4f in :51.03 (18/23) at Belmont Park on 9-26.

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase is still a maiden after three starts but he keeps improving for Baffert. G1 FrontRunner is next and he might get brave if able to sneak away early.

Title Contender (Pulpit) – Set the pace and held the show behind subsequent stakes winner Dry Summer in his Del Mar bow July 28. Baffert’s $310k purchase is entered in the opening race at Santa Anita on 9-29.

Injured Reserve

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Smart second time out maiden tally for Pletcher at the Spa on 8-4. He is out of action with bucked shins.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is out for 60 days with bucked shins.

Beyond the Crown – Union Rags back on the beam

It is that time again. My annual Beyond the Triple Crown series top ten list is back in full swing and Union Rags got his much deserved Classic in the Belmont Stakes as I predicted. He has been my top ranked Triple Crown series colt since last November and remains the top dog after getting back on the beam under new pilot John Velazquez.

Union Rags

Union Rags wears down Paynter in Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Test of Champions was only the beginning of things to come from the talented Matz trainee. A marathon is obviously not his best trip but he figured to handle it based on stamina influences on the female side of his pedigree and class pulled him through.

The Travers Stakes is the main summer goal for Union Rags with a prior pit stop in the Jim Dandy or Haskell.

Paynter is the new kid on the block and he came through with flying colors in the Belmont Stakes. He made the pace but could not hold off my troubled Derby top when the real running began. Baffert is looking at the Travers for the son of Awesome Again as well.

Baffert also has Derby-Preakness runner-up Bodemeister for the Haskell.

A few parting words on I’ll Have Another. It was a shame that he missed the Belmont Stakes and subsequently retired but part of the Triple Crown challenge is the ability to withstand the rigors of three races in five weeks. It takes a very sturdy horse to make the gate in Kentucky, Maryland, and New York.

I never believed that I’ll Have Another was going to sweep the Triple Crown. The last eleven horses to go for the Triple Crown sweep went down in flames and there is a reason why horses exiting the Preakness have only managed two wins in the last fourteen editions of the Belmont Stakes. He is the clear leader of the sophomore division and it will take a huge second half by Union Rags to take the title away from him.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – I refused to drop him from my top spot after troubled trips in the Florida Derby/Ketucky Derby and my stubbornness was rewarded in the Belmont Stakes. We have not come close to seeing his best and I am looking for a big second half.


Bodemeister eyes Haskell – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid was tuckered out after his 3rd race in 5-weeks at Pimlico. His early speed is especially dangerous up to nine panels and he could prove an elusive target in the Haskell.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – Leg infection after the Wood Memorial probably contributed to his 12th place Derby effort. He spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is currently stabled at Saratoga with the Jim Dandy a possibility.

4. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He is back in Pletcher’s barn with an eye on the Travers.

5. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion finished 9th on the first Saturday in May. He could show up in the G3 Iowa Derby on 6-30, followed by the G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4. He fired a 5f bullet in 1:00.60 (1/14) over the Churchill training track on 6-16.

6. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt should continue to develop. He could resurface in Saratoga’s Jim Dandy on July 28.

7. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well. Look for him to possibly resurface in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 21.

8. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer ran into the likes of Union Rags in Florida earlier this year. He exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16.

9. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – G3 Spiral Stakes hero finished a troubled 4th in the Derby. My Preakness top flopped in the second jewel and seemingly had nothing left to offer after his aforementioned bad trip two weeks earlier.

10. Holy Candy (Candy Ride) – Expecting big things from Sadler’s late developing colt. He exits a needed show finish in the G3 Affirmed and probably goes next in G2 Swaps on July 4. Breezed 4f in :49.60 (25/36) at Hollywood Park on 6-13.

Belmont Stakes Day – Saturday, June 9, 2012

We have a $30,000 Belmont Stakes Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $175 and the Prize Distribution goes down to 32nd place. Winner brings home $10k.

Derby Wars

Play Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day games at

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Belmont Stakes Survivor.  The Derby Wars survivor games are a great value. The buy in is $4 and you can purchase up to three entries. If you selection finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you survive to the next contest race. First place gets $750 and second place brings home $250.

Other games scheduled for Saturday include a $150 Belmont Survivor, a $500 Belmont Park game ($12 buy in), and a $600 Belmont-Hollywood game ($25 buy in).

Fast Track Radio Show

As usual, I will be joining Steve Bortstein on the Fast Track this weekend. The show airs weekends at 10am ET and we do frequently go over the following hour by about 5-10 minutes, so we’re not automatically done at 11am ET. Click here to listen to the show.

Horse Racing Nation

Check out all of the latest Belmont Stakes news at

Check out HRN for updated Belmont Stakes 2012 news, including results, recaps, videos, and selections.

For Saturday, I posted free analysis of the Grade 2 True North Handicap.

Pick 6

Friday night’s Betfair Hollywood Park Pick 6 Tickets are now available for your viewing pleasure. It looks like a moderately tough sequence and make sure to check back for Saturday’s Pick 6 tickets as well. In addition to my Pick 6 tickets, I am also now including a best bet and live longshot for each Hollywood Park program.


I am offering full card analysis for Belmont Stakes Day on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper Page.

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races. Primary/Secondary Pick 6 Tickets included as well.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Belmont race 13) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Note that I posted my analysis before I’ll Have Another scratched, but I have never been a fan and he was not part of my top four selections anyway.

I’ll Have Another Scratched from Belmont Stakes

Trainer Doug O’Neill announced on Dan Patrick’s radio show that I’ll Have Another will be scratched from the Belmont Stakes.

When asked by Dan Patrick if we would see I’ll Have Another race again, O’Neill responded that if he had to gamble we have already seen I’ll Have Another’s last race.

Read the rest of this post at



Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: I’ll Have Another

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with I’ll Have Another.

I'll Have Another

Can I’ll Have Another sweep the Triple Crown? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll Have Another’s sire Flower Alley (by Distorted Humor) raced 14 times from 2004-06. He was on the Triple Crown trail in 2005, finishing 1st in the G2 Lane’s End, 2nd in the G2 Arkansas Derby, and 9th in the G1 Kentucky Derby. He blossomed late in his 3yo season, winning the G1 Travers and landing the place in the G1 BC Classic. He earned more than $2.5 million in his career and in addition to I’ll Have Another he is the sire of grade one winner Lilacs And Lace. His currently stands at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky.

Flower Alley’s sire Distorted Humor (by Forty Niner) banked more than $769k in his career, winning such races as the G3 Salvator Mile, G2 Commonwealth, and G3 Ack Ack. He currently stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky for a stud fee of $100k. He has sired numerous stakes winners including Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Funny Cide, Belmont Stakes/BC Classic hero Drosselmeyer, 2-time G1 Whitney hero Commentator, and G1 Haskell winner Any Given Saturday.

Read the rest of this post at

Can Union Rags Beat I’ll Have Another in the Belmont Stakes?

Union Rags has not improved since turning three. He always finds trouble. He is not bred to run a mile and a half. He is overrated. Are any of these statements true? Are all of them true? I have been reading similar comments about Union Rags on and it is time to find out if he is the real McCoy or a paper tiger.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a Belmont Stakes contender or pretender? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Did Union Rags peak as a juvenile?

I agree that Union Rags has not moved forward from a speed figure standpoint but circumstances have prevented him from running fast.

It is difficult to earn a high speed rating in races without much pace. Just ask I’ll Have Another. He did not earn flashy numbers in the Robert Lewis Stakes and SA Derby because those two races had below par early fractions.

Union Rags cruised in the paceless Fountain of Youth and finished a troubled 3rd behind wire job winner Take Charge Indy in the similarly slow-paced Florida Derby. He was only beaten a bit more than a length in his better than looked final Derby prep and appeared to be sitting on the race of his life on the first Saturday in May.

Unfortunately, his Kentucky Derby hopes were dashed before they started. He was shuffled back to 19th early and ended up a respectable 7th after getting eliminated at the break. So long, Julien Leparoux!

Is Union Rags trouble-prone?

Union Rags is not trouble-prone but jockey Julien Leparoux sure found plenty of it in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. His situation reminds me of Lookin At Lucky in 2010.

Jockey Garrett Gomez could do nothing right aboard Lookin At Lucky in the SA Derby and Kentucky Derby. Bob Baffert reached out to Martin Garcia and Lookin At Lucky won the Preakness, Haskell, and Indiana Derby.

Union Rags exits back-to-back miserable trips and the rider switch to John Velazquez comes at the perfect time. Johnny V knows Belmont Park like the back of his hand and won the 2007 Belmont Stakes aboard Rags To Riches.

Does Union Rags have the breeding to handle twelve furlongs?

His late sire Dixie Union won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops. Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980’s. Dixieland Band ran in the 1983 Belmont Stakes and finished 14th.  Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.

His dam Tempo raced three times, winning her first two starts at six furlongs and finishing 2nd at a flat mile in her career finale for trainer Bill Mott. Tempo’s sire Gone West (by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 1987, making waves in the Hutcheson (2nd), Fountain of Youth (3rd), Gotham (1st),  Wood Memorial (2nd), Withers (1st), and Peter Pan (2nd), before finishing 6th in the Belmont Stakes. The late Gone West sired his 100th stakes winner earlier this year.

If Union Rags is going to find added stamina, it will most likely come from Tempo’s mother Terpsichorist (by Nijinsky II). Virginia-bred Terpsichorist was a long distance turf specialist in the late 1970’s, winning races like New York’s Long Island and Sheepshead Bay Handicaps.

Although his pedigree is less than ideal for twelve furlongs, Union Rags has the right running style and proper energy distribution to handle the Test of Champions. He earned strong Late Pace Ratings in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby and quality conditioner Michael Matz should have him primed for his best effort at Belmont Park on June 9.

Is Union Rags the best 3yo in the country?

Union Rags has been my top ranked Triple Crown trail colt since last November and I still think he is the most talented sophomore in the land. I thought he had the raw talent to make a run at the Triple Crown but it was not meant to be.

His best career race was a facile victory at Belmont Park in last year’s G1 Champagne Stakes and he could play the Triple Crown spoiler if he handles the trip and gets to stretch his legs around the sweeping turns. I predict a preferred outside stalk and pounce trip under new pilot Johnny V…may the best horse win!

Belmont Stakes 2012 – I’ll Have Another Triple Crown

I’ll Have Another will take one final step in his quest for Triple Crown glory in the twelve furlong Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags the Belmont Stakes spoiler? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

There is no shortage of fresh horses waiting for him in the Test of Champions including my top ranked 3-year-old Union Rags.

I have always thought that Union Rags was the most talented colt of his generation and he is already a grade one winner at Belmont Park. His new rider John Velazquez won the Belmont Stakes in 2007 aboard Rags To Riches and the Michael Matz trainee could play spoiler on June 9.

Dullahan is a 2-time grade one winner and was last seen rallying for the show in the Kentucky Derby. He can seemingly run all day and looms a late running threat under new pilot Javier Castellano.

Alpha loves the Big Apple and owns a long winded pedigree. He finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby but could go much better at Big Sandy. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin saddled 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil.

Bodemeister is getting a rest but trainer Bob Baffert could be represented by late bloomer Paynter. The G3 Derby Trial runner-up earned a 106 BSF in a romping allowance win on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico on May 19.

At this stage at least a dozen horses are aiming at the Belmont Stakes. Check out Horse Racing Nation for all of the latest Triple Crown news and I’ll post daily blogs here with updated Belmont Stakes news.

Belmont Stakes 2012