05/05/2011 7:04PM

A "Giant" Oak(s) Day at Churchill?


The Kentucky Oaks card at Churchill Downs is a wonderful lead-in to the first Saturday in May with several fascinating stakes races.

As for the Oaks itself, I will try to beat JOYFUL VICTORY, the super-impressive winner of both the Honeybee and Fantasy at Oaklawn for Larry Jones.  Visually, she was tremendous in both of her races at Oaklawn Park, but the Beyers didn't come back fast at all. (82, 83).  The Beyer par for the Oaks is 99 so, conceivably, Joyful Victory, will have to improve if she is going to win.  She is a perfect 2-2 with blinkers and could work out a nice tracking trip under Mike Smith, but I'm not sure I love her as the favorite.
I landed on SUMMER SOIREE, a former Jones pupil that was privately-purchased by the powerful Team Valor Stables after a blowout win in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks over the Turfway polytrack.  Her previous race at Oaklawn, a 'n2L' allowance event, was faster than both the Honeybee and Fantasy on the Beyer scale (85), and she beat a pair of next-out winners in that start.  Summer Soiree's game is speed and we should see her on the front end.  She'll have to shake Plum Pretty, the giant winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, but may have enough to see this through.
On wet-track, let's upgrade Plum Pretty slightly.


Some early quick-and-dirty picks:



I know our good friend, PGM, will be disappointed with me, but I'm going with GIANT OAK just one more time in the Alysheba.  Giant Oak is a one-run closer that is always at the mercy of race and pace luck.  Two starts back, in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream, the early leaders went the half in 46 3/5 and three-quarters in 1:10 2/5.  With those fractions, Giant Oak made his run and blew by the exhausted leaders. 
Last time out, Giant Oak attempted to rally into splits of 48 4/5 and 1:12 3/5.  He made his run and couldn't reel in MISSION IMPAZIBLE.  While Giant Oak has shown a tendency to hang when the money is on the line, I do believe the pace should be to his liking with FIRST DUDE, MISSION IMPAZIBLE, and REGAL RANSOM entered.  One last chance.


With speedsters GREAT MILLS and JAKESAM scheduled to contest the American Turf, I'm looking for CLOSE ALLY to track the leaders before pouncing on them turning for home.  Although winless on turf, I was rather impressed with his most recent victory over the Keeneland polytrack on April 13.  That afternoon, he sat a nice spot just off the pace before attacking the pacesetter on the turn.  Once in front, he kept on to his business nicely, winning off by four lengths.  This is a step up in class, but Close Ally is in excellent hands and may be this good.

For more detailed video analyses, click on the below link and scroll down to the race name (ex. La Troienne):


More importantly, who do you like on Oaks afternoon?  I want to know.


Hi DAn
Thanks for all the hard work and info provided by you and your bloggers.
Would it be possible to compile a list of all of pletchers Derby runners lifetime and how they did etc.
fashion slipper

Here is a list of every runner Todd Pletcher has started in the Kentucky Derby:

2000:  Impeachment - THIRD
2000:  More Than Ready - fourth
2000:  Trippi - eleventh
2000:  Graeme Hall - nineteenth
2001:  Invisible Ink - SECOND
2001:  Balto Star - fourteenth
2002:  Wild Horses - eighteenth
2004:  Limehouse - fourth
2004:  Pollard's Vision - seventeenth
2005:  Flower Alley - ninth
2005:  Coin Silver - twelfth
2005:  Bandini - nineteenth
2006:  Bluegrass Cat - SECOND
2006:  Keyed Entry - twentieth
2007:  Circular Quay - sixth
2007:  Any Given Saturday - eighth
2007:  Sam P. - ninth
2007:  Scat Daddy - eighteenth
2007:  Cowtown Cat - twentieth
2008:  Cowboy Cal - ninth
2008:  Monba - twentieth
2009:  Join in the Dance - seventh
2009:  Dunkirk - eleventh
2009:  Advice - thirteenth
2010:  Mission Impazible - ninth
2010:  Devil May Care - tenth
2010:  Discreetly Mine - thirteenth


Dan, do you know whether the photo that appeared in the article about UM's pulled quarter was actually a photo taken at Pletcher's barn by BL the day of the injury, or was it placed there for illustrative purposes? The reason I ask is that there was no caption saying it was a picture of Mo's hoof in fact, and it is standard procedure in articles about medical ailments to place photos of the injury for illustrative purposes even though the picture is not the horse in question. I saw it done several times with Big Brown until an actual Youtube video came out of the hoof, which was much worse than the illustrative pictures

I can say, with 100% certainty, that the photo in question was of Uncle Mo's hoof after the Wood Memorial.


I read that there will be no dime superfectas on Derby day, but how 'bout 50-cent trifectas? Does CD offer that or not at all?

Will there be a 50cent trifecta wager offered on the derby this year?
I seem to remember it being offered in the past and am not sure there will be one this year. Do you or anyone else here have an idea if it will be offered?

There will be 50-cent trifectas offered on Oaks and Derby day.  The usual dime superfecta, however, will be a minimum one-dollar wager on both days.  The entire wagering menu can be found at the below link:



38,000 thousand people at Churchill Downs last night.
Dan, will you post the last 3 winners of the stakes that will be run on Oaks and Derby Day and the pp's of the winners from 2009 ?

La Troienne/Eight Belles
2008:  Game Face
2009:  Four Gifts
2010:  Buckleupbuttercup

American Turf:
2008:  Tizdejavu
2009:  Orthodox
2010:  Doubles Partner

2008:  Zee Zee
2009:  Laragh
2010:  None

Turf Sprint:
2008:  Mr. Nightlinger
2009:  Chamberlain Bridge
2010:  Silver Timber

Louisville/La Troienne:
2008:  Ginger Punch
2009:  Miss Isella
2010:  Unrivaled Belle

2008:  Giant Gizmo
2009:  Bullsbay
2010:  Arson Squad

Turf Classic:
2008:  Einstein
2009:  Einstein
2010:  General Quarters

Humana Distaff:
2008:  Intangaroo
2009:  Informed Decision
2010:  Mona de Momma

Churchill Downs:
2008:  Elite Squadron
2009:  Accredit
2010:  Atta Boy Roy

Churchill Downs Turf Mile:
2008:  Bayou's Lassie
2009:  Tizaqueena
2010:  Phola

The past performances you requested are at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan, would you mind to provide the thoro-graph numbers for the Ky. Derby horses? I've looked around and can not find it. Also, could you explain what the Tomlison Distance ratings means in relation to a horse being bred to run 1 1/4 miles and how much attention do you give it in deciding your Derby horse? I appreciate any help here.I sure am getting pumped up for the Derby.
Thanks, Johnny

I don't have access to the Thoro-Graph numbers for the Derby.  As for the Tomlinsons, please click on the below link for a further explanation on the ratings.  I, myself, don't factor them into my handicapping.  The asterisk next to a number means that there is limited data on the pedigree in question.



Dan, Could you post Arch's and Blames's pp's. I'm curious if there are any similarities between the two horses progression and I'll then compare that to ArchArchArch. Post 1 isn't all that bad for a stone-cold-closer is it? Many thanks to you for the best horse-racing blog on the internet.

The pp's are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Rosie Napravnik is one of my favorite jockeys, and if she wins on Pants On Fire, she'll be the first woman jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. I wonder if you could tell us how many women jockeys have run in the Derby?
Barbara P.

Diane Crump was the first woman to ride in the Derby.  She finished fifteenth on Fathom in 1970.

Patty Cooksey finished eleventh on So Vague in 1984.  Cooksey was also the first woman to ride in the Preakness.

Andrea Seefeldt finished sixteenth on Forty Something in 1992.  She was the first woman to win the Pennsylvania Derby.

Julie Krone had two Derby mounts.  She finished fourteenth on Ecstatic Ride in 1992 and eleventh on Suave Prospect in 1995. 

Rosemary Homeister Jr. finished thirteenth on Supah Blitz in 2003. 


Dan, can you post Strike the Gold's pps? thanks!

The Derby winner's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan, can you please post the pps for a horse names Golden Half? I won my first bet with this horse at Golden Gate, also if you have any info regarding the offspring of this horse..

Golden Half's performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.  She is a half-sister to Early Pioneer, the winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup and the Grade 2 San Bernardino Handicap.  Another of her half-siblings, Sample Copy, finished second in the San Mateo Juvenile at Bay Meadows. 

Here is Golden Half's produce record:

1998 - Prado Del Oro (colt, by El Prado) - 2-0-0-0, $3,744
1999 - Angel in the Cloud (filly, by Siberian Summer) - 8-2-1-1, $6,830 (deceased)
2000 - No report
2001:  Woodamy (colt, by Woodman) - 37-8-6-4, $101,936 (raced in Italy)
2002:  Barren (bred to Rahy)
2003:  No report
2004:  Mr. Golden Goal (gelding, by Fantastic Light) - Unraced
2005:  Incandescenza (colt, by Elusive Quality) - 3-0-0-0, $1,520
2006:  Gambling Rose (filly, by Orientate) - 2-0-1-0, $4,600
2007:  Convenida (filly, by Chapel Royal) - 7-1-3-1, $3,055 (raced in Peru)
2008:  Bred to Roaring Fever
2009:  Bred to Badge


Hi Dan, could post the PPs for a couple of old timers named More To Tell and Star of Cozzene?

They're available at the bottom of this blog post.


Do you have any information regarding the training status of Satono Orlando? He is a 3 year old colt by Giacomo out of Fifth Avenue Doll and was bought last year for $250,000. I'm pretty sure he hasn't raced this year but I don't know if he's even in training. Any information would be much appreciated.

Satono Orlando, a $150,000 yearling that resold for $250,000 last February, was exported to Japan.  He made his career debut in a maiden race going one mile on the grass at Nakayama on October 2, finishing third by 3 3/4 lengths as the 6-5 favorite in the field of nine. 
On December 26, Satono Orlando switched to an all-weather surface in a nine-furlong maiden at Nakayama, placing second by 3 1/2 lengths. 
He made his three-year-old debut on January 9 in a similar spot, winning by two lengths as the 2-5 favorite.  Satono Orlando is trained by Sakae Kunieda. 


#11 Warm Hugs wide every step, but probable favorite
I will play a 50$ Exacta box of #5 Bizzy Caroline, appeared to close well into a slow pace, and #6 Abaco who looked very green in her last but once on track appeared to close well and was out well.
50$ Exacta Box 5-6
Good Luck all

Congrats to tedmur for finishing first in our HandiGambling exercise.  This week's race is the Kentucky Derby. 


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog. In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Best of luck to all

2009-2010 Undercard winners.pdf188.2 KB
Arch.pdf573.89 KB
Blame.pdf52.13 KB
Strike the Gold.pdf58.46 KB
Golden Half.pdf52.24 KB
More to Star.pdf91.44 KB
Kentucky Derby HG.pdf452.69 KB
billg More than 1 year ago
Here is an exercise I did to cull horses from the Derby. Three of the most important attributes to win the Derby are speed,foundation, and class IMO. So here is what I did. 1. Who has beaten good horses. Delete from consideration those who have NOT won a Grade 2 or Grade 1 race. This leaves 11 horses. 2.For foundation, who has run 2 or more races at 9 furlongs? This reduces the contenders to 4: MUCHO MACHO MAN, SOLDAT, DIALED IN, AND COMMA TO THE TOP. NEHRO AND SHACKLEFORD are noses away from qualifying. 3. Next, is the horse fast. I use a triple digit Beyer as a demarcation line. Only SOLDAT qualifies on this basis. MUCHO MACHO MAN has run a 99 so a forgiving handicapper may include him as well. I know this is pretty basic but it may be a way to start for some folks who are trying to sort through this very evenly matched field. I'll make a small exacta box of SOLDAT AND MUCHO MACHO MAN for sure and then handicap from there. Good luck to all tomorrow!
wilson More than 1 year ago
HG Kentucky Derby $80 Exacta 8-15 $5 Tri 8/15/10,11,14,16 Dialed Interlude I think Dialed In is the best horse in the race and the post draw didn't do anything but hurt some of his toughest opposition. I think he's the one that can overcome an imperfect trip and still win. I'm sorry Dan but I think the Apollo Jinx will remain in effect at least one more year, but I do like Midnight Interlude to be a major player in this race and I wouldn't be surprised if he were to win the race outright. He wouldn't need to improve much, in my opinion. He should get a decent trip and at worst he should be able to avoid getting shuffled back too far, even if he does have to go a little wide. As of this writing it is a bit dissappointing to see the odds come in so expensive on Midnight Interlude. 2nd best to Dialed In, in my opinion. Under those two I use horses with upside. I like Twinspired the least of this bunch but at least he got a good post draw and might be able to get a good trip. Master of Hounds I like a little more due to his connections and especially Gomez. If Twinspired or MOH like dirt then they fit in this race. Shackleford is one I fully expect to see on the lead at some point in the race but I just don't think he will be able to hold em all off. Animal Kingdom appears to have upside but I can't support him in the exacta off one polytrack Grade 3 win. Good luck to everyone today.
vicstu More than 1 year ago
Curt V, Actually, the only way C and I would "win" is if the horse ran in the Derby and did not win but fattened everyone else's odds. And we did not have him for the win... As it turned out, he was scratched. That is hardly winning for those who said maybe the horse should not run. Perhaps they should have done it earlier, but only Pletcher and Repole know. In the end the horse has some issues and he will not run. To me, if he lives to run another day and is ultimately a healthier horse, we all win. That is why I have not been pounding this issue for the last 48 hours, and I am glad it is not still looming over us. C, Play that superfecta. What is a couple of bucks? Stranger things have happened.
owenized More than 1 year ago
HG KD Thanks to Laura for hosting a great chat last night. The best minds in handicapping in one place. Was great fun. Very difficult derby. A case could be made for all, but I ended up keying one of the stalkers and one of the closers. This is Rosie's coming out weekend, and PANTS ON FIRE sits the trip. ANIMAL KINGDOM will run all day. Hopefully, Johnny V. doesn't stronach things up. I will spread underneath. $7 EX KEY 7/1,2,3,8,9,12,16 = $49 $7 EX KEY 16/1,2,3,7,8,9,12 = $49 $1 STRAIGHT TRI 16/7/1 = $1 $1 STRAIGHT TRI 7/16/1 = $1 Total = $100 Good luck to all!
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
HG $16 Win 1 (Come on Jinks and Jon)=$16 $2 Tri Box 1,17,19=$12 $2 Tri Box 1,16,19=$12 $5 Super 8,19/ 8,19/ 1,17/ 1,17=$20 $5 Super 1,8/ 1,8/ 17,19/ 17,19=$20 $10 Exacta 8/1 (Come on birthday)=$10 $5 Exacta Box 1/19 (Come on Arkansas Derby)=$10 Not the actual amounts. But actual bets.
Mike A More than 1 year ago
Laura..... Enjoyed the chat last night, thank you for being a gracious host. With the threat of rain.......the card at CD's is not looking appealing. I posted a few horses I liked at Laura's chat, but the weather will solidify or toss them. However I believe Noble's Promise is a good bet either way. I like Steve's longshot Sassy's Image today.....slop, fast doesn't matter. I mentioned the other day when I handicap CD's a horses race record there is one of my angles and SI has it in spades. She has the class and the connections........,br> I do disagree with Steve about Battle Of hastings however.....and as you all know by the infamous "He'll have traffic trouble" race I'm no fan, butb the horse does have ability, likes CD's and should get the type of racetrack he wants. His close up race in last is a similar pattern the trainer has used in the past to get a good closing effort in his next race. At 12-1 he's an exacta horse. I'll take PWIA 1-2 with BOH, Moryba and Smart Bid.....I'm still on the fence about Doubles partner....Mike A
Caseyjeaux More than 1 year ago
Sorry, C. No 10¢ supers. Now you have a real dilemma. smile
johnzimbo More than 1 year ago
HG.....$33 exacta 8 over 1/9/15 This race has to come down to the closers right?
Curt V. More than 1 year ago
C, Who is your pick for the Derby ? Your dissertations are a wonderful thing. Very, very nice. Now, who is your pick ? Have I made myself clear ? I'm stupid. So humor me. I didn't quite get it. Narrow it down. Who is your PICK ? Go on record this time. Pick something. Who is your pick ? I'm not interested in a run down. I need to hear your pick.
Edward Wright More than 1 year ago
Spin the wheel. I love Dialed In and hope he has a trouble free race. I will key him over 4 other closers and cross my fingers. $40 Exacta 8/1 $20 Exacta 8/2*10*19