04/08/2008 6:01PM

Three-year-olds, 'cappers, etc.


Oh and lest I forget my favorite of all time the most amazing magic I have ever seen (oh and boy I can't wait for the reverb for those who know this fella and what his exposed magic trick was) Mr. Frank Passero.   Hot hot hot...anyone know whatever happened to him?  banned for life?

Passero is currently 0-5 with his horses in 2008.  Last year, he went 6-57, and he won 19 races in 2006.  He trains in Florida during the winter time, and in Canada for the remainder of the year.


Anyone know the status of Chris DeCarlo these days --  perhaps injured or retired? I haven't seen his name in ages.
terry f

He suffered a fractured collarbone in November at Calder.  Hopefully, he'll be back soon.


Presumably, you believe that no horses which pass the tests currently administered by the Thoroughbred industry are under the influence of non-approved medications. And that, I am sorry to say, is naive to the extreme.

With all the discussion concerning illegal medication in racing, I was wondering what's worse:

A)  The fact that trainers are cheating.


B)  The racing commissions/NTRA etc. aren't doing anything about it.

We've talked at long length on the blog about harsh penalties for the cheaters.  But it's possible that the real people to blame are the local racing authorities.  Unless there are national testing levels, and advanced tests for just about everything (there's no reason there can't be a top-flight testing program in place), there are going to be serious integrity issues as well as the perception of impropriety when horses drastically improve.
As for the case we talked about specifically, I think it's unfair to sully the horse's accomplishments by accusing the trainer of cheating.  Yes, the trainer has been caught in the past, but I certainly don't have any proof that this particular horse, on this particular day, was juiced.  I just can't throw the connections under the bus on an assumption.  Sorry if we disagree on this.


if dan would give permission, i'd do the calculations and post the results.

I'm up for any contest if everyone else wants to participate.


Major props on Tale of Ekati winning the Wood. Your faith in him was rewarded and now you can put him atop your Derby list without any criticism from me. The final time in the Wood was awfully slow. I don't yet know what the Beyer was or the track variant but to my eyes, War Pass looked like he was lugging a piano in the stretch. I can tell a gassed horse when I see one. I kept waiting for all the closers to gobble him up but only TOE could catch him. Was it just a weak field, was there a huge headwind, what's your take?
jim tully

Thanks, jim, but to be honest with you, I don't know what to make of the Derby picture.  Tale of Ekati has gone from #1 on my Derby list to #10, and I have no idea where I'll put him now.  You're right in that the Wood was a slow race, and Tale of Ekati was aided by the hot pace as well as War Pass' stretch fatigue.  But he didn't do anything wrong, and he at least answered the distance question (albeit in slow time).  It's probably too early to say if the field was weak although it's safe to say that it wasn't the strongest Wood Memorial in history.  I guess we have to remember that the race was a prep.  Tale of Ekati has only had two races this year so while the Wood was grueling, it is feasible to assume that he has at least one more big race in him.  War Pass didn't get much out of his first two races this year, and needed a hard race.  Court Vision may be rounding into his best form with only two races this year. 
I had recently put Colonel John up to #1 on the list, and while he won the Santa Anita Derby, I didn't like how he was drifting from the whip in the stretch.  It's possible that he needed the race as well as he only ran for about a 1/4 mile in his first start of the year. 
If Pyro runs big in the Blue Grass, he may be put up to number one next time.

Although some may question the quality of this year's three-year-old crop, you have to admit that they have provided some excitement as well as some interesting handicapping puzzles.


Race 8:YOU GO WEST GIRL broke her maiden here and should get a nice pace setup to close into.
Race 10: I'm going off the reservation in this one. ST. JOE had a lifetime best here in October and flattered that with a near bullet work here on 3/29.

Great work!  You Go West Girl got it done at $4.40, and St. Joe lit up the toteboard to the tune of a $31.40 mutuel.  Bustin Stones paid $7.50 in the Carter.

In the 2nd at Santa Anita I'm down to Power Blitz and Exuma
Stephen Taylor

Please tell me you played Power Blitz!  He paid $42.20 in the second at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Santa Anita Derby: I think that Colonel John (5) will win. But I also like Yankee Bravo (1) and Bob Black Jack (4). Exacta box (1-4-5);
Illinois Derby: at 8-1 morning line I like Recapturetheglory (1) as my longshot pick.
Calvin Carter

The Colonel John - Bob Black Jack exacta paid $24.60 for each dollar wagered.  Recapturetheglory led the Illinois Derby field on a merry chase at $33.80.  Nice pick.

Wood Memorial...
Tepid selection of Tale of Ekati. I know his two route starts weren't good but the BC was bad for basically all but two horses and in the Louisiana Derby, ToE missed the break and started last, plus it was his first start of the year. Also that day he made a move to get within 3 lengths while 5 wide on the turn before fading. It wasn't great but it wasn't dreadful. 

Wood   Tale OF Ekati

I'm glad, Dan, that you're still a big Tale of Ekati fan.  I was feeling like I was the only one left, and a little crazy for feeling that way, too.  Well, I'll be cheering him on today. 

Tale of Ekati and Edgar Prado never quit in the Wood.  Behind by several lengths, and under the whip turning for home, they gutted out the win at $19.00.

John B. Connally Turf Handicap (Sam Houston, Race 7) --> 1. Scrappy Roo 2. Going Ballistic
Race 10, Carter Handicap --> 1. Bustin Stones
Race 6, Santa Anita Derby --> 1. Colonel John

The cold exacta in the Connally returned $72.00 for each two dollars wagered.

Steve V., Best of luck in the Carter H with Bustin Stones. I think he fits well, will put a decent W/P bet on him
Apple Blossom,  Zenyatta, W/P, I feel this one is ready to make a statement. OP's quirky surface is the ideal place for it to happen.
johnny z

Also, Steve V, good luck with Bustin Stones in the Big Apple! I think he will run big (again).

Carter- Bustin Stones(3-1) Congradulations on just getting to a G1 race Steve V., and best of luck today.

You got a solid price on Bustin Stones as Spring at Last was waaaay overbet off his Donn win.    Zenyatta sure did make a statement with an authoritative performance.  johnnyz also gave out Colonel John in the SA Derby.

There is a horse running here at Sunland saturday who is going to run very well.  He is in on Saturday in the 6th race.  His name is Hot Tug Tonni.  He might be worth a win bet, if his odds are decent

Not a bad little spot play at all.  Hot Tug Tonni paid $5.80 for the win at Sunland.

Race 6 is the feature race, the Santa Anita Derby. It’s no big secret that I like COLONEL JOHN for the Derby. Nothing has changed, I think he has learned the running style of his Daddy – a high speed stalker.
DAYTONA is the obvious choice, with his last being the only losing effort in a long time. The cutback to a mile, the overall class advantages and the nice works make him the deserved favorite.
TANGLED TANGO made an incredible run in his first from the 11 post, getting caught at the wire in a very good field. Connections hit at 44%.
ZENYATTA always seems to be in over her head, this time she is up against the Grand Mama, Ginger Punch. But Z-Girl somehow finds a way to win.
Steve T

6:Most likely CJ

The Colonel came with a rush to overtake Bob Black Jack in the final strides.  He returned $7.20 to win.  The game Daytona went gate-to-wire at $3.60 in the Arcadia.  Tangled Tango paid $7.40 in the eighth for the natural pick three of $30.50 for a dollar.  Zenyatta was super impressive winning the Apple Blossom at $5.60.

AplBlsmH-G1: #6 Zenyatta (ML:7/2) -> You disbelievers...you don't deserve this next filly star!
I gotta go with your horse in the Carter - it is obviously a major class test for Bustin but IMO (a completely "non-professional" opinion!!!) horses are like boxers - some just don't know how to lose.  I keep betting the "undefeated ones" each race...

If Zenyatta gets a fast track there will be a new queen bee. And if she breaks with the field she might be facing the boys next.

Think Zenyatta will step up, despite the unfavorable pace scenario.  She's run her races on her own courage thus far and she hasn't really been tested.

I believe!  I believe!

i really like... j be k
Matt Smith

Race 6: Lucky Island
Race 7: J BE K
Race 10: Bustin Stones
Race 11: Motor Patrol

Best Bet:Motor Patrol (11th)

The "real" J Be K was back with a vengeance on Saturday at the Big A. 
jlove had a good day at Aqueduct.  Lucky Island paid $5.00 in the sixth.  Bustin Stones scored, and the best bet won the 11th at $4.90.

Bonfante looks like a lock in the little turf stakes

You know, $5.20 isn't bad at all for a "lock."  Bonfante is in very, very good form right now.

As usual, our crack FormBlog handicappers picked lots of winners over the weekend.  Excellent picks and analysis by all.


I'm still catching up on everything so along with the Past Champions Retrospective tomorrow, we'll answer a plethora of poster questions and comments. 

Oh, and before I forget, the first FormBlog Across America begins next Friday at Keeneland.  I'll be at the historic track on Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20.  If anyone is going to be at the track for those dates, I'd love to meet and get to know you, and talk about the races.

Thanks again, folks.

Take care,


Matt More than 1 year ago
I will never again get hooked on an Illinois Derby winner going to Louisville.
nancyb More than 1 year ago
Zayats - congrats on Thorn Song's game effort to wire the Maker's Mark field (@33-1)! With all the uncertainties regarding the Derby field (who even will be in the gate?) I would just note that the Preakness is starting to look like a more interesting race than usual. From CA alone : Sounds like Georgie Boy is recovering from his muscle pull quickly, Salute the Sarge's trainer clearly feels the Preakness is a possibility, Dixie Chatter is working pretty regularly, and Yankee Bravo's connections have mentioned it as a possible goal. Don't know much about east-coasters -- anybody know? Speaking of the Preakness -- thanks Dan for the flashback. That was my one and only visit to Pimlico. We were downcast at where we were seated (last grandstand near the far turn, ) but as it turned out it gave us the perfect view of both horses really laying it down. It still gives me chills. Good luck on your walk tomorrow Alan. Incidentally, when I looked at my receipt from MS I see that I sponsored someone named Rebecca Levitt. Hope she's part of your team. Haven't had a chance to handicap tomorrow's races but have to mention SA Race 10 - Tiz West( #9) has been running better each start. I liked him enough early in the year to put him as a wild card in my RTTR. Think the Blue Grass is by far the best of the prep fields so far but split between my irrational liking for Medjool and Monba and my reasonable preference for Pyro and Visionaire. Throw in Miner's Claim, for all the reasons mentioned by others (not to mention how hot that stable is right now). Ark seems to entail more question marks, but I look for Z Fortune to show the last was a fluke. Gayego certainly surprised me in his last, I was thinking he was a brilliant sprinter only. Off the wall LSs would be Indian Sun and Victory Pete. Good luck to all.
johnnyz More than 1 year ago
Thanks for all the well wishes concerning my mother. She will have some sort of micro-surgery Thursday, supposed to make all well. Steve T. ditto on your red herring comment earlier tonight. Trying to get a handle on this years 3 yr. olds is a puzzle. My opinion is everyone should be paying attention to the horse, not what the horse is running on (over). Larry Jones moved Hard Spun from OP to Kee. last year as he felt HS wasn't handling OP's track. Well this weekend we saw Tiago and, Zenyatta go from cushion to OP's dirt and win. BTW, I have not paid much attenion to Zenyatta, as it is Derby time. Watched the replay tonight of the Apple Blossum, she played with that field IMO. After looking at her pedigree, feel she may be a real superstar in the making. The 1/2 sis to Balance (Triple G-1 Winner) is out of Street Cry. Who has sired, last yrs. Derby winner and, previous yrs BC Juv. winner. Only sire to accomplish that feat to my knowledge. Also is the sire to: Street Cry, Cry and Catch Me, Majestic ROI, and TOMCITO! How in the world did Jerry Moss buy Zenyatta for 60K? Must have been a really ugly yearling. Street Cry was a pretty good race horse: @2 finsished 2nd in the Del Mar Furity G-2, 3rd in the Bc Juv. @3, won the UAE Emirates, was 2nd in the UAE Derby. @4, was horse of the year. Won the Dubai World Cup and the Stephen Foster G-1. Was highest rated horse in the world with a Timeform Rating of 130. Street Cry currently stands at Darley farms in Lexington Ky., for 100k. Have to believe that price will go up after Zenyatta wins the Distaff this year. Another quick note on Zenyatta's pedigree. Her dams sire Kris S. (Roberto), while not a super star on the track was remarkable in the breeding shed. Kris S., sired Action This Day*, Hollywood Wildcat*, Soaring Softly*, Brocco, and, Prized, all BC winners. *-was also Eclipse winners. If you haven't watched the Apple Blossum, you need to. Zenyatta doesn't only smoke Ginger Punch & win but, gallops out extremely well, IMO launching a bid for her to win an Eclipse this year! 2008, may turn out to be ladies year. Not only do we have an interesting group of older fillys but we have a very talented group of 3 yr old fillys, Eight Belles, Proud Spell, Country Star, Bsharpsonta, A To The Croft, Pure Clan, Maren's Meadow, Awesome Chic, Absoulutely Cindy, etc. Time to sign off and, try and find a couple of winners tomorrow. Best of luck to all!
cayman01 More than 1 year ago
Was playing the Keeneland online contest and came upon a possible turf bomb in the 9th tomorrow. LOVE BUZZ M/L 15-1 heads back to the turf where he has run competitve speed figures (working with Brisnet here, and not liking it) vs. others here. The key here for me is he gets Leparoux who he ran his BEst fig with and that ws on turf. There will be plenty of pace in the race and if Lep can get him to relax and make a stalking run he could score at a big price. WPS on LOVE BUZZ manana. Also, in the 8th race i will play CARRIAGE TRAIL. M/L 8-1. She already owns a win at the distance here and, with all the speed signed on here, should get a true pace meltdown to close into.WPS on CARRIAGE TRAIL. Since I've gone this far I'll finish off a small pick 4.In the 7th I like ELITE SQUADRON to duel with INDIAN CHANT and allow CARNACKS CHOICE, FOREST BLUE or GOING WILD to get the win. Also WPS on CARNACKS CHOICE. In the 6th race I like three. JAZZ HALL could get lonely on the lead and wire them. He has three bullet works in a row over the Keeneland strip. GREEN SECRET has trained steadily over the keeneland surface and looks like he'll take to it.He'll have first shot at JAZZ HALL. FREEDOM ALERT will be coming hard from the clouds. He has two good seconds here and worked a hot bullet here a couple days ago. I'm tossing M/L favorite TENKILLER LAKE who had a miserable work here on 4/5. So the Pick 4 will go like this: 2,3,8/1,3,7/9/1,2,9,11 for .50 and $18. Steve T, HOODS UP in a claimer after MSW win, and layoff tells me he's unsound and connections are looking to dump him.
Jason G More than 1 year ago
I agree with Steve T 100%, cushion track is not polytrack and in fact isn't much different from regular dirt, and the west coast horses will have no problems with the dirt at churchill. If they lose it will be because they aren't good enough, or have a bad trip or some other reason. BUT. Taking that into consideration, I have to question the strength of the west coast contingant and their low speed figures. CJ has been running slow races against horses that are most likely sprinter/miler types. I agree, he's done nothing wrong, has been professional, and does want the distance. But is he fast enough is the real question. And running by sprinters that are fading at the finish says to me he isn't. I actually am buying Blue Horshoe's argument right now about War Pass. You know he's fast enough from his 2yo races, the distance is a question, but you know this horse is fast enough and has the class. I actually think it makes a lot of sense to like the way he ran in the Wood. Those fractions on that dull of a track took a ton out of the horse, but he was still fighting on deep into the lane. It was also only his 3rd start of the season, and really his first real race as his allowance win was a workout and he didn't run a step in the Tampa race. In my mind he could easily improve off of the Wood and get stronger. I also think there is a very good chance he gets a clear lead on an easy pace. It happens all the time in regular races, the jockey's read the form, they know there is a ton of speed, and a lot of times they pull their horses back and the speed duel never develops. This scenario is even more likely in the derby where these jockeys are under scrutiny, and are terrified of doing something stupid and getting villified for it. The chances are even better for War Pass to get an easy lead because everyone knows now he is going to be sent, he's going to be there, there is no question. The question becomes for the trainers and the jockey's do they want to send their horse out there to challenge him and risk getting cooked? My guess is most of these trainers will instruct their jockey's to let him go. Big Brown, Bob Black Jack can both rate, why send them into a speed duel with War Pass? If you can get 10-1 or better on War Pass on a loose lead against a lot of horses that haven't run as fast as he has, how can you not take that? I think BlueHorshoe is right, and War Pass has a huge chance in this derby. The only real question is can he get 1 1/4, but they all have to answer that question on the first Saturday in May. After doing some thinking my top 5 right now is following: 1. Pyro 2. War Pass 3. Big Brown 4. Dennis of Cork (last a complete toss for me - Hawthorne has gotten the best of too many good horses) 5. Smooth Air (why is no one talking about him? he ran a great race last out and was getting to Big Brown) Peace
C More than 1 year ago
As Laura (I think) has said before, there is no such thing as "conventional" dirt. SteveV, I'll disagree that Ragozin numbers are better or more accurate than any other brand of figure. How does someone put a reliable number on wind or track bias? What's the mathematical conversion, 2 points for every mile per hour? How do those units scale with a measure for ground loss? 2 points per mph = 3 points per lane? Eventually, physics students will develop a figure accounting for the tightness of the saddle, the amount of discomfort caused by the bit, and the added weight of blinkers for horses wearing them. At the end of the day, such a figure will not be more accurate because it incorporates more factors. It will simply be more ridiculous. ----------------------------- As for SoCal, I wouldn't read too much into the Tiago/Heatseeker exacta. 3 of the 7 horses in that field were Cal-based, and those 2 in particular were total standouts in that race. I actually can't believe that exacta even paid $30. Anyway, one way or another, I don't think the performance of OTHER horses should have any predictive meaning for Colonel John or El Gato Malo in Kentucky. Tiago and Heatseeker are not running in the race. If the Colonel and the Cat can handle it, they'll run their race. If they can't, they won't. It's that simple. Tiago has nothing to do with it.
Laura More than 1 year ago
Stephen Taylor, Don’t forget the “Point Given Award” for either CJ or Pyro if they fail to hit the board, and the “Best Horse Who Didn’t Win the Derby Award” if either come back to sweep the other 2 races.
Laura More than 1 year ago
Dr. Max & Steve T, Don’t forget the El Camino Real at Bay Meadows when Coast Guard finished 8th in his 1st time on dirt. The jock said the horse didn’t like dirt in his face. So, is there a difference between getting polytrack (or “fake dirt”) in the face as opposed to “real” dirt?
Justin Zayat More than 1 year ago
Thanks, but he can rate and he can go to the lead it all depends on the strategy that day, he rated nicely in his bay shore win
Tony Kelso More than 1 year ago
Justin Zayat: Don't rate J Be K! Let him rolllllllll!!!!!