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The Derby Trail 2023 thread

Yeah Raise Cain and Forte have stood out to me the most just because they do look well put together for sport—any sport, not just racing.

As a bettor I tend to put a fair amount of stock in form when I’m watching horses in the paddock. So those two are the ones I’m watching the most atm.

We’ll see how things shake out; it seems like even week of Derby there are surprises to the line up.

Mandarin Hero ran a great race today. The bettors liked him, but I am baffled by why “some” of the well known Talking Heads seem to be dead set on saying NAR is a cut below track (it’s not, its very sandy, and stamina building, maybe even deeper than our Belmont track.) and that Japanese horses, this one in particular, is a G League horse. The winner of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar came from NAR circuit.

To me horse racing has always been international sport, and some dirt and turf runners who are not raced or bred in the US are making some noise, all over the world. I guess I don’t understand the chest beating going on in many circles in US racing. Horses are horses to me.

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Really liking Tapit Trice the more I see him run.

Nice run by long shot Lord Miles to get the win in the Wood Memorial.

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Wasn’t there a thread a while ago in which someone was wondering, maybe concerned, about where Shanghai Bobby had ended up? He seems to be doing just fine, if Mandarin Hero is an example.

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Thought the talking heads were way too down on Tapit Trice before the race, as though he is not keen to race, or is not a tryer. To me, he just seems like a slow maturer just figuring it all out, how to sort his body out and get himself in gear. Was disappointed for Raise Cain. Before loading, he had such a calm look of eagles, and his Gotham performance had me watching for him.

Yesterday was fun, the Gazelle and particularly the SA Derby and the Wood were exciting and gratifying to watch…lots of good things for some good people.

The Gazelle was won by the previously unimpressive Promiseher America who left the talking heads wiping egg off their faces. Totally dissed by the pre race analysis by “experts”, she got her up and coming trainer his very first graded stakes win. She’s a sleek, lean chestnut by AP x Unbridled Song mare who looked to have plenty left and was positively glowing strutting back to the WC, she knows what she did. Might want to watch the stretch run on this race…like she figured out exactly what she is supposed to do. She ran just .5 sec off the Wood time with the last furlong in 12 and change…the talking head wanted to reexamine that time as he thought it unlikely she did it.

If you can find the overhead shots if the SA Derby stretch run, worth looking. Mandarin Hero was stuck in the middle and getting knocked around but hung in and that jockey turned in a great ride between guts and patience. That impressed the heck out of me.

Tapit Trice still looks a little awkward out of the gate but certainly is learning, IMO still not sure about the Derby but really bright future on this one. Maybe the star of this crop.

Thinking back, 2 year old superstars over the decades often do not do well in the KD or don’t make at all, we got a little spoiled in the last decade or so. The trick is to get them to peak at the right time and stay there without getting used up. Bit concerned about Forte but he still won and should be a favorite if not the favorite but favorites don’t win the KD as often as horses just reaching their peak. Angel of Empire may also be reaching his peak with Oaklawn wins but may not like CD…

If Mandarin Hero and that jockey are their “B” string??? Oh my.


Tapit Trice reminds me of an aircraft carrier: large, gray, slow to get going, but moves well once it does. He made a nice move on the backstretch to get into contention.

Seems as though the likely Derby favorites are mostly come-from-behind types. Might be an opportunity for a speed horse to steal the race.


If CD track comes up sloppy, I’d back him heavily.

That was an excellent descripiton!

I always call those types “Big Body Benz”. Once they get going though, they motor along
at low RPMs and have plenty of energy left for a rally because they didn’t expend themselves fully running like banshees to 3/8 of a mile. To me the sign of a true classic distance racehorse…they are able to hold their energy in abbeyance.

(yet I HAVE seen horses who are good to 11 or 12F trained to burst out of the gate and run with the pacesetters, unfortunately, and they are considered losers because that is not who they are. We see the same thing in 9F prep races…horses who just “run out of track”…who need longer before they get going, and never make the Derby gate because they’ve never been given a chance to run 10F + where they would SHINE. )

One of reasons I think Tapit Trice is MUCH better suited to the Belmont Stakes than the KY Derby. A

Dont disagree there at all. TT is still growing…who knows what he can or cannot do.

Found it! From 2018:

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Looks like the Grand National without any jumps.

So Forte is in Kentucky!
And wearing a classic Baker sheet.

So is Nest:

I guess Pletcher is old-fashioned in some ways.

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Speaking of old fashioned, just realized May 6 isn’t only Derby day, its Coronation Day. So we can watch some horses and ancient rituals with a champagne brunch and enjoy the more recent ritual of Mint Juleps and racers at cocktail time. Maybe a toast to the late Queen thrown into both.

Sounds like fun viewing.


yes, that is usually xc day at Badminton. They are messing with the schedule so it won’t interfere. Dressage will be Friday and Saturday, and xc will be Sunday I think.

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Wild On Ice was euthanized following a hock fracture sustained during his morning work.
Skinner is now in, if his connections wish to run him.

**Edited to reflect updated info.

So sad about Wild on Ice. His people must be devastated.

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How often does a workout result in a hind end breakdown?

Horses. My guy suffered a catastrophic accident that resulted in his death standing in his stall.

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They certainly are creatures looking for an inconvenient time and place to die. Often of inexplicable causes.