Your 2014 Derby Superfecta Box


6-way Superfecta Box:
(costs $36 for the $0.10 variety, or get a group together and split the $360/$1 version)

California Chrome.
I don’t like the lack of lengthy works, but daily gallops are a solid 2 miles and he is probably the most talented. He also somewhat makes up for this with 10 starts in the last 12 months. Plus I love the lack of pedigree, which is always overvalued in my opinion.

Wicked Strong.
Old school workouts by Jimmy Jerkens: long 7F works rotated with 3F blowouts in the days prior to post, likely the only entry to do so. Learned from his daddy, no doubt. If conditioned less aggressively, a possible bounce candidate off of the big Wood Memorial performance.

My favorite during the prep season due to several mile works down at Palm Meadows. However, seems to be a consistent Beyer 100 animal, which may lose this weekend to a freak performance but should still find a spot in the Top 4.

I have to have a Baffert entry, so I take this one who has worked 3 times in 10 days, around a ship from SA to CD. Also worked in the slop this week. Does Baffert think he’s short? If so, Chitu has about the same shot in my opinion.

Medal Count.
Although his hand was forced by the need for Derby points, Romans ran him twice in a week at KEE in mid-April. I wholly expected a small 4F work at CD this week, but he went 6F – long for a Romans 3yo. The hunt for qualifying points over Polytrack may have led to this one being quite fit on Saturday, by mistake.

Ride on Curlin.
Lots of 7F works for this one, too. Just a $25k auction purchase and I again love the lack of market for this one. However, if you want to leave one out on this list, it would be him.

EDIT: 10:40 Derby morning. I’ve seen none of those long, strong gallops from California Chrome this week. Uh-oh, Sherman has taken the ‘bubble wrap’ approach: “I like to run a horse back (from his last race) seven or eight weeks later, but I had no choice. Now we got this race and I didn’t push him for that reason. To win, you got to have a fresh horse.”

What to do? He only has 3 starts this year, and now the foot has been taken off the gallop pedal, I toss him out of the winner’s circle. Cue the ‘bad trip’ excuses from the camp afterwards. Superfecta still? Possibly.


About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on April 29, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Ooooh! Still too tough on Romans, my friend Maybe, just maybe, he’s one of the few who is learning from past mistakes (ie short horses) and is now attempting to make adjustments in his approach. So many people in all walks of life have one year’s experience, over and over, rather than growing and evolving. Maybe he’s not one of them. Heck, part of his growth and evolution as a trainer he may just have been reading and learning from your posts!

    Thanks, Murray

  2. Certainly you know Mr. Romans better than I. He’s been very successful at the game doing things the traditional way: 4-5F works once weekly, 1.25 mile gallops, racing every 4-5 weeks, etc. If I was him I’m not sure I would change!

    But, I do recall him working a TC horse quite long suddenly, Dullahan, detailed here:

    I do get many, many KY based readers – I would be flattered if he were one of them, no doubt. Again, these aren’t MY methods I preach, but those of Hall of Fame trainers from the 50’s and earlier….

  3. Love the post as well the choices I concur, yet on fence for the bottoms with Com.Curve, and afraid to leave the “bomb” Danza out ( likely again the biggest super 0f the year, I await a friends input (mutal to us both) before finalizing as well the post parade and conditions of the day. I always enjoy your post, and want to congratulate you on your renovations to your lovely new home. Thank you much for your insights observations and the education , when I get back to racing I’ll become a customer versus just an interested reader

  4. Thanks Richard! If you have horses train in KY you will love what we are doing at

  5. I like Samraat and Wicked Strong because they are the horses that have been working longer than the 5f and have been running well. Samraat has some works in mile and Wicked Strong has the old school from the Jerkens. However California Chrome did pretty good in the last race and he is a special horse.

  6. Hello Mr. Pressey
    I just want to mention, regarding to the lack of pedigree of California Chrome, that his mother Love the Chase is plenty of Reines of course mares in 4th generation and she is 3×3 to the champion Numbered Account through a son and daughter.

    • My knowledge of pedigree is quite limited – all horses, if you trace back long enough, come from good families. Right? And these days even the top studs turn out 95% ‘average’ racehorses.

  7. California Chrome lack of pedigree?!?! 2 X Numbered Account (from 7 X La Troienne) + 4 X Somethingroyal + a boatload of additional Domino (and his sisters) + bro-sis cross of Round Table / Monarchy is not what I call lack of pedigree. Just sayin’… 😉 I believe the same lack of pedigree was said of Seattle Slew before he conquered the world.

    • Exactly. Pedigree is near worthless when it comes to racing. Many derby champs are from humble genetic beginnings.

      Sent from my iPhone


      • The only problem with saying “Exactly. Pedigree is near worthless…” is that the crosses that produced Seattle Slew (Domino / La Troienne) also produced Buckpasser, A.P. Indy, Aptitude (close 2nd in 2000 Derby and Belmont, won 2001 Jockey Club Gold Cup going away… it wasn’t even close), and now California Chrome. Seattle Slew didn’t lack in pedigree despite what everyone said. People just said that because he was purchased for cheap. La Troienne’s family (1-x) is by far more superior than any of the rest, with families 2 (Northern Dancer, Somethingroyal), 13-c (Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew), and 4-m (Maggie B.B., think Holy Bull) coming in distantly to fill out the super.

        Wicked Strong (featuring plenty of Domino / La Troienne) also has pedigree in the form of the soon-to-be endemic cross of Roberto / Buckpasser. 5 of 6 G1 winners of 2013 that Kitten’s Joy produced were from mares returning both Roberto and Buckpasser back to him. He also features 3 lines of Olympia. I present to you Precisionist, Copelan, Crested Wave, Diplomatic Jet, Wedge Shot, Beat Inflation, current millionaire Immortal Eyes, etc. as evidence of the power and potency of inbreeding to Olympia.

        Both are bred to get classic distance. Whether or not their respective trainers train them as such is a different matter, which I leave to Bill to analyze as only he can do.

  8. That’s kind of my point Jared, you look back far enough and every champion has champions in his bloodlines. But there is no difference between champions. The only genetic difference is between winners and losers. Of course it matters somewhat, but it doesn’t deserve hundreds of books and million of words, while conditioning gets nothing other than my musings.

  9. Stick to your guns Bill There’s a worldwide industry founded by pedigree analysts on bogus “science ” and bullshit Its a crutch for bloodstock agents and other charlatans to lean on Its sole purpose being to extract money from the wealthy who are so distracted by the magic of horseracing they can’t see through it The horse in front if you is what he is Does anyone seriously believe he can call on a long dead ancestor for divine inspiration halfway down the stretch at CD on Saturday You’ll find pedigree analysts at your local library on the same shelf as psychics and tarot readers The emperor has no clothes

    • Once I bad-mouthed the pedigree industry on a post, then remembered a few of the guys I like the most in this business are pedigree writers/researchers! So I try to tamp it down a bit, but the real ‘snake-oil salesmen’ are the breeders, in my opinion. Not that it doesn’t matter at all, but pedigree is vastly overrated when you look at the money spent. Of course genetics sets the blueprint for success or failure, but at it’s core all you are looking at is a few million flips of the coin – literal 50% chances multiplied many, many times. I learned that in sixth grade.

      Conditioning, on the other hand, is quantifiable – and you can put your ‘hands’ on it so to speak. 95% of the best stallions offspring are failures on the racetrack, as in not reaching graded stake success. Hell if a stud has a few years of 10% graded stakes winners he is a veritable home run hitter. Conversely, every single horse who hits my HR/GPS goals breezing and galloping wins races, every one. Of course the benchmarks are different for a $4k claimer at Beulah and the animals running at CD on Saturday, but you get the idea.

      • Pedigree matters? I ll believe pedigree matters when a bunch of pedigree ‘experts’ analyse the 12,000 or so USA colts born last year and tell me today which ones will line up in CD on the first Saturday in May 2016 A bunch of after timers with the benefit of hindsight telling me why this years line up got there doesn’t impress me I reckon a monkey sticking a pin in the list would out perform the pedigree buffs

  10. My top 6 are:
    1. Wildcat Red
    2. Chitu
    3. California Chrome
    4. Samraat
    5. Wicked Strong
    6. General a Rod

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