Racing Dudes Divisional Rankings

All Eyes will be on California Chrome

All Eyes will be on California Chrome

Older Males

1. Game On Dude – He holds a head to head match up win over Will Take Charge and Mucho Macho Man so he assumes the top spot for now.  Most people are down on him for his second place effort in the Charles Town Classic, but I still think he ran well.

2. Will Take Charge – From a consistency standpoint he is well clear of the others so far this year.  He’s ran two winning type races when finishing second, and was able to redeem himself with a home track win last time out at Oaklawn.  Looks like he is on his way to another big year.

3. Wise Dan – Most of his big races are still to come so he’s third for now, but what a nice comeback race he had last time out at Keeneland.

4. Palace Malice – Already has two wins under his belt, with the last one being a monster effort in New Orleans.  Came back looking better than ever.

5. Mucho Macho Man – Dull performance at Santa Anita last time out, but he stays ranked out of respect.  Needs to pick it up if he wants to move past the monsters ahead of him.

Sleeper: Normandy Invasion – Obviously he’s come back strong, but he was beaten decisively by Palace Malice last time out.  Wouldn’t toss him out yet though…

Older Females

1. Beholder – Freak of nature!  Not sure if anyone can beat her in this division.

2. Close Hatches – Two very workman like performances at Oaklawn has me thinking she has progressed even further since last year.

3. Princess of Sylmar – Easy winner in her return race.  She’s one that is easy to root for considering she could have easily won the eclipse award last year.

4. Groupie Doll – I put her on here out of respect, and because some of the stars of last year haven’t started yet.  What a great career for this champion.

5. On Fire Baby – Ran two decent races to start the year, no disrespect in losing to Close Hatches…lets see if she can keep improving and stay healthy.

Sleeper: Dreaming of Julia – If she ever makes it back in good form we don’t know how good she could end up being…

3 Year Old Males

1. California Chrome – There is no doubting he’s the top horse in this bunch as of now…can he take his show on the road?

2. Hoppertunity – He’s improving at a rapid rate.  With one more progression he could be the best of the bunch.

3. Wicked Strong – He’s the “now” horse, but like California Chrome he also must prove he can take his show on the road.  Hasn’t ran well outside of New York.

4. Samraat – Yet to run a bad race.  Horse is talented and as steady as they come…pedigree in question for the Derby though.

5. Tapiture – Took a step backwards in the Arkansas Derby, but could see him rebounding.  The talent is there.

Sleeper: Kid Cruz – Quietly winning the smaller races for three-year olds, but could sneak up on a lot of people come Preakness time.

3 Year Old Females

1. Untapable – Cleary above and beyond anyone in this group by a wide margin.

2. My Miss Sophia – Her blowout wins of late make her the intriguing challenger to Untapable in the Oaks

3. Awesome Baby – Declared that she is not running in the Oaks, but still like her talent.

4. In Tune – Has progressed extremely well at Gulfstream, but can she run that well away from her home track?

5. Sugar Shock – Another that has gotten better with each race.  She’s a cut below the best at this point though.

Sleeper: She’s a Tiger – Never ran a bad race as a two-year old, but yet to see her this year.


1. Secret Circle – This division hasn’t heated up yet, but when it does he’ll be the top dog.

2. Goldencents – Haven’t seen him yet this year, but has already proven to be a monster at a mile.

3. Gentleman’s Bet – Another that is training forward for his 2014 debut.

4. Sahara Sky – Has found his stride after a slow start to 2013.

5. Wild Dude – This is a rising star in the division who has run three strong races in a row at Santa Anita.

Sleeper: Vicar’s In Trouble – He may be pointed to the Derby, but when they shorten him up he could really be something special.




Predicting NEXT Year’s Eclipse Winners

Will Take Charge is our Horse of the Year Prediction for 2014

Will Take Charge is our Horse of the Year Prediction for 2014

Anyone who follows racing can predict Eclipse Award winners after the Breeders Cup has ended, but how about in January before the real racing even begins?  We’ve decided to give it a shot today!  How many can I correctly predict?  Maybe zero, but it’s still a lot of fun to get people thinking about all the possibilities of what could happen throughout the year.  Here goes nothing…

Horse of the Year: Will Take Charge – Come on…who else would we put here?!  Other than the fact he’s our favorite horse, you can definitely make a case for him being the top horse in racing already.  He was a nose away from winning this award in 2013, and we expect him to avenge that loss this year.  It could be one of the best older horse campaigns since Curlin.

3 Year Old Male of the Year: Top Billing – He’s my way too early pick to win the Kentucky Derby so he fits into this spot for me at this time.  His stablemate Honor Code may have something to say about this, as well as many others in what seems to be a deep crop of three-year old males.

3 Year Old Female of the Year: Ireland – That’s right…I’m predicting a one race winner to win this division!  This might make me look like the dumbest handicapper of all time, but I really don’t care.  Ireland is a full sister to Dublin, and Lukas will give this horse every opportunity to be successful in the big races.  In a division loaded with questions, maybe the light bulb has come on with Ireland and she’ll be the one that stands out when the first Friday in May rolls around.

Older Male of the Year: Will Take Charge – Horse of the Year and Older Male would be quite an accomplishment, and we see it happening.

Older Female of the Year: Beholder – Haven’t been this excited about a filly or mare since Zenyatta.  A Beholder vs. Princess of Sylmar match up would be the race of the year.  With the biggest race for older fillies being held at Santa Anita once again, Beholder looks strong in this category.

2 Year Old Male of the Year: Jess’s Dream – Pretty hard to pick a horse in this category, but lets just go strictly with awesome breeding and pick Rachel’s first baby.  No offense to Zenyatta…but Curlin as a sire trumps Bernardini in my opinion.

2 Year Old Female of the Year: A horse from the Pletcher barn – Just playing the odds with this one.

Sprinter of the Year: Secret Circle – He might be the best horse in Baffert’s barn!  As long as he stays healthy you’d have to think he can do big things considering he won the divisions most prestigious race on only his second start back off a long layoff last year.

Female Sprinter of the Year: Dance Card – Going with an up and coming horse that I hope improves as a four-year old.  She was a solid third in the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last year, so she won’t have to improve all that much to be in the mix with this division.

Male Turf Horse of the Year: Wise Dan – People like to complain about Wise Dan…I’ll just keep enjoying him.

Female Turf Horse of the Year: Emollient – This is an all class filly who was pretty competitive as a three-year old on turf or synthetics, but could be even stronger as a four-year old.

Owner of the Year: Midwest Thoroughbreds – Most people criticize that their wins aren’t of great quality, but they make a presence at almost every race track across the country.  Their mass volumes of wins should be rewarded.

Trainer of the Year: Todd Pletcher – He wins too many big races for me to try to predict someone else will win this award.

Jockey of the Year: Joel Rosario – Probably would have won it this year if not for injury.  He’s riding great at Gulfstream right now, and will most likely have the mount on a few live horses in the big races down the road.

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Cali Swag: Pictures of the Year Part 1

Mike Sekulic has provided us with many great pictures over the course of the year.  Here a few we thought that were just too incredible to only post once!  Enjoy!


The Top 15 Horses to Watch for in 2014

Beholder is Our Number One Horse to Watch for 2014

Beholder is Our Number One Horse to Watch for 2014

1. Beholder

This could be the new queen of racing!  She was always thought of as a superior race horse, but her smashing victory in the Breeders Cup Distaff has vaulted her to a whole other level.  Nothing captivated racing like the Zenyatta/Rachel Alexandra era, but racing could be bracing itself for a repeat of that in 2014 as Beholder and Princess of Sylmar look to become rivals.  The two have already dueled twice, with Princess of Sylmar taking the Kentucky Oaks and Beholder taking the before mentioned Breeders Cup Distaff.  As we head into the new year Beholder does hold a slight edge, but it’s not by much.  Look for her to sharpen up in California a few times, and then maybe she’ll travel east for a big showdown prior to what could be another classic race in the 2014 Breeders Cup Distaff.

2. Will Take Charge

If they gave out awards for “horse of the half-year” this would be the winner.  Will Take Charge has grown into his enormous frame, and has figured out exactly what he’s supposed to be doing out on the track.  His devastating stretch run is tough to hold off, and he’s already shown that he can run with his older rivals without any problem.  The scariest part about Will Take Charge…D Wayne Lukas has said from day one that he will only get better with age.  The ceiling could be unlimited for the this giant beast, and he will surely be put on a campaign that will make him Horse of the Year worthy.  As long as he is not retired to stud (there is a chance he might be) he will be the premier male of 2014.

3. Wise Dan

You can knock the connections all day long for their campaign of this horse, but Wise Dan is on the verge of becoming Horse of the Year for the second straight year.  That’s not mismanagement if you ask me!  However, there has been talk that they could point Wise Dan to more dirt races in 2014.  That should make all the haters happy, but you can put me in the “don’t care where you run” category.  I’m just thankful that they are bringing him back once again.  Sometimes it’s good to be a gelding!

4. New Year’s Day

Everyone is hyping Honor Code, but we shouldn’t forget about New Year’s Day.  He won the biggest two-year old race of the year over what was most likely the toughest field of the year.  He did take advantage of a nice trip while others had wide trips, but getting the victory is always the most important thing.  The horse has the right connections to get him to the Derby, and the pedigree is pretty strong.  He’ll be the number one horse in California heading into the ever important Santa Anita Meet.

5. Strong Mandate

We’ve all seen the resurgence of D Wayne Lukas as he’s guided Oxbow and Will Take Charge to major success this year, and now he has a legit prospect to kick off next year.  Keep in mind that this time last year Oxbow and Will Take Charge were just maiden winners, while Strong Mandate is already a Grade 1 winner.  We follow the Lukas horses closely, and this one might have more ability than any 3-year-old he’s taken to Oaklawn Park in recent memory.  You have to like that he has given the horse a little break before the Oaklawn meet begins, and you know he’ll give the horse every chance to make it to the Kentucky Derby.

6. Honor Code

The hype is HUGE for Honor Code, and he did a little to back it up when fighting back to take the Remsen Stakes last weekend.  I haven’t totally bought into him yet, but make no mistake…this horse will be the buzz horse of the winter and spring.  The breeding is impeccable, and as we saw last year he has the trainer that can win the big one.  He’s headed to Florida for the winter and will most likely resurface in he always competitive Gulfstream three-year old prep races.  He has the pedigree and the look, but does he have the talent to carry him to the top?

7. Princess of Sylmar

She was the sweetheart of 2013 for most of the year, but now is kind of being forgotten after her poor Breeders Cup Distaff effort.  The speed favoring track and tough campaign really stacked up against her in that race, so I don’t punish her at all for the poor effort.  On a fair track going a mile and one eighth she can definitely beat Beholder, and anyone else for that matter.

8. Cairo Prince

May have lost the Remsen by a nose, but he showed his class in that race.  The slow pace of the Remsen may have actually hurt his chance, as Honor Code was actually ahead of Cairo Prince down the back stretch.  Either way, the horse is gifted with a naturally high cruising speed, and can kick for home when given his cue.  Very capable of having a big year.

9. Palace Malice

Other than Will Take Charge, is there any one horse with as much upside at Palace Malice going into 2014?  The horse had a great summer, and while he came up short in the biggest races this fall, he still ran respectable.  Also like Will Take Charge, I think this horse can get even better as a four-year old.  He will probably be a force on the east coast.

10. Secret Circle

It took him a long time to recover from an injury sustained in his three-year old season, but boy did he come back firing!  In two races Secret Circle went from an after thought to the best sprinter in the country.  From day one you could tell this horse was best at a mile or less, and if he’s spotted correctly it’s hard to imagine him losing a race in 2014.  Yes I said it…

11. Mucho Macho Man

If only he could run at Santa Anita every time!  Over that track he’s proven to be hard to handle, but lets not sell him short when running at other tracks as well.  There is no doubt his 2013 season started off extremely slow, but when he gets to the top of his game he’s as good as anyone.  Look for a similar campaign as the last two years from him, as the main goal will obviously be the Breeders Cup Classic.

12. Game On Dude

It was nice to see Game On Dude run well in the Clark Handicap last weekend.  Both his fans and connections had to be let down by his second straight Breeders Cup Classic flop, and the race being on his home track makes it that much worse.  People can say what they want about him, but he still will be the dominant California older male in 2014.  It’s amazing that this gelding will be seven years old in 2014, yet he’ll still most likely be running at such a high level.

13. Goldencents

The bounce in the Cigar Mile was beyond predictable, but lets not forget about how good he can be…especially in California.  Anytime you have that kind of deadly early speed, you are dangerous over the Santa Anita track.  I expect him to stay at the mile distance range, and to rack up several wins in 2014.

14. Bobby’s Kitten

He didn’t run quite as well as we all hoped he would in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf, but his game third place effort still got my attention.  The pace he set that day was frantic so only getting beat a couple of lengths by two top class Euro invaders is very respectable.  It’s interesting that he got a lot of play in the Kentucky Derby future wager pool, even though the horse has never ran on dirt.  Perhaps that is something the Ramsey’s and Chad Brown will consider in 2014.

15. Close Hatches

The sleeper!  Everyone is raving about Beholder and Princess of Sylmar, but Close Hatches might just be the horse that sneaks up on us all.  Her resume speaks for itself: A two-time Grade 1 winner, a Grade 2 winner, and a two-time Grade 1 runner-up.  Pretty impressive, especially considering the lastest runner-up finish was in the Breeders Cup Distaff.  Add in the fact that she has a great trainer in Bill Mott….this one might have more upside than anyone.

The Next Ten: She’s a Tiger, Ria Antonia, Normandy Invasion, Vexed,  Shared Belief, Tapiture, Tiz the Truth, Flashback, Rise Up, Stopchargingmaria
Ten Sleepers: Gold Hawk, Unstoppable Colby, Unbridled Forever, My Miss Aurelia, Smack Smack, Grace of the Nile, Tap It Rich, Rosalind, Za Approval, Gentleman’s Bet


Blinkers Off 049: Racing Dudes Award Show Podcast Released

Blinkers Off Logo2Blinkers Off has released a new episode!

Blinkers Off provides weekly insights into the world of horse racing including race selections and previews, handicapping methods and exclusive stories.

You can view all episodes of Blinkers Off by visiting our podcast page or Blinkers Off | Blog Talk Radio Feed.

Blinkers Off 049: Racing Dudes Award Show – November 14, 2013

The Thoroughbred Racing Dudes give out the coveted Racing Dudes Awards for the 2013 racing season.

[audio|titles=Blinkers Off 049: Racing Dudes Award Show]

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown

Breeders Cup 2013: Friday Analysis


Beholder Looks to Upset Royal Delta

Race 1: Allowance

Likely Winners: #4 Something Unusual, #5 Love de Car, #8 Pure Loyalty, #11 US Citizen

Exotic Plays: #3 Ankeny Hill, #6 Yankee Rebel, #10 Kochees

Wild Cards:#1 Rangi, #12 Omega Star

Throw Outs: #2 Cacau, #7 Pirate’s Pleasure, #9 He’s Had Enough

Race 2: Allowance

Likely Winners: #2 Got Even, #9 Cat Burglar, #13 Wild Dude

Exotic Plays: #6 Door’s Open, #7 Monument, #10 Raised a Secret

Wild Cards: #1 Gab Power, #3 Basmati, #4 Master Cip

Throw Outs: #5 Newfound Glory, #8 Kingpin Ryno, #11 Drover Crazy, #12 Heir the Storm

Race 3: Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes

Likely Winners: #2 Life Is a Joy, #7 Tamarando

Exotic Plays: #1 California Chrome, #4 Gangman Guy

Wild Cards: #6 Sir Barclay, #8 Cinmars Dance

Throw Outs: #3 Electric Eddie, #5 Tribal Mystic, #9 Better Bet

Race 4: Golden State Juvenile Stakes

Likely Winners: #2 Cal Gal, #7 Whatsallthedrama, #8 Stole a Kiss, #9 Moving Desert

Exotic Plays: #4 Meinertzhageni, #6 Harlington’s Rose

Wild Cards: #1 Smoove It, #10 Swiss Lake Yodeler

Throw Outs: #3 Rovenna, #5 Time for Angie

Race 5: Twilight Derby (Grade 2)

Likely Winners: #2 Charming Kitten, #10 Gervinho, #12 Gabriel Charles

Exotic Plays: #3 Den’s Legacy, #7 Kid Dreams, #11 Rising Legend

Wild Cards: #4 Dice Flavor, #5 Rookie Sensation, #6 Dry Summer, #13 Outside Nashville

Throw Outs: #1 Irish Stuff, #8 Avare, #9 Procurement

Race 6: Breeders Cup Marathon (Grade 2)

Likely Winners: #4 Ever Rider, #6 Indian Jones, #8 Blueskiesnrainbows

Exotic Plays: #7 London Bridge, #9 Pool Play

Wild Cards: #3 Commander, #10 Wordly

Throw Outs: #1 Old Time Hockey, #2 Cease, #5 Suns Out Guns Out

Race 7: Juvenile Turf (Grade 1)

Likely Winners: #2 Giovanni Boldini, #4 Outstrip, #5 Bobby’s Kitten

Exotic Plays: #9 Wilshire Boulevard, #12 Shamshon, #13 Bashart

Wild Cards: #1 All Cash, #7 Aotearoa

Throw Outs: #3 Got Shades, #6 Home School, #8 Bon Accord, #10 Ontology, #11 Poker Player

Race 8: Dirt Mile (Grade 1)

Likely Winners: #5 Fed Biz, #10 Verrazano, #12 Goldencents

Exotic Plays: #4 Brujo de Olleros, #8 Holy Lute, #9 Centralinteligence

Wild Cards: #1 Taptowne, #3 Hymn Book, #6 Broadway Empire, #13AE Easter Gift

Throw Outs: #2 Golden Ticket, #7 Alpha, #11 Pants On Fire

Race 9: Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)

Likely Winners: #2 Al Thakhira, #4 Kitten Kaboodle, #5 Granny Mc’s Kitten, #6 Vorda, #12 Testa Rossi

Exotic Plays: #8 Chriselliam, #10 Clenor, #14 My Conquestadory

Wild Cards: #11 Ready to Act, #13 Sky Painter

Throw Outs: #1 Nesso, #3 Colonel Joan, #7 Street Sailing, #9 Dancing House

Race 10: Distaff (Grade 1)

Likely Winners: #4 Royal Delta, #5 Beholder, #6 Princess of Sylmar

Exotic Plays: #2 Authenticity

Wild Cards: NONE

Throw Outs: #1 Street Girl, #3 Closed Hatches


Cali Swag: Stars Working Out for the Breeders Cup

If you don’t want Breeders Cup fever, then you better now look at these photo’s!!  The stars were out in full force this week at Santa Anita, and Mike Sekulic was on hand to get great shots of them.  Enjoy these photo’s of Mucho Macho Man, Book Review, Game On Dude, Drill, Flashback, and Beholder!

TwinSpires Million Road to Derby Showdown