Tag Archives: Pioneerof The Nile

The Haiku Handicapper: The 2009 Preakness Stakes

The Crown’s second jewel
Most Rachel drama since “Friends”
Should make good watching

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#1 – Big Drama
Does well off long breaks
Will duel for lead, but can last
Shooter with a shot

#2 – Mine That Bird
Historic upset
Best horse or opportunist?
No Borel, no chance

#3 – Musket Man
A pleasant surprise
Answered class, distance questions
As live as any

#4 – Luv Gov
Best name in the field
Took ten starts to break maiden
Would be a huge shock

#5 – Friesan Fire
Derby’s biggest bust
In-race hoof woes a concern
Has he recovered? 

#6 – Terrain
Wisely skipped Derby
Globetrotter on eighth new track
An exotic threat

#7 – Papa Clem
Off two big efforts 
Almost always a factor
Is a bounce looming?

#8 – General Quarters
A minor letdown
Rough trip in race, ride to track
Was Blue Grass his peak? 

#9 – Pioneerof The Nile
Hey, he handles dirt!
Great trip, ran into buzzsaw
Will be tough to beat 

#10 – Flying Private
Crossed the wire last
Lane’s End now an afterthought
Doesn’t look likely 

#11 – Take The Points
Passed on the big dance
Second tier on the west coast
Middle of the pack 

#12 – Tone It Down
A local entry
Could draft Mine That Bird on rail
Too much here to beat 

#13 – Rachel Alexandra
The filly phenom
Stallion showcase gains intrigue
Talent should trump post

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Who cashes tickets?
Zayat only needed one
Place: thirteen, Show: one

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The Haiku Handicapper: Kentucky Derby Recap

What a great rail trip
Borel’s joy worth the lost cash
Let’s see him repeat

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With all of the late dropouts on the Derby trail, I was left with a lot of finished and unfinished haikus that seemed doomed to the purgatory of my notebook. When a 50-1 shot takes the big check, sometimes you just can’t help but wonder what could have been. For those of you who like to speculate, here are a few of the “B-Sides” for some of the horses who took a detour on the road to the roses.

Quality Road
High quality wins
Could sneak away with the lead
If his hooves are sound

Win Willy
Rebel upsetter
Back to earth in Arkansas
Latter form’s likely

Mafaaz (GB)
Gimmick race winner
Showed nothing against real foes
Triple-digit odds?

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Deal or No Deal

  Michigan-Bred Hot Chili (with T.D. Houghton aboard) was considered part of the field in the initial 2008 Derby Future Wager Pool. Though his time on the Derby trail was brief, a fellow field horse, Big Brown more than picked up the slack. 

Michigan-Bred Hot Chili (with T.D. Houghton aboard) was considered part of the mutuel field in the initial 2008 Derby Future Wager Pool. Though his time on the Derby trail was brief, a fellow field horse, Big Brown, more than picked up the slack.

 To paraphrase a banner ad for last year’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool, if you pick the winner in May, you’re smart. If you do it in February, you’re a freakin’ genius. 

The freakin’ geniuses of the world will once again have their shot to prove their superiority following the recent release of the odds for this year’s first pool. Though the figures will fluctuate by the end of the wagering period there are a few horses that stand out either positively or negatively based on their initial odds. 

With a limited time before the pool closes and with the silhouette of the banker ominously staring down at you, it is time to make a decision. Deal or no deal?

Listed below are a few of the horses I would press the flashing button for if I had the money, and some I would leave behind to open more suitcases.

For a look at the entire pool, click here.


I Want Revenge
Odds: 50-1

Firstly, do not take this as an endorsement that I like I Want Revenge to win the whole thing. He’s at 50/1 for a reason. However, he has shown marked improvement since stretching out over a mile a few races back, finishing no less than third since then. He has gotten caught in the stretch by Pioneerof The Nile in his last two races, but he turns out great works and could be sitting on a big race. At that price, he could be worth taking a small waiver on just in case.

No Deal

Midshipman/Vineyard Haven 
Odds: 12-1 

Some may call me crazy for turning down 12-1 on an Eclipse Award winner and another finalist, but if one of these two find the winner’s circle on Derby Day, they will have done so by taking the long road less traveled against what many would consider to be lesser competition. I would need higher odds than that to feel good about this bet.


Old Fashioned
Odds: 10-1

Unless he absolutely tanks as a three-year-old, this should be the last time he comes close to being offered at 10-1 between now and the Derby. Though I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid on this horse until I see how he handles early pace pressure, his wins have been impressive. If he can live up to the potential he showed during his juvenile campaign, this could be the easiest money offered in a long time.

No Deal

Stardom Bound
Odds: 12-1

That’s some awfully low odds for a horse that is only being considered for a Derby run. Also, despite the recent successes of Rags to Riches and Eight Belles, I still like to see some proof that a filly can run with the boys before I go throwing too much money at her. Even if she wins the Santa Anita Derby, she should leave the gates in Louisville at comparable odds to what she’s giving now. If you like her that much, wait until she is a sure thing to run.


Pioneerof The Nile
Odds: 20-1

The Zayat homebred has stepped up his game considerably since last year’s win in the CashCall Futurity, becoming the leader of the California Derby contingent. This fact alone makes him an incredible value at 20-1. Until someone proves otherwise, all of the California-based horses will bear the artificial surface red flag, but no one knows how that could change with the Derby preps at Santa Anita being run on a new surface. Either way, he is worth a play at this price.

No Deal

This Ones for Phil
Odds: 12-1

Do I need to tell you to avoid the horse who’s not even nominated to the Triple Crown? Even if IEAH Stables ponies up the six grand for a late entry, he ought to bring higher odds leaving the gates at Churchill Downs than he is giving here. Have patience with this one.


The Pamplemousse
Odds: 30-1

A gray horse who sets glacial opening fractions, then finds another gear in the stretch. Where have we seen this before? Granted, his San Rafael effort was hardly against world-class competition, but front-running winners with that extra gear are hard to come by on artificial surfaces. The same questions plague him that follow Old Fashioned, but he has the same upside with a higher payoff.

No Deal

The Mutuel Field (All Others) 
Odds: 5-2 

Give me all the smug remarks you want about how this was the ticket that was cashed last year, but at such low odds, making money at this proposition is near impossible. Big Brown barely made this bet profitable last year, winning the Derby at 5/2 after giving odds of 3/1 as a part of the mutuel field. Big Brown was also a freak that won out of the 20 hole. Barring someone coming out of nowhere and absolutely crushing everything in his path, no one in this category should go off at odds lower than 5/2. And besides, “the field” is such an unimaginative bet. Come on, get creative with your wager, people!


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The Haiku Handicapper: CashCall Futurity Recap

Zayat by daylight
Revenge is fleeting, four strides
Let’s see it on dirt


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The Haiku Handicapper: CashCall Futurity

Another big race
Winter break leaves me with time
Cali, here I come 


#1 – Azul Leon
Early juv darling
Hasn’t shown he can stretch out
Crossroads race this soon?

#2 – J P Jammer
A local prospect
Good efforts, nothing stands out
Not too exciting 

#3 – Hype
Improving turf horse
Distance won’t be a problem
Buy into the hype 

#4 – Axel Foley
Euro stakes winner
Will race with load off his back
Too much left to prove 

#5 – Pioneerof The Nile
New Baffert trainee
Runs the distance in his sleep
Time to prove his class

 #6 – Chocolate Candy
Improved with distance 
Money jock, but a class jump
CashCall’s sleeper pick

#7 – I Want Revenge
Best name in the field
A likely front-end burnout
Would need big effort 

#8 – Ventana
Spanish for “window”
English for “distance issues”
Great works, not today 

#9 – Frumious
Source of early speed
Three straight wins, but in San Fran
Probably outclassed 

#10 – Bittel Road
Turf star tries fake dirt
Great closer, shaky sprinter
Which horse will we see?

#11- Mr. Rod
A former claimer
Early speed will seal his fate
Could last for super 

#12 – Mark S The Cooler
The field’s lone maiden
Really, does this ever work?
Don’t see a win here 


Who answers the call?
Five sends them up the river
Ten if rode well, three

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