May 2002 VOL. 15, NO. 5

Table of Contents

Kentucky Derby Reports
TwinSpires Preakness Day
KY Derby Pedigree Analysis
At Your Service

KENTUCKY DERBY WINNING SELECTIONS is your only source for value-added information plus complete coverage of this year's Kentucky Derby. From great pedigree data to superior performance ratings, has it all! Here's a brief look at our comprehensive Derby menu:


Each day race fans from across the globe visit racing's top online newsletter, the Handicapper's Edge. Serious handicappers enjoy the up-to-the-minute coverage of the Triple Crown every day now through June. Each issue is packed with the latest happenings, jockey and trainer quotes, workout details, and so much more. Stay on top of your favorite sport and the road to the Derby with the FREE Handicapper's Edge, compliments of


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Table of Contents

Kentucky Derby Reports
TwinSpires Preakness Day
KY Derby Pedigree Analysis
At Your Service

Preakness Day, May 18th

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Table of Contents

Kentucky Derby Reports
TwinSpires Preakness Day
KY Derby Pedigree Analysis
At Your Service

Kentucky Derby Pedigree Analysis
By Richard Nilsen

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, we must demand a horse that is bred to handle a mile and a quarter. Using pedigree handicapping, here's a brief look at this year's top contenders:

  • BLUE BURNER: the strength of this horse's ability to go 10 furlongs lies on his female side. His dam, a stakes placed daughter of Alydar, also produced a minor stakes winner that won at 1 1/4 miles, both on dirt and turf. That bodes well for Blue Burner's ability to go the Derby distance. Having suffered a terrible wide trip in the Wood Memorial, Blue Burner can improve off that effort.
  • BUDDHA: With the addition of Lasix and blinkers, Buddha broke his maiden with a 100 BRIS Speed Rating. The grandson of Unbridled returned Florida Derby day running an incredible 107 fig - only three points less than Harlan's Holiday. His performance in the Wood was outstanding, so does he have the pedigree to last 10 furlongs? There's nothing in his bloodlines to indicate otherwise.
  • CAME HOME: There are legitimate reasons to doubt Came Home's stamina. In the Santa Anita Derby he was dull on the far turn before finally kicking in to pull away for the win. Not only was the final time pedestrian, but he "came home" slow. In addition, he drifted in some late, like a tired horse. Even if you love Came Home, I would demand a price on Derby day. There's no reason to take a short price on a colt with a questionable pedigree.
  • CASTLE GANDOLFO is bred to run all day, thanks to a solid female family. His dam, a half sister to the great stamina influence El Gran Senor, produced Devonwood, a turf marathon stakes runner. He is also a half sibling to three other runners that were victorious at 10f or longer. And he's already proved what his pedigree says by running second in a 10-furlong race as a 2yo! Plus, the pedigree is clearly there to handle the surface switch.
  • EASY GRADES has a better pedigree than at first glance. His female family traces back to third dam Homespun. One of the great broodmares of the 20th century, Homespun produced stakes winner Sportin' Life, the sire of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Bet Twice, as well as Mashaallah, Champion Older Horse in Italy, and Grade 1 winner Folk Art. Not only is Easy Grades' dam by stamina influence Easy Goer, but his second dam is by Nijinsky II.
  • ESSENCE OF DUBAI, a son of Champion 2yo Filly Epitome, has already proven he can negotiate 10 furlongs, and that gives him an experience edge over his rivals. Royally bred and better prepared than past Dubai runners, Essence Of Dubai arrives as the best hopeful ever to come out of the Middle East. Keep in mind that Godolphin Racing has finished in the top half of the Derby field in each of the last two years with runners that couldn't hold a candle to this guy.
  • HARLAN'S HOLIDAY: Although his female family is weaker than many other Derby hopefuls, few Ohio-breds have this strong a pedigree. Harlan has already proven that he can sire a legitimate Derby horse. His son Menifee lost the 1999 Derby by a rapidly diminishing neck. Broodmare sire Affirmed, of course, won the 1978 Triple Crown. Harlan has an AWD of 7.2f and Affirmed has an 8.0f AWD, so the stamina is clearly there.
  • JOHANNESBURG has speed on both sides of his pedigree (6.8f AWDs), making him a serious question mark past 9 furlongs. Another big concern is the use of only one prep race. It didn't work for Arazi and it's unlikely to work for this colt. You have to prefer his stablemate a lot more.
  • MAYAKOVSKY's extremely slow finish in the Santa Anita Derby only confirmed what his pedigree is telling us.
  • MEDAGLIA D'ORO is clearly bred to be a miler, but when it comes to trainer Bobby Frankel, it appears anything is possible. Having trained many multiple stakes winners at 10f or longer, Frankel knows better than any one if his runner is cut out of the Derby mold. Read the Handicapper's Edge for anything Frankel has to say about his chances in the weeks leading up to the big race.
  • PERFECT DRIFT: With a sire AWD of 8.1f and a broodmare sire AWD of 7.7f, Perfect Drift has the stamina required. Keep in mind that Perfect Drift has never finished worse than second and has also run well over the Churchill track (lost by a neck in his 2yo debut). This is one colt that could score at a price!
  • REQUEST FOR PAROLE: Although a graded stakes winner around two turns, Judge T C (6.7f AWD) has yet to sire a winner past 1 1/16 miles. This overachieving colt gets stamina from his female family. Broodmare sire Deputy Minister has an AWD of 7.5f and has sired winners as far as 24 furlongs! Consider using on the bottom of any trifecta plays.
  • SAARLAND, as a son of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Unbridled, is bred to run all day. Dam Versailles Treaty banked over $1.2 million and could also run long. This is one classy family tree, which is loaded with black type runners such as Out of Place, Chief Honcho, and General Assembly, to name a few.
  • SUNDAY BREAK has everything you want to see in a Derby contender: great breeding, top connections, and improving form. Half to a champion in Japan, the son of Forty Niner ran a career best 107 fig in the Wood and is one to fear in Louisville.
  • WAR EMBLEM is a rapidly improving 3yo that earned a big Late Pace figure in the Illinois Derby! Probably best at 9f, War Emblem gets stamina from his female side, so 10f is a possibility. Bob Baffert now trains.

The 2002 Kentucky Derby is the most wide-open event in recent memory. For that reason, whatever runner(s) you choose, do not take a short price on anyone. Consider playing your top overlay to win and place, while using that horse and a couple others on top in the exotics. Good luck!

-- Rich Nilsen relies on pedigree handicapping nearly every day he handicaps, not just on the first Saturday in May.

Table of Contents

Kentucky Derby Reports
TwinSpires Preakness Day
KY Derby Pedigree Analysis
At Your Service

May 2002 Racing Calendar

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