View Full Version : Saarland

04-15-2002, 04:01 PM
Charlsie Canty said, before the Saturday prep races, that every horse was looking for a reason to go on to the Derby except two who had proven they belonged. One was Harlan's Holiday. The other was Saarland.

He won the Remsen in slow time against nobody and finished second in a one turn mile against a horse that will not go on to the classics. That proves he belongs in the Derby?

I have seen this before: a slow horse who makes no move on the turn and closes mildly and has a big but undeserved rep. Last year he ran under the name Dollar Bill. He has reappeared as Saarland.

I habe no doubt he will go on the Louisville, but to say that a his credentials before Saturday had earned him a definite start in the Derby is ludicrous. Of course, his race Saturday did nothing to enhance his credentials, but I am sure Charlsie thinks otherwise.

Saarland is a complete throw-out on the first Saturday in May.

04-15-2002, 04:16 PM
I wouldn't throw him out, but that's just my opinion, and this doesn't mean I'm saying he'll win. However, he reminds me of a few horses, namely Strike the Gold and Sea Hero, who really weren't very good, but under the right circumstances they could win at 1 1/4 miles. He is definitely a much matured horse since last year. Keep in mind the ultimate goal was not the Gotham or the Wood.


04-15-2002, 04:46 PM
I am confused. Shug said his goal was the Wood. Are you saying a trainer would lie? I am shocked!

Of course, he could win, any horse can win any race. But his chances are so slim compared to his probable odds that he has no value in any wager.

I do not agree with Watchamaker often, but Saarland is a plodder and plodders only get in trouble in the Derby.

Note: Watchamaker picked Dollar Bill in the Derby DRF. I guess he forgot his own advice.

04-15-2002, 04:54 PM
I never listen to trainers, they usually just run off at the mouth. In Saarland's case, I certainly didn't think he would be ready for his best effort of a nearly 5 month layoff and a 1 turn 1 mile prep, no matter what the trainer says. He's probably not fully cranked for 1 1/4 m either now with only two preps.

That said, I like your reasoning, I never really judge whether a horse is worth a bet until I know what his odds are and compare it to my odds line. With such an evenly matched field this year, there really is no telling what price any horse will be until Derby Day.


04-16-2002, 11:44 AM
Not saying I'm going to back Saarland either, but I do think McGaughey got stuck a little bit out of his game plan when Gulfstream couldn't get an allowance race to fill for him, so they had to come up to New York for the Gotham. And I do feel on Wood Memorial day, that horses who weren't front-runners or stalkers were at a disadvantage.

And as for Charlsie Cantey, she also said, with regard to her backing Harlan's Holiday for top Derby choice right now, something like .. that despite his slow time in the Blue Grass, he's getting the job done. Well, Came Home has only failed to get the job done once in his career, which is better than Harlan's Holiday, and Came Home continues to be knocked based on pedigree, and most recently because of his slow time in the Santa Anita Derby, which people are using as proof that he does not want to go a distance. However, both horses came home in an equally slow 13 and change. So, I wonder, why is Harlan's Holiday considered to be that much of a better horse by everyone? His pedigree is barely better than Came Home's pedigree.

In my opinion, Came Home had some excuses for the lackluster effort in the Santa Anita Derby, because of all the events that took place behind the scenes in the weeks leading up to the race. With that in mind, I think Came Home ran the better final Derby prep than Harlan's Holiday.

04-16-2002, 08:16 PM
You'll get no argument from me Observer....you make some very logical points about Came Home...I wasn't impressed at all with HH's last race...


04-16-2002, 08:27 PM
I wasn't impressed with HH either, but that doesn't make Came Home any more legitimate, and as we all know, this isn't a match race.


04-16-2002, 08:29 PM
Actually, I would argue that HH's race on Saturday made every other entrant into the Derby that much more legitimate because HH was the most solid Derby threat up until last weekend (in my opinion). And in the Blue Grass, he appeared very vulnerable (at least to me).


04-16-2002, 08:30 PM
I agree that Harlan's Holiday is probably getting too much respect. I think he is an unlikely winner as is Came Home. Actually more unlikely in some ways. For example, Came Home has better pace and speed figures.

I am looking at War Emblem as a mild sleeper. There may not be much speed in the race. His Beyer is the highest of any in the field. His pace figures are solid (solid for this crop). I consider Medaglia D'Oro, Buddha and War Emblem as the top contenders. They are the only horses who have approached or equaled the final times normally displayed by Derby winners in their preps. Too many of the others are running 95-99 Beyers. I usually do not use Beyers, but believe they have some added usefulness in finding the contenders in the Derby. Especially horses who have repeatedly run sub-standard Beyers. Those horese need to improve, yet, because of their numerous races, are unlikely yo improve.

Harlan's Holiday is too slow in my opinion. Since he is not lightly raced, I see no reason to expect improvement in the Derby. Came Home has a chance to run a big number, but pedigree looms. But at least he has a chance.

I am throwing out all those who have shown two or more times recently that they are not close to Derby pars. I will accept any lightly raced horse who has shown recent improvement. But I need long odds. I will take any of the three listed above at 8:1 or higher. War Emblem is the only one who will go at those odds. Actually, Medaglia D'Oro may too. Harlan's will be favored, Buddha will be the 2nd choice and Came Home and Johannesburg will get action. So, Medaglia has a chance to go as the 5th choice in a 16-20 horse field. He could be 8:1. I'll play improving sorts at 20:1 keyed with the three mentioned above.

My improving sorts the last three years: Charismatic, Aptitude, Invisible Ink and Thunder Blitz. We look to continue.

04-16-2002, 09:15 PM
I agree that SAARLAND has been a monumental disappointment. The horse has no tactical speed and just lumbers along picking up some minor awards.

PERFECT DRIFT's last race made a very strong impression on me. The horse looked a picture. (Being a big, healthy Dynaformer doesn't hurt.) And when Eddie D. started scrubbing on him, he just went right by those horses and made it look effortless. Not much more than a canter.

It's hard to find fault with the other competitors mentioned from last weekend's races. It's interesting that ESSENCE OF DUBAI isn't getting any respect on this board, or any of the others that I hang out at. Hopefully he will show up in Kentucky soon, so that we can see how he gets along at CD in the morning.

04-16-2002, 09:36 PM
I am still scratching my head over this race the Quirin Pace/Speed numbers are unbelievable! My first pass gives the race something like a 135 - 119 !
The pace of 1:10 was incredible, but since there was only one one-turn route Saturday, I can't really accept that number without more checking. If these figs hold up, there is no question that this was the fastest prep by daylight. But too fast?

04-16-2002, 09:49 PM
I have similar findings for the race, 118-105 on a Beyer scale, way faster than anything else. By comparison, the SA Derby was 106-96, and the Blue Grass 108-98. The Ill Derby was also huge, though loose on the lead frontrunners do this, at 112-110. I think the Fla Derby was fast early too, around 117-101, something like that.


04-16-2002, 10:35 PM
Interesting posts. I have not seen any figures yet, but they confirm my intitial thoughts above.

I do think Essence of Dubai has a chance, but I need a price.

I just think we have some horses with big names who have shown they are too damn slow: Saarland and Harlan's Holiday come to mind.

I know War Emblem's figures may be biased, but at least he has run a top quality set of figures. His problem is that maybe his figs are not legit. Harlan's problem is that his figs probably ARE legit. I take War Emblem at a mid-price or higher and toss Harlan (in terms of win). Also, War Emblem did show improvement in his previous race, so he fits the pattern of an improving 3yo.

I do not know much of Perfect Drift or Private Emblem but they are candidates to improve.

04-16-2002, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by cjmilkowski
I have similar findings for the race, 118-105 on a Beyer scale, way faster than anything else. By comparison, the SA Derby was 106-96, and the Blue Grass 108-98. The Ill Derby was also huge, though loose on the lead frontrunners do this, at 112-110. I think the Fla Derby was fast early too, around 117-101, something like that.


I like to see a race shape just the opposite for this class and distance - a couple of lengths slower early than late. I think we might have a repeat of last year's suicide pace with a stout closer getting the money. Too early yet, but I am going to do figs on all the preps, with a little help from Andy Beyer and Dave Schwratz.

04-20-2002, 01:52 AM
guys look at saarlands last race closely the first time velqz
tried to make a move he got cut off saarland almost pulled up,
then he tried making a 4 wide move after a the horse was
taken off his game .we all know that was just to much to ask for
him to do.
now look at saarlands pastperformances really close the
gotham had a lone speed in it right where was he at each 1/4
behind that wicked pace .looked at how much ground he covered
at the end remember the key was there was only 1 speed.
come derby day waremblem will feel the preasure of mel d oro
and saarland should be kept closer to the pace.
a couple of races down the performances he also ran near the
pace ,to me thats where he does his best running.
shuggy has been trying him from all the way back to being
close as far as 5th at the half.this horse has a cannon of a move
and is so lightly raced it can release it come may 4th.
so watch out here comes the train with
the loot........I have $120.00 on him in pool #1 so far at least hes running .......

Kentucky Bred
04-20-2002, 10:29 PM
I also took Saarland in Pool 1 because he is truly bred for the 1 1/4 mile distance and his trainer will not go to the Derby just to go. These are not connections that like to get embarrased.

Today's Racing Form is reporting that Saarland underwent a throat latch operation yesterday. His jockey told Shug that Saarland held his breath from the 1/4 pole to the wire due to the wind problems!

Shug said that he will get back to training quickly and is expected to make the Derby.

Word to the wise. Sometimes horses CHANGE DRAMATICALLY after such a surgery.

Kentucky Bred

04-20-2002, 11:05 PM
I find this surgery for Saarland interesting. Apparently he suffered from a "displaced soft palate" and underwent minor tenectomy surgery. This procedure was also done to Coronado's Quest, another talented 3yo from the McGaughey outfit several years ago. What I like, is that McGaughey doesn't appear to be the type of trainer to go through all kinds of procedures and extraordinary means without serious foundation. Just look at how he applies Lasix to his runners, and blinkers as well.

I wonder if it was those strong 25mph head-winds they raced into down the stretch that prompted Saarland to displace his palate, or if it merely happened from the stress of the race. Either case, the surgery could be the key to an improved effort next out, but could the experience of him not getting his air have startled him for the next out?

I always hate going with a horse that had a frightening experience in their last race, whether it be a spill, slamming the gate hard at the break, or something like this.

Let's face it, Saarland has been getting lots of attention because of his pedigree, and has been given excuses in his starts this year. This added excuse for his last start, on top of the head-wind, will only add to him being overbet on Derby day. I'm not saying I believe he won't win, I am saying there will be no value when compared to what he's actually accomplished in his races.

04-21-2002, 11:05 AM
Interesting article in this weeks SimWeekly about the finishing abilities of the contenders. If you look at the third fraction as a whole and not just the last eigth, Saarland is right up there in spite of his recent problems. If he has any kind of price (and he might now that he has disaapointed so many followers) he may well be worht a bet. I am leaning towards thinking that this year will be a repeat of last years "Run for the Far Turn." Now with a front running Lukas horse equiped with whatever magic the old man brings to the table, I am more and more looking to horse we haven't heard much about so far.....could it be the year for a European???

04-29-2002, 10:07 AM
I have a small picture on my desk in the laboratory where I work.It has faded over time,but still shows 3 smiling faces.Mack Miller,Paul Mellon and Jerry Bailey are celebrating the 119th Kentucky Derby winner,SEA HERO.

SAARLAND is being led up to his derby with similar credentials.
Pedigree for the 1 1/4 Classic distance,preps that lead up to a optimum performance on the first Saturday in May, and early performance as a 2 year old.

My sentiment will be with HARLAN'S HOLIDAY to represent the State of Ohio but my eye will be looking for SAARLAND to be coming on late in the homestretch.

04-30-2002, 10:26 PM
Hi Guys,

I'm kinda new to this forum but here's my opinion anyway.

Saarland is a definite contender in this race. One look at this horse's past performances is enough to tell anyone that this horse is SCREAMING for 10 furlongs or more. He has made up major ground from the stretch to the finish in every race but one. There is not one other horse in this race that has consistently gained in the stretch like Saarland. Most have gained and flattened out. The pace of this race should be somewhat comparable to that of last years Derby with War Emblem, Buddha, Medaglio d'Oro, and Mayakovsky all wanting to be on or near the lead, that being said the race sets up for a closer.
Have my list down to Essence of Dubai, Johannesburg, War Emblem, and Saarland right now. That is subject to change after post position draw, but as of now I would bet any of those four that went off at 10-1 or better and I'd probably even take 8-1 on Saarland or Essence of Dubai.
Also would throw a few bucks on Perfect Drift or Castle Gandolfo at 30-1 or better

05-01-2002, 11:41 AM
Mayakovsky is not running.

The pace (if it runs to form) appears honest (average). There is only one need to lead type in the race (War Emblem). There are pace pressers who can run on the front end, but for a 20 horse field, the early speed cannot be considered atypically high. I consider the pace scenario to be more favorable to War Emblem than to Saarland.

Many handicappers know that plodders and one-run closers DO NOT necessarily improve with added distance. although that is the conventional wisdom. They often flatten because the extra distance has deprived their run of kick.

Kentucky Bred
05-01-2002, 08:59 PM
True Tanda--Saarland could easily just go around the track and pick up tired horses again but consider this.

1.) A review of the Dosage Indexes (for those who are believers of such things which I am) distribute Chef de Race points for Saarland that are staggering. 19 points in the all important center number which are points indicating tactical classic pedigree to go 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. I don't think this horse is going to be too far off. Shug knows he doesn't have a "push button" horse like the AMAZING ride Bailey gave on Grindstone. That was the most impressive push button ride I've ever seen. Saarland must be in position to grind them down the stretch. And we've seen a lot of horses win the Derby that exact way.

2.) Having owned horses in the past, I can tell you that some horses change overnight after the minor throat latch surgery. Horses don't run well when they can't breath.

3.) I was shocked to find out that despite all of that, Saarland's best numbers came in his LAST RACE.

4.) I just read that Ogden Phipps had never won a Kentucky Derby. If that is so, it would be providence if Saarland to win the Derby so soon after his death. I know it is not handicapping, but it would be pure poetry. I for one would love to see it happen. Phipps was one of the "good guys" of the sport that did the right thing for the horse first. He also gave the trainer the chance to produce for him and let him go. He was richly rewarded with several champions.

Look, the truth is this year (every year?) we've got a bunch of horses that have gotten very used to dictating the pace of the race. In addition, some of those horses are a bit cheap. (Horses are getting in with just 100k or so of lifetime income). This means that it is going to be FAST. Your plodder--pick up a few down the stretch type horses might just look totally different passing horses down the longest stretch in the country.

The question is what post (we'll know soon) and what price (we'll know soon). Unless there is more talk about the horse than there is now he could be over 10-1 odds--maybe higher? By Unbridled out of Versailles Treaty (a champion broodmare) by Danzig and I get a $20+ dollar horse from that Pedigree Line--you got a deal.

Oh, and if it rains--he is bred for mud all day long! And the bullet work at Belmont since his last race--- 4/22 47.1 ( B ) 1/42 was in the mud.

Of course, that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.

Kentucky Bred

Kentucky Bred
05-01-2002, 10:50 PM
Saarland--16 hole--15-1

Johannesburg--1 hole--6-1 (thought it would be higher)

Harlan's Holiday--14 hole--Lukewarm 9-2 favorite.

05-04-2002, 09:38 PM
I won't be too hard on the SAARLAND wiseguys but how about a reality check?

It's time to put this colt in the column that says nicely-bred-slow horse.

His peers have gone forward from their 2YO campaigns....he hasn't (or, not forward enough). Back to the NWOT Allowance races that he is plenty eligible for.

DOLLAR BILL all over again.

Kentucky Bred
05-04-2002, 09:56 PM
OK, you got me. Thanks for going easy. But IMHO, Saarland looked absolutely spectacular in the paddock and post parade. A simply beautiful animal conditioned to perfection.

But to this point...Dollar Bill it is.

But I bet him while at the Kentucky Oaks at 15-1! I hadn't heard that much about him in the press. As the co-favorite..no way I play that horse. I had two price horses to jump to... which also lost.

05-04-2002, 10:00 PM
No pace, no chance. Could return nicely in Belmont.

05-04-2002, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Boris
No pace, no chance. Could return nicely in Belmont.

Same theory I refuted after the Illinois Derby, the pace was honest in both the Ill and Ky Derbies as far as the clock goes, much like last year's Derby despite what many believe. (Pressure is a different story however)


05-04-2002, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by Boris
No pace, no chance. Could return nicely in Belmont.

Being where he was postioned coming out of the first turn showed me that this horse is an absolute plug with no racing furure. He has topped and will be the NW Alw's for the rest of his career. I predict no wins this year for this milk wagon puller.
(And he was my key horse today!) I think Shug needed the throat surgery more than the horse did - Saarland might get the distance, but Shug was eased on his way to the paddock.

Kentucky Bred
05-04-2002, 11:10 PM
Originally posted by Tom

I think Shug needed the throat surgery more than the horse did - Saarland might get the distance, but Shug was eased on his way to the paddock.

Major LOL!