View Full Version : Danthebluegrassman

05-04-2002, 10:19 AM
He's a scratch according to radio reports. Robs the Asmussen trained/ Irwin-syndicate owned runner's spot in the derby.

If this was Baffert (or his owner's) manipulation-job, that sucks.

05-04-2002, 10:22 AM
Supposedly the horse "tied-up" after a jog this morning, was given a muscle relaxer, and will be okay in a couple of days.

Baffert seemed disappointed for the connections.


05-04-2002, 10:44 AM
Hey, SMF, I think you need a drink. You look stressed!


05-04-2002, 11:05 AM

I never drink before 9am....57,58,59...., OK, time for a beer!

Actually, that danboograssman thing went over like a led balloon down here. Asmussen was "noticeably mad" the way things shook out 2 days ago...No one told Asmusen or Irwin that the "other" Baffert horse was in. In fact, they said he wouldn't but apparently when the horse worked well, they decided to go.

It sure looks like a 'Taxi Squad job' from here. Might still be, who knows.

05-04-2002, 11:19 AM
BTW, I do have a drink every morning before 900am. Drink Ensure to make sure my bones don't go brittle...

Ask Gary West (5/3)

Q: Windward Passage was in the Kentucky Derby, and then he wasn't. What happened? Bill Bulloch, Dallas

A: Entries were taken Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs, with the drawing and selecting of post positions scheduled, to please TV of course, for later in the afternoon. And, as usual, the whole process was an embarrassment.

The Derby field is limited to 20 based on earnings in graded stakes. On Tuesday, Windward Passage ranked 21st in earnings among the 25 horses still regarded as possible for the Derby. But the status of one of those ahead of him, Mayakovsky, was very uncertain.

And indeed Wednesday morning, Mayakovsky's connections announced that they didn't enter the horse in the Derby. At that point, Windward Passage appeared to be in, and many people visited the barn of the horse's trainer, Steve Asmussen, to congratulate him on having another horse in the Derby. Private Emblem, also trained by Asmussen, was definitely in the race. It was reported on a television station that Windward Passage was in the field, too. And so Asmussen informed the horse's owners.

Around 11 a.m., somebody from the Churchill racing office telephoned Asmussen at his barn to solicit an entry for another race to ask him, in other words, to enter a horse so that a race might be more attractive and the field full. At that time, Asmussen asked about Windward Passage's Derby status, but nobody would say anything.

Then, moments before the made-for-TV selection process was to begin, the Windward Passage connections, who had come to the Kentucky Derby Museum for the post-position ritual, were told their horse wasn't in the race. They learned that Danthebluegrassman, trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Mike Pegram, was a surprising last-second addition, knocking Windward Passage back down to 21st in earnings.

Barry Irwin, president of the Team Valor partnership that owns Windward Passage, had no comment. But it appeared that several of the owners and most of them live in California had come to Louisville, Ky., just for the occasion.

So why the secrecy? Apparently it was an attempt to manufacture some news as if the entry of Danthebluegrassman could ever be newsworthy and rescue an incredibly boring hour of television.

And why was nobody considerate enough to inform Asmussen and the horse's owners that Windward Passage probably wasn't getting into the Derby field? Is there no place for civility and courtesy in what used to be regarded as the sport of kings? It truly is the ironic age.

05-04-2002, 01:08 PM
There is no "Why?" to consider. Baffert kept one more good horse out of the race. Bottom line. He gets a 5% better chance of winning with War Emblem. I think thats all there is to it. If you throw out some horses that shouldn't be in the race, he gains a 20% better chance of winning. He was just manipulating the system to give his horse a better chance.

05-05-2002, 12:46 AM
Whatever the case surrounding Danthebluegrassman, the whole situation was lousy .. two horses scratched out after entries were drawn while others ready and wanting to run were left out in the cold.

Whether we believe those horses who were left out deserved to get in is not the issue. If the connections of any horse wants to get in the race, and there is a spot, they should be permitted to get in. In cases where there is a late scratch, a new system needs to implemented so that any horse sitting on the sidelines for a chance at breaking into the race is given the opportunity.

05-05-2002, 12:25 PM
I think there are always way too many horse in the Derby to begin with. I think 12-14 is more than enough. Most entrants have zero chance of winning and the trainers know it. Make it a rule, no horse may run unless it has won a Gr1 or Gr2 stake or finished second in at least two.
That race yesterday looked like rush hour on the QEW - which I spent hours enduring Friday. (Side note to Canadians: You guys have about 400 billion square miles of country - you don't ALL have to live in Toronto ~G~).

05-05-2002, 03:37 PM
Maybe there are too many horses in the Derby .. but maybe that's because we're all used to seeing fields, especially for stakes races, so small.

I have no problem with there being 20 horses in the Derby. It's a tough race, and it should be .. just as the Triple Crown should remain unchanged so it remains a truly difficult achievement. These are racing's true gems, and they should not be made easier to obtain.

Over the years, when thinking back, I can't really recall a horse that got into so much trouble that it was clearly evident that one particular horse should have won the Kentucky Derby. Let's face it, the best horse is that horse that has the turn of foot to get positioning and capitalize on that split second moment .. and that's usually who wins the Derby.

A few years ago, people were whining and complaining when Charismatic won the "demolition Derby" and how the field size needed to be cut to prevent something like this from happening again, because Menifee should have won had it not been for all the troubles. However, Charismatic came right back in the Preakness to prove his Derby was no fluke, as well as his track record in the Lexington. And even though he lost the Belmont, he again defeated Menifee in the Belmont Stakes.

Maybe some horses don't fit .. but what race is ever run with horses that all absolutely belong?? Very, very few. This year's Derby was perfect .. many true contenders, with only a few toss-outs. While handicapping it may have been a nightmare, betting this year's Derby was a delight .. and the tote board reflected that with the generous payoffs .. though I do believe Saarland took way too much action, but I did figure that would happen. Bottom line, the Kentucky Derby generally provides generous payoffs, and this year was no exception, especially considering how you have the top two Derby trainers of recent times completing the exacta.

05-05-2002, 04:02 PM
Good post Observer...couldn't agree more!

05-05-2002, 11:29 PM
Here's an unsubstantiated thought (an idea, not even an opinion). I remember a stakes race at FG a couple of years ago. Baffert's Jostle was running. Well, guess who had TWO horses in a field of 8-9 runners. D.Wayne, naturally. He sent one of the horses out as a rabbit to wear Jostle down and the long, long (20-40/1 - I forget) other luKas horse with D. Meche riding closed hard to win. Funny thing is, he did the same thing a few weeks later if memory serves.

Now, I agree with J-Ralph -- 1/20 is 5% less chance of another horse winning. And, with Asmussen having two horses in the race -- who knows.

Again, just a _thought_. One has to also remember that these aren't cheap horses, and this is a once in a life time shot for the horse, and perhaps for them. So maybe they wouldn't want to play these games. Then again, 1 Mil for War Emblem a few weeks before the Derby. Bells and whistles there.


05-06-2002, 02:21 PM
Did Baffert ever train Jostle?

Didn't she run out of Philly Park?

05-06-2002, 02:34 PM
I'd have to look that up -- it was a year or two ago. My memory is a bit hazy, except for the fact that D. Wayne had two horses in the race and it was definitely a setup job.


05-06-2002, 02:42 PM
John Servis trained Jostle, until she was purchased as a broodmare/racing prospect and Elliott Walden made an attempt at bringing her back for this year .. things didn't work out, so she was officially retired and bred to Storm Cat.

Not really sure of the race or horses Handle is referring to, but if Lukas did use a "rabbit" in some race .. it would not be the first time a trainer did such a thing, and Lukas is certainly not the only trainer in the history of this game to use a "rabbit."

If Lukas did send out a "rabbit" in this 8-9 horse field of whatever race Handle is thinking about, along with his other runner that ended up winning, I'm sure there were not other horses left out because he crowded the gate.

The situation in this year's Kentucky Derby is different. Horses were left out because too many horses were trying to get in, and because there is no system in place to fill spots that become open because of late defections, these horses effectively had their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taken away from them for no good reason.

05-06-2002, 03:08 PM
I'm certainly not saying that the situation at the FG was the same as the one in the derby this year, or that this is the first time that such a situation has occurred. I'm not even saying that this situation is even closely similar, just that one could surmise that, had Asmussen had two horses in the race, he might use one of them to break down the early speed. As I said above, I don't think this theory holds much water given the "once in a lifetime" aspect of this race, I doubt the connections would appreciate their horse being used as a rabbit in the derby. But, who knows? We won't, since Baffert's late entry forced Windward Passage out.


05-06-2002, 03:11 PM
I don't remember the name of the race, but the Baffert horse was Chilukki or however it's spelled.

05-06-2002, 03:33 PM
Ahh, yes, Chilukki rings a bell -- thanks.