Holy Bull recap, Withers & Sam Davis preview

by TCI 4 years ago

The TCI boys enter the show’s 5th season of covering the Triple Crown by revealing the first TCI Top 10 rankings of 2014. They also briefly discuss the impact of the Holy Bull card at Gulfstream, and preview this weekend’s Withers S. (G3) and Sam F. Davis S. (G3).

Watch it. Comment.


  • 1JoeP

    Hi Joel – Great to have you and Jon back for 2014 Ky Derby Trail. Injuries have really taken a toll on several good horses. New Years Day, injured and retired. Shared Belief, very impressive thus far has foot issues. Honor Code, at the Top of many lists, now his Derby Status is cloudy. I agree with you Joel that for the KY Derby Pedigree is ultra important. Trying to eliminate or drop lower on lists would be those horses that have questionable pedigrees for 1 1/4. Cairo Prince has looked very good thus far, but maybe he is this years version of Verrazano, or Goldencents. 2 very good horses whose pedigree wouldn’t allow them to get the Derby distance. Here’s my current top 5 Joel. I am leaving off injured horses until they are healthy again and entered in a Derby prep race. #1 Strong Mandate – He did have a taxing 2 year old campaign like you said, but this large Tiznow colt is training lights out at Oaklawn for D. Wayne Lukas. He has won in the slop which is good to know because Churchill could come up muddy for the Derby. #2 Top Billing – I will take your word on this one Joel, possibly he will go in the FOY, this would be a good test for him. #3 Conquest Titan – We know he likes CD, has a good pedigree, and a good running style as a closer for the KY Derby. #4 California Chrome – targeted for the S. Felipe Next. Easily beat Tamarando, a quality colt , in his last race. #5 Cairo Prince – Looks good now, however his pedigree may be a red flag. Joel what do you think of California Chrome and his pedigree? If you don’t think he has the pedigree I will take him off of my list. Finally what do you think of Tapiture who looks to run in the SW verses Strong Mandate? He looked good winning at CD in a stakes race as a juvenile.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey Joe! It’s great to be back, man. I’m pumped about the Triple Crown season this year because I truly feel it is more wide open than it’s been in some time, I really feel that way. A lot of colts that are lightly raced but promising enough to be very close to the established contenders IMO. So it’s a challenge to project 3 months down the road when weighing between the current brilliance of colts like Shared Belief, Cairo Prince, etc, and the profiles and development potential of colts like Top Billing, Tap It Rich, etc. The common denominator is that there appears to be a lot of two-turn talent…as many as 15 colts that I’ve seen so far that I really think has the profile and potential to wear the roses in May. So I’m PUMPED to try and solve the 2014 puzzle.

      I like your #1…he was honestly a colt I expected to tail off at the end of last year, simply because he’s such a huge horse and his pedigree and physique completely suggested he could not be at his best as a 2yo…he needed time to develop into that frame and stretch out. He did have sore shins that had to have stung such a big horse…and obviously he was hard campaigned and not given much of a break. NOW, with a break and developing into his 3yo season where he’ll likely run exclusively around two turns, I fully expect to see the best Strong Mandate. I think we’ll learn a LOT about him in his first race back at Oaklawn….if he doesn’t run well I will lose faith in him simply because that’s my read on him. But I do believe he’ll run well and prove to be a top contender for the Arkansas Derby, and eventually KY Derby.

      I need to see more from California Chrome. I do think he has plenty of stamina influence in his female family. Vaguely Noble, Sir Ivor, Polish Numbers..all provide it. I just need to see him beat some of the top colts out there before I become a believer, and he’ll get that opportunity like you said against Midnight Hawk, etc. He’s improved, but can he now really improve and be among the very best of his crop? We’ll soon see.

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