Kicking Off the 2015 Derby Charity League: Time to pick the horses

Welcome to year seven of the Brooklyn Backstretch Kentucky Derby charity game!  We started in 2009, piggybacking on the Saratoga Special Derby fantasy league; from 2010 to 2013, we used the Road to the Roses as the base for our league play.

For the second year, Mike Dorr, who writes about racing at Up the Track, has put together our very own version, based on the points-carrying Derby prep races.

As in years past, I pledge $75 to the racing charity of the winner’s choice. There’s no entry fee, but contributions are welcome; over the years, we’ve donated $4,000 to racing charities like the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Days’ End Horse RescueOur MimsOld Friends at Cabin CreekAll About Spay Neuter (which supported the care, feeding, and spay/neuter of the Belmont backstretch cats), and ReRun.

Last year’s winner was John Perotti, who won a pot of nearly $2,000, doling it out to Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue, Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, Belmont Child Care AssociationThe Moore Foundation (which supports the care, feeding, and spay/neuter of the cats on the Oklahoma backstretch), Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, and The Exceller Fund.

In a change this year, donation money will be distributed among the top three finishers:  60% to the winner, 25% to the runner-up, 15% to whoever rounds out the trifecta.

Every dollar donated goes straight to the charities; info on pledging can be found below.

To play, you will select a fantasy stable consisting of 12 Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-old horses, and horses will earn points for the players’ stable with top-4 finishes in official Kentucky Derby qualifying races, racing in the Kentucky Derby, and a top-5 finish in the Kentucky Derby.

Points will be allocated according to the Kentucky Derby points system.  Kentucky Derby starters will earn an additional 30 points each; Kentucky Derby points will be, for finishes in the top 5, 300-120-60-30-15.

Mike has divided the Triple Crown-nominated horses into three groups based on criteria including current Derby points standings, graded stakes earnings, and Derby future wagering odds. Group A consists of 14 horses, Group B 26, and Group C the remaining several hundred Triple Crown-nominated horses.

Players will choose for their stable:

  • 3 Group A horses
  • 4 Group B horses
  • 5 Group C horses

The groups are available in this Google doc.  You must select and post your stable by this Saturday, February 21, by 12:00 PM CST.

After the Sunland Park Derby on March 22, the horses will be divided into two groups (D & E, again grouped by performance criteria above) and stables will be able to add:

  • 1 Group D horse
  • 1 Group E horse

Round 2 of the contest will begin with the UAE Derby on March 28; supplemental horses must be selected by 6:00 PM CDT Friday, March 27. Points earned by Group D and E horses in Round 1 will not count toward the players’ total

The contest will conclude with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2. The winning stable will have the most accumulated points. In the unlikely event of a tie, ties will be broken as follows:

  • Highest # of Derby Starters in your stable
  • Highest # of Points at the end of Round 1

A reminder post will go up the week before Round 2 begins.

We hope that you’ll join us again this year…and don’t forget to post the names of your horses in the comments section by noon this Saturday!

If you’re interested in contributing, please leave the amount in the comments or e-mail me at

Questions? Contact Mike Dorr ( or me, leave a question in the comments, find us on Twitter (@BklynBckstretch, @mikedorr77).  As questions come in, we’ll post an FAQ.

Good luck, have fun, and let’s do some good for the racing community.

69 thoughts on “Kicking Off the 2015 Derby Charity League: Time to pick the horses

  1. thanks for doing this again — looking forward to playing! here’s my initial draft:

    Group A:
    Far From Over
    Ocean Knight

    Group B:
    Bold Conquest
    Gorgeous Bird
    Tiznow R J

    Group C:
    Ami’s Flatter
    Keen Ice
    Private Prospect

  2. I’ll pledge $100 and double it if a Pletcher horse doesn’t win.

    A: Upstart, Texas Red, Dortmund
    B: Far Right, Frosted, Imperia, Ocho Ocho Ocho
    C: My Point Exactly, Calculator, International Star, Easy to Say, Or So

  3. One change since the original post: we decided this year to distribute the donation among the top three finishers: 60% to the winner, 25% to second place, 15% to third place. I hope that doesn’t discourage any of you from playing, but wanted to let everyone know…

  4. Put me down for $50.

    Group A: Dortmund, El Kabeir, Ocean Knight
    Group B: Danzig Moon, Frosted, Gorgeous Bird, Rock Shandy
    Group C: Bluegrass Singer, Super Surfer, Danish Dynaformer, Keen Ice, Prodigal

    [Updated by Teresa to substitute Super Surfer for Calculator]

  5. $75
    upstart….carpe diem…dortmund
    firing line…imperia…lord nelson…metaboss
    maftool,mebtaahij..bolo..jacaranda…gold shield

  6. In for $50.00

    Group A: Upstart, Carpe Diem, Dortmund
    Group B: Khozan, Metaboss, The Great War, Gorgeous Bird
    Group C: Souper Colossal, Barbados, Bolo, Cyrus Alexander, Japan

    • Imperia was mistakenly listed as a B and C horse, but is for others a B. Please feel free to add another in Group C. Sorry and thanks!

  7. Splitting the purse just like a real horse race? Hmmm….

    OK, here goes nothing!
    Group A: Dortmund, Far From Over, Upstart
    Group B: Frosted, Khozan, Lord Nelson, Gorgeous Bird
    Group C: Calculator, Bolo, Barbados, Keen Ice, Cyrus Alexander.

    Oh and I’m in for $50. No doubling down or anything, I am not that confident 🙂

  8. Thanks for organizing, Teresa! I pledge $75 and here are my choices:

    Group A: Ocean Knight, Upstart, Carpe Diem
    Group B: Frosted, Khozan, Firing Line, Ocho Ocho Ocho
    Group C: Gold Shield, Bolo, Mubtaahij, Cyrus Alexander, Danny Boy

    I think Imperia is in both B and C…I’m guessing this must be in error?

    Thank you!

  9. Group a Carpe diem,Upstart,Texas Red Group B Bayerd ,Frosted , Ocho ocho ocho, Classy Class, Group C Danny Boy, English Approval, InfinATE mIDNIGHT, Bluegrass Singer, Union River Thanks for all you do.

    [updated by Teresa to reflect substitutions for Imperia and Leave the Light On]

  10. I’m in for $50

    A: Upstart, Dortmund, Texas Red
    B: Frosted, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Bold Conquest, Beyerd
    C: Hashtag Bourbon, Nasa, Danny Boy, Forever Unbridled, Keen Ice

  11. OK, here goes nothing:

    Group A: Upstart, International Star, Far From Over

    Group B: Gorgeous Bird, Far Right, Competitive Edge, Prospect Park

    Group C: Keen Ice, Ostrolenka, Another Lemon Drop, Good Luck Gus, St. Joe Bay

  12. We will follow in our sibling’s footsteps and also donate $500 in the winner, 2nd, and 3rd-place persons’ names ($300, $125, & $75, respectively) if they are an active customer of Brisnet (we’ll define active as having downloaded something this year).

  13. Group A: American Pharoah, Carpe Diem, Upstart
    Group B: Imperia, Khozan, Firing Line, The Great War
    Group C: Cinco Charlie, Bad Read Sanchez, My Johnny Be Good, Why Two, General Bellamy

    I pledge $100

  14. I will donate $100.00.
    Group A: American Pharoah,Dortmund, Upstart
    Group B:Classy Class, Frosted, Metaboss, War Story
    Group C: Danny Boy,Good Luck Gus,Hashtag Bourbon, Mawthooq, Puca,

  15. Group A: Dortmund, Far From Over, Upstart
    Group B: Danzig Moon, Gorgeous Bird, Khozan, Itsaknockout
    Group C: Instant Replay, Wisecracker, Bolo, Spring Quality, Bold Conquest

  16. I’ll pledge $75 — it’s for a good cause, and I’d lose just as much playing sons and daughters of Invasor in maiden-claiming company, so here goes…

    Group A
    Prospect Park
    Far From Over
    Texas Red

    Group B
    Competitive Edge
    Ocho Ocho Ocho
    Gorgeous Bird

    Group C
    Private Prospect
    Cyrus Alexander
    Keen Ice

  17. Group A: Dortmund, Far From Over, Upstart
    Group B: Competitive Edge, Imperia, Itsaknockout, Lord Nelson
    Group C: Keen Ice, Madefromlucky, Maftool, Souper Colossal, Stanford

    Pledge: $50 (or if I can successfully make a career change by securing a full time job in the horse racing industry by Derby Day 2015, I’ll make it $500. BTW – I’ve been trying for two years!)

  18. I’m good for $100

    American Pharoah
    Mr. Z

    Ocho Ocho Ocho
    Tiznow RJ
    The Great War
    Far Right

    Don’t Bet with Bruno
    Ami’s Flatter
    Bluegrass Singer

  19. $50 pledge and these fine thoroughbreds:

    A – Carpe Diem, Daredevil, Upstart
    B – Firing Line, Khozan, Imperia, Frosted
    C – Mubtaahij, Wisecracker, Keen Ice, Gold Shield, One Lucky Dane

  20. Okay, Teresa, here goes:
    A: American Pharoah, Dortmund, Upstart;
    B: Far Right, Firing Line, Frosted, Imperia;
    C: Bolo, Cyrus Alexander, Danny Boy, Keen Ice, Mubtaahij.
    I pledge $50, double if I win.
    Thanks for doing this…it is fun, Kay Marie

  21. $50 pledge and these fine thoroughbreds:

    A – Carpe Diem, Daredevil, Upstart
    B – Firing Line, Frosted, Khozan, Imperia
    C – Mubtaahij, Gold Shield, Wisecracker, One Lucky Dane, Keen Ice

  22. A – Far From Over, Ocean Knight, Upstart
    B – Danzig Moon, Frosted, Imperia, Tiznow R J
    C – Bolo, General Bellamy, Japan, Keen Ice, Tradesman

  23. Upstart
    American Pharoah

    Far Right
    War Story

    Bluegrass Singer
    Cinco Charlie
    Daddy DT
    Private Prospect
    Danish Dynaformer

  24. Group A
    American Pharoah
    Texas Red
    Group B
    Ochoa Ochoa Ochoa
    Lord Nelson
    Group C
    Majestic Affair

  25. Group A: Dortmund, Upstart, Prospect Park
    Group B: Bold Conquest, Imperia, Tiznow RJ, War Story
    Group C: Forever Unbridled, General Bellamy, Hashtag Bourbon, Big Big Easy, Indianaughty

  26. A: Carpe Diem, Dortmund, Upstart
    B: Bold Conquest, Khozan, Ocho Ocho Ocho, JS Bach
    C: Bolo, Hero Ten All, Shook Up, Blofeld, March

    $75 pledge

  27. $75 pledge and I’m defending my title with:
    Group A: American Pharoah, Carpe Diem, Upstart
    Group B: Firing Line, Frosted, Imperia, Khozan
    Group C: Bolo, Cyrus Alexander, Madefromlucky, Materiality, Punctuate

  28. Teaming up with John Perotti and picking an ALL Pletcher barn for $25. If both John Perotti and I finish in the top 5, we will double our total pledge from $100 to $200.

    Group A: Carpe Diem, Daredevil, Far From Over
    Group B: Competitive Edge, Itsaknockout, JS Bach, Khozan
    Group C: Blofeld, Madefromlucky, Materiality, Ostrolenka, Overcontrol

  29. $50 pledged
    A – Carpe Diem, Upstart, Dortmunc
    B – Bold Conquest, Firing Line, Frosted, Imperia, The Great War
    C – Conquest Harlanday, Cyrus Alexander, Gold Shield, Keen Ice, Madefromlucky

    • Whoops, too many in B….
      $50 pledged
      A – Carpe Diem, Upstart, Dortmunc
      B – Bold Conquest, Frosted, Imperia, The Great War
      C – Conquest Harlanday, Cyrus Alexander, Gold Shield, Keen Ice, Madefromlucky

  30. Count this TS member in for $50. My picks:

    American Pharoah

    Lord Nelson
    Ocho Ocho Ocho
    The Great War

    Souper Colossal
    Danny Boy

  31. Pledging $50

    Upstart, El Kabeir, Ocean Knight

    Gorgeous Bird, Frosted, Imperia, Ocho Ocho Ocho

    General Bellamy, Majestic Affair, Private Prospect, Mischief Clem, Keen Ice

  32. I promise that these stables were sent to me before 1pm ET today…got them via e-mail and posting now! Ditto for some of the corrections people needed to make because Mike and I screwed up.

    Mark Hennig: $75 pledge

    American Pharoah
    Carpe Diem

    Bold Conquest

    Blame Jim
    Bluegrass Singer
    Gold Shield
    Keen Ice
    On Tap

    Wynne Dudley: $50 pledge

    Hi I’d like to participate in this year’s derby charity game. My picks are below.
    Group A: Dortmund Texas Red Upstart
    Group B: Imperia Ochoa Ochoa Ocho Gorgeous Bird The Great War
    Group C: Blame Jim Puctuate Power Jam Mubtaahj Maftool

  33. Entries closed with $2,430 in pledges (which we’ll bump up to an even $2,500 by the end), plus another $1,000 in available bonuses for TwinSpires and Brisnet customers.

    Thank you all — your generosity is overwhelming! Good luck to everyone–

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