The Haiku Handicapper: 2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Joe Nevills, sales editor for the Daily Racing Form and columnist for Arabian Finish Line, analyzes the 2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational in the form of Haiku; a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

#1 - Singing Bullet
Stronach Group's house horse
Hurtles into the deep end
The rail's nice, at least

#2 - West Coast
The 3-year-old champ
Stood with the best in this field
Win threat with clean start

#3 - Stellar Wind
Recent sale-topper
Lacks a flair for the big stage
Winless at distance

#4 - Sharp Azteca
A big-time miler
Will have to fight for the pace
At a new distance

#5 - Collected
Best from the west coast
Used his mulligan in a
Lackluster last out

#6 - Gunnevera
Honest, loves the track
Bound to sneak up for a piece
If the pace sets up

#7 - Fear the Cowboy
Local prep winner
Lost a listed stakes at Penn
Before that effort

#8 - War Story
If you don't succeed
Try, try again and again
He's inching closer

#9 - Toast of New York
The comeback story
Has a huge upside on dirt
If he's fresh, not stale

#10 - Gun Runner
New Horse of the Year
Stares down a tricky swan song
The long way around

#11 - Seeking the Soul
Hot at the right time
But he'll need another gear
To hang in this bunch

#12 - Giant Expectations
Topped the San Antone
With Collected tuning up
Low expectations

#13AE - Giuseppe the Great
Gained a ton of buzz
For his Jim Dandy second
Five races ago

#14AE - Game Over
The other Loooch horse
Can't get it done in Grade 3s
Wouldn't split the field

Another torch-pass
West Coast usurps Gun Runner
Six, eight fill super

The Haiku Handicapper: 2017 Kentucky Derby

Joe Nevills, sales editor of the Daily Racing Form and columnist for Arabian Finish Line, analyzes the Kentucky Derby field in post position order in the form of haiku - a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five.

#1 - Lookin at Lee
Closer from Oaklawn
Hasn't won since Ellis Park
Wait for softer fields

#2 - Thunder Snow
Global vagabond
Can run on any surface
But doomed by his post

#3 - Fast and Accurate
His best dirt Beyer
Would win a nice allowance
At a county fair

#4 - Untrapped
Minor check-getter
Vanished in last Oaklawn prep
This pool is too deep

#5 - Always Dreaming
High-upside prospect
Most dominant last effort
Feels like a bounce threat

#6 - State of Honor
Knows how to cash checks
By hanging on to placings
After ceding leads

#7 - Girvin
Leading point-getter
Grapples with ill-timed hoof woes
Don't expect Big Brown

#8 - Hence
Was his last that good
Or the rest that average?
Not buying the hype

#9 - Irap
Trainer Doug O'Neill
Didn't grow his Derby beard
All you need to know

#10 - Gunnevera
Will stage a late charge
Can scrap it out for a check
If the clouds don't part

#11 - Battle of Midway
Couldn't hang on in
Slowest Santa Anita
Derby in three score

#12 - Sonneteer
Fewer winning trips
Than stablemate Patch has eyes
That fact won't change here

#13 - J Boys Echo
Was his big Gotham
The true showcase of his class
Or an outlier?

#14 - Classic Empire
High-maintenance star's
Two toughest rivals could be
His head and the crowd

#15 - McCraken
A Blue Grass bummer
But Churchill Downs is his yard
Don't give up on him

#16 - Tapwrit
High-dollar yearling
Hype deflated at Keeneland
Excused or exposed?

#17 - Irish War Cry
Stellar Wood triumph
Makes his Fountain of Youth choke
Just so confounding

#18 - Gormley
Someone had to win
That chug-fest in his last prep
Is there one more gear?

#19 - Practical Joke
Standout 2-year-old
Couldn't pass flagging Irap
That's hard to ignore

#20 - Patch
Having just one eye
Not as big a handicap
As Apollo's curse

#21/AE - Royal Mo
Wrong side of bubble
But it's hard to get too jazzed
From pokey last start

#22/AE - Master Plan
Last horse in by points
Took an unorthodox route
To watch from the bench

Home-track advantage
Carries McCraken home first
Then "War Cry," Tapwrit