This is my third in a series of blogs devoted to Kentucky Derby 2013 contenders and Fortify remains on top after a solid if unspectacular 3rd place finish in the Grade I Champagne at Belmont Park on October 6.
The key at this stage is not to get carried away with a big performance and not to get discouraged by an average effort. The goal is to stay healthy, learn something from racing experience, and move forward next time.
Shanghai Bobby keeps on trucking after another strong effort in the Champagne but the waters get much deeper when he leaves the friendly confines of New York and tries two turns in the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. So far so good for Pletcher’s undefeated colt.
Goldencents moves up from the exciting prospects list. He made the pace from the inside post in the Champagne and held the place in a rock solid effort. He only had one SoCal synthetic sprint win at 5.5f prior to his strong effort on Saturday and hung in there despite his lack of seasoning. He is an interesting, long term prospect.
Fortify remains my top ranked colt and I firmly believe that he will be much better around two turns next year. Each race has been a learning experience for the McLaughlin trainee and his grinding tactical style should play well over a route of ground.
It is way too early to give up on the likes of Archwarrior and Micromanage. Both Pletcher runners needed the Champagne experience and remain worth following.
Tizracer faded badly in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity but he ran well on dirt prior to that so he may not have cared for synthetic footing.
River Seven upset Uncaptured (5th of 6) in the compact G3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine. The gelded son of Johannesburg earned an 85 BSF for his efforts and secured 10 Derby points. The race did not seem particularly strong and the Ontario-bred winner is probably more likely to show up in next year’s Queen’s Plate if he stays healthy.
The Nov 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is the next Derby points race (10-4-2-1). Upcoming points races include the Nov 17 Delta Jackpot, the Remsen on Nov 24, and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under the Twin Spires on Nov 24.
Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5 contenders) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.
Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders
1. Fortify (Distorted Humor) – He graduated in 6.5f bow at the Spa and followed that up with a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful and a 3rd in G1 Champagne. Lasix-free colt should continue to develop for McLaughlin/Godolphin. He is expected to ship to Santa Anita for the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (2).
2. Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. Baffert’s improving colt looks like the one to beat in the BC Juvenile. Derby Points (10).
3. Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – Made it 4-for-4 with a decisive win in the G1 Champagne (94 BSF). I have a feeling that he is just more seasoned that his juvenile rivals at this point and they will catch up with him in the near future. BC Juvenile next. Derby Points (10).
4. Know More (Lion Heart) – Distant 2nd to Power Broker in FrontRunner. That was the first time he stepped on conventional dirt and his initial two turn event so it was not a bad learning experience. He will train for the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. Derby Points (4).
5. Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner. John Sadler’s colt could show up next in BC Juvenile. Worked 4f in :48.60 (9/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8. Derby Points (2).
6. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Sharp debut win (93 BSF) for Doug O’Neill/Leandro Mora on 9-2. Set the pace and gamely held the place in Belmont’s Champagne. The inexperienced colt gets bonus points for shipping across country and running well. Derby Points (4).
7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Graduated in G2 With Anticipation in his second lifetime start for Chad Brown. He scratched out of the Breeders’ Futurity in favor of the grassy G3 Bourbon (77 BSF) and rallied outside to get up late. The BC Juvenile Turf is his next assignment.
8. Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity hero was hardly disgraced finishing a close-up 4th (beaten 1.5 lengths) in G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He clearly has some talent but might have distance limitations. Derby Points (1).
9. Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th (beaten 7-1/4 lengths) in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He should prosper in future route races. Derby Points (1).
10. Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Cruised in Saratoga debut on 9-1 for Pletcher and his lack of seasoning and wide trip cost him dearly in the Champagne (5th, beaten 10 lengths). He is still a promising, long term prospect.
Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):
Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – $340k Keeneland sales grad chased Title Contender around the SA track on 9-29. He won’t be a maiden much longer.
Darwin (Big Brown) – Pletcher’s $1.3 million baby professionally got the job done in his 6f Belmont Park debut (94 BSF) on October 6.
Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – Ran his turf record to 2-for-2 with a visually impressive G3 Pilgrim (82 BSF) tally for Chad Brown. He might be better than stablemate Balance the Books.
Orb (Malibu Moon) – Blew the break and rallied to finish a strong 3rd in his bow. McGaughey’s promising colt flopped at low odds (fractious gate) going a flat mile at Belmont second time out. He has raw talent but lacks maturity at this stage. Breezed 4f in :48.88 (10/49) at Belmont Park on 10-6.
Title Contender (Pulpit) – Rode the Santa Anita speed bias to perfection and earned identical 90 BSF as stablemate and FrontRunner hero Power Broker on 9-29. Not sure where the promising Baffert runner goes next.
Former Top Ten Members
Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – 6th in Del Mar Futurity and a disappointing 7th in FrontRunner. He has raw talent but has yet to put it all together against salty afternoon rivals. Worked 4f in :47.40 (1/4) at Santa Anita (turf) on 10-6.
Tizracer (Tiznow) – Improved smartly second time out to romp in flat mile graduation run (92 BSF) at Belmont Park on 9-8. Todd Pletcher trainee attended the pace before weakening to finish 12th in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity. He might not have care for synthetic and deserves a chance to rebound on conventional dirt.
Palace Malice (Curlin) – Smart second time out maiden tally for Pletcher at the Spa on 8-4. He is out of action with bucked shins.
Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is out for 60 days with bucked shins.