My longtime top ranked Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Revolutionary had another strong workout at Churchill Downs on April 27 and it looks like all systems go for the first Saturday in May.
Revolutionary has been my top ranked Derby contender since late February, following the retirement of Violence, also trained by Todd Pletcher. I have always liked his pedigree and he started to ascend the ranks after a fast maiden win and visually impressive Withers tally. He maintained his top spot after a late running tally in the LA Derby and has not missed a beat this year. Will lightning strike twice for Borel, Pletcher, and WinStar Farm?
There are still 23 horses possible for the Derby so there are still a few bottom spots up for grabs. Govenor Charlie is supposed to work on Monday but Baffert has already said that he probably won’t run. Code West, also a Baffert trainee, is probably going to the Peter Pan instead, followed by the Belmont Stakes.
Winning Cause, trained by Todd Pletcher, has enough points but might skip the Derby.
Tiz a Minister just finished 3rd in the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park on 4-27 but still might catch a flight to Louisville if his owner decides to shoot for the Derby.
Golden Soul is 23rd on the Derby Points Leaderboard and will definitely go if he gets enough defections.
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. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Followed up a big fig maiden score with an adventurous winning journey in the G3 Withers. He broke slow, raced wide, and smartly held off Mylute in the G2 LA Derby on March 30. Both of his Churchill moves earned him DRF’s Derby work of the day including his 4f breeze in :48.20 (6/70) on 4-27. Derby Points (110).
2. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fourth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Florida Derby and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Red hot jockey Joel Rosario has been named to ride on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 5f in 1:02.10 (3/5) at Payson Park on 4-21 and has reportedly looked energetic in his recent Churchill gallops. Derby Points (150).
3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt ended his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort in the G2 Remsen and ended up a troubled 5th in his G2 Risen Star return. He bounced back in the Wood Memorial to gain the place late and appears to be sitting on a career top in the Derby. Javier Castellano chose him over Revolutionary and he has been aggressive in his morning activity under the Twin Spires. Breezed a spirited 5f in :59 (2/52) at Churchill Downs on 4-27. Derby Points (44).
4. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee cruised in his first three outings but was not nearly as brilliant winning the Wood Memorial. He no longer looks like a dominant force and will probably take too much action under the Twin Spires. No unraced 2yo has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882. Johnny V chose him over Orb. He has been solid if unspectacular in his Derby activity. Breezed 5f in :59.40 (6/52) at Churchill Downs on 4-27. Derby Points (150).
5. Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten) – He is 2-for-2 since Kelly Breen took over the training duties and he smartly won the G3 Spiral Stakes with a wide stalk and pounce trip under Joe Bravo. He was the first Derby contender to arrive at Churchill Downs and has reportedly looked steady in his Derby gallops and works. His high action is better suited to synthetic and turf. Breezed 4f in :48.60 (12/70) at Churchill on 4-27. Derby Points (50).
6. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely in the Arkansas Derby (88 BSF) and tries to run two alike for the first time at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. He was all square with Palace Malice in a Derby team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (110).
7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. He faded to 4th in the San Felipe and bounced back with a big win in the Santa Anita Derby. Ten furlongs is his biggest Derby obstacle. Breezed 6f in 1:16.20 (8/8) at Santa Anita on 4-25. Derby Points (129).
8. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Still not sold on this one as a legit Derby contender because I am skeptical about ten panels and he looks like a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero finished a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, his first start in nine weeks. Breezed an easy 4f in :53 (9/9) at Calder on 4-25. Derby Points (50).
9. Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Tasted defeat for the first time in the Wood Memorial but was hardly disgraced with a solid show finish. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the Kentucky Derby. He has pedigree questions to answer and came out of the Wood Memorial with a lung infection. Breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (3/32) at Churchill Downs on 4-26. Derby Points (70).
10. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – His sire is on fire and the Amoss runner was 3rd in the Delta Jackpot, 7th in the Risen Star, and 2nd in the LA Derby. He is on the grounds at Churchill Downs and will reunite with Rosie Napravnik in the Derby. Breezed 4f in :50.60 (59/70) at Churchill on 4-27 with a weak gallop out. Derby Points (42).
Derby Dreamers (in alphabetical order):
Charming Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) – Pletcher’s talented turf runner ended up 3rd in the Blue Grass and seemingly did just enough to quality for a starting gate spot on May 4. Revolutionary dusted him in a team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (20).
Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Currently sits 21st on the Derby Points Leaderboard. The Baffert runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. A Derby start is not out of the question but he is expected to use the Peter Pan as his Belmont Stakes prep. Breezed 5f in 1:00.40 (6/42) at Churchill Downs on 4-28. Derby Points (20).
Falling Sky (Lion Heart) – G3 Sam Davis winner finished 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby and 4th in the Arkansas Derby. He seems a cut below the best but might have a say in the Derby pace. Fired a 5f bullet in :59.60 (1/32) at Churchill on 4-26. Derby Points (30).
Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. He finished 7th in the Florida Derby and snuck into the Derby back door with a runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby. Got the better of Java’s War in a Derby team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (44).
Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher still has a shot to sneak into the Derby field with a couple of defections. Breezed 5f in 1:00.80 (7/32) at Churchill Downs on 4-26. Derby Points (14).
Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but the Derby is an ambitious spot considering his lack of experience. He had a hind foot issue but was given the all clear after being examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. He has not worked since April 11 but is expected to return to the worktab on April 29. Look for Baffert to do the right thing and take a Derby pass. Derby Points (50).
Java’s War (War Pass) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby runner-up flattered Verrazano with his late running G1 Blue Grass tally but he only received an 88 BSF. He will try to get involved late under the Twin Spires. Struggled to match strides with stablemate Java’s War in a Derby team move on 4-27. Derby Points (122).
Lines of Battle (War Front) – UAE Derby has never been a successful path to Churchill so it is hard to take this one seriously. Finished 7th in the 2012 BC Juvenile Turf, his lone trek to the states. Derby Points (100).
Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and just missed in the G2 Rebel on March 16. Gary Stevens hopped aboard for the Arkansas Derby and he rallied from last to split the field from yet another outer post. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins and can surprise in Derby if he flashes speed. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (7/43) at Churchill Downs on 4-22. Derby Points (36).
Palace Malice (Curlin) – Risen Star show finisher finished a troubled 7th in the Louisiana Derby. He desperately needed Derby points in the Blue Grass and made the cut with a solid place finish. He was all square with Overanalyze in a Derby team drill on 4-27. Derby Points (50).
Tiz a Minister (Ministers Wild Cat) – The late striding CA-bred has finished in the Top 3 in 9 of 12 lifetime starts. He finished 3rd in the 9f Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood on April 27 and might wheel back in a week. Derby Points (20).
Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner is training up to the Kentucky Derby, a rare move for Wayne Lukas. Breezed 8f in 1:41.60 (1/1) at Churchill Downs on 4-21. Derby Points (60).
Winning Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Keeneland specialist ran his Polytrack record to 3-for-3 in the G3 Lexington. If he goes in the Derby it would be his third start in four weeks. Derby Points (20).
Former Top Ten Members (currently in training)
Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Late running turf specialist flopped in his Spiral Stakes return and ran better (6th of 14) but not good enough in the Blue Grass. He has returned to New York and will get back on the sod this summer. Breezed 4f in :48.91 (23/48) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 4-27.
Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – G1 FrontRunner and G1 BC Juvenile show finisher won an optional claiming route at Gulfstream on 2-16 for his new trainer Todd Pletcher and ended up 9th from the outside post in the Spiral Stakes. He rallied nicely to finish right behind stablemate Forty Tales in the G3 Derby Trial at CD on 4-27. Derby Points (4).
Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher was terribly mismanaged after that effort, most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28. He worked 4f in :50.80 (20/23) at Santa Anita on 4-22. Derby Points (4).
Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished a distant last in the Remsen. That effort was too bad to believe but that’s back-to-back disappointments after a promising bow. Breezed 5f in 1:04.02 (1/2) at Palm Meadows (turf) on 4-19.
Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and flew home to capture a turf allowance event (84 BSF) at Tampa Bay to begin his 3yo season. Chad Brown decided not to enter the Blue Grass. Breezed 4f in :49 (13/52) at Churchill on 4-26.
Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year and 3rd to Noble Tune in a Tampa Bay turf allowance affair. He finished 6th in the third race (allowance turf route) at Keeneland on 4-14. Derby Points (1).
Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee returned in the Santa Anita Derby and finished 5th in that needed effort. Breezed 6f in 1:12.80 (2/3) at Churchill Downs on 4-22. Derby Points (10).
Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Facile G3 Southwest hero finished a flat 5th as the beaten favorite in the Rebel and set the pace and weakened to 3rd in the SA Derby. The Baffert will not run in the Kentucky Derby. Derby Points (30).
Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred finished a solid 2nd in the Spiral but stalked and faded in a disappointing Blue Grass effort. He is back in Canada and will point to the Queen’s Plate. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (3/86) at Woodbine on 4-27. Derby Points (30).
War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded debut winner returned with an even 4th place finish in the San Vicente on Feb. 17. He bounced back with a stylish Optional Claiming route win (98 BSF) at Santa Anita on March 15 and was pulled up as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby. He appears to be alright after taking a bad step at Oaklawn Park.
On the Sidelines: Archwarrior (Arch), Darwin (Big Brown), Flashback (Tapit), Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song), Hear the Ghost (Ghostzapper), Ive Struck a Nerve (Yankee Gentleman), Joha (Johar), Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday), Zaikov (Distorted Humor).
Missing in Action: Fortify (Distorted Humor), Gabriel Charles (Street Boss), Little Distorted (Distorted Humor), Tizracer (Tiznow).
Retired: Hightail (Mineshaft), Violence (Medaglia d’Oro).