Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders: Algorithms, El Padrino Shine in Florida

A pair of Kentucky Derby 2012 contenders emerged at Gulfstream Park on Sunday and Todd Pletcher conditions both. Algorithms rolled past juvenile champ Hansen in the G3 Holy Bull and El Padrino scored a sharp allowance victory over Take Charge Indy.


Algorithms beats Hansen in Holy Bull - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Algorithms (98 BSF) is getting the bulk of the press because he secured graded earnings against the 2-year-old champion but El Padrino (100 BSF) won around two turns and earned a better number.

Both colts still have some questions to answer but I have always been fond of El Padrino and he is the stronger Derby prospect at this stage.

El Padrino has a very nice route pedigree and should continue to move forward but it should be noted that both of his wins were accomplished on wet tracks.

Algorithms gets stamina from sire Bernardini but dam Ava Knowsthecode is best known for throwing quality sprinter Justin Phillip and turf sprinter/miler Successful Mission. She also tossed 2006 Kentucky Derby starter Keyed Entry, but he finished 20th and last on the first Saturday in May.


Is Hansen a legit Derby threat? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Hansen drops to the bottom of my list after setting the pace and holding the place in his Holy Bull return. He needs to learn how to distribute his energy more efficiently.

Consortium flopped in the Holy Bull and drops off the Exciting Prospects list.

Dullahan has not had a published work since Jan 14 and exits the top ten for now. I could easily replace him with Algorithms but sharp two turn form takes precedence at this stage so Liaison joins the ranks.

Click on the names of each horse below to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Kentucky Derby 2012 Contenders

Union Rags

Union Rags breezed 5f on Jan 31 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – G1 Champagne hero failed to run a straight course in unlucky BC Juvenile place finish. He breezed 5f in 1:02.74 (5/11) at Palm Meadows on Jan 31. He is gearing up for the Feb 26 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

2. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – G1 Norfolk hero finished a respectable 3rd in BC Juvenile. He fired a 6f in 1:11.60 (1/20) at Hollywood Park on Jan 28 and could return in Santa Anita’s G2 San Vicente at 7f on Feb 19.

3. Alpha (Bernardini) – BC Juvenile also-ran bounced back in Count Fleet but was unruly in the gate again. He has been schooling at the gate and goes next in G3 Withers on Feb 4. He breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01.02 (1/14) at Belmont Park (training track) on Jan 30.

4. Out of Bounds (Discreet Cat) – Handled two turns just fine in G3 Sham Stakes (99 BSF). The G2 San Felipe at SA on March 10 is next. Worked 5f in 1:00.60 (6/19) at Hollywood Park on Jan 30.

5. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Todd Pletcher’s promising colt returned with a vengeance in wet track Optional Claiming win at the Gulf on Jan 29. He earned a 100 BSF in his first start as a sophomore but must prove he is just as good on fast ground.

6. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Sharp G2 Ky Jockey Club (85 BSF) victory for WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher. Undefeated colt owns fine early-pressing speed and plenty of upside. He is currently at Palm Meadows but has yet to show up on worktab.

7. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Bob Baffert’s fleet colt finished a solid 2nd in the G3 Sham. Not sure how much farther he wants to go but he deserves another route shot. Drilled a 5f bullet in :58.60 (1/61) at Santa Anita on Jan 28.

8. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – BC Juvenile 5th place finisher was clearly second best to El Padrino at Gulfstream on Jan 29. He owns a strong route pedigree and should continue to improve this year.


Liaison goes next in Saturday's Robert Lewis Stakes - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

9. Liaison (Indian Charlie) – G1 CashCall Futurity (91 BSF) winner has now won three straight and is 2-for-2 in synthetic routes. Worked 4f in :48 (2/7) at Santa Anita on Jan 31 and is expected to be entered in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

10. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero and 2YO champ set the pace and held the place in Holy Bull return. He needs to relax on the lead if he expects to make a dent if future Derby graded route preps.

Exciting Prospects

Algorithms (Bernardini) – A trio of sharp one-turn wins to begin career for Pletcher including G3 Holy Bull tally on Jan 29. We will learn more about his Derby prospects when he travels a route of ground.

Currency Swap – G1 Hopeful moves off the injured reserve list. He has recovered from ankle surgery and breezed 3f in :36.60 (5/14) at Gulfstream Park on Jan 28.

Discreet Dancer

Discreet Dancer worked 5f at Palm Meadows on Jan 30 - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat) – A pair of strong one turn wins at Gulfstream to kick off his promising career. Earned a 96 BSF at 8f on Jan 7. Breezed 5f in 1:02.55 (6/16) at Palm Meadows on Jan 30.

Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Hardly a secret in good looking Churchill sprint bow. Sheppard trainee set the pace and just held the place in G2 Ky Jockey Club Stakes. Could return in Feb 11 Hutcheson. Worked 5f in :59.20 (1/4) at Gulfstream on Jan 30.

Midnight Transfer (Hard Spun) – Made it back-to-back sprint wins at Santa Anita in Sunday’s San Pedro. He might try two turns in the G2 San Felipe.

Sky Kingdom (Empire Maker) – My CashCall Futurity value top finished a respectable 4th that day but returned to impress in Jan 12 allowance route at Santa Anita. He joins stablemate Liaison in Saturday’s G2 Robert Lewis Stakes.

Souper Speedy (Indian Charlie) – Set the pace and held the place in G2 Remsen. Debuted a 7f winner in the mud prior to that and is a ½ to Brilliant Speed. Breezed 3f in :37.23 (3/6) at Palm Meadows on Jan 26.

Injured Reserve

B Shanny (Street Cry) – Ran twice in NY last summer including good looking maiden win over El Padrino at Saratoga Aug 20. Bone chip has him on the sidelines.

Fire On Ice (Unbridled’s Song) – Suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture in his left hind leg. He is expected to return later this year.

O’Prado Again (El Prado) – G2 Remsen hero suffered a condylar fracture of his right front leg on Jan 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail. He is expected to return later this year.

Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy) – Injured pastern bone has knocked the Graham Motion trainee off the Derby trail. He will go under the knife on Jan 25 and is expected to miss two months.

Timely Tally (Mr. Greeley) – From Ian Wilkes in a recent DRF article – “Timely Tally, on the other hand, will be done for a while. He has a tendon issue. It’s not career-threatening, but I’m trying to work out now how much time I’ll have to give him.”


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