KENTUCKY DERBY 2012 Contenders – Gemologist, Alpha impress in Wood Memorial

It was business as usual on the Kentucky Derby 2012 trail last weekend with favorites Gemologist and Alpha running 1-2 in the G1 Wood Memorial and highly regarded colts I’ll Have Another and Creative Cause noses apart in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Done Talking upset the G3 Illinois Derby but that race was a puzzling crapshoot and  should not have a major impact on the first Saturday in May.

Kentucky Derby 2012 logo

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Four of my top five contenders (Alpha, Secret Circle, Union Rags, Creative Cause) from my initial Derby Top 10 list last September are still very much in the thick of things, with Alpha, Union Rags, and Creative Cause running well without winning in their final Derby preps.

Currency Swap and Midnight Transfer drop off the Exciting Prospects list after disappointing in graded action on April 7.

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

1. Union Rags (Dixie Union) – My longtime top ranked Derby contender remains #1 after a troubled show finish in the G1 Florida Derby. He is expected to post his first work since the Florida Derby at Palm Meadows on Friday or Saturday and could ship to Keeneland as early as this weekend. Graded Earnings: $1,170,000  

Alpha Gemologist Kentucky Derby 2012

Gemologist and Alpha put on a show in New York on Saturday - photo by Eclipse sportswire

2. Alpha (Bernardini) – G3 Withers hero almost ran down Gemologist in Saturday’s G1 Wood Memorial. He continues to improve and enters the Derby a sharp, fresh threat for Kiaran Mclaughlin. Graded Earnings: $380,000  

3. Gemologist (Tiznow) – Kept his perfect record intact in game G1 Wood Memorial tally. The WinStar Farm/Todd Pletcher runner likes Churchill Downs, owns fine early-pressing speed, and has a nose for the wire. He will train for Kentucky Derby 2012 at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida. Graded Earnings: $703,855  

4. Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) – Captured his second graded route in G2 San Felipe on 3-10 and just missed to I’ll Have Another in Saturday’s G1 SA Derby (blinkers off). Graded Earnings: $836,000

5. Hansen (Tapit) – BC Juvenile hero relaxed nicely in sharp G3 Gotham tally. He breezed 5f in 1:00 (4/14) at Churchill (training track) on 4-7. The G1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 14 in next on the docket. Graded Earnings: $1,400,000 

6. Secret Circle (Eddington) – Captured back-to-back graded routes at Oaklawn in G3 Southwest (102 BSF) and G2 Rebel (92 BSF). He worked 5f in 1:00.20 (9/25) at Santa Anita on 4-9 and is expected to return to Hot Springs for the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 14. Graded Earnings: $470,000

7. Take Charge Indy (A. P. Indy) – Stole the Florida Derby but could only muster a 95 BSF despite everything going his way. I have always been fond of this one but he could be a pace casualty on the first Saturday in May. Graded Earnings: $698,400 

8. Daddy Nose Best (Scat Daddy) – Back-to-back nine furlong wins in G3 El Camino Real Derby (92 BSF) and G3 Sunland Derby (100 BSF). Late running Asmussen trainee can run on anything. Breezed 5f in 1:02.40 (14/15) at Churchill Downs on 4-9. Graded Earnings: $545,558  

9. El Padrino (Pulpit) – Finished a flat 4th in a very disappointing Florida Derby performance. He is on the graded earnings bubble and seemingly moves up on wet footing. Graded Earnings: $250,000

I'll Have Another Kentucky Derby 2012

I'll Have Another joins the Top 10 list after winning the SA Derby - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

10. I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) – Followed up his surprise G2 Robert Lewis triumph with another tally in the G1 SA Derby. The Doug O’Neill trainee looms an early-pressing threat on the first Saturday in May. Graded Earnings: $601,000

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order)

1. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – Followed up 101 BSF maiden romp with another 101 BSF in San Felipe runner-up effort on 3-10. He worked 5f in 1:00.40 (14/55) at Santa Anita on 4-8 and looms a serious prominent throughout player in the Arkansas Derby on 4-14. Graded Earnings: $60,000

2. Dullahan (Even The Score) – 4th place BC Juvenile finisher landed the place in G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf March 11. Fired a 5f bullet in :57.40 (1/33) at Keeneland in advance of Saturday’s G1 Blue Grass. Graded Earnings: $405,000

3. Mark Valeski (Proud Citizen) – Almost upset El Padrino in his G2 Risen Star route/stakes bow and finished 2nd behind 109-1 bomber Hero of Order in G2 Louisiana Derby. Graded Earnings: $260,000 

4. Prospective (Malibu Moon) – Professional winner of the G2 Tampa Bay Derby (88 BSF) for Mark Casse. Blinkers helped him get involved earlier and he will face better next time in G1 Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.20 (2/5) at Churchill Downs on 4-2. Graded Earnings: $365,452  

5. Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) – Followed in Animal Kingdom’s footsteps with a win in the G3 Spiral Stakes (92 BSF) for Motion/Team Valor. He was green in the stretch and might run one more time before the Derby, with the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on 4-21 a logical target. Graded Earnings: $282,000 

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