Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Itsmyluckyday floors the champ

Itsmyluckyday is an interesting new shooter on the Kentucky Derby 2013 trail following a strong victory over Shanghai Bobby in the G3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan 26.


Itsmyluckyday earned a 104 BSF in Saturday’s G3 Holy Bull – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The winning BSF in the Holy Bull was 104 and the top two were well clear of the rest. It was definitely a fast race by two quality colts but I do not think we saw the Kentucky Derby winner on Saturday.

Itsmyluckyday was making his 9th career start on Jan 26 and clearly has an affinity for Gulfstream Park following big wins in the GP Derby and Holy Bull. The son of Lawyer Ron is now 4-for-4 in Florida (CRC/GP) conventional dirt races. I like his trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and the overachiever is easy to root for.

Shanghai Bobby ran well but had no excuses. Inside speed dominates in 8.5f events at the Gulf and he had everything his own way from the rail. I removed him from my top ten after the BC Juvenile because of distance limitations and he backed up my lack of stamina opinion on Saturday.

I am not adding the Holy Bull 1-2 finishers to my top ten because I think this early Derby prep was a simple case of two experienced colts dominating the pace at a speed friendly distance and the winner peaking at the Gulf in January. Highly regarded Holy Bull entrants Frac Daddy (grabbed quarter) and Bern Identity (bumped repeatedly start) found trouble and Dewey Square failed to show up, making things much easier for the Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby as well.

Treasury Bill (Lemon Drop Kid-Menifee) could be worth following. He finished 3rd to highly regarded Baffert colt War Academy in his BHP bow and went last-to-first in his visually impressive 6.5f graduation run at Santa Anita on Sunday. The Ron Ellis trainee is bred to route and will probably show up in a 3yo stakes race in the near future.

This week’s Derby trail races include the G3 Withers at Aqueduct featuring my 5th ranked colt Revolutionary, the G2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park featuring my 10th ranked colt Little Distorted, the compact G2 Robert Lewis Stakes featuring Exciting Prospect Flashback, and the G3 Sam Davis at Tampa Bay Downs.

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. Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Ran his record to 3-for-3 in smart, professional stalk/pounce tally in the G1 CashCall Futurity (92 BSF). Two Derby preps are planned, beginning with the Fountain of Youth on Feb 23. Breezed 4f in :48.09 (4/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (10).

2. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad owns a decent late kick and is definitely worth following. The Remsen runner-up breezed 4f in :49.09 (22/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27 and might kick off his sophomore campaign in the G2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on 2-23. Derby Points (4).

Overanalyze horse

Overanalyze breezed a strong 4f at Palm Meadows on Jan 27 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – Pletcher’s versatile colt won his second graded race in the Remsen (99 BSF). He is expected to contest the Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Breezed 4f in :47.88 (2/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (10).

4. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year. He rallied nicely to just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf and the Chad Brown trainee packs a nice late kick. Breezed 4f in :49.33 (10/41) at Palm Meadows on 1-28.

5. Revolutionary (War Pass) – Finally put it all together in his fourth lifetime start, romping in a flat mile inner dirt MSW affair on Dec 28. The promising Pletcher/WinStar colt earned a 102 BSF last time and breezed 4f in :48.05 (13/79) at Belmont (dirt training) on 1-20. He is entered in the G3 Withers at Aqueduct on Feb 2.

6. Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song) – G3 Pilgrim winner finished a fine 2nd in the BC Juvenile Turf and appears to have a bright future for Chad Brown. Breezed 4f in :49.33 (10/41) at Palm Meadows on 1-28.

7. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Champagne runner-up went all the way in the G3 Delta Jackpot and scored again in the G3 Sham Stakes. Not sure how far he wants to run but O’Neill is having fun with the speedy sort. Fired a 6f bullet in 1:10.20 (1/8) at Santa Anita on 1-26. Derby Points (24).

8. Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 5th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through the Holy Bull and give him another chance. “I don’t know when he did it, whether he did it coming out or the gate or pulling up,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “He’ll probably miss 4 or 5 days, but it could be as long as two weeks, depending on how sore it is.” Derby Points (4).

9. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He is wintering at Palm Meadows and a foot bruise has knocked him out of this week’s Sam Davis at Tampa Bay. Derby Points (10).

10. Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his winning Belmont bow Oct 28. He raced for new connections (Silverton Farm – Darrin Miller) in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at the Gulf on Jan 1 and finished 3rd as the beaten favorite. Fired a 4f bullet in :47.20 (1/15) at Payson Park on 1-25 and is entered in the G2 Hutcheson at GP on 2-3.

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He breezed 4f in :49.49 (28/43) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (2).

Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) – Wired an allowance sprint field at Santa Anita on 12-28 and pulled the same trick in the San Pedro Stakes on 1-21. Not sure how far he wants to run but he sure is fast. Next up is the G2 San Vicente on Feb 17.

Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8. He drilled a 5f bullet in :59.40 (1/20) at Santa Anita on 1-28 and is one of four entrants in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2.

Palace Malice (Curlin) – The Saratoga maiden breaker returned from an injury to finish a clear 2nd at 7f in the GP slop vs. Optional Claiming company on 1-19.

War Academy (Giant’s Causeway) – Was bet down to even money and did not disappoint in his BHP sprint debut on 11-9. Baffert trainee is bred to handle a route of ground and should be heard from this year. Worked 5f in 1:01.40 (3/4) at Santa Anita (turf) on 1-28.

Former Top Ten Members

Capo Bastone (Street Boss) – Closed into the teeth of a speed bias to snatch 3rd in the FrontRunner, and he pulled the same trick in the BC Juvenile. He has moved to the Pletcher barn and breezed 4f in 1:01.90 (13/21) at Palm Meadows on 1-27. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – Debut win at the Spa followed by a 2nd in the G2 Hopeful, a 3rd in G1 Champagne, and a flat 4th in the BC Juvenile. Lasix-free colt is reportedly wintering in Dubai and has been nominated to the Triple Crown. Derby Points (3).

Gabriel Charles (Street Boss) – He smartly won a downhill turf sprint (86 BSF) on the Saturday BC undercard at Santa Anita and was last seen landing the place in the Eddie Logan Stakes (off the turf) on 12-29.

Know More (Lion Heart) – G1 FrontRunner place finisher has been terribly mismanaged since that effort. He most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28 and desperately needs a freshening. Derby Points (4).

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 4th in G1 Breeders’ Futurity and 5th after hopping at start (blinkers on) in G3 Iroquois. Zipped a 4f bullet in :46.51 (1/20) at Gulfstream on 1-30 and is entered Saturday’s G2 Hutcheson at the Gulf. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner. He raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert said he needs time to grow and will probably return next March. Derby Points (10). 

Shanghai Bobby

Shanghai Bobby is expected to make his next start in the G1 Florida Derby on March 30 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull but was hardly disgraced in a clear place finish. I always had my doubts about his stamina and he did nothing to sway my opinion in the Holy Bull. Derby Points (24). 

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.

Injured Reserve

Archwarrior (Arch) – Pletcher’s highly regarded $375k colt was a professional debut winner at Saratoga on 8-30. He finished 4th in the Champagne and was most likely done in by his lack of seasoning. He has not worked since 12-24 and is reportedly getting a break after an undisclosed physical problem. Derby Points (1).

Darwin (Big Brown) – Former exciting prospect and 4th place Nashua finisher is on holiday and could return this summer.

Gulfport (Unbridled’s Song) – Promising Romans trainee is injured and off the Derby trail.

Hightail (Mineshaft) – BC Juvenile Sprint winner was injured following a recent workout at Oaklawn Park and has been retired.

Joha (Johar) – He was pulled from the Keeneland January sale because of a minor injury. He is expected to resume racing later this year.

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. He was reportedly sent to Ocala recently and could return in April if everything goes well.

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero is sidelined with bucked shins.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Facile 7f tally (97 BSF) under Twin Spires in his 4th start. Bone chip has sidelined the Lukas trainee. He is expected to resume training sometime during the month of March.

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