Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Vyjack stomps Overanalyze in Gotham

Vyjack remained undefeated at the expense of last year’s Remsen hero Overanalyze in last weekend’s lone Kentucky Derby 2013 prep, the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.


Vyjack showed new dimension in rallying Gotham win – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Previously an early-pressing type, Vyjack showed a new dimension in a rallying victory under Rosario. He earned a 93 BSF last Saturday and we will learn more about him when he faces a deeper crew at nine panels in the Wood Memorial.

Overanalyze was making his first start of the year and disappointed just like his Remsen counterpart Normandy Invasion. Maybe the Remsen is not as strong as it appeared at the time.

Verrazano makes his much anticipated stakes debut and first start over a route of ground in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.

Also on Saturday, Flashpoint and Goldencents lock horns in the San Felipe at Santa Anita Park.

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 win with an adventurous journey in the G3 Withers. The Pletcher trainee has now won two straight and is wintering in Florida. He breezed 4f in :49.85 (39/52) at Palm Meadows on 3-3. The G2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 30 is next. Derby Points (10). 

2. Verrazano (More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee looks like any kind after back-to-back romping Gulfstream victories to kick off his career. We will learn more about El Padrino’s brother when he tackles stakes foes in G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3-9. Breezed 4f in :48.39 (9/52) at Palm Meadows on 3-3.

Goldencents and Flashback square off in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. 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 1:11.60 (1/8) at Santa Anita on 3-2. Derby Points (24). 

4. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase lived up to the hype with a professional 7f debut win under Leparoux at BHP Dec 8 and followed that up with an easy wire job vs. three rivals in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2. He drilled a 5f bullet in :59 (1/63) at Santa Anita on 3-3. The G2 San Felipe on 3-9 is next. Derby Points (10).  

5.Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Baffert trainee has found his niche in main track routes. Facile G3 Southwest hero does not seem to be getting the same respect as some of the other top tier Derby contenders. Fired a 4f bullet in :46.40 (1/44) at Santa Anita on 3-4 and is pointing to the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on 3-16. Derby Points (10).

6. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his third straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He has plenty of stamina and will go next in the G1 Florida Derby at the Gulf on March 30. Derby Points (50).

7. Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Won G2 With Anticipation and G3 Bourbon on turf last year and just miss the place in the BC Juvenile Turf. Chad Brown trainee recently missed a couple of days due to a fever and was not able to make the G3 Palm Beach at the Gulf on 3-3. He fired a 4f bullet in :48.18 (1/52) at Palm Meadows on 3-3 and could show up in the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway on 3-23.

8. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad finished up his juvenile campaign with a runner-up effort in the G2 Remsen. He ended up a troubled 5th in his G2 Risen Star return and will try to rebound in the G1 Wood Memorial at the Big A on 4-6. Derby Points (4).

9. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a flat 5th in his Gotham return. He probably needed the race but should have run better. I assume that Pletcher will stick to his Wood Memorial plan if everything goes well in the coming weeks. Derby Points (10). 

10. 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 5f on turf in 1:00.16 (1/2) at Palm Meadows on 3-3.

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 5f in 1:00.09 (4/38) at Palm Meadows on 2-25 and makes his sophomore bow in the Rebel Stakes. Derby Points (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. He ended up a solid 3rd in the Risen Star on 2-23.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Promising Lukas trainee set the pace and held the place in his needed Gazebo Stakes (6 furlongs) return at Oaklawn Park on 3-2.

Treasury Bill (Lemon Drop Kid) – Followed a visually impressive maiden tally at Santa Anita on 1-27 with a rallying place finish in the G2 San Vicente on 2-17. He worked 4f in :49.40 (10/13) at Betfair Hollywood Park on 2-26 and will try two turns for the first time in the Rebel.

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 worked 4f in :46.80 (2/44) at Santa Anita on 3-4.

Former Top Ten Members

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. He only received a 69 BSF in his last and will be hard pressed to make a dent in upcoming Rebel Stakes. Breezed 4f in :49.40 (31/52) at Palm Meadows on 3-3. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher finished 6th in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 2-14. Derby Points (3).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. I’ll draw a line through his last and give him another chance. He breezed 4f in  :48.08 (5/40) at Palm Meadows on 3-2 and is reportedly pointing to the Spiral Stakes. Derby Points (4).  

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. No published works since 1-31.

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 is currently on vacation. Derby Points (4). 

Little Distorted (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 101 BSF in his NY bow Oct 28 and looks like a one hit wonder after three disappointing efforts since. He raced for his third trainer (Marty Wolfson) in last weekend’s G3 Swale Stakes.

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 3f in :39.98 (15/15) at Palm Meadows on 2-26.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished a disappointing 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year. He seems to prefer synthetic. Breezed 5f bullet in 1:02.40 (1/5) at Tampa Bay on 3-4. 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 trainee worked 6f in 1:12.60 (3/10) at Santa Anita on 3-3. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby remains on course for the Florida Derby – 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. Breezed 5f in 1:00.90 (10/21) at Palm Meadows on 3-3. 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.

Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. His plans have been altered following a foot bruise and popped abscess, and he is now pointing to the Rushaway, Spiral, or Blue Grass. Breezed a 5f bullet in 1:00 (1/7) at Ocala Training Center on 3-6. Derby Points (10).

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.

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

Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) – Was diagnosed with a fractured sesamoid following his game runner-up effort in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-23. He is off the Derby trail. Derby Points (10).

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