Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Uncaptured vs. Balance the Books in Spiral

D. Wayne Lukas is back in his Kentucky Derby 2013 groove after Will Take Charge bounced back from his wet track fiasco in the Southwest to edge stablemate Oxbow in Saturday’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Will Take Charge Oxbow D. Wayne Lukas

D. Wayne Lukas runners Will Take Charge & Oxbow are neck and neck in the Rebel Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Will Take Charge stalked and pounced his way to a game Smarty Jones score prior to aforementioned Southwest drubbing. He received a 95 BSF for his Rebel win and picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Oxbow seems to run in every Derby prep race and is rarely embarrassed. Mike Smith rode him well but I have a feeling that his Derby horse is War Academy.

I think the Lukas runners are second tier Kentucky Derby players but they will have plenty of foundation and stranger things have happened on the first Saturday in May.

Den’s Legacy is a consistent sort with plenty of experience and he landed the show for Baffert.

Super Ninety Nine worked out a comfortable pressing trip from the outside post under Bejarano but had nothing to offer in the lane and ended up 5th as the beaten favorite. Also, we have seen many blowout wet track winners flop in their next fast track starts, and the Baffert trainee probably bounced after two big figs in a row. He might rebound at the Great Race Place.

Treasury Bill was seemingly exposed as a late running sprinter and there is no shame in that. Ellis and company said the he didn’t handle the Oaklawn surface and he will probably get another two turn shot.

Delhomme pressed the Rebel pace and was finished after four furlongs. He displaced his palate and is off the Derby trail. The 2012 Remsen Stakes is looking worse by the minute.

This week includes the G3 Spiral at Turfway Park on Saturday and the G3 Sunland Derby on Sunday.

Uncaptured finally makes his sophomore bow in Saturday’s Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Uncaptured squares off against Balance the Books and ten others in the Spiral. The former has been battling foot issues and the latter recently got over a fever so do not be surprised if a longshot jumps up and bites them. I have included my video analysis with special guest Ryan Patterson below.

The Sunland Derby drew an interesting 9-horse field and Bob Baffert has entered Shakin It Up and Govenor Charlie. The former is an obvious threat but the latter owns route experience and beat highly regarded next out winner Footbridge on Feb. 17. We will thoroughly break down this event in Sunday’s edition (10am eastern time) of The Fast Track with Steve Bortstein.

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 a winning adventure in the G3 Withers. He breezed 5f in 1:00.65 (6/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17 and 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 three straight facile wins to kick off his career including a 3-length victory in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby on 3-9. The G1 Wood Memorial at the Big A on April 6 is next. Derby Points (50).

Orb continues preparations at Payson Park for the upcoming Florida Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his third straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He seems to have plenty of stamina and John Velazquez will ride again in the G1 Florida Derby at the Gulf on March 30. Breezed 4f in :48 (2/12) at Payson Park on 3-18. Derby Points (50).

4. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase was an easy wire job winner vs. three rivals in the G2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb 2. He got tested early and often in the G2 San Felipe and was nailed late by Hear the Ghost. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Worked 4f in :48.40 (19/57) at Santa Anita on 3-18. Derby Points (30).

5. 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. He breezed 4f in :49.73 (27/48) at Palm Meadows on 3-17 and drew the rail in the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway on 3-23.

6. 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 and company will give him a shot to make the Derby in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 13.

7. 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 could be ready for prime time. Mike Smith’s Derby mount?

8. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s $230k Keeneland sales grad completed 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 fired a 5f bullet in :59.76 (1/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17 and will try to bounce back in the Wood Memorial. 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. He was supposed to go in the Wood Memorial, and then it was the Sunland Derby, and they have finally settled on the Arkansas Derby as his next start. Breezed 4f in :48.33 (5/36) at Palm Meadows on 3-18. Derby Points (10).

10. Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Facile G3 Southwest hero finished a flat 5th as the beaten favorite in the Rebel. Baffert trainee will get one more chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby in the SA Derby on April 6. Derby Points (10).

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Abstraction (Pulpit) – Exciting colt gave his rivals the slip in facile two turn graduation run at Fair Grounds on 3-13. The David Carroll trainee earned a 92 BSF and might end up being a good one.

The Florida Derby will be the first start in nine weeks for Itsmyluckyday – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Not sold on this one as a Derby horse because I am skeptical about distance and he might be a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero worked a 5f bullet in 1:01 (1/12) at Calder on 3-16 and will try to qualify for his spot on the first Saturday in May in the G1 Florida Derby on March 30. Derby Points (10).

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. Breezed 5f in 1:00.14 (2/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17. Derby Points (10).  

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. Breezed 6f in 1:16.20 (1/2) at Oaklawn Park on 3-19. He has been rerouted from Sunland Derby to Louisiana Derby.

Zaikov (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 99 BSF in his sensational 6f bow at the Gulf on 3-15. Pletcher won’t point for the Derby but this exciting colt is one to keep an eye on.

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 break from post 12 in the Spiral. Breezed 5f in 1:02.51 (13/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17. Derby Points (4).

Fortify (Distorted Humor) – BC Juvenile 4th place finisher finished 6th in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on 2-14. He scratched out of the Al Bastayika at Meydan on 3-9. Derby Points (3).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. He went 5f in 1:00.24 (1/29) at Gulfstream Park on 3-16 and has changed his goal from the Spiral Stakes to the Florida Derby. 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.

Goldencents will try to rebound in the Santa Anita Derby on April 6 – photo by Eclipse sportswire

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 appears to have distance limitations. O’Neill trainee worked 6f in 1:16 (6/6) at Santa Anita on 3-21 and is targeting the Santa Anita Derby. Derby Points (29). 

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 returned to the worktab (3f in :39) at Santa Anita on 3-16. 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 the G3 Swale Stakes (finished 6th) on 3-2. The should probably regroup and give this one a breather.

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 1:02.86 (17/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17.

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 finished 3rd to Noble Tune in a Tampa Bay turf allowance affair last time and breezed 4f in :49.80 (9/16) at Tampa Bay on 3-21. 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 (4/16) at Santa Anita on 3-18. Derby Points (10).

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 1:00.14 (2/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-17. 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. Breezed a flat mile in 1:40 (1/2) at Ocala Training Center on 3-12 and is the Spiral Stakes favorite. 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.

Ive Struck a Nerve (Yankee Gentleman) – Surprising G2 Risen Star winner had ankle surgery on 3-12 and is off the Derby trail.

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 has been retired. Derby Points (10).

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