Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Kudos to Revolutionary & Orb

My top ranked Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Revolutionary overcame a slow start and wide trip to beat Mylute in the Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 30.

Revolutionary horse

Revolutionary heads to Kentucky on a roll – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Revolutionary has now won three straight and galloped out well in front at Fair Grounds last weekend. He can seemingly run all day and I think the WinStar colt is Pletcher’s best Derby hope.

Mylute gave Revolutionary a scare but is 0-for-4 in the Graded ranks and the LA Derby was probably his best shot at stakes glory. He has enough points to run on the first Saturday in May. His sire Midnight Lute is on a serious roll.

Speaking of distance loving win types, Orb rattled off his fourth straight in the Grade I Florida Derby. It is great to see patient trainer Shug McGaughey on the Derby trail and his quality colt has now won twice at nine panels.

Itsmyluckyday was making his first start in nine weeks and got the jump on Orb but came up short late. I always thought he was a Florida (Gulfstream) specialist with distance limitations and still feel that way.

As expected, Shanghai Bobby was exposed from a stamina perspective and is off the Derby trail. He will get a breather and return later this year.

Lines of Battle (War Front) qualified for the Kentucky Derby with a win in the UAE Derby at Meydan on March 30. The Aidan O’Brien trainee raced once in the U.S. as a juvenile, finishing 7th in the BC Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.

This week, my second ranked Derby contender Verrazano is a strong choice in the Wood Memorial at the Big A, and Bob Baffert hopes that Flashback relaxes better from the rail post under new pilot Garrett Gomez in the Santa Anita Derby. Check out my Wood Memorial video below with special guest Ryan Patterson.

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 broke slow, raced wide, and smartly held off Mylute in the G2 LA Derby on March 30. Derby Points (110).

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. Fired a 5f bullet in 1:01.17 (1/17) at Palm Meadows on 3-31. Derby Points (50).

3. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fourth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Florida Derby, and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. He looks like a solid threat on the first Saturday in May. Derby Points (150).

Flashback horse

Can Garrett Gomez get Flashback to relax early in the SA Derby? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

4. Flashback (Tapit) – Baffert’s $260k purchase was an easy wire job 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. He will break from the rail under new rider Garrett in the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Worked 4f in :48 (7/31) at Santa Anita on 4-1. Derby Points (30).

5. 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 probably goes next in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 13. Worked 5f in 1:01 (4/23) at Santa Anita on 4-1.

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 will give him a shot to make the Derby in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 13. Breezed 4f in :49.60 (11/16) at Keeneland on 3-31.

7. 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 4f bullet in :47.95 (1/35) at Palm Meadows on 3-31 and will try to bounce back in the Wood Memorial. Derby Points (4).

8. 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 5f in 1:01.53 (9/17) at Palm Meadows on 3-31. Derby Points (10).

9. 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. Fired a4f bullet in :47.20 (1/15) at Santa Anita on 4-2. Derby Points (10).

10. Uncaptured (Lion Heart) – Mark Casse’s Ontario-bred ran his record to 6-for-7 in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He finished a solid 2nd in the Spiral considering the time off due to foot problems. The Blue Grass will likely be his final Derby prep. Derby Points (30).

Exciting Prospects (in alphabetical order):

Black Onyx (Rock Hard Ten) – He is 2-for-2 since Kelly Breen took over the training duties and he smartly won the G3 Spiral Stakes with a wide stalk and pounce trip under Joe Bravo. He was the first Derby contender to arrive at Churchill Downs. Derby Points (50).

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Still not sold on this one as a Derby contender because I am skeptical about distance and he might be a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero finished a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, his first start in nine weeks. Derby Points (50).

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Risen Star show finisher finished a troubled 7th in the Louisiana Derby. He still needs Derby points and time is running out. Derby Points (10).

Rolling Fog (Posse) – Baffert’s G1 Del Mar Futurity hero was sidelined with bucked shins after that race and is finally back on the worktab. He worked 3f in :37.40 (4/8) at Betfair Hollywood Park on 4-3.

Zaikov (Distorted Humor) – Earned a 99 BSF in his sensation 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

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 flopped in his Spiral Stakes return and will likely get back on the green in the near future.

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 and ended up 9th from the outside post in the Spiral Stakes. 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 crossed the line 7th in the Florida Derby and is not ready for prime time. 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 (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 a 6f bullet in 1:14 (1/9) at Santa Anita on 3-29 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 worked 3f in :39.20 (20/22) at Santa Anita on 3-30. 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. They 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 1:01.33 (5/17) at Palm Meadows on 3-31.

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. Breezed 4f in :49.80 (9/16) at Tampa Bay on 3-21. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker Bob Baffert

Power Broker makes his much anticipated return in the SA Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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 4f in:47.40 (4/43) at Santa Anita on 3-31 and is entered in the SA Derby. Derby Points (10).

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull and faded as expected in the nine furlong Florida Derby. He is off the Derby trail and will return later this season. 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.

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.

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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