Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Overanalyze back on the beam

Longtime Kentucky Derby 2013 contender Overanalyze is used to rebounding from below par efforts and he did it again in the Grade I Arkansas Derby.

Overanalyze horse

The Derby would be a great time for Overanalyze to run two alike – photo by Eclipse sportswire

Overanalyze earned a less than inspiring 88 BSF at Oaklawn Park but he won easily and Bejarano seemingly saved something for the Derby. He has been in my top ten since last November but never won two straight and the Derby looks like a tall order.

Former top ten member Frac Daddy ran his best race since the 2012 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes with a place finish in Hot Springs. He still lacks mental maturity and would be a big surprise on the first Saturday in May.

Oxbow inexplicably dropped back to last early under Gary Stevens before splitting the 10-horse Arkansas Derby field. He has speed and figures to use it at Churchill Downs.

War Academy pulled up after four furlongs but appears alright after going through a battery of tests at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital.

Java’s War is 1 of 2 Derby hopefuls for Ken McPeek – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

In the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Java’s War flattered Verrazano with a late running score over Palace Malice. The BSF was only a tick better than the Arkansas Derby and this looked like a Polytrack special.

Charming Kitten rallied to garner the show and is going to the big show if he has enough points.

Disappointments included Rydilluc (4th), Balance the Books (6th), My Name Is Michael (7th), Dymanic Sky (9th), and Uncaptured (10th). The last two are both Ontario-breds and will probably target the Queen’s Plate.

That’ll do it for the major Derby preps. The Grade III Lexington Stakes will go on Saturday, April 20 and could produce a Derby starter. A win is worth 20 points and that looks like the Derby cutoff at this stage.

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

Revolutionary horse

Revolutionary has been my top ranked Derby contender since Feb. 28 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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. He arrived at Churchill Downs on April 12 and Calvin Borel will be the passenger on Derby Day. Derby Points (110). 

2. 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. Joel Rosario has been named to ride on the first Saturday in May. Breezed 4f in :48 (2/8) at Payson Park on 4-14. Derby Points (150).

3. Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt ended 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 bounced back in the Wood Memorial to gain the place late and appears to be sitting on a career top in the Derby. Javier Castellano chose him over Orb. Derby Points (44).

4. Verrazano(More Than Ready) – Pletcher trainee cruised in his first three outings but was not nearly as brilliant winning the Wood Memorial. He no longer looks like a dominant force and will probably take too much action under the Twin Spires. No unraced 2yo has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882. Derby Points (150).

Black Onyx has quietly crept into my Top 5 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

5. 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 and posted his initial Louisville move on April 13, breezing 5f in 1:00.60 (3/26). Derby Points (50). 

6. Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely in the Arkansas Derby (88 BSF) and tries to run two alike for the first time at Churchill in three weeks. Derby Points (110).

7. 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 bounced back with a big win in the Santa Anita Derby. Ten furlongs is his biggest Derby obstacle. Worked 4f in :48.40 (6/24) at Santa Anita on 4-17. Derby Points (129).

8. Vyjack (Into Mischief) – Tasted defeat for the first time in the Wood Memorial but was hardly disgraced with a solid show finish. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the Kentucky Derby. He has pedigree questions to answer. Derby Points (70).

9. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Still not sold on this one as a legit Derby contender because I am skeptical about ten panels and he looks like be a Florida specialist. G3 Holy Bull hero finished a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, his first start in nine weeks. Breezed a 5f bullet in 1:01 (1/9) at Calder on 4-11. Derby Points (50).

10. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – His sire is on fire and the Amoss runner was 3rd in the Delta Jackpot, 7th in the Risen Star, and 2nd in the LA Derby.  He is on the grounds at Churchill Downs and will reunite with Rosie Napravnik in the Derby. Breezed a 6f bullet in 1:12.20 (1/6) at Churchill on 4-14. Derby Points (42).

Derby Dreamers (in alphabetical order):

Charming Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) – Pletcher’s talented turf runner ended up 3rd in the Blue Grass and seemingly did just enough to quality for a starting gate spot on May 4. Derby Points (20).

Falling Sky (Lion Heart) – G3 Sam Davis winner finished 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby and 4th in the Arkansas Derby. He seems a cut below the best. Derby Points (30).

Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy) – Ky Jockey Club Stakes runner-up grabbed a quarter and finished 6th in the Holy Bull. He finished 7th in the Florida Derby and snuck into the Derby back door with a runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby. Derby Points (44).

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but the Derby is an ambitious spot considering his lack of experience. He has a hind foot issue and is being examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. Derby Points (50).

Java’s War (War Pass) – G2 Tampa Bay Derby runner-up flattered Verrazano with his late running G1 Blue Grass tally but he only received an 89 BSF. He will try to get involved late under the Twin Spires. Derby Points (122).

Lines of Battle (War Front) – UAE Derby has never been a successful path to Churchill so it is hard to take this one seriously. Finished 7th in the 2012 BC Juvenile Turf, his lone trek to the states. Derby Points (100).

Oxbow horse

Oxbow is the one Derby pretender who scares me – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and just missed in the G2 Rebel on March 16. Gary Stevens hopped aboard for the Arkansas Derby and he rallied from last to split the field from yet another outer post. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins and can surprise in Derby if he flashes speed. Derby Points (36).

Palace Malice (Curlin) – Risen Star show finisher finished a troubled 7th in the Louisiana Derby. He desperately needed Derby points in the Blue Grass and made the cut with a solid place finish. Derby Points (50).

Super Ninety Nine (Pulpit) – Facile G3 Southwest hero finished a flat 5th as the beaten favorite in the Rebel. Baffert trainee set the pace and weakened to 3rd in the SA Derby and appears to have distance limitations. Derby Points (30).

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner is training up to the Kentucky Derby, a rare move for Wayne Lukas. Breezed 8f in 1:40.80 (1/1) at Oaklawn Park on 4-12. Derby Points (60).

Former Top Ten Members

Balance the Books (Lemon Drop Kid) – Late running turf specialist flopped in his Spiral Stakes return and ran better (6th of 14) but not good enough in the Blue Grass. He will return to New York and get back on the sod this summer.

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. Breezed 4f in :51.20 (34/43) at Churchill Downs on 4-14. 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).

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 was terribly mismanaged after that effort, most recently faded to last in an allowance dirt sprint at SA on 12-28. He worked 4f in :50.40 (28/35) at Santa Anita on 4-15. 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 1:00.16 (3/10) at Palm Meadows (turf) on 4-8.

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 decided not to enter the Blue Grass. Breezed 5f in 1:01.60 (11/26) at Keeneland on 4-14.

Pataky Kid (Rockport Harbor) – G3 Arl-Wash Futurity hero finished 7th in the G2 Hutcheson in his first start of the year and 3rd to Noble Tune in a Tampa Bay turf allowance affair. He finished 6th in the third race (allowance turf route) at Keeneland on 4-14. Derby Points (1).

Power Broker (Pulpit) – $360k purchase graduated in style vs. graded foes in FrontRunner and raced wide and never got a chance to run his race in BC Juvenile. Baffert trainee returned in the Santa Anita Derby and finished 5th in that needed effort. Worked 4f in :47.60 (2/35) at Santa Anita on 4-15. Derby Points (10).

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 finished a solid 2nd in the Spiral but stalked and faded in a disappointing Blue Grass effort. He will regroup and likely point to the Queen’s Plate. Derby Points (30).

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 was pulled up as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby. He appears to be alright after taking a bad step at Oaklawn Park.

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.

Flashback (Tapit) – Came out of his 2nd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby with a bone chip but is expected to make a full recovery. Derby Points (70).

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

Hear the Ghost (Ghostzapper) – Injured his right front leg preparing for the SA Derby and if off the Triple Crown 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.

Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday) – BC Juvenile winner and 2yo champ tasted defeat for the first time in the Holy Bull and faded to 5th in the nine furlong Florida Derby. He came out of the Florida Derby with a pelvic stress fracture and will need at least three months rest. Derby Points (24).

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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