Posts Tagged ‘Midnight Lute’

Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders: Midnight Hawk Attack

Midnight Hawk and Kristo, a pair of promising Kentucky Derby 2014 contenders based in Southern California, traded punches for much of Saturday’s Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Midnight Hawk horse

Midnight Hawk wins 2014 Sham Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Midnight Hawk proved superior in the lane and picked up 10 Derby Points, and earned a solid 95 BSF. The Baffert trainee is now 2-for-2 but is still green and needs more experience.

Kristo seemed a bit out of his element dueling on the inside and it was nice to see him fight hard to the bitter end. The Sham was his first start in three months and he should have gotten a ton out of Saturday’s race.

Midnight Hawk replaces Purple Sky on my list, and Sham runner-up Kristo remains in the mix.

It is tough to interpret compact Derby preps (Sham) and pace puzzlers (Remsen), but the most important things to look for at this stage are strong efforts, top connections, and long winded pedigrees. These early Derby hopefuls need to stay healthy while picking up Derby Points and gaining experience. We will learn more about many of these promising sophomores in the coming months.

The featured Derby prep this week is the Grade III Lecomte Stakes from Fair Grounds. Gold Hawk, currently sitting at No. 6 on my list, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. He figures to be tough to beat if he gets enough pace help to set up his late charge.

Click on the names of each horse below (Top 5) to view their Horse Racing Nation profile page, which includes pedigree information, results, and video.

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders

1. SHARED BELIEF (Candy Ride – Common Hope, by Storm Cat) shared belief

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer – Owner: Jungle Racing (Jim Rome)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.40 (11/40) at Santa Anita Park on 1-3.

Comments: Cruised in his 10-19 Golden Gate debut and crushed four rivals in the G3 Hollywood Prevue on 11-10. He dominated the G1 CashCall Futurity (106 BSF) on 12-14, his first start around two turns. He missed a scheduled work on Jan. 12 due to a foot abscess. “I’m not going to work him until he’s perfect,” Hollendorfer said Friday morning. “We want to try and make the Lewis if we can, but if we don’t, it’s not going to bother me any.

2. HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy – Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat)honor code silks

Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Owner: Lane’s End Racing & Dell Ridge Farm

Latest Workout: 3f breeze in :39 (10/13) at Payson Park on 12-31.

Derby Points (14)

Comments: Made up more than 20-lengths in his career debut (Saratoga slop) to score by 4-1/2 lengths at 7f on 8-31 (89 BSF). He rallied to miss by a neck in the G1 Champagne on 10-5. McGaughey’s plan to skip the G1 BC Juvenile in favor of the G2 Remsen worked out well. He is expected to make his 3YO bow in the Fountain of Youth.

Havana horse

Havana has resumed light training in Florida – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

3. HAVANA (Dunkirk – Missy Turtle, by Kyle’s Our Man)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Owner: Taber, Magnier, and Smith

Derby Points (14)

Comments: Went wire-to-wire in his Saratoga debut on 8-23 and earned a 102 BSF. He battled through swift splits and held off Honor Code by a nose in the G1 Champagne (93 BSF) at Belmont on 10-5. Stalked and pounced from post 13 in BC Juvenile but could not hold off New Year’s Day. He has resumed light training in Florida.

4. STRONG MANDATE (Tiznow – Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister)

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas – Owner: Baker & Mack

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:04.20 (22/94) at Oaklawn Park on 1-12.

Derby Points (2)

Comments: Finished 5th in his 7-22 Saratoga bow. He graduated by 4-1/2 lengths at 6.5f at the Spa on 8-17 and cruised by 9-3/4 in the G1 Hopeful at 7f (mud, sealed) on 9-2 (85 BSF). He never fired in 7th place Champagne puzzler. He shot to the front from post 14 and finished an improved 3rd in the BC Juvenile.

5. CAIRO PRINCE (Pioneerof The Nile – Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull)

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin – Owner: Namcook Stables

Latest Workout: 5f bullet in :59.90 (1/29) at Palm Meadows on 1-12. That’s nearly identical back-to-back 5f bullets.

Derby Points (4)

Comments: Won his first two races including the G2 Nashua. Just missed in a strange renewal of the Remsen and will make his next start in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 1-25.

6. GOLD HAWK (Empire Maker – Caressing, by Honour and Glory)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen – Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Latest Workout: 4f in :49.80 (22/47) at Fair Grounds (slop) on 1-13.

Comments: Debut stalk and pounce tally at Churchill Downs Nov. 30. Found his best stride late in a good looking entry level route win at Fair Grounds 12-27. The promising colt is entered in the G3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds on Jan. 18.

7. KENDALL’S BOY (Sky Mesa – Golden Damsel, by Gold Token)

Trainer: Tom Amoss – Owner: Jerry Namy

Comments: Clearly second best to Havana in his 8-23 debut at the Spa and rolled by 5-1/4 lengths at 6f under the Twin Spires on 9-13. He never appeared comfortable on synthetic footing and was not persevered with in 11th place Breeders’ Futurity effort. Went wire-to-wire under Rosie Napravnik in his 6f allowance return at Fair Grounds on Jan. 11.

8. MIDNIGHT HAWK (Midnight Lute – Miss Wineshine, by Wolf Power)

Trainer: Bob Baffert Owner: Mike Pegram

Comments: Ran his record to 2-for-2 in a prominent throughout G3 Sham triumph. The blinkers off helped him relax but his mid was wondering in the lane. He has plenty of raw talent and should continue to develop mentally and physically.

9. KRISTO (Distorted Humor – Capote’s Crown, by Capote)

Trainer: John Sadler – Owner: Hronis Racing LLC.

Comments: Finished 2nd in his first two sprint starts as the beaten favorite at Del Mar & Santa Anita. He stretched out at the Great Race Place on 10-31 and romped by almost 7-lengths after battling on the pace under Rafael Bejarano. He battled Midnight Hawk throughout in the G3 Sham and was clearly second best.

10. UNKNOWN ROAD (Bernardini – Banshee Winds, by Known Fact)

Trainer: Al Stall Jr. – Owner: JMJ Racing Stables

Latest Workout: Breezed 4f in :48.80 (19/59) at Fair Grounds on Jan. 17.

Comments: Finished a good 2nd to Chad Brown’s Coup de Grace in his 6f Big A debut on Nov. 9. He torched six rivals at Fair Grounds (six furlongs) second time out on Dec. 19 and should get better as distances increase.

11. COUP DE GRACE (Tapit – Home Court, by Storm Cat)

Trainer: Chad Brown – Owner: Fox Hill Farms

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.75 (7/30) at Palm Meadows on 1-12.

Comments: Ran his record to 2-for-2 with a professional one mile allowance tally at Gulfstream Park on 12-15. The Holy Bull Stakes might be next.

Pedigree Spotlight: MIDNIGHT HAWK

midnight hawk silks

Midnight’s Hawk’s sire Midnight Lute (Real Quiet – Candytuft, by Dehere) won the BC Sprint in 2007 and 2008 and was the Champion Sprinter in ’07. The promising young stallion’s leading runners include Queen’s Plate winner Midnight Aria, G1 Acorn winner Midnight Lucky, and G1 Malibu hero Shakin It Up.

midnight hawk pedigree

Midnight Lute’s sire Real Quiet (Quiet American) won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 1998 and just failed in his Triple Crown bid. The late sire’s leading runners include Grade 1 winners Pussycat Doll and Wonder Lady Ann L.

Real Quiet’s sire Quiet American (Fappiano) banked more than $750k and won the G1 NYRA Mile in 1990. The now pensioned sire was responsible for multiple stakes winners including 1997 Champion Older Female Hidden Lake, and Grade 1 winners Cara Rafaela, Seattle Smooth, and Switch.

Midnight Hawk’s dam Miss Wineshine (Wolf Power – Miss Mississippi, by Cormorant) won the Silver Spur in 1999 and placed in the G3 Debutante, G2 Adirondack, and G1 Spinaway.

Wolf Power was South African Horse of the Year in 1984. He sired 38 stakes winners including G1 hero Freedom Cry.

Midnight Hawk has more speed than stamina influences in his pedigree. He proved his two turn mettle in the G3 Sham and is lightly raced, undefeated, and on the improve.     

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).

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Revolutionary tries to stay on top in LA Derby

Lightly raced Baffert trainee Govenor Charlie stamped his Kentucky Derby 2013 ticket with a strong victory in the Grade III Sunland Derby on Sunday, March 24.

The son of Midnight Lute, owned by Mike Pegram, did not begin his career until January 19th of this year and does not have the seasoning to be a major Derby threat.

Black Onyx Kentucky Derby

Black Onyx is the first Derby horse to arrive at Churchill Downs – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I talked about Spiral hero Black Onyx in a blog post here earlier this week. I like his running style versatility and he is getting good at the right time but he needs to leap forward again if he expects to make an impact on the first Saturday in May.

Uncaptured ran well to finish 2nd in the Spiral considering his foot issues. He was making his first start since November of his juvenile season as well and could move forward in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 13.

Crop Report looked good in the Rushaway Stakes on the Spiral undercard but will not be pointing to the Derby. The Team Valor/Graham Motion colt is a late May foal and is one to watch in the coming months. The Belmont Stakes is possible and I wrote a bog about him here earlier this week as well.

Balance the Books was a big disappointment at Turfway Park. Chad Brown’s highly regarded colt failed to lift a hoof in the Spiral and might not have handled the synthetic footing. He is a talented late runner on turf and might return to that surface. He clings to the bottom of my list and likely drops off after the LA Derby and Florida Derby.

My top ranked Derby contender Revolutionary attempts to qualify for his spot on the first Saturday in May in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

At Gulfstream Park on Saturday, juvenile champ Shanghai Bobby hopes to turn the tables on Holy Bull hero Itsmyluckyday with Fountain of Youth winner Orb running on late.

I posted video analysis of the Louisiana Derby and Florida Derby below. A shout out to my special guest Ryan Patterson. Great job, Ryan!

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 4f in :48.20 (4/43) at Palm Meadows on 3-24 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. Breezed 4f in :49.79 (20/43) at Palm Meadows on 3-24. Derby Points (50).

Orb finishes his Derby prep season in Saturday’s 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 :48.30 (3/7) at Payson Park on 3-25. Derby Points (50).

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. Garrett Gomez has been named to ride in the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Drilled a 6f bullet in 1:11.80 (1/15) at Santa Anita on 3-25. 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 goes next in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 13. Worked 4f in :47.60 (2/20) at Santa Anita on 3-26.

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. Breezed 4f in :49.93 (35/56) at Palm Meadows on 3-23.

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 another 5f bullet in 1:00.22 (1/34) at Palm Meadows on 3-24 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 4f in :48.20 (4/43) at Palm Meadows on 3-24. 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. Worked 4f in :47.20 (2/26) at Santa Anita on 3-28. Derby Points (10).

10. 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.

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. Derby Points (50).

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 1:00.82 (6/34) at Palm Meadows on 3-24 and is entered in the Louisiana Derby. 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 4f in :48.80 (9/53) at Oaklawn Park on 3-27. He has been rerouted from Sunland Derby to Louisiana Derby and looks like the one to catch at Fair Grounds.

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

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 horse

Will Frac Daddy bounce back in the Florida Derby? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

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 (2/16) at Gulfstream Park on 3-22 and McPeek 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 (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 1:02.90 (27/31) at Palm Meadows on 3-23.

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 (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 from the gate in 1:12 (2/15) at Santa Anita on 3-25 and is expected to enter 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 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 1:00.82 (6/34) at Palm Meadows on 3-24 and will break from the rail in the Florida Derby. 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. 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).

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).