Posts Tagged ‘Titletown Five’

Preakness 2013 Recap – Oxbow steals show

Congratulations to Preakness 2013 hero Oxbow. Nobody wanted the early lead and Gary Stevens was more than happy to canter around the track and win this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Oxbow wires field in Preakness 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow, owned by Calumet Farm, is a war horse for throwback connections Wayne Lukas and Gary Stevens. The Preakness Stakes was his 11th lifetime start and there is no rest in sight with the Test of Champions squarely on his radar screen.

Did Lukas scare everyone from a pace perspective? He entered sprinter Titletown Five and possibly fooled jockey Kevin Krigger aboard Goldencents.

Titletown Five did not go for the lead under Leaproux, and Goldencents failed to take advantage so Stevens and Oxbow walked the dog from start to finish.

I knew that Oxbow was best on the lead but did not think he was quick enough to get there. The pace figured to be slower than the Derby but I did not see the crawling Preakness pace coming.

Runner-up Itsmyluckyday was making his 12th career start in Baltimore so chalk another one up for experience. He got the best of the draw as an outside stalker and rediscovered his sharp Florida form.

Mylute picked up another minor check in stakes race. He was the only one making up any ground and the Preakness was his fifth place/show finish in the stakes ranks.

Kentucky Derby winner Orb seemed to be living a charmed life until he drew the dead rail. The outside closer never looked comfortable and went through the motions in a flat 4th place finish.

Granted, before the Preakness, Orb handled wet/fast footing and various pace scenarios but the Derby fell into the lap of a closer and everything went perfectly for Shug and company on the first Saturday in May.

Goldencents had one shot and that was to attempt a wire job but was ridden passively. He is a quality early runner with distance limitations and his best weapon was taken away at Pimlico.

Departing sat right outside of Orb and made a top three bid along the inside turning for home. He flattened out to finish 6th and was not disgraced in his toughest test to date.

Will Take Charge, Govenor Charlie, and Titletown Five trailed.

It is on the Belmont Stakes in 20-days and my top ranked sophomore Revolutionary looms large in the Test of Champions.

Belmont Stakes 2013 logo

Early Belmont Stakes 2013 Hopefuls (in alphabetical order):

Code West (Lemon Drop Kid) – Baffert’s runner followed up a place finish in the Risen Star with a 6th in the LA Derby. He finished 2nd on the Derby undercard and beat older allowance rivals to cap the Preakness Day card.

Freedom Child (Malibu Moon): Freaked in the muddy Peter Pan Stakes and looms a pace factor at the very least in the Test of Champions. Split Orb and Revolutionary in a maiden race at the Big A last November.

Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) – LA Derby 4th place finisher took advantage of a pace meltdown to land the place in the Kentucky Derby. Dallas Stewart’s late runner is scheduled to work at Churchill next Wed. or Thurs.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and rebounded with a place finish in the Preakness. The Monmouth Park based colt is targeting the Haskell this summer but is still possible for the Belmont Stakes.

Micromanage (Medaglia d’Oro) – Finished 10th in the G2 Remsen to end his juvenile campaign. Returned with a game neck victory (wide trip) vs. allowance rivals at Monmouth May 11 and could go next in the Belmont Stakes.

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Everything went right in the Kentucky Derby but the wheels came off the cart in the Preakness, ending his 5-race winning streak. He may try to rebound in the Belmont Stakes but there is talk of resting him and waiting for Saratoga.

Overanalyze (Dixie Union) – G2 Remsen hero finished a wide, flat 5th from post 11 in his needed Gotham return. He bounced back nicely to win the Arkansas Derby and ended up 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Breezed 4f in :47.50 (3/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee snuck away early and stole the Preakness for Stevens. He shows up for every dance so expect him to complete in the final leg of the Triple Crown series.

Palace Malice (Curlin): Risen Star show finisher ended up a troubled 7th in the LA Derby and rebounded with a 2nd in the Blue Grass. He set fast splits (blinkers on) before fading to 12th in the Kentucky Derby and is now targeting the Belmont. He breezed 4f in :47.49 (2/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

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 finished 5th in his SA Derby return and won an allowance race at Churchill on May 10. The Belmont Stakes is a possibility.

Revolutionary (War Pass) – He has been my top ranked 3yo since February and my confidence has not wavered following a solid show finish in the Derby. I thought the Belmont Stakes was perfect for him after his smart Withers score earlier this year and he is bred to run all day on the dam side. He will work twice for the Belmont beginning Sunday, May 26.

Unlimited Budget (Street Sense) – 3-time graded winner lost for the first time after landing the show in the Kentucky Oaks. The Pletcher/Repole filly breezed 4f in :49.07 (14/34) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on 5-19.

Preakness 2013 Preview: Will Orb overcome inside post?

The field has been set for Preakness 2013 and even money favorite Orb will break from the rail.

Preakness 2013 Post Positions

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, ML Odds

 1. Orb, Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario  1-1
2. Goldencents, Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger  8-1
3. Titletown Five, D. Wayne Lukas, Julien Leparoux  30-1
4. Departing, Al Stall Jr., Brian Hernandez Jr.  6-1
5. Mylute, Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik  5-1
6. Oxbow, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens  15-1
7. Will Take Charge, D. Wayne Lukas, Mike Smith  12-1
8. Govenor Charlie, Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia  12-1
9. Itsmyluckyday, Eddie Plesa Jr., John Velazquez  10-1

Preakness 2013

Jarrod Horak’s Preakness 2013 Preview (in post position order):

1. Orb (Malibu Moon) – Tabasco Cat is the only horse in the last 41 years to win the Preakness Stakes from post one and Orb likes to make wide, sweeping moves. If he is a legit Triple Crown threat the inside post will not bother him and Rosario continues to ride great. I have always liked Shug’s colt but he won’t offer any value in Baltimore.

2. Goldencents (Into Mischief) – SA Derby winner hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help his cause. He is a quality speed horse but needs everything to go his way to compete vs. these at this distance. Krigger might send him and play catch me if you can.

3. Titletown Five (Tiznow) – He finished in front of Orb in a Saratoga maiden race last summer. He has raw talent but is best as a sprinter at this stage. Interesting that patient rider Leparoux takes over. They are trying to get him to relax.

4. Departing (War Front) – Playing the part of Red Bullet is Departing and taking over the role of Fusaichi Pegasus is Orb. At least that is what trainer Al Stall Jr.  is hoping. He is 4-for-5 lifetime and the LA Derby was a productive prep. He did not beat much in the Illinois Derby but looked good doing it.

5. Mylute (Midnight Lute) – He is winless in seven stakes outings but is usually in the hunt. Napravnik was the queen of Maryland racing when she rode at Laurel/Pimlico and she really wants to win the Preakness.

6. Oxbow (Awesome Again) – Lukas trainee was done in by the quick Derby splits but hung in there to finish a fine 6th. His main problem is that he pulled off wire jobs in both career wins but is not quick enough to grab the early lead in the Preakness.

7. Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a troubled 8th in the Derby. He is a bit interesting if he finds clear sailing under Mike Smith but is not fast enough and has yet to win beyond a mile and a sixteenth.

8. Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – G3 Sunland Derby hero is lightly raced and on the improve. He lacks seasoning and has recovered from the minor hind foot issue that forced him to miss the Derby. Look for him to make some noise later this year.

9. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa’s colt got the best of the draw based on his preferred outside stalk and pounce style. The Florida Derby runner-up flopped in the Derby and may have peaked in January. Orb beat him in his last pair.

Check out my Friday & Saturday (May 17-18) Black-Eyed Susan & Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (PIM 8th race, click view sample) at TodaysRacingDigest.com.

Upcoming full cards:
Pimlico
(Fri. May 17 – Black-Eyed Susan Day) – available now!
Pimlico (Sat. May 18 – Preakness Day) – available now!
Belmont
(Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day)
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day)
Churchill Saturdays (May 25, June 1, June 15, June 22, June 29)

Preakness 2013 Contenders – Will Orb capture second jewel?

Congratulations to Kentucky Derby 2013 hero Orb, and it was nice to see Shug McGaughey saddle his first Derby winner as well. He looks like a runaway locomotive at this point and might be too hot to handle in Preakness 2013.

Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb

Congrats to Kentucky Derby 2013 winner Orb – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Orb was one of my Exciting Prospects when I posted my first Derby Top 10 list last September. He lacked maturity in his first three outings but has really put everything together since. The Derby was his fifth straight win and he goes to Baltimore on a serious roll. He received a great pace setup in the Derby and it could be more of the same in the Preakness with the likes of Titletown Five and Goldencents on the engine early.

Speaking of rolls, jockey Joel Rosario has been unstoppable since winning the Dubai World Cup. Orb is currently preparing for the second jewel at Belmont Park and will ship to Pimlico early next week.

It is fun to talk about Orb’s Triple Crown chances but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. History is not on his side but he does possess all of the tools to give it a serious run. The son of Malibu Moon wheels back quickly on May 18 and it should be noted that he graduated off two weeks rest last year. I also saw a stat on TVG earlier this week about Shug McGaughey clicking at a 50% rate (6-for-12) when he brings horses back in 14-days. New shooter Departing might be his biggest competition.

Look out if Orb makes it past the Preakness but he will still have to beat fresh, talented rival Revolutionary at Big Sandy. That’s a discussion for another day.

Derby runner-up Golden Soul is pointing to the Belmont Stakes. He finished 2nd in the Derby because of the pace and will be an underlay in the Test of Champions.

My Derby selection Revolutionary, the top ranked contender on my Derby list since February, ran well to land the show on the first Saturday in May. I have not lost faith and he reminds me of my past Derby/Belmont picks Empire Maker and Union Rags.

Oxbow was too close to the rapid Derby pace and Normandy Invasion moved too soon. Both are players in Baltimore, especially the latter if Chad Brown opts to go in that direction.

Mylute took advantage of the fleet fractions and was in the show photo (finished 5th). If he runs in the Preakness, note that jockey Rosie Napravnik has plenty of Pimlico experience.

Will Take Charge was making a move with Orb in the Derby but Verrazano was backing up and stopped his momentum. The Derby was his first start beyond a mile and a sixteenth and he was coming off a layoff so it was not a bad effort finishing 8th.

Goldencents seemingly hated the Derby slop and will be part of the Preakness pace, especially if the track is fast.

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 Preakness 2013 Contenders

Orb (Malibu Moon) – Won his fifth straight race for Shug McGaughey in the G1 Kentucky Derby (wet track) and the strong finisher adapts to various pace scenarios. Red hot jockey Joel Rosario has been on a roll since the Dubai Gold Cup and he is an obvious major stretch player in Baltimore.

Departing (War Front) – Finished 3rd in the productive Louisiana Derby and overcame a wide draw to smartly take down the Illinois Derby. The Al Stall Jr. runner is a dangerous new shooter and it is nice to see him join the Triple Crown series.

Normandy Invasion (Tapit) – Chad Brown’s colt trained aggressively and moved too soon under Javier Castellano in the Derby. He needs to sit back with Orb and make a big late run in the Preakness. He is reportedly much more relaxed since returning to New York. His ultimate goal is the G1 Travers at the Spa in August.

Mylute (Midnight Lute) – LA Derby runner-up rallied to finish 5th on the first Saturday in May under Rosie Napravnik. Trainer Tom Amoss said that his Preakness status would be revealed on Saturday morning.

Oxbow horse

Oxbow was too close to the hot Derby pace – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Oxbow (Awesome Again) – G3 Lecomte hero shows up for every dance and finished a solid 6th in the Derby after attending fast fractions from an inner post under Gary Stevens. Lukas trainee can rate but went all the way in both career wins. His main problem is that he is usually not quick enough to grab the early lead.

Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) – Smarty Jones/Rebel winner finished a respectable 8th in the Derby. He did find some traffic but that is to be expected in a 19-horse field. Mike Smith will ride in the Preakness and he could improve 2nd off the shelf.

Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) – Eddie Plesa Jr.’s colt was the talk of Florida earlier this year at the Gulf. The Holy Bull hero played second fiddle to Orb in the Florida Derby and finished a disappointing 15th on the first Saturday in May. John Velazquez will ride in the Preakness.

Preakness Dreamers:

Goldencents (Into Mischief) – Doug O’Neill’s quality early-pressing type seemingly hated the Derby wet track and the pace scenario did not help either. He earned a strong number in the SA Derby and is capable of big efforts on fast ground under the proper race shape.

Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute) – Smartly captured G3 Sunland Derby in his third career start. The Baffert trainee has plenty of upside but still lacks seasoning. He wisely passed on the Derby and has seemingly recovered from a minor hind foot issue. Worked 6f in 1:11.80 (1/3) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Street Spice (Street Sense) – Illinois Derby 5th place finisher seems up against it in the Preakness. He likely needs to find a softer spot to be competitive. Breezed 5f from the gate in 1:03.40 (27/33) at Arlington Park on 5-4.

Titletown Five (Tiznow) – Has lost all three starts this year and looks like a sprinter at this point. He will attend the Preakness pace before fading. Breezed 4f in :47.60 (5/35) at Churchill Downs on 5-7.

Vyjack (Into Mischief) – 18th place Derby finisher has now dropped two straight. He came out of the Wood Memorial with a lung infection and that hiccup probably cost him under the Twin Spires. He has talent but is not sharp right now.

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).

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).

Kentucky Derby 2013 Contenders – Super Ninety Nine headlines Rebel Stakes

Verrazano remained undefeated with another strong win in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby and vaulted to top of many Kentucky Derby 2013 lists.

Verrazano is the right now Derby horse after another facile win in the Tampa Bay Derby – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The waters will get a bit deeper for Verrazano in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6. He figures to face better horses while attempting to navigate nine furlongs for the first time. So far so, good for El Padrino’s promising brother, and he remains my second ranked contender.

Java’s War made a big run from the back of the pack to finish a clear 2nd but he was never going to catch Verrazano. Falling Sky attended the pace and comfortably held the show over Dymanic Sky.

Hear the Ghost upset the applecart in the G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 9 and the quick early pace helped his cause. I am not a believer yet and want to see him do it again.

Flashback ran too good to lose in the San Felipe. He did all of the pace dirty work and fought hard until the bitter end. He ended up a fine 2nd and should have gotten plenty out of it. Not sure if he is a ten furlong horse but I like his fighting spirit and he could go better under new pilot Garrett Gomez in the Santa Anita Derby if he relaxes early.

Goldencents always seemed a bit suspect on stamina and he had nothing to offer late in the San Felipe after losing the pace battle. He is another that needs to relax but early speed is his best weapon. He has talent but does not look like a ten furlong horse.

Tiz a Minister was far back early and rallied past Goldencents to finish a surprising 3rd. The Blue Grass Stakes might be next.

My longtime Exciting Prospect War Academy is one to watch after a sharp victory on March 15 in his first start around two turns. The Baffert runner will get one shot to make the Derby gate and could be the late bloomer we have been waiting for.

The Derby prep race of the weekend is the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. A field of 11 has been drawn for the March 16 contest and Southwest hero Super Ninety Nine drew the outside post. The flashy Baffert trainee faces a pair of my Exciting Prospects, Remsen show finisher Delhomme and San Vicente runner-up Treasury Bill. See my Rebel video preview 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 breezed 5f in 1:01.48 (6/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-10 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).

3. 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 try to turn the tables in the G1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. Derby Points (30).

Super Ninety Nine is the solid choice in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

4. 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. Worked 5f in :59.80 (2/52) at Santa Anita on 3-10 and drew post 11 in the upcoming G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on 3-16. Derby Points (10).

5. 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 :48.40 (2/16) at Payson Park on 3-11. Derby Points (50).

6. 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 :49.96 (20/39) at Palm Meadows on 3-10 and is expected to show up in the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway on 3-23.

7. 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.

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 breezed 4f in :48.01 (2/39) at Palm Meadows on 3-10 and will try to rebound 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. It appears as though he will switch gears and go in the G3 Sunland Derby on March 24 instead of the Wood Memorial. Derby Points (10).

10. 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 at Santa Anita on March 15 and could be ready to hit the big time.

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.

Delhomme (Dixie Union) – Set the pace and ended up a rock solid 3rd in a fast renewal of the Remsen. He breezed 5f in 1:00.88 (3/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-10 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. Breezed 4f in :49.40 (13/39) at Palm Meadows on 3-10. 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 5f in 1:01.20 (2/14) at Oaklawn Park on 3-12. The G3 Sunland Derby (March 24) is next on his dance card and Gary Stevens will ride.

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 drilled a 4f bullet in :48 (1/26) at Betfair Hollywood Park on 3-11 and will try two turns for the first time in the Rebel.

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 skipped the Rebel in favor of the Spiral a week later. Breezed 5f in 1:01.48 (6/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-10. 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. I’ll draw a line through his last and give him another chance. He breezed a 5f bullet in :58.47 (1/25) at Gulfstream Park on 3-8 and will try his luck in the G1 Florida Derby as opposed to the Spiral Stakes as originally intended. 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 is the latest Top 10 casualty after fading in the San Felipe – 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 is targeting the Santa Anita Derby. Derby Points (29).

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 (finished 6th).

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 4f in :50.20 (24/39) at Palm Meadows on 3-10.

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. 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 5f in 1:01 (25/82) at Santa Anita on 3-11. 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 1:02.90 (18/26) at Palm Meadows on 3-10. 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 probably goes next in Turfway’s Spiral. Breezed a flat mile in 1:40 (1/2) at Ocala Training Center on 3-12 and probably goes next in Turfway’s Spiral. 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).

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

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).