1. Union Rags – He holds on to his number one spot for another week, but I don’t believe he is above and beyond them like so many others think. His next start is shaping up to be a stiff test, as El Padrino is now pointed towards the Florida Derby as well.
2. Creative Cause – His win in the San Felipe was great, but it was the gallop out that really has me sky-high on Creative Cause. After the wire, Creative Cause galloped out 12 lengths in front of the rest of the horses. This tells me he may have only just been getting started in the mile and one-sixteenth race. That’s great news for fans that are backing him in the Kentucky Derby.
3. El Padrino – It now looks like the Florida Derby is where he’s pointed. Let the Union Rags vs. El Padrino hype begin…
4. Hansen – Hansen is currently in Kentucky, but will be shipped back to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial in April. He had an easy half mile workout on Monday.
5. Secret Circle – His Rebel win was so impressive, but the question of how far he wants to run still looms large. He’s pointed towards the Arkansas Derby next where he’ll try to win the “Oaklawn Crown.”
6. Bodemeister – In just his third lifetime start Bodemeister showed great maturity in the San Felipe Stakes, where he finished second to Creative Cause. You’d have to think this horse is just going to get better and better so this is one to really keep an eye on. Bob Baffert said on Sunday that Bodemeister will run in either the Santa Anita Derby or Arkansas Derby next.
7. On Fire Baby – Even though On Fire Baby is a filly I felt like I had to put her on this list because her connections are talking about trying the Derby, and because she ran a huge race in the Honeybee. Her beyer figure of 99 is one of the best of the year for any three-year old. She’ll remain on my Derby list until I hear for sure she’s pointing towards the Oaks.
8. Alpha – The word is he’s now pointed to the Louisiana Derby or Wood Memorial so he can dodge Union Rags.
9. Gemologist – It was a very sharp comeback win for Gemologist in an Allowance at Gulfstream friday. It looks like he’ll be heading to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial as well.
10. Mark Valeski – Word out of the Larry Jones camp is this guy is improving every day. Look for him to run in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds next time out.
11. Castaway – It looks like Castaway is going to run in the Sunland Derby this Sunday. I’ve been extremely interested to see how this horse does going long, so this is easily the most important race as far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned this week.
12. I’ll Have Another – He’s working out at Santa Anita, and looks to be pointing towards the Santa Anita Derby.
13. News Pending – He finished well behind Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth, but he was closing like he wanted more distance. After a great workout this weekend, it looks like he’s pointed towards the Florida Derby
14. Optimizer – His late run in the Rebel was very impressive, and he should get better and better as the distance gets longer. There are a few negative signs, like not changing leads in the Rebel, which is a sign that this horse still has a lot of growing up to do. He’s one you still have to take him serious from here on out.
15. Howe Great – This horse is on quite a winning streak, and defeated Dullahan the Palm Beach. His dirt form is still a major question mark, but so was Animal Kingdom’s last year. He’s pointing towards the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland for his next start, where he’ll face Dullahan again.
16. Dullahan – His come back race in the Palm Beach was very encouraging, even though he was second to Howe Great. We’ll see him next in the Bluegrass Stakes.
17. Daddy Nose Best – There are questions about how he’ll like the dirt, but his win in the El Camino Real was impressive. We’re awaiting word on where he’ll run next.
18. Take Charge Indy – In an interesting move, his connections scratched out of the Tampa Bay Derby last week and are pointing towards the Florida Derby instead.
19. Sabercat – He ran poorly in the Rebel, but it was his first start since November so I’m keeping him on the list for now. He’ll have to run much better in the Arkansas Derby to stay on this list though.
20. Z Dager – I’ve put him in the last spot because of his two consistent efforts against graded stakes company. He’ll need to step up to find himself in the top-tier of horses, but the added distance might help him.