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New to the Top 20: Wicked Strong
Dropped Out: Ride On Curlin
1. California Chrome – We didn’t believe for the longest time…but now we do! He’s now the favorite to win this one with the only question being how well he’ll run over the Churchill Downs surface. From now on I’ll refer to him as “The Freak.”
2. Tapiture – It’s finally Arkansas Derby week, and Tapiture will have a tough task in front of him. He’ll have the services of Joel Rosario, and with a clean trip I don’t think he can be beat this week.
3. Wicked Strong – Will the real Wicked Strong please stand up? If the Kentucky Derby was ran at Aqueduct he’d be looking really good right now. This proves how terrible a fit the Gulfstream track was for him, and now he’s stamped himself as a legit player. One thing that is so important to note: He’s the only horse that has won one of these preps from off the pace.
4. Hoppertunity – California Chrome may have crushed him, but I really like what I saw out of Hoppertunity in the Santa Anita Derby. He’ll have no problem with the Kentucky Derby distance, and if he can just continue to progress he’ll have a big shot. Ran to my expectations, just not good enough to beat the freak.
5. Constitution – Huge victory in the Florida Derby! I liked his willingness to go through a small hole along the rail, and you had to admire how gamely he fought off the pesky Wildcat Red. Of course zero starts at two is scary, and he also still doesn’t seem to good about sitting behind horses. He might have the most raw talent, but his lack of experience could be his downfall.
6. Samraat – My respect for him grows with each and every race. He may have been defeated for the first time, but it took a giant effort to do it. His game finish to out-nose Social Inclusion at the wire was respectable, and shows me he will fight all the way to the wire. Win or lose in Kentucky…this horse is so likable.
7. Intense Holiday – It was a wild stretch run for Intense Holiday in the Louisiana Derby as he banged into the rail and had trouble switching leads. Still, he managed to finish second and still is one that will have a shot in Kentucky.
8. Candy Boy – Much like Cairo Prince, Candy Boy did not run his best race after a long layoff in the Santa Anita Derby. He still is sitting in a good spot as far as making the field, and hopefully for his sake he’ll rebound with a better effort if he makes it into the race.
9. Cairo Prince – Talk about your all time back fire…Cairo Prince now sits on the bubble of even making it to the Kentucky Derby. It was obvious that the Florida Derby was not his best effort, but I do think he’ll bounce back and run better next time out. Not completely writing him off…
10. Strong Mandate – Still believe this one has a big race left in him somewhere…maybe we’ll see it in the Arkansas Derby. If not, he may not even make the race.
11. Bobby’s Kitten – It’s now or never in the Blue Grass Stakes this weekend. He’ll most likely be the post time favorite, but can he live up to the expectations?
12. Wildcat Red – My hat goes off to this horse, he’s not supposed to be running this far but he just keeps on fighting. I thought for sure General A Rod and Constitution would leave him in the dust in the Florida Derby, but this guy has a big heart. He’s earned his shot in the Derby.
13. Vicar’s In Trouble – Ran a terrific race when winning the Louisiana Derby, but still can’t see him getting the mile and one-quarter distance. Nice story to have a Louisiana bred making the race though.
14. Toast of New York – Dubai winner has a ton of things going against him, but also has an abundance of talent. Might be classier than all of these, but can he run on dirt and will he handle the trip well?
15. General A Rod – His third place effort in the Florida Derby was a tad disappointing considering it looked like he had every chance to go by for most of the stretch run. He’ll have a small chance in Kentucky, but might not be good enough.
16. Uncle Sigh – Picked the wrong time to run a bad race, but I still think he’ll end up running in the Kentucky Derby. Nice horse, but the distance will likely wear him down.
17. Ring Weekend – Second place efforts in the Calder Derby usually don’t lead to wins in the Kentucky Derby. I’ll leave him on the list based on the number of points he’s earned.
18. We Miss Artie – We’ve already seen him falter on dirt. Nice synthetic horse, will be tough for him to win the Derby though.
19. Chitu –Not liking his chances at all at a mile and one-quarter.
20. Social Inclusion – I’ll keep him on the list for now because he might still get into the field with a lot of luck. I actually thought his third place performance in the Wood was impressive, especially since his ride was curious to say the least. The jock basically thought they were going to cruise home to an easy win, then the water got real deep real fast and he panicked. Don’t forget about this one…
Free Brisnet past performances from Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager available here.
More information on the KDFW is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.