Monday, March 29, 2010

Ten's 10 for the Derby

I wanted to wait a few more posts before i put out my first derby list, but this past weekend's Derby preps has compelled me to put one out today. This list is whom i think have the best chance to win the Derby when the gate opens May 1, not the top ten three year-olds on the trail, nor the top ten 3 year-old males in training. So you will not find Noble's Promise, Conveyance and Drosselmeyer (He will not make it on earnings) on the list. Nor will you find D'Funnybone, who i consider in the top 5 of all 3 year-olds. Without any further ado, here we go....

1. Lookin at Lucky
The reigning champ came back in fine form with a trouble-filled victory in the Rebel. He has done nothing wrong on his quest to become Baffert's 4th Derby winner. Baffert has decided to stay home for Lucky's last prep, but will (dirt-synth-dirt) + (shipping back and forth) = (trouble)?
Next race: Santa Anita Derby, April 3, Santa Anita

1a. Eskendereya
The "most impressive prep on the trail" mantle had belonged to him with his dominating victory in the Fountain of Youth. His victory has been further enhanced by the running of the Florida Derby, in which two horses he crushed, Ice Box (see below) & Pleasant Prince, finished 1-2. His owner Zayat Stables decided to have 6 weeks to his final prep instead of 6 weeks to the Derby, skipping the Florida Derby in favor of the Wood. Will this prove to be a foolish mistake, with Esky in need of some graded earnings to make the Derby?
Next race: Wood Memorial, April 3, Aqueduct

3. Endorsement
He probably shouldn't be this high after winning just a grade 3 (video below), but they way he won the Sunland Derby has just gotten me all a flutter. He has everything you could want in a Derby horse: Great distance pedigree, positional speed and a spurt. His victory was a stylish performance, beating the previously unbeaten Conveyance and nearly setting a track record in the process. The naysayers will say he beat nothing, he got a perfect trip and he hasn't faced any top competition. But when you do it that way, it doesn't matter. As of now, he is my derby horse.
Next race: Kentucky Derby, May 1, Churchill Downs

4. Awesome Act
Pointed to the Wood since he facile win in the Gotham, this son of Awesome Again will be stepping up to face the big boys next time out, going against #1 on this list. Will he improve off his 1st start on dirt, or is he just an one-act show?
Next Race: Wood Memorial, April 3, Aqueduct

5. Odysseus
The winner of the Tampa Bay Derby in an epic performance (below) attended a swift pace, dropped back and somehow came back to nail Schoolyard Dreams at the wire. He's topping a few derby lists at the moment and he is taking the Street Sense route to the Twin Spire. But has he spent his Derby race already and end up a Greek tragedy by being be the first horse out on the graded earnings bubble?
Next race: Blue Grass Stakes, April 10, Keeneland

6. Ice Box
The winner of the Florida Derby in a desperate finish over Pleasant Prince has steadily improving son of Pulpit. The Florida Derby was an absolute perfect set-up for him. Will the 6 weeks off + a 20 horse field be too much heat to handle?
Next Race: Kentucky Derby, May 1, Churchill Downs

7. Mission Impazible
The winner of the Louisiana Derby earns a spot on the list solely for winning the race. The fast early - slow late nature of the race, including a :38+ final 3/8, raise some doubts about over whether he will move up with an additional furlong. At least he can sit close up and pass, a nice commodity to have on the 1st Saturday of May.
Next race: Kentucky Derby, May 1, Churchill Downs

8. Interactif
His valiant effort in the San Felipe against lone speed Sidney's Candy has many offering him a chance to make some noise on the trail. Aiming for the Blue Grass, this son of Broken Vow should have no problem with the added distance. He has handled turf and synth, but can he handle dirt?
Next race: Blue Grass Stakes, April 10th, Keeneland

9. Backtalk
The wildcard of the group, this multiple graded stakes winner at two came back with nice effort in a stakes race at Delta. The pedigree is fine for the distance, and he has been working well towards his next start in Cicero, IL. Will this half-brother of Bsharpsonata move up second off the layoff, or regress coming off the bullring?
Next race: Illinois Derby, April 3rd, Hawthorne Race Course

10. Schoolyard Dreams
The horse who Odysseus nailed on the wire came back with a blistering work in :46 4/5 two weeks after losing the nastiest head bob since Colonel John beat Mambo in Seattle in the 2008 Travers. His connections changed plans to get Ramon Dominguez to ride him by switching from a seeming easier spot in the Illinois Derby to the Wood Memorial. Will the (alleged) bad karma surrounding the Ryan barn over the death of Big Truck come back to smash these Derby "Dreams"?
Next race: Wood Memorial, April 3, Aqueduct

In the "others receiving votes" list, in alphabetical order are:
  • Caracortado - Will the world be his once he takes on the champ?
  • Dave in Dixie - Will dirt be the key to helping him to get that elusive stakes win?
  • Dean's Kitten - Dirt is the question. Can he answer the question?
  • Dublin - Can Terry Thompson keep the Irish eyes from crying come Arkansas Derby time?
  • Pleasant Prince - Ice Box has his number so far. Can he turn the tables AND beat 18 other horses in the process?
  • Rule/Super Saver - These two speedballs once were considered Winstar's best chances at the Derby. Can one of them learn to rate in time, or will one of them be left in the barn?
With the GI Santa Anita Derby, GI Wood Memorial and G3 Illinois Derby this weekend, hopefully the Derby picture will become a little bit clearer.


  1. Nice call on Endorsement. Thanks for the sidebar link. I've reciprocated.


  2. Woohoo, first person to put me on their blog list!

    Thanks Equispace.

  3. I like the "coupled entry" aspect for LaL and Esky. Many have already crowned LaL the Derby champ. I think the Rebel took a lot out of him and he may be tired by the big Day - or sooner. I like that you have Endorsement that high - he's got all the goods, and Conveyance is no slouch.
    So far, yours is the most on-target list I've seen.

  4. Love it - and now that I can finally "pimp" your blog publicly, I'm adding to my blogroll as well. We've got to get you into the TBA - once you've been public for 3 months, contact Geno, Zipse, or me and we'll get you into the voting mix!

  5. @Tbox: Thanks for the praise. I have a feeling that you & I might be on the same wavelength when it comes to Derby. :-)

    @Kevin: As long as you keep that "pimp cane" away from me, we're good. :-P