After the (not so) shocking result of the Lexington Stakes, we have the Derby field set, save a last-ditch effort by 85ina50 and Pleasant Prince to break in. But who really has a chance? Here are my final thoughts on the top ten, with a rating on their chances of winning the Derby on the "chocolate-covered pickle" rating scale.
All systems are go for this son of Giant's Causeway. He arrived today in Louisville and looked like a horse on a mission. Will he be the one to break the Pletcher "Derby Donut"?
Rating: 9 pickles out of 10.
The Sunland Derby winner has been getting some major buzz lately, and there is a chance he will end up being the "steam" horse come May 1. His first work back was a swift 4f in 46 & 4 12 days after his victory. He then worked 8 days later in company 5f in 1:01 & 2 on the 17th. Looks like all systems are go.
Rating: 8 pickles out of 10.
3. Looking At Lucky
The 2-year-old champ was roughed up in his last prep, the Santa Anita Derby but bounced back quickly from it and looked great galloping in the mornings before he shipped out to Louisville this week.
Rating: 7 pickles out of 10.
4. Ice Box
The Florida Derby winner worked at Churchill Downs on the 16th in 48 & 2 for 4 furlongs for the 6th best work on the day. He hopes to capitalize on the wicked pace expected on Derby day. But is he fast enough to get there?
Rating: 5 pickles out of 10
5. Awesome Act
The Gotham winner got crushed by the #1 on this list last time out in the Wood, but the there is hope. The trainer said that he was not at his best, and that the plan is on schedule. He worked today a nice 6 furlongs in 1:12 & 3, tying for the best work with Oaks contender Tidal Pool. He may bounce back, but is that enough to make up the 9 & 3/4 lengths on #1?
Rating: 5 pickles out of 10
6. Mission Impazible
The Louisiana Derby winner arrived on the plane with the others Pletcher platoon today. This forgotten member of the group is one of the few who can pass horses. But will his tendency to be stalk just off the pace leave him with no punch come the top of the lane?
Rating: 4 pickles out of 10
7. Super Saver
The Arkansas Derby runner-up gets his spot on this high on the list only because he is this blog's choice for the horse most likely to "end up" in the trifecta, as he will just "end up" having the lead at the mile pole. Will he be the last speed horse standing and then hang on another two furlongs?
Rating: 3 pickles out of 10
8. Devil May Care
The filly who is nothing more than a maybe cracks this list because stylistically she has a just a good a chance as any after the top three. She can sit off the pace, but will not be so far back that she would have to invent a trip. Her win in the Bonnie Miss was just as good as Ice Box's win. Same perfect set-up too. But she made the lead much earlier than her male counterpart, which is a plus on Derby Day, when the "wall of sound" strikes at the quarter pole in the stretch.
Rating: 3 pickles out of 10.
9. Paddy O'Prado
The runner up in the Blue Grass Stakes sat just off the pace set by Odysseus and hung in for 2nd against the perfect trip winner Stately Victor. While he can be pass horses, will he handle dirt? His connections hope he can be like another son of El Prado who could, Medaglia D'Oro.
Rating: 2 pickles out of 10
10. Sidney's Candy
The Santa Anita Derby winner is on this list only because I needed a 9th horse and he was the best of the rest. Everyone is saying that he can rate off the pace or just go to the lead and keep going. But with Conveyance, Line of David and American Lion plus maybe Rule being sent straight to the lead, there is no way he will make it gate-to-wire. About him rating? The horse he sat off of and passed, Oceanographer, is still a maiden. He was caught going 5 and 1/2 furlongs by Distorted Dave, who was a 1st time starter, bred to go two turns & a casualty on the Derby trail. Sidney did not pass Oceanographer, Oceanographer backed up pass him.
Rating: 1 pickle out of 10.
There it is. Will this list be even close to Derby Day? Who knows. But if it nothing else, it is the debut of something that will be remembered: the chocolate-covered pickle rating system!