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Kentucky Derby 2024 Latest News & Top 5 | Speak Easy, Just A Touch Win Debuts
Speak Easy (Lauren King / Coglianese Photos)

Kentucky Derby 2024 Latest News & Top 5 | Speak Easy, Just A Touch Win Debuts

Speak Easy was an impressive debut winner at Gulfstream Park & Just a Touch was equally eye-catching at Fair Grounds, but where do they rank among the other Kentucky Derby contenders? Aaron explains in the latest news & updates.

Visit our Kentucky Derby page for the latest news, rankings, prep race schedules, the Kentucky Derby point standings, and much more!

1. Fierceness

Pros: Two brilliant performances; easily the fastest beyer speed figure in the crop

Cons: Inconsistent

Outlook: At his best, this horse has been brilliant, including a blowout win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita. However, he did show up with a non-effort in the Champagne Stakes (G1), which is a bit concerning. We’ll see him this week in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3).

2. Track Phantom

Pros: Back to back solid stakes wins at Fair Grounds; getting better with each race

Cons: Numbers are still a tad slow

Outlook: This one looks to be developing well for Steve Asmussen, who is still looking for his first Kentucky Derby victory. If he can continue to improve, then he is going to be in the mix on the first Saturday in May. He’s now a perfect 2 for 2 at Fair Grounds in the Kentucky Derby Prep Series.

3. Locked

Pros: Grade 1 winner; great distance pedigree

Cons: Come-from-behind running style; third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Outlook: He is one to watch as he should get better as the distances get longer this year. Pletcher is a master at spotting his horse on the Kentucky Derby Trail, which should give this horse plenty of chances at success.

4. Hall of Fame

Pros: Impressive maiden score at Fair Grounds; solid trainer

Cons: A bit behind from a timing standpoint

Outlook: This colt was impressive breaking his maiden on the Lecomte Stakes undercard & earned a 94 Beyer, which is 4 points higher than what Track Phantom earned that same day. He’s a little behind from a timing standpoint, but he definitely has talent.

5. Dornoch

Pros: Getting better with each race; solid foundation

Cons: Seems to be a bit green and needs to figure things out

Outlook: It’s hard to get a read on the Remsen Stakes (G2) winner, but there is no doubt that he is getting better with each race while also stretching out in distance. He is a bit immature, which is a problem, but maybe they can get that worked out.

6. Sierra Leone

Pros: Solid turn of foot; great pedigree for going longer

Cons: Couldn’t finish the job in the Remsen Stakes (G2); numbers are a litte low

Outlook: This horse showed a lot of promise in his first stakes attempt, running second to Dornoch in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. He should only get better with more experience for a solid trainer in Chad Brown.

7. Born Noble

Pros: Solid pedigree; great debut Beyer of 93

Cons: Lightly raced; must jump onto the scene quickly

Outlook: His debut race was eye-catching and his pedigree says he’ll run even better when stretching out in distance. Pletcher has been outstanding with these types his entire career and this runner should be no different. He will run this weekend in an allowance at Gulfstream Park.

8. Catching Freedom

Pros: Nice Smarty Jones Stakes victory; solid pedigree

Cons: Still fairly green; numbers need to improve

Outlook: Once he got his mind on business in the Smarty Jones Stakes, he cruised by the front-runners with ease. He still has some things to figure out; however, he should only get better under Brad Cox.

9. Otello

Pros: Back to back solid wins; tremendous pedigree

Cons: Numbers must improve

Outlook: His Mucho Macho Man Stakes victory was solid. He was boxed in for most of the race; however, he came running fast once he finally got free. This horse should also show great improvement when stretching out in distance. We’ll see him this weekend in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3).

10. Honor Marie

Pros: Already a graded stakes winner; solid distance pedigree

Cons: Will likely take on tougher horses at Fair Grounds

Outlook: He burst onto the scene with a solid win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. The Fair Grounds circuit will be tough; however, this horse has shown that he can compete at a high level.

11. Speak Easy

Pros: Ultra-impressive debut win

Cons: Late to the game; still has plenty of proving to do

Outlook: He was very impressive on debut when crushing a maiden special weight group on Pegasus World Cup day. Last year, Mage debuted in that race before eventually winning the Kentucky Derby. Can this horse to the same?

12. Knightsbridge

Pros: Impressive debut win at Churchill Downs; solid pedigree

Cons: Lightly raced

Outlook: His debut effort at Churchill Downs was impressive and he should improve with more racing for Bill Mott. However, there are currently no plans for when he might start next, which is a little concerning.

13. Conquest Warrior

Pros: Should get better with longer distances; solid trainer

Cons: Numbers are low; only a maiden special weight winner

Outlook: Despite a horrible trip, he was still able to get the job done at Gulfstream Park in what looked to be a tough maiden special weight. He should get better when they stretch out in distance. There is NO WAY that he gets a worse trip than he did in his last start… right?

14. Just a Touch

Pros: Solid trainer, showed solid improvement

Cons: Only a maiden winner; win came over the slop

Outlook: This horse looked like a monster in his maiden special weight romp at Fair Grounds and could be Brad Cox’s latest good horse. We might seem him in a stakes race next.

15. Change of Command

Pros: Getting better with each start; back to back wins

Cons: Took 4 starts to break his maiden

Outlook: He seems to be on the improve for a solid trainer after winning his second in a row, this time against allowance horses at Gulfstream Park. It was a bit underwhelming, though, so he still has some improving to do.

16. Carbone

Pros: Two for two; solid trainer, runaway winner in both races

Cons: Pedigree is very questionable for the Derby distance

Outlook: This horse has been great in two starts; however there are major questions about how far he wants to run. We will find out a lot more about him this week in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.

17. Otto the Conqueror

Pros: Solid trainer; back to back victories

Cons: Speed figures are low

Outlook: He’ll look for back to back stakes victories this weekend in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park. He won the Remington Park Springboard Mile last time out; however, that race came back fairly slow from a speed figure standpoint.

18. Tuscan Sky

Pros: Solid debut win; good pedigree, great trainer

Cons: Just one race so far and it came at Aqueduct

Outlook: We’ll see if this horse can progress after a solid debut win at Aqueduct. The horse immediately went to South Florida after his victory, which is a good sign that Pletcher likes this horse.

19. Nash

Pros: Solid trainer; good pedigree

Cons: Back to back poor efforts with no excuses

Outlook: There is no doubt this horse has been a major disappointment, but I still think he is better than what he’s showing. He hast to come around quickly, though, or he’s not going to be able to make an impact.

20. Corporate Power

Pros: Tremendous pedigree; showed talent in debut

Cons: Still a maiden; way behind from a timing standpoint

Outlook: This is probably a long shot to make the race, but I loved the debut from this horse. He missed the break, got way too far behind, but rallied nicely to finish fourth behind Speak Easy in his debut race. You might just keep an eye out for when this horse starts next.