It’s time! I’ve waited for a few weeks to give my Top 20 Kentucky Derby horses, but as the points start to get larger I feel its time we start sorting these three-year olds out. We’ve already lost some to injury, and others to lack of talent. Hopefully this list will be a mirror of who steps into the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. You can officially say the Dudes have caught the “Derby Fever.”
1. Super Ninety Nine – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 13th
Why is there not more hype for this horse? His last two races have both been around two turns, and they have been complete ROMPS! He made Oaklawn his own personal play ground when winning the Southwest, and the beyer numbers in both of his last two races have come back over 100. I know the sloppy track in the Southwest may have thrown people off a bit, but his two consistent races make him my number one choice.
2. Itsmyluckyday – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 8th
This one has also put in back to back solid races, and defeated the two-year old champion Shanghai Bobby while doing so last time out in the Holy Bull. Also like Super Ninety Nine, his last two beyers have come back very strong. It’s the time of year where people are trying to get cute with their picks, but how can you ignore the consistent performances from my top two picks?
3. Revolutionary – Points Earned: 10 – T-16th
Revolutionary got the best education possible when he won the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. He had to weave his way in and out of traffic, and was nearly stopped several times down the stretch. Still, he prevailed and won that race. He showed several talents in that race, but the main thing he showed was HEART. You can never underestimate that in a horse.
4. Code West – Points Earned: 20 – Current Rank: 5th
It was a tough beat for Code West in the Risen Star Stakes, but I loved the way he dug in down that long Fair Grounds stretch. His pedigree really has me excited about two turns, so him being ranked so high has me thinking about what he can do in the future, and not what he’s already done.
5. Orb – Points Earned: 50 – Current Rank: 2nd
The Fountain of Youth set up perfectly for Orb, but give the horse credit for taking advantage of that fast pace. The win assured that Orb will be the starting gate as long as he remains healthy. If the Derby pace is like normal, it could set up nicely again for this up and coming colt.
6. Verrazano – Points Earned: 0 – Current Rank: NR
Many lists have him number one, but I’m playing the wait and see game with him. Nobody has shown more pure talent, but lets see if he can do it against stakes company before we crown him champion. He’s pointing towards the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9th, and needless to say the racing world will be watching.
7. Titletown Five – Points Earned: 0 – Current Rank: NR
Every handicapper has to have a “wise guy” pick, and this one is mine. I thought his maiden win at Churchill Downs was incredible, and you can’t ignore the horses he beat that have come back to win. He makes his return in the Gazebo Stakes this Saturday at Oaklawn, so we’ll see how he’s progressing.
8. Overanalyze – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 9th
The winner of the Remsen Stakes is getting ready to make his 3-year-old debut this Saturday in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. No need to “overanalyze” things just yet, lets see what he does this weekend.
9. Flashback – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: T-16th
Let’s face it, he didn’t beat much of anything in winning the Robert B Lewis. The good news is he won the race with no trouble whatsoever, and it looks like he is ready for the next class test. I’m on the fence with how good this one is…need to see more.
10. Tiz the Truth – Points Earned: 0 – Current Rank: NR
He broke his maiden on the same day Flashback won the Robert B Lewis, and some thought Tiz the Truth was more impressive. He’ll have a couple of opportunities to get Derby points, and hopefully his talent shines through.
11. Goldencents – Points Earned: 24 – Current Rank: 4th
The workouts have been solid according to those in California, but you never know how good a horse will be at age three until you see them in a race. Goldencents was as solid as they come in his two-year old season, but still is a question mark at this point.
12. Ive Struck a Nerve – Points Earned: 51 – Current Rank: 1st
Here he is…the Kentucky Derby points leader! What do you make of this 135-1 shot winner of the Risen Star? Obviously he’ll have to prove himself again, but he did beat a solid group and the time of the race wasn’t too bad. I wouldn’t totally toss him out as a fluke just yet.
13. Oxbow – Points Earned: 16 – Current Rank: 6th
It was a disappointing race for Oxbow in the Risen Star. He did have a wide trip, but he looked like the winner as they turned for home and then faded to fourth. It almost makes you think he might be better at a mile. He’ll surely get another chance to prove himself, but right now the optimism is on hold.
14. Normandy Invasion – Points Earned: 4 – Current Rank: 29th
He had a legit excuse in the Risen Star when finishing fifth, and is one you shouldn’t give up on just yet. Talent wise I think he might be better than some I’ve ranked ahead of him, but I’m worried about his points situation. Chad Brown had mentioned this horse will only make one more start before the Derby so the pressure will be on to finish first or second.
15. Delhomme – Points Earned: 2 – Current Rank: 42nd
Another major question mark in the Derby picture. Delhomme hasn’t been seen since finishing third in the Remsen Stakes, but is training well leading up to his debut which should come in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn in mid-March. Hard to judge much until we see that race.
16. Shanghai Bobby – Points Earned: 24 – Current Rank: 3rd
We’ve beaten this horse up enough. He looks like a top miler, but distance is a question mark. He’s making one more start in the Derby preps, which will be the Florida Derby.
17. Den’s Legacy – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 12th
He’s a horse that’s good enough to hit the board in the Derby preps, but don’t look at him as a logical win contender. He’s been clearly beaten by some of his main rivals already.
18. Abraham – Points Earned: 0 – Current Rank: NR
Titletown Five isn’t my only “wise guy” horse. I really like what Abraham showed when breaking his maiden last time out. Hopefully he has a enough time left to earn some Derby points.
19. Palace Malice – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 18th
I’m a big fan of the horse, but I was really upset with how he ran in the Risen Star. He finished 3rd in the race, but really had no excuse for not winning. I felt Rosie gave him a perfect ride. Maybe this one is a little overhyped because of Curlin being his sire…
20. Will Take Charge – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 15th
I don’t think Will Take Charge is one that can win the Derby, but I also don’t think he is as bad as his last race. Look for him to rebound with a solid effort in the Rebel and earn his way back into consideration as a Derby starter.