New: Hear the Ghost, Java’s War, Tiz a Minister
Dropped Out: Ive Struck a Nerve, Abraham, Delhomme
1. Itsmyluckyday – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 17th
With the disappointing performance of Super Ninety Nine, Itsmyluckyday now assumes the number one ranking. He continues to progress well, and he’s still on target for the Florida Derby on March 30th. He’ll need a top two finish in that race to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby so obviously it’s a big one for him.
2. Verrazano – Points Earned: 50 – Current Rank: 4th
His win in the Tampa Bay Derby was everything we were hoping for, and now it’s on to the Wood Memorial for his final Kentucky Derby prep. The scary part about Verrazano is he’s still very green, yet he’s still giving us dominating performances. With a little more seasoning he’ll be tough, but can he get the distance?
3. Revolutionary – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 22nd
The Louisiana Derby on March 30th will be his next race, and the stakes will be high. With only ten points earned, he’ll need a top two finish to earn his way into the Kentucky Derby. It’s a scary thought, but he’s a talented horse and deserves to be ranked this high.
4. Oxbow – Points Earned: 36 – Current Rank: 6th
This horse just continues to put in solid efforts despite wide trips and horrible post positions. The education he’s gotten from these races will certainly help him, and his pedigree and speed make him very attractive at this point in the game.
5. Will Take Charge – Points Earned: 60 – Current Rank: 1st
Will Take Charge has shown tremendous heart and determination in winning two tight photo’s this prep season. In winning the Rebel he also showed that he has quite a bit of talent as well. All good qualities to have when talking about Kentucky Derby contenders.
6. Code West – Points Earned: 20 – Current Rank: 14th
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 the mile and a quarter so him being ranked so high has me thinking about what he can do in the future, and not what he’s already done
7. Orb – Points Earned: 50 – Current Rank: 3rd
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.
8. Vyjack – Points Earned: 50 – Current Rank: 2nd
Vyjack showed a flexibility in running styles on Saturday when winning the Gotham, and he also showed that maybe longer distances won’t be a problem. He also closed into a fairly slow pace, so a faster pace might even make him look better next time out. Instantly earned my respect!
9. Flashback – Points Earned: 30 – Current Rank: 7th
The ride he got in the San Felipe was brutally bad, but I do love the heart he showed in fighting down to the very end and holding on for second. Garrett Gomez will be called on to ride next time out, and hopefully Flashback and can sit off the pace and not be a one-dimensional horse.
10. Hear the Ghost – Points Earned: 50 – Current Rank: 5th
Much like Orb, Hear the Ghost was able to take advantage of a perfect set up. You have to give him credit for that, but was his fast closing San Felipe win an optical illusion? Not totally buying into this one yet, but he’s good enough to crack the top 10
11. Java’s War – Points Earned: 21 – Current Rank: 10th
What a brave effort this horse gave in the Tampa Bay Derby! In my eyes this one is a big time sleeper that not many people are talking about. He should improve off his last effort as well, which makes him extra dangerous.
12. Departing – Points Earned: 0 – Current Rank: NR
Departing has totally dominated the competition, but what has he beat? It doesn’t look to be too much, but at least he’s done it easily. He’ll only have one shot at getting Derby points, and that looks like it will be in the Louisiana Derby. It will be all or nothing, which is scary and why he’s not higher on this list.
13. 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 just one opportunity to get Derby points, and hopefully his talent shines through.
14. Den’s Legacy – Points Earned: 20 – Current Rank: 11th
Just like we predicted, Den’s Legacy showed up and ran his race in the Rebel, but just wasn’t good enough to win. The horse is as honest as they come, and should never be left off any exotic ticket.
15. Super Ninety Nine – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 20th
I left him on the list, but his Kentucky Derby status is now in serious jeopardy. My former number one ranked horse was a badly beaten fifth in the Rebel, and now lacks points and time to make it in the Kentucky Derby. Was he a sprinter all along, or did he just bounce?
16. Goldencents – Points Earned: 29 – Current Rank: 8th
Goldencents was the other horse in the San Felipe that got caught up in the speed duel with Flashback. He faded to fourth, but definitely had an excuse. I’m not sure he looks like much of a threat, but he’s not a total toss just yet.
17. Shanghai Bobby – Points Earned: 24 – Current Rank: 9th
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.
18. Palace Malice – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: T-23rd
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…
19. Tiz A Minister – Points Earned: 10 – Current Rank: 25th
Much like Hear the Ghost, Tiz a Minister took advantage of a hot pace in the San Felipe and finished third. Not ready to buy in on this one yet…
20. Normandy Invasion – Points Earned: 4 – Current Rank: 32nd
His stock is fading fast. The Remsen obviously has come back to be a non-productive race, and his lack of points means he’ll have just one chance to get into the Derby. Not optimistic…