Kentucky Derby

Racing Dudes 2018 Top 20 Kentucky Derby Rankings #11

Magnum Moon wins the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby (Credit: Coady Photography)

Welcome to the 2018 Kentucky Derby Rankings! Each week leading up to the race, we will provide our Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects, as well as updates with the latest news on each horse. You can also visit our Kentucky Derby page for loads of information, including the latest news, rankings, prep race schedules, our Derby Trail Tracker, the Kentucky Derby point standings, and much more!

2018 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Wagering Guide

1. Justify

Derby Points/Rank: 100 – 9th

Race Record: (3) 3-0-0

Earnings: $666,000

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Stage Magic

Owner: China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing, and WinStar Farm

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jared Welch

Analysis: It’s hard to believe that as recently as February, this horse hadn’t even made a start, and now, he’s the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby after easily defeating Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby. There are still plenty of doubters, and rightfully so, as he’s trying to do something that hasn’t been done since 1882. While he may lack experience, he more than makes up for it with talent. He’ll be ready for the task on the first Saturday in May.

2. Bolt d’Oro

Derby Points/Rank: 104 – 6th

Race Record: (6) 4-1-1

Earnings: $1,016,000

Breeding: Medaglia d’Oro – Globe Trot

Owner: Ruis Racing LLC

Trainer: Mick Ruis

Last Race: Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector

Analysis: There’s nothing to be discouraged about after finishing a solid second to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. He ran his race and earned a speed figure on par with how he’s been running for most of his career. His experience edge over Justify is his main advantage and will give him a shot to turn the tables in the Kentucky Derby.

3. Magnum Moon

Derby Points/Rank: 150 – 1st

Race Record: (4) 4-0-0

Earnings: $1,777,800

Breeding: Malibu Moon – Dazzling Song

Owner: Robert and Lawana Low

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Finished 1st  

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward

Analysis: If not for Justify, this horse would be talked about as the one that could break the “Curse of Apollo.” After winning the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in just his third lifetime start, he returned to win and dominate the Arkansas Derby. He will head to Kentucky as Pletcher’s number-one prospect and should be right there at the end with a chance.

4. Audible

Derby Points/Rank: 110 – 3rd

Race Record: (5) 4-0-1

Earnings: $882,920

Breeding: Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, and SF Racing

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector

Analysis: You have to believe in him now after another great effort at Gulfstream Park in the Florida Derby. His running style is exactly what you need to win a race like the Kentucky Derby: he can sit close to the pace and pounce at the right time. He did look to be a little tired towards the end of the race, but at this point, it’s hard to knock him; he just keeps winning.

5. Mendelssohn

Derby Points/Rank: 100 – 8th

Race Record: (7) 4-1-0

Earnings: $1,961,137

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Leslie’s Lady

Owner: Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Last Race: Group 1 UAE Derby at Meydan Race Course, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward

Analysis: With a “wow” performance in the UAE Derby, this horse has become a serious player. He seems to relish the dirt and has the pedigree to run all day long. The big question mark will be his ability to buck the trend of UAE Derby winners not running well when coming to Kentucky, but this may be the best horse to win that race and then come to the United States for the Derby. Plus, he has shipped here before, so that could be another advantage. He should be a major player.

6. Good Magic

Derby Points/Rank: 134 – 2nd

Race Record: (5) 2-2-1

Earnings: $1,855,000

Breeding: Curlin – Glinda the Good

Owner: e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables

Trainer: Chad Brown

Last Race: Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward

Analysis: The Champ is BACK! Good Magic disappointed in his 3-year-old debut but rebounded to win the Blue Grass in workman-like fashion. The win shows that he’s on a similar progression as his 2-year-old year when he put up his best effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s back in the conversation and is one that you have to take seriously as we head into the Kentucky Derby.

7. Vino Rosso

Derby Points/Rank: 107 – 5th

Race Record: (5) 3-0-1

Earnings: $620,500

Breeding: Curlin – Mythical Bride

Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Dan “The Fan Man” Waite

Analysis: This horse had been a work in progress all winter/spring long for Pletcher, and that work came to fruition with a win in the Wood Memorial. He should like as the distances get longer and the Curlin colt will improve with age. He’s a real sleeper at this point.

8. My Boy Jack

Derby Points/Rank: 52 – 14th

Race Record: (10) 3-3-2

Earnings: $645,145

Breeding: Creative Cause – Gold N Shaft

Owner: Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables LLC

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Last Race: Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: This is going to be the best closer in the race, and you can’t help being reminded of Exaggerator when you see him. If the pace melts down, he is going to be hard to hold off. His closing move is quick and devastating, but how long he can sustain that kick is still very much in question.

9. Noble Indy

Derby Points/Rank: 110 – 4th

Race Record: (4) 3-0-1

Earnings: $691,600

Breeding: Take Charge Indy – Noble Maz

Owner: WinStar Farm and Repole Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: He looked to be completely defeated in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, yet somehow re-rallied up the rail to win the race after being passed by Lone Sailor. Pletcher has described this horse as “still green,” but there does seem to be a lot of talent. He also should get better as the distances get longer, which will be to his advantage in the Triple Crown races.

10. Solomini

Derby Points/Rank: 54 – 12th

Race Record: (6) 1-3-2

Earnings: $752,000

Breeding: Curlin – Surf Song

Owner: Zayat Stables

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Finished 3rd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jared Welch

Analysis: He performed very well off of the bench in the Rebel, and came back to do his thing once again with a third place effort in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. At this point he doesn’t look to be good enough to make an impact in the Kentucky Derby, but he will fight to the end, and won’t quit. He’s a logical trifecta or superfecta candidate.

11. Flameaway

Derby Points/Rank: 70 – 11th

Race Record: (9) 5-2-0

Earnings: $704,834

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Vulcan Rose

Owner: John C. Oxley

Trainer: Mark Casse

Last Race: Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: This horse continues to prove useful, having won or hit the board in three straight Kentucky Derby prep races. No matter the surface, Flameaway shows up with a solid effort. He’s one that you’ll have to run down to win, and he won’t make it easy. He’s proven to be a very tough horse.

12. Quip

Derby Points/Rank: 90 – 10th

Race Record: (5) 3-1-0

Earnings: $482,800

Breeding: Distorted Humor – Princess Ash

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing

Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset

Last Race: Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: He is quietly having himself a solid 3-year-old campaign that has led him to the Kentucky Derby. His Arkansas Derby effort was similar to his win in the Tampa Bay Derby, but Magnum Moon was just a little too good. If his connections decide to run him in the Derby, then he will at the very least be a pace presence.

13. Enticed

Derby Points/Rank: 103 – 7th

Race Record: (6) 3-1-1

Earnings: $595,680

Breeding: Medaglia d’Oro – It’s Tricky

Owner: Godolphin Racing, LLC

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Last Race: Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: He’s proven himself to be a classy horse after solid back-to-back races in New York. His ability to sit off the lead could make him a factor in the Kentucky Derby, but it’s unlikely that he can actually win. This could be a nice horse to use underneath, though.

14. Hofburg

Derby Points/Rank: 40 – 18th

Race Record: (3) 1-1-0

Earnings: $223,800

Breeding: Tapit – Soothing Touch

Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.

Trainer: Bill Mott

Last Race: Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: He earned a ton of respect for finishing second in a Grade 1 despite just breaking his maiden a few weeks prior. His lack of experience will be an issue in Kentucky, but this could be a horse to keep an eye on later in the season.

15. Free Drop Billy

Derby Points/Rank: 44 – 16th

Race Record: (8) 2-3-2

Earnings: $625,220

Breeding: Union Rags – Trensa

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC

Trainer: Dale Romans

Last Race: Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, Finished 3rd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: “He’s just sort of there” is how Dan Keener described him after his third-place effort in the Blue Grass, and that statement is so accurate. The horse, while consistent, has been fairly underwhelming as a 3-year-old. There’s no doubt that he’ll have to step up his game in order to have a shot in the Derby.

16. Lone Sailor

Derby Points/Rank: 42 – 17th

Race Record: (8) 1-3-1

Earnings: $334,237

Breeding: Majestic Warrior – Ambitious

Owner: G M B Racing

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Last Race: Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: There were many people who hyped Lone Sailor in the Louisiana Derby, and he somehow lived up to it, finishing second by only a head. That finish might have earned him a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, but it’s unlikely that he makes much of an impact.

17. Promises Fulfilled

Derby Points/Rank: 52 – 14th

Race Record: (5) 3-0-1

Earnings: $337,280

Breeding: Shackleford – Marquee Delivery

Owner: Robert J. Baron

Trainer: Dale Romans

Last Race: Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Finished 9th

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: After engaging in a wicked pace duel with Strike Power in the Florida Derby, he basically had no chance, and both horses faded to finish last and second to last. The horse will play a factor in every race that he enters due to his early speed, but he must learn to control it.

18. Firenze Fire

Derby Points/Rank: 39 – 19th

Race Record: (9) 4-1-0

Earnings: $669,100

Breeding: Poseidon’s Warrior – My Every Wish

Owner: Mr. Amore Stables

Trainer: Jason Servis

Last Race: Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Finished 4th

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: With the defection of Runaway Ghost, Firenze Fire is now back in the Kentucky Derby. It’s hard to see him making any impact whatsoever unless there is a complete pace meltdown that allows him to pick up a minor award.

19. Bravazo

Derby Points/Rank: 54 – 13th

Race Record: (8) 3-1-1

Earnings: $436,528

Breeding: Awesome Again – Tiz o’ Gold

Owner: Calumet Farm

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Last Race: Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Finished 8th

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: The Louisiana Derby was a complete disaster for Bravazo. He tried to lug out the entire race, and you could tell that he was never comfortable. The good news is that he was sound afterward and looks to still be moving forward to the Kentucky Derby. Draw a line through that last effort.

20. Gronkowski

Derby Points/Rank: European Qualifier

Race Record: (6) 4-1-0

Earnings: $135,644

Breeding: Lonhro – Four Sugars

Owner: Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited

Trainer: Jeremy Noseda

Last Race: Burradon Stakes at Newcastle, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: He has qualified for the Kentucky Derby by means of a rule that needs to be changed. He doesn’t look like he belongs, but he may take a lot of money on Kentucky Derby day because of his name, which is good for serious players who know that he’s a toss.

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