Kentucky Derby

Racing Dudes 2018 Top 20 Kentucky Derby Rankings #8

Justify and Mike Smith

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!

Blue Grass Stakes Wagering Guide

1. McKinzie

Derby Points/Rank: 40 – 10th

Race Record: (4) 3-1-0

Earnings: $350,000

Breeding: Street Sense – Runway Model

Owner: Watson, Pegram, and Weitman

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Finished 2nd (via DQ)  

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: A wild weekend at Santa Anita was highlighted by an incredible stretch duel between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro in the the San Felipe. McKinzie was able to just edge clear of Bolt d’Oro at the wire, but he was later disqualified to second. McKinzie remains our number horse even with the loss, as the disqualification was questionable. All of the drama aside, McKinzie’s fight was very impressive, as he was headed at the top of the stretch but still battled back when he looked defeated. At this point, these two horses seem to be well clear of the others.

2. Bolt d’Oro

Derby Points/Rank: 64 – 2nd

Race Record: (5) 4-0-1

Earnings: $816,000

Breeding: Medaglia d’Oro – Globe Trot

Owner: Ruis Racing LLC

Trainer: Mick Ruis

Last Race: Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Finished 1st (via DQ)

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

Analysis: He was incredible in his 3-year-old debut, the San Felipe, even though he hit the wire just behind McKinzie. The move this horse made on the turn was ultra-impressive, especially so considering it was off of a layoff. Moving forward, he looks to be the real deal and has carried his great 2-year-old form into this season flawlessly. The racing world would love to see our top two horses square off once again after they lit a fire under the Kentucky Derby prep season.

3. Audible

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 28th

Race Record: (4) 3-0-1

Earnings: $287,720

Breeding: Into Mischief – Blue Devil Bel

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

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

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

Analysis: After facing lessor competition at Aqueduct, it was questionable how he would handle the jump up in class, but he passed the test with flying colors, bursting onto the scene with a major score in the Holy Bull. He now has to be considered a serious player and is perhaps Pletcher’s best prospect at the moment, but he needs a win this weekend in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. As of now, he’s on the outside looking in when it comes to Kentucky Derby points.

4. Good Magic

Derby Points/Rank: 34 – 11th

Race Record: (4) 1-2-1

Earnings: $1,225,000

Breeding: Curlin – Glinda the Good

Owner: e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables

Trainer: Chad Brown

Last Race: Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Finished 3rd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward

Analysis: Uh oh… the Juvenile champion returned in the Fountain of Youth, but he looked far from a champion. After stalking the pace in perfect position, he was empty when turning for home and finished a distant third. He ran like a horse that was not 100% primed, so perhaps he’ll bounce back in his next start, which will likely be in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes.

5. Magnum Moon

Derby Points/Rank: 50 – 6th

Race Record: (3) 3-0-0

Earnings: $577,800

Breeding: Malibu Moon – Dazzling Song

Owner: Robert and Lawana Low

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last Race: Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Finished 1st  

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward

Analysis: He proved that he was for real with a dominating performance in the Rebel over a deep field. He’s progressing almost identically to that of Always Dreaming last year, and he’s yet to be close to losing a race. The waters will only get deeper from here, but so far, he’s passed every test with flying colors. He’s a legitimate contender.

6. Solomini

Derby Points/Rank: 34 – 12th

Race Record: (5) 1-3-1

Earnings: $652,000

Breeding: Curlin – Surf Song

Owner: Zayat Stables

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jared Welch

Analysis: He performed very well off of the bench in the Rebel, finishing second despite having a poor trip, especially on the turn heading for home. He’s a hard-trying horse that you can count on to give a solid effort each and every time. He’ll likely improve off of that effort in his next start and is a prime contender as we head into the last round of preps.

7. Justify

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (2) 2-0-0

Earnings: $66,000

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Stage Magic

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Allowance Race at Santa Anita, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jared Welch

Analysis: Right now, I’m trying to stay as grounded as possible with a horse that looks to be an absolute freak of nature. He is two-for-two and has been about as impressive as a horse can be, but he has several factors working against him as far as the Kentucky Derby is concerned. Namely, can he break the Curse of Apollo?

8. Catholic Boy

Derby Points/Rank: 14 – 25th

Race Record: (5) 3-1-0

Earnings: $354,000

Breeding: More Than Ready – Song 0f Bernadette

Owner: Robert LaPenta

Trainer: Jonathan Thomas

Last Race: Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, Finished 1st

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

Analysis: He made his 2018 debut in the Sam F. Davis, and while he didn’t run poorly, it was disappointing that he couldn’t pass Flameaway in the stretch and had to settle for second. There’s still reason to be optimistic, but he must improve in his next race, this weekend’s Grade 1 Florida Derby.

9. Instilled Regard

Derby Points/Rank: 19 – 23rd

Race Record: (6) 2-2-1

Earnings: $244,000

Breeding: Arch – Enhancing

Owner: OXO Equine

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Last Race: Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, Finished 4th

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: His fourth-place effort in the Risen Star left a lot to be desired, but it wasn’t enough to remove him from the rankings completely. He seemed a little dull in the race, but he still managed to run well enough to be close to the leaders in the end. Perhaps shipping back and forth multiple times between Fair Grounds and his base in California took its toll on him. He’ll look to rebound in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby against tough foes McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro.

10. Noble Indy

Derby Points/Rank: 110 – 1st

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. Todd Pletcher has described this horse as “still green,” but there does seem to be a lot of talent with this one. He also should get better as the distances get longer, which will be to his advantage in the Triple Crown races.

11. My Boy Jack

Derby Points/Rank: 32 – 13th

Race Record: (9) 2-3-2

Earnings: $525,145

Breeding: Creative Cause – Gold N Shaft

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

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Last Race: Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Finished 3rd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: His come-from-behind move in the Louisiana Derby was something special. He rallied furiously from the back of the pack, but he couldn’t sustain it the entire stretch and hung late, finishing third. Still, he proved to be a legitimate horse on the dirt, and that type of move is going to be dangerous in the Kentucky Derby. He has become a logical underneath candidate.

12. Combatant

Derby Points/Rank: 22 – 17th

Race Record: (6) 1-3-1

Earnings: $338,550

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Border Dispute

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Last Race: Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Finished 3rd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: The Lookin At Lee of 2018 continued on a similar path in the Rebel, finishing third. He’s hit the board in four straight Kentucky Derby prep races, but he just can’t seem to have things go his way enough to pick up a win. His Rebel effort was another positive start, though, and he should continue to make an impact along the Kentucky Derby trail.

13. Promises Fulfilled

Derby Points/Rank: 52 – 5th

Race Record: (4) 3-0-1

Earnings: $327,280

Breeding: Shackleford – Marquee Delivery

Owner: Robert J. Baron

Trainer: Dale Romans

Last Race: Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: He pulled off a shocking 18-1 upset over champion Good Magic in the Fountain of Youth. The track at Gulfstream Park certainly favored speed, but he reminded me a lot of his sire, Shackleford, by going straight to the front and showing heart to hold on for the victory. He could be an improving horse that’s ready to make some noise this year and will look to continue his run this weekend in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

14. Flameaway

Derby Points/Rank: 30 – 14th

Race Record: (8) 5-1-0

Earnings: $504,834

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Vulcan Rose

Owner: John C. Oxley

Trainer: Mark Casse

Last Race: Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: The Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes winner backed up that effort with a strong showing in the Tampa Bay Derby. He may not be the strongest horse as far as a win contender, but you have to like how he showed that he could stalk the pace and still come with a nice run in his latest start.

15. Quip

Derby Points/Rank: 50 – 8th

Race Record: (4) 3-0-0

Earnings: $282,800

Breeding: Distorted Humor – Princess Ash

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

Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset

Last Race: Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: This son of Distorted Humor is officially into the Kentucky Derby after a shocking upset in the Tampa Bay Derby. The good news is that he should get better in his next start, as his Tampa effort came off of a fairly long layoff. He could move up the rankings if he does indeed improve further.

16. Enticed

Derby Points/Rank: 63 – 3rd

Race Record: (5) 3-0-1

Earnings: $410,680

Breeding: Medaglia d’Oro – It’s Tricky

Owner: Godolphin Racing, LLC

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Last Race: Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: A tremendous bounce-back race in the Gotham puts him back in contention. That race came at only a mile, though, so we will need to see how he reacts when stretching out in distance before we rank him any higher.

17. Reride

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (5) 4-0-0

Earnings: $166,200

Breeding: Candy Ride – Remit

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Last Race: Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: After Runaway Ghost won the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, it certainly boosts the hopes for Reride, a horse that beat Runaway Ghost in his prior race. He’s shipped overseas to run in the UAE Derby, a race that also features Gold Town and Mendelssohn, and the winner will definitely be in the Top 20 next week. We will see if Reride can win and justify his debut in the rankings.

18. Runaway Ghost

Derby Points/Rank: 50 – 7th

Race Record: (7) 4-2-0

Earnings: $563,510

Breeding: Ghostzapper – Rose’s Desert

Owner: Joe Peacock

Trainer: Todd Fincher

Last Race: Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: The local hero rose to the occasion to win the Grade 3 Sunland Derby and solidified his spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. He’s proven to be a very nice horse, but it remains to be seen if he can match up with the top-class horses in the crop. Pay attention to how Reride does in Dubai this weekend.

19. Lone Sailor

Derby Points/Rank: 42 – 9th

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. 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.

20. Bravazo

Derby Points/Rank: 54 – 4th

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.

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