Kentucky Derby

Racing Dudes 2019 Top 20 Kentucky Derby Rankings #3

Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

Welcome to the 2019 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! Here is our third set of Kentucky Derby Rankings for the 2019 season:

Horse Racing Picks

1. Improbable

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 13th

Race Record: (3) 3-0-0

Earnings: $269,520

Breeding: City Zip – Rare Event

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

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity at Los Alamitos, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: It can’t be this easy, right? The owners of Justify are back once again, this time with Improbable, who looks an awful lot like the 2018 Triple Crown winner. He is a perfect 3-for-3 so far while never being challenged. Currently, he is working well at Santa Anita in preparation for his 2019 debut, which is rumored to be in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 9.

2. Game Winner

Derby Points/Rank: 30 – 2nd

Race Record: (4) 4-0-0

Earnings: $1,496,000

Breeding: Candy Ride – Indyan Giving

Owner: Gary and Mary West

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Paul “Free Beers” Withrow

Analysis: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner is getting set for his 2019 debut with several solid works at Santa Anita. He can become the third Juvenile winner to win the Kentucky Derby and is especially dangerous with Baffert on his side. There is no doubt that if the Derby was today, he would win; however, can he continue to develop and peak at the right time? His 2019 debut is rumored to be in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 9.

3. Mucho Gusto

Derby Points/Rank: 14 – 8th

Race Record: (4) 3-1-0

Earnings: $234,000

Breeding: Mucho Macho Man – Itsagiantcauseway

Owner: Michael Lund Peterson

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Last Race: Group 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: This is both the third-best Baffert horse and the third-ranked horse on our Top 20 list, and that shows Baffert’s strength and depth. Mucho Gusto has an advantage over the top two horses in his own barn, though, as he made his 2019 debut a winning one in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

4. War of Will

Derby Points/Rank: 60 – 1st

Race Record: (7) 3-1-1

Earnings: $491,569

Breeding: War Front – Visions of Clarity

Owner: Gary Barber

Trainer: Mark Casse

Last Race: Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: So far, he is 3-for-3 on the dirt while never even being challenged. His Grade 3 LeComte Stakes win was very impressive. Now, with another victory in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, he has put himself in a great position moving forward. He is the first horse to basically lock in a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

5. Instagrand

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (2) 2-0-0

Earnings: $144,000

Breeding: Into Mischief – Assets of War

Owner: OXO Equine LLC

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Last Race: Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, Finished 1st  

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

Analysis: Instagrand is all the rage; however, I’m suggesting we tap on the breaks just a bit. I’m in love with his talent, but we are talking about a horse that has never been around two runs or raced since August of last year. His first race as a 3-year-old is going to be ultra-important. You can’t go crazy about him until you see how he has developed off of this lengthy layoff.

6. Hidden Scroll

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (1) 1-0-0

Earnings: $31,800

Breeding: Hard Spun – Sheba Queen

Owner: Juddmonte Farms, INC.

Trainer: Bill Mott

Last Race: Maiden Special Weight at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jon White/Ryan Stillman

Analysis: From a visual standpoint, this horse looks like one of the crop’s best; however, he has just one race under his belt, which came over a sloppy track. Hidden Scroll earned an eye-popping 104 Beyer for his debut effort, which has all of us buzzing, but now he must prove that he can repeat that effort against better company, and on dry land. The potential is definitely there, though.

7. Signalman

Derby Points/Rank: 18 – 5th

Race Record: (5) 2-2-1

Earnings: $448,990

Breeding: General Quarters – Trip South

Owner: Tommie Lewis, David A. Bernsen LLC, and Magdalena Racing

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Last Race: Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Patrick “Mad Dog” Meagher

Analysis: After winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, he took a little break, but now he is back at the track and working well for his 2019 debut. This colt seems to be developing rapidly, which could make him dangerous when the big-time races are contested.

8. Gunmetal Gray

Derby Points/Rank: 18 – 6th

Race Record: (6) 2-2-0

Earnings: $247,200

Breeding: Exchange Rate – Classofsixtythree

Owner: Hollendorfer LLC, Pearl Racing, and West Point Thoroughbreds

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Last Race: Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Aaron Halterman

Analysis: We see this type of horse every single season on the Kentucky Derby Trail. He will always show up with an honest effort and make a nice run at the end, but he is not talented enough to win a major Kentucky Derby Prep event.

9. Harvey Wallbanger

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 14th

Race Record: (5) 2-3-0

Earnings: $299,520

Breeding: Congrats – Adorabell

Owner: Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Akman, Scott K. and Braverman, Paul

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

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

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: The upset Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes winner debuted at #10 in the rankings, but was that win a fluke, or is he a for-real prospect? That is up for debate, especially since his speed figure came back fairly slow. However, he is one to keep an eye on because he could improve with his second start of 2019.

10. Country House

Derby Points/Rank: 20 – 3rd

Race Record: (4) 1-2-0

Earnings: $120,175

Breeding: Lookin At Lucky – Quake Lake

Owner:  Shields, Jr., Mrs. J. V. and McFadden, Jr., E. J. M.

Trainer: Bill Mott

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

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Jared Welch

Analysis: This horse proved that he is going to be solid moving forward after strong closing second in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. That is a race that he should be able to build on moving forward. Trainer Bill Mott holds a very strong hand going into the big races along the trail.

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11. Vekoma

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (2) 2-0-0

Earnings: $151,250

Breeding: Candy Ride – Mona De Momma

Owner: R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables

Trainer: George Weaver

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

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: The Fans

Analysis: Right now, we are in a wait-and-see position with him. His 2-year-old year was very impressive; however, that doesn’t mean he will be just as strong as a 3-year-old. He is still a few works away from his first start of 2019.

12. Global Campaign

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (2) 2-0-0

Earnings: $52,200

Breeding: Curlin – Globe Trot

Owner: Sagamore Farm, LLC and WinStar Farm, LLC

Trainer: Stanley Hough

Last Race: Allowance at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Brandon “B$” Bauer

Analysis: This son of Curlin was sharp once again with a win in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park following a snappy maiden special weight victory. He will make his way to stakes company in his next start.

13. Galilean

Derby Points/Rank: 0 – NR

Race Record: (4) 3-1-0

Earnings: $261,000

Breeding: Uncle Mo – Freisa

Owner: West Point Thoroughbreds, Barker, Denise and Sandbrook, William

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Last Race: California Cup Derby at Santa Anita, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Brandon “B$” Bauer

Analysis: There is no doubt his latest win in the California Cup Derby was impressive enough to run him against opening company in his next start. No matter the level of competition, this horse should fit in pretty well, as he has proven to be a runner. It will be interesting to see where they try this colt next, as Hollendorfer stated that he could go out of town for his next race.

14. Mind Control

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 12th

Race Record: (5) 3-1-0

Earnings: $323,400

Breeding: Stay Thirsty – Feel That Fire

Owner: Red Oak Stable (Brunetti) and Madaket Stables, LLC

Trainer: Gregory D. Sacco

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

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

Analysis: This horse seems to be a lot like Gunmetal Gray. He is likely to show up with a solid effort during all of these prep races; however, he might not be talented enough to win a major event.

15. Tax

Derby Points/Rank: 12 – 10th

Race Record: (4) 2-1-1

Earnings: $186,300

Breeding: Arch – Toll

Owner: R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Lynch, Hugh and Corms Racing Stable

Trainer: Danny Gargan

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

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: The Fans

Analysis: Tax earned a 96 Beyer speed figure for his Grade 3 Withers Stakes win, which was the highest in a busy weekend of races for 3-year-olds. This continues to be an incredible story because the horse competed in two maiden claiming events before jumping up to the graded stakes level.

16. Anothertwistafate

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 17th

Race Record: (4) 3-0-0

Earnings: $94,545

Breeding: Scat Daddy – Imperfection

Owner: Peter Redekop B. C., Ltd.

Trainer: Blaine D. Wright

Last Race: El Camino Real Stakes at Golden Gate, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Paul “Free Beers” Withrow

Analysis: This horse might just be a synthetic monster, after three straight amazing wins at Golden Gate, but he has shown enough talent to debut on the rankings this week. He simply ran the other horses off their feet in the El Camino Real Derby. Hopefully, we get to see him try his hand at the dirt sometime in the next few weeks.

17. Bourbon War

Derby Points/Rank: 1 – 47th

Race Record: (3) 2-0-0

Earnings: $79,900

Breeding: Tapit – My Conquestadory

Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Last Race: Allowance Race at Gulfstream Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Dan “Wise Dan” Waite

Analysis: After a sharp allowance score at Gulfstream Park, it looks as though he is now pointed to the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. He should be tough in that race, especially considering the underwhelming result of the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes.

18. Well Defined

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 15th

Race Record: (7) 3-1-1

Earnings: $490,570

Breeding: With Distinction – Fru Fru

Owner: Stonehedge LLC

Trainer: Kathleen O’Connell

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

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: NONE

Analysis: A big win in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes puts this horse on the radar. However, he did get a perfect trip in that race, which won’t be as likely to happen as the races get tougher. For now, he does deserve some respect after that wire to wire win, though.

19. Super Steed

Derby Points/Rank: 10 – 11th

Race Record: (5) 2-1-0

Earnings:$364,500

Breeding: Super Saver – Totally Tucker

Owner: Michael Pressley and Jackson Steed

Trainer: Larry Jones

Last Race: Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Finished 1st

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: Paul “Free Beers” Withrow

Analysis: A 63-1 shocker earns him a spot on this list. He made a huge middle move to capture the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, which was visually impressive. Obviously, this horse still has much to prove, though.

20. Sueno

Derby Points/Rank: 8 – 20th

Race Record: (5) 2-2-1

Earnings:$190,440

Breeding: Atreides – Class Above

Owner: Silverton Hill LLC

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Last Race: Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, Finished 2nd

Racing Dudes Fantasy League Owner: The Fans

Analysis: This colt could sneak in and make the Kentucky Derby starting gate by hitting the board along the trail. He will be spotted well in his next two starts and is always going to come with a run at the end.

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