The action in the Fantasy League hit an all-time high last Saturday with three Kentucky Derby prep races, and it won’t slow down this weekend when two more preps are on the docket. The big mover last weekend was the team of Jon and Ryan, as all five of their horses ran in Derby preps. This weekend, Team Jared and Team Magic each have two potential starters in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, while Team Aaron has one. Here are the current standings and power rankings after Jon and Ryan charged to the front.
|Ranking||Team||Score||Current Team Members|
|1||Jared Welch||1,390||Solomini, Greyvitos, Justify, Sporting Chance, New York Central|
|2||Curtis "Magic" Kalleward||270||Good Magic, Mendelssohn, Marconi, My Boy Jack, Magnum Moon|
|3||Aaron Halterman||256||Principe Guilherme, Instilled Regard, Noble Indy, Bravazo, Combatant|
|4||Mike "Saratoga Slim" Spector||175||Bolt d’Oro, Audible, Hofburg, Restoring Hope, Navistar|
|5||Ryan Stillman/Jon White||146||Mask, Flameaway, Untamed Domain, Enticed, Quip|
|6||Dan "The Fan Man" Waite||31||Catholic Boy, Nero, Lone Sailor, Vino Rosso, Free Drop Billy|
1. Jon White/Ryan Stillman – This team now holds a 25-point lead, which is great, but they probably feel a bit robbed at the moment. Their star horse, McKinzie, crossed the wire first in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes but was disqualified to second. Still, he looks like one of the main Kentucky Derby contenders moving forward. Enticed shipped to Aqueduct to win the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, while Free Drop Billy was third in that same race. Also, the newly-acquired Flameaway finished a decent second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. The only downer was that Untamed Domain was nowhere to be found in the Tampa Bay Derby and is now off of the Kentucky Derby trail.
2. Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector – Slim benefited from Jon and Ryan’s loss, as Bolt d’Oro was moved up to first in the San Felipe. The decision gave this team 50 points and puts him in third place, but equally as big was Bolt d’Oro running such a huge race off of a layoff. He looked like a top Kentucky Derby contender. The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Audible gives Slim another potential star horse, which make him a major player. Those two might have to carry the team, though, as Restoring Hope and Navistar are questionable as far as where they’ll run next, although it was just reported that Navistar has shown up at Oaklawn Park. Perhaps he will start in the Rebel Stake, or at least in an allowance race on the undercard. Both have been rumored for a few Kentucky Derby prep races, but plans have yet to be confirmed. Bad news came for Slim on Monday when it was announced that Avery Island returned lame from his work on Friday and is most likely off of the Derby trail.
3. Aaron Halterman – For the first time in months, this team no longer has the points lead. That could change this week, though, if Combatant can pull off an upset win in the Rebel. The newly-acquired Bravazo fired a bullet on Monday in preparation for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 24, a race that Noble Indy has been training forwardly towards as well. The stable’s most accomplished horse, Instilled Regard, also had a bullet work on March 7, which indicates that he’s ready to run again, though it’s unknown where his connections will spot him next. The downside is that the once-promising Principe Guilherme has not worked once since his poor performance in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes.
4. Curtis “Magic” Kalleward – It was a nice bounce-back week for Magic, as his overseas hero Mendelssohn picked up a victory in the Patton Stakes and will now be pointed to the Group 2 U.A.E. Derby. This weekend is huge for this team, with both Magnum Moon and Curlin’s Honor likely to run in the Rebel. Magnum Moon will likely be one of the top three choices, and Curlin’s Honor is an interesting long shot. There’s still hope for his star Good Magic; he’s likely to bounce back in his next start, which is scheduled to be the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes. Marconi, on the other hand, has some major improving to do.
5. Jared Welch – Let’s start with his lone runner last weekend, Justify, who lit the track on fire once again in an allowance romp at Santa Anita. The bad news is that he will only run in just one prep race before a potential start in the Kentucky Derby, but the good news is that he is an absolute freak. This week’s Rebel will finally give Jared some rooting interest, as Solomini and Sporting Chance will both be running. Solomini has prepared well for this race, but Sporting Chance has prepared even better. Both of these stars will be in with major chances. Speaking of workouts, Greyvitos is starting to ramp things up in the mornings at Santa Anita. The $400,000 Springboard Mile winner is trying to get back onto the Derby trail after undergoing minor surgery in mid-December. Finally, the Sunland Derby just got easier for his newly-acquired New York Central to win after Justify skipped it in favor of the previously-mentioned allowance.
6. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite – Oh Dan… trouble seems to be looming. For the second weekend in a row, this team suffered a major disappointment, as Vino Rosso was a non-threatening fourth in the Tampa Bay Derby. That was a real downer because he looked like he was becoming a major prospect. This team really needs Catholic Boy to step up and run well in the Florida Derby, and then for Gold Town to do the same in the U.A.E. Derby, where he’s slated to have a showdown with Mendelssohn. The news gets worse: there’s no sign or talk of Nero entering a prep race as of now, and Storm Runner was majorly disappointing in the Fountain of Youth. It’s not over yet, but he needs to start getting some wins fast.