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Three Kentucky Derby prep races spiced up the fantasy league last weekend, as did a couple of important non-prep races that could still have an impact later this spring. The coming week will be highlighted be the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, which is slated to have at least two runners for Dan “The Fan Man” Waite. As a result of last weekend’s action, we have some shifting in the Standings and the Power Rankings. Let’s take a look:
1. Aaron Halterman – We have a new number-one this week, which now makes three different teams to be ranked at the top this year. It’s not that this team is loaded with monster horses; it’s the only team with all five horses clearly running in Kentucky Derby prep races soon. Principe Guilherme and Instilled Regard are on target for the first 50-point race of the season, the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, while Mourinho and Combatant have the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes circled on their calendars. There’s no info yet on which race Noble Indy is targeting, but he has had two solid works since winning his last race, which signals that he’ll be ready to run soon.
2. Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector – Slim was ranked fifth last week, but he jumps all the way up to second this week after Avery Island shipped to New York to win the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. When Slim drafted Avery Island, he did so with winning the Withers in mind the whole time. We could see him next in the Tampa Bay Derby or Wood Memorial next. Restoring Hope also gave him something to be happy about, as he broke his maiden in workman-like fashion for trainer Bob Baffert. Bolt d’Oro and Copper Bullet continue their preparations for March returns and both seem to be on target. The only downside for this team is Navistar, who bolted on the turn in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park over the weekend. He will have to regroup.
3. Ryan Stillman/Jon White – This team slips all the way to number three after occupying the top spot for several weeks. Last weekend did not go as planned for them, as Enticed made his 2018 debut in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and finished a distant fourth. Untamed Domain also made his 2018 debut, doing so on the turf in the Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes, and was a well-beaten third. The minor injury to Mask has his status up in the air, and the owners of Montauk mentioned that they will be taking it very slow with him. However, don’t feel too bad for this team, as they still own McKinzie, possibly the best horse in the crop. He has the potential to carry this team on his back.
4. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite – Business is about to pick up for “The Fan Man” as he will have at THREE runners in the Sam F. Davis this weekend. His star horse, Catholic Boy, is set to make his 2018 debut, and the Dale Romans-trained Hollywood Star will also be pointing for Tampa Bay Downs this weekend after scratching out of the Holy Bull. Also, Vino Rosso will run in the race for Todd Pletcher. Nero is possible to run this weekend in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, which could make FOUR starters for this team. The only downer at the moment is Concur, who is still a maiden.
5. Jared Welch – Let’s start with the good news: Solomini got back to work this weekend, which signals that he is over the minor illness that caused him to miss a few days of training. He still should be on target for a major prep race in March and is obviously regarded as one of the best horses in the crop thus far. Sporting Chance and Zulfikhar both look to be right on track for the Southwest in two weeks. Now, the bad news: this team has already likely lost Greyvitos for the Triple Crown season, and he must be asking: where is Dak Attack? The colt is due to run again, but Romans has made no mention of him, yet his other horses have been entering races like crazy. This is a good team (he started the season ranked number one), but luck has not been on his side so far.
6. Curtis “Magic” Kalleward – Magic is on the board! Marconi finished third in the Withers over the weekend, which earned him five points. Also, Good Magic is really working out well down in Florida, and trainer Chad Brown is said to be “all smiles” about his promising young colt that’s on track for March’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. It’s still hard to find any info on Mendelssohn, so there’s no update on him, but Curlin’s Honor is working consistently well at the Fair Grounds and could be a real sleeper. There are still no works from Vision, which means that he will probably have to be dropped during the first claiming period.
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