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Team Halterman pulled back ahead in the the standings last weekend with a much-needed win in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, but things are sure to change in the next three weeks when the Kentucky Derby trail sprints to the finish. This week, the Group 2 UAE Derby and the Grade 1 Florida Derby take center stage. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite’s stable will go to head-to-head against two different teams this week. First, he and Curtis “Magic” Kalleward square off in Dubai with Gold Town and Mendelssohn, then later in the afternoon, Dan’s Storm Runner and Catholic Boy face Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector’s Audible at Gulfstream Park. Let’s take a look at the current standings and this week’s Power Rankings:
1. Jon White/Ryan Stillman – This team might have slipped to #2 in the standings last weekend, but they’re loaded for the final two weeks of the Kentucky Derby prep season. This week will be slow for them, but McKinzie (Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby), Flameaway (Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes), Enticed (Grade 2 Wood Memorial), and Free Drop Billy (Blue Grass) are all slated to run on April 7. Jon and Ryan are poised to take over the top spot in the standings that day, and if things go perfectly, then they will be the clubhouse leaders going into the Triple Crown races, even if Untamed Domain is now off of the Kentucky Derby trail. This team has appeared to be the best for most of the year, so stay tuned to see if they live up to that billing.
2. Curtis “Magic” Kalleward – The UAE Derby will be pivotal for Magic. If Mendelssohn runs first or second in the race, not only will Magic earn valuable points, but Mendelssohn will earn a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, which could be an even bigger factor moving forward. Good Magic is working well heading into the Blue Grass next week, where he will look to rebound from a poor 2018 debut. Marconi will also take one more shot at a prep race, in the Wood Memorial on April 7. On the final weekend of preps, Magnum Moon will look to make it two in a row in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, while Curlin’s Honor may start in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. This team is loaded for a big closing kick!
3. Mike “Saratoga Slim” Spector – Injuries and bad luck have kept this team from reaching its full potential, but the stable still has some big stars left to put him into a great spot heading into the Triple Crown races. His first star to run will be Audible, who should be the favorite in this week’s Florida Derby. Bolt d’Oro is set to shine next weekend in the Santa Anita Derby in a rematch with McKinzie, and perhaps Restoring Hope will finally draw into a race, as he’s had some bad luck being left out of races recently. The hope is that Navistar will run in the Blue Grass, but nothing is confirmed on that front. Unfortunately, the loss of Avery Island really hurt this team, as he would have been very competitive in last week’s Louisiana Derby.
4. Aaron Halterman – The good news is that this team now leads in the standings by 40 points. The bad news is that his roster, to put it lightly, sucks. Noble Indy did pick up a big win in the Louisiana Derby, which earns him a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, and Bravazo will be in the Kentucky Derby despite his terrible performance in New Orleans. Two horses on this team are left to run, but both will be hard-pressed to find wins. Instilled Regard is set to face Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie in the Santa Anita Derby, while Combatant will face Magnum Moon and Justify in the Arkansas Derby. Hitting the board is likely to be the best case scenario for those two. Finally, Principe Guilherme is off the Kentucky Derby trail, so there’s no help from him.
5. Jared Welch – Ouch… this team was set to move up the Power Rankings if New York Central won the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, but he was well-beaten and is now likely off of the Triple Crown trail completely. His poor performance, coupled with Sporting Chance‘s unlikelihood to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, is not good. However, things should get better in the last two weeks of the Kentucky Derby trail. Solomini should be the favorite in the Wood Memorial, Justify should be the favorite in the Arkansas Derby, and Greyvitos could very well be the favorite in the Lexington. If these horses can run to their odds, then he will be in great shape heading into the Triple Crown season and should have a big chance to win.
6. Dan “The Fan Man” Waite – This will be his make-or-break week. Gold Town must perform will in the UAE Derby, and Catholic Boy needs to bounce back with a solid performance in the Florida Derby. If those two things happen, then he can jump back into the fantasy race, but right now, things are beginning to look dire. He’ll also have Storm Runner in the Florida Derby after he was hurt by a poor trip in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. Next week, Vino Rosso will look to bounce back in the Wood Memorial after really disappointing in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby. Then there’s Nero, who continues to work out well in the mornings, yet there’s no talk of where he might run next. Dan is guaranteed to move out of last place in the standings this week, but he needs wins if he wants to have a chance at winning the whole thing.
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