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1. Top Billing – A loss over a speed favoring Gulfstream track doesn’t have me wavering on him much at all. He got another race under his belt, and the mile and one-eighth Florida Derby should be in his favor. Maybe he’s not a super horse, but as of now the Kentucky Derby sets up best for him.
2. Cairo Prince – He’s without question the best horse in the crop at this current time. Can he get the mile and one-quarter distance of the Derby…I’m still not sure, but the horses he’s beaten have went on to run extremely well. Top Billing vs. Cairo Prince in the Florida Derby would be rather interesting!
3. Tapiture – Strong workout last weekend as he prepares for the Rebel Stakes next week. Questions loom about him wanting the mile and one-quarter distance, but he’s obviously very talented.
4. Strong Mandate – Also came in with a big workout in preparing for the Rebel Stakes. Needs a better trip than what he got in the Southwest as the Rebel looks to be coming up tough. Still think if/when he puts it all together he could be scary good.
5. Candy Boy – Skipping the San Felipe and waiting for the Santa Anita Derby. Risky move perhaps, but who in California can beat him right now?
6. Samraat – I really expected this one to kind fizzle out, but I don’t have that opinion anymore. His Gotham win was very impressive, and he looks to have Uncle Sigh measured. Can he do it outside of Aqueduct? Can he get ten furlongs? Questions that still need to be answered…but it’s clear that this is a talented horse.
7. Shared Belief – The world is still waiting for something….anything…a sign…anybody have a clue what’s going on?
8. Honor Code – He’s like Shared Belief in the injury department, but unlike Shared Belief in other ways as we at least know he’s making steady progress for a return in the Rebel Stakes. That race will likely have a tremendous impact on things.
9. Intense Holiday – It was a brilliant move to by Todd Pletcher to send Intense Holiday to Fair Grounds, as he benefited from the long stretch run to win the Risen Star. The win throws his name into the mix, and Churchill Downs should be kind to Intense Holiday as it has a long stretch as well. All along this has been a sneaky good horse for Pletcher…the mile and one-quarter could make him even more dangerous.
10. Constitution – He was the winner of the “super allowance” race on Fountain of Youth day, and earned a 98 beyer in the process. The lightly race colt is now 2 for 2 so lets see if he can pick up some derby points next time out. His chances will be limited.
11. Bayern – Takes his first swing at a Stakes this Saturday in the San Felipe at Santa Anita, and judging by the looks of the field he should be the post time favorite. Really good spot for his first try against tougher.
12. Uncle Sigh – This guy is a fighter! Twice he’s ran winning races only to finish second to the talented Samraat. Of course ten furlongs still is in question, but there is no doubt this horse will give it his best effort.
13. Bobby’s Kitten – Loads of talent…but can he run on the dirt? The plan is to try the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland, and then move on to Churchill if he runs well in that race. He’s as classy as they come, and if they can get him qualified he might have a say in things. In the past turf horses have actually ran well over the Churchill Downs dirt track.
14. Wildcat Red – The track helped Wildcat Red win the Fountain of Youth, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an impressive victory. The horse has shown a tremendous amount of heart, and his early speed will always make him dangerous. I don’t think the mile and one-quarter is up his alley, but he’s earned the right to take a chance at it.
15. General A Rod – He beat Wildcat Red the first time they met, but lost when it counted most in the Fountain of Youth. However, it was by a narrow margin, and he the two will probably be pointing towards the same race again next time out.
16. Commissioner – Not ready to close the door on Commissioner yet as the track was playing too fast, and the mile and one sixteenth distance of the Fountain of Youth was too sharp for him under those conditions. He’ll make his next start away from Gulfstream Park which will be good, and I expect him to run much better.
17. Midnight Hawk – He’ll be looking for a bit of redemption this weekend in the San Felipe after finishing third last time out. He matches up favorably against a field that has come up short; it could come down to him and his stable mate Bayern.
18. Albano – Larry Jones is back in derby contention once again. If the Risen Star were run at any other race track in the country Albano would have probably won the race, but he just couldn’t hold off the late run from Intense Holiday on that long Fair Grounds stretch. Still, this horse showed a lot of progression, and could be the real sleeper of the bunch.
19. In Trouble – He’s our only new addition to the list this week as he finished a solid third in the Gotham Stakes off a layoff. If he improves off that effort he could really shoot up the standings, but would it be asking too much of him to get involved this late in the game?
20. Tamarando – I’ll keep him on the list just because of his consistency. Other horses may be better at times, but this one just shows up and runs his race every time they ask him to do so.
Free Brisnet past performances from Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager available here.
More information on the KDFW is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.
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