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1. Cairo Prince – With Top Billing now off the Derby trail, Cairo Prince assumes the top spot for the first time this year. He’s ran the best and most consistent races out of any of the others in the crop, and his competition in the Holy Bull that he beat have come back to run well. The Florida Derby is up next for him.
2. Candy Boy – It looks like he’ll have a legit threat in the Santa Anita Derby as California Chrome looks pretty impressive. Still liking this one a bit more, especially with the added distance.
3. Tapiture – There is no question in my mind he was the best horse in the Rebel. He got mugged in the stretch, but still battle through it all to finish second. Not sure how he’ll be with added distance, but he hasn’t shown signs of slowing up yet.
4. Samraat – Quietly moving up the ranks! The colt has done nothing wrong, but will be tested with the extra distance of the Wood Memorial next time out. That seems to be the only question mark on him.
5. California Chrome – Welcome to the Kentucky Derby picture California Chrome! You can never quite trust a state bred until you see them against open company, but just like Samraat this guy proved he’s for real in a big way as he crushed open company in the San Felipe. His beyer number is the highest of any horse in the crop. Will he travel well?
6. Intense Holiday – It’s odd that you still don’t hear much buzz about Intense Holiday, but he’s looking better and better everyday. The horse is scheduled to run in the Louisiana Derby next, and you can bet his running style will fit in quite well once he gets to Kentucky.
7. Hoppertunity – New to the list after upsetting in the Rebel Stakes over the weekend. The horse showed he’s legit, although his trip was better than Tapiture’s. With them both getting fair trips Tapiture is probably better, but Hoppertunity is on the improve and moving up the ranks.
8. Constitution – He’s a perfect two for two, but he has not faced stakes company yet. His last victory at Gulfstream was against a super group of allowance horses which might project that he will be able to handle the jump up in class that is sure to happen next time out.
9. Ring Weekend – Absolute runaway winner of the Tampa Bay Derby came out of nowhere!! The trip and set up were perfect for him, but I still like that he drew away from this field nicely. It may have not been the strongest group, but this runner proved he has to be taken seriously.
10. Social Inclusion – Talk about coming out of nowhere!! Social Inclusion was a runaway winner over Honor Code in an allowance on Wednesday, and will look to a Derby points stakes race next time out. He’ll have one opportunity to qualify, so he must make the most of it.
11. Uncle Sigh – The Kentucky Derby distance is a serious question mark, but you can’t underestimate this ones heart. The rivalry with him and Samraat has been a bright spot during the early prep races.
12. Strong Mandate – No question the Rebel was a disappointing effort. Will we ever see the real Strong Mandate, or have we already seen him? Still think the potential is there…
13. Bobby’s Kitten – He’s back, and he looked as good as ever! We all are skeptical as to if he can run a step on the dirt, and if he makes the Kentucky Derby it will be his first start on something other than turf of poly track. He has an all or nothing shot at the Derby as he’s scheduled for the Bluegrass Stakes in April.
14. Wildcat Red – Believe he’s more of a miler, but he has run very fast races and deserves to be ranked for now. The Florida Derby will tell us if he stays in the rankings.
15. General A Rod – Recently defeated by Wildcat Red, but the added distance of the Florida Derby will most likely help him turn the tables next time out. He’s probably the better of the two prospects when projecting who will run well in the Kentucky Derby.
16. Commissioner – Very curious to see where he ends up next, and how well he runs. I was very high on him in the Fountain of Youth, but that track did him no favors. Still think he could be something special…
17. Honor Code – He really looked off when getting smoked by Social Inclusion in that Wednesday allowance race that was basically made for him. His connections claim he came out of the race in good order and could point for the Florida Derby next. Still, the signs all point to this not turning out well.
18. Albano – Narrowly defeated by Intense Holiday in the Risen Star, and will look to turn the tables on him next time out in the Louisiana Derby. Trainer Larry Jones knows how to get them ready so you can’t count Albano out.
19. Tamarando – Runs this weekend in the Turfway Spiral Stakes, and should have a decent chance over a surface that he likes. Like I’ve said from day one, he’s very respectable.
20. Ride On Curlin – This one ran a big race in the Rebel to finish third, and probably surprised more than a few people with that effort. Maybe he’s not a “miler” like many have said. The Arkansas Derby is next for him, and it should tell the story of where he’ll go one way or another.
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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