1. Union Rags – He holds on to his number one spot for another week, but I don’t believe he is above and beyond them like so many others think. We need to see another big performance from him in the Florida Derby.
2. Creative Cause – His win in the San Felipe was great, but it was the gallop out that really has me sky-high on Creative Cause. After the wire, Creative Cause galloped out 12 lengths in front of the rest of the horses. This tells me he may have only just been getting started in the mile and one-sixteenth race. That’s great news for fans that are backing him in the Kentucky Derby.
3. El Padrino – He slips down to number three this week, but has done nothing wrong. He’s most likely heading back to the Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby.
4. Hansen – Hansen is currently in Kentucky, but will be shipped back to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial in April. The question of how far he wants to run still looms large, but he’s a fast horse and showed us he can rate in his last race.
5. Secret Circle – He’ll be making a return trip to Oaklawn this week where he’ll square off against a solid field if the Rebel. Just like Hansen, there are questions about how far he wants to run as well The Rebel will be a nice test to see if he can get a mile and one-sixteenth.
6. Bodemeister – In just his third lifetime start Bodemeister showed great maturity in the San Felipe Stakes, where he finished second to Creative Cause. You’d have to think this horse is just going to get better and better so this is one to really keep an eye on. It looks like the Santa Anita Derby in April is where Bodemeister is pointing.
7. On Fire Baby – Even though On Fire Baby is a filly I felt like I had to put her on this list because her connections are talking about trying the Derby, and because she ran a huge race in the Honeybee this Saturday. Her beyer figure of 99 is one of the best of the year for any three-year old. She’ll remain on my Derby list until I hear for sure she’s pointing towards the Oaks.
8. Alpha – It’s sounding like Alpha is pointed towards the Florida Derby now where he’ll meet up with Union Rags. That would be an interesting move considering he’s ran so well at Aqueduct this winter.
9. Sabercat – He’s arrived at Oaklawn, and worked over the track on Monday in preparation for the Rebel. This will be his first
start of the year so it’s going to be interesting to see how he does.
10. Mark Valeski – Word out of the Larry Jones camp is this guy is improving every day. Look for him to run in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds next time out.
11. Castaway – Castaway was supposed to be heading back to Oaklawn for the Rebel, but now I’m hearing that will not be the case. I’m not sure what the plans are it this moment, but will update this when I hear something.
12. Gemologist – He was also likely headed to the Rebel, but instead will run in an Allowance at Gulfstream this Friday. This was a shocking move, and one that has me concerned that he may not be fully ready to take on the big boys in the division.
13. I’ll Have Another – He’s working out at Santa Anita, and looks to be pointing towards the Santa Anita Derby.
14. News Pending – He finished well behind Union Rags in the Fountain of Youth, but he was closing like he wanted more distance. We’re still awaiting news on when he’ll run again.
15. Scatman – He’s preparing to run in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn this Saturday. It’s big race for him because he must prove that his huge race in the Southwest was not a fluke, and that he belongs with this group.
16. Howe Great – This horse is on quite a winning streak, and defeated Dullahan last Sunday in the Palm Beach. His dirt form is still a major question mark, but so was Animal Kingdom’s last year. He’s pointing towards the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland for his next start, where he’ll face Dullahan again.
17. Dullahan – His come back race in the Palm Beach was very encouraging, even though he was second to Howe Great. We’ll see him next in the Bluegrass Stakes.
18. Daddy Nose Best – There are questions about how he’ll like the dirt, but his win in the El Camino Real was impressive. We’re awaiting word on where he’ll run next.
19. Take Charge Indy – In an interesting move, his connections scratched out of the Tampa Bay Derby last week and are pointing towards the Florida Derby instead.
20. Z Dager – I’ve put him in the last spot because of his two consistent third place efforts against graded stakes company. He’ll need to step up to find himself in the top-tier of horses, but the added distance might help him.