Horse Watch

Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects #8

Union Rags takes on El Padrino this Saturday in the Florida Derby

1. Union Rags – Florida Derby week is finally here!  Can Union Rags win it and hold on to the number one ranking?  We’ll have a full preview of the race this Thursday.

2. Creative Cause – Creative Cause continues to impress the clockers at Santa Anita in the mornings as he prepares for the Santa Anita Derby.  It’s hard to imagine any other three-year old doing better than he is right now.

3. El Padrino – If he can tackle Union Rags this Saturday at Gulfstream he will be the number one three-year old in the country.

4. Hansen – It now looks like Hansen is headed to Keeneland to run in the Bluegrass Stakes on April 14th.  It’s a logical move to keep him at home for his last prep.

5. Secret Circle – His Rebel win was so impressive, but the question of how far he wants to run still looms large.  He’s pointed towards the Arkansas Derby next where he’ll try to win the “Oaklawn Crown.”  Usually the door slams shut on “sprinters” when they go a mile and one-eighth, so the Arkansas Derby will be his make or break race when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.

6. Bodemeister – Bob Baffert says Bodemeister will run in either the Santa Anita Derby or Arkansas Derby next.  He’ll need to finish first or second in either race to get the graded earnings required to make the Kentucky Derby field.  Arkansas might be the easiest of the two spots, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes to Hot Springs.

7. Daddy Nose Best – There is no question about his dirt form now, as Daddy Nose Best was impressive in winning the Sunland Derby last Sunday.  His Derby ticket is now punched, and he looks like the type that is going to like a mile and one-quarter.  This one could be a sleeper.

8. On Fire Baby – Still no word on whether she’ll run in the Fantasy or Arkansas Derby next.  It is also still uncertain if she is pointing to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks.

9. Alpha – Alpha was not entered in the Louisiana Derby so it looks like he is back on the list of probables for the Wood Memorial now.

10. Gemologist – It looks like he’ll be heading to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial for his next race.  It’s a logical move by Pletcher seeing as how the Wood is looking a fairly weak on paper at the moment.

11. Mark Valeski – He’ll be the favorite in Sunday’s Louisiana Derby, and rightfully so.  I think he will win it and be on his way to Kentucky.

El Padrino (left) takes on Union Rags this Week; While Mark Valeski (right) is the Favorite in the Louisiana Derby

12. I’ll Have Another – He’s working out at Santa Anita, and looks to be pointing towards the Santa Anita Derby.

13. News Pending – I LOVE how he’s not dodging the big dogs and running in the Florida Derby this Saturday.  That kind of confidence bodes well for him.

14. Optimizer – His late run in the Rebel was very impressive, and he should get better and better as the distance gets longer.  There are a few negative signs, like not changing leads in the Rebel, which is a sign that this horse still has a lot of growing up to do.  He’s one you still have to take serious from here on out.

15. Went The Day Well – I wasn’t extremely impressed with his win in the Spiral at Turfway, but he’s defintiely a horse that is going to improve.  He beat a weak field at Turfway, but he did it easy so there are some positive signs with this guy.  He will most likely race again before the Kentucky Derby, so we can analyze him one more time.

16. Howe Great – This horse is on quite a winning streak, and defeated Dullahan 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, and also Hansen.

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. Take Charge Indy – It’s all or nothing for him in this Saturday’s Florida Derby.  The competition will be stout so he’ll need to bring his “A” game to compete.

19. Sabercat – He ran poorly in the Rebel, but it was his first start since November so I’m keeping him on the list for now.  He’ll have to run much better in the Arkansas Derby to stay on this list though.

20. Z Dager – This Sundays Louisiana Derby will determine if he stays on this list.  The race turned up a little weak, so if he’s a true Derby colt you’d have to think he would finish in the top two.

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