The Breeders’ Cup hangover is real. It is currently in full effect after weeks of preparation and handicapping have come to an end. However, the end of the Breeders’ Cup season can only mean one thing: it’s officially Kentucky Derby season! The 2019 Kentucky Derby is now in our sights, with the prep races becoming a major focal point for racing fans. There look to be some quality soon-to-be 3-year-olds to watch for in 2019, both on the Kentucky Derby scene and also in other divisions. Let’s take a look at the top five 3-year-olds to watch for in 2019:
1. Game Winner
It is always good to start with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner when making a list for next year. Game Winner had basically nothing go right for him at the Breeders’ Cup from a trip perspective. He broke a bit slow, raced wide throughout, and was much further back than normal. Still, he fought through adversity to pass Knicks Go in the stretch and win the race by over 2 lengths. This is the horse that trainer Bob Baffert seems to be the most high on as we head into 2019.
When talking about the best 2-year-old in the country, look no further than this fabulous filly. In her three starts, she has absolutely destroyed her competition, including a dominating 6 3/4-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. All of her wins have come while not being asked for her best, too, which shows you that there is plenty left in the tank if she ever does get challenged. Her final time of 1:39.00 was over a second faster than the Juvenile Turf, and 0.80 seconds faster than older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Mile the next day.
Don’t forget about this horse who won the day after the Breeders’ Cup at Aqueduct in the Grade 3 Nashua Stakes. The race was only at a mile, which is a concern, but this horse’s pedigree suggests that he should stretch out fairly well. He earned a 99 Beyer speed figure for his win, which is faster than what any other 3-year-old has earned this season. He will have to step up in competition from here on out, which is the big question mark that he must answer next. His latest win makes him two-for-two in his young career.
She made it four in a row when blazing home in wire-to-wire fashion to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. That win also gave her back-to-back Grade 1 triumphs while stamping her as the early favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Oaks. The most impressive thing about her so far has been her consistent performances at different tracks. In her five starts, she has run at five different tracks, which speaks volumes about the class that this horse possesses.
Trainer Bob Baffert is once again loaded for a big run at the Kentucky Derby. Before Game Winner won the Juvenile on Friday, Improbable put on a big show, romping home to win the Street Sense Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths. The Street Sense was a great race for the lightly-raced colt to enter. He may have not been ready for a race like the Juvenile yet, with only one start under his belt, but now, he has a little bit of experience, which means that he could be ready to take on graded stakes company in his next start.